Back to School

August is upon us - time for back to school! Well I've decided I'm going back to school this year...life school that is. There are some lessons that are very pressing and I'm ready to learn them! I've devised my own curriculum and am dedicated to passing all my courses. My major course of study is self development with a focus on a more holistic lifestyle as opposed to a compartmentalized existence. I worked during high school, college and law school and am confident I can do my "school" work and maintain my day job. Here are the classes I have enrolled in:
  • Career Development: This is a class I'm looking forward to. I've spent a great deal of my life working. Working REALLY hard. I now desire to work smarter. I'm ready to couple that shear brawn with focus on a particular goal. The coursebook for this class is "I Can Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was", and the final is a complete, concise business plan and new website.
  • Health/Physical Fitness: This is a HUGE course b/c it will have lasting implications on my life. I've got to get my health together. It is not that I'm NOT healthy but I'm utilizing all that I know about health and fitness. I know that I should do 30-45 minutes of cardio/4 times a week. I know I should be eating breakfast everyday. I know I need more fruits and veggies and water. I know I know I know. So since I know I must implement right? This class uses a ton of material and meets outdoors or at a gym (depending on if my job has a lowered rate) four times a week.
  • Financial Freedom: I WANT TO BE FREE! Once again as I said earlier I've been working the majority of my life. My bank account does not reflect that fact. I have got to do better in this department. I've got to make several small changes and one HUGE change. I need to aggressively save for a bit. I also need to create and stick to a budget (this is going to be tough for Ms. If I Want That I Buy That). My budget has to protect my most valuable asset as well - my time! I operate well when I follow a schedule. My instructor for this course is Suze Orman and my Agape Financial Freedom guide.
I'd like to pick up a writing class as well. I haven't found a program I like but I am searching. I really believe this is my time and I'm willing to go above and beyond to achieve my goals!


Review List for 33...

Yesterday I celebrated my 33th year of life on Earth. God is so good! I can not believe I'm 34! When I look in the mirror I look around 24 and when I think of myself I just don't think of myself as a 34-year-old woman! CRAZY. Anyway last year I started doing the year in review list to remind myself of what was happening in my world so I don't forget (I feel we sometimes have trouble seeing where we are b/c we forget where we came from). So here's my list for year 33!

DaVida Chanel's Highlights of Year 33
  • I brought in my birthday on stage w/Rebirth Brass Band!
  • In August I returned to my waitress gig...I felt sucky about it but on the third day, Tyler Perry came in which made me realize I was on the right track.
  • I, along with the rest of the world, mourned the loss of legend, Michael Jackson.
  • I started a new feature on my blog called "She Makes Me Wanna" and featured ladies who make me want to do things. I also stared "Friend In My Head" about people that I hang out with in my head.
  • I fell in love w/New Orleans ... HARD! Because I wasn't working consistently, I had time to really experience some of the cool things NOLA has to offer. I love this place!
  • I spoke to the President of the UNITED STATES! President Barack Obama came to town and I had the opportunity to ask him a question - and it was a good one!
  • I threw a mixer at a local club.
  • I took a class on Final Cut and learned to edit film.
  • I was the female lead in a hip-hop video.
  • I had a photo shoot where I was a guitar toting rocker chick.
  • I got to see Lenny Kravitz at Voodoo Fest and my friend caught his guitar stick!!!

  • I saw Avatar which was amazing to me-visually stunning and it made me fall in love w/3D.
  • I got to be assistant to amazing director Clark Johnson on the pilot of Delta Blues, which was written by Liz Garcia and Josh Harto, old friends from L.A.
  • The New Orleans Saints won the SUPERBOWL!!!!!!
  • I became ok w/the fact that my career had changed forever - I no longer need a M-F, 9-5 existence-I see that my success will come with a whole lot less stability.
  • I began doing freelance PR work.
  • Josh and Liz's show got picked up by TNT and I went to work on the show in March.
  • My new boss at the job is amazing and she set me up with my next gig starting Aug. 2-directly after this one ends on July 30.
  • I organized a community service event for Kourtney Heart called Kourtney's Little Princesses.
  • I worked on the planning and organization of NOLA Summer Jam 2010.
  • I began work on a documentary focusing on the hip-hop community in New Orleans. It has fallen apart but I got invaluable experience in case I decide to pursue it on my own.
  • I had a reunion with my bestest friends from Indiana!
  • I had a fab time at Essence and the highlights were seeing Janet Jackson and watching Mary J. Blige FROM the stage!!!
So yes, the year of 33 was great and full of extreme highs and lows. I'm excited about what is to come in the year of 34! I got a feeling this is going to be a hardworking but fruitful one!


How Many Times Are You Willing to Fail?!?

Let Me Upgrade Me...

I had to be up VERY early this AM for work. I was having a case of the Mondays and needed some music to shake me from my funk. As I perused through my cds in the car I ran across "Bday". Now Ms. Beyonce always get me out of my moods but BDAY was so significant b/c my BDAY is on Wednesday!!! I had forgotten how much I like this cd. By the time I got to the bridge, no.4 popped on - UPGRADE U. I love love love that song and can often be heard saying things like, "That boy just don't know, he should let me upgrade him!" Well today, in light of the 34th anniversary of my birth, I decided, what if I upgrade me!!! So as I ponder ways to up myself to the next level enjoy Ms. Bey!!!


Inception: AMAZING

On May 8, I wrote that I could not wait until July 16. Today is July 16 and directly after work I went to the movies to see Inception. Do NOT click more if you do not want spoilers!More... It was the most brilliant movie I've ever seen. It was so profound and layered and entertaining. EVERYTHING about it was dope - great writing, great directing, great cinematography, great storytelling, great casting, GREAT GREAT GREAT! I'm beyond pleased. There was also something kinda lifechanging about it - "what you know is one thing but what you believe is entirely different!" So many messages: you have to take risks in order to reach what it is you desire; you can not do it alone; you must let somethings literally die in order to move on; you can not allow other things to die no matter what in order to move on; your subconscious is a powerful place...and the list goes on and on. I absolutely am in love with this movie and anxiously await my next viewing!!!!


Lil Miss Jaidyn - Friend In My Head

My girlfriend Becky has these two adorable daughters, Dominique and Jaidyn. I've never met the girls but like most proud mama's Becky always tells me stories about them. Dominique reminds me of me at that age - a little bit shy or seeking her place in the world; while Jaidyn reminds me of how I wanted to be - self assured, boisterous, owning her spot in the world. (Now this is not to say anything is wrong w/Dominique's approach. She appears to be a sweet and lovely young lady but this post is about Ms. Jaidyn.) So the little miss decided to cut her hair because her older sister got bangs. Poor Becky was livid on Facebook - it was kind of funny though b/c she had no idea what to expect. Yep it was pretty horrible. Her facial expression didn't help matters much either!
Here's the thing though, poor Becky was all upset as any mother would be, Ms. Jaidyn was just fine. Today she got herself together and was not concerned one bit about how jacked that haircut was!
Isn't that what all the confident folk do?!? They do what they please in regards to their look/style and have no regard of how others view them. And the funny thing is that people respond to them in positive ways! We've all seen some person rocking some crazy looking gear or look but has so much confidence it doesn't matter. (My fav Zoe Kravitz can sometimes appear a bit homeless!) On the other hand, we can see someone laid to death in the top designers around and not look twice - it's all about confidence. Lil' Miss Jaidyn's confidence is just the boost my inner child needed. Sometimes she's scared to express who she really is because of fear of rejection. Jaidyn proves that it doesn't matter what others think as long as you like it rock it! I can't wait to meet the lil' diva and let her know I think she is awesome!


Only Female In My Crew...

I love my girls but there's something about my guy friends (not guys I date but my regular friends). When it comes to dating it doesn't always work out, but as far as just friends or hanging, I'm a guys kind of girl. I'm very laid back in a very atypical way for most of my female friends. My boys don't treat me like a girl LOL. They just treat me regular.

This started at a young age. When I was young I was a latch-key kid. That meant that while my grandmother and aunts worked, I stayed home alone. My grandmother's brother would come by and because he was pretty popular all of my other uncles and older male relatives would come by too - I'd be the only girl but they didn't treat me any different. They were all very successful (my uncle was the owner of a funeral home, all my other uncles were entrepreneurs and educators and all of them were extremely hard working). They'd ask what I was bringing to the table so I learned to make their fav' cocktails and was their bartender. They were older and had little tolerance for excessive questions, nagging or whining. I figured that out early on that if I wanted to hang (and make my weekly wage of cash, books and special food treats), I was going to have to chill out. They did a lot of fun stuff and always taught me things about life so I chilled out and just hung. In retrospect, I see how those days influence so much of my life now. I also didn't have many girl friends in my age group early on either (my girl cousins lived far away and I only got to see them on holidays or weekends but never randomly during the week). My first real friends were Bull and June, the neighbor boys. (Well actually Bull was my real friend, June was too grown to play around with us lol.) They never treated me like a girl though-they didn't like beat me up or make me do crazy stuff like throw spiders at me - but they also didn't treat me like I was fragile. Like with my relatives it was very clear that if I was going to hang, I was gonna have to just hang. As I got older and did get female friendships, they were a lot less chill or accepting. Everything was different with girls - especially the ending of friendships. With my boys, when things never really ended. If we didn't hang for a while, the next time we did, it was the same. Friendships with girls on the other hand didn't go like that - the departure was always filled with drama.

I do well in friendships with guys because I get dudes (lol - disclaimer: this only works with dudes I don't like; add the component of like to the equation and I have no freakin' clue!). Most guys I know would say I was one of the coolest girls they know or have met. Because of my relationship with guys I've always dreamed of things being like back in the day w/my uncles and older male relatives. Once they saw what I had to offer, they accepted me into the fold of things (hey, for them having their drinks correct was a big deal! lol). They treated me like and equal and took care of me. Because they took care of me, I took care of them - we were a team. And it was a special bond - I was like one of them so there wasn't any issue with their wives, daughters or granddaughters. My place was secure because the nature of my relationship with them was i no way a threat to anyone else. My vision has always been to be the only female in my crew - respected by my peers for whatever it was I brought to the table. It is important to me to be supportive of a strong base of men but not in some damsel in distress position or the freak trick that hangs with the dudes kind of way, but in a doing my part position, bringing stuff to the table position or she's a girl but just like me type way. I'm not sure if that is in the plan but I hope so...

Only Females In Their Crew I Admire:

Wonder Woman was a beast with her lasso-able to help the Superfriends out of peril!

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made the seamless transition into her new position and rocks in the top position under the President and Vice President.
Fergie goes hard with the Black Eye Peas - giving her all in the group but excelling as a solo artist and actress. (I wanted to list Lauryn Hill or Lil' Kim here but the fact Lil Kim dated Biggie and there are rumors of Lauryn and Wyclef, that didn't jive with my idea of only female in my crew.)
The late Georgia Frontierre was the only female owner and chairman in the National Football League - and her Rams won the Super Bowl! (Only one other female owner in the league.)
Halle Berry is the only female African-American Oscar winners in the lead category (Monique, Jennifer Hudson, Whoopi Goldberg and Hattie McDaniel all won but as SUPPORTING actress)


I Just Wanna Break Out And Fly...

Learn To Fly from Christian Letruria on Vimeo.

On To The Next One

Working in the world of physical production is a challenge for me. Not because the work is super hard or demanding, but b/c the gigs are not long term. I enjoy the stability of knowing where I'll work for the next few years and production just doesn't work that way. The average production will take 3-6 months to shoot so the gigs come and go. Nothing is guaranteed in this biz but the production side is much more irratic than when I worked desks in L.A.

I'm VERY excited because I just got my next job in production. It is a great treat because it is a project I am a huge fan of. It films in Baton Rouge which is an hour or so from New Orleans. I'm going to be able to live with my granny - another great treat b/c with the hours I work I rarely get to go see her. Even though I'll still be crazy busy with work, it'll be great to be able to see her everyday! Because my business is starting to really grow, I am going to keep my place in NOLA. (And hopefully some Sundays I'll get to go see my Saints -hint hint to anyone that wants to invite me to a game!). Another great thing is that I won't have a lapse in employment - I wrap here on July 31 and start there on Aug 2. It'll be awesome b/c I can FINALLY join the union!

I'm most pleased because this was not my plan - it literally just happened! I just let go and let things fall into place - normally pretty difficult stuff for me. I'm walking the walk when it comes to my faith and belief that everything will happen just as it should. Gotta remember that NO MATTER WHAT the Universe is conspiring for my good!


Stretch C'mon STRETCH

I've been reading Wayne Dyer's "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life," for quite a while now. It's one of those books I try to read a passage from daily but sometimes that ends up being more like weekly or bi-weekly. I picked it up today and the passage was an aha moment for me. It was called, "Living By Bending," and the last line of the verse was, "The hard and stiff will be broken; the soft and supple will prevail."

This was so profound to me because as laid back as I may seem I'm not very flexible. I don't do things at the last minute, I plan my steps to a T in my head or on paper before acting. By the time I do something for real, I've already replayed it 7000 times in my head. I've become so adept a that skill, it happens very quickly and seems as if I'm acting spontaneously - I am not. Physically I'm not that flexible either. I do yoga, but my favorite style focuses more on the breath than the poses. I did study Iyengar which is ALL about the poses, but I responded it to the style because it is all about doing the poses correctly. You learn the pose and do it until you perfect it (that speaks to my perfectionist nature and not my desire to be more flexible). I do recall every class I've ever taken the instructor told me I'm too tight in the hips - the body part that exposes inflexibility.

Dyer gave the example of palm trees in hurricane force winds - they appear weak because they sway entirely to their side in the face of the wind. The reality is that "weakness" is their strength because the trees are so flexible they are able to bounce back into place once the winds subside. The mightiest oak can not bend that way without snapping and breaking. I tend to think that when I'm not being flexible that I'm being stronger. In reality, I'm being stubborn and stagnate. I want to be more fluid, more flexible, more go with the flow. So its time to get my stretch on - literally and figuratively. Physically, I think its time I give yoga another go. Emotionally, I think it's time to really examine the places I feel stuck and see if it is because I have been being fixed in my thought pattern regarding it.

Time to stttttttttrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeettttttttttccccccccccchhhhhhhhhhhhhh!


It Was All A Dream...

Let me start by saying, I dream in color and as if it were a movie-very detailed and vivid.
...I was walking in a hallway of what appeared to be my home, but not where I live now. It had a ton of windows and I felt like I was in L.A. or maybe Miami. I was holding my stomach smiling when the phone rung (not iPhone, but a house cordless phone). I answered and like in the movies, I could see who I was talking to - it was Diddy (yep that Diddy). He said hey. I said hey and bit my lip. He said you have to take it easy or it won't work. I said its all good the doctor said we'll be great. He said take care of my baby. I said that's why you picked me because you knew I would. He said that's my girl. Before I hung up, a man walked up behind me. I knew who he was (in the dream) but I can't recall what he looks like. I told Diddy buh-bye and hung up. I hugged the dude and then woke up...

So I've been doing a lot of dream work. I have been reading about how your subconscious mind can communicate messages to you when you're asleep. I felt like this was one of those communications. Do I think it mean me and Diddy gonna have a baby ummm no.
Background: I have always loved Diddy but not in a I wanna marry him type of way but in a I wanna be him way. I admire his work ethic - he became a MOGUL and was literally a dude who threw college parties, hot parties but parties nonetheless. Moreover, I admire how his work ethic never stopped his social ethic! Diddy get's it in! I always felt like that if Sean Combs could become Diddy I could become DaVida Chanel, a mogul in my own rite. The difference is, I don't know what my "thing" is yet. As Jay-Z said, no one could touch Diddy when he had it-he was the hottest producer/manager/label guy out there. He went against the grain and did him NO MATTER WHAT! To me, Diddy represents the American Dream. He came from meager beginnings but through hard work and sheer ambition he became the man we know today.

So if I dreamed that a part of him was literally inside of me, maybe my subconscious is telling me that it is! If I dug deeper with the analysis, if the dream were real and I got "pregnant" with some Diddy-ness, then I'd be due around March...which I've been told happens to be a very good time for me (if you're into astrology, that's when my Part of Fortune will be at its peak...and since I'm Scorpio rising its gotta mean something that Diddy is a Scorpio...). I take this dream (and all my dreams) as a message. So instead of shrugging it off, I'm hard at work-deciding what the "thing" that will make me a mogul will be.

Stay tuned for the arrival of another part of me...


Ed Limato - He Was That Dude

July 10, 1936-July 3, 2010

Many people in Hollywood claim to be "doing things," but real power people are few and far between. To be successful in that city, one must pay their dues. Mr. Ed Limato was a real example of that and his hard work proved worth it as he passed away one of the most notable talent agents in the game. Like most successful Hollywood folk, he worked his way up from assistant to the co-president of ICM. Then in 2007, when he left ICM, he didn't just go retire. The then 69-year old packed up his clients and went to William Morris! Gotta love that. I was a huge fan of Mr. Limato because I knew someone who was his assistant that only had positive things to share-especially in regards to how he cared for his mother. I've actually been over to his home (I'll save that story for my autobiography once I become who I shall be career wise lol) and later when I got my job at Brillstein, I had the pleasure of meeting him. His client list was amazing (including Denzel Washington) and his impact on the entertainment industry is ridiculously amazing. And outside of work, he was known for his fab-o Oscar parties that he hosted at his home-lol and since it was his home,the impeccably dressed man never wore shoes! Today I celebrate the life of an eccentric who through hard work had a stronghold on the industry. His life was a testimony that reminds me that it is okay to just be you no matter what.


Let Me Work With You

Before I moved to L.A., I read a book about landing your first job in Hollywood. It said the way to any longevity in the city, one had to go the assistant route. It said once you become an assistant, you must do your job to the fullest - and even more importantly, let your boss be the boss. Master being a great understudy and refine your leadership skills by serving great leaders. I took those words of advice to heart. When my boss(es) would do crazy stuff to get on my nerves, I'd let it ride and clean up his(their) messes because that's what a great assistant does. Being as humble as possible, I was a damn good assistant. Even the brilliant crazy azz BM said so (and he NEVER gave a compliment that wasn't well deserved!)! Problem is I never wanted to be an assistant - I went to pursue a career as an executive. I just got caught up in the assistant lane because I'm good at it and it was safe (someone is always looking to hire a great assistant) .

How's it safe? Well,the thing about Hollywood is it is the one place where no one really wants to be the person who can officially say yes...until they know that yes is going to pay off. I mean imagine being the guy who says yes to a $100,000 budget to a movie that flops! It can be a scary thing. Ironically no one wants to say no either - lol the agent who turned down Julia Roberts has a great career BUT no longer as an agent! Starting a business there is damn near impossible unless you are independently wealthy and that still doesn't guarantee anything. Being a great assistant is like a safety net - everyone is always looking for one. You get all the perks with fewer risks (you get everything your boss and their clients get and you have an entire network of people just like you!). Yes you do have to protect your boss at all times but that boss is the one who has to make sure the bills get paid and the lights stay on. Talk about pressure-making sure you, your clients, your family and your employees all eat and do well is MEGA pressure.

Staying in that assistant lane is very tempting but after the monotony of it, I felt myself ready to branch off. The average amount of years an assistant is an assistant before making the leap is at least five. The recession made that amount of time become unpredictable. In general, you pay your dues learn the biz for that allotted time and you'll eventually move up. I was quite frustrated because once I'd master the desk, I'd get so bored. (And after doing it for a while, it didn't take much time to master a desk.) I vowed when I came to New Orleans, I'd be an executive NOT an assistant. But my pattern was the same.

I find as I pursue my goals, it is easy for me to want to work for others. Instead of saying, "this is what I can do," I generally ask, "how can I help." Many folk I've attempted to "help" didn't get it and the situations didn't work out. I'm extremely fortunate because one of the people I wanted to "help" and work "for," was instead looking for people to work with to achieve his goals. That situation taught me to switch my question to "how can I work WITH you." That type of attitude is providing many great opportunities across the board and exciting things are happening!

Things are looking better!
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