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Are You Afraid To Introduce The Real You To The World?

You can be held back by the fear of judgement, of failure, of rejection or you can spend your time here on this earth seeking out the the people, situations and understanding you want to experience on your journey.

Your journey.

Think about that for a moment.

The time you have here belongs to you.

Your life is not meant to fit anyone else perfectly.

It is not meant to please everyone else all of the time.

It’s supposed to be tailored to fit you whether that’s living to make the world a better place or living in isolation.

As long as it is not hurting anyone, there is no problem.

Just do not forget that you are someone, too.

Take a chance and introduce the world to  who you truly are.

What’s the worst that could happen?

You will live authentically and know you did it the way you wanted to when it comes to an end…

Without confinement. With total freedom.

Isn’t that the epitome of the good life?

Penelope Cruz

25 Things Every Woman Needs To Know

-Brenda Della Casa

You are not responsible for the things your parents did or did not say to you, do for you, or teach you. You are, however, responsible for everything you say, do and show others. Drunk or sober, angry or joyful, sincere or not.

Sometimes you “win” by just deciding to stop talking, get up and go.

You have things about you that are drop-dead, oh-my-heavens-look-at-her amazing.

Just because she is pretty doesn’t mean you’re not. Just because she has met someone doesn’t mean you won’t.  Turn that jealousy into inspiration and watch your life blossom.

Any girl can achieve “Hot”  with makeup, a blowout, a short dress and heels. Witty, charming, self-respecting, elegant and drop-dead smart?  That’s gorgeous.

There’s plenty of good guys out there. If a man gives you anxiety, excuses, a reason not to believe him or anything that requires a prescription, he needs to be out of your life.

Having a relationship is not the goal.  Having a healthy, happy and loving relationship (with yourself and then someone else) is.

There’s never a reason to be a mean girl.  You’re an intelligent, compassionate and professional woman. Carry yourself like one and surround yourself with women who think catty is best reserved for Lindsay Lohan movies.

When it comes to your relationships, spend more time than money, give more compliments than criticisms, and for goodness sake, flash your manners.

A negative imagination is a dangerous, destructive device. Just because they say it, or you think it, doesn’t make it true.

Men who have six packs and great biceps often  sustain themselves on a diet  consisting of chicken and eggs and will choose the gym over date night with you.  Remember that.

It’s OK to be ambitious, but ruthless?  Bye, bye Rolodex.

Everyone wants to feel needed, no one wants to deal with needy.

You want to be a boss? Take care of your business.

Don’t spend your time trying to date a baller. Spend it working to become a baller.She who dates a man for money should not complain when he treats her poorly.  How do you treat that sweater you bought three years ago?

Urban Decay eyeshadow primer, Bye Bye Under Eye concealer and Nars bronzer will give you an about face.

It’s OK to like sex.  If you have it with a man who has not shown you that he respects, loves you, or wants to date you before having it, don’t expect having sex with him to change your status quo.

The only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to them.

Just because you ignore it doesn’t make it go away, and just because you rationalize it doesn’t make it right, and just because you want him doesn’t make him right for you.

Men who want to be with you will contact you consistently and respectfully.  Men who do not will not. Pretty simple.

Karma is really cause-and-effect.  Change your actions, reactions and the way you put yourself out there and you’ll change the way the world responds to you.

Love means different things to different people. When you say “I Love You”, you are taking responsibility for your actions and suggesting you will care about another person and their feelings. If they love you like they love hot dogs and songs on their playlist, that’s not going to do much for you long-term.

Happiness may not always be as easy as making a choice to be happy, but we always have a choice as to how to filter situations we find ourselves in. Is it proof the universe hates us or is it just life?

Smart is sexy. Kind is beautiful.

Everything you want is out there and everything you need to achieve it is inside of you.

backback

Picks of The Day: Le Seduction

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Oscar Wilde: ‘Do you mind if I smoke?’

Sarah Bernhardt: ‘I don’t care if you burn.’

Visit my Le Seduction Board on Pinterest Here.

(Photos courtesy of Pinterest)

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Changing The Filter

She had looked at life through their lens,

Staring  at the image in the mirror,

One carelessly sketched out by them.

Dots connected by a string of words,

whispers and stories,

and promises broken and exchanged.

Shaded by the the secrets and lies told to and about her,

She had developed in the chaos as they pushed and pulled her away.

She had tried to match their vision with the reality that she knew,

While gripping onto the idea that it would be the only one she would know.

But there in the the light,

Under the sun that looked down upon her lovingly,

She thought.

She smiled.

And standing in a world that belonged to all of them,

She pictured the life she wanted to live…

And set it into motion.

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In Living Color

“Get your priorities straight,” he demanded.

She didn’t know what to say.

She had always believed that she knew what meant the most to her,

What she desired in her heart of hearts.

Here he was offering her a piece of that,

in his own way.

It would not be perfect,

but what was?

She thought about it.

She didn’t feel the urge to run the way she had in the past.

Yes,

she ached for that,

for him,

But also her life.

One that she had just started to experience,

With it’s so fullness,  freedom and room to breathe.

One could not be replaced by the other,

Didn’t he understand?

“You need to figure out what you want,” he sighed.

She stood confused.

 She wanted it all.

With him.

She excitedly tried to share what she thought he knew

But he only heard “no”.

At that moment, she realized that they were living in two different genres…

He was talking in black and white,

She was living in Technicolor.

 

2014

A La Carte Resolutions

Pick and choose, amend as you see fit or toss all together.

Accept that you are now entering the next year of your life and your status quo should change. You are taking the lessons of the past year (and those before it) and making tweaks, for you, and not anyone else.

Do not do “anything” for a love that is not doing anything for you. Doing so is not romantic or noble, it’s a sign that something deep inside of you needs to be addressed.

When you can, put in that extra effort required to be extraordinary. Doing so will create a life that is much fuller (and even sparkles a little).

When you leave a room, be the person they want to see again and not the one who makes them breathe a sigh of relief when the door closes behind you.

Don’t follow dangling carrots.

Recognize that those who speak negatively about others  aren’t innovative or interesting, they aren’t inspiring or informative, they are simply sad and common, and bring joy only when they leave the room. Make an effort not only to not be one of those people, but to let them know you’re not interested in engaging them.

If you want an answer to a question, go to the source. Going to someone else for “advice” about how another human being feels is like choosing a fortune teller over an encyclopedia.

Instead of judging everyone around you, people you don’t know, and yourself for being a human being (all of whom are flawed in their own way) try to understand and actually get somewhere.

Put bluntly: Don’t be anyone’s bitch.

Love, forgive and support with commitment or don’t do it at all.

Let go of the desire to manipulate your way in and out of places and relationships.  Just be yourself and go where you are invited in; where you belong.

Stop putting yourself down in order to place them on a pedestal.

Plan a few trips with your friends and just live with a smile on your face a few days.

Pick up a book at least one time for every three you pick up the remote.

Accept that you are worth way more than you are bargaining for.

See kindness for what it really is, strength and wisdom.

Be the kind of person you would really like to have in your life.

Show gratitude for the life you have been given and the life you are able to give yourself and show appreciation to those who share both with you.

Doing nothing is not a waste of time. Doing something you know won’t work over and over is. Stop doing that.

Do the right thing, right now. Repeat.

Take your vitamins.

Don’t just have a heart, prove that you do.

Make your spiritual health as important as your physical health and tone your mind more than you tone your booty.

Do something that adds value to a life every single day.

Share more experiences than wishes.

Be a Vintage Spider on the coastline and not a fire truck pushing its way through the streets.

Get a mentor. Meet with the mentor. Be worthy of their time.

Find reasons to laugh at the nuances of life, not people.

Hope with intelligence.

Get up each day with an intention.

Create with inspiration.

Make every season one of giving.

Set daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals for yourself.

Be good to the souls around you (and the one inside of you).

Drink less alcohol and more water.

Move on with your life with people who want to be in it and say goodbye to those who do not. It won’t be easy, but some people do not want to go with you at the pace you are going and that’s OK.

single lady

10 Ways To Make 2014 The Best Year Yet

As 2013 comes to a close, many of us are enjoying the holiday kick-off and looking towards a new year.  Thoughts about change, reinvention, tweaks and making the upcoming year better than those before it are not uncommon.  That said, anyone who has ever treated resolutions as wistful wishes as opposed to action-infused goals knows that change walks towards us step-by-step.   On a personal note, 2013 offered a great deal of both joy and disappointment, but also great life lessons that truly changed the direction of my life in (what I believe to be) a much better one.

Today, I would like to share the 10 goals I have for moving further into my best life.  Perhaps you’ll find a couple of them helpful in your own journey.

Spend Time Wisely and With People Who Share My Values: I have always been someone who worked more than played (easy to do when work feels like play) but, let’s face it; a life that feels balanced is usually one that is balanced. I also tend to hold onto relationships and situations too long in the hopes that understanding and time will work together and bring things back-on-track. It’s time like these when hope and good intentions can work against you. With this in mind, I decided to write down what I wanted out of my life and to make decisions as to how I spend my time (and with whom I spend it) based on their ability to bring me closer to my goals. Leisure and frivolity are both essential, but wasting time on things and people who are holding us back does nothing for us.

Cut Out The Unnecessary Noise: Mindless chatter about celebrities was left behind soon-after college, but what about the snide comments about colleagues that find themselves sprinkled onto conversations or finding yourself in the same complaint-filled conversation? Having the same conversations about the same things (or people) is boring at best. Worse, negative thoughts and words create negative energy, so it’s no wonder we fill drained after engaging (or having to overhear) them. An uncomfortable question to ask is, “Am I draining those around me with unnecessary negativity?”

Go On a Mission: The idea that you’re going to go from  assistant to CEO in a year is a little much, but treating yourself like a business, setting quarterly goals and making daily plans where you address the priorities of the week will have you looking back at 2014 and seeing significantly more progress than just allowing the days to pull you into various directions.

Be Accountable: Maintaining a victim mentality is comforting in the fact that we don’t have to walk around feeling anything is our fault, but it also encourages the delusion that we don’t have control over our own lives.  The fact is that, true duress aside, no one makes us say, not say, do and not do anything. We choose what to engage and what to ignore.  We choose to hold on or let go, and even if our minds or hearts are still attached to something (or someone), we can push ourselves to take action and move forward until they catch up with us. Holding on to idea #1 will aid in this.

Don’t Be Sloppy: Not with your words, actions, work, drink, dress or trust–regardless of intention.  Over-promising with good intentions is sloppy, and so is sharing information that is best kept under wraps.  No one has ever found themselves in hot water by not sharing gossip or leaving a party the second they realize they have had one martini too many.

Try Hard To Look At Yourself Objectively: This is almost a impossible task, but it’s worth a try.  Instead of infusing the number on the scale with a bunch of self-bashing or coloring difficult situations with big, sweeping statements like “I’ll never” or “I always”, pay attention to where you are, right now, and tools and resources are around you to help you achieve your goals.  Try and speak to yourself about these things with as little emotion as possible. Example: Instead of “I hate my stomach and legs, I am never going to look like so and so…” say, “In order to lose weight, I will need to cut calories and exercise.  Motivating is hard for me, so let me find three resources to help me get past this.” It sounds silly, but it works.

Give To Others Exactly What You Want For Yourself: If you want understanding, motivation, respect, kindness, forgiveness, assistance, favors, etc., give it. If you want criticism, judgement, people to talk about you, to be devalued, put down and ignored, hand that out.  Our behavior has a direct impact on those around us and how the world responds to us, so changing what you put out will literally change the world around you.

Cover a Thin Skin: Let’s face it; some of us are more sensitive than others. But allowing every dirty look or proverbial scratch to cause us to bleed is not going to benefit us in any way. Being a martyr is not an appropriate aspiration if you want to be happy. Work on building a strong support network, a thick sense of self and a deep understanding of what is important to you and then walk through the winds of other people’s projections and drama protected.

Get Help: Whether it’s someone with a Ph.D, a friend or a mentor, going to someone who has knowledge they are willing to share is never a bad thing.

Finally, Grab the Lesson and Let It Go: We have all lived a hell of a lot of life. We all have our disappointments and missed opportunities, but show me one person who was able to undo what has been done by dwelling?  The only way to make amends with the past is to apologize and forgive where you can and then do better in the now.

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When Love (Of Self) Inspires You To Let Go of Another

What do you do in a situation where your love of another is infringing on your love of self?

Very recently, I found myself in the difficult position of fighting what became one last fight for someone/something that truly meant the world to me, but to whom it seemed I no longer meant very much at all.  Like so many nights before this one, I had found myself, belly-up,  pouring my heart out and turning out my lamp with with tears in my eyes. On this particular evening, I was lucky enough to actually get some sleep, but the experience was a bittersweet one as REM brought a bit of S.O.S when I found myself dreaming a dream that, in my waking hours, I had finally started to accept wouldn’t come true.

The next day, I awoke prepared to push through the groggy and heartbroken  state that had greeted me in the hundred or so mornings that preceded the one in question, only I didn’t feel it all.  In fact, I felt rested and calm, as though I had a sense of clarity. It was a welcomed change, however foreign, and it took me a few minutes of looking around in “is this really happening?” wonder for me to accept that, yes, this was really happening.

I pulled out a pen and paper and  asked myself five questions:

How many times have you found yourself at the mercy of someone or something; a thought, a fear, a regret?  

How many times have you missed out on the chance to be your best self and live your best life because you were on-your-knees?

The answer to these questions didn’t need to be written down.  Too many.

What was this really about? Him or some kind of repetition compulsion issue?

Why was I fighting alone to fix something I had plenty of help destroying?

and finally, What had I learned not to do again?

To say this situation brought me to my knees would be an understatement. Unfortunately, the only time one should be on their knees is to beg, and one should never be forced to beg for anything.  Asking, while standing tall, eye-to-eye should be enough for those around you, and certainly for yourself.  When you are on-your-knees, you are without dignity and perspective. Without these things, one cannot see things clearly. One takes what one is given, however small. One cannot protect themself.  When you are on your knees,  You cannot walk, and if you cannot walk, you cannot move towards  reconciliation, success, or anything, really.

I have always carried with me a lot of dreams.Many of these dreams have come true and many others that have been placed on hold while I spent too much energy trying to changing things I could not change and have no business changing, even if I could. I nearly gasped when I thought about how lucky I had been to be where I was being that I had spent so much time (and too many prayers) on people and things that were not only not working for, but against me.

I thought about my life.  It was so much bigger than what anyone thought of me, and certainly far more valuable than wasting while trying to blow off the salt someone else through on a now dissolving ideal.

The night before was like so many nights before it. I had shared my deepest, truest feelings without the slightest bad intention.  But unlike so many times before this one, I could not be shamed by the hours of silence or the loud boom of rejection that came through an empty phone. Somehow, I was pleased that I knew how to love, to forgive, to feel, to articulate and to allow my courage to guide me in putting myself out there, skin inside out.

I was pleased that I understood that love was precious, even if one holds onto and goes about expressing it a bit too long. There was something else in there, too. For the first time in a long time (ever) I knew that I was as precious as the other, and of love itself.  I knew that I was as deserving of love and forgiveness and kindness as the one I loved enough to kindly forgive. This made all of the difference.  Being a good and kind and loving person meant that I needed to be these things to myself. After all, the definitions of dismissive, cruel and cold do not change if they are self-inflicted.

Somehow the love that had me gripping and aching inspired me to let go, entirely, with peace.

Was this wisdom? Self-worth? Understanding? Maybe a little of everything. Surely, it was a sign that it was time.  Time to move on. Away from purgatory, away from anxiety, away from the phone and love that could not reach him.   I made this decision in spite of my feelings, in spite of my habits, in spite of and yet for myself.

Now, usually I have a trial-and-error-will-I-ever-get-it-right? period of knee-skinning, but the universe gave me a bonus check to cash almost instantly.  Not only did I feel the closure I craved, but also a peace that had eluded me, well, my entire life up unto this moment. I felt…free.  I felt…strong.  I felt…like I was headed towards the greatest chapter of my life thus far.

Just a few days later, I had a new wardrobe, a spotless apartment and was the owner of a company I started out as a writer for.

Change your outlook, change your life indeed.

10thingsIknowtobetrue

Things I Know To Be True

There is a lesson, a blessing and an opportunity to grow in every interaction and exchange.

With a few tweaks and a little dedication, you can dramatically increase your level of happiness.

Sometimes there is no way to get through to them so you just have to get through it on your own.

Each morning is a chance to make the day better than the night before.

Love is precious, even when unappreciated.

Time is a gift, even when wasted.

A quiet elegance will always make more of an impact than a loud, booming arrogance.

There is someone out there who sees you clearly and finds you utterly beautiful.

There is a soul in that body that you shove to the side while running for the train.

Cruelty in the face of kindness is a sign of a disorder of the mind.

There are people in this world who welcome love and others who throw acid on it the moment they feel its warmth.

 Sometimes you need to stop praying for reconciliation and ask for apathy.

No one has ever wished a situation away, but they have worked to change one.

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One Powerful Lady

“Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

Margaret Thatcher

 

Brenda Della Casa, Walking Barefoot, Lifestyle

To BeLittle

There was a thunderous accusation,

A flash of confusion,

Another crack in a heart,

Salt driven into a wound created by one who was careless with trust.

Her pleading  was met with a chill,

Her need for understanding stonewalled by defiant silence.

Words flew,

So  powerful,

So  meaningful,

So meaningless.

Back and forth,

Trying to keep up in a game she had never played,

One she could never win.

She looked beneath her and saw the situation she was in.

She looked over at the love,

That had turned its back to her,

She looked into the reflection of his projections,

and into the eyes that once brought her peace,

and in them she saw…

a stranger.

Brenda Della Casa, Walking Barefoot, Model Book, reading

Smart. Sexy. In Control.

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You don’t have to choose between smart and sexy because you know smart is sexy.

You don’t have to give up your independence to be with someone you love. Someone you love will love your independence.

You don’t need to chase anyone. You know the only time you need to run in heels is to grab a cab to meet those who make the effort.

You can pay your own bills and still appreciate it when a man buys you dinner (and allow him to appreciate you picking up the check, too).

You don’t need to find someone to save you. You want to find someone who will stand beside you, sword in hand, and slay those dragons alongside you.

You don’t need to fear the future because you can handle anything that comes your way.

You don’t need to put your life on hold for anyone because those who are worthy of being with you will do what they need to in order to keep up.

You don’t need to stay with someone who doesn’t treat you as you deserve because you know you’re worth so much more (and willing to rock solo until you find them).

Vision

The Vision Board

Many years ago, while having a conversation with my friends, Larry and Melanie, I was introduced to the idea of creating a vision board. Larry is a six-foot -two and built-like-a-linebacker, and hardly the guy I imagined cutting out words from magazines and gluing them onto a board, but that’s just what he did.

“I have to tell you, everything on that board came true, down to the 5,000 won I made playing cards.  I should have been more specific that I meant dollars.” Melanie laughed, “It sounds funny, but it works.”

It was a cute idea, but not one I thought much of until I needed something colorful on my bathroom wall last year. One morning, I emerged from the shower and really looked at it and was pleasantly stunned. To my surprise, everything from my European travels and being hired as a Huffington Post blogger to my role at Preston Bailey had come into fruition less than twelve months later.

It was a funny feeling, especially since achieving many of the things on the board seemed implausible when I was cutting and taping. Whether it was a subconscious daily reminder to go for my goals or a universal vibration that set events in motion, I felt my little board had helped me skip from A to B. I decided to do another. Besides, it is an always- fun project for a lazy afternoon or wine-enhanced evening.

Yesterday, I found myself reorganizing my latest board and adding a few extras to it.

Enlightened

Can Handle Any Situation

Writing Books

Faster, Smarter, Stronger

Having it all: The relationship, the job, the choices.

Then…

 What do you really want?

Uh…

 The big, bold, red question was slightly uncomfortable to look at.

In fact, among all of the pleasant and positive affirmations,it almost felt bullying.

What do you really want?

No bulls%$.

No excuses.  

Bottom line.

Eek. Calm down, vision board!

Initially, it seemed an odd thing to put next to the happy words and big love letters. I nearly took it out, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that, as in life,  the most uncomfortable questions are often the most important ones.  It is one thing to want success, love, happiness, friendship, health, wealth and travel, but what do these things look like and mean to you on a personal and individual level? In a society obsessed with obtaining gratification instantly, doing the work to invest time, dig deeper and get the full story (even with ourselves) is sadly uncommon.

Why do you want these things and how do they look to you?  If you are aching to be with a certain person, is it because you are afraid of being alone or is it because you feel truly and deeply connected to them, as a soul, and feel that you can achieve your greatest happiness together?  If you want to be rich, think about your motivations.  Do you really want to be financially secure or are you looking for a way to show off to those who made you feel less than acceptable in the past?

As silly as the project may be to some, it’s a nice way to get to know yourself better, get a little creative and have a daily reminder of the life  you currently feel will bring you a deeper sense of happiness and fulfillment, and hell, if it gives a magical little push to boot, no ones going to be worse off, right?

Care to make your own?

What you’ll need:

-Scissors

-Old Magazines

-Tape/Glue

-A board or frame of some kind.

-Wine/Sangria and Music optional.

Cut out images or words that inspire and feel right to you.  Place them on the board and voila!

(Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy)

It’s Not Only Possible, It’s What It Should Be.

 “He’s more myself than I am.

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

 Emily Brontë

Pick Of The Day: Living Fearless

Elizabeth Taylor pensive

 

“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)

How To Host An Oscar Party

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“Brenda doesn’t care about the Oscars.”

Said no one, ever.

As a child, I used to tell everyone and anyone how I planned to grow up and be “a movie star”.  While other children wanted to be teachers and firemen, I was enamored of the idea of acting out different roles on the big screen, waiving to the crowds (yes, I practiced in my room) and accepting my Oscar (something else I practiced in front of my dolls). As I grew older, the allure of fame faded, but my love of glamour remained.

And what is more glamorous than Oscar night?

My girlfriends and I plan to dress up, get together to sip champagne, nibble on small bites (and yes, deliver speeches) and I thought it might be nice to share a few ideas for all of you to throw your own awards celebration.  Here are a few tips:

Make sure the decor is Elegant.

No, this doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune: A cream table runner or cloth with clear serving trays and gold or silver accents will do fine. Add red roses, white gardenia’s, or orchids as centerpieces and scatter tealight to add to the glamour.  A trick I learned from my boss: Add a lightly scented candle to enhance the smell of the flowers (Example: rose if using roses).  Feeling a little bolder?  Go with a red and gold color scheme.

Find ways to keep guests Entertained.

The Oscars are long.  Keep it fun by printing up fun ballads, sharing interesting “Oscar Facts” to read before the show starts and during commercials, and have door prizes for “Best Speech” and “Best Dressed” and “swag bags” full of gold-wrapped chocolates, candy rings and other fun goodies.  Have everyone put 5.00 into a pot and winner takes all or it gets donated to the charity of choice.

Serve a flavorful menu your guests will want to Eat.

Lovely finger foods and champagne, Prosecco or cava are the way to go.  Toasted bread tips with fig and prosciutto, caviar, lox and capers, or even a very well made flatbread/brick oven pizza cut in strips are all wonderful bubbly bites!

Lastly, be respectful.  I personally dislike when people talk during the speeches. Take the temperature of the room and come to an agreement.

Enjoy!

A big thanks to Kaley and Nadia for hosting ours!

Be Your Own Superhero

Wear cape cartoon, Brenda della casa

Then you won’t have to wait for someone to save you…

You’ll be able to save yourself.

Bet You Didn’t Know There’s a Miracle In Your Mirror

 

I believe in MiraclesShould you find yourself scoffing at the idea, simply look into the mirror.

See that reflection? That’s proof.

After all of that, you’re still here.

You’re not only alive, you are living.

You have survived ,

And starting to thrive.

You have learned so much along the way,

and now you’re wisdom helps others find their way.

You’re still searching,

seeking,and able to love.

Not only did you land on your feet,

You’re able to dance.

Wow!

Accentuate The Negative (Wait, What?)

Possibilities, opportunities.

Also known as uncertainty,  gambles.

Depending on your outlook, a change can be a second chance or a challenge.

There are those who will wonder why you worry away your wanderlust,  but let’s face it; sometimes change can feel scary.  Sometimes rewards are hard to locate in a room full risks. It can be difficult not to feel anxious and overwhelmed when you are fearing the worst possible outcome when presented with a new situation. If attaching yourself to the more positive possibilities doesn’t feel comfortable just yet, go as negative as you can.

Seriously.

Think of the three worst possible outcomes of a given situation. Then, place those three in order of manageable to worst.   Next, think of three to five ways you can work to prevent those outcomes and three ways you would deal with each situation should you be faced with it.

Use the information above to  rank how likely each outcome is  on a scale from 1-10.  Is it really as risky as you thought it to be? Be realistic. If it is, is it worth it?  If it isn’t, pay attention to how you feel after looking at the facts.  Are you excited about the chance of moving in the new direction or are you still making excuses in the face of “proof” that it’s not as much of a challenge as you first thought it to be?

Now you know if you really want it.

Allowing Others To Be Who They Are

How many times have you sat, exasperated, while someone you loved mishandled a situation in their life? How many times have you listened to the same story and given the same advice only to have them come back to you a week later with an encore performance? If only they would listen to you (instead of themselves) the situation at hand could be fixed, they could be happy and you could be right.

And what about the times when you have felt pressured not to follow or share your own instincts or desires in order not to upset or frustrate someone you loved and respected?  How many times have you pretended not to feel a certain way or stopped yourself from reaching out due to embarrassment?

The fear of judgement and rejection can be debilitating, not only to individuals, but relationships between those who have heart-to-hearts and cannot see eye-to-eye.  I know there was a time when I personally lived in constant fear of disappointing dear friends and mentors I felt were more advanced in their approach to “problem” solving. After plenty of pretending not to need a little extra tutoring (and my fair share of test anxiety) I had to teach myself that it was OK to follow my own path (and stumble down it at times), come to my own conclusions and make my own mistakes.

I had to let go of my fear of loved ones rejecting or judging me and hold onto the hope would still love me even if it took me a dozen times to “get it”.

Guess what? They did.

I sat in class a while, but I finally learned that just because someone loves us or we love them doesn’t mean we need to think alike, feel alike or want to do all of the time.

We are a group made up of unique individuals with our own thoughts, feelings, experiences, fears and desires, but I believe we all want same things in life:  To love and be loved, to be accepted for who we really are, space to breathe, and room to be ourselves in the world and our relationships. I embraced the fact that we are individuals walking side-by- side in this life, and not extensions of one another. A difference in thought or opinion isn’t a rejection of us as a person (and if it is, that’s a relationship we need to reconsider participating in).

You’re likely reading this post thinking, “This is really so obvious, Brenda,” but it’s not always easy to remember when we are upset that someone is not taking our advice or handling a situation the way we would and/or think they should.   I write this as a reminder to us all (myself included) to try and remember to approach one another with compassion and a desire not to “know” but to understand.  Let us all remind ourselves that situations are often black and white to those of us who are not attached by the powerful emotional hook.

And as illogical as it may seem, emotions are what attach us to people, places and things.  They are what adds color to the world.  They are the soul to our body, the reason we give hugs, meet up with friends, write poetry, make love, say prayers and visit graves.

Live (for yourself) and let live.

Unleash Your Power

Brenda Della Casa, Fearless Living

Looking back, she couldn’t help but to shake her head,

not in regret,

But at her own misconceptions.

Fortunately, experience had taught her that this was what “growing” up was all about…

Growth.

Development.

If not for the lessons she learned when she held herself back in order to be deemed “nice” and “agreeable” to those around her, she would have never learned that being nice to herself was equally, if not more, important.  She would not have understood that others who asked her to devalue and degrade herself were not worthy of her kindness, let alone chunks of her self-esteem.

Had she not choked on swallowed words out of the fear of being called a b***,  or one of the other negative names women are called when they assert themselves, demand and command respect, or protect their boundaries, she’d have never learned that the pain of not doing those things was much worse than ignorant and vulgar name-calling.

That’s when she realized that she was in training.

The less she crawled, the taller she stood.

The less she cried, the clearer her view.

The  more she spoke (up), the stronger her voice.

That’s when she realized that her world didn’t fall apart when she carved out a space for herself in it.

Her days were more vibrant, her relationships stronger. Those who loved and truly respected her were pleased with the change.

Those who didn’t were no longer around.

She was less concerned with being “nice” than being authentic.

That was nice.

Father Mimics Master Paintings Using His Daughter As Model

Bille Gekas,

Many thanks to my friend, Shelley Ruelle, for bringing this brilliant session to my attention. Australian photographer, Bill Gekas,  has created gorgeous portraits of his daughter in the style of classic European painters. My verdict: Just wonderful!

See more here.

(Photo Courtesy of Bill Gekas)

Wish List

1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider.

Dream Car

1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider Dream Car

12305 5th Helena

Dream Home

mm12305

Sailing on my own boat.

A great big one.

Sail

Twitter @BrendaDellaCasa

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I Am Staggered USA

Preston Bailey

Picks of The Day: Preston’s Wedding (In Random Order)

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On my way out!

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Ms. Weinstock-Cake Queen and super fun seat partner.

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My boss (who has stated he must approve all suitors and who has promised to be ordained for my wedding day) picking wedding shoes.

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Cynthia arrives.

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My Necklace was event-tested and Nene-approved.

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Melissa watches Mom, Joan

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Martha arrives

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Hallway to reception

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Ms. Reem Acra

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Joan and Theo await Preston’s entrance.

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Theo serenades us

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Love “Kong”ers all.

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White Night.

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Leave it to my boss to make a statement (piece).

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With my sometimes mentor, sometimes rival, always media partner-in-crime.

Twitter @BrendaDellaCasa

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I Am Staggered USA #1 Men’s Wedding Website

Preston Bailey

Best Sales Tips From Entrepreneurs

Looking for a few fresh ideas on how to be successful in sales?  Check this out.

Le Séduction

seduction3

seduction1

seduction3words

Best Valentine’s Day Story Ever!

Brenda Della Casa Romantic Love Story

This is how we all deserve to be loved.

One Life, One Chance

jetaime

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Only say it when you mean it, 

Then say it often, 

and show it even more.

Tasty Living

Brenda Della Casa, Cocktails

A toast to living (authentically),

To loving (yourself),

To laughing (in the face of adversity),

and to gratitude (for second chances).

Cheers!

Follow BDC on Pinterest.

Life Lessons From The Masters

Brenda Della Casa Creating Yourself Motivational Quotes

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison

“The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them” Queen Victoria

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Winston Churchill

“Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.” Queen Elizabeth I

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen…I believed if I said it enough, everyone would believe that I was the greatest.” Muhammad Ali

“A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.” Madonna

“Trust, but verify.” Adopted and made famous by Ronald Reagan

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” Albert Einstein

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Picks Of The Day: When She Permits You To Seduce Her

Brenda Della Casa Seduction, lace mask

If I choose to ignore your faults, it’s not because I am blind to them.

corset, Brenda Della Casa Seduction

If I choose to bind myself to you, it is not because you control me.

weep, Brenda Della Casa Seduction

If you make me weep, I will reconsider.

 Girl in hotel, Barbie, Brenda Della Casa Seduction

If I walk, it will because of how you handled yourself…

And you will regret it.

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Loving This

Brenda Della Casa

You’ve Had a Hard Day…

Stare at Ryan for a few minutes.

You deserve it.

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Need more Ryan?  Of course you do!  Fortunately, I have made a Pinterest Board full of sexiness.

Less Judgement and More Understanding

It’s so easy to come to conclusions, so easy to lay down the law.

But none of us truly know where the other has been,

The desperate desires that push us to do the things we do.

How can we help ourselves and one another get to healthy and happy?

With less judgement and more understanding.

Opinions are a dime a dozen…

But knowledge is power.

The Power of Words: How Would You React To Being Called a Slur?

Words Hurt, Brenda Della Casa, stop bullying, verbal abuse

Not too long ago, I found myself in a conversation about the power of words.   The energetic back-and-forth took place with a man who I had found to hold a decent amount of emotional and intellectual intelligence, and  it was for this reason that I found his position surprising.  You see, he was arguing on  behalf  of those who inserted two rough words starting with B and C into their conversations with and about women.

I’ll wait while you put B and C together.

Yep, those words.

Now, I am all for self-expression (hello, have you read WB?)  but I believe that the ways in which someone chooses to express themself often says a lot more about them than who they are talking about and what they are actually saying. There are ways to disagree like a lady or gentleman, and others more reminiscent of prison yards.

I’ve heard  opinions shared in both languages;  My grandfather spoke one way, my father spoke another.

Worse, certain words will work to invalidate your argument to those you offend, and rationalize as you might, certain words offend the majority.

As open-minded as educated as I try to be, I’ll admit that once you toss out certain words, all credibility is lost.  I find them more than just uneducated, disrespectful, and vulgar;  I see them as dangerous.  Misogynistic and abusive phrases like B*tch and C***   are used to demean and devalue a woman in the same way racial and homophobic slurs are spit out to dehumanize those of different races and sexual orientations. When a woman uses these words to describe another woman, it just makes me feel sorry for her. Why?

In all cases, it’s a way of putting another person “in their place” and sends a message that says “I am better than you, so listen up. I’m in charge.”  Yes, there are are those who say things frivolously and carelessly, but that doesn’t mean we should all stay silent when we hear them tossed out with an “I am just joking, don’t be so sensitive” tag.

Maybe we’re not sensitive and they are just insensitive.

I shared this with him.  He listened intently, and then disagreed.

“Listen, I don’t advocate spitting those words out left and right, but some people were raised just tossing those words around and they don’t have the same meaning associated with them as they do with you,” he argued. “Sometimes, it’s not meant to disrespect someone.  They are just words.”

“By that rationale, none of our words have meaning,” I said.  “‘I Love you’ has no meaning.  While that is true in some cases, as human beings with connections and bonds to people, we have to be able to feel we can trust the words of those we love and respect and to be able to protect ourselves from hateful words that hurt.  We all have a good understanding of what are “fighting words” and it’s universally known those are vulgar.”

An exasperated sigh came from him.

I wouldn’t budge.

He called me stubborn.

I started to think about it.  As a writer, It’s quite possible I am more respectful of the power of words. As someone who was abused as a child, it’s quite possible I am excessively sensitive.  Still, no one I know tosses those words around casually (or at all, actually). I certainly don’t want my future children hearing them in my home or thinking it’s acceptable to speak this way. Sure, there is plenty of ignorance in this world, but had everyone just followed the rules of the neighborhood and masses (and not taken a stand) women would still have no rights, we’d still have segregation, and some people would still think the world was flat.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt it had more to do with my being human being than anything else.  We all know that actions speak louder, but words have the power to hurt, heal, uplift and event kill. Think about it:  Saying a nasty or careless thing to someone in the depths of depression may have a devastating effect whereas a loving and encouraging sentence might be the one thing that helps them move forward.

I believe that if you want someone to believe there is weight in your words (I love you), you should expect they would give credibility to everything that comes out of your mouth.  “Jokes” are supposed to be “ha-ha, funny” not demeaning.

I wanted to ask your opinion on this topic.  Do you think I am being sensitive or should we watch our words more carefully?  What do you think of these words in particular?  Do you judge others by the way they communicate?

Note:  This person was playing devils advocate and doesn’t go around calling people names.

Picks of The Day: Upscale Staycation

Champagne, Brenda della casa, vintage champagneSitting pretty, girl on bed, lavish bedroom, brenda della casa

Pink Books, Brenda della Casa

Who says staying in isn’t Glamorous?

Life is what you make of it.

Hello, Hello, Baby…

Brenda Della Casa, vintage phone

Elizabeth Taylor, Butterfield 8, Brenda Della Casa

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Robert Mazza

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Name: Robert Mazza

Occupation: Casting Director

Passion: Travel

Relationship Status: Dating someone new and getting to know each other.

Decade:  Fabulous Forties

What are Five Words That Describe Your Life Right Now? Growing, Compelling, Fun, Flirtatious, Appreciative

What are Five Words That Describe Your Ideal Future? Ecstatic, Smiling, Laughing, Sexual, Prosperous

Tell Us About The Last Time You Followed Your Heart? I always manage to hit the highest peaks and plummet to the lowest valleys, all the while at peace with the fact that it was my heart that took me there.

Tell Us About A Time You Did Something “Crazy”: I am a romantic, so to me, there is no crazy when it comes to love. Unless its restraining order crazy. But that’s a different question.

Please Define The Following Words:

Love: Undefinable. Also completely intangible and often elusive. But I know it once I am in it.

Friendship: A rare connection between two people who inexplicably are drawn to each other, will protect each other, will often hurt each other, yet have reason to continue as friends.

Fear: Anxiety caused by a story you tell yourself which is most likely 99% untrue.

Forgiveness: Letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different. (Oprah said it and I adopted it.)

Partnership: Mutually agreed and desired relationship on whatever terms both parties agree to.

Perfection: Imperfection is perfection

Success: Unconditional love and happiness

Happiness: Personal success

Men: Human beings who have a penis (the rest is interchangeable.)

Women: Human beings who have a vagina (the rest is interchangeable.)

Independence: Freedom to do whatever you want to do without any assistance.

Leadership: Inspirational, strong people who can share information without condescension.

Tell Us About Your Last “A-Ha” Moment? After reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, I realized it was the simplest 4 rules for a happy life. It was so obvious and all it took was someone to spell it out.

Share The Five Things You Have Learned About Life Thus Far:

1. Everyone dies

2. Everyone fails

3. You will get hurt no matter how hard you try to avoid it.

4. Getting hurt is the catalyst to growth.

5. You can make your life as happy and successful as you choose to make it.

Who Inspires You and Why? Anyone who goes unrecognized, yet is creating positive change in their community.

What Person In History Would You Most Like To Meet and Why? Marilyn Monroe. She seems to have experienced some of the same peaks and valleys that I’ve experienced in my life.

What Famous Person (Scientist, Actor, Musician, Writer, etc.) Do You Most Identify With and Why? I don’t identify with anyone specifically.

What Brings An Instant Smile To Your Face? When a baby smiles at me.

What Angers You? Hypocrisy of any kind. And rude cashiers at Duane Reade.

What Do You Feel Is The Biggest Waste of Time? Regret

What Is The Best Advice Anyone Ever Gave You? No one else is better than you. But you aren’t better than anyone else.

What is The Worst Advice Ever Tossed Your Way? Taste this….

What Advice Would You Give Someone Looking To Achieve What You Have Professionally? Always ask for what you want. No one knows what you want, need or desire unless you ask them for it or tell them what you need, want and desire.

What’s the Best Relationship Advice You Would Give Someone Single and Looking? Listen to what your intuition tells you in those first 2 minutes. It’s always correct.

What’s the Best Relationship Advice You Would Give Someone Getting Married? If you aren’t ready to do some incredibly difficult yet extraordinarily rewarding work, then don’t get married yet.

What’s the Best Relationship Advice You Would Give Someone Getting Divorced? Realize you have an amazing amount of intelligence and courage to know that you need to step out of something that isn’t working. It’s not a failure. It’s a successful step into an unexpected direction.

How Do You Handle The “Sky Falling”? Grasp for personal gratitude and appreciation.

What Is Your Greatest Indulgence? Travel

How Do You Overcome Fear? By doing what I fear and always realizing it was never as bad as I thought it would be.

How Did You Move On From Heartache? By marching forward. No particular formula or path can fit every situation.

How Did You Let Go Of The Past? Never do. To let go of the past would mean it has never happened. Unfortunately, that is impossible.

What Advice Would You Go Back and Give The Younger You? Aside from buy AOL stock? I would tell the younger me that he could do anything he wants to do and to never let anyone tell you otherwise.

What is Your Life Motto? The golden rule. Do unto others….

What is The Greatest Achievement of Your Life Thus Far? The joy that both traveling and my dog Kiko brings me.

What Do You Want Your Legacy To Be? He made people laugh and always surprised us.

Brenda Della Casa, Lauren Cosenza, Makeover, Makeup.com, Aisha Singleton

See The Transformation: Makeup.Com

I told you all about the Beauty Dare I took on for my beloved bestie, Lauren Cosenza’s popular “Beauty Dare” Column.  Well, the “after” party has started.  See it the new look at Makeup.com!

P.S. I heard the mirror loud and clear. I do as LDiva told me to do ;)

Gold Ace Playing Card, Brenda Della Casa

Take The Risk. Worth The Risk.

Peter Lik, Heart, heart on fire, Brenda Della casa

(Photos: 1, Pinterest; 2, Peter Lik)

Love

Latest Huffington Post Column: Re-Writing Your Story

Who says your past defines or dictates your future?  Toss the script and get to know who you really are.  Read more in my Huffington Post “Becoming Fearless” Column.

Past Pieces:

Healing The Scars of Child Abuse: My Story

The Fear of Letting Go.

Once again, thanks so much for taking the time to read Walking Barefoot and my articles.  I am so appreciative of your support, always!

BDC

Life In Bloom

Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, paris Light

Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, twenties, woman laughing

She was so used to worrying,

To wondering,

To asking those around her for directions.

But then she remembered…

That life was for living,

Love was for giving,

Hope was worth having,

Faith was for leaping,

And whatever happened,

She would look back and think,

I am one hell of a woman,

And that was one hell of a journey.

Picks Of The Day: In Total Control

Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, Motivation Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, Motivation

Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, Motivation

Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, Motivation

Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, Motivation

Unstoppable.

Yes, you.

Unless you choose to stop.

Motivate yourself, if you have to.

Keep moving.

Stay focused.

You may not be the first to cross the finish line,

But you only lose if you quit.

The Only Way

Most of you know that I consider Mr. Mather’s the Hemingway of Hip-Hop, and relate to him in a lot of ways. Having had eerily similar experiences in childhood,  I find a lot of his music inspiring and even calming (I know, not common).  I also find it interesting that we both became writers, perhaps out of a deep desire to express those thoughts and feelings we had to swallow way back when.

In continuing my commitment to a fearless 2013, I thought I would post the song that always gets me motivated to fight through whatever worries me and make the most of my time here on Earth.

Warning: Explicit.

Live. Love. Learn. Fearlessly.

Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, Motivation, red lipstick, fashion, fearless

Brenda Della Casa, www.strollwithoutshoes.com, Walking Barefoot, Motivation, Joan of Arc, Fearless

Own your power.

Get a sense of direction.

Go boldly into your future.

Know that you will always be ok.

Love with great abandon.

Use Your Head.

Watch the way you speak (to yourself).

Honor your word.

Show up when you say you will.

Be fully there when you arrive.

Make one hell of an entrance.

Walk over to the table and take a seat.

Then prove you belong there.

Thank you Lauren and Christopher for the lessons that have helped me to live, love, listen, laugh and learn without fear.