Saturday, January 31, 2015

Let Altruism Be Your Guide

From TED

What is altruism? Put simply, it's the wish that other people may be happy. And, says Matthieu Ricard, a happiness researcher and a Buddhist monk, altruism is also a great lens for making decisions, both for the short and long term, in work and in life.

Why you should listen

After training in biochemistry at the Institute Pasteur, Matthieu Ricard left science behind to move to the Himalayas and become a Buddhist monk -- and to pursue happiness, both at a basic human level and as a subject of inquiry. Achieving happiness, he has come to believe, requires the same kind of effort and mind training that any other serious pursuit involves.

His deep and scientifically tinged reflections on happiness and Buddhism have turned into several books, including The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet. At the same time, he also makes sensitive and jaw-droppingly gorgeous photographs of his beloved Tibet and the spiritual hermitage where he lives and works on humanitarian projects.

His latest book on happiness is Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill; his latest book of photographs is Tibet: An Inner Journey.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The danger of hiding who you are

From TED

Morgana Bailey has been hiding her true self for 16 years. In a brave talk, she utters four words that might not seem like a big deal to some, but to her have been paralyzing. Why speak up? Because she’s realized that her silence has personal, professional and societal consequences. In front of an audience of her co-workers, she reflects on what it means to fear the judgement of others, and how it makes us judge ourselves.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Gowns of the SAGAwards

Keira made up for her Golden Globe fiasco by winning the night in this elegant purple number.

These ladies did give her a run for her money though...

SAG winner Julianne Moore

SAG winner Viola Davis

Felicity Jones in the go to pale pink of spring.

Julie Bowen. Not a typical Hollywood siren, but lovely in this very soft flowy floral embroidery.

Jennifer Aniston showing us all that she's still got it.

Camilla Avila (Mathew McConaughey's wife)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Less Stuff; More Happiness?

From TED

Graham Hill tells us how to scale down our material selves.

Why you should listen

Graham Hill is the founder of LifeEdited, dedicated to helping people design their lives for more happiness with less stuff. When he started the company in 2010, it brought the ideas of his previous project, the eco-blog and vlog, into design and architecture. (The TreeHugger team joined the Discovery Communications network as a part of their Planet Green initiative, and Hill now makes appearances on the green-oriented cable channel.)

Before Treehugger, Hill studied architecture and design (his side business is making those cool ceramic Greek coffee cups). His other company, ExceptionLab, is devoted to creating sustainable prototypes -- think lamps made from recycled blinds and ultra-mod planters that are also air filters.

Hill is the author of Weekday Vegetarian, available as a TED Book on Amazon and Apple's iBooks

I could have used this when we lived in Manhattan. No doubt, we did a good job of scaling our life down on our own. Living in 400 square feet with two children does that to you. Why 400 square feet you ask? We bought  our little one-bedroom apartment at the height of the 1980s market, which precipitously dropped several months after we bought. We were basically stuck in that apartment until our oldest was 5 years old simply because we couldn't even rent the apartment out at a functionable price so we could afford another place to live that had two bedrooms.

Of course that eventually changed and we rented out our little albatross, moved, moved again and then moved again. Eventually sold the apartment, at a loss by the way. However were able to take it a a business loss since we had rented it out for more than two years. Not certain if that is still the tax law, but at least we did get some help with our little debacle of a foray into Manhattan real estate. Believe me when I tell you being a landlord is not for the faint of heart. That last tenant (an Ivy League lawyer) we had was a trip in and of herself. Never met a woman who was so filthy in my life. She had not cleaned that apartment in a year, including all the kitchen appliances, and the bathroom.. In fact the bathroom had blackmold all across the ceiling. The bathtub had so much scum in it, I don't know how she felt clean after taking a shower in it. We told her she had to buy it or pay for renovations she had damaged the apartment so badly.

Meanwhile, along the way we have accumulated alot of stuff. I go through the closets every now and again to rid ourselves of the superfluous. But in the end, the reality is that attached to the things we have are important memories that we are not willing to give up. I can understand why the elderly have a very hard time moving from their homes as they age. Their lives are in their houses. No its not always about the things they have, but about the memories associated with the objects that holds a person to a place or makes it too hard to give up their belongings.

That is one part of the narrative that Mr. Hill doesn't seem to recognize. But then again, it appears that Mr. Hill has no children and at the point of this video above, had noone of any significance withwhom he shared his life. These two points make a huge difference as to what you would get rid of and what you choose to keep.

Now in truth, there is no reason any one person needs 30 pairs of jeans. I have seen closets in people's homes that were bigger than my house. But then again if you paid money for an item and you want to keep it, that is your right. Of course, there is a fine line between being a hoarder and hanging on to your belongings. I think that line has to do with cleanliness and order. But don't quote me on that.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


A new promotion by Dove, about accepting your curls...I. Love. I wrote on Facebook...

Growing up in an era when the only perfect hair was straight and blonde that is all you wanted. I ironed my hair, I bleached my hair and I used chemical straightener on my hair. It wasn't until later in life that my curly hair became the rage and I no longer felt disrespected by society. Of course I had long before that decided my hair was beautiful, but society has a way of screwing with our heads without us even knowing it.

My curls....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Binge Streaming the British on Netflix

So I have finally discovered binge streaming. The funniest part is that we have been Netflix members for years only I never bothered to look at any of the programs offered. The hubby and the boys tended to watch their Netflix programs, but it just didn't occur to me to take a look on my own. Don't know why, don't ask.

I actually became enamored of binging when Netflix produced the new Marco Polo series. In fact, one of the more interesting aspects of my binging is that I have discovered some very high caliber British television. Not that I hadn't paid attention to British TV before, being a Dr. Who semi-fan and rather intrigued by the show M-I5 and quite enamored of  Downton Abbey. But, I only watched those shows on PBS masterpiece theater or BBC America. Now I have an entirely new arena in which to get my mysteries on...

Anyway here are a few reviews of some of the programs I have lately streamed:

Marco Polo

Extraordinary attention to detail with an eye to the historical. While of course it is romance, swashbuckling fun at its best (even though it is all on land), there is an attention to period detail that I found extraordinary. The story of Marco Polo and the Kublai Khan is an interesting clash of civilizations and the opening of the Silk Road is one of the most important periods in history. But moreover, the cast is the extremely talented  amalgamation of some of the best that not only British, but the European actor guild has to offer. Definitely watch this as a binge if you can. I can't wait for season 2.

Happy Valley

Police, murder, rape all combined with the concept of redemption. Simply ask yourself how would you feel in the main character's shoes and how would you have handled the situation any different? All-in-all while there is an interesting crime mystery to solve, the real story is about the people, who they are and how life, in and of itself, is the one true mystery. You don't have to binge watch this series. But I found myself getting quite drawn in to the story and didn't want to wait to finish it, even though I had to go to sleep so I could function the next day. P.S. one main question, I still don't know why the average British police are not armed, when all the bad guys do have weapons and men are really stronger than women (despite what some feminists might tell you)...just asking.


They made this series into an American television show called Gracepoint. Now I actually started watching the American show before I streamed the British version. I hadn't known that Gracepoint was based on this series at all. In fact when I started watching Broadchurch I knew there was something familiar about it, then I realized I had watched some of Gracepoint.

Interestingly, I really didn't like the American take on the series. Ironically, Gracepoint was almost verbatim what the British version was, but I couldn't watch past that first episode. However, it really worked as a British mystery. Perhaps I was just not in the mood for the show when it aired on Fox. But I do know that the endings are actually different for the two shows, well according to the reviews as I never did watch Gracepoint after that first episode.

For Dr. Who fans, David Tennant is the detective in both versions.

The Fall

Another good British series, replete with multitudes of flawed characters. Gillian Anderson, who you will remember from the X-Files, is terrific as the senior police detective on the case. The series takes place in Belfast, which is still having problems since The Troubles.  But be forewarned it is a serial killer case and the script, as well as the actor Jamie Dornan,  does a good job of really creeping out the watcher. I streamed Season 1 as a binge and then started season 2. I had to skip to the last episode in season 2 without watching all the episodes, not because it wasn't good, but because it just got too under my own skin.


This is a rather old series and if you don't have Netflix, but have amazon prime you can stream it for nothing there. It is a very good and humanizing look at the people that keep Britains safe from terror. There is not just one plot, but many subplots throughout the series with an ever changing cast, all happening at the same time. It keeps you rather riveted. It is nice to see that at least in some areas of the world, people respect those who give their lives in service to their country and to freedom. There are 10 seasons and I suggest you start from season 1.

The Honourable Woman

I watched the entire miniseries because people told me how wonderful it was. I kept hoping that it would get better. And yes Maggie Gyllenhaal just won a golden globe for her performance (why I have no idea). I have never seen her in any other production, so I am assuming that she can really act. But here she seemed to simply be going through the motions as a zombie. I don't know if that was the directors idea, or if that was in the script trying to show her to be an emotionless individual, but I found it distracting to say the least.

In truth the story is quite stupid, and the mystery not such a mystery. I figured it all out in the very beginning. No I don't think it's because I am that astute. Truth is that the story was rather typical for those trying to be profound about the Middle East, without any real knowledge about the Middle East. It was also no surprise especially in the end when you find out who was the real "Honourable Woman." (This one I would skip if I were you.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Meghan Trainor...Your Lips Are Moving

She makes girl-empowerment fun. First it's a body image song and now it's about not taking any crap...not bad for a beginning.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Pics for "Best" and "Oh no she didn't..." Golden Globe Gowns

These are my pics for most vavavavoom at the Golden Globes. These women know who they are and are not afraid to show their assets. I say when you have it flaunt it.

Jessica Chastain. This may be her go to look, but it really works so why not?

Katherine Heigl in Zac Posen. I discovered that this designer looks terrific on women of every age. His designs recall the 1950s with line and symmetry. And oh yes, his handbags (because this is still my blog) are terrific and oh so affordable.

Kate Hudson with probably the most revealing dress of the evening. Hey if you looked like that you'd wear this too.

Jennifer Lopez getting her Ursula Andres on.

Now for a little bit of a throw back to a more sedate era. Of course it would take an internationally known lawyer to pull this off.

Amal the opera gloves. Makes the entire ensemble. And of course the arm candy she came with doesn't hurt either.

And what NOT to wear when you are pregnant. Keira is always a little avant garde, but simply because this is Chanel doesn't mean she isn't trying out for a part as a cupcake in an upcoming motion picture.

Keira, what were you thinking?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Marathon Swimmer, Diana Nyad, on the Human Spirit

From TEDMED 2014

Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad returned to the TEDMED stage in 2014 to share lessons from her world record-setting solo 110-mile swim from Cuba to Miami at age 64.
“I have three messages: One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.” — Diana Nyad


Author, journalist, former TEDMED speaker, and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad has broken numerous world records. Her swim around Manhattan (under eight hours) and the 102 miles she swam in open waters from the Bahamas to Florida were her biggest swimming achievements by age 30. In 2013, Diana attempted, for the fifth time, the 110-mile ocean crossing between Cuba and Florida. With a strong team and a new commitment to her vision, she became the first person to swim the distance without a shark cage. Once a nationally ranked squash player, Diana continues to challenge herself in myriad ways. Since her historic swim, she has appeared on the TV show, Dancing With the Stars!, written a new memoir, and workshopped her own one-woman theatrical show in Hollywood.
If you could choose to stay any age forever, what age would you choose?
This moment, 64, is my prime. Emotionally mature. Psychologically calm. Perspective to feel
profound gratitude and awe. Even my physical/athletic side is strongest.

What sparks your imagination?
Books. I’m writing a memoir, and reading others’ memoirs takes me through history and personal illumination.
What do you do to lift your spirits?
Hang out with my dog and three best friends: a beach walk with Teddy, a Scrabble game
with Bonnie, a shopping spree with Nina, an hour of philosophy with Candace in the hot tub.


The Other Shore: The Diana Nyad Story
Timothy Wheeler, Director, 2013

Diana Nyad’s Basic Training for Women 
Rh Value Publishing, 1981

Other Shores 
Nyad, D. Random House, 1978