Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sunday Soundcheck: Cigarettes and Coffee

Otis Redding made it into my mother’s rotation a lot, and if you think back on movies you’ve seen over the years, his catalog is laced throughout so many classic movies: “Love Man” and “These Arms of Mine” were showcased in Dirty Dancing. “Try A Little Tenderness” was featured in grand fashion in the 80’s blockbuster Pretty In Pink, and “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” has been in more films than I can name.

Otis was a staple of 60’s soul music and he died far too soon.

The thing I love so much about him is how he made you feel when he sang, his music touched you at the very base of your soul.  You just knew he was in love with every lyric and he wanted you to be in love with it too. He was a phenomenal artist, with a talent unmatched, and his influence in R&B music is undeniable.

Although I had tons of Otis to choose from, I chose the following track because when I first heard it a few years back, in a movie no less, I had never heard it before and it struck a definite chord. I just knew it had to be a part of my collection!

It’s both beautiful and haunting in it’s delivery and message as he pours his heart out to his woman—a woman who has yet to make the decision whether or not she wants to be his love for a lifetime. So, he’s stating his case to her over “Cigarettes and Coffee”.

Love it. Love it. LOVE! IT!


Dinner and a Movie: 10 Great Movies You Both Can Enjoy

My husband and I don’t get out as much as we’d like due to his busy work schedule and my endless ‘to do’ list. It’s not that we don’t like spending gobs of time together, because we certainly do, but the life we lead doesn’t always allow for trips to the movies, or out for dinner, on a regular basis. So, we’ve both come to appreciate the creature comforts afforded us by simply staying at home, snuggled up on the sofa, watching whatever DVD catches our fancy.

Our tastes are different; he tends to enjoy action/comedy more than romance, but we have been lucky to strike gold on a few of our joint choices—the list is a mix of both recent and older films, but all are available on DVD right now. 

1. “No Strings Attached”: I was skeptical about seeing this movie for one reason—Ashton Kutcher. It’s not that I don’t like him, but he doesn’t always give you that leading man vibe, ya know? That said, he did a fine job playing this role. The chemistry was great, the story was funny, and the hubby and I both enjoyed it! However, I must admit, “Friends With Benefits” does a much better job of covering the topic of friends who do more than be, ahem, friendly.

2. “Serendipity”: John Cusack has truly done it all at this point, hasn’t he? In this movie, he and Kate Beckinsale do the forbidden dance of time and, in the process, make you rethink the definition of “soul mates”. This movie always makes me giddy on the inside because I’m a sucker for couples who are “made for each other”.

3. “Talladega Nights“: Come on, who doesn’t like a good comedy every now and then? Will Ferrell is hilarious as ‘Ricky Bobby’ and it’s impossible for me to watch this movie from start to finish without busting a gut!

4. “The Lincoln Lawyer”: I don’t like movies that are violent for the sake of being violent, but I do enjoy a good thriller every now and then, and this movie starring Ryan Phillipe and Matthew McConaughey was a brilliant surprise from start to finish.

5. “The Town”: Ben Affleck did a terrific job in this one—a movie he both co-wrote and directed—as a bank robber who suddenly discovers that his love for another has made his way of life seem more like a prison than a payoff. It’s not action-packed, but it is well directed and excellently written, in my opinion.

6. “Inception”: This definitely qualifies as a head-scratcher, but I think Christopher Nolan is an absolutely brilliant storyteller/director and this flick does not disappoint—even if it does leave you wondering what the heck is going on?

7. “Taken”: Who can’t get behind a guy who’s willing to tear the world apart just to get to his baby girl. Don’t mess with Liam Neeson’s character in this one, he’s definitely not the kind of guy you wish to see upset.

8. “The Holiday”: Okay, I’ll admit, this one was much more enjoyed by me than the hubby, but I love stories about love—particularly when it shows up in the most unlikely of places. And even better, it’s got Kate Winslet who, in my opinion, is one of the best actresses of this generation.

9. “Just Wright”: Queen Latifah always comes across as this bigger than life figure on screen, but her characters are always guaranteed to make you laugh. In this one, she plays the role of a physical therapist who is looking for love, but never seems lucky to get more than friendship. Finally, just when it seems she might win the heart of her prince charming, her beautiful little sister cuts in and steals away his heart—or does she?

10. “True Grit”: A surprisingly good movie, at least to me. I don’t tend to like westerns, but the performances in this one—particularly that of Hailee Steinfeld—make this one a must-see. I enjoyed the story, while the hubby felt Jeff Bridges was one very cool character. 

Well, those are some of our faves, what are some of yours?

Thoughts On Love and Becoming Whole

The beauty of the human heart lay in its capacity to love without end and be loved in return.

I made the decision to attend graduate school closer to my hometown and I did so, in many ways, to save a relationship that was going nowhere.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, she was one of those girls. You know the type I’m referring to: the one who would drop everything for a guy.

Well, the answer to that is yes and no.

I spent four years attending school in Iowa—at a school more than 1200 miles away—just to get away from said guy. However, it’s difficult to stop loving a person until you truly understand that real love is not meant to be unrequited, painful, or difficult to sustain on a daily basis.

While I understood those things, in theory, I didn’t yet have the strength or confidence to use that understanding to break away from the relationship.

In short, I was a girl who needed fixing.

So, one day as I sat alone on my mother’s front porch—stood up yet again by this guy I “loved” so much—I said a prayer. I asked God, very simply, to send me the man who would be for me in all ways. I decided I wanted more out of love and life than I was getting from this guy who wasn’t yet ready for what I was willing to give to him.

I wanted more not only for me, but for my future children as well.  And, more importantly, I  understood I was worth that and then some.

Often times in life, as we struggle to become the picture perfect version of what the world considers successful, or pretty, or acceptable, we stop remembering to check our inner compass to make sure our spirits are headed in the right direction.

We are far more than a conglomeration of our accomplishments, and are likely filled with exceedingly more depth and character than anyone can assess in a 15 minute conversation. So, as you navigate your way through this world, it’s always important to remember who you were before you made that first step towards letting the world know you. What did you stand for? What did you believe? What were you willing to accept?

Don’t let another persons definition of those things define the individual you become, and never allow yourself to be redefined in such a way that you lose the very essence of what made you so uniquely wonderful in the first place.

I remembered sitting on my mothers porch that day that, first and foremost, I am a child of God and He would not have approved of the woman I was becoming; the kind of woman who had belittled herself so much that she didn’t know how deserving she was of all the things He wanted her to have.

After that day, I began to feel the traces of doubt, fear, and indecision leave and that allowed me to open my heart to love…a real love.

I never worried about that guy again because I trusted that God would bring me someone infinitely better, and he did. I was blessed with a man who was more than any dream or fairytale could have predicted.

We’ll celebrate our 14th year together this October.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what religious principles you subscribe to, or what philosophy you choose to lead your life by, we are all touched and molded by love. In the end the most important thing to remember is to be open to a love that doesn’t attempt to change who you are, but rather makes the person you already are better.