amazon fashion

black and white vneck color block pocket tee

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You can’t go wrong with a good, soft, basic colorblock tee and denim shorts.  I particularly like this top because the fabric is on the thinner side, so it’s very comfy &  not bulky.  Click here to shop the look.
Yesterday, I was watching a group of kids at summer day camp eat their sack lunches in the grass. I was flooded with memories of my own childhood summers, and finding things for the twins to do each summer when they were younger.
When I was growing up, I was never a big fan of day camps,  but for four summers, I attended a two-week overnight camp. I eventually became a Junior Counselor and worked there for two months, my 4th and final summer.
The memories I made going to camp– a REAL, traditional camp– were priceless.
Everything you could imagine one doing at camp, we did it: horseback riding, canoeing, learning all the ins and outs of camping (from pitching a tent to setting a fire), songs around a campfire, archery, pool and lake swimming, talent shows, arts and crafts, all-camp games like “Find the Flag,” sockhop dances (do the young people even know what a sockhop is?)… it was amazing. ?I had my first kiss at summer camp, playing “Truth or Dare,” and I am still friends with that person to this day! ?Lol (IYKYK).
What’s funny is, my first week at overnight camp (which was about three hours away from home, up on the border of Illinois and Wisconsin), I sent dramatic letters home, every single day, to my parents BEGGING them to come pick me up.  I was not a lover of the outdoors. Dirt and bugs were not for me! I later learned that these letters were a source of great humor for my parents. ??
Obviously, after my first week, I fell completely in love with the outdoor experience.?☀️????
My Dad and my bestie @aisharc sent letters and care packages for each summer that I was there, letting me know that I was loved and missed. They meant so much to me–I even saved some of them.
Did you ever attend an overnight camp as a kid? How long was it? If you have kids, do they attend day or night camp?
*Reposted from original Instagram post, 7/22/21.
amazon fashion

Cranberry Red Twist-Front Top

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Happy Friday,

I took pics in this cranberry red, twist-front top from Amazon back in February, but it’s still available. The fabric is not too thick, so you can wear it year-round and use it as a transition piece.
At the time that I posted this, I thought it would make a cute, easy outft for Valentine’s Day. ???
The top is $20, and I’m wearing a size small.
I love these gorgeous crystal heart earrings from Ettika by the way! ???
Any plans this weekend?
I have two presentations next week, so most of my time will be spent working on those.
Have a good weekend,



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Salmon Wild Fable Tee from Target + PhD Life

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Happy Sunday! ??

These photos are from early February of last year, just before all of the pandemic madness.  Mike was still working in Seattle and had a place in Redmond, which is where these pics were taken. Little did I know, in less than two weeks I would be accepted into a PhD program at UO. Like most people, we have been through so many changes over the past twelve months!
I found this Wild Fable brand, salmon color, long-sleeve tee on clearance at Target. Check the bottom of this post for similar ones.

Since I have been consumed with my Phd program (as will be the case for the foreseeable future), I thought I’d share a school-related Q&A from my Instagram DM below:
I so enjoy your page and watching you embrace your gray hair. A couple of questions about your PhD program and how you’re enjoying it? I’ve written a few novels myself, and poetry.  I’ve actually been looking at the program at University of Oregon. Two questions: How do you like living out there? What are you planning on doing with your PhD in English? I thought, if I get one, what would I do with it?
1. To answer your question about living in the Pacific Northwest— (Washington State and Oregon) are BEAUTIFUL, but extremely white.  It’s the whitest place I’ve ever been and lived in, and I’ve experienced whiteness in multiple U.S. states.  If you are interested in moving out this way, you would have to be prepared for that and be willing to deal with it.
There are historical reasons why the whiteness is on a different level here. Different from, say, Indiana, which is where I grew up. I suggest watching this if you have some free time:
Also, I would google the right wing militia groups that are prevalent in the PNW (read more about this here).
2. How am I enjoying the program and what do I plan to do with my PhD??
That’s the million dollar question for PhD students. I am enjoying it a great deal, but I am exhausted and it’s extremely demanding.  Leaves little to no time for anything else. The whiteness of the program can be frustrating, but I knew that would be the case before I accepted their offer.  And they are trying to change that, hence bringing in more graduate students of color like myself. Overall, I feel tremendously grateful and fortunate to have the opportunity.
In short, I have big aspirations. A few of my academic idols include: bell hooks, Toni Morrison & Cornel West. They all write and publish extensively, yet they continue to teach (while Morrison was still alive, God rest her soul, this applied to her as well).
Most PhD students (at least in the humanities) have aspirations of teaching at a University. I share that goal, but, like most writers, I also hope to write and publish until I no longer can.
Hope this helps! I’m not sure what type of academic background you have or what genre of writing you do, but if you are a creative writer, a PhD might not be a route that you would enjoy. You may want to look at MFA programs instead. 

Well, I have to get started on my school work now. I have two weeks left of classes this term, and then one week of finals.

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!



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Preview YouTube video Oregon Black History Timeline – Audio Commentary


How to Do A Complete Strength-Training Workout in Twenty Minutes

*The following post was written in 2014 when I was still competing and training in triathlon. I still use this same 20 minute workout on a regular basis in addition to other forms of exercise. -1/19/21

When I was a personal trainer, I often gave my clients full-body strength-training routines.

I believe in doing sets without rest and compound movements that utilize the larger muscle groups. By doing this you will burn more calories and save time.

I spend very little time doing strength-training but what I do is impacting and accomplishes a lot in a short amount of time. One of my most frequently asked questions is, ”Do you lift weights?” and “How did you get your legs and arms so ripped?”

Here’s one of my secrets to achieving a tight, toned and sculpted physique in about 20 minutes, three to four days a week.

1. Bicycle Crunch. This is my favorite abdominal exercise because it engages the entire rectus abdominus (the six-pack muscles, including the obliques (the side muscles that create a narrow waistline) and lower abs (the pouch area). I do 40-120 reps.

2. Squats. The squat is a super exercise. It utilizes the quadriceps (front of the leg), the hamstrings (back of the leg), and the glutes (the booty). Because these are the largest muscle groups in the body, they burn more calories when used. Squats are also great for stabilizing your muscles, creating symmetry, and actually increasing flexibility. They are an asset to any athlete or fitness novice.

3. Dumbbell Deadlift. This is one of the secrets to having a nice apple shaped bottom. Maintaining proper alignment in this exercise is crucial or else you will end up recruiting more back muscles than butt muscles.

4. Bent-Over Row. This exercise will tighten, tone and strengthen your upper back, and the ”lats,” the larger muscles that run along the sides of your back.

5. Dips. These can be done from a sturdy chair, coffee table, or weight bench. They will strengthen and firm your triceps, the upper back of the arms that are a common flabby area on many women.

6. Alternating Bicep Curls. I prefer to alternate my bicep curls so that I can concentrate on proper form, and contracting each muscle without rocking back and forth.

7. Overhead Shoulder Press (Standing). Although I love working my shoulders in a variety of ways, when I’m pressed for time, this is the one I choose. Having sculpted shoulders adds symmetry to your physique and creates the illusion of having a slimmer waist.

8. Donkey Kickback. From all-fours, cradle the dumbbell between the back of your bent leg. Raise the leg up and down while engaging the glutes and hamstrings.

9. Dumbbell Chest-Press. While lying down on your back, press the dumbbells up towards the ceiling, fully straightening the arms and rotating the palms in, and return to starting position. This strengthens your chest muscles and helps keep your boobs perky!

10. Jump-rope. To get even more bang for your buck, jump-rope for 1-2 minutes in between your strength-training sets. You will shred fat, and increase your cardiovascular fitness at the same time!

Complete each exercise for 15-20 repetitions. Not sure how to properly execute an exercise? Google it or look it up on You Tube.

Repeat the entire circuit for an even longer, body-sculpting, fat-blasting workout. Do this workout 3-4 days per week, consistently, and you will achieve the firm physique you’ve always wanted!

Get it Tight; Get it Right! 🙂


P.S. Looking for fitness pics of me instead of Nicki Minaj? Check here and here. 😉