Smartphones are Smarter than Us

smartphones, blood moonI’m beginning to think smartphones may be making us dumber.

My Knight and I made an impromptu decision to head over to the beach to see the Blood Moon rise, and thanks to our smartphones, we were able to Google the predicted times for the moon’s rise, the beginning of the eclipse, the moment the eclipse would be at its fullest, and when it would be over.

We also used our smartphones to stay in communication with friends who were meeting us there, to find them once we were all at the beach, and to check out the menu and operating hours of a nearby pizza place.

While we sat talking on the beach and watching the clouds for any glimpse of a spectacular lunar event, we all used our smartphones to read up on the trending topic of the world’s imminent demise and to post pictures on Facebook of our lackluster view.

We shot the breeze, enjoyed the breeze, played in the waves and tossed a frisbee until it got too dark to see.

Eventually, we all gave up on the moon and gave in to the clouds. My Knight and I were cruising back home, sunroof open and music blaring when his phone lit up in the console between us. We blood moon, cocoa beachboth glanced at the screen to see “Look at the moon.”

Assuming it was our friends from the beach, we immediately began searching the skies. We couldn’t see any peek of the moon, though. We looked out every window, and I even raised up out of the sunroof to get a 360 degree view. No moon.

Our excitement and frustration grew. We couldn’t imagine how they would be seeing the moon when we were heading the same direction as them along the same timeline, and yet we couldn’t see it.

So I picked up his phone to text and ask their exact location.

Which is when I discovered it wasn’t from our friends after all. It wasn’t even a text.

It was a reminder My Knight had set on the phone a couple of days before so he wouldn’t forget to look at the lunar eclipse.

Pretty smart, huh?

Categories: Journeys and Travels | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

No Escape from No Escape’s Lessons

Okay, I have something new to obsess over when traveling. Not that I needed something new. Or was looking to fill an empty spot in my obsession closet. But thanks to Owen Wilson’s new movie NO ESCAPE, I have new fears to address.

I already knew that traveling to foreign lands carries with it an inherent danger. Well, let’s face it, traveling anywhere–domestic or abroad–can be dangerous. But when you leave your country and travel to another, you are at the mercy of their laws, their government, and their problems.

I have always weighed those risks against the benefits of meeting other people, experiencing other cultures, and expanding my life horizons and found that the benefits far outweighed the possible issues.

I still feel that way, and I’ll still travel. As much as possible. But thanks to NO ESCAPE, I’ve learned a few new things I should be concerned about.

1. A Coup

Um, yeah. I never really considered this one when planning my itinerary. But as NO ESCAPE so clearly illustrates, if the country you’re visiting experiences a hostile takeover while you’re there, YOU ARE SCREWED! All existing laws, treaties, policies, and procedures are thrown out the window. Even the citizens of that country aren’t safe in those instances, so people from other countries? Expendable. No internet. No phone. No newspapers. No regular bus service. And airport schedules? Fuhgeddaboutit.

American Flag, 4th of July2. I’m American

I’ve always been welcomed with open arms and treated with the utmost respect when traveling outside the country, but the reality remains that the US is not popular everywhere or with everyone. NO ESCAPE pointed out that Americans tend to frequent the same hotels and the same locales when we travel. Which I always figured meant safety in numbers, but this movie pointed out some flaws in that theory. Can you say targets? EEK!

3. The Embassy

I think this was the most eye-opening revelation from this film. I have never researched the location of the American Embassy prior to traveling. What?!? I feel like that’s kind of irresponsible of me now, but I never thought about it before. There’s a moment in the movie where they realize they don’t know how to get to the Embassy. Under normal circumstances, you could just ask someone or walk around with a map. But under extreme circumstances such as the military coup, you may not be able to navigate that easily and it would help to have a route planned out ahead of time.

4. I May Just Have to Be Shot

This movie puts Lake Bell and Owen Wilson in a never-ending stream of situations that made me hold my breath, gasp out loud, and occasionally come up out of my seat a little. To say I was entertained by the thrill ride is an understatement, but I also had a sickening realization. I don’t know that I’d survive. Granted, they were on a movie set with a camera crew around and perhaps some CGI, so they didn’t really have to do those things to survive, but I don’t know what I’d be able to do if it happened in real life.

My Knight and I discussed this on the way home, and I do have a pretty strong survival instinct. I’m sure I would probably do whatever it took to survive. But watching her jump from one roof to another in the movie nearly stopped my heart. I don’t know if I could do it. Would the fear of gunfire be worse than my fear of heights? Would the need to survive outweigh my lack of physical ability and the fear that comes from my knowledge of it?  I don’t think you just suddenly develop new skills because your life depends on it. Let me just say, I hope I never find out. But my hat’s off to Lake Bell’s character in the movie!

5. And on a good note…

I loved this movie! It was a fast-paced, thrill-a-minute, action-packed adventure, and I enjoyed the ride. I felt like it was a departure from Owen Wilson’s normal roles, and I was impressed to seeRemington Steele him branch out. I didn’t have any prior experience with Lake Bell, but I’m now a fan! I thought her performance was awesome. And I’m always up for a Pierce Brosnan viewing. He and I go way back to the Remington Steele days when I thought he was the most handsome, debonair dude on TV.

So anyway…

Go see NO ESCAPE if you like action and adrenaline. I felt lightheaded from holding my breath by the end of it, but I definitely recommend it if that’s your kind of movie.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go map out the American Embassy for every location on my bucket list.

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Quick & Easy Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Chicken Pot Pie recipeBelieve it or not, even though I’ve been quite vocal about my distaste for cooking, there are a few dishes that I actually enjoy preparing and eating. I don’t think there’s any danger at all of this turning into a recipe blog, but today happens to be a dear friend’s birthday, and one of my family’s favorite recipes was given to me by her about twenty years ago. (When we were both just babies–tee hee!) I happened to prepare this meal tonight at the request of Dr. Smooth, so I thought I’d share it with you in honor of my friend’s special day.

Now, if you’re looking for something particularly healthy or gourmet, this ain’t it. But if you want something quick, easy, and delicious with very little clean-up, this is a recipe for you!

My family requests this recipe more than anything else I make. (Which may actually say more about my cooking repertoire than it does this particular dish, but anyway. They like it when I make it!)

Ingredients:chicken pot pie recipe, cream of potato soup, mixed veggies

1 can mixed vegetables*

2 cans cream of potato soup

1 and 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast**

1/4-1/2 soup can of milk***

2 pie crusts


chicken pot pie recipe, sauteed chickenPreheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut chicken breast into bite-size pieces and saute in skillet. (I use PAM spray to lightly coat skillet.) Salt and pepper chicken to taste as it cooks.

Mix cooked chicken pieces with potato soup and mixed veggies. Fill 1/4 of a soup can with milk and pour into mixture.

Put one pie crust in the bottom of a pie dish, add chicken mixture, and add second crust on top. Pinch together around Chicken Pot Pie recipethe edges to seal together. Puncture top of crust with a fork.

Bake at 450 for 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

*I have had friends modify this to use fresh veggies, which would admittedly be more healthy, but that reduces the “easy” factor. So do what works for you.

**Her original recipe calls for 1-2 pounds of chicken. We seem to like it right in the middle with 1 and 1/2. If you want more meat, add more. If you want less, add less. Duh.

milk, chicken pot pie recipe***The original recipe calls for 1/2 to 3/4 can of milk, but that’s a bit too soupy for us, so we do only a 1/4. Adjust to suit your own tastes.

The best part is….you have like three dishes to wash. A skillet, a mixing bowl, and a pie dish. Oh, and a spoon, I guess, so four. That’s amazing in my book.

And the pot pie is even yummier the day after!chicken pot pie, recipe

So Happy Birthday friend, and thanks for the many happy years of Chicken Pot Pie!

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Diary of a Single Wedding Planner is Released!

It’s official! The book is out! It’s available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook formats.

It’s called Diary of a Single Wedding Planner, and here’s a basic summary of what it’s about from the back cover of the book:

Diary of a Single Wedding Planner“Wedding planner Tyler Warren left heartbreak behind when she ran away from her small Southern hometown and started a new life in a big city. Years later, she wants to believe in the fairy-tale endings her job promotes, but the clients she meets day after day seem to be more “Crazily Ever After” than “Happily Ever After.”

Meanwhile, her own attempts at romance play out as bizarre comedies rather than love stories, and she’s starting to think Prince Charming either fell off his horse or got eaten by a dragon. When unresolved issues from Tyler’s past complicate things even further, she discovers she may yet have some things to figure out before she can find her own happy ending.

This delightful first book in the Tales Behind the Veils series chronicles Tyler’s wacky misadventures, both personal and professional. Whether she’s getting insane requests from brides or outlandish requests on dates, you’re sure to be charmed and entertained by the Diary of a Single Wedding Planner.”

Some of y’all already heard this news on Facebook, but for those who didn’t, you can purchase Diary of a Single Wedding Planner in paperback or ebook over on Amazon.  (click on either of those words to go straight there. Trying to make it as easy as possible for ya!)

If you read it and you like it, I would be forever grateful if you would leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, your local book club, the grocery store or anywhere else you think people might read your review.  Basically, tell everyone you know!

If you didn’t like it, please feel free to let me know what you think I could improve for next time, and I’m okay if you don’t publish a public review saying you hated it.

There’s also a new author website up and running for Violet–feel free to go check that out at The Goddess Howe blog also has an author page for Violet now, as well as a book page that tells about Diary of a Single Wedding Planner and hopefully will soon have details about the second book.

I can’t thank you all enough for your support. It is an incredibly exciting, nerve-wracking, scary, and humbling experience to put this out there for everyone to see. Thanks for being a part of the journey. So rush right over to Amazon and pick up a copy! Let me know what you think, and if you can get it in my hands, I’ll sign it for you!

Categories: Random Rain | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Getting Excited Over Here!

So the cat’s out of the bag on Facebook today, and it’s been quite exhilarating!

I made a couple of big announcements there, and I’m thrilled to share them with you here as well.

First and foremost, the novel is finished.  Done. Completed. Final Draft-Hit Save.

It’s been edited and proofed by a professional editor. It’s been vetted and critiqued by beta readers. Revised and tweaked. Cover Art designed. Book Formatted. Ready to go. Available for sale in a matter of weeks. (Cue confetti streamers and loud, raucous laughter and applause here!) Woohoo!!!!!

Please allow me a moment to feel completely invigorated before the mammoth project of marketing and promotion seeps in. I have accomplished a life goal that I set in my third grade diary and have been working on in various ways ever since! Wow! A full-length novel.

Of course, I didn’t do it alone…and there’s a ton of people to thank. So many that my acknowledgments page in the book stretched out to two pages. And I still probably missed a name or two!

But it’s finished. And I like it. I’m proud of it. And I hope you all will like it, too.

Another exciting tidbit of news is the creation of a pen name. It turns out my own name was a little more common on-line and in author world than I knew! So to avoid any confusion moving forward, I will publish books under the name Violet Howe.

Don’tcha just love it? It has an old-fashioned, vintage, romantic feel. And since purple has always been my signature color, Violet is ever so fitting!

In addition to all the hubbub related to publishing, the last few weeks have also been a whirlwind of creating an identity. Facebook page, twitter account, website design, and all the legalities of doing business as a name other than your own.

This journey has been simply incredible.  I have learned so much about writing, publishing, genres, reviews, marketing, taxes, and royalties. But the greatest lesson I have learned is how amazing the people around you can be. I have received so much love, support, enthusiasm, and encouragement. I am blown away, and I do not have the words to properly express how grateful I am.

Snoopy DancingI’ll be releasing  a sneak preview of the cover within a week, and I think you’re going to love it. I’ll also be putting out a brief summary to tell you what the book’s about, and there’ll be a new author website debut for Violet Howe to correlate with the Facebook site that premiered today.

I should also have an official release date for you within the next two weeks, but the target is the second week in July. Once I have that date, I can give you all the details on how to get your own copy!

This is so much fun, y’all.  I can’t hardly stand it!

So stay tuned for all the excitement. And if you haven’t had a chance to visit the Violet Howe Author page on Facebook, pop on over and click LIKE!



Categories: Random Rain | 12 Comments

Update on Writing

When people ask my occupation and I tell them I’m a writer, the next question is invariably, “What do you write?”

Teacher Goddess WIP copyI’m never quite sure how to answer that in a short reply.  When I was a wedding coordinator, people didn’t ask what I coordinated, because the answer was rather obvious.  When I was a teacher, I could elaborate with my subject area and my grade level, and that was sufficient.  But answering what I write is a bit harder.  A bit more involved.

I’ve yet to figure out a quick and concise answer, but hopefully when I’ve been at this a bit longer, I’ll come up with one.

In the meantime, I do enjoy discussing my writing with people. It always warms my heart when a friend, family member, or casual acquaintance asks for an update on my writing journey. When I jumped off the “real job” ship two and a half years ago to pursue this dream, I knew I would not be able to accomplish it without the love and support of my network of family and friends.  I’ve been humbled and blessed to have so many people follow along and continue to be interested in my endeavors.

To all of you out there, faithfully following along, I sincerely appreciate your support and your interest in what I’m doing! So I thought I would put together a bit of an update with answers to the questions I get most often.  If you have a question I didn’t answer here, please feel free to comment here or on Facebook or shoot me a message, and I’ll be happy to follow up.

Here we go…..

What do you write?

Words! But more specifically, I write fiction novels and short stories as well as freelance assignments for a variety of clients.Goddess photo WIP copy

What do you write for clients?

Whatever they need! For some I write newsletters, website copy, bios, fact sheets, and training manuals.  For others, I write resumes, letters, ad copy, newspaper articles, grant proposals and press releases. I can take a client’s general idea and create the text they need or I can take their initial drafts and work my magic in revisions. So if you need me to write something for you, or maybe just to proofread or edit something you have written, let me know!

Who are your clients?

That varies. I have a few consistent clients, and I have others who contract me per project from freelance websites or other client referrals. I’ve worked with entertainment companies, community theaters, non-profit organizations, caterers, event planners, painting contractors, newspaper editors, and individuals just to name a few.

What type of novels do you write?

Fiction.  Beyond that, it gets a little tricky.  My stories definitely have a romance angle, but they do not fit the “formula” for traditional romance.  They focus heavily on the main female character’s emotional journey, but lean a little too far towards romance to be considered strictly women’s fiction.  So I suppose the best classification is romantic women’s fiction.  At least that’s what seems to fit the first novel best.

What’s your first novel about?

A wedding planner, of course! Write what you know, eh? It’s written in a diary format, and it tells the story of Tyler Warren, a wedding planner who is looking for her own Happily-Ever-After amid the Crazy-Ever-After she sees every day with her clients.  As she faces her past and contemplates her future, Tyler is determined to hold onto her dream of Prince Charming, even as she comes to accept that life is not a fairy tale.

Planner Goddess HoweIs it based on true stories?

Yes and no.  It’s a romance with a bit of Southern humor and a lot of crazy wedding stories, so of course my own experiences as a Southerner, a hopeless romantic, and a former wedding planner played a lot into the content of the novel.  But Tyler isn’t me, and although people may recognize shades of themselves in the stories, the novel is made up of entirely fictional characters who may have been influenced or flavored by real memories and encounters. Let’s face it–truth really is stranger than fiction, so if I wrote this as a memoir based on truth, people would swear there was no way such screwball things actually happened. Maybe some day I’ll do that and hang the laundry out to dry, but nope–this one is purely fiction.

So when can I read it?

Good question!  I’ve finished the manuscript and gone through two sets of beta readers and their feedback.  I just finished a developmental edit with a professional editor, and I am finishing up revisions from her feedback now.  When that’s done, it’s time to shop it around to see if I can get a bite from an agent or a publisher.

But trust me! I will let you know just as soon as it is on the market because I want you and everyone you know to buy a copy!

How can I help?

Keep reading! Keep clicking like on blog posts, tweets and Facebook posts.  Keep sharing the stories you like.  Keep following the journey.  And when the book is out—tell everybody!!!

Okay–my turn.  What else would you like to know? Ask a question in comments!

The Goddess Howe




Categories: Random Rain | 6 Comments

Super Bowl 2015 Commercials — Depressing, Meaningful, or Both?

Super Bowl 2015If you watched the Super Bowl for the game this year, you had a great show.  Seattle and New England both played with heart, with great defense from both teams, and nail-biting edge-of-your-seat moments that exemplify the excitement of football.  The very last couple of minutes in the game were jaw-dropping.

If you’re someone who tunes in just for the commercials….well, not so much excitement this year.

Super Bowl commercials are the most highly-anticipated advertisements of the year, raking in an exorbitant $4.5 million for a 30-second spot and upwards of $8 million for 60 seconds.  Not to mention the millions spent in production prior to the airdate.

They can charge so much because the Super Bowl is THE prime real estate in advertising.  The most highly-viewed television show in the US, with an estimated record 114.4 million for 2015’s game.

And the commercial doesn’t just air at the game.  It’s replayed on Good Morning America, the Today show, YouTube, Facebook, and anywhere else people are talking about what’s hot and what’s not for weeks after the game.  It’s the ultimate exposure for a company or cause. So advertisers pull out all the stops, striving each year to have the hit that becomes water cooler legend.

An estimated 50% of the viewers who watch the show say they’re only there for the commercials–waiting to see what will happen to old favorites like the Budweiser Clydesdales or the crazy antics of Doritos-lovers.

This year’s lot was somewhat blah.  No breakout favorites.  No jaw-dropping feats or side-busting hilarity.  The Budweiser puppy being rescued was definitely a contender, as was Fiat’s mini-movie with the little blue pill.  Mindy Kalig, Pierce Brosnan, and Lindsey Lohan gave us a chuckle by being to laugh at themselves.  Breaking Bad fans were thrilled to see Walt suit up again for Esurance.  As someone who has been compared to Marcia Brady/Maureen McCormick since childhood, I especially enjoyed the Snickers Brady Bunch ad.  (you can see all the SuperBowl 2015 ads by clicking here)

Super Bowl, Snickers, Brady Bunch

But what set Twitter and Facebook afire Sunday night wasn’t a funny, clever or crazy ad.  It was the plethora of downbeat and downright depressing ads.  Nationwide punched viewers in the gut with a young boy regaling all the life moments he would never live to drive home the sobering statistic of childhood deaths by preventable accidents.

Altima paid heftily for 90 seconds of an often absent dad torn between home and work while Harry Chapin’s Cats in the Cradle played in the background.  The sad and poignant ad ended just before the tables turned in the final verse of Chapin’s classic, somehow leading viewers to believe the father-son relationship could be mended by a luxury car.

Viewers were encouraged to view girls as equals and to appreciate dads more than ever.  A chilling 911 call reminded viewers that domestic violence is a very real and prevalent problem that needs to be addressed.

Many have argued that these messages were entirely appropriate and warranted with such a large audience and an opportunity to inspire and encourage change.

I feel like there’s a little gray area here, though.  I’m not sure I agree.  I am all for a powerful, thought-provoking message.  I do not hesitate at all to share several of them on a regular basis on Facebook and Twitter.

However, I think there is a time and a place for messages to be presented and best received.  And I’m not sure the SuperBowl, an event synonymous with beer drinking and eating chicken wings, is the most effective place to convey it.

Super Bowl 2015, chicken wing consumption

It’s a party.  It’s a celebration.  One of the biggest social events of the year that crosses generations, cultures, religious beliefs, and even politics.

People want to laugh.  To enjoy something fun and crazy and endearing.  To high-five each other and tweet and text and share the laughter.

The commercials this year were a huge downer.  Even with the incredible adrenaline and excitement generated by the game that night, we found ourselves almost dreading the next commercial break.  Leery of watching and finding something depressing.  Scared of being punched in the gut—a gut full of pizza and chicken wings.

The ads definitely got talked about—which Nationwide said was the goal, opening a dialogue or conversation about such important topics.  But did the messages truly get taken to heart in that environment? Is it wise and effective to put out the message just because you have a captive audience???

I remember growing up in Pensacola, and there were people who would stand on street corners at traffic light screaming scriptures at people in their cars stopped at red lights.  They screamed and spittled and wailed about the fires of hell and the dangers of living life away from Christ.  They were even known to throw Bibles in open windows at times, startling and frightening drivers and passengers alike.

Even though I was brought up in a Christian home and attended church regularly, I was amazed and dismayed by these street corner prophets.  I always wondered why they thought anyone would suddenly have an epiphany of wanting to follow Jesus because they’d been screamed at and spit upon. Why would anyone under that verbal assault think to themselves, “This is a great idea.  I should look more into this and see what it’s all about.”  I always thought it was more likely to turn people away and make them go as fast as they could in the other direction. Not to mention risk their lives running yellow lights to keep from stopping.

Those prophets had a captive audience for their message.  They had a message to send.  And I am sure it started conversations and dialogue when the drivers recounted the experience for their friends.  But was it received in a good way? Was it effective in conveying the message and having it be heard with an open heart?

I don’t think so.

I’m not trying to compare preventable childhood accidents with religion, but I’m interested to hear your views.  I’ve seen many comments defending the commercials and saying those companies and organizations were right to use the size of the amount and the sheer magnitude of exposure to drive their messages home.  I’ve seen many against the ads, though, asserting that it wasn’t the right time or place and ended up falling on deaf ears or causing scorn and ridicule.

So tell me what you think.

1.  Did you like this year’s Super Bowl ads?

2.  Did you feel they were appropriate in their timing and audience?

3.  What was your favorite and why?

Let’s chat.



Categories: Random Rain | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2015 Golden Globes Recap

Golden Globe statue, Golden Globes 2015Awards season is underway as we count down to Oscars, the Super Bowl of the entertainment industry. Last night was the Golden Globes, the biggest precursor to the Academy Awards, recognizing the best of the previous year’s offerings in film and television.

There were no huge surprises at this year’s Globes.  No scandalous or outrageous gowns.  No unfortunate omissions or surprising confessions in acceptance speeches.  All in all, it was somewhat of a ho-hum presentation.  For what it’s worth, here’s my recap.  (spoiler alert: this recap reveals winners!)


Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Golden Globes 2015

photo credit:

Hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, who have killed it the past couple of years, were (yawn!) underwhelming.  My favorite moment of their monologue was probably their reference to George Clooney’s lifetime achievement award in light of his wife’s outstanding and impressive accomplishments.

It’s always interesting to see the celebrities’ panicked eyes and pasted-on smiles when their name is called for the monologue, mentally preparing to react on camera no matter what joke is made at their expense.  Some roll with it so naturally they almost appear to be in on the joke (Steve Carell).  Others seem a little uncomfortable and uncertain as they play along (Emma Stone).

Fey and Poehler’s dig at North Korea in the monologue was funny and well-timed, but the continued appearances of a “North Korean general” dragged and didn’t play as funny.

Their Bill Cosby jokes at the end were met with mixed but mostly negative reactions from the crowd, but they continued to follow the script, digging ever deeper into a controversial and uncomfortable subject.  I personally didn’t find it humorous.  If he’s guilty, we’re joking about women being drugged and raped.  Not funny.  If he’s not guilty and has somehow been attacked by dozens of lying women, the jokes further smear and destroy his public image even though he has not been convicted.  Either way, not funny.

This was Poehler and Fey’s last year hosting (although in Hollywood, never say never.)  They are such funny women.  I would have liked more bang for their last buck.  (click here to see their full monologue from last night’s show)


Jennifer Lopez, Golden Globes 2015

photo credit: Variety


The ever-gorgeous J-Lo.  I thought this dress looked uncomfortable with the fabric stretched tight underneath her cleavage and a bead or wire poking into into her breast throughout her red carpet interviews and award presentation.  The critics have declared her the star of the evening, though.  Her co-presenter Jeremy Renner was impressed enough to proclaim that J-Lo had “the globes.”


Julianne Moore, Golden Globes 2015, Best Dressed

photo credit: LA Times

#1 is Julianne Moore in Givenchy–sequins and feathers?????? It doesn’t get any better than that!

Jessica Chastain Golden Globes 2015

photo credit: Hollywood Reporter

#2: Jessica Chastain in Versace: Va-va-voom!  Even though it plunged and I’m a bit ready for the severely plunging neckline trend to go, the beautiful bronze metallic and incredible flow of this dress was perfect with her skin and hair! Loved it.

Lupita Nyong'o Golden Globes 2015

photo credit: LA Times

#3: Lupita Nyong’o: because it’s purple and flowy and fluffy, and it’s Lupita!


Catherine Zeta Jones Golden Globes Salsa Dancing Emoji

photo credit:

Catherine Zeta-Jones looked fabulous in red, setting Twitter ablaze with comparisons to the red-dressed emoji salsa dancer.

Jane Fonda Golden Globes 2015

photo credit:

Jane Fonda: OMG.  The woman is 77 years old.  Stunning.  Amazing.  I’m thinking she didn’t stop doing the Jane Fonda workout when the rest of the country moved on.


I intentionally try to avoid any picture I think will be an Oscar Best Picture nominee because my friends and I participate in the AMC Best Picture Showcase for a marathon of movies right before the Academy Awards.  After seeing the number of awards taken by Boyhood and Birdman last night, I am certain they will both be in the Showcase, and I can’t wait to see them!

Eddie Redmayne Golden Globes 2015

photo credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images


I have seen Theory of Everything, however, and I feel confident saying Eddie Redmayne deserved the win without even seeing his competition.  His physical transformation to play Stephen Hawking was extraordinary.  The range of emotions, strengths and vulnerabilities he  brought to the role were truly award-worthy.

Always nice to see a newcomer win, but I loved the number of old favorites getting some recognition.  Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore,  Michael Keaton, and of course, Kevin Spacey.



Truly my favorite part of any awards show.  I love hearing the heartfelt emotions, the gratitude, the excitement.  Acceptance speeches  make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Last night did not disappoint in that regard.

Jane the Virgin newcomer Gina Rodriguez revealed her dad had always encouraged her to say each morning, “Today is a good day.  I can.  I will.”  She tearfully thanked him with “Today is a good day.  I can, and I did!”

Michael Keaton’s touching speech referenced his blue-collar upbringing as one of seven children and thanked his best friend, son Sean.George and Amal Clooney Golden Globes 2015

But my favorite was George Clooney.  He reminded Hollywood’s elite that each person in the room had already grasped the brass ring.  There were no losers there, regardless of whether or not they took home a trophy.  He rallied us to defend the right for free speech and stand with France (Je suis Charlie!).  Then he set the internet on fire with his loving tribute to his new bride, Amal.  He acknowledged how nice it is to find love in life, and told his beautiful and accomplished wife how honored he was to be her husband.

Which brings me to the true star of my night, My Knight, who watched the festivities with me all the way from red carpet to final award.  I am so blessed to have a husband who supports my interests, my passions, and my hobbies.  I love that man!

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Happy Freakin’ New Year

It’s a new year! It’s a new day!  It’s a new me!

New Year's Eve hats

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Blah.  Blah.  Blah.

Isn’t it funny how every December, we get so excited for all the possibilities the new year holds?  Like many people I know, I love the idea of the “fresh, clean slate” of January 1st.  As a longtime friend recently put it, even though it’s just another day, it somehow feels different.  It feels new.  Like you get to start all over again. Awesome!

I embrace the new beginning, running toward at full-speed, although those of you who read this post may question how fast my full-speed actually is.

In preparation for my transformation, I earmarked pages in magazines and clipboarded sections of blogs and online articles with grandiose plans of new ways of doing things.  I just knew when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, there’d be a new sheriff in town.  Gone would be the days of unorganized, unhealthy, unthrifty, and just in general “un” me.

I’d be back on Weight Watchers eating healthy.  I’d do yoga every morning and cardio at least 30 minutes per day.  Eight hours of sleep–no more staying up in front of a movie, buried in a good book, or playing Words with Friends til my eyes crossed.  I’d vacuum every single day, a necessary by-product of a dog who sheds enough hair to cloak a small horse.

I printed out menu planning templates with color-coded Post-it notes to create a binder and answer the dreaded “What’s For Dinner?” question a month in advance.  I bought foam for a vision board and carefully cut out magazine pictures and words that spoke to my being and called to my soul, helping me visualize my innermost yearnings and bring them to fruition.  I ruminated over time schedule layouts to maximize my productivity and get the most out of my different hats as a freelance writer, novelist, wife, mom, friend, woman, human being, etc.

I decided to create a gratitude journal so our family could document the new year’s happy moments each night at dinner.  I cut out more magazine pictures to decorate the journal.

I. Was. Ready.  Charged up and crouched at the 2015 start line, waiting for the Times Square ball to drop the gauntlet on the emergence of “new me”.

I didn’t jump out of the gate exactly as I had planned, though.  After a really late New Year’s Eve at a Billy Joel concert and a crap breakfast at 2am, I slept in on the big day.  But when I did get up, I was ready to take on the world and bask in the universe’s starlights shining down on me. But then My Knight and I sat out on the porch and chatted a while.  We checked Facebook.  We watched TV.  We took a nap and woke up groggy.  We went out to dinner. Stayed up late and watched a movie.

January 2nd rolled in, and the menu planning templates and post-it notes were covered by the mail.  The magazine clippings for the vision board and gratitude journal scattered across the floor when the dogs crashed into the pile I left by the couch.

January 3rd just didn’t inspire me.  I shuffled from room to room, staring at the fragments of my unfinished projects with dread, guilt, and disdain. Ping pong with the boys and a late afternoon nap seemed more fitting for a Saturday.

Sunday the 4th was a delightful day of celebration–a dear friend’s birthday party, an improv class, and a late airport pick-up and dinner with my college roommate.

So here I sit.  January 5th.  Five days into the wondrous spectacle of the “new me.”  The slate is already dusty.  There ain’t a meal planned for tonight, much less the rest of the week or month.  The yoga mat’s still in the bottom of my closet, covered in flip-flops.  The floor needs to be combed vacuumed.  I stayed up til almost one last night, and I woke up with a headache and a deficiency of desire to move.

Bah humbug.

Scarlett O'HaraBut I shall not give up, dear friends.  I shall persevere.  After all, as Scarlett so eloquently instilled within me, “Tomorrow is another day.”

So here’s the deal.  If you made a crapload of resolutions and commitments for the new year, and you are on day 5 of keeping it real–you go on with your bad self!!  I am knocked-out with admiration and respect for you.

If, however, you’re wondering where the last five days went and lamenting that it’s pretty much February already, then join with me in proclaiming tomorrow–January 6th– to be A FRESH, CLEAN SLATE!!

That’s right, friends and neighbors.  Tomorrow, January 6, 2015 is a new day.  A great day to start improving and doing and being all that you can be.  A fantastic day to finally put in place all those changes you’ve been pondering.

In fact, it’s probably better to start tomorrow than if we had actually gotten it together for January 1st.  The 1st is really overrated, don’t you think?  Why be conformists?  Why do what everyone else is doing?  Anyone could start over on New Year’s Day!  But the 6th?  That takes some special chutzpah.

YIPPEE!!!  WOOHOO!!!  I am so excited I can barely contain myself right now.  I just can’t wait for tomorrow to get here so I can be more organized, more efficient, more creative, more driven.  I’ll be thinner, healthier, better-rested, and more focused.  I’ll be all that and then some.  Tomorrow.

So now that the pressure and guilt are gone from today, I think I’ll have a glass of tea and some boiled peanuts.  Take in an episode of Love it or List It.  Maybe a nap.

Who’s with me?


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The Interview Should Make You Livid

The Interview, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Sony Pictures

The Interview

“Understand what is going on right now, because the world just changed on your watch, and you weren’t even paying attention.” — George Clooney on Sony Pictures cancelling The Interview

I hope you were paying attention, though.  And I hope you are outraged.  You should be.

If our own government tried to squelch our freedom of speech in such a manipulative, terrorist manner, we would react swiftly and strongly.  We would be very vocal.  It would blow up Facebook and Twitter.  People would take to the streets.

Yet we have allowed another government from across the globe to suppress freedom of speech and freedom of expression in our own country.  And we aren’t reacting all that much.

The whole thing is pretty silly, actually.  Sony Pictures produced a film by Seth Rogen and James Franco about two fictional characters who are asked by the CIA to murder North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.  Let’s be clear about what this is.  It’s a MOVIE.  Fiction.  Make-believe.  It’s a comedy, in case you missed it being created by Seth Rogen and James Franco.  More specifically, it’s a satirical farce.  A story using humor to provide somewhat of a social commentary against a backdrop so exaggerated and improbable that it is obviously fiction.  Except Rogen himself has said it was much more of an entertainment piece than any serious reflection on North Korea.  Rogen told Good Morning America it’s his job to make people laugh and he acknowledged he gives the public the garbage they enjoy.

Now, obviously it wouldn’t have taken much on the front end for someone to realize this movie would piss off Kim Jong-un.  The man is not exactly known for reasonal behavior and rational thought.  Nor does he seem the type to enjoy a good laugh at his own expense.  But that’s neither here nor there.

I see memes, posts, political cartoons and comments daily that mock and ridicule our own president and our own government publicly.  Not for the sake of a comedy that sells movie tickets, but just people expressing their opinion on the leaders we have chosen and the state of our affairs.  Those people are exercising their freedom of speech.  Their freedom of expression.  Artistic and creative license.

If our government shut that down, I don’t think we would stand for it.  I don’t believe we would allow our own leaders to keep us

Bill of Rights, Freedom of Speech, The Interview

The Bill of Rights

from expressing our opinions.  Our country is too firmly rooted in our freedoms, with speech being one of our key cornerstones.

The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.”  The Bill of Rights

So why are we allowing someone’s else’s government to do it?  Why are we allowing Kim Jong-un the right to decide what we can watch, what we can hear, what we can write, what we can create?  It doesn’t matter that it’s just a movie….it’s the much bigger idea (and freedom) behind it.

Don’t get me wrong–the threat was real.  I do not blame the theaters for opting not to show the movie on Christmas Day.  I, myself, am planning on going to the theater to watch movies on Christmas Day, and I admit to being apprehensive about what could happen if The Interview was shown.  Especially at high-profile theaters.  I do not wish for anyone to be harmed over a Seth Rogen comedy.

But to pull the film entirely, to roll over and lie belly up, sends a very dangerous message to those who may disagree with our opinions, our views, our freedoms, our way of life.

We have exposed a vulnerability, and we have set a precedent.

It’s not the first time a book, a movie, or an idea has offended.  Within our own society, we have seen protests from Italian-Americans over the Sopranos, protests from Christians over the portrayal of key Biblical figures, protests from a variety of ethnic groups for their representation in the entertainment world.

Protesting is, after all, part of the freedom of speech.  We have the right to not purchase the tickets, not read the books, not support the causes of those we disagree with.  We have the right to speak out and share our thoughts if we don’t like something.

But hacking into computer systems and releasing social security numbers, personal information, and stolen media property goes far beyond protesting, and that’s without even mentioning the threats against theaters and families and the promise of more acts to come if Sony didn’t back down.

I get that Sony was embarrassed by the emails released.  (Hello, Hollywood people!  Email 101:  It’s in print, and it doesn’t go away.  Do not type anything you wouldn’t want the world to read.)

I get that Sony lost tons of money on the leaked releases of Annie, the Bond script, and other projects.  That’s just proof that our dependence on the internet and the cloud makes us vulnerable.  We need to focus much more energy on measures to protect our information from hackers. (Just ask Target or Jennifer Lawrence.)

The important thing to realize is this is not just an act of terror against Sony and The Interview.  It is against us as a people.

Setting this precedent sends the message that we can be intimidated and controlled.  Now that it’s gotten results, what makes anyone think these tactics will end with just this one movie being cancelled?  Could this not spread to other outlets?  Other industries?  What’s to stop it?

I had no plans to see The Interview.  Quite frankly, the previews looked really stupid, and I’m usually disappointed with Seth Rogen’s efforts.  But I strongly believe this movie should be released.  I believe the people who made the movie have the right to express their ideas.  To share their ideas.  I believe that we as American citizens have the right to watch, read, and be exposed to material of our own choosing.

As a writer, as an actor, as a mother, and as an American, I am pissed.  I do not want Kim Jong-un, or any government leader–from my own country or another–to tell me what I can read, what I can watch, what I can say, or what I can write.

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION.  Do not take our rights for granted.  The world around us has changed in this moment, and we must realize it and be prepared to stand strong.

The Interview, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Sony Pictures

Workers remove a poster for The Interview from a billboard in Hollywood, after Sony cancelled the release of the film. Photograph: Michael Thurston/AFP/Getty Images

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