I’ve had a wonderful week this far with my family in Florida, from snuggling my newborn niece to accompanying my toddler niece in baby ballet class and more.
Seeing my family just a few times a year has reinforced the importance of being present with them when we’re together. I even purposely left my laptop in SF, in an attempt to disconnect from work and other obligations as much as possible. It should come as no surprise, then, that this week’s obsessions are short and sweet.
Hold your loved ones tight, if you’re able. Call them, video chat them, send them letters… whatever you can to remind them that family comes first.
And speaking of firsts, here’s baby Lillian’s first Snapchat story. She’s clearly already a baby genius. I’ll be back at it again next week with our regularly scheduled WO programming.
- “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call”: I can’t remember a movie that had me laughing for nearly the entire time, but this reboot has four fantastic leading ladies, a bunch of throwback references and some awesome eye candy. That’s what I call a winning combo.
- A Visit Back East: It’s only been six months since I was last in Florida, but so much has changed in that time and I can’t wait to get there this weekend. If I spend the entire time squishing my niece’s cheeks and watching “Zootopia” with my other niece, then I think I’ll be just fine.
- “The Night Of”: I did not need another show to watch. Really, I didn’t. But a co-worker and another friend each told me how much I needed to see this one, and I caved. I’m glad I did… the premiere left me breathless from start to finish, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this miniseries unfolds.
- “This Is What You Came For” – Calvin Harris f. Rihanna: I honestly could not care less about the drama surrounding Taylor’s songwriting contributions (or not) to this song. And I really, really didn’t want to like it, because, Rihanna. But damn, it’s an earworm. And despite my distaste for most EDM, this one really gets me pumped.
It’s been an emotional week for my home state, particularly for the city of Orlando. I woke up Sunday to my family and friends there marked as “Safe” on Facebook, but there are more than 50 families who weren’t as fortunate. I’m still collecting my thoughts into coherent sentences for a separate post, but until then, here are some things to help us smile through the pain:
- Hallee’s Birthday: Hallee Sorenson is a vibrant young woman, who happens to be autistic and celebrated her 18th birthday alone last year after invited guests failed to show. Her cousin Becky has now invited all of Facebook to send Hallee birthday wishes via mail. If you can take a few minutes to brighten this young lady’s day, cards can be mailed to:
34 Wellesley Way
Bangor, ME 04401
- Magz Retires: The mother of all teachers — my mother — retired last week after 32 years of teaching foreign languages and life lessons. She spent 22 years at the same high school and has inspired countless students throughout her tenure. True to form, she’s still working hard this week and grading AP tests in Cincinnati. There’s a large margarita on the rocks (no salt) with her name on it when I see her next month.
- T-Rex Competes on “America Ninja Warrior”: The T-Rex costume has provided plenty of laughs in various viral videos, but this one might just take the cake. I don’t think I could complete any of these obstacles in regular clothes, let alone an inflatable costume. Spoiler alert: T-Rex’s tiny arms may be his downfall.
- NYC Gay Men’s Chorus on “GMA”: Driving out the darkness with a message of positivity, my friend Marc and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus shone brightly on Monday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America.” Their message of pride and joy to comfort the grieving Orlando and LGTBQ communities is truly mesmerizing.
On a final note, as Father’s Day approaches: If you’re fortunate enough to have a relationship with your dad, please call or spend time with him — anything you can — on Sunday. A close friend of mine just lost her father to cancer, 50+ children in Orlando won’t be celebrating and there are things so much bigger in this world than our stubborn differences and disputes.
I’ve been in Florida the past few days, and despite the suffocating humidity and daily thunderstorms, my heart is very full. One thing is for sure: Precious time with friends and family is priceless.
- The Girl on the Train: I’ve been meaning to read this heavily reviewed thriller for a while, and a six-hour flight did just the trick. Full of twists and turns, it blurs the lines of reality and alcohol-induced visions. I could hardly put it down and highly recommend it to fellow bookworms.
- Ford’s Garage: This restaurant opened recently in Brandon, FL and is kitschy fun for the whole family. From onion rings served on funnels to a huge tire sink stand, the decor is unmatched. And the food? Simply awesome.
- High School Reunion: This weekend finally brings the event I’ve helped plan for a year — dun dun dun! The weather doesn’t want to cooperate, but I’m still confident we’ll have a great time bullshitting and remembering all the stupid stuff we did. Take that, Christy Masters Christiansen.
- “Poor Unfortunate Souls” – The Little Mermaid: Obviously, my niece is obsessed with Disney movies. And the cutest thing I ever did see was her bobbing along to their soundtracks. This song is particularly entertaining — she waits quietly all the way through until Ariel sings and then belts it like a diva.
You know it’s been a crazy couple of weeks at work when you have recurring dreams … about work. The only way to combat such nonsense? Let’s start with these four highlights:
- “The Great Gatsby”: Despite touting its soundtrack as the best of 2013, I hadn’t seen the Baz Luhrmann masterpiece until recently. It’s a visual spectacle and takes F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s narrative to explosive, extravagant new heights.
- Aziz Ansari’s Love Advice: I can’t wait to read the undoubtedly hilarious writing debut from Ansari, called “Modern Romance.” Till then, BuzzFeed graciously cooridinated a Q&A sesh that doesn’t disappoint.
- Warriors Win!: I was thrilled to have both of my Bay Areas in the playoffs recently, but sadly the Lightning didn’t pull through against the Blackhawks. Thankfully, the Warriors brought home a trophy for the first time in 40 years — what a sight to see!
- “GDFR” – Flo Rida f. Sage the Gemini & Lookas: This song should be in the dictionary next to “pump-up jam.” Whether you’re hitting the gym or the bar, you just feel like you can take on the world after hearing this one.
Happy New Year! At what point is it no longer a “new year”? I hadn’t officially said it to you all … but isn’t it a little late to be wishing you well? Can you ever have enough well wishes? These are the things running through my mind at odd hours in the night. And here’s what else I can’t stop thinking about:
- Photo Doggies for Anthony: Have you seen a ton of cute pet pics all over your FB feed? This viral event has more than a million people supporting a young boy’s desire to see doggy photos between his leukemia treatments. The power of social media can be used for good! Who knew?
- Florida Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage: In other breaking news, Florida is finally on the front page for something positive! As of yesterday, the sunshine state has lifted its ban on same-sex marriage — and millions can rejoice in the legal recognition that love is love.
- Kurios: Cirque du Soleil: I had the pleasure of enjoying my first-ever Cirque show last night with this new-to-the-U.S. production. Breathtaking, dazzling, simply stunning … there aren’t enough amazing adjectives to describe what we saw.
- “Uptown Funk” –Mark Ronson f. Bruno Mars: I can’t think of a song in recent history that gets people moving as much as this one. It’s so incredibly catchy, with a crazy hook and contagious lyrics. Here’s hoping this dream duo continue to collaborate!