Monday, September 21, 2020
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9 years after her death- what my mother taught me (please read).

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photo
Credit to: Myself
photo
Credit to: Myself

 

Valentine’s Day should be about love of all kind.  Here is why.

Some of us hate today because we are single, some of us hate it because of what Valentine’s Day stands for.  The single ones dread it because they don’t have that significant other to buy flowers and candy and chocolate for, while others just see it as a stupid “Hallmark-esque” holiday.

Today is something different for me though.  My mother Lisa’s birthday is today.  She would’ve been 51 years old.  Sadly, she passed away almost 9 years ago from brain and breast cancer.  So where as today is a day that I usually grieve and have my moments of sadness, I also try to look at is as a day to be happy and see how far I have come since she passed back in 2004.

My mother was an incredible woman in every way possible.  She always taught me to see the glass half full in every situation, and to not let other people get you down in the process.  She was, is and always will be the strongest person I know for all that she had battled.  Whether it was people on her side of the family, the constant struggle to keep our family afloat on Long Island, and her year long battle with cancer, she always kept a smile on her face and stayed determined no matter what the issue was in her life.  She put her disease past her several times to help myself and my sister in need and anyone else that just wanted a shoulder to lean their heads on.  That to me is the true mark of a person- when they can let the hell they are going through be put on the back burner to help other people out.  My mother was just incredible.

Take today to give everyone in your life that you love a call and simply say “I Love You”.  Those are three words that aren’t used enough anymore and if they are it’s either forced or just said as something nice or sweet.  If you love someone, let them know.  This is the day to do that.  Don’t sulk about being single or whatever, embrace the fact that you have love in your life and be happy about that.  I would give the world to have my mother back and I know that isn’t possible in the physical sense, but spiritually I know she is always with me.  This is something to remember for everyone when they are down- you have someone that will always be down for you.  Stay positive, stay upbeat, stay the best you you can be.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and happy birthday Mom!

Netflix’d: House of Cards Season 1

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house of cards

Format: Hour-long Drama

Genre: Political Thriller, Drama

Cast: Kevin Spacey, Kate Mara, Robin Wright, Corey Stoll, Michael Kelly, Sakina Jaffrey, Sandrine Holt, Kristen Connolly, Constance Zimmer

Length: 13 Episodes

Similar Too: The West Wing, Homeland, Breaking Bad (or maybe it’s better called a combination of those shows?)

Well, here it is. We’ve been talking about it for years, and now the time has finally come for web-based television. Analysts have been predicting that the state of the internet would eventually combine with that of television, allowing for TV shows to premiere, air, and be viewed entirely online. Netflix, perhaps America’s foremost distributor for on-demand streaming media, has certainly been an indication of how close we were coming to that day, but all their shows had aired on other channels previously. Now, however, Netflix has finally bridged the gap, with House of Cards, a new political drama that had it’s entire first season put on Netflix on February 1rst. House of Cards Season 1 has already become Netflix’s most watched program, and has been met with high critical acclaim. So in regards to popularity and it’s reported potential to change the television landscape, the only question is if the show really lives up to all the hype.

A remake of a British mini-series from the 90s, House of Cards Season 1 is set in contemporary America and focuses on main character Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a South Carolinia congressman who can’t really be called a protagonist. The character is so ruthless and unquestionable in his methods that he can’t really be seen as an anti-hero either, he’s closer to being a straight up villain. The closest thing we have to a protagonist in this show is a young journalist (Kate Mara) who gets tied up with Frank after he’s denied a promotion to secretary of state. We then see how Frank has composed an elaborate plan to get what he wants in office, and needless to say plenty of bad shit goes down, from his involvement with a drug-abusing Pennsylvania congressman (Corey Stoll), to the tilting relationship he has with his wife (Robin Wright).

I have to admit, it’s funny that I was watching this show intermittently while viewing The West Wing. I couldn’t help but compare the two, as they’re both political dramas set amidst a fictional presidential administration, but the two shows don’t really have very much in common at all. If anything, House of  Cards is a more serialized version of The West Wing, that’s also R-rated, and happened to have really brushed up on it’s Shakespeare. Right from the start the show has really noticeable tension, from the music to the camera work. As the story goes on, and the twists become more regular, you start to realize that none of these characters are safe, and the show certainly doesn’t disappoint in regards to closure. For this reason the show really benefits from having it’s entire season released at once, as viewers can go through the show at a brisk pace without it ever losing any of its intended momentum.

The show certainly has quite a group of talented backers, with Beau Willimon (The Ides of March) as showrunner, and Eric Roth and David Fincher as producers. Fincher (The Social Network) definitely appears to be a driving force for the show, as he directed the first two episodes. Having an A-list director for the first two episodes could have actually hurt the show stylistically, similar to how people were complaining that Martin Scorsese’s direction of the pilot of Boardwalk Empire made the work of that series’ other directors seem inconsistent. Instead though, the show never outdoes itself, and it actually retains its unique style throughout. One of the most distinguishing features of this show is that they allow Frank Underwood to break-the-fourth-wall from time-to-time. Such a tactic could have proved gimmicky, especially for a show as serious as this, but instead it acts as a fascinating feature for us to get inside the mind of this cunning character, and eventually we realize that we the viewer are the only person that Frank tells the truth too.

With all it’s double-dealings and smoky room politics, the show sometimes feels like a 70s political thriller, but it’s undeniably ultra-modern. There’s a lot of usage of technology on the show, including internet usage (the show makes a reference to how satirical youtube videos can really harm a politician’s career), but most notably cell phones. Introducing another cool technique that plays with Fincher’s visual sensibilities, occasionally you will see character texting. Rather than have the camera zone in on the cell phone, the view will instead stay on the character and then a dialog box will pop up that shows what they are reading/saying. It’s used quite effectively in the start of the season, although it becomes less common in the second half. I really hope that the next season will find even more clever ways to use this technique.

So how’s the acting? Well, it excels here too. Kevin Spacey has always been one of our generation’s best screen actors, and he certainly indulges in this character. Speaking in a southern accent and using colorfully flamboyant language, Frank Underwood holds every scene he’s in, even if we’re aware of how evil he is. The supporting cast is all great too, with Kate Mara proving that acting ability runs in her family, as yes I will admit that I was under the impression that she was her sister Rooney for most of the series (I misread the credits I guess). Corey Stoll also gives a rather excellent performance as the womanizing and drug-addicted Peter Russo, as he gives the character the right amount of affability and cowardice that makes you really wish that he achieves redemption.

House of Cards is certainly a great show, but it isn’t perfect. The plot is spread too thin at times, and there is a sense of filler every now-and-then that does give me the feeling that I’m watching a TV Show. I feel that the best television dramas (The Wire, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos) have a more organic feel, and really give you the sense that you’re viewing a great movie, or reading some sort of excellent novel. House of Cards Season 1 does feel a bit televised at time, but that shouldn’t distract that this is possibly the best freshman season of a show to come out in a fairly long time. Already you can feel the writers and film makers have found a voice for the show, and it results in a sublime series that really unravels the seedy side of politics. With a second season already in the works, as well as the much discussed revival season for Arrested Development nearly here, Netflix might very well become the best television breakout since AMC, and it’s not even on TV.

Valentine, Hint-Of-Lime, and Office: Two Obsessions and A True Love Of HonestFrugalChaos Style

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HonestFrualChaos would first like to wish all my fashionistas of Manhattan a Happy Valentines Day!  Let’s keep this love going with HFC’s two obsessions of the week and one true shoe love.  When we’re talking about fashion there is always love!  Enjoy my loves and flavors of the week!

The Harlem Shake Phenomenon

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Harlem Shake
Under water Harlem Shake

Have you heard about the craze taking over the viral world?  Well you must have, unless you live under a rock.  The Harlem Shake phenomenon has taken over the internet and I must say, I am amused.  I am a YouTube junkie and have come across this new video trend that is sweeping the blogosphere and  viral video world.

The Harlem Shake is a latin techno song by DJ Baauer.  It’s actually really sick and has an amazing beat.  The song alone has coaught my attention but the videos people have made to go along with this song are EPIC!

Each video is about 30 seconds long and involves one person “shaking,” usually in some form of a mask.  The “shaker” is surrounded by people going about their normal routine, when suddenly…the bass drops and the video skips to a room full of people dancing like crazies!  It is the most laugh out loud video’s I have seen in awhile!

There are so many good videos to mention, there are the fire fighters, the Norweigan Army, the old people, etc…  The list goes on.

I am tempted to make one for myself, maybe involving my dog (hmmm?) maybe not.  All I know is that if you have not seen some of these Harlem Shake posts you are seriously missing out!  You can search them on www.youtube.com or check some out here!

Sweat Sweet: Soffe.com

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Soffe Shorts Zebra
Printed Authentic Soffe Shorts in Zebra

Since putting on some extra pounds I’ve found my home away from home, these days, is the gym.  And as much as everyone likes to say “it’s a gym, not a fashion show,” us ladies know better.  Throwing on oversized sweat pants and an extra large T-shirt seems like the logical idea, until you pass the mirror and realize what a bum you look like.  Not to mention, it is extremely hard to feel good when the exterior looks lousy.  I’ve tried throwing on a pair of leggings and a cute tank top and all that leads to is wedgies and sweat stains, eww!  But today I came across an awesome site that sells cute work out gear, www.soffe.com!  So, if you’ve read my previous articles, you know how much I LOVE to shop online, and when I saw the fabulous fitness wear on Soffe.com I knew I had to spread the word.  They have everything from shorts, to straight leg pants, tee shirts, and tank tops.  Everything is so stylish and comfy.  Best part, awesome deals!  Now don’t get me wrong, the clothes are affordable regardless, but who doesn’t love a sweet deal (pardon the V-day pun)?  So for Valentine’s Day they have 25% off some really cute clothes.  SOme of my faves are;

The Printed Authentic Soffe Shorts (the prints I’m showing are just 2 of my tops but they have 37 choices!!)

Soffe Shorts Zebra
Printed Authentic Soffe Shorts in Zebra
Soffe Shorts Reptile
Printed Authentic Soffe Shorts – Painted Reptile

I am obsessed with these funky shorts and am having ADD trying to pick my favorite one!

Ok, so in the past, I don’t know, 4 years I have completely given up any kind of bell bottom.  I love that straight legs are in and I really like how they look on me.  That being said, I can never find straight leg sweats, not leggings, but FINALLY I’ve found them !

Soffe Nu-Wave Skinny Sweats

Skinny Sweats
Soffe Nu-Wave Skinny Sweats – Gun Metal

So these bad boys come in Gun Metal (as shown) or black and only $26 bucks…Love it!

And if you are into the legging thing they have them too … Only these are made for movement and won’t ride up when you are on the elliptical or treadmill.

Print Leggings
Soffe Print Leggings – Disco Animal

Soffe.com has so many awesome items and the 25% off Valentines Day bunch are gorg!  There is so much if I kept writing you’d be here till tomorrow, so I will start to wrap it up.

This site has everything from yoga pants to pool shorts, tennis skirts to tiny shorts, and tank tops to tee shirts.  And don’t fret boys there is just as much options for you, but I’m not really an expert on men’s wear.  But I will tell you this, I’m not mad at the selection.  I could only hope some of the boys that I see at the gym grunting and grinning will see this article and step their gym gear up!

This site is an exercise junkie’s dream, a cheerleader’s heaven, and for those of us who have a love hate relationship with physical activity, a way to look sweet while sweating!  Check them out and let me know what you think!

25% Off Valentine's Day Sale
25% Off Valentine’s Day Sale

Album Review: Grouper – The Man Who Died in his Boat

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Grouper:          The Man Who Died In His Boat

Score:          7.9/10

 

Similar Artists:          Tiny Vipers, Mirroring

Genre:          ambient, singer-songwriter

 

The best way to describe Liz Harris’ output as Grouper would be to reference one of her lyrics, in which she claims to be an “Alien observer in a world that isn’t mine”. This disconnect of environment comes up often in the music of Grouper, and is harrowing in its evocation of aloneness. A certain humane element is lacking in the music as the voices we hear are all lost ones, who are desperately seeking attachment to a like being. She creates this often horrifying mood through the tone of her voice, the strum of her guitar, effects pedals and little else. The minimalistic aesthetic gives the songs a raw feel that enhances the believability of the artist’s sorrowful anguish. There is no anger within these songs, as Liz Harris’ cry is not one of exasperation, but one of remorseful contemplation. Through her work, Liz Harris recollects her tainted childhood memories, and the crucial moments which shaped her views upon the world.

“The Man Who Died in His Boat”, Grouper’s 8th full length, was inspired by an event experienced by Liz at a young age where she peered inside a boat that washed up near her home. She found it brimming with trinkets and belongings, yet the owner had vanished never to reappear. Although the abandonment in this case was of an inanimate object, it is the kind of experience that becomes trapped within the confines of our conscious mind, and allows for endless provocation. Much like this memory, the subject matter in Grouper’s music is all highly personal, and much of the lyrics are un-decodable in meaning. Liz has stated in interviews of her fear towards enabling the listener to grasp too much of a song’s identity, and in turn revealing too much of her own. This is the reason her voice is so hidden on the majority of her releases. Despite her enigmatic personality, it can be discerned that these releases represent mournful memoirs from her life.

This album is a return to the style developed on her revelatory 2008 LP, “Dragging a Dead Deer up a Hill”. The comparisons are not in album title alone as this is, for better or for worse, a carbon copy of that album. Both albums were actually written and recorded during the same time period, but Liz has waited all these years to actually release it; perhaps in fear of it being too personal. These are her, for lack of a better word, folk records. Unlike some of Grouper’s other releases, of which there are many, these could actually be considered songs. With the album’s prominent use of acoustic guitar, Liz walks the line of being called a singer songwriter at certain moments.

There is certainly a new found accessibility that has been issued to her music in the last few years and “The Man Who Died…” is most representative of this. Up until now, “Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping” on her previously mentioned 2008 album, was the closest we got to peering inside Liz’s heart. While it could be argued that none of the songs here match the sheer beauty of that song, many follow it in theme. “Towers” and “Living Room” both stand out in a way that is unusual for an artist who is so non-attention seeking, and there are even some bright spots to be found if you look deep enough. Thankfully, the atmosphere is not entirely opaque, and there is the occasional glimmer of hope. Whether it stems from a brighter guitar chord or a tenderly sung lyric, we are hinted at some ray of light that is guiding the protagonist towards a nestled home.

Listening to Grouper for hours on end becomes a heartache. Grouper’s music had never really sunk in with me before, but after now challenging myself with dissecting one of her albums I realize it is because I didn’t let it. The music can become disturbing in its subtleties to the point where listening to it on repeat is painful. This is especially true when going to sleep or other reflective moments in the day. She has crafted a sound that is audacious, but not always listenable. So in terms of emotional effectiveness this album gets top honors, but personally I think I am going to let it collect some dust on the shelf for a while, and save it for a day where I am feeling particularly masochistic.

 

Track Listing:

1.) 6

2.) Vital*

3.) Cloud in Places

4.) Being her Shadow

5.) Cover the Long Way

6.) Difference (Voices)

7.) Vanishing Point

8.) The Man Who Died In His Boat*

9.) Towers*

10.) STS

11.) Living Room*

* – Album Highlight

Dance Moms Recap: No Crying in Dance

abbyleemillerdance80371Welcome back to Pittsburgh, folks! Everyone’s here and we’re ready for more Dance Moms after the jump!

Country Class from the 2013 Grammy Country Nominees

Courtesy of http://blog.newsok.com
Courtesy of http://blog.newsok.com
Courtesy of http://blog.newsok.com

Sunday night was a night that I was proud to be representing the country genre on Manhattan Digest as America noticed the Country Class exuding from the 2013 Grammy Country Nominees.  From the wardrobe choices, to the performances, the individuals and groups were able to hold their heads high. My predictions were almost spot on, and every winner truly deserved their Grammy.

Move over Beyonce and Jay-Z, because Tim McGraw and Faith Hill stole that red carpet spotlight. Tim looked so dapper in his classy cowboy hat, while Faith was stunning in her sleek black dress. They were not only polite and friendly, but were seemingly genuine and happy to be attending the ceremony.

Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert’s duet of “Home” and “Over You” was a medley not to be reckoned with. The composition was a hybrid of southern belle meets southern comfort with Lambert’s bedazzled white cocktail dress and sweet lyrics, while Bentley’s performance was heartfelt yet edgy.

Lets not forget Hunter Hayes’ interlude of “Wanted”. Although short, he demonstrated his vocal and musical talents in this minute and a half introduction. He managed to shine and woo the audience right before introducing the women of the night.

From the moment she stepped foot onto the carpet, to her exceptional performance, Carrie Underwood glistened throughout the night. She wowed the red carpet without even having to bear any excess skin in a sleek black Roberto Cavalli dress. During her acceptance speech for best Solo Performance, she not only seemed surprised but also humbled, a sight rarely seen. Lastly, her performance of “Blown Away,” literally did what the title says. As spectacular as the light show was, my attention was not taken away from her powerful vocals. She has a command over her voice that should be praised and elegance to her performance that was not gaudy but impressive and creative.

Country has a reason to be proud; embodying class, style and talent at an evening where musicians come together to have their night to shine. If I hadn’t convinced you in my first article to check out some of these talented artists, hopefully now with the show stopping performances, you take a look into what country really has to offer the music industry.

Pamela Erin Gordon

New York Men’s Fashion Week Launch Party!

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Credit to Jason Jaskot
Credit to Jason Jaskot

 

Credit to Jason Jaskot
Credit to Jason Jaskot

Fashion week is in full swing here in New York City! Regardless of Nemo coming in and trying to ruin our good time, people still showed up in their best to support and watch the amazing designs of several different designers. This past Saturday was no different.  The launch party for “New York Men’s Fashion Week” took place at the Roosevelt Hotel in the heart of New York

Credit to Jason Jaskot
Credit to Jason Jaskot

City.  The designers featured were Janet Zheng, Andrew Nowell and Ray Vicente.

As a newbie in the fashion world, I have to say I was very impressed by each of the designers.  Their aesthetics were on point in terms of the what each designer was going for.  Ray’s line definitely had an international feel to it, with rich uses of the color green.  Andrew’s line was more of the norm you would see in an issue of GQ but with an amazing addition to it- fur accessories such as shoes, hats and gloves.  Not a fur fan myself, but it did look interesting paired off with the suits each of the men wore.  To finish the night off. Janet had some amazing designs with jackets amongst other items with a great use of purple and white.  All in all, it was a great show.

Credit to Jason Jaskot
Credit to Jason Jaskot

WM Michael Reid did an amazing job emceeing the event, giving great introductions to each of the designers and giving them time at the end of each of their shows to talk to the press and audience.  Check out for more of New York Men’s Fashion Week as a separate event, as that launches in June.

 

 

 

Diana Medley is a hypocritcal, homophobic moron.

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Credit to: Rawstory.com

Here we go hypocrites, here we go.

Credit to: Rawstory.com
Credit to: Rawstory.com

An Indiana-based high school called Sullivan High has a group of people, including a special needs teacher, banding together to create a “straight-only” prom, which would prohibit anyone from the GLBT community from attending. The following is according to Time

as if I write it it would be filled with a lot of nasty comments (those to come later)-

The group met on Sunday at the town’s First Christian Church to discuss the possibility of holding a separate, segregated dance after the principal of Sullivan High, David Springer, told a local NBC affiliate that “Anybody can go to the prom” when asked to clarify whether same-sex couples would be allowed to walk in the event’s grand march, set to be held April 27.

“We believe what the Bible says, that it says it’s wrong,” Sullivan High School student Bonnie McCammon said to WTWO-TV. ”We love the homosexuals, but we do not condone what they’re doing.”

According to WTWO, one member of the group is a local special-education teacher, Diana Medley, who told the NBC affiliate, “I believe [homosexuality] is a choice. I don’t believe they were born that way. I think that life circumstances made them that way.” She says she works with students who come out to her and cares about them, even though she doesn’t “agree with them.”

I can’t even begin to figure out how much hypocrisy is really in this as it is truly mind-blowing.  So what happens if a gay person shows up? Are the police going to come outside and hose them down like what happened in the civil rights movements back in the 50’s and 60’s? Will dogs viciously attack them and will people chant “HOMO” and “FAG” if they try to go inside? Isn’t this 20 fucking 13 and this shit shouldn’t be happening anymore?

As far as Diana Medley is concerned, her last name suits her very well.  She is a medley of idiocy.  Her continued talks of how gays aren’t born this way and that it’s a choice is beyond disgusting yet hilarious at the same time.  Ma’am (i use that loosely), how would you feel about a prom that would bar special-needs students from showing up? What if one of your students is gay? How would that make you feel you fucking moron? I don’t get how people like this exist.  These are also the people that think gay marriage should be illegal as it goes against the sanctity of marriage.  Divorce rate is at 50 percent y’all.  Thanks straights.

There is a great petition you can find online that is calling for Diana’s termination.  Only 4,700 was needed but they already have 10,000.  Yay! Keep it going and watch this vile human being sit in her room stewing with her cats and wondering what her life will be like now that she’s figured out what an awful human being she is.  No remorse here for her or these students.  Grow up, open your eyes and get a grip.