Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi plays Zoey on ABC’s Black-ish. She’s only 16 years old and already brands herself as a budding humanitarian and activist (her words). I recently ran across Yara’s work on Tracee Ellis Ross’s Instagram page. Tracee wrote, 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾I don’t remember being this ‘woke’ or this clear when I was her age, but intelligent, conscious young women like my TV daughter @YaraShahidi give me so much hope for the future! After reading Tracee’s statement, I was intrigued so I watched the short video of Yara on Tracee’s Instagram page before finding and listening to her full speech on YouTube.

2-minute video snippet. Here are two of my favorite quotes from Yara’s speech at the 2016 Conference on Volunteering and Service (blog post):

  • Children are the anomaly if they succeed, the expectation if they fail.

  • I’m cool plus I’m black which is cool so I win twice ✌🏽️

Click the image below for more pics of Yara at the BET Awards.


The Ultimate Entertainment Package

Today I’m reviewing my ultimate entertainment package – a list of my must have services to keep you going while you wait, when you’re in between tasks or just when you need something to do! There are a lot of things I could have added, one-offs like TED Talks, but this list includes only things I do on a very regularly bases. In no particular order:

InstagramTHE best place to view (pretty) pictures. I mostly follow people who buy/display pretty things: handbags, shoes, jewelry, other accounts that post funny videos and travel-related things. I’m not on it to gain followers or friends. I also don’t care about likes.

TwitterMy goto for trending topics. At any given moment I can see the top 10 things the country/world is talking about. I also regularly use it when I’m watching shows/sporting events to see what other people are saying about the topic.

SpotifyMust have music streaming service. The music industry is becoming more and more fragmented everyday. From Beyonce (Tidal) to Drake (Apple Music), Chance the Rapper (Apple Music), Kanye (Tidal) and others – artists are striking deals that make their music available solely on one music service and not the others. But be patient grasshoppers, eventually their music will be available on your preferred music streaming service (usually ~2 weeks later) and you’ll be able to freely partake without spending more $. Until then, there’s always YouTube and VEVO. BTW: Mondays are for DiscoverWeekly and always Spotify while you shower.

Netflix – THE best movie streaming service. House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and MANY more. There’s not much more to say other than it’s awesome. (I also have access to Amazon Prime Video; but that’s only an added bonus of my Prime membership).

Overcast – This one is fairly new for me; but, I’m loving it! It’s the very best way to listen to podcasts on your iPhone. So far I’m into: The Read, Keepin it 1600 and Watching Thrones. I’m sure I’ll add others over time. Listen while you cook, clean, work or commute!

HBO – I love HBO. OMG, I can’t tell you how many great shows, (original) series and documentaries they have. Game of Thrones, Real Time with Bill Mahr, Silicon Valley, …. I could go on and on! In the past few days I’ve even been thinking about buying some stock. 🤑

Feedly – I’ve told you about this one before. It’s basically a news aggregator of things I like to read. Instead of having multiple sites (Lifehacker, The Every Girl, Mashable, etc.) flood your inbox with emails everyday, you can subscribe to their articles/posts and read them using the Feedly app – on/at your own time. Feedly creates of a pull situation – I have to physically go retrieve items when I want to read them – vs. a push situation where you are automatically notified/sent updates. Now, I do like the push approach for music i.e. when artists I follow release a new album, just not for news.

I know some of you may be thinking Snapchat, Periscope and Facebook are missing but honestly I’m just not into those that much. I do use them, just not on a regular basis. Also chat services like GroupMe and What’s App are not on my list. Yes, I have accounts with those an the apps are on my phone; but, I honestly don’t use them that much and I’m NOT a fan of group texts. I also sometimes will check Pinterest and We Heart It but those have also worn off over time… do what works for you!

So, here’s the thing: all of the services on my list are super convenient, easy to access and very affordable. Feedly, Overcast, Instagram and Twitter are free and you can get Spotify, Netflix and HBO for about $10-$15/month each$35/month gets you all in. I’d never have cable if my husband didn’t pay for it. Actually the extent of my relationship with Comcast would be internet service (that is, until Google Fiber comes to town). Happy Entertaining!!!

My Home Screen = Most Important Screen


SXSW 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.38.16 AMI didn’t make it to SXSW in 2015, as planned; but, I am going this year! My flight is booked (Delta) and my hotel is reserved (Marriott). If you can’t get a hotel downtown your life will be miserable and the thought of massive traffic jams?… I just cannot and I will not deal with it (even in my own city), so will be doing A LOT of walkingAustin, TX has changed drastically since my time there in 2001 as an intern with Dell Computer and I’m VERY MUCH looking forward to attending this festival for the first time and exploring the city.

So, what will I do? That’s a great question and one I am working on answering. First of all, I am NOT registering. Official badges range from $495 to $1,745 and I have no tolerance or interest in doing that. There are plenty of free events I can partake in and I plan to do just that so I will be 100% #unofficial!

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The festival is divided into 3 portions:

  1. Interactive: March 11-15
  2. Film: 11-19
  3. Music: March 15-20

I will be there for the music portion only so that helps limit/target my research. So, how do you do it? First off, you absolutely must RSVP for a free SXSW Guest Pass – it will grant you access to all of their free events (there are quite a few). After that, you can download the SXSW mobile app (iOS, Android) and have access to information on the go. Spotify (rsvp), StubHub (rsvp) and Pandora (rsvp) all have FREE all-day music events – that’s enough in itself!!! (RSVP for everything now, decide later) SIDE NOTE: Spotify is sponsoring a few SoulCyle sessions and I absolutely requested a bike! There are also “Unofficial SXSWTwitter and Facebook pages you check out. Turn on notifications for ALL associated social media accounts you can find and be sure to STAY IN THE KNOW, Bri Alys Style!!! #superexcited

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Austin, TX resources: TripAdvisor, Thrillist, Zagat, Walking Tours, Travel Channel, Austin360

2016 TV Time

o-HBO-STREAMING-facebookA few weeks ago one of my co-workers told me she doesn’t watch tv, like ever. When I first heard this I was kind of shocked. Why? She says it’s because she’s always on her computer (i.e. The Internet). She also said when the cable man comes, The Internet is THE only thing she really cares about – in essence, WiFi is her most important at-home entertaining asset – she really could care less about the TV.

So today, I am sitting here thinking about my own tv-watching habits. If I had to summarize my week with the shows that are absolutely required for me to watch, it would go something like this:

  • Sunday: NFL (weeks when the Steelers are playing and when we get the game in Atlanta, which is not very often) + Game of Thrones & Silicon Valley on HBO.
  • Monday: NFL (same as above).
  • Tuesday: None.
  • Wednesday: None.
  • Thursday: TGIT on ABC: How to Get Away with Murder + Scandal
  • Friday: Real Time with Bill Mahr + VICE News on HBO
  • Saturday: College Football (always when Alabama is playing or other good games from time to time, mostly SEC schools).

But there’s one more thing I need to mention that’s not tied to a particular night or channel: House of Cards and Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Netflix is a MUST HAVE, just like HBO.

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abccom_logoAfter writing what I consider to be my must-have shows, something occurs to me – I watch way more tv than that each week!! So what gives? MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, I PASS THE TIME WITH HGTV, FAMILY FEUD AND LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT. So, back to the original comment about watching TV and thinking about how I will spend my time in 2016 – this is not a New Year’s Resolution – it’s a:

2015 realization that I waste too much of my time watching things / entertaining myself / doing things that bring me little to no satisfaction or value to my life.

One may argue the shows I listed above are in the same category and that may certainly be true – for you. So what does this mean for me? It means I need to find something more constructive to do with my spare time and spend time watching only the short list of shows on my must watch list. I can also limit my tv-watching time to “high impact days”: Sunday, Thursday, Friday – that’s three days out of the week (now that college football is mostly over). What things could I do with all this newly-found free time?? I have a few ideas; but, that is the very question I will ponder over the next few days! #moretocome





Broadway – Now Streaming

Streaming is the name of the game. Spotify lets you stream music; Netflix lets you stream movies; even networks like HBO have dove into the space, providing anytime all the time access to your favorite shows (Game of Thrones any one?) Now Broadway is no different! Introducing BroadwayHD:

I just searched the site and there appears to be about 50-60 shows listed – all of which are older. No Lion King and no Cinderella which also means there’s little chance to see NeNe Leakes in Chicago without a visit to New York City. An unlimited monthly subscription will cost you $14.99 a month or you can rent shows for $7.99 each. You can watch the shows on your mobile phone, tablet, desktop/laptop computer, Apple/Google TV and even on Chromecast.

“If you can’t get to Broadway, get to BroadwayHD.”

Given the limited availability of shows I’ll mark this service as a pass (for now); but, as with all streaming services as time goes on, more content will be added. You can take another look at that time.