The Girl Power Emmys Speeches Every Girl Needs To Hear

I want to start off by saying, it’s been entirely too long since my last blog post.

Between sickness, hurricanes, work stress, & life in general, I just haven’t had the creative energy to write.

Thankfully, I was inspired by all of the badass acceptance speeches I heard from women at this year’s Emmys. Even though women are still grossly underrepresented in Hollywood, this year’s Emmy awards featured huge wins for women’s stories on and offstage. The remarkable women that created and portrayed the stories in this year’s television shows were given the credit that they were due.

Honestly, most importantly, these stories and these actresses addressed so many important social issues facing the world today.

So apparently, I need to watch The Handmaid’s Tale because it cleaned-up trophy wise. Elizabeth Moss won for her role in THT, while Julia Louis-Dreyfus won for Best Actress in a Comedy for her role in Veep, making her winning-est actor in a single role of all time. I personally was hoping for an Ellie Kemper win for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but holy shit. What a cool accomplishment for Julia Louis-Dreyfus!

Lena Waithe, writer and star in Netflix’s Masters of None, won for Outstanding Writing For a Comedy Series for the “Thanksgiving” episode, making her the first black woman to win in that category. The episode largely centered around Denise’s struggles with getting her family to accept her identity, and she gave a shout out to the “L-G-B-T-Q-I-A community” at the end of her speech:

“I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different—those are our super powers. Every day, when you walk out the door, put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world. Because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it.” My tears were rolling by this point. It was beautiful that Aziz allowed her to have this moment, even if it meant he wasn’t able to speak.

Beyond taking home a big prize for Best Limited Series, it was a huge night for the cast of Big Little Lies, the HBO drama based on the novel by Liane Moriarty. The show was a passion project of Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, who cited their motivations for getting the show made as a means to deliver better roles for women.

Both women starred in and served as executive producers on the show, which placed an intense emphasis on domestic violence and the complex relationships between women.

Kidman won her first Emmy for her portrayal of Celeste Wright, an attorney whose seemingly perfect marriage is laid over a deeply abusive relationship. Kidman was vocal about how difficult the role was for her, and she touched again on the dire importance of continuing to discuss domestic abuse:

“We shined a light on domestic abuse. It is a complicated, insidious disease. It exists far more than we allow ourselves to know. It is filled with shame and secrecy, and by you acknowledging me with this award, it shines a light on it even more.”

In another big win for Big Little Lies, Laura Dern came home with her first Emmy after being nominated six times, and despite the celebrated actress’ illustrious career, she was quick to call out why working on a show that placed such an immense focus on the lives of women was so important to her: “I’ve been acting since I was 11 years old, and I think I’ve worked with maybe 12 women.”

“Thank you to Nicole and Reese’s moms for not only giving us extraordinary women, but really well-read women, because that’s how I’m getting parts. …I feel very proud to be reflecting fierce women and mothers finding their voice.”

This last one isn’t girl power, but it’s just as inspiring. Lastly, honorary shoutout to Sterling K. Brown, who won Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role in The Is Us. He’s the first black actor to win in that category in nearly two decades, and bizarrely, he was cut off mid-speech by the play-off music. As Brown continued to issue his thank-yous over the music that, which as he noted, was louder for him than others, the broadcast promptly cut to commercial.

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Making space for a positive mindset

Did you know the average person has an estimated 70,000 thoughts per day! Living with anxiety, I’m almost positive mine is double that, at least.

Take a moment to think about the thoughts that run through your mind.
Are they positive and uplifting? “Today is going to be amazing!” Or negative and self-defeating? “I don’t want to go to work. Today’s gonna suck.”

Positive thoughts boost your mood, spirit, and tend to generate even more positivity and happiness in your life. That’s a no brainer, right? If only it were that easy.

Of course we all know that negative thoughts negatively impact your mood, your day, and your life overall. I feel like I let myself get too caught up in the negative headspace, because to be honest, it’s easier. It’s easier to throw myself a pity party and bask in the negativity. But then, I end up in a cycle. Wake up, bad mood, bad day. I take it out on family, friends, and co-workers. We’ve all been there, right?

The good news is there’s things we can do to break this vicious cycle. Choices we can make and things we can eliminate.

Things to let go of

  • Negative self talk. Bashing yourself on a daily basis takes a toll. Be nice to yourself.
  • Limiting beliefs. Replace beliefs that just aren’t serving you anymore and rework
    them to into self-supporting goals.
  • Resisting change. If you want different results, do something different. Make change small. There’s no need to create chaos in the name of change.
  • Comparing yourself to others. I love to say “Comparison is the thief of joy” and it’s so true. Comparing yourself is like discarding everything you’ve got going for you at this very moment. Using someone else as a benchmark is healthier than
    comparing yourself, so distinguish between comparison and admiring. Shoot for admiration.

Make space for

  • Gratitude. Even when you think you don’t have it all, focus on what you
    have today. Keep a gratitude journal and each day write down five thoughts you are grateful for.
  • Surrounding yourself with like-minded, uplifting people. People who are vibrating on the same positive frequency will keep you grounded, inspired, and connected to your greater life’s purpose. They will help you believe in yourself, too.
  • Reflection. Take time to reflect, meditate, or simply release all thoughts and
    emotions. Create stillness in a quiet space and get back to a neutral state of mind and body.
  • Doing good for someone else. Focus your energy on lifting up someone else and notice how your spirits elevate as well. I volunteer with HeartSupport and it’s amazing how much helping people through their organization builds my spirit. My spirit thrives when I’m pouring happiness into other people. Find an organization that matters to you and spend time volunteering.

What things have you tried that help you get in a more positive mindset? Tell me in the comments below!

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Mixtape Monday: The Solar Eclipse Edition

Today is an abbreviated version of Mixtape Monday, because I can’t resist a pun driven playlist. As you most likely (hopefully!) know, today’s the Solar Eclipse and people are going nuts. I honestly saw a couple set up in a tent on the side of the road selling “eclipse glasses” for $45 a pair & people buying them!

So however you’re choosing to celebrate today’s Solar Eclipse, enjoy this short Solar Eclipse playlist while you watch. Get the playlist here.

  1. It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)– R.E.M
  2. Steal My Sunshine– Len
  3. Total Eclipse of the Heart– Bonnie Tyler
  4. Dancing in the Moonlight- King Harvest
  5. Eclipse– Pink Floyd

Have a magical eclipse!

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Girl Power Fridays: Tara Hamilton of ARRO Comic

We’re back with another Girl Power Friday, where I highlight fellow ladies I look up to that make kickass art, run their own business, or are just all around amazing and wonderful.

Today I’m highlighting Tara Hamilton of ARRO Comic. I first met Tara at MomoCon back in May. Her art work immediately caught my eye & while talking to her, I found out she’s also originally from Chattanooga, so of course that made me like her more.

Her artwork is amazing. I got 2 incredible posters, including one of “American Royalty” featuring Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and other fierce female pop culture icons. (You can see the poster in the picture below.) I also got the “Everything is ok” poster which hangs in my office and has been quite the conversation piece from people who have stopped by.

Image of Posters

Below is my interview with Tara. Please, please do yourself a favor and check out her work at www.arrocomic.com

Q1: How long have you been creating art & writing comics? What got you started?
I have this really long answer about trying to make comics in high school and failing to connect with a writer three – four times and having to start from scratch with each new person (no one wants to build off of some stranger’s notes). But the end of that story is a chance meeting with a writer, Ali Burke, whose writing style ended up being an amazing match to my art style. We crafted this semi-apocalyptic world (anyone still there? I promise it ain’t like that) that felt unique to our knowledge and built characters around that world. A few characters were able to stick around from high school (Jon ((who was loosely based on my high school crush/later became my husband. It was awkward when we realized I had been drawing him subconsciously years before we started dating)) and Harrison) we started working on it in 2009, took a break for life stuff and knowing there wasn’t a fanbase yes, then started back in 2015.
Q2: Where do you draw your inspiration for ARRO and for your prints?
ARRO: Jesus, at this point, the news? Ali and I send each other notes and news articles all the time about green energy developments, refugee crises, RVs and big rigs, etc etc. The core of the story is the characters, though. We take inspiration from all over for them. Trying to keep them grounded and really understand where they are coming from and why they would willingly go out into the wilds of North America after years of being quarantined off from the rest of the world.
Prints: Dumb stuff that happens, weird trains of thought about the comic, and most importantly: mini stories I come up with in my head while doodling. Most of the rando prints of people not in the comic come from there, haha. Weird.
Q3: If you have one, what is your favorite piece that you’ve ever done?
I spent the longest time on this one, very proud of it: http://fffend.tumblr.com/post/161704338204/full-cast-arrocomiccom-arrocomic
But also this one because I freaking love drawing Jon’s hair: http://fffend.tumblr.com/post/141903158939/arrocomiccom-melissa-makes-her-own-fun
Q4: What advice do you have for other women looking to break into a traditionally male dominated space like comic books?
Collaborate, teach, and make a community. Don’t exclude males, just make a community. Help each other. If you want to get into this world it isn’t for money or fame, you have to believe in your work and find others that can nurture it. I started and co-run a group in Chattanooga Tennessee called Chatt Comix Co-Op, we make anthologies, print them at a local print shop, and are lucky enough to have the support of a local comic shop that is willing to hostus and our bi-weekly meetings. I think anyone can make this happen. If you talk to enough people in your town you’re bound to find people that are into creating comics. We had a lot of people that had never created comics come in and blow us away! We are now making a minicomix con for 2018 because: why not?
Follow ARRO Comic on Tumblr & Instagram

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4 Things I Learned in College

Back-to-School season is in full-swing, and although I’m long graduated from both high school & college, I still feel a familiarity in the air and the urge to buy school supplies.

Both my younger sisters head back for their 2nd and last year (!!!) of college, respectively, today and it got me thinking about my own college experience, what I learned, what I missed, and what I certainly do not miss. (2 jobs, an internship, and 18 credit hours. Never again.) So in the spirit of my sisters not always loving me trying to impart my big sister wisdom on them, I thought I’d share my thoughts with the rest of the free world.

It seems tough, but it gets better 

This is a cliche as old as time, but it’s actually true here. When I first started college, I had no idea what I wanted to major in, no idea how to live on my own, and no idea how to balance my suddenly super unstructured lifestyle. Eventually though, I found my groove. I learned that if I wanted to keep my scholarship, I’d make studying a priority. If I wanted to eat, I’d go to work. If I liked having running water, I’d pay the bills. Your fight or flight instincts will always take over and suddenly you’re wondering what you were so worried about anyway.

Take care of yourself

Of course school and work are important, but so is your health, both physical and mental. So many college students get stressed out & their health really takes a toll. I know mine did. My anxiety was at its height in college. I learned quickly to take advantage of the free counseling services and health clinics that most colleges provide. You can schedule appointments around your school schedule and of course, saving $$$ is always a bonus. Also, FOMO is so real in college. Unlike high school, your course schedules don’t always match up with your friends, so while they’re Snapchatting pictures from the Kendrick Lamar concert, you might be holed up in the library cramming for tomorrow’s history exam. Don’t let the FOMO get you down & make the most of the free time you do have. Quality of free time activities > quantity of activities accomplished.

You actually have to study

In high school, I didn’t really have to study. When I got to college, I quickly realized that I didn’t have any studying skills. For my first semester, I let it panic me. I actually ended up in the free clinic with a caffeine overdose from trying to cram for my biology exam. I had to find things that worked for me, that weren’t going to send me into an early onset heart attack. For me, notecards & highlighters were the move. I probably should have bought stock in Post-It for all the notecards I was going through. Find a study tactic that works for you & use it. It will be your college bff.

You don’t have to be friends with everyone

Speaking of BFF’s, you don’t have to be friends with everyone in college. Not to say you shouldn’t be friendly towards people, but unlike high school, you don’t see the same people every day depending on the size of your university. If there’s a girl who’s mean to you, ignore her. If someone is toxic for you, don’t surround yourself with people like them. In college, I learned it’s best to stay open. Be open to people that may have not been in your clique in high school, be open to forgiving that high school bully should you guys end up at the same university. If you stay open, you never know what friendships you’ll find.

proud

My very proud parents bombarding me with hugs on my college graduation day.

Good luck to everyone starting school this year! And if you’re at KSU, go have a bowl of soft-serve in the Commons for me. Go Owls!

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{Things to do} The Chattanooga Market

If you know me, you’ll know that I L-O-V-E a good farmer’s market and/or craft fair. I’m serious about the craft fairs. The high schools around where I live do them every Fall, in preparation for the holiday season. I get extremely turnt on this. It’s like my Super Bowl. I go to brunch, hit up the craft fair, & then come home and nap. It’s honestly more like I’m 86 than 26.

The Chattanooga Market is a year-round craft fair/farmer’s market/food truck park/dreamland for me. I went for the first time last weekend and I’m already trying to justify another trip up 75 to hit up the market again this weekend. The market takes place every Sunday from 11a-4pm in the First Tennessee Pavilion right in Downtown Chattanooga.

First, we’ll start with the food. There was SO much of it. I got some of the elephant garlic (pictured below) and it’s the most fragrant, fresh garlic I’ve ever worked with. It’s a bit difficult to peel, but well worth the effort.

There were also tons of food trucks, a pop-up boba tea shop, produce vendors, vegan food vendors, German bakery booths, and any kind of food you could possibly think of as far as the eye could see. I stopped by the German bakery booth for pretzel bread & by the Seven Sisters Scone booth to pick up a Bacon, Cheese & Chive scone. So freakin’ good.  I also picked up Mocha Granola from Noke’s Granola (officially my new favorite granola!) &  Strawberry Sage tea from Positiffitea. I’m obsessed. I honestly cannot believe I made it through 26 years of my life without this tea.

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Besides the food, another highlight of the market was all of the indie vendors. Some of my favorite purchases were the knitted Groot in a pot, the key necklace (that says “grl pwr” of course!) from Jill of All Trades, the Pocahontas necklace from Thursday Night Jewelry Co.

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But my MOST favorite part of the market? The design your own bouquet booth! For $20, you pick a few flowers, hand them over, and they create magical, huge, & heavy bouquets full of fresh goodness. I got the last sunflower in the whole market. I cannot suggest Chattanooga Market enough as an amazing Sunday activity. Be sure to bring some reusable bags to tote around all of your finds & maybe a cooler full of ice to keep your produce fresh if you’re coming from ATL like I am. You can find out more about Chattanooga Market on their website here: http://publicmarkets.us/events/

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Mixtape Monday: The Disney Channel Original Movie Edition

So this week, we’re doing something a bit different. I usually give you guys a Spotify playlist to listen to while you read or on-the-go, making everything super convenient. Speaking of, if you missed last week’s Feelin’ Good playlist, you can listen to it HERE.

Because of the nature of this week’s theme, not all of them are on Spotify, so instead, I’ve included YouTube links. It’s gonna be one big nostalgia fest, so strap in.

This week’s theme is songs from Disney Channel Original Movies aka the soundtrack of my childhood. Just click the song title to open the YouTube link and enjoy.

To get us all in the DCOM mindset, let’s start with this gem.

  1. Supernova Girl: Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999): Zeetus lapedus, this song rules.
  2. Slam Dunk (Da Funk): Smart House (1999): It’s embarrassing how many times I watched and re-watched this scene so I could learn the dance.
  3. What Dreams are made of: The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003): *screams along* THIS IS WHAT DREEEAAAMMMS ARE MADE OF
  4. Gotta Go My Own Way: High School Musical 2 (2007): I was well past the demographic age for this movie when it came out, but it didn’t stop me from watching it, loving it, and sobbing my eyeballs out when this song played. Troy & Gabriella forever.
  5. This Is Me: Camp Rock (2008): Arguably the most inspirational DCOM song ever.
  6. Get’cha Head In The Game: High School Musical (2006): So, you basketball boys think Troy wanting to do a musical is lame, but you all know a choreographed dance with basketball props…? Seems legit.
  7. Get a Clue: Get a Clue (2002): Tell me this isn’t poetry: “Wake up, who knew. It’s me, it’s you. Get a clue.”
  8. One Girl Revolution: Cadet Kelly (2002): YAS QUEENS. GIRL POWER.
  9. Call Me, Beep Me: Kim Possible: So The Drama (2005): Ugh, so the drama.
  10. My Date With the President’s Daughter theme song: My Date With the President’s Daughter (1998): It’s been 19 years since this movie’s release and I’m still salty that I could never find a pink velvet dress like Hallie’s.
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