Queen Esther

is running errands and then she's hitting the gym. (Hard.)



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get my teeth fixed (regardless of cost) (read all 5 entries…)
almost done

after being told i’d wear braces for two years and then invisalign for more than a year, i was reassessed and given invisalign for 20 weeks. i’m done as of the end of february. then comes more oral surgery – crowns for implants, abutments and probably more bone. bring it on. i’m ready. at this rate, it could take another year but at least one quadrant in my mouth will be done by this summer. maybe two before the end of the year.

i can’t believe how much getting my teeth done has changed my face. i can see the difference in photos. i’m actually prettier by my own overly analytical nature and that’s really annoying because for a long time i told myself that it didn’t matter that my teeth were crooked. i was dead wrong. it mattered a lot.

of course, i’ll have to wear a retainer forever. who cares. if that’s the price i have to pay to look like this, i’ll take it. ditto for eating clean and working out every day.

(this will probably get me a LOT of on camera work…)



get my teeth fixed (regardless of cost) (read all 5 entries…)
yay!

after many strange twists and turns and a TON of bone grafting and implants, i’ve got invisalign. i had too much bone loss for braces. (!!!) the GREAT news is, i’ve got to wear them until march.

finally – a light at the end of the tunnel. and it’s not an oncoming train!



Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
more!
  1. i’m grateful for my excellent german sound engineer.
  2. ultra-grateful for skype – it’s allowed us to work the mixes for my album, for FREE.
  3. i’m especially grateful for the songs that worked their way out of me, to make this art.
  4. guitars, guitars, guitars!
  5. the piano i must practice more often – and get tuned.


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
...so much gratitude...
  1. i’m grateful for God’s presence in my moment-to-moment life.
  2. i’m grateful for intuition, that sixth sense, the ability to simply know things. when i listen to it, when i let go and trust it, it’s never wrong.
  3. i’m grateful that my marriage is more beautiful than my wedding.
  4. i’m grateful that i’m following through all the way, truly committed to doing the purely physical hard work that it takes, the hard choices that must happen in order for me to transition into on-camera work: namely, i’m losing weight; i’m getting my teeth fixed (thank God for invisalign); and i’m growing my hair out (go team natural). everything is coming together, at long last – finally. it’s nothing short of a miracle.
  5. i’m grateful that i wake up with more and more ideas – songs, lyrics, plotlines, recipes. you name it. i don’t know if any of it is good or not but there sure is a lot of it. i wonder where it comes from.


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
muchas gracias!
  1. good friends (that are family, really)
  2. wisdom (and that can only come from God)
  3. my inner drive – that thing that compels me to make art, irregardless of genre
  4. the ability to think critically and clearly
  5. an insightful nature that sometimes feels almost clairvoyant


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
...today...
  1. my life, my health and my strength – the basics
  2. my friends who are sent by God to be my sisters and brothers
  3. a stay-at-home mental health day of reading, writing and guitar practice
  4. violent summer storms – kills a heatwave like nothing else!
  5. giant ice cream sandwiches – so good, i’m starting to wonder if i can improve on them!


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
everyday miracles!
  1. my lean strong healthy body – thank you, Jesus!
  2. my independence
  3. my fun-time hobby – baking depression-era pies and winning pie contests! – that’s growing into a money-making opportunity
  4. having the time and energy every morning to daydream, explore and imagine
  5. the ability to check out library books online and read them on my phone (WOW.)


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
grateful
  1. the way God reveals myself to me at the right moment in my life, for all of what that’s worth (or maybe i’m just letting go of my fear and stepping into something new for the first time)
  2. my beautiful friends, near and far
  3. my beautiful soft, supple, glowingly healthy brown skin – no stretch marks, no wrinkles, no acne, no nothing!
  4. my ability to reinvent/refine/improve myself with each passing year, ultimately turning the clock backwards
  5. the way i put myself/my ideas into whatever i cook/bake, making it my own


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
yay!
  1. the restorative power of deep, deep sleep
  2. shea butter – SO all-purpose
  3. God’s ability to talk to me in dreams
  4. the ability to electronically send (just about) anything in a snap!
  5. my ever-strengthening ever-increasing levels of self-control


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
more and more and more
  1. having the passion and the willingness to wear myself out physically for boxing and mixed martial arts
  2. the sun – it’s such a glorious little miracle to see it rise and set every day
  3. length retention for my hair in its natural state
  4. my innate ability to turn my hair into art
  5. the eat clean program


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
thankful
  1. wit – always surprising when it comes from me and intoxicating when it comes from someone else
  2. an endless supply of fresh fruit
  3. insight
  4. wheatgrass
  5. the spectacular beauty of a harlem sunset


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
more gratitude
  1. the creative impetus that compels me to make art
  2. a childlike sense of wonder about the world that overwhelms me when i least expect it
  3. the grace of God
  4. oversleep – can’t get my head together without it
  5. clean water – my life would be so different without this, too


Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 11 entries…)
this is something i should do everyday

someone suggested that i do this awhile ago, to stay in a place of gratitude consciously. eventually, this will probably be much harder than it sounds – and it shouldn’t be.

for the moment, these are the things that float to the surface effortlessly.

  1. my life and
  2. God’s presence in it
  3. MPB
  4. stellar physical/mental health
  5. emotional maturity


Go to graduate school (read all 2 entries…)
Great news, sports fans!

I just found out a few weeks ago that I got accepted to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts MFA program – dramatic writing for musical theater. It’s a two year program, it is intense and it would mean fully immersing myself in the creative collaborative process. If all goes well, I’ll start in the fall. It’s a real kick in the head, just knowing that I made the cut and I’m bright enough and talented enough to be a part of such an illustrious program. I feel especially grateful – and sweetly relieved.

The application process was harrowing, in a way. Once I completed all of the paperwork (which was as thick as a small town phone book, and no I’m not exaggerating), there was an applicant’s weekend where we were arbitrarily paired off, librettists with composers, and asked to write a five minute script to song in a day from a list of about 10 prompts. yes, that’s right – we had ONE day, more or less. we met on friday evening, worked on our idea saturday and presented on sunday at high noon.

The process was unexpected, for me at least, but I totally get it now. The faculty needed to see us work under pressure as strangers because that’s pretty much what we’ll be doing in the program. You can’t necessarily teach someone how to collaborate – and collaboration is the absolute backbone of what they do there. It’s a bigger part of what creating a musical is all about.

That was trippy – sitting in the lounge area that Friday evening, listening to everyone introduce themselves and unravel their stories: where they were from, how they got here from there, what their lives were like, their hopes and dreams. It felt like the first day of school. Or something.

It helped a great deal that I got really lucky with my random choice when I was paired with Benjamin Gammerman, a recent NYU graduate from Long Island. He was pretty much bubbling over with snippets of little ditties at all times. He’s the kind of guy that can turn anything into a song. Not only that but he was open, friendly and willing to start working right away. An added bonus was that we both have pianos (in case we got stuck and couldn’t get to the rehearsal studios) but the real kicker was that he lived four blocks away from me.

Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn’t luck at all. God threw me a bone.

I don’t mind putting my life on hold to pull this off, if I must. I’m already writing musicals. This week has me in Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theater for a performance residency that will culminate in 2 performances this weekend. One of them is already sold out. (No pressure…)

I have always believed in having something solid and meaningful to show for my time, especially in a place like New York City, where one can burn through time exponentially without even realizing it. Two years goes by in this city in a matter of months. I have friends who are already figuring out what their options are for retirement, and they’re in their 30s. (Egad.)

The real work with graduate school? Figuring out how to pay for it. Stay tuned.



get out of debt
i'm almost there!

all of my credit cards are paid off and shredded and i’m chipping away at my student loans, slowly but surely. the next financial windfall i get – and i don’t mean the lotto, folks – will pay that off. i can’t even begin to tell you how good that felt, turning those cards into confetti. to be completely honest with you, it felt like freedom.

as it turns out, there’s a very good reason for that.

in proverbs 22:7, the bible says “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” ew. slavery? really? imagine that. and you thought they ended slavery in this country ages ago. you don’t have to be a greedy and materialistic to pull this off. if you owe up to your eyeballs nowadays (and you probably do if you’re a college graduate), you’re a debt slave. with consumerism at an all time high, the banks have found a convenient, high yield interest way to enslave all of us. the bottom line is, you don’t really own anything that you call yours – especially your home – until you’ve paid for it, in full. this has me rethinking everything i own and want: mending and refurbishing whatever i want to keep, eradicating impulse shopping and paying for everything in cash.

sounds simple enough: if you want to be free, stay out of debt.
the bible’s perspective on money is very interesting. God doesn’t seem to mind the wealthy – but He can’t stand greed, or those who take advantage of the poor or less fortunate.

all i know is, i can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. and it looks glorious.



get my teeth fixed (regardless of cost) (read all 5 entries…)
this is so expensive - and it shouldn't be...

like a lot of people i know, i ran out of money awhile ago. i went into survival mode and had to drop my big plans to fix my teeth so i could pay my rent. many moons passed. as God would have it, i saw an ad in amazon local offers to get a free x ray and exam recently. time was not about to stand still for me. i knew what i had to do. i went in and got back on that horse.

so what’s the rush, you might ask. why are you pushing so hard to do this – and why now.

the truth is, healthy teeth and gums should be a priority for everyone. people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. my teeth and gums affect my heart – seems farfetched, right? not really. oral bacteria can get into the blood stream through infected gums and flow to the heart by attaching to fatty plaque in the arteries, contributing to clot formation and doing all kinds of complications: swelling of the arteries, stroke. and yeah, it gets worse. (yeesh.)

my overall physical health is a big priority for me right now. when i was younger, i could eat anything, stay up all night, not work out and everything was sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. i was a size 4 effortlessly. and now? to quote big maybelle, it ain’t like that no mo’. the bottom line, for me? if i want my face and my body to look and feel a certain way, i have to work for it. smoking (anything), drinking alcohol, recreational drugs – thank God that was never my thing. probably because i was too broke/cheap to pull it off. so that’s not a hump i have to get over. i’ve gotten rid of a lot of bad eating habits and for the most part, i eat clean. i exercise to the point of complete exhaustion every single day, thanks to my love of boxing. the body i had when i was in college is finally coming back to me. naturally, my teeth and gums should come back, too.

i don’t get it. people will put more time and money and attention into their car – check-ups, oil changes, shiny rims, sound systems – than they will put into their own health and well-being. they can’t tell you the last time they went to the doctor for a basic check up, but they’ve got 50 pairs of expensive shoes. they scoff at organic foods – “that’s so expensive!” – but they’ve got
a closet filled with the latest designer clothing. and going to the dentist? unthinkable. you go to the dentist when there’s a problem, when there’s unimaginable pain or when a tooth inadvertently falls out. you don’t just go to the dentist.

i don’t even want to get into health insurance rates, why we need a national plan, and how idiotic it is that we consider ourselves to be the greatest nation on earth but we don’t have one.

so here’s my current trajectory. i had to get my wisdom teeth pulled, which was earth shattering. there’s another round of dental work that happens within two weeks and then i wait for everything to heal and fuse with my bone. that should take 6 to 9 months.

once that happens, i get braces. i will probably wear them for two years. when the braces come off, i will have the beautiful hollywood smile of my dreams. more importantly, my periodontist says i’ve added 20 years to my life – and taken more than 20 years off my age – by doing this.

the good news? because i’m an actor, i can write off all the dental work on my taxes as a necessary work expense. so, there’s my silver lining.

see you in 2014.



write a musical (read all 3 entries…)
...i am over the moon...

i finally finished a rough draft of the libretto that’s going to be a part of a monthly music series at harlem’s apollo theater in april, so i consider this goal done, done and done.

getting it produced will be a whole other ball of wax…



Create my Kickstarter Video
Yay! I did it!

I needed to finish my Black Americana album, so I turned to Kickstarter for help. They said a video would garner more attention for my project and although I had no idea how to put it together, I found chris carlone, a cool videographer-for-hire, and we made it happen in under 4 minutes. It’s a 48 day campaign (we’re on day 44 now – excitement!) – and it’s all or nothing, so if I don’t reach that number, I get no funds.

If you’d like to see the video and my Kickstarter page, please click here. and as always, thank you for your support.

xo
qe
http://about.me/queenesther



master cleanse (read all 3 entries…)
...i'm not so sure about tthis one...

i wanted to do the master cleanse because i wanted to lose weight fast. the thing is, according to every nutritionist i’ve referenced on and off line, there’s no healthy way to pull that off. it’s actually referred to as a fad diet. i actually tried it twice and ended up ravenous and obsessing about food. i live a pretty high octane, action-packed life in nyc. i’m way too busy and way too physical to starve myself.

dr. alejandro junger’s clean program is a much better option.

it’s basically a very simple approach that has you remove all the processed foods out of your diet, along with anything else you could possibly be allergic to, like nightshade vegetables and corn. no salt. no sugar or sweeteners. no seafood. no beef or pork. and that ain’t all. your food intake is stripped down to the essentials. it’s quite a list.

did i lose weight? yep. more importantly, though, i began to think differently about food and eating and i learned what it means to eat clean and why it’s important. i even kept a journal to document all this.

at this point, i’m convinced that eating clean, not eating at night and working out almost every day has given me my body back. the bottom line is, there are no short cuts. doctors and nutritionists agree with me on this one – if you really want to lose weight, eat less food.



write a musical (read all 3 entries…)
GREAT news!

i just booked a performance workshop series at dixon place on thursday september 29 for a “musical” i’m assembling called the billie holiday project! this is an idea that i performed at the historic lenox lounge at the first annual harlem jazz shrines in may of this year. i wanted to grow it and i wasn’t sure how or if i could even pull it off in new york city because i hadn’t developed anything here through conventional means in awhile and i didn’t know the lay of the land. i still don’t, but i’m feeling my way along and i’m enjoying the process.

this is the way you do something new. i’ve originated work before. i know the trajectory very well. one step at a time, one moment at a time, one idea at a time – getting all of it up on its legs every season, getting a run where you can and shaping it as it goes along.

but that’s not the kicker.

the kicker is that i just confirmed with the apollo theater’s sound stage for their monthly music cafe series for may 11 and 12, 2012. i’ll also be performing there for harlem jazz shrines for those dates.

yeah, i’m over the moon. once i land, mpb and i will celebrate.

still submitting this idea for workshop opportunities all over the place. and yeah, i’m still waiting to find out if i’ve been chosen as a librettist for the bmi musical theater workshop. let’s see what develops. when anything gets confirmed, you will be the first one i tell.

happy summer!



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