Pairings Retreat: From Dream to Reality

One day, shortly after the beginning of the new year, my friend Cristina from Your Personal Producer and I were on G-chat as we normally are, sharing our dreams for 2018. She was in a funk and I was in a post-Paris high! 2017 had seen some serious ups and downs for both of us and we didn’t want 2018 to end up being the same old song and dance. You know…dream big at the beginning of the year, start off strong and lose it somewhere around mid-April.

In a moment of honesty, she blurted out: (paraphrasing) “I wish I could just get away. Go on a retreat and get my thoughts in order for 2018.”

And I said “Let’s do that!”

The funny thing is, it’s usually me who dreams beyond my reach and usually she steps in to tell me: “That’s possible.” But on this day our roles were reversed and soon our dreaming turned into a game plan!

She threw out a concept, I took it and threw things back at her and an actionable plan formed not only in our minds and on our proverbial cocktail napkins, but also on a shared Google Drive folder that would soon become an actionable itinerary for the retreat of our dreams.

Pairings Retreat

We started off with the dream of a beachy, intimate retreat filled with instagrammable drinks paired with vision board creations. Photo sessions paired with content calendars. Adorable products from bakeries like P is for Pie and brands like band.o to inspire our own creative juices. It all came together like the stories you hear of visionaries in restaurants spit balling ideas and then…one day, we have Twitter. Or in a parent’s garage and all of a sudden…Apple is born.

In fact, Cristina and I have this thing that happens to us when we really get going on an idea on G-chat. One of us will type out an idea and hit send only to find the other person has thought of almost the exact same thing as well. Leading to a lot of “GET OUT OF MY HEAD” and “HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?”

In moments like these, we are so like-minded that our dreams and visions become transcendent. Like somehow God is planting ideas in both our heads and because He had the good sense to make us friends, He’s smiling at His handiwork when we, humble creations that we are, realize how our ideas fit together just as they are meant to!

So fast forward through all of our pre-planning and big dreaming to the retreat itself.

Road Trip Reunion:

Cristina flew in early Tuesday morning. We didn’t want to skip a beat or miss precious time enacting our respective visions. I grocery shopped and product sourced ahead of time with a handy shared shopping list on the G-Drive (the thing that helps us get all things done.)

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for blogger by Cristina and Liz

The drive to Madeira Beach is about 2 hours from Orlando, so we had plenty of time to get our thoughts in order and make some plans ahead of our scheduled time of making plans. Plus, we had a chance to get important friend catch-up time in there as well, which is vital to a partnership like ours! We strive very hard to strike a balance between best friends forever and business partners. And that comes with equal helpings of dream casting and venting about elements of our everyday life.

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Werk Werk Werk:

Once we reached our destination, we were in for a penny, in for a pound. We wasted no time unpacking the car, setting up our rooms and our work spaces, making our first round of drinks and getting our hair into sensible work pony-tails. We had a quick lunch on the beach of Publix subs, because Publix subs are the be all and end all of sandwiches for any home grown Florida girl (and we both are!)

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for bloggers by Cristina and Lizzie

Next, we set about our goal setting. With the help of some materials Cristina brought along, we began to ask really tough questions about our goals. What we wanted to achieve in life? What was stopping us? What did we allow in our lives that caused road blocks we may not even be aware of yet? What emotional juggernauts did we each have to work on and overcome in the coming year to make space for big dreams? So…no big deal. Just the extremely big, life-altering questions of the every day life, right?

Visionaries:

Following that, we set to the task of vision boarding. Cristina’s board was and all-encompassing snap shot of the life she wants to create for herself. A sensible 11×17″ format that would fit nicely in her carry on and be easy to take home with her.

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My vision board…well, you know I don’t do anything the “normal” way. Mine turned into more of what I like to call, a vision journal. Each page representing a different aspect of my personality that I wanted to highlight or work on or change altogether.  (more to come on vision journaling!)

Sunsets are Non-negotiable:

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After getting a whole lot of WERK done, we made a rule about Pairings Retreat…Sunsets are non-negotiable!! So we walked out to the beach (which was mere steps away from the front door of our beach cottage) and watched as the day sank into nighttime. Sunsets are the best way to end a day, IMHO. They remind you that there is beauty waiting at the end of whatever you just went through. And they reminded us to consider that the world has so much to offer.

Winner, Winner, Pesto Dinner:

When pairing up with a Forever Friend and future business partner, it’s nice to combine skills. Some of which I have, some of which she has and some of which we share. But making a delicious Pesto Chicken Pasta for dinner…that’s all Cristina!

Throughout our day we were cognizant of the moments when we wanted to hunker down and get through our list, as well as making room for moments when we needed a little R&R to refresh us for the hard stuff. Pairings Retreat quickly became about so much more than scheduling blog posts and creating actionable plans for our future. It was only the end of day one and already we both had the feeling that we had stumbled upon something really special.

Second Verse, Better than the First:

We awoke at a reasonable hour in the morning on Day 2. Actually, I got up a little earlier to go sit on the beach and watch the day break. Breakfast was mimosas and bagels from Brooklyn Water Bagel, a local place in Winter Park and a favorite place of mine (shop small!!!)

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for bloggers by Cristina and Lizzie

We analyzed our schedule for the day over breakfast and made some adjustments. We wanted to have more time for photo sessions and wanted to take advantage of the weather in the morning. Being flexible in the midst of a set schedule became really important for us. We had things to accomplish, but we also wanted to be free to move with the day as we needed to.

Snap My Picture:

Cristina has gotten very good at taking my picture. From our days of working on my web series in New York to her constantly being my photographer for fitness series and fashion posts. Me…I’m not as good at it. But this was a chance to stretch myself. I’m usually the one in front of the camera, because I like to be there. She’s usually behind it, for the same reason. But Pairings Retreat is about challenging yourself. Creating what you need. And learning that the walls you have to climb are only as tall as you let them be. Learn to climb and you don’t have a wall problem anymore, do you!

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Photo by Cristina Fowler
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Photo by Cristina Fowler
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Photo by Cristina Fowler (she really is good at this game!)

Working Lunch:

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We continued to bump things around and change our schedule as our needs dictated for the day. Lunch became a working lunch. We put the finishing touches on our vision boards and started in on our writing session. Whatever that meant for each of us. We are both bloggers, but I took that time to continue filing out my questionnaire about my future, which became addictive and illuminating. I didn’t realize some of the things that were coming up in my answers and it allowed me a perspective on my future that I had not considered yet.

Treat Yourself:

Who among us isn’t energized by a treat? The mere mention of a cupcake in the vicinity and I perk right up! Prior to the trip, I had procured a couple special treats for us. Pies from P is for Pie, cupcakes from Small Cakes Cupcakery and extra large Hershey’s chocolate bars for each of us (milk chocolate for Cristina and dark chocolate for me.) We had a drink pairing for each portion of our day and delectable meals lined up around every corner.

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for bloggers by Cristina and Lizzie

We didn’t over eat. We didn’t get drunk or binge on sweets to the point of sugar comas, but we did enjoyed our time together to the fullest and took time to treat ourselves as we worked hard and got our check lists done! This is now a founding principle of Pairings Retreat. TREAT YOURSELF!!

Bring Me that Horizon:

As I  mentioned before…sunsets are non-negotiable at Pairings and we took the chance to get another photo session in before the sun took it’s bow for our last night on retreat.

On the Town:

To add a big, shiny bow to our fabulous and very productive 2-day retreat, we went out to dinner Wednesday night. We couldn’t believe we had only started the morning before. We had gotten so much done!

There’s something about fresh seafood on the porch of a beach town restaurant that is especially rejuvenating. We had more fruity drinks and more delicious desserts. And we talked about how we wanted to expand our idea for Pairings. What if we offered this experience to more bloggers who were looking for what we had found here?

To the Future:

It’s funny. After a certain age, things like camp and sleep overs and getaways become hard to come by because of life circumstance or frowned upon because of age. 30-something women don’t have slumber parties anymore. Adults don’t go away to sleep over camp. We grown-ups have it all figured out, after all. But I call shenanigans!!

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for blogger Cristina and Lizzie

We need to get away sometimes. We need to recharge our batteries away from the people who spend the most time using our batteries up. We need time with other creatives to spark our own adventures and dreams. That is exactly what Pairings became for us.

And even better, that is what Pairings can be for you too!!

If that sounds like just what you’re looking for, then…Stay tuned!

Pairings Retreat - a creative retreat for bloggers by Cristina and Lizzie

Friends Forever

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On the subject of friendships that will not be stopped by distance, hard times or stormy weather! Two of my quality handful came down to sunny, ole Florida for Ladies’ Weekend and it was completely epic!!

Thursday, I picked the girls up from the airport and revels were had!

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On Friday, the three of us boarded the Hogwarts express and headed for that magical land known as Universal, home of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! Where we represented each of our houses in style.

I am the resident Gryffindor…brave, daring, chivalrous, courageous.

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Erin is the our Hufflepuff…loyal, kind, honest and friendly.

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And Cristina is our Slytherin…cunning, ambitious, determined, a leader.

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Together we are a powerful force to be reckoned with and while it’s true that we didn’t have a Ravenclaw to bring along on this trip, we really weren’t missing one. We are quite possibly the best traveling companions. Cristina is the planner, the one who keeps us organized and on schedule. I’m the one who makes sure we veer off schedule every once in a while and allows the wind to blow us here and there. And Erin steadies the two of our opposing forces. We are stronger together and it made for the most delightful day!

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Check out our Harry Potter adventures on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #SlytherGryffinPuff

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Saturday, we were off to the other magical place in Florida…the most magical place in all the land (sorry Harry, the House of Mouse wins!) Disney World!! We had lofty goals and were going to attempt all four parks! We made it to everything we wanted to do at Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom and ended up in Epcot for dinner and fireworks. (Sadly Animal Kingdom had to be sacrificed for the greater good.) The best part of all is that months ago we decided to Disney Bound for our magical day. And we had a blast!

I was Rapunzel.

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Erin was Belle.

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And Cristina was Snow White.

(Cristina is a crafty princess who managed not to get her individual princess portrait taken….. clearly a Slytherin!)

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For more from these gorgeous creatures who I am lucky enough to call friends, go check out their blogs. Yep…they’re both bloggers. Imagine that!

The Ever Changing Us 

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Also make sure you are following all three of us on Instagram, but only if you love pictures of happy, adorable people who love life and each other! #LadiesWeekend2016

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The weekend may be over, but these friendships will last forever!! Next year we are deciding between New Orleans and Las Vegas and 2018 will see us in London for the most epic #SlytherGryffinPuff expedition ever imagined.

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So keep a weather eye on the horizon for more us!

The Redemption of Kylo Ren

The question on everyone’s mind lately… “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” or as my guest blogger Michael Burgett queried yesterday: “Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?” If that question is not on your mind, then you just haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens enough! Go watch it again and then we can talk!

Reader, you know me by now. I’ve shared many an embarrassing story with you. I’ve told you about my dates and about my family and about my hopes and my dreams. I believe that you truly know me, in all my pie-in-the-sky optimism. So, of course, my answer to both the aforementioned questions would be yes. Yes, Kylo is redeemable and yes, he will be redeemed. In fact, I’d go further and say it is merely a matter of time till he is redeemed. And it is one scene in particular that gives me this hope for the son of Han Solo to find his way back to the Light.

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Han is leaving the Rebel base to go destroy Starkiller and confront his son who has turned so far from the path that Han, Leia and Luke had wanted for him. Leia and Han share a tender moment of goodbye, not knowing that it would be their last moment together. Leia says to Han “there is Light in him.” And as we know, this is a strong theme in the Star Wars universe. The presence of Light is more than just a touch of the good side…it is hope. Padme felt the Light in Anakin. Luke felt the Light in Darth Vader. That pull to the Light is a powerful feeling.

Often it is the Dark side that is given all the strength of power. And in the past we have witnessed the pull from the Light to the Dark in Anakin’s journey. Kylo’s journey, for us, starts out in the Dark with that sliver of Light still shining inside him. Light that he is desperate to eradicate and turn from.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that Light talk happened before Kylo kills his own father, our beloved Han Solo. Tell me something…does one deplorable act completely erase your humanity? Some might say yes, but I say no. (It’s a different story when it comes to the Emperor. Ask me about it sometime!) Kylo is still Leia’s son. And in the end if when Kylo comes back to the Light side, he will have to fully feel his actions on Starkiller base. The Dark side allows you to cloud your true feelings and boil them down into pure anger. But as any person who has experienced anger knows, there’s usually something else going on underneath it. And Supreme Commander Snoke knows this. He is pulling Kylo’s strings the way Emperor Palpatine pulled Anakin’s. The Dark side is manipulation and lies.

Now, I really like the point that Michael in his article yesterday. If this were just a villain, like Darth Vader was back in 1977, then we wouldn’t be having this argument. We don’t argue whether Hannibal Lecter will be redeemed or if Lord Voldemort will come back to the side of good wizardry in the end. But in 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released, George Lucas taught us that even a bad guy as bad as Darth Vader himself could find redemption and bring balance to the Force. Let’s not forget that lesson just because Kylo Ren has no prophecy to bring about his redemption.

We, the viewer, had no idea what history lay underneath Vader’s mask till the prequels came out in 1999. With Kylo, we know a little of his history, but none of his motivation. Why did he turn? What drew him to the Darkness? What lies about Darth Vader’s legacy has he been told? And if he finds out the truth about The Chosen One, will that make a difference?

All will be revealed in due time, reader. We may have to wait a few more months than we want to with Episode VIII being pushed from May 2017 to December 2017. But think of how happy your Star Wars friends will be to have another onslaught of delicious merchandise to acquire that Christmas. It’ll be so easy to shop! So in the end, the wait is worth it. And we can continue our speculation up until the very day when the truth is shared with us.

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In the meantime, I invite you to come join my Nerd in the City book club on Goodreads. So much delicious Star Wars Expanded Universe reading material to dive into and dissect!! Do not miss out!

Follow Friday

Follow Friday

I don’t know if you feel this way. But sometimes I feel like there’s so much noise out there on social media these days. It seems like everyone is trying to be heard. Me included. But you, gentle reader, have included my voice in the playlist of your life. And for that I’m grateful. I’m excited to share with you some other voices that you maybe haven’t heard yet. People on Vine and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and You Tube and who are Podcasting and Blogging that are making noise of a different kind.

With so many new technologies popping up, it’s hard to keep track of it all. Trust me, I understand. I work in social media and I’m confused sometimes. Allow me to cut through the chatter and help you discover some new goodies to enjoy!

I wouldn’t steer you wrong!

Thomas Sanders on Vine

If you are looking for the most adorable and charming voice on Vine right now, it’s Thomas Sanders. He has over 7 million followers and updates daily with a new hilarious Vine to watch.

My particular favorites are his: Misleading Compliments and his #ShoutoutSunday Songs. I’d love a full album release because his voice is like butter in my earballs…and btw that’s a good thing!

Plus just look how cute he is!

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The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy on You Tube

If you enjoyed The Lizzie Bennet Diaries or Emma Approved (2 of my very favorites in the world of web series) and are a fan of the classic tale of Peter Pan, then this crowd funded web series on You Tube is perfect for your eyeballs! Created by Kyle Walters (who also plays the role of Peter Pan) and Shawn deLoche. This series is fun, well-written and perfectly cast.

Season 1 saw the shenanigans of Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, John Darling, Michael Darling, Lily Bagha and Tinkerbell. Season 2 upped the ante with the addition of Billie Jukes, Mr. Darling, Mr. Smee and Jas Hook. Fans of the series eagerly await season 3.

It’s a fresh, new take on the beloved story by J.M. Barrie!

Fashion by Mayhem on Instagram

Little Mayhem started crafting dresses out of paper when she was just 4 years old. Her career as a miniature fashion maven has taken off since her mom, Angie, started posting pictures of her creations on Instagram.

Late in 2014 Mayhem’s creations started to catch the attention of big names like Ellen, Vogue and J. Crew who offered Mayhem her own shot at a fashion line for kids under the label Fashion by Mayhem.

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Shipping Room Podcast on iTunes

If you like TV and also like talking about TV couples, then this is the podcast you’ve been looking for. On Friday’s the girls at The Shipping Room release new podcastisodes where they discuss all the hot shippers in pop culture. I’m currently obsessed with listening to all things Olitz. But I bet that if you’re shipping it, they’re talking about it!

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Tiffany Beveridge on Pinterest

In 2012, Tiffany Beveridge launched a Pinterest board called “My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter” which consisted of pictures of polished little girls in haute couture with hilarious little stories about Quinoa (Tiffany’s imaginary daughter) and Quinoa’s friends Chevron, Meridian, Chayote, her au pair Fontanelle and her manny Lozenge.

The creativity and well branded voice of the Pinterest board began to take off, and then was turned into a book, “How to Quinoa: Life Lessons from My Imaginary Well-Dressed Daughter.” Available today.

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50 Nerds of Grey on Twitter

This parody account plays off the erotica of 50 Shades of Grey, but with a delightfully nerdy and non erotic twist. Well go ahead and read below, you’ll see why I find it amusing!

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Melificent Blogger

Meli is a fashionable nerd blogger that I’ve been following for a while now. She is gorgeous and nerdy, resides in Miami, Florida and just had her first daughter, Luna, who is completely adorable. Her voice is fun, fashionable and fangirl friendly. She has this amazing Tardis tattoo and does killer cosplay!

And she loves all the nerdy things just like moi! Plus, look how cute she is!

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Do you have anyone on Social Media that you love to follow and want to spread the word about? Hit me up at nerdinthecity01@gmail.com so I can discover them too and perhaps add them to my Follow Friday Feed!

And, of course, if you aren’t yet following little ole me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube, Pinterest, Podcast coming soon, Periscope (@nerdinthecity), Vine, Snapchat (@nerdinthesand) or on the very Blog you are currently reading, then now’s the time to pick your favorite platform, cause I have a little something for everyone!

Thanks for reading. Go forth and discover something new!

Come join #TheSweatPack

#TheSweatPack

2016 is in full swing at Nerd in the City and Lean Girl’s Club. We are determined to make this year count for more than just 12 sheets of pretty calendar paper!! This is THE ONE! I say that every year. Because every year it’s true. Every new year is a chance to make it. And this one is no exception. Exciting things are happening for me in 2016 and I hope they are for you as well. The moral of the story is that life is moving forward. It doesn’t stop because we aren’t ready for what’s coming around the corner.

We can either jump on board or get bumped and bruised from trying to fight the flow. Trust me, I’ve been on the bumps and bruises side of life. I fought for love that wasn’t right for me. I fought to leave New York, when New York wasn’t quite done with me, and then I fought to stay there long after it was. I’ve fought against jobs that were right for me and for friendships that were wrong. I wish I was a quick learner, but when it comes to making the “right” choices, it takes time. And if someone is telling you that it’s easy…they don’t know what they’re talking about! No one has it easy.

That’s why it’s so important to reset every year. Give yourself a chance to start fresh. If you gained weight (like I have) forgive yourself and move on. If you lost a job, accept the change and move on. If you lost a love, find a place for them in your heart and move on. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.

If fitness is an area that you have been struggling with (like I have) please join Grace from Lean Girl’s Club and me over on Instagram for our 2016 fitness challenges. Every Monday we’ll be starting something new. Last week Grace and I were all about the stairs.

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I took the stairs…

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and some of you took the stairs too…

Taking the Stairs Fitness Challenge Blog Collaboration Lean + Nerd
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This week we are jumping rope. So Step 1: Get yourself a jump rope and then show us what you got. We’ll be doing this challenge all week, so there’s plenty of time to jump in! (See what I did there!!) 😉
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Welcome to #TheSweatPack

I love fitness! I really do. I love the feel of straining dormant muscles (most especially dormant after the holidays.) I love taking classes at Soul Cycle and Title Boxing Club (where I am a member.) I love running by the lake in my neighborhood and lifting weights and jumping rope. I love to feel like I’ve pushed myself, truly pushed myself outside of my box and past my limits. The limits I set in my head. The ones that tell me that I can’t go any further or that I’m never gonna be good enough. Some days those limits win out…but most days I kick those limits in the ass!

#TheSweatPack running

My last blog post was about the tone of my New Year. I’m going to be living this year with a freedom that can only come when those limits are abandoned completely. Is there something that’s holding you back from working out or asking for a promotion or jumping out of a plane? Live Free!! What’s the alternative?

Maybe this doesn’t sound particularly nerdy to you. And if The Big Bang Theory is to be believed, then nerds don’t really choose to sweat much (unless they’re running away from bullies.)

But guess what…I’m a nerd! A BIG ONE (this much you already know.) I love fashion and Firefly. I love music and Marvel. I love sports and Star Wars. I don’t fit into the “normal” nerdy categories and stereotypes that are out there. Never have. That includes the stereotype that nerds aren’t sporty. I just have to beg to differ. Or beg for that stereotype to be buried once and for all. Because I believe that when it comes to nerdom…there is no “normal.”

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So, I’m partnering with the lovely Grace Kelle of Lean Girl’s Club and we are kicking the New Year off with some serious sweat!

Frankie had Deano…Emilio Estevez had Judd Nelson…and me? I have Gracie. No, we don’t live in the same city anymore. She’s still living that big city life up in the Apple and I’m beachin’ it up down in the F-L. But when it comes to #TheSweatPack, distance is only a number!

Liz Tailor and Grace Kelle are #TheSweatLPack

You’re wondering where you come in? Well, the beauty of #TheSweatPack is that it’s open to all. Come join Gracie: @leangirlsclub and me: @nerdinthesand over on Instagram and jump into our weekly challenges. It could be 1 picture a week, it could be 7 or 17 (if you’re the overachieving kind!) Wherever you are in your Sweat Pack journey, we want to meet you there!

Listen, if I can do it so can you! And probably way better than me anyways. So show us your sweat. Let it shine! Get up, get moving and get out of that little box!

This week #TheSweatPack is… taking The Stairs!!!

#TheSweatPack taking the stairs Instagram challenge

5 Fandom Friday

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Favorite Funko Figures

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To quote Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments… “Can a man choose from among the stars of the sky?” Choosing merely 5 Pop! figures seems mean. Someone is gonna be left out. Someone is gonna get their little plastic feelings hurt. But the rules are clear. 5 must be chosen, so here we go. Thank to The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick for making it “so easy” each week! 😉

#1 – Harley Quinn

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If you don’t know how much I love Harley Quinn by now, I wonder if you ever knew me at all! And incidentally this is the only Funko Figure I actually own. I got her for Christmas this year. So she is my 1st and favorite!! And I always preferred classic Harley over Arkham Asylum Harley, though she is awesome too! Pair her with the classic Joker Funko figure and you got yourself a DC party!!

#2 – Yoda

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Another thing you should know if you’ve been keeping track, my deep and abiding love for Star Wars. So next up has to be a Star Wars figure. And this Yoda is just about the cutest thing ever in life! Though you really couldn’t go wrong with any of the Star Wars Funko figures. Each one is special and I want them, need them, have to have them all!!

#3 – Genie

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Genie has long been my very favorite Disney character of all time. Not only because he is just awesome in general, but also because of the fabulous vocal stylings of the late Robin Williams. So many of the Funko figures are mouthless and that would just be wrong for the Genie. His smile holds the happiness of a thousand suns! And if you aren’t smiling just from the sight of this guy… I worry about you, I really do!

#4 – Professor X

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Ok I had never seen this one before today, but I love it! The eyebrows are everything. I don’t often have a hard time choosing a favorite X-Man (Gambit every time) but this figure brings out all the love I have for the Professor, leader of the misfit mutants. So… yeah… this one makes the list!

#5 – Marty McFly and the Delorean

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Ummm…. do I really need to explain why this one is just amazing and necessary to have on any nerd shelf? If you need it explained to you, then you are clearly in the wrong place. Go away and come back when you have learned your lesson! 😉

Honorable Mention – Jessica Rabbit

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Ok I’m cheating and picking a 6th figure. Because look at her! She’s awesome. I love J. Rabs. She’s sassy and way too sexy for a cartoon character and she just loves that Roger with all her heart. Gotta love and respect that. Plus that hair curtain is too fierce not to earn an honorable mention!

What’s your favorite? Do you have any? Do you want any? Do you know what I’m talking about? If not, go to your room and think about what you’ve done! (Love you… mean it)

5 Fandom Friday

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5 Things I Like About Winter

Today’s 5 Fandom Friday, brought to you by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick are things you like about winter. This is a tough one for me. I actually hate winter with a deep, fierce passion! It’s mean and cold and it’s just brutal trying to get around the city. But this is a list of things I like about it. I guess that means I have to choose positive things, so here goes!

#1 – Flying Home

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Photo by Liz Tailor

My family lives in sunny, sunny Florida. So one of my favorite things about the winter season is that I know I will be leaving the cold to fly south. This year it was a lovely 71 degrees on Christmas day. Now, that’s what I call Christmas!! I should be wearing flip flops… it just makes sense!

#2 – Christmas

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Photo by Liz Tailor

Which leads me to the next thing I love about the winter. Christmas! Jesus’ Birthday! The season of giving. It’s the best holiday of all. Especially since my family dresses in themed costumes every year. So it’s basically Christmas with a little Halloween thrown in. I love going to Christmas Eve services and having breakfast at my Granny’s on Christmas morning. I love seeing my cousins and brothers and parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents. It’s such a happy time. (Made happier when there is no cold weather and no snow!)

#3 – My Birthday

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Photo by Liz Tailor

32 years ago, a lovely thing happened on the day after Christmas. Yours truly was born into this world. And the world would never be the same again… cause I’m awesome! 😉 Winter is worth it all because of my birthday. I have always loved birthdays. And most years I  had elaborate parties and invited every person I ever knew in life. We’ve always been a Do-It-Yourself kinda family. (Why pay someone to do something when you can do it yourself?) One year we did our own homemade Glamour Shots. Complete with before and after pictures. I had a really elaborate Alice in Wonderland tea party one year (I was 25 years old!) Age never stopped my birthday fun. Every year we go to the Cheesecake Factory where we are able to be loud and boisterous and eat Cheesecake and just have a blast. It’s the best!!

#4 – Wearing Fuzzy Slippers

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Photo by Liz Tailor

Last year for Christmas I got these amazing fuzzy slippers that are really only best when you are completely freezing. And I love that I can wear them all winter long. I live about 10 blocks away from the subway stop and on a blistery, winter night when I’m frozen all the way through, I love walking through the door and immediately hoping into these babies. They go best with flannel pajamas, a bowl of mac and cheese and a well thought out Netflix binge session!!!

#5 – Snail Mail

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Photo found on Pinterest (contact for credit!)

Winter is really the only season in which I get a steady flow of mail. You know… the mailbox kind. And not just junk mail and bills and offers to sign up for a new Capitol One credit card. But real deal mail. Mail that I get excited to open and read. I have always loved getting mail!! It just makes me happy. It’s fun to get an envelope and not know what’s inside. Is it a picture of my friend’s new baby? Is it another da-gum wedding invitation? Is it money from my Gran? I don’t know!! And that is the best part. During the winter I am usually inundated with cards! Not only Christmas and Holiday cards, but Birthday cards too. I love taking a huge stack of mail out of my mail box and sorting out the good stuff! It’s such a joy.

So all in all there are some things to like about cold, gross winter. I guess it’s an important season to have in the mix, after all! What do you like about winter? Let me know in the comments below! And if you wanna send me some snail mail or receive some, I’d be happy to send you my address and take yours. Let’s be pen pals!! 😉

Happy winter, my lovely nerds!

2014: A Year in Review

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It’s funny how fast things can change. January 2014 started out hopeful. I was on the verge of starting some new projects. I had finally abandoned making resolutions that I was never going to live up to. I had accepted New York as my home (which was a very big deal.) I had a new hairdo (picture above.) And overall I felt really good about the year. I’d chosen the word Bold to start my year off and I was already on track to make that word a reality!
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But things change. I was in a blind spot and I couldn’t see what was about to happen. After an entire year to process these events, I won’t rehash them now. I’ll only tell you what came out of this very dark time in my life. And after these things happened, I didn’t think I could ever be Bold again.

Prior to what I can only describe as a life-changing moment, I had begun to rely on myself and my own ideas and dreams. Which can be big and beautiful and wonderful. But nothing I dream up comes from me. It all comes from God. And I had forgotten that. And when we forget such important things, God will take any opportunity to make sure we remember. He took my pride and allowed it to be torn away. He took the things I thought were true and allowed them to be turned upside down. He stripped away the people I had always trusted and turned to for everything and instead reminded me to turn to Him first and foremost!! And I am better for it.

After January, I sought out a Christian counselor and got some wonderful help. It was not the lowest I’d ever been, but I was pretty low. And I just have to say that if you are facing a challenging season of your life… go get some outside help. You cannot do it alone. Turn to God and then turn to the leaders you know and get the help you may need!
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8 weeks of counseling helped me to clarify a whole lot of things. 8 weeks of counseling helped me find out what it means to be truly Bold. 8 weeks of counseling taught me that I can’t do it alone, I can only do life with God at my side. My pride was overwhelming before that. And after that, I knew that it’s only in my weaknesses that true strength can be found.

I started writing more music. I started working on the scripts to what is now my fun and awesome web series. I started writing children’s books again and coming up with a million more ideas for my future. But all with the confidence that “I can do all through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13) Something I knew long ago and only had forgotten.

I wrote a song last year that I was able to share with some friends. Up until that point, I had written hundreds of songs that I never shared with anyone. But Christ allowed me to find my Boldness. God laid these lyrics on my heart and I want to share them with you all. And if you ever want to hear what it sounds like, I’d be happy to sing it for you.

Bring Me to My Knees

Bring me to my knees. Cause in my strength I fall.

It’s only in my weaknesses. That I give You my all

When I stand up on this mountain top I lift my eyes in praise

But the valley is where I learned to pray

When the water’s rising over me My soul is all but lost

That’s the time when I turn to you the most.

(Chorus)

When I bow my head to praise Your Name, Your grace, it covers me

When I step outside that grace I cannot breathe

But You reach Your hand back down for me

And pull me to Your love

And You whisper, “Child, I am enough”

(Chorus)

Jesus, Majesty! I bring my offering

Only to You I sing.

Jesus, Majesty! I stand on the mountaintop

My heart is Yours, Lord I lift You up.

2015 is starting out beautifully so far. But I know that nothing lasts forever (except Christ’s love, of course.) Tomorrow, things could fall apart. Tomorrow, tragedy could strike. But no matter what happens, I know my faith in Christ will see me through. I have been blessed with people who watch and enjoy my web series (if you aren’t watching yet, Click Here.People who read and enjoy my blog (if you aren’t reading yet, Click Here.) I’ve been blessed with a bevy of new ideas for the year to come and have chosen the word Today for my word of the year. As in “Seize the day” “No day but Today!” “Give thanks for this is the day the Lord has made.” And I can’t wait to see how God blesses this word for my life as well as this year! So stay tuned, cause I am determined to love life even more than I love it right now!!!
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So… what’s your word?