Politics: How to Circumvent the “Us vs. Them” Mindset

Midterms. The word brings up immediate panic as visions of large pots of coffee and all night study sessions dance through my head. But in this case, we aren't talking about school. We're talking about something much more daunting. Government.

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Yes, this November marks a major election as 35 seats in the Senate and all 435 seats in The House of Representatives are up for grabs. This also serves as a type of midterm exam for the current administration. If the people like what's happening then the Republicans stay in control. If they don't, we may see a Democratic shift in power.

What concerns me most is that our government, and therefore our whole society, has adopted an "Us Vs. Them" mentality. Democrats only vote for bills proposed by Democrats. Republicans only vote for bills proposed by Republicans. Pretty soon they'll be Mean Girl-ing the new kid in the cafeteria and solving disagreements with wet willies in the bathroom. What happened to an individual mind actually listening, weighing the pros and cons, and voting on behalf of their constituents?

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After watching night after night of CNN, which more often resembles The Jersey Shore than news programming, I'm not really surprised that in every day society, and especially on social media, the general public is spouting off hate quicker than a spurned baby momma can take down her guy on Maury Povich.

But here's an idea: Let's be BETTER than our government. Let's be the change we want to see in the world. The next time we are faced with one of these situations, why don't we try something different.


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How I Ate My Way Through Spain: Part 4

I'm FINALLY finishing my Spain series. After conquering Barcelona, Valencia, and Seville... and eating ALL the food, we were off to Madrid! Once again we took a very early train so that we could see as much as humanly possible. Because who needs sleep? Am I right?

First stop was The Museo Reina Sofia, the modern art counterpart to The Prado. We chose this museum because it has an exhibit housing one of Picasso's most famous murals, Guernica. The exhibit was absolutely stunning. I wasn't allowed to take pictures but it looks like this:

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Except better. Obviously, it's more magnificent in person. It also takes up the whole wall. Imagine me standing in the lower right corner only covering that one dude's foot.

We then walked through the other exhibits and got to see another personal favorite, Salvador Dali. I'm dying to make a trip to Figueres, Spain someday to see the Dali Theatre and Museum.

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After a great morning of art we were famished but didn't have a lot of time. So another jamon sandwich it was! I still can't get over how something so simple is so frickin' good. It must be how they dry age their prosciutto. We were ready to start our trek through Buen Retiro Park, which is Madrid's version of New York's Central Park. There were so many beautiful spots to stop at. One of my favorites was The Palacio de Cristal.

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This palace made of wood and glass was built in 1887 for The Exposition of the Philippines, then a Spanish colonial possession. After marveling at its beauty, we wandered past another grand pavilion, Palacio de Velazquez before making our way to Retiro Pond.

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Since we had already conquered rowing in Seville, we skipped it this time. But it still looked fun! We then left the park and wandered past the Puerta de Alcala, a grand archway, on our way out of the park when I spotted them. Twinkly lights. I told you before and I will tell you again, nothing does it for me like twinkly lights. They are like fairies dancing on my soul. Oh, and pitchers of sangria never hurt, either. So of course we had to stop.

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Can You #TreatYoself Too Much?

There's a new hashtag on Instagram. #TreatYoself. First, I reread that about four different times to make sure it wasn't, in fact, TREAT YOURSELF. Nope, apparently, I'm just not cool enough to drop the U. Millennials. Sigh.

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In this day and age of #yolo, (You Only Live Once for those of you Millennial acronym impaired) have we actually gone too far with the treating ourselves? How much is good self care and how much is irresponsibly draining our bank accounts?

The first thing I noticed when I visited the #treatyoself page on Instagram were a lot of pictures of food. Truffle fries, donuts, and chocolate stuffed pancakes, oh my! Wait. Where were those chocolate stuffed pancakes from? Because they looked BOMB. I think a little decadent food every now and then is a great way to treat yourself. I can tell you that a good night of music and cooking at home with a good bottle of wine and fresh produce is one of the BEST things I can do to treat myself. The problem for me is knowing when to draw the line. Because it may be "treating myself" to buy that $70 bottle of wine I've always wanted to try, but will it still be treating myself if I can't pay rent at the end of the month?

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I also wanted to explore other ways that I could treat myself. Like I said, I saw a lot of pictures of food on that Instagram page. I also saw a lot of travel pics. But what are a couple simple ways that I can treat myself in day to day life?

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Sometimes to Take Two Steps Forward, You Need to Take One Step Back

It's been a minute since I've written a blog because, well, life. And, to be honest, I've been feeling a little conflicted about my message. Last November, I was laid off from my serving job and I took it as a sign that I was done with waiting tables and on to the next stage of my life as a writer and actress. And everyone walked off into the sunset, stayed in love forever without fighting, and could eat as many pieces of dark chocolate as they liked without gaining any fat on their thighs. THE END.

But the fact of the matter is, that those six months made me extremely anxious, depressed, and more hopeless than the Cavs in the NBA finals. Sure, I had extra time. And I DID accomplish a couple small feats, like finishing my spec script and applying to a bunch of writing fellowships. But the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty about how I would continue to pay my bills started to eat away at me. What was supposed to be the best time of my life ended up being the worst.

It also turns out that I HATE freelance and copywriting. From afar it seems great. You write on your own schedule so you have time to tend to all your creative passions! Except at fifteen dollars per article about E-commerce tips or WordPress Customer Service plugins, which I know absolutely nothing about and, therefore, took a minimum of three hours to research and write, it would take me approximately NINE HOURS to make FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS. It took me about four days to quit that job with a big 'ol, "Sorry, I'm not sorry."

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Meanwhile, things like headshots, acting class, and, well, FOOD, were draining the bank. Something had to give.

On a plane ride back from visiting my family in Ohio, because 1- I love them, and 2- I didn't have to pay for food while I was there, (But mostly one, family, mostly one!!!😘) I was watching the movie Paris Can Wait, which is all about food and wine throughout the Parisian countryside. I got such overwhelming JOY from watching the leading man talk about food and wine. Way more than I had felt in the past six months banging my head against my desk urging paid work to come from ANYTHING besides writing about Woocommerce (I mean, what even IS that?), that I got off that plane and IMMEDIATELY decided to go for my level one sommelier license.

I had been talking about taking my level one sommelier test for years but something always got in the way. Now, with no more job excuse, I put my foot on the gas. With only one month to study, (way less than I would have liked) I hit the books hard. Immediately, I felt better. I had a concrete purpose, pass this test. It's the complete opposite of acting and writing where each day you can figure out something to pursue but there is never any guaranteed outcome. Trust me, I've been acting and writing in L.A. for ten years and... let's not talk about it. This post is supposed to be about how I'm NOT depressed anymore. 😜 But with this, if I studied hard I WOULD pass the test. And I had to face the facts, there is a huge part of me that likes and needs that kind of stability.

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My First Mystery Blogger Award!

I am very excited to announce that I have been nominated for a Mystery Blogger Award!!! I am so extremely grateful and excited!!!!

OK. But if you're like me you may be thinking, but what does this MEAN? I have to admit that I've heard of the Mystery Blogger Award, even found some really great blogs that way through other blogger's nominations, but I didn't really know what it signified. So the type A in me did some research. According to my Google search it is an award:

"for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get."
Wait. And you're sure I'M nominated for this? My first thought was, "Oh no! I suck. I mean, I haven't even written a blog in like a month, because, um, life." And even before that I hadn't been feeling my usual inspirational self so I had resorted to writing about, well, food. I'm not worthy!!!

But all jokes aside, my second, and most prevailing, thought was one of pure gratitude. Thank you so incredibly much  Love Infusion for nominating me. Please, everyone, check out her blog. She, like me, doesn't take herself too seriously. And once she even wrote an inspirational rap.

OK. Again, I'm new at this and not sure of the protocol so, just like everything else in my life, I'm going to wing it.

Three Things About Me:
  • I love my cat, Logan, so much I'm basically a crazy cat lady. I bought him a Cavs jersey to wear when I watch the games at home. (If you don't know who the Cavs are, they are a basketball team from Cleveland and I am a die hard fan!)
  • I'm currently studying for my first level sommelier exam which I take in one week in Vegas. (part of the reason I haven't been blogging, sorry!) A sommelier is basically a wine expert sooooo... I've been drinking A LOT of wine.
  • I write a column for a magazine called "The Sugarzine". It's a great magazine focusing on women and their careers, and a bunch of other positive ish. Check it out here: The Sugarzine
The Questions I Was Given:
  • What event, if any, started your spiritual awakening? This one is easy as I've mentioned it from my very first blog Who Am I?  Six years ago my whole life pretty much fell apart. I was engaged and we broke up in pretty horrific fashion, I ended up homeless, his dog killed my cat, and I got in not one, but two car accidents... all in one month. It was pretty much Armageddon. I decided something had to change because I wasn't exactly doing so hot. A friend of mine invited me to go see Marianne Williamson teach from "A Course of Miracles" and I was hooked.


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