6.12.2014

summer movie excitement | think like a man too

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post about Macy's and Think Like A Man Too. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own. 



It takes a lot to get me to the movie theaters these days. With the high prices and mediocre selection, I am perfectly content to wait until movies hit Redbox. But now it's summer and summer is the time when the movie industry gets to redeem itself for the crap movies they put out from January through April. Besides the holidays, summer is the only time of year that gets me excited about upcoming movies. And the #1 movie I'm looking forward to? Think Like A Man Too! 

I adored the first movie. It's funny, smart, charming and they squeezed so many good looking people into one film. What's not to love? Now, I haven't read the Steve Harvey book that inspired the movie so I can't really comment on the merits of the super gender-specific relationship advice he gives. I'm sure my eyes would be rolling quite a bit. But the movie was great, the cast was fantastic, and I really enjoyed all the stories of the different characters.

I'm usually wary of sequels, but I loved the first movie so much that I'm willing to bet my dollars that I'll like the second movie too. Here's the trailer if you haven't seen it:




Looks so fun, right? 

And speaking of fun, I got the chance to meet two members of the cast: Terrence Jenkins and Jerry Ferrara! Macy's was kind enough to host a meet and greet for Think Like A Man Too fans in LA! 


The guys were SO nice (and super cute!). They are really excited about the movie and thanked us all for being supportive. Terrence and Jerry (we're on a first-name basis now) met with each person, signed a Think Like A Man Too movie poster, and posed for pictures. I always get so star struck when I meet a celeb and this was no exception. They seem like such cool guys and meeting them makes me want to see the movie even more!





SWOON. 


Thanks Macy's for putting on a fun event and THANK YOU to Terrence Jenkins and Jerry Ferrara for showing the fans some love! 

Think Like A Man Too is out in theaters on June 20th. 


Are you excited for this summer sequel? What other summer movies are you really looking forward to? And can you even handle the adorableness of these two guys!?! Let me know in the comments! 


6.11.2014

finding community



I don't know if I'm alone in this, but as I've gotten older I've found it harder to connect to a community. It's not like college where you are constantly surrounded by people in your social circle. My friends are scattered across the general Los Angeles area and everyone is so grownup and busy. I work from home, so I connect with co-workers in person maybe once a week. Basically, my current lifestyle leaves me with a lot of alone time. Which I'm not happy about. I'm a major extrovert, so I know that a big part of my happiness is tied into interacting with other people. So in May, I decided to tailor my Happiness Project goals around this idea of community and becoming more intentional about engaging with the world around me. 

May Goals

Submit a guest post
Keep in touch
Be a good neighbor
Support my friends


1. Submit a guest post. Both my day job and my sad attempts at maintaining this blog require that I spend a lot of time online. While the dark parts of the internet often leave me praying for Jesus to return ASAP, there are some really cool online communities doing really cool things. I've wanted to contribute to certain communities for awhile and I've had some post ideas floating around in my head, but I've had writer's block since like December 2013 so we'll see how that turns out. Mostly I just need to suck it up and try to submit some more of my writing around the web. Easier said than done though. 

2. Keep in touch. Let me start off by saying that I AM THE WORST at keeping in touch with people. THE WORST. It's not that I don't care. I think about my friends all the time. But there seems to be a disconnect between thinking about them and reaching out. I resolved that I needed to do better and let my friends know that I'm not some horrible creep who just disappears for months at a time. I started to reach out to friends way before May came around, because it seemed silly to wait for a certain month to start being a good friend. Over the last few months I've been able to connect with many good friends and of course it increased my happiness. I'm lucky enough to be friends with some truly wonderful people and I don't want to take them for granted. 

3. Be a good neighbor. God, I utterly failed at this one. We've lived in this house for over a year and I literally do not talk to any of my neighbors ever. Ever since I came to the realization that I'm not a friendly person, I've been trying to remedy this in different areas of my life. But for some reason, the friendly neighbor act is just not something I'm cut out for. Most of my neighbors are significantly older than me and there are also some language barriers as I live in a predominately Spanish-speaking neighborhood. NOT that these are excuses. I definitely need to do better when it comes to being a good neighbor. Any suggestions??

4. Support my friends. This ties in a lot with goal #2, but basically I want to make sure that I am going above and beyond for my friends. My friends are such a huge part of my overall happiness, so I want to make sure I'm nurturing those relationships as much as possible. Whether it means giving a thoughtful gift, letting someone vent, providing encouragement, or just being a safe person, I want to make sure I'm going the extra mile in letting my friends know that I am there for them. 



My craving for community wasn't completely satisfied through my Happiness Project goals last month, because I don't think I've found the right balance between working from home but still engaging with the outside world. But I know I'm on the right path. The fact that we are getting more involved in our new church is helping as well. After a month of thinking about it, I've realized that community is what I want it to be. It's up to me to be actively seeking and pouring into people who enrich my life for the better. And that's just what I plan on doing! 


What about you? What does "community" mean to you? Where do you find your strongest sense of community? Work? Family? Church? Online? Anyone else ashamed they don't know their neighbors?? Let me know in the comments! 


And if you can even believe it, June is the last month of my year-long Happiness Project! This month I'll be focusing on Romance! Oooh la la! Stay tuned in the next few weeks as I wrap up this series and reflect on what I've learned about happiness. 


everyday justice

Alright, yes. I know it's June and I know I haven't blogged in two months about my Happiness Project. Instead of wasting time focusing on how I'm a terrible blogger, let's take a trip back in time to two months ago and talk about my Happiness Project goals from April! 


Goals for April

Try fair trade
Volunteer
Amplify other voices
Get educated

1. Try fair trade. The resident Fair Trade guru in my life is my friend Heidi, so I made sure to get her input before embarking on my Fair Trade journey. In her family, they are committed to buying fair trade chocolate and I love how they spread awareness every holiday about the ways that children around the world are suffering due to the chocolate industry. She also let me know that Ben & Jerry's ice cream is completely fair trade and they have the fair trade logo on their ice cream cartons! Through my own research, I found that Whole Foods has several fair trade items such as flowers and certain fruit. The problem? Not everyone has a Whole Foods by their house, including me. So while I didn't actually buy anything fair trade in April, I at least got some good information about how I can purchase certain things fair trade in the future. 

2. Volunteer. Yeah. I didn't do this. I know I need to and there are some opportunities available through my church. Just consider this on my perpetual to-do list. 

3. Amplify other voices. This might seem like an odd goal for a month about justice, but to me this is an important part of leading a more just life. Practical justice means stepping aside and letting other stories be heard. It's not about "giving a voice to the voiceless." No one needs me to speak for them. It's about realizing there are a vast diversity of stories to be told and making sure that my life isn't just a vacuum of people who are exactly like me. It's about getting out of the way, shining a spotlight on others, and letting them do all the talking. 

All of this is why I was proud to feature my 10 Favorite Blogs by Women of Color on the blog last month. If you haven't checked it out already, please do! Not for my sake, but for the sake of discovering amazing blogs written by amazing women. Whether you are interested in faith, parenting, design, fashion, or racial reconciliation, there's a blog on that list for everyone! 

4. Get educated. I had a hard time thinking of a justice-related topic to educate myself on in April, mostly because there are so many directions I could take. But after seeing this incredibly emotional video about beagles being rescued from a life of laboratory testing, I knew that I needed to put on my conscious consumer hat and start doing the hard work of not supporting companies that use animal testing. Starting with cosmetics, I've made an effort since viewing this video to only buy products that specifically say they do not test on animals. 

You guys. I know stuff like this is daunting. And even though I'm not perfect at it, I've realized that it's very doable. Thankfully, many of the brands I am loyal to do not test on animals. It takes a few seconds to read the back of the product to find out if the product was tested on animals. My dog Chewie is the love of my life (and part beagle!). The thought of him living a life in a cage, being poked and prodded so that I could have lipstick or shampoo is just unbearable. Seriously, watch the video. Hopefully it inspires us to at least think twice before we buy something that's harmful to the environment, animals, or each other. Again, it's not about being perfect. It's about at least trying to do better once you are faced with injustice. 

---   ---  ---

Perhaps pursuing justice as part of a personal Happiness Project was an odd choice. The thing about justice is that pursuing it doesn't always lead to happiness. Most days, thinking about justice makes me sad, frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed. My life would undoubtedly be easier if I really didn't care that much about anything. 

But for whatever reason, I was wired to care. I have a strong empathy gene and I can't help but to care. Having justice as a central value in my life is extremely important to me and in April I meditated a lot on what justice actually means to me in my daily life. 

Then I read the book Night by holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and his Nobel Prize Acceptance speech sums up exactly what justice means to me. 


Isn't this powerful? What a perfect portrait of justice. If you need to know anything about me, know that I want this to be my life's anthem. In the big and the small, in the extraordinary and the every day, I always want to stand on the side of justice.

But what does this have to do with happiness? I don't really have a clear answer as to how justice and happiness intersect in my life. Does pursuing justice always make me happy? Absolutely not. But it does add a richness to my life. A sense of fulfillment. A sense that I am part of something bigger and lasting and good. And that makes me happy.


A Happiness Project recap for May is right around the corner! Stay tuned!


How do you pursue justice in your everyday life? What are the causes that are really important to you? Let me know in the comments!