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Entertainment

Entertainment is enjoyable from babies to adults. Whether you’re single, married, have kids or not movies, arts, sports and events bring people together.

Google Chromecast audio, 12th birthday

Disclosure: I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Do you love music? I think most people do. I feel like there should be a soundtrack to life and for each milestone, there should be a designated song playing in the background always. I think the world would be a better place if music was just always running in the background.

It probably has something to do with the way I grew up. My parents are both very big music lovers and there was always some kind of music playing in the house when I was growing up. Whether it was Mexican music playing softly in the background during dinner while my dad told us stories of growing up in Mexico, nursery rhymes playing when one of the children was small of soft jazz playing as my dad held my mom and swayed through the house on any given Sunday, music was always playing. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories.

We do the same at our house. But instead of playing music on huge speakers we use portable speakers and instead of blasting a boom box in one room of the house, we now have Google Chromecast which makes it easy and affordable to play our music from our devices in any room, or multiple rooms in the house.

 

Google Chromecast audio, 12th birthday

 

Google Chromecast Audio is available at Best Buy. Google Chromecast Audio enables you to play music on your speakers, new or old, wirelessly from your phone, laptop or tablet.  Because Chromecast Audio uses WiFi instead of Bluetooth, you can stream crystal clear hi res sound. It is the best of all worlds and makes the transition from the boom box to your tech devices effortless. Because Chromecast Audio uses WiFi instead of Bluetooth, you can stream crystal clear hi res sound on your new or old speakers.

Listen to your favorite tunes on your speaker/

By using your phone, it’s easy to play, pause, or change the volume from anywhere in the home. And while streaming, you can still text or call without interrupting what’s playing or draining your battery.

1)      Crystal clear sound, powered by the cloud     Use Chromecast Audio to stream over Wi-Fi which has many advantages over Bluetooth including higher sound quality.

2)      Enjoy hundreds of your favorite audio apps

Stream millions of songs, radio stations, and podcasts through apps like Pandora, Spotify, YouTube Music, and Google Play Music. Find more at chromecast.com/apps

3) Play music everywhere with Multi-room

Now you can easily fill every room in your home with synchronous music. Simply group Chromecast Audio devices together so you can listen to the same song on multiple speakers making curating the best life soundtrack that much easier.

Google Chromecast audio, 12th birthday

What would be the top three songs on the soundtrack for your life and why?

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Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

Are you a cheater? Have you ever told the person that you love the most a lie to satisfy your own id? I think most of us have, right? At first you think, who’s it going to hurt. Don’t ask; don’t tell. More like take the junk to the grave. If you’re going to cheat, the least you can do is keep it to yourself. Telling your partner that you’ve cheated is not going to help them at all. You did the crime, now do the time. Live with your guilt.

You see, this is why the Big Guy and I can’t ever do the Netflix and chill thing. He is all about the chill part but not about the Netflix binge part. I’m a closer. I like to pick my show and then binge it to the end. I am nothing if not committed to finishing my shows. So sometimes, I have to cheat.

He knows I do it. We don’t discuss it. It’s not a big deal. We are open about it. I am just not built to be a once-in-awhile show watcher. We’ve actually just given up trying because it’s just too frustrating and someone always gets hurt so we’ve decided it’s just easier if he does him and I do me.

Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

For example, we started watching One Day at a Time Together but he likes to savor the moments and draw out the season. I am more of a wham! Bam! Thank you ma’am! Kind of a gal so he falls asleep and I watch until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. Needless to say, I finished the series in a weekend and he still hasn’t caught up. It really was THAT good.

Then there was A Series of Unfortunate Events that we just couldn’t agree on a time to watch it so I watched it with the girls and he watched it while we were at ballet. We all agreed that the show was definitely cheat worthy because we all loved it.

Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

But then there are shows like the Santa Clarita Diet that we all must watch together. It’s the kind of show that brings us back together and reminds us of why we fell in love in the first place, because we just get each other completely.

I’d definitely hide a body for him and I’m pretty sure he’d do just about anything in his power to keep me from turning into a zombie. I mean, I’m pretty difficult just when I’m hangry. I’d never cheat on him by watching the Santa Clarita Diet alone.

Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

 

But then again, I won’t lie, when House of Cards returns this May, I won’t even pretend that I’m not doing it. The simple fact is that I will be cheating my way through it within a weekend. But don’t feel too bad for the Big Guy, I’ll be doing the Netflixing but we’ll be doing the chillin’ together. He’s the only one I ever want to Netflix and Chill with. I mean come on, I’m a show cheater not a real one.

What Netflix show can you not help but cheating and watching ahead on? Come on you can tell me, I won’t tell anyone.

Disclosure: This post was not compensated though I am a member of the Stream Team. All opinions and binge watching habits are my own.

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Gabriela McBride, American Girl, GIveaway, Girl Mom

My girls are growing up fast. Faster than I could have ever imagined back when they were learning to crawl backwards and walk then talk. Everything used to feel like it took an eternity. Now, everything is so fast. Now, I’m the one saying, “Wait up! Stop this train. I want to get off.”

The girls are no longer toddlers and preschoolers but elementary aged girls headed straight for that awkward in-between age. You know that time where kids look like puppies with overgrown paws? You know they are going to eventually grow into themselves but they still have that dang baby face that you just want to smother them with kisses. That is until they roll their eyes at you. I swear I spend a lot of time talking about rolling eyeballs on this blog lately. My mom used to wish a daughter “just like” me on me when I was a teen. Now, I get it. I’ll have two.

Anyways, in a lot of ways they are growing up. They can do a lot of stuff on their own. Heck, I even let them play outside in the yard with no supervision these days. (why yes, I am a recovering helicopter mom.) They have their own phones and they can have real conversations about the world but, in many ways, they are still my babies.

I love seeing them develop into the kind of people they are going to be someday. I see interests and issues that they love and support. They are thinkers and doers and that makes me proud. One loves to write and the other draw. One loves to dance and the other do gymnastics. They are similar but so different. Their personalities are really emerging at this age and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. I feel like one day I will be able to say, I was there when.

One minute they are making music.lys and the next they are playing with American Girl dolls. One minute they are telling me, “No mom, I can do it myself.” And the next, they are coming in hot for mommy time. Hey, I’ll take it. I’m not complaining. I know these moments are fleeting. Yes, even the eye rolls. I’m sure one day, I will even miss those.

So, I really appreciate it when there are toys that they can play with and love but at the same time love and learn from. It’s rare that you find that because toys these days are either strictly for flexing the brain or completely pointless other than wasting your money and maybe giving your kids a few hours of entertainment. Yes, I realize those smiles are priceless.

I’ve always been a fan of dolls. Maybe because I’m a girl. Maybe because I have girls or maybe I just like the idea of a toy that teaches a child to be nurturing and compassionate; a “toy” that teaches your child to care for something else. It’s even more so when it is relateable to the child. Shared physical traits or, in the case of American Girl dolls which have their own backstory, shared interests and books to elaborate on that kinship.

This year’s American Girl of the Year is Gabriela McBride. Gabriela (the doll) is a quiet and creative girl growing up in a family of artists. In her story, Gabriela struggles with stuttering, but uses the power of poetry to find her voice and gain the confidence to make a difference in her community. I can relate to this because I was a clutterer and writing has always been my way of expressing myself.

Gabriela McBride, American Girl, GIveaway, Girl MomThe first book Gabriela, hits shelves in January and tells the story of a quiet and creative girl growing up in a family of artists. Gabriela inherited a love of the arts from her parents, especially her mother, but spoken word poetry is becoming her own passion. Although Gabriela often finds herself in a battle with her own words because of her stuttering, she discovers that her poetry, filled with wit and honesty, helps her speech flow more easily and gives her the confidence to find her voice to help save her beloved community arts center from being torn down.

As many of you know, I have my own Gabi who also happens to be a creative. She dances and loves to scribble on her drawing pad or in her journal and when she’s not doing that, she is making music.lys. You see, my Gabi is also a quiet girl who is an old soul. She is very observant and loves anything artistic and animals, more than just about anything else. She’s quite shy when around new people but through music.ly, she has opened up by being able to express herself without someone looking directly at her and she has been blossoming. Her music.lys are pretty hilarious. I just love seeing her enjoy herself and double bonus when she and her sister do them together because that means they are not bickering, as they so often do lately.

 

Gabriela McBride, American Girl, GIveaway, Girl Mom

The 18”Gabriela doll has curly dark-brown hair and warm brown eyes. The first thing my daughters said when they saw her was, “Look mama, she looks like you!” It’s true, we both have some pretty awesome curly hair and warm chocolate eyes. Only, I wish I was a dancer.

My Gabi fell in love with Gabriela McBride the moment she saw her. She loves that Gabriela is musically inclined and has cool accessories that she can use further personalize her experience to Gabriela like the performance case and the creative studio.

The performance case has everything Gabriela needs to set a performance or mix music. The case includes a laptop with a retractable cord for her drum pad and microphone, as well as 3 reversible and interchangeable screens. The drum pad can be plugged into the computer for sound mixing and comes with drumsticks. The case also includes a stylish pair of stylish rhinestone headphones so she can tune everybody out and prepare for a performance.

Gabriela loves nothing more than to dance, create and dream in the studio at her community center, much like my Gabriella and her beloved ballet studio. The creative studio comes with a metal barre that’s perfect for practicing moves from her ballet board and a reversible backdrop with the interior and exterior of the studio. It also comes with a water bottle, because every dancer needs to stay hydrated and a soft yellow towel because every dancer knows after a hard class, you sweat. Your tiny dancer or future YouTube, music.ly or funimate star will adore these add-ons for Gabriela.

Additional Gabriela products and books will be available starting this spring and, for the first time ever, the Girl of the Year collection will be available for a full 12 months and beyond!

To connect both boys and girls with Gabby’s inspiring message, American Girl is partnering with Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and leader in comprehensive educational materials, to create and distribute Express Yourself, a custom curriculum program that teaches 3rd-5th grade students how to use poetry as a tool for self-expression. The free materials will be available on www.scholastic.com starting March 1, 2017, and include teacher lessons and corresponding classroom activities, a poetry poster, plus parent tips and learning ideas to do at home. In addition, to celebrate National Poetry Month, the program also features a poetry contest for students that will run throughout the month of April. The Express Yourself program will encourage all students to find their creative voices and share their own personal stories, while building confidence along the way.

To learn more about Gabriela and the Girl of the Year line, go to americangirl.com, Facebook at facebook.com/americangirl, Twitter at twitter.com/american_girl, Pinterest at pinterest.com/agofficial, and American Girl’s Instagram page at instagram.com/americangirlbrand.

Gabriela McBride, American Girl, GIveaway, Girl MomI was provided a doll for review by American Girl and they are letting me give one away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment on who your favorite American Girl doll is and why below in the comments section and enter via the rafflecopter entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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family fun night, Trolls, Dreamworks, movie night, Trolls party, family

This post is sponsored by DreamWorks. All opinions about Trolls are my own.

Does your family have a designated “family fun night”? Friday is our happy, relax, “no homework and we get to sleep in the next morning,” get your happy on night. The only thing we need for a successful family night is for our family (with the occasional cameos of our favorite friends) to be together. We’re simple and it doesn’t take a lot to make us happy on Friday nights. Usually, footie pajamas, good food, a movie and some music are just what the occasion calls for. We are big fans of the spontaneous dance party. We have no shame in our family night game. Sing. Dance. Laugh. Repeat!

We usually like to keep the movie light and happy, something we can all enjoy without anyone ending up in mommy’s bed. We’ve been waiting for DreamWorks’ Trolls to come out on DVD and Blu-ray since we saw it in the theater. Trolls have had a special place in my heart since I was a child and the movie did not disappoint. It has a catchy soundtrack that’s so much fun to sing-a-long with. I should know because we’ve been singing along with it in the car for weeks. The characters in the film are vibrant and fun enough to keep even the most discerning little ones entertained and the themes are perfect for a family fun night; no Trolls left behind and family is everything. After all, being with the people we love really is where our happy place originates.

But the real key to a good “family fun night” – besides the movie of course – are the snacks. We don’t want anything too serious or labor-intensive, after all, it is Friday! At our house, once we’re all in our favorite jumper jammies, we like to put some music on and dance around while we wait for our pizza to arrive because everybody loves pizza. You know us, we’re cooler than a pack of peppermints.

Trolls, Dreamworks, movie night, Trolls party

Next, while we’re still dancing and usually by this time laughing our heads off at one another because some of us have moves and some of us…not so much, I like to throw together some snacks. Our favorites are a simple fruit tray and a veggie tray because not only are they good for you, they are easy to make and fun to dip. Also, since we are about to see a movie we need snacks like iced animal crackers, Cheez-its and popcorn. You would be astonished at how easy it is to assemble this small feast and how happy it makes all of us.

Trolls, Dreamworks, movie night, Trolls party

Once we’ve all got our bellies sufficiently filled, then we settle in with fuzzy blankets on the sectional and start the feature film. Depending on how long it takes the girls to get the table cleared off, there may or not be time for yet another family fun night spontaneous party. I must say this is infinitely more fun when your children’s friends are also spending the night. There is something special about 8-11-year-old girls on sugar that kicks family fun night up about 20 notches. Sing. Dance. Laugh. Repeat!

Trolls, Dreamworks, movie night, Trolls party

If you are looking for “family fun night” games, I suggest these, sure-to-make-everyone-in-the-house-happy activities. I promise everyone will be smiling, except for maybe the kid who gets a dog food jelly bean or the one who draws the ingredients blue popsicle and salami for her smoothie challenge, but even then our kids were smiling. 1) Bean boozled 2) the Smoothie Challenge 3) Pie in the face. And if you are looking for the perfect “family fun night” movie to watch, look no further.

Trolls, Dreamworks, movie night, Trolls party

DreamWorks’ Trolls Party Edition on Blu-ray and DVD, with the Party Mode bonus feature is available to own on Feb. 7th, DreamWorks’ Trolls Party Edition includes a never-before-seen sing-along, dance-along “Party Mode.” It’s packed with fun, colorful extras perfect for your family movie night!

Trolls, Dreamworks, movie night, Trolls party

Bonus, loads of your favorite actors/ actresses make an appearance in Troll form. Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, James Cordon, Zooey Deschanel and, my family’s favorite songstress, Gwen Stefani just to name a few. It’s like the perfect Carpool Karaoke cast. And did I mention some of the Trolls poop cupcakes and glitter. I mean, c’mon, what more can you want from a feel good family movie? Sing. Dance. Laugh. Repeat!

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dream big princess, dream, how to succeed, Disney, princess

This post is sponsored by Disney but all opinions to dream bigger are my own.

My big dream for the upcoming months is to dream bigger; to embrace change, to give myself permission to go for my dreams with everything I’ve got.

I’ve always been someone who firmly believes that “where there is a will there is always a way” (with a lot of hard work and dedication) but I hold back. Even though the possibilities are endless, something stops me. There’s always this little voice inside me, quietly whispering, “but what if you fail?”

I go after things with my everything (especially if it involves protecting or standing up for others. I’m a mom, it’s what we do) but when it’s just about me, I don’t always go all in because the possibility of failure terrifies me. Finally, I’ve realized that there is something so much worse than failing and that is not trying at all.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

When I was a little girl, watching the Disney Princess movies, I loved the vivid colors and happy endings. Princesses were flawed like the rest of us and yet they somehow figured it all out in the end. I think that’s what made me want to be a princess the most.

I learned early on that I was the only one who could make my dreams come true but it wasn’t going to be easy. You have to be willing to put everything on the line to make dreams come true and that’s part of what makes them so special. I like to believe that will is a wish with a lot of work behind it.

A dream is not something that happens to you, a dream coming true is something that you have to be willing to work hard and sacrifice for.

dream, how to succeed, Disney, princess

“I have been up AGAINST TOUGH COMPETITION ALL MY LIFE. I WOULDN’T KNOW HOW TO GET ALONG WITHOUT IT.” – WALT DISNEY

As I embraced the belief that I could make my dreams come true it changed my way of thinking. The dreams got bigger the moment I realized that the only one who could stop me was me.

Take Cinderella, for instance, she was abandoned to a life of servitude after her father’s death but she didn’t give up on her dreams. She kept going after her dreams and never let anyone make her believe that she was less than. The possibilities were literally endless and I decided that no one was going to get in my way, including myself.

I felt a closeness to the story of Cinderella because, like me, she was a poor little girl with no prospects and no one to pave her way but herself. Her “never give up” attitude, her self-confidence, and her quiet determination is what got her through the hard times. She made her dream a reality by never giving up.

Actually, the older I’ve gotten and after having daughters of my own, I relate to so many of the princesses because I see the moral of the stories. I love the story of Tiana because she made her own dreams come through by working hard and never giving up. I find that admirable on every level. Merida is a hero of mine because of her bravery and willingness to forge her own way but I also loved the mother/daughter storyline. I watched it with my own daughters and it inspired me.

Mulan inspires little girls everywhere to be anything they want to be because our femininity is not a limitation. Then there is Elena who is the first Latina princess and I love her because she is someone my daughters can relate to culturally. The sisterly love story behind Elsa and Anna also made them a favorite of ours because, in our family, the family is everything.

dream, how to succeed, Disney, princess, dream big princess

“When you believe in a thing, believe it all over, implicitly and unquestioningly.” – Walt Disney

Some dreams are worth never giving up on. I married my “prince,” my best friend and partner in life. He encourages me to pursue my dreams. My girls look to me to set the tone. I want my children and my children’s children to know that any dream they have is a possibility.

The thing about dreams is you have to be willing to put your everything into it, be willing to work until you pass out from exhaustion, and more importantly you can’t be afraid of failure because the only thing worse than failure is not trying. There is no shame in trying and failing.

Not giving up on your dreams is what I’m teaching my little princesses by being the example that never giving up and working hard for your dreams pays off in the end, even if it is just being profoundly happy trying. It’s better than being miserable not.

My big dream is to fight as hard for myself as I have always fought for everyone and everything else I love in this world. I want to be more present as a mother (not just involved or physically there but I want to listen and hear my children), I want to make more “us” time for my husband, I want to travel everywhere and show my children the world and I want to take my success in my career to the next level by going after everything I want, even if it terrifies me. I want my daughters to know those wonderful things can happen if you just dare to dream hard enough.

dream big princess, dream, how to succeed, Disney, princess

What would you dare to dream if you weren’t afraid?

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How to Live with Your Heart Walking Around Outside of Your Body

This post is sponsored by Disney’s Pinocchio. All opinions and the wish for my child are my own.

Ever think about what your greatest wish for your child might be? Do you want them to be smart? Successful? Healthy? Happy? Good human beings? Maybe all of thee above. When I was a child, I thought the tale of Pinocchio was just about a boy who lied and when he did, his nose grew. The moral of the story for me, as a child, was to not lie because it’s bad and liars get caught. So not worth it, plus, I didn’t want my nose to grow. I was vain so that lesson quickly stuck with me. Years later, that’s how I became “Truthful mommy.” I simply can’t lie because my face shows every thought that comes into my head. I think it’s a pretty awesome thing and it’s something I’ve taught my girls, the no lying part, the face betrayal is pure genetics (fortunately for me they’ve inherited that too).

As an adult, I’ve read the story of Pinocchio with my children and I see it with a fresh perspective. I see an even deeper aspect to the timeless story. I see a man desperate for a child; someone to love unconditionally. Geppetto wants what all parents want, his own little miracle.

From the moment I knew that I was pregnant and felt those first flutters and kicks, I’ve known that being a mother was a privilege. Sure sometimes I’m exhausted and the minutia of motherhood makes me feel like I’m a little bit brain dead. But, then out of nowhere I’m inspired or flabbergasted and other times I’m just outright amazed by the way they move through the world. They truly are miracles to me. Don’t get me wrong, they can also be a handful. It’s certainly not always sunshine and rainbows but I totally see why Geppetto wished on a star to make his puppet son a real boy. Nothing can substitute the love shared between a parent and a child.

wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

 

When I was younger, I always knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be a mom. I come from a big family; 6 children. I like to call us the Mexibilly Brady Bunch, only we all came from the same set of Catholic parents. I’m the Marsha of the family. Children have always been a part of my life. I was always the girl who went to family/friend gatherings and spent a bulk of my time entertaining the children. It was all I had ever known and I knew one day, I wanted my own children to love.

I grew up, got married and eventually had a couple little girls of my own. There is nothing quite like motherhood. You can babysit a million children, read every book and watch every movie and it still never prepares you for being a mother to actual children. First, you are overwhelmed with all the heart-exploding love that you never even knew existed in the world that you feel for said ooey, gooey baby from the instant you see them. And forget about it once they put that baby in your arms, you are done for. There is no recovery from that kind of love. Instant and eternal addiction.

Then complete and overwhelming, all-encompassing fear because holy moly you realize this baby is perfection and you have absolutely no idea what you are doing and the last thing you want to do is mess up the most perfect thing you will ever do in your life. When the doctor said I could go home from the hospital with my first baby, I was overcome with sheer panic because what were they thinking? I felt like the world’s biggest imposter. I was terrified. None of my experiences up to that point had prepared me for what I was feeling in that moment.

wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

Then more fear because, oh my goodness, I love this little person more than anything I’ve ever loved in my entire life and now they are out in the world, exposed to the elements; the crazy (all the crazy), global warming, sharp edges and mean people (people who could hurt their feelings or worse). And what if I messed it up and she stopped breathing or I couldn’t feed her or I dropped her (all of which happened by the way) or the list was endless of ways that I could damage her? That’s when it hit me like a train, loving someone has no guarantees. Being able to love someone so precious so much comes with a price and that price is the uncertainty that it will all be alright. The price for great love is great pain if it’s ever lost but it’s totally worth the risk. Once you’ve seen your child look at you like you are the best thing in the world, you will die, kill and risk it all just to see them smile; everything else becomes meaningless when you have that kind of clarity. When you give love to a tiny human, you accept the responsibility and you never look back, only forward.

Geppetto’s wish for Pinocchio was that he became a real boy. How could he not? I have two wishes for my daughters and they are these: health and happiness. Sounds simple, right? Not so much because one day I may find myself confronted with the choice of watching my child choose a path that might not be what I would have chosen for their happiness, but it’s not my life to live. I am only the giver of their lives but it is their lives to live.

wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

Sometimes we have to watch our kids struggle before they reach their goals. That’s how they learn to work for their dreams. That’s how they learn to become who they are meant to be. That letting go to let them grow up is almost impossible but it’s part of the unwritten parent/child agreement.

I can keep my daughters healthy and happy in my house because I control the climate but once they get out in the world, I can only be there to catch them when they stumble. I will always do all that I can to help them make their dreams come true but I can’t do it for them because then the happiness will lose its effect.

wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

So my wish for my girls is all the happiness that the world has to offer them. I teach them to go for their dreams. I teach them to pursue their joys and to never be afraid to change their expectations because sometimes life and happiness don’t fit neatly into a box. Life is messy and beautiful and I just want my girls to be open to enjoying every single moment of it.

disney, wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

New to The Walt Disney Signature Collection, the movie that inspired the world to wish upon a star, Pinocchio is a timeless tale for the whole family. Bring home this magical story of friendship and epic adventure now on Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere, on Blu-ray Jan 31. Pick up your copy here. It includes hours of new and classic bonus content.

This is the wish for my child, what do you wish for yours?

 

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Blackish, racism, Trump, post-obama, election

Do you watch Blackish? We do. It’s one of those shows that we watch as a family the day after it airs because simply put, we can personally relate to many of the topics of the show but none more than this week’s episode, “Lemons.”

In 30 minutes, Blackish brilliantly covered everything that I’ve felt in the past 2 months about the election. Some of it, I’ve said on here before and more recently, I’ve gone quiet because I’ve been processing. I’ve been preparing to keep on fighting for equality. This fight is nothing new to me as a Latina woman, and if you are an African American, a member of the LGBTQ community, a person of the Muslim or Jewish community, disabled or any minority for that matter that was looking forward and hung all of our hopes of equality on a white woman, you know exactly what I’ve been feeling.

In retrospect, I guess we were all a bit naïve. We got cocky and complacent and we thought Hillary Clinton had it in the bag and she was the change/ the chance for true equality that we were all waiting for and maybe we put that on her because she was a white woman. Maybe somewhere deep down inside we felt like we needed permission/ confirmation of our equality from a Caucasian. How ironic is it that white women are the very exact ones who failed us at the polls?

We’re equal. We’re human. We don’t need anyone to make it alright. It’s a fact. Just like no other candidate can make us less than. Our President-elect may think we are less than he is but it’s simply not true. We are all the same. I don’t need him to give me something we already have the privilege of being born a human being.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about race lately because things just got a lot more in your face. The other day I watched Birth of a Nation and I cringed at the thought that any human could treat another human like that. It, quite frankly, broke my heart. I watched it with my 11-year-old daughter and we both just sobbed at the inhumanity. The thing is that wasn’t very long ago.

Then, I watched Loving. In case you are not familiar with the story, it’s about an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, living in Caroline County, Virginia in 1958. Richard Loving, a white construction worker, fell in love with a local black woman and family friend, Mildred Jeter. Mildred gets pregnant and overjoyed, Richard asks her to marry him. Knowing that interracial marriage violated Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws, they drove to Washington, D.C. to get married.

But soon, sheriff’s deputies raid Mildred’s home and arrest the couple for violating the anti-miscegenation law. When Richard points to the marriage license, the sheriff curtly tells him that it has no validity in Virginia and takes Richard and, a very pregnant, Mildred to jail. Richard makes bail but then is not allowed to bail his wife out. She is forced to spend the weekend in jail, pregnant and in her nightgown and robe because the government of Virginia refused to recognize their marriage.

They plead guilty to breaking the anti-miscegenation law and are sentenced to one year in prison. However, the judge suspends the sentence, on condition that they couldn’t return to Virginia together for at least 25 years. The Lovings moved to D.C. to stay with a friend of Mildred’s but return to Virginia so their first child, Sidney, can be delivered by Richard’s mother, a midwife. Arrested again, they are cleared when their lawyer says he erroneously advised them they could return.

From there, the ACLU got involved after Mildred sent a letter to Bobby Kennedy asking for help with her situation. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case of the Loving v. Virginia, which finally invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. That was only 50 years ago.

In 1972, my Caucasian mother from Virginia excitedly went to tell her grandfather who had raised her that she was marrying my father, a Mexican, and his answer was, “You may as well marry a n*gger.” I never really understood the weight of that comment until I watched Loving.

My great grandfather disowned my mother and she was heartbroken that he couldn’t accept the man that she loved. We never met that man because she wasn’t going to expose her children to that kind of hatred. I’ve only been taught and ever known, in my heart, that everyone is equal. My parents taught me that. But not so long ago, even in my own family, prejudice ran rampant and divided loved ones forever.

Prejudice is nothing new to most of us. Now, it’s just less covert but it hurts either way if I’m being honest. Nobody likes to swallow their tongue why someone else berates and belittles them and we shouldn’t have to. I wish we could do more than change the laws to ensure equality but actually change people’s hearts so that they saw us as equal because until that happens, we are not treating the cancer that is prejudice, only the symptoms and truly, that’s not much.

I guess what all this was about was to tell you that you are not alone in your feelings and if you don’t believe it, watch Blackish the episode “Lemons” you can catch it on Xfinity, HULU or the ABC App. I have no affiliation with these companies, other than paying for subscriptions, I just really think you need to watch it. You’ll see that you are not the only one thinking these things. You are not the only one terrified, depressed and saddened by the unpredictability of the upcoming term.

But please, stop complaining. And don’t be afraid because I know many of you are and who can blame you. But sometimes doing the right thing has to make you be braver than the fear. We’ve got work to do and the whining and crying is just pointless. It’s like worrying, there is not purpose to it. What helps is doing the work. Fighting the injustice. Making your voices heard so we don’t keep ending up here, in the worst fucking episode of Groundhog Day ever. We can do it. Yes, we can.

If you are disheartened by the election results, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to work to change the situation?

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Netflix, Stream Team, Best binge worthy shows, winter break survival

Thank God for Netflix. If you are like me, you are just about winter break-ed out(or is that broken? Because I’m feeling pretty broken right about now) of your kids. We needed the break, no doubt but we’ve done the family time thing and the sleeping in and the movies with a tween girl sleepover thrown in just to round things out.

We’ve moved on to bickering, under each other’s feet, no idea what day this is part of winter break and I think it’s the perfect time for us all to fall into separate show holes. If we’re being honest, I’ve been falling into one every night after the girls go to bed until about 3 a.m. every morning (next week’s going to hurt when I have to get up at 6 a.m. again). Thankfully, I am a Netflix stream team member so I can blame all my binging on research, right? Lucky for you, I’ve done the research so you can fall easily and cozily into your very own Netflix show hole for the remainder of your winter break.

Thankfully, I’m a Netflix stream team member so I can blame all my binging on research, right? Lucky for you, I’ve done the research so you can fall easily and cozily into your very own show hole for the remainder of your winter break or do a little Netflix and Chilling with your favorite guy or girl.

Here are some binge-worthy shows that I’ve discovered lately, perfect for your show hole viewing pleasure.

The Crown: A young woman rises to rule an empire amid the challenges of the modern age. Peter Morgan’s masterfully researched scripts reveal the Queen’s private journey behind the public facade with daring frankness. If you like period dramas, you will love this series.

Wentworth: Wentworth is set in modern-day Australia and focuses on Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) when she first enters prison after being charged with the attempted murder of her husband.[2] Bea is separated from her daughter and sent to Wentworth on remand, where she lives in “an uncertain limbo” until she is sentenced. Starting at the bottom of Wentworth’s hierarchy, Bea is forced to learn how to survive in prison. Think Orange is the New Black with more drama.

 Velvet: The young heir to a fashion empire falls in love with a humble seamstress. It sounds simple but it is amazing and is full of twists and turns and beautiful fashion and people.

No Second Chance: After surviving a brutal attack, Dr. Alice Lambert wakes up to learn that her baby daughter is missing and faces pointed questions from the police. This series takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and you won’t believe the end of series 1.

CrazyHead: Prone to hallucinations, kindred spirits Amy and Raquel embrace the roles as “seers”, individuals who can detect the hellish true forms of others.

The OA: A woman missing for 7 years turns up at a hospital with strange scars on her back but can’t- or won’t- reveal where she’s been. This series will give you all the feels and question everything you know. It is an amazing story with a one-of-a-kind plot.

Sense 8: Eight strangers around the globe find themselves connected — first by a violent vision, then by their shared ability to connect with one another’s thoughts and actions, and finally by the urgent need to find out what happened and why.

Case: Case begins with a teenage ballerina being found dead hanging from a noose above the stage in a theater. A gruff police investigator and disgraced lawyer end up setting about solving the case with many familiar avenues uncovered: the girl comes from an abusive birth-parents situation; her adoptive parents have secrets; her sister is involved with some sketchy characters; there are voyeurs at play, blackmailers, and statutory rapists.

Captive: This documentary series reconstructs history’s most complex, high-stakes hostage negotiations as kidnapping victims recount their terrifying ordeals.

Medici: After his father’s murder, banking heir Cosimo Medici battles opponents of his artistic, economic and political visions for 15th-Century Florence.

Chewing Gum: A pent up Tracey channels Beyonce to try and seduce Ronald, her virginal boyfriend. But mild-mannered Connor seems to like her just the way she is. This show is absolutely hilarious.

If you need binge ideas for the kids, so you can get a few minutes to get a shower and find some clothes that fit, here are a few I found that my kids think are pretty awesome.

Chasing Cameron

Troll Hunters

Fuller House

Minions

ZOOtopia

Lost and Found

And Don’t forget about the Netflix New Year’s Countdown so you can countdown any time during the night with your little ones. There are 10 choices: Chasing Cameron, Fuller House, Word Party, Luna Petunia, Beat Bus, Puffin Rock, All Hail King Julien, Skylanders Academy, Project MC2 and Troll Hunters so something for everyone! The best part is, especially with the little, little ones is that you can do it at any time; all the excitement and none of the meltdowns! Happy New Year!

What’s your favorite show to binge watch on Netflix this winter break?

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Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, parenting, RIP, mother and daughter

Tuesday was a somber day and Wednesday was even worse, the world lost two amazing, strong women who happen to be mother and daughter, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. It has me doing a lot of thinking about my relationship with my own daughters. It has me assessing just how much I truly love them. Sometimes we take it for granted because they are always there, under our feet, popping into the loo while we’re trying to take a wee or telling us the same story 7 million times but every moment, they add up to our lives and memories and without them what would be?

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, parenting, RIP, mother and daughter

I’ve seen all the photos circulating of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher from throughout the years and through it all, it seems like they had each other, in the way only a mother and daughter can.

There are mothers and daughters who are completely different and drift apart but there are others who grow together and even through the hard times become inseparable. This is what I’ve always wanted my relationship with my daughters to be. This is what I work towards.

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, parenting, RIP, mother and daughter

You want to be their mother first and you love them always but someday, secretly, you hope they’ll consider you their very best friend above all else because in the end when they are adults and you are equals, that is what we really want…the humans we love the most to like us; to choose us.

That seems to be the relationship Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher had in the end. You can see the mutual adoration and love in those old black and white photos.

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, parenting, RIP, mother and daughter

When I think of one of my children dying before me, I’d like to believe that I would die on the spot. Unfortunately, I know that’s not necessarily true. The thing is, I had a very small taste of what it might feel like when I lost my third child in pregnancy. Truly, the only thing that kept me going was my living children because they were small and they needed me but even then, I spent a good month in bed wanting to not exist, willing myself not to die. The pain was so immeasurable; I have never quite recovered.

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, parenting, RIP, mother and daughter

It still hurts daily knowing that I am here and he is not. Some things just change you forever. It’s not natural for a parent to outlive their child and there is a special kind of pain and guilt that accompanies surviving your child. But you go on because they cannot. But if my other children were grown and didn’t need me so much, if I was given the choice, I can’t say that I wouldn’t gladly follow my deceased child. I’d follow them because quite frankly, life would be just too fucking painful to survive again. I’ve had my one stay of execution and I hope I never need another one. It takes a lot of strength to survive that kind of loss.

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, parenting, RIP, mother and daughter

So when I heard the tragic news about Debbie Reynolds having a stroke and dying the day after her baby girl (because they are always our babies, right?) I was sad but not shocked. In fact, I almost expected it because stress, sadness and shock can physically destroy you. She lived a fantastically full life and I think she just gave in to her grief.

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, parenting, RIP, mother and daughter

Believe me, sometimes it just feels better to give in than to fight. We fight when we have something better to live for but losing a child, it takes better out of the equation. I’m not saying she willfully dropped dead and that she loved her son any less than Carrie, I just think she wasn’t in perfect health and she was devastated by the loss and maybe she did just want some relief from the pain and she didn’t have the will or want to fight.

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, parenting, RIP, mother and daughter

Anyways, as sad as I am that two strong-willed, strong-minded, outspoken women who lived out loud and on their terms are gone from this world, I am happy that they are together because that’s what I choose to believe. This life is not “it”. This is part of “it” and now they get to be together for the rest of whatever “it” is because when you live your life loving someone so much that you don’t know where you end and they begin, even a day is too long to be apart from them.

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, parenting, RIP, mother and daughter

Hug your children, folks, because nothing in life is guaranteed and every moment is a chance to love.

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carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia

Today, in some bizarre twist of fate, the moment Rogue One began to play on the screen, my Apple watch flashed the breaking news, Star Wars icon, Carrie Fisher, dead at 60. Her big, beautiful heart just stopped beating. Just like that, she was gone and all the air was sucked out of my lungs. It was a cosmic punch to the gut. I sat there in shock in the dark theater as the words, in a galaxy far, far away flashed on the screen. It was surreal and the most ironic thing I’ve ever experienced.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

I spent the duration of the movie watching from behind tear-filled eyes, stifling inappropriate sobs. I wasn’t crying over the loss of Princess Leia, that was just a character that she played in a movie. I was devastated by someone that I felt a kindred spirit in so many ways.

Carrie Fisher was a hero to me for her outspoken, feisty, live out loud female empowered way that she lived her life but she was particularly my hero because she was a survivor. We survivors, we recognize scrappy in one another and we admire it. I admired her.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

She survived addiction and Bipolar, and believe me, if you’ve not had to survive either of these you have no idea just how strong this woman was. She faced it head on and said, “Fuck you! I’m not going down without a fight! Bring it on, bitches!” (That’s NOT  a direct quote but a sentiment sort of an inner warrior princess battle cry.)

When we are children and young adults, we naturally gravitate towards heroes to emulate that we recognize glimpses of ourselves in. I saw myself in Carrie Fisher. I loved the way she just told it like it was. There was no time for bullshit. Life is too short, especially when your mind takes you on a perpetual roller coaster ride.

She came out publicly about her struggles with addiction and her bipolar diagnosis in the mid-90’s. She inspired others to do so too. Soon after, I was diagnosed bipolar 1. When you are suffering undiagnosed and self-medicating just to try to feel “normal” it’s like you’re not even really living; you’re getting by. You feel broken and to find out that there is a name for it, to find out that you are merely bent and not broken, is sweet relief. I could identify on so many levels with her on this. We shared that experience and its sort of like sharing cancer or war together. It etches that person on your heart in a way most others can never be.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

After I was diagnosed, I made it my mission to learn everything I could about the disease. Not only did I see my psychiatrist and psychologist weekly and religiously, I read every book I could get my hands on, including the DSM. I gave books to my family and friends so that they could educate themselves and understand why I was the way I was. I learned all of my comorbid diagnosis and how to cope with them; some with medication and all through behavioral therapy. I learned what made me tick. I embraced the madness. I even took it a step further and took a few graduate clinical psychology courses just to wrap my brain around it as much as possible. I learned how to diagnose not because I wanted to diagnose anyone but because I wanted to recognize, educate and help anyone else who was feeling broken.

Every time Carrie Fisher spoke up about mental illness and advocated for mental health, she made it easier for the rest of us. She also inspired us to be honest to tell our mental health truths. Having a mental illness diagnosis is not like having a physical illness diagnosis. When you have a mental illness, somehow the world sees you as defective by your own choice; as if you did something to deserve it or it was some punishment for being weak-minded but no one would ever say that about someone with diabetes or cancer. Carrie fought those stigmas at every chance because once you can separate yourself from the disease and see with that intuitive clarity, you just want to help anyone you can.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

Carrie Fisher’s bravery inspired me to share my own stories; my diagnoses. I told the world things I hadn’t even said out loud to most of my friends because I was ashamed they would somehow think less of me or make every fault about the diagnosis. I was terrified to tell you my deepest, darkest most stigmatized secrets but I wrote them out and became an advocate because by being open it destigmatizes it just a little bit for the next generation; the next group of sufferers. That’s who Carrie Fisher was to me. I saw myself in her and I will miss her. She gave me hope.

In the last 5 seconds of Rogue One, just when I thought I couldn’t possibly hold it together for one more second, there on the screen was Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) turning around to face the audience, beaming in the way only Carrie could, and she said, “We have hope.” It was one last serendipitous pep talk from a woman who has inspired me to be strong and brave when I was at my most vulnerable. Rest in peace, my fellow warrior.

carrie Fisher, bipolar, addiction, Princess Leia, star wars, rogue one

 

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