Happy Birthday To Me!!! :-)

This past week was my birthday…and I had one of the very best days! If I had known that turning 40 was going to be so awesome, I’d have done it ages ago!!! Let’s take a look at the festivities, shall we? :-)

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Ta-dah!!! :-)

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Me...I'm 40!!! :-)

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Hahaha!! :-)

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Some smartasses I know toilet papered my house...I love them :-)

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A gift from my boss - she gets me :-)

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Flowers from my lovely coworkers :-)

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My darling friend made this fabulous cake for me - yummy!! :-)

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A Hurricane from Pat O'Brien's :-)

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I wore my moustache glasses pretty much all day - they're still in my purse, let me know if you want me to model them for you :-)

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A gift bag - I so love how some people really get me :-)

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The duelling pianos at Pat O'Brien's...So. Much. Fun. :-)

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The Spazmatics stage at the Bluebonnet Palace :-)

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My boss thinks she's funny with these office decorations...I agree, but shh don't tell her! ;-)

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My new cape...I'm going to wear it for realz!!!

My conclusions from this week? I know the very best people, they care about me a whole big bunch…and I’m the luckiest girl alive. :-) Thanks to all of the cast of characters who made my week so lovely…you’re all the best! :-)

Xxx

My Little Deuce Coupe

So….I bought a new car today! Yaaa!!! Her name is Ruby, she’s very lovely and oh so sexy…I kinda have a total girl crush on her. ;-) She’s a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE, and she’s pretty great so far. The story of how we found each other is cute – I started car shopping for reals last December, and had focused my efforts on a Toyota Corolla. I had owned a Toyota before and was happy with it, so I figured I’d stick with it. I liked the Corolla a lot, but kept hesitating – partly because I wanted to be prudent about the money, and partly because I felt hesitation in my heart ♥ for an unknown reason. Over the months, I’ve researched Jettas, thought about it, and kept coming back to it – even though I didn’t know why. This morning, I woke up and decided to go and test drive one – I researched online to see which local dealer had the exact model I wanted. I showed up there, and very specifically let them know what I wanted to drive. As soon as I pushed the accelerator, I knew I had found my car. It was that easy. When we returned to the dealership, I entered the negotiation part of the experience – which, to me, is slightly worse than having a rectal exam by Captain Hook. The man I was negotiating with was pulling all of the usual car sales tricks, but thankfully I had a few of my own….and we came to an equitable deal within an hour. However, I walked away. I wanted time to think – and I wanted them to know that I’m serious, and not someone they will want to mess with. I am woman, hear me roar. ;-) Also, one of the finance guys made a dreadful mistake when we were negotiating – I balked at some numbers, and let him know he’d have to do better than that, and he replied with, “Dear, do you want to go call your Dad?” I asked my very nice salesman to get someone else as I refused to work with anyone who would speak so patronizingly to me. Jackass. Anyway, I’m pretty pleased with my new purchase, the deal I made, and the fact that I did it myself. Yaa me! :-) Here’s Ruby:
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Isn’t she pretty?? Loooooove her!!!! :-)

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

I Love Paris

We are home, safe and sound…and we had the most AMAZING week!! :-) We saw the sights, visited my favorite museums and shared my favorite paintings and sculptures with my baby girl (and yes, I cried over the beautiful art…as usual), we took the métro everywhere, shopped, ate, drank, walked miles and miles…it was perfect! Everything a ‘Fancy Girl Trip’ should be! Yaa!!! :-) I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed the time together, and how much fun we had – it was precisely what my hard-working soul needed to recharge and ready myself for the end of the school year stuff. C’est magnifique! :-)

We did a lot of the things you’d expect to do in Paris: Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, the Musée d’Orsay (the best museum ever, in my opinion…the Impressionist collection there just blows my damn mind), the Louvre, the Musée de l’Orangerie (we sat in the two rooms with Monet’s ‘Les Nymphéas’ – Waterlilies – for a long time, letting the majesty and beauty of his work just rain down on us…so incredible to share that beautiful experience with my little Muppet), place de la Concorde, walking beside le Palais Royal, les Jardins des Tuileries, strolling (and shopping!) down l’avenue des Champs Élysées, visiting the top of the Eiffel Tower, sampling macarons at Ladurée, a moonlit cruise on the River Seine, lots of time in the Latin Quarter (where I truly believe, with all my heart, that I lived once upon a time and I will live again :-) ), café after café…but we did other girlie things, too: shopping at famed department store Galeries Lafayette, visiting the flagship Chanel store on the Rue Cambon (I died. Magic!), shopping on Rue St Honoré, visiting the magnificent Shakespeare and Company bookstore and a bunch of other haunts popularized by Ernest Hemingway…the list goes on and on. :-) My words fall short when it comes to describing the magic of this week – I should really let the pictures do the talking:

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Sacré-Coeur


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Notre Dame


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The Rose Window at Notre Dame - gorgeous :-)


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The beautiful métro signs - love :-)


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So pretty :-)


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Heaven :-)


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Yet another stop on my Hemingway tour of Paris :-)


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:-)


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The Chanel pilgrimage :-)


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I'm obsessed with beautiful light fixtures - this one caught my eye :-)


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Isn't this so pretty?


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I could spend a hundred hours perusing these book sellers along the Seine and never tire :-)


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Moules Marinières from Léon de Bruxelles - what heaven tastes like :-)


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The Pont des Arts :-)


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Our lock has been added to the Pont des Arts - and the Wee One tossed the key into the Seine, ensuring that our love will never break and that we will return to Paris together someday :-)


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Stunning :-)

I took about a million other pictures that I will share with you from time to time, since Paris is simply too beautiful not to photograph and pass on. The French people continue to dazzle me, as they always have – there’s no better place for people watching than Paris! I had forgotten how very beautiful the Parisians are – the men, tall and devastatingly handsome with smoldering eyes and bone structure that would nearly make you weep (and the way they dress…I marvel. I’m fairly certain that men in most other places would look ridiculous in the scarves and other fancy finery that French men wear effortlessly…it’s amazing!), while the women are so beautiful and stylish that it rather boggles the mind. How come they can leave their hair undone and loose and it looks artfully disheveled, like they’ve been in bed shagging…but when I try that, my hair resembles a bee’s nest that could (and should) be used to mop floors??! I don’t get it! They can wear very little makeup yet still look as sexy and alluring as humanly possible…while I look like I have a bad case of consumption! It’s almost startling to see how very gorgeous they are, the tremendous beauty that’s found in the simplest of details. ..and I absolutely love their pace of life: lots of time in the day to sit in cafés and savor the exquisite coffee, wine, croissants that were loudly hollering my name everywhere I went; time to sit down somewhere and just read; time to catch up with friends…time. I love it all…and I must figure out how to bring some of that belle vie to my life. I’m fairly certain my sanity depends on it! :-)

Yesterday, we ran into someone we know here in San Antonio – the Wee One was telling her that we’d just returned from Paris. She stared at me, shocked that just the two of us went, and asked, “But weren’t you scared?” I answered with a resounding hell no, and inside shook my head at the close-mindedness that exists around us. Why should we ever fear the world? It’s a large, beautiful place full of miracles and opportunity…which we will never find if we stay at home being scared to explore. Let’s go see what we can find!!! :-)

Xxx

Little Moments

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Muppets!!!! :-)

It was my brother’s birthday last week, so the Wee One and I called him to sing and wish him a happy day. During our chat, I was telling him about our upcoming trip to Paris and all the things I’m excited to show the Wee One. As usual, he started making fun of me and how much I spoil her – which is kind of true, but I don’t believe that she is a brat. I try to give her every thing and opportunity that I didn’t have, and I smother that kid with love love LOVE…which isn’t a bad thing. I know that my brother is happy and excited for us – but his remarks got me thinking about the beauty of the simple things in life. :-) I’m a person who needs to stop, unplug, and reboot every so often as I seem to lose track of the simple pleasures around me – between my 12-16 hour work days, the number of nighttime duties and events that I have, my Wee One and her busy little life…it’s no wonder I sometimes lose my way a bit. Let’s make a list of the sweetest things we can think of…that’s guaranteed to make us feel better, right? :-) Here we go! :-)

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Great coffee :-)

-Drinking a good cup of coffee in bed :-)
-Sitting at the piano, placing your hands on the keys, and listening to the pretty tinkling as you start playing
-Audrey Hepburn singing “Moon River“, or Cristin Milioti singing “La Vie En Rose“…perfection :-)
-Pancakes
-Going for a walk
-The smell of oranges, vanilla, and rain :-)
-Waking up in the morning to the sound of silence, no obnoxious alarm clock in sight
-The smell of bacon cooking – yum :-)
-Holding hands
-Fresh flowers in a vase on a table
-The first sip of an icy cold beer on a hot day – bonus points if you’re drinking it in a delightfully trashy dive bar :-)
-The sound of a laughing child
-The Muppets. All of ‘em. :-)
-Falling asleep with the TV on
-Sheep…such adorable, awesome animals :-)
-Sushi!!
-Comfortable shoes
-Warm blankies on a cold night
-Spooning :-)
-A perfect cocktail with lime in it :-)
-The song “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”…in English and in French :-) Bonus for this Mama Cass version…the best ever: Dream A Little Dream Of Me

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Yummy!

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The perfect mojito :-)

I could go on and on, listing all of the silly things I love…and I will be watching my inbox if you fancy sending me what’s on your list! I know that at times (a lot of the time) I make my life wayyyyy more complicated than it needs to be. I’m not the only one who does that, I know…it seems to be a sign of the times. With all of today’s modern conveniences, we also make things exponentially more complex. Every so often it’s good to turn off, to shut down all of the noise, and just be alone with yourself and your thoughts (frightening though they may be) – luckily my warped little mind and I get along pretty well…we’re both easily amused. :-)

Xxx
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The Tracks Of My Tears

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Love this!! :-)

Do you watch “Girls” on HBO? I looooove it – this season has been decidedly different for me, but I’m loving it nonetheless. Did you see this past week’s episode? Blew my friggin’ mind, it did…for about a hundred different reasons. First, this episode really highlighted the painful truth about friends who grow apart – it was kind of heartbreaking to watch Marnie try to plan this super-fun girlfriends weekend when no shits were given by the other girls. Speaking of the other girls….the bravery of Lena Dunham blows me away – girlfriend was in a teeny bikini for practically the whole episode, curvaceous, gorgeous bod just hanging out for the world to love…and it was a-ma-zing. Seriously. That shit moved me to tears because I can’t imagine ever liking myself enough to do that. Do you know that over the years I have apologized to others for the way I look. For real. Like some sort of psychopath. I swear I need a kick in the arse…seriously, who does that??! Grrrrr!!!!!! I wish that I could embrace this attitude:
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I thought I was walking this lonely road of self-loathing alone until I read this piece by the brilliant writer – and my spirit animal – Mandy Stadtmiller:

The secret any man who sleeps with me eventually learns is that I have a scar underneath my breasts.

I’ve had laser treatments on it a number of times to make it less visible, but the scar is still there. It is a vocal imperfection, taking away from any centerfold potential a man might construct in his imagination.

Imperfection. That’s what I know my body represents. The secret of this will eventually come out.

If I take my clothes off, my breasts will cover the scar, in the right light, at the right angle, cupped in the right way, but as happens during sex, much of the body is revealed. “What happened here?” “What’s that from?” “Does it hurt?” Or my favorite: “You know, if you got a boob job, then it won’t even be visible at all.”

These are some of the things men have said to me about my scar upon seeing it for the first time.

I once wore a black lace bodysuit and I camouflaged the scar with tattoo-covering makeup, and I glanced into the mirror at the blurred forged perfection through the lace. I saw a glimpse into an alternate identity. This hallmark flaw, gone and covered. I splashed the water from my bathroom sink up onto my chest, angry at the airbrushing I was doing for — who? Myself? My pride? I washed the makeup off.

The story of my scar is quite simple and quite common. For many children.

When I was 9, doctors advised my parents that because I had a slightly concave chest, or pectus excavatum, I could have surgery to correct it. I don’t know if it was medically necessary. Neither do my parents. They just nodded yes. I remember the main argument was that I would look better in a bathing suit if I had the surgery necessary to correct it. I don’t remember being given a choice. I don’t remember much of anything except for being given the option for unlimited ice cream in the hospital and not wanting any of it, nauseous in the gray hospital bed, feeling my body had been split in two.

“This form says you had surgery to correct a ‘pectus excavatum,’” a doctor once perked up as he read my chart. He is there to examine my legs. He looks me over. “Can I see it?” he asks. I unbutton my shirt and show him my breasts. “Mm-hm,” he says. The doctor performs a minor injection to rid me of a spider vein in my ankle, but instead of ridding me of it, it worsens. I have the scar to this day. Another imperfection. More questions. More stories. More apologies.

There is a saying that energy from various situations in our lives stays with us as we go along. That unless we work out the energy to release it, that energy — trauma, fear, shame, sadness, fear — stays with us in our body throughout our lives. It’s lessened over time, but it is still there, a little fuzzy cloud around how you feel about yourself.

In the past, with any man who might see me naked, I used to go through the litany of what was wrong with me, to apologize, to excuse, to point out what I could not control — to try to get in front of the story — and relay The Story of the Scar. It was as if I understood from a very young age that the primary duty of my body was there to serve, and any fault that a man might find was a failing on my part as a woman. And so like clockwork, before any intimacy, at the start of any intimacy, I would begin my story the same: “I had a surgery when I was 9…”

There it was.

Part of me wanted to hand a card out to any prospective man who might ever see me naked with an annotated explanation: “Here are all of my faults as best as I can categorize them. Let us begin.”

It was only after I got sober in 2010 that my speech simply ended. Suddenly, the unbearable became bearable. The pain dissipated without meaning or judgment — and morphed into simple facts. There it was, a scar. It was neither bad nor good, it simply was a part of me.

And so this weekend, there I lay, naked, about to be intimate with a man who I have never been intimate with before for the first time.

This man is not someone who I expect anything from, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is the nature of our relationship. I feel good about what I’m doing, and I feel good about the clarity with which I see everything around me. I don’t need this man. He is here for my pleasure, not the other way around.

“We don’t have to do anything,” he says. “I know,” I say.

“I’ll be reading about this, won’t I?” he says.

I’m tempted to write nothing to show just how little this means to me, but I like the idea of writing about the scar. About the power of the stories we tell ourselves about our bodies.

“I miss getting high,” I tell him as I lay there beside him, and I mean it. I don’t mean that I plan to relapse, to drink again, but acknowledging this fact is my way of getting high in the one way I allow myself to now: through speaking truth.

This night has been building up for months, for over a year. He turns out the lights, and he holds me. “Let’s look out at New York together.” We do.

He kisses me and starts undressing me.

If this man can see me, if he ever really sees me, I know he never will. No man can. 

I’m the only person who can ever see me. I know that now. And there’s no need to apologize.
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I’sn’t she amazing? I know. I love her. :-) I’ve done this thing she talks of a million times -apologized to others for my scars, the width of my arse, my mop hairdo that always looks primed and ready for some serious floor cleaning…but why? What’s wrong with these things? I’ll tell you – nothing. Zip. Zilcherooni, friends. Not a damn thing. I will never be discovered by a modelling agency at the local Piggly Wiggly (we don’t have those here, but I sure wish we did. I’d shop there every day, just for the name alone), but hopefully I won’t frighten small children, either. But even if I do, so what??!
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I am covered in scars…some of them are pretty significant and noticeable, while others have faded to the background, just part of the landscape. My left forearm looks like it has been through a lawnmower, my right elbow is right tore up (but that scar resembles a smiley face, which is kinda cool)…there’s tons of them. All. Over. Me. Each one a small badge of honor to whatever life event they were a part of (that elbow scar? Surgery following a broken elbow that happened while taking some of my favorite students ever skating…I think of them and smile every time I look at the scar). The scar – no, gash – across my left hip is one that I’m the most sensitive about…which is dumb, as it is rarely seen. I had bone harvested from my hip and planted into my left wrist, leaving me with permanent wound marks in both places. I hate that hip scar so much – it symbolizes so much to me: the failed attempt to fix my arm (while buggering up my hip in the process), the unhappy place I was at in my life when that operation happened, the agony and misery of trying to look after myself on my own after the surgery, with my arm in a cast from fingertips to shoulder and my hip all bandaged up…it was just a rotten bloody time, and that stupid scar is a hateful reminder of some of my darkest days. Perhaps a day will come when that scar will serve as a sign along the road, reminding me of how far I’ve come. Perhaps someday… :-)

In other news, I spend too much time in my head, you know that? As bloody busy as I am you’d think I wouldn’t have time for obsessing over trivial shit, but I do. It’s gross. I constantly fret that some people think the things that I do – and therefore me – are stupid. I don’t mean intellectually, because I think I do fine in that area…I mean something different. For example, I try to do thoughtful things like making up stupid poems, celebrating silly occasions like Birthday Eve, and bursting into song whenever the spirit moves me. I do these things to show love and encourage fun and happiness…but at times, I fret that people barely tolerate the things that I do in the spirit of good-hearted fun, and that they think I’m foolish and stupid. I usually don’t give a roaring rat’s arse what people think, but when it’s somebody I care about, I do. A lot. It bothers me. The thought of those that I care about thinking badly of me just breaks my heart. I wish that I could just do me and have that be enough – and it usually is, but…how to move past those times of self-doubt?

An expression I’ve always loved a bunch is ‘living out loud’…good, right? I have never been accused to disappearing into the background – truth is I wouldn’t even know how. But still I’m plagued with self-doubt. How do you get over that? How does a person learn to just let go? What’s the secret? I came across this article with eight tips for boosting self-confidence and moving past the doubt:

1. Stop comparing your accomplishments to your friends’ and colleagues’ accomplishments.

I find that I am most successful in my personal and professional life when I am following what works for me, and what makes me feel good, even if it is different from what someone I look up to is doing.

2. Forget about what everyone else is thinking of you.

When you care about what everyone else is thinking of you, you inhibit yourself. You’d rather do nothing and not get judged, than do somethingand risk criticism.

Worrying about what other people think of you will continue to hold you back from doing something potentially huge for yourself.

3. Just make a decision, and then correct your course as you go along.

Usually your first reaction is going to be your best since it typically comes from a place of intuition rather from the ego, and before outside opinions get in the way.

4. Write yourself a hand-written letter.

5. Listen and/or read positive material on a daily basis.

6. Write in a gratitude journal at the end of each day.

It’s far too easy to wallow in pity and focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do have. Giving those feelings energy will only create more situations in which we come up empty handed.

Instead of focusing on what you are lacking, focus on what you do have, and what you haveaccomplished. This fosters a feeling of gratitude, and when you invest energy into gratitude now, you’ll start to find that you’ll be rewarded in the future.

Feelings of gratitude put you in a positive frame of mind. When you’re feeling positive, you’re feeling good. And when you’re feeling good, good things happen.

7. Identify your biggest fans, and then nurture those relationships.

8. Go to your mantras for support.

I’ve learned that by surrounding myself with my biggest fans, by focusing on my own goals, and by practicing gratitude I can experience love more deeply, minimizing feelings of self-doubt.

What do you think? I like a few of the ideas a lot – the gratitude writing is something I’ve flirted with off and on over the years, but I’ve never built a consistent routine around this. I should. I hear so often that people who practice this are far more at peace with themselves and their lives, so I should probably give it a whirl. There’s a beautiful red Moleskine journal (the best – and only kind I use!) sitting on my nightstand right now…there’s no time to start like the present!!! :-) I also love the idea of not comparing your accomplishments to those around you – I used to struggle so much with this one, but I think things are improving here. Yaa me!! :-) One idea I’m not so sure about is the whole mantra thing – I have read about it, thought about giving it a whirl, but ended up feeling stupid, so I never followed through. Here we are with the feeling stupid again…all things really are full circle, eh? I need to work on this. Starts now. :-)

How do you do it, friends? How do you manage your self-doubting behavior and focus on being your best you? Is this something that matters to you or am I just being neurotic and worrying for nothing? I can’t wait to hear your feedback, friends! :-) I’ll read it after I’m finished with the gratitude journal for today. ;-) There’s so much to be grateful for. :-)

Xxx

I Choose You

The Sara Bareilles song “I Choose You” is pretty much destroying me these days – it’s just too magical for words. Click here to give it a listen – I’m going to post the lyrics here in case you want to sing along (which I heartily recommend):

Let the bough break, let it come down crashing
Let the sun fade out to a dark sky
I can’t say I’d even notice it was absent
Cause I could live by the light in your eyes

I’ll unfold before you
Would have strung together
The very first words
Of a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you
(Yeah)

There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me you could not come true
Just love’s illusion
But then you found me and everything changed
And I believe in something again

My whole heart
Will be yours forever
This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you

We are not perfect
We’ll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes
I will prove my love to you

I am not scared of the elements
I am under-prepared, but I am willing
And even better
I get to be the other half of you

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you
I choose you

Don’t you love it? Me, too – I think that song is perfect. :-) (Sidenote: Why is Sara not the biggest, most popular artist in music today? She’s so bloody talented, smart, witty, and just all that is right about music these days – she deserves all the prizes.) Anyway – back to the song…I’ve really been thinking about the whole concept of choice lately – in my mind, I find it so liberating, in kind of a Lord of the Manor/Master of my own Destiny kind of way. There are a lot of things that I do every day because I have to – that’s life, the albatross of obligation that all of us wear around our necks…but I am really trying to focus on spending my off work time doing precisely what I want, and only the things that I choose to do. I used to hang out with some people because I felt obligated – but I don’t do that anymore. What’s the point? Doing that made me miserable, and I felt really fake – even if I didn’t particularly fancy their company, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t deserve better than me, acting like the Crown Princess of Hypocrite Island. Gross. :-( So I don’t do that anymore. I haven’t taken to being unkind and mean to people, I just don’t see them…And I leave it at that. I have a hard time finding things in common with a lot of people – I can usually find something on a surface level to talk about, but in terms of making a real connection, it just happens so rarely. Recently, someone at work very unkindly described me as ‘dingy’ and ‘weird’ – and while I think she needs to get on her broom and bugger off, she is sorta right. I am weird – and thank goodness for that! I like unusual things (case in point: I’ve been up in the middle of the night to watch curling this week – and it has been bloody awesome :-) ), I do things a little differently, and that’s just fine with me. I don’t expect people who want to be part of my life to share my strange and unusual passions and behaviors, but I do gravitate towards people with whom I can find some common ground, and common interests. Don’t you? If you didn’t, what would you ever find to talk about?

This weekend, I chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day and love by taking the Wee One on a date – it was great! :-) We had a gorgeous dinner on the patio outside at Beto’s On Broadway (which I highly recommend – our food was fabulous!), and then we went to the ballet. We saw Ballet San Antonio’s production of “Firebird” – a gorgeous show, featuring a lot of the dancers from “The Nutcracker” at Christmas. It was such a lovely evening, and we had a blast – here are some pictures:

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I choose this right here :-)

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Al Pastor Taco and Chicken Poblano Empanada - heaven :-)

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The Wee One's dinner of a grilled chicken taco and fries :-)

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Sugar the Teddy Bear tied one on ;-)

We had a whole lot of fun, which was just the best! :-) The Wee One and I are off to spend a week in Paris in a few weeks, and we are SO excited! :-) Paris is a magnificent place, and I can hardly wait to show her all of my favorite things in the city I love so much. :-) The best part, however, will be the time spent with my girl. There ain’t nothin’ better – I will always choose that. :-)

Xxx

Eight Days A Week

 

If you haven’t realized, Valentine’s Day is this coming Friday, so we are now officially in Love Week. You can’t miss the signs of love everywhere – the stuffed toys and boxes of chocolates pouring off the store shelves, the never-ending stream of obnoxious TV commercials (I beg to differ, by the way – I’m willing to bet that on any given weekend, more kisses begin with beer and tequila shots than with Kay, but…what do I know?!), and the local restaurants promoting their Friday night dinner special events. Whether you have a Sweet Baboo or not, I hope that you will find a way to show someone some love this week – I hope that the love is returned, but if it’s not, then that’s okay, too. I love you – so it’s all good. :-) There’s a lot of pressure on people to do Valentine’s Day right, don’t you think? I hate that – we should show love every day, not just on special days that are endorsed by Hallmark and the Ferrero Rocher company. I try to always show those that I care about some love – I’m not always successful, but I mean well. :-) What are your thoughts on this? Are you a looooooooove show-er???! ;)

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San Antonio :-)

 

Here’s a fun one for you: Did you know that online retail giant Amazon recently named San Antonio (where I live!!) the most romantic city in the United States?!??!?!  Here’s the article: (*and here’s another one!)

SAN ANTONIO — Whether it’s riding in a horse-drawn carriage down Houston Street, eating a candlelit dinner at an intimate restaurant on the River Walk or having a cocktail atop the Tower of the America’s, San Antonians know how to spice up a date.

In fact, just ahead of Valentine’s Day, the Alamo City was named the most romantic city in the country by Amazon.com, who tabulated purchases per capita from 2013 of romantic propaganda ranging from Marvin Gaye albums to adult toys.

“Love is in the air in San Antonio,” said Stacy Keller, a spokeswoman for Amazon, adding that this is the first year San Antonio cracked the top 20 since the list began five years ago.

The purchases recorded include romantic novels, movies and albums, as well as “sexual wellness products”, which include adult-themed novelties, lotions and condoms.

Seattle, Knoxville, Miami and Alexandria, Virginia, rounded out the top five, respectively. Round Rock, ranked 14th, is the only other Texas city on the Amazon list.

New York and two cities in California, El Monte and San Buenaventura, finished as the least romantic cities.

This cracks me up, and I’m not sure why! I know that indeed there are TONS of romantic things to do here in SA – it’s such a pretty city :) – but I kind of think that even a dirty, ugly city can be romantic if you put the effort and love into it, don’t you?? :) What makes for romance in your eyes? :)  Considering what you know about me (which is probably way too bloody much since I’ve not been blessed with much of a filter), you probably think I’m a miserable princess who is ridiculously hard to please. You’d be wrong, because I’m not like that (I hope), not even a little bit. It takes very little for me to be excited and happy – I’m not a girl who would ever expect a man to buy me a giant sparkly diamond ring…if I want a ring, I will buy it myself. I am so grateful for any and all kindnesses that come my way – I love it when someone buys me a bag of my favorite candies or a coconut water, because they know that I love them. :) I love few things like I looooove a silly poem – and someone will never go wrong by quoting some of the great romance master writers to me. I don’t need to be wined and dined…the way to my heart includes a stop at the nearest Whataburger for a patty melt (no joke – patty melts are my life). While I love all of the fancy things in life, I don’t depend on someone else to get them for me – if I want something lovely, I will find a way to have it…it’s pretty simple. I think that true sentiments from the heart matter far more than any sparkly bauble, don’t you? :)

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Mmmmm...patty melt :-)

Here’s what Ludwig von Beethoven wrote to the love of his life – his immortal beloved:

Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us – I can live only wholly with you or not at all – Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits – Yes, unhappily it must be so – You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart – never – never – Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life – Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men – At my age I nedd a steady, quiet life – can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day – therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once – Be calm, only by a clam consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
ever thine
ever mine
ever ours

Beautiful, eh? I know…those words up there? Worth more than any sparkly jewel. :) Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours. Le sigh. :) I hope that you have a happy Valentine’s Day this week, my dear friends…and I hope that you have the love that you need and deserve. Je vous aime. :)

xxx

PS: Here’s “Something” for you :)