Suicide Squad Makes You Want More; Plus An Ode To Jared Leto

Last night, I saw “Suicide Squad” in 3D, which honestly wasn’t worth the pricier ticket.  I will be blunt about my opinion of the film: I am no comic book junky and I have not watched every single DC movie made, so take my review with a grain of salt.
The Joker scenes were the most enigmatic ones to watch, as expected, but they felt much too little for such a huge hype.  It’s hard to believe Jared Leto went into full-blown method acting mode for such brief screen time.
I understand this was pretty much an introduction to the Suicide Squad, but the story felt rushed and thrown together.  We were introduced to characters incredibly quickly and I found myself wanting to know more.
What the hell was Killer Croc’s story?  I found him to be useless and I wasn’t particularly fond of Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) either.  The whole Enchantress thing was just bizarre.  If they had fleshed out the story a bit, maybe it wouldn’t have felt so out of place.
Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) were the only two who got decent screen time and back story, though still not enough for my taste.  They made an effort to sum up El Diablo’s (Jay Hernandez) story with one short scene after his silent brooding for most of the movie.
While I loved Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley, her on-again-off-again fake New York (Gotham?) accent mixed with her natural Aussie one shining through bothered me at times.
Overall, I found the movie entertaining for the colorful performances by Leto, Robbie and Smith’s natural ability to carry any movie.  I just wish the script was written better.
AN ODE TO JARED LETO
Everyone knows I’m a huge Jared Leto fan.  Like most women my age, I was introduced to Jared as the hot guy who “leans great” in My So-Called Life.  While yes, I thought Jordan Catalano was beautiful and misunderstood, it wasn’t until I became a 30 Seconds To Mars fan in the 2000s that I actually fell for Jared.
There was something amazing, vocally and lyrically about him that I hadn’t experienced with any other music artist.  His adventurous spirit, the fact that he was a self-admitted dreamer, and vegan-ish ways have pulled me in deeper.
And while many criticize him for his method acting or think he is some Hollywood jackass, I found the one thing he truly has in common with Catalano — he is misunderstood.
Or maybe I’m just smitten and have made him into my own fictional character.  Either way, the Jared Leto I choose to love is smart, pithy, gorgeous in even the least likely styles (who else could pull off puke pink pants and a green coat?), dedicated, and truly lives life to the fullest.  And probably the biggest turn on is, he doesn’t give a F about what anyone thinks.
Maybe you hate him, maybe you met him, but like most celebrities, all we have is an image we choose to believe about them combined with what the media would like us to believe.  To that, I say, fall in love with characters, and worry about the reality when it directly involves you or the world negatively.
Enjoy this slideshow of the many looks of Jared Leto!

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98 Degrees Heats Up Nashville's Ryman Auditorium with My2K Tour!

That's My Jam! Radio's Sandy Lo + Kindell Moore with 98 Degrees, O-Town, Dream + Ryan Cabrera
That’s My Jam! Radio’s Sandy Lo + Kindell Moore with 98 Degrees, O-Town, Dream + Ryan Cabrera | Photo Credit: Courtney Christian
By Sandy Lo
In Nashville, the Ryman Auditorium is a place of musical worship — a legend in itself.  However, the Ryman doesn’t always bring on that good old pop music we sing along to when no one’s listening.  Last night though, it was definitely brought!
Hearing 98 Degrees sing Britney Spears — or any song really — is enough incentive to see this tour, but add on a few other throwback artists, and you’ve got yourself a party on memory lane!
Opening the show was former P. Diddy backed girl group, DREAM.  Remember “He Loves U Not”?  If you were like me, a teenager in high school when that sassy jam came out, you were creating dance moves to it and singing into a hairbrush.
While Holly, Diana, Melissa and Ashley have been gone from the scene for quite some time, they still had the crowd jumping with dance hits like, “This Is Me”.
Next up was Ryan Cabrera, the pop-rocker who was hot for a few minutes in the early 2000s with songs “On The Way Down” and “True”.  While many things have changed since then, Cabrera’s hair feels like a throwback to the “yellow thorn”, which is what Drew Lachey called brother Nick’s frosted tips from the ’90s.
By the time O-Town hit the stage, the crowd was ready for some man band action.  Let’s face it, we all love a good ole boy band!  While O-Town didn’t receive the praise Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC did, mostly due to their “Making The Band” roots, these guys can hold their own.
Trevor, Erik-Michael, Jacob and Dan are truly at ease on stage — dancing, singing and taking selfies — it makes you wonder why these boys don’t receive more credit.  O-Town performed hits “Liquid Dreams”, “We Fit Together” and “All Or Nothing” along with some newer tracks off their 2014 album, Lines & Circles.
Not to let O-Town take all the My2K glory, 98 Degrees delivered a flawless set of hits and covers along with plenty of muscled arm candy!  Nick, Jeff, Drew and Justin even resurrected one of their old stage costumes — bulletproof vests and camouflage cargo pants!  YES!
We all gazed with dreamy fan girl faces on during pop classics “Because Of You”, “The Hardest Thing”, “My Everything”, and “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)”.  During “I Do (Cherish You)”, one very lucky girl was proposed to by the guys as she wore a wedding veil and they danced with her.  (Yeah, we were jealous too!)
Nick performed his solo hit, “What’s Left Of Me” followed by Jeff, Drew and Justin paying tribute to Prince.  Other covers included *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” and BSB’s “I Want It That Way”.  These guys truly put together a fun homage to the late 90s/early millennium music era that was much appreciated by the audience.
My2K Tour hits Greenville tonight and will run across the U.S. through the end of August.  Catch it while you can!  To help you reminisce, listen to our Millennium Pop playlist featuring 98 Degrees, O-Town, Dream, Ryan Cabrera + many more!

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Meet Jon Stewart's New Farm Sanctuary Residents, Anna + Maybelle!

Former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart and his wife, Tracey, and their family adopted rescued pigs, Anna and Maybelle as part of the Farm Sanctuary‘s upcoming New Jersey location. The new sanctuary is scheduled to open in the spring of 2017 on the Stewart’s farm. Watch this adorable video from Tracey’s website, The Daily Squeal, of Anna and Maybelle’s journey to live with the Stewarts. Like them on Facebook for updates on their farm!

Spotlight (Dream Catchers Series Book 6)

Spotlight Book Cover - Sandy Lo
Available on Kindle March 1, 2017. Pre-Order available now on Amazon!

Release Date: March 1, 2017
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary/Romance
Available on Amazon
“Spotlight” is the 6th book in the “Dream Catchers” Series and is from the perspective of photographer Haley Foster and rock star Jordan Walsh’s daughter, Aylin.
Aylin Ashton always had a voracious heart and is fiercely loyal to the ones she loves.  At twenty-one, she wants more than the celebrity lifestyle her family is known for—she wants an identity of her own with friends who care about who she is and not her last name.
Most of all, Aylin wants the love story her parents have. In a world full of divorce, and a society that has made it hard for her to be “normal”, she is not sure if true love can be her reality.
She finds herself struggling to grow romantically and keeps hitting a dead-end with men.  From the egotistical pop-rocker Rad Trick to hipster music critic Mike, Aylin is not particularly gaga for either of them, and can’t help to pine for too-old-for-her, Colin Houlihan, who happens to be her father’s tour manager.
The impetuous Aylin can’t help but make passes at the flirty, always doting on her Colin, and when he actually admits an attraction to her, the two are on dangerous ground.
The experience leaves Aylin wounded, but ultimately sends her on a journey to find out who she is and what she really wants, and maybe to the special someone she had hoped for.
Read Excerpts…
Prologue
Chapter One

DWTS' Maksim Chmerkovskiy Plans to Live to 120 and Here's How!

Dancing with the Stars‘ bad boy of ballroom, Maksim Chmerkovskiy—who is currently in the middle of an intensive 45-city nationwide dance tour with his brother, Val—is passionate about taking care of his body. He is offering up 20 tips in detail on what he eats, avoids, and how he stays motivated.
Maks is known for his smoldering, intense passion and hot body as he owns any dance floor, but his rigorous dancing is only part of how he stays in shape. Taking his health seriously means subjecting every food, fitness, and lifestyle choice to a simple test: Will this help me meet my goal of living to 120…or will it detract from that goal?
“I truly believe I can make it to 120 and I want it to be an active and vibrant 120,” says the 36-year-old dancer, choreographer, and television personality. “It’s not just about quantity of life, but quality of life. This lifestyle is what allows me to even consider a 45-city tour at my age. Also, I want to be able to play basketball with my kids when they’re teenagers and still kick their butt—I don’t want to be an old dad.”
If you’ve seen him in one of the flash mobs he has popping up in cities across the US—you won’t have any doubts about him reaching his goal. Check it out at maksmob.com!
“To do that in the future, I have to make friends with my body right now,” he adds. “If I get out of its way, and help it do its thing by giving it the right nutrients, it will take care of me in return. It will reward me. It will just live. Yeah, things come to an end—but they don’t have to degrade by the time you’re 60.”

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Photo by Michael Rosenthal.
In a world on the go, with so many processed foods, supersized meals, and electronic distractions that leave you with very little energy or motivation, it’s no easy feat to make healthy choices. Still, Maks is doing it—and he insists the rest of us can, too.
“Once you make up your mind that great health is important to you, the choices become, if not easy, then at least doable,” he promises. “You don’t have to be a celebrity, you don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to have a chef or a personal trainer. You just have to make it a priority to give your body what it needs, and only what it needs.”
Personally, I agree with Maks wholeheartedly. A couple of years ago, I decided to focus on making healthier choices–and I’m not talking about cutting calories, carbs or any kind of speedy weight loss tactics. Instead, I focused on natural ingredients and actually listened to my body for the first time. I falter sometimes, and give in to processed foods, and after too much, I can feel my body screaming! It’s nice to hear a celebrity promoting REAL health tips, and not charging for them! This is a long read, but a worthy one. Print it out and read it multiple times. Incorporate a new tip each week; your body will thank you!
Want to join Maks in his quest to live long and prosper? Then consider his 20 “best odds” secrets:
Educate yourself on what to eat and why. Your body is smart and will regulate itself when you get out of the way—but that means learning how best to feed it. Do some research. Don’t limit yourself to “mainstream” resources as many are driven by big food manufacturers with their own agenda. Digging deeper reveals that the typical Western diet—grain-heavy; filled with genetically modified, hormone-infused, processed foods; and deficient in many nutrients—is counter to what the body needs to operate at its best.
“You need to know why you’re choosing certain foods and avoiding others,” says Maks. “When you know a food causes inflammation in your body or creates insulin surges that lead to diabetes, you’ll want to steer clear of it so your natural healing processes can work. When you know overcooked meats are dangerous, you’ll stop overcooking. When you know what free radicals are, you’ll eat antioxidant-rich foods to fight them. This is what I mean by making friends with your body.”
Learn which nutrients you are missing and supplement them. Almost everyone is deficient in certain vitamins (D, for example) and minerals. That’s why Maks starts each morning with three supplements he believes are the foundation for good health. The list includes Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C, Lypo-Spheric Glutathione, and Lypo-Spheric R-ALA (all from LivOn Labs). He is so sold on these products, which he has taken for years, that he has introduced them to his entire family, and he recently agreed to become a brand ambassador for LivOn Labs.
“My doctor told me that most supplements aren’t absorbed well by the body, but the LivOn supplements have a special delivery system that lets them reach the cells more quickly and efficiently,” says Maks. “That’s why I started taking them. I would never endorse any product if I didn’t 100 percent believe in it. That’s just not who I am. These supplements will make a difference!
“Besides the LivOn stuff, I also take 10,000 IU a day of vitamin D,” he adds. “I also take palm fruit extract in powder form, which is incredible for cardiovascular health from its multiple forms of vitamin E. The palm fruit extract also has an excellent source of vitamin A that I combine with vitamin K2. This combination of vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin K2 contribute to strong bone formation and fight against the progression of osteoporosis as we age. This combination also controls the formation of calcium build up and plaque formation in my vessels!”
Make a conscious decision to stay well. No matter how often you wash your hands during cold and flu season, you’ll never be able to shield yourself from every germ. What you can do is follow a best odds regimen to strengthen your immune system so you get sick less often. In Maks’s case, that means adhering to a natural “clean eating” regimen as well as supplementing with the aforementioned Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C.
“I’ve always been a big believer in vitamin C,” he adds. “I take it to kickstart my immune system. I can’t tell you the last time I got sick. When I traveled with my family for New Year’s Eve, everyone came home sick except for me.
“When you have a busy life, you have to stay well,” he adds. “And when you are sick, it alters you as a person. You’re not yourself. You’re nasty and have a short temper. You whine like a baby. No one wants to be like that. Plus, you get behind on commitments and that leads to even more stress!”
maks3
Photo by Michael Rosenthal.
Try to maintain a healthy body weight, too. Maks points to the popular A&E Network show Fit to Fat to Fit—in which trainers purposely gain a lot of weight in order to lose it again alongside their clients—as the pinnacle of self-destructive behavior. He says most people don’t realize how dangerous yo-yo dieting (even the far less extreme versions that many people do) can be.
“People just don’t bounce back from rapid weight change,” he says. “Your hormones get out of whack, and then you are screwed. This is no different from smoking. You’re killing yourself when you let yourself get really fat or when you lose weight too fast or in unsustainable ways—and it’s unnatural to kill yourself.”
Find a doctor who believes in prevention—and don’t go only when you’re sick. Maks’ own doctor introduced him to so much of what he knows about nutrition and supplementation. He admits this is unusual, which is why he believes that as a nation, our relationship with healthcare providers needs to change.
“Most people go to the doctor only when stuff hurts,” notes Maks. “But we need to use our doctors to help us stay healthy, not just to try to fix what’s wrong. We can show up when we are not sick, and if enough people start doing that, doctors will have no choice but to start getting more involved in prevention.”
If it’s man-made, don’t eat it. Maks bases his diet on lean grass-fed meats and organic, GMO-free fruits and vegetables. “This is not as hard as you might think”, he says. Processed foods are an addiction, and when you’re hooked on them, it’s hard to imagine quitting. But once you do, you won’t want to go back.
“Try eating real foods, not chemically engineered foods made in a laboratory,” he advises. “You’ll quickly see that this is what the body wants and needs. And you don’t have to live on lettuce like a rabbit—there are so many fresh, natural, delicious foods out there that you’ll never feel bored or deprived.”
Cut way down on wheat, sugar, and corn. Grains are inflammatory, says Maks—wheat in particular. Bread is full of sugar, which spikes your insulin and forces the body to work hard to level it, leading to diabetes. Speaking of sugar, studies show it’s more addictive than cocaine. And if you’re avoiding genetically modified foods, you’d better swear off corn—the vast majority of it is GMO.
“It’s best if you can cut these things out altogether,” says Maks. “At least eat them as little as possible. Instead of wheat, use spelt flour. Instead of white sugar, eat raw honey. There are all kinds of great alternatives out there that taste amazing.”
Saying, “It’s too expensive” is usually a cop-out. “Yes, it is expensive to eat healthfully now”, admits Maks. “But not doing so will cost far more 20 years down the road when you’re sick and fat and all your money is going to doctors. If you have to drive an old car and cancel your cable, it’s worth it—there is no higher priority than taking care of your body and providing for the long-term health of your family.
“When my family moved from Ukraine, we didn’t have much money,” says Maks. “But we had been used to eating vegetables grown in my grandmother’s garden and had an appreciation for these whole, natural foods. So once we got to America, my dad got a second job so we wouldn’t have to eat at McDonald’s every day. I am grateful for that because I learned early that good health is worth sacrifice.”
Another cop-out? “I can’t get that around here.” Maybe you’re thinking, Sure, I’d love to switch to grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and organic fruits and veggies. But grocery stores around here don’t carry that stuff. First of all, that’s probably not true. There is most likely a natural foods store within driving distance; even tiny towns have them now. But even if this isn’t the case where you live, this is the Age of Amazon—virtually everything can be ordered online and shipped right to your door.
“I like to make pancakes out of spelt flour,” says Maks. “Okay, maybe you can’t get it at your supermarket, but you can order a five-pound bag from Berlin Natural Bakery and it will last you half a year. It doesn’t matter where you live anymore. We all have access to healthful foods.”
Pay attention to what’s REALLY in your food—especially those old familiars you take for granted. Ketchup is a good example. Most of us eat it because we always have. We grew up on it and we love the taste. But once we know what’s in it—tons of sugar, sodium, and artificial preservatives—how can we in good conscience keep eating it and feeding it to our kids?
“Eating ketchup is a habit for most of us, and habits can be hard to break,” says Maks. “People in my own household keep eating it even though they know they shouldn’t. They say, ‘But I like ketchup!’ So I get how hard it is to give up ketchup—but it can be done.”
Throw out your microwave. Many people believe cooking with a microwave oven is inherently dangerous as it changes the molecular structure of your foods and zaps their nutrients. (Plus, of course, the radiation it emits is harmful.) But even beyond these issues, taking this one step can squelch the temptation to eat processed “convenience foods.”
“When microwaving is not an option, you will give meal preparation the time and effort it deserves,” says Maks. “You’ll be more likely to prepare good, healthful, whole foods.”
Believe it or not, it’s fine to skip breakfast. “Three times a week I do a 16-hour fast,” says Maks. “I have a normal dinner and then the next day I skip breakfast. I wake up, take my daily supplements, and have some coffee, but don’t have my first meal until around 1:00 or 1:30. It makes me feel cleaner and healthier. Just don’t go over 16 hours, because after that the body starts suffering.”
Visualize what your food is doing in your body. Maks says this is a little trick that motivates him to make positive food choices. If a food is natural and healthful, as you eat it, picture it fueling your body, building your muscles, plumping up your cells. On the other hand, if it’s junk food, visualize it tearing your body down.
“When you envision the process that goes on inside you, it’s a game changer,” says Maks. “What you’re doing starts to seem very real. You realize there is a benefit or a cost to everything you put in your body and this will drive the right decisions.”
You don’t have to be a gym rat—but you do have to exercise. If you’re trying to lose weight, you have probably heard that food is 90 percent of the battle. And while it’s true that you don’t need to live at the gym (Maks insists he doesn’t), it also doesn’t mean you get a pass on exercise.
“Feeding your muscles is pointless if you don’t let them do anything,” he says. “Find an activity you enjoy, and one that meets your needs, and make it a part of your life. Try dancing. It’s fun and gets you moving!”
Sign up for a fitness event and tap into your competitive nature. Maks is a big believer in competition. He has spent his life having his performance measured and being ranked against others. In his dance training, he was required to improve every lesson, which led to continuous improvement and built discipline. That’s why, if you’re having trouble making yourself work out, he suggests you sign up for a race or perhaps take a class where you can hold yourself to a standard and strive to get better and better.
“We are afraid to admit that human beings are competitive by nature,” he says. “It’s an old-school belief but it’s true. For most people it’s not enough to just say, ‘I want to lose 60 pounds.’ There has to be a bigger reason and that reason is competition. It’s, ‘I want to be better than her,’ or even just, ‘I want to be better than my old self.’ It’s powerful; it works, so why not use it?
“If you are signed up for a race, you’ll do anything to try to get the upper hand,” adds Maks. “That means you probably won’t just train; you’ll do the nutrition part, too. It all works together organically.”
Just make sure you’re doing the RIGHT exercises for your needs. Similar to his advice on food, Maks says it’s important to know why you’re doing the workout you’re doing. For example, when he’s getting ready for a tour, he works out more than usual, following a program designed for these specific needs.
“When I’m at the gym, I see women in full makeup and high-heeled sneakers,” he says. “I see guys trying to lift heavy things to look cool. But ask them what its purpose is and they don’t know. They are just hurting themselves and will find out later when they start having joint problems and muscle issues.”
Maks on alcohol: “Have a drink here and there. Pinot noir is perfect.” Maks enjoys this red wine due in part to its cardiovascular benefits. He also doesn’t object to an occasional shot of good tequila. It fits in with his “everything in moderation” view of life. If you enjoy alcohol (and don’t have an addiction, obviously!), he sees nothing wrong with drinking it.
“You should enjoy yourself but certainly don’t let yourself get to the point where you can’t function,” he says. “You rarely see a professional drunk become a billionaire! So be aware of why you like to drink. If you feel the need to alter your mood and reality all the time, some bigger problems might be going on.”
Get enough sleep for your needs—but don’t sweat the “eight hours” thing. Sleep is important, sure. But instead of following the standard “everyone needs eight hours a night” advice, Maks is more likely to listen to his body. He rests when he is tired and sleeps until he feels refreshed.
“I’m a night owl and probably not a perfect example of great sleep habits,” he admits. “I focus more on nutrition as the main building block for good health. If I make that a priority, then everything else is fixable. If I miss a few hours of sleep, I can always go to bed earlier the next night, but if I start eating crap, it takes half a year to get back.”
Preach the gospel to your friends and family. Never ever let up! Maks is passionate about good health and the problems with the food industry and believes it’s his duty to influence his friends and family—and, yes, his fans. It’s more than a hobby or an interest; it’s a cause. Talking about health has become a big part of his personal brand, which in turn keeps him accountable to living by his own rules.
“Some people can talk about politics all day,” he adds. “To me, this is the most important thing. I want the people I care about to know how to live the right way. And I want everyone to know we have to start supporting the small farmer, not the person who presses a button on an assembly line. I’m not going to stop talking about it. And since I’m talking about it, I’m going to keep walking the walk.”
“I value good health and I am extremely disciplined about nutrition and fitness only because of the parents I had,” he adds. “They instilled those values in me, and it was the greatest gift they could have given me. They get the credit for who I am. I want my own children to be able to say that about me someday.”
Talk to your future self. This trick helps you make the right health decisions. When Maks came to Hollywood in his mid-20s, he fell into glittering social circles that included high-profile celebrities. Friends stayed up all night smoking, binge drinking, doing drugs. While at the time it felt like he was missing out, Maks is now glad he never did these things. Now, when he is tempted to eat the wrong foods, he remembers the true price of self-destructive behaviors.
“I like to pretend I am talking to myself 20 years from now,” he says. “I think, What would that conversation be like? And I know that my 55-year-old self would say, ‘Thank you for taking care of me. I’m still here. I’m still loving life. I get to golf, travel, and hang out with my beautiful wife, my kids, my family. I’m happy and healthy and that’s because of the choices you made 20 years ago.'”
Ultimately, Maks takes a hard line on health because he truly believes that we have the ability to make a huge difference in the quality of our lives. And knowing that, why wouldn’t we make the changes we need to make?
“Something may happen to me and I won’t make it to 120,” he says. “But even if I don’t, the years I’m alive will be healthier and happier than if I had neglected my body. If I just get to be 60 or 70, I am not willing to spend my life in the hospital. I don’t want to look back and think, Maks, you were an idiot. So I try really hard not to be an idiot now.”
Maks’ tips and a good portion of this article was provided by DeHart & Company.  Sandy Lo has added her own intro + thoughts on Maks’ health tips.  Love yourself inside-out!!! 🙂

What NOT to Say to a Celebrity's Child

So many people think being the spawn of someone famous is awesome.   They never have to worry about money.  Their moms and dads are the coolest, most laid back, inspiring and understanding adults in the world.  And these kids must love their parents so much, that they want to talk about them all the time with us!
Confession time:  My father is somewhat famous — in his world anyway.  Since I was a little girl, I have been asked for his autograph or heard things like, “I can’t believe who your dad is!”
Well, you know what?  I can’t believe who my dad is either.  When I think of my father, I don’t see some celebrity.  Yes, I am proud of my dad’s achievements in his profession, but he was also an abusive person in my life.  THAT is who I can’t believe brought me into this world and half-heartedly raised me.
I don’t think anyone who is fascinated by who Dad is understands that I don’t want to talk about how incredible he is.  He hurt me, just like any other abusive parent.  Does his fame negate that?
Back in elementary school, I understood the kids thinking how cool it was… I wanted Dad to be cool then too.  I pretended he was everything those kids hoped he was — a hero — a good guy who was always there and didn’t cheat on my mother or abuse my siblings and myself.
As I grew up, I finally began telling my friends about the struggles I had; how he put me down and abused me mentally and physically.  Most of my friends got it.  Still, some  of them thought it would be fun at a party to mention my father’s fame and relation to him.
I was even guilty of spilling the beans on many occasions.  Why?  I’m not sure — out of habit, or maybe  I wanted to beat people to the punch just so they wouldn’t get too excited when I immediately followed with how I don’t speak to him.
Recently, a co-worker introduced me to someone new and summed me up in a few sentences.  “This is Sandy.  She’s from New York.  Her father is _____________ and she loves the Backstreet Boys.  That’s all you need to know.”
That hurt.  That’s not all anyone needs to know about me ! The bit about the Backstreet Boys and New York is fine, but what the hell does my father’s fame really have to do with who I am?  My friend could have said anything else — like how I’m vegan or a writer or has an adorable bunny.  But my dad, whom I haven’t spoken to in 3 years gets mentioned?  WTF?!
Just today, I wished someone I’ve known since junior high a happy birthday on Facebook and he thanked me and followed with a comment about my dear old dad.  Seriously?  Come on, people!
I ask myself if the mention of my father would bother me half as much if he was an awesome dad.  Maybe not, but either way, no one wants to live in anyone’s shadow.  Not their parents or siblings or significant others.
In my upcoming novel, which is part of the “Dream Catchers” series, Aylin is stuck in her father’s shadow, and while he is a great dad, it still hurts her.  I suppose this was my way of expressing my own pain.  It’s hard to be in anyone’s shadow, no matter the situation.
I am friendly with various celebrities and their families.  The one thing I am always aware of, is who they are as people, not what they do, or what they can give me.  I know how that must feel for them because of what I’ve felt on a much smaller scale since my father isn’t quite as famous as he’d like to have been.
Never judge anyone by how you think they grew up, what they’ve been through or how great you think they’ve had it.  And never ever talk to someone because of who they know or what they can do for you.  It doesn’t say a lot about who that person is, but it says a helluva lot about who you are.
 

Video: DWTS' Maks Flash Mobs Across L.A.!

Ballroom choreographer and Dancing with the Stars’ former leading man, Maksim Chmerkovskiy has been organizing “MaksMobs” across the country. Basically him and a team of dancers break out into a highly-entertaining routine in crowded city areas in front of unsuspecting folks passing by. Check out Maksim’s latest “MaksMob” in popular hot spots throughout Los Angeles!

For more Maks Mob videos: maksmob.com.  Catch Maks and his brother Val on tour this summer: maksandvaltour.com

Cutie Kellan Lutz Promotes Champagne in Action-packed Short Film

Blond, muscled, looks great in a suit, adorable dimples and is a decent actor… yet we haven’t seen much of Kellan Lutz other than the Twilight films, playing Hercules and in a romance with Mandy Moore. While we almost had forgotten all about Mr. Lutz, thankfully G.H. Mumm Champagne featured him in their promotional short film to debut their new bubbly bottle. While it isn’t a big screen movie, we’ll take whatever piece we can get of this cutie pie! Check out the behind-the-scenes footage along with the short film “Mumm’s Daring Delivery” below!
Behind-The-Scenes: http://kefmediastream.com/embed/mumms/kellan_web.swf

Celebrate National Blueberry Month with these Recipes!

July is National Blueberry Month and I’m celebrating the smurfish fruit with cool, summer time treats featuring Bai’s Brasilia Blueberry antioxidant drink!
If you haven’t heard of, or tried Bai’s drinks, you’re missing out!  I became a huge fan of these drinks last year due to their low sugar/calorie content, yummy taste and healthy ingredients with mild caffeine for energy from coffeefruit and white tea extract.
Bai drinks (which also has carbonated drinks) are a great alternative to bad for you sodas and fruit juices with excess sugar, and can now be found in almost any grocery store.
With only 1 gram of sugar and 5 calories a bottle and truly packed with delicious flavor, Bai makes a great treat on its own or in smoothies, sangrias, punches or popsicle recipes!  Check out some awesome recipes below to try out for National Blueberry Month, or any time you want!

The Blueberry Pie

bai1Ingredients:
8 oz of Brasilia Blueberry Bai
1/2 Cup of Oats
2 Frozen Bananas
2 Cups Frozen Blueberries
1 Cup of Nondairy Vanilla Yogurt
Optional: Scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder (I prefer Vega brand)
Directions:
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until ingredients are smooth, adjusting amount of Bai to control thickness.  Pour into a glass or bowl and enjoy with either a straw or spoon depending on how thick you like your smoothies.

The Peanut Butter Jelly Timebai2

Ingredients:
6oz of Brasilia Blueberry Bai
1 Cup of Fresh Strawberries
1/4 Cup of Oats
1 Frozen Banana
1 tbsp of Natural Peanut butter
Directions:
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until ingredients are smooth, adjusting amount of Bai to control thickness.  For added nutrients: add a scoop of açaí powder.  Pour into a glass or bowl and enjoy with either a straw or spoon depending on how thick you like your smoothies.

Blueberry Lemonade Popsiclebai3

Ingredients:
Brasilia Blueberry Bai
Blueberries
Fresh Lemon Juice
Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar or Stevia (Optional, I think these are sweet enough)
Water
Pure Sea Salt
Directions:
Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher.  Pour in popsicle molds.  Let freeze for 3-4 hours.

Very Berry Iced Tea SangriaBerry-licious-Iced-Tea-Sangria-Culinary-Hill-4

Ingredients:
7 cups of Unsweetened Black Iced Tea (I used Teavana or Tazo, but Lipton works just as well)
1 (750 mL) bottle Red Moscato or other sweet red wine, chilled
1 18oz bottle of Bai Brasilia Blueberry
2 lbs. of Mixed Berries (sliced strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
Directions:
In a large pitcher, combine tea, wine, and Bai. Chill for at least 4 hours to blend flavors.  To serve, add fruit to pitcher or divide among glasses. Pour sangria over the fruit.

What are some of your favorite ways to eat blueberries?  Share with me by commenting below or tagging me on Instagram: @AuthorSandyLo!  I will repost 🙂

*I have NOT received compensation of any kind to write this post.  I am truly a fan of all brands mentioned, and especially of Bai.  They supplied the first 3 recipes and I have tweaked them to meet my recipe requirements (vegan).  The Sangria recipe is one I have adapted from culinaryhill.com and I had prepared it for a party with Bai Brasilia Blueberry a few months ago – so delicious and there wasn’t any left within a couple of hours!

Video: '80s Rap from "Teen Witch" – Top That!

Oh the 80s… you can try to remake all of the great movies from the past, but you will never recreate the rad cheese that was so easily spread in that decade. I grew up on this stuff and as a daydreaming kid, I believed in magic and solving problems through dance, and that one day the popular guy would notice me. So what if popularity only lasts in high school and is based on perception only? For anyone who felt like the underdog, movies like “Sixteen Candles”, “Pretty In Pink”, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Teen Witch” were our hope and entertained us thoroughly.
See for yourself!. Check out this amazing, ridiculous rap battle scene from 1989’s “Teen Witch”. You can try to replicate this stuff with all the reboots, but really, you’ll never be able to “top that”!

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