Where Brooklyn At?

(Where Brooklyn At?)

I always like going to New York City and this time was no different. Alaska Airlines was having a BOGO sale that my friends and I could not let pass. You don’t want to know how much our round trip tickets were…okay I’ll tell you. One hundred and thirty six U.S. ducats! I know, I couldn’t believe it either!! As you can tell I absolutely LOVE a deal (who doesn’t). Stick with me kids!

So this time around we stayed at the McCarren Hotel in Brooklyn. BROOKLYN! Home of the Living Single brownstone and some of my favorite MCs. Big Daddy Kane, Notorious BIG, Lil Kim, Mos Def and Jay Z, just to name a few.

The McCarren is a cute boutique hotel that is super convenient to shops and eateries on Bedford Avenue.

Tasty pastries from Martha’s bakery. The berry napoleon is their specialty and was superb!

While working from my hotel room, I saw on the news that artist Efren Andaluz just finished a mural honoring Kobe Bryant and his daughter GiGi who were 2 of 9 that lost their lives in a helicopter crash on that gloomy Sunday morning of January 26th. This still feels unreal. As a Los Angeles lady, it was my duty to check it out and my friends agreed.

This mural is in Brooklyn, on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street across from the Barclays Center.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant mural in Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street across from the Barclays Center.

So after we paid homage to our Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, we headed around the corner to BK9

BK9 is a modern caribbean restaurant in Brooklyn with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The perfect place to meet up before or after an event after work for happy hour, brunch or just because.

This place was amazing!

We also got a chance to get out of Brooklyn because one borough can’t hold these chicks down!!

In Harlem we saw the Apollo Theatre and ate at Melba’s. The fried chicken and egg nog waffle with a side of strawberry henessy was delicious! Melba’s is located on 114th Street at Frederick Douglas Blvd and is a great dining option while in Harlem.

Strawberry Henessy at Melba’s

In Manhattan we went to Bryant Park to ride the bumper cars. Because of the weather, they didn’t bring them out. Bummer but we enjoyed some hot cocoa along with the sights and sounds of the city.

Subway life

If you want scenic views of NYC’s skyline, then the Roosevelt Island Tramway is the ticket. You can ride the tram for just the cost of a metrocard ride. Enjoy the views as you enter the station from Manhattan’s upper east side and ride across to Roosevelt Island.

Back to Brooklyn, where I got to see some cool street art. Brooklyn is definitely a vibe and I can’t wait to go back.

What are some of your favorite spots in NYC? Drop me a line.

A few of our stops in Brooklyn:

Astronomy Club aims for the stars, but they’re already there

What does it mean to be black?

To be black in America?

One thing is for sure—it doesn’t automatically mean the exact same thing across any boards. That’s what the new Netflix comedy series, “Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show,” appears to explore through clever comedy vignettes which are stitched together amid a reality show backdrop. They take the reality show format and hijinks and transform them into utter hilarity!

Each sketch is part of the thematic lattice that, as individual segments and as a whole, challenges what it means to be black and, in a not so low-key way,  asserts the oh-so-true notion that black folks in America (and anywhere) are not a monolith. 

The show takes on a range of topics through a comedic lens—from world geography to Ice Cube Day, the lunacy of some olden-day nostalgia, and the oft repeated notion that ‘black don’t crack,’ — until it does. 

There’s even a nod to a Mary Poppins who’s looking for a nanny job with a wealthy black family…and another nod to an original Twilight Zone episode–that one where a man was in a tizzy on a flight during a bad thunderstorm because every time he glanced out the window, he saw a demon on the wing…But the Astronomy Club puts a chocolate twist and some stank on it—and a little booty poppin’, too.

Each episode is roughly 20 minutes long, so the six-episode season is bingeable without decimating weekend or even weeknight plans. 

Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show was launched on December 6, 2019, and is executive produced by Kenya Barris—the creator of the hit ABC show ‘Blackish.’

The Astronomy Club is an improv sketch comedy group that was founded in 2014. Its members are Shawtane Bowen, Jon Braylock, Raymond Cordova, Caroline Martin, Jerah Milligan, Monique Moses, James III & Keisha Zollar. Read more about them on the Astronomy Club website.

Episode 23: Single, childless aunties—a family staple

It’s always exciting when a new episode drops…this one is no exception.  It’s the second of two collaboration episodes with Liliana and Tamara of Barely Bougie Mamas—a podcast that was released during the summer.

If you haven’t heard last week’s episode, take a listen after you get through with this one.  

So Barely Bougie Mamas is a podcast featuring Liliana and Tamara—two moms who grew up in poverty—but have crafted lives for themselves and their kids that are totally different from their own upbringings…and all of the funnies and concerns that stem from those differences. 

My sister Lea and I joined them at Liliana’s home in Southern California for some kiki-ing and questions.  

Last week, we talked about some of their experiences growing up vs. how their kids are growing up.  

And this week, Liliana, Tamara, My sister Lea and I talk about something Le-Le and I know…being single, childless aunties….And the role all aunties play in the family fabric. Whether they’re linked by bloodlines or play aunties that are for real-real with their care, concern and involvement. 

So let’s get to it with the Barely Bougie Mamas and Planet Noun: 

Topics and timecodes:

03:13—Dealing with annoying comments like “You’re not married? You don’t have kids? And you’re HAPPY?” (Answer: Hell to the yes! Contented, single and childless women do exist, they’re real people) 

08:55—Aunties to O.P.K.-Other People’s Kids

10:19—The Sister-in-Law Co-Parent (Tamara says don’t skip your visitations) & the Auntie Posse 

14:15—Unmarried Aunties, do you realize your importance (and not just for babysitting)?

17:30—Liliana’s experience as a single, childless auntie 

21:28—The fun auntie

24:10—Deadbeat godmamas 

29:32—An auntie’s listening ear

35:05—Forging the relationship with a potential auntie in your life

If this is the first time you’ve heard of them, they have several episodes already released…12 of them…13 including this one. 

Listen to Barely Bougie Mamas on Anchor FM.

They’re also on Apple Podcasts.

And Spotify

Find them on Instagram

And Auntie Lea, my special guest on Instagram.


Episode 22: A chat (& many laughs) with Barely Bougie Mamas

I’m always excited when a new episode comes out…this one is no exception.  It’s one of two back-to-back collaboration episodes we’re dropping today and next Thursday. Planet Noun’s first collaboration ever—and it’s with Liliana and Tamara of Barely Bougie Mamas—a podcast that was released during the summer.. 

A capsule-sized explanation of their show—it’s about two moms who grew up in poverty—but have crafted lives for themselves and their kids that are totally different from their own upbringings…and all of the funnies and concerns that stem from those differences. 

My sister Lea and I joined them at Liliana’s home in Southern California for some ki-ki-ing and questions.  

A little background…Tamara and I met the afternoon this was recorded…But she’s listened to some Planet Noun episodes, and I’ve listened to Barely Bougie Mamas shows. 

Liliana and I grew up together. My sis and I have known her for years.  Matter of fact, we go so far back, I don’t remember WHEN we met.  My mom says it was at church when we were wee children who were sat in the class for babies, toddlers and under fivers. We used to sit next to each other and suck our thumbs, mom said.

That’s enough intro!  There’s cussing in this episode. You’ve been warned…now listen in! 

1:32 — How Tamara and Liliana met, then  learned they had things in common

20:22—Dealing with bullies

21:03—Snitching then and now

30:09—Street sense

41:55—Whose kids are more bougie?  Tear-jerking experiences with their children

51:13—What to expect from Barely Bougie Mamas podcast

If this is the first time you’ve heard of them, they have several episodes already released…12 of them…13 including this one. 

Listen to Liliana and Tamara, the Barely Bougie Mamas, on Anchor FM

They’re also on Apple Podcasts

And Spotify

Find them on Instagram

Ghosted? Mourn @ a Funeral with author Lenina Mortimer

Sometimes romantic relationships SUCK.
Especially when they run off the rails…whether it be from growing differences between relatants or if someone just up and decides they don’t want you anymore, but they don’t bother to tell you about it.

Basically—when someone ghosts you.

Today’s guest experienced ghosting…she was the ghostee—if you will. Old boy turned her loose, but didn’t verbally communicate that to her—and wouldn’t communicate with her as she tried to get to the bottom of things.

So Lenina Mortimer wrote a book about it—to help someone else along the ghastly breakup recovery path.

Take a listen to Lenina Mortimer, author of the book “I Ain’t Thinking About You…The 8 Step Guide to Finally Letting Him Go Using the Breakup Funeral Method.”

Let’s get this mourning in motion…On Planet Noun.

1:50—Getting the un-holy ghost(ting)

3:09—Discovering the root of dysfunctional relationships

6:24—Creating the Breakup Funeral

14:51—Timing: When is it best to hold a breakup funeral?

19:20—Why separation is healthy after a breakup/Why the Breakup Funeral is a communal experience

25:54—Running into the ghosted

30:09—A love letter to black women

35:32—Self-care is crucial to breakup recovery

38:50—Steering clear of breakup traps

41:31—To forgive or not to forgive?  And when? 

Get your e-book copy

Find out more about Lenina Mortimer and her work! Let’s start with a link to her e-book “I Ain’t Thinking About You…The 8 Step Guide to Finally Letting Him Go Using the Breakup Funeral Method.”

Lenina’s also on social media. You can learn more about her coaching services there.
Facebook
Instagram

And one thing she mentioned during the show—the Via Character Strengths Survey. Listen to learn how and why she uses this survey in her work.


QFBR: Trail Of Echoes by Rachel Howzell Hall

There’s a neighborhood in the dusty corners of the ‘hood, not terribly far from where the rich people live, where too many young teen girls have gone missing lately.

Then it happens—again.

This time, it’s 13-year-old Chanita Lords who has vanished from a neighborhood in Los Angeles known as The Jungle.

It’s another case that strikes Detective Elouise “Lou” Norton in the heart and gut because she grew up in that neighborhood. Norton also recently solved the case of her long-missing older sister Tori, whose bones had finally been discovered at a shopping plaza not far from where she was last seen all those years ago–part of the scant remnants of her last living day. Tori had been literally under their noses, yet just beyond reach.

So Lou takes another trip down memory lane to The Jungle, and to a family that still lives in the same apartments where Lou and her family used to reside.

Part of her walk includes revisiting and reuniting with families whose members were problematic on the bullying front back in the day. Now, it appears that foul attitudes and bullying jackassery were passed down to the next generation.  

Lou manages to balance, though not always seamlessly, her unwavering dedication to police and detective work to keep other girls like Chanita from being snatched–while knowing how folks in her old neighborhood feel about the police and understanding why they do.

As part of the murder mystery backdrop, Rachel Howzell Hall continues to weave in relational dynamics between the characters in Lou’s life. From the ultra-tense sentiments she harbors toward her dad who ditched their family and is trying to make amends, to the tensions that arise based on cultural and environmental differences between the way Lou was raised and how her partner, Colin Taggert, grew up in Colorado.

But they still work well together as partners in crime solving, along with the other members of the homicide team. Part of the relational story includes a coming out and its aftermath between two longtime friends, and Lou’s attempts to juggle work and kind-sorta-but-not-really-but-still-kinda-sorta blossoming relationship with an Assistant District Attorney who seems like a great guy. 

As for the murder mystery, Howzell Hall‘s writing, as always, keeps me guessing. Who are the main suspects? What’s up with the three mean hood chicks who lived in the same apartment complex as Chanita? Did they carry out one of those Lifetime-esque jealous cheerleader-type of murders and dump the body in a nearby park? What about the mom who had a roughneck boyfriend? The convicted pedophile who lived nearby? The girl’s counselor at school? Some of her schoolmates? Who, what-the-what, when, where, how and why?

Who killed Chanita and tried to deter investigators by injecting bug repellent into her thighs?

Who’s sending the ciphers and other mysterious notes? Who killed AGAIN? Is this a serial killer?  What about the other missing girls? Who, when, where, what-the-what? How and WHY?

Well, that’s about all I can say without saying too much. But yes, is a page-turner!  And I’m so gratified that I guessed the right killer! But the detectives thinning the field did make it easier, though.

To find out more, check out this read— Trail of Echoes. It was published in 2016.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

EPISODE 20: If We Could Only Talk—a chat with singer- songwriter, a cappella arranger N’Namdi O. Bryant

When you know what you do best, sticking to your guns—as singer-songwriter PJ Morton writes and sings—is how to get your life’s work done.

Today’s podcast guest is N’Namdi Olufemi Bryant, a singer-songwriter and host of the podcast “For the Love of A Cappella.” We get into some themes of his latest album during this episode. It’s titled “If We Could Only Talk.” 

So N’Namdi and I had been talking about doing a podcast together for MONTHS, but as usual, life takes on its own plans. We were going to have him on before an album release earlier this year, then tech difficulties took over his project.

But the idea was still in both of our orbits. So—lookie here—I saw on Instagram that N’Namdi was in Washington, D.C. I said to myself—GIRL…..let’s make this happen! If you don’t ask him if he’ll have time for an interview—it’s an automatic no!

I asked if he had an time to chat. He said yes, and here it is! It all worked out.

So we met up at the Mansion on O Street. It’s a tourist destination located just off the bustling Dupont Circle, and has a fascinating trove of history tied to it. It’s also where N’Namdi sometimes performs.

There are so many themes to this podcast, and to preserve the integrity of the conversation flow, I tried not to do too much lifting and pasting of interview parts. We talk about negative self-talk, and what N’Namdi does to overcome that hurdle. Also—a discussion on imperfection and about the different ways he stretched his vocal range.

During our talk I learned some things I didn’t know in the decades since we last saw each other.

So let’s get right to the conversation, where we start talking about his podcast “For the Love of A Capella,”and where he got the idea for his program.

===========

07:55-Why it took him more than 10 years to complete one particular song arrangement

11:05—The makings and stories behind his current project “If We Could Only Talk”

21:30—How Kermit the Frog came up in our conversation

26:06—The road to vocal range

31:51—The time we talked about skylines and smog

33:39—Homeless in Huntsville, Ala. and Nashville

49:59—The part about albums, hilarious singing telegram and touching ride-share driver stories


That was N’Namdi Bryant…singer, songwriter, musical arranger…lover of a cappella! His new project “If We Could Only Talk” and his other albums are available on various online platforms–including iTunes.

Learn more about his projects on his website—The Acappellian.
You can also connect with him via social media:
Facebook
Instagram

Remember to also follow Planet Noun on Social Media, and to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and please rate the show.

Thanks again for stopping by Planet Noun. Until next time, take care!

From breakup pining to thriving with “I Ain’t Thinking About You”

Whew! This book may be fewer than 60 pages, and it’s an enjoyable read—but a dense one. By that I mean there’s lots to reflect on… And reflect some more. This book is a workshop! 

Based on the title, I imagined a sassy, finger snapping read. That’s in here—along with research-based recommendations. I love when sass and humor meet academic research. I really relate to the tone of this book.

I also love the humor! Plenty of that in here, too…along with hope. That’s what I really, really like—all the steps are meant to get folks to hope.

My favorite parts include Chapter 4 and practical ways to get to acceptance—radical acceptance—and no longer blaming ourselves when someone we’re dating “ain’t actin’ right.”

Oh, and the necessity of forgiveness to get to a place of healing, and looking ahead to what we want life to look like after we’ve fully moved on.

I also love the humor! Plenty of that in here, too...along with hope. That’s what I really, really like—all the steps are meant to get folks to hope. Click To Tweet

There are 13 chapters total in the book, eight which outline the path leading to and including The Breakup Funeral™. Each chapter will ask you to do some thought work that involves accessing your deepest emotions surrounding the breakup (or breakups–plural– if it applies?) and any past influences that may impact your dating choices today. There are writing prompts that provide an outlet for all of that self-exploration and excavation.

Lenina Mortimer, the book’s author, recommends going through the eight steps in order because each step is builds up to the recovery culmination—The Breakup Funeral™.

Lookie here, seriously consider (then get) this book if you’re grappling with a recent breakup. Heck, you may want to check it out even if a relationship ended a while ago, but you’re still grappling with some residual grief. Even if your emotions and your mind ‘been known’ the person ain’t coming back, even if you don’t WANT them back—but you haven’t found it in you to start the path forward to thriving again… This book is also for you.

“I Ain’t Thinking About You” gets 5 out of 5 planets!

Amazon’s new music streaming tier for students costs less than laundry load

Observation: Amazon’s new student streaming price tier costs less than a single load of laundry. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Amazon announced today that all current and new Prime Student members can subscribe for access to the premium tier Amazon Music Unlimited for an extra $0.99 a month. This comes just ahead of the new academic year as students are preparing to head to campus.

Students who subscribe to the add-on service will have ad-free access to more than 50 million on-demand songs and curated playlists, and be able to tell Alexa what to play via the Amazon Music App for iOS or Android, and all devices where Alexa’s digital spirit lives.

Read more here.

EPISODE 19—Wrangling financial loose ends before the inevitable end—with Attorney Suren G. Adams

So…who likes to talk about death?
Put your hands up.
Yeah, I don’t know many people who love the topic, especially when they’re the subject.
But death’s a certainty. You won’t have a thing to worry about after you transition from this life, but your stuff isn’t going with you. What about the things you leave behind?

Well, that’s what attorney Suren G. Adams specializes in—helping folks get their final wishes in order before death ushers them to the exit—stage left.

“This is general information from an attorney and estate planner…For detailed information on your specific situation—please seek out the advice of a reputable estate planner,” Adams tells Planet Noun.

Let’s start with her pathway to helping folks wrangle up their loose ends BEFORE the end.

Even if you don’t possess a trove of dollars, jewels, land or vacation homes, Adams recommends that anyone age 18 or over have an estate plan in place.

Adams is based in Maryland, but she recommends the websites Wealth Counsel or Elder Counsel  to help find reputable estate planners across the United States. Adams is a member of both, and recommends out of state callers to these sites.

“It usually means the person who is listed on that website is somebody that is getting very good education, because they put on really good continuing legal education courses, so that’s who I recommend to clients who call from another state that we don’t handle in terms of our licensing. We usually refer them to [those websites], because I can trust that the people on that website are, at least, getting good education, so they should be preparing a good estate plan,” Adams says.

Adams also refers clients to her book, “Leaving a Legacy Instead of a Mess.”

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

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