Pick and choose, amend as you see fit or toss all together.
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.
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.
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.
Accept that you are worth way more than you are bargaining for.
See kindness for what it really is, strength and wisdom.
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.
Stop wasting time.
Do the right thing, right now.
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.
Get serious about the changes you want to make.
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.
Find reasons to laugh at the nuances of life, not people.
Hope with intelligence.
Live with intention.
Create with inspiration.
Make every season one of giving.
Be good to the souls around you (and the one inside of you).
Move on with your life with people who want to be in it and say goodbye to those who do not.
Life is precious and it can be over in a heartbeat, literally. There are no second-chances to say what you need to say, forgive and love the way you want to love when its gone, so if there’s something you ache to say or do, the time really is now.
Wanting everything to “be ok” doesn’t make everything OK, but it’s the first step in getting to better.
Love is to anger what salt is to snail.
If you feel like you are being asked to breathe underwater, it’s too much.
What people say behind your back is often very difficult to face.
There is only so much you can do, say, hope, want, ache and feel before you accept and move into your life.
Peace of mind is only Piece of Mind unless you really sit down and work through how you feel, why you feel that way, listen to how they feel and why they feel that way and then make a plan of action to avoid more of the same in the future.
Coming to a conclusion doesn’t mean it’s the only conclusion you can come to.
Some souls meet up on this journey for a minute and others, for a significant reason.
We are all capable of things we don’t think we aren’t. Being a peace-keeper, it is extremely rare that I truly lose my temper. That said, I apparently have red button, and pressure on it will send me into a verbal nuclear explosion. Never knew that was possible until this weekend.
Paying attention to what people respond to–affection, love, criticism, tears, fears, anger–is very telling.
Action is the twin of truth, time is the only gift worth giving, and reflection? The only way out.
My armor; polished, form-fitting and strong.
My courage; undefeated.
My bravery; secured.
A floating device.
An uncomfortable anchor.
The root of happiness,
Of chaotic and frantic action,
Bringing people together,
Pushing them away,
Moving us forward,
Pulling us back.
A difficult release.
Ah, the stories he told. The way his words would swirl around her, evoking a childlike wonder at her luck in stumbling upon this magical, secret place that he had created and chosen to invite her into. The delicious and sweet promises she bit into and delightfully swallowed, and the sound of his voice; music to ears that had listened to a cold silence too long.
His private desires were shielded by dark brown eyes that looked tenderly upon her, all the while deconstructing the soul she willingly bared. Dancing to her own beat, once a source of pride, became less enticing than following his able lead. Thus, a private synergistic dance began, first with him holding her close and gently twirling, then moving faster, aggressively out -of-tune, and finally angrily instructing her to keep up or get out.
Confused, she apologized. It must have been her. Certainly he couldn’t change his tune so drastically. That would mean this was all song and dance, a thought too terrifying to admit. And so she committed more. Studying harder, practicing longer, staying on her toes, carelessly stepping on the pieces of her shattering heart until the blood on her feet seeped from the shoes she bought in which to run to him. In the course of one song, her greatest pleasure had morphed into a heart-wrenching pain and she looked into the reflection of his projections and saw there was no way to please him. Alas, she would try, and try harder she did, frantically twirling and stepping until she fell to her knees, exhausted. With a hand reached out, she pleaded for him to help her get back onto her feet. There was no reply. His back was already to her. He looked back upon her, once more with disdain. He then grabbed his expectations, threw his misconceptions over his shoulder and walked out of the door, leaving only a great lesson behind.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
(Photo: Casa Mila Getty Images)
We hear all of the time that happiness is not about how much money we have in the bank or who lies beside us at night, but a decision, a choice. Still, anyone who has ever chosen to happy in a life full of negative mantras, untrustworthy and/or unreliable people and self-sabotaging behavior knows that decision without action boarders on delusion.
It has been my lesson that to experience anything beyond superficial moments of happiness (an ice cream cone, a walk in the park) one must work to clear out the habits, thought-processes and relationships that bring about unhappiness. Unhappiness tends to work like salt, a dash of it brings out the flavor of joy, a heap of it ruins the whole pot.
My friend, Haley, always makes mention of the importance of making space for good things to come into our lives. “You cannot focus on something negative and expect something positive to just happen,” she says. This sort of advice can sound either flippant or profound, depending on ones head space at the time of hearing it. Still, I believe there’s real wisdom in the ideology that we only have so much room in our daily lives (and mind) and choosing to be happy while holding onto anger, wallowing in pain or circling back to the past in an attempt to make sense of nonsense will just lead to more frustration (and unhappiness).
But where does one start? For me, it came down to a few questions:
If things were to stay just as they are, how would you feel about it?
Are you happy with your body, your mind, your home, your friendships, your job, your relationships or are you hoping for something better? If it’s the latter, what are you doing about that?
If you were to use your past and present actions as a guide, where do you feel you are headed if you continue doing what you are doing? Is it into the arms of someone who rejects you? Is it into a successful future that requires you to live a life that feels inauthentic? Is it towards something you feel will make you happy?
How committed to you to consistent action? Doing something once doesn’t make you successful, it means you did something once. The mind, like the body, must be trained. Are you feeding it better? Do you have a coach? A partner? What are you ready to give up to make room for healthier action? How will you counteract negative action? How will you motivate yourself to stay on-course in the face of setbacks?
How are your boundaries? This one is a biggie. Knowing where you end and others begin (and visa versa) is a key component in building a life you not only love but being your best self while in it.
How will you work to free yourself from unhappiness?
Why waste your wishes on fame and fortune,
Phone calls and dates, a ticket inside,
or even Love?
Why not just take a deep breath and blow it out,
Thanking the universe for that key ability.
In that that very action lies the proof that your wishes have all came true,
Even when they didn’t.
I truly believe that my life would have taken a dramatically different turn if not for my discovery of Ms. Ciccone. As someone who has admired and looked up to her since the age of four (much for motherly guidance that, I believe, served me quite well), I have always hoped she’d write an autobiography. Though in-your-face and outspoken about controversial topics, she rarely shares insight as to what it is like to be a human being living as “Madonna”. This essay, published in Harper’s Bazaar is the closest she’s come in years and it’s worth the read, in my humble opinion. Love her, hate her or care little about her, Madonna paved her own path to iconic status and inspired, comforted and encouraged millions of people while doing it. She’s a strong, smart and courageous woman who has always maintained that a woman should never have to choose between smart or sexy, that knowledge should be sought in every situation and that it is OK to live authentically as long as, by doing so, you are not bringing (real) harm to others.
A toast to my very own “Frida Kahlo.”
(Photo Courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar)
This morning, while working extremely hard, my amazing intern, #FierceFarrah stumbled upon Hideo Muraoka, a Japanese-and-Brazilian DNA-lotto winner who pretty much has everyone in the Preston Bailey Editorial offices in a very good mood. He might be the hottest model (man) alive, aside from my friend, James Collins , of course. ;) No, seriously, click that link and look at James. He’s what David Beckham would look like if he were hotter.
See more perfection at Buzzfeed. We would like to thank the author of that post for everything in life ever.
We know, there are some of you who have read “The Game” have it in your head that “negging” a woman is a great way to get her to fall in love (or at least into bed) with you, but let’s be honest; no one likes to be insulted. Especially by a stranger.
“Hey, Any Fun Plans This Weekend? I Am Going Snowboarding With My Uncle.”
Approaching strangers online can be awkward, but approaching them as though you’re mid conversation with a friend can come off as really awkward. Avoid saying too much (a bio) or too little “Hi” and send her a tailor-made email where you pay her compliment on her profile and ask a question related to it.
Example: Hi, I am John. I loved your profile and noticed that you have a passion for _______. Have you ever been to _______________? I just visited there and loved it. I’d love to talk with you more about it. Feel free to respond should you like what you see on my profile and best of luck either way.
Unless You Want To Come Off As “Larry” From Three’s Company, It’s Best to Avoid Lines.
We know, you’re joking, but there is no tone in text and emails which means you run the risk of having it come off as flat, cheesy and lazy. You’re not those things so don’t write like it!
Sexual Comments: The Big No, No.
I don’t care if you look like Johnny Depp circa 1989, sending an even slightly salacious comment to a stranger is just flat-out creepy!
Don’t Be An Angry Man.
Yes, some men send angry emails initially and look like jerks. Some send them after they don’t get a response and look like insecure jerks. Some don’t send them at all and look like gentleman who understand that not everyone will be a match (Hint: You’re one of those).
Get Thee A Decent Profile Photo
First, this means you need to have a photo. Actually, have at least three. Make sure at least two of them showcase your best features. This means the ones with crazy faces, Halloween costumes, or one that was taken before you lost/gained whatever you are advertising in the photo are best left for the photo album or at least scattered in with the ones that are actually accurate. Web cam photos and headshots both come off less attractive than regular ones and for goodness sakes, clean up the bedroom in the background! When adding photos with big groups of other men , avoid posting ones where you highlight something you don’t love (i.e., standing next to your six-pack having underwear model fraternity brother two months after filming “Man VS Food”. Do you really want her to think your friend is hot?
Three Emails Before You Ask For Her Number
Notice that I said you ask for her number? Most women like men who take the lead, at least in the beginning. When emailing, you want to at least look like you’re trying to get to know her a little as a person. No one wants to feel like you’re “fishing” outside of a club sophomore year.
Change Your “Preferences”?
Add two years to your preferred age, drop one inch on preferred height and stop judging everyone’s relationship history and go see what’s out there.
Look, you don’t have to share your deepest secrets, but she will notice your height, hair and weight when you meet and it’s better to just be you instead of risking some kind of disappointment when she opens the restaurant door. Besides, you’re attractive as you are and even more so with confidence.
Don’t Confuse Stalking with Persistence
Write her once and follow up a week Later, if you want to. Then drop it. Don’t comment on all of her photos or look at her profile every day. You may just have a little crush, but she doesn’t know you so she’ll feel a little like she would if her weird neighbor is standing out of her window every morning.
Always ask for the date and make the reservation, if you’re going for dinner.
Avoid doing anything a 13 year-old girl would do (…LOL…, lazy grammar or selfies in the mirror with your phone).
Don’t just make the date and go MIA. Continue to engage her at least every few days.
Thank her for a nice time and wish her well gently if you don’t plan to see her again.
Be careful not to send her an obvious “cut and paste”.
Remember who you have reached out to. Many women go off and on the site and remember you chatting them up before, even when you don’t.
Ask her for a follow-up date within 5 days of your first date or she won’t think you’re interested (and you may lose her to another guy who shows he is). This means you should avoid making her your text buddy. Either you want to see her or you don’t. Just texting her for weeks on end makes her feel like you’re looking for an ego-boost or just immature.
Next Up: Tips for Women.
Ladies, any more to add?
I came across this while working on my Pinterest account and thought it was too good not to share with all of you. Those who know me and follow my blog know that I am a huge believer in hard work and being the very best you can be while here on this earth. The idea that, to achieve true and lasting success, one must work hard and treat others with respect is an old school one and was introduced to me at a young age by my beloved grandfather who was, by all accounts, a hard-working gentleman.
The thing I remember and heard most about my grandfather growing up was that he man who carried himself with dignity. Whether painting a house, dealing with a difficult banker or engaging an argument, he was a man who carried himself with a quiet pride in both himself and the efforts he made in any given situation.
Though I recall that appreciated accolades, he abhored flattery, and though he wanted to be successful, he always warned that there was a difference between ambition and ruthlessness and the ego tends to gear us towards the latter. Through his stories of opportunities gained and lost, I quickly learned that he willing to get his hands dirty, but only literally. ”Do what it is that you want to do in order to achieve success, but always within the structure of a strong moral code,” he would say.
When I would get excited about an idea or my ability to execute it, he would encourage me but warn “not to get too big for your britches,” and if I dared to idolize or denounce another person, he’d make a stern face and remind me that we all “put our pants on one leg at a time.” He believed the way we treated others, good manners and the way we carried ourselves opened and closed doors, and maintained that it said a great deal about who we were at the core. During one particularly lively discussion about the anger I felt towards my stepmother (and my decision to let her know it), he looked at me with understanding and explained , “Everyone, woman or lady, man or gentleman will have a hat tipped and a handshake honored because that’s about who you are and how you carry yourself.” That particular statement stuck very quickly. In it, I learned that aside from true duress, no one can make you behave as less than you are. You either have it in you or you don’t and when you flash something vulgar or vile under pressure, it’s best to take note for you are getting a glimpse of a darker part of your truest character.
I believe these lessons, given over the table, on long walks and during commercial breaks have contributed a great deal to the successes I have enjoyed throughout my short life. I often wonder what he would say about this and that, but a part of me always knows. As an added bonus, I have been deeply fortunate to have a family of friends and colleagues who also value good values and a solid work ethic, and they challenge me to do better and be better daily. Who knows? Perhaps one day I will be the woman and writer I hope to become. In the meantime, I will heed good advice when I find it, and I think I’ve stumbled on a bit of it here (see below). If you are also on your journey and looking for ways to build a better you, you might appreciate these small–yet significant–tips as well.
Built up, or broken down by choices.
Who you choose to be with.
Who you choose to leave.
How you choose to respond, if at all.
Where you choose to-or not to- go.
Your moral fiber is what shields you,
Make sure it’s strong.
Your values are what guide you,
pay attention to where they are leading you.
Your “heart” is in your mind,
The two are not separate.
Love, respect, support and friendship are words,
all meaningless without action.
Decisions must be made constantly,
In real time.
In or out,
Yes or no,
More or less,
Stay or go.
May you always remember that you are a brilliant culmination of all you have seen, thought, heard, felt and been through.
You are a mixture of thoughtful shadow and illuminating light, a balance of flaws and perfection.
You are in every way an irreplaceable work of art.
Your life will reflect this through twists and turns, smooth lines and jagged, sharp turns.
In the end, you will step back and see that what seemed like a mess, a mistake, actually worked together to create a masterpiece, a life.
This stunning artwork was created by James Nares
Wining down with a friend after a long day is a New York to-do list essential, but shockingly, there are other ways to rock a little more serenity. Here are a few I’ve found to be (almost) equally effective.
Consider The Source: Often repeated by my CFO, there is a serious lesson in this short-yet-brilliant statement. How many times have you allowed some random person to ruin your day with a flippant comment you took in as fact? Not only is walking around allowing every person’s opinion of what we say, do, look like and wear a sure-fire way to ignite some serious self-doubt and self-doubt is what poses the strongest threat to success. We can’t have that. Bottom Line: The stranger or colleague making comments about your life choices should hold a lot less weight than those made by a friend who knows the full story and who has shown, through example, they have your best interests at heart.
Get on The Vespa, Feel The Breeze, Kiss The Boy (or Girl): I have done the first three and can assure you that it would give Xanax a run for its money
Speaking of Threats, Never Be Scared Into Submission By One: Having been at the mercy of plenty of them, I could teach a masters class on bullies. What I have learned along the way is that bullies are like the man-behind-the-curtain in the Wizard of Oz, nothing but little cowards who want to control you through fear. Take away their ability to scare you and they have nothing. While it’s an unfortunate fact that not everyone in the world has laws, rules and social norms to protect their rights, those of us who do should not only be grateful for them but rely on them to protect our right to live honestly, openly, authentically and to never allow anyone to make us afraid to use our voice or do the right thing.
Stretch It Out: By way of Yoga, a massage, or an actual stretch at your desk (who cares what your coworkers think? You have knots to address!)2
Pay Attention To What’s Important: Paying attention to details makes for a great event and outfit, but getting caught up in them is often what stirs up drama and discord. If you’re in a fight with someone you love, remind yourself that the relationship is more important than being right. If you’re annoyed at the slow walking stranger in front of you, focus on how to get around them to get to work on time. If you’re unhappy with your job, be grateful you’re not unemployed and spend more time talking to colleagues and connections than complaining to friends. Bottom Line: Pointless distraction is not for bosses. You’re a boss. Get things done.
Plan For But Don’t Look For Problems: My friend, Lauren once told me to “Think of everything that can go wrong and plan on what you would do if it happened and then decide if it is worth the risk.” Amazing advice that literally saved my life as I know it. My friend, Stacey, however, also offers great problem-solving by reminding me not to “ worry about a problem before it is a problem.” Example: If you have just met a guy or girl and they mention they have always wanted to live in London, what is the point of stressing about a long distance relationship on date two?
Be Gentle, Even When Firm: Knowing how to set boundaries is an essential component of healthy relationship navigation, but there’s a way to say “that’s not OK with me” without bringing in the gasoline and matches. In most cases we find that a soft and strong “enough” does as much to draw a line in the sand (if not more) than screaming like a haughty two year-old.
Be Clear: We sometimes say too little or avoid saying anything at all as a way to “be nice” or avoid a problem all together. Keeping someone in the dark isn’t all that nice and most people can’t pick up on hints because needs, desires, projections and fears get in the way. Say what you’re thinking (see above) and be as clear as possible. They may not like your message, but they will ultimately appreciate it (and you’ll have less stress yourself.)
Be Goal-Focused: Knowing what you need to do and how to prioritize is a lot easier when you know what it is that you ultimately want to get done. Whether it’s on the train during your morning commute, in the shower while getting ready for the client meeting or at the table while you sip your morning coffee, spend a minutes really thinking about who you are and what you want–out of the day, week and month and year. Not only does this help you stay on-track, it also helps you identify what (and who) is working for and against your goals a lot easier.
Don’t Play Psychic: As much as we would love to know what will happen tomorrow, we don’t. That’s bad news when feeling anxious and good news in general because–hello–without an element of surprise, life would be Groundhog-day boring. Still, there is good news for worry-warts and that is that most of us live in patterns. We can use our consistent past behavior (and the consistent past behavior of others) to gain a pretty good sense of a situation. Translation: If your boss tends to be moody, his snarky comment or silence doesn’t necessarily mean you’re about to get canned ;).
Have Your Back: Reminding your friends to take care of themselves, letting them know that you will be there for them, no matter what, and reminding them of their worth and talents make you a great friend. Why not be one to yourself?
Carry Yourself Like The Person You’d Like To Meet, Love, Be Friends with and Work With: It’s the basic do unto others rule, but in that rule one finds the key to stronger relationships, better business and an unbreakable reputation.
If none of these work, call a friend and make a plan to meet to break open a bottle of red.
In Life, There Will Be:
Colleagues who go “mean girl”.
Bosses who don’t give you the credit you deserve.
Internet servers that go down.
iPhone cameras that won’t take photos because your “storage is full.”
Lovers who will break your heart and not answer your calls.
Stores that don’t open on time.
Laughter at your expense.
Too much salt.
People who sit right next to you on an empty train.
Hair that gets clogged in the sink.
Bad hair days.
Stains on your shirt, or worse, your carpet.
Pets who accumulate vet bills.
Idiots who have a better title than you.
Arguments with your mother.
Neighbors who slam their doors.
A reason to stay angry.
Ex’s who paint you in an undeserving light.
Relationships that go south.
Multiple unanswered calls.
Doors that get jammed.
Shoes that get stuck in sidewalk grates.
Annoying songs that play on every station, at once.
Employees who don’t do their work.
No hot water.
People who don’t do something and announce it every time you do it.
People who get mad when you don’t grant a favor.
Partners who don’t carry their weight.
Smelly train cars and stations.
Douchebags on OK Cupid.
A line at Trader Joe’s.
People who stand in the staircase.
Annoying comments about whatever it is you don’t need an annoying comment about.
Half a millimeter left of whatever beverage you want to drink.
No bacon at the buffet.
Posted grammatical errors.
Craziness on Fox Television…
And a slew of other reason to get down, get angry, throw a fit, complain and ruin your or someone else’s day (or worse, relationship, job, mental health).
You could grab the excuse and run with it
You can be grateful for the chance to experience a sunrise, dance in the rain, taste a warm piece of bread with butter, and learn how to best handle your life and all that it brings.
You can appreciate the good people that come your way and the chance to be alive in general and commit to finding your loveliness where you can.
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.
I first met the vivacious, hilarious and curious Un Americana a Roma blogger, Shelley Ruelle in Rome at Pierluigi, the restaurant owned by our beloved friend, Lorenzo Lisi. Shelley and I were sipping cocktails prepared by the very handsome and talented Gabriele Guidoni while talking about love, life, travel and starting over. An instant connection, to say the very least!
In the past year, we have grown in numerous ways, closer being one of them. When I found out that Shelley had decided toexpand her passion for tarot into reading for others by founding Sparrow Tarot, I was thrilled (and intrigued). I had always seenthe tarot as a silly little thing people did as a way to gain some kind of grasp on life when they felt out-of-control. That all changed when she did my first reading. Less gypsy/crystal-ball and more insight and inspiration, her reading left me questioning my life and direction in the most wonderful ways. I was inspired to think about what I wanted more and less of in life and really think about how my thoughts and actions worked for and against my wishes.
These days, she’s a sought-after reader with a roster that includes writers, editors, celebrities and everyday folks who are ready to take more control of their lives. Her readings, in person or delivered in PDF format via email, are the gifts that keep on giving in many ways. Every time I re-read mine, I walk away with something new. Those who have received them as gifts tend to agree.
Here, I speak with Shelley about Life, Love, Tarot and the best way to approach a reading.
As you know, Pierluigi is such a special place and meeting Lorenzo and then you there my last night felt so serendipitous on my end. Meeting you at Pierluigi my last night in Rome was such a wonderful way to end my trip. I loved the enthusiasm you expressed for your new home country. Tell us a little about how you became an expat?
SR: I first came to Rome in the summer of 2001, to study Italian at a language school for a month. I was 24, and I was unhappy in my corporate cubicle job just two years out of college. I thought, “There has to be more to life than this.” All my coworkers encouraged me to take a trip “while you’re young and don’t have a kids and a mortgage.” I met my future husband on my first day in the city. Twelve years later, I’m still here.
What do you love about Rome and miss from home?
SR: I love the Romans, and their spirit. They have a unique way of looking at life, mixing a relaxed attitude with grit and determination to get things done, in a place that is not easily navigated. I love the food, walking downtown among ruins from thousands of years ago, and the constant sunshine. I miss my friends and family back home, although luckily nowadays with things like Skype and Facebook it makes them seem closer. I miss my Kenmore dryer, and big tubs of peanut butter. I don’t miss driving so much.
I have always known you were a great writer, and when you offered to do a tarot reading, I thought it would be clever and fun, and it was, but it was unexpectedly off-the-hook accurate. Were you born with this ability or was it something you set out to learn and hone?
SR: That’s a good question, because I think it points out something that I like to make people aware of: I don’t believe that reading the tarot takes a special or mysterious “gift.” In fact, shrouding the cards in this sort of ambiguity puts too much power in the reader’s hands, power they don’t deserve. Tarot is a skill like any other. It takes an open mind and a willingness to learn a technique. I’ve read the cards for myself for over 12 years. I always kept notes on my readings and began to see the thread that connected the readings to my life experiences, and I learned from that. I studied a lot of other readers and methods and books and kept what resonated while discarding what didn’t.
A lot of people envision gypsy-like hustling when they think of tarot readings. What are your thoughts about this perception? What are the biggest misconceptions about card reading?
SR: I think it’s a shame. On the one hand, people are right to think of tarot in this way, because a lot of people using the tarot employ the cards as a way to gain an egotistical power trip, by projecting an image that they somehow have control over a client’s destiny through the cards. This, in my opinion, is unethical, and takes advantage of people who may turn to the cards for insight into a difficult situation or at a time when they are particularly vulnerable. I myself kept quiet about my use of the tarot for all these years for this exact reason. I didn’t want to be lumped into this category. But then, paradoxically, I realized that if I came out and was able to show people that the cards can also be used in a different, more productive manner, then in my own small way perhaps I would be helping to change the shady image surrounding this practice.
How do tarot cards work?
SR: Tarot cards are just pictures on cardboard. They don’t have any inherently magical properties. They work, in my opinion, because we can make statements about what the images show us, and relate them back to the context of the question we are posing to the cards, as well as relate these thoughts back to our own past and present experiences. The cards work as a catalyst to show us things that we are aware of on a level that we might not be able to readily access with our rational, left-brain thinking. Our society steers us to trust science over intuition, but the magic of the tarot is that it frees us from having to control the process, so we can then look at these images in a way that is “outside of ourselves” yet at the same time, speaking to our situation directly.
What are three things everyone should know before doing a reading?
SR: Every tarot reader has a different style and approach, so, I think it’s important that a client know what type of reader they’re going to before they pay for a reading. Some clients actually just want predictions and want to hand over “agency” to the cards. I have nothing against that, but that’s not what I do with tarot, so those types of clients would be unhappy with my approach, which is one where I want to make the reading client-centered, and help the client to find meaning and insight that they can then apply to their life. One of my favorite card readers, Camelia Elias, has this to say about choosing a reader: “If you pay attention to what acts language discloses, you’ll be able to distinguish between the hordes.” In other words, listen and read between the lines. There’s no reason you should feel forced or coerced into a reading, or persuaded into other nonsense like taking off of curses, or the like. Two other things I think people should know are that tarot cards, no matter what the card reader tells you, cannot predict a “set in stone” future: we always have free will. And lastly, have fun with it. To paraphrase another of my favorite readers, Enrique Enriquez, the act of two adults looking at little pictures on cards for answers is absurd. So, in that spirit, why not have fun with it rather than being overly serious.
Are there people you should not go to for readings?
SR: This is something I can’t say. I am strong believer in self-determination and so I don’t think I’m at liberty to tell people what they can or can’t do. What I would say though is that my worry about some readers is that they have the power to take advantage of people in emotionally vulnerable situations, and that power, when in the wrong hands, can do damage, especially when people are looking for hope or answers to a thorny life situation. Rather than saying who people should not go to, I think I’d prefer to say that people should be self-aware enough to know if they are putting too much faith and hope in a divinatory method, so much so that they’ll be overly influenced by what anyone might say during a reading.
What factors can affect the cards?
SR: This is an interesting question. I don’t really know, exactly, what factors can affect the cards themselves, in terms of their physical construction, because they are made of physical material and that doesn’t change or alter based on any other circumstances. The deck I use today is going to look the same today as it does tomorrow. So I suppose the biggest factor that affects the cards then is the reader’s ability to perform a reading (use of language, ability to interact with a client, etc.) and the client’s capacity or willingness to engage in the process. These are the factors that make reading so unique. Each reading is like its own little work of art: no two are ever the same, and each one is deeply personal and unique.
As a reader, are there things you must do to prepare for a reading?
SR: When I was first learning, I was very hung up on all the various suggestions that tarot authors make about procedure. Ask any tarot reader about his “method” and you’ll get as many responses as readers. There are suggestions about how to “clear” a deck’s energies before first using it, or between readings. There are suggestions about letting clients touch your cards or not, methods for shuffling, methods for cutting… the list is endless. The kind of interesting conclusion I’ve come to after all of these years is that I really believe the most important preparatory tool is the intention that is brought to the reading. Mainly the reader’s intention (ie, what’s the motivation behind providing this service), but also the client’s intention and what they expect to gain from the reading.
Have you ever not wanted to do a reading for someone or not share the news the cards are asking you to share?
SR: No, I’ve never had that experience. I don’t think any of the 78 cards are inherently good or bad, so coming from that perspective, I can’t imagine a reading that would make me feel like I couldn’t share the message of the cards with the client. I won’t sugar coat anything if I see something that would point towards a narrative that has themes of upheaval, struggle, change, difficulty, etc. These things are part of life, and as such, we do well to recognize them when they are present. Clients are generally fairly aware of the situations they’re seeking guidance about, and the cards, rather than being a spooky or scary tool, just reflect these situations back to the client in an immediate, visual way, with some ideas about how to approach the situation. The visual impact of this tool cannot be understated, that’s where its power lies, in my opinion. So, there’s something about this act of “looking at the story” of your life through the cards, that can activate a knowing and consciousness in the client that can spark change and growth.
Do you read for yourself and those closest to you?
SR: I spent the first 12 years with tarot reading exclusively for myself. I tended when I started out to be very rational and very Type A, so the cards were a great tool for me to learn about how to gain objective perspective on situations that I had no control over, and to learn how to work within the confines of that reality. I’ll read for friends or family if they ask, even though now that I’ve opened my readings to the public, it’s harder for me to offer free readings anymore to those I know; I simply don’t have the time. Generally though, and unfortunately, while many friends and family are enthusiastic and supportive of my work, many also say they don’t want a reading because “it scares me.” Again, we find that pop culture notions of the tarot have given the average person misconceptions about the ways that the cards can be used. In fact, I addressed this very topic on my site in this post: “I’m Scared of Tarot Readings.”
What do you find most fulfilling about your work?
SR: For me, being that I almost completed my Master in Social Work at the University of Washington before I had to withdraw from the program for personal reasons, the most fulfilling part of this work is the service aspect. That might sound odd, but it’s what drew me out of my shell to read for others. There’s a gift in being able to “read” these stories for people, a gift in being able to facilitate an exchange that allows a person to find significance and meaning in a difficult or confusing situation, and use those insights to move forward with purpose and increased confidence or reduced anxiety. It seems funny that small colored cards could be the catalyst for that, but they are, and that’s what I love.
What is the most exciting reading you have done and for whom?
SR: You know, I honestly can’t say! It might sound trite or clichè, but the honest truth is that each and every reading is unique, and each one reveals something new to me. I am continually learning from my clients and from the narratives expressed in the cards.
What services do you offer?
SR: Right now I am just offering readings via email. I offer a 3-card reading which is a good vehicle for finding some insight into a specific situation, and I offer a 10-card reading which provides more space to explore an issue in depth, or, allows for examining two or three situations in the same reading, at least scratching the surface, and seeing how they tie together. I design a spread (the design of the way the cards are laid out on the table and the individual meanings assigned to the individual cards) that’s unique to each client and their concern. Before I do a reading, I exchange emails with the client to make sure that the spread I’ve developed for them is satisfactory to them and addresses the heart of what they want insight about. It’s a very engaging process.
Does your being in Rome impact your ability to connect and read for clients around the world?
SR: I admit that my ultimate goal is to transition to doing in-person readings, because I really crave the in-person human interaction that is lacking in email readings. That being said, I find it fascinating that the “results” or “effectiveness” of a reading don’t seem to vary whether it’s in person or not.
So the great gift here is that tarot can be used as a tool for anyone who has access to the internet and email.
Tell us how your process works from contacting you and payment to the final product.
SR: I have a page on my website where clients can click a Paypal button to book and pay for a reading. As soon as I receive notification from Paypal that a client has booked a reading, I send them an email to begin the conversation about what they’d like to examine with the cards. We usually exchange one or two emails to settle on an appropriate spread that I work with them to design, after which I perform the reading usually within 2 business days, 4 at most. After I perform the reading, I type it up in a document with a photo of their cards/spread and with my interpretation for them, written obviously in the context of their question or concern, so that they can not only have insights about their situation, but also some food for thought that will help them take the situation to the next step, whatever they feel might be appropriate for them. Since it’s not a live dialogue, I often write my interpretations with open-ended questions based on what the cards are showing, so that the client can use these questions to search within themselves to find clarity, based on what the cards are “saying.”
Lastly, share some things you are working on with us!
SR: Well, besides launching my practice online this year, and writing regularly on my blog as well as writing my weekly newsletter regarding how the tarot can be used and applied for self-empowerment. I’d say the most exciting thing I’m working on right now is my apprenticeship with tarot reader Enrique Enriquez, whose approach and method I find completely revolutionary in terms of tarot. I honestly am a bit star-struck and am learning a lot. Working with Enrique means that I am working with a very traditional deck of cards known as the Tarot de Marseille, that originated from as far back as the mid 1600s in France, produced using the woodcut process. The exact deck I’m using at the moment is the Tarot de Marseille Edition Millennium, which is a deck of just the 22 “trumps” or Major Arcana, restored to their original state as closely as possible by Wilfried Houdouin in Marseille, France. Enrique’s approach is based on a method he’s developed that people tend to refer to as tarot poetics, in which he employs the “language of the birds” and the science known as ‘pataphysics in creating the narrative for the cards. I find it very client-centered and no-nonsense, as well as incredibly intellectual at the same time, so it was a very good fit for me. I’m really excited about this collaboration and plan to integrate these new insights into my practice.
A man who views bile as sustenance is one who will never nourish or be nourished.
Sometimes the only thing “wrong” with you is that you constantly think there is something “wrong” with you.
Happiness is two friends on a Sunday afternoon.
The best you can do to protect yourself in this life is to pay closer attention to facts than fantasies.
Love and support can come from the most unexpected places. Stay open.
A good person is a good person, even when things are bad.
There are some people in which misery & rage live like a virus. Be careful of your decision to bring these people into your life as the most mundane things will trigger a flare-up.
It is always a good time to send a thank you note.
Sometimes you think you love the person but then realize you loved the person they pretended to be. When you realize this, pay close attention to who they really are and ask yourself, “If I met them right now, as they are, would I want to know them?”
There are times when we waste time trying to get someone to acknowledge we are worthy of them when really it is they who are not behaving in ways that are worthy of us.
Who you truly are, what you really think and how you really feel should not be one of life’s great mysteries, and yet, for most people, that’s just what it is.
Life is happening, right now, in real time, and our decisions today will direct the course of the rest of it. Choose the same, get the same. Choose something differently and change everything.
Nonsense is nonsense, even when they say it in a way that makes sense at that moment.
Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean that it’s not really happening or that you should spend more time sacrificing your happiness trying to make sense of it.
Our gorgeous and vibrant friend, Tiffany Jones, has stepped into a new reality. The founder of Pink Chose Me is now the star of a new show on Oprah’s OWN Network. #GetItGirl
Tony Montana is now a Beauty Guru.
My little diablito is showing the world how to give good face on Divalicious.
Ali Salama’s Grace, Courage (and all-around Badassedness).
Ali is one of the strongest, smartest and most inspiring women I know.
My Former Intern Is Taking Over The (Fashion) World
GaYoung Kwon left Preston Bailey to head over to Divalicious and wound up taking #NYFW by Storm.
Being The Editor-In-Chief of Preston Bailey Designs
With a new book, New Online Magazine and plenty of print in the works, it’s an exciting time to be a part of the PB team.
It also helps that I love my boss & colleagues to bits.
#NeverQuit has new meaning <3
Photo: John Labbe
Partnering With Google For a New Series
How can I not love that?
My PB Angels
Kate, Farrah, LeeLee & Rachel are RockingIt in RealTime
Kelly Irwin-Rutty and James Rutty In Cosmo Bride
Preston Bailey’s Head of Production (and one of my best friends) usually makes the dreams of others come to life (did you see Sean Parker’s Wedding Photos?) But when she married the love of her life, it was her turn to take center stage and and Cosmo was there to cover it all.
Note: Of course she planned her own wedding. Sigh. Always working.
Kate The Great is Rocking The Reviews
My amazing intern, Kate Pangilinan, is testing and telling for Divalicious and I couldn’t be more proud. Go BB (cream!)
Knowing Age Doesn’t Diminish Beauty or Sex Appeal
Carmen Dell’Orefice, 82. Nuff’ Said.
What are you loving now?
What He Says, What He Means, What He’s Really Doing…
“When he says he doesn’t know what he wants, he has someone else and is seeing where it is going to go with her. Or he’s giving himself room to be single (sleep with other women) without feeling guilty. If it doesn’t work out with her or them, he wants to come back to you.” Alex
“Men start fights with women to get them to break up. We become dicks to avoid being a dick. It’s just a counterproductive thing we all do.” Jason
“If he has not made an effort and all of a sudden you will be in the same vicinity and he’s making gestures and excuses for the past, he’s lining things up. It will go right back to how it was after the other goes home.” Marc
“The worst thing a man can think about is the woman he loves being with another man. Is he doing what he can to prevent you from being with another man by treating you right, fighting for you and not with you and making sure you are feeling ok? I always tell my sister to think about that when she dates. ambivalent men are not men to give your heart to.” Harrison
“If you have broken up and it’s been more than a month, chances are he’s slept with someone, no matter what he says. If you take him back, you need to be able to deal with that in the back of your mind and it won’t be easy.” Jesse
“Men are hunters and they love women. No man is “too busy”. He is always, always, always talking to someone or trying to talk to someone and if that is not you, especially since you’ve shared something, he’s telling you he doesn’t want you in the way you want him to.” Gary
“Having sex with you is not showing you he cares about you. Please, please understand that.” Marc
“Men who love women will walk through fire, put up with crazy sh%$ and show up at your house and beg you to take them back. He may go silent a week or two but if it’s been longer than that, it’s over.” Alex
“If he’s playing “take it or leave it” with you, he’s not in love with you. No man is going to leave a woman he wants or loves out there for someone else to meet.” Jason
“Some men count on you being naive and attached so that they can hit up other women and come back to you. Don’t stay in and cry over him, go out and cry, but you need to go out. Meet new people because he is or is trying to, believe me. His boys will insist on it.“ Travis
We mistake desire for love, love for desire and a fling for fate.
There is nothing more to do in the space we are in and we simply have to say goodbye and move onto the next experience.
We will be left feeling as though someone has left us naked and vulnerable. This exposes them, not us.
We have to accept that what when we no longer know what we knew, the game has changed.
There is nothing to say but “I am sorry and I am here for you.”
We have to turn off the phone, turn down the lights and turn up the music.
There is someone in front of you who deserves you to take a risk.
There is someone who isn’t.
You have to face the fact that even though change can be hard, things often change as a way of saving us from something harder.
You just need to show up and the rest will take care of itself.
My Upcoming Sharon and Brigitte-Inspired Photo Shoot
Mendhi Macarons from Creme Delicious
Just had these delicious (and gorgeous) goodies today.
Amazing! Note: They are even prettier in person.
The Marchesa 2013 Collection
Stunning. Elegant. Exquisite.
9 Days Til Puerto Rico, 11 Days Til Culebra
I love my job and my life, but I am so ready to start a new chapter on a beach with a friend by my side and a cocktail in hand.
The great thing about adulthood is that we can create the life we want to live without being victim to the life created by those who no longer deserve to know us.
It’s a little reminder to just be who you are. There’s room for all of us.
Taking A Dream and Making It a Plan
Holding Yourself To a Higher Standard
These Boots. Wow.
Knowing That No Matter What Happens To Us, There’s Always A Way To Soar
What does one do when their love lives on too long? Where do we turn when our attachment morphs into their annoyance? How do we handle it when the texts that used to bring pleasure begin to submit and serve an intoxicating blend of total control.
One-sided love, the epitome of hell.
Who dares to acknowledge the killer who hides in a phone that is silent or the uncomfortable humiliation associated with the inability to hold back a an arm that can’t stop itself from reaching out. How painful it is to be the who holds on and becomes the one who can’t let go, and finally the one who won’t go away.
To exist with a mind crowded with memories. A mind that unsuccessfully tries to make sense of the dissolution of an illusion all the while trying to cope with the drowning sensation that overwhelms when passion dilutes into a power struggle.
The shame that surrounds the moment when we finally collapse in the pathetic display of desperation to return to a past that no longer exists, into the arms of the one who no longer wants to hold us.
Yet, it is only then that we learn to accept, and finally, we can begin to recover.
“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”
Edwin Louis Cole
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love what I do be it beating deadlines or learning how to manage the grand visions of my incredible–yet utterly tireless–CEO. While it’s hard to pinpoint my favorite thing about being a writer, one of the best parts of my job is having the chance to experience new things and places and share those experiences with my readers (all of whom I learn so much from and am so appreciate of).
As many of you know, I am headed down to Puerto Rico in just a couple of weeks and am planning to do a huge profile on Staggered, here and and possibly a few other sites. Today, on the suggestion of a few friends, I booked an excursion to Culebra, a beautiful island located 17 miles off mainland PR and just 12 miles from St. Thomas. I intend to do a thorough inspection of the island–umbrella drink in-hand– as a part of the upcoming series (I know, I know, like bricklaying).
Voted to house the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean, the island was said to be visited by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493 and housed pirates seeking refuge and places to hide their treasures.
With crystal-clear waters and hundreds of species of fish, it’s the perfect place to snorkel (we intend to) and swim. The beaches are said to contain soft white sand and plenty of space. I wanted to share a couple of photos with you and encourage all of you to grab a friend and book your own getaway!
With last night being the anniversary of the day our beloved LDiva made her glamorous, feisty and fierce debut, I thought it would be nice to give a little shout-out to one of my closest and most trusted friends.
Those of us who know Lauren know her to be an intelligent, strong, gorgeous, independent, self-respecting, respectful, fearless, generous and talented woman who encourages others to live and love great responsibility and abandon through example.
She never cancels last-minute (or at all), owns her space while making room for others, and gives herself fully to whatever she is doing or whomever she is with. There is a reason all of her friends (and now fans) ask “What Would Lauren Do?”– she is one of the few people who just sees things clearly and helps to empower others to do what is best for them, without guilt or any second-guessing.
Today, I would like to wish the accountable, inspiring and utterly appreciated, LC a wonderful birthday weekend and say thank you for the honor of having you as a part of my family of friends.
Love you, girl!
Accept This Truth: If you’re important to someone, you’re not chasing them around, waiting for them to give you the respect, love, and affection you deserve. End of story. Translation: Stop treating anyone who treats you poorly as a priority.
Dance the night away with her girlfriends on lovely summer nights. Bonus points if on a tropical island.
Be as interested as rocking the boardroom as she is rocking the bedroom.
Book bucket list trips to fabulous countries.
Meet for brunch, lunch and cocktails, and go on museum dates, even solo.
Read up on current events (shout out to BBC.com)
Show (through example) how unacceptable catty behavior really is.
Stop herself from allowing a heartbreaking period become a heartbroken existence.
Let go of the wrong guy and remain open to finding the best one for you.
Protect, respect and take care of her being– body, heart and mind.
Trust her instincts over promises.
Accept when he is just not (or no longer) into you.
Avoid being relegated to a self-esteem boost via text message.
Make her home the most gorgeous, special, wonderful safe place she can.
Pay her own bills (on time), Buy her own drinks, and be surprised and appreciative when someone treats her to dinner.
Carry herself like a lady.
Hold herself equal to a man.
Follow her dreams with great abandon.
Daydream about the life she wants to live and then make a plan.
Surround herself with great people who lift her up and walk away from those who pull her down.
Turn off the housewives and read the classics.
Be a great friend to those who deserve it and a great source of inspiration to the world at large.
Let go of the idea that her past defines her.
Get excited about things that excite her.
Blast her favorite songs and sing at the top of her lungs, neighbors be damned!
Hold out for a man who makes her a better woman–to herself.
Buy herself presents.
Focus on solutions instead of complaining about things.
Live a life she can be proud of living (and never put it on hold for anyone).
In you, there is a light that cannot be distinguished,
not by their words,
or your thoughts.
There is a brilliant love that cannot be appraised,
for all you offer is precious and priceless,
even when they try to devalue it.
Though sometimes seen as delicate,
your strength remains.
Like a diamond with fire in her eyes,
your beauty stems not from what makes you precious,
but by your ability to withstand pressure.
And though you may not always see it…
There is loveliness.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your best face forward. Here are a few products I’m loving now.
Pure Maracuja Oil
Firmer, brighter, smoother skin and super-hydration sans the greasy finish.
Firmer, brighter, smoother skin and super-hydration sans the greasy finish. Love this stuff! It’s only been a week that I have been using this product in combination with the Bliss(ful) one below and I have received compliments on my skin and even felt confident enough to go out sans makeup (but not sans sunscreen) without the slightest concern.
Hint: That’s a big deal when two ex’s and two new girlfriends live within a 10 block radius of me.
Bliss Firm, Baby, Firm
A boost in collagen and elasticity and a visit back to my roaring twenties when I didn’t have to choose between my fanny and my face.
After a week, my skin is definitely toning up, even with my terrible hydration habits (will I ever be thirsty?)
Nivea Good-Bye Cellulite
Firmer skin with less dimples in 10 days.
Full Disclosure: I didn’t buy this one for my bum. The product is said to firm and tighten skin so I have taken it upon myself to use it all over my body prior to my lotion. Does it work? My skin is definitely firmer, but that could be due to my workout routine. Is it worth $14.00 to feel like I am battling gravity? Absolutely.
CHI Magnified Volume Finishing Spray
‘Humidity resistant, fast drying hair spray with style memory to boost superior all day hold. Hair is left with magnified volume, incredible body, maximum fullness and unparalleled shine.”
Being that I scoffed at the idea that hairspray should cost more than 3.99 because all were created equal (take that, Elnett loyalists) I am pretty surprised that I even tried this product. Thanks to my friend, Haley, and a Marshall’s discount rack, I changed my mind (and my hair). The product does all it promises to, sans the shine (but that could be due to my own need to hydrate my tresses).
For amazing reviews and incredible tips, check out Lauren Cosenza’s Divalicious site!
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.
“Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
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.
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…
There will be those who will accuse of you intentions and traits you do not have.
It’s not your responsibility to prove them wrong.
There will be those who come into your life who will bring peace and others who will want to stir up drama.
Guess which ones should get to stay?
There will be moments when treating others how you would want to be treated won’t work…
You’ll have no choice to treat them exactly as they are treating you.
There will come moments when you know you have come to the end.
Don’t miss the chance to step into a new beginning.
Take it all in.
Take it easy.
Process it all as best as you can.
But don’t run in circles trying to prove yourself.
You are complete and whole entirely on your own.
You cannot be defined by the interpretations of another,
Nor can reality be changed by projections and paranoia.
Theirs or your own.
Time is never wasted until that moment you realize you’re wasting it.
And you, my darling, are in control of what ruins and makes your day.
She had looked at life through their filter,
Staring at the image in the mirror which had been 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 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,
And standing in a world that belonged to all of them,
She pictured the life she wanted to live…
And set it into mottion.
“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”
Your girlfriends are amazing, but every girl needs a few guy friends to give her a shot of reality, straight up.
Here are a few gems.
Guy: You need to date.
Girl: But I love him.
Guy: Well, he doesn’t love you. Stop being stupid, go date.
Guy: Go on a date with this guy, not that one.
Girl: But I like that one.
Guy: Exactly, you like jerks. Go on a date with this one.
Girl: Do you think he’s with another woman?
Guy: Is he with you?
Guy: Is he trying to be with you?
Guy: Then, yes. He’s got another woman. Go get another man.
Girl: I miss him.
Guy: What do you miss?
Girl: Being happy.
Guy: But you weren’t happy. You were gullible.
Girl: I was in love with him.
Guy: No, you were in turmoil with him. You got out. Stay out.
Girl: He says that…
Guy: Let’s talk about what he does.
Girl: He says he needs time.
Guy: Did he finish the sentence?
Guy: ”I need time to sleep around but you stay put so I can come back in case there’s nothing better out there.”
Girl: No guys talk to me.
Guy: Do you talk to them?
Guy: Do you smile at them?
Girl: Not really?
Guy: So,there you go. Smile and say hello. Next issue?
Girl: What did he mean when he said…
Guy: He’s not worth your time.
Guy: My girlfriend didn’t have to ask these questions, girls I wasn’t serious about did.
Girl: I’m so sad.
Guy: That’s normal, but you’ll be happy again. He, on the other hand, will always be an a++hole.
Girl: Do you think he will ever come back?
Guy: If he’s smart he will, and if you’re stupid you’ll let him.
What do you love most about your guy friends/guy advice?
Sometimes attraction is too combustible to last.
Sometimes the one you love most doesn’t love you enough, or at all.
Sometimes strangers become friends, then lovers, and then strangers again.
Sometimes the universe takes it away from you because you don’t have the courage or strength to walk away from it.
Sometimes people will lie in order to get what they want from you.
Sometimes they just won’t fight for you.
Sometimes you will be left to pick up the pieces on your own.
Sometimes you just won’t get the answers you’re looking for.
Sometimes jobs, relationships and lives come abruptly to an end.
There will be times when you will be brought to your knees…
This is not bad luck.
You are not being punished.
This is life.
There are those who will focus on trying to figure out why something happened instead of how to move forward. Some will hold onto the pain of the past instead of focusing on the love they are able to give and receive in the here and now. Then, of course, there are those who will waste their time worrying and wondering instead of doing the work to make some things right and other things happen.
Try as we might to do it by way of stewing and sobbing, the only real way to move away from what we don’t want is to to take a step forward, equipped with a dedication to accepting what is real–right now in real time–however painful that reality may be.
When we commit to letting go of the shame that haunts us, the words that have hurt us, the fear that we have gripped onto when uncertainty came knocking, we move away from toxicity and closer to transformation. It is a fallacy that people can live in the past; we cannot. Our past no longer exists and can never be our present or our future. The world moves forward, our bodies age, people grow up, grow apart and grow old.
We either seek out a fresh perspective, form new habits and tweak our choices or we seek to create experiences that are similar to what we have known. Sometimes we find players who share similar traits to those who played starring roles in the past and other times, we may crush a beautiful new opportunity/love affair/friendship under the pressure of projections, misunderstandings, feelings and fears.
That’s always a shame for everyone involved.
It’s exciting to know that, on a large scale, our lives are under our control. Choosing to interact in new ways, creating new boundaries, seeking new experiences and meeting new people (and polishing relationships with those you have known) will bring about a change in life.
On the flip-side, choosing to put the same types of things, thoughts and people into your life will only bring about old feelings and reopen old wounds. It’s that tried and tested theory of Do what you have been doing to get more of what you have.
I know from personal experience that our past can be a prison or a gift. I have sat behind the proverbial bars and unwrapped the promise of a fresh start. I have wasted time crying “poor me!” and I have been grateful for every experience and exchange knowing that healthy, kind, loving, respectful, hopeful, strong, smart and stable person we are/are working to become is a direct result of the lessons and exchanges I extracted from who I was and where I have been. I still cry poor me at times, but since I have tasted the pleasure of peace that comes with the healthiest outlook, I only allow myself to gorge on anxiety, fear and the bittersweet taste of victimization for a short time before I take a bite out of accountability and wash it down with a decision to keep moving forward.
You’re doing the same thing because you’re still here.
Let me remind you to put one foot in front of the other and head into the direction of your best life.
Don’t worry if you stumble.
You Will Eventually Find Your Stride.
And at that moment, you’ll never look back.
It’s far too precious and beautiful to spend it living out a tragedy.
The things we do today impact our tomorrow and finally, our experience here as a whole.
In the end, it’s who you were to the people around you that matter.
There are reasons to be miserable and to be happy and grateful. We choose what to focus on.
The worst thing we can do is wait until someone is gone to appreciate them.
Love and human connection are the best parts of it.
If we are still breathing, we can still do the work to create the life we yearn to live.
It’s hard on its own at times, it doesn’t need your help.
Just because you start it somewhere doesn’t mean you’ll end it there. Sometimes, you get to scrap the whole chapter and start over. How awesome is that?
At the end, what often matters most to us now won’t matter much at all.
Share your wisdom!
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).
Imagine you are sitting with the 90-year old version of you. Imagine you were telling her about your life, sharing the stories about the string of dead-end/stressful/chaotic jobs, your flippant friendships and unhappy relationships with guys who said one thing and did another, treated you as an old toy on a shelf and otherwise made you feel anxious and disrespected. Imagine you were telling her about all of the places you wanted to visit but never booked, the way you spent your days envying the bodies/boyfriends/bags of others and how many days you sat in your life focusing on how unhappy you were about this, that and the other.
Now, imagine she looked at you and said:
“Oh, darling, why ever did you choose to live that way? Didn’t you know that you could have had a fabulous, full, rich, lush life? Did it not ever occur to you that there was world out there to see, people to meet, foods to taste, cocktails to sip and floors on which to dance. Yes, there would be tough times, but you didn’t have to go collecting them like that. Didn’t you ever look at strangers and know that many were just people waiting to become friends, lovers, and friendly neighbors will make your whole zip code feel like home? Didn’t you know the best way to have meaningful relationships was to mend heartaches as quickly as possible and discard those you couldn’t fully count on?
Have you not heard of the way gratitude inflates joy, serenity, and love? Those people you were wasting all of the love and support on, didn’t you ever think that the pain of detachment was a worthy price to pay not to waste such precious resources?
How could you not have realized that your beauty, intelligence and worth could not be diminished by anyone’s silly definition or devaluation of you? Weren’t you ever curious to read those books and know how it felt to communicate in that language? And those places you lived, how come you never put in the effort to make it a home and have people over just to enjoy? Those people who loved you, the ones you blew off to focus on “other things”, don’t you know that, in the end, the only thing you will want to reflect on is the time and love you exchanged with them?
I say you go back and take control and use this knowledge to your advantage. Fight only for what you believe in and what matters most to you. Make the things that are best for you the things that matter most. Walk away from those who drain you, even if that means cleaning house entirely. Start fresh and build a beautiful life you love living. You’ll do fine because I will tell you one last secret: There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone, and no one living a life they love will be alone too long anyway.”
What would you come back and change?