Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunny California

I moved to LA to work in the music industry but let's not forget that another reason is the incredible weather here! Seriously, it's absolutely perfect! Yesterday I spent about two hours in my backyard laying on a towel, catching up with an old friend and enjoying my large pile of magazines. It was just delightful.
Meanwhile, in good ole' Phoenix, they had to endure their first 100 degree day last week!! Blah! I am so happy that I don't have to suffer through another one of those hellish summer heat waves. Yeah, I'll take amazing weather and suffer through some horrendous traffic any day. Would you?

Running Post #3

This past weekend, I sent out an email to all my wonderful friends and family, in hopes of encouraging them to donate money to Project AIDS Los Angeles. Like I''ve already mentioned several times before, on September 5th, I'll be running a half marathon for AIDS and I have to raise $2,000 by July 2nd. It's proving to be very difficult to fundraise so I hope that by putting the link here on my blog and having these running updates will create the buzz needed to get more funds. So, please, please donate if you can! If everyone just donated $10, I would be absolutely thrilled!
So, here's this week's letter:

Dear Friends and Family,

So, in case you totally ignored my first email about my decision to run a half marathon, here's what's going on:

I've decided to take on an amazing challenge to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Over the next several months, I'll be training to complete the Disneyland Half Marathon, and I'll be raising money to support AIDS Project Los Angeles. I've never done anything like this before, running 13.1 miles. But the work of APLA is so compelling, I feel I need to do my part. Plus, completing a half marathon is on my bucket list! : )

AIDS continues to be a devastating health problem in the United States. At last count, 1.2 million Americans are now living with HIV, and 56,000 more become infected each year. Fortunately, here in Los Angeles, we have an incredible organization that is working hard to stop the spread of HIV. They also provide food and home health care so that people affected by HIV/AIDS can continue to live full and productive lives.

Now that I've gotten all of that info out of the way, I can let you know how my training is going.. Well, running has never been my forté at all but I am starting to really enjoy it. Wow, I never thought that I would say that! The training is going pretty well and I am proud to say that today I ran 5 miles on the training run!! Whew! Just a month ago, I wasn't even able to run 2 miles and today's 5 miles wasn't actually too bad. We now are running with other people in our pace group so it's a lot more fun. We help support each other and make sure that we are all drinking plenty of water.

So, I hope you will support my efforts by making a tax deductible donation. To find out more, please visit my AIDS Marathon Home Page by clicking on the link below. If you have donated already, then, thanks so much! This means the world to me! You are getting lots and lots of good karma coming your way!

Please don't wait to donate, my deadline to raise all the money is coming up soon on July 2nd! I greatly appreciate your support and will continue to keep you posted on my training progress. Next week, I'll be running 6 miles! Whew!


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Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's the Little Things...

Last week I happened to notice a sweet little bird nest in a tree top right by my window. The desk in my bedroom is next to the window so I look out of it a lot throughout the day. Anyway, a few days later, I saw that there was a baby bird in the nest along with it's mother. For probably 20 minutes, I just sat there and watched the mother bird feed her baby. I was seriously memorized by it. I don't mean to get totally sentimental or anything but I think it was so neat witnessing such love and devotion in the animal kingdom. It felt like I was seeing something very precious that most people don't get a chance to see.

I think for the most part, we are all too busy running around like chickens with our heads cut off, furiously trying to get things done in our lives and not taking the time to appreciate the little things. Well, I'd like to think that I still do take the time to delight in those things. It's the little things that count after all. Right? What little things do you appreciate in your day to day routine?

Of course, being me, I have to add music to this posting. The following is really sweet song called "Little Things" by the artist India Arie.

Been around the whole world, still ain't seen
Nothin' like my neighborhood
And of all the fancy satin and silk
My white cotton feels so good

Searched high and low for a place
Where I can lay my burdens down
Ain't nothin' in the whole wide world
Like the piece that I have found

(It's the little things) It's the little things
And the joy they bring
(The little things) It's the little things
And joy they bring

As simple as a phone call just to make it known
That you're gonna be a little late
Pure as a kiss on a cheek in a word
That everything will be okay

Call in the mornin' from my little sister
Singin' to me, "Happy Birthday"
In the quest for fortune and fame
Don't forget about the simple things

(It's the little things) It's the little things
And the joy they bring, yeah
(The little things) It's the little things
And joy

Give me some roomful, give me seclusion
Give me some peace of mind
Bring me some sunshine, bring me some blue sky

Runnin' 'round in circles, lost my focus
Lost sight of my goal
I do this for the love of music
Not for the glitter and gold

Got everything that I pray for
Even a little more
When I ask to learn humility
This is what I was told

(It's the little things) It's the little things
And the joy they bring, it's the little things
(The little things) It's the little things

Give me my guitar, bring me a bright star
Give me new clothes, give me some cute shoes
Give me a ladder, give me some matter
Bring me my peace of mind

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To Text or not to Text?

According to Wikipedia, text messaging refers to the exchange of brief written messages between mobile and portable devices. It however doesn't describe just how massively popular texting has become in today's relationships. Without getting super personal, I will say that I have been known to text in a lot of my relationships. I've also been hearing many of my friends talk about all the texting going on with the guys they are dating and even their boyfriends. So, I decided to ask my friends what their thoughts were on texting in relationships. Like most topics, I see both sides of the argument and found it very interesting to hear the thoughts of my very smart friends. Below were the best responses I received on this heated debate:
  • "Texting is a hinderance. Period. Guys have become too shy or awkward to talk on the telephone, everything is misconstrued, and it just causes drama. Moral of the story - adult conversations don't happen through text. So grow up and give me a call, or don't contact me at all. You have to cut off the texting, make up some excuse about how you've run over your plan so if he wants to talk to you he has to call... If a guy likes you, he's going to make that effort. Texting is lazy, and is for losers. Plus, he could be sending the same kinds of texts OR the exact same texts to other girls... Train them from the beginning, otherwise you'll never get rid of that behavior."
  • "1) If you text me to ask for the first date, I will not go. Grow a pair of balls and call. 2) Never ever attempt sarcasm in a text message with the person you are dating, no good can come of it. 3) If you are angry or I am angry call. My boyfriend and I used to get in text message arguments that would last days. I have absolutely refused to do anything so idiotic again in my life. 4) Don't be clingy, texting me 10 times a day is just as bad as calling 10 times a day. The only acceptable reason to text 10 times is if I ask a question and you are replying. Most text message exchanges should go like this 1)Invite 2) Details (if I ask) 3) Time and if you are picking me up 4) Be there in 5 minutes 5) Here. Very rarely is there ever a need for more. I would say most girls wouldn't mind a 6th saying looking forward to seeing you but that is not necessary every time."
  • "What has texting done for your relationships and in the general dating world? Texting has taken the chivalry from dating. It is the most effortless way to reach out to someone yet often the most relied upon. Texting should be used with people who are already familiar and in a relationship, for a means of letting them know you’re thinking of them or to confirm a meeting place or time. Sadly these days when just getting to know someone texting is often the only option offered, and extremely impersonal. It provides a wall of security for daters as a text does not take much effort, so if ignored it is not as big of a blow to the ego if ignored, versus say a phone call. But a text does not tell you anything about a person as they are just words."
  • "Is this texting frenzy helping or hindering these guys you are dating? Hurting – you cannot get to know someone over a text. I used to never respond to a guy who texted first without calling, now I have a three text rule, I will allow three texts from him but after that if he doesn’t pick up the phone and call he’s out."
  • "So, texting can be good and evil, like all forms of communication---you can actually use it to communicate or you can use it to mis-communicate. But some things make texting especially vexing: that it's written means you can't discern intonation and emotion easily. The character limit and the difficulty of phone-typing can make for messages that seem curt, hurried, even rude, or at least distant (on the opposite end, they can seem over the top affectionate, too, if they're filled with i love yous and shit). The fact that it beeps and arrives instantly makes it seem potentially aggressive. Because of the ease of texting i think it's often overused--keeping people overly connected, overly involved with each others lives than perhaps they would be were the relationship progressing at its "natural" pace, whatever that means. There's also little in the way of text etiquette, which means it's kind of a minefield, especially if two people disagree on the nature of texting. Is it to be considered more urgent than an email? Because it beeps, should i answer it right away? Or as soon as possible? When is it an acceptable substitute for/preferred method over phone or email? (and this becomes a complicated question for people who receive email on their phones). When is it ok to start texting someone regularly? Is it less or more intimate than emailing or phoning someone? And there are all the questions of content: how formal should i be in my language (particularly a question for blackberry and iphone and android etc users, for whom its easier to type)? Do i use emoticons and slang because that's texting norm, or is it immature? Aaaalllllll that said, i like texting, because i'm a quick typist, because texting is a nice medium between phones and emails in the early part of dating, and i really hate phone calls. texting eliminates the suspense of the phone call (ie, you dont know WHY he's calling and maybe need to have a lie/excuse/alternate plan/date idea/expression of enthusiasm/flirtatious line ready). It also substitutes for the dullest of phone calls (to plan where/when to meet, to say good morning or good night, to ask if someone's free tonight). I also especially like sexting. it's less intimate and demanding than either phone or cyber sex, and has fewer whorish/1-900/late night basic cable ad/pedophilic associations."
  • "I think the popularity of texting is a sign of the crumbling of civilization! No commitment or risk in sending all these quickie messages. It's sad."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Miss my Nephew!

Just about every month, my sister invites me to write a guest post for her blog, Letters for Lucas. I really enjoy doing it and cannot wait for the day Lucas reads what I wrote it and we can talk all about it. The following was this month's post:


I haven’t seen you in 39 days and it’s killing me…literally! Ok, maybe not literally but I’m really not happy with it. Sure absence makes the heart grow fonder but I already adore you, so the time away from you isn’t changing anything. I understand though, you and your family have been busy little bees the past month and a half. I mean, geez, you all went to Australia! I hope that you remember me when I see you. I’m not too sure what your memory bank is like at 12 months but it would be sweet if you totally recognized me and got all excited to see me. We’ll see…

Fortunately, your mom invited me to come spend two days with you guys in San Diego this week. I am super thrilled to see you and spend some time with your mom. I don’t mean to sound like the doting aunt but you are getting bigger everyday and learning new things about this world so fast. And like your Grandma Adams would say, you are growing older but I’m staying the same age. Right?! : ) I cannot believe that you are going to be 1 year old in two weeks! This year has flown by! Never before have those words been truer than about this past year.

This week your mom sent me a picture of you sitting in one of my old wicker baby chairs from Pakistan. I brought it over for you several months ago when you were much too small to sit in it. I certainly thought it would be a lot longer before you were able to sit comfortably in it. But look at you now; it’s the perfect size for you! It makes me happy to see you in that, that chair is sort of symbol of your family traveling background. Your mom has a lot of neat things around the house from all over the world and I love that this chair is one of them. It’s also fun that I used to sit in it just like you! My parents would have loved to have seen you in it. They would have gotten the biggest kick out of it!

So while I know that living in LA is far closer to you then when I was living in Phoenix, it just isn’t close enough. I have seriously been considering the possibility of moving to San Diego in a year or so to be nearer to you guys. I want to be able to drop by for dinner once in awhile or take you for the day while your mom and dad hang out. I just can’t do those things now living an hour and a half away. We’ll see about it but it’s a definite possibility.

Well, precious nephew, that’s all for this guest post. I love you more everyday.

Love Always,

Aunt Leah

Monday, May 24, 2010

Our Favorite Soundtracks!

It's no secret to anyone that knows me that there is nothing in this world that I am more passionate about then music. Music moves me and it gives me meaning in a world that sometimes makes no sense at all. All of my favorite memories in life can be linked to a song. It's a given that I love movies even more when their soundtracks are amazing. An incredible soundtrack can make an otherwise dumb and boring movie spectacular. Wouldn't you agree?

So, I decided to ask my friends what their top 5 all time favorite soundtracks were. Never before have I got so many responses to one of my blog questions before! I loved that I received so many different movies from everyone! In fact, there aren't too many repeats. Guess this means that we are all very different people.

Before I show you what my friends said, here are my top 5 movie soundtracks: Empire Records, Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, 500 Days of Summer and The Wedding Singer... Garden State, High Fidelity, Aladdin and Brown Sugar are up there for me too. Ok, so I cheated, I can't just pick 5 movies, that's way too difficult.

Now here's what my friends had to say:
  • Lion King
  • Pretty Woman
  • Now and Then
  • High Fidelity, Virgin Suicides, Rushmore, Pulp Fiction, Saturday Night Fever
  • Good Will Hunting for Elliot Smith, Magnolia for Aimee Mann, Trainspotting for techno, Grease and Little Mermaid historically, and maybe Across the Universe

  • Love Actually
  • Almost Famous
  • Lion King
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Perscilla Queen of the Desert
  • Dirty Dancing
  • All Disney Musicals!!!

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Saint (don't judge me!)
  • Van Wilder (again, don't judge me!)
  • Baseketball
  • The Wedding Singer
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Batman and Robin (I see you judging!)

  • Dazed and Confused, and Even More Dazed and Confused (I'm counting them as one because they're from the same movie!)
  • Empire Records (of course!!!)
  • Garden State
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Three-way tie (I'm sorry!): Almost Famous (for when I'm chilling or cooking), 8 Mile (for running), and Last of the Mohicans (for complete relaxing--bath time!)

  • Waiting to Exhale-best soundtrack ever!
  • Love Jones
  • The Best Man
  • Dreamgirls
  • Idelwild
  • Boomerang
  • 500 Days of summer

  • Wild Wild West -- First CD I ever bought
  • American Gladiators: The Music -- Last tape I ever bought (until last weekend) and the tape that opened me up to what the radio calls "Classic Rock," but what I call that old school, white boy music
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off -- My favorite movie. Also, never actually released, so you have to find all the songs and clips and put the thing together yourself

  • Clueless - Pretty timeless and fun to listen to today.
  • Waiting to Exhale (also timeless)
  • Aladdin (who wasn't obsessed when this came out?)
  • The Big Chill - Just the best music period.
  • Vicki Christina Barcelona (love, love Spanish music)
  • I would say Garden State but honestly I liked the songs more than the movie, and now I can only think about the movie, so that annoys me -plus it's like everyone's favorite.

  • Garden State
  • Across the Universe
  • Grease
  • Dirty Dancing

  • Love Jones (Every song is unique and telling, and the poems are awesome!)
  • Purple Rain (Duh!)
  • Boomerang (End of the Road by Boyz II Men is on it!)
  • Crooklyn (Amazing compliation for a seriously great movie!)
  • Boyz In the Hood (great tunes, perfectly cemeted within the theme of the movie--Struggle and love for others over love of self)

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • City of Angels
  • Dazed and Confused
  • Pulp Fiction - Quentin Tarantino is the King of making good movie soundtracks
  • Grease - How could you not love it, and who hasn't dressed up as Sandy for at least one Halloween.

  • Top Gun
  • Gladiator
  • Jurassic Park
  • Back to the Future
  • Indiana Jones

  • Love Actually
  • Space Jam
  • 50 First Dates
  • Anything by Bill Conti and Hans Zimmer

  • Elizabethtown
  • Grease
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Once More with Feeling
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Singles
  • Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
  • Some Kind of Wonderful

  • I couldn't just pick five... Music sometimes makes a movie. I have a lot of soundtracks in my collection. Here are my favorites and songs from them soundtrack:
  • Grease - This was the very first (vinyl) record I owned, so I played it to death and it will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart
  • Garden State - Caring Is Creepy. Introduced me to a genre of music I hadn't spent much time in - independent rock/folk Haunting and beautiful words and lyrics.
  • Pulp Fiction - Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon This movie BLEW ME AWAY, I love it and have seen it dozens of times. The music is spectacular and reintroduced me to old favorites.
  • Serendipity - Never A Day I love the message in this song and the movie itself. Anything can happen and the universe works in very mysterious ways.
  • Pretty In Pink - Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want Reminds of growing up in the 80's and how stupid, painful and exciting high school can be.
  • Sliding Doors - Good Enough What can I say, I have a woman crush on Gwenie... I wish I was brave enough to cut my hair that short. Great movie and even better music!
  • St. Elmo's Fire - If I Turn You Away The Brat Pack at their best.
  • Some Kind of Wonderful - I Go Crazy I miss the 80's!
  • Purple Rain - Let's Go Crazy There is something sexy/dirty about Prince that I just can't shake. He is SOSOSOSOSOSOS talented and this was a greta bio-pic. The BEST concert I have ever been to.
  • She's Having a Baby - Apron Strings/This Woman's Work - tie Beautiful funny movie about a couple having a baby. I heart John Hughes... this was his best work!
  • I also love every single piece on the Moll Flanders soundtrack and both Charlie's Angels soundtracks equally.

  • The Fifth Element
  • Invincible
  • Remember the Titans
  • Rock Star
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

  • Empire Records
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Grey's Anatomy

  • Cruel Intentions-Bittersweet Symphony
  • The Matrix-Clubbed to Death
  • LoveActually-Here with Me
  • Battlestar Galactica- All Along the Watchtower
  • Iron Man-Iron Man

  • Amores Perros
  • Reality Bites
  • Pretty Woman
  • Habla Con Ella