5 Life Lessons ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Has Taught Me

I’m not a professional movie critic, but ‘Straight Outta Compton” is an instant classic in my mind. Here’s what it taught me, or rather what it helped me to remember:

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  1. Speak up – for what you believe in, no matter how miniscule it may seem in comparison to the world. Open your mouth, and use it. What you feel your worth, express what you will not entertain, and how you are to be addressed. The power that you activate within yourself once you do this and own it, can never be purchased.
  2. Check your paper work (especially when it comes to your money): From your bank statements and pay stubs, to your receipts from a drive thru window. Too often we toss it to the side because we catch the bottom line. Which is usually, “X” is the amount of the money I have readily available in my account, or yes I agree to pay “this” amount. Find a way to implement enjoying the paperwork process. It’s always worth it. #notetoself
  3. Become adaptable: Change is inevitable, for this we know for sure. A great way to alleviate the stress of shifting seasons when they aren’t welcomed is to be fluid in your movement. Life is constantly revealing itself, and we have a horrible habit of ignoring the obvious. Making yourself adaptable decreases the blow that comes with change we weren’t expecting.
  4. Forgive and let live: Seriously. Life is too short, and time is too precious. Exercising forgiveness doesn’t equate to you being a “sucka”. When you open your heart to forgive someone, it makes you lighter. You’re able to enjoy life fully because that need to hold on to something that happened last night or ten years ago, no longer takes residence internally. Whether you are aware of it or not, lack of forgiveness shows up in our lives one way or another.
  5. Live  your truth (also one of my Rules of Engagement): Speaking up is one thing, but speaking your truth is something different. Without a doubt life I mean people provides scenarios that require the uncut and disgustingly raw version of you telling it exactly how it is from your perspective. It won’t always be pretty, but you know what, sometimes the only to say “f*ck the police” is to actually say it.

Apply the lessons, and the rule. Do yourself a favor and go see this historic, and iconic story told that not only shines the light on the beginning of gangsta rap. It also tells the story of some incredibly smart young black men who refused to be voiceless when they felt like it was illegal to just be present.

3 Reasons Why You MUST Travel Solo At Least Once

I’ve recently wrapped up my three part series on The Experience: Dominican Republic, be sure to check it out. My desire to explore another country solo has resurfaced. At least once in your life, I challenge you to my ‘Rule of Engagement’ #11: Pick a country, book a flight and GO! Keep reading to find out why it’s worth it.

  1. Boost your confidence: Most people won’t even go to dinner by themselves. Kudos to you if you’re confident enough to book the flight and get on the plane! You’ll feel great about yourself, and it will show. Confidence is attractive, and not just to the opposite sex. You are now in a greater position to embrace new clients, new friends, and new experiences.
  2. Heighten your awareness: I instinctively become more alert of my surroundings from the airplane to the resort/neighborhood that I’ll be residing in. I embrace this, and often realize how “comfortable” I am at home. You may not only avoid an unfortunate situation when you’re more present, but you may also invite unexpected opportunities your way that you never saw coming.  
  3. Put your FAITH into action: In 2011 I learned a powerful way to activate my faith was when I traveled to another country where I didn’t know a soul, didn’t speak nor read the native language, and I didn’t have a plan. We blindly put our faith into action daily believing we’ll wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night. It takes a higher level of faith to have you pick a country, book a flight and GO! (by your damn self).

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While everyone of these tips can manifest without traveling abroad. Nothing can mimick the experience.

The Experience: Dominican Republic (Part 3)

I told you about my love affair with the sky, and the awesomeness that is the beach in Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata DR. But let me be frank and share what I miss most. The ‘ Banana Mama’, my liquid love in a cup. Of course I’ve heard of, and enjoyed the ‘Bahama Mama’ on countless occasions. It’s tropical sister takes the cup in my book. Literally. The delicious frozen goodness put the cherry on my sundae.  1 fresh banana, 2 parts rum, 1 part grenadine, 1/2 cup of ice and all the love my handsome bartender can muster up equates to “mmm mmm good”. Like ‘OMG’ good! This cocktail was my breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days without a shot of guilt, or splash of shame. Yes. I occasionally opted for the mocktail version at 10am most mornings (okay only one morning). I kept bottled water to battle any chance of dehydration or hangover.

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Moral of the story? Drink up! To whatever it is in life that provides the evidence of deliciousness on your tongue. You deserve for your appetite to be fed. Your “cocktail” may be a dessert or dance class. Figure it out, get into it, and enjoy it. Open yourself up to the fullness of pleasure that awaits you. It wasn’t about the rum (perhaps it was a tad bit about it). It felt ridiculously intoxicating in the most healthy way possible to enjoy my moment with no worries. Do not feel bad for enjoying your life how you choose to. Hunt for your goodness, and let it greet you with the sweetest kiss.

And you thought this was about alcohol. Ha!

#MarryTheDream

Dear former lovers & new friends,

I invite you to join me as I make my most valuable commitment to date. I’m getting married. You see my dream has been in pursuit of me for over ten years, and I’ve finally decided to slow down and let love in. I don’t want to fool around anymore. I’ve Invitation-1dated others, and honestly have been disappointed. I find myself in the same position, desiring more of what they couldn’t give me. Only you, my dream can fulfill that void. I’ll endure sleepless nights when it contributes to you becoming more real, and evident in my life. I want you as bad as you want me. I dream about you, literally. I want to shower you with love, and affection that translates into my best work. My 100% won’t always look the same, but I promise if you stay true to me, I’ll always give it to you. I’ve been negligent with you for so long. I commit to providing you with the evidence of my admiration, and respect for you by investing in your growth. Your needs are important to me, I hear you this time. You won’t have to yell at me to take the course, to invest in myself, to take the risks. I know if I believe in you the way you believe in me…we’ll be unstoppable. I am so thrilled about making a commitment to you that I want the world to know. Accept my commitment and wear this ring? I love you more than anything in the world. You’re a gift from God, and I won’t disappoint my Father with lack of care for you any longer.

I LoVe YoU!

~Shantay Alicia

The Experience: Dominican Republic (Part 2)

You were perfect in every way. I didn’t seek you, you sought me out and captured my vulnerability. I had to go through you to get to my destination. The thought of Dominican Republic made my eyes gaze, but you made my heart flutter. 39,000 feet above mother Earth is where we met. Sky LifeYour abundance let me know that attention is something I would never lack. You were gracious to everyone, but made me feel special. We communicated as we transitioned from one stage in our bond to the next. You surprised me at every corner. I loved it. I know we can never be exclusive. But it’ll never change how I feel about you. Please give my love to the stars that gave us privacy, and hid while we spent time together. See you soon.

A constant highlight I experience when I travel across the skies, is in fact the sky. I am forever obsessed with it’s beauty, diversity and commanding presence. The beach at Puerto Plata was indeed incredible, but hands down I found love way up high. Thank you God for being so gracious. You do not have to board a flight to become apart of this love affair. I’m a selfish girl, and the exhilaration of the sky is one of the things I’d happily share with you.

Rules Of Engagement…#8

Pay attention to what you pay attention to.

I am so baffled…seriously. I constantly witness a community of people specifically on social media that are addressing their “haters” or “stalkers” or “confused fans” with subliminal unbothered messages. I don’t desire to replicate what they do, so this will be short and sweet. If you are not bothered, really happy with pursuing your best life, busy making moments out of our limited time on Earth, manifesting your purpose, and helping other people in the process, having the greatest romantic experience that you never thought possible, making a family vacation the ultimate and now annual experience, celebrating your friend for achieving yet another goal…you get it.

ROE#8

How dare you diminish the value of your time, and address people who have yet to truly take note of how precious their time is.

It’s so easy I promise…

You do NOT.

Phenomenal Woman

Yes. It’s been well over a year since the gift of Dr. Maya Angelou has shifted from this world. Yet and still, I don’t wish to capture the life, substance, vibrancy and grace that is she, with words. Her legacy and story is higher than my current reach. Not in hierarchy, but in life. She LIVED a full life and did it her way. I salute and give a big hug in Spirit to this legend.

Maya

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

I LOVE the humility in this quote.

I have moments when I ponder on some of my greatest life lessons. I find it fascinating at times when I recognize a cohesive pattern in my teachers. Most times, we’ve never met. This has no hindrance on the impact. While creating a disciplined lifestyle of making every moment an experience, I learned this great lesson. The greatest portion of embracing a healthy way of living on your terms and catching those experiences; is remembering to Love. What you do. Where you are. Whom you’re with. How you move. The way you speak. The sparkle in your eye. The disproportion of your body. The taste of your cooking. Your choices! One lesson we can learn from Dr. Angelou is do it! What ever it is, do it with your whole heart!