A Year Defined: Au revoir, 2016!

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2016
/twenty sixteen/
noun

  1. a period of 366 days in which I struggled, cried (a lot), lost hope, found some, opened my heart, experienced new cities, made many new friends and collaborators, challenged myself through creative projects and uncomfortable circumstances, and took some exciting steps toward my lofty goals

2017
/twenty seventeen/
noun

  1. a period of 365 days that has me shook. that I don’t feel ready for. that will challenge me in new ways, some of which will be undesired. yet a period in which I will prevail over the hurdles that have plagued me for nearly two years. a period in which I will rediscover purpose in my work. in which I will build on the relationships I forged in 2016. in which I will travel more domestically and internationally. in which I will put my mental, physical, and emotional health first.

Thank you to all of my family, friends, and readers who continue to support ayminor.com, may you all have a blessed 2017! 

J Quote: 60 Seconds with Candice Nicole of Candice Nicole PR

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Candice Nicole, owner of pr boutique Candice Nicole Public Relations, poses with recording artist Von Vargas as she receives an award for her contributions to the music and entertainment space. Find a full recap of In My Own Lane here. Photo via @kelvinjstudios.

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How To: “No Scrubs” Halloween Costume

May the female pop star reign supreme. At least in my head anyway. After Aaliyah, Beyonce, Janet and Whitney it took me weeks to choose another icon for my costume this year. Thankfully I decided just in time–Chilli!

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Here’s what you need:

Time: 3-4 Hrs (for hand sewing)

I’ll skip the details on the chalk, scissors, straight pins, needle and thread, AND the black boots (I wore my uggs, they were perfect!). The most difficult piece of the costume is the leotard.

I searched EVERYWHERE for a black body harness/black bra combo that would do the trick, to no avail. (If anyone is able to find one please leave the details in the comments section!) I decided to make it a DIY project and create my own. I bought a sleeveless black turtleneck leotard (Amazon – $20). It was great quality.

How to Customize the Leotard: While trying on the leotard, I outlined what sections to cut and sew with chalk (see image below).  From there (one at a time) I cut out each section, and used a simple backstitch to sew along the edge of the cutout for a polished look. Note: After sewing up each section, it is helpful to try on the leotard and confirm your chalk outlines are still accurate — I had to resize some of them based on the additional stretch of the material.

I chose not to cut out the back of the leotard (moreso because I ran out of time!), however you can create the same “T” shape, by using the same method.

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The blue lines indicate where you should cut (you are leaving some excess cloth to fold under for the backstitch) The red lines indicate where you should use the backstitch for a clean, polished look.

With the leotard in good shape, only a few additional items needed!

The black cargo pants can be found at your local large retail store, I found mine at Target (Wrangler – $20). Make sure to get them a size or two bigger than your preferred size so you have the 90’s “sag.”

To recreate the belt, I bought a removable buckle belt (Amazon – $5), and a belt buckle (Amazon – $9). Though I had to buy the belt buckle from Amazon (again, last minute decisions!), I found an even cheaper one Etsy. I then used red puffy paint (also known as fabric paint) (Michaels – $1) to fill in the belt buckle for that neon red look.

And that’s it! Please feel free to add any additional suggestions for the costume in the comments section below.

Now to cross off those last few items on my 2014 bucket list…

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How much can change in four months? A lot.

With a new job and a new apartment, I can officially call myself a resident of Virginia!

It has taken me a few months to get settled, but now that I am, ayminor.com will be back in full effect.

And with such a historical city within reach, you can look forward to more frequent posts as I take full advantage of everything the District has to offer.

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FAREWELL 2014

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2014 wasn’t the year I wanted it to be. I had hoped that I would cross off the three biggest items left on my 2014 bucket list, and when that didn’t happen I panicked. Like, severely panicked. And sulked. Why couldn’t things just fall into place? How much more did I have to do? How much longer could it possible take?

It was at some point during this never-ending pity party, that I came across a quote, not unlike others I had seen before, but nonetheless one that struck a chord with me that particular day.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

I thought, why not put this quote to the test — acknowledge and understand my fear, embrace it even, before taking the steps to overcome each obstacle? I had my first chance to practice out on the slopes over the weekend.

When I got to the top of the mountain, my heart dropped into my stomach. I was skiing for the first time in at least five years, and I had no clue what I was doing. On the first trip down, I was stiff, trying  to control every move. When I would start to pick up speed, I would bail out — I ended up tumbling my way down the hill. On my second time up, I took just a second to acknowledge how afraid I was. And then I asked myself, what could really go wrong if I gave way to my fear, taking the risks that warranted my feelings? I slowly let my skis guide me down the hill. With each turn, I began to hit my stride and within minutes, I had made my way down the hill without falling once.

I say all that to say, I end 2014 in fear. In fear that I won’t see the world. Have a satisfying career. Get my new beginning, in my own apartment. And yet I am taking all of these feelings, and working through them. And with all of my emotional baggage in tow, I am determined to cross off the last few items on last year’s bucket list in the beginning of 2015.


For all the things I didn’t cross off the list, there were plenty more that I did. Here are a few of my most cherished memories from 2014:

J Thoughts: A Look at Angela Simmon’s Failed Kickstarter Campaign

J Thoughts: A Look at Angela Simmon’s Failed Kickstarter Campaign

Last month, Angela Simmons turned to Kickstarter to raise $25,000 to fund AngelaIAM TV, a visual platform for fashion, music, art, and entertainment.

As a creative, I truly believe in Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding platforms, that make it possible for the average Joe to bring a brilliant idea to life. I am very, very selective in how I spend my money (largely because as a recent college grad I don’t have any), but when I see a project I truly believe in, I can’t help but support.

Of course, with the good comes the bad. Like everything else, I hate that these platforms have attracted more than a few projects that have caused me to raise an eyebrow (most notably Spike Lee’s “Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint” campaign).

On one hand, it seems like a no-brainer for celebs and prominent artists to turn to crowdfunding — seemingly, they have the soapbox and fan base to do a little promotion and easily get their projects funding. On the other hand, it feels as if they are intruding on a space not meant for established figures, but for those without access to big-name sponsors and prominent backers.

Although AngelaIAM TV is meant to promote aspiring international artists, which I appreciate, it was unclear how the whopping $25,000 would be used to drastically improve upon the videos she had already begun to create, and why she couldn’t use her resources and contacts to fund it herself. There were many others who felt the same; her comments on Instagram where spattered with negative reactions.

Despite my skepticism I never doubted it would raise the necessary funds, especially with the success of several other celebrity-endorsed projects.

Although Angela heavily promoted the campaign on Instagram, which is connected to her Twitter, both with over  1 million followers, had promotional videos, featured rewards, and a press release sent out to media outlets, she only received 11% of her goal — $2,766 of $25,000.

Kickstarter | The Road To AngelaIam TV

What went wrong?

Emmanuel Mensah, the producer of AngelaIAM TV, addressed the pitfalls of the campaign in an interview with Soo Detroit:

When we first launched our Kickstarter we got a lot of backlash for it. What people don’t know is that we’ve been funding AngelaIAM TV on our own long before we launched the Kickstarter. This is something we’ve been funding but we’re trying to take it on a wider scale and what better way to try to take it on a wider scale than to have people that want to see something like this happen, help us do it. This is all about the people, but it has been hard and difficult because people automatically assume: ‘Why is a celebrity asking for money?’ That’s not the case at all. We want it to be about the people and not have one investor be responsible. We want the people to be responsible as a unit for making something like this happen. (soodetroit.com)

Did the proverbial “people” take a stand? Was the project description not strong enough to gain support? Is it possible she didn’t have enough promotion?

It makes an interesting case study.