Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Think Like a Man

Out this Friday, April 20th is one of the most anticipated films of the Spring/Summer. .
"Think Like A Man" based on Steve Harvey's "New York Time" Best Seller "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man".

I had the pleasure of attending the Atlanta premiere and let me tell you. .It was truly a Black carpet event. Many of the stars of the movie were present. .Regina Hall (so excited to see her BACK and in new projects), Terrance J (with his Boo Selita by his side!! Cute couple), Gabrielle Union (Looked gorgeous as usual rocking a staple color for the season Yellow), and of course the man himself Steve Harvey accompanied by his beautiful wife Marjorie. The movie is nothing short of AWESOME and has a little bit of something for everyone to relate too.

I received an invite at the last minute to come down but I did what all SophistiKats do. .Pulled it together and SHOWED out. (Pics to come soon)

I had a BLAST!! It was truly a blessing to attend the event. ATL truly "Showed UP and Showed OUT". Hopefully there will be plenty more premiere and star studded events such as this to grace the city and hopefully other cities in the South soon.

We need some things like this to occur in TENNESSEE ;")

In case you don't have a copy of the book visit Amazon and purchase your copy today

Check out the trailer and GO SEE the film Friday!!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sisters It’s Time to Heal, Part I

There is no need to front!! As African American women we are OUR worst enemy. We will tear another sister apart majority of the time before getting to truly know her as a person. .and most of the time it's based off of He Say/She Say or just the wrong interpretation of who we think the next woman is. .Sad but TRUE!! I am guilty of this and have been the one misinterpreted. So can shed light from both ends of the stick. However it is time for us to put a stop to this form of hatred amongst us. We have got to be supportive. .encouraging. .and truly show love towards one another. If we don't, who else will. Check out this article from Essence.com and give me some feedback ;")

Written for Essence.com by: Sophia A.Nelson

Sisters, STOP! Put a pin in it as I like to say. Let's get a hold of ourselves and rethink this. We are talking about us here, us! Beautiful, brilliant, bold, courageous, loving, nurturing, kind, compassionate, sensitive, giving, dedicated, strong, resilient, transformational, God-fearing, church-going, Bible loving us.

The above words pierce my soul and raise deep concern for me as a Black woman who has dedicated the last decade of my life to being an advocate for the cause of promoting positive Black female images. I wrote down some of the above phrases from a recent panel discussion titled Black Women Redefined that I was part of with Jacque Reid, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Melyssa Ford on the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage Cruise, and from a recent Twitter chat I hosted this week along with some other sisters groups entitled #SistersHeal.

Our topic was of course how we as sisters treat one another, and how we need to get serious about how we 1.) Handle our friendships, 2.) How we handle conflict, and 3.) How we work together to build businesses and better collaborate in this new age. All of us have at some point in our life's journey been deeply wounded by a sister-friend we loved, adored and admired. Or we had injured someone in a moment's anger with our words and cut them off. Sometimes the loss of a valued sister-friend hurts worse than the loss of a love interest or spouse. 

Although, this subject of how sisters mistreat one another has been addressed many times, I am profoundly concerned about the countless stories I am hearing daily while on my national book tour of colleges and Fortune 500 corporations, as well as on social media about the overt hostility, abuse and cut throat behavior between sisters that rages like an unbridled fire.

In all honesty though, I am writing about this topic today, because it's personal for me. It's personal because I am going through it right now with a close girlfriend I love, and I am truly shaken by what was a very manageable event that resulted in angry texts and emails being traded that has left our friendship in ruins. Sadly, countless other women were dragged into it (some of who have tried to actually help us mend things) that have willingly poured gasoline on the fire, and watched it and us burn out of control. Sadly, the two of us know better and have violated every tenant of every value we both preach to others as highly visible women leaders about how to resolve conflict respectfully, how not react in anger but respond in love, how not to bring in other people who fan the flames, and how to forgive, release and heal; so that we both emerge better, stronger, transformed people with a powerful witness for sisterhood.

Sisters, it's time to heal. And I am speaking to me most of all. You know that when I write about anything I am writing from firsthand experience, and how I can best turn my wounds into wisdom for myself and for all of you. I pride myself on being transparent and authentic. It may not always be pretty at times, but real talk is something missing in the sisterhood, and it is something we need to allow ourselves to engage in freely with love and respect, particularly around the topic of how we treat one another.

My goal in part I of this series is to help make us conscious of the fact that much of the lashing out we do at each other is a result of how we have been defined, and how we have internalized centuries of mischaracterizations, abuse and stereotyping about us. As James Baldwin says, "[I]f the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do it to yourself." So let's break down what Audre Lorde wrote so eloquently in her famous poem "Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred and Anger." 

"Every Black woman in America lives her life somewhere along a wide curve of ancient and unexpressed angers. My Black woman's anger is a molten pond at the core of me, my most fiercely guarded secret. I know how much of my life as a powerful feeling woman is laced through with this net of rage. It is an electric thread woven into every emotional tapestry upon which I set the essentials of my life; a boiling hot spring likely to erupt at any point, leaping out of my consciousness like a fire on the landscape. How to train that anger with accuracy rather than deny it has been one of the major tasks of my life. Other Black women are not the root cause nor the source of that pool of anger. I know this, no matter what the particular situation may be between me and another Black woman at the moment. Then why does that anger unleash itself most tellingly against another Black woman at the least excuse? Why do I judge her in a more critical light than any other, becoming enraged when she does not measure up? And if behind the object of my attack should lie the face of my own self, unaccepted, then what could possibly quench a fire fueled by such reciprocating passions?"

What Lorde raises is at the heart of what ails us. She is speaking truth about how we all look good on the outside, we all say the right things, do the right things until our anger is provoked. We all go to great lengths to cover up the boiling anger inside, the weariness, and the brokenness. And sadly, when we unleash on another Black woman we do so with such a fury that the subject of our ire is left devastated and beyond repair. I know I just had it happen to me and I am wounded badly. Worse, we don't even have enough sense when we realize what we have done to go to that sister in humility and apologize. Talk it over. Pray about it. Seek healing. 

Understand that we have internalized the notion that "we are not worth it." Don't miss this. We "go off" on one another over the most foolish, petty nonsense and we feel justified in doing so. How about showing some compassion? How about asking your friend to explain herself? How about looking at what is on her plate is she overwhelmed, was she dealing with something that day, was she tired, weary or ill? All of us exist in a context. Take the time to find out what was in your friend's heart before you decimate her and destroy a relationship. There are always two sides to a story. Always.

To my sisters like me, who are in leadership, pastoral or in coaching roles let me be respectfully direct: the young sisters watch what we do, not just what we say. We cannot profess to be mentors, give guidance, build healing ministries and then break the very rules and virtues we ask others to embrace. I cannot begin to recount the stories I've heard of sisters gone rogue in the workplace or worse, in the church on other women. There is something dangerous about wanting to put another woman in her place or to take her down a notch so badly that you resort to threats, blow business alliances, take her to court, ruin her future, or damage her reputation (or yours) simply because you disagree or don't like something she did. 

Sister, woman up! Put your faith into practice and talk to her like a person. Correct her, and most importantly allow yourself to be corrected. Remove the speck from your eye first and in doing so you both will grow as human beings. Bring in mediators if need be. Fight for your friendship. Don't throw something precious away in a moment of anger or disappointment. We are not disposable Dixie cups! We are human.

The bottom line is this: we all need to understand that it is at times of strife when we truly need to honor what we claim to value most: our sisterhood. 

Sophia A. Nelson is a contributor to Essence.com and is an award winning author of the book "Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama," to be re-released in paperback Fall 2012.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

SophistiKat "JAM of the Week"

I've been WAITING on this video and absolutely LOVE this song. . 
Here is Drake feat Rihanna. ."Take Care"


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Urban Hangover. .VEGAS!!

To all my young, sophisticated, urban professionals. .this is an event of a LIFETIME you do not want to miss!! The Urban Hangover: Vegas Getaway 2012!! And you know what they say "What happens in Vegas. .Stays in Vegas. .or didn't happen"!! LoL!!

Sin City will never be the same.
Here is a little about the event. .

This FIRST CLASS LYFESTYLE event will be held on July 27th – 30th 2012 and promises to be a weekend that you will never forget. Tastemakers, Trendsetters, Upscale Mature Professionals. Celebrities and Jet-Setters will converge on the Las Vegas Strip for a weekend of, OVER THE TOP Parties, Gambling, and what happens in Vegas didn’t happen activities!

Kick-off for the Official URBAN HANGOVER Weekend!  
We have planned one of the most exciting weekends you will ever experience and we can’t wait to MEET YOU!
Good Breakfast (Coat your stomach for the weekend activities – Smile)
Depart from your Respective City
Arrive at the Harrah’s Hotel
Welcome Reception/Meet & Greet – Urban Hangover Gift Bags!!!
Gambling/Sight Seeing/ Dinner On Your Own
“LMAO” Comedy Show Hosted by Comedian Renard Hirsch
“WHITE LINEN” Party!!!
Dancing, More Gambling, Cocktails and Kicking it all Night!!
After Party In The Suites!!

The Party continues!  
We know you had a blast on Friday so its up to you to get started early or sleep in late!  
The UrbanHangover continues with another adult fun filled day of pool parties, club hopping, after parties and more!
Golf Scramble/Spa Appointments/Early Shopping/ Sight Seeing!!
SEXY SKIN POOL PARTY & DAY PARTY At The Flamingo Pool!! http://goo.gl/6TiIE and Margaretville Las Vegas  http://goo.gl/XFDf1
Free Time Gamble/ Tour Vegas /Shop
URBAN HANGOVER TAKEOVER Party at Club CHATEAU!! – http://chateaunightclublv.com
AfterParty In The Suites!!

Unwind & Chill – It’s been a busy two days and we can’t let the party stop!  What happened Friday and Saturday night .. well lets just say its your business.  We will pick back up on Sunday with a relaxed vibe and more grown folks fun designed especially for a laid back but memorable Vegas Sunday!
Continental Breakfast & “Business Card Exchange” *(Please Bring Your Business Cards!!)*
Optional Check -out

The itinerary alone let's you know that this weekend will be LIVE!! For more information and details PLEASE visit the official website for the Urban Hangover http://urbanhangover.com/site/

Also follow them on Twitter at @UrbanHangover

Hopefully I will see some of my SophistiKat's there ;")


Monday, April 9, 2012

SophistiKat "JAM of the Week"

I had been hearing this song on the radio for weeks. .
I didn't know who it was until I "searched" for the title on YouTube.
I loved the song and now the video too ;")
So here it is Maino featuring Robbie Nova "That Could Be US".


Ooooh Devin. .~*

For the past few years I have been following yet another CRUSH. .
Ladies when I say this man is the BOMB.com he is. .in every way imaginable.
Talented. .Godly. .Giving to his community and philanthropies. .and the list goes ON!!
Who am I speaking of. .none other than Devin Thomas ;")

Now he has a Super Bowl ring (won with the New York Giants Super Bowl 2012) to add to his many accolades.  He recently signed a 1 year contract with the Chicago Bears for this upcoming season (so you know my D. Thomas Bears gear will be on deck) and also SINGLE he was featured in YRB magazine April 6th. .Here are some of the highlights

On winning the Super Bowl and pursing other career avenues. .

“Oh my goodness. I felt so heroic. I felt like something out of a comic book. Like a superhero defeating the enemy. Everybody’s shit going crazy. The parade for the Super Bowl win was the best feeling in the world. It just goes to show what an amazing city this is. It’s where dreams come true,” Thomas says. “That energy made me want to experiment within other areas. I would love to get involved with the movie business, and the first thing that became available to me was the lead role in a Fantasia music video. I was excited and jumped in. Fantasia is a spectacular artist and I was amped about the experience. It was a learning process; I was surprised with the time it takes for the production. We were there all day and it only created like three and a half minutes. It was crazy to see how much effort was necessary, but I’m looking forward to getting involved in more projects. I certainly would like to consider the big screen a goal of mine. I’m pushing towards that. Film was something that always interested me. At this point, it would be a dream to get a hold of a script and be a part of something great.”

On what he is looking for in a woman (Me of course. .LoL )

“I’m looking for a woman I can talk to,” he continues. “Someone I can have a good time with. I’m not looking for anyone to pressure me into doing anything crazy. I would like to find somebody to develop something with. I’m definitely not trying to be rushed, but I’m open to meeting someone who is real and patient.” Another realm Thomas would like to get involved in is fashion. He considers style a crucial part of learning a person’s character and knows that it will help to understand his. First impressions exist, and you’ll like the one he gives.

On his LOVE for ink. .

“Over the past couple of days, I had my artist come through and sharpen up some of my work. Turn my gladiator piece into HD – High Definition,” Thomas boasts. “I’m a very artistic type of person. I like to express myself, and my skin is a canvas. If there are important elements in my life, I relish in the fact that I can wear those elements on my sleeve or on my leg. It represents who I am on the inside; it represents my mentality.”

All I have to say is. .I'm in LOVE all over again. .LoL!!
Check out more about "Mr. Showtime" in last year's post "SophistiKats: Gentleman of the Week" http://thesophisticatechronicles.blogspot.com/2011/05/sophistikats-gentleman-of-week_30.html. TRUST I will be bringing you more updates. .


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sistah's on the MOVE

I am an avid supporter of my sistahs that are not only doing good things in the African American community but across the country. I had the pleasure of meeting Gabrielle Lewis in 2010 while judging the District "Miss Black and Gold" Pageant for the Association of TN Alphamen. Her spirit is resounding and she is a dynamic christian young woman in all the sense. She went on to win that title and competed at regional competition. Now she has the pleasure of being the reigning
"Miss Black Memphis USA 2013".

She will present her first program "The Queen In YOU" this week on the campus of Washington State University with another phenomenal sister (which I featured last year in "Sistah's Write") Katha D. Blackwell relationship expert and author of "Not Another Victim". Gabrielle will host a panel featuring Mrs. Blackwell and a group of gentlemen from Washington State University and the community. The topics will range from different forms of relationship issues, busting up myths, and the answer to our daily question of "What men/women really want?".

If you are in the area PLEASE come out and SUPPORT this event and these Sistahs!!

Follow them on Twitter Gabrielle Lewis @MBMUSA2013 and
Katha D. Blackwell @KathaDBlackwell
To purchase "Not Another Victim" visit


Color Trend Alert: Power of GREEN

Last Monday I had the honor of being featured in an article by LIFE and Fashion writer Karen Nazor Hill giving my opinion on one of this Spring/Summers' hottest colors. .Green!!
Check it out ;")

Fashion Report: Designers turn to a soft shade of green
By Karen Nazor Hill for Chattanooga Times Free Press
Monday, April 2, 2012

It's not so hard being GREEN!!

Though Margarita, a soft shade of green, fell short of being named Pantone's 2012 Color of the Year (top honors went to Tangerine Tango), it still nabbed a coveted spot on the color forecasting company's Top 10 list of best colors for spring.

Designers including Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Vera Wang, Yves Saint Laurent and Rachel Roy have incorporated shades of greens into their latest spring and summer designs.

Brandy Norwood in Rachel Roy "Green" Cut Out Dress

YSL: Yves Saint Laurent "Tribtoo" Pump

Katherine Burger, owner of K Boutique on North Market Street, said she's seeing a lot of green in the merchandise her clothing store carries.

Mint is "huge" for spring, she said, with the hue appearing in "fabrics, clothes, bags, accessories and shoes."

That's good news to Chattanoogan Bonnie Cope, 51, who said green is her best color.

"As a redhead, I have avoided lots of colors such as pinks and reds, but green has always been a favorite color for me," Cope said. "I like the strong greens like forest, olive or emerald. These shades help my red hair stand out."

Former Miss Black Tennessee USA and fashion model Lorean Mays*, 28, said green looks good on everyone.

"There are flattering shades for every ethnicity," she said. "The different shades of olive, mint, seafoam and kelly are my favorite.

Mays also likes green eyeshadow and recently purchased Lancome's Mint Jolie palette of five shades (Dillard's, $49.50).

"It gives my brown eyes a pop and complements my chocolate skin," she said.

Green eyeshadows are one of the must-have cosmetics this season, said Darin Wright, owner of Elea Blake cosmetic store on Frazier Avenue.

"The enjoyment of color peaks when the trend sways to feature the color," she said. "Most people are not fashion trendsetters; they are fashion followers. When the trends hit the stores and are in front of us in many different mediums -- clothing, home fashions, paint, advertising -- we become comfortable with the trend and adopt it."

Fingernails and toenails are going green, too.

According to refinery20.com, look for green polishes that have creamy undertones and lots of opacity. You want the color to stand out on your nails, the website reports.

"I'm an OPI fan, and I recommend the 'Thanks A Windmillion' from the Spring/Summer Holland collection," Mays said. "It's a beautiful mint green with a little spunk . Great for spring and summer." 


SophistiKat "Book Spotlight"

Every month there is a book selected for the "SophistiKat Book Club".
This month however I wanted to shine the spotlight on a book that is just a fabulous read. .and perfect for the upcoming season. .SUMMER. .

       "Single Girl Summer"

About the book. .
Relationships aren't complicated. . .People are!! 

Button Jackson* knows two things for sure: all men cheat and all women are rivals. So it's no surprise that the impeccably dressed restaurateur hasn't had a serious boyfriend, close girlfriend, or any connection of substance in years.
Meghan Cherry* has the opposite problem. Reeling from a painful divorce, the techie with a desire to unleash her artistic side, can't figure out why her relationships end with nothing when she gives so much.
Attorney, Dawn Martin* is stuck somewhere in the middle. Waiting in purgatory for a marriage proposal that just won't come has molded her into a woman she swore she'd never be.

Against the backdrop of hot days and cool nights in Chicago and armed with red cups of Single Girl Sangria, Button, Meghan, and Dawn share stories, perspectives, and advice on everything from open relationships to open-toe shoes. They come together by chance, grow together as friends, and ultimately discover that for every girl, there's a season.

About the Author. .

Deanna Kimberly Burrell is a successful businesswoman, marketing maven, published author, and popular speaker. Her first book, Voted "Most Creative"- Perspectives on Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness, is a collection of poems and essays that inspire creativity, growth, and self-expression.

Single Girl Summer is her first novel and it's more than just a story of sophisticated friends having fun in the big city. Single Girl Summer is a celebration of women - yes, their strengths and weaknesses but more than that, their ability to pull themselves up by their designer bootstraps.

It can be read on a Girl's getaway weekend, perfect for a book club, or just the simple pleasure of relaxing and reading. I found it via one of my "sisters" on Facebook whom I noticed liked the official fan page. I checked it out and had it ordered. I completely understood why several others followed by liking the page and supporting the book and author. I LOVE IT!!

Please check out the official website for the book http://www.singlegirlsummer.com/ There you can purchase your copy, check out the blog, and purchase "Single Girl Summer" merchandise!!
(They have cute fitted tee's ladies. .perfect for the Single SophistiKat)

Enjoy ;")

Have a Blessed Easter

Monday, April 2, 2012

SophistiKat "Song of the Week"

I Loved how Elle Varner busted on the scene with her bright smile and beautiful natural hair with JCole on her 1st single "Wanna Give It To You".

Now she's back with her 2nd single "Refill" showing us that there is more than spunk and attitude to this new songstress. Her raw and raspy vocals are on point.

This song is on point for a lot of us SINGLE Ladies. .who just need a refill from a REAL man!! LoL!!

Enjoy ;")

How To Tell If You're Dating A Boy or Man

I LOVE Essence.com and every time I find something that is vital to not only my SophistiKats but my men as well I like to share. One of my FAVorites (in case you haven't noticed by now. .LoL!!) is the "Modern Day Matchmaker" Paul Carrick Brunson. Last month he shared a few tell/TELL signs of how distinguish weather the guy you are dating/in a relationship with is a boy or if he has made the transition to truly being a man. These are the TOP 7* signs with a few others. .and guys if you take notice. .you might be clamming to be something you are not. .just yet :") Enjoy

Sometimes, ideas for posts come to me in conversation, sometimes based on what I read, and others I'm inspired by the real situations my clients are in. But believe it or not, my all time favorite source for ideas is Twitter. I find the social media platform to be the best pulse to find out what’s of interest in our lives.

Ive seen a lot of chatter on Twitter about people's opinion on the difference between a boy and a man. I wasn’t compelled to respond until I saw several tweets articulating age as an important factor. While I believe age is part of the equation, let’s be clear: not every boy becomes a man.

Here are the top seven differences between boys and men. Ladies, listen up.

Does He Have Goals?
“The man is aiming at a goal; the boy is drifting aimlessly.” — Author Unknown

How Responsible Is He?
Men make and keep commitment, boys don’t.

What Does He Call You?
Boys want a “wifey”. Men want a wife.

Can He Communicate?
A boy tells you about his day. A man will ask you about yours, and listen.

Does He Accomplish or Destroy?
Boys consume. Men produce.

Can You Trust Him?
You can put your trust in a man. Your trust is always lost with a boy.

Does He Know Who He Is?
Boys dress, talk, and act like everyone else. Men emulate no one.

Does He Want to Stimulate His Mind?
Men are never afraid to ask questions. Boys think they have it all figured out.

What Are His Beliefs?
Boys believe nothing is greater than themselves. Men believe in a higher power.

Is He Serious About His Future?
Boys chase girls and women. Men chase family.

Does He Pick Up the Phone?
Boys send text messages. Men call.

What Is His Purpose?
Boys exist in stagnation. Men embrace change.

Does He Have Baggage?
Boys have liabilities. Men possess assets.

How Does He Handle the First Date?
Boys split the check. Men pay.

How He Handles Adversity?
Boys become selfish. Men are selfless.

Visit http://www.essence.com for more advice in the Love and Dating department.
Also don't forget to Follow @PaulCBrunson on Twitter


SophistiKat "Dessert of the Month"

So one of my FAVorite shows is "Down Home with the Neely's"!!
They are such a beautiful couple. .but a couple that can COOK!! They have several receipe's that I will be sharing straight from their website. However today I want to share one of everyone's favorite desserts with a twist. .

Grilled Banana Split

2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 firm bananas, split in 1/2, lengthwise, in their peels
Store-bought strawberry ice cream
1/2 cup store-bought candied pecans, for topping
Fresh Whipped Cream, for topping
Store-bought hot fudge sauce, for topping
Maraschino cherries, for topping
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Preheat the grill to medium heat.
Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
Sprinkle the bananas with sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Put them, cut side down, on the grill and cook until grill marks appear, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Flip over and cook until the peel just starts to pull away from the banana.
Remove the bananas from the grill and peel.
Add 2 banana halves to each banana split dish.
Top with strawberry ice cream, candied pecans, whipped cream and hot fudge sauce.
Put a cherry on top and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Now you're ready to serves this famous dessert with a twist.
Enjoy ;")

SophistiKat "Drink of the Month"

Your health is the most important factor in your life. With the proper diet and exercise living a long life is possible. The ingredients featured in the this drink are full of antioxidants, have the potential to fight forms of cancer, preventing heart disease, etc.

This month I chose a cocktail that is fitting for not only the healthy SophistiKat but right on point for the month of April. Spring is in full bloom and everyone is ready for Easter, Brunches, and plenty of fun in the sun. .

Here is the Dragon Well Cocktail

1/3 USA Red Anjou pear, cored and coarsely chopped (do not peel)
1-1/4 oz pear vodka, such as Grey Goose La Poire or Absolut Pears
1/2 oz pear liqueur, such as Clear Creek Pear Brandy or Aqua Perfecta Pear Eau de Vie
3/4 oz green tea-infused simple syrup (see recipe below)
1 oz pear juice, such as Santa Cruz Organic Pear Nectar
Dry Soda-brand Lavender soda
Pomegranate seeds

Green Tea-infused Simple Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 bags green tea

Bring sugar and water to boil in small pot.
Remove from heat and add tea bags.
Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain and chill.

Put pear chunks in shaker and fill half full with ice.
Muddle until pear is broken down
Add pear vodka, pear brandy, green tea syrup and pear juice and top with ice
Shake well until very cold
Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Finish by filling glass with lavender soda and adding 5 or 6 pomegranate seeds.