}

The FLUFFY Movie Coming in July 2014

FLUFFY MovieThanks to Advance Screenings and GoFobo I had the chance to experience The Fluffy Movie at the Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 (247 W. 42 St. NY) before it opens in theaters.  Normally I would not be one to go to a movie theater to see a comedy performance but this is the next best thing to seeing Gabriel Iglesias aka Fluffy perform live – which is by the way something I’ve not yet have the pleasure to do.  So when given the chance to obtain screening tickets I jumped on it (and just an FYI I have turned down/released screening tickets before even if Free, my time is more valuable than money).

The movie opens as giving a glimpse of his early life and with that the laughter begins.  Gabriel Iglesias “Fluffy” is as real as real can get and touches on so many subjects that we all can relate to.  If you’ve seen any of his shows you already know how he can find the humor on anything from annoying teenage hygiene to difficult struggles with weight, not to forget his good ol’ pal MARTIIINNNN!!!  The Fluffy Movie was particularly touching for me given the rough subjects of single mothers, raising boys and step parenting, which he presented hilariously light hearted. The Fluffy Movie did not lack anything in comedic value, the girl next to me was making funnier laughing sounds than me – if that’s even possible – considering we were in a public theater.  Even as we left the theater I heard people talking about it and laughing as they repeated repeated parts of the movie.

Now, as every good counselor one opens with all the positives before presenting the areas of grow so here goes.  I was hoping for a little more movie, but that was just me. Maybe some clips from some of the many experiences on the road mixed with some comic reenactments.  But that is just a matter of opinion based on the expectation that I personally have when I hear or see the word “movie” on something.  That said, I would definitely recommend it.  It is not often we can go see Fluffy perform, so make it dinner and The Fluffy Movie come this July.

For a clip of the upcoming movie check out YouTube The FLUFFY Movie.

When Feeling Blue Leaves You Purple

sad child3 Ways to Get Yourself Out of an Emotional Rut

I don’t know about you but from time to time I go through my moments when, as kids say these days, I feel some type of way.  The type of way I’m referring to here is blue, down, discouraged, depressed. During those times it feels like the entire universe conspires against me because nothing seems to go right.

If you’re whole life is picture perfect as most broadcast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you don’t know what I mean. But it goes something like this – you’re turning a year older and you realize you did not meet your set goals, you’re passed over for a promotion, you suddenly develop some health issues and you take an unforeseen financial hit.  Just as you struggle to look at a bright side there’s a passing in the family, your kid rediscovers the terrible twos, your car gets a flat tire (or another mechanical issue), as you prepare to finish your laundry you grab damp clothing because the drier didn’t dry and your dinner gets ruined.  At that point you throw your arms up in the air and start wondering WHY ME?? WHAT ELSE CAN GO WRONG? (By the way, bad question – never ask that! Ever heard of Murphy’s Law? We’ll save that for another post)

And that’s when the silver lining is completely gone and you start noticing every single negative aspect of your life. The cynic in you thinks the light at the end of the tunnel its an incoming train. No one can do anything right, including yourself.  You begin expecting bad things to happen every time.  If you go out with friends you may be the black cloud prophesizing doom over everything until you simply give up and withdraw to a hermit state.   At this point a depressive mood has officially set in.  But what do you do then? How do you get yourself out this emotional rut?

Let me begin by saying that if this mood persists for six months or more it may be more than a passing rut and you should definitely consult a doctor.  But if you’re feeling blue over series of unfortunate incidents seemingly designed by the universe to initiate you, before you start asking, “Thank you sir, may I have another?” you may want to switch back to your rose color glasses.  You see, perspective is 90% of reality.  But how do you change your perspective when the outlook is so gloomy.  The most important part is to admit you’re in a rut.  If you don’t think your mood or attitude need an adjustment then there’s nothing else to be said and reading this may just be for entertainment purposes or comic relief.  But once you realize that you no longer want to feel blue you can start brightening up your own day.

  • First become aware of your negative thinking pattern.  If you find yourself thinking in absolutes you have fallen in a mental trap.  Absolutes are thoughts like, “I never do anything right”, “Things always go wrong” or “Nobody cares.”  Those statements are simply not true and those thoughts will taint your perspective on everything as if wearing colored glasses. While it may be hard when you’re feeling pessimistic you need to come up with exceptions by thinking of times when things went right or when you did something that made you feel proud.  Once you realize that your thinking pattern is making you focus on the negative regardless of how small the negative may be you can do something about it to change it.
  • Next you need to find a positive to counter every negative.  The same way you can find the negative with a thorny rosefine tooth comb you can find the positive, you just have to make a choice.  Switch your dark colored glasses to some bright yellow ones.  Someone once gave me a card that read, “do not curse the rose because it has thorns, but bless the thorns because they have roses.”  Instead of thinking of all the things you haven’t yet accomplished or all the things that have gone wrong, start listing all the things that have gone right.  Make a list of all the positive things in your life, the things you are proud of, things that make you smile.  Every time a negative thought creeps into your mind pick up your list.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.  If you’re struggling with alcoholism you’re not going to hang out at a bar, in the same way if you’re trying to improve your outlook in life you’re not going to hang out with negative people that will bring you down. Take a close look at your circle of friends; misery loves company so make sure that you’re not keeping it company in your friendships.  Think of friendships in layers, only keep encouraging and trust worthy people within your inner circle.  Personally I even stay away from movies that will bum me out and I like to get flowers to brighten my apartment.

While these things are neither rocket science nor a clinical prescription to instant happiness, understanding how your thinking pattern affects your emotions is the beginning to doing something about it.  Your thinking determines your perspective, which will influence your emotions and affect your actions.  Once you are able to get your mind under control you will be able to get yourself out of an emotional rut.  According to philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson “A man is what he thinks about all day long” so when you’re tired of feeling blue, make up your mind to add a little color to your life.

Debunking the Romanticized View of Relationships

After honeymoonLess than a month ago all throughout the United States we celebrated Valentine’s Day. During this so called holiday – sorry but if I don’t get to take the day off of work it is Not a real holiday to me – nearly 150 million people cards are exchanged, 448 million dollars are spent in candy and 36 million heart shaped chocolate boxes are sold (Source: History.com). Valentine’s Day has a way of making many feel weighed down by singlehood as if the world of those in relationships is all chocolates and roses. While Valentine’s Day is 24 hours long relationships are 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Basically it means for as long as you both shall live – or as long as you choose to remain in each other’s company. Notice the world choose!

Just when single people think the reminder of their dreaded singlehood is over, spring arrives and letters with save the dates and bridal shower invitations begin to pour in. Then add social media to the mix – and by social media I am mostly talking about Facebook. There you will get the happy engagement announcements with pictures of ring close-ups and kissing pics. On Facebook you will find a bit of everything from the poser who professes the unfailing love in their relationship – which by the way it’s only in pictures but behind closed doors they don’t even reside in the same home, to the ones that swear off relationships but only to the online world because they would not dream of ending it in real life. And just like that many women start wondering if their day will come when they will be in that loving relationship with the perfect Mr. Darcy, McDreamy or who whomever you idealize as that perfect partner. The problem is that it does not exist. The perfect partner is an idealized mental image that never comes to fruition and with it goes the perfect relationship. Because let’s face it, you are far from perfect yourself – you’re no Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle.

If you don’t believe me ask happily married people who have been together for at least ten years. Having a hard time thinking of a couple to ask? Damn, I wonder why – Not! Well if you find any they will tell you that everything is not roses. That the romantic movie falling in love phase fades and what’s left is two individuals with distinct personalities, beliefs, expectations and a whole lot of baggage. That’s when you start putting in the work and you begin to wonder whether you are better off alone. May even start asking yourself if being in a relationship is just not working for you, as if there’s something wrong with you – I’m not saying there isn’t we all have issues but come on it is definitely not just you. In any case you will start thinking the grass is greener on the other side – if in a relationship you think single is easier, if single you think a relationship. But I heard it said once – maybe more – that the grass is greener where you water it. So whether you’re single or in a relationship, you will have to tend to your side. Granted, it takes more water for two than for one, especially if one person does more of the watering than the other.

So if you start feeling the deafening silence of wedding bells not ringing think consider the following scenarios.

A spontaneous act can become more of a hassle than a fun adventure.
When you’re single you plan for you, no one to consult or to ask or explain. You can plan anything at whim and take off. If you’re in a relationship there are schedules to synchronize, opinions and feelings to consider. And if your relationship has extra baggage – as most do – then there are even more factors to consider. Whether it is a last minute decision to go to the movies or on a trip, you have to consult your partner. But for good or bad, you won’t have to worry about traveling alone.

Food shopping is another affected area.
When you’re single you go food shopping when you no longer feel like take out food or when you realize there isn’t much you can cook with a lonely box of baking soda left in the fridge. When you buy something you know exactly how much is left over and there are no surprises when you reach for the carton of milk or the box of cookies you left the night before. If you’re married you have to consider the other person’s eating habits. On a side note, if you’re married or living with someone it is rude for you to grab a late lunch and come home saying fend for yourself I already ate. Another habit that is not very welcomed is getting home early to relax or engage in your favorite hobby until your partner arrives and you greet him or her with, hey, what’s for dinner? But for better or worse, most often you will have a dinner companion.

When you’re single laundry seems to be a lighter load, dishes don’t seem to pile up as quickly and more often than not you find things on the same place you left them because nobody moved them – unless your place is haunted, if that’s the case you are in a whole other relationship. But wait, aren’t couples supposed to split chores and responsibilities 50/50? Sure, well I’ve read that’s the way to do it. Maybe Dr. Phil may recommend it, hey we can even Google Dr. Ruth’s advice. I can honestly say I have seen couples working at it continuously. Keyword~> work. So whether single or in a relationship, you have to work at being and staying happy.

And if it is not the wedding bells you are eager to hear sound but the tick tock of your biological clock, imagine doing all the things mentioned above with the added sound of a screaming child, who believes your whole world revolves around them and expects your unconditional love no matter what. Yea, even that is far from ideal. In the ideal we don’t consider that in real life we have to put effort, be patient, forgive, let go. We forget that we are not perfect, that we get tired and sometimes we don’t want to compromise when we really should. Stop dreading the single relationship status, instead enjoy your independence and freedom while learning and gathering your strength and willingness to work in a relationship. Once you find that that other unique individual remember they will be far from perfect but as long as they are just as willing to work in a relationship with you in spite of your own less than perfect personality and extra baggage it will take a lot of grace from the both of you.

If it was easy to be and stay married there would be more marriages than divorces, there would be less divorce attorneys and marriage counselors. There would be less celebrity gossip and daytime shows about cheating spouses. So stop looking at the greener grasses on the other side and start watering your own side. I dare say there are as many books on staying married as there are on being happily single. Eventually you will have a garden whether you’re sharing it with a significant other or real friends, so just water it and enjoy it!

Source: History.com
http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day/interactives/valentines-day-by-the-numbers

The Lego Movie

TheLegoMovieI will start by simply saying The Lego Movie is AWESOME!  No, I have not been brain washed by President Business and his obsessive compulsivity to following instructions.  And while the song is repetitive – making the lyrics easy to learn – it does not completely influenced my choice of words in describing The Lego Movie as awesome.

As a single mother of a 9 year old boy I don’t get that many chances to catch grown up flicks so children friendly films are usually the norm.  When my son saw  the big cardboard stand up poster announcing – The Lego Movie  Assembling February 7 –  at the movie theater  I knew I was not going to get out of seeing that one.  To be frank, I was not looking forward to it.  I like Lego, and the Lego creations I have seen at the Lego store, the Lego Discovery Center, even many of my son’s Lego creations are absolutely amazing.  But I TheLegoMovie-BoysWorldNYCcould not, for the life of me, imagine how a movie about Lego pieces could be entertaining.  Sure, I have seen Lego Ninjago with my son and it is quite funny, but that’s just about 22 minutes long, a whole movie was beyond what I thought I could endure.  Still I decided to take my son to see it because that’s what parents do.  While I wasn’t planning on getting a free screening, thanks to NY Metro Parents’ Facebook page I learned about GoFobo.com and their offer to obtain free passes to a screening of the movie in Manhattan, AMC Lowes Lincoln Square 13, and I was one of the lucky ones.  Needless to say that knowing I had to be there by 9am on a Saturday morning was not my ideal start to the weekend, but what’s a mom of a boy who loves Lego to do.

I must say, it did not take five minutes into the movie to prove my initial expectations wrong.  From imaginative uses of Lego pieces that formed the stunning graphics and  animation to the clever lines of every single one of the characters, this movie was amusing from beginning to end. To further capture my fancy some of my favorite super heroes made appearances, and the Millennium Falcon hovered by with C3PO and Lando – Yes, I like Star Wars!  Then I heard the voices and I could not believe it was Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams (seriously as soon as I got home I had to look up if it was really them).  How Cool is That?!!  I was also pleasantly surprised  when I leaned over to tell my son that Liam Neeson was one of the voices to hear him respond, “I know he is Bad Cop/Good Cop.”

In addition to being entertaining the movie is not about pointless humor.  With the banner line, The Story of a Nobody Who Saved Everybody,  The Lego Movie conveys valuable messages on self worth, team work, individuality and parent-child relationship.  Main character Emmet, the unlikely hero, is someone many can identify with.  He feels unimportant with nothing special to offer trying desperately to be accepted.  Ultimately learning that everyone has special qualities to make them unique.  I will not go into any details about the characters or the movie but one thing is sure, my son laughed throughout  and still was left with the message that it’s okay to be who you are.  

As a mom I give The Lego Movie five stars! It was positively entertaining for both me and my son and it left an encouraging message.  My son and his friend were eagerly awaiting any sign during the after movie credits that would indicate The Lego Movie 2 would be coming soon.  Something I found hilarious considering, part one doesn’t even open until this coming Friday, February 7 yet here they are already wishing for a second part.  As we walked out the theater I received a request to obtain The Lego Movie on DVD, something I had already decided on before my son even asked.  And the kicker was that after years of me fussing with my son over his Lego creations – as he never wants to take them apart yet there isn’t enough space – once we got home he went straight to his room and started recreating his Legos as he too sees himself as a Master Builder.

 

Go Ahead Put Food on Your Face

snarkworld beauty 5 Common Pantry Items to Add to Your Vanity5 Common Pantry Items to Add to Your Vanity

Growing up in Puerto Rico my “natural” color was a most coveted golden tan, not unlike surfer guys and gals that spend their days at the beach. Needless to say once I moved to New York City I came up close and personal with the shocking reality that the beautiful color I thought so my own dissipated slowly after long winters and short summers but that is a whole other story. As I entered my teenage years still living on the island, my grandmother was very particular about the products she would allow me to use.  Grandma only allowed me to use natural products because she did not want them to “age” me.  By natural I’m talking grown in our backyard with some additions from our pantry.  Noxema was the only product she would allow me to use to cleanse my face that was commercial – I don’t know why because I never asked.  Ironically enough sunscreen was never part of her regime unless I was actually going to the beach.  Coming from that home remedy mentality, as an adult I experimented with products that were advertised as having “natural” and “organic” extracts from fruits or plants, vitamins or minerals.  But after trying many products and spending unnecessary amounts of money I started looking at the ingredients list.  To my disappointment most of these “natural” products had alcohols and other things I can barely pronounce as the primary ingredients.  So I decided to go back to my grandmother’s remedies as well as doing some extra research on my own.

Here are 5 common items from your pantry you can use at your vanity for your beauty regime. I only listed the ones I have personally used, because it would be hypocritical to do otherwise J  I also did some research on them and you can see the sources at the end of this post.

Honey
Honey is known for antioxidant power and antibacterial qualities. In the past it was used to treat wounds and burns.  In addition to soothing a sore throat, applying honey topically at night can reduce eye puffiness.  You can add it to home made scrubs or mix it with milk to use as a moisturizing wash after a scrub – but don’t forget to rinse or you will be sticky all day.

Baking Soda
Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda can be used as an exfoliant. It makes a gentle scrub one can use daily. Personally, I don’t use any scrub daily unless I wear make up – which I don’t always do – but baking soda is gentle on my sensitive skin. Although I did not find any research to support it, when I was sunburned my grandmother added some baking soda to my baths to soothe my skin.  Or as she would say, “para que se te caiga el sol” (“so that the sun will come off”) not sure it made it come off but it would make me feel better after hours of sun exposure with no sunblock.

Coffee Grinds
Caffeine can be absorbed through the skin; it is a natural diuretic and stimulant. Using coffee grounds as a scrub to rub against your skin can decrease visibility of cellulite and improve circulation.  I don’t use this on my face too often and when I do the grinds have to be very fine and I scrub very gently.  I have mainly used ground coffee with olive oil as a body scrub – particularly on the cellulite prone areas if you know what I mean.

Olive Oil
While adding some extra virgin olive oil in your salad may have its share of health benefits; there is some disagreement on whether it should be used on the skin because it won’t be easily absorbed. I have used it as part of a scrub – sugar scrub or coffee grounds scrub.  I like using olive oil as a make up remover followed by a baking soda scrub.
For the hair olive oil is said to combat dandruff.  I also found olive oil helped condition my hair after a bleaching experiment gone bad.  I also read it helps combat dandruff

Coconut Oil
Almost everything I read everyone agrees that coconut oil is good and safe for the skin and hair.  I like it as a lip balm, particularly because it is safe if ingested and I love coconut.  I would however, recommend being mindful of using too many different scents. While the coconut scent is light, you may not want to walk around smelling like a tropical fruit salad – unless you do.

Other pantry items to consider are:

Sea salt and sugar – can be mixed independently with olive oil or honey for a facial or body scrub.  Salt I primarily used when my skin would break out.  Be mindful of the texture of the scrub and rub gently as you want to exfoliate dead skin not remove your epidermis.

Vitamin E Oil – I prefer this as a daily moisturizer particularly during the winter months. It does not have a noticeable scent and it is quickly absorbed in your skin allowing me to apply make up without an oily mess.

Flax Seed Oil – For the hair I have used flax seed oil.  It leaves it shiny and conditioned without making it greasy or weighing it down – and I have thin straight hair.  You can use the flax seed oil as a hair mask.  I wrap a warm towel around my hair to apply some heat and leave it on for about 10 minutes then shampoo off.  When I don’t have time – because lets face it as Sweet Brown would say, “ain’t nobody got time for that” – I would add the flax seed oil to my hair as I shampoo leave it on as I would conditioner then shampoo off a couple of times.  As the flax seed oil conditions my hair I would not apply a conditioner although I will note that my hair is thin and straight and unprocessed.  I just recently processed my hair (about that on the next post) I will update this part if anything changes with my newly bleached hair.

Below you will find some of the sources I read before publicizing this post.  As I mentioned some of these things were introduced to me by my grandmother who needed to over no reason because she was abuela and that was it.  But some research studies have found benefits to these products while nothing really proven according to the medical world.  If you have any suggestions or have used any of these items drop me a comment and let me know how it worked out for you.

 

Sources:

Choosing Skin Care Products: Know Your Ingredients. WebMD. Online. Accessed 1/17/14
http://www.webmd.com/beauty/aging/cosmetic-procedures-products-2

Health Benefits of Bicarbonate of Soda by Frank Whittemore for LiveStrong.com. Online. Accessed 1/17/14.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/110287-health-benefits-bicarbonate-soda/

Tropical Oils.  NYU Langone Medical Center.  Online. Accessed 1/17/14
http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=630167

Vitamin E and Skin Health. Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University.  Online. Accessed 1/17/14
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/skin/vitaminE/

Skin Wrinkles and Blemishes. Article. University of Maryland Medical Center. Online. Accessed 1/17/14
http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/skin-wrinkles-and-blemishes