“IS SHE REALLY THAT GOOD OR JUST ARROGANT?”

OK…. this is part random musings and part rant/vent.

Here I am on a Sunday afternoon catching up on the last episode of Scandal. To say that the “drama” and the proverbial “sh*t” is hitting the fan would be an understatement. If you are a fellow “gladiator” you know what I am talking about. For those of you who are not, here is the shortest synopsis of what the show is about and what I am referring to:

Scandal is the ABC network’s political drama loosely based on the life of Washington, DC- based “fixer,” Judy Smith that was created by the Shonda Rhimes (think Grey’s Anatomy). The series stars Kerry Washington as the Smith-like character, Olivia Pope, who runs a “crisis management” firm (think about some of the most salacious political scandals in recent times—she’s the one type that helps them disappear from the headlines and our memories). The show centers around Pope’s eponymous firm and its staff as well as the staff of the White House under fictions President Fitzgerald Grant III (played by Tony Goldwyn).

The key point you need to know about the show is that Olivia is having an affair with the married President of the United States (this didn’t happen to Ms. Smith) and the First Lady knows about it and of course is being driven crazy by this fact. It has been going on for years (the show alludes to the long standing romance with flashbacks to the days of Fitz’s gubernatorial and subsequent presidential campaigns). Well here’s what is going on this season—the cat’s been let out of the bag and after past insinuations by many of the President’s political foes, the whole world has confirmation that Olivia is sleeping with Fitz and get this…. she admitted it on TV! I know when that happened, everyone was “clutching their pearls,” gasping and whatever else one does in shock when the news broke.

Olivia Pope as portrayed by Kerry Washington

So of course, as with any scandal, the news programs decided to give us some insight on who the real Olivia Pope was (remember Monica Lewinsky?). Well as Olivia is sitting at home watching all these different programs delve into her past as an African American woman who “done good” by any means necessary (he father is in prison for supposedly embezzling money to fund a lavish lifestyle for him and his daughter when she was younger – but that is just a “cover”)—the pull out all kinds of people from her past including her 3rd grade teacher (smdh).

So as we watched Olivia watching all of this, one of the reporters uttered a phrase that had me hitting pause and question what I just heard….” Is she really this good or just arrogant?” The reporter was referring to her success as DC’s top fixer and the academic accolades and other achievements she racked up over the years. Now I know it is a TV show and that this is fake and all, but it really made me stop and think. Why did a question like that really have to be asked? Couldn’t she really be that good to really achieve all the success she had professionally? What did she have to be considered arrogant? Is it because she saw herself as amazing and deserving of that title? And before all of you jump on me about the whole sleeping with a married man (and yes, the President) thing, I am talking that out of the equation for now because I am going to relate it to real life now. Sadly, it seems that when one refers to a woman of color (particularly a Black woman) who is successful, there is always some caveat that comes with it. Oh it’s great that she is successful but she’s a bitch or she’s conceited or she’s arrogant or thinks too much of herself. It is never…oh wow her accomplishments are so impressive or inspiring or great for ALL women.

First Lady Michelle Obama in her 2013 official portrait (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Over the years I have had this conversation with women of all races and creeds in my circle and it always is something that left us either confused or angry. My white friends would first think I was being sensitive until they started listening more to what was being said. My friends of color (Asian, Black and Latina) would just shake their heads because it had become par for the course. What do I mean? Let’s take First Lady Michelle Obama for example. Over the years we have heard her called a bitch, arrogant, standoffish, “angry” and all kinds of stuff. Why is that? I am not saying one has to love or even like her, but can she just have accomplishments noted without adding admonitions about people’s perception of her as a person? And for the record, I actually say this about all women at the end of the day.

In my own life, I have had a lot of people later admit to me that I am totally different than what they surmised me to be like given my background and education level. One said that I am actually nice and not bitchy at all (how does one take that as a compliment?). I try not to get too worked up about it but things like this have happened on more than one occasion. Just last week, I was told that I must think I am entitled because I didn’t grow up in the projects and went to Wellesley. (Really?????????)

I mean seriously…why is it wrong for me to think I am worthy of success and recognition (and for the record I really don’t go looking for any) of said success? Is it wrong to think that I deserve the best things in life like my male and non-Black counterparts? Maybe I should blame it on my Caribbean upbringing that valued hard work and striving for the top; or maybe that as a woman of color I’ve had to put in twice as much work to be considered a fraction (can’t even say half) as good as others in my field; or maybe it’s just because I am a Virgo—that’s what I say when anyone points out that I am an “overachiever.” I wonder If I looked more like what many consider the American ideal of beauty (blonde hair, blue eyes and a size 2) would you say the same things to me about being arrogant or would that just come with the territory of who I was perceived to be? I have theories about the answer to this question but I am just going to end my post here so that I can get back to watching my “stories.”

Until next time love bugs.

*** NB: All images from the television show Scandal are courtesy of ABC.

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WADING THROUGH ALL THE MUCK: The Muck B 1802 Boot

As I said in a previous post, I’m not big on the whole reality TV thing. But I have to admit there is one reality show that is a guilty pleasure of mine…The Amazing Race. Maybe it’s the thrill of the competition (11 teams of two compete in an elimination style “race” for a grand prize of $1 million) or the exotic destinations that the teams get to visit throughout the competition—whatever “it” is, it has made a fan out of me.  The Amazing Race has had some memorable teams over the years. One of my favorites happened to be the season 21 winners (and the stars of another reality TV show entitled The Fabulous Beekman Boys—ironic right?), Josh Kilmer Purcell and his husband, Brent Ridge.

Back in 2007, the couple bought a 19th century farm called Beekman Mansion in bucolic town of Sharon Springs in upstate New York. The couple launched a business, Beekman 1802 selling products derived from the produced grown on the farm.  Last week, Brent and Josh took their lifestyle brand one step further by teaming with The Original Muck Boot Company on the footwear company’s first fashion collaboration inspired by the growing farm-to-table movement—Muck B 1802. Known for creating comfortable boots ideal for messy and tough conditions in work, farming, agriculture, outdoor sporting, lawn and garden– even the spring monsoons that now plaguing New York. The Muck B 1802 boot is the perfect marriage of both brands—combining style and substance. The boot debuted this past week in New York City at the charming organic eatery, Green Table, located in the famed Chelsea Market.

Muck B 1802 boot
Muck B 1802 boot

Only 200 pairs of the limited edition boot will be sold on both the Beekman 1802 website and on www.muckbootcompany.com. The Muck B 1802 boots come in two styles: black with red trim and black with grey trim. The 100 percent waterproof boot will feature Muck’s XpressCool liner, which keeps feet cool in warm weather. A lightweight sole with rubber pods provide optimal traction and support with comfort and flexibility. The boot’s suggested retail price is $170.

The Muck B 1802 boots come in two styles: black with red trim and black with grey trim.
The Muck B 1802 boots come in two styles: black with red trim and black with grey trim.

The debut of the Muck B 1802 boot also heralded the announcement of the winner of Beekman 1802’s first annual Mortgage “Lift” award which gives a $10,000 grant  to a deserving family farm that demonstrates innovative business practices, helping restore small farms as the economic backbone of America.  This grant was inspired by Ridge and Purcell’s own experience trying to pay off their own loan which led to the production and naming of an heirloom tomato variety, “The Mortgage Lifter,” which they hoped the pasta sauce it produced would raise enough to pay off their own land loan. While bottling their first jars of sauce, Brent and Josh won the Amazing Race. With the proceeds, they were able to pay off their own mortgage. It was then they pledged to give back 25 percent of proceeds of the sauce—2014 marks the awards inauguration.

Not only does the Mortgage Lifter award winner take the “Lift” award grant to invest in the future of their farm, The Original Muck Company donated their best selling Chore farm boot to the entire staff of the winning farm.

For more information on The Original Muck Boot Company, visit www.muckbootcompany.com.

For more information on The Fabulous Beekman Boys, visit www.beekman1802.com,

 

The Fabulous Beekman Boys at "work."
The Fabulous Beekman Boys at “work.”

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BLACK IS THE NEW GREEN : Black Soy Beans, the Curvy Socialite & Dr. Oz

We live in a society that is obsessed with being fit, healthy and young. I’m not going to lie; I am not immune to it. To be honest who doesn’t want to look and feel their best? There are entire industries built around our quest to achieve our fitness goals (hello…the beauty and fitness & wellness worlds make billions of dollars every year). Think about it…you can get liposuction during your lunch hour, extensions to make your hair look longer or fuller, Botox to hide the wrinkles and let’s not forget the magic creams and pills that will make you look younger, have the cellulite disappear and give you the energy to run ten marathons.

Some of these miracles in a bottle actual work…others not so much. And many times these fixes are super expensive. But what if there was something out there that could help you curb your appetite, regulate your blood glucose level and decrease your cholesterol… all this for around $2? I can feel you looking at me sideways through your computer screen. Yes there is something out there that it cheap and healthy that can NATURALLY help you do all these things…enter the BLACK SOY BEAN.

Black Soy Beans? Yeah you read right. Not your normal edamame (salted green soy beans you get at many Asian restaurants as an appetizer); black soy beans are a naturally low carb, high fiber, high protein and a great addition to a healthy diet. How do I know? Well for 3 days, I did an experiment in preparation for an appearance on the Dr. Oz show (airing on this afternoon and replaying on tomorrow—click here to view the preview). For three days I ate a half of cup of black soy beans a half hour before lunch and dinner and recorded my results (two days prior to that I ate normally as my control).

And here’s what happened….

  • I felt fuller longer. With black soy beans being such a high source of protein and fiber, it took longer to digest which means you are actually fuller longer.
  • As each day progressed, my portions got smaller. The soybeans were curbing my appetite. Based on my food log (and that of Karen…the other guest who did the experiment with me), Dr. Oz surmised that I ate 35% fewer calories a day by the end of the experiment. And let me repeat, I DID NOT FEEL HUNGRY.
  • Also, at the end of the experiment, I lost 2.5 pounds (and I wasn’t even trying).

Now for the purposes of the experiment, I ate the black soy beans separately prior to my two largest meals, but you can easily add them to your favorite dishes that call for beans. Check out some of the suggestions from Dr. Oz’s website below.  But I will warn you. They can be a little bland. I personally love them with hot sauce (and for those who know me personally I like everything with hot sauce) but a pinch of salt is fine too.

Black Soybean Chicken Caesar Salad (pictured). Click the image to see some tasty recipes as suggested by Dr. Oz and his team.

I’d love for you guys to give it a try and share with me some of your thoughts. Who knows…you may end up liking it and adding it to your grocery list like I did.

 

Also, if you like the necklace I wore on the show, you can get it and other great pieces at Shop Lately! Click the image to visit their site!
Also, if you like the necklace I wore on the show, you can get it and other great pieces at Shop Lately! Click the image to visit their site!

 

 

LEANNE MARSHALL Spring 2014 Collection (NYFW)

I checked…her hands indeed were a subtle shade of coral.

Notoriously hands-on when it comes to getting her pieces the exact right shade, Project Runway winner (Season 5), Leanne Marshall saw a return to the bright colors and whimsical shades that  her line has become known for. While Fall/Winter 2013 saw her experimenting with darker silhouettes and was better described as after-five than black-tie, Leanne’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection embraced the formalwear which has become her brand’s staple.

Full of movement and intricately layered, Marshall added a few more modern touches to her usual flowy  cocktail and tea-length dresses while weaving bolder colors in with her usual pastel palate. Her full-length gowns were updated with regal lace overlay and almost origami-like accents, while her non-traditional offerings added a well-needed punch of color to the collection. True to form, Leanne found a way to sneak in at least one extra layer or ruffle into every piece while managing to defy gravity, as models almost seemed to float down the runway.  Silk and jersey was the star here, no doubt locally sourced as is the standard for the always eco-chic designer.

Here are a few of my favorite looks.

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Written by Guest Blogger Amaris Acosta of Black Latina & Fabulous, which covers topics including life, relationships, pop culture, fashion and beauty– all from a fabulous Black Latina perspective.

Scandal’s Kerry Washington is MARRIED!

Actress Kerry Washington  & NFL player, Nnamdi Asomugha!
Actress Kerry Washington & NFL player, Nnamdi Asomugha!

Congrats to Scandal‘s Kerry Washington who married the NFL‘s Nnamdi Asomugha (San Francisco 49ers)!

The hush hush wedding took place last month in Idaho. Maris (Black, Latina & Fabulous) and I think that is the new Hollywood trend (secret wedding and leaking the details in casual convo weeks later)

MUST WATCH TV: being Mary Jane

I am a TV connoisseur.  I have a delicate palate for programming that has me shying away from most of what the general viewing public likes. I am not really a fan of reality TV. You’ll never hear me talk about Real Housewives of Anywhere, The Bachelor/rette, and Big Brother, Love & Hip Hop or any of the other favorites of virtually anyone else. According to my significant other, I like high-brow television (whatever that means). I like psychological dramas/thrillers (Criminal Minds is a fave), crime dramas (SVU, NCIS LA, Castle) and a bit of “trashy TV” with those teen “soaps” (yeah, I remember Drake from his days as Jimmy on Degrassi—so much for coming from the bottom…).

Recently, I’ve fallen for shows with women in high powered roles. As I said a few weeks ago here on the blog, I love Scandal (one of the few programs the rest of the viewing world and I seem to agree on). I love Kerry Washington’s character, Olivia Pope, with her take-charge no-nonsense attitude mixed in with a little vulnerability. As a woman of color, it’s refreshing to see someone like Kerry Washington in a starring role that is a character who is not relegated to a stereotypical life (let me not comment on Devious Maids). It’s been a while since we had a show like that. In the 80s we had Phylicia Rashad as Claire Huxtable (lawyer, wife, mom and all around fab woman) and shows like Girlfriends touched on it. But Scandal kind has lead the way for more actresses of color to get lead roles as highly successful, incredibly smart, beautiful, and stylish women in prime-time TV. Yes, they are somewhat flawed. It wouldn’t make for good TV if they weren’t.

Kerry Washington & Gabrielle Union (courtesy Zaput)

With Scandal on hiatus until the fall, there’s another show waiting in the proverbial wings.  Enter…being Mary Jane. Starring Gabrielle Union, the new series, debuting tonight, premieres in the form of a 2-hour movie on BET. Yes! BET. Why is this such a big deal? Well, it is the network’s first original drama series (created by the Mara Brock Akil, the producer of other hit series like Girlfriends and The Game). It is also marks Ms. Union’s return to the small screen.

The show centers around Mary Jane Paul, a successful TV anchor and well established woman who is the backbone to her family who don’t necessarily share her drive and ambition.  BET assembled an all-star supporting cast (Margaret Avery, Lisa Vidal and Richard Roundtree) to bring this drama to life that touches on major themes of love and family that should be easily identifiable with many of the viewership.  “I think you’ll see yourself or somebody that you know. If not Mary Jane, then one of the other characters,” Gabrielle Union said in a telephone interview with the Wall Street Journal.

I have high hopes for being Mary Jane.

Check out the trailer for tonight’s premier. The movie will become a series, expected to air in January.