Art, Beats & Lyrics Brings Out the Best

Each time I attend it becomes easier and easier to explain the phenomenon known as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Art, Beats & Lyrics (AB+L). Think, if you will, as to what would happen if you took a family reunion, an art museum field trip and a music festival placed them in a piping hot pot, seasoned them with soul, swag and sass, sprinkled in a few flakes of “the culture”, saturated it in speaker-thumping sounds from all the genres of music that really matter, added a big dollop of dope art and interactive exhibits, tossed in a swig of Jack, then let it simmer for hours in an urban, artistic roux. That, my loves, perfectly conveys what AB+L Birmingham 2018 served up. We got served!

Regions Field was the perfect playground for a standing room only crowd of Birmingham’s best to experience the best art and music creatives from around the country have to offer. Along with the wall-to-wall art and free-flowing Jack Daniel’s elixir DJ Wally Spark, DJ Rahdu, Gina T and WERC Crew set the night’s musical mood and made it just right for hip hop musical guest BAS. Since it’s humble beginnings in Atlanta in 2004, AB+L has been the vehicle moving culture forward in all its urban glory. “The motivation behind the start of AB+L was to give a platform for urban artists and musicians that weren’t getting accepted into many of the galleries and outlets at that time,” said AB+L Curator Dwayne “Dubelyoo” Wright. With no plans of slowing down, Curator Dwayne “Dubelyoo” Wright says AB+L will continue to be next level. “We have been striving to keep the wow factor at our events. We incorporate new technologies and non-traditional ways of showcasing art to keep the audience excited year after year,” he said.

Art, Beats & Lyrics Birmingham was electric! The people, art, music and Jack Daniels (for the drinkers) were too. I can hardly wait for next year to savor the dopeness also known as AB+L.

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@angelamichele316

I Don’t Like Your Wig

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Growing up I subscribed to the list of so many myths of what a good husband was about. Bless my heart.
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Yes, ladies, he could be handsome. He could be 6ft 4in with wavy, salt & pepper hair (hey boo!). He could have a fly car, a great job, some flat abs, superhuman “powers”, a generous wallet, a funny sense of humor, be super smart, or be your college school sweetheart with the best shimmy or shake you’ve ever seen. He could spoil you to pieces, give the best birthday presents and back rubs, wash a car better than a machine, know how to grill a steak like nobody’s business and smell like he’s oozing Bvlgari cologne on a perfectly timed schedule.
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However, recently, my husband whispered words that elevated my love for him to the next level as he gingerly gazed into my half-mascaraed eyes and said, “Uuuummm, yea, so, I don’t know how I feel about your new wig on you. I’ll get you another one that does what you’re trying to make that one to do.”
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Of all the thoughts and hopes and wishes I had growing up regarding marriage, there are a few staples which must be and remain. To the list of my mature “must haves” in a husband, some of which are listed above and certainly fulfilled, having a husband who can have my back is a blessing! Even if it’s in sharing something I may not want to hear, I would prefer him telling me the truth from a point of sincere love rather than have my out in the mean streets of Birmingham looking like a silly OLD lady, with scattered blonde highlights.  Yes, ma’am. Yes, sir. That kind of tell-it-to-me-like-it-is-with-love kind of love is definitely not a myth and permanently on my list.
Stay tuned for the new ‘do!

Recap: Natural Hair and Health Expo 2017

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The sights and sounds of the Natural Hair and Health Expo 2017 (NHHE) are now a memory, but like your favorite hairstyle from the 80s, it’s one which won’t soon be forgotten. Of course there were vendors galore with every, single thing you needed for your hair and health. The event’s Main Stage brought you up-close and personal to the nationally known heavy hitters in hair, health, fashion and business, while at the same time making you feel as comfy and cozy as a warm salon chair on a cold January morning. From the amazing, on-stage stylings of the Visions Beauty Style Team and the NHHE Live Blogger Panel with Q&A featuring nationally known bloggers Clair Sulmers and Tami Reed the Main Stage gave you the best of the business of beauty, hair and fashion.

Huntsville-based Entrepreneur Melody Holt inspired with her “Five Essentials for Building a Multimillion Dollar Family Business” paving the perfect path for The Coca-Cola Company’s Eyvon Austin to share their 5by20 initiative with the women, an amazing effort to empower 5million business women entrepreneurs world-wide. There was more encouragement, inspiration and motivation than a Hallmark store has, and the ladies (and gents) soaked it all up.

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Melody Holt, Holt and Holt

 

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Eyvon Austin, The Coca-Cola Company

Reality star Sheree Whitfield graced the stage with her wit and wisdom on all things fitness, family, fashion and of course, relationships. Local entrepreneur Iyishia Jones of ISHI? Boutiques provided a fashion show rivaling any New York couture catwalk. Hosted by Fashion Stylists to the Stars Goo Goo Atkins, the ISHI? Boutiques collection stole the show.

 

 

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Sheree Whitfield, RHOA

 

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Goo Goo Atkins, Celebrity Stylist

 

Other features rounding out the day included Birmingham’s Keisa Sharpe of Alabama Power, and of course, the Natural Hair and Health Expo Pageant. There were contest winners like Antwane’ Thompson, who won concert tickets to two concerts from Coca-Cola, and Jasmine Ruffin, grand prize winner of a Bahamas Resort Vacation compliments of Coca-Cola and Breezes Resorts and Spas.

 

A cold, soaking Saturday outside in the Magic City was hotter than a new pair of flat irons on the inside of the BJCC for the Natural Hair and Health Expo. And just like my favorite hairstyle from the 80s I can’t wait for it to return again.

@AngelaMichele316

 

The Secrets of a Secret Marriage pt. 2

I’m approaching the ripe old benchmark of one month as a wife to my fabulous final husband, Aquil. I’m still tickled, delighted, a bit taken aback and in awe of the come up God provided us and the coup we pulled off…also known as The Secret Marriage. If you want to know the beginnings take a gander here: https://angelamooreblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/the-secrets-of-a-secret-marriage-pt-1

One of the frequent questions I’ve received is “how did you do it”. Not how did we do it as in how did we invite 55 of dear family and friends to a restaurant under the guise of a holiday soiree, prompting them all to be SHARP, then sending out a fake “secret” message from Aquil saying he was going to propose, only to have a faux holiday soiree, a fake proposal and a real wedding all in one night. No, the question I’ve received from those who know me well is how did we manage to coordinate it all in a month in a half, while I recovered from major surgery and pull off what looked like a million bucks for what probably equaled the monthly salary of some.

From the beginning we didn’t want and couldn’t afford, at this time, a big wedding, and wanted to position ourselves to focus more on a beautiful marriage. That fact made things simultaneously easy and complicated. The easy part was, whatever we had was what we had. Period. The complicated part was the daily dwindling list of guests knowing some wouldn’t understand their omission from the invite and still finding ways to express our sentiments toward them void of a little list. So with the fact of the matter at hand, we busied our hands and feet searching for deals.

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The Rings: Let me just say I *heart* JC Penney’s. Say what you will and think what you might but they are alright with me. A black Friday deal with extra online coupons was a blessing. They’re not traditional rings, and we’re not a traditional couple so that made the deal even sweeter.  I would tell you how much we paid, but you may not believe me if I did.

The Attire: My boo was fresh to def! Yep, I took it back to the old school because that’s how long we’ve known each other. His paisley inlaid, Cranberry-colored, velvet sports coat and our little or not so little guy Jordan’s tailored, designer suit jumped off the rack at Belk with, you guessed it, coupons and cost savings that would blow your mind. Would you believe it if I told you a pair of slacks was $6?

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My dress, well, let’s just say that Mr. Lauren, Ralph, that is, must have made that gorgeous gown with me in mind. The fashion fairies at Macy’s, with yet another sale on top of a sale, must have hidden that jewel just for me after weeks of disappointment trying to find something which whispered holiday party, but would end up screaming wedding, while masking my swollen, post-surgery tummy at the same time. My hair, not to be forgotten in this post, was Vivica Fox’s finest purchased from and styled by my girl Leslie at my fav Alabaster beauty supply store. I wanted lights, camera, action locks and Ms. Fox did not disappoint. Altogether, our digs were the perfect picks for about the cost of a fru-fru steak dinner for two, a few grown man beverages for the grown man, a hot appetizer and a warm chocolate dessert on the side.

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The Food: And speaking of food. Wow!  Tormeika and the staff at Grille 29 worked so professionally and patiently with us on the menu, honoring our budget and desire to celebrate those who had continually celebrated our love and individual lives. If you’ve not been to Grille 29 in Birmingham please do yourself a favor and skedaddle. They were Heaven sent after days of calling and emailing for quotes from hotels, event spaces, conference rooms and other restaurants. In fact, Grille 29’s total tab on EVERYTHING was the cost of what one small, Shelby County location wanted to simply rent the space. And the cake. Oh Baby! That three-layer Caramel-Pecan top, Lemon center, and Chocolate bottom cake from K&J’s Elegant Pastries in Alabaster, which mirrored one I found on Pinterest, without the price was perfect. Perfect, I tell ya.

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I was hesitant to write this post because I didn’t want to paint of picture of lack because the truth of the matter is that we’re firmly placed in a beautiful season of financial resurrection and that’s a great place to be. Before embarrassment creeped in about the temporary state of things my spirit screamed, “Girl, if you don’t tell these people what God allowed and encourage them to NEVER give up their dreams even on the strictest of budgets, you betta!” I could go on and on about how God reminded me of how much He loved us by showing that He truly is our Provider. In the words of a famous songstress and reality star, “He Did That!”. I could go on and on about my friends with gifts who stepped up to the call and wowed us with their talents to bring it all together…and I will in another post…coming soon.

@AngelaMichele316

A Good Man is Like a Good Weave

In honor of my focus on L-O-V-E for today’s #bloglikecrazy post…

Hair and I have been cool like two cubes in an ice tray since my Mama decided I couldn’t get a Jheri Curl as an 8th grader at Homewood Middle School and finally let me get a permanent after one round of Ramsay High School band camp in the 9th. I’ve always enjoyed the accessory of hair. I like the flexibility of it, the versatility of it and the wow factor often generated from it. I love my own hair and I like the mystery of purchased hair.

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In recent years, I’ve enjoyed the variety of looks, styles and personas compliments of weaves and wigs. There’s just such a beautiful transformation which comes from instantly taking on a new look and taking it off or jazzing it up at liberty. I also relish in the shock of people who don’t recognize me because I’ve changed styles in less than 24 hours. However…the real, deal beauty of a hair accessory is not often in what it presents on top, but what it covers underneath.

Weaves or wigs are a lot like a good relationship. They make us look good on the outside while covering what’s underneath. A good wig or weave will know the shocking, mangled, braided, twisted, thinning, dry, dirty, dandruffy, itchy, oily, thick, stinky or cornrowed tresses we carry and cover it until we reach our stylist or solution of choice. Much the same, a good man for his one and only woman can know the brewing mess that’s simmering within and cover as that woman deals with it like the best $159 bundle of Indy Remi or the finest $59.99 Vivica Fox signature hair piece.

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It’s not that what’s being covered is to be permanently covered up with no thought of tending, but there are things in life which take time, special attention, gentle care and repeat conditioning or intense management from only those sent to handle it. Just like a premium piece of affixed hair, ladies, a good, God-sent man, will allow God, he and his woman to take care of those internal things while externally carrying on business as usual, knowing that the world might not be able to handle what they’re dealing with as they’re dealing with it, but he can and is honored to make it a priority to do so. He’s able to allow his woman to help him, as she should, but also relishes in the fact that he has something to offer her which no other can.  He accepts the challenge to do so, balancing work, children, extra-curricular activities, church or whatever else he’s entrusted with knowing that she is his main order of business. And at the end of the day, he’s spiritually aware, sort of like a wig or weave (but minus the spiritual awareness…LOL!), that how she’s presented is a direct reflection of him.

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I’ve been told by a few that my “please, please, please can’t I have some of these qualities in a husband this time” prayer list is too picky. I politely beg to differ! Yes, I do want at least 83.94% of the things on my list. However, give me a man who can cover, work with, transform and enhance me like I just swiveled around in the chair of Jennifer Rose of JRose Beautique and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call a bundle of blessings. (Get it, bundle, as in hair…LOL!)

@AngelaMMoore316

My Bra Hurts

Recently I was lamenting to my sister about the status of my half bra. It hurts. I mean it Hurts with a capital “H”! In 2011 I was diagnosed with Lymphedema, the buildup of fluid called lymph in the tissues under your skin when something blocks its normal flow. This causes swelling, most commonly in an arm or leg. My Lymphedema just so happens to have happened in my right arm. (Check me out posing in the ATL a few years ago with my funky-fresh compression sleeve on and my badge of honor (that scar under my arm) of what I’ve endured.)

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Since going through treatments, therapies, fads and new-fangled products I’ve been mostly healed of the disease. I manage it daily myself, and usually don’t have problems unless I’m flying or exercising (I have to wear a compression garment), when the seasons change, if I lift something too heavy, when I get extremely hot and when I wear that daggum half bra.

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That bra, that beloved half bra, has seen me through cute times too many to recall. But it hurts. It hurts so very badly. So when I told my sister about the bra hurting me she said through her matter-of-fact face, “Well, just get yourself another one.” “I can’t,” I said. “It’s too expensive,” I complained. “It’s too hard to find my size,” I whined. Then again, in a matter-of-fact face which has only been intensified since she entered the world of motherhood she turned to me and said, “Oh well. Just keep on hurting then.” Boom! Just like that she shut me up, shut me down and reflected an attitude many of us take on in life.

Why was I willing to allow something to keep hurting me when I didn’t have to, especially when I was in control? All I had to do was buy a new bra. Simple. And plain. Why did I find every excuse possible to keep wearing the bra rather than just toss it and buy a new one. Sure, it’s going to be expensive. But so is physical therapy when my Lymphedema flares up. Sure, my “special” size is hard to find, but so are a lot of other things I might have scoured the internet, shopping malls and specialty stores for in the past. Sure, I don’t even wear that half bra that often but when I do I want to pull my weaved hair out strand by strand and that makes no sense. Sure I could just settle for what used to work, but it doesn’t work for me anymore so that settles it.

Bras and I have had an interesting relationship through the years. Because of my generationally transferred upper physique they’re one of those things simply not on the top of my “must have the fanciest and frilliest” list. I never really cared to know much about the importance of bras, especially as they are so instrumental in providing foundation and support. Much like my life, I’ve also had the tendency to invest more in things related to others than me, being a foundation or support, but not always investing in building my very own foundation and support.  I’d like to blame that one on genes too. (I hope they’re reading this…LOL!) That’s all changing now, thanks to the fluff and stuff under my right arm compliments of Lymphedema. I’m about to step my bra game and life game up. Just watch me…well, not really, but you get my drift.

@AngelaMMoore316

Girl, Somebody Lied to You!

Washing my hands in the restroom at work, gazing in the hazy mirror at my newly cut bangs (from a less than new sew-in) the words, “Girl, somebody lied to you” crossed my mind. I was shocked initially, almost wondering where this inner, loud whisper derived. As women, too many times than not, we have listened to lies from others about ourselves, lives from ourselves regarding others and even from ourselves regarding ourselves. Before you hop on an “all men are dogs” channel that I simply do not and will not ever subscribe to do know that I’m not referring to the “player, cheater or not quite mature enough to handle the responsibilities of a relationship” kind of man we might have knowingly entertained or naively encountered. I’m talking about the bold face lies society, unwise influencers, and our own misguided hopes and dreams might have told us. (BTW…is a bold face lie different from a scared face lie? #ija) I digress.

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I started thinking of a list of a lot of lies we, as incomparably beautiful, God-created, life-giving, purpose-overflowing, love-filled, spiritually gifted women, need to know longer believe about us if we’re going to be the fabulous, fabulous women we were all created to be. I’m not listing lies, as I prefer truth. So below I offer you a sampling of seeing yourself from a different point of view.

  1. A man or marriage won’t make you happy. (Ask a bunch of other married, dating and no longer married women how we know. Happiness is an exclusive right. No help is needed. I promise this one is true so if you were clinging to it like a newborn to its milk machine please let it go.)
  2. Marriage won’t cure your ills. (If struggling with financial mismanagement, loneliness, fornication, low self-esteem or any other issues before marriage, and not taking steps to be healed from it, an “I Do” doesn’t take it away. It just shifts it into another gear.)
  3. You really don’t need makeup. (I “heart” make up. I really, really do, but I know that it is strictly an enhancement to all the goodness, flaws and all, about us which already exist, but it is not a necessity. We’re fine with or without it. Literally, and figuratively.)
  4. Your voice is important. (Often as women we feel our voice, opinion, thoughts, ideas or histories aren’t embraced so they must not be important. They are and must be heard. Ya heard?)
  5. Women can be friends. (Forget the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday night reality show and social media fighting. Women are social creatures by Godly design. More importantly, we’re communicators, which means we are equipped to get along, stay together, talk it out, establish trust and enjoy the love, support and influence of other women meant to walk this amazing journey called life with us.)
  6. Your hips are hot. (Don’t be fooled. Those areas in which you carry as a testament to your DNA, your life’s struggles, your overcome medical obstacles…childbirth included, or whatever is behind the story of your behind and its less than perfect body buddies is beautiful. As is. No pun intended.)
  7. Being spiritual, smart, sincere and sophisticated is haute. (It is absolutely popular and eternally trending to have a relationship with God and show it, speak properly, use correct spelling and grammar in formal and less than formal writings, be kind, be generous, showcase your knowledge in all types of settings, pursue higher education, be classy, carry poise, and take the lead as lead in areas of which you know you are gifted.)
  8. Your spiritual Father has the first and final say-so. (For those who have bore the pain of the lack of presence from an earthly father or a proper one, do know that your real Daddy is the MAN! He loves you, won’t leave you, is trustworthy, will show up when He promised, won’t forget a birthday, has you on His mind all the time and loves you. Yes, I said He loves you twice just so it can settle in.)
  9. Pouty mouths, duck lips, and frowny faces can’t compete with a smile. (I don’t know who hijacked the smile, but I demand a swift return. Ladies, nothing says “confident, sexy, approachable, mature, friendly, or comfortable in the skin I’m in” like a good, old-fashion smile. Try it. Often. Please.)
  10. Gaining a new job, new house, new body, new man, new car, new degree, and/or new circle of influence is a blessing, but it won’t build you… and guess what, should you lose one, any or all of it, it won’t break you either. (Ask me how I know.)

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@AngelaMMoore316