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10 Things I Know To Be True: Diva Edition

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


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Personal Power Hour: Tell Yourself Better Stories

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’m inadequate.

I don’t exist.

I’m alone.

I’m incomplete, there is something missing.

I’m powerless.

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).


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Forget you.

I’ll never.

Forgive you.


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Personal Power Hour: Lolly Daskal Asks Six Questions That May Change Your Life.

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 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?

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1. Did I work toward my goals today? 

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!


“The Wrong Turn” (Just Like All Violence Against Women) Is Wrong

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.

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Five Ways To Turn a Dream Into Reality

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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What is your greatest dream? What do you hope to achieve?  What is your best advice for success?