Zoe Saldaña has been one of my favorite actresses/public figures for some time now, portraying strong characters on-screen, and embodying that spirit off-screen. There have been clips circling the internet of Zoe lately in an interview in which she passionately expresses how much she enjoys being herself, and learning from her own mistakes. With the help of Google and YouTube, I’ve found the full interview, which is part of a series entitled, The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet, a program highlighting the female perspective.
Press play to hear Zoe’s unique, expletive-filled story. I hope it can bring some positivity into your day!
With the growing popularity of our Monday “MANday” feature, we felt it was the right time to launch “WOMANday”; a Wednesday feature on women in both the creative and business sectors that we admire. It is kind of a long time coming, as I am all for women empowerment, but I have learned not to rush things, and introduce things to the public in just the right time.
As the daughter of an incredibly strong mother, and surrounded by equally strong women in my family, and in my peer circles, I choose to celebrate the women who work hard, and follow their dreams. On this morning of the unfortunate passing of one of my favorite authors, Dr. Maya Angelou, I wanted to leave you all with a favorite poem of hers entitled, “Impeccable Conception“:
I met a Lady Poet
who took for inspiration
colored birds, and whispered words,
a lover’s hesitation.
A falling leaf could stir her.
A wilting, dying rose
would make her write, both day and night,
the most rewarding prose.
She’d find a hidden meaning
in every pair of pants,
then hurry home to be alone
and write about romance.
Rest in peace to one of the most phenomenal women writers of our time, Dr. Maya Angelou!
I started this blog, A Life in the Day of Andrea, on April 18, 2011, not knowing what would become of it. I knew I had a unique voice, but I was unaware of how it would connect with people. In celebrating year three, I have realized that my experience and reporting of the things I love, do connect with many people, not only in my neighborhood, but worldwide.
Not only has this blog connected me with readers, but it has afforded my opportunities in the realm of freelance writing and entertainment. In May of 2013, I took on a contributor position at Concrete Loop, the first blog I ever read, and it was mostly on the back of the writing I have done right here on this site. I thank Angel Laws for the opportunity to connect with a much wider audience, and interview some of my favorite musicians.
In addition to writing and interviewing, I have been afforded the opportunity to build my portfolio of photography in different realms. I continue to take 99% of all photos for my site, but in this time I have contributed to my work to Concrete Loop and XXL, along with being allowed backstage access at one of New York City’s largest events, Fashion Week.
2013 was full of so many wonderful opportunities, but one that closed out the year that was the icing on the cake was Aqua Art Miami. As one of the premier art fairs during Miami Art Week in December (that hosts the largest fair, Art Basel), I was a part of a team called Audiophile Plus, that programmed all the music and live entertainment for the fair. Along with these duties, I served as event host to our live entertainment in the evening, and interviewed all the musicians for our channels as well as that of our media partner, VIBE.
There are countless happenings in the past year that have helped me grow as a person, and as a woman in business, and I am eternally grateful for them all. I look forward to the year ahead! I will leave you with an exclusive video that our team produced whilst in Miami, with our friend, MeLo-X.
…I would be lying to the world if I said that “I’m fine” right now. On this here blog, I cover a wide range of topics, but if you are a long-time reader, you would have noticed a slowdown in posts from November to early January. This is not because of laziness or complete lack of interest, it is because life happened in many ways during this time, and I am brave enough now to share.
The theme of loss has been rampant in my life during this time. In November I lost my paternal grandfather’s wife, a kind woman who accepted me as one of her own grandchildren, and my father lost one of his first cousins from a freak accident. The month went on, and on one of the happiest days of my life, the night of the Yeezus concert at Barclay’s Center, I received news the next day that my uncle had passed while I was at the concert of cirrhosis of the liver. He was 45 years old.
December came along, and I lost my job. I didn’t have anything set up on the side, so I can say that I’m still trying to make it. My heart was heavy pretty much the entire holiday season, and Christmas was particularly hard as within days of the holiday, I had lost a great friend from high school along with her two sisters due to injuries sustained from their house catching fire.
I’ve battled depression (which I am still going through) and have beaten myself up about all the occurrences of loss. “Why me?” , I asked daily, looking for answers to my problems in all the wrong places. It is so easy to become consumed by sadness, and I have let myself be at times, but I know I am stronger than that. I truly don’t know where I would be right now without the support of my family and close friends. They are empathetic, but are not enablers; they won’t allow me to wallow in my sorrows because they know I am better than that, and capable of greatness.
I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, but if I can be a testament to anything, I want it to be that of rising above life challenges, no matter how heart-breaking they may be. I see great things ahead for the year of 2014. Walk with me…
Call me strange, but I like to nickname my electronics. My MacBook Pro is Matthew Parker, my iPhone 5 is Boo Boo, and my Nikon D60 is named Alexander. I acquired Alexander last year around this time from my uncle Stephen, AKA Big Steve. Big Steve (who also happens to be my godfather) has been an avid recreational photographer my entire life, documenting my family over the years with only the best equipment that Nikon has/had to offer. He would make every family dinner, birthday, and holiday an event, shooting with multiple lenses and capturing moments, both candid and posed. It was he who inspired my love of photography, gifting me a point-and-shoot Nikon for my high school graduation. From that moment forward, the rest is history.
My uncle has been away for some time now, so I was a bit nervous to ask if I could use his camera. What would he think? Would he see me as being an opportunist in his absence? Would he think I would misuse his equipment? These thoughts ran rampant in my head, but thankfully, he kindly obliged to my wishes.
I love springtime in New York City. It is the time before our hottest, most socially enthralling months of summer where we plan, observe, and take in the crisp, fresh air. We watch trees and flowers slowly blossom, and heavier layers of clothing lifted in the lukewarm breeze. It is a time that is incredibly inspiring, creative, and hopeful.
Smiles appear across faces with a glare of sunlight. New lovers play-fight while taking a stroll in the park. Cherry blossoms are abundant and nestled among private residences and public spaces alike. Springtime in New York City represents growth and the transformation of scenery from one that is bleak and barren in to one that is colorful and bustling.
Springtime in New York City is a time of collaboration. Those we may have missed in the winter months are out of hibernation and willing to mingle and create something larger than themselves. Dreams are limitless, but certainly attainable as ideas flow like water. Eyes are open. Ears are open. Minds are open. Hearts are open.
What are some of your favorite springtime moments?
Spanning from 14th Street to 30th Street between the avenues of 8th and 11th in Manhattan lies a neighborhood called Chelsea. Popular for its cobblestone streets and nightlife, Chelsea is a cultural destination as it houses a plethora of art galleries. I decided to take a trip to Chelsea over the weekend with my friend Indira to check out one of the many galleries in the area.
We took a trip to the Gagosian Gallery, on West 24th Street between 10th and 11th avenues. The Gagosian currently has over fifty works on view by the prolific Jean-Michel Basquiat until April 6th, which I HAD to see as I missed his Brooklyn Museum exhibit a few years back. The space was filled with massive mixed media pieces spanning his short but monumental career.
As I was hounded by security guards for snapping photos sans flash, we made our way through the exhibit with less visual momentos than I would have liked, but left with a better understanding of Basquiat as an artist and genius of his generation.
I had to stop for an outfit shot as we left the gallery to remember the moment. I wore my Notorious B.I.G. tee as it Saturday the 9th was the anniversary of his death, and it was the Brooklyn thing to do. What I’m wearing:
Banana Republic Denim shirt
Brooklyn Mint “Notorius” tee
Romeo & Juliet Couture jeans
I found it just fitting that I stumbled upon this lovely piece of graffiti as we left the gallery.
…or should I say, “What I just finished reading”. Let’s start off like this. I am a huge fan of arts’ book publisher Phaidon as I connect with a slew of the titles they publish. I am drawn to their advice-style books for creatives, so when I saw this title by the revolutionary communicator George Lois, I knew I had to purchase it and read it immediately. I impulse buy books; call me a nerd or something like that.
“Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)”gives the reader a list of 120 bits of exactly that, damn good advice! Lois’s no-nonsense tone helps light a fire under your ass (for lack of better words) for the creative individual that needs some direction, as he gives concrete examples of his experiences and results throughout the book. I was drawn to this book as I feel I always need a dose of advice from someone who has realized their creative endeavors. Here is a snap of one of my favorite tips from the book:
Check out the video below of Lois’s thoughts on his book.
On April 18, 2011, with the encouragement of friends and family, I started this little blog called A Life in the Day of Andrea. Here is a screen shot of what my first post looked like:
I remember how long it took me to compile that short post because I wanted it to be perfect. I noted that I named my blog after one of my favorite Andre 3000 songs, “A Life in the Day of Benjamin Andre”, and in doing that, realized that the mp3 was not on Soundcloud, nor was there a legit video on YouTube I could embed, so in turn, I just posted the link. Sounds complex for such a simple post, huh? But my life was never simple, that’s why this is the “Life in the Day” and not “Day in the Life”.
Instead of using this post as a means to party, I want to take the time out to reflect on my first official year in the blogosphere. My intent in creating this has been simply to show what the title states, bits and pieces of my life. This is driven by music, fashion, art, culture, food, and everything associated with that. It is my point of view, which along with my interests, is deeply rooted in those that inspire me, whether it be family members, fellow creatives, or celebrities. My aim has always been to be myself, and I hope that rings true for you, the reader. I’ve passed up a good amount of possible features here and elsewhere because it did not work with what I am trying to achieve, or more simply put “because I didn’t like it”.
“Being myself” and slowly coming into my own has/is having its benefits. With that being said, I want to thank a few people who gave me opportunites simply for being myself.
The folks at Fashion Ledge for allowing me to cover Hot 97 Summer Jam 2011 as a newbie
There are countless others, and you are appreciated. In this time, I’ve gained readers outside of North America, notably the UK, Australia, and Philippines, and it continues to blow my mind. Yes, I know the internet is a global medium, but is a different thing when you have conversations with people in different parts of the world who have read something you wrote. It shows me how important our words are, especially when they come from a real place.
I want to thank each and every one of you who have ever read this blog or tweets, shared a link or suggested it to someone–I want to thank everyone who has shown their support to me and this venture. I’ve learned how hard it is to keep a site afloat as an army of one, but I’ve also learned that there are communities out there for people like me. Thank you to the wonderful folks at the Bloggers Collective for their support and collaboration. This is just the beginning!
And for a dance break, “Happy Birthday” by Stevie Wonder.
I’ve had my ups and downs these past 366 days, but I know this is one of the things I am supposed to do. Take a ride with me…
It’s for you boys…get excited. Mondays on A Life in the Day of Andrea will be MANday, the day to start off your work week with all posts (aside from events & re-caps) dedicated to men’s style. For those of you that have been reading for a little while, you would have noticed my mild obsession with menswear and men’s style. “Where does it come from?” you may ask. And I will answer you in photo form.
Rudolph Ignatius Lewis
Born 1928 in Belize, Central America
Tailor/Garment Cutter/Fashion Plate
My maternal grandfather
Derrick Hargreaves Castillo, Sr.
Born 1954 in Belize, Central America
Ex-Navy man/Artist/Philosophical Mind
Derrick Hargreaves Castillo, Jr.
Delbert Walter Castillo
Stephen David Castillo
My three older brothers
All of these men in my life have been, and continue to be a great style inspiration for me, from a man’s perspective. MANday is the day to celebrate this; style, brands I love, advice/how-to’s, and more. Let’s hear it for the boys! 🙂
On this day fifteen years ago, Christopher Wallace (A.K.A Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, Biggie) left this world before his time. He is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, and for good reason; the Notorious was a skilled storyteller, painting detailed visuals with his words. As with the majority of the music of my childhood, Biggie was forced upon me by my older brothers at the age of eight in 1994. We would listen to “Ready to Die” on repeat, watch his videos on Video Music Box and Rap City on BET, and keep our ears open for his interviews and freestyles on Hot 97. Upon first listen, my virgin ears believed he was quite vulgar, but the more I listened and watched, I noticed that he had a gift. Biggie is by far one of the most relatable rappers (aside from another one of my favorites, Jay-Z). His tales of the struggles he faced growing up in pre-gentrification Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, his positive words to youth, and the high life that he adopted from sharing these stories, was something we could all connect with. Hearing these stories via his music were the first visual and audible accounts for me of Brooklyn “making it”. Because of his music, my ambition, and the support of my family and friends, i choose to push forward, and never give up on my dreams.
I could make an extensive playlist of all my favorite tracks, but I choose not to. His lyricism was a true gift. Let me share some of my favorites via the themes he covered in his music, with you.
I know how it feels to wake up fucked up. Pockets broke as hell, another rock to sell. People look at ya like use to used, selling drugs to all the losers, mad buddha abuser– “Everyday Struggle”
Where are you from, and where do you currently reside?
Born and raised in Schenectady, New York, currently residing in the Bronx, NYC.
What do you do there?
I am a creative brand strategist and music supervisor for a boutique collective in Midtown Manhattan.
Describe what a normal day in the life is for you. (ie time you wake up, foods you eat, errands, meetings, etc)
My normal day begins between 6:30 and 8 AM, depending on the happenings of the night before, into the office for 9 AM until usually around 7 PM. During the week my evenings are spent having meetings, attending industry events, and seeing shows.
Where are you from, and where do you currently reside?
Originally from New York, currently living in Palm Beach, Florida.
What do you do there?
I’m a blogger (REPRESENT!). By day I work for a non-profit, managing social media with a dash of marketing, sponsorships, and PR.
Describe what a normal day in the life is for you. (ie time you wake up, foods you eat, errands, meetings, etc).
I wake up at 6:30 AM, try to convince myself to go exercise, decide to hit the snooze button instead, and head to work. When I come home I usually prepare my blog posts, respond to comments on my blog, or network until I pass out.