+Size Matters – Body Positive vs Offensive Narratives

This  year marks the first time that I’ve made a point to have a Netflix account. It started with me opening what must have been my eighth account under a different email address for another free trail and after I ended up getting charged for one month since I forgot to cancel it, I figured I might as well give this service a try for a year. Thus I too have taken to binge-watch sessions after work well into the early hours of the morning of many shows and movies.

For the most part I’ve taken to watching anime and catching up on shows that my friends were raving about years before, like Sherlock. Yes,  I’m “tardy to the party” but hey at least I’m here now, haha. Anyway, I say all this because Netflix originals were on the very bottom of my “To Watch” list and with shows like Insatiable being  produced by the service, I feel that I was right in not going that route with my new streaming binge-watching habit.

Image result for netflix insatiable

Image Credit: Spoiler TV

Honestly, when the online petition reached 100,000 signatures back in July I believed that the show would never be an option to be streamed on Netflix but obviously this didn’t stop production. Sure this is old news by this point but it still warrants a bit more discussion as it demonstrates the significance of narratives that are presented to an audience – well, at least I think it does.

The basic plot of the show is as follows: a formerly overweight teenager turned beauty queen sets out to get revenge on everyone who tormented her when she was bigger. According to the creator, the show is meant to tackle major social issues attached to weight and fat-shaming through comedy and satire. She has even gone on the record to say that the backlash the show got at the release of its trailer was nothing more than a form of censorship. [Insert eye-roll here] Continue reading

Quellie and Lena Try…Aqua Zumba

So here’s a bit of a little known fact about me for you all: I tend to stay away from doing much exercise in the fall and winter. Why? Well I know the reason may seem superficial to many people but it is because of my hair.  When the temperature starts to dip below 60 degrees I make a point to straighten my hair, be it with a roller-set or using my Instyler. As much as I love my natural curls, I started this cycle back in college as I found that having my hair straight in the fall and winter just made it easier to manage. While the overall time it takes to get my hair from curly to straight is not as bad as my curly routine, it is a lot of work that can easily be for naught if I so much as perspire a bit or let some water, like rain or snow, touch it.

Thus any strenuous physical activities, like exercising, are regulated to the warmer months in spring and summer when I go back to my natural curly hair routine. But even then gymtimidation keeps me away from  and using arm and leg weights while playing DDR at home can get pretty boring after a while. Which leads me to this post.At the start of the summer I did some research to find some out-of-the-box exercise classes preferably in water because let’s face it, summers in NYC are the worst. Thanks to Google I found out about Aqua Zumba. As someone who used to go to Zumba classes (on land) twice a week, I found the concept interesting so I mentioned the idea of giving this a try to Jonquel of Jonqel Art as well as to two co-worker friends of ours that have built in gym days to their weekly schedules. They all immediately jumped at the idea and we bought our first time passes for the following week. Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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V-Day, Me-Day

Five years ago a close friend and I decided to give “us” a try and my first thought that spring was how I finally had someone to go on my “dream date” with. Christmas is the time of year I actually consider to be romantic so when we broke up a couple of months later that summer, not only was I heartbroken that our “relationship” never had a real chance, but being “alone” again meant that  I couldn’t go on that date. For the rest of the year I moped about this. Well, I did until I took myself on the date instead and I found myself loving every minute to it.

This has become a bit of a tradition for me since then, though I have branched out of doing this solely in the month of December. And while I learned that I can enjoy my own company, I love that in the five years since that day I have met people with similar interests that I also can share  experiences with. I also take great care to show them just how much their friendship means to me at every opportunity including Valentine’s day.
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Be Mine

When it comes to Valentine’s Day the immediate thought that comes to mind is the concept of sexy. I’m the kind of person that has never considered myself sexy by any means but I’ve noticed that what women in particular are drawn to is pretty uncomfortable. With the pencil thin heels, and revealing outfits in various shades of red and/or pink. There isn’t any necessarily wrong with that, yet I think being comfy, sexy and cute should always be an option if only to leave your date choices  open to some non-traditional ideas outside of a formal dinner and a movie. For me any potential date, be it for Valentine’s day or otherwise,  would involve a lot of walking since I love playing tourist in the city so in I would definitely reach for this comfy yet cute outfit.

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I Am Black and Latina Enough!

I navigate my life by doing two things consistently – explaining and apologizing. Its as frustrating and annoying as you can imagine, yet it becomes necessary when you navigate through life being constantly asked which one of your parents are white (the answer is neither) and how someone of my complexion is of Latino descent. In the United States skin color is your only identity so the moment that I enter a room the confusion starts.  Latinos come in various shades as we are the most racially diverse people in the world. As I mentioned in a previous post, it just goes back to history – 95% of the slave trade took place in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Wearing an authentic Panamanian Kuna mola headband my mother bought for me at a Latino Heritage event in Washington DC last month.

Panama, my parents’ native land, even has two significant waves of African/black migration* that helped shape the culture as we know it today. The first is known as the “Afro-colonial” wave in which slaves came with conquistador, Vasco Núñez de Balboa as he settled this territory for the Spanish crown during the 16th century. The second is the “Afro-Antillean” wave which took place around the time that Panama gained its independence and West Indian immigrants from neighboring countries like Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica, came over to build the Panama Canal. On my mother’s side alone we have family members that are black (primarily of Jamaican descent), white, Asian and indigenous. I think that is actually part of the reason why people have issues with Latinos, because unlike most ethnic groups we are just so diverse that we can’t be categorized easily. Not that we should be doing this but it is a reality, at least in the US.  Continue reading