Saturday, May 4, 2013

Giving Gwyneth Grief

The backlash over Gwyneth Paltrow being named "Most Beautiful Woman in the World" by People Magazine has simmered down, but the uproar is still boiling in my mind.  I've seen younger women, and men of all ages, voicing disbelief to outrage over the choice of the 42 year old woman.  Young beauties come and go.  The status of most beautiful should only be bestowed on those who use their beauty and brains to enlarge the concept of beauty.

Some (this one was a man) said, "There is no way she is the most beautiful woman in the world.  Just no way."  I'm sure he was judging only by her outer shell.  The true beauty of Gwyneth is in her mind and spirit.  She's redefining beauty.  Could it be the culture at People Magazine, and perhaps (gasp) even our beauty obsessed culture has evolved to expand the definition of beauty to include more than the flawless face and nubile body of a 22 year old?  Is it possible we are ready to embrace the Renaissance Woman?

For this is how I view Gwyneth.  She's not perfect but she is a work in progress, evolving, stretching, experiencing, growing and enlarging the definition of what it means to be a woman in today's society.  She is a multifaceted woman living her life unrestrained by the boundaries and boxes drawn by generations of the past to define the role of women in a still patriarchal society.

I do not claim to be an expert on Gwyneth Paltrow, but I do admire her quest to embrace marriage and motherhood but not relinquish her identity and career in the process. It's hard work to stay in shape for her moments on the big screen, maintain fashion icon status, write cookbooks and manage her online empire.  Yet by doing so she is leading the way for women everywhere to work out their own definition of having it all. The "all" we all want--a life free of the chains and limitations of gender and age.  She's a multitalented woman over forty leaning way in and showing amazing balance.  And that is a most beautiful thing to witness.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Not All Gifts Come in a Box

My sister in Charleston, South Carolina sent this "letter" to me. I usually hit the delete button on any Internet chain letter that asks me to forward to eight friends in the next 30 minutes or horrible things will befall me. Spam and scams are not for me, but I hope this one goes viral in a big way.
I've already made a commitment to buy "Made in the USA" this holiday season and beyond. I don't think the government can fix our economy but I believe the American people can by reinvesting the dollars they spend in home grown businesses, local people and local real estate.
I've developed the habit of checking the label of clothing and other items to discover the country of origin. I'm so tired of buttons falling off sweaters, zippers that break after a few uses and as a result I'm trying very hard to break my Calvin Klein dress habit as they are made in China...
Why not buy outside the box this Christmas? Maybe even have a box-less holiday--how novel is that?
Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition
As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into highgear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. Thisyear will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuineconcern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at giftgiving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yesthere is!
It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit ina shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificatesfrom your local American hair salon or barber?
Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about somehealth improvement.
Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owneddetail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or abook of gift certificates.
Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking downthe Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful giftreceiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, ordriveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering giftcertificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what abouta half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks thisisn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home townAmericans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck ormotorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of alocal cleaning lady for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who isstruggling to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spintheir own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and potteryand beautiful wooden boxes.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leaveyour server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet atyour hometown theatre.
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chineselights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, aboutfifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks toburn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so thatChina can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring aboutUS, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to followtheir dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about ourcommunities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.THIS is the new American Christmas tradition. Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussiongroups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section inyour city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations,and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other,and isn't that what Christmas is about? Author Unknown

For the record, I do not begrudge China's growth nor the global aspect of the business world. I do think it's time to return to quality, not quantity and invest more, not necessarily all, of our purchasing power in "homemade" products.

Sell Smart, Buy Wise and Live Well

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."

"Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow." According to Steve Jobs' sister, these were her brother's last words. It makes you wonder what he saw during his final earthly seconds. It was surely a truly awesome sight to generate such enthusiasm from a dying man.

I invested in Apple back in the 1980s and have admired Steve Jobs' mind and innovative spirit ever since. He was not perfect, but in my opinion, he gifted humanity with some near perfect techie tools that enhance our daily lives.

I once read he said his belief in whether God existed was 50/50. His final words make me wonder whether those odd have changed now that he is on the other side.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What Are You Doing With Your Life?

It's hard to plan a life. Randomness often steps in and rearranges a carefully construed plan. Sometimes it is a gentle shift and other times it is a violent shifting of the tectonic plates of life. The upheaval may be caused by natural disasters, economic upheavals, personal events or some other force beyond our control. We simply must live through it.

The arc of one's life may be long or short. Years lived are not nearly as important as contributions made. Maybe even more important is the amount of harm we do as we pass through our days on earth. Sometimes this damage is to the environment, but the bulk of it is to other people. The measure of a good person is not the amount of money in their bank account but the number of good deeds they did for others with no desire for recognition or reward. In my opinion, a life well-lived follows not only the Golden Rule, but also the Hippocratic Oath of First, do no harm. That is a lovely starting point on the journey of a life well-lived.

I often think it was a random mix of genes, egg and sperm than began my odyssey of life, coupled with daily choices and random events that delivered me to my current station in life. Some things we choose, other times things happen to us, and out of this mish-mash we dish up our unique goulash of life. No two are ever the same.

I'm a firm believer we do not have to make revolutionary contributions to humanity to live a valuable life. It is enough to strive to have a positive impact on the people we interact with and do no harm. Enough lives lived in that manner will change the world and your life can play an important role. I'll close with a Gandhi quote: Be the change you want to see.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mothers, Tell Your Sons Not To Do What They Have Done

One does not know whether to snicker or stifle a tear as the character of the male species of the human race continues to crumble before our eyes. It is both sad and shocking to see men of power bending low and wallowing in the dark and seedy side of life. These are the men we have elevated to high stations in life? We cannot be led by men who have no moral bedrock. The quicksand of their despicable behavior seems to have no bottom. Enough already.

There is no need to name names we all know who they are, and besides the list is far too long. They pursue their momentary desire without regard to the lives and trust they shatter in its wake. Once caught, they stand before the cameras, with the wife they betrayed for support if she'll stand beside him, and profess their regret and love for their family. Hey boys, we're tired of that routine and no one is buying your too late and too little fess' up. The damage is done.

The duplicity and dark side of two world-wide known men were exposed this week. One confessed to betraying his family and fathering a child with household help. The other is accused of career-ending acts with a hotel maid. Men of power and women from the low end of the economic totem pole--what is the attraction? It is certainly not equality or respect for women.

For too long women have turned their head while their men "acted out" in immature and inappropriate ways. It is time for women to demand better and back it up with zero tolerance for such behavior. Men are eroding their own relevance. Many young women wonder why they would even want one. It's enough work raising children without having to raise their father too. Women, step up and stop rewarding bad behavior.

Men of power and fame, children of the world are watching and they deserve better than they are receiving from you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Coco Chanel, Red Lipstick, Pearls and Me

Blogger is having some issues--it will not recognize the need for paragraphs--sorry for the run-on wall of words. I'll be back to correct when the issue is resolved. Who says you can't resurrect an old love? I'm about to return to a fragrance from my past. I stopped wearing it years ago when I changed love interests. I could not smell it without stirring up intermingled scents and thoughts from yesteryear. I moved on and left Chanel #5 in the annals of my past. Blame it on Netflix and my French loving ways, but I've always loved all things Chanel. I feel at my best in a little black dress, with a strand or two of pearls and red lipstick. I admire the woman as well as the bold style path she blazed. Corsets be gone, a woman needs to breathe! She represented timeless style, not fashion of the moment. Coco Chanel gave women freedom of movement in their attire by cutting the corset strings. Style and pain were not companions in her world. Thank you, Coco! Born in 1883 she was the illegitimate daughter of a salesman. Her mother died when she was 12 and Coco spent the next six years in an orphanage where she learned to sew and earn her keep. Through tragedy she discovered her gift. Women of the world still adhere to her little black dress rule and dab a drop of two of Chanel perfume behind their ears when they desire to feel impeccably dressed. A few of my favorite Chanel quotes: A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. A women who doesn't wear perfume has no future. It is always better to be slightly under-dressed. Women have always been the strong ones of the world. The men are always seeking from women a little pillow to put their heads down on. They are always longing for the mother who held them as infants. In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different. (My favorite) I will raise up my credit card and say, "This one is for Coco," when I purchase a bottle of Chanel #5. While I'm at the Chanel counter I may also walk away with a new tube of red lipstick.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Andy Rooney Brows

I have no idea where they came from and was totally unaware of their arrival. It was not a gradual thing. One day my orderly eyebrows that rarely needed a single hair plucked morphed into multi-directional rogues. Some turned a coarse white, others jet black, and worse yet, some grew to hysterically amusing long lengths with a cute little curl at the tip. I questioned, why isn't this happening to my eyelashes instead?

I wondered if maybe my multi-vitamin was secretly laced with steroids or a super dose of testosterone since I recently switched to a 55+ Anti Aging formula. The moment I turn the bathroom light on each morning I lean in close to the mirror to examine my brows for new signs of growth. Before work, I use my magnifying mirror and petite grooming scissors to cut and trim with ruthless abandon. I begged the beauty gods for my easy care, no maintenance eyebrows to return to no avail.

And then I noticed Andy Rooney's brow on a 60 Minutes show. Honestly, I'm pretty sure left untrimmed my brows would be a perfect match for his, except mine are not as gray. Anyway, after seeing Andy's eyebrows I decided it might play to my advantage if I left my brows untrimmed too. After all, Andy's are his signature feature.

When someone could not remember my name, or walked into my office and wanted to list their house or buy a multi-million dollar mansion in Southern California they could tell the secretary, "I can't remember her name, but she's the one with the wild and woolly eyebrows." I'm pretty sure they would be directed to my office.