Jan
12

What did you like best?

CityofAngelsLast night was a great night – I went to the movies!  Now I know for some people that’s no big deal, but for me it was and I’ll tell you why.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I went to the movies.  Could I blame it on Redbox, Netflix or even On-Demand?  Yes, I could.  I could even blame it on ticket prices and the lung you have to donate for a drink, popcorn and maybe some candy, but that would not be “my truth.”  I have to blame it on my life.  Everyone’s life is hectic, a bit taxing, wonderful, and at times downright gut wrenching.  We all are absorbed in the good, bad, and ugly parts of our life, so for me, going to the movies is a luxury.  My days are spent raising my three boys, planning the rest of my life out, and finding happiness (true happiness).  This is not the kind that lasts a New York minute, but the kind that has you wrapped in a warm blanket of love and comfort – sheer bliss (and you never want to leave)!

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So I went to see the Wolf of Wall Street and it was awesome; I loved the cast, the backdrop, the story line, the life lessons!  It reminded me of the insane life that some people lead and like watching a car crash, this movie had me drawn, hook, line and sinker.  For me it bought back memories of my Jersey girl and New York ways.  It reminded me of running the streets of Manhattan, passing the mighty bull on Wall Street, running in heels (one thing some girls really need to learn), and the excitement of East Coast blood running through your veins.  If my explanation or conversation does not convey the true feeling for you, then I must say pack a bag and head east!

So I always wonder, what’s your takeaway when you leave a movie?  What did you get out of it?  Was there a life lesson amongst all the naked women and alcohol/drugs flowing like Niagara Falls?  I guess it depends on how you look at it.  I can almost always find life lessons every day in almost everything I do.  Why, it’s the way I look at life and people (something I can’t help-blame it on my brain).  Every single person you pass has a “story,” some of which are great and filled with happy endings that are great additions to our memory bank.  Everyone also has stories with tragic, life altering events that have shaped and molded our existence here on earth, how we view others, and what we are looking for in life.  So when I’m with a friend and hear a story, I’m filled with questions!  I like to know why, what, when and how because by nature I’m an inquisitive and curious creature.  I absolutely love hearing other people’s stories.  You learn a lot about a person when you listen, see their facial expressions, and feel the happiness or heartbreak that flows out of their mouth.  It’s like being at the movies, but not donating that lung.  I think the problem with people is they hear half a story, don’t ask questions, form an opinion, and with blinders on walk away.  I think it’s a loss for both people, because if they had the courage to ask why, what, when and how they would fulfill their curiosity, satisfy a need to know, and understand where the other person was coming from.  With all of that another wall comes down.  Yes, to be fair sometimes life does not allow us the time to dive into the darkness of the ocean and we sometimes have to skim the surface due to time knocking on our door, but if you’re sharing a malt at Rubies, why not; ask away and grow closer to that person.  What you see isn’t always what you get.  That’s what my parents used to say to me.  I hear my mom, “Joey, life is about people, take the time and learn.”  I was raised never to judge others.  That’s God’s job and that position was never extended to any of us (well, for some they think it was).  So, when I see someone act a certain way, I remind myself to shut my mouth (which is hard for a Jersey girl) and give them some mental room to navigate through the moment.

One of my favorite movies is City of Angels with Nicolas Cage.  The beginning is a bit emotional for me when the little girl dies and Nicolas Cage is waiting to escort her to heaven or the ever after (whatever you choose to call it).  So here comes my favorite part of the whole movie.  Nicolas Cage is walking with the little girl down the hospital corridor while behind her is her mother, completely hysterical, out of control sobbing because her daughter just died, and Nicolas Cage (Seth) looks at the little girl and asks her, “what did you like best” (out of life that is) and she replies, “pajamas…flannel, with feet.”

The other day, I shared a conversation with a friend that I had with my Mom a couple years ago before she passed away.  She called me on the phone and said, “Joey” (yes, my mom called me that) “if you could explain life what would you say?”  She also said that she asked my other five siblings and she was not revealing their answers (it was something she was taking with her).  I thought about it for a moment and said, “okay I’m ready.”  I told her that I would say that life is a one-way ticket into an amusement park.  It’s filled with fun, laughter, surprises, anxiety, new opportunities and yes, sadness at times.  She was silent for a moment, and said, “wow, the best answer yet!”  As I hung up the phone, I thought about my answer and to this day I would still answer it the same way, however I have one more addition to make.

I’m walking down the corridor with Nicolas Cage and he leans over and asks me what did you like best?  My answer would be – people.

 

xo, jo

Oct
22

What if?

I took a walk in Laguna (California) the other day and stopped by to have a moment with “her” (the ocean). My Mom always referred to the ocean in the female sense. My Mom used to say it had to be a woman because the ocean is beautiful, wild, uncontrollable, and underestimated. Yup, I have to agree with my Mom. Women can be described like that and so can the ocean!

As I sat on the steps absorbing the silence, I thought about what if. As we get older, I believe that the what if list becomes longer (well, it does for me). What if I went to that nightclub, what if I seized that moment and jumped into his arms, what if I stood up for myself and walked a long time ago, what if, what if, what if…

We all know hindsight is 20/20, but even knowing that, why is it we still can’t get out of our own way? I’m thinking fear! Perhaps it’s fear of the unknown, failure to believe unless we can see…and back to the original, what if it doesn’t work out?

God bless my wonderful parents! They were chock full of wisdom and delivered it in their own special way. My Dad was the strong, intelligent silent type who stood up for strangers, fought for his country, helped autistic children, and taught me the importance of a handshake and fighting for what you believe in (which ultimately has to be yourself). My Mom had the will of a bull and total recall when it came to her memory. She taught me the art of being solid, steady, consistent, enjoying every moment possible, and the most important: never take your health for granted. She would say, “Joey, if you’re healthy then you are wealthy!” That came from a lady who was born in 1934 weighing a pound at birth (like I said, the will of a bull).

So, why is it we have an epidemic of what if, when all of this insight was probably given to each and every one of us in different ways? I know men that are truly masterminds who have no problem just existing in a boring job, with a boring partner, dreaming of the ultimate but afraid to jump! I know people who have accustomed their thinking to semi is good enough, and great is just a fleeting thought. Companies are afraid to jump and make a better product when they know they can, women are afraid to leave their significant or non-significant others and be alone! Hell, men are afraid to be alone and settle for milk toast when they can have a scrumptious New York bagel! People like that cause wrinkles on my face because I constantly am straining trying to figure out why they would give up precious moments for good enough, good for the time being, and just plain “this is good enough for me!”

I could just focus on myself, my amazing three boys, my future and my health; however, I can’t imagine going through life without helping others out along the way and in any fashion I can. So what’s your takeaway? Think of facing fear head on, running straight towards it screaming all the way like you want to kick its assets! Never run from it because eventually it will catch up to you and consume you like a tornado, spitting you out to lay lifeless indulged in pain and grief. On the other hand, you could extend your hand to fear like a handshake, look fear right in the eye, and say I’m gonna take you down! I’m just playing with the moment, but you know what I mean. Life is too short. We’re all getting older and even though taxes come every year, it’s death I’m fearful of.

In honor of one of my top five movies, Dead Poets Society, I say to you all Carpe Diem!

 

May you all jump for love and triumph over fear…
xo, jo

In this fleeting moment what extravagant respite as booming surf speaks its mystical passage across the undreamed depths.

Jun
19

Sorry for the delay…

Hey, all my LC friends!

I’m so sorry for not updating my site!  My computer had a nasty virus and it literally took weeks to fix!

I have a “RED” hot article on the horizon, and it should be ready to drop in the next couple days (waiting for approved pics)!

Sorry again, and have a fabulous day!

xo, jo

 

 

Apr
15

Healthy vs. Unhealthy…

We could talk about unhealthy food, unhealthy shopping and unhealthy living, but instead I want to talk about healthy vs. unhealthy minds of human beings.

 

As I went along my day enjoying the healthy California weather, the poor people in Boston had a very unhealthy day!  My first reaction was multiple shakes of my head immediately followed by disgust in the center of my soul.

As Facebook has turned into the new MaBell, I picked up the proverbial phone and started to listen.  How, when, why, and the ultimate question, what has happened to this world?

People are very interesting…New Yorkers really aren’t thrilled over Boston, California people are NOT easy breezin’ with New Yorkers, and so on (it’s like a sibling relationship, we may disagree, but we are FAMILY)!  When it comes to tragedy, people pray and wish well for everyone, and so the telephone game began.

I immediately became enraged along with many others when I think of innocent people being hurt due to an unhealthy mind occupied by a unhealthy person.  Okay, so you want to hurt others because you’re in pain, you want to hurt others because the government brain washed you, you want to hurt others because your parents didn’t hug you enough!  Whatever the excuses are, they are just that – EXCUSES, and there is no excuse at all for taking another person’s life.  That was someone’s father, mother, brother, sister, friend, fiancé…  Who do you think you are and were you happy you caused this type of unhealthy environment?

Back to basics brings me back to (my) kindergarten year.  Be nice, share, if you can’t say anything nice – don’t say anything at all, learn your ABC and sing songs – it was pure bliss and very healthy!  It was all so simple, and when my son started kindergarten last year, I couldn’t help but think how much things have changed over the years.  Being he was my third and my baby, I ran through my mind the kindergarten years of all my three children.  My eldest was a brand new beginning for all of us, my second in command was just coming off 9/11 the previous year, and my third was security checks, signing in when entering school, fingerprinting, and background screenings.

I remember the morning of 9/11 (I am a New Yorker).  My son had just started preschool and I was talking to the Director of the school about tricycles when I received a phone call.  All I heard was the Trade Center was hit and New York was under attack.  I think I went into shock; I tried to continue my conversation with the Director and then stopped and said, “wait, I think I just heard something.”  That day going forward and continuing to this day, are days filled with fear, anger, and sadness.  That feeling has never left me, and I can honestly say that every time I look at the clock and it reads 9:11, I stop whatever I’m doing and say a prayer for every victim in the world, and all the tragedies people have gone through.  I have continued that for all these years and will continue to do so until the day I die.

The longer I live, the smaller my world becomes and I find myself praying for more strangers every day.  My prayer is for all to find peace in their world, for all to seek help for their unhealthy minds, and for all to put anger aside, help those in need, and be strong for the weak.  We have two hands, so bend down, extend one, and help someone up!

 

God bless to all and I pray for the “unhealthy”, but my prayers today are for BOSTON.

 

xo, jo

p.s. a special shout out to Suzy K. from Mahwah, New Jersey.  When I asked for an article topic, Suzy’s beautiful heart answered.

 

 

 

Mar
14

THESE HARD TIMES

I know LushCake is supposed to be about fashion/beauty, but every once in a while I believe our lives need to be injected with a dose of reality. Yes, I know we all deal with our own hard times and no one knows our story like we do, but sometimes when we hear of another’s pain, it gives us a chance to let the human side of us surface. I personally join those who sport their rose-colored glasses, not wanting to face the pain on a daily basis, but sometimes life takes no prisoners and we must stand and take the heat.

So, here we go… just yesterday I received a text from my eldest brother (thanks to my sister for reminding him). It was not the kind of message I would ever want to receive. I was on my son’s field trip when my cell buzzed, and as I checked the message, all I could say is,” oh my God.” My sister-in-law had just lost her battle to damn cancer! I became enraged thinking she’s only 52! She still has work to do with her three children and her and my brother had many years left to make memories. How is this possible? Believe me; I’m not delusional, I know life sucks at times and you can’t run when death comes knocking on your door, but the little girl inside me wanted answers! Why?

There’s something about death. For me, I reflect on my own mortality. I reflect on how old I am (45), what I’ve gone through, what can I change, what have I learned, and the most important: how much time do I have to teach my beautiful three boys everything they need to know?

I traveled through the rest of my day numb from the news and reflecting back on Cindy’s youth. I must have met her when I was in seventh grade. She was witty, extremely funny (she reminded me of Kathlie Lee Gifford) and at times a sheer pleasure to be with! She loved her children, spent many years with my brother, and deserved to see her children get married, hold her grandchildren and make more memories with my brother. That in itself demanded attention and time…

As I write this article sitting outside of Starbucks in the beautiful California sunshine, I’m listening to Matchbox Twenty’s “These Hard Times.” It’s a bit chaotic with the pansy shuffle of the California stride and people walking out of Starbucks talking smack about other people who need coffee right away in the morning. I shake my head and laugh (out loud), really? Foolish comes in all colors and sizes, and all I can think is “keep on walking sweetie…”

Any great loss in life screams the thought: I’m cursing the naked sky, you should be here tonight, but I stand alone and cry…

How do I get across to people that we really don’t have enough time in life to do everything we want? How do I convey the message, drop the BS and live? When do we realize (and at who’s expense) that we are all human, we all suffer, and that we all want to be loved and accepted and never judged?

I keep thinking of her last moments like I still do of my Dad’s and my Mom’s last hour of their death. Who was with her? Did she know? Was she in pain? Was she scared? My only answer to all of these questions is: say goodbye, these days are gone and we can’t keep holding on. When all we need is some relief in these hard times.

Say a prayer, I know someone out there needs it.
xo, jo

Nov
15

Video Online Survey…If you want to see changes, take 5 and tell us!

Would you please take a few minutes (no more than 5) to take our survey about watching video online?  Your thoughts are so valuable to us and your opinions will help BlogHer.com make better decisions about video content on our site.

Click on the link below and voice your opinion…

https://www.bloghervisionaries.com/R.aspx?a=94

Thanks for participating!

xo, jo

Nov
03

HELP OUT THE EAST COAST!!!!

I was born and raised in New Jersey and lived in New York for 16 years.  It was one of the greatest gifts I ever received.

Please, find it in your hearts to help out those in need.  A truly fulfilling experience is helping out another when they are down.

Extend your strong hand and pull them up!

Check out this link, show your support, and please help! Restore the Shore

Love and prayers to my East coast family and friends…

xo, jo