Recently Watched: Middle of Nowhere

Recently WatchedDuring the snow storm last week, G and I finally watched Middle of Nowhere. It’s been on my Netflix list for a while now and I’m so glad that we saw it. What a beautiful film! We both really enjoyed it. And if you’re into indie films, you’ll probably love it too. Check out the movie trailer.

The story is a simple one. A woman’s husband goes to prison and she decides to wait for him. But we see all the complexities of her life. Her job, family and hopes for the future. The characters are nuanced and the soundtrack is wonderful.

The Director is Ava DuVernay and I think this film is where I first learned of her. She won Best Director for it at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. She also directed Selma, which I thought was amazing. I saw it when it first came out on the big screen, which doesn’t happen so much anymore.

DuVernay has become a real force in film, Hollywood and just in general. There is even an Ava DuVernay Barbie Doll!  It sold out in 17 minutes!

I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more by DuVernay in the future and I’m sure she will keep us guessing.

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Screenshot: YouTube

Afro Flow Yoga: Schoolmaster Hill in Franklin Park

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Afro Flow Yoga ClassThis morning, I finally made my way to a free yoga class in Boston! It was an Afro Flow Yoga® class taught by founder, Leslie Salmon Jones.

The class was wonderful! It was quite a workout and very hot under the bright morning sun. I worked up quite a sweat!

There was live drumming by her husband and co-founder Jeff Jones. Looking over the vast green space, it felt tranquil and what I imagine Frederick Law Olmstead may have hoped for in the future for this space he designed.

Schoolmaster HillIt was nice being in a yoga class where I wasn’t the only diversity. After all, brown people invented yoga, but often when yoga is shown in the media, it is usually very young thin white women who are portrayed. Yoga is far more than that. It is for every body.

In addition to it being a multiracial group, there were people of all ages and several men too.

Stone Walls Schoolmaster HillAs we moved to the beat of the drums, our teacher asked if we could feel the ancestors. I felt warm and happy thinking about those who came before me and thankful for this day and this time.

The drums added a deeper layer of spirituality to the class. While the class made me feel at one with the African Diaspora, the stone walls felt Druid and Stonehenge too. Very ancient. It was fitting that we are still under the influence of a blue moon.

There is a lot of history in this place. Schoolmaster Hill got its name from Olmstead who named it after poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was a schoolmaster in Roxbury. He lived in a cabin here, before there was a park.

While he may not have been happy living there, centuries later, on a very warm Saturday on the first day of August, unlike Emerson, I did indeed find a slice of happiness on that same Schoolmaster Hill.

Live Your Dreams: Lupita Nyong’o Shares 7 Things You Must Do

Lupita Nyong'o on how to live your dreamsAbout a year ago, I learned that Lupita Nyong’o would be speaking at The Massachusetts Conference For Women.

The conference usually sells out and tickets go fast, so I bought my ticket right away. From seeing Lupita in 12 Years a Slave and winning the Oscar, to her many appearances on talk shows, wowing everyone with her stunning looks and spot-on fashion sense, she was a star outshining them all.

But it wasn’t just her looks and acting talent. Her poise and elegance never failed and she doled out many words of wisdom. After all, she’s a Yale School of Drama graduate.

The conference wasn’t until December. But time flies. And before I knew it, I was there. Lupita was down to earth, emotional and honest. She cried during her speech, because she is so grateful for her life and what she has dreamed up into reality.

She shared how to live your dreams with seven tips. This post should have gone up back in December, but things happened. So it’s a bit late. But I think this is an important post. One that I can look back on, because the time is always right to live your dreams.

Based on the notes that I took at the conference, this is what she recommends. I think it’s great advice and hope you do too!

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1.  Tell Yourself What You Love To Yourself.

Before you can have what you want, you have to admit to yourself what it is that you really want. Even though it may seem silly or impossible. She talked about how she always knew she wanted to be an actress, but it seemed ridiculous to say to herself that she wanted to “make pretend” for a living.

2.  Have 4 Stretcher Bearers.

You need at least four people who will help you and “carry you” when you can’t do it yourself. When you are feeling down and ready to give up, you need people who know how important your dream is and will help you to keep going.

3.  Remember Where You Come From.

Part of what she said was that in our lives, we have been inspired by certain things all along. Certain stories, books and people who resonated with us along the way. At the time, they may not have seemed particularly relevant to our lives, but there was some spark. Remember that part of who you are that was inspired.

4. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Writing Goals Down.

One of the things that she wrote down was that she wanted to do films with meaning and spend a week in New Orleans. Soon after, she was filming 12 Years a Slave just outside New Orleans.

5.  Breathe. Meditate. Pray. Be Still Within Your Soul.

6.  Always Allow Failure To Be An Option.

7.  Step Forward. Repeat.


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Screenshot: Lupita Nyong’o on Instagram

Kinfolk Issue Sixteen: Rwandan-born model Nadja Giramata

Kinfolk coverWhat a nice surprise to see that Kinfolk Volume 16 shines a light on the beautiful Nadja Giramata. I learned of the issue on Instagram.

I bought an earlier issue of Kinfolk a few years ago and have enjoyed their short films over the years. I love the magazine’s focus on slow living and gatherings with family and friends.

But it always bothered me that I never saw any people that look like me. After a while, if a publication never includes people of color, I assume that they don’t intend it for me and don’t want me buying it. I feel the same way about commercials that I see on television.

So it was quite nice to see a lovely model of color gracing Kinfolk‘s current cover. You can purchase Kinfolk on their website or on Amazon at a discount. Which I just just did. I also signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime, so I get free shipping and it should arrive tomorrow. Can’t wait!

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Screenshot: Kinfolk Issue Sixteen