Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Why we love This Is Us

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Have you seen This Is Us? It’s just a little Primetime Emmy Award winning–Golden Globe award snatching–Screen Actors Guild Award yielding–Critics’ Choice award stunting–People’s Choice Award pick–NAACP Image award receiving show on NBC. To see it, is to love it, here’s why we love This Is Us.

“This Is Us” addresses the intricacies of marriage, family, relationship and our social interactions on every level. It’s not just a family, it’s life – presented in past, present and future. There are main characters, but it’s never just about them, it’s about those before and after them. It is Life in constant motion. Funny at times, tearful (a lot of the time) but overall encouraging on a level that’s hard to explain.

Ingrained in every character is a personality trait or situation for us to relate to.

And for those that initially underestimated Kate as just another plus size character – boy were we in for an awesome surprise. Kate (played by Chrissy Metz) is more than just a size. She is the comforter, peace maker, heart fixer, healer of the family. She is the voice of doubt but also the voice of an over-comer. She represents every person who is starting late in their career (with her singing narrative) and single ladies crawling through the dating mine field (remember that guy from fat camp?). Notice, we never see Kate sitting at home, eating and loathing, ambition-less. Those are the dominant characterizations that plus-size actors/actresses have commonly played in series (shout out to all the shows that are breaking this stereotype too).

Kate and Toby - This Is Us Cast
Kate and Toby

There is not one favorite in this family. Everyone is a favorite. Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) give us all #marriagegoals and #lovegoals and #relationshipgoals. At the same time, their not just a husband and wife, they epitomize finding your person and all that it entails. I think it was important that the writers established how much family and love meant first, before hitting us with all the hard things they go through. We may not know how it will all turn out, but we know that the Pearsons last.

THIS IS US -- "The Big Day" Episode 112 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) Ron Batzdorff/NBC | 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Jack and Rebecca

Kevin (played by Justin Hartley) is “ambition” incarnate. The opportunities that come at him allow for a bevy of cameos including Sylvester Stallone and the late Alan Thicke. Kevin is that buff, handsome guy at the gym who you would never think has a heart made of cotton candy. He is a weeping willow that has yet to break and I think we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop (SPOILER: as of season 3 it did, but the finale showed it didn’t seem to stop him from becoming a dad). After Season 1, we’ve found out he has more than just Jack’s strength – he also has his addiction (as hinted in S2, E3) and his family guy nature (S2, S3).

THIS IS US -- "The Last Seven Weeks" Episode 310 -- Pictured: Justin Hartley as Kevin Pearson -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) Ron Batzdorff/NBC | 2018 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Kevin

To round out this gang is Randall (played by Sterling K. Brown), my anxiety twin. He is the epic wheel this car needed to make it down the path this show is taking. Without Randall, there would be no William (played by Ron Cephas Jones) and if you’re honest with yourself you cry when he cries. Any flashback nugget I get of him, makes me warm up like a buttery biscuit. Randall and his wife, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), are #blacklovegoals and I’m glad it’s so thoroughly fleshed out like that of Jack and Kate. I love the juxtaposition of one culture shown in the same show as another. For those that don’t know what the inner workings of a black family looks like, this show can show you. It is more than stereotypical chicken and waffles (who made that a thing anyway? Beth’s favorite is nachos); it is more than the way African-American families are portrayed in the news and combats the pervasive false narrative that two-parent, married, black couples with kids don’t exist. This #blackfamily is exactly what we need to show. And not in the funny-haha Blackish way (great show), but in the deep, onion layered family dynamics way that the world needs to see.

Randall and Beth

The show is unconsciously breaking stereotypes without shoving it at you. It is for everyone, This is Us, is all of us. Everyday. Everybody. I feel gratitude towards a show that can reveal how we’re all just products of our experiences. Good or bad, for better for worse, happy or sad, we can identify with someone in this show.

I just finished Season 3 and it is overwhelming how on point this show is for the world today. Whenever I bring it up to someone, I get giddy waiting to hear who they love or identify with the most. To me, it’s the first program in a long time that shows how family is beyond blood or color or culture. I’ve found the answer to some of life’s questions watching this show. The last show that hit me like this was the short-lived “Brothers & Sisters”, 7 seasons wasn’t enough, I just wanted to be around that family forever.

Alas, This Is Us, is where its at – if you’ve never seen an episode, stop reading and start watching. Link here to the first season online or your preferred TV provider. However you find a way, jump into it, this show is thee best!

*Update: As of this posting, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman and showrunner Isaac Aptaker have stated the show will end after Season 6. Among aiming for an elegant ending, Aptaker also stated that he hopes “people think it’s a really satisfying end place, that makes sense, and it feels like they’ve watched something that is a complete piece of work because that’s really how we’re trying to plan it. Almost like you would a book, or a super-long movie. We’ve had this end in mind for a long time, so we’re able to plan for it, and try to make it feel like it’s a whole, as opposed to a series that’s going to go endlessly.”

The Art of Asking Questions

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Do you remember when we used to find out what was going on in a persons life by asking?

We are in a new age of communication. In a powerful way, social media platforms and technological advancements have minimized curiosity and asking questions.

In comparison to Alexa or Siri, asking a question person to person seems like an arduous, caveman like task. How do you get to know someone nowadays? Platform stalk? Read through their Facebook bio, find their LinkedIn, scroll through their Twitter, thumb through their Instagram?

Not knocking it, just stating how it is today. The art of communication has taken quite a turn.

Group of people watching smart mobile phones - tech, social media, curiosity, news and friendship in the palm of their hands.

I’ve often found myself discussing the latest news with someone and if their unaware, I’m shocked and remind them that its all over social media. How could they have NOT known?

And if you want to know something nowadays, there’s a platform for it–literally anything. Yelp and Google Reviews are the new word of mouth. Twitter is just as big of a political platform than presidential debates. Alexa and Siri know everything so we don’t have to “waste” time researching in a book.

Just ask. Just ask your phone. Just ask your computer. Just ask Quora. And if all else fails and your power is out…ask a person. 

I thought of this idea one day while listening to a TEDtalk by Al Letson, host of the podcast Reveal by PRX. And during one of his wonderful talks, I felt so inspired. Like, maybe I could do a podcast. I decided to send a direct message to him and ask, “How do I get involved? How can I create my own?”—because (at the time) I had no idea how to get started. And then I didn’t send a thing.

I can just google those things, or at least that’s what I thought he would be thinking. I never reached out. Felt sort of, afraid to ask, because there is such a bevy of information floating around online that it seemed pointless.

Luckily, I happen to be married to a guy who actively teaches WordCamp attendees on how to create a podcast (whew) and we subsequently have been working on one of our own called “This Married Life“. It’s a minor example—but here’s my point—is the availability of technology killing curiosity?

The other side of this coin is that it’s kind of boosted the entrepreneurial spirit. Instead of taking a course at a college, users can just go online. The availability of free knowledge is everywhere, sites like Lynda.com (now known as LinkedIn Learning), Udemy.com and so many others are replacing traditional, institutional face-to-face learning. It’s convenient to research online, take an online course, communicate via email, messengers, apps. Heck, even banks started making apps, eliminating the need for person-to-person contact. Why hire a hairstylist? Watch a YouTube video and teach it to yourself. The list goes on and on…

Can you think of the last time you found out big news from a friend via a phone call vs. a Facebook status? Or handled everything you needed done without the assistance or interaction with another human being?

Challenge yourself: The next time you think about someone or what’s going on in their life – call them. Find ways to interact with people, engage in conversations outside of online profiles, have some real conversations and ask some questions. Spark your curiosity, be inquisitive. ♥

There are definite pros and cons to the new age world of communication, what do you think? Curious to hear your thoughts.

7 Must-Read Books for Young Professionals

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The average young professional typically has four main goal categories: moneycareer, relationship and health. Here are 7 must-read books that will help you with all of these goals and more.

One of the best and easiest ways to achieve a tremendous amount of growth is by investing in a good book…or two…or twenty. As the saying goes, “The more you know, the more you grow”. But the trick is – you don’t know, what you don’t know. So, invest in yourself! A $10 to $15 book could drastically change the course of your life.

The books chosen below could give you a considerable advantage in your current career and help you successfully move forward, whether it’s entry level, executive or entrepreneurial. Plus, the principles in these books are as relevant today as they were decades ago.

Wisdom is timeless.

If personal development is one of your goals this year, then check out the list below and see what catches your eye. I’m a Kindle reader, so I’ve included Amazon links to each one on every book cover image, but they can all be found at your local library for free too.

*Note: Biblical wisdom and self-improvement are not mutually exclusive. The Bible is forever in my personal list, but I didn’t include the Bible in this list because there is knowledge worth having that has nothing to do with faith or religion. There are wise atheists just like there are foolish Christians – so this list is not spiritually specific AT ALL.

Here is the list (in no particular order):

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The title is straight forward enough and the language is poignant yet simple. The book shares principles to help you develop relationship-building skills which leads to leadership qualities. The biographical and historical data of great leaders are told with fascinating stories and anecdotes. For me, it’s helped me build new interpersonal relationships and helped with my social anxieties. Standout quotes:
“People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves.”
“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”


Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach
Smart couples finish rich

The actual book title reads, Smart Couples Finish Rich: 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner. It’s not just debt management as a couple, its really about aligning your financial goals so that you can both benefit from your dual incomes. One of the biggest stresses in relationships is money, so eliminate the funny money business by learning to invest/spend/save/manage dual incomes successfully. Standout quote: “How you spend money has nothing to do with how much you love each other.”


We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter by Celeste Headlee

We Need To Talk by Celeste HeadleeTake a moment to consider how many outcomes in your life may have been affected by poor communication skills. Could you have gotten that job you really wanted? Resolved (or better yet) saved a relationship/friendship? What about that disagreement that got out of hand? How is it that we so often fail to say the right thing at the right time? I’ve only just started this one, but looking forward to learning how to effectively communicate both personally and professionally. Standout quote: “We must learn how to talk to one another and, more important, listen to one other. We must learn to talk to people we disagree with, because you can’t unfriend everyone in real life.”


The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

If you’re the philosophical type, then you may be interested in this one. Sometimes we desire to steer our lives in a new direction but we hit mental roadblocks, negativity and doubt. It is highly recommended for people looking to hone in on their positive thinking skills. Standout quote: “All that we are is a result of what we have thought.”

 


Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim

Do you know how to compete in today’s ultra-competitive market place? The Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant is based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than thirty industries. Authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne argue that lasting success comes from creating ‘blue oceans’: untapped new market spaces ripe from growth. This is an excellent read for Marketing careers and brand building for entrepreneurs.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Want to learn more about taking full advantage of opportunities that come your way? Sometimes we’re not even aware or prepared for those moments. Don’t get ready, stay ready! This principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems is applicable to time management, productivity and personal development. Standout quote: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

 


Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

The first taste of Malcolm Gladwell came in the form of the very entertaining and informative Revisionist History podcast. He really takes the facts of so-called history and exposes the truth of what really happened. Gladwell is a renowned author as well, including this little gem. The #1 National bestseller hones in on what Gladwell calls the ‘outliers’: the best and brightest, the most famous and the most successful. It basically discusses the mystery of success, what factors come in to play and of course, the 10,000-hour rule. Standout quote: “Hard work is only a prison sentence when you lack motivation.”


Honorable mentions include The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class by Steve Siebold. The takeaway from all of these books is that you don’t have to figure it (life) all out on your own. A good piece (or two) of literature can be the start of something great.

Easy Vegan recipes for beginners

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Are you interested in trying a plant-based diet? Going Vegan is no simple feat, but if you’re considering the switch, below are 7 recipes to jump-start your meat-free week.

A little on the health background: A 2014 study published in Nature Research found that there are many alternative dietary options that can substantially improve diet-related non-communicable diseases like Cancer, Type II Diabetes, High blood pressure and Coronary Mortality (heart disease).

The study analyzed the impact of the Mediterranean, Pescetarian and Vegetarian lifestyle. Veganism was not explicitly defined; however it is similar to Vegetarian cuisine (except vegetarians consume dairy products such as milk and eggs). Plant-based lifestyles require well-planned, intentional, conscious shopping and eating.

Most cultures include an animal product in their meals; however America has the largest portion consumption at one time. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the U.S. had the third largest per capita meat consumption out of 171 countries. That means we’re eating a lot of meat! That statistic and the heath data surprised even me, which is why I’m so interested in lowering my animal product intake.

For African-Americans, this is especially worth looking into as we are high-risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.

And although weight-loss can be a result, it is important to note that it is not marked as a weight-loss specific option. Without proper planning, it is far too easy to eat a high amount of carbs and sugar. 

It’s a new year, so it’s time to try something different! What have you got to lose?

Plant-based sources of Omega-3 acids (nuts, healthy oils, legumes, leafy greens).

Here are 7 recipes/meal ideas from blogger-chefs we love:

  1. Meatless Mega Burritos (I made this without the walnuts or cashews and its still great)

2. Spinach and Artichoke Quinoa Bake 

3. Chia Seed Pudding (substitute heavy cream with coconut milk)

4. Low-sugar Berry Smoothie 

5. Epic Avocado Toast

6. Spicy Chickpeas Lettuce Wraps w/Cilantro Jalapeno Sauce

7. Mexican Chopped Salad w/Avocado dressing

For #7, save time by using Trader Joe’s Green Goddess dressing – it’s Vegan too. Drop us a comment here or on social media, let’s discuss. If you enjoy this and want to know more, let us know here. Maybe we can post a trial-and-error, meal planning week for us to try together!

 

Natural Makeup Look from Day to Night

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Take a break from the glamour “beats” and try out these natural-looking makeup routine that are perfect for the office, date night or just an easy, everyday look.

Shading, contouring and highlighting creates a flawless, full coverage, glamorous look that we love. These no-filter-needed makeovers really make your best attributes pop in a photo. It looks great, but what about the other days? When you’re in a rush or only have a few minutes to get ready? And what about the health of your skin underneath?

This natural makeup regimen is great if you’ve dealt with skin irritation lately, random breakouts or want to cut back on chemically, pore-clogging routines. As a plus, opting for a easy, natural makeup look requires less time and less products.

Plus, it doesn’t matter where you are going, because a natural makeup look can work for every occasion and event.

  • Start with a good moisturizer, this helps your makeup stay in place all day long.
  • Next, pick out a light-weight and natural looking foundation. We love Loreal’s Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation.
  • Next, hide those dark circles with a good coverage (but lightweight) concealer and set everything using a powder like the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Pressed Powder.
  • Once that’s done, add some color to those cheeks and mascara to your lashes so that you look awake. Try out the Benefit BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara as it’s totally amazing! Highlight the inner corner of your eyes with your favorite highlighter to make those eyes pop. Don’t forget to tame and shape those eyebrows as they make such a difference! Lastly, finish off with a nude lip.

Here’s a great tutorial by the @TheChicNatural:

Make the same look work for brunch or a hangout with friends by adding a neutral eyeshadow. No need to play around with a bunch of colors, just stick to 2 or 3. Check out Urban Decay’s Ultimate Basics Palette which is great for all skin tone types.

To transform your “day look” into a night look, add some false lashes to the mix, a wing eye liner and a bold matte lip. It’s that easy, ladies!

Now that you know all the tips to achieve that perfect natural look, why not give it a try?

Comparison Kills

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We don’t know what people went through to get to where they are now. But it doesn’t stop any of us from comparing ourselves to other people. And if you allow it, comparison will kill your purpose, your identity, your dreams and your relationships.

Underestimating other people’s journey is how we overestimate where we “should” be in comparison.

You don’t intentionally compare yourself to anyone else, I know that. Of no fault of your own, you may have grown up in the shadow of a sibling, a sister, a brother, a relative or a family friend. Maybe you were raised just feeling less than, just plain not good enough. That childhood feeling continues into adulthood and it’s unfortunate. I’m sorry you ever felt that way, I have too. You weren’t meant to be like anyone else and neither was I, we are who we are. If you were supposed to be like anyone else, God wouldn’t have needed to create you in the first place. Why duplicate what as been made perfect? That’s why there are a bajillion people on the planet. We all have our own purpose, we all have our own work to do.

Your work won’t look like mine and mine won’t look like yours.

Be gratefully and joyfully different. Celebrate your pace, it is your race and your race alone. Comparison kills, but admiration builds. It’s okay to be inspired, encouraged and uplifted by the role models you admire. But be fully persuaded that you are who you are meant to be. Any additional self-improvement should be based on changes you’d like to make – not a change you’re making to be like someone else. While you’re busy working on yourself, by default you will have no time to be thinking (or comparing) yourself to anyone else.

“I wish I could be like…” is a dream killing phrase. Expect more than what you’ve seen.

And if that wasn’t enough, remember He already told you in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “…eyes have not seen, nor ears have heard what God has in store for them that love Him”, so you couldn’t possibly show up with the same life someone else has. Stop looking, you won’t find what can’t be found.

One of my favorite quotes from this song is, “The grass is fine / ‘Til it looked greener on the other side / Now you’re believing that you fell behind / But why try to match what should be one of a kind? / You’re one of a kind”

Comparison is a tactic used to distract you from your true identity in Christ. God already gave you a purpose; people cannot give you a purpose. And since people cannot give you a purpose, we shouldn’t allow people to dictate our identities. So when people attack you with comparisons: if you were shaped like her – you’d be married, if you went to this college – you’d be somebody, if you had longer hair – , if you had lighter skin – , if you had a bigger this or a smaller that — it’s all an attempt to make you feel torn and confused.

If I dress up like a cat, no one will look at me and believe I’m a cat. Maybe someone who’s never met a cat…but even then…really I’m just a person in a cat-suit…making a fool out of myself. Well trying to look like, be like or act like something you are not, is uncomfortable, embarrassing and counterproductive. And it’s not fooling anyone. Affirm yourself in Christ and lean on the Word to remind yourself that you are beautiful, you are on the right track, that you are not left behind – because you’re not ( no matter what you see on social media). I don’t want what someone else has – not their husband, not their life, not their look, not their anything – I only want what God wants for me.

Want what God wants for you.

I feel like from birth until now, I have lived under unspoken comparison. It’s a burden I refuse to carry any longer. If you’ve ever felt like this, then it’s time to give yourself permission to end it too. No more comparisons. Dont be so harsh on yourself, take your time and have patience that what you’ve prayed for is coming in God’s time (the best time). You have full permission to love all of you because God loves all of you. And really, who else matters?

Secrets and Scandal in ‘Big Little Lies’

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Looking for your next great read? Scan the New York Times Bestseller list to find a variety of new writings. Picking the #1 book is way too obvious, instead look for the 20th or the 57th, something obscure. Way down in the list is where I seem to find all my favorites, including Room, The Goldfinch, The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, Water for Elephants, and so much more.

Mind you, all of the aforementioned books have been made into feature films (The Goldfinch is in the works) – but none of these books were famous at the time. They were buried in obscurity as far as the media was concerned. The same can be said for Big Little Liars by Liane Moriarty. I found Liane Moriarty by total mistake, but it’s one of the best mistakes I’ve made to date (book wise).

Book description: Pirriwee Public School’s annual Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads. Madeline who is dealing with her ex-husband and his yogi new wife and their daughter, who is now in the same kindergarten class as her own daughter. While Celeste is a gorgeous housewife and a mother of rambunctious twin boys, and married to the fatally passionate Perry. Single mom Jane, the youngest of everyone, is battling a sadness beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on marriages, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous not so little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

In this little Australian town that Moriarty created, the lives of people get thrown amok by the secrets they (try to) keep. What’s done in the dark comes to light and there is no shortness of dark or light in her novels. The novel was so good it was turned into an award-winning HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz and Shailene Woodley. Meryl Streep joins the cast for the explosive return of Season 2 in June 2019.

Meryl Streep joins Big Little Lies cast

 

The Shining Returns and Danny does too in ‘Doctor Sleep’

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Stephen King needs no introduction. He is the quintessential fiction writer encompassing mystery, thriller, love and horror. Most, to this day, don’t realize King’s writing is more than just horror. He also authored Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, 11/22/63, all of which spawned Oscar nominated movies and a Netflix series respectively.

King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining. Doctor Sleep is a riveting novel about the now middle-aged Danny(Dan) Torrance and a twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous quasi-immortals.

In Doctor Sleep, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless— a mixed bunch of mostly old travelers married to their RVs. The True Knot appear to be immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen KingHaunted by the horrific memories of the Overlook Hotel, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. He lives a subdued life in a New Hampshire town, working as an orderly in a hospice where his shining power helps terminally ill patients pass away.

Then Dan meets the precocious Abra Stone, and her shining is brighter, stronger and more dangerous. Abra’s abilities reignite Dan’s own demons and drags him into the world of dealing with evil he’d thought was in the past. He must fight for Abra’s survival (reminiscent of the way Dick Hallorann protected a young Danny at the Overlook). This is an epic war between good and evil, a glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted fans of The Shining.


I loved Doctor Sleep and for anyone who’s wondering how little Danny turned out – well wonder no more. What other character would you want to see come back to life from a Stephen King novel?

Girlfriend’s Guide to Football

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With the NFL Superbowl LII upon us, I figured it’s a great time to share a wisdom nugget with my girls. Here is the quintessential  Girlfriend’s Guide to Football.

I realize there are ladies out there who understand the game of football. This is for the ones who do not. Everything comes from the heart, as a lesson learned by yours truly. I once tried to have a “we need to talk” conversation on a commercial break. Believe me, it ended far worse than it would have if my timing had been better.

We’ve all been here before (unless you’re Kate from “This Is Us”) – you’re cuddled up next to your man as he enjoys a football game and you’re overcome with the need to make conversation or get his attention. It happens to the best of us. But stop. Here are the top five guidelines for being the best girlfriend (or fiance/wife) possible when it comes to letting your boo enjoy his ball.


  • Save serious conversations for after the game.

Timing is everything and game day is not the day. Let him savor his game. He’ll be more apt to respond positively if he’s not distracted or irritated.


  • Learn football positions – do not ask him during the game.

We’re all naturally curious. Who is that guy? Why is he running? Was that a good play? Did they score? No, no, no and no. If you want to know, learn the lingo, be pre-informed (find basic guide here). Honestly, he’ll want to explain the plays to you and will share why the play was good, who did what and why on his own.


  • Keep them kisses.

Men are so cute when their concentrating and focused. You may feel the need to kiss, snuggle or initiate some type of affection – not now a woman. Simple. Initiate is the operative word, if it’s mutually started then you are in the zone.


  • Food – the way to a man’s heart.

If you really want to excel at being a significant other during football season – hook his favorite food up! Feel free to pre-prep flavorful dips and chips, wings (or veggie-burgers for the vegan lover), some good drinks and you’re good. Let the football fans handle the touchdowns, while you throw down on the game day eats.


  • Phone protocol.

If you’re enjoying the game in the same room – do not entertain phone calls. Step out for incoming conversations.


You’re all set, enjoy the preshow – I mean game! Are you Team Eagle, Team Patriots….or team *NYSNC?

Art and Tragedy Collide in the ‘The Goldfinch’

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Donna Tartt is an American writer, born in Greenwood, Mississippi but raised 32 miles away in Grenada, Mississippi. Tartt is the author of The Secret History and the was the 2003 winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend. Her 2014 novel, The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize.

The Goldfinch begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

The Goldfinch by Donna TarttAs an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love—and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It’s a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Tartt’s mesmerizing language engages all your senses and paints a vivid picture of everything in Theo’s world. Even minor scenery of a busy street, “…just as the rush hour traffic was thinning and the city was emptying for the night; it was rainy, trees leafing out, spring deepening into summer; and the forlorn cry of horns on street, the dank smell of the wet pavement had an electricity about it, a sense of crowds and static, lonely secretaries and fat guys with bags of carry-out, everywhere the ungainly sadness of creature pushing and struggling to live.” Rise and fall with Theo, you will love him.

If you read it and loved it, let us know!