Tunesday: February 2015

Lady Gaga

On TUNESDAY, I share some of the songs, music videos, and live performances I’ve been groovin’ to. Here are 12 of my favourites from February, which all happen to be tied to a few of the biggest television events of 2015 thus far…

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Highlights from the 2015 Oscars

Oscars 2015
  • And the winner of Best Dressed on the Oscars Red Carpet is… a tie! Between Lupita Nyong’o (who was pearl-fection in custom-made Calvin Klein work of art) and Anna Kendrick (who was peach perfect in a gown designed by Thakoon).
  • Neil Patrick Harris was a decent host. The jokes and bits were so-so, but I did nod at that jab about this year’s ceremony being a celebration to Hollywood’s best and whitest (I mean brightest!). Oh, the accuracy. The night’s theme was pretty standard: a tribute to moving pictures – well, no duh! Again, the lovely Anna Kendrick stole the spotlight as Cinderella (from Into the Woods) during that opening musical number.
  • The musical presentations kept the evening alive: Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island (and Batman)’s energetic and hilarious “Everything is Awesome” (from The Lego Movie) was awesome possum! Lego Oscars are better than the real thing. John Legend and Common’s relevant and moving “Glory” fromSelma rightfully won Best Original Song, and the duo’s performance moved the whole room to tears. While Selma did not receive the acclaim and accolades I felt they deserved, I am glad to see this song having such an impact on people. I was blown away by Lady Gaga’s stunning Sound of Music tribute. After tonight, even her biggest critics cannot deny her incredible vocal talents. Perhaps Broadway is in her future? And of course, Julie Andrews’ presence on any stage is always a delight.
  • My predictions in the acting categories were 4/4, and all four winners delivered great speeches: Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons forWhiplash (Call your parents!), Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquettefor Boyhood (Equality for women!), Best Actor Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything (he dedicated his award to people with ALS), and Best Actress Julianne Moore for Still Alice (she spoke up for the representation of people with Alzheimer’s in the media in hopes of finding a cure). I’ve seen all of these films, excluding Still Alice (which is the next movie on my queue!), and these wins were well-earned!
  • Besides Selma, I didn’t feel too passionate towards any of this year’s Best Picture nominees (though congratulations to Birdman‘s crew and cast for picking up the grand prize of the night!), but I was very happy for the two big animation award winners: Disney’s Feast for Best Animated Short and Disney’s Big Hero 6 for Best Animated Film. If you haven’t yet, I recommend watching both!

Stay weird, stay different.”
– Graham Moore, winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game

Make It Happen

Keep Moving Forward

When I saw this motivational Post-It on the tree outside my office building, I had to stop and snap a picture. Later that day, when I had a moment to pause and reflect, I thought about what the encouraging phrase written on that note meant to me.

I’m really making a conscious effort to keep moving forward in whatever it is I’m doing, without second-guessing myself every single step of the way. That’s my default mode of daily operation. I filter myself by quality controlling my words and actions. I withhold myself until I’m bulletproof ready and what I have to share is perfect. But I always forget two very important facts: a) you are never ready, so waiting is pointless, and b) perfect does not exist, nor should it. So why on earth am I wasting my time?

Yes, doing something seemingly prematurely is daunting. You risk exposing yourself as someone who is vulnerable (which is not a bad thing – more on that later…), but there is greater, more detrimental risk in stifling your thoughts, your contributions, your gifts, and yourself. By always stalling, you become stagnant and stuck. Even worse, you risk sacrificing opportunities and relationships that you might not have missed had you just taken that leap forward instead of mulling over whether it was worth it or not.

I’m reading Brené Brown‘s two books, The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, on living wholeheartedly by accepting and practicing vulnerability (I wrote about her TED Talk on “The Power of Vulnerability”). She is all about letting go of who you think you’re supposed to be according to what the rest of the world says and believing that, contrary to what you or someone else thinks, you are enough.

And it’s from there where I had my epiphany on how to motivate myself to keep at this forward motion: In life, we have to do the things that scare us so we’re no longer afraid and we’re able to move ahead. You might get wounded, but bruises fade, and scars are battle wounds (and damn, do they make excellent stories to tell – it’s all about perspective). You might fail, but you might not. I’d rather flop miserably in the process than wonder how things might have been different had I just given it a try. Like one of my favourite quotations says, “I’d rather have a life of oh wells than a life of what ifs.”

Prime example: For years, I’ve been dreaming of traveling to my favourite city I’ve never been to – London. For years, I’ve pushed this dream to the wings because I believed I didn’t have the time, money, or company to make it happen. This year, I threw caution to the wind and booked a solo trip to London for April 2015, because I realized that if a dream is that important to you, you should hustle to turn it into reality. Sure, I’m nervous about exploring Europe for the first time by myself, because no matter what happens, the experience of preparing for and going on this trip will teach me more than just waiting around at home, wondering ‘what if’. So…

Stop waiting around, set yourself free, and make it happen.

Image by yours truly.

The Lonely Hearts Club

Austen

Valentine’s Day. The day when love is in the air and everything is red and pink and heart-shaped all over (just a few of my favourite things). Despite liking things associated with this holiday, I usually don’t take it very seriously. I’m not a cynic who demonizes companies like Hallmark for capitalizing on the hearts (and wallets) of the lovesick to make big bucks, but I personally don’t find much use nor pleasure in a day that’s not even considered a stat holiday (call me when its Christmastime). But this year, I actually have something to say.

On the flip side of the touching declarations of love I’ve seen in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, my single friends are feeling glum over its impending approach (of doom). Seeing my friends upset makes me upset too. I long for the elementary school days when you were forced to give everyone in your class a valentine so that nobody gets left out. But as adults, loneliness and heartbreak is just part of the game of love and life.

How do people typically respond when people are down over Valentine’s Day?

You’ll find someone soon!

Soon? Are you a psychic? How soon is soon? There’s really no secret recipe to finding “the one”. Unless you’ve been lucky enough to stay together with your childhood sweetheart for all these years, it is a matter of trial and error with heartbeats and heartaches (rinse and repeat). When you’re forced to observe the parade of blissfully happy couples celebrating their love for one another, of course you’re going to feel bummed out and anxious over when you’ll be the one on the receiving end of these gestures of affection. I wish I had an answer for this one, but love is the greatest mystery of life. Where’s Sherlock Holmes when you need him?

There are worse things happening in the world!

We are fully aware of all the terrible injustices occurring around the world, but this is a disparate comparison, and that doesn’t make a person’s feelings any less valid. Don’t let anyone shame you for having these very real, very human emotions.

Aw, cheer up!

Aw, hell no! Ignore them and listen to me. It’s okay. It’s okay to feel sad or mad. It’s okay to have a pity party. If it helps you release your stream of tears or steam of fury, you damn well should. Go on and cry into your pillow or throw that pillow across the room (just be careful of fragile objects, please). And by God, eat that entire tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream if it makes you feel better.

I always joke about my aspirations to become a cat lady (you may laugh now, but wait until you see my army of laser cats in the year 2030). But in honour of my resolution to wear my heart on my sleeve a little more, I must confess – I’m still holding onto that dream of finding Prince Charming. Now don’t start calling me a hopeless romantic or anything. I just would like for someone special to surprise me with a bouquet of roses, and I often wonder how much longer I have to wait for that to happen. I ain’t getting any younger here.

I guess the point I want to get across here is this: you are not the only one in the lonely hour out here. You have company in the Lonely Hearts Club, and despite ridin’ solo, each and every one of us in this bunch is an awesome catch in our own unique way. And even if there’s no romantic love in your life right at this moment, there is still all kinds of love in your life – the love of your family, the love of your friends, the love you have for yourself. So while you wait for Cupid to aim his arrow your way, try surrounding yourself with these other forms of love and do the things you love. You may be surprised at how much warmer and lighter you feel. And on those days when you just want to listen to sad songs and sob in your room, by all means, play on. Your true blue loves will be there for you.

To all of you lonely yet beautiful hearts, I hope you’ll find love in a hopeless place (thanks, RiRi). In the meantime, don’t forget to indulge in the one good thing we can all agree on regarding Valentine’s Day – the half-priced candies and chocolates on February 15th. #TreatYoSelf2015

Image Credit: Literary Emporium

Highlights from the 2015 Grammy Awards

Sam Smith Grammy

The 2015 Grammy Awards will be remembered for a stream of slow jams and ballads, Kanye almost pulling another Kanye (Who is Beck?), and a guy who goes by the name Sam Smith. Here are my favourite moments from this year’s ceremony:

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