HAPPY THANKSGIVING

image via gemfound.com

image via gemfound.com

On this day of thanks, I am wishing you and yours an abundance of love and overwhelming sentiments of gratitude.

Some of the things I am thankful for, large and small:

  • The health and current state of joy that each member of my family is experiencing.
  • My home.  I get to celebrate Thanksgiving in my childhood home… my parents are still currently living there and they have maintained the place… and our traditions… with a kind of care that has not gone unnoticed.  I am so grateful for my parents’ creation and preservation of all of our holiday traditions.  Thank you for teaching me what a “home” can feel like, Dad & Mom.  You two are the best parents around.
  • My friendships with a few women that I hold close. They are my sisters.  They are my tribe.  They inspire me.  They challenge me.  I respect and admire them.  They are beautiful.
  • Leopard print.  I am very thankful for its existence.
  • Billie Holiday.  Without her, I wouldn’t have scratchy jazz filling my soul.
  • My mother. The older I am, the more I understand her.  Each year, I am filled with ever increasing awe for her feminine, soft, gentle strength.  What a role model.
  • Each of you reading this.  If I had a way to send a thank you note to each and every one of you who support this site with your time, your comments, your messages, and your existence, I would.
  • My man.  He has taught me that there are men beyond my father and brother who hold the kind of goodness that I knew could exist, but had yet to find.  And… he can cook.  Gratitude bonus.
  • Food. Glorious food. Food. Food. Food. And…. food.  Did I mention that I’m thankful for food?
  • Freedom.  In light of current events, this concept has become something sacred to me.  I never want to take all of the freedom I have for granted.  Thank you, America, for allowing me access to art, education, a voice, work, opportunity, and exploration.  I love this country for that.

MUST HAVES – GIRLS WEEKEND

I feel so fortunate that I have been able to spend the past two weekends surrounded by women of such a high caliber.  The girls in my life that I am lucky enough to call my “friends” are driven, independent, have a wicked sense of humor, a sharp sense of style {each unique}, and are kind-hearted.  Here’s a peek into my past two weekends with my girlfriends…


Weekend #1: Celebrating my sister’s birthday in Los Angeles.  Brunch in Beverly Hills. Champagne and cupcakes in our room at the W in Hollywood. Dinner at Lexington Social House complete with Superhero cocktails {with Pop Rocks} & fried chicken. Cocktails at the Station Lounge. Sunday brunch at Toast.

Weekend #2: Pink champagne in a stretch limousine.  Dinner and drinks at Arch Rock Fish {with too much laughter for words}.  Bottle service at Eos {aka bottles of Veuve Clicquot topped with fiery sparklers}.

WHY SETTLE FOR BEING ANYTHING LESS THAN RIDICULOUSLY, OFFENSIVELY FABULOUS? {Mediocrity is Worse Than Death}

I look around at my peers… more specifically, women in their twenties and early thirties, and I am met with a sea of unfulfilled potential… often halted by an excess of insecurity. My philosophy is that this insecurity is two-fold: 1) women tear down other women and 2) men have a way of making women feel less than they should at times.

As to women tearing down other women: stop it. Jealousy is a useless and highly destructive emotion. If you find yourself saying something bad about another woman you should cease speaking. Do not comment on her weight, her style, her face, or anything else about the way she presents herself unless it is positive. Compliment other women freely and honestly. Encourage them. Nothing is less appealing than a woman who demonstrates excessive envy.

As to men making women feel insecure: sometimes it is intentional, sometimes it is not. I will never tear down men. I think that men are utterly wonderful and just as lost as women are in this labyrinth of a world in which we live. Sometimes they put women down, but sometimes we put them down… so let’s call it even. The only advice I feel qualified to give is this: Let men into your life with caution. A woman’s heart can be strong, but it can also be foolish. For some reason, the heart of a woman tends to be extra susceptible to the comments made by men. Do not let emotional experiences make you feel less fabulous than you are.

Enough of the serious stuff… I can only deal with so much of that… Let’s move on.

Nine Things That Make a Woman Over the Top Fabulous

1. Sky High Super Strappy Incredibly Impractical and Excruitiatingly Painful Shoes – you see them on the shelf and they take your breath away. Sadly, they are a half size too small and cost as much as your rent. You have nowhere to wear them and they don’t match anything you already own. You begin to walk away… but soon the logic tearing you from your purchase begins to fade. You turn and triumphantly hold the shoe in the air. Buy it. Don’t think about it. Shoes are sexy. Wear them out for no reason. If you can’t find a reason to wear them… make a reason. Strut. If your feet are hurting, throw back another dirty martini while you throw a wink at your man because he just looked you up and down… all the way to your shoes.

2. An Unrestrained Sense of Humor – do you like dirty jokes? Tell one. Did someone say something funny? Then laugh… hard. There is nothing less attractive or less magnetic than a woman who suppresses her sense of humor. Sure, the chick who looks like she is bored to tears might seem “mysterious,” but this allure only lasts for so long (and she will end up hanging out with equally “mysterious” {aka boring} people). If someone can’t deal with your laughter, it really shouldn’t concern you… You’re having too much fun to even notice their negativity.

3. Fierce, Unapologetic Intelligence – if you have a large vocabulary, by all means, use it. If you are up to date on current events, bring them up. If you enjoy healthy debate, engage in it. As long as you aren’t “talking down” to anyone (nobody likes a pompous know-it-all), your intelligence is something that is an asset. If your friends can’t keep up, either teach them or find more stimulating company. If a man rolls his eyes at you, he’s certainly not the guy for you (who would clearly worship your mind and have something scintillating to say in response).

4. Passionate Ambition – I don’t care what your passion is; just have one. And chase the hell out of it. Run it down. Own it. Nothing is more frustrating to me than watching someone who has so much to offer just sitting there as if destiny is going to come knocking at their door. It’s not. You have to go bang the door down, take Destiny hostage, and make it happen. You want to run Wall Street? Be a doctor? Be an actress? Show your artwork in a gallery? Write a bestseller? Do it. The people that truly love you will support you all the way. Anyone who knocks you for chasing your dreams is either envious or intimidated. Not like you care… you’re too busy climbing the ladder to notice.

5. A Full, Varied, and Impressive Schedule – nothing is more fabulous than a busy woman. A woman who is busy with work and busy with play is a total magnet for fabulous people. Fill your time with trips, shows, cocktails, and fancy dinners. And, I cannot stress this enough, do NOT change your plans for a man. I am guilty of doing this in the past and I vow, publicly, to never do this again. If he is really worth your time, he will work around your schedule and realize that he has to ask you for your time in advance, showing you the respect and forethought that you deserve {I am currently lucky enough to have this kind of man in my life}. Also, to hang out with Mr. Last Minute, you inevitably will bail on someone else or something else that you have already made a commitment to. Being a flake is disrespectful, immature, and shows a lack of preparation. You, my love, are none of these things.

6. Equally Fabulous Girlfriends – a truly fabulous woman is secure and wants to surround herself with women of her own caliber. We’ve all seen it: the hot woman dressed to the nines surrounded by a bunch of less than impressive friends. There is something wrong here. Either those less than impressive friends are secretly fabulous and the hot chick has yet to teach them how to make an impact OR the hot chick is incredibly insecure or jealous and fears competition. You are not like that. You do not compete with your girlfriends, you support them. You are there for them to help them continually improve and you celebrate their success and even their failures (because they were fearless enough to go for it). Having phenomenally strong and impressive women as your girlfriends will also motivate you to push yourself. Added bonus: the dinner conversation will be more than just shopping and boys (though, admittedly, those are my two favorite subjects).

7. A Heart of Gold (or, better yet, Platinum) – kindness and compassion are two of the most beautiful things that one can possess. If you care about others and let them know that you do, you have the ability to make a lasting impact that is worth more than all the money in the world (okay… almost). Also, one of the most important things to learn is how to put others first. This world is full of selfish people… you are NOT one of them. Give a compliment. Be a shoulder to lean or cry on. Stay strong for those you love and those who love you. Even if you have it all together, you aren’t really strong until you learn to love. There is strength in that kind of softness. The human condition is all about connecting with others. It is easy to forget this while being the hot, fabulous, driven, sexy woman that you are…. But don’t. You aren’t complete without the ability to forge this kind of connection.

8. Sex Appeal – there is a difference between a sexy woman and a slutty woman. The difference is simple: suggestion. A sexy woman hints at her appeal with a word here or a hint of cleavage there. She can wow the hell out of a man in a conservative pantsuit with the way she carries herself. A woman with true sex appeal is completely comfortable with herself and confident in her abilities, but does NOT sleep around. She is discriminate in who she chooses and does not use sex for attention, security fulfillment, or emotional replacement. She understands the power of her femininity and subtly uses it. And, hey, there are ALWAYS occasions for that too tight, too much cleavage, too much leg dress that you are dying to wear…. It’s called Girl’s Weekend in Vegas (there is an exception to every rule).

9. Loves to Get Sweaty – get your mind out of the gutter… exercise and athletics are hot. They make you happy (hello endorphins!), they increase your sex drive (rarr), and they make you healthier and way hotter. Just do it.

A LOVE LETTER – TO MY SISTER


{Not only is my sister an incredible person. She is g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s.}

Ever wished you had received an old-fashioned love letter? Maybe you’re a total head-in-the-clouds romantic… but, get real. We live in the age of the text message and the emoticon (Today’s love letter goes a little something like this: “You look hott babe ;)”)… Maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to receive one (he must have had an incredible… and likely uber-controlling… mother).  Why don’t you take some control and write one.  No no no… not to him.  To her.  If we’ve been living correctly, we all have a “her” (or many!) in our lives.  She could be your mother (you can tell her anything/everything and she loves you unconditionally).  Your sister (my love letter {well, love list} to her is below… keep reading!).  Your best friend(s). A co-worker. A professor/mentor/boss.  Whomever.  If she has inspired you, been there for you, made you laugh, etc…. take the time to write her a love letter.  Chances are… she’s always wanted one, too (we’re all a bit ditzy when it comes to love). So… make it happen. She deserves it.


{My little sis dressed as a bride, left, and me (I’ve always had a thing for tiaras)… We have a wonderful love story}

To My Little Sister,

I wanted to let you know how very much you are loved.  I’m not saying this for any particular reason, other than I think you should know how incredibly wonderful you are and that someone in your life (namely, me… your big sister and best friend for the past twenty-four years) feels overwhelmingly grateful for you.  The top seven reasons that you are WONDERFUL are as follows:

1. You are the ultimate Happy Hour date.  You always have fun and interesting things to say.  You never turn down a $5 blood orange margarita.  You eat the chips with me (as opposed to other, less cool, carb-obsessed women).  You are a fantastic listener when a few too many of the aforementioned margaritas enter my system and cause me to go on a miniature tequila induced verbal tirade.  You say wise things and silly things.  I like when you say wise silly things.  Overall, you’re the perfect date: You come prepared with funny stories, random facts, and unusual jokes (see number 3 below). You pretty much always offer to pay the bill (silly girl. you know that’s not going to happen on my watch!).  You also always look incredible and dress perfectly for the location/occasion (see number 2).

2. You are major Arm Candy. You are a total knockout. Just as a man feels proud to have a looker in his company, so do I (how cool am I? Yes, I get to hang out with a total beauty each and every day).  You have legs for days, hair Rapunzel would envy, and a (totally genuine) mega-watt smile.  The best part about you is that you turn heads and never even notice (but I do. And I’m protective. You know this. Warning to the men: if you look at my little sister for too long, I am not responsible for my reaction).  You are the kind of beautiful that is rarely attainable because you have a beauty that is all wrapped up in sweet, innocent, wonderful humility.

3. You are funnier than Penn & Teller.  Wait, which one is the one that doesn’t speak in the act? You’re funnier than that one. I’m kidding, love muffin, you know that.  The funniest part about you is that you think you are totally un-funny.  You pause before the punch line in a joke, worried that you’ll mess it up.  That’s. the. best. part.  It is your delivery (so very unique to you) that makes you unbelievably funny.  You can make me laugh like crazy at any given moment. And your facial expressions when you’re trying to be funny?  Don’t even get me started.  They. kill. me.

4. You are an Unapologetic Romantic.  Thank you for putting up with my cynical (i.e. realistic) view on love.  But, above all else, thank you for keeping my mind (and the minds of those around you) just a little bit wrapped up in the Disney Princess mentality.  In this day and age, where it’s totally “uncool” to be super in love with love… you just are.  You are open to love and all the possibilities that it has to offer.  You believe in Prince Charming. And violins. And slow dancing. And Cupid. Thank you for really truly believing in these things.  What a gift you are to the rest of us. Your attitude has an effect that is the equivalent of handing a young woman a tiny thread tied to a little love balloon floating high up in the sky.

5. You have a memory like the Sphinx. (I know there is no indication that the Sphinx has a great memory… he’s essentially a huge lump of sand. But odds are high that if there were a myth written about him… his sharp and unwielding memory would be mentioned.) I so admire your ability to memorize everything. Remember when (duh, of course you do) you thought you couldn’t do well in your Astronomy course because you had to remember so many different (and, well, incredibly trivial) things? And then you got an A+. Not just an A. The professor took the time to put a + on there.  You memorized everything perfectly. That leads me to a sub-point of why I love you: you can do anything. And always do. And always start off thinking that you can’t. I remember when you went to college and you were super nervous. You thought you wouldn’t do well.  Fast forward to your graduation: You are magna cum laude at your university (and yet you still tell people you aren’t smart. Guess what? You’re right. You’re not smart. You’re a genius.)… So, maybe number 5 should have been titled: You are a Genius like the Sphinx (I’m sure his high level of intelligence would have also been mentioned in the hypothetical myth written about him).

6. It’s easy to hold hands with you. Super easy. I think about that day in preschool when the teachers separated us across an imaginary line that they drew down the center of the playground (I was 4. You were 2. It is my first clear childhood memory).  They moved us to either side of the line and pried our tiny little hands apart (I still see it happening. In slow motion. Maybe you do, too. Being dramatic runs in our family.).  They told us that it wasn’t healthy for us to spend so much time together (we’re sisters you ridiculous preschool teachers!) and that we needed to play with the other children on our newly assigned sides of the playground.  I remember looking across the imaginary line at your tiny little crying face and I decided that it was the first time I would actively disobey an adult.  I grabbed your hand and we ran (terrified) across the playground into the tiny playhouse that the grown-ups couldn’t get into. They were so mad. But it didn’t matter. You were smiling. And we were holding hands. I love that your hand is always there for me to hold. Mine is always just a reach away if you need it.

7. You love your out-of-control and completely untrained Golden Retriever. You never trained him. You said you tried, but everyone who truly knows you also knows that you didn’t try. And we know why. You didn’t want to affect his true nature. You loved him for exactly who he was born to be and you wanted him to be happy.  Even though he bites people (your explanation: that’s how he tells you that he loves you!). You are the most empathetic person that I know. You cry at other people’s stories when they went through something sad, heartbreaking, or scary. You laugh and smile when someone else has had a success. You have the most beautiful heart.

So. I love you. For many reasons. I thought I’d get you started with seven of them. I admire you and aspire to possess so many of your incredible qualities. You are a beautiful, wonderful, incredible woman and I am blessed to call you my sister. And my best friend.

 

 

MEAN GIRLS & THE ALPHA-FEMALE

I, for one, am extremely (ridiculously!) grateful for my girlfriends… they are beyond wonderful and inspiring.  They are beautiful, unique, and I feel lucky to know them.  They are, as I have outlined below, Alpha-Females.  Surround yourself with these women.

A shot of some of the fabulous Alpha-Females in my life…. A lot of LOVE to them and to many of my remarkable Alpha-Female friends not pictured. I am oh-so-grateful for each of you. xo

Now… onto the unsavory bunch.  We have all encountered Mean Girls.  However, no matter how rude someone is, I truly believe that it is a waste of your time and energy to be rude in return.  And being mean? Gasp. You, my perfect little lady, would never dare utter negative words about someone.  You are far too busy with your fabulous life/family/career/man to waste your time on such trivial matters.  Below is a profile of a few Mean Girl Types for you to be aware of… But you are only to be that: aware of them.  Do not add fuel to their fire.  These types feed on your reaction… And the only reaction you are to give them is simple.  Kindness.  Kill them with it.  Trust me, it works.  And you leave all the better for the interaction… Poised, confident, gracious and, as has oftentimes happened for me, you may surprise yourself and leave with a new friend.  We women have it hard enough… Raise each other up, please.  Quit it with the tear downs. Now, onto the profiling.

The Gossip Queen

She draws people close by telling them hushed, naughty little secrets about everyone she knows.  These “secrets” are likely untrue… but the more farfetched they are, the more attention she receives.  Immediately be on guard around someone who is a gossip.  Just as your mother always told you, “If she talks like that about others, she’ll likely say it about you when you’re gone.”  It’s true.  You should be aware that this girl likely talks about other people because she’s uncomfortable talking about herself.  Insecurity can drive people to do incredibly unattractive things.  I personally despise gossip and feel that it is immature, unproductive, and an indicator of low intelligence.  If you have a friend who tends to gossip, simply refuse to participate.  She will likely feel uncomfortable with your silence/lack of interest and take it as an indicator of disapproval.  You may have to express your dislike for it, but you can do it in a charming way (i.e. “I’m sure we can all find something more interesting to talk about.  Have you heard about the current political situation/sale at Nordy’s/new happy hour spot?”).  At that point, you will either find something new to talk about (a Gossip Queen can be rehabilitated into a good and sometimes loyal friend) or you will not.  If no new topic arises, you may walk away knowing that you gave it the old college try and find a new group of friends (see Alpha-Females below).

The Anger Management Case

She rules through fear.  She is oftentimes a spoiled girl who is used to getting exactly what she wants.  Her characteristics are exacerbated through her martini habit.  Continue Reading