Monthly Archives: January 2015

Patience Grasshoppers

Patience – (Noun) the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
That, by definition, I barely have any.  I mean I have more on some days than others. I thought very hard about what my specific issue is and I know what is it. I have a fervor for life. I want to run head first into life. I don’t want to stop and wait for instructions, advice or examples; I want to see it for myself. I want to do for myself. Since I can remember I have always been first in line, whenever possible. (It was a little hard in elementary school when line order was done alphabetically). When someone asked for a volunteer, my hand by sheer inertia, without my active decision, was the first to raise. When a teacher asked for an answer, I had one, with confidence, even if I wasn’t sure I was right. Whenever I had an idea, no matter how grandiose in natural, I attempted to do it! No matter how afraid I was of it, I would try or write it down as something to do in the future. 
In a few month, I will be living in Nicaragua for two years.I joined the Peace Corps and couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. The very first thing most people ask me when I say that I joined is “why.” However, one of the things I remember my family asking most is “where did I get the drive or want for that.” I have no idea. Truthfully, I just feel it in my bones, something rises in my blood that leads me onward. No matter what I will encounter it cannot be worse than holding myself back. This drive has led me to facing my fears, higher heights and greater self knowledge. Still, because of this feeling, I lack the patience I need sometimes to prevent myself from avoidable mistakes. Although mistakes are small lessons in life, some are worth skipping over. When I remember that I am more mindful and open to people extending their help and the additional time it takes when people give me wisdom. Patience is hard because you cannot try in it, you either have it or you don’t. So far my patience is a delayed response, not my reaction. Meaning, I have to remind myself to have it. It is not something that comes natural or without prompting. I have to consciously act in it. I hope, like me, you are trying hard to act in it. With patience, there is less anger, less harsh reactions and admittedly less need for forgiveness. That does not mean you have to squelch your desire to run into life or seek help when you don’t need it. Patience grasshopper doesn’t mean stop jumping or making a lot of noise. It simply means look a few seconds before you leap.  
You working for some patience like me or nah? Content with having none? What? Let me know below and don’t forget to subscribe. 🙂

Allegiant Review

Roth is driving me crazy with these continuous character perspective changes. At first, I was thankful because I was interested in Tobias’ inner dialogue from the second book but now IM OVER IT! He and Tris are too much alike. So it’s tough remembering who’s voice I am reading and just when I am getting comfortable the perspective changes! Oh girl. that was a no. Just no.
Aside from that, Tris and Four are becoming very “twilight”-ish with their constant desperate clinging of each other. I don’t like it. It’s kinda rude to everyone around them. if I was one of their lil friends I’d be over them too. They still haven’t had sex and it’s because both of them are “Stiff’s” on the inside. As far as war goes, the story has layers of complexity I must applaud Roth for. Their world has reached an apocalyptic state, quite like in the Hunger Games, because of war. They, unlike in the Hunger Games, tried to find multiple solutions and thus multiple cities of people exist thinking they were the only people in existence. CRAY CRAY!

In this new life, Tris is finding out more than she ever knew about her parents, especially her mother, who seems integral to this entire story of the city’s former glory. Although outside of the dissolve of the factions and opposing government officials, Tris finds herself in yet another battle; searching for truth and losing her relationship with Tobias again!

The ending was both astounding, shocking and saddening. I found myself choking back tears several times. Like

Happy endings don’t always end the way we want and everything was finally in order. This book feels like the end so I’m confused that there is one more book. I look forward to reading it with reckless hope that something might turn around. As for Allegiant I give it 4 out 5 stars because i won’t be reading it again anytime soon. Lordt that ending cut me deep unexpectedly, can’t say I want that to happen again without proper recovery and closure from the last book in the series. I may or may not change my rating after reading Four. 
*Update: the 4 out of 5 rating still stands.*

Have you read this book? Feel the same way? Plan to read it? Let me know below and don’t forget to subscribe!

Featuring ATL Takeova

Ya’ll know when I find something I like I have to tell the whole world about it! Well here is something I like. One of the many things I did as a child but never fully pursued was dancing and these women CAN DANCE! I mean like really, really, get down! Scroll down to learn more about the fabulous and dynamic creators of AtLA  Takeova!
Who are you? Tell me about yourself.  
We are Kiara (KiKi) Ely & Sakinah LeStage, the owners of ATLA TAKEOVA. We both are originally from Atlanta, GA born and raised and have been in the entertainment industry over 16 years performing all over the world with various artists such as Christina Aguilera, Ciara, Neyo, Usher, Mariah Carey, T-Pain and many more. We both have lived in Los Angeles as dancers performing in music videos, award shows, numerous films, commercials, & television shows. We have been extremely blessed to live out our dreams as dancers and now we are working choreographers and creative directors in the industry. We both have moved back to Atlanta in the last 5 years working with various artists such as Tamar Braxton, Austin Mahone, August Alsina, Martina McBride, & Janelle Monae just to name a few. As well as choreographing Films such as  Drumline2: A New Beat and just wrapped dancing in film BOLDEN set to release next year. We are teachers of our craft by nature having the opportunity to do master classes and workshops all around the world. Our motto is Teach. Inspire. Uplift. Through our vision AtL.A.Takeova is a collective group of Choreographers and Dancers that are all from Atlanta and have been blessed to have the opportunity to study and train under choreographers who helped them TAKEOVATHEIRDREAMZ. We’ve been able to dance & perform all over the world, on stage, on television, in films with so many amazing artists and experience some incredible performances. Our vision is to share this opportunity with other aspiring dancers, choreographers, & artists that want to pursue their dreams in the professional entertainment industry.  

Why did you start AtLA takeova?

Educating young talented dance professionals beyond the classroom and into the industry is the goal of ATL.A. with “The Takeova” Using classes, seminars and feedback from industry professionals will allow talented dancers to receive insight on what being a successful professional dancer requires. We also push dancers to takeovaurdreamz by instilling drive, hard work, diligence, and focus. We know that it’s possible to allow your biggest dreams come true with our platform to allow these dancers to be seen by the industry’s best. We have so many success stories of dancers that have gone on to tour and perform all around the world, have been in commercials, music videos, and films because they attended our convention and got booked. The main reason we started AtL.A. was that we knew it would be selfish of us not to share the knowledge and insight we were able to receive as dancers in the entertainment industry. Our goal has always been to give the same opportunities we had at our fingertips to those that may not have the opportunity to go to Los Angeles or New York. To be able to get the intense training in a three day convention is ideal for a hungry dancer that wants nothing but a chance to be seen and learn something that will take them to the next level. 
When did you start it?

The vision for ATL.A. TAKEOVA began in 2006 while I (Kiki Ely) was living in Los Angeles. I always had my connection with Atlanta being from here and my relationship with choreographers in Los Angeles that helped me to pursue my career as a dancer and make so many of my dreams come true. I wanted to be able to bring that experience to Atlanta some day. I (Sakinah LeStage) had a smaller dance workshop company named Shoskillz. We were doing small studios and schools around the country so when Kiki moved back to Atlanta it made sense to take the small format of Shoskillz to a bigger platform with ATLA. I (Kiki Ely) moved back to Atlanta in 2010 and partnered up with Sakinah LeStage, Sean Bankhead, & Codie Wiggins. We had our 1st  convention in 2011 on 11.11.11. That marked a monumental day in our journey. It was the beginning of something magical and epic that we had no idea would be. We had so many dancers that came from out of town it kind of blew us away that people believed in our vision and drove all the way to Atlanta to be a part of our 1st annual convention. Our convention is the 1st DANCE CAREER CONVENTION catered to pre-professional and professional dancers that want to make their mark in the DANCE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY.  

 What obstacles did you overcome to start it? 
We had so many obstacles we’ve had to overcome in the short time we started our company. Many of the obstacles we encountered was building the brand which took a good three years. We dealt with people that didn’t really believe in the possibility of what ATL.A. could be so we encountered some resistance and uncertainty when it came to certain events. In our past two attempts with our conventions, we incurred a tremendous lost of money. This occurred as a result of our efforts in trying to solicit choreographers of the highest caliber, and to maintain high quality and standards of opportunity for participants. Paying these amazing choreographers the rates they deserve, air flights, hotel, studio rentals, advertising, and promoting becomes challenging when trying to keep the cost affordable for dancers to pay for this experience. 

How long have you been dancing?
“I’ve been dancing since the age of six. I studied all styles of dance from Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, and African at Spelman College. I later began more extensive training at Ballethnic Dance Academy in East Point, Georgia under the direction of Waverly Lucas & Nena Gilreath. It was there I received my formal training in Ballet & Pointe. I then continued my dancing at Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I was a member of the SU Dancing Dolls for four years and Captain of my last year. I’ve been dancing professionally for over 16 years and choreographing over 7 years.”- Kiki 
“I have been dancing since I was 2 yrs old. I started at my local church Chapel Hill and then got serious when I was 12yrs old. I booked my first professional job at 13 with Coca-Cola Olympic City during 96′ Olympics. I knew then I would always do this. Studying Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz and Musical Theatre gave me a great platform to go into commercial dancing (including hip hop) as a professional in later years. I always knew I wanted to create. So right out of college I choreographed for Nivea at JIVE records. I was blessed to have a parallel career as a dancer and choreographer for many years. I like to say I have been dancing longer than I have been spelling my name. Lol“- Sakinah 

What have you learned from starting this dancing company?

That everyday you have to do something towards making your company better than it was yesterday. That you have to be accountable and hands on with everything as much as possible. That you have to keep your circle small and work with people you love and trust. Your team has to believe in the vision and contribute their part to make it a success. We have also learned that you can’t share your dreams with everyone because not everyone wants to see you succeed. We’ve learned that when people try to duplicate and copy what you have done than you are doing something right. We’ve also learned that everything has to be have structure and order to be successful. Although a lot of what we do is passion driven, we are also very business savvy otherwise we will get taken advantage of by people that are greedy, see us as a threat, or don’t believe two beautiful African American women are capable of running a successful business together. 
What’s been the best memory so far?
The best memory so far was the success of our 3rd event because we did so much of it on our own backs. We did everything in FAITH and filled with purpose and through all the bumps and bruises we came out on top and made it through. It was a test of our commitment, hard work, and passion for what we do. It was also just a peak into what’s to come for our business and the success we are destined to have because of our love for the art of dance. We care so much about the dance community and we aren’t money driven so it’s such a different gratification when you get people coming up to you crying saying that you changed my life. THAT IS WHY WE DO THIS.. we want to continue to touch lives, teach our younger generation the right way how to make it in the industry and take your career to the next level. 

Do you have any other ventures you’re invested in? 
Besides owning our own dance convention, we are choreographers and creative directors first. We currently have several projects that are in the works for 2015 that you will be sure to hear about. Aside from that we choreograph for various artists such as Tamar Braxton, Janelle Monae and Kiki was featured on Tamar & Vince, Sakinah just wrapped up an MTV special with Reginae Carter for her Sweet 16 Birthday party and Kiki choreographed August Alsina tour opening up Usher URXperience. We have  a few upcoming ATLA events that we are announcing the top of the year with ATL.A. SexyTAKEOVA this winterAtL.A. TAKEOVA MIAMI SPRING 2015, and DanceTeamTakeova: Drumline Edition this summer. And we are taking our  TAKEOVA CONVENTION to HOUSTON in JULY & CHICAGO in September of 2015!  
 What advice would you give those who want to start something similar? 
 Be original, creative, and unique! Offer something different that no one else can offer. Do your research, set goals, and do the work that has to be done to achieve them. Be passion driven not money driven.  Don’t share your ideas with everyone. Keep your circle small and be prepared to put in some work before you see any results of your labor. Believe that whatever it is you want to achieve is possible and don’t allow twists and turns to detour you. Often times that is the enemy working against you because He knows that is something great GOD has planted in you to fulfill your purpose. Stay on the course and follow through. These are words We tell each other everyday as We deal with obstacles on a daily but once you reach a certain level of greatness the enemy is ready to pounce and intervene by any means necessary. Be PURPOSE DRIVEN and FAITHFUL always!

When you think about everything you’ve been through with this company what has been your greatest lesson thus far? 

I was very excited to check these ladies out! Black women DOING THEIR THANG! I highly recommend you check them out and support. Every event giving back into our community is worth investing in, on top of the fact that dancing is an internationally spoken language. You can follow them on Facebook, twitter, tumblr, Instagram  and YouTube or Let me know what you think of them. Don’t forget to subscribe and comment below!

Selma and Its Relevancy

I saw Selma last night. If you don’t know Selma is a recently released movie, recounting the movement in Selma, Alabama to help blacks actually vote. Although it was admissible by law, whites prevented blacks from voting with scare tactics and asking unrelated questions, such as state the Preamble of the Constitution.   With actors such as David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Carmen Ejogo, Tessa Thompson from Dear White People and the rapper Common, just to name a few, I was certain the movie would be worth my money. Weeks leading up to the movie’s release made me overwhelmed with excitement.  From the trailer, to the interviews with the actors on TV shows such as Ellen Degeneres, to amazing bloggers cosigning it’s legitimacy (Shoutouts to Awesomely Luvvie) from pre-screenings, I WAS READY.  Not only did Selma come through with it’s facts, epic videography, realistic acting and compelling scenes but it called into question the true convergence of the Civil Rights Movement then and now here in America today. 
 I could not help watching and thinking of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner or Mike Brown. I looked around the theatre and was able to see the look of reminiscing from the elderly who were watching.  I saw the look of compassion and indignation on the faces of the non blacks who were watching.  Most importantly, I felt within myself the resolute premonition that we must fight on. If ever there was uncertainty in my mind about movements, fighting NONVIOLENTLY or uniting as a people it was silenced by the end credits of Selma.  It was clear in the making of this video that we must not forget our history! I specifically liked how the movie showed there were more people involved and putting their life at risk in the movement than Martin Luther King, Jr. I loved that it showed his humanity in doubts, fears and his marriage. I loved that a group of strong, educated black people came together with the support of Hollywood and made this movie successfully. Go support it.  This will be money well spent and you will not regret it.  If not to support a black female movie director,  then as an investment into the hard questions you should ask yourself about black rights today and where you stand on it.  Have you seen it? If so let me know what you think in the comments below. If you haven’t go watch then come back.  Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Woes Is Me: The College Alum Struggle

Here’s a little story that must be told and it goes a little something like this:
Society told me to get a degree or I wouldn’t succeed in life. My parents gave me their retirement so I could go to school. School was too much so I got loans to pay for it. School was super amazing and between, meal plans and free laundry I never went home.
Then I realized how tired I was of classes and exams to test me for things that wouldn’t matter in the real world so I happily crossed the stage got my piece of paper and landed right where I wanted to be: THE REAL WORLD.
There lies the first mistake I made my friends. Realistic newsflash, the real world ain’t so nice. There are bills and unrealistic expectations for finding a job, There are no meal plans so don’t you dare say goodbye to the ramen noodles, at least for now. The laundry for sure isn’t free and there is dignity in still being in your momma’s house. There is light at the end of this long and dark tunnel. I want to encourage you that you’re not alone! Everybody is going through this too. When you think about all the job applications you’ve filled out and the numerous “no’s” you’ve remember you’re only looking for the one great YES! 
If you haven’t graduated yet, HEAR ME LOUD AND CLEAR. Enjoy it while you can. Learn from my mistakes, research and get a job before you graduate! Save yourself the torment. Make the extra effort to fill out job applications while you’re doing papers and homework so you won’t have to from your momma’s couch. So which bus are you on: the alum struggle bus or the reality hasn’t hit me yet bus? 

Insurgent Review

This is the second book in the Divergent Series. It was just as thrilling as the first book! I am interested in where Roth is going with this story because it is not going the way I had predicted. Which I am so happy about. Here we see the complexity in both Tris and Four. They are like onions, layers of hurt, fear of love, trust and comfort surround them individually and bind them together. The war was long and hard. Many people died and that crazy girl Tris found herself in eminent danger more than once BY HER OWN DOIN! That girl not all the way right in her head. She is suffering from strong PTSD and I can’t tell if she is getting over her alleged fear of intimacy or just growing more desperate for connection with Four. Her family is in shambles, her parents death grieves her and her brother drains her. I am happy the book ended with her and FOur reconciling. They are just meant for each other in ways no one else can question. In an unexpected turn of events the war becomes about more than which faction betrayed the other and who is right. A huge secret that people were willing to die for is on the edge of reveal. I recommend you reading it! 4 out of 5 stars and I will be reading the next one. On to Allegiant! 

What Makes You Different?

A few weeks ago, one of my good friends said, “I have a question.” I am always open to questions, as transparency is a practiced art. So of course I said, “what’s up?” She said, “How does your blog stand out from other blogs?” I thought that was a great questions because it was something I had thought of before. It caused me to rethink and my answer was well received. So I am going to tell you, my readers why I do this. 
I like to think what makes me different is the content. I am not posting on celebrity news or flourishing on drama. I am posting on Christ centered content. My purpose in writing is to inspire, encourage and connect. My mission is to provoke discussion and thought, educate and most importantly express myself more passionately. 
If ever that intention is not expressed I will delete the post and try again. I realize every person is different. Some people don’t believe what I believe, some people were brought up entirely different from me and think nothing like me. I like that. I embrace that about my readers. I am hoping in our differences there might be unity and even when common ground is not found we can educate each other on something new. That’s what life is all about, learning and becoming a better version of yourself. Right?

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know. I love each and every reader I have. God bless you! Don’t forget to subscribe!

Cat in the Hat Review

I asked my followers what was their favorite books and what they recommended I read for 2015.  One follower said the Cat in the Hat. Now I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking the same thing. Had me like 
But then I thought, you know what!? That book was the realest for childhood and so I set off to read it and review it for you dear readers. And in proper Dr. Seuss fashion I shall be rhyming like the big man himself! Let’s get into it!

This feline adoption whether real or made up,
Started with two small children, that with boredom they were fed-up
Out of nowhere, thank goodness, a large Cat appeared
He came bearing a trunk and minions of cheer
First a balancing act, to show his fun operation 
But when balancing became too much, everything fell to the cat’s frustration
To the rescue with a hook Thing One and Two came
To the Cat in the Hat’s rescue for this children’s game
Now the fish in a tizzy he gave several great shouts,
He protested and raved, “send this cat out, out, out”
But what are children to do when boredom strikes?
They watch the telestrations of the Things with kites!
They bumped into the walls, they pulled clothes astray
Then to their horror they were not asked to stay
“You must go,” said the children. “Our mother is on her way.”
“You must go,” said the children. “Oh what will our mother say?”
When the Things finally left, they weren’t happy at all
They realized with sadness, a mess great and tall!
But the Cat, he came back, he did not go,
He came back to the children with one more trick to show
Up went the clothes, up went the rake,
Up went all the mess he did make
Then he was gone with a tip of the hat
Without a goodbye, simply “that is that.”
Then Mother came home, “Hello children, how are you? 
Did you have fun while I was gone? Tell me what did you do?”
The children looked at each other unsure what to say
Should they tell their mother of their adventurous day?
What would you do if you met the Cat in the Hat
Would you tell your mother of something crazy like that?
Now this is the end of the story summation
Such a great story no wonder has been passed from generation to generation
Taught children great lessons to be foretold 
And went against present children literary mold
Unfortunately, we have reached the end.
I give this book five stars and would read it again. 
If you have never grazed these pages I say shame on you 
and suggest library passes in addition to this book review. #boom finished. 

Hope ya liked it! Comment, let me know annnnnndd as always SUBSCRIBE!
P.S. Can we just talk about the bad parenting occurring in this book. Swear you’re not supposed to leave such young people in the house.. alone…with a talking  fish… and stranger danger much