Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are YOU Normal?

Dear lovelies.....Are YOU Normal???
Somebody recently told me that I need to make my website for The Ruby Slippers and Flawed is the New Fabulous look more “NORMAL.”  They told me it was too “artsy and colorful” to be taken seriously…..and for a day or so, I stared at those websites thinking maybe they were right.  Then it occurred to me that what is reflected on those sites actually IS my “NORMAL.”   Love it or leave it, what you see is what you get lovelies….  I’m the sort of girl who doesn’t like to color in the lines, I have a fear of living my life in a box and I don’t WANT to be just like the woman sitting next to me.  She may be beautiful, and sassy, fabulous and funny, and I will be the first in line to celebrate her, but BE like her?  No thank you.
What exactly IS this NORMAL thing I keep hearing people talk about?  Where is the definition and photo that shows me what it specifically means to BE normal?  Was there some sort of memo sent out that tells me what I am supposed to look and act like?? 
Your version of normal might be a crisp white shirt and a cubicle in an office, or maybe it’s an expansive art studio with ephemera as far as the eye can see…..perhaps your normal is a briefcase and a navy suit, or big wild flowers woven through your hair…. That’s what makes it so much fun….we each have our own version of NORMAL and frankly I think it’s quite fabulous!  I love when I can be in a room with 50 women and each one of them has their own story, their own look, personality, and so on. 
Can you imagine walking down a crowded street and bumping into one person after another who looks just like you?  I would lose my mind!  I think instead, we ought to launch a campaign to eliminate the word “normal” from our vocabulary.  Telling somebody they need to be more NORMAL is like telling a person not to be themselves or that the version of who they are showing the world is somehow wrong or not enough.  Who are we to judge?  I think that we need to focus on inviting people to be whatever their version of NORMAL might be.  We need to tell our daughters that just because she doesn’t look like a cheerleader or the model  on the cover of a magazine, she is still the MOST beautiful version of normal we ever did see.  We need to celebrate what makes us unique, we need to embrace that perhaps MY version of NORMAL is not something you would like to try on, but it doesn’t need to be! 
Whatever your version of normal is, I pray that you just choose to embrace it.  I hope that you have blue streaks in your hair, or maybe beautiful grey hair….I hope that you wear big fancy flowers, or maybe even a tie….I hope that you are an intentionally exact representation of who you are each and every day…even if you are constantly changing.  I hope that you cling to your version of normal and wear it as a big bold banner for all the world to see.
I’m quite certain that there really is no NORMAL, there is just you and I being who we are and regardless of what visual story we choose to share with the world on any given day, as long as we are happy with it, then that suits me just fine.
Today I hope you will stop to look around and celebrate each and every version of NORMAL that might pass you on the street…..celebrate that we have another day to be a walking, talking canvas… each as beautiful as the next!!  To heck with NORMAL lovelies…..it’s far more fun to just be YOU!
Wishing you buckets of rainbow colored bliss!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Are YOU Satisfied???

Dear Lovely….
I woke up the day after my birthday last week and realized it was time for some serious career alterations in my life.  Between my seasonal shop, The Ruby Slippers, the network I created, Tell a Girlfriend Network and now this new Flawed campaign, I feel like I’m pulling myself if a whole heck of a lot of different directions and its time to finally simplify things a bit.  The good news is, all roads lead back to a few common loves….I LOVE to support and empower small businesses, I love to remind women of how fundamentally amazing they are, I LOVE to write and I love the idea that I finally understand that with a little bit of work I can actually bring all of these things together into one fantastic place….. So, this time, instead of my usual, “wipe the slate clean and start over” I’m simply pushing myself to see things with new eyes….
It’s a very exciting time because I’m actually listening to my own advice and making the changes in my life that I know are long overdue.  For far too long, I have been making excuses as to why I couldn’t launch Flawed, or change Tell A Girlfriend to reflect what I know it has the potential to be…. I’ve talked myself out of what I knew would make me happy because there never seemed to be enough time, people might think I'm nuts and maybe the risk wouldn’t be worth it in the end….  But here’s the thing my dear friends, you don’t know until you try….
The funny thing about getting older is that we have the luxury of truly looking back on where we have been and giving ourselves the opportunity to celebrate the things that have worked and learning valuable lessons from those things that maybe didn’t turn out the way we had planned…
As for me, well this week marks the beginning of all the pieces of the puzzle finally evolving into one agenda….and I am just bubbling over with excitement for what I know the end result can be.
If you are like me, and there are things you have been contemplating changing,  I promise you there is nothing good that can from putting it on the back burner.  You will tell yourself that you’re just waiting for the right time, or letting an idea marinate and then all of a sudden a year has gone by and you’re still sitting in the exact same place.  If you’re happy there, then don’t change a thing, but if you have this nagging feeling that things can be better, well then it’s time to DO something.
Change of any kind is never easy, it’s scary and unpredictable and can push you far out of your comfort zone.  But what if beyond all that fear and discomfort lays a whole new world of opportunity for you?  What if by making just a few small adjustments you could finally be on a path towards your dream destination?  Wouldn’t it be worth it?  I think you already know the answer to that….
So, here I go….this week will be all about taking a lot of little steps towards pulling it all together and allowing my IT to reflect what I knew it could be all along.  I hope that you will join me and do what needs to be done in your own life that will bring you one step closer to that unconditional happy place….  I hope that you push yourself to take a step forward because you finally know deep in your heart that you deserve it….
When you do take the little jump, I hope that you will let me know how it’s going….I hope that you will give me the chance to celebrate along with you!  Just the idea of intentionally making a change is so exciting, and so worth every shred of the effort that it requires, but I want you to know that no matter what happens, sink or swim, the good news is that you cannot possibly fail simply because the most important thing is that you will have tried!!!
Wishing you all the faith in yourself you could ever need!!
Happy Day to you!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happiness Pie....Go Ahead...Take a BITE!

Dear Lovely…..
I’ll be completely honest with you; I have the patience of a gnat….So when I create something new and get no response within the first five minutes I immediately begin to doubt myself….  That little voice, the one I told you about in an earlier post; NOna, rears her ugly little head and almost instantly I start hearing, “you don’t know what you’re talking about, nobody cares, you’re talking to yourself, nobody is listening….GET A JOB.”  It’s the same story every single time, no instant gratification = compete and total failure….
Yesterday was one of those days….tiny little meltdowns that culminated around dinner time with me deciding that I had made a big mistake; people don’t want to hear about their flaws and celebrate them…  So sometime around dinner I had decided that this was just a stupid idea that flopped before it ever got off the ground, I was cranky, mad, sad, and myriad of other self-sabotaging adjectives…  I tossed and turned most of the night lamenting over how I was going to tell my husband that all the money we had just spent on a trademark was just plain stupid and it was time for me to get a job at Taco Bell where I could at least get a discount on comfort food…
Then I woke up this morning and there in my in box was a teeny tiny little miracle…a very short  comment on my blog from a writer (thank you Joy) that simply said she was interested in featuring my blog in a newspaper.  WHAT?  I read it about fifteen times and all I could think to myself was “I thought nobody was reading this.”  I believed that besides a dear friend of mine and my poor husband who out of love for me HAS to read it nobody was even looking at my ramblings.  I’m sure you can only imagine that while I am crazy-over-the-moon about this blog being in a newspaper, the idea that someone was actually seeing it, well that just about blew me right out of my chair….
Here I was, the wildly impatient girl thinking that I had failed before I even got started and then I find out that the Universe just might see things a little differently, and perhaps is running on a different schedule than I am. 
Maybe you’re just like me (though let’s pray for your sake that you’re not), you had this BIG idea, the one you are so passionate about, the one that you just HAVE to share with the world because it means THAT much….you launch your dream and as you are waiting for the glowing reviews, as you are sitting and watching your inbox for the piles of orders that you KNOW are coming, you are instead met with that God awful sound of crickets….dead silence.  Nobody is applauding, nobody is ordering and you are sitting there ready to jump out the window.

But what if…..what if any minute something amazing is about to happen?  What if tomorrow or the next day your audience finally finds that trail of bread crumbs you left for them and slowly but surely they begin to find their way to you?  What if you had talked yourself into quitting before you ever even gave it a chance and just before the orders started piling up you shut the doors, pulled the plug and went back to bed?
The funny thing about dreams is that if you’re not terrified, if you’re not questioning yourself and fearing that maybe your IT won’t work then you probably aren’t really putting as much of yourself into it as you thought.  Dreams are personal, they are YOU out there for the whole world to see and yes, even be judged….but that’s life my friend.  If you’re a functioning human being then of course there will be doubt….of course Nona will be there with her big black flag and her nasty voice and her road blocks, and yes, even her crickets….but what matters most is what you choose to do about it.  How important is it to you?  What are you willing to risk in order to have your slice of the big beautiful Happiness Pie?
For me, well I’m working my butt off to slowly get to a place where the possibility of the amazing things that COULD happen is more important than the immediate outcome.  I am crawling at a snail’s pace to get there, but I am moving forward…and so can you.  You are this bright, shiny, perfectly imperfect woman with a dream and I promise you that your bliss is coming but you’ve got to intentionally leave the light on so that it can find you.  You’ve got to keep going forward in spite of that nasty Nona, you’ve got to force yourself to push on regardless of the fact that today might not have been your best day because there is a very good chance that tomorrow can be PHENOMINAL. 
You and I….well we have fabulous lives to live and whether you constantly believe it or not I promise you that you are worthy of every glimmer of hope that you had when you began your journey.  The road is bumpy and there might very be obstacles around every turn….but you CAN push through, you have what you need to make it happen…but the choice is yours.  Choose bliss or get yourself a fabulous polyester uniform and go get a job at Taco Bell.  (turns out I won’t be joining you there after all….) Go after the dream or spend the rest of your life wondering what might have been…..it’s completely up to you but I’m thinking bliss trumps regret every time!
Today is a FABULOUS day, a perfect day to invest in a pair of big girl pants,  grab a shiny fork and give yourself permission to take a BIG JUICY bite out of your very own Happiness Pie!  It’s fat free, incredibly satisfying and will leave you feeling full in the most delicious sort of way!
Wishing you the patience, courage and desire to truly believe in your dreams and the clear vision to see them through to fruition!
Endless blessings to you!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Monday morning wakeup call!

Dear lovelies....
It's a dismal Monday here in Naperville and if you're anything like me and respond to grey weather by wanting to jump right back into bed and hide until the sun comes up, I have a simple message for you today.  GET UP GET UP GET UP!
It's easy to feel lazy and BLAH when the rain is coming down in sheets and the sun is still sleeping, but you and I, well we've got much to do today!  We've got dreams to nurture, places to go, adventures to have and so much more just waiting around the corner....
So...it's a rainy Monday, so it's not a good hair day....that just means you get to work a little harder than usual to be the girl who spreads a bit of sunshine wherever she goes!  So slather on that lipgloss, throw those shoulders back and get OUT there!
You just never know what sort of amazing things are waiting around the corner!  The day may be a bit flawed, but that doesn't make it any less potentially fabulous!!!
Wishing you a chocolate covered bliss filled sort of day!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Using Your History

Once upon a time when I was 15 years old my family was homeless.  Yup, you read that right, homeless.  I can remember it like it was yesterday because the whole experience obviously helped to shape who I am today.  I was sitting in Biology class and suddenly my mother’s face was at the door and she was feverishly gesturing for me to come out into the hall.  Mr. Mundy, my teacher saw what was happening and immediately excused me.
The moment I stepped outside my mom said “get your things out of your locker, your brother is already in the car and we’re moving.”  Uh….how is that even possible?  When I had left for school that morning everything was just fine.  As we got to the car I remember seeing my brother in the back seat looking just as confused as I was, but neither of us really said much because of the obvious state of panic my mother was in.  In a million years you could have never prepared either of us for the circus our lives were about to become.
As we pulled on to our street I can vividly remember seeing neighbors lined up as if they were getting ready to watch a parade.  There were moving trucks and two police cars sitting in front of our house and my father handed us a box of garbage bags and said,” hurry up and just put everything in these.”
Still reeling from the confusion of what was happening we walked into the house to find what felt like people everywhere dumping out our drawers and taking our furniture out of the house.  Without knowing what else to do I went up to my bedroom in tears and just started putting everything in the bags we were given.  It was obviously incredibly confusing and even today, it’s not something we ever talk about much and I still don’t completely understand what happened. 
What I do know for sure, what I do remember is that as all of our belongings were either being loaded onto trucks or piled on our front lawn not one of our neighbors came across the street to see if we were okay.  Most of the men were working, but the women were gathered in clusters pointing and staring as if they were watching a movie.  It was the most humiliating and horrible experience of my teen-age life.
Within a few hours our house was empty and the police put a big sticker on our door with some sort of box attached to the lock; we had just lost our home.
Evidently anything that we hadn’t put into the car was being taken to a storage locker…and our dog, well my mom drove off with her and we never saw that sweet dog again.  Later that afternoon we checked into a hotel….we stayed there for a couple of days and then all four of us moved into another one room hotel for the next several weeks. Eventually my parents did get us into a house, but by then, all of our belongings were gone because my father had never paid the bill on the storage locker.  To this day, I still don’t know what happened I only know that was just the beginning of what would prove to be an incredibly tumultuous and painful next couple of years, but that’s a whole other story. 
What sticks in my head today almost twenty eight years later is not that we lost our home or our belongings…no, what has stayed with me is that not one single person standing on the street that day, or even the days that followed, ever did one thing to see if she could help. We had grown up playing with their children, had sleepovers together, carpooled, and gone to school together yet, when the time came to really be there, when they could have done something good, they chose to do nothing but gossip.
There are large chunks of that experience that have stayed with me. I know now that the challenge is not trying to forget the past, but instead it is finding a way to use it to my advantage and make peace with it.  There are experiences we have in our lives that can damage us and we don’t even realize it until we are older and have the opportunity to look backwards.  The way those women responded to what our family was going through left a stain on my heart.  But it also opened my eyes and I truly believe that having been through that sort of humiliation has actually proven to be a valuable tool for me.
It All Comes Full Circle
Who would have ever believed that 25 years later I would be driving home and suddenly see a family on our block standing in front of their home with all of their belongings piled high on the front yard. The moment I saw it, I knew exactly what had happened and I instinctively just wanted to help.  We didn’t know the people, but I did know that they had kids and it was about to become a very scary situation for them.  So, in the midst of the chaos, when the school bus dropped the little one off that afternoon I was at my front door waiting to invite him in for cookies and cartoons while mom and dad sorted things out.  It was the least I could do.
 It was right around Christmas time and I can remember like it was yesterday that later that evening our neighbors had begun to gather and were whining about the fact that all of that JUNK on the lawn was taking away from how pretty the neighborhood had looked for the holidays.  One man even suggested that perhaps he should just rent a dumpster and throw everything on the lawn into it.  There was no shred of concern for the children or offer to help pack up their belongings.  There was no sympathy for the family or outpouring of assistance there was only malice, contempt and glaring judgment.   I was seeing the other side of what had happened to my family and it broke my heart all over again.
 I can’t possibly know how I would have responded had we not gone through that very same experience. I like to believe that I would have reacted the exact same way and wanted to reach out to help….  But what mattered in that moment was that I had lived through this horrible experience as a teen-ager and when the time came for me to use my history as a gift or a curse, I chose to make it into something positive.   I made the most of what I had been through and did what I could to stand up for those people and help, it was a conscious choice and one that I am proud to have made.   It would have been just as easy for me to recall what had happened to my family and respond by doing nothing since nobody had helped us, but I remember having the distinct feeling that seeing another family lose their home right on my own block couldn’t possibly just be a coincidence and instead must be an opportunity for me to do something potentially good.

 Now What?
Undoubtedly we have all lived through our own share of crap….bad things have happened to us that we can either use as excuses for our behavior or we can allow it to empower us.  The choice is ultimately yours, but I can tell you from personal experience that when you use your history for good you have the potential to change the life of somebody without even knowing it; you have the ability to make something a bit easier for the person in the midst of it.  Your experiences, for better or worse have given you a gift, a unique insight and put you in a place where you might be able to see or understand things that most other people wouldn’t even begin to relate to.  Perhaps at the time it was the worst experience of your life, but today you can decide to use it to help someone else and in the process you just might wind up healing yourself.    Ironically enough, in some strange sort of way my being there on the day that family lost their home brought things full circle for me and for the first time in more than twenty seven years I was finally free of it and could let it go. I won’t ever forget what it felt like to have lost our home, but today it helps to know that in some amazing sort of way it gave me the unique ability to be able to help someone else in the moment they needed it most. 
It may not be obvious right now, but the darkest moments of your history have the potential to bring someone else comfort and light.  I hope that when the time is right you will choose to be the one who can make a positive difference.
Wishing you overflowing buckets of bliss!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Walking Your Own Path

Sometimes I just want to slap myself.  Life is going along just fine and then I bump into somebody who I believe is light years ahead of where I had hoped I would be at this age and I am immediately knocked down a peg….or two.  When this happens I can easily go from Happy-go-lucky-Heather to brooding girl in the blink of an eye.
As I am stumbling along on this new journey of mine and working towards a place of unwavering self-acceptance I need to teach myself how to be proud of myself for all the accomplishments up to this point.  I need to remind myself that the woman sitting next to me, the one I think is so successful has her own story and I have no idea what it took for her to get here.  Perhaps she was living in a cardboard box until one day she found a twenty dollar bill on the ground, treated herself to a scratch and win lottery ticket and won the big prize.  Or maybe her dream meant so much to her that she ate nothing but Alpo and Ramen noodles for months while she saved every dollar just so she could get her plans into motion.  It could be that she is just like me….that she too passes a woman on the street and suddenly can’t help but think that she has fallen behind in her own plans.

At the end of the day, we are all our own worst enemies.  Instead of being happy with where we’ve been, we choose to see ourselves as late in the game.  We focus on what has NOT happened instead of basking in the warm glow of just how much we’ve actually accomplished.
The older I get, the more I understand that it’s really a personal  mind game and the one who wins, the one who gets to be happy is the woman who can choose to see it all from a glass half full place.  She is the woman who understands that each of us is here to walk our own path at our own pace.  When it comes right down to it there is no set syllabus that tells us where we need to be at some certain stage of our lives.  So why bother spending another moment believing we are falling short when the only measuring stick is the one we are needlessly carrying.
We burden ourselves with so much negative self-talk that we leave no room for all the good news.  You’re divorced by the age of thirty?  So what.  You’ve changed careers 26 times in the last four years?  Big deal.  Your bank account isn’t as fat as your next door neighbor?  Why does it matter?  And yet, for most of us it does, and this constant comparing ourselves to others has the ability to hold us down and keep us believing that we aren’t quite there yet, that we’re missing something…but what if it’s just not true?
When I was in my early twenties and just starting out my career in the fashion industry my father gave me what I now understand to be among some of the worst advice I had ever heard.  He said, “ if you want to be successful, pick someone who is more successful than you are and do everything you can to be better than them.”  That little tidbit of wisdom did nothing more than prompt me to spend years comparing myself to every woman I ever met.  It lead me to feel awful about myself and made me incredibly competitive.  I know my dad didn’t mean it that way, I know that he was, in his own way telling me to reach higher, but his hidden wisdom backfired.   Today I understand that what he probably SHOULD have said was “just get out there, be proud of yourself and do your best.”   Period, end of story.
When all is said and done, after you’ve spent years of your life comparing yourself to everyone around you, one thing is certain….at the end of the day you’ll have denied yourself the gift of seeing just how far you’ve actually come.  Throughout the course of your life you will have moved SO many boulders and mountains out of your way to get here.  You will have overcome obstacles that most would have run away from and yet, look at you….YOU ARE STILL STANDING   Beautiful, successful YOU have walked a long and winding road just to be able to get to THIS place and you’re still not letting yourself be just a tiny bit proud?    Maybe it’s not where you had hoped you would be, and if that’s the case, it’s okay; just  get on some comfy shoes and keep walking.  But today…. Today what matters in THIS moment is that you’re here and you have so much to be proud of, I promise you that you do!!!

 Look around you lovely friend and let yourself just this once drink in a little of your own sunshine!  Give yourself permission to exhale for a few minutes and offer yourself a gentle pat on the back…you deserve it….I promise you it’s true!   Do not waste one more moment toiling over the rest of the journey or wrong turns you made along the way (sometimes the most exciting part of the trip is the wrong turns because you wind up stumbling on the most fantastic adventures).  You’re still in it….still moving forward, and that’s what matters most!  Imagine how very bored we would all be if we magically woke up one day and POOF…everything was perfect.  What would we have to work towards?  What would push us to keep trying?  Given the choice, I choose the obstacles, the stress, the having to push and push until I feel like I can’t take one more step….because somehow I do, I leap forward and I keep going and so can you!

Take heart lovely friend….you don’t need to spend one more moment comparing yourself to another soul… Your journey belongs exclusively to you, so stop every once in a while to enjoy the scenery and quit spending so much time on what is NOT there….  You are this beautiful, always evolving, forever changing and perfectly flawed woman and no matter where you right this moment, I promise you that you are exactly where you need to be. 
Wishing you the clear ability to see the beauty of just one tree today instead of comparing them to every other shrub in the forest!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wearing Shoes That Fit

I spend a lot of time day-dreaming.  I see my projects and goals for what they could look like when they are finished and how amazing I will feel when I finally set them free.  I imagine large crowds of people all lined to buy my wares and celebrate my message.
 Then the phone rings and I am back in the real world lamenting over my unusually LONG list of WHAT-Ifs….  Most of the time I convince myself that I am a psychic and already know what the outcome of something will be long before it ever sees the light of day…this “ability” of mine gives me everything I need to assume the worst and sit frighteningly still.  It keeps me safe from worry, protects me from nay-sayers and insures that I don’t get hurt….
But then this little voice creeps in and asks the loaded question; “what if you are wrong?”  DAMMIT!  That’s right!  It turns out that I am not in fact psychic….I have NO way of knowing WHAT the outcome will look like and to keep it tucked away in a safe little box just might be a little foolish and self-serving.   Oh but it’s so much more comfortable here in Safety Town.  I run no risk of being rejected….nobody can judge me, and I can stay so cozy and warm right here under this rock.
The funny thing about dreams is that in my warped little mind, I have often talked myself into believing that it’s far more exciting to keep them close to the heart instead of giving them life and potentially risking a less than fabulous outcome.  This has been a pattern for most of my life; in order to keep the dream alive and pretty I just don’t share it.
Today I asked myself a different sort of question; what do I risk if I don’t claim my dream?  What happiness will have eluded me just so I could stay comfortable?   Now there’s something to really thing about….the big scary elephant in the room that begs to know what I will have potentially sacrificed if I just don’t do a thing.
Sometimes I look around me and become acutely aware of the people that came before me and never bothered to go in search of their own dreams.  They have a certain look about them that is one part longing, one part melancholy, a tiny sprinkling of bitterness and a whole lot of regret.  I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want my story to start off with “She had so much potential…..”
You and I deserve our own slice of the Happiness pie.  We deserve big fat bites of bliss layered with spoonfuls of laughter and a zest for life that has the power to take us to the moon and beyond.  We deserve to finally put on fabulous shoes that actually fit so that we don’t have to spend one more moment tripping over our own two feet.  We deserve to get out of our own way, get out of our own heads and give the world a chance to celebrate our dreams with us.  There is endless hope in possibility and if we intentionally hide who we are or what we want to be then aren’t we essentially slamming a BIG door shut before we ever tried to walk through it?  YES!
We can choose to wrap ourselves in a big scratchy blanket of fear and anticipation or we can stand up, toss it aside, let a little light in and decide to give our dreams a chance.  Twenty years from now when you are looking back on your life wouldn’t you rather be able to say “I tried it ALL” versus, “Well, I played it safe and look at me…..no bruises!”  Give me the bruises any day!  Give me the bumps and chips, scrapes and scratches so that when I am ninety years old I can gather all my friends at the Retirement home around the piano and tell them delicious tales of where each and every scar came from!  I will have billowy blue hair, a rainbow colored cape and if all goes as planned I will be exhausted from having LIVED every moment of my life.
Wishing you the freedom to LIVE your life as big and colorful as you could ever dream it can be!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Show and Tell

Did you think that I came up with this slogan while sitting in some sort of an Ivory Tower looking down at YOUR flaws without acknowledging the laundry list of my own?  Oh heck no….the only way I could come to terms with all these flaws and idiosyncrasies of mine was to write a book about them because there are that many and it gets a little lonely when you start to think that you’re the only crazy one in the room! 
So, just in case you were doubting the fact that I have faced and am working constantly on issues of my own, in case you were thinking that I am pointing a poorly manicured finger at you without taking a good long look in the mirror, well lovely girl, I hope you’ve got some time and a whole lot of patience because here come my truths…. 

 I am proud to claim the following little hiccups in my behavior as my own…the good, the bad, the ugly…..and this is just the tip of the iceberg!!  Suffice it to say, I am intentionally a work in progress and if the day should come when I have finally mastered all the junk that makes me who I am you can bet that the book will have a sequel, but until then…..pull up a couch because I’m just getting warmed up!

Ladies, I proudly introduce you to just a tiny sampling of my oh-so-cherished flaws!
After I’ve been to any sort of social gathering where there are lots of people I require almost an entire day of solitude in order to decompress and go back to my happy quiet place.
Whenever there is a family gathering when I know my mom and my mother-n-law are going to be in the same room for an extended period of time I start having tiny little meltdowns for several days beforehand worrying about how my mom is going to go out of her way to be rude to everybody.  I also get mad well in advance because I know that my mother-n-law is going to put her fingers into every item I have cooked, baked or prepared BEFORE she washes her hands.
Whenever I go to an art festival or see another artist’s work I start to think that I don’t have any talent and should have just gone to law school.
Sometimes when my husband is talking to me I can’t hear anything he is saying because the voices in my head are louder than he is.
Sometimes when I am in a room full of women and everybody is talking as loud as they possibly can I want to blow a whistle and tell them all to just be quiet and listen to each other.
Whenever  I clean my desk off and put everything in its place I wind up feeling sad and bored.  It’s more fun to be surrounded by all the things that make me happy.
I am very lazy about making the bed unless I know someone else is going to see it.   All the pretty bedding in the world doesn’t make up for the fact that in a matter of hours I will be tossing everything aside and messing it all up again, so I opt for saving myself a few steps.
I like to wait until most of my nailpolish is chipped off and then go see my mom.  It’s one of her biggest pet peeves and brings me a little joy when I see her sneak a peek at my weathered nails and silently give me that “mom” look without ever having to say a thing.  Happiness is in the little things.
I work really hard to be irreverent, curious,  brave, taller, and happy
I am an introvert who wears a bright and shiny extroverts costume
I am constantly and forever seduced by macaroni and cheese.  I really am.  I think it evokes in me a time in my life before everything got crazy.  My family would have dinner together and everything seemed so “normal.”  Maybe this is why when I am most stressed out or craving comfort, I immediately head for the mac and cheese….it makes me wildly happy.
Most of the time while my dad was alive I used to subconsciously sabotage my own success so that I wouldn’t be make my dad feel bad….  Parents are supposed to want us to succeed, and my parents were no different, but for some inexplicable reason I got it into my head that if my dad ever saw me as truly successful he would feel hurt or as though he had somehow failed. 
Remember when you were little and it was such fun to gather up sheets and blankets to build a fort?  I think grown-ups should be allowed to do that when things get rough.  We need a place to hide out for a few minutes and pull it back together…. Then when we’re ready and breathing at a normal pace again we can pop right out and get on with our lives.

I always leave forget to pour out any remaining beverage that might be in my glass or mug before I put it in the sink….I think I subconsciously do this because I am always working very hard to be a “glass half full” sort of girl and I tend to do better with visual aids.
A long time ago before I was married and living on my own, I l decided it would be fun to host my very first Thanksgiving dinner.  The food was a big hit but when everybody left and I had time to look at all the dishes, pots, pans and other odds and ends that I would be forced to wash without the luxury of a dishwasher, I decided it would be more fun to just throw it all in the trash.  I gathered up every single item that I had either served the food on, or cooked the food in, put it in big garbage bags and threw it all away.  Then I went out to the Black Friday sales and bought myself all new kitchen items the very next day.  If  I wasn't married and trying endlessly to be a grown-up, I would still do this after every meal because it felt really GOOD!
Whenever my husband gets in the shower he has a need to organize all the products into straight little lines divided up by whether he or myself uses them.  I intentionally get in after him just so I can tip things over, leave caps off bottles and mess things up all over again.  I wonder sometimes if he just thinks I have some sort of bathroom organizational issues because he’s never said a word about it, he just straightens everything up again.  Bad Heather.
Sometimes I let my gas tank run down to the very tip of empty just to see if the computer in my car that tells me how much gas I have is really paying attention.
Unless it’s pizza, chocolate cake, holiday leftovers or Chinese food I have an absolutely phobia of reheating food from a previous meal.
I like to start loads and loads of projects and not finish any of them just so I always have something to do.
I secretly fantasize about initiating conversations about controversial topics just so I can stir up the pot a little when there is a large social gathering and there is a lull in the conversation. 
Sometimes I intentionally wear jeans that I know are far too big on me just so I can feel like I lost weight.
If  I was forced between buying magazines and art supplies, or paying the bills, I would always opt for art supplies, that way I could at least draw myself a house and use the magazine pages as wall paper  if things ever got really bad.
I have a really hard time eating cereal that reminds me of my childhood because my mom used to always apply her perfume right before she took out our cereal bowls and it made everything taste like perfume.
Every time I pass a zoo I want to pull off to the side of the road dress myself in camouflage and set all the animals free.
Sometimes I stare at the cellulite on the back of my legs for far too long because I am convinced that if I visualize smooth skin enough I can surely will it to happen….so far it hasn’t worked.
I never like to read my old journals because they remind me that I have been making the same plans for years and so far I have been too afraid to REALLY make them happen.
When I hold the door for somebody or extend a kind gesture and they don’t say “thank you,” I make sure they can hear ME say “you’re welcome,” and then I smile at them just so they know I really said it.
When people are mean to their children in public places I stare at them until I know they see me looking at them for the jerks that they are.
If somebody on the road  gets too close to our car when my husband is driving, I take off my seat belt, kneel in my seat looking backwards and stare at them until they back off.  It doesn’t always work, but it does make my husband crazy.
I’m really good at telling other people how to fix their lives but not so great when it comes to fixing my own.
I believe that just about everything tastes better when you cover it with chocolate or Ranch dressing.
I’m scared to death that even as you read this you are judging me and might never come back but I’m putting it out there anyway because if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that keeping things in the dark only makes them feel scarier….
And there you have it.....so, I've shown you a few of mine, and now maybe you'll share a few of yours!  If not, well, at least you can go on with your day and realize that no, you are not in fact the only crazy one in the room because I got here first!
Wishing you a day filled with all sorts of candy-coated fabulous!


Monday, October 15, 2012

A Happy Party of One

So you’ve got this idea of yours….this dream you’ve been carrying around forever, the one that means everything to you…. And maybe you’ll finally muster up the courage to share it with a few close friends….  You’ll do this although you’re secretly scared to death of what they will think because it means SO much to you, but what could be the harm in sharing it with the people closest to you, right?  Of COURSE they will love it!! 
In an ideal world, your friends and family will be the very first people in line to support you, they will applaud your courage, they will buy piles of your products, tell everybody they know about your new endeavor, and they will be there unconditionally to celebrate right along with you….or maybe they won’t.
People are tricky and they each have their own reasons for doing things….reasons that have nothing to do with you or me.  As I was getting ready to launch the new website for Flawed, I shared the link with a friend…I was so excited to actually be letting somebody see this (other than hubby) that I couldn’t sit still.  I sent the link and got ready for her to be as excited as I was about my new adventure.  The response I got back was less than lukewarm and for a moment I was ALMOST shattered.  But then I realized that I was actually glad she responded that way because it reminded me of why this endeavor is so important.
I’ve spent a vast part of my life allowing people to judge me, allowing their opinions to change the way I see myself or my work.  I let them alter my perception of myself and gave them free reign to take away my thunder.  I have been sad about it, angry, let down, disappointed, heartbroken and myriad of other adjectives that all lead back to me being generally just REALLY REALLY mad.
Then I asked myself why it mattered so much; could it be that I pride myself on being there to unconditionally support friends and family so much that when I don’t get that same response back, it hurts? Most assuredly, YES.   But the thing is, the truth is that we don’t get to decide how people respond to us.  We can put our faith in them and hope that they do and say the right thing, but how they support or NOT support us is just not our choice to make.  I would like my mom to tell people what I really do for a living instead of always telling them that I am in the fashion industry, which I left about 12 years ago.  I don’t know why she won’t tell people I am an artist, or that I have a store in my garage, or a fabulous network that I started from scratch, but for some bizarre reason she won’t and today I finally understand that there isn’t a thing I can do about it.
You and I have dreams and ideas and things that we want to share with the world and sometimes people will like them and sometimes they won’t.  Sometimes you will get a glowing review and sometimes it will be less than stellar.  But that does not mean you quit, it does not mean you allow someone else’s assessment of who they believe you are be your truth.  It means you stand up a little taller, you have faith in yourself and as long as you are not planning to abandon your family in order to run off and live in a shack in the woods, you go enthusiastically forward.
People have their own agendas…they have their own history, their own baggage, their own crap….  The key is to remember that it’s theirs and has nothing…not one thing to do with you.  In a perfect world we would all support each other without questions.  We would be thrilled to see the woman next to us living her dream and we would applaud her courage.  But this is not a perfect world, in fact, it’s quite flawed ( and its far more fun that way),  and we are merely human beings doing our best to live our own version of what OUR dream looks like.  Today you can choose to let other people’s opinions get in your way or you can pull those shoulders back, stand firm and be SO incredibly proud that you move right past any less than rave reviews.
You deserve to walk towards bliss and be amazed by the steps forward that you take….you deserve every happiness you can dream of and if the people around you don’t want that for you, or they can’t see past their own “stuff” long enough to want to lift you up then maybe it’s time to go in search of new people. 
I wish nothing but an ever-expanding support system for you, but sometimes it’s you, just a fabulous party of one, and that has to be okay too!  You go out there and continue to intentionally support those around you and when you least expect it, I promise you, PROMISE you that eventually you will get the same thing in return.  It may come from the last place you would ever look, but rest assured, it’s coming.  Until then, keep walking forward….your path is your own and if somebody else doesn’t want to celebrate it with you, that’s got to be okay too and you just keep walking tall lovely girl!! 
Today is such an amazing day….and if somebody shows up and gets in the way of your sunshine, you give them a hug, thank them for being who they are and just keep walking because you never know what sort of fabulous new person could be waiting just around the corner!
Wishing you nothing but bliss amidst piles of chocolate!

Houston we have Lift-Off!!

It's a gorgeous Monday in the neighborhood....the perfect day to push just one tiny button and launch Flawed is the New Fabulous, the offiicial website right into the abyss!!!  Yep, I did it, the site is live and my stomach feels as if a million little butterflies are alll trying to get out.

The irony is that there is nothing to be nervous about today because only my family even knows this exists until later this week...but still....there is the fact that in a matter of a couple days I will be taking this slogan to the top of every mountain...okay, well maybe not mountains, but at least the end of my driveway....  There is the knowing that I worked on this months, let it marinate, doubted the whole thing, celebrated the concept, tried talking myself out of it and then finally said, "to heck with it, this needs to be shared, this MUST be shared."

Something happens when you finally figure out what your IT is, and you just know you've found IT....You search and and you claw, you dig, you pray for answers, you turn over every rock and then when you least expect it....YOUR IT shows up with it's own little top hat and marching band ready to be seen....  IT feels right, IT feels like you found your missing piece of the puzzle and no matter how many times that little voice tries to talk you out of it, you can't help but KNOW that this is YOUR "IT!!!"

Have you found your IT yet?  Maybe you did but some nasty little voice (I call her NOna, but more on her later) tried to talk you out of it.  Perhaps you don't think the timing is right, or the circumstances perfect enough for putting your IT out there and making it real.  I have news for you, there is no perfect time.  There is only now, this moment, and you, a girl with a dream who desperately wants to make it a reality.  So...go....do....IT!

Whatever it is that has been following you around, tugging at your pant leg and telling you it wants to come out and play....open the door and let it out.  Maybe you don't need to jump, maybe you could just take one tiny little baby step....  As long as you are moving forward in the direction of a dream, then you can't go wrong, you will NOT go wrong!

Today is the day.  Write it down so the Universe can acknowledge IT.  Scribble your IT in BIG COLORFUL letters....you don't even need to tell a soul about it just yet, but at least put it somewhere that you can't help but seeing it.  Create a fake business card, a dummy website, even one product that moves you just a little bit closer to making it real.

I'm a girl just like you....and if I can do this, then heck yes, so can you!!  When you're ready I hope you will send me a little note and let me know that you've made it real so I can be there to celebrate right along with you.  Whatever your IT might be, if it means that much to you then it deserves to be shared!!  Somehow I just know you'll find a way!

Today is your day....and as the new saying goes, don't worry about it being perfect because after all,

Sending big hugs your way!
Don't forget to visit the website and help me get the word out....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Your Own Version of Happy

It’s 4:55 on a Tuesday morning and I have absolutely no idea why I am up this early.  I forget just how peaceful the world can be at this hour of the day….peaceful that is until my first cup of coffee kicks in and the voices in my head start barking orders regarding all the things I need to do today.  Some days it feels incredibly crowded in this brain of mine and today is one of those days….
I originally woke up around 4:15 and tried to go back to sleep but I started thinking about this new adventure I am beginning with Flawed and to be honest,  I started to freak out….just a little.  Something happens when I realize that I am sharing something deeply personal.  It can be nothing more than a thought or a drawing, maybe even an opinion, but the minute I put it out there a little panic alarm goes off;  “what will people think…..what will people think,” over and over again until it becomes almost like a chant.  Today, in the middle of this shrieking, I am again asking myself the same question that has popped up for years; ”what difference does it make what they think?”
The longer I think about that, the more I feel as though I have been wasting a hell of a lot of time worrying about something that ultimately has nothing to do with me.  I realize that sounds a little odd, but at the end of the day, I can’t change how you feel about me any more than you could try to change how I feel about you.  We have no control over what people’s perceptions of us will be, nor is it our responsibility to try and tinker with their opinions….  We can do our best to present ourselves the way we would like to be seen, but in the end, it is up to THEM to decide what they choose to see about us.  Our only job is to unconditionally and unwaveringly be who we fundamentally are and if the world chooses to see something different, well, that’s not really our problem, it’s not anybody’s problem, it just is.
Maybe today somebody will see me as the person who fell short of their expectations, or maybe they’ll think I am in desperate need of a haircut (they would be right)….perhaps they will think my outfit is horrible, my voice is too loud, and my opinions don’t matter.  In their minds, they would be right,and there isn’t a darned thing I can do about it.

How did we get to this place of worrying so much and trying so hard to change or mold the way people see us?  But we do….we  work tirelessly to carry the right handbags, say the right things, live in the right neighborhoods, and drive the right cars all in the name of making sure the picture THEY are seeing is the one we want them to see.
That’s a hell of a lot of pressure to put on ourselves, isn’t it?  Making sure we measure up to all the expectations or beliefs that we think people have of us?  Can you imagine how much easier life would be if we just put our most true and authentic versions of ourselves out there and said “to heck with what they think!”  What if we really just let our freak flag fly and didn’t pause to worry about being judged?  What are we afraid would happen if we let people see us for who we really are?  It’s not like the world would suddenly turn on its axis if I decided to wear blue lipstick today.  The rivers wouldn’t start running backwards if I shaved my head and tattooed the word “bliss” on my forehead would they?  I’m quite certain the answer would be NO.  So, then what is it?  What stops us from just putting it out there and not worrying about what the woman sitting next to us thinks? 
 There is no written criteria somewhere that says you have to look, act, talk, or feel a certain way, you just have to be you.  Do your best to live a good life, treat people well and in the end, if you can look in mirror and be comfortable with the reflection staring back, well, that is what matters most.  If you want to change something, then change it, but don’t do it because somebody is telling you to or because you believe someone is looking at you sideways.  Don’t change anything because you feel as though you don’t measure up, don’t fit in or you are desperately worried about what somebody will think.  Worry about what YOU think…and if you’re happy, or working towards being happy, then allow yourself to celebrate because after all is said and done, the opinions of the world will always be just that; opinions.  We’ve all got them and we’re not going to stop sharing them because it’s part of the whole human experience!  The trick is not changing who you are just because somebody’s opinion doesn’t match up to what you had hoped it would be.  You could make adjustments to who you are twenty different times a day and there would still be somebody who doesn’t like what you’ve done….but that’s just part of life and not your problem.
We are each a bit flawed, each on this magical journey, but every journey is different and that’s the most beautiful part of it!  So go be you, and be proud enough, be confident enough to know that YOU are absolutely fabulous just the way you are! 

Perhaps you and I can make a little pact while we’re here, and maybe you can share it with your friends so that everybody can benefit from it and we can take a little of the pressure off of each other.  I promise I won’t try to make you walk a different path or be any version of yourself other than who you are!  I promise that I will do my best to never get in the way of or give you any reason to question who you want to be and instead I will choose celebrate everything that makes us so different.   What I ask in return is quite simple….go right ahead and see me through your own eyes…the good, the bad, and all things in between…see whatever version of me suits you today….but do your best to see it from a place of love and acceptance even if it’s not what you would want for yourself.  You might not like my shoes or agree with my opinions, and that is perfectly fabulous as long as you and I don’t expect each other to change in order to be liked and accepted.  I’ll do my best to quit lamenting so much about what you think, and you do the same….then we’ll meet for a glass of wine, laugh about how foolish we have been to have spent so much time worrying, and in the end we will both be our own version of happy!
Today I wish you a day that puts you on the road towards unconditional love and acceptance for yourself and for every woman who crosses your path along the way!
Wishing you buckets of your own sort of bliss!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Being Aware of the Unicorn Killers

Today I would like to introduce you to the women I like to call The Unicorn Killers (yes, there are male Unicorn Killers, but that's a whole other blog).  Along the lines of embracing the things that make us feel good about ourselves, I think it’s time we throw down the gauntlet and acknowledge the flip side of things, or more specifically, the people in your world or who might cross your path that tend to steal your bliss.  We can’t be sure if they are doing it intentionally or if they are just so unhappy themselves  they aren’t even aware of their behavior, but what matters most is that you are able to identify them and be ready to mentally silence their negative ways.
Let me offer a few tell tale signs of the Unicorn Killers so you can be on the lookout for them in your own life:

A Unicorn Killer is the person in the group who when you are celebrating something, no matter how big or small, can always be counted on to find something wrong with it or make it feel less than fabulous!
YOU:  “I’m so excited!  I just got a promotion at work.”
Unicorn Killer:   “Is your boss a male?  He probably has a thing for you.”
A Unicorn Killer is the person who when everybody is paying you a compliment or enjoying something they love about you will be the one who points out something that is wrong.
YOU:  “I’m so excited that I finally decided to try this new hair color.”
YOUR FRIENDS:  “It looks great, you look ten years younger, I love it.”
Unicorn Killer:  “I never noticed that line between your eyebrows before, I’ve got a great guy for Botox if you want his number.”
A Unicorn Killer is always there to remind you of your short-comings while you are on walking on Cloud Nine.
YOU:  “I just lost 6 pounds!  I can’t believe I finally got off my butt and did it! I’m so excited!”
Unicorn Killer:  “Yes, but don’t you have like 20 more to go? You’re not even half-way there yet.”

The Unicorn Killer can always be relied on to rain on your parade, give you reason to doubt yourself, or find a way to diminish your bliss and steal your rainbows!  Somehow, she is always the first one to show up when things are not going the way you hoped they would, but she is not there to offer to support, she is there to quietly say “I told you so.”
If I’m being perfectly honest with you, then I don’t mind telling you that the leader of the Unicorn Killers in my world is my mother.  Sad, but true.  She’s been that way my whole life.  I take a step forward and she reminds me of all the times I tripped and slid backward.  I accomplish something I am proud of, she reminds me of the times I screwed up or fell short.  The good news is that the older I get, and with a little bit of help from a very patient therapist, I have learned to head her off at the pass….I just don’t tell her anything.
It sounds a bit sad to admit that one of the most negative forces in my world just so happens to be the woman who is partially responsible for my being here, but unless you’re really lucky, you don’t normally get to pick your parents but you can pick your battles.
The point is not who YOUR Unicorn Killers are, but how you choose to handle them.  We can CHOOSE to permit them to continue to throw mud in our eyes,  we can simply walk in the other direction when we see them coming or teach ourselves to simply not hear them when they are speaking their usual negative language.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at an event filled with throngs of women I don’t know and no matter how big or small the group is, I know that somewhere in that room is a Unicorn Killer.  The moment I locate her I make a mental note and flip the switch that will help me to not take it personally when she slings one of her verbal arrows in my direction.  People are people and each one of us has a story.  Some people take their story and use it to put good into the world, others, like the Unicorn Killers, well, not so much.  But honestly, that’s their problem and you don’t have to let it be yours.  Once again, it comes right down to choice.
It’s not our responsibility to change people, but we do owe it to ourselves to change how WE respond.  If you are aware of a Unicorn Killer in your own life, you can choose to walk away, not answer the phone, eliminate contact, and if you DO run into her, you can teach yourself to not let her words get into your head. You can take away her power by not giving her the opportunity to thwart your amazing day.  I know from personal experience that it is far easier to listen and HEAR the negative junk instead of focusing on the positive.  But what if when the negative words are headed in our direction we make a conscious choice to consider the source and flip the mental switch that is specially programmed to silence the Unicorn Killer?
Can you imagine how much more rewarding life would be if we all actually CHOOSE to listen to the good, to surround ourselves with people who lift us up and make us feel fabulous?  Each and every one of us has our flaws, the trick is to not surround ourselves with people who get some sort of twisted enjoyment by pointing them out!  If there is somebody in your life who repeatedly dims your light in order to make hers appear brighter, it’s time to make the conscious choice to distance yourself from her negative ways because anything less than that is a form of self-sabotage that you simply do not deserve!
Today I wish you the ability to consciously choose to silence, eliminate, and rise above any Unicorn Killer that might cross your path.  Instead of enabling her to invite you to doubt yourself, I would challenge you to stand up tall, smile, and remind her that you’re perfectly thrilled with you are because it just so happens that FLAWED IS THE NEW FABULOUS.