About Colleen Quill

Elle, love, kisses and pop glitter make life worth living!

Free Falling into Exercise: Cyclesanity Style…Ramble

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A few weeks ago I was talking to my favorite spin teacher, Jillian Wright. It was her birthday weekend and she was considering challenging herself to go skydiving. It got me to thinking about how, as we age, we fall into ruts with things. It makes it easier to have a routine, but it also makes it boring and when that happens with exercise, it means our bodies plateau.

Jillian is a great motivator as a teacher. When we were discussing skydiving, I mentioned I had been bungy jumping in Australia when I was still a teenager. (Okay, sit down, I know you are in shock that I’m not still 17!) That rush of blood to the head and adrenalin can really shake up a system. Birthdays are a good stake in the ground to challenge the body to change up what my exercise routine is, and make sure to not be afraid to take risks. 

Part of the reason I took a job as Head of Music Video Programming at Yahoo! four months after moving to Brooklyn, which I fell in love with immediately, was challenging myself to take risks. Was I afraid? Didn’t I still have it in me to rise to the challenge? I was working at Vh1 at the time, for only a few months, did I really want to uproot or had I found my job for life? The one that I am happy and challenged in and passion about- that was a really tough decision. Initially I turned down the job at Yahoo! I loved my co-workers and my new job at Vh1. After a few months, Yahoo! poked me again and I had to face reality, I was denying myself growth by not taking a bigger risk. 

Jillian took that leap soaring through the air, strapped to a man with the parachute, without one of her own. When I watched the video of her jump it gave me goosebumps. In life, we need to shake off our daily routine, get out of the box and get that heart pumping. Earlier this year I added Zumba (aka Exhaustion to Beyonce!) to my workout routine. It can be hard as it is all about non-verbal cues. Once I let myself completely go and get into it, I have had a much more enjoyable time dancing and gotten a lot better at it. 

The body needs, *and I’m not endorsing skydiving for everyone, challenges. It’s great to workout consistently, but even doing that, can lead to a rut. We all need that ‘jerk’ when the parachute hits us, so our course alters slightly and adds a new dimension and challenge. That added challenge is why Cyclesanity spin programs change from week to week, why over a month there is a build-up and concentration on different aspects such as watts creating power, or how much distance your legs will take you. It’s totally amazing that Jillian inspires me inside and outside of the classroom. This was a great reminder to keep challenging myself, not wait for it to be an annual challenge, but take a look seasonally at what is happening and make goals for my body as well as professionally. Now it’s your turn to soar. 

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Summer Reads: August…Ramble

A few months back I received a Klout perk in the form of a novel. My apartment is basically a small library- whatever you read, I’ve got a book for you. One of the money saving tips I’ve picked up along the way is to read all the unread books you have in your apartment before you buy anymore. Of course, there’s also the actual public library (for now, they might close down the one near me but then I’ll go to another one.)

Picked up this book and now I’m having a week of ‘book hangovers':

HIGH:  THRILLER: I AM PILGRIM by Terry Hayes. Mr. Hayes is a journalist who moved to Australia and co-produced one of my favorite films of all time – Dead Calm. This is his first novel and wow, mind blown. It’s riveting. Sometimes I don’t read book jackets so there are no preconceived notions going into a book. I only knew it was a thriller going in and the twists and turns have been completely amazing. A former head of a deep undercover pre-9/11 team (think Scandal Papa Pope’s job) who investigated the spy community, is drawn back in to locate an elusive terrorist who wants to unleash biological warfare on the United States.

I AM PILGRAM

I AM PILGRAM

There are times in life when I’ve seen reports and thought ‘Why did you show the weak points in a public location so someone could blow it up?’ This book has a few of those moments and since I didn’t read the description I was confronted with 9/11 memories of my own (insert tears), and yet, this is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in the thriller genre. I used to review thrillers and had to stop because I was becoming afraid to leave my apartment! I could hear the ‘dunt dunt’ of Law & Order when turning the lock. Aiya, the hazards of a writer’s imagination. This book is good enough to make me turn Mac Culkin again, but no, I read it whenever I can. The other night I was leaving a party and this guy, who had been flirting with me asked “Wait, you’re going home now (it was 1 A.M.) to read?” I pulled out I AM PILGRIM, told him it was riveting and made my exit. Doesn’t every New Yorker have reading material on them for transit time? (Okay, Candy Crushers, try reading more than a few paragraphs once in a while.)

The point is, this book is incredible. I want to write this well, this intricate, weaving together various elements that surprise the reader and keep them on edge. If you know anyone who likes thrillers, get them this book! Four 1/2 of out of five stars (1/2 star taken off for scaring the crap out of me!)

EH: LIFE ADVISER: Stirring The Pot by Jenny McCarthy - this is her 8th book. I’m going to preface this by letting you know I’m not a parent, so your right to choose and her right to choose what to do about vaccinations for kids, is not my battle. One of my friends sent belligerent tweets after I posted a photo of myself with Jenny, who was bright and charming in person, as I had known her to be pre-parenthood. (Yes, I have worked in entertainment and met her back in the day.) I privately responded to her and understand where she is coming from, but I wish she had not lumped me in there like I was supporting Hilter in a public forum. Everyone is welcome to their beliefs. That’s not what this book addresses and at least Jenny takes a stand, unlike so many watered-down celebrities.

The outgoing, bubbly blonde bombshell proves she is still a ringleader who can hold her own with Howard Stern. Reading a Jenny McCarthy book feels like spending time with that one girlfriend who you always had an amazing night out with, followed by her holding your hair back and then made you eggs and bacon to cure the hangover in the morning. McCarthy explains overcoming her fear of public speaking, mastering motherhood or at least a few life hacks to doing the best you can and not beating yourself up about it and also comes strong with TMI.

While entertaining, about 3/4 of the way through it seemed to go off the rails and I couldn’t finish it. The subjects didn’t flow naturally and were too random for me. I didn’t see the point in learning about her practically debilitating monthly periods. It wasn’t endearing, it was like, oh shit, that sounds really awful, but what does it have to do with girl power? There are fun moments that made me giggle so if you need a good beach read that even you with the A.D.D. can handle, this one is for you. (2 stars)

3. YA/SCI-FI RED RISING by the handsome (okay, sorry but he really has great eyes and that’s worth noting and he has a soap opera worthy name!) Pierce Brown is the first in a trilogy.9780345539809_p0_v1_s114x166 It took a few chapters for me to get into this book, there’s a lot to set up and take in, i.e. similiar to The Hunger Games, instead of districts, humans are given status by color *okay, yes that happens in our society but this is the future so colors are Red for Miners, and Gold for the Elite Class.

According to YA novels, the future is very totalitarian and we’re heading for more overt (hello NSA and yeah, hope you love my tweets) government ruling. Yet, this novel, once engaged is hard to put down, extremely hard. The main character, Darrow is a member of the Red race (thus the title), who’s wife is executed by the government and thus, he is recruited into a rebel group aiming to take down the Gold group. You might be thinking, hey future + violence + last man standing = Lord of The Flies/The Hunger Games and you’d be right, but you haven’t read this book and it is really great. Brown has met his calling as a writer and weaves a tale that combines all these elements of survival into a heart pounding read.

P.S. the sequel, Golden Sun

is out in January.

 

Tears of A Clown…Ramble

Yesterday I was enjoying a Brooklyn rooftop view, a glass of rose in hand and the company of two sons of San Francisco while Coldplay played in the background. The news came in that Robin Williams had passed away and, being San Franciscans, they were deeply saddened by this news, as have all my friends from SF.

Normally writing about heavy subjects is something I try to avoid on my blog. A few years ago I wrote a piece that was taken as controversial, turned around on me who was, in that case, the victim of manipulation, and lead to a parting of the ways of me and a particular group of people. There was a protector who told me this person had sucked people’s friendships out of them like a hungry man chewing the last meat off of a steak bone, but they had bonded through this person’s ability to extract information and relay it.

I knew during that conversation my life was going to continue down a very dark path and my time in that group had a ticking time bomb attached to it. Now I work from home, I’m a freelancer and have slowly been in touch with members of that group. I realize I isolated myself without meaning to and had done nothing wrong. I created a new life outside of my former one, starting over after my father passed away a few years ago and surrounded myself with people who were positive, the ones who still reach out and like when I send them a card or a care package. This life leaves no one untouched. As a friend said on another rooftop, in a magnificent apartment with a spectacular view at the end of a fantastic party, no one has it all figured out, no one.

Robin Williams passing is not only proof that we all need a caring hand reaching out to us, but that life is a struggle no matter how much money you have, no matter how many people love you. Isolation of the mind is the worst isolation of all. Depression can hit people so if you know someone is having a hard time, maybe the event – being laid off, a person close to them died, they were diagnosed with an illness, someone broke their heart or they have money issues- didn’t happen in the past week or the past month, but reaching out, saying hello, showing you care about them and support them can change the course of a life.

I’m a social person. I like my alone time like any writer, but I also crave social interaction and make a point of seeing my friends. The past few days has been filled with laughter and friends I haven’t spent time with in a long while, from all different sections of my life and I’m so grateful for that. If you are the person that needs the hug, go get it. It’s close by.

Thank you Mr. Williams for inspiring us with laughter and with intensity. As much as I loved ‘Mork & Mindy’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’, there was also ‘Dead Poets’ Society’ and ‘Good Will Hunting’ and your smile, your talents will be greatly missed. My heart goes out to his loved ones and anyone who is suffering with depression. Don’t isolate yourself in crowd, seek the good will, it’s there I promise.

 

Bailando to Zumba…Ramble

I missed Zumba last Sunday and it threw off my week. I took up Zumba in January to shake up my exercise routine and now I schedule most activities around it. Yesterday I was able to dance once more to “Bailando” and damn, I feel so good! I went to the beach afterwards and now it’s like life is a holiday.

It’s never too early to dance:

Happy Monday!

Crush of the Week: Trent Reznor

I’ve been called ‘the teen queen’ for a long time. As a professional music programmer and interviewer of pop stars, I love the joy of pop music. Life is too short not to dance. My crush on Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, will then come as a surprise to some people.

I love to see live shows and have seen everyone from the popstars who give you an instant tooth ache they are so sweet and sugary, to the incredibly gifted YoYo Ma (I have a degree in classical music), and rock acts like Tool. I can appreciate the degree of talent and sheer performance skills in any performer, even if I’m in China and my mother is falling asleep on my shoulder while we’re in the first row at The Beijing Opera.

Friday night my friend Tina and I went to Jones Beach, now Nikon’s Jones Beach, a place I have been to many times over the course of my life as a Long Islander. (That’s Long, not Strong Island!) Soundgarden was the opener, Chris Cornell still sexy as ever, screaming rock songs, but the crowd, still a little distracted.

Then it was time, the stage was almost entirely empty. It looked like after a show takes place, being broken down, just a green screen and a lone microphone in the middle of it. Strutting out on to command the stage, one lone man dressed entirely in black with shitkicker boots on, grabbing hold on the mic, commanding attention. A keyboard appeared, music bounced through the night air while the song built and other musicians joined Trent, building. Throughout the next several songs the set took hold, changing and morphing with lighting and staging throughout the performance, Trent growing more magnetic with each song.

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The whole vision was incredible, riveting, rendering me speechless. Thank you NIN, thank you Trent, thank you Tina for taking me. If you get a chance to see NIN live go, even if you think it’s not your taste, go, you know more songs than you think and the sheer artistry of the entire night is like being part of an art installation.

Book Review: Melt…Ramble

Melt by Selene Castrovilla (Release Date: November 6, 2014)

I’ll stop the world and melt with you. I’m glad that song is referenced in this brutally violent tale of love and abuse. Melt reminds me more of Romeo & Juliet, than The Wizard of Oz, which is meant to be the backdrop to the story. Perhaps, that is because the author’s favorite writer is Shakespeare. The family strife, the forbidden love, the two souls loving each other so much they hurt and nag the other person to protect them from pain, and the self-doubt of that fragile love is definitely akin to Shakespeare’s tale. It’s a story I’ve never liked very much, even as a hormonal teenager. Replace the deaths in that story with violent abuse in this one.

This was an extremely hard book to read, tales of abuse are not what make it to my summer must reads, but I was given an ARC and found it a fast read. Perhaps, it’s the way the prose are used to express the Joey, the main character’s point of view, that make the book both intriguing and disturbing. He’s a wrong-side-of-the-tracks kid, who’s family has been held hostage his whole life by a cop, his father.

Dorothy, named after Dorothy Parker, is the strong, but also self-righteous main female character, who holds herself above the new friend, Amy, she has made, because she grew up in Manhattan so she will do whatever she wants in her new home in the suburbs. She wants Joey, allows her hormones reject any of the obvious warnings of his darkness, his own violent tendencies. She wants to save him but she comes off as being a nag to me. She gives Joey a copy of Catcher and The Rye for his birthday because Holden Caulfield reminds her of him. Aside from the economic differences between Joey Riley and Holden, it’s a huge insult. I would never give that book to someone I was in love with – we all know Holden is a broken mess.

Joey, of course, hates the book but reads it because she gave it to him.

Overall I found this book used the poetry device well, but it drove me crazy the amount of times the word “melt” was used. We get the point. Would I have picked this book up on my own? No. Did I find it interesting? Yes. It’s a dark tale. I liked the Joey and dated a guy like him. When guys tell you they are bad news and they are not going to change, they usually don’t, which is why I found Dorothy’s nagging him after he was upfront with her so annoying. The last guy I dated manhandled me once, we’re done. He was a fireman with more than a foot taller, with 50 pounds on me. It’s not okay to grab a woman. That’s real life, in this fictional tale, based on real life, Dorothy still pines for Joey. Naturally she would, he was her first love, but she doesn’t learn, she inserts herself again into harm’s way for a front row seat to more violence.

Dorothy likes to think she knows more than other people at sixteen, more than her parents, which is typical, but the first serving she gets of violence shatters her. Is this book advocating not giving up on someone? Saving someone who doesn’t want to be saved? There can be no positive ending to this tale in life or in fiction. No one is innocent, but inviting violence into your world because your hormones are on fire is avoidable and irresponsible for your own safety.

Am I happy to move on to Daniel Levine’s adult fiction novel Hyde next? Absolutely. Take me to Ole London Town to hear another kind of monster’s tale.

Summer Reads For Everyone…Ramble

I read. A lot. As a writer you there’s a saying ‘you can only write as well as the best book you’ve read’. I’ll read any topic matter as long as the story interests me. Here are my suggestions for summer reading:

FOR HIPSTERS/INDIE MUSIC LOVERS (redundant) and LITERARY LOVERS:

Wonderland by Stacy D’Erasmo – a densely literary ode to the life on a rock tour, D’Erasmo’s vivid descriptions of creating music, the intricate characters who feed off the industry and the struggle for the main character to make a comeback as an artist, is inspirational. I’ve personally written a chick lit (oh I can feel the daggers of your judgement publishing industry) manuscript (I have several interested parties in publishing, not everyone wants or rejects the same thing), about a rock star manager, and found this a realistic portrayal of how an artist’s brain works. Sex is something that comes naturally, love is always complicated and not enough. Living up to her famous father’s artistic imprint, the main character Anna is in her 40’s, taking one last shot for breaking through the indie scene into the mainstream. Anna reminds me of a red headed version of Liz Phair who’s “Exile in Guyville” was well-received and commercial pop was widely rejected. If you like music and don’t want to read another biography, this is really amazing and well written.

FOR HISTORICAL ROMANCE READERS & THOSE WHO LOVE GREAT BANTER:

Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloise James is charming. The seventh in her Desperate Duchesses series, (they stand alone), the extraordinary Ms. James builds tension between the two main characters to the point of extreme delight. Thorn is a ‘bastard’ and Lady Xenobia, left an orphan of a free-spirited Marquis. Forced by her circumstances to raise her own dowry, Lady X became an interior decorator. She decides it is time to retire and marry, but accepts her final job to transform Thorn’s new estate, as well as him, into the ideal English Gentleman’s prize in order to win approval for marriage to the sweet, dimwit, Lala. The banter between Thorn and Lady X will have you laughing out loud. It’s like indulging in your favorite dessert and finding out the ingredients are more beneficial to your body than vegetables (sign me up for that).

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO ‘LEAN IN’ WITH A SPOON FULL OF SPICE

#GIRLBOSS by  Sophia Amoruso is her memoir of her rise from a shoplifting dumpster diver to heading up a multi-million dollar fashion company, Nasty Gal. She keeps it real, and you won’t be able to stop laughing. While other career books tend to be dry, Amoruso shows off real-world tips that will help you achieve becoming your own GIRL BOSS!

More tude than Iggy