Friday, October 29, 2010

Pictures from "Flirty Thirty" my 30th Birthday Party!!!

I've been 30 for a week! I returned from Bermuda yesterday, had a slice of cake today and uploaded these pictures.

I have some great friends who helped me celebrate 30 in style!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Twas the night before 30...

And I'm up in my house, packing for Bermuda thinking, "Should I bring this blouse?"

It's my last night in my twenties!!! I have been packing for Bermuda, but mostly I have been finishing work projects since I'll be on vacay for a week.  In my downtime I was thinking about this past year.  What did I do? What changed? Would I do anything differently?

There is a lot that remained the same and honestly, probably won't change in my 30s. For example, my glasses.  I've had the same glasses since 2007.  Though maybe I should look for new frames this year.  And while my hair has gotten longer, it's the same color and still slightly layered.  I keep saying that I'm going to get highlights, don't know if I'm feeling it.  I continued my daily workouts at NYSC and maintained my weight.

But my twenty-ninth year was far from ordinary.
So excuse all the "I"s, but what can I say. I was busy 29 year old!!

  • I got a new position within the Library and became the coordinator of membership for Schomburg Center.
  • I started booking work as a voice-over artist, earned a little extra cash here and there and tapped into the actor still hiding out within me.
  • I carved pumpkins!
  • I made Thanksgiving Dinner (including a turkey) all by myself! 
  • I found zip-up high boots that actually went over my calves! Thanks Tahari and Marshall's...hahaha
  • I kept my New Year's resolution to make a new entree each month...sort of. Sadly, in September I missed making something new, but I'll make two new things in October to make up for it.
  • I made a ridiculously good pepper steak...courtesy of my New Year's resolution. :P
  • I made Hummingbird cupcakes and they were delicious too...this had nothing to do with my resolution. :)
  • I raised $$ for one of my favorite organizations, Dress For Success. I knew my friends and family would support me, and I exceeded my goal. 
  • I had fun dating Mr. Meet Up, then we stopped speaking and now we're speaking/dating? again, but he lives in another state...sigh. (I know, I should figure this out. But the 29 year old in me is chilling. The 30 year old me will tackle this. ha!)
  • I got in a pool, wearing a bikini, while celebrating another 30 year old in Las Vegas. The pool and the bikini were two firsts for me.
  • I went to CUBA!
  • I learned to make some truly flavorful black beans and rice...Havana was my inspiration.
  • I attempted to learn to swim.  (I could do a whole other post about this.  But let's just say my 2nd instructor bounced, I'm getting my $$ back and I'll try again next summer.)
  • I got dressed up, took myself out dancing and then ordered room service while in DC for work.
  • I wore leggings, without covering my booty!
  • I found seashells at the sea shore. Basically, I went to Virginia Beach and actually found the beach enjoyable.
  • I bought a co-op!! (Yeah. I need to post about this, but rest assured, this blog will take a new form, and perhaps a new look, and I'll tell you guys all about it then.)
With a little less than one hour to spare before October 22nd, that is my fantastic twenty-ninth "year-in-review." Would I have done anything differently? Not really. I'm still Shayla, but every experience changed me in someway, and hope that this growth continues with each year.
Twenty-nine was WAY more than fine. I am thankful to have had another year and blessed that it was a great one. I eagerly look forward to my flirty thirties!!

I've come a long way since this first birthday...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You're never too old...

To carve a pumpkin!!

Alright, it's common knowledge...I'm almost 30. That doesn't mean I'm too old to carve a pumpkin.  In fact, I think the older you are, the more fun it can be.  As an adult, you don't have to stick to basic shapes and boring faces simply because your juvenile hands aren't skilled or because you don't have the patience to create a masterpiece out of a gourd.

So last year was the first time I carved a pumpkin.  My friend and former colleague, Amy, invited me to her annual pumpkin carving party.  I decided to ask my arts and craftsy friend, Jinyoung aka JYC, to attend with me.  It was an interesting experience, with a lot of hard work and fun involved.

JYC and I were scraping out the's cold and slimy in there.
Looks even cooler with a candle.

This year JYC hosted her own pumpkin carving party.  It was a small affair with me, JYC and her two friends from grad school in attendance. We only had two pumpkins because one of her friends from grad school was a novice, so we shared and split the work.  The process was the same: cut a hole or star shap in the top, pop it off, scape the guts, stencil your design, and start carving.  Since we are "experienced" carvers (ha!), we decided to go for a more advanced design.  Her friends also chose an advanced design. I think one of the pair wanted to compete with us, and that was a mistake. 

They weren't as meticulous in carving, hacked away pieces that should have been left in tact, and thenwet home before they finished!  But they seemed to be having fun, and we were laughing and chatting the whole time, and that's all that matters.  In the end, my and JYC's pumpkin came out nicely. Even their pumpkin didn't look so bad. Of course JYC did some clean up work after they left.

Our ghoulish creation is on the right.
Even theirs looks cool in the dark. It had the potential to be really creepy.
 So I left my carving tools at JYC's because we plan on doing this again next year.  Who wants to join us?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today I am...

Six days from 30
A week away from cruising to Bermuda
Going to carve a pumpkin
Wearing leggings!!!


About a month ago, I spent four days at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference in Washington DC, I was there because the Schomburg Center had a booth in the exhibit hall.  This was my first time attending, and on the whole the conference appears to offer the following things to attendees (and crasher)s: 
  • Opportunities to attend sessions and lectures on topics that relate to the state of Black America(ns)
  • A chance to rub elbows with "somebodies" and "wanna be somebodies"
  • Tons of people watching/glaring/ogling
  • Shopping for Black art, Black books, Black Sorority & Fraternity stuff...basically anything Black-related
I'll say, I was out of the loop when it came to partying and though I was there with two colleagues, essentially I was there solo.  I didn't feel comfortable staying out too late by myself.  But I did make a trip to one party.  If I'm able to go next year, I'm definitely bringing someone with me and I'm going to hit up some more.  But seeing as the title of this post is LEGGINGS, let me take some time to explain this.

In the exhibition hall, a little way across from the Schomburg booth there were a group of ladies selling wrap dresses.  Throughout the duration of the conference these women changed outfits at least ten times a day.  They would start off in a wrap dress, then change to a jacket and matching head wrap combo, then put on a different wrap dress...then sashay a little bit to draw an audience.  It was fascinating.  I asked one of the women the cost of these dresses, because while I didn't like the print all of the time, it was cool that the dress could be worn in many different ways.  She told me the prices ranged from $135 - $255!!!  Umm...the dresses were cool, but not at all worth that much.  My colleague and I thought, they must be silk.  So I decided I was going to go up and feel the fabric. 

As I approached the racks one of the women who was staffing their booth said, "That top is bad!"  I thanked her. Then she said, "But why don't you have on leggings with it?!?!"  Now, I've never worn leggings, and I'm a fundraiser representing a Library, leggings are NOT appropriate.  But I said, "Oh, I don't wear leggings, I've got big legs and I don't think I can pull it off.  I feel uncomfortable."  She proceeded to lift up the skirt of her wrap dress to show me her legs, which, of course, were in leggings.  She was a Plus-sized lady, though I would say, my legs might have been larger and more curvy. Another woman overheard our conversation and said, "With your size, you feel uncomfortable?"  I smiled, and said, "Well maybe," felt the dresses' fabric, which most certainly wasn't silk, and moved on.

But I began to think, why not try wearing this outfit with leggings.  What will it be like?  So I resolved that I would purchase some leggings and trying wearing them with this "bad" jacket.
At the CBC standing next to the Wilbourne Sister's mannequin.

While I was in DC, after my obligation to staff the Schomburg booth was completed, I took a stroll to Forever 21 to purchase my leggings.  Let me just say that finding leggings is not a simple process.  You have to determine which thickness is needed, whether hardware, like zippers or studs, are wanted, or, if given the fall and their popularity, jeggings should be purchased instead.  Also while I was searching for the right leggings, I started noticing how many women, from ordinary shoppers to Forever 21 employees, were wearing them.  I got a little stealth and took some photographs.

What I hope you also can see is that many of these women are not what I would call "petite."  So I guess I shouldn't have been feeling uncomfortable.

After going up and down the three floors of the store, I settled on three styles to try on. They ranged in price from $8.99 to $18.99, and later I tried on a pair of jeggings for $23.99. In the fitting room I did an underwear test.  If I bent over, could someone see my underwear (the color, not he pantie line) through the legging.  If they could, then those leggings were OUT!  Needless to say, the cheapest pair was a little too thin...more like tights. So I left with a pair of $14.99 leggings with zippers by the ankles.  And jeggings, while these were the thickest of them all, which is good, they also were the tightest -- they were cutting off the circulation in my calves!

A week or so later, I took a trip to Virginia Beach with Nicole and her two best friends from high school. I told Nicole that I was going to use the time in VA to wear the leggings with that jacket.  On our last evening there, we decided to go out to dinner and eventually settled on a seafood buffet. Perfect!  My jacket wasn't really casual, but the leggings were. So, a seafood buffet (a casual dining experience with not so cheap foods), was ideal. ha!  Of course I'm thinking too much about this now, and wasn't thinking at all about it in this way then. Basically, all I cared about was whether I looked like a fool and if my booty didn't look ridiculous.  Nicole said she could see the line of my pantie, but I smoothed it out and pressed on. hahaha

So you be the judge! Was the lady at the CBC correct?  Does this jacket look better with leggings.  Should leggings be my pant of choice going forward?

The one thing I can say with certainty, is that the next time I go to a buffet, I will wear leggings.  My stomach expanded and I didn't have to unbutton my pants.  The jacket felt more snug around the waist, but those leggings felt great!  hahaha

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Swimming and swimwear...

SWIMMING UPDATE - My instructor from my second lesson has agreed to continue teaching me. However, when I went to my lesson this past Wednesday, again the instructor was nowhere to be found.  I'm am about to go off on the Harlem Y swim coordinator because she never told my instructor that she was supposed to continue teaching me...ARGH!  If this incompetence continues I'll be complaining.  Hmpf!

Anyway, I wanted to write this post to talk about something that has really been bothering me for the last few months...SWIMWEAR.

Prior to going to Vegas, I bought an animal print bikini from Victoria's Secret. I didn't know that I would be going to Vegas at the time, but it was on sale (always a plus for me), I liked it, and decided to make an impulse purchase. But one of the things I liked the most about the bikini that it was very similar to a bra top, and by that, I mean that it had a band and cup size AND!  It'll be just like wearing a bra. I had a some bottoms from a tankini that I had purchased and wanted to find a pink bikini top to match.  So I set out to find one in my usual stores( Target, L&T, Gap etc.) that were full of swimwear for the summer  Little did I know that actually going to the store and purchasing a bikini or swimwear with a band and cup size and under-wire would be easier to say than actually do.
And this is where my confusion and frustration that's bordering on anger comes from.  When looking specifically at bras, women are hard pressed to find them without under-wire.  Even A cups have under-wire. Under-wire is so standard when it comes to bras that in recent years I noticed a great push to emphasize when a bra didn't have it.  There seemed to be a whole "No Wire" movement underfoot.  But as a whole, under-wire (and padding) still dominate.

So please tell me, why does the bathing suit industry decide to forgo using under-wire?  Everything about the bra industry is about push-up, padding, under-wire, and smooth lines...  But in swimsuits they use bizarre padding and strange cups that barely cover, not to mention material that gives and moves every which way.  Under-wire and a little extra support is appreciated and hell, needed!! How are little flimsy pieces of lycra supposed to support and shape the girls? HOW?
And what the devil does S, M, and L mean when it comes to breasts?  This is not the current measurement for choosing bras, so why am I choosing a bikini top based on this measurement?  Why are the established rules for choosing a bra getting thrown out of the window when I am essentially getting the same thing in a bikini top? So I'm left having to order bikini tops from catalogs and the web because the only under-wire bikini tops in the stores have ugly old-lady prints, as if women who want under-wire aren't youthful!! Don't I deserve the opportunity to try my bikini top on before purchasing it?
Ok...breathe.  Clearly I could go on and on about this.
So, in the end I do now have three cute bikinis. This one is my latest. I'll be wearing it on my cruise to BERMUDA!

But the process of finding a bathing suit, in a style that I like, could have and should have been much easier than it was!