Grilled Octopus ⏤ Volume 18
Top Shotter, Luxury vacations, and Winter is still Cold 🥶
Hey friend! What’s going on with you?
Is spring treating you right? How is the weather where you are? Is it still cold outside, or is the sun shining bright and warming up your city?
Living in South Carolina has truly made me appreciate the warmth and a sunny day. We’ve hit 80 degrees several times already this year, and I am not mad at it.
I feel like my entire wardrobe has shifted to accommodate this warmer climate. More linen, dresses, shorts, slides, and shimmer sunscreen has been added to my line-up.
Much has happened since we chatted two weeks ago.
We lost a musical giant, DMX, and another staple artist from the 90s, Black Rob.
Both of these men, gone way too soon. A Black man’s life is amazingly beautiful, and it seems to be frequently cut short.
The raspy, grimey sounds of X will always be legendary. His mark is permanently left in this world.
DMX and Black Rob had one commonality that everyone loved, songs that listed out something relatable. For DMX, it was names; for Black Rob, it was cities.
In “What These Bitches Want,” off DMX’s ‘99 album “…And Then There Was X”, he listed off names of women. I remember thinking, I’ll never hear my name on a song, let alone find a keychain with my name on it. Remember when those were big? But I memorized those names by heart.
Black Rob’s “Whoa!” came out in the early 00s, with a song that made everyone get up and Diddy Bop when their city approached the end of the song. When this dropped, I was a freshman in high school, living in Arizona, and I was entirely too hype to be able to say “N*ggas stacking dough in D.C. is whoa” in front of my native Arizona friends most of who never traveled out east yet.
Both men had talent, and both left us a little too soon. Rest in heaven Black men.
For lunch today, we are having a delicacy, grilled octopus. I had some of the best grilled octopus while on vacation in Cabo last week. Mouth-watering 🤤. If you haven’t tried it before, stop turning your nose up and live a little bit.
Ok let’s hit a few topics today.
Reggae Gold 1998
A desert party
Reggae Gold 1998
In Volume 14 of Monday Lunch, I gave you heavy 90s nostalgia.
It was in the Summer of 1999. I was back in Baltimore visiting my dad. My mom had already moved us out to hot ass Arizona by this time. I use to live for summers in Baltimore with my Dad.
I was over my friend’s house, we were playing upstairs when the middle sister, Nashea, said she got a new movie for us to watch, but it’s really dark because it was bootleg.
The opening scene to Belly is one of the most iconic scenes of Black movie history. Everyone knows the beginning of this movie. It’s everyone’s favorite scene.
My favorite scene(s) are when DMX is in Jamaica. The movie went from almost pitch black to bright and sunny. So at 13 years old, my interest picked back up. I could finally see what’s going on.
This is when I fell in love with the sounds of reggae. The way the beats made my body feel older than the age of 13 was something I was addicted to.
I saved up money to buy 98’s Reggae Gold album, and that was it for me. I would dance around my room for hours, swaying my hips left and right, while listening to Mr. Vegas, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, and many other great artists that graced that compilation album.
Since that summer, I have been deeply connected to reggae music. And not just dance hall, I love Rastafarian vibes too.
Since spring is peeking through, I figured I would get you ready with a reggae vibe. My girl Bee Sherel put together a 54 min lunchtime playlist to make this Monday feel like a Saturday morning in Jamaica.
Stream on Apple Music, Tidal, or Spotify. Get ready to wind it. You won’t be able to sit still while listening.
Last week while on a group trip in Cabo, I decided to re-read The Coldest Winter Ever. The last time I read this book was the summer before my freshman year of college, 2003. I don’t know how I got a copy of Sistah Souljah’s 1999 groundbreaking novel, but I had it. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop, and the same thing happened when I reread it 18 years later.
Winter was COLD AF. The title did her justice three times over. Reading this book in my 30s hit different, like re-watching Girlfriends or Sex in the City.
I was 17 years old when I read this book the first time, and I didn’t realize how Winter Santiaga shaped my view on relationships.
Winter made me feel like I had the power when it came to dating and relationships. As I read the book, I developed a new sense of who I was.
Winter taught me to be quick on my feet and that you gotta look out for yourself no matter what. And most importantly, not everyone is who they say they are.
The book told Winter’s story from when she was 16 years old. I grew with her as she ages while the book progressed. Rereading it brought back many memories.
What’s your favorite book? How many times have you read it?
Group tripping with beautiful Black people last week quenched my soul. The feeling I get when I see my people, Black people, excelling when the world tries to shut us down every day is indescribable.
I was especially excited to be away from America last week with everything going on in the news.
There were a few moments on our Cabo vacation when we got the “look.” The “who are these people” look like we had to be famous to have a luxury vacation. We rented a boat on Friday that was so damn sexy it made everyone stop and double-take.
I thought, “are we not suppose to have nice things?”
Of course we are. We are the original kings and queens of this world. We’ve been living a life of luxury since the beginning of time. Folks are just now seeing it.
I wanted to share a collection of luxury manifestations. The more you manifest the life you desire, the more it comes to life. Trust me; it works.
Sometime in ‘02 or ‘03, I made my rounds at the popular Black teen mall in Arizona, Arizona Mills.
If you were a Black person between the ages of 16-23, you hit AZ Mills at least 2-3 times per month to see what was going on. Saturday nights were the best. The food court would be filled with high school seniors pretending to be underclassmen and dudes who were a little too old to be pushing up on 16/17-year-olds. A lot of “when do you turn 18” happened at this mall.
One random night, I was there by myself walking around, hoping to run into people I knew. This was before you could easily check social media and before all your friends had a cell phone.
I didn’t see where he came from, but all I heard was, “how old are you,” My response was always 18. I was probably 16 or 17.
The next thing I knew, I had a piece of paper in my hand with an address and a gate code. And the guy said, “X is having a party in North Phoenix tonight, bring your girls out.” Before I could get excited as a normal teenager would, I said, “ok cool, thanks,” and walked off on him. I wanted to act like it was no big deal. But inside, I was screaming.
I put the piece of paper in my bag, called my homegirls, and told them if they wanted to roll to X party, they had to be ready to go by 9 pm.
I rushed home to change clothes really quick, careful to pick something out that is not too forward, but also something that I can squeeze by my mom in and not have her think twice.
I’m checking myself out in the mirror; yep, I look 18. Now it’s time to call my friends and tell them I’m on the way.
But before I do that, I want to mapquest the directions. So I go to my bag to look for the piece of paper with the directions. I couldn’t find it. I empty my purse on the floor. Nothing. I didn’t buy anything, so I didn’t have any shopping bags to check. The next thought was to check my car. I spent 15 minutes turn my car upside down.
The address was gone. I wasn’t going to X’s party in the desert.
And now I had to call all my girls back and tell them that I lost the piece of paper I just got handed 2 hours earlier. I got teased for months!
I sat back and thought about that desert party for years and sometimes still do. The buzz in Arizona around that time was that X threw the best parties, but it was always a task to get an invite. I got one and blew it.
It’s not crazy that DMX's life was cut short by several decades. We knew the demons he was constantly fighting. The very thing that made us love him was destroying him. I hope his soul is resting easy now.
#readz - The Secrets of My Life - Caitlyn Jenner
I picked up this book in a free little library when I lived in Northern VA. I read it last week and learned a thing or two about Cait. But even now, living as a transwoman, her white male privilege shined quite a bit in this 2017 memoir.
Class Action Park (HBO) — I couldn’t believe there was such a water park.
Kid 90 (Hulu) - This brought back so many childhood memories. This also makes me so glad that I have documented a lot of my life. Great nostalgia.
#buy - Always Pan
This will be the best pan you will ever buy in your entire life, trust me. With each purchase, a portion goes to support underserved communities all over the world.
Well, friend, that’s it for lunch today. It was fun chatting with you. Drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. I love hearing from you.