Questions of eternal significance: Candy corn: tasty or disgusting?

I’m seeing people start to wax poetically (pun intended) about it being candy corn season. I DO NOT GET IT. I am not a fan. It just tastes like I’m eating a candle. No flavor. Bland texture. It’s not fruity or chocolately . . . it doesn’t taste like anything. Blech. No thank you.

how to eat candy corn

What about you? Are you pro candy corn?

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My nephew talks back-to-school at NYU

This post was sponsored by Invisalign® clear aligners. My nephew and mom are receiving complimentary Invisalign treatment as they share their Invisalign journey.

It's been a couple months now since I've started documenting my nephew’s journey with Invisalign clear aligners. For those of you who are not familiar with Invisalign Teen®, it’s a series of nearly invisible, removable aligners that are used to gradually (and discreetly) straighten teeth. My nephew is a theater student who really wanted to have his teeth straightened, but he wanted to avoid the look of metal braces that would affect his chances at getting certain roles.

Austin has had his aligners in for several months now. He just started back-to-school at NYU. He's a junior now . . . how did that happen? I caught up with him on his thoughts on the upcoming school year.

What does this back-to-school season feel like for you? How is it different than last year?

This back to school season is very different for me. It's so surreal that I am telling people that I am a junior now. I really feel like I am growing into the man that I will become. Being in college is odd because you are still growing into being an adult, even though legally I am able to do anything an adult can, except rent a car and go on a cruise alone. This year I am really trying to hone in on my craft and finding ways to build and solidify my own technique as an actor and singer. I also want to focus this year on building my "broadway body," which is where Invisalign comes in!

Do you feel like your teeth made progress this summer? Have you had any comments?

I feel like my teeth have DEFINITELY made progress! I was away from home for most of the summer, so when I came back at the end, my mother noticed a huge shift in my top teeth and could see the progress that is being made to make room for my bottom teeth to get back in line. In pictures I have posted of me smiling, I have received comments about how straight my teeth are already starting to look. It makes me feel so happy and boosts my self confidence every time I hear someone comment on my teeth! Invisalign is really working to make me into a more confident, brightly smiling person.

Are you nervous about anything this fall? How are you feeling?

Something that I am nervous about this fall is being able to balance being a new RA. This is a 20-25 hour a week commitment on top of being in shows and rehearsals and class. But I really do enjoy being busy, I think that is where I thrive the most as a student. But I am SO excited to continue this journey with Invisalign going into this third year of training as an actor. This is also my first year having two classes from my double major in Politics as well as my Musical Theater classes. I am taking a class called Civil Liberties which is all about the Bill of Rights and the history of our civil rights and court cases that make them what they are today. Then I have a class called The Election Process which is about voter turnout, campaign management, and party platforms.

What are some things you are excited about in the coming year?

I am really excited about being in more shows. I have been studying this craft for two years and I am so excited to apply everything I have learned so far at NYU, and in the summer Germany program to performance. I’m also so excited to see the progress of my teeth, every 6-8 weeks or so when I go for my check-up appointment and pick up the next 8 aligners, the first thing I do is look at the last pair of aligners in that set to see how different my teeth look after those 8 weeks. It always amazes me because it's hard to believe that my teeth will be straight after this year-long process, but I am seeing such great progress and I cannot wait until April when my 50 weeks are up and I have my straight teeth!

How do you think this back-to-school would be different if you had metal braces?

This back to school would be SOOO different if I had metal braces! The first week of classes we have auditions for the fall musical, "Love Labors Lost: The Musical" which is about a group of 20 something's at their 5 year college reunion. I would not be taken seriously as one of those characters if I had metal braces. I also feel that metal braces would make me less confident about my smile than I already was because then there would be a large obstruction and it would change the shape of my lips. Metal braces would also affect my speech and singing, so I am so glad that I have Invisalign because none of those things are issues.

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What I want you to know about living with adult ADHD

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Teresa Newsome.

What I want you to know about living with adult ADHD, more than anything, is how hard I try.

If you’re exploring a diagnosis or living through one, you can glean a good amount of information from a Google search -- enough “aha!” moments to give you a brief, but profound sense of understanding and hope. You can learn about the short attention spans, the difficulty focusing, the impulsivity, the difficulty completing tasks. You can read about trouble with transitions or how hard it is to wake up in the morning or about the influx of passions, ideas, and interests that all fizzle out when the initial rush of discovery wears off. But what you can’t read about ADHD, what you can’t experience unless you’ve been there with your head in your hands at the end of a particularly frustrating day, is how how much work it takes to accomplish what seems like so little.

I know this feeling very well. Let me take you through a bad brain day:

Once I wake up and get going (the first 20 minutes of being awake is the worst -- it’s like being next in line to get your teeth pulled without anesthesia), I take my place at the bottom of a giant pile of good intentions. I start the day with goals in mind and with the enthusiasm and drive that usually accompanies the first day at your new dream job. The day feels so full of possibility. I feel excited. I feel like “this is the day that I do great things.” I feel lucky to have this new, blank canvas.

All day long, I’m aware of what I need to do and what I want to do. I make lists, I organize them, I start big important projects. I try to make each day productive so I can feel like I contribute to society. So I can feel like I use my talents to do good in the world.

I work hard. I try hard. I am constantly moving, constantly tasking, constantly thinking. I work so hard that I have to set reminders in my phone to eat and to take breaks. I work so hard that at the end of my day, I’m absolutely mentally and physically exhausted. I work so hard that my fingernails are chipped and I have a headache. Only the main difference between me and someone without ADHD is that when I look back at what I’ve accomplished, I’m shocked and saddened by how little it actually is.

On a bad brain day, I look at all the items left unchecked on my To-do list. I survey the day’s projects -- dozens of great ideas meticulously planned out, new skills researched, quarter-drafts of writing projects started, piles of good intentions. I look at them and I want to cry. The amount of time I spend actually doing these projects seems like hours but the output of work doesn’t support that much effort. It’s brutally unfair.

Sometimes I am aware that this is happening, and sometimes I seem to blink my eye and make some kind of time-eating magic. I literally have no idea how I just spent 3 hours doing research when it felt like 15 minutes, tops. I can’t fathom where the day has gone. It just started! I need more time. And I haven’t even cleaned the house or made dinner yet.

After a particularly bad brain day, I worry that I am a waste of potential. A brilliant, creative brain lost in itself. I worry that I will never accomplish my goals, no matter how hard I try.

When I have too many of these days in a row, it starts to look like I’m wasting my life. I start to hear things from people around me like “I don’t understand what you do with your time” and that really stings. It stings because I work so hard. I try all day long. That’s what I do with my time.

On a good brain day -- and I have more of these than bad days, thankfully, I’m creative, driven and productive. Sometimes I accomplish more in one day than in the entire previous week. My work -- it’s good. I’m proud of it. My clients love me. I’m resourceful. I think outside of the box. I’m on fire. I have a million ideas and most of them are great. It’s wonderful and I attribute all of those moments to the gifts ADHD brings to my life. But I still have to work harder than I’d like and I still, even on good days, lose bits of time and fall prey to too much planning, daydreaming and organization and not enough feet-on-the-ground work. I still struggle with the amount of work produced vs the amount of time spent producing it. I still have to set reminders to eat and take breaks. I still have to push through the heavy curtain of my brain that creeps closed every so often when I let my guard down. I still use my brain so much that it could probably power a small country.

What I want you to know is that I’m not lazy, even when it seems like I haven’t accomplished anything in days. I want you to know that I don’t intentionally waste my time. I want you to know that I don’t lack motivation. I’m not a waste of potential. I do know that my goals are just half-accomplished. I realize what it must look like from the outside looking in. It does bother me.

I want you to know that if I could just try harder, I would.

I want you to know that even on my good days, I feel guilty about what I haven’t accomplished, even if it’s just the tiniest twinge from way deep down.

I want you to know how incredibly frustrating this disorder can be. I want you to know that even though it looks like I just spent all day doing what would take you an hour -- surfing the web or cooking one meal or running one errand or writing one page -- that those tasks were actually the result of hours of related tasks. Dozens of subtasks. Hundreds of thoughts. A lot of toil.

Good day or bad, I start each day at the bottom of a hill, behind a giant boulder, and I push that boulder uphill all day. Most days I get that rock over the hill, but some days I don’t. Either way, I never stop pushing it. I never stop trying.

I never stop trying.

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Wednesday's Child: Lee

Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday's Child newscast to share the stories of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family. For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.

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September in retrospect: Africa, Sound of Music, Beer and Hymns, and Disneyland

September was a full month. It started with my trip to Ethiopia with Help One Now, which was a great success.

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Our team really clicked and I felt great about the organization and their local leadership. But best of all, we met our goal! 300 new sponsors for kids at risk of becoming poverty orphans. We checked our donation page just as we were flying home to learn that we’d met our goal and it was such a good feeling. Thank you to everyone who chose to support a family. You are changing lives.

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It was so good to get home. I miss my family like crazy when I travel. Of course, I try to make up for it by buying them stuff while I’m gone. Love these traditional dresses on my girls.

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We made a family outing to see the Sound of Music singalong at the Hollywood Bowl.

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We had a little picnic beforehand. India picked her own outfit.

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This was our first time and I can see why it sells out. The crowd was enthused! My favorite part was the whole audience lighting up their cell phone flashlights during Edelweiss and waving them in the air.

I think we’ll make it a tradition.

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Another adventure this month . . . we had our first Beer and Hymns gathering in Orange County. I’ve gotta say, I was crazy nervous about how it would go down. To take it from a little idea in my brain to something I invited people to experience was daunting, and I had no idea who would show up or how it would play out. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. We had a great time on stage and I think everyone who came out had a blast, too.

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Here’s a little video of the night:


If you are local you need to join us for the next one! (And follow us on facebook and instagram

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Random interlude of kid pics . . .

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This past week we got to attend the opening night of Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. It was our first time to go to the park during this evening event and it was a lot of fun.

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Kids and adults were dressed in costume. India went as Penny from Hairspray, which is her current obsession. She wore her costume at school and none of her classmates recognized who she was, but at the park lots of adults were smitten with her outfit.

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We had a great nights and stayed out way too late. Disneyland after dark is my favorite.

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