I have a friend who, often, when we are talking about something on our heart, intense or light hearted, she says “it reminds me of this Maya Angelou poem..” or “it’s like Maya Angelou once wrote.. let me find it..” sometimes she reads it, and I cry, and thats how we communicate…!
The first thing I read this morning was of Maya Angelou’s passing and I thought of my friend. I did some reflecting on how beautiful a life truly lived is, how she is an example that it (our mark on life) lives on and on… Ms. Angelou’s words and actions will touch generations to come… although she has left this Earth.
“Angelou once said she believed that “life loves the liver of it,” and she did live it, to the fullest.” (via NPR)
About 10 years ago, when I was going through what every 20 year old goes through… turning from a teenager into a woman and having NO idea how to deal with the multitude of issues that come with it.. Mandy sent me a letter, enclosed was this Maya Angelou poem. It still remains one of my favorites.. that I read regularly to feel inspired by the *beat* of being a Phenomenal Woman. xx ash
BY MAYA ANGELOU
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
In early February, Joe and I took a work trip.
We went to Memphis and two days later drove to Nashville.
Despite barely making all of our flights (snow) we arrived inspired and immediately hit the pavement to explore! First, we had an obligatory Fat Tire while sitting down at Gus’s ‘World Famous’ Fried Chicken. It came highly recommended & was worth it. Afterward, we walked around downtown, ended up on Beale Street, headed into a few bars, looking for music .. it was a Wednesday (off season) so we were out of luck. Although we did have the pleasure of learning a lonely bartenders life story over a drink, then headed back to the hotel and I was fast asleep as it got dark .. love that.
The following day we had the opportunity to go to Graceland! I’ve considered myself an Elvis fan since I was a kid, but this trip took it to a whole new level. I’m bold enough to say and smart enough to know that Elvis had a huge part in shaping American music. Since we were filming in Graceland we were about to spend more time inside then I had anticipated. I was soaking in every detail, imagining what it must have been like when his home was fully functioning.. it’s all still set up, the TVs, record players, kitchen .. it’s quite special, if you make it to Memphis I wouldn’t miss the chance to visit. My Uncle Rich was a huge Elvis fan in the 60′s, he bought two monogrammed handkerchiefs and sent them to him. In return, he received a personalized letter and when Christmas rolled around, a card from The Presley family. The card is framed and comes out every year for the holidays. When I saw the stone wall covered in fans messages I knew I had to leave a little piece of our family there. That night, we spent filming on Beale Street.. afterward Joe and I headed to The Buccaneer Lounge – a little bit outside of downtown but the word was it was a sure bet for late night music … nope, it had ended for the night! The bar itself was cool, we had beers and left.
The next day we stuck around Memphis until late afternoon, then took the four hour drive to Nashville (I’d recommend seeing both cities in one trip.) We reached our destination late on Valentine’s Day, checked in to our room (The Hutton Hotel) I quickly added as much volume as I could to my hair (gotta do Dollie proud!) threw on a dancing dress, and headed down to what they were calling The Honky Tonk.. it was a quick cab ride from our hotel, the bars were pumping music out of every door, cheap beers, good energy, exactly what we needed. We had another full day and night of work, then headed back to NY the following morning.
Over a month later and I’m still thinking about Tennessee.. my favorite part was being immersed into cultures that revolve around MUSIC. It wasn’t about superficial needs or wants or drama (although I am sure it exists everywhere) — it was about listening, moving, grooving. It’s something I do not have a problem understanding … bring me back! on vacation!
PS that is totally Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding attire, the white carpet in his home was like walking on a cloud, don’t forget to visit Sun Studios, and I really want some fried chicken.
Playing in his 5th season as a Chicago Bull, odds are you already know who Taj Gibson is. He’s been playing meaningful minutes since his first season, when he started nearly the entire year and played well enough to be named to the NBA’s All-Rookie 1st Team. He averaged 9 points and 7 rebounds, played excellent defense, and proved to be an important piece of the puzzle moving forward as the Bulls would continue to build into a championship contending team.
The Bulls would also sign Carlos Boozer in 2010, which would mean Taj would be delegated to coming off the bench, something he’s been doing since his 2nd season. Since Boozer has been with the Bulls, there’s been a lot of criticism about his production and whether he’s really worth the near $80 million. Some think the Bulls should even amnesty him from the team after the season. Regardless, it’s difficult to bring someone off the bench who’s earning as much as Carlos does, so what do the Bulls do? Start Carlos, bring in Taj halfway through the first quarter, and go from there. If Boozer starts off well, his confidence usually carries him throughout the game (or at least for the rest of the half). If he starts slow, he will most likely be non-existent and his minutes will be down for the rest of the game. Coach Thibodeau knows it, Bulls fans know it, and I’m pretty sure Carlos does too.
Either way, we all know what we’re getting from Taj each time he’s on the court, and that’s nothing but constant effort, and occasionally outrageous plays like this.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Taj chose to attend high schools in California before eventually landing at USC, where he played meaningful minutes all 3 years. In his last year as a junior, the Trojans won the Pac 12 Tournament, and Taj was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. After a very successful 3 years, he chose to enter the draft and was selected as the 26th pick in the 1st round by the Bulls.
After a strong and productive rookie season, some people may have made the mistake in thinking that Taj hadn’t improved much, but numbers are misleading. As a rookie he played about 28 minutes a game, but since he was delegated to the bench his minutes had gone down to about 21 mpg the following 3 seasons, which is why there was not much improvement in his offensive production, statistically speaking. Times have finally changed, and while he still continues to come off the bench, Taj is back to playing starting-lineup-like minutes (about 29 mpg) and is averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds a game for a team most people took for granted (again) with the absence of Derrick Rose. At this point, it’s commonly known to other teams and fans everywhere that if you go up against the Bulls, expect a fight, and while you’re there, expect to see Taj squaring up every time.
In a (big) recent win over the Indiana Pacers, Taj had one of his best nights of the season, scoring 23 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and completing this putback. These kinds of plays have come to be expected of Taj, and I can gladly say that he lives up to it very often. (His reaction alone is worth watching.)
After the game, this is what Gibson had to say:
“We’re not scared of anybody, really. We’re really not. It just comes down to guys just playing hard. People don’t understand we like a dogfight. We like to be physical…We’re going to wind you down and we’re going to fight and you’re going to be feeling it the next day. And that’s what kind of game it was tonight: It was a dogfight.”
Taj Gibson is not an All-Star, and he may never be one, but there aren’t many big men in the NBA I’d rather have on my team.
top: francesca’s, leggings: h&m, tank: h&m, headphones: bose
coat: free people, jeans: levi’s, top: calvin klein body, flats: minnetonka, bag: badgley mischka
hoodie: lulu lemon, leggings: h&m, long tank: h&m, sneakers: nike, sunglasses: vonzipper, bag: ll bean
sweater: nana made it, beer: guinness
[ all photos taken in brooklyn | thats our pink door ]
March Madness remains to be one of the most exciting and relevant sporting events in this country. No matter who you are or where you work, people get invested in it. It’s also because there are thousands of different pools all around us, so taking a $5 or $10 chance to win a bunch of money is usually worth it. Unless you hate sports entirely; in that case, you probably stopped reading this already.
While the tournament showcases colleges from all over the country competing against each other in order to come away with one final winning school (the champion), it’s also a great chance to see the NBA’s top prospects play on the biggest stage of their collegiate careers before they enter the ensuing draft. Since there’s been a lot of hype around this year’s upcoming draft, this year’s tournament has a lot of potential to be even more competitive than usual, and so far it’s been typically exciting.
Most of the top prospects are pretty much a lock to be among the first picked, no matter how they play in the tournament. Not to say that it doesn’t matter how they play, because it certainly does, but just because Duke lost in the first round doesn’t mean that teams are going to pass up on Jabari Parker come draft day. Despite the loss, he’s still a lock to be a top-3 pick.
What’s even more interesting to see are the players who rise from anonymity to gain recognition after they play well in the tournament, but sometimes it’s misleading. In the 2005-2006 season, Tyrus Thomas from the LSU Tigers was proving to be a potentially good player all year as a freshman. Averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds a game and playing for one of the best teams in the country, his draft stock was looking good for the future. That year in the Tournament, he had modest numbers for the first 3 games, and in the Elite 8 game he scored 31 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. They would lose in the next round, but that Elite 8 game was all that some NBA scouts needed in order to be convinced. He would become the 4th pick in that summer’s draft, play a few meaningful seasons for the Bulls, and where is he now? He was cut by the Charlotte Bobcats last year, where he was earning $8 million a year. At 28 years old, the 2006 #4 draft pick isn’t in the NBA right now.
On the other hand, in the 2009-2010 season, the Butler Bulldogs were one of the better mid-major teams all year. While fans were becoming aware of what they were doing, no one could name a player from that team until that year’s tournament, where they shocked everyone by making it to the championship game, where they lost to Duke by only 2 points. The team had several quality players of course, one of which was sophomore Gordon Hayward. After a strong season of averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds, he put up nearly the same numbers (16 & 7) in the tournament, and since he was able to play 3 weekends in a row, he became known to fans and critics everywhere. After the tournament, most fans could recognize the pasty white boy with the crew cut. Hayward would become the 9th pick in that year’s draft, and putting faith in him has paid off. He has gotten better in his 3 years in the NBA, and is currently averaging 16,5 and 5 for the Utah Jazz.
It’s hard to say who (if anyone) will play well enough in this year’s tournament to become a recognizable prospect, but we already know who the top prospects are, and luckily each of them had a chance to show everyone what they can be like on the game’s biggest stage.
Julius Randle: University of Kentucky, Forward – Freshman
Julius Randle has been on the radar all year, and now that Kentucky has advanced to the Sweet 16, expect his draft stock to rise even more. He’s had two impressive games, scoring 19 and grabbing 15 rebounds in the first round, followed with an impressive stat line of 13, 10 and 6 assists over the previously undefeated and #1 seeded Wichita State Shockers. Unless he plays poorly and/or Kentucky gets knocked out badly, expect his name to be called a little earlier than expected. I see him being a good contributor in the NBA, given he plays for the right team. I could also see him getting lost on a bad team like the Bucks or Kings and becoming irrelevant in a few years, but I think he will be the kind of player who’s always able to contribute.
My comparison: Jason Maxiell
What he should do: Stay in school
Andrew Wiggins: Kansas University, Forward – Freshman
Wiggins was the most hyped player coming out of high school since LeBron. The consensus was that he would be the #1 draft pick in the 2014 draft, but then the season started, and people started to calm down. Yes, he is good, he is athletic, but I’m not completely sold. He’s still very raw, but he will continue to get better, and after a pretty impressive first (and I imagine only) year at Kansas, expect him to be taken in the top 3, even though Kansas lost in the 2nd round of the tournament while Wiggins scored only 4 points. I wouldn’t pick him #1, but if I had the 4th pick and he was still available it would be a no-brainer to take him.
My comparison: Jeff Green
What he should do: Stay in school
Marcus Smart: Oklahoma State, Guard – Sophomore
After a strong freshman year, Marcus had the chance to enter last year’s draft, but chose to stay in school. He followed it up with a solid season, averaging 18 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists a game, and proved that he has the ability to turn it up, having games of 39 and 30 points. His shooting can definitely improve, but he shot a respectable 42% for the season, so that should increase as the years go on. Most importantly, he knows how to play, he’s tough, unselfish, and seems like the perfect kind of player to lead one’s team. He won’t and shouldn’t be the first pick, but whatever team lands him will be getting a very valuable player.
My comparison: A bigger Chris Paul. Maybe not as good, but I think he can be a great leader for the right team.
What he should do: Enter the draft
Joel Embiid: Kansas University, Center – Freshman
Joel came nearly out of nowhere as he rose to become one of the top prospects in this year’s draft. At seven feet tall, he’s a tremendous athlete with a lot of upside, but I’m very weary, especially since he already has back problems. I know it’s something that he can overcome, and for all we know he can become the next Hakeem Olajuwon, so only time will tell. In other drafts I might take him right away, but I’d rather go with some of the other proven players. It doesn’t help that he missed the 2 games in the tournament due to back issues, either.
It’s typically risky to pass up the chance to enter the draft when a player is a potential lottery pick, but centers, especially 7 foot ones, are always going to be a hot commodity in the NBA. Even if his numbers don’t improve much over the next year or 2 if he stays in school, no one will forget about him. Stats may possibly diminish, but his height never will. I think height is overrated, but carrying the ’7 feet tall’ label does wonders for prospects. Whether it’s this year’s draft or one in the future, expect Joel to be taken very early.
My comparison: Roy Hibbert
What he should do: Stay in school
Jabari Parker has been on the radar for the past few years. Much like Wiggins, there was a lot of hype around Parker’s eventual first season at the storied Duke program, and he didn’t disappoint. Averaging 19 points and nearly 9 rebounds a game, Jabari was the most impressive player in the country in my opinion. He carries himself well on the court and already has the feel of an NBA player. Every time I was able to watch a Duke game, he stood out the most every time. He can shoot the 3, hit the midrange shot, he’s got great hands, and has a solid body that can endure the kinds of hits he’ll eventually be taking in the NBA.
He may not have the kind of athletic upside that Wiggins has, and he may be better off if he stayed in school, but I would take Parker #1 in this year’s draft, no question. He’s a natural basketball player and he proved he can handle the hype that comes with being a high-profile athlete. There’s an Andrew Wiggins on nearly every team, but players with Jabari’s talent and ability to score don’t come around as much. My hope is that the 76ers get the first pick, take Parker, and turn things around in Philly.
My comparison: Paul Pierce/Grant Hill
What he should do: Stay in school
Yes, Jabari should stay in school for at least one more year, as should most of these prospects. There hasn’t been any definite decisions, but odds are most of these guys will be leaving school early. The general thinking is that if a player has a chance to be a lottery pick, he should take it, and I can’t blame the player for doing so. There are tons of people who think otherwise, and think that players should be staying longer than just one season, but that’s the reality of the situation, and until the rules change I don’t see it being any different. Sure, the college game has changed dramatically over the years, but it’s not just the amount of players leaving school early, either. What about all the conference changes? What about the addition of play-in games for the Tournament?
The NCAA cares way more about making money than it does keeping its athletes in school. Yea, it would be nice to see Wiggins and Parker and Smart stick around for at least another year and see if they can improve their games a little bit more before entering the NBA, but for what? The integrity of college basketball? Please.
#1. The guy from The Flaming Lips posted pictures on Instagram of Miley smoking weed in Hanson’s 3CG studio. He said they were “High as Fuck” and Miley evidently has her own Bangerz tour rolling papers which is … wait for it.. dope.
#2. Sofia Coppola’s next film is The Little Mermaid. Seriously! .. I was JUST wondering who will get involved with it .. of course it’s her. and just for fun, a little convo between my best Disney friend and myself .. where I was totally picking up on Little Mermaid vibes..
corned beef, boiled potatoes, fried cabbage, roasted carrots, hand cut slaw, raisin bread, red wine. also, i like it bright & have a nasty habit leaving lights on.
today marks one year since i lost my job.
ugh, i don’t like typing that sentence..
it brings a bad taste to my mouth, fills me with a strange sense of shame and frustration. i debated whether or not i should even bring this up, shouldn’t i keep this a secret longer? i am finally out of the space of needing to explain to people “what exactly happened”
although the ides of march got me good last year, this year i am feeling quite opposite.
what happened was i was let go, but i was given an unbelievable opportunity to do ME. in a real, honest, raw, hungry, wild, way. and guess what guys, i am really proud of myself. proud of who i am today.
it’s still not easy, freelancing, the stakes are higher, but it’s positive – i’m in control (kind of. sometimes i still lose control.) i am accepting projects i have passion for, and being recognized while at it. i have time to enjoy my day, pull all nighters, visit friends on tuesday afternoons.
i found out a lot of people close to me have gone through the loss of a job as well. for us all, it is truly traumatizing. many conversations were had on “recovering” from that blow, and it seems like no one has the true answers. the worst was filing for unemployment as a “creative” — you should have seen the jobs they were insisting i applied to.. no no no.
these memories still breed a certain sense of insecurity in me, but i know it was and is a blessing — i am leaps and bounds ahead of where i would be if they had it in their “budget” to keep me employed, now i budget myself, and i’m fair.
joe has been the best friend to me during this time. he never once made me feel bad about myself, he lifted me higher then i could imagine, and pushed me to go for my dreams. he went with me! to fulfill my dreams! he supported me financially and emotionally and i am forever grateful. the day it all happened i called him right away, he was at the studio within 25 minutes, brought me home, we went on a walk, grabbed a beer, and i cried, then he made me laugh, repeat, repeat. at the bar, waiting for joe to get drinks, a man was outside the window, crying. he was on the phone and it was so so sad to see him cry. i was crying too.
anyway, today, on the ides of march — i had an early meeting, walked to grand army, loaded up on food for the week, re-joined the YMCA, had a nice work out, came home, read for a bit, joe made some salad, then i finished up some work. it’s 11:52 now, i’m done for the day. so before this day is up, lemme go join my boo on the couch and watch some SNL.
peace & love,