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September 11, 2001, New York, United States of America, Bin Laden,

I resolved not to write about September 11, 2001, that fateful day. I didn’t feel that I needed to be reminded of the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 because, in all reality, I have never forgotten them. I never will. I see it every day in the eyes of my husband and the sweet faces of my daughters.

September 11, 2001 is the day that the world stood still for all of the collective United States.

We held our breath and helplessly watched as our lives were tragically changed forever. Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that infamous morning, when the plane hit the north tower, at 8:47 am. That moment is seared into my brain like a branded battle scar. The myriad of

Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that infamous morning, when the plane hit the north tower, at 8:47 am. That moment is seared into my brain like a branded battle scar. The myriad of emotions that overwhelmed me in that exact moment in time will be with me always. It can’t be forgotten. I can still feel the sickness in the pit of stomach eating at my soul, as I type this.

September 11, 2011, #NeverForget, New York, The Day the world stood still, Bin Laden. loss, United States of America

No, I wasn’t going to write about September 11, 2001 but I am thankful for my husband that I was afraid I might have lost that morning, my daughters who have been born since that day, for my friends in New York who made it through that day with their lives and survived the devastation that losing their friends, family members and loved ones brought in those following days.

I am commemorating those unsuspecting people who lost their lives, the heroes who at the cost of their own lives kept going into the collapsing buildings to save others and those of us who have chosen not to be victims of that day but who joined together as a nation to overcome the heinous crimes inflicted upon us by a group of cowardice monsters.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of those families who lost someone that day and for the rest of us who survived it and must live with the pain and loss that September 11, 2001, has left in its wake. This is my story, we all have one.

September 11, 2001 they ran in when everyone else ran out

I can very clearly remember the bright blue morning sky of September 11, 2001, as if it were yesterday. We were living in North Carolina, it was 2 weeks before my 29th birthday. We had only recently celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. My husband was away on business in Pennsylvania.

Per usual, I went to work, at a small publishing house, and the moment I walked in the door my editor silently motioned me over to the television to see what was happening. There we stood paralyzed, watching in shock and horror at the footage being shown on the television… of what was happening. Could this be real?

It couldn’t be real. It looked like some horrible action movie but it was live TV. It was the footage of flight 11 hitting the first tower. I remember my heart falling to the floor as I realized my husband was away from me on business. I couldn’t make sense of it. It was all happening so fast. We were being attacked on our own soil.

My husband, the other half to my whole, was in Pennsylvania, much too close to where everything was taking place. I tried to call him but all the phone lines to the east coast were jammed from terrified loved ones trying to reach their families in New York.

I distinctly remember the newscaster making the announcement and showing the footage of the south tower being hit by flight 175, as I was still trying to absorb the north tower being hit. Seeing the dark billowy puffs of smoke escaping from the rubble and the heartbreak of seeing the frightened and desperate people jump from the building, it was all I could do not to start driving in the general direction of where my husband was. All I wanted to do was hear my husband’s voice. I needed to know he was safe.

I couldn’t imagine the fear and thoughts going through the jumpers minds as they were forced to make that decision or the pain and sheer fright they must have felt being trapped in the collapsing towers. It must have felt like the world was ending. In many ways, it was.

Just imagine minding your business, doing your work and your entire life being snatched away. Your future, no longer an option. Knowing that you would never hold your baby, kiss your husband goodbye or tell them that you love them.

Then they made the announcement on the news that Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon. I held my breath once more and through tear filled eyes, continuously dialed my husband’s number on the cell phone. I had to reach him, somehow.

September 11,2001; A Day that will live in Infamy

Then the announcement that Flight 93 went down very near where my husband was at on business. I dialed and dialed ( as I know many people were trying to do ) until my fingers were cramping from pushing the buttons. But the phone lines were all down due to what was happening and all the calls trying to be made by scared families trying to reach their loved ones, just like me. Everyone was trying to make sure that their loved one was not in or near the buildings hit. We all just wanted to hear the voice, to have the reassurance that our loved one was safe. I remember being there at work, watching helplessly as my world was collapsing. An entire generation of American people lost our safety and security, our trust and innocence. We thought we were untouchable on our own soil but the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 made us realize just how vulnerable we were. I stayed at work that very long day with my boss because I was 10 hours away from my nearest relative and going home to our empty apartment waiting for him to call me meant sitting there alone with my thoughts…with my fears.

My husband was there…nearer to the situation than I would ever want. I thank God every day that he wasn’t in New York that morning. Eventually, he called me. It seemed an eternity waiting for that call to come. I remember thinking..this is it..this is the day my world could come to a screeching halt. It did in a way. My life was changed forever, as were the lives of every American. I will never feel safe again. Not completely.

Every time someone I love gets on a plane, I hold my breath until they land safely. I’ve not been on a plane since this happened and I am sure that when I do, there will be an inordinate amount of anxiety. When the phone call finally came that my husband was OK, hearing his voice on the other end was one of the greatest moments of relief that I have ever experienced in my life. I had never been so thankful for my blessings and for the simple things such as my husband’s smile across a crowded room, his laughter ringing out at the most inappropriate times or just the way he says my name. I will never take those things for granted ever again.

September 11, 2001, New York, Bin Laden, #neverforget

Osama Bin Laden is dead and I’m glad. I won’t make apologies for being glad that he is gone. I feel that we are all a little freer from the tyranny of terrorism that we have been under for the past 10 years. My heart still aches for all the wives who lost their husbands, children who lost their parents, parents who lost their children and anyone who lost a loved one, a friend, a co-worker or even just someone who smiled at you on the street every day or as you passed in the building.

Their smiles, voices, laughter, and existence will be missed and felt by many. Their ripple is great and every moment is more precious to me now because I know that any moment can be the last. I now know the unconditional love that a parent feels for a child, I know the unbreakable path between a couple, so close that you don’t know where one begins and the other ends, and I can imagine the unfulfillable void and pain that losing that would cause.

I’ve been holding on to these feelings for a long time. I’ve had them wrapped up tight in a small little box, hidden away far back in the recesses of my soul because I didn’t want to think about how vulnerable we were are. I was afraid that if I allowed myself to feel those feelings, it might be too much. I was dreading today because I wasn’t ready to dig that box out and open it up. But we owe it to those we lost, the mothers, fathers, friends, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, the heroes who ran in when everyone was running out on September 11, 2001 to #NeverForget!

September 11,2001; I will #NeverForget

 

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September 11th, 9/11, New York, September 11th Memorial, #NeverForget

September 11th ~ Vulnerable. Like an open wound, that is how I would describe how I felt when I woke up this morning. There are instances in life that are so shocking, so painful and profound that you are stunned that they are actually even taking place. These are the events that your brain may willfully try to forget but you cannot because those same events are imprinted on your heart forever. We all have these moments. September 11, 2001 is one of those days. It is a day I will never forget.

I don’t want to write too much about September 11th this morning because I’ve written about it before. I just want to share with you this morning. This morning, I woke up and immediately remembered what day it was. Then I remembered what I was doing that beautiful day in September 12 years ago.

My husband was in Pennsylvania traveling for work and I was walking into my office at the small publishing house where I edited in North Carolina. I was 28 years old at 8:46 when I walked into work just in time to see the first plane hit the tower. I was stunned. All the air was sucked out of me. We sat in silence and then my first reaction was to call my husband. I desperately needed to hear his voice. I couldn’t reach him. The phones were down. I never felt so alone in my entire life. A nation full of people sharing a single event and I felt completely alone in my grief, my pain and my fear. I know that I wasn’t but pain is personal.

flag

Today, 12 years later, I have everything. I have the Big Guy and we have been blessed with our two daughters. We have our health and are surrounded by love. Life has moved on in many ways for many people. We all fly again and we are learning to trust again. Our hearts are still heavy and cracked but no longer busted wide open. Only, maybe they are.  12 years later, I woke up on another gorgeous day in September and all it took was to hear sirens blaring past my neighborhood to send me into a full panic. My heart demanded that I not send the kids to school and I listened.

You see, though my brain has learned to deal with the pain of September 11th, my heart is still fundamentally broken and it is still haunted by the grief that was there not so long ago. My heart would not allow my girls to leave my arms today. It felt like the right thing to do if not the logical one. I feel like we need to spend the day remembering those who were taken from us on that day, mourning their deaths, celebrating their lives and marking that moment in time. I think we need to stop and feel the full weight of our loss. This is how I process.

I explained to my girls why I was keeping them home and what today was. They are 6 and 8. They’ve learned about September 11th in school but it’s not real to them; not the way it is real to all of us who witnessed that awful, horrible, heartbreaking day. They weren’t there that day when the entire world stood still and held its breath as terrorists put a gun to our united head. It was time. I showed them the video footage of the planes hitting the towers. We had a discussion. They now understand. There is reverence in our home today. We are happy to be alive. Blessed to be together and just a little nicer to one another.

You will not see me on social media today because I can not read the stories. My heart is too heavy with sadness from the stories of the past 12 years, instead  I will be holding my children in my arms and thanking God that I am able to do so. Hug your children. Tell the people you love that they matter. Commit a random act of kindness.

Today, I kept my children home with me because I can. Some mothers were left childless on September 11th  2001 and for them, today I am silent. For them, I pray. For all the souls taken too soon, I will live completely, love fully and never take a single day for granted to honor their memory. I will never forget.

september 11th, 9/11, New york,

Please share your stories in the comments.

What were you doing on that morning of September 11th?

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Ground Zero, 9/11, September 11th, Remembering, #neverForget

Last night, I watched as social media became heated and divided over September 11th. These are just a few of the slurs I saw hurled at people.

“Do you live in fear? Do you send your children to school? Do you keep them home? You are stupid if you keep them home. If you keep them home, THEY win. If you send them and they die, at least they lived without fear. We can’t let THEM terrorize us. “

 

But I think that ship sailed on September 11th. We have been irrevocably damaged. Maybe we are not broken, but we are not the same. I stayed quiet because I reflect every year on these very thoughts but I do keep my girls home, but not for the reason you might think. This is my secret. I don’t usually talk about it and when I call the school, I make up some excuse of coughing and slight fevers but this year, I just told them that my girls weren’t coming in because September 11th is a day in our household of remembrance and mourning. It’s the truth. Why should I be embarrassed about it?

Today is September 11th and I find myself at the same spot I have every year since that day 13 years ago.  I don’t live my life in fear but I don’t send my girls to school on September 11th either. I never have and I probably never will. No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I am not crazy. Keeping them home was not born out of some irrational fear that something terrible was going to happen on September 11th. It has come from a place of reverence.

What I am is a woman who was 28 years old on September 11th, 2001. I was just starting my life as a wife, living in Greensboro, North Carolina. My husband was in Pennsylvania traveling for work and I was walking into my office at the small publishing house where I edited. I walked into work just before 9 a.m. in time to see the first plane hit the tower. I was shocked; all the air was sucked out of me. We sat in silence and then my first reaction was to call my husband. I desperately needed to hear his voice. I couldn’t reach him. The phones were down. I never felt so alone in my entire life. The not knowing if he was safe, a sentiment that blanked the entire country, held me in its grip and my heart was heavy, so heavy I felt as if I was choking on the very air I was trying to breathe. A nation full of people sharing a single event and I felt completely alone in my grief, my pain and my fear. I know that I wasn’t but pain is personal. Like everyone else in the United States, I was changed that day forever. I am not the same person I was before that day. I know there have been mass losses before in history and have been more since, but none that have affected me so personally, none that I have been a first person witness.

Every year, I keep my children home from school as my way of stopping the world and remembering. It’s my moment of silence. It lasts 24 hours. Believe me, I never forget. I carry it with me every single day, as I do all the big moments of my life; the hard losses. But on September 11th, I stop in reverence and give myself over in silence and stillness. It is my very small way of paying homage to those men and women who died on that day. It is my way of showing respect to those people who loved them and were left behind to feel the pain for a lifetime. It is a small gesture and in the grand scheme of life insignificant but it is something I need to do. Last year, I explained what today was about to my girls. They know. They pray today for those children who lost their mothers and fathers on that day. They give thanks for those who survived. This is why my girls are home with me today.

I don’t know where the world is headed but I know there is a lot of terrible things going on right now. I can’t turn on the television without seeing someone being shot dead, hacked with a machete or innocents being beheaded. It’s overwhelming the amount of bad things happening right now and worse, what the Internet has made possible to see. Today, we remember all those who were lost to violence and terrorism, pray for those who have to survive the loss, pray for those who are still being victimized  by those with hatred in their hearts and do our part to be channels of peace in this world we live in.

Be good to one another every day. Be kind and be reverent today. Pause and be thankful.

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I came across this story while trolling CNN, my favorite source of most of my Throat Punch Thursday posts because apparently CNN has a direct line to all douche baggery in the world. You’ve probably heard this story already. If not, be sure and watch the video and stay tuned. Commentary will follow!

https://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=us/2010/09/29/ricks.nj.clementi.suicide1.cnn

Apparently, there was a student at Rutgers University named Tyler Clementi who had the misfortune of rooming with an asshole named Dharun Ravi. Tyler Clementi,18, freshman at Rutgers University asked his roomate Dharun, also 18, if he could have the dorm room for a period of time in the evening of September 19. He wanted to be alone with a date, another boy on campus. Dharun Ravi left the room but promptly went to his friend Molly Wei’s room and proceeded to turn on his web cam and spy on record the boy on boy action. I’d say this Dharun Ravi character is some sort of perverted psychopath. But it didn’t stop there. No, this creep actually tweeted about it. “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.” OK, can you say sick bastard. First, invasion of privacy and secondly, have you nothing better to do then spy on you room mate and tweet about it, no less. Talk about social media at its best.

To make matters worse, a couple days later , on September 21st, he did the same thing. This time tweeting “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again,” and with that he live streamed the sexual encounter between the boys. I’m convinced this Dharun Ravi character should be locked away in some prison cell, just for this.

The next day, Clementi was dead. He jumped off the  George Washington Bridge. How do we know this? For one his wallet and phone were found on the bridge, and then there is the omnious FB status update “jumping off the gw bridge sorry.”

Didn’t anybody think to go check on this kid? Ring him on the telephone? Go over to his dorm room? In the end, his body was found in the Hudson river. The cause of death was ruled to be suicide by drowning and blunt injuries from the impact of the jump from the bridge. Blunt injuries indeed!

Obvious choice for this weeks coveted Throat Punch Thursday goes to the fucking idiot Dharun Ravi for being the worst room mate in the history of the world. For being a creepy Lester pervert who not only spied on his room mate during an intimate encounter but then exploited it and made a mockery of him. Look, there is a lot of shit I would have killed my room mate in college for live streaming but nothing was ever as heinous as what this mental midget did. I don’t know if this Clementi kid was out to his family yet but I’m assuming not, since such drastic measures were taken to avoid the ramifications of the live stream. I hate that we live in a world where a nice kid can’t love who they want but a perfectly creepy asshole can literally get away with murder.

Ravi and his friend Molly Wei, 18, are each charged with two counts of invasion of privacy for the September 19 broadcast, according to the prosecutor’s office. * Really, is that the best they can do? Two more counts of invasion of privacy were leveled against Ravi for a September 21 attempt to videotape another encounter involving Clementi, according to the prosecutors office. I think this is laughable. These morons played a direct part in Clementi’s suicide. They are as guilty as if they had pushed him off the GW Bridge. I, personally, think they should be thrown off the GW Bridge themselves…especially the room mate. That is a sacred relationship.At the very least, they should be charged with Manslaughter and expelled from the university. There is much more information to support my stance please read the entire story here!

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Great Nature, Great Nature Project

I’m honored to be a part of the National Geographic Kids Beta Ambassador program. I am a National Geographic Kids Insider!  I am pretty excited, especially since I get to be a part of the Great Nature Project. I’ve got to tell you, I feel a little like an astronaut being one of the first and all. I’m thrilled to be a part of this amazing non-profit organization.

I’ve loved National Geographic since I was a kid and more importantly, my kids really love it and being associated with National Geographic Kids has made me a little bit cooler in their eyes. Ok, who am I kidding, it’s made me a lot cooler in their eyes.

My girls love the National Geographic books and magazines because they are interesting and the stunning photos have always caught their attention.

The photos are always astoundingly beautiful and capture not just a photo of an animal or a person but the moment and the feeling. The photos themselves tell stories. You’ve heard a photo is worth a thousand words? They truly are.

Great Nature, National Geographic

This September, as part of the National Geographic Society’s 125th Birthday celebration, they are hosing the Great Nature Project, an interactive photo project that lasts from September 21 through September 29, 2013. The goal is to encourage people to get outside and explore and celebrate the planet we live on and to care about the environment; to enjoy nature in all of its natural beauty and splendor.

Great Nature, National Geographic, #Animal #GReatNature

The Great Nature Project was designed to encourage people of all ages, and from countries all around the world, to stop and appreciate the nature that surrounds us everyday.

Great Nature, National Geographic, #Animal #GReatNature

To participate in the Great Nature Project simply take photos of the plants and animals around you with whatever camera you feel most comfortable shooting with. Then, share the pictures with the project through social media accounts. You can upload on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Flickr. I’ve been uploading to Instagram and sharing on Twitter and Facebook. Simply use the hashtags #GreatNature and #animal if your photo includes an animal. Through the use of the hashtag, National Geographic can collect the images and post them to their Great Nature Project website.

Great Nature, National Geographic, #Animal #GReatNature

National Geographic Kids is trying to set a Guinness World Record by curating the largest amount of animal photos on the internet by September 29th, 2013. That is this Sunday! We need YOUR help!

 Great Nature, National Geographic, #Animal #GReatNature

We need 100,000 photos of animals to set this record. So get your friends, family to send us animal pictures! We’re over half way there. We already have 60,000 photos of animals.

IMG_5603
How to Participate!

1)Take a picture of an animal in nature—a butterfly, a squirrel, an ant, a horse, whatever your favorite animal is at the local zoo or even your pet outside. (The animal must be a major part of the photo, which must be at least 300 x 300 pixels.)
2) Grab a parent and upload your photos to NG Kids My Shot
3) Hashtag the photo #GreatNature and #animal.
4) Take more photos of animals! You can upload as many as you want, as long as they are all different. https://ow.ly/nt7Rf

I am not even going to lie. My family and I have been going on all kinds of nature walks around our neighborhood, snapping photos. It has been a great bonding time for all of us; walking and talking; getting exercise and being outdoors. The girls have been getting really excited finding the next animal or natural beauty to shoot. We’ve uploaded a lot. Just check out my Instagram for some examples.

https://instagram.com/truthfulmommy/#

If you are a little unsure of your skills, try some of these helpful tips for photographing animals that I picked up from a recent interview with National Geographic photographer Kelley Miller.

  • Be observant.
  • Anticipate and be prepared. Always have your exposure and shutter speed set before you approach the animal. You won’t have time to adjust once animal sees you.
  • Make eye contact and smile.
  • Look for Details. What captures your eye first? Snap
  • Make the animal stand out using a
    simple background or a shallow depth of field.
  • Include the animals habitat
  • According to Family Photographers on the island of Oahu, it’s important to give a sense of scale. Pay attention to graphic elements
  • Go for motion; panning. A slower shutter speed shows motion and action.
  • Get closer to the action.
  • Pursue personality.
  • Try different angles. Shoot off center, tilted or shoot from the top.
  • Be patient. Try to blend. Be quiet.
  • Practice your timing.
  • Best lighting; sunrise or the three hours before sunset. The sun is more subdued and has less contrast.

Great Nature, National Geographic, #ANimal, #GreatNature

Go for it. If your child has a camera and shows an interest, encourage them to shoot what they feel is beautiful in nature. You might be surprised. My daughters have a great eye for angles and lighting, especially my 6-year-old. Snap a photo yourself of a plant or animal in your neighborhood, and upload it to a photo sharing site like Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, or National Geographic Your Shot, making sure to tag it #GreatNature. To participate in the record, add #animal to any animal photo.

Great Nature, National Geographic, #ANimal, #GreatNature

My own birthday was on the 25th and as a personal birthday wish; I would love to see us break this record. So come one, show me your photos tag them #Animal #GreatNature and if you tag me in them @Truthfulmommy, I will share them. We can do this!

Great Nature, National Geographic, #ANimal, #GreatNature

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I am sitting here in shock and disbelief. I am exhilarated at the news that Osama bin Laden is finally dead.  Waiting for the president to make the official announcement that Osama Bin Laden has finally been killed, I am feeling many different emotions. Accompanying the satisfaction of knowing that one of the world’s most frightening monsters is dead, I am also overwhelmed with a deep sense of sorrow and remembrance. I have a lump in my throat and tears streaming from my eyes.

I can very clearly remember the morning of September 11, 2001 as if it were yesterday. We were living in North Carolina and my husband was away on business in Allentown Pennsylvania. I was at work, at a small publishing house,when my boss called me over to the television to see what was happening. We were both in shock of what we were seeing on the television… of what was happening. It looked like some horrible action movie but it was live TV.It was the footage of the first tower being hit. I remember my heart falling to the floor. I couldn’t make sense of it. It was all happening so fast. We were being attacked on our own soil. MY HUSBAND was in Pennsylvania, much too close to where everything was taking place. I remember the newscasters making the announcement, as I was still trying to absorb the tower being hit. Seeing the dark billowy puffs of smoke escaping from the rubble and the heartbreak of seeing the  people jump from the building. All I wanted to do was hear my husband’s voice. To know that he was OK.I couldn’t imagine the fear and thoughts going through the jumpers minds as they had to make that decision. Or the pain they must have felt being trapped in the collapsing towers. Minding your business, doing your work and your entire life just being snatched away like that. Your future, no longer an option. Moms and Dads never being able to see their children again. Then they made the announcement on the news that the plane had went down in Pennsylvania.

The plane went down very near where my husband was working. I called and called ( as I know many people were trying to do ) but the phone lines were all down due to what was happening and all the calls trying to be made. Everyone was trying to make sure that their loved one was not in the building or in any danger.I remember being there at work, watching helplessly as my world was collapsing. I stayed at work with my boss because I was 10 hours away from my nearest relative and going home meant sitting there alone. My husband was there…nearer to the catastrophe than I would ever want. I thank God that he wasn’t in New York and eventually, he called me. It seemed like forever waiting for that call to come. I remember thinking..this is it..this is the day my world could come to a screeching halt.It did in a way. My life was changed forever. I will never feel safe again.Not completely. Every time someone I love gets on a plane, I hold my breath until they land safely. I’ve not been on a plane since this happened and I am sure that when I do, I will need to be medicated for anxiety. The phone call finally came that my husband was OK. Hearing his voice was one of the greatest moments of relief that I have ever experienced in my life.

Osama Bin Laden is dead and I am glad. I feel that we are all a little freer from the tyranny of terrorism that we have been under for the past 10 years. My heart still aches for all the wives who lost their husbands and children who lost their parents, parents who lost their children and anyone who lost a loved one. Every moment is more precious to me now because I know that any moment can be the last. I’ve been holding on to these feelings for a long time. I’ve had them wrapped up tight in a small little box, hidden away far back in the corner because I didn’t want to think about how vulnerable we were are. I was afraid that if I allowed myself to feel those feelings, it might be too much. But tonight I cry, tears of joy that we no longer have to fear the monster and tears of sadness for all the wonderful people that I’ll never know because the monster took them away. I hope that this small victory can bring some peace to the families whose loved ones didn’t make it home that day in September.

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boston marathon, bombing, boston

boston mararthon, bombing,explosionThis Patriot’s Day the 117th Boston Marathon was bombed near the finish line. Today at 2:50 pm EST, 2 explosions went off 5- 15 seconds apart on the crowded streets in front or in the Marathon Sports Running center near the intersection of Boylston and Exeter Street leaving 23 injured and 2 dead, one an 8-year-old child, so far. The explosions happened 100- 150 yards apart. Most injured appear to be spectators. There were some 500,000 happy unsuspecting spectators waiting to cheer on their loved ones at the finish line. The 26,000 runners were running in honor of the Newton victims with a flag with 26 stars at the finish line. According to authorities, there was a third explosion at the JFK library. They are calling this an ongoing event and advising all Bostonians to stay at home and not to congregate in large crowds. I am shocked and horrified.

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Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

If you love Disney’s Aladdin as much as my family does, you will be thrilled to know that not only is Disney’s Aladdin the live-action film being released on DVD on September 10 but so is the original Aladdin the signature series. Both Aladdin’s available on DVD on the same day!!

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie, Disney, Aladdin Signature series

We are definitely a house divided over here. My husband and eldest daughter are Disney animation connoisseurs and both prefer the Aladdin animated film. My youngest daughter and I fell absolutely head over heels in love with the new Disney’s Aladdin live-action film. Either way, we’re all excited for September 10.

Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,

EXPERIENCE MAGIC IN A WHOLE NEW WAY WITH THE THRILLING AND VIBRANT LIVE-ACTION ADAPTATION OF ALADDIN
AND
THE ANIMATED CLASSIC JOINS THE HIGHLY CELEBRATED WALT DISNEY SIGNATURE COLLECTION

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie, Disney, Aladdin Signature series
The live-action adaptation of the animated classic, Aladdin, lands in homes on Digital and Movies Anywhere August 27 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD September 10. Starring Will SmithNaomi Scott and Mena Massoud, the release includes all-new bonus features, such as deleted scenes, a blooper reel and more!READ ALSO: I Loved the New Aladdin More than the Original

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie,The release of the live-action adventure coincides with the addition of the original animated classic to the highly celebrated Walt Disney Signature Collection, granting Aladdin fans everywhere the opportunity to own both magical movies. In 4K for the first time, the new release features all-new bonus content, including alternate endings!

Nasim Pedrad, Marwan Kenzari,Navid Negahban, Mena Massoud, Jasmine, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Abu, Jafar, Aladdin, Disney's Aladdin, Live-action film, movie review, Guy Ritchie, Disney, Aladdin Signature series

We all know that Aladdin is one of the best Disney animated films ever but if you want to be blown away, you have to check out Disney’s Aladdin live-action film. I never thought I could love a film more than the original Aladdin. I remember singing along and adoring everything about it.

Then I saw the live-action film and it moved me in whole other ways. It was the same story but it was its own movie. It took a different perspective and changed just a few slight things but it made the movie more relatable for me. The soundtrack is amazing and the themes were timely and empowering.

I’m excited to add both to our Disney film collection.

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Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise

Disneyland’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge opened officially May 31st! It’s finally here and we’re so excited. We’ve been waiting for this day for four years. Last night, our entire all things Disney and all things Star Wars obsessed family gathered around the television at 10 p.m. to watch the reveal live. Yes, we are that family.

Our trip is already planned. We will be arriving at Walt Disney World on September 1st to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. What better place for the couple who were introduced at their reception to the Star Wars theme and who honeymooned at Walt Disney World than Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge?

In 2015, when Walt Disney Company revealed plans to build “Star Wars” lands at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, legions of Star Wars fans collectively held their breath. When Disney’s chief executive, Bob Iger, revealed that one of the rides would allow us all to live out our childhood fantasy of piloting the Millennium Falcon we thought we were dreaming. We’ve been waiting with bated breath ever since.

READ ALSO: Galaxy’s Edge Opening Day Revealed

Disneyland’s “Star Wars” expansion is the biggest in the park’s history with 14-acres of complete Star Wars immersiveness for as far as the eye can see. Just imagine, you and your family at a trading port on Batuu in Black Spire Outpost on the edge of the wild wild west of space. It looks incredibly immersive and interactive and we can’t wait to experience it for ourselves this fall at Walt Disney World.

I’ve done some research and here is everything you need to know before you visit Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

 You will feel like you are in a galaxy far far away

 When you enter Galaxy’s Edge, you will be on a planet called Batuu. You might remember it from the “Star Wars” comic books and television series. Disney describes Batuu as “on the frontier of Wild Space — the uncharted region beyond all known star systems.” Welcome to Black Spire Outpost, a port on Batuu.

Black Spire Outpost is a trading village built on a dry riverbed on Batuu in the center of Galaxy’s Edge. It absolutely looks otherworldly with rock spires towering before visitors.

There is no overt signage to be found around Black Spire Outpost. It’s all coded.  But here is some inside info:

Savi’s Workshop ( where you can make your own Lightsaber) has a flag with a stylized lightsaber on it.

The Docking Bay 7 Restaurant has a 7 on the building.

Each market place shop has a sign on the building.

It’s a fun hidden code to figure it out and you can do just that using the app. But I’ll tell you more about that later.

Know the Star Wars lingo before you go to Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

Rumors

Bright suns: Hello

Till the spire: goodbye

How much does something cost? They will answer in galactic credits, not dollars.

For example, a creature counter might be 70 credits.

Don’t ask anyone where to buy or build a “Lightsaber” because they won’t tell you. Hello, it’s contraband, You’ll have to inquire about the “scrap metal”.

Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise

Guests only have four hours to visit Galaxy’s Edge, so plan ahead.

If you have a Galaxy’s Edge reservation, you can’t just show up whenever you want. Guests are assigned specific, four-hour windows during which they can visit. Each guest with a reservation will receive a wristband for their assigned time from the “Star Wars” films will escort you out of the land. I don’t know but I think it would be pretty cool to get escorted out by Stormtroopers. If for some reason you leave earlier than your four hours, you cannot come back in. So don’t do that unless it’s an emergency.

It’s been suggested to use your time in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge very wisely. We read that the 4-hour reservation is plenty of time to do it all but you have to prioritize. The suggested order was to first visit Savi’s workshop to build your lightsaber ( which takes an estimated 15 minute wait time and 20 minutes to build your lightsaber), next visit Oga’s Cantina ( which currently has a 2 drink and 45 minute maximum), then Smugglers Run: Millennium Falcon experience, merchandise and then food.

READ ALSO: Free Tips for Maximizing your Walt Disney World Vacations

I’m planning on building my own droid at the droid depot so I need to a lot of time for that. I’ve also heard that a visit to Dok-Ondars Den of Antiquities is a must see with high-end souvenirs. It’s also been said that you can probably hit Smugglers Run more than once if you wait to go again at the end of your 4-hour window. I’ll test the theory in September and let you know.

Once you’ve experienced all of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge main attractions, take some time to immerse yourself in the citizens and environment. Soak it all up, you are in a galaxy far far away after all. How many people can say that?

How to be one of the first to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

To get inside Galaxy’s Edge between its grand opening and June 23, visitors will need a reservation in addition to park entry tickets. Disney is anticipating beyond-capacity crowds. Even with your reservation, you are capped at 4 hour increments. There are no spots left unless you are staying at one of the Disney-owned hotels. Prices are currently starting at $500 a night. An identical version of Galaxy’s Edge will be opening at Walt Disney World in Orlando on Aug. 29. I will be there with my family on September 1st, ready to get my Star Wars on.

In anticipation of the new attractions’ popularity, Disney has taken steps to better equip Disneyland to handle massive crowds. As part of the Project Stardust initiative, Disney has added new parking and expanded pedestrian walkways throughout Disneyland Resort.

Ride queues have been reconfigured to put guests in the shade, and extra seating was added to the Adventureland and Tomorrowland sections of the park. The reservation system for Galaxy’s Edge may also help control crowds in Disneyland.

You can be part of the Resistance or the First Order experience.

Disney parks usually offer passive experiences.  I love riding the rides and watching as everything happens but that is not Galaxy’s Edge. Galaxy’s Edge is taking it to the next level.  It’s role-playing where you are part of the action. Disney’s employees have always been cast members, but the staff at Galaxy’s Edge go a step further. They are Batuu residents who greet you by saying “bright suns” and never break character.

The story of Black Spire Outpost is new and set after the events of “The Last Jedi.” Therefore, don’t expect to run into Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader or Yoda. They’re dead so it wouldn’t make sense for them to be walking around the park. It’s an entirely new place and everyone is experiencing this for the first time.

READ ALSO: What’s New at Walt Disney World

One thing that I think is really cool is the atmospheric encounters instead of character meets with Rey, Kylo Ren, Stormtroopers and Chewbacca. No crazy lines because the characters are walking around the land interacting because that’s where they belong. Also, spontaneous atmospheric entertainment.

If you come across one of your favorite characters, I’m looking at you Chewie, they will stay in character while photo pass photographers take a “scan of you”.

The Galaxy’s Edge Rides.

Galaxy’s Edge will include two thrill rides, Rise of the Resistance, a visit to a Star Destroyer that includes a face-off with the ruthless Kylo Ren and the Smuggler’s Run where you can pilot the Millennium Falcon.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run recreates the experience of flying the spacecraft piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca. Each ride vehicle seats six people, and the ride is designed to be interactive so guests will use controls to either pilot the ship, use blasters to defend the craft or keep the ship running smoothly as flight engineers.

Piloting the Millennium Falcon

Once aboard the Millennium Falcon, you hang in the main hold, which looks identical to the Falcon from the films. Once it’s time for your mission, strap in the Falcon cockpit. Each person is assigned one of three roles and you work as a team.

You can ride stand by, single rider or fast pass but fast passes aren’t available yet. We’ve read that the queue is shorter at the end of the 4-hour time frame.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Galaxy’s Edge’s second ride won’t open until later in 2019.

The Food at Galaxy’s Edge.

Oga’s Cantina will be the first place to ever serve alcohol in Disneyland. The bar serves already mixed cocktails and beers in souvenir glasses. This is not a full bar so don’t expect to order whatever you want. A fun bit of musical entertainment is provided by D.J. Rex.

I’ve heard the drinks are fun and creative but quite pricey if you want the cool souvenir mugs and who doesn’t? A regular cocktail at Oga’s Cantina can cost around $17, not including the price of a souvenir mug. Single beers cost $12 each, or $75 for a flight of 4 beers. The one I’m most looking forward to trying id the Fuzzy Tauntaun. It is Ciroc peach vodka, rolls peach schnapps, simply orange with tangerine, pure cane sugar and buzz foam ( be warned it will make your mouth tingly and numb) and cost $15.

READ ALSO: Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families

Several restaurants serve “Star Wars” themed food, including a Ronto Wrap which is a sausage, pork gyro topped with coleslaw.

The Milk Stand serves the famous Blue and Green Milk frozen beverages. They’re coconut milk based frozen drink with the blue one tasting fruity and the green one tasting more citrusy. Blue and Green Milk drinks cost $8.

There is one free souvenir in Galaxy’s Edge and that’s the cardboard coasters at Oga’s Cantina. They’re single-use and free to take home. We hear you can even ask for a fresh one if yours gets mucked up by your drink.

How to navigate Stars Wars Galaxy’s Edge like a native.

Download the Disneyland and Play apps before your visit. They’re free! The Play Disney Parks app, adds a deeper level of storytelling to your Galaxy’s Edge experience by turning your smartphones into an interstellar “datapad.” You can use the app to activate droids, scan cargo crates to see what was inside and translate shop signs written in Aurebesh, the “Star Wars” language.

You can also use the app to interact with other guests in a game called “Outpost Control,” where you choose to play for the First Order or the Resistance. Earn galactic credit if your side starts to win.

Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise

The Market Place at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

This is the place where you can find and purchase all things Galaxy’s Edge except for anything labeled Star Wars or Galaxy’s Edge including workshops where you can build your own lightsabers or functioning droids. If you are wanting anything labeled Galaxy’s Edge or Star Wars you’ll have to buy that outside the land. But there is plenty of cool stuff to buy in Galaxy’s Edge.

Galaxy’s Edge has nine stores offering roughly 700 items, almost none of which are available for purchase elsewhere. Want to take a pet home from Batuu? Check out the creature stall in creature corner where you can adopt pets like the Kowakian Lizard Monkeys (very similar to the banshees of Pandora.)

The Black Spire Outfitters is where you can buy costumes.

Jewels of Bith is a souvenir shop.

First order cargo: bat Allison order

Droid depot is where you can buy and build your own BB8 or R2-D2 type droid. It comes with remote control and talks to other droids. Various personality chips are available.

Build Your Own Lightsaber

Savi’s Workshop is where visitors can build and purchase their own lightsabers for $199 plus tax. But don’t ask, “where do I buy my lightsaber?” because the locals won’t tell you. After all, lightsabers are contraband. If you want your very own famous weapon used by Jedi fighters like Luke Skywalker and Yoda you’ll have to ask where to find the “scrap metal.” There are over 120,000 possible lightsaber combinations.

All these amazing Star Wars immersive experiences to be had within your 4-hour reservation. I can’t wait for our trip to Walt Disney World this fall to experience Star Wars; Galaxy’s Edge for ourselves. I’ll be sure to bring you all along.

Olga's Cantina, Galaxy's Edge, Star Wars, Millenium Falcon, Kat Sakas Kettle, opening day, Disneyland May 31st, DIsney World, August 29, Walt Disney World, Disney Creator Days, Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney CruiseWhat are you most looking forward to experiencing most at Star War’s Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

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How to exude confidence and be a priority in your own life.The following post was written over a year ago, when I needed a little self confidence boost and reminder to be a priority in my own life and all my relationships. I dug it out to remind myself how it feels to have confidence in your body, health, relationships and love. I think many of us can use this post to lift us up and remind us of who we are, even when we don’t feel like it.

Bringing the Feisty Broad back

I am a Mommy, first and foremost. It’s a fact of my life. I love it. I chose it. This is not something that I got trapped into, this was something that I intentionally chose, in fact, it was one of my loftiest aspirations. I used to be a daughter and sister, then a wife, then a Mommy. Somewhere in there, for a brief fleeting moment, I got to be “Debi”. I remember that girl, I liked her. She was a lot like me but had absolutely no real ramifications for her behavior. Awww, sweet freedom. I do miss you. It was awesome. It was pre filter on the mouth and brain for child security reasons, yet, post the imposed filter of my personal freedoms by my Father.It was wonderful; it was euphoric. I was selfish, care free, and completely oblivious to the wants and needs of others. I know it sounds perfectly awful. I always did exactly what “I” wanted to do, with no care or concern for anyone else. I know it sounds terribly vain and narcissistic, perhaps it was, but it was fabulous..for that time in my life…all 15 minutes of it. I was the priority. These days, I am “Mommy”, “Honey”, “Mama” ,”You”, “Mother”, “Mrs. Big Guy” ( now, Truthful Mommy) but hardly anyone ever calls me “Debi” anymore.I feel as if I have disappeared figuratively and literally. But for someone who is invisible, I certainly do stay busy. How can this be? It is absolutely mind boggling to me but I am fairly certain that I am not alone in this situation. Can I get an amen from my Mommies out there? I KNOW you know what I’m talking about.

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self esteem, confidence, priority

Photo courtesy of the internet

 

I go through life, these days, busier than ever before yet feeling like I really never accomplish anything in my days. Every night, I am thoroughly exhausted ( believe me..just ask the Big Guy)but usually I can’t sleep.Every morning, I am still so tired because I was up the previous night until 2 am thinking of all the “Stuff” I have to do the next day. No fair, right? Last year ( 2 years ago now), I made a conscious decision that 2009 was going to be the year of “Debi”. I had my mind made up, I was planning to plan to revive that feisty broad.It’s pretty bad when you are telling your husband something about yourself before he met you and he is looking at you like you are full of shit because the “you” he knows, would never do something like that.I was determined, I was making a comeback in my own life. That was my plan! Then, real life and minutia got in my way. So, around September ( my birthday to be exact) I put my foot down and started getting to it…for like the 100th time since I had realized that I wanted to change some things.

This time it was different though. This time, I made real efforts. I joined Weight Watchers ( yes, to my initial utter embarrassment. I had so convinced myself that I was not “that” fat but I was, in fact, “that” fat and let me tell you..admitting it was the first real step towards fixing it !) , I started walking and working out and making a genuine effort..and didn’t quit or make up excuses after I got bored with it. This time I approached it like an adult. I also joined some Mom’s groups that stress being a woman and not just a “Mommy”, I made new friends ( I had to we had just moved half way across the country from absolutely everyone we knew), I got a babysitter ( a first for my children aside from the very occasional grandparent) and I forced myself to go out without my children. At my husbands insistence, I even made it out to a few MNO! Life was turning around. People were calling me “Deborah” , granted it wasn’t Debi but hey, a more adult version of myself is a good thing, right? Then the holiday’s hit. We traveled and it was one thing after another. So, here we are at the beginning of 2010 ( 2011 now). I am still forging on to revive myself. I am the priority in my life now, well…I am one of the top 3, for sure. I am a work in progress, but that is ok. As long as I am on my own to do list, there is hope for “Debi”

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self confidence, woman, self esteem, priority

Photo courtest of Google image

My point being, with a little real concerted effort, I am 25 lbs. smaller than I was in September, I have made some wonderful new friends, and I am feeling more like the starring role in my own Cinderella story versus the cat that belonged to the ugly stepsisters. I feel like by getting back to “Debi” and introducing that intelligent,beautiful, healthy, cultured, well read, strong woman to my girls that I am not only regaining my independence, my very existence… I am showing them ,by living example, that they are important and vital to their own life story.That no matter who they are, what they think, what they look like, what they choose to be or do in their lives, they must be present and they must be content with the versions of themselves who are present because they are imperative to their own happiness and nothing is more important than feeling like you matter and being fulfilled with who you are in your own life. Who I am is a direct reflection on who my daughters will someday become. I want them to know they can have the world and that they deserve it all and so does Mommy. I want to teach them how to exude confidence and be a priority in their own life. I want to have it all and I want them to know they can too. The paddles are out, Clear…..

Obviously, life derailed me again with yet another move and the whole commuter arrangement but this piece reminds me of two things one; I am SO WORTH the EFFORT and two; I am NOT a QUITTER. I persist and I work hard and then I conquer. I am woman hear me roar. How do you exude confidence and stay a priority in your own life?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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