They said I would change…I guess they were right

If I had a dime for every time someone I knew in Florida told me that I would change once I moved to NY, I’d probably have a dollar…which isn’t a lot, but you get the point. Each time some new person said it, I would deny it – vehemently. I’m ‘rai, everyday, no compromise…

But then, i started reading through a friends book called “By any Greens Necessary” by Tracye McQuirter and I decided that I needed to change – pronto. So I took the leap from my pescatarian eats to a regimen free of animal products or byproducts. It was a lot easier than I’d assumed, I just stopped eating things that didn’t serve my best good. Additionally, the way I feel is super-duper-spotie-otie-dopalicious!

I’m not going to fill this post with all the reasons  I went vegan, or why you should. It’s your life [kanye shrug], but I will share a delicious, quick recipe for vegan cupcakes.

I have an insatiable sweet tooth, so vegan sweets is a must (and the vegan life-style itself, can you say diabetes?) So on a trip to Trader Joe’s I picked up a simple cake batter dry mix – no frills, basically just something with flour, vanilla, baking powder/soda.

Next, since eggs are a no-no I picked up some bananas.

Lastly, in place of the milk I used almond milk.

I used my vita mix to blend the ingredients together (used 1 whole banana and 1 cup almond milk). Then discovered I didn’t have cupcake liners and didn’t want to use olive oil so i used the inside of the banana skin to “grease” the cupcake pan. Then just pour and voila.

For the icing I used Toufutti Cream Cheese, flax seeds and strawberries, and there you have it my first vegan desert. Can’t wait to make more!

Thanks for all your support!


Studies in the Stuy: Community


Sooooo, I don’t have a TV up here yet, but my time has been eventful.  I don’t think I’ll ever need a TV actually. If New York is a lady, Bedstuy is the blade she keeps under her tongue.

I’ll start with my own epiphanies  first. Fresh of the plane from Florida I was excited to immerse myself into the  Brooklyn-ness of it all. Of course, I’ve visited before, but this time I was official, I had my own address, feel me?  So, somehow I got the bright idea to walk to Prospect Park my second day here. NOT a good idea. Yes, I got a chance to see more of the neighborhood, and take notes on the subculture. but the walk was no small feat. I clocked over 7 miles. On this epic journey here a few things I noticed:

1. Random pockets of pee-pee: You may be walking along any road in Brooklyn, taking in the murals, enjoying the community gardens, marveling at the pulse and underlying rhythm around you, when all of a sudden you inhale deeply, hoping the ingest even a piece of its beauty to take with you. Only, you’ve inhaled at the worst moment imaginable, yes, you have taken in a lung full of the most sour, rank, stank-a-dank-dank pee you ever sniffed in your life. You’ve gone from thanking God for letting you participate in his grand percussion, to screaming “god-dammit!” sour that you just somehow got tricked into tasting the devil’s fart.

2. It’s all in the blending: I found that I blend in here perfectly fine – as long as I don’t talk. I can slip in and out of local shops, walk down blocks, chill in parks and everyone will just assume I’m somebody from up the street. Maybe someone their sister went to schools with or who used to attend their grandmother’s church. I’m regarded with the pensive familiarity that one would regard their cousin’s cousin of no relation. That is, up until I have to answer a question or ask for directions. Then the mood changes, with the men there is a glint of hope, of excitement, of “wow, someone who doesn’t know I’m full of shit.” With the women it’s a certain pity, like ” damn, i hope this chick knows these dudes are all full of shit.” {lol} With non-black people there is a hint of intrigue, the “wow, she’s not from around here” then the wide eyed glare to pick up on some nuance to assure themselves that, yes, I am indeed just as hood as their initial impression.

3. Oh, so this is where chivalry died? – It’s every woman for herself around these parts. No doors held open, no seats given up, no tip of the hat with a smile. But really, it goes beyond that. I know it’s some thick-skinned sistas in these parts, but the other day  say a guy fighting a woman. No, like really fighting her, not pushing her – punching her, kicking her with timbs on.  Worse yet, other guys were around and no one intervened.

That said, there’s still a sense of community  here that is untouchable. When Jay says, ” we must not let outsiders violate our block” (hard knock life) i get it a little more. I think if the woman was being beaten by the cops or some outside entity, those same men would’ve jumped in on her behalf. It’s odd, but somehow it makes sence in Brooklyn.



“I thaid, I think you’re pretthy”


I’m going to surprise you with a revelation: I was a nerd in high school. Worse yet, I wasn’t the one that faded into the background that no one remembers, I was a known nerd. There are certain criteria that go with that territory of nerdom.

  • The obligatory tale of unrequited love: this tall kid, who in contrast to my nerdom was very, very dumb. 
  • The overdone tale teasing, not the tv sort, more of the behind the back talking. One girl had a running joke about the way I laughed, apparently it was too loud for her.

That said, I have some residual issues I’m dealing with. A looming sence of paranoia that I can never shake. In my relationship, I wonder why my boyfriend really likes me. With friends, I take any slight (not introducing me to their friends that come over to speak with us, for instance) as proof that their not actual friends. But perhaps the worst result is a feeling of always being the underdog and having to fight for myself. Having to be SURE that no one is taking advantage of me by any means. It’s like I feel like I’ve passed on too many slights from my past, so I OD when I think I’ve been offended (which is more often than can statistically be correct).

So, while on my walk one day this week, I see two 20-something thuggish looking guys walking towards me on the sidewalk. I’m already annoyed because chivalry is not within their frame of reference-obviously, as they aren’t budging to let me pass. So me, with my stubborn self, put on a unit and refuse to move off the sidewalk. As  I pass them, super close, super stolid, I hear one of them say something under his breath to the other. Immediately, I go into underdog mode, forget the fact that their male, in-two and it’s dark outside. I take of my headphones and demand, “Excuse me, what did you say?”

They look at each other mildly surprised and a bit embarrassed. I step forward, no smile. The speaker steps toward me also, sheepish smile. We’re close enough now. My head has a sideways tilt, one eye squinted, and I hear him say, “I thaid, I think you’re pretthy,” then he flashed an innocent smile.  Immediately I felt foolish, here I was ready to go in b!#$% mode with a guy who just gave me a compliment and on top of that one that has a speech impediment that gives him all the adorableness of a 4-year-old.

Lesson: I will shed the thick skin I once deemed a necessity, every morning if necessary

Funky, Fresh & Fly @ 25

After a conversation with a good friend I decided to start my day off at the beach with the sunrise. I couldn’t wait to get there and feel the serenity of it all. I knew that if I started the day in peace and quiet reflection it would be perfect.

Warning: profane language, horrible spelling, grammar usage etc..


Soooo I got there while it was still dark and, as you would imagine, it’s all dim and windy and kinda umm scary. Then “oh sh**!” I see a moderate-sized creature scurrying off in the other direction.

At this point one voice in my head is saying, “F. this! Go home chick. Quick” But you know in my conscious mind I feel like I’m more gangsta than that, so I strut over to find a spot to set up.

It’s early morning & there are a lot of sounds going on. Mostly soft swishy sounds like wind, water, birds, nothing too out of the ordinary. Underneath those sounds though, as I’m sitting there waiting on the sun, I hear another sound that I can’t place.

Now, I’m the only person out there so I’m not trying to spaz out. I look around. Cool. Collected. See nothing. Think to myself, “Now self, if this were a scary movie, with some ravishing young girl by herself on the beach hearing chewing/clicking like noises you would say its unrealistic cuz any SANE person would’ve left by now” Again, I dismissed my concerns and started taking pictures of the scenery to quiet my nerves.

a sea monster!

Wouldn’t you know as I’m snapping away in my peripheral vision I feel something looking at me. So I slowly look over and the sea monster is like 15ft away fixated on me. I mean STARING.

Now, I knew it was sizing me up, to see what I would do. And I was freaking out in my mind trying to remember animal planet shows or tips, like what do I do in a situation like this. Do I run? Then it might run after me thinking I’m scarred or playing. Do I stand up to assert dominance? Run towards it to scare it away? Forget that! It might think I’m trying to threaten it’s beach turf.

So I’m just sitting there glaring back at it like, “Try me if you wanna” ya know. So then, the thing starts walking and im like, “naww, I was playing DON’T try me!” (all of this in my head of course) So this creature is circumnavigating where I’m sitting. And as its walking I can see this isn’t a dog, nor cat, nor raccoon. It’s lookin kinda like a fox. But I’m like since when do foxes come to the beach, wtf is up?

So I’m bracing myself, cuz it’s starting to circle me. No one is around to hear me scream or anything. So I get like in a DMX state of mind, so now the voice in my head sounds like him (DMX). And its even barkin and shit the way he used to. And its like, “Aye Yo son, if the shit get any closer, take the bag [I had books in my bag] and wop the fuq out of it” At this point I’m resolved I know what I have to do. Its not moving fast so I inch my hand over to my bag, meanwhile it stops to investigate a hole. Next, it looks up at me, I’m looking back ready to fly or die – then all of a sudden a dude comes running towards us with his dog, and the foxy little monster goes back to where it came from.

a closer look

Alright, so after that I felt good, ya know. Like I had a squad with me, a few people were showing up with dogs and metal detectors and stuff, so I wasn’t worried.

I got up and sauntered over to the hole my foxy little friend was just so concerned with and my joy drained instantly. It was a baby turtle massacre! Or at least that’s what it looked like, a few of them were wiggling their feet?/fins? but they were on their backs and couldn’t move.

Look, I like animals, but not enough to touch them. But I knew if I left them there they’d be done for. Knowing my fellow beachers (<– totally made that word up) affinity for animals I recruited a young man with a metal detector to help me relocate the turtles.

*And by help me I mean pick them up and place them exactly where I say: close enough to the shore line for their own safety and a photo op showing me releasing them into the wild.
(i wonder if PETA would give me an award 4 my efforts?)

exhibit A-C for Peta nomination

As if the morning couldn’t get anymore crazy, metal detector guy ,Kevin, apparently thinks he has a new best friend and starts telling me about:
– his black friends :/
– his son in prison (as if I could relate with being locked up) :/
-how rich people suck (as if I couldn’t relate with affluence) :/
– how romantic the sunrise is (somebody help!) yaddah yaddah yaddah.
-i think he mentioned Obama, but I tuned out by then

I thought he would never leave. He did leave eventually, but insisted on leaving his number… and email– jackpot! (<- sarcasm)

just beachy

All in all I’d say it was a great B-Day morning :)!!


*the 1st Nina*



The Nina 3 was born out of an attempt to reconcile what I consider extremes:

nina2, nina1, nina3

Nina 1-

funny, smart, shy, girl-next door to the girl next door. think teacher, think bookworm, think conservative liberal, or liberal conservative. her tunes of choice are only miles davis, and only from ‘kind of blue.’ she digs documentaries most and writes silent haikus for the misused and melancholy. She’s more clever than she suspects, which is just as well since it keeps her modesty sincere. she loves to travel and connect dots across continents convinced that there are more similarities than not.  perhaps to her detriment she is a hopeless romantic who attracts men who’d rather send e-mails or conversation-less calls over a rose.

Nina 2:

witty, sharp, girl around the corner across the tracks who never answers the door mostly because she’s not home but also because she doesn’t hear you. She creates, and destroys to create better. She answers your questions with questions, and paints while you pour out your heart with your heart. she has a poster of malcolm above her desk, tupac in her bedroom, prince in her closet, cleopatra in her kitchen and Michael everywhere else. She jumps from Assata to Twain to Baldwin and beyond. she is easy to love, hard to like and she likes that.

Nina 3:

my name is PEACHES!* Peaches is a pyro who lives alone and never pays the water on time so the embers catch and spread and seep and permeate. she is random, and is the nightmare of nina 1 and the ethereal muse of nina 2. she knocks on your door, runs away, only to turn back to let you know you need to “wake the fuq up!” she can be carmen jones or cleopatra jones depending on the tide. she keeps her lovers at bay with distance and a harsh tongue, so to cool off she prefers marvin gaye and sam cooke with a bit of al green and maxwell.

* see Nina Simone’s “Four Women”