Jaime Loves Stuff : 2012

The Holidays and the Nutcracker

I hope everybody out there in bloggerland had a GREAT run of the holidays. I can NOT believe 2013 is around the corner! Yikes! Also, for me, haha, I will 35. I am officially hitting the mid-30s. I can not believe how time truly flies. It seems like yesterday I was a 25 year old new mom and now, I am a mom of a nearly 10 year old!

 It seems like I always mention this but frankly, this is a big part of me and my child, but it's always amazing how much Emma has overcome since she was shaken. Well, not just Emma but myself, too. As a single parent with a special needs child, I face a lot of challenges (maybe not much more than a couple with a special needs child) and just when I think I can't handle anymore... I look back and realize we have overcome so much. 2012 has been a year with a lot of ups and downs. It's been extremely hectic and full of challenges. I have pretty much neglected blogging for a long period of time. I have been overwhelmed. As Emma gets older, more and more evidence of the brain damage she has becomes more apparent. Thankfully, I am not naive and have always expected the worst and hoped for the best. As she gets older (she just turned 9), she's becoming more and more angry and frustrated. I have spent the most of the last year, trying to figure out how best to help her and to help her help herself. She needs coping skills and I took her to a psychiatrist and was essentially told that no help is available except counseling and medications. WTF? I was so defeated and angry. Emma's already on two different anti-seizure meds which are also used for psychiatric patients. She takes Carbatrol and Topamax. I am NOT adverse to medications BUT they can NOT be used alone. She still needs to learn coping skills and I am asking for help. I am obviously not doing something right. I want to make sure that all the Ts are crossed and Is are dotted BEFORE seeking out medications. I know that people with traumatic brain injuries end up needing anti-anxiety medications and such. I am ok with that but I don't want that to be a crutch. I want to make sure we aren't missing something and if medications are needed, ok. Thankfully, United Cerebral Palsy (where she attends an after school program) and her school (she's in a behavioral management classroom that is special education) are amazing and work so unbelievably hard. I feel very fortunate that everybody who takes care of my daughter ARE amazing. I try to thank them as much as possible.

 Ok. Enough of the negative updates. How about something happy? I consistently under estimate her. I felt defeated that my daughter can't do ballet, gymnastics, softball, etc. I have been wrong. She attends an awesome exercise program for special needs children called KEEN and she LOVES her KEEN days! She has a blast! Phoenix is also home to a unique gym SPECIALLY for the disabled called the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities (SPOFIT). One of the cool things was prior to the Olympics, the USA Paralympic Rugby team was practicing at SPOFIT for the paralympics. Awesome. Watch the documentary "Murderball" to learn more about these guys. It was quite amazing. I hope at some point, I can get Emma to compete in the Special Olympics! As I said above, Emma attends United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) for an after school and summer program, well, a few months ago, I was told about a special performance of The Nutcracker which is all inclusive. How could I say NO? Never. For nearly three months, she practiced and practiced. The best part? She made friends. Friendships that I hope will last a long time.

 The Nutcracker performance was on December 22 and 23rd at the historic Orpheum theatre in downtown Phoenix with the Ballet Academy of Arizona. It was beautiful. I cried after the opening night once we got home. Boys and girls who are either mentally impaired, physically impaired, or both performed their hearts out. Children in wheelchairs were ballerinas, children who can't talk smiled and laughed. The excitement in the dressing rooms was palpable and they were all sooo excited to get on stage and show the world that THEY ARE CAPABLE AND AMAZING! They were bonafide ballerinas. The instructor, Caroline, is an amazing woman with grace and class and I say this with pure honesty, she is doing what is meant to do. She has a special way about her that inspires all children (heck and parents, too!) that they are all beautiful and amazing. Her students were WONDERFUL. Her "typical" students have such a level of tolerance, caring and sweetness that should be duplicated by all.

Since Emma's injury, I have become something of a hermit and have had a hard time reconnecting with other adults. I have put up such a barrier and stay at a distance. It's amazing, I used to be such a social butterfly and able to fit into any social situation but now? Not so much. Haha. I met some amazing parents and grandparents. I hope I get to see them again! I would love to continue to network with them! Emma made such sweet friends. I haven't smiled so much in a long time. This was an amazing journey to the Orpheum stage. For both of us. This opened up so much for us. It has helped awaken us. I want to strive for more. I hope that once my business is turning a good profit, I can sponsor more children to perform in more of Caroline's inclusive ballets.

 'Tis a thing of beauty.

I cheated and took a backstage picture.  Flash wasn't on.  :) 
Ballet bun with LOTS of glitter!
Ballet bun
The costume 
The star and I backstage :)
Amanda, Emma's physical therapist and other therapists from the center came to see Emma and two other kiddos from the same therapy center!
Have to take pictures of the ballet slippers!
Downtown Phoenix posing
My baby all grown up after a weekend of performing!
In front of the poster! What an AWESOME memory!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps

New Twitter Account

Hello again out there! I have created a new Twitter account! Be sure to follow me! Follow here It's a beautiful, sunny day in Phoenix right now and I am making chili. It's going to be delicious and I can't wait to share with you!

Lots of Changes

Hi out there in blog land!

I have really been incommunicado for the last year. As most of you know, I have had a lot of things on my plate. School, work and taking care of my daughter. As you will also notice, my blog has changed and so has my focus.

 Some exciting things are happening! I have one more semester of school left and I am done. Well, not quite done. I think I am going to get some more business education under my belt. I am very excited because I am working on a few business ideas. I am making some cool items that I think will sell well (My literature loving friends will appreciate them! Sssshhhh it's a secret for now, so I am not going to spill the beans on what it is!). Then, I will be venturing into reselling cool craft supplies and stationary. Then the third venture is, vintage clothing. I have a cool supplier and I am slowly building up my stock and taking pictures. I am also taking some culinary classes. So let's just say, I am geeked out. I hope by this time next year that I will be updating you all that I am going to be able to reduce my hours to part time! Wheeeee. I have slacked off my photography venture just because I can't find a solid caregiver for Emma so I can get portraits and art done but I can use my photography with products- win win!

Wish me luck. Oh and P.S., I have NOT forgotten my love of books.
You MUST read the Jayne Heller series by MLN Hanover. FANTASTIC series. I will be reviewing them shortly!
Canon T3i 18.0MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm IS Lens - Digital (Google Affiliate Ad) 

Pork and Green Bean Stir Fry

Pork and green bean stir fry. Very easy!

Happy Birthday Georgette Heyer!! **Giveaway**

I haven't blogged much lately. Life has been INSANE, I tell ya! My child, work, school, rinse, repeat and there isn't much time left in the day! I need to figure out how to go a week without sleep or create more usable hours in the day however... I am BAACCCKKK and for a GOOD reason...
Georgette Heyer's birthday is on August 16 and her life and books are being celebrated throughout this entire MONTH! Thanks to Sourcebooks, I get to host a killer giveaway! From Sourcebooks:
Georgette Heyer, the “Queen of Regency Romance,” is one of the most beloved authors of all time, and Sourcebooks couldn’t be more thrilled to be her North American publishing home: all 52 of her delightful novels are back in print! Over the years we have come to find that fans of Heyer’s work all have “Heyer moments”—stories about how they discovered her, which novel is their favorite, how they used to sneak and read their mother’s copies, and so on. We LOVE hearing these stories from fans, and what better time to sing the praises of one of our favorite authors then on the anniversary of her 110th birthday! In light of the anniversary, Sourcebooks wants to ask readers: “How did YOU discover Georgette Heyer?”
With that said... How did you discover Georgette Heyer? For me, I am a relative virgin to her works. I was offered a chance some time ago to review a Heyer book (From Sourcebooks- they freaking ROCK!) and I read "A Death in the Stocks" and her writing style sucked me in. I could visualize the scenes, hear the words, the silliness and eccentricities of the characters made them beloved and I loved Inspector Hannaysyde! Every since that book, I became obsessed with all things Heyer! From her mysteries to her historicals and of course, her regency romances, her works have instilled a love of the Heyer world in many, many, many fans. Thanks to her birthday, one winner who comments and shares THEIR Heyer moment, will receive a surprise grab-bag prize pack of 3 different Heyer novels: 1 Romance, 1 Mystery, 1 Historical Fiction. The winner will be picked using a random generator and the books will be shipped, generously from Sourcebooks. Are you excited? Me, too!!! Also, make sure you follow the author page on Facebook. There are posts about GREAT prices on Ebooks ($2.99!!! INSANE!) and 30% off books! Go now!!! Contest will close August 16, winner will chosen and emailed. Winner will have 72 hours to respond to email or an alternate will be picked. US & Canada only! To enter answer: How did you discover Georgette Heyer? With your email address, naturally. Feel free to share! If you tweet, blog, tumbl, Facebook, etc. Let me know! I will give you extra entries! Good luck and I can't wait to hear your stories! Cheers! All Available Georgette Heyer eBooks on sale for $2.99 from Tuesday August 14th – Monday August 20th! http://www.sourcebooks.com/readers/browse-our-lists/ebook-specials/1776-happy-birthday-ms-heyer-ebooks-for-299.html Get 30% off any Heyer print book during the whole month of August at the Sourcebooks store by using the coupon code HEYER at checkout! http://www.sourcebooks.com/store/fiction/georgette-heyer/ Also, check out our Georgette Heyer Facebook page where we will be having discussions, parties and giveaways! http://www.facebook.com/thecompletegeorgetteheyer


I was given an amazing opportunity to attend the Phoenix premiere of Cirque Du Soleil's Kooza show and let me tell you... if you haven't seen a Cirque Du Soleil show, you MUST! This was my first time going and I was blown away! I loved that it was in a bonafide tent! Everything that the performers do is art. Whether they are bringing out props, setting up nets, stools, etc it was done with purpose and style. The show encourages audience participation with characters running through out the audience, random seats being lifted in the air, clowns giving people balloon animals, Cirque Police roaming, clowns running and getting shot with confetti and popcorn. It was amazing. I have to say that my two favorite acts were the contortionists and the wheel of death. Oh. My. Goodness. They both deserved the standing ovations they received. The Wheel of Death had me on the edge of my seat the entire act. The coolest part is that each performer draws the audience in with their stares, you can feel them looking at you and they don't take their eyes off of the audience. The physical prowess and agility of every performer was AMAZING. I am actually going to buy the soundtrack... wait, speaking of soundtrack... the MUSIC WAS A LIVE BAND and VOCALISTS! GO SEE IT NOW! I will update my review later with more information BUT GO SEE A CIRQUE DU SOLEIL SHOW NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I plan to see them every time they come to Phoenix. No doubt!

Slack, Slack... Complete Slacker!

I am alive! LOL How is everybody doing out there? I have some AWESOME books I need to review and can't wait to share with you guys! Do you Pinterest? Join me! Follow Me on Pinterest

"My Week with Marilyn" Review

I was given the chance via the Amazon.com Vine Program to watch and review "My Week with Marilyn" and I absolutely loved it!

I watched this movie with no real expectations about it. I vaguely recall the buzz about it and frankly, Michelle Williams isn't a memorable actress. I am not saying she's a bad actress but she's not one that stays in the forefront of my memory. I vaguely recall her in "Dawson's Creek" and vaguely recall her in "Brokeback Mountain". Any other roles, I can't recall. I will say after watching "My Week with Marilyn", I was blown away by her performance. I really had no clue she was this good of an actress! She was amazing as Marilyn Monroe! I read some comments about her looks in other reviews but honestly, there was no way of expecting an actress to look like Marilyn AND be able to act like her and I think Michelle was a great choice. She embraced Marilyn's emotional roller coaster, her insecurities, her sensitivity and her heart completely. Kenneth Branagh was a wonderful Laurence Olivier and of course, Judi Dench was fantastic as Sybil Thorndike. Eddie Redmayne played his part of Colin Clark quite well. Casting was just phenomenal and of course, full of amazing talent.

I am not familiar with the book Mr. Clark wrote about his week of working on the set of "The Prince and the Showgirl" nor am I a historian or avid researcher on Marilyn Monroe, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Marilyn Monroe was obviously beautiful, talented and the icon of Hollywood. She still captures the attention of fans many years after her death. I feel that this movie portrayed Marilyn in a light of... honesty, maybe. I don't believe she was stupid nor was she an airhead. She was intelligent but she was sensitive and insecure. She was a deeply flawed human being who just happened to be extremely famous and in the public eye, she wanted to be loved, respected and to feel secure about herself. I thought the acting, filmography and story were all wonderful across the board and I definitely recommend watching this, if you are a Marilyn Monroe fan.

And once again... I never knew Michelle Williams was such a good actress! Haha. I will be keeping my eyes open for more work from her in the future. I really hope she is able to obtain roles worthy of her talent.

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