Friday, September 18, 2009

Amy the Black’s 5 Fall Fashion Tips

For some odd reason, I’ve been a little more in-tune with the fashion trends lately. Perhaps it’s because I am a “non-traditional student” (aka old person going back to school, which they should have done along time ago) and see a lot of the styles that young adults are wearing, and that if I want to camouflage myself in the student body, I have to be more aware. I could also be that I really like the styles that are popular these days. So when I saw a blogging contest through, it thought it wouldn’t be difficult for me to participate!
So, here are my 5 Must-Haves, and Fashion Tips. If, for some strange reason, you would like to buy something for me, I will be more than happy to provide you with my full Amazon gift list. Unfortunately, a new clothes dryer is not on the list—but if you want to buy me one, we can arrange it!

1. The most important thing to remember this Fall/Winter is that plaid is back! I like plaid! But I don’t like to see entire outfits, full dresses, etc. covered in the stuff. What I do like is highlights, accessories, and small hints of plaid. I especially like the combination of the shirred jacket with plaid (on top right-hand side of photo).

2. Scarves. And not just the kind to keep your neck warm during winter, I’m talking about long, decorative scarves that one could even wear during the summer. I bet my European friends are snickering right now, because they’ve known about the importance of scarves for a while. I’m glad that Americans are finally catching on.

3. For me, Black is always going to be The New Black. What doesn’t go with black? Nothing. But I’m glad that black is still a very popular color for your wardrobe. It helps tame brighter colors, can help you go from office to party in no time, and is practically timeless. If you wear a relatively nice black outfit, you look more professional. People will take you more seriously.

4. One tip that I love: Multiple lengths of necklaces worn at the same time! Whew, what a relief to not have to decide what necklace to wear. Just put them all on! Within reason, of course. Or you could purchase one necklace that satisfies the inner 1980s Madonna in all of us women. Actually, the trend is more of a long, cascading chains.

5. Messenger Bags for both men and women. Now we can all share in a utilitarian object to help us all carry those items around with us all the time. Now I don’t feel so bad asking a rather fashionable guy, “Where did you get that fabulous bag?” and for him to tell me without feeling embarrassed. But now I have to fight over messenger bags with my husband.

I hope this gives you some ideas of what to buy me. And if you need more ideas, check out

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Monday, September 07, 2009

9/11 Remembrance: Keithroy Maynard and Amazing Grace

I have learned recently that the hymn, “Amazing Grace” was written around 1770 by John Newton, a former slave ship captain, who, after being converted to Christianity, reflected upon his former occupation and felt sorrow for what he had done.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.

John Newton, an American working as an English slave ship captain, was a wretch. He worked in an industry that brought millions of captured Africans to the New World so that plantation owners and merchants could make fortunes and claim that they alone built America. But it was really those slaves—packed nearly 600 in each ship, sold to masters, and forced to work for those masters—that actually did the hard work.

John Newton didn’t convert to Christianity and immediately forgo working in the slave industry. He didn’t convert because of an overwhelming guilt for buying and selling humans into slavery. He converted because he was glad that God spared his life after a scary storm at sea.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved.

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed.

Millions of slaves were brought to the New World. A million died en-route. John Newton made several trips from the Americas to England to Africa and back—a worker in the triangle of the buying of and selling of Africans and slave-made products sold to Europeans. Many of those slaves were brought to the United States to work in tobacco fields, but even more were brought to the Caribbean to work in sugar cane fields.

It was “Amazing Grace” that played at Keithroy Marcellus Maynard’s firefighters funeral on June 11, 2005, four years after his death on September 11, 2001. Keithroy was one of the many firefighters that responded to the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers. Most importantly, he was one of 12 black firefighters who lost their life that day.

Keithroy’s journey, which was cut short as he tried to save people from the disaster on that beautiful Tuesday morning, started and ended in Montserrat—a small island in the Caribbean. An island named by Christopher Columbus, settled by English plantation owners, and an island that has recently been devastated by an active volcano.

Keithroy was born in 1971 and grew up on that island until 1986, when his family, including his Mother, older brother Vernon, and twin brother, Kevin, immigrated to the United States. Keithroy became a naturalized citizen of the United States and became a New York City firefighter in 1999.

Engine Company 33, Keithroy’s unit, was one of the first called to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and Keithroy was with them. He never returned.

It wasn’t until four years later that Keithroy’s remains were identified by DNA and his family could finally bury him in his home country, Montserrat.

It’s been a long journey for Keithroy and his African ancesters—from captives, to cargo, to slaves, to freedom, to citizens, to firefighters who could, themselves, save poor wretches.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come.

'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

There is still time if you would like to participate in Project 2,996.

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