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Eddie B. Swift remembers the resurgence of hip hop clubs in NYC

My NYC Club Experience: Last Call At 4am And No Big Bouncers In Sight

I have always found New York to be one of the fascinating places in the world. This eclectic city with different people and a mix of cultures is one cosmopolitan city you’d want to go back to. By nighttime, New York changes in landscape, the sight, sound and motion is almost as crazy for those who want to party all night.

But night life is a different story. I went across the bridge down to East River, and my feet took me to Brooklyn. This is a more down to earth fun. No bottle service or ladies in waiting to fill your glass in a jiffy. This is your shot of whisky type in no time.

Last Call at 4am and No Big Bouncers in Sight

I went dancing to a couple of the Brooklyn night clubs. This is a new watering hole for Brooklyn nights and tourist alike. I was awestruck as I entered this Output club in Williamsburg. This 452-capacity club with electro wave music blasting in my ear. I was surprised that it wasn’t just people from Brooklyn who was flocking the club, but New Yorkers as well. The Williamsburg block was alight with flash of colors, and its only 11pm! The club opened at 10:30 and I can already see the trendiest party goers falling in line.

Club Output in Brooklyn

I entered the Output club, and there was no hassle at the door. The bouncer’s didn’t care about how I dressed, and so does everyone else. I was welcomed by electrifying electro wave music, with the dance floor looking like an upscale arena. There were throngs of people dancing, and I joined them squeezed in the middle. The sound was incredible; the space and lights were incredible and the DJ sure gave us a great time with those electrifying music. Output club is for the communal club experience. People don’t come to show, or strut their status around. People come here to have fun, dance, drink, and blend in with the coolest party goers in town.

What’s on The Rub?

The best hip hop party is in Brooklyn, and when I got down to the dance floor, I was just having the best night of my life. There will be no standing around here because the music will pull you to the dance floor. The people are chilling, and they are just having a good time. Talk about a classic hip hop party that never disappoints. The upstairs floor was packed with people dancing to their groove. I hit the bar, and well it never disappointed me either. Their drinks were priced well, no bottle service, and people don’t have to pretend or something. There were a lot of good looking people around, and there was no aggressiveness either. Sure, I saw some guys took off their shirt once in a while, only because the dance floor is too hot to handle.

Ibiza Lounge in the Bronx

I hit the Bronx nightclubs to get a feel of the place, and my first stop was Ibiza Lounge at 220 West 242nd St. The lounge was relatively small, but I dressed a little bit upscale, and the doorman let me in swiftly. I paid like 20 dollars for the cover, and that was just reasonable. Their bar is huge for the place; it’s probably a place for drinking and chilling out because the dance floor was a little small. Pack in around 5,000 people there, and you have rubbing bodies all over. The music was mostly Latin, with some techno and hip hop mixed in the middle. I spent around 30 dollars for three drinks, which is not really bad. I had some shots of tequila and hit the dance floor with some Latina ladies. I danced until my feet ached and my body throbbed, and by the time I got out, it was 4am!

I was ready to mingle so I went to a club called Mingles. Their security is a little bit tighter here, but that was fine. I wonder if it was because the crowd is a little bit on the mature side. I saw the ladies being coat checked. Now what is that all about? The place was pretty huge, with mirrors all over the place. The Bronx isn’t really an upscale place, but the place was more accommodating. The music was a little laid back with some reggae, hip hop, R&B, and some pop music thrown somewhere. My friends recommended their rum punch, and it kicked my adrenaline as soon as the alcohol set in. In fairness, their bartenders know how to mix really well, and I give them credit for that.

Overall, my Brooklyn and the Bronx nightclub experience were different. You get into night clubs in NYC, and the atmosphere is totally different. It is probably the mix of music, people, drinks, and the feel of being alive in the city that never sleeps.

Self-Image And Vision Boards

I’m writing my own personal manifesto/mission statement. I find something very empowering about proactively defining what my mission is. I wrote something similar to it last year. I found laying out what I really wanted out life so invigorating. I wanted to achieve my goals through my actions. I might try another approach as well, like writing a letter meant for my younger self. Sometimes I search for so much information I find in books and on websites, that I neglect the wealth of wisdom that overflow from what I’ve collected from my own life experiences. Doing this will teach me out of previous lessons from my past. I know I ought to be operating this way on a daily basis, and I also know I’m not. It will be among the first things I start to chip away at when August arrives. When I get finished, I’m going to frame it. After all, I realize I will never get to print out all the pictures that were intended to fill these empty picture frames I have.

Here are some tidbits of inspiration to get me started –

1. Letters Written to The Younger Me
2. “If I Only Had Life to Live All Over Again”
3. A Girl With a Mission – How to Write Your Personal Mission Statement
4. A Woman Turned On


Figuring out what I really and truly want – I’ll begin by using a vision board. This is something I haven’t done since before the Miss USA pageant. Somehow setting a clear vision has been extremely challenging for me, mainly because what vision I had before carried an expiration date with it, and I have struggled trying to get past it. I really am a big believer in vision boards, and believe they have been a big part of my accomplishments. This is one project I aim to commit myself to all this month. Finishing it is not my goal, because in reality my vision should evolve and continue and adjust along with life.

My madness over vision board creation goes something like this – I make a commitment to spending a night alone or with one of my friends (need to give a shout-out to Sarah who accompanied me in a vision board frenzy in December of 2010). First I need to gather up all the supplies, like push pins, stickers, cork or foam board, glue stick, and an assortment of magazines. I will set up my favorite station on Pandora and get with it. I’ll begin by flipping through the pages of the magazines. I’ll tear out any words or pictures that grab me….not all of them will make sense, but in my view they don’t have to. Some of these things might feel a little superficial, but I’ll try navigating my way around the judgment. This will be just for me, so value judgments are to be non-existent. I’ll begin laying everything out and then plaster all the words and pictures onto the vision board. After all is done, I’ll take a step back and marvel at it with pure giddiness. Next I’ll hang it up and allow it to perform its magic.

Doing your own thing is the most important part of creating a vision board. You want your vision to form naturally and not be forced. Never let any input from outside sources or societal expectations influence your board. Just follow your heart.

Those paper collages that you made in your teen years were intensely personal manifestation of exactly what you loved. The grownup vision boards are every bit as passionate, only they carry more intention. Here’s what Oprah (the Oprah Magazine) has to say regarding the art of creating vision boards:

I Should Journal Three Things About Myself Every Night That I Love About Myself – Through a continuous journaling of my gratitude, I’ll also journal things I love regarding myself. I sincerely hope that through doing this, I will learn more about myself and the things that cause me to be happy.  I will learn what my strengths are, and intensify the compliments I’ve received along the way, and realize compliments I would like to give.




Colorful lipstick and Purposeful Ensembles Daily – This is my solemn attempt to delight myself in my own creativity and style. Here lately I’ve really become infatuated with bold colored lipstick. However, I know I am always afraid to go out wearing them. Through this exercise I am no longer going to be afraid. Fear is only something that exists because of not wanting others to think negatively of me, and not what I truly think of myself. That is silly and ridiculous. It will only take a simple effort for me to make my own days brighter.

Be Content With My Own Approval Rather Than That of Others – Gala Darling is to be my one-stop-shop in terms of adventure along the pathway to what she refers to as ‘Radical Self-Love’. I have spent years and months adapting and following her methods. I even enrolled in that ‘Radical-Love Boot camp’ she has. It’s very exciting. It’s even half price to sign up now! This is an excellent time for you to join me in my quest, but only if this interest you too. If so, then be sure and check her out, you’ll find her beyond fabulous.

I’ll seek out SARK to obtain further wisdom. She has two books that I absolutely adore. They are Succulent Wild Woman, and Inspiration Sandwich. SARK does an excellent job at empowering women to live life dancing to their own drumbeat. That is a practice I value very much and deeply appreciate. By engaging in this vision board I am hoping to discover that I have the inherent ability to approve of myself, as well as identify at what times I am at my best, and the reasons why. I also want to discover when I’m not at my best, and find ways to overcome it.

I’ll be searching for an opportunity to extend my approval and love out toward others so they feel embraced by what I do. I am intentionally going to perform more random acts full of kindness and joy.

A Conversation About Lush

It was six years ago on a shopping trip with My BFF Erica  when I first discovered Lush, in downtown Los Angeles. A Lush store is pretty difficult to resist, as those that have ever encountered one can attest to! We were both taken in a bit, and we decided to look it over. We quickly discovered that the Lush employees are extremely well trained at providing their customers with the most interactive and hands-on experience possible to have with scented goodies and soap. We were in there for more than an hour and wound up departing with a whole bunch of goodies which ever since I have found myself virtually addicted to. I truly am finding myself literally swearing by it! Besides doing wonders for my skin which is so sensitive, it is so much fun to play with and to use.

I could barely contain my excitement, when I found a Lush gift card in my Christmas stocking left by Santa. The very day after Christmas, I rushed out to get hold of my very favorite vegan, non-animal testing and organic skin care products from the terrific Lush I love. Take a look at my write up on some of those that I brought home, and some of the others available. Some I am trying for the first time, and some I have been using for years.

Ocean Salt

You could even woo Poseidon, with the smooth skin gained from this sea salt based scrub. Prior to this I had used on my face St. Ives Apricot Scrub until I found out that it caused pores to actually widen, because it cuts almond shells into points. This product from Lush has become my #1 favorite face scrub since that time. It contains lime and vodka that help brighten your complexion, besides being made from natural sea salt. My face is made as smooth as glass from the one or two times a week I happily use it.

Vanishing Cream

Vanishing Cream- I want you to meet my new secret weapon! This stuff I truly do love. It is totally worth what I pay Lush for it, even if it is the priciest product I buy. A real positive is that only a little bit gets the job so well done. The tiny pot I make, even with me using it morning and night, will last me up to five months or more. I can’t entirely do justice to it, so I will let the website do the talking. “Vanishing Cream contains grape seed oil to soften, pore-tightening witch hazel (which brilliantly helps blemishes to be eliminated) and balancing lavender absolute”.

Enchanted Eye Cream

I am already on the bandwagon even though to me this is a new product. Perfect for the end of a long day are this little gem’s soothing and cooling effects, and also after a long nights sleep, to wake up those sleep-riddled eyes! Still another positive is that enough for both eyes is a teeny-tiny dab.

Mange Too

I love Lush’s massage bars and body butter. They smell divine and moisturize like crazy, are simple to use and very easy to take traveling with you. The one I have is scented of honey & chocolate. Warm it up by running it between your hands, and to lock in moisture immediately after your shower, apply it to your body.

You will also want to give King of Skin Body Butter Bar a try.

Silky Underwear Dusting Powder & Lustre Body Powder

If you don’t like the greasy feeling, but do love the moisture of the body bars, dusting powders are for your skin the perfect companion. For instant sheen and smoothness, simply after you use the moisture bar, dust these on your skin. There is a subtle golden sheen that the Lustre option has, if you like that. The fact that both of these are jasmine scented is something else that I love also!

Handy Gurugu

This is the product that you want if your hands are the victim of the bitter cold weather like mine are. I couldn’t be more pleased with my choice of this product, even though Lush has a whole bunch of hand creams to meet any needs. On my obnoxiously dry hands, this one is insanely moisturizing, and no greasy residue is ever left. And surprise, surprise! It also smells clean and fresh, truly amazing!

Bubblegum Lip Scrub

The cold weather not only effects my hands, but also does a job on my lips. This product, which I love all year round, leaves my lips soft and smooth and just a little bit “plumpy” which I love. After a scrub down, it is prepped to absorb the moisture of my lip balm. They are available in a whole bunch of great flavors, even including POPCORN!




I am so excited to try out this new entry in my beauty toolkit. After you are clean in the shower, you use this bar to moisturize and exfoliate. With one bar, you literally deal with two birds! The moisturizers will remain on your skin after you rinse off the almond shell exfoliates. You don’t even have to lotion up after you pat dry and exit the shower. Truly, I can’t wait!

Color Supplement (or Jackie Oats)

Still another new product and other than lip balms, my first cosmetic Lush purchase. I love this product because for a light tinted cover-up, you mix it with a facial moisturizer, or as a concealer, use it straight out of the jar. There are different shades of yellows and pinks, and Jackie Oats is the original shade. The dark yellow pigment matches perfectly, since my skin is olive/yellow. I love it even though I have only used it for a few days, especially since on most days, I don’t like to wear heavy make-up.

Color Supplement

I didn’t pick up any face cleansers, because I am using a Burt’s Bee face wash that I adore. The Angels on Bare Skin product is the one I am usually addicted to. Along with it’s charcoal scrub counterpart Dark Angles, it is my favorite face cleanser!

I have also tried and loved these other items:

Breath of Fresh Air Toner, Eau Roma Water, Rock Star Soap, Whoosh Shower Jelly, Mud Flats, Lemony Flutter, Full of Grace, and their decadent lip balms!

The whole truth is that I have a LUSH CRUSH! They are a humble, honest, animal & human loving company that produces simply great personal care products.

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