Public Mass Shootings: The Terrorism That Needs to Be Tackled

Originally published on HuffPo Politics on 12/3/2014

Arriving home from work last night, a strange sense of deja vu came across me while putting on the national evening news. Coverage of the San Bernardino shooting showed eerily similar scenes of prior broadcasts. Law enforcement swarming a public area with terrified bystanders running with their hands above their head. Emotionally charged individuals jumbling words during interviews as they await word of the fate of their loved ones turned victims.

Stuffed animals, helium balloons and candles placed outside a building of the newly-minted crime scene. And finally, a flurry of empty promises of action by legislators fueled by the outrage of Americans. Somehow public mass shootings and their aftermath have become as predictable as a Hollywood romantic movie, but are occurring on a more frequent basis than reruns of Law and Order: SVU. Continue reading

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Lose Your Selfie in the Moment

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Why yes, I do own a #selfie sweatshirt.

Originally posted on Huffington Post on 9/29/15.

For anyone who knows me, their first reaction to this article is that it is being penned by a hypocrite. Rightfully so I am a notorious shutterbug and have been since the days of disposable cameras during junior high. At my parent’s house, there are shelves with albums containing photos taken from a mix of disposable cameras and early digital cameras. My photo obsession was escalated when I converted to the iPhone in 2011 and entered the wonderful world of selfies.

The iPhone may have helped me document the moment more efficiently, but not without consequences. Most noticeable, my borderline obsession of capturing the moment has caused me on multiple occasions to be removed from it instead. Perhaps this newfound awareness is divine inspiration because it became clear thanks to Pope Francis.

Watching the media coverage of Pope Francis’s visit to the United States began this reflection of ‘selfie’. Being in the presence of the most revered spiritual leaders in the world is one of those once in a lifetime, indelible moments, so it is understandable that there is a strong desire to capture the moment. While watching the Papal festivities on television, there were parts of the footage where Pope Francis could not be seen by the network camera because of the amount of tablets, phones and cameras being held up by spectators. Even priests that were seated by the alter snapped photos as Pope Francis performed the rites of the Catholic mass.

Keep in mind, these are the people who waited countless hours on their feet to meet Pope Francis, and are most likely devout members of the Catholic church, who believe He is the closest thing humans have to a Earthly connect to Jesus Christ (thank you 16 years of catholic school). After snapping one or two photos, the reverend thing would have been to put down the iWhatever and bask in the moment, especially if the leader of your faith is close enough to touch. All I could hear in my mind was the high pitched shrills from the outraged nuns that oversaw my catholic education, knowing that somewhere they are clicking their tongues in disapproval with their habitats all in a bunch. Continue reading

What do the Duggars, a Muppet and Gun Control Have in Common? My August Writings!

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Basically my feelings of having 3 news pieces published, an additional 3 syndicated, having an article pitch accepted for a publication I’ve never written all in the past month. Each piece has been different than my usual themes. Editorial based on current events and a stab at humor that is not dark!

Grateful to The Skirt Collective, HuffPost, Muppet Mindset and Your Tango for sharing my work this month!

Ready to see what new adventures and inspiration fall will bring!

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A Generation Desensitized to Gun Violence

NY-Daily-News-CoverAlong with rest of the world on August 26th, I stared at my computer screen horror watching the final minutes of 24-year-old Alison Parker. The flooding of dread that washed over me while viewing the footage was not due to the graphic nature of the actual shooting. It was from knowing that when Parker woke that morning, she had no idea that instead of covering the news she would be an international headline story in the worst way possible. Her cameraman Adam Ward most likely had ambitions of capturing a newsworthy moment that would go national. 72 hours ago, he would have laughed if someone told him that he would be a household name after being captured by a camera wielding gunman.

My arms were covered in goosebumps sparked by terror as Lester’s camera crept up to the trio filming the fluffy feature piece for WDBJ morning show. Similar to watching a horror movie, I wanted to yell at the oblivious bystanders that all hell was about to erupt. But the image that has caused me to lose sleep the past two nights was the look of horror on Alison’s face. The screenshot that appeared on the New York Daily News the day after, that depicted the split second of realization. The dumbfounded expression of in-studio Kimberly McBroom only added to the gut wrenching footage. The entire world would watch her reaction on replay, as she unexpectedly watched her coworkers be executed on live television.

With my social media newsfeed flooded with reactions of the shooting this week, it was clear that I was not the only person who was particularly struck by this tragedy. Yet as I was reading the outpouring of reactions to the New York Daily News cover story, something occurred to me. Why was it that only an act of gun violence involving an element of shock caught the attention of the masses? Personally, this was first time since the Massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 that an incident involving gun control struck a nerve. Again, it was the element of shock without a motive fueling the mass murders that left the nation outraged. In between the two massacres, there have been countless of public shootings that have been reported, but nothing registered as disturbing as the “typical public shootings’.  Perhaps the troubling situation is that myself, and others in my generation have become a bit desensitized to the mass public casualties. Just the fact that most people can understand the phrase ‘typical public shooting’ and the differentiation between massacres like Sandy Hook is troubling. Continue reading

10 Reasons Why Kermit Would Be The Perfect Boyfriend

Thrilled that my Kermit the Frog essay was republished on The Muppet Mindset!

The Muppet Mindset

The following article is by the talented Patrice Bendig.  Originally appearing on her blog, it was also picked up by the Huffington Post.  I’ve always said our sites are exactly the same, so we’ve got it here for you, too!  Thanks, Patrice!

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Many of us are questioning the longevity of love in the 21st century thanks, to the recent slew of Hollywood romances that sizzled up this summer. The split that’s most shocking is between one of the longest relationships in Hollywood, spanning over 40 years. Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy have decided to part amicably, in order to continue a professional relationship as they returned to television this fall for the revamp of The Muppet Show on ABC.

No word yet if either Muppet has their eyes on new lovers, but not to worry. There shouldn’t be a lack of potential suitors, especially for our…

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The Article where No One Dies or is Having a Life Crisis

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As a former colleague once said to me when asked what she thought what genre best defined my writings last year, “You write about sick people, and your mental health.”

Grant it my writing often features heavier topics, but since I consider myself a life-experience storyteller, it made sense based on the circumstances going on in my life at the time.

There have been one or two article that I published for HuffPo this year that have more of a humor flare- alright more along the lines of the dark side but in all honestly it the best kind of humor.

Last week after the news broke that his relationship bit the dust, I came up with a top 10 list reasons why Kermit the Frog is the perfect boyfriend. It has been something that I have joked about for years, and many times Kermit has been referenced as my spirit animal.  Continue reading

10 Reasons Why Kermit the Frog Would Be the Perfect Boyfriend

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Many of us are questioning the longevity of love in the 21st century thanks, to the recent slew of Hollywood romances that sizzled up this summer. The split that’s most shocking is between one of the longest relationships in Hollywood, spanning over 40 years. Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy have decided to part amicably, in order to continue a professional relationship as they returned to television this fall for the revamp of The Muppet Show on ABC.  

No word yet if either Muppet has their eyes on new lovers, but not to worry. There shouldn’t be a lack of potential suitors, especially for our favorite amphibian. While Miss Piggy has gained a reputation over the years for being high maintenance, Kermit the Frog has maintained his southern, down-to-swamp charm despite his international stardom.

As a single woman who isn’t excited about most of the tadpoles out there, I sympathize for how intimidating it can be to leap back into the dating pond, even for America’s favorite frog.

But reentering the game should be easy for Kermit because he embodies the makings of the perfect boyfriend (including soft, snuggly fabric).

Here are the top 10 reasons why Kermit the Frog is now Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor, especially with George Clooney out of the running:

  1. Kermit owns his emotions and isn’t afraid to show them.

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Being able to have an open dialogue about feelings with your significant other is vital to any healthy relationship. Kermit has never shied away from expressing his emotions. Not many men openly profess their love for their friends and family as frequently. But wearing his heart on his sleeve has been one of Kermit’s trademarks, guaranteeing the absence of passive aggressive comments and mind reading assumptions in your relationship.

Continue reading

Joining Team IUD

Originally published on June 23, 2015 on Huffington Post 

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Life is full of situations that are beyond my control, but my reproductive system should not be one of them.

Last Sunday my cervix was not happy with me. Perhaps that is a bit of an understatement. It was throwing a temper tantrum because of what I did to it about 48 hours prior. That’s when I officially became a member of Team IUD — Team Paraguard (Copper IUD) to be exact.

Chances are you stumbled across this blog as you Googled “what is it like getting an IUD” or “does getting an IUD hurt.” At least thats what I did in the weeks leading up before joining Team IUD.

As far as the IUD insertion experience, I’m not going to lie, by no means was this a walk in the park. There were multiple times during the half hour appointment that my wonderful gynecologist offered to stop the procedure because of my pitiful whimpers.

Knowing that this uncomfortableness was exacerbated because of my low tolerance of pain, and that I would never turn to get the procedure done if we stopped now, onward we continued.  Continue reading

Stroke Awareness Month Thoughts from the 25-Year-old Daughter of a Multiple Stroke Victim.

American-Stroke-Month-2-The irony that Stroke Awareness Month takes place during the same month as Mother’s Day is not lost on me. For the past ten years, the words ‘stroke’ and ‘mother’ has become intertwined. Both have played a substantial role in shaping the adult I have become. Coming to terms with my relationship with both is an ongoing struggle. This is not a Stroke Awareness Month essay to bring awareness to the importance of healthy habits and early detection to lower stroke risk. Nor is this an inspirational essay about life after stroke and the lessons it taught has my family. What I write is about the reality of being a 25-years-old daughter of a multiple stroke victim, and how the it can make the future a bit terrifying

Unpredictable. That sums up what I have learned from the decade long experience of being the daughter of a multiple stroke and heart attack survivor. The other day, the news segment on the car radio reminded me that May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Ironically, it was the moment I pulling into the driveway of my childhood home for my weekly visit. The place where my family and I were unwillingly indoctrinated into the world of stroke in 2004 when I was 15 years old. In this household, every month is Stroke Awareness Month.

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The Christmas Cat That Worked Better Than Xanax

Originally Published on Huffington Post on 12/24/2014 and xoJane on 12/25/2014

2014 can be labeled as ‘the year of…’ many things. The year I turned 25.The year I spent recovering from a super-shitty depressive episode . The year I successfully ate a clean diet for 40 days, and ran my first 5K. The year I wrote about my online dating failures and had several articles go viral . The year my best friend’s son suddenly died. But most importantly 2014 will be the year I got a kitten. The year of the highly intelligent cat. Technically I was given to her for Christmas 2013, but didn’t bring her home on December 28, which is practically 2014.

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That day as I drove through the streets of North Philly with a plastic cat carrier with the tags still on it, anyone who passed by me would think that I was insane. “We’re almost to place Cat, just stop making noises” I screamed trying to match the volume of the ear-piecing wails my new pet was making. Within a span of 72 hours, I had agreed to accept the Christmas present from a friend, a 4-month old marmalade colored kitten that a friend of a friend had found wandering around his apartment building. “This is the thing you need. It will provide such comfort,” my well meaning friend when she introduced me to my very much alive and active gift. As the cat and I eyed each other up for the first time, we were both skeptical of each other.

When we finally got to my apartment, I let her out to get a lay of the new land. She scurried to the drawer underneath my bed, where Cat stayed for several days. (Yes, originally the cat’s name was Cat because she looked identical to the one in Breakfast at Tiffanys. Eventually I named her Annie because she was an orphan , and Cat became to annoying to explain to non Audrey Hepburn fans.)

Great. The cat that is supposed to make me feel less alone wants nothing to do with me. Initially I was certain becoming a cat owner was a mistake, and had begun looking for places to drop her off. I was such a hot mess myself, and this cat doesn’t even like me. Continue reading