The Dinner Party Partisanship

I love a good family dinner party. 
Your aunt brings the garden fresh garden salad.
Your uncle brings his famous mac ‘n cheese.
Your cousin makes the best garlic mashed potatoes.
Your grandma bakes the cinnamon apple pie.
Your mom makes the biggest pork roast.
Your spouse makes their winning bacon wrapped scallops.
It’s about coming together, conversation and all the good foods!

Now lets switch gears.
Political parties are the same.
Some people fall on the conservative side of the spectrum, while others land on the liberal side. If you choose to stay between the two, you can always identify as an independent too.
Of course there are other subcategories, but without going to far down the rabbit hole, we’ll keep it to these three sections.

At the end of the day, we all eat together, so why the separation?
Depending on upbringing, personal opinions, virtues, values, and learned morals, each individual is entitled to their own opinions, should it not bring harm to others.
These are the separate dishes.

When these elements dine together,
a cohesive unit of humans should ideally be able to work and talk together.
The only way this won’t work, is when you’ve got that one family member who thinks their dish is the end all be all.
Everybody should only eat what they brought to the table.
Their big ole roast.
No bacon wrapped scallops,
no mac ‘n cheese,
no garden fresh salad,
no mashed potatoes,
no apple pie.

And that’s where we are currently in America.

I’m not here to tell you one party should surpass the other or that one is better.
I want a plate full of everything!
Same dinner party, remember?

However, we can’t work on problems equally, when one voice is on full volume,
while the other is getting
quieter

and

quieter

and

quieter.

Currently, republicans control the senate, the house and the presidency.
Until recently, the only area that acquired some level of equality, was the supreme court. However, Justice Anthony Kennedy has recently announced his coming retirement to spend more time with his family.
A simple google search will tell you all about how Justice Kennedy has been the major swing vote in many huge cases.

Now that he is stepping down, President Trump will be expected to hand select the next Supreme Court Justice. Now don’t forget, Justices are expected to serve until they either retire or die.
They’re in it for life; this is a huge decision to fall unto the Presidents’ lap.

Trump has mentioned that he has a list composed of candidates for the opening position. Considering he leads with a conservative hand, we can expect a conservative justice.

Without jumping to too many conclusions,
I would say it’s fairly reasonable to consider the idea that our country will then have a republican house, senate, presidency and team of justices.

This reality isn’t so farfetched.
When Obama was in office, the democrats controlled the senate, the presidency and the supreme court was pretty equal but fell towards the liberal side.
The house was the only part of senate controlled by republicans.

I see a bit of a problem with both instances.
One side is constantly trying to undo the other.
Instead of building each other up, we’re busy tearing each other down. It’s the same cycle with a different party.
The only way to change partisanship is go old school, reach across the aisle.

We don’t have to agree on everything,
some of us want steak and some of us want tofu.
We still sit at the same table, we still eat together.
I know I want a plate with a little bit of everything,
and not just because I was a fat kid growing up!

I want to hear about what everyone has been up to and how well they’ve been doing.
The dinner time conversation can only flow
when we’re all speaking at the same volume and taking turns.
We can’t keep trying to yell over each other, because eventually somebody hits the mute.

Now that I’ve got your wheels spinning I’ve one last thing to say:
Welcome to the dinner party,
what kind of guest will you be?

2 Years Passed

If you know about the Pulse tragedy that occurred two years ago, June 13, 2016, the word pulse may mean something different to you now.

It could represent a heartbeat, beating or ceased. It could represent a past place, once thumping with jubilant and alive electricity. It could represent a current place of empty space and quiet handmade alters with wilted flowers.

It could represent a feeling; one of anger and confusion. Or it could be one of strength sprouted and flourished from the concrete actions of a misled soul.

It could represent a tattoo, if you had one inked on you to show your support. It could represent a community you’ve been a part of, that slowed its pace in the peak of the horror. It could represent friends gone, family lost and those forever scarred physically and mentally by an act of hatred.

The word pulse could bring back memories put away, either of good days or not. It could conjure up questions of how and when and why and what could I have done? It could be a word that numbs the senses.

The word pulse means something very dynamic and shrewd to me. It carries a terrifying spectrum of reality and hopefulness along with it now.

To me, pulse is not just a word or picture or a memory or song or sadness. Pulse is a number.

49.

49 times does the word Pulse ring in my ears.

49 times does the word echo on the ground, when I stroll the cobblestone streets of my neighborhood.

49 times does the word stop my thought process and slow my pace, 2 years later.

49 times do I say to myself,

“Don’t you dare complain about any type of tiresome or trying time, when you know there are souls who will never get the same chance.”

49 times do I wonder, what if it happens again? What if something worse happens? What if I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time? Should I hide my sexuality? Should I remove myself from my community?

And twice as many times do I say no.

I say not one bit. I say never.

I will never shrink, or shadow my personality. I will never hide my being or sugarcoat my life. I will never slink out of a room that makes me uncomfortable.

I will never sit down because my stance is too tall for a short girl with individuality. I will never cower from or ignore the crude reality of the world we live in.

There is hate, and I cannot change it all at once.

There are people who spread that hate, like black mold.

Hate is quiet. It is easy. And most of all, deadly.

How can I fight a quiet and sly killer?

Hate can live in us all, if we let it. It holds potential to grow in the darkest corners of our minds.

But the thing is, love holds that same potential. It is the yin and yang of life. The darkness is equally met with the light. The scale that teeters and totters during our years of existence is weighted by whatever we pile onto it.

Because each and every one of us holds potential for both hate and love, we can fight the hate equally with just as much love.

You don’t fight fire with gasoline.

You don’t hide from fire either, because the smoke will eventually seep into your lungs.

You face the fire, and you saturate it until the water has washed away the char.

You listen to opposing views. You listen to the groups of people that preach hate. You listen to the anger and the sadness. You don’t spew venom. You just listen.

And once they feel heard, you can share your love. Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to be loved. It is instinctual, deeply rooted and almost primal. It acknowledges the other as equal, and that paves the way in the right direction.

That is the first step to stopping another shortcoming; the first step to saving the next life.

It has to start with us. We have to think about it consistently; be it 2 years later or 200 years later. 49 lives are gone from this world, but they are not gone for nothing.

This time has built the Orlando community tighter and stronger than ever before. There is a steady backing that says “I’ve got you, I’m here for you.”

We have to share that with each person we encounter. It won’t be easy, it won’t happen quickly. But we have to show courage and patience, and we have to show how much love our community holds for those with us and against us.

If you take away anything from this article, it is this:

Nobody is born hating the world, but holds an equal potential for hate and for love. What they are shown they will mirror and mimic into their adult life. In our adult lives, we still hold that same potential for hate and for love. Regardless of any dispositions or disadvantages, the potential does not disappear. Will you choose hate or love?

Thanks for reading, much love.

Kate Spade: The Speculation Spam

Why are we so obsessed with the fall of the rich and famous?
Is it because we crave a lifestyle that many of us will never experience? Is it because we look at the rich and famous as invincible and untouchable?
They aren’t so unlike us.

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Part of me wants to say the oversharing is due to much admiration of Kate Spade’s many accomplishments as a designer.
Yet, part of me knows, that there hasn’t been an inkling of privacy granted to the Brosnahan and Spade family; because as a society we are obsessed with the details of what could have happened inside a seemingly perfect life. 

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It’s easy to google Kate and find out the details of her suicide.
She hung herself with a red scarf from a doorknob in her Park Avenue apartment. Found by her housekeeper, there was also a note left addressing her daughter.
The note allegedly said “It’s not your fault” and “Ask your father.”
13 year old Francis was at school.
It’s everywhere. We get it. So why are we probing for more?

An article was published on Kate’s husband, (linked at the bottom of this page)
Andy Spade, that he left his apartment in a mouse mask, shouting at paparazzi,
begging for privacy.

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Another article was published on Kate’s niece posting a video of her aunt dancing at a Christmas party with a Mariachi band playing in the background.
Why do I need to know these things? I don’t.

This is called, being intrusive. Am I being a hypocrite for further illuminating the subjects? Maybe. However, I’m doing it to present a counter perspective:
We’re diving too deep into a sensitive situation.

Image: Kate Spade
SPECIAL PRICE. American accessories designer Kate Spade.

I love seeing the articles celebrate Kate Spade and her successes.
She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Journalism.
Her beginning at Mademoiselle Magazine in the fashion department grew her love for fashion. Eventually she would team up with Andy Spade, her future husband, and create a designer line of handbags named Kate Spade New York.
Her first boutique would be only 400 square feet, but would graduate into a 10,000 square foot unit eventually. She’s since been named in the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Neiman Marcus Group developed a grand interest in Kate Spade’s line and bought 56% of the company.
Following suit, Liz Claiborne would buy the rest, then sell to purse and accessory line, Coach. At 55 years old Kate Spade was not only a billionaire, but also a mother. Her daughter, Frances is left with the designer legend of her mother.

Kate’s family has contradicting stances on her mental state.
Her older sister, Saffo, although upset by the news, said that the suicide wasn’t unexpected. Saffo said that Kate suffered from anxiety and depression, and asked Kate many times to seek help. While these claims were made, Kate’s brother insists that Kate would never do anything like this and never seemed unhappy.

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However, the fact of the matter is that Kate did take her own life. Instead of speculating on the perfection that had once been presented, I think it’s worth noting the phrase “More money, more problems” are pretty damn relevant.
You never really know what one person is battling with daily.
It doesn’t matter who they are, or what they have.
Before you share another viral article or video online delving into the depths of the Brosnahan or Spade family, think about what you would want in you were in their shoes. Maybe go ahead and share something that celebrate’s Kate’s life, but maybe pass on the darker speculations.
Hug your loved one’s today, call your mom or do a good deed.
As the cliche goes, life is just too short.

Thanks for reading, much love.

I do not own any of the above pictures.
Sources:
https://pagesix.com/2018/06/05/kate-spades-suicide-note-had-a-message-for-her-daughter/

https://www.refinery29.com/2018/06/201040/kate-valentine-spade-name-designer-fashion-career
https://people.com/style/kate-spades-family-disgusted-after-designers-sister-claims-suicide-not-unexpected-suffered-mental-illnes/

https://pagesix.com/2018/06/07/kate-spades-husband-emerges-in-bizarre-mouse-mask/
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/06/style/kate-spade-husband-andy-spade.html

Behind the Chair and Beyond the Locks

Nicole Grajewski is a hairstylist and business owner planted in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rollie Locs is a brand she created through the branches of the dreadlock community. Her roots in art and hair began in Orlando at UCF as a studio art major, yet have flourished into a love for locks that currently reaches over 40,000 people. She may make her living behind the chair, but there’s much more going on within the locks that frame her auspicious endeavors.
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Her start-up: While Grajewski was in college, she also worked as a receptionist at a local hair salon. As she observed the stylists, her interest in becoming one herself solidified. As for the dreadlock side of doing hair, her admiration began even earlier.
“I found them aesthetically pleasing ever since I was young. I thought ‘dreadlocks make people look sexy,’ so I wanted to wear them. Once I started to wear them I noticed more and more people reaching out to me wanting to wear them as well,” said Grajewski.

I found Nicole a little over a year ago when I asked her to maintenance my own dreadlocks. The is what one of my more recent maintenance sessions looked like.
The before is on the left.

Nicole explained the locking process as a journey that one chooses to take.
“The locking process is a journey, that people take totally knowing it’s a commitment and knowing that it’s going to take time and that it’s going to take patience,” said Grajewski. “So people go in knowing that it takes time for dreadlocks to flourish and be perfect. So it’s usually people who want connection to their hair; people that are willing to go through all that, because it’s not easy like you think.”

One of her favorite parts to creating and maintaining dreadlocks is the transformation itself.
“My favorite thing about doing dreads is starting from soft hair to creating a full head of dreadlocks and seeing people’s reactions. And then pretty much I can only picture that person with dreads ever again,” said Grajewski.

Her most memorable client is Willam, a drag queen that was on Ru Paul’s drag race.
Willam-0
“I was always a really big fan before she (Willam) reached out to me to make her wigs. I even got to go to her house/studio in Hollywood and I couldn’t believe that that was really happening,” said Grajewski. “She found me through Instagram, which was crazy. Totally reached out to me organically and asked me to make her some dreadlock extensions. I delivered them to her there (in Hollywood) and she sewed them into a wig she already had.”

She has made Willam 2 synthetic dreadlock wigs, and is currently working on another one as well.
rollie6
“I feel like if a drag queen approves then you’ve made it,” said Grajewski.

Since Grajewski is a pretty big deal as Rollies2thesky on Instagram, the popular photo centralized social media app. Currently she has over 40,000 followers. I absolutely had to ask her if she bought her following.
“No I definitely haven’t bought any followers or likes, I feel like that would be pointless. Basically when I first started my business, I was making the synthetic extensions, and shipping them. I was working from my house,” said Grajewski. “I reached out to a lot of people that had a lot of followers and asked if I could mail them dreads and if they would wear them and shout me out.”

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The up and up of her business has been growing ever since. Despite the growth, she truly emphasized the client to stylist connection and how important it is to form that trust.
“I feel like the person that’s letting me touch their dreads really trusts me, and I want that. I feel like there has to be a bond.” Fortunately she hasn’t had any situations where she wasn’t able to form that bond.

The biggest obstacle in beginning her business was gaining her parents’ approval.
“I was going to UCF and I was only doing that to please my parents. I knew that I wanted to stop going there and go to cosmetology school. They were supporting me financially at that time in my life so I had to do whatever they wanted me to do,” said Grajewski.

Over the course of four years, she began cultivating synthetic dreadlocks and saving the money she made. From that, she was able to fund her cosmetology schooling all on her own. To further prove her passion wasn’t just a hobby to her parents, she worked as a hair stylist for two years as well. Now her parents see how successful and financially independent Grajewski has become and are quite impressed by the range of clientele she reaches and services. Nicole commented on her mom especially being impressed.
“Now she (Nicole’s mom) sees that I can tell her about my really cool clients. Like she watches the lightning, and I did J.T. Brown’s hair, who now plays for Anaheim, but he was with the lightening. She thought that was the coolest thing ever. She supports me now.”
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During the interview, I brought up the topic of cultural appropriation. With social media at our fingertips and cultures merging and collaborating, it does seem important to show credit and respect as well. Unfortunately, she has experienced a small amount of negative feedback.
“I feel like it really tests me online because of the way people come at me isn’t with educated opinions. It’s usually people attacking the photo or attacking the person that has dreads,” said Grajewski. “I definitely respect that African Americans wear dreadlocks so proudly and have for a really long time. But also I think that it’s just a really trending hairstyle and white people can have them because our hair does knot. I think that’s the main issue, people think that our hair doesn’t actually knot on its own.
Everybody has assistance with their dreadlocks.”

Grajewski listed how all races maintain their dreadlocks in some way; whether they are organizing sections or twisting their roots.
“If anything I would say it’s a compliment to different cultures. I think it originated from many different cultures, not just Jamaica,” said Grajewski.

When I asked what it was like being her own boss, she blurted out how it was one of the absolute best parts of what she does.
“I can do hair while I’m traveling, I can create my own hours. I don’t have to be by a book; nothing is corporate.
I don’t have to follow rules, I can be my truest self. People that come to see me accept that,” said Grajewski.
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Her only drawback was that being only one of her, restricts her from reaching more people in her audience online and in person. For her, traveling is one of the bigger parts of her work. The process basically goes like this:
“If there’s a city I want to go to, all I have to do is go on instagram and say “hey I’m gonna be in this place on these dates” and I get an overwhelming amount of people that want to have their hair done by me. I get a vacation and work out of it. Work to me is always fun,” said Grajewski.

The synthetic dreadlocks that she makes are another interesting aspect of her work. The hair she uses comes from a website http://ikickshins.net/ and once the dreadlocks are made from the synthetic pieces, they are dreaded forever. Although the pieces cannot change in color and are much courser, they are perfect for someone who only wants to have dreads temporarily.

The dreadlock community is a plethora of different beings. Grajewski described it as a community of open minded positive people.
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“Usually people with dreadlocks are living an alternative lifestyle. Dreadlocks come with a stigma. Dreadlocks come with a stereotype,” said Grajewski. “So if someone is willing to live their life knowing they are pushing the boundaries, they going to be more accepting of other people doing different things too.
I live a no judgement life towards pretty much anything. It’s cool to meet those likeminded people.”

Her idea for the name Rollie Locs originated from a Biggie Smalls song. The lyrical inspiration was to “put your rollies to the sky.” A younger and more naive Nicole thought it meant to put a blunt to the sky, so she made her instagram name Rollies2thesky. She later found out the reference was to Rolex watches.
Her laughter during the interview explained that she accepted her mistake and decided to own it.
rollie1
“Then I started wearing dreads and doing them and people would be like start thinking that was my name. So I remember one night I was sitting at a bar with this guy named DJ Nigel in Orlando and he said ‘You gotta name it Rollies locks, I can see it! I can just see it!’ And that was the moment,” said Grajewski.

That moment would lead her to creating a business uniquely her own with a goal of one day owning her own space for the dreadlock community to come together.
“I live in St. Pete Florida and there’s a lot of dread heads here. There’s a really cool scene. I would ultimately like to create a space where I can do hair but I can also bring my community together,” said Grajewski.

Her upcoming work includes flying out to Las Angeles to personally deliver yet another wig to the drag queen Willam and she will also be doing another top secret celebrity’s dreads while she is there.
Grajewski wouldn’t disclose who the celebrity was with me because she didn’t want to jinx the opportunity.

Nearing the end of the interview, I asked Grajewski to share something with me about herself that nobody else really knew. I thought this might be interesting because she already leads such an unconventional career and lifestyle. She get’s to travel and party with some of the best and has such a large following. Her answer actually surprised me.

“I’m a really big dork. I guess people think because I have a lot of instagram followers that I care about social media that I’m some like fame crazed person but I’m not that at all. I’m actually like kind of shy, super awkward and I really don’t like talking about myself to be honest,” said Grajewski.
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Her humble tone was highly refreshing. Although she’s been doing hair and dreadlocks for years now, her own actual dreads have been locking for about 10 months. They will be one year old in August.

As a fresh graduate and beginning freelancer, I asked for some advice. I too aspire to achieve the ability to work for myself one day.
“My advice is just to take that risk and if you feel it inside yourself that it’s gonna be a success like there’s a need, desire or demand for it, then just do it. Don’t hold back, give it your all,” said Grajewski.

In a moment of reflection she also added what she would have told her younger self.
“I would tell myself, ride the wave of life, follow your intuitions, and to not be so hard on yourself,” said Grajewski.

That’s all I’ve got folks, you saw it here first. Nicole Grajewski, the future of dreadlocks and what life is like when you take a chance on yourself. Ride the wave of life. That’s surely what I’ll be doing from here on out.
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Thanks for taking the time to check out this feature on Nicole Grajewski.
If you’d like to view more of her work, or get into contact with her, I’ve posted her social media links below. She responds quite promptly and always has an incredibly positive attitude.
Much love!

Rollies2thesky Instagram
Rollies Locs Facebook

Opening Yourself Up to Opportunity

The last year has been one of rapid growth for me. I graduated college, switched to an early morning job, began growing my online presence, started dabbling in freelance work, got into working out and even started therapy to better understand myself as a growing adult.

It sounds like a lot and honestly, it has been. However, we’ve all been given the same amount of hours in every day, and the time passes the same for each of us. The only difference is in how we utilize that time. There have been some struggles and compromises. I don’t go out like I used to. I’ve tightened my budget in many areas. I’ve let go of old relationships that weren’t helping me blossom in the ways that I now need. I’ve learned to pick my battles and to only allow my emotions to guide my choices; my emotions no longer define my decisions.

I wake up much earlier, usually around 5:30 am and I have more responsibilities now. I spend more time with close friends, family and my partner. I have to plan out my days ahead of time and I have more appointments and projects to complete. All these compromises and changes haven’t been easy, but what it all comes down to is how badly I’ve wanted to positively grow in my personal and professional life.
How bad do you want it?

Every bit of our days include opportunities. Either we are in the right place at the right time or we realistically manifest them ourselves. To meet the expectations of these opportunities, sometimes we have to make changes and go through the drudgery of hard work. To create opportunities, we have to open our minds.

A narrow outlook restricts us from approaching all possibilities.

Self created opportunities arise from approaching new people, organic networking and simply brainstorming new ideas. Naturally occurring opportunities are the ones that fall into our lap; and they are so rare.
If you really want to make changes and succeed in your work or whatever area in life it is, you are probably going to have to make your own way. Unless you have a rich parent with all the connections to land you a job or spoon feed you what you want;
but who really wants that anyways?

Succeeding on your own and climbing the ladder to whatever your personal goal is, is always incredibly rewarding.

These days, I try to make the most of every situation I am in.
For instance, if I’m at work, and our big boss comes in, I will make sure to say hello and chat him/her up. I won’t go hide in the back or avoid them. Any opportunity to network is useful. Even if it is just to show my face and that I have a great attitude; maybe down the line that boss will remember me and utilize me for some sort of promotion or side gig.
Another example is that even when I’m having a bad day, I live by the saying “Fake it ’til ya make it.” It always pays off, because eventually, I’m able to shift over into a positive mind space and working doesn’t seem as bad.

When we change our mind set, we change the way we view the world. We change the way we approach others which allows us to create opportunities for ourselves. You don’t have to be smiling 24/7, but a generally positive outlook does make all the difference.

When you’re able to focus on the present moment and put your best foot forward, even if it is in a job that you don’t plan on having forever, that will eventually be recognized. Even if you’re doing pro-bono projects on the side or cheap collaboration jobs, eventually that experience will pay off.

As I continue to apply these concepts to my life, I also remember that success doesn’t happen over night. “It’s 2018 though, why can’t I just get a job off of an app and make millions right away?” Because I know that true success takes time and hard work. Although it sounds old fashioned, those principles will never go out of style.

Approach each day with the thought “Today I will work as hard as I can and do the best that I personally can” and you will find that you achieve much more. Even slow progress is good progress. If you do find you’re having a hard time switching your head space to a positive one, maybe change your environment for the time being. Do what you can, and remember that making your own way will eventually lead you to where you should be.

Creating your own opportunities will open up the space in your life for those very rare naturally occurring opportunities to finally fall into your lap. If you do the leg work, the work will reward you.

Thanks for reading, keep doing all the amazing things that you do!

Much love~