15 Year Old Filmmaker Shines With “Departed”

In Really Happy to Have Seen It news, I wanted to share an awesome short film with you!

In my regular reading of Ms. in the Biz, I came across an interview with a 15 year old filmmaker named Sarah Maggiacomo. The interview itself was enough to impress me, as she demonstrated a real passion for and commitment to making film, and I love when young people have that kind of drive.

But then I actually watched her short film, Departed, and I was even MORE impressed! Very Twilight Zone. I think she’s got a great eye, and has a strong sense of storytelling. Just wanted to boost the signal on this talented young woman who’ll clearly be going places. Once she graduates high school, that is. 😉

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OMG, I HAVE A WHITE TOILET!

You guys! I’m so excited I can’t even stand it. Just look at this majesty.

LOOK AT IT.

LOOK AT IT.

That, my friends is a white toilet! It’s spotless! Where once there was gunk so gunky I couldn’t even bring myself to take a “Before” photo, now there is none! And…and the floor around it is hairball free! It’s so beautiful I could cry!

But wait, there’s more. Check out my clean-ass sink!

Oh, so THAT'S what my faucet looks like without being caked with toothpaste-spit and soap!

Oh, so THAT’S what my faucet looks like without being caked with toothpaste-spit and soap!

I was shocked to discover that my bathroom sink and kitchen sink, too, are ALSO white, not the brownish-reddish-greenish color that was there earlier.

Huh.

So how did I achieve this gloriousness? By cleaning, you say? Pffft. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

No.

You see, as a former regular columnist and current guest contributor over at Ms. In the Biz, I’m entitled to certain awesome perks (apparently). Ms. In the Biz will be celebrating its ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY on May 19th at this here swank do, and one of the party’s sponsors, Handybook, offered Ms. In the Biz bloggers a taste of their services by granting each of us a complimentary 2-hour service!

So, how did the service stack up? Well, YOU saw my beautiful toilet! 🙂

But seriously, it was pretty great from the beginning to the end of the process. From the moment I clicked “Enter” to confirm scheduling my 2-hr cleaning, I got an email confirmation, as well as information (including a phone number!) for the professional who would be coming to do the cleaning. Her name was Natalia, and she was super-rad, friendly, and competent. I was also able to indicate Special Notes on my cleaning request. Knowing that my apartment is very much a work-in-progress as far as cleanliness goes, I wanted to make the most of my 2hrs, so I asked them to focus on the kitchen and the bathroom, then on vacuuming the carpet throughout the apartment only if there was time. When Natalia arrived, she had received the notes and came prepared for kitchen and bathroom duty, carefully budgeting her time so that she could do a thorough job in both rooms. When there were 15 mins left, she asked me “There’s 15 minutes left, and I’ve done everything except the tub in the bathroom. I did what I could with what I have, but there are some stains that are gonna take more time to come up. I can either take this time to vacuum, or I can pre-treat your tub with bleach so that you’ll have an easier time getting these stains up on your own in a couple of hours. Which would you prefer?”

OBVI, I chose the tub. Because absolutely NO ONE enjoys cleaning the bathtub, and if she could do anything to make it easier on me, that pretty much rules.

Also, I like that she asked me what I’d prefer rather than just assuming. She was pretty great about giving me constant updates throughout so that I knew what she was up to, and how she was coming along. Natalia definitely made me want to hire her again! And when she left, I immediately got a text from Handybook checking in on how the service went. I gave Natalia a high rating. 🙂

What’s great about Handybook is that they provide an array of services – from house painting, to cleaning, to building furniture – so that whenever there’s stuff you don’t wanna do…huzzah! You can hire someone to do it! And it’s not as pricey as I’d expect something like this to be! (You definitely save money if you book a regular service as opposed to a one-off) And they’re really great about following your personal specifications, so this service works really well if you know exactly what you want.

Also, this isn’t just an L.A. thing, people! Handybook is also available in the following cities: New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Miami! So, if you live in any of these cities, check out their website and see if there’s something they can do for you!

Need more incentive? Well, if you would like to save $25 on the service of your choice, use my personal code: TERESA1066 (psst, I also get a $25 credit! It’s a win-win!)

Thanks, Handybook, both for doing a great job in my apartment, and for helping Ms. In the Biz celebrate their FIRST YEAR!

And you L.A. locals, I hope to see you at the Ms. In the Biz 1st Anniversary party on 5/19! Come out and help celebrate!

MS. IN THE BIZ POST: “A Girl and Her Pen: Why I Support WriteGirl”

This month, I finally decided, after over a year of deliberating, to commit to becoming a mentor with an organization called WriteGirl! Wanna know why?

Check out this post I wrote on the subject over at Ms. In the Biz: “A Girl and Her Pen: Why I Support WriteGirl.”

EXCERPT:

What I love about WriteGirl is that it’s not just about helping girls through school (though there’s plenty of that – in its 13-year history, 100% of WriteGirl participants have gone on to college), nor is it even about helping them with writing (though there’s plenty of that, too – WriteGirl is purely writing-based, with all of its activities focused on or around writing). It’s about giving girls power by giving them a powerful way in which to express themselves. Some girls who participate in the program want to be writers, and it’s a mentor’s job to guide them toward that goal. Others have never written a word outside of school, and don’t exactly think of writing as fun. It then becomes a mentor’s job to make it fun, and show them what an amazing, powerful tool writing is to be used however the girl likes.

For the complete article, or to comment on it, CLICK HERE.

Actually, something I don’t say in the article, but that’s no less true, is a major reason why I wanted to join WriteGirl is because I need a kick in the ass. 🙂 Throughout my life, children have come into my life when I really needed them. When my mother died, a new babysitting charge helped me through my grief by providing me an outlet for nurturing as well as a distraction from wallowing. When a little human needs you, that forces you to step up and get out of your own head, because it can’t fend for itself. A few years later, a different babysitting charge came into my life right when I was building my writing career as a geek/pop culture critic. Playing with two intelligent, insanely creative little geeks kept me on top of my game, because I was constantly looking into new geeky things that I could possibly share with them.

As I say in today’s Song of the Day post, even as I’ve been working hard on my writing career, I sometimes let my Mean Head Voices stop me. My hope is that, as I’m trying to mentor a younger person about writing, that it’ll force me to stay on track. After all, how can I tell someone else to do something I can’t do myself, right?

So this whole mentoring thing is totally selfish. 🙂 OK, maybe not selfish…but definitely mutually beneficial.

No matter what the reason, consider checking out WriteGirl. It’s an amazing organization run by wonderful women, and they need your help!

MS. IN THE BIZ POST: POUND BY POUND – COUCH TO 5K

DSCN0119

This week’s Pound By Pound post went up yesterday at Ms. In the Biz! It’s about me *gasp* RUNNING!

EXCERPT:

For much of my life, I’ve had one motto:  I don’t run unless I’m being chased.

Running on purpose just to do it was a strange concept to me. I didn’t see how people could run and enjoy it, mostly because it was always so difficult for me and was, therefore, intimidating.

To be honest, I still don’t know why people run for fun. It’s about as interesting to me as watching paint dry.

BUT, I have found a method that makes running less intimidating, and for my purposes, that is more than good enough!

To read the full article, and to leave comments, CLICK HERE.

MS. IN THE BIZ POST: POUND BY POUND – TAKE A HIKE!

My latest Pound By Pound post is up at Ms. In the Biz today! It’s all about my newfound love of hiking!

EXCERPT:

I’ve become addicted to going outside and climbing up and down hills in the sunshine! Is it difficult, especially for someone who’s not used to moving around much at all? Sometimes. But it’s also worth it, and not as difficult as you might think! As a wise man named Demitri Martin once said, “Hiking is walking where it’s OK to pee.” If you think about that without the second half of that sentence, you get to the real point. Hiking is walking – so don’t be intimidated just because you’re walking at an incline! It’s something you can do at your own pace, choosing trails that are easy, moderate, or difficult, depending on your fitness level, and it’s great for your health not only because it increases your heart rate and builds up the muscles in your arms and legs (as well as your endurance!), but it also gets you outside for some natural Vitamin D!

For the full post, and to leave comments, CLICK HERE.

MS. IN THE BIZ POST: POUND BY POUND – NAKED LADIES & PINK ELEPHANTS AT THE Y!

No, really! I swam laps at the Y!

No, really! I swam laps at the Y!

My most recent Pound by Pound post is up over at Ms. In the Biz. In it, I extol the virtues of exercise at the YMCA (while also keeping it real about dudes who may or may not be masturbating in the hot tub…). Check it out!

EXCERPT:

I never thought that my fitness journey would lead me to being naked in a sauna with four other women talking about mail-order grooms.

Let me back up. First, you should know that I hate gyms. Like, hate them. Or, rather, I hate the routine of Going To The Gym. I’m supposed to sign away a year of my life to one organization for a butt-load of money and just…go to that one place? Like, several times a week? Indefinitely? Eff that.

When I decided to get serious about weight loss for the Pound By Pound Pledge Drive, I knew that variety was the name of the game. Exercise you’re never going to do is useless, and I know myself well enough to know that I will never exercise if I’m doing the same thing for weeks. And so, I’ve decided to seek out different exercise options all over L.A! Not just exercise classes and gyms, but stuff like dancing, hiking, biking, and stuff that’s a little off the beaten path!

For the whole article, or to make a comment, CLICK HERE!

** DON’T FORGET THE POUND BY POUND PLEDGE DRIVE – RUNNING APR. 5TH 2013-APR. 5TH 2014 **

Ms. In the Biz Post: THE WRITE STUFF – Finding the Right Mentors

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse in the Lost writer’s room. They have nothing to do with my Ms. in the Biz post – I just really loved Lost.

Hey there everyone! First, I should let you know that there’s been a slight change in what I’ll be doing for Ms. In the Biz. I will no longer be doing a Pretty Plus column on its own, though I might pull that into my Pound By Pound posts on occasion. So, you can expect to hear from me weekly re: my Pound By Pound efforts and monthly re: writing. Got it?

Good. 🙂

And hey, speaking of writing, the first installment of “The Write Stuff” hit Ms. In the Biz today! My first writing column for the site both talks about seeking mentors and introduces The Writer’s Room, a select group of professional TV writers I know who’ve been kind enough to share their experience with you once a month. I hope you’ll find my writing journey enlightening (and when you don’t, I hope that you’ll at least garner some wisdom from folks who actually know what they’re talking about!).

EXCERPT:

6)    BE THE KIND OF PERSON PEOPLE WANT TO HELP – In the entertainment industry, more than anywhere else, collaborations and successful partnerships often come about by chance, and they come about through relationships you nurture, sometimes over years. You never know when they’re going to happen, or when those relationships are going to “pay off.” So, don’t be the kind of person who’s only interested in the payoff. Be kind and respectful to everyone. Yes, everyone. Even the people you’re not too crazy about. Even the assistants and the receptionists. Even people who aren’t already Somebody. Because you just never know. Also, help others. Don’t expect to receive without giving. Don’t hoard all of your opportunities. If you hear about a cool writing group, or a job opportunity you know would be up someone’s alley, tell a writer friend about it. If you write for an outlet that can promote someone’s work, offer to interview them or to do an article about what they’re working on. Offer to be a reader of people’s work, and give them thoughtful, constructive criticism when you do. I mean, you should strive to be this kind of person anyway. You know, because it’s better to not be a douche than to be a douche. But also keep in mind that the best way to get what you want is to help others get what they want. Kindness begets kindness.

To read the full article, and to leave a comment, CLICK HERE!

** DON’T FORGET THE POUND BY POUND PLEDGE DRIVE – RUNNING APR. 5TH 2013-APR. 5TH 2014 **