Saint Louis Greek Fest 2015

There are a lot of events going on this weekend in Saint Louis, you have the African Arts Festival out in Forest Park that I visited yesterday, Comic Con is downtown, The Greek Fest going on out in Des Peres, and don't forget The Gypsy Caravan tomorrow in Saint Charles.

I wasn't even aware of the Greek Fest until a friend told me about it yesterday. So this evening I decided to check it out. I decided to bring my camera again and hope to take some great pictures, but what happens within 5 minutes of being at my destination? Rain, good ole rain starts pouring down. I park my car in one of the designated parking lots and wait for a shuttle to come through to pick me up and take me to the church where the event is being held.

Upon disembarking the shuttle van, I make my way to a tent where they have jewelry and paintings. This was the only tent where they were selling goods. I eventually ended up buying a belly dancing belt and an All-Seeing Eye bracelet.

Belly dancing belts

The All-Seeing Eye -- a single human eye surrounded by radiating beams of light -- is found in many eras and cultures. It is generally a symbol of the watchful and protective power of the Supreme Being, especially when that entity is considered in a solar or heavenly context.

After leaving this tent, I went to check out the dancers and music that was in another tent. Everyone was having a great time and the atmosphere was just charged with singing and dancing.

I don't know why the video is sideways but I don't see a way to rotate the video via Youtube so either tilt your head or your screen.

After enjoying a few minutes of the entertainment I made my way to stand in line to check out the food. I will tell you I was NOT disappointed!! I was in line waiting to get inside of the church where the food was being sold. I first saw a room that held nothing but the desserts. I made a note to come back through to make a purchase.

Eventually after a 15 minute wait I was in the cafeteria of the church and saw the main food options.

So I decided on the Half Chicken and Gyro, but I ate the Gyro in the cafeteria with plans on taking the Half Chicken home for my parents to try out. Let me just say the gyro was FANTASTIC! It was seasoned to perfection I just wished there had been some feta cheese as an option to add. They had other toppings but I wasn't interested in them.

My plain gyro, bu it was damn good

Half-baked chicken

After I enjoyed my Gyro I went back in line and decided to also buy a Lamb Shank and a Greek Salad for the parental units as well.

Greek Salad

Lamb Shank

I made sure to make my way back by the desserts and picked up a few items. I noticed that walnuts were the central ingredient in majority of the desserts on display.

Baklava- It is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.

Loukoumades - pastries made of deep fried dough soaked in sugar syrup or honey with cinnamon and sometimes sprinkled with sesame.

Theples - The dough is rolled into long, thin strips, fried and folded in hot oil and then dipped in syrup. Traditionally, warm honey is used in place of syrup, and then they are sprinkled with chopped nuts and cinnamon.

Overall I had a great time. My mom tried some of the food and she thought they were both great dishes. She really enjoyed the Lamb Shank and the buttered rice that came along with it. If you haven't been to the Greekfest I highly recommend checking them out tomorrow.

More pics that I took via my smartphone.

Saint Louis Greekfest 2015

Saint Louis African Arts Festival 2015 - May 23rd

Yesterday I had a wonderful time spending the morning with two of my best friends enjoying breakfast at an amazing place called The Pancake House off of Ladue road. The breakfast there is AMAZING, I highly recommend if you have never been there before. Afterwards we went to the STL Galleria and walked around. I really enjoyed myself and look forward to hanging out with more girls more in the future.

Later on that day around 2:30pm I went down to Forest Park to enjoy the first day of the Saint Louis African Arts Festival. It only took around a hour to find parking but hey, when there is a will there is a way. As I made my way to the World's Pavilion where it was being held I could hear the drums beating and was evening dancing a little as I made my way up a hill of grass. I went through the pavilion and checked out the wares before making my way to the main stage where I heard the drums.

An elder was being honored by drummers who had connections with Katherine Dunham the great dancer and choregrapher who has ties to Saint Louis. The drumming was so amazing you couldn't help but be moved and dancing where you stood. After the performance and dedication I went back through the pavilion to really check out all the vendors and their products. There were some vendors I knew and spoke with. Last year's festival I found amazing jewelry. This year's festival my mission was to find some african cloths to up my headwrap game with. Eventually I found seven beautiful cloths to add to my collection. I found out from one vendor that I bought cloth from that the ideal length for a standard wrap is around 2 yards of fabric. He was selling the $5 a yard, which is a great price compared to some stores.

four of my head wrap cloths

After making my purchases I took them to my car and went back so I could focus on taking pictures. While going through again and taking pictures I could hear another performance going on. When I went back to the stage I could see a wonderful dancing performance going on with some young ladies and when I say they could dance I'm telling you they could DANCE! I was so enthralled with their performance that I forgot to take pictures! Ugh, I'm learning though. Overall I had a wonderful time and might even go back there the other two days. The weather was simply perfect. No rain like last year, the breeze was cool and delightful. Oh and the Afros, dreads, hi-tops and low-fades were in full effect. My people are so beautiful :)

Link to my pictures below since Flickr whats to be a bunch of asses and disable the embed option.

Malcolm X Lecture by Alice Windom 2015

They say a picture can be worth a thousand words. If you knew the history behind this particular picture of my Aunt Alice and Malcolm X then I would say that is definitely an understatement. Whenever I look at this picture I always wish that darn shadow was not there blocking her features. Everyone else can be clearly seen except for her.

Maya Angelou, Frank Roberson, Alice Windom, Malcolm X, Julian Mayfield, Sylvia Boone 1964

Yesterday evening I was privileged to hear her speak on Malcolm X and her connections with him during a lecture at the Progressive Emporium and Education Center in Saint Louis, MO. Back in 1964 she along with Maya Angelou were his guides while he was in Ghana. Now ever since I was a teenager I had heard about her meeting Malcolm X but I never knew the full depth of that connection. Not until yesterday.

My Aunt Alice was also a photographer. She has taken some amazing pictures in her life of her travels but the ones of Malcolm X I would say are probably her most famous. I'm sure people have seen the pictures but have not had a clue of whom the photographer was behind those shots.

My Aunt Alice informed me that when she took this picture she and Maya Angelou were informing him to be careful upon his return to the states. They felt his life was in danger from the FBI.

Picture of Malcolm X and Maya Angelou, taken by Alice Windom

Malcolm in Accra, Ghana, May 1964, holding the Koran given to him by Alhaji Isa Wali, Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana (right). Photo by Alice Windom.

Malcolm X with Mrs. Shirley Graham Du Bois, the wife of famous historian W.E. B. Du Bois

In her lecture she even spoke about the book written about Malcolm's life called The Autobiography of Malcolm X which was written by Alex Hayes and released after Malcolm's death in 1965. She told us that it took her a long time to bring herself to read the book because she was just so traumatized by his death. When she did read the book eventually in the 1970's she realized that there was a chapter in the book that had been plagiarized with HER writings in a certain chapter. Apparently Alex Hayes had received a copy of a letter that my aunt wrote in regards to Malcolm's trip to Africa. He changed a few words around but when you compare the chapter in the book and a copy of the letter that she wrote she realized that her writings from the letter had been used WITHOUT her permission and more importantly she was never compensated AT ALL. I'm not even sure if she was even credited in the book. The book is considered one of the greatest ever written in the 20th century and a huge influence within movement for African Americans to obtain equal rights during the 60's. It has been translated in over 40 languages and has sold over 6 million copies. As she was talking about this all I could think about was the royalties that she should have received. 

My respect for Mr. Alex Hayes has also dropped a few notches since learning this. I think he is a brilliant author but to use someone else's work and not give them proper credit,  regardless how great of an author you are, you are a thief if you don't give proper credit to a source in a book and compensate them fairly.

Alex Hayes and Malcolm X

Another story relayed to us was of Malcolm seeing Muhammad Ali in front of a hotel. She said there was no one else around and Malcolm said hello to him but Muhammad Ali ignored him as though he wasn't there. This was after Malcolm had been kicked out of the Nation of Islam. The Leader of the Nation of Islam, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad had forbidden his followers to have any contact with Malcolm. 

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X

 My aunt told us that Malcolm was hurt deeply by Ali not acknowledging him, but he understood. She said that in the movie ALI in which Will Smith played the main role, that particular incident in the movie is a complete fabrication. In the movie it shows Muhammad Ali admonishing Malcolm. She states that was just Hollywood's way of embellishing a situation.

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

 Eventually my Aunt Alice wrapped up her talk and answered questions from the audience. My biggest regret was that I didn't have enough time to go home and grab my camera because I wanted to record the lecture. Thankfully my cousin Nola recorded the lecture on her tablet and I have uploaded it to my Youtube account to add to this blog post. The picture quality is not steady but that's ok. My main concern was the speech. It's about 1 hour and 30 minutes long. It took a few hours to upload but well worth listening to. 

Overall I had a wonderful time. My Aunt is a wonderful storyteller and I'm so glad I was able to hear her story.

Summer is almost here!

Well it's mid May and the 2014-15 school year is slowly coming to a halt. The last day for students is May 27th, and the teaching staff the 29th. I'll still be on through June because of summer school but the whole month of July will be MINE!!

On a happier note I can say I completed and passed with a B my Managerial Accounting class aka The Devil's math. Yet I would not have been successful if it was not for the help of an awesome friend who tutored me throughout the whole semester. Melissa I can't thank you enough!!! I also found out that I received enough credits to and pulled my gpa back up to transfer back to a 4 year college. I don't know I feel the progress slow as it feels but it still is somewhat scary.

This summer I am hoping to take a film photography class and in the fall I plan on taking a digital photography class. I really want to learn about photography but I also have an interest in mass media in general as well. How do people make documentaries?  Which is why I also decided do a trial run on Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. I also want to learn about Graphic Design.

There are so many things I want to do. I just recently had my blog revamped to make it more eye appealing. Lord knows it was an eye sore since I've had it. This is the first major change I've done to it since I began my blog almost ten years ago. Since I enjoy pictures I wanted to make sure my blog had more of a visual appeal yet still kept it refined. I love the new layout:)

Next changes I want is to revamp my business website, I have ideas just struggling to in regards to how to bring them into fruition. My photography is part of that vision in regards to updating my website with better pictures. Also I have two other sites I want to start working on as well. Both also connected to photography. I've been reading various books and even am apart of a photography club here in Saint Louis, I just recently became involved with.

My weight, I can't even harp enough on that. I need to get myself together. I'm at a point I'm slowly not recognizing myself anymore. I so need to find a MMA gym or maybe even a cross-fit gym. I've been asking about cross-fit gyms for a while and a coworker informed me of the one she goes to and apparently there are some around my job. Yet I'm not sure given my present lack of fitness if this would be a safe route to try.

My hair, ugh well I'll save that for my anniversary post that when I celebrate being natural 3 years, that will be coming up in about one week. The trials and tribulations......I tell ya. know what?? All the time, I wish I could hit the lottery then I could have all the time in the world so I could make my dreams come true. I guess until that happens (if it happens) I'll just keep trying to keep my eyes on the prize.

Saint Louis Vintage Market - Spring 2015

 This past weekend the Saint Louis Vintage Market was in town and I had the opportunity to enjoy myself along with two of my coworkers. I found some great items that I will use in my product photography of my whipped shea butters. I saw some pretty colorful mason jars and a vintage looking clipboard (which I forgot to take pictures of!!!!). Also throughout my wondering I found a BEAUTIFUL frame that I wish I could have used someplace, the price on it was a steal. I kept envisioning if I owned a business it would have been perfect to showcase my pricing and fragrance options on my items.

The beauty of Vintage Fairs is that you never know what you might find and I definitely did find some other unique items.

After we did our walk through we enjoyed lunch and then made our way to one more tent before we left and had someone take our picture. I'm already looking forward to the Gypsy Caravan on May 25th.

Until the next episode....

 All That MsJazz

R.I.P. Keisha Powell

Today I went to the funeral of one of my best friend's siblings. Keisha was an amazing person, but I'm not surprised. She comes from an extraordinary family who I'm blessed to consider an extension of my own family. One of her sisters, Kamina, is one of my best friends since I have known from Kindergarten. I consider Mr. and Mrs. Ballard additional parents to my own and her siblings as special family members as well. It's been a while since I had seen Keisha but when I had heard of her passing last week. All I could think about was how her family was coping. How her children were dealing with the sudden loss of their mother. How my best friend and her siblings were handling their oldest sister being taken from them. How her parents could deal with the loss of another child.  

When I heard the news of her death, I found out through Facebook. Social Media with all it's advantages, does have it disadvantages. Nothing can prepare you for such a shock. To make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me I immediately called my best friend and she confirmed the news. I couldn't believe it and was just in shock. Ever since then and up until the funeral I just kept thinking about one story regarding Keisha.

Back when Keisha was battling breast cancer, which was also around the same time my own mother was dealing with the same battle, I remember going to a haunted house in Soulard with Kamina, Keisha, and some other people. We were waiting in line to go through the "haunted" warehouse and we were just having a ball cracking up and joking with some other people in line. We were talking about how warm it was and why they didn't have any fans or something circulating the air. Around this time Keisha was dealing with chemo and one of the side effects was hair loss. Now I'm not sure if Keisha had on a wig or a scarf at the time, but all of a sudden without any warning, she whips off whatever she had on her head and the reactions around us were in different levels of array. They went from shock to straight up hysterical laughter. I was definitely in the range of laughter. She looked around at everyone and was just acting as calm as can be and just said, "What?, it's hot up in here and I'm trying to cool down." 

THAT was the Keisha I remember who could make you laugh regardless if she was going through something. At the funeral today I wanted to tell that story but I was just so sad and I couldn't bring myself to talk. She had accomplished so much in her life and none of the trials she went through in her life were easy, but she had a strong foundation of a family that she knew she could lean on if needed. Watching the church fill up with the people who loved her just showed me a glimpse of how special of a woman she was. 

A daughter who loved her parents. A mother who cherished her kids. A sister who adored her siblings. A friend and coworker who definitely left an impression on countless people. A phenomenal woman is what she was and how she will be remembered.

R.I.P. Keisha

*Update* - There were some links I forgot to share with my original post.

A story that the Saint Louis Post Dispatch did on Keisha back in 2004 --> Click Here

A Go Fund Me account was also set up to help support her children's education --> Click Here

Until the next episode....

 All That MsJazz