Monthly Archives: May 2013

Project: Dreamcatcher!

“Everyone has a dream. What’s your dream?”

Pretty Woman

Do you have a dream you’ve always wanted to pursue?

– Is there a fantastic vacation you’ve been dying to take?
– Do you want to become a proficient cook?
– Do you want to become good at a sport, like golf or tennis?
– Do you want to write a memoir, a screenplay, or a novel or be published somewhere?
– Do you want to act in a local play or production?
– Perhaps you want to learn how to upholster a couch? Learn how to sew?
– Do you want to become a beekeeper? Or raise your own chickens?

As women, we tend to put ourselves last. We also tend to listen more to naysayers, I believe. Or as Keanne put it: “The Dream killers.” But the good news is: women have a few secret weapons. What are they?

As I’ve seen in the past two years of blogging, we have:

1. A strong sense of community
2. Deep wells of supportiveness we can tap into at times.

Mel of Stirrup Queens pointed me to an article about how the movement around “Lean In” has shifted towards creating groups of women who can help each other in their career paths, and help them to attain leadership positions.

What if we created something similar here? What if we could HELP EACH OTHER to attain our dreams?

This is where Project: Dreamcatcher comes in. This will be a summer-long project dedicated to furthering our goals and making our dreams come true.

Are you interested?

I’ve had a dream for about a year. I want to stay focused on it and make it a reality. What is it? I will reveal it, next week!

Want to participate? All you need is a blog and a dream. You can take part as much or as little as you want. I will host a topic each week to try to help us better understand how to get to our dreams. Each week, I’ll assign you to watch one Ted Talks to help inspire you, make you think and to take steps and do the work needed to achieve your goal!

1. Week One:

Define your goal. Write a post announcing your goal. Watch this short (3 min) Ted Talk about a better way to set a goal: try something new for 30 days!

2. Week Two:

Define the steps necessary. Write a post announcing what steps you will take to make your goal a reality. Watch this Ted Talk about how following a video gaming model is a better way to accomplish goals.

3. Week Three:

Set up a goal schedule, with deadlines to help achieve your dream. Write a post detailing your schedule.

4. Week Four:

Start hitting your deadlines and doing the work needed. Write a post about detailing the work. Watch this Ted Talk about what motivates us and how to tackle an adventurous project.

5. Week Five:

Delve into the nitty gritty of the work you are doing. Does it feel like work? Watch this Ted Talk about the virtue of hard work from an Olympian athlete.

6. Week Six:

Avoiding the duldrums. Procrastinating is super easy when you are doing something that comes last. How do you avoid burnout? Watch this Ted Talks about WHY we procrastinate and what can we do about it…

7. Week Seven:

How to jumpstart your creativity, especially when you are feeling like a failure or have met too mcuh rejection? Watch this Ted Talk from Elizabeth Gilbert.

8. Week Eight:

Wrapping up: are you close to achieving your dream? Has the journey been worth it? What do you plan to do next?

Please note: you can jump in or out at any time. You don’t have to participate each week.

I hope to have people joining in!! And please, spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. The more the merrier.

Finally, you don’t have to be a woman to join in 🙂 All are welcome!

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Filed under Discovering joy, What Say You?

Dealing With the Naysayers (In My Head And Beyond)

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I am working on a top secret project that is really exciting. Mostly I feel driven and passionate about it and very motivated by the general interest it has provoked. Mostly. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk publicly about it soon.

The reason I’m not saying more here? WELL. Things were going really, really awesomely for a while, so I opened up to some, er, people I know about the project. I knew it was a mistake pretty much the minute the description of the project escaped my lips. (You know when you can see the words you just uttered in a bubble above your head? And you wish you could just shovel those words back into your mouth? Well, that happened.) Ever since I opened my big fat mouth about it, I’ve had to deal with non-stop comments about how I am DOOMED TO FAILURE, either because of the insignificant size of my platform and/or my topic area (Sample comments: “You need 77,000 followers to do ANYTHING worthwhile.” and “No one will care about your topic.”)

Then I actually ran into a real obstacle. It is not an insurmountable hurdle at all: in fact, the incident helped me decide upon a crucial point I had been endlessly debating.

But the lingering sting of rejection and the naysayers are getting me down. I’ve never been great at accepting the answer “no.” My (very few) modeling days were fraught with insecurity and I obsessed over the negative things people said about my appearance, not remembering any of the positives. (My lips were too small and needed collagen injections was the most frequent criticism I got. I was 16! So no, I wasn’t going to get collagen injections. I used to put an icepack on my lips to try to get that bee stung look. It didn’t work.) I was scouted multiple times by multiple agencies (including a very prestigious agency in NYC) and in most cases I didn’t even get to the answer “no” because I couldn’t handle the answer “no” so I didn’t even pursue opportunities. I kind of regret that now. On the other hand, I’m sure the answer WOULD have been no.

The thing is, writing and modeling (and acting for that matter) are kind of similar, right? Lots of people want to do these things for a living. Ergo, there WILL be a ton of rejection. You can give up, or you can never surrender, to paraphrase Galaxy Quest.

I was bombarded by rejection during infertility treatments. I probably would have given up sooner had I not been under serious pressure to make it work.

What’s worse? Chasing a dream? Is that wasting your time? Is being surrounded by naysayers detrimental? Or are they around to keep you focused on the ground, where you actually live?

I don’t know the answer, as usual. So I’ll put it to you, oh wise ones. How do you handle naysayers and/or rejection? Does it prevent you from pursuing your dreams? Is it a waste of time to even pursue dreams? Should we stay grounded to the earth?

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Filed under writing

How to Dress, Scarf Edition: The European Knot

UPDATED AT BOTTOM!!

LittleWomen

I love this Little Women Scarf, from Etsy

Thanks everyone for all of the awesome feedback and requests! I’m so excited about answering your questions.

The most popular request by far was: how to tie a scarf. Or, in the words of Miss Ohkay:

“Not in season now, but I can’t figure out scarves. They look bunchy and stupid when I put them on but I like them on others.”

There are many different ways to tie scarves. There are lots of tutorials too, but I find they are unnecessarily complicated. I mean, we don’t need advanced sailing knot lessons to learn how to tie a scarf. AMIRITE?!

The knot I use the most is one I was taught by a French friend. She is one of those effortlessly chic women you always read about. She always wore this particular knot with a scarf under her long winter coat, but I also use it to knot my scarf on a plane to keep warm. She never told me the name of it, so I am going to call it “The European Knot.”

The European Knot looks best with a long scarf. I use either pashminas (Remember those?! I still like mine! I have one in turquoise, black and fuschia.) or two long scarves I have, one a Missoni-esque Pareo from Target (similar here) and the other a Chevron scarf from J. Crew (similar here)

So, let’s begin!

Step 1

Step 1 is easy. Drape the scarf over your shoulders but in front of your neck. Both sides behind your shoulders should be even.

Step 2

Step 2: The back parts of the scarf that are behind you? Cross them in the back around your neck and bring them around so they are in the front. They should still be even.

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Step 3: Cross the two ends of the scarf.

Step4

Step 4: Tuck one end of the scarf over the part where the scarf crosses.

Step5

Step 5: (OPTIONAL) Tie the remaining bit of scarf in a knot.

Voila! The European Knot.

What it looks like:

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Under a coat:

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Uses: keeps your neck warm in cold weather. MIGHT prevent you from getting sick on a plane. Adds interest and color when the weather is cold…

I hope this is helpful! PS: The best way to avoid a super bunchy look is to use a scarf made out of silk, rayon or cotton. Any questions?

UPDATED!! I added this video for much more clear instructions, I hope! 🙂

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Filed under personal style

“How to Dress”: Choose Your Own Adventure!

So, remember when I told you that you have your very own fashionista, dwelling inside of you?

Think about your favorite movie, ever. Think about your favorite heroine in that movie, ever. It’s easy for me to identify mine. It’s Marion Ravenwood, from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Is there anyone more badass, more determined to save herself, than Marion? Marion Ravenwood is left in the camp at Tanis by Indiana Jones. What does she decide to do? Rescue herself, using some super cute heels and a beautiful dress. And, a knife and a super serious alcohol tolerance. (Not saying that’s an awesome skill.) But, who didn’t want to be Marion Ravenwood, after spotting her badass in “Raiders?”

Yes, the Harrison Ford in this movie is pretty much the hottest male specimen, like, ever. Right? But, he chooses to hang out with Marion. And why?

Did anyone deserve him more than Marion Ravenwood? Who fought for her own freedom, after Indy said he had to abandon her? Who else could outdrink a whole Nepal population? Who else could survive thousands of snakes? No one. Except Marion Ravenwood.

Anyway, if you are looking for a fashion inspiration: trust me, you have one.

Are you Trinity in “The Matrix”? ? The “Mother of Dragons”? Marion Ravenwood? Are you Uma Thurman, in “Kill Bill?” Are you Winona Ryder, in “Heathers”? Rachel McAdams in “The Notebook?”

You are SOMEONE.

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Filed under personal style

How to Dress: Now Taking Requests!

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The series “How to Dress” has kind of taken on a life of its own, which makes me really, really happy. “How to Dress” started as a way to answer reader questions about fashion and my closet reorganizations.

Why the interest in fashion, you might be asking? Well, I was pretty down after my experiences with infertility and miscarriage and tried a number of things to get happy, including spending a year trying to live joyfully. Nothing really took, until I started re-engaging with a previous love of fashion. I cleaned out my closet, started planning outfits and began following fashion blogs like The Sartorialist, Garance Dore and Man Repeller.

To my amazement, these efforts started to pay off. When I looked cute and put together, I FELT good. And that small step parlayed into dividends. I think there’s an idea out there that once you’ve had children or move out of your twenties, you shouldn’t worry about how you dress any more. You can just wear a work “uniform” you don’t think much about. As a SAHM, I had resigned myself to a permanent uniform of yoga pants and exercise clothes. (Not only were these clothes drab, they also weren’t very flattering. I felt how I looked: frumpy and gray.)

Here’s the thing: we get dressed every day. We wear clothes every day. Why not wear clothes that make us happy?

Fashion can be perplexing and sometimes it seems like you have to be thin and perfect to wear great clothes. Which is totally untrue. There is a unique style out there for EVERYONE that will make you feel good. Yes, there are basic lessons (which I try to teach here) but fashion should be fun and a way to release your creativity and sense of self. Whether your inner fashionista is a 90s soul wearing Docs and punk rock T-shirts, a later day Audrey Hepburn with elegant capris and trenchcoats, a romantic drawn to lace and florals or a Sophie Loren bombshell favoring curve-hugging styles, you have one. Everyone does!

So I am taking requests for my “How to Dress” workshops. Here’s what I have so far:

From Palm Tree Mama:

“I could use some fashion advice for a sporty chic look this summer!” 🙂

From Miss OhKay (and seconded by Mandski):

“Not in season now, but I can’t figure out scarves. They look bunchy and stupid when I put them on but I like them on others.”

From MomPharmD:

“1. Work postpartum and 2. working in wide temps in a white coat please.”

What questions do you have for “How to Dress?”

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Filed under personal style