Life by Cynthia: April 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Mother's Day Movie

The buzz is out about Garry Marshall's Mother's Day Movie. The movie is in theaters now. I saw the movie a bit early. I was invited to a media screening prior to the official movie release date. I was VERY excited about Mother's Day. This was a movie that I wanted to fall in love with. I had thoughts of taking my sister and my mom! I wanted celebrate the "mother of all holidays". That just didn't happen for me. I think that I will make other plans...

The movie is packed with a star-studded ensemble. Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis. I'm a sucker for Pretty Little Liars so I was excited to see that Shay Miller was in this one! Let's not forget Hector Elizondo, Timothy Olyphant, Britt Robertson, and Jack Whitehall. The actors were great. The movie, to me, not so great.

I don't want to give away too much because you really need to see for yourself. You may have plans to take your mom to see it. I don't want to squash your plans. I may be WAY off on this movie. Please don't let me sway you. I am still processing my thoughts on this one. I might have to see it again as I feel like I missed something. What did I miss? Was it great and I just didn't catch it?

Simply put: I didn't love it.  There were parts that I liked.  My husband didn't like it much at all - and he can appreciate a good rom-com.  I just didn't have a great experience. I didn't laugh like I thought I would. I didn't run home and tell my sister that we HAVE to go see it together once it is out. For me it was pretty flat. Perhaps my expectations were just too high.

My less than stellar review could be due to a headache on the night of the screening. It could also be that my movie experience was affected by the annoyed feeling that I carried because the lady in front of me decided to be super-generous in applying her gardenia perfume. Seriously, I was nauseous. It was overpowering. Distracting. I wish that I followed the lead of the nice woman sitting next to me. She was smart and moved a few rows away. Oh, she might have still smelled it anyway. I'm not sure if a seat change would have made the comedy bits more funny.

I understand that inclusion is a great thing. I can appreciate that the movie depicts many types of moms:  divorced/single mom, same sex moms, young mom, expectant mom, Mr. Mom (a widower), mom in a mixed raced marriage, a brand new step mom, grandmothers, gym moms, working mom - you get it ALL sorts of moms. That's GREAT! I did NOT expect to see racist, homophobic mom... Sure, I get it that this type of mom exists out there. It brought some brutal honesty to the mix. I just didn't prepare myself for that. I was caught a bit off guard and can't say that I enjoyed seeing that. I am happy that it turned around for the best in the end. Just don't be shocked (like I was) when that comes up on the big screen.

There were some definite highlights for me. I am a fan Pretty Little Liars, so watching Shay Miller was a treat. I am also a fan of the TV Series Life Unexpected. I loved Britt Robertson as Lux Cassidy in the series. I was thrilled to see her on the big screen. Julia Roberts and Hector Elizondo: I LOVE the homage to Pretty Woman. You'll see. It's subtle but awesome.

I may have just expected way too much. I honestly wanted to laugh to the point that I could be in an LBL commercial. This movie wasn't "almost pee in your pants a little from laughing too hard" funny. I even wanted to cry a little. I did shed a tear, so there are touching moments. I must admit that I giggled here and there. I think that I even LOL'd once. It just wasn't as funny as I wished it would be. I did enjoy Jason Sudeikis' salmon colored pants and karaoke version of "The Humpty Dance". Or maybe The Humpy Dance just brought back nostalgic memories for me...

As I mentioned, my husband attended the movie screening with me. I couldn't get much out of him for an opinion. It went unsaid but I do know that he wished I brought my sister or a friend instead. I know him well and he didn't like it.

Maybe I need to see it again to appreciate it. Please let me know what you think when you see it.

Don't get me wrong I didn't hate the movie. I even liked it little. I just didn't LOVE it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The M Word

Why the post today? Because I hate the C word: Cancer. I pray that it hasn't found it's way to you or your loved ones.

Which M word am I talking about? Any guesses? No, not menstruation or menopause, but another female concern. I'm talking about mammograms. This post is for the ladies. Squeamish types will want to step away from this blog post.  Possible TMI forthcoming. Run away NOW. You have been warned.

Aside from fitness activities, I've never really wanted to blog about my health. It's personal. Perhaps too personal. I am willing to stretch a bit past my comfort zone. I will keep this as sterile as possible. I am determined to focus my efforts (and blog topics) about all things that make life better for me and my family. I will live life for the better. If I can prolong my life and maintain a healthy quality of life, I will do the work. Thankfully, I've never had any serious health issues (knock on wood). I'd like to keep it that way. Cancer has touched the lives of so many people that I know. It sucks. I hope that you can't relate.

Today I went in for my yearly mammogram. I am in my forties. It's hard for me to believe that sometimes. Once you hit the big 40, it is recommended that you start getting yearly mammograms.  I have read some articles about the practice doing more harm than good.  I understand the benefits and potential harms of screening mammograms but decided that (for me) taking a step at early detection of breast cancer was the way to go. Important to note: Women should talk with their doctor about the benefits and harms of mammography, when to start screening, and how often to be screened.

With the advisement of my primary care physician, I didn't have my first mammogram until I was 41. I didn't have family history of breast cancer. It really wasn't a horrible experience. If we are talking level of discomfort as far as pain: I'd take the imaging plates over a speculum in a heartbeat. Both procedures are such an awkward experience for me so I am thankful that I only have to do it once a year! Guidelines changed on the frequency of the pap smear so I am off the hook for THAT exam. You didn't think that I would go through a post like this without pap smear in the text did ya? Shudder.  I HATE the words pap smear like some hate the word moist. Cancer is worse than any of those words.

For the mammogram virgins: they will inform you NOT to wear lotions or deodorant. They will likely provide you with cleansing wipes just in case. You will only undress from the waist up so you will only suffer half way naked. Some people don't mind being naked. I do. I am happy that I didn't have to wear the awful hospital gown. I got to wear a cape! Yes I did. At my breast imaging center you are given a cape! I still feel exposed and uncomfortable, but  I hear the word cape and I think: superhero. So today I was my very own health superhero. For a description of the entire exam I recommend talking to your healthcare provider.

This is my 3rd trip down mammogram lane. Your first screening will determine your "baseline" and they will use that as a benchmark for changes during subsequent testing.  I got the all clear on my results. Waiting for the results is probably the worst part of it all for me. For my exam I was in and out of the office in 20 minutes. If I didn't snap a few photos it would have been 10-15 minutes. They didn't rush me or anything, the technician was good at her job and got me in an out quickly. Thank goodness!

Have YOU had a mammogram? What are your thoughts about it? For? Against?

I know that some of you have much more insight that what I have learned in the mere three times that I have had the process done. Share please.

Poll: Pap Smear or Mammogram, which is worse?

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Jungle Book. Bravo Favreau and The Perfect Cast!

Go see The Jungle Book in theaters NOW. I was so impressed with Favreau and the entire cast and crew of The Jungle book. I have seen it twice now (YES, we liked it THAT much). You must go out and see this in the theater ASAP. We will be adding this to our movie collection once the DVD hits stores.

My son and I attended an early media screening of The Jungle Book on Tuesday, April 12. Our viewing was in 3D and it was visually stunning! After seeing this once in 3D and once in standard format, I must say that 3D wins all the way! Also showing in RealD 3D and IMAX 3D. Check your theater listings.

The movie was exciting, touching, funny, scary, sad, and so much more. You'll feel like a kid with the wonder and magic of this production! The movie debuted on Friday, April 15. On Saturday, April 16, we (in a pack of 8 adults and 9 kids) went to see it AGAIN. It was the first for the rest in our party. It was a hit with the 17 in our group and box office results are showing that the movie is on track to top $1 billion globally.

Preview night of The Jungle Book in 3D

The movie is rated PG. There are scary action sequences and moments of peril. My five year old jumped when fearsome tiger ShereKhan pounces out of the tall jungle grass. The nice, 50+ year old woman sitting next to him reacted the same! So whether you are 5 years old or 50 years old, you just might be jumping out of your seat! It really is an exciting adventure. The ferocity of the action sequences is something to consider for young children. My man cub was fine. During our second viewing with a wolf pack of 7 boys, one (who is a bit older than my son) seemed a bit upset and watched with fingers in his ears and eyes nearly closed during the scary action scenes. I can totally relate. Some scenes were terrifying! At that age I likely would have reacted the same.

Our Wolf Pack of 7 man cubs took up an entire row at the theater.

My son and I both agree that Mowgli was our favorite character. Newcomer Neel Sethi did an outstanding job as Mowgli. I am excited to see more from this young actor! I think that my husband found smooth-talking King Louie entertaining. To be honest, ALL of the characters were amazing. Great casting job for sure! I agree with Jon Favreu: they have the PERFECT cast! Check out "The Voices" Featurette:

Visit the official THE JUNGLE BOOK website here:
Have you seen it yet? I would love to know your thoughts on the movie! If you are planning to see the show, make sure to stay until the end of the credits, as even that part was great entertainment!

Disclosure: I attended a free media screening so that I could share my thoughts on the film. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Functional and Fashionable with Orvis Women’s Spring Collection

I received complimentary product from Orvis for this review.

Update: I got my wish and got the Florence Travel Dress. I love it. I knew I would. Thank you Orvis! It was out of stock at the original blog post date - but once it was back in stock, I snagged mine. I wore it to a recent blogger event.

I am thrilled that that Orvis is giving me a hand in revitalizing my spring wardrobe. I am on the move to make life better in all ways! That includes my spring look. Thankfully I'm doing it with the help of the new Orvis Women’s Spring Line! My wardrobe was in serious need. This couldn't have happened at a better time!

I hit that refresh button pretty hard and am SO ready to turn a new leaf. I am making a mindful effort to spend as much time as I can outdoors and unchained to a desk all day! Rumor has it that sitting all day can be worse that smoking when it comes to your health! I'd have to research that one a bit more. But I am all for spending more time outside! I am ready for sunshine and fresh air. Tuesdays at the Farmers Market, Thursdays for morning yoga in the park with my moms group, and really just any day, every day out in the San Diego sunshine! My husband has been pushing for hikes/bike rides at the lake. With unseasonably high 90°+ temperatures it's been a bit too harsh for me for that level of activity. I don't want to end up on the local news for being in need of rescue due to heat exhaustion! I'm all for it once we get to our regular spring temperatures.

I am anticipating the delivery of an item that I have been fawning over. You know the feeling! Just knowing that it is in transit has me giddy.  You know that I am checking that tracking number to see how close my new baby is! There were a few pieces that caught my eye in the Orvis Women's spring collection. Sadly for me, they caught the eyes of many others and stock was unavailable in my size. I'll be checking back to see when it will be back in stock! I hope that you will stay tuned and check out my new spring look. I'll be updating with photos very soon!

I ordered the Mixed-Block-Print Shirt. I was drawn to the pattern on his women's cotton denim V-neck shirt. It has a a boho-chic look and feel and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it! I need more patterns in my life. Currently, everything I own seems to be a solid color. Pretty boring. I can't wait to wear this eye catching pattern!

Mixed Block Print Shirt

UPDATE: Check out my favorite ways to style the Mixed Block Print Shirt! I can wear it with shorts for a quick trip for school pick up - or a picnic would be great too! I can pair it with jeans and and jean jacket for lunch with friends. I can wear it with a denim skirt for a date with hubby! So fun! I will get a lot of use from this top for sure!

I REALLY wanted the Florence Travel Dress. However, it was sold out of my size. It comes in olive or black - I wanted one of each. It is said to be PERFECT for travel. Even when not traveling this would suit me for almost any occasion! I would be able to dress it up or down very easily. It is made to be an easy-care piece. The dress dries quickly and resists wrinkles. BONUS: it is moisture wicking with just the right amount of stretch AND UPF 50 sun protection.

Florence Travel Dress

Orvis commits a portion of pre-tax profits every year to protecting and sustaining the natural word. I can get behind that! Isn't it great when companies take conservation initiatives into their business model? I also appreciate the 100% satisfaction guarantee on Orvis clothing.

At Orvis you can shop for distinctive clothing for men or women, items for your home or your dog, fly-fishing or wingshooting gear, and they even offer travel services!

I-C is hosting a contest for the new spring collection available at Orvis! Enter the Refresh Your Wardrobe Giveaway for a chance to win one of ten $100 Orvis Gift Cards. You can treat yourself to an early Mother's Day gift for you or a loved one! Don't forget to enter! Good Luck! Contest opens on March 28, 2016 and closes May 2, 2016

Orvis Refresh Your Wardrobe Giveaway

Want to shop NOW? Visit Orvis and take advantage of $25 off any purchase of $50 or more with coupon code: ICSPRING (good until September 30th, 2016). 

Get social with Orvis to learn more about their products and promotions:
Orvis Homepage
Orvis Women on Facebook
Orvis Women on Twitter @OrvisWomens

I love all things Spring! What are some of your favorite ways to dress for spring?
If you do win a gift card who would you shop for?

Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Orvis for this review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Return to Blogging for A Better Life by Cynthia

Oh HELLO. I have been M.I.A. for far too long. I am here for a quick check-in to tell anyone who may be reading this that I have better things in store for me, my family, and this little old blog. But mostly for ME. This is, after all, a personal blog - nothing professional here. I love the pro bloggers but if that's what you are looking for, you're a little lost (but very welcome to be here). Psst... if you ARE reading this and you are not me (or my hubby), please leave a comment so I know that you were here! That in itself will keep me motivated to keep on blogging. Help a girl out if you can. I would be truly grateful for this kind favor. It's pretty daunting coming back to blogging after such a long time...

Ahh... SPA = BETTER!
HP Print & Pamper Retreat 2015
I am dusting off the cobwebs and showing my face in attempt to try my hand at blogging again.  I haven't been totally away from the Social Media world. I still made a few appearances here and there on Twitter, Facebook, and on Instagram. Admittedly, I am STILL trying to find my way around Snapchat. Be a pal and teach me how to use it?

I could say that I've been lounging at the spa each day that I didn't post something. Imagine that?! I DID get to go to the Spa and think that it IS a great way to make the day better. I also had my nails done and took to trip to Disneyland in that same weekend! There were so many things that I didn't share but should have! I'll play catch up and post about all of my blog event shenanigans.

Honestly, I was busy at work doing the job of two. It was terribly draining. I had to be "on" as mom once the work day ended to help with homework and housework. Being patient and loving isn't the easiest thing to do after feeling beat up all day at the office. I truly didn't have the time or energy to put any love into my blog let alone focus on myself. There are better times ahead and I will share them here.

Manicures NOT done by Me = BETTER! Bonus: Sangria!
HP Print & Pamper Retreat 2015

Hanging with Blogger friends (old and new) at Disneyland = BETTER! Bonus: Dole Whip Floats
HP Print & Pamper Retreat 2015

I am focusing on BETTER. Even with chores that need to be done, life is BEST at home with my son and hubby. I secretly wish that I could stay in our little bubble and tune out all the noise that is out there. Even when there are dishes in the sink and laundry calling: home is still my favorite place to be. The reality is that there IS life beyond the boundaries of our home.

Work, errands, certain people - and all the other stuff that must be done or dealt with during the day is something that I felt I didn't have much control over.  OH BOY was I WRONG! I had to say buh-bye to the negative forces out there: the critics, the perceptions of others, picking up the slack for others... plus the lack of understanding from those looking in from the outside. I don't know of anyone that likes the stare of the know-it-all eye. The day-to-day was sapping the life out of me. Not in a horrible or unbearable way - - - I am, after all, very tolerant and have a high threshold for BS. But in an annoying way (imagine that phantom itch that you can't quite scratch to find relief)... THAT kept me from decompressing and taking a time out for me to find the "better" trapped in the static of all the ick around me. Coming home to my sanctuary after the work day was my saving grace.

OK, I know that I am rambling. Bear with me for a little longer if you will.  My point is that there is so much BETTER. My world greatly improved once I realized that noise is just that: noise. I have since tuned it out. Yes, I turned away from a bad situation. No longer do I take things to heart in the same way. It's not personal, it's just noise. I know the truth and that is enough for me. So for those of you who are struggling and settling: there are BETTER things that you could be using your days on. Even though it is much easier said that done (I know from experience): Do not settle. Not for one more day. You deserve BETTER. You can silence the critics. It's easy, just don't listen.

Quitting = winning? I must say that I feel much BETTER after giving up on a lost cause. St. Jude forgive me, but I truly was stuck in a place where my worth was not valued. It sounded like a crazy concept but taking a chance and living on my own terms really has given me peace. It's scary to think that for so long I allowed myself to be in such a negative place. So - on to the next 10 years with a BETTER Life by Cynthia.

Lesson learned: Sometimes it's OK to be wrong and OK to quit. Who knew that what I once thought of as negative things could turn into something so positive? Probably ALL of you!  I've always learned the hard way and could benefit from your experiences. Help me on my journey to all things BETTER.

Thanks for listening. Care to share your tips and life lessons? I'd love to hear about it - especially if you too learned the hard way!

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