Monday, August 27, 2012


Los Angeles never fails to surprise me with how many people find themselves drawn to this city for the beautiful weather -- and perhaps the beautiful people.  Hollywoodland is a place of opportunity, palm trees, and the ultimate late night Thai food.  As a SoCal native I take a great deal of pride in meeting new 'Transplants' and wish them much success in establishing a new community for both work and play.  Never before have I been on the receiving end of such a speech, until now.

It was a little over a month ago that I decided to make a move about 40 miles up the 405 freeway.  It was a new county and a new neighborhood, but geographically easily within reach of my closest family and friends.  The chaos and exhilaration that comes with packing, furniture shopping, and restaurant hunting can serve as a fantastic temporary masque to what is really taking place underneath the surface of it all:  change.  I realized last night, for the first time, that change is hard.  And it takes patience with time to redefine normal. 

Earlier in the day I had attended a friend's barbeque in which I came across many new faces that met me with a warm smile and inquiring eyes.  Many of them were 'New LA Transplants' from New York and they came  with dreams of careers in Hollywood and excitements for warmer weather.  In the past, I would have greeted these new locals with a removed understanding of what it felt like to be navigating a new community and building new relationships.  Yesterday, I felt like a new member of their tribe.  I too was new to the town, in a less extreme way, but new nonetheless.  We exchanged comments of patience and ambition -- when to lean on one and when to employ the other.  These new friends had come so far and sacrificed so much, all for the chance of success.  I was impressed.  More than that, I was in awe of their electric energy and kind demeanor.  I took a piece of it away with me as I headed back to my new home just down the road.

I realize that it is rare to experience major geographical moves in our lives, but there are different kinds of "change" that we experience on a regular basis.  It could be a change in careers or a change in relationships or a full life change that comes with being a new mother with a tiny human being completely dependent upon your affection and attention.  Whatever the change is that meets your path in life, I encourage you to remain patient and diligent.  Be patient with not understanding all that it is you desire to know -- it will reveal itself in time.  Be diligent in pursuing goodness and embracing the moment.  It will all work out and the patience and diligence will pay off -- after all, hasn't it always in the past?  It's easy to look ahead and feel overwhelmed, but it's important to look back and remember that this isn't the first time change has altered things and it won't be the last.  You got this -- I promise!  And chances are, you're going to be great.

Now I just need to remind myself of such a speech and dwell in this new community that I call home... Patience.  Diligence.  Patience.  Diligence.  #newmantra

Monday, August 20, 2012


Throughout the first half of summer my sister and I would get together on a regular basis with intentions of casually spending time together, but each meeting we would end up indulging in our very own pity party.  We were both feeling restless and dissatisfied with our lives in Orange County.  It is a beautiful place to live and raise a family, don't get me wrong, but it is far too quiet for a couple of young professional women looking to make their mark on this world. 

I vividly remember the night we hit our breaking point.  We were sitting on the outside patio of my favorite local bar when a group of women in their mid to late fifties walked in making a real fashion statement in their sequin skits, low cut tops, and mid-drift bearing blouses. It was clearly girls night out and they were ready for a good time. Unfortunately, I was horrified to realize that we were the only ones at this bar under the age of 40...and wearing outfits more likely to be seen in a Banana Republic ad than Wet Seal. I turned to my sister and said "I need to get out of this town. I don't fit in. And it's making me incredibly unhappy." With as knowing look in her eye she simply said, "Me too."

We each decided, in the immediate week following our wine date, to take action.  She is now in the process of shopping for Ikea furniture to fill her new apartment located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. and I have been setting up my new beach cottage in Los Angeles.  We had a phone date this past weekend and the energy was electric.  She is thrilled about her new job, new city, and the new friendships that are already blossoming around her.  She is in her element and I couldn't be more proud of my little sister for taking big chances in buying a one-way ticket to the East Coast.

As for me, I decided to move closer to LA and have been getting a feel for this new town for the last week and a half.  I am already feeling the energy, excitement, and fresh oxygen filling my body.  Thanks to the inspiring acts on display in the London Olympics, I have become motivated to take on new challenges and am now the proud owner of a new surf board and wetsuit.  Luckily, my new housemate happens to be a local 'surfer dude' and is graciously taking the time to teach me the ways of the water. 

We were up late the other night joking around, his friends playing renditions of Jack Johnson songs on the guitar, and I declared that it was time to call it a night in order  to rise early and get out into the water and start 'Training'.  Training for what?  Well, shouldn't we be prepared to try for the Olympics in Rio in case they add surfing as a sport?  We only have four years so it's best we commit early.  The housemates loved it and the next morning there was a call for Team Rio to hit the waves!

I would have never, in my life, imagined a month ago that this past weekend would be spent with strangers, whom have become new friends, gathering around the guitar during the late night hours and then taking in the astonishing beauty of the ocean waves at 7 AM.  A month ago, all I could simply say is that I was feeling unsettled and in need of some change.

The most recent parting of ways with a significant other was ultimately the catalyst for such a move.  He was unapologetically pursuing his hopes and dreams and I realized the tough truth that I was the only person in my life holding me back from doing the same.  I love when life turns out to present dark moments simply to prepare you for the bright light ahead.  We can't always know the context of life, but we do have some influence and control of our own destiny through the power of choice. 

I present to you the following challenges based on my own recent life lessons:  (1) Choose to take chances when it comes to change.  (2) Dare to put your own best interests first.  (3) Trust that the darkness will be followed by the light.

A friend once coined my constant recitation of inspirational quotes as 'Brit-Spiration'...So here is a little bit of 'Brit-Spiration' as you go into the week ahead:

"You Must Be the Change You Wish to See in the World."  -- Mahatma Ghandi

Monday, August 13, 2012


I think I speak for most of us when I say, "It is with a heavy heart that we watch The London Olympics come to a close."  I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two weeks of constant Olympic coverage.  It is a pleasure to be a spectator of The Games not only for the display of impressive athleticism (and equally impressive physiques), but for the role of being a proud American cheering on our Olympic athletes. 

To be entirely honest, I am not always so proud to be an American in the context of the international spotlight.  Our Government Officials make the news for the sexcapades and pornographic tweets.  Snooki makes the news for practicing being a new mother by carrying around a 24 pack of beer in a stroller -- and this just after wearing furry boots around Florence for a summer.  And the last few years of economic headlines have been less than inspiring, but thanks to Greece we are no longer hogging that spotlight.  It's not that I don't love my country and feel an utmost gratitude for the freedoms that it provides -- because I absolutely do and can envision no greater country in this world in which I would choose to live my life.  The point that I am attempting to illustrate is that the focus of international media and attention is often on headlines that feature stories considered to be entertaining, but hardly ever inspiring.

The Olympics have been a breath of fresh air and I would get chills on a daily basis just listening to Morgan Freeman narrate the ever current commercials (how did they do that so quickly?!).  Every sports bar, pizza parlor, and even the nails salons featured The XXX Olympiad and, in a very subtle way, created an environment in which we could feel inspired and uplifted on a daily basis.  So instead of giving the spotlight to Miley's new haircut or to a Kardashian, I would like to take moment and thank all of the athletes that basked in the spotlight these last two weeks with grace, poise and courage. 

Gabby's tale of dedication and living in Iowa during her formative years inspires me to take on a physical goal and really commit to it, despite the sacrifice that may come with it.  The courage and dedication of Pistorious brought tears to my eyes and then watching the winning sprinter ask for his name badge as a gesture of respect humbled me to my core.  Missy Franklin's interview with Bob Costas was full of true and electric positive energy as she grinned from ear to ear for five minutes straight still soaking in her moment of winning a Gold Medal, despite not having yet received her high school diploma.  And to Michael Phelps, my heartfelt congratulations on setting a new standard in the World Athletic Arena.  It is a rare man capable of making such a mark on this world.  Last, but not least, I want to thank Proctor & Gamble for highlighting the role of family at each commercial break.

The Olympics are a rare occasion in which the world comes together to compete, but not for things like power or money, they complete for the glory found in being a winner representing their national flag.  I am proud to be an American and wish the Olympics could air every summer to remind us of why our hearts swell with such pride and we should be grateful to our forefathers who fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today. 

Since we will have to wait another 4 years to witness this great display of summer games I am going to put it out there right now that I intend to save my money for a trip to Rio.  Who's with me?!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


My birthday is coming up at the end of this month and that means, yes, I am a Virgo. An astrological sign that is often met with mixed reactions and, frankly, I can understand why.  Over the years I have read many things about my beloved zodiac sign and there are a couple  of 'typical Virgo' characteristics deeply imprinted in my mind: highly analytical/critical and a perfectionist. Now there are plenty more flattering traits that I would prefer to discuss about Virgos, but for the purpose of this entry I must highlight "the darker side" of my Virgo Virgin traits.

I began my Adventures in Dating book with chapters one and two being the longest of the set, thus far. My first two serious boyfriends were each three year relationships. While the men were unique in both their personality and physical traits, the common thread stringing these six years together was my critical attitude towards them.  I commented frequently on the would-a/could-a/should-a aspects about life, our relationship, and them -- personally.

I shudder now to think of some of the things that I said to these significant others as they were both really good men grounded by strong character. While we were dating, I was quick to point out their shortcomings in regards to the actions taken, or lack thereof, that contributed to 'what could be' a good relationship.  I easily overlooked the many small gestures that they were making to try and contribute to our relationship -- and instead responded fiercely to all of the things that I found to be lacking.  I once hurled a high heel in the direction of a boyfriend when he refused to spend the money for us to go bowling with friends, but sweetly offered to host another night 'in' while enjoying Top Ramen.  Luckily, he ducked and the shoe hit the wall.  But not before I was in a fit of tears.  I am not proud of this temper tantrum (but it would make for a great scene in the next Kate Hudson flick).  Nor am I proud of the fact that I rarely sat down to look that man in the eye to say 'Thank You'.  Thank you for being faithful to this long distance relationship.  Thank you for the small gestures of a random flower here and there.  Thank you for the Tiffany's promise ring that you gave me with tears in your eyes and a pledge to always be loving and faithful.   Nope, no major gushing thank you speeches came from 21 year old me.  I was too busy telling him that he needed to get his life on track and find a job because being a summer camp counselor at 24 was ridiculous.   

In the end, with both long-term relationships, I was the one doing the breaking up. Despite the critiques and consistently verbalized dissatisfaction -- we loved each other -- and for the men it was enough. Not for me. I had to move on and find someone and something better. Something less flawed. Something perfect.

Once I was old enough to look back with a bit more context and insight, I saw those moments for what they truly were:  moments in which my vices took over the steering wheel and crashed the vessel.  Just a few years ago, after being on the receiving end of a hurtful breakup fueled by the other person's decision to lash out against my constant disapproval, I swore that I wouldn't do it anymore.  I was fully motivated to overcome this inherent Virgo nature to be overly critical and set others up only for failure. I would now only set up my loved ones, and my relationships, for success.

Earlier this week I met with my Life Coach and she finally called me out on my Pollyanna Complex bullshit.  I have let the pendulum swing to the other end of the spectrum so significantly that I am consciously overlooking the imperfections in people and life.  Along with that, I am actively seeking out the good and hoping to find something just perfect.  But here's the thing... life isn't perfect, people aren't perfect, and relationships aren't perfect!  I am a firm believer that we are all able to find exactly what we are looking for in this life.  What do I mean by such a general statement?  Think of the last time when you were car shopping.  You really started to like the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and then, suddenly, you found that they were everywhere!  Did a fresh fleet of Jeeps invade the 405 freeway overnight?  No.  What happened is you started to see what it was you were looking for on the road.

I now realize that I too will find exactly what I am looking -- in people and relationships -- so while seeking out only the good I found myself with men and in relationships that, in my mind, had no flaws. They were only made up of the good that I was willing to see and the bad didn't exist -- nor was it relevant. Boy was I wrong.

Balance and context are extremely important and influential on how we perceive the world around us. We must take the bad with the good.  I have taken a step back to acknowledge and realize that standing up for the things that are important to me is key to having a successful relationship.  Do I need to acknowledge the small gestures and do my best to see the world as the 'glass half full'?  Absolutely.  But I also need to take off the rose colored glasses and appreciate that the bad gives the good its proper context. 

From now on I intend to maintain a more critical perspective in dating and relationships.  I believe in love and I believe in lasting happiness.  Most importantly, I believe that life is to be celebrated.  Keeping that in mind, the balance comes with having an opinion and being willing to stand up for what we feel we deserve in life.  I just hope that the universe doesn't hurl a high heel in my direction as karma to teach me a lesson.