JohnnyswimJust officially declaring my musical love for Johnnyswim, a new husband and wife music duo that I discovered one morning on VH1 while getting ready for work. (Could by why I’m perpetually late every morning.)

Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano sing the most heavenly harmonies, my goodness, both armed with powerful voices that will immediately make themselves at home in your ear. Lyrically, melodically–I want to swim (what a pun, huh?) in this music. Speaking of swimming, so far Abner and Amanda have provided three different stories about the origin of the name of their band. I kind of like the revolving door of  tales. And, fun fact: Amanda’s mom is the late, great, my-personal-disco-queen herself, Donna Summer! Anyway, listen to some music below, won’t you?

This is the first song I heard from them. Fell in love pretty quickly.

Here they are performing a live version of my favorite song from the album, Diamonds, with Daryl Hall. Oh, and are you watching Live from Daryl’s House? Please do. Immediately. Please and thank you.


Belle (Movie Review #1)

belleposterSaw the wonderful, thought-provoking film Belle last night. I’m a sucker for a historical film, and this was based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a biracial woman who was noted for being brought up as a free woman, especially at a time when the British slave trade was a significant part of that economy. What was also notable about Dido was that she was captured in a mesmerizing painting that portrayed Dido as the equal to her Caucasian cousin, not in a subjugate role, by showing Dido at the same level as the other young woman, among other attributes. (The link to Dido above shows that compelling painting.)

The film was so, so well-acted, particularly with Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Dido’s role, as well as Sam Reid, playing a passionate suitor of Dido’s, and Tom Wilkinson as Dido’s great-uncle. Heart-stirring and commanding performances all around. Not only do I highly recommend it, but I intend on seeing it again.

****Four out of four Square Pegs****

See it if you can.





“i was reborn when i was broken…”

As promised. Yesterday, when I heard the opening lyric of my boyfriend’s masterful song, “Lifetime,” I was immediately reminded of a conversation I had with Laura. Essentially, we discussed how pathos inspires our fiction. Creation comes from chaos. And to be honest, to paraphrase my boyfriend, some of my best work has come from being/feeling broken.


Don’t get me wrong–personal distress or being blue or working through stuff is root canal business. It stinks. Nevertheless, since I began writing seriously, I recognized that the catharsis that came from writing seemed to make what I was going through endurable. And for some reason, it made the process of writing, dare I say it, enjoyable.


Can good times inspire? I can’t say. Actually, yes, I can. Good times, interesting times, head scratchy times, funny haha and funny weird times–these inspire blogging. I find blogging to be the outlet I need when life, in its many facets, intrigues me. But my fiction, my poetry…it’s 90% born from those moments when the blue tint of life needs to be wrangled by way of creative writing.


Fellow writers, what are your thoughts? While you think about it, enjoy the sweet sounds of my beau, won’t you?

Hair Lessons and Hair Love.

We’ll go with the love first. Naturally.

So I rocked Senegalese twists for the past month and a half. ‘Twas a great protective style, but the feeling of taking them out and finally getting to place my hands into my scalp was divine.

Them twists.
Twists be gone.

Since a deep–and I mean deeeep–conditioning was necessary, I headed to the salon and got that done as well as two strand twists.

“Notice the use of shadow and light.” Nah, I just point and selfie. And bonus if you got that Saved by the Bell reference.

Can I profess my love for this low key style? I find two strands so low maintenance and convenient, especially for mornings when I’m running late for work (which is all of them) and don’t have time to spend on my hair. And better? Better? How much I love my ‘do when I separate the twists and get all curly. After I wore the twists for a few days, this is how it looked.

Same face…
Same face…
Same face…
Same face…
Boom. She turns.

Yesterday, I washed and conditioned the tresses and re-twisted. When my weird, non-professional fingers twist, the results aren’t nearly as bouncy and loverly, but they still look ok.


OK, now for the lessons. Being a year and a half into my return to natural hair, I fully expect to continually learn the best ways to feed, nourish, and take care of my beloved fro. During the visit to the stylist and yesterday when I was getting a trim, both stylists mentioned the breakage around my edges and the fact that the front section of my hair, around the sides, is weaker than the back part of my hair. I got great advice, as well, about remembering to moisturize my hair as much as possible, but definitely to focus on that front part. Admittedly, when you hear words like “breakage” and “weak,” it’s kind of a blow. Nevertheless, I pushed past all of that and decided that, along with everything else in life, these are all lessons. Specifically:

  • Peace. No more braiding/twists (other than two-strand with my own hair) for the foreseeable future, if ever. Until those delicate edges and sides grow back like the lawn in our backyard (the one my brothers pretend they don’t see), I’m leaving ’em alone. No styles that involve pulling, grasping, manipulating. The stylist who did my Senegalese did a great job, in that I didn’t feel like my medulla was being pulled out along with my strands of hair. But the edges and the sides need peace.
  • Hydrate. Seriously, I need to water the plant of my hair more. I have my daily moisturizing regimen, and I have my wash days, and I have my deep condition days. But I get lazy. Not anymore! I will drown this hair. Well, not really, but you get my drift.

There’s more, but the bottom line is my effort to 1) embrace the merry-go-round of constantly learning about my hair, and 2) make the needed improvements. So far, so good though. Love my fro.

kiss me like you mean it. (no, please don’t.)

When I arrived, I wanted to kiss the ground. Yet, I refrained. Possible hepatitis by way of the ground, even the French kind, is still hepatitis.

Anyway. Other places I wanted to kiss, but didn’t, because my rabid love of Paris didn’t mean I was crazy:


I wanted to kiss the triangle things at The Louvre, but I didn’t, for purely security reasons. See that old monsieur photobombing me, by the way? To my right? Mm hmm.


I wanted to kiss The Mona Lisa, but had already been shoved by an old lady who wanted to take a photo (I believe that’s her violent head) and was a bit concerned at being punched in the throat if I dare touched the painting with my lips.


I wanted to kiss Versailles, but it’s Versailles. How much kissing would it take? Years? That place was gigantic. And lovely. And beautiful. And luxurious. And lovely. I said that. I’ll end this now.


I wanted to kiss those Swiss mountains and that Swiss sky, but…isn’t it all incredible? Just beautiful.

Day One - France













I wanted to kiss those verdant hills and endless mountains (more mountains!) in Pontarlier, but, alas, that bar I’m standing next to kept me from physically doing this. Thank goodness.

French Countryside 2



One more. Goodness. Lush. So deserving of basisers sans fin (endless kisses).














I wanted to kiss the Eiffel Tower, but a random backpack left by the site that resulted in no one getting to come closer because of security issues meant I had to see it from afar on a riverboat tour. Nevertheless, awesome view, right? And this riverboat tour was on The Seine! Doesn’t get better than that…












I wanted to kiss the amazing friends who drove me around, took me on endless tours, fed me, laughed with me, and generally loved me up during one of the best trips of my life.

And I did.

belt it up, belt it up, watch it…fall down?

beltsHi, my name is This Square Peg, and I love wearing belts. I will wear a belt whenever I can: with a dress, over a cardigan/blouse, over a sweater. Oh, and I never want to see that word again, by the way. Sweater. After this insane winter, I want to drown in spring and summer for 1,000 months. Anyway, I digress. While my mother, who is a fashion plate and has a very snazzy sense of style, detests belts with every fiber of her being–and therefore wants me to feel the same–I think belts are a great accessory, another way to fun up an ensemble.

But the belt I have on just fell.

Moments ago, as I stood up from my desk, that thing was minutes away from cradling my nonexistent hips. Quite a journey from slightly above my waist to my narrow hips, huh? Well, because it apparently loved said journey to the hips, I was constantly pulling it up to stay in place. Finally, I did what I had to do: took it off and stuffed it into my purse. This has been happening to me lately. My belts are becoming rebellious. A friend mentioned that because I’m losing weight (yay! And we’ll discuss that later), the belts are sliding down. In other words, I need tighter belts. Makes sense, I guess. With this ongoing weight loss, I haven’t purchased any new clothes or accessories because I intend to keep it going until I reach my ideal numbas. But I’ll have to change the belts, if only because the pulling up thing and constantly readjusting becomes a bit of a nuisance.

The rebellious belt, thrown in haste.
The rebellious belt, thrown in haste.

And because I love you and like sharing, I did some research on how to effectively wear a belt. Here’s one important tip I found and a link:

  • Body type is everything when searching for the right belt. If you’re busty, for example, a thin belt will make your bust look larger. So a thicker belt is the way to go. Short torso, lower than your natural wast; long torso, higher than your natural waist.
  • Refinery29 has a cool slide show for different outfits and the belts that go with them.

That’s it! Are you a belt lovah like me?

Keep Your Voice Down When Making Declarations of Love: Random Memory #1

Welcome to a new feature on This Square Peg, where I share the random memories that come to me during my morning commute to work! You’re welcome.

There’s always a catalyst to the memories. This particular morning, as I stepped off the train, I saw a young woman who reminded me of a girl that was in my Introduction to Shakespeare class in college. Immediately, I was

you ain't never lied, Wills.
you ain’t never lied, Wills.

transported back: back to those heady days when I was a happy English major and a Math class fugitive, and specifically, when I was head over heels in love with my Shakespeare professor. Regarding the luurrve, can you blame me? Prof E was a true lover of the Bard (as was I, and still am), handsome, funny, and wore glasses. I swooned from day one.

So the Prof would hold these readings once a week, where members of the class would voluntarily meet and read a play–whether Shakespeare or Christopher Marlowe or anyone in between, it was a fun way to get to know each other and discuss literary thoughts and conventions outside of class. Needless to say, I signed up as soon as possible. The night of the reading I joined, we were dismissed for a short break. After a pal and I grabbed something to munch on, we were heading back to the reading room. This was when it all happened, when I suddenly got all up in my feels over my professor. I’ll never forget the following conversation.

Me: I think I love him.
Pal: Who?
Me: Professor E, of course. I’m in love with him.
Pal: Oh, Lord.
Me: He’s amazing. He’s so smart. And funny. And cool. And awesome.
Pal: Ok, [Government Name], chill out, though. Keep your voice down.
Me: I can’t! I want to shout it from the rooftops. I love him!
Pal: Seriously, stop talking right now. Don’t say another word. Don’t.
Me (suddenly freezing and turning toward her): He’s behind us, isn’t he?
Pal: Yeah.

Like clockwork, Prof E walked from around us. Of course, to add to the sweet misery of it all, he turned around, grinned at me, and said he’d see us in the room. What happened next:

Me: I’m going to kill myself.
Pal: You’re not going to kill yourself.
Me: Yes, I am. We’re on the 3rd floor, right? I’ll jump right here, from this balcony.
Pal: Get away from that balcony. Look, it’s no big deal. So he knows you love him. He’s probably flattered.
Me: I want to die.
Pal: Later. We need to get back.

(Can I tell you how cool my old friend was back then? She was the senior to my junior, listened to most of my melodrama with the same dry, unruffled, and hilarious reaction, and let me escape the craziness of college days in her dorm room. The best.)

Anyway, as you can imagine, going back to that room took all the strength I could muster. But Prof E never made it awkward. After that day, we continued to have our interesting discussions, in and out of class, as if nothing had happened, as if I hadn’t declared my love for him on the third floor of the Johnson Center. Sigh. I’ll never forget your rimless glasses, Prof E.

This was brought to you by a random memory.