Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

What helped save my mind in a 2020 world

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I have been trying to figure out how to use this image for two months. This kid makes me smile. I have never had this much fun doing chores in my life. (Photo credit: StockSnap/Pixabay)

2020 is trash, and everyone knows it. It doesn’t even matter if you kept your New Year’s resolutions. If you dealt with any of this stuff — plus the stress of the presidential election — then congratulate yourself for surviving. But in between a bunch of “you could’ve kept that” moments were times where I was either laughing like a hyena or grinning hard enough to show all of my teeth. These are those moments that I’m thankful for this upcoming Thanksgiving.

Doggface208: I had no idea who he was, but I just happened to look at Twitter at the right moment. Two hours later, I was still watching and re-watching his videos. I vaguely recall Mero big-upping Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” but I wasn’t particularly into the song until I saw this man cruising along on the back of a truck with CranRaspberry juice. And who else could have this level of confidence when dancing to Megan thee Stallion’s “Body”? …


If I could’ve foreseen Election 2020, I would never lose at board games

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Photo credit: Suzy Hazelwood/Unsplash

To Whom It May Concern,

To every family member, friend and associate who has ever spent hours on end watching me debate the rules of Motownopoly (or Monopoly if I didn’t bring the Motown version with me) and smile a devilish grin when you landed on my property, we have an important situation to discuss. Throughout my childhood, I believed that the result of “Go Directly to Jail” Chance cards meant I do not collect $200 and do not pass “Go.” …


If you could never focus on meditation before, these videos should help

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Photo credit: Jakayla Toney/Unsplash

Whether you’re trying to get Fitbit points or just trying to master any way to not spazz out on your co-workers, meditation is inarguably a solid technique to learn. According to Forbes, “mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts — a.k.a., ‘monkey mind.’”

Considering mind-wandering is typically associated with too many distractions (including political nightmares), less happiness, and often drowning oneself in the past or regretting something in the future, any way to help one settle his or her mind can come in handy. I’ve been to enough vegan festivals to know that there will always be a tent full of people doing yoga and another one with people doing meditation, and it rarely if ever works for me. I can zone out at home, but I usually end up opening my eyes to realize the sun is out and six to eight hours have passed. …


True Kitchen Kocktails restaurateur wants guests to stay in their seats

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Photo credit: Anna Shvets/Pexels

I’m grown as hell. I’m a 39-year-old Millennial who grew up in the middle of breakdancing (or “breaking”), a decade after hip-hop was introduced, before the Internet was a thing and knows the AOL modem dial-up sound when I hear it. But I’m fairly confident that at my mortgage-paying age, if I were to stand up on the seat of a restaurant table, put my hands on the glass and start twerking my ass around anyone who knew me personally, I would be yanked down onto my seat like a child. And if my parents were anywhere around, I would surely be met with, “We raised you better than this. …


If you’ve owned a dog, you’ve landed on your butt a few times

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Photo credit: Samson Katt/Unsplash

In a post-Trump presidency (come January), it is going to take some time for comedic talk show hosts, news journalists and even clickbait bloggers to recognize the ball of tumbleweed going by under a President-Elect Joe Biden White House. …


When a man’s privilege gets in the way of logic

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Photo credit: Paweł Czerwiński/Unsplash

Every time I see outgoing president Donald Trump on the news or at press conferences after Election Day, I start humming Whodini’s “Friends” song.

Friends. How many of us have them?

There’s no way this president has any. If so, at some point, one of his close friends should have pulled him to the side to tell him to imagine he’s in a never-ending library and shut up. Imagine not winning a presidential election — hell, imagine losing at a video game — and being so determined you won that you keep paying legitimate attorneys to prove it. No evidence, no paper trail, no actual witnesses, and nothing more than good old-fashioned redlining and voter suppression to stand on. …


Moving expenses are more expensive, thanks to stricter COVID-19 waste management rules

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Photo credit: Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Moving is expensive. In addition to ponying up a security deposit and at least the first month’s rent (or mortgage payment and closing costs), tenants and owners also have to pay for moving trucks, packing supplies, drivers and potentially storage space. So a condo association and/or landlord adding on a move-in or move-out fee is an absolute drag. Depending on condo bylaws or regulations, boards or landlords may already require this extra charge — further emptying out one’s wallet. But every blue moon, some tenants luck out.

When I first moved into a condo rental, I hadn’t had my L-shaped sectional sofa for more than a year. I loved laying on the ottoman and using it as my second “office” space. So clearly this almost-new couch was coming with me from my first-floor apartment to a third-floor condo rental. The movers looked from me to the couch and shook their heads, telling me, “It definitely won’t fit up the steps. It’s a house couch. It’s too long to get around the banisters.” I ignored them, insisting it would work. They packed the couch up with everything else. It was the last thing to come inside. Even after taking off all the pillows and turning it in every possible direction for more than an hour (with the condo plumber, two movers and a guy friend of mine on each side), it just wasn’t going up the steps. We did, however, scratch the ceiling in multiple spots. The plumber even disassembled one of the banisters to try to make it work. …


How my opinion went from indifference to frustration to acceptance

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Photo credit: Matheus Ferrero/Unsplash

“When I dated white women, it was a matter of revenge,” he said to me. “For all the racist white men I’ve encountered over the years, who messed with me for no reason, it was a way to say, ‘Yeah, that’s right. And I fucked your daughter too.’”

I raised an eyebrow. On one hand, I understood how satisfying it could be to sit across from a man who clearly hated you based on something as trivial as skin color. …


Why this investigative journalist should win a Senate seat

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Photo credit: Adolfo Félix/Unsplash

Jon Ossoff is interesting for many reasons. The small business owner may connect with other SBAs. His upbringing in Atlanta may get him a few cool points from other residents. For women’s rights advocates, it certainly doesn’t hurt that his wife is an OB/GYN physician (who also grew up in Atlanta). But what really makes my mouth form into a Cheshire grin is his career background as an investigative journalist, specifically because Trump hates pretty much all journalists (including some from his favorite [questionable] news station).

According to Ossoff’s website, he’s served as the CEO of Insight TWI, a 30-year-old media production company “that investigates corruption, organized crime, and war crimes for international news organizations.” And Insight produced documentary films and television programs such as “Africa Investigates” — a docu-series exclusively featuring African reporters. You mean to tell me what Trump views as a place with “shithole countries” has journalists? …

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