Saturday, March 31, 2007 aims to help journalists of color excel...

Journalists of color looking for an online home, meet Chloe A. Hilliard.

This prolific journalist and former news editor of The Source has created, a networking website that caters to the careers of minority journalists.

“It’s like MySpace meets MediaBistro,” Hilliard says. has sections for writing opportunities, message boards, and user-generated content. Since March 1, Hilliard says the site has about 115 registered members, but she expects that number to grow in the coming months.

“I have a lot of lurkers,” she says. “Once people get more comfortable with the site and see that it’s reliable, I think they will join.”

Hilliard says she is really pushing for college students to contribute to the site.

“Our biggest challenge is getting people to submit content. I’ve gotten things here and there and I’m looking for journalism students of color who can benefit from having their work published,” she says.

The newbie site averages about 8,000 hits a day.

Hilliard has written for such publications as The Source, King, Vibe and Vibe Vixen.
In addition, she also edits books for Triple Crown Publishing, the company behind popular street fiction books Let That Be The Reason and Street Dreams.

Hilliard says the best thing a new journalist can do is make contacts.

“It’s so important to cultivate relationships,” she says. "It’s important to show them you’re interested and can think on your feet. Seek out a mentor. Invite them to lunch, send them an email. Don’t worry if your work isn’t up to par. It’s all about starting those relationships. Reach out to people even if you think they’ll say no.”

For now, Hilliard is primarily focusing on, but she says her ultimate goal is to “touch on all aspects of media.”

“I want to continue writing, strengthen my voice as a writer,” she says. “I want to continue to do speaking engagements. I want to write a book. I want to have a free-flowing media career. I don’t want to be pigeonholed.”

Power of blogging Part 2

As I said in my ealier post, bloggers have considerable power.

The Chicago Tribune reported today that Shaquanda Cotton, the black teen sentenced to 7 years in prison for shoving a hall monitor even though she had no prior record, will be released early today.

You can check out the full story here.

Friday, March 30, 2007

What Love Feels Like..

I really feel like I've fallen in love with this man all over again.

I mean, those first two weeks we spent together were beautiful. But now, three years later, I'm still feeling the same way and it's soooo good. I still think he's the sexiest man ever and every time he tells me he loves me or hugs me or touches me, I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I'm having such a hard time describing what this feels like though. I've never done any drugs, so I can't compare it to any unnatural high.

How's this: You know the feeling you get when....

you're sick for a long time and you wake up feeling 100% better?

you take a bite of your favorite food?

when you catch a new episode of your favorite TV show?

you're really tired and you take a nap and wake up extremely refreshed?

you finish your last exam for the semester and that sense of freedom washes over you?

you smell your favorite food baking in the oven?

you open that first Christmas present and it's exactly what you wanted?

you find some money that you forgot about in your jeans when you go to wash them?

you hear a new song on the radio and immediately you know it's going to be one of your favorite songs?

you hop on the scale and see that you actually lost weight?

you go to the store to pick up something and it's cheaper than you thought or on sale, so you can buy two of them?

when you go to dinner with someone and the check comes and they reach for it, saying, "I got this"?

when you get an A on a test that you studied all week for?

you win the lottery?

That is how I feel when I'm with my hubby. Everything is just better. Everything.

I'm so happy.

An oldie but goodie...

I wrote this post at my old blog address I wrote it Christmas Eve when I was bored. But I went back to the site and dug around and realized that everything I wrote then is still true. That is amazing to me.


I know I probably did this same post back around Thanksgiving, but I'm waiting for my parents to get back so I can go to the store to do some last-minute shopping (even though I remember telling them that I needed the car early this morning, but that's neither here nor there at this point) and I have nothing better to do. Seriously. It's either this or washing dishes. And you know writing always trumps putting my hands on a bunch of funky dishes.

So what am I thankful for? (This is by no means in order)

I'm thankful for the fact that I've (sort of) maintained my weight over this year, because usually my weight flucuates like nobody's business. I'm still in the 135 area, give or take a few pounds in either direction.

I'm thankful that I have had some wonderful professors who demanded the best of me and as a result, I have made some wonderful connections.

I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for my mom for working two jobs, sometimes not sleeping for a few days just so we can afford to live in the house we've been living in for 17 years. I'm thankful for my dad for being so knowledgeable and trying to do the best he can with what he has. I'm thankful for my sisters because I know I can tell them anything and get the truth from them.

I'm thankful for my boyfriend. He tells me things that I don't necessarily like to hear, but that I need to hear. He's also the reason why I smile.

I'm thankful for my health. I might not be the most athletic person in a room, but I'm not suffering from diabetes or hypertension or asthma or anything. So I'm thankful.

I'm also thankful for Rachael Ray (Food Network TV Host -- "30 Minute Meals"). I know it sounds weird to be grateful for someone who doesn't even know you, but it's true. Ever since I've gotten addicted to Rachael Ray's show, I've been trying to make a conscious decision to watch what I eat. Before Rachael, I considered restaurants an "anything goes" zone, meaning it was a special event so why deprive myself? Uh-huh. Only that I was eating 1,000 calories and 60 grams of fat per meal, which was not helping. My boyfriend would take me out to dinner a lot and let me tell you, I can eat. He'll probably even admit that I'm not the same size I was when we first hooked up. I used to be around 129, 130. I know five pounds doesn't sound like much, but it's the difference between a size 6 and size 8. (And I really hate wearing a size 8) But I thank Rachael for getting me to see that sometimes it's worth it to just stay in and cook for yourself because then you can control the calories and you can eat more! She also helped me discover that I love to cook.

Last but not least, I'm thankful for God for blessing me with this talent. It may sound a little arrogant, but I believe I have amazing talent. Not only do others affirm this belief, but I just know. When a basketball player steps up, plants his feet behind the 3-point line and shoots, and the ball just swishes through, no rolling, that is amazing. That's how I feel after I write a good article. So I'm thankful.

What are YOU thankful for?

Happy to just be me....

Many many times I've tried to set a specific topic for this blog. At first, it was going to be about motherhood, then being a college student. Then I decided I was going to write about being a journalist. Then I thought I'd cover black celebrities (as if there aren't enough blogs talking about Beyonce and Jay-Z). Then I thought I'd cover magazines. Or food maybe.

I thought I'd have to focus on one particular area to get folks to read. But I realized I can't limit myself like that. I am a mother, a college student, a journalist. I love magazines, but I love to eat too.

So I said, "Forget it!" I'm writing about me. My thoughts, my dreams, my projects, my life. What a great way for people to learn about me. I'm way too crazy to have a simple blog about recipes (no offense to the people who do). I like letting you see all of me, if that means writing about my daughter one day and the newest Giant magazine cover the next, well, then that's what I'm going to do.

I thought my page hits would suffer because I'm not writing about all that's "hot" right now, but they've stayed the same, primarily because I write from the heart.

I'm happy to just be me.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I Think My Daughter Will Be Just Like Me...

My daughter is almost 5 months old now and I have to say she's finally at the age where she has a personality of her own. She's beginning to act like a little person and I'm loving it!What thrills me even more is that she's developing some traits that very much like mine.

For example, when I'm sitting at the computer desk, I'll put her on my lap and pull the keyboard closer. She'll reach her little hands up and pound on the keyboard. Future journalist in the making? Let's hope so.

Blogs I'm Feeling Right Now...

I spend a lot of time on the computer. More than I should, but when you're broke and bored, the Internet can provide a heck of a lot of entertainment.

So when I'm browsing, I tend to read a lot of blogs. Maybe 10-15 a day. I try to find new people with new concepts so I don't feel like I'm reading the same ones over and over again. As I've gone along, I feel these are the ones who deserve repeat visits.

1) - I don't know how David does it, but he manages to crank out quality posts all the time. He regularly posts on items I would never have found surfing the internet on my own - dust-mopping slippers, anyone?

2)African-American Dad - Ever since I became a mom, I've read pretty much all the "mommy blogs," where either stay-at-home moms or those who work outside the home decide to blog and chronicle their lives or work or just daily thoughts. I can pretty much relate to all of them, but I really enjoy reading about the male perspective. I enjoy reading about men who not only love their children, but chronicle that in a blog form. I never knew men were keen on revealing their personal frustrations on potty training, wife's mood swings, etc. African American Dad is great because you get to hear life from a voice that's not typically heard in mainstream America.

3) The Professional Hater - I don't know if this is a real blog or not, but this guy from Giant magazine cracks me up. His columsn/posts (whatever you want to call them) can be a bit harsh, but it never fails to put a smile on my face. I've only been reading it for a few days and already I'm hooked.

4)Ebony Mommy - Never met her, but I can say from reading her blog for a few months that she is one woman who has it all together. Beautiful kids, goregous house, fantastic relationship and a sense of self that comes across so powerfully on a computer screen. Like I said before, I don't know her personally, but after reading her blog I wish I did.

5) Tia Williams - Yeah, I mentioned this one before, but I had to say it again. I'm learning to give credit where credit is due and celebrate the fabulousness (is that a word?) of other people. Her blog is wonderfully written, with a sort of down-to-earth best friend charm that keeps you eagerly anticipating updates. She has got it together and I'm happy for her.

This is it for now. Maybe I'll make this a regular feature. Who knows? Let me know if you think I missed anybody. I'm always looking for new blogs to read.

People read more online than we thought....

I'm constantly reading and studying all about media. I love it. It's fun.

So when this article popped up in my email inbox this morning, I had to read it.

The article talks about how the myth of the short attention span is just that - a myth. People actually do read news online and can handle longer pieces if they are really interested in it.

I'm glad to hear this. I love to write and I believe that's where my gift lies. Sure, I can learn to produce video and take pictures and write short, but I prefer to use my words to get my point across. I'm old-school til I die.

What do you all think? Is long-form writing on the web okay? Do you read a lot online? As always, let me know....leave me comments!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kelly Rowland is hot like fire...

Like I said in my previous post, Kelly Rowland is one to watch out for this year. Her sophomore album (do they still call 'em 'albums'? I feel so old-school just for typing that) Ms. Kelly comes out June 26 and I just had a listen to her first single "Like This."

I'm loving it! This single just screams "Get out the house with your girls looking fly in the summertime."

Check out the video below. (Thanks to Quicks for posting this)

I admit, when Destiny's Child was at its peak, Beyonce was my favorite member, but I always loved me some Kelly Rowland. Her first single, "Stole"? I played that song to death. "Can't Nobody"? Bumped that too. I hope she does it big in '07. She deserves it.

3 (More) Weird Things About Me...

1)I'm addicted to Peppermint Patties. I eat them like most people smoke cigarettes. Sugar is my nicotine. I ate a whole bag one day and my hubby came home and saw the empty bag and forbid me to have any more. So what did I do?

I went to store, promptly paid for another bag and came home and ate some. He walked in on me, grabbed the bag and said, "That's the last one for you." HE HID MY BAG, Y'ALL!! Do you know how hard I searched our apartment?? I was flipping over sofa cushions, wiggling under the bed,pushing clothes aside in the closet - EVERYTHING. I couldn't do anything until I had my fix. That's when I knew I had a problem.

"Hello, everyone. My name is Tara and I'm a chocoholic."

"Hi Tara."

2) When I was younger, I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up. My parents even bought me a chemistry set when I was younger. I didn't read the instructions, oh no. I just started mixing chemicals on the back porch and watch the liquid turn colors. I'm pretty sure I spilled some hazardous stuff on myself that will probably manifest itself in a tumor of some form in the next 20 years or so.

3) When I'm watching movies, I don't hear the dialogue. I actually "read" it in my head. It's like I have my own personal subtitles in my head. And when I'm watching a DVD, I turn the subtitles on so I can read it. I love reading how people write, and I constantly learn new things when I do it. I learned all the dialogue from Sex and the City verbatim after watching it a couple of times with the subtitles. Ask me any quotes from SATC and I can tell you which season, episode number, who said it and where. My brain is cluttered with useless info like that.

The power of blogging...

I love blogging for the same reason I decided to study journalism and make it my career in life. I love how words can create action. Can change people's minds. Can stir up emotions we didn't even know were there.

Words can do all of that.

By now I know you've heard of the Shaquanda Cotton case, the 14 year old Texas girl who was sentenced to 7 years in prison for shoving a hall monitor.

When I was browsing blogs and came across the name time after time, I knew it was only a matter of time before something good came out of it.

This morning on MSNBC, I heard about how the governor of Texas is being flooded with calls and letters from concerned people all over the country, asking him to step in on Shaquanda's behalf.

This is what keeps me blogging day after day. Sure, the majority of blogs are about celebrities, or pointless musings about a blogger's day, but a lot of blogs have power. They can change things.

A big thank you to those who cared enough to blog about Shaquanda. I know she thanks you too.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Magazine covers I'd like to see...

I'm a magazine junkie. As soon as I land that first well-paying job (which I hope is sooner rather than later - Pampers don't grow on trees...) I plan on getting subscriptions to at least 5 or 6 magazines. And YES, I will find time to read them.

Everything is web-focused now. At this point, I'm trying to ride with the trend and brush up on some HTML, and some Flash, trying to adjust to thinking about things in terms of web hits rather than circulation.

But I'm old school. I like actually holding the magazine in my hands. Sitting in a chair at the computer looking at images on a screen is not the same as curling up in my favorite chair holding a thick, glossy mag. Something about the physical product is so sexy and alluring to me. That's why I'm not a newspaper major. Lol.

I'm predicting (and you heard it here first!) that in 20 years or so, we'll be back to print forms. Oh, web will still be here, but people will become nostalgic for that glossy paper!

Remember, folks, you heard it here first.

As I was saying, magazines are sexy. Nothing is sexier than a magazine cover. Slap your celebrity or model of the month on it, add some alluring text, adjust the colors and voila! It's beautiful.

But why does it seem like sometimes the magazines feature the same people over and over? I know who you put on the cover has a huge impact on newsstand sales, but I think people have broader interests than editors would imagine....

Here are some magazine covers of people I'd love to see featured...

1) Kerry Washington - This woman is just so put together and so talented it's crazy. When I designed the mock-up for my magazine, I put her on the cover of my debut issue. She always looks goregous, shines in every movie she's in, and she is down to earth and humble. A winning combo if you ask me.

2) Don Cheadle. Is this guy not the most underrated actor in Hollywood? What does he have to do to get a break?
I have to admit, I didn't want to go see his new movie, Reign Over Me, but it had more to do with Adam Sandler's haircut than Cheadle's acting abilities. I'll have to get over Adam's shaggy 'do and go check it out.

3)Tyler Perry - This man is a maverick.
From Diary of A Mad Black Woman to Daddy's Little Girls, to House of Payne to owning his own studio, is there anything this man can't do? I'd like to hear more about the business side of things he's done. We've all seen his ginormous house but let's hear about how he managed to get it. Nice piece for Black Enterprise I would think...

4)Kelly Rowland - Although her last album, Simply Deep, didn't sell so well, I've always thought Kelly had a beautiful voice and was undervalued as a member of D.C. She didn't have the curves like Bee, but she was pretty.With her new album, Miss Kelly due to hit stores soon, I hope she finds more success this time around. Especially with Bee all over the place, from Dreamgirls to Sports Illustrated.

So let me know: Who do YOU think should be on the cover of your favorite magazine?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

VibeVixen is really stepping their game up.....

I really like this new cover of VibeVixen.

I haven't been too fond of this magazine in the past, but now I can actually say I wouldn't mind writing for them. Their website isn't half bad either.

In the cover article, Janet talks about (what else?) having a baby with Jermaine Dupri and of course her brother. What I really want to read about in a Janet Jackson interview is how she feels about her lackluster album sales and her relevance in an industry where the hot new thing is the hot young thing.

I haven't actually read the magazine yet, but I might have to browse through it next time I see it on the newsstand. If anyone's read it, let me know how it is...

Thanks to for the photo.

Meet Dr. Farrah Gray, my new inspiration...

I usually blog about something if I think about it at least three times. But this has to be the 80th time I've read something about a certain black man by the name of Dr. Farrah Gray, so I thought it was appropriate that I look into him and his background. Who IS Dr. Farrah Gray?

According to his bio on his official site, he is someone who can show our young people what can happen when you decide at an early age that you want to make something of yourself.

"Raised in the impoverished South side of Chicago, Dr. Gray defied the odds and became a self-made millionaire by the age of 14," his bio reads.

He got his start selling handmade lotion and bookends and accomplished more in his few years on earth than most people do in a lifetime.

I like giving light to people who are making real strides in the world, who understand what it takes to get ahead and serve as an inspiration for those generations to follow.

Now excuse me while I go off to the library to pick up his book, Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out. You should too.

I Need Some Friends....

Despite everything I have going on in my life, I have come to the painful realization that I'm lonely.

Not every day, not all the time. But I'm lonely a lot more often than I should be.

I know I have friends, most of whom are just minutes or a simple phone call away. But they're busy. Out working, enjoying life, going to class, going to the bars, etc.

Basically being young and childless.

I don't feel like I really have anyone I can talk to, who understands me. Most of my friends have been great, don't get me wrong. But I can't talk to anyone who understands my frustration when something happens with my daughter. When she spends all day crying (like today), I wish I had someone I could call who knew exactly what that felt like. Not saying my friends don't try, but it's hard to empathize with a mother if you've never actually been a mother.

I told my younger sister this the other day and she suggested that during those times when I feel sad or lonely, to call my mom. She was about 24 when she had me, and there had to have been days when she felt lonely too.

But sometimes you don't want to go running to your mother. My mom is an amazing woman who works two jobs just to keep food on the table and averages about three hours of sleep a day, completely neglecting her health in order to take care of my two sisters. (And her precious granddaughter, I should say.)

I don't want to run to her, complaining that I'm lonely. She has enough stuff on her plate as it is. I don't want to burden her further.

But I guess that's my problem. I would have no problem listening my friends vent about whatever is on their minds, but I would feel like I was burdening my friends if I spent time complaining to them. After all, I chose to get pregnant and have my daughter and if she cries all day, I feel in their mind, they wouldn't understand because hey, that's what babies do.

The hubby doesn't seem to have this problem. He works full-time and has interactions outside the house and plenty of his friends have children. It helps that he's older. Being a parent at 26 isn't so much an anomaly as it is at 21. Despite what you may think and hear, teenage (or early 20s) parents are hard to come by.

I guess it'll get better once she's a little older and I'm working and not chained to the apartment all day, bored with time on my hands to think about how lonely I am....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's funny, no?

I'm covering this story today that's taking place at the local high school. I'm walking down the hall trying to find the auditorium and a man in a tracksuit stops and points at me.

"Hey, you!" he yells.

I turn around. "Yes?"

"Aren't you supposed to be in class?"

" I don't go here."

"Sure, sure. Get to class. Don't let me catch you in the hallway after the bell rings again."

What? Man, I know I look like a baby, but to be yelled at while covering a story is a new one for me.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Job interviews require new clothes...

Despite the fact that I have close to zero dollars in my bank account (okay, let's call it like it is - I'm broke), I'm trying to go shopping to get some clothes that are suitable for a college graduate. Right now, my wardrobe consists of hoodies, 20-25 pairs of jeans and more college T-shirts than I know what to do with.

I will admit that over the past year, I have definitely improved my shoe collection, with more ballet flats and fewer flip-flops. I have a beautiful pair of chocolate Nine West wedges that I can't WAIT to wear to work. I wore them last summer during my internship and my feet didn't hurt after eight-plus hours in them.

But I want to go out and (slowly of course) buy clothes that will help me throughout the next five-ten years or so. Classic pieces, you know? I already have the trendy stuff covered.

So I've been looking at stores trying to pick one as "my store." Truthfully, my store used to be Old Navy. I would buy everything from there, but I think I'm outgrowing them.

I'm thinking Express might be it. They have the best jeans EVER and their stuff is cute without looking too young. I also like Charlotte Russe, but some of their things ARE a little cheap. But I did find this trench that is almost too cute to pass up.

I even looked at Beyonce's House of Dereon to see if there was anything there. Bee always looks put together and I thought there might be some pieces that I could work into my wardrobe.

I checked out the collection, but I could only find a few things worth checking out.
These pumps are cute, and I could definitely see my feet in them. Ahh the joys of having tiny feet!

So I'm going to (slowly) grow my collection of cute clothes and one day I'll look like the put-together, fresh out of college journalist that I am!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Really random things that are on my mind...

No real theme here today, just things I've been thinking....

  1. Grant Hill and Tamia are expecting! How cute is that?! I love this couple and I think they are a perfect match. Of course I don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but on the surface they just look like they are very much in love. I also saw Tamia on Montel Williams show and she was very honest about being a mom and wife while also maintaining her career as a singer. She seems really down to earth. I like that. I don't think I would be intimidated if I met her, which is more than I can say for Miss Beyonce. I love Bee, but I would be so nervous meeting her. She's way too fly for me. :)
  2. Can I just say I'm loving Tia Williams' blog? I mean, wow! I can not WAIT to have that type of career. I want to do it all - blogger, entrepreneur, author, editor, photographer, etc.
    I want to have the ultimate career. I look up to her as one of the people in this ultra-crazy biz. I love reading her commentary on everything from love and life to makeup and hair tips. She even inspired me to do something with my hair besides my current two options of up in a ponytail or down in a soft bob. And THAT'S saying something.
  3. Less than two months away from graduation! CAN.NOT.WAIT! This is something that has been years in the making and I can't wait to have that piece of paper in my hand that says I am a college graduate. Now the next phase of my life begins.
  4. Don't tell anybody, but I think I found my blog soul mate. He's funny and charming and he probably doesn't realize I've got my eye on him as a potential blogging buddy. I've just been lurking on his site for the past two weeks, but he's got serious potential. He's a dad, and has a pretty, successful wife. Exactly what I'm looking for!
  5. I need a job. In the worst way. Even though my hospital bills were wiped out, I was depressed to discover my bank account is quickly dwindling, faster than you can say, "Can I hold a dollar?" Hopefully, my new endeavor will help me out in this department. (More details on that later....)

Well, I just put the little one to sleep, so I guess I'd better catch up on that beauty rest myself. Maybe tomorrow I'll give you some details about my upcoming project. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Which One Do You Choose?

If you were forced to choose, do you change your race or your gender?

For instance, if I had to choose, do I become a white woman or a black man?

Hmm...I think I'd become a white woman.

If you had to choose, which would you keep? Your race or your gender?

My hubby said he'd die before being anything other than a black man. Wow. Guess I'm not that attached to being black. LOL.

BET to receive an upgrade?

I don't really remember exactly when I stopped watching BET. Maybe it was freshman year of college, senior year of high school. I'm not sure.

But I do know that I outgrew the channel. There just wasn't anything interesting enough to keep me coming back day after day. I had seen all the Jamie Foxx and In Living Color episodes the first time they came on. The music videos were all the same - it's like they said, "[Insert name of rapper] stand here, big-booty girl dance there, bring in the insanely expensive jewelry and rented cars, throw your cash around......aaannnnddd ACTION!" Every single time.

But now the Washington Post is reporting that BET is getting a boost in funds for original programming. Which is great news to me. I think BET is having the same problems as Ebony and some of the other black media outlets. They've done the same thing for so long that are on the verge of being obsolete. What's current about BET? Nothing really.

In the Washington Post article, they talk about some new shows, such as "Wifey" starring Queen Latifah and Terrence Howard. An animated show voiced by Vin Diesel is also in the works.

But what about news? Good movies? Specials with our favorite entertainers that actually make us think? I hope BET can make some much-needed changes. I'm excited to see what will come of it...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Prayers Answered!

My hubby comes home for lunch today. In his hand is a container of Chinese food and a few envelopes. Bills, I'm assuming.

He shuffles through them, looking for the ones with my name on it.

"Please don't," I say. "I'm not in the mood to look at bills right now."

Being the ever supportive, good listener that he is, he hands me the bills anyway. I take a look at them. One from the Cleveland Clinic, one without a name.

I open the one from the clinic and this sentence stuck out: " qualify for a 100% discount on your incurred medical services...."

Just the other day I was worried about how I was gonna pay all this, and today I find out it's been taken care of because the hospital finally figured out how poor I was.

God is sooo good to me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - why didn't I think of this?

An online community for journalists of color. Man I had that idea about two weeks ago and now I see it already exists.

It was founded by Chloe A. Hilliard, who has written for such publications as The Source, King, Vibe and Vibe Vixen and appeared on news programs CNN Headline News’ Prime News, Our World with Black Enterprise and ABC News Now’s Speak Freely. (Man I wish I could say all that. One day I will. )

“As an editor at an urban publication, I had a difficult time finding young writers of color. There was no one place to find them. This site will change all of that,” Hilliard said.

She's inviting young journalists to come on board and submit content.

All I can say is sign me up!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

PayPerPost, ReviewMe, other sites under fire?

Stumbled across this article today from the LATimes that talks about bloggers writing sponsored posts and asks the question: Is it ethical?

It's a really good article, one that I think asks a lot of good questions. Is it ethical to write about something and not disclose that you were paid to write about it? I like the little buttons PayPerPost designed to go at the bottom of posts, which makes it easier to spot the sponsored posts from the unsponsored ones.

My favorite quote in the article comes from Jason McCabe Calacanis, who co-founded Weblogs, Inc.: ""PayPerPost versus authentic blogging is like comparing prostitution with making love to someone you care for deeply. No one with any level of ethics would get involved with these clowns." I don't particularly agree with his statement, but it really sums up what he thinks, that's for sure.

Since I do consider myself to be a journalist (hence the URL) I don't really feel right about getting paid to write about a certain topic. But for others, who blog mainly as a way to get income or just as a side hustle, I see no problem with it.

Read this bit of the article, written by Josh Friedman and decide for yourself:

Blogger Colleen Caldwell rants and riffs about whatever strikes her fancy —
a run-in with her child's school principal, the rising price of Girl Scout
thin mints, an upcoming movie that caught her eye.

"Has anyone out there read a book called 'The Ultimate Gift'? I just heard that a movie is being made of the book (which sold 4 million copies)," she wrote in a recent post on her site, Simple Kind of Life.The 30-year-old software analyst from Brooksville, Fla., went on to praise the inspirational message of the Fox Faith film, which opens today, about a trust fund baby who discovers the joy of giving.

Caldwell noted that each member of the opening-weekend audience was being allowed to direct a dollar of the ticket price to a charity of the filmgoer's choice.One thing Caldwell didn't mention: She was paid $12 to build buzz about the movie's opening and the charitable campaign — bringing her blogging-for-dollars take to more than $7,700.Thousands of bloggers are writing sponsored posts touting such diverse topics as diamonds, digital cameras and drug clinics. The bloggers are spurred by new marketing middlemen such as PayPerPost Inc. that connect advertisers with mom-and-pop webmasters.Some of their fellow bloggers are critical, saying the industry is polluting the blog world and misleading consumers by blurring the line between advertising and unbiased opinion.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Questions of Identity

Here is an essay I'd written for Essence magazine that was rejected. I'm still holding out hope that one day I'll be able to write for them, but until then, I'll just share it with you all...

Questions of Identity
Not too long ago, a friend told me that my voice sounded “Anglo-Saxon-ish.”

In other words, I sounded like a white woman. It didn’t surprise me.

I had been hearing similar comments for most of my life.

It was always, “You dress like a white girl.” Or my personal favorite: “You listen to that white people music.”

Growing up, I always felt like I wasn’t black enough. No matter what I did, I wasn’t part of that “cool” black crowd. I liked to read and I always had good grades but I never let my friends catch me reading a book or get a glimpse of my report cards. In their minds, reading strictly for leisure and earning A’s were things white people did.

I wore Reeboks when all the black girls were purchasing Nike Air Force One’s.

I wore Tommy Hilfiger when the rest of my friends wore Marc Ecko.

My parents always encouraged me to expand my mind and think beyond what I saw. They assured me that a huge world existed beyond my block in a predominately white, but still culturally diverse, suburb of Cleveland. Who can blame me for wanting to explore it?

My friends would call me to ask me to see the latest black film that had been released. We would go and I would feel uncomfortable because the films never reflected my reality. I didn’t know any drug dealers. I lived in a two-parent home and we were middle class people in the ‘burbs. Watching Boyz N the Hood made me feel like I was living the “white” life.

It pains me to think that I didn’t discover my “blackness” until I went to college. I took a class in the Pan-African Studies department and it truly opened my eyes. Discovering the rich and varied history of some of America’s most prominent African-Americans made me feel more in touch with myself. After taking the class, I understood it was my heritage that made me who I was. It was already a part of me and I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody. There was no way for me to act “black”───I was black.

I had to understand that black people don’t fit in one mold. We are multi-dimensional, have different values and socioeconomic positions. There are black people in the hood and black people in the ‘burbs. We were all black; we simply had different addresses.

Like I said, when my friend made that remark, I wasn’t surprised. But for the first time, I wasn’t offended. When it comes down to it, I know I am Black and proud of it. The absence of hip-hop music in my CD collection or urban clothing in my closet can’t change that.

Monday, March 12, 2007

My wedding song...

In less than three months, I'll be walking down the aisle at my wedding.


My hubby's brother has offered to sing a song for me as I walk down the aisle. He chose "You For Me" by Johnny Gill. (You've heard it if you've seen Madea's Family's the wedding song at the very end.)

Click here if you'd like to listen to it. Let me know what you think!

Can you pay my bills?


There's nothing I hate more than debt. I hate owing people money. A few months ago, I got a bill asking for about $100. I immediately went to my purse and wrote a check. I put the check in the envelope and demanded that my husband go mail it - IMMEDIATELY. Granted, it was about 7 p.m., so it wouldn't be mailed until the next day, but it was important to me that it get out in the mail IMMEDIATELY. He said he'd take it first thing in the morning, but I insisted the bill leave the apartment that very minute. I actually shouted, "Just do it!" like I was some psycho woman.

I just can not stand debt.

So I had a kid right, and apparently, I have pretty good insurance because what was once a $27,000 bill for all the costs associated with having my daughter, was reduced to about $2,000.

But (and let me be honest with you now) I only made $8,000 for the entire year in 2006. That's it. So for me to come up with $2000 is a bit of a stretch. I only have $124 in my bank account right now. That's it.

Needless to say, I'm stressed.

I'm trying to figure out ways to boost my income, because I don't start working until May and when I do, I don't want my first few paychecks going straight to the hospital. I'd like to have a little bit to save.

And yes, what about the hubby? Some of you may ask. Right now, our finances are kinda weak. Between regular life, student loans and now these bills, we're a bit tapped out.

So just pray for me. Pray that I find a way to cope...

Grey's Anatomy....Before The Scrubs, Part 2.

I first saw Chandra Wilson in an episode of Sex and the City. Samantha, the sexually adventurous blonde (played by Kim Cattrall) had just given her heart to Richard, only to walk in on him, how should I say - pleasuring another woman. To pay him back Samantha posts flyers all around Manhattan that call him a liar and a cheater.

Chandra Wilson plays the cop who tries to stop her from posting flyers. Her role is brief but funny.

Now Chandra plays tough-as-nails Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy. She said in an interview on Ellen that the role was originally intended for a short, blonde white woman, but she aced the audition and got the part. Good for her!

Chandra Wilson was also on the show "Bob Patterson," the brief comeback vehicle for Jason Alexander. Only five episodes aired.

Looking through her works, not much surprises me. She got into acting at an early age, landed this great role and the rest is history.

But Chandra Wilson inspires me. Not because she got a role on a hit show that wasn't intended for her, not because she's a black woman succeeding in Hollywood, not because she's curvy and doesn't apologize for it. Nope.

Because she is able to watch FOUR HOURS of TV every night. On Ellen, she said she has to watch all her soaps every day or her world won't be right. I'm tying to figure out what I'm doing wrong because I can't seem to find the time to watch ONE show at night, let alone four, and I'm not even on TV....

The mystery continues...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

More about Martin Lindsey

I met Martin Lindsey while I was surfing MyBlogLog looking for interesting blogs to read. His smiling face drew me in, and his meaningful posts are what kept me coming back to read more.

Martin is a sweet guy, and has some of the same goals and dreams that I do. He wants to help people in all areas: spiritually, emotionally and financially. I interviewed him a week or so ago to learn more about the man who hosts the growing MartyBLOGs website. Check him out after you read the interview:

What are your ultimate goals in life?
My ultimate goals in life always include having a successful marriage and raising outstanding children. In purely personal terms I'd like to become an internationally known blogger and public speaker (a combination of motivational and humorous). I'm going to be the National Champion of Public Speaking in 2008. I'm learning the process and stages I have to go through in Toastmasters in order to reach that objective.

How will your blog help you accomplish these goals?
Blogging won't help with being a good husband and father but it will address part two of my first answer. Writing a quality blog and making a "bloggy reputation" for myself will help the ultimate career goals. I hope that includes opportunities like this to generate publicity for myself and my blog. I believe in reciprocity and virtual interviews and blog backlinks provide the opportunity for bloggers to support each other's causes. That community feeling is one of the reasons I like to do it.

What do you do for fun? Hobbies? What do you enjoy?
I like to read, write and speak. That's why I like to blog. It's a natural offshoot for me and now I have an audience to share with! I love the great outdoors. Haven't had enough time for fishing or hiking since the kids came but now that I'm the Cub Master that's all about to change. Haven't had time for a garden in five years but now that the kids are older I'm going to try and find some time where we can can go out in the back yard, dig up a patch and play in the dirt together.

Who or what has been the biggest inspiration in your life?
I'd have to say my mother by far. I have more respect for her every day. She and my father divorced when I was younger than either of my children. The way she managed to successfully raise my older brother and sister and me by herself after that is plain heroic. I never thought so when I was a child or a young adult but I do now. Only as a married man with just two kids have I been able to appreciate what she did with me and my sibs.

What do you see for yourself five years from now?
The next five years I'm honing on extreme expertise in my passions. I'll reference some famous people to give you a better feel for where I'm going with it. I see myself as a John Maxwell, Les Brown, James Dobson amalgamation when it comes to the things I believe in and want others to be better in.

What have you realized about life that you wish everyone else knew?
Have a positive silver lining attitude and stop being uptight about what other people aren't doing right morally or socially. Address a situation if you're able to but don't lose any sleep over it because, in the end, your life example is better proof of how things should be than a lecture. Thus, my personal tagline, "be an actionist."

Name some people you want to meet? (Famous or not)
I'll do famous and I'll tell you why I'd like to meet them and, for that matter, interview them. Oprah Winfrey (our modern day Carnegie), Bill Gates (our other modern day Carnegie), Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar and Fred Price (all prominent, positive, encouraging Christian leaders who live the Word in their actions and ministries), Richard Branson (entrepreneur with no mental boundaries on life's possibilities), Bob Ballard (I'd like to go on one of his deep sea exploration adventures), Dr. Ben Carson (his story sounds similar to mine..'nough said), General Collin Powell (the classic warrior and a man of principle...nothing but respect for the man).

What are your favorite blogs to read?
I'll go with the blogger's names. Tara Pringle of course. I like to see young people like you doing positive things. It's encouraging and uplifting for me. Paula Mooney, blogger mentor extraordinaire. Glad to be a coat-tail-hanger-on in her world. Bonnie Calhoun, professional writer and great blogger who freely shares helpful hints with us blog rookies. Darren Rouse because he's the first blogger I read and who inspired me to get started. The writer of Single Mom and Money Blog - haven't picked up on her name yet - because she writes practical financial advice from her life perspective and that's what I do with mine as well.

Name one thing about you that would surprise people you just met.
If I could gather the funds - huuummm, online fundraising campaign - for a reservation I would buy the first ticket on Richard Branson's civilian space craft. The last time I checked, Virgin Galactic was still in the design phase of their version of a reusable shuttle type ship. They were also getting all the other ducks in a row business wise.
So that's my story. Hope it's worthy of your expectations!

Head on over to MartyBLOGs to read more!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My new favorite picture of the munchkin!

3 months and counting!

I'm looking for my soul mate....

Okay, so I've already got a hubby.

"Well, isn't he your soul mate?" you ask.


"So then why are you still looking for one?"

"Well, he's my soul mate, but I'm looking for an online friend."

"Online friend? Isn't that cheating?"

"No, not really."

"Yes it is. It's like Adult Friend Finder or whatever it is that pops up when you try to look at porn."

"I'm not looking to meet this person. I'm looking for a guy who's a fellow blogger who writes about his personal feelings - not celebrities, not SEO, not design or anything else. I just want a guy who understands me."

"But, um, what about the hubby?"

"Why do you keep bringing him up?"

"I'm just saying..."

"Well, don't."

Basically, all that dialogue just goes to say that I am looking for a new blog. Someone who's a witty writer, who understands the basic rules of grammar, that updates at least once or twice a week, and who writes about things I can relate to.

Is that so hard to find?

Probably as hard as finding my soul mate was.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why Don't I Fit In?

I'm so old.

Not really, not physically, but mentally. I swear I'm about 21 going on 65. My friends ask me the "grown-up" questions, you know, things like when to file taxes, how to apply for graduation, can you proofread my resume, etc, etc. Things I know because I'm "older."

Which is weird because all my friends are at least my age or a few years older. But I'm telling you, I'm maturing faster than everyone else and I always have.

I think it might be because I started school a year early, so I was always trying to keep up with my friends who were doing things that I shouldn't have been attempting for at least another year.

But somehow it made me old. Just the thought of going down to the bars on Thursday or Friday night makes me want to head right to the bed and snuggle under the covers with a thick glossy magazine. And I'm okay with that.

I've only been out to clubs twice. Maybe three times. That's it. My younger sister at Howard has been to more parties her first semester freshman year than I did all four years of college. Wow. Mind you, she did all that partying without even being 18 most of the semester (not to say she participating in underage drinking, 'cause she wasn't...and if you were, I'm gonna get you!).

I guess I'm saying all this to say three things:

1) I'm graduating from college and I've never been drunk. Something seems odd about that. I've barely had any liquor these past four years. My first actual drink was about two months ago, when the hubby and I had a rare date night and I ordered a strawberry daiqiuri.

2) And speaking of my other half, maybe that's why I feel so old. How many college students do you know that are married? With a kid? And under 25? It's not too many of us out there....

3) I know what a lot of people think. Truthfully sometimes I think it too. They look at me and wonder why I settled down so early, why I had a kid before I had a degree, why I had my wedding ring before I had my honor cords. But things don't always happen the way we want in the order we want when we want it to happen. That's one thing I've learned over this past year. I had to stop trying to force things to happen and let life take over.

Grey's Anatomy....Before The Scrubs

I'm curious about people who hit it big. How long did they toil in obscurity before some casting agent, some h.r. manager, ANYONE, noticed they had talent?

I've decided to start a little feature I'd like to call, Grey's Anatomy - Before the Scrubs. I started with Katherine Heigl, who plays cute and perky and hilarious Izzie on the popular ABC show.

I did a little digging on her background and guess what I discovered? Does anyone remember this movie?

It stars GĂ©rard Depardieu as the father who takes his teenage daughter on vacation to the Bahamas in order to spend some quality time with her, only to find out that she's spreading rumors that he is in fact her boyfriend, in order to look cool to a guy she has her eye on.

I used to watch this movie all the time, and it never hit me that Katherine Heigl was in it! She was Nicole - the daughter! She beat out a lot of other actresses for the role, including Alicia Silverstone.

Ms. Heigl was also a series regular on "Roswell," which I never watched. According to she doesn't have any upcoming projects, which might be because Grey's Anatomy is keeping her so busy.

NEXT UP: Chandra Wilson

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

So remember that interview I had a few weeks back?

Well, congratulations to me because I start May 1! Step one of my quest for world domination is complete!

Monday, March 05, 2007

So I changed the template....

...but I still can't put a picture in the header. Someone tell me what I'm doing wrong!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

In Need of A Change....

I want to change the look of my blog. Too many times I check out someone else's blog and their page looks like mine. Don't like that. Not at all.


I'm not at all web-design savvy. I mean, I barely understand HTML, and I don't even know where to begin. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

If there's something you particularly hate about my current layout, please tell me. Maybe I can fix it and then it'll look better? Who knows....

Friday, March 02, 2007

Graduation Here I Come!

Today was the Imagine Graduation Fair, where soon-to-be graduates line up and get all the information they need for the ceremony: cap and gown, pictures, rings, announcements etc.
I am so happy now, 'cause you know what I picked up when I was at the fair?
MY HONORS CORDS!!! Yes, I will be graduating magna cum laude (I have a 3.74 GPA) and if I do well enough this semester, I might be bumped up to summa cum laude. I feel so smart. Amazing what some funky little rope cords can do for your self-esteem, right?

This college experience has been great and I can honestly say I'm graduating with no regrets. Well, almost no regrets. Okay, I have a few. But they're small. I can fix it within a year. So there.

71 days til I walk across the stage....Can't wait!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

How I Know I'm Getting Old: Reason #233

You know on certain blogger's sites, you have to enter in those characters that you see in the box above when you try to post a comment? Like this one:

I can never do it right the first time. Never. I think I'm going blind. So for all those who have the comment verification on your site, please don't take it personally if you can't tell that I've been by.

I'm just getting too old to comment.

How I Know I'm Getting Old: Reason #232

Ground beef was on sale this week and I got excited. The day I was in the grocery store and saw that green peppers were on sale 4 FOR $1?!?!?!?!? I went crazy!! I think I bought 20.

Yup, I'm getting old.