Category Archives: LIFE & DREAMS

All about my day-to-day life, aspirations, and nonsense ;-)

Saying Goodbye to Mystic Falls

I started off watching “The Vampire Diaries” with pretty low expectations.  The show first aired in 2008 amidst  the throws of “Twilight” fever, which I’ll admit I was infected with.

Did I really want to be part of another vampire fandom?  I had already been sucked into “True Blood” as well.  I viewed it all as guilty pleasures.  When all was said and done, and the mystery of who Bella would end up with was gone, I didn’t care for some of the writing or themes of “Twilight”.  As for “True Blood”, that show got crazier, smuttier and I lost the love for it altogether.

But I had to see the pilot episode of “The Vampire Diaries” at least to see if it was a copycat version of “Twilight”, only replacing Edward and Jacob for Stefan and Damon.

To my surprise, I liked it.  By mid season, I LOVED it.  I was hooked.  I refrained from reading the books due to spoilers and the fact that I heard they weren’t very good.  With Kevin Williamson behind TVD, I really shouldn’t have been surprised about the success of the show.

I’ve always been keen to Williamson’s work, from “Scream” to “Dawson’s Creek”, but even he has failed me in the past.  I lost the love of “Dawson’s Creek” after the high school years and when I go back to watch “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, I think how cheesy it was.

8 Seasons later and I am as addicted as ever to “The Vampire Diaries”.  Am I sad the show has ended?  Yes and no.  While I never stopped watching, seasons 5 and 7 had it’s blah moments for me.  The storylines are always crazy, the plot complicated, but somehow, the writing, and tangled web along with a superb cast made “The Vampire Diaries” work.  But for how much longer?  My guess: not much.

The show ended when it was supposed to.  And unlike “Dawson’s Creek”, which I can’t stand to watch reruns of, or the “Twilight” movies that I snicker at and don’t watch much anymore, I know I will watch “The Vampire Diaries” on Netflix repeatedly.  It is not my guilty pleasure.

Why? Because the characters are intricately done.  Storylines are followed through with.  And it’s not all about romance, and a human girl wanting to sell her soul to be with some guy.  There is deep-rooted family connections, friendships, hate, regret, hope, self-loathing–so many human emotions we can relate to.

I will continue to watch “The Originals”, the show’s spinoff, hoping it will continue to live up to its predecessor.

Late last year, my best friend Kindell and I went to Covington, Georgia, AKA the fictional town of Mystic Falls.  We went on a tour of the filming locations with Vampire Stalkers.  Jessica, who runs the tour was awesome.  She shared fun tidbits from filming (she’s been an extra many times), and the crew often use her gift shop for hair, make-up and to store props.

Even though the show is ending, that doesn’t mean the tours are!  Plus, “The Originals” still films there, and you never know when you’re going to catch Klaus (Joseph Morgan) on a filming day. I highly recommend visiting this adorable, quaint small town — vampire fan or not!

As my farewell to  TVD, I would like to share these photos with you.

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Just Because We Don’t Agree…

My entire life I went slightly against the grain.  When people made fun of a certain culture, I defended it.  When everyone was wearing one style, I wore another.  When people glorified bacon, I never liked it all that much.  Some things are simply a matter of opinion while others are viewpoints that force groups to take sides.  With political conversations ready to tumble out of mouths so freely these days, it’s become difficult for me.  I don’t identify as a certain political party.  Everything is too far left or right for me, and maybe that’s the problem in general.

There is no middle ground.

As a compassionate human of this planet, the only thing I can proudly be 100% sure of is my love of all walks of life.  No matter color, sex, class, human, animal or plant.

Just because I may not agree with you totally, doesn’t mean I don’t see your point.

Just because I don’t like what you say, doesn’t mean I don’t see what you do.

Just because I care deeply for the well-being of animals and the environment doesn’t mean I don’t know about the other problems the world faces.

Just because I go about my life not complaining about political outcomes doesn’t mean I don’t know or worry about them.

Just because I hope for the best and look past the ugly in people to see the good doesn’t mean I’m naive.  It means I have faith.  I have hope.  And deep down, that is the only thing we can control.

This is my only political statement. 🙂

 

Featured image by Big Frog Plano

My Heart Almost Died.

I was always known to take chances, for following my dreams and being a free spirit. At times it was a little scary, but the thrill and pure joy of doing what I love outweighed that fear. It squashed the doubt inside too; all of those practical questions about money and the future didn’t matter. I was living in the moment, for “right now”, and I wasn’t going to grow up and let my “heart die” like Ally Sheedy claimed would happen in “The Breakfast Club”.

I spent my twenties finding myself, building my self-confidence and reaching for all of the exciting possibilities as a journalist and author. Money was not an obstacle; not because I had a ton of it, but because I could make almost anything work on very little.

I interviewed some of my favorite celebrities, could state I was the first person to interview Taylor Swift, made so many wonderful connections in the entertainment industry, and published 5 books all by the time I was 30. I even started seeing more money from book sales and actually got some paying gigs for articles.

I moved around a ton, leaving New York, my family, and some of my closest friends, always knowing they were there, cheering me on. To Nashville, back to New York, then to Anna Maria Island, and my 6 months of travel of the West Coast and New Orleans, and back to Nashville… something changed after that last move.

It wasn’t that money started to matter to me, but time did. I spent so much time running toward my next adventure. I gave so much of my time working as a barista even after it stopped supporting my free spirit lifestyle.

Suddenly, I was back in Nashville, where I had felt so alive just five years ago as I wrote “The Watch Dog”, but now I was stuck. Stuck being underpaid and overworked as a barista. Stuck doing digital marketing to create more income, and because I was trying to force myself to like it more since it was related to my chosen career path.

I always knew journalism wasn’t going to pay much, but times have really changed. With every high school and college kid blogging and writing articles, talent doesn’t mean as much as the time, energy and social media strategy you can bring to the table.

This past year, I have lacked in all of those departments. I’m fully aware I’m no longer 25. I don’t have the energy to run around behind an espresso bar for eight hours, write a chapter of my novel afterward, interview a singer-songwriter, write three articles, spend an hour on social media, cook dinner, and still have a social life.

Believe me, I used to do it all. I used to wake up at 4am and go to bed at midnight, and be at my best. I was bubbly about it all, too. Now, I’m a grumbly shift manager at one of the busiest Starbucks I’ve ever worked at, lucky if I write in my journal twice a week and my energy along with my spirit is depleted.

Ally Sheedy was right (or John Hughes rather)… I feel like my heart died a little. But I’m determined to get it beating again. What’s equally as bad as my dreams, or the energy to pursue those dreams, being on pause, is I miss home. I miss my brother, sisters, my niece and nephew. I hate watching them grow up so far away when I was there every day with them for so long.

It’s time to come home. I’ve spread my wings. I’ve left the nest. I soared. I fell. I got back up and soared again. And fell again. I’m tired now. Time is precious. I don’t want to waste that time working just to pay the bills. I am so drained and stagnant that I am not living.

When I move back to New York, I will be a nanny for my niece and nephew. There is nothing like being around children to awaken my creativity and remind me of all the excitement left in this crazy world. I will no longer have to waste all my energy at a job that underpays and overworks me. I will be making quality moments with people I care about, and when the little ones are off at school, I can focus on my writing.

I will encourage those kids to follow their dreams and that anything is possible. Along with their parents, I will try to help guide them with advice, but I know—and I hope—they won’t take all of it. Everyone needs to find their own way in life. There were tons of advice and warnings and discouragement thrown at me growing up.

Some of it was good advice, and maybe I should have taken it into consideration, but I wouldn’t have had this amazing journey with all of its ups, downs and wonderful surprises. My mother always said to me, “I don’t want you to get your hopes up”. To this day, I try to always get my hopes up. Sorry Mom, I know you didn’t want me to get hurt, but really, I’m fine!

Hope is one of the most important things. It’s our life line. Even if something didn’t work out, I never regretted the hope I felt beforehand. That feeling is magical; to allow yourself to get buzzed off of excitement and believe that anything can happen. I will always tell my niece and nephew to keep their hopes high. It’ll keep our hearts from dying.

All That I’m Not Makes Me All That I Am

It’s easy to get caught up in envy of others who we feel are more beautiful, successful, funnier, and the list goes on and on.  We’re all guilty of wanting what we don’t have.

During my morning commute the other day, I admired a young woman’s hair.  It was long, strong and looked like she hadn’t fussed with it at all.  It wasn’t thin like my hair or extra coarse.

I could never pull off long hair, with the baby-fine strands I’ve been blessed-or cursed-with.  While admiring the woman’s hair, I came up with the title for this post.  I thanked God I can pull off all of the fake ponytails and hair extensions I wear frequently.  I can go from long hair to short to blonde to reddish to dark in seconds and people sometimes never catch onto my secret!

See, I was born with hair that changes like eye color.  If I put a darker color extension in, my hair looks darker, and the same with a lighter one.  So many people have told me they could never pull it off, but I make it work.

While that’s great for my hair problems, this post isn’t really about that.  It’s about accepting who we are and what we have as well as who we’re not and what we don’t have.

I was always a plus-size girl – growing up and into adulthood.  The past few years I’ve been able to teeter along the lines of “regular” size and those additional X’s.  Sometimes I make a big deal about having to buy those bigger sizes.  Sometimes it is because I’ve gained weight and sometimes it’s about the style and the design of the clothing.

That’s when I remind myself that these numbers don’t matter.  All that matters is that I like the way the clothes make me feel.  I may never be a size small or a medium or even a large, but I am trying to remind myself that size is just a stupid number or letter manufacturer’s make up.  It is not a science and no one fits a perfect mold – no matter what size we tend to wear.

Admiring someone else is a great thing, but beating yourself up for not being that person is futile and damaging.  What you’re telling yourself is, “I’m not good enough”.

This is not only true with appearances, but in careers and parenting as well.  I am guilty of it – at times feeling jealous of other writers for making more money or getting more exposure than I do.  Everyone has their own journey and timing.  All we can do is keep working hard and stay filled with a hunger to achieve our goals, without letting self-doubt creep in.

Although, I am not a mother – I know all of my Mom friends out there feel the pressure to be the perfect parent.  With social media comes tons of input on what items to buy, how to raise your child, and what to do/not to do in your pregnancy.  Wow, as if becoming a parent wasn’t scary and tough enough – now you have to live up to the “perfect Mom society”?  Again, you do what’s right for you and your child.  There is more than one way to do things and everyone has their bad days.  Don’t be fooled by the smiling family photos and the bragging Moms with clean houses, home cooked meals, and who have were never on the verge of losing their minds.

Believe me, all of the advice I’m dishing right now is definitely advice I need to keep taking myself.  I have my bad days, but I am trying to make them less frequent.  I am trying to not beat myself up when I slack off of work, my routine, exercise or ate too much vegan pizza.  Telling myself that it’s okay when I’m not perfect and that I’m still beautiful and a go-getter is the most important thing to do.

When I feel good about myself, I’m rewarded in so many ways.  Not only do I feel happy for no particular reason, but others seem to be drawn to me.  I receive compliments about my smile or strangers randomly start a conversation with me.

When we love ourselves, it truly does shine outwardly to others.

There’s my Tony Robbins speech of the week 🙂 Have a good one!  Love you guys.

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.