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#StreamTeam Has a Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience

Netflix Stream Team

I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and will be happily sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. (Okay, that’s an understatement. I should say CONSTANTLY. We use Netflix CONSTANTLY.) This post is sponsored by Netflix, of course!

I. Love. Concerts.

If I could go to a concert every single week, I would. That’s the truth. Unfortunately I have neither the time, money, or energy to keep up with my life if I were to do that: I’d make a horrible groupie.

Anyway, I’ve been very fortunate to see some major musical acts in person, many of whom are near and dear to my heart and have been for YEARS. I haven’t written about all of them here but just amazed myself by doing a quick “concert” search and found retellings of my concert experiences seeing George Michael, the B52s, Tina Turner (in two parts: Part One and Part Two), Lenny Kravitz, Adam Ant (SWOON), and most recently, Billy Joel. Even though it wasn’t a live concert experience I feel compelled to share that I wrote about one of my favorite solo evenings a few years back when I went to see Justin Bieber’s concert documentary “Never Say Never” on the big screen. (“Never Say Never for one, please” is as humiliating to say as you imagine it is.)

One performer who has alluded me so far because our schedules and locations (and my wallet) never seem to coincide the way they need to is Justin Timberlake. I would LOVE to see him live. My friend Momo and her daughter Alison saw him two times last year and I’m still mad about it. (I’m not mad at them; I’m mad at the world. *wink*) Most elements of my life are currently in turmoil (nothing bad; just crazy) so I couldn’t even make a plan to see him if he came to Chicago next month or something. (Or tomorrow. I can’t even do tomorrow.)

Thank goodness for Netflix, because “Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids”, a Jonathan Demme-directed Netflix Original documentary that focuses on the last few nights of his 20/20 Experience world tour, begins streaming on October 12 and AS IT HAPPENS, I have no plans that day, except for watching Justin and friends.

Justin Timberlake

Photo credit: Netflix

From the Netflix media site: “Surrounded by the 25 band members of The Tennessee Kids and featuring show-stopping performances from one of the highest-grossing tours of the decade, the film is a culmination of the singer’s 134 shows and 2 years on the road.”

Yes, please.

Photo credit: Netflix

Photo credit: Netflix

I have no doubt this documentary will tide me over for a while until the stars (and my wallet) align and I’m able to see Mr. Timberlake live with my own eyes, across the arena. It’s already in my List on Netflix. Is it in yours? Go ahead; I’ll wait.

By the way, I just noticed that the follow-up to “Never Say Never”, “Justin Bieber’s Believe”, is currently streaming on Netflix. I guess I know what I’ll be watching this weekend, and I don’t even have to embarrass myself in public by asking for just one ticket.

Have you watched any music documentaries lately? Tell me about them. I’m making a list.

P.S. This is my final Netflix Stream Team post! It’s been a great three years and I want to thank the folks at Netflix for this amazing opportunity and all the sneak peeks. It’s been a blast!

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Personal Evolution: It’s a Thing.

personal evolution

I enjoyed lunch with an old friend today, someone who I last saw only in passing when we were teaching spin classes at the same health club (years ago). Our lives have been intertwined in a bunch of different ways since we met in late 1995. I used to care for her school-aged kids in the health club nursery while she taught classes at night and on school holidays, and years later her daughter babysat for my boys in the summer when I worked full-time. She was a mentor to me when I was studying for my ACE Group Fitness certification and then when I became a spin instructor, and she was also, even though we were never super tight besties, there for me at a time in my life when a close friendship imploded. She was a client at the nail salon where I worked for a few years, and of course we socialized outside of all of those things, too. She is one of the most outstanding individuals I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, and it was absolutely fabulous to pick up where we left off and talk with ease about all the things, like our kids, her one-year-old granddaughter, and personal evolution.

Just reading that paragraph, I’m amazed at how different my life is from twenty years ago. We talked about that. We talked about how it’s amazing to end up in places and stages that you never could have predicted.

For a person who claims to hate change, I’ve certainly had a lot of it. I have a college degree in Elementary Education, for goodness’ sake. Back when I graduated in 1991 my path had “teacher” written all over it. Right now if I had stayed the course my degree seemed to set, I should be teaching a classroom full of adorable fourth graders and thinking about my upcoming retirement, but my journey has been very different and totally unexpected. I’ve been a group fitness instructor, an author (writing has been my true passion since childhood), a custom framer, a health club membership salesperson, a group fitness instructor, a blogger, a show producer, a mentor, and a social media researcher. Could I have predicted any of this? No. Would any of it have happened if I had been as closed off to the idea of change as I tell myself (and others) I am? No. Now that I think about it, I guess I don’t mind change as long as I feel a little bit of control over it. Story of my life.

We’re all evolving. All of us. We evolve in everything from our beliefs to our careers to our food preferences to our relationships.

Exhibit A: I used to despise avocado and now I can’t get enough of it.
Exhibit B: I used to have no problem being around Drama (capital D) and often trying to take it on and fix it; now I run as far away from Drama and toxic people as I can. I’m not about that life.

Everything in life is a potential stepping stone to something else. When one door closes, another (or a window, depending on whom you ask) opens. Be open to change. Be open to doing something different. Be open to learning new things. Be open to people with whom you think you have nothing in common. Just be open.

My friend has been through a personal evolution, too. Over the past year she has been reveling in her new title (Grandma) and she’s reflecting on relationships and what’s in store for her future. She’s got plans percolating just under the surface and I know, because I know her AND I know she’s a fellow Type A control freak like me, that she will carry out those plans and more. I’m looking forward to her next update, preferably over food and drinks.

By the way, I love that quote by Lewis Carroll in the graphic at the top, but he’s only half right. I can’t go back to yesterday permanently, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t want to. That said, going back to yesterday for a lunchtime visit with a good friend when you can reflect together on all the great ways things have changed since yesterday? Well, that I CAN do.

Are you feeling stuck? It might be time for you to start your own personal evolution. Think about it, and get going. Time’s a-wasting.

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Level the College Admissions Playing Field with inli.ne!

This post is sponsored by inli.ne.

It’s getting pretty exciting all up in here! Our younger son J will be completing his college studies this December, one semester early. Three and a half years to a Bachelor’s degree? Boo-yah! We hear so often that college can take four and a half years, five years, or more…but it’s also possible to graduate early. Everyone has his own plan but in J’s case, he stuck with his originally declared major, had some AP test credits, took two summer classes, and got credit for his first year of German after testing out of it.

It’s amazing to me that we’re at the end of the road, college-wise. In many ways it seems like only yesterday that we were in the midst of the college search and trying to navigate the admissions process. (“Navigate” is exactly it, too: it often felt like we were out to sea with no compass or map!) There’s a lot of second-guessing that goes on when your student applies for colleges along with a lot of insecurity about whether he is providing the exact information that the educational institution wants. The process can leave both students AND parents feeling very lost and confused.

That’s where inli.ne comes in. This in-browser app (in the form of a Google Chrome extension) that works with the Common Application® was released just last month. It is accessible to everyone with an internet connection who wants to make that sometimes-scary process much less intimidating. inli.ne was created by former admissions officers Anna Ivey and Alison Cooper Chisholm to demystify the Common App®.

inline-logo

Anna and Alison discovered two main problems while working with students in their college admissions years:
1. Applicants get stuck with some of the same things over and over again when they’re working on their applications.
2. Applicants sometimes don’t know what they don’t know. They treat the application as “just a form,” and so they don’t leverage (or know how to leverage) the form strategically to increase their chances of getting into their preferred colleges.

inline-explained

inli.ne, which is at an introductory price of $99* (and much more affordable than hiring a consultant) offers hints, tips and sample essays for both the core Common App® questions and for the 650+ colleges that use the Common App® for their college-specific supplements. Users not only get to take advantage of real time assistance from the moment they open the Common App® but also have the inside scoop on how admissions officers look at applications. In fact, one awesome feature of inli.ne analyzes sample essays and provides feedback on how they would be evaluated by a college admissions officer. inli.ne also provides advice on which standardized test scores to submit, how to report extracurricular activities, and more. It even has add-ons with customized advice for home-schooled and international students, and veterans too.

If inli.ne had been around when we were in the throes of college applications, I would have used it in a heartbeat. Real-time assistance with such an important part of the off-to-college process can reduce anxiety and make the journey feel a little more laid back. Just sending a kid to college is hard enough. If you’ve got a little bird leaving the nest soon, I encourage you to check out this tool and make your life a little easier!

*Discounts are available for high school guidance counselors, school districts, and independent college counselors.

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Actively Remembering on the National Day of Remembrance

National September 11 Memorial

In 2012, I started a new personal tradition for the National Day of Remembrance. I had visited the National September 11 Memorial when I was in Manhattan for BlogHer ’12, and was extremely moved by the experience (massive understatement). It occurred to me that, rather than passively watch the televised tributes and read what the rest of the internet had to say about 9/11, each year I would involve myself by actively remembering and learning about a couple of the victims of that terrible day.

First Responder Officer Paul Talty had been a member of the New York City Police Department for nine years. He had worked as an electrician and a carpenter before joining the department. “Paul wasn’t driven to be a hero like some others on the force,” said his sister-in- law Lisa Talty. There are many teachers in his family, but no policemen. “He became a policeman because he wanted to take care of his family.” Officer Talty left behind a wife and three children.

Shelley A. Marshall
had worked as a budget analyst in the comptroller’s office of the Defense Intelligence Agency for three years. She was two days away from moving to an office on the other side of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Shelley was passionate about life, work and her family. Throughout her career with DIA, Shelley received numerous awards for her distinguished performance. In her spare time she loved creating scrapbooks and having tea parties. Marshall was survived by her husband and two small children.

Suzanne M. Calley was an employee of Cisco and a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77. She was on her way home from a business trip and would have celebrated her 20th wedding anniversary on September 12. She was manager of Cisco marketing programs in the Cisco strategic alliance marketing group, and joined Cisco in 1997. A colleague described her as being “honest, direct, and full of sunshine”. She was a master scuba diver and she and her husband had two beloved Labrador retrievers, Hershey and Bandit.

If you would like to do some learning and remembering today, here’s how. All you have to do is go to the September 11 Memorial website’s Memorial Guide and scroll down a little bit. On the bottom left of the screen you can click on North Pool or South Pool for a name listing. After that, pick a couple out and Google them. That’s it. It’s such a small task but so important, and the families appreciate any interest in their lost loved ones. THIS is something anyone can do.

If you would like to read about my visit to the September 11 Memorial in 2012, click here.

Hug your loved ones today. Always Remember, Never Forget.

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#StreamTeam Gets Down With The Get Down

Netflix Stream Team

I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and will be happily sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. (Okay, that’s an understatement. I should say CONSTANTLY. We use Netflix CONSTANTLY.) This post is sponsored by Netflix, of course!

Okay, let’s talk. If you have not or are not watching Netflix’s “The Get Down”, you need to remedy that now.

As in, right now.

I know it’s weird for me to start off a post like that before even telling you about this phenomenal series, but perhaps because I did that you’ll get a sense of my love for it.

Now that I’ve gotten that action item assigned to you and checked off my list, let me tell you about “The Get Down”. (Working backwards is fun!)

The Get Down

The Baz Luhrmann-created series takes place in the Bronx in the late seventies, just as disco is dying out and hip hop is rising. It focuses mainly on a bunch of teen boys (Zeke, Shaolin, Dizzee, Boo-Boo, and Ra-Ra) who run wild in the streets in between working on their DJ and MC skills and consulting with Grandmaster Flash (yes, THE Grandmaster Flash, portrayed like a Jedi Master by Mamoudou Athie. I need for him to sit with me and tell me stories).

There are girls too, of course. Mylene and her best friends Yolanda and Regina have a story about Mylene’s desire to become a disco star that intertwines with the boys and their passion for hip hop.

I won’t spoil it for you, I won’t. But here are some specific things about this show that I adore:

1. I really like Baz Luhrmann. If you have seen other Luhrmann films (like “Moulin Rouge”, “The Great Gatsby” or “Romeo and Juliet”), you already have an idea of what his style is like. It’s loud, colorful (nearly gaudy at times), and completely fast-paced. I love the visuals. He directed the pilot so that’s the episode that’s the most “Bazzy” (I just made that up). If you don’t like Luhrmann’s work, hang on until episode two when things grow a little more calm, editing- and cinematography-wise.

2. “The Get Down” is fictional but has real pieces of stories sprinkled throughout. In addition, there is real life video footage that has been edited seamlessly into what was shot specifically for the series. Seeing the World Trade Center twin towers was a little emotional for me; they were less than a decade old during the time the series takes place.

3. I love that the only actors I personally recognize in this series are Jimmy Smits (yay! “LA Law” FOREVER and yes I totally know he was also in “NYPD Blue” and “The West Wing” but yay Victor Sifuentes!) and Jaden Smith, whose papa must be so completely proud of this particular gig his son nabbed.

4. The soundtrack is INCREDIBLE. I love disco, I love hip hop. “Hey, you got disco in my hip hop! No, you got hip hop in my disco!” (another 70s reference modified for my own purposes. Get it?) LOVE THE SOUNDTRACK. Someone even created a “The Get Down” playlist on Spotify, and I thank him for doing the work for me. I’m following it now.

There’s more, so much more. I’ll stop now so you can just go watch for yourself. Part one of first season of “The Get Down” is made up of a 93-minute pilot and five 53-minute episodes after that. You can (and will want to) watch it in two days, maybe one if you’re really ambitious and have someone making you snacks. It’s the perfect balance to all that outside time you’ll enjoy this Labor Day weekend. Now go! Enjoy! I need to go make a countdown calendar for Season one, part two.

The Get Down collage

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The Concert of My Lifetime: Billy Joel at Wrigley Field

When I was a kid in the seventies, we had a pretty nice-sized vinyl collection thanks to a friend of my dad’s who owned a record store and shared lots of the albums that he no longer needed. The square covers always had a 1/2-inch notch cut out of the top and a sticker that said “For Promotional Use Only: Not for Resale”. These days I’d have to sit and think about which albums were in our collection in order to talk about them except for two standouts, “The Jacksons” and this one, Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”:

Billy Joel Piano Man

When I was six and seven, that album cover both intrigued and terrified me. To be honest, while I don’t remember listening to it very often–because I favored The Jacksons–the cover image has stuck with me for more than forty years.

We moved to Texas in 1979 and lived at the hotel my dad managed for a while until our house was built and ready to inhabit. I became friends with some of the neighborhood kids and while music had always been in the background of my life, 1980 was when I first connected with peers over it. Billy Joel’s “Glass Houses” was a major player (and was majorly played) during that time.

Billy Joel Glass Houses

“An Innocent Man” was the album that marked my years in high school. I was fascinated with the pairing of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, and the videos he made during that time are burned in my brain.

Jim and I played “Storm Front” incessantly in the early years of our marriage, and “River of Dreams” was a favorite when our firstborn was a baby.

All of this history between me and Billy Joel, a brilliant musical artist I’ve never met personally, is exactly why, when he opened last night’s concert at Wrigley Field with “Prelude/Angry Young Man”, tears sprang from my eyes at the explosive sound of the first few notes. My reaction caught me completely off-guard in the best way and it was at that moment that while I have never considered myself to be a Billy Joel Superfan, he and I go way back and his music really does hold a special place in my heart.

Billy Joel at Wrigley Field

I noted that the average age of Billy Joel’s audience is about twenty-five years older than that of the audience at the Pitbull concert I attended with the same date (my friend Samantha) last week. Sidenote: Samantha and I were laughing at a guy a few rows down for his miming of the song lyrics and awkward dancing, but when we stood for the encore I realized there’s really no way to dance to Billy Joel’s music without looking (and feeling) incredibly awkward, so I’m sending apologies to that guy, wherever he is.

Billy Joel had no opening act last night and played for approximately two and a half hours: twenty-two songs and THEN a six-song encore. Had time (and his endurance) been unlimited, he could have kept the sold-out crowd entertained for another ten or twelve hours; there were so many of his hits he didn’t and couldn’t perform because none of us had all night, including the Wrigleyville neighborhood who count on Wrigley Field to enforce the 11:00pm curfew on the acts that play there.

Samantha and I met our friends Jen and George for dinner before the concert and Jen asked us to name our favorite concert ever. I gave her two (Foo Fighters and Adam Ant) and after Samantha and I were jogging down the ramps at Wrigley trying to beat the post-show crowds out (we did!), we talked about how the “Favorite concert ever” question is so hard to answer. When you’re like me and enjoy music across most genres, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. For me, Foo Fighters is a favorite because Dave Grohl is a beast and they rocked Wrigley hard last summer in a fun show that seemed personal and interactive even though it was a sold out crowd of more than 40,000. Adam Ant is a favorite because of how I swooned hard over him throughout my impressionable high school years (read about my obsession and concert experience in a post I wrote earlier this year for Midlive Mixtape) and it meant the world to see him thirty years later. And now, Billy Joel is (and will always be) a favorite because his was the concert of my lifetime, a live rendering of the soundtrack of my years on earth.

Sold out Billy Joel concert

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You Don’t Have To Be On A Boat To Enjoy Yacht Rock.

The scene: My car on a recent sunny afternoon.
The players: My twenty-four-year-old son and me.
The music: Yacht Rock.

Dylan: “What the heck IS this?”
Me: “It’s the theme from ‘Cannonball Run’.”
Dylan: “Starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise*????”
Me: “Yes! It’s on the Yacht Rock station. I’ve been on a seventies kick lately. I think it’s because it takes me back to my childhood. It’s comforting. Anyway (continuing in the voice of Thurston Howell III), don’t you feel like you could be sailing on a boat on a gorgeous day with not a cloud in the sky, listening to this music?”
Dylan, rolling eyes: “Oh God.”

Fade out.

Yacht Rock

*This movie is a favorite of all three living generations of our family.

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When Pinterest Was Heavy

I’m working diligently on cleaning out the cabinets above my kitchen desk.

Yes, again. They’re the bane of my existence, truly. I even met my friend Natasha at IKEA on Sunday so she could help me pick out some containers that will help me wrangle all the things (and keep them wrangled). Creating a system that works for the long term is hard.

My first step was basically pulling everything out and tossing it onto the desk and the kitchen island haphazardly. That was also probably my first mistake because it might take me a week to slog through the piles, but I digress.

In the middle of all that chaos, I found my old school Pinterest “account”.

Old School Pinterest account

Yes, that’s a plastic envelope with torn catalog pages and swatches inside. That’s how we used to have to do it, kids.

When we were in the early stages of getting ready to look for a house, this house, in the fall of 2000, I started looking around for inspiration. Pottery Barn’s catalog was my favorite and in it I found the poppy rug that I wanted to design my whole living room around, the rug that we called “Bijoux’s rug” and had to replace three years ago with what ended up being “Roxie’s Rug”. Once I found that centerpiece I started collecting ideas for the rest of that room and the others, too. Right there in that envelope, preserved for posterity, are the shade of yellow we applied to our bedroom walls before painting anywhere else, the green swirly velvet that we used to reupholster a chair that belonged to my grandparents, and the Mission-style furniture pieces we purchased for our family room (Jim’s chair) and bedroom (bed and dresser).

Old school Pinterest

There’s something fun about ripping a page out of a catalog or pulling swatches out of your purse when you’re at the store and need to see if something matches. I remember carrying that folder in my car for months during that fall season sixteen years ago. I’d pull the items out of it occasionally, spreading them out on the dining room table and wondering what I still needed.

I even had some old school Pinterest fails, in that I chose these items for the house on paper along with the others but never managed to bring them home:

Old school Pinterest fails

And suddenly we’re closing in on the fall of 2016.

Last week we covered that buttery yellow on our bedroom walls with a cool blue-gray hue. It was definitely bittersweet as I reflected on the passage of time, particularly the last sixteen years in this house. There are some changes on the horizon here; I’m not ready to go into detail just yet but I will when it’s time. For now, as I clean out those stupid cabinets and throw away all kinds of things I don’t need to keep, I’ll tuck my old school Pinterest folder away for old times’ sake and upgrade my inspiration collection method to the online version.

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The Cross

This story actually began in 1999 when I was working at a local health club. I was friendly with the general manager–well, we all were–and whenever I met him in his office he would open his dorm-sized refrigerator and offer me a can of flavored carbonated water. I hadn’t heard of La Croix before I met him and always politely refused the offer because it just didn’t sound very good to me. He drank it like it was going out of style. I mean, he had a refrigerator in his office for the sole purpose of keeping his La Croix cold.

One day, after many days of sticking to my plain, non-sparkling, filtered tap water, I told him I’d try it.

It was disgusting.

I chalked it up to the flavor (I can’t even remember what flavor it was) and went on with my life, never to look at that sparkling water again.

Until this summer.

I had been contemplating giving up Coke Zero (again; this happens every couple of years) and suddenly I started seeing La Croix everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It occurred to me that much like I have become a fan of avocado and salmon as an adult when I never touched them years ago, perhaps I could enjoy La Croix. I’m seventeen years older than I was in that health club manager’s office, after all.

I suggested to Jim that perhaps we should try La Croix because, well, it was better for us than soda/pop/Coke (whichever term you use depending on your geographic location). We picked up a twelve-pack of Berry, because I thought that Berry sounded like the most innocent and the most delicious. We couldn’t miss with Berry, that’s for sure!

Um.

Berry was a miss. A TOTAL MISS.

La Croix La Cross

As it turns out, my friends are totally worked up about La Croix. Many are passionate in their love for it and many are passionate in their hatred for it.

Some of the friends who love La Croix really love it. They asked, “Maybe you just don’t like carbonated water?”
I answered, “I don’t now about THAT; perhaps I just didn’t like that flavor.”
Many of them mix La Croix with other things (especially vodka), and I can get on board with that but if I don’t like La Croix, why would I force myself to drink it by adding vodka when I can just stick with my favorites, Coke with either Jack or Bacardi?

The friends who hate La Croix really hate it. One of my friends commented, “You should reconsider who your friends are….I would never have done such a horrible thing to you…or him!” Others are flavor-specific in their hate. I was told that Berry really is terrible and that I should try Grapefruit. Or Lime. Especially Lime. Apparently Lime is the shiznit.

One day I found myself at Target in the beverage aisle, picking up another flavor. Naturally I had to tell Facebook.

La Croix again

But I didn’t buy Lime that day. My friend Vikki, along with everyone else apparently, loves Lime and sent me multiple reminders that I should buy some Lime before making my final decision about La Croix in general. She saw that Facebook post and texted me immediately (and simply): “Lime,” adding “Maybe you just don’t like carbonated water?”

Vikki La Croix

Spoiler alert: we hated this flavor too.

The fact is, as much as I tried, I couldn’t get away from it. La Croix sponsored a local concert Jim and I attend every summer. COINCIDENCE? (Okay, probably.)

La Croix sponsor

My friend Angie called me out on Instagram.

Angie La Croix

Jen told me she really likes the Pamplemousse (French for Grapefruit) and I asked her to bring me a can to try when we met up one night. Unfortunately she forgot to take it out of her purse and hand it to me so I have yet to pass judgement on Pamplemousse.

Pamplemousse La Croix

Vikki taunted me with her Lime La Croix.

Vikki La Croix

One day while I was off running other errands, Jim did the grocery shopping and I came home to this. Lime.

More La Croix

I have news for you. Lime is terrible, too, in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong; if you love La Croix, more power to you. I respect the brand. They definitely have a huge fan base of people who love love love love the many flavors that are out there, as well as those who think the flavors make good add-ons for vodka and limoncello.

Me?
Maybe I just don’t like carbonated water.

Besides being a Lime La Croix Booster, Vikki is also a great accountability partner. I nagged her nearly to death to finally write something new for her blog this week, and I think she still likes me. Check out her amazing writing at Up Popped a Fox.
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#StreamTeam Summer Catch-Up

Netflix Stream Team

I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and will be happily sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. (Okay, that’s an understatement. I should say CONSTANTLY. We use Netflix CONSTANTLY.) This post is sponsored by Netflix, of course!

While you might think that my level of activity would ease up after the curtain comes down on LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER CHICAGO right before Mother’s Day, the season of summer is also conference season, and work actually ramps up in a direction that approaches complete insanity. It’s for that reason that I have to make really good viewing choices, because the time I have to pay attention to what’s on the television is almost non-existent.

Season 2 of “Grace and Frankie” started streaming on Netflix a couple of months ago, and I didn’t get to watch it until last week.

325440id1_GraceAndFrankie_S2_24w_x_26h_4b4p_1200.indd

In case you’re not familiar with the premise, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star as former rivals who become the best of friends after finding out that their long-time husbands (Robert and Sol) had been cheating on them for two decades, with each other. Jane’s vodka-swilling, retired business owner Grace is about as uptight as you can imagine and Lily’s pot-smoking artist Frankie is completely hippie dippie. Of course, they end up perfectly balanced in their friendship. Season 2 sees the twosome continue to deal with Robert and Sol’s marriage, Frankie’s attempts to get her lube produced for the masses, Grace’s reunion with a long-ago boyfriend, and a brief visit from an inspiring old friend. I binged the entire season and, when it was over, became a little angry that I have to wait until next spring to see season 3.

*shakes fist at Netflix*

WHY, NETFLIX, WHYYYYYYY?

It’s so good. The writing on this show is on point, the characters are diverse, and I can’t think of another show that has made being in one’s 70s look like this much fun since “The Golden Girls”.

Other titles I’ll be catching up on this summer:

Jane the Virgin: This is a quirky romantic comedy about a woman who learns she’s pregnant as a result of a medical error. It stars Gina Rodriguez (who won a Golden Globe for the role) and I was literally ordered to watch this by my friend Lisa. With exclamation points. She’s really demanding. I’m glad both seasons are on Netflix right now, and it’s next on my list.

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru: This Netflix original documentary goes behind the scenes at motivational speaker and powerhouse Tony Robbins’ major annual event. I have always been fascinated by Robbins and so when I saw this pop up I added it to my list immediately.

tonyrobbins

Special Correspondents: Another Netflix original film, this stars Ricky Gervais (so how could I go wrong) and Eric Bana as a radio team that invents phony reports from a combat zone after they lose their passports. I’m intrigued.

The Big Short: This one will be an encore for me, when I sit with it this summer. It’s a film about how a few opportunists saw the housing market crash coming and used that information to make a fortune by battling the banks. This dark comedy is based on truth and stars Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, and Christian Bale. The story is amazing and scary, and while it’s not a happy movie by any means, the presentation is excellent and completely fascinating. I saw it twice at the theater–once with friends and once with Jim, the first time feeling like I didn’t understand it and the second with so much more clarity–and I’m looking forward to catching it again.

Shameless: Starring Emmy Rossum and William H. Macy, this is a dramedy about a Chicago-based group of siblings and their struggles with their alcoholic father. I saw it in my Facebook newsfeed–another recommendation from a friend–and decided to add it to my list and give it a shot. Netflix is streaming seasons 1 through 4 right now.

Will I get through all of these great shows and films by Labor Day? I’m not sure, but I’m definitely going to give it a shot. Have you see any of these? Do you have other Netflix recs for me? Leave it all in the comments. I’ll have more Stream Team goodness for you next month!

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