If You Feel Detached This Memorial Day… Read This


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.


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.


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).


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.

oscars 2015

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.

oscars actresses


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.”


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

Best Halloween Oldies Kid’s Will Love Today

worst witch cat

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.

worst witch potions

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

worst witch

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!

mr boogedy

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.




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


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


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.




Best of the Oscars 2014

The Oscars this year happened to fall on a night where we were already having a party to celebrate birthdays in the family – so it became an impromptu little Oscar party with all of us gathered around the tv with pizza, sodas, and chocolate desserts.  We laughed, admired, and were amazed at this year’s surprises.

There were many memorable moments… and in case you didn’t care for the Oscars, here’s what you might’ve missed!


Epic Selfie

You know it’s an epic selfie when it includes famous celebrities having a blast together at one of their “most formal events!”


I love Sandra Bullocks reaction to Ellen’s pop-up intercessions….  Sandra still looks amazing, and her performance in Gravity was beautiful.


Ellen surprised everyone and actually ordered pizza (I thought she was just joking, as did most everyone else)!  The pizza delivery man, Edgar Martirosyan, thought he would only be delivering to people backstage!


Martirosyan is actually the owner of the Hollywood franchise location that he bought 5 years ago; apparently the store was busy and so he delivered the pizza himself.  Ellen passed around a hat and ended up giving him a $1,000 tip!

jim carrey oscars

Jim Carrey also made a hilarious appearance – so good to see him again.


Idina Menzel performed her Frozen song Let it Go.


Olivia Wilde with her husband glowing from pregnancy in a simple yet elegant gown – you could not even tell she was pregnant until she turned to the side.  And her hairstyle was perfect.


Love seeing gorgeous pregnant women… which brings me to another glamorous one, Kerry Washington


Bette Midler gave a moving performance of the Wind Beneath My Wings,

bette midleroscars

Matthew McCounaughey and his first ever Oscar

matthew mc

Jennifer Lawrence was playful and radiant… as always!


American Hustle stars

american hustle pc

Meryl Streep danced with Happy singer, Pharrell Williams


Cate Blanchett and her Oscar for Blue Jasmine, loved her earrings and gown


Lupita Nyong’o accepted her award for supporting actress in 12 Years a Slave

lupita nyong'o

It’s always intriguing to see the actors and actresses who star in our favorite movies live, and this year was epic in catching their unplanned reactions. 

The poise, the beauty, and the talent.  Congrats for another great Oscar year!