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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Danke, Germany: Pforzheim & Stuttgart

Apologies for the delay. Better late than never, no?

My “Best Vacay Ever (so far)” ended and last week reality fully kicked in.

Cramming twenty-one days into one blog post seems unreasonable, so multi-city and single-city posts it is. First stop… Pforzheim and Stuttgart, Germany.

After 14+ travel hours the wings landed, Augi (my sister) and I happily squeezed Tiare (my cousin) when she greeted us at the airport in Stuttgart. Grateful to feel the blood flowing in my legs, I marched with my full blatter to the restroom (I avoided the lavatory).

I imagined that my first international dilemma would be communicating, wrong, it turned out to be flushing the toilet. After pulling and tapping everything attached to and near the toilet, I pushed the life-sized circle on the wall, got it!

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We dropped off our bags and headed to Tiare’s school where we met up with her brother (my other half-German cousin). After they registered for classes we chatted at this fancy little coffee shop (pictured below).

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Fast forward to dinner. With Adrian’s help, I ordered in my best German (see video below).

The most exciting thing about my first German meal (wait for it)? Placing the ordering. Adrian suggested the ravioli-like pasta he ordered, but I chose meatloaf (center plate on right). The meatloaf tasted like Spam. I don’t like Spam.

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Friday night made up for the Thursday food mishap. It happened to be 90s Night at Como Club in Pforzheim and the DJ played American music, go figure! N Sync, Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Montell Jordan, Backstreet Boys and Tupac (Europe loves Tupac)… How could we not have a blast?

Everyone in Como Club learned The Electric Slide that night. We left the club around 5:00am and headed for Amsterdam at 6:30am. Turn down for what?

I wish I could share video of our Family Night with my aunt, so priceless and entertaining. My aunt and sister would likely kill me. I have too much to live for, so I will not be sharing, but below is an “usie”.

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We were able to experience Germany twice since it’s where we arrived and departed.The second time around we went to a gourmet burger joint in Stuttgart. I thoroughly enjoyed the burger, especially the fresh fluffy bun (pictured below).IMG_2306IMG_2340

IMG_2358Later that day, we went to the mall, a hookah bar, and a few other places. The night (or morning) ended at a sweet coffee shop with some cool Germans (see picture below). Great times!

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That song played almost every time we were in the car in Germany. We heard it in Italy too, so we dubbed it our theme song.

What The Heck is Friendsgiving?

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We all get at least two families, if we’re lucky one is functional. We’re born into and love our first family, but we need the second to take a break from the first. Our second family consists of the friends we choose. When holidays roll around, who gets us?

Thanksgiving should be spent running like a headless turkey taking orders from mom, then sitting at the table passing the baked mac n’ cheese to our little nose-picking cousin, right? This year, I learned that we can make up holidays to celebrate with our friends. Who knew?

Over the weekend, I went to my very first Friendsgiving. You’re probably thinking, “Is she serious?” Yes, I am. My new friends (sorry Drake), that I met through a mutual friend, hosted their seventh annual Friendsgiving dinner. It’s a pre-Thanksgiving celebration where the drinks flow and nose picking isn’t allowed.

Typically, Friendsgiving is a potluck style dinner, but this year’s happened to be a extra fancy. Wolfgang Puck catered the five course feast complete with servers, appetizers and dessert. Yummy to my tummy!

Feast your eyes on more food porn below. This Thanksgiving remember to eat, drink and be thankful!

IMG_5412Short Rib and Seared Filet

IMG_5404 2Seared Scallop

IMG_5400Asian Pear Salad

IMG_5415Pumkin Brûlée IMG_5424More Sweets

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The Square is a Must See!

You know those experiences that you wish you could share with the entire world… the moments that you realize your thoughts and perceptions shift a little closer to awesome?

For the past few years the intervals between those moments have decreased. I’m such a grown up that it kind of scares me. Great big yawns are what I used to give when asked if I wanted to watch a documentary. When did I become the adult entertained, captivated and inspired by documentaries?

Maybe one day the documentary cupid shot me with its arrow. Anyway, The Square is a little piece of awesome that I urge you to experience. We often complain and wish for our situations to change, but fail to follow those wants with action.

The Square tells the story of young people creating change by banding together to claim their rights.  The movement is currently happening and the reality of their story is insane. Go check it out by Nov. 8 and see what can happen when people unite for a cause.

I had the opportunity to see it on Friday and participate in a Q & A with a few of the film makers and I am moved.

Watch the trailer below. For screening info click here or visit http://www.thesquarefilm.com

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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.

Easy Peasy Turkey Meatloaf

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Where are the eggs? Oops!

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Dinner is served.

I found this super easy recipe on Pinterest. The pin carried me over to 4 Men 1 Lady‘s blog. The directions seemed simple enough, so I tried it.

I forgot to add the eggs, oops. Luckily, I remembered 2.1 seconds after I closed the oven door, so I had time to add them.

Everyone loved it!  I made it for my niece (age 5), sister (age 21), and friend (age 28), who all asked for second servings. Winning! I paired the meatloaf with a cheesy baked potato and a baby spinach salad drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette (pictured above).

If you have kids around, turn it into a fun kitchen bonding experience. My niece enjoyed mixing the meatloaf ingredients with me. Get the “Easy Turkey Meatloaf” recipe deets from 4 Men 1 Lady.

Follow me on Pinterest for more cool pins. Thanks for reading! xoxo

3 Car Accidents In Less Than 1 Year. I’m Lucky!

DSC00542photo credit: Google Images (not my car)

Minding my own business, then BOOM! Literally, two minutes away from home, I’m hit. Less than 3 minutes before impact, the other driver cut me off by making a right turn from the left-turn lane. Why was I surprised when she followed that up with driving into my lane and colliding with my car? Sometimes I wonder if Cracker Jack gifts licenses.

As calmly as possible, I exchanged information while processing what happened, as she apologized. I nodded and remained silent. My car has been hit three times in less than a year (insert unhappy emojis).

I sulked in my sorrow all day, like the Lakers when they lost Dwight Howard. Seriously! The accident happened around 12:45 a.m. I went to sleep and woke up at 7:30 a.m., then made a trip to IKEA for project therapy. I refused to answer/return texts or calls until about 6 p.m.  After, talking it out with two awesome friends, I got over myself.

The day before, George Zimmerman was found not guilty, so Trayvon Martin’s parents lost a child and received injustice in exchange. The family and friends of Cory Monteith also lost an irreplaceable creation.

Yes, I have a right to feel the way I choose. In the grand scheme of things, the accident is not important. My car can be fixed and even if it couldn’t, it is replaceable.  Letting the damage to a material object affect me the way it did is silly.

Each time my car has been hit, I’ve walked away with a drivable car and all limbs intact.  My side mirror, rear door and side panel have to be replaced but I’m good. I’m lucky because it could have been worse.

How to Scare the Unafraid: The Conjuring

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 10.28.43 AMphoto credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Master of surprise, prankster, ballsy and jokester are all terms used to describe me.  After Christmas and my birthday, April Fools’ is my next favorite holiday. If scaring others was an Olympic sport, I would for sure own a gold medal.

With revenge always lurking around the corner, I stay on guard and uneasy to scare or surprise.  It is pretty safe to say that I am not a scaredy cat, but I pulled both hands really close to my face for a few seconds while watching The Conjuring.

Either I am getting a little soft or the movie fulfilled its purpose, you be the judge. It will be in theaters on July 19.  If you are on a mission to scare the unafraid, then take them to see The Conjuring and let me know what happens.

The film is pretty solid, but there were a couple scenes that caused the entire audience to snicker. Those were “Really! Are you serious?” moments.

Watch the trailer below.

kinkycurlsLA Celebs

We often get caught up in trivial activities of celebrities and forget to acknowledge significant accomplishments achieved by individuals we actually know.

Cue the confetti showers. Let’s take a moment to celebrate the Class of 2013. Congrats grads, you rock!!!

I’d like to shine a spotlight on a few awesome people I know. Check out a brief highlight of their achievements below.
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S. Dafney (top left)

Dafney graduates from King/Drew Medical Magnet High School in the top 25 percent of her class. Fall 2013 she will proudly sashay onto the campus of a four-year university and begin a new journey. Her major is undecided but her future is bright.

D. Gillett (top right)

Last week Gillett walked across the stage to receive her A.A. degree in child development from Los Angeles City College. The education she received there has prepared her for the Los Angeles Unified School District training she will begin in July. After completing L.A.U.S.D. training she will be able to work with children ages 2-5. Gillett plans to further her knowledge by pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

T. Gonzalez-Aird (bottom left)

Armed with a B.A. in Radio-TV-Film and minor in business administration, Gonzalez-Aird is on the hunt for a career in the entertainment industry. Once he lands, he will hit the ground running. His vision does not end there. Another stop on his path includes shooting a few amazing short films, music videos and commercials.

V. Malone (bottom right)
Ms. Malone finished her undergrad semester with a bang! She carried a 17 unit load and earned A’s in every letter grade course. Malone moves forward holding a B.A. in mass communication and journalism with an option in broadcast from Fresno State University. How will she use her degree? Oh! She plans to write and edit for a major network equivalent to CNN or ESPN.

Cheers! We wish you all continued success.

For most of you, the road wasn’t easy and the one ahead will present more challenges. When you’re faced with a bump in the road, strap on your big girl/boy boots and take it one step at a time.

xoxo

 
 

Tyler Perry’s The Haves & the Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor

THATHNcastatLAscreeningCast members at the Los Angeles press party (photo credit: Nicolle Whalen)

Fascinated with BFFs Tyler Perry and Oprah’s new partnership, I’ve patiently waited to check out the new projects on OWN.

Last week, I attended the press party for both series. The event, held at SLS Beverly Hills, featured brief teasers and a Q & A session with cast members. Forthcoming with behind the scenes deets, the casts seemed genuinely excited about their respective shows, so I eagerly awaited the air dates.

Yesterday, I watched the first two episodes of both shows and i’m ready to share my thoughts.

The Haves and the Have Nots is both Tyler and Oprah’s first drama. The premiere episodes definitely brought a boat load of drama. The issues are real and relevant, but there is a soap opera feel to the show.

At the press party cast members emphasized how this drama is much different from soaps that they previously worked on. As a viewer, that boundary is not so clear. I’m curious to see how the show progresses.

As for the comedy,  Love Thy Neighbor, it is the signature Tyler Perry that fans have grown to know and love. The characters are over the top, but authentic. The series ruptured with touchy topics including infidelity, independence and trust.

I hope that continually displaying real issues truthfully will start a shift towards us becoming better people. We realize how silly a situation/idea is when we are on the outside looking in, right?

Share your thoughts below or tweet me @kinkycurlsla.

IMG_2591Tika Sumpter introducing The Haves and the Have Nots teaser

IMG_1736Dynamic duo Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey in Essence Magazine‘s June issue