Lisa Chin Quee


It’s Women’s History Month and although this playlist isn’t historical, I’m sharing in the spirit of womanhood. These songs are from different genres – R&B, pop, reggae – but ooohhh, do they inspire and uplift me. I play it on my hair day – when I’m showing my fro (aka Sasha) some love –  all Black women with natural fro’s know, that’s a few hours … at least!  And while I’m taking care of Sasha, the music is taking care of my soul. Self love.

What’s on your list? What songs make you feel your best?

How many times have you self sabotaged? Are you your own worst enemy? I know I’ve been at different times – doubt or fear and memories of different or not so great outcomes have caused me to second guess, procrastinate or avoid new experiences and opportunities – when the present situation has different elements, people and options. Instead of looking at the differences I look at the similarities and expect the same negative outcome. It’s @#$ -up right? The truth is two situations are never the same way twice. Don’t get me wrong, experiences develop intuition and discernment from which you can detect accurately when something or someone is to be avoided (that’s wisdom). I’m not speaking about those. I’m focused on self awareness, self confidence and beliefs about who you are, which comes from layers of experiences from birth – your family, religious community, school mates, academic expectations, neighbourhood and the list goes on. It was mid-pandemic, when I was introduced to a method to help with moving beyond these blocks. It’s called Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT). I was ready to try something different and new; who wouldn’t want to clean up the remnants, the residue of those experiences that no longer serve you.   

What’s Rapid Transformational Therapy?

It’s a tool that helps us to heal, it’s a combination of psychotherapy, Neuro-linguistic programming(NLP), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and neuroscience. It speaks to the conscious and subconscious minds – our past experiences and how they affect our  beliefs and actions. Simply stated by Marissa Peer, renowned therapist and RTT trainer, our conscious mind is what we’re currently thinking, analyzing and doing while the subconscious mind is on autopilot, like our breathing and heart functions. The subconscious mind is always recording and storing your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. RTT allows you to go back and see experiences, analyse and see the impact that they have on you today- outdated thoughts and beliefs that may be holding you back.  

The Revelations


I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was excited about trying this process with Dua of Liberated You Hypno . She has a gentle energy that I was instantly comfortable with and so I became open, without any fear of trying this process. I hoped to address my feeling of being stuck in procrastination  and improve on a positive mindset.

It was not what I got, but I don’t think you can always predict the outcome. What I got was something far more needed; and has helped with more than procrastination. By the way, I tried this in Nov. 2021 and I’ve waited to write about it because I wanted to see the kind of impact it would have over time. 

 As she brought me back in time through hypnosis, I went to a place where even as a child, a three year old, I could feel the real emotions of  various situations. One was the death of my paternal grandfather. I  was witnessing and feeling it as my three year old self, the hurt and pain of his sudden disappearance – even though my parents, aunts and uncles said he went to heaven.  Through the gaze of my 53 year old self, I could contextualize the situations and emotions properly as an adult, something I was incapable of doing at three. At three, what I knew was that one of my most favourite persons in the world suddenly disappeared – someone I spent much of my time with when my parents dropped me off on their way to work.  Of course, I moved on and continue to live, but it  remained with me unconsciously as a feeling of rejection; but now I’m able to change the unconscious narrative.

I didn’t consciously remember the experiences I had as a three year old -although I did have a memory of the last time I saw my grandfather –  but it’s amazing and important to know how it affected me at the time until my RTT session. What else could I be holding on to, without the proper context and understanding?  How is it affecting my belief system, my mindset? 

It’s safe to say this was an incredible experience and Dua was the perfect coach to guide me through these revelations.  She was mindful and attentive to my emotions and made sure to follow up. 

There is a process and steps she incorporates before the session –  questions that allow you to think and assess the root of why you want to go through this process. She also provided me with a recording to listen to for a required amount of days after.

As I write this and think of the long term impact, it definitely has changed aspects of my life – my belief system and mindset. So it worked for me, even though a little different from what I had been hoping to change; different was definitely more of what I needed. 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) an American non-profit organization, publishes an annual guide called Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce; the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. The Dirty Dozen are fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residue and should if possible be bought from the organic section of your grocery store. The Clean 15 lists those with little or no pesticide residue and can be eaten non organic. The guides are based on the USDA Pesticide Data Programs report from the monitoring of pesticide residue. Canada imports lots of fruits and vegetables from the USA, so their monitoring and testing is relevant to us.

Canadian grown produce tend to have less pesticide. According  Health Canada, the government uses the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) which is the maximum amount of pesticide residue expected on produce after harvest that is safe for human consumption (including infants, children and pregnant women). This limit is said to be below the degree of what is considered harmful. All foods (domestic and imported) are measured for MRL and must meet Health Canada expectations.

Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard & mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell & hot peppers
  8. Cheeries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

Highest levels of pesticides. Buy organic. If too costly  check out what you can do to wash and remove pesticides.

Clean 15

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papayas
  6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew Melons
  9. Kiwi’s
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet potatoes

Lowest levels of pesticide, it’s safe to buy non organic.

Buying organic can be expensive. My strategy is to buy the fruits that use the most pesticides – strawberries, berries organically grown and the others with thick skin or less pesticide non organic. That way I’m lowering my exposure as best as I can within my budget. It has been scientifically proven that baking soda is the most effective way to wash off the residue pesticide.

The basic wash and scrub under tap water will remove some dirt but will not be enough to clean off pesticide residue. A recent study in the Journal Of Agriculture and Food Chemistry compared the effectiveness of three ways of washing to remove pesticide residue – using Clorox bleach, baking soda and tap water. As it turned out, baking soda was the most successful. However, it still has its limitations; it will not remove residue that has been absorbed into the skin or deeper. For example, apples, if pesticide is absorbed into the skin, the baking soda will not go deep enough to clean it. The alternative and budget friendly choice is to peel the skin of the apple – however, you will be losing other important nutrients found in the skin.  The best choice would be to buy organic.

According to, one should always wash fruits and vegetables as soon as you get it home, don’t wait until you are ready to eat it. The longer pesticides stay on fruits the more they are absorbed and harder to remove. The most effective way to get rid of pesticides is to place in a bowl or sink of water (at least two cups), with one teaspoon of baking soda for two minutes or more, the optimum length of time being 12-15 minutes. The agricultural industry uses various pesticides and the testing used to create these washing instructions may not effectively remove all the kinds used. But there is a consensus that this is one of the best options to cleaning your fruits and veggies.

Leafy vegetables (kale, lettuce, brussel sprouts): remove the outside layers, this will help to remove most of the pesticide residue.

Beware of packaging that states contents are natural or green; there is no standard on which to base these claims. In order to use the term  organic on labels, the produce has to also have the certification of the particular certification body.


Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, EWG

Health Canada

USDA Pesticide Data Programs

Canadian Organic Growers

Adjoa Andoh,  one of the stars of Netflix’s Bridgerton, recently joined, Frances-Anne Solomon’s,  In the Director’s Chair. In this  intimate and fun masterclass she speaks  frankly about her career, including the world’s first all-women of colour Shakespeare production. Well known on the other side of the pond, you may also recognize the accomplished director, actor and writer from the movie, Invictus with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon or the 2019, Netflix thriller, Fractured. 

Frances-Anne SolomonClick to watch the replay In The Director’s Chair, Sunday, February 7,  4 p.m. EST.

In The Director’s Chair is a masterclass with Frances-Anne’s industry friends and takes place on the first Sunday of every other month on CaribbeanTales -TV’s.  

Side note: Bridgerton has been by far, so far, my 2021’s binge watch favourite. The love story, the chemistry between the Duke of Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton sucked me in. Or maybe it was just the swagger, the smoldering looks of THE DUKE, just maybe.  Honestly, anything that Shonda Rhimes has her hands in, usually resonates with me, keeps me coming back.


How many times have you responded to an email in a salty mood,  and thought you were successful  in hiding your frustration? Your mood can easily come through in your written communication as it does in person. A missing word,  can come across as curt, and too many as patronizing.  The one great advantage you have with email vs. face to face, is time – time to let the mood pass and see things more objectively; time to be more mindful in choosing your words and your tone.   This is a plus, so use it to your advantage.   Here are a few tips that will help to keep the peace with your colleagues. 

If you’re angry, feeling snarky, in a bitchy mood , finish the draft and let it sit for 24 hours if possible, then review and edit.  It will be a much different tone. You don’ want to send something you will regret and unable  to take  back,  worse off to save face you might try to tell the recipient that they are taking the email in the wrong context – that only makes you look bad twice. 

Once you’ve gotten past your frustration you should also consider the words you use. Keeping your audience in mind is important – personal, colleague, potential client or acquaintance. Slang, and short form text keeps things light and fun, it’s all right for personal communication but keep it out of your business emails. Sometimes you develop an ease with a colleague where you have a fun and light way of communicating, and that works sometimes, but you should try to write in standard English.  After all, it’s your workplace and it will forever be on the company server readily accessible by the powers that be. 

I’m sentimental. I save things – not in a pack rat kind of way – but things that have had significant meaning in my life. I have my report card on my performance as a seven year old, from St. Jago Cathedral Preparatory in Spanish Town, Jamaica that travelled with me to Scarborough, a suburb of  Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1976; and have since, kept sequentially ordered,  the report cards from elementary  to high school and university. The marks, from the plethora of teachers and their perspectives of me, isn’t my point, in fact I was not an exceptional student, mediocre it would seem on review. But when I think of my sense of self, back then, I thought I was a pretty good student – better than mediocre. Anyhow, I digress, my point is – I save stuff that I hold dear to my heart. These reports, filed in a big, black plastic  storage box sits alongside another box, a small wooden one, that once contained sealed pacific smoked salmon that I must have confiscated from my parents, likely some time in my teens. No, it doesn’t smell of fish, in case you were wondering.  It’s filled with love letters and cards from my first boyfriend (cherry popper), my former fiancée (not the cherry popper), and another I likely should have married, if hindsight was 2020. There were also, the passionate, spirit filled connections with other men who were significant but not long lasting, more in “the meantime” but life long lessons learned category. Men I loved, and I know loved me. You will find their images, in albums, intertwined at different ages and stages of my life. 

I keep stuff. I don’t have these capsules of memories because I pine for their love or regret them not being my forever men. In fact, these letters have made it through other, more mature romantic relationships. And so every few years or so, I come across the treasure chest and read the words and smile to myself, as I feel the warmth and the joy I felt at those very different times in my life. 

I keep stuff. This includes humans.

I have these amazing friendships, girlfriends that I’ve had since I was eight years old. One from elementary school and most formed while in university; and others, bonds formed through friends and common interests.  Friends I’ve had for over 30 yrs., and of course family from birth that I love with all my heart. They too,  have pasts and exes, which brings me to my point and conundrum. In this digital age pictures glide across my monitor as screen savers  while I pause at my desk and old school photo albums display pictures of weddings, get-togethers and parties filled with friends and their past, “I can’t see life without him” loves! Some are ex boyfriends and husbands twice or more removed; one is wrapped up in her boyfriend’s arms  – face aglow, another is walking down the aisle after saying “I do”; and another I have two sets of her wedding ceremonies to two different men.  Of course these moments  in time were happy, joyful but clearly the euphoria waned and in some cases turned to hostility.  A  feeling of hostility so strong that if it wasn’t for the rational fear of doing time in prison their hate would be criminal. The glow of love faded by infidelity, or growth from learning more about oneself and recognizing what doesn’t align for them. 

 What do I do with these hundreds of pictures? Most certainly some of my girlfriends aren’t as sentimental as I am and have burned their own treasure chests of images, notes and loves gone by.

Do I rip them out of albums, cut their faces out, photoshop them out, or delete photos, in line with what some of my friends have done? After all, those experiences weren’t mine, I was just a bystander, a supporting character, not the protagonist. Or do I keep them and  continue to see  them as I do : a moment, captured, frozen in time of  happiness and some evidence of adventure and growth.  Perhaps a treasure chest that we can all rummage through as we sit on our rocking chairs  (glasses of wine in hand) reminiscing about life and lessons – laughing, crying, cussing, appreciating  lives … lived. 

I was in Shoppers Drug Mart a couple days ago. I glanced over the magazine display as I typically do. And then: I stopped dead in my tracks. I saw something I have never seen in my lifetime. There were seven  Black women gracing the covers of  seven very prominent mainstream magazines. This is a big deal. 

There was a time when you would never have seen this ( ahem, a few months ago). To have one Black woman on these covers would have happened once in a decade, and until maybe 10 years ago, then once in a few years. Why? The response was that when Black models or celebrities were on the cover, less magazines were sold. I’m not sure how accurate that response was, I didn’t really believe it. It was just one of those excuses I filed away under Racism 101. And it’s not lost on me that they are appearing in the current climate, to support the awareness of anti-Black racism. And Vanity Fair has gone one step further to feature Breonna Taylor. The true test will be a year from now when it’s not at the forefront of the minds of mainstream society. But nonetheless, to see it brought a smile to my face. 

We live in a society that traditionally uses physical characteristics as the basis to value women. And the standard of beauty – historically, considered the epitome of beauty by which all women are compared – is the Caucasian, blond, blue eyed, fair, straight hair woman. And if placed on a continuum of beauty,  the opposite least valued are Black women’s features. 

And in communities of colour,  beauty is  judged by how close one’s features are to Caucasian  women, hence the issue of shadism. This is like comparing apples to oranges, makes no sense – how could one race’s standard of beauty be used as the universal standard? There is beauty in all races, all women. 

Mindsets are changing as society becomes more open and exposed. 

But let me be clear, within the Black and African diaspora, even with the influence of colonialism; there has always been a rich appreciation for the beauty of Black women. Magazines such as Ebony, Essence and various others have shown and highlighted the wide range of our unique beauty. 



My one regret: I didn’t interview Maya Angelou when I had the chance. 

When I look at this picture of myself, my eyes, what I see emanating from them is my curious spirit encouraged by Maya Angelou’s autobiographies and poems. 

My life hasn’t quite turned out as I had thought it would have. But even so, I don’t have regrets with the exception of one. In my twenties I had wanderlust. I wanted to travel and see the world, not merely as  a tourist but to live in and experience different cultures; I wasn’t as focused on getting married or owning a home as many of my friends at the time. I quite frankly wasn’t sure where I would end up but I needed the freedom to pursue my dreams. I  was not the norm. 

But when I read Maya Angelou’s Heart of a Woman, and her adventures from the USA to Africa, I found a kindred spirit. Her life choices made me feel ok to have this spirit of mine. I devoured her books and poems – fed my soul and travelled and lived in different  countries.  And I knew I just had to meet her. I felt it was only a matter of time, especially when I was living in Atlanta in the 90’s when it became the Black mecca for professionals and the start of the entertainment hub it has become. It wasn’t unusual to see a celebrity sitting across from me in a restaurant; and being an editor and writer, I met several through work, who became long time friends. So it seemed very possible. I had even called to set up an interview, but I don’t remember what happened at the first time.  I didn’t sweat it because I thought there was time. 

Fast forward, I was back in Toronto, launched as a lifestyle magazine. I called to set up an interview that I wanted to do in person. I would have to get to North Carolina, but it wasn’t in my budget. But I had time. Time. Believing I had time and “life stuff”…put it in on the back burner.  Until time ran out. She passed away. 

It’s the one thing that I get mad at myself about when I think about it. And it has become my one regret – because I wanted her to know just how much she affected my life, how much I admired her courage, her strength and her vulnerability. 

My regret, is now my lesson … I cannot change the way it played out, but I know that if a similar situation comes about, I will use that “time” to make it happen.

I must admit the slow down of COVID-19 lock-down was a welcome break, albeit I was still working (grateful). However I didn’t have to tackle the morning commute – traffic or subway breakdowns.  There was stillness in the air, a calm energy that was different. I could hear the birds chirping in the mornings – they were the main performance not relegated to the background of the normal hustle bustle of human life.  It was lovely. It was solace, amid a devastating pandemic gripping the world. Families were forced to stay home, companies and organizations shut down, most things came to a halt. If there was ever a time for the demand of content, this was it. As I scanned the cable channels and streaming platforms, it became glaringly obvious – after watching a few shows and movies and clicking them off within 10 minutes of the start – that there wasn’t much that resonated with me. Where were the shows for the 50 plus year old woman, or the 50 plus woman of colour? There’s an absence of women who look like me.

That’s both age and race , and the subject matter that speaks to 20, 30, 40 plus years of experiences –  15 plus years of marriage, or divorce, empty nesting, spinster living, adventurous lives, climbing the corporate ladder or not,  spiritual growth and so much more. Social scientists 100 years from now are going to think we had these non-existing existences.  We’re being forcibly placed into a sexless, useless and boring stereotypical box confined to the dark, mysterious  basement that elicits interest that’s overruled by fear. 

We simply … don’t exist, seemingly not as a demographic to entertain. You may get a background glimpse or some stereotype of a cranky mother in law or the like; but rarely the main character or subject matter that speaks directly to us.  Seeing our own experiences in films, sitcoms and dramas, would be entertaining  while affirming our existence and our contributions to society.  Certainly, our experiences can provide wisdom and richness that broader (younger and older women, men) audiences can glean from, while entertaining everyone. 

Hot flashes, dating with hot flashes, sex with hot flashes? Surely, you can see the comedic spin on that one. We were born in a time when we could comfortably say, there would never be a Black American president in our life time to sitting nervously in front of the television on November 4, 2008;  jumping up with happy tears, and emotions filled with hope against a history of oppression and violence. We’ve gone from having to straighten our kinky hair to be seen as professionals, to laws protecting us and our natural hair and living with the internalized hatred that goes with it. We’ve lived rich and diverse lives: happily married, miserably married, single, spinsters, divorced, lesbian, wealthy, barely surviving, date inter racially, have mixed kids,well travelled, never left the block, explorers, executives, business owners, single mothers,  university educated, mothers, daughters, healthy, fit, unhealthy, unfit, open minded, closed minded, religious, not religious, spiritual, sexy, cancer survivors, me too survivors. We’ve gone from caring about what society thinks to not giving a @#%. Can you imagine all the dramatic films, sitcoms, romantic comedies that can be written from all those lived experiences?  

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Issa Rae, Queen Soro and a few other shows – but they are all about 20 somethings – dating, looking for husbands and their sexual adventures. Some of us are doing the same in our 50’s (even dating younger men) but the experiences of 20, 30 yrs, just makes for a different set of relatable jokes, freedoms and strengths that only come with living … a little bit longer.  

We were once in our 20’s and 30’s, the demographic that networks catered to. We enjoyed shows that pushed the boundaries of our time, that gave us a voice that confirmed our experiences. A Different World, had us heading off to college away from home. There was Ally McBeal, Yvette Lee Bowsers, Living Single, Girlfriends, and the ever popular Sex in the City. I watch Sex in the City reruns, and I  recently saw on social media that they are going to show repeats of Girlfriends and a few other shows. 

But I have a better idea, if I may say so myself, I enjoyed those shows and they are sure to bring back great memories of those times in my life. But instead, it would be even more awesome to create shows that speak to what Ally McBeal is doing now in her 40’s and 50’s.  What happened to the characters of Joan, Lyn,Toni and Maya of Girlfriends in their late 40’s /50’s. How about, Yvette Lee Bowsers, Living Single, what’s Queen Latifah’s character Khadijah doing now with Flavour, did it turn into an online magazine, did Max continue practicing law? 

Having said that, I’m not saying to specifically recreate these shows with the same characters later in life, I’m saying those characters and those who loved and resonated with those shows are older, and still around. We exist. And like the characters in these shows represent a diverse set of women from various socio-economic backgrounds – not stereotypical race and gender roles, all real and represent society.  

Surely Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Lions Gate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Amazon, Netflix, Tyler Perry and BET can produce films, sitcoms, dramas for us. A couple ideas of where to start,  hire the writers and producers who worked on those shows (listed above) and aged alongside the rest of  us. The likes of Yvette Lee Bowser, Mara Brock Akil, Ava DuVernay and of course Shonda Rhimes and I’m sure a myriad of others who have managed to remain behind the scenes. And of course  the actors, casting women who are actually in their 40’s 50’s and 60’s. They include the ones who seem to have constant gigs like Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Angela Bassett, Jessica Chastain, Julianne Moore, Taraji P Henson, Tracey Ellis Ross, and Viola Davis, along with others who we don’t see that often and those we don’t  know yet because the roles haven’t been written to expose their talents on a broader scale.   Some of the women from those shows listed above, may also be available.  

If media houses are hemming and hawing because there’s a concern about profitability, 40 and 50 yr. olds have disposable incomes! Yes – we are the so-called sandwich generation, with less of us than the baby boomers and Generation Y, but there is enough of us for someone to make some money off. It might be worth it to take a risk – look what happened with Black Panther – it made billions at the box office. 

We’re parents, happily single, university educated, high school grads, and more. We take care of ourselves – we’re physically active, we eat (it’s true), we still enjoy fashion and are probably more adventurous than we were ever before.  Oh yes, and please make sure the angle of these shows are about women who embrace their experiences, their mature bodies, wrinkles – not trying desperately to reverse the clock but taking care of themselves mentally, physically and spiritually. There’s  beauty in that, and if its true that sex sells, there is a sexiness evoked from the confidence of a woman who’s found her voice, has woken to the double standards and doesn’t give a #$%^ about what society thinks of her. It’s a special kind of sexy, the kind that only comes with age.