Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Drake says "Bahsace", We say "Coachella"

My soulmate is turning 30 this year. I'm talking about my kindred, urban hippie, science geek girlfriend soulmate. I am a firm believer that you can have soulmates that are the same sex without being homosexual. We all have those people we meet and instantly click. It's about the connection and relating with someone. She came into my life in a time of transition and turmoil. It was a relief to have someone you can talk science geek shop with candidly in a no judgement zone.

Anyway, over the years, I have become my soulmate's default date when the boys in her life aren't acting right. Extra ticket to the Raphael Sadiiq show, default soulmate date. Want to see an Indie film that no one else is interested in, default soulmate date. Need a chauffeur to the club for your birthday so you can get wasted responsibly, default soulmate date. So of course, when she said Coachella would be the first stop of her "Year of The 30" music festivals, I was praying she needed her dependable default date. ESPECIALLY since all my fav urban hippie, free spirit, artsy fartsy were gonna be there. Mainly Jhene Aiko and Solange but MOSTLY Andre 3000. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I said "I'm going."

Coachella Set Up: There were six stages, all of this spread over about 5 acres of land at the Empire Polo Club. Two of the six were outdoor stages for the headliners to perform and four tents for independent artists and DJs. Vendors were everywhere for games, souvenirs, music, and food. There were multiple water refill stations, so people could stay hydrated in the desert heat without spending a fortune.

Day 1:
We arrived at the Polo Club around 4pm PST. The sun was beating down at about 100 degrees. I decided to wear gladiator sandals for the first day. Obviously, I did not read the website on what not to wear because gladiator sandals and desert sand/dirt was ALL wrong. Especially considering we were walking at least 3 miles per day and standing for about 8 hours. We rush over to the stage A$AP Ferg. That performance was cut short though. Something about him arriving late and being intoxicated. Typical. We go over to a tent and watch Bastille. My first taste of mosh pit. Wasn't feeling it. Around 6pm, we shoot over to the main stage in preparation for Outkast's 11:05pm performance. Ellie Golden was performing as we "excuse me'd" our way to thee VERY front. Then Chromeo came out and rocked it.
After Chromeo,
the party started. I had no idea who Girl Talk was, but now I do. He's like the most bomb dj I've EVER partied with in life. He was mixing all this old hip hop with cool rock and pop beats. But when we started bringing the rap artist out to actually perform the lyrics.....listen, Linda. You ain't lived unless your heard E40 grunt or Too Short say "BEYOTCH!!!". And then, of course, OUTKAST!!! I missed them together so much. Well, I missed Andre. I just like to look at Big Boi. Day 1 was bomb dot com. I'm not gonna discuss the shuttle disaster and the adventure we had trying to get home. Let's just say, we were refunded some coins at the end of our trip.

Day 2:
We woke up sore. Like our entire bodies sore. Arms. Back. Abs. Butt. Calves. Ankles. Ball of feet. Heels. EVERYTHING. Mosh pit life ain't for the faint of heart. We are not quitters though. So, we limped down to the hotel lobby to partake in the breakfast buffet, took our ibuprofen and hit the shuttle to do it one more day. We were not fully prepared for the sandstorm we'd have to endure. Our Coachella apps sent a "High Winds Warning" notification, however, what we experienced was, clearly, a sand storm. The dirt, dust, and sand was so thick in the air because of the wind that the sky looked like dense fog in the distance.
We made it in time to see Banks. Then set up shop in the grass for Kid Cudi. After eating, we went to see a few songs by Lorde but decided we needed to get in the mosh pit for Solange's performance. We were praising Jehovah for a reprieve from the outdoor stages and wind. We made our way to a good spot. I was able to get some great shots of her. But when Beyoncè came out to dance with her. We! Lost! It! They are so cute. I love sisterly love. Still on our Beyoncè high, we brave the wind again for Queen of the Stone Age. My soulmate was wearing shorts, poor thing. She couldn't take the sand hitting her legs and finding its way into her contacts. We punked out and left at 10:30pm. We missed Pharrell and Nas. We were alright with that though, because we got to see Beyoncè. You win some. You lose some.

Day 3: 
Security was thick. Of course, it was the day I was trying to smuggle our unfinished hotel liquor cuz Fancy don't pay no retail liquor prices. Got to the front of the "pat down" line and the male security told me he couldn't search me and was trying to direct me to the militant, drug sniffing, doing the most female security officer's line. No way, Jose. I looked at him and said "No. You can search me." He laughed and asked me to take my stuff out of my book bag but whispered "If you have liquor, don't take it out." Hahahahahahahaha!! 
We made it just in time to experience Chance the Rapper's fancy feet. We set up shop in the grass, under a tent for the Frank Turner performance. Frank Turner had us mellowed out and we were able to cool off for a little bit before we went into negotiation mode. We needed souvenir shirts but we were not about to pay $30 for a tank top. We ended up getting 4 for $75. Hmph! Feeling good about our purchase, we checked AlunaGeorge for a little bit but had our eyes on the Sephora tent. We were baffled by the line for Sephora entry because there wasn't much going on in there so we decided to make a bee line to the Samsung Galaxy tent but not before rocking out a little to DJ Flosstradamus. The party in that tent was EPIC!

When we finally danced our way into the Samsung tent. There we played with tablets, made videos, took pics, AND, most importantly, won $5 food vouchers. Woop Woop! After eating we stopped by the Jhene Aiko tent, ya know, just to stake it out early but there was some English bar music band playing in it. Never heard of The Toy Dolls before but the crowd was going crazy. And by crazy, I mean, just running in circles and stomping their feet. So, we didn't stick around long for that. On our way out, my soulmate decided to try our luck with security. We needed seating for this last show. We were worn out. We had to see Beck at 8:55pm before Jhene Aiko performed at 10pm. Negotiations seemed to go well but we wouldn't know the true results until we came back from the Beck performance on the main stage. When we came back at around 9:45pm, what do you know? They kept their word, VIP seating for the last show of the weekend, Jhene Aiko. She was awesome in all her urban hippie glory. Even brought out Childish Gambino and Drake.

Overall, we survived our first Coachella and we had a friggin ball! We saw 16 artists/bands perform. We learned about some music and DJs that we hadn't heard of before. There were multiple celebrity sightings. We ate good. We exercised. We booked an extra 2 days to actually see a little Palm Springs and relax after all of the Coachella riff raff.

Soulmates know how to live that Fancy Life!!! We will do it two years. That was a lot. LOL!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fun Loving Fancy

Fun at a foam party
So you wanna roll with me, do you? There are rules to this Fancy Life. Levels to this, if you will.
I'm just kidding. There is only one stipulation for hanging with me. You must love fun. Why? Well, because I love fun. Seems like a simple concept but some can make it way more complicated than it has to be. I'm all about good, wholesome, clean activities. I will try almost anything once, as long as it is within my moral code.

Last summer, my college friends and I were planning a surprise bachelorette getaway for my college roommate, who loves fun. There were seven of us emailing back and forth about the plans for the weekend. The maid of honor, who also loves fun, mentioned that going to the strip club would be one of the activities for the weekend. The bride had requested witnessing a Magic Mike type of male exotic dancer experience. Now, I am not into exotic dancers ESPECIALLY not male exotic dancers but it was at the bride's request, so I'm just like "Alright. Cool." I love fun. I can make the best of it or just meet them at the next spot after the strip club. However, there was one in the group that went off about this particular activity. She went on and on about how exotic dancers are disgusting and how she would not participate in the ENTIRE trip if it meant being at the strip club for 2 hours was on the agenda. Mind you, there was no touching allowed in this particular establishment. We were all taken aback by how harsh and negative she was. You could hear the crickets chirping through the email. A few minutes later, the maid of honor responded to the rest of us saying a simple phrase that resonates with us to this day. The maid of honor said, "Sooooo guys....she hates fun." We still laugh about "She hates fun." Needless to say, that young lady did not attend the trip. While she was invited to the wedding, we didn't invite her to the pre-wedding pajama party in the bridal suite either. Tee hee.
Moral of the story: If you want to be invited, don't hate fun.

I can have fun anywhere, in any situation. Which is probably why we never have any problems getting people to our house parties. Honestly, anyone can get people to come to their house to eat and drink for free. When you are a true "Fancy Fun Lover", you also get invited to cool events that fun haters don't even know about. You become all of your friends' default date because they know that you are one person they can have fun with if their "boo" can't make it. I'm not just talking dates to happy hour. I'm talking movies, dinners, weddings, black tie events, sold out concerts, exclusive fundraisers.....the list goes on and on. Most recently, I was a default date to Coachella. How's that for awesome?

Be Fancy. Be someone that person you would want to spend time with. No one wants to party with a Party Pooper or have dinner with a Debbie Downer. You'll be surprised the doors that open for you by just being an enjoyable person. Opportunity awaits the optimistic.

Until next time. Enjoy your Fancy Life.

Friday, April 11, 2014

How to be "Fancy"

As some hip-hop/R&B songs indicate that in order to be "Fancy" you have to rock designer duds, drive expensive cars, and spend all of your time in the spa and salon getting your hair and nails did.

That is definitely NOT my life. I don't have many designer clothes. Just a few pieces, but you better believe I found them on somebody's clearance rack or on some of my favorite discount websites. Hmph! I do drive a luxury car but I bought it used and haggled the salesman down to the ground just cuz I gotta have the deal. I try to avoid the salons at all costs and I typically only comb my hair once every 2-3 weeks. Don't judge me? It looks super cute when I don't comb it. LOL!
Now, I do make regular visits to the spa. I consider bi-weekly manicures and pedicures to be maintenance. Chippy polish is not Fancy approved and my husband insists that my toes are polished as well. I am very particular about my nails, so I only go to one person but, in all honesty, a mani/pedi in a nail shop might set you back about $35. Moral of the story: Being Fancy doesn't necessarily mean spending a lot of money.

Living this Fancy life requires that I get as much bang for my buck as possible. I'm always going for the deal, the sale, the discount, the trade and the hook up. I look for the highest quality at the lowest possible cost. The motto for my household is: "Quote me the lowest possible price you will accept, then go lower." I rely on discount membership only stores, Groupon, Craigslist, eBay, "Google", the list is pretty extensive. However, I find that people are my biggest resource.
I make nice with EVERYONE. I don't discount anyone because of their "status" or income or education. You never know when you will need someone. I try to bring value to all of my relationships because, quite frankly, being known as "the friend who always needs something" is NOT Fancy. We are all blessed in some way. I strongly believe that a blessing isn't a blessing until you can use it to bless someone else. I help where I can without expecting anything in return. I give freely. Not because I want something in return, but because I am giver. As a result, I have a long list of resources at my disposal that can be considered "Fancy hook up" contacts.

Be Fancy. We all have one guilty pleasure. It's totally fine to treat yourself.
That item you thought you couldn't afford is out there somewhere, right within your budget. You just have to find it.
Establish relationships with people. Be an asset in that relationship. Enjoy being a blessing to people when they need you. You never now when they will return the favor.

Until next time, enjoy your Fancy life.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself

My name is Iyonna. My mama picked this name. She thought she was giving me an African name but she changed the spelling in an attempt to be "different", bless her heart, which changed the origin and entire meaning of my name. You see, Ayana, which is what she was naming me, is Kiswahili for "beautiful flower". I know a number of Ayana's and they are all beautiful people. But when she changed the spelling to Iyonna, I became "gracious". Iyonna is a greek variation of "Hannah", which means "favored, gracious one". There is so much meaning in a name. Which brings me to how I came to be called "Fancy".
Like to hear it, here it go.....

In 2006, one of my bestest friends from high school and college was getting married. Of course I was in the wedding. The venue was perfect. Gorgeous. Regal. Palatial. Just perfect. When I walked in, I knew that the long, flowy dresses she had picked for us would be a perfect fit for the decor of the venue. However, with all gorgeous venues and historical architecture comes marble stairs. This would not have been a problem for me if I did not have to walk up marble stairs, in my long, flowy dress, in front of 125 people. You see, my name means "gracious" BUT I inherited the clumsy gene from my favorite guy in the world, my dad. My dad, who I've seen fall off of the roof, trip over absolutely nothing, come home from EVERY ski trip with some sort of injury. Yeah, I inherited "grace" from that guy. I digress, when the planner was instructing us to walk up the stairs in our long, flowy gowns so that I could stand by my friend while she proclaimed her love to her long time bew, I knew it was a recipe for disaster. So, at the rehearsal, I made the suggestions that our escorts help us up the stairs. I mean, that's the gentlemanly thing to do, right? Only thing is, this small adjustment wasn't what the wedding planner had in mind for our processional, so that meant the entire thing had to be revamped to accommodate Ms. Clumsily Gracious' suggestion. Listen, I know it may sound selfish but I was NOT about to be the one to upstage the entire ceremony by tripping up the stairs. Nope. I ain't gonna do it. My escort thought that my suggestion, while a good one, was very "Fancy" and proceeded to call me Fancy for the duration of the pre-wedding activities.

At first, I was kind of annoyed with him for calling me Fancy but then I started to take to it. I had never had a nickname as a child, as I had always demanded that family called me by my name, so I began to think that "Fancy" was a pretty cool nickname to have. I started incorporating Fancy in my "social media" name. People who knew me agreed with my new alias and people who were just meeting me thought it was my real name. I mean, that word described me perfectly. So, there it is, now I'm Fancy.

Now it's 2014 and I'm living "The Fancy Life". Let me be very clear, my "Fancy Life" ain't no crystal stair. I don't fake or front. I work hard. I have success. I have had failures. I find myself in stressful situations. I get hurt. I get sad. I feel pretty some days and not so pretty on other days. I have perfect hair sometimes but then I go weeks without combing it, so it's not so perfect at other times. I embrace life and all the challenges it has to offer and I am honest about my life, I am Fancy.

In my Fancy journey, I have interacted with all types of people and I develop relationships in some of the most unlikely places. I am a giver. I am a helper. I am a solution finder. I am a resource. I don't claim to know everything, even though my husband will disagree. I live in my truth. I know when to ask questions. The result: People come to me asking for help and I help when I can. If I don't have the answer, there is a 95% chance that I know someone who can help you out or I know someone who knows someone that can help.

Friends and family have been telling me that I have all the answers for a while. They say things like "Fancy be knowing" or "Fancy knows best." I usually laugh it off but yesterday, a friend suggested that I start a Fancy Life secrets blog after I inadvertently provided her with a contact she needed without even knowing she had been looking for it. Thus...."Fancyville" has been revamped and "Secrets to Living the Fancy Life" is born. Let everyone benefit from me and my resources. Even though there are no real secrets about my lifestyle. I want everyone to feel like they can enjoy the Fancy Life right along with me.
Stay tuned!
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