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Many of my post may be filled with typos, ignorant statements, untruths, bad English, & anything else that may make me appear to be uneducated. Please note: all of these things combined make my Blog the perfect one, because you know I have issues & I am not ashamed. With this said; enjoy, fuck mistakes & read between the lines!

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Archive for the 'Ala Bygbaby' Category

So…It’s Been A Long Time Since

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, April 10th, 2018 at 9:20 PM
Not sure if this is a comeback but here I am. Who’s still here? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone??? It's been YEARS since I last posted here and I miss it. WAIT... It’s been 3 years… So many reasons why I stopped writing and all centered around depression, drama still circling from my divorce/child custody battle and a general unhappiness with life, which led to the erosion of my creative spirit. Today, I am well both mentally & emotionally. All the divorce and child custody drama is OVER! AND… There are so many new things in my life that give me joy, happiness, & satisfaction. THE SKINNY:
My Ex: She died 2 years ago.. I found out on Facebook through a friend that I hadn’t talked to in ages. Although she was dead to me years before she actually left her body in a very tragic death, my daughters Olivia and Amelia are still hurting over their loss but WE ARE HEALING together and that has been beautiful. After $75K spent fighting my ex... fighting to love and support my children... there are so many layers to this story and over the course of a few posts, I will be sharing my experience to hopefully help any man who is out there struggling through a divorce, child custody issues, and just needs a map to well-rounded mental and emotional help. My Kids: Although unfortunate for my children, the death of my ex was a turnaround moment for me and my kids as a barrier to love was removed. I HATE looking it like this but I know things would be much different if this life event would not have occurred. I take no joy in her death but I certainly LOVE where me and the kids are. Olivia 2017 Olivia is approaching 20 this year, in her 2nd year of college, just purchased her 1st car, ready for a successful summer of internships and music festivals. She’s doing so much and I love it! Amelai 2017 Amelia is approaching 13 and is such a little self-determined spitfire. She’s doing great in school, has a true sense of humor that can light up any room, and is a creative entrepreneurial thinker full of hustle. Also... Sade is ALMOST 21!!! OMG! Really? Yes! She’s attending the University of Alabama, working really hard & is super focused! She’s survived some crazy odds and situations and continues to be a fighter. She makes me proud. My Job-Job: Most people know, many don’t… but I usually have a day job. Actually, my last day job was with Michigan Medicine/University of Michigan Health System. I was employed there for the last 15 years and decided to call it quits back in December 2017. I had a few roles in my time there but the last role was that I shaped and shifted in for 12 years. Why did I leave??? Bad management. Stress. Hostile work environment. All things that I am not having in my life anymore. The decision came after I suffered a tremendous breakdown at work and was carted off in an ambulance. Days later, I found myself on the couch of a therapist. A woman that helped me pull my life back together over a period of several months; six months to be exact. She helped me search for happiness within myself, helped me with strategies to control my anxiety, coached me through my fight with depression. She essentially helped me to evolve & focus on the things in this world that truly matter and while employment matters, my Black life, mind, & body cannot be governed by a pay check, especially when faced with a dangerous manager/director/boss…. On December 18th, I was so damn happy to submit my resignation. Handing that woman my letter was so freeing… so sobering, it gave me life as they say. watch her read it with her quivering lips warmed my cold heart. “December 18, 2017 Dear Laurel Barnes, After just over fifteen years of employment with Michigan Medicine, with twelve of those years in Learning Management, I enthusiastically tender my resignation effective 12/29/2017. Over the past several months, I have had time to reflect, and determined that it is in my best interest to no longer work in this damaging environment. After submitting complaints to the compliance office and getting no follow up from human resources, specifically Sarah Diebold after multiple attempts, it is clear that Learning Management under your leadership is not a safe nor positive space. It appeared that your intent was to tear apart rather than team build based on several incidents: 1) You told me that I lacked analytical skills without even knowing what I did within the department specifically, 2) You accused me of instigating workplace turmoil between XXXX & XXXX , 3) You suggested that XXXX and I had deep seated issues that interfere with work. After sharing untruths in regards to my behavior with XXXX & XXXX , who were shocked and confused by your statements and accounting, your bullyish behavior was further exposed. Under your leadership, the office is a very dangerous toxic environment ran on fear, bullying, intimidation, & deceit. The emotional intelligence and technical aptitude to effectively manage a diverse team positively was clearly absent and I suffered tremendously as a result. I will not be taking your three offers of a reference letter as you can’t effectively speak to my work, skills, abilities, work ethic or anything related. Reclaiming my time, Tafari K. Stevenson-Howard” Since I reclaimed my life and time, my purpose is clear. My satisfaction with my actions is clear. My zest for life is renewed and sustainable… The crazy thing is, before I quit, one of my good friends quit. Just quit! No job, no nothing because the environment was so ridiculously bad. After I left, four more of my team members left for the same reasons. We all worked together for 12 years or so. The cool thing is, we are all in better places but unfortunately, I had to suffer a mental breakdown… Life continues! With that said, I am now in a new job-job situation and it’s great! A positive work space doing something that feels meaningful. Working with a team that’s agile, fun, and diverse. My Passion: My photography is still a thing & has been really fun, especially since I have a renewed energy pushing my creatively, which was missing for so long.

Bygbaby.com Mindspill

So that I don’t bombard this post with too much, you can read about my latest work & project at these links below. City of Detroit: How a Detroit native's 'total fluke' couch purchase turned into a legendary photo series Michigan Chronicle: Couch: Beautiful – An Exploration of Beautiful Black Women To Debut Feb. 10th The Root: How Detroit Photographer Tafari Stevenson-Howard’s Couch Became a Work of Art Shondaland: Stunning Photo Series Showcases the Beauty of Detroit's Black Women
I’m committing to getting my thoughts out of my head. All the things that I have been wanting to release here in my journal are coming. This is part of my healing and I now feel ready. And damn, it’s time to refresh my blog look… I’m ready for the new new!

Welcome to the Humble Ranch

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 at 10:39 PM

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Last week, I hosted my first official [housewarming] party of the year at my new home, the Humble Ranch. So many of my family & friends came out to celebrate this awesome life event with me.

It was a simple affair complete with excellent texture, color, design, drink, & food mixed with African flair.

Everybody knows that I'm all about a fun party flyer so for this occasion I decided to use a few vignettes from my home as a background to spread the word. With many of my friends not seeing my home before the party, the flyers offered a sneak peek into my life & design esthetic.

As you can see, the set was 4-8pm but things lasted much longer & it was all good. People love a good party, including me!

I'm so appreciative of the wonderful people that I have in my life, they really showed your boy some tremendous love!

I've been in my new home now for almost 4 months and it's honestly THE best home that I've ever lived as an adult for so many reasons.

As a matter of fact: The top image was taken with my Nikon DSLR, the last two were taken with my iPhone 6.

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Photos Using Enlight

Author: Tafari, Monday, April 13th, 2015 at 2:46 PM

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A few weeks ago, I downloaded the new photo editing app iPhone app, Enlight. I can’t stop playing with this app. Once you get the hang of the crazy amount of options, the sky is the limit when it comes to your creativity. Admittedly, I am not one who does or even knows how to do crazy photo manipulations but I am having some good fun with this little app. Images can go from mild to wild with a few taps and swipes.

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Photos from the weekend… 1.) Geisha seen at the Belt downtown Detroit by Hush. Did some photo mixing adding a little nature to the mix in Enlight. 2.) Urinal art seen while at the MOCAD for an Art X Detroit opening. The tones and details all pulled out with Enlight. Basic & very textured. 3.) A scene from my front porch while relaxing and enjoying a spring breeze. It. Vignette & DOF applied in Enlight. Totally worth the $3.99.

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Styling in Silks & Linens

Author: Tafari, Monday, March 30th, 2015 at 12:15 PM

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Last week, I attended a Louis Vuitton V Collection launch party this week and wore an awesome silk scarf made by my friend Ellen M. She has some amazing & versatile designs. The scarf that I'm rocking as a cravat actually has so many colors that I can wear it with a variety of shirt/blazers color combinations. I had a hard time deciding what color shirt to wear because it worked well with so many of my brightly colored shirts. You will mos def see this again freaked out with some other fun bright hues for spring & summer. Check her out at Scarves by Ellen on Etsy. Use coupon code "tafari" for a special discount. You won't be disappointed! Photo Credit: Meghan Shkolnik of DSP Fotographie

When Momma Visits

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, March 24th, 2015 at 2:09 PM

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My momma came for a visit recently & I was so very happy to see her, smell her, touch her… Having her in my new home for the first time made the visit extra special. I needed her official stamp of approval that only a mother could give. After she got settled in & before the rest of my family showed up, I said, momma, get ready for your official photograph. She disappeared for a few moments then reemerged like a phoenix from the ashes. All I could saw was damn. Then the photo above happened. You can see a color version of the photo on my Flickr page here. I loved everything about what she was giving the camera. She owned it without any effort. What I really loved about it was that the photo of my momma reminded me of “Afro Goddess With Hand Between Legs, 2006” by Mickalene Thomas but much less provocative. It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon filled with love, food & laughter. A supreme family day in black & white, just because.

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Believe it or not, all of these photos were taken & edited on my iPhone 6.

Beautiful Baby Boy

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 at 7:06 PM

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Several months ago, I posted about Cousin Dee & her husband, Mato readying themselves for their 1st baby.  Well… Mato Jr. is here & he’s awesome! The day he was born was such an emotional rush. Beautiful! We took these photos recently and I swear this is THE last baby that I will photograph. It took no less than 3 hours to get him calmed down & sleep.  I think I said this the last time I photographed a baby, so there’s that. I’m so very happy for Cousin Dee & Mato and I’m looking forward to baby Mato calling me Uncle Baba TT.

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Out On a Work Night

Author: Tafari, Friday, March 6th, 2015 at 11:42 AM

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I am not a big fan of going out during the week, but when my girl Mayaeni organized a show, there was no way that I could not be there. She gave the standing room audience everything they needed and then some! And as an extra rock songstress bonus, she had Steffanie Christi'an on stage for the end of the set. It was a great night & I'm happy that I broke my rule.


Living In Peace

Author: Tafari, Monday, March 2nd, 2015 at 3:14 PM

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"Anger, can make you old, yes it can I said anger, can make you sick, children... oh Jesus Anger destroys your soul Rage, there's no room for rage in there There's no room for rage in here Line up some place to go to be mad It's a sin to treat your body bad" Marvin Gaye - Anger ~ 1979 I choose to live in peace because it takes little to no effort & it makes me happy. My heart is open & there is plenty of room for love. Anger will kill. Anger will destroy. Anger will eat you alive. Anger will block your growth. Let it go & free yourself. Easier said than done but it is doable. I'm living proof.

Happy at Home

Author: Tafari, Friday, February 20th, 2015 at 3:08 PM

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Three years ago, I made a plan to purchase a home. Last week, the plan materialized & I'm beyond happy. Staying committed to the plan was a little rough as I had to really resift my priorities to make things happen but it was worth all of the sacrifices. Waking up to a home drenched in sunlight, covered in love is where my happiness stems from! I've never been a morning person but I find myself waking up early to enjoy the quiet peace of my new home. Still kinda feels like a dream; a great dream in my dream home.

She’s Having A Baby: The Allen Family

Author: Tafari, Friday, November 7th, 2014 at 6:17 PM

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My cousin, best best best friend, Cousin Dee is having a baby!!! She broke the news several months ago and it was the best news ever. Of course, I had to photograph this wonderful moment in my family's history. The image above is my absolute favorite from our little session. We were joking and sing some T-Pain song and we both just burst out laughing. Not to put myself out there too much but I just recently discover T-Pain's music & that's because of a story on NPR. You have to see this video. I love it! Like for real…. Can't wait to meet my little cousin/nephew. I already have a nick name… Uncle Baba TT. I hate it. I hate it so much but it's pretty damn funny.

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Working With A Sheroe: Alice Walker

Author: Tafari, Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 7:20 PM

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Last week, I was contacted to photograph one of my favorite artists… ALICE WALKER. Needless to say, I was very excited & totally looking forward to the opportunity. Fast forward to the day of the event… I woke up feeling very bad, horrible, like death was upon me. It was strange because it just hit me out of nowhere. How could this be happening on such a big day…. It took a while to pull myself together and I rushed to get out of the door with all kinds of bags in tow only feeling slightly better…. Now..., I’m on the job setting up my camera and guess what… I left all of my memory cards at home. BUMMER… What was I going to do at the last minute other than panic. Then I noticed that I had another camera in my bag, which hadn’t been used in at least 2 years and it had a memory card ready to go for… A much needed surprise!!!! After all of this Ms. Walker entered the room and I was awestruck but composed… I introduced myself & sucked in as much as I could from her. Bygbaby.com Mindspill I’ll cherish this exchange forever: Me: Ms. Walker, give me a little more leg. Ms. Walker: Just one moment. (Positions leg and lifts skirt a little) In response to her creative process... "I don't allow anything into my mental and spiritual space that I don't want." In response to what she thinks the Black community needs... “The Black community needs more imagination.” “Turn off your TV and the images that tell you who you are and what you should be.” “Hang on to your books. All of your books.” Interesting Alice Walker Fact: The first thing Alice Walker saw on television was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being arrested. Yesterday was everything I needed as a person & as an artist! And I got my book signed. Ha! The little things in life.

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Bygbaby Cooks: Mac & Cheese

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 at 1:41 PM

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I was recently introduced to a new cheese the other day & I kinda fell in love with it. The cheese? Cheddar with caramelized onion from Trader Joe's!!! As I enjoyed it the other day with olives, peppers, & wine, I thought about how good the cheese would be in a mac & cheese. Yesterday, all I could do was think about that cheese and using it in a dish. So, after a long day, I picked up a few things from the store & then this happened. Mac & cheese with a black truffle bread crumble.  My thought about the cheese being great for this dish was right on the money! Very savory, creamy & cheesy! Ingredients:
  • 2 cups pasta (I used cavatappi)
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar with caramelized onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup of butter milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp flour
  • Salt, pepper, & smoked paprika to taste
The Jump Off:
  • Cook your pasta for 8-9 minutes then drain.
  • In the same pot you boiled your pasta, melt the butter & stir in the flour, which will make a roux. Add milks to roux slowly, while stirring constantly. Add in your premium cheeses to the mix and cook until the cheese has melted.
  • As the mixture cooks, the sauce will start to thicken. Once it looks nice, thick, and creamy, turn off the heat then toss in your pasta & seasonings then give it a good stir.
  • Add the pasta & sauce mixture into baking dish & place in the oven for 20 minutes at 350º.
Black Truffle Bread Crumble:
  • 3 tbsp of black truffle oil
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used Progresso Italian bread crumbs)
  • In a pan, heat your oil on medium then toss in your breadcrumbs, which will sock up the oil. Cook until the crumbs start to brown.
  • Add the crumbs to the top of your baked dish liberally and toss back into the over for a quick 10 minutes.  You could add the crumble before baking the dish but this worked for me. I didn't want to experience burnt/dried out crumbs.