Freelance

Writing

Movoto Real Estate

The 10 Best Chicago Suburbs for Singles

The 10 Most Boring Places in Florida

Thirty Things Austinites Love

Business2Community

The Real Cost of Barbie’s Apartment in America’s Biggest Cities

The Burrow from Harry Potter For Sale

Princess Peach’s Castle for Sale

Elephant Journal

An Open Letter to Alcohol

Men, Here’s Where the Woman of Your Dreams is Hiding

How to Support Someone With An Eating Disorder (Instead of Making it Worse)

NeoMam Studios

The Third-Most Popular Language In Every Country

How Six Disney Villains Would Decorate Their Homes in 2019

Celebrity Alma Maters 

Beyond Chron

Talking Spirituality: Meditation and Addiction

Talking Spirituality: Just Vibes, Man

Talking Spirituality: Just a Phone Call Away

Editing

The Smell of Breath, a Novel Conor McMillen

Happy in the Sun, Happy in the Rain Conor McMillen

Conflict = Energy Jason Digges

Hasidic Jew Night at the Roller Rink Keith Ruckus

Castles in Spain Estefanía Lee

Interviews

She, My Friend, and I A Little Help From My Friends

Just Call Me IS with Natalie Grigson Psychedelic Parenting Podcast

Call Me Perfect with Natalie Grigson Psychedelic Parenting Podcast

 

 

Writing

Movoto Real Estate 

The 10 Best Chicago Suburbs for Singles

The Chicago area is one of the best places in the U.S., not only to grow up, but to raise your family, or even meet someone, fall in love, get married…  But today, we’re scrapping all that and looking at the best Chicago suburbs for singles. We came up with this list by looking at all of the largest places near Chicago in terms of the percentage of unmarried residents, the population gap between males and females, singles amenities, and the cost of living.

The 10 Most Boring Places in Florida

Ah, Florida: Land of white sandy beaches, Miami, and of course, the most magical place on Earth! (Disney World; not Tallahassee). From this perspective, Florida sounds downright exciting. Of course, we know better. We know that there’s a whole lot more to the state—which includes retirement communities, suburbs, and certainly doesn’t look like Miami Beach. In short, there’s a lot of boring going on here. But which of the sleepy places in Florida are the most slow-paced, the most elderly, and the downright most boring? That honor goes to Poinciana. Of course, as you probably guessed, there are plenty of other boring places in the state, but for starters, here are the top 10…

Thirty Things Austinites Love

Complaining About How Hot it is in the Summers…

“It was seriously like a hundred and thirty degrees last August. I swear!”
Really? Was it really just four degrees shy of the hottest temperature on record in the United States, ever? As much as Austinites love to complain about the summers, though; we’ll miss them come winter.

Complaining About How Unusual Cold it Was in the Winter…

Austin is generally pretty mild in the winters—and by mild, I mean 80 degrees one day and 30 degrees the next. This past winter, though, has been unusually, well, wintry, causing icey roads and dangerous driving conditions. And no, it’s not that we FLIP OUT over a little freeze here and there; it’s just that the city itself isn’t designed to deal with it. So, we complain. Because it’s fun.

Business2Community

The Real Cost of Barbie’s Apartment in America’s Biggest Cities

The Barbie we know and love today has come a long way from her more modest (and more brunette) roots.

Sure, it seems Barbie may have had some reconstructive surgery since her introduction in 1959, and yes, she may have spent a few too many hours in the tanning salon, but here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we aren’t concerned with such things.

We’re more concerned with Barbie’s house.

Since 1959, the “Barbie Dream House” has undergone some major renovations—even more so than Barbie’s face. In fact, the pink mansion that little girls and curious boys know as Barbie’s home today started out as something very different, and something that most of us can relate to: a studio apartment.

That’s right, Barbie, who has been a teacher, a nurse, a cowgirl, and has gone into outer space for Pete’s sake, started out in a studio apartment no bigger than about 425 square feet. The poor girl didn’t even have a kitchen.

Since some of us live in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.—San Francisco—we got to wondering just how much would it cost to rent this little studio in the City by the Bay. (Or, for that matter, in the 10 largest cities in the country.)

As it turns out, it’s a bit more than the original apartment price of $20.99 at the local toy store.

The Burrow from Harry Potter For Sale

I have read each Harry Potter book at least four times. I own an autographed copy of the “Half Blood Prince”. My best friend and I are getting tattoos of the Hallows. If I get married, the Weird Sisters will play at my wedding. Albus Dumbledore is my hero.

I’m not just telling you these things so that you’ll know how much cooler I am than you; I’m telling you so that we can all agree on something: I am kind of a fan.

So when one of the Movoto Real Estate crew recently took a poll on Facebook, “Which would you rather see the value of: The Weasley house or the Order of the Phoenix house?” I (politely) informed them it is called The Burrow, thank you, and equally kindly told him that I’d be taking it from here.

Princess Peach’s Castle for Sale

Dear Mario: Please come to the castle. I’ve baked a cake for you.
Yours truly,

Princess Toadstool, Peach.

And so begins the adventure that is “Super Mario 64”. But as any good Nintendo Nerd knows, Mario’s trip to the castle isn’t exactly “peachy” from thereon. When he arrives at Peach’s palace, he learns from a tearful Toad that Peach has been captured by Bowser and that the castle has been taken over by his terrifying minions! (And they are terrifying—in one case Mario must face a giant penguin and even a small bunny named MIPS.)

While this news was all very disturbing the first time I played the game, I didn’t take Toad’s advice and visit that first painting to get the power stars. No, I took my time and decided to take a look around the castle. After all, nobody was around—it was kind of like snooping through someone’s refrigerator when you’re at their house alone. What—no one else does that?

Anyway, in my tour of the grounds I found that Peach’s castle was not only pretty plush, but also huge. It’s situated on a vast field, surrounded by rolling hills, a waterfall, a moat—oh, and it comes complete with several painting portals leading to other worlds.

This got me wondering, just how much did Peach pay for this pricey pad?

The answer is enough to make you lose your red cap: $950,972,940—almost a billion dollars. And that doesn’t even include the moat, the land, or the paintings.

Read on to find out how I came up with this bomb-omb of a number.

Let’s-a go!

Elephant Journal

An Open Letter to Alcohol 

Dear Alcohol,

F*ck you.

Your sinuous, slippery fingers have, once again, sunk their way into my life, and I have had just about enough of that for a lifetime—thank you very much.

It hasn’t always been so bad between me and you. When I was a kid, I was curious about you. I wanted to hang out with you—to be seen with you. But then as a teenager—when one drink started turning into five and fun nights out were more often nights lost to blackness—well, that’s when I started to see the truth.

You’re a bad partner. So we broke up…

Men, Here’s Where the Woman of Your Dreams is Hiding

… The perfect woman is beautiful. She is thin, almost breakable, but also strong. She is feminine and delicate, yet empowered. She is present, mindful, and deep. She is funny, smart, and witty. She is monogamous and polyamorous. She is tall, yet short. She is black and white. She goes to sacred temples for meditation and orgies on the weekends.

She knows her man more completely than he could ever know himself. She has no boundaries or annoying expectations for him to change, or look within, or grow. She loves and accepts every tiny thing about him, especially those things he struggles with most. She never has meltdowns, bad days, or cellulite. She is his mother, his lover, his best friend, and his therapist.

She is also a complete and utter fabrication.

I have seen relationships crumble because of this woman. This ideal and impossible being swoops in and steals our men from us, and then inevitably leaves them wandering, confused…and still searching…

How to Support Someone With An Eating Disorder (Instead of Making it Worse)

I had an eating disorder growing up; these days you’d say I’m “in recovery.”

It feels important for me to start there; consider that my diploma on the wall: Natalie Grigson, Anorexia and Bulimia Survivor, 2000 to 2013.

It’s my way of telling you: I know how it is.

I know what feels triggering to hear from friends or family, what well-intended things can potentially send someone running back to the scale or those delicious white chocolate Oreos. So today, I want to share with you—from an insider’s perspective—what to do (and not do) if someone you love has an eating disorder… 

NeoMam Studios

When we set out to create this post, we knew we wanted to tell a story about language. After all, the language spoken in a country tells us a lot about its history, culture, and relationships with others. So, we began to gather data. Using the CIA World Factbook and Ethnologue, we looked at the most commonly spoken languages in each country of the world. But we didn’t stop there. We also dug up the second- and third-most popular languages in each country – and that’s where things got interesting.

By looking, not at the most popular languages, but at the third-most popular languages, we began to see a story emerge – a story of diversity, history, and deep roots. And that’s the story we wanted to tell…

How Six Disney Villains Would Decorate Their Homes in 2019 (copy)

Years after a movie’s release, children (and let’s not lie: adults, too) will still mindlessly hum their favorite protagonist’s songs or dress up as them for Halloween. There’s even a sweeping trend looking at what real-life Disney princesses would look like, wear, or do for a living in the modern world.

But, what about those characters who aren’t the favorites? The Ursualas, the Jafars, the Maleficents? What would they look like in the modern world? What would they do? Wear? And more importantly- How would they decorate their homes?

That’s precisely what we wanted to know, so we set out to find out. We re-watched six of our favorite Disney movies (getting all of those songs stuck in our heads again) and scoured the screen for hints at these villain’s decorating style. Then, we took what we learned about these dark Disney characters and applied it to the aesthetics of 2019…

Celebrity Alma Maters (research)

Being famous is an aspiration for many, but how do you become a celebrity? Is it a case of natural-born talent or is education also a factor?

We delved deep into the educational background of 125 celebrities to find out where each of them was educated, what they studied and whether or not they dropped out to pursue their current career…

Beyond Chron

Talking Spirituality: Meditation and Addiction

Hi, my name is Natalie and I…

I paused, not quite sure what to say.

…and I am just here.

Hi, Natalie, the group said, and moved on to the next person.

I suppose the folks in an AA or NA meeting have seen stranger things than somebody not sure how to introduce herself. I settled back against the wall on my pillow and felt my heart slow, just barely.

You see this was not your standard AA meeting. This meeting was called “Meditation and Recovery” and was precisely what it sounds like. We began with introductions; then the evening’s group leader rang a bell to signal silence. For fifteen minutes the only sounds in the room were those of fabrics moving against each other as people shifted around on their pillows, the occasional clearing of someone’s throat, and the birds that were singing outside.

For some reason I’d felt nervous coming in. Would they know I didn’t belong? Should I even be here? But no, this was silly. And during the meditation that sense of oneness reassured me. Everyone in that room was the exact same…

Talking Spirituality: Just Vibes, Man

Last Sunday I decided to go see a psychic for the first time. No, I didn’t lose a bet; and no, I’m not having serious doubts about some big future decision. Really, I just wanted to see what it was like. Now Julie the Psychic actually pegged herself as Julie the “Intuitive.” I didn’t know what this meant, and when I asked her she gave me a very long and almost poetic answer about the energies of people, the universe, and our connectedness. How we’re all just small, intertwined threads of something much larger that we can’t even grasp! But that still didn’t answer my question about the word choice.

“I’m a psychic,” she finally said grudgingly. And so I felt a little bit more comfortable since I thought I knew what I was getting into. I mean, I’ve seen movies—I know about the Crystal Ball and the eyes darting around behind closed lids like the medium is dreaming.

But when Julie guided me over to the table—not behind velvet curtains, mind you, but simply her kitchen table boasting a bowl of fruit and some old mail—I was a bit disappointed. There was no crystal ball. There was no burning incense or sage…

Talking Spirituality: Just a Phone Call Away

To an outsider, I imagine that the past year or so of my life might look rather like what would happen if an adventure book met up with a spirituality book in the self-help section, and then they decided to hop on a roller coaster.

It’s been an interesting ride.

I’ll be honest with you, reader. I may have lost some pages on the way, my spine may be a bit battered, I—okay, I don’t think I can continue with this book metaphor, but it was fun while it lasted. The thing is, this past year has been filled with change for me—change within my family, my career, my relationships, where I live, what I believe, and ultimately who I am as a person.

But through every up and down and somewhere in between, the right people and the right circumstances have been here to guide me though—from friends and family members to psychics and healers. I’m not going to lie to you, reader; I’ve experienced some strange things.

And last week, perhaps one of the strangest…

 

Editing

The Smell of Breath, a Novel Conor McMillen

Written as a long letter to his ex-wife, this novel is a poetic journey of raw emotion with simple and yet profound truths. It is a complex and mysterious interweaving of first person, third person, conversations and poems, that criss-cross time and space. This book, while focused on what it looks like to be a man lost in a great transition, transcends manhood and expresses what it is to be human on the search for meaning, connection, love and self.

Happy in the Sun, Happy in the Rain Conor McMillen

The highly-anticipated book on understanding and accessing a true state of happiness in every moment is now available. This book answers the question – What is happiness? It discusses what keeps us from it and what helps us align with it. During these times of uncertainty, this is the book you want to be reading! You will learn how to rewire your brain, your heart and your soul to live a more powerful and loving existence.

Conflict = Energy Jason Digges

Authentic Relating provides the framework to transform every aspect of relationships -starting with the one to ourselves. It is truth and compassion together in a journey to become more awake and aware in every relationship. With practice, we can learn to alchemize conflict into clarity, connection, and creativity.

This book is dedicated to distilling 20 years of research into the ART of becoming a better human. Join thousands of people and growing on this journey to expand our capacities to listen, understand, and truly connect.

Hasidic Jew Night at the Roller Rink Keith Ruckus

How do you handle a break-up? Do you move on gracefully? Do you throw a tantrum of epic proportions? In Keith Ruckus’ second compilation, we delve once more into the world of failed romances. An eclectic mix of prose, poetry, text messages, dating website correspondence, and random thoughts made while laying in bed at 4AM. Experience this slice of life glimpse into the devastation that losing the wrong person at the wrong time can bring onto someone. “Raw, bitter, funny and heartbreaking – all at once.” – Nakia (Singer/Songwriter)

Castles in Spain Estefanía Lee – due out 2023 – ghostwritten & edited

There’s no feeling quite so thrilling as losing ourselves in our own dreams. Castles in Spain, a carefully-compiled selection of love letters isn’t just a way of escaping — it’s a secret adoration for lives unlived.

Within these pages are the what was and what could have beens of six of the author’s most significant relationships – love stories, in one way or another – embellished, fictionalized, and made anonymous for those involved. And of course the lines between fact and fiction aren’t always clear. Not when you’re building castles in the sky.

Interviews

She, My Friend, and I A Little Help From My Friends

A podcast in 2016 that invites friends to discuss a show that aired in 1988 about a boy’s life in 1968.

I’m easing my way back onto the grid with a two-fer episode! Natalie Grigson, author of the Peter Able series, joins me to discuss a two-part, to-be-continued style episode arc chronicling the effects of the tortured temperaments of teens on romance. Get a heart-shaped box of chocolates, because we’re talking about Season 3, episodes 13 and 14, “She, My Friend and I” and “The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre,” respectively.

Just Call Me IS with Natalie Grigson Psychedelic Parenting Podcast

On this episode, Jonathan talks with Natalie Grigson, who is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign for her new project Just Call Me IS, a book designed to teach tweens techniques of mindfulness, as well as help them understand and get to know their Inner Self (“IS”). 

Call Me Perfect with Natalie Grigson Psychedelic Parenting Podcast

Today, Jonathan once again welcomes Psychedelic Parenting’s favorite author, Natalie Grigson. Natalie is the author of the amazing title Just Call Me Is, which we helped to sponsor on Kickstarter. Its sequel, Call Me Perfect, approaches body image and identity with the same gentle touch that Just Call Me IS brought to mindfulness. In this conversation, Jonathan and Natalie talk about the new book, and how Natalie’s own psychedelic experiences helped her heal from a childhood eating disorder.