Tag Archives: foreign exchange

“Greater Than The Sun” for Breakfast!

Hey folks! Happy New Year! I know we’ve been into 2012 for more than a week now, but this is my first post of the year, so I figured I’d wish each of you a prosperous, amazing 2012. What better way to kick off the year than with a post that is a cross-section of all of the things I love: writing, music, photography, and food. This past weekend, I had the chance to have a house to myself, and that meant I got to play around in the kitchen. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do, but when I’m trying out a whole bunch of new stuff, I prefer to do it alone. That way, if it sucks, I can throw it away and no one is hurt that they’re in the house hungry but me. ;-)

Rewinding back a few days, I was on GChat with Cheekie when I mentioned an idea that I had for a post. I follow an amazing food blog called Carnal Dish, and the owner of said blog, Resha, has a recipe on her site dedicated to one of her favorite artists: Big K.R.I.T. Browsing her website and realizing that I had an entire weekend to play around in the kitchen, I had a brilliant idea. Why not do something along the same lines for my favorite group, The Foreign Exchange? And that’s what brings us here together today. Without further adieu, I introduce to you the “Greater Than The Sun” breakfast, inspired by the song of the same title off of Zo’s album “Sunstorm.”

i admittedly need to work on my pancake skills, but trust me. this tasted awesome.

I took a page from Carnal Dish, and put my own spin on the Lazy Lemon and Vanilla Bean pancakes. I was without vanilla bean, so my pancakes feature lemon zest, orange zest, and vanilla extract. The orange zest made something really special happen with these pancakes, and I’m certain I had a smile on my face from the first bite. Instead of syrup, I put together a glaze with raspberry preserves, lemon, lime, and orange juice, with some sugar and a bit of water. Once it reduced down, I poured it on top of the pancakes, and it added just the right amount of sweetness and tartness to the pancakes, and sort of reminded me of the color that the sky takes on when the sun is setting.

On one side, you see God’s gift to breakfast – bacon. Yes, there are 4 pieces there. I could get creative and say it’s one for every word in the title of the song, but it was really because I was starving. ;-) For my scrambled eggs, I used spinach, sundried tomatoes, and Monterey Jack cheese. MAN. Talk about some kinda good! It was just the right amount of heat, and the veggies really set it off. Last but not least, to celebrate the morning time, I poured a big glass of orange juice. Had I had some champagne in the house, it would have been a mimosa, but I figure I can save that for the next time I make this recipe!

So folks, there you have it. My culinary interpretation of “Greater Than The Sun.” Between the food on the plate and the song on repeat, it is impossible to have a bad start to the day. If you don’t already have Carnal Dish bookmarked, please do so, and if you don’t have Zo’s “Sunstorm” album, please traipse on over here to order yourself (and anyone else you care about) a copy.

Until next time, folks!

and this is what was left when I was finished...

Feature Fridays – Round and Round Again

Hey ya’ll. It’s been a hectic last couple of weeks for me…between my responsibilities at work ramping up, school starting and it quite possibly being the hardest class of my graduate career, having a lot of extraneous responsibilities pop up seemingly out of nowhere, and being a harsh critic of myself, it’s been a LONG fourteen days. Apparently I have ESP or something, and subconsciously knew that especially this last past seven days was going to be trying, because last weekend I took a seemingly impromptu trip to Charlotte to see The Foreign Exchange in concert. In reality, it wasn’t impromptu at all, I just didn’t feel like broadcasting it all over the internet for people to know where I was going. Needed some time off the grid, if you will.

I have this thing after live shows where I listen to all of the music I have by a particular artist. With FE, it’s no different, because I can’t really remember a day in the last 2 years where I haven’t listened to something by them or someone on their label. It dawned on me yesterday, however, that I have absolutely no music on my iPod by Jeanne Jolly. NONE! Ok, that’s not totally true, because she is featured on Zo’s “Just Visiting Three” and on FE’s latest release “Dear Friends: An Evening With The Foreign Exchange,” but it’s not the same! So, after seeing her live for now the third time, I knew I had to do something about that…

While I was at work yesterday, I decided to do a YouTube search for Jeanne Jolly to see what I could find. And let me just say that I felt like I struck gold when I came across this video:

Jeanne Jolly – Round and Round Again

Now…I’ve never been a country music fan, but damn if she’s not going to force me to be one. First of all, she can SANG. Not just sing, but SANG. My God. Do ya’ll hear her voice? I imagine this is what angels in Heaven sound like, for real. I felt like I should have been sitting on the porch of somebody’s grandmother’s house with a glass of lemonade watching the rain fall on the front yard. Seriously. Her voice is so powerful that I felt every single note of every single word that she sang. I have a special affinity for acoustic music, so this was right up my alley, and I have seriously listened to this at least 20 times since I first came across it yesterday. If you go listen to her features on the projects I’ve linked above, you can hear the distinct versatility in her voice, and the sheer talent that she possesses. I’m kicking myself right now for not discovering her sooner.

Since today was payday for me, I went on over to iTunes and got her latest EP, “Falling in Carolina,” which I am sure is going to knock my socks and shoes off when I take it for a spin during my lunchtime walk. She seriously has a talent, so please do yourself a favor and support good music. I know for certain that I will.

Until next time, folks…

An Amazingly Simple Night…

It’s been a while since I’ve put some words on this here e-crib of mine. Blame a full time job, a full time school load, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life for that one. I decided to break my unintentional hiatus here with some thoughts that popped up this evening while on my drive home…

This evening I had the pleasure of finally meeting the boyfriend of one of my “big sisters.” Funny how I call her my big sister, but she needs a stepstool to hug me. ;-) Anyway…he and I clicked like we had known each other for years. I guess all of the trash talking we had done through her for the last couple of months built our rapport before we ever met each other. This isn’t about me, though. It is 100% all about them. What I witnessed tonight was one of the most beautiful displays of love I think I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s not because there were rose petals laid out all over the floor, or overt displays of affection (neither were present), but just because everything felt so…right. Anybody that knows me knows that I absolutely hate being a third wheel. Something about being single around a couple has always rubbed me the wrong way, but this time? Not even. They were so at ease with each other and with me that it felt like it was just three friends sitting around joking, laughing, and waiting to eat dinner, rather than a boyfriend, his woman, and her friend doing the same. The air in the house was just…light. No time for arguing, no time for ridiculousness, just genuine time spent with one another (and with me), and it was just absolutely perfect.

To be honest, it gave me hope. If I’m going to be honest with myself, I know I get really despondent about relationships sometimes, but watching them renewed my faith in a sense. It reminded me that true love doesn’t have to have this element of discontent and contention to it. I really feel like my friend and her man have the whole concept of “it’s the little things that matter” down pact. While I was engaging with them and cracking jokes the entire time, I was also taking mental notes. The way they talk to each other, the way they consider each other’s opinions, how hospitable each of them were to each other and to me, how you can literally feel the love they have for one another as soon as you walk into the room where both of them are…it left me feeling inspired. I needed to be reminded that it’s possible to feel that way about someone and to have them feel that way about you, and for it to just be…right. Man! I wish ya’ll could have been there…

Needless to say, I’m extremely happy for my friend. I’m so happy that he makes her happy and treats her well and that she walks around with a constant smile on her face because she deserves it. They fit each other well, they compliment each other well, and I feel like they work really well together. I’ve gotten a glimpse into what I hope my future looks like one day, and I am so extraordinarily blessed to have been in their presence for the short time that I was…thanks for the hope and the excellent example that you’ve set for me…

Between The Foreign Exchange being in heavy rotation, and having witnessed an amazing couple tonight, I feel like I’m going to have some great dreams. Everyone reading this – remember love is possible, necessary, and beautiful. Until next time, I leave you with one of my favorite lines from The Foreign Exchange that sums up exactly how I feel after tonight…

“Good people/good lovin’/good music in my life/
It makes me happy/so happy”

The Foreign Exchange – Happiness

An Ode to The Foreign Exchange

If you’ve spent any amount of time with me within the last calendar year, you would know how much of a Foreign Exchange fan that I am. And I don’t mean a “oh yeah, their new CD comes out tomorrow, lemme go cop it” type of a fan. I’m the “let me pre order the CD, order the CDs I don’t have, and put everybody and their momma onto these things” type of fan. I mean, in the words of my good friend Cheekie, I STAN for these two. Let me give you a bit of a history on how I became such a Foreign Exchange fan…

Thanks to Twitter, I had started “meeting” people that I had never met before in real life. One of these people was an MC from my alma mater, DK aka Wayne Watts. He and I built up a rapport based on music, and when he released his “24” mixtape for his 24th birthday, there was one song in particular, titled “Birthday Party Guestlist (R.S.V.P.)” that caught me as soon as the beat dropped. Since he took the liberty of shouting me out at the end of the mixtape (that still touches my spirit btw), I decided to ask him where in the world he got the instrumental from for that song. He excitedly replied that it was from this group called The Foreign Exchange and the name of the song was Take Off The Blues. Ya’ll know I went to YouTube IMMEDIATELY and found the video for it. When I tell you my jaw hit the ground as I listened to the song…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a6OueWQ0O4]

That wasn’t the first time I had been introduced to FE. I remember a few years ago, hearing some tracks off of Connected, but I never thought to ask who the group was, or where I could find the music…but when I was re-introduced to them through DK, I. FELL. IN. LOVE. Never in my life had I experienced such a strong connection to music before…as someone who defines every event in her life through a soundtrack, it literally felt as if I had just discovered the soundtrack to my life. I can literally piece together songs off of all three albums to create my own personal soundtrack. From the chill flow of “Come Around” on Connected, to the introspective flow of “Daykeeper” on Leave It All Behind to the smooth groove of “Don’t Wait” on Authenticity, I have been able to musically describe my life and my thought processes for the last year thanks totally to The Foreign Exchange.

If for some unknown reason, you have NOT been blessed by the sheer talent of this amazing duo, please do yourself a favor and go download their catalog. You can get it in the iTunes store, or go to their website to getchu a piece of glory. From Nicolay’s amazing beats (like seriously, I have a heightened level of respect for anyone that can come up with music off the top of their head, but where does he GET the inspiration for this stuff? Listening to his instrumentals is like listening to magic be made, for real.) to Phonte’s verses so eloquently laid over top of said beats (and once again, this dude is the truth. He spits some real words about life and everything that comes with it in every single song on every one of their albums; I promise you, if you listen hard enough, you’ll be thinking about a lot by the time the album ends…), you can’t be disappointed in this group. You just can’t.

And let us not forget Darien Brockington, Zo!, and Yahzarah, all members of the Foreign Exchange family. Talk about people that can sing and compose music like none other…all of their features on FE albums, coupled with their own solo efforts…high quality music. I’ve put numerous people on to the entire FE family, and I literally get excited at the mere mention of new music from anyone in the group.

Everytime I listen to a Foreign Exchange piece, no matter what mood I’m in, a little piece of my soul smiles. From the bottom of my heart, to both Nicolay and Phonte, I thank you for making the music you make. You have no idea the positive impact that each of your CDs has had on my life. You literally speak to my soul and have helped me get through and process through many situations over the last 12 months. I’m SO looking forward to the next time you come to DC, because I will DEFINITELY be front and center!

Til next time, folks…