Unacceptable Levels: film to see

If you are one of those people who saw An Inconvenient Truth and had a change of heart about the environment, or saw Food, Inc. and started to think seriously about how you eat, chances are that you learn best in film form. I have a film for you to see!

Unacceptable Levels is a film about the chemicals in our bodies…and how they got there.

Unacceptable Levels Film chemicals

Some Unacceptable Facts film facts:

  • Autism now affects one in 50 children.

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death (after accidents) in children younger than 15 years in the United States.

  • In the last twenty years, the rates of asthma, allergies and ADHD are on the rise:

    • 400% increase in allergies

    • 300% increase in asthma

    • 400% increase in ADHD

  • $2.6 Trillion of the GDP is spent on treating disease every year.

Chemicals saturate our homes and environment amid a backdrop of a glaring lack of regulation. The film chronicles the results of the post-WWII chemical boom and details common avenues of exposure, from food to fluoride to toxic sludge.*

Ever wonder about chemicals in your day-to-day life?

What’s in the air I breathe? The water I drink? The food I eat? Even the things I put on my skin?

Ed Brown wondered these same things after his wife suffered two miscarriages (they now have two beautiful children). But instead of just wondering, he traveled around the country with his video camera to interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy and law and learned there are unacceptable levels of chemicals in so many things. Including our bodies.

Approximately 200 synthetic industrial chemicals interact with our cells every single day.

Ed’s documentary dissects the ways chemicals saturate our homes and environment amid a backdrop of a glaring lack of regulation. It chronicles the results of the post-WWII chemical boom and details common avenues of exposure, from food to fluoride to toxic sludge. View the trailer for his award-winning debut film, Unacceptable Levels—about the chemicals in our bodies and how they got there—here.

If you live in Austin or will be there in August, you are in luck! There will be an Austin screening on August 5.

To find a screening in your area, visit UnacceptableLevels.com. New screenings will be added, so be sure to check back often.

For the rest of us, I wanted to give you a heads-up so that you can follow Unacceptable Levels on Facebook now (and also Twitter, if you’d like) so that you know when it is a) in wide release, or b) available on DVD.

I can’t wait for the film to come here so I can force everyone I know to see it! Help me spread the word!


forbes.com and cms.gov

NOTE: I was not compensated for this post. There are a few affiliate links to the films mentioned in the first paragraph which would give me several cents if you used the link to purchase those items from Amazon.

BlogHer 2012: Part 1 of recap

Another BlogHer has come and gone: amazing, overwhelming, encouraging, and EXHAUSTING. Every year is a slightly different experience, and this year was my first without being pregnant or bringing a baby. As a result, I stayed up waaaay too late dancing and eating and talking (ok, and drinking…) with women I only see “in real life” every 1-2 years, and some I had actually never met before, except on Twitter.

While I was in New York City, I also took the time to take a Megaformer Pilates class (the kind I teach in Plano) at the SLT NYC studio. Because a 50 minute hardcore strength and cardio workout is definitely what you need after you’ve eaten crap for 24 hours and drunk sodas to stay awake (I don’t normally drink soda at all).

>Unlike last year, I did remember to take actual pictures this year. Not many, because all I had was my iPhone, but I think they are representative.

First, one of the things I was so excited about: President Obama addressing the BlogHer attendees on Thursday afternoon.

Sure, what he said was pretty campaign-y but if you look beyond that, I think what is obvious is that he (and presumably more and more politicians) acknowledged the power of our voices as bloggers. What we say matters in the larger sphere, even when we’re “just” blogging about our families or our individual efforts towards sustainable living.
Takeaway: Those in power are taking notice of what we do as women and bloggers, and that is encouraging.

Thursday night there was a party for “green” bloggers hosted by Stonyfield and Healthy Child, Healthy World>.

Following that party, we had the opportunity to view a wonderfully educational film, Toxic Baby, produced and written by Penelope Jagessar Chaffer. It contains a lot of great information on the toxins that surround us in our everyday lives and how they affect our bodies.

I enjoyed the movie and a wonderful discussion afterward between Penelope, Gigi Lee Chang, CEO of Healthy Child, Healthy World, Dr. Shanna Swan, Vice-Chair for Research, Department of Preventative Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Dominique Browning, co-founder of Moms Clean Air Force.

Takeaway: A reminder from the ladies that we have to combine our personal purchasing (or NOT purchasing power) with legislative action to speed the process of making the world a safer place for our children. “Safe until proven dangerous” is not the right approach to take when introducing new chemicals.

Wow, this post is long and I haven’t even gotten to the parties or the sessions. I’m exhausted already. How about Part 2 another day?

Ruby’s Studio: The Feelings Show

After 30 straight days of NaBloPoMo and now the holiday season, I am sure that you are thinking, “I wish Jenny would tell me about some products she loves so that I can go buy them”. Well, you are in luck. Here is one for you.

When I went to BlogHer this year, I was given a copy of Ruby’s Studio “The Feelings Show” DVD. Ruby is a [very heavily made-up] babysitter-like character who appears to run an art studio for kids. She has magical powers to sprinkle sparkly dust that generate animations illustrating whatever topic she’s discussing with the kids. Since there’s only one Ruby’s Studio DVD so far, the only topic is Feelings.

Receiving this DVD in August was actually pretty good timing since Little Sir was really frustrated for quite a while when he was learning to talk. He had a lot of feelings that he could not express, apparently. He yelled a lot and threw tantrums. Oh wait, he still does that…

Do I think this DVD helped him identify his feelings? Maybe. He did go around saying “happy!” and “sad!” and “mad!” shortly after watching this DVD off and on for about a week. He can identify expressions on characters and on his sister as happy, sad, or mad. In that way, I do think that it helped. And he does pay attention to the show. It doesn’t move too fast but it does keep him interested. It’s a nice, calm pace.

It hasn’t necessarily helped him manage his feelings, but that isn’t something I’d expect a DVD to do anyway. That’s probably more of a maturity thing. We do practice trying to take deep breaths when he is mad, but it doesn’t always work. I think the point is that the DVD is helping to remind him to identify his feelings. Some day he will be able to apply that knowledge and learn to manage them.

The message is distinctly non-religious, so if you are of a particular belief system you might want to talk with your child yourself about aspects of feelings as they apply to your faith. I am not worried about it being religion-neutral because I believe it’s my job to talk to my kids about faith and not the job of a DVD.

Overall, I have enjoyed this DVD and would not mind seeing more episodes of this show. The only criticism I have heard is when Christian remarked that Ruby wears a ton of makeup. Definitely true, but I realize that the goal is to make Ruby a kind of caricature of a person, like a magical realistic cartoon, so she isn’t supposed to be real-looking. Also, I am sure they are creating a persona that can be recreated with makeup and costume on any actress so they aren’t restricted to the one actress that they used for The Feelings Show.

Ruby’s Studio is produced and managed by The Mother Company, a female-owned small business.

If you are looking for a positive DVD to put in your toddler or preschooler’s stocking for this Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus, I would recommend Ruby’s Studio “The Feelings Show”!

NOTE: I received a free copy of Ruby’s Studio “The Feelings Show” at BlogHer with the hopes that I would review it, which I have. The Amazon link is an affiliate link which gives me like 2 cents if you buy the DVD. All opinions are my own. If I would have hated it, I definitely would have told you because I like to mock things.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn

What I thought of Breaking Dawn

 On Thursday night I went to a midnight showing of the most recent movie in the Twilight series, “Breaking Dawn”.

Let me preface this by saying that the only reason I read the books was because I was put on bed rest when I was pregnant with Little Sir in 2009 and that was the exact time the books were becoming so popular. Therefore, I ended up reading the books.

What did I think of the books? I will be honest with you, I found them pretty fluffy. The thing that bugged me most was how Bella got her ass kicked most of the time and had to have someone save her. The third book was my favorite because that is when she actually started kicking some ass herself. LOVE THAT.

So I have really been looking forward to the last movie(s) because I am thinking that this is when the female starts striking back and it’s all awesome and stuff.

Not so much this movie. This movie was one long Edward-and-Bella lovefest with the usual Jacob drama and then a very unrealistic pregnancy thrown in. The thing that bothered me the most was that they kept showing Bella laying on her back while 8-9 months pregnant. WTF?! Anyone who has been pregnant can tell you that there is no way you can lie on your back past about 6 months without suffocating yourself or the baby. As the baby gets larger and heavier, laying on your back causes the uterus to rest on the major vein that supplies blood to the rest of your body. Laying on your back causes you discomfort but also lightheadedness and eventually you’d even pass out if you did it for too long. And as the movie and the book stated, apparently Bella’s monster baby was much heavier than the usual human baby. Logically, every time she rolled even slightly near her back she should instantly pass out or cut off the baby’s oxygen supply in the womb. But nooooooo she was laying on her back most of the time. Aaaggh!!

Did I like the movie? Well, it is of course visually stunning like the other movies. And I do enjoy the storyline, as I did with the books. I wanted to see Bella be a vampire for a significant amount of time so I was disappointed in that regard.

I will say this: I am just really looking forward to the third movie when the ass-kicking starts.

Dallas film: Seasons of Gray

UPDATE: The Seasons of Gray run has been extended through at least Thursday, September 29 and will also be showing at Cinemark West Plano starting Friday, September 23!

Last Friday night, the movie Seasons of Gray, produced by Watermark Films*, was released at the AMC Valley View theater for one week. Due to the overwhelming success and multiple sold-out shows, the Seasons of Gray run has been extended for at least one more week (through Thursday, September 29).

Although we haven’t been able to go ourselves due to childcare issues, we have heard from very discriminating friends that it’s a well-done film. It’s not a film that preaches (as in, it doesn’t present a gospel of any kind specifically), although it is based on the story of Joseph out of the Bible. If you’re not familiar with that story, it’s about forgiveness – so that’s what the movie is about.

I’d love to encourage any of you who are in the Dallas area and are able to check out the film while it’s in theaters! If you do, or if you have already seen it, please leave comments on this post so we can all hear about it! Thanks!

*NOTE: Watermark Community Church does not benefit financially from the run of this movie. The reason it’s called Watermark Films is because money from Watermark members and the general fund at the church was used to finance the film. They’ve explained to us that it would have to run for something like 2 years to recoup their investment, but that’s not what they’re looking to do. It’s just something they felt led to do.