The Rio Olympics were like 99% #blackgirlmagic

rio 2016 logo

It was.  You saw it.  You know it.  Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, Gabby Douglass, Allyson Felix, English Gardner, Tara Bowie, Claressa Shields, Michelle Carter, Tianna Bartoletta, Natasha Hastings, Brianna Rollins, Kristi Castlin, Nia Ali, Dalilah Muhammad, Courtney Okolo, Ariana Washington, Francena Mcorory, Phyllis Francis, Britney Griner, Maya Moore, Tamika Catchings, Seimone Augustus, Angel McCoughtry, Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Brittany Reese, Taylor Ellis Watson, Mortlake Akinosun, Foluke Akinradewo, Alisha Glass, Rachael Adams, Ashleigh Johnson.

Those are the names of all of our black, female olympians who medaled.  Only the ones who medaled.  34 people.  Many of them with more than one medal.  How cool is that?

I know some will say “Why does it have to be about race?”  It doesn’t have to be.  But this is my blog and I am proud of all of our American olympians, but I am extremely proud of the ladies listed above.  It’s because Black Women are typically the only ones lifting each other up and I want to be a part of that.  These broads showed up to the Olympics and turned the party. I am so proud of them.  So in honor of all this #blackgirlmagic, I shall post some cool pics.  Okay?

Simone Biles aka my new favorite person (via wsj.com)

Simone Biles aka my new favorite person (via wsj.com)

Simone Biles via washingtontimes.com

Simone Biles via washingtontimes.com

Clarissa Shields via nbcolympics.com

Clarissa Shields via nbcolympics.com

US gymnasts Alexandra Raisman, Madison Kocian, Lauren Hernandez, Simone Biles and Gabrielle Douglas celebrate with their gold medals on the podium during the women's team final Artistic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 9, 2016. / AFP / Emmanuel DUNAND        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

US gymnasts Alexandra Raisman, Madison Kocian, Lauren Hernandez, Simone Biles and Gabrielle Douglas celebrate with their gold medals on the podium during the women’s team final Artistic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 9, 2016. / AFP / Emmanuel DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Ibithaj Muhammad via us magazine

Ibithaj Muhammad via us magazine

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11:  Gold medalist Simone Manuel of the United States celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Freestyle Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 11: Gold medalist Simone Manuel of the United States celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s 100m Freestyle Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Women Hurdlers.  These ladies, Briana Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin were the first to sweep the 100m hurdles.

Women Hurdlers. These ladies, Briana Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin were the first to sweep the 100m hurdles.

The Women’s Basketball team celebrating Gold

The Women’s Basketball team celebrating Gold

Allyson Felix, English Gardner, Tianna Bartoletta and Tori Bowie celebrating dominating the 400m relay.  Pow!

Allyson Felix, English Gardner, Tianna Bartoletta and Tori Bowie celebrating dominating the 400m relay. Pow!

 

Studying in France was an Adventure For Sure

Nice via Me

Nice via Me

I’m going to try to get my shit together and blog semi-regularly if I can and I wanted to start with my study course in Nice, France.  First I want to offer my sincerest condolences to those killed and injured in the Nice Attack on July 14th.  I’d returned home just four days prior to that attack and it is such a terrible situation.  I will not let that taint the experience that I had there.  So without further ado, here is some information on what it was like.  This is probably going to be a long one, but bear with me.

I actually signed up for the trip during the semester.  I remember being so sad my first semester at Chapman, when my French 101 professor handed out the brochures for the Summer Study Course in the French Riviera.  I sat there during class thinking about how I would have loved to have been able to go.  Funds weren’t there at the time and plus, I’d JUST restarted learning French at the time.  But then this past semester, Spring 2016, I got the brochure again and fortunately I was able to make it happen.  I applied and was accepted, paid my deposit and bought my plane tickets in February.  Of course, I’m a mom and a wife and three weeks away from the guys is kind of a lot, but I was still pretty excited about it.

The guys dropped me off at LAX and I was on my way.  I flew Air Canada and didn’t realize that I would have a chance to practice speaking French so early in the trip.  The service was great, the movies were good and the flight attendants were all extremely nice.  Since I hadn’t ever spoken with any French-Canadians, it was pretty surprising to hear them flip between French and English without accents.  I dug it though.

Once I arrived in Nice, I realized it was gorgeous.  I arrived at my host family house which was a quaint apartment in a great location.  We were a 5-10 minute walk from the sea.  The woman who owned the apartment was very welcoming, and spoke no English which was great because I needed the practice but also scary because I could understand her but when it came time to respond, I would freeze and not know how to answer her.  I was the first of my roommates to arrive so I had my choice of bed. I actually chose the top bunk because my hostess assured me it was more private and actually, it was.  Besides, I hadn’t been on a bunk bed in probably twenty years!  That first day I took my first venture out to walk along the Promenade Des Anglais which is about 4 miles long and runs along the coast.  It was gorgeous.

My first day. I was so tired but so glad to be there!

My first day. I was so tired but so glad to be there!

Each week, I was expected to be in class Tuesday through Friday from 8:45 to 12:45.  Class was good; they were all conducted in French and we were given a test each Friday.  The name of the school I attended is France Langue.  The instructors were all super nice and I learned a lot.

My school!

My school!

Week One

We were dropped off at our host families’ homes with the school address.  I arrived on a Saturday and my roomies arrived later that day.  (Shoutout to Kelsey and Alana). My hostess offered to walk my roommates and I to school the first day which was a great relief because I would have had to figure it out on my own otherwise.  The first day, was a blur what with placement exams and all the information about what to expect all in French.  After class the first day we got a walking tour of the city and we got bus/tram passes.  Nice is gorgeous.  It used to be part of modern-day Italy so there is a lot of Italian influence; the food, gelato,  piazzas and such.

Class went well that week; I was learning passe compose and l’imparfait, two things I’d learned before and at first I thought about trying to switch to a higher level class but then I realized that there is always something to learn and honestly, grammar is something that we do at Chapman.  I wanted to be more confident with speaking so I chose to stay in the class I was in.  Each class had to sing a French song in front of everyone at the end of the first week.  My class had to sing Champs-Elysées.

During the week Tuesday through Thursday we would have mandatory (ha!) excursions after class which were all pretty wonderful.  There was also the Fete de la Musique on June 21st which is a music festival all over france where bands can just play music in the streets.  I ventured out with the roomies and it was pretty cool, I must admit.

Tuesday of Week One we went to L’Eglise Russe (The Russian Church).  It was built in the early 20th century and it is gorgeous.  I don’t have photos of the inside, as it was not permitted, but I did get a photo of the outside of the church.

via Me

via Me

IMG_6056

Wednesday we went to the Musee Chagall (Chagall Museum) to see works of Marc Chagall.  This is a rare museum in which an artist actually participated in the opening of their own museum.  His works are pretty religious but nonetheless, very interesting. After this, we were free to go but a classmate of mine (shoutout to Bennett) and I decided to take the bus further up the hill to see the Musee Matisse.  It was interesting and that’s all I have to say about that, but while we were up there, we saw a Franciscan monastery that had amazing views and that made it worth the trip.

IMG_6086

Thursday’s excursion was one of my favorite ones out of the entire trip.  We went to St. Paul de Vence.  It is a gorgeous town with so much to see and beautiful small shops.  I bought some chocolate-covered wine soaked raisins there and they were so good.  There was also a ton of art shops to go into and an actual wine cave!  That was quite cool, the views were breathtaking as well.  I recently found out that James Baldwin lived in St. Paul de Vence and in fact, he died there.  I really wish I’d known that at the time as I would have looked for his house.

The Five Star St. Paul Hotel

The Five Star St. Paul Hotel

The Grave of Marc Chagall

The Grave of Marc Chagall

Handmade paper and pressed flowers

Handmade paper and pressed flowers

Wine Cave!

Wine Cave!

Wine Cave!!!!

Wine Cave!!!!

#art

#art

A cannon in the old fortification

A cannon in the old fortification

Wine Soaked Chocolate Covered Raisins

Wine Soaked Chocolate Covered Raisins

Fridays were free days for us and that week I went out to walk along the promenade and wound up at one of my favorite places, Opera Plage.  A nice beach with shallow water and good sangria.

Me at Opera Plage

Me at Opera Plage

Sangria

Sangria

Saturday, there was a free, optional excursion to Italy.  So of course I went to that one.  Uh Duh!  It was nice to be able to practice my Italian and it was very similar to Nice.  I went to a beach there and had some really good Spaghetti alla Carbonara and vino of course!  I walked so much that day, it was crazy.  Later I ran into some Chapman peeps and tagged along with them for the rest of the time.  (shoutout to Jessica, Bennett, Teddya, Emily and Paige) If I could go back in time, I would have planned things to do and see but alas, it was a good experience.

The beach in San Remo

The beach in San Remo

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Capuccino

Capuccino

Sunday I spent all day at Opera Plage laying out and incidentally met a really nice lady from New York who was in France for a few months on a sabbatical from her job.

Mondays were also part of my weekends in Nice so that Monday I went to a spa, mainly to take a long shower and wash my hair (more on that later), but also to relax.

Spa 27

Spa 27

Week 2

Class was also good this week, they made it so that we had one instructor for the first half of the day to teach grammar and another for communication in the second half.  Starting this week, I still had Christine for grammar with the addition of Isabelle for the vocal portion.  Isabelle speaks much more quickly than Christine but she was a great instructor and I think our sessions with her really helped strengthen my speaking skills.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a pic of Isabelle.

Tuesday of Week 2, we went to the Musée d’Art Moderne de Nice.  It was pretty cool, there was lot to see and as expected with modern art, some things I didn’t really understand but one artist I really liked was Niki de Saint Phalle.  He had some pretty cool works that were painted as diary entries.  Also, on this day, I had a french cooking class which was a lot of fun.  We made chicken with tapenade and basil and a local zucchini sautéed with tomatoes.  For dessert,we had chopped nectarines with a homemade syrup and of course it was all super delicious and a lot of fun to help cook.

Painting by Niki de Saint Phalle

Painting by Niki de Saint Phalle

 

 

Painting by Niki de Saint Phalle

Painting by Niki de Saint Phalle

“How do you know if it’s art or not?"

“How do you know if it’s art or not?”

 

How cool and crazy is this?

How cool and crazy is this?

Roses made from Tomato Skins

Roses made from Tomato Skins

Chicken rolls with tapenade and Basil (also some delish zucchini and tomatoes)

Chicken rolls with tapenade and Basil (also some delish zucchini and tomatoes)

Wednesday we went to Eze village, another gorgeous village on the top of a hill that had amazing views and cute shops.  The walk so super long up to the top, but so worth it. We also got to see Marc Chagall’s grave site which was kind of humbling after having visited his museum and watched a documentary about his life.  It is also worth noting that I fell right on my bum on the way back down.  Those stairs were slippery!  We also took a tour of the Fragonard perfume factory.  Fragonard was the perfumier for many famous brands of perfume all over the world for many years.  There were many good scents and the tour was pretty interesting.

The Never-ending stairs up to the top of Eze

The Never-ending stairs up to the top of Eze

The View after almost killing myself on that walk

The View after almost killing myself on that walk

The highway down below

The highway down below

Selfies or it didn’t happen

Selfies or it didn’t happen

Fragonard

Fragonard

Fragonard

Fragonard

Fragonard

Fragonard

Fragonard

Fragonard

Week 2 Thursday we went to the Massena Museum which was one of my other favorites because for the most part after excursions my roomies and I usually had a long walk home and this one was a three minute walk from our host apartment, but also because it was an actual guy’s house, it was huge and they had lots of cool things on display, like clothing and crowns and portraits.

Sign giving guidelines to the poor fools who had to shovel poop back in the day

Sign giving guidelines to the poor fools who had to shovel poop back in the day

Something Napoleon’s wife used to wear

Something Napoleon’s wife used to wear

Gorgeous Dining Room. I could live in this house.

Gorgeous Dining Room. I could live in this house.

View of my new home from the outside. Ha!

View of my new home from the outside. Ha!

That Friday I believe I stayed in, after walking 5-7 miles a day on excursions and still having homework, I was beat.  But this was a good weekend because some of my Fam Bammers from England came to town.

That Saturday we all met up and sat at the beach for a while. It was so great to see everyone.  (Shoutout to Cesar, Christina, Matt, Val, Mike, Emma, and Jeremy).  They all went out that night but I was too tired to hang out so they picked me up on Sunday and we drove to Monte Carlo and saw some sites.  We wound up at a gorgeous rooftop pool and had a great time.  There were so many yachts and luxury cars everywhere.  It was crazy.

Me with the Fam Bam at Sporting Plage (via @sircesarsalad)

Me with the Fam Bam at Sporting Plage (via @sircesarsalad)

Then I spent a night in the villa they rented on airbnb and Monday we spent all day on the beach in Cannes, which was sandy and shallow and overall picturesque.  Interestingly enough, there is a Steak n Shake in Cannes.  The fries weren’t the same though.  I then spent another night with them and then Matt gave me a ride to school on Tuesday morning.

Us at Nikki Beach in Monte Carlo. We look happy but those drinks were 24 euros!

Us at Nikki Beach in Monte Carlo. We look happy but those drinks were 24 euros!

Me with the Fam Bam at Sporting Plage (via @sircesarsalad)

Me with the Fam Bam at Sporting Plage (via @sircesarsalad)

Friends in Cannes!

Friends in Cannes!

Matt dropping me off at school

Matt dropping me off at school

Week 3

As for class on the last week, Christine was on vacation and I’m bummed I forgot to get a picture with her, so we had another instructor, Laurence.  I have to say as much as I really liked Christine, Laurence was such a great instructor.  I learned a lot from her.

Since this was the last week there weren’t as many excursions.  Tuesday we went to Monaco and walked the entire town, up and down hills and around and up and down and it was SO HOT.  But it was gorgeous and even though I’d been there a few days before, there were quite a few things I hadn’t seen like the aquarium which was super cool, the palace, and we even saw the cathedral where Grace Kelly is buried.  This was a great but really tiring day and I’m glad I got to go again.

Sea Turtle!

Sea Turtle!

The famous Monte Carlo Casino

The famous Monte Carlo Casino

Wednesday there was an optional excursion to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a huge pink country estate owned by a rich woman  Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild.  We got to see her bedroom, bathrooms, china collections and the like.  She worked for her family’s railroad company and collected things from all over the world.  Out back were nine gardens all with different themes, to include a rose garden, a japanese garden, and a spanish garden.  There was also a water fountain show out there.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

This lady had some beautiful china

This lady had some beautiful china

Thursday after class we had our group dinner at Casa Nissa, a restaurant that had really good italian food and one of the best tiramisu’s I ever had.  After dinner most of us went to Finocchio (one of the best gelato places) and then out to watch the football game.  It was the Semi-Finals and France was playing Germany and everyone in the whole city seemed to be out.  It was an atmosphere like no other.  When France won, people celebrated all night long and it was pretty cool to be out there soaking up all the reverie.

Friday was the last day of class, which was bittersweet, and also the day Juanita came to see me!  Whew!  Having friends all over the map can seriously be so good.  I moved out of my host apartment, into an air bnb and hung out with my girl for a few days.  We basically did a few mini walking tours and ate and went to the beach but it was really fun and I hadn’t seen her since 2009!

Me and Juanita at the Waterfall

Me and Juanita at the Waterfall

By Sunday I was ready to leave but also ready to stay.  I felt so much more at ease with communicating and I knew my way around town pretty well.  But my guys were waiting for me, so it was time to hit it!

Some last takeaways:

I want to say that France Langue was amazing.  They arranged for us to have drivers pick us up from, and take us back to the airport which was so nice.  The facility was nice and had air conditioning which came in handy.  The instructors were all so nice and helpful.

I also want to say that I realize now that I am way too grown to live with a host family ever again.  However, I think that it could’ve been different with another host family.  But still.  No more.

I learned that I love hazelnut flavored everything because I couldn’t stop eating that stuff while in Nice.  Coffee, croissants, gelato, you name it, I ate it.

I enjoyed getting to know my fellow students from Chapman, people I may have never come across otherwise and I really enjoyed our instructors.  They were both so nice and helpful and soooo knowledgeable about Nice and culture and history and it was great to be able to experience the city that way.

 

Oh and here are some pics I like but didn’t feel like writing about:

The Negresco! A local landmark

The Negresco! A local landmark

Apollo statue all gussied up for the EURO 2016

Apollo statue all gussied up for the EURO 2016

Selfie at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Selfie at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

An inflatable soccer jersey for the EURO 2016

An inflatable soccer jersey for the EURO 2016

Translate to "Beautiful Place on the Sea"

Translate to “Beautiful Place on the Sea”

Me in Monaco, much poorer after the 24 euro drink.

Me in Monaco, much poorer after the 24 euro drink.

The other other Notre Dame

The other other Notre Dame

Macarons!

Macarons!

If you made it all the way through that, bless your heart!  Toodles!

 

 

 

 

Drag Con 2016 Was Amazeballs

 

Rupaul’s Second Annual Drag Con was a few months ago now.  Picture it…Los Angeles…2016.  A spry 31 year-old woman ascends on the LA Convention Center with excitement and caffeine running through her veins.  She’d purchased her ticket months in advance.  Last year, she didn’t have anyone to go with and missed the very first one.  Then she remembered she’s a bamf who doesn’t mind going places alone and here is where the story begins.

She packed a cute backpack before leaving the house with a sweater, money, a book in case of downtime (I know, right?) and a bottle of water.  Interestingly, she didn’t pack any food or snacks.  Amateur!

In all seriousness, Drag Con was so much more than I’d anticipated.  I’d seen a few of the videos from last year but not many of them because I was still sore about not going so I didn’t really know what to expect when I got there.  I had never been to any other type of convention so I was pretty clueless about what all it entails.  That being said, I still had a blast and below I shall provide information on what I loved and lessons learned for next time.  We can start with the lessons learned so we can dig into the good stuff and end the post on a high note.

Lessons Learned

Food options were not abundant.  This is not to say that there was no food there; in fact I counted three food trucks, and a cafe downstairs.  It was possible to leave the convention center and go forage for food as well.  My gripe is that there were not enough options to accommodate the amount of people.  Lines for food were out the door the entire day.  I was there from 10:00am until about 5:30pm.  I wanted to eat but I felt that my time was better spent in long lines to meet the queens.I don’t know if this is something that can be fixed because there probably is no way to feed all those people; but I now know that I need to pack snacks and/or bring my own food.

It is essential to go for both days.  I got the ticket for Saturday only, thinking it would be enough but I was so wrong about that.  Because I didn’t know this, I missed ALL of the panels that day.  I was lost in the sauce with no idea that if I wanted to sit in on one, I would have to be there at least an hour early.  I think the key is to figure out which panels you want to see and make sure to go to those.  Between panels, get in line to meet the queens.  The lines to meet the queens will take up the majority of you time.  To add on to that, make sure you know who you want to see for sure and then prioritize and make sure you know where they will be.  One thing that bothered me was that the queens who didn’t have dedicated booths also did not have any hours posted for when they would be out.  I was lucky to have found Latrice Royale, randomly and not in the place she was assigned to on the guide.  I spent too much time looking for Jujubee, only to find out by accident that she was supposed to come out to an empty booth in the back.  Either way, I think it’s important to figure out the ones you want to see who have dedicated spaces and get to those first.

The lines are like theme park rollercoaster lines.  It is cray.  I didn’t know just how crazy until I’d been in my first line, to see Bob, and was there, in line, for about an hour and a half.  Now don’t get scared off when I say that.  There were other lines that were not bad at all.  I think it depends on overall popularity of the queen.  So while I stood in line for a really long time for some, I was able to just walk right up for others.  Unfortunately this meant that I didn’t get to see everyone or even all of the ones I’d written down.

Things I Loved

Every single queen that I met and took a picture with was super duper nice.  I mean it was so much fun.  The long lines were worth it for the pictures.  So let’s go down the list of those I saw:

Bob the Drag Queen was super nice and did different poses for the picture on my phone.  She was also raising money for charity which is pretty cool.  The line for Bob took about an hour and a half but it was definitely worth meeting her.

Pow! #bobthedragqueen #rupaulsdragcon #yasqueen

A photo posted by Mya (@accordingtomya) on

Chi Chi Devayne was next on my list.  Down to earth, humble and really sweet, just like she was on the telly and she also had a very long line.  She was handling her own sales for t-shirts and was just really sweet.  She had to basically squat all the way down to pose with me because I’m vertically succinct.

#rupaulsdragcon #yasqueen #chichidevayne

A photo posted by Mya (@accordingtomya) on

Cynthia Lee Fontaine was one who had no line but was also just a sweet in person as she was on the show.  She gave me so many hugs and was just super gracious.

#rupaulsdragcon #cynthialeefontaine #yasqueen

A photo posted by Mya (@accordingtomya) on

Next, I happened upon Phi Phi O’Hara in a stand off to the side with no one in line.  I think Phi Phi still gets a bad rap from her rivalry with Sharon Needles during season 4.  It was years ago, people!  She should have had many more fans than that, especially considering her immense talent.

#rupaulsdragcon #yasqueen #phiphiohara

A photo posted by Mya (@accordingtomya) on

After that, whilst on the hunt for Jujubee, I saw a long line next to a vintage clothing booth.  Lo and behold it was Latrice Muthafucking Royale.  I was too excited and she was so nice and her fiancé was super nice too.  Honestly I realize I am a broken record at this point, but seriously, I didn’t meet any queens that weren’t cool.

Yassss! #latricemothafuckinroyale #ah #rupaulsdragcon #yasqueen

A photo posted by Mya (@accordingtomya) on

I got a couple of drive-by pics with Manila Luzon and Joslyn Fox which was cool.  Manila was actually just walking next to me and I asked for a pic and she crouched for me (again shortness) and we got one.

#manilaluzon #joslynfox

A photo posted by Mya (@accordingtomya) on

After that I stood in line for Shangela.  I wasn’t a big fan of her during seasons 2 of 3, BUT Shangela works hard!  Since I started following Shangie on Instagram, I realized that she is a great talent and is also so nice.  She was one of a few who actually asked me my name.

#shangelalaquifawadley

A photo posted by Mya (@accordingtomya) on

I also got to pose with Landon Cider, a super stupid talented Drag King, who I’ve seen perform three times so far and who never disappoints.  Unfortunately I don’t have photographic evidence because I deleted all of my photos a few weeks ago like a dingus.

LAST but NOT least, I FINALLY found Jujubee by accident.  I kept making circles.  I was so hungry and my feet were so tired.  I knew I wasn’t gonna make it to see everyone.  Trixie Mattel, Katya, Detox, Michelle Visage all had long lines and Naomi Smalls and Kim Chi, who shared a booth, had a line out of the door the ENTIRE DAY.  But I was determined to see JuJu.  I knew she was in the building because of Instagram.  So.  I’m walking, making the rounds,  I see a line forming in the back.  I ask people who they’re waiting for.  They say they heard a rumor that it was going to be Raven and possibly Jujubee so I had to go ahead and just take a chance and wait.  It definitely paid off!  They were nice, gave multiple hugs, were fabulous and that was it.

Okay last one…#raven #jujubee #rujubee

A photo posted by Mya (@accordingtomya) on

I finally dragged my tired lil self to the car and drove home after that.  I was so excited that I bought my 2-day pass for next year the week after Drag Con was over, so look forward to another review next year where I’ll be applying those lessons learned.  Til next time, Smooches!

via Giphy

via Giphy

 

Rupaul’s Battle of the Seasons 2016

A long time ago, on April 22nd, I had the good fortune to attend Rupaul’s Battle of the Seasons.  For those who may not know, it’s a tour featuring queens from most of the seasons of Rupaul’s Drag Race.  So they travel all over the world, performing and lip synching for their lives.  This is all hosted by the amazing Michelle Visage.   I live right down the street from the venue where they were performing that night, The Grove, in Anaheim.  The show started at 8:00pm. I got in an uber at 7:00pm and took the approximately three minute trip there thinking I was going to be early.  In my mind I was to be the first person there and I was to be dead wrong.  The line was already wrapped around the building.  Luckily I’d brought a book with me because I was on my own for this one which I don’t mind.  More on that in the Drag Con post.  As I waited in line the anticipation was immense.  I finally got in after a million people ahead of me and realized that most of them were in line for merch, so I got a pretty good vantage point.  Here are some of my observations from Rupaul’s BOTS:

Pearl is a DJ

I had no idea about this.  Pearl came out before the show time and played quite a few diverse tunes for us which she also lip synched.  It was pretty cool.  What surprised me most after the fact that she was onstage prior to showtime was that we never saw Pearl again that night.  So I guess she actually was DJ’ing for the show and not performing in it.  Either way, it was cool.

I found out I love Michelle Visage

Let me start by saying that, like Violet Chachki, I hated Michelle Visage.  She always seemed so mean and so hard on the queens.  I’ve come to realize over the seasons that she is the original drag fan girl.  I mean she was all up in it before it was cool to be a straight woman who likes drag.  Now it’s all the rage due mostly to Rupaul’s Drag Race and admittedly I am a part of that crowd.  When I say Michelle can host and perform, oh my blob.  She was so good.  She had some amazing costumes, although she did look extremely minuscule standing next to all of these extremely tall queens.  She stood her own though of course!

Live Singing

I did not expect so much live singing.  I mean it is a drag show so I was certainly prepared for the lip-synching, dancing, death drops and the like but boy did they do some pretty good singing.  Adore Delano did a tribute to Prince by singing Purple Rain, Michelle Visage sang Take a Bow by Madonna and there was lots in between.  Phi Phi O’Hara sang for us as well.

Violet Chachki and Miss Fame really commit to their talents.

We got to see a burlesque number from Violet Chachki which was really good.  Violet is so great at executing and I really didn’t like her during her season of Drag Race.  I’ll have to go back and re-evaluate because this girl slays.  Miss Fame drew/painted? the face of a woman in the span of one song for us which was quite cool.  Plus Miss Fame is gorge.

Courtney Act is really funny and gorgeous

During season six of RPDR, I didn’t really like Courtney Act, probably because she was brutally honest, which isn’t something to be frowned upon all the time.  After all, it isn’t Rupaul’s Best Friend Race.  Nonetheless, I felt that she wasn’t as creative as others and relied more on aesthetic than talent.  However, I was dead wrong and I can admit that.  I really enjoyed Courtney in the show.

Overall, a very good show, I would highly recommend it (for next year, obviously since I waited so freaking long to publish this).  The lineup of queens changes from time to time but I would go see any of them really.  Until next time, smooches!

via logotv.com

via logotv.com

Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 8 Finale is on Tonight!

Hey kitty girls, long time no blog.   So tonight is the airing of the finale of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 8!  Pow!  I can honestly say I would be fine with any of the girls winning, but y’all know deep down I stan for Bob the Drag Queen.  At the same time I would be just as cool with Kim Chi or Naomi Smalls.

This is in large contrast to last season when I didn’t want any of them to win!  I don’t have a problem with Ginger Minj, Pearl, or Violet Chachki but I don’t think they were as strong as the top three this season.  So here are some best of videos so you can get your life til that finale tonight!

Bob the Drag Queen

Bob has performed consistently over the season. The look hasn’t been perfect every time but who’s is??  Also Bob slayed all of the acting challenges, as she should because Bob is a performer above all else.  I met her at Drag Con and she was so nice!  Picture and blog to follow.

Naomi Smalls is the dark horse that I did not see coming at first. She performed well in the challenges and after being told to stop wearing lingerie every week, this girl murdered the design challenges and she just seems so nice and sweet!  How could you not root for that?

Kim Chi has been a fan favorite all along and bitch knows how to throw a look together.  Kim Chi’s looks were amazing every single week of the season so we’ll see how it goes.  She’s so different from other queens and so innovative and I really hope her mom is proud!

 

P.S.  Okay that was short, but I had to put something out for the finale!   I have so much to blog about, Rupaul BOTS, DRAG CON, and much more so stay tuned y’all!

via logotv.com

via logotv.com

 

What’s the Big Friggin Deal if a Woman Wears a Lot of Makeup?

via myblahblahblah tumblr

via myblahblahblah tumblr

I don’t understand why people are so judgmental about this.  Recently the following video was posted to a group I am a member of at least three times

I’ve gotten so many request on how I do my make up well here you go!!!! My face was on a break out at the moment but I…

This kind of video and reaction to it comes up at least a few times a year with people hollering about it being sorcery, and all that.  The main issues people seem to have with this video are that she looks completely different and she’s wearing way too much makeup, and it’s dishonest to wear make such a transformation.   Let’s take these one at at time.

“She looks completely different”

via bravotv.com

via bravotv.com

Yes, I will agree that she makes a complete transformation if you look at her before and after.  However, I think she looks really good when she’s done and is really talented at applying her makeup.  Secondly, most women wear makeup of some kind, or they may dye their hair, or groom their eyebrows, shave their legs and underarms, etc.  No one is out there rocking their all the way completely natural look.  We would all be hairy and frizzy and any other term you want to use to explain why you aren’t walking around with a unibrow, mousy hair and a hairy body.  I’m just saying that we all do different things to improve the way we look.  So what if this lady is transforming her looks with makeup.  Some of us go from yucky to yummy with hair dyes, clothes, and yes even makeup but to a lesser degree.  So quit it.

“She’s wearing way too much makeup”

via bravotv.com

via bravotv.com

Was there a class in high school where everyone learned that there is a limit on how much makeup one is supposed to wear?  If so, I must have been absent that day.  According to me (see what I did there?), this woman and any woman has the right to wear as much makeup as she wants.  What other people eat doesn’t make us shit right?  So what does it matter if this woman puts on a million layers of foundation?  It’s her face and her coin she’s spending on the product and it’s also none of our business.  So stop it.

“It’s dishonest”/“A man would be surprised to wake up to that”/etc.

via smoking something with rihanna tumblr

via smoking something with rihanna tumblr

Everything that a woman does in her life does not have to be nor is it always in connection to getting, keeping, or chasing a man.  Period.  This is between her and whomever she is waking up with and therefore no one else’s beeswax.

Bottom line is, let’s stop tearing people down.  Cyber bullying is wrong and I just can’t see what people get out of saying hurtful things on social media.   If it doesn’t affect you personally, or financially, maybe just stick to the old saying “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Okay, tis all.  Peace and hair grease people!

via logotv.com

via logotv.com

Most Memorable Year: Dancing with the Stars Season 22, Episode 3

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This week’s episode of Dancing with the Stars was Most Memorable Year.  This episode each season is usually filled with lots of emotion and the contestants usually do well with the dances because they are more connected with it and all that.  This time I didn’t cry or feel as emotionally involved as I did on other seasons, but overall it was good.

 

The Performances

Ginger and Val:  Team Gin and Juice were first out the gate with a heartwarming Contemporary routine to Home by “Home” by Philip Phillips.  She chose 2013 as her most memorable year because it is when she met her husband.  I thought they did okay; it was cute like her other dances but she hasn’t lived up to that first week so far.  She’s a brand new mom though so I definitely give her kudos for being able to keep up with DWTS.

Doug and Karina:  This team danced a Waltz to “Rainbow Connection” by Charla Corn, which was beatifully performed live by Andra Day.  Doug chose 2015 as his year because both of his parents died the same day, his father was sick and his mother died of a broken heart.  It was such a sad story but  I thought he did pretty good with the Waltz, there was a mishap when he tripped over Karina’s gown but they got past it.

Kim and Sasha:  Team Kiesha came out with a cute Foxtrot to the Fact of Life theme song.  Her most memorable year is obviously the year she started acting.  Carrie Ann is so right that Kim still looks like Tootie.  She has really great energy and hopefully she’ll stick around for the long haul.  Carrie Ann said they dance like the Wonder Twins so I’m hopeful they’ll do well.

Von and Witney:  His most memorable year was this year because he won the Superbowl and was named MVP, duh! I thought they did well with their Contemporary, and I think it’s hard for them because of their size difference.  Von is a good dancer and I want to see him do more!  Last night, in between the lifts, there was some good stuff in there but it mostly seemed like they were leveraging his strength and not necessarily his dance abilities.

Marla and Tony: Their Jive was so good.  I’m impressed with Marla every week.  She just seems so nice and ladylike but then she gets out there and kills it with the dance steps. It’s not that she’s doing them perfectly, but it’s in a way that is uniquely hers, it’s very sophisticated and dainty but still good.

Antonio and Sharna:  This was a cute Foxtrot, especially with Antonio Jr. taking part in it.  I have to be honest, I really want to root for Antonio because he seems like a good guy but he’s not really doing that well with the dancing.  I think he’s having a lot of fun which is great, but he’s not really a frontrunner.  I think he came into this thinking that having good rhythm was all he needed and that isn’t really working out.

Paige and Mark:  First, I’m glad Mark is okay and performing!  Secondly, Paige’s memorable year is 2014 because she started her UFC career after having been bullied in school.  Mark is such a creative choreographer.  I don’t know how he comes up with this stuff but I thought their Paso Doble was interesting, creative and it worked well with the fighter theme. Paige is the real deal.

Jodie and Keo:  I really like Jodie and I am glad she had really come away from a bad past and is doing great things.  This week she had a Foxtrot with Keo to “Rise Up” by Andra Day, also gorgeously performed live by Ms. Day.  I thought this was a really good dance, I like Jodie and Keo and am still glad Keo got a better partner this season.  Her performance was full of emotion and passion and I could feel that.

Mischa and Artem:  They had a Samba this week and I had to look that up to make sure that’s what it was supposed to be.  Poor Mischa, I believe her most memorable year was when she left the show The OC, in 2008.  She went traveling and finding herself.  Again, poor Mischa.  I just feel like she was so miserable doing the show.  She doesn’t seem to have good musicality and maybe she’s just not meant to be a dancer, but it seemed like an embarrassing and horrific experience for her.

Wanya and Linday:  Wanya’s most memorable year was 1996 when he and Boyz 2 Men sang the national anthem at the closing ceremony of the summer Olympics in Atlanta.  They recorded and acapella version for the show and this is what Wanya and Lindsay waltzed to.  I have to say it.  I LOVE Wanya!  He’s such a good dancer.  Usually the men on DWTS get off easy because the female pros can twirl and whip and flip around them and the men just do a few steps in between.  This is not the case with Wanya and I can’t wait to see what they do next.  He is definitely a frontrunner.

Nyle and Peta:  They had a Tango this week.  I continue to be and probably will always be super impressed by Nyle.  He can’t hear but dances better than almost everyone else on the show despite that.  He seems really nice, and I love his fearless attitude.  His most memorable year was 2012, when he decided to travel Europe on his own without an interpreter. That takes real guts and for me, Nyle and Wanya are neck and neck in the competition.

The Elimination

This week, Jodie and Keo, Mischa and Artem, and Doug and Karina were in jeopardy.  Mischa ultimately went home and I think she really wanted to as well.  It’s like she was put out of her misery.  So all is well that ends well.  Until next week…

 

via blogs.snagfilms.com

via blogs.snagfilms.com

SNATCH GAME: Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 8, Epi 5

via channelguidemag.com

via channelguidemag.com

Hey Cool Kids, here I am with this week’s review of Rupaul’s Drag Race, Season 8!  SNATCH GAME!  Pow!  And only one day after it aired.  What???  Yes!  So heeeeeerrrreee we go!

The Main Challenge

This week’s challenge was, of course, SNATCH GAME!   This is often the highlight of each season of Rupaul’s Drag Race and can make or break a contestants chances.  I look forward to it each season to see what the queens will come up with.  Now let me first say, they teased us with the battle of the Whoopi’s thing between Naomi Smalls and Bob the Drag Queen.  Spoiler: Neither one did Whoopi!  So here is how each candidate did:

Thorgy Thor as Michael Jackson:  I thought Thorgy did a really good job as Michael, especially that little giggle.  There was a lot of attention to details with the bandaids and movements.  I thought it was well done.  I do feel bad for Thorgy because she IS the Susan Lucci of this season.  Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

Kim Chi as Kimmy Jong Un: This was a weird one because it was supposed to be a drag version of Kim Jung Un but it didn’t look very drag-ish or female at all.  That being said, I think Kim Chi did a good job of making it funny.  It really doesn’t matter what character someone plays as long as they make it funny enough.

Acid Betty as Nancy Grace: Turrible.  She didn’t do it justice, hair and makeup were bad.  The end.  But we did get to see a little bit of Betty as a real person during Untucked.  So that was good.

Robbie Turner as Diana Vreeland: It wasn’t that good and Diana Vreeland is not someone I am familiar with but at the same time, I wasn’t familiar with Little Edie either and I thought Jinkx killed that one in season 5.  (Sorry to bring the whole Seattle comparison in) But she wasn’t the worst of the game.

Naomi Smalls as Tiffany “New York” Pollard: Why Naomi?  It was a bad performance.  New York is basically a walking caricature.  I actually feel bad because Naomi scrapped her idea to do Whoopi Goldberg once Bob said she might do Whoopi.  Naomi said she’d been working on that one so I feel that it would have gone over better.  It sucks she let Bob intimidate her and Bob should’ve let Naomi have Whoopi if Bob knew she wasn’t going to do it.

Chi Chi Devayne as Eartha Kitt:  Yas.  Cheech does it again.  She did really good and I thought she was on par with Bob and Thorgy as far as staying in character and being funny.  This was another one of those times where I thought she deserved to be in the top and not just safe.  I wanted to hear some good things from the judges!  When she lifted that leg, it was so funny.  I died!

Derrick Barry as Britney Spears: Predictable but I thought it was entertaining but not as great as some of the other performances, however I think I had super high expectations because Derrick is a professional Britney impersonator. She did have some good one liners though.

Bob the Drag Queen as Uzo Aduba and Carol Channing: Bob is good.  I mean REAL good.  She had the mannerisms, the way Uzo (as Crazy Eyes) acts, talks and even produced a poem.   I mean this queen came PREPARED.  Then she switched to Carol Channing which was also funny and she had a funny back and forth with Cheech as Eartha Kitt.  It was really good, but I agree with Michelle Visage that it did have a bit of showboating in there.  Toward the end, Bob sort of just took over and kept going and going and it was a bit too much.

 

The Runway Looks

via channelguidemag.com

via channelguidemag.com

This week’s runway look was The Night of 1000 Madonnas.  It was super interesting to see what everyone came up with.  First of all four queens had the same Madonna look which was surprising a kind of disappointing because only one person did one I was expecting and a few others were pretty original.  So allons-y!

Here are my thoughts:

Thorgy Thor

Thorgy was first out of the gate with the Madonna kimono look from her Nothing Really Matters music video.  This outfit was cute and in Thorgy fashion so I was cool with it. Until…

Kim Chi

Kim Chi comes out second with the same theme.  Now we’d seen a teaser before the commercial break showing that these two had the same idea, so it was expected.   Kim Chi made hers into an actual geisha outfit but it was still the same Madonna look but also not a Madonna look at the same time.  Then…

Derrick Berry

Derrick comes out third in the same.freaking.outfit.  S At least Derrick’s kimono look was slightly different in that it wasn’t red, and was hand painted with Madonna’s face, but still…and seriously, who chose the order of the queens runway walks? I have a feeling it wouldn’t have seemed so bad if they hadn’t all come out one after another in a row.  It still would have been bad but not as overwhelming.

Naomi Smalls

Naomi also wore the Nothing Really Matters kimono, but in Naomi Smalls fashion.  Basically she wore a lingerie version of it.  She was called out by Robbie Turner on Untucked for wearing the same silhouette every week.  She looked good though.

Acid Betty

Acid Betty’s Madonna outfit was different, outside of the box and wasn’t the kimono so that’s a start!  It was from Madonna’s Bedtime Stories video where she’s pregnant.  It was different and the most toned down version of Betty we’ve seen so far.

Robbie Turner

A League of Their Own is one of my favorite movies so I was here for Robbie Turner’s Rockford Peaches outfit.  Yes! That’s it, the hair, the makeup and the outfit were all a yes.  This was one that was definitely unexpected.

Bob The Drag Queen

Bob’s runway ensemble was inspired by Madonna wearing a boy scout outfit to the GLAAD awards in 2013. It was different, Bob looked great in it and it was definitely not what I would think of for a Madonna look, so well done on that Bobby!

Chi Chi Devayne

Chi Chi handmade her Madonna look the morning of the runway.  She went with the cone bra corset ensemble, which is definitely a well-known Madonna look and the only one that I would have expected to see.  It was cute but the cones were rather large.

 

The Elimination

This week’s bottom two were Naomi Smalls and *gasp* Acid Betty.  They both deserved it based on their performances on Snatch Game, but we’re getting to that point in the season where there aren’t really any people who I think “meh, she could go home” so that is always hard.  I thought overall the lip synch was okay but nowhere near as good as last week’s showdown between Chi Chi and Naysha.  Naomi definitely won that one fair and square.  I have to say though, I am super duper surprised that Acid Betty went home this early.  I thought for sure she’d last damn near till the end.  Oh well…

Okay so next week is the makeover challenge!  It appears to be Wizard of Oz themed with the cast of Little Ladies of LA coming in to be made over by the queens.  We will also see how the queen read when Rupaul says the magic words…”The library is open!”  Here’s a lil sneak peek:

Grown Student Chronicles: When Professors Find Out My Age…

…it’s always a bit awkward. I don’t try to hide my age.  I am 31 and proud okay?  But usually I don’t bring it up unless there some reason I should that’s related to something being discussed in class.  I kind of like flying under the radar and fitting in at times, but I don’t go out of my way to hide it.

via allprinceallthetime.tumblr

via allprinceallthetime.tumblr

Last week in my Italian class we had an oral exam.  Basically we had to stand in front of the class, tell everyone about our most and least favorite birthdays.  This would have let the cat out of the bag for me since my favorite was my 28th.  (Shoutout to my hubz and the England Fam Bam for the best surprise party EVAR) But before we started she asked what we did for spring break.  Yes, the oral exam was on the first day back from spring break, sigh.  So she asked around, most people had done something cool.   I said I stayed around here, she asked what I did.  Then I said I went to Laguna Beach to celebrate my anniversary.

via thenug.com

via thenug.com

First she was shocked that I was married.  Then even more shocked when I said I wasn’t newly married, it had been 12 years, even more shocked when I said I was 31 and then even more shocked when she asked about kids and I said yes, I have a three year old.  So.  She would have found out anyway during my presentation so I guess it was better to get it out of the way so that it didn’t disrupt the exam but sheesh.  This is a slightly more dramatic response,but I usually get this kind of response when I say I need to leave early to pick up my son or if I casually mention my husband in class.  Of course I’m not complaining, it’s nice to not age like a banana.

via logotv.com

via logotv.com

But I don’t know how I should feel about this.  Usually up to that point many professors can be a little patronizing with students and I can feel that probably more than they can because young people are used to being treated, well, like young people.  But once the professors find out, I feel that there is a little bit more pressure on me to do well.  I’m an adult and I should do well.  It’s not as easy then to duck out of answering questions in class, and I find myself feeling responsible for raising my hand if no one else does, etc.  At the same time, I get a little bit more respect I guess?

via gif-database tumblr

via gif-database tumblr

On the other hand, I don’t want to be the center of attention or stick out which is why I dress down for school.  Plus, it’s really comfortable. Duh!

via giphy

via giphy

3 Reasons Boutique Hotel Are a Great Vacation Option

View From Casa Laguna Inn and Spa via Me

View From Casa Laguna Inn and Spa via Me

Last weekend, I celebrated my 12th wedding anniversary with the old ball and chain.  We went to Laguna Beach, which is basically a staycation because it’s only about 30 min from where we live. Anywho, we went to a cute hotel called Casa Laguna Inn and Spa.  Now I will tell you upfront that the “spa” consisted of two massage tables.  But it worked great for us because we were there to relax, have massages and hang out.  We also took in a therapeutic soak in their private hot tub.  Everyone was so nice and accommodating and it made me think of other similar places we’d been to which brought to my attention the fact that I really like boutique hotels and B&B’s.

Customer Service

The first reason why is that customer service is great!  It’s like having personalized service.  Everyone is nice and you don’t feel like you are just a stranger in a building with 20 million other strangers.  It feels like you’re among friends.

via giphy.com

via giphy.com

The Food

Another reason is that the price includes food!  Breakfast is usually quite good and not your average yogurt and cereal continental-type fare you would get at a big chain.  In fact at one place, the manager of the property was also a chef and would cook extremely gourmet breakfast in the morning.

via reddit

via reddit

Privacy

Lastly, they are a lot more private.  You are there with a few other people so it feels more intimate, more romantical even.  You feel more relaxed and serene. And you get to use real keys!  Yes, the rooms of the places we’ve been have all had real keys for the rooms and other entrances on the property.

our room key at Europa Village

our room key at Europa Village

So here are a few places we have stayed so far and really enjoyed:

If you happen to go to Heidelberg, Germany, The Apartments and Hotel Kurpfalzhof is a great location.  It is like being in your own gorgeous modern German apartment.  The service is great, the breakfast is amazing (I’m still trying to figure out how to scramble my eggs the way we had them there) and the atmosphere was just chill.

As mentioned earlier, The Inn at Europa Village is another goodie, it’s right in Temecula, CA along with the other wineries.  We got a really good deal and they had great wine and the good chef for breakfast.  It is located close to all of the other wineries so it was easy to get around.  They are also planning a huge expansion so get there when you can!

Casa Laguna Inn and Spa, in Laguna Beach, CA was cute, scenic, had a great view from he hot tub and the rooms are super cute.  From what I’ve read they are all different. I loved ours.  It’s housed in a 1920’s building but they’ve modernized very well.

Hotel Mama Shelter is located in Paris, France and is nowhere near any of the big tourist landmarks, but is a really nice scene.  The walls are painted black with chalk art on them.  Each room has an iMac for a tv that you can use the Photo Booth app on to take pics and even look at pics from other people’s rooms too.  Each room has different masks to use for the photos.  This place had uhmazing food (as did everywhere in Paris) and we had a great time there.

So those were a few examples.  I hope to try out more in the future and let everyone know how it goes!