The Atlanta Ballet and Big Boi

On Friday night I had the opportunity to see Big, a collaborative production between Antoine "Big Boi" Patterson and the Atlanta Ballet. In a word it was... mesmerizing. The Atlanta Ballet really is a dance company to be reckoned with both in sheer talent and innovation. Tara Lee, the lead dancer, was phenomenal; she blended modern dance with classical movements that resulted in a sort of articulated flow that’s reminiscent of an emerging butterfly, a little awkward a little ethereal. The high points were Tara’s opening, a piece choreographed to Church, a pas de duex where one dancer was suspended from the ceiling, a double pas de duex with a balance bar (outrageous), and the amazing and show stopping performance with Janelle Monae singing "Sincerely Jane". Wearing a silver lame’ jacket, tutu and ballet slippers, Janelle fluttered, hopped, glided and moonwalked along with another dancer while she belted out the tune. The crowd loved it. It was awesome, and not in the California dude way, but awesome in the way that you notice the sun turning a burning orange before it plunges into the horizon.
There were low points as well. The performance was cut short, very short. According to there should have been at least four or more choreographed pieces, including another performance by Janelle. There was also a terrible clash of the different ends of the spectrum on "Kryptonite" which seemed to just be too loud and out of place with the movements of the dancers, something that was indeed a struggle on many of the pieces. There was so much to take in you were sometimes distracted by one art form at the expense of the other. Big Boi seemed completely out of place whenever he was on stage and his need to interact with the audience seemed desperate. I was grateful the performance didn’t turn into a concert, where the dancers were drowned out by loud whistling and dancing in the aisles, though some of the "cousins" were acting up. Even if food is served in a venue, it is the ballet, popcorn and chips are not appropriate. It was a limited engagement so I doubt one will be able to experience it again, but I do know that it has inspired me to dance again.

Black Hair - Still Tangled in Politics

Silky straight hair has long been considered by many black women to be their crowning glory. So what if getting that look meant enduring the itchy burning that’s a hallmark of many chemical straighteners. Or a pricey dependence on “creamy crack,” as relaxers are sometimes jokingly called. Getting “good hair” often means transforming one’s tightly coiled roots; but it is also more freighted, for many African-American women and some men, than simply a choice about grooming. Straightening hair has been perceived as a way to be more acceptable to certain relatives, as well as to the white establishment.


Okay, so any of you who drop in fairly regularly have probably noticed I've been playing around with my blog lately. I tried fancy and cutesy and streamlined.  So far streamlined is the winner. Much easier on the eye and much less cluttered. (I hear the de-cluttering is somehow related to sunspots or solar flares or something like that). Anyhow, I also tried the Disqus comment system. Loved it... for about two days. I really liked being able to answer everybody's comments right below their comment. I wanted to connect with everyone leaving comments, but is it really connecting? Do most people come back to see if you answer their comment with a comment? After receiving five emails back from bloggers...
On whose posts I commented, I realized how great it felt to really connect...even if only for a minute - with these authors, these new online friends. I've finally realized the problem with the commenting system is all in my neurotic little head. Everyone has their own way of handling responding to the comments on their posts and I just have to bite the bullet and not try to do it both ways. There's just not enough time to answer all comments by leaving comments and also send the answers by email (and that should tell you just how neurotic I am that for a while I actually did that much copy and pasting and adding and rewriting...). So, how do you do it? E-mail? Comments? Or are you the royalty of commenting and do both? Just wondering. Heart you all - and I'll look forward to connecting by email.

Heywood J. on Rand

I really enjoyed reading this takedown, it made my day in a day otherwise short on the coping skills. I think this is the monetary excerpt: In the world of Atlas Shrugged, nobody ever sent Pinkerton thugs to massacre wildcat strikers along with their families; nobody ever had to literally fight and die for decent working conditions, for a livable wage, for the basic right to not be paid in fucking company scrip and pushed around by company muscle. Rand completely ignores the reality of laissez-faire rapaciousness, of endless work weeks and child labor, to ponder a fantasy of copiously productive benevolence, hamstrung only by the whinging of thieves and moral cretins, and a taped-on love triangle. In the end... 

That makes Atlas Shrugged little more than a footstool-sized apologia for the nastiest strains of predatory capitalism, whether Rand intended for that or not. And the more Alan Greenspan tries to buy back shreds of karma, the more I assume that she, and he, knew exactly what they’d done all along, with their cultish little reading lab, somehow elevated to the ignoble status of enlightened cocktail-party chatter. Providing intellectual cover for the well-dressed, pedigreed barbarism is perhaps the most dismal calling imaginable. To celebrate the anniversary of the publication of this damned thing is nothing but intellectual lepidoptery. It is the Rosetta Stone(d) of every shitbird in a three-piece suit trying to justify on his behavior.

Ways to Lose Weight Fast

The best ways to lose weight fast and actually keep it off is by sticking to a doctor supervised diet and exercise program that is tailored to meet your needs. By doing this, you can actually lose a significant amount of weight and actually see results fast. If you stick with it, and tweak it here and there as your body gets used to it, you will continue to work toward your goal. Let us face it, there are not truly easy ways to lose weight. The easiest thing to do is to set it in your mind that you are going to stick to your diet and keep on exercising. You will be happier with yourself and you will meet your goals a lot faster and easier if you get yourself in the right frame of mind before you get started. The best ways to lose weight fast involve tailoring your diet to meet your nutritional needs. If you do this, you will find that your body gets what it needs, and not more. This will cause the exercise that you do to actually work.
Salad raw
Work off those extra pounds. Keep a track of your weight loss each week so that you see your results. It will help to keep you on track. It is important to realize that some of the fastest ways to lose weight are actually not healthy. You will want to stick to healthy weight loss, which is usually about 2-3 pounds per week. If you do this, then you are that much more likely to keep the weight off long term. As you may already know, it is much easier to pack on the pounds than to work them off. Keep this in mind when figuring out ways to lose weight fast. The best thing to keep in mind is that diet and exercise can help you lose weight fast and they are also free ways to lose weight! There is no need to join an expensive club to help you exercise when you can go for a jog in your neighborhood or a local park. There is also no need to spend extra money on diet foods when you can just cut back your portions on your on for free.

This Is Not Your Romantic Comedy

I've been put out lately by the inspirationless drivel that Hollywood calls a rom-com these days. "The Ugly Truth"! Give me a break. I am a Meryl Streep fan and this preview has me salivating. I'm not so high brow that I can't love a commercial love story, but give me something new. Give me a 60 year old woman finding love and being desirable and living a life not ruled by her grandchildren on screen. Can't wait.

Comme au Pérou

A little bit of randomness today. I too rarely dare to share such thing by fear no one get interested. But eh... it's my blog at the end! I remember I talked about llamas when I was back to blogging after my unwanted technical break but never showed them. When I was a young girl (probably about 8), my aunt went visiting Bolivia. She brought some typical Bolivian goodies, such as a brown woven blanket, 2 dolls (a man and a woman) stuck together and dressed in traditional clothes. I have spent a considerable time "torturing" the dolls to see what the woman had under her skirt and the man inside his pants. As a matter of fact, they were made of recycled newspaper and wire. My relationship to dolls is strange. When I was 19 years old, I found back my kid dolls in the ceiling of my parents. All of them were naked to the bones and their ankles were stuck together with pieces of nylon tights. Freud would surely have a lot to say about that but I digress. Let's be back to what my aunt brought back from South America. There was also some tiny hand made llama figurines (between 1 and 2 inches high). Basically a wire structure with white llama wool put all around (very smooth and very white). It was really well done and absolutely cute but playing with them, I think I broke more than one legs to the gracile creatures. God only knows where the poor figurines are now. Kids are really cruel. Never did I see a llama in a zoo after that and never did I imagine myself approaching a real one someday in my life. My link to llamas stopped with the dismembered figurines. Until 2 years ago.

The first time I saw "my" llamas, I was having a walk back in june 2009. I was at 2 bare kilometers from home (I walk a whole lot),  it was a sunny lovely evening and summer was almost completely there. I couldn't believe my eyes. I love having a walk in our countryside but our said countryside is only inhabited by horses, ducks, gooses, goats and cows. Frogs too. I'm close to Lille, the perfect crossover location between Paris, London and Bruxelles. In my (over industrialized-post-industrial) area, it's raining a lot and the sky is always blank and grey. It's not the Peru here, it's the French North. The land is flat as a table and you can sit down for centuries waiting for a mountain to bump, it will never happen. The sea coast is not that far but still too far to be able to go casually. I'm living in a region nicknamed "le plat pays", or else worded, "The Flat Lands". Not a place where you usually come across llamas. That's why the first time I saw them, I couldn't believe my eyes. I remember telling that to my yet and now estranged closest friend F. and he teased me asking if I was not high, smoked pot or anything. I swore him I had seen llamas in a meadow near my home but that I would go back and check twice if I had not dreamed. So far, I had not. There was 5 llamas in a meadow.

F. and I are now completely estranged and sometimes, when I think of him and the things we have lived, shared and done together I feel like all this belongs to an other life of mine, me being just another person that has died with the relationship. I miss him and his charisma. Especially when I think of our happiest moments which have been very intense. But nowhere on Earth could we ever be friend again. Pages of our life must obligatory turn, one after the other - there is no point in trying to hold them back unless you're willingly trying to self-destruct. His page turned like the world was completely collapsing but also a genuine relief due to our respective very strong temper and personality. I'm not an easy one to handle, tame and understand.  He wasn't either. All this left me with mixed feelings of love and hate, anger and regrets. I never get anymore confident after him and I learned to be on my very own, dealing with my problems, my joys and my doubts all alone. I have healed now, tranquility took a lot of time and strength to come. I've acquired more wisdom: you get used to loneliness. The end is always a beginning and I carry now in my backpack, the reassuring weight of the hardly learned lessons along with a huge scar inside and a hole that I suppose will never go away. Meanwhile, the llamas were standing still in their meadow eating and pooping peacefully, indifferent to anything but their quiet life. That's why I love animals I guess. Their equal temper. I have a powerful feeling with them too, something I cannot explain. I feel closer to the animal reign than the human one most of the time. Maybe that's why. I sometimes wish the easiness I have with animals could be the one I have with my siblings.

So there are 5 nameless llamas. They are really tall guys with a huge body. I'm 5'3'' and they're all at least 6'1''. Pretty impressive for a short woman like me. Their head is huge and they possibly have the most gorgeous eyes of the whole animal reign. Sultry. A look so full of sweetness with long lashes that you'd have to be a heartless monster not to find them irresistible. I don't know who they belong to but every time I am having a walk in their area, I am stopping by. With time, I have learned to know them, they all are so different. Some are more timid and slow. The bigger (grey and white) absolutely never approach. The red one is very dominant and more aggressive but in all, they are very curious and sweet animals. The meadow is quite big and I only have to come near to the fence to see them coming from afar nonchalantly, their lovely head undulating on their long hairy neck. They want to know everything, get interested in everything. Then they go back to their previous occupation if you have nothing to prolong their tickled interest. How curious they might be, they are a bit wild. They demean their ears and move their head when you're having a move putting them in doubt. Also they don't want to be touched. Every time I've passed my hand through the fence, they've stepped back. Too bad because their fur looks endlessly smooth.

It's only recently I've started to give them grass. Back in the winter when it was snowing, I was seeing them eating the bark of the trees in their grassless meadows. It broke my heart so I did my best to try to find a little bit of grass beneath the snow. From here, they get crazy and greedy (they only have dry grass and cereals to eat). Expectedly, they adore eating grass. Now every time I'm passing by, I pick some on the colliding meadow (where it's abundant because it's Spring!). The red llama (5th photo) is very jealous. He doesn't want the others to have the grass and I even saw him spit at an other who wanted to eat from my hand. It's a bad head. When he has attacked an other, he turn his head to me, watching me with his glamourous sultry and lovely eyes, as if nothing happened, telling me without a word "It's only between you and me now". But I'm not entering his games. I'm for equality and I guess he has understood this because lately he has been acting a bit more kindly. They are so smart! They also have their little tempter and in all they make me smile and cheer me up. I find them funny. When I meow like a cat, they watch me with eyes full of interrogations and seem genuinely interested. With time, I think they are used to me because they immediately come (no, even better: they almost run!) to the fence when I approach, certainly hoping for some fresh grass. Our relationship is a bit interested for sure - at least on their side! - but I don't care. I adore to observe them and I feel lucky I could make a connection with those exotic and charming creatures. The Peru will be for later, then. And who knows, maybe someday will one let me touch their fur?

The Orchardist - Book Review

Would I reread The Orchardist? Yes. I think that after I’ve cooked in literary classes for another decade (ha!), and built up my own “read” pile, I’d like to take a second peek at this one and see if my perspective blooms. Talmadge, Della, Angelene, and Jane will live within me for a while... Opening lines: “His face was as pitted as the moon. He was tall, broad-shouldered and thick without being stocky, though one could see how he would pass into stockiness; he had already taken on the barrel-chested sturdiness of an old man...”. Favorite passage: “How like the orchard she was. Because of her slowness and the attitude in which she held herself, seemingly deferent, quiet, it appeared even a harsh word would smite her. But it would not. She was like an egg encased in iron. She was the dream of the place that bore her, and she did not even know it”. Favorite characters: Caroline Middey (Talmadge’s neighbor): “Who has a childhood, she often said, in these parts? When one was born, death was right there waiting for you, right there in the room. And she would know this because as well as being the herbalist she was also the town’s midwife. You’d better learn to recognize his, Death’s face right away, she said”. About the Author: Amanda Coplin was born in Wenatchee, Washington. She received her BA from the University of Oregon and MFA from the University of Minnesota. A recipient of residencies from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the Omi International Arts Center at Ledig House in Ghent, New York, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

Illamasqua Human Fundamentalism Collection

Illamasqua very kindly sent me a gift bag of goodies from their new collection Human Fundamentalism. I did attend the London event but I felt really ill and had to leave after about 5 minutes.. so I am thrilled they still sent me the products to play with! Apocalips lipstick has been the best selling item and I am worryingly ecstatic to have a green lipstick in my collection! I do have some favourite products out of what I was sent. Vernau eyeshadow is a fantastic crease & blending shade. It's yellow toned which means it works really well to soften & warm up darker shadows. If you like bold, bright colors.. Stance nail polish is an amazing bright fuschia. I really like it but not as much as I like Collide which is my favourite Illamasqua product ever! I love the Neutral Palette. It's the perfect palette of complimentary shades and I am obsessed with 'Vintage' shadow which is the shimmery, deep gold color. It's so beautiful... I'm sure it would look great on anyone but I think it really works with my brown eyes!

I also very much like the Au Skin Base. It's a sheer foundation/base that adds a bit of warmth and glow to your face. I'd like to compare it with another product on the market... (very temping to say its a bit like my Super Skincare TM or Estee Lauder Double Wear) but because of it's texture it's incomparable. I really like it and I like the shimmer that runs through it.. it's not too OTT but enough to make you glow. However if you have very oily skin or big pores you may not enjoy this! You will see more about these products in the future and hopefully I'll be able to get them in some face-of-the-day photos for you! Click here to shop online at the official Illamasqua website. The website has recently been updated and the product swatches are better than ever! I was sent these products by Illamasqua. It was my choice to review them and my thoughts are entirely my own. I was not compensated for my post. Did you pick up anything from Human Fundamentalism? Any recommendations? What has been your favourite Illamasqua collection so far?

The Atkins Diet Food List

Getting started on a low carbohydrate diet, such as the Atkins diet, can be quite a challenge if you are not familiar with the types of foods that you should eat. That is why it is so important for you to know the different foods that are lower in carbs than others. Counting carbs is your saving grace when it comes to sticking to the Atkins diet and doing your best with it. There are many different ways to keep track of this, without having to worry about memorizing everything. Keep in mind a few foods that you can have as much as you want of and keep it around at all times, that way if you get hungry you are not tempted to stray from your diet.When you are on the Atkins diet, during the first couple of weeks, you will intake very few carbs. You will actually only eat around 25 grams of carbohydrates per day. 

This is something that you will step up a little bit each week as your body gets used to the cut of carbohydrates. The thing to remember is that fact that there are foods that you may not know of as carbohydrates. This is why it is so important to read food labels.  There are many places that you can find lists of foods that are good to eat.  It is a general rule that you can eat as much lean meat as you want. This includes poultry, fish and beef. You can also generally eat as many green vegetables as you want. The leafy ones are the best ones to stick with. You can also have foods that are high in protein, such as eggs. Butter is also on the list, along with other oils because they are mostly low carb. Sticking from the beginning with a low carbohydrate diet does not have to be expensive to get started. 

You can find lists for free online that will help you to make different foods and recipes that you may have had in the past into some low carb options. You can even have mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes to make it a low carb option. There are so many ways to bend recipes to make them Atkins friendly. Look for free sites to help you plan. Speaking of planning, you should take some time out to plan your meals each week.  If you do this ahead of time, it will help you while shopping. Take your list of foods that are okay, and try to buy as much of them as you can and stay away from sugary carbohydrates that will keep you from reaching your goals with the Atkins diet. As you can see, planning is the key with this type of diet. Knowledge is also very important. If you know what you are doing, ahead of time, you will set yourself up for success. If not, you will set yourself up to fail.