Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lady sings the blues



When you need a soulful song to lull you through a hard break-up, or just want to listen to someone belt out a melody packed with the residue of relationships past, Adele should be the one album on your iPod set to repeat. As I’m sure all of you know love, relationships, marriage, and all in-between aren’t always pathed with rose petal pathways leading to eternal longevity and happiness. Sometimes love hurts, sometimes love becomes chaotic, but ultimately there is light at the end of the tunnel. Adele captures every facet of love in the lyrics of some of her most recognized chart topping singles, and in this interview the reader truly gets a fly on the wall look into how these transcending and phenomenal songs came to be. If you get the chance please check out the magazine; and check out the spread…





Can we say “Look who’s laughing now” or what?

Movie Review: Beginners

Do you remember when I said I would dedicate this entire month (Due to my recently celebrated 5th anniversary [insert loud “What,What!” and fist bump]?

Remember how I profusely expressed my utter Fan-tastic (like that play on words don’t cha!) love of Indie Films?

Do you also happen to remember how LONG it’s been since I posted an Indie review?

So do I, and what better way to bounce back into action and produce a blog dedicated to love, than by blogging about such an amazingly funny, sarcastically driven, and ultimately original tale of new found love, relationship struggle, and everything in between like Beginners. I honestly think I have fallen in love all over again with Indies because of this film. It was Crisp, funny, sad at times, character driven, and superbly written. All-in-all, it was the perfect film to finish off a rainy day spent curled up on my couch with snacks and hot chocolate.


The Cast
Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic

The Story
Beginners  is a romantic comedy-drama written and directed by Mike Mills. The film engages the audience by telling the story of Oliver (McGregor), a man reflecting on the life and rather unexpected death of his father  Hal (Plummer) all while trying to fortify a new romantic relationship with a woman dealing with her own father issues.

Oliver

Is a man with a lot of emotional unresolved issues. As Oliver begins to unravel the coping phase after the death of his father Hal, the film sets the tone for several flashbacks of his relationship with Hal following the death of Oliver’s mother Georgia just years prior. Just after Georgia’s death Hal announced he was gay and began exploring his newly found social surroundings which leads him to a new (and much younger) boyfriend Andy (Visnjic). As Hal finally begins to find happiness in his life, despite Oliver’s confusion, Hal is then diagnosed with terminal cancer. Following this emotional diagnosis, Oliver decides to care for his father until his death. Months after Hal’s death Oliver meets and begins dating…

 Anna

Anna is a French actress with a rather peculiar relationship with her own seemingly unstable father. Oliver’s unresolved emotions surrounding his father’s death and ultimately his parents’ life together, along with Anna’s conflicting feelings about her father, aid to a rocky but over-the-top funny relationship, and force both Anna and Oliver to reconcile their feelings for each other and ask the million dollar relationship question…Is it all really worth it?

I loved this film and I really think you will all love it too! Happy Indies everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day Funsies



Veteran's Day is almost here and luckily enough, there are restaurants, vendors, and companies in general that are kind enough to honor our Vets and Military Personnel by way of snazzy perks, discounts, and even a few freebies here and there. To this, I figured I would share some info from one of my favorite sites themilitarywallet.com to get your creative juices flowing for all your Veterans Day plans and/or needs. Enjoy the information, and most of all enjoy your day! We all deserve it.

*Information included in link provided by themilitarywallet.com 




How do you plan on spending Veteran's Day?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lady, sing me a love song!

She was a 23 year old sassy and outspoken, often ridiculously clumsy, unapologetic for her dreamer like personality, free-spirited firecracker that knew what she wanted in life, and refused to be tied down by someone else’s opinion of how she should behave. He was a 27 year old Navy Seabee, with equally ambitious life goals, a need and liking for structure and routine and often stubborn beyond humanly possible. Who would have ever thought a pair with such variations in likeness would make so much sense when brought together, inevitably taking that walk down the aisle, and committing their lives to one another? Let alone make it last.

Well… we did! And apparently the Universe was in the know as well.

And last it has. Almost 5 years after saying our “ I Do’s” we have found ourselves in the exact same place as we were the day we sealed the deal and locked that ole’ ball and chain…happily head over heels in love. Yes, love is officially in the air and it’s wafting it’s delectable fragrance everywhere I seem to turn my head, and filling me with reminiscent memories of how I met the love of my life turned husband. Our 5th anniversary is officially just around just a few days away, and to commemorate our union I have decided to dedicate all post this month to all things love and marriage.

To kick things off I figured I would play one of my favorite Adele songs that has (since originally hearing it) always reminded me of my hubby and I- even though the song is really about her and her best friend. The complexities and dynamics of two people coming together with two very different perspective and somehow completing each other has always been a factor of relationships that amazed me. I know that Adele has been played to NO end throughout blogs and the radio, but I still love her British songstress ass to pieces and feel that this song fits. Enjoy my favorite Songstrella everyone, and happily ever after to all! 




Sunday, November 6, 2011

The rite of counsel

The last 45 days have been nothing short of a challenge for me. Between work, taking care of my family, and a few other stressors life decided to throw my way, I feel I have completely maxed out my bullshit-o-meter for the next century or so. All in all, life lately has been more of a pain in the ass than I care to deal with. Although things haven’t been stellar, I have found a way to foster a much more positive attitude to help me work through the rough thanks to our marriage counselor that we have been seeing for the last month or so.

 Now I’m not usually one that likes to sit down with a complete stranger and air out my dirty laundry, just to have them pick my brain and tell me what I already knew I needed to do, but for the sake of wanting (technically needing) an outsiders opinion to help us see each other clearly I decided to give it a go. And you know what? I couldn’t be happier that I did. Despite my original hesitation and skepticism, seeing a therapist has been the best decision we have ever made. Thanks to therapy the hubby and I are communicating again, really communicating in a way that I honestly never thought I'd see again. He’s also listening to my feelings, and showing me that he has my back no matter how uneasy he was about the outcome. This has been a huge struggle in our marriage, and hearing our therapist not only acknowledge my feelings but agree with me 100%, had such a huge impact on him that it changed him almost instantly. Therapy has been so good in fact, I figured I would blog about some of the tools I’ve learned in hopes of sharing what I think is useful information with all of you. As I’ve stated before marriage alone is difficult, but marriage to someone with PTSD could be downright murder; I know for me it’s always good to hear others coping mechanisms and information they use to get through their rough patches, here are my favorite 5.

Listen-

Understand that listening is not just you patiently waiting for your chance to speak. To listen you must take the other persons words, feelings, and expressions into as great of consideration as you expect them to take yours. By listening you are not only showing the person that you care, you are now able to truly understand their concerns and find the best resolution for them and yourself.

Open-

Open yourself to seeing the situation from their vantage point. It’s the same as walking a day in someone else’s shoes. You might find that their perspective has valid and substantial points that you should consider. This practice of openness will not only remove you from only reflecting on your feelings about the situation, it will also give you a clear scope of how your reactions impact the situation itself as well as the other person

Willing-

Be willing to understand that you may not be the only person who feels hurt or wronged. If you are willing to admit that you have also played a role in your current situation, you will be able to truly move forward.

Strength-

Strength is more than just overcoming hardships, hurt, or anger. Strength is much more then physical or emotional. True strength comes from your undiluted understanding of your own weaknesses and your courage in working to correct them. It’s not just enough to overcome a circumstance that makes you strong, it’s what you learned from it that allowed you to correct it for the future that creates strength.

Passing the past-

The past is called the past for a reason. You have to be willing to step away from the past, learn from it, and truly move on. You can’t say you moved on from the past if you continue to talk about it. You can’t say you are a stronger person than you were if you continue to allow your past to surface itself in your present. Leave the past behind you, and be willing to carve out a new path for yourself today.

Learning new ways to help evolve myself and work through the austere days I sometimes face has been a mission of mine for the last few years. I may not always have the answers or always have the best solutions to life’s problems, but I feel that I am getting there, and carving a much more blissful path every step I take.

What tools do you use to get through your rough patches. Send me an email, I would love to hear about them, or feature them on this blog. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Serotonin Syndrome Scare

    Recently my husband and I discovered that the medication a Physician at the VA prescribed him to treat his anxiety has caused an adverse reaction resulting in much more complicated and serious symptoms than expected. Immediately when realizing how serious his symptoms were, sudden panic on both our parts began to rise to heights unforeseeable to both of us. The symptoms were pretty nasty: restlessness, shivering, muscle rigidity, confusion, uncontrollable heavy sweating, muscular twitching and/or tremors, diarrhea, increased heart rate, dilated pupils, seizures, continued headache, and hallucinations. These were just a few of the recognizable symptoms that we noted. If many of you out there are thinking about now- Wow, my husband has the same symptoms. What’s causing this? The answer to that question is this-Serotonin Syndrome , also known as Serotonin Toxicity, which is a form of poisoning. If you are wondering just how serious Serotonin poisoning is, please be advised this condition at it’s worst may cause death. I’m not trying to scare you, but I feel you should know the facts about just how serious this condition can be if not immediately tended to.

I’m sure if you are in my shoes right now and freaking out by what all this may mean to you, allow me to pass on a little information that may help you figure out what steps to take next. Here is an insert from Google-

Serotonin syndrome is a disease that appears when someone is making abuse of certain drugs that store high levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin syndrome occurs particularly when is taken in addition to these drugs, which serve to regulate serotonin levels in the body, some other drugs that together give upside these levels of serotonin. Of course this syndrome occurs also when the doses of these drugs are increased over the doses prescribed by the doctor.

          In cases of sever Serotonin syndrome you will notice symptoms like high fever, seizures, unconsciousness and irregular heartbeats. Serotonin syndrome in severe forms can bring even death to a person. In milder cases of serotonin syndrome for immediate treatment are used drugs that block serotonin or they will stop the medications that affects the serotonin levels.

If you begin to have these serotonin syndrome symptoms especially because you got a higher dose of a drug (that your doctor prescribed to maintain your serotonin levels) or because you decided to try a new drug about which you do not know too much, I recommend you to contact a doctor immediately or go to the nearest hospital for detailed investigations.

For my husband, the central cause of Serotonin syndrome was the combination two medications that he was advised was safe to take in conjunction with each other; Effexor (SNRI used to treat anxiety), and Tramadol (used for pain management). Both drugs on their own can cause this reaction, but by taking both of them together, and having his dosage of Effexor increased was really the nail in the coffin that caused his serotonin poisoning.  If you have noticed these symptoms in your loved one, my suggestion would be to immediately seek medical attention. I am not a Physician, and this post is not intended to direct care, but to pass on information about my experiences. I hope none of you have to experience what we have just recently gone through, but if you are, please do not wait to see if the medication will settle on its own.
                                                              Stay safe, and live well-

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Warriors in Pink-FIVE


Every once in awhile you see or hear about something so groundbreaking and inspirational that it instantly brings tears to your eyes and makes you grateful for the life you have been blessed with no matter the difficulties or bumps in the road. For me, this tear provoking moment came on strong as soon as I saw the first press release for FIVE, an exceptional film directed by five of Hollywood’s most incredibly dynamic women, and stars 5 of Hollywood's most compelling and extraordinary actresses. The film is part of Lifetime and Ford’s Warriors in Pink campaign which encourages the expanding awareness and support in finding a cure for breast cancer. The film depicts the stories of 5 different women who have been affected by breast cancer. 

Here is a short insert from Lifetime:

The groundbreaking original movie “Five” is an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people’s lives. “Five” highlights the shared experience each short film’s title character endures from the moment of diagnosis, through an interconnected story arc that uses humor and drama to focus on the effect breast cancer and its different stages of diagnosis

To read more please visit Lifetime’s website: http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/five


Being someone who has lost a loved one to breast cancer, I believe strongly in the necessity to heighten the awareness of breast cancer, and encourage all who can to learn about this disease and lend their hand in finding a cure. Sometimes being a warrior wife, mom, sister, or daughter extends beyond the battles of PTSD, and for these battles, having a solid grounding of continued support makes all the difference between losing a life, and saving one. Please tune in to Lifetime to watch this incredible film, and learn how you can extend your support in finally beating breast cancer.





 If you would like to know how you can lend your support and stay stylish at the same time check out this link: http://www.shopwarriorsinpink.com  to pick up your own warriors in pink swag. The Lady Bug and I officially are owners of our own! Pictures coming soon.

Take care Warriors and live well!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past 6 months of how I can take more time out for myself to do the things that make me happy and help to ease some of the stress that tends to accumulate due to the day to day headaches of work, motherhood, wifeyhood, and coping with PTSD. Coping takes more effort than just taking 10 minutes out of my day to stop and breathe before jumping right back into the craziness that is my life. I don’t know about you, but more often than not for me, the day to day hustle and bustle seems to consume my focus, and inevitably prevent me from taking time out for myself to do the things that make me happy and keep me sane. I’ve been trying to think of a way to resolve this issue, and finally carve out some much needed me time to aid my endeavors of keeping a coherent emotional stabilization to cope with the stressors of life. But not just coping, I deserve to do something for myself. We all do. As mothers, and wives, sisters, and daughters, workers of the world, and stay at home moms, damn it we work hard and keep our families intact, we deserve to do something for ourselves that makes us happy don’t you think?

Well I figured out exactly how to take time for myself, and since I’m a fan of making list and am insistent on sharing my thoughts and ideas with all my fellow Warrior Women out here in the blogsphere, I’ve decided to post this list for all of you today. So here it is, I now declare this list self evident that we warrior Women need to Cape DSFY (Do Something for Yourself). I figured I ‘d give myself a full year to complete these task since, well, hello…If I don’t have a deadline I won’t get anything done. 

  1. Visit 10 historical sites or museums in your area
  2. Get involved in or volunteer for 10 charities in your area
  3. Complete a 10 week body boot camp/detox
  4. Read 10 interesting novels that you would like to share on blogger
  5. Find 10 interesting and culturally themed non-chain restaurants in your area to explore and review
  6. Finish writing and edits of your book in 10 months, and start looking to become published
  7. Find 10 new meet up groups in my area and go on 10 interesting meets to share on blogger
  8. Explore 10 different California Cities you have always talked about visiting. If they have good tourist sites blog about them.
  9. Take 10 artistically motivated classes
  10. Start and finish 10 projects you have been putting off for the past 4 years.
I'm really looking forward to taking on this challenge and sharing all the funsies with you along the way. 

Acupuncture and You



Ever thought some of the most resilient ailments could melt away in a matter of minutes without pills or expensive treatments? I’m talking about back pain, headaches, infertility, nausea, and even anxiety. Yes peeps, you heard right…anxiety disorder. Have you ever wonder how to reduce the effects of most chronic pain without taking meds that make you feel like a zombie? Well readers, if these are concerns that you may have, I may just have an answer-Acupuncture.

If you’re immediate thought is Really? This sounds like a load of crap I can assure you it’s not. A few years ago when my husband first began treatment for PTSD and anxiety disorder a Psychologist that he was seeing at the time inquired as to if he had ever considered acupuncture in addition to traditional medication treatment. Much like most people my husband politely advised that the thought of turning himself into a human pin cushion was not exactly something that he cared to try. As the years ticked on, and the traditional treatments failed to relieve his anxiety, my husband soon began to consider holistic approaches to simmer down the debilitating effects of anxiety. And you know what…it worked! My husband had his first appointment a few weeks ago with a Psychiatrist that specialized in acupuncture and an Acupuncture therapist. Within minutes of receiving the first pin pricks his anxiety levels (which were at the time about a 10) immediately melted away and stayed away for two weeks. Not only did this treatment diminish his anxiety and clam his PTSD, it also greatly reduced the amount of meds needed during the duration of the two weeks after this treatment. Impressive? This is just scratching the surface of what acupuncture can do.

Now before you dismiss this post and write it off as completely irrelevant to you or your circumstances, first consider a few little known facts:

  • Holistic medicine such as acupuncture is based on the treatment of all bodily systems. To this effect, the treatment has the ability to benefit or greatly improve physical health conditions as well as affective disorders and instill a feeling of increased mental and physical health.


  • Acupuncture works directly with the body’s natural energy redirecting said energy and as a result allowing the body to naturally release tension, chronic pain, and anxiety.


  • Acupuncture has been proven effective in treating various medical conditions, and it’s use has been expanded into conventional medicine practices.


  • Acupuncture is best known and recognized for relieving acute and chronic pain, however, it also benefits a wide variety of Respiratory disorders such as: sinusitis, common cold, bronchitis and asthma.


  • Acupuncture can also benefit nearsightedness and cataracts, and improve the effects of frequent headaches caused by some of your most common eye diseases.


Still feel hesitant about trying acupuncture? Listen to this:

  • Acupuncture can also help to strengthen your immune system function, which through treatment can better enable you to fight of cold, minor infections, and flu.
  • Most importantly to me (and you if you or your loved one suffers from PTSD), Acupuncture is known to aid multiple emotional or psychological disorders, which reduce or completely stop addictions, phobias, obsessive behaviors, eating disorders, anxiety, stress, chemical imbalances, and depression.


If you are still feeling a little on the fence, try asking your Physician about Acupuncture in conjunction with traditional treatments you or your loved one may be taking now. As I always like to say; arming yourself with knowledge will never hurt. Good Luck Warrior Wives!

What treatments have seemed to work for you or your Warrior spouse? Send me an email or post a comment to share your story.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Back


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I absolutely love Fall, it’s my favorite time of year, and last week Fall officially returned for another Fall-tastic year filled with warm colors, and exciting fall fun.



Can I just take a moment to embrace the inner “Yay” moment I’m currently having
[pause while I do my happy dance…and done]





The Return of Fall of course brings with it the return of some of my favorite things, like some of my favorite T.V shows




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And of course Fall T.V wouldn't be as fun if it didn't add a new shows (or two ) to obsess about.






But T.V and beautifully colored leaves aren't the only reason why I love Fall. I think every girl out there will agree, Fall wouldn't be fall without the shoes.


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Yes the shoes... They cement my love affair with Fall and seriously take me to my happy place. I heart Shoes...But there's more to love about Fall especially when the weather cools and there is a sudden chill in the air; a chill that allows me to cuddle up on the couch with my husband in my fuzzy socks and this...


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I may not be a huge fan of coffee, but Soy Hot Chocolate with a hint of nutmeg...Yummerrific. Yes indeed, Fall is back and I'm excited and oh so ready to fall back in love with Fall!


 Happy Fall everyone! Enjoy

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chronicle # 2...To take a pill, to not take a pill...that, is the question


Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Ativan, and Lexapro. This may sound like an extremely long list of fabricated names, but in actuality they couldn’t be any farther from it. This list of hard to pronounce names are some of the most commonly prescribed SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) medications, used to treat or reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Anxiety disorder is one of the leading symptoms of PTSD, and because of this most Physicians will encourage their patients to try one of the above meds as an attempt to treat their anxiety or lessen  some of the more debilitating effects of anxiety.

So how exactly do SSRI’s work?
SSRI’s work by increasing the amount of serotonin (neurotransmitters) found in the brain. The use of these medications is supposed to calm the anxiety, and mildly influence mood, outlook, and behavior, thus reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

So what are the draw backs?
Well, as with any medication side effects are to be expected. Because medication affects each person differently, grouping the side effects together generally isn’t realistic if you want a true understanding of what to possibly expect while on SSRI’s. Because this site is all about sharing knowledge and experiences along this journey I’ll share some of the side effects that I’ve noticed in my husband and while trying these meds.  If they sound similar in your case, maybe doing a little more research could benefit you or your loved one in finding the right fit for you. Just understanding the reality behind SSRI myths and facts can help you know what you expect, understand the risks, and help you make an informed decision about your treatment.

So what are the side effect facts?
Fact # 1… Taking an SSRI can change the chemistry inside your brain. This causes subtle changes in the way you feel, act, and behave. Knowing this important piece of information is absolutely vital in understanding how your chosen SSRI is affecting your loved one because although this change can cause more emotional stability, and outgoing nature, it doesn’t always create this calming effect. In some cases the person taking these medications can feel more tired, jittery, dizzy, and experience frequent headaches and nausea. I know for my husband, all the above were true.

Fact # 2… SSRI’s can also cause sexual problems including reduction of sex drive or inability to have an orgasm (although these symptoms are reversible), and can also further cause frequent muscle pain, decreased appetite, insomnia, diarrhea or constipation, exhaustion, and in some cases further cause anxiety.

So, what has my experience been?
My husband has been on every SSRI out there including other medications not considered to be SSRI’s however often carrying the same effects of SSRI meds like Wellbutrin and Effexor. All the meds my husband has tried have all had pretty similar side effects and none have seemed to work so far. In our case (which greatly varies from friends of ours) the meds my husband has tried have increased his anxiety and often caused more problems than they were worth. We’re still trying to figure out what works for him, but in the meantime have discovered a helpful tool to chart his meds and the symptoms he experiences. He’s keeping a daily medication journal, and it is one of the best tools to help give his Physician an overall full scope of how each medication works for him, and which dosage is right. If you have had the same problem we have run into, keeping a journal could really help to not only show you the difference between the meds, but also show your doctor exactly how the meds are working (or not working) for you. Try it, it just may be beneficial.

So what are my tips?
When taking meds the question on our minds has always been Should I or Shouldn’t I. For us, this answer is never easy, which is where gathering information comes into play. Knowing the meds helps to know what you are getting yourself into. Besides, knowledge of your meds is always a key factor in making an informed decision of what’s right for you. Not to mention, if it’s your loved one taking the meds, understanding those meds and how they affect or change the chemicals in the brain help you to understand any behavioral changes that your loved one may experience. If your loved one was always the active type, and this was something that interested you, and now the meds are making them sluggish and constantly fatigued, understanding this side effect could help you understand what steps to take on your end to help your loved one, and in some cases prevent an argument or worse.  

So here are my tips:
  1.       Ask your Physician lots of questions about the suggested meds.
  2.       Create a Daily Med journal to chart frequency of symptoms, changes in mood or behavior, and overall success (or lack thereof) of the suggested meds.
  3.      Do your homework. Researching the meds will only further build your knowledge and understanding, and help you along this journey.
  4.      Ask your Physician about slow dosages. Jumping head first into a high dosage of meds isn’t always the best idea. Trying a lower dosages of meds can help your body become acclimated to the chemical change, thus increasing your changes of a positive experience while on the meds
  5.    Talk, talk, talk. Keeping the channels of communication open with your loved one is important. You need to know how the meds are working, or not working for them. Either way, talking about the meds he/she has been prescribed can make all the difference in this sometimes difficult process.

What is your take on the Pill Fight?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembrance

Sitting on the floor of my living room in front of the television; partly suffering from shock, partly bewildered in disbelief, this is where I was during 9/11.  It was a day that I will always remember; it forever changed my life as well as the lives of so many fellow Americans. It was a day that shook American, as well as countless other countries, and left most of society not only fearful of the days to come, but ambivalent of the future of our country. I can still remember so vividly the clutch of panic knotting my stomach, the tears swelling my eyes so completely I could barely see clearly. I can still recall the images of the Twin Towers falling, and the screeching sound of screams that almost seemed to seep through the thin cracks of my window. Little did I know at the time, the screams were coming from me. And it didn’t end there, how can we look back on that day and not remember the years of chaos that followed; the brave efforts and sacrifices of so many of our soldiers (including my husband), many of which returned home carrying the burden of the aftermath or war, or the even heavier sacrifice- not returning home at all. But you want to know what else I remember? The contentment in experiencing several of my fellow Americans coming together, binding ourselves to each other in a united effort to heal, and move forward after such a huge tragedy and blow to our boastful confidence in our own security. I remember the hope that was born from those moments, and the feel of community. During that time, and for the first time in a very long time, we were all united no matter what your political, racial, spiritual, or demographic standing. This is what I remember, and this is what I choose to keep dear to my heart.
So for today, I remember 9/11. The sacrifices of our Military and their families, the bond that formed and re-shaped our country, and the many efforts of our fellow American that helped heal our nation, at a time when everything seemed so unclear. I can’t promise I won’t cry, but this time they won’t be tears of fear, they’ll be tears of hope.

Always remember 9/11.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Movie Review: Welcome to the Riley's


My review:
A good friend of mine who also joined the same Indie group that I'm apart of, and fellow Indie fanatic, suggested I watch this film convinced I would absolutely love it to pieces and rave about it on my blog. She was so right. It’s great when your friends know you well enough to give you scoop on all the goodies in life. Jane C, you complete me…true story. It’s also great to know that there are still writer and film makers out there who are brave enough to tell true-to-life stories in such a marvelously unconventional way. Gritty enough to retain your interest, yet sentimental enough to capture your heart and leave you with a sense of connection to the characters. This type of riveting film making was never capture more beautifully then Welcome to the Riley’s.

I love it when I can watch a film and feel as though I recognize the characters. Without hovering any further into a gush induced spasm, I’ll just say this. I loved it, and I hope you will too.

Alright ramblers, let’s get rambling.

The story:
 Welcome to the Rileys was written by Ken Hixon, directed by Jake Scott, and stars James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, and Melissa Leo. The film debuted at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Doug and Lois Riley (Gandolfini and Leo) have endured their fair share of grief. They recently suffered a tragic loss, the death of their daughter Emily. As if their daughter’s death was not emotionally heart-wrenching enough, they both are now beginning to drift further and further away from one another as well. Lois buries herself in guilt over Emily’s death ultimately barricading herself in her home and shielding herself from almost everyone she knows. Meanwhile Doug emotionally detaches himself so completely in an effort to cope with the tragedy, he finds himself entering into an affair with a local waitress Vivian. Still emotionally raw from Emily’s loss, Doug is faced with the painful reality of death again, when Vivian dies suddenly. Feeling emotionally broken and alone, Doug leaves his home on a business trip to New Orleans, where he wanders into a local strip club and meets Mallory (Stewart), a 16 year old stripper.

Dough is immediately shaken at the sight of Mallory who strikingly resembles his deceased daughter. He immediately begins to feel the need to protect Mallory, and accompanies her home to ensure her safety. Once at her dilapidated downtown apartment his protective instincts are further heightened, and he offers Mallory $100 dollars a day if she will supply him room and board until he can get on his feet. Reluctant, but in need of money, Mallory takes him up on his offer and allows him temporary domesticity.

Back at home Lois begins to realize just how out of control her agoraphobia has become- She is determined to get her life back on track, and salvage her marriage even if that means leaving the comfort of her four walls, and entering into the world after nearly 10 years of social hibernation. When Lois is able to finally locate Doug, and realizes he has been taken in by an under aged stripper look-a-like of their deceased daughter, she begins to regret her decision of facing her fears and trying to save her marriage. After Doug explains his motives of only wanting to help Mallory straighten herself up, and give her the opportunities he regrets never giving to his daughter, Lois has a change of heart and decides to stay in New Orleans alongside her husband, and quickly receives Mallory with open arms. As the story unfolds the viewers are taken on an unconventional, yet heart-warming path of finding happiness after sorrow, and family where you would least expect it.

It was sad, it was raw, it was radiant, but most of all…it was brilliant. Hope you get the chance to see it, and enjoy.

Movie Review: Country Strong


I saw this film in early 2011and loved it to bits and pieces so I knew I needed to blog about it. First of all, I love Gwyneth Paltrow and always have, so it wasn’t that hard to convince me to check this film out. To no surprise I’m so happy I did. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me wish I had even a morsel  of vocal abilities just so I could spend my days singing the lyrics to several of the amazing songs featured in the film, but most of all it just simply reminded me of why I so heart the amazingly talented Greta-fied wonder that is Gwyneth. This biotch just all kinds of rocks ever thing she touches and to that I say “ All hail GP”.  Get em’ girl!

So to cut to the chase…here is the skinny

Country Strong was written and directed by Shana Feste, and stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Garrett Hedlund, and Leighton Meester.

  Kelly Canter (Paltrow), a young and troubled country singer has had her fair share of sorrow and chaos in her recent history. She has suffered a miscarriage, and is struggling to salvage her music career and marriage, all while recovering in a rehabilitation facility from a turbulent drug and alcohol addiction. Beau (Hedlund), who works in the rehabilitation center, has been there by her side trying to assist in keeping her sober and on the straight a narrow. He is also having an affair with Kelly despite knowing she is married to James (McGraw), who has managed to obtain an early rehab check-out in a last effort scramble to help Kelly attempt to make a much needed musical come-back.  Even with a great deal of understandable hesitation, Kelly agrees to leave rehab early and pursue an ambitious three-city tour with one minor condition- she wants Beau to be her opening act. What she doesn’t know is that James has already made plans of his own to book a rising singer Chiles Stanton (Meester) as Kelly’s opening act.

As it turns out, Beau is also fairly acquainted with Chiles, and appears to be quite disgruntled at the thought of touring with her even for a small amount of time. Chiles, who aspires to be country’s next big thing has one all the makings of a rising star- talent, looks, charisma, there is only one problem, she can’t seem to beat her stage fright when faced with appearing in-front of crowds. As must as Beau would love to watch Chiles choke on stage, he can’t help but feel compelled to jump on stage and help her through her set. This act of kindness sparks the first of many intimate encounters between Beau and Chiles that begin to lead to a simmering romance, which throws Beau into a sticky tug-of-war in trying to look out for Kelly, and trying to sort through his feelings for Chiles. Meanwhile Kelly’s premature rehab release proves too much more then she was ready to handle. Her first show bombs after receiving a disturbing package before her set, which spirals her back into heavy drinking and pill popping. Just as it appears that things couldn’t get any worse for all involved and the story unfolds, the viewers come to realize that “worse” doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.

I loved this film. Loved, loved, LOVED this film! It has so much depth to it, and without over articulating my feelings on it- It’s just friggin’ awesome! Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.  

Movie Review: The Ledge

I heard slight whispers about this film after it’s premier at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The buzz was pretty much tunneling around Patrick Wilson and his creeptasticly well acted transformation into a fundamentalist Christian aficionado. I was on the fence about watching this film because the reviews were so mixed, but I figured I’d watch it anyway and form my own opinion.

So…

In my opinion, it wasn’t that bad. It could have been better; the plot could have used a little more meat and/or fine tuning, but overall not bad. So here’s the skinny on this film.

The Ledge was directed and written by Matthew Chapman , and stars Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy hottie), Terrence Howard, Liv Tyler, and of course Patrick Wilson. By the by, I’d personally find any reason under the son to watch ANYTHING with Charlie Hunnam and Terrence Howard. Both are all kinds of yum, and simply put, very unique and interesting actors.

And again, on to the film.

Detective Hollis Lucetti (Howard) sits across from a Physician’s table who has just dropped a bombshell on the young detective; He has been sterile his entire life with absolutely no chance of having children of his own. Meanwhile, Gavin Nicholas (Hunnam), a young hotel manager steps onto the rooftop of Hotel, takes a deep breath, and places himself on the ledge of the building as a small crowd of people form beneath him.  The film then flashes back to a shaken Hollis who looks as though the news of his sterilization literally knocked the wind out of him. I suppose the news would have sparked that reaction, as Hollis opens his wallet and reveals pictures of his two children he thought he fathered with his wife. Oops!

Before Hollis can even digest this information he received word that he must immediately get over to the hotel to respond to an apparent suicide threat. Obviously not up for this task, but understanding that it is after all his job, Hollis takes off and heads out to talk Gavin off the ledge. Once there, he begins to assess  Gavin’s mental state in an effort to calm his mood, and convince him to communicate what drove him to the ledge of the hotel. Gavin begins to recount the story of the day he met his next door neighbors Shana (Tyler) and her husband Joe (Wilson), a married couple who recently moved into an apartment directly across from him. Gavin begins to detail how became involved with Shana after an intense altercation with Joe, a Christian fundamentalist who expressed his disgust for the lifestyle “choice” of Gavin’s gay roommate Chris (Christopher Gorham).

As the conversation continues Hollis begins to realize there is a much more sinister cause behind Gavin’s decision to step out onto that ledge, and as the story unfolds the viewers soon realize Hollis’s instincts are exactly right.

It wasn’t a loved it, loved it, but I did like this film and feel it was worth the time I took to track it down. 

Movie Review: The Other Woman

I know I’ve raved to no end about how indubitably smitten I am with Natalie Portman as an actress. I think she is brilliant, fearless, insanely talented, and has the distinct ability to deliver a powerful performance in whichever role she takes on. This was again proven in this powerful Indie pick, The Other Woman. I heard about this film back in early 2010, but because of difficulties I had in finding this film, I put watching it on the back burner for quite some time. And then I heard that it was adapted from the book Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman, so because I couldn't watch the film I decided to read directly from it's orgins instead. Well...This just made me feel as though I desperately needed to watch the film. In fact I can say without hesitation that I probably harassed 15 people (or more) on a weekly basis everywhere from convenient stores with fully stoked Redbox machines out front, to on-line movie rental shops in hopes of finally catching a break and crossing my fingers that someone would have it. So, here I am more then a year later, finally victorious in my pursuit of hunting down this film, and all I can say is...It was so friggin worth it! Kudos to my girl Natalie for knocking another one out the park, and delivering an emotionally charged, power-house performance that proves she is legend worthy.

Her portrayal of the lead character was definitely a raw depiction of the human condition; flawed, cumbersome, fraudulently beguiling, but yet so true to it's core it almost knocks you into dead silence. Even as the character radiates the most appalling behavior you could imagine, Natalie still has the ability to bring such humanity to the character that you can't help but feel remorse for her. It was just great. Oh so flippin' great.



But enough of the mush, let's get to the story shall we.



The Other Woman was directed by Don Roos who also wrote the screenplay, and stars Natalie Portman, Lisa Kudrow, Scott Cohen, Charlie Tahan, and Lauren Ambrose.

20 something year old Emilia (Portman) a Harvard Law graduate has just taken a job  as an associate in a prominent New York law firm where she meets Jack (Cohen), a handsome and very well established, however, very married firm partner. Emilia from the very start develops a crush on Jack, and after a few close encounters they soon begin to have an office affair. Not very long after the affair begins Emilia finds out that she is pregnant which needless to say destroys Jack's marriage to his wife Carolyne (Kudrow), but in turn allowed him the chance to marry Emilia. Life for the pair however does not go on without it's challenges. Jack has a son from his previous marriage named William; a bright and somewhat socially abrupt child that tends to rattle Emilia's cage a bit. Emilia seems to be optimistic about her newly married life and is thrilled about having a baby, until the unexpected sudden death of the new born just days after birth. As the story unfolds, the viewers are taken on Emilia's emotional journey as she struggles to come to terms with the untimely death of her baby, as well as her efforts to open herself up to her life as a stepmother to William and wife.

It was a heart-wrenching and intimate portrait of an extremely damaged woman's struggle to put her self back together, and how she built relationships in the most unexpected place, under the most tragic circumstances. This is for sure a LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT. I hope you all get the chance to watch it and enjoy.

Movie Review: Going The Distance

Have you ever seen a film that made you catch a non-stop case of the warm a fuzzies? 

Have you ever seen a film that left you completely covered from head to toe in a sticky film of Ahhhh?

This is totally that film for me. Not only am I head over heels about the two leading characters, I absolutely love the story line. This film was so freshly written and directed, you can't help but become smitten with it...genuinely smitten I say.

I know I have a pretty well documented track record for gushing all over the place when I really loved a film, but this one really deserves the gushy accolades. If you want to see a film that makes you fall in love with falling in love, and remind you of why you love movies this is the film for you. 

Going the Distance was written by Geoff LaTulippe, directed by Nanette Burstein, and stars Justin Long and Drew Barrymore. 31 year old grad student Erin (Barrymore) who lives in San Francisco, is spending 6 weeks of her summer interning at a newspaper in New York City. During a night out at a bar with her friend she meets Garrett (Long), who works for a local New York record label. The two flirt and drink, and after kicking back more than a few they decide to go back to Garrett's house for a casual fling. What they both agreed would be no more then a fling, turns out to be the makings of a pretty hot and heavy relationship which both Erin and Garrett have a hard time reconciling as the end of Erin's internship approaches, and they are forced to deal with the prospect of parting ways. 

As the story unfolds Erin and Garrett struggle to square away their relationship and try to find ways to cope with the difficulties that come with long distance relationships. 

Not only does this film capture some of the most comical um...intimate scenes I think I have ever seen, this film is also absolutely adorable. But oh no, not just adorable it's lovable, witty, insanely funny, and just a blast to watch. I really heart this one, and I hope you will all take the time out to watch it

Movie Review: Night Catches Us

I don't think I could describe this film without falling into a sea of undiluted gush-stew. I'll try to do my best but just in case...

Pardon me while I gush the frick out

 I have many reasons for my enthusiasm toward this film; not just because of my undying love of Kerry Washington, but also because of the rave reviews that continued to circle around the blogosphere praising the pure genius of this film. Indeed I was not disappointed. I loved this film so much I actually watched it twice in one day; once on my on, and later that night after forcing everyone in my house to stop what they were doing and relish in yumminess that is this film. Was that enough gush for you? Because trust me, there will be more.

Night Catches Us was written and directed by Tanya Hamilton. The leading characters are played by Kerry Washington (I so heart her) and Anthony Mackie. The film takes you back to 1976 Philadelphia in the middle of a racially tense and extremely divided neighborhood after the murder a a local Black Panther leader by the Philadelphia Police. Marcus (Mackie) returns to Philadelphia after the untimely death of his father; he has been gone for several years after the shocking murder of a well known Black Panther leader, and has come home to realize his childhood neighborhood is just as racially charged as it was the day he left. Not everyone is pleased by his homecoming including a few fellow Panthers turned local gangsters who blame him for snitching to the police and ultimately lead to the capture and murder of their leader. 

His homecoming reunited him with Patricia (Washington), a fellow Panther and the widow of the slain Panther, who is now a lawyer and lives with her daughter Iris and her new boyfriend. The chemistry between Marcus and Patricia is more than obvious from the start, and the two soon give in to their undeniable attraction, and try to make sense of their feelings for each other despite the ever growing tension surrounding them. In the meantime Patricia's brother Jimmy (Amari Cheatom) who struggles to make ends meat doing odd jobs anywhere he can for very little pay, becomes more and more entranced by the Panthers after several harassing encounters with the Philadelphia Police. As the story unfolds and the tension between the community and the local Police continues to build, the truth about the murder begins to unravel in a surprising finish that will not leave you disappointed.

So...

What do I have to say about this film?

I LOVED it, LOVED it, LOVED It. Exclamation point times 10. I really hope all of you take the time out to watch this incredible film.