Toe Up From the Flo’ Up by Nicole Gutierrez

Nicole Gutierrez
Nicole Gutierrez (

Another sweltering weekday afternoon in Arizona, I decided to go shopping for some “teacher clothes” at Forever 21. Kind of ironic, I know. After perusing the racks for an eternity, I walk to the fitting room with just a few items. I’m approached by the fitting room attendant, a young lady who is reasonably cute from her head down to her…ankles?! Honey! I was baffled for the second time this week…

Upon first glance, I notice her gold head-piece draped over her curly, messy, low bun. Next, her over sized cargo-style jacket. I like, I think. I work my way down to her feet, as many of us women do, saving the best for last, her shoes. But first, as my eyes make their way toward the floor, her fingernails! Talon-esque nails, baby pink with a bright blue ring finger. Okay, nails noted. Eyes continue. I reach the shoes and, tuh, an epic fail, but worse…what is that on her toes?! NOT A DANG THING!!!

Instantaneously, all of these questions run through my mind: Where on earth is the polish?! What happened?! WHY are you wearing open toed shoes?! What did your feet do to you that they should be so undeserving?! And last, but most certainly not least…how come your fingernails are so perfectly manicured and yet your toes are au natural, and quite possibly, have always been?

I can’t think of a single excuse. So I bring to you, ladies, one of my top rules of living: ALWAYS have your toes painted. Always.

I can hear some of you now:

“Even in the winter, no one is seeing my toes then?”

“I just got a pedicure last month.” (pause)

“I never even wear open-toed shoes.”

“I don’t have time, I’m so busy!”

“I have pretty feet, I don’t need polish.”

My motto is: You never know when or where you may have to take your shoes off.

I can’t express this enough. No polish, chipped polish, polish painted over polish…I can’t! You can’t afford a pedicure, so?! A polish change will you do justice! Better yet, girl, paint your toes at home! You’re not very skilled at nail painting? Oh! They have people who can do it for you then! It is not difficult to step your toe game up!


Let’s recap. Live by these simple guidelines and you can do no harm!

  1. Always have your toes painted. Despite the season, the shoe, the man or lack thereof. Make it happen, no excuses.
  2. If you choose to disobey the first guideline, don’t be caught wearing open toed shoes with no polish. Hell, don’t even leave the house! (Unless you’re on your way to the nail shop and even then, better put your sneakers on!)
  3. If your polish chips (and is not easily fixed), take it off! Nail polish remover was a hell of an invention! I’d argue to say that chipped polish is worse than none!
  4. Your toes should be done every 2-3 weeks. That time varies from person to person (I’m quick to redo mine after just a week, but I’m a bit of a fanatic).

2013-07-22 19.30.18-1

Now, take off those shoes and look down at your toes. Are you in violation? Happy painting, ladies! Please don’t neglect your toes, they deserve the same TLC that your fingers do! Remember, you never know when you might have to take your shoes off!

Does anyone else feel vulnerable?

trayI have now had a few days to process and collect my thoughts in regards to the George Zimmerman verdict and I am left with a strong feeling of vulnerability.  I feel as if the state of Florida has just made public a long protected secret, that it’s okay to kill black people.  I realize that this is nothing new for those amongst us that lived through the civil rights era but many of my generation have begun to drink the cool-aid and think that those days are behind us.  Not necessarily an end to the days in which blacks and other minorities would lose their lives at the hands of racist whites but that the murderers would be protected by the law. Granted, police continue to kill unarmed blacks but that is common knowledge in the black community, what’s scary is that the general public has just been given the green light to shoot first and get a good lawyer later.  And that leaves me feeling vulnerable.


As a man that is hard to admit but true, it is as if I’m in the movie “The Purge” or better yet “The Hunger Games” trying to make it through the night under the constant threat of death.  The sadness is not just for me but for our children who we as parents and as a community have a responsibility to protect.  How do you let a child out of your sight knowing the world he or she is going out into?

When I found out the news I was at the Mississippi Street Fair. I was having a great time when I got a call from my younger sister letting me know that “they let him go” while in tears.  That immediately flipped a switch in me; I went from enjoying myself in the predominately white crowd to feeling a variety of emotions.  The strongest among them anger as I watched all the smiling white faces having the time of their lives without a worry in the world.  Is that what they mean by “White Privilege?” not having to be concerned with such things?

I clearly have several questions and no answers.  I am certain that some readers of this piece will say that I am over-reacting and that the Zimmerman case was an isolated incident.  All I can say is that I pray that you are right.

Local Talent Spotlight: Kay Miyagi [Interview]

Lomo (Medium Vignette)

Kay Miyagi was born in Alexandria,VA and raised in New Bern,NC. Growing up in country trailer parks he listened to a variety of music such as, r&b, country, hip hop, rock, classic and jazz. As a nine year old he spent a summer with his grandmother in Virginia where he watched endless hip hop videos in her basement, and at the tender age of nine he realized that hip hop is where his passion lied. Kay enlisted in the military in 2009 and shortly after moved to Washington State.

His musical inspirations include Nas and A Tribe called Quest but his all time favorite is Erykah Badu, “style, stage presence, creativity, her affect, and most of all the reality of her work…just amazing!” according to Kay Miyagi. He is currently working on a mixtape called Building Fantasies for the work it takes to reach a dream that seems untouchable.

When asked what type of style he has his reply was: “I’ve always considered my music to be wide awake dreaming…….if that makes sense,?? like the state where you can’t believe what’s happening but you know it’s real you know?”

Give a listen to his tracks “All I brought” and “Questions” and show some support for the young man trying to break into the Northwest HipHop scene.

Contact Info:

Facebook: kaymiyagimusic/
Twitter: @kaymiyagi
Instagram: @kaymiyagi

Sneaker Head Alert: Introducing Index PDX

Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of

Index PDX (website coming soon) is a new sneaker consignment store located at 114 NW 3rd Ave in Portland Oregon. They’ve been attracting local and national attention and were recently featured in For those of you too far away or too lazy to hit their down town shop you can catch them on eBay with the screen name BrokeOnJordans.

I’m willing to bet that someone out there is asking themselves “what exactly is a consignment store?” Well here you go: 

Consignment is the act of consigning, which is placing any material in the hand of another, but retaining ownership until the goods are sold or person is transferred.

So that means you Craig’s List tennis shoe hustlers have another avenue to get that guap. Index PDX consigns at 80/20 and can be reached by phone at 503.208.3599 or by email at

Local Talent Spotlight: Ace Dough [Interview]

Ace Dough
Ace Dough

The 23 year old Hip Hop recording artist Ace Dough was born and raised in Portland, Oregon.He dropped his first single “Right Wristed (The Kitchen)” in February of last year. A few months later he rode that momentum up the I-5 corridor to Seattle where he won 1st place out of 34 artist in the first Coast 2 Coast Magazine NW Industry Mixer. On July 3rd of 2012 he dropped his first featured Mixtape “P.S.A. (Public Service Announcement)” through Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes.

537092_557042764327830_418646845_nAce Dough was only warming up in 2012, he’s heating up summer 2013 with his featured Mixtape of the year titled “Royal Treatment” due out June 14th. The project is hosted by DJ Fatboy with features by J-Diggs, Mikey Vegaz, FliBoi Moe, Sleep Bandana, Lil Face, JR Patton, Ty Mazerati and more and filled with back to back bangers! When he’s not in the booth he’s fulfilling his role as Co-Owner of PDX Mixtapes, bringing a mixtape platform for artist to rep PDX and be apart of a Nation Wide Network based out of PDX. We salute the homie Ace Dough and wish him continued success.


575825_577500602282046_958554652_nCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE MIXTAPE

Email and let us know why you should be the next local talent we highlight.

Hood Super Hero: Ray Lighting Jr. Lampkin

I woke up this morning to a trailer for the new Superman movie and it got me to thinking, the hood could sure use a super hero right now.  However, super hero status is not easy to come by. What would it take for one to qualify for such a title? Who could fill those shoes?

Well he or she would have to have that super hero, I don’t mess around physique..

Ray Lighting Jr. Lampkin

They’d have to have a super cool super hero costume..


Every super hero has to have a villain..


We also like our super heroes to have experienced and made it through some type of adversity. Well, there is this young man from around our way named Ray Lampkin Jr.  He was once one of the nation’s top amateur fighters but he made some bad choices and dropped out of the boxing game just as he was peaking. Then the craziest thing happened, he woke up and didn’t like what he saw in the mirror, he knew he wasn’t living up to his potential and.. here comes the best part, HE DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Seriously, I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.  He stopped smoking, stopped drinking and started working out like a maniac both in and out of the ring and because of that he is taking his 3-0 professional record into the ring tonight on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights against Joaquin Chavez. I haven’t even mentioned his best attribute, the kid has more humility as a pro than he did as an amateur, this time around he really gets it and is not taking anything for granted.

Seems like common sense right? You recognize a problem and you address that problem.  No, we know too many people that could have been and should have been… In our book that’s super hero shit!  We wish you the best Ray and win lose or draw you’re our Hood Super Hero!

Here’s footage from his last fight, where he pulled out his patented move, the “bow down body blow”

Check out the champ vs Joaquin Chavez on ESPN Deportes

Showcasing Portland Oregon Hip Hop & More!