Monday, May 3, 2010

Farewell, Blogger

i'm moving to tumblr, sistergarteners. hope you'll join me :)


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday Throwback: ...Instead I Pour the Milk...

Suzanne Vega and The Roots offer a 2010 live version of "Tom's Diner."  pretty cool.

do do do do do do do do...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Flowers for the Garden: PJ Morton's "Walk Alone"

stop making mountains out of molehills when they're not even real.  you need to go and follow your dreams.  it's not as hard as it seems...  -PJ Morton, "Mountains and Molehills"

Walk Alonethis cd is giving me everything right now.  in particular, "Mountains and Molehills" is one of those songs that's my LIFE.  craziness.  inspiration at it's finest.  the entire cd is officially in heavy rotation in the car, on the laptop, and on the treadmill.

be encouraged, stars.

for more info on PJ Morton, follow him on twitter.

be.  fly.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Letters from the Garden: Dear Marvin

dear Marvin,
happy birthday.  we miss you.

special shout out to my super dope friend who put me on to this rehearsal vid of my favorite Marvin song...

be.  fly.

related garden reading:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Letter from Amelia: On Marriage

Letters of Note is a website that shares authentic letters, notes, postcards, etc. from celebrities, and other historical figures. today they featured the following letter from Amelia Earhart, sent to her then-fiance the morning of their wedding in February 1931:

for the transcript and more interesting letters, check out the website.


Thursday Throwback: Crayons

remember getting lost in the world of crayons?  coloring a really fly picture and giving it every ounce of your energy?  those were the days.  i liked to color using the technique my older brother taught me...a hard, solid outline and then a light shading-in with the same color.  fiyah!

i think i'll invest in a throwack box of crayons soon...there's no therapy like the soothing sensation of coloring...

be.  fly.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"I Wonder" Wednesday: The Evolution of Dreams

*photo found at

sometimes we follow our dreams.  sometimes dreams follow us.

i've heard that when our dreams come true, they're so much better than we ever could have imagined.  i've always believed that...mainly because our imaginations tend to be limited to those things to which we can relate.  so even with a great imagination, we really have no frame of reference for what's possible.

so, often, as our dreams evolve, we begin to strive for things that weren't even on our radar initially.  this also happens as we begin to realize our own capabilities.

so, in light of all this, i wonder:

should the people who make up our support systems be expected to automatically support these new  dreams (or new incarnations of existing dreams)?  or should the loss of support from some people just be considered a natural part of the evolution of support systems?

related garden reading:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ruby's Garden: Grandma's Hands

today would have been my maternal grandmother's 86th birthday.  she left this earth quite some time ago, but i still think of her fondly on her day.

she was the essential "big mama" in every way.  and she taught us girls that if our hair and feet looked good, everything in the middle would fall in place.  i still live by that (tryna stay on her level, lol).  she fed us well (and with love).  she gave whatever she could, whenever she could.

i wish i had a picture to post, but as a cousin reminded me today, she hated posing for pictures.  fly as she was.  hm.

happy birthday, Mimi.

be.  fly.
ruby's granddaughter

and i usually don't post videos that i can't embed, but i'll make an exception here (since it's Bill Withers)...just come back and say somethin' when you're done watchin' :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Letter from the Garden: Dear Stars

Just keep tryin' and tryin'
It's just a matter of timing
Though the grindin' is tirin'
Don't let 'em stop you from smiling

Just keep tryin' and tryin'
Sooner or later you'll find it
It's surprisin' how inspirin'
It is to see you shining
'Cause in the dark of the night you're all I can see
And you sure look like a star to me...

-Cee-Lo, from Kelis' "Lil Star"
dear stars,
just a friendly reminder from the garden to "keep ya head up."  we're all working on things, big and small (though i assert: "no point in dreamin' small"), and sometimes a little encouragement goes a long way.  so keep shining, stars.  we never know who we are yet.
be.  fly.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sister Story: Sharvon P. Urbannavage

*photo of Rose Rollins by someone else :)*

check my profile pic.  it's kinda hot.  i feel like my inner Tasha was channeled (which i didn't notice until after).  wishful thinking?  anyway, i can only take small credit for the hotness of said photo.  most of the magic came courtesy of one Sharvon P. Urbannavage.  she just may be my favorite photographer.

i present to you Sharvon, owner of SP Photography:

SisterGarten: when did you first know you were a photographer?

Sharvon: I've been into photography since I was a kid, due to my father being a photographer when he was in the military. However, I didn't realize that I had "an eye" until I was in college. I took photography to fulfill my art requirement and to learn how to use the SLR (single lens reflex) camera my dad got me in high school. Through my coursework, I learned to find dope images in the oddest places, and got great feedback from classmates and professor.......and I've been shooting non-stop ever since.

SG: what is your favorite subject?

Sharvon: People. All ages, shapes, sizes and colors. I'm naturally an observer, which is why I tend to be so quiet when I'm actually around others. Its a little weird, but I just find myself staring at random people when I'm out and wondering what their "story" is. If I'm at the train or in the airport, wondering where they're going or coming from. If I overhear something they say, wondering what the full context of the conversation is. I'm interested in people's stories, and have been surprised at how interesting my story is to others. I like helping people tell their story through photographs.

SG: what inspires you as an artist?

Sharvon: Light. I had an assignment in college that was an experiment with light. We basically just had to photograph interesting ways the light reflected off of things. These were the best photos in my portfolio during the whole semester, and it taught me to appreciate how something as simple as light, can make the most abstract object look beautiful. So now when I shoot, I find myself looking for areas where the light is doing interesting or weird things. You can see this throughout my portfolio. I'm now delving into experimenting with studio light and I'm excited to see where my creativity goes with that.

SG: what obstacles do you face as a black woman in your field? what obstacles do you face otherwise in your field?

Sharvon: Its definitely a challenge to be a black woman in any field. There are female photographers whose styles I admire such as Annie Leibovitz (of Vanity Fair) and Mary Ellen Matthews (of SNL), but in all the photographer profiles I read in my magazines, I rarely, if ever, see black women. Throughout high school, college and in the workplace I've always felt I had to work twice as hard to even be on an equal playing field. But once people see my work ethic as well as my skill level, they realize how truly talented I am, so I've never really let being black or female be an obstacle, per se. It's simply part of who I am, as a person and an artist, and it allows me to have a different perspective on the world that I shoot.

SG: if you could shoot anyone (living) in the world, who would it be?

Sharvon: I really can't think of any ONE person I'd like to shoot. An obvious answer would be a celebrity, but those are people who have been photographed thousands of times. Going back to what I said before, I'd like to photograph someone whose story I want to know more about. Such as cancer survivors...what they did to overcome the disease and their struggle. Young soldiers....why they chose the military over other options. Those are just a couple examples, that actually hit close to home for me. Hopefully I didn't just give my ideas away to someone else!

SG: what do you want your work to say to/do for people?

Sharvon: I want my work to show people that everyone is beautiful in their own way. I personally am not the most photogenic person, but I have photos I've taken of myself that have been the greatest self-esteem boosters. I've had clients who make coy, self-depricating statements like "I look horrible.....I don't take good pictures.....I'm gonna break your camera with my face." Then they see their pictures and are in LOVE with themselves. Anyone can be photogenic....its all a matter of knowing your flattering angles and finding good light. And any good photographer will be able to bring out the best in you.

SG: what's the craziest/weirdest thing you've done to get a photo?

Sharvon: Several! From dodging in-and-out of traffic, to laying flat on the ground in Old City [in Philadelphia], to running non-stop for about an hour, to standing on barstools (I'm super clumsy!), to nearly being arrested for trespassing. My style, to date, has been what I like to call "strolling shoots". I pretty much scout a general location where I want to shoot my client, and then we'll just walk around and find good spots. I've stumbled across some awesome backdrops shooting this way, and it allows me time to get to know my client a little more while we walk and chat, which I feel helps me bring out their personality and essence through their photos (plus its also great exercise!). I've had to do some interesting things to get the shot, but I'm just glad I've always had clients who are totally willing to just go with the flow. Can't ask for anything better than that!

for more information on Sharvon and SP Photography, visit

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday Throwback Sends Me Swingin'

i love me some Mint Condition.  sometimes i wish i had been old enough to date when they debuted.  seems like some good young dating music.  posted up in your room with Mind Condition playing, thinkin' about meetin' your boo at his locker the next morning, hoping he wears that cool purple and teal vest you like so much...


be.  fly.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Letter from Jimi: Happiness is Within You

Letters of Note is a website that shares authentic letters, notes, postcards, etc. from celebrities, and other historical figures.  today they featured the following letter from Jimi Hendrix:

so damn smooth.

for the transcript and more interesting letters, check out the website.

be.  fly.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Return of Huey Freeman: Boondocks Season 3

excuse me.  everyone, i have a brief announcement to make.  Jesus was black, Ronald Reagan was the devil, and the government is lying about 9-11.  thank you for your time and good night.  -Huey Freeman

he's baaaaaaaack.  May 2 (11:30pm) brings the return of Boondocks to the Cartoon Network.  i, for one, am too hype.  and i'm sure the return will bring with it the controversy that's followed the show (and comic strip) from inception.  in a discussion with a dear friend who was "amazed" that i like the show, i offered:
i think it's a necessary voice. i think some of the more disturbing things he portrays need to be discussed, and he's created a dialogue. i think it's akin to when "gangsta" rap began telling its stories. the stories already existed, yet some were mad about them being told.
so, i'll be watching and supporting.  will you?  if not, i won't ban you from the garden.  promise.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday Throwback: Close to You

no rhyme or reason to today's throwback.  just a little rhythm.

be.  fly.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Brother Story: Latif

so...y'all know i love good music, right?  and y'all know i love givin' y'all free music right?

so because i'm so giving...

Latif, a Philadelphia singer/songwriter, whose new mixtape "Forever Music INC Presents: Breath of Fresh Air" (free download below) features an exclusive collaboration with Michael Jackson by the same name, recently gave a performance on NBC's The 10! Show:

View more news videos at:

now on to the free music i HERE.
for more information on Forever Music Inc, visit their site :)

that's all the free dopeness i've got for now.

be.  fly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"I Wonder" Wednesdays: Jump Up in the Air and Stay There

i know you want to...jump up in the air and stay there... -Erykah Badu

so, i, like many others, have been desperately awaiting the release of Erykah's New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh (March 30).  and lord knows i lust after me some Bilal (throw in some Hail Mary's for that one; i know i was wrong).  but i wonder...can i really tolerate Lil Wayne on a Badu cd?

at any rate...enjoy...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"I Wonder" Wednesdays: Snowmageddon

so, the east coast is buried in snow for the second time in less than a week.  Delaware is officially in a state of emergency, which means no one is ALLOWED on the roadways besides emergency vehicles.  Illinois had an earthquake this morning.  the fiance asked me if the world is coming to an end.  i replied, "yes."

i wonder...what might the end of the world actually look like?

*photos from my front door and deck

Monday, February 8, 2010

Garden View: Panther

so, as a part of Black History Month (i'm assuming), the FLIX channel recently aired the 1995 film Panther.  this is one of many black films from the 90s that i never saw when they originally premiered.  my mama was one of those who actually used the film rating system as guidance when deciding whether or not i could view something.  i appreciate her wisdom (now).

anyway, i'm really grateful to view such films as an adult who's able to critically absorb them (as opposed to a young teenager who might miss a lot of the historical and political context).

Panther is a depiction of the origins of The Black Panther Party.  if you haven't seen it (and actually, even if you have, 15 years ago), i suggest you check it out.


be.  fly.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Throwback: All I Dream About is Our First Kiss...

because i love classics (and my readers):

sistergarteners, there's a buzz that Groove Theory will be releasing new music this spring.  who's hype?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brother Story: Jadon Woodard

a young king who has no idea how much he inspires me, as a person and as an artist.  and his spirit is uber warm.

so because i'm doper than Sprite and basketball combined, i give you Jadon Woodard:

and since you like him as much as i do, check him out in the Knicks Poetry Slam and vote for him here (yes, that's an official endorsement by SisterGaren).

be.  fly.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Throwback: Living All Alone

i have such a special place in my heart for ms. Phyllis Hyman.  and the whistling?!?  she was a gem.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"I Wonder" Wednesdays: Remy Shand

eight years later...where is Remy Shand?


Saturday, January 23, 2010

"You're Still Pretty."

"you're still pretty."  actually, no.  i'm still tryna figure out whether or not that's a compliment.

annnnnyway, i'm really loving my new 'do.  it's been a week since my big chop, and i have to say (a bit surprisingly even) it's been all positive.  and i actually didn't know how sensitive i was to others' opinions until i was so moved by the overwhelmingly positive responses of friends, arts fam, and strangers alike.

"positive" includes the weird responses of people i'm assuming mean well, like "oh, but you could put a pig on your head and still look good."  why, exactly, would i put a pig on my head?

now i'm just trying to decide whether i'm keeping it low or growing it out.  initially i was going to wear it low for a few months and then let it grow.  but i'm kinda liking the feeling of just letting my hair be itself, un-tampered with.  this, of course, without having yet experienced the inevitable awkward phase.  meh.  we'll see.

be.  fly.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

License to Cover: Good and Bad Remakes

let's get right to it.

for a few weeks now, i've been downright irate about Boyz II Men's cover of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me."  i refuse to listen to it ever again.  i'm partial to originals.  and while i do make exceptions here and there, i only do so for the very best.  [i'm a self-proclaimed music snob.  and i like me.]  and i tend to have one rule when it comes to a good remake: KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Raitt's classic about unrequited love is beautifully haunting, raw, and bare.  as you can imagine, Boyz II Men took that thing and cluttered it with runs and riffs galore.  a mess.  i like them as a group, but this cover is tragic.

Joe, on the other hand, recently released an impeccable cover of "Cant Get Over You," originally recorded by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.  the cover is part of Silky Soul Music: All-Star Tribute to Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly.  i've yet to hear the album, but if Joe's offering is any indication of the album's potential...i'm interested.  Joe did the damn thing.  he took a classic and freshened it up a bit.  he made it his own, but not so much so that it's unfamiliar.  he found the balance.  Boyz II men (and countless other artists who cover classics and even obscure gems) should take note.

both vids are below for your own judgment.  holla at youtube for the originals of both (i'm following my own rule and keeping it simple here).

what say you?  and what are some other good and bad remakes?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wine. India Arie. Scissors.

...i'm havin' a private party.  ain't nobody here but me, my angels, and my guitar, singing "baby, look how far we've come, yeah."  i'm havin' a private party.  learnin' how to love me.  celebratin' the woman i've become... -India Arie "Private Party"

wine.  India Arie.  scissors.

i cut my locs.  i've been thinking about it for a while now, and for some reason, i finally decided on today.  so i set an appointment with a barber for tomorrow morning.  then i got to work.

i made sure to fit in a couple of stereotypes along the way...i had starting singing "Private Party" to myself on the way home, so i knew i had to listen before the cut.  lit some incense.  poured myself some wine.  found a Law & Order marathon.  said a prayer.  and commenced to cutting what remained of almost 8 years of growth (i had about 6 inches trimmed over a year ago).

i feel good.  aside from a few folks via cell phone shots, no one's seen me yet.  i'll be able to process more about how i feel once i take this new head out for a spin (and actually get a professional cut).  to add to the collection of stereotypes...i definitely feel a sense of peace and renewal.  and the weight of a lot of energy has definitely been released.








...celebratin' the woman i've become...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Memorial Flowers: Teddy Pendergrass

Teddy was great.  this clip is of him with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, but it's one of my favorites and a message that's still relevant.

rest peacefully, Mr. Pendergrass.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Global Garden: Haiti

i don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said.  in fact, i don't think i've yet wrapped my brain around the ramifications of the earthquake.  all i have is prayers and sincere hope that funds and assistance are swiftly and openly provided.

viva Haiti.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Flowers for the Garden: Corneille


Corneille's The Birth of Cornelius is my new ish.  get up on it.  the video for his single "Back to Life" reeled me in, and i think i'm officially a fan.  he also happens to have quite a story, which i had read somewhere before, but it gut-checked me nevertheless as told in "Foolish Heart," the 5th track on the LP.  i wasn't ready.

so what does he sound like?  why, like this, of course:

be.  fly.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Flowers: Don't Touch Me Tomatoes

one of my favorite clips.  cedella marley recalls her son bob's first performance:

be.  fly.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday Throwback: Do What You Do

does anybody else remember this?  does anybody else know what to say right now?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"I Wonder" Wednesday: And You Say He's Just a Friend

is there really such a thing as platonic friendship?  age old question.  what's your answer?

sidebar: dude's cowboy boots are creepy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flowers for the Garden: Corinne's Return

not only am i extra happy about Corinne Bailey Rae's return to music after the death of her husband.  i'm also so moved that her first single, "I'd Do it All Again" and its accompanying video are pure magic.

2010 is gonna be a great year for my ears and my soul.

be.  fly.

Letters from the Garden: Kanye

dear kanye,
you recently posted this on your blog.

part of me wants to nitpick the whole poetry thing.  maybe that's the poet in me.  maybe it's the ego in me.  at any rate, i can't argue with the sentiment.



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