Tag Archives: inspiration

A Positive Message For Millenials: Life is Messy. But I Believe in You.

There’s been a surge of posts against millenials. If your social media feed looking anything like mine, you saw this woman dissing millenials shared by multiple people. It’s fine. We’re used to it. Heck, we’ve been the butt of people’s jokes or blamed for all the world’s problems since the early 2000’s. We’re entitled, yet we’re broke. We’re budding entrepreneurs, yet we have no work ethic. We are paving the way of technology, yet we don’t know how to cope without our phones. We are the future, but we’re terrible people.

And you wonder why our generation has such high anxiety. 

merida

Well, I have something to say about that.

GET OFF OUR BACKS!!

I am a part of the generation defined as millenial. And you know what, I work damn hard. Since college I have worked anywhere from 1-3 jobs at a time so that I could pay all my own bills. And I know a lot of other millenials who are busting ass too. Sure there are some that give our generation a bad rap. But I’ve also met, even managed, my share of busy-body boomers and let me just say, you’re not a peach to be around all the time either. 

So to my fellow millenials who are trying to pave their own path in a pessimistic world, let me share with you what I’ve learned coming down the pike so that you can know in your very gut that you are seen, you are worth listening to, and you will survive all the crap people say about you on the internet. And most importantly, I believe in you.

i got you

Truth: Life is messy.

No matter how old you are, that’s a fact. We’re led to believe that as we age, we get wiser. We expect that things won’t be as difficult to figure out in adulthood– that we’ll be more confident in our abilities, that we’ll learn to love our bodies and wish we hadn’t shamed them so much when we were young. And while all that is true, we absolutely gain perspective and experience, life can still be just as confusing as it was before.

Life is messy, even as an adult.

robert downey jr

We all deal with setbacks in our lives. Didn’t get in the program you wanted to, didn’t win the contest, didn’t get the job, didn’t get the boy/girl. We don’t know when these hardships will hit us. We don’t know how we’ll respond. We just have to do our best and hope we come out stronger.

When we are in the midst of a dilemma, it feels all consuming. We lose sleep worrying about the what if’s, we stress eat all the chocolate in the house. But once we’re past the unknowing stage of things, it turns into the Lord Voldemort of life lines – “that period that shall not be named.”

I, like so many millenials, believed that by the time I turned 30, I’d “have it all figured out.” That is just not the case.

But what I have learned is that’s completely ok. 

So don’t let the negative things they say about our generation dictate your life. You are the main character in your own story.

harry potter

Remember You Can Always Start Over

start again

One of the most positive things to come out of the millenial generation is our abundant optimism. My parents’ generation was hard set in the belief that you worked for one place until retirement and that was that. For millenials, that’s just not the case. We are the generation that exemplifies multiple careers and life experience. We change our jobs, we take time off to travel and we work from home as needed. We are paving a new kind of entrepreneurship and that’s fucking exciting.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

mean girls

That expectation to “have it all figured out” is the greatest barrier to actually doing so. Who cares if the girl next to you makes life look easier? You never know what others are dealing with when they leave the office. You never know what the story of a relationship is except the one you’re in. So don’t spend your time imagining impossible scenarios around you that make you feel less than. Be hardcore. Be your best self.

Never Stop Learning

hands

Think about your favorite teachers and mentors you had in school. What made them inspiring, trustworthy and encouraging? I bet one of their skillsets was listening to you and treating you as someone with valuable ideas and talents. Reflect that back into the world. Never stop learning from those around you, whether it’s an older coworker who’s been in the business longer or your five your old niece who colors outside the lines. Being open to the things others can teach you, will help you be a better listener, learner, and teacher too.

Live in the Moment

fred

It’s far too easy to beat yourself up over age timelines. You know you’ve made them. “By the time I’m 30, I will…” It’s great to set goals, you should do that. But don’t forget to live in the moment. Your goals need to be realistic and manageable. Wanting to be a famous singer by the time you’re 25 isn’t going to happen if you’re going to school, practicing intermittently, and too scared to sing on stage. You’ve got to do the work now that will pay off later. The good part? That means making mistakes. Yes, make them! Try new things, push yourself, and learn to strengthen your skills. 

Take Stock of Your Successes

katy perry

I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at accepting compliments on my work. I want them, sure, but I’m also my own worst critic and quick to downgrade the successes I’ve had. One of the best things I ever did when I first started blogging was to write down three things I had learned or accomplished each day. It was too easy to focus on what others were achieving and pressuring myself that I wasn’t good enough. By recording my learning moments and accomplishments along the way, I changed my focus to how much I was growing and that I was headed in the right direction, even if I wasn’t getting there as fast as I wanted to. I was still making progress, still moving forward. Don’t be your worst critic, be your best advocate.

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Life is and always will be messy.

The good news is we have the power to shape our perspective on it. We don’t get to choose when setbacks come or how they’ll hit us. We don’t get to choose what society says about our generation. But we have a choice in how we respond. And with any luck, and a lot of time, all the junk we go through will just be “that period that shall not be named” and we will be bigger badasses for it.

Hey Millenials! You’re awesome! 

awesome

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The Ultimate Mix CD Revealed + Giveaway Winners

I thought it was time I revealed the master playlists from the Phenomenal Woman and Cafe Mixes. Every year I create 2 mix cds as gifts for my mom and sister – a phenomenal woman mix full of upbeat dance tunes, and a cafe mix for relaxing at home. I’ve enlisted help from the blogosphere for the past several years in finding just the right tunes to add and I hosted a giveaway for those that shared ideas.

Thank you all so much for sharing your musical suggestions with me. To see all the recommendations, check out The Ultimate Mix CD Project.

Here are the winning contenders!

Phenomenal Woman Mix:

1. Shake It Off  by Taylor Swift

2. Hideaway by Kiesza

3. Mother and Father by Broods

4. His Gorgeousness by The Shoe

5. Tough Love by Jessie Ware

6. Ghost by Ella Henderson

7. My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit

8. The Chain by Brandi Carlile

9. Knots by Lisa Hannigan

10. Gun by CHVRCHES

11. Coffee by Sylvan Esso

12. Wings by Birdy

13. Safe & Sound by Savannah Berry

14. Pompeii by Jasmine Thompson

15. Wolf by First Aid Kit

16. Last Bus Out by Jillette Johnson

17. Spectrum by Florence + the Machine

18. Beating Heart by Ellie Goulding

19. Higher by Lia Ices

20. Rockstar by Emily Kinney

21. Enough by The Mrs.

*****

Cafe Mix:

1. Paper Cup by The Shoe

2. Long Way Off by Gungor

3. Fare Thee Well by Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford

4. Kids by Emily Kinney

5. Stay With Me by Bernhoft

6. Michigan by The Milk Carton Kids

7. Li’l Red Riding Hood by Laura Gibson

8. Just Another Day by Stacey Earle

9. I See Fire by Ed Sheeran

10. Come Out Wherever You Are by Paul Cook & The Chronicles

11. Like a Dream by Francis and the Lights

12. Woodstock by Joni Mitchell

13. Somebody That I Used to Know by Madilyn Bailey & Jake Coco

14. Mull of Kintyre by Wings

15. Be Not So Fearful by A.C. Newman

16. Shadow on the Wall by Brandi Carlile

17. Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars

18. 18th of December by The Deep Dark Woods

19. You and Me by You + Me

20. Go To Sleep by The Avett Brothers

*****

There are the ultimate playlists! Happy listening.

And the winners of the cd giveaway are…

Lauralynn Elliott and Susan Dahlstrom

Congrats ladies!

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What were your favorite tunes of the past year?
Find any new favorites from these playlists?

 

Beauty of a Woman Blogfest: 1 Billion Rising

Happy Beauty of a Woman Blogfest Day!

Today, women and men of all ages are posting around the country on the topics of women’s beauty and sexuality. It’s a celebration of what each individual connects with, be it their favorite body part, a life changing epiphany, a female mentor they have, their desires for the future, and more!

The blogfest’s creator is August McLaughlin, a writer, dear friend, and founder of the #GirlBoner movement – in which she blogs and hosts a radio show surrounding women’s sexuality.

She’s amazing. You can follow her on Twitter @AugstMcLaughlin or check out the conversations around Girl Boner or Beauty of a Woman at the following hashtags: #GirlBoner & #BOAW3.

You can read all of the posts in the Beauty of a Woman blogfest by clicking here and seeing the full list of participants on August’s blog! Guest bloggers and readers are eligible to win gift card prizes between $5 and $50!

For my part in the blogfest, I wanted to share with you a movement called 1 Billion Rising that I’ve been involved with. It stands for 1 Billion Rising for Justice, and it’s partnered with the V-Day organization. The V-Day organization was started by author and playwright, Eve Ensler, who wrote The Vagina Monologues. As a women’s studies minor in college, I took part in the annual Monolgues show to raise money for our local women’s shelter every Valentine’s weekend.

The goals of both V-Day and 1 Billion Rising are to end violence against women. Now, every February 14th, these organizations host events for victims of violence and those who support them to gather in public spaces and seek justice. The events include everything from meeting with city officials to the more emotional release of artwork and dance.

This year 1 Billion Rising is also hosting a challenge on Instagram. Using the hashtag #instaRISE, they’re calling for photos that demonstrate your inner activist – showing off the quotes, body parts, artwork, dance moves, friendships, and more so the movement keeps on rising!

It’s not to late to get involved!

Here is the #instaRISE photo challenge:

instaRISE

For this year’s Beauty of a Woman blogfest, I thought I’d share my #instaRISE photos because being a part of a national movement that celebrates women and stands up against violence is important – and beautiful – to me!

Day 1: Justice – Show off your inner activist! – We sold these t-shirts when I president of the Women’s Studies Student Association in college. 

feminism

Day 2: JustSPEAK – Share a phrase that inspires you. – Adrienne Rich’s collection of poems, The Fact of a Doorframe, was my Bible for years. 

Adrienne Rich quoteDay 3: My Short Skirt (from The Vagina Monologues story, My Short Skirt)

My Short Skirt

Day 4: V-Day – Show off your Rebel Red

rebel red

Day 5: V-Girls – Power Pink – A shade for every mood you’re in: sophisticated, flirty, sporty, confident, girlie?

perfume

Day 6: JustUs – Friends – Me with the cast of The Vagina Monologues, 2006 – I performed ‘The Vagina Workshop’ which is one of my favorite stories.

vagina monologues

Day 7: JustMe – Selfie

Rise

Your turn! Get involved! Today’s post is JustBe – a shot of outdoors.
Share your own #instaRISE photos; I’d love to see them! You can connect with me on Instagram here or twitter: @jesswitkins.

And don’t forget to check out the other Beauty of a Woman blog posts!
What makes you feel beautiful?

3 Lessons Learned From 3 Years of Blogging

Last month was my blog anniversary. I started blogging 3 years ago on a dare. I had just finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. I was talking about it with my boyfriend and how I wanted to start writing again when he dared me to…

“Start a blog.”

I can do that!

So I did.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years.

1. The Blogosphere Rocks and Comments are Verbal Gold

I am forever grateful to those first few people who started commenting on my blog, and even more so to the ones still around today. I’ve been given amazing opportunity to connect with other bloggers/writers on various projects and it’s always rewarding. Groups like the WANAs, ROW80, and the Life List Club have all helped me push forward with not just my writing goals, but personal goals as well.

Hanging with the WANAs at DFWcon

Hanging with the WANAs at DFWcon

When I made the difficult decision to quit my job, without a back up plan, my blog friends supported me and some even contacted me with potential job leads. They didn’t have to do that, and that’s why it meant the world. When I’ve shared vulnerable posts about writing slumps, not going back to school, and heck – shitting my pants! – you’ve stuck by me and your comments keep me going. Thank you!

2. Trust Your Gut

My blog has transformed many times over the years. And so has my writing. The first book I started, and consequently restarted and rewrote 10+ times, was a paranormal YA!

Noooo, there were not vampires in it. (Although, I think it would be fine if there were!)

I always wanted to write a comical memoir, but I let people or situations get in the way. When I made it a priority to “tell my story” I had the first draft written in 4 months time. I’ve never been as far in the writing process or felt like I was on the right track as I do now.

Life of a Writer

3. Change is inevitable.

Similar to the previous lesson, change is inevitable. If I stopped moving forward just because I worried about how a topic or change on my blog would go over, I probably wouldn’t be celebrating a blog anniversary right now. Allowing my blog to grow with me as I learn and reflect, benefits not just me, but my readers as well.

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Thank you everyone for reading!

And for joining me on my journey to make pathetic look cool. 😀

What’s a life lesson that’s been on your mind lately?

Tune in Monday to join me and my guest, Amber West, discussing cats vs. dogs, parenting advice, what to watch on television, and her thriller with a twist – The Ruth Valley Missing!

51 Things to Do Before Summer’s Over

Are you like me and shocked that summer is halfway over? Where did all the sun go? One moment it was still long pants and sweatshirts, and then we were in insta-heatwave! I went from months of unemployment to jumping into a full time executive job! Since I’m back to my precious 2 days off a week, I’ve compiled a “To Do” list of fun summer activities!

Care to join me?

51 Things To Do Before Summer’s Over

1. Sleep In – Be a bum.

2. Find a new TV show.

There’s not a lot of worthwhile shows on TV now, but you can learn what is out there by reading Tiffany A. White’s blog. Use the downtime to check out a new TV series you’ve been meaning to watch and haven’t. I rent all mine from the Public Library, but their available to rent or stream for free on many online sites as well. Some of my favorite shows ever: Dexter, Six Feet Under, True Blood, Desperate Housewives, The Vampire Diaries, The United States of Tara, Ugly Betty, Big Love, The L Word, and Weeds. What am I watching this summer? Tiffany and Julie Glover just got this girl addicted to Pretty Little Liars.

3. Hit the beach. (Or river, lake, pond near you)

100_12644. Watch it rain, or better yet, thunderstorm.

5. Make a summer music playlist comprised of tunes that remind you of picnics, vacations, and driving with the windows down.

6. Get crafty.

Piper Bayard made her own Grumpy Cat for a blog giveaway. Read all about it here!

Photo by Piper Bayard

7. Write a letter to someone you haven’t talked to in awhile.

8. Drink ice tea.

9. Take a mini road trip. Try a restaurant out of town or go to one of those places you pass by on billboards all the time.

100_224810. Grill out.

11. Have a water balloon fight.

12. Go hiking. Find a view.

Jess on Bluff13. Create your signature smoothie.

14. Go out for ice cream at a sweet shoppe.

15. Cut your hair short (or try a new ‘do).

16. Laze away in a hammock.

17. Take a class you’ve always wanted to. Yoga? Salsa dancing? Zumba?

18. Catch up on summer reading.

Writer/blogger Patricia Sands is partnering up with some amazing writers to offer their books for FREE now thru August 15th! Check out the available titles and stock up here!

Want to win a FREE paperback from my shelf to yours? Check out my book giveaway HERE!

19. Throw a theme party. See some of my faves below.

  • Make your own hat
  • The Beatles – Dress as a band member or song lyric
  • 80’s Night
  • Non-Traditional Student Prom

20. Go camping.

DSCF074221. Read a ghost story. At night. Outside.

22. Complain about the weather.

My comedian friend, Todd Youngman, shared this video with me and I’m still laughing! For more laughs, check out his facebook page! He’s really good at silly comments and photoshop. Once found a picture of him riding a unicorn! Are you jelly? (that’s slang for jealous)

23. Look at the stars.

24. Concerts in the park.

25. Celebrate the weird National Holidays.

  • August 1st: National Friendship Day & National Raspberry Cream Pie Day
  • August 6th: National Wiggle Your Toes Day
  • August 8th: National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night
  • August 13th: National Blame Someone Else Day
  • August 17th: National Thrift Shop Day
  • August 19th: National Potato Day
  • August 25th: National Kiss and Make up Day
  • August 30th: National Toasted Marshmallow Day

26. Attend a baseball game.

27. Have a clothes swap. Or donate your clothes to charity.

28. Start a secret society. (The first rule about secret societies is you don’t talk about secret societies.)

29. Journal

skywriting

30. Go to the library.

31. Write a novel.  😉

32. Play a board game.

33. Wear sunscreen.

34. Sing a song. Or write one!

35. Do something with those photos stockpiled on your camera. Buy a collage frame or album and show them off!

36. Meet Peachez. She’s a celebrity! She has more followers than I do.

37. Give yourself a mantra. Tell yourself you’re beautiful at least once a day.

38. Showcase some zany lawn art.

100_213239. Learn a new language.

40. Have an adventure. Bring your camera.

41. Host a sleepover. Make pizza. Stay up late.

43. Stay cool indoors by watching YouTube videos that make you laugh.

44. Meditate.

45. Quote movie lines.

46. Take a bath or long shower.

47. Jump on a trampoline. Hoolahoop. Booga Booga.

48. Host your own American Gladiators Tournament.

49. Take a walking tour. Check your library or historical society for local tours.

50. Go bowling.

51. Go to a midnight movie premier.

What other fun ideas do you want to do this summer?

What to Watch on Date Night?

It’s no secret. I love movies. I would watch one every day if I could. Joe and I have been having some date night movie nights, and I thought I’d share some ideas to watch.

How to Pick a Movie for Date Night

Wine for the MoviesHow did that get there???

So you want to watch a movie, but don’t know what to pick, right? For this edition, we’ll focus on a few comedies and great storylines you’ll both enjoy!

Sports Movies You’ll Both Love!

The Cutting Edge

Starring D.B. Sweeney as an ex-hockey player whose only forward option is to partner figure skate with Olympic hopeful Moira Kelly. It’s the love story of opposites. Sweeney is playful, both in the rink and off. But Kelly is all hard work and practice. Can the two of them meet in the middle to win Olympic gold?

Major League

This movie is one of my favorites! A group of ball players, hand selected to be the worst team ever, push together to win the pennant. And if there’s a little romance story hidden amongst the locker room humor, the better for me!

Mr. Baseball

Another classic oldie but goodie. Tom Selleck stars as a once big ball player in the states who gets signed to the Japanese Dragons. Dumped in a new country where the customs and the etiquette of the game are different, it’s going to take some learning to get used to. Plus, Selleck is in top form in this movie. Fans of Three Men and a Baby will get the same humor they know and love.

Trouble With the Curve

Great cast of Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake! Eastwood plays a scout whose eyesight is failing. Adams is the estranged, but dutiful, daughter who goes scouting with him to help. And Timberlake is a new scout with a whole lot of respect for Eastwood. A smart movie that deals with the politics of baseball as well as family relationships. This one is sure to have something for everyone.

Field of Dreams

“If you build it, they will come.” – Field of Dreams is one of those iconic inspirational films you both will enjoy. When a corn farmer (Costner) starts hearing voices, he believes he’s supposed to build a baseball diamond in his yard. Some of the greatest ball players in history start to visit him, and this feel good movie takes off!

A League of Their Own

In my opinion, one can’t go wrong with Geena Davis. Men and women love her. Add to that Tom Hanks and Madonna, a movie full of history, laughter, baseball, and conflict will capture both your hearts. Just remember “there’s no crying in baseball!”

Cool Runnings

Based on the true story of the first Jamaican Olympic Bobsledding Team. It’s family friendly, full of laughs, and an inspirational story to boot. Add John Candy as their trainer and you’ve got classic 90’s humor.

Remember the Titans

Another true story of a high school football team’s evolution into mixed race games. Denzel Washington plays the newly hired African American coach who must unite his team together if they’re going to survive the season. Great soundtrack here as well.

Those are some of our favorites! What are yours?

What sports movies do you love to watch that double as great date night flicks?

The Happiness Project Award Show

LIVE FROM THE PARTHENON: Pat Benatar and Tricia Nixon!

— Quote from Mystery Science Theater 3000, Manos the Hands of Fate

*****

It’s The Happiness Project Award Show

Happy Monday Everyone! I’ve been a lucky girl to receive 3 WHOLE AWARDS this past week! Still, I have a suspicion that the award bearers will try to redact their nominations after my last post’s guilty confession. 😉 So I must make this public NOW!

Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome himself, David N. Walker, nominated me for the WordPress Family Award! I’m very honored to have this title as it was my WordPress family who motivated me to keep writing! David is a part of that family and you should check out his award post because he nominated some of my favorite people in the blogosphere! Big hugs and high fives to all my WP peeps!

Then Mary Wallace, aka ViolaFury, made my Sunday by bestowing me with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and another Liebster Award (Liebster means ‘friend’)! I really got to know Mary through ROW80, and she’s such a cheerleader for her fellow writers. Her comments and kindness (and Christmas cards) always make me smile! Her award post is chock full of writers I need to check out, so be sure you do too!

One of the fun parts of these blog awards is learning new things about the bloggers you follow. Mary answered 11 questions about herself and challenged me to do the same, so here goes:

1. What is your favorite video game?

The only one I was ever good at was Mario Brothers, but I have a fondness for both Mega-Man and Battle Toads. Therefore, it must be a three-way tie.

2. Do you prefer sleeping on a soft surface or hard surface?

I like a firmer mattress.

3. What is the most unusual food you have tried?

Baby octopus or squid head, both in South Korea

I'm holding a tentacle in my chopsticks!

I’m holding a tentacle in my chopsticks!

4. What is your favorite odd food or meal?

When I was little I was a big fan of french toast with gravy…

5. What is the first sense you turn to when describing something in your writing (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch)?

Sight. I’m a visual person, followed by smell. I don’t hear so good, unless I’m trying to sleep and then I hear EVERYTHING!

6. What is one of the cutest things you have ever seen in your life?

My niece and goddaughter, Sonja.

It's an old shot, she's four now, but it's still my favorite one of us.

It’s an old shot, she’s four now, but it’s still my favorite one of us.

7. What is the ugliest thing you have ever seen or experienced?

Pooping my pants in public wasn’t exactly ideal.

8. Do you prefer typing or writing with a pen and paper?

When working on my book, I type. It’s just faster. But when thinking up ideas for it, or journaling in general, always pen and paper.

I get to start a new journal soon! Always exciting!

9. What is your favorite thing to drink?

This one’s hard. It depends on what I’m doing.

For writing: Green Tea Lattes

After a workout: Ice water or a Smoothie

Night in: Red wine

Hiking: Red wine in a canteen

10. Do you prefer road trips, airline travel, train travel, other when going long distances?

All of the above – YES! When do we leave?

11. What is your favorite way to watch TV/movies? (as in do you watch on a big screen, your laptop, TIVO…)

I watch some shows on my laptop, but we don’t have TIVO or Netflix. I get all my movies from the library and watch them on the TV.

*****

Ok, folks, here’s what I want to do! Let’s all nominate 2 bloggers and share links to their sites in the comments! Nominate one for the WordPress Family (or Liebster Award if blogspot’s yer home base – it’s cool) and one for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! 

My picks:

WordPress Family Award:  Tiffany A. White – Fellow redhead and movie buff, I’m convinced we’re sisters. Plus – this girl donates proceeds from her AWESOME book Football Sweetheart anytime there’s a disaster. She’s got a heart of gold, and one on her finger now too – CONGRATS TIFF!!!

Very Inspiring Blogger Award: Ingrid Schaffenburg – Ingrid always writes such inspiring posts. She’s got an old soul and faces adversity with poise and acceptance. She is always learning something new, and has so many talents; it’d be easier for me to just hate her, but I can’t, because she’s kind and genuine and beautiful, inside and out.

Who will you nominate?

The Little Hitchcock Film That Could

Have you seen the film Hitchcock? The movie stars Anthony Hopkins in the lead role with Helen Mirren playing his wife, Alma. It’s the love story between Alfred and his wife during the tumultuous filming of his epic movie, Psycho.

I had no idea that Hollywood refused to back Hitchcock on the release of Psycho. They wouldn’t even finance it. Hitch and his wife put their own house on the line to produce the funds needed to make Psycho. The producers wanted another North by Northwest, and who could blame them? It’s my favorite Hitchcock movie too. Or didn’t you know I’m obsessed with Cary Grant?

Already in his 60’s, Alfred Hitchcock became obsessed with telling the story of Psycho after reading the book by Robert Bloch. The book and film are based on the real life of Wisconsin psychopath, Ed Gein. He is also the basis for the killer, Buffalo Bill, in Silence of the Lambs. A real creepy guy. My friend Catie Rhodes wrote a blog about Ed Gein a year ago. You can read it here.

When everyone else thought Psycho would flop, when the censorship bureau was breathing down Hitch’s neck, and when his marriage was brought to the breaking point, Hitch didn’t stop. He made his movie and he made it his way. Psycho pushed boundaries at its 1960 release. It hinted nudity and it showed pretty graphic violence for its day. It was also the biggest film of Alfred Hitchcock’s career.

What was so inspiring to me about this film is realizing how brave Alfred Hitchcock was. He believed in his story and he believed in his ability to create it. Just because someone told him no, he didn’t stop. And he was an incredible marketer.

Do you know they thought Psycho would only run one show and be done in the theaters? Well, Mr. Hitchcock wrote and distributed a pamphlet on how to promote Psycho. In it, he advised theater management to bring in security to hold back rowdy crowds. He demanded strict time management upon movie goers allowing no late admittance and warning security that some may run out of the theater due to disturbing images. His self created uprising over the film ensured NO ONE would miss it! Audiences fled to the theaters and the rest is history!

So whether you’re a New York Times Bestselling Author or your writing the first draft of your novel in your crappy apartment above a fertilizer plant, I don’t care what anyone says, you just TELL YOUR STORY! Who knows, you could be the next big thing!

Hitchcock Movie Trailer

Psycho Movie Trailer

What Hitchcock movie is your favorite? Do you remember the first time you saw Psycho? I know I freaked out at the ending! Have you read Bloch’s book? It’s also uber creepy!

How do you stay motivated when someone tells you no?

How Does Tarot Work? And Can it Make Me Happy?

It’s Mystic Monday today for the Guinea Pig Diaries and I’m pleased to welcome paranormal writer and Tarot reader, Kirsten Weiss sharing how and why Tarot can make you happier!  Thank you, Catie Rhodes, for introducing us!  Kirsten did a reading for me last week, and it was very reassuring.  Take it away, Kirsten!

*****

Several years ago, I was at a low point in my life and I went for a tarot reading at a fortune teller’s café. It was just for fun. I’ve been reading tarot cards unprofessionally for over fifteen years now, so I can read for myself. But I wanted to hear what someone who didn’t know me had to say.

The reader told me I’d go on a trip in mid-May and I’d meet someone. Maybe it was because I was watching for it, but I did go on a trip in mid-May. And yes, I did meet someone special.

So does tarot work as a self-fulfilling prophecy? A sort of psychic placebo effect? Or is it something else?

The Hanged Man Card from the 15th Century Visconti Sforza tarot deck. In Renaissance Italy, traitors were hanged upside down so it's also known as the Traitor.

The Hanged Man Card from the 15th Century Visconti Sforza tarot deck. In Renaissance Italy, traitors were hanged upside down so it’s also known as the Traitor.

There are lots of theories about the origins of tarot, but the earliest known tarot decks were born in Renaissance Italy, and used in the game Tarocchi. What makes a tarot deck special is its fifth suit – called the trumps or Major Arcana. These are the cards most of us are familiar with from movies – the Lovers, Death, the Hanged Man. Tarot expert Robert Place speculates these trump cards were modeled on the Italian “triumph” morality parades of that time period.

The other four suits, called the Minor Arcana, are close to what you’d see in a deck of “normal” cards, though the court cards are a bit different. Tarot decks have four court cards per suit: King, Queen, Page or Princess, and Knight.

So how does it work?

Jung wrote about tarot: “[The images] are sort of archetypal ideas, of a differentiated nature, which mingle with the ordinary constituents of the flow of the unconscious, and therefore it is applicable for an intuitive method that has the purpose of understanding the flow of life, possibly even predicting future events, at all events lending itself to the reading of the conditions of the present moment.” So perhaps tarot allows us to tap into our subconscious understanding of what’s happening, to invoke synchronicity into our lives, and predict things at a deeper level?

Some readers treat tarot as a complex Roschach test, asking questions that lead the client to interpret their own cards. This can open up your hidden assumptions and beliefs, and force you to think outside your usual patterns. But is it future telling?

The Hermit from the 15th Century Viscontin Sforza tarot deck.

The Hermit from the 15th Century Viscontin Sforza tarot deck.

We tend to live in the same patterns over and over. Frankly, it’s not hard to guess someone’s future when we so often repeat the past. What if, however, we could use tarot to understand our patterns, and to break them?

And then there are some people (not me) who use the cards as a conduit for their own psychic connection. I even heard of one psychic who reads the cards face down. She intuits their meaning without having to look at them.

No matter how it works, in the hands of a good reader, a tarot reading can give a person clarity, direction, and hope, as that tarot reader did for me so long ago. It takes us outside of our regular thought processes, forces us to look at our lives through a new lens – the lens of a deck of 78 cards.

Frankly, I don’t care if tarot is “magic” or not. There’s something soothing about shuffling the cards, laying them out, puzzling out what they’re “saying.” And they’re simply beautiful.

About the Author:

Kirsten WeissKirsten Weiss runs the Tarot Card of the Day for the @ParaYourNormal twitter feed and is the author of the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mysteries: the urban fantasy, The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, and The Shamanic Detective.  Book four in the series, The Infernal Detective, will be available May 21st on Amazon.

Kirsten worked overseas for nearly fourteen years, in the fringes of the former USSR and deep in the Afghan war zone.  Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

Kirsten, thank you so much for sharing your personal connection to Tarot with all of us.  I had no idea how open the cards were for interpretation and like you said, how they can be an insightful tool, like journaling or blogging is for others; it can show us how we’ve grown and what’s possible.  You’re right, that is beautiful!

See more of Kirsten on Twitter and catch her newest book trailer for The Infernal Detective!

Guilty Pleasures Mash Up: Read ‘Em, Fools!

Time for a little Weekend Madness – Mash Up Style!  Feast yourselves on these ballers of blogging!

Writing – Because it’s easier to write about writing than to actually just write.  Or is that just me?

Avoid every writer’s nightmare with tips from Jody Hedlund in Why I Don’t Get Writer’s Block and How You Can Avoid It Too.

Looking for some inspiration?  Jenny Hansen shared What Lights Your Creative Spirit on Fire? with advice from Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees author) and Forbes magazine about what creative people need to be successful.

Ever read a book where the dialogue or words take you right out of the story?  Susie Lindau rants her best in Do You Curse Brightly? – a blog that examines the usefulness and purpose of swear words in our books.

Tawna Fenske wrote possibly the funniest blog evah about making believable characters and relating it to a guy making spinach.  YOU HAVE TO READ The Domineering Male with Spinach and Dish Soap.

Interested in learning more about audiobooks?  Stacy Juba interviews Award-winning voice artist, Nicole Poole, for The Ins and Outs of Narrating Audiobooks.

Exciting news!!!  Ellie Ann has released the cover of her new book, The Silver Sickle and she’s sharing it with us!  Check it out in The Revealing.

Ode To Social Media Tips:

Lisa Hall-Wilson guest blogged at Jenny Hansen’s with Facebook Tricks for Better Engagement and My. Mind. Was. Blown.  I really hadn’t been watching any of this, but she gave us a cool easy challenge to consider how we’re sharing links on Facebook and what exactly we want those links to do!  Must read for those building an author platform!

And if Twitter is your thing, Marcy Kennedy guest blogged at Kristen Lamb’s with The Proper Care and Feeding of Hashtags.  Don’t get thrown in Twitter jail!  Read Marcy’s tips!

Nina Badzin posted on Kveller.com the amazing plea Let’s All Stop “Replying All” to Every Email.  Sing it, Sister!

Life Lessons – Growing pains mean wisdom gains!

Do you struggle with the “meantime”?  That time of working out of/working towards something?  Kristen Lamb shared a life lesson she learned that hit home with many of you in To Find Success, Learn to Embrace the Meantime.  Another Must Read.

If you’re not reading August McLaughlin’s blog, you’re MISSING OUT!  She’s one of the most honest, genuine, supportive female writers out there!  True to form, August shared another heart-baring blog in Singing Naked: Honesty on Stage, about growing through vulnerable moments.  Beautiful voice – inside and out!

I bet no one has ever told you THINK NEGATIVE before!  Rachelle Gardner shares the smarts about goal achieving in Try “Thinking Negative” for a Change.

Entertainment and Smut – The stuff you won’t tell your boss you like, but secretly gossip with the secretary over…

Tiffany A. White gives the master rundown of Season 4 of The Vampire Diaries and its soon to be spin off, The Originals, from the CW network.  Death and Evolution with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals

Remember the books you read as a kid and picked out what character was you?  Sherry Isaac brings us Tribute to Trixie with Author Gloria Richard, sharing her love of the Trixie Belden books.

Got a favorite James Bond? What about the original?  Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes share The Original James Bond – Ian Fleming.  Fascinating guy!

The Funnies – Read these for your weekend funny bone!

Ironic Mom, the Comic Queen, shared You Know You’re An Optimist if You

Miss Snarky Pants is sharing her best “Fictionary” – a play on words, often pun-like, to make new meanings and she’s got some good ones in Fictionary:  Preventing the Extinction of my Muffin Top.

Julie Glover had me snickering over her Wednesday Words series in Laugh With Me: It’s Punny!  Go pick your favorite pun!

Myndi Shafer shared in her Quick Giggle series Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.  Should this one go under Social Media tips?

(photo courtesy Creative Commons – Mrs Inman)

Happy Reading!

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