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Triangle Tree Challenge

Triangle Tree Challenge

North Raleigh Ministries is participating in the 5th Annual Triangle Tree Challenge, and we need your vote!

Trees on Display at Diamond View Park

We decorated our tree on the American Tobacco Campus on 12/3 and had a great time watching the other nonprofits bring their themes to life. There are more than 50 beautifully decorated trees on display this year, but only one of us can be crowned the winner.

Baskets of Hope

Our theme is Baskets of Hope to represent our mission of providing support for neighbors in crisis. The baskets on our tree are filled with food, clothing and toys.

Cash Prizes & Bragging Rights

Show your support for a nonprofit that has been helping neighbors in need for the last 10 years and we could win one of 6 cash prizes ranging from $1,000-$5,000 – and bragging rights.

Text “Tree26” to 33733

You can also vote online by visiting TriangleTreeChallenge.com and entering #26.

Daily voting is encouraged

The tree that gets the highest number of votes will be declared the winner, and you can vote once daily through 12/19.

Thanks very much, and Merry Christmas!!

Scandal Episode 404: Like Father, Like Daughter

Scandal Episode 404 Like Father Like DaughterScandal Episode 404: Like Father, Like Daughter shows the chickens coming home to roost for Daddy Pope and Jake, and the last 5 minutes nearly gave me a heart attack with a twist that I saw coming but was not ready to witness. This could be the beginning of the end for Jake so we may as well start planning his funeral now. I’ve got $10 on the casket spray. Oh and it’s also not looking good for that ole two-faced Tom.

The library must have been open late because everyone was getting read tonight!  Cyrus got Abby, Olivia got some evil blackmailers and Fitz hit Smelly Mellie with the read of life that left her needing a shovel to pick up her face. That man said he had been sitting around singing “I Won’t Complain” for long enough!

Karen Grant Wilding Out

The Grant family continues to deal with the emotional fallout following the murder of Gerry, and this time First daughter Karen is the one in trouble. She ditches her security detail to go a rave 500 miles away from her school and calls Olivia for help when she is too wasted to find her way out. Olivia and Quinn go rescue her while Huck kills the cell phone service to the building so that no one would be able to upload any pictures or video to the Internet, but they soon realize that they have bigger problems because Karen made a sex tape with two young men and does not know their identities! The girl was so high that she could not even walk out on her own, so Olivia and Quinn had to prop her up.

Karen Grant Leaving the party

Cyrus is basking in the afterglow with Michael telling him about how sprung he is and being downright affectionate. I guess $2,500 must buy quality action for his nose to be so wide open. His post-coital bliss is interrupted when Olivia calls to tell him to get the President on the phone because his daughter is auditioning to be America’s Next Teen Porn Star. Those crazy kids did something known as the Eiffel Tower, and while I refuse to Google it myself, I hear that it’s really a thing — who knew?

Back at the White House, Fitz goes from being worried about Karen to nearly snatching her up after she gets sassy with him about her exploits. Upon hearing that she took drugs, her concerned dad asked if she was raped, but Karen tells him that he is lame and wonders why he assumes that the boys took advantage of her. Olivia saves her by sending her off for a barrage of STD tests. You’re welcome bratty First daughter.

Fitz asks Olivia to find the boys and kill that tape before it gets out which means that she and her team have to be back in the White House with Abby and Mellie neither of whom are real happy with OPA right now. Also, they are trying to keep this from Mellie who is back to being sad and unwashed on the couch. Abby spots Huck and Quinn in the hall and starts harassing them about being there until Cyrus tells her to mind her business. She accused Cyrus of making her feel small by constantly siding with Olivia but he told her that it was not him but her own jealousy that was doing that and advises her to get her life. “You are not Olivia, you will never be Olivia, and hating Olivia for your own shortcomings will not change that fact.”  Get Red together Mr. Beene!

Daddy Pope meets Tom on a park bench and asks why Jake Ballard is still alive. Rowan warns him that he best handle it or be next on the hit list. Poor Tom. See what happens when you dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight? Right after Rowan leaves, Jake shows up and tells Tom that even if he does kill him he will be the next to die since Command cannot afford to leave any loose ends that could tie him to the President’s son’s death.

Olivia meets Fitz in the White House to let him know that they have identified one of the boys in the tape when he starts asking her where she went when she left town. He assumed that she was alone, and she does not correct him claiming that she needed some time alone. He says that he is sorry about her mother and she tells him not to be sorry because her mother did a terrible thing and ruined them. Girl, you don’t even know the half of it.

David Rosen is basking in his positive press coverage when Jake shows up demanding that he release the B613 files if Command kills him, but David says no. Jake asks for the files back and David says nope again because those files would bring down the government. Jake grabs him and nearly snaps his neck like a chicken bone before David gives him the key to the files.

Smelly Mellie Gets Read

Mellie sees Olivia in the hall, grabs her and demands to know what she is doing in “her house”. Olivia fixed her with a withering gaze and tells her to go ask her husband. She almost went all Marie Wallace on the First Lady because you know Mamma Pope did not raise a punk. My girl backed her up with one look.

Smelly Mellie Gets Physical Scandal Episode 404 Like Father, Like DaughterOlivia About to set it off Scandal Episode 404; Like Father, Like daughter

Mellie assumes that Olivia is there for a rendevouz and goes off on Fitz for bringing her there. He told her that Karen called Olivia because she got in trouble and that Mellie should be glad that she was on it. Mellie makes the mistake of saying that she is the mother, this her family and she is the one who holds everything together and Olivia needs to go. She says she will fix it, and he needs to stay out of the way. If she wants to fix something, she might want to start with a bath and then move on to that bird’s nest on top of her head.

Fitz has had enough and unleashed all the saltiness that he’s been storing up since their son died:

“I have dealt with drunk Mellie and smelly Mellie, and screw everything to hell Mellie and crybaby Mellie and eat everything that is not nailed down Mellie and I have not complained, but I will not put up with whatever righteous history-rewriting Mellie you have going on right here right now. You are not the mother – not since Gerry died. You have mothered no one. You hold nothing together. You pick up no pieces. You are sitting around in booties and a dirty robe eating chips and getting drunk at 11:00 a.m.”Fitz reads Smelly Melly Scandal Episode 404: Like Father, Like Daughter

She had nerve to reply that Karen really takes after him by making a sex tape. Is that is the best she could come up with after that magnificent wig snatchage? And she must have forgotten that Karen busted her on her knees with Andrew not long ago. You can climb down off your high horse madam because your dirty drawers are showing,

Fitz Makes a Move

Karen was able to identify one of the boys by a tattoo, and Quinn tracks him down at his fast food job and makes him talk. He tells her about the other guy, a rich kid from Bethesda whose parents, the Morgans, want to be paid $2.5 million for the videotape. Liv takes the deal to Fitz who is angry, but Olivia advised him to pay them off to spare Karen the embarrassment of having that tape released. He goes from outraged dad to lovesick puppy in less than two minutes. He closes in on Olivia and asks her if she missed him. “Don’t ever leave me like that again. I almost didn’t survive. I almost died without you. Didn’t you miss me?” He moves in for a kiss and she blurts out that she did not go away alone which totally ruined the mood. He backed up and tells her to just say that she went with Jake. She does, and he had nerve to be upset about it. He tells her pay the Morgans and storms off. So the married man is upset that his mistress has a sidepeiece of her own. Cute.

Fitz Macking Olivia Scandal Episode 404: Like Father, Like Daughter

Olivia meets with the Morgans again but this time they are asking for another $500,000 for expenses, and she goes off on them. She takes their pictures and promises to ruin them by leaking their pictures to the tabloids to assassinate their character by claiming that their son set up Karen to blackmail the President. Then she makes them sign papers and they scram with nothing other than a verbal smackdown.

Smelly Mellie goes to Karen and tells her that she understands her pain and that she is going to get one free pass because she is still grieving for her brother. But she warns her that she can’t have any more screw-ups because she is the daughter of a famous man.

The Jig is up for Tom

Fitz ordered an investigation of the Secret Service to find out what happened with Karen’s security detail, and the Inspector General finds a discrepancy in Tom’s schedule. The records indicate that he was in Maryland at a military base when he was supposed to be at the White House in November — the jig is up. Tom calls Jake in a panic, and he tells him to just tell the truth because he has evidence that will clear him. Ah Jake, have you learned nothing after all that time in the hole?

Jake shows up to the White House with his files but Fitz walks out and tells him he will be right back. He then heads over to watch Tom being questioned. Tom says he was acting on orders and was about to spill the beans when in walks Daddy Pope. Tom asks for a lawyer and then asks to speak to the President, but Rowan does not budge. He presents Tom with the evidence showing him at the facility where the bacterial strain of meningitis that killed Gerry was taken and demands to know who gave him the order.

Daddy Pope being wickedTom lying to save Daddy Pope Scandal Episode 404: Like Father, Like daughter

Daddy Pope plays the hell out of Tom telling him that when he leaves the room no one is going to be on his side and that he needs his help. Tom lies and says that Jake gave him the orders. Rowan leans in and gives Tom a meaningful look just before he is cuffed and lead away. Meanwhile Jake, who was already at the White House, was lead off by a group of men.

  • When will these characters learn that Daddy Pope always wins? That man is a wizard of deception and Jake sealed his fate last week during that dinner when he laid all his cards on the table. Hey, it was fun while it lasted.
  • Did Fitz knowingly set Jake up for running off with his boo thing? Or does he really believe that he gave Tom the command to kill his son? While Fitz is petty enough to ice the guy just for being with Olivia, we all know that Daddy Pope is very persuasive. Fitz just might believe him.
  • Will Smelly Mellie get it together for her children’s sake? Not only is Karen wilding out, but according to Fitz baby Teddy thinks that the nanny is his mother because Smelly spends no time with him.
  • What’s next for David Rosen? Those B613 files were his ace in the hole, and he really did rely on them the last couple of times he was backed up against the wall. Will be go back to being a loser? Or will he find another way to step up?
  • Although I do not want to see Fitz and Olivia together, those two do have undeniable chemistry. He is mad now because he found out that she was with Jake, but he’ll get over it just like he did before. But she may not forgive him for killing Jake.

Scandal Episode 401: Randy, Red, Julia and Superfreak

Olivia Pope is back

Olivia chilling on the Beach

Scandal is back!

Season 4 of Scandal opened up with Jake and Olivia relaxing on a beach with him being very attentive. Apparently he had been  listening to some 90’s R&B because he was all like “All I Got Is 15 Minutes,” and suddenly Marc Nelson is relevant again. Ole Jake is still sprung and is really feeling himself in this episode.

We knew this idyllic scene could not last. They ordered a shipment of wine that was delivered by boat, and the captain handed her an envelope containing an article about the death of Harrison Wright. So, it’s really a wrap for Columbus short and they didn’t even take long to settle it. Olivia, now known as Julia Baker, is surprised to get the mail since no one knows her location and the sender did not include a return address.

Olivia returns to DC to bury her friend and finds the OPA office empty and full of old mail and periodicals about the second Grant Administration. Quinn is waiting for her and gloats about how she tracked Olivia to the Island based on her fondness for rare wine. She updates Olivia on what happened with her two other former employees neither of whom is glad to see their old boss.

Huck is now a computer repair guy named Randy and wants no parts of Olivia unless she is back for good. White House Press Secretary Abby is still angry with Olivia for leaving and blames her for Harrison’s death which causes Olivia to tell her to back all the way up and check herself before she wrecks herself.
Pump Your brakes Abbie

Back at the White House, Mellie is a disheveled mess walking around unwashed in a robe with Uggs while eating cereal from the box. At first I thought she was just drunk, but she is still mourning the death of her son and everyone is being very patient with her because of it. She doesn’t even bother to get dressed before going to visit Little Gerry’s grave where she lays down on the grass. Poor Mellie.

tumblr_nchntsmSRg1tqxkrdo2_250

Mourning Mellie is fresh out of damns

 

Portia Di Rossi made an appearance wearing Hillary Clinton’s old hair and a fierce power suit. Werk Mrs. Ellen! She’s playing the new RNC chairman who is in town to get Fitz to play nice with the party because he has been alienating everyone by working with the Democrats. He is also thinking about nominating David Rosen for Attorney General which is a non-starter for the Republicans.

PORTIA DE ROSSI

Portia De Rossi channeling Hillary Clinton

 

Daddy Pope is Back

Olivia meets Daddy Pope for dinner at their regular restaurant. He knew she was in town and ordered her a glass of wine in anticipation of her joining him and gets on her case for coming back. He even had the nerve to say that he was sorry for her loss when she told him that her friend had died. Deadly dad denied having anything to do with it, which we all know is a lie and claimed to have killed Mama Pope at the President’s request. The last time we saw the Notorious MOM she was chilling in the hole, so I am not falling for the okey doke. Nice try Pops.

Daddy Pope Scandal

He’s not really sorry

 

Jake comes back from a burger run to find Olivia moping on the couch about planning Harrison’s funeral.They are interrupted by a young Senate staffer whose female boss may have killed a colleague after a sexual assault at the male senator’s house. The victim says that she met up with her colleague late that night to discuss an Equal Pay bill, but he grabbed her and when she tried to get him off of her, she shoved him,  he fell down and is likely dead.

 

Jake Stakes his Claim

Jake and Olivia are in the sack and she is talking about her new case to the point where he has to tell her to hush up and enjoy the moment. Olivia is not trying to be silenced and starts ranting about how unfair the situation is to the victim because the rapist is getting all the sympathy. She then calls the lawyer representing the Senator and tells him to hold off on making a statement.

Jake knows where this is headed and says that as long as they are in DC she will be tempted by Fitz despite all the knocking of boots that’s been done by the two them – only he was way more graphic about it:  “I’m the one you like to ride. That i’m the one that makes you moan that I’m the one that reaches you in places that he can’t begin to touch.” Sir, it’s only 9:00 pm and this aint HBO. I never really much liked him before, but he is winning me over with this newfound machismo. After he said all that, he got up and strutted off like a peacock.

.Jake getting raunchy jakeII

Olivia figured out that the Senator is lying about being attacked and learns that the real victim was her young staffer.  The female senator knew that the guy was a perv and she used her employee as bait to try to have some leverage over him! The staffer overheard the boss admitting what she’d done and accused the legislator of dangling her in front of the old man like a piece of meat.

Harrison’s funeral is a small gathering only attended by OPA staff and Jake because he had no family and was raised in a group home. Toward the end, we see Daddy Pope watching from his car as Jake consoles a weeping Olivia while Aretha Franklin sangs – not sings -“Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I don’t know what Mr. Pope is up to, but something tells me that he was not there out of purely paternal concern for his daughter.

Harrison's burial

Harrison’s burial with no ushers on duty

Mourning Mellie Lays Down the Law

Mellie is outside looking over the rail of the balcony when Fitz tells her to come in because it’s getting cold. She says that she is not going to jump because she’s not him, and we find out that Fitz attempted suicide after his son’s death. He says he had a bad night and warned her not to mention it again. He also tells her that Olivia is back in town. Mellie says that he must tell her when he sees Olivia to give her time to prepare for sloppy seconds once he comes back home all hot and bothered. Oh and she also mentioned that she stopped waxing, “and it’s 1976 down there.” Yikes. I did not need to know that.

The show concludes with Fitz passing Olivia in the hallway after she finished a press conference with the young senate staffer who had been attacked. She’s decided to represent the girl which means that she is staying in town and is back to wearing the figurative white hat. As she and Fitz pass, neither speaks or acknowledges the other outside of a very subtle hand gesture. Olivia does offer up a faint smirk because she knows as well as the rest of us that those two are never finished and are likely to be locked in a broom closet by the next episode.

Olivia Passing Fitz

Olivia Passing Fitz

 

The season premiere was good and lays the groundwork for a great fourth season, and I have just a few final thoughts.

  • How are they going to have a funeral for Harrison but not James? As much work as some of us put into planning James’ imaginary funeral, surely someone could have given us a heads up or at least used some of our ideas.
  • Where were the ushers during that graveside service? Olivia and them were about to hop down there on top of the casket and there was no one around to hold them back. That was just irresponsible.
  • We never saw the body, so there is a chance that Harrison is not really dead. I’m not saying, I’m just saying. And I’m not the only one speculating.

  • What is the deal with Cyrus’ hair? I know that he is still in bereavement, but that hair is downright disrespectful. He’s never going to find another man looking like a greying cockatoo, and Ella will eventually need a new mommy.
  • I loved the Julia Baker pseudonym  which has to be a reference to the legendary Julia Sugarbaker who is probably one of Mellie’s matriarchs. I wrote about this last week.
  • Is Jake ever going to get tired of being Olivia’s fallback guy? Everyone knows that she thinks the President is her soulmate and will go back to him every time. I just hope that Jake doesn’t turn on her when he finally accepts the truth.

Scandal Season 4

Youtube Beauty School

I have never been good at doing my own hair. You know how some women are flawless at all times and never have a hair out of place? Yeah, that is not me. I just never had the time, patience or skill for it not even when I was relaxing my hair. I would spend so much time in the mirror with the curling iron, usually burning myself in the process, and for all that my hair would still be raggedy by the next morning. Oh and do not even get me started on the breakage that was caused by all that heat styling.

Now that I have been natural for almost two years, I have gotten a little better about managing my hair because caring for my hair without chemicals requires even more time and skill, so I had to buckle down and learn what to do.  I have my hair done professionally most of the time, but I still need to understand how best to manage it own my own particularly in between visits. This is where Youtube Beauty school comes in handy. natural_hair_woes_by_lilbriko-d41ztuv

I have been on Youtube for years watching funny videos of cute pets and kids, but it wasn’t until maybe a year ago that I started watching videos of women explaining their hair care regimens. If you search on “Black Hair” you will find more than 1.4 million videos. Most of these women are not professionals, but they have taken the time to document their process and explain what works for them. Some of the routines are simple while others are quite involved and a lot more work than you would expect. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of hair care expertise, you can probably find videos that will teach you something new. This is especially important when you think about how much some of us spend on our hair. The Small Business Development Clearinghouse (www.sbdcnet.org) estimates that the U.S. Hair care industry is a $20 billion business, and of that, some have estimated that Black women account for somewhere around $9 billion of that spending. That is a lot of money.

In his 2009 documentary  “Good Hair,” Chris Rock explores our obsession with having straight hair even if that means using dangerous chemicals or spending hundreds on a weave. This was way before the natural hair movement took hold, and I would love to know how those numbers have changed in the last couple of years. I did not watch the movie when it first came out because I thought that he was making fun of us for our hair issues, and goodness knows we have been the butt of too many jokes. Having finally watched it, I feel like it was just his attempt to understand what we do to our hair and why we do it. He interviewed women who were spending up to $1,000 on weave, and these were regular folks like school teachers and child care providers. The conventional wisdom is that many of will spend our last dime on our hair even if that means going without the necessities, so more of us learning to take care of our hair on our own without having to pay so much to have it done is a good thing for those who are interested in going that route. Good-Hair

Not only are there videos on how to take care of your own hair, but lately I have been watching videos about how to make and style wigs. My sister has been doing this for a while now, and her daughter is the first person I heard use the term “Youtube Beauty School.” We may joke about it, but my sister has learned some techniques to create wigs that look very realistic. I told her that she could probably make a business out of selling them if she wanted to take it to the next level.

The beauty of the wig, or protective styling as some folks call it, is that you can give your hair a break from daily styling while still looking cute. It gives you options. But you still need to care of your own hair even while wearing a wig – that is if you want to keep hair on your head.

There are some that a critical of these Youtube Beauty gurus, but like anything else, you need to just take what works for you and leave the rest behind. I have definitely benefited from some of these folks, and I am glad about it.