Maya Angelou photographed by Taylor Jewell
I was not a fan of Maya Angelou when I first read her work as a persnickety pre-teen who had an inexplicable distaste for memoirs, but in the years since her words have often touched me in moments when I’ve been in need of inspiration and reassurance. Upon second reading, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings became one of my favorite books, and what woman amongst us has not somehow been moved by her poem Phenomenal Woman? Of the many Maya Angelou quotes filling the interwebs today, the one I find most moving right now is…
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”
In fond (albeit sometimes fickle) remembrance, I am feeling very grateful for Maya Angelou’s turns of phrase on this day. I hope she inspires you in a similar way as well.
Image source: Pinterest.
Jackie Kennedy lighting candles in a very glam gown
When I traveled back home to Massachusetts this summer, my mom revealed to me that my grandparents ate dinner by candlelight every night of their marriage. In fact, she said she didn’t think there was a single night in her entire childhood or adulthood where her mother forgot to light candles at the dinner table. This got me wondering whether the ritual of striking matches and sharing glances through flickering flames was one of the secrets to my grandparents’ successful marriage.
These things always sound trivial on the surface, but I think tradition really does count for something. I’m not saying taper candles are a substitute for strong communication, but I do think that holding true to simple rituals or romantic gestures just may have the power to act as an anchor, keeping our relationships steady whenever we face choppy seas. And, isn’t that one of the greatest goals of being in a relationship for the long haul — to be each other ‘s constant in this crazy, modern world? What do you think? Do you have any romantic rituals, like lighting candles or scheduling weekly date nights? I’d love to hear your take! Leave a comment.
Image via Pinterest.
Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes founded Ms. Magazine in 1971 and are just a few of the women who’ve made America what it is today
Have you seen this fascinating documentary yet? It’s a three-part series titled “Makers: Women Who Make America” and, even though I first discovered it this past winter, I’ve found myself thinking about the amazing women it introduced me to a lot lately. When I first watched the documentary I was amazed (and admittedly a little embarrassed) by some of the things I never knew about the women’s movement in the United States, and the series left me feeling truly inspired to make the world better — to continue the work of the women who have given me the chances I have now, and to improve the chances for women and other minorities of future generations. PBS’s editing keeps the pace of the documentary energetic, entertaining, and often humorous, and Meryl Streep’s narration lends the piece the kind of comforting, smooth patter that allows you to forget you’re actually learning a ton while watching…
Bobbi Gibb became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon in 1966
Forty seven years ago, Bobbi Gibb became the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon. By taking those figurative and literal strides in a time when females were not yet allowed to officially race, Gibb not only helped change the rules of this famous sporting event, but she changed public perception about what women were capable of accomplishing with both their bodies and minds. She did this simply with her own two feet and a whole lot of determination, and she continued running even when marathon officials and protesters tried to stop her.
Growing up in Boston, it was this kind of story that always struck me with awe whenever the marathon rolled around each year. After all, the race has come to symbolize the fact that –no matter our skin color, nationality, gender, or religion– as humans, we have the power to go great distances by merely using our own two feet. Furthermore, the marathon shows us that if we don’t have the use of our own two feet we can cover great distances by using our arms to propel a wheelchair, and if we don’t have use of our arms the human spirit can propel us along in the form of a loved one running behind us and pushing our chairs…
On a good day, writing feels as magical as screaming into a blasting fan on a sticky linoleum floor in the dead of summer
As I wade through a sea of deadlines and the labyrinthine bank of escalators that may or may not one day lead me to a successful career in the entertainment industry, I find that it’s vital to take a step back every now and then to remind myself why it is I do what I do in the first place. It can be so easy to forget and to get caught up in the stresses (and, heck, even to toy with quitting because of those stresses), but when I give myself a moment’s pause I’m always reminded it is love, innocence, and dreams that are at the core of what I do, not what’s waiting at the top of this pesky elevator bank. Since this has been on my mind lately, I figured I’d share just a few more of the reasons why I write…
Jackie Kennedy and her daughter photographed in a time when being a stay-at-home mom was the only choice many women had
Have you read the recent Atlantic Monthly article titled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All? It is basically one high-powered woman’s account of why she left government so she could be a better mom to her teenage sons, and it’s also full of policy-making suggestions on how bosses and corporations can make it easier for women to balance their careers with parenting. In a sense, the article attempts to be a ground-breaking piece that flies in the face of feminist optimism, but I think the article itself is actually a whole lot more blindly optimistic than it seems upon first read. While I appreciate the suggestions Anne-Marie Slaughter (former director of policy planning at the State Department) makes and I think her ideas could improve work/life balance in this country for both men and women a great deal, I disagree with the way Slaughter implies that once these changes are in place women just might be able to finally “have it all.” I think these implications are extremely faulty because – drum roll, please – even with all the money and flexible work hours in the world, it just ain’t possible for anyone (whether male or female) to have and/or do it all…
Stack of Nora Ephron books photographed by Shelly Gross
It still boggles my mind that one of the most inspiring and influential female voices of our time, Nora Ephron, died last week. Not so long ago I would have quickly deleted that word “female,” thinking it was an insult to any artist to qualify her/his greatness by a gender, but now that I’ve spent a good deal of time pondering what Ephron’s work has meant to me, I realize celebrating the femaleness of all she leaves behind is actually a great compliment. After all, Ephron spent her career fighting her way to the top of some very male industries just so she could tell stories about women, for women, and by women. The femaleness of her blockbuster movies, such as “When Harry Met Sally,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “Julie & Julia” has in fact drawn women and their dates to theaters for decades, and these stories hold a very prominent place in the romantic ideals of me and almost every other gal I know. As an adolescent, teenager, and young woman, Nora Ephron’s flicks taught me to demand more for myself out of life and love, and I would dare to say her rom coms stirred something far greater in me than any art-house film ever has.
A still from “Supporting Characters” (2012), shot by Richard P. Ulivella
I spent the weekend attending screenings at the United Film Festival in Los Angeles, and although I expected these past few days to feel like just another long string of artsy flicks and forced conversations I ended up being really impressed by the lineup and even seeing one movie that downright inspired me. This inspiring film is called “Supporting Characters,” and it’s a lovelorn comedy about two movie editors who are grappling to make sense of their own dating lives while working to finish a seemingly straightforward romance flick. The film’s two stars (Alex Karpovsky and Tarik Lowe) have a rare brand of chemistry with each other, and their discussions of love, sex, and friendship keep the audience laughing out loud at a fast clip. Not only does the charismatic acting and flawlessly paced editing of the film make it thoroughly entertaining, but the movie possesses a quality that I haven’t seen in a comedy (romantic, bromantic, or otherwise) in quite a few years: it has major heart…This is all to say, there is something so genuine about the characters’ quests for love and their missteps in the name of lust that makes the film oh-so refreshing, human, and real.
Snow-white legwarmers and perfectly painted toes are an of-the-moment answer to yesterday’s skinny jeans and Converse – just wear Jeggings to the nail salon
Have you ever lain awake at night wondering, “What do scissors, nail polish, and skinny jeans have in common?” Well, aside from the fact that they are likely props in a fabulous off-off-Broadway drag show, I ‘m now delighted to fill you in on how they were also a key part of one poor hipster’s near brush with amputation the other night…