Women Writing Cool Stuff

I just sent out my first Tinyletter of 2018.  It features women who are writing cool things.

Happy New Year!
I hope you had a relaxing holiday season. 2018 is going to be good. Now it’s time to get to work.
To help you ease back, I highly suggest listening to Hit Parade podcast episode featuring
Donna Summer. https://megaphone.link/PPY3106618968​

Anya Kamanetz has a book that it is a must-have for parents, The Art of Screen Time. The book guide parents on how to balance screen time with their kids. It comes out later this month, but you can pre-order it today. http://amzn.to/2Cv77vL

Imani Perry has written a scholarly book about the Black National Anthem, May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem. http://amzn.to/2CLBiwl​ The book comes out in February but you can pre-order it today.

Roni Dean-Burren wrote about the Black Church on the website Black Youth Project, Church makes me sick: How Black Christians are Stalling Black Liberation

Graeme Seabrook wrote the essay on Medium, The Currency Question: Why Is it So Hard For Y’all To Give Black Women Money? http://medium.com/@graeme_59025/the-currency-question-141a3009e033

Reviewing the new tax bill, filing 1099s by the end of January for clients, and hosting a Facebook Live on Thursday, January 4th at 8PM about income taxes.

Twitter Thread on Black Women Comedians

About two weeks ago, I created a Twitter thread about Black women comedians. I will continue to add the Twitter handles of comedians to keep the thread fresh.  In the meantime, I am posting the text of the thread here.  Hopefully, someone will use this list as a resource when looking for black women comedians.  I did the homework for you, so all you have to do is check out the clips online and hire them.

Amber Ruffin, Dulce Sloan, Robin Thede and Yamaneika Saunders. Do you know who they are?!  You should.

Black women comedians finally got a chance to get voices heard on late night tv.
Amber Ruffin does regular recurring segments on @LateNightSeth. She talks about race, gender and pop culture.
Dulce Sloan is a new correspondent to @TheDailyShow. She has been stand up comedy for years.
Yamaneika Saunders (@Yameneika) is a stand-up comedian. I am not sure if she has been on @FallonTonight before this week.
Robin Thede is the host of her show on BET. She was formerly the head writer of the Nightly Show.
So when the hashtag #blackwomen started trending on Wednesday morning, some of the late night shows scrambled to have black women represented. It is a damn shame that it took a special election in Alabama for black women comedians to get some attention.
I am going to all the comedians that I know in the thread who should get some shine. Follow them.
I will continue to add the Twitter handles of black women comedians into the new year and beyond. #comedians

Molly Crabapple’s Rules For Creative Success In The Internet Age

Now that the new tax bill has been passed, creatives have to really look at how they can survive financially, because itemizing deductions is basically obsolete. Coincidentially, I remembered this excellent article by Molly Crabapple that outlines her rules for creative success. Molly Crabapple is an artist who I met over ten years ago in Brooklyn. She is someone that knows her worth, and doesn’t romanticize the idea of being a struggling artist. Molly wrote this excellent post for Boing Boing, and I keep referring creatives to it. Now that I am blogging about it, I know I will always have it.

This is her second rule, but it is number one in my book:

2. Companies are not loyal to you. Please never believe a company has your back. They are amoral by design and will discard you at a moment’s notice. Negotiate aggressively, ask other freelancers what they’re getting paid, and don’t buy into the financial negging of some suit.

First Thoughts On The New Tax Bill

If you have a job where you get a W-2, and you don’t itemize then you are good. The new standard deduction for a single person is $12,000. If you used to itemize on a schedule A, then things are changing. Some people may want to run out and create an LLC, but I would advise to estimate your tax bill pre and post the new tax bill before doing that. Don’t panic and incur more expenses that you have to.

I am going to wait until tax professionals analyze the bill and add more to this post when I know more.



Nichellest Interview: Pauline Millard

This interview of Pauline Millard was originally posted on Gothamist in January of 2005.

The Basics.
Astrological Sign.
I was born on June 21st, which puts me on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer. However, I feel like I am more Gemini, since Geminis tend to be social and talkative and, quite honestly, a little flighty.
Day job/Bad habit.
Day to day I work on the online desk at The Associated Press. All news, all the time. I’ve been there almost five and a half years.
Bad Habit: When I am under stress I bite my nails, which is a shame because I have long fingers that look really nice when they are manicured. I could be a hand model!
Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut…just about an hour or so from New York City. The former Mets first baseman Mo Vaughn is also from Norwalk. His father, Leroy Vaughn, was the principal of my middle school. Currently I live in Gramercy, in Manhattan, with an overweight tabby cat named Pookie.
Two For YOU.
What’s more fun: singing or writing?
Off hand I will say singing is more fun, because there is still so much that I don’t know about it or where I want to go with it. This past weekend I sang some back up vocals on a sort of electronic/rock song. But I’ve also done opera and some big choral pieces at Carnegie Hall (twice). A few summers ago I even picked up a guitar and performed an Indigo Girls song at a coffee house in the East Village, mostly because I felt the need to be a cliche. Writing, by and large, is my job. It’s what pays my rent and stuffs my 401K. It comes pretty naturally. I don’t fear doing it the way I sometimes fear new music.
What makes your mouth water?
I have always had a thing for red headed men with brown eyes, the kind that get tan in the sun as opposed to burning. They’re pretty rare. And, I have also been obsessed with the musical, “A Chorus Line” since I was nine years old. I actually got to see it when it was originally at the Shubert Theater in New York City back in the 1980s. Oh happy day, it’s even coming back to Broadway in September 2006. Worlds are colliding!
Which New Year’s resolution will you break in less than a week?I always say that I will improve my knowledge of the Russian language, because there is a large chunk of mother’s side of my family who speaks it. It never happens. Gavnot! (That means ‘Shit!’)
Who would you stalk if you were guaranteed NOT to be caught?
John Mayer. But it would pain me to see him with other women.
What’s the best place in New York for semi-public sex?
I would guess at night in the non-scary parts of Central Park.
How many take-out menus do you have in your apartment?
None, actually. I live in a basement apartment so if I need food or other rations I make a point to go outside and be in the land of the living. Otherwise, it’s just my cat and I speaking in tongues and surrounded by bad Chinese food.
What’s your favorite dessert/high carb indulgence?
Since I was a wee Pauline I have had an inexplicable obsession with orange sherbet. So much so that I know a relationship is getting serious when a guy starts keeping it in his freezer for me.
Complete this sentence: “2005 will be known as the year of _____”.
It will be the year that I finally get an agent and make some sense out that novel I wrote last year. OK, that’s one part of writing that I fear. The publishing industry is all so subjective, kind of like the way you don’t know if you’re going to hit a tough note when it really matters most. Maybe that’s why I keep pursuing the singing: It keeps my mind off the writing.

Nichellest Interview: Beth Schoenfeldt, Entrepreneur

I met Beth Schoenfeldt when I took goddess classes at Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts back in 2001.  She’s an entrepreneur and a mom.  Here’s the original link to Gothamist.


Astrological Sign.

Bad habit/Day job.
My day job is FLOinc, which I have designed to work around my life. Yoga and manicures during the day, no alarm clock, working more in the evening. My good habit is coffee…I can’t wake up and start my day without it.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? How long have you graced New York with your presence?
I went to high school and college in Texas. I moved to NY to go to
business school at Columbia, but it was just my excuse to get to NY and I never left. I have always felt like a New Yorker, but I have only physically been here for 10 years.

One for You.
How does helping women create movement in their life through FLO (whether through starting businesses, changing careers, or finding a mate) benefit New York and the world?
Creativity and motivation are contagious, so if you get women moving forward in their lives toward their dreams and desires than others follow along…it just takes one to take the leap. We now have hundreds of women in NY in the FLO Incubator, it is a movement.

What is the best improvement to New York City in the last year? 
That is easy, the new MoMA. It is sexy, it is fun, it is decadent, and it is inspiring. Seeing the art in this environment feels luxurious, like hanging out with old friends.

Other than world peace, what do you want for Christmas? 
A book deal from a major publisher and lots of kisses under the mistletoe.

If are given $20, an unlimited Metrocard and a free afternoon, what would you do to treat yourself? 
I would invite friends and go sit outside at Pastis on a beautiful day, drink wine and people watch, it is the best people watching in town.

Now that it’s getting cold, what (or who) do you do to stay warm? 
I have a sweet new honey that keeps me warm…so that along with 16 ply Cashmere sweaters do the trick.

Where is the best place in the city for semi-public sex?
Riverside Park in the summer.

Have you been naughty or nice this year?
I have been nice because I have embraced my naughtiness. Naughtiness is just another form of seduction, which is always nice.

What’s the one thing you miss whenever you leave New York?
The unique and indescribable drug that is the energy of New York. I have searched high and low but you can’t find that energy in any other city.

You’ve been asked to host a holiday party and the only requirement is that you must invite three New York celebrities (alive), who would you extend an invite to? 
Jerry Seinfeld, Jay-Z and Diane Sawyer.

If you could revoke a famous New Yorker’s citizenship, who would it be? 
Rudolph Giuliani. Despite his leadership during 9/11 and other
major contributions such as making the city safer, his relentless
support of George Bush makes me think he’s really just an opportunistic politician, not the moderate man-of-the-people-hero he claims to be. It makes me nervous to ever support a Republican because we put Giuliani in power as a moderate and he then turns around and supports a right-wing conservative government…it just doesn’t feel right…send him away.

FLO Incubator will have a holiday party December 15th. Check out the website for upcoming workshops.

My Old Gothamist Interview: Carolyn Castiglia

Back in 2004, I used to do Gothamist Interviews.  Gothamist is shutting down, so I am posting my old interviews here.

I interviewed my friend, Carolyn Castiglia, back in July of 2004. Carolyn is a comedian based in New York City.

The Basics.
Age. (Ain’t nothing but a number)

Occupation/Day job.

How long have you lived here? Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m originally from Oswego, NY. It’s a small town on Lake Ontario. I’ve lived here for almost four years. Now I live in East Harlem, but I used to live in Astoria. I had to get out of Astoria. My friends would call me from the train and say “Now how do I get to your house?” I’d say, “Okay, you can go one of two ways – you can go up the 24 hour Burger King/Scary Russian Dance School/Scary Russian Liquor Store side, or you can go up the stinky fish market side. Oh good, you’re on that side. Okay, if you don’t wanna step in the fish guts, just step in the broken glass from the abandoned cars. That’s what I do. Don’t worry about the lamb truck – it’s Greek Easter. Well, I’ve never seen a skinless, hairless lamb with a face either but I guess that’s what they like. It looks like Joan Rivers. I know. What? I can’t hear you – the train’s going through the backyard! Okay, sorry. Are you next to the club yet? You’ll know. Just look for the drunk 16-year-olds hitting each other with broken beer bottles. Alright – see the gas station across the street? That’s right next door to my house. See the window next to the pump? That’s our living room.”

One For You.
As a comedian and a married lady, what or who makes you laugh?
I don’t think I laugh at anything different than I used to as a single girl. I liked farts then and I still like ’em now. (As a comic device – not so much as a hobby or anything, although sometimes my marriage does feel like one big fart-fest.) I do like to laugh at the fact that I have two cats. I’m a dog person, but my husband is a cat person, so now I’m a cat person. Sometimes I say to my cats, “You ma dawg, dog!” and that always makes me laugh. They’re like my babies. I pick ’em up and sing to them. I kiss them on the face. I keep thinking, if this is how I treat my cats, how am I gonna treat my kid? I’m afraid my 14-year-old will be in one of those Baby Bjorn slings on the front of my chest going “Uh, Mom, can I go play now?” “No – Mommy just wants to hold you! Kiss kiss kiss kiss kiss!” Lots of things make me laugh. I’m a good laugher. People are always commenting on my laugh, being thankful for it or sometimes taken aback by it. But, if you think something’s funny, you should laugh. It’s good for you and it’s good for the person making you do it.

What’s your favorite subway stop?
Astor Place. It is completely in the center of all of the best parts of New York. The East Village is just my favorite place to be. There’s the Comedy Social, all the restaurants, and bars, the (window) shopping. I love it! But, probably the best thing about the Astor Place stop is that you can zip right into Kmart and zip out without ever going outside. Now that’s modernization!

What’s the most unusual pitch you heard from a panhandler?
This guy covered in filth from head to toe just sat there with a sign that said, “I need money for drugs and hookers. At least I’m honest.” I thought that was original. Then I thought, “Those poor hookers.”

If you could have a New York City neighborhood renamed after you which one would it be? I think Chelsea should be renamed Carolyn. It’s got a ring to it. “We’re goin’ down to a gay bar in Carolyn, wanna come?” “I saw the cutest pair of hot pants in Carolyn the other day!” “Oh my God, you live in Carolyn? Isn’t that expensive?!” Or, I would have Little Italy renamed Castiglione in honor of my Italian heritage and my undying love for pizza.

What’s the best place for a low-carb diet buster?
My house. Pizza, nachos and Ramen noodles! Mmm!

What outerborough place do you always say you would like to see but probably never will?
The Bronx Zoo. I always think, “We’ll make a day of it – go to the Zoo, the Botanical Garden” but I’ll probably never go. I live in Harlem – I don’t need to go far to see exotic animals. My super’s got a boa constrictor and my next door neighbor has an aviary. It takes up his whole back yard. He’s got parakeets, cockateels, everything. My other neighbor’s cats sit on top of it and just drool. It’s very entertaining. All that action is right outside my window. It’s a major improvement from looking out at the gas pump.

Where is the best place in the city for semi-public sex?
My house. Nothing is private in New York – especially when your blinds are too short.

You can check out the funky funniness that is only Carolyn Castiglia all around town. She is competing in the 2004 Ladies of Laughter Competition at the New York Improv tonight, Thursday, July 29 at 8:30 pm.

– Interview by Nichelle Newsletter


For The Culture: #forthedchallenge and more

It’s almost October, and I feel lucky to still be here.  Natural and man-made disasters have got me down.  However, there’s always someone creating dope shit. Here’s a quick list of what I am all about right now.

Desiree Burch is doing her thing in the UK.  She did Edinborough Fringe Fest and she did stand-up on Comedy Central UK.  Her solo show, Unf*ckable, is having a run at the Soho Theatre in London.

Janelle James‘ comedy album. Black and Mild, dropped today, September 29th.  Get it on iTunes. I did, and I LOLed.

I went down the rabbit hole looking at the #forthedchallenge videos.  I loved Issa and Regina’s as well as Jenifer Lewis who used the viral challenge to promote her upcoming book,  The Mother of Black Hollywood.

Kamau Ware is doing something for the culture with his Black Gotham Wall Street walking tours.

I really like Essence magazine’s podcast, ‘Yes, Girl’.  Download on iTunes.

I am digging Cassius Life.


Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help



“Houston, we have a problem.”  – It’s a quote that is overused, but it is relevant with Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston right now.  Houston is the 4th largest city in the country, and the city is under water. This is worse than Matthew, Katrina or Superstorm Sandy.

Black women are helping black women during this crisis. Dr. Roni Dean-Burren is collecting the information of Black women who need help due to the hurricane.

Please encourage Black women to go to this link http://bit.ly/SupportBWHou and put their cash app info in!

I will make all cash app links public on tomorrow…..they will begin receiving money tomorrow. I have faith in that!




Poem About Being Single in 2017

I don’t get free drinks anymore because of smartphones.

I used to be able to sidle up to a bar and flash my smile.

Then I would strike up a conversation with a guy.

Later he would buy me a round.

Now, no one looks up from the phone.

They are constantly scrolling,


Or furiously texting.

I spend more money in bars.

Or I spend more time at home.

The End.

It's Nichelle With An "N"