A December to Remember

The Holiday season is one of my favorite times of year. I really love Christmas decorations, and the fact that for a few weeks out of the year everyone just buys into this idea of “the Holiday spirit” or “Christmas cheer.” I think the case could be made that I face most things with the attitude of Ron Swanson – but not Christmas.

And for this year in particular, I’ve chosen to make a conscious effort to get the most out of this month long celebration and this was the result ….

It’s probably a little bit difficult to see but I basically “assigned” a specific Holiday activity for each day beginning December 1st. There are a lot of things on there that I’ve never done – like build a gingerbread house or my little Christmas art project so I’m looking forward to those. This probably has no place on a blog but hey – it’s a fun idea and I think my serotonin levels will thank me.

The Comeback (Part 3)

I’ve been stalling and avoiding writing another Comeback update. The push to begin this blog was both self- improvement and to develop a creative space where I could consistently push out written content that would help me improve as a writer, express my opinions, and serve as a way to legitimize trying a lot of new things that I would not have otherwise tried or done (example: whatever that Rihanna thing was, filming Youtube videos, or “consistently” posting on Instagram ).

I chose the name “HARPOGOALS” for my Instagram handle and as the name of this blog (the runner- up names were homebody and unsolicited) because I felt it encompassed the aim of this whole endeavor. Sure, I like Oprah as much as the next gal – but the purpose behind the name was to capture the spirit behind what I’m trying to do more so than it was an Oprah fan girl moment.

This entire project is a way to make good on my dreams before I allowed fear, rejection, or procrastination to take me on a detour. From an absurdly young age, I was really interested in magazines. These would include People, Ok!, Life & Style, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, etc. I would look at celebrities outfits or make- up and try to recreate the looks. If you know me now or from 2016 forward – that’s probably not what you’d expect I spent time doing. And if I wasn’t doing that, I was always looking at magazines and creating collages.

In addition to this weird obsession with magazines, I was also pretty outspoken. I loved goofing around and speaking in front of the class. That was all around the time that I would respond “Oprah” when family or friends asked me what I wanted to be. I can’t say that I was an Oprah “stan.” I was only in the 5th or 6th grade but I was cognizant enough to recognize that she was a TV personality and (even better) she had her own magazine. She wore more than one hat .

In later years I became more shy and that response morphed into “I want to be an author.” However, I didn’t even really know how one goes about writing a book. (Still don’t, but it’s on the to-do list).

As time passed and life happened, I didn’t have the guts or the follow- through to stick with what seemed like outlandish dreams. Instead, I opted for a more tried and true path. For me, becoming a lawyer seemed like a great fit for my curious nature and interest in writing. Further, serving in the role as an advocate is really worthwhile work.

However, dreams are irreplaceable. While they may not take the place of your day – job, there is something about the sense of fulfillment you’re left with when you realize that you went after it – that thing that you gave up on for whatever reason.

So, this blog is MY magazine as well as my accountability tracker. And it has been a bit more involved than I originally thought. If you were to ask me before giving this a try, I would have responded that I have these really interesting ideas or thoughts that I’d love to write and flesh out.

Since actually doing this, I’ve learned that I only use the same three transition words or phrases and that those ideas come a lot less frequently than I once thought. (I’ve maybe had one and I didn’t even publish the post because it wasn’t as novel an idea as I originally thought).

Nevertheless, I’m going to push myself to just write and get things out there – even if I have to be jolted by writing prompts or current events at first. That’s where I’m at with that and hopefully it provides more context for this blog that seems to just be trail mix (a bunch of stuff in a bag).

In terms of self- improvement, I don’t think it’s something that I can measure or even want to measure. However, I think that I’ve made a lot of strides in self – care and in processing shortcomings. I’d love to see myself working out more and this week will definitely be a make or break week for this diet that I cheated on from November 26th – 29th. Lastly, I’ve discovered this really dope Youtube channel – Rowena Tsai – YouTube that really helped me uncover a lot of reasons why I may not have always worked optimally in certain areas. This week I want to set attainable goals of: 1. Drafting out a Set of Systems to Support Reaching my goals (as noted by Rowen Tsai and taken from the author of Atomic Habits), 2. Read at least 20 minutes each day this week (will be starting Atomic Habits), and 3. Get back on this diet and intentionally work out.

There’s always so much more left to say and work on but I’ll leave some for additional posts this week and weeks to come. One hint – I will be working on pushing myself into either going the Youtube route or Podcast route soon. I don’t have a strong idea of what that will even look like but this should all either be interesting or humiliating and for me, both are a win.

Did Tyson v. Jones Jr. Deliver?

The exhibition bout on November 28, 2020 was the only boxing attraction for all of 2020. Prior to Covid – 19, we were preparing to see the Wilder v. Fury trilogy or Fury v. Joshua. Instead, we ended up with a boxing bout that had everyone eager in anticipation –   Mike Tyson v. Roy Jones Jr .

 If you’ve been keeping up with Mike Tyson recently, you’d know that he is a sports dad to his tennis playing daughter, denounced fighting due to his ego, and  has a lucrative career in the podcasting space and weed industry. Even though he has spent much of the past few years saying he would never fight again – it appears the adage “never say never” rings true. The fighter insisted that the evening would be more about entertainment and philanthropy than establishing a winner and a loser.

Many of us were nervous for both fighters. Mainly, nervous that Roy Jones Jr. would get struck with a disastrous blow by Tyson and that Tyson may have reactivated his ego and killer instinct. Those fears were calmed as viewers began to see a more composed Tyson in the ring. There may not have been a devastating defeat between the boxers, but Tyson defeated his own demons. After consciously avoiding exercise and fighting for years out of worry of his own nature, he mastered both. This was extremely evident in the post-fight interview.

There was, however, an established winner of the undercard fight between Jake Paul and Nate Robinson. While basketball players and basketball fans around the world were certain that Nate Robinson’s athleticism would lead him to victory, the more seasoned and technical fighter – Jake Paul in this instance – walked away with the “W.”  The fight was short and scrappy, ending in a 2nd round knockout.  (See https://youtu.be/Xd8vSZevUf8 ).

In sum, it was a fair event (see the following link to check out the Tyson v. Jones Jr. event https://youtu.be/ftIvJJ5OtN0 ). Despite the 15-year hiatus, Tyson looked like the more in shape fighter. I am curious to see what the PPV stats are and how this translates to Triller downloads.  (There are rumors that there were more pay-per-view purchases than Mayweather v. McGregor).

At the end of the fight, Tyson seemed to make it clear that he wanted to continue to host exhibition bouts with legendary fighters. There may be mixed feelings around same.  Due to the nature of it being exhibition rather than a fight, fighting fans may only tune in again if they can get to see true legends return to the ring.  Additionally, if they can continue to guarantee interesting undercards (similar to the Jake Paul v. Nate Robinson fight) with former pro- athletes, celebrities, and social media stars they will attract new eyes to the sport of boxing.

All in all, yesterday’s event gave us all a sporting event to get excited about and made us realize that we want to watch more fights with Uncle Snoop.

STAYING INSIDE THIS CHRISTMAS? HERE’S A LIST OF TOP CHRISTMAS SONGS TO GET YOU IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Donny Hathaway – This Christmas

Jackson 5 – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby

The Supremes – Silver Bells

Los Ninos Cantores de Prado –  El Burrito Sabanero

Johnny Mathis – We Need a Little Christmas

Kanye, Prynce Cy Hi & Teyana Taylor – Christmas in Harlem

Destiny’s Child- 8 Days of Christmas

Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You (HER ENTIRE CHRISTMAS ALBUM REALLY)

Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me

N’Sync – Merry Christmas, Happy Holiays

Stevie Wonder – What Christmas Means to Me

Nat “King Cole”  – The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)

The Beach Boys – Little Saint Nick

The Eagles – Please Come Home for Christmas

Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas (album)

Vince Guaraldi Trio – Christmas Time is Here

Dean Martin – Let it Snow                                                   

George Michaael and Andrew Ridgley– Last Christmas 

Brenda Lee – Rockin Around the Christmas Tree

Chuck Berry  – Run Rudolph Run

Stevie Wonder – Someday at Christmas

Bing Crosby – Winter Wonderland

Andy Williams – It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Size 16 Recreates Rhianna’s Looks Using Only Items In Her Closet

Rhianna has been heralded as a fashion icon since 2008 at least. She was one of the first mainstream, black songstresses that chose edgy and otherwise non-traditional looks.  So, when I decided that I wanted to re-create a celebrity’s “looks” – choosing Rhianna was a no – brainer. And thus, “Size 16 Re-Creates Rhianna’s Looks Using Only Items In Her Closet” was born.  

This was kind of low- hanging fruit and not exactly revolutionary blogging material, but I think there was enough merit in it to make it justifiable.

  • It is always interesting to see someone that is a size 16 recreate looks that work on a size 2.  And it is not just the difference in sizes but the difference in body types. For example, one of the looks that I was psyched to wear – looked terrible on me. 
  • For me, it was a really good way to revive some clothes that I was only wearing in one way.  AND it got me looking at shoes I no longer wear and trying to see how I can incorporate those into an outfit. It was almost like shopping in your own closet and realizing that you have more options than you think.
  • It is also on theme.  I know this blog seems like it is just a smorgish board of whatever I feel like writing about – but  it was meant to be both a creative outlet and a journal for the things I’m learning and thinking while  working on myself.  In my opinion, part of working on yourself includes your appearance and your clothes. A great outfit can make you feel so confident and pretty.

Also, if you can take a weekend and try doing something like this, I do recommend it. Especially, if you are considering signing up for one of those subscription services that styles you. First, try playing around in your closet and recreating looks you admire.

  • I don’t think it was a terrible re-creation. I would probably like it with the vest open or looser but I spilled foundation on my shirt and was trying to hide it. think it’s cute and not something I would’ve put together on my own.

The second Rihanna look is a classic one.

Underwhelming. I mean the re-creation is cute for what it is and this feels like an outfit I’ll coordinate when in between hair appointments.

The last look was totally something I’d wear.

Was this the groundbreaking work that it is going to get me closer to my goals – probably not, but I got to take a couple photos and feel pretty for an hour or two. Me -1, Depression-0 .

Where are the Deontay Wilder fans?

My Dad used to love boxing.  I can remember being in our living room with the T.V.  on and watching the fight when Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear. After that era of heavyweights aged out, I can’t really remember watching any boxing.

The Floyd Mayweather era completely passed me by.  I might have watched 1 or 2 fights at a social gathering. I also missed the Manny Pacquiao era. I can only recall the Pacquiao v. Thurman fight in 2019. I certainly had no real clue who Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder were.

Around the second half of 2019, I began listening to a good amount of the Joe Rogan Podcast. The episodes that quickly became some of my favorites were the ones where  fighters or coaches would come on  the show and break down the mentality of a fighter  – whether it be the  diet, the confidence, the dedication, or the perseverance.

It’s a sport everyone can relate to. Everyone has their own battle to fight- from the cancer patient to the college student. (There is a valid argument that this  same discipline exists in every sport but there is something about it being 1 on 1 rather than  it being a team effort)

From that point on,  I really just decided to learn more about it for both the entertainment and inspiration aspects.   

That’s where Deontay Wilder came in. If I was going to get into this sport – I needed to become a fan of a fighter.

As far as his back story, he  was clearly a family man who had gotten into boxing originally as a chance to provide medical care for his daughter.  While his leg movement and positioning has been a constant source of criticism, he had an undeniable gift – what is referred to in boxing as “power.”  It is often said that Wilder is not the most technically proficient fighter.  However, his knock out power is undeniable and that is –  as Teddy Atlas once put it – “the great equalizer.”  

What made it really clear that Deontay Wilder was my guy,  was his vision to bring the heavyweight boxing division back to the glory days of Sonny Lipton, Smokin Joe Frazier, Ali, Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, and Mike Tyson. Along with his desire to become (or for there to be) an undisputed heavyweight champion – two things that would only serve to improve the sport.

 I watched Wilder v. Ortiz 2 and next up, was Tyson Fury. Wilder v. Fury 2 was really THE chance for Deontay Wilder to make his case for being the unified champion. There was a lot of hype for this fight. Tyson Fury was working with a different trainer and there were rumors that he was going to go for the knock-out. Based on those rumors and others, a lot of analysts were leaning towards a Wilder win, but nobody was bold enough to count Fury out.

After months of waiting for the day to arrive, Wilder ultimately lost the fight. After the fifth round, it became tough to watch.  However, fans were still holding onto hope. However, once Wilder became unable to  regain his balance and appeared to have ruptured his ear drum, his (former) trainer Mark Breland threw in the towel.

It was a tough loss, maybe even a demoralizing loss, but isn’t that where the champions are made? The really big losses are what show you what is in you.

So, it was so difficult to watch the video that surfaced wherein Wilder made allegations that his former trainer spiked his water and a second allegation that Tyson Fury cheated.  Let’s say that those allegations are true, at this point they are unsupported. There’s no drug test wherein Wilder tested positive for some foreign substance and there hasn’t been any investigation supporting the position that Fury cheated It is, for lack of a better phrase – sucker sh*t. There’s a right and a wrong way to lose. We’ll see how this continues to pan out but that video was disappointing. In other news, this week we should hear the fate of Fury v. Wilder 3.

(Note: This is written by a flawed human being and isn’t mean to be a harsh criticism just a genuine reaction)

The Comeback (Part 2)

I’m on this journey because I want to radically improve my life but it can be a little overwhelming. Rather than getting overwhelmed with all the information and ultimately doing nothing with any of it.  I figured I’d try my hand at implementing just a few good habits.

In order to do that, I’m going to take a few things from the list and put them into practice for the next 30 days. That doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning them after 30 days. In fact, I’m hoping that they’ll become a real routine and I can then implement the next 3 or 4 habits.  

The three things I’m going to focus on for the next month are: exercising 3-4 times a week, practicing positive affirmations daily, and my diet (which also means a lot more water and a lot more cooking).  

It is worth mentioning that working on “positive” habits doesn’t instantly make you happier. I know exercise gives you endorphins and a balanced diet can improve your mental health, but let’s be honest –it’s not immediately gratifying. Honestly, even doing the work to change your mindset is taxing. However, it is entirely worth it when you consider the alternative.

How do you implement new habits? Are there any tricks you’ve learned along the way? Please let me know and continue to check the blog.

Plus Size Style Tip (Part 1)

A definite part of this whole “comeback” is losing some of the weight that I piled on. I’ll know I’ve hit my goal when I’m back at my old clothing size and can wear a bodycon dress again.

When I first gained the weight, I had no clue where to shop. These are just a few practical things I learned along the way that worked for me personally. If you have any tips – please share yours in the comments because I’d love to learn more.

  • Avoid REALLY cheap clothes

At first, I thought that I’d only buy cheap clothes because I didn’t want to waive the white flag and surrender to being overweight. However, I quickly learned that was not a good idea. It might actually be more important to stay away from cheaper clothes when you’re overweight. A good cut and good material can make you look a lot better.

For business or business – casual clothing, I found New York & Company – which I’ll probably still shop at once I lose the weight. The trick is you have to shop with them online. It’s a great place to get plus-size sweaters, jackets, a dress, blouse, or solid pant.

Another good option for business or event clothing is Eloquii.  If I’m not mistaken it’s owned or partially owned by Reese Witherspoon. They have some really good quality pieces. This might be a bit of a reach but I’d say they’re a good replica of BCBGMaxazria for bigger girls.

  • Styles

The number one thing I can not live without is outerwear. My go-to is a light weight duster. You can find them in various styles. It helps to camouflage any problem areas.

My number two item is a jean jacket. Like a cardigan or a duster it just hides the tummy area and the arms. And it’s easy to pull off with a casual dress, or a graphic t-shirt and jeggings.

Photo from Fashionnova

My number three thing is a button down shirt.  I have so many button down shirts it makes no sense. You don’t have to wear them tucked in so it hides belly fat and you can make it casual, business, or party.

Photo from Amazon

Holiday Gift Ideas 2020

Gift Ideas for your Gal Pals, Mom, or Sister Ranging from $50-$100.

  • Happy Box

I love happy box. You get to pick from 30 gift items, select a unique gift box, and then select the perfect card. They have items from corkcicle champagne “flutes” and “wine glasses” to socks, lotions, snacks, and tons of novelty items like Ruth Bader Ginsburg tea bags. If you have a best friend or a sister – this will be a cute gift.

  • This is _______ ‘s Hallmark Christmas Movie Watching Blanket

I am a complete sell- out for Christmas. One thing I do every year is watch Hallmark Christmas movies. Thus, the Christmas Movie Watching Blanket. I got mine on Etsy and I really like it. Another option, is you can go to to Collage.com and take a family Christmas photo and have that made into a blanket as a special gift for someone.

  • Affordable Jewelry

a.) Tory Burch Bracelet –

It’s an affordable brand that almost everyone will wear. It’s just one of those brands that is universally liked and a lot of their pieces are just simple and can be worn at any occasion.

b.) Oak & Luna –

They’re real silver and real gold (some are gold – plated) pieces that you personalize or customize for the recipient.  It’s a great gift for a special occasion or even buy a nameplate for yourself.

  • Pick an Item off of Oprah’s Favorite Things List

You can head straight to Amazon and shop Oprah’s Favorite Things List. You’ll likely find a gift for your mom, sister, best friend, cousin, and Aunt on that list. Some of the items that stand out to me include: the Twelve AM Co. fluffy slippers, 54 Thrones beauty butter and Ayesha Currry’s cast iron dutch oven set. Honestly, there are so many other great items and a lot of the items this year come from small, black owned businesses (for example, the Pear Nova nail polish).

  • Olaplex Gift Set

There isn’t a woman alive who won’t ultimately be grateful for the Holiday Gift set from Olaplex. It’s a really great hair care system that works for ALL hair types. Their $60.00 gift set is a steal.

These are just a few options. I’m going to definitely do another one of these and see if I can find other gifts at as because it looks like that’s my situation this Christmas. I’ll also do one for guys. And please, if you have any go – to gifts, share in a comment or on my Instagram.

What I’m into Lately

Admittedly, I’m an introvert, homebody, and hermit. This means that I have entirely too much time on my hands, and as a natural consequence; I fall into various rabbit holes on YouTube and Netflix. There was a month period in 2019 where I consumed every Biggie and Tupac documentary ever made. I also went through a “la cosa nostra” phase where I watched most, if not all, documentaries on the Gambino family. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it.

This week I ran into the Barstool Sports Youtube Account. I’m not really a sports girl, so there was absolutely no reason to click on one of these videos. I’m not even entirely sure how it weaseled its way onto my home page. Nevertheless, it has been on a loop ever since.

Barstool is a sports media company – they’re on radio, have multiple podcasts, a huge social media presence, and a blog. However, they started as an independent, small – town newspaper  that grew as a result of their unwavering commitment to the work.

The founder has everything you’d want in a “Genius/ Founder/ Owner” archetype. He’s a smart guy that bet on himself, he has that gritty “got it out of the mud” backstory, but maintains the ability to laugh at himself.  The catch is that as a leader, he’s more King Joffrey than Jon Snow.

The draw, for me, is their Youtube series Stool Scenes. It follows a bunch of guys that work for Barstool Sports in different capacities. It’s got elements of The Office and even Parks & Recreation, as it shows the highs and the lows of working at a fast – paced media company.  

The real gold is the fact that there are a group of people who went all in on their dream job. It shows the value of working as a team and the reward in taking the risk of building the life you want. I think that’s something everybody can cheer for.