Monday, January 25, 2016

ATGAH: 2016 Winter Favorites

It may be cold outside, but my favorite winter picks keep me in a sunny mood.

Oh the weather outside is frightful; at least if you're like me living on the East coast of the United States. It is officially winter folks. We had a much needed break from it, but with winter storm Jonas coming through, there is no denying, it cold outside. And with the cold comes the uncontrollable urge to stay inside, eat yummy foods and binge watch shows on Netflix. However, since that really isn't the most productive way to spend our limited free time, how about encouraging some self love with my favorite winter picks. Here's what I'm loving right now:

I ADORE Herbivore products.
HERBIVORE SKIN CARE - I'm late to jump on the Herbivore line, but I'm totally onboard now. This all natural, therapeutic line is just what the doctor ordered to chase those winter blues away. I use Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist and the Rose Hair Perfume everyday for the perfect pick-me up. And they don't just stop with these great items. The bath salts, clay masks and oils are perfect for everyday use or an evening of at home pampering, which is a must in this dry season. 
BLACKSTAR by DAVID BOWIE - With the recent death of the late and great David Bowie, there's no question that his last album would make my list. With its classic haunting lyrics and smooth melodies, its a fitting goodbye from the rock icon. Available on iTunes, Amazon and at all major retail outlets.

CHALKABLES - I couldn't make this list without including something for the little ones. Chalkables square chalk sticks are just down right awesome. The colors are so vibrant and with names like sage, blush and ocean blue, your kiddos with tap into their inner hipster. The best part for me is because of the shape, they don't roll away and they are washable. Always a plus for this working momma.

SMITH'S ROSE & MANDARIN LIP TIN - I love a good conditioning when it comes to my lips. Folks, there is nothing worse then dry lips. So I make sure that mine are always moist and one of my absolute favorite products is from the Rosebud Perfume Co with their Smith's Rosebud Lip Tin. So when I saw there was a Rose and Mandarin version, I almost had a fit. not only does it come in a beautiful tin that fits in any bag, but the mixture of rose and citrus will make you feel like your on the beach.

I've been a fan of Josie Maran for years.
JOSIE MARAN WHIPPED ARAGAN OIL - Look whose back on the list. I love, love, love Josie Maran product, but I especially love her aragan oils. I have really dry skin and winter is like death for me. So its really important that I stay hydrated, but also that I don't clog my pores with tons of product. So at night I use her Whipped Aragan Oil Cream as well as the light version of her aragan oil on my face. When I wake up in the morning my skin looks clean, fresh and most importantly its not dry.

FRIDA: ORIGINAL MOVIE SOUNDTRACK - I ADORE Frida Kahlo. I can honestly say that I boarder a little on the obsessive side. She is my favorite painter and her life and spirit was so full of truth, love, pain and pure self love and honesty. The 2002 motion picture bio-pic was epic and beautifully done in every aspect. And the soundtrack was no exception. Beautiful vocals, passionate guitar cords and emotional lyrics encompass this album. You will see yourself in Casa de Azul dancing with Frida and Diego. Available on iTunes and

URBAN OUTFITTERS FRAGRANCES - I could have probably done this entire blog post on Urban Outfitters Fragrance section. But since I will save you the time, just know that the lines they carry are amazing! There is something for everyone, from light to heavy, floral to fruity and everything in between. I'm loving the Gourmand EDP Fragrance in Macaron Rose (are you seeing this pattern with rose scents people???). I especially loving putting it on after my nightly shower for a calming effect when entering dreamland.

THE 52 LISTS PROJECT by MOOREA SEAL - Saved the best for last I did. In spirit of positivity, I present to you The 52 Lists Project. From the designers at Moorea Seal, comes a year long weekly journal that promotes self expression and self discovery. This journal is beautifully presented with gorgeous layouts and photography, guiding you through the seasons. And if you're looking for a bit of encouragement or inspiration, follow the hash tag #52ListsProject on Instagram. 
The weekly journal is here to motivate and inspire.
Hope you enjoy these picks and as always, feel free to comment or email me with question. Stay warm out there friends.

     Malinda xoxo

Monday, January 4, 2016

Consistently Inconsistent

It's four days into a new year. The gyms are packed with new members, determined to shed the winter pounds. Facebook is full of "New Year, New Me" status'. And don't get me started on the 52 week money challenge, all in an effort to save a little money for the next year. Every year we collectively make New Years resolutions, that ultimately the majority of us break within the first three months. So I decided to shake things up this year. I made no resolution, instead, I did something much more meaningful.

I wouldn't call myself a quitter, but I am an expert at starting and stopping and starting again more often then I'd like to admit. Hell those of you who follow this blog on a regular basis know of my inconsistency. And there it was...I am consistently inconsistent. Now yes, life does get in the way. I do have two small children, a conventional 9 to 5 job, mortgage and everything else in between. But committing myself to my passions, my health and my dreams, should come naturally. Instead, those things have taken a seat on the back burner and only arise when I feel guilty for not reaching my goals. So this year, I made a vow to pray and meditate in the spirit of consistency. In doing this, I see my goals as a whole and not separate things I'm trying to achieve. And it not only applies to my writing or my health, but the people in my life as well. I cannot surround myself with friends or family who bring only limited experiences to my life and not expect the negativity to rub off on me as well. And the best part is the feeling of completion. I don't feel like a mouse running on a wheel trying to get to the cheese as fast as I can. Rather it feels like a continuous, gradual growth.

Consistency is key and I finally understand why.

Happy 2016 my friends. Be blessed!


Friday, July 24, 2015

Dear Buffalo, Stop Comparing Yourself to NYC!

Hello my friends. It has been a while, but here I am. I hope you are all enjoying the summer. Although its been a wet one here in good 'ole WNY, things seem to be drying out a bit. My son is finally enjoying the luxury of the pool in the backyard and I'm able to get out for my morning jogs without being rained on. Who could ask for anything more.

It's funny that this topic would come up. Over the years, since moving back to Buffalo, I've had some very interesting conversations about the city, life here and what it means to have BUFFALOVE. Yet, throughout those conversations, I would continue to hear this seemingly annoying comparison between New York City and the City of Buffalo. Now mind you, for the most part, this compare and contrast fascination doesn't actually appear to come from folks who actually live in the city. It hails from somewhere outside our walls. Or from people who really have no idea what it's like to live in an urban environment. Us city dwellers are very happy with what we got. Maybe its because we are surrounded by this place. Our daily routines and communities are Buffalo and we understand that, flaws and all, we make the city what it is. But for some reason or another, I am constantly seeing these "Top 5 reasons why Buffalo is different from NYC" or "What's the difference between NYC and Buffalo" internet lists from radio stations or tourist blogs. Why the insecurity? Why the chip on your shoulder? Its things like this that create such a negative perception of us as a whole. Especially in the fact that those of us who live in the City of Buffalo are allowing others to be our voice, to speak for us. We can speak for ourselves and we compare ourselves to NO ONE! No, we are not the melting pot of the world or the city that never sleeps, but we don't need to be either, nor do we want to be. Our streets aren't lined with yellow cabs and the masses aren't flocking to get a piece of us. But, we are fine just the way we are. People who live here live and breathe and bleed for this city. And we are quick to tell those who complain and put us down "if you don't like it, get the hell out". Because as Goodie Mob says "one money don't stop the show". We are rebuilding and learning to love Buffalo again. We are regaining our pride and reinventing ourselves from the inside out. We are refusing to be the butt of jokes and shame of a region. When people say "Why Buffalo?" we don't automatically put on the armor in defense or hang our heads in shame anymore. Now, we simply say "You should come visit" or "Let me show you why". We are families and friends, artists and entrepreneurs. We are writers and performers and scholars and teachers.  We are architects and civil service workers, lawyers and accounts and everything else in-between. We are growing in diversity and establishing a community once again. This is Buffalo, a city that is being reborn. We are not the high school girl with low self esteem, who has to compare herself to the prom queen. We who live in this city, walk its streets, shop in its stores. We know our worth, we know who we are. There is no competition, there is no comparison need. We are Buffalo, the Queen City.

Love M xoxox

If you are interesting in learning more about Buffalo and WNY, check out these sites:

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Letter to my Daughter on her 1st Birthday

Yui Lena Caudle-Saito, born June 30, 2014 at 6:24am

My Dearest Yui-chan,

   I know I says this more then you want to hear, but I love you with all that I am. My heart and soul, along with your father, created someone so perfect. How could I not shout my admiration from the roof tops. I have been blessed by God with not one, but two absolutely wonderful little humans. And, it is my privilege to be your mother. And in saying that I make this vow to you:
Birthday cake by Cake Crazy Bakery and cake pops by Xonia Kemp
    I promise to be the kind of mother who understands she cannot do it all herself. That when I need help, and I often do, I know when to ask for it, as not to fail you or your brother. I promise to be your teacher of life. To help you know what the joys of childhood are. To play tea party and run through the sprinkler on beautiful summer days. To ride bicycles in the park with you and stroll down Elmwood Avenue for ice cream at Fowler's. I promise to be fun and make you laugh. To ease your nerves at your first ballet performance. I promise to attend school plays and field day fun. I promise to know the names of all your classmates and schedule play dates with their parents when our schedules are free. 
Strawberry sugar cookies by Jacqueline Niemira

   I promise, as you grow, I will continue to be that teacher of life for you. I will be honest with you about that outfit you so desperately want to wear, but know that I would NEVER send you out the house that way. I promise to check you when you get an attitude and roll your eyes in defiance. I promise to get in your face and ride your butt if your grades start to slip because you chose to hang out with the wrong crowd. I promise to keep you on the right track, to make sure you put the Lord first in all the things you do and understand where true joy comes from. I promise to instill in you what a real lady is because as Andre 300 from OUTKast says "kids will have to go to a museum just to see what a lady looks like". 

   I promise to be there when you walk across that stage and say good bye to adolescence and hello to adulthood. And I promise that when that happens, to know that my role as your teacher will be no more. You see my sweet girl, I will transition as well. No, I won't be your teacher anymore because hopefully, I will have taught you all the life lessons you need to know to make it in this world. But I promise to be your mentor. I vow to be your example of a woman through and through. I will be that role model of strength, honor and kinds that was handed down to me. I pass these traits to you my love. And through all of this my sweet Yui, I will always be there for you.

I love you with all that I am. Happy birthday my sweet baby girl.

Love Mommy xoxoxox

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dedicated - Easter Weekend at the Broadway Market

Masaya outside the legendary Broadway Market

Well my friends, I hope an pray you all had a wonderful weekend. There was so much going on here in Western New York and around the world. Here in Buffalo, many of us celebrated Passover, Easter Sunday and today, Dyngus Day. Now, i know many of you are saying, what the hell is Dyngus Day? So before I go into that, I have to tell you about my day at the famous Buffalo entity, The Broadway Market.

I have no idea what possessed me to go to the Broadway Market on Good Friday, with two children, by myself at 11 o'clock in the morning. To the more experienced shopper around this time of year, you already know that this is madness. But, this being my first time to the market around this time of year, I was not warned about what I would encounter. As I rode up Fillmore Ave, I was shocked that traffic suddenly stopped. Then I saw it, the line of cars and I knew I should just turn back and forget the whole thing. I didn't. And after about 15 minutes of waiting, I found some street parking, got the kids out the car and headed up the street. I won't relive that the crowded, busy, claustrophobic, sardine can that was the Broadway Market at that time, but I will say that I got to see nothing and all I could do was get two plants for my grandmother and escaped with my children in tow. Now before you get disappointed, never fear…became I went back!

Yes, I went back around 5pm that same day and can I say, it was a totally different experience. It was still pretty busy, but I could move around easily, ask the vendors questions and really take in all that the market has to offer. I was really impressed and wanted to know more. The history of the Broadway Market and its products actually date back to 1888. And I'm the type of person who can respect history of any kind. As I walked through, I felt the kind of excitement in the year that normally comes with holidays, but this was something different. Usually, folks joke that this is the only time the Broadway Market is busy and its a ghost town normally. This may be true, but the vendors who sell their goods there are in the market everyday. They are dedicated to that place and that trumps any holiday in my mind and its something that it missing today…loyalty and dedication. And I did get everything on my list during that second trip, including my butter lamb.

Now, onto Dyngus Day, which is another reason the market is so busy during Easter weekend, really the whole week leading up to Easter and the day after. Now, I know a few years ago, Anderson Cooper made fun of Dyngus Day, more so the term "pussywillow king". Oh Anderson. But the Dyngus Day celebration here in Buffalo is actually the largest in North America.

 "Śmigus-Dyngus (also known as lany poniedziałek, meaning "Wet Monday") is a celebration held on Easter Monday in Poland. It is also observed by Polish diaspora communities, particularly among Polish Americans, who call it Dyngus Day. Similar celebrations are held in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Oblévačka in CzechOblievačka in Slovak, both meaning "Watering") and in Hungary, where it is known as Vízbevető or Water Plunge Monday. Traditionally, boys throw water over girls and spank them with pussy willow branches on Easter Monday, and girls do the same to boys on Easter Tuesday. This is accompanied by a number of other rituals, such as making verse declarations and holding door-to-door processions, in some regions involving boys dressed as bears. The origins of the celebration are uncertain, but it may date to pagan times (before 1000 AD); it is described in writing as early as the 15th century. It continues to be observed in central Europe, and also in the United States, where certain patriotic American elements have been added to the traditional Polish ones."

   "The Buffalo Dyngus celebrations only started in the 1960s as an effort by the Polish-American community in the city to find a new focus for its identity. It proved hugely successful, to the point that a local newspaper claimed that "everybody is Polish on Dyngus Day." It has become a fusion of Polish and American traditions, with polka bands, a parade, and Polish food accompanying American patriotic songs sung in English. Party-goers dress up in the red-and-white colors of the Polish flag and carry balloons saying "Happy Dyngus Day" in English.

Now there's a lot more to the Dyngus Day celebrations then just balloons, but I can't write them all on here, so I advise you all to check out for more information about all the festivities. And I charge you all to check out the Broadway Market next year. Pick up some beautiful wooden Easter eggs and a butter lamb. Have a safe and wonderful weekend my friends!!!

Malinda xoxox

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Tokyo Girl At Heart Interviews Buffalo Writer Keyon "Keyz" Lee

Myself and author Keyon "Keyz" Lee.

Hello my friends! I hope all is well. We are officially in a new season and spring has finally sprung here in Western New York. I love spring for so many reason (other then I was born in March), but the one that sticks out in my mind the most is the symbolization of new beginnings and rebirth. We awaken from a cold and gray slumber of winter and walk into the sunlight and blue skies of spring. With all things new, I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with poet, novelist and enterpenur Keyon Lee.

  Mr. Lee is a Buffalo native and very proud to be a part of the Buffalo art scene. He is a seasoned professional and is inspired by Buffalo and excited for the current renaissance going on here. I have to admit that Keyon Lee has been a big part of this artist resurgence, since his first published works and is a staple in the urban literary world here in Western New York.  Not only that, he is also the owner of City Swagg Fashions, located in the popular west side area of Buffalo at 19th Street and Hampshire Street. But Mr. Lee is ready to venture outside our local boarders and enthusiastic to bring his many talents to the rest of America. His latest novel Tears of Our Children is a vast departure from his previous and popular book Older Women, Younger Men: Cougars, but Mr. Lee felt that the very heavy topic of molestation is one that needs to be discussed, especially in the black community. So without further delay, here is my interview with the multi-talented Mr. Keyon Lee. His works are available on Amazon and here in Buffalo at Doris Records and City Swagg Fashions. Finally, for more information on Mr. Lee and his upcoming projects and appearances make sure you check out or check back here.

Enjoy and be blessed!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Tokyo Girl At Heart Interviews Singer Olivia Burrell

Hello my dear friends! It has been AGES since I've written. And I know I say this often, but I'm not letting you all go for so long without hearing from me. It's a new year and a new month, so I decided that I needed to bring you some new and awesome stuff. And what better way to start then with an interview with singer/songwriter, Olivia Burrell.

To give you a little background on Olivia, she is a Toronto native, of Jamacian decent. She is currently living and working in Tokyo, Japan, and has been for the past 13 years. And, she is the premier backing vocal artist for some of the most famous and talented Japanese artists there are, such as JUJU, PUSHIM, Ayaka, Tsuyoshi Domoto and Toshinobu Kubota. So enough of me, here is my interview with the talented, beautiful and all around wonderful Olivia Burrell. You can find more on Olivia at the following links: