Living With Sickle Cell: ‘I Don’t Know What It Means to Be Without Pain’

It’s World Sickle Cell Day, and we’re taking a look at the chronic pain and regular hospitalizations that are the reality for many suffering from sickle cell disease.

Nikki Peterson, like approximately 100,000 other Americans, was born with sickle cell anemia. The 43-year-old lives in Upper Marlboro, Md., and ends up in the hospital about four times during what she calls a good year.

Once a month, she undergoes a grueling process called hemapheresis. All of the blood is removed from her body, the platelets and plasma are separated out and returned to her, and then Peterson is given 8 to 12 units of packed red blood cells. This helps to mitigate the pain she lives with every day.

“I don’t know what it means to be without pain. I have nothing to compare it to,” Peterson tells The Root from her bed at Doctors Community Hospital in Greenbelt, Md. “I have what I call my normal pain, and my pain where I need to be in the hospital. They always ask what your pain scale is from 1 to 10. I function on a normal person’s 7 to 8. It’s like my 2.”

Living With Sickle Cell: ‘I Don’t Know What It Means to Be Without Pain’

The Complicated Legacy of Muhammad Ali and ‘Rocky’ — Flavorwire

Muhammad Ali’s life and character were so rich, so multi-faceted, that the widespread mourning which greeted news of his passing Saturday reverberated far beyond sports fans, to history buffs, civil rights activists, Muslims, politicians, you name it. Film circles were no exception; he was always one of our most cinematic athletes, thanks to his movie-star…

via The Complicated Legacy of Muhammad Ali and ‘Rocky’ — Flavorwire

101 Best Side Business Ideas to Start While Working Full-Time

re-post

by Ryan Robinson

No matter how rewarding your full-time job may be, there’s one thing that’s even more meaningful than great pay and solid benefits: working for yourself.
Choosing the path of entrepreneurship is without a doubt riskier than being content with holding a 9-5 job, and requires way more sacrifice. However, once you’re reaping the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss and hustling your way into making significantly more money than you ever could at your day job, the hard work will have all been worth it.

101 Best Side Business Ideas to Start While Working Full-Time

Lake Street Dive coming to Wolftrap

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Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
http://www.lakestreetdive.com/

“The buzz-worthy band that lives at the intersection of the Beatles and Motown gets audiences dancing with its “joyous, upbeat songs and big, groovy vocals” (The Guardian).

This badass group will be at the Filene Center Thursday, June 16 at 8pm.

A good friend sent me the video of Lake Street Dive singing the Jackson 5

“I want you back.” I was blown away by the arrangement and by Rachel Price’s vocals.

The group was was founded in 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The band consists of Rachael Price (lead vocals), Mike “McDuck” Olson (trumpet, guitar), Bridget Kearney (upright bass), and Mike Calabrese (drums). They met while attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. The band was named after a street with many dive bars in Olson’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

No, Not Mom Jeans

Saw this earlier and thought it was a great post to share . Definitely a big difference when you look at the same body in different brands of jeans.

http://www.graspingforobjectivity.com/2012/07/gap.html

Watch Night Service and Mahalia Jackson

I asked a friend how he usually spent his New Years Eve, he told me he often participates in ‘Watch Night Service’ every year. I was familiar with the tradition of going to church on New Years Eve, however was unfamiliar with the term ‘Watch Night Service.’ Thank you for the info Richard Smith!

At the end of this post I included two of my favorite Mahalia Jackson videos from YouTube. I post the videos in dedication to my sister Melanie and cousins; Kevin, Myca, Michelle and Myrna. (Get out your church fans y’all!)

Re-post by By onlinefellowship.org |

Many of you who live or grew up in Black communities in the United States have probably heard of “Watch Night Services,” the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year’s Eve.

The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.
Some folks come to church first, before going out to celebrate.
For others, church is the only New Year’s Eve event.
Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious service — made a bit more Afrocentric because that’s what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the Black Church.
Still, it seemed that predominately White Christian churches did not include Watch Night services on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs. In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year’s Eve.

However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year’s Eve services in African American congregations.

The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as “Freedom’s Eve.”
On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free .

When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God. Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.

It’s been 145 years since that first Freedom’s Eve and many of us were never taught the African American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate
“how we got over.”

#MahaliaJackson, WatchNightService, #NewYearsEve, #GospelMucsic

Ava DuVernay Barbie!

ava-duvernay-barbie-doll-standing1This is so cool, I think I will get one for myself.

Sunday night, filmmaker Ava DuVernay and Mattel, the brand that makes Barbie, announced on Twitter that the doll made in the likeness of the Selma director (@AVAETC) would be available the next morning. No less than a few hours into Monday and the Ava DuVernay Barbie Doll, $65, was sold out on the site TheBarbieCollection.com.

“Tomorrow this #AvaBarbie goes on sale for Christmas because enough folks asked @Mattel to do so. Wild + wonderful,” she (@AVAETC) tweeted.

Posted up in her director’s chair, the Ava doll wears a black turtleneck and jeans with red and white sneakers. And fans were buying them up, possibly for kids, but for themselves too. The DuVernay – like other dolls based on public figures – are generally targeted to collectors and adults.

re-post: http://madamenoire.com/602962/ava-duvernay-barbie-doll-sells-out-in-just-hours-coming-to-amazon-com-soon/

‘Sensory Friendly’ Santa Visit

I got a chance this weekend to work with Northern Virginia Housewives and Fair Oaks Mall during their annual ‘Sensory Friendly Santa’ event.

Early Saturday morning, before Fair Oaks Mall formally opened for the day, families that normally avoid the mall this time of year went to see  Santa in a specially design setting for kids with autism.

Children with autism struggle in noisy environments, so taking them to see Santa at the mall during normal business hours is a challenge. On Saturday morning, the music and the lights were turned down which made a more desirable setting for these kids and their families.

Kudos to NOVA Housewives and Fair Oaks Mall for this great event!

 Finding the Truth of Your Transitions

Finding the Truth of Your Transitions-with your first breath, you begin a life of change. You go to school, move to another town, make and lose friends, marry, and perhaps experiencetransitions divorce or the death of a spouse. You age and redefine what you want in life and work. Major changes come with all kinds of emotions, depending on whether you see it as positive, negative, or a mix of both.

For over twenty years, I have helped individuals and groups navigate transitions, and I know that the feelings and reactions you experience (the transition) can lead to personal growth and increased creativity. This is true even in the most difficult transitions.

The first part of a transition is to name the change with your own words. You might call your career change, “Charting a New Path.” Maybe you name your divorce “Going Solo.” It all depends on how you see it. Initially, you feel a kind of letting go, as the old role or situation begins to fade. This can be difficult for some people, and the letting go comes in bits and pieces over time.

Once you are in the middle of the change, you will likely feel ungrounded and anxious. You are neither in the old way nor the new way of living. You feel out of sync; you can be excited one minute and anxious the next. These are perfectly normal feelings because you are taking apart the old situation like pieces of a puzzle. Eventually, the pieces will come together in a new picture. Many people want to run through this middle part, particularly in a difficult transition. But, as great legends, myths, and world religions show, this can be a time of transformation. You open yourself to new possibilities. You take stock of your life.

You may have heard the expression, “the new normal.” When you have finally accepted the new way of doing things—much like finally knowing where things are in a new home. This is a great time to plan some short-term goals for yourself like starting an exercise class, joining a club, or exploring career options.

The most important thing is to understand that you are the only one who determines how and when you will move through transitions. The emotions of a transition are not driven by an external clock. Be patient and take care of your body and spirit. It is normal to feel some fear about a big change. And to find the truth of your transition, try writing your thoughts, dreams and feeling in a journal. In time, you will see the deeper truth about what this transition means to you.

Francisco

Leia Francisco is a CCE Board Certified Coach specializing in transitions. The second edition of her book Writing through Transitions will be available in 2015.

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Artist Profile: Carey Bradshaw

The first time I saw Carey Bradshaw’s work I was blown away!  His photographs are not only beautiful, they have a graphic arts,  surreal quality about them.

As a photographer with a graphic arts background, I reached out to Carey in hopes of picking up a few gems of creative knowledge.

Do you get a lot of comments about your name with the Sex and the City character?

Yes I do. Maybe too much. It’s kind of funny though when I show up for a reservation appointment i.e. Dinner. People are usually expecting to see Sarah Jessica Parker and not a 6’2” black man, with a Jamaican accent walking through the door.”

Tell me about yourself, where you grew up, family, childhood influence?

“I’m the youngest of four children born to Sheila and Sonny Bradshaw (the most awesome parents a kid could ever have). I was born in Kingston, Jamaica where I had some of my best life experiences. As a kid, I was allowed free reign to explore many creative outlets through music, sketching, painting, building tree houses, making toys out of household items and basic computer programming with my Commodore 64. Growing up, I had many childhood influences: my parents being number one. My mother fostered my entrepreneurial spirit and my father nurtured the artist in me.”

How would you describe your work and yourself as an artist?

image“Well…my work is really all over the place (smile). Sometimes it’s dark and gritty; sometimes it addresses social and racial issues and sometimes it just tells a story. The main focus however, is to create positive and beautiful imagery of black people. There is so much buffoonery out there that glamorizes the negative portrayal of black people and our culture. I almost feel it’s my duty to be the antagonist against such trends. ***As I type that last sentence I can visualize myself in a super hero outfit with green underwear on the outside, just the way superheroes wore it back in the day, with a big “AM” on my chest: ANTAGONIST MAN***** I think I will make a self portrait exactly like that one day (smile).”

Where do you get your inspiration?

“Sorry for sounding cliché but I get my inspiration from everyday life. Inspiration is all around us. You just have to pay attention to the signs.”

Do you spend more time in pre-production or post production or equal amount of time in both?

“I spend a great deal of time in post production. There is so much magic that can happen there. The polish and feel that exists in my images are heavily influenced by my post production skills. A lot of old school photographers scuff at “too much post production” work, but I welcome it with open arms.”

What are your favorite tools of your trade, such as camera, lights, software?

“My all time favorite is Photoshop but I also enjoy using Lightroom and CaptureOne. My camera of choice is the Nikon D750 with a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens, Nikon 80-200mm 2.8 lens and a Nikon 85mm 1.8 lens. I use a lot of speedlights as well as two Alien bees.”

Your bio states you are self taught. Is that in both photography and graphics?

“I am self taught in photography but I learned graphic design in school. In actuality, the purpose of me going back to school was to get a degree in photography but the school discontinued the photography program. I was very disheartened by this but the admissions counselor advised me to take the graphic design course, which included two photography classes. So that’s what I did. I’m happy i did though because it exposed me to so many areas within the multi media ecosystem.”

Generally most people think of portrait photographers with a focus on just the face of a person. But in many of your portraits I see you incorporate the body, face, pose and background elements to complete the final image. Do you agree?

“I totally agree. Since I wasn’t formally trained in photography, I didn’t have any rules and guidelines to adhere to. I just created what I found visually pleasing. However, I felt the urge to learn the official protocols when creating portraiture and other genres of photography, which was one of the main reasons I decided to pursue structured learning in the form of the photography degree program. When that didn’t work out, I said screw it and pledged to myself to just do what I wanted to do with my photography.”

Do you create portraits based on how you see people or is it how they see themselves?

“Usually it’s how I see them. If I were to create portraits based on how they see themselves, then they would all be biting their finger nails with a nervous look on their face. My clients are usually super nervous when they show up for a shoot. Even the most confident people turn to scared, insecure shells of themselves. It’s up to me to make them feel comfortable and pull the greatness out of them. Then capture it.”

What new projects are you currently working on?

“I’ve been working on a project for a couple years now that documents the rise and fall and rise again of black exceptionalism. It will artistically depict the timeline of when we were kings and Queens, to when were were slaves and the present day.”

How do you select make-up artist for a session? Do you usually guide them on details for the look or is it a collaborative effort?

“I work with a select team of makeup artists and hair stylists that i’m happy to call family. It’s all about vibe and energy with me and I have to feel that synergy and bond with those i’m working with. I know nothing about hair or makeup other than doing my daughters hair once awhile, so I usually share my vision with the team and let them do what they do. So yes, it’s definitely a collaborative effort.”

Some of your models wear fabulous and unique clothing. Do you work with a specific clothing designer ?

“I have received tremendous support from a store in Brooklyn called Tafari Tribe. They have very uniquely wonderful jewelry and clothing. I also work with a Designer call Ichigo Black and she creates all of those colonial period piece dresses.”

I would love to watch you work sometimes. Would you be comfortable having someone shadow you on a project?

“Sure, not a problem at all. However, I might put you to work during the session (smile).”

Tell me about your YouTube Series?

“I created a story based photography piece called “I shoot people”. It was my way of introducing the world to what I can do with my photography and photoshop skills. The story is a typical geek to chic story but with a twist at the end. The interesting thing was that the model was shot in studio and superimposed on backgrounds I shot while on vacation in Canada. None of the images were shot on location as depicted in the final image. I was supposed to follow it up with a few more of it’s kind but have been busy with day to day business tasks since. Coming soon though ……

How do you spend your free time? What do you do for fun?

“I’m a bit of a geek so I spend a lot of time doing geeky things. I’m obsessed with gadgets and gizmos, flying my new Drone (so much fun!) I work on lots of D.I.Y projects for my home and for photography purposes and I enjoy making silly comedy skits with my daughter.”

Can you share the story behind a few of your personal favorite photos?

“The one i’m most proud of is my Black Nefertiti image. I had this idea for a very long time to create a representation of Nefertiti as a black woman with a crown made of dreadlocks. I sat on it for a while because I was looking for the right face that would be able to portray the beauty and strength that I envisioned. I then met the model, Ms. Brigid Turner via Instagram and instantly knew I wanted her to play the part. My next obstacle was to figure out how to make a crown of dreadlocks. I spoke to my hair stylist and she assured me that she could get it done. I spoke to my makeup artist, Lisa Jones and expressed to her that I wanted to depart a little bit from the typical rendition of Egyptian makeup, making it a more contemporary beauty look. I got the team together and it was actually one of the quickest conceptual shoots I’ve done. Everything came off without a hitch. Over the next week, I did my thing in Photoshop and the rest, as they say, is history.”

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“My second favorite is my “Creation of Woman” image I had a photoshoot with Deneika Fletcher, a personal trainer from Toronto who just flew in fresh off winning one of her competitions. I had suggested to her that she should let me paint her bronze. I thought it would accentuate her physique quite well. This was the first time I used metallic paint with an airbrush….. and oh what a disaster it was. I couldn’t get the right consistency to spray on evenly and I was back and forth mixing and trying, mixing and trying. This poor woman was standing in my bathroom, freezing cold without any clothes while I fumbled trying to get it to work. FINALLY I scrapped the airbrush and just used a paint brush and things went by fairly quickly. The shoot was a success and now it was time for post production – I retouched the image of her laying on the floor but something was missing. I then decided to add dust particles floating above her. It created some visual interest but something was still missing. So I decided to photograph my ashy hands sprinkling dust on her. That did the job and made it one of my favorite images yet.”

imageCarey thanks so much for doing this interview. I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

Check out Carey Bradshaw Photography -http://www.careybradshaw.com