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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Back for the First Time

Today is a big day....well for me personally. Today, marks my 5 year anniversary of writing my own published blog Cocoon. I have celebrated several rollercoaster highs and immense lows, but through it all, this blog has been my constant and reliable outlet from the craziness that is sometimes called my life. I love that I have this little space to be myself and be free. Ironically, there are very few words to accurately describe how that feels to a person with so many feelings. In fact, I have so many feelings, I have been "in my feelings" for the last few months.

I have been working crazy hours within a potentially lucrative and challenging industry. In addition to that job, I blogged incessantly for a Flooring company in Phoenix and taught Acting and Modeling for the second term at The International Performing Arts Academy. I have also been working on a few choice side projects to feed my creative soul. All while contemplating grad school and moving across the country. Between to all these roles, I failed to continue nurturing my passions...which I desperately miss. 

On top on of missing my old life, I am learning how to truly "let go." So many people say, "It's easy, just let go of the past," but it is far from as simple as that. If it was, everyone would not need therapy, counseling, or the advice of several friends and family to guide them throughout their life. I want to make an impact, leave a valuable impression, and make my mark on the world, I am simply struggling with how to go about my plan. As my 10 year class reunion looms, I put my life into prospective. I am fairly content with my decade of adulthood, but I have much more left to give, see, and experience. My hibernation period is over. I am back! 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

For All The Times.....

For all the times that we have laughed, cried, and rejoiced in life lessons learned, I can honestly say you’re one of my life’s many blessings. There are so many things I could never tell other people for fear of the judgment and ridicule, but not you. You know my heart and I know yours. I know you appear to have everything in order and on track, but deep down inside you are hurting; you're hurting for happiness, love, and comfort in your daily life.

For every heart to heart conversation, banshee level laugh, and crazy story we’ve ever told, my heart smiles. To know that I have someone in my life that I can truly be myself with is a pleasure and something I thank God for. We are not perfect and just like an antique plate; there are some cracks and flaws in our foundation. What is most important is that we recover from those cracks, rebuild,  and restructure what we originally had. 

I have watched you mature from a young ingénue at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts to this incredible mother who is both loving and kind. My godson is the cutest and funniest little boy I know. He has so much personality and was made totally in your image. He is intelligent, charming, and destined for something great. I cannot wait to see what that is exactly, but I know it will be something superb.

For all the times we have disagreed or fought, I am sorry on my behalf. I am not perfect, but I do strive to be a good person each and every day; I would like to think you do as well. And I would rather fight with someone who I know loves me than fight with someone who does not wish me well. I feel in my heart that you are one of those people. I hope that our futures are filled with birthday trips, holiday gatherings, and our children growing up closely so they can be best friends like us although the world can only handle one Oriel and one Kathy.

For whatever the future holds, I pray God blesses us in every single corner of our lives. Ten years strong this year and God willing, many more decades of friendship to go. In your time of need, I want to wrap my arms around you from afar and give you that, deep, soul shattering, hideously ugly, cry on my chest hug you desperately need. What I want to do more than anything is tell you is I love you so much. And remember God never puts more on us than we can bare.  Be triumphantly faithful because it is your faith that has always kept and protected you from so much. Don't loose it now.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Much More

I've always felt that February was the shortest, busiest month of the year. With only 28 days I have; My sister's birthday (30 this year), New York Fashion Week, Valentine's Day, Black History Month, The Academy Awards, and so many other fabulous moments in life. Here are some things that made my month 

My sister turned the big 3-0- 30 is an intense age for so many people. My best friend in the whole world truly swallowed this reality pill. You're supposed to have all these things accomplished. My sister is a full time grad student, works, and will be soon moving into matrimony; 30 never looked so amazing. Kudos sissy. 

Fashion Week- this is not a week for amateurs. This is a week for people who are "avant garde," forward thinkers, and edgy as hell. If you're not ready to make a splash, stay at home. Some of my favorite shows from this year were Tom Ford, Gucci, and of course the fashion legend herself Ms. Diane Von Furstenberg! Spring is delicious!

Valentine's Day-I hardly ever have a Valentine who is in town. I either go out of town to visit him or I am single. My valentine was 3,000 miles away on business so I spent the entire day at work and hung out with one of my dear friends who is also in a long distance relationship afterward. Dare I say, I am getting good at being alone all the time? Ugh, such is life. 

Black History Month- I watched several different films, listened to many of the greats, and still could not fully and appropriately express my gratitude for this particular portion of the month. It is overwhelming how far we come and shocking how far we still have to go. 

The Academy Awards-both political and intriguing, the awards were quite boring this year. In fact, it was reported that the show's viewership was down a whopping 16% from last year. I do appreciate that Julianne Moore won her much deserved trophy, Lady Gaga did Julie Andrews justice, and Common and John Legend brought true, dignity, and respect to music again, but I fell asleep halfway through. 

On another note, I am really into this lighting concept within my apartment. I have mastered candle placement, and most times my apartment spells like a field of fruit, but other than that, I am sublimely happy with my little casita. Now on to March Madness...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Humbling Precipice

Having just celebrated my one month anniversary in my new casita, I realized, I am old. I am old because living alone now is riddled with anxiety and stress. These feelings are completely different than when I lived in Los Angeles alone. When I was 22, I loved the edge. The precipice of safety was my best friend. Now, I hear a dog bark next door and I am up with a bat in my hand. It is hilarious to me and shocking at the same time! I think to myself, what changed? With age comes caution. Caution is the difference between living on the precipice and merely thinking about. I must admit, I am still slightly cautious, but
not nearly as much I thought I would be. I never thought I would come to this point in my life where noises, darkness, and new places make me apprehensive. Regardless of the new imposed stress my paranoia causes me, I am very grateful for this.

I no longer think solely about myself. I consider my family, friends, and the little people in my life so much more. This is truly a blessing to me because I have slowed down enough to see what matters in life. I consider my health, my future, and the people in it much more. I mapped a plan for the next year and a half. My plans for 30th are steep, but totally attainable. With business plans, advanced degrees, and many romantic advancements, there couldn't be a better time to humble my emotions and my mind. 

The Super Bowl is here along with the Phoenix Open and all I want to do is go to bed. I have no desire to cram into the crowded and dangerous clubs hoping to catch a glimpse of "celebrities" who could care less about my existence. At this point in my life, I am more excited about a glass of Sweet Lucy, French Jazz, and my Netflix account. I have always heard that aging changes you. With me being more aware, focused, and goal oriented, I welcome these changes. With that said, I'm off to dinner with an friend. That's just the way I role now.....and I don't mind. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Make Me Over

My maternal grandmother once told me that I shouldn't ask God for what I want, I have to tell him, so that's what I did. I told him what I wanted in 2015 and for the rest of my life. I told him that I wanted financial freedom, internal peace, immaculate health, and someone special to share it with. I already have half of what I want now here comes the hard part; doing the work to get the other half. 

About two years ago I made a list of ten things I want to accomplish before 30. As I checked off my list, I realized I had inadvertently forgotten my faith on the list. I desperately need to have God be the center of my life in order to achieve the various goals and dreams I wish to relish in the new year. As I type this blog, I pray that The Lord hears my prayer and honors my wishes. In the meanwhile, I must reflect on my 2014. 


  • I traveled to South America for the first of many times thus helping me get closer to my goal of five continents before 30. 
  • I started working in the field of social services and watched 4 beautiful children transform before my very eyes. 
  • I made a commitment to someone who I feel I can grow with. 
  • I started my foray into my masters degree 
  • I moved into my first "grown up" apartment. 
  • I created some amazing friendships. 
  • I created an official business plan for my many businesses. 
  • I tried my hand at different businesses.
  • I started the process of letting go of my internal negativity. 

  • Lost a person I considered to be a friend.
  • Had a few work related injuries.
  • Watched someone get to the lowest point in her life. 
  • Observed a very close relationship spiral out of control.
  • Witnessed my weight go up and down once again. 
  • Allowed my health problems to get out of control.
  • Let my impatience get the best of me. 
  • Missed excellent career opportunities. 
I'm a work in progress and I will not stop building until I'm sculpted the way I wish to be. 

2015, mold me and make me better. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

And So It Begins….

Exactly one week ago, I was rummaging through the mountains and hills of Bogota, Colombia. Never did I imagine doing so, but I certainly did and all I can say is, WOW. It was magical, enchanting, charming, and pleasantly perfect in its own little way. To say I was grateful for the experience is an understatement; I WAS HYPNOTIZED! When I turned 27 last November, I decided that I wanted to accomplish many things before my 30th birthday. Amongst them, complete my masters degree, go on a hot air balloon ride, and travel to a total of 5 continents outside of my native home. Considering that I had already been to Europe on a graduation trip in 2007, I could safely cross that off my list. With years  to focus on other incredible continents, my first choice was South America!

Ever since I was a junior in college, I wanted to go to South America. My first choice was Buenos Aires, Argentina (which is still in the works). Unfortunately, even a cheap ticket to Buenos Aires is $1,200 from Phoenix.  And when you're a teacher with a shoe obsession, money is not used in vain. One must be a savvy traveler. Never one to give up on my desires, I found an alternative. I thought about all the other countries I wished to visit in South America and then I thought, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA! I have heard it was gorgeous and very modern with a "city edge" because of the drug trade.  Colombia, albeit supposedly more dangerous, was a much cheaper option that could still fulfill my desire to see South America. I researched the tickets and found an extremely reasonable one at $480.00 roundtrip. I saw, I bought, I planned. This would be the best trip of my life!

My good friend Efrem was the only friend would could accompany me on the trip as he too is an avid traveler and lover of life. Thankfully, he arranged for us to be on the same flight to and from the country. This I was most grateful for because I absolutely hate flying. As the trip arrived, I got nervous. Every single person in my life constantly said to, "Why Colombia? It's so dangerous. You're crazy!" Boy were they wrong. As I saw the sign "Bienvenido's a Colombia" all the those thoughts suddenly dissipated. I was happy and ready for what awaited me. On day one, I toured the fabulously chic and historically profound "Gold Museum" known for its indigenous gold, platinum, and bronze from all over Colombia. The museum was 5 floors and full of beauty. I took as many pictures as I could and never cared that I appeared the total American tourist,  I WAS IN COLOMBIA!

After hours of pictures and discoveries, my friend and I happened upon the fabulous museum restaurant that boasted some of the finest Colombian food. I had possibly the greatest minestrone soap (soup) I have ever had. I also found my new favorite snack; plantain chips and dip. It was a beautiful experiences. Note, Colombian hotels are extremely tiny. Our first hotel, albeit quite chic, was a shoebox full of charm. We stayed in a hip neighborhood Parque 93. If you're ever in Bogota, I highly recommend residing there for your stay. As much as I expected to see shady people and feel bad vibes, the whole entire city was abound with almost everything that America offers except everyone spoke Spanish. I felt right at home.

* Side note

Bogotanos are not drug dealers. They are regular city inhabitants like any American living in New York or San 

Upon our museum experience, we happened upon the fabulous bar "The Pub" at Hotel Continental. This is where I eyed the cutest, most intelligent Colombian throughout my entire experience there. His name was Pedro, he was part owner of the bar, an avid entrepreneur, well spoken gentlemen, and he was quite handsome. We flirted over several cocktails and beer nuts before we tired and had to depart to our hotel. It was a wonderful first night.

*Side note 

 Bogotanos firmly believe in;

  • Coffee (cafe)
  • Fresh juices (mostly papaya) 
  • Lots of taxis (be careful; they drive like Europeans)
  • Manners 
  • Looking well put together is a must
  • Adventure 
  • Excitement 
  • Culture 
Our second day, we felt a bit more comfortable with the city so we ventured out and did some local sight seeing. We met up with a recent acquaintance from our plane ride there. His name was Jason and he was a doll. He owes a hip boutique in Bogota which is reminiscent of Melrose boutiques; very cute and pretty reasonable. I bought two items and created a new friend. Bogota nights were filled with lots of walking, laughing, drinks, and dancing. We had a blast and spent most nights jamming out in Zona T, Zona Rosa, or Zona G. (all gorgeous areas of Bogota with amazing eateries and fantastic night life). 

*Side note

The best places to shop in Bogota are; 

ZONA T. Everything and anything is there for the taking. 

As the days flew by, I found myself drifting further away from the stress of my overwhelming job back home. I needed this vacation on many personal levels and thankfully, it exceeded all of my expectations. It was the best money I ever spent. The highlights of my trip included; The Botero Museum (a must see), downtown Bogota "La Candeleria"(because its hipper than hip), The Sunday flea market in Usaquen (my favorite neighborhood), and of course Monserrate Mountain.

How could anyone forget Mount Monserrate. It practically surrounds you throughout the city. It is as enchanting as it is haunting. The city is grateful to have this beautiful landmark that is not only original, but priceless in sight. One week ago, we made the trek up the mountain and absorbed all its full beauty. We took picture after picture and still couldn't completely capture its true essence. It is a mountain more stunning than ever. I would venture to say, it is a world treasure that should definitely be embraced and seen by all.

*Side note

Reggaeton is the music of the country, but the main musical dances are Salsa and Meringue. Make sure you bring your dancing shoes! 

My last official day in Bogota was perfect because of the people in my life. A family friend who is a Bogotano herself, connected me to her family still living there and they truly showed me "the best of Bogota." We to "Callore"up the mountain hills where I had my first Colombian beer; it was surprisingly delicious. They also took me to the outskirts of Bogota (Chia) where I danced and ate the night away at Audres. It was the most fun I had ever had and from people I barely knew. As I watched all the people dancing on the floor, I just stood paralyzed. Tears started to stream down my face. Efrem said, "It's beautiful isn't it." And I just nodded. It truly was. I was at complete peace. Bogota was the best trip I have taken in a long time. It was my first birthday trip and my first step into my journey of 5 continents.

Though I am already planning my next birthday trip to Thailand, I have left a special part of my heart in Bogota. From the food, the dancing, the people, the Spanish, and the mountains, I breathlessly in awe and love of this terribly misunderstood city. I have realized that one should never listen to others. Believe no one and always form your own opinion based on facts and logic. Bogota is no different than any other major city. Of course, there is crime, but there is crime everywhere. If you are an astute and safe traveler, you will have the time of your life just like I did! 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why Can't We All Win?

In my humble opinion, to win in life means to have the ultimate freedom of humanity. This is something that is not open to all humans. Not all humans are allowed to make mistakes, fall short of expectations, disgrace the public, and are forgiven with their shortcomings completely forgotten. Such is a blissful dream placed in an unattainable bubble that floats peacefully through the sky, often out of reach for most women and even further out of reach for most minority women. 

As an actress who spent a sizable chunk of my youth trying to cultivate a career in Hollywood, I learned early on, that acting and entertainment is a game that must be played very carefully. The films,  and shows must be good and audience must love you. There is simply no room for mediocrity, especially if you are unattractive or a minority. So when I discovered a woman named Shonda Rimes who just happened to have written a show that had a black female lead (only the second in primetime history next to Diahann Carol), I said, "I NEED TO SEE THIS SHOW!" 

And see, I did. I watched the complete season of Scandal (unfortunately work would not allow me to keep up), Shonda Rimes's, chaotic, fast paced politico drama about a woman who "fixes" scandals before they arrive to the news scene. Since the show is based on a real life woman named Olivia Pope who just happens to be black, it was only fitting the character on the show be black as well. 

America, for the most part, responded brilliantly. The show has top ratings, is constantly nominated for awards, and the actors/actresses have all received recognition for their efforts and contributions. That isn't to say, the show created by the talented and gifted Ms. Shonda Rimes, have not been met with some "Hollywood" angst. With Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal all being ratings gold, one would expect more to come…..and they would be right!

Shonda Rimes unveiled her next fast rapidly moving, drama this past Thursday right after Scandal. Due to the main character alone (no offense to Shonda), I was immediately interested. Viola Davis, both regal and charming, graces the screen so effortlessly in the show How to Get Away With Murder. She is the quintessential, "pit bull in a skirt" that is necessary of a lawyer regardless of gender. Most of the critics agreed, the show was intriguing, well acted, and definitely one to watch for the fall, but one naysayer has ruined all the impressive word of mouth with a borderline, racist rebuttal to the "glowing reports."

When I read, New York Times Writer Alessandra Stanley's depressing, depiction of Shonda Rimes and her creation, I bulked at the thought. In Alessandra's own words "When Shonda Rimes writes her autobiography, it should be called "How to Get Away With Being An Angry Black Woman." 

She completely reduces, a talented woman's entire career to the age old, "angry black woman" rant by saying that most all of her shows feature a intimidating black woman as a lead. 

She claims that Viola Davis is a decent actress who's "sub par" beauty should be rewarded because "it is not the Hollywood standard of beauty instead of basking in the glow of a truly talented woman who just happens to be a lawyer and professor at a major university. It got me to thinking back to a time where an acting teacher of mine said "Unfortunately, in this world, there is not always room for all of us." I hated hearing it and now it was coming back to haunt me yet again.

I just want to know, why can't everyone win? Why can't a black woman write a television show about another black woman who is in a male dominated career field, dominates said career field, is married, financially well, and pretty much not every stereotype the world thrives off? Why must dim-witted, narrow-minded journalists like Ms. Stanley write such filth in order to take away the glory of something beautiful. Viola Davis and Shonda Rimes are huge assets to Hollywood and despite what naysayers may feel, their fans and many heavyweights in Hollywood love and admire them.  

I hate to bring race into everything, but I most certainly feel race was the main factor in the recent disparaging blogs and reports about Ms. Rimes and co. I have a strong belief that if the female lead of How to Get Away with Murder was white, she would be a  no nonsense, kick ass heroine, but because she is black, she is a problem and because her writer is black there is an even bigger problem: they are both angry. Will she continue to write shows that dazzle audiences and transcend stereotypes? Yes! Will she continue to hire actresses of all colors that are perfect for the roles created? Yes!

Why should she change her formula if it works for her? Millions of viewers every year agree that Shonda is doing something right. Until Ms. Stanley and other equally dim witted, journalists (sadly) from People Magazine write the same reviews for the writers and creators of Two and a Half Men, Two Broke Girls, Parenthood, or The Big Bang Theory generalizing every stereotype about the female leads in those shows,   I will continue to advocate for Ms. Rimes. 

It is truly a myth, not all black are angry and not all white women are nice. People are people and everyone should be allotted the opportunity to show you who they are. You, Ms. Stanley, have proven yourself to be a total ass with no journalistic integrity or ability and because both Ms. Rimes and Ms. Davis are classier than you'll ever be, they have simply chosen to ignore your little rant and let the ratings shut you up. And based on the reviews, they are truly winning. Now who is mad? Certainly not those two black women!