Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why I Write, Why I Blog

hand writingI’ve always been an avid reader since I was a kid. Along with reading came writing. I remember writing a lot as a teenager, poetry, novels or whatever was on my mind at the time. One of the reasons I decided to start a blog was because as I’ve gotten older I’ve lost the passion I used to have for writing and want to get back to that.

I Can Backspace, Delete, Re-Phrase, or Re-Write

Writing for me, is the easiest way for me to express myself. I’ve always been better at writing in a foreign languages than in speaking them. And by better I mean more accurate in verb conjugation and proper tense. Much of that is probably due to the fact that I have more time to formulate my thoughts. I can backspace, delete, re-phrase, rewrite before it’s seen by anyone else. And that in itself is really comforting.

Talking aloud or to anyone else, for me isn’t difficult but I find that my mind wanders and I’m already on the next thought before I finish speaking the previous. Additionally, I  have a real need for speed, so I’m always walking fast, driving fast, eating fast, and talking fast. So they’ll be times when I know in theory what I want to say but can’t formulate my thoughts into, intelligible verbal words. So I write.

I write. At least that’s my goal. To get back to doing the things I used to find so much love in doing. I used to perform spoken word and do talent shows. That kid, that teenager, that young adult…that’s where I want to get back to. Only with the maturity and knowledge that I now possess.

Writing is therapeutic. Especially, when I go back and look at older journal entries or poems I wrote years ago. The growth I see in myself– or NOT sometimes. It’s like looking in the mirror and seeing the exact things you need to change or work on. Like a highlighter in a book on text you don’t want to forget.  You start seeing recurring themes. And hopefully, eventually, you change and grow and prevent repeat offenses.

So here I am writing and blogging and bettering myself through these words…my thoughts on paper and on this screen.  And so for all these reasons, I’ll continue to write and to blog.

-Justice

Why Video Vixens or Urban Models Don’t Compare to Runway or Mainstream Print Models

When you think of Video Vixens you probably think of Karrine Steffans, Melyssa Ford, Buffy the Body. These women have made a name for themselves by being overtly sexy in music videos and men’s magazines. Although these women commonly call themselves models, many will beg to differ. Yes they model, but when compared to more mainstream models, what are these ladies actually modeling. They typically don minimum amounts of clothing or skin-tight fabrics that leave little to the imagination.

Heidi

An obvious difference in a Heidi Klum compared to a Melyssa Ford is the body type. Video vixens are systematically chosen by their curves and voluptuous bodies. Runway and print models are chosen for their bodies as well but the criteria is much different, primarily the best canvas to show off the item of clothing or jewelry being advertised or promoted. Many video models are gyrating or posing in such a way that you can barely see the clothing. So what are they advertising?

Sex, at least in most cases. Grant it, Heidi doing the same pose as Buffy the Body and in the same bathing suit would be much less overtly sexy.  But my point is, if you name a woman at the top of her game in each category, Runway or Print and Urban or Video, you have to ask what is each model most synonymous with? For Runway or Print you may say a particular fashion designer or brand. So for someone like Adriana Lima you may think Victoria Secret or Guess? or for Naomi Campbell you may think high fashion or Vogue magazines. But when you think of Esther Baxter or Melyssa Ford what do you think of? Do you think of a particular hip-hop artist or rapper, or do you think of a particular men’s magazine or do you think sexy poses and lingerie?

As a woman if I’m looking to purchase a new bathing suit or lingerie, I’d probably check the latest Victoria Secret catalog before I’d check King or XXL magazine.

Of course you want some level of physical attraction when choosing a model for anything. And I imagine Nelly chooses more curvy models for his Apple Bottom line because its the best canvas for his clothing line. But should Melyssa be able to call herself a model  in the same fashion as Heidi Klum or Tyra Banks.

Do you agree?

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Day 7 of the 7-Day Diet

Finally, the last day of this diet. I can’t call it much of a cleanse because in my opinion when you cleanse you put cleaner foods in your body. Mostly fruits and veggies. Red meat is already harder for your body to digest so that just seems counterproductive to me.

Weighing in this morning I was down less than a half pound.

For breakfast I had an apple, and for lunch I had some more of the soup, I also had the last piece of flank steak. Later I had an orange and some pistachios with a decent amount of water.

You can probably tell, I’m no longer committed to this thing. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I was expecting larger weight loss and I know that following other plans would have likely resulted in the same or greater results but with slightly less food restriction.

If I were to do it again I would likely alter the plan to include fruit, veggies, soup and no meat for 3-5 days.

Overall, my total weight loss was 6.2 pounds and that was without working out or exercising. If I’m down more lbs. in the morning, I’ll edit this post to share.

Thanks for following me on this short journey.

 

Daily Prompt: A List of the Top Things I Miss Most About Philly

I do love lists. I get great satisfaction and sense of accomplishment by checking things off a list I created.

What I miss most about Philadelphia:

The food overall, but specifically.

1. Lorenzo and Sons

Lorenzo and Sons Pizza. It’s my favorite. They’re located on South Street and they have gigantic slices and they only sell them without toppings.  But don’t worry about their bottomline beacuse their following is cult-like. You know better than to ask for toppings on your slices, there is nowhere to sit and eat your pizza, and if you want a box for your slices, it’ll cost you. Lorenzo and Son’s suffered a tragic fire last year in the summer of 2012 and has remained closed while undergoing repairs etc. It is set to re-open soon, which is exciting. Maybe they’ll have more space for seating, and ventilation/air conditioning.

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2. Philly Cheesesteaks


Philly Cheesesteaks. You can argue for weeks on who has the best Philly cheesesteaks in the city. If you ask any non-Philiadelphian they’ll probably say Pats or Geno’s but most who live outside of South Philadlephia will agree that Pats and Geno’s are tourists attractions.

I have my favorite spots to get an authentic Philly cheesesteak, but honestly you can go to practically any neigbor”hood” in Philly and get a decent one. I find that people tend to measure or judge the quality and taste of Philly cheesesteaks based on their local neighborhood spots. But I’ve done my own unofficial taste testing of several popular spots around town and the popular places in my humble opinion, aren’t always the better tasting. If I get a chance I would love to do a more in-depth review of the top 10-20 places and find my absolute favorite.  I know that sounds really fat right! I don’t even eat a lot of red meat to begin with but I’d make an exception for this awesome cause. FYI, I love my cheesesteak with extra mayo, extra ketchup, fried onions, and sometimes a little mustard.

3. South Street

South Street is a popular strip in South Philadelphia. It’s where I used to go to shop, eat, people watch, be seen, and just hang out with friends. It used to be a great place to meet people, and an even awesome(er) place to see the sights. And by sights I mean the crazy people, with outrageous hair, crazy clothes, over affectionate lovers and more.

As I’ve gotten older, I tend to go to South Street to get what I need and keep it moving. Maybe I’m just over it, but I still miss what it represents and for me it’s always worth a trip down the slow moving stretch to get my beloved Lorenzo pizza.

4. Food Convenience 

Another thing is the conveince of obtaining food. Maybe it’s because I lived in the city but I can’t think of too many locations in the Philadelphia area that don’t have the same conveince of a vareiety of nearby food options. I don’t just mean McDonald’s or Chinese Stores but corner stores. Corner stores, bodegas, chinese stores, Pizza/Hoagie/Cheesesteak shops, in Philadelphia you could find one or several of the above within 2-walking blocks from your house.

5. Mister Softee

Man, as a kid Mister Softee would come around twice a day. Once in the afternoon and again in the evening. Mister Softee is a chain of Ice Cream Trucks famous mostly in Northeast America. Hearing Mister Softee’s tune play blocks away was a signal to most kids to find enough cash to get your favorite Mister Softee product in enough time that you could catch him before he was off to the next block. Or even better go find him, by following the tune. It’s all so nostalgic and in the DMV, Mister Softee is non-exisistant. I feel bad for the children here, that they won’t get to have the same child memories of ice cream, sticky hands, friends and fun. Thats what I think of when I think of Mister Softee. I sure wish a franchise would come this way. If I didn’t love my career I would seriously consider opening a Mister Softee Franchise here.

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I started to add the “Greek Picnic” but I think I’ll do a separate post about it.

Day 6 of the 7-Day Diet

Today wasn’t a great day for the diet. I woke up starving and without enough time to prepare something according to the plan. So I had a very small bowl of Special K cereal with an Almond and 1% milk mixture. But not before I weighed myself. I’m down about a half a pound. I got in 80 ounces of water yesterday and not the 112 recommended. Could be the culprit but I guess I’ll never know.

I had to work Children’s Church and knew I’d be there for about 5 hours, so I stuffed a bunch a grapes in my bag, filled my water bottle and called it a day.

Luckily, I refrained from snacking on the juice boxes and graham crackers we give to the kids.

But by 2:30 PM I needed some food. I stopped at Chipotle and got a salad. It had beef and chicken, veggies, medium salsa, corn salsa, and guacamole. I only ate about 5-6 spoonfuls before I was full. But I’ll probably eat a little more for dinner. It’s still way too much left to eat in one setting.

Guess I’ll find out in the morning how harmful this was to the diet.

Day 5 of the 7-Day Diet

Woke up this morning feeling great and not tired. This of course happens on the weekend but never during the week when I just beg for morning to come later rather than sooner and usually wake up exhausted.

I gained weight!

I weighed myself and almost screamed in frustration. I’m actually up almost a 1/4 of a pound. Seriously?!?! I gained weight!

This is discouraging to know that restricting my normal diet resulted in adding weight. Maybe it was the potatoes in the soup I don’t know but I’ll be eating around the potatoes now.

For breakfast I cooked two of the three beef products I had purchased from Whole Foods for this diet/cleanse. I seasoned it well and added a lil Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the pan to avoid sticking.

beef tenderloinLet me just say that the Beef Loin Tenderloin Steak was superb. It was so tender and I could tell that before I even cooked it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not  very knowledgeable about cuts of beef in general, but from what I heard on the news recently the names of the beef  and pork cuts will be changing to make it more consumer friendly.

cow diagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ended up only eating one of the steaks it was so tasty but I a used half a teaspoon of A1 Steak sauce because I just love that stuff.  And I made one egg to go along with it. So I cheated a little but at this point I’m not sure it’ll make much difference in the program. I also had a little soup and a tomato while I was cooking the steaks.

For dinner I had more beef and a bowl of soup. I won’t have the 6 whole tomatoes recommended on the plan but the soup contains several tomatoes so hopefully I’ll have had enough.

Water intake should increase from 80 ounces to 112. I’ll try my best to get as close to 112 as possible. But it’s not looking good.

Day 4 of the 7-Day Diet

Milk and Bananas?

Ok let’s give this a try. So I  decided to make a smoothie. I used about 4 bananas in addition to vanilla-flavored Almond milk and 1% milk.   I like bananas but I don’t typically like anything banana flavored. (So don’t give me a strawberry banana smoothie)  The banana smoothie was tolerable but definitely nothing I would revisit again if I didn’t have to.

Oh wait, you probably want to know if I lost more weight. Well I did, but still nothing to call home about. Only 1.2 pounds.  I’m not sure all this sacrifice is worth the progress I’m seeing.  If you’re keeping track up to this point. I’m down a total of 5.2 pounds in four days.

Back to the food…

I had a banana about 2 hours into my day. And snacked on the smoothie, literally all day.  On my way home I stopped at the grocery store to get the Lipton Onion soup mix and a can of corn for the soup.

As I was cutting up the veggies for the soup , I had about 2 cups of the almond and regular mix. It was pretty tasty. I think the vanilla flavor helped me drink two glasses. I’ve never been one to drink milk without the accompaniment of a chocolate chip cookie or a cupcake :-).

The GM soup…

soup

I used:

  • 12 cups of water
  • 4 packets of the soup mix
  • 1 extra large onion
  • 1 extra large tomato
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 6-8 red potatoes
  • celery
  • 1 cabbage head
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • baby carrots
  • sweet canned corn
  • seasonings

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I was surprised at how good the soup was and had a nice size bowl of it. My water intake was low today. About 30 ounces, I have no choice but to do better tomorrow.

Day 3 of the 7-Day Diet

I woke up at about 4AM this morning, probably because I was hot. I weighed myself and went back to sleep. (Told you have a slight obsession with that damn scale). I don’t remember what the scale said because I went back to sleep and weighed myself before I showered and again after I showered and it was difference of about 1 pound less.  I will only count the scale’s reading prior to the shower to be consistent. But I was down 1.8 pounds. Still not what I had hoped for or expected.  Any diet I’ve done I’ve been able to see the best results in the first week. But this is a bit different.

In January 2012 I did a raw food diet for the whole 30 days (Well really 28, something happened those last 2 days of the month). But I think I had lost 11 pounds that first week. BTW, I don’t recommend doing a raw food diet in the dead of winter. Fruit salads are fun and cool in the beginning but after awhile you realize it’s too cold to be eating frozen smoothies and cold foods. Wintertime means hot hearty meals.

Today’s regimen called for a mixture of fruits and vegetables.  I started the day with a smoothie made with pineapples, mangos, and strawberries.  For lunch I had  more of the smoothie and some black grapes.  By lunch my lips were burning, like I had little cups all throughout my lips, probably due to the citrus in the pineapples.  About 4PM I had a bit of a fruit salad I made with Cantaloupe, Honey Dew, and Pineapples.  About 2 hours later I had an apple.

Dinner time was difficult for me. I was ready to give up, I really want something with some more sustenance.  I haven’t been creative enough to whip anything up. So it was a struggle to eat more fruit and veggies.

Ultimately, I had 2 tomatoes with a little salt and pepper, a can of string beans and and a can of corn.  I also had an orange.

I wasn’t as diligent with drinking my water as I still have 5 hours left until bedtime and I’ve only consumed about 30 ounces.

My Beauty School Highlights

In April 2012 , about a year ago, I got my hair highlighted.  I went to a beauty school and was really pleased with the turnout

In this picture, taken about 8 months after it had been highlighted, you can see my hair straightened and some of my highlights.

photo-2

Here’s a better view of my hair from September 2012 (about 5 months after I got it highlighted), This is the work of my main hair stylist. The before picture on the left is my hair freshly washed, the middle picture is blown dry and the last is a shot of  the left side of my hair flat ironed.

photo hair Erin

I must note that I didn’t experience any damage or breakage due to the color and my hair was lightened without the use of bleach.

Why go to a beginner or someone learning how to perform  such a permanent process?

Some might say “Why go to a beginner or someone learning how to perform  such a permanent process?  But my reasoning was that there is a skilled instructor overseeing the whole process. Someone who’s job it is to teach the proper technique to eager students. The trainer for my student stylist oversaw the process and and I felt that my stylist was pretty confident. So as previously stated I was happy with the outcome and the price and didn’t have any complaints.

Day 2 of the 7-Day Diet

Last night I dreamed that I had consumed half a Mountain Dew, so I woke up with an attitude for ruining this diet. But as I was weighing myself I realized it was just a dream.  But more importantly I woke up with imminent urge to pee.  I had high expectations for at least three pounds to be erased from the number on the scale. But I was only down about 2.4. Better luck tomorrow.

photo 3Realizing it was a potato day made me slightly happy, and I ran downstairs to microwave it as I got ready for my day. A lil butter, salt and pepper and I was happy.

For lunch I had guacamole that I made the night before and instead of chips I used baby carrots and celery to dip it in.

For dinner I had sweet corn and broccoli. I’m at about 52 out of the 80 recommended ounces of water and I have about four hours left before bed. I

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