Thank You Oprah

So, I’ve always been a fan of The Oprah. I’ve always believed The Oprah. Thought she had some great ideas. Thought she was a decent person. Thought it was cool she gave away stuff and talked to beautiful people. Thought it was cool that she got people to read and built schools and did so much good in the world.

But I’ve always thought of Oprah as a persona of herself, a shell, if you will. Someone that shows up, does the show and goes off and lives her billionaire life. And I thought that was totally awesome. I mean, seriously, good for her.

This season I started watching Season 25: Oprah Behind the scenes. Mostly because my dream career is to be a TV or Movie Producer. So, I was expecting it to become my favorite TV show and I was not disappointed.

And then I discovered something: Oprah is for real. She really is. She’s not just a persona, a character, a shell, a celebrity. She’s a woman who followed her bliss and this is where it led her. And she works her ass off. And she’s pretty funny. And she loves to tie one on once in a while. And she loves dogs. And more than anything, she is a seeker of learning. She genuinely is trying to do right in the world and to have all of us examine our human experience and, well, just love each other more and be kind and seek happiness and put out positive energy.

And this season I found myself not only BELIEVING Oprah, but BELIEVING IN Oprah. The final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that aired on Wednesday was utterly and completely brilliant. So much of what she said is what I believe in and who I seek to be. It took me a couple of hours to get through it because I had to keep rewinding and jotting notes down.

And yes, I cried.

And yes, Alek laughed at me for rewinding and rewinding again and crying my way through the last episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show. But I suppose that’s only fair since I laugh at him when he watches shows like “Modern Marvels: Grease” (I’m not kidding that is queued up on our DVR as I type this.)

But I digress. The point is: Thank You Oprah.

Carry whatever you’re supposed to be doing forward. And don’t waste any more time. Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.


Nobody but you is responsible for your life. And what is your life? What is all life? What is every flower, every rock, every human being? Energy. And you are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself and you are responsible for the energy that you bring to others. When you get that you are responsible for your life. You.get.free.


There is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering: unworthiness. Not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for…there is a difference between THINKING you deserve to be happy and KNOWING that you are worthy of happiness. We often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough. You are worthy because you are born and because you are here. Your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough.


Every single person you ever will meet shares a common desire they want to know: Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you? I see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me.


I know I’ve never been alone and you never have either. I know that presence, that flow – some call it grace – is working in my life at every single turn and yours too, if you let it in. It’s closer than your breath, and it’s yours for the asking. All of us have that same voice. Be still, and know it.  You can acknowledge it or not, you can worship it or not, you can praise it, you can ignore it, or you can know it. KNOW IT. 

What I know is. God is love and God is life and your life is always speaking to you.
What are the whispers in your life right now? What’s whispering to you and will you hear it? Your life is speaking to you, what is it saying??

Lovesong

MMMmmmm. I don’t know about you, but this rainy weather has me listening to slow and sultry love songs. I love a great love song, don’t you? My latest obsession is Adele’s cover of The Cure’s Lovesong. (I’m obsessed with her whole album really but this song in particular is perfection). The cool gray days just make me wanna slow down, open up all the blinds, think about all of my great loves, and maybe just slow dance right there in the middle of the living room. Yum.

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again

However far away I will always love you
However long I stay I will always love you
Whatever words I say I will always love you
I will always love you

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am free again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am clean again

However far away I will always love you
However long I stay I will always love you
Whatever words I say I will always love you
I will always love you

Heeeelllloooo Lover!!!!

I KNOW! I need to post about New York! This week has been mental!

Balls.

It’s only Tuesday.

THE POINT IS, I arrived home after a LLLLOOONNNGGG day yesterday and guess what was on the doorstep??? These LOVELIES. The Kate Space CeeCee.

Guess where I’m going to be wearing these???!!!

They are oh so perfect.

One of my goals while in New York was to buy shoes for the wedding. Shoes, glorious shoes!! OK, let’s be honest, I justified every purchase on that trip by relating it in some way to the wedding. But really, I wanted to get wedding shoes and I wanted to get them from Kate Spade. 

Oh, HOLD…Alek is weighing-in with his version of this post (told in a high-female-like-voice, a la Mrs. Doubtfire):


Deeeeeaaaaar Blog, 


I bought these shoes! Theeeeeeeyy’re amaaaaazzzing. I can’t wait for the wedding!


Fin.

Thanks Babah.

I think he’s just excited because I let him see the shoes. I won’t let him see the dress. I think that moment of walking down the aisle toward him in my dress (in these shoes!) will be so wildly incredibly romantic. Yum.

ANYWAY, while we were in New York we went to Kate Spade on 5th Avenue and I tried on a bunch of different shoes. Like so many shoes that the whole shoe-trying-on area was covered in papers and boxes and gold leather and satin and rhinestones and sparkles.

But the shoes I liked right then and there had a little bit of a stain on the satin and that was the only pair in my size. So, it was not to be. However, Alissa, our lovely sales lady wrote a note about the shoes I liked along with her number on a lovely little piece of lovely Kate Spade stationary and told me to call her and she’d find just the right shoes for me.

So I called Alissa when we got back and we talked and I told her how I had been eyeing the Kate Spade New York Custer on Nordstrom.com for months and that’s how this whole crazy Kate Spade shoe journey got started.

And Alissa found the CeeCee for me.

Don’t you just lurve the hand written note? So on point with the Kate Spade brand. Ah, that’s the marketing nerd in me coming out.

Get ready for more marketing nerd-ery. Don’t you just lurve the packaging? Pink and gold and orange and stripes? And the shoe bag says “she tucked her coral lipstick away and floated back to the party”

Perfection. I’m going to float back to my party too.

Oh, and if you’re ever in New York and in the market for a fabulous pair of shoes, stop by Kate Spade on 5th Avenue and buy from Alissa. She’s great.

Oh, and here’s a better picture of these lovelies.

Look at What Mom Found for Me Today!

I get the whole thing with Tom’s. I GET IT. One for One. It’s AWESOME. I want to put shoes on kids too. But I’ve always thought that Tom’s, were…well…meh. Meh. And they didn’t look very comfortable.

And then a few weeks ago I was at the gas station and this gorgeous woman was at the pump next to me. She was driving a white Range Rover. She had stick straight blond hair pulled back into a loose pony tail. You know, the kind of ponytail that looks totally perfectly unplanned but probably took an hour to arrange just so. She had on super dark True Religion jeans and SPARKLY BLACK TOM’S. She was oh.so.VERY.chic.

I wanted those Tom’s.

So the search for sparkly black Tom’s was on like Donkey Kong. Problem is, Tom’s are all the rage these days and the black sparkly Tom’s were nowhere to be found. Not in Utah, not in New York City.

Mom had given up on Tom’s and went to Nordstrom yesterday to get some Tory Burch flats instead and GUESS WHAT? A fresh shipment of SPARKLY BLACK TOM’S had arrived that morning. And they had Mom’s size! And they had MY SIZE!!

And the black sparkle Tom’s are oh so cute and oh so comfortable. I mean, I had sort of lost interest in the comfort factor once I saw Ms. Black Sparkley at the gas station. So the fact that they feel so great on my feet was a nice cherry on top of the black sparkle shoe sundae.  

Now, for the Range Rover.

Start Spreading The News! New York City Pt. 1

We just got back from THE.MOST.FUN.TRIP.EVER. 

After I got engaged, Mom and Janaan and I started cooking up a girls trip. It was the perfect storm. I was engaged (whoop!), I had some American Airlines miles that I had to use this year, and we wanted to squeeze in one last epic shopping trip before Janaan has Future Boy and it gets harder to leave her fab husband behind to watch the babies.

The only problem was, where to go, where to go? See, the reason I had so many miles about to expire is that American doesn’t have many flights out of the SLC.

We had two key criteria for where to take our trip: 1: Good Shopping. 2: Good Food. (I’m not really the walk-around-with-a-plastic-penis-straw-in-your-drink-and-flash-your-boobies-to-strange-men-on-a-bachelorette-trip type. Not that there’s anything wrong with that because I’ve had some very fun times drinking out of penis straws. But I digress…) The flight schedules gave us five choices of cities: Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Dallas or Austin.

We had pretty much narrowed it down to Chicago or New York when I heard from my lovely friend Estelle that she was going to be in New York for work during the first week of May. And that pretty much sealed the deal. See, Estelle lives in London. So if she is on the same continent as me, I simply must see her!

Estelle is one of my very most favorite people. Ever. She is one of those rare and precious gifts that you can get out of a job – a true friend for life.

When I first met Estelle I was extremely intimidated. She’s beautiful, speaks English, French and Spanish fluently, studied at schools in four countries, had been around the company much longer than I had and really knew her shit, was respected by everyone who worked with her, is wicked smart, direct, and excellent at what she does and she did it all with this beautiful accent that I couldn’t quite place because she sort of made it up for herself. I really REALLY wanted her to like me.

Estelle was the Me of Europe and over the six years that we worked together she taught me so much about who I wanted to become in my career. How I wanted to work. What I wanted people to think about me. She pushed me to be better. She taught me how being assertive got you much further than being a push-over. A lesson I wish I had learned many years ago. She made me laugh. We bonded over countless shared crazy experiences with the people we worked with and many many weekends shopping in San Francisco.

Outside of work, Estelle has been such a lovely friend to me. She has shown me so much love and so much support. She has racked up unknown amounts of mobile phone charges listening to all of my sad and all of my happy stories. She has flown out of her way to see my world, to have Sunday dinner with my family and morning smoothies with Alek. She has sent me many packages filled with FABULOUS gifts from Paperchase and Topshop and Hennes and Primark. She introduced us to Tommy Tippee.

Now I am watching with fascination as she still does everything that she always did so well, and is also an amazing mother to her GORGEOUS son Louis. In case you’re wondering, I’m still a little intimidated.

So yeah, we were not passing Go, we were not collecting $200. We were going to NEW YORK SIT-TEE for GOOD SHOPPING, GOOD FOOD and to see ESTELLE!

Flashback – Mother’s Day 1995

This is one of my most favorite photos of all time. While we were growing up, Dad always bought us corsages for Mother’s day because someday we were all going to be mothers ourselves. He’s just so lovely and amazing in that way. I always loved that tradition. I loved looking at the flowers in the refrigerator. I loved wearing them to church. 
When this photo was taken had just turned 19, just started college, just taken my first real steps out into the world and this was the last Mother’s Day where we were all at home together like all the Mother’s Days we had growing up. Ready for church with our corsages. And then Dad said something really funny and clicked the camera while we were laughing and captured the end of an era. Just as I remember it in my mind. Full of fun and love and big laughs and happiness and all my girls.

This is How We Fight

Karen has some great advice on fighting (the right way to have a dialogue, how to communicate, etc.), which I will definitely share, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how Alek and I “fight” and how much I appreciate the 5 Ground Rules for Fighting that we set up when we first met.

I vividly remember when we created these Ground Rules. It was the first night that I was officially living in the Chocolate Loft. We had just left Sunday dinner with my family and we were driving downtown. And I don’t know how the conversation started, but we started telling our sordid tales of fights past.

And at the time the conversation was pretty light hearted, like “Oh yeah? Well, get a load of THIS ONE.” We thought it was funny. Sad, but funny. At the same time, we had just barely met and I think we were both a little hesitant like “Well, you SEEM cool right now, but you could still turn out to be a total whack job.”

And we both seemed to be thinking the same thing…. so we decided right then and there, whether we turned out to be total whack jobs or not, that we were.not.going.to.put.up.with.any.of.that.shit.ever.again.

Ten minutes later we had established the 5 Rules of Fighting and we’ve never looked back.

Rule 1
You have 24 hours to bring up something otherwise you are not allowed to be mad about it. Ever.
Rule 2
Once the issue has been resolved, you are not allowed to bring it up again, unless it keeps occurring. No harboring. No surprises. No randomly bringing up shit that happened six months or six years ago. Bring it up now, when it’s small, and let it go. (Karen always says: “Let them know, then let it go.”)
Rule 3
If you are bringing up an issue in the moment that it’s happening and other people are around, you are not allowed to make a “scene.” It should be handled appropriately so as not to totally embarrass the other person. Because that’s just mean.
Rule 4
No screaming. Ever.
Rule 5
No silent treatment*. Ever. 
*This rule also covers walking out the door without saying where you’re going or when you’re going to be back, which is essentially the silent treatment. And the silent treatment is pure evil. Really.

Stimulus 2, Response 10

I asked Alek what his favorite Karen’s lessons were and he said “Oh, one would definitely be Stimulus 2, Response 10.”

See, in our previous relationships, Alek and I were with screamers. Alek is not a screamer. I’m not a screamer. My parent’s didn’t yell or scream at each other. I can’t really think of a reason to ever scream at anyone, except for maybe “Hey! Look out or you’re going to get hit by that bus!”

I can’t remember the first time My X screamed at me, but it was always there, and it was always frightening. I didn’t realize until after, how much time and energy I spent trying to prevent him from screaming, whether it was at me or not. I just wanted peaceful calm. Peaceful, peaceful calm.

One day, towards the end, My X screamed at me for so long and with such vitriol that it made me throw up.

Yeah.

There are few things in life that I truly hate, and screaming is one of them. But I digress…the point is: Stimulus 2, Response 10.

Essentially, Stimulus 2, Response 10 is when something happens that is a Stimulus 2 and the Response you get from your partner is at a 10. A complete over-reaction. Totally out of proportion to the thing that happened.

I’ll give you an example. One time I was at In-N-Out Buger with My X. He went to use the bathroom. We were pretty much done eating so I cleaned up our table. When he came back out of the bathroom he saw that I had thrown everything away, including the remainder of his french fries. Instead of saying “Oh, bummer, I wanted to finish those,” (or as Alek would probably say, with a laugh,  “Easy there, Cleany-McGee!!”) he totally and completely flipped out. Yelled and screamed at me in the parking lot for what seemed like an eternity. And he didn’t drop it…for like three years.

So how do you keep stuff from blowing out of proportion?

1. Remember that 99% of the time, it’s not about you. This is another of Karen’s phrases that you should remember. But really, when your partner is upset, quiet, stressed, or angry, (or conversely, when your partner is happy or excited), it’s really not about you. Sorry. But it’s not. So try to find out what is REALLY going on so that it doesn’t escalate. Or don’t. Because it’s not about you anyway.

2. Address things when they are small. The first time that My X screamed like that, which was a few weeks into our relationship, I should have said “I don’t like it when you scream at me like that. It makes me feel frightened. It’s not acceptable to me.” I don’t know if ever said anything like that to him ever. I didn’t know how. I thought that being assertive was being “bitchy.” I had to completely re-learn how to communicate after my divorce.

Fast forward.

Alek and his friends love to smack things out of each other’s hands. It doesn’t matter what it is – keys, a bucket of popcorn, a plate of waffles, whatever. They like to tell tales of the smacking of things out of each other’s hands and they all think it is hilarious and they laugh and laugh. When we were first dating, I’d hear these stories and I’d laugh and think “Oh man, I’m SO not playful like that.”

We went on a trip to San Francisco a couple of months after we started dating. As we were waiting on the curb for KK to pick us up, Alek smacked my book out of my hand, not knowing that my iPhone was also there and the phone went crashing onto the pavement. This was the first time he’d ever smacked anything out of my hands and he felt really bad because he thought it was just the book and he wouldn’t have done it if he’d known the phone was there too.

And I really wasn’t angry or even that upset, but I said (the operative word being said, not screamed) “You know, I don’t know if I’m really on board with the whole smacking of stuff out of other people’s hands. You know?” And he totally knew what I was saying. And we had a big hug and a kiss right there on the curb, and that was that. Nothing has been smacked out of my hands since.

Now what if I had let this go on for the last couple of years? Each time something got smacked out of my hands I would get more and more upset about it until one day, I over-reacted.

It’s a pretty simple concept really. Stimulus 2. Response 10.

Fearless

I love this movie.

Bob Diamond: Being from Earth, as you are, and using as little of your brain as you do, your life has pretty much been devoted to dealing with fear.

Daniel Miller: It has?

Bob Diamond: Well everybody on Earth deals with fear – that’s what little brains do.

Bob Diamond: …Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything – real feelings, true happiness, real joy. They can’t get through that fog. But you lift it, and buddy, you’re in for the ride of your life.

Daniel Miller: God… my three percent is swimming.

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