Media/Internet

Happy Birthday to Me!

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IMG_2981Last week was my birthday. It was an awesome day that started off with a good 530A workout. I try to always exercise on the big day as a way to thank my body for hanging in there. Of course, I took a nap when I got home because waking up before 5a is just not OK. I woke up to a wonderful homemade breakfast. HB made me a feast fit for the health conscious queen that I am, including gluten free toast with an owl design made out of fruit. It was awesome and yummy.

In the evening, my friend Mandy invited me to go into DC and check out a panel discussing Behind the Scenes of the Walking Dead. And yes, Andrew Lincoln - The Walking DeadAndrew Lincoln was there!  It was really awesome to hear more about how the show is made —Greg Nicotero, executive producer, director, and special effects makeup supervisor talked about the process to create the zombies. It was clear listening to him how much he was born to do what he does. It fascinates me to listen to people who from an early age found something they are passionate about and get to do that thing every day as a career.

The next evening, Scotty and I enjoyed a steak dinner at DC Prime. It was so amazingly delicious and we came home to cut into my yearly Carvel Birthday cake with the kiddos.

 

Happy Birthday

It was a lovely weekend that ended with a super bowl party over at a friends house with friends that have been in my life for over 20 years.  Coincidentally, this past weekend I came across this article: ‘I have lived over half of my life’ : Writer Miranda Sawyer on the quiet desperation of a midlife crisis.  I had never thought about my age in this way, but thanks to this writer, I have spent more time than I care to admit thinking about it.  It’s scary in some ways – to think that half of my life has been lived but on the other hand, I have had a ton of great experiences and lessons and it has led me to the life I lead now – which is pretty damn good. (see birthday weekend as an example.) She makes some good observations that I can certainly relate to although not necessarily because I agree or it’s been my own personal experience.

It also speaks to something that has been on my mind – quite a few of my friends are splitting up. They are separating, divorcing, up and moving across the country – doing some reflecting on where they are in their lives and deciding it’s not where they want to be anymore. For some, it was a long time coming and best for everyone involved. For others, it hit them like a sucker punch. They were not ready for the life shock that hit them – and are now trying to recover. There is something about hitting middle age. We are not the same people that we were in our twenties (at least I hope we are not), and the things that some people chose during their younger years are not the right things for who they are now.  There is no right/wrong about it – even though I know it happens, it still causes a bit of a pit in my stomach.

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Hansel and Zoolander Talk Politics (and Fashion) on SNL

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Follow Your Bliss

 

David Bowie: The Fabric of My Youth

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David Bowie - RIP Even though David Bowie was as far removed from my real life as possible, waking up to the news of his death from cancer caused my heart to sink. I wouldn’t even say I was a huge fan of his music other than an appreciation of his talent and art –  but to me, he represented the freedom to be different, to reinvent yourself any time, and how to live life on your own terms.  He was a part of the fabric of my youth– the 80’s music scene. Bowie, Queen, Duran Duran – huge musical influencers during the eighties.

Why do deaths of icons hit people so hard?

I think it’s a reminder of the passing of time and the realization that we are getting older, even though it feels like yesterday. Cancer hits everyone. He was 69 years old: way too young to die no matter how. But cancer doesn’t discriminate. You can be famous, rich, kind, amazing or poor and anonymous. Cancer doesn’t care.

Bowie was an artist – writer, creative genius, actor, musician. I love that he was also able to see the humor in his legacy:

He just released his final album last week – and like his musician friend Freddie Mercury, his final video was a parting gift and a goodbye on his own terms.

David Bowie’s last release, Lazarus, was ‘parting gift’ for fans in carefully planned finale : The producer of Blackstar confirms David Bowie had planned his poignant final message, and videos and lyrics show how he approached his death

Move Out Of Your Comfort Zone in 2016

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Here we are in December, weeks away from the New Year and the beginning of winter. Colder weather, darker days, a lot of stress for some trying to survive the holiday season.

Move out of your comfort zoneFor me, it can be the perfect recipe for losing motivation and momentum – if you let it.  I used to think that this time of year and into early January, when all the gyms are full and people start creating New Year’s resolutions, was the time for renewed inspiration. I find myself starting to feel the pull of the warm bed in the early morning and find myself staring at the clock during some of my workouts wondering how much longer I have until it’s done.

It’s a good thing to recognize because as someone who loves working out – the feeling of a good sweat and the feeling of strength that comes with a great workout. There’s nothing like it, I can’t imagine drifting away from this lifestyle – but it becomes more chore-like if I don’t continue to challenge myself by trying new things or switching things up.

So – for those who are active on the regular and reliably focused on leading a healthy lifestyle – I challenge you to switch things up in the upcoming year. If you find something you love already – great – keep it up but also try a few new things to spice things up. Try a new class – ZUMBA anyone??  Try weight lifting, try Barre. Get outside of your comfort zone — your body and mind will actually benefit from it!

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Star Wars Kraft Macaroni & Cheese “Can’t Play”

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You are a work in progress

Times Are Changing: A Bond Woman

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007 SpectreMy entire family went and saw the new James Bond pic, Spectre over the weekend.  I will be the first one to admit that the entire Bond genre does not embrace the idea of positive female role models.  It doesn’t scream feminism by any stretch of the word. However, like anything, it is fantasy fiction and for me, I am able to get lost in the mindless action without being offended. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the Bond Girls was actually a Bond Woman who was sexy, hot and desirable.  Monica Belucci, who at age 51, became the oldest Bond Girl in the history of the series with her role in Spectre. She’s a gorgeous woman regardless of her age, but the fact that Bond romanced her was a different twist we had not seen before.

Monica Belucci - Getty ImagesDaniel Craig who plays Bond is in his late 40s and no one bats an eye when his character romances 20/30 year olds. It became very clear to me over the weekend that it’s a pervasive cultural feeling, even in the younger generation. During the Monica and Daniel love scene, my 11 year old son leans over to me and says “she’s old, Mom.”  That comment stopped. me. in. my. tracks. Here’s my son, whose mother has a career, is independent, strong, and liberal, felt the need to not only notice, but remark about the age of the female during the scene. It didn’t even occur to him that Daniel and Monica are pretty close in age and their romantic exchange is a more likely occurrence in real life.

We talked about it the next day – I mentioned that I was surprised by his remark and wondered why he didn’t mention how old Daniel Craig looked. He shrugged and said, well everyone knows he was old. He added that he thought she was beautiful but she was old.

My son didn’t make the remark with bad intentions. I think he was remarking about something that struck him as different because he rarely sees an older sexy woman being romanced in the media.

And maybe, if it becomes more and more common it won’t need to be something to comment on…

Related: Monica Bellucci: At 51, I’m a ‘Bond woman’ not ‘Bond girl’

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New York Comic Con 2015: Dressing Up Like a Boss

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I have so much to share but with my new job keeping me beyond busy, so little time to share it…

Here are some of the amazing pictures taken by Scotty at this past weekend’s New York Comic Con….

 

New York Comic Con 2015

Posted by Scott Hoaglund on Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 New York Comic Con

What Were You Born To Do?

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The past week, I had the wonderful fortune of being in the presence of two of the few people out there who were born to do what they are doing.  You know those people who from a young age seem to be destined for their purpose. It’s as natural as breathing to them..

Last Tues, I took HB to go see the amazing Ed Sheeran at Verizon Center.  It was just him on stage – with a looping machine. He recorded his own loops while playing and then played over them. He is a true artist. His voice was so crisp and pure. I thought he sounded better live than on his records. His solo show lasted over two hours – and there was not a moment where the sold out audience was not entertained, included and captured.  He was born to write and sing songs – no question.  To drive home that point, at the beginning of his show, he played videos on the big screen that captured the blooming of his talent throughout his young life, including when he was probably in kindergarten.

Yesterday, I was in awe and inspired as I sat with Diana Gabaldon, author of the best-selling series, Outlander at a small, invitation only lunch hosted by the non-profit, Fall for the Book. Ms. Gabaldon was in town to receive the Mason Award at George Mason in Fairfax.  For those that don’t know, I love the book and TV series Outlander. To me, Outlander is an escape novel, where you get truly lost in the story and want to reread it over and over again because don’t want the the journey it takes you on to end.

What became clear to me within the first few minutes of our lunch was that Diana was born to write and create these fantastic stories that capture people’s heart. She has been writing since she was in grade school, doesn’t use notes to keep track of her characters, doesn’t create drafts and does all the research herself to ensure she accurately capture the time period of her novels.  She began writing Outlander for herself –no intention of selling it. She didn’t tell anyone she was writing it and just let the characters take her where they needed to go.  Writing is as natural as breathing to her. Listening to her explain how she writes and creates was fascinating.

What am I meant to do?

It appears to me that Ed Sheeran and Diana Gabaldon were born to do what they are doing — it may or may not have not been a clear, easy going journey to get where they are but there is no question in my mind that they were going to get there.  Both have passion and talent that you can feel just being in the same room with them. Not to host a pity party, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what I was born to do.   I suspect there are more people out there like me and I struggle each and every day with that question.  I just know there are bigger things to come for me but how, where, why, who??  

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John Oliver Takes on Internet Misogyny

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John Oliver Lately I’ve been reading a lot about gender bias and the treatment of women in general. Maybe it’s because the influencers I follow have been bringing this issue to the forefront or maybe my college minor of Women’s Studies is rearing its head after years of lying dormant. Whatever the reason, it’s an interesting, relevant, shocking and downright disturbing topic that needs attention and change.

Yesterday, I watched John Oliver (who I think I love) highlight a very serious issue – Internet Misogyny- in a way that not only got the point across loud and clear, but entertained as well.

Just watch…

John Oliver’s Internet Misogyny Rant is Satisfying As Hell

How scary is it that there are very few laws to protect against online harassment and revenge porn? And even scarier to realize that those hired to protect us are not prepared when it comes to what happens on the Internet.

Let’s Talk About Women Gamers

During the video, Oliver briefly mentions the harassment female gamers are subjected to on an ongoing basis. According to Emily Matthew over on the Pricecharting blog, 63% of women polled in 2012 report being harassed while gaming online. I’m sure that number has only increased…

There has been some heated discussions about the lack of ethics in video game journalism, and the role and treatment of women in the male dominated video game industry.  Can you imagine being in so much fear that you actually have to leave your home because some anonymous gamer threatens you with bodily harm and death and also publishes your home address for all to see?

Throughout most of the discussions, the focus is on the victim and ‘blaming’ her for just being and living her life. Why should the victim be criticized and pressured to change? Where is the outrage at the behavior of these men? Men who have mothers, sisters, wives, daughters.  Yes, of course women need to take basic precautions as a fact of life – we all do. But – being an awful human being is never OK. Lacking integrity and respect for fellow people (male or female) is never OK. Let’s figure out how to address the overall treatment of women as a whole and teach men to stand up for their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters.

We can be the change the in the world –and it starts at home.

Happy Father’s Day 2015

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Happy Father's Day 2015Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there and of course a special shout out to the Dads in my life, including my husband who is the most wonderful Dad and a great role model for our kiddos. I realize this is a hard day for so many out there whose Dads are no longer with us and for those whose Dads were no where to be found.

My relationship with my own Dad has been complicated for most of my life and I wouldn’t necessarily describe us as close. Just in the past few years, I’ve come to realize that it is what it is. I can’t change what happened or who he is — all I can do is strive to be a better parent to my own kids and accept him for where he is today.  Doesn’t make the past right or feel any better, but since I can’t change it, I choose to forgive and move forward. Now that he and my Mom are both getting older – it’s just not worth holding onto the anger and the resentment about my childhood. My dad’s health is failing and he is consumed by that fact – and he isn’t capable of being a different person. It’s not easy to give up on the dream of a different relationship but at the end of the day – I am who I am because of all I have experienced.  It’s all in how you see things —

If it’s not obvious, Dads have a huge influence on our lives. According to Dr. Gail Gross, “Studies show that if your child’s father is affectionate, supportive, and involved, he can contribute greatly to your child’s cognitive, language, and social development, as well as academic achievement, a strong inner core resource, sense of well-being, good self-esteem, and authenticity.” 

Also, according to The Importance of Fathers (According to Science),  the effect fathers’ have on their sons is profound:

The Grant Study, the longest longitudal study ever done on the lives of men, found that a man’s father influenced his life in many ways exclusive to his relationship with his mother. Loving fathers imparted to their sons:

  • enhanced capacity to play
  • more enjoyment of vacations
  • greater likelihood of being able to use humor as a healthy coping mechanism
  • better adjustment to, and contentment with, life after retirement
  • less anxiety and fewer physical and mental symptoms under stress in young adulthood

Speaking of family and Dads,  we all went and saw Pixar’s InsideOut yesterday and I loved it. It really was able to demonstrate what goes on in all of our heads one time or another. One of the funniest parts was watching the family at the dinner table and the Mom is trying to signal the Dad to help figure out what was going on with their daughter.  He just wasn’t picking up on it, just completely oblivious to what was happening. I was so amused and impressed at how perfectly they were able to capture the real life experience of many Dads. So, even though Dad’s are sometimes quirky and out of it, they have the opportunity to leave a big impact on the world. Go see it if you can and take time today to thank your dad for all he has done…

HOW PIXAR PICKED THE 5 CORE EMOTIONS OF INSIDE OUT’S STAR

What are You Saving it For?

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Every day I check out Humans of New York and meet the people they are highlighting. Depending on the snapshot and the story they tell, I have felt sad, angry, or mushy inside – sometimes just from a few sentences.  On a good day, I’ve feel all three.  I think what draws me to HONY regularly is I love “meeting” so many interesting people and learning about all the things that bind us together. Everyone has a story to tell…

There is one that stands out and it was shared again recently because it’s that good…

http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/52563030512/i-asked-her-for-a-piece-of-advice-she-reached-in

Here are a couple gems of wisdom from the author Regina Brett:

  • “Ask yourself, in five years, will it matter?”
  • “Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.”

How many of us wait to use something for a special occasion or delay what we want because we want to make it really special? What I am finding out as I gain more experience and get older, every day is special. We are special and deserve to be around people who love us, make us feel happy and deserve to do things that make our heart sing, or feel fancy and pretty. Why are we taught we must wait?

A writer and friend Lisbeth shared a writing of hers: Don’t Save It for Later that speaks to this idea of not saving things for a special occasion.  It reminded me of an Oprah episode years ago with Luther Vandross.  Luther was an amazing, talented, flamboyant, bigger than life singer who died way too young.  During the show, Oprah was walking through his house and remarked about how all of his every day dishes were very fancy and his regular drinking glasses were crystal.  I’m not sure of his exact response, but the gist of it was that every day is special so why not enjoy the nice and pretty things all the time. It’s strange that I still remember that part but none of the rest, but he’s right.  None of us is promised tomorrow or a ‘later’, so why are you saving  or storing things that bring you happiness and joy?

Life is Too Short

It’s also food for thought around your career or personal life. Why are you putting up with things or sticking around those that suck the happiness out of you? We all deserve happiness and love. If there are people in your life that are sucking your joy or if your job makes you miserable – it’s time to start the process of change. Many times it’s not easy and the journey may be long and hard, but in the end you can choose to struggle and be unhappy or struggle to reach your happy place. Which one would you choose?

Decluttering: Tidying Up Your Life

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It’s hard to come back to the ole work life after the long Memorial Day Weekend. It was such a spectacular weekend – getting time to workout, spending time with friends and being outside for much of it. It was one of those weekends that was perfect in it’s simplicity. I spent time with  kind, fun people including my own family. I got to appreciate the feeling a great workout gave me, got in some napping and the weather was perfect. Kumbaya! 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingThis summer I am going to start to tackle one of my biggest challenges – decluttering and tidying up my house. I am going to start with my own closet and clothing situation.  It’s a trait I come by honestly by way of my Mom and it’s one that drives me crazy. I read this article the other day:

The life-changing magic of tidying up: How this 1 tip changed everything

“It’s not just about tidying up to get rid of things,” Ramsey says. “It’s about having gratitude for the objects you choose to be in your life.” So if something (or someone) doesn’t bring you joy, don’t try to justify its place in your world. Just say thank you and move on.

One of the points made is that you should try to get it done in one project. So not by room or bit by bit. You need to sit down and go through all of your clothes at once.  I am going to organize my clothes and closet by the end of the summer because it’s starting to  drain me of energy. Seeing the big piles of clothes all over my bedroom isn’t healthy and I can’t find any of the pieces that bring me joy and that goes against the principle of having the clothes I do.

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