Same Love

I came across this in February on Facebook and was instantly moved; it’s just so beautiful. I’m still thinking about it. Everything about it – the lyrics, the music, the video, it all touched me down to my very core and I must have watched it 3 or 4 times. I don’t usually repost videos but this has such a strong and important message that I want to share it with all of you.

“America the brave still fears what we don’t know…
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start”

I hope, someday in the near future, everyone will be able to love freely with abandon, without hesitation and that we’ll look back and be disgusted that there were ever people who limited love.

Love sees no race nor gender. Equality and love for all.  

I suggest you also take a moment to read the lyrics and watch the video. It’s worth the 7 minutes.


7 ways to decompress and de-stress

Let’s face it. We live in a busy world and stress seems to be like that annoying friend that wants to tag along for just about every ride. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and let it get the best of you. While these past 12 months have been one for the record book, I have learned ways to help me cope. From relationships and friendships ending, to family drama and getting laid off, to applying for jobs and starting my own business, to seeing 20 apartments in a week in a city far from home and then uprooting my life and everything I know, you could say it hasn’t been a smooth joy ride. Being spontaneous is fun and exciting and I am looking forward to new adventures but leaving myself only 13 days to sell ALL the things, sublet and pack, makes things a little more rushed. And now saying goodbye to family, friends and Chicago isn’t easy either. Oh, and just today my parking garage accused me of not paying this month despite depositing my check on Jan 2. So yea, these past few months have been challenging and finding ways to unwind, cope and de-stress was crucial.

Everyone handles stress differently so here are my top 6 ways I decompress.

1) FIND ME TIME: Go for a walk. Disconnect from technology. Get a mani/pedi. Take a yoga class. Write. Work out. Plan my next adventure. Sing in the shower. Rock out to music in my apartment and sing and dance around in my underwear. (You cannot not smile! You know you’ve done it too.) Light candles. Have a glass of red wine. Browse and pin on Pinterest. Meditate. (Still learning) and I’ve tried the bubble bath thing and it is nice for maybe 4 minutes. Then I get bored. But maybe that will work for you. Anyhoo, it is important to find time for yourself to be alone, reconnect with your self, to reflect and recharge. I try to focus inwardly on me and escape from the outside chatter.

2) WATCH TV. Sometimes it is nice to sit on the couch, not talk to anyone, let your body fall deep into the cushins and just relax and escape into someone else’s life for a bit. Escape into another world.

3) 90’s MUSIC. Apparently this is a thing for me. Just the other day, I was so angry, I might as well have had smoke coming from ears. Since I was in the car, there was nothing I could do so I cranked up the volume and let myself get lost in the music. Chicago has an awesome new radio station 101.1 (they play pretty much only 90’s music, check it out!) and I could feel my blood pressure returning to normal. Besides 60’s and 90’s being my favorite decades, I think the nostalgia helps too. By time I reached my destination, I was calm.

4) BAKE. Lately, especially since I got my Kitchen Aid, I like to bake when I get stressed. It takes my mind off said issue and makes me focus on the ingredients and helps me redirect my attention towards something that I can give to others to make them happy, thus making me happy. What?? I’m Jewish. We like to feed people!

5) BE POSITIVE AND GRATEFUL. Focus on the positive silver lining of said situation. Find something positive or something that you are grateful for and think about that. Stop and think, is this really worth getting upset over?

6) CLEAN AND ORGANIZE. I’m not your narcotic clean freak but I do like to keep everything in its place and tidy. There are times when I admit, I let pile of mail build or that something isn’t put away. My place is never messy but occasionally not as clean as I prefer. But it works out because sometimes when I need to unwind, I find cleaning to be strangely satisfying. I’ll vacuum, reorganize my closet, clean the kitchen, do the laundry or put away anything that isn’t already in its place. There is something about calming about the smell of lavender or lemon and getting lost in thought. I’ve never found doing laundry a headache, rather, its always been a way to reset and refocus.

7) PLAY GAMES. It doesn’t matter if it is a card game, a board game or a video game. I like games. Always have. So when I want to decompress, gaming is a great distraction. It’s a quick and easy way to escape into the virtual world where you can die 20x but keep coming back without it flashing Game Over. Whether it is an old school Nintendo game, a racing game, a dancing game or even an adult-focused killing video game like #FarCry3, video games are a great way to escape and de-stress for a bit. The graphics on this Far Cry 3 game are incredibly real. What Caryn plays those violent killing games? Yes, killing games aren’t just for boys. I like the competitive nature, the escape, and the challenge it provides. I like being able to keep up with the guys. Don’t get me wrong. I DO NOT condone violence in the real world but sometimes in these games, it is one quick and harmless way to release tension. *

{How do you decompress to eliminate stress?}

Far Cry 3

*It is important for people to make the distinction between games and real life.

Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this post. Please visit to get your own copy of Far Cry 3. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own.

Let’s look at the world a little differently

I first saw this back in June so I am sure you have seen it already too, but it is just too good not to share.  

The news and media around us always focuses on the negative things going on around us. But Coca Cola reminds us that there is good in this world. It doesn’t matter if you prefer Pepsi or Coke; this isn’t about a corporation’s bottom line. This goes beyond advertising genius. These are not actors, they are people who were caught on hidden security cameras being funny, kind-hearted and selfless and doing amazing things.  It renews my faith in humanity.  This video makes you laugh, smile, cry, and tugs at your heart strings. And the song! Supertramp’s “Give A little Bit” is perfection. It is so touching, I tear up every time I watch it.

So Smile. Dance. Sing. Be weird. Help others. Give random hugs. Spread happiness. Thanks for the reminder to look at the world a little differently, Coca Cola.

The last day of work and the first time on the silver screen

Today was one hell-of-a-day! A big day of firsts.

Today I said goodbye to the only job I have ever known professionally, post college.  It was actually a really long day, I worked a full day and was one of the last to leave. On my last day! Some coworkers were surprised that I had any work to do at all and that I didn’t leave early. I actually had a couple of things I had to finish and fires to put out before I left. It was anything but a stress-free last day! I am the type of person who can’t just walk out and leave something incomplete for someone else to have to pick up so I wanted to make sure absolutely everything was done and explained before I walked through the doors for the last time.  Some people left without saying goodbye today, and others were sure to stop and give a hug and wish me luck. HR now does an exit survey, rather than an exit interview so I’ll have to fill that out soon. I wasn’t even asked to turn in my keycard, but I did anyways. I set my out of office to “I no longer work at (insert company name here). Please call… etc.” That was a bizarre message to write, let me tell you. But hitting apply on that didn’t seem as weird as it did when I hit send on my No Host Happy Hour invite.  I wrote about how it seemed so surreal to be leaving and as if I was stuck between awake and dreaming, but today I felt very much awake. Today finally felt real and right; it felt like I was ready to hang my coat on the past and begin this new path. #happydance. (yes, I did just hashtag, just keep reading.)  It is a very peculiar feeling to know that I don’t have a job to wake up to in the morning, or the day after. I have a week off before I start my new gig on 9/21.  Instead, tomorrow I am going wedding dress shopping for the first time with my mother!

After work, I saw Contagion with a friend I met on the movie set. We were extras in the movie! Hurray for knocking something off my Life List! I knew the exact take they were going to use before the movie even started. I leaned over and said, I guarantee they will use the final take of the day. And sure enough, that is what they used. At least my scene made the movie! In my initial post about my experience, I wrote:

I am in the scene where Matt (yes, I’m on first name basis now) gets in a fight with a fellow survivor. Then Randy, one of the survivors, shouts that there is another truck that might have food over yonder and everyone makes a mad dash for the truck. Be sure to look for him because I was right beside him during some of the takes.”

 Turns out, they cut Randy. Sorry, man! The scene kind of gets spliced in, kind of juxtaposed into the movie .  It all just happened so fast without much explanation. I don’t think I really would have known what was happening if I wasn’t an extra.  And it doesn’t makes a whole lot of sense without Randy’s introductory comment.

Let’s play a game of Where’s Waldo?!  In this photo, the four of us are all in the black circle and I am the one in the white/blue coat. You can see my blue scarf if you know it is there. See the black circle? See me??

At first I thought Jude Law’s character was just a journalist but soon realized he was a blogger when one of the scientists (Mr. Gellar on Friends) says to him, “A blog isn’t writing. It’s graffiti with punctuation.”  Clearly, being a blogger myself, I chuckled, leaned over and said, I beg to differ!

I remember in the casting call they said all the extras would be unrecognizable in hazmat suits and that we were the lucky few that wouldn’t be in suits. Some people were, but not as many as they initially said. I guess they changed some stuff around. Most extras just had protective medical masks on. The movie itself was just okay. It was kind of anti-climatic. I enjoyed it because of my personal tie, and the phenomenal cast. It takes a lot for me not to like a movie so I can’t say I didn’t like it but it definitely isn’t one I would run out and say it’s a must see.  There were some parts that were breezed over and never fully explained. I am not sure why we had to look so sick and deadly during filming, and why I wasn’t allowed to wear mascara! I mean I wasn’t even allowed to have nail polish UNDER my mittens! I think someone took their job a bit too serious, saying you can hardly see us! It seriously creeps me out how easily germs spread and how disease can wipe out an entire population. All I have to say is wash your hands and cover your mouth people! After touching a subway train, before you eat or after you touch/cook raw meat. I walked out with my hands inside my coat sleeve and used purell instantly.   Even though it wasn’t a great movie, I still must own it. After all, it was my first time on the big screen!

Saying goodbye to my first job, going wedding dress shopping and seeing my scene on the big screen are all exciting firsts. Sometimes doing something for the first time is scary.  It means putting yourself out there. Taking risks. Challenging yourself.  But without firsts, you cannot have seconds. You cannot learn and grow. Cheers to a big day of firsts!

 Have you done anything for the first time, recently?