If You Feel Detached This Memorial Day… Read This

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Memorial Day poppies, Symbolized in 1915

If you feel detached this Memorial day, unable to really connect with the kind of sacrifice that is given by the men and women who have died for our country, I have some movies to suggest to you.  Movies that my husband has forced me to watch (:) ) the past few months with him, and it’s been riveting.

It’s hard to connect sometimes with things we haven’t experienced or don’t fully understand.  We see the other side of war, the beauty that comes from when it succeeds or ends.  There is an old story of the Memorial Day poppy, the symbolic flower of remembrance, began with in the Spring of 1915, when the fields of Belgium, France, and Gallipoli were covered with the tiny red blossoms.  It was after a long, cold winter of war, the ground and soil were broken up and torn enough to initiate the poppy seeds into germination.

Desolate battlefields of red flowers became fraught with clusters of delicate, bright poppies.  Death, horror, and loss of brave soldiers fighting in war, were then remembered, marked, with the poppies that came from their fight.  Beauty from pain.  Beauty from ashes.  Beauty from hopelessness.

Sacrifice.

It’s hard to understand the depth of their sacrifice unless you’ve been in the situation yourself, have seen your friends die in combat, or have lost one of your loved ones.

My husband and I watched these movies with the same theme of war, love, and sacrifice.  I’m not the kind of woman who actively seeks out dramatic, fight scene kind of movies, but let me tell you… these movies, are AMAZING.  You will come away feeling at least a little more appreciation for the men and women who have died for our country, and the families that supported them.

Act of Valor

In Act of Valor, there are frequent disturbing, but necessary, scenes of a woman being brutally tortured – she is the package they must receive and rescue.  It is a movie that transports you into a place you likely have never been, and never want to be.  The life of a Navy Seal.  You are the woman the terrorists have captured and who are drilling holes through her hands, dragging across the floor while she’s covered in blood and in chains, you are the men who know exactly what she is enduring, and are on a race against the clock to try to recover her before she gives up the will to live, or is killed.  You hear her screams echoing through the rain forest, as you’re going through the necessary tactical commands and movements in order to complete your operation.  This movie showed me the horror that goes on without us even knowing as we live our cushy lives filled with blatant ignorance of all the terrorists in the world craving to do us evil.  It was amazing, intense, and horrifying.  It showed the bravery of the men and women by putting you in their place, in their thoughts, in their very emotions.

Zero Dark Thirty

This is the movie about the inspiring dedication and perseverance it took to catch Osama Bin Laden.  It is produced by the interesting and elusive Gen-Y rebel and heiress, Megan Ellison (29).  It follows the true story, with its real life heroine and characters, however, it has the disclaimer that it is only a movie, not a documentary.  I found it riveting and fascinating… brutally hard to watch, and yet, I was filled with desire to know what would happen next, sitting on the edge of my seat, muscles completely and utterly tense.

No matter one’s beliefs on the political overtones of the CIA using torture methods on terrorists, and this film deliberately showing that they worked, it is an intriguing movie that will make you all the more thankful to be protected by people who dedicate their entire lives, looking every waking second for the evil that hunts us.

 

 End of Watch

A movie about police sacrifice, although they are not Veterans coming back from, or giving their lives in war, these men and women serve in a different kind of way.  I talked with a Marine who has been on 3 tours, and he assured me that the Police Officer has to constantly be on watch, he will never get to be a “Veteran” until he hangs up his vest and puts away his gun.  He is always “deployed,” even though he gets to come home at night.  This movie was a humorous, beautiful, tear-jerking look inside what a real police life feels like.  The main character and his humor reminded me so much of my husband it made it very hard to watch in some respect.  Even as I write this post, one of my husband’s friends just had to deal with a violent drunk, in a thunderstorm of our flooding city, and then drive him to jail as he took a shit in his car.

But they would take that over a boring desk job any day.

 

 

Thank you to all who sacrifice.

May we always remember.

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Oscars Hair Critique -Male Perspective (Short vs. Lobs & Long Hairstyles)

One of the fun things of watching the Oscars with a male who isn’t afraid to voice his opinions, is getting what some men truly think of when it comes to women’s looks.  It’s obvious that looks and beauty fade, but it is quite amazing to see how people age differently, and what things contribute to (or take away from) their attractiveness as they age.  Hands down the most noticeable factors were their hairstyles, and their makeup.

A woman’s hair is her greatest accessory.  One of the most basic things my father taught me, and something the beauty industry has capitalized on for years now.  Even biblically, a woman’s hair is said to be “her glory.”  And as every woman knows, the feeling one has after an incredible hairstyle, cut, or color is a feeling of radiance – like you’re on top of the world.  Why?  Because it adds infinitely to a woman’s beauty to have attractive, gorgeous hair.

I’m not trying to say that long hair is always the most attractive, because attractive hair is much more complicated than mere length.  Healthy hair, vibrant color, full-bodiedness – all these things are what makes a woman’s hair add to her attractiveness, but typically fade with age.  It was clear to us that the older women at the event had to do more to their hair in order to make it add to their overall appeal.

The most interesting thing was short (very short) hair on women who otherwise looked better with longer hair.  Men typically do not appreciate the so-called “Pixie” cut that came into fashion around Twiggy’s time (my Dad’s critique).  Very few women (with the most beautiful, pixie-like faces) can effectively pull this fashion cut off, and even then, they usually look somehow “better” with their longer locks.

Scarlett Johansson came to the event with a short, masculine hairstyle, buzzed on the sides.  An older woman can carry this look somewhat with a mature aura, however, we personally rated it as a “no-go” for Scarlett.  She still is a beautiful woman, but this cut almost distracts & detracts from her natural beauty, rather than add to it.

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Scarlett Johansson with a flattering short bob/lob hairstyle… somehow, she even radiates happiness more in this hairstyle.

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Faith Hill and her new hair (she was unrecognizable to my Dad, his initial response was shock):

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with a lob

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her classic look of longer, lighter & more vibrant hair:

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Notice how a lighter blonde & longer locks seem to diminish wrinkles and the look of aging femininity.  It’s a trick of the hair industry to have women go lighter in order to decrease the appearance of wrinkles or fine lines.

A woman’s hair is her greatest accessory, and also the one she carries wherever she goes.

How important do you think a woman’s hairstyle is?

Oscars

The dresses, the sleek, toned bodies of the stars, the hair styles, the makeup, the music, the intriguing production that goes into making films, seeing the people – no the masterminds – behind the scenes… this. is. the Oscars.

Last year we did a little “Oscars party,” but this year was more subdued, toned down, and cozy.  I watched it with my dad while my my mom – who mostly only cares to catch the fashion at the beginning like all of us girls – played games with my older son.  It’s always epic in its strange way, with jokes, surprises, and even tear-jerking musical interludes.  My dad loves J.K. Simmons, and was glad to see him win an Oscar for his role in Whiplash; his speech thanking his wife & telling the audience to call their parents was touching. ❤

oscars-2015_445371Oh the dresses & the beautiful women.  Margo Robbie, as always, looked top notch & drop dead gorgeous.  I loved seeing Julian Moore and her beautiful, beaded dress – she always surprises with something unique and elegant.  Emma Stone came with her Mom (so cute), and Gwyneth Paltrow actually wore pink (a color she’s sworn she didn’t care for & collected in order to pass down to her daughter).

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Eddie Redmayne won for his incredibly well-played role in The Theory of Everything – such a beautiful & tragic movie about one of the most influential men of our age, Stephen Hawking.

Julian Moore won Best Actress for her performance in Still Alice.

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In between one of the breaks, my dad told me a story about a time when he and his best guy friend (now RIP) were out hunting.  Sitting together on the couch with the new baby asleep on my chest, listening to him talk just felt so sweet.

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It was great to see the Polish film, Ida, win for the Foreign Film Language selection.  It’s a movie about a young girl, who is set to become a Catholic nun, but finds out her family history is not what she thought (they were jews).  Being of Polish-Jewish descent, this film held a special place in my heart.  A quote from the writer-director, Pawel Pawlikowski, in heavy Polish accent,

“How did I get here?  We made a film about black-and-white, the need for silence and withdrawal from the world and contemplation. And here we are at the center of noise and world attention. Fantastic. Life is full of surprises.”

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For a quick link to see the rest of the winners click here.

Best Halloween Oldies Kid’s Will Love Today

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Worst Witch (1986)

Before there was Harry Potter & Hogwarts, there was another school in Britain for young witches, a prestigious all-girls academy run by Headmistress, Mrs. Cackle.  The story follows one girl, Mildred’s, transition from feeling like a failure at everything, or literally, the worst witch in the school, to becoming herself and finding her confidence in her powers.  It’s a great movie for girls and boys, and no bad words to worry about.

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They even have a Potions class, much like Professor Snape at Hogwarts.  It’s adorable & my son loved and laughed throughout it!

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Like any good movie, there’s a villain, Mrs. Cackle’s evil twin sister, who wants to destroy the school and ruin the young girls there.  Her song she sings is addicting

Mr. Boogedy (1986)

A spooks & jokes salesman moves his family into a haunted house – aside from driving his family crazy with his terrible jokes and tricks, he finds out himself what its like to have tricks and jokes played on him and his family.  The house has a history of cursed enchantment on it, with a mystery that his children have to solve.  It’s a spooky movie (especially for really young kids) so if you choose to watch this one, make sure you all watch it together so they can hide under blankets if its too scary.

My son loved this one, but Mr. Boogedy himself is a pretty gross ghoul!

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Beetlejuice (1988)

One of my personal favorites, Beetlejuice is hilarious and creepy – another perfect Halloween movie for a family.  There is some potty/sexual humor, and one bad word in the movie – but I remembered none of this when I was young and watching it.

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I loved the young Winona Ryder in this movie – she was perfect for the part of the emo-teenage girl, who possesses a kind of gothic beauty all of her own

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The best part is the song from the movie Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).

Inspiration

I love Inspiration Fridays… I love sharing what truly inspires me with you!

Back on March 29, 2012, actor Anthony Hopkins gave a talk to the students at Thomas Aquinas college.  He had been driving through that area and saw the chapel tower and stopped to walk around on the campus.  The students started spotting him, “That’s Anthony Hopkins!”  He was invited to come back and give a talk.  His talk is inspiring… about how life unfolds, and gratefulness.  He shares his personal stories and turns his “talk” into a generous Question & Answer hour.

His interaction with the students, humility, and frank advice is simply beautiful.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

Women & Their Cats

There is something seductive about the cat.  When I was growing up, one of my father’s favorite movies was Bell Book & Candle, a 1958 film wrought with seduction, witch craft, and a gorgeous Siamese cat.  I had a Siamese feline of my own back then, there is really nothing quite like them – no other cats even come close.

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Kim Novak, a self-described Polish-Czech actress, is stunning in this film, and paired next to James Stewart, of course.  She admires him from afar, and when she sees he’s engaged to her college-rival, she decides to get even.  She places a love spell over him, but then… ends up falling for him in earnest herself.

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She can’t help it – if you watched this movie, you’d feel the attraction and powerful seduction throughout the scenes.  She has one problem though, a witch cannot fall in love without losing her powers.  The movie takes a comic twist when her love becomes fascinated with helping a man write a book on witches in New York, her own hilarious brother is the insider guide to the investigator, causing multiple problems for his sister.  I won’t spoil anymore of the movie, if you love women & cats & a little bit of black magic, you should see it.

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Her Aunt: She’s in love.

Her brother: Wouldn’t she rather be dead?