Best of 2011

Last post of 2011: the year of a lot of reflection, personal growth in life and creative spirit, and a new found peace that I never expected.
Well, here are seven best things that have helped shape me along the way.

#7 Best Album

An exclusive from my Starbucks obsession (see #4), Feist's new album was highly anticipated, especially with the first track, "Bittersweet Melodies" on repeat in my head.
My leading Canadian lady didn't disappoint.
Beautifully composed songs and signature poignant lyrics on folk beats make Feist's fourth studio album a blissful treat for the ears and tender heart. Standout cuts include the soft, melodic poetry of "Caught A Long Wind," the swingy uptempo, "The Bad In Each Other," and the smooth, laid back, "How Come We Don't Go There." The added choir background vocals in "Undiscovered First" and "Graveyard" are also quite compelling to note.

#6 Best Dayton Art Museum

2011 was an incredible year of art in Dayton.
First Fridays and Urban Nights are amazing, surefire ways of getting the public to see how wonderfully talented local and well known artists are!
The Dayton Art Institute certainly had a variety of shows that kept a solid interest going- from Arthur Primas's African American Collection, the contemporary show that featured Marilyn Minter, a Winslow Homer reflection and the current Norman Rockwell Exhibit, the historical art museum has everyone on their toes waiting for what's coming next!

#5 Best Dayton Art Show

James Pate's "Kin Killing Kin" up at Willis Bing Davis's Ebonia Gallery in the heart of West Third Street has just been extended for a reason. The powerful, guttural show is one of the most talked about conversations in the art scene.
I can't express enough how beautiful, raw, and sad the truth Pate revelations are, but it's definitely a can't miss!

#4 Best Tasting Sinful Indulgence

No secret that I have made this popular coffeehouse a second home.
It was more than a new place to write my novel, utilize the Internet, and chill.
The hot soy chai tea, the iced lemon pound cake, and those nice baristas got me.
Soy chai is foamy, sweet (I add sprinkles of chocolate and vanilla powders plus extra cinnamon to mine). The spicy zip of black pepper comforts me too.
It's an absolutely delicious addiction.
I would like to thank those baristas for all of the free chais.
I'll never forget that thoughtfulness.
Iced lemon pound cake, so light, lemony zesty, and moist with that delightful tease of vanilla icing (that sometimes has yummy coconut in it!) is to die for.
Sadly, I won't be eating these things any longer.
They aren't vegan.
I would have to make them at home and bring them to the spot.
My body cannot tolerate any coffee, but here are some of the vegan options I am willing to try : soy hot chocolate, tea lemonade, and vivanno smoothies without whey.
Maybe next year, Starbucks will find itself back here?

#3 Best Television Moment!

On the daytime serial, "Days Of Our Lives" actors James Scott and Alison Sweeney are incredible together.
One has to applaud that!
But on November 18-21, they brought something in an hour segment that moved and brought an audience to their knees.
Saddened, embittered parents, EJ Dimera and Samantha Brady are rocked to the core when it comes to light that their first born son, Johnny Dimera has died. Though consoling and then blaming one another, raw angst and tormented grief turn into a rather, dark visceral display of angry passion and explosive vulnerability.
Did you really think I was going to pick EJ running for mayor?
Maybe next year.....

#2 Best Hair Style That I Should Be Sporting!

I love this!
It's freaking hot.
Essence Magazine emails me all the latest in natural sistah style. I must say that after about 300 pictures from the year, this one just jumped out at me. Her think, well managed curls are moisturized and shiny.
I bet the wind breezes through it all cool and collected.
Plus, her scarf is beautiful!
Currently, my mysterious hair kept under satin scarves and winter caps, is on a shampoo/condition every two weeks and twisted regime.

#1 Best Non-Guilty Pleasure!

In February, I started a new third shift job and got pretty hungry a lot.
For some unknown reason, I scoped out the power bar section, wanting to be revved up on a sweet, guilty free snack. Tried Luna, Bora Bora, Clif, and these beautifully packaged sensations called, Larabar- the raw fruit and nut bar.
Needless to say, after one bite of cherry pie, Larabar proved to be the only bar I would ever need.
Using nine ingredients or less and with loads of potassium, a bit of fiber, and protein, and no added sugar, they were way better than cookies and cake!
Thus, I saved every wrapper, collecting every bold color for a future not yet created artwork. So far the tally goes: 41 cherry pies, 22 apple pies, 20 lemon bars, 15 chocolate chip brownies, 14 peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter chocolate chips, 8 chocolate coconut chews, 5 key limes, 4 coconut cream pies, 3 cashew cookies and tropical fruit, 2 banana breads, chocolate chip cookie doughs, and 1 gingersnap, cinnamon roll, and this never before tried flavor- blueberry muffin.
So I followed and tweeted larabar, telling them just about every week how much I love them. In March, they sent a package of more larabars, a wrist band, bumper stickers, and other goodies, thanking me for spreading the word! That of which made me love them even more. Not just the bars themselves, but the people behind them.
I say 2012 is about quadrupling the load! Heehee! ;)
Thank heaven most of them are vegan and as many know, 2012 will be the year I give up all dairy, egg, and honey products.
However, no more chocolaty larabars. :(
I love them and am thankful for discovery!
Now 2012, not to sound selfish, but what will you bring me?


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