Saturday, August 27, 2011

Movie Review: Colombiana

Zoe Saldana shines in Colombiana, even through a choppy script. 
by Sarah Davis 

Colombiana, starring Zoe Saldana, was built up to be an end of Summer action-packed flick, compared to Taken, The Professional & La Femme Nikita.  While these were big shoes to fill, Colombiana could have been better.  Zoe Saldana plays Cataleya, a self-made assassin, who's parents were killed when she was a child in Columbia.  She says in the trailer, "I was nine when my parents were killed in front of me," in a dramatic tone.  In the movie, however, her parents' death happens outside, while she's doing her homework at the kitchen table.  
She travels to Chicago to live with her uncle after their death and trains with him to become a "killer". The little girl actually says, "I want to be a killer, like Xena, Warrior Princess." The Uncle simply says, "Okay."  The movie shoots forward to Cataleya as an adult and her only purpose in life is to kill the people who killed her parents.  Every person who she kills, she ridiculously draws a Cataleya Lily on their chest. (I must say, that the fact that she does this directly connects her to the murders not only because of her name, but because this flower only grows in her father's hometown. Yet, no one (the police) seems to notice this for most of the movie.)

The plot, i.e. the writing of this flick (ahem, Luc Besson), seemed to have too much information for one movie.  So much information, that they had to cut a lot of it out at the end to fit it into the correct time frame for audiences.  A lot of key moments that would have helped audiences understand things a little better were cut out.  

Along with a choppy plot, there are a lot of awkward moments in this film, including an out-of-place romance between Saldana's character and Michael Vartan.  Basically, it looks as though the director didn't want the whole movie to be senseless killing, so they added in an oddball romance last minute. Vartan plays the "girl", essentially, in their relationship and complains the whole time that he needs more from the relationship.  Ultimately, his needy behavior gets her caught by the FBI.  The way his character is written really cripples the movie.  

The ultimate fight scene at the end, I have to say, is so drawn out and unrealistic that I almost caught myself laughing.  Twenty years later, she finally meets up with the guy who killed her parents.  She's killed 23 people in attempts to catch this guy's attention, which doesn't really make sense and now she is able to beat him up.  So, Cataleya beats him with a hand towel and stabs him with a toothbrush, while getting beat up herself, for what seemed like twenty minutes.  It was so choreographed that I expected the two of them to start dancing.  

Regardless, Colombiana is never dull and despite everything, I can't say that I hated it.  There is always a fight scene that makes you feel like Cataleya is the most BA woman to ever grace the screen.  Zoe Saldana's style in the movie is very clean, as she says she was directed to look invisible (because she's a trained killer who cannot leave traces of herself anywhere), so she wears a lot of masculine-esque clothes, sunglasses, hats and of course, bodysuits.  

This movie is a bit of a disappointment because all of the actors shined, for the most part.  Zoe Saldana was fantastic.  You could really feel Cataleya's pain, emptiness and motivation through Saldana's portrayal. The script just felt like it was thrown together last minute and by someone who they found on Craig's List.  

Image Credits: Sony

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene Via Outerspace

by Sarah Davis

Just a few minutes ago, I was in my kitchen making dinner (pasta and chicken, if you must know) and I caught myself up on coverage of Hurricane Irene.  As everyone in New York City is in evacuation mode and the subway systems prepare to shut down tomorrow, I wondered what all of this looked like from space.  Prayers go out to all of those living along the Northeast coast.  Stay safe!
Hurricane Irene off the Carolinas
Image Credit:  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Look of the Day: Zoe Saldana in Balmain at Colombiana Premiere in Miami

Zoe's look is just absolutely stunning.  I especially love her hair.  

Is Daphne Guinness The Queen Of Fashion?

"If I think about it too much, I can't get dressed,"said Daphne Guinness in an interview with Harpers Bazaar. To say that style comes natural to this fascinating woman is an understatement.  Daphne, the heiress to the Guinness empire, is known world-wide for her eccentric sense of style and ties to the art world.  She's a fashion designer, a fashion journalist, a haute couture collector and a fashion icon.  She's currently living in London, but she lived in New York City in the 80's and spent a lot of time with Andy Warhol (you can really see that era when you look at her). Her sister, Catherine Guinness was a companion of Warhol's. Lady Gaga has been known to sight inspiration from Guinness & she was close friends with Alexander McQueen.  Enough said. 

Image Credits: Pinterest

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chatting With One Of Pittsburgh's Hottest Bands, Lovebettie!

by Sarah Davis

Band Profile:
Alexandra Naples-Vocals/Piano
C.T. Fields - Guitar/Vocals
Dan Mulkeen - Bass
Larry Shotter - Drums

 Genre: "Swagger Rock" 

S&W: First of all, how did Lovebettie get started?!
Alexandra: C.T. and I met while we were in college. We started talking and realized that we both loved making music. We just started messing around with some acoustic and electronica type stuff because it was just the two of us. We did a few open mic/coffee shop gigs, and our family and friends kept pushing us to make it a real band. So we did. We went through a few members until we found the right ones, and I'm happy to say we that we have. Larry, Dan, Chuck, and I are family and we all work really well together.

S&W: Where did the name Lovebettie come from?
Alexandra: Ha! I hate this question! I really wish I had an awesome story for this, but I don't. We used to go by "Myriad" because our style was kind of all over the place. Then we found a few bands in other countries that also had that in their name, so we had to come up with something else. It's really hard to come up with a great band name that isn't already taken! Google and I were becoming enemies for awhile! During this crisis we were asked to open up for Lifehouse and we still didn't have a name. So we did what anyone would do. We gathered all our friends together and ripped up a bunch of pieces of paper. We wrote one word on each of them that would work in a band name and pulled them out two by two. At some point we pulled out Lovebettie, and it stuck! Voila! We thought it worked pretty well because it didn't lend itself to being any particular genre either. We were just trying to create our own word that sounded like what we do.

S&W: In your own words, explain your music a little!
Alexandra: Well, we've always had a hard time describing it. I don't think any of us have ever listened to music and said "wow, that's what i want to sound like!" We just write what comes out of us, and blend it together until you get Lovebettie. Sometimes it's rock, sometimes it's jazz, sometimes it's pop. We don't like to be put in a box. We have decided to call our style "Swagger Rock". We just made up our own and I think it fits pretty well!

S&W: You tour a lot! What's a memorable experience? Favorite cities you've been to?
Alexandra: Oh wow, there are so many great stories! We love touring. It's like this great adventure we're on together and we get to rock out to new people every night. It's really exhilarating! I think our most memorable experience and our favorite city (outside of Pittsburgh) rolled into one would be our first experience at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin Texas. It was unbelievable! We got to see a lot of really great bands from across the country, and the amount of people that travel from all over to see these bands is insane! We played 7 showcases in 4 days, so we were kind of surviving on energy drinks and the high of just being there. But the response we got from the people there literally brought tears to my eyes. I remember one of the first showcases we did. We hung out watching a few bands before us and the crowd was good, probably 50 or so people hanging out. Then when we started to play, people just started appearing from nowhere and kept rolling in. They filled the entire venue wall to wall, and were really into it. It turned into a complete madhouse, and one of the most amazing shows ever. I remember looking at the guys like "Oh my GOD!" and I started to cry a little bit. It really kind of validated what we have been working so hard on as a band for so long. It was such an incredible experience.

S&W: You're from Pittsburgh, what are some of your favorite places to eat or just hang out?
Dan: For some place fancy, I really like The Carlton. For someplace low key, Fat Heads. And I really love the House of Lee for Chinese.
Larry: Anywhere there is a lot of people and live music.
Alexandra: I love going to see live shows at Altar Bar on days off. And during the winter when we're home, I go to Phipps Conservatory all the time to keep myself feeling alive amongst the greyness! To eat, I'm pretty easy, but I definitely think McCormick and Schmicks has the best happy hour menu!!
C.T.: I also really love going to see live shows around town and I love to eat at the pizza by the slice places while we're out on the South Side.

S&W: Give us one random, fun fact about each of you that people might not expect.
Alexandra: I went to college to be an artist, and I really enjoy making massive installation sculptures out of various materials. While in college I decided to create my own art movement called "ridiculism". Which of course consists of anything that is fun and ridiculous!
Larry: I am an adrenaline junkie. I love doing sports and stuff that gets my blood pumping!
Dan: I am a Great White shark expert, haha.
C.T.: I like to write funny rap songs and beat box.

S&W: A cause your band supports:
Alexandra: Our last tour was called "The Abolitionist Tour". We got together with Indie on Air and Planet La Records, along with a bunch of super talented artists from all across America, and created a nationwide tour promoting The Not For Sale campaign which brings awareness to human trafficking, child slavery, and indentured servitude in our society today. It is very heart breaking, the things are happening in our backyard. If you guys get a chance, check out to learn more about what we can do to help!

S&W: Ali, you're hair & style are SO fab! What's your favorite hair product?
Alexandra: Aww! Thank you so much!! Well, I never leave my house without Aussie Awesome Volume hairspray. It's the greatest hairspray every made. And believe me, I've tried them all!

S&W: Describe your personal style! What's your favorite store to shop at?!
Alexandra: Well, I've never really considered myself a fashionista. I really, really hate to shop. But I just love the pin up style clothing. I love the way it fits and makes me feel. I'm obsessed with, and most of my wardrobe consists of their clothes. I also love that all I have to do is go online! It makes it easy. All you need is a cute pair of heels and a necklace and you're ready to go!

S&W: Ali, what's the best relationship advice you've ever received?  You're a happily married lady and we have a lot of female readers! 
Alexandra: C.T. and I have been married for 2 years, but we've been together now for almost 7! I think the best advice I can give is not settling for someone that's not perfect for you. There is no such thing as the perfect person, but perfect for YOU is a whole different thing. I see so many people being with someone just because, trying so hard to make something work that doesn't. Meanwhile, the right person could be out there and you're missing it! Don't be afraid to be alone and work on being the best YOU you can be. Odds are that while you're doing that, mr./mrs. right is going to show up on that path for you. C.T. is my best friend, and I couldn't live without him. I think that's really the key; there are a lot of people you could live with, but it's being with the one you can't live without that's worth waiting for.

S&W: Your personal words to live by:
Alexandra: Life is a culmination of decisions, and they are all yours to make.
Dan: (quoting Yoda) "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."
Larry: Never argue with an idiot, they'll beat you with experience!
C.T.: If you want something bad enough, stop at nothing to get there.

S&W: Finally, where can we catch a performance from Lovebettie?
Well, you can check our facebook for all of our tour dates. But as far as Pittsburgh goes, we will be at the South Park Amphitheater on Sept. 3rd with Everclear, and Sept.10th at Altar Bar with Fuel! We hope to see some of you there!

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Photo Credit: Ed Coll & Sky The Limit Photography

"The One": You're In Control

by Eli Rebich

Before I even get started, I have to state my disclaimer first… I am by no means an expert or a professional of any sort in the ways of love and relationships.  I am however, observant and perceptive.  Probably just as much as anyone else but possibly more; there’s no real way to tell.  I have been around, witnessed, and been brought into, be it willingly or otherwise, more relationships and relationship issues than I care to admit.  Through those experiences and drawing from the deck of my own dealings as well, I have arrived at a point of view.  Good for me, right?  Though it may not be a completely new insight involving love, relationships and the theory of “the one”, but then again, who knows?... it may strike as unique after all.  Again, I make no claim that this is scientific, concrete fact, nor a professionally sound source in which to cite for your psychology or human behavior dissertation.  This is just a point of view that may ring a little less canned or esoteric than what you’re used to being fed. All clear?... crystal? Good.

If someone were to ask me if I believed in fate, without hesitation, my immediate response would be, “no”.  Given the stage of this address, I feel it necessary to state, my opposition to believing in fate is because I don’t believe anything happens if you don’t make it happen.  The concept of fate literally means that you have no control over anything.  Everything that happens is fated to happen.  There is no situational belief in fate.  The concept is universal.  If one random event is considered to be fate, just because it seems more significant to you than others, doesn’t make all other random or specific events any less fated.  You believe or you don’t.  There is no middle ground.  Similarly stated by a personal hero of mine, “Do… or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda.  These are decent scenarios of my stance.  If you feel that an event of personal significance is random and fated, I believe you did more than you’re willing to admit to create the opportunity to experience said event.  And in a more personally proactive situation, if you’re breaking your back to achieve something and it finally happens, but you then attribute it to fate; I’ll be the first one to tell you, you’re a fool and to have some pride in your efforts.

On the other side of the coin, you may be surprised to hear what I think about the idea of “the one”. If someone were to ask me if I believed in finding “the one”, that perfect counterpart in life and love… I’d tell them, “yes”.  Without digging too deep into the concept, logically, its far more feasible to think that there is a personality out there that perfectly corresponds to yours, rather to think that there is some supernatural force guiding us step by step, everywhere we go.  If that were the case, you’d have to be pretty livid if you were the guy fated to step in front of that moving bus on your way home from a rough day at work.  That’s one efficient, entirely impartial, and completely unpredictable force to control every instance of every person, at any and every given moment. 

Though I do believe in people finding their “one”, I do not believe that the concept of “the one”  is completely infallible.  Life is life and no matter how perfect something may be; to be human is to be imperfect.  If being human is to be imperfect, in one way or another, everything in life can be chalked up to losses or victories.  Dwindling away or perseverance.  Survival is limited without evolving.  Luck is never a certainty or foolproof.  Skill and strategy are only effective until they become outdated by new developments.  The way I see it, love and relationships are no different. The concept of love is a perfect form, but placing it in a relationship and giving it a human quality, immediately makes it flawed by being associated with humanity. 

Love and relationships’ biggest detriment is us.  Jealousy.  Insecurity.  Dishonesty.  Unreliability.  These are poisons that are all too common in deteriorating relationships.  All of which are completely fabricated from within people’s petty, scared, superficial minds.  Without telling you a million things you’ve already heard a million times before, I’ll cut to the chase… just as quick as you found it, you can lose your “one”.  I believe in the statement, “the one that got away”.  I believe that if you let it get away and never get it back, you’ll always have to live with settling for something less.  I believe that those people either accept what they’ve done or live in denial and live the longest lie they’ve ever told.  Either way, that’s a long time to know you’re not as happy as you could’ve been and should still be.  But the people that recognized what was right in front of them, the ones that felt all the good that was literally being given to them on a silver platter, the individuals who were able to put aside all their issues and insecurities and were smart enough to have the insight and foresight to hang onto that genuine goodness… they’re the happiest people on earth. 
There is no formula that tells you where or when you will find your one.  Given my disbelief in the idea of fate, I also believe if you don’t care enough about finding it, you may never find it.  If you’re able to not care enough about finding someone who will make you complete as a person, you’re perfectly capable for settling for less.

I’m sure ending this entry now would make this entire things sound mostly negative and fairly bleak.  Truly, it’s not supposed to be.  This is just my way of showing a perspective on a topic that plenty of people in my age range are currently worrying about in one way or another.  Hopefully it shows you that you should always have your eyes open.  Being proactive is a good thing.  Mental insecurities will always hold you back.  In the same vein, those insecurities were given to you in the past and thusly your future doesn’t deserve to be subjected to them.  Easier said than done, but always trying to uphold that mindset will promote progress.

Lastly, before I wrap up this entry, I want to list a few things I’ve witnessed, that when a strong mutual stance was taken on them, the relationships have thrived and are still thriving.  Regardless if I’ve witnessed these relationship elements through friends, family, acquaintances, or perfect strangers, it was completely evident that these components existed in those relationships and not a single one of them were missing.

The Company You Keep: support matters.
Unless you and your significant other are marooned on a desert island, other people will always play a hand in your relationship.  Friends and family are important but it is also important to know that they are not always right.  First and foremost, it is paramount to always have each other’s back, support each other, and work together no matter what.  Think of the relationship as a tandem bike and you and your significant other are the riders.  Working together, you stay upright and if you stop supporting the other, you fall.  As you ride along, family and friends are the spectators watching the two of you pedaling on together.  The role of family and friends is to not act as the potential wrench in the spokes but to be the cushiony mat for you both to land on if a wrench should happen to find its way into the spokes OR to be a set of complimentary training wheels to help keep the bicycle standing. 

Family is a tough one because you don’t get to pick them.  You do however get to choose their level of involvement.  Again, life isn’t perfect and neither is family.  Selfishness, bias, and ignorance can infect anyone.  I would never suggest cutting any family out of your life.  That’s pretty inhumane for anyone to ask for.  You can always keep certain people at a distance, regardless of shared bloodlines.  It’s in your best interest to keep negative family influences as far away as possible and embrace those giving positive reinforcement for your relationship.

Friends are no different in that realm, but since it is your choice to choose these people and to keep them around, it’s vital to choose wisely.  Choosing the people you surround yourself with, reveals a certain set of values to your significant other and also what you find suitable to subject your relationship to.  When dealing with friends, it is important to identify those who truly are your friends.  In short, friends are people who remain constant in supporting you and your endeavors no matter your status, mood, or appearance, as well as theirs for that matter.  Motives, lies and manipulation happen all too often with people who you believe are your friends, but flat out are just… not.  Intentions matter.  Knowingly keeping people around who have ill intentions for the wellbeing of your relationship is wrong.  Asking your significant other to excuse it because they “need to trust you” or “you can handle yourself”, is directly creating a situation to breed mistrust.  Don’t test each other.  Choose each other over others because you know you matter most to each other.  Have each other’s back.  Always support the other no matter what.

Loyalty: apathy’s oxymoron.
This is something that I shouldn’t even have to say.  I feel like if you don’t know that loyalty is essential, you’ve missed the boat on every relationship possible and not just the ones in the dating scene.  But on the other hand, I’ve seen people turn their back on it and ruin what they had going for them, which leads me to believe I should at least make mention of it.

Loyalty is something that people seem to have different definitions for.  That’s fine for me as long as it boils down to having a strict, unwavering devotion based on personal principle.  Where I find that definitions of loyalty become falsely applied is when people shape it to mean a loyalty to apathy.  Apathy cannot exist in a relationship because apathy means that you don’t care about the outcome.  If you didn’t care about the outcome of the relationship, you would have never entered it at all. That commitment to the relationship immediately implies striving to succeed.  Apathy has no place in any part of a relationship because not caring about it in its entirety can be the origin of its undoing.  Even the smallest situation can create a snag that can be the start of unraveling everything. In my eyes, loyalty means taking sides and choosing to take them consistently.  In a relationship, loyalty is taking a stand next to your significant other and being proud of doing so no matter what, regardless of what others have to say about it.  It’s not a quiet stance.  It’s not a private stance.  It’s a public stance where everyone, including your significant other, gets to see your true colors.  You show what your character is really made of.  Always care.  Choose the side that shows you care.  Be loyal to your relationship.

Priority One: never second place.
This is a pretty fitting time to place this section.  By being loyal and choosing the company you keep based on the best interest of your relationship, you pretty much spell out to your significant other that they are a high priority in your life.  That’s pretty much the goal; letting each other know that you are the other’s first priority.  In every decision you make, they are taken into consideration and the decision is made based on what promotes the overall wellbeing of the relationship.  No significant other should ever feel like they’re on the back burner.  They should never feel second best to anyone or anything.  If someone matters most to you and you successfully make him or her feel that way, you immediately instill confidence in the relationship and promote trust, security, honesty, reliability, and the list of positives goes on and on.  If Newton’s 3rd law of motion is accurate and every action has an equal and opposite reaction, your significant other should reciprocate in kind and give you the same peace of mind you have given them.  Make your significant other and your relationship first priority.

If you’ve hung with me this far through this entire entry, I have one thing to say to you… thank you.  I know there are very few people out there that want to hear or can even bear to stand listening to someone’s dimestore therapy theories on anything, let alone about love and relationships.  I’ve been trying to figure out how best to wrap this up.  I’ve let you into my mind and told you some extremely personal beliefs.  Personal beliefs very few people have heard about until now.  I’ve extended personal insights and advice that I’ve probably only ever given out to a handful of people until just now.  So where to from here?  Whether you agreed with everything I’ve had to say or not, I hope you’ve at least taken something positive away and aren’t cursing me up one wall and down the other.  I guess all that’s really left to say is… go make something happen. 

Eli Rebich is a graduate of Duquesne University with a bachelors in Multimedia Technology and a Masters in Multimedia Management.  His passion outside of corporate and scholastic realms has always been music.  As a life long Pittsburgh musician and vocalist, he has spent most of his creative energies forming words to sync with melodies and tempo's.  As a private hobby, he has always been a closet writer to be more freeform with his thoughts and creativity.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Don't Let Your Emotions Get Infections!

by Sarah Davis

The cold hard truth that a lot of us try to sugarcoat (at all hours of the day) is that people are mean.  They can be really mean, deceitful, draining and whatever else you probably can't even think of right now because you have yet to witness it.  

However, that's just how it goes.  You will hurt other people just as people will hurt you; it's just this inevitable weird part of life that people forget. No one is entirely good (even the pastor of a church) and no one is entirely bad (even a murderer).  For however much you try to live a clean life and fill your mind with positive thoughts, you are living in a world populated with many, many people who will complicate that.  

So, what does this mean? It means that life is full of situations that will hurt our feelings and cause us emotional pain.  There is no getting out of it.  However, there are ways of dealing with it in a way that will allow you to use your pain to grow as a person and not end up (emotionally or physically) hurting the person who hurt you.  

You have to speak up.  Now, this doesn't mean speak up and start chaos.  It means that if you are so affected by someone close to you and they bruised your heart, you should tell them clearly.  I read once in college that almost ALL plane crashes are caused by miscommunication (on some level).  

Smothering your own emotions is a careless thing to do because it will always end up exploding.  You have to let your pain breathe as it arises.  If something happens at work, deal with it right away.  Otherwise, you'll be the person who walks out of the job mid-shift.  Think about a cut on your hand.  If you ignore it, pretend it's not there and even go to the lengths of trying to hide it with something like makeup or a glove, it WILL get infected.  

Today or tomorrow, when something pops up and gets you so frustrated that you can feel your heart start to race, choose a different way to deal with it.  A way that will actually allow you to grow.  Be the bold person who says, "that hurt my feelings."  Don't be the person who never says anything and then explodes later.  

Be honest with yourself and avoid making fun of other people.  Truly, half of the time that people make fun of other people, it's because they feel hurt by them.  Why not be the bigger person and deal with your pain as it comes up?  

One final thing is that people will not always react in the way that you want when you do this.  Don't be discouraged. You can't control other people's emotions, but you can control yours.  In fact, the only thing you have complete control over is your own emotions. So, work on them.  Don't let your emotions get infections!

Image Credit: Pinterest

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pittsburgh Artist Spotlight: Laserteeth

It's always exciting to discover new artwork.  Particularly, really good art. One of the cool things about Pittsburgh is that there is a great art scene here and there are a lot of really good artists to meet.  For instance, meet 27 year old Kevin Nida, also known as Laserteeth.  He's an amazing painter, an overall cool guy and it's only a matter of time before you'll spot his artwork on the cover of Juxtapoz or Hi-Fructose Magazine. Without saying too much more, check out this interview Style & Wisdom recently did with him & like "Laserteeth" on Facebook to stay up to date with his art.  Enjoy!

What's the story behind the name, Laserteeth?
My good friend Nick Prezioso and I were watching SHARK WEEK discussing how sharks are pretty tough. One thing led to another and we decided the only way they could be any tougher is if they had lasers for teeth, then it just kinda stuck. Oddly enough, the issue of National Geographic of my birth month and year is about lasers and has a sweet hologram on the cover.

What mediums do you work with?
I've experimented with many different mediums, but I tend to stick with oil paint. I've recently started using water colors though and I'm really pleased with end result. I guess it all depends on what I'm feeling when I start a painting.

Your favorite piece you've done and the meaning behind it:
My favorite piece is actually still in the works. Its a very strong woman I have the pleasure of knowing in the likeness of Queen Nefertiti, the only female pharaoh of Egypt.

Another artist who has influenced you:
Recently it has been mainly artists unknown to me from the 1500's-1700's. I find old anatomical drawings and etchings to be very interesting.

 Any reoccuring themes? Tell us a little bit about it, if so.
Triangles, I like triangles. I sneak in some sacred geometry and alchemical symbolism sometimes too.

Tell us a little about the process of a painting.
I usually begin with a rough sketch on tracing paper, then refine it a few times until I'm happy enough with the drawing. After, it gets transferred onto the surface I'm painting, then I just kinda "wing" it from there. I have no formal training as far as painting goes, so I just experiment until I find what works best for me.

Where do you see yourself a few years down the road?
I try to take life day to day, so its hard to say where I might be. Although, due to recent events in my life, I can say I'll be happy wherever I am.

Best piece of advice you've ever been given?
It's actually a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh: "Smile, breathe and go slowly."

Your own words to live by:
I find it's easier to follow someone's words than your own, so here's another quote that I actually have tattooed on me: "So it goes" - Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five. It is repeated several times throughout the book and it really made an impression in my mind...

Find Laserteeth on Facebook
Image Credits: Katarina Lawrence (first photo) and Kevin Nida

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You Can Step Away, Yes, You Can

 by Sarah Davis
Even more important than taking care of your career, is taking care of your soul. Nourish yourself with loads of peaceful breaks.

You might have noticed this, but my laptop broke recently.  (I haven't been posting too much in the past few weeks.)  This is a great story that I really wanted to share with all of you.  So, it's almost time to be sending my two books to publishers.  Right now, I'm choosing a literary agent.  I have a few interested and picking one is a rather difficult decision.  All of them are saying all of the same types of things, however, drilling it into my head that if my books do not have strong writing, they won't get published.  Also, if I don't have a HUGE online following, they won't get published.  After all, books get published so someone can make money. 

Needless to say, this has been a very magical time in my life.  But, as most things go, it's been closely intertwined with the most high-stress time of life, too.  Almost every single day of 2011, my faith has been tested, my faith has been renewed, I've picked up some key spiritual insight.  I've probably cried at least once a week, along with that moment of awe that you have when you realize your hard work is turning into the life you dreamed of as a child.  It's just a whirlwind. 
So, I'm just in this mode of putting every ounce of energy into getting "Stutter" & "Anything Can Happen" into print.  Then, I wake up one morning and my laptop (which has a lot of documents saved on it) will not start. I try everything.  Even if I was okay with losing everything, I just don't have the money to go pick up a new computer like it's a gallon of milk from the grocery store. 

Life was getting really overwhelming and I found myself suffering from a lot of anxiety because I am only one girl.  I was skipping meals, coffee, missing activities with my friends, etc.  And then, to really kick things into motion, my laptop stops working.  I find myself unable to write.  At first, I was entirely self-loathing of the situation: why does this have to happen to me?! I waded in the waters of negative emotions, visited all of the islands that no one should be stranded on: self doubt, regret of the past, feeling hopeless and feeling like I should give up. 

Through it all, however, I sort of gave up for a few days.  I tweeted from my iPhone, I watched an episode of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" & I went to a BBQ.  (By the way, remember the Kardashian's in the first season?  When the family didn't live in a mansion complete with a kitchen staff, Bruce didn't wear an earring, Kho was against love and Kendall/Kylie were little kids? SO different now.)

Yesterday, I was having coffee (okay, it was hot out so we opted for Diet Cokes) with a friend and I told her this story. "Maybe you were meant to take a break.  You need breaks.  God wants you to work hard but He doesn't want you to run yourself into the ground!"  (She's so smart.) Having this conversation with her, she really pointed out to me that feeling overwhelmed gets you nowhere.  God wants you to ask for help; we're built to pray.  We are built to need the help of others, to ask for the help of others and recieve the help of others.  Sometimes, I have a hard time asking for help and saying, "Hey, God I really need you to provide for me."  I pray really humbly quite often, only saying things like, "Welp, God, whatever happens, happens."  That's sort of the way I approach people, as well. 

However, it's not like you're praying to some human guy who's struggling to get by.  You're praying to God, the Creator of the whole Universe, the God who created every human in the world.  Nothing is too difficult for God.  God wants you to be happy and taken care of, so that you can help others and do His work.  You have to loudly ask for the things you feel you want in this life and then you have to have the faith to say, "Okay, God has my back."  I don't have to run myself into the ground in order to accomplish this thing because God has my back and knows of the best outcome. 

I was telling my friend about my laptop fiasco and I remember saying, "I mean, I guess I can just tweet from my phone for a while."  (Again, that "Welp, God, whatever happens, happens attitude.) "No, you need your computer, that's the whole point of your life right now", she said.  "We're going to pray it out."

My friend and I prayed over Diet Cokes at probably the coolest coffee shop in Pennsylvania (located right next to our church) and when I got home, my laptop started up.  I lost all of my work, but I didn't have to go out and buy a new laptop.  Talk about a miracle. 

Lesson: You need you-time.  Sometimes the best way to see your life is after a few days off from it.  I don't know about all of you, but it is incredibly hard for me to actually take time to myself away from my work.  For some of you, it might be something else that is consuming your life, like a relationship.  You want, so desperately and so passionately, to see an outcome that you believe that if you work, work, work, that outcome will come faster.  However, you trying to have that much control is almost taking away from trusting God to give you the gifts that you are supposed to have in life. 

...And just like that, all my life needed was a swift hint that I needed a break.  By the grace of God,  few naps, a few French Macarons, a few episodes of reality television and one powerful prayer later, I can say that a fresh start is a blessing.  The broken laptop was a blessing. 
Image Credit: Pinterest
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