Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I joined a book club several years ago as a means of connecting with people in D.C. It has been helpful to meet people and make new friends but it has also reinvigorated my passion for reading. Which after college and graduate school was something I couldn’t muster for fun. Anyway, for the most part I enjoy most of the books we read in the book club. In fact it is the way that I found a few of my new favorite books like “Wild” and “Me Before You”.

The last book we read was a sleeper hit. In fact I almost didn’t read it because it didn’t look very interesting. Boy, was I wrong. The old adage of you can’t judge a book by its cover was true. “A Man Called Ove” is a humorous look at the life of a grumpy old man. The cast of characters help tell the story of the humanity and love through the lens of a man who is hardly likable but his life is a remarkable one. I give this book a hardy recommendation.

Avec Amour,



Basking in the last days of Hope

Original Poem by Tiffany

“Beloved my heart is weary and these feet are finding it hard to press on.  I have waited in vain for them to accept me as their own. I know they see me and see the way my babies are bludgeoned in the street. The way I am not able to peer around each corner without receiving another crushing defeat.

And so my sweet one, the sun has shined so brightly these last eight years. I looked at that light and didn’t even realize my retinas were being burned. I was blinded into seeing something better. In believing there could be more for me.

Now I know that this time wasn’t without dark days and tears but still I felt it. The shifting tides of change washed over me. I was baptized in the renewed HOPE it brought forth. I believed for a moment that maybe I was not invisible.

But here I am again, being escorted outside the gates…being reminded that with me at the table America was not great.

Don’t fear. My feet maybe weary but my mind is strong. Even more determined to carry on. Because this time beloved they messed up. This time when I was at the table I actually drank from the cup. I tasted the sweet nectar of the God…I was shown just how beautiful we all are. So I know I must press on. Press on in the in the midst of the impending storm

However, today I will enjoy just a moment longer the brilliant light of the setting sun. I will bath in the rays and bask in the last days of hope. I will store inside like a vault. Lord, knows I will need it moving forward for now the light will not shine under the cloud of agent orange.“- Tiffany J. 


2009 Armed Forces Inaugural Committee

Dear America,

I have always been an optimist. Looking at the world with rose colored glasses. Believing in the collective good and people’s propensity to be better then yesterday.

Over a decade ago, I was a fresh faced college freshman in a policy sci class. It was the eve of the 2004 Presidential Election cycle and we were required to watch the conventions for homework to discuss our observations and the tone of the politicians.

I remember seeing a man who seemed to be the embodiment of my ideals and optimism. He saw the possibility of the American Experiment. He emphasized that Government couldn’t solve all of our problems but could move the needle forward with the help of citizens like me.

He was a dreamer. Coming from near impossible circumstances and being on the pinnacle of something great. At that time he might have only believed it would be that Senate seat for the state of Illinois. But I saw more. I saw him but heard MLK, JFK and RFK. I watched him but witnessed FDR, Lincoln and Churchill. I knew at that time he was a man like no other.

A few weeks later, I saw his Autobiography, “Dreams of My Father” in the Costco. I devoured the book.  I was trying to take all of him in.  I  ate up his words and ideals. It was like nourishment to the soul. I was a believer. A convert in his brand of politics that was thoughtful, reflective and always with an undercurrent of  eternal flow of HOPE.

In 2007 he announced his candidacy for President and I was all in…I skipped class with a friend to go see him speak at the Baldwin Hills. The energy at the rally was palpable. The crowd was filled with young people like me that were from UCLA, USC and his first college, Occidental. It all felt so  infectious. We believed! We knew he was great! We knew together we could make him President!

And so it was, the improbable Jr. Senator from Illinois beat the establishment candidate. He changed the map from a bleeding red middle …to shades of blue. His ascension to the White House and to the candidate was nothing short of mesmerizing. It often felt like a dream…

A dream so big, so great and yet so humble. For a man like us to become President of the U.S.

The sobering reality of the job was like a cold shower. A broken economic situation, failing industries, two wars, political posturing, infighting and blatant sabotage. He aged before our eyes the weight of the world on his shoulders. The gravity of the reality of the job etched on his face. The raven hair turned white from the long discourse and ranker that blocked the progress we were in desperate need of.

But yet he still fought on… Still echoed the affirmations of HOPE. Still sought to move the needle forward for all Americans. Changing the way we saw the rights of same sex couples, those needing medical insurance and immigrant families. He changed the way the world saw us. We were again the leader of diplomacy and took our seat at the head of the table, leading the world toward unity. Speaking out against mass atrocities and the senseless acts of violence that plagued small town America and beyond.

In spite of all the good that was done. All the progress made. The change that came. Those that benefited the most had the shortest memory. They blamed the President for their unhappiness. Failures in the workplace and  not bringing enough progress. Pushing the envelop to much and shifting the norms beyond what they were comfortable with. They sought to take a step back in time. Back to a time when divisive rhetoric and segregation showcased the differences between us instead of the things that made us the same. They voted for a life that resembled 1956 instead of 2016.

I was crushed. Heartbroken. Left shelled shocked and in mourning. It felt like and still feels like I am in the twilight zone. Waiting for normal humanity to set in.

So here I sit. Tears stinging my eyes. Bruised by the abusive words, tone and actions of  my fellow Americans. The same people that pledged allegiance to our flag. Who sat next to me in classes, on planes and buses. Who I played with as a child. Who I studied with in college. Who works with me everyday.

What sustains me is his optimism. In spite of the his battle scars. Which are much more direct and acute then my own. That were personally leveled at his intelligence, his patriotism, his family and his legacy. He still obama-interview-3-1440970700believes we can be our own saviors of this democracy. He still plans to dedicate himself to fighting for the underdog, the marginalized, disenfranchised…the person labeled other.Because he can go on, I can too. Because he believed in us, I will too. Because he did in spite of the improbability, I am doing the same.

Just let me bask a little longer in the hope. The last splendid days of excellence…the last moments of la vie en rose.

Avec Amour,



Chop, Chop

Just before the beginning of the year I got my hair straightened at a salon I frequent when I have a time crunch. I saw a new lady who got my hair way to straight and ended up frying my tightly coiled 4 c texture hair. When I tried to revert it back after a wash it lay lifeless and lacked all elasticity.

I was bummed to say the least. But I also saw it as a golden opportunity to do something I had been wanting to do for a while. I wanted a asymmetrical bob. So I called my Hair Guru, Ayanna at Hairgasm in Washington, D.C.


We discussed my vision and reviewed photos until we stumbled upon this shot of Tia Mowry-Hardict. Once I finally got the nerve, Ayanna worked her magic and here is the result.

I think it is a super cute and sleek  blunt bob. Ayanna took about 4 inches off the back. I really LOVE the cut! In the end I realized it was just what I needed. To cut off all the bad stuff and start over fresh and renewed for the new year. Anything worth chopping off in your life?


Avec Amour,