Beyond the Previews: What’s Really ‘Beyond the Lights’

by Jackie

beyond_the_lightsBeyond the Lights is nothing like its trailer, and that’s a good thing. I wrote off seeing it because the previews led me to believe it would be a watered down, sappy version of The Bodyguard. I decided to give it a chance after reading some surprising reviews on Twitter, and I’m glad I did.

Underneath the syrupy love story between Noni Jean (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Kaz Nicol (Nate Parker), the film explores more complex themes like mental health issues, complicated family dynamics, sexism, race, and self-actualization. Though Noni, an exploited pop star, and Kaz, the hero cop who tries to save her from herself, have very different lifestyles, they both struggle with overbearing parents who live vicariously through their adult children. It’s this story that didn’t make the cut in the previews. It’s this story that makes Beyond the Lights a special movie.

I wish I didn’t judge this story by its cover, and had gone to see it earlier.







You’re Invited to the 4th Annual Clothing Exchange!


A*cute and Heart & Sundry invite you to the 4th Annual Clothing Exchange & Trunk Show. Exchange your gently worn business attire, casual clothing, children’s clothing, and accessories.

Attendees will enjoy music, prizes, and light refreshments.

When: Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST

Where: Historic Whitelaw Hotel, 1839 13th St. NW, Washington, D.C. (Located conveniently by the U Street Metro)

Price: Early Bird Fee $15 (First come, first served!); $20 Regular Admission


**Items not exchanged and portion of proceeds to benefit local youth organizations:

New Community for Children, Crittenton Services of Greater Washington, and New Hope.


Lunchtime Links

by Jackie

It’s hump day, celebrate yourself for surviving thriving so far this week! Get into these links while you get into whatever’s in your Tupperware:

Brandy, Queen Latifah, Mc Lyte & YoYo Perform ‘I Wanna Be Down (Remix)’ 

Quarter Century” Season 2 Premiere: Power Rangers [‪#‎QCNY‬: S2Ep1]

Buzzfeed Editor Goes Makeup Free, Learns Important Lesson


(Jenny Chang for BuzzFeed)


Break Up with Workday Stress

by Jackie

You know the feeling: Your phone keeps buzzing, every email in your inbox is marked “URGENT,” and you have to have a meeting on the way to a meeting because your calendar has less space than you did on the train ride to work. I don’t know how it happened, but at some point, we’ve accepted stress as a normal part of life. Over time, these everyday pressures can have adverse effects on how we relate to others, our productivity, and our health. Here are some of my quick fixes for stressful moments:


My BFF sent me this URL via Gchat and I have been sharing it widely ever since. Click if you dare to be calm, and enjoy relaxing scenes from nature and meditative sounds. You can choose to play the scenes on loop or select 2-, 5-, or up to 20-minute guided sessions. Put on your headphones and give yourself a moment of peace.

Take a Walk

(Photo: IG @jax1125)

Constitution Gardens, Washington, DC. (Photo: IG @jax1125)

Unless you work in a hospital, you can take a 15-minute break to take a walk away from your stressful environment and get some fresh air. Don’t forget to leave your cell phone and your iPad behind.

Make Yourself a Calendar Item

Tres Leches, Cuba Libre (Photo: iPhone5)

Tres Leches, Cuba Libre (Photo: iPhone5)

Had to eat lunch at your desk? Again? Make a date with yourself after work to indulge in something sweet. Happy hour can be fun, but the noise of it all can just add more stress to your day. Every once in a while, put some “me time” on your calendar and enjoy your own company. You’ll have something yummy to look forward to throughout the day.

I’m on TV!

by Jackie



Ok, I’m not really on TV (yet), but it sure feels like it with ABC’s Blackish. This is the first sitcom featuring a Black family on a major television network since the days of The Cosby Show, Family Matters, Fresh Prince of Bel Air and others that are now fodder for #ThrowbackThursday. The show follows a Black family living in an upper-middle-class white neighborhood. Every week, the Johnsons deal with situations that I’ve either dealt with as a kid who moved from a mostly Black neighborhood in the Bronx to a paler neighborhood on the other side of the borough, or as an adult in white-dominated spaces.

The teens’ coming-of-age stories, the twins’ comedic timing, the hilarious moments between Dre and his wife, Rainbow, and killer one-liners from Pops, combine to make the show a hit. I’m overjoyed that Blackish is on the air, and will be locked in to ABC on Wednesday nights.

Plus, I get to “hang out” with one of my style icons, Tracee Ellis Ross, every week. What’s not to love?

Check out some of Tracee’s Blackish promo looks:

5 Home Improvement Tips

By A*cute Editors

While many women may be accustomed to revamping their wardrobes for during seasonal transitions, it is also beneficial to seasonally revamp and improve the home. Just as your style and fashion sense is an extension of yourself, so is your home. According Environmental Psychologists, “for many people, their home is part of their self-definition, which is why we do things like decorate our houses and take care of our lawns.”*

If you are looking for ways to update and improve the home without breaking the bank, try simple tricks such as incorporating an accent wall with a bright splash of color, using a rug to anchor a room or using slipcovers to give sofas and chairs a fresh look without purchasing new furniture.

 5 Home Improvement Tips


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Change the Wall Color: If you have had the same wall color for a while, then it may be time to give each room or an individual room an update. Choose a color that will match with the furniture and accessories that you already have in order to prevent the need to purchase additional items once the walls are changed. Furthermore, if you aren’t ready to change each wall, try an accent wall. Accent walls can dramatically enhance a living space without being too overbearing.

Update Old Furniture: From pet hair to lint and every day wear and tear, sofas and chairs can start to look dingy after they’ve been around for a few years. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars to reupholster or purchase new furniture, opt for slipcovers. Sure Fit has a variety of custom fit slipcovers to fit any style living room style – from modern chic to southern charm.

Make Your Home Larger: Brightly colored walls, curtains and mirrors give the illusion of having a larger space. To create an optical illusion, cream and light blues often give rooms the appearance of being more open, bigger and brighter. In addition, mirrors give the illusion of depth. Choose a focal point on a wall and either opt for a large mirror to mount or mirror tiles.

Use a Rug to Anchor a Room: An area rug can serve as an anchor for a room. The color and style can draw the eye’s attention as well as give balance to any room. Additionally, rugs create a warm environment and act as insulation between your bare feet and cold floors.

Kitchen/Bathroom Cleanup: The kitchen and the bathroom should be the cleanest rooms in the home. Think about it, you eat in the kitchen and you clean yourself in the bathroom! Keep both rooms orderly by using trays and baskets as organizational tools. Instead of leaving out unnecessary items on the counters such as mail, robber bands and sponges, a try or basket will neatly hold everything in one place. To create an “apothecary” look in the bathroom, try using Ball mason jars to store items such as cotton balls and q-tips.


* The Atlantic: :”The Psychology of Home:” Why Where You Live Means So Much (December 30, 2011)