Rhythm and Blues: Tyrese Got The Juice

So I woke up a few mornings ago to find that I had left my Spotify on my computer on repeat. Before I arose from my slumber I dreamed that I would come home to a beautiful chocolate man who had made my favorite, hardy meal: goulash. I walked further into my home to observe the poured glasses of Carlo Rossi Sangria aside the party size jug,(yeah the one from Walmart) and tiny white candles illuminating the hallway.

Upon my entrance, there was no man to be seen or heard. I only heard these words being echoed in perfect pitch against the house walls:

I can’t get you off my mind

Thinking of you all the time

Hoping that you call; going through withdrawal

You stop dealing with me…it’s like the sky falls

I thought “oh I’m here boo. Just show yourself.” I followed the trail of tea lights to the bathroom. I open the door and the scent of my Polish bath salts graze my nose. As the steam clears, I turn the corner to find a full tub of water.

Chocolate feet…knees…thighs…

I can’t get you off my mind. Thinking of you all the time

I roll over to my custom alarm to punch the snooze button that ruined my life with the wrath of God.

Tyrese Gibson serenaded me that morning, into 90s nostalgia. Tyrese, my first every celebrity crush, just killed the game upon the release of Black Rose his 6th and final album entitled:”Black Rose”

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Tyrese Gibson holding Black Rose

For those unfamiliar with this beautiful man, Tyrese Gibson started off modeling and could not shake the feeling that he wanted to sing. He did just that and wound up with a self titled album that went platinum with the help of “Sweet Lady (enjoy here)” and “Lately“. Tyrese continued making music, but r&b was not getting it’s necessary shine, overshadowed by radio nonsense (that’s a different story). In 2013, Tyrese made a collaborative album with Genuine and Tank, other r&b geniuses. Tyrese got his first major acting role in the infamous “Baby Boy” as Jody and has also starred in the “Fast & Furious” series as “Roman Pearce”.

He is a man of many talents and I wanted to thank him for revamping the r&b sound after so many years of drought with true r&b stuff. Songs about love[making], relationships, and just life. “Black Rose” is a raw work of art that I appreciate so much and so differently from when I was a kid.

The album has 14 songs with only four songs with features. The featured artists include: Tank in “Prior to you” (I think this should be your next single Tyrese. Just sayin), Snoop Dogg in “Dumb Sh**”, and the slept on female artists, Brandy in “The Rest of Our Lives” and Chrisette Michele in “Don’t Wanna Look Back”.

One of my personal favs is Track No. 1 “Addict”. It features a sample from The Fugees classic, “Killing Me Softly”. (Where you at Lauryn Hill. We miss ya!) It is also the song in the quote from earlier. And big surprise its stuck in my head.

Tyrese is one of the few celebs that handle their own social media. He is very vocal on Facebook and expressed his feelings about his exposure, or lack thereof, on mainstream radio. His single, “Shame” reached number 1 on Billboard Adult R&B Songs and lingered a while. (Earned It by The Weeknd at #2…of course) He feels as though it could be bigger than that. I agree.

Overall, I only had to skip one song. It just so happens to be his single, “Shame”. Hear me out now…the song has only been played on Majic 102.1 49463412 times and I want to be able to still appreciate it. Mr. Gibson, “Black Rose” rocked my world. Preciate you.

So please, friends, creators and appreciators, go listen to “Black Rose” IN FULL. Bump it until it get’s stuck in your head. Support that man and pick up a copy from Walmart or something.

Without further ado, please allow young Tyrese serve you a Coca Cola jingle below.

Music has no race. No limits. No boundaries. – Tyrese Gibson (<– Click here for vid)

– Fly

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Many Hats

“Slow news day huh?” a man said to me as I approached him with my camera and notepad in hand.

Granted…it could have indeed been a slow news day, however, I wanted to say,”Sir do you want me to cover what you’ve got going on or not?” Common tact would be to say something a little nicer than that. I simply responded to him, “I could be, but I’m just here to talk about you and learn about your story.” We then became submerged in the activity at hand. And don’t get me wrong, by no means am I saying “oh you have nothing going on anyway, be lucky I’m here to hear about it.”

In light (or darkness) of what has been going on in the political world and what has been being portrayed, I am aware that it’s hard to believe that any journalist genuinely care about what they report on, but I’m here to tell ya that we exist!

This is as much as I can give away about the story I went to cover. Cool huh?

This is as much as I can give away about the story I went to cover. Cool huh?

People who want to ACCURATELY write about the community. I am the type of journalist who feels that, the most important entity in any community is the people that it is made of.

People bring personality, testimonies, and even economic growth to areas that other wise would be dried up and well…boring. There are hundreds of organizations out there that only few know about, that deserve to have some

I see you!  (I’ll explain this reference to you guys later)

I’m here to lift up all the alchemist out there. Let “can’t” be abolished from your vocabulary when it comes to your dreams. Let’s fly. But first we gotta walk.

-Fly

                               

Feel free to reach out with suggestions, tips, and/or love!

IG: @kiz_nichole | Email: kafee1867@gmail.com | Twitter:@kiz_nichole | Facebook: kizzie.frank

Liar liar

Hello! How are you?

Great! How about yourself?

Gooooood, thanks for asking.

I lied 1,026 times today. Okay maybe not exactly that, but I’d say I got some where close to that number. On days I have to brave the public, I lie quite a bit. Out of formality as humans, people will say, “How you doin’? How are you? How’s your day going?” In a good percentage of these conversations, there is no conversation, as it ends with the response: “Oh I’m alright. Good. Great, thank you.” I think it’s safe to say that a good percentage of those responses are lies, or omissions of a larger, truthier part of our lives. But no one wants to hear some random Billy Sue tell us how they REALLY are when they just want to buy their coffee and go.

As of right now, my primary place of work is in retail. Common customer service in a place of business requires the employee to greet customers and occassionally make small talk. So, in addition to the auto pilot encounters I have everyday, it is multiplied by the amount of customer service I provide for a living. If you knew me well enough, you would know that I am not a big fan of small talk. I like to get to the nitty gritty. The real stuff. Yes,  I realize everything is not that deep or thought provoking, but I realized something new today:

When I don’t get to talk, I find myself deeply submerged in my own thoughts. Every “hello, how are you?” triggers something in my brain that makes me think a million miles a minute.

I have had to stop myself from unleashing the information kraken on Billy Sues on many occasions.

It occurred to me that my dad passed away about 3 months ago and it feels like just yesterday. When I get a moment to sit and think about telling him about my day on my lunch break, or helping him “work his email”, I begin to feel a vast emptiness in my heart. A burning hole of questions and scattered memories.

Senior Prom 2009/Most important picture of Papa Smurf and I

I am tired all the time. I lack motivation most of the times, but I remember my dad telling me,” You came all this way, why stop now?”

I relied on my dad’s reassurance, his verbal encouragement. No on can coax a daddy’s girl, but her daddy. I foolishly gave myself a deadline. Like…girl, this ain’t journalism. There is no plan or timeline for grieving.

I was told this wouldn’t be easy, but I thought I was getting to a point where thinking of his absence wouldn’t pierce my chest. I thought I could smile and truly mean it. I am certainly not “gooooood” (insert half smile here). I’ve realized that in this process I need to be okay with telling myself that “I am not fine.” I know I will eventually get there, but for now, I can’t pretend it any longer.

God, I miss my dad.

-Fly

Stumble

Stumble

I walked along the grass line

Looking back at the pavement behind me

Heated, relentless, disrespectful concrete.

Locomotive along the tree line

Tears sting my eyes, forcing themselves out

Running, trying to seal a bleeding heart.

Exhaustion sets in.

I sink to my knees, struggling to erase overwhelming doubt

You have a duty my child. 

Running again, but now welcoming the firmness off the pavement before me.

He waved a hand, and the wind kissed my cheeks

Dried the fire rolling down my face.

Man down….man up. Woman up…woman down.

Do not allow scum from hell cause you to press pause…

On yourself.

You have a duty my child. Speak it. Be it, or leave it. Claim your crown.

-Fly

Feel free to reach out with suggestions, tips, and/or love!

IG: @kiz_nichole | Email: kafee1867@gmail.com | Twitter: @kiz_nichole | Facebook: kizzie.frank

Max and Zach’s Vapor Shop

This particular article was written, once again, by myself (Fly) in honor of an upcoming vapor shop in Baytown. Enjoy!

Push Back in Mont Belvieu: Max and Zach’s to open new location

Publish in The Baytown Sun

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E-cigs at Max and Zach’s Vapor Shop

Recently celebrating their one year anniversary of their Baytown location, Max and Zach’s Vapor Shop is the preparing to open a new location in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

Once open, it will be Max and Zach’s third location and will be named Max and Zach’s Express. It will have about 80 percent the stock of the Baytown location. The second location in Crosby is not as busy as the Baytown location, but it appeals to the customers from Crosby. Owner of Max and Zach’s, Zach Jones, says they experienced a bit of resistance from the city about opening the third location in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

During the time of the Baytown shop opening the city was going through the process of trying to ban smoking indoors and the sale of “incense”. In section 14-21 of Article II of Mont Belvieu’s city ordinance on environmental concerns, vapor indoors could be a nuisance to the public, otherwise defined as “a result of its existence…[may] negatively affect the health, safety, and well being of the residents, citizens and inhabitants of the city.” Zach set out to free Max and Zach’s of the stigma that vapor qualifies at a nuisance to the public by speaking at a city council meeting in Mont Belvieu.

In short, the city was under the impression that Max and Zach’s was meant to be a smoke shop, home of tobacco, rolling papers, and other smoking paraphernalia, possibly including “legal” or synthetic marijuana products.

The people who bought the Mont Belvieu location were interested in opening a smoke shop that would sell all these things were shut down when the city found out. They, in turn, feared that Max and Zach’s would be the same sort of party. They were mistaken. Zach had to speak to three city officials and at a city council meeting to explain what his company was about.

Max and Zach’s Vapor Shop team – Left to Right: Zach Jones (Owner), Jordan Horner, Max Jones, Chris Gaffney, Brandon Hill, Cassandra Chandler.

“When smoking a cigarette, burning it creates 3 to 4,000 new chemicals that are not present with vapor,” said Zach Jones. “[Vapor] is sort of like when you boil water; it produces steam, or vapor. With e cigarettes there is no combustion, just the heating of a chemical that produces vapor.”

According to Jones, many studies have been done for and against vapor, but none have proved it to be particularly harmful or full of cancerous toxins like the contents of cigarette smoke.

According to Zach, some would enter the store looking for tobacco products and end up becoming one of their regulars who managed to quit smoking and turn to vaping. Many of his regular customers drive from Mont Belvieu to Baytown for their vaping needs. One of Max and Zach’s faithful customers, James Hudson said he passes up all the other shops to get to Max and Zach’s.

“Everyone here knows what their talking about. I bypass all the shops that have popped up to get here,” said Hudson. “Other places are like coffee shops, where the owners sit all high and mighty and don’t want to be bothered with the Customers.”

Max and Zach’s also offers somewhat of after sale counseling which entails answering any questions a customer may have about e-cigarettes.

“Quitting cigarette smoke is harder for some people than others,” said Zach Jones. “With e-cigs you still get the nicotine, but you won’t harm yourself doing it.”

A little over a year has passed since the opening of the original Max and Zach’s in Baytown and a few other smoke and vapor shops have sprung up. Zach Jones

Max (Owner - Max and Zach's Vapor Shop

Max (Owner – Max and Zach’s Vapor Shop

feels that another shop in Mont Belvieu would make it harder for the competition.

As a former worker of a popular vapor shop called “Smokers Angels” in the United Kingdom and current, Zach Jones is an advocate for electronic cigarettes and against tobacco smoke. He himself had been a smoking almost 20 cigarettes a day for years before discovering vapor. He has quit and only smokes e-cigarettes.  His story is similar to his brother and business partner Max Jones.

“When our dad passed away from what we think is 99% because of smoking cigarettes, I felt the need to help others quit smoking,” said Max Jones. “It helps people. We’ve already helped thousands quit. I’ve quit as well.”

Max also said they have been looking around the Atascocita, Texas for a possible fourth location. There may be a possibility to open a shop in San Antonio in the future as well.

The Baytown location (4506 Garth Road, Baytown, TX) is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Keep a heads up on their new location by visiting the Max and Zach’s Facebook page. There will be a grand opening party for Max and Zach’s Express sometime in June. Max or Zach can be reached at 281-739-4935.

UPDATE: Mont Belvieu Location:  (9529 N Hwy 146, Baytown, Texas, 77521)

Feel free to reach out with suggestions, tips, and/or love!

IG: kafee1867 | Email: kafee1867@gmail.com | Twitter: @kiz_nichole | Facebook: kizzie.frank

Stranger Danger

This is a little something I wrote my last year of college, to warn incoming freshmen about the hardships of being a roommate. I’m sure there are somethings that I have not yet experienced as a roommate. So please do comment and share some of your horror stories!

How to be a Good Roommate

Published: The Houstonian: New Student Orientation

When you finally arrive at your dorm, apartment, or house (lucky), at Sam Houston State University, most likely you will encounter the common beast: the roommate.

Once that front door shuts, you become imprisoned so to speak; shackled to your new prison wife. If can be a beautiful thing.

Jumping into a roomateship can be a miserable part of your life, but don’t get me wrong, there are ways to make it easier. The only way for it to work is to know the key to being a good roommate, no matter what planet the other party flew in from. Cohabiting one space is a union. Congratulations freshman, you are now married.

The horror stories of the roommates from hell are very real. My first roommate and I immediately clicked and we communicate to this day. The next few souls had the slightest idea on common roommate courtesy.

As a freshman, I knew it would be the best year of my life. My parents finally released me on academic bail. Living in a dorm was going to be the best experience in my life. For the most part, I was right. This is a rare phenomenon that occurs, however, it is very possible.

For most of you, enduring a bad roommate is simply in the cards for you. It is unavoidable, and you better prep your shanks and over the shoulder mirrors. For others, you may be the bad roommate. I thank my former roommates for teaching me what I am about to share with you all.

For one to understand what it takes to be an effective roommate, you must first speak with the person you are moving with beforehand about your likes and dislikes.

Of my five years in college (yes five, you’ll probably stay that long as well), I have found that it is nearly impossible to mention everything that bothers you in a living situation. Why? Because most the time, you don’t know you don’t like something until it happens to you. Specifically, establish whether or not the house will share food. I advise you to under no circumstances give people you don’t know full access to your corner of the fridge. This may sound selfish, but keeping it real is bound to go wrong when you reach financial status “I love Ramen noodles and crackers.”

Ladies, divas, men do not snatch your roommate’s hair products. Do not use the entire box of Always under the cabinet. Feminine products are not cheap so hands off. Do not run the battery dead on the expensive hairs clippers. In most cases, please just ask if you need help. If someone wants to help you, they will do so.

In order to be a good roommate, you need to realize that you are living with others who are your roommates, not your maids. Your mommy and daddy are not around so I need you to be an adult and pick up after yourself.

Second, you must respect one another’s space. By that I mean you must be aware that just because your roommates live next to you, does not give you permission to raid your neighbor’s closet. No you may not let your friends from back home sleep in your roommate’s room when they aren’t there.

Let your roommates know if you are going to have someone over. Unfamiliar silhouettes may be subject to a frying pan to the back of the head. College is a time where you may meet your future husband or wife. Relationships happen and sex happens. When it does, let your roommate know that it’s about to go down so they don’t have to suffer ear trauma; more importantly, invest in noise cancelling headphones.

If you want a dog, cat, parrot, snake, for the love of all that is good and holy, take care of it. An animal is like a child, treat it as such. When you were a kid and happened to destroy something in the grocery store, the parent coughs up the dough. Guess what? If your dog chews up a shoe, laptop charger, headphones, or defecates the house into oblivion, you are responsible for paying for it.

Wash your pet and keep him/her in your room. It is not a household pet, it is yours. Failure to comply with pet responsibilities can result in fines, or eviction. One of my roommates has been fined for, but not limited to, the following:

1. Smothering her dog’s poo into the floor and leaving it to turn into molded carpet.

2. Leaving the dog in its kennel so long it chewed through the plastics and carpet. Don’t get fined behind your pet. Ultimately, if you don’t have time for a pet, you need to give him/her up. I know that’s your “baby”, but you’re being selfish.

Granted, some roommates become friends and this is where roommate guidelines turn into what I like to call guide side winder—lines. It gets tricky. With friendship comes further responsibility and a higher demand for respecting one another.

If you know there is a different dynamic about your household, “dormhold”, or what have you, you need to cherish that. Once friendship strikes, it is easy to feel that you and your roommate must be attached at the hip. Spending time away from your roommate/friend is healthy, and will assist you in not ripping the other’s head off.

No one really likes talking about their feelings, but since you are essentially married to your roommate, communication is a necessity. If issues remain bottled up, petty issues will turn into world war three. The habits of your roommates are most likely strum at your last nerve one when friendship attacks.

Under no circumstances will you write a note. Notes are childish, passive aggressive, and flat out cowardly. You probably see your roommate every day. Push your ego to the side and talk to your peer. Tell them this:

“Derpina, I would appreciate if we could come to common grounds about the noise levels at night. I have trouble studying.” Or “ Derp, I know you like to cook, but you gotta clean up man. It looks bad.”

Avoid this:

 “Derpina, you’re disgusting and obnoxious. I hate you!” or “Derp, you’re a douche. I hate you.”

Spitting out insults is ineffective and figurative shots will be fired.

If you do get stuck in a dorm and you can’t talk to your roommate without snatching weave or blackening their eye, no worries, you have an RA, or Resident Advisor. They are there for support because they too, have suffered roommates. Apartments near campus typically understand the roommate struggles as well. Reach out to them and see what you get.

Learning how to be a good roommate equates learning how to be a good husband or wife.  Unless you score a one bedroom cell apartment and manage to not let people crash on your couch, you cannot escape roommates. Bad roommates are EVERY where, but so are the good ones!

Do not fret, this will be a learning experience. You may not get it right off the bat because again, being a roommate is a learning experience, but just remember, only you can prevent forest fires.

Current roommates! Trying to be normal. L to R: Jeremy, Me, Sheena

***

Thank you guys for reading, hopefully you enjoyed. Don’t for get to show and spread love! Feel free to share your roommate horror and/heaven stories.

-Fly

Best roommate award goes to this guy! (Laquane holding his cat, Selene, as she tries to escape his loving embrace)

Best roommate award goes to this guy! (Laquane holding his cat, Selene, as she tries to escape his loving embrace)

Feel free to reach out with suggestions, tips, and/or love!

IG: kafee1867 | Email: kafee1867@gmail.com | Twitter: @discjockirockIT | Facebook: kizzie.frank

How Fly was born

Below, I’ve posted the original article that I sent off to be published in a magizine. It was not published, but it is when I first came up with the concept of my pen name. Soon I will post the meaning of fly in “How it feels to Fly”. Enjoy!

About a year ago on this day, a quiet girl, turned outspoken, introverted extrovert, graduated from Sam Houston State University with only three friends at her after party.

You may be thinking. Poor girl, she must have been lame. I will tell you, she wasn’t the most popular, but she had learned the lesson of gains and losses in her five years of college. This girl was a mixed breed, one who many people love to call weird. If you often hear the same thing, you may understand the information I am about to provide.

I went to school with the same goal in mind as most 17 year olds: to eventually become successful and after class… PARTY PARTY PARTY! Now, this is pretty normal right? I failed out of math 3 times, had a walk of shame or two. Also pretty normal.

I soon came to realize that I had a habit of befriending people who would probably never befriend each other. I realized that I may be a friendship swinger. I needed variety. I’ve always been a diverse thinker and I assumed that everyone could and should be the same. My bubble was burst so quickly! I was fighting fired with a can of hairspray.

Have you ever tried to go to a party with a person who only likes country music, and a person who mainly listens to heavy metal and gangster rap? Great. Do not attempt this. These two friends of yours may feel entirely uncomfortable and awkward with each other, but great with you. Have you ever accidentally befriended your best friend’s boyfriend’s “other woman”? Excellent. NEVER attempt this. Someone is bound to get hurt. You want details now right? I’ve got you covered.

Some college experiences will never leave your memory. One that affected me the most was having to choose between the company I kept most often. As a friendship swinger I learned very quickly that things can get a bit sticky. In protection of everyone’s identity, things are about to get weird. Let me explain.

There once was a student named “Fly, on the wall” who was best friends with “Spider, in the corner”. The two were an unlikely pair; One was more “urban” than the other. Spider had a man Fly whom she was madly in love with. Spider found that man Fly enjoyed spending his time outside of her web.

Stay with me now.

One day, Fly was befriending other unlikely friends as usual, when she found herself at an after party in the dorm room of a special insect, “Lady Bug, in the sky”. They buzzed and buzzed the latest gossip about the flyest guys on the yard. They found they both listened to almost every genre of music and proceeded to jam out into the wee hours of that morning. They admired each other and soon became much like sisters. Fly and Lady Bug had begun spent a lot of time with each other.

In a gossip session about the flyest and not so flyest classmates, Spider mentions this “ladylove” who goes around taking everyone’s man. When back in her own dorm room, Fly recalled the “ladylove” and thought, “Could Spider have been talking about my Lady Bug?” That couldn’t be right, but Lady Bug may have mentioned a man Fly before? Nah. Fly asked Lady Bug about a man Fly. Lady Bug went into an elaborate story of a man Fly who only recently told her that he may have had a girlfriend. Lady Bug enjoyed the man Fly’s company. So Fly, on the wall did the math and assumed that this is indeed “ladylove”. But Fly loved Lady Bug dearly. Spider would understand she thought.

Spider found out that Fly had been friends with and continued to be friends with Lady Bug and became angry. Spider and Fly’s friend ship had become a distant memory after an attempt to get Lady Bug and Spider at the same party. Fly was sad to have lost Spider’s friendship, but had gained the beautiful, free spirited Lady Bug.

Moral of the story is, friends can be catty jealous in friendship swinging. When you flip the page, remember to friendship swing at your own risk.

With love and light,

Fly