That Kind Of Girl

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What kind of girl are you? (Disclaimer: I know I have a lot of male readers – thank you!!!!! Don’t feel like you need to tell me what kind of girl you are, fellas…that’s between you and the ladies at the cross-dressing shop ;-) ) I find this a tough question to answer about myself – which is pretty dumb, since I should probably have figured myself out by now. I think I’m a bit of a chameleon – I’ve been a lot of different girls over the years, and so much of it has depended upon where I am in my life and how things are going. I spent entirely too long being a victim of the idiots in the world who hurt me and took advantage of me, time and time again. Yes, this is mostly their fault, but I hold some blame too for letting this shit happen. People can only treat you as well – or as badly – as you let them…and I was notorious for letting people get away with way too much, figuring that I was crap and deserved more crap. How. Stupid.

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I’ve tried being really serious, but the result of that was a shit-show of near-epic proportions. I’m not cut out for a life of straight faces and severe attitudes any more than I am meant to be a Victoria’s Secret model (never gonna happen, despite my splendid tatas).  I’m a person who laughs way more than the average bear in a day…I make jokes, I find things to laugh at, and I spend lots of time making other people giggle as well. This is all done on purpose, because life is simply too short to be in a foul mood. Keep in mind that I’ve spent my entire adult life working in the Education industry, so if we didn’t laugh during some of our days, we’d cry. Once upon a time, I thought that being a grown up meant being serious, reading Proust and Maugham at all times, and only eating meals with a minimum of three courses and cloth napkins. What a pompous bloody douchebag I was!! Argh!!! Thankfully, I’ve realized over the years that being a grown up means taking care of the details in life, making a home for the Wee One and I, watching marathons of Beverly Hills, 90210 (the original series, of course), and eating Lucky Charms three meals a day and feeling zero guilt about it. Being a grown up means saying no as often as necessary without remorse, taking yourself out on really fabulous dates, and drinking champagne out of Tiffany glasses for an evening at home. I don’t need to pretend to be some fancyass, solemn poker face to be a grown up…it comes from within. Right? :-)

Some day I will create a piece of art as beautiful as this - I LOVE this book :)

Some day I will create a piece of art as beautiful as this – I LOVE this book :)

I’m reading the AMAZING Lena Dunham’s book “Not That Kind Of Girl” at the moment…and I’m loving it. Big time. In fact, as I’m reading it, I find myself slowing down, putting the book aside to ponder what she’s written, just so that I can savor it even longer. Her writing is wonderful, of course….but it’s her honesty that moves me so much. I find myself so full of admiration for a woman who can tell the story of them and what’s happened to shape them so clearly, so matter of fact-ly….it’s humbling to read. Self-awareness is a beautiful thing. :-)

I’m a huge fan of the show “Girls”, even though I’m at least 10 years older than their desired demographic, I’m sure. I find it an honest, awkward, real portrayal of people finding out what kind of girl they are. I wish there were more shows on TV like this…perhaps if there had been when I was in my formative years, I’d be better at speaking and living my truth.  Perhaps if I’d have had better role models around, I’d be a better person. However, I’ve always forged my own path, made my own way, which is fine, but….sometimes a little help and guidance is not so bad, eh? :)

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Here’s a review of Lena’s book from The Boston Globe:

In a time when celebrity writers proliferate as lushly as mushrooms in a cave, that Lena Dunham has just produced her first book, “Not That Kind of Girl,’’ is nothing special. Dunham herself, however, is another story. She made the successful independent feature film “Tiny Furniture” before she was 25 and created the semi-autobiographical HBO comedy, “Girls,” in which she also plays the lead character, Hannah Horvath, at 26.

Hannah’s monumental self-absorption, irreverent humor, and frequent, deliberately unglamorous nude scenes have made “Girls” a hit as well as a magnet for misogynist codswallop, while its mocking appraisal of what life is like for Brooklyn, N.Y.-based, upper middle-class graduates of liberal-arts colleges made it an object of worship among New York television critics thrilled to finally see themselves represented on television. So great is its success that Dunham, 28, reportedly received an advance of more than $3.5 million for this book.

For people who watch “Girls” — a group to which I belong and one that I assume will make up a significant portion of Dunham’s reading public — it may be difficult at first to divorce Hannah’s voice from Dunham’s written one. This collection of 21 essays, padded out with a smattering of humorous lists, e-mail exchanges, and other miscellany, is divided into sections on love and sex, the body, friendship, work, and “the big picture”; different format, familiar terrain.

Fans also will recognize some of Dunham’s signature narrative mannerisms: What propels these confessional first-person pieces is the tension between the appearance of helpless, total disclosure and observations so arch they could only come from a place of complete control. Like Hannah, Dunham is flip, recklessly goofy, and prone to saying shocking, self-deprecating things about herself in service of a joke. Unlike Hannah, Dunham is wholly in possession of her faculties and well aware of her place in the world.

Take, for instance, “Girls & Jerks,” an essay in which Dunham contemplates her inclination toward inappropriate men. In a scene that takes place during her time at Oberlin, Dunham observes how growing up in SoHo with well-heeled artist parents may have helped contribute to this preference. “I had a lucky little girlhood,” she muses. “I had a family that loved me, and we didn’t have to worry about much except what gallery to go to on Sunday and whether or not my child psychologist was helping with my sleep issues. Only when I got to college did it dawn on me that maybe my upbringing hadn’t been very ‘real.’ . . . What was it that I couldn’t understand and how could I understand it, short of moving to a war-torn nation?”

Instead of taking the first flight out to Iraq, Dunham, like so many before her, turns to men who treat her badly. This goes about as well as one might expect. “[L]earning about the ‘world’ is not pretending you’re a hooker while a guy from the part of New Jersey that’s near Pennsylvania decides which Steely Dan record to put on at 4:00 a.m,” she reflects.

One-liners like that are what make the book a worthwhile read, as is Dunham’s observational humor. She falls for a chap at freshman orientation because of his “anime eyes, his flared women’s jeans, his thick helmet of Prince Valiant hair . . . If I’d been alone, I would have slid down the back of a door and sighed like Natalie Wood in ‘Splendor in the Grass.’  ”

Dunham is at her best when she writes about her younger self — a strange focus for someone not yet 30. Her deadpan observations about the ridiculous mores and folkways of small colleges are exactly right and as funny and incisive as those of Gary Shteyngart or Sam Lipsyte, two much older and far more experienced chroniclers of that milieu.

The book is less successful in portions where Dunham tries to impart the wisdom of her limited years, such as when she suggests avoiding sleeping next to anyone “who doesn’t make you feel like sharing a bed is the coziest and most sensual activity they could possibly be undertaking.”

“I think that I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least a voice,” utters her character, Hannah, in the show’s most famous line. “Not That Kind of Girl” answers the promise of that proclamation, whatever it means.

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Before I go, I was noticing something the other day – I generally refer to myself as a ‘girl’ for some reason, when in reality, I am light years beyond my girl days. Sometimes people will refer to me as a ‘woman’, which I know logically is the correct term….but it still feels kind of weird, as if I’m playing dress up in my grandmother’s pearls. Dumb, I know. I came across this article recently – The 11 Differences Between Dating a Girl vs a Woman – which sheds some light on the differences. Let’s look at it, shall we? :)

A boy is attracted to girls. A man is attracted to women. Now, this has nothing to do with the actual age of a person. I’m referring to maturity, life vision and stage of life. In fact, some people regardless of their age, will never really grow up. Also, this isn’t to say that a woman won’t ever have “girlish” or immature tendencies or vice versa. This post refers to one’s maturity and most points would also apply if you switch the genders as well.

If you are a boy, then expect that you will attract only girls. However, if you are a man (independent, knows your worth and value, has a strong moral compass, is considerate and an able communicator and doesn’t let insecurity dominate your psyche), then you should be dating a woman. And if you can’t spot the difference just yet, here are some pointers.

1. A girl throws tantrums. When displeased, upset or angry, she reacts just as she did as a child when she didn’t get her way with her parents. This often consists of screaming, pouting, giving the silent treatment, being passive aggressive and/or punishing. A woman still feels the emotions of being upset/displeased, but has cultivated the skill of responding versus reacting. She comes to the table as an adult, and communicates clearly what is bothering her.

2. A girl perceives herself as a princess and believes people should treat her like so. She is entitled and feels that she is owed and therefore expects more than she appreciates. A woman, has standards (what she holds herself to) not expectations (what she projects on to others).

3. A girl uses her physical beauty as her currency and basis of value. A girl may be so used to feeling validated through her looks and sexuality, that she uses this as her primary tool to get what she wants in life. A woman, knows her worth is beyond her physicality. A woman bases her value on her intelligence, her strength, her integrity, her values, her contributions, her humanity.

4. A girl banks on a man to be her financial strategy. A woman plans to be financially independent – she banks on… herself. And if she so happens to enter a relationship dynamic where it makes sense for her partner to be the primary breadwinner, it’s considered a bonus, not the expected life line.

5. A girl sees the world from a place of lack and scarcity. She competes and will even tear down another in order to secure resources or a mate. A woman helps other women. She knows that there’s plenty enough to go around and takes the high road of integrity to get what she wants.

6. A girl cannot be bothered with anything domestic and is proud of the fact that she cannot cook or clean. A woman understands that being domestic is not a duty, but understands that it is one way of taking care of herself and others. She also understands that in the event she wants to create a family, having a person in the household who can contribute domestically is important.

7. “A girl wants attention, a woman wants respect. A girl wants to be adored by many. A woman wants to be adored by one.” -anonymous

8. A girl does not respect her body.  She has not yet understood that her body and heart are sacred, and that it’s important to be mindful of how she treats it and who she shares it with. “A girl cherishes handbags, diamonds and her shoe collection as her prize possessions. A woman cherishes her health, her sense of self, and her talents as her greatest assets.” – N. Mah

9. A woman takes the time to reflect on the type of human she wants to be, the example she wants to leave and the vision for her life. She has put thought into her values and what she stands for. A girl has not established her moral compass or values and consequently, is often inconsistent. “After spending time with a girl, you feel exhausted because she takes more than she gives. After spending time with a woman, you feel invigorated, because she empowers you with possibility, and a passion for life.” – N. Mah

10. A girl has a checklist that prioritizes superficial qualities above anything else. Here is an example of how this checklist may look: Hot, popular, wears skinny jeans, over 6 feet tall, rich.. This is the checklist of what a woman may look for: High integrity, intelligent, kind, good communicator, emotionally available…

Now, a lot of these differences require taking the time to know someone to figure out if the apple of your eye is indeed a mature woman, or someone with an immature mindset. However, one of the quickest filters that you can notice from the beginning is this:

11. A girl plays games. A woman doesn’t.

 

Good news – I guess I’m a woman after all. ;)

 

xxx

 

 

Yummy Yummy Yummy

I had an AMAZING meal recently….can’t wait to tell you all about it! (Disclaimer: This is a common theme with me, I know….I eat lots of good meals, which explains my caboose. Oh well. ) I visited the restaurant Cured at the Pearl Brewery here in San Antonio. First – let’s talk about the Pearl….what a great, great place. There’s so much to see and do there, everything is really beautiful, and it’s such a great area to be in. I frequently dream of selling the house and buying a condo down there, just to be in the thick of the action (but the commute to work would be a bitch). Love it. :-)

Anyway…Cured! The building is looooovely (built in 1904, it was originally the administration building for the brewery), as was the menu. This charcuterie-themed place is certainly not for vegans (she says in the understatement of the year!), and if you are a meat and potatoes traditionalist, you might be in trouble. However, if you have a slightly adventurous palate and a LOVE of amazing food…then you are in for a treat!! :-) Here’s what I ate:

 

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Welcome to Cured :-)

Some sort of marrow thing...I can't recall the details, but as long as I live, I will NEVER forget the amazing taste of this on the end of my tongue. Divine.

Some sort of marrow thing…I can’t recall the details, but as long as I live, I will NEVER forget the amazing taste of this on the end of my tongue. Divine.

Behold the charcuterie plate...there was whipped pork butter, duck ham, chicken liver mousse, pork belly, rillettes...I could go on. So. Bloody. Good. Yum. :-)

Behold the charcuterie plate…there was whipped pork butter, duck ham, chicken liver mousse, pork belly, rillettes…I could go on. So. Bloody. Good. Yum. :-)

This is their version of poutine....pork cheek poutine, cheese, mildly pickled cauliflower on top (random but freaking AWESOME). I just can't even tell you how fabulous this was...yummy!!! :-)

This is their version of poutine….pork cheek poutine, cheese, mildly pickled cauliflower on top (random but freaking AWESOME). I just can’t even tell you how fabulous this was…yummy!!! :-)

Charcuterie goodness from another angle - my attempts at arty photography ;-)

Charcuterie goodness from another angle – my attempts at arty photography ;-)

Sweetbreads. Google them....delicious. :-)

Sweetbreads. Google them….delicious. :-)

 

Doesn’t everything look AMAZING???? It absolutely was!!! The service was excellent (attentive, but not up my keister) – the manager came to chat and invited me back for Happy Hour sometime (you should see me do Happy Hour….I’m pretty good at it!!;-) ), regaling me with tales of drink specials and a burger that’s 20% bacon and 80% beef (if just the thought of that doesn’t get your mouth watering, then there’s something wrong with you and you ought to see a specialist ASAP)…the whole experience was top notch. :-)

 

I can’t wait to go back!!! :-)

xxx

Arabian Nights

It is not much of a secret that I love food – I’m always writing about restaurants or recipes or bowls of Lucky Charms that I scarfed (which happens a lot – no judgment). I love trying new places and types of food, and there’s pretty much nothing I won’t try (eating a delicious dish of sheep brain in Greece pretty much cured me of being precious about what I ate!) ….I love food. I’ve never eaten Moroccan food before, so I was pretty pumped to recently visit San Antonio eatery Moroccan Bites to sample their tasty morsels…however, I must admit to being somewhat nervous, having never partaken in the glories of Moroccan food before. Do you remember that scene in the movie “Along Came Polly” where Ben Stiller eats Moroccan for the first time on a date with Jennifer Anniston, proceeds to basically explode out his arse in the bathroom of her apartment, resulting in tons of shame and the need to use a loofah to try to unplug the pot? I did not want to have that happen to me. :-(

Good news, folks….my meal was a success!!! (And no loofahs were harmed in the course of the evening) Here’s what I had:

 

 

My dinner - Kefta Tagine....HEAVENLY!! I love some good balls! ;)

My dinner – Kefta Tagine….HEAVENLY!! I love some good balls! ;)

 

An appetizer of olives and cauliflower and yumminess! :)

An appetizer of olives and cauliflower and yumminess! :)

 

Mint tea...it's my jam. I'm almost embarrassed that I just said that in a sentence. Oh well. ;)

Mint tea…it’s my jam. I’m almost embarrassed that I just said that in a sentence. Oh well. ;)

 

The restaurant was really cool, and I’m right in love with Moroccan decor. (Fun Fact: I desperately want to redo my bedroom into a Moroccan-themed, hot Arabian nights kind of boudoir…sounds fun, eh? :-) ) Here are a couple pictures:

These lights belong in my bedroom!

These lights belong in my bedroom!

 

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Pretty, eh? :)

 

I've got a fondness for beautiful knockers ;)

I’ve got a fondness for beautiful knockers ;)

I can’t wait to go back here…the pastries are insane they are so delicious, the mint tea is friggin’ divine….and the food. Yum. The food. :-) Check it out, friends! You won’t be disappointed. :-)

xxx

Reblog: I’m Old Fashioned

Reprinting this from June of 2013…because you can never talk too much about the art of the woo! ;)

 

I’m old-fashioned. That’s a mighty strange statement for someone like me to make – but it is so true. Even though I’m a girl who lives and breathes by technology, feels like I’m coming down with hives if I don’t keep up-to-date on the latest pop culture news from my Twitter feed, and can’t fathom going a whole day without the Internet/my Kindle/Instagram/Jezebel and XO Jane, I am still, at heart, a very old-fashioned, traditional girl. Let my tattooed, multiply pierced self explain. ;)

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I believe in manners. I am always polite – even when I’m cross with someone and I’m snippy, I’m still polite. I abhor rudeness in others, and I find the lack of manners frequently on display in the world these days to be deplorable. I don’t understand people who clearly know better  behaving badly – there’s simply no excuse. People need to be kind to everyone they encounter in their day, whether they know them or not, it’s as simple as that. I find it embarrassing when others behave badly, and I have to admit that it completely and utterly turns me off those people…which probably makes me shallow, but…c’est la vie. Life is too short to spend with people who believe that treating others poorly is a viable option in life. It’s just vile.

I believe that men should always open the door for women, and that if you are the first at the door, regardless of whether you pee standing up or sitting down, you hold the door open for everyone coming and going. I believe that men should open car doors for ladies, whether they are someone they are shagging or not. I believe that looking people in the eyes is critical when you speak to them – people who don’t make me mighty nervous indeed.

I think that inviting someone to spend time with you at the last minute is kind of rude – I know that sometimes last minute things pop up, and that’s cool…but generally, if you want the pleasure of someone’s company, PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL AND ASK THEM. Don’t just text – call. If you know that you have a weekend evening free and you want to have dinner with Bobby and Sue, call them as early as possible and invite them to join you for dinner – expecting someone to be free at the last minute is bloody tacky and just plain rude, if you ask me.

How it ought to be...LOVE this! :)

How it ought to be…LOVE this! :)

“The vampire could woo any woman with his charisma and his charm, but he only wishes to romance her.. for eternity.” 

- Mr. Depravity

I was talking with someone the other day about the art of ‘woo’ing – something which I think is sorely (and sadly) missing from society today. People today don’t woo each other nearly enough – and yes, while wooing is traditionally something that men are meant to do for the women they are sweet on (see what I mean? even the expressions that I use are old-fashioned), ladies can do some wooing, too. A lot of people think that wooing means showering a lady with expensive gifts and trips and dinners at the finest restaurants in town – and, while all of those things sound ever-so-lovely, they absolutely aren’t necessary parts of the woo. The woo can be made up of simple things like writing your Sweet a wee poem and sending it to them to brighten their day – your words cost you nothing, and if you aren’t much of a poet, Google rhyming words and you’ll get through it just fine. How about calling them up early in the week and asking them on a proper date? Fun, right?? Even if it’s a generally assumed thing that you two will be spending time together over the weekend, still pick up that phone and call and ask – that feeling is just plain awesome. :) Give your girl a flower sometime – notice that I didn’t say flowers, because I know that the cost of those things can add up! Give her one beautiful stem of something that you know that she loves – it will win you a ton of wooing points! :) A final word on wooing, and this is directed at ladies and gentlemen alike: don’t ever ever stop wooing your love, whether you’ve been together for three months, three years, or three decades. Don’t ever let the woo stop – keep that shit going FOREVER! It will absolutely do wonders for your relationship, and it feels good – for both of you. I promise. :)

Hahaha :)

Hahaha :)

I read an article online entitled “How to Make a Woman Fall in Love With You” – here are the easy steps to follow! (and ladies, I imagine they can be adapted to fit a man as well) Try not to laugh….
ATTENTION ALL ROMEOS: For the following article to be of any use to you whatsoever, it is mandatory that you and your love interest meet at least once in person (and NOT in your dreams). This article is based on actual love, and not virtual love. Upon meeting her, it is vital that you know the right questions to ask the girl, in order to get to know her, only after which can you entertain any possible hopes of her falling in love with you.

Those of you who have skipped reading the above disclaimer and have directly landed on this line of text, stop right here. The future of your love life has been decided right here, right now. You will remain SINGLE all your life. Stop wasting time thinking about how to make her fall in love with you. No amount of dating tips will ever be of any help to you whatsoever. You, my friend, will forever remain an Adam sans a madam. You wanna know why? Because you weren’t attentive enough, you missed reading the first paragraph, and in doing so, you violated rule number one!

The Ultimate Guide to Make a Woman Fall for You

Rule #1: You CANNOT win the heart of any woman on this planet unless you remain alert and pay attention to detail. You HAVE to be on full systems alert when with a woman – watch every movement of hers and listen to each and every word she says (And I do sympathize with you because I am yet to meet a woman who is not a chatterbox!). No matter where or at what time of the day (or night) the two of you meet; no matter how tired, sleepy or hungry you may be, you instantly need to power on your love battery and be on full alert. Look at her, listen to her and show an interest in what she is saying. Women do not like men who talk, talk, talk and never listen. Chances of love and romance are directly proportional to your ethical listening abilities. (Ethical listening is nothing but focusing your ears on her vocals and your eyes above her neck). If and when you get a chance to say a few words, choose those which will showcase your intelligence, rather than those which will expose the lack of it.

Rule #2: Please be yourself. This is the universal dating tip for men all over the world. You don’t have to be a Brad Pitt in order to woo your woman. If you’re not exactly tall, dark and handsome, that’s fine. Win her over with your heart, not with your looks. Remember, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. You’ll fall flat on your face and your love story will instantly become history.

Rule #3: Become indispensable to her. PLEASE NOTE: Follow Rule #1 and read the rest of this rule, or else you may end up becoming her best friend to whom she comes crying after fighting with her boyfriend or fiance. By becoming indispensable, I mean becoming her friend and much more. That ‘much more’ is the difference between being relegated to just a friend and becoming the special one that she loves. There is no universal definition for that ‘much more’, it is something that you need to figure out for yourself. If you can’t, fine. All the best in being her best brotherly friend for life!

Rule #4: Be romantic in an innovative way. There are plenty of ways (both successful and otherwise) of wooing a woman. Many of them involve doing the same age-old things such as gifting mixed tapes, presenting heart-shaped pendants, writing cheesy poems, etc. Some of them do work, whereas most are perceived to be extremely stereotyped and clichéd by women of the 21st century. So if your girl happens to be a rebel or a fiercely independent woman who is in tune with modern times and thoughts, then writing a silly sonnet on a pink paper sprayed with some run-of-the-mill chloroform-type cologne will only guarantee you a few more months of bachelorhood. Find out what your woman’s interests are, what are her likes, her dislikes and act accordingly. Don’t take a lady who loves opera to an Avril Lavigne concert! If your Juliet happens to be a typical girl-next-door who has a fancy for all that is pink and mushy, then be a Romeo of the highest order! Gift your princess a couple of Mills & Boon’s and be her knight in shining armor. Shower her with a few lovey-dovey romantic gifts. Make Shakespeare look down from the heavens and weep a tear or two. Show your romantic side in a way that is both creative and equally appealing to your lady love.

Rule #5: Last but definitely not the least, show that you care for her. This is a very important piece of relationship advice. Show her that you are a genuine fellow who is here to stay and that you are not a fair weather friend. Be there for her when she needs help. Support your woman through thick and thin. Once again, do NOT go overboard with this. Calling her every ten minutes to check on her will only ensure that you end up spending New Year’s Eve with Steve, instead of Eve.

These five rules are the fundamentals of sowing the seed of love in the heart of your darling dove. Following them religiously (and sensibly!) may make your woman see you in a different light… the light of love, adoration and romantic companionship. That is the secret to make a girl fall in love with you. It may take some time. But you shouldn’t lose hope. After all, if Rome wasn’t built in a day, how can it be any different for romance?

While I think this author did make a few good points, there is some straight-up lunacy in here. Let’s break it down, shall we? Rule #1 is correct – listen to us, dammit! There are few things as irritating as sitting across the table from a person who doesn’t so much talk as they do lecture, thinking that they are all-knowing and wise about every topic under the sun, and trying not to fall asleep as they pontificate yet again on every subject that gets brought up. I find it particularly delightful when I hear people who have never worked in the Education industry attempt to lecture ME on the problems with teachers and education today. Squeeze me??! Baking powder??! WTF, people??! It’s plain obnoxious and rude – and is certainly not a way to endear yourself, friends. I don’t agree with the writer that men should never talk – that would get mighty boring mighty quickly, but…shouldn’t it be a 50-50 kind of thing? :)

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Rule #2 is accurate – be yourself. This goes for men and women equally – the pressure and effort of pretending to be someone else is freaking exhausting, so…why bother? Rule #3 is also good – it is always nice to have someone around that you know that you can rely on. Personally, I find it hard to get that way with people (probably stems from a lifetime of folks letting me down, and a lifetime of me allowing them to let me down) – but, when it happens that I feel that I can count on someone, rely on them for anything and everything, and really feel that they’ve got my back, well…that’s just about the best thing EVER. :)

I love Rule #4 – be romantic in an innovative way! This is the woo, folks! :) I love this!! :) I may not agree with everything that is written up there about this, but oh lordy am I a fan of innovative romance. I think things like fun, unconventional dates are terrific, as are silly little happies designed solely to bring a smile to your face – those can’t be beat! For example, let’s say your Sweet rolls up one day with a Coconut Water for you while loudly declaring that they are NUTS about you (get it? Nuts – coconut??! :) ), simply because they know that you LOOOOOOVE that stuff and that hydration is important – it’s not a big deal, but it lets you know that they thought about you and they care. Awesome, right?! :) I know!! :) I personally love mix tapes (or playlists, whatever the kids are calling them these days), Chocolate-Covered Cherry Jelly Bellys, assorted other sweet treats, movie recommendations, poems, pretty much anything that lets me know that someone is thinking of me. :) I LOVE that! :) Every girl on this earth will, too – come to think of it, so will most every man! :)

Rule #5 is a no-brainer – we should always always show those around us that we care, every single day. You never know when your number will be up and wouldn’t it be awful to shuffle off this mortal coil without letting those that around you know how precious they are to you? Exactly. Be supportive, be respectful, and be there. Pretty simple advice, oui? :)


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Now, go on….get out there and woo. :) Let me know how it goes. :)

xxx

 

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Mama

In her lovely and brilliant book Bossypants , the magnificent Tina Fey pens this prayer for her daughter – let’s read it together, shall we? :-)

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The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither the Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie- the- Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller- coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For Childhood is short— a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day— And Adulthood is long and Dry- Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M ., all- at- once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.”

And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen

 

Isn’t that just the very best? I know. I love it, too. :-) My Wee One has been going through a few growing pains lately and giving me (her old, beloved mother) some major heartburn….so thinking of wisdom like this does much to make me feel better.

Parenting. NOT for the weak of heart. ;-)

Xxx

 

PS: My Wee One is only allowed to have tattoos when she’s an adult, if she chooses what she wants carefully and thinks it over for a full year prior to getting it (my Dad’s rule, and it’s a good one), if the pictures are small enough so as not to hinder her career choices – and if she lets me go with her. :-)

PS: I am so in love with this line – May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Heehee!!!! :-)

 

 

Unicorns

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In the millions of people that exist in this world, it is so hard to stand out, to be yourself, to forge your own path…to truly be unique. There is so much pressure on us to conform and to look and be just like everyone else, which is bloody tragic. We should celebrate the unicorns among us, applauding their independent, pioneering spirit instead of making fun of them for being special butterflies, don’t you think? :-)

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Poindexter – My Spirit Animal

 

 

I work in a high school, so I spend my days around teenagers, and I see their angst up close and personal. I thought that being a teen girl was rough on me in the late ’80s, but every day I say a silent prayer that I’m not coming of age these days….I don’t know how I’d survive. Seriously. There were no cell phones to take video of me wearing gross outfits from Au Coton Canada (see Exhibit A), no footage of me drinking entirely too much at a fancy wedding/flirting with bartenders twice my age/dancing and barfing into a potted plant (I was 15, and driving the hot mess express that night) and no Internet coverage of a botched haircut that had me bear more than a passing resemblance to Poindexter from ‘Revenge of the Nerds’. I’m so grateful that I came into myself without having to fret about cyber bullying and other assorted stupidity shown by young people today. Kids can be so cruel…and holy hell are girls MEAN. Times back then were rough enough, especially for an odd bird like me who NEVER fit in.

Exhibit A. I wish I was still this thin, and I'm happy to report that I still have these friggin awesome pink sunglasses at my house...but that outfit. Those paper bag shorts. Thanks, Au Coton.

Exhibit A. I wish I was still this thin, and I’m happy to report that I still have these friggin awesome pink sunglasses at my house…but that outfit. Those paper bag shorts. Thanks, Au Coton.

 

When I was young, I alternated between wanting desperately to be like everybody else, but still wanting/needing to jig to the tune of my own fiddler.  I would try to do things like everyone else (apart from wearing those classic 1980s Asics Tigers volleyball shoes -everyone wore those except for me…they made my feet look like skis, for real), but most of my attempts were failures because the stuff others did just didn’t work on me.  I always dressed differently (one girl from my class wore sweats to school ALL THE TIME like it was her bloody job – and she was popular. How? She was also the biggest bitch in the known universe as well, but….that’s another story for another day) – I didn’t wear most of the things that the popular peeps wore (still don’t). I didn’t listen to the same music as most others (as evidenced by the fact that I wore out not one but two copies of my Crash Vegas cassette tape that I’m pretty sure nobody owned but the band, their family, and me – I still listen to their song “Smoke” and cry. Every time.) I am very much my own person, and I’m not easily influenced by others (if you’d like to confirm this, let me know…I can give you a list of names of people who’ve tried to change me and failed miserably). A very sweet person recently said about me “How the hell are you so entertaining?” and followed that with “there is something indefinable about you'”. Isn’t that bloody awesome? I’ve never wanted anything more than to be entertaining and different from everyone else. WOOHOO!!! I love it when people get me. :-)
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While researching the idea of embracing your uniqueness (AKA trying to find research that justifies my inclination towards unusual behavior), I came across this little gem – ‘Being Unique Matters’. Give it a read:

Why do you care? Really take a moment to reflect on this: why do you concern yourself with what others think about you? You are a unique, gifted, and special individual. That is a fact. Now let that be your starting point and your living point. Here are a few thoughts on why you should dare to be different, celebrate the special uniqueness that is you, and not worry about what others think.

Your Uniqueness and Life Have Taken You Places

Every human being that has ever lived, or ever will live, is unique. You are truly one of a kind. We all know that we, as humans, share the usual bits and pieces that most of us have in common, such as certain essential body parts — a head, a heart, a brain, and so on. But the similarity ends there.

Your life experiences thus far have made you the person you are today. The way you were brought up by your parents and the things that you learned in your childhood have come together to make you different from everyone else. You may have learned some things in a similar way to other children, such as having respect for your fellow man, the need to “clean up your room!”, or to brush your teeth twice a day, and so on. Yet you will have also learned many things that other children did not, such as how to care for a rabbit, or play a musical instrument, or build a fort in the woods, or solve complicated math equations.

It is the combination of everything that you have learned and the various things that you have done that make you truly different from everyone else on this planet. Others may share some of your talents and abilities, but there is no one who is identical to you. It is rather like an artist painting a picture; even if another artist were to copy the picture as closely as possible it would never be identical. Different brush strokes or combinations of paint would have been used, and each masterpiece is its own.

So since you are unique, why not celebrate that fact? Dare to be your own person and disregard what others may think.

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.
~ Cecil Beaton

Don’t Conform to the Norm

We are brought up in our schools to conform; to be the same as everyone else. It has gotten to the point now where some of our teachers are not allowing children to win prizes for coming in first place on school sports day, because those who lagged behind would feel different and “left out”. Some schools have discontinued having a sports day altogether, so that little Corey won’t get upset that little Johnny won a prize.

This is insane. The fact is that little Johnny is a faster runner than Corey. However, it is also the case that Corey is far better at math than Johnny. We need to celebrate and accentuate these uniquenesses. It is because of the very fact that we are different that makes all of us so wonderful and special.

Being Different Leads to Innovation and Critical Thinking

This attitude that everyone should be the same is stifling inventiveness and individual thinking. How far would we have gotten if Albert Einstein had been obliged to conform to the same mores as his peers? He dared to think differently. One might even say that he dared to think. The contribution of just this one man has made the world a far better place than it was. There are and have been, of course, many others, but if some of the teachers of today have their way these individuals will become a rarity.

So celebrate the fact that you are unique and that you have a contribution to make to this world. When you pass on you will have inevitably made an impact on it. Others will have been affected by your life and your presence here, whether you realize it or not. Those that you loved and who loved you will have been changed in a way that could not have happened had you never lived.

What Follows? What’s Next?

It follows from all this that you should feel free to live your life in the best manner as you can. But in that pursuit, be a true, authentic, and real individual. Don’t hide behind the shadows of fakery and deception. If you wish to dress differently from others, then do so. If you want to climb a mountain, or explore a desert, do it! Don’t worry what others think.

You only have one life. Provided that the way you live it doesn’t harm anyone, you have the opportunity – one might even say the duty – to live it the way you see fit.

 

Good, eh? I love the concept of being daring…for so much of what we do and who we are depends upon how bold and brave we can be.  Have you heard Brené Brown’s TedTalk on The Power of Vulnerability? If not, then you really need to…life-changing. So awesome. :-) She shares this Teddy Roosevelt quote from 1910:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

 

So, go forth and conquer, my sweet friends…be who you are, don’t mind anyone else’s opinion. Be a unicorn, dare greatly – I know you are destined for amazing things! :-)

 

xxx

 

 

Big Time

How do you define success? Is it the amount of moolah in your savings account? How about the value of your stock portfolio? The German car that’s parked in your garage? How about the casa to which that garage is attached? All of those things are nice (some of them are REALLY nice), but does having them equal success? What does success mean to you?

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There’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to feeling personally successful. Since the very definition of success is different for each of us, this battle is so intensely personal. For example, the family structure that the Wee One and I have is by no means conventional, but it works for us. Some people may look at the fact that she moves between our home, her father’s house, and my parents on a regular basis as problematic, however it has provided her with a really good foundation. She is a lovely, well-mannered, sweet little thing…and she seems to be very happy. Her smiles and kindness towards those around her are great indications of my success to me – she’s turning out pretty well so far. Let’s cross the fingers that we emerge from the teenaged years relatively unscathed!! ;-)

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Other folks define their success solely by their careers…which I think is narrow, but to each their own. I get asked from time to time what my ambitions are. Generally, I think people are trying to ascertain my desired career trajectory (which is cool that they care)….although I don’t really have a good answer for them. I have all sorts of ideas of jobs that I think would be groovy, but I love my current school so much that I never want to leave. Instead, I tell them that I want to spend my life being the kind of person that people will have good things to say about. Being kind and treating people well matters more to me than just about anything. The thought of me being an asshole is just not something that I can accept. Now, don’t think that I’m some sweet Pollyanna who is a doormat and a wallflower rolled into one ball of insipid fun. I can – and do! – definitely stand up for myself, but I try to do it as politely as possible. I believe that regardless of what I achieve in this lifetime, the most important things are being a good person, and raising an even better one. Everything else is just gravy. :-)

Some people care a whole whole lot about owning stuff….it’s kind of that old strange mentality of he with the most toys wins. Do you agree? While I think it would be super- nice to own all the finest things that I could ever possibly want, I know that thinking is highly impractical. Nice things are nice to have, don’t get me wrong….but they don’t matter nearly as much as people. I think that remembering the things that are important in life –  your family, your friends, your Boo, your spirituality, your home life – are the things that make you successful. :-)

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I don’t define success by having a busy and productive life, either…if I did, then I would be San Antonio’s version of Bill Gates or some other Titan of industry. I’m aware that I’m a bit more of a go getter than the average bear…but I don’t think I’m too terribly unusual. Are you a super-busy person? Do you like being that way? Or, do you prefer having very little going on in your life?  I am a super-busy bee, which is pretty much how I roll, but locating like-minded people can be TOUGH, friends! Do you know how bloody many people are kinda lazy? Content to just sit there, see how it goes, let life happen to them? Way too many, friends….trust me, I seem to find all of them. What ever happened to ambition? Motivation? Getting shit done so that you can make your dreams come true? I just don’t get it. Life will go on, friends, whether you want it to or not. Rather than being a passive passenger, wouldn’t you prefer instead to be an active actinger? ( so not a word, but it bloody well should be) I find this to be such a huge issue, and I’m not sure why. I am not in charge of somebody else’s destiny, any more than they are responsible for mine. I need to do me – and let them do them. It just bugs me. Apparently I need a hobby. Perhaps I should take up knitting? ;-)

I think that when it comes to contemplating success, it may be time to reshape our thinking. There’s been articles recently on the optimum salary for happiness…have you heard about this? It’s not $500,000 or even $250,000 (nice though that would be!)- it’s $75,000. A nice chunk of change, yes? But not as high as I’d have thought. You? Researchers have found that anything above that amount provides negligible happiness, and often more headaches. You can read that study here…I’m fascinated by it. :-). 

All of these things can lead to success, depending on how you look at it. I think they real key is determining what matters to you, figuring out the things that you need to feel happy and successful, and then planning and working like a mo’fo to make sure you achieve them. Good luck – I know you can do it! :-)

Xxx

Working Man’s Cafe

I saw the movie “The Hundred-Foot Journey” recently, and pretty much loved it to pieces. Have you seen it? It’s probably not for everybody, but if you, like me, love France, French culture, food,  Bollywood, and korma sauce – then you’re going to totally dig this movie! :-)

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The reviews for this one have been largely mixed, with most everyone criticizing the simplistic nature of the story, and hammering the director for taking the easy route with the tale. While I agree that it wasn’t the most thought-provoking movie I’ve ever seen, it was visually stunning and completely sweet and pleasant….and, considering the amount of things that I have going on these days, sometimes sweet and pleasant is precisely what the doctor ordered. The movie is about an Indian family that moves to Europe for a fresh start following a fire that destroys their beloved family restaurant, and kills the family’s matriarch. They end up in a beautiful French village, and decide to open an Indian restaurant across the street from a Michelin star, Classic French restaurant run by Helen Mirren. Much hilarity ensues as Mirren tries her hand at sabotaging the competition, the father of the Indian family fires back with his own bag of tricks…plus, there’s lots of really yummy looking food. I found the movie to be visually stunning, and thought that the performances were all solid as well.  Helen Mirren is always wonderful, and the rest of the cast rose to the occasion as well. The village they shot in reminds me so much of some of my favorite places in France, and I was left feeling wistful for the dog days of summers past spent sitting in a cafe on the town square, drinking wine and coffee, watching the world pass me by. Did I mention the food? ;-)

 

I fancy the hell out of a chicken korma, naan bread, and mango chutney right now!! :-)

xxx

On An Island

I bought this dress in April:

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Pretty, eh? It’s from Peter Som’s DesigNation collaboration with Kohl’s – I actually bought a few frocks when that collection was released, but this was by far my favorite. Sadly, I don’t look like the beautiful model in that picture up there, but….there’s something kind of magical about that dress. Whenever I put it on (I wear mine with a belt cinching the waist), I seem to somehow feel better about myself – which, in turn, leads to an absolute ton of compliments. I don’t know that the dress is particularly flattering on me (I have eyes, I know what I’m working with), but apparently I feel like a sexed-up glamour puss when I put this on, because I work it like nobody’s business and I hear so much positive feedback on how great I look. I’m not talking just catcalls from horn dogs, but real compliments from people…it’s interesting. I guess it just goes to show that when you feel good, you look good. When I put this dress on, it’s insanely comfortable (like jammies comfortable), yet it does a fab job of showcasing my boobs, emphasizes the waist, and flows nicely due to the super-high slit in the front. I find that when I wear it, I imagine that I’m back on a Greek island, making my way through the winding streets of Crete or Mykonos again, smelling the salty air and taking in the blazing sun. When I’m wearing this dress, the slightest breeze will pick up the edges and blow it around delicately, yet somehow I don’t seem to suffer as many wind-dress-ass situations as I usually do. It’s magic, I’m telling you!! :-)

The really important takeaway from my strange little story about my dress is the importance of doing what makes you feel good…and how that feeling good will transfer  into other areas of your life. When I feel good about myself, I think I look better, and I approach the world with an open heart and mind. I’m kinder, more patient, and more accepting of those around me. I feel like I’m more fun to be around when I’m feeling good about myself, and I feel decidedly more confident and capable in my job. There’s really no limit to what we can accomplish when we are feeling good about ourselves, so….why is it so bloody hard to sustain? Why do I (and a zillion other people) spend so damn much time beating ourselves up and being such haters about ourselves when we should be our own biggest cheerleaders? It’s baffling to me, yet I’m one of the biggest offenders of this particular sin around. The other day, I was speaking with someone and in typical me fashion, I was insulting myself. I’ve done this my whole life, thinking it makes me cute and quirky and in possession of the most charming self-deprecating sense of humor. It does not. What it does is make me sound like a real arsehole who is fishing for compliments like it was my bloody job!! Pathetic!! Grr!! I must have been in rare form that day because as I was pulling in the driveway at home, I received this text message: You know what? You need to stop having your opinion of yourself and start using mine: awesome.  Nice, eh? I know…I am really lucky to know so many good people. :-) But it’s true…I do need to learn to change my attitude, to be more positive about me and the space I take up in this world. I need to be my own biggest fan.

 

And I need to wear that dress more often. :-)

 

xxx

Shiny Happy People

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I’m all about happiness – I’ve generally been described as being a very happy person, and I value optimism, positivity, and happy in people so much. I have a hard time with people with a raging case of grumpass for no reason whatsoever…I just don’t get the point. Isn’t it so much easier, more fun, and just so much more AMAZING to greet the world with a smile on your face and in your heart? I think so. :-)

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I read the coolest thing online the other day – the Pope released a list of 10 tips for becoming a happier person…how friggin AWESOME is that? So. Great. Here’s the list:
1. Live and let live
2. Be giving of yourself to others
3. Proceed calmly in life
4. A healthy sense of leisure
5. Sundays should be holidays
6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people
7. Respect and take care of nature
8. Stop being negative
9. Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs.
10. Work for peace

Great stuff, eh? I am so on board with this list it’s not even funny. Wouldn’t the whole world be better if we just lived and let live? If we kept our big noses out of each other’s business and really adopted the philosophy of ‘you do you, I’ll do me’? I think so. I don’t particularly enjoy when people try to get into my goings on, and I frankly lack the time or interest to interfere in the dealings of other people so…we all just need to mind ourselves, and we will be so much better off. As well, it does the soul a lot of good to remember the adage ‘what other people think of me is none of my business’. Wise words, those.

Another one that speaks (hollers) to me is #8 – stop being negative. I love this, and you should, too. There is entirely too much negativity in this world, and way too many bad attitudes. Turn on the news these days and you will be inundated with negativity, people doing crappy things to each other, and just general depression. There is far too little optimism around us, and I truly pity the children of our world today…what kind of bleak future is waiting for them? It makes me sad. My little peanut at home is such a sweet pea, and it hurts my bloody heart to think of how the world will try to kick her around. Hate that. :-( If only we could find a way to somehow flip a switch and make the world more optimistic….it’d be great, yes?

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To me, being happy doesn’t seem to be rocket science, and ought to be something that most of us can achieve with relative ease. However, I came across a great article entitled “10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Incredibly Happy”….perhaps it kind of is rocket science??? ;-) Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Here are 10 science-based ways to be happier from Belle Beth Cooper, Content Crafter at Buffer, the social media management tool that lets you schedule, automate, and analyze social media updates. http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-incredibly-happy-wed.html

1. Exercise: 7 Minutes Could Be Enough

2. Sleep More: You’ll Be Less Sensitive to Negative Emotions

3. Spend More Time With Friends/Family: Money Can’t Buy You Happiness

4. Get Outside More: Happiness is Maximized at 57°

5. Help Others: 100 Hours a Year is the Magic Number

6. Practice Smiling: Reduce Pain, Improve Mood, Think Better

Smiling can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:

7. Plan a Trip: It Helps Even if You Don’t Actually Take One

8. Meditate: Rewire Your Brain for Happiness

9. Move Closer to Work: A Short Commute is Worth More Than a Big House

10. Practice Gratitude: Increase Happiness and Satisfaction

Quick Final Fact: Getting Older Will Actually Make You Happier

Don’t you just loooove this? Me too!!! I am particularly loving #2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 10. I’ve had major insomnia issues for years, and I know that not sleeping makes me feel tired, grumpy, and mildly homicidal. Sleep = Awesome. :-) #3 is my favorite, because nothing compares to time with my Muppet. Nothing. I value every moment we have together, and there just aren’t anywhere near enough of them. Being with her centers me, and reminds me of what really matters in my life – her and our life together. I got in to Education because of #5…helping others makes me happy. I think that part of this comes from my small town upbringing where things didn’t happen without volunteers – I wish I had more time to help others. If I could, I’d go to hospitals and hug and cuddle new babies every day. Wouldn’t that be just the very best? :-)

I smile a lot – last year, a member of my staff referred to me as creepily cheerful. I only smile when I mean it, and I’ve never been fake – but smiling does indeed make me happier. :-) I do a lot of #7 – I plan pretend trips all the time (I could find out that I was leaving for Bali this evening and be totes ready to go as I’ve planned that trip so many, many times. Hopefully one of these days! ) I feel so happy when I do this…it’s fun to dream and imagine, yes? :-)

Finally, practicing gratitude….I have always believed in the importance of embracing an attitude of gratitude. Think of how lucky we are to be alive today, with all of the conveniences and amazing opportunities around us. Yes, we have challenges now that previous generations have never had to go through…but we also have so many more opportunities than any other time in history. It’s a bloody great time to be alive, don’t you think? We need to act like it. I know that there are at least a million things that go on every day that we could complain about, but….what’s the point? Isn’t it easier to focus on the positives, accentuate all that goes well around us…and let go of the crap. It’s as simple as that – Just. Let. Go. Of. The. Crap.

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Soooo…..how happy do you generally feel? What makes you happy? I can’t wait to hear from you!! :-)

Xxx