The Bucket Stops Here

by SimplySharpe on August 24, 2010

Today I was catching up on one of my favorite blogs written by a friend and mentor, Todd Schnick, and got inspired. It’s not unusual for me to be inspired by him. I just decided that it was 12:54 AM and seeing that I am still awake, there is no time like the present to act on inspiration.

If you have not already read his post (your personal invitation is in the mail) about creating your own Bucket List, read it now HERE.

I decided there was no reason I could not share my list with my loving readers, especially the ones that complain about my lack of posting.

Like Todd, I have never seen the movie The Bucket List. I will admit to trying to watch it, but it did not hold my attention. I understand this list may not hold yours and you should know it’s subject to change when I have some sleep behind me, but for now in all it’s glory, here is my Bucket List:

1. Write a book

2. Travel to Italy

3. Live outside the states for at least a year

4. Speak a second language fluently (Pig Latin does not count)

5. Have the financial resources to take my entire family on a trip around the world

6. Make a difference in one person’s life without anyone knowing who, what, when, where, why or how

7. Visit all 50 states

8. Move back to the place where it all began, NY

9. Let everyone I know how I feel about them for better or for worse

10. Host a talk show

11. Learn how to DJ

12. Learn how to knit like my Grandma

13. Paint something that I would be proud tohang on my own wall

14. Learn how to use a camera of the non point and shoot variety

15. Be my own tech support

16. Swim with dolphins

17. Run more then a mile

18. Be part of a movie — writing, acting or producing

19. Live in a clutter free, well decorated home

20. Design a line of comfortable, YET ridiculously fabulous shoes

What is on your list? What items on mine can you check off? Did you love every minute?

{ 6 comments }

Plenty of Hair to Spare

by SimplySharpe on July 15, 2010

Hair There Everywhere – Before Shot

For the last few years I have been avoiding a promise I made not just to myself, but to a very special person that lost her battle with cancer. My promise was to donate my long curly hair to Locks of Love, an organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

As you can see from the “Before shot”, I have tons and tons of long flowing curly hair. I’m Jewish. We grow hair like it’s our job.

I remember as a little girl people would stop me and ask if my hair was naturally curly. They would go on and on about how pretty my hair was and how lucky I am. Perms were really big in the 80s and when my Mom did not blow dry my hair straight, I had Shirley Temple ringlets. I was always jealous of all the other girls and their perfectly smooth, straight hair.

It took me years to appreciate the head of hair I was born with. A lot of factors went into my self acceptance, but the most memorable occurred a few years ago. I met a very special lady who had been laid off from her job of 35 years and rehired by my former boss/mentor to be our receptionist. Not long after she joined our team she found out her cancer returned. She had already been through a series of chemo and was in remission.

This time, they found her tumors too late. Her doctors tried experimental and very aggressive forms of treatment. None of them were working. During this time, she came into work everyday despite the obvious toll these treatments and cancer were taking on her body. Her spirits were always high. She never complained even as the industry became so volatile her position as receptionist grew into a much more stressful workload. My old boss had a fax machine and copier moved to her desk so she could still work without having to get up as often. We all took turns giving her breaks even though some of us were not supposed to be sitting at the front desk. You would have done the same thing if you were me. A few of us also took her to doctors appointments when they were giving her treatments that required someone else drive her.

I remember she wore these scarves around her head that seemed so chic to me. She was not fond of them, but she said the wigs got itchy. She had curly hair too, but kept it very short. She always told me how much she loved my hair and how she would pay money to have my curls. I think this was when the appreciation started to really sink in. Not because I did not have to pay money for pretty hair, but because she no longer had a choice that women make when it comes to our hair.

I told her I would give her my hair if we could find a place to make a wig out of it. She laughed. I went on a mission. That is when I hit Googs and learned about Locks of Love. We talked about it and I told her that I was going to donate my hair to them when it was long enough. The required donation is 10 inches. I thought it was really great that in some small way I would be able to help kids who were suffering from the insecurity of not having hair in addition to different illnesses that may be causing them pain.

My hairdresser at the time knew my plan was to donate my hair and warned me that I have a very low hair line and short hair would require some real maintenance on my part. I would have to let my hair grow at least two inches longer then the required amount so she could put it in a pony tail and properly make the cut.

Then I got engaged. In order to have the hair style that I wanted, I need to cut off a few inches. Oy.

Time went by. My friend passed away.

I never forgot about my promise, but I found convenient excuses to keep waiting. I gained some post wedding weight and my long hair balanced me out. My hairdresser got pregnant and took time off to be with her child. Surely, no one else had her hair line understanding and would be able to cut my hair. My face was too round for short hair. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Just over a week ago, I lost my Grandmother. Another very special woman who absolutely adored her hair. She went to weekly appointments at The Beauty Parlor, as she called it. Even when she was in hospice, someone came in to do her hair. It made me think a lot about my promise and inspired me to finally follow through on it.

I have plenty of hair to spare. There is a little girl out there who will love these curls.

As you can see below in the “After Shot”, I ended up with a really cute cut and doing something that made me feel good inside and out.

Cute Cut, Great Cause – After shot

Life is too short to make excuses. Get out there and cut your hair or do whatever the equivalent is for you.

{ 4 comments }

Writer’s Block vs. Writer’s Hesitation

by SimplySharpe on May 23, 2010

From the looks of this blog, you may think I have stumbled upon a massive case of writer’s block.

Wrong.

What I am really suffering from is writer’s hesitation.

On a good day, I have up to 4-5 new post ideas. On those same days, I decide what is not worthy based on what other people may or may not think. Is this going to offend so and so, will this blog make me unemployable, is it okay to be honest about what really goes on behind the curtain. etc.

I let other people’s opinions get in my way.

I remember vividly when this all began. I started listening to the sometimes solicited, but mostly unsolicited advice of what a blog is supposed to be and what my writing should focus on. Why don’t I have a niche? Why do I think writing about my life is so important? Why do I not do this or why do I do that with my blog?

Guess what? This is not your blog!

If I wanted to write about my puppy one day and mortgage rates the next, what is stopping me?

Nothing.

I do try to be mindful of my readers and not bore you all to tears with tales of woe (of which there have been too many to count recently). If you are a first time reader you have probably not heard the endless droning about my old blog and how much better it was. One of the main reasons my consistency and content was much more robust is I never took the peanut gallery commentary to heart. I’m not even sure I knew they existed?

I just wrote.

That is what I loved about writing. There are no rules for a blog. There may be more effective ways to get readership and market your blog, but no rules for a personal blog. I would go so far as to say there are no rules for any blog unless you write on behalf of a company (and in that case, be mindful as you represent a brand). My readers are smart enough to exercise good judgement on this one.

The point I am really trying to make here, is I no longer choose to allow writer’s hesitation to affect me.

If you feel my posts are not for you, it takes one click to close the window. Don’t be shy. You even have my personal invitation to leave feedback in the comments on why you will no longer visit my page. I promise to take it all into consideration.

I want to make this last part clear:

What you don’t have is control of what you think I should be writing about. I have sincerely appreciated the feedback in all the forms in which it was received, but I am also ready to seize control of my thoughts, my writing, my desire to post about about anything I see fit.

I may just write about turtles next time. Because. I can.

Thanks for playing!

{ 9 comments }

Just Read a Book

by SimplySharpe on April 26, 2010

 

The Girl Behind the Book

 

Bookstores have always been a weakness of mine. I have always dreamed of wall to wall bookshelves and one day having a library in my house. This weekend, I realized where that dream originated.

The DJ was playing a gig in South Florida and we literally flew down for 24 hours. I was hesitant to spread the word that we were coming down due to our limited time and the distance between where my family has spread out all over the tri-county area. My father remained determined to see us and rewarded me with two of my favorite ways to pass time… lunch and visit to a bookstore.

We were walking around the bookstore and he was attempting to catch up with me while I stopped every few minutes to pick up a book and declare I had to have it. When we passed a section with classics like 1984 and Animal Farm I was reminded of my childhood. My father bought me these books before I even knew how to read. By the time I was in middle school and they were assigned reading, I refused because I had already read them. I asked for more challenging assignments. It was not that my Dad ever asked me to dissect the characters in the story or who the Pig or Snowball possibly represented. They just felt like books I read as a child and therefore did not agree with them being considered “homework“.

I started to tell my father about this and since he had never seen a report card or feedback from a teacher, he found the story amusing. He said (in his adorable South African accent), “Your mother must have had a fit when you did that!

She did.

In fact, every time my Mother had a “fit” I just called my Dad to tell him how intolerable she was. I started to remember how often I called my Father with this information and instead of responding, “Why do you think we are not married anymore?” the only thing I remember him saying is, “Why don’t you just read a book?“.

Then I would hang up and do just that. I read everything. Mostly young adult novels like pictured above, but I often borrowed books from my Mom’s overflowing collection of self help and psychology. She was studying for her Master’s in Social Work so there was an abundance of these types of books collecting dust next to her battered copy of Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love them. I read that too.

I then lamented on the fact that there were all these books that I feel like I could have written years ago. My Dad stared at me with genuine sincerity and said he always wondered why I had not written a book yet. I gently reminded him how he and my Mother told me that being an author was a poor career choice and I would never make any money. He paused, took a serious look at me and asked with no trace of irony, “When did you start listening to what we told you to do?

No pause from me, “Um, every time you told me to read a book, I did!“.

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The Day I Ousted the DJ

by SimplySharpe on April 14, 2010

 

Sharing is Caring

 

Ever had a day that seemed to have a theme? Today appeared to be brought to me by Foursquare.

If you have managed to find the one rock left to live under (Pass Go and collect $200), you are scratching your head wondering what a Foursquare is? I believe sharing is caring, so let’s talk a little about this location based social networking site currently swiffering the nation. All you need is a mobile phone or text enabled device type thing and you can play.

Why would you want to join another social network site, you ask (Yes, I can hear your thoughts. My ESPN is all the way on)?  This one comes with benefits and badges along with discounts from businesses that participate in the game. You can also find out where your friends are, allow them to stalk you, meet you out for dinner or drinks or give you tips around town. It’s a really cool fun way to play with your friends and do your part in supporting businesses or providing them feedback you may not necessarily give face to face. There are many reasons to play and you can learn more here.

Why does this day remind me of Foursquare? It all started in a parking garage in Midtown, Atlanta. I pulled in with my usual expectations of parking on one of the upper levels visitor parking spaces. I remember getting out of the car and getting my Foursquare application ready to check in. The Blackberry app will locate businesses within a few mile radius and let you select from the list.  The coffee shop I was going to check in at was not entered so I put all my energy into proactively getting my game on.

I went on to get a lack luster Chai Tea Latte and headed up the elevator to the top floor of my fabulous new digs. Cubed as I am, I love being in a fun office space with other creatives. I checked in there too, though some people think business check ins are not cool. I am not one of those people, providing you work in an office that does not offer a deal for services based on check ins. In other words, if you work at a bar or boutique you are banned from checking in so you don’t waste a hookup for a patron.

Do a little Google (Topeka) magic on the subject and you will see a lot of people weigh in on their rules of checking in. To each his own on this, unless you cheat or add a duplicate record because you are too lame to double check your venue or do not spell it properly. The one thing I do get ornery about is when people add silly records like the highway or toll booth plazas. These clutter up the game and could be dangerous if you are driving while checking in.

Public safety announcements aside, I finally found a new reason to not complain about all the random entries. I LOST my car! I played the part of space cadet for at least 15 minutes (a role I play well despite my high IQ) walking between levels to remember where my car may have been parked? I realized at that moment had I checked in on Level 11 of the parking garage, I would be getting in my car and not playing hide and go seek with it. Novel concept. I shared my moment of clarity with the DJ who thought this was cute.

I finally found my four wheel friend and took my show on the road (pun not intended, but it did work there). As I drove around to run errands, I got stuck behind this hotrod of horse power that seemed to think brushing her hair was more important then pushing the gas pedal. I was befuddled. I wanted her to check in on the side of the road and put a stop to this Marsha Brady 100 strokes a day hair brushing. She should have her hotrod privileges revoked and give that baby to someone one who will drive like she means it. Not me. I already lost one car today.

She finally got moving with her bad self and I was able to drive along to DSW where I had buyers rewards and would ultimately check in on Foursquare. I was on a specific mission for wedges and sandals and felt the best way to maintain accountability would be to shout that on my check in. Goal = wedges and sandals, must ignore heels. It’s a hard one for me. Higher the heel, happier the girl.

Feeling fabulous and footloose (Again, she goes with the pun. I mean really?), I message the DJ that I am feeling very girly today. He responded with matched enthusiasm and *gasp* a grocery list. I said girly, not “to-do girly”? Or worse… domestic.

I decide to take the list and own it. Best. Decision. EVER.

I ousted the DJ as Mayor of Publix on Foursquare!!!! He has like 64 million check ins there and of all the days to take the title, I get the one themed Foursquare day or as it will now be known, the day I ousted the DJ and he still cooked me dinner.

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The Pastrami, The Parking Spot and The Deli Den

by SimplySharpe on March 24, 2010

 

My Bold and Beautiful Grandmother

 

I will always remember March 23rd, 2010 for several reasons. First and foremost, it was my Grandmother’s 84th year of life. She is amazing! It was also the first Inaugural EatUpATL event. A night of fabulous food, friends and celebrating. I was really excited and had good vibes all day. I shared this news on my Facebook wall along with mentioning my Grandmother’s birthday.

That is when I got the other news. The Deli Den has closed it’s doors.

Say it ain’t so South Florida?

The news was being confirmed in the comment section of my status update while I was working. I could not even respond with disbelief before hitting the GOOGs. The Deli Den abruptly closed it’s doors and apparently our President just dined there this month. Who knew?

Deli Den was and will always remain in the hearts of all my fellow Emerald Hills friends and family. Growing up in Emerald Hills, the Long Island of the South until Boca and Weston started development, you no doubt ate at the Den. Their pastrami was practically a rite of passage. You went there for traditional New York Jewish deli fare and often picked up meats, bagels and matzo balls to go for guests. There was no such thing as the Publix Deli to the real New Yorkers living in the hood. You had the Den! Their matzo balls were almost as good as your Mother’s and were made fresh along with assorted cookies the non Jewish kids (both of them) had never heard of or seen.

Speaking of Mothers, mine was mildly obsessed with their open face pastrami on rye, kosher pickles and potato knish. My brothers and I heard about her cravings often and were happy to accompany her to the Deli Den where you were almost guaranteed to run into someone you know (like it or not) and perhaps a celebrity like Billy Crystal. Well, I only saw him there once in late 80s, but it was enough to know good Jewish comedians appreciate rare roast beef like I do. I also never minded going because who can resist the promise of a cookie after your meal or Dr. Browns cream soda? Um, no one!

Everyone who was anyone knew that the Deli Den was the epicenter of South Florida’s delicatessens. If you have ever lived in or around the area, you remember the original one was always way better then the one on Sterling Road. It never stopped you from going back. I have lived in Atlanta for over 11 years now and I still manage to hit the Den on my way to the airport many a visits.

As I sit here and mourn the loss of some of the greatest deli I have ever known South of NYC, suddenly I am reminded why this information is unfolding on my Facebook page. There was no mention of the Deli Den in my status. It was the woman, once nicknamed Grambo’s, birthday. It seems her legendary status had to start somewhere and I think the Deli Den may have been that place?

I remember a Saturday afternoon that my Mom made plans to have dinner with my Grandparents. They came over and we all agreed the Deli Den was the best idea since it was more like a late lunch for my brothers and I and an early bird special for Gramps. What a deal! As I mentioned earlier, the Deli Den had relocated to a new plaza and really never was the same. Parking was scarce, but the pastrami was fierce.

My brothers and I decided to ride with Grandma and Grandpa. We pull up to the plaza and there was a car pulling out right in front. Oh. My. G-d. None of us cared about walking from a farther space, but Grambo was clearly on a mission. Before you can say, “Holy Hebrew” Grambo jumps out of the car to go save the spot while Grandpa cheers her on. We all sit in the backseat barely able to process what was going on in the first place and then we noticed it. The other car. It was headed right towards our Grandparents spot. Uh oh.

We look up and see Grambo STANDING in the now vacant space. The other car doesn’t seem to see her yet and keeps going towards the spot. My Grandfather guns the gas pedal and opens the window (simultaneously, my family is full of tremendous multi-taskers) just in time for us to hear Grambo declaring these three words, “NO, NO, NO!” while waving her impossibly adorable finger.

To this very day, if I ever see a spot that looks prime for the taking and I happen to be a passenger, I always offer to save the spot for my driver. It’s called the Deli Den special. Live it, learn it, love it!

While I am sad so many will miss out on the Deli Den, I will always have the fondest memories of that place. And Grambo!

{ 4 comments }

Sometimes I Need to be Held, Accountable.

by SimplySharpe on March 17, 2010

Lately, I have spent a lot of time rereading my old posts. Not just the ones I keep rambling on about that are no longer live (you’re welcome), but the recent published posts on here. The blog that was supposed to be my  fresh canvas. My return to writing. A fresh start about a wife, a life, a writer.

The only thing remotely consistent on these posts are that I am talking about  how much I miss writing, yet notice the time between posts. What am I waiting for? I have at least 4-5 ideas a day that  would make entertaining or informative posts. It depends on the time of day. Some days are more  creative then others. Some days I learn something that seems relevant to share. Yet I don’t.

Why?

I have a few outside factors that influence me that did not previously exist when I posted regularly. Career transition, living with the DJ, freelance projects that pop up at all hours, a minor addiction to staying connected, etc. I spend more time working on projects or having conversations on Twitter/Facebook and less on actually doing something I love. Writing. I also realize that I put my passion aside because a simple lack of accountability.

All that is about to change.

I now have an accountability partner. Not just anyone either. Someone who truly inspires me! A person who I have actually mentioned before in a previous post, Jeff Turner. If you are not familiar, he is probably one of the most interesting and impressive people I have the pleasure of knowing.  I met him at the most likely of places a conference, New Media Atlanta, where he was a Key Note speaker and panel host. Though I enjoyed his speaking and panel moderation, he really blew me away when we had a chance to chat at the after party.

One of the first things he said to me is “So, what do you DO?” and not in the standard conversation question way. There was something about his tone and and the conversation that followed that led me to believe there was something monumental that would follow from our friendship. I told him that I wanted to be a writer. Many questions followed about what kind of writing and what was holding me back. Good questions. Unanswered questions.

Then I learned a lot more about him. He runs several companies, Zeek Interactive, Real Estate Shows  and is well known for his world wide speaking engagements on emerging technologies. In addition, he and his wife Rocky have 6 (YES, six) children and run a non profit Mothers Fighting For Others (MFFO.org). As if all of this was not impressive, he is a genuinely down to earth guy with a true passion for engaging with people and not judging opposing opinions.

That being said, we stayed in touch over Social Media channels like Facebook and Twitter and one random Saturday he busted out with a tweet, “Why are you not writing?“. Given all of the things he has going on personally and professionally, it was amazing to me that he even remembered our conversation at all. I was honored to have made an impression on someone who I am so inspired by.

We talked about our mutual desire to write more often and formed a pact to keep each other accountable for writing. Not only am I thrilled to have Jeff as my accountability partner, but I get to be his. I sense that he does not need the motivation as much as I do (have you been to his page yet, he has more then 4 active blogs), however, I am taking the role very seriously!

I have no problem admitting that sometimes I need to be held… Accountable!

What activities do you find it helps to have an accountability partner? Do you have someone that helps keep you motivated and inspired? Where and how did you find them?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

{ 8 comments }

Does Content Have an Expiration Date?

by SimplySharpe on March 7, 2010

 

Success Expires on My 35th Birthday Day, Does Content?

 

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgetten lore, while I nodded nearly napping. ” – Edgar Alan Poe

If you are familiar with this poem, it’s possible you wonder if I have been nearly napping or abandoned this blog altogether? Truth be told, I heard no rapping or tapping at my window. Of the things I have heard, I only wish I could sum up with such elegance as Mr. Poe.

Instead, I find myself on a more shallow path and the quest to uncover a question that has been plaguing me.

Does blog content have an expiration date?

For new readers who may have stumbled upon this blog via Twitter or any other method of making your way here, welcome! You may not be aware that I have kept a few other now defunct blogs. Unless of course you count MySpace, which not many of us do anymore.

In an effort to connect with my creative self again, I decided to do some blog research and came across some really funny creative material. My old blog, Randomly Fabulous. This was by far one of my favorite explorations in blogging as it was the most raw, the most real and it appeared I had limited myself from all the corporate constraints, other people’s opinions and attempts to do anything other then what I know and love; WRITING. That was until I was told by previous employers, perspective employers (actually recruiters) that this style of writing was not going to do anything for my professional career.

It was not that I was planning an evil conspiracy to attack anyone (former employers/mean girls/my constantly entertaining mother/people with an apparent lack of fashion sense) that caused the peanut gallery to ask me to retreat to my shell of an existence. It was the honesty. The true raw emotion of a writer, an observer. A person who genuinely enjoys the pleasure of watching life happening and writing about it in an entertaining manner.

Which leads me to my point… Does good content expire?

Upon conducting my research I found a series of old posts that with a little updating would still be funny today. Some of the posts that were relative to what was going on 3-5 years ago may not apply. Some are worthy of sharing and I wonder what my newer and loyal readers would think of the concept of having a throw back to the days of yonder, where my writing was not under a microscope (or if it was, I was blissfully ignorant)?

I know a lot of good bloggers that use old content to remain consistent. I am not talking about taking my journals from my formative years or my old ICQ or the lost geocities pages and trying to recreate content. I am focusing on blogs that were once posted that may be a nice little throw back for old and new readers.

I would love your feedback? Is this a blogging do or don’t? For other bloggers (writers at heart), do you always move fresh content forward or do you ever dig back in your archives for material when you have the arsenal to do so?


{ 12 comments }

Just Say No, to SPAM!

by SimplySharpe on January 24, 2010

 

Writing is my anti-spam

 

This weekend I used some of my super powers to stop an insidious amount of spam comments on an older blog post. Some evil spider style attack of the x-rated kind tried to infiltrate mass amounts of linkage, but I stopped their stupidity with a little something I like to call brains.

Brains are good for you. Tastes great with sentences, sandwiches, song lyrics and consumption of any kind. Not in a Hannibal Lecter way though.

Back to the spam at hand…

There appears to be a bored nerd using the same lame domain name or IP address to send 50+ comment spams a day to my blog. Thanks to the help of WordPress (Yes, you read that right, the WP hate is waning) I am able to block these sloppy spam attacks and spare my readers unnecessary assaults of their pathetic kind.

Seriously spammer, do you really have nothing better to do?? Is World of War Craft down? Did you get kicked out of Game Stop for being the nerd without brains again? Would it help if I bought you Hackers for Dummies or something? What about some one on one time with a real nerd to harness your powers for good not evil? The DJ is available for a small fee, which I am happy to pay if you BACK UP OFF MY BLOG COMMENTS ALREADY!

Please let me know what it will take for you to use your copious amount of spare time and pseudo techie knowledge (real hackers don’t leave such obvious traces of their existence) to stop wasting my time. You are starting to get on my almost birthday nerves and that is just not cute! I am making some pretty generous offers here. All you need to do is disappear and we can all go back to normal. Well, what ever “normal” means to you and your sad spammy existence , which incidentally I can have wiped away with one phone call. Let’s try to part ways peacefully.

Thanks for playing!

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