Monday, May 31, 2010

Reflections on Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day, a day on which we Americans celebrate the men and women who gave their lives while serving in our Armed Forces. We celebrate by taking the day off work and throwing barbecues, boldly embracing the freedom they fought and died for. A fitting tribute, I think.

For me, Memorial Day isn't a terribly personal holiday. I've known family members who served in the military, but as far as I know all were lucky enough to live to tell the tale. But that doesn't make me indifferent to the cause that we honor today. As a history buff and author of historical fiction, I can't help look back at the wars we've fought with a critical and curious and compassionate eye.

By and large, I have the soul of a pacifist and the convictions of a conscientious objector. The humanitarian in me wishes we had fought fewer wars in our nation's brief history, but the realist in me understands why these things occur, and why they sometimes need to. And so, I feel grateful for those who stand up and serve, because it's not a job any of us should take lightly.

In a few weeks, I'll be traveling to Washington D.C. for a library conference. I don't know how much time I'll have to explore the monuments, but I hope to get a chance to walk around the outdoor war memorials and such. I was there a few years ago, and I found it a meaningful stroll. One of those moments when I felt like part of a much greater whole, as a citizen and an American, as a piece of the great web of history that encompasses all of our stories.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Loving Your Natural Beauty

CHICKS ROCK! welcomes Faith as a guest blogger this week, as part of TWM's World of Wellness:

Faith Zelenko is the co-founder of Bambola Beauty along with her daughter, Kristine Hooper. Faith’s beauty obsession started at the age of 18 when she attended cosmetology school. She never lost her passion for natural skin care products, passing it down to her daughter and working with her to realize her lifelong dream.

I was the child that was the problem for my mom. That is, with my skin anyway. I had light complexion, lots of freckles along with dry and sensitive skin. So you can image the challenge my mom had when my sisters and brother didn’t experience any of that. The one who had to stay out of the sun or wear the hat was always me. But it taught me at an early age to understand the care my skin needed. I didn’t even know of SPF until I was a late teen, so I had to resort to my mom and grandmother’s potions.

First, my mom started out by telling me that as I aged my freckles would fade because of something called pigment. That doesn’t help an 8-year-old. My grandmother’s next trick (or what she called an old wives tale) was to take the spring’s early morning dew on May Day (May 1) and let my face absorb nature’s water for a healthy glowing complexion. My grandmother would continue to whip up all sorts of concoctions for my face while my siblings sat by laughing. I really don’t want to admit how many years I continued to use the morning dew trick, but it was the catalyst that introduced me to what nature had to offer.

I never lost my love or appreciation for the earth’s bounty and that is what inspired me to create Bambola Beauty, an organic luxury skincare line. Now I can pass down to my daughter, who works on the brand with me, the importance of caring for your skin with all-natural ingredients – creating age-defying results with chemicals. Be sure to check out our site and shop with a 15% discount off your entire order, a free deluxe sample and free shipping for TWM's World of Wellness using the code "Wellness" thru June 30.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Making the Time

CHICKS ROCK! welcomes back Sasha as a guest blogger this week, as part of TWM's World of Wellness:

Sasha is a Cornell University alumna. She loves spending time with her sisters, listening to music, eating, and bettering the world in any way she can.

As a weight loss coach in a women’s gym, I interact with busy women every day – the type that do not listen to what I advise because they are simply too busy to eat breakfast as soon as they wake up, eat another five times a day, and take care of their health. Having been a person who juggles tasks and responsibilities like the air I breathe I can certainly relate to these women. It has always been difficult for me to make time for myself because I am so busy taking care of a billion other things that I forget that I matter too. But I do matter and I cannot expect to give my best to others if I am not first giving back to myself.

Surely it is and will always be a struggle but I have come a very long way. For many years, I was the kind of person who lived life for other people. It took a great deal of time for me to realize that this is my life, not anyone else’s. I came to this realization about two years ago and since then beautiful things have happened: I completely changed my eating habits (resulting in 45-pound weight loss), attained a new attitude and positive outlook on life, developed a deeper relationship with myself, and acquired a passion for something I never thought I would be interested in – nutrition!

There is clearly a lesson to be learned from all of this. However difficult it may be, we must make the time to take care of ourselves before we take on the weight of the world. It is true most of us do not have the luxury of spending more than 5 minutes – if that – alone every day but it is imperative for our health and sanity to pencil ourselves into our own schedules every once in a while. We are responsible for our own happiness just as others are responsible for their own happiness. As my older sister says, “Be a little selfish because no one can ever be selfish for you.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Eating Right For Life

As I mentioned in last week's post, I decided to take on a juice fast, which I just completed earlier this week. I feel like a new person after my experience; I may have been tempted by sweets and other carb-filled treats, but I never indulged. The "old me" would have snuck in a bite of cake or some ice cream, but the "new me" always stopped before picking up a spoon. I now realize that when I began my juice fast last week, I was in the right mind set to do so.

Now that my juice fast is complete, I want to maintain my positive outlook by making sure I eat as well as possible. This means planning ahead, which has always been a problem of mine when it comes to food. Buying groceries for the week and living off of them exclusively is a novelty for many, but I am doing it without any complaints, so far. I have found that I save a great deal of money by doing this, which is extremely beneficial during this difficult economic period.

Organic fruits and vegetables are not cheap, but I make it work by buying and using them all during the week. I think buying organic produce is important to my ongoing quest for maintaining health, so I will continue to do so. For anyone who is intimidated by the organic food movement, I say don't be; stick with organic produce as much as possible, if nothing else. You really will taste the difference.

I feel relieved and happy when I look at my refrigerator and know that all of the food in it is good for me. I know the next few weeks will be challenging, but I am looking forward to it. I am physically and spiritually inspired to continue eating right indefinitely!

Do you have any similar food stories to share?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mourning My TV Buddies

In two days, I had to say goodbye to two of my favorite shows with the series finales of Lost and 24. It was great to have such awesome television back to back, but I woke up this morning feeling a bit bummed about it.

I don’t actually watch that much tv, so I think losing two of the few shows I do watch was a bit too sad for me. Either way, it’s incredible just how attached I became to something as inconsequential as a tv show. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m any less sad about it, and I figure what good is a blog if I can’t use it to mourn a little? So please indulge me for a bit, and feel free to jump in if you’re also a fan of either show so I don’t feel so alone!

My guy and I have been watching Lost for the 4.5 years or so, after renting the first season and watching it in less than a week. Over the next couple of years, we got a couple of other people hooked and, together, we kept up with the major fan sites, related ABC websites, and other random geekiness thrown in here and there. I’m still a bit disappointed in this final season because I think the writing and storytelling just wasn’t as good this year as it has been in the past, but I’m satisfied with the finale and ready to re-watch the entire series.

With 24, it’s been completely different. A few months ago, my guy and I decided to try watching season 1 on DVD because people seem to love it so much. Funnily enough, we were partly looking for a show to watch once Lost was over… only that just as we got hooked, it was announced that 24 was ending!

So now it’s over, and I’m suddenly wondering what on earth I’m going to do to de-stress and keep myself entertained with great drama that exercises my brain. Any ideas on how to fill the void? What are some of your favorite shows?

Monday, May 24, 2010

How to Stay Fit and Focused

We're changing the pace a bit to remind you that TWM's World of Wellness is in full swing, urging all of us to focus on our health and fitness this month.

In addition to the health-related posts we've featured here at CHICKS ROCK!, there's been a weekly email blast jam-packed with great resources. Here are some highlights from the latest blast:
Laser Cosmetica's offering a discount to TWM's World of Wellness guests,
The New York Chiropractic Life Center, recognized as the "Best of New York Chiropractors," are dedicated to helping you achieve your wellness objectives,
Dynamic Outdoors presents personalized outdoors adventures, to stay fit the fun way,
Bambola Beauty has a great line for your natural skincare needs.

Sign up for TWM's mailing list so you can get the rest of the blasts scheduled for TWM's World of Wellness filled with great links and discounts. In the weeks to come, you can also look forward to fitness classes and a live health fair event. And, of course, check in at CHICKS ROCK! for more guest posts all about health and wellness.

Don't forget you can also contact TWM if you're interested in being a sponsor for this great event and want to be featured in the future blasts and posts.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Take Back Your Health

CHICKS ROCK! welcomes Drs. Josh and Jay as guest bloggers this week, as part of TWM's World of Wellness:

Drs. Josh and Jay Handt are Chiropractors located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Their office, The New York Chiropractic Life Center, has been serving NYC since 1978, and has been consistently recognized as the "Best of New York Chiropractors."

Chiropractic as an alternative to conventional drugs and surgery looks at your health in a very different and unique way. Chiropractic is the second largest primary health care profession in the world, focusing on the detection and correction of interference to the proper functioning of the nervous system (master control system). This interference is caused by misalignments in the spine. Knowing that your nervous system controls everything that goes on in your body from breathing to healing, you can begin to see how any interference to it can affect every aspect of your health and life.

When it comes to women's health, the trend has been to categorize normal female body functions as diseases. This fact alone has generated billions of dollars for the medical and pharmaceutical industries with little or no improvement in the quality of women's health and longevity. The creation of medical specialties in the field of women's health care for such things as Female Sexual Dysfunction, PMS, fertility and menopause has created over 300 drugs geared specifically to women, which are being pushed on the unsuspecting female population.

In our office, we analyze your health and spine through in-house x-ray, computer diagnostics (certified by the Space Foundation), which measures your level nervous system function, in addition to computerized posture analysis, a thorough history, and a hands on Chiropractic exam to enable us to provide you with the safest, gentlest chiropractic care available. Our goal is to bring good health to life, especially yours.

Now that you are ready to take control of your health, call our office within the next 4 weeks and receive a free no obligation consultation and spinal analysis ($210+ value). This is our gift to you as part of TWM's World of Wellness!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Showing Up

CHICKS ROCK! welcomes Judy as a guest blogger this week, as part of TWM's World of Wellness:

Judy Griffin is a Certified Holistic Health & Wellness Coach, loving wife and mom of four. Her life long passion for health and wellness led her to a career where she can empower busy women to nourish their way to a vibrant life.

I recently lost a special friend and one thing that struck me is how her presence touched so many lives. Sue always showed up with love, sunshine, grace and compassion. She shared in your happiness and celebrated the good times but more importantly she listened, supported and embraced you in the sad times. She rarely if ever chose to complain, judge or gossip. Sue was a true gift and we will miss her smiles, hugs and beautiful nature.

This got me thinking about how much showing up matters. How do you show up in your life? Is the best of you shining through? Or is something holding you back? Managing our emotions plays a key role and when in balance, our authentic self is released.

Of course balance is a constant challenge. Can you remember the last time you felt inspired and energized? Perhaps you can’t because you are feeling depressed or stressed. As women, nurturers and caretakers we can often get lost in the shuffle and minimize the importance of self-care. This can have detrimental effects on our health so we need to remember that it’s all connected! Our emotions are in the driver seat so we can’t thrive if we suppress them.

Feeling disconnected is a signal to tune in and assess what is driving your emotions, behavior and cravings. It often starts with the many faces of nourishment and making a nutritional shift can have a positive impact. When we neglect ourselves in some way, we feed an imbalance that can result in unhealthy habits which compromise our system, leaving us susceptible to illness.

"Food is a meditation, a sadhana and a prayer.
Good food is a virtue. Food can change your attitude,
your behavior, your future, your present;
it can change your health, wealth, happiness, everything." Yogi Bhajan

Mindful choices and awareness connect our body, soul & spirit. Take a moment to turn your focus inward to assess your health, choices, and intentions. Determine if the real you is showing up and if not, then I warmly invite you to visit my website, complete a health profile and schedule a complimentary breakthrough session. Together we will explore your lifestyle to determine goals and action steps in order to carve out your unique path to optimal wellness.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Juicing and Detoxing My Way

When I make big changes in my life, I want to make a fresh start. This requires considerable effort from me, and one of the things I have decided to do is to concentrate on my health. My days of going through drive-through windows may not be over, but I plan to make much healthier choices when it comes to the food I eat. One way I plan to do this is by starting a juice fast and avoiding two staples in my diet.

This isn’t the first time I have done a juice fast. A few years ago, my sister and I went through one together for a few days, and it was very enlightening. I found myself not craving solid foods at all during the process, because all of the vegetables I was consuming in one glass filled me up. My vision was sharper, and I felt an overall sense of positivity.

When Kristina suggested a juice fast at last week’s “Thursdays at Three” meeting, I knew I had to do it again. I took her suggestions into consideration and did my own research to create a plan that is right for me. I will do a juice fast this week using the knowledge of experts on the subject of “juicing” and overall health. Even after the fast in complete, I will use my juicer weekly to supplement one meal with a fully satisfying glass of vegetable and fruit juice.

I don’t believe in dieting, but I do believe in eating healthy and knowing which foods to minimize or avoid all together. I never drink soda, I hardly drink store-bought juice, but I do have dairy and wheat products often, and I will be giving both up for the next month as part of my detox program. Giving up wheat will be very difficult, since it is in everything! But I am determined to choose gluten-free alternatives and to read all labels.

Does anyone have any juicing and/or detox advice to share?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

For the Love of Wacky Challenges

One thing I’ve noticed lately is that I love a wacky challenge! It seems that ever since my sister and I started talking seriously about our ever-growing desire to compete on the Amazing Race, my competitive spirit is starting to rise to the surface much more than usual.

Most recently, this came up when a foodie friend of mine mentioned the Foodie Photo Scavenger Hunt. A food blogger that she loves was running his second annual scavenger hunt in NYC to win tickets to a major charity event, Toast to the Children. The hunt would take us around NYC doing things like holding a spotted pig outside The Spotted Pig, trying to cut the line at Shake Shack, and snapping a shot with five guys outside Five Guys Burgers. Her excitement about the prize and my excitement about the challenge sealed the deal and, with only 24 hours to map out a plan of action, we were committed.

We had our setbacks – a late start, a few unplanned pit stops, strange weather, major subway problems, etc. – and we spent entirely too much money, but it was one of the best times I’ve had in a while. In the end, we had over 100 photos documenting our adventure (you can check out a bunch here, though I’m not in most of them – I was the photographer). We didn’t end up winning, but we did get second place which still got us tickets to the event.

Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered if we hadn’t gotten second place, because the experience itself was great. But it sure was exciting to find out that the 50 hours we spent running around the city was being rewarded.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Standing in Solidarity

I recently participated in a demonstration by the Uyghur American Association, urging the United Nations to defend the human rights of the Uyghur people of Northwest China. I learned of the issue from a writer friend, who wrote a novel about the region.

Until recently, I (like most Americans) had never heard of the Uyghurs, a Turkic, Muslim people who reside in East Turkistan, in the northwest province of China. Like the people of Tibet, the Uyghurs are a minority group being oppressed by the Chinese government. Increased police presence has forced the Uyghurs to practice their religion in secret, as their language and culture is slowly stripped from them by the Han Chinese majority. Teenage Uyghur girls are frequently exported (and exploited) to labor in factories in Southern China. All live under fear of “disappearance,” especially those who show any political activity.

I haven’t done much demonstrating lately, so it felt good to be walking with a sign, even for a cause I can’t really claim as “mine.” The air was chilly, and the crowd small, but they made up for their numbers with fervor. I meant to make a token appearance, but I ended up marching enthusiastically alongside the group of excited teenagers who formed the bulk of the demonstration. A sixteen-year-old Uyghur-American boy brought all his school friends to help out. I felt excited to see these young guys standing up for something important. Their hand-lettered signs showed they had put a lot of thought into the event beforehand.

The organizers secured permits for the demonstration route, but we met with a lot of resistance from several building staffs. My pulse raced with righteous indignation when one building manager came out of a high rise to shoo us away. “We own this sidewalk,” she said, threatening to call the cops. “It’s private property.” When the police came, they stood up for the demonstration, confirming our permit and our right to stand on a public sidewalk. I admit to being a bit jaded about law enforcement at times, but these four officers restored my faith as they protected our right to free speech and assembly. I felt proud to be an American right then.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Smile in Your Liver

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to have Kristina back as a guest blogger, as part of TWM's World of Wellness:

Kristina Leonardi is the founder of The Women’s Mosaic. She is a career/life path consultant, speaker, seminar leader and expert in the areas of women, diversity and personal growth.

In the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love, Liz Gilbert visits a holy man in Bali who gives her a meditation to 'smile in every part of your body, even in your liver'. This is a great way to activate the feelings of joy within...even just reading that makes you feel a little lighter and more relaxed doesn't it?

Well, if that doesn't do it, then what will? Whatever the thought or image is, make sure you get a daily dose in order to keep yourself young, happy and at peace. Doing so has numerous health benefits and when identified and used properly, is cheaper and better than any diet pill, drug or food out there!

Whether savoring a scoop of gelato, relishing in a job well-done, experiencing a romantic moment, or watching an episode of Glee, recognize and cherish those moments you feel joyful. Try to sustain and bathe in the sensation for as long as you can and be able to recall it when you need it the most.

I recently attended a friend's musical that had me smiling from ear to ear, and from my heart, gut and, yes, even my liver for an hour and a half. If he had not followed his calling to create, I would not have enjoyed the positive mental, physical and emotional benefits that came along with it.

Everyone has the capacity to bring joy to the world, or at least to someone else. If you don't believe me or are not quite sure how, gimme a buzz -because my work gives me such joy, it would be my pleasure, literally, to help you figure it out!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Find Your Own Groove

CHICKS ROCK! welcomes Robin as a guest blogger today, as part of TWM's World of Wellness:

Robin Fischman is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor who works with busy professionals to help them reach their health and wellness goals. She creates a supportive environment where people are coached to make gradual food and lifestyle changes that last a lifetime.

When was the last time you talked to someone about your health?

Are you confused about all the health and diet information that's out there? Are you asking yourself should I be eating a low carb diet? Are all fats bad? Do you find yourself mindlessly eating? Are you having trouble losing those last 10 lbs?

Health and wellbeing is a personal journey. What works for one person may not work for another. It's important for each of us to find our way to the diet and lifestyle that supports our well being.

Here are a few simple things you can do to discover what the best foods are for you.

1) Slow down and tune into your body. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly and focus on the meal you are eating. Check in with yourself after eating a meal. How do you feel 20 minutes after eating? How about two hours later? How is your mood? How is your focus? Do you feel tired? Or do you feel energized?

2) Eat whole foods and grains and avoid processed foods at all costs. The more processed a food is the less nutritional value it has. Foods that are closer to the source are more easily digested and provide your body with the energy it needs to get through your busy day.

3) Find exercise and movement that make you happy. Turn up the music and dance. Try a power walk outside in the fresh air. Take a lap or two around the office in the middle of the day. Change up your exercise routine, try a new class.

4) Talk to a Holistic Health Counselor who is trained to listen and help you to find what works best for you. You will work together in a supportive environment and make gradual diet and lifestyle changes that will help you find balance in your life and allow you to reach your health and wellness goals and live the life you love. Do something good for yourself! Schedule a FREE health consultation today.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Everyday Health and Fitness

We are constantly inundated with health advice that is very confusing at times. One report may say that eating meat is better for weight loss; another says eliminating all animal products is the best option. Exercising three times a week is adequate according to some reports, but recently I heard that one hour every day is essential. I know that each person is unique, with different health concerns and metabolism levels, so what works for some may not work for others. Consultation with a trusted doctor is our best bet to formulating effective fitness and health plans, but most of us don’t even think of it. I know I haven’t, and I have health insurance.

Starting and maintaining a fitness regime is difficult because most of us are intimidated by the time and effort required to make it successful. Time management and discipline are key factors, and most of us struggle with both. I know that I do, and I make a concerted effort to do something physically active every day. I take stairs instead of an elevator whenever I can, I make sure to walk rigorously whenever I can, I stand up and do leg stretches every hour if I am sitting in front of the computer for extended periods of time, etc. I have to remind myself constantly to do these things, but it is worth the effort, in my opinion. I have much more to do, but I do believe that I am on the right path when it comes to fitness.

Do you find daily physical fitness a challenge or is it a natural part of your everyday routine?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Change in Resolutions

If you remember from my posts a few months ago, I made a short-term resolution for the start of the New Year to focus on my health and fitness. For the first three months, I tried going to the gym as often as I could, I went to hot yoga at least once a week, and I paid more attention to the food I was eating. At the end of March, I felt great! Since then, however, it’s been a spiral back to where I was before.

Part of the problem is the fact that I have so much going on right now; my health is the last thing on my list. As I mentioned last week, I can barely keep up with the networking, brunching, wining and dining – making time for the gym seems near impossible. Remembering to eat is becoming a problem because I get so focused on my tasks at work. Add to that the endless supply of soda in the office and the free (not-quite healthy) munchies we often get, and my diet is definitely not at its best.

Funnily enough, my guy’s commitment to his own physical fitness is starting to intimidate me. He goes to the gym every day, no matter what. If it means getting to the gym at 10 following an after-work event or getting up early on a day when his schedule is packed after work, he does it. Even when I was focusing on my health, there were several days I just didn’t make it to the gym. It almost feels like if I can’t be as committed as he is, it’s a waste.

So even though my resolution for the second quarter of the year was to get my travel plans lined up, I’m going to bring the focus back to health and fitness for the next couple of months. If I don’t make the effort, then I won’t see the changes, so I’m ready to get back on track!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Seeking: Fitness Options That Fit

I'm kicking off our week of blogging about health and fitness, as part of TWM's World of Wellness month!

I consider myself a fairly healthy person. I eat my veggies. I get my check-ups. But, I must admit, it would be a bit of a stretch to say that I focus strongly on fitness in my daily life. I've thought about this quite a bit lately. As a work-from-home author, there are days when I barely leave the confines of my little apartment, let alone get any significant exercise.

I do enjoy walking regularly, and when the weather's good I'm willing to walk home from just about anywhere in the city. But I don't tend to just go outside for a walk, unless I have a place to go and purpose for going there. So it doesn't happen every day.

A year or two ago, I tried working with a personal trainer, which worked out for a while. It gave me a consistent time to exercise, and he showed me how to use weight training machines, which I partially enjoyed. I stopped when my first batch of sessions ran out, because weight training isn't really what works best for me, personally. I need aerobic exercise more than I need to build muscle. My natural strength and muscle tone emerges when I keep my heart pumping regularly.

The thing is, I know what I really want to do for exercise. I want to swim or resume the ballroom dancing lessons I took years ago. The challenge has been finding an option for either one that is both convenient and affordable. That's probably not a great excuse. Maybe it's time I started seeking new options again!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Forum: Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day weekend, a great time to celebrate not only ourselves and our mothers, but also the other women who have influenced your life.

How do you celebrate the mother figures in your life? Will you be celebrating with them this weekend?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We Want YOU for a World of Wellness

As we announced last week, TWM is celebrating a World of Wellness this month (you can still sign up to be a sponsor!). Part of this focus will carry over to CHICKS ROCK! next week as we feature posts all about health, wellness, and fitness.

Have you been looking for a chance to guest blog on CHICKS ROCK! but weren't sure what to write about? Or have you been a guest blogger before and want to come back? Here's a great chance to write about something that affects so many of us. Do you have a physical or mental health problem? Do you struggle to maintain a healthy weight or diet? Did you recently reach a health or fitness goal?

Check out our guest blogger guidelines and submit a guest post! We can't wait to hear from you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thoughts On Forgiveness

Forgiveness is difficult for most of us; for some it is almost impossible. I am will to forgive anyone who has wronged me if they are sincere. But what do you do when you find yourself forgiving someone many times for the same thing? When does forgiveness end and detachment begin?

When I was recently asked to accept an apology I have heard many times over the years, I was surprised at how calm I was. I was relieved for other person, because he was obviously wracked with guilt and remorse for what he had done. As for myself, I was just glad the whole ordeal was over, but there were no other stronger feelings (negative or positive) that were aroused in me. The only way I can explain how I felt was that I accepted the other person for who he is. He also told me that he will never change, which deepened my acceptance of the situation.

Forgiving and forgetting are two things that should be done together, but I am wary of the latter. I can certainly forgive, but forgetting is an entirely different issue. If the wrong done to me was one-time incident, then I can do both. But I think that both become irrelevant if the transgressor is a repeat offender who continues to do the same thing over and over again; I never want to think of myself as a gullible fool who is constantly taken advantage of by those who think that kindness and forgiveness are acts of weakness. I also find that I cannot forget someone else's transgressions towards me completely, because the lessons learned from the experience would be lost as well.

The trick is to never sink to the other person's level, especially if they play dirty. I would never treat anyone the way I was treated, which makes me feel especially good. I feel like I am breaking the cycle of negativity so I can move on to more positive things in my life.

Can you forgive and forget completely? Why or why not?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Over-Scheduled, Under-Organized

One thing I’ve always been good at is staying organized. Ever since high school, my planner was my best friend. I never went anywhere without it and if it didn’t fit in my bag, I’d carry a small pencil and some of those tiny post-its so I could write down an important event and stick it in my planner when I got home. Yep, I was that anal about it.

For some reason, it’s been really hard to keep up with things lately. I wrote a bit about this when I left my iPhone behind a few months back, but it’s only gotten worse. I have at least one event or outing I’m invited to every day, whether it’s an after-work networking event, dinner with friends, the NY Tech Meetup, a relative’s birthday party, a Sunday brunch, etc. It feels nice to know that there are so many people in my network of friends and acquaintances, and that work-related functions like workshops and conferences are interesting enough to keep me busy… but it sure is hard to balance it all.

All of these invites mean that I often agree to spend time with somebody without realizing I’ve already committed that date to something else. In the past few weeks, I’ve double-booked not once but three times! A friend of mine keeps jokingly telling me I need to hire an assistant to keep track of my social calendar. And to think that just over a year ago, I was complaining about not having enough to do.

Needless to say, it’s about time for me to get myself organized again. My planner is small, but not small enough to take with me everywhere. My iPhone would be an obvious solution, but I’m not a fan of the calendar. Maybe I should buy some tiny pens and post-its to go back to my college routine.

How do you stay organized? Do you have a hard time keeping track of your social calendar?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Controversial Cleavage

The clothing company Lane Bryant recently reported that a new ad featuring a plus-size model has been censored from prime time network television because the models were "too sexy" and showing too much skin. Meanwhile, the same networks aired a Victoria's Secret ad in prime time. A case of size discrimination? Here is a link to a Jezebel article that better outlines the controversy, but I thought I'd post the video here, too.

This is the Lane Bryant ad, which ABC and FOX have reportedly refused to run during Dancing with the Stars and American Idol, respectively:

Now, I'm the first to agree that the plus-size model (she's size 16) is sexier than any size 0. (Full round hips vs. protruding hip bones? Generous cleavage vs. exposed ribs? No contest.) We've all known for a while now that, although it's great to be slender in a healthy way, women's bodies are meant to curve and carry a bit of fat in certain places. (Let's face it, there's a reason why we need lingerie in the first place....)

What I actually find fascinating about this is how any television network can argue with a straight face that they believe bigger women to be sexier. These are the same network execs who have spent the last few decades spoonfeeding us images of increasingly thin women, calling them sexy, and turning the regular girls among us upside-down with self-doubt, because it's just not real to be that thin.

The networks have denied the accusations of discrimination, and may ultimately even run the ad. Still, it would be naive to think that the TV studios are coming around to a healthier way of looking at women. No, I believe that they are using "sexy" as an excuse to keep these images out of the public eye as long as possible. Because once these sexy, full-figured ladies make the limelight, the lies the networks spent half a century building will begin to break down. The public might just start to demand "sexy" women in all their TV fare. For networks built on such a... slim... foundation, that would mean starting over from scratch. And they don't want to.

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