Carefree Spirit, It's Okay To Admit That You Love The Idea of Travel, But Are Afraid To Actually Do It

September 30, 2015
Quirky, Brown Love: Carefree Spirit, It's Okay To Admit That You Love The Idea of Travel, But Are Afraid To Actually Do It
The wanderlust spirit runs rampant among the hearts of carefree spirits. 

The ideal of getting lost in the Costa Rican jungle excites you. You probably have a Pinterest Board to plan your "Eat, Pray Love" adventure; however, will you actually be ready to take the leap when the opportunity to travel presents itself?

I've always considered myself to be a traveler at heart. I even learned both Spanish and Italian with the hope that I would be able to study abroad for a semester; however, that never happened. For the longest time, I believed that I wasn't able to study abroad because I didn't have enough money. If I really wanted to go to Costa Rica or Italy, however, I would have made it happened.

Recently, I planned a trip to Colorado for Matt and I. I planned this trip for several months and was determined to make it happen. It was hard to save money for this trip while also paying for secondary applications for medical school, but I wasn't going to give up that easily. At one point, I didn't think that I would be able to make the trip happen, but at the last minute, I came up with enough money....and you know what? It took me five more days to book the plane tickets because I was afraid. I couldn't bring myself to hit the button that said "submit payment". I'm the type of person that needs to visualize myself in certain situations so that I can feel comfortable and for some reason I could not picture myself on a plane or in Colorado. I can't explain why, but I kept thinking "things like this don't happen to people like me". As if I was too 'normal' to travel. I had never been off the East Coast other than for a conference and this trip would be so spontaneous. But, this was the exact spontaneity that I lived for. All of my morals scream to live like it is your last day, but when it came to putting my mantra to the test, my legs wobbled.

After five days, I mustered up the courage to purchase the tickets, I went to Colorado and had the trip of a lifetime.

I would never admit to anyone that I was afraid to travel. How can you be a carefree spirit that is afraid to travel? It's expected for everyone to want to see the world, but amongst the beautifully crafted pins on Pinterest, there is no one talking about how frightening discovering a new world can be. Well carefree spirit, it's okay to admit that you love the idea of travel, but are afraid to actually do it. Just so long as you push past your fear to see the world.  If no one will say it, I will: travel can be hectic and scary. Travel by plane is unpredictable, trying to communicate when you don't know the language can be frustrating and there are different situations that you may encounter that you weren't prepared for. This is all a part of living and realize that you are better from these experiences. Realize that you deserve to travel just as much as your favorite travel blogger. Pray that the Lord or the universe keep you safe in your travels and trust in yourself to make conscious decisions. Put away money from all of your pay checks so that you can no longer use not having money as an excuse. Envision yourself on a plane or train or in a car on a road trip.

Live up to your life's motto and expand on it through your traveling adventures. Don't disappoint yourself by letting your fears interfere with your spirit.

This Quirky Home: My Favorite Tapestries From Society6

September 28, 2015
Quirky, Brown Love | This Quirky Home: My Favorite Tapestries From Society6
Matt and I are slowly but surely transforming our first apartment together into a home. One problem that we keep running into is trying to decide which items from our college years we want to hold on to and which one's should have retired before we walked the stage.

We can both agree that we are absolutely hating our white walls in this apartment, but have not found the time to paint. A simple solution that we are going to try out is hanging a few tapestries throughout the apartment. Matt and I have eclectic and fun taste. Here are some of our favorites:

Elephant's Dream-Buy Here
Quirky, Brown Love | This Quirky Home: My Favorite Tapestries From Society6

Killin' It- Buy Here
Quirky, Brown Love | This Quirky Home: My Favorite Tapestries From Society6

Climbing Roses- Buy Here
Quirky, Brown Love | This Quirky Home: My Favorite Tapestries From Society6

Prime- Buy Here
Quirky, Brown Love | This Quirky Home: My Favorite Tapestries From Society6

9 Times My Life With Matt Could Have Been on a TV Show

September 25, 2015
The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful and adventurous life; however, with all of the random and downright crazy events that have happened in my life, I really want to ask God what he is up to. Sometimes, it feels like I am being pranked, like there is no way that this stuff actually happens to people. Ever since I have been with Matt, my life has been filled with unbelievable moments, so unbelievable that I feel that we could have our own TV show. Don't believe me? Here are 9 times in the past three years that I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out with the Prank'd camera:

1. That time Matt and I accidentally stayed at a voodoo house on AirBnB
So, let me first start off by saying that I love AirBnB. It's a great way to save money while traveling and I have had nothing but good experiences...until this happened. The place looked so cool online and even in person. Also, the listing had nothing but positive reviews...so I don't understand why nobody bothered to mention that it was a voodoo house! This lady, who looked like a blonde barbie doll who could've gone to private school, had bones, human skulls and black baby dolls hanging all over her house and backyard. Like really...what the f%#&?!

2. That time Matt and I got caught up with some club gangsters
Matt use to be a college night promoter for a big club when we lived in Charlotte. One night he decided that he wanted to do a charity night for my nonprofit, so he booked a venue that we later found out was in a sketchy part of town...so sketchy actually that all of the money we raised got stolen and the bartenders got robbed. The owner got mad at Matt and told him that he couldn't leave until his bartenders got paid (even though the person who robbed him was not a college student). The men put a gun out on the table, so I ended up having to roll back up to the club with a car full of Matt's homies and writing a bad check so that they wouldn't shoot Matt. The next day we called and told the man not to cash the check. All in the name of charity.

3. That time Matt and I got chased by Jason...yes JASON!
Imagine this coming for you in the night.
When I was in college, I use to be an RA so I basically worked where I lived. To get away from it all, Matt and I would go up to the top floor of a parking deck and chill out. One night/early morning, a guy in a Jason mask appeared at the top of the steps, stared at us and then walked back down the steps. Matt and I were kind of freaked out, but we were on a college campus, so you never know what to expect. Soon after, Matt and I rode the elevator down and were joking about what we'd do if that guy with the Jason mask was on the first floor waiting for us. Well I'd be darn! Sure enough, the guy with the Jason mask was right at the elevator door waiting for us to get off! He soon after took off his mask so that we knew that it was a joke, but shorty-low almost got a 1-2 punch to the balls for that prank.

4. That time Matt and I got crossed by a sumo wrestler in North Carolina
Same deal as #3. Matt and I were chilling on the top floor of the parking deck and when we came down, a gargantuan man dressed as a sumo wrestler chucked us the deuces and walked right pass like it was nothing. Mind you, this was a weekday in like November, so Halloween was nowhere in sight. After that, Matt and I changed our hangout spot.

5. That time Matt and I threw a crazy superhero party
Matt and I know how to throw a party and this superhero party was no different. At some point in the night after everyone was feeling toasty, we walked down to the store in the snow for beer and munchies and definitely caused a scene. If you are wondering what superhero Matt was in the picture above, he referred to himself as "Ultra-Black".
6. That time a man died on a plane in the seat right in front of me
On Monday, on our flight back home from Colorado, the man in the seat in front of me stopped breathing. The guy right beside him happened to be a paramedic, so he threw him on floor right beside me and started doing CPR. Apparently, the man went into cardiac arrest, so there wasn't much that could be done; however at least 10 first responders and doctors were on board, so they hooked the man up to an IV and took turns to give the man his full 45 minutes of CPR. The plane had to make an emergency landing in the closest city and the man was taken away unresponsive by EMS. Matt hadn't flown on a plane in 15 years, so it was crazy that this happened on his flight. The plane landed with a dead man in the alley, 10 passenger first responders fulfilling their duty for 45 minutes of CPR and me sitting in Matt's lap so that the doctor could sit in my seat.

7. That time I somehow got forced to drive a hooker..I mean "escort" around town
Yeah, I'm choosing not to explain how I got caught up into this situation, but just know that I ended up driving a girl to her err...appointment and had to wait for her to err...finish. And apparently the guy was handicapped/handicapable.

8. That year that Matt and I had to go to court because someone wrote down my tag number
Matt and I were driving home from Charlotte after shooting a PSA for my nonprofit. On the way home, we had to drive through this backwoods small town (the kind of town that Black people try to steer clear of). A month later, I get a visit to my parents' door from a trooper saying that someone got my tag number and was accusing me of a hit and run. Even though my car was undamaged, I had to drive to this backwoods town SIX TIMES just to prove that we were not in an accident.

9. That time Matt and I almost got robbed by a man in a wheelchair
Oh Hotlanta, how I love you so, but your homeless people are a little too trill. This homeless man catdaddied his way to my car in his wheelchair asking for money and when we said no, he had the nerve to try to open my car door!

And I promise that I am not BSing you guys. I don't think that I could make these things up if I tried. Please help me feel normal again by telling me your crazy stories.

Quirky, Brown Chick: Monica Vance

September 24, 2015
If I had it my way, all of the quirky, brown chicks of the world would come together, become friends and sing kumbaya while listening to Solange and drinking craft beer. Until that day comes, I present to you the Quirky, Brown Chick series. Meet Monica of Afrotastic Lady.
1. How would you describe your personal style?
I would say that my personal style is a combination of classic, vintage inspired, and funky clothes. I love cardigans, polka dots, a line dresses, bright colors, and comfy shoes like Toms.  I'm aware of the latest fashion trends, but I tend to dress in clothes that I feel most comfortable in and fit my personality.  

2. What song are you vibing with right now?
I'm so struggling with this question, because I listen to music all of the time. I love music as it expresses so many different feelings. Right now, I am listening to a local Gospel artist named Billy "Church Boy" Powell, and I am really liking his song "I Must Learn."

I'm Quirky and Black, But I Don't Watch Anime.

September 23, 2015
As the author of a blog called, "Quirky, Brown Love", I often get asked what I think it means to be 'quirky'. Usually, I answer that being 'quirky' means staying true to the things that you like no matter who is around, as well as being honest with yourself and not letting society define you. Before I give this definition, people usually assume that being 'quirky' means watching Japanese anime, wearing big hipster glasses, reading comics/manga and taking the coolest Instagram pictures.

If this were the case, I would definitely be failing at being quirky...and failing badly.

Once upon a time, I gave into this second definition of being quirky. I use to attend meetings at the Asian culture club and look through manga, I would listen to weird music just for the hell of it and I still own a ukulele that I don't even know how to play (though this is something I plan to do). I felt like doing this would somehow make me unique and cool, yet all it did was make me confused. I couldn't figure out why doing all of these things felt like a chore, but the reality was that I didn't like what I was doing.

I will be the first to admit that I was a total poser. The funny thing is that at the time, I didn't realize that I didn't like these things. Before I put on this front, people would always tell me that I was different naturally and that my "black card" could easily be taken. I observed what other "different" Black people were doing and took their actions to the extreme by putting on a persona that I myself couldn't even relate to.

I'm not sure why I thought that I would find myself on the last page of a manga comic, but I definitely did look and I was nowhere to be found.

Now that I've done some soul searching, I'm starting to develop my own definition of "quirky". I have no desire to watch a TV show with subtitles because I don't know the language, and I am finally okay with admitting that! I will never wow you with my bohemian Instagram pictures (matter of fact, I don't even have an Instagram). Also, although I prefer shows over concerts, I will throw down to some Big Sean on any given Saturday.

Another thing is that you should never have to worry about acting one way in front of one group of friends and acting differently with another group. What a conundrum this would be if you ever had to bring those two groups of friends together. Imagine how fake you would have to act to juggle this front so that nobody caught on that you were posing. I say "imagine" but I know that a lot of us, including myself, have been there. Luckily, I now love the person that I am and don't feel the need to be fake around people. I don't care if you are as preppy as private school or as hood as hood, I'm going to be myself and you are going to love or hate me for it.

So take this from a former "poser": the bottom line is to be yourself and not give a darn about what other people think of you...unless giving a darn is what makes you, you.

Google, I Prefer My Love With Clothes On: Thoughts on "Black Love"

September 22, 2015
A few months ago, I was having a conversation with my blogging friend, Giselle Santos of Red Lipstick and Champagne Dreams, and she brought up a very interesting problem. She told me that when she searched "Black Love" in Google, all that she found were pictures of naked, Black people. Now, I knew that Google doesn't find Black women or men attractive from my searches, but I was surprised to see that a search for "Black Love" would lead me to a page of basically soft porn. If you decide to Google "Black Love", please don't do it at work or in front of your grandmother.

I honestly hate that the fun, adventurous and monogamous love that I share with my boyfriend, Matt, is being reduced to what can be done by anybody in the bedroom. 

When I examined these pictures, I noticed a few similarities. The couples are all either composed of two darker skinned individuals or a dark skin male and a lighter skinned female. Another thing that is noticeable right away are the exaggerated body types: the men are strapping with caveman-like muscles and the women are busty and curvy with small waists...oh and naked. Very much so naked.
So after clicking through some of the websites that hosts these images, I came to the realization that it is Black artists and photographers who are putting out these images of "Black love". Looking even further into the comments of these pictures, other Black people are cosigning saying that these are "beautiful depictions" of "strong, Black love".

Have we as a Black community mistaken lust for love? I think so.

Even these covers of old Essence Magazines show powerful Black couples being naked.

Black people have always been thought to be more promiscuous than people of other ethnicities due to our natural curves and from being raped during American chattel slavery; however, now it seems like some Black people are actually believing this about themselves, even agreeing to it through their forms of art, and worst of all, mistaking promiscuity and lust for love.

Black men and women have too long been objectified for their genitalia and body parts and it is a shame that some have mistaken this objectification as a component of Black love. Our music, our film, and our artworks are not truly ours because they have been skewed by the animalistic views our 'forefathers' had of us.

To showcase Black love as a singularly sexual relationship is to reduce us to basic animals without organized thought and compassion.  
 

These images do not suggest commitment, building a family, or even liking someone because they are intelligent with a good sense of humor. These images showcase the same meanings that mainstream rap songs and shows like Love & Hip Hop are pushing: promiscuity and hookup culture.

Luckily, some Black artists are using there talents for good and are pushing against these lustful images of Black love. These pictures from Keturah Ariel went viral on Twitter and for good reason.
 

What are your thoughts on the depiction of "Black Love"?

*Disclaimer: All images were found on Google. If you own an image above and would like for it to be removed, please email me at quirkybrownlove@gmail.com and it will be removed.

The Melanated Bosses Series: Tonisha Ramona

September 21, 2015
Inspired from the "Melanated Goddesses" movement, I present to you the Melanated Bosses Series: a series highlighting young, brown woman bosses from all over. Meet Tonisha of Plush Interior Design
1. For those who don't know, tell us about your entrepreneurial ventures!
My name is Tonisha Ramona, I am a Creative Professional aka an artist who capitalizes off of my talent.  I’m a Professional Dancer &Interior Stylist. {Aka Interior Designer} The last few years have been more dedicated to Interior Styling and less dancing & performing. I started both careers about the same time about 11 years ago and they started to take off and grow at the same time. I started Plush Interior Design while I was in college, it was a hobby, which grew into a business, which styles peoples lives by starting with their home or business. A year ago was the official launch of my blog Living in Fashion, a blog that focuses on how to style your life starting with your home;where I take my readers you on my journey through fashion, style, travel,self-awareness, growth and transformation. I use this blog to share many of the behind the scenes happening of Interior Design & Décor.

2. You are in a career that a lot of people dream of going into but are afraid to pursue. How have you managed 10 successful years in the industry?
Perseverance and ignorance truly is bliss.  Not knowing any other way, and not truly understanding all the obstacles ahead of you can really be to your advantage.Many people are aware of the possibilities of failing therefor they either stop trying, don’t try or talk themselves out of continuing or going forward with their pursuits. Perseverance is very important because you self-employment/entrepreneurship isn’t a road for those who want a continuous smooth sailing experience. You have to understand that bumps in the road are part of the journey. If you don’t want to hit any bumps there is a smooth, beautifully paved road called employment. That road has been built by a company/corporation and it’s quite lovely. Not only will you avoid bumps but you will also get the benefits and perks. If you are not comfortable with the set backs, the trial& errors the mistakes then you entrepreneurship self-employment isn’t for you.

The Melanated Bosses Series: Laura Burge of Cosmic Medium

September 14, 2015
Inspired from the "Melanated Goddesses" movement, I present to you the Melanated Bosses Series: a series highlighting young, brown woman bosses from all over. Meet Laura Burge of Cosmic Medium.
1. For those who don't know, tell us about your entrepreneurial ventures!
It started out creating artwork and stemmed out from helping individuals and businesses with visual elements of their brand.  After, then I realized that people were not only interested in only buying art but also learning about it, which is why I created Cosmic Medium.  My goal is to encourage my readers to create artwork in any medium they love!

2. What inspired you to start the Illustrated Fashion Tour?
The illustrated fashion tour is a way to introduce new style blogs, fashion and art to my readers. Plus, I love fashion and art so when you mix the two the combination is lovely.  The illustrated Fashion Tour is also a way to challenge my drawing skills, and it keeps me consistently blogging.
3. Did you experience any unforeseen struggles when starting your business?
I did experience financial fight in the beginning.  I had no clue that blogging and creative entrepreneurship would be so expensive. The thing that got me on track financially was to create a create a budget for my training,  education, and materials.

Black and Brown Love is Revolutionary (Guest Post)

September 09, 2015
Black Love | Quirky, Brown Love
Written by Jelisa Jay Robinson of Black Girl, Latin World

There is something about Black and Brown love that makes moves me. Perhaps, it is because I was always told to watch out for "those" people growing up. In the 9th grade, when you are the only Morenita girl in the Mexicana group, you see the truth in your loved ones warnings first hand.  Back-handed racist comments from can run wild in that situation.  Harsh comments about your hair, skin and culture surface.  And the sentiments run both ways: I've heard some pretty prejudice stuff come out of the mouths of Black people about Brown people too.

Let me clarify what I mean by "Black".  I am fully aware that there are Black Latin@s but for the purpose of this narrative Black is "African American".   "Brown" refers to non-black Latin@s. Now, that we have that out of the way...back to the narattive.

 In my high school's lunchroom, the division between was evident.  Sure, Black folks and Brown folks inteacted a bit in the classroom, but the lunch room was a version of Mean Girls that Tina Fey did not write.  The Brown kids met up on the south side of the room and the Black people were on the north side. I, and a few others, disrupted all of that by hanging out with whatever group we wanted to. Our pioneering ways were met with resistance from our respective communities and sometimes the communities we were trying to be a part of.

Black and Brown love is a revoluntionary act because Black and Brown people are stratigically divided. That division is lurks in  the hidden histories of Afrolatinidad and silencings of the shared connections that we have throughout history. I've been on dates with Mexican American guys who have yet to learn about African roots in Mexico.  Accident?  I think not.

The Melanated Bosses Series: Marsha Barnes of The Finance Bar

September 08, 2015
Inspired from the "Melanated Goddesses" movement, I present to you the Melanated Bosses Series: a series highlighting young, brown woman bosses from all over. Meet Marsha from The Finance Bar.

1. For those who don't know, tell us about your entrepreneurial ventures!
My name is Marsha Barnes, Founder of The Finance Bar, the very first financial literacy hub on wheels (literally). My background includes over 12 years of finance experience (which has zero to do with my love of Personal Finance). I also hold undergrad and graduate degrees in Management and Leadership. I am also a super proud Certified Financial Educator,  a college Mom to the most amazing human being in the world, and a wife to My high school sweetheart (he still makes my heart flutter).
2. What made you put your business on a bus?
The unique and flexible approach to having a mobile hub is what attracted me to this specific model. While many people in my community have transportation, and access to the internet to learn about personal finance and the components thereof what about those that do not? The Finance Bar solves those small road blocks. We are a traveling finance hub fully equipped with laptops, resources and all of the necessary tools for a successful session. Additionally, the mobile aspect is extremely unique and in your face. It’s pretty tough to miss the green bus traveling down the highway. Definitely a conversation piece.

About Us

Quirky, Brown Love is a media outlet for quirky, brown millennials. EST 2014.

Email Bryanda Law, Editor-in-Chief
editor@quirkybrownlove.com