Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Can We Talk about Empire?
What happens when you mix a sassy ex-con, a pompadour wearing CEO, 3 fine sons, a bib, and a banging soundtrack?  You get Empire, Fox's newest primetime drama.  After one episode, I was hooked.  After an increase in viewership with the second episode, Empire has already been renewed for a second season.

In case you missed it,  Empire is about Luscious (played by the talented Terrence Howard), rap star and CEO of Empire Entertainment, who finds out he has ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) and has 3 years to live.  Since he is dying he has to figure out who between his 3 sons will take over the family business.  The three sons consist of Andre, Jamal, and Hakeem.  Andre (Trai Byers) is the oldest and the more business focused one so of course he wants to be the new CEO.  Jamal (Jussie Smollett), the middle son, is sentimental and musically gifted.  He is also gay.  Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) is the youngest son, up and coming rapper, and  the resident bad boy.
But the real star of the show is the most fearless former drug dealer you ever met, Cookie played by the beautiful Taraji P. Henson.  Cookie goes to jail for 17 years for dealing drugs and is back to get what she's owed.  She owed because it was her drug money that started Empire Entertainment.  And Cookie has no shame in busting into business meetings to get what is her's.  However, not only does she realize that it's going to be harder to get her half of Empire but she comes to the hard realization that Luscious has moved on to some basic chick with a bad haircut from 2003.  Let's this be a lesson ladies: These dudes ain't loyal.

Through flashbacks we find that Luscious isn't too keen on Jamal being gay.  Like, he literally tried to throw him in the trashcan when was a kid.  He refers to Jamal's boyfriend as his roommate and refuses to allow him to come out the closet to the public or else Jamal will lose all financial support from his dad.  Another lesson: have your own and you can do whatever you want.  But who Jamal is sleeping with should be the least of Luscious' problems.  Andre is bipolar and will stop it nothing to be the next head of Empire.  Even causing tension between his brothers who are both about to drop albums.  Hakeem is a spoiled brat who needs the back of a hand to his face.  Well, he did get a broom to the head when he called Cookie out of her name but unfortunately it didn't do much.

The singing in the show is pretty good.  According to Taraji, all the actors do their own singing and rapping.  You could say it's the ratchet Glee.    There are also some corny moments like when Luscious was "on the phone" with President Obama cleaning up his youngest son's mess.  I don't think even Jay-Z has Obama on speed dial.  But even with that very unbelievable moment, the show keeps me wanting more.

To get you up to speed for tonight episode, here what you need to know:

  • Cookie's has signed an agreement that she will not let anyone know that her drug money started the company
  • Luscious kills his closest friend because he was about to snitch about the Luscious' thug past
  • Andre and his girlfriend are working together to get his brothers to sabotage each other
  • Cookie is signed to be Jamaal's manager
  • Hakeem has no self control and is self destructive
  • Cookie's assistant, Porsha, can't walk in heels
  • And Cookie is being pressured by federal agents to talk to a grand jury about some pass events which could possibly get her killed
Hope that helps and be sure to tune in tonight on Fox to watch the newest episode.

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Theme: Perseverance

I know we are 19 days into the New Year but I feel compelled to let my readers know about my excitement/plans for the upcoming year.  I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions; instead, I will have a theme: Perseverance.  

Perseverance is defined as a steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.  In other words, continuing to pursue your goals even when life is kicking you in the face.  I will be the first to say that being an adult is nowhere near as fun as I thought it would be.  I would give my right arm to go back to college being an RA and my sole responsibility being to get to my 8:00 class on time.  However, until time travel is invented I’m stuck being a bill-paying, traffic fighting, student loan loathing adult.

But being an adult is not all bad.  Being able to choose your path in life and how you get there is exciting.   While on that path life is going to throw you curve balls, so perseverance is a necessity.   A necessity I’m going to need on my major venture in 2015.

Some weeks ago, I told you all that I was taking a break from blogging to work on another business venture.  I’m finally ready to let you all in on the news.  Starting late January, early February I will be bringing you my beauty product line.  It will offer body butters and body scrubs.  I have the most sensitive skin this side of the Mason-Dixie line.  As a teenager, I was close friends with acne and eczema so I had to be careful with the products that I used.  Thanks to the powers of Pinterest, I discovered coconut oil and all its many uses.   After dibble and dabbling with some recipes, I have come up with products that you and your skin will enjoy.  Stay tuned for more details.

And you better believe that I will get back to blogging.   I know that I have missed out on a lot of juicy pop culture events but I look forward to getting back to basics to the craziness that makes up our pop culture.  I will admit that it will be challenging considering that I work full time and starting a side business plus other responsibilities but hey, that’s what perseverance is for

I didn’t get a chance to say this in 2014 but I want to thank all my readers from the bottom of my heart that read each post, share it, or retweet it.  It means a lot that you all tune it to each post and see what I have to say about the latest antics in our world. I will continue to give you my best.

What’s your theme for 2015? 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What I Learned from my 10 Day (but really 5) Juice Cleanse

Before you jump on me for not doing the full 10 days, hear me out.  I have never stuck with anything health wise as long as I did with my juice cleanse.  For 5 days, I drank vegetable and fruit juice and ate nothing but raw vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.  Even though I had dreams of fried chicken and cornbread soufflĂ© ( a new recipe that I love), I stood my ground and stuck to my cleanse. 

I think my face has slimmed a bit
You may be wondering why I didn’t go the full 10 days. Well, let me explain.  On day 3 I had lost 4 pounds.  I was so excited to see the number going down.  By day 5, another 3 pounds.  I couldn’t believe it.  Then I realized, after the cleanse I was going to have to find a way to retain the weight loss.  So I made a list of all the foods I didn’t eat this past week.  That included:

  • Sodas
  • Fast foods
  • Starches
  • Red meat
  • Snack cakes

I decided that I needed to learn how to eat once off my juice cleanse.  I’m going to keep some elements of the cleanse.  I want to continue a glass of juice for breakfast and have a light lunch with lots of vegetables.  Dinner is still going to be a challenge for me because after work I’m starving and I tend to raid my kitchen like a crazy person.  Hopefully, meal prep and healthy snacks will help with that.

I also learned to control my portions and when to push the plate away.  It was great not having this “about to burst” feeling in my stomach.  I slept great at night knowing I had only eaten good food instead of having guilt from eating a lot of stuff I knew I didn’t need.  

In conclusion, this juice cleanse helped me to see the importance of eating right.  It’s going to be work but I’m will to change my eating habits to continue to see the number on the scale going down.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Juicing: Day 1 and Day 2

If you read my previous post, you know that I am on a juice cleanse and I’m taking you on my journey. 

Day 1 was not too bad.  Drinking a juice for breakfast wasn’t too hard for me considering I don’t have much of an appetite in the morning anyways.  Lunch was a different story.  There are great places to eat within minutes of my job so it was hard passing them up for a spinach salad and grapes.  But I’m proud to say that I resented temptation and stuck to my cleanse.   I had slight of a headache but it subsided by the time I had my final juice of the day.

My lunch
Day 2 was little better.  I had a blueberry mint juice.  It was a bit tart so I made this weird face every time I took a sip.  What was more difficult today was dinner.  The way to end a stressful day is a delicious meal.  Well, since I couldn’t sink my teeth in a juicy piece of fried chicken, I switched up my dinner juice.  Instead of eating a green juice, I had carrot, banana, and apple juice with a handful of almonds.  Not quite fried chicken but it will work. 

Dinner juice!!!
One thing about a juice cleanse is that it will make you think about all of your favorite foods: shrimp fried rice, Chipotle burrito, PB&J sandwich.  I would fight a tiger right now for just a sip of a Diet Coke.  Even though it’s day 2 I’m realizing that it’s going to take a different type of self-discipline to get through the next 8 days.  You know, the type of self-discipline that monks have when they take a vow of silence. 

Thankfully I’m off the next few days so at least I can be cranky and hungry at home.

Stay tuned and be sure to follow me on Instagram (@ebonymariere) for pics and videos of my juice cleanse.  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Juicing: Taking You Along for the Journey

While everyone is making their New Year’s Resolutions for 2015, I’ve decided to get started a little early…2 weeks to be exact.  On Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, juice cleanses are all the rage.  As a nutrition educator, I was skeptical of limiting myself to only one type of food.  As a food connoisseur, eating an all liquid diet didn’t excite me. 
Getting ready to make some juice
Let me just put it out there, I LOVE food.  By lunch time, I’m already thinking about what I’m going to cook for dinner.  It’s nothing for me to rummage through Pinterest for hours looking for new recipes.  I have numerous screen shots in my phone of recipes I find on Facebook.  The fat kid inside me gets excited about restaurant openings.  If there already wasn’t so many, I probably would have become a food blogger.

My last meal before the cleanse
Unfortunately, my love of food is also why I have gained more weight than I would like in the last couple of years.  At the beginning of 2014, my goal was to get out of the 200lb mark.  I work out and I do my best to eat right.  But sometimes McNuggets just be calling my name.  Sad to say, it’s the end of 2014 and I have yet to accomplish that goal.  Well, drastic times call for drastic measures. 

After talking to a couple of friends, I have decided to start a modified juice cleanse.  For me this will mean a juice in the morning, a light lunch, and juice for dinner.  I will also include snacks like raw vegetables, fruits, and boiled eggs and almonds for protein.  This isn’t a true cleanse.  A true cleanse would be a juice for all three meals, however, I ain’t bout that life.  It puts my mind at ease knowing that my body will still be getting a variety of nutrients from different sources. 

First 2 juices for Monday

Chicken for my light lunch

 I’m already nervous thinking about the hunger pains and headaches.  But like anything else, you can only take it a day at a time. My goal is to do this for 10 days.  Yes, 10 days.   In order to keep me on my toes, I will try to keep you all updated daily about my cleanse either here on my blog or on my Instagram account (@ebonymariere).  Be sure to follow to stay up-to-date with how I’m doing. 

 Have you ever done a juice cleanse?  How did you do? 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sorority Sisters: A Review of the Criticism

Hey everybody!!! I am glad to be back for a minute to discuss the craziness going on in pop culture.  If you were on Twitter or Facebook on Monday night, you probably saw a lot conversations surrounding Sorority Sisters.  Sorority Sisters is a VH1 reality show following 9 women from each of the 4 historical black sororities.  Needless to say, Black Greek members and others in the black community were none too happy about the premiere of this show.

Let me go on the record by saying that I'm not a fan of the Mona Scott Young franchise.  Mostly because her shows bore me.  Every show (Love & Hip Hop ATL, Love & HIp Hop New York, Love & Hip Hop Hollyood) is about wannabes clubbing and fighting.  Ain't nobody got time for that. But when I heard she was going to do a show about sororities, I was like "Wow.  Mona Scott Young will stop it nothing to get these coins."  So yea, I already knew that I was going to watch the first episode at the very least.

The only review I have of this show is that if I had it on mute I couldn't tell the difference between this or Love & Hip Hop or Basketball Wives.  Same weaves, same over contouring make-up,  same Forever 21 outfits, same leopard pumps : the formula for showcasing basic chicks.  Honestly, I'm not sure I'm interested enough to tune in next week.

However, what I'm more interested in is the criticism the show is receiving.  Black Greek life can be a very touchy subject.  Mostly, Black Greeks don't like non-Greeks discussing it unless you are praising their organizations.  Don't discuss the at time tragic hazing incidents or the elitist attitudes that some of them  carry.  Just praise them for the good community service work they do.  Okay...

On Twitter, some tried to start a boycott of VH1 and the companies who advertised during the first episode of Sorority Sisters.  So I can't get my pasta bowl from Olive Garden because they had a commercial during Sorority Sisters?? Or I can't rock comfy Fruit of the Loom underwear because you mad that VH1 put your sorority on front street? Don't blame Fruit of the Loom cause your sister showed up to the auditions.  Not one gun was put to the head of these women to join the show.  The producers are not holding them hostage to show out in front of the cameras.  All 9 of them, willingly, chose to participate in this show.  It sounds like you need to be finding them on Facebook and giving them a stern, but respectful, DM and leave me to my never-ending pasta bowl.  

My face when people want me to boycott food and underwear
Another part of this criticism that is confusing to me is how people are acting like Black Greek Life is too sacred to be  showcased in this format.  Last year, I wrote a piece on my disgust of how Preachers of L.A. was turning Christianity into a cheap spectacle that was misleading people about what the Bible really teaches.  Even though I heard a few objections to the aforementioned show, it was nowhere near the belly aching I have heard about Sorority Sisters.  Am I to believe that people are more upset about their organization being embarrassed than at Oxygen for mocking God whom they claim to owe their life to?

I don't believe that some Black Greeks are mad that they are being exploited.  I believe they are more upset that they are being knocked off that high pedestal they have put themselves on for so long.  As I mention earlier, Black Greeks don't like you talking about them unless you are praising them.  This makes them feel special, like they are a special breed.  However, this show is doing every thing but praising them.  So now we are seeing that they can be just a loud and brash as the rest of us. Fancy that...

As a blogger and someone who will be starting another business soon, I get wanting to protect your brand or reputation.  I also understand that these organizaton have years of history of sisterhood and service.  But I have a feeling that this particular situation is more about keeping up appearances than brand protection.  

What were your thoughts about the first episode of Sorority Sisters?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to Get Away with Murder: My Theories

Six weeks ago, we were introduced to TV's most addicting murder mystery.  How to Get Away with Murder(HTGAWM) has had me glued to my couch every Thursday.  It's also probably the only time my phone is not in my hand.  If you have ever seen this show you know that it needs your ENTIRE attention.

This Thursday we will find out who killed Sam Keating (and hopefully find out who killed Lila Stanguard).  Every week HTGAWM has flashbacks to the students trying to get rid of Sam's body.  We have been given little clues along the way as to how they got there.  Before tomorrow's episode, I would like to pitch a few of my own theories of #WhoKilledSam and #WhoKilledLila:

Rebecca killed Sam: Last week, Rebecca admitted to killing Sam.  However, I believe this solution is too obvious.  But for the sake of this post, I will entertain it.  Rebecca knows that Lila was having an affair with Sam.  If you recall, we found out the last 10 minutes of last week's episode
that Lila was pregnant when she was killed.  Rebecca finds out about the pregnancy and confronts Sam because as we know Rebecca has a mouth piece on her that she doesn't know how to control.  Sam becomes enraged and tries to kill Rebecca.  Rebecca wasn't going so she grabs the statue and kills him.

Wes Killed Sam: I'm willing to put money on this theory.  From the start, Wes has been the ultimate underdog.  Lost his mother to suicide at 11 years of age, went to a junior college, and was wait-listed for law school.  Wes also has this need to be Captain Save-A-Jezebel.  So when he sees Sam trying to kill Rebecca (killing her for confronting him), Wes comes to the rescue and kills Sam with the statue.

Sam killed Lila: This too is obvious.  Sam killed Lila because she was going to snitch to Annalise about the affair and also she was pregnant.

Bonnie killed Lila: I know this is a stretch because we really don't know Bonnie's angle but bear with me.  At first, I thought she had something for Sam.  Then I thought she had something for Annalise.  On the other hand, she got her panties all in the bunch with Laurel when she sensed her and Frank were getting naughty. Then out of no where we see her in bed with Asher so yea I haven't cracked her yet.  With that said, I believe she killed Lila to protect Sam and Annalise (maybe she has a thing for the both of them; I mean, she is always at that house).  Bonnie possibley overheard Sam on the phone with Lila discussing her unwanted pregnancy and took it upon herself to take care of it; killing Lila that is.

Questions I still haven't been able to answer:

  • How did the other students get involved with getting rid of Sam's body?
  • Why is Bonnie sleeping with Asher of all people?
  • How did Asher loose possession of the statue?
  • Why doesn't Annalise just wear her real hair rather than those homemade wig units?
I can't wait for this upcoming episode.  I'm so ready for my questions to be answered.  What are your #WhoKilledSam theories?

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