She never craved a simple life.
The existence she wanted was a sophisticated one,
Full of the complex,
which complicated things.
The thoughts, feelings, words, sounds, flavors, wines,
The friendships and love she desired,
None would satisfy her,
Unless they resembled the spirit inside of her,
Full and robust,
With depth and feeling.
A simple woman,
she never was,
and never would be.
Alas, her quest for satiation,
had left her feeling dissatisfied.
A killer of a moment,
that left a bitter taste,
which imbalanced her palate,
and left the flavors of her life indistinguishable.
Everything was like everything else,
which made it all seem like nothing.
This meant everything to her
as she sat in a rare silent moment,
biting on the finger that need not be on her lips,
but the pulse of her future.
She would stop the noise,
and feel the beat,
she would not start over,
This she knew,
started with knowing herself.
“Maybe…you’ll fall in love with me all over again.”
“Hell,” I said, “I love you enough now. What do you want to do? Ruin me?”
“Yes. I want to ruin you.”
“Good,” I said. “That’s what I want too.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell To Arms
In her chest, a crackling thunder.
In her mind, a raging storm.
Her cheeks, heavily soaked,
Lay under covers in a bed too big to sleep alone.
The rattling of windows that no longer opened to greet him.
The doors of opportunity, locked for good.
And yet, as she suffered alone,
He was there.
She crawled down the streets they no longer walked on.
She called out to him in a suffocating silence,
Examining the black and white reality,
As she lived in a gray area.
One day became two,
Two, became three hundred and ninety,
It all came undone.
And just as she gave up on getting up,
She went from mourning to morning,
and realized that she would not be drowned by the rain,
By his absence,
she had been saved.
Many of you have shared your enjoyment of my Things I Know To Be True series, so I decided to extend an invitation to some of the most successful and inspiring men and women in my sphere. In the next few weeks, you can expect posts highlighting a wealth of knowledge from a number of wise-beyond-their-years folks here on BDC Life In Style.
First up, the incredible, irreplaceable, Lauren Cosenza. Lauren is the creator and editor-in-chief of DIVAlicious blog, a trusted beauty/fashion expert, an on-camera personality and spokesperson, a leading NYC-based professional makeup artist, a published contributor and writer, a brand consultant, a product junkie and an insatiable style seeker. She’s also my chic consigliere on every topic from life to love. Read on and get inspired!
10 Things I know To Be True By Lauren Cosenza
It doesn’t have to be Kardashian contour, but a few drops of strategically placed highlighter can light and lift the whole face.
Life is far more fun and also way simpler once you identify, dress for and embrace your body type.
Never underestimate the power of a good hair day. #WERKIT
Be unabashedly and unapologetically you. The people who belong with you will appreciate you just as you come (and still allow and encourage you to grow).
You only live once, so you’ve only got one chance to be fabulous. Pull out all the stops; be a smoke-show.
To keep your eye on the prize, silence the noise, drop the distractions and dead the drama.
No one’s buying it if you’re not selling it. So whatever it is you do, commit to it. In more colorful language, own that shit.
If you need a shot of confidence, look to see yourself through the eyes of someone who believes in you.
The only true measure of success is your own personal happiness.
In the end, passion is paramount and love is everything.
Photo: Lauren Cosenza
In her book, If the Buddha Dated, author Dr. Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D, states the following:
“Your false core belief has a tremendous effect on how you react to situations and whom you are attracted for friends and lovers. As we release our false core beliefs, or become less fused with them, we become freer to live from our essence. See if any of the following resonate with you:
There must be something wrong with me.
I am worthless.
I have an inability to do…
I don’t exist.
I’m incomplete, there is something missing.
There is no love– it’s a loveless world.
What if we listened for a whole day or a week, or the rest of our lives, to the stories we tell ourselves, seeing them for what they are–a defense against our false core beliefs which keep us from connecting with our essence, which is free, open, spontaneous and creative?”
This excerpt found its way into my lap with impeccable timing. Just yesterday, I was thinking of the many things I was told as a child and how they related to the decisions of my adulthood. Though my beloved grandfather did his best to dilute the constant venom that seeped into my hears and the mind between them, his death broke the dam and I was flooded with negative messages in waves. Though I surrounded myself with wonderful friends and mentors in the following decades of my life, I often found myself giving close significance to at least one person who reinforced the harmful messages in my past. When I found the courage to cut those ties, I took it upon myself to continue running the ticker. Worse, I often overrode my strength in leaving these relationships by allowing the loss I initiated to press my tender rejection button which would lead to new opportunities to bully myself. I often wondered why I did this, even as I was doing it. Thankfully, I have a little more insight which has led to a better understanding (and kinder self-talk). There is scientific evidence that the mind adjusts itself to accommodate patterns through cognitive bias. Hence the continuation of habits and thought-processes that I should have escaped when I escaped the situations in which they were introduced.
Through research and guidance, I have slowly learned the importance of really taking inventory of my thought process and holding the fiction and fear in my mind against the facts available around me. It’s not always been easy. I was born (quite literally) into a situation that throws the body into fight or flight mode, and unfortunately these environments can cause lasting neurological effects on the brain (yikes!) But that’s a small obstacle to overcome when the reward is a fantastic life full of real, meaningful, healthy and full moments that are in harmony with a peaceful spirit.
So, today, I want to encourage all of you to write down 5-10 things you firmly believe about yourself/life/relationships. Perhaps you are sure “they will never change” or that “all hope is lost.” Maybe you think you are “fat” or “too skinny” to be beautiful. Perhaps you are certain you’ll “never” find what you are looking for and “all hope is lost.” Whatever it is, let it out. We’re about to address Extreme Thinking. Once you have the beliefs down on paper, ask yourself the following questions for each:
On a scale of 1-10 how sure am I that this is true?
What are three indisputable facts that support this truth?
What are three indisputable facts that contradict it?
If it is true, what are three steps I can take right now and every day hereafter to change it?
Who can I turn to for help and support (a friend, a mentor, an organization, a therapist, an author of a blog or book?)
Now, say the opposite to yourself. “I am inadequate” becomes “I am complete and can handle anything that comes my way.” “I am rejected” becomes “What is real and right for me will last.” If you’re going to tell yourself stories, make them nice ones. In doing so, you may change your truth. Hell, re-write your story entirely.
(Note: The links in this post highlight Repetition Compulsion, Neurological effects of abuse, and my piece for Huffington Post).
Blame it on my Aries “do it now” mentality, my Leo “watch me” rising, or the fact that I am simply ready to start a new chapter–or, if we are being honest, a new book–I have been in serious life makeover mode as of late. After a lovely chat with an even lovelier colleague (shout out, Tamara), we decided to insert a “Personal Power Hour” into each of our days. This hour will be spent checking in with ourselves, figuring out what it is that we really want, and creating a strategy to help us move from where we are to where it is that we’d like to be. Today, I decided to start this journey by answering six questions I found in Lolly Daskal’s Piece, Leadership Tips: 6 Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself on Inc.com. Lolly swears answering the questions will prove helpful in our path to success, and I think she may be right. Let’s give it a try, shall we?
I love the accountability requirement posed by this question. There’s no hemming and hawing on this one; you either did or you didn’t. Fortunately, I did. A few days ago, I had a bit of an epiphany and realized that I needed to let go of my past and get a grip on my future. I thought about the five things I would focus on if there were no limitations in my life. It was an easy task, and a very surprising one. The answers were so clear to me once I took the time to sit down and ask myself what I wanted to do (instead of just asking everyone around me what they thought I should do).
Then I played mix-and-match and wrote down a number of goals that I feel are synergistic with my spirit and where I would be in the next year or two. Being a sensitive type- A, competitive, procrastinating, impulsive and impatient overachiever, I tend to get overwhelmed pretty quickly, living in the purgatory between dreams of world domination and total disappointment. It is my hope that by devoting real in-the-calendar time to each one of my goals, I will streamline an often chaotic to-do list. But Lolly asked about today. Today, I woke up and hit the gym for an hour (fitness goal), drank a terrible-tasting “green” juice (health goal), called to lower my interest rate on a couple of things (financial goal), am doing research on Argentina (travel goal) and plan to clean out my closet and do laundry (home design goal).
2. What bad habits do I need to stop?
Oh boy, do I have some habits. They may not be “bad” per se, but they are certainly self-defeating. Take, for example, my penchant for holding onto things, people, slights and relationships three times longer than I should. This tends to lead to experiencing three times the pain and frustration that could have been avoided had I simply let go when I should have. This is particularly credibility-crushing when the thing, person, slights are doing their damndest to be let go. I don’t have to detail the conundrum this sort of thing causes. I am also a talented mess maker and key loser. This would be a source of pride if I weren’t slightly OCD in my need to have things in order. Oh, and I can go from Michael to Sonny in o seconds flat. So, as you can see, we have some work to do.
3. What motivated me today?
I have the very fortunate disposition of being someone who seeks out sources of both inspiration and motivation. I have always had very big dreams and plenty of ambition and hard work is something I really enjoy, so waking up with Julius Caesar-style focus is never an issue. That said, being motivated to do something is not enough; you need to know how to stay motivated and when to change your source of motivation. I tend to get so motivated that I fixate on making things happen that no longer should. E tu, brute? Yes, indeed.
4. Have I been the kind of person I want to be?
I am very comfortable with my character and values, but that still doesn’t mean I have been the kind of person I want to be. The person I want to be is much more confident and centered than the one who sits here, often with a roller-coaster going inside of her. She’s also shaking her head at the many times I begged others and the universe for something that wasn’t right for me instead of simply, well, here it is again, letting go.
5. What mistakes did I make today, and what can I learn from them?
I love this question. Love, love, love it! The idea of addressing stumbles right there, in real time, is extremely attractive to me. I have made plenty of mistakes, but the one today only cost me money. I completely overlooked a URL renewal and got slapped with a 90.00 bill as a result. Sigh. Lesson: Place expiration dates in the calendar along with due dates.
6. What am I grateful for today?
Ah, everything in my life and the chance to live.
OK, I have put it all out there for the world to read, but you don’t have to. Write down the questions and give them a go and tell me how you feel about this little process afterwards!
Many of you will remember the precious young woman who was violently gang-raped and left to die in New Delhi last year. It was a horrible story and sadly one that is all too common in the world that stood up for a moment to pay their respects to the victims and their grieving families. Why anyone would think it artistic or appropriate to recreate this scene in a photo series is beyond me, and even if photographer Raj Shetye is being honest in his insistence that it is “not based on the Nirbhaya incident” it is still offensive and deeply troubling. This is a glorification of extreme violence against women being perpetuated by glossed images of beautiful models paying homage to the same scene that brought a young woman to an excruciating death.
Think it’s Art? Let’s put this into perspective for a moment:
“The woman and her friend had gotten on a bus after the movie, looking for a way back to her home. But the bus turned out to be driven by six men out for a joy ride, according to police documents. For nearly an hour, they were driven through the city. He was beaten. She was gang-raped, and penetrated with metal rods, causing such severe internal injuries that doctors found parts of her intestines floating inside her abdomen. Eventually, the two were dumped, naked and bleeding, by a busy road on the cold December night.” The Huffington Post
I am a strong supporter of freedom of speech and artistic expression, but never of those who behave in ways that truly depict a lack of value of the life and soul of another human being. Shame on you, Raj Sheyte. If you had to endure that kind of horrifying, excruciating, terrifying experience and lost your life, you’d know that is not “art”. If you had to live knowing your daughter died screaming for her life, how would you feel seeing your photoshopped models in their fine clothes reenacting her murder? How is this sexy?
I share the photograph and the link to the photographers site only so those of you who wish to let him know how you feel know where to direct your notes.
I. Read the Ending First. It’s fine to brainstorm and daydream, but without an initial end result in mind, you can’t strategize and put a plan in place. Sit down and really think about where it is that you want to go, what “it” looks like and what you want to experience when there. Write down what your dream looks like without limitations and go from there.
II. Put a Practical Plan in Place: Three steps. That’s how to break it down. Think of three daily steps to help you achieve three weekly goals which will help you achieve three monthly goals. Again, write them down and stick to them unless you find a better step to stick to, then do better.
III. Cut The Crap: You’ll be too tired to get out of bed, too interested in Kim Kardashian to log off of Perez and too busy to meet up with the mentor. Where there is a will, there is a way, and a way to distract. Prepare for setbacks, negative talk and excuses and then stand up to them and move past them one courageous step at a time. Remember, you’re trying to change your status quo. That starts with changing your rituals and reactions.
IV. Educate Yourself: What we don’t know often scares and intimidates us. Think about all of the nights you spent scared of the non-existent monster in the closet or anxious about the firing that never took place. Seek knowledge through both new information and past experiences and use it to your advantage. Forget reinventing the wheel, find out the best wheel to use and use it to move forward.
V. Lose The Losers: There are people who will yes you to death and people who will annihilate you with their negativity. Both will drag you down. Surrounding yourself with people who push themselves, inspire by example, offer constructive criticism and challenging you to be your best you is going to keep you on-track and motivated. Motion-creates-motion and often turn dreams into bigger dreams which, if we stay on track, become reality.
What is your greatest dream? What do you hope to achieve? What is your best advice for success?
I have loved passionately,
I have trusted carelessly,
I believed promises,
Knowing deep down they were false.
I have chased when I should have stood still,
I have stood still when I should have run,
I have grabbed tightly when I should have let go.
There were times when I needed,
I already knew they were unsure,
and I feigned comfort in their generous lies.
I have made mistakes,
I have done things to make some judge,
And others smile,
but this life I have lived,
it is my own,
And on glorious occasion,
I have danced.
So much of what lies within her is unknown to those around her.
The fevered desires,
the frantic fears,
The hopes that what once was will be,
and never be,
The days of dreaming often lead to nightmares,
An evening in bed,
sans the rest,
she spends her afternoons with her head spinning in a dizzying frenzy,
Often leaving her heart pounding to find a way out.
The loneliness on the earth that promises her the world,
The terror that new love will once again be fleeting,
leading not to the joy she craves,
but instead another bond that will tie her to a deeper pain.
The thoughts move at a trampling pace,
as the light of hope that beams through a morning window slips away into the shadows of despair.
Each moment she fights through is a memory she fights through,
a cycle she prays will end
before her end.
Are you Supportive? You don’t have to always agree with someone, but you should try and support them as they work through whatever they are trying to figure out.
Are You a Colleague Or a Competitor? Inspiring one another is one thing, but trying to “beat” your friend at something or feeling their success is your failure is a fast way to ruin a relationship. It’s also exhausting for everyone involved.
Are You Kind? It sounds like a no-brainer to be friendly to your friend, but I am always shocked to see how many “besties” make snarky comments and toss underhanded “compliments” at one another.
Are You Sorry or Just Sorry They Felt That Way? When you hurt someone’s feelings, fess up.
Do You Make An Effort? How often do you reach out, make plans and keep them? Do you send their calls to VM or do you pick up or call them back? Do you need Facebook to remind you of their birthdays? Do you give them a card on their special day? It’s one thing to let someone know that you care about them and another to show it.
Are You Really Loyal? It’s obvious and so often overlooked. Loyal friends not only stand up for and stick by one another, they keep their secrets, show respect when their friends are not around and genuinely have one another’s backs.
Do You “Yes” Them To Death? How often do you challenge them to be their best selves, to see someone else’s point of view, to go after their dreams, to see the big picture, to live their best lives?
Do You Pull Them Up and Lift Them Higher? When they are down, do you secretly love coming to their rescue or love the company of their misery? When they are up, do you feel abandoned or jealous or do you work to lift them higher. Do you step aside and let them enjoy their moment? Better yet, do you shine the spotlight on them?
How Honest Are You and How Do You Deliver That Honesty? Are you “brutally” honest or do you share your thoughts in a gentle, firm and respectful way? Do you tell them the truth about your own life and situation?
Do You Give Them The Benefit of The Doubt? You know who they are, so when they act out of character, do you check in or flip out?
She could handle their weight,
but they weighed her down,
leaving her too exhausted,
to run closer to the life she ached to live.
The broken heart,
She could live without his love,
But her own? No.
The scars were not going anywhere,
And neither would she if she didn’t accept that.
There were answers,
But they made no sense.
She could do the equation a thousand more times,
Or learn the lesson.
No rest would find her,
Until she put them to bed.
It was time to clear out her mental space,
And take the “Oh No!” out from in front of the “what if’s?”
She knew it would be better,
Now that she was eager to meet it.
It was her only hope for a better life,
And she decided to seize it, fearlessly.
Every single result we experience is based on a decision we make or do not make, and there comes a point in our lives when we have to decide to decide better or live in the state we are in. Unless we value the reward enough to stand up to fear, we will always live in a state of disappointment watching a game we know in our hearts we could have won had we only played.
Think about the way you speak, the company you keep, the company you work for, the way you carry yourself, the way you lift yourself up or put yourself down. How do your choices benefit or work against you? Every day is a step towards your destiny, but where are you headed exactly?
I have always been fascinated by this phrase since watching Madonna stare defiantly into the camera and sprinkle it with an extra dose of salt before delivering it to her critics. The words carry with them a sense of carefree bravado, frivolity, even shamelessness, and yet, who wouldn’t enjoy living a life that, when looked upon, offered not even the slightest ache that comes along with the desire to have done anything differently? At first glance, I think it is fair to say that we all would. Looking closer, we might change our minds. We learn not by doing what we know, but what we do not know, and if we never had a regret, it would mean that we always knew what to say, when to say it, who to trust, how to crawl, walk and run and so on. We would never feel the thrill of a job well done for everything would be done well. We would never have that “I Did It!” moment that comes with finally beating the game or the odds.
The word regret carries with it very negative connotations. Even the sound of it brings with it a guttural tone similar to garbage, and just as similar, when experienced, it stinks. There is no way to get around the fact that, for as long as we are blessed with time on this earth, we will make decisions that lead us into directions we want and don’t want to go. There are, however, ways to polish our thoughts, words and approaches (notice I didn’t say perfect these things) in order to experience less sting when looking back.
Here are a few that have worked for me.
Accept You Are Where You Are
How many times have you gotten out of a situation and realized you stayed in it “too long” because you had hoped that what had always been would somehow blossom into something different? This could be a job, a relationship, a way of living, thinking or even feeling. How many times have you said “positive” things when you felt horrible only to feel totally disconnected from yourself? Or perhaps you have existed in a perfectly lovely life while doing nothing but complaining and then regretted not “appreciating” what you had while you had it?
There is no magic pill, book or seminar that will change anything–be it your body, your relationship, or your life, and the idea that anyone is going to save you from yourself or anything else is a fallacy. Accepting where and who you are, right here, right now, is the only way to go anywhere productive.
Be Confident, But Not Overconfident
The little engine had the strength to push himself up that hill which is why his “I think I can” worked in the first place, but if you don’t have what it takes to do something, thinking you can isn’t going to cut it. That’s just overconfidence. Think about it: A first grade child can walk into a fifth grade classroom and wish him or herself into fifth grade all they want, but once the work begins, they’ll likely fail and feel worse about themselves after having measured themselves by standards they weren’t ready to rise to. Growth and development is a step-by-step process that takes dedication, focus and repetition. Believing in yourself means believing that you have the drive and abilities to do the work and equip yourself to achieve your greatest goals.
Know Your Limits
You don’t have to know what you want, but you do need to know what you don’t want. Having those boundaries and instincts in place will work almost as an autopilot flying you into the direction of a better life. Getting stuck in dead-end, chaotic, fruitless situations steals time and mental energy better utilized in other, more promising areas of our lives. Even if you aren’t strategizing every day, at least you’re not losing sleep and time with loved ones wasting time “deciding” between things you don’t even want.
Don’t Be Lazy
There is a big difference between the leisurely and lazy, I appreciate the first and abhor the second. I cannot tell you how having someone asking me for a favor and then expecting me to not only do the work of the favor involved (usually a pleasure) while also doing their part. If it’s not important enough for them to polish a book proposal, why should I utilize my contacts to submit it? Whether it’s your body, home, outlook, education, job, relationship, zip code or anything else, change is possible. The key is staying active in your pursuit of it. Everything in this life is a series of steps so keep getting up and taking the steps forward and you’ll finally get there. Sit down and complain, or worse, ask others to drag you forward without getting up is just going to frustrate you and everyone else.
Use Your Words Wisely and Honor Them
Words are very serious tools that have built and crushed empires, bonds, hearts and just about every important thing and connection in the history of language. These days, we see and hear more of them than ever before, and yet, none of them mean very much. They are yelled on reality TV shows, printed on magazines and blogs and sent frivolously and drunkenly through our telephones. It’s hard to know which ones to hold onto and which ones to toss, which is why when we come across those that carry weight and light, we feel we have been baptized in a way. When you know what you mean and you say it in a way that makes sense, not only to you, but those listening, the world becomes a much easier place to navigate. When you are known as someone who can be counted on, communicated with and who values the words that come your way, respect follows and doors, hearts and arms open.
Holding Onto Perfect
The world has been keeping a terrible secret from you; perfection is arbitrary. There are some who find Monet boring, sunsets cliche and symmetrical faces disinteresting. Tchaikovsky pleases some and JayZ others. The “perfect” body is not one, but many. The “perfect” food sends some into hospitals. Perfect is a carrot on a stick, it’s a mirage in the desert, it’s a bully who taunts constantly. The reality is that you may never get to a point where you feel your life is perfect, but you will have moments in it in which you feel as though the universe has stopped time and gathered all of the good things it has to offer and infused those seconds, minutes or hours with them. If we can be present in those moments and understand that all of the mistakes and flaws we carry with us actually led us to them, well, that’s when we truly feel gratitude.
Do The Right Thing
It sounds obvious, and yes, it can be a little boring at times, but when you do what you say you will do, are where you say you will be, live with integrity, hold yourself and others accountable and treat others as you would like (and expect) to be treated, things tend to go in different directions than when you don’t.
If one were able to look up “Beautiful, Ballsy, Boozy Broad” in the dictionary, there would certainly be a photo of the gorgeous Ava next to it –and she’d likely be flipping off the camera with a grin, to boot. So striking, she was known as “The World’s Most Beautiful Animal” and brought men like Robert Mitchum, Howard Hughes, and Mickey Rooney, then the world’s biggest male star, to their knees. Then, of course, there was Frank. So obsessed with her was Mr. Sinatra, he threatened –and unfortunately even attempted– suicide on several of the many occasions she left him.
Bold and loud, Ava was a spectacular mix of lady and tramp. She loved hard and drank harder, doing all of the above (and a whole lot more) without the slightest show of shame or apology. In the end, it seems, she was able to dilute any regrets with a strong dose of gratitude for a life lived as the love of her life would have wanted her to live it: her way.
“When I’m old and gray, I want to have a house by the sea. And paint. With a lot of wonderful chums, good music, and booze around. And a damn good kitchen to cook in.”
“God knows I’ve got so many frailties myself, I ought to be able to understand and forgive them in others. But I don’t.”
“I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.”
“When I lose my temper, honey, you can’t find it any place.”
“Maybe, in the final analysis, they [the men I loved] saw me as something I wasn’t and I tried to turn them into something they could never be. I loved them all but maybe I never understood any of them. I don’t think they understood me.”
“I think the main reason my marriages failed is that I always loved too well but never wisely.”
“I’m here to tell you, there ain’t much forgiveness in that old-time religion. That particular savior was a mean son of a bitch. If you sinned, honey, he was going to get you, no doubt about it.”
“What’s the point? My face, shall we say, looks lived in.”
“Maybe I just didn’t have the temperament for stardom. I`ll never forget seeing Bette Davis at the Hilton in Madrid. I went up to her and said, “Miss Davis, I`m Ava Gardner and I`m a great fan of yours.” And do you know, she behaved exactly as I wanted her to behave. “Of course you are, my dear,” she said. “Of course you are. And she swept on. Now that’s a star.”
On her life: ““She made movies, she made out and she made a fucking mess of her life, but she never made jam.”
Be the one who accepts her reality but stays in control of her fate.
Be the one who holds onto herself, regardless of who’s hand she chooses to hold.
Be the one who forgives herself for acting in ways she isn’t proud of when she didn’t know better.
Be the woman who behaves better the moment she knows she can.
Be afraid only of living a life in which you are contained by fear.
Be the woman you dream of being.
Be willing to walk away from anything that keeps you from being who you truly are…
When my dear friend, beauty expert, Lauren Cosenza, asked me to model for a beauty series in Cosmopolitan Magazine (highlighting the transformative power of makeup), there was one obvious answer: Si! The truth is, LC could ask me to do just about anything and never hear a negative. She’s been one of my dearest friends since college and her amazing work ethic, dynamic personality and insanely extensive talents as a makeup artist have made her one of the most respected women (people!) in the business.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that this is Cosmo, one of the biggest magazines to ever hit the stands.
I was in.
Fast-forward a week and a half, when I rushed up the stairs in the Hearst Building and flopped into the chair before LC and feisty, witty editor, Carly Cardellino. I was spilling the latest and greatest about my love life, work life et all when LC suggested that we do a Sharon Tate-Inspired look for my “made up” half-faced which led to an appreciative gasp. I love Sharon and anything having to do with a smoky eye–from that moment on, I was even more thrilled to play dress up.
But then it came out that the “natural” side of my face was actually au naturel, as in no make-up, as in at all.
“Well, I didn’t exactly know this part. I deserve a medal for going through this,” I announced. LC smiled a devilish grin. “Yes, you do.” Before I knew it, I was getting a few curls in the hair chair and heading into the small room where I would expose my deepest darkest beauty secrets. Turns out, my cheeks aren’t pink and my lashes aren’t always so long. This was something people I had full relationships with never had tangible proof of and I was about to share them with millions of (sometimes less forgiving) strangers.
Before I knew it, the photos had been taken and I was smiling a full smile from ear to ear.
I felt like a bold woman who had gone where I had never gone before.
“Want me to make up the other side?” asked LC, graciously.
I was tempted.
But I was in the offices that inspired and applauded the Fun, Fearless Female and standing into the most fun and fearless female I knew, I wanted to follow in her high-heeled footsteps.
“No, I am going to go back to work with nothing on.”
And I did.
Fun and fearless, indeed.
Be sure to see all of the looks here.
This post has been moved onto The Huffington Post. Please click the link and share your thoughts!
We speak about it often.
We take inventory and resolve to make changes on the first of every year. We pay close attention in those moments when unconscious decisions bring us to our knees long enough to really see what “wrong’s” need to be made right. Then, it happens. Time passes and momentum begins to slow, and before we know it, habit begins to wash over the black and white wake-up call and we go back to living as our less-than-best selves living in the gray area.
Why are we so surprised when we find ourselves back down on our knees, feeling stuck in a seemingly never-ending cycle of high’s and low’s when, in fact, we never did anything–or enough– differently? The reality is that an unfulfilled chapter will lead into an unfulfilled life unless we find the strength to keep the promises we make to ourselves in fleeting moments of clarity. This begins by understanding one single, simple fact; it is not enough to face reality, we must also accept it.
But what is that reality, exactly? Well, it may not be what you think.
It’s not that you’re in bad shape, have hit “rock bottom” or don’t have the relationship or job you want. It’s not that you’ve “ruined” your life, “lost” someone or something, and it’s certainly not that someone else is preventing you from experiencing your happiness. Those are all mere side effects brought about by our addiction to the soothing offered by self delusion.
The reality you must accept is that you truth is right there, and it has a voice. You don’t need horoscopes and tarot cards or long-winded discussions set on rotation with different friends. You know what you need to do, what is best for you, how you really feel and what you want. You just need to close your eyes, go inside and listen without judgement or making excuses for yourself and those around you. You have a right to listen to yourself. You have a right to your feelings. Do what you love and feel is right instead of moving under duress brought about by fear. Desperation never leads to moments of greatness. You know this.
Your life may not be perfect, but there are good things in it. Believe in the good things that will come by way of good decisions. Bad things will come by way of bad ones. Once you accept that you are fully in control, there is no reason to feel anxiety. You know what to expect based on what you have chosen to do.
Stop talking yourself out of your dreams. You can achieve what you set your mind to. In fact, there are only a few real limitations set in place, the rest are ones you set upon yourself. You actually have everything you need to design the life you want to have right inside of you. As with anything, the trick is doing your homework and teaching yourself to utilize your tools in the right way.
You don’t have to always do what you have always done. If you really pay attention to your habits, rituals and mantras, you will discover patterns and solutions to the situations you see as problematic. Look at the way you frame situations and people, and yourself closely because it has a real and lasting impact on the quality of your life. Our thoughts and words are wishes into a universe that works as a genie. Think you won’t be able to do something? You likely won’t, and not because you can’t, but mainly because you won’t fully try.
Do you want to be healthy? How are you incorporating healthy decisions in your life? How consistent are you? Are you looking for instant gratification or are you committed to a life change? If it’s the latter, how are you restructuring your life, your mind and your priorities?
Clear up your head space. If your mind were a room, how would it look? How is the ambiance? What is the noise level? What do you spend your time doing in there? Are you sorting through old memories or are you making space for new experiences? How often do you clean up? Is it the same space as it was 20 years ago? Who do you invite into visit? You live here 24-7, 365 days a year for a lifetime. Make it a place that brings you serenity, not one you hope to escape.
You don’t need to vilify yourself of others. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault that you didn’t get what you wanted when you wanted it, it may just be that you wanted something that wasn’t right for you because it would ultimately keep you from learning the lessons that will eventually lead you to your greatest happiness.
So, the question is, when you look at yourself and your life, are you being realistic or soothing with delusion?
You’ve been telling yourself lies.
Yes, it is true that we are not limitless, but limits are flexible and expandable and you are able to move through them at record speed.
Of course, we will all face challenges, but the fact that you can handle anything that comes your way means that you could and should be taking far more risks to gain the rewards you think about when the lights go out and you lay there in a silent room.
That love you feel in your heart, the one that inspires the thoughts, poetry and prayers? Those words have a right to be spoken and do not lose meaning even if they never listen.
The people who annoy you, who push you, who make you feel the aggravation? They are there before you to learn something from you and to repay you lesson for lesson.
This life that you fear will never blossom into the one you ache to be living is in fact that life in its infancy. It is up to you to raise it to your own standards, to nurture it and love it, to guide it and hold it accountable.
You are the person you want to be.
You are walking in your destiny as we speak.
You are a precious part of this world and it’s time you accept what everyone around you knows is real.
Can you handle your truth?
You can’t make them understand.
You cannot convince them to feel remorse.
You cannot make them listen,
Or hear you,
If they do.
There is no way to undo a hurtful deed,
Or take back a vicious word.
There is no secret to breaking the silence.
We are often told that good people do bad things,
But we forget that bad people do good things, too.
The answer to “what is good and bad” lies in what is consistent,
And what is done when nothing can be gained.
In the beginning,
It’s always a joy.
In the end,
We must all live with the consequences of our actions,
And our many actions make up our respective legacies.
One cries now,
Or cries out,
Wherever you are in the world,
The law of universal justice will find you and enforce it.
Karma does not miss a beat.
So, stop trying to understand the inexplicable.
Stop trying to explain why you are hurt.
Stop trying to convince them to care about the pain they have caused.
In doing do, you will stop causing (yourself) more pain.
Perhaps their karma is a life without all of the beautiful things you could have brought to it.
That’s no small price to pay.
I have been on a bit of a personal journey as of late. With the help of some wonderful friends and an incredible mentor, I have began to find my voice, and in doing do, the moments I have silenced and been silenced are becoming emboldened on my life’s timeline.
Many times, as a way to avoid feeling regret for not making a move fast enough or at all, we console ourselves by saying that everything happens for a reason. I believe it does, but perhaps it would not have happened the way it did or so often had we recognized the reason earlier. Looking back, we most always realize that we could have had we stayed close to home and paid attention to ourselves and how we were feeling and reacting to the situation at hand. Like so many, I have been guilty of not speaking up and shutting (myself) up many times in my life. I have shushed my internal voice so that I could hear those around me better. I can tell you firsthand, it is no way to live.
We are living in this world for such a short period of time, and it is my belief that, if there truly is a hell, it begins with our carrying the heavy weight of unspoken words and missed opportunities through the door from this world to the next.
Many of us believe in time and love immortal. We feel that we have the luxury of not being authentic today because tomorrow will bring about a more comfortable opportunity to take the leap and plunge into the life we ache to be living. We all know that tomorrow never comes. The wall becomes thicker. That love remains unknown. That rift is never mended. That chance is never taken which is why that destiny is never experienced.
If there is a job you have not applied for, a love you haven’t shared, a city you have not seen, an “I miss you” you haven’t sent, you are, in fact running out of time. It’s not negative to say that every moment we wait is a moment lost. It’s just realistic.
This clarity comes when we lose someone or something we love, but often it fades into the background and the sounds of our souls greatest desires are muffled by the noise made by the mind. We fear rejection, attempt to ration(alize) our emotion, deny our greatest desires. In essence, we suffocate the most authentic part of ourselves until there is no voice, only silence.
That question that never leaves the mind, the face that never leaves the heart, the city that always brings about yearning…these are your truths.
Tell your truth.
Live your truth.
Love your truth.
In doing so, you will begin to love yourself, and when you love yourself, the world loves you back.
He was handsome and charming and all of those things they said she was supposed to want above everything else,
But the excitement of being in such a large world,
With so much to discover,
And having her very own place in it,
It was all so…
To all of those…
Who have lied behind my back and to my face,
Who have brought chaos instead of comfort,
Who have questioned my value as a human being,
Who have relished in my stumbles and sadness,
Who show me disrespect,
Who have played on my vulnerabilities to get what they wanted,
Who have manipulated my tender heart,
Who have met my pleas with silence,
Who have continuously crossed my boundaries,
Who have left me in my time of need,
Who have allowed envy to come in-between us,
Who do not push me to be my best…
You are dismissed.
“No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” Epictetus
“Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd! She was a vixen when she went to school. And though she be but little, she is fierce.” Shakespeare
(Photo Courtesy of Pinterest)
It’s a pitiful thing,
To see a liar spin their web.
In effort to console and comfort themselves,
They squirm, They squeal,
They cling to their own delusion.
It’s a sad state,
They are in.
Licking the wounds left by Karma’s lashing.
To watch them bleed,
Venom seeps onto the floor.
dripping into the hell they have created.
On their knees,
They beg for attention,
Jumping chaotically from insult,
to a pathetic plea.
What is reality to a sick mind?
What is truth to a pathological liar?
What is conscience to an unconscious person?
What is fairness to a cheat?
To argue facts is unnecessary.
To do so with one who won’t concede when wrong is to suffocate energy.
To defend an undeniable innocence in a sphere governed by universal law is a waste of time.
To jump into a pool of chaos would be to drown a triumphant moment.
Moments you have fought for.
Moments you deserve,
they are ones you have earned.
This is not the past.
Time has passed.
Time is precious.
Time is in constant motion.
But it does not move back.
It’s time to let go.
It’s time to draw a deep line in the sand.
Walk over it, unapologetically,
and move forward.
They can reach as far as they want to.
They can stretch the truth,
but once you release your need to counter,
confidently standing on cemented, solid ground,
The truth will rush back and snap a reality right into their faces.
Both of them.
Two who love one another create heaven on earth. One who loves alone lives in a kind of personal hell.
All that is real rises to the surface. There is no lie strong enough to anchor the truth.
The strength we have inside of us is challenged by the moments in which we are faced with triggers from our past. The key is not to kneel and worry, but to rely on our years of training, our wisdom, our strength of character and mind and to slay the dragon once again.
Most people do not try and bring you harm, but some do. It is important not to mistake one for the other.
Only a fool mistakes kindness for meekness.
They may live there, but you don’t have to.
There are times when epic love stories are simply fables written over a few pages in a long book of life.
Every time you take time to educate yourself, you give yourself a new opportunity.
Motion-Creates-Motion. But if you are going in the wrong direction, you’re
What is truly beautiful? Authenticity.
The universe has a very clever way of balancing things out. Karma is not a mystical idea, it is cause-and-effect. Those who live a life full of deception and discord will live in chaos wherever they go.
Your reputation is built upon the foundation of your character. When that character is strong, it is the Colosseum. It is the Great wall. Do not allow a weak man with an agenda and a chisel to bring you anxiety, or any concern at all.
There is a thick glass between denial and truth. One cannot touch, negate, erase or even communicate with the other. What has happened has happened and cannot be undone.
You will be with you for the rest of your life. Above all, take good care of and protect yourself.
With the warm weather finally giving us a little time here in the EnWhySee, I could not help but to unleash my (very) few remaining California vibes by way of a Sharon Tate-Inspired makeup session.
Those who know me know that I have always had a mad girl crush on the exquisitely beautiful actress, and while I am nowhere near as gifted genetically, I did my best to channel her this am while little Tony barked at me impatiently (causing more than one line smudge). Now, I am no makeup diva, but I have learned a few things from one. Sharon’s look was all about heavily made up eyes (what gorgeous eyes she had) and a fresh face and soft lip to balance (unlike MM who popped on her eyes, lips and cheeks).
Dior Airflash in 300.
Stila Illuminating Foundation in 50.
Stila Illuminating Powder in 30.
Victoria’s Secret shadow (browns) .
Three different Mascaras, all from Loreal.
Wish Lipstick from Victoria’s Secret (also used as a cream blush on cheeks).
Nars Bronzer in Laguna.
Bye Bye Undereye Concealor.
Note: LDiva has agreed to work her magic for a Tate-Inspired photo-session with the talented Peter Joe DiPilato later this summer! they’ll both do a much better job, to be sure! I’ll post her tips and photos when that happens!
“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
How lucky you were to get into and out of the game,
To cash in your winnings,
And cut your losses…
What we we were,
What we were to become,
How fortunate you are,
That you were able to move onto your next hand,
Into your future,
While I remained counting your old cards,
Dealing with the hand I had been dealt,
In the room where I risked everything to bet on you.
How confused I was by your poker face.
I mistook your look as a shield for pain,
and really, all it was
Was that you didn’t care.
What a realization.
What a gamble.
What a lucky fellow you are to not even know what you have lost.
Brave Miss World
I stumbled on this film by accident after clicking on a profile in Vanity Fair solely based on my being a fan of Filmmaker, Cecilia Peck’s father, Gregory. Imagine my surprise when this powerful trailer moved from beauty pageant profile to tackling one of the toughest and most relevant topics in the world today: Rape. This is definitely a moving movie worth showing, sharing and discussing.
This year, amfAR announced that the famous Cannes fundraiser will be paying tribute to Marilyn. In honor of this announcement, Harpers Baazar has put together a lovely slideshow showcasing the many sides of Monroe. Being the fan(atic) I am, I obviously had to share.
Your Life Is Now (Watch This Reminder, Please)
Extract the message and send it along.
Playboy’s First Edition Re-Release
As part of the Magazine’s 60th Anniversary celebration, Mr. Hefner decided to re-release the very first issue which features my beloved icon on the cover. This is no small opportunity for someone who adores both the Magazine and Monroe–as was displayed by the squeal I let out when I grabbed the last one off of the shelf at tho bodega on 57th and Lexington (close to where the famous Seven Year Itch scene was filmed, no less).
Sharon Tate Recollection
When I was 12-years-old, a very irresponsible adult handed me a copy of Helter Skelter. It was the most horrid and fascinating book I had ever come across and I ached to put it down, but could not. As a result, I learned more and more about Sharon and fell in love with her gorgeous face and free, beautiful spirit. For years, I devoured any and all information I could about her, doing my best to avoid anything having to do with Manson and his disgusting clan.
Like so many of us, I hurt when I think of how she passed, but I have also felt uneasy about the fact that this lovely, gentle woman seemed to be forever tied with the evil that found her and her loved ones on that terrible night. A young girl learning how to put myself together, I found myself looking up to her as a woman and wanted to emulate her makeup and hair, but always worried trying to copy her eyeliner would be frivolous and disrespectful. Then, one day, I thought to myself, “actually, that’s the best way to show her respect. Honor her for the things she was in life, instead of defining her by her pointless, tragic death.” Imagine my glee when I found out her sister, Debra Tate, shared the same sentiments and put together a book, Sharon Tate Recollection, which honors her talented, beautiful, vivacious sibling.
Grace Of Monaco
See a few stills of Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in the highly-anticipated film in Vogue Italia. Can. Not. Wait.
Missed The Culture Chanel event at The Guangzhou Opera House in China last year? No problem! Go back in time and browse the exhibition online!
What current event are you obsessed with currently?
There are those who are kind as payment.
Those who are kind under duress brought on by fear.
Then, there are those few from which kindness flows directly from character.
The first group common, the second in a prison, and the third, a treasured bunch.
Often spoken about with an elusive air, the latter often pay quite a price for the priceless gift they bestow so naturally.
Sadly, the world is full of those who hurt and hustle or have been hurt and hustled. We often question the very actions we lay in bed praying to experience. We pour so much salt on the promise of something that it disinigrates before it can grow into anything substantial and then we use it as proof that what we hope for, what many of us feel we deserve, doesn’t exist at all.
Why is it that we agree to once again trust the untrustworthy but continuously hound the honorable? We chase the cruel and run away from the considerate? We underline a rageful love instead of highlighting the peaceful prose?
Why do we say one is “too nice” for us? Do we realize that, in our very statement, we are suggesting that someone is not “mean enough” for us to love them?
Ah, but we want passion.
Or do we?
To ask the universe for this is a dangerous request for the word itself stems from the Latin verb patī which means “to suffer”. When we say we want a “passionate” love, are we aware that we are requesting pain?
Think about it: If the definition of love is “a deep feeling of intense affection,” does a “passionate love” even exist? Pain and affection oppose one another. So is the need to feel we can’t have someone fully in order to feel anything at all really about “love”? Is the feeling we “cannot live without them” simply just co-dependency? Is the powerful aphrodisiac of rejection really just an intense fear of abandonment spun out-of-control? If we are chasing someone who has walked away from all that we have to offer, is that really a “love” worth fighting for or simply our flailing ego asking for an invisible hand to save it from drowning?
So, the question is: Do you want pain or affection in your life?
Do you want Passion or Love?
It’s the peace that lives in the morning rays coming in through your window.
It’s the silent “I still care” that is said in a squeeze.
It’s the soup when you’re feeling sick.
It’s the letter you are afraid to send.
It’s doing the right thing even when they’ve done you wrong.
It’s the relief that is given by way of a smile on a familiar face after a long flight.
It’s the efforts born out of hope.
It’s holding out an arm for someone holding on.
It’s letting go and letting someone let go.
It’s the forgiveness of “over it” that leads to a better overall.
It’s wanting the best for them regardless of whether you still want them (or they still want you).
It’s a phone call because text is not enough.
It’s the understanding that replaces judgement.
It’s the song that plays repeatedly in your heart.
It’s the concern that replaces anger.
It’s the care that cleans up the chaos.
Change does not come by way of a magical passageway between what was and might have been and what is and might be. It is a manifestation of deliberate, often difficult, steps in a new direction.
There are beautiful moments that aborted at the hands of a memory of something that we only wish existed.
From the outside, it all looks so different.
Entrances are usually full of fanfare, but the real story unfolds when you watch the way someone makes an exit.
Clinging may bring someone temporarily closer, but they’ll get the hell out of there as soon as they can loosen your grip.
If someone were to offer us a home that has not been built, we would be skeptical, and rightfully so. So, why is when someone offers us a “relationship” under the same circumstances, so many of us sign the dotted line?
It’s a hard thing to love hard every day, most especially when they don’t love you at all.
Independence and self-sufficiency make for some serious confidence boosting.
When negativity leaves the area, no one misses it.
Tears may contain fiction, but silence is a fact.
There were some who initially made her heart beat faster.
But was that love or anxiety?
She wasn’t so sure anymore.
There were some who had promised her the sun, moon and stars,
But as romantic as that seemed,
Those gifts lacked consistency.
There were some who had listened to her,
but only for clues.
There were some she had smiled at,
but rarely laughed with.
Less like an explosion and more like a vibration,
she couldn’t explain the growing intoxication,
It seemed to slowly sneak up on her.
Just like his gaze.
Just like the wine.