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Monday
Dec152014

Monday Movie Meme – Sidewalk Sales

The theme for this week’s Monday Movie Meme is dedicated to men and women who sell goods on the street…like the guy who operates the fruit and vegetable stand where I buy oranges among other food; members of the Islamic community who market their body oils to commuters, and the people hustling newspapers or bottled water to drivers at highway intersections: Sidewalk Sales.

Share on your blog or in the comments section, movies featuring street vendors. The characters do not necessarily have to be setup in one spot on the sidewalk, per se. They just have to be promoting or selling some type of merchandise to the public – either on the side of the road or in the middle of the street or wherever they find themselves. If the salesman in the film you’re considering is mobile, that works for me.

Here are my selections for this week’s Sidewalk Sales theme.

Bookwars

New York City booksellers face challenges to their quality of life when Mayor Giuliani and the NYPD try to shut them down, in this documentary directed by Jason Rosette. Although I watched this movie only once, it was the first film that came to my mind because “Bookwars” highlights important issues such as the violation of people’s First Amendment Rights by the very people who are supposed to be protecting and enforcing those rights.

Gangstresses

Drug dealers, porn stars and women in the music business discuss survival on the streets, in this documentary directed by Harry Davis. I watched this movie when it was on VHS, back around the time when Tower Records stores were hot. Do hookers count as street vendors? At least, that’s the thought I was going with when I picked Davis’ film, about women trying to hustle their way out of poverty by any means necessary, for this week’s Monday Movie Meme. There are several different stories and lives depicted in the movie, including that of a few women working in the oldest profession. So, that counts toward sidewalk sales, right? Maybe?

Baby Boy

A guy who lives at home with his mother, starts selling women’s clothes door-to-door, in this comedy drama directed by John Singleton. It’s been so long since I watched “Baby Boy” and although it isn’t a film that I particularly care for, it did introduce me to Taraji P. Henson, which was cool.

Breathless

An aspiring journalist sells newspapers on the street while dating a thief who is wanted for murder, in this classic romantic drama directed Jean-Luc Goddard.

Street Paper

Writers, publishers and vendors discuss how their connection with the nation’s best-selling homeless newspaper has provided a chance for them to get back on their feet, in this documentary directed by Chris Roberts.

What movies featuring street vendors would YOU add to this list?

Wednesday
Dec102014

My Birthday Wish - A Red December at Soul Fixins in NYC

“We are all manufacturers. Making good, making trouble, or making excuses.” – H. V. Adolt

Is it just me or do birthday wish lists get more practical as we get older? I think children tend to ask for two types of gifts – things they think they want and things they need but can’t buy because they are too young to drive a car, earn income and/or actually make purchases at some stores. More often than not, the items a child requests will be something fun. On the other hand, adults tend to request gifts that might not have bells and whistles; everyday things we could easily get ourselves.

Just the other day, when my mom asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said “ink.” Not tickets to an NBA game. Not a Spa manicure. Not even a birthday cake (I’m actually doing donuts this year in lieu of cake. That’s another story). Ink for my printer would do just fine since I keep running to the library, office supply store and nearby University every time I need to print documents. At 11-45 cents per page, that isn’t much but adds up eventually. Alternatively, I’d settle for a colander to wash my salads and pastas, light bulbs, a new trash can, or a manual can opener since the one I had broke a few months ago.

One of my favorite childhood photos. I don't know how old I was here tho.Although I’m aware that I can get these things myself – I’ve forgotten to pick them up when I’m out and about, on more occasions than I dare to count. Other times, I just don’t have the extra $7 or however much it costs to get these things when it comes down to choosing between household items and food, transportation or heat. Oh the joys of being a grown up, right?!

There still is an upside to having a practical wish list – even when it doesn’t sound very fun, especially if you’re like me and rarely know what to say when someone asks you what you want for your birthday. It’s much easier to just name something that’s already on your neglected shopping list of random items that can be had at the local grocery, pharmacy or home improvement store.

When all is said and done, I could still wait another month or so for printer ink but our friends, family, neighbors and servicemen in the U.S. Military who lose nearly everything they have to home fires shouldn’t be left waiting for shelter, warm blankets, food or toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, hair combs and other necessities to help them rebuild after a disaster. These things are provided immediately, thanks to the emergency relief efforts of the Red Cross. That is why my ULTIMATE wish for my birthday is to unite a minimum of one dozen people who will buy raffle tickets between now and my birthday celebration at Soul Fixins restaurant in New York City this Friday, December 12th, for a chance to win one of five DVD movie gift baskets.

As a winter baby who grew into an adult wanting simple gifts in life, I am pledging my birthday to the American Red Cross in a weeklong celebration that lands at Soul Fixins, welcoming those who care about fire safety to join me for a day of movie gift set raffles, southern cuisine and music, to save lives.

How do YOU usually celebrate your birthday?

Are there any fun or interesting facts about YOUR birthday?

*The Monday Movie Meme will return next week. 

Sunday
Nov302014

4 Types of Handmade Soap in the Movie Themed Gift Baskets I’m Raffling for the Red Cross

Proceeds from my raffle featuring the "Girl’s Night Movie Gift Bag" benefit the disaster relief efforts of the American Red Cross.The cast and crew members who worked on the short military homecoming drama “Abyss: The Greatest Proposal Ever” used a lot of soap while filming this movie.

At various points during the production, you could’ve found any one of us lathering up to remove makeup, germs and blood from our skin before shooting the next scene or wrapping for the shoot.

Given that this was just another day at the office per se, we didn’t think twice about using a regular ol’ drugstore brand. Or at the very least, I didn’t. My approach to choosing soap, however, took a different route when the time for making DVD gift baskets for my dinner-and-a-movie style Red Cross fundraiser came around.

I wanted to create a movie night experience that allows the winning recipients to entertain and pamper themselves this holiday season. Nearly all of these DVD gift sets include one bar of handmade soap that is produced in the USA. The bars are available at Soap Hope, a Dallas, Texas-based company that carries natural, wholesome and eco-friendly body care and household products. I buy from this store because I like their practice of doing business in a way that gives back to communities near and far.

According to Soap Hope, 100% of profits they make from every purchase are invested into microloans that empower women around the world to uplift communities from poverty. The recipients of these microloans return the funds interest-free within one year after obtaining the skills and resources they need to become self-sufficient. It is a business built on the idea that when you shop at Soap Hope, you change the world.

A family of four is in the care of the Red Cross following a devastating fire. / via @telesaraKnowing that my purchase helps a business make it possible for women to end poverty, in communities where sustainable solutions for capital and other basic resources are needed most, makes it all the more worthwhile.

It’s like putting the icing on the cake because this very purchase also helps me give back to the Red Cross so they can continue meeting the immediate needs of men, women and children who are rebuilding their lives after losing their shelter and belongings to home fires. In the end, those who win the gift baskets get to reap the benefits of bathing with organic bath and body products containing ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil, goat’s milk and coconut oil. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, all for the goal of trying to make the world a better, safer and more resilient place.

The LEAP Organics Lemongrass, Orange and Lime soap bar is available at www.soaphope.comCreated around themes involving the special limited edition DVD of my short film about a U.S. Army Sergeant whose homecoming plans are, the Movie Lover’s Emergency Go Bag includes one bar of French Green clay soap; The U.S. Army “Night at the Movies” Care Package comes with a Lavender, Clove and Orange soap  bar while The Girl’s Night Movie Gift Bag has one Confetti Zum Bar goat’s milk soap.

Last but not least, the Guy’s Movie Night Gift Bag sports a bar soap infused with Lemongrass, Orange and Lime – made by LEAP Organics in Boston, Massachusetts.

I’m convinced it would be hard to find a movie goer who doesn’t recognize the value that soap has in our daily lives.

Whether it comes in liquid, bar, foam, power or some other form, soap washes the remnants of butter popcorn off your fingers. This cleansing item helps us get ready for a night out (or in) at the movies. While we can all agree that soap is a necessity, all soaps are not created equal. There is a time to use standard soap when performing everyday tasks, and then there’s a time to break out the good stuff on special occasions. I wish all who are supporting my film and Red Cross fundraiser the very best of luck in the movie gift set raffle because this is, indeed, one of those occasions.

What do YOU do with your soap scraps? Do you use them until there's nothing left or Do you designate them for other purposes (room freshener, etc.) or Do you just discard them?