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Nikonie Brown

Lifestyle

…But First, Let Me Take A Selfie

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Almost everyone I know takes selfies. It can be just a quick shot so you can have a new profile pic or it can be a whole photo shoot where you carefully look at each photo before you finally choose one. I tend to do the latter and I’m not afraid to admit it. However, for every person who doesn’t see a problem with taking a selfie, there’s a person who thinks they’re ruining relationships or the world.

I can admit there are some cons. There are people who are getting plastic surgery to look better in selfies, which I find ridiculous. You can save your money by learning your angles, finding the best lighting and using filters.

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Buzzfeed recently shared some tips to help you look better in photos (check them out here) and who can forget smizing?…Tyra Banks taught me.

There’s also the issue of being too obsessed with taking selfies. Some people are too focused on their phones and they don’t appreciate the moment. I can understand taking a bunch of pictures while waiting on someone else to get ready or for your pizza to finish baking. I totally get it, but if you spend a whole party, dinner or social event taking pictures of yourself, you miss out on jokes, news and all types of good times.

Now let’s get to the pros of taking selfies.

They can definitely boost your self-esteem. It feels great to think you look gorgeous, upload it and get several likes and compliments. Sometimes as and when I feel down, I go through Instagram and Facebook and read comments. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little vanity from time to time. We all deserve to feel pretty or handsome every once in a while.

Looking back on a selfie can also bring back memories. Sometimes I take them before and after a trip. I like to remember the excitement I felt on the way there along with the sadness of leaving but knowing I had a good time. Even during the trip, a selfie with a landmark in the background is also a good way to keep a memory.

So don’t let people get you down about your mini-photo shoots. If you think you look great, go ahead and post that selfie! I’ll probably hit like. If you want, you can check out my selfies! Follow me on Instagram @kidkoni.

Lifestyle

6 Ways To Survive A Family Reunion

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Summer is underway and a lot of people are gearing up for their family reunions. I’m actually excited about mine, but if you aren’t, here are six ways to get through them.

Stay hydrated – It’s summer so we know it’s going to be hot. If a picnic is involved in your family reunion celebration, there’s a great chance you’ll be outside. (Duh.) So keep a bottle of water handy. You WILL be hot (duh again) and you don’t want to pass out. Plus it’s good for you and staying hydrated helps you lose weight, which will come in handy after eating all those ribs.

Contribute – Feel free to help decorate or make even make a dish for an event. It will help you connect with people and it allows you to stand out. You’ll also feel better for helping. I will be spending this weekend helping my cousin decorate, which will also give us an opportunity to catch up.

Change the subject – Do you get tired of being asked about your employment status, if you’re seeing someone, or how school is going? Find a way to answer the question nicely or talk about how good the food is. You could also ask about family history. You can get the attention off of you and learn something at the same time.

Drink – Things getting a little rough? Feel free to have a drink to relax, but don’t get sloppy drunk. No one wants to deal with a crazy situation at the reunion.

Plan some alone time – It’s perfectly OK to take an hour for yourself. Relaxing will be necessary after being around a large group of people. Take a quick nap or lie and tell people you’re going to take a nap as and when you really just want to do something else. It’s up to you.

Be open-minded and have fun – You never know what relative may be able to help you look for a job, a place to live or will give you money/gifts. There’s also the chance that you’ll just have a good conversation and a fun time. .

What are your plans for your family gatherings over the summer? Share that and some of your tips for surviving a family reunion!

Random

Koni’s Quips: My Heart Is In Mississippi

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People have a lot of opinions about Mississippi.

It’s always looked at as one of the worst states in America. We’re known as the fattest state, but we honestly can’t help it because our food is so good! We were also known as the “dumbest” state until West Virginia took our spot. By the way, we’re down to number three so there’s a small victory. As someone who was born and raised in the Hospitality State, I can see the negatives and the positives in this state.

Let’s start with some negatives. Racism, poverty, the government are all big issues here. The South has a long history of racism that people will never forget. Though I have not experienced blatant racism, I have experienced some odd comments from white classmates and coworkers. And I won’t say our area isn’t racist. It is. Most of America is though. I have friends who have been treated worse up North than they have down here, but it really all depends on the people that are being dealt with.

Poverty and our government are definitely issues in Mississippi. I’ve talked about my struggles with finding a job in this state and some friends have the same issues. I feel that I don’t know as much about government as I should, but I know Mississippi has big problems. I talk to my friend Marty about it and he keeps me informed. Luckily, there are people here who want to make a change and I hope it works out.

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Now let’s get to the positives!

Mississippi has great scenery and places to visit. We also have great food, great music and a feeling of home. I’ve been to several places in my state and seen beautiful and interesting things. There are beautiful forests, gorgeous houses and beaches. Yes, Mississippi has beaches! My hometown of Grenada has one on our lake and we can’t forget about the Gulf Coast! There are interesting landmarks such as Tennessee Williams’ home in Columbus or Rowan Oak in Oxford.

Then there’s the food. There are plenty of places to get soul food. When I lived in Columbus, there was a place that had a $5 plate that consisted of meat, two vegetables and a sweet tea. I’d get chicken, mac and cheese, and yams. You can also try food from different cultures here if you want to branch out.

Do you love the blues? Do you love Big K.R.I.T.? Then you love Mississippi music! They don’t call us the “Birthplace of America’s Music” for nothin’! A lot of artists like Brandy and David Banner were born here and K.R.I.T. is always down to rep us. We also have other artists here who I hope to see make it big like Slimm Pusha and Luck.

And finally, there’s the feeling of home. As I mentioned earlier, Mississippi is known as the Hospitality State. I know people who were skeptical of visiting or passing through but later told me they enjoyed stopping in cities here. One friend told me she loved visiting the Coast while she was on her way to New Orleans. She also said the people at the restaurant she ate at were very nice and she’d come back again.

There are so many things I could tell you about Mississippi, but it may be better to experience it in person. Though I want to leave Mississippi and move on to different things, I will always have love for my home state. I hope to see it grow and I have no issue coming back to help once I become more established. I’ll never forget the state that nurtured me and it will always have a place in my heart.

Lifestyle

Koni’s Quips: Happy Father’s Day To The Most Important Man In My Life

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Every year, a certain holiday seems to be a thorn in some people’s sides. That holiday is Father’s Day. It seems to leave a bad taste in the mouths of some and I completely understand why. I have friends whose dads have left them, never met them or passed away. I also have friends who interact with their dad, but the relationship is strained. It really pains me to hear things like that.

All of it makes me grateful for the most important man in my life: my dad, Stanley. I didn’t grow up in the same house as my dad but he lived in my town so he was easy to contact. I also have several siblings, but my dad is always involved in our lives. He has driven hours to visit some of my siblings who live out of state, he sends money, he calls and talks to us. It’s pretty amazing. I know men with one kid who never does things for them but my dad makes time for all of his children.

I have memories of spending the weekend with my dad and getting to play his guitars and listen to old albums. He and his friends have a gospel singing group so music was always a big part of our lives. Even now, we bond over music. I brought Janelle Monae into his life and he loves her!

I think about my relationship with my father and think about how blessed I am. Through all the slightly embarrassing Facebook comments, the breaking wind in the truck and locking the window or trying to be hip, I’m always glad to have him in my life. No one listens like he does and no one is as understanding.

So for those of you feel pain on Father’s Day, I wish you peace and I would give you a hug if I could.

Do you have any special memories of your dad you’d like to share?

Lifestyle

Koni’s Quips: Reflections Of A Birthday Girl

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Back in January, I wrote my first post for JessicanSimien.com called “Allow Me To Introduce Myself” where I talked about being valiant – reminder: valiant means “possessing or showing courage or determination.” Though I haven’t shown this in all the situations I’ve been in so far, I realized that I’m only six months into 2014 and I still have time. Since my 26th birthday is tomorrow (June 7th), I decided to reflect on my growth so far this year.

In the introduction, I talked about my Tumblr post where I described some goals I had for 2014. The goals were moving out of Mississippi, not being afraid to speak up and writing more. Let me update you all on that and some other things.

I’m still working on the moving thing. Just need money and a place to stay. It has been pretty difficult since some of my options for a place to stay have changed, but I’m going to contact some other family in Atlanta. So keep your fingers crossed.

When it comes to speaking up, I’ve done more of it this year. I help out a business in my hometown with PR and social media. I share my ideas and it’s nice to actually be heard. Though all my ideas may not always be used, it’s nice to know that they are appreciated.

I’ve done well with the goal of writing. I contribute to this site and another blog called She Be Knowin. Writing for two blogs has definitely sparked my creativity and given me an outlet to share. I do want to spend more time journaling and writing on my personal Tumblr though.

While I worked on those three goals, other things have happened. For example, I have opened myself up to love. The “friend” who helped me come up with the title “Koni’s Quips” is now my boyfriend. How funny is that? Though I have conquered the fear of letting love in, I deal with other things. One is being in a long distance relationship, which I talked about back in April. The other is jealousy, which I talked about two weeks ago. I also dealt with my weight, job hunting and realizing what kind of job I really want.

The point is while there are setbacks in life, I can look back and see that I have more courage than I thought. I was afraid of pledging Delta back in 2008, but I did it. I was afraid of grad school, but I applied, went and graduated! When I’m feeling down, I think about what I’ve already accomplished and it motivates me to do more. And besides, I think the baby pictured above would be pretty happy with the lady I’ve become!

As I said earlier, I see that it’s OK that I haven’t done everything I’ve planned to do this year. There’s still time in 2014 and for the rest of my life. So as I turn 26, I see that I have a bright future ahead of me and I’m ready for it.

Wish Nikonie a happy birthday on Twitter @KidKoni.