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Dec 31, 2015 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Gratitude and Latitude

This is about the time of year where I look back on my life and accomplishments and start grousing about how I should be farther along, in a different position, etc.

Well, that’s really not working for me anymore.

There are definitely things that I wish were better, stronger, and more profitable, but I’m also making a point to practice gratitude more than usual because I have a lot to be thankful for.  It’s all about spin.

I have a newish corporate job, and although it has been a transition and there are many differences that I don’t care for, there are also opportunities for me to get involved, bring something to the table and make the organization a better place. There are people who are interested in my thoughts and contributions, which is something to be thankful for.

I’ve been working through a trademark issue with my own company, Naturals by Gina B., which has been annoying and debilitating.  But the flipside is that I do have my own company, and I continue to create what I consider to be great products. Time to forge ahead and make limoncello from the lemons that I’ve been handed.

I’m far from rich, but I’m not financially strained.  I could have more, but I do most of the things I want.  The Universe has been kind to me.

I’ve unfortunately lost a few friends this year.  Very sad, but I have many more remaining who greatly contribute to my life. I am rich in friendship and memories.

The end of 2015 finds me roughly 4 lbs heavier than normal, and about 16 lbs heavier than my ideal.  However, the 4 lbs recent gain means that I truly enjoyed myself on my amazing Winter vacation, and I’m confident that I will still fit into my NYE dress, and that I can drop the excess quickly.  At least I hope so.

If you know me, you’ll understand that I hold onto youth for as long as possible and enjoy defying my age. Although we all get older by the day, I’m happy to report that I maintain a youthful spirit and that I can still party with the best of them, and turn the head of the most important man in my life — as well as those of some men who are several years younger.  ;-)

Speaking of which, I have a great significant other who proves – daily – why he is truly the better half.

My father is reaching a very good age, and has more and more chronic ailments that are rather concerning, however, he is able to continue to do what he loves for a living.  He is the original youthful spirit that I emulate.  I’m grateful for each additional healthy day.

My house is not as clean as I would like going into the new year, but I guess that gives me something to do over the weekend?  (Honestly, no real silver lining to this one, but I’m going to let it slide.)

Finally, each day I get closer to figuring myself out.  One day soon.

I wish everyone a safe and exciting New Year’s celebration. Let’s give 2015 a great sendoff.  Be kind to yourself . . . be grateful.

More Life Rules

Inspiration comes from everywhere — sometimes the most surprising places.  Today’s inspiration comes from having spent time with one of my 16 year old cousins whom I haven’t seen since he was a tiny child.  He has grown up to be a really nice kid and incredibly handsome young man, and I hope that I can be in his life a little bit more – as much as he will allow or tolerate — and teach him anything I have to offer.  Even though some of my lessons are a bit off-kilter (and many have to do with cocktails), here’s the second installment of the tidbits of information that I feel are worth sharing with young people.  I’m continuing this list not because so many people were interested, but just because it’s fun.

I hope some of these inspire thought, at very minimum.

  1. There are reasons why you need to excel in school.  Elementary or grammar school prepares you for high school.  It’s important to do well in HS so that you can get admitted to the best Universities — not just for the programs they offer, but because of the network to which you’re exposed.  When you become an adult, you will want to have a good network of smart and successful people to leverage for connections to great jobs, business partnerships, or even just informed opinions.  Those relationships are developed in college and continue throughout your life. A reasonably smart person with a great network will go a lot further than a genius who operates in a vacuum.
  2. Take a genuine interest in getting to know the people in your life.  Make a concerted effort to know them — what makes them happy, their motivations, their goals and anything they’ve learned along the way.  Especially your parents, who are so focused on raising you that you might look up and realize that you don’t really know them at all.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  You will hate to have missed the opportunity.
  3. Get a good handle on the basics.  Know how to load a dishwasher, unload a dishwasher, do laundry, iron a shirt, remove a stain.  Life hacks will get you through.
  4. Understand that, by and large, people just want to be heard. It’s worthwhile to listen, even if you don’t take their advice. You might learn something that will change your course, or not. But you’ll never know if you don’t listen.
  5. Err on the side of formality until you’re invited to do otherwise.  This includes manners, the use of nicknames and business attire.
  6. If it’s introduced, it has to be addressed.  Your job is to keep things that you don’t want addressed from being introduced.  Sometimes it’s best to fly under the radar.
  7. Pick your mate for the right reasons.  It’s great that she has an incredible body, or that he has a nice car.  But look for personal traits — signs of integrity.  Watch how he/she treats the important people in his/her life.  Is this person determined and deliberate?  Goal-oriented?  Examine the family before making a true commitment.  And always remember that how you align is how you’re defined.
  8. Make a valiant effort.  Life is much more fun when you actively participate.  This rule is one that I learned the hard way.
  9. Have a signature dish that you  master and enjoy cooking.
  10. Find an older person in your life who cares about you, in whom you can confide.  This can be an aunt or uncle, a godparent, a cousin or an unrelated person who you connect with.
  11. Don’t be mad at your friends for being themselves.  They might not show their love for you in the way that you expect or hope.  Sometimes you have to adjust your expectations to accommodate what they have to offer.  If you try to change them, you will only frustrate yourself and alienate them.

 

That’s it for now!  I welcome all comments, questions are rebuttals!

bigsecret

The Power of No – My Favorite N-word

The best gift I’ve ever given myself is the right to refuse.  Egregiously.

Sometime in my twenties, after becoming angry at myself for being a people-pleaser and finding myself spending time getting roped into doing things that I really didn’t want to do,  I made the decision that if I were asked to do something, I would do it only if I thought I wouldn’t complain about it.  If I believed I would be mad at myself later, I would say no.  Just no.  No explanation needed. No would be good enough.

It was absolutely the most liberating decision I’ve ever made, and I’ve never looked back.

This decision was born of frustration.  If you’re a person who always says yes, you become the go-to person.  I was tired of being the go-to person, and I didn’t have the time or resources to be the go-to person.  People will drain you dry if you allow it.  So I decided to shake things up one day and say no.  It was great!  By not doing whatever it was that someone else wanted of me, I had free time to spend doing exactly what I wanted to do!  It was so addictive that the word ‘no’ became prominent in my daily vocabulary.   It was my private joke, and as addictive as any drug.

I was saying no to others, but I was saying yes to myself.

The pitfall is that the habit of saying no frequently can lead to isolation and refusal to try new things.  When I look back, some of my best stories are from times where I probably should have said no, and would have said no by my current standards.    I have enough tales of my stupidity (that’s what teenage years are for), so I was willing to take that chance.

I was afraid that people would sense my change in willingness to bend over backwards and get mad at me for my newly adopted philosophy.  But, as my mother always said: “if they’re not paying any bills in your house, they have no right to get mad at you for your choices.”   I stuck to my decisions, and a few surprising changes ensued.

First, once people got wind of my new attitude toward nay-saying, there were certain requests that I no longer received.  They already knew the answer.  ”Can I borrow money?”  No.  ”Can I drive your car?”  No.  ”Can you co-sign a loan for me because I have bad credit?”  Umm . . . HELL no!  ”Can you babysit?”  Have you met me?  No.  ”Can you help me move?”  Love ya, but no.  (As an aside, I’m SO happy that people have stopped asking me to help them to move.  I’m not the best candidate.  I’m strong but I care more about preserving my manicure.  Oh, and for the record?  NOBODY wants to help you move.  They might agree to help, but they’re bitching about it with every over-packed box they lift.  At this stage of my life, beer and pizza aren’t enticing enough to cajole me into spending 6 hours doing manual labor.   Besides, I hate beer.  You’re an adult.  Throw some money at that problem.  Hire professional movers and preserve your friendships and your furniture.  But I digress . . . ).

Granted, most of my friends have never made any of those requests, but you get the point.

I noticed that a few of the needier people in my life disappeared altogether, which was ultimately fine.  Once I developed the reputation as a person who would say no, many of the odd requests stopped.

Next I noticed that when I said yes I was more enthusiastic because whatever I had agreed to was a choice that I actively made.  I was sincerely excited, which improved the quality of my experiences.  When I agree to be there for someone, they know that I really want to be there.

Now let me be clear . . . I don’t say no to everything.  Most of my friends are delightful and not imposing.  After serious consideration I do occasionally say yes to things that I perceive to be uncomfortable or things that I’m willing to try.   I continue to love to do favors for my friends, although I avoid those that will put me in a position of compromise and ones that could ultimately ruin the friendship.

Being in a relationship means a great deal of give and take, and therefore saying yes to a lot of things that I’m not always happy about and wouldn’t normally agree to, but that’s an entirely different topic.

I’m sharing this because there are a lot of people out there who are similar to the pre-no-me, and it’s amazing how a two-letter word can significantly reduce your use of four-letter words (although a well-placed f-bomb can also be quite liberating).

If you try it, please comment and let me know how it’s working for you.

 

LovethepersonIvebecome

 

Jun 8, 2013 - Rants, Uncategorized    3 Comments

Why Being A Celebrity is Overrated

celebrityquote

 

I have a few famous friends. I don’t think of them that way for the most part, but I’m reminded of their fame from time to time, like when we’re in public and they’re recognized, or when I read news items about them.  It’s a little weird, to be honest.

Most people are envious of celebrities, and I used to be.  What’s not to love, right?  There’s the money, the fame, the fact that your art is being shared with the world, the notoriety. The list goes on.  However, there are a lot of byproducts that I wouldn’t love about being a celebrity:

1.  The scrutiny.  People are mean, and now that there’s so many avenues for people to express their opinions publicly, it’s hard to avoid the negative comments.  No matter how good you try to be, there are always going to be people who don’t like you . . . just because.  When I was writing for RedEye, a few of my columns weren’t reacted to favorably, and the negative comments flew.  When the Six Brown Chicks were on “Iyanla Fix My Life,” the message boards were hot.  Some of the comments were complimentary, while others were mean assessments of how we looked and who had the worst personality (I’m most often vilified for being one who didn’t cry.  Whatevs)  I didn’t like those tiny tastes of it, and I can’t imagine being a celebrity and having that potential bad press every day.  No thanks.

2.  The lack of privacy.  Just because people are good actors, singers, athletes, it doesn’t give everyone the right to delve into their private lives.  Yet everyone does. Celebrity prying seems to be a multi-million dollar business.

3.  Having to be “on” whenever in public.  Whether a celebrity is at the gas station, in the drug store, or having a family dinner, there is the expectation that this person should cheerfully accept questions and intrusions from weird fans who would like to interrupt them to take pictures.   This is where a celebrity with a personality like mine would fail miserably.  I have nice moments, and I have bitchy moments.  I’m in my own head most of the time, and I don’t think I’d react kindly to someone approaching me for a snapshot while I’m buying tampons — even if their comments are complimentary.  And then we’re back at point #1, where the (interloping) fan (who feels shunned) then writes things on blogs about how their encounter wasn’t positive, and that said celebrity is a bitch.

4.  The inability to make anonymous mistakes.  When you’re a regular person, your mistakes are your mistakes.  Your drunken misconduct, bad haircuts or poor relationship choices are not a matter of public record or concern (unless that drunken misconduct turns into a DUI, in which case it IS a matter of public record).  Your friends might remember, but the incidents won’t be forever logged in blogs or on a search engine.  Celebrity mistakes are blasted all over the tabloids.  Although I’m not a fan, I feel badly for poor Taylor Swift, whose teenage relationships are ruthlessly dissected.  People .  . . do you know WHY she makes bad choices?  Because she’s a frickin’ teenager, for Chrissakes! She’s not supposed to have long-lasting relationships at 19 — or 20, 21, 22 or 23.  She’s supposed to have meaningless flings and quasi-relationships with men that she’ll look back on and regret when she’s 30 — like the rest of us do!  So, I’d say she’s right on track.  The difference is that she can write hit songs about them.  Which is actually the only part of being a celebrity that might be enviable.

5.  The body image issue.  Most people fluctuate in and out of shape.  Personally, there are moments when I’m really good, and stretches where I succumb to the pizza cravings and look like the before shot in a lipo ad.  But, really?  The person who cares the most is me.  And I like it that way.  But to take a vacation on a remote island and have the stalkerazzi take a secret bathing suit shot when I’m in pizza shape and blast it all over People as one of the World’s Worst Bikini  Bodies?  Would be a harrowing experience, and one that I might never recover from.  Granted, I’m known to say that it’s a celebrity’s job to look good, but really?  They’re human beings.  Cut them some slack.

6.  The expectation that the celebrity life is perfect and stress free.  To quote the Notorious B.I.G., “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”   I think the celebrity life is highly stressful.  Let’s examine . . .  say a woman — we’ll call her Bella La Diva — has a breakout hit movie.  She’s on the cover of Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair — all of the reputable periodicals.  She can bask in the fame for a little while, but really?  The pressure is on.  She needs to be worrying about the next thing.  Can she sustain her fame or was she a one-hit-wonder?  Will the public continue to adore her?  Or will she be unable to get work for a while afterward?  Well  . . . if we run the numbers, she might in a bit of trouble.  The first contract is never the best, so she’s certain to have made WAY less money than everyone thinks she has.  With her first check, she probably made an ostentatious expenditure, like a Ferrari or a Cribs-worthy house.  She must pay her “people,” her taxes, and maintain a lifestyle commensurate with public expectation.  Her friends and family have outstretched hands, because she’s a celebrity who obviously has millions of dollars sitting around to fund her trifling cousin’s latest wacky scheme, or take her friends to over-the-top dinners and spas.  But what if she can’t afford that lifestyle?  What if her career flounders and she really needs a job — any job — but she can’t take just any job because people will then ask if she “used to be” Bella La Diva?  These are the things that pill addictions are born of.

7.  Being a child celebrity.  There are no good stories about child celebrities.  Period.

So there we go.  If anyone has anything to add or rebut, please do comment.  I’m not a celebrity, so I’m sure this blog will go without much scrutiny.  :-)

Rant over.  Thanks for reading!

Aug 26, 2012 - Uncategorized    No Comments

The New Blog

Here I am, moving around again.  I didn’t create a new site as much as I reclaimed an old one.  I got rid of my last blog for a few reasons.  First, because there was 9 years of material on that blog and FAR too much information.  Originally, the idea was to start a new anonymous blog to give me more freedom in blogging content.  And who knows?  I might have an anonymous blog out there.  I’ll never tell.

That said, here’s where you can find me from now on.  And I even have a snappy new URL:  www.theginaspot.com.  I’m so freakin’ official.