Oct 24, 2016

Trap Kitchen Seattle Pop-Up Dinner on 11/18 #TrapKitchenPopUp

What happens when two former gang members take their business acumen for hustling and leave the street life behind? Trap Kitchen!

The brainchild of Malachi 'Spank' Jenkins and Roberto 'News' Smith, Trap Kitchen features a daily "chef's choice" menu chocked full of soulful favorites like fried chicken and waffles, king crab jambalaya, and shrimp mac n cheese has quickly become Compton's culinary bae.

What excites me most about what Spank and News are doing with Trap Kitchen isn't necessarily the food, but proving to the world that you can successfully leave the street life behind and find a legit, profitable and enriching way to make money. They used the resources available to them  and carved out their own lane to make a booming business!

This is both a polarizing and historic time to be a black person in America, especially a black man. I love the idea of these two black men, who were former rival gang members, coming together and creating a real-life, relatable example of what it is to be a successful people of color in this country! We are not the sum of our poor decisions and you can always turn your life around for the better.

Trap Kitchen will be blessing Seattle with their delicious eats on Friday, November 18th @ 7p in the 1927 Event Space in Belltown (on 3rd Ave. between Virginia and Stewart). This is Trap Kitchen's first pop-up in the Pacific Northwest, so I'd encourage you to snag your tickets before they're sold out.

Tickets are $65 and 100% of the proceeds are being donated to the Black Prisoners' Caucus T.E.A.C.H. Program. Not only do you get to enjoy a night of delicious food and entertainment, but you get to help a great cause! Click here to purchase your tickets.

For more information on Trap Kitchen visit the official Facebook event page.

Photos: @TheRealTrapKitchen Instagram

Sep 15, 2016

A Quest For Love Tour - Seattle (via @RBSoundSelect)

If you're a fan of dope music, get ready to rejoice... Red Bull Sound Select is bringing their "A Quest For Love Tour" to Seattle! The 12-city tour features upcoming MCs Mick Jenkins and Smino blessing fans with their refreshing take on hip hop. Think meaningful rhymes + dope, melodic vibes sans the ratchet club sound currently dominating the airwaves.

I wasn't previously familiar with either artist, but after OD'ing on both of their Spotify pages it's safe to say I was missing out. On top of that, they're both Midwest natives (Mick Jenkins - Chicago, Smino - St. Louis), so I'm always happy to support my fellow Midwest folks.

The show will be in Belltown at the Crocodile on Thursday, September 29, and is only $3 with an RSVP OR $10 at the door.

RSVP by clicking here.

Sep 9, 2016

The Best Condo Views in Seattle (via @LumaCondosSea)

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Luma Condo Terrace and Sky Lounge opening for homeowners and you all, the views were breathtaking! Being from Chicago, I'm a city girl at heart and location and views are everything to me. The Luma is technically located in First Hill, but sits a few blocks away from Capitol Hill, so the location is spectacular. You get to be in the midst of everything that matters in Seattle, but elevated high enough away from the hot mess that Cap Hill night life usually turns into.

The Luma also did a phenomenal job maximizing the space of their terrace and sky lounge to offer luxurious comfort in their indoor spaces, splurging on square footage, 360 degree views, and even a dipping pool and outdoor shower! It's the epitome of condo living in Seattle and absolutely stunning.

Southwest Pool Views at Night

Southeast Pool Views during the Day

Currently the building is 85% Sold Out with only 25 units left. The prices start in the high 500s for 1bdrm units (2bdrm range from the high 700s to "low" 1.3 million), but they're absolutely gorgeous and the views can't be beat. My girlfriend was able to snag a unit in the building, so I feel lucky to live vicariously through her.

The official Grand Opening party will take place Thursday, September 22nd from 6p - 9p, and feature local Pike/Pine area chefs battling it out to cook the perfect burger, along with local bartenders crafting the perfect drink. The free event is currently sold out, but you can add your name to the wait list.

The Luma residents toasting to their gorgeous new condo
If you're in the market to buy and the price range doesn't scare you off, I'd highly suggest checking out the building and seeing if it could be your next home. The views are the best I've ever seen in all of Seattle.

Aug 24, 2016

Recap: Mentoring in the Moment with @hereSeattle

I've always thought of myself as more of an animal person over someone who would want to be around kids. It's something I'm playful about, but in all honesty I'm the youngest in my family and never grew up having to be around or care for kids younger than me. However, as I've gotten older I've had more of an inclination to give back to the next generation of kids who will become functioning adults and rule the world whenever I'm old.

When HERE Seattle announced their annual "Mentoring in the Moment" event held a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to participate and work with kids. It honestly blew my mind how much I connected with the kids and genuinely enjoyed being around them. Tina and I were paired with 2 teen girls and 1 teen boy for a pool competition, karate demonstration, and food/drinks. It was only a few hours, but just enough to leave me craving more... I left the even wanting to really give back and focus on pre-teen/teenage girls.

You guys -- it's a crazy time to be in the world, let alone a teen! Although I had a few moments where I was like, "Holy Shit... I'M actually the adult," it was great being able to help instill some confidence into the teens and bond with them in an organic way.

I'm really excited about the work HERE Seattle is doing for people of color in technology, the community of Seattle, and the kids... all around dope things are happening! Their goal is to take this yearly event and make it into a quarterly mentorship event.

If you're interested in learning more about HERE Seattle click here.

Tina and I with our mentees for the day

Check out the recap video below:

Aug 22, 2016

Cruise the Sound & Raise Money with @hereSeattle #TheSummerCruise

Everyone loves a party, but getting lit for a cause is even better! This Saturday (8/27) HERE Seattle will be hosting #TheSummerCruise, with 100% of proceeds benefiting WAPI (Washington Asian Pacific Islander Community Services).

I've been a member of HERE Seattle for a while, but recently became more active. I love that their events are focused on creating a community of support for people of color in technology, but also branching out to help the community, give back to the youth, and incorporate a few parties to add some balance.

For #TheSummerCrusie, HERE Seattle rented an Argosy boat and will have food, music and a cash bar. Tickets are $30 and 100% of the proceeds are going to WAPI, so you can have the confidence that your ticket price isn't going toward the boat or lining the pockets of HERE Seattle, but truly helping to fund a great organization.

WAPI's mission is to provide and advocate for culturally competent and age-appropriate prevention and substance abuse treatment services for Asian Pacific Islander youth and all youth of color. One program in particular that HERE Seattle is focused on helping them to grow is the Level Up Music Program that "teaches students the fundamentals of digital audio recording from signal flow to audio software to song arrangement. The 20-week program provides a safe, non-clinical creative outlet in addition to technical audio production skills."

To learn more about WAPI click here.

Purchase your #TheSummerCruise tickets here.

Jul 14, 2016

Fun Sh*t to do in Seattle: Genuine Gem 4th Anniversary Party 7/16 #GGExactly

If you're looking for something fun to do in Cap Hill this weekend, Genuine Gem will be celebrating their 4th Anniversary at Vermillion, Sat. 7/16 from 5p to 9p. This free event will feature DJ sets, soul food, a full bar (21+) and nail art!  Doors open at 5p and the show starts at 6p. Learn more about the event here.

Jul 8, 2016

Aura Protection Bath to Cleanse Yourself of all the Bullshit Happening in the World (via @TheHoodwitch)

It honestly feels like the world is going to hell in a hand basket right now. I don't know how to feel, what to do, or how to act. The last 2 days have been a blur full of mixed emotions... anger, rage, hopelessness, spurts of laughter followed by intense sadness... I feel like a hot mess and rightfully so.

Looking at images of black men being publicly executed... murdered by police who will more than likely go without any disciplinary action... only to then have that followed by murders of police in Dallas... it's just SO much to handle. Murder is not the answer. Crime is not the answer... we want outrage and justice for anyone who is murdered; however that requires equal outrage and justice, not just for specific lives. A white life or a "life in blue" is not worth more than a black or brown life.

With everything that's been happening I felt a pressing need to focus on self-care. One of the things I like doing and have found to be successful is doing an Aura Protection Bath. I like this recipe I found on TheHoodWitch.com that calls for about 30-40 mins of undisturbed time and ingredients most people have around the house.


I took this bath last night and it was amazing. I opted to use ACV and add the essential oils of Spearmint and Eucalyptus. It was magical. It's nearly impossible to not feel the weight of all the chaos currently happening in the world, so be sure to take some time for self-care this weekend. Stay encouraged and guard your heart... it's easy to get caught up in the bullshit and hate that's spreading like wildfires right now.

Jul 6, 2016

Red Cup TurnUp in Capitol Hill (via @TheFLVR)

The Chicago City Girl inside of me absolutely LOVES spending my summers on rooftops. Like, Summertime Chi is synonymous with "Rooftop Day Parties", so I was thrilled to discover the #RedCupTurnUP summertime rooftop series being hosted by The FLVR. I went to their first #Summer16 event last week and was pleasantly surprised at the dope music, different crowd (melanin was thriving and I hadn't seen most of the people before) and the BBQ across the street (provided by C. Davis Texas BBQ -- bomb af).

The weather is supposed to be sunny (20% chance of AM showers) with a high of 68%, so I'd suggest getting there early (free before 4p) and claiming your spot on the rooftop. 95 Slide has a small rooftop, so once it gets packed they have a line to get outside. If you want to enjoy the sun, music and not wait in a line, get there before 4p. You've been warned.

The next event will be this upcoming Sunday, July 10th @ 95 Slide in Capitol Hill. Doors open at 3p and is free with an RSVP before 4pRSVP Here.

Jul 1, 2016

Where to get a Nose Piercing in Seattle (via @laughingbuddhaseattle)

I'd been on the fence about getting a nose ring for quite some time and finally said "fuck it" this past Monday (my birthday) and took the plunge. I was like, you know what... I'm 32, I've been wanting this forever... what am I waiting for? So, I strolled into Laughing Buddha in Capitol Hill and got some nose candy from Piercer/Body Modification Artist Little John.

It should be noted that you can't change out your nose ring for the first 6 months, a pretty hefty healing period, so I opted to splurge on the only thing I knew I wouldn't tire of seeing for 6 months -- Gold!!!!

I believe the piercing itself cost about $25 and the gold nose ring cost about $90. They also gave me a "Friend/Family Discount" because it was my birthday #Winning.

The actual process was beyond easy.
1. Pick out your nose ring
2. Sign the paperwork
3. Get the piercing

Since I'd worn fake nose rings (nostril and septum) for a year, I knew the side and positioning I wanted for the real deal. I'd highly suggest trying out a fake ring before you go get your real one. This manages your expectations and makes it so much easier once you get your piercing.

Little John was also amazing when it came to talking me through the process (sterilizing the equipment, doing the piercing, and giving me post-care instructions). The actual piercing took about 10 seconds to do, if that. The pain was about a 2 out of 10... meaning it felt like "something" was happening, but it wasn't painful. It didn't even feel like a pinch. I've had zits on the edge of my nose that were like a 7 out of 10. This almost felt like nothing at all. I inhaled... exhaled... and it was over. I laughed because I should've done this years ago. I don't know why I waited so long.

If you're in the Seattle-area, check out Laughing Buddha to get your piercings. They also offer a 2-for-1 piercing deal on Tuesdays. Super clutch.

Jun 8, 2016

WHO you are, NOT what you do #OFDSeattle

I can still remember moving to Seattle in the Summer of 2013. My ex had accepted a job in the city and I cried as he told me the move would be official. As we touched down in Seattle, I had no clue what to expect and was admittedly closed off and sad to be leaving Chicago, my home, at the start of #SummertimeChi.

Those first 6 months were brutal. I lost count of how many times I cried in our overpriced SLU apartment longing for home. I also realized how much I leaned on my friends and family as a source of strength and support. Here I was, across the country in a new city where I only knew 1 person and was on the edge of losing my sanity and social life each day.

It took about 6 months to find a job I liked, start building a group of friends, and turning my "hate" for Seattle into a "neutral" feeling. It was baby steps, but those initial feelings are still fresh in my mind. That was my motivation for applying to be an Our Family Dinner host for Seattle. I wanted to help foster a sense of community for people in the city, creating a family feel for those who found themselves a long way from home, as well as embracing the Seattle natives who were typically closed off to transplants.

Our Family Dinner - Portland

With that said, I'm so honored to be one of the hosts of Our Family Dinner Seattle, which is launching our first Seattle dinner this upcoming Saturday, June 11th! People have asked me "What makes OFD different from anything else?" and the answer is this -- Our Family Dinner is focused on creating and nurturing a community of people based on WHO you are and NOT what you do.

There are more black transplants in Seattle than actual Seattle natives, so the majority of people connect surrounding their careers... which is great, but can also be limiting. Our Family Dinner focuses on removing those boundaries and connecting people based on who they are, not what they do... and I'm so happy for it. We are SO much more than our jobs, and I love opportunities to meet new people I otherwise may never meet.

Our Family Dinner - Portland
All are welcomed with open arms to the 3-course dinner and there are only 2 rules: 1) No phones during the event and 2) No talking about work! It's so simple.

Of course we live in a connected world, so we encourage everyone to post away using our hashtag #OFDSeattle during the cocktail hour and after the event... but DURING the event we want everyone to be open and engaged, so you'll get a social media break.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

Instagram: @OurFamilyDinner
Twitter: @FamilyDinnerOrg

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