Inspowering

A couple weeks ago, I went to the #WomenofMarvel panel at the Santa Monica Public Library, celebrating the release of Margaret Stohl’s new Black Widow novel, Forever Red.
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(Which if you don’t have yet, you should go purchase immediately!) Also on the panel was a whole passel of kick ass ladies. Ladies who have succeeded in an industry that has long been dominated by men. That is changing. Maybe not as quickly as it should. And certainly not as quickly as some people would like.
But it’s only going to change if diverse, bold, creative, talented women step up and help make that change! And these women are doing and have done that.

So I’ve made up a new word: Inspowering! An inspowering person is equally inspirational and empowering. They speak of dreams as tangible things. They say dream bigger and they actually mean it! They think outside the box…hell, they set the box on fire and called it pretty!
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I aspire to be the kind of kick ass woman who is unafraid to be amazing. Margaret said something that really stuck with me. She said she grew up being told “bloom where you grow.” Meaning…don’t dream beyond your can. And I think I’ve felt this way for a long time, but couldn’t put words to the feeling.

But my quest to be inspowering to others includes listening to that still, small voice that says big dreams aren’t big enough…what else have you got…what else can you do!

Get ready world! This nerd is ready to conquer more than the city!
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Ant Man

I’m currently on a blog hiatus for the month of July, but I just had to break it to talk about Ant Man! So many thoughts about it!! If you are into hard hitting criticism, this is not the review for you. This blogger LOVES Marvel and usually just takes time to sing it’s praises. This will be no different.

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I’ll keep this one SPOILER FREE. But I will have to go in depth later, cause the spoilers are really good ones and I wanna talk about them!! Here we go…

1. The Hype

I don’t usually listen to the hype or the critics or anyone, because I like to inform my own opinions about a movie. But the news was good from the early screenings and I have to say that it started to make me even more excited to see it. What’s more, the hype was well deserved!

2. The Cast

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Ah-Maze-Ing. Once again Marvel proves that it knows it’s properties and it’s fans very well. Paul Rudd did a wonderful job as Scott Lang’s Ant Man. He has a Tom Hanks charm about him that you just can’t help but love and root for. And I could literally go on and on about how amazing he is as Ant Man. He’s just one of those actors that is so dang likable. Add serious action moves and a surprising set of abs and he just belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Perfect choice!!

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Michael Douglas plays Hank Pym, the original Ant Man and mentor to Scott Lang. I forgot how much I love Michael Douglas! And whatever they did to make him look young again was really convincing! Really good makeup or CGI? I didn’t care. I believed that somehow they found a time machine and brought back a younger Michael Douglas to play a younger Hank Pym. Cause if anyone has a time machine it’s Disney/Marvel/Star Wars!

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Evangeline Lilly has already reached nerd royalty status with her roles as Kate in LOST and as Tauriel in The Hobbit Trilogy. Lilly plays Hope, the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. Rocking a serious bob and some majorly bad ass martial arts moves. No spoilers, like I said, but they take her character to a wonderful place and I can’t wait to see her future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!! Anyone who has been upset by the lack of ladies in the MCU will not be disappointed with what they do with Hope’s character!!

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Michael Pena, T.I. and David Dastmalchian play Luis, Dave and Kurt. A trio of crooks who are friends with Scott Lang and get roped into helping with Ant Man’s heist. Special shout out to Pena who is completely hilarious and delightful!! i hope they all have a future in the MCU cause they were really funny!

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Cory Stoll rounds it out as the villain of the movie, Darren Cross aka the Yellowjacket. I really enjoyed Stoll’s turn as the wounded baddie. All he wants is for Hank to show him his secrets and share his technology, but he doesn’t. So he has to make his own way and he kills a lot of lambs in the process. He will probably be compared to other bad guys in the MCU, but he doesn’t deserve the comparison. I think he’s a good villain and the antithesis to Ant Man in every way.

3. The Laughs

The entire theater was in stitches throughout the whole film! Every single joke landed and then punched you in the funny bone!

4. The Effects

The visual effects team should just go ahead and take some high fives for themselves. Ant Man requires heavy effects because of all the shrinking and getting big again stuff. The fights were so good!! Not only the parts when he is little and beating people up, which basically looks like they are mental. But also the parts where he is normal sized and fighting bad guys too. The action is really hard hitting!

5. The Cameos

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I promised I wouldn’t give any spoilers! And I won’t. But there is a spot on TV that does tell you that an Avenger does make an appearance. I won’t tell you which one. But it is awesome!! Epically awesome. Not only that, but there are some other familiar faces that make it into the movie, setting up some interesting plot points for Ant Man’s return in the future! Can Not Wait for that.

Ant Man’s release brings an end to Marvel’s Phase II. Now we have to wait till May 6, 2016 for the next installment. Captain America: Civil War will start Phase III.

I will definitely be seeing it at least 2 more times in the theaters. It’s that good! But don’t take my word on Ant Man… go see it for yourself! Give Marvel your money.

That Time I Fell In Love

Having never been in love before, I didn’t recognize the feeling. The butterflies in my stomach, that nervous feeling like I might throw up at any given moment. It was strange and unsettling. I couldn’t sleep very well. I couldn’t eat…wait I could eat. I can always eat! But I knew this was something different than ever before. Exciting, scary, different, special and it just felt right. The way I imagine an older couple who’ve been married for over 40 years must feel when they hold hands or something. It was definitely love.

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That was me and New York in January of 2007. Love at first sight. It was bright and shiny. It kept me up all night, just thinking about it. Friends were made. A life was built. And not only did this become my home, but I even found family here.

You know what I love about me… I don’t just make friends, I find family wherever I go. Did you know that you can have more than one family? It’s pretty cool!!

There are the blood relations. The people God designed to be in your life no matter what. The people who raised you and who you grew up with. The people who teach you the things you’ll take through the rest of your life.

There’s college family. The people who were there in a difficult transitional period in life. The people you may have partied with. The people who teach you that life is bigger than the little bubble you came from.

There’s church family. The people who grow you spiritually. The people who challenge you and hold you accountable. The people who help you and pray for you and uplift you.

There are various work families. The people who understand the crazy things that happen at your job. The people you have happy hours with after long stressful days.

There are a bunch of other families that you can make. The people who understand your hobbies. The people you root with at sporting events. The people you cry with over television finales.

And then, if you’re lucky, you have all of the above. But there’s one more family. The kind that is unforeseen. It’s your New York family. Only they can understand what it means to leave those other little families behind to pursue something huge. To step onto this stage with a dollar and a dream. Maybe you get what you came here for. Maybe you leave with dashed hopes. Or maybe that family supports you through every bump and bruise till you are ready to leave on your own two feet to start a new adventure.

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That’s my story.

I came here thinking I’d fall in love. I came here thinking I’d make it big. And once I realized that no one defines my dreams and my accomplishments but me, then I knew that I did fall in love and I had made it big. It was never going to be conventional or “normal.” But then again I’ve always been extraordinary. I don’t mean that in the cocky, “I’m the best” sort of way. I mean, ordinary is not a word I understand. “Normal” is not a word that has ever applied to me. And New York gets that. Hell, New York invented extraordinary. (Well God invented extraordinary, but God also made New York so it still works!)

I found myself here. I found something I didn’t know I was missing. I fell in love with New York City! The funny thing about love is that it doesn’t go away, but it can change. It can become unrecognizable underneath the little annoyances, the little betrayals, the little boredoms, but it never fully goes away. The heart doesn’t forget like that. It’s the mind that tricks you into thinking that it isn’t love anymore. But it still is. And New York and I…we’re doing just fine. I have loved it here, in a way I never knew I could. And the best part about it, the part I know for sure, is that no one ever truly leaves New York. I intended to come here for my internship and then maybe stay for a year or two. Eight and a half years later…. I guess it’s time to go play in the sand for a while. But I know I’ll be back. New York is in my blood now. It’s a part of me. It’s where my family lives.

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This is surely the evidence of a life well lived.

Thanks, my pretty little city! See ya when I see ya!

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This nerd will return in August 2015…

30 Days of Nerdy Hair – Day 18

Day 18: Princess Leia from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Today marks exactly 6 months till we are able to feast our eyes on the brand new edition to the Star Wars Universe, The Force Awakens. In honor of the countdown I chose to do Princes Leia hair today.

On the forest moon of Endor, the Rebel Alliance makes a stand against the Empire. Princess Leia, leader, senator, bad ass lady… always has a killer braided hairdo for any occasion and in Return of the Jedi, she does not disappoint. What’s great about this style is that it’s versatile. She has the majority of her hair braided on top of her head and the rest is rolled into small buns in the back so they can easily be taken down later for a softer look. But if you have to run through the forest and fight the forces of darkness, then this hair is for you!

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You can’t go wrong with a well executed braid!! And I know it’s gonna last all day. And since Star Wars is my favorite and incidentally, the best movies ever, wearing this around all day is my great honor!!

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May the hair be with you!!

Don’t miss the rest of the series (12 days to do) and also check out other events happening with Nerd in the City, like our #NerdySlumberParty

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There will be giveaways and great conversation. Bring your friends because all are welcome at this party!!

My Beauty Is Fleeting, My Worth Everlasting

I rarely look in the mirror and think… “I am beautiful.”

I look in the mirror and think “I have something on my face.” “I neeeeed to lost 15 pounds immediately.” “Maybe I should just wear a bag today, nothing else seems to be working.” But beautiful? It’s a rare occasion when I think that of myself.

And yet friends, family, strange men on the street are constantly throwing this positive affirmation my way. And I keep wondering, if they are in fact talking to me.

What a sad culture we live in. What a sad culture to grow up in. A culture that constantly bombards you with images that shake your self worth. Skinny is not only the new pretty, it’s the only pretty. Blonde is better than brown. Never leave the house without lipstick on. Being better goes hand in hand with being prettier.

I am 32. I am single and I let my mind wander to the dark place. The place that tells me that I am single because I am not pretty enough to be married. Not desirable enough to be wanted. Not worthy enough of love.

What a load of… well, you know!

My God has created someone far better than I allow myself to be. He has created a woman worthy of thinking herself beautiful. A woman worthy of praise and devotion. A woman worthy of love.

Women, we are made for more! (Men, you are too, but I’m focused on my ladies right now!) Do you feel that sometimes? Does that ever enter your mind? It’s constantly on mine. I have to tell you what you already know. Your beauty has nothing to do with your worth!!!

Beauty will fade. It will shrivel. It will disappear. And it is meaningless. Truly and utterly meaningless.

That being said I guarantee that tomorrow morning I will probably still get up, do my hair, put on my makeup, look in the mirror and wonder. But tomorrow morning I will know that it doesn’t matter quite so much. That God has more for me in this world than what shade of lipstick I wear or what size jeans I buy. And tomorrow morning that will be enough for me! Make it enough for yourself!

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Don’t miss this week’s episode of So…This Happened: Click Here

To Thine Own Self be True

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Photo from Fashion by Mayhem

Today is National Shero Day! A day to celebrate dynamic women that inspire us and drive us to be better. And the Shero I want to talk about is not a woman yet, but she is an inspiration. She is 6 year old Mayhem from the amazing Instagram and blog Fashion by Mayhem. If you haven’t discovered the amazingness of Mayhem’s daily fashion creations, please check her out right now.

I’ve been following Mayhem for a while and I continue to be amazed by her personality and ability to stay herself. She is gaining more and more press and attention and it hasn’t changed her. I hope this continues. But it made me think of myself when I was a kid. And how growing up did change me.

When I was younger, I always used to try crazy style ideas that I’d come up with in my head. (Who would ever have thought me capable of such a thing?) Skirts over pants, multiple bindis on my forehead, fingerless glove sleeves. I even made my own homecoming gown in the 10th grade. Basically, if I had fun with it and liked what I saw when I left the house… I’d wear it.

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This gave me a reputation for being a weird kid. I would often be made fun of and not just by the mean bullies, but by close friends and sometimes family too. I don’t think they meant to be mean. They were just commenting on the vast difference between me and (seemingly) everyone else. They just didn’t get me. Didn’t get my style and as we see everyday, humans tend to persecute what they don’t understand.

So, somewhere along the way, right around Junior/ Senior years of high school, I started to do what the other kids were doing. I started to lose that confidence and style that was once so uniquely me. I took to wearing t-shirts and baggy jeans, because if no one notices you, then no one will be mean to you. And I let myself fade into the background. I quit the high school marching band and got low grades and just phoned it all in.

There’s a funny story I like to tell about taking my Senior school pictures. Right before I went into the room, someone told me I had the biggest smile. So big that they could see my gums. And I thought “well, that’s a horrifying thought.” When I walked into the photographer’s room, instead of flashing my big, bright, beautiful smile with the confidence of my younger self, my smile ended up looking like what I can only describe as the pinched smile of a person with zero self esteem. Basically I looked like I had been drugged! I let someone else’s comment on my appearance change one of my favorite features. I love my smile, but in a split second I made the choice to hide it because of someone’s words.

I know what you’re thinking… how can style effect someone so much. It’s not the clothes that mattered in this situation because there was a lot more going on under the surface. More than a drastic change in fashion sense. There’s usually more than what you see or what you think going on in any given situation.

For a kid who proudly wore her Wonder Woman pj’s as everyday clothes, this switch in style was an important red flag.

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It took many years for me to feel comfortable in my own skin again. And to eschew the opinion of others, mean or otherwise, in deference to not only my own opinion of myself, but God’s opinion of me.

I talk a lot about those awkward years of missteps and self discovery, because I was a hot mess (minus the hot.) I knew who I was, then forgot who I was, then tried to find who I was in the eyes of everyone else around me. This is universal stuff here. So I like to talk about it because, for the most part, I’m through it. I’m on the other side, gently patting my younger self on the head and saying, “Oh, little one. If only you knew what I know now. How much easier your journey would be.” And once again, I think this is not something that just little ole me has been through. And if someone out there reading this says, “Hey, I feel that way too” well, that’s why I share! Sharing opens the door on things that we are ashamed of. Our past, our shame, our embarrassment. By talking about these things, we take away the power they have over us.

Yeah, I was an awkward, weird kid. But I grew up. Though I’m still pretty quirky and weird. And people still think that remarking on my differences is somehow a nice thing. But if we hold onto these things then we never overcome them! So rise up. Rage against the machine. Don’t let the past win over your future. Cause God has better things planned for you!! And Mayhem wouldn’t like it!

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The Friend Zone

It’s a classic tale.

Girl meets boy. Girl really likes boy. Boy really likes girl…as a friend.

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I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. And I’m sure it’s common for men as well. So I know I’m not alone in this. Chemistry isn’t always a two way street. Sometimes one person will feel something that the other person just doesn’t get. That’s ok. That’s normal. That freakin’ sucks!

Listen, the fact of the matter is that there are over 6 billion people on this planet. So the chances of feeling something for the wrong person is likely to happen and happen more than once. It doesn’t mean you aren’t worth it. It doesn’t mean you won’t find it. It just means you have to keep looking and not let it get you down.

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this way. I don’t know most of you at all. But I know that the things we feel are not unique to us. The hurts and heart breaks are universal. And if you’ve felt it, you better believe someone else has too.

Check out this week’s episode, because I’ve definitely been there before!

I hope you can find comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone!! I’m right there with you! Tweet me, email me, message me! I’m here!

I Don’t Believe In That Anymore

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Back when I was 15 and a wide-eyed, romantic high school kid, I believed whole-heartedly in ‘The One.’ I believed there was One predestined,  preordained (I won’t say perfect, but pretty darn close) person God had picked out for me. And it was just a matter of time till he found me or I found him. Our paths would one day cross (ideally by the age of 22), he’d be captured by that thing that seems to capture men’s attention in the movies and we would be married and well on our way to ‘happily ever after.’
Cause that’s how it works right?

Well, 22 came and The One never did. 25 came and I was still single. 30 came and I thought something must have been wrong. Isn’t ‘he’ supposed to have found me by now? What was taking so long? Was I really that hard to find?

Then, one day, my pastor preached a sermon on love and The One at church. He said that there is no such thing as The One. This is not a concept created by God. He’s not up there weaving his magical tapestry of our lives and preordaining every single thing we do, including who we do or do not marry. Yes, He knows what our choice will be and I think to some people that seems to mean the choice isn’t there to begin with, if He knows the outcome. But I don’t believe that. He created so many different people for us to meet and connect with and love. It’s the choice that makes the difference. It’s the choice that makes us free. And it’s the choice to choose to love someone that makes falling in love so much better than just accidentally letting it happen and having no say in the matter.  (Check out the sermon series here: Journey NYC)

Besides, if there was only One person out there for me to end up with… what if he got bored and married someone else? What if he had a tragic accident leaving him unable to come and find me? What if he died prematurely, never allowing us to meet at all? Would that be it for me? Would that be the end of the romantic story of my life?

Can you imagine… you spend your life waiting and one day you die and you get to Heaven and ask God,

“What happened, God? I thought you wanted me to get married and have kids, but my One never came around. Did I do something wrong?”

And God says, “Totally had someone for you, but he fell onto the train tracks one day and died before he met you. Sorry about that. Nothing I could do, my hands were tied. But he would have been perfect for ya! I promise.”

By limiting ourselves to one person in a sea of billions, we limit the possibilities for our lives. We limit God’s imagination for us. And we limit ourselves to some unattainable fairytale.

I am an optimist. I am a romantic. I believe in love. I just don’t believe in love at first sight or destiny. I think it’s hard work to love someone. I think it will be hard work for someone to love me. I think that it’s a choice and I just haven’t chosen to take that step with anyone I have met so far. Rather than waiting for someone to see that magical thing in me that inspires love and devotion, I’m waiting to see it in someone. It takes two to tango and I won’t wait around to be chosen. I get to do the choosing! And that is an encouraging thought. God has placed the ball entirely in my court. It’s up to me to make the move.


Check out this week’s episode of my web series for more on The One!! 

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!