Tag Archives: Music

Dancing Through Life

If you live anywhere on the east coast, lately you’ve experienced crazy thunderstorms complete with heavy rain, bright strikes of lightening and overall miserable conditions. It’s hard when it’s gloomy out to keep a positive attitude, much like it’s hard to be happy when life throws you curve balls. How do you keep moving forward when life drags you down?

Recently, I saw a quote that read, “Happiness is a choice, choice it.” Even when life downright sucks and nothing is going right, we all have the ability to choose to be happy. We can make the decision to see the glimmers of hope instead of being negative. I can attest that it is extremely difficult to stay positive, to look at the glass half full. I’ve been trying hard lately to stay positive through some challenging family situations that I could allow to affect my happiness. But what good does that do for anyone involved if I’m miserable?

When things don’t go right, absolutely allow yourself the momentary second (or more) to grieve, be angry, cry or feel bad for yourself. All of those emotions are probably valid and totally normal. But don’t get stuck there! Despite your hard situation, it could always be much worse. The situation that provides the most discomfort will be the one that teaches you the most.

You might have seen my post about Zumba and how it’s changed my life. Dancing and music have amazing benefits to both people’s physical and mental health. Next time life brings you down, find your favorite song and dance it out. You might need a couple of songs to cheer you up but I promise it will. I also suggest singing at the top of your lungs while dancing.

Below is a song from the musical Wicked titled Dancing Through Life. All of the characters face different obstacles but the song, sung by the charming Fiyero, proclaims “It’s just life, so keep dancing through.” Sometimes bad things happens that shake us to our core, but that’s no reason to stop dancing! No one said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.

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Motivation Mondays: Brave

From a young age, I was a talker, always sharing my opinion and chiming into the conversation. Much hasn’t changed since I’ve grown up. However, it wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school when I began to understand how powerful words and the English language could be. I remember sitting in my English class listening to my teacher talk and convey a vivid description of Jay Gasby from the book we were reading at the time, “The Great Gasby.” Every word he used was intentional and he painted the perfect picture of Gasby so that it almost seemed like he was standing in front of me. From that moment on, I became fascinated with words and with writing.

I owe a lot to that English teacher and still think about all he taught me during the school year of 2005. That was when I really began writing and falling in love with words. Since then, I’ve seen how words can be used to generate new ideas, even to spark a movement; how the words you write can be so powerful people are moved to tears or called to action. Whether written or spoken, words and language can impact people in so many ways. This is the message I found in Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave.”

Bareilles uses her song, her words as a call to action for people. She asks them to be brave, to use their words to articulate what they truly want and for their words to have meaning. In a recent interview, she commented on the song, saying it was a reminder for herself too, to always stay true to herself and speak up for what she believes in. The music video features all types of people standing up in crowded areas, dancing and being proud of who they are.

Sara’s call to action communicated through her song “Brave” is a concept all of us need to be reminded of occasionally. It’s hard sometimes to be honest and direct with people when we might be hurting or angry. Today, we should use our words to say what we want to say, to be bold and to use these powerful tools for good. Whatever conversation you were putting off, go have it. If you need to tell someone something, do it. It’s time to move out of our comfort zones and be brave.

Family Fridays: Love You More

I wonder if my dad thought he’d get away with having a birthday and not getting a blog post. Who is he kidding! My own personal superman stands well over six feet tall and has a demanding presence. But, when you have a conversation with the man I call dad, you see how he is a gentle giant…or when in a bathrobe, Tony Soprano.

twinsI am fortunate enough to both look exactly like my dad and share some of his personality traits. He has taught be so much about life and family. Here’s the most important life lessons I’ve learn from my dad.

1. Respect: Since we were old enough to talk, my dad practically forced us to call family friends Mr. and Mrs. Please and thank you had to be used in order to receive anything. You call your grandparents often, never miss anyone’s birthday and show up for Sunday dinner. While we all, including my dad, catch an attitude sometimes, he raised us to respect others and ourselves.

2. Generosity: My dad has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. He literally would give you the shirt off his back. He will come to your games, help you financially and put your happiness before his own. He loves to make people happy, a trait I know I inherited from him. I have his big heart too, always willing to do for others before myself. Both Dad and I care too much, become over-invested and end up disappointed because not everyone is like us. It certainly is a learning process.

3. Sports: I can remember listening to WFAN, the fan radio station from about four years old until now. Thanks to my dad, I understand terms like power play, ERA and safety but also can throw a baseball, and do well in fantasy football. He had me at games, teaching my players’ names at only a couple of months old. He also instilled in me a love of sports, mainly softball. You could find Papa Crispino in the outfield with his cigar and sunflower seeds, keeping my stats. No man was prouder when I hit my first home run freshman year of high school. Through playing sports, my dad taught me never to quit, to give up and to always be a team player.

4. Music: Obsession with Billy Joel? Thanks Dad. When the fan wasn’t on in the car, Billy Joel, Kiss, Thedad Partridge Family or Barry Manilow were on the radio. River of Dreams was my dad and mine’s first song that I completed mess up the lyrics to. I even made him sing Celine Dion at my Communion party. My dad taught me to appreciate good music, the classics and sing as loud as I can with the windows down.

5. Love you more: Since I was about five, my dad would end every phone conversation with “love you more.” He still does it all the time. He also means those words like no other dad does. He loves me (and his other three children) more than life itself. He is extremely proud of me and says it to everyone often. Despite being severely overprotective, he has showed me what unconditional love is and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Below, I share with you the song “Cinderella.” I’ve never considered myself a princess, but I’m sure my dad does. I don’t know if I’ve ever asked him to dance, but at any and all parties we go to, he makes sure to squeeze in a slow dance with me. Even superman likes to dance sometimes.

My Favorite Things: iPhone 5 Addition

About a month ago, I finally traded in my outdated Blackberry for a shiny iPhone 5. I was overly excited and couldn’t wait to download a bunch of apps. My friends and family provided several recommendations but I wanted to experience my new toy all on my own.

After playing around and trying out lots of apps, my top three are listed below:

Feedly: Jessica Lawlor and Gini Dietrich both sparked my interest in Feedly when Google Reader disappeared. So when I got my new phone, this was one of the first apps I downloaded. Feedly allows you to subscribe to different blogs and lists out each day’s posts. My inbox is now less cluttered without subscription emails and I can quickly scroll through posts on my favorite blogs. It’s easy to save posts or click to the website for more information.

iphone52. SoundCloud: Music lovers everywhere must download this app! You can find pretty much any song and more importantly any remix on SoundCloud. You follow other users who fall into your stream that updates regularly. Once you like a song, it becomes part of your profile, creating the ultimate playlist. Only downfall is it sucks up a lot of your battery so make sure you’re fully charged before using it.

Snapchat: I know there has been controversy over Snapchat, but I’ve fallen in love with this app. With friends and family sprinkled all over the east coast, Snapchat lets us connect in a fun, exciting way. The time limit to view a picture makes it feel like a game. I can check my friend’s new outfit or see my little cousin’s new puppy. While the picture does go away, people have been known to screen shot pictures and save them. If someone sends an inappropriate picture, it can be saved, causing all sorts of issues. But that’s not the app’s fault. Just don’t send anything inappropriate.

These apps have made both my professional and personal life easier and more fun. I’m so glad I finally became a member of Team iPhone! What are your favorite apps? Any opinions on the ones listed above?

Family Fridays: Heaven Must Have Sent You

April is an action-packed month meaning there’s a bunch of very important birthdays. If you stopped by the blog yesterday, you heard about my friendship with Trish who celebrated her birthday yesterday. Today is another very important Aries’ birthday…

There’s no one quite like my mom. If you’ve been lucky enough to have met her, you’ll completely understand what I’m saying. She has these little whit-isms, snippets of advice, if you will that make total sense but also make you crack up. For example:

“Some days you’re the bat. Some days you’re the ball.”

momThink about it. It makes complete sense but you absolutely smiled while reading it. There’s more than just these pieces of advice too. She’s an NYU graduate, put herself through college while working, raised  two kids and is an executive director at Morgan Stanley. She makes jokes about everyone, including herself. She raised me on 70’s Disco, The Beatles, Mariah Carey’s 1’s CD and TLC, among many others. She works very hard but also knows how to enjoy life. She listens to all my crazy stories, gives sound advice and is the best cook I’ve ever met. She’s my mom so you’d assume I’m a little biased, right?

Ok, I probably am biased. But not entirely. My mom is tough in every sense of the word. Tough meaning her expectations for everyone including herself are exceptionally high. Tough meaning she’s good at hiding how she really feels. Tough meaning she can take on the world but demands we all do the same. At a point in time, I didn’t see any of this or understand it. It took years,  going away to college and several screaming matches for me to realize I’m lucky to have the mom I do.

We never used to get along the way we do now. Trust me, there’s still moments when I wonder what inmom2 the name of all things holy is she thinking. Guaranteed she thinks the same thing about me. We figured it  out despite our differences. Our personalities are not exactly alike though there are some similarities: how we cook and host parties, the music we like, how hard we work and how passionate we are. There’s a bunch of differences too: I’m more OCD, she’s more focused, I’m more emotional and she’s better with money and numbers. We’re certainly not the same person, but the important traits have stuck. When I say I got it from my mama, I’m not lying.

In 22.5 years, my relationship with my mom has grown and changed over and over again. She is my role model, the reason why I believe I can do both, the career and the family. We don’t get it right every day or even every other day. But, we try to learn from each other. I’m so lucky to have her as my mom  and can’t wait to celebrate her birthday tonight! The song that inspired this post’s title is below.

Doritos #BoldStage: A Dream Come True

From March 8-17, the South by Southwest Festival is taking place in Austin, Texas. The conference covers a multitude of topics ranging from emerging technology to original films. Attendees are sure to have a wide variety of interests but I’d assume most would utilize social media to share their experiences. Apparently, Doritos thought so too.

Doritos-Bold-StageIn honor of this year’s festival, Doritos created the #BoldStage that allows attendees to control different aspects of the show. The 6’2 venting machine-styled stage displays people’s tweets when they use the #BoldStage. What’s even more awesome is that by using the same hashtag, attendees can choose an opening act, their playlist and the special effects to be featured during the performance. The Mass Relevance Platform built into the stages reports how many tweets occur per minute based on the hashtag and other keywords. People’s pictures from Twitter or Instagram can be sent to the jumbo stage by using #BoldStage too. As an avid concert goer and social media user, this is a dream come true!

Doritos #BoldStage combines all positive aspects of social media. The tweets are shown in real-time and could potentially be responded to. Doritos and SXSW could gain up-to-date feedback about the performers and the show, among other things. Since people’s tweets are shown on the mega-stage, others can see the handles of attendees who might have similar tastes in music. Online connections could then be made. Most importantly, it benefits the customer (aka people attending the Festival). It engages people, excites them and has them energized about the show and the Festival. It is an original idea that embodies the purpose of social media: to engage users.

Another genius part of this idea is that Doritos is launching its new global campaign “For the Bold” on the stage. Not only do the stage name and campaign name match (yay branding!) but people will more than likely remember the ad because it was featured on an awesome, interactive stage.

Check out the infographic below to fully understand Doritos #BoldStage powered by tweets!

Doritos-Vending-Machine-Infographic

Image courtesy of Mashable.com 

Girl Power Anthems

Music has always played a huge role in my life. So today’s Truth Challenge prompt is somewhat difficult because I don’t think I can narrow it down to one artist.

Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days

I’ve selected a few empowering anthems that have absolutely gotten me through some rough days. I find successful females singing about empowerment to be especially inspiring and motivating. See my selections below.  

Alicia Key’s hit “Superwoman” reminds all women that there is an inner strength deep inside that when channeled can give each of us exceptional power.

“I’m Every Woman” often provides much-needed motivation and leaves me feeling like I can take on the world.

This selection is a bit of a silly one but is inspiring nonetheless. It comes from the movie The First Wives Club and highlights every woman’s struggle to be brave.

My song selection above shows how important female empowerment is to me. We are in charge of our own destiny and need to recognize the inequalities that are still present. Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks discussed the idea of women’s equality in her post today. Her message is clear: we are our own worst enemies and if we want the C-suite, we must address the problem head on. I completely agree with her message. The songs above reflect the idea of women banding together and finding their inner strength and voice in order to overcome any problem. If we want it, we must go get it, period end of story.

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