Travel: Epic Vegas Trip at 30

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Two handfuls of visits and twenty-nine years of living as neighbors, can you believe I never “experienced” Vegas?

Strolling the Vegas Strip sober with family, trotting through the club to wrangle talent for red carpet photos, and professionally greeting guests at a registration table does not qualify as experiencing Vegas.

Indulging in crazy Vegas trip(s) is done in your twenties, right? Not for me. I’m extraordinary. My first Vegas experience happened five days after crossing the border to thirty.

Cue Beyonce’s 7/11. Vegas at thirty included: accidental kidnapping by valet, bath tubs posing as refrigerated alcohol storage centers, lost luggage, discovering hotel-rented scooter chairs, over-intoxicated and undernourished friends spazzing out, burning balls (feet) trudging through the club, recorded videos singing chants from the college days, seducing mannequins, seemingly choreographed routines (grand entrances) to Jay Z music, endless jokes, laughs for days, and “spinning while my hands up.”

Below see photos from my crazy, entertaining and epic Vegas trip. Click images to enlarge.

Thanks for reading.

Hugs,

Roshell

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Am-ster-DAMN!

IMG_0582From Germany, we headed to  Amsterdam, Netherlands via train intending to sleep during the five-hour ride. We were lucky enough to NOT have seats because the powers that be overbooked the train. We sat on the floor and attempted to sleep in our laps. Tiare and I were not successful. Augi, the sleep master, enjoyed a little shut eye.

On our second night in Amsterdam, I suffered a baby heart attack because I accidentally deleted about 300 vacay pictures. I digress.

We took a boat tour through the canals, explored the city by foot, shopped (not until we dropped), and filled our bellies.  Oh! And I recovered a some deleted pics. All in all, we had a great silly time in Amsterdam.

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Grab Your Passport! We’re Going To Europe.

Europe here we come! This summer me, my sister and cousin will travel through Europe visiting Germany, Netherlands, France and Italy. (insert happiest emoji)

Below are maps with circles highlighting places we will visit within each country. Flights are booked, passports are ready, but there is so much more to be done. My biggest challenge will definitely be packing. One suitcase for three weeks … how will I survive? I have already dreamt about packing, forgetting everything and almost missing the flight trying to pack last minute. The trip is in July, but I should start practice packing tomorrow.

Ahhh! I’m so excited. mgermany mfranceitaly_states_map

Winter’s Tale is not a love story.

Winter’s Tales is a guy-friendly chick flick about miracles and faith, not love. Movies released near Valentine’s Day typically have the “happily ever after” or “love sucks” ending, but Winter’s Tale surprisingly provided an alternative. If there is one thing I love as much as love, it’s a good freakin miracle.

Those impossible events that defy human power and scientific law bring me joy. Although it is not a love story, Winter’s Tale feeds your hunger for mushy love scenes (insert love struck emoji) and masculine battles.

The Lego Movie makes everything AWESOME!

It is ok for three adults to see a “children’s movie” sans kids, right? If not, oh well! We proudly laughed, cheered and sung “everything is awesome” with the theater full of seven-year-olds.

The beginning started slow (we missed the first five minutes, so after that), but it quickly picked up. We might have enjoyed The Lego Movie more than the kids, because of jokes we caught that flew over their pretty little heads. I went with two guys, one laughed so hard that water fell from his eyes. In addition to laughs, there is a great message. Don’t believe me, just watch. Be prepared for the flood of product placement (not my fave), everything else is awesome.

Why is The Wolf of Wall Street 3hrs Long?

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Three hour movies are definitely not my cup of tea. Why? I become a kid, get figity and attention deficit disorder (ADD) kicks in.  The world is moving while I am sitting in a theater for three hours unable to multi-task. God forbid the movie sucks, I can never get that time back.

I received an invite to a screening of The Wolf of Wall Street and my eyes conveniently skipped over the three hour run time, so I attended.

Watching men let money, power and greed drive them cuckoo is quite entertaining. The Wolf of Wall Street is a reminder to stay humble. Although it held my attention, three hours were not required.

Women Rock: Mara Brock Akil

6th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon held at the Beverly Hills hotel

Who is Mara Brock Akil?

Mara puts pen to paper and creates real people who share (via television and film) authentic experiences we face in this thing called life. Girlfriends, The Game, Cougar Town, Sparkle, South Central, The Jamie Foxx Show, and Moesha… Mara’s had a hand in them all. Check her resume, she rocks!

Girlfriends, the first show created by Mara, is one of my all-time faves. It was so good that I had to buy boxed sets. I’m anxiously awaiting her new series Being Mary Jane, which debuts in 2014 and stars Gabrielle Union.

Mara captures the complex lives of individuals (esp. African American women) and serves them up on a plate of awesome with the help of her diverse team. That team includes her husband/partner Salim Akil.

You know they’re the bosses over at Akil Productions (formerly Happy Camper Productions), right? Let’s say it together: Power couple!

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of spending time with Mara and Salim as they honestly (not Hollywood honest) uncovered their relationship in a panel at the BET Experience. They shared how they keep their marriage in tact and manage their business relationship.

Aside from dynamic partner and skilled writer, Mara also proudly hold the titles; successful producer, devoted wife and nurturing mother. From where I stand, she does it all with style and grace.

Mara is an ah-MAy-zing Los Angeles born, Kansas City raised individual rocking the world. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Unlike Dorothy and Toto, Mara worked hard to create the life she lives, she didn’t just click her heels.

Fun Fact: (Cue Kanye West’s Through The Wire) She’s a Delta, so she’s been throwing up that dynasty sign.

How Much Should I Tip?

Are you confused about how much you should tip? Here’s a quick cheat sheet.

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Short Term 12 is “Raw & Honest”

“Remember you are not their parent, you are not their therapist, you are here to provide a safe environment and that’s it.” -Grace (Short Term 12)

Short Term 12 tells to story of Grace,  a twenty-something supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers.

This film sparked my interest because I was placed in foster care from about age 9 until I was adopted at age 16. I lived in a family home setting as opposed to the group home setting featured in the film. Hearing Grace say the quote above captured my attention. Those words are a reality for too many foster youth.

I thought, “This trailer just got real”. More often than not, foster youth are removed from what they know as home, for reasons beyond their control. To think that they are then placed in an environment where the staff are instructed to only provide a “safe” environment is horrible. How can youth reach their full potential? Without nurturing, love and support, the system is setup to produce few successful adults. I digress.

Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12 writer and director) presents a raw and honest depiction of life for staff and foster youth in facilities similar to Short Term 12. The relationship between the staff and youth warm your heart. Be prepared for the whirlwind of emotions you will experience.

At the end of the film, reflect on the beginning. Unfortunately, that reality is a continuous cycle for some.

Check out Short Term 12 now playing in select theaters.