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August 2014

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How to Dress Like Caroline in Mr. Mom

Dress Like Caroline in Mr. Mom • littlegoldpixel.com

This post is part of an occasional series called Fashion Rewind, in which I draw fashion inspiration from a character in a movie. It’s pretty much a given that the movie will be from the 1980s, because who doesn’t love the 1980s?

You are a homemaker. You have three kids: Alex, Kenny and Megan. Kenny is obsessed with his woobie, Megan inexplicably eats cans full of chili, Alex is always saying things like “you’re doing it wrong.” You are married to Michael Keaton aka Jack, who works for an auto company. Well, at least he did work for the auto company until the night he got fired and bet you he could find another job before you could.

Ahem. He was wrong about that.

Now you work for an ad agency, where you not only fend off advances from your mustachioed boss Ron but also use your prowess to negotiate more time off to spend with your family. You landed the Schooner Tuna account, the tuna with a heart! You are always impeccably dressed in tailored skirt suits and feathered hair. You will put up with anything except that one flannel shirt your husband wears. “You’re really throwing in the towel, honey.”

You are Caroline in “Mr. Mom.”

Dress Like Caroline in Mr. Mom • littlegoldpixel.com
Dress Like Caroline in Mr. Mom • littlegoldpixel.com
Dress Like Caroline in Mr. Mom • littlegoldpixel.com

“220, 221, whatever it takes.”

This movie, man, this movie. I can’t even tell you how many times I watched this film over the years. To this day I will watch it even if I catch it on TV with only 10 minutes left. It just doesn’t get old. In fact, I feel like it’s aged with me. The situations that flew over my head as a child are now things that make perfect sense in my adulthood.

I’m pretty sure I’m “doing it wrong” every time I take Alexa to school, for what it’s worth.

P.S. My favorite interview with Michael Keaton. (Can’t wait to see Birdman.)

Anyway, back to the fashion inspiration.

Hover for prices and click to shop:

How to Keep Car Shopping from Sucking So Much

How to Keep Car Shopping from Sucking So Much • littlegoldpixel.com

A decade ago, I would equate going to a car dealership with stepping foot inside a torture chamber. First I’d notice the overly dressed salesmen circling, setting their sights on me before swooping in and going for the pushy sales tactics.

I’d rather have my flesh seared with hot spears than to deal with the deluge of never-ending personal and financial questions that was certain to follow. I admittedly do not like people prodding into my (actually somewhat impeccable) credit history, which is kind of strange considering how open I am in real life (hi, you’re reading my stream-of-consciousness blog).

At any rate, I would have to fight the very real urge to stand up with righteous indignation and storm out of the depressing sales office … why are they always so depressing and hot and why am I sweating? Is this another torture chamber tactic?

Take a deep breath.

How to Keep Car Shopping from Sucking So Much • littlegoldpixel.com

How to Keep Car Shopping from Sucking So Much • littlegoldpixel.com

Thankfully I’m not as panicky as all that anymore. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]I’ve learned the art of car-shopping zen, or at the very least how to keep car shopping from sucking so much.[/inlinetweet] And I was able to do it with a squirmy child in tow just a few weeks ago! It can be done!

Everything I’m about to share with you has been gleaned from years of careful study with H, my husband and car guru extraordinaire, without whom I’d still be a fuming mess at the dealership.

How to Keep Car Shopping from Sucking So Much • littlegoldpixel.com

10 Tips on How to Keep Car Shopping from Sucking So Much

1. Shop ahead of time online and narrow your interests.

There are so many places to shop now. Carfax, Cars.com, Carmax, etc. Have an idea of what you’re looking for in a car (low gas mileage, lots of room, smooth ride) and adjust your search accordingly. It’s best to narrow down the make/model you are interested in and create searches so you can check daily until you find a deal that is worth pursuing. Be patient. This step could take time. In the meantime, you will be gathering precious knowledge from your comparisons that will help you pick the right car.

2. Call ahead of time and schedule an appointment.

Do not walk on the lot and expect the red carpet. Call the day before, talk with someone about the car you’re interested in, and set up a time for a test drive. You’ll find the process goes much smoother this way. Indicate that you will not tolerate a lot of sales pitches because you know exactly what you want.

3. Do your research.

Before going in at all, it pays to have some numbers under your belt: the Kelley Blue Book value for your trade-in AND the car you are test driving, how much you need to pay off on your trade-in, how much you’re willing to pay for the car you are test driving, what your ceiling is for monthly payments, etc. Also, do your diligence and Google the make/model you are seeking for any common pitfalls or recalls so you can double check that these things are not a problem as you’re test driving.

4. Curb your enthusiasm.

Practice your poker face. It’s best to remain cool and pleasant in the negotiations stage. For that matter:

5. Take a shopping partner who knows cars better than you do.

Excuse yourselves to talk objectively about pros/cons before determining whether to talk further about the car with the salesperson.

6. Set firm expectations and do not waiver.

If you decide to go ahead, set the ground rules. Say, “I want to pay $XX,XXX. If you can’t make this happen, tell me now so we do not waste any more time.”

7. Be prepared to walk away.

It’s extremely likely that the salesperson will disappear for a long amount of time to “negotiate” your demands. The salesperson will return with a number that is not exactly what you’re looking for. At this point, you should repeat your rules again. If the salesperson says that’s all they can do, be prepared to stand up and leave. [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]Never pay more for a car than you are comfortable paying.[/inlinetweet] But, most likely the salesperson will leave again to make more “negotiations.”

8. Be prepared to wait a long time.

A really really really really really long time.

9. Bring entertainment.

And snacks. Toys, if you have a little one with you. Put a calming game on your phone, like Tetris, and go to your happy place.

10. Do not take anything personally.

During the negotiations, the salesperson will likely ask whether you can afford to pay more or put forth a larger down payment. These shaming tactics will only have power over you if you let them. [inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”]Remember this: They need the sale more than you need that car.[/inlinetweet] Don’t give the salesperson power over you. And, when in doubt, refer to tip No. 7.

Further Reading

How about you? Have you ever had an unpleasant car-shopping experience? Do you have any other tricks for car shoppers? I am always happy to add another trade secret to my arsenal if you have any.

I’ve Been Reading: 40/60 Book Reviews for 2014

Book Reviews 2014 • Little Gold Pixel

This is an occasional series that chronicles my quest to read 60 books this year. Book reviews 2014: take four. Let’s see how it went, shall we?

I have a confession to make. I checked out three actual books from the library, and they were all books I have been wanting to read. In my initial excitement, I thumbed through them and read about 15 pages in one. This was three weeks ago. Yesterday I returned them, all unread. Three weeks, and I didn’t read a single one of them.

I've Been Reading: 40/60 Book Reviews for 2014 • littlegoldpixel.com

Library fail. Not even the promise of a crazy James Franco book could get me to read hard copies.

It’s not that I wasn’t reading. In that same time period, I read five books. On my Kindle, on my iPhone, on audiobook.

The pile of physical books on my nightstand keep growing and growing, and I can’t seem to do anything about it. (Apologies to my friend Sara because I’ve been holding her books hostage for at least a year.)

I’m going to issue a challenge to myself to read one hardcopy book over Labor Day weekend. Hold me to it, OK?

The good news is that not only am I on pace to finish 60 books this year, I’m two books ahead of pace. I owe it all to audiobooks. Again, I can’t believe it took me so long to jump on the bandwagon.

(Do you follow me on Goodreads? You should!)

P.S. Book Reviews 2014: Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3

I've Been Reading: 40/60 Book Reviews for 2014 • littlegoldpixel.com

Book Reviews 2014: 40/60

I Totally Meant to Do That / Jane Borden
File under: Memoirs, essays
Plot: Southern girl moves to New York and talks about how different life is in the Big Apple.
Review: This was OK for a minute, then the shtick got old.
Amazon Goodreads

The Expats / Chris Pavone
File under: Espionage, mystery, suspense
Plot: Woman quits her CIA job to move overseas with her husband and children, only to uncover more secrets in her immediate circle.
Review: What a fun ride! I was on the edge of my seat to find out what the next twist was.
Amazon Goodreads

How to Love / Katie Cotugno
File under: Young adult, romance, coming of age
Plot: Teen mom comes to grips with her life and expectations when her baby daddy rolls back into town.
Review: This story felt realistic, the situations were almost embarrassingly accurate (if you recall high school with any kind of sincerity), and I was rooting for Reena to come into her own throughout. Plus, it was refreshing to read a teen mom story about a girl who turns out to be a good mom despite the circumstances.
Amazon Goodreads

Gladyss of the Hunt / Arthur Nersesian
File under: Literature, murder-mystery, New York
Plot: Virgin rookie cop gets mixed up with Hollywood actors as she investigates a serial killer.
Review: Arthur Nersesian pulls out all the stops with his usual cast of crazy characters (including New York), but the ending is a bit of a downer.
Amazon Goodreads

Reached / Ally Condie
File under: Y.A. dystopian fiction
Plot: Cassia and her two boyfriends inexplicably hold the key to saving the Society.
Review: If you’ve read the Divergent or Hunger Games trilogies, you know how this one goes. (A serviceable but predictable and ultimately disappointing ending, but (silver lining here) it’s a better ending than Divergent or the Hunger Games.)
Amazon Goodreads

California / Edan Lepucki
File under: Dystopian fiction
Plot: Couple deals with the end of the world — and question how they will raise a child in it.
Review: A breath of fresh air in the dystopian department, which is to say this is a major upgrade from the Y.A. stuff that’s prevalent in this genre.
Amazon Goodreads

A Desirable Residence / Madeleine Wickham
File under: Chick lit, WTF
Plot: A bunch of terrible people doing terribly stupid things.
Review: I’m not sure what the point of this story was. This is the first time I’ve ever been disappointed by a Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham novel.
Amazon Goodreads

How Did You Get This Number / Sloane Crosley
File under: Memoir, essays
Plot: Author copes with turning 30, among other things.
Review: A pleasant if not noteworthy collection based on Crosley’s quirky personality. An easy read for fellow thirtysomethings, but don’t expect too much.
Amazon Goodreads

The Transcriptionist / Amy Rowland
File under: Literature, philosophy
Plot: Newspaper transcriptionist unravels after an acquaintance commits suicide by lion.
Review: A brilliantly written narrative and commentary on how technology and news change our lives, for better or worse.
Amazon Goodreads

The Secret History / Donna Tartt
File under: Murder-mystery, suspense, literature, brat pack, creepy
Plot: What happens to a group of friends after they kill one of their own. A murder mystery in reverse.
Review: This is the kind of story that stays with you. Who are these people, you’ll ask yourself. These despicable people, the kind you can’t relate to yet nonetheless are drawn to like a magnet.
Amazon Goodreads

In a Nutshell

Three to read: The Secret History, The Transcriptionist, How to Love (the runners-up were also very good: Gladyss of the Hunt, California, The Expats)

Three to pass: I Totally Meant to Do That, A Desirable Residence, How Did You Get This Number (it wasn’t a very good round for essays)


 

So there you have it. Forty down, 20 to go. Wish me luck! What have you been reading lately? I’m always on the lookout for a good book …

Also: Linking this post with Modern Mrs. Darcy, where you should totally go for even more book recommendations.

 

Ignorance Really Is Bliss

Why It's Smart to Turn off the News • littlegoldpixel.com

You know that scene in The Matrix in which Cypher defects, stating bluntly, “Ignorance is bliss”?

It really is.

For years I was plugged in to the chatter of the world. I had to be, as part of my job was to read the news wires and siphon the important, discard the nonimportant. I was analytical about the number of deaths in Iraq vs. the day/week/month before. I knew which “talks” to take seriously. I could tell you whether a study was legit and worth putting on the front page of a newspaper.

I was in the know.

I was also miserable 90% of my workday.

I knew far too much about what was going on in the world, and it turned me into a bitter cynic. I was so jaded that I would think, “Only 3 deaths today, that’s a brief.” Or I would slog through yet another mouthpiece from Washington with vitriol rising in my throat like heartburn because I could see through all the spin.

In The Transcriptionist, Amy Rowland writes about the experience of a journalist in a way that felt so familiar to me.

It’s too difficult to eat the news with my ears every day. It leaves a residue. I have letters in my bloodstream, nut graphs in my gut, headlines around my heart. It usurps my soul.

It has been years since I’ve had the daily news cycle injected into my veins along with a side of cynicism. Working in the entertainment industry is something that suits me much better.

It’s not that I have turned a blind eye to the news; I am vaguely aware of what is going on around me. It would be irresponsible to live solely inside my own brain or inside the brain of the Hollywood beast (which, some people might joke, is as mushy as oatmeal).

But there really are too many bad things going on in the world. It makes sense that things that are bad for the world are bad for the human mind, especially if that mind is tuned in for eight hours each day as I once was.

I’m not sure what’s going on this summer, but I haven’t been this acutely aware and saddened by the news in years. Let me count the things that have seeped into my subconscious … I can pinpoint it down to the day the plane was shot down in the Ukraine (which so happens to be the day the TV in the newsroom that is 5 feet from my desk has been playing CNN around the clock). Since then: huge blowout in the Mideast, Ebola, ISIS gains in Iraq, Ferguson, it goes on and on.

It’s either been a ridiculously bad/scary/horrifying/terrible summer, or it could be the omnipresence of CNN at my workstation.

The latter is more likely.

I’m trying to turn away a little more, protect myself from the constant hum of negativity that radiates from news outlets. The young, idealistic me would have been aghast at this behavior. “Where is your sense of civic duty?” she would ask. “Don’t you think it’s your responsibility to kick back against injustices?”

The young me has some valid points, but I have seen how little gets accomplished by just ingesting the news and not being able to affect much change. Let’s be real. I’m not a politician, and I never will be (I can’t lie, for starters). I do not have connections with anyone making the rules. What I do have is my voice and my talents. So I write. I design. I parent. I take photos. I am charitable when possible. I sign petitions. I glance over the news, but I definitely think it’s worth tuning out sometimes.

Why It's Smart to Turn off the News • littlegoldpixel.com

To continue my (very loose) Matrix metaphor, maybe the trick isn’t to be ignorant of everything. Maybe you just have to know how to stop the bullets from hitting you.

Because, most days, I’m 90% happy.

So yes, selective ignorance is bliss.

5 Tips for Clearing Clutter, or How I Get Rid of S#*%

5 Tips for Clearing Clutter • Little Gold Pixel

It’s never ending, the culling and purging of items inside our home. I don’t think we bring that much in. Surely we don’t bring that much in. Or do we? I’m suddenly remembering every box and grocery bag and backpack full of preschool art projects. I could bury myself under the weight of all the little things, assuming I allowed them to stack up and multiply, even under the guise of “I’ll file this away” or “this is for the baby book” or “maybe, someday, maybe.”

We have been aiming for a simpler existence, and for good reason. The last time we moved was a harrowing experience. Alexa was very young, we were strapped for time and apparently we had no idea how much stuff we had. Nearly half our possessions never got packed, and we moved into our Ewok Village (so-called because it is nestled high with lots of stairs) piecemeal, one hastily cobbled box at a time.

Not that we’re planning to move anytime soon, but we vowed that the next time would be easier. We would be more vigilant, and we would not fall victim to whatever storage spots we managed to uncover.

Trick’s on us, though, because it seems like the more we declutter the more we find to declutter.

We have tackled the hall closet, and our bedroom closets, Alexa’s toy boxes and the kitchen pantry. It’s these hidden spaces that are the worse culprits for finding unneeded clutter. I am dreading the day (and it’s coming soon) when I crack open the upstairs hall closet and give our “keepsakes” a good once-over.

I have been cultivating a method for decluttering that works. Granted, through regular practice of these tips I’ve become desensitized to the emotional toll that comes with getting rid of things I once loved. In the past decade we have moved six times. I have helped my Dad move twice — both times a truly traumatic experience when it comes to emotional attachments.

So I know a little something about saying goodbye to baby clothes, childhood keepsakes and the clothes that belonged to my mom. Spoiler: It’s not easy, but it gets easier.

I almost sobbed when I said goodbye to Alexa’s old shoes last weekend. And I nearly saved my copy of “Brokedown Palace” from the donate pile before I realized I hadn’t watched it in six years (probably because its depressing ending depresses me just thinking about it).


5 Tips for Clearing Clutter (Or How I Get Rid of S#*%) • littlegoldpixel.com

5 Tips for Clearing Clutter & Getting Rid of Stuff

1. Have you used the item in the past 6 months?

This question is good for technology, household items, gadgets, gym equipment, costume jewelry. Not so good for seasonal clothing (don’t toss your favorite winter coat!).

If you answer no, toss.

2. Will I find a use for this item in the next week?

Follow-up to question No. 1 if you’re on the fence, and be honest.
If you answer no, toss.

3. Would a photo suffice?

This question is good for sentimental items, including cards, letters, children’s artwork, travel keepsakes, etc. The stuff that means something to you, but it’s not like it’s your grandmother’s wedding ring. For the love of god, do not get rid of your heirloom jewelry.
If you answer yes, take a photo and toss.

4. Invoke William Morris by eliminating items that are neither beautiful nor useful.

I first read about this concept on Jules’ blog when she started her ongoing William Morris Project a few years ago, and it really helped me put things in perspective. Ask yourself: Does this item make me happy? Do I use this item a lot?
If you answer no to either, toss.

5. No mercy.

Just like the Cobra Kai, “Strike first, strike hard, no mercy!” If you find yourself hesitating or making excuses to keep things you do not need, be strong. Do not let it win. It’s just STUFF. You will be fine without it.
If you’re all out of excuses, toss.


 

What about you — what was the hardest thing you ever gave up during a decluttering? Any other tips for successful purging of stuff in your closets? Do share in the comments.

What My 3-Year-Old Learns in Dance Class

Dance Class • Little Gold Pixel

Some may say that dance class is lost on 3-year-olds, that 3-year-olds are too young for dance class, that any parent who pays for lessons is a fool. Maybe they’re right. I’m pretty sure Alexa isn’t truly learning her pirouettes or jetés, and that she really has no clue what a tap dance shuffle is. She’s not going to dance Swan Lake any time soon, that would be crazy!

And maybe the class is testing the limits of a preschooler’s patience and attention span. Maybe there are a lot of distracted requests for restroom breaks and snacks. Maybe she doesn’t want to let me out of her sight for even a second. I thought for awhile that maybe … maybe she’s just too young for this. But she kept asking to go. So we went.

And now she’s off, hopping and skipping and leaping and twirling. She watches the teacher, then eagerly trips over her own feet to try the move herself. She falls down, she gets back up. She grins ear to ear, watching herself in the mirror and recognizing her accomplishments.

When it’s time to change from ballet to tap, she excitedly takes off her slippers and straps on her tap shoes.

Dance Class • Little Gold Pixel
Dance Class • Little Gold Pixel

She bounces up, curling her legs underneath her in midair, then a resounding clap as both feet hit the floor simultaneously. She is an exclamation mark, an emphatic symbol of childhood, her arms reaching up to the sky straight as arrows. I hope she stays like this always. Flowing in the moment, in this world but in her own world.

Dance Class • Little Gold Pixel

Each class is a little more Dance and a little less Distracted. Her requests for fictional potty breaks and unnecessary snacks have been fewer and fewer.

Later I tell her to show Daddy what she learned in dance class. She will spin and jump and kick, all moves of her own creation, saying, “Like this!” and “Like that!” No perfect shuffles here, no studied tippy-toes, no real evidence of what she’s been taught in dance class.

Dance Class • Little Gold Pixel

But you know what she is learning?

Confidence.

Discipline.

Self-expression.

Is dance class lost on 3-year-olds? Absolutely not.

Stuff Alexa Likes aka Gift Ideas for Little Girls: Summer 2014 Edition

Gift Ideas for Little Girls Summer 2014 • Little Gold Pixel

This is a periodic roundup of gift ideas for little girls my daughter’s age (3.5 years old) and reading/clothing/food recommendations, based solely on the whims of my kid.

Could we have any more Frozen figurines? I ask myself this question on the daily, and at a weak point, when my mind wandered a little bit, I found myself thinking, “Hmm, maybe she needs a Hans and Sven and Kristoff so she can truly play pretend.”

I promptly slapped myself back to reality because, wow, is this house saturated with Frozen.

On a different note, Alexa’s tastes have changed so much in six months. She has graduated to picture books from board books, she has outgrown those leggings and those Toms, she only brings out Scout on rare occasions. The only things she’s still into are those Jake and the Neverland Pirate dolls and the greek yogurt.

She has super strong opinions about everything, from her stance on veggies (no) to her choice in clothes (dresses) to her favorite dance shoes (tap). She loves pink far more than you would think by looking at the above roundup. She hates her school tennis shoes because she prefers sandals.

It’s crazy how fast everything changes, especially when you step back periodically to compare the differences.

Anyway, here are a few of the things Alexa loves right this moment, and I’m sure your kid might, too.

  • Some books on our nightly rotation this week: Knick Knack Paddywhack (fun and interactive) & Iggy Peck, Architect (such cute illustrations and fun rhymes)
  • We picked up the reversible Anna/Elsa doll at Disneyland. At the time I thought we were crazy for spending $30, but apparently they go for a lot of money on eBay. If you see one for a reasonable price, I highly recommend it. The doll might seem like a creepy concept, but trust me. Kids LOVE it. We also have the little clip figurines, and they are favorites, too.
  • Dresses. I’m partial to Splendid’s dresses because they’re super stretchy and lightweight. Pretty to dress up and easy to dress down for playtime. I typically try to thrift these when possible because they are somewhat spendy, but the quality is worth the price (especially if you find a sale).
  • Dance clothes, especially the tap shoes. On the weekend, Alexa lives in her Saltwaters.
  • Tinkerbell is another Disney favorite. Alexa loves all the Fairies movies, especially The Pirate Fairy.
  • I think we’ve seen The Smurfs 2 almost as many times as Frozen. And just this week Alexa started asking to watch My Little Pony. I have no idea why. Kids, man, they know about everything.
  • Fruit+veggie pouches of any kind, because it’s pretty much the only way I can get my kid to eat vegetables.

 

Affiliate links throughout, but rest assured I did some price comparison and if the affiliate link was more expensive I opted for a cheaper link. Thanks, as always, for supporting Little Gold Pixel!

Gif Me a Break

Funny Gif Posts • Little Gold Pixel

In what is feeling like a particularly somber week, I thought I’d break it up with a little bit of fun. Enter: Gif Me a Break.

Don’t you love it when you find the perfect funny Gif to sum up a situation? It’s amazing how a two-second video clip can be a highlight of your day. Because sometimes words just do not do a situation justice. And because sometimes, if you don’t laugh you’ll cry.

For example …

When you watch the evening news, it’s like:

When your child wakes you up in the middle of the night, scaring the crap out out of you, it’s like:

(RIP, Robin.)

When you realize you have 10 luxurious minutes for a shower (instead of your usual 5), it’s like:

When you get hangry and have to stop working mid-thought because your stomach has taken over your brain, it’s like:

When you read the comments (even though you know you shouldn’t):

When the car shop swears they don’t hear the mysterious sounds that are completely obvious to you, it’s like:

When toddler potty training is over and you declare your house free of those tiny potties, it’s like:

When it’s grocery shopping day and all you have left is an apple, one slice of bread, a jar of olives and yogurt, it’s like:

Click here to check out my past funny Gif posts. (Hilarity awaits.)

Robin Williams, Suicide & How It Hits Home

Robin Williams, What Dreams May Come • Little Gold Pixel

I do not know a single person who isn’t saddened by Robin William’s death. He was a universally loved public figure. Regardless of how you felt about his movies, you loved him. There was something so raw and true about him.

It was that rawness that allowed him the depth of character we see in films such as What Dreams May Come, Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams, and Dead Poet’s Society … even in Mrs. Doubtfire, which I just finished viewing in Williams’ memory.

The rawness is what made him human to us, and it’s why we feel like we lost a best friend. For us Gen Xers, maybe even a little like we lost a father figure.

I have been moved by how many of my friends latch on to their favorite Robin Williams role. There are the hoards of “O Captain! My Captain!” posts. Many friends who don’t want to grow up remember Williams in Hook, saying, “I’ll always believe in you, Peter Pan.” There are tons of Aladdin memes floating around. The Mork and Mindy fans are quick to say #nanunanu. I’m partial to his role as Popeye myself. No matter how strong he was on the outside, he was a softie on the inside, sensitive and vulnerable and fighting his own demons. Aren’t we all? Don’t we all know someone in our immediate circle who fits that bill right now, at this very moment? I certainly do.

So many of the people I love have suffered from depression. The (unwarranted) stigma surrounding this silent disease means that I do not feel comfortable writing specifics about the struggles I’ve witnessed even in hindsight, even though I have wanted to for some time.

These people — all of whom mean the world to me — have at some point lost their way. I have seen the blank looks on their faces, the lack of desire for … anything … and the inability to recognize their self-worth. They can’t see the forest for the trees. Everything is a hardship, and nothing is worth the effort. It’s a cycle that takes an exorbitant amount of time, effort and will to break. Some people never see the break in the tree line to make it out of the forest. Some people don’t even know to look for the light through the trees because they can’t recognize they’re even IN the forest.

It’s absolutely heartbreaking to stand along the tree line, holding out a hand in vain.

I’m reminded of the utterly bleak but still somewhat hopeful film What Dreams May Come. In this movie Williams dies shortly after his two children die, leaving his wife reeling in the physical world. In the afterlife, Williams and his children are reunited, until Williams feels the pull of his wife, who has committed suicide. He traipses through hell to find her and shake her out of her own despair. He succeeds.

The parallels are uncanny. I hope Williams’ despair is gone now, that he is at peace now or on the path to peace.

And I hope that those suffering from depression right this very minute can find their way out of the forest, out of their version of hell, and hold onto the hands of those who are there to help. It’s not too late. You have to fight to keep your life together, even if it takes dressing up like an elderly British nanny to do so.*


 

*Laughter is the best medicine. Also, antidepressants and therapy. Please contact a health professional if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide.

My Summer Playlist 2014

My Summer 2014 Playlist • Little Gold Pixel

Every May I create my summer playlist, a soundtrack of sorts to get me through the next 3-4 months. This tradition has been going on since I discovered that my boom box could record songs off the radio, which just so happened to be during summer break. My very first summer mix tape included a lot of stuff recorded off Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, and “When Doves Cry” — a song I always equate with summer simply because that’s when I hit record.

This same boom box later served me well when a friend and I decided to create our own radio soap opera, titled Pink Lace, and when I decided I wanted to memorize every single colorful phrase in Heathers (“You’re such a pillowcase.”).

I have been meaning to share this year’s playlist for a while, so yes, maybe I am a pillowcase because I kept forgetting. People might be buying school supplies and ill-advised too-hot-for-August fall clothes already, but I’m hanging on to summer. There’s still more than a month left of it, and I plan to squeeze out every drop.

You should, too, and I know just the ticket:

Little Gold Pixel’s Summer Playlist 2014

You will notice that I am enamored with the new Spoon album, possibly the best thing since … the last thing they did. I love me some Spoon. *Swoon.*

For your viewing pleasure:

What have you been listening to this summer? Any good music I should check out?