October, We Hardly Knew Ye. (Or, Time’s Moving Too Fast. Let’s Have a Giveaway!)

Pop Culture + Media Thursday, October 29, 2015

This month, man. What the hell? Where did it all go?

Here we are staring November — and basically the end of 2015 — right in the face. It kind of feels like the only salve for this whiplash we’re all experiencing from Earth’s rapid revolutions is a giveaway, right? Right.

In fact, let’s make it a double-deal, yes? Absolutely, yes!

Part 1: The beautifully restored 25th Anniversary edition of Edward Scissorhands Blu-ray. (Also: How is this moving 25 years old already??!)

Part 2: A slightly more modern coming-of-age story — Paper Towns, based on the YA novel by YA master John Green.

MMM-DVD-giveaway | Photo by: Nicole Blades

And to walk away with both of these Blu-ray sets all you have to do is tell me one thing (that’s not Thanksgiving) that you’re looking forward to in November. That’s it.

The randomly selected winner will be announced November 6!

Why You Should See ‘He Named Me Malala’ This Weekend

Pop Culture + Media Friday, October 9, 2015

“There’s a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up.”– Malala Yousafzai

Back in the summer, I was invited to an advanced screening of the new documentary He Named Me Malalaabout the 18-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  The message in the film is strong: Use your voice. Speak out against injustice. Stand up for change.

And do it now.

I’ve long been fascinated by Malala’s extraordinary story and moved by her fight for girls’ education and empowerment around the world. So going into the film, I was prepared to be inspired. What I didn’t expect, though, was to find out how funny and charming Malala is! The documentary does an excellent job of going beyond her lofty platform and showing Malala as a person. A really sweet, sparkling, big-hearted young woman moving through a complicated world with focus and compassion.

AmbassadorGraphic

After seeing the movie and talking with some of the good folks at the Malala Fund, I happily signed up to be an Ambassador for #HeNamedMeMalala.

It’s a movement I’m proud to be a part of, and I look forward to working with this group — long after the film has left theaters — to continue turning my compassion into action.

Here’s the official trailer:

The film opens this weekend in 400 theaters in the U.S., and I’m telling you, it’s a must-see. Take your kids*, especially. Let them see how one voice can roar and rattle that which is crooked, corrupt and unjust.

And to help parents start conversations with kids, the Malala Fund has put together a helpful Parent Discussion Guide.

Let me know if you and your fam head out to see the film this weekend. Drop me a line here or find me on Facebook and Twitter.

(*Parents should note that the film is rated PG-13: There’s nothing graphic, per se, in the film, but there are definitely disturbing images and themes around about the violence.)

 

Fresh For October: #30WriteNow Kick-Off and a ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ DVD Giveaway

Pop Culture + Media Thursday, October 1, 2015

Three years ago today, a friend and I decided to start the #30WriteNow October Writing Challenge. The rules around it were simple: Write for at least 30 minutes without stopping to edit or second-guess. Just spill it out on the page. It could be for your blog, an essay, your novel — doesn’t matter. The point is: you write, consistently! And you do this every day for 30 days. (We use October 31st as a spare tire, in case you miss a day during the month).

I’ve continued the #30WriteNow challenge each year, sharing writing prompts every morning on Twitter, should you need a little help getting those story juices flowing.

Today’s prompt: VACANT.

All right, so who’s down to do this? Well, if you are, get to it. Write!

Nicole Blades | Imagelogger | The Great Pumpkin

With fall officially here and freshness in the air, it feels like the right time for a giveaway, yes? (The correct answer is only ever yes.)

Have you been watching the new fall TV shows? I know. There’s so much damn television on these days, will we ever really feel caught up? Some of the shows are good, but there are plenty that are a lot less, uh, good.

One show that had a solid debut and came back strong for its second season this year is ABC’s Fresh Off the BoatThe quick “what’s it about”…

Eddie Huang, a 12-year-old hip-hop head and jokester, moves with his family from D.C.’s Chinatown to Orlando where his dad, Louis, tries to get rich or die tryin’ (shouts, Fiddy!) in the steakhouse biz. It’s set in the ’90s, which has baked-in jokes on its own, and the rest of the family — especially the mom, Jessica — bring the funny.

So … Fresh Off the Boat‘s Season 1 DVD is out and up for grabs right here!

FOTBS1DVDBoxArt

All you have to do is share which TV shows you’re most hyped about seeing — either new or returning — with a quick line about why, and you’re in the running to win this free DVD box set, which includes a gag reel.

The winner will be announced October 15th!

September Never Felt Like This (Not a Good Thing)

Life As Mom Wednesday, September 2, 2015

If you’ve been reading MMM for the last five years, you already know how I feel about September. It’s always been about fresh starts, clean pages, and first steps in new directions. I call it my New Year. I usually meet the month with a smile and a bottle full of energy ready to be uncorked.

But this time around, I feel like I kind of dragged myself to the starting line. Yes, the month is only days old right now, but I’m already exhausted. The last couple of months drained whatever I had brewing right out of me. I’m waking up tired, missing meals, feeling perma-frazzled, and looking at my rude To-Do list sideways like it insulted my mother.

And I’m not down any of this. Not even a little. Don’t be playin’ with my New Year! I need my September to feel like fresh air and excitement. I need it to feel like this Earth, Wind & Fire classic:

My tiredness has to do with not getting enough sleep, for starters. But I’m already attacking that like it’s the last cupcake at a kid’s party. The lights were out by 10:30 sharp last night. Like I said, Don’t be playin’ with my New Year, man!

The other piece to this doesn’t really have that quick-fix. It’s the juggle, the one that so many — too many — parents are doing on the daily. The one that leaves us all feeling stretched, running late, worn out, beat up, and deflated. I’ve been thinking about this juggle, this dancing as fast as I can foolishness we’re all perpetrating. And it simply cannot go on like this.

A friend posted an old opinion piece by the NYTimes’ Charles Blow. It was from two years ago, but reading it again today, I think I was nodding my head even harder this time. The piece was called “The Passion of Parenting,” and Blow talked about the ongoing challenge of parenting (he’s a single dad of three). He shares some of the wisdom he’s been handed down from his own mother, when he’d turn to her in times of, Ugggghhhh, this shit is hard. (My paraphrase. Obvi.)

“She taught me that sometimes you have to make time for yourself so that you will have energy to give to your children. Allow them to have a pizza night every now and then. An occasional treat won’t hurt them, but working yourself to a frazzle will surely hurt you. Rest.

“She taught me that you must allow yourself time to find stillness and so you can be moved by it. Sometimes we are so busy that we forget why we’re busy. We have so many things on our list of priorities that we lose sight of what’s really important.

 

I mean, sometimes we are so busy that we forget why we’re busy? And then, one day you must give them back to life? Come on! Mother Blow is dishing out truth stew, and I’m drinking it down!

And then I read something more recent that really drove the point all the way home — and walked it to the front door. It was “Is ‘having it all’ a feminist fiction?” by the always great Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan. Exhibit A:

“I love being a mom, and I love having a career, but I can’t help feeling like somewhere along the lines I was sold a bill of goods that anyone could adequately do them both. Someone is going to lose, and sometimes it feels like we are all losing.  I’m working non-stop, foregoing sleep, and just wondering what new thing will crop up tomorrow to keep me from finishing the deadlines I needed to make yesterday, before my time got way-laid.  I’m often tired and grumpy.  I don’t get enough sleep, and I don’t feel like I have time to hit the gym most days.  I am modeling a lifestyle of stress to my children and I am disappointing people right and left because I just need 10 more hours in each day to do everything I need to do.”

 

COME ON! Hell to the yessss! What we could all do with 10 more hours, right? Please. We’d probably quickly fill those up and still be walking around stretched and stressed. It all points to the fact — the fact — that this has to change. And I’m saying it here now: It will change. Because I want my joyful giddy back. I want my September New Year back. And I want it back now.

So… Welcome, September. Glad you’re here! Happy New Year!

To kick of this season proper, how about a little giveaway?

One thing that has been a total lifesaver these last couple busy weeks is this Peri Ultra-Slim GoCharge mobile charger.

peri-gocharge-portable-charger-thin

It’s super slim, streamlined and specifically designed to fit into a small purse or clutch. I’ve got the gold one and it’s mighty stylin’, folks. I don’t even feel it in my bag. I’ve actually had to rummage around my bag for it once or twice. But that says a lot more about the state of my purse right now. ahem Anyway, the sleek charger has an integrated Lightning cable (iPhone) or Micro USB (Android) that just — spoop — tucks into the back of it, so no dangly wires to worry about.  It packs about one-and-half full charges for my phone and has saved from dead battery hell a few times over.

So, who wants one?

All you have to do is leave a comment below about what you’re most looking forward to in September and you’ll be in the running to nab your own Peri Ultra-Slim GoCharge, totally gratis! The winner will be randomly selected in two weeks.

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