Luck Be a Lady

Lady Gaga announced her engagement to her boyfriend, actor Taylor Kinney, on Instagram today…look at her ring! :-)

I. Die.

I. Die.

 

Stunning, right? So. Gorgeous. :-) I love love to pieces, and few things thrill me like a happy couple living a happy life on their own terms. I wish there was more of that to go around! :-)

The Happy Couple :-)

The Happy Couple :-)

 

xxx

Amazing Grace

Did you watch the Grammy awards on Sunday night? It was good, full of performances and interesting attire…exactly what I’m looking for in a music awards show. One of the night’s highlights was the loooooovely Ed Sheeran melting my heart with his performance of “Thinking Out Loud” (one of my favorite songs of all time, no lie), backed by the very handsome John Meyer on a hot pink guitar. Sigh. That was a lot of awesome on that stage at one time. Fantastic! :-) I loved watching my one true love Paul McCartney clapping and dancing along to the music, the divine Sam Smith duetting with Mary J. Blige (holy hell that’s a lot of talent happening there)….there were some really great moments. And then there was this:

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There’s no denying that her body is in tremendous shape, especially for her age. However, there’s something so hard and sinewy about her, don’t you think? Yikes! She doesn’t look like a 56 year old woman – at least not like any 56 year old that I’ve ever seen. As well, whatever she’s done to her face has changed her appearance so much…it just doesn’t look natural. (Ladies – let this be a lesson to you: if a woman like Madonna with all the money and resources possible at her disposal can’t get work done on her face that looks natural, what hope do you have?? Stop messing with your faces!!!) I miss how Madonna used to look…during the Evita years, I thought she was the most stunning woman ever. Her performance on Sunday night didn’t really do it for me, either – which is completely shocking, as I have loved Madonna for 30+ years!! Her music now doesn’t seem to fit for me, either…I’m not sure why. It feels desperate, and like she’s trying way too hard…and she doesn’t need to. She’s Madonna. Needless to say, the entire situation left me wanting a more mature performer, one who has grown and aged as she should have….and thankfully that arrived, in the form of the looooovely Annie Lennox!! She came out to join Hozier on “Take Me To Church“, a song that I love a whole bunch – Annie was bloody radiant, she looked deliriously happy, natural, and LIKE HER SELF. She sounded fantastic, she was appropriately dressed (meaning I didn’t have to see her arse hanging out) – it was such a stark contrast to the image Madonna had painted earlier, of a woman raging and fighting against growing older. There was Annie, laugh lines and wrinkles telling the story of a life well-lived. It was fantastic – and did the heart some good. There’s no shame in getting older, and I’m really bloody tired of the society today that makes it sound like there is. It’s been nearly a year since the Wee One and I went to Paris, and hardly a day goes by that I don’t remember the women that I saw there and the beautiful, natural way that they looked…and I long for it. I don’t spend a whole lot of time fussing with my appearance – it is what it is, and I have come to accept that.  However, I wish that I could head out into the world some days without makeup on…but I don’t dare. I always run in to people that I know, and I can’t  risk frightening them like that! I wish that I lived in a place and time where it was okay to show the grey that exists in the litttle hairs around your temple, the crow’s feet around your eyes, and the shadows that sometimes show up when you haven’t had quite enough sleep.

 

Maybe someday. :-)

 

xxx

 

 

A Change is Gonna Come

I have been working harder than usual lately – the work demands have been unholy, and everything else has been piling on, too. It’s kind of been a lot. However, I’ve decided that I need to focus my attentions on starting some new projects and taking my interests in a few new directions. I know that I don’t have a ton of time to devote to these pursuits, but I also know that unless you try new things you will never have new experiences, and guess what? I am so done with a lot of the things that I currently have going on – it is time for some changes. It’s time for me to change. :)

This is the cover of my book. MY book. I have written a book. Holy shit.

This is the cover of my book. MY book. I have written a book. Holy shit.

So….let’s start with this one: for those of you who are interested and have been asking, I have finally sat down and put together your favorites from Pretty Thing over the years, and ta-dah!!! We have us a book!! :) Yes, my darlings….I have written a book! :) This little beauty right here will be available for Kindle purchase on Amazon beginning on Saturday, February 14th (but please feel free to click on this link to pre-order now!), and the real print version will be ready for your hot little hands shortly thereafter (I will keep you posted). Deciding what to include was fun – I ended up choosing the posts that you all liked the best, the ones that I thought were kind of fun/funny/touching/strange/interesting/entertaining/all of the above, and the ones that spoke to the essence of who I really am. That’s really been the point of all of this from the beginning – I have shared the real me with you, and through your messages and feedback, you have shared parts of you with me. So….thanks! :) I’m unsure if anyone will read this collection, and it’s going to be okay if they don’t – it was just something that felt important to me to do. Sooooooo…….MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. :) I – this girl right here – have written a book. Imagine…another item to check off my list of 50 Things To Do Before I’m 50. Woohoo!!!!! :) If you don’t remember the magical list that I wrote on the day of my 21st birthday, here it is (the ones in bold are the ones I have completed!):

1. Own a house 26. Write a book
2. Have a child (or 2) 27. Ride on a pogo stick
3. Get my Masters degree 28. Learn to cook Thai food
4. Scuba dive somewhere tropical 29. Play strip poker
5. Go to New Orleans 30. Go to Las Vegas, baby!
6. Learn to salsa dance 31. Dance in the moonlight
7. Visit a hot spot for a vacation 32. Be kissed on a beach
8. Learn to play guitar 33. Try on a pair of expensive shoes (Manolos)
9. Master the recipe for Moules Marinières 34. Learn to knit or crochet
10. Golf under 100 on 18 holes 35. Go to a spa for a facial
11. Try surfing 36. Be debt free
12. Drink beer through a tube attached to a hat 37. Own a vehicle out right
13. Learn to play tennis 38. Swim with dolphins
14.  See KISS live in concert 39. Plant a tree in my own yard
15. Learn to make vinetarta 40. Learn to play the bagpipes
16. See Willy Nelson perform live 41. Take a cross-country road trip for fun :)
17. Go camping 42. Sing karaoke
18. Own a pair of cowboy boots 43. Have someone feed me grapes
19. Learn to make balloon animals 44. Convince a man to wear a kilt
20. Learn yoga 45. Visit the Grand Canyon
21. Have a dog 46. Throw a costume party
22. Put all my pictures in albums 47. Send a message in a bottle
23. Drink tequila in a shot glass off someone’s body 48. Take a picture a day for 365 days
24. Wear a tiara out for dinner 49. Visit New York City
25. Learn a bit of Spanish 50. Have a star named after me :)

 

I looooooove my list SO MUCH!!!! :) The problem is that I still have 21 to go!! And less than 10 years to get them done!!! ARRGGGHHH!!! Who’s up for a costume party?!??!?! :)

I love nothing more than having things to look forward to….I’m a girl who loves a plan. I like making plans with people, I like to feel the tingles of anticipation, and I love to look back and celebrate on things that have gone well. I’ve really not had much to look forward to, lately – there’s been a lot happening, and most of it has not been the greatest. I’m trying to put some plans in place for a few days get away with my Wee One over Spring Break – I treasure every moment she and I have together. So that’s a great thing. :) As well, I recently downloaded a super cool book called the 2015 Life Workbook from the divine Leonie Dawson – you can order the paper version, but I didn’t want to wait, so I downloaded mine. I’ve been looking through it, and it’s an amazingly beautiful way to look at the year that has been (2014), to celebrate those accomplishments, and plan for an even better and brighter 2015. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and I’m really excited to take the time to use it. I had planned to just fill out the digital version, but I’m probably going to print it and fill it in by hand…seems somehow more precious to me that way. I’m weird that way. If you have a moment to take a look at her site sometime, you will be dazzled. Everything is colorful and beautiful – and all of her ideas are damn smart. For realz. LOVE her. :) I hope that someday I will become the kind of person that has meaningful stuff to say (instead of the useless drivel that I torment you all with), maybe even someone that peeps turn to for guidance on things (besides shoes). Someday. :)

 

xxx

 

 

PS: Please click here to be taken to Amazon….and get your own copy of Pretty Thing! :-)

Dream On

I subscribe to the daily newsletter from the website Lifehacker, and I kinda love it. There’s usually something in it that speaks to me – but today’s newsletter was more of a holler than a whisper. Behold the post ‘9 Steps To Stop Dreaming And Start Doing’ – I LOVE it!!! :-)

quotes_about_dreams_12-300x271

Having a dream and being a dreamer are two different mindsets. Dreamers are drifters just floating through life with no real plans. One who has a dream, is a doer on the path towards achieving their goal.

Once you decide to remove your head from the clouds, tackle the obstacles that face you, and organize a plan of attack, you become a doer. If you are ready to put in the work, here are 9 steps to stop dreaming and start doing.

1. Accept responsibility for your own actions

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” -Arthur Ashe

It is the most unattractive thing to hear someone constantly whine and complain about their life. Especially when they blame the world for their problems. The whole universe is probably against you, does not care about you, and will deceive you. This does not make any actions, or lack there of, on your behalf their fault. Say this statement out loud, “I am in control of my behavior and choose how to react to circumstances.” Say it everyday. Nothing is more true than that statement.

You can, and need, to start actively controlling your thoughts and emotions. Learn to control your rage when you are angry. When a negative thought slips in, push it right back out. This takes practice because we have been programmed by our environment to behave and think in certain ways. Fight to change your negativity, or you will remain a bitter and miserable person. Use your aggression in a positive way by working out, or put it into your work.

2. Give and receive love and forgiveness

“Learn how to fill your day with POSITIVITY. Think of how your ideas CAN work, not how it won’t work.” -Steve Harvey

Once you harness your inner power of controlling your thoughts and emotions, it is time to start focusing on positivity. The best way to start is by accepting others and forgiving the people who have caused you pain. Giving love and forgiveness really isn’t about giving at all. It is about you healing by letting go of negative relationships. If these people really love and care about you, they will fight for you. If you walk away and never hear from them again, you know they never cared, so why should you? Your grudges make you focus on people who do not deserve your time or attention. Anger leaves you feeling irrational, depressed, deceived, sad, regretful, and lonely. Learning to truly forgive those who hurt you will lift a thousand pounds of burden off your shoulders. You will free your mind and be able to start working on your dream.

dreams-2

3. Accept yourself

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Now that you are focusing on living a positive life, it is time to look in the mirror and love what you see. Physically and mentally. No one is perfect. It is time to accept that you will never be what society expects you to be. Follow your intuitions. Do not let someone else dictate your life. That only leads to a boring, predictable, miserable, and mediocre life. Do what makes you happy instead of just dreaming about it. Love yourself flaws and all.

4. Choose who you surround yourself with wisely

“We met for a reason, either you’re a blessing or a lesson.” -LoveQuotesPlus.com

This journey will end many relationships in your life. The people who are not supportive, who are negative, and who use you need to go! At first you may feel lonely and insecure. If you focus on you instead of them, these feelings will go away. It is time to move on. It is time to let go. The ones who truly care about you, respect you, and accept you for who you really are will stay. They will support you throughout your journey. These relationships will become more valuable to you than ever before. If you have given your all to a relationship, and they do not give back, stop chasing after them the next time they leave. You will thank yourself in the long run.

5. Learn to ignore the negativity from others

“I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” -Bill Cosby

Now that you are starting on your journey, you will have people who will try their best to pull you down. That’s why the steps above are necessary to complete before starting. If you have prepared yourself for the haters, you will be able to rise above. It is easier to criticize others than work on yourself. Knowing this gives you peace about where you are in life and where they are. You are obviously ahead, even if it doesn’t look like it to others. Keep moving on and let them talk.

dreams_quote_2

6. Carefully lay out your plans

“Failure is not the opposite of success, inaction is.” -Rois Liano

Freeing your mind from your emotional baggage gives you room to focus on your dreams. Now that you have a clear picture, it is time to take action. To be a doer, you need a game plan. Write your end goal at the top of a sheet of paper. Below, write out the steps you plan to take to get there in an organized, realistic fashion. Say your goal is to become a nurse. Your first step should probably be volunteering at your local hospital to see if you would really enjoy it. Next maybe list the schools you are interested in applying to. The third step could be to gather your necessary paperwork to apply to colleges. See what I am doing here? The sum of all the little tasks you do equals your goal. Lay it out in daily, weekly, monthly tasks that will get you closer to your dream.

7. Do SOMETHING, ANYTHING

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” -Henry David Thoreau

Many people will get to step 6 and stop. Your plan does not come to fruition magically. You have to now take action to get yourself there. So start researching, traveling, volunteering, writing, calling, interviewing, working out, or whatever opportunity you can find to get you moving forward. You may have to take on many different hats to get you there. Start where you can, do whatever you can, this is where the physical work begins.

8. Embrace failures and detours along the way

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Edison

We all have epic failures in life. It is time to stop viewing these failures as an end all. Failure is an inevitable part of success. Ask any highly successful person if they’ve ever failed, and they will tell you they have 100 times. Failure only means to try a different way. Start viewing failures as a positive experience. How can we learn without failing? Failures result from trying. People who avoid failures at all costs are content with a mediocre life. We are not these people. We want true happiness and inner peace. I remember going to work in a past career and absolutely dreading it. I now think about work and feel peaceful and happy. It’s still hard work, it’s just work that I am passionate about.

As you begin the journey of pursuing your dream, it may change a little, or a lot, along the way. Your passion is already programmed inside you. Uncover your God-given gift through this process and keep moving forward no matter what may come.

DreamMeaningDreamInterpretation

9. Network and use resources to your advantage

“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” -Chris Grosser

You will realize, eventually, that you need others to help you get to your goal. Whether it is in absorbing information and experience from them, or getting recognized for your talent. Look online for good informative websites, look for classes or lectures where you can learn and connect with others. Drop the pride and shamelessly promote yourself with your work and/or knowledge. Whatever you can find, whoever will help, take it seriously. Opening one door can lead to many more opportunities.

Start at step one. Do not pass go and do not collect $200. If you commit to these 9 steps to stop dreaming and start doing, you are facing your fears head on and taking a leap of faith. Congratulations, your life will now truly begin. Please note this will be hard and sometimes not fun. Stay focused, but don’t forget to take time to clear your mind and relax along the way. I hope you now feel inspired to step out of your comfort zone, and risk being happy.

“Dreams are like floating down a lazy river. The path to success is like riding a roller coaster. Find the courage to get on the roller coaster, and stay on the ride until you puke.” -Margaux Daughtry

 

Don’t you just LOVE this???! I absolutely do – there are so many good steps there to help guide us along the path. I’m a doer in life, no ifs ands or buts about it. I like to do things, and once I get a notion in me wee noggin, I’m off and running. This usually serves me well – but not always. There have been more than my share of disasters, but I keep on trying. :)  I really love #4, #5, and #6 in particular – let me tell you why. #4 urges you to carefully choose who you surround yourself with…and this is one that I am FINALLY learning. I used to love everybody, see the best in everybody, and be such a bloody Pollyanna that it wasn’t even funny. People would take advantage of me right, left, and center – and you know why? Because I let them. There are people who only know me when they want something (ie: borrow money or ask me to drive them somewhere) – I don’t need that kind of crap and negativity…and neither do you, my dear. Surround yourself with people who think you are the cats pyjamas – it’ll make you feel great! :)

I think #5 is awesome advice, too – and something that I have become REALLY good at lately. I hear all sorts of misery and negativity in a day – and I ignore it. All of it. What other people think of me is NONE of my business – don’t know, don’t care. I seem to find myself surrounded by people who whine and complain all the bloody time about their lives – I’m not interested in hearing it. I know that makes me sound like a real heartless bitch, but I promise that I’m not. When people are having a hard time, I am the first person to show up, casserole in hand, offering to help. However, when people aren’t interested in helping themselves and only want to play the victim – I’m out. I’ve zero interest in that kind of nonsense – life is too damn short!

Finally, #6 is a great idea – write down what you want. Put the words in front of you, on paper – it makes them real, and gives you power to make it happen. I am crazy about creating a list of manageable steps that will help you achieve that dream – I’ve been doing this for a couple of decades now, and this practice has served me verrrrrrrry well. There’ve been times when I’ve had to adjust the steps and make them even smaller and more specific, but I’ve achieved what I was after eventually. SUCH a good strategy! :)

 

I used to work with a lady whose job it was to work with high school seniors and coach them through the college application process – something SUPER important. She had the most amazing gift of walking the line between fostering the wildest dreams of students and keeping their expectations real and manageable. I’ve asked her about that many times, and she says that it’s so important to temper one’s dreams and passions with a bit of reality, but still keep the dream burning and alive because, well….you just never know. Isn’t that magical? You just never know. :) I love it. :)

xxx

Hot Stuff

How was your Christmas, my lovelies? I hope you had a fab time surrounded by those that make you happiest, and I hope that Santa was super-good to you as well. :-) As we charge towards the end of 2014, I want to do a wee round up of some of my favorite stuff from this past year. Are you ready? Here we go! :-)

1) The LG G3 Phone

LG G3

LG G3

I got the Samsung Galaxy 5 when it was released amidst a flurry of hype and hope in April…and I bloody hated it. Completely. Totally. Hated. It. :-( So, I wasn’t terribly bummed when I tripped and dropped it in August, breaking the screen – with no insurance replacement available. I did some maneuvering and worked my way into a new phone – this time, I let the sales guy talk me into the G3, and I’m pretty glad I did. I kind of LOVE this phone – the camera is awesome, the Bluetooth sound quality is really good, and it’s overall pretty damn decent. I use my phone for EVERYTHING, so I tend to be very hard on them…but this one is holding up remarkably well so far. I’m optimistic, friends! :-)

 

2) The new show “Girl Meets World” (the theme song, in particular)

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I am SO happy that my child can watch this show, that she can revel in the offspring of Cory and Topanga and that she gets to partake in a character with the name of Farkle. Love. ❤️ (PS: Bonus points for the Christmas episode – Shawn and Cory were reunited!!!)

 

3) The Instagram Stream of Beth Stern, Howard’s Very Lovely Wife

Yoda when they first rescued him - and Yoda now. See the difference love can make? :-)

Yoda when they first rescued him – and Yoda now. See the difference love can make? :-)

My Wee One and I are obsessed with the lovely Beth and her foster kittens – we love their names, the kitten room, their adventures…the whole nine yards. Love. The big love story of the year has been Yoda, a fluffy white cat that they took in; he was abused, sick, in terrible shape, and suffering from a heart condition. The Sterns nursed him back to health, and they gave him a purpose – he raises their foster kittens, giving them baths, caring for them, and showers them with love. It’s just gorgeous to watch via Instagram – Beth wrote a children’s book ‘Yoda: The Story of a Cat and His Kittens’ which my Wee One got for Chistmas. It’s a sweet book, and raises money for the North Shore Animal League, so a very worthy cause. Yoda is straight-up the most adorable cat ever…and Beth’s Intagram is guaranteed to make your heart feel as fuzzy as Yoda’s tummy. :-)

 

4) Andy Cohen and his book “The Andy Cohen Diaries”

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I knew who Andy Cohen was because I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” (don’t judge me), but I’ve never seen his show and I knew zero about him. Then I heard an interview with Andy on Howard Stern, and got really interested in him and decided to give the book a read…I friggin’ loved it!! LOVED IT!!! Andy is my spirit animal and has the life that I want!! No lie!! I think he’s got a hell of a gig, his work is varied and so bloody interesting it’s not even funny…and his social life is the stuff of my dreams. For. Real. And don’t even get me started on his dog Wacha. Love. ❤️ (***Note: I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” for a very stupid and selfish reason – while these people are much thinner, richer, and more beautiful than I will ever be…the majority of them are DUMB, and very, very ugly on the inside, which brings me unspeakable joy and makes me feel better about myself in a really shallow, superficial way. I’m horrible. I know. Sorry.)

 

5) Trader Joe’s

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I continue to be madly in love with every single thing from Trader Joe’s…the food, the wine, the cleaning products, the everything. Madly. In. Love. It’s ridiculous. The Wee One and I make trips there all the time to stock up on bags of teeny apples (that she worships), bottles of wine (that I worship), and all sorts of goodies. :-) They have magical chocolate, an assortment of appetizers that’ll change your damn life, and don’t even get me started on the cheese. I could live in the cheese cooler there forever and die one happy (though constipated) girl. ;-) If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, go and check out the affordable goodies – you won’t be disappointed! :-)

 

6) Vinatarta

God bless the Icelander who thought of this!!

God bless the Icelander who thought of this!!

This Icelandic Christmas cake would make the list of my favorite things every single year for the entirety of my life, no exaggeration….I love it THAT much. :-) It’s made of layers of sugar cookie-type rounds, with a slightly sweet prune filling (which sounds gross to people, but SO isn’t – trust me on this one). It also contains the tears of angels, and every good memory of my childhood. Vinatarta was a staple in my largely Icelandic community growing up, and to me, it’s not Christmas without one. Luckily, I got one sent to me from home (yaaaaa!!!!!), and I’ve been eating that bad boy like it was my bloody job (which it should be – I am damn good at it!!). I love vinatarta, and all the beautiful memories that each bite conjures up. Now, if I could just master the art of making the brilliant Icleandic pancakes called ponnokukur, we’d be set! :-)

 

7) Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume

Heaven :-)

Heaven :-)

I got a bottle of this perfume for Christmas this year, and I had forgotten how much I loved it. I had it a few years ago, and thought it was gorgeous…and I am even more in love with it now than I was before. Beautiful!!! :-) ❤️❤️❤️

 

8) The Documentary ‘REM by MTV ‘

Click on the link for REM's amazing "Losing My Religion" :-)

Click on the link for REM’s amazing “Losing My Religion” :-)

This 2014 documentary, made by MTV, spans the amazing career of music greats REM, a band that’s often overlooked…but really ought not be. They made a lot of great music, including the soundtrack of my life for about ten years, and watching this program took me right back to the late ’80s – late ’90s…and how I longed for it again. The fashion (those bloody baby doll dresses call to me every single night in my dreams, I want them so badly), the hair (although, let’s be real – my hair today is still pretty bloody big, so….perhaps I’m still doing ’80s/’90s hair. But, like I always say, ‘the higher the hair, the closer to God!’), the deep lipstick colors….I bloody love it all. The documentary featured extensive interviews, footage of shows, everything….it was fantastic. You really ought to check it out! :-)

 

9) What I’ve Been Reading

Love the book - LOVE the man! :-)

Love the book – LOVE the man! :-)

Reading is always awesome, but this has been a great year for books – I’ve read a bunch of awesome ones! A real highlight was the Neil Patrick Harris ‘Choose Your Own Autobiography’ – such a great read, and a seriously clever concept. Written in the style of those choose your own adventure books from your childhood, the book was such good fun, with more than a dose of cheek and great stories. I loved it! I love him and think he is the very best example of what a person should be – such a gentleman, and so much talent! :-) Amy Poehler’s book ‘Yes, Please!’ is great, too…a really good story of the long build to success, and not having your big break happen over night. I also left Amy’s book with a really strong sense of the importance of  believing in yourself – she always knew that she was doing precisely what she was meant to be doing, and she never deviated from that, even when success seemed about a million miles away. I friggin’ LOVE that self-belief, don’t you? I need some of that. :-) Apparently I’m getting old or something, because the bulk of my reading this year was non-fiction: autobiography, biography, that sort of thing. I have ‘The Goldfinch’ ready to go on my Kindle, but haven’t got to it yet….I will. :-) After that, I’ve got nothing lined up to read, so….I’m always looking for great book recommendations – fiction and non, so if you’ve got some great reads to share, send ‘em my way!!! :-)

 

10) What I’ve Seen At The Movies

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I’ve enjoyed some great movies this year – probably because I completely changed up my approach to movie going. I’ve pretty much stopped going to see big budget movies at regular theaters (unless they are based on books I liked – like ‘Gone Girl’ or feature actors that I absolutely adore), and I’ve stuck with going to see smaller movies at the Bijou Theatre here in San Antonio – and I could not be happier with my choice. I’ve seen GREAT movies, there’s no cell service down in the theaters (so nobody bugs me – yaa!!), they serve me wine while I watch the movies (always a good idea), and the place is never crowded. Win win WIN, friends!! I saw ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ there and loved it with every ounce of my being (I just watched it again this week – loved it again), ‘Boyhood’ (a friggin’ filmmaking revelation if ever there was), ‘Birdman’ (so so SO good), and ‘The Theory of Everything’ (Eddie Redmayne’s performance was breathtaking)…I would go there every week if my schedule would allow, I love that place – and the experience it offers – that much. It’s just so bloody pleasant and civilized – something that I find is becoming increasingly rare these days. I’m sure that makes me sound snotty, and forgive me if it does, but it’s true. I was in Starbucks today waiting for my coffee order (Tall Skinny Peppermint Mocha) when two kids started a fistfight in front of me – they weren’t rough housing, they were fighting, while their stupid parent was oblivious. I forgot that I wasn’t at work, put on my educator voice and barked, “Oy!!! What are you doing? Stop it! Now!!” They froze, moved apart, muttered, “Yes, ma’am”, and shuffled back to their parents. Now, while I was pleased that I hadn’t lost my touch in the week away from work, why should I need to sharpen my skills in a coffee shop on a pair of hooligans in training while their parent is stood right there? Uncivilized. I just don’t get it. Sorry…that was a rather long aside. Anyway – if you aren’t checking out the smaller movie scene, do yourself a favor and give them a look. You won’t be disappointed – and if you see me at the Bijou, be sure to wave. :-)

 

So….this was just a sampling of the things I loved about this year – this list could have easily been about 1479 items long, no joke. Not a day has gone by that I’ve not seen a bunch of things to love, I’ve tasted amazing food, consumed insanely delicious drinks, heard gorgeous music, smelled beautiful smells….there’s just a lot of beauty around us, folks. The magic is found in taking the time to look around and notice it. Thank you for taking the time to stop by Pretty Things and share some great moments with me – I treasure and value every second we spend together. :-) I’m looking forward to a brand new, shiny sparkly year full of great things for us to love. :-) Happy New Year, my lovelies!!! :-)

xxx

In The Pink

Do you get embarrassed easily? I don’t….for most things. I am the lethal combination of possessing no filter and zero shame, so…there’s usually all sorts of wreckage smoking by the time each day is over, and I’m rarely bothered about any of it. However, there are certain things that embarrass the living hell out of me – and they are SO weird. Let’s take a look, shall we?

1) Dancing in public

There was a time when I was a public-dancing fool, when I shook my arse (and everything else) at the slightest provocation, and I did that shit like it was my job. I looooved dancing, and it mattered not one iota to me that I had two left feet and no rhythm whatsoever…who cares???! Dancing was awesome!! However, I moved away from my sweet little hometown, home of dancing greats such as Sandy B, Colleen A, and their aerobic Jane Fonda-esque moves…and Lisa L, originator of the great arm roll (a dance move where you lean forward, arse wayyyyyout, bob up and down at the waist like a chicken, and roll your arms over each other like a barrel in front of you – the reality of it is even better than this description, for reals)…and found real people of rhythm. I knew that I was out of my league. I wasn’t at the Community Hall anymore, purposely shaking my groove thang next to these dancing spastics in the hopes that I’d look better by comparison….what was I going to do? I’ll tell you what I did – I quit dancing. Done. No more rump shaking for me (probably a good thing by public safety standards, as I’ve got A LOT of rump and all that shaking could be dangerous). I kind of miss it. When I’m in my house, I jig all over the place, frequently bouncing around the house like Meredith and Cristina from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (if those women had jiggly bits)….but in public, I’m the master of the head bob. That’s it. It’s dumb of me, I know, but I think that I resemble Elaine from ‘Seinfeld’ when I dance, so I don’t do it. See Exhibit A:

Click on the image to see what I look like when I dance! :-)

Click on the image to see what I look like when I dance! :-)

 

I think I should embrace this philosophy instead:

Click on the image for the video :-)

Click on the image for the video :-)

 

 

2) Farting in bed

Remember this hellacious momen from ‘Sex and the City’? I do. It scarred me for life…because it’s happened. More than once. To Me. Ugh. I die.

 

Click the video and prepare to giggle. If you don't, there's something wrong with you.

Click the video and prepare to giggle. If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you.

 

3) People you don’t know serenading you with music

There are restaurants in San Antonio that I avoid because, despite their good food, they also have roving mariachi bands…and I don’t know what to do when they come near. Do I look at them? For how long? Do I continue eating? Talking? Drinking? I don’t know what to do and it stresses me out!!! Argh!!! A few years ago, a former student invited me to a concert she was doing – she performed with a mariachi band, and sang beautifully (she had CDs and everything!). While at the performance, she announced that she had a special guest of honor there – her teacher and her family! The crowd cheered, I gave a little wave and wanted to die of embarrassment, and tried to get back to chowing down on my flauta. However, the surprises weren’t over – she announced that brand new band singer Juan was going to celebrate my honored attendance by singing a song to me.  I didn’t know what to do, or where to go…so I sat, smile frozen on my face, and prayed it would be over soon. Juan was about 14 years old, dressed in mariachi finery, and on bended knee in front of me singing a romantic song….me, old enough to have birthed him. It was mortifying, I didn’t know where to look – and I didn’t have a hot clue what he was singing about because it was en espagnol. The worst part was that the bloody song lasted 12 minutes (could have been the Spanish version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ perhaps?). It was torturous….but bless Juan’s heart for having the fortitude to keep staring romantically at me for all that time, and for not falling over whilst on bended knee. I bet that Juan will make a kick-ass husband some day! :-)

Not Juan, sadly.

Not Juan, sadly.

 

4) Bad manners

I find poor manners to be so totally embarrassing….I can hardly stand it. I get really irritated when people exhibit no manners or class, but then I get so embarrassed if they are with me and do it in front of others. Argh! Case in point – a number of years ago, I invited someone that I knew to spend a holiday dinner with my family and I. This person exhibited such a complete and utter lack of manners that I was totally appalled, and SO embarrassed. No explanation was offered…nothing. I eventually wrote the following email to this offender (this is an excerpt – there’s far more to it):

I have been waiting to see how long it would take you to reach out and talk to me about things, and I have come to the conclusion that the answer is a very long time to never, so…I guess I will take the initiative.
I was really hurt by what went down when you came over to my house. Do you know why I told you that I preferred to do the cooking myself? It was because you had been so critical of me and my ideas for dinner whenever I shared them with you. I spend most of my days being critical of myself – I don’t need to hear it from you. I was pretty embarrassed, I will tell you honestly, with things that day. Did you happen to notice that no matter what I asked you, offered you, etc , that you NOT ONCE said ‘please’ or ‘thank you’? You did the same to my parents…and guess what? I noticed – as did everyone else. I simply don’t know what to say about a lack of manners…I don’t get it. I understand that as a Canadian I am probably more obsessed with etiquette and manners than the regular person, but…you know that about me already. Is it so hard to be polite? I’m doubtful. Perhaps you don’t feel that I deserve thank yous, is that it? I paid for a dinner that we had shared a couple of days before this family gathering…and you said nothing. I thanked you for having dinner with me – and you said NOTHING. You didn’t even have the decency to say thank you for dinner.  I was so shocked that I couldn’t leave quick enough – I’m sure you noticed. I just don’t get it.

The funny thing about this email? I never sent it. I didn’t see the point…but I kept it to remind myself of how this felt. Truthfully, anyone who exhibits such a complete and utter lack of class wasn’t worthy of my attention or thought. Grr. Whatever. This taught me to be thoughtful – and only reinforced my idea that manners are important, and that people without them are not the kind of people that I want to be around. Ick.

 

5) Looking stupid

I get very embarrassed when I think that I look stupid and that people are laughing at me.  I don’t mean all the time….I mean when I’m sharing emotions or the few rare times that I’m actually being serious. Most of the time, I act kind of silly and goofy, using lightheartedness and humor to mask what I’m really feeling. Very rarely, however, I will lay my heart out on the table….and look out if I think I’m being mocked.  I get so embarrassed, shut down completely, and try desperately to hide (not unlike Carrie when she burrowed under the blankets in shame post-fart up there in that video). This is very stupid thinking, I rationally know….I need to learn to own my emotions and be up front about it all, but….I’m pretty sure I need years of therapy to get to that place. Anyone interested in taking on a new patient??! ;-)

 

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Now….how about you? What gets you blushing, friends? :)

 

xxx

 

From The Heart

‘Tis the season for Christmas shopping, friends! :-) Have you started tackling your shopping list yet? If you are one of those people that are already finished wth your shopping and all the wrapping is done as well then you might as well move on…this is clearly NOT the place for someone like you. Grr.

I’ve been kind of blocked when it comes to Christmas gift inspiration this year…it’s worrying. I’ve less than a month to go, and I’ve barely scratched the surface! I spent some time this week perusing the online ads, and I think (hope!) that I’ve sparked some ideas and started the creative juices flowing. Here’s some gift ideas for you, my lovelies! :-)

 

1) Earrings:These earrings are awesome! All are from my beloved Catbird, and I think they are fab!! :-)

cb_heartstudRG

I am so feeling rose gold at the moment! :-)

moonss

I have the ring that matches these Dark Side of the Moon earrings…I love these! :-)

cb_star_moon_studs_web_RG

These come as singles, so I suppose you could get a matched pair, but….why would you? The mismatch is where the charm is! :-)

 

2) Something from Catbird:

I do realize that it’s dumb of me to make a new category for Catbird when I just shared earrings from Catbird, but….there are other pretties available on their site! Take a look! :-)

catbird-nyc-rose-gold-heart-ring

Rose gold again!! And it matches the earrings up there!! And it’s adorable….and affordable!! :-)

This necklace - the Choupette - is so magnificent that I can't even find the words!!! I LOVE it!!! Amazing!!! Gorgeous!!! ❤️❤️❤️

This necklace – the Choupette – is so magnificent that I can’t even find the words!!! I LOVE it!!! Amazing!!! Gorgeous!!! ❤️❤️❤️

 

3) Anything Moleskine! :)

Dammit, but I love me some Moleskine notebooks…I write constantly, and there’s no better notebook around. Buying one (ore more!) of these babies will make you very popular!! :-)

 

Yaa!!! :-)

Yaa!!! :-)

 

4) Record Player:

I’m not sure why, but I’m nearly overwhelmed with the desire to have a record player. I want one SO badly!! Here’s the one I’m hoping for:

I die!!!

I die!!!

 

Pretty, eh? I love it so much!! There’s just something so awesome about the sound of music played on a record player….LOVE! :-)

 

5) Sharpies:

I bloody love doodling with Sharpies…if only I had artistic talent!!! :-(

image

 

6) Amazon Fire TV:

This will be released on January 15th…and I think I’d like to try it out! :-)

 

image 7) A New Watch:

I’m obsessed with watches….I love giving them, I love receiving them – they’re practical, plus I love the romantic notion of giving the gift of time. :-) ❤️❤️❤️ Here are a couple of my favorites:

My dream watch is a Cartier, but this version from Invicta will more than do instead!! I am crazy for rectangular,  Roman numeral watches....and this one is a beauty!!! :-)

My dream watch is a Cartier, but this version from Invicta will more than do instead!! I am crazy for rectangular, Roman numeral watches….and this one is a beauty!!! :-)

I'm crazy about this men's watch! Classic, simple - and awesome!! :-)

I’m crazy about this men’s watch! Classic, simple – and awesome!! :-)

 

I hope that your shopping is going well, and I hope that Santa brings you everything you could possibly want for the upcoming holiday season…and then some! :-) Happy HoHo, mes amis!!! :-)

 

xxx

 

Reflection

It’s Friday now, which means back to work on Monday. While I’ve not done anything terribly big or exciting this week, I do believe that what I’ve done was precisely what I needed – I spent a lot of time at home (which was glorious), I smothered my child with love, hugs and kisses (which is guaranteed to cure almost anything that ails you), and I took time to reflect on some things that have been weighing heavily on my mind recently. For starters, I’m meant to be having arm surgery in December, and I’ve decided not to go ahead with it for now. This operation has been on the books since the summer, but I’ve kept putting it off and putting it off…which is so unlike me. I have such an awful feeling about the whole damn thing – I think about it, I start to panic, my breathing quickens, and I break out in a cold sweat. It’s stupid. I’ve endured 14 operations on my arm (14!!!!), as well as three other surgical procedures, so I should be cool with the whole process. But I’m not, not even a little bit. On Monday night, I woke up at 2:10am, hyperventilating about the whole thing, and I never made it back to sleep. I was overwhelmed with feelings of fear, and dread…and it’s just not worth it. I will suck it up and deal with the pain that I suffer from every day, and get the work done when I just can’t take it anymore. Maybe I will feel better about it then – but for now, it’s a no go. Once I came to that conclusion on Tuesday, I felt considerably better, and the rest of the week has passed with somewhat less stress. Bonus!

image

Ive been considering a number of other things, as well. I know that I’m a bit of a pain in the ass as far as it goes – I always quote Mindy Kaling when I say, “I’m a handful, I’m not for everyone”. However, I’m learning (at the ripe old age of 40) that my days of settling and accepting things that I’m not comfortable with are done. I have quit saying yes to things that I don’t want to do, and I am actively working on not spending time with people whose company I don’t particularly enjoy. I have noticed lately how very ill-mannered some people around me are – and, while in the past I may have turned a blind eye and just ignored it – I’m done with that, too. I don’t wish to spend time around people who can’t be polite and gracious – not interested. Instead, I want to surround myself with people I enjoy, people with whom I have common interests, and enjoy some good, solid conversation. I don’t want to work so hard on relationships with people around me anymore – life is a two way street, it’s not all me and my efforts. I know that, as a natural planner, I often tend to take the lead with people, but I don’t want to do that anymore. It’s annoying, frankly. I hsve spent most of my adult working life telling kids (and adults) what to do – I don’t want to social direct the lives of people around me. Screw that. It’s time for a more laid back approach – I can’t wait to give it a try! :-)

image

This man has got it figured out. ❤️❤️❤️

 

Anyway, I’m planning to enjoy my final few days at home – run a few errands, take care of some stuff around here, and get myself ready for the three week sprint to Christmas vacation. I’m going to continue my couch sitting/movie watching binge that’s been going on all week (and it’s been bloody fantastic), and I’m going to nap like it was an Olympic sport and I’m going for the gold.

It’s going to be GREAT. :-)

 

xxx

 

I’m Like a Bird

I’m happy to report that the funk may be starting to lift…I don’t feel nearly as dreadful as I felt on the weekend, and I think there might be light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hopeful…which is a lot better than I have been feeling! :-)

image

I spent a lot of time at home since last Friday, which has been really great. I’ve watched a ton of good TV, spent time with my Wee One, and enjoyed being home – I don’t do that nearly enough. It’s been good. :-) I went out for dinner and drinks with some of my favorite people on Monday night, and went to the movies again yesterday – this time, I saw “Birdman”, with Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, and Edward Norton.  This movie is something else, my friends…the story is so good, but the making of the movie itself is bloody magic – here’s the review of it from my beloved Roger Ebert’s site:

The first time we see Michael Keaton in his tighty-whities in “Birdman,” it’s from behind. His character, a formerly high-flying movie star, is sitting in the lotus position in his dressing room of a historic Broadway theatre, only he’s levitating above the ground. Bathed in sunlight streaming in from an open window, he looks peaceful. But a voice inside his head is growling, grumbling, gnawing at him grotesquely about matters both large and small.

The next time we see Keaton in his tighty-whities in “Birdman,” he’s dashing frantically through Times Square at night, having accidentally locked himself out of that same theatre in the middle of a performance of a Raymond Carver production that he stars in, wrote and directed. He’s swimming upstream through a river of gawking tourists, autograph seekers, food carts and street performers. But despite the chaos that surrounds him, he seems purposeful, driven and–for the first time–oddly content.

These are the extremes that director Alejandro G. Inarritu navigates with audacious ambition and spectacular skill in “Birdman”–the full title of which is “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).” He’s made a film that’s both technically astounding yet emotionally rich, intimate yet enormous, biting yet warm, satirical yet sweet. It’s also the first time that Inarritu, the director of ponderous downers like “Babel” and “Biutiful,” actually seems to be having some fun.

Make that a ton of fun. “Birdman” is a complete blast from start to finish. The gimmick here–and it’s a doozy, and it works beautifully–is that Inarritu has created the sensation that you are watching a two-hour film shot all in one take. Working with the brilliant and inventive cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (who won an Oscar this year for shooting “Gravity” for Inarritu’s close friend and fellow Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron), Inarritu has constructed the most delicate and dazzling high-wire act. And indeed, before shooting began, the director sent his cast a photo of Philippe Petit walking a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers as inspiration.

Through impossibly long, intricately choreographed tracking shots, the camera swoops through narrow corridors, up and down tight stairways and into crowded streets. It comes in close for quiet conversations and soars between skyscrapers for magical-realism flights of fancy. A percussive and propulsive score from Antonio Sanchez, heavy on drums and cymbals, maintains a jazzy, edgy vibe throughout. Sure, you can look closely to find where the cuts probably happened, but that takes much of the enjoyment out of it. Succumbing to the thrill of the experience is the whole point.

Just as thrilling is the tour-de-force performance from Keaton in the role of a lifetime as Riggan Thompson, a washed-up actor trying to regain the former glory he achieved as the winged action hero Birdman. The film follows the fraught early going of his Broadway debut which is also his last shot at greatness–although his on-screen alter ego doesn’t help much by voicing his fears and making him doubt himself incessantly. Yes, it’s knowingly amusing that Keaton, who peaked 20-plus years ago as a superhero, is playing an actor who peaked 20-plus years ago as a superhero. Although I’d happily argue that Keaton’s Batman for Tim Burton in 1989 is THE definitive performance of the iconic character–but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation for another time.

Or is it? While “Birdman” exists in its own meticulously realized world, it’s very much of this time and place from a pop-culture perspective, with references to other real-life actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Fassbender who’ve enjoyed enormous success when they’ve donned the superhero duds. The script from Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo is cleverly meta without being too cutesy and self-satisfied.

Keaton gets to toy with his persona a bit–as well as acknowledge how comparatively quiet his career has been in recent years–but seeing him in seasoned form provides its own joy. He’s still hyper-verbal and playful and he can still be amusing and lacerating in his delivery, but there’s a wry wistfulness and even a desperation in the mix now that’s achingly poignant.

Also confronting his real-life reputation is Edward Norton as Mike Shiner, the brilliant but infamously capricious actor who steps in as Riggan’s co-star just as previews are about to begin on his labor-of-love production of “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” Norton, who’s come with the baggage of being difficult and demanding over the years, finds just the right balance between arrogance and sincerity.

Besides, they need each other, as they find in the days leading up to opening night. They all need each other. Inarritu has amassed a tremendous supporting cast and made ridiculous technical demands of them, yet they’ve all more than risen to the occasion and relished the chance to shine.

Zach Galifianakis plays strongly against type as Riggan’s manager and the rare voice of reason in the middle of all this madness. Emma Stone is adorable as Riggan’s world-weary, wise-ass daughter who also serves as his assistant. (She and Norton have crackling chemistry in a couple of crucial scenes.) Amy Ryan does wonders with her brief screen time as Riggan’s ex-wife; she fleshes him out and allows us to see both the selfish and the good in him. And Naomi Watts, who starred in Inarritu’s wrenching “21 Grams,” gets to play both light and heavy moments as a neurotic fellow cast member.

It’s powerfully clear that they all worked their asses of to make this complicated thrill ride look effortless. The result is one of the best times you’ll have at the movies this year–which might even be the best movie this year.

If you have a chance, go and check this one out while it’s still in theaters. I’m sure it’ll still be good to watch at home, but the artistry of the shots and the filmmaking really shine when seen on a big screen. I loved it – I hope you will, too! :-)

I got up early this morning and went grocery shopping at 6:00am – nutty, I know, but such a good plan. I was home, groceries unpacked and put away, and cuddled on the couch by 7:02am! Success!! And minimal shopping crowd! Woohoo!! I’ve got all the grub ready to go for tomorrow – I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m kind of excited about it. I have a couple of new recipes to try out, and I’m looking forward to a day spent at home, the house full of good smells, and just being happy. I need it. :-) (If the recipes turn out well, I will be sure to share them with you!! )

However you are planning to spend the next few days, I hope that you are happy, too…that you are surrounded by those that you love, and that you take a few minutes to count the things that you are thankful for. In case I havent told you lately – I am thankful for you. :-) Happy Thanksgiving! :-)

xxx