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10 things I love about him

1. He's smart, funny, one of the kindest people I know
2. He's really affectionate. He tells me how beautiful he thinks I am
3. He really respects me
4. He's really hot
5. We share similar views on building community, anti-racism, decolonization
6. We enjoy a lot of the same tv shows
7. He makes me food and is a good cook
8. He is emotionally sensitive (can be a flaw, but whatever)
9. He understands my blackness, and understands my spirituality which is an important part of my black identity.
10. He's a really good singer and musician

I think he knows how I feel. I'm really nervous but I can't wait to say that 4 letter word to him someday.

As I See You

I wish you could see yourself through my eyes
I wish you always remember how I cherish you
Despite your flaws

Nerdy looking, tall & handsome, Italian you
Compassionate, Affectionate, Forgiving
Disorganized, Insecure, Mopey 
Talented, Creative, Melodic

You who sees my flaws without judging
You who gives without expecting
You who makes me feel loved with one touch
You who laughs at your own jokes

So unorganized, I'll just do it tomorrow
So compassionate, I want to show I care
So forgetful, tell me what happened again
So affectionate, you make me feel so good

You're not perfect, don't beat yourself up
Me and you, I think there's a lot we can do
This is cheesy, but life is a journey
I want to take that journey with you

Thinking of bell hooks and sharing the burden of relationships

In the chapter titled Honesty: Be True To Love, bell hooks quotes John Welwood:

"When we reveal ourselves to our partner and find that this brings healing rather than harm, we make an important discovery - that intimate relationship can provide a sanctuary from the world of facades, a sacred space where we can be ourselves, as we are ...This kind of unmasking  - speaking our truth, sharing our inner struggles, and revealing our raw edges  - is sacred activity, which allows two souls to meet and touch more deeply."

bell hooks, all about love, love, relationships,
I did that last night. I shared my deepest darkest secrets about my insecurities in relationships and how I feel like I'll never find happiness. His reaction was caring and understanding. That's one of the things I like about this man. He is so compassionate and non-judgmental. On the other hand, I can be very critical of him, but he says he likes it..sometimes.

He also shared things that he's insecure about and we agreed to work on our insecurities together.

He's not perfect, I'm not perfect, but I look forward to exploring our flaws and working on them together.

I am falling in love with him...

Trying to get back to blogging and being more personal on the blog

No excuses, but life is stressful!! But I miss blogging, sharing my thoughts and venting in the safety of the internet. What has happened since I stopped blogging:
-I'm in the last few weeks of my final semester in university
-I am applying for full-time career jobs
-Applying for Canadian citizenship
-Getting braces that cost approx $10,000. Where on earth is this money coming from?
-Being in a relationship

Applying for jobs is so nerve-racking, especially since I know what I want to do with my life and the industry I want to go into. I'm hoping for the best.

Everything else on the list is pretty self explanatory, except the braces part. My teeth have always been my biggest insecurity and once I get that full-time job, I'm planning on starting the braces process. The entire process will take about two years, but I think the time and money will be worth it. On the topic of insecurities, I am the most insecure person in relationships. I constantly think of breaking up, of stuff going wrong, of me being too critical and breaking it off, of him being too irrational and calling it off, of him cheating on me. It needs to end.

I'm not insecure in the sense of "I'm not good enough for him". My securities lie in not believing in a forever kind of love, in the happiness of relationships. Although I have friends who are in happy long term relationships, I choose to dwell on relationships gone wrong. Like my parent's divorce and how that tore me apart.

I'm working on this...

Aamer Rahman on Reverse Racism

It's just so good!!

Oh Pearlle, how I miss thee

I shall return . . .

In December, and after I graduate in April.

Reminiscing Mondays: The ridiculous search for a hard bristle brush

It's been ages since I blogged, and obviously since then, a lot has happened.

For one, I decided to go natural. I decided to do this almost a month ago, and I'm not looking back. I'm not gonna big chop anytime soon, and plan to transition for a while. While I transition, I'll be wearing my hair in protective styles like box braids, corn rows, extensions, etc. On Friday night, I decided to give the cornrows a rest and wear my natural hair in a bun. I did "research" on Youtube and decided that for an effective bun, I need hair gel and a good hard bristle (also known as boar) brush. Ummm..where on earth will I find this in Victoria, BC?
Natural hair inspiration
I called Shoppers Drug Mart, and the lady who answered the phone didn't sound like she had any idea what I was talking about. I called Sally's Beauty Supply, and the rep said that the "ethnic hair section" was quite sparse but they do have boar brushes. Thing is, the only Sally's near Victoria, BC is 57 minutes away by bus. I decided that I gotta do what I gotta do.

The next morning, before embarking on my gel and brush journey, I decided to stop by Walmart. I got in there and couldn't even find the "ethnic hair section". That aisle was so sparse, it did not even have a mini-label. I walked by it a few times before finding it. I went with Ampro Pro Style Clear Ice Gel (roughly $3) and a Goody hard bristle brush which cost $15. I'm pretty impressed with both products and I'll do a review of the gel in a little bit.

Hats off to my natural sisters in Victoria, BC. The struggle is real

Thoughts: On Tonto's skin bleaching and self-hate

Now that Big Brother Africa is over, the spotlight has moved from Beverly Osu back to Tonto Dikeh. Here's the video where she admits to skin bleaching:

First off, I really appreciate her honesty but I find it hilarious when she says that skin bleaching can be done right because she sounds like a scientist. Apparently, there are some bleaching creams out there that don't have hydroquinone, who knows? I highly doubt it that she does not use hydroquinone because her skin is just so much lighter. I also find it problematic because I feel that many people out there will get the message that bleaching is okay, because it can be done "right".

Self-hate is usually believed to be the cause of the bleaching phenomenon. Tonto obviously thinks that being light-skinned is so much more preferable than dark-skin, and she alludes to this by proudly saying "Don't get me wrong, I've always been light skinned". I disagree with the self-hate thesis, and I DO NOT think that people bleach their skin because of low self-esteem either.

Charles (2003) defines low self-esteem as "a persons overall positive or negative attitude toward him or herself". A skin bleacher is obviously concerned with their body image, particularly their skin. We all know the politics of black skin, especially as it relates to the black female body. If you had a positive attitude toward your dark (or darker skin), why would you feel the need to make it lighter?

Charles study indicates that 9 respondents surveyed for the level of self esteem scored a median of 23/30. 7/9 respondents had self esteem scores over 20. Charles explains that the survey was carried out on adolescents who may be bleaching due to environmental influences rather than low self-esteem. Four of the respondents said they bleached because it prevented pimples. He writes that this is a very small sample of the Jamaican population, and there certainly are some skin bleachers who suffer from self-hate, however, this is not the entire story. He brings up an interesting point, that thousands of white tourists who flood tanning salons are not deemed to be suffering from self-hate. Double standards, anyone?

Decolonizing our minds
We need to decolonize our minds and re-teach ourselves that our standards of beauty should not be defined by European ideals. Black is beautiful! We say it so much but do we actually believe it and practice it?

Tuesday Tips: Organize pdf files with Mendeley

If you work with a lot of PDFdocuments and love keeping them organized, Mendeley is for you! I write numerous papers all semester, and it can be frustrating having to go through files of documents in my computer. Or trying to input a citation but you can't figure out what document the paragraph is from. Mendeley literally saves my academic life!

Reminiscing Mondays: How I stopped my breakouts with aloe vera and Dickinson's witch hazel

I write about acne so much on this blog, but with good reason. My skin has had its highs and lows, but during the lows, aloe vera always saves the day.

Why is aloe vera so great for skin, you may ask. Aloe Vera contains a combination of minerals and vitamins including vitamins A, C, E and B-12. It also has essential proteins and fatty acids, calcium, zinc, magnesium and germanium.
Here's how I used this awesome plant on my skin:
1. After washing my face at night, I apply Dickinson's witch hazel. This toner is everything! I heard about it for years but didn't think I would be able to find it in Canada. I found it in the pharmacy aisle at Walmart.

2. After the witch hazel dries, I would cut a bit off the plant, slice it open, apply the gel and leave it on my face overnight.
That's it. My skin cleared up pretty fast and I haven't had breakouts since although I stopped using aloe vera.

Pearlle Kpop chat: Kpop MV fashion spotlight featuring f(x) and Brown Eyed Girls

1. f(x) - Rum Pum Pum
Colorful, playful, flirty, cropped tops, I could go on and on about how much I loved the fashion in this video! I'll let the clothes speak for themselves.

Fx, Rumpumpum

Fx, Rumpumpum

Fx, Rumpumpum

Amber, fx, rumpumpum
Amber is so pretty

2. Brown Eyed Girls - Kill Bill
Wearing leather right!!

Brown Eyed Girls, Kill Bill

Brown Eyed Girls, Kill Bill

Brand equity and commodification in Korean popular culture

Here's my final reading reflection for my social movements class. In case you missed the others, check them out below:
1. Reading reflection 1 on the Trayvon Martin movement
2. Paper proposal on apathy in the Niger Delta
3. Reading reflection 2 on the Divest fossil fuels campaign
4. Apathy and social movements final paper

My reading reflection focuses on Korean popular culture, known as Kpop. For the purposes of this entry, I use the term Kpop in reference to Kpop music not Korean popular culture as a whole. My entry centers on brand equity and transcendence in the kpop industry.  Korean entertainment agencies are known for their over-the-top promotion and marketing techniques. I focus how Korean entertainment agencies manufacture idols in order to create brand equity.    

When many people think of Kpop, “Gangnam Style” the song by Psy, that is now the most viewed Youtube video, comes to mind. However, most Kpop videos are very different from Psy’s and the Kpop industry is not as bright and flashy as the videos suggest. The top 3 entertainment companies in South Korea are SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. To get signed with one of these companies (or others in Korea), one has to go through a multi-stage audition process. Auditions take place in many countries worldwide, an if a person successfully auditions and is recruited, they become trainees. A trainee undergoes the training process for an average of five years before launching as part of a group. Although the training process differs slightly between companies, trainees usually live in dorms and go through tedious singing, dancing, and language classes, while earning minimal income, and facing the fear of being dropped at any minute if their skill is not progressing. The rigorous schedule continues even when a trainee become music star, usually referred to as an idol. In a given week, an idol may be recording an album, filming a drama, shooting an ad, doing interviews and making variety show appearances. Former Kpop stars like Han Geng has talked about being subjected to physical abuse and being forced to perform on stage just after having surgery.

Without a doubt, brand equity is important in Kpop. Entertainment agencies do not want the audience to be aware of the ugly side of the industry. Idols are “manufactured” to look perfect when they debut in the music industry. It is quite common to see leaked pre-debut and post-debut pictures of idols. Bantjes writes about the marketing and promotion that builds brand equity (244). Before a Kpop video or album is made available, teaser pictures and videos are released daily of individual group members. Super Junior, one of the most popular guy groups has thirteen members, and a teaser picture, and sometimes video of each member is released daily usually spanning thirteen days. Each member gets a different photo-shoot theme (clothes, hair, and makeup) to build excitement for the upcoming music release. Bantjes explains that brand equity “persuades consumer to buy into the unique magic of brand identity”. This is largely the case in the world of Kpop. TVXQ, the most popular Asian male group was in the Guinness Book of World Records for being a music group with the most numbers of fans. A whopping 800, 000 registered fan club members

Kpop is a worldwide phenomenon. From my friends in Canada watching Korean variety show to a Korean dance competition organized for high school students by the Korean embassy in Nigeria. Several Kpop idols are of Korean descent, but born and/or raised in the United States or Canada, and chose to audition for various entertainment agencies and move to Korea. There are several idols who are not of Korean heritage as but now live and work in Korea. Bantjes brings up the idea of brand transcendence when “brand meanings become instantiated in everyday p ractices that determine intimate qualities of human interaction, aspiration, and identity” (245). He uses examples such as the hipness of Starbucks and the idea of creating dreams used by Nike (“just do it”). In Kpop, the attraction is millions of screaming fans around the world who care about an idol’s life, not just their music. To a potential trainee, it usually does not matter what hardships trainees go through, it is all worth it to become a huge Kpop icon. Bantjes writes that “the sneaker merely becomes a medium for the sale of the brand idea”. SM Entertainment, for example, is the medium through which fame and stardom can be achieved. Kpop is one of the few genres in the world where fans do not just listen to the music, but actively follow the lives of idols. A majority of Kpop groups have at least five members, and most fans know the names of all 5 members. It is quite absurd.

Bantjes also writes about the commodification of human qualities such as when human capacities that ordinary people can realize on their own are now commodified (246). The top 3 entertainment agencies are listed on the Korean Stock Exchange, and there is a direct link between increased entertainment activities and stock market prices. Fans also see themselves as “partners with corporate sponsors” (246), as exemplified by fanwars in Kpop. Fan wars are very rampant in Kpop, and so are sasaeng fans. Online fan wars are usually started by fans of various groups, who feel like it’s is necessary to defend the group as well as the company behind the group at all costs, despite allegations of unfair treatment of idols. Sasaeng fans are obsessive fans who stalk their idols and invade their privacy. The commodification of Girls Generation, for example, builds brand equity for SM Entertainment.