Your Infant Doesn’t Give a Sh!t About the NBA Finals… But Your Toddler Might (and some other cool history stuff)

VSoP! What’s up people?! It’s Doug again, the guy who used to be a parent of a stationary cute kid, but is now the parent of a mobile, independent cute kid. And it’s that GLORIOUS time of year again: The NBA Finals! Now I know that this year’s playoffs haven’t been as entertaining as year’s past, but who cares. It’s still the greatest sports series in the world and we’re all watching, so we will deal with it.

Anyway, you loyal VSOP readers might or might not remember from last year, that I had some problems during last year’s finals. My son was a mess, so naturally I wasn’t looking forward to this year’s finals as heavily as I did last year, but again, it’s still the finals and I shall be watching. This year the Finals started on Thursday, June 2nd. I happened to be down in the Big Easy on Thursday June 2nd. A friend was getting married and my wife and I decided to accept his invitation to watch his nuptials in person. With us? Our son, my parents, her brother and his girlfriend. JACKPOT! So many hands, so much help!

Well the wedding was on Friday, so Thursday we had all day to do everything and nothing. I would like for everyone reading to understand that all day Thursday felt like Christmas Eve. I knew goodness was happening at 8pm CST and I just had to get through the day to get to my NBA Finals presents. Luckily, on vacation, time goes by a bit (a lot) quicker than sitting at the work desk all day.

We started out the day at The Court of Two Sisters. Apparently this is a New Orleans staple. I highly suggest it. I ate way too much and enjoyed every forkful. And like every other place in the French Quarter, there was live music. Music and food and food and music; I kinda love New Orleans. Our next adventure was to drive about 50 minutes away to Evergreen Plantation in Edgard, Louisiana. Evergreen is a sugarcane plantation, and it is the most intact plantation complex in the south. It has 22 original slave cabins and 37 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Basically there were a bunch of slaves and racists on the plantation. It was where they filmed Django Unchained, Roots, and scenes from King Bey’s Lemonade. We walked through the (small) big house (seriously, it was 3 rooms wide and one room back), we saw the kitchen (hot at HELL), we learned about the whistle walk (those racist fuqs who owned slaves made them whistle while they walked the food from the kitchen to the big house to make sure they didn’t eat bit of it), we learned a bit about the Creole culture, we learned about the story of the plantation. I think the tour guide meant well, but he wasn’t exactly forthcoming with just how difficult the slaves had it. Still a great and chilling experience. After the plantation tour, we took a left out of the gates (which for me sent a chill up my spine thinking about the fact that my ancestors couldn’t do the same) and headed to the Whitney plantation. We went on a whim, but it was an excellent decision. We missed the last tour, but we spoke to two great and knowledgeable tour guides who answered all our unanswered and half-ass answered questions that the last plantation couldn’t. I will be going back down to New Orleans and taking the real tour of Whitney Plantation. You all should too. The history of slavery, no matter how disgraceful, is important. It’s the beginning of Black American history. That’s what I have to say about that.

Anyway, after the history lesson, we made our way back to New Orleans and headed to Mannings, which is Archie, Peyton, and Eli’s restaurant. I’m sure the other Manning’s have their hand in it too, but the quarterbacks who played in the NFL are who are important here. Mannings has a legit theater in the back of the bar, with leather seats that you can reserve. It has an outdoor projection screen. It has more TVs per square foot than Buffalo Wild Wings. It has an arcade basketball hoop to shoot at for a dollar. It has pictures of Peyton and Eli everywhere. It’s dope!

Okay, 7:25 we make it to the restaurant. Its packed – dammit! I put our name on the list for 6 and a half and we find a place in the bar area to sit down and watch the pre-game. The wait is supposed to be 30 minutes, but it ends up being 25. We’re ready to be seated right after John Legend slayed the national anthem. BTW, he has been the best part of the Final’s so far, but you ain’t hear that from me. We sit down and I’m getting nervous. Why? They sat my son’s high chair right next to me, like he ain’t a terror with the Finals on. But whatever, big boy pants are on, let’s do this Reece!

7:58 – “AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH” Reece

7:59 – “AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” Reece as he drops his toy.

8:00 – Orders taken, tip off soon. The whole place is buzzing. Greg Monroe came in with a buffet style selection of women to take up the theater in the bar. My son shuts up and looks. *daps*

Tip-off time – Reece is quiet. He’s watching. He’s attentive. He’s clapping. He’s cheering for both teams and all 3 refs. He’s paying attention and smiling and laughing. THIS IS HAPPENING!

The joy that was in me for the rest of the game until it started to suck was incredible. I forgot how bad the game was because my son was loving it. He was eating his food (kinda… half of it ended up on the floor. I think as a parent of a toddler, it’s a requirement to tip well), he was attentive, he wasn’t acting up, he didn’t cry, he was the perfect loud in a bar baby ever.

Cavs lost. They’ll probably lose the series. The Warriors are super sayins. Draymond’s breath is bad (c’mon, you know it is). My son loves basketball.

My toddler gives a shit about the NBA Finals, and my GOD that makes me happy!

 

By: D. Rubenstein
Twitter:@wildmanjones
AreYouVSOP #TheVSOPLife
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I Don’t Need A Mentor

The most common mistake that young professionals make upon entering a workforce is assuming that the knowledge that they acquire in school both (both in and out of the classroom) is enough to deem them successful in their first job. From the growing number of degree holding professionals seeking employment and the limited number of jobs, we know that this is not true. There are many factors outside of the dichotomous experience of college (academic & practical) that determine your success as a young professional, some that you might have control of and some you may not even be aware of.

As young professionals we come into our new industries believing that we have been equipped with all the tools that it takes to become an effective professional because of what we learned in school. What we do not realize is that we have been taught to use so many different tools to make us successful in the field that we may not necessarily know how to appropriately use or master any one becoming as the saying goes a “jack of all trades but a master of none”. The tools that we have acquired through the education process are usually surface level and in a hypothetical setting so the experience has some value but not as rich as a professional who is immersed into the work. Over the span of  four to seven years of higher education (undergraduate and graduate) learning we are introduced to concepts and theories but there are many experiences that are outside the world of academia that can only be taught through experience. Although, internships, co-ops, practicums and fieldwork serve as great additions to the classroom experience there is still something to be said about a full-time professional who has experienced the full gamut of the position and field that you are in.

So how does one fully gain advantage in such a tough economic climate? Simple, mentorship! Well maybe not simple but it is definitely easier than struggling or being stuck in your entry level  or current position. It is said that young professionals who have mentors are more likely to succeed in their industry as opposed to those who do not. Realistically, that kind of makes sense, right? Think of mentorship as professional parenting. The role of most parents is to make sure that their children have a guided but not restricted experience throughout life. The parent serves as a resource for the child to tap into when they face dilemmas or difficult decision making situations. The ideal parent allows their child to make mistakes but still advises and shields them from the dangers of the world. In event that the child’s parents does not have the answers or advice that the child needs the parent may tap into a larger resource which is the familiar structure (grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins) to find the appropriate answers. Think of mentorship the same way! Having a mentor allows you to not only get one on one advice and guidance but it grants you the opportunity to tap into your mentors professional network so that you can have your questions answered or be advised in the right direction.

Even though its ideal to have a mentor, the whole process of acquiring one can be very intimidating. We’ve made a “how-to” list which, will serve as a guide as you begin to seek a suitable mentor:

1. Identifying a desirable mentor
2. Approaching your possible mentor
3. Create a plan with your mentor
4. Scheduling frequent meetings
5. Asking for new challenges/ways to grow

Be on the look out as we begin to break down each component of our list to fully equip you in your quest for mentorship. Share your thoughts on the benefits of having a mentor or your personal stories highlighting your personal journey in receiving mentorship in your professional lives.

Now there’s only one question #AreYouVSOP?

 

Is It The Hair

Although I’m only three months into my natural hair journey, I’ve realized just how uncomfortable I am and have been with being my authentic self. It’s an awkward thing to admit, but it’s the truth. Embarking on this journey has made me increasingly aware of the fact that I, too, have yet to conquer the metaphysical dilemmas of being a colored woman. My initial decision to go natural wasn’t based on any profound reasoning; I simply wanted my hair to regain its health and grow back to its original length. Surprisingly enough, this process has led to some unsettling realizations, deep introspection and, unfortunately, some internal conflicts that I’m learning to deal with as each day passes.

To put it frankly, this transitioning process has exposed just how afraid I am of embracing myself. The very first day I decided to wear a flexi rod set to work, I stood in front of the mirror for a good 20 minutes trying to reassure myself that I looked fine and office-presentable with my curly fro. After a few, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important” pep talks to myself, I eventually managed to drag myself out of the house and to work. I wish I could honestly say that I walked into that office bold, confident and unabashedly black, but it was more of a defeatist “Oh God, please don’t let these white folk gawk at my hair” type of entrance. After receiving a bunch of compliments, I was so frustrated with myself for all the angst I experienced in my bathroom that morning, and annoyed for feeling so insecure about my hair not being bone straight. I was even more disappointed with the fact that it took getting compliments from my (white) co-workers for me to feel comfortable with my own hair.

I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I have a high level of self-esteem, but that one flexi rod set gave me a quick reality check, and helped me realize there are some things I have to work on internally in order to truly say I love myself, and to get through this natural hair journey. This process has become more than just me trying to grow long, healthy hair; it’s become a journey to learning how to love and accept myself despite other people’s expectations of how I’m supposed to look.

As a teenage girl, getting a relaxer was more about me wanting to feel and look “mature” than it was about me hating my natural hair. As an adult, I’ve observed how that innocent desire for a mature look turned into me becoming dependent on relaxers and straight hair to feel beautiful. I have absolutely nothing against straight hair (I love me a good Dominican blow out), but I do take issue with being fearful of embracing my natural, God-given appearance. I will never be at peace not knowing how to be comfortable with who I am and how I naturally look, which is why this journey is necessary for me.

These first three months have been exciting, frightening, frustrating, and beautiful. There are days when I wake up and feel “flawless,” and there are days when I have absolutely no idea what to do with my hair and the tears start rolling. But on the good hair days and on the days when my twist out attempts are just that- an attempt, I look at myself in the mirror and see someone I love, despite how her hair looks. I can’t lie, this hair journey has me feeling naked and uncomfortable, but growth is rarely ever comfortable, and I’ve made peace with that. Long-term transitioning isn’t for the faint of heart (this is my third attempt), but I intend to embrace everything it entails, and I am determined to follow through with this commitment to loving myself and loving my natural, curly, black girl hair.

– See more at: http://www.urbancusp.com/2014/03/conquering-metaphysical-dilemmas-embracing-natural-hair/#sthash.N2w6gfjZ.dpuf
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Previously Posted by:

Ashlee Wisdom
Managing Editor
UrbanCusp.com
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With Life Comes Responsibility

The holidays and all of its splendor have come and gone. This season has been highlighted with events ranging from ugly sweater and office parties to church musicals and family traditions.  As we get older we look at the holidays in a different light. When we were younger we could not wait to get gifts from our family. The older we become the more we look forward to the abundance of food and for most, the trivial family arguments. When did this change?  When did we grow up?

The fascination of growing and progression has always been on the minds of the young. We are often placing more pressure on ourselves than necessary. We rush everything, don’t you agree?

Let’s reflect! As a child we look forward to becoming a big kid, because big kids get treated much better than little kids. When we were pre-teens we couldn’t wait to become a teenager because then we could finally stay in the house by ourselves without a baby sitter. Besides, no one wants to be pre-anything, we want that experience now! Then we became teenagers, and during these years, we looked forward to two occasions; turning 16 so we can drive or 18 so we can either graduate from high school and then finally get admitted to clubs. Then we enter college and cannot wait to become 21! No more fake I.D.’s, no more begging or stealing your older sibling’s I.D.

After that something happens, its like something clicks in our lives and we want to slow everything down. We start to think of everything ahead of us. What is it about that 21st birthday that makes us think, “Whoa! This needs to slow down?” Usually by your 21st birthday you’re either on the brink of graduating or graduating soon. Maybe that’s it, maybe it’s graduation that causes all of this anxiety. No more looking forward to the breaks in-between semesters, picking classes, homecomings, spring weeks, cramming for midterms finals and random hookups. The closer we come to graduation the more we realize all of our ways of living are going to be disrupted and we have to start all over again! It’s almost as if life is constantly building us up just to push us back down! Don’t believe it, just look at the school structure in kindergarten. We could not wait to become 5th graders because they were the oldest and coolest kids in the school. The 5th graders knew this and enjoyed being on top until it was time to graduate and go to junior high/middle school where they had to start all over again, becoming the kindergartners of the school all over again. Then the 8th graders graduated and entered high school and could not wait to become seniors. See how vicious this cycle is? Then we enter college after high school and become the new kids again just so that in four years we can be thrown into the “real world.”

Well, what happens when we realize that we don’t want to enter into the real world? Like who wants to pay bills and wake up every morning just to look forward to weekends and vacations?! Why didn’t anyone shield us from these vicious realities? All our life we wanted the growth, but forgot what comes along with that growth. In kindergarten we had lots of nap time and not a lot of homework and the older we became, life worked in reverse; lots of homework and less nap time.

Do not rush life, just let it happen. We know, it’s easier said than done, especially when our parents/mentors drilled sayings and alliterations such as “Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance” in our heads to make sure we are on track repeatedly. We’ve let those sayings govern our lives to the point believing that it is truth. When in reality sometimes life just happens. In some occasions we can prepare for what life gives to us and the rest we try our bes to make due. The one thing we all should understand is with growth comes responsibility. Although we would love to pick and choose what part of life we want to grow and be responsible for, reality shows us it is a packaged deal!

HAPPY NEW YEAR form the VSOP Family we wish you peace and prosperity in 2014!

Stay Young My Friends.

The Modern Day Protestor

“Freedom Rides”, “Sit Ins”, “The March on Washington”, “Boycotts” all of these words all symbols of iconic movements. If you were familiar with any of these movements your mind took you to a place that allowed you to empathize for the “cause” associated with those words. The “cause” exactly what does that mean? We sit in our history classes and we learn about time periods when the world was much “flatter” in the eyes of those oppressed. We think of these time periods as time capsules on pages instead of thread that woven in the fabric of our lives.

Young people have been the heart and souls of these movements. Dedicating their lives to change for betterment of the world. The leaders of these movements were young people, your Dr. King’s,  Malcolm X’s, A. Philip Randolph’s and Fannie Lou Hamer’s all young leaders who were tired of the conditions they were facing in society. We analyze the lives along with actions of these leaders, we become mesmerized with their conviction and determination to seeing the “cause” through. However, we have turned the actions of these leaders into 140 characters and a 8 megapixel photo uploaded to an instant steam of information.

When did we become so lazy? It would be unfair to assume that all of us have lost our passion and conviction to make our physical presence felt, but most of us have. When did that change happen? How did we lose the passion for demanding justice. You know what happened? Technology; thats what happened. The same thing that keeps you connected to the world with a click of a button, is the same thing that allows you to be disconnected with a group of people at a social gathering (because we are all on are phones instead of interacting with each other) .

Technology has single handedly turned our young people from “go out and get it done” group to a “click it” to fix it culture that has become the new norm for addressing injustice. We will tweet our thoughts, sign online petitions, or change our avatar on facebook/instagram to show our stance on an injustice then we go about our lives and feel as if that is enough. Yes, technology has allowed us to have information at our finger tips. Yes, technology has allowed us to give instant feed back. But riddle me this; when is the last time you respected a person who just talks but never takes action? Electronic protest is equvalent to taking the garbage bag out of the trash can but not the dumpster. Not the brightest idea right? Technology is here so we can bring more awareness to a cause so that we can swiftly find a solution. Not to substitue taking out time to make our physical presence felt. What have we done? Who told us that this electronic approach was efficient? Questions that we may never find the answers to but hopefully someone who is reading this post may rethink about what they can physically do next time some type of injustice occurs.

REST IN POWER – The Great Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Self-Talk 101

“Its Totally My fault”. What exactly is yet to be determined however, this is one of the 21 suggestions that Inc. Magazine columnist Jeff Haden offers in his recent post “21 Awesome Things to say to yourself“. Often times the one voice that we need to listen and adhere to is our own. Whether acknowledging and being humble enough to admit that we are capable of making mistakes, motivating ourselves to take risks daily or, having the humility to admit that even though we want to conquer whatever is thrown at us, sometimes a helping hand isn’t such a bad thing. Check out the link to Haden’s post below and seriously internalize some of these phrases, they are surely worthwhile to add to your self motivation toolbox.

21 Awesome Things To Say To Yourself

Who is V.S.OP???

Who is V.S.OP? Well if you’re taking time out of your day to check out this blog then the answer is YOU. We choose to go by the name Virtually Seizing Opulence because we embody the essence of the young professionals, artist, musicians, wordsmiths, designers striving daily to perfect their craft in pursuit of wealth and success. We understand & embrace the power of social media as an outlet for all of our amazing projects. Through this community we look to create innumerable opportunities to connect and cultivate relationships that will prove to be critical in ultimately achieving success. We believe, through these interactions we are creating a space for young professionals to not only socialize but also exchange ideas for professional advancement and development. Through our multitiered approach we plan to stimulate our audience’s both physically and mentally.

We use every aspect of our daily lives to motivate the next generation of Opulence seekers. Often the frustrations of the young professional goes unnoticed and unheard.  Our “Mayhem Mondays” post will serve as an avenue for our followers to discuss topics that relate to their professional lives.  Through these discussions we can provide our peers with sound advice on how to effectively maneuver in tough situations. As young professionals we also know that not every part of our life is about work. Our “Think About It Thursdays” post will allow our followers to catch up on the latest topics that are outside of the workplace. Posting about everything including but definitely not limited to fashion, culture, sports and relationship advice. We also believe in celebrating our followers who are actively Seizing Opulence. We will, at random, highlight the talents of our followers and share their gifts with our audience.

Even though we are professionals we also know the importance of a good networking happy-hour, art exhibit, spoken word show, standup comedian, or concert where we get to let our hair down and just socialize without the pressures of the workplace. We will inform our audience of these various types of events going on in our area along with providing these events for our audience to attend.  Our twitter @1opulentlife is our way of connecting with our audience at an instant pace. This way we get to connect with you, our audience, while providing quotes and thoughts throughout the day. So follow us, and retweet us, as we embark on this journey of Virtually Seizing Opulence.