Last week was my 40th birthday. I turned the big 4-0. I feel like a rebellious teenager, full of dreams and ideas, yet not quite old enough to be responsible for making all these grown-up decisions. How did I get to be 40 so quickly? I had the best time in my 30’s and I don’t mind being 40. The fine lines and wrinkles. All of it, I wear proudly. It’s been an awesome ride and I look forward to another 60 or so years of awesome, no matter how wrinkly I become.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
When I got the opportunity to read Dr. Brené Brown’s latest book, Daring Greatly, I was thrilled. Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of hearing her speak on two separate occasions. I knew this book was going to be a great read because I have heard what she has to say and she is one of the most genuine speakers I have ever heard. Her work on shame, shame resilience, fear, vulnerability and daring greatly resonated with me in an authentic way, I could not put the book down.
The above quote by Theodore Roosevelt is an excerpt from a speech given at the Sorbonne in Paris, France in 1910. The quote encompasses the theme of the book that through being vulnerable requires that we take risk, in spite of our fears, we give ourselves the opportunities to make real connections with others, bringing purpose and meaning to our lives. Vulnerability is not weakness, she argues. In fact, it is one of the greatest acts of courage. We need to put ourselves out there, even if we might fail and be vulnerable. We need to be vulnerable in our relationships and in every facet of our lives if we want to be connected with others. She examines our innate human need to be loved and to have a sense of belonging. Having a sense of worthiness gives us the ability to be vulnerable and take the risk of getting hurt, but in the end that result can give us that connectedness that allows us to feel loved and a sense that we belong. According to Dr. Brown:
Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process.
The book struck such a chord with me on so many levels. I am in sort of a cross-roads right now and I want to be courageous through this phase of life. It is a scary prospect. We all have those critics that tell us we aren’t enough, but our biggest critic sometimes lives within ourselves. We need to take the risk, EVEN IF we may fail. That is courage. I found myself nodding my head in agreement, taking notes, dog earmarking pages, and feeling inspired to truly live my life daring greatly.
The book was excellent! I am an even bigger fan of Dr. Brown than I was before.
Disclaimer: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. I was compensated for my review, and received a copy of Daring Greatly HOWEVER, I only recommend products and/or services I personally believe in.
Mr. Bear and I have become completely addicted to the show Tanked on Animal Planet. The last episode we watched brought back so many memories of our own experiences at the Magic Castle. Wayde and Brett meet up with Neil Patrick Harris at the Magic Castle to discuss a “magical” fish tank to be built on the lower level of the Magic Castle, near the W.C. Fields bar—a fixture of the Magic Castle that I immediately recognized. Wayde and Brett arrive at the front steps of the Magic Castle in shorts, tennis shoes, and t-shirts. Neil Patrick Harris explains that there is a dress code and what they are wearing is unacceptable. He gives them an hour to get their attire in order before he will let them in.
An hour later, Wayde and Brett return to the Castle in their tailored suits and dark sunglasses, looking sharp.
Here are some clips from the episode:
There are some particular rules of the Magic Castle that must be strictly adhered to. One such rule is the dress code of the Magic Castle From their website:
Dress code strictly enforced. Coats and ties for men, evening wear for ladies, no casual wear (jeans, tennis shoes, etc.).
No zippered jackets, outdoor jackets, polo shirts, t-shirts, denim (or colored denim), shorts, sandals, flip flops, sneakers or sneaker-like shoes are allowed.
No casual attire will be allowed. Think business attire!
My dad became a member of the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, California in the mid-1990’s after a mandatory audition. Over the years, we have relished countless nights of entertainment in the Hollywood Hills with friends and family. We have made untold celebrity sightings while watching magic and wearing our Sunday best.
Mr. Bear and I had our engagement party at the Magic Castle ten years ago, with 30 of our closest friends and family. Yes, we have made many memories at the Magic Castle—many unforgettable memories have been made. There have been boundless birthday celebrations. There have been laughs until tears stream down our faces. All of this fun and excitement, year after year has also brought some outtakes and moments we wish we could forget.
It was 1995. Mr. Bear and I had met the summer before. We had been spending a lot of time together, by ourselves and with each other’s family. Mr. Bear gave me my first surfing lesson. We had Easter together with my family. Mr. Bear’s family made me dinner at their house numerous occasions. My dad took us flying in his airplane. I was Mr. Bear’s company Christmas party date and he was my sorority date. We had so much in common and we were inseparable. In fact, my family had already decided they would keep him and his family was asking when we were going to take our relationship to the next level. Naturally, Mr. Bear was invited to the Magic Castle for our next event.
I distinctly remember telling Mr. Bear that the Magic Castle was fancy and he needed a suit and tie. I arrived to pick him at his friend’s house up on a Saturday night and he was waiting patiently outside. He got into the car. No coat. Jeans. Tennis shoes. Apparently, we had distinctly different opinions on what was considered fancy.
I was not pleased, yet there was not much that could be done at that point. All we could do was try to see if they would let us in. We continued up the 5 freeway toward Hollywood, while I rolled my eyes and made a few sarcastic comments about Mr. Bear’s attire.
We entered the lobby of the Magic Castle to check-in.
“Sir, you need a coat, dress shoes, and dress pants to enter,” they decreed. There was no negotiation
The staff was as accommodating as they could be, loaning Mr. Bear a pair of dress pants that were about 3 inches too short and a tattered coat that donned holes in the pockets and sleeves that only came up to the elbows of Mr. Bear’s 6’5 build. The coat and pants had been left behind by a magician, but no shoes were left behind. Great. Now where would we go for shoes?
Fortunately, the Magic Castle is on Franklin Avenue, a block north of Hollywood Boulevard. We walked the streets of Hollywood Boulevard until Mr. Bear was able to find dress shoes that fit his size 16 feet. Size 16 shoes are challenging enough to find, without being picky—even in Hollywood. We came across at three shoe stores that had no shoes over size thirteen, before we came across the only shoe store in Hollywood that carried Mr. Bear’s size. To boot, they had several pairs to choose from!
Mismatched and mis-sized, we were finally ready to watch some magic. We stared at the magic owl’s eyes and declared, “OPEN SAYS ME!” Poof! The door opened and our magical evening finally began. Poor Mr. Bear took a lot of teasing that night. From his attire to his embarrassment, he took a great deal of flack from me, friends, family, and the staff. The evening turned out to be unforgettable. We managed to make the most of the hiccups along the way.
It took many years for Mr. Bear to live down his first evening at the Magic Castle. It was not long after that Mr. Bear was fitted for a brand new, fancy suit that he wore the next time we all went to the Magic Castle. I have to admit that I can remember how handsome he looked when he was fitted properly in his new suit.
Mr. Bear has invited many friends and family to the Magic Castle since that infamous adventure. He has made it his duty to inform all parties how important it is to adhere to the dress code. In hindsight, I wish with my whole being that I would not have been so harsh with Mr. Bear. My unkind behavior was very nearly the end of our friendship. I am grateful that he forgave me for giving him such a difficult time for an honest mistake. We have great memories that have made up for that rocky start. I am grateful we were able to create a fresh start and we have better memories we will never forget. I am thankful that Mr. Bear forgave me for being a great big jerk. Without his forgiveness, I would be lonely without him and I would not have a little Allie Kat.
It was an honest error, but Mr. Bear has never forgotten the dress code again and I have not forgot to be kinder. The Magic Castle does not mess around!
There are so many adventures I want to talk about. I have not even begin to scratch the surface of our trip to New York. At the same time, I cannot wait to talk about Boston! It was my first time to Beantown and I fell in love with the entire state of Massachussettes!
We left New York City and BlogHer behind after catching Mary Poppins on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre. It was as amazing as I always to imagine it to be. There is something magic about watching live theater in the oldest theater in New York City that is still running. It was built in 1903. If you have not taken in a Broadway show before, it is something you really should do at some time in your life. It is incredibly magical!
We took the Amtrack train from New York to Boston. We left out of Penn Station, which was a memorable adventure all on its own. As our train left the outer edge of the city, I took in the skyline of the city. Sometimes it was unbelieveable that we were actually doing and seeing these wonderful things.
The cityscape as we left New York City via Amtrak to Boston. It was a beautiful day. The previous two days there were thundershowers that grounded many planes. This day, however, the weather was perfect!
The train ride was beautiful. The train was comfortable. We rode in the “Quiet Car” and that was wonderful. Five hours of silence, with a six year old? Yes, please!
Allie was more than happy to watch several movies, including The Three Stoges, that Mr. Bear got her into while we were gone. She laughed out loud many times.
We arrived in Boston and to our vacation rental that was in the cutest little neighborhood in Dorchester. Dorchester is a little suburb of Boston. It has somewhat of a reputation of being a rough neighborhood, but where we stayed bordered Quincy and it was a perfect place to stay.
It was a very cute, old house, with original hardwood floors. It was a very quiet neighborhood and a great place to stay.
The first day, we had a full day of venturing through the city and eating great food. We ate gelato and took pictures along the Freedom Trail. We learned about Freedom Trail and Paul Revere. It takes your breath away to think of all the history that exists in the city. That evening, we took in a game at Fenway Park, with my good friend Jen. First, we met up at the Boston Commons and walked through the park. It was so beautiful. We went to see the Red Sox play against the Texas Rangers. I do not know who won, I soaked in the moment of sitting in the historic ballpark with my family and a good friend.
“I had a little horsey called, Paul Revere—Just me and my horsey and a quart of beer” Beastie Boys
We had a beverage with Jen before the game. Allie ordered a Shirley Temple, heavy on the cherries.
Allie took this photo. She has a love for photography, the same way I do! It was awesome to be in historic Fenway Park!
Jen suggested that we do the Duck Tour. Not only was this tour fun, it was informative too. There were two tour guides that alternated and they were equally entertaining and informative. The day was long, but phenomenal! We walked back across a bridge to meet Jen downtown at her work, where we were nearly killed in the crosswalk numerous times, even when we had the right of way. Did I mention that as much as I LOVE Massachussettes and Boston AND the people of Massachussettes, I love them much more when they are not driving. (You Bostonians are CRAZY drivers!) Jen was kind enough to offer to drive us to Target to get some mandatory supplies. Thank you, Jen for taking us to Target that night to get some groceries!
This is a rare treat! A family photo! Yea!
Quincy Market downtown.
Allie and Mommy on the Duck Tour
The USS Constitution. What a sight to see!
Another rare find—just the two of us!
While at Target, I ran over Allie’s big toe with the grocery cart (or buggy, as they say on the East Coast). Her toe started bleeding and she started screaming. Guess who wins Mom of the Year this year? Fortunately, she was fine. Later that night however, she woke up with such a bad ear ache that she had to be taken to the emergency room. Poor little girl!
After the emergency room, Allison got to feeling much better.
Boston was beautiful, incredible, and we fell in love with the city. This only covers the first two or three days of our trip. We have been talking about moving to the East Coast. We have so many friends that we got to visit with while we were out and there were plenty of friends we did not see. I have not even begin to discuss our visits with friends, Rockport, Cape Cod, or Plymouth Rock. Oh, it was fabulous!
Next up in the series, the rest of Massachusetts.
Previous items in this series:
This weekend, my brother and his long time girlfriend/fiancee got married at Balboa Park in San Diego, next to the beautiful lilypond in botanical gardens, which was gorgeous, and really well kept, since they have Greenside Landscaping to work on their gardens and they’re the best lawn care in Utah. The wedding reception was held at the Museum of Photographic Arts. It was so beautiful! They make a lovely couple and we are so excited to welcome Geri to the family! Geri is an amazing person that is always sweet and kind. She is the best sister in law I could ever ask for and we have already had so many great times together. I look forward to more times to come! It is wonderful that they live close to us and we get together so often. We are all so happy for them.
I took these photos at the wedding and they were too fantastic not to share! Such a beautiful ceremony! OH, WAIT! Did I forget to mention that my dapper husband was honored to officiate the ceremony?! Well, Mr. Bear, the handsome Reverend Bear did a wonderful job and there was not a dry eye in the house with his heart-felt, touching words.
Without, further ado, here are some of the fabulous memories from the day—
“The Kiss” by the lilypond
My stunning niece. She looked so pretty! She was the flower girl.
I love this photo too! I was playing around with different filters and effects. Her eyes are so pretty blue, I had to preserve the color.
This is Allie’s favorite photo out of all the ones I took, BUT—
I LOOOOOOVVVVEEE this one. There is just something classic, beautiful, and authentically lovely in black and whites.
My beautiful baby! She decided that THIS photo should be her Facebook profile photo. I agree, it is so pretty!
The lovely Geri. I LOVE this girl. She is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside. Always smiling, always laughing, always a good friend and always thinking of others. Judging by what I saw at the wedding, there is not a single person that disagrees. She is well-loved!
I love this photo, because you can see the beautiful backdrop of Balboa Park. Additionally, I love the crowd in the photo, watching the wedding party walk down the aisle.
I cannot pick one favorite!
Reverend Bear with the bride and groom exchanging rings