Category Archives: Lifestyle

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


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

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

“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.

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 |

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

“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.


‘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.


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.

Blood Donations and Sickle Cell Anemia

Those with Sickle Cell Disease need frequent blood donations, sometimes as often as every few weeks to survive. The most compatible blood transfusion for a DSC_0533critically ill patient with SCD is most likely to come from someone with the same ethnic, racial and genetic background as the patient.

While high rates of Sickle Cell Anemia is prevalent in black communities, statistics show people of color currently donate less than one percent of the country’s blood supply.

Be a hero in your community, make a pledge to donate blood and save the life of someone with Sickle Cell Disease.

Please send us a picture of yourself donating blood to the Heart of Gold Foundation: The Sickle Cell Foundation of Northern Virginia FB page at and encourage everyone you know help the 80,000 people in the U.S. living with Sickle Cell Disease.

If you or someone you know has Sickle Cell Disease and live in the Northern Virginia area please reach out to the Heart of Gold Foundation: The Sickle Cell Foundations of Northern Virginia  so we can keep you informed about programs and services near where you live.

For information about donating blood check out the links and video below: