Category Archives: Life

Flashback Friday-The Banger Sisters (2002)

Old friends are like an old jacket. It immediately feels comfortable. But what happens when life steers you in a different direction?

In the 2002 film, The Banger Sisters, Suzette (Goldie Hawn) and Lavinia (Susan Sarandon) were once best friends and wild child rock and roll groupies. But life, like it, often does, changes things. Suzette still lives the rock and roll lifestyle. But Lavinia is no longer the groupie that she once was. She has morphed into a traditional suburban wife and mother.

When Suzette realizes that she is without a job, without money and without anyone to help her, she goes to visit Lavinia. Can these two old friends re-connect and or has life gotten in the way?

This film is cute. It’s not horrible, but it’s not Oscar-worthy either. However, it is lovely to see a film about two female characters that have nothing to do with men and are of a certain age.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Filed under Life, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Yom Kippur and the Appreciation of the Small Stuff

Earlier this week, like millions of Jews around the world, I fasted and prayed that on Yom Kippur, I would be written in the book of life for the coming year.

Yom Kippur is not easy physically, spiritually or mentally. It requires a strength and a will to push through the hunger and the wish that sundown would finally come.

As I fasted this year and finally chowed down, I began think about how much I appreciate the small things, especially food. Most days, I don’t think about where my next meal is coming from. But when I cannot eat during the 25 hours of Yom Kippur, it makes appreciate the easy access for food that I take for granted.

I live in New York City. It’s not hard to find a homeless person begging for spare change. Normally, as bad as it sounds, I pass by a homeless person without a second thought. But this year’s fast made me think. I have much to be grateful for. It’s time to be grateful for what I have.

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Rosh Hashanah and the Appreciation of the Simple Things

Our lives are busy ones. Work, school, family, etc can fill up the days before we know it. Sometimes we need a break to relax and appreciate the simple things.

Rosh Hashanah begins tomorrow at sunset and ends on Tuesday night. Jews around the world will gather together and pray for a sweet new year.

What I like about this holiday is that it gives time to stop and think. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and have flaws. It is a time to reflect on those flaws and mistakes and how we can become a better person.

For me, this year is stopping, taking notice of the good things in my life and appreciating them. It is also time for a badly needed rest, which allows for taking stock of the blessings in life.

For those who celebrate, have a sweet and happy new year.

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The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith Book Review

Sometimes it seems like everything and everyone is conspiring against us. Nothing goes right, no matter how hard we work and/or pray.

According to author and speaker Gabrielle Bernstein, nothing is as bad as it seems. You need only to trust the universe and have a little faith that things will work out.

Her most recent book, The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith, was published at the tail end of last year. In the book, she writes that it is possible to let go of fear and embrace life to the fullest. Guiding the reader from fear to faith, she uses real life examples, prayer and meditation to help them release what is holding them back.

Unlike many self help books, this book is neither out there or too hippy dippy. The author does not judge her reader, she speaks to him or her as if speaking to a friend. Her advice comes from love, experience and encouragement. Though she speaks of faith, she speaks of faith in a spiritual sense without relying too heavily on any specific religion.

As someone who lives with mental illness, I absolutely loved this book. I loved that I felt like I had a way to release my feelings in a much needed healthy and emotionally profound way.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Brittany Runs a Marathon Movie Review

At some point in our adult lives, we have to take responsibility for our actions.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is the directorial debut of writer/director Paul Downs Colaizzo. Based on the story of a friend of his, Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) is in her late 20’s and living in New York City. She has a job, but it is neither professionally or financially fruitful. She drinks too much, sleeps too much and is overweight. Her life, in short, is a hot mess.

Hoping to score a prescription of adderall, Brittany visits a doctor. Instead of receiving the prescription, the doctor recommends that she lose weight. She initially balks, but follows through and starts running. She is encouraged by her neighbor Catherine (Michaela Watkins) and Seth (Micah Stock), whom she met in her running group.

The running opens the door to other goals, including running a marathon. But doubt and insecurity gets in the way. Can Brittany succeed?

This movie has it’s pluses and it’s minuses. On the plus side, the characters and the narrative are realistic. Brittany speaks for many people, regardless of size, who are hindered by unseen emotional scars. We live in a world which is dominated by social media. The image that many of us put on our profiles may not reflect reality and may cause those who look at our profiles to compare their lives to ours.

On the minus side, the film is a little longer than I think it should be and is a little predictable story wise.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

Brittany Runs a Marathon is presently in theaters.

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Filed under Life, Mental Health, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

If Kodi Lee Can Do It, Then I Can Do It

Success starts and ends with hard work. Talent is great, but talent is like a rowboat without oars. Hard work is the oars that will propel the rowboat to it’s final destination.

On the outside, Kodi Lee does not look like he will be successful as a performer. Blind and autistic, he relies on his mother for more than most people his age do. But he has a gift for music and the drive to become a performer, which was obvious to anyone who has been watching this season of America’s Got Talent.

His rendition of A Bridge Over Troubled Water was nothing short of stunning. I will be shocked if he does not win this season.

If Kodie Lee, blind and autistic, can see his dream become a reality, then so can I, so you can you, so can anybody. We have just have to believe in ourselves and be willing to do the hard work. Neither is a guarantee that our dreams will become a reality, but a dream is just that without the the willingness to sweat a little.

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Earn It!: Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in Your 20s and Beyond Book Review

Life would be easy if it came with an instruction manual. But it doesn’t and that forces us to unfortunately learn as we go.

Earn It!: Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in your 20s and Beyond was published earlier this year. Written by television journalist Mika Brzezinski and producer Daniela Pierre Bravo, this book is the guidebook I wish when I was in my 20’s. Using the personal experience of the authors and the experience of other successful women, the reader is guided through every step in the early stages of their career.

While I was reading this book, I kept thinking back to my 20’s and the career mistakes that I made back then. This book is the perfect book for the young person in their 20’s (young women especially) who are starting their careers and need a helping hand. It is part guidebook, part cheerleader and part fire lighting under the proverbial behind of the reader.

If I had to choose one aspect of the book that stood out, I would say though the advice is aimed at twenty somethings, some of it can be applied long after we have aged out of our 20’s.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Life, Television

Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life Book Review

Religion can be a tricky thing. For many of us, it provides a community, a family and answers to questions which seems impossible to answer. But for others, religion may feel confining, controlling and downright impossible to live with.

For most of her life, Amber Scorah was a Jehovah’s Witness. A devoted member, she believed firmly in the doctrines of her faith. Then she and her husband traveled to China to preach and things were never same. Her journey is chronicled in the new book Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life.

Aware that openly proselytizing was illegal, she had to find another way preach and keep out of the sight lines of the authorities. She was essentially living two lives. On the surface she was happily married and working with others who were not of her faith or her world. But underneath, she was preaching the word of G-d as she knew it.

But then things began to shift as her world view began to change and she saw the complexities of other people who did not believe and see the world as she had been taught to see and believe.

What struck me about this book is how honest and brave she is. It takes a lot to share a story such as this with the world, not knowing how the book will be received. It was for me, as story of a woman looking for her path and trying to figure out who she is instead of letting the doctrines and the leaders of her faith make that decision for her.

I recommend it.

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Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change Book Review

There are many who are ready, willing and able to provide advice on how to lead. There are few who act on that advice.

Earlier this year, former Georgia minority leader and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams published her new non fiction book, Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change. Using her personal and professional experience as a background, Ms. Abrams writes about how real change is possible, especially when one is an outsider or has self doubts stand in the way of being a leader.

I enjoyed this book. Instead of providing pie in the sky advice, Ms. Abrams not only provides real world guidance, she provides worksheets to the help the reader work through the examples in the book. She is also humble and not afraid to use her flaws and past mistakes to inspire the reader in their own leadership quest.

I recommend it.

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Is Job Hunting About Quality or Quantity?

                Looking for a job, regardless of whether one is employed or unemployed, is not easy. The question that I wrestle with as an unemployed job seeker is the following: is the number of jobs that I apply for or applying for a job that fits my professional past and hopeful professional future more important?

                Someone arguing for quantity would state that the more jobs one applies for, the greater chance there is of being contacted for an interview. If Jane Doe is looking for a job and she applies to ten jobs over the course of an average day, she may receive an email or a phone call for about 1/3 of those jobs (which is utterly frustrating, but that is another topic for another time). The numbers are not ideal, but the more the jobs that she applies for, the greater chance that Jane has for being called for an interview.

                Someone else arguing for quality would state that it is a waste of time to apply for a large number of jobs. A job seeker’s precious job-hunting time is better spent on the quality of the jobs, making sure that they are a good fit for the position. However, there is something to be said for taking a chance and applying for a job in which an applicant might have some, but not all of the qualities and/or experience that the employer is requesting. It might be just enough to secure an interview and have the opportunity to sell yourself as the right candidate for the position.

                The question is, which matters more: quantity or quality?  My experience says both quantity and quality are equally important in the hunt for a new job. The more applications that a job seeker sends out, the more employers are likely to review their resume and possibly consider them as a viable candidate. However, it is also as important to apply for a job that the candidate can present themselves as a good fit.    

Readers, what do you think? Which is more important: quantity or quality when it comes to the job-hunting process?

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