Monday, February 28, 2011

The Oscars, Mardi Gras and Carnival

I missed the Oscars telecast because I went to a Mardi Gras dinner. My fave part of the Oscars is always the red carpet so I had to catch up today! Here are a few of the looks I liked...

Mila Kunis...I LOVE this dress!
(Photo: US Weekly)

Amy Adams...not feeling her jewelry with this dress but I like the dress
and I love Amy Adams
(Photo: US Weekly)
Always a knockout!
(Photo: US Weekly)

Meanwhile on the East Coast, I was inhaling jambalaya, cajun shrimp, sauteed tofu, bourbon chicken and pasta salad at a Mardi Gras dinner. Nothing like food, fam, friends and laughter!

This was dessert...
Raspberry Creme cake

And speaking of Mardi Gras, the Carnival festivities in Trinidad have begun! I am not going to be there but I asked my friends to keep me posted so I could live vicariously through them. Below is a pic a friend sent me from a previous Carnival...


Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's all about staying the course.

A friend sent me this clip of Chaka Khan playing the drums. I didn't know Chaka played drums!  But what struck me most about this interview was the fact that the young Chaka admitted to moments in her life when she thought it (music/business) very hard and perhaps she should stop pursuing it.
35 years later Chaka is a living legend!

As a singer/songwriter on my own journey in this music business, I find comfort in those words. It DOES take a LOT of work! Add to that all the pieces of life and you begin to understand why some people look at you like  0_0 (blank stare) when you say you're pursuing a music career! (Right now there's laundry to be done and this house needs to be cleaned but I gave the housekeeper (me) the night off!)

" withhold is to perish" ~ Kahlil Gibran. I do this (music and writing) because there is a voice within me fighting to be heard. If I don't sing, if I don't write, I feel like I'll just burst!
If I don't express myself and allow my voice to be heard, that voice inside me will die.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How do you keep the music playing?

As I looked into the works of the great songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman, I came across quite a few of my favorite songs, which I had no idea they wrote!
One of my absolute faves is "How Do You Keep The Music Playing?"
The song has been covered many times, (which I also just discovered) but most of us probably remember the classic version by James Ingram and Ms Patti Austin (yes, I thought that was the ONLY version).
While googling performances of this song, I found a beautiful rendition by James himself, with Tamia. I love her! She has such a pure pretty voice!

I fell in love with her voice when I heard "You Put a Move on My Heart". She put her stamp on this song!

Adele 21

I LOVE Adele! I was first introduced to her music by a co-worker and fellow music lover. At the time, there was a lot of buzz about her "Chasing Pavements" (on her debut album "19") which eventually lead to Grammy award-winning success in 2009.
My friend Michelle (whom I tease and call my personal "Billboard") raved about "Chasing Pavements" before I'd even heard it and when she tells you to keep an eye out for an artist, do just that, because before you know it, they're the next big thing! Adele, Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae, even Alicia Keys when everyone was "hot on Beyonce" (as Michelle says lol)...are all artists she raved about before they officially hit the map so to speak.
So I have Adele's new album and it is SOOOOOOO good ! I absolutely LOVE her voice, which seems to be stronger, more powerful now, but not overbearing at all...pleasant and raw! It's soulful...that girl sings her soul!
I have no faves yet; I love every single song so far, so I'll come back at a later date to let you know which I've really fallen in love with...if not all !
(Billboard Image)
For more on Adele and her Billboard cover story, click here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Paying the Price"

I found this article in the Rich Dad Blog and it speaks directly to me. It is fairly long but well worth it...I hope it speaks to you as well:

"Paying the Price
A Roman poet once wrote, “All wish to possess knowledge, but few, comparatively speaking, are willing to pay the price.” One could easily substitute the word success for knowledge and have the same meaning applied. Whether it be knowledge or success, why does something that the vast majority of people want so rarely occur? What are the defining characteristics of those individuals who turn their wishes into actualized dreams?

A world-class pianist performed a concert, and afterward, one of the audience members came up, and praised the pianist for his talent. In the midst of praise, the audience member commented on how they wished they could play like the pianist. The pianist looked at the audience member and said, "To get to the point I am now, I have practiced on average 10 hours a day for the last twenty years. Would you be willing to do that to play like I do?" The audience member begrudgingly shook their head no, and quietly walked away.

While certain people may be blessed with more natural talent than others, each person faces a journey that will be marred with difficulties and pitfalls on their way to success. No matter how much natural talent the pianist in the story was blessed with, there were undoubtedly time periods where it was difficult to reach that next level of success - times where dedication and perseverance were necessary in order to make that next step of progress.

Stage One: Desire

If success were a magical gift that could be bestowed on anyone that asked for it, how many would turn it down? Naturally, success means different things to different people, as not all individuals define success in monetary terms. The arts and many professions and hobbies that individuals engage in provide little in terms of monetary rewards, yet for every individual who reaches the pinnacle in their respective area, there are thousands who lag behind. If you ask any of these thousands if they wished to be as successful or as talented as the people at the top of their area of interest, you undoubtedly would have a collective yes to the question.

It is the rare individual who desires nothing. A lack of desire for wealth, knowledge, notoriety, peace, or talent is foreign to the human condition. In fact, desire is so innately part of the human experience that we should have pity on those that have little to no desire for anything as they are scarcely human.

If you look inwardly, you likely will find desires in numerous areas. It would not be unusual if you wish to be knowledgeable, financially successful, respected, and skillful in those work and hobby areas you engage in. Desire is not the hard part. You join billions of other people who have the same basics desires you have. The question is, how do you separate yourself from the billion-member pack?

Stage Two: Dedication

While we all may be part of the multi-billion member pack who have desires, there are individuals who want to achieve that which they desire more than others. We oftentimes label these individuals over-achievers, type A personalities, or workaholics, but whatever the label, they usually share a common characteristic - they work harder at achieving their goals than others. They pay the price that the Roman poet referred to, in order to achieve the goal that they set out to do.

This hard work manifests itself for long time periods as well. It is far too common for passion to manifest itself in an individual, and for them to work hard for short periods to achieve the desire. They may want to learn to play the guitar, so they buy one, and practice intensely for a few days, weeks, or months. Then one day, the motivation isn't there, and they stop. Pawn shops across the world are filled with the temporary desires that lacked the dedication to see it through.

Becoming proficient at something can be difficult. Becoming really good at something is not easy to achieve without time and energy put into that endeavor. While certain things are easy to maintain once the skill is learned (riding a bike comes to mind), most things require dedication, time, and constant energy in order for success to be achieved. If it came easy to everyone, then we wouldn't put any value on it, would we?

Stage Three: Perseverance

Perhaps the rarest of individuals is the individual who has desires, manifests dedication, and overcomes all obstacles that are thrown their way. One definition of perseverance is, "To persist steadfastly in pursuit of an undertaking, task, journey, or mission, in spite of distraction, difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement" ( I like the person I might become if this definition of perseverance could be applied to me.

Distraction comes in many forms, often in the forms of pleasures that are easier, and offer comfort today. Difficulty will manifest itself in many forms, from skills that you may be currently underdeveloped to life problems that present themselves in many forms. Discouragement is far too common, as those that have sold short in life are often envious of even the attempt of success. Tell someone your desires, dreams, goals, and you likely will get looks and comments of disbelief and commentary on how that isn't possible. Too often it is those that are closest to us who offer the discouraging words. We all have shortcomings and have failed, and those close to us know these characteristics and instances well.

There is no reason you can't become the person you want to be. There are a million reasons you and others can give on why it isn't possible. There is a price to pay to achieve the success we want in life. It will require your time and energy, and you will have to develop the perseverance. If you can become this individual, you will belong to a rare class, accomplishing things others will admire and become someone you can be proud of. If this is in a financial area, great. If it is in another area, just as wonderful. Whatever it is, go out and pay the price necessary to accomplish your goals. "

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Anger Management?

My son said "Mom, I think you need Anger Management". At first I laughed...but as I thought about it, maybe the kid is right! When I'm mad, the heat rushes through my body in an instant, and I feel as though I'm morphing into some kinda wildebeest!!

He even wrote a book titled "Anger Issues"
...and he's talking ish about me in the book so had to buy it!

Suppressing it is even worse because I found myself talking to myself in the car yesterday. It was one of those situations where I didn't want to say anything hurtful to someone in the heat of the moment, but it was something that needed to be addressed. So what did I do? I went to my car and as I was driving let out a long hard SCREAM!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

You know what? It felt good!! REALLY good!! Noone's feelings were hurt, (noONE for that matter) I dealt with the situation when I was able to be civil, lol, I certainly felt better, and as crazy as that might sound to you, it freed me for the rest of my day.

 "What is not ex-pressed is de-pressed" ~ Mark Nepo

I was reminded of the movie, so I watched it again recently...everyone needs a little Guuuzfrahbahhh in their's a couple of my fave scenes...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Card from my son for Valentine's

Yesterday was the Valentine's frenzy. I saw last-minute shoppers raiding the shelves for chocolates, flowers and cute little teddy bears (ahem, yes I was one of them lol) 
Some people argue that this grandiose show of affection should be expressed every day of the year, not only on February 14th. Others are glad for the opportunity to receive gifts and a little boo-lovin! lol
My night met me wrapped up in my 300 count sheets (yeah 3 sheets of 100 count each) recuperating from the Grammy party.Laughing out loud
Regardless of how you spent it, I hope you enjoyed your day!

Valentine's fact: People buy the most flowers on Mother's Day, Valentine's ranks 2nd!
For the origin of Valentine's click here

Do you have a funny Valentine story/ experience? Feel free to leave a comment and share!

At the Grammy Party NYC

Headed to the Grammy party

This year we went to Jay-Z's 40/40 club in NYC to celebrate the Grammys. It wasn't one of my fave Grammy Award shows but congrats to all the nominees and musicians in any event. Since I've been working on my musicianship and I see the other side of the business, I know it takes a lot of hard work to do what they do, so I applaud them.

Once inside the par-tay, we headed for our Grammy tattoos and drinks! Hey, gotta get the party started right!
With my cousins at the party

I'm not quite loving this look but it works on Riri*

Gaga, who's usually one of my faves, disappointed with her re-enactment of "Vogue" meets "Express Yourself", and I wasn't feeling the egg from which she hatched.
One award show she was meat, this year an egg, next year I'm guessing she'll be pancakes or a side of bacon!*

uhm...Nicki I love you...but...sideways glance* 

I LUVVVVVV this dress!!!! *

My fave performances were by the man himself, Mick Jagger (I felt the energy through the screen), Eminem, Rihanna and Cee-Lo (who had me with the muppets!)

Kudos to all the winners!  

We were almost eaten by a lady rushing for the sliders (mini-burgers) but overall we had a really fun night!

For 15 things you didn't see on TV and more outrageous outfits at the Grammy's here.
*images, not personal commentary, courtesy US Weekly

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Charlie Brown (R.I.P.)

Charlie Brown

Today would've been my friend Charlie's birthday. I called him Charlie Brown. He was such a fun guy. Cool, friendly, crazy, funny sense of humor...just a really great person. Almost 2 years ago he passed away...almost 2 years already.
Charlie was like an older brother to me. We would talk and joke around all the time. He wasn't afraid to be himself and I admired that because for most of my life I had been a people pleaser. He once told me "Mandyville (his nickname for me) damned if you do, and damned if you don't, so just be you" and that has stuck with me ever since.
He's left behind a wonderful family and friends who miss him dearly....not to mention a ton of funny sayings and great one-liners to use! lol

 Charlie with his beautiful daughter Sherayne
Charlie and fam

Here he is with my son at the West Indian Parade in East Orange, NJ 
Yes that's paint on

Charlie Brown we luv and miss you ...R.I.P.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"...being kind to ourselves..."

"...being kind to ourselves is a pre-requisite to being kind to others." ~ Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening).

Yesterday I went for my pamper appointment with The Massage Mogul, Rob of Just1Touch.
Ladies, I'm telling you, he is the one! Women line up at his door...literally! I met a group of friends yesterday who was vying for the #1 spot in his life (I'm not worried though...I know I hold that spot already Nyah-Nyah )

The prelude to being "touched" by the massage mogul

We forget to treat ourselves sometimes. We take care of our children, sometimes our parents or siblings, or even our friends, and we forget the people who need it most: OURSELVES!! 
It's like the analogy about being on an airplane, they always tell you to put on your own oxygen mask (God forbid you need it) before you help your child or anyone else, because to be of any use to someone else, you have to be of use to yourself.
There've been times when I've been beyond frazzled: snapping at the slightest thing, completely on edge, because I was stressed out. At one point in my life I didn't even realize just how stressed out I really was. I internalized everything and soon enough it took a toll on my body. Besides being a major crank and irritable majority of the time, I had chest pains and even started losing my hair! Yes, stress can cause loads of issues and when a trip to the doctor proved it was only stress, I realized I really needed to take better care of myself.

Inviting isn't it?

It doesn't take much either, just a willingness to want to be a better you. And trust me, I know it's difficult with families, full schedules and anything else you could think of, but honestly we find the time to do the things we really want to do. 
So promise yourself this very moment that you'll be kinder to yourself. Relax a little, laugh till your sides hurt, read that juicy book, have that glass of wine, forget your routine once in a while, be pampered and love yourself...totally!

Me after the massage....when I found my chi  

Ladies, ask for Will for Foot Reflexology and Fellas don't feel left out, Shakira* is on staff to do your massages.
*not the Columbian singer although this Shakira's hips probably don't lie either. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Riri, Nicki and J'Nell

I picked up Rihanna's new album "Loud" and Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday". I was a little surprised that there was no parental advisory warning on Riri's album but I listened to it alone juuuuuuuuuust in case. The very 1st song is "S&M"; very rock n'roll/ pop but uhm have you seen the video?? yeeeeeeeeeeahhhh uhm...Well let's just say Riri pushed the envelope on that one; it's already been banned in 11 countries...need I say more?

Besides the popular "What's my name?" and "Only Girl (In the World)", I like quite a few of the others...
"Man Down"
and "Cheers (Drink to that)" gets me started on my

Then there's my fellow Trini, Onika Maraj, a.k.a. Nicki Minaj. I haven't been able to listen to Nicki Minaj's much; the content is pretty heavy and it's one of those albums I'd have to listen to again but so far I like "Fly" and "Save Me".

And speaking of music/videos, my cousin J'Nell is a young hot videographer based in Brooklyn. She's recorded some of my performances (if you check out her website there's footage of Omarion, DJ Spynfo and Gwen Stefani to name a few) and she recently landed TV and Radio personality Egypt as a client). She covers parties, weddings, promotional purposes etc....for more on her work and contact info, please click here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Football Fever !

This past Sunday was nationwide madness as millions tuned in to watch the Superbowl!  "Super Bowl XLV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, became the most-watched American television program in history, drawing an average audience of 111 million viewers" (wikipedia). I think it was reportedly watched in 175 countries?...crazy!

Anyway I'd be lying if I said I was into football. I like the Patriots because Tom Brady is cute -- although I'm not feeling his new Robbie Ray/ Hannah Montana's dad hairdo (and yes that's how I choose the team du jour - level of cuteness) for the Steelers, my son told me to (one of his fave teams)...but that doesn't mean I'm not getting into the sport.
It's exciting! The adrenaline in that stadium on Sunday was palpable as we watched the game at home!

And of course the much-anticipated perfomances and commercials.
This year Christina Aguilera sang "The Star Spangled Banner" and messed up the words...listen, it must be nerve-wrecking to be up there singing THAT song in front of millions!!! Christina, you held your own, you didn't run off crying or pee yourself (which I have to remind myself not to do) so you get a pass from me.

I must say though, that noone has been able to top Whitney Houston's version...whether they say it was pre-recorded or not...

My 2nd fave performance of the National Anthem would be Ms Beyonce...

My fave commercial this year was Eminem's Brisk. I usually root for the E-trade babies and there were some other funnies as well but I really like Eminem's little angry

Superbowl facts: "Advertisers pay as much as $3 million for a thirty-second spot". It is also the 2nd biggest food-consumption day in the US...2nd to Thanksgiving (wikipedia)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Times...

Heading out to celebrate one of my besties' birthdays

At Patria Lounge with Ana (birthday girl) and Johanna (the other bestie)

I totally blame the sangria !

Raspberry Almond Cheesecake...
...flavor created by yours truly for Cakes Galore by Sheila!

mmm mmm mmm BUSTED...
...Diamond scraping the remnants of cheesecake off that knife

Lo Mein styled cupcakes...yes CUPCAKES people!
I know, I know, take a minute to wrap your head around it...all edible confectionery!

mmmm cupcakes...sharing one with my little buddy Hannah

Cupcake? What cupcake?

See? This is why you don't give kids sugar!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"One need not lose hope"

I follow Jane Fonda's blog and her recent post was interesting to me. It's about her meeting Stephen Hawking.
I had no idea who he was but when Jane mentioned that he is a "great physicist" despite the fact that he's "had ALS for 50 years" that peaked my interest.
Matter of fact, I didn't even know what ALS was ("Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord").
Stephen Hawking has written a book, several scientific papers etc and his story is really touching. After reading this, you will re-think the word "can't"...and according to Stephen "one need not lose hope".

Read about Jane's meeting with him:

And click here to read more on Stephen Hawking and how he found out he had ALS.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

When life throws you snow...

...chill beer!

This winter has been brutal! The blizzards, the icy rain, the lack of while I shovel snow and scrape ice off my car, I might as well enjoy a cold one!
I heard that stupid groundhog didn't see his shadow...SO looking forward to Spring!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Just to share...

...found some pics and thought I'd share with you...

Was feeling this lipstick...luv MAC !

Why we can't be left alone with a

Cherry cheesecake from Cakes Galore by Sheila...mmmmm

^^ I think Marilyn (Monroe) was on to something Winking smile