Tag Archives: Reading

Fabulous Fridays: #52 Lists Project

52listsThis week’s lists asks me to name the ways in which I have fun. (Note: I am only listing actives that are appropriate to be mentioned in a blog.)

  1. Spending some solo time with various members of my family.(We tend to turn everything into an epic adventure.)
  2. Spending time with everyone in my family.
  3. Reading
  4. Singing
  5. Playing Guitar
  6. Going to the Movies
  7. Going to Concerts
  8. Going to the Theater
  9. Playing Tennis
  10. Going to places I’ve never been before.
  11. Hanging with Friends
  12. Going to Disney World.

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Buy It, Borrow it, or Bag It SPECIAL EDITION: These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

LHOTP     The thing that I find interesting about this particular title in the Little House series is the fact that it is directly tied to some of my all time favorite episodes in the television series. The first of which is “Sweet Sixteen,” the episode in which Laura gets her first teaching gig, ditches the braids, dons a long dress at last and finally manages to get Almanzo Wilder to see her as a woman at last. The second is the two part episode “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not” which focuses on Laura and Almanzo’s budding courtship as well as Nellie’s romance with the fictional character of Perceival Dalton and of course the Season Seven opener, “Laura Ingalls Wilder.”

Needless to say, the book varies greatly from the events of real life. Although These Happy Golden Years begins with Laura taking her first teaching assignment and Almanzo driving her to and from her lodging each week, Laura is not excited about being a teacher at all. She is forced to live with a disagreeable couple, does not warm to her pupils and finds herself stuck in that position of being not quite a girl and not yet a woman. Although it was obvious from the last book that Almanzo was smitten with Laura and continues his infatuation in this title, he’s too proper to act on it beyond being kind enough to give her a lift two and from Ma and Pa’s. There are no stolen kisses and no confessions of love. In fact, when her teaching assignment is complete, he drops her off at home and tells her goodbye with no expectation of seeing her beyond that.

There is also this sense that Laura has become pretty and popular throughout the town judging by the number of young lads who come by to take her “buggy riding.” However, she only has eyes for Almanzo, who eventually begins taking her out in his buck board on Sunday afternoons…but unfortunately so does Nellie Olson who joins them on a buggy ride that convinces everyone in the trio that she has little in common with Mr. Wilder. Eventually the two become engaged and marry in what was originally supposed to be the finale of the Little House series.

One thing that I find unique about this title is the fact that it covers far more time than previous books in the series, which more or less seem centered on one year at a time. These Happy Golden Years covers several years implying that Laura and Almanzo took their time to settle down with one another. A number of characters from books past make cameo appearances including Mary who has been away at college, and several relatives from the Big Woods, which shows Laura Ingalls Wilder was cognizant that she owed it to her readership to give them an update on where everything stood as she prepared to end her series.

Re-reading the Little House series this summer made me appreciate just how big of a contribution Wilder made to children’s and young adult literature. The character of Laura (though autobiographical) is really one of the first to set the stage for characters that would age with their readers not unlike a certain boy wizard named Harry. However, although These Happy Golden Years was designed to be the final chapter of the Little House saga, in time Laura’s daughter Rose would see to it that there would be yet another installment of the beloved books before declaring the series at an end.

 

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Tingle Tuesday: Could there be an ASMR therapy center?

ASMR Angel    This is a question I see asked online frequently and one that is often eluded to in ASMR role play videos: Could there ever come a day when there might be a real life ASMR center where people could go and get their tingles on through the services of an ASMRtist? (Note: I can only answer as someone who lives in the United States. I can’t vouch for the possibility in other countries.)

Technically speaking, we already do when we go to a spa or a salon and have our tingles triggered by a professional aesthetician, but if we are talking about a traditional branded storefront with a menu of ASMR services and a handful of ASMRtists ready to perform them…well, I think that is still a long way off. Don’t get me wrong. There are ASMRtists who offer personal consultations through Skype and I think in time, there may be more ASMRtists who will offer live ASMR demonstrations and book one-on-one appointments through a network of referrals in order to meet a demand for this kind of service, but an actual center? That could take a while. (In the meantime, we may have to contend ourselves with some online storefronts such as ASMR Angel’s “Penny’s Posh Picnics.”)

The primary reason I say this is because there is no way to regulate it and it will not take long for someone to shut it down, someone to get sued and a myriad of other problems to arise. I’m not trying to be a “Debbie Downer” about this, in fact…I think it’s a great idea, but from a practical standpoint, there are problems with the business model.

Years ago I was watching a segment on ABC’s 20/20 in which reporters were looking into “hair braiding” salons, which were being shut down left and right because the stylists were not licensed cosmetologists. Now these people were not cutting, straightening, or dying anyone’s hair. They were only braiding it and yet some entity wanted to shut them down or for the individuals to invest several thousands of dollars to get a license. While this rule varies from state to state and I am speaking in generalities here, I can only imagine what people in power could do to an ASMR center.

ASMR not only continues to be widely misunderstood by some, but as of this writing it has not been accepted by the clinical community as an official “alternative therapy.” With no research on it and the various practices used in the ASMR video segments, can you imagine anyone in power allowing this to go on as a legitimate business? Many ASMRtists fake real medical exams ands other services that require very real licenses in the real world. Sure, we could argue that people could sign a waiver and must acknowledge that the ASMRtist is not a medical doctor, but I just see too many people having BIG problems with this.

Of course there are those make up people at the mall who seem to be able to get away with helping clients apply products without a license and no one seems to mind them, but somehow I suspect that they would look at an ASMR center differently and have issues with it until someone creates some kind of training and certification program that can be offered, standardized and regulated. There may still be some raised eyebrows, but it would be a start toward creating the mainstream ASMR storefront in time.

Until Next Time, Tingle On!

J-

Follow Julie Young on Twitter: @JulieYoung14

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Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: The Celebration Chronicles by Andrew Ross Ph.D.

Celebration   One of the very first articles I ever worked on during my internship at a local magazine was about the concept of new urbanism. My editor told me about a place in Florida that had spearheaded this movement and subsequent communities that had piggybacked on the idea including “Celebration” the Disney Company’s town within a town. I was told that Celebration was the backdrop for the movie The Truman Show and that the idea behind this place was that folks could live, work and play in one area and create that small town America feel.

I was pretty excited about this piece because I love the thought of an idyllic lifestyle as much as the next person and I was happy that there was a development in the world locally that was capitalizing on this concept…but then I discovered where it was and how much it cost to live there. It suddenly hit me that perhaps what these communities are creating is a rich person’s ghetto…an insulated place where the upper crust can live without ever having to go outside their bubble and into the “real world.”

So…after watching a documentary about this Disney community, I learned that Ross had written a book about it. Ross lived in Celebration for a year and experienced all that this seemingly ideal community had to offer. To play fair, it was a Disney conceived town and we all know Disney doesn’t do things half way, but he also uncovered a lot of unrest about living in a community with and over the top HOA, a failing school system, problems with leadership, etc. There are a lot of other things mentioned in this book as well, for example: how Disney makes it “Snope” from the day after Thanksgiving until New Years Day, the ice rink that materializes in the street, the smallish lot sizes that encourages the use of public parks, and all of the things that made people want to live there that didn’t turn out the way they envisioned them.

Keep in mind that as of this writing Disney is no longer in charge of Celebration (they were not supposed to be involved long term) The AMC movie theater has shut down. While there are some people who are still thrilled with their decision to move to “the Bubble” others are not as happy with the end result. This book offers an interesting look into the ideal community and the high price of living “happily ever after.” Borrow it if you have ever been curious about this place.

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Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellows

Downton    I positively loved this book, though I will admit that it may not be to everyone’s tastes. If you are a fan of the show, it’s a home run with a peek into the annual seasons of the manor house set. Every year it seems as though the good people behind Downton Abbey offer us a new volume into the lives of the Crawley family and I especially loved the look at the Debutante Season, the coming out party and the emergence of the “Bright Young Things” of the roaring 20s. In addition to putting some historical context into what is going on in the show, the book also spotlights various elements of production including costuming, props, music, hair and makeup. If you know a DA fan, this is the perfect gift for them (assuming that they don’t already have it.)

I think that this one may be my favorite of all of the DA companion books and although it’s steep at $29.99 it is a book that you will actually read as opposed to merely admire the photography work. I highly recommend it. Buy It.

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Tingle Tuesday: Being Interviewed by Newsweek

Bob ross     Yesterday, I was interviewed about ASMR for an upcoming edition of Newsweek. For someone who is usually on the other end of the interviewing process, it was a little strange to be the one answering questions rather than asking them! The reporter working on the story asked me about my research and my thoughts on the ASMR phenomenon. I explained to him that while I can’t account for what exactly the tingles are…I think ASMR is a conglomeration of other relaxation techniques that have been used for thousands of years and have plenty of scientific evidence to back them up. I can’t say whether or not this blew his mind or not but he seemed genuinely interested to hear someone proclaim that the only thing “new” about ASMR was its name.

Meditation has been practiced in Eastern cultures for thousands of years. Hypnosis goes back for quite some period of time and I certainly remember the Sharper Image and other specialty stores selling all kinds of white noise machines to help people go to sleep. Long before ASMR was called ASMR, I trolled YouTube looking for videos offering guided meditations for sleep, energy, etc…like a lot of other tingle heads and of course I have had those random experiences in real life that triggered the tingles and gave me a little wave of euphoria. So seriously…maybe we should stop calling it a “new” phenomenon and start calling it what it is, a “newly named phenomenon.” But hey…I don’t want to quibble over words.

One of the most interesting things I shared with the reporter was my theory that I believe most people are capable of feeling the ASMR experience even though some people seem to be immune to it. I pointed out that most people can experience a negative version of ASMR when they experience fingernails on a blackboard but some of those same people claim that they cannot feel the more pleasant version of it. That strikes me as odd and suggests that ASMR cannot only go one way. I can’t prove it exactly, but doesn’t it stand to reason that if you can feel the negative version, you should be able to feel the positive version as well.

I told him that I suspect some people experience the ASMR feeling even though they aren’t as aware of it as other people. Recently, I was talking to one of my son’s friends about it who kind of seemed to understand the concept of certain noises or events having a “special effect” on the body. I told him to hold out his forearm and lightly drag his fingers down it. He did and I commented, “feels nice, but doesn’t really do anything to you, does it?” he nodded and then I took my fingers and did it. His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree as the tingles took over. I said “It felt different that time, didn’t it?” he said “I totally felt it inside.” (note: he did not have exterior goose bumps) He later said that he had felt that before, but just never thought about it one way or another. He said sometimes the sensation is stronger and other times it’s not but, his comment prompted me to wonder if there are more people out there who experience it to a certain extent and who do not recognize it as anything particularly unique.

Of course we discussed Bob Ross and his impact on the world of ASMR. I told him that Ross’ show was the “perfect storm” for an ASMR experience and then went on to describe some of the different aspects of the show that seem to trigger people. For the record, while I “can” be triggered by watching Bob Ross, I generally get to wrapped up in the actual painting that I can’t let my mind go and simply succumb to the sensation.

I am really going to be excited to see this article come out and I have to admit, I am getting a big head over my name actually appearing in Newsweek! I’ll keep you posted when the story breaks! Until next time!

Tingle On my friends!

 

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Buy It, Borrow It, or Bag It: Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

Cinderella_Ate_My_Daughter_(book)_cover     I checked this book out after a long philosophical conversation I had with my son’s girlfriend about how toy companies are “gender stereotyping” their product lines. In other words: Why is everything freaking PINK???

In this book, Orenstein seeks to find out why. Not only does she investigate the Disney princess phenomenon, but also Barbie, American Girl, the world of Toddlers & Tiaras and the Disney “princess” train wrecks such as Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, etc…the book has been out for a couple of years and in a way, I’m glad I didn’t read it before because it is interesting to see how some of Orenstein’s theories played out. Would Selena Gomez prove to be “different” from all of those who came before her? Who would be the next “it” girl?

Orenstein doesn’t have a lot of answers, but she asks a LOT of great questions. She is sympathetic to the fascination little girls have with all things princess even if it irks her a bit. (She gets a little testy when she realizes that ultra feminist super hero Wonder Woman is in fact, an Amazonian princess named Diana.) She wonders why every toy for girls has to be bathed in Pepto Bismol in order to sell. (Think back 40 years and you will notice a HUGE difference in the colors of toys, even those geared to turn girls into happy homemakers.) And she even talks about how the target market for products continues to get younger and younger forcing us to raise a bunch of six-year-olds going on 16.

I can’t say enough about this book. I really enjoyed it and I think anyone with an interest in women’s studies, or who is the parent of a daughter should really take this book in. Buy It…it’s worth it!

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Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: Purity by Jackson Pearce

Purity       Ahhh…purity balls. For those of you who may not know what I am talking about, they are weird, highly religious father-daughter dances in which girls wear white and pledge to be a virgin until they are married, let daddy pick their groom and lay flowers at a cross before performing some strange dance for Jesus. Look, I am all in favor of abstinence, but something about this ritual rubs me the wrong way. I am all about the father-daughter relationship. I had a GREAT one with my dad, but I can’t imagine pointing every potential suitor in his direction in order for them to be vetted prior to my dating them.
In Purity, the heroine (whose name I forget even thought I read it last week) made several promises to her mother on her death bed and now finds herself trying to determine if she can live up to those ideals. As she plans a purity ball with her father, she finds a loophole in the process and decides to have sex before pledging her virtue to dear old dad. Her best friends are supportive, but one of them can’t help wondering if it’s really a good idea to give something away so callously.
This story falls apart quickly. As the main character creates a short list of potential lovers and plots to seduce them, the friends add little to the plot line, except for the boy, who you know she probably likes and who likes her in return even though there is no satisfying end between those two. The father –daughter relationship is sweet but one gets the feeling that these two don’t talk often enough and that they are doing what they think they “have” to do in memory of the mom rather than what they want to do. I hoped for something more, but Pearce didn’t deliver. Bag It.

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The Return of Buy It Borrow It or Bag It!!! The One and Only by Emily Giffin

The one and only     At long last, my weekly book reviews have returned. I am hoping to keep up a little better but as you all know, I have been very, very busy lately. This week however, I want to review one of my all-time favorite author’s latest piece of chick lit…The One and Only by Emily Giffin.

I really wanted to like this book and it was well-written, but somehow the story line fell apart for me, or I kept waiting for something to happen that never did.
In case you have not heard about this story it concerns main character Shea who has been obsessed with Walker College football all her life. Her own backstory is a little tragic and it makes sense that as a little girl, she developed a huge crush on her best friend’s father, who also happens to the coach if the afore mentioned football team. Over the years, he’s been a quasi-father figure to her and she’s always acted like he could walk on water. Naturally, she attended Walker and when the opportunity came to work for her idol, she took it.
In the One and Only, “Coach” is now widowed, causing all of Shea’s feelings for him to come to the surface. I would have been fine with this (a lot of Giffin’s fans have found the May-December romance thing a little weird) but I couldn’t help being annoyed at the main character and the fact that she seemed to have no life outside of this long, unrequited crush. Yes, there is a lot of football talk, and that didn’t bother me (other readers have not like that…but I will say Giffin does her homework and I marvel at her knowledge) but I couldn’t help wondering why this girl was so obsessed with Coach that she couldn’t imagine living her life or having her career anywhere other than the school where he coached. Loyalty is great, but the character, for me, bordered on one-dimensional.
The book also seemed hampered by subplots that, in my opinion, didn’t go anywhere and a main storyline that seemed obvious but took forever to get off the ground. Shea endures a strange, abusive relationship that was almost gratuitous, there is an NCAA investigation that never comes to a head and it takes forever to find out whether or not Coach Carr has feelings for her as well.
As much as I love Emily Giffin, and I DO love her work, lately I can’t help wondering if she has a lot of good ideas for her stories that somehow fall apart in the retelling. She is masterful at exploring relationships and feelings, and it is that skill that kept me enthralled by what I assumed would be a big, cataclysmic…something. However, in the end…I didn’t feel that The One and Only delivered. Borrow It.

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Happy Monday! Happy Memorial Day!

Hello Everyone!!!

It seems like forever since I have blogged, and in a way…I guess it has been! For all of you who thought I might have been dead the past few months, I assure you, my life has been crazier than usual, and that is saying something.

So, what have I been up to? Well, when last I left you, I was neck deep in my latest writing project, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Catholicism. After a few intense months of reading more of the Catechism than I EVER intended to and researching more patron saints than I ever knew existed, I am almost finished with the manuscript which will be available in January 2015. I am pleased to say that I did NOT end up being an atheist after all of this, and in fact, I have new found respect for some of the rules that prior to this writing, didn’t always make a lot of sense. I’m not saying that I think the Church is right about everything, but I definitely understand the logic they used to come up with some of these things. (And in a few subject matters, I have determined that the Church is a lot more inclusive than I gave them credit for.)

One of the fun things about writing something like this is being able to explain things in “real words” knowing that a priest has looked over it and agreed with my assessment of the subject. When I had to tackle one of the hot bed issues facing the Church, I flat out said that the language used in the Catechism does not read well and only serves to confuse the situation. One chapter is dedicated to asking a priest a bunch of burning questions and I have to say that his answers were very thoughtful, insightful and not full of the “party line.” I really worked hard on this book and I truly hope everyone likes it when it is published!

I also spent the last few months planning two weddings. For everyone who was shocked by the surprise announcement that I was getting married, rest assured…it was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. It was decided at the end of last year, but I am one of those weirdos who refuses to put every aspect of her life on Facebook. I often tell people that I “talk a lot, but I rarely say anything important.”

Wedding1    Opting out of a big “event,” we decided to get married in Disney World (partly because the scenery is fantastic) and to wrap both the ceremony and honeymoon into one occasion. This was thwarted when I learned that the Catholic Church doesn’t really “do” weddings in theme parks. No problem. We decided to get married “officially” here in Indiana and then do a small vow renewal in WDW a few weeks later. I didn’t think the Indiana wedding was going to be a big deal until my priest offered to marry us on EASTER SUNDAY. Now, I know that Easter travels around the calendar like Thanksgiving, but I am no fool…if you have the chance to get married on the biggest day of the Church Calendar, you take it!

photo-2    So I was all excited about the upcoming nuptials and the book I was working on, when FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME was released. Talk about adding fuel to the inferno of my life! LOL I had waited so long for this novel to be published and I could not wait to share the story of MonAmi with all of my readers. Everyone who has read it has been very pleased with it and has said nothing but good things. Thank you all for being so supportive. As I started the FMOF publicity campaign, Terri Stacey at WIBC asked me for an interview and when we were finished taping it, she mentioned that it would run on Easter Sunday. I had to laugh and then told her what I would be doing on Easter…she was sooooo excited that she asked me if she could announce my wedding on the radio! Could this get any better? I was so glad that I had kept it kind of quiet up to that point and would have the thrill of hearing it on air before walking down the aisle! Even my youngest son thought it was quite the coup:

 Vincent: So let me get this straight, you are getting married on Easter. The wedding is being announced on the

          radio on a show featuring an interview with you while promoting your book? 

         Julie: That is correct. 

         Vincent: Well now, that’s just a banner day for you isn’t it? 

Wedding 2    It was a small but beautiful ceremony attended by some of our closest friends and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I didn’t have to worry about centerpieces, a band, table cloths or renting a reception hall. We bought a small cake, invited everyone back to the house for some food and sat around my dining room table chatting. I didn’t feel like I didn’t “see” somebody or feel so stressed out that I couldn’t enjoy the day. As much as I love the pomp and circumstance of a big wedding…I’m telling you, there is something to be said for a small affair!

wedding 3    After Easter, the countdown was on for Disney. Again, their wedding coordinators made the choices simple so that I merely had to show up, go where they told me to go and do what they told me to do. Our biggest splurge on both events was the castle photo shoot. I’m telling you…its definitely worth the price to take over Cinderella’s palace before the park opened. (even better, it didn’t rain!)

So, now that the weddings are over, the book is almost completed and FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME has been launched, I am looking forward to the future. This summer, I will be appearing to promote my little rock star at a variety of venues, I will be covering stories once again for local magazines, playing lots of tennis and hopefully gearing up for my next big project which is TBA for the time being. (I know you understand)

Rest assured, I will have some upcoming Buy It, Borrow it or Bag It’s coming up in the near future, and we will see the return of fabulous fridays. Just know I am still among the land of the living and I thank each and every one of you for your support!

Keep Rockin’

Julie

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