Friday, December 12, 2008

Wish I Had My Big Wheel Now

Watching a Lexus commercial and remembering my big wheel - "the freedom, the wind in my hair..." Cool memories. Was seriously considering getting a big wheel when the gas was almost $5 a gallon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ryuichi Sakamoto-Energy Flow

I love this piece and listen to it every chance I get. Sakamoto is a brilliant pianist and I'm a huge fan of his work. He is the genius behind many classical pieces with an Asian flare.

Perfect mood music for writing - which I am not doing right now. Don't you think? :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Write or Die

I found this totally kick arse application through NaNoWriMo called Write or Die: Dr. Wicked's Writing Lab. Today was my first time using it and I was immediately impressed with the results.

The program has different levels to which it will go to keep you on point, undistracted, and WRITING.

I prefer the Normal, Strict Mode. You plug in your word count goal, choose the length of time you'd like to write, and off you go. If you have streaming audio or anything else going on in the background the program blocks it out. When you stop typing the screen outside of your text box gets redder and redder. Then it blasts music which the program author deems annoying: Hanson's Um Bop - agreed. Or Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up. Okay, I'll admit it, I TOTALLY dug this song back in the day and am not above breaking into off-key song whenever it comes on. In fact, I'm watching the video on You Tube, singing, and chair dancing to it right now.

Musical choices aside, the blast of music gets your attention, and quick. I got a lot more writing done today in a lot less time. I'll be using Write or Die to work on both business and creative projects from now on.

My NaNoWriMo project is going well. I fell out of rhythm last week during all of the election excitement. This week... okay, Wednesday of this week, I got back on track. Now I'm playing a bit of catch up. I'm just under 19,000 words right now, but hope to be completely caught up by the weekend. Yay me!

If you're a fellow NaNo'er, be sure to connect with me here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What We Didn't Learn from the Great Depression

I am still in disbelief after watching this story on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. Why would lawmakers legalize the very activity that led to the Great Depression and expect anything other than what we are experiencing now?


Watch CBS Videos Online

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

To The Undecided: A Message About Voting

I love this video. It reminds us what is truly at stake and what we can achieve.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SNL Does the Vice Presidential Debate

This skit was incredibly funny. I thought Tina Fey, Queen Latifah, and Jason Sudeikis all really nailed their characters:



Wanna know what else I've been up to? Hop on over to Girlfriends EnTourAge Travel Club Network to find out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sick of Sarah - "Daisies"

If you haven't already noticed; I have a pretty eclectic musical palate. I'm just as likely to be rockin' it out to Red Hot Chili Peppers or grooving to Ne-Yo as I am to mesmerized by Andrea Bocelli or belting out Broadway tunes.

So, it shouldn't be surprising that I liked this little diddy that I ran across today by the Minneapolis band, Sick of Sarah. I won't lie: I checked it out because I hoped it was a spoof song that proclaimed that they were sick of a particular Sarah. Though that wasn't the case, I liked it just the same. So, I thought I'd share:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Drowning in the Social Networking Sauce?

Ever feel overwhelmed by social networking? There is Twitter (to which I'm addicted, so please follow me here); Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Friendfeed, Flickr, Stumbleupon, Digg, and those rapidly multiplying NINGS with which I currently have a love/hate relationship.

If you have ever felt that you were one social networking platform away from pulling the plug, you'll appreciate this little diddy (though I doubt you'll appreciate the singing itself :-) ).

What are your favorite social network platforms and which ones are making you crazy?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Need U Bad by Jazmine Sullivan

I love this song. It's filled with raw emotion. Jazmine Sullivan has a terrific voice and I love the easy reggae feel of the song. Though, I must admit I'm a little frightened by Missy's look in this video. I look forward to hearing the rest of her CD.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Living an Ayurvedic Lifestyle

One of my goals during my 20-Month-Plan is to live a healthier lifestyle. I plan to be in better shape at 40 than I was in my 20s. I've long been fascinated with Ayurvedic wisdom and the way it teaches you to respect your body and live in harmony with nature.

Some time ago I took the What's Your Dosha? test and was sort of surprised at my findings. I just retook the test. (And yes, I'm still Kapha). :-)

I'd love to know what dosha you are. Lisa Coffey has a great video that helps you understand the simple, healthy concepts of Ayurveda and how one can easily incorporate them into their current lifestyle to get better results.

Namaste,

Samara



Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Give Sarah and Hillary a Run for Their Money

I'm a big fan of Tina Fey in her roles as both the Head Writer for Saturday Night Live and as the Creator of 30 Rock. There have been lots of comparison's to Sarah Palin and Tina Fey's look. Sarah Palin may have stolen Tina Fey's look, but apparently Tina has at least "borrowed" Governor Palin's Alaskan accent.

I missed this episode of SNL, but found this clip of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. Tina nailed Palin's accent, but Amy steals the show as Clinton. LOVED IT. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dude Just Got Hurdled


If you've followed this blog at any length you know that I love sports. It's not a couple's activity or something I do to appease GQ Jones (the hubster). I genuinely enjoy sports of all kinds.

While I typically watch at least one football game per week during the NFL season, I am not an avid football fan. My interest in college football doesn't extend much further than Ohio State's schedule. However, whether you're a football fan or not, you'll sure you appreciate poetry in motion when you see it.

That's exactly what happened when Georgia Bulldogs running back, Knowshon Moreno, hurdled Central Michigan Chippewa, Vince Agnew, during a 29-yard sprint. Read the story here and see this amazing athletic oooooooh! moment for yourself.

Photo credits: US Presswire

Monday, September 8, 2008

Recommended Viewing: Movies for the Not-So-Serious

My last list of recommended movies were dramas - some with pretty intense themes. But, as anyone who knows me can attest, I'm a bit of a goof that enjoys a good laugh. In fact, if I were forced to choose just one genre of movie to watch for the rest of my life, I'd have to go with the romantic comedy.

What's there not to like about a well-done romantic comedy? The best ones transcend the gender lines that men we often draw in the sand. I think movies like Pretty Woman, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, and My Best Friend's Wedding do a good job of this.

Below is quick list of movies that I've seen recently that gave me plenty of laughs, and in a couple of the romance is minimal to the story. So, it's safe for guys to take a peek. :-)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Recommended Reading: On Writing by Stephen King

As a writer I am ashamed to admit that I only recently read this book. One that I've often heard touted as an absolute must read for any serious writer. I must also admit that I am not a fan of Stephen King's novels and I've only seen two of the proliferation of films based on the works of this American legend writer (Misery & Secret Window). I respect his skills and I do enjoy a bit of suspense. But, I am not the kind that typically enjoys scaring myself half to death - on purpose.

Despite this fact, I actually enjoyed my journey into the life and mind of Stephen King. On Writing is a combination autobiography and writing guide. He is quite clear about the fact that he is telling you about himself, not as some sort of ego trip, but to demonstrate how his life and personal journey have informed his writing. It was fascinating and inspiring to hear his personal story, the obstacles that he faced, and how many of his stories developed. Whether you are a writer or not, it is an excellent read.

I also recently finished On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells by Leigh Michaels. While I don't write strict romances, there is an element of romance in my stories to some degree or another.

Leigh does a fantastic job of guiding budding authors through important elements of fiction writing like developing believable characters and creating compelling dialogue. She also gives advice on developing intimate scenes in different genres from sweet traditional romance to erotica; a list of common cliches to steer clear of; and settings and industries that make it tough to get your novel picked up by mainstream publishers.

This is a must read for any romance writer.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Recommended Listening

I have a true penchant for the fusion of surprising flavors, sounds, and visuals. This is evident from my eclectic palate for music, design, foods, friends, etc. Lately, my taste for a blending of musical styles has grown insatiable. I can't get enough of fusion music.

I love songs that blend rock and hip hop: Walk This Way, by Run DMC, Trick Daddy's Let's Go - loved it even more when a classical orchestra played the song during the player introductions at the NBA All-Star game a few years ago.

Two of my ultimate favorite fusion types are Asian Fusion and Latin Jazz. I often listen to Japanese composer, Ryuichi Sakamoto. He is also in heavy rotation in my Classical and Work playlists on FineTune. His Energy Flow is simply sublime and his pieces written for movies like The Last Emperor are both beautiful and moving.

There are so many fantastic
Latin Jazz artists that I can't begin to name them all. However, if you have a taste for something new, something spicy, bursting with flavor, I'd urge you to give it a try.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Write Life for Me

It's amazing how much easier it is to do something when we feel that we aren't doing it alone. I'm a grown up (most of the time) who knows exactly what she is supposed to do (most of the time). But, sometimes it just helps to have someone over your shoulder or by your side who gives you that little push, a bit of confidence, or the proverbial foot in the ass when you need it.

I am fortunate to have that. I am luckier still that the number of voices that support me in my endeavors has grown from a single voice to a chorus. I feel honored to know these women and to support them in their dreams and goals, as well. My chorus grew quite a bit when I joined a small writer's group started and hand-picked by Shonell Bacon, the ever-positive Chicklitgurrl.

Another great writing group, also primarily women, helped me complete the writing of my non-fiction book. Endurance Writing is a Yahoo! Group that connects via Yahoo! instant messenger for group writing sessions. These sessions are timed and highly productive. They work well for me because I'm also slightly competitive. The thought of coming back after 45 minutes and saying, "Uh, zero word count" is completely unappealing and motivates me to motor on.

Whether you are a writer, artist, entrepreneur, stay-at-home mom, or career climber, it's great to have people who can relate to your struggles; who'll sympathize with you; and will give you a push when you need it.

Who has helped you move forward in your journey to achieve your dreams?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fabulous and Fifty


A funny thing happened when I turned 21 - many moons ago - I realized that the word "old" is quite a relative term. When I was 16 I thought my friends' siblings who were in their mid-20s were "old." Being in my 20s myself at that point, I realized that 25 wasn't so "old" after all.

After turning 25 I dreaded turning 30. The age at which I could no longer say that I was a twenty-something.

I hated turning 35 because I was officially ushered out of the "youth" bracket. You know how all marketing questionnaires seem to lump together people in the 18 - 34 age bracket, as if those at the top and bottom of that spectrum are, in fact, anything alike? Despite the fact that I felt it was absurd to lump those age ranges together, I still 'mourned' the fact that I was no longer a part of it.

But something funnier still happened on the other side of 35. I no longer looked at aging as something that should be dreaded or apologized for. The growing number of women in their 40s and beyond who were portrayed as strong, smart, and sexy certainly helped to boost this confidence. Women like Madonna and Angela Bassett - both of whom recently turned 50, as have Prince, Michael Jackson, and Kevin Bacon. Helen Mirren, Sally Field, and Diane Keaton remind us that evolution and growth and beauty don't stop after 60 either. These women continue to dominate their fields and rewrite the script for the women who will follow their path.

It is great to see more and more women healthy, happy, and more fabulous than ever as they mature, grow in confidence, and feel no need to apologize for who they are or what they've accomplished.

Viva la Fabulous and Fifty. Here's to 50 more.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Recommended Viewing: Things We Lost in the Fire, etc.

I've been a distracted blogger over the past several months. So, now that I'm on the straight and narrow - committed to blogging regularly - I sometimes feel the need to catch you up on things that I didn't get around to telling you during the Fall, Winter, and Summer of Distraction. Sort of the way that you talk a friend to death that you've seen for the first time in months or years.

Anyhoo, I managed to get in some great movies over the past several months, as well as a few WTF movies that made me want to dump my bowl of popcorn into the DVD Player. Here are a few of my favorites:

Things We Lost in the Fire - This was an excellent movie with compelling performances by Halle Berry, David Duchovny, Benicio Del Toro (who has now sealed the deal as one of my favorite actors), and young actors Alexis Llewellyn & Micah Berry. The story is tragic, reminding us of our own mortality. We feel compassion for each of characters and rejoice as we watch them grow and become stronger because of the tragedy they've experienced.

Once - I honestly loved this movie which followed the story of a jilted street musician and song writer. Glen Hansard, Dublin-born, lead singer of the Irish band, The Frames, and Mark√©ta Irglov√° are unassuming and yet simply perfect in this instant classic musical film. It's an love story - but not in the way you'd expect. It's more the story of the lives of these very simple people who meet randomly, their growing friendship, and their universal love of music. I highly recommend it. Whether you're in it for the tunes or for the story line, you won't be disappointed. In fact, Falling Slowly won the Oscar® in 2008 for Best Original Song. It's in heavy rotation on my FineTune playlists. I've posted the video of their performance below.



Here are a few other films that I've enjoyed. I'd love to hear what you think of them:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The City Beneath

I discovered a fantastic show on BlogTalkRadio, WSN Radio. I read a piece that I wrote about my son who has both Asperger's and ADHD. It was my first time ever sharing a poem, let alone reading it aloud. It is an awesome show and it was a great first experience. The piece I read is below:

The City Beneath
by Samara Leigh

What lies beneath your shining, dark eyes, child?
Tell me what secret thoughts you hold.
There is a city beneath your eyes, bustling with activity.
What is happening there?
I truly wish I knew.

You are such a mystery to me.
Your talents and intelligence are so obvious.
The things that you do are truly remarkable.
You could surely be someone great, in your time.
If only you could escape the city beneath your mind.

The city that is hiding beneath that odd smile
Holds you captive to its wishes and desires.
You cannot see our world for your own.
It blocks your view.
You cannot function in our world.
For you, it is like wading through quicksand.

Follow my voice.
I will offer you my hand.
I will not allow the City Beneath to take you from me.
You are my son.
I will never relinquish you to the city that fascinates you so.

Sometimes, when I speak,
It is not my voice that you hear.
It is the mayor of the City Beneath.
He is telling you the exact opposite of what I have said.
He is conducting the town orchestra.
Cymbals clashing in your head.

But, I will not surrender
My Enigma, My Child
To the City Beneath.
I will keep standing at the borders,
Coaxing you out.

You can hear me "poetry debut" here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Twenty Month Plan (or the Countdown to 40)

So, I've put myself on what I'm calling the 20-Month Plan. Of course, at the time of my telling you this, it's more like an 18-month plan. My 20-Month Plan is basically a countdown to my 40th birthday in the spring of 2010.

On this side of 35 you begin to look at yourself, your life, your accomplishments, much differently than you did when you were a wide-eyed, hopeful 20-something. I'm still hopeful, but much more realistic about my accomplishments and what I need to do to achieve my goals. I've finally come to terms with the fact that:

  1. I won't lose weight just by owning Hip Hop Abs or vinyasa yoga tapes.
  2. My novels won't get published if I don't finish them.
  3. I cannot be a successful entrepreneur unless I learn to embrace marketing. (Why am I hearing Leonardo screaming to his alter ego in The Iron Mask, "You'll wear it till you love it!")
  4. If you don't ask, the answer is always, "No!"
  5. Al Franken (as Stuart Smalley on SNL) was right. "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, I deserve it."
As part of my 20-Month Plan I've created a list of goals that I'd like to reach by the time I turn 40. I bought myself a super cute, pink leather journal to pen my thoughts and progress. The purpose of Pink Journal -aside from the obvious cuteness - is for me to write down what I've done toward reaching at least one of those goals every single day. While I'd like to think that I am working toward my goals every single day, I haven't been very faithful in recording those actions daily.

Which reminds me, I've got some journaling to do.

Namaste,

Samara

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to Edit & Promote Your Book Frugally

Best-selling author, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, shares the inside scoop on why she wrote the best-selling book, The Frugal Editor, and The Frugal Book Promoter. She also shares her #1 tip for promoting your book.



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paris Hilton's Response to John McCain

Okay, I've never been a fan of Paris, but her video response to John McCain's anti-Obama ad is frickin' funny. She actually comes out of it looking like the smart one.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tips for Dealing in a Funky Economy

I've long talked about the "Middle Class" being a mythological concept and a misnomer at this point. At the rate we are currently going the middle class will go the way of the pterodactyl.

Anyhoo, one of the "upsides" of this depression recession is that many of us have learned to budget our limited resources. A skill and habit that will serve us well if when the economy bounces back. Secondly, going green has become more than just cool, it is a survival skill for many families. Recycling, repurposing, and reusing items; conserving energy use; buying hybrid cars, consolidating errands and enjoying local resources to save gas; composting; and growing our own fruits, herbs and vegetables.

With recent news of melting polar caps and the devastating weather-related effects of global warming (something our commander-in-chief finally recognizes) it is more important than ever that we each do our part. I only hope that it will continue once we are no longer feeling the pinch.

For many people, the fact that we are in a depression recession still hasn't hit home. Perhaps they are going about life as if nothing has changed; trying to live the same lifestyle with a lot less seed. There is a great article in Yahoo! Finance on Five Signs That You're Living Beyond Your Means. Below are a few great books for anyone that is ready to begin dealing with their personal finances in a more productive way.

Namaste,

Samara


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Today Meg Cabot is Providing the Vehicle for My Procrastination

Meg Cabot is absolutely hilarious. I subscribed to her blog today and while I found it quite amusing; it isn't really helping me hit my JulNoWriMo total today. I've enjoyed reading her books, but I've never read any of the Queen of Babble series. Looks like I'll have some catching up to do before I read her latest release, Queen of Babble Gets Hitched.

Check out her diary here.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Letting Go

July 1st was a big day for me.

First: It kicked off JulNoWriMo - a novel-in-a-month competition in which I am participating. I know what you're thinking.... "Didn't you try that a couple of times already?" Indeed you are right. I participated in NaNoWriMo twice and sputtered out. Not because the task was impossible, but because I told myself that it was. And what I was left with is two WIP (works in progress) that have been calling to me with varying intensity ever since I abandoned them all those months ago.

The characters have danced around my head from time-to-time. They want their happy (or unhappy) ending. And in fact, I am anxious to discover exactly where they will end up. As their creator, of course I have an idea of where I want their journey to end, but each character often surprises me by taking a completely different direction.

I started by reading WIP #1 which was 326 pages. I started reading at 6AM, just to reacquaint myself with the characters and story. I was pleasantly surprised by what I'd written - with the exception of one chapter and one scene which I cut, whittling it down to 314 double spaced pages. My goal is to write 2500 words per day, six days per week during JulNoWriMo. When I complete WIP #1 I will then turn my attention to WIP #2 for the remainder of the competition.

I could very well end the month with TWO completed manuscripts.

Second: The latest issue of All Things Girl went live. It includes my column, "Letting Go Isn't Easy" the first in a two part series dealing with the issue of holding onto things which don't serve your purpose, and even worse, could be blocking your happiness.

Third: And this is BIG people, I have put myself on a 20-month action plan. Why 20 months and not 30 days, 100 days, 5 or 10 years? Because my BFF and I have long aspired to be "Fabulous by Forty" and our 40th birthdays are looming on the horizon. There are many things that I would like to accomplish before I am 40. More on that later this week.

Namaste,

Friday, June 27, 2008

Military Families Latest Victims in Foreclosure Crisis

For my complete perspective of the treatment of men and women in the military your can visit my post today over on the All Things Girl Blog.

The video below highlights the skyrocketing rate of foreclosures in areas surrounding military bases. Many soldier who are actively serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are losing their American Dream even as they fight to protect the freedom of the country mates.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Opportunity for Redemption

I've participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the past two years. I failed to hit my goal both times. Not because it was impossible. Not because I didn't have the time. Not because I didn't have the inspiration. If I could point to the definitive reason I that I did not hit my goal, I would say it was because I told myself it was impossible and that I just didn't have the time, which seriously affected my inspiration. The inspiration to put my buns in the chair and JUST GET MY PROJECT DONE.

Each time I'd begin with mad inspiration, fingers flying on keyboards, words tumbling out of my brain. I'd hit or exceed my daily goals each day until.... Until the first day I couldn't write, for whatever reason. Then there'd be another day when I couldn't write, or I could only meet a fraction of my goal. Soon, I felt like I was in a collapsing hole of my own making. One I simply couldn't pull myself out of, so I'd give up.

Last year, at the last minute, I jumped back on the bandwagon during the last week of the month. I got so much done and I was quite proud of my work. Then I wanted to kick myself for not sticking with the challenge throughout the month. If I had done so, I surely would have easily met my goal. The guilt from my pitiful efforts the past two years has haunted me the seven months since then.

Over the past few months I've been focused on starting a new business and all of the ground work, marketing collateral, and product creation that accompanies such an project. I am nearly finished with the non-fiction book I am writing and had mentioned to my writing buddies at Endurance Writing that I wanted to commit to my writing project again beginning July 1st. How excited was I to read an email from a member of the group asking if we'd like to participate in July Novel Writing Month (JulNoWriMo) with her. It was my opportunity to redeem myself from those missed opportunities in previous NaNoWriMos. And the icing on the cake is that in this competition you can work on a book that is already in progress. So my poor, neglected, unfinished darlings can have their happy ending. And I can hold a finished novel in my hands. My first since my school days, many moons ago.

Namaste,

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Cure for Common Wordiness

Okay, maybe wordiness isn't common to everyone. Maybe it's just me. It's one of the things I've been working on this year. I am often surprised how much better a passage reads once I've killed my darlings - those phrases that I loved and wanted to keep, but didn't really serve the purpose.

This terrific post on PoeWar.com gives some great, basic tips for cutting down on the unnecessary wordage. Hope you'll find it as helpful as I did.

Happy Writing!

Monday, June 16, 2008

And You Think You've Gone Green

The Dervaes Family in Pasadena, California were green way before it was "in." The urban farmers live off their land, a typical urban lot. They use the front yard, back yard, and driveway. They cook in an outdoor oven, recycle water, and their blender is powered by a bicycle.

Quite a few of us owe the Dervaes for taking on our carbon footprint, too. They say that in the past two years they've gone from being the "crazy family on the block" to being hip.

I'm not quite ready to hook my beloved blender up to the bicycle - though I could definitely use the exercise. But I admire this family's commitment to the environment, living healthy, and being true to what they believe is truly important in life, no matter what others think of it. And I am envious of their practically non-existent power, water, grocery, and gasoline cost. ;-)

What do you think?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Six Tips for Making Your Gas Go a Little Farther

My husband Skyped this article to me today (from the living room downstairs while I was up in my office). With the price of gas continuing to skyrocket, every little bit helps. Most of the tips are easy for anyone to begin using right away. Most of them contribute to a safer drive home for all of us.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hulu.com - Who Knew?

Not me. But apparently PC World did because they ranked the free, ad-based video site as the top product of 2008.

There are lots of television shows and movies available for viewing absolutely free. I wanted to catch episodes of USA's new show, In Plain Sight, and they are on the site. There are also several episodes of Arrested Development, a show I've heard lots about but never watched. I plan to check out a couple of episodes of that as well.

In addition to popular TV shows and movies you'll find great sports moments. Check it out at Hulu.com.

Mary Shannon of In Plain Sight
Mary McCormack, In Plain Sight

Arrested Development

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What Will Hillary's Fate Be?

Whether you love or hate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, there are some very interesting articles today about her and about what went wrong during her campaign.

Check out Hillary Clinton: a man in a woman's world on Spiked and How Clinton Lost on Yahoo! News.

Namaste,

Samara

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Four-Day Work Week

A four-day work week. How awesome is that? Yahoo! News reported on a trend that is beginning here in Ohio, prompted by the outrageous price of gasoline. A few bright, progressive employers are giving their employees the option of working a four-day work week (4 ten-hour days) as a way to reduce their transportation cost by a whopping 20% while keeping the same pay. What prompted the move?

One employer was faced with the possibility of losing several employees who were considering quitting to find work closer to home. A considerable number of the employees accepted the offer. One employer hopes to completely close their office on that fifth day as a way to also reduce energy costs. Brilliant!

It is sad that it has taken a good gouging by the oil companies for Americans to get serious about living a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Commuters are opting for motorcycles, scooters, public transportation, bicycling, and good old walking for their every day commutes. Local car dealerships can't keep enough hybrid cars on the lot.

Families are looking for ways to save money - like saving water and reducing gas and electricity use - which also just happen to be good for the environment.

We are recycling more and wasting less. Fashionistas and their families have discovered of beauty of consignment shops and vintage boutiques (i.e. the local thrift store).

I never wanted my husband to ride, much less buy a motorcycle. But, now I am open to it. I just insist that he take a course in defensive motorcycle driving. (Unfortunately, the number of motorcycle deaths has increased along with the number of inexperienced motorcyclists that have taken to the road to save fuel costs). And, as for me, I have actually been considering a scooter. I would NEVER have considered it before. But, now I can definitely see myself sporting a hot little stylish number like the scooter pictured here.

Would you work a four-day work week if your employer offered it? What have you and your family been doing to reduce costs and reserve energy?


Friday, May 30, 2008

Opening Day for Sex and the City


The countdown is over. It is finally here. The day that SATC fans everywhere get to reconnect with their favorite fictional galpals - Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha - for a brand new adventure during the Sex and the City Movie.

I'd hoped to fly to Denver for this "momentous" event to see it with my galpal of 20+ years, Born Diva. For the season finale in February of 2004 I flew out to Denver and we threw a kick ass Series Finale party complete with Cosmos and metallic table confetti shaped like little cocktail glasses.


The previous year we visited New York City - both for the first time - and had a blast. While we did many things - going to see the Broadway play, Rent; shopping until we dropped; my first cab ride; getting a henna tattoo on Times Square at night; seeing the Naked Cowboy; and eating dinner at Tavern on the Green - going on the Sex and the City tour was one of our favorites.


While we won't be able to reunite for the long-awaited reunion of our favorite fictional galpals, we will definitely be together in spirit.


If you're going to see the movie - hopefully WITH your best friend - ENJOY.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Supporting the WBNA: Why It's About More Than Just Basketball

I'm a huge basketball fan and lately I've been feeling guilty about not showing the WNBA some love. What I feel most guilty about is never - NOT ONCE - going to see Cleveland's WNBA team, the Cleveland Rockers, when we still had it.

I was excited when Cleveland received one of the original eight franchises of the WNBA. I always intended to go to a game, but never quite made it.

It wasn't because of the distance. It was an easy 12.5 mile drive. I've driven the same distance and much farther, now that I've moved, to attend at least 3 - 5 Cleveland Cavaliers games each season for the past several years.

It wasn't the money. The exact price of the tickets escapes me, but I remember thinking that it wasn't much to see a professional sporting event.

So, why couldn't I support women who love the game even more than I do? I'm still trying to figure out the answer to that question. But, to make amends, I am trying to keep a close eye on the WNBA this season and I plan to purchase some WNBA gear. I'll also periodically feature an WNBA player on Mindful Banter.

I guess the reason it bothers me so much is because it is so important for women to support each other in their quest to achieve their dreams. Overall I like to think I am committed to doing that. However, I can now see the need to be more vigilant in my efforts to do so. After all, I am very appreciative of the women that have supported me on my journey to achieve my dreams.

Namaste,

Samara Leigh


Monday, May 26, 2008

Guess I'm on the Right Career Path After All

Take this test!
Your mind is forever locked on the unforeseeable future, wondering how to make it a better place. Every movement needs a visionary, someone to lead the way and be the almighty powerful. And that someone is you. As a born leader, people honor your wisdom and are inspired by your commitment to your cause, company, or family. You're capable of encouraging others to believe in just about anything you represent whether it be corporate restructuring, political reform, or healing crystals. But you're also the independent type—a little elusive. You're best directing from a distance where you can set strategy without getting involved in schmoozing or too much office politics. You're the woman behind the scenes who's holding the strings.



Who's like you:
Martha Stewart



Likely careers:
Entrepreneur, realtor, insurance broker, travel agent, drug kingpin

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Little Perspective


I'll admit that I've spent more than my fair share of time griping about the rising prices of gasoline, heating costs, bread, milk, and just about everything else under the sun. I am also guilty of musing aloud about how much longer our economy can continue to spiral downward before we will qualify as a Third World Country. (Hey, don't be so quick to roll your eyes. Did you see The Day After Tomorrow? Alright then.)

However, I ran across Leona Lewis's Footprints in the Sand video and it helped me to regain some perspective. While things are getting very bad for many of us, unfortunately there are always those that have alot less. There are many things that I am grateful for. Something it is sometimes easy to forget.

PS: No, I will not stop plotting ways to "stick it to the man." As in the gas man, Mr. BP and Senor Exxon Mobil and their friends. I plan on driving a hybrid, growing my own food, installing solar panels on my house, installing sidewalks made from recycled tires, and bamboo floors as soon as I possibly can. Which will probably be soon after I can afford to move in next door to my Eco-Hero, Leonardo DiCaprio.
Anyway, enjoy Leona's touching video below.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rockers, Relationships & Redemption

My favorite song of the moment. Who knew rockers could be so insightful?

This baby is burning up my poor little Sansa MP3 player. You should feel sorry for it and for the DH & DS - GQ Jones and Mini Record Mogul, respectively. Why?

Because I never let a little thing like being tone deaf stop me from singing my little heart out. As much as my sore throat - part of the plague that Mini Record Mogul passed on to me this week - will allow. After all, I can barely hear myself. And by the time it filters through the cranked up tune I sound pretty doggone good. :-)

What song is your family tired of hearing you sing?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Judy Blume's Belated B'day - Thursday Thirteen

I got the bright idea to blog about one of my earliest writing sheroes - the fabulous Judy Blume - since I discovered it was the anniversary of her birth on Tuesday, February 12th. (Did I mention that procrastination was one of the things that I'm still working on?) My only consolation about having procrastinated for two weeks and two days is that today - the day I am finally blogging about Judy Blume - is perfect for this subject because I am going to do it in a Thursday Thirteen format.

So, the following is my Ode to Judy Blume - a fantastic writer, a courageous woman, and one of my earliest inspirations for wanting to be a writer:







Looking in the Mirror

Don't you hate when horoscopes and those blog quizzy things hit it directly on the head? We never mind the wonderful things they says about us - "you're beautiful and fantastic and people are falling at your feet." But when we get called on the carpet by a faceless blog quiz, well that's just wrong. :-)

If we are smart we'll use this opportunity for reflection to inspire us to take the action necessary to change our path. Not because a faceless, for-entertainment-purposes-only quiz told us so, but because we always knew that it was true. And because we are now ready to take control of our own futures.

Here is the quiz I ran across while visiting Tempest's blog:





Your Life Path Number is 3



Your purpose in life is to express your unique self.



You are a creative and artistic person with an interesting view on life.

Witty and outgoing, you enjoy sharing your crazy ideas with anyone who will listen.

A total social butterfly, you're the life of any party.



In love, you inspire and enchant your partner. You are often an object of fantasy and desire.



While you are very talented, you sometimes lack the ambition to put your talents in play.

And while your wit carries you a long way, you occasionally use it to mask your true feelings.

Your natural abilities can bring you all the success in the world ... if you let them

Friday, February 22, 2008

Recommended Viewing: Shoot 'Em Up



I am an admitted action movie junkie. The Transporter, The Italian Job, Mission Impossible, The Bourne Identity, and anything James Bond are among my favorites. I've added a new one to the list... Shoot 'Em Up. Without a doubt this is one of the most insane, yet wildly entertaining films I've seen in a while.

First of all, let's just agree that there is no connection with reality in this flick, in terms of the unbelievable stunts the movie's hero, Smith, performs. But, that is true of just about any action flick. So, realism aside, this flick was an awful lot of fun. It is definitely not for the kiddies, as there is an insane body count and a pretty raucous sex scene. And I guarantee you that there will be several utterances of "He did not just do that! That is completely insane!" But, you'll have a lot of fun along the way.

Clive Owen, increasingly sexy, is quickly moving up the food chain of my favorite male actors. I thought he was great in Children of Men, Closer, and Derailed. Paul Giamatti is a deliciously wicked vilain that you'll love to hate.


Let me know what you think.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thirteen Year Old Austistic Girl Finds Voice Through Computer


This story is simply amazing. A 13-year-old girl with severe autism that was unable to speak discovers her voice through a chance encounter with her father's laptop. She sat and typed HELP HURT TEETH. Her parents couldn't believe it. She couldn't speak so they had no idea that she could spell. It turns out that this young lady is quite intelligent, eloquent, and locquacious.

She's been a non-stop chatterbox - via computer - ever since. She wants to know when she'll be able to go on a date. LOL. In fact, you can ask her questions about living with autism, etc. online and she will respond. See and hear the story here.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Moti-VOTE-tion: Yes We Can

This is a very cool video that was made by Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. I found it posted over on Chi-Chi's blog. It is a collaboration of some of my favorite actors and singers and a powerful reminder to each of us that we can make a difference.

Enjoy...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Navigating the Autism Spectrum

Having a child of my own on the spectrum, I am fascinated by the Kirton Family of Utah. They have six children ranging in ages from 3 to 14. The children have various forms of autism. They are currently being studied to help researchers learn more about genes and autism.

The Kirton Family's website, Autism Bites, has some great t-shirts with clever sayings like:

AUTISTIC today, genius tomorrow.

I'm AUTISTIC and I think you're weird, too.

Plus they offer a unique look at their family and lots of support and resources. They were featured on ABC News. Watch the clip below:


A Remarkable Family with Six Children on the Austism Spectrum:


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Coupling and Other BBC America Goodies



So the Writer's Strike has made me more productive. But, it's also got me venturing into new territory. Like BBC America. On Friday I came home and turned on the telly, only to discover that it was tuned to BBC America. While I do watch the occasional BBC show, I'd have to bribe either GQ Jones or Mini-Mogul to join me. So, it is still a mystery to me how the TV landed there. Nevertheless, an episode of Coupling was on. It was ridiculous and hilarious all at the same time. Here is the episode summary:






S2, E1: The Man With Two Legs
Jeff has fallen in love with a red shoe on his morning train…and the leg attached to the shoe, and presumably the woman attached to the leg. When he eventually gets a chance to speak to her, poor Jeff is so nervous that he somehow blurts out that he only has one leg. But the beautiful stranger takes pity on the amputee, and Jeff
can't believe his good luck! He is in a relationship, with a gorgeous woman who
is keen on him, and he hasn't said anything else that was stupid (besides the
bit about the one-leg).


The show cracked me up. I am particularly keen on Jeff - the lovable, socially handicapped member of the bunch.




I watched a couple more episodes, including Season 4, Episode One "9 1/2 Minutes." It was a rather clever look at the same 9 1/2 minutes from three different points of view. You can catch episodes on BBC America at 5:30PM EST on weekdays.




One of the first things I thought was 'I hope we don't try to turn this into an American television show, too.' Too late. Someone tried and failed miserably back in 2003.




Yes, I know we practically wouldn't have any reality shows it if wasn't for the American copycat versions of popular British shows. American Idol, America's Got Talent, What Not to Wear, Trading Spaces, The Weakest Link, The Office... the list goes on... are all remakes of popular UK shows. But sometimes only the original will do.






Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What I've Learned from the Writer's Strike

  1. Writers apparently rule the entertainment world. (I love Queen Latifah and everything, but did you see the People's Choice Awards? Geez!)
  2. The Networks are even greedier than I thought.
  3. I watch entirely too much television. (Since the Writer's Strike I've been much more productive.)
  4. That talk show hosts aren't nearly as funny without their writers.
  5. That I actually prefer the American Music Awards without the lame jokes and pretense.

I am sure that I will learn lots of new lessons now that nearly every show that I watch has succumbed to the Writer's Strike. If we're lucky, The Networks (AKA "The Man") will, too.

Namaste,

Samara Leigh