Five Top Fives.

Faves, like to hear it, here it go (in no particular order): lizlemon

Top Five Singers/Musicians/Artists I’ve Loved For All Time

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Whitney Houston
  3. Stevie Wonder
  4. Diana Ross
  5. James Taylor

Top Five Actresses I Love and Adore and Just Love and Adore

  1. Cate Blanchett
  2. Viola Davis
  3. Diane Lane
  4. Tracee Ellis Ross (purely coincidental that my mom her mom is #4 above)
  5. Natalie Portman

Top Five Actors I Stan For Always and Forever 

  1. Brad Pitt
  2. Idris Elba (far too many posts to link him; search away, my love)
  3. Denzel Washington
  4. Tom Cruise
  5. Paul Newman/Robert Redford (they are one entity; don’t come for me)

Top Five of My Favorite Films Of All Time

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  3. The Philadelphia Story
  4. The Sting
  5. Inception (yeah, it’s that good)

Top Five of My Favorite Authors

  1. Alice Walker
  2. Flannery O’ Connor
  3. Harper Lee
  4. Lois Lowry
  5. This Square Peg (look: you gotta love yourself)


This was by no means an exhaustive list, so we shall do it again with a brand new list. Happy Wednesday, dear reader.

Blogtober #16: Veruca Salt.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is on the telly. One of my absolute favorites of all time. And you know what? Charlie was great and good and all that, but there’s only one person I identify with. When I was younger, it was definitely a secret admiration. But now? We’re soul sisters.

Miss Veruca Salt. Selfish. Demanding. Bratty.

But she knew what she wanted, didn’t she?

Brattiness aside, I’m learning to just claim what I want in life and what I deserve, Veruca style. Even if it seems completely unfathomable or unlikely to happen. Being a general pessimist/cynic/skeptic/side eyer of all of life, as I’m wont to be, sometimes I turn that side eye toward myself. Which keeps me largely realistic, yes, but also occasionally limits me. Because sometimes keeping things real strips away that other thing I truly value: pure imagination. So I’m learning balance. Feet on the ground, yes, but not diminishing my possibilities, either.

So, yeah, I want *it* now. Whatever I want it to be.

Happy Fall TV Watching.

Black Panther. So. Lit.

You already know how I feel about Mr. Boseman.

Anywho, as you also may know (please, please know this; like, I enjoy under-the-rock living, too, but you need to know this), Black Panther, the next movie in the Marvel Universe, is set to open this coming Friday. Saying I can’t wait is certainly an understatement. We were amazingly introduced to Boseman’s King T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War, and what an introduction it was. This is his tale. You’ve likely seen the trailer. (Whew.) You probably know that my boo Lupita is in it (*praise hands*), so that very reason alone, I need to support my gyal. You also likely know that the movie is rich with all kinds of beauteous blackness and melanin. Like, it’s so unabashedly brimming with culture and blackness and African-ness–T’Challa is from the fictional country of Wakanda, which I’d like to think is about an hour from Zamunda–that it takes my breath away. Here are some of my favorite memes regarding how most of us plan on arriving at the movie theater for the film.

Did you know that comic books and their related characters have been a part of my life since I was a little girl? My mother introduced my sister and I to the wonderful world of reading and imagination and storytelling, and part of that introduction was to folks like Superman and Archie Andrews and Tintin. My mother is amazing. So comic books have been a large part of my life forever. I proudly geek out over all that Marvel and DC Comics stuff, and you can usually find me in many places in a bookstore, but definitely in the comics section.

Also need to know: because of my excitement over the film, I ordered a T-shirt to wear to the movie. Thanks to Adorned by Chi, I am now and officially a Princess of Wakanda. See below for the mini-selfie shoot on my couch from yesterday. And yes, I’ll be sharing my whole look for when I head to the movie because, yes, it’s going to be a thing.

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That’s all she wrote for this Manic Monday. Onwards and upwards…and pantherwards…

The Age of Adaline.

First, here’s the trailer.

Now let’s talk. Can I tell you that I cannot wait to see this film? It’s everything This Square Peg loves about a good film and a good story, really: intrigue, a little romantical (not a word, but feel free to make it yours), mystery, a bit of sci-fi, and Harrison Ford. Seriously, I’ve loved him since I was 12 years old. Anyway. Absolutely looking forward to seeing it on opening weekend, and you can be sure that I’ll provide a review.

Incidentally, my bestie mentioned to me yesterday that when she saw the trailer for the film, she immediately thought of me. She then added that it seemed like a short story I would write. What a compliment. I love moments when people are reminded of what you do, especially via another medium. And besties are the best, aren’t they?

My 20…On the Big Screen.

Remember when I did this before? Well, I’m doing it again. This time, however, I’m talkin’ about 20 random movies I love and why I love them so. They’re in no order of importance. Ready? Like to hear it? Here it go…movienight

1. A Room with a View. Let’s see: a Victorian setting, Helena Bonham Carter, this scene. Hook, line, sinker. Really, though, this is a marvelously beautiful movie and my little 17 year-old heart nearly burst when I saw it and still bursts when I see it today.

2. Pride and Prejudice, 1995. Yep, I’m aware that it was on TV, not on a movie screen. Nope, I don’t care. This is how you adapt a beloved book: stay faithful to the original, make it amazing and heart-stirring, and by all means, cast Colin Firth.

3, 4, 5. Indiana Jones Series: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade. I can’t describe the wonder of sitting on the living room floor with my siblings and my parents, our eyes glued to many adventures of Indy, the watchful silence intermittently punctuated by our excited laughs, screams, and gasps. Sometimes movies aren’t about movies at all, but the memories they elicit.

6. Beauty and the Beast. Are you surprised? I’ll tell you why: this was the first movie I saw in a movie theater! Yes, in 1991, my Pops, who expertly sheltered his children as soon as our plane from Ghana touched American soil, reluctantly allowed me to go to the movies and see this. It was thrilling. The seats, the dark theater, the opening of the screen. I was thoroughly transfixed that day and admittedly still am by the entire movie-going experience. Even if your kid is kicking the back of my seat.

7-10. Mission: Impossible 1-4. Oh, did you know I’m a rabid Tom Cruise lover? I mean, yes, I’m married to Idris or whatever, but I remain Cruise’s most serious and loudly devoted fan. So I go to his movies on opening weekend and I watch and I LOVE each and every moment, because it’s Tom Cruise and he’s hanging on a mountain/building/plane and it’s exciting and I love this teeth. There. Now you know.

11. Citizen Kane. In 10th grade, my Film Studies teacher deemed it one of the most important films ever made. His words were no exaggeration. The rise and fall of newspaper publisher Charles Foster Kane was breathtaking to watch and dissect. A true, true classic.

12. The Philadelphia Story. Speaking of classics, Have you seen this film? Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart engaged in a love triangle amid 40s wordplay and men who still wore tuxedos as casual wear? See this film, please, if you haven’t. If you have, feel free to watch it all over again. Ugh, they don’t make them like this anymore.

13. Dial ‘M’ for Murder. The theme of classics continue, but what are classics without Hitchcock? One of my absolute favorites from Alfie. A cat-and-mouse game at its best, this plot. And Grace Kelly. Sigh.

14. To Kill a Mockingbird. As a writer, Harper Lee changed my life. As a lover of films, this adaptation of her novel did the same thing. I’ll end it with two words: Gregory Peck.

15. Superman. I grew up loving comic books, due entirely to my Mama, who made sure we had plenty of them to read as kids. Anyway, when I was introduced to the Superman films, particularly the very first one, I repeatedly had to remind myself that Christopher Reeve wasn’t Superman. He wasn’t, right? But then at the end of movie, he would fly up into the air and swirl around the earth and look at the camera with those blue eyes and smile and then I wasn’t as convinced anymore. To this day, that scene takes my breath away. And that swelling music! See below, and you’re welcome.

16. Coming to America. To this day, I chuckle at how thoroughly inappropriate it was for us kids to be watching this movie (the language is off the hook), but back then, our parents couldn’t resist. I mean, come on: an African prince in New York City looking for this true love? We can quote lines and scenes, by the way. I bet you can, too.

17, 18, 19. Star Wars Trilogy. Forgive Return of the Jedi and just agree that these films changed everything in your life as a moviegoer and a lover of story and a dreamer. They just did.

20. The Princess Bride. The wit. The laugh out loud humor. The lines. Cary Elwes. Inconceivable. Fred Savage. Mandy Patinkin. Modern day classic. Without a doubt.

So that’s it for me. What are your 20? Or even five? Let me know in the comments, pretty please. And before you go…

The Value of Tough, Ouch-y Love.

I wrote the following essay last year and submitted it to HelloGiggles. Wasn’t published, but such is life. I’m proud of it all the same. Check it out below. Feel free to let me know what you think.

The Value of Tough, Ouch-y Love

Deep down, I knew it was coming.

As I informed the bestie that my latest crush’s peripheral staring of me was indisputable proof that he shared my feelings—because we all want a declaration of mutual interest by way of side-eye—I recognized the palpable silence on the other end of the phone. Why was this silence so telling? Wasn’t she just listening, waiting for me to finish? No. Our conversations are mostly endless gab and laugh fests, where silence rarely comes in. If she is quiet, it usually means (1) she’s watching the latest antics of the Kardashians and held rapt by Kris Jenner’s, uh, mothering skills, or (2) she doesn’t buy a word of what I’m saying. Since she was in the car and Kardashian-free, it was obviously the latter. Not surprisingly, upon finishing my diatribe, the bestie proceeded to very firmly tell me that I was not in my right mind.

But this brief missive isn’t completely about the fact that in the end, I realized she was right. Peripheral staring by the crush (which happened, like, two times, to be honest) and the other non-events in my little infatuation dance with him were basically meaningless and not indicative of anything. Overall, we’re discussing the benefits of about tough love, folks. The truth is, we all need an emotional shakedown every now and again from a bestie/mom/sister/brother/crazy aunt who has your best interests at heart. If you should get a dose of tough love and you feel a bit bruised and/or ready to never speak to that person in your life again, here are a few things to consider:

1. Some of your favorite films are about tough love. Think about every rom-com you’ve loved and have secretly watched more times than you’d care to admit. Right before the epiphany, before the protagonist is running through the airport and breezing by security to declare his/her feelings to his/her true love, there’s always a good friend (or a neat musical montage) to straighten them out and tell them what we viewers have known all along and the protagonist is denying: it’s love, dummy.

However, a notable mention is My Best Friend’s Wedding, a film that, at its core, is about tough love: the efforts of George (Rupert Everett) to convince his friend Jules (Julia Roberts) that her plan to get Michael (Dermot Mulroney) back is useless. To me, tough love was captured in one heartbreakingly real exchange. Feel free to read and weep, or I’ll just weep, and you read:

George: Michael’s chasing Kimmy?

Jules: Yes!

George: You’re chasing Michael?

Jules: Yes!

George: Who’s chasing you? Nobody, get it?

Weeping? Or just me?

2. It’s very easy to only focus on the “tough” part. How can we not? It hurts. And when something hurts, it’s very easy to focus on the person administering the pain. But it’s not called tough I-couldn’t-care-less. It’s tough love. My bestie very plainly informed me to move on. She was unflinching and not really that sympathetic. But she also concluded by saying, “I do love you and want someone to see you for your amazing wit, creativity, and intelligence. Oh and beautiful eyes and lips!” (Word for word. I saved that text message and will never delete it.) Underneath the tough was her wish for me to realize that when The One comes, the Real One, I will know. So after the sting, the love part comes and you’re all warm and fuzzy and saving awesome text messages from your very best friend in the world. Seriously!

3. Tough love, like time, waits for no one. Think about it: eventually, we figure things out in life. That guy is no good for me; I should stop eating sushi because I really am allergic; changing my major three or four times is not cool in my junior year. With time, we get it. But tough love gets you there faster. Best to slap that sashimi out of your hands now instead of racing you to the ER later, right? In other words, experience can be a teacher, yes, but tough love is like the college advisor who will quickly tell you to grow up and stop avoiding the Math credit already. (True story.) Most of our perceptive loved ones and friends would rather us avoid the inevitable and/or frightening outcome of some of the endless and questionable paths we choose to take, and that’s where the snap-out-it-will-you comes in. Experience doesn’t always have to be a teacher. We need it, believe me.

In the end, I’m thankful for my bestie’s intervention and I told her as much. You know the saying: when one dose of tough love is given and applied, two karaoke bars are saved from weepy, alcohol-soaked performances of Taylor Swift’s Trouble. You’re welcome, future audiences.


Oh, George. (Rupert Everett, My Best Friend’s Wedding)

Photo Credit:

Bantu Knots, The Hundred-Foot Journey, and the Weekend

Happy November, ya’ll. This weekend, I decided to put in some Bantu knots for her in an effort to change up the usual two-strand twist and/or fro look that she likes to sport. This isn’t the first time I wore Bantus, but I changed things up a bit. Typically, I Bantu on dry, stretched hair; i.e., an old twist-out. This time wasn’t that different, but I decided to follow a method I saw on YouTube and do things a liiiitle bit differently. So:

  1. I started by sectioning my hair. I almost never do this. Something about putting my hair into sections before styling makes me believe that the styling process will be prolonged and therefore cause my arms to fall off.
  2. I should say that I started by turning on the TV for some much-needed entertainment-while-doing-my-hair. This is intrinsic.
  3. Anyway, after sectioning my hair into about 4 or 5 big ole sections, I began by dividing the first section of hair into smaller sections. Usually, in the past, I’ve Bantu’ed with huge, chunky sections of hair. But the course I saw on YouTube University convinced me otherwise. With the smaller section in hand, I lightly sprayed my hair with my accidental mixture of water, Cantu Shea Butter leave-in conditioner, and some essential oils, focusing on my ends. It’s an accidental mixture because I kind of threw it all together one day. And it’s been working. Thank goodness for accidental experiments when I just happen to be hanging out in the bathroom. I digress. (Constantly.) This is a change for me with lightly wetting my hair for Bantus. I typically do them completely dry.
  4. After spraying the section, I then applied a dab of my Jane Carter Nourish and Shine Product from Heaven throughout the section, again focusing on the ends.
  5. I then two-strand twisted the section before Bantu-ing: winding the twist around and around my finger until it basically created a ball/knot. I’d like to happily add that this was the first time I Bantu’ed without using bobby pins to secure the knots. My hair knotted all by itself!
  6. After about 1,000 knots, I gave my hair some time to air dry before placing my gigantic satin bonnet on my head and heading off to SleepLand.
  7. In the morning, I may have whispered a tiny prayer before taking off the bonnet, the Natural Hair I Hope This Style Worked prayer.
  8. I coated my fingers and hands with some oil and undid each knot. Then I gently untwisted them and began to fluff.

Photos of the process and the results below. I really liked this “different” approach to this style, and I certainly loved how awesome and soft my hair turned out in the end. Will definitely stick to this process for the future.

Top left, pre-Bantu and huge scarf. Top right, all Bantu'ed up. Bottom, the results.
Top left, pre-Bantu and huge scarf. Top right, all Bantu’ed up. Bottom, the results.

Onwards for the rest of the weekend. Last night, me and a friend headed to the theater and saw The Hundred-Foot Journey, a wonderful film by Lasse Hallstrom (no surprise there; he directed Chocolat, a movie that remains one of my absolute favorites) about an Indian family that turns a little French village upside down when they open a restaurant across the street (100 feet away) from a Michelin-starred French restaurant. It was moving, sweet, compelling, lovely, funny, and beautiful. Ugh, I loved it. It made me both happy and hungry. Five Square Pegs on that one. Get thee to a theater and see it if you can.

Other than the hair and the movie, it was a grand weekend. We feted a good friend of mine for a surprise baby shower (can’t wait to meet her little girl!); I ran errands and got in a few cat naps; and, most importantly, engaged in my usual fulfilling spiritual activities.

A good time was had.

How was your weekend?

your October gift. (Blogtober #29)

You’re welcome.

Wait. Before I go, can we talk about this scene? Can we talk about all the breathing, and the rain, and Mr. Darcy’s ardent love, and Elizabeth’s obvious attraction to him despite her repulsion at his tearing apart Bingley and Jane, and the rain, and the standing so close to each other, and communicating, so deftly, how they truly feel for each other with a few glances and their proximity, and the rain, and…

My ardent love for the 1995 P&P miniseries with Colin and Firth and Jennifer Ehle knows no bounds. But the 2005 adaptation with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen is expertly done. Expertly. There are so many tiny revelations and nuances that come to light with that adaptation. Ugh. I love it so.

Anyway, as mentioned, you’re welcome. Happy October.