Monday, June 18, 2012


I was in Downtown LA for meetings all day this past Friday and needed to make an 'Emergency Run' to the local Rite Aid -- with no clue that the next hour would bring some of the most intense stress and emotions experienced in weeks.

For those not intimately familiar with Southern California, you might not be aware that Downtown is currently in the process of a major redevelopment and gentrification process -- a dramatic turn of events after being known for decades as a neighborhood of filth and crime.  Granted, Skid Row and the mentally unstable homeless still exist but instead of ruling this part of town on their own they must now share the streets with the wealthy bankers or actors living in the renovated loft units that sit above brand new and four star restaurants.  The street lights are brighter, there appear to be more trees, and I feel safe parking my car on the streets of Downtown for the first time.

I was sitting in my meeting on the 15th floor of one of the high rise office buildings when I realized I needed to 'Google' the nearest Rite Aid and pay a visit.  I don't know the streets of Downtown all too well, I just knew enough to feel safe and confident visiting a local drug store in my heels and dress suited for the boardroom and a far cry from the provocative stilettos and mini-dress to undoubtedly be wandering these Downtown streets just hours later as the women poured into the bars.

I hopped in my car and drove about 6 blocks and then realized that it was rush hour which means no street parking and, of course, this drug store does not have designated parking.  I end up giving a parking attendant five bucks to watch my car and tell him I will be only ten minutes.  I walked a block and half around the corner to the drug store and in this small span of probably three minutes I heard a half dozen whistles, cat calls, and -- frankly -- creepy old men turning their heads as I walked by offering me a small fear that they might actually begin to follow me.  I must state the disclaimer that I am no 'Hollywood Looker' and this is not about having a good hair day or feeling particularly sexy.  I have a petite and somewhat athletic body and was wearing a long sleeve fitted dress with a skirt that grazed my legs maybe an inch above the knee.  I can only imagine the reactions had I been more of a Marilyn Monroe type with cleavage and flesh of long legs to offer.

As I walked into the Rite Aid that was clearly located in a neighborhood that had not yet been gentrified and instead was filled with people that looked high as a kite, mentally disturbed, and in desperate need of a shower -- I was feeling a tinge of stress and strain from the attention.  I took a place in line and a man in his 70's, holding on to his walker no less, turned to me and looked me up and down at least three times over and then stared me in the eye and said "Impressive".  I didn't even know how to respond so I just stood there and looked down at my shoes.  He then snapped at me and said, "You're supposed to say 'Thank You'.  Hmph!"  WOW.  Really?  You consider that a compliment?!

I was grateful to find my car about thirty minutes later and depart that neighborhood as quickly as I had arrived.  I was tense, upset, and in need of some alone time to unwind and process the fact that this behavior has become culturally acceptable.  I parked my car in one of the newer and nicer Downtown neighborhoods and felt a sigh of relief when the parking attendant across from my friend's building kindly came over to say hello and offer reassurance that he would keep an eye on things.  I walked across the street thinking the moment had passed and was preparing for an enjoyable start to the weekend  when an SUV filled with three men honked and whizzed by me so close that I jumped straight up.  The one in the back seat leaned out the window screaming (beware of profanity...skip down if you don't want to read) "I want to F*** You in the Ass!"

I walked into my friend's loft a moment later it took all of my will power to not burst into tears.  You consider this a compliment?  You think I am flattered?  I find this treatment of women offensive and disgusting.  It is truly tragic that we are allowing men to behave this way and we condone their comments by responding with coy eyes or simply not responding at all.  I haven't quite figured out how I plan to address this issue but perhaps we need to start a school for Manners Modeled After a Southern Gentleman.  Until then, I will be armed with pepper spray and a mean dirty look for all suitors thinking that the way to a woman's heart is by stripping her of all character and personality before delivering the compliment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Last week was one of those know the kind when "Wednesday feels like Friday"?  I spend my days pursuing success and do my best to maintain a live work balance, but sometimes it is all a bit tiring. There are countless emails to return, dry cleaning piling up to the size of a small mountain in my closet, and expired food in the fridge begging to be thrown out and also serving as a reminder that I haven't made time to go to the grocery store in nearly two weeks.  The simple act of getting a haircut just doesn't seem to fit in between family events, work commitments, and the occasional extracurricular activity.  All that being said, I must also admit that I am actually quite grateful to feel that I have landed in a truly great place for someone not yet 30.  There is just something about this life that makes it all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and never take a moment to hit the pause button for some time to simply be thoughtful.  It is something with which I have a very consistent love/hate relationship.

Midway through the week I resigned to my bedroom at a somewhat early hour of around 9:30 and watched an episode of Girls on my iPad before reaching for the lights.  For the record, I find Girls to be extremely smart and disarmingly accurate -- but I digress.  It was just past 10 when I lay down alone in my dark and quiet room and my mind began to wander, but instead of thinking about all the positive elements of such a peaceful evening I was drawn to things like a running to-do list and coming up with new solutions to old work problems.  It only took about three minutes for my mind to snap back and say "Can't I just prepare to start dreaming?"

It dawned on me that as a young girl I would look forward to bedtime because it allowed me to process a quiet moment and fill it with dreams for the future.  Today, as a not-so-young girl those quiet moments are filled with task lists and worrisome projects.  At what point did we stop dreaming??

I found myself caught in a moment where I felt the urge to hit the mental 'pause button' and use my heart to speak to my mind -- it was saying something along the lines of 'You can turn off now.  I got this.'  I spent the next moments before drifting to sleep thinking about what dreams I had as a child for myself as a young adult and what dreams I might have for my life in the near future.  I'm not sure I'm ready to fully disclose what those dreams are exactly, but I will say that I might have actually fallen asleep with a smile on my face.  Yes, a grown woman of nearly 30 years old smiling and drifting into dreams like a child.

We don't do it often enough and dreaming can be such a powerful emotion to enlighten our soul to the realm of possibilities in this big world.  I am talking about the possibilities that lie beyond our jobs, our family matters, and our relationships.  They are our hopes and dreams and they deserve a little acknowledgement sometimes.  Before you hit the lights tonight ask yourself what dreams you still have and then be encouraged that anything is possible.

Monday, June 11, 2012


I have a remarkable friend that is about 6 years older than me whom I affectionately call my 'friendtor'.  She consistently provides amazing advice and insight on my life from the perspective of someone just slightly older and wiser, and having recently experienced such chapters in her own life.  She never judges my stories of a wild night out in Hollywood, or a lonely Friday night in with TiVo, and instead responds with "I love living vicariously through you and encourage you to make the most of this particular chapter in life."  While I know she finds my stories from this current chapter titled 'Adventures in Dating' to be highly entertaining, I also know that she is wholly fulfilled and happy holding her sixth month hold baby boy in one arm and a martini glass in the other at home on a Saturday night.  She made the most of her Adventures in Dating chapter and is now so very grateful to be living out her mommyhood chapter. 

There is one particular conversation that we tend to revisit on a quarterly basis and the happenings of this past weekend brought it to mind.  Let me first set the stage by acknowledging that I had a completely self indulgent weekend filled with pampering and socializing.  I started the weekend enjoying a long and late dinner celebrating a girlfriend's birthday at one of the newer LA restaurant establishments.  The following day consisted of hot yoga, a facial, and then a late chardonnay lunch poolside in a cabana with another late night dinner with girlfriends rounding out the full twenty four hours.  My decisions were my own and my lifestyle could easily be considered selfish. 

When describing my weekend frolics to a friend I started to feel a pang of guilt.  Is this really the life I should be living right now?  Not every weekend is so self serving, but it is a pretty consistent trend that my decision making is focused around my own pursuits and desires without the complications of a significant other or family to consider.  And then I thought of the advice I frequently receive from my 'friendtor' whenever I tell her I'm pining to move fast in a relationship and play house once and for all.  She loves to playfully remind me that this chapter is truly 'Once in a Lifetime' and when it does change, it will be changed for good so live in the moment and don't try so hard to just rush past it. 

So to all of my single twenty-something females out there, I encourage you to live in your moment without guilt or regret or longing for a future that has not yet played out.  This time is yours and is probably the last time life will grant you such freedoms and opportunity.  Indulge in the occasion to serve yourself so that one day when you are holding a baby on the hip you will look back fondly at the nights out on the town or spa days and know that they were wonderful and perfectly set in that chapter.  The next chapter may be full of new dynamics centered around responsibility and accountability and that one should be appreciated in its own right as well.

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” - Abraham Lincoln

Monday, June 4, 2012


If you are a fan of ABC reality television then you are probably spending Monday nights watching The Bachelorette featuring Emily Maynard.  How many seasons have aired at this point -- 100?  I remember first watching this show as a sophomore in college and it quickly became a weekly tradition to have all of my sorority sisters gather around the big screen television with popcorn in hand to cheer on our favorite contestants and, ultimately, root for true love.

Now, ten years later, there are still a handful of us that find the show and its eccentric characters to be highly entertaining but perhaps a less than accurate portrayal of real love.  As we have matured and experienced the peaks and pitfalls of dating and marriage we have become more resigned to realizing that dates featuring Cirque de Soleil, rock stars, and infinite amounts of champagne and candles are not correctly categorized as 'Reality TV' but, rather, 'Fairy Tale TV'.  

For me, I have the scars of heartbreak on my skin, the frustrations of dreams unfulfilled, and worst of all -- the real disappointment that comes with love letting you down.  I watch The Bachelorette with more skepticism and cynicism, but I seek it out none the less for the pure entertainment that can come from watching these exaggerated personalities.   

But what happens to the jaded girl when she meets a boy that writes romantic comedies for a living and easily confesses a desire and intention to be a good man?  My first thought:  "If it seems too good to be true then it probably is."  A statement that is not entirely fair to the man working to show me that he means what he says and still believes in true love. 

We are living in a world that tells us to always put our own interests first, protect our hearts from the jerks that we come across, and basically brace for the worst no matter the signs that direct us along the path of life.  I had a conversation with a dear friend last night that reiterated much of this tone and embraced the theme to 'protect and self preserve'.  But what if I let the worries go with the winds and, instead, spend my energy suffocating the fear in my mind and sidelining the thoughts that tell me people are not capable of the simple act of meaning what they say. 

I'm back in the dating ring, but not putting on the boxing gloves this time.  It's a risk to believe that true romance still exists, but I've decided it's a chance worth taking.  There is a reason why Disney fairy tales are considered timeless stories and I challenge you to think how your perspective might change if you could simply say "I Believe".