Brooklyn Baby

I spent Saturday evening at home with the Wee One, sprawled on my bed, reading the newest Jennifer Weiner, listening to Lana Del Rey and playing Words With Friends. It had been a day – the dog got scared by fireworks on Friday night and did a runner…and I walked the neighborhood streets from midnight to 4:15am before giving up. Thankfully he reappeared at home at around 5:30am, but by then the night was pretty much toast. I spent the day painting my front door red (see below), and watching the entire first season of the AMAZING series The Fall, from BBC Northern Ireland…if you’ve not seen this one yet, rundon’twalk to Netflix and stream it now. There’s only 5 episodes, an hour each…and it is bloody riveting. SO good. Anyway, I watched that while coats of paint were drying, I started reading the Jennifer Weiner book, and then moved on and listened to Lana’s album. Her music left me wanting to lounge around outside of some impossibly hip pub, drink in hand, contemplating life, the stars, and destiny with a hipster in horn-rimmed glasses, skinny jeans, and a cardigan. The album sounds like summer, yet had me wanting to buy shoes for school in the fall. The more I listened, the more I felt as if I was in on her secrets, that together she and I were on the outside looking in on the popular kids. Listening to that album had me feeling all the feels, which is rather odd, as I haven’t had that happen in bloody ages. Strange! What music moves you, my friends? :-)

The old door :-(

The old door :-(

Midway through the process

Midway through the process

The door!!!

The door!!!

Ta-dah!!!! :-)

Ta-dah!!!! :-)

 

Last Saturday night, the Wee One and I drove up to Austin to a graduation party for my dear friend. It had been a hellaciously long day, and I was afraid of falling asleep, so I started singing with the radio. I found out that I was kind of loud and preventing the kid from sleeping due to my volume, so I was happy when she joined in. For me, the easiest way to ensure there’s no falling asleep at the wheel is by singing – and, because I’m an equal opportunity pain in the arse, I will also sing to someone else who is driving to make sure they stay awake! I have a good friend who I know probably still has nightmares about driving home with me from Austin at 4:00am, singing along with the old country tunes on the AM band on his radio *which he’d purposely picked thinking I wouldn’t know the words to those songs – fooled him!!!* I was jet-powered by a lot of beer that night, so my singing game was really on. The things I do for those I care for!!! ;-)

I’ve heard three great albums recently – the Lana one, Sia’s album is friggin DIVINE (Google her singing Chandelier on Howard Stern…you’ll weep, I guarantee), and Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour is CRAZY good!!! His voice is fabulous – LOVE!!! :-) I’m so excited for great new music – it’s been awhile since I’ve been excited about something like that. Yaa!! :-)

What excites you, my pretties? :-)

Xxx

PS: If Sam Smith’s Stay With Me doesn’t rip your bloody heart out and make you want to touch someone you love as you cry into their shoulder, then you had best make your way to the nearest ER, because you’re dead or about to be. Sorry about that. :-( That song is a heartbreaker…wowza!

Marigold

I have all sorts of troubles with makeup. First, I’m mighty pale, meaning that I have a tough time with colors that look good (and not whorish) on me. Second, my skin is über-sensitive, so I have to tread carefully lest I use something that I’m allergic to -I found out the hard way that I was allergic to makeup from Estée Lauder: I tried some eyeshadow and mascara, wore it to work, and then frightened the bejeezus out of my students when I began bleeding from my eyelids (no joke)…it was gross!!! It also took ages for all of my eyelashes to grow back (the Estée Lauder mascara caused them to fall out, too, no doubt in solidarity with the bleeding eyelids). I’m always on the lookout for new makeup that will work for me – and not cost a fortune. I might have found it in the Flower line, by Drew Barrymore. I’ve always loved her – I dig her movies, but more importantly I appreciate the unapologetic way she’s lived her life. I admire people with the nuts to do as they please in a very public way…I think that’s fabulous! :-) As she’s grown up, Drew has diversified – she has a winery now (that makes DAMN good wine, no joke!), and a line of low cost-high quality cosmetics. I ordered a bunch of things online, and so far I’m right pleased with what I’ve received. Here’s what I got:

I am completely in love with this lip color - it's rich, moist, and is true to the color in the tube...even on my odd lips. It looks very berry-ish!!! :-) Love!!! :-) Bonus - it lasts!!! :-)

I am completely in love with this lip color – it’s rich, moist, and is true to the color in the tube…even on my odd lips. It looks very berry-ish!!! :-) Love!!! :-) Bonus – it lasts!!! :-)

This one - Tender Tuberose - is positively stunning!! I love the richness of the color, and the lasting power. Yaa!!! :-)

This one – Tender Tuberose – is positively stunning!! I love the richness of the color, and the lasting power. Yaa!!! :-)

I ought to be better at wearing blush - I need it because I'm so pale! However, I fret that I go from rosy glow to street walking whore far too quickly, so....I get nervous. As well, I've always feared using bronzer for contouring purposes, even though I need it badly. I tried this duo out this morning, and good news: I resemble neither whore nor pumpkin! Woohoo!! :-)

I ought to be better at wearing blush – I need it because I’m so pale! However, I fret that I go from rosy glow to street walking whore far too quickly, so….I get nervous. As well, I’ve always feared using bronzer for contouring purposes, even though I need it badly. I tried this duo out this morning, and good news: I resemble neither whore nor pumpkin! Woohoo!! :-)

This palette is on my eyes today....and it's pretty great! I think my eyes are probably my best feature, so I try to play them up as much as possible. I also ordered a really good black eyeliner from Flower, and it used in combination with this palette has really upped my eye game today!! That plummy color in the corner? Dy-no-mite, friends! :-)

This palette is on my eyes today….and it’s pretty great! I think my eyes are probably my best feature, so I try to play them up as much as possible. I also ordered a really good black eyeliner from Flower, and it used in combination with this palette has really upped my eye game today!! That plummy color in the corner? Dy-no-mite, friends! :-)

Haven't tried this yet, but I will give 'er a go tomorrow. I love the sandy colors, they remind me of a palette that Revlon used to do that I looooved!! I'm planning to use the darkest color to really smoke things up on my eyes. What do you think? :-)

Haven’t tried this yet, but I will give ‘er a go tomorrow. I love the sandy colors, they remind me of a palette that Revlon used to do that I looooved!! I’m planning to use the darkest color to really smoke things up on my eyes. What do you think? :-)

 

All in all, I think that some of these Flower products are going to be fun to use, and a nice, inexpensive change to mix things up this summer. I won’t give up on my staples (I’m talking to you, Chanel foundation and lipstick #45), but I’m excited to experiment with fun colors for summer. Thanks Drew!!! :-)

xxx

 

New Perspective

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Perspective has to be one of the most important, life-altering parts of life, don’t you think?  Interestingly enough, perspective is one of the few things in this world that we can control. Think about it – so much of how we approach the world depends upon our attitude, and our perspective. Some of us are glass half full people, while others see theirs as half empty…when all along it’s the same damn glass. I’m usually one who sees the glass as half full, but I, too, have my days where that bad boy is looking empty, and the cards are all against me. Even on those days, though, I figure that there’s still room in the glass for more vodka! ;-)

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I’ve spent quite a lot of time considering this idea, because it really matters to me for some reason. I try to see the best in people, and I try to make the best of tough situations…it just feels better to approach life that way. Sometimes I tell myself fibs in order to persuade myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, because if I really looked at things with my reality goggles on, I would turn tail and run for the hills. I need to make myself believe that things will be okay in the end, and if they aren’t yet okay then it’s not yet the end. I make mistakes every single day, some accidentally, and some purposefully. I justify my errors in judgment by confidently telling myself that my actions are for the greater good, even if that greater good is little more than my own selfish happiness. I try to keep things in perspective as well, and frequently find myself muttering under my breath that things just aren’t that big of a deal, even when I’m SO angry in the moment that I want to scream.

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I had a major event at work this evening, and I’m happy to reveal that it kind of went okay. From the perspective of the audience, things seemed to go pretty smoothly…for which I am SO grateful. However, the reality was that the preparations and the behind-the-scenes stuff were an EPIC disaster, there were a lot of prep tasks left undone, things were ridiculously disorganized, all sorts of stuff was missing…I stepped up to the microphone to begin speaking, with pretty much no idea what I was about to say. Happily, I winged my part and enough was done , so it all went off okay. I shook a lot of hands, hugged a lot of kids, and survived the evening without basically shitting the bed on stage in front of hundreds of people. From my perspective, though, it was a disaster the likes of which I hope to NEVER have to endure again! Grr!!!

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Here’s an idea for a TV show: we open each episode (it’ll be a crime procedural) with the scene of a crime; the rest of the show will unfold by showing the events/the crime from the different perspectives of all of the people involved in the resolution of the situation- the suspects, the police, the CSI peeps….and, finally, the actual victim of the crime, which, of course, will show us whodunit through the victim’s eyes. Good idea, right? Maybe Dick Wolf or Donald P. Bellisario’s peeps could call me and we could discuss script ideas. I think I’m on to something here, folks – when you see this on NBC in about three years, please watch the credits for my name, and be sure to say you knew me when. ;-)

 

xxx

Take On Me

I did something really stupid today. I was having a conversation with someone, trying to express my feelings (which we all know I pretty much suck at), when I apologized for being needy, for saying stupid stuff, and for asking for what I needed. I didn’t realize how ridiculously self-destructive that whole shit-sentence was until I replayed it over in my head later (I do that, replay pretty much every conversation I have in my head at later times…I know how obnoxious that is, but I can’t help it. Sorry.) . Can you believe that? Apparently I’m so full of hatred for myself these days that I actually apologized for sharing my truth and expressing what I needed. Ick.  :-(

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You wanna know what I really need? To learn to accept myself as I am, and give myself a damn break. When you Google accepting yourself, there’s a ton of New Age-type, hippie stuff going on…but when you wade through the fluff, there’s some good stuff to be found, like this article :

Therapists Spill: 12 Ways to Accept Yourself
By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S.

For many people self-acceptance is hard to come by on a good day. It’s tenuous, a glass with tiny cracks, at best. On a bad day, when you’ve made a mistake or two, don’t like how you look or feel absolutely miserable, your self-acceptance is in shards.

Fortunately, self-acceptance is something we can nurture. Look at it as a skill that you can practice versus an innate trait that you either have or don’t.

Below, clinicians reveal 12 ways we can cultivate self-acceptance.

1. Set an intention.

“Self-acceptance begins with intention,” according to psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber, MA. “It is vital that we set an intention for ourselves that we are willing to shift paradigms from a world of blame, doubt and shame to a world of allowance, tolerance, acceptance and trust,” he said. 

2. Celebrate your strengths.

“We are much better collectors of our shortcomings than our strengths,” according to Ryan Howes, Ph.D, a psychologist in Pasadena, California. Psychologist John Duffy, PsyD, agrees. “[Many people] fail to see their strengths and cling to antique scripts they carry about their lack of worth,” he said.

Duffy helps his clients hone in on their strengths and abilities by writing them down. If you’re having a tough time coming up with your list, name one strength each day, he said. 

Howes suggested making a similar list: “Make a list of all the hardships you’ve overcome, all the goals you’ve accomplished, all the connections you’ve made, and all the lives you’ve touched for the better. Keep it close by, review it frequently, and add to it often.”

3. Consider the people around you.

What kinds of people do you surround yourself with? Sumber suggested asking yourself these questions about the people in your life:

Who speaks negatively to me? Who reinforces negative self talk? Why do I allow such people to hurt me? Are they just doing my own dirty work because I’m not willing to choose a different reality?

4.Create a support system.

Distance yourself from people who bring you down, said Joyce Marter, LCPC, a psychotherapist and owner of Urban Balance, LLC. Instead, “Surround yourself with people who accept you and believe in you,” she said.

5. Forgive yourself.

Past regrets can prevent us from practicing self-acceptance. Forgive yourself, and move on. “Whether it’s about something you’ve done or a personality quirk that resulted in a social faux pas, it’s important to learn from the mistake, make efforts to grow, and accept that you can’t change the past,” Howes said.

When the tinges of remorse resurface, remember these words, he said: “I made the best decision with information I had at the time.” “The behavior or decision might not seem correct in hindsight, but at the time it seemed like the best choice,” Howes added.

6. Shush your inner critic.

Many people equate their inner critic with a voice of reason. They think their inner critic is simply speaking the truth. But if you wouldn’t say it to a loved one, it’s not honesty or sincerity. It’s unwarranted — and harsh — judgment.

To quiet your inner critic, Marter suggested choosing a realistic mantra. “I believe in the power of mantra and encourage clients to select a mantra that is normalizing, calming and encouraging during times when the inner critic rears its ugly head,” she said. For example, you could use: “I am only human, I am doing the best that I can and that is all I can do,” she said.

As Marter said, “Our mistakes and our imperfections are not bad or wrong or failures–they are the fingerprints of humanity and opportunities for learning, healing and growth.”

7. Grieve the loss of unrealized dreams.

“Many of our problems with self-acceptance come from our inability to reconcile who we are as compared with the idealized dreams of our youth,” Howes said. Maybe you dreamed about becoming an Olympic athlete or a multi-millionaire or staying married forever or having a big family, he said. Whatever your dreams or goals, mourn that they didn’t come to pass, he said. Then “get back to being the best you possible.”

8. Perform charitable acts.

“When you sacrificially give to others, you see how your deeds are a positive influence on other lives. It becomes more and more difficult to maintain the idea that you are no good when you see how your deeds help other people,” Howes said.

9. Realize that acceptance is not resignation.

Marter described acceptance as letting go of the past and the things we cannot control. This way, “you can focus your energy on that which you can [control], which is empowering,” she said. In fact, for some people accepting that they have a problem is the first step to making positive changes, she said.

10. Speak to your highest self.

Marter suggested readers try the following activity that includes imagining and interacting with your highest or best self.

I often ask my clients to visualize their highest and best self that lies deep within them. This process of visualizing a separation or detachment from the current [or] suffering self often helps clients tap into the wisdom that already lies within them — their highest self — to promote healing.

This exercise teaches clients how to be their own best parent and demonstrate empathy, compassion and love towards the self. I advise clients to take a few minutes to meditate and practice this visualization whenever they are in crisis [or] need some direction or some self-soothing.

11. Be kind to yourself.

Many people are hesitant to show even a shred of self-kindness because they see it as selfish or undeserved. But the key to self-compassion is “to understand that weakness and frailty are part of the human experience,” according to Deborah Serani, PsyD, a psychologist and author of Living with Depression. “Coming to accept who you are involves loving yourself because of your flaws, not in spite of them,” she said. You’ll find more on practicing self-compassion here and here.

12. Fake it ‘til you make it.

If you’re unconvinced that you’re a worthy person, keep the faith and keep at it. Keep practicing self-compassion along with the other suggestions. “Most of us do not have direct communication from our deity of choice, yet we take the leap and trust that our God is true and real. The same goes for our self-acceptance. I first must think and do before I know,” Sumber said.

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When I started reading this, I was thinking it was pretty much like every other list (and therefore useless), with nothing of value for me. But I felt compelled to keep reading…and then shit got real. Consider the people around you? Yikes. Most of the people around me only know me when they want something,…which sucks. Very few people seem to enjoy the pleasure of my company, which leaves me wondering if I’m such a miserable arse that nobody wants to be with me! I’ve noticed that I spend A LOT of time listening to the troubles of other people,  but rarely does anybody ask me about mine. I have one friend (she reads this, so she will know who she is! I love her!  ;-) ) who says that she doesn’t ask about me because she figures that if I have something to share, I will just say it. I bet that approach and philosophy works great for most peeps, but for someone like me who struggles with self-worth and rarely believes that anyone gives a shit about her, that approach is challenging. I’m not usually brave enough to share my innermost self, and I take my cues that it’s okay and safe to proceed when people ask me questions. So, if they don’t ask, I say nothing…and the cycle goes around and around.

Create a support system? How? I believe that I’ve got this one cracked at work, but….not at home. At work, I have the world’s most wonderful boss whom I love with all my heart – she treats me wonderfully, supports me, and legit wants me to do well. I’ve not had that many times in my career, so I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate her. :) My secretary is dynamite as well, she’s helpful, supportive, and would do anything with me and for me – I loooooove working with her!! She’s fab!!!!! But, at home…it’s just me. I can’t go and visit my parents without enduring my mother’s endless criticism of my appearance and everything I do, so I generally try to spare myself that misery. It’s maddening….and probably explains why things are so rough for me inside my head. I have a few people in my life who I think believe in me and are my personal cheerleaders, but the team is in dire need of some new members. How do you make that happen???

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The next three bowled me over – forgive yourself, shush your inner critic, and grieve the loss of unrealized dreams. Hmm. I can’t ever forgive myself for some of the mistakes that I’ve made, and I don’t get why. My mistakes have hurt mostly me (with a few others tossed in along the way for collateral damage), so it should be easy to forgive myself…but I don’t. I can’t. And I don’t know why. My inner critic had a bloody megaphone that she yells into at ALL TIMES, and let me tell you, that bitch’s voice is LOUD. It never ends. I’ve always marveled at my ability to manage a career that requires me to be the sage on the stage so much of the time, always enduring the scrutiny of a lot of people, when all I hear a constant stream of hateful words in my head every moment of the day. It’s bloody exhausting. :-(

Now, tell me…how do you grieve the loss of unrealized dreams? That’s what’s I need to do. There are so many things that I’ve wanted to do with my life, but they just didn’t happen – generally not due to lack of effort, but rather circumstance. There are many things that have left me feeling disappointed, but there are so many things that have gone well in my life, and I’m a very lucky girl. :-)  I have, however, had difficulties letting go of a few things that I’ve always wanted – and instead of always feeling like a failure, or like I’ve let everyone else down, I need to somehow grieve the passing of my dream, let it go, and move the hell on. I bloody love this idea, it’s brilliant – how to put it into practice??!

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Are you watching the reality series “True Tori” on Lifetime? Cameras have been following Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott following his stint in a rehab facility after he cheated on her last fall. I’m surprised that I’m watching it, actually – this is so not my usual cup of tea, but I came across the first episode in the middle of the night a few weeks ago, and have been compelled to watch ever since. I was a huge fan of Beverly Hills, 90210 – I was still wearing my Donna Martin Graduates shirt a couple of years ago, I still watch the reruns whenever I can find them on TV, and many a life decision of mine has been made by thinking What Would Kelly Taylor do? I still love the fashion of that show (and I still want to wear flowery baby doll dresses with my Doc Martens every day of my life), and the music was pretty damn great as well. Tori’s Donna wasn’t my favorite character, but her wedding to David Silver still brings me to tears. Anyway, over the years, I have kept up with Tori’s life, and while I haven’t watched them, I’ve been aware of the series of reality shows that she and Dean have made following their marriage. I’ve always felt leery about those kinds of programs, since people who go on Tv and tout how happy they are and how perfect their marriage is seem to be hollering, “Look how great our life is!! Look how much yours sucks !!” to me…and I’m uncomfortable with that. (Sidebar: I call it my Facebook theory – if you have to brag about your shit on Facebook, then your shit probably isn’t all that and probably stinks a bit!)  Anyway, I know that she and Dean have four small children, and careers that are very much intertwined -until all hell broke loose and he bonked some broad in Toronto. (There’s another quandary – why do men choose to bonk women who can’t keep their damn mouths shut and be discrete? Stupid.) Now, they have cameras on them filming them at home as they try to adjust to Dean being out of rehab, and they attempt to rebuild their family. This is where things are getting really interesting – Tori is hurting so badly and needs to express it, but every time she does, Dean falls apart. He was suicidal at one point, and she’s scared that her feelings are going to literally kill him. So, she holds it all in…until she’s an absolute mess. It’s painful to watch, truth be told…I never would want to see anyone suffering and hurting, and I can understand the pain she’s feeling. I, too, feel completely alone a lot of the time, and pissed off with the world for ignoring me – I get it. Whatever happens, I wish them well….and I remind the rest of you: don’t brag about your happy relationship – you’re only dooming yourself to misery!!! Be happy and peaceful about it..it’ll mean more that way. :-)

xxx

Another One Bites the Dust

I was recently reminded of the douchebaggery of people (something I’m reminded of far more frequently than I would like to be) when listening to a friend discuss the asshat behavior of men. She was irritated because the new man in her life was doing dumb things, making her feel self-conscious and ridiculously insecure. This dear friend of mine is a serious number one stunna and has no business whatsoever to doubt herself even a smidge. Girlfriend has it going on – the dude in question needs to get his poop in a group and smarten up!!

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Once upon a time, I was asked out for drinks and food by a member of the male persuasion. I didn’t usually accept such invitations, but I knew this fellow a bit and figured it wouldn’t be too bad, so I gave it a whirl, and said yes. We went, and had a lovely time – everything went very well, including the good night kiss at my door. The next day, he asked me for a movie date a few days later – again, I went, and things were awesome: laughs were had, hands were held, I was on my best behavior (witty, charming, not breaking wind or burping)….I thought it was great. Oddly , there was no good night kissy-face at the end of this date, but…I didn’t give it much thought. Over the next few days, we messaged back and forth, but something felt palpably different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off. I asked a few times about making tentative plans, that kind of thing, and there was always a reason, an excuse of why he couldn’t get together. It was weird. One night, he invited me over to his house to watch a hockey game, which I thought was code for something else – it wasn’t. Hockey was watched, cheeks were chastely kissed, and I went home. Huh.

Me being me, I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked if there was something up – this was the conversation:

Me – Is everything ok?

Him – No. I can’t see you anymore. I never should have asked you out in the first place.

Me – Ok. My apologies if I’ve done or said something to offend you. I’m confused!

Him – You didn’t do anything wrong, haha, you are very cool.  I never should have asked you out in the first place.

Me – Gee, thanks. Never mind, it’s all good.

Him – By doing that, I broke a very long-standing personal rule and I owe you an explanation. Or an apology.

Me – No apology needed.

Him – It’s hard to adequately explain without you taking this the wrong way, but this is completely on me. I stay out of relationships because I’m really really really bad at them. I hurt people emotionally, even nice people. I’m not going to go through that again. And you especially don’t need that either.

Me – Oh, okay. I understand.

Him – I doubt that. It’s just me. I’m stuck in a behavioral pattern that I recognize but can’t break.  For what it’s worth, you’re the first woman in over five years to make me forget my rule.

Me – Um, thanks.

Him – I tend to be a much better friend…just ask my ex’s!!

Me – Haha.

Him – You are by far the most interesting person I’ve met in years. Plus you are actually a decent human being. And maybe even the Least Crazy Female I’ve Ever Met???!

Me – Gee thanks.

The conversation continued with more insanity, so imagine my shock when the next day, he texted to ask if I wanted to make plans for a few days later. I said okay, assuming we were having a ‘friend’ outing, and made a bunch of suggestions.  We made plans for the evening – to go out somewhere. Here’s what transpired next:

Him – Are you still coming over tonight?

Me – Oh, I thought we were going out!

Him – I don’t know.

Me – Okay, would you fancy a trip to see a movie? That’d be fun!!

 

About an hour passes.

 

Him – I don’t know. I just got out of the hot tub. But yeah, by the time I shower and get dressed and all it’s probably late to head uptown for a movie.

 

FYI – this text came in at 5:45pm.

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Baffling behavior, yes? Frustrating? Indeed. Why do people who pee standing up act this way? Lest you think me a psychotic stalker who saves messages, I wrote this all down in a journal. Ages ago. And I kept the notebook. You know why? So that I could pull it out from time to time to remind myself of just how shitty some people are, and just how far I’ve come. There was a day when a conversation like this would have crushed me, leaving me crippled and feeling like there was something wrong with me. Now it makes me think that he’s a freaking idiot with issues far beyond the scope of any crap I’m interested in dealing with.  Gross.

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Why are relationships so hard? Why is it so difficult for people to be straightforward? Why can’t we as people say what we mean and mean what we say? I find that the older I get, the more blunt I am  - God help us when I’m 70….yikes!!! I am not mean (or I try not to be), but I sure don’t endure stupid crap like I used to!! I would never have done what the idiot from the above story did….because, even though I’m really blunt and stuff, I’m not hurtful. I try not to toy with people’s emotions, I try not to be hurtful or unkind…and I try really hard to be the kind of person I want to be around. In her book “Miracles Now”, Gabrielle Bernstein writes that peace begins with you. So does happiness. Being happy depends on how happy you are with yourself. If you’re a miserable sod who loathes their own company, nobody else is going to want to be near you, either. So, to the guy who told me the crap above – thank you for reminding me of the things that are important in life…and, sadly for you,you weren’t one of them. I wish you well still – just as long as it’s nowhere near me. To my dear friend who questions her own desirability – love you, friend…you deserve the moon and the stars, and any man worth having will give you all that – and more. :-)

 

xxx

Desire

This Georgia O'Keefe soothes my soul - it's lovely :-)

This Georgia O’Keeffe soothes my soul – it’s lovely :-)

What are the things that you desire most in this world? Wealth? Fame? Freedom? Love? I started thinking about this today while doing cafeteria duty (it’s mind-numbingly dull, leaving me with a lot of time to contemplate the universe and ponder life in general). While considering the idea of desire, I started mentally listing the things that I desire: good health for my daughter, financial security, independence, love, freedom to travel, a comfortable home, companionship, good health, professional fulfillment, happiness, great shoes…nothing too earth-shattering there, eh? However, after two more laps around the cafeteria, I worked on checking off the things that I have from my list…and that’s where shiznit got real. I’m a long way away from too many items on that list, which makes me so sad. I’m 40 years old now for goodness sakes (that’s so weird to type)…shouldn’t I have all of this stuff figured out by now and want for nothing? Yeah, right…nowhere close. Am I behind?

Life advice courtesy of Oprah and Starbucks :-)

Life advice courtesy of Oprah and Starbucks :-)

I’ve been reading a lot of the work of Gabrielle Bernstein lately – she touts the whole #SpiritJunkie movement, and making miracles all over your life. I love that so much, don’t you? I want this SO badly, but holy shit is it ever hard to try to adapt her way of thinking and make it work for this chaotic existence of mine. I just don’t know how to  work it out! Same thing with the magic of crystals – I keep reading about their mystical, magical powers so I got some. I felt kinda weird about it, but whatever…I’m so bummed about so many things these days, I’m willing to try anything. So, now I’ve got crystals, but no clue what to do with them. I put amethyst in my pillow the other night, and I can’t be certain, but I think I had a better sleep than usual. The half Ambien might have helped as well. ;-) I had a rose quartz shoved in my bra this morning (nobody ever accused me of being classy), hoping to improve the love that people send my way, but it appears to have fallen out. I will have to retrace my steps and find it, because it was a cute one.  Isn’t that just the way with me?  I’m a girl who needs tremendous heaps of help and sparkle in my life – I work hellaciously long hours, I don’t have much of a social life anymore, I’m severely sleep-deprived, I don’t get nearly enough time with my Muppet, and the things I try to help myself end up falling out of my bra…I need some assistance, whether it’s from crystals, magical miracles like Gabrielle’s got going on, or a kind person who just decides to shower me with goodness. Perhaps that’s where my problems lie, and why my list of desires is still so damn long – because I’m looking outside for assistance, rather than searching within. I think that’s what Gabrielle is all about, harnessing the magic inside and using it to make all your dreams come true. Now to figure it out for me!

My rose quartz crystal - I found it!!! :-)

My rose quartz crystal – I found it!!! :-)

I came across an article on finding your inner peace in ten simple steps – doesn’t that sound like the very best thing ever? Here are the steps: (source:

http://www.ineedmotivation.com/blog/2008/05/find-inner-peace-in-10-ways/. )


Accept what is
There is only so much we can affect. What we cannot change, what we cannot influence no matter what, should not be a concern to us. This is what I notice with so many people, in that we focus and linger on things which we have no control over. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Why care about what other people think of us when we’re not even sure what it is they are actually thinking? Once you open the blinds to this fact, and start accepting what is that you cannot change, you automatically relieve yourself of a mountain of stress and anxiety. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Taking this path is following a road towards peace.

Meditate
If you do not meditate yet, you are missing out on a very important activity that can change your life. Meditating for 20 minutes daily can have an enormous impact in all areas of your life. Take a look at this post I wrote 100 Benefits of Meditation. If that doesn’t convince you to start meditating, I don’t know what will! If you have a lot on your mind and you feel like your thoughts are driving you crazy, meditation can help you find peace. Simply close everything, sit back, close your eyes, and clear your mind of every single thought. Focus on the emptiness. You will be surprised what a mere 20 minutes of meditation can do to turn things around for you. If you have trouble meditating, I would suggest getting a professional guided meditation CD, which will help you get used to this level of peacefulness

Spend time in nature
We spend so much time confined in buildings of steel and concrete and bricks that we quickly forget where we come from. It is natural for us to be in nature, and this is why it feels so good and it is so peaceful when you take a walk in a park or bike on a trail in the forest. As I am typing this blog, I am looking out my window to this gigantic tree in front of my house. Watching its stillness, with the wind blowing through its branches calmly, it is a sight that not only inspires me, but that I find peace within it. I have blogged before about how I enjoy biking and one of the reasons is that it brings me closer to nature. It is something you just can’t experience in a car. If you feel overwhelmed, take a stroll outside where there are tons of trees and far from the city. Be there and just enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the peace.

Learn the power of a smile
Whenever you are laughing or smiling, something interesting happens. Not only does something happen on a chemical level to make you feel better, but it also stops all stress and negativity from entering your psyche. A simple smile can make such a difference. For example, the other day I mishandled a dish and it fell on the floor, breaking into pieces, creating a big mess. Now, I could have been angry with myself for being clumsy and thinking “here’s another reason why life sucks!”. But I did the opposite. I began to smile and kind of make fun of myself for not being able to hold on to that plate properly. As I cleaned up the mess, there was no bitterness or anger. As a matter of fact, I did it with a smile on my face…I did it with peace. So whenever you find yourself in a similar predicament, just think of the silver lining, and don’t be shy to poke fun at yourself. You will quickly realize that peace finds its way much more easily to you when you smile.

Think outwardly
What I mean by this is that most of the time, we are so consumed within our own problems that we can no longer see the forest from the trees. Therefore, it helps to remind ourselves how big the world is. Take a moment and read up about some other countries, cultures, and the likes. Be aware that the world does not revolve around your problems. I find that when I hear about a tsunami or an earthquake killing hundreds of thousands of people on the other side of the world, my problems aren’t really “problems”. Looking beyond ourselves is very important in finding peace and it leads me to my next point.

Care about others
You will never find peace by being self-consumed and only worrying about your own needs and wants. When you begin to genuinely care about other people, so much goodness comes right out. This only helps into solidifying your inner peace. It can be people close to you or pure strangers, but any act of kindness and goodwill eases your way towards peace. When I help other people, I stop focusing on my so-called problems and realize that my life isn’t so bad after all. This rids my entire being of all the stress and feelings of overwhelm. There is great peace and wisdom in thinking and caring about other people, which we are blind to when we are too deep within our own selfish ways.

Never lose hope
Hope is something you can never afford to lose. With hope you always have a path towards peace. Whenever we get too stressed out and overwhelmed within our own life, we forget that hope. We forget that the sun always shines after a rainy day, and that this is merely a bump in the road. I find immense peace in just knowing, deep within my heart, that everything will be ok. With hope, I know that whatever is seemingly terrible, is only temporary and that soon enough, things will be just fine. This lifts off all of that negativity from my entire being, and I feel better pretty much instantly.

Embrace your beliefs
I am not one to pick or favor one belief system over another, so whatever it is that you believe in, embrace it with your entire being. Be within your faith 100% and peace will find its way into your heart. Now, we may all disagree on each other’s beliefs but one thing we must all agree on is that having a solid, healthy faith is crucial in founding a proper conscience that helps into guiding us towards peace and wisdom. There is a reason why research has shown that people that are deeply devoted to their faith have a higher life expectancy and are less likely to have diseases such as cancer. This is because they experience more inner peace, which is important if you want to increase the quality of your life.

Keep learning
One thing that provides us with much stress in life is the fact that we always worry about not having all the answers. Just accepting that you do not know everything, and that you are open to always keep learning is a tremendous step to take towards achieving inner peace. I find great joy in learning all kinds of different things, and just being aware that I am growing as a person each and every day provides me with great feelings of peace. Accept that life is one big journey of never-ending learning and you will find yourself closer to experiencing true peace within yourself.

Live in the present moment
Most of the time, what we worry about is relating to something either in the past, or something that hasn’t happened. Living in the present moment erases all such thoughts. Why worry about something in the past that we cannot ever change? (see point #1, accept what is). Why worry about something that we are not even sure will happen or not? This is why in the present moment, you find true inner peace. In the present moment, there are no problems and no concerns. There is only stillness, and it is within that stillness that you can uncover peace. I used to be such a person that worried all the time, to the point where I had trouble sleeping. Once I learned to live in the present moment, I stopped thinking about the past and any potential future, and just worried about being ever-present in each and every moment. My life is definitely more peaceful since then!

 

 

These are great, eh?  I believe in the power of smiles,  and I have a serious commitment to lifelong learning. I care far too much about most others, and I am one of the most hopeful, optimistic people I have ever known. I can’t seem to figure out the whole meditation thing, but…perhaps I will give that a shot again. The hardest one for me is learning to live in the moment – I’m really improving on the whole ‘It is what it is’ thing…hard as it has been for me, I know that I’m not God, I can’t change anything…but learning to quit planning is going to be the death of me. I need to learn to just embrace the many beautiful moments that I have, and quit fretting about what is going to happen next. I need to stop trying to plan and schedule every detail of the world around me, and I need to just let it be. Let it be. I may have just found my next tattoo. :-)

 

What do you desire, friends? Whatever it is, I hope you get it – you deserve it, you’re awesome. :-)

 

xxx

I’m Sexy And I Know It

I’m a big believer in the art of the compliment – I know how great I feel when someone pays me a compliment, and I try to pass that feeling forward as much as possible. I don’t just over-compliment willy-nilly all over the place, because that sounds so fake and I loathe fake-ness with all my heart. I know people who compliment the ever-loving hooey out of me – it was nice to start with, but now when it keeps going on and on, it just sounds so insincere. Ick.

Take a compliment

I am also fascinated by the phenomenon of those who rarely or never pay compliments to people…I find that equally weird. I don’t know if it just doesn’t occur to them, or if nothing ever pleases them – I can’t work it out. Case in point: I see someone, tell them how nice they look and compliment something they are wearing…and I’m met with silence. I show up in a new frock, excited because I think I’m mildly cute – and again. Nothing. This strikes me as weird behavior – but now, as I read over what I’ve written, I think I’m probably being Goldilocks…never happy. Is that correct? Am I being higher maintenance than usual? I probably am. I really need to work on that. I know that I can be difficult, demanding, needy, and an attention sponge, but…surely it can’t be wrong to expect to hear nice things from time to time?

What is the right amount of complimenting? Don’t you think it should be natural, organic, and come from a place of authenticity and genuine appreciation? Me too. I did a bit of online research about compliments, and came across this little gem:

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

-Mark Twain

The 12 Characteristics Of Effective Compliments

1. Be Genuine
Above all else, a truly effective compliment is a genuine one. Only praise someone if you think they actually deserve it. People can tell when you are being genuine, and they appreciate it. Conversely, there are few things more agitating than to receive a dishonest compliment.

A part of being genuine is not using hyperbole. In other words, don’t exaggerate.

Bad: “This is the best green bean casserole I’ve ever eaten!”

Good: “You cook a delicious casserole. I really enjoyed it!”

A genuine compliment is not given with the expectation of getting anything in return. You are simply saying what needs to be said at that moment.

Bad: “Nice shoes, wanna shag?”

Good: “Those shoes look great on you! Where did you get them?”

2. Be Specific
As a master complimenter, you must pay attention to detail. Giving a general compliment isn’t always a bad thing, but being specific is always better. A general piece of praise just doesn’t mean as much to anyone as a more detailed one. By pointing out a specific aspect of another person, it shows that you have taken real interest in them. You have taken a real interest in them, right?

Bad: “I like your style.”

Good: “That’s such a cool ring you are wearing! It really complements your whole style.”

3. Be Unique
This is related to being specific, but it goes a bit deeper. Some people receive the same compliment a lot. Beautiful women hear the same thing about their looks every day. Telling them they have beautiful eyes, while specific, won’t do much for them. Instead, tell them something they have never heard.

This requires an extreme amount of attention to detail and again, a genuine interest in the other person. Being unique is a challenge, but it will set your compliment apart and give it way more impact.

Bad: “You have beautiful eyes.”

Good: “That bracelet you’re wearing matches your eyes perfectly! Did you do that on purpose?”

Rock And Bomb Compliment

4. Acknowledge Their Effort
Chances are good that it took some effort for the other person to achieve whatever it is you are complimenting them on. They will like your compliment even more if you acknowledge that effort. It shows that you appreciate what was going on “behind the scenes” to make it happen.

Bad: “You have a great figure.”

Good: “You have a great figure. You must have an impeccable diet and exercise routine!”

You can also acknowledge the character traits that must have been necessary to achieve their results. This has a similar effect.

Bad: “I like your artwork.”

Good: “I like your artwork. You’re clearly a very creative person.”

5. Describe The Effect Something Has On You
While praise is ultimately about the other person, they must have had some effect on you in order for you to notice it. People like hearing about how they affect others. If you let them know that they have positively impacted you in some way, it will make them feel better.

Bad: “You are a great writer.”

Good: “Your writing really inspired me. Because of what you wrote, I’m going to start exercising again.”

6. Use Emotional Or Descriptive Language
This is an important point, but if you don’t have a way with words, you shouldn’t let it stop you from complimenting others. If you can, however, I recommend using more emotional or descriptive language. You aren’t trying to impress them with your knowledge of SAT words, but there is no doubt that certain words have a stronger effect than others.

Bad: “You look really good today.”

Good: “You look absolutely stunning today.”

Remember to be genuine though. If you exaggerate too much, your advanced vocabulary will backfire.

7. Don’t Be Backhanded
Oftentimes, people will give compliments that make the other person feel worse about themselves. Don’t do that. A compliment should be entirely positive, and should leave no room for a negative interpretation. Backhanded compliments usually involve making some kind of negative comparison. This is best demonstrated through examples.

Bad: “You’ve lost so much weight, and you look great!”

Good: “I’m impressed at your dedication to health.”

Bad: “Nice nails, are they real?”

Good: “I love your nails, they look so classy.”

8. Don’t Wait For The Perfect Moment
Sure, the timing of your compliment is important. But the perfect moment will never come.

The worst thing you could do is try to “manufacture the moment”. Nothing could be less genuine. What does this mean? When you manufacture a moment, you are performing some kind of social maneuver in order to make your compliment fit a context. For example, you might really like the other person’s ring. After noticing the ring, you deliberately steer the conversation towards jewelry. There is nothing wrong with talking about jewelry. But you should first give the compliment, and then use that as a transition into a conversation about jewelry. It is much more authentic that way. Remember, you should let your compliments flow organically. It should feel like the right thing to say at the moment, or like something that just had to be said. You will improve the timing of your compliments with practice.

9. Don’t Second-Guess Yourself
Own your compliment. Whatever you have to say, say it like you mean it. You do mean it, right? If you are wishy-washy about it, your compliment will completely lose its effect. This is a common problem when a man compliments another man, particularly if it is about their appearance. A lot of guys think that if they compliment another man on their looks, they will seem “weird”. There is nothing weird about telling him that his shirt is awesome or that you’re impressed at their bench press. Don’t worry about what other people think. Just say what needs to be said.

10. Be Concise
A good compliment should not take long to say. If you add too much explanation to it, you dilute your message. This isn’t just true of compliments, but of communication in general.

Bad: “I really like your dress. The color is perfect for your complexion. I saw a dress like that once and I wish I had bought it. Total mistake on my part. Tomorrow I should go back and get it…”

Good: “I really like your dress. The color is perfect for your complexion.”

11. Pause For Effect
After saying what you need to say, stop for a moment. Give it a moment to sink in. It’s not as though your compliment should be a conversation stopper; nothing could be further from the truth. But you don’t need to immediately launch into another thing just because. This is similar to the advice of keeping your compliments concise. The idea for both is that you want the other person to actually hear what you have to say. If you don’t pause, you risk having your compliment get lost in the conversation.

12. Don’t Expect Anything In Return
Sometimes we compliment others because we want to get something back from them. This is a bad place to be coming from. Remember, the compliment is for them. You shouldn’t be saying it because you want to get a compliment in return. Besides, if they give you a compliment right after you give one to them, theirs will probably seem less genuine to you. It won’t feel as good as if you let them compliment you on their own. Similarly, don’t expect a “thank you”. You’ll probably get one, and you probably deserve it. But it’s not necessary, and you shouldn’t be expecting it in advance. Say what needs to be said, and then move on.

Good stuff, eh? I think so, too! There are few things lovelier than the feeling you get from a legit compliment…it puts the sprinkles on the entire day. :)  Some folks find it harder to compliment others – for example, I went to meet some peeps the other day straight from work (a 12 hour work day, yet), and I wasn’t looking my best, which I acknowledged. Don’t worry, one of the people at the table said,  you don’t look bad…you’re fine. Hmm. I don’t know about you, but there is something so non-complimentary about that, don’t you think? I’m relieved to hear that I didn’t look BAD, but…is it really so hard to tell somebody that they look nice? I wasn’t expecting to have smoke blown up my skirt and be told that I was a numbah one stunnah, but….come on. It takes so little to effectively use adjectives, and can make others feel super-great, so…why not give it a try?

I’m going out to compliment a whole ton of people right now – I’ll let you know how it goes! Truth is…heading out the door, looking for lovely things to compliment is a pretty great activity – and I’m excited. :) It’s great to look for the good amongst us, don’t you think? :)

xxx

Don’t Speak

Here is a list of the top ten things you should never say to me (and most other sensible women) – just for your information:

1) Relax. Calm down. – These statements drive me absolutely insane. I will calm down if I want to calm down, and I will get riled up if I feel like getting riled up. It’s not your business, so don’t even go there.

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A cute picture - words to use with caution

2) You owe me. – Unless your name is Visa or American Express, I don’t owe you a damn thing. If you’ve done something for me, I will repay you and your kindness tenfold, so not to worry. Telling me that I owe you something when I don’t repulses me, because of the ownership that it implies. And I hate ownership when it comes to people. Gross.

3) Are you really going to eat all that?  – Yep. Now shut up. Not your business. 

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I ate all that - it was delicious :-)

4) How much money do you make?  – If my salary is your business, I will happily discuss it with you. If it’s not, bugger off. Talking about money is vulgar.

5) Why can’t you be more like _________?  – I’m me, I’m myself, and most days myself is pretty great. I’m good with that. Why can’t ____________ be more like me? Comparisons are miserable, friends….just say no.

6) You look fine. – Really? Fine?? That’s the best you can do???! I’m not saying you need to channel my one true love the Bard here, folks…but there are a lot of adjectives more fitting than ‘fine’. A tip? Ravishing – one never goes wrong with ravishing. :-)

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My boyfriend Billy the Bard :-)

7) Have you gained weight?  – Probably. But I am aware, so I don’t need your stupid arse pointing it out. So hush…my weight = not your business. Besides – I’m still cute and foxy, so…who cares??!

8) What happened to your hair? – Me. I happened to my hair. I’m not a stylist, and I don’t play one on TV. I suck at doing hair, and frequently contemplate copying Sinead O’Connor. I know I have ugly hair – you do not need to remind me. Eyes…I have ‘em. They work, too.

9) Do you really need another pair of shoes/dress/lipstick?  – Yes. Yes I do. I’m paying for it, so…what does it matter?

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I needed these shoes

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And this purse :-)

10) It’s up to you. – I make decisions all day long…I’m great at it. However, I’m not good at dealing with people who don’t have opinions. Get some! Go on!!! I bet you’ll like them!! They’re fun!! :-)

Thank you for listening – please refer to the list as needed…and feel free to apply it to all of the women in your life. It’ll make all of our lives so much easier – and probably buy you a ton of good will. You’re welcome.   :-)

Xxx

Believe

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In his book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about mastery taking 10,000 hours of practice – makes sense, eh? Practice makes perfect :-) However, there’s a whole other piece at play when it comes to mastering something and becoming successful – belief in yourself. While in Paris, we visited a lot of Ernest Hemingway haunts – Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, the English bookstore Shakespeare and Company.. I was channeling Papa, calling on his spirit to bless me with even a drop of his writing talent; while in the Latin Quarter, I bought a book called “Paris WIthout End”, about Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson. I read it on the plane on the way home – and it’s fascinating. It chronicles her life prior to meeting him, and their tumultuous years together – mostly in Paris – while he was beginning his writing career. Her unwavering support of her husband and his aspirations are admirable…but so was his steadfast determination. He knew that he and his writing were destined for greatness; he believed it with every inch of his being. It was simply a matter of him doing what he did, and waiting for the rest of the world to get on board and realize his extraordinary talent. It was never ‘if’ – but when.
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Isn’t that just gorgeous thinking? I love it – and I was really struck by that undercurrent of belief throughout the book about Ms. Richardson. (NOTE: It’s an interesting book, if you ever come across it – I liked it a lot) As I’ve written before a zillion times, I’ve been known to suffer a bout or two (hundred) of rather crippling self doubt. I have often struggled to believe that I could be anything more than what I was – which is straight up ridiculous thinking, because apart from a supermodel or a man, there’s not much that I can’t be. However, it has taken a lot of years, a boatload of struggles and false starts to get where I am now…and I’m still not as sure of me as I would like to be. Perhaps someday. :-) Earlier this week, I heard an interview with singer extraordinaire P!nk, from early in her career. She was a guest on Howard Stern’s show, and he had a ton of questions about her childhood, because of a Behind The Music-type program he’d just seen about her. He was inquiring how her parents dealt with finding out that she wanted to be a singer, and her answer included something about how she always knew she would be a singer – and a famous one. Howard asked her how she knew that – and she told him that she knew what she wanted to do, she knew what she needed to do, and that she knew she would be successful…it was just a matter of time. That overwhelming belief in self and confidence in ability is so inspiring to me…I find it so admirable. I wish that I had more of it myself; I can’t imagine where I’d be! :-) I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, but I know that I’m destined for more. I have so many goals, dreams, and aspirations that, while I’ve accomplished a lot already, there is so much left to do. I’m just getting going…and I need to look to some of the most successful people out there and truly start to believe…

it’s just a matter of time. :-)

Xxx

PS:
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Why Complain?

I really hate complaining – I don’t like it when it comes from other people, and I absolutely bloody hate it from me. I have always endeavored to keep that under control, but, like all people, I’ve been known to slip up a time or two (million). The reason I dislike it so much is because it serves no purpose other than to cleanse and purge me and my frustrations – which is nice for me, but basically what happens is I vomit all of my issues on to somebody else, and pretty much bugger up their day. How fair is that? It’s not! Shame on me!! :-(
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I have been really considering this whole complaining thing recently…a few months ago, I started making a conscious effort to curb my negativity (but there’ll be no curbing my enthusiasm – heh heh). I would find myself ramping up to bitch and complain about something, start to let’er fly…and then abruptly stop. It made for strange looks from bewildered people, but…c’est la vie. It was hard, too…do you know how easy it is to rant and complain whenever you feel even a wee bit slighted? Easy. There are so many, many times in a day that we all feel hard done by, whether we really do get the brown end of the stick or it’s all in our heads. Either way, it’s difficult to overcome perception – and even more difficult to stop the complaining. However, I came across a book recently that has blown my damn mind into itty bitty sparkly bits. It’s called “A Complaint Free World”, by Will Bowen…and it is an AMAZING idea: go 21 days without complaining, gossiping, or spewing negativity out your mouth. The peeps behind this movement have made bracelets, which you put on one wrist…and, if you find yourself complaining or gossiping or being negative, you stop, switch wrists, and start again – reset the timer. You keep doing this until you’ve sustained it for 21 days. According to the website, scientists have discovered that it takes 21 days to form a new habit – and imagine how blessed and positive your life would be if your habits included no complaining, and an emphasis on positivity and good thoughts?! Amazing!!! :-) I devoured the book in no time, I’ve ordered the bracelet (they came in a pack of ten…let me know if you need me to hook you up)…and I’m going to give this a very serious shot. While I’m waiting, I put a ponytail elastic on my right wrist – and, when I have felt myself getting distraught or starting to complain, I snapped the elastic on my arm…bringing it to the forefront of my mind that my thoughts and my words have power, and it’s important to make those words count for something good. There have been a few moments in the past few days when I fretted about leaving welts on my arm or snapping my hand off, but…so far so good. I am really excited about trying to do this and truly making a change in my mindset – I’m pumped! :-) I will keep you posted on my progress!!! (And I hope with all my heart that it doesn’t take me the better part of 10 years to make it 21 straight days!!! ;-) )
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What do you do to emphasize the positive things in your life? How do you handle the negative thoughts that we all struggle with? Share your tips…I can’t wait to hear from you!! :-)

Xxx