Dec 29, 2008

Adventures on the CTA: Girl Fight

I've come to realize that in addition to getting me to work the CTA provides constant entertainment. Sometimes hilarious, other times like watching a train bus rides are never short of priceless moments. Today I witnessed (and being technology deprived at the moment was unable to snap a photo, record a video or even send a voice note) a girl fight - - more like an argument to the 10th power of hoodness - - between, get this, the BUS DRIVER and a women who appeared to be in her late 40s/early 50s...and I'm sure was missing some teeth and needed a shower. At first I dismissed the lady as another random hobo walking aimlessly around the bus, talking to herself, and prayed she wouldn't occupy the empty seat next to me. Then I started paying attention to what she was saying, or screaming across the bus.

"Fuck you bitch. You still an ass licker."

Everyone on the bus watched in utter disgust, half with dropped jaws, as we heard the words...filthy trash, spewing from this woman's mouth.

"I got you right where I want you bitch. I want you dead bitch. Fuck you bitch. You lick dick, bitch"

I couldn't believe this was happening. Matters were only made worse when I realized that the lady was aruging with the bus driver. The bus came to a screeching halt and the bus driver proceeded to carry on a verbal bash with the lady for about 2 mins. Yes, we all sat there in annoyance, amazement and shame as 2 black women went back and forth, definitely setting us back about 64 years...and turned my ride home into a nightmare.

I wish I could've gotten the driver's badge number because I shouldn't be subjected to hood ass sitautions on my ride home. I guess that comes along with taking the #4 Cottage Grove bus. I'm still trying to figure out if EVERY bus has nuts on it or if I'm just one of chosen few who pick the wrong bus to take.

Dec 28, 2008


Any proud owner of a blackberry is well aware of its addictive qualities! Being able to instantly send emails, chat via BBM, shoot pictures, go online...everything about the phone is fantastic. Last night my world came crashing to an end when I lost my phone. Well, actually my night was really fun...full of too many drinks and voice notes to Jessica :) but when I awoke this morning my camera and blackberry were nowhere to be found. I've come to accept that I lost them in the back of the cab...a random cab that hauled ass and with it took my life...memories...everything. I'm glad that I didn't lose my wallet, but anyone that knows me KNOWS that my camera is like my shadow - - everywhere I go. Like most people with a brain I had insurance on my phone so it'll be a hassle to re-program everything but that wasn't the biggest issue. I think that losing your camera feels worse. Those are your friends. family. moments! I've been brainstorming some little tips that I've realized thru this situation:

1. Don't keep extremely personal information on your phone. It's hard to not do this, especially with a blackberry...but when I get my new phone I'll be sure to watch how much info I have stored on it.

2. Always keep your phone locked. Unfortunately I didn't have my phone locked so someone else could go thru it and be a peeping tom into the ins and outs of my life.

3. Upload your pics from your camera and delete them from your memory card. I am glad that most of the stuff I had on my camera had already been uploaded to my pc and deleted. That doesn't make me miss my camera any less, but it's nice to know that someone isn't having a front row seat into all of the private, special moments of your life.

Losing stuff is never fun and this has served as a reminder that you can't place too much value in material things...and if you do, as my mom so nicely told me this morning, "You should've taken better care of it." Nothing like having your mother tell you what you already know...but she's right. So, as we go into the New Year please stay organized and keep an eye on your things...and better yet, whenever you get out of a cab be sure to take a look on the seat and make sure it didn't swallow up any of your stuff.

Dec 23, 2008

Adventures on the CTA: Special Delivery

Pregnancy is often a joyous time for many woman. In addition to fussing over whether it's a boy or girl, picking a name and devouring all food in sight, many focus on what kind of birthing plan they want to follow. I've seen everything from natural births, at home births, highly medicated hospital births, water births...there are many options. However, I have yet to see a "CTA birth" on anyone's list.

Today on my way to work I had the pleasure of experiencing this first hand. The X4 Cottage Grove Express pulled up and I was thrilled to have my wait at the bus stop cut in half. I boarded the bus and noticed 2 women sitting in the front. They were the typical hood chicks...talking loud, etc. I didn't pay them much attention but couldn't help but overhear their conversation. One of them was teasing the other, holding up her camera phone and shooting a video of the other. Her friend kept talking loud...which turned into cursing loud and lots of moans and groans...but they sounded painful. At first I thought she was being dramatic but soon she called out to the bus driver "Okay, can you call them now?" I sat there puzzled. The bus immediately pulled over...halted to a stop at Congress and Michigan! What? I needed to get to work. Why the hell were we stopping! This was the X4! An express bus...get me to work, in an express manor! Another passenger asked what was going on and the bus driver informed us that the lady was going into labor and she had to wait for the ambulance to come.

I understood that an emergency was happening but I still needed to get to work. I hesitated a bit, unsure of what to do. Should I stick around and watch the miracle of life? Step over the people and get off the bus to catch another? Well, I managed to do both. I hung around briefly and watched the lady get coached on her breathing. It was actually interesting to watch as a life was about to enter the world...enter the world kicking and screaming on the floor of a dirty, cta X4 bus! A few moments later an X3 pulled up!

I was left wondering where was her boyfriend? husband? baby daddy? Why was she taking the CTA to the hospital? Why didn't she catch a cab? Was this her birth plan? I heard her friend mention that she had been in labor since the night before and that made me think to all of the tv shows on TLC: A baby Story, Bringing Home Baby, etc. They always check into the hospital when they go into labor. Did she have insurance? Wouldn't it be cool to be a nurse and help deliver babies! I stopped my wandering mind there.

I managed to get to work...and with the best excuse ever: Sorry I'm late. Someone went into labor on my bus and I had to catch another.

New Beyonce

One of the few upbeat club songs on "I am...Sasha Fierce", "Diva" is a standout hit on the album.

I like that she keeps with the black and white theme as well as the idea of just her and 2 dancers. I wasn't a fan of the lighting in the video. I thought it distracted more than it added to the drama. I'm not sure if I understood the theme of the's kind of like they thru together a bunch of good ideas but ultimately they didn't flow together. Nevertheless, Beyonce is a true "diva" and serves us up a great song. I like how she ended the video with a snippet of "video phone", another song I love. I think she's taking a page out of the Lil Wayne "how to make a video" handbook as he did the same thing (ending a video with the song for his next video...almost having the videos trail into one another) for his The Carter III album.

Also just released is the video for the ballad "Halo". This light, airy song is further complimented by the stripped down, organic feeling of the video. I love the over the top glamour of Sasha Fierce but makeup free, pony tail, white tee Beyonce is what I prefer.

Dec 21, 2008

Cabin Fever

"Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful, And since we've no place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"

As the wind violently howls outside my window the jolly Christmas song "Let it snow" plays in my mind. It is currently -4 degrees with a wind chill of -27 degrees and I'm again thinking about global warming! I had wished to get some more holiday shopping done but the sound of the wind ripping thru everything in its path has kept me inside the house. At first the sun light was peaking thru the windows and I thought to myself, "it can't be that bad outside..." but after a quick trip on the balcony, the weather put me in my place and proved otherwise. A 4' by 7' balcony 17 floors up isn't where you want to have Jack Frost nipping at your nose. 1 day in the house is giving me cabin fever...thank God for the internet and dish network...and my blackberry! I stumbled across a great new blog and think everyone should check it out. Go here to check it out. One of my favorite posts was a blog giving rules to life.

1. Spend Money on Experiences - So true. We get caught up in the excitement of shopping...dropping cash on the latest "it" item only to have it be a distant memory after a few months. Investing in a trip is a much better cause. The memories you make and feelings you have will last a lifetime.

2. Go with your gut - I don't think your gut will ever lead you down the wrong path. My Aunt always told me "your first thought is your Godly thought". I still find this to be very true today.

3. Love your flaws - Life is too short to waste time picking yourself apart. Love yourself completely, including every flaw. If you don't love yourself how can anyone else?

4. Crazy is contagious - The blog writer said it best, "Crazy is contagious. Stay far away. It's hard to keep crazy close without getting sucked into the vortex. First you hear about crazy, then you witness crazy, soon you are caught up in crazy and you are crazy."

I am obsessed with my blackberry. It is a wonderful device and thankfully it has a camera. While out and about in the city I often see things that serve as inspiration for blog ideas. As a result of cabin fever, here are some other random things on my mind.

Is it ever necessary to tail someone...especially with a centimeter of space between your bumpers? Yes, city drivers are aggressive, rude, and erratic...but if you're at a red light you need to take a big "woo-sa" and back off the other bumper of the car in front of you. I eyed this jeep around Ontario/Clark and it ridiculous how he kept creaping up on the cab in front of him. I was waiting for there to be an accident.

For all of my fellow vodka snobs I want to inform you that Stoli Elit (one of the best vodka out there) is available at Jewel. I found this lovely bottle on the shelves of the Southloop Jewel on Roosevelt and Wabash. Normally priced $59.99, it was on sale for $54.99. If you want to try something new this holiday season treat yourself and maybe some friends to this high end vodka. It'll leave you happy.

Everyone is entitled to their own hustle. Streetwise vendors are staples on the street corners around the city. While visiting my area Starbucks I was struck by the presence of the streetwise guy - - mainly because he was rocking a mink fur, electric blue leather gloves and a host of gold jewels. I found it a humorous but puzzling sight. I didn't want to treat him like an animal on display at the zoo so I tried to exert some discretion while snapping a photo. It's blurry...but you can get an idea for the type of swag he was showing while hawking his goods.

Dec 19, 2008

Bad Girls Club: Season 3

Oxygen's "Bad Girls Club" is one of many guilty pleasure reality shows on TV. From the producers of "The Real World", BGC features 7 self-proclaimed "bad girls" living together in a mansion under the premise of working together to better themselves. Of course watching people better themselves isn't what our generation really wants to see in a reality show... so the show is full of cat fights, drama, and nights partying in LA.

The show always features memorable characters. Season 1 had Ripsi Terzian (pictured right) who after a night of drinking blacked out and went on an abusive rage against her castmates. It was hilarious to watch but landed Ripsi a 1-way ticket out of the Bad Girl's house. Nobody will forget season 2 castmate Tanisha Thomas who was the undisputed queen bee of the house. Tanisha had a larger than life personality and used intimidation and her Brooklyn ways to keep the majority of her roommates in check. She also managed to coin a few of her own terms... Tanisha could be heard yelling "Pop Off" to many people. Here's a clip of some of her funny moments:

This season just started but I'm curious to see how things will develop for the 2 black castmates. Tiffany Gibson (pictured left) is from Chicago and has remained low-key so far. Besides chain smoking, she hasn't been involved in much of the drama. the stereotypical loud, The preview for next week's episode shows her possibly getting into a fight with the other black girl, Kayla Carter (often called K.C.). Kayla is from Cali and calling her ghetto or hood would be going easy. She is the EXTREME typecast. She is a sloppy drunk and usually ends up starting fights and being all over the place. She has a loud bark but I highly doubt the bite to match. Kayla is definitely the train wreck of the show but she could end up growing the most.

Collegiate Pink

College bookstores have long been the place to go for your collegiate gear. The selection was never the best but women at college campuses across the country managed to make it work.

Recently, Victoria's Secret expanded their PINK line to include college apparel. The new Collegiate PINK line features roughly 30 schools and items ranging from hoodies and yoga pants, to tees, totes and panties. Collegiate PINK is a fun, girly way to show off your school pride while looking cute in the process.

You can click this link to search for your school. If you don't see it, feel free to nominate it as they're always adding new schools to their line.

Dec 18, 2008

Global Warming?

I've been forced to sit thru Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" numerous times (compliments of my environmental biology class, sociology, etc.) I understand that global warming is technically real and believe me, seeing the commercials with the mother polar bear and her cub looking for a piece of ice to seek refuge on, only to have to keep on swimming is heartbreaking! BUT living in Chicago where this year's summer seemed super short and the winter arrived sooner (along with snow, sleet, freezing rain, and a deadly wind chill) it's hard to really believe that the Earth is warming up. This morning the temperature wasn't so cold (about 30 degrees with a wind chill of 19) but the snow that was falling down was monstrous! I mean, this snow was well fed, super fat flakes that seemed to fill the sky. While waiting for my bus to come I eyed peopled struggling to warm up their cars, scrape off ice and fight out the frustration of being "trapped" in by the city salt trucks. The joys of a Chicago winter...

Elsewhere in the country, I found it interesting that during these times of global warming there was actually SNOW in Las Vegas. Yes, snow on the strip. There's no odder sight than palm trees and snow flakes.

Dec 17, 2008

From The Hills... to The City... to The Hills again...oh my

Reality TV is my addiction and for the past 4 seasons "The Hills" has been my weekly fix. With the end in sight (I believe the finale is next week) there will undoubtedly be a huge void left. MTV has been working overtime to come up with shows to satisfy "The Hills" fans and some look promising (The City, Daddy's Girls) while others leave a lot to be desired (Bromance).

Whitney Port, a staple character of "The Hills" though not overly present will be continuing her story on "The City". The name is not original nor was Whitney an interesting/entertaining enough character to make me follow her story. I watched the preview and it seemed like this will be a decent show. I like the New York lifestyle...her job is amazing...but I am hoping that she'll grow more comfortable in front of the camera. Here's a preview:

Another show that I'm excited about is "Daddy's Girls" featuring Vanessa and Angela Simmons. It's nice for MTV to showcase young, black women that despite having well-off parents are making a name for themselves in the business world and having fun in the process. One thing I noticed is that it appears that MTV handed down the old apartment from "The Hills" that Lauren/Heidi/Audrina lived in to Angela and Vanessa...or maybe that's just the most popular building in LA...who knows! Joining the girls in LA is their cousin Jessica from New York as well as a neighbor Alyssia...or Alicia...(I don't know how she spells it). Be sure to check out the show premiering January 5th on MTV.

Get your urban news at DimeWars.Com

Dec 16, 2008

What's for lunch?

Offering a vast selection of choice cuts of meat, a Brazilian steakhouse is close to paradise for meat lovers. The recession doesn't have to take a toll on your taste buds...there is a smarter way to indulge your inner meat-demon without breaking the bank. Instead of dining for dinner when prices can run you close to $50/person...try opting for a lunch date instead.

Yesterday I enjoyed lunch at Brazzaz Steakhouse and was pleasantly surprised. Though it's 2nd place to Fogo de Chao, Brazzaz boasted a nice selection of meats and an outstanding salad bar! For anyone looking to try out a Brazilian steakhouse I suggest going for lunch.

Fogo de Chao
661 N. La Salle St.
Lunch - $32.50/person (11a - 2p)
Dinner - $49.50/person

539 N. Dearborn
Lunch - $24.50/person (11a - 2p)
Dinner - $48.50/person

Texas de Brazil
51 E. Ohio
Lunch - $24.99/person (11a - 230p)
Dinner - $47.99/person

Dec 10, 2008

Poor Little Rich Girl

Oprah Winfrey. The name alone is powerful enough to evoke feelings of pride, jealousy and pity - - but no matter how much money she makes or lives she changes, she can't manage to keep her weight off.

The new issue of O Magazine features an article penned by the tycoon herself that details her latest struggles with weight. In 1992 after weighing in at her heaviest, a hefty 237 lbs, Ms. Winfrey made it her mission to take over her life and weight. It was a long, windy road but she slimmed down to 160 lbs in 2005. That is where the story takes a too familiar turn. As many people know, diets are hard. Fads come and go. Oprah slowly found herself gaining the weight back and in 2006 the host was back up to 200 lbs. In the article, Oprah attributed her weight gain to a 2007 diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism...which subsequently led to Hypothyroidism.

"After many trips to various doctors, I received a diagnosis....It seemed as if the struggle I'd had with weight my entire adult life was now officially over. I felt completely defeated. I thought, "I give up. I give up. Fat wins." All these years I'd had only myself to blame for lack of willpower. Now I had an official, documented excuse."

In a matter of time, the host found herself taking 3 medicines and a shell of her former self. She no longer had that sparkle in her eye...that zest for life.

"The thyroid diagnosis felt like some kind of prison sentence....At one point I was on three medications: one for heart palpitations, another for high blood pressure, another to moderate my thyroid. Who knew this tiny butterfly gland at the base of the throat had so much power? When it's off, your whole body feels the effects. Being medicated, though necessary, made me feel as if I were viewing life through a veil. I felt like an invalid. Everything was duller. I felt like the volume on life got turned down."

Through the course of the article, I felt myself pulled into Oprah's world of diet woes and compassionate towards her plight. As a black woman it's a challenge to have a positive body image. You're constantly bombarded with images, products and messages telling you that your waistline isn't small enough, your ass isn't fat enough, your boobs don't have that delightful bounce, you don't have "good hair", the right skin tone or anything else on that long list.

Oprah is human. She has this giant aura...huge celebrity...but she is still a person. She has struggles and her weight is just another reminder that no amount of money can buy ultimate happiness.

"What I've learned this year is that my weight issue isn't about eating less or working out harder, or even about a malfunctioning thyroid. It's about my life being out of balance, with too much work and not enough play, not enough time to calm down. I let the well run dry... My goal isn't to be thin. My goal is for my body to be the weight it can hold—to be strong and healthy and fit, to be itself. My goal is to learn to embrace this body and to be grateful every day for what it has given me."

Style Watch: Oversized Purses

I thought everyone got the memo that carrying bags the size of a small toddler or luggage that should've been checked isn't the business. I just eyed this lady walking...well, more like waddling from side to side due to the ridiculously large purse she was carrying. It was an awful site. I managed to snap a quick picture with my blackberry to share with my blog friends. Under no circumstance (unless you're running away...or off to the airport to catch a flight...or going on some crazy overnight adventure) should you carry a bag of this size on a daily basis. Please notice how she can barely support the weight of the bag on her right side and is using her left arm on the rail to support her...not to mention the face that her ride arm is stuck in a 90 degree angle! lol...let's just leave this trend alone.

Real House(less) Wives of Atlanta

"The Real Housewives" series on Bravo quickly became one of my favorite reality shows. I enjoyed the women in Orange County, the bright personalities of New York, and the sassy ladies of Atlanta. During the show Nene Leakes quickly became my favorite housewife. Her ability to keep it real, be the life of the party, and have girlfriend gab sessions with friend and salon owner Dwight Eubanks kept me entertained.

After production of the show ended there was much speculation as to how lavish these women were truly living. In my opinion, DeShawn - though as enjoyable to see on tv as being forced to watch paint dry, was really the only housewife that was rich. Her family is beyond comfortable and with a 20,000 sq ft house they're doing fine. Kim seemed to be doing alright in her townhouse...much of her lifestyle being financed by "Big Poppa" and outside of her ridiculous spending, which he footed the bill for, appeared to be living her typical life...wait, minus that whole "music career" thing...but that's another blog. lol... Lisa is a savvy businesswoman and with the help of her husband (Former NFL player Ed Hartwell) seemed to be living very comfortably, thought smart...and as a side note, did anyone know that the NFL minimum salary for 4 years of experience, like Ed, is $510,000!!! What the hell! This is amazing...but it makes it pathetic that more athletes aren't infesting their money wisely...Anyways, Nene always had some mystery surrounding her. She didn't have a job, her husband was never seen working and besides saying that "he made things stable" for her and her oldest son we never got much else. I never saw her splurging on dumb shit but she was adamant that she "blessed".

In the news there have been a lot of inaccuracies being uncovered regarding Nene and Greg's " We are are the Jones' " lifestyle. First, Nene and Greg never owned the Duluth, GA home they lived in during taping, but merely rented. In addition, Greg has stated that he's a "real estate investor" but he owns a property management company, Advantage Move. On top of having $100,167.22 in tax liens against him for unpaid taxes, Georgia is requiring him to have a real estate license to run his business, which he doesn't - - so he'll be stepping down. The Atlanta Fox I-Team did a special investigation into Nene and Greg Leakes and it was really interesting. They allege that the $20,000 raised by Nene at her Twisted Hearts Foundation brunch (which was seen on the show) is unaccounted for.

Life is rough and the economy is awful right now. I always thought these chicks seemed ridiculous spending outrageous amounts of cash on meaningless things on the show. The point of the show is to showcase how the upper crust, elite members of society are living in an entertaining way. There's nothing entertaining about watching grown women bicker like teens while they really have nothing at all. I think Bravo needs to find some black women that are truly successful and not just riding the coattails of their athlete husband or perpetrating for the cameras.

Dec 9, 2008

NYE 2009

NYE is a time to party, celebrate and reflect on the past year and approaching new one with friends and family. Despite being in a recession people still have the desire to go out and have a good time. I refuse to let the struggling economy rule my life...but paying $150 (the average cost for parties in Chicago) is ridiculous. Let's keep in mind that it really is just like every other club night...only that more people will be out...dressed up more than usual...and counting down at 11:59:50. I have found 3 nice alternatives to the pricey, crowded club scene for your Chicago NYE celebration.

2030 S. Wabash
Chicago, IL 60616

Cover: $10 before 10p, $20 after $60 - drink package from 10p to 1am
Sounds: Soulful House, Latin
Time: 10p - 2a
Extras: Late night dinner menu available

Whiskey Blue at W Chicago - City Center

172 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60603

Cover: Free
Sounds: Deep House, Hip Hop, Rock and R & B
Time: 9p-2a
Extras: Discounted bottle service and drinks

Rebar at the Trump Hotel
401 N. Wabash
Chicago, IL 60610

Cover: Free (no bottle service requirements, no reservations)
Sounds: Funky, lounge vibe
Time: 5p - 2a

Style Watch: Ripped Jeans and Scarves

2008 has been the year of Rihanna. She managed to take over the charts, land numerous fashion campaigns (as well as hottie Chris Brown) and spawn tons of fashion trends along the way. Yesterday the good girl gone bad was spoted at the LAX airport sporting a cute style.

If dropping cash on jeans that have holes in them isn't your cup of tea don't fret. I found a great site that will give you step by step instructions on how to rock this trend minus the cost.

For my fellow Chicagoans feel free to throw a pair of leggings or tights under the jeans. Color is fun so don't stick to basic black or white...

Still wanna rock your scarves that were the hotness this summer? Top off a layering turtleneck or long sleeve tee with a cute scarf for a winter spin on a summer favorite.

Dec 8, 2008

Style Watch: Classic Updo

Beyonce, pictured at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors, rocked a classic updo - - the prime example of a hairstyle that will never get old. An updo is a great way to add a hint of sophistication and class to your everyday style. For the winter, try it on a day when you won't need a hat. Nothing ruins a hairstyle faster than smooshing it with a hat. I'm a fan of less perfect hair so I'd suggest adding a cute messy bun of some sort to the back and though big hair is fun, I'd lower the poof up top a bit. Here are some other takes on the classic updo:

This is my version of the 3-minute messy updo! This has definitely turned into my go-to winter hairstyle. lol...

Road trip anyone?

The sexy swag of Barack Obama can't be denied. I'm thrilled to finally have a President whose intellect matches his outward packaging! (but after Bush having a President with a functioning brain would be enough). For all of those interested in heading down to DC to celebrate the inauguration I have the road trip of a lifetime for you.

Illinois State Rep. Constance Howard (34th District) has organized a road trip down to Washington for the Inauguration. The cost is $150 and includes roundtrip bus fare from Chicago to Washington. Buses are scheduled to leave Chicago on 1/19/08 at 4p arriving in Washington around 4am on 1/20/08. The inauguration activities will take place on the 20th and departure from Washington is scheduled for later that night...arriving back in Chicago on 1/21/08 around 7am. Since this is a holiday weekend you would only need to take off Tuesday from work. You should get back into Chicago with enough time to make it into work on Wednesday morning...or possibly take a 1/2 day (for all my working folks out there...) Just so you're aware, there is no hotel stay included with this trip as it's merely a road trip down to Washington only for the inauguration. There will be a chance to freshen up as well as eat breakfast once in Washington at the Capital Skyline Hotel. For a detailed itinerary or more information please contact:

Barbra Wright (Administrative Assistant for State Rep Howard)
8729 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60619

So far 3 of the 5 buses are booked up and they are taking people on a first come, first serve basis. You must inquire before Jan. 1st.

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