Amoeba Music

Amoeba Music

I finally went to Amoeba music after wanting to go for months. I originally posted this in May of 2019, now just over a year later this location has been shut down. It’s so disappointing that the asshole in charge doesn’t care about small businesses whatsoever. I recall an outlandish statement he made at the beginning of this quarantine, he (I don’t even want to give 45 the decency of calling him a “he”, rather than an “it”) said that places will open back up, but they might be owned by someone else. How disgusting… these people have built their businesses from the ground up, even went into debt, and were forced to shut down due to YOUR bullshit. Easily one of the most elitist and pretentious comments I’ve heard (and that says a LOT)! Yes, I know they simply moved locations, but the Sunset Boulevard store was so iconic and really meant so much to people who have spent their whole lives in LA or even music heads who stopped by while in town. Read below about my (what would technically be my last) experience going to Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard! 

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Yes, I know I’m late to the party but I’m glad I finally went! Amoeba Music is a record store located on Sunset Boulevard. There are many other Amoeba locations around California, but the original location opened up in 1990, on Telegraph Avenue up in Berkeley, California. I happened to go on “Star Wars” Day, so all of the Star Wars items were on sale! I got myself a poster of the Japanese release of A New Hope (*update, this is currently hanging in my apartment!), and for my brothers birthday I got him an ASAP Rocky candle (like a spoof of those tacky Jesus candles), and a box set collectors item of The Big Lebowski (because I am THE best sister).

There is SUCH an extensive collection of vintage music, movies, posters, and art from all different genres and decades. I wasn’t even sure where to begin! It was also quite nostalgic to be in there because I remember actually buying CD’s to put in my boombox and disc-man. My mom also felt nostalgic when she saw 8-track records and Vinyl’s that my grandma used to play around the house. I was able to find a few cool items, but I felt as though there was so much to discover. Though this iconic location has permanently closed it’s doors, I’m excited to check out the new spot on Hollywood Boulevard, opening in Fall 2020! 

Representation Matters

Representation Matters

As a young black girl growing up in a predominately white neighborhood, it was very easy to lose your sense of self. Luckily my parents instilled in me what it meant to be black and how being “different” is nothing to be ashamed of.

Of course, the older you get, you begin to look for validation from the outside world. I would often come home and turn on the television at the end of the day just to be able to see personalities like my own, seeing as everyone else around me looked and acted a certain way. I knew I would find comfort once I tuned into my favorite shows, because they were just like me! 

Here is a list of the most influential female Black television characters that shaped who I am today!

Susie Carmichael (The Rugrats) – The Rugrats was an amazing show, I still watch it to this day. But once Susie Carmichael was introduced was opened up to a more diverse audience. As a young girl I had no idea why I related to Susie more than the other characters, but as I got older I realized it was because she was exactly like me! Susie was a sassy little girl – but not in the way Angelica was. Most importantly Susie was smart, which was something that had not been seen in black cartoon characters.

Numbuh 5 (Codename Kids Next Door) – Abigail Lincoln, better known as “Numbuh 5” was someone who I related to around the time I was in the fifth grade. Though Numbuh 1 was the “official” leader of the squad, the team would be nothing without Numbuh 5’s smart, responsible, and laid-back style of leadership.

Raven Baxter (That’s So Raven) – The Baxter family was very similar to my own family. A close-knit black family who can talk to each other about anything. Raven and her hi-jinks always made me feel like it was OK to be quirky and loud, as long as I wasn’t hurting anyone… or in Raven’s case, hurting myself!

Denise Huxtable (The Cosby Show) – Before the recent scandal, I would often watch re-runs of The Cosby Show on Nick-at-Nite. It was always great seeing a black family who did not fall into the stereotypes that most TV writers put them into, Denise being the most individualistic of all the Cosby Kids. She was always eloquent and “woke” before we even knew what woke was, and we all admired her for it.

Princess Tiana (Disney’s Princess and the Frog) – Though it took forever and a day for us to get our own princess, it was worth the wait! Princess Tiana is a hardworking woman, which had not been seen in any other Disney princess movie. She was determined to open her restaurant and stick to her morals which is always key.

Issa Dee (Insecure) – Issa from Insecure is both someone to look up to and someone to learn from. We see the realistic life of a black woman figuring herself out and sticking up for herself in situations. I’m sure many other young black twenty to thirty something year old women get excited to see what situation Issa will get into next.

Bonnie Carlson (Big Little Lies) – Bonnie did not exactly stick out to me when I read the book, but once I watched the series she stole the show! I already am a huge fan of Zoe Kravitz, so it wasn’t too hard for me to get on board with Bonnie. I was most impressed by her level-headed decision-making skills and the way she supports other women in the series. Her role of “peacemaker” between her new husband and his ex-wife is also something to take note of.

Jodie Landon (Daria) – I recently started watching Daria on Hulu (seeing as I was around 6 years old when the show ended). Jodie is the perfect representation of how I was feeling toward the end of my time in High School. I was so tired of just being “the black girl”. Plenty of teachers would confuse me with other black girls who looked nothing close to what I looked like… yikes! Jodie was fed up with her classmates seeing her as just another token black girl, and honestly, I can’t blame her.

Ayesha Curry’s Cook Book “The Full Plate”

Ayesha Curry’s Cook Book “The Full Plate”

If you’re like me, you’ve ran out of things to cook and are tired of eating the same shit over and over again. I am also a weakling and am allergic to all things dairy and tree nut related, so that doesn’t give me many options (thanks immune system)…

So once I saw Ayesha Curry announce she was releasing a cook book I preordered that sucker back in June! And boy am I glad I did!!! The title of her cook book is “The Full Plate” because as a mom of three and wife to superstar NBA player Steph Curry, she doesn’t have much time to cook elaborate meals. I don’t have any kids nor am I married, but I am something even better, a lazy single 25 year old woman!

For starters, I was thrilled to see all of the different drink recipes in the book. I typically stick to my cranberry and vodka or my prosecco, but I think the quarantine is a good excuse for me to test out my bartending skills. I’m most excited to try out the “Dirty Flower”, which consists of bourbon, creme de violette, lemon juice, and cherry syrup. As well as the “Jamaican Mama”, which has rum, cognac, orange juice, lime juice, grenadine, with aromatic bitters and cinnamon for extra flavor. I also can’t wait to try out different meals such as citrus glazed salmon, grilled corn salad, tomato & tomatillo soup, and lamb loins with a side of sweet potato mash. YUUUUMMMM! If you’re looking for some quick, yet flavorful meals… go out and buy The Full Plate now!

Stepping Out of your Comfort Zone

Stepping Out of your Comfort Zone

Being stuck is played out. Nowadays there are too many different avenues and opportunities, and too few excuses as to why you should be stuck in your comfort zone. This doesn’t mean you should go out and go viral or start a singing career, but it does mean that if you don’t like certain aspects of your life there’s nothing stopping you from changing it. I know some people are perfectly fine not ever taking a leap of faith in life, but honestly how else are you supposed to grow? If you’ve always wanted to lose weight, dye your hair some crazy color, or even move to another part of the world… stop being comfortable and get uncomfortable. Instead of sitting and wondering what your life COULD be like, go out and try it out!

I’m sure many people can relate when I say the town I grew up in is NOT where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. It was a beautiful neighborhood, but the people made it feel like it might as well just be another shit hole. Despite their entitled attitudes, the level of comfort with their mundane lives never sat right with me. I can’t imagine knowing exactly how my life is going to play out from the moment I could speak. Most of their lives are all planned out by the time they are 10 years old. They’re going to attend private school, get into a great college, work for their parents company, and marry someone they’ve known their entire life. They end up growing up in the same town that their great great grandparents lived in, wanting nothing more but to spend their trust fund money. How fucking boring?! I could never imagine going through my entire life without any sort of struggles, yeah some days it sucks but it builds character. Which is why most of them are more boring than a mayonnaise sandwich.

When my family and I moved out here after I graduated high school, I couldn’t have been more excited to reinvent myself. I felt like Madonna in the 80’s, and the 90’s, and the 2000’s, and th- … okay I think you get the point here! I always knew I wanted to move to California, but I figured the only way it would happen was if I got a job opportunity out here. So when the opportunity arose, I accepted it and figured the rest out later. Once I made this decision, a sense of relief immediately came over my body. I would never have to wear a forced dress code again, and I would never have to worry what those people thought of me either because I was moving across the goddamn country! I was set to go to the University of Delaware in the fall of 2013, but I took a leap of faith and decided to stay with my family in California instead. Luckily it all turned out well. But if I wouldn’t have stepped out of my comfort zone, I never would have found out either.

I have grown so much since then too. I still have a lot to learn and many milestones to cover, but I love who I have become! My Birth of Venus tattoo actually symbolizes this, because it was as if I was reborn into a whole new woman. I feel like once I took a chance on myself and did what made me happy and not what everyone told me would make me happy, I started to figure out who I really was. If I would have stayed in my home town, I’d have no choice but to follow a path similar to those around me. Because where I grew up, there weren’t many opportunities to truly do what I wanted to do with my life. And truthfully, I would’ve been miserable. I’m sure I would have yearned for a different life and thinking what “could have been”. Who the fuck wants to live like that?

Even when starting this blog, I used to think that nobody wanted to hear what I had to say, nor did they care. Turns out, I was wrong! I’m pretty cynical when it comes to social media and people posting their opinions, because most of the opinions I see are pretty useless. I’m sure there’s someone out there that thinks that about my posts, but I don’t give a shit. Because it makes me feel good, as well as many others! But once again, if I would have sat around everyday thinking about it rather than doing it, I never would have known. Though it could be scary to try new things, especially if they’re a bit drastic, I promise you you’ll be happier once you finally step outsize of that cozy little space you call your comfort zone.

Being Selfish vs. Selfless

Being Selfish vs. Selfless

People today are extremely selfish. I feel as though society has forgotten about morals and the golden rule “treat others how you want to be treated”. The world we live in today, encourages people to only think about themselves. It’s always “me” first, then “you” later… or sometimes never. It’s never going to change if people aren’t corrected on it either. The ironic part, is that the most selfish people think that THEY are the victims! Whereas selfless people, like myself, are the ones who are truly suffering. Dealing with selfish people can be draining, especially when you communicate this with them, and they play the victim card… once again making the issue about them. I don’t know if it’s a generational characteristic, or somewhat of a survival mode tactic. But people need to realize when they’re being selFISH rather than selfLESS.

I’ve had plenty of friends and family come in and out of my life. One thing about me, I do NOT fuck with selfish people. I have no tolerance for it. If I notice these characteristics in a person, I will almost immediately call them out. And if they don’t like what they hear… that’s too bad. There is too much bullshit going on in the world to have to deal with someone ELSE’S problem. Especially if it’s someone who doesn’t add much value to my life.

For instance, I was friends with a girl who would constantly use her anxiety as a crutch. Now, I deal with issues of anxiety and bouts of depression myself so I will never discredit what someone else is going through. However it’s somewhat negligent and distasteful to constantly use anxiety to excuse your bad behavior. This girl would get wasted at gatherings and act like an asshole every time. Then when I would tell her about how she embarrassed herself the next day, she would blame it on her anxiety. Let’s break this down… if someone’s anxiety meds are truly the source of the issue (and they realize this), they should take the proper precautions to avoid these side effects. I don’t take medicine myself, but if running around screaming and acting like a cat is a side effect of mixing anxiety medications and ONE sip of a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, you probably shouldn’t be drinking at all. This same girl would constantly drain the energy from the room, when the attention wasn’t on her. If the group was talking about a music group or a situation that she couldn’t relate to, she would sit there, fold her arms, and sigh until somebody paid attention. Nevertheless, I was still always there for her when she needed me, because I’m often willing to look past people’s flaws.

When she started her new position at work, I would always go to her desk to check how things were going. Our hours were pretty different, so being a good friend, I would always go visit her for about an hour because I knew she was struggling. I don’t know shit about editing, but if she wasn’t understanding I would even try to understand it myself, to see if I could help in anyway. However… once I started MY position, I didn’t get that same energy. I was completely inundated with work and information. Though I do have a general knowledge of how TV and entertainment works, coming from the receptionist desk and going to work as a development coordinator is no easy feat. There was a week that I was training a new guy and still trying to catch up on work and learn things myself. I also had the worst breakout in my entire life, while skin might be something trivial, it’s something I’ve been struggling with for decades now. So I was really having a pretty shitty week and wasn’t really in the mood to discuss the minor issues she had going on, causing me not to answer every text of hers. We ended up going to the same party that weekend, and before I could even get settled, she runs up to me to ask if I was mad at her. I explained to her that I wasn’t mad at all, I just had a hard week and needed some space. Throughout the evening, she did her sighs and pouts. So I got up and began to mingle with the other people at the party because I needed to have fun after a fucking dumpster fire of a week. A few days later, I found out that she went around telling people at the party that I was mad at her… when I ALREADY told her I wasn’t! I was furious, and a few days later I expressed how frustrated I was and how unfair I felt this friendship had become. Of course she played the victim, a few months later I had even attempted to reach out again. We had the same friends so it would’ve made everyones lives easier. But alas. People who are selfish are never able to realize their actions are harmful to others.

Sure we can all be a bit selfish, nobody is running around here like the fucking Von Trapp family. But when it comes to the point that you are losing people around you and draining people’s energy, you need to reflect on what caused people to do so. I was told recently that I have a “wall” up. But the reason I have said wall up, is because I gave that person too many chances to change their behavior, only for them to keep doing the same things over and over again. I realize I can’t necessarily change these people, but I can remove them from my life. Sometimes I do find myself isolated, because selfishness is so rampant among people. But I’d much rather have a small group of likeminded friends, than a bunch of draining energy sucking people around me.

Leo & Lily

LEO & LILY

One of the best spots to eat in my neighborhood is Leo & Lily! (Check out their menu here!) Their website describes the food as “hearty, healthy, and affordable”, and it’s exactly that! This quaint little eatery is located right off of Ventura Boulevard and is impossible to miss. The owners Morr and Guy are always very warm and friendly, which is important when visiting a restaurant! Leo & Lily is open from 7:30 am to 3 pm during the week and 8 am to 4 pm on the weekends. If you haven’t been to Leo & Lily yet I’m sure you know someone who has! 

Everything on the menu is fresh and delicious but of course I do have my go-to items. I looooove their avocado toast. It’s made with your choice of egg, sourdough bread, a side of Israeli salad, and of course, avocado! Depending on how hungry I am I might order a side of their delicious roasted potatoes too. And the best part is… they serve breakfast all day!!!

When I’m in the mood to get something different for lunch I’ll order the Roasted Marinated Chicken Breast sandwich without the Cheese and Pesto. As someone with pretty severe allergies, it’s always hard to find restaurants that have good food that doesn’t include either nuts or cheese. Luckily nothing here is pre-made so the adjustments are easy and always appreciated! 

Now I haven’t even gotten to the best part….. there are bottomless mimosas on the weekends… I REPEAT… BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS! Not only are there mimosas but there are different flavors, I absolutely love their Raspberry mimosa (maybe a little too much!)

If you weren’t already sold on this restaurant I hope you are now. If you ever happen to be in Woodland Hills, grab a bite to eat at Leo & Lily! 

How Drag Inspires Me

How Drag Inspires Me

A few years back I was flipping through channels looking for something to watch, and I landed on something called Rupaul’s Drag Race. Being born in the nineties I had already heard of Rupaul because of many appearances on different TV programs and famous song “Supermodel (You Better Work)”, but I thought to myself “why the hell is Rupaul racing cars?

Once I tuned in I was obsessed! Not just because of the fashion and drama, (which is always on point let me add!), but because of what drag meant to them. On the show, we get to hear many stories about the struggles they endure in their personal lives. Many of the queens discuss how they have been shunned from their families because of their sexuality and “lifestyle choices”, which is upsetting. And SO fucking played out… we’re in 2020 people GET THE FUCK OVER IT. The silver lining though, is that the show is a great platform to boost both their confidence within themselves, and gives them the opportunity to create a new and accepting family dynamic. I feel like if people actually took time to watch the show, it would really open their eyes up to other people’s experiences. 

I am a straight black woman with a pretty great family dynamic, so on the surface I’m sure it seems as though I can’t relate to a drag queen in any way. However, what I can relate to, is how important for people to have a foundation. Whether it be a close relationship with your family, or friends that you consider your family, it’s important to surround yourself with people who love and support you. My mom has always taught me how important it is to embrace people and how many actually WISH they had a positive family dynamic. And until I learned more about peoples experiences, I thought everyone grew up just as I did. Of course I’m a supporter of the LGBTQ community. I don’t care who somebody else wants to be with, as long as it makes them happy. For some reason, I really became drawn to Drag Queens. I LOVE the extra-ness! I love all things glitter and campy, but what I really love is that these gay men are expressing themselves in their own personal way. Their personas are truly who they are deep down inside. It’s awesome that they’re also able to pursue careers in Drag as well. Now that it’s become more mainstream, some queens are really raking in the big bucks! So, after watching dozens of episodes, I decided to educate myself on the history of drag (as other’s should!).

Queens like Divine, Lady Bunny, Lavern Cummings, and of course Rupaul paved the way for future queens to live for themselves, and not based on what society thinks. Because as Mama Ru always says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” I will always find myself enamored by the art of drag and will always have the utmost respect for these ladies and their talents! In a time where the world is so divided, I wish people would educate themselves on other peoples life experiences. This is the only way we’ll be able to understand and empathize with one another. Though most people love drag queens for the glamour, I love them for their bravery and ability to unapologetically express themselves!

F.R.I.E.N.D.S… The One with the Best Style Moments

F.R.I.E.N.D.S… The One with the Best Style Moments

Despite what Gen Z’ers might think, Friends is a great TV show and a huge staple in pop culture history. Sure some of the themes and commentary are a bit dated now in 2020, but the fashion still holds up.

Rachel was always the most fashionable of the bunch. She was my personal favorite, even though deep down inside I know I’m truly more of a Monica, with a sprinkle of Phoebe.

As a lover of all things 90’s, I think I might even already have some of these outfits in my closet LOL. Take a look below at some of my favorite looks from all ten seasons of Friends!

Being The Awkward Black Girl

Being The Awkward Black Girl

For decades black women have been put into the same few categories; sassy, aggressive or ratchet. Not only are these stereotypes overtly offensive, they don’t even apply to the majority of us. A lot of us black girls are actually pretty quirky, and even a little bit awkward!

I’ve always had interested that were outside of the norm. I am OBSESSED with Star Wars. I’ve seen the original three films countless times, I have a Darth Vader tattoo, my apartment is riddled with all sorts of Star Wars memorabilia, and for my 25th birthday I went to Galaxy’s Edge and got so excited I nearly cried. Actually I got so excited just talking about Star Wars that I put it on while writing this post! I even deeply immersed myself in the worlds of both Harry Potter and Game of Thrones (we won’t talk about that ending though…) Some of the best memories I have from my childhood was spending hours (and thousands of dollars) at the comic book store with my dad and brother. I loved exploring the isles of the store, and learning about all the old comic book characters. I couldn’t wait to bring all my new toys home and spend hours reading and researching each character’s backstory. It felt like I was in my own little world. I am a self proclaimed nerd, and I’m proud of it! But once I got a bit older, I realized that this wasn’t really a common hobby for girls, but ESPECIALLY not for black girls.

Though I enjoyed seeing black characters like Raven Baxter and Penny Proud on TV, they didn’t exactly represent me deep down. Yes they were outspoken and confident individuals, which I can relate to. But I wasn’t interested in being a fashion designer like Raven, and I wasn’t boy crazy like Penny. Of course, I like fashion, music, and boys… but don’t a lot of other girls? Sadly, I eventually stopped going to the comic book store, and going to see super hero movies, because I felt like it wasn’t “cool” or “girly” to be interested in those types of things. I even stopped going on fishing trips and forced myself to start going to the mall, just because I was tired of not fitting in. I was tired of having to explain to people, especially boys, that I was interested in these things without being laughed off. It became exhausting! Like what the fuck, I shouldn’t have to prove what I like to ANYONE. But after a while you get tired of trying to convince people. Just because people “THINK” black women are supposed to be a certain way, doesn’t mean we ALL are. We constantly have to provide facts as to who “we” truly are. Hell yeah I like shaking some ass to City Girls, but that doesn’t mean I can’t quote Star Wars with my eyes closed. Can’t I be both?

Of course, there was a phase in my life where I would party every weekend. But after a while, it felt like I was forcing it. This wasn’t me. I like watching documentaries, going to museums, reading books, and spending hours on the internet learning random facts. Actually, at my job as a receptionist, I got in trouble not for being on my phone, but because when things weren’t busy I would sneak and read my book. I’m not anything like Nicki Minaj, even though some people might look at our characteristics and think differently.

Even when it comes to things like sports. I like to stay active, just like everyone else these days. But I mainly enjoy kickboxing and hiking. I never participated in any of the stereotypically black sports, like track and field. I actually played Lacrosse and Field Hockey, two of the whitest sports in the history of whiteness. And honestly, I wasn’t even good at it. Once I realized this, I figured hey, why not try cheerleading… another sport people assumed I would be good at just because I’m black. Yes, I do naturally have rhythm… not because I’m black, but because I grew up in a musical family. But once you throw a choreographed routine at me, I might as well have two left feet. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed myself, probably because I never took it that seriously. Sorry Coach Jess.

Even when it comes to dating, the stereotype of being a black woman always proceeds me. I am always met with comments about how intimidating I am. It’s confusing because I barely even know how to flirt, and I’m usually pretty shy the first time I meet people. Clearly, that’s just their perception of me taking over. I am confident within myself, and driven to pursue my dreams. However, I never really know what I’m supposed to do with my hands on a date. I’m even very easily flustered when someone flirts with me or just around guys in general. Actually just the other day, I was trying to leave a store and spent about five minutes trying to unlock the door, then the door knob was so hot I kept burning my hands. Eventually one of the guys came to help me, but needless to say I left pretty quickly and didn’t look back. Yikes. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to talk about on dates because my mind is racing a thousand miles per minute, and I’m usually trying to focus on dialing back the nerdy-ness. As a young 25 year old gal, I don’t even go out and hookup like most people my age, because that whole concept gives me the sweats. (But if you are an eligible bachelor and are reading this… I *DO* know what I’m doing though, okay?! Wink, wink.)

I feel like far too often black women are left out of the conversation when it comes to things like comics, cartoons, and just straight up being quirky or awkward. Luckily now we have shows like Issa Rae’s Insecure on HBO to relate to, but that’s literally the only show that came to mind. I often describe myself as quirky, because I feel like it describes me best. However, the word has been overused SO often by braindead basic bitches on Instagram, that it’s lost it’s true meaning. The TRUE definition of “quirky” is used to describe someone who is characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits in an interesting or appealing way. There’s really nothing appealing about a basic white girl on IG quoting The Office or F.R.I.E.N.D.S. a billion times. Everyone has seen those fucking shows, so it’s pretty unoriginal. And I’m not saying Star Wars defines my personality either. But I doubt those same girls would have any interest in going to Medieval Times (somewhere I’ve been DYING to go for YEARS, but nobody will go with me… sigh)

Some of my closest friends are “awkward black girls”… hence the reason we are friends! I have one friend that is heavily into fashion and clubbing, but she is also VERY into anime and Manga. And another friend of mine who is a photographer is such a chill hippy chick, but she’s also one of the biggest Harry Potter fans I know. And just like me, she struggles with dating. I wish us black girls didn’t have to try so hard to prove our interests. Unlike many people, we aren’t using it for any personal gain, such as fake friends or likes/follows, it’s just truly who we are! It’s infuriating that we always have to provide proof as to how and why we like certain things, it’s as if people are saying black girls “aren’t supposed” to be interested in these things. I hope in the future, people will stop trying to force black women into these boxes, and finally just accept that we’re not all sassy, aggressive, or ratchet… some of us are actually a little bit awkward!