On Breaking Chains, the Oscars, Harry Potter, Run Club, and the Deep Dive

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Outfit Details: J.Crew Sweater Blazer / Old J.Crew Blouse (Similar) / Banana Republic Factory Jeans (Similar) / Thrifted Scarf / Madewell Boots

Even if it doesn’t always feel like it, it’s spring — and our Girl Scout cookies have arrived! Those are two worthy celebrations in and of themselves. Additionally, I attended my second Toastmasters competition over the weekend, where I wore this outfit and helped as a volunteer. I heard excellent motivational speeches, one of which included the following anecdote.

When elephants are first born in captivity, the first thing they learn is not to escape. Their caretakers enforce this lesson by securing a chain around one of their legs. No matter how hard the baby elephant tries, it can’t break the chain, so it gives up trying. When an elephant gets older, all the trainer has to do to prevent it from escaping is tie a rope around its leg. Because the elephant has been conditioned to think it can’t escape, it doesn’t even try to break the rope, even though it can. The point of the story is to make you think of your own limiting thoughts. What in your life was once a chain but is now a rope? It’s a worthwhile idea to ponder.

My Best Picture Pick

Do you watch the Oscars? They’re this weekend. We always try to see at least the Best Picture nominations each year. We even fill out paper ballots, which is very much a guessing game for me. But, I do have my pick for Best Picture. My favorite movie of the year by far is “CODA”. It’s the story of Ruby, a child of deaf adults (CODA) and the only hearing member of her family (her brother is also deaf), who loves to sing. She joins the choir at her school and is encouraged by her teacher to apply to a prestigious performing arts school. The only problem is she translates for her family, who is struggling to keep their family fishing business afloat. It’s charming, endearing, touching, and a serious cry fest. It features three deaf actors, one of whom, Troy Kotsur, is nominated for Best Supporting Actor. This New York Times article talks about his struggles to find work and his role in the movie. It’s exciting to see more mainstream movies featuring deaf actors. We loved “Sound of Metal” from last year’s Best Picture Nominations.

I would also recommend seeing “Don’t Look Up”, for something funny yet poignant, “King Richard”, for a great Dad and daughter movie, and “Belfast”, a sometimes sweet yet harrowing look at Northern Ireland in the 1960s.

Rereading Harry Potter  

I reread “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” for the first time since my first reading in high school. Have you ever reread any books from your youth? It’s always an eye-opening experience. The change in perspective sometimes makes it feel like you’re reading a book for the first time. Having read all of the books a long time ago, I think of the Harry Potter movies first in my mind. Harry is portrayed so courageously in the movies I forgot how lonely he is in the books. Moments like his almost overlooked birthday celebration, the 50-pence piece the Dursleys send him for Christmas, and seeing his parents for the very first time in the Mirror of Erised make my heart ache for Harry. As an adult, I appreciate the adults like Hagrid who look out for him even more. I was equally touched to see how much he stands up for kids like Neville Longbottom. Rereading the first book renewed my love of and appreciation for the series.

Pittsburgh Run Club 

I’ve discovered a new thing to love about Pittsburgh: City of Bridges Run Club. The club meets almost daily at locations, usually a restaurant or bar, all over the city for a group run. This past Thursday, I attended my first group run at The Saloon in Mount Lebanon. In reality, I arrived late and accidentally joined the Fleet Feet Run Club by mistake! Eventually, I did find the City of Bridges Run Club and had a great time chatting with everyone after the run. It seems like a very fun and inviting group! You can see locations and dates for upcoming runs on their website. 

Podcast Recco: The Deep Dive

Thanks to my SIL’s recommendation, I am really enjoying the podcast “The Deep Dive” with best friends Jessica St. Clair and June Diane Raphael. You may know Jessica from her roles in “Bridesmaids” and, more recently, “Avenue 5.” June plays Brianna in “Grace and Frankie” and also appears on the podcast “How Did This Get Made?” with her husband, Paul Scheer. They talk about everything from the deep stuff — like motherhood, family, and friendships — to lighter fare, such as where to buy fake eyelashes. And they are absolutely hilarious together. I highly recommend listening to the episode with their stylist Abby Arad when she talks about her five must-have capsule wardrobe pieces and their Art of the Tablescape episode with Kulap Vilaysack. They are funny and informative!

Thanks for visiting and reading! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!

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