Category Archives: news

Why We’ll Keep Running

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I have this dream when I run. As I close in on the final miles, and my body gets tired, a small child seems to pop in my mind.  As I race by, I see a beaming little face yelling, “Go Mommy!” and smiling happily, perched on their dad’s shoulders. It’s a visual I picked up at the Disney Princess Half marathon this year, as I watched little ones hold up signs to cheer on their moms.  Running is more mental than physical, and as runners we all call on images to get us to the end, anything from a medal to a post-race beer. I do pray that my vision will one day be my future.

When you cross the finish line, you’re so inside your mind. You can’t believe that your body could do something so incredible, and that your mind willed you to do it. The pride, the accomplishment, and those sea of loved ones all come together in a moment that you never forget, whether it’s your first run or you’re a veteran.

Over the years, I’ve come to love running with the same passion that I love music and writing. And although I’ve used music and my words to express myself my entire life, running has taught me more about myself, as a woman, than I ever knew. As someone who has been sidelined by worry more times than a little, it has offered me clarity. For a half hour, or for 13 miles, it quiets my mind and gives me peace. I look forward to the easy miles, power through the harder ones, and feel incredibly powerful and even sexy when I come to a stop.

I can only imagine the horror experienced today in Boston. And I’m angry that a sport that’s built on camaraderie, the outlet where we can see the best in ourselves, has lost its innocence to something so heinous. I don’t want to worry every time I cross the finish line that an explosion will follow the cheers. I don’t want to think the athletes could lose the very limbs that helped them do something so extraordinary.

I don’t want to fear for that smiling child’s safety.

As reports fill the news, my initial reaction is to put running in the “unsafe” bin. But that would be the opposite of what running has taught me, and I won’t let that happen. All of my love, all of my prayers, and all of my miles are for those affected by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. It feels like there’s been a senseless attack on our special community.

I’ve learned that all the heart and guts we’ve gotten with every run beats louder and stronger than fear.

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Dirty Dancing Turns 25: The VHS That Shaped My Life

Dedicated to the Baby’s and the Ana Steele’s of the world…

I love a good story. I love them so much that I had to pull myself away from the 50 Shades Of Grey trilogy long enough to write this. 25 years ago today, Dirty Dancing was released. I was just a kid when it was a hit in theaters, but once I got my hands on the VHS, I fell hard. The dancing and music drew me in, and when I became a teen, the story was totally my so called life. Pun intended. What’s up, Claire Danes.

Baby was the good girl’s shero. We didn’t have many of those, but she wore cardigans and long dresses. She had big dreams and wanted to change the world. This time around, the bookworm meets bad boy, and for once bad boy loves bookworm.

I remember that one exciting moment in high school that could have turned disastrous when my all-girls senior class attempted to recreate the final dance scene. We even felt brave enough to have a girl jump off the stage for the dramatic lift. Thankfully the Dean stopped us, but it’s a night we’ll always remember.

25 years since my first introduction, Dirty Dancing is still my favorite movie of all time. I still have “I carried a watermelon” moments, when I can’t say in words how I feel, but I can find the perfect ones in a song. In one of those moments, I collaborated with my buddy December on my first official mixtape, LOVE. We used Dirty Dancing as our arc, to tell the story of a girl in love. Turns out it plays like a modern day romance, and once I curated the tracks, it became clear that it’s a reflection of how I love. It’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever done. Listening to it almost two years later, I can feel the purity, hope, fearlessness, and joy, and it makes me smile knowing that it’s a direct reflection of my heart.

Love like the movies.

The J List: The Whitney Houston Edition



Find your strength in love…

The J List: Whitney Houston Edition
http://open.spotify.com/user/121546021/playlist/1LzrM1xpOhtDz77dpPFNMq

Beyonce & Jay-Z Welcome Baby Blue Ivy

Baby, it’s you…

IV. The Carter-Knowles were so enraptured by the Roman numeral that they sported matching tattoos on their ring fingers before tying the knot. Now it’s the perfect namesake for their brand new baby girl, Blue Ivy Carter.

And although most of the world is awaiting first photos, and the chance to watch the Wonder Woman-like Beyonce transition into motherhood, all I can think of is the happiest father in New York City, Shawn Carter.

Little girls are awesome. I know this because I used to be one. They’re bubbly, a perfect blend of sweetness and sass, and are way too much fun to dress up. Moms love them dearly, but there’s something about a little girl that melts a father’s heart. I’m fortunate enough to have a great relationship with my dad, and an uncle who was like my bonus dad. They’d both let me get away with things that my mom never would, like eating pickles and drinking soda at midnight, or watching that extra episode of Married With Children. I would alter the Sunday morning New York Times into a mangled form, just to look at pictures, and they would just say, “It’s ok, she’s reading. Let her have it.” Or they would pick me up and carry me around Six Flags on their shoulders when my legs got too tired.

These are the moments, and a million more, I wish for Jay-Z. Can’t wait to see the car seat in the Maybach. And little Miss Carter has a million godparents across the world, so excited for her arrival.

Jay-Z feat. B.I.C.: “Glory”

Video Premiere: Taylor Swift: “Ours”

Your hands are tough but they are where mine belong in,
And I’ll fight their doubt and give you faith,
With this song for you…

With everyone traveling home for the holidays next week, Taylor Swift’s new clip, “Ours,” seems so fitting for upcoming airport hugs and kisses. Billboard‘s Woman of the Year shines in her concept videos, and this one finds her getting through a mundane day at the office by watching videos of her special guy on her tablet. A sweet reunion is inevitable, and just adds to the warm and fuzzies.

Most aww-worthy moment goes to the “I loved you first” post-it.

Katy Perry & Robyn Take Over SNL

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Katy Perry hosted Saturday Night Live last night, and virtually all the cast members tried to make out with her. Kristen Wiig got the closest in the opening monologue. The newly blonde pop star donned a dark brown wig for most of her skits, and made for a killer Pippa Middleton in a Royals spoof.

For me, the best part of the show was that musical guest Robyn got to bring her quirky dance robotics to network TV. I’ve been a fan of hers since the 90s, and with every year she just gets fresher. She performed “Call Your Girlfriend” and “Dancing On My Own,” off her electronica Body Talk series, that’s still going strong a year after its release. Dance moves, stretchy pants, and all Robyn’s voice is still on point.

Digital Short: Happy Holidays (Peep a really creepy Matt Damon!)

Robyn: “Dancing On My Own”

5 Best Albums Of My Year: Beyonce: 4


“I feel more complete than I’ve ever felt. I feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt. Stronger, and proud of myself.”- Beyonce

4 is my favorite number. I remember telling everyone I could, “It’s August 4th and I’m four!” on my fourth birthday. Luckily for me, I share my birthday with President Barack Obama, who I think is cooler than sliced bread, so I’m in very good company. And there are four letters in my favorite word: Love. So it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite albums of the year would be entitled 4. The elements that make up Beyonce’s strongest album to date, proves that good things do come in 4’s.

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to not love Beyonce just a little this year. Maybe it was her “Run The World” show-stopping performance on Oprah’s finale show, her new fragrance, or at least one video of her never-ending collection. Or maybe it was proud Papa Jay’s huge smile when she whipped open her jacket and revealed her baby bump for the first time. Previously, I couldn’t really connect with Bey. Destiny’s Child and her earlier solo albums seemed so polished and rehearsed, and I couldn’t find the connection that I have with all of my favorite artists. This year, I could connect to a Beyonce who stepped out on her own, ending her managerial relationship with her father. I could connect to a Beyonce who rocked out with Coldplay and jammed to Diplo. I could connect to a Beyonce in love.

Every song on 4 is filled with so much emotion, backed with the strength and confidence that only comes from life experience. “1+1” finds her expressing that vulnerable kind of love, the kind of passion that just takes over good sense: “I don’t know much about fighting but I know I will fight for you. Just when I ball up my fists, I’m laying right next to you.” She loves her some Jay-Z. That fact has never been more apparent. There’s strength on “I Care,” rooted more deeply than just telling someone to “put a ring on it.” She even moved herself to tears while performing the Frank Ocean-penned “I Miss You” at her Roseland shows in NYC. Everyone’s been here before: “No matter who you are, it is so simple a feeling, but it’s everything.”

The lyrics of the summer kiss-off anthem “Best Thing I Never Had” is so much more than fodder for Facebook statuses. She thanks you for leaving her behind, because you simply freed her for the right one. She knows you want her back, but it’s just too bad.

“Rather Die Young” finds her sexy in a way that’s less Sasha Fierce and a lot more Bey. Just like any young woman, she’s coming into the kind of sexiness that pours out when she’s simply in love. The “good girl falls for edgy boy” lyrics are relatable, because, let’s face it,  we’ve all been there before, too. “Love On Top,” the New Edition-esque stunner finds her singing  with love for the person she can’t wait to meet the most. She playfully refers to her husband on the bombastic “Countdown,” in a way she never had in the past.

The Diplo-produced “End Of Time” is hands down my favorite track of the year. For those who read my blog often, there isn’t much more I can say about this song that I haven’t said already. It’s the most rhythmic song on 4, and it’s known that I adore anything resembling dancehall. But when I hear it, I close my eyes, and immediately think of jumping into that one person’s arms, and feeling the world melt around me. She follows up with the Trent Reznor-sampled “I Was Here,” bringing my love of rock and r&b together with words that I hope to live up to in my own life:

I just want them to know, that I gave my all, did my best, brought someone happiness. Left this world a little better just because… I was here.

Over the course of just one year, Beyonce can consider her mission accomplished.