Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DVD Giveaway: Win Raven Symone's Disney Tinkerbell Adventure

I had the pleasure of chatting up Raven Symone recently for Heart & Soul magazine. The young entertainment mogul, who started out as the precocious Olivia on “The Cosby Show,” and went on to immense fame via “That’s So Raven,” shared about upcoming projects, including a cookbook that will hopefully include her delectable-sounding Brie and strawberry- brandied apricot jam quesadilla.

Symone is also Disney’s first African-American character as the voice of Iridessa, lighting the way for other fairies with her intelligence in the Tinkerbell film series.

Win one of 10 copies of the DVD of her new film “Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue” by posting on Heart & Soul how you keep the little girl in you alive.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Literary Jones

Yesterday, 3:30 pm:

My intention was to just read maybe 10 pages while I enjoyed my lunch. But 10 turned to 15 and I wasn't done yet. After lunch was consumed, I retired to the restaurant's outside seating on a glorious sunny, yet breezy day. Finding just enough shade, I settled in, feet propped up for what I told myself would only be five more pages-just to the end of the chapter.

I'm on page 106 of Ntozake Shange's Some Sing, Some Cry, a succulent and mammoth - 576 page - multigenerational novel about a recently emancipated family in Charleston, South Carolina. The writing has such depth and the characters are so rich that I'm intellectually full and emotionally drained after a chapter or two. If I read too much, I'm almost upset because I feel greedy about devouring the heart-wrenching and satisfying prose.

I mean there's a meeting in the church where Denmark Vesey planned his revolution and a book party for Ida B. Wells at the home of a "high-toned," upper crust black society hostess, where conversation is about the literacy poll tax and the loss of black senators at the end of Reconstruction. All this is set amid the horrifying brutality against my ancestors, the tracing of the roots of black music from spirituals to jazz, and at this point in the book, the touching story of a berry-skinned talented seamstress conflicted about her suitors from different classes and her desires for acceptance into the mulatto world. For a lit chick, who's drawn to many things activist, historical, musical and based in the richness of people of color, well, Shange's book is just irresistible.

And I only get to check in with these friends, these adopted family members, these well-written characters like once every 10 days or so. At this rate I probably won't finish the book until this time next year.

So 15 pages turned into 20 and it wasn't until I'd gone past 30 and realized an hour had slipped by that the guilts finally got me. It's Saturday. My daughter is with her father. And my To Do list is like a toilet paper roll long. The times of lingering in a park, a cafe, or the bed and reading for fun until my eyes were bleary is so long gone. I pray it returns in about 15 years when my baby enters college.

I did manage to press on, intent to check things off my list. I'd already accomplished one - made her soccer game this morning. Now off to a bookstore, where I'd work on some overdue magazine assignments, write pitches for more, and continue research for the infernal elementary school search I launched in the fall.

But any reader-writer-literary fiend knows that bookstores are more seductive than lovers. I have no idea what I was thinking. I tried to put blinders on and make my way directly to a comfy chair where I could get straight to work. I didn't even stop for my usual coffee with the raspberry flavoring.

I'd put myself in a trick bag. Of all the book displays to be sidetracked by, the one labeled "Required School Reading," diverted me from my path. As I perused the fare, authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Homer, Toni Morrison, Judy Blume, Zora Neale Hurston, and C.S. Lewis transported me back to a time when reading was required - and I SURE didn't mind.

I was almost giddy thinking of how I'd re-read all these favorites - the one's that spurred my imagination and creativity and laid the foundation for my chosen career - and the new classics when my daughter had to read them in school. I got so caught up that I whipped out my cell phone and started taking photos of the books I loved and those I'd heard about and thought I'd love.

I pray to God all the time that my child enjoys reading as much or more than - if that's even possible - I do. She can enjoy other stuff, too. That is totally fine, Lord. But please God, let her find the endless joy that is good story telling. Pardon me for that quick prayer, but I had to get it in. Because the To Do list is calling.

And I'm getting back on it. Right. Now.

In five more minutes....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

VIDEO: "The Rent Is Too Damn High" Candidate For NY State Governor

I'll admit there is a bit of the comical here, but I feel NY gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan on some of his ideas. And if you're from the Atlanta area, you have to admit that his cadence and forthrightness is similar to the late local activist Hosea Williams.

I think it's always good to have a layperson up in the political mix during election time. And if he's slightly entertaining, well..there's nothing wrong with getting a giggle and a different perspective at the same time. Enjoy and make sure you vote for your chosen candidates on Tuesday, November 2.

VIDEO: The Rent Is Too Damn High Party's Jimmy McMillan at the NY Governor Debate

VIDEO: NYS Gov. Candidate Jimmy McMillan Explains Why 'Rent Is 2 Damn High'

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kisses for God

8:25 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19

After prayers were said - "Now I lay me down to sleep" - and I read half of "The Five Chinese Brothers," to my four-year-old, she requested that we say one of our "special" prayers.

Sharing a pillow, we faced each other and she started:

"Dear God."

I repeated:

"Dear God."

And we went on, with her leading the way:

"I will obey tomorrow. I will listen to my teachers tomorrow. I will pay attention tomorrow. I will go to ballet tomorrow. I will obey all my teachers tomorrow. Thank you God. I love you God. Amen."

I was too proud of my daughter, who'd gotten in a bit of trouble earlier in the day for disobeying at school. After I explained to her that it was extremely important to keep promises made to God, she surprised me again:

"Mommy," she said, laying on her back and looking up at the ceiling, "I wish I could give God a kiss."

"You can," I said. "Just close your eyes and blow God a kiss." I demonstrated by kissing my hand and raising it up toward the sky. She did the same, but was not quite satisfied.

"I wish I could give God a hug," she added.

Thank the Lord that my quick thinking and lifelong religious teachings didn't fail me.

"You can, baby," I said. "God is inside of everybody. So God is inside of you. If you give yourself a hug, then you're giving God a hug."

She loved this idea and squeezed her little self so hard, I thought I was going to have to rescue her.

I got the same squeeze before I bid her goodnight. But she stopped me. She had one more gift for the One above.

"Mommy, I wish I could give God a cookie."

Quick thinking didn't save me here.

"We'll have to think about that one," I said, trying to banish the image of leaving cookies for Santa from my head. She nodded and slipped under her covers, as she shared one more thought:

"I love you, Mommy."

"I love you, too, baby."

I know...I know...this is so sweet it's cavity producing.

Right now she's in there doing her nightly play-in-the-bed routine. The rule is that she doesn't have to go to sleep, but her feet cannot touch the floor. So there's singing, shrieking, play-acting, talking, rolling and often wall-beating.

She just transitioned from some Cuban song she's learning as part of her school's upcoming International Day to "We Had a Great Day," by Nick Jr.'s Fresh Beat Band.

Dear God, I love my creative child. Thank you God. I love you God. Amen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

HOT & Creative - Willow's Whip My Hair

Love this confidence and creativity - a powerful mix!

Can't see the video? Check out the link.
Thanks to my girl Vanessa and to B Scott for the heads up about Miss Willow's video.

Whip it, ya'll!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Please Vote for New Media You Need & My Dynamic Friend, Journalist Yanick Rice Lamb

Friends, Family and Enjoyceinglife Followers,

My mentor-turned-sister friend Yanick Rice Lamb is in the process of launching an amazing new space in the digital world. Please check out her video entry to win seed funding for - you'll know immediately that you should cast your vote for this visionary journalist, author, editor and teacher.

**Voting Ends Sunday, October 17, at Midnight**

More info below. Thanks for your support!

New Media You Need!

Please take a second to vote for Yanick Rice Lamb to help our team secure seed money to launch, a new vision in digital media. connects dots and connects people from Atlanta to Accra through engaging journalism and social networking. We will also provide training and opportunities for journalists, students and citizens who want to tell stories about their communities and global roots. Allow us to help you get fully connected! Start by casting your vote for Yanick Rice Lamb and passing the word, since voting is open to the public until Sunday, Oct. 17.

You can also watch her short video under the NABJ logo on the top right at, and check out the prototype for In the spirit of Unity, vote for one person at National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, and Native American Journalists Association, too. Thanks!

Qualifications for Success

Yanick Rice Lamb’s team includes some of the youngest, brightest and most experienced minds in journalism. Yanick loves to quote Howard University colleague Paula Matabane, who says, “We teach what we do and do what we teach.” She has the best of both worlds as an associate professor and coordinator of the Print/Online Journalism Sequence at Howard, where she earned an MBA in 2005. The former president of the New York Association of Black Journalists is also associate publisher and editorial director at Heart & Soul, the leading health and fitness magazine for African Americans.

She has worked everywhere from Essence to The New York Times, gaining invaluable experience in launching and repositioning new ventures and winning numerous awards along the way. As founding editor of BET Weekend, her editorial vision led to the popular magazine becoming the second-largest publication targeted to African Americans with a circulation increase of nearly 40 percent from 800,000 to 1.3 million in just three years.

In addition to being an entrepreneurial fellow through the New U program co-sponsored by Unity Journalists of Color and the Ford Foundation, Yanick is writing about delayed hospital discharges as one of four journalists in the Health Performance Fellowship sponsored by the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Commonwealth Fund. Vote for Yanick Rice Lamb. Allow her innovative team to help you get fully connected!

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