You never really know what people are going through!
Yesterday, singer Kelly Rowland shook up the Internet after she detailed a past abusive relationship in her new song, Dirty Laundry. After the track, was released, her ex-fiance Roy Williams1 took to Twitter to clear his name while pointing the finger at Nelly s former manager Cudda Love. When blogger Stiletto Jill commented that she believed it was Cudda2 on twitter, Roy responded:
#Bingo but that s not my place to speak on it #somanystoriesthatpeopledon tknowabout So many stories that people don’t know about.
On the new track, Kelly sings, hitting the window like it was me / And still it shattered / He pulled me out and said, Don t nobody love you but me / Not your mama / Not your daddy / and especially not Bey.
In a chat with Billboard this week, Kelly expressed that the song was emotionally exhausting and extremely difficult to record, needing almost a dozen takes to get it right.
She also had to walk out of the room before the song was played during a recent listening session:
It was very emotional. It took me days to record. I had to get past being so upset and actually sing the song, not sob through it.
I always hope that my music can inspire someone, the same way other artists inspire me. Dream said, I want to write you a record so that people will know exactly who you are, underneath it all.
The song was a result of Kelly revealing some of her personal life to The-Dream who was able to turn her words into a great record. He tells Billboard:
What unfolds on TV or on the Internet, it s never really that.
You think it is but it s just not. When you have a stage like Kelly has, you should talk about that part of your life. I think Kelly s way deeper than that.
Tons of celebs took to Twitter to show their support after the song was released yesterday, including Kelly s former bandmate Letoya Luckett, Gabrielle Union, and Tika Sumpter.
The Dream: @KELLYROWLAND ..You Are Great, Love You much. #DirtyLaundry
Lala: When you make pain look this good it never wears out Dirty Laundry by @Kellyrowland
Gabrielle Union: LOVE LOVE LOVE! #DirtyLaundry is a game changer Go head girl! @kellyrowland
Jack e Harry : S/O to the beautiful @kellyrowland, who will help so many young ladies going through similar struggles referenced on #DirtyLaundry.
Letoya Luckett: #Openheart
Jeanette Jenkins: Love you! @KELLYROWLAND #DirtyLaundry is a beautiful song!
You re so strong & I m so proud of you! Shine Mama! Xo
Tika Sumpter: #DirtyLaundry just gave me chills.
Dope @KELLYROWLAND. Love. This.
Meanwhile, Kelly will bring the lyrics to life in a new music video directed by Sarah McColgan, which is currently in production.
The words homeschool uniforms can evoke strong emotions in some people. I m not writing to convince or to un-convince you to use a uniform in the home eduction of your children. However, I would like to offer are a few observations and our personal experience, in hopes that you will neither dismiss the idea nor fully embrace it without further thought and prayer.
Some may feel that, by dressing in uniform with the other members of the family, they are downplaying their individual uniqueness.
I prefer to think that using a uniform, either during school hours or all the time, allows uniqueness of personality to shine without the clothing distractions. Could your children s talents and abilities shine brighter if the sibling playing field were leveled a little? Would uniforms do that at your house?
Maybe, maybe not.
In the secular world there are uniforms everywhere: sports teams, girl and boy scouts, clubs, work uniforms, and so on. You are identified as part of the team because of what you wear. And yet in our families, where we should be striving for teamwork and togetherness, it seems that no one wants to be recognized as belonging to one another.
Would your family feel more like a team if they dressed the part?
On dressing for success:
Along that line, we usually dress for what we are about to do: sports clothing and accessories to go play soccer or basketball, a uniform for work, a dress code and instruments to participate in an orchestra concert, jeans and a t-shirt to cut grass or milk cows. Similarly we would not don a swimsuit for a day of snow skiing. I think you get the point.
Somewhere deep down inside of us we know that dressing suitably to the task at hand aids in our success. I would submit that education is not an exception to that rule. How could dressing for school change your approach to home education or your child s attitude about his studies?
Some perhaps would find the cost of uniforms prohibitive.
Perhaps. But consider that if you choose a simple yet classic uniform for your home school, you will need approximately 3 sets per child per week. And the clothing can be handed down from one child to the next.
The child then only needs two to three play outfits and one dress up outfit to complete his day to day wardrobe. It might not cost as much as you think. Have you ever compared costs of uniforms vs.
everyday clothing for your children?
On logistics and modesty:
Using uniforms could cut down considerably on laundry, the work of putting clothes away, and on closet space. The uniforms could be made (if you are or know a seamstress) to your specifications. Uniforms could at least make school shopping easier and faster.
Could uniforms simplify school shopping, chores, or routines at your house? Could it be part of the answer to the modesty question for your girls?
We have chosen to use school uniforms, at least for the time being for several reasons:
1. We live in a Mexico, where schools (both public and private) all have uniforms, and where home education is not yet well known.
Having a uniform for our homeschool allows our children to be less of an oddity in our society, and also avoids lots of questions if we should need to take them with us on an errand during school hours.
2. We use khaki pants (for boys) and khaki skirts (for girls) with a unisex polo shirt of a solid dark color. This is cost effective for us because the children can pass the shirts down from one to the next regardless of sex, and it cuts down on shopping time as we can get all the shirts in one stop.
It s a classic look and the dark color polo is kind to the inevitable food and marker stains. We also chose to get ours embroidered with our homeschool name to make it more formal and uniform looking.
3. Our children are third-culture kids, and they already feel like they don t belong in lots of areas.
They don t look like their darker skinned friends. They speak two languages naturally, while their friends here speak one and their cousins in the US speak another. They don t go to public schools, and the list goes on and on.
Because of this we chose to name our homeschool and design our own logo, which we get embroidered on the shirts and use on their school folders and other things. This gives them a sense of identity, something to be a part of and be proud of, and it has been a healthy choice for our family.
4. Our children were struggling to keep their closets and rooms neat.
But when we decided to cut down the wardrobe to their school clothes and three or four other outfits, their clothes became manageable and not so much of a frustration or daily battle to keep the area tidy. It also cut down on our laundry considerably, and it took away the What do I wear today? angst that one of our children in particular was struggling with.
If it s a school day, we get up and put school clothes on. No decision necessary.
5. Modesty is something that we strive for.
But especially in the area where we live, finding clothing for a girl that is loose and long and modest is a special challenge. The uniform helped in this area as well, in that I could decide the length of the girls uniform and wasn t subjected to culture s whims in that regard. And have you ever held up a boys polo shirt to a girls polo of the same size?
Even for the small elementary girls the shirts are cut with huge body hugging curves, teaching them subconsciously that tight is normal from the time they re young. By choosing to use polo shirts I can buy them all in the boys department and dress my girls more modestly. When they are wearing them, no one can tell if I bought them in the girls or boys department.
As my girls get older, I am anticipating less of a clothing struggle with them because we have laid this foundation and set the expectation for long and loose modesty from their younger years.
If you have a homeschool uniform, you (and your children) should know why you have one. And if you don t, you should be willing to consider it, until you can rule it out as something that definitely would not help you reach your homeschooling goals. And while I m not sure we will always use them, I do know that for now, in our family, the homeschool uniform has been a great blessing.
I know many may have strong opinions about this topic.
I d be interested in hearing your comments for or against homeschool uniforms.
Just remember to keep the conversation edifying.
Michael Bay s Pain and Gain, as we noted in our review1, is totally nuts. It s about as extreme as that kind of movie can be — full of violent shenanigans and roided-out bodybuilders. But the craziest thing to happen on the set of Pain and Gain, according to Bay, didn t involve explosions or Dwayne The Rock Johnson s giant biceps.
It involved, um, personal pleasure devices.
In an interview about the movie, Bay explained that some of the sex toys, meant as set decoration (since the criminals, led by Mark Wahlberg, hide out in a warehouse formerly used for the distribution of sex toys), mysteriously went missing2. We bought $75,000 worth of sex toys to stock the sex-toy warehouse. I could have filmed the crew coming in that day because they d stop and see these things — anatomically correct vajayjays and this butt (everyone would touch the butt because it felt real) — and it was hysterical.
We were going to return all the sex toys to get three-quarters of our money back, but they started disappearing. We were like, ‘Who is taking the sex toys?’”
While it s fun to picture Michael Bay dressed like Sherlock Holmes, trying to figure out which member of the cast and crew was walking away with the sex toys, that probably didn t happen. What s kind of amazing, though, is that these sex toys weren t very, um, subtle.
But hey, who are we to judge?
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When talking about erotic romance authors, Megan Hart1 is a name that comes to mind immediately. But she’s not just an erotic author; she’s written mainstream fiction as well. The consistency from this prolific author is that no matter the genre, she creates characters and stories that can and have break hearts and cause sleepless nights.
What is her appeal?
For me, it s the dichotomy of her characters. She wields her pen like a scalpel, methodically dissecting the heart of her characters in soul-searching, emotionally fragile stories that focus on more than just a mainstream relationship. Strong characterization and smooth, forceful writing epitomize her style.
Hart forces us and her characters to examine personal motivations as well as the motivations of others. She sets us up in front of a metaphorical mirror and encourages no, demands that, while we may lie to others, we never lie to ourselves.
Each individual s story haunts their actions and foreshadows their words as we are given an intimate tour through their relationship and a first-hand look at the highs and lows that can occur when we try to love one another for the wrong reasons. Some readers are turned off by the brutal honesty with which Hart chooses to view her characters and their decisions.
Some readers feel cheated because Hart never promises a happy ending. In fact, her stories often end at a pivotal point, giving nothing more than a possibility. But isn t that what life really is?
Nothing more than possibilities? She can t promise us all is well because relationships are always changing. They are constantly evolving, growing, and maturing.
Sometimes the couple will grow together and sometimes the growth occurs once they part.
Though her books all work as standalones, they are loosely bundled together in series. Characters interact and visit between stories, highlighting the continuity of ongoing themes. Love, hope, pain, loss, infidelity, and marriage all play strong roles in the stories that Hart writes.
In Hart s Alex Kennedy series, we are introduced to our hero Alex, a gorgeous bisexual man whose childhood was rife with pain and sorrow.
Growing up with a homophobic father and unrequited love for a friend, Alex uses his looks and sex as a substitute for love. In Book 1, Tempted, Alex spends a few weeks with his best friend, Jamie, and Jamie s wife, Annie. In the following weeks, Jamie, Alex, and Annie embark in a menage of sorts as they try to love one another without engaging their emotions.
What starts as erotic fun turns into a heartbreaking love affair that has the potential to destroy them all. This is told in Annie s POV.
Good things, by their nature, are fleeting. It s those that bring us grief that linger.
Book 2, Everything Changes, is a novella that tells the events of Tempted
from Alex s POV.
Here we see all the vulnerability and pain produced by that painful summer. We see what he really wanted and what he choose to walk away from.
Book 3, Naked, is Alex s journey after the events in books 1 and 2. In Naked, he meets Olivia Hart, a photographer who is trying to find her way in the world and make sense of her life.
Having been cheated on and made the fall guy by her ex-fiance, Olivia knows that Alex is everything she has guarded her heart against. Told from Olivia s POV, the story of this unlikely pairing holds us spellbound as we watch the two of them battle their insecurities and society’s stereotypes to enter into an emotionally and intense sexual affair that leads to an emotional healing for both of them.
No strings. No regrets.
And no going back.
Hart s erotic writing takes a fantastical turn in her Order of Solace series, an erotic romance series set in a fantasy world with historical attributes. The Order of Solace is an order rife with religious inclinations. Handmaidens for the Order are trained in the art of pleasure.
Each handmaiden is named for the exquisite service that best reflects her true calling. The handmaidens’ greatest delight is giving Solace, devoted as they are to fulfilling the desires of the mind, the needs of the soul, and the cravings of the body.
Each story in the 4-book series is an erotic lesson that travels into the protagonists’ hearts, revealing their greatest flaws and the journey towards salvation or failure. Hart gives each one a chance to be what they truly are rather than what they think is expected of them, if they choose to take the chance.
To me, the first book, Pleasure and Purpose, actually represents the overall purpose of this series and the handmaidens the best.
Many in this world feel the handmaidens are nothing more than well-trained prostitutes, yet they are so far from that, as we learn. Pleasure and Purpose is an anthology of sorts that tells the story of three friends who have lost their way; it’s a story of their bond of friendship and the handmaidens with whom they have fallen in love. While the stories are sensual in nature, the true reveal is the journey the three men take to find their way back to life and each other. All the stories intertwine and build upon each other.
If erotica isn t your genre of choice, Hart also writes speculative and mainstream fiction.
With a darker voice than found in her erotics, Hart gives no quarter as she forces us to contemplate the uncomfortable and often taboo thoughts that are a part of human nature.
Precious and Fragile Things is completely contrary to what her usual readers might expect: There’s no romance. No sex. Just two strangers thrown together by chance that now must try and survive.
Even though it is completely different from her usual offerings, Ms. Hart s signature style is recognizable. This story forces you to acknowledge not only the mental and physical pain of these characters, but also the decisions they have made.
It asks you some difficult questions about yourself. Ms. Hart brings to the forefront two sensitive subjects.
She doesn t offer excuses nor sensationalize them. It is what it is.
Count to ten. Bite your tongue.
Keep yourself together, Gilly. Don’t lose it.
“Don’t lose it.
That is the crux of Ms. Hart s writing.
She writes human nature with no excuses and tells you with each book released, It is what it is.
Next up, Ms. Hart is getting ready to release the first installment of an erotic serial series entitled2 Every Part of You3. There will be five total installments following and examining the relationship of a man who’s afraid of commitment and the woman who loves him, but who refuses to put her life on hold while waiting for him to decide what he wants:
She knows he’s the one. He knows he’s not ready to commit.
So she’s going to explore all her options…
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A two-star US Army general in the US Africa Command 1 may have been fired on March 28 for inappropriate contact and sexual harassment, possibly fueled by alcohol. On Thursday, the Department of Defense acknowledged that Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, was ordered fired by the US commanding general in Africa, Gen. Carter Ham. Defense officials told CNN that Baker was fired for loss of confidence in his ability 2 to do his job, and they acknowledged that he will appeal. In fact, Baker has already taken his appeal to US Secretary of Defense 3 Chuck Hagel. However, the Associated Press 4 said that anonymous officials told them that Baker was actually axed because of misconduct involving alcohol and sex, including sexual harassment. The AP said that the officials would only speak if their identities were concealed, because they weren t authorized to comment. In addition to being fired, Baker may have been heavily fined a portion of his pay, although Department of Defense officials wouldn t say how much the misconduct has cost the former general. The new Army general firing comes amid a swirl of investigations and scandal that has haunted US Army operations in Africa for months. Former four-star general Kip Ward, former head of the Africa command, was at the center of a spending spree scandal 5 just a few months ago. He lost a star and was forced to retire as a three-star general after he was allegedly caught in the act of more or less bilking the Army to fund his lavish lifestyle. For example, he was accused of taking an 11-day trip to Washington and Atlanta, not normally particularly pricey destinations, that cost the taxpayers $109,000 and only three days of the lavish trip actually involved any Army business. After a closer look, the Army said that Ward had extended trips seven times for personal reasons, each time then applying for and receiving reimbursement for those costs. One of those trips allegedly included a notorious week in Bermuda, where his wife came along and took an unauthorized joyride in at least one armored vehicle. The new firing of yet another US Army general could mean that the Africa Command is cleaning house. army in Africa photo courtesy US Army References ^ US Africa Command (www.inquisitr.com) ^ loss of confidence in his ability (www.cnn.com) ^ Secretary of Defense (www.inquisitr.com) ^ Associated Press (www.timescolonist.com) ^ spending spree scandal (usnews.nbcnews.com)
Army General Fired Over Alcohol, Sex Charges
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