Tag Archives: amy poehler

Alive: Quotes for Living

Being alive.
Being really alive.
As springtime arrives and the earth is waking up from a long sleep, we’re reminded of what it means to really live, to really bloom and grow. Everyday you have the option to put yourself on autopilot, to check out of everything happening around you. But what if you really embraced being alive? What would it look like?

Here are some gentle reminders of what it means to really be alive: Continue reading

Clean “House” with These Inspiring Quotes

One of the most important skills in maintaining balance and wellness is to de-clutter your life of negative influences. Sometimes that’s easier said than done because we are attached to things that aren’t necessarily good for us (food, people, habits) or we can’t recognize the negative effects they are having on our lives. It’s important to do a regular clean out of the things that are weighing or bringing you down. To help you keep on track with your New Year’s goals we’ve compiled a few inspiring quotes to help you “clean house” and keep yourself motivated!

williammorriscleanhouse inspiring quotes(source)

albert einstein quote inspiring quotes

(source)

change2

(source)

amy inspiring quotes

(source)

quotes-let-go-deepak-chopra-600x411 inspiring quotes

(source)

happy-do-you-want-pavitrata

(source)

What is your favorite inspiring quote for letting go? If you don’t see it here please share it with us in the comments below! 

Find Your Success by Finding Your Tribe

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

– Oprah Winfrey

springfriendshipsWhen I first moved to California my aunt and uncle were kind enough to let me live in their guest room rent-free until I was able to find a job. The arrangement was not supposed to last more than three months. Instead, it lasted nine.

They lived 45 minutes north of Los Angeles, which was a lot more convenient than my parents’ house 3,000 miles away, but it still felt like a world away from where I wanted to be. Every day I spent the morning sending in job applications, trolling the internet for more places to apply to, nagging every contact I had to see if they had heard of any openings. There were a couple of interviews but they were weeks apart and it was becoming obvious that none of them were going to work out. I started applying for local retail part time jobs as well, just to get some cash coming in but with the unemployment market the way it was they knew better than to hire a recent college graduate who was trying everything they could to get their “dream job.”

Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the depression set in. My aunt and uncle were amazing and so generous during this time, but I still felt separated from all of my friends back home and I knew no one in the place I wanted to be. There were one or two people from college living in LA but if I was being honest, their success while I was struggling to figure out exactly what I wanted to do just made everything more frustrating. I felt so alone.

Then I made the most important decision that I’ve made since moving to the west coast. I decided to take an intro-level improv class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. At first I naively thought I could take one class, prove to be an improv messiah and be hired as Amy Poehler’s assistant before the whole thing was over, or at least get a hook up for a page job at NBC – not to mention it’d force me out of the house and into the city for three hours a week. Of course, I’m still waiting for my call from Amy but what I did find will be more instrumental in my success than any job interview or fancy contact will ever be. I found my tribe.

Suddenly I was surrounded by people exactly like me. They were all at varying points on the road to being able to pay rent by entertaining people, but we were all traveling together. They were people who cared about being funny. About performing. About writing. And as we learned to “Yes, and…” and listen together, we began to care about each other. Improv is entirely about support, after all. It’d still be another two months before I found employment, but taking that class and making those friends gave me a whole new outlook on my journey in Los Angeles. I felt a renewed energy and motivation. I listened to their stories and soaked up their wisdom. I went to their shows and clapped the loudest. For the first time in almost a year since I uprooted my life to go after this ridiculous dream, I felt like I belonged here.

Last summer when comedian/writer Katie Dippold released her first written feature length movie The Heat, her old friend and fellow comedian Chris Gethard wrote an essay about it, and how Katie had been a fundamental part of finding his own tribe.

Now maybe you think you have a shot at being a creative person who pays their rent by being creative. Maybe you’re scared to go for it, like I once was. Maybe you have something you want to do and you don’t know if you can really do it. My suggestion, based on experience, is to find someone else who might be uncertain of themselves, and be brave enough to tell them what you see in them. Be brave enough to hear about the belief they have in you. Be the lighter fluid for someone else, and let them fan your flames too. Find your tribe.

Finding your tribe is not at all about finding the people who are the best connections to get you to the next level. No, those are contacts and you should keep them separate. Your tribe are the first people you call when you land the big job because they were the people you cried to all the times you didn’t. Your tribe are the people who tell you that you’re being an idiot and you need to focus when you blow off a writing a deadline. They are the people that pick you up and take you to the movies the morning after you’ve had your heart broken to give you something else to think about. Your tribe are the people that hold your hand when things are messy and they are the ones that clap the loudest when all of it becomes clear.

After that first class I started taking more and over the past year I’ve been steadily adding more and more people to the tribe. This advice isn’t just for creative people because it’s not just creative people that need support. Everyone participating in life needs a tribe. So do yourself a favor and look at the people you spend the majority of your time with. If any of them make you feel less than deserving of all the things you want, tell them to beat it. Make the conscious effort to surround yourself with people that not only support you, but have the strength and integrity to call you out when you’re being ridiculous. As Oprah said, you need the people who will ride the bus before they’ll ride the limo. These people are your magic potion, your cheat sheet, they’re the key thing you need to get you to where you want to go.

If you’re in need of finding the right people for your tribe, take a risk and put yourself out there. You can follow my footsteps and take a class. Or you could join a book club. Peruse MeetUps.com for people that follow your interests. Put yourself in a room with people you don’t know but who have a common interest or goal and see what happens. And don’t disqualify the internet as a great place for meeting those people. Message boards and social media sites are great ways to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t have who share your passions and can be a great resource as you start to figure yourself  out. 

Find your tribe. Find your happiness. Find you.

4 Television Shows That Are Trying to Make You a Better Person

Okay, there’s a lot of crap on television these days. From “reality” shows that follow around people that are famous for simply being rich to competition elimination shows for every possible profession (there was one for America’s Next Top garbage man at one point). So much so that there are probably a lot of people rolling their eyes at this article, but the original purpose of television was to bring families together for entertainment (and to sell washing detergent, but not the point). Shows like Star Trek and The Cosby Show provided family safe entertainment while educating us about the world happening outside of our respective bubbles. Today it seems that if it has any worthy entertainment value that it is worshipping at the altar of the anti-hero (The Sopranos, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Mad Men…) and none of these are really family appropriate viewing, and for the most part they are still telling the stories of well-to-do caucasian males who have diverted from the normal path for varying reasons.

Still, in the middle of all this there are a few shows that are striving to tell new stories in interesting ways. They are getting back to the roots of old school television that strived to teach us valuable lessons about people that are different from ourselves (and that valuable lesson 99% of the time is that they aren’t different from us at all, really). With spring premieres just around the corner, I’ve compiled a list of shows that might strike your fancy or intrigue your curiosity. So get your remotes ready.

1. Orange is the New Black – (Netflix) 

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 10.31.04 AM

Okay, this show also falls into the category of not-family friendly, but the inspiration for this list came from a Facebook debate I had about the merit of this show. OITNB centers on Piper, an affluent white girl who hooked up with a lesbian drug lord when she was in college. Ten years later, as she’s planning her wedding to an aspiring newspaper writer in New York City, Piper finds out that her ex girlfriend gave her up and she’ll have to spend a year in prison for aiding and abetting years prior. The show starts with Piper’s first day in prison and we follow as she tries to acclimate to her new surroundings. Then the show takes a sudden turn – instead of allowing us to see the prisoners through Piper’s eyes, which would inevitably leave them painted as caricatures and stereotypes, we visit flashbacks into the past lives of each of them in each new episode. This shows gives in-depth back stories and character arcs to not only women, but women of color and various races. The most intriguing of which is played by Laverne Cox, a transgender woman who plays Sophia, transgender prisoner on the show. Some of the most gripping episodes of the show are the ones that chronicle Sophia’s transition from male firefighter and family man to fierce hairdresser. It doesn’t shortcut around the difficulties Sophia’s family faces in light of the transition, the alienation she feels as her young son struggles to accept that his father is now a woman.

This show is definitely one you want to save for after the kids have gone to bed (or when your parents are out of the room), but the rave reviews you’ve heard aren’t lying when they say you’ll get started and binge watch all 13 episodes in season 1. It’s a harsh look at the lives and stories of a population we so often ignore as part of our society. It humanizes characters that have previously been boxed in by stereotypes and tropes, and they are stories you should hear.

New episodes of OITNB return in 2014. Season 1 can be found on Netflix. 

2. Switched at Birth – ABC Family

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 10.33.16 AMTo be perfectly honest, I started watching this show expecting it to be another ABC Family guilty pleasure (like it’s predecessors Greek or Make It or Break It), but what I got thoroughly surprised me. While ABC Family has been known to get a little overly preachy and unrealistic with its family dramas (Secret Life of the American Teenager, anyone?) Switched at Birth is the story of two 15 year old girls who discover they were, well, switched at birth. One grew up in the affluent surroundings provided by her retired baseball player father (Bay) and the other grew up with a single mom on the “wrong side of the tracks” (Daphne). When the switch is revealed thanks to Bay’s high school biology assignment, the two families decide to try and raise the girls together to try and make up for lost time with each of them, and naturally conflict arrises.

What makes Switched at Birth really special though is that when Daphne was three years old she contracted meningitis that left her completely deaf. So half the show is told via sign language (with subtitles!). It gives you an inside look at the deaf community like you have never seen unless you’ve been part of that culture. Each actor had to become fluent in sign language for their parts. And last season the show made history by having an entire episode done in sign language. The show requires a whole new dimension of acting by incorporating this new language and showing the nuances of this incredible culture. And since it’s on ABC Family it definitely works for prime time family viewing.

The Switched at Birth spring premiere is January 12 at 8pm on ABC Family. 

3. The Fosters – ABC Family

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 10.34.41 AMI promise this post is not sponsored by ABC Family, and everyone I know rolls their eyes when I try to convince them of the good work this network is producing in terms of television. The Fosters premiered last summer as the #1 new cable show amongst viewers 12-34, which says a lot when you consider it’s a show about a bi-racial lesbian couple and their mix of adopted children. The groundbreaking thing about The Fosters is that it shows this family as a normal family (because it is!). But this is the first time that a gay couple has served as the primary focus of a primetime show without being the gimmick of a comedy series. Of course there have been shows like Queer as Folk and The L-Word on premium cable, but those served to show the “sexier side” of LGBTQ lifestyle, and definitely not suitable for family watching. This is a serious show about a normal family of mixed races, and the parents just happen to be two women. What.

The most striking thing about the show is how realistic the conversations they have about sexuality, prejudice and race. I got extremely emotional during the episode when Leena’s mother told Leena that she’d never be a real black woman and understand their struggles because she’s only half black. Not only did the issue hit so close to home but I had never seen a television show address it so bluntly or even attempt to address the type of politics that happen between black women over skin color. Then it was such a relief to see these two moms have real conversations with their teenagers about safe sex rather than preaching abstinence and pretending to be shocked when they find out their teenage son didn’t listen. In the wake of so many LGBTQ reforms and the crusade for marriage equality beginning to reach critical mass, The Fosters is doing a remarkable job of giving a realistic look at an LGBTQ family without any jokes, gimmicks or preachiness.

The Fosters returns January 12 at 9pm on ABC Family. 

4. Parks and Recreation – NBC

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 10.36.08 AMDisclaimer: I absolutely belong to the church of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, but it’s because they are awesome and stand for really amazing things. Parks and Rec got a bad wrap during it’s first season as being a rip off of the office. When the writing staff of the show heard that audiences thought of Leslie Knope (played by Amy) as ditzy they knew they had to make a change. Rather than changing Leslie’s core personality though, they simply changed the way that people around her reacted to her go-get-em attitude and borderline manic enthusiasm. You have probably seen more than one Ron Swanson meme or a Tom Haverford “TREAT YO SELF” gif around the internet, but make no mistake that this is a show centered on Leslie Knope and the pursuit of her dream to become the first female president.

Parks and Rec makes this list because it’s a show about team work. When discussing this show with my friends (it’s a universal favorite) the point often comes up that it is one of the few shows on television where you root for everyone. The members of the Pawnee parks department walk over coals for each other on a daily basis and in each episode all you want is for them to succeed. You have a genuine emotional love for each of them, and it mirrors the affection they have for each other. It’s a show about building people up rather than tearing them down. It’s also about empowering women and showing them in positions of authority, breaking glass ceilings and refusing to take no as an answer when it comes to achieving their dreams. Just as Leslie covers her city hall office with pictures of her female political inspirations, every ambitious, driven girl out there should carry around a picture of Leslie. Not to mention it is one of the funniest shows on the air right now, and then remember that Amy also writes and directs several of the episodes.  This show stars a woman who is doing it all about a woman who is doing it. Win.

Parks and Recreation returns for it’s 100th episode on January 7 at 8:30 PM on NBC.

What shows do you watch with your family that you think should make the list? Share with us in the comments below! 

VOD: Amy Poehler’s Emotional Speech About Helping Orphans

“Close your eyes,” Amy Poehler says during her Variety Power of Women speech. Then she asks the audience to imagine their children, or themselves as children and think of the things that made them feel warm, safe and okay.

Poehler was giving the speech in celebration of her work with the Worldwide Orphan Foundation, the non-profit founded by Dr. Jane Aronson to raise awareness and help the millions of orphans around the world. The Variety honor comes after Poehler teamed up with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm to host an “Emmy Losers” party that raised over $30,000 for WWO.

“There are children in this world who have nothing,” Poehler continues, her voice starting to break, “So who are we to be in this room and to be living this life without helping them?”

Amy Poehler is already a winner of the great human being award for her comedy and work for women’s rights. This speech puts her on another level thought. It is not only motivation to care about orphaned children less unfortunate than us, but she encourages everyone to use their privileges to help others. “It’s great for your skin, and makes your ass smaller,” she jokes (speaking to the Hollywood crowd of course). It’s a message we can all take home and put into practice.

What causes are close to your heart like the WWO is for Amy? Who do you plan to help today? Share in the comments below!

5 Famous Female Friendships to Challenge the ‘Mean Girls’ Stereotype

Let’s face it, women often get a bad reputation when it comes to camaraderie. They are labeled as “back-stabbing,” “catty,” “mean girls,” and of course a slew of curse words. Are women cruel and manipulative by nature? Are they somehow taught or socialized to feel desperately competitive, in a sort of “every woman for herself” dystopia? Many girls experience debilitating bullying from female peers, but that’s not to say this is the only way girls know how to interact. In fact, there are countless examples of strong and lasting female friendships throughout history (not to mention the everyday examples of bonding and support to which many women can attest.)

Here are 5 of the sweetest, most influential female friendships in history:

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 5.27.21 PM

1. Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald – Monroe reportedly called the owner of popular Hollywood nightclub Mocambo when she heard he had refused to book Fitzgerald from racial prejudice. Monroe personally sat in the front seat for every night of Fitzgerald’s show, just to prove her loyalty and solidarity with a woman who had been such an influence on her own early career.

19569-004-A53D6FFD

2. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton – These powerful ladies were drivers of the women’s suffrage movement of the late 19th century. Stanton mostly wrote, while Anthony handled business affairs. Together they also published a women’s newspaper, called Revolution.

49

3. Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King – These powerful, longtime pals have been friends for over 30 years, and their friendship has withstood the tests of fame, fortune, and time.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 5.39.09 PM

4. Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler – These hilarious friends often work as partners and are hailed as pioneers in women’s comedy. It’s a good thing they get along so well, for the sake of comedy-watchers everywhere.

hillary-rodham-clinton-susie-tompkins-buell-2011-6-30-7-40-30

5. Hillary Clinton and Susie Tompkins Buell – Not only are these women close friends, but Buell even managed fundraising efforts in the Bay Area for Clinton’s campaign in 2008.

It is heartening to remember that the negative picture of women as backstabbers and bullies is nothing more than a caricature – one that does sometimes play out in reality, but that is by no means the norm.

 

Photo credit: Unknown

Photo credit: Library of Congress

Photo credit: Unknown

Photo credit: img.gawkerassets.com

Photo credit: Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...