Ruckus Reader is here!

Parents, got an iPad or iPhone? Do your kids hijack your electronics to use apps? In search of apps perfect for your little readers? Look no further than the Ruckus Reader.

Specially made for kids, Ruckus Media offers a variety of apps for young readers through 8 years old.Very user friendly, kids can choose to have the story told to them or read it out loud. Cool graphics, great music and classic stories come to life with the Ruckus Reader. The kids can use the apps over and over again for reading fun!

 

And that’s not all. Parents, the Ruckus Reader also “gives parents feedback on how their kids are doing and tips on how to help.” It reinforces national educational standards for preschooler through second grade. The Ruckus Reader has been given thumbs up from Daily Candy, Parents.com, Five Minutes for Mom and Mediabistro. To learn more, check out Ruckus Reader today!

Get furry with Venus in Fur

I had the chance to check out Venus in Fur at the Lyceum Theater with a pal. Great venue; even better show. I had no idea what to expect because the title didn’t give anything away. I had no idea about the context of the play until after it started.

I was blown away. It was SO intense. After all, a play about the dynamics between men and women will do that. As I watched, I noted the connection between the actors. Kinky was the word of the day.

Venus in Fur had me questioning – who is in charge in a relationship? Is it the dominating person or the one who is subservient? Is love only about kindness and compassion? Or is there room for pure fire and passion? I can definitely say that this show left me wanting more. It had a great pace and timing. This is one show for the brave (and not so brave) to check out.

Venus in Fur runs at the Lyceum Theater through June 17, 2012. Be sure to check it out. It makes for great discussion with a friend or spice up your love life.

This post has a compensation Level of 0. Read Heiddi’s Full Disclosure.

Hurt so Good by “The Hurt Village”

On February 12th, I had the chance to see The Hurt Village at the Signature Theater through Playtime NYC. While my son had a blast, I was blown away by the raw power of this show. It was funny, poignant and emotional.

The Hurt Village takes place in the South, so while I couldn’t relate to some of the issues presented, I could relate to a few things – being a single mother and growing up in a low-income, inner city environment. My absolute favorite character was Big Mama who brought me to tears and to my knees with her performance. Tonya Pinkins was absolutely amazing in showing her strength and vulnerability as a working single mother just trying to stay afloat in the crumbling village around her. I cried because I knew where she was coming from not only as a child raised in this environment, but as a mother trying to show my child that the world is bigger than what we see everyday.

But, I don’t want to give it all away. You HAVE to see The Hurt Village. The show’s run had been extended through March 25th. So get your tickets and have the experience of a lifetime!

This post has a compensation of Level 1. See the Full Disclosure page for more details.

Taking a leap on Leap Year Day 2012

I often don’t write about myself on the blog, but I wanted to do it for today (since it only comes around every four years). I’ve decided to take a leap of faith in myself and try new things this year.

My leap began in January after I left a position that wasn’t a good fit for me. I then chopped off my hair (after five years of growing it out), smoked my first cigar (very enjoyable – guys I see why you do it now!) and decided to stay home for awhile to find the job that is the right fit for me.

My work career spans nearly two decades (I’ve worked since I was 16). I started out as a temp working in corporate environments for a couple of years and landing a full-time permanent position. I worked there for seven years and hated every minute of it. It wasn’t for me. I benefited greatly from the job as I became a union member and received tuition reimbursement after going back to college to finish my undergrad degree. I also have great memories of the people there. I did love the people. 🙂

From there I moved on to a non-profit position at a foster care agency and earned my graduate degree along with licensure as a mental health counselor. My ultimate goal (and dream job) is to work at an in-patient psychiatric unit with kids and teens. I’m absolutely fascinated by why people do the things that they do and how mental illness affects them.

My hope is to get a hospital position working with people. I also want to break into magazines while continuing to blog. My biggest hope is to help others through my clinical work and my writing while remembering to have faith in myself (which is very hard for me).

So here’s to my leap of faith. Are you taking a leap?

Stepping out of my comfort zone

This past weekend, I attended an exhibit for my friend’s son, who is a photographer. I was happily surprised when a picture of my living room was there and told him so. He apologized and I told him how honored I was to have my living room in his photo exhibit.

As each photographer presented, I noted that some were less confident than others in talking about their work. Some of the students were nervous, fidgety and it was clear that speaking was not their forte. Enter me with my bright idea.

I quickly jotted down the idea to talk to one of the staff members at the program about working with the students on their speaking and presentation skills. Then I picked up a course calender to quickly scan for classes on speaking and presentation. I didn’t find any there.

Surprised at myself, I waited (a bit nervously) patiently until the end of the exhibit to speak to a staff member who enjoyed my comments on the students’ work. (The audience was invited to share comments on the pictures exhibited.) She asked me how I was connected to my friend’s son and when I replied, I added that young people need support from adults who care about them.

It was here that I launched my pitch to work with the teens on speaking and presentation. I asked if there was any thought given on working with the teens on presenting their work and added that I didn’t find anything on that in the course schedule. She stated that the students are busy for the ten weeks of class and don’t get the chance to work on it whereas students in the year-long program had presentation lessons scheduled in. The staff member then stated that it’s definitely a need that someone could fill. So, I presented her with my handy, dandy business card (since I keep them with me at all times). To which she replied that she would pass it on to the program manageer.

Yes, I was scared, but I was also really excited about my idea. My goal in life is to make a difference. Whether it’s with my writing or counseling skills doesn’t really matter as long as I can help people be better for themselves. I’ll keep you posted! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Catching up with myself

This week brought me one major accomplishment – passing my licensing exam. I rarely share it here, but one career goal is to be a licensed professional in my field.  No more waiting for the exam date, no more stressing out over what I know or don’t know and no more darn studying.

I’d been studying for seven months now and felt stuck in other aspects of my life because I was waiting to pass this one exam. I stuck with it because I knew that gaining my licensure would open many doors.  I’m in shock right now that something I set out to do six years ago has finally come to pass.

I realized that this morning as I shared the news with a friend. Six years from the time I started grad school until now. The first thing I wanted to do was sleep because I hadn’t slept well for several nights prior to the exam. To suddenly have the weight of this lifted from my shoulders and see this huge goal achieved has really caused me to stop and reflect on what I want to do next.

Of course, the next step is to find a new dayjob with my shiny, new license (ie better pay and better hours). Then I started thinking of what else I wanted to accomplish because I really can do anything I put my mind to.  So, I thought about my writing.

I’ve felt stunted in the writing process simply because it wasn’t my central focus for the last several months. I still wrote, but not in a planful way because I didn’t make the time for it. My time was for studying and building up my self-confidence for the exam.

I’ve now been doing research on breaking into magazines (yet again), but with small goals in mind. I’m starting with fillers just to get my feet wet. I’m also doing research on effective blogging so that I can grow The Freshman Writer blog as well as to market myself better as a blogger in general.

I can see that my writing talent now is in blogging. Since I know I can blog, why not put my energy into it? Other ways I’m catching up with myself is to focus on things that I love doing – writing, reading and having time to myself. I really missed just being me.

Superpowers

Yesterday morning, 1010 WINS announced that Marist College released the results of a poll of 1000 participants asked what superpower they would choose from a list of five. The five superpowers were: time travel, mind reading, flying like Superman, invisibility and teleporting.

As I was listening to this report, I thought about several things. What superpower would I choose? Why does this poll even matter? And how cool it was to think about something other than the craziness of congressman’s resigning, people killing each other, and the protests in Egypt.

I also thought about all the shows I watched as a kid. Wonder Woman with her golden whip, He-man with his sword and other superheros of my youth. As a single mom though, I’d probably choose the ability to teleport.

When I thought of flying like Superman, all I could think about was how cold it would be to fly in this weather. And mind-reading, I wouldn’t want to know what people REALLY thought of me. As for in invisibility, it rates the same as mind-reading. The only difference is that people can’t see you while they’re talking about you. And time-travel doesn’t appeal either as it would change history or simply confuse me.

So teleporting it is. To shut my eyes and travel with the speed of thought. Get kiddo to school on time, travel quickly during my day job or run away to Fiji when I want to escape? Sounds pretty good in my book!

Have a great day!

Snirt, snow & winter evermore

Since New Year’s Day, New York City has had only four days with alternate meter rules allowed. Why? Because of the snow, ice and, according to Kelly Ripa –  snirt (dirty snow) all around with Mother Nature showing no signs of slowing down.

Mother Nature seems to think that we New Yorkers can tolerate more snowstorms in the history of bad weather. We’ve been lucky though, two days so far (including today) has found Mother Nature hot-flashing us to a temperature of 42 degrees.

But, that will soon be over as we’ll be hit with rain and frigid temperatures again.

Thanks a lot Mother Nature. PS – you can take back all the snirt you’ve given us since December. I don’t want to climb over dirty, garbage-filled snow anymore.

PPS – Please stop blasting us with snow long enough to get the garbage collection schedule back on track. Thank you ever so much!

 

Ch-Ch-Changes & hot topics!

Hello all. I’ve decided recently to be more proactive here on my blog by expanding my subject range and writing about hot topics in my life.

As I have more time on my hands lately, I’ve chosen to keep busy by writing regularly here or at the very least once a week or so.

That being said, thanks so much for keeping up with me as I’ve struggled for the last several months with writer’s block. My hope with changing the mood here is to keep my writing fresh with news of the day, week or simply anything that I’m thinking about. Feel free to come by to visit, comment, or suggest topic ideas. I hope you like what you read here and keep sticking by me.

Thanks!

Chugging Along

Well, October was pretty good for me. Got a new blogging job while maintaining the one I already have, plus my dayjob and kiddo. I’m pretty proud of myself. The new blogging gig is a parenting site and right up my alley.

I’m blogging more and more now and it’s starting to feel like this is my niche. Blogging is a great avenue for me as a writer. Not only do I keep the writing short, but my work is usually up in a few days, which is great for me because I like instant gratification. lol

My goals are to keep blogging/writing regularly as well as to plan out my editorial calendar for the month so that I can keep up. I felt a bit stuck today and I don’t like the feeling.

Also, it’s National Novel Writing Month. I chose not to participate this year since it was a disaster for me last year. My dayjob craziness took over to the point that I stopped writing for months. So, I’m cheering on my writer pals taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge this year! Way to go peeps! Freshman Writers can read about it here.

Other than my writing goals, I also have a studying goal. I’m studying to pass the exam to be a licensed mental health counselor. Since I’m doing this, I really need to be on top of my writing. That’s all folks!