Women Worth Knowing

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Rewards Greater Than Money

Posted by Lane on August 2, 2011 at 3:54 PM Comments comments (0)

by Elspeth Grafton

 

We do things we need to for money.

We do things we want to for joy.

We do things challenging for those we love.

With luck, patience, and gratitude, rewards are greater than money

 

 

THAT encapsulates my time shooting in Regina.

 

When we last left our heroine, she was realistically optimistic about job prospects in and out of film. As is the way in this whacky industry, fortunes can turn as a result of one phone call.

 

Boy did my fortunes turn in ways I could never have anticipated.

 

Just days after ‘Patience and Gratitude’, my last blog, was posted, my phone rang. My name had been passed along to an Independent Feature being filmed in Regina. They needed someone quickly, the pay was crap but the crew was fabulous. Was I available?

 

HELLYA!

 

See? Patience can be a virtue – having faith and asking the universe for what you want and getting it CAN happen! I might not have won the lottery or cured the ills of the world, but I asked and I received…

 

I literally had a day to sort out my life in Vancouver and get on a plane, my head spinning from the speed that things happened. Reading back on my personal journal I wrote while waiting for the first plane to board, I was so hesitant – the last 6 months leaving such a bad taste in my mouth – both for my own ability to do a job I love (silly, I know), and my ability to interact socially. I’d felt so invisible in Vancouver! I’d allowed that to happen, for numerous reasons.

 

Within an hour of touching down and heading into the Regina Production Office I met our fabulous director, and realized right quick that being invisible here was not going to be an option. Being able to shed that which I’d imposed on myself was liberating to say the least. I was an unknown entity in an unknown city, but far from invisible. I could be completely myself, warts and all, and not worry about what people thought. I had only committed to a 15 day shoot. They could take me or leave me. They probably got more of the real me than I’d allow to be shown on a regular show, just because I was so out of my element – working with people I didn’t know, in cities I didn’t know (is Moose Jaw considered a ‘city’ or a ‘town’?)

 

Getting hired on a show without a face to face interview with either the PM or Director is rare. It just adds to the ‘X-Factor’ of an out of town gig. It could have been a disaster. The director and I could have NOT gotten along. The cast could have been atrocious. It is a dark, dark script. It could have been an absolute nightmare. Instead, it turned out to be one of the best filming experiences of my life.

 

I asked and I received far more than ever expected.

 

I received so many personal and professional affirmations in the 28 days I was away from Vancouver – too many to put into this blog – but they’re being written about and explored. I don’t think that the people involved know what gifts they bestowed. I don’t know if I could even verbalize it accurately. If there was a reward for enduring the heinous six months previous, then I cashed it in – big time with this experience. I toss thanks up to the Universe for putting the opportunity in my way. I also give myself thanks for taking the risk, leaping into this experience without looking too hard at it, and trusting that the landing would be soft.

 

I think I broke even financially after the 4 weeks away. I don’t care. What I got out of it is far more important to me than a plumped up bank account. I got relationships – I got memories – I got to do a job I love, and do it well under adverse conditions. I got appreciation. I got a bit of respect too. I got to be me when I hadn’t felt like myself for a long, long time.

 

Regina will always hold a special place in my heart, for the riches it provided me – riches of landscape, riches of heart and riches of people. The city changed me. This filming experience changed me. The people I met changed me. I’m only better for it and for having them in my life.

 

We’ve now all scattered to different corners of the earth (literally), back to our regular lives. I’m resolved never to live an invisible life again, and to hold dear and nurture the friendships made.

Women Worth Knowing: Meet Stephanie

Posted by Lane on July 12, 2011 at 10:43 AM Comments comments (0)

Eamon was the best man at our wedding, and Eamon has one of the neatest families I've ever met.  All his siblings are interesting, lovely people, who are married to interesting, lovely people.   You really couldn't find a better group of people.   One of those wonderful people is Stephanie.

 

I met Stephanie a few years back, when Eamon threw a birthday party for his then-girlfriend, now wife Christina.  Stephanie was fresh from her home state of California, and just getting involved with teaching Pilates in the Fort Worth area.  We sat and talked for a good while, and I was impressed with her knowledge of physiology, as well as her understanding of the body philosophy behind Pilates.  In fact, I'd had no idea what it was until she started sharing the basics.  I just thought it was sweatier yoga.

 

 

Aside from her bubbly personality, I was also captivated by her clear passion for her work.  She was really excited about the benefits of proper spinal alignment and muscle tone, to the point that I snuck off to the only Pilates class that I could work into my schedule.  I'm not an easy sell, especially not when it means giving up time out of my day.  (Then that class got canceled, and that was the end of that!  But I did like it.)

 

Since then, I have watched Stephanie growing her classes and her client bookings, and have been very curious about a new method she is teaching called D Barre.  Even more interested because she has developed the workout through years of study, research, and rigorous training.  I'll let her tell you more about it.

 

Meet Stephanie.

 

Name:  Stephanie Daulton Perry

Age Range: 29

Preferred Job Title: Pilates Instructor and Creator of D barre

Industry:  Fitness Industry

 

Who are you?  Stephanie Daulton Perry grew up in Southern California and did her undergraduate work at Texas Christian University graduating with degrees in Psychology and English. A long life exercise enthusiast, her background is in competitive gymnastics and soccer. She has been teaching Pilates both in San Diego and Fort Worth for 10 years. Exercise is not only her career but also her hobby; spending her spare time power walking, trampolining, kickboxing, practicing yoga and in her own Pilates practice.

Stephanie was introduced to the teachings of Lotte Berk through a Pilates client and was instantly intrigued. She began traveling across the country seeking out studios that taught Lotte Berk inspired Barre classes. Loving how well the barre work integrated with her Pilates teaching, she’s spent the past year researching and developing D Barre.

 

 

Tell us about Dbarre:  D Barre is a dynamic high energy workout created by Stephanie Daulton Perry. It blends the teachings of the Joseph Pilates and Lotte Berk methods, with constant attention to proper spinal alignment. This unique approach combines Pilates core conditioning with ballet barre work to elongate, strengthen, and gracefully tone the entire body. Light weights are used to enhance the effectiveness of upper body work while mats, balls and the ballet barre are used to tone the thighs, abdominal, and seat muscles. This dynamic, high energy workout is fun, challenging, and therapeutic.

 

What do you think is the most important aspect of fitness as a way of life?  Movement is vital not only for physical health but for emotional and mental health. When clients begin to enjoy moving their body they begin to appreciate, respect and love it. Loving and respecting ourselves and our bodies affects so many other aspects of our lives.

 

I hear a lot of women saying they are afraid to go to a class or to the gym, because they don't want people staring at their "fat". What would you tell women who are too ashamed of their current bodies to go to a class?  You are your own worst critic. I can 100% promise that each time you step into the gym or to a fitness class that you will inspire at least one person. You are making the step to make yourself and your health a priority and I respect and support you for that. You are awesome!

 

Where do you see yourself as a fitness leader in 10 years? What's the big dream?  I am in the process of trademarking D barre. In 10 years I hope to have employees that are trained by me teaching D barre other places and have at least one D barre studio opened up. I want to constantly evolve my class as I learn more. It will always be fresh and knew and on the cutting edge of what is hot in the fitness industry.

 

Describe your family:  I will never forget the phone call I made to my parents nearing college graduation. I had been planning on applying to grad school to be a psychologist. All throughout college I taught mat Pilates and worked on my equipment certification and then taught part time. I called my parents and said "What would you think if I didn't go to grad school and I tried teaching Pilates full time. I know its a career most people do part time but I love it and I think I could make a great living doing it full time." There was a pause and then the reply, "Honey if anyone could do it YOU COULD!"

My parents have always been extremely supportive of me and they nurtured both my and my sister's interests, which are very different.

I have a loving husband of 6 years who's always supported me and my work. He was my number one cheerleader in the couple years that I spend developing D barre. We have 2 dogs Penny and Shelby who are like our children!!!

 

What does the first hour of your day look like?  My alarm goes off at 4:50am or 5am. I do a couple stretches and I pop up out of bed. I walk to the kitchen, let my dogs out and start the coffee! I am dressed, fed and caffeinated and out the door by 5:50am 5 days a week...7:30am on Saturday! I start teaching at 6am!

 

The last hour?  I try to turn the TV off at least 1 hour before bed. My routine is pretty simple...wash my face, cover in creams and serums (one of my loves), crawl into bed to read then lights out...I'm in bed most nights by 9:30pm.

 

What makes you feel successful?  I feel successful when I see my teaching changing people's lives. When I see clients begin to love their body, when I see physical changes in them like inches lost and pounds dropped, when I see them getting stronger physically, when I see them smile after class....then I feel successful. If I have made at least one person smile I feel like I have had a successful day.

 

What brings you joy?  Spending time with my husband, playing with my dogs, talking to my parents or good friends on the phone, jumping on my big trampoline in the backyard, shaking my hips to great music, teaching something that I can see the physical results in people. It brings me joy to have created something that is working for women and men...something that is giving them quick and serious results. I believe in working hard to play hard.

 

What women do you admire?  My mom. She inspires me to be a better person. She always looks on the positive side of everything! She changes people's lives everyday with her smile and her genuine interest in people. I admire my sister who gives selflessly to anyone around her.

 

What do you like best about your closest friend?  She always makes time to listen. There is an art to listening. She validates what I say, then thinks before she speaks. For that reason I always take her words very seriously. She gives without expecting anything in return. She smiles in the face of hardships. She is FUN!

 

What do you like best about yourself?  I can relate well to others. People open up to me and trust me with their thoughts, emotions and their bodies. I can make people feel comfortable and at home in a group. I love planning social gatherings and introducing people to each other!

 

What advice would you give boys about girls?  There is power is listening. Sometimes girls just want someone to listen and empathize instead of trying to fix the problem. Always treat women as ladies. The little things like opening a car door or complementing an outfit go a long way!

 

How do you overcome adversity?  I try to overcome adversity with a positive attitude. I don't believe in burning bridges. Professionally I have had some adversity and I've chosen not to get pulled in. I always trust that people know who I am. All I can do is do what I do the best that I can. When you are authentic people can tell.

 

How do you want to be remembered? As a loyal and loving friend, daughter, sister and wife. As a professional who cared about her clients personally, physically and mentally. As someone who lived life, laughter and making people smile.

Women Worth Knowing: Meet Casey

Posted by Lane on June 30, 2011 at 10:34 AM Comments comments (1)

I was having a really bad day.  Like, a crying at my desk bad day.  I don't remember how I got there, other than following links through various and sundry websites, like Alice going through doors, but suddenly I was there.  And it only took a few blinks and a scroll down before I was hopelessly and happily lost in Elegant Musings, and have been ever since.

 

It had to do with the soft, muted colors, and the vintage pictures, and the style of photography, and the sweetness that came through Casey's writing; I had found an oasis in the internet. 

 

I visit Casey's Elegant Musings a few times a week.  In a strangely lovely way, it's like walking into my grandparents home, and sitting down in the living room.  It was always a little chilly, but not cold, and quiet, but not silent.  I could relax in my grandfather's recliner and watch the Georgia summers blooming through their big, picture windows, and listen to the grandfather clock ticking down minutes until the family would return from the Farmer's Market to make dinner out of what they'd found, while I read romance novels and wondered if there were any Eskimo pies in the freezer?  I get that feeling every time I click on Casey's bookmark.

 

I also feel inspired to try new things.  Casey is always posting tutorials and instructions on how to accomplish vintage missions, be they sewing projects, hairstyles, even thrifty shopping.  I spend a lot of time watching her YouTube channel, and am subscribed to her FaceBook page so I don't miss anything.

 

When I approached Casey to be part of the WWK Project, I was delighted to find her just as...delightful as her blog.  Every little message she sent was kind and thoughtful, and made me smile.

 

Friends, meet Casey.

 

 

Name: Casey

Age Range: 26

Preferred Job Title: Wife and Freelance Writer

Industry: Homemaker and Creative Dabbler!

 

 

Who are you?  I’m a blogger, seamstress, vintage aficionado, history geek, proud Navy wife, a lover of old movies and pretty dresses.

 

What drives your passion for vintage styling?  I think the sense of elegance and unabashed femininity. I’m an unapologetic “girly girl” when it comes to dressing and many of my pursuits in life; I’ve always admired the way women of the 40s and 50s looked so glamorous. I think too that I have come to appreciate the thought and ingenuity that went into so many things—particularly the 1940s—and how it is still relevant in the 21st century.

 

 

 

What is you favorite piece of personal memorabilia?  Probably one of my most cherished pieces is a 40s cord crocheted handbag I inherited from my great grandmother. She passed away in the early 1990s, but I still have vivid memories of what a sweet woman she was. I didn’t even remember I had the handbag until I rediscovered it a couple years ago, and was delighted that I had a tiny piece of family history in my closet. Maybe one day I’ll give it to my granddaughter!

Casey's Grandmother's handbag.

 

 

Tell us your life philosophy:  In a nutshell: do unto others as I would have them do unto me; and never stop being creative!

 

Describe your family:  It’s just me and my husband at present (and a very spoiled house bunny)! Eventually though I dare say they’ll be a couple little ones added to the mix.

 

What does the first hour of your day look like?  I always start the day reading—usually some sort of thoughtful, devotional-type book. That usually doesn’t take a whole hour, so after fixing a cup of tea, I usually check my email and start working on catching up with replies that need to be dealt with.

 

 

The last hour?  Spending it with my husband, usually watching a movie. Sometimes I’ll be reading or doing handwork instead.

 

 

What makes you feel successful?  When I get an email from someone who was truly inspired and encouraged by what I write or post on my blog. It means so much to me that I have access to a medium like blogging—because I love to plant the seeds of inspiration in others and perhaps show them a new technique or idea they hadn’t seen before.

 

 

What brings you joy?My family. Being in the military means that we live quite a distance from both our families and only get to see them a couple times a year. I cherish those times!

 

What women do you admire?  First and foremost my own mother. She schooled both my sister and I at home and encouraged my creative pursuits. She rarely sees it in herself, but she’s an amazingly talented and capable woman. She’s always looked chic and put together, taken time to help me through a problem (even to this day when I call home!), and is my thrifting partner-in-crime. I also admire the many women I have met online who are actively pursuing their dreams and inspiring others.

 

 

What do you like best about your closest friend?  My closest friend has to be my sister. She’s incredibly intelligent and wise beyond her years, can make me laugh and the sort of person I can be a total nerd around. But she’s also honest and willing to tell me when I’ve been wrong.

 

What do you like best about yourself?  This will probably sound a bit funny, but my ability to be thrifty with my sewing and vintage collecting. It’s hard, and means learning a lot of patience, but some of the treasures and supplies I’ve sniffed out to fit my tiny budget are well worth it!

 

 

What advice would you give boys about girls?  Don’t be shy. Whether you just want to tell a girl you think her outfit is swell (I get the sweetest comments like this sometimes!) or ask her out on a date, don’t beat around the bush. Don’t think she’s “out of your league” as a friend or romantic partner either. I still laugh that my husband thought I’d never go out with him when he first met me (despite all the hints I was dropping left and right)—three weeks later we went on our first date! You never know until you step out on a limb and put yourself out there. It’s scary, but in any relationship—no matter what the nature of it—it’s what gets the ball rolling and shows initiative.

 

How do you overcome adversity?  I am a very religious person, and value prayer and my faith as a way to weather life’s storms. We seem to get batted around a lot, and it’s the one thing that keeps me going even on days I feel like I want to give up.

 

How do you want to be remembered?  As a creative, caring and kind person. I am not perfect, of course, but try to be nice to others around me and treat them with the same dignity and kindness that I want for myself. I also love inspiring others to tap into their creative side, and would be honored to be remembered for that!

 

And The Winner IS...

Posted by Lane on June 22, 2011 at 10:26 AM Comments comments (0)

Leslieann! 

 

Leslieann, in a random drawing of all the commenters leaving notes on their favorite fashion memory from television, you are the big winner.  What do you win?  A copy of Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, and a bottle of That's Hot Pink by OPI.

 

Contact me at womenworthknowing@gmail.com for information on claiming your prize.

 

Thank you to everyone who commented!

WWK Presents: Renae Perry, Director of Programs at The Senior Source

Posted by Lane on June 21, 2011 at 12:38 PM Comments comments (0)

Last Saturday, Renae Perry joined us from The Senior Source to talk about the programs her group offers to Senior Citizens, and about why our seemingly silly sock drive is truly important for frail and elderly men and women in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

 

The statistic that 60% of all nursing home residents go full calendar years without ever receiving a visitor is staggering, but we're going to make that year a little brighter!

 

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Gratitude and Patience

Posted by Lane on June 20, 2011 at 2:02 PM Comments comments (0)

by Elspeth Grafton

 

I was having a bad day - a really, REALLY bad day when I made that last blog entry. I’m human. It happens to all of us. What’s different today? Have I won the lottery? Found a job, found the man of my dreams, bought a new car, righted the wrongs of the world? No. But today I feel better – good in fact. I might feel differently tomorrow, but I’m holding onto this feeling today.

 

 

I know in my heart of hearts that things will work out. How do I know this? Because everyday (despite my crumbling last week) I do something to move forward. The move might be strides or it might be inches, but I move forward nonetheless. I would hope this strategy would work for anyone, regardless of what stressors they have to deal with.

 

You see, I may not be working, but my day isn’t consumed with sleep-ins, daytime television or relaxing by the pool with a book. Job banks get searched, websites for companies I actually wouldn’t mind working for have their recruitment pages perused and email alerts for job postings get looked into. Some days this is outrageously successful (strides). Some mornings it’s depressingly not (inches). But I’ve made an effort. I’m turning things around.

 

There was a point a few months ago where I would sit down at my favorite coffee shop to write but could only stare at the page, feeling tremendous guilt that I wasn’t job searching at that precise moment. It crippled my creative life. You can’t job search 8 hours a day. Not only would you burn out pretty damn quickly in my opinion, but it could be demoralizing if nothing came of the job search immediately. At least that’s what my demons would say to me in my head. You can make sure you do something every day. It doesn’t even have to be sending out resumes. It can be connecting with one person in your work network. (You know what? You don’t even have to talk about work!) It keeps you connected. Send out one email, any small thing, but it should move you forward.

 

I’ve had days over the last 6 months of unemployment where I have spent so much time thinking outside the box – figuring out different tacks to take, options and avenues that I just didn’t have it in me to turn on my computer. I tried not to let that stress me out further. I just gave myself credit for what I did do.

 

When things get really bad, I write a gratitude list. I do this every New Year regardless, but right now, it reminds me that despite the woes, my life is good, and full, and I have remarkable people that I can and do turn to. Not only does it make a good reminder, but it also puts me on the page, one of the places outside a film set where I’m happiest. And finding my happy place is extremely important right now. Honestly, I’m in my 6th month of unemployment. It’s not fun. It’s not like one big, long vacation. It’s stressful. I have to find ways to be kinder to myself – especially now. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed with discouragement and fear of the unknown. And don’t get me wrong, I get discouraged and I have huge fear. My unknown is very, very unknown. I was there last week. I’m not there today.

 

I try to take time each day to get out of the house, recharge, and remind myself that although I don’t have my one passion for script supervision in my life right now, I do have others. One passion I have that I make sure I utilize daily is writing. I write fiction and I recently completed the outline for my second script (I sound really creative here, but honestly, both scripts are just outlined. Not completed. Not sold.) Having been out of work for so long from a job that usually presents so many challenges on an hourly basis, I have to continue to keep challenging myself creatively. I have to keep myself engaged – mind, body and soul. Writing, yoga, job search. Writing, yoga, job search. Wash, rinse, repeat. Daily. Find what works for you. There’s so much stress involved with the job hunt it’s very important to keep your other passions engaged in your life.

 

Sure, after 6 months without work, I’m broke. But I would rather gnaw off my arm than give up yoga. I would rather eat Ichiban noodles for the remainder than give up my yoga membership. That does more for my mental state of mind than anything else. I choose to keep in my life that which gives me strength. My coffee place is the same. Sometimes I come here and don’t order, but most of the time I utilize my loyalty points accrued when working. When those run out (and they will), I won’t begrudge myself the $3 for the Americano. I will only have one, however. The cable, however, will be turned off at the end of the month if work hasn’t come my way. It is now starting to become a luxury. My choice. I’m prioritizing my spending, and yoga trumps TV any day of the week.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself stuck in a negative cycle. (Another one, you’re saying to yourself – YES. They come and go – sometimes I have more trouble working through them than others.) As someone who believes in the power of positive thinking this is a dangerous spiral to get caught in. It happens to the best of us though, and it took a friend calling me on it for me to snap clear. I realized I’d been saying and thinking, ‘I can’t find work’ instead of ‘I haven’t found the right job fit yet’. See the difference? Don’t think it matters? It does. Over and over I’ve witnessed the universe providing what is asked for (Side note: BE SPECIFIC! And asking for $1,286 to appear in your bank account does NOT count!) If you keep putting it out there that you can’t do something you never will. I have to say that within 10 minutes of me apologizing to the universe and switching my way of thinking back into the positive, my email chirped at me from an industry friend with an interesting job lead. Did I want the job, HELLYEAH. Did I get the job? No. But I asked the universe and was rewarded with hope I didn’t have 15 minutes before. Yes, I consider the job prospect as a reward. I do.

 

I’m still working on the ‘who am I without the job I love’. I have a feeling this is a struggle a lot of women face – only replace ‘job I love’ with ‘man I love’ or ‘children I want’ etc. I’d like to say everyday I figure out something new, but that’s not the case. Everyday I’m reminded of something about myself, and I give myself credit for it. Whether it is how well I weathered a disappointment, or finding a new avenue to pursue, I congratulate myself, and tuck it away to pull out when I have bad days or weeks like the last one.

 

 

Writing these blogs has allowed me to gratefully receive something I hadn’t known I needed – and that is validation and witness. I needed to voice the shit (even sugar-coated) and feel as though I'd been heard. I needed even just one person to witness the struggle I was having as to who I now was without a job that I felt had defined me. And most of all, I needed to read it all myself, through my own written voice, and give myself credit for the strength this whole process has required.

 

I’m going through it, I’m getting past it, I’ll survive it, and I’ll be better for it.

Women Worth Knowing: Meet Jenn

Posted by Lane on June 16, 2011 at 4:12 PM Comments comments (3)

I do believe in love at first sight, and that's what I had when June brought her business partner, Jenn, to a WWK Event.  I knew a little of her through June already, but have had the pleasure of her company a few times since then, and I just like her more every time I see her.  She is genuine and positve, and had a really wonderful attitude about life in general.

 

We laughed about how she is faculty at my former high school, and it was a lot of fun to talk with her about some of my favorite former teachers.  While she talked, I was thinking how fortunate her students are, and wondering how many great teachers I missed out on as human beings?

 

As co-author of  my favorite online column Note Worthy, Jenn explores a variety of topics, from shapewear to sabbaticals, and you can learn a lot more about what makes her so fantastic there.  Meanwhile...

 

Meet Jenn

 

 

Name: Jennifer Burkett Meyers

Age Range: 35

Preferred Job Title: Teacher and also Co-Author of the online column, NoteWorthy

Industry: Education & Blogging

Who are you?  I am a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, writer, & voracious reader

 

As a teacher in a girls' school, what do you think young women need most out of their education (other than the obvious "education" part.)   Other than the obvious, I do think that young women need to have a voice—they need to know it’s okay to speak up for oneself, it’s okay to have the “right” answers & it’s also okay to have the “wrong” answers as long as one engages in the larger conversation. Self-awareness & self-confidence are also characteristics I think are important for young women to take away from their education.

 

What do you hope to accomplish through Note WorthyI hope June & I create a space where people can stop by and engage in our conversation. Hopefully it’s a fun, interesting column that gives others some humor & information. We also want it to be a place that can showcase some really important people in our society-women entrepreneurs & what we call “momtepreneurs”—moms who are business owners. Everyone has a story & at NoteWorthy we want to share some of those stories to inspire others.

 

 

Describe your family: My husband, Jason, my 2 boys, Hayden, 5, and Price, 1, and our beautiful, over-sized, long hair dachshund, Ranger, 10.

 

What does the first hour of your day look like? I hit the ground running…I am up when the baby’s up, changing the diaper, waking up the rest of the house, making breakfast for the kids, taking care of Hayden’s insulin needs (he is a type 1 diabetic), getting the kids dressed & ready for the day, and then getting myself ready for the day!

 

The last hour? Usually Jason & I find some time to relax, watch a little tv & talk about our day, and I try to read a little bit every night before I go to bed—even if it’s just a few pages.

 

What makes you feel successful? When I can see my kids (biological or my students) feel success, it makes me feel successful. I’ve been married for over 12 years, & that makes me feel successful, too.

 

What brings you joy? The greatest joy comes from my children. Every day they make me laugh & smile.

 

What women do you admire? So many! The women I admire the most, though, are the women who mentored me—from teachers I’ve had, my mom, my grandmothers, to women I’ve worked with, I truly appreciate the time & knowledge they’ve shared with me, and I try to pass that on to the young women in my life.

 

What do you like best about your closest friend? My closest friend would be my husband & I like his loyalty, he’s a great listener, witty, & always up for anything. He pushes me to expand my horizons.

 

What do you like best about yourself? If I really want something (for myself or others) I’ll work for it.

 

What advice would you give boys about girls?  As a mom of 2 sons, I think it’s important they know that girls are real people, not snippets of a person on tv or in a movie, not a photograph on a billboard or magazine. I hope they are respectful of every girl they encounter.

 

How do you overcome adversity?  I try to work through it and look at the adversity as a challenge & opportunity instead of something that cannot be overcome. Probably to the dismay of my husband I like to talk through my adversity with him—me doing 99% of the talking & speculating. I also like to get advice from my family & friends, & I pray.

 

How do you want to be remembered? I’d like to be remembered as someone who genuinely cares about others.

Spoiled: A Review

Posted by Lane on June 15, 2011 at 12:12 PM Comments comments (1)

I've been a fan of the Fug Girls (Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan) for at least decade, following them to Go Fug Yourself from various places on the web. I was excited to hear they were publishing their first YA novel, and was looking forward to seeing my favorite scenes from Dynasty, and Lace, the original 90210, and Sweet Valley High playing themselves out on the modern page. I was not disappointed.

 

click here for a chance to win a copy of SPOILED

and That's Hot Pink nailpolish from OPI.

 

Cocks and Morgan create a soapily believable world of privileged teens with Black Amex cards and first cars that cost more than what you make in a year, and you know that's no mean feat. The fun is in getting to see small town girl Molly Dix (who plays the part of the good girl/interloper) and her newfound sister, Brooke Berlin (who plays the titular role--Spoiled) battle it out between themselves, and their mini-Alexis Morell Colby Carrington Dexter Dexter Rowan nemesis, Shelby Kendall. And, while no one ends up in the fountain, there is at least one slapping scene, a slow clap, and plenty of teenaged subterfuge.  I'll admit to being disappointed that no one ended up in the fountain.

 

It isn't a YA novel without some tears, though, and the Disneyesque plot device of getting rid of the mothers allows many an opportunity for you to sniffle and pretend your contacts are bothering you when your husband gawks at you in disbelief and asks, "Are you crying?!"  If she isn't dead, or hasn't disappeared, the mothers in the book are only mentioned in conversational passing, leaving these girls to fend for themselves in the deep forests of their closets and the wilds of Rodeo Drive. I felt very sorry for these children, and hoped for a cameo by Angelina Jolie, offering to adopt them.  Maybe in the sequel?

 

Oh, yes, friends.  We end on a cliffhanger of Dynastic proportion, and I am not ashamed to say that I will be queueing up to find out what happens next.

 

This is a fun little read. I could easily see it on the big screen and was casting in my mind as I read. I'm not sure that the book is truly aimed at the YA audience, since it was clearly a junior version of my favorite soaps from the 80s and 90s, but I'm not complaining at all. It got written, I got to read it, and that is what is important!

 

4 stars out of 5  (I'd have given it 5, but...dead mothers!  Bambi!)

 

Remember to leave a comment on the Fug Girls' Women Worth Knowing Profile for a chance to win a copy of SPOILED. 

Women Worth Knowing: Meet Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan a/k/a The Fug Girls

Posted by Lane on June 14, 2011 at 8:11 PM Comments comments (34)

Years and years ago, I followed a friend's LiveJournal icon to a little website called Television Without Pity, and there I found my people.  Among those people were Pamela Ribon, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, who each recapped several shows for the site. Pamela went on to publish several excellent and hilarious books, and to write for television.  Heather and Jessica went on to create Go Fug Yourself, a site which is probably the most pop-culturally relevant blog of its kind, and to transform themselves into the internationally known Fug Girls--you know, the most popular table in the cafeteria.  People, Victoria Beckham has willingly and purposefully spoken with them.  Need I say more to establish their cred? 


They have also published their own side-splitting fare in the form of Go Fug Yourself: The Fug Awards and now, their first Young Adult novel, Spoiled.




In May of 2010, Pamela was promoting her book Going in Circles, and we considered it a coup when she agreed to be a part of the Women Worth Knowing Project.  Emboldened after a few friendly email exchanges with Heather and Jessica about my recent meeting with The Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds, I name dropped a little more (that's the way I roll), asking if they would join Pamela in the hallowed cyber halls of WWKdom.  And even though they are world famous and have George Clooney as their intern, they were gracious and magnanimous, and squealed right along with me when they said yes.


As part of this Women Worth Knowing profile, I will be giving away a copy of Spoiled and a bottle of ridiculously, fabulously pink OPI nail polish (in That's Hot Pink) to one lucky commenter.   (Read my review here.)



Leave a comment below telling us about your most memorable fashion moment in television (Cher at the Oscars?  Brenda Walsh's prom dress?  Bill Cosby's sweaters?) and we will pick a winner and announce it on Wednesday, June 22.


Until then, it is my great pleasure, delight, and extreme privilege to introduce you to Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.


Heather and Jessica--Nothing fug at all about these girls!


Meet Heather


Name: Heather Cocks     

Age Range: Turning 34 in August     

Preferred Job Title: Author, blogger

Industry:  Entertainment

    

 

Who are you?  I'm a mutt, both professionally and personally. I'm a native Texan, actually -- born in Houston, as were my two sisters,  before we moved to England. I grew up all over the place -- the UK, where I also hold citizenship, and Florida and Canada -- before landing at Notre Dame for college, then back to Texas to work at Austin's daily newspaper. Career-wise, I was a journalist before I soured on it and switched gears.


Through freelance work, I got a job working in L.A. as a story producer for reality TV, and then once Jessica and I started GFY and it took off, we quit those jobs and now we do this full-time, and we've added author to our job description.  Otherwise, I'm a mother of twin boys, who turn two at the end of June, I'm a Leo, I am addicted to Diet Coke, I love crosswords, I can quote most of the Toy Story movies thanks to my kids' obsession with Buzz Lightyear, and I can cook a mean turkey chili.


 

 

As the Fug Girls, you spend a lot of time looking at pictures of celebrities who are the media standard for the feminine ideal.  How do those images affect you as women?  How has it changed your perception of beauty?  Oh, I definitely have my moments where I stand in front of my bathroom mirror and wish my face was aging better, or I stare at an actress and think, "SHE doesn't have a brow furrow like I do. Why do I have to have one?!?" Because of course, it's easy to forget that we're seeing people carefully presented and made up and maybe even airbrushed, and packaged and presented. But in another weird way, it's so democratizing.


Part of the site was founded on the idea that these people have every advantage -- resources like trainers and stylists, and fantastic DNA -- and still make crazy mistakes, like ugly clothes or dresses that are too tight, too short, or otherwise completely unflattering to their enviable physiques. It makes you feel almost more of a kinship with them. Even the inhumanly beautiful have human problems, and you start rooting for them to pull it together the same way you would a friend. One thing it has definitely taught me is that confidence and self-assurance can be the most beautiful things about you.


Take Diane Kruger. Half of what she wears is nuts, but she seems so comfortable in her own skin that you start to think, "Well, actually, maybe that IS a good outfit." Ditto Beyonce or Rihanna -- we get comments all the time that are like, "Yeah, that's terrible, but she also looks completely awesome," and it's because they have that megastar glint in their eye that suggests a complete belief in themselves.


And I will never forget how gorgeous Jessica Simpson looked on her makeup-free cover of Marie Claire. They stripped away all the artifice, and she just grinned and seemed utterly herself and it's the best I've ever seen her. A belief in YOU is what makes you the most beautiful.


What is your favorite story from Fashion Week?  Oh, so many. My favorite personal story is, I think, interviewing Kanye -- he was just randomly standing there, no entourage, at a Rodarte show. I was like, "I am a terrible interviewer but I can't pass this up." Also, any time we've gotten to talk to Victoria Beckham, because she is so much more than she ever showed in public before. She's phenomenally charismatic and down-to-earth-seeming when she does her presentations. Talk about someone who finally stripped away the artifice and let her true self show -- when she does, she's unstoppable.


One of my other favorite moments was when we attended the Heart Truth Red Dress show, where celebrities walk the runway, and Liza Minnelli surprised us all by closing the show with "New York, New York," like, ten feet from our faces. Iconic.


What is it like to be part of the Pop Culture?  There is something really flattering in hearing that people routinely refer to George Clooney as Intern George, or to Tilda Swinton as SWINTON, or whatever. But I don't know if I've ever considered myself part of pop culture. In the scheme of things we're small fry. But it is exhilarating to have the kind of smart, supportive, endlessly loyal readers that we do -- seriously, the best part of all of this is them. 


If you could impart one pearl of wisdom into every mind, and have it understood completely, what would that be?  I don't think I could choose just one. Instead maybe I will turn to the esteemed Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock and say, "Live every week like it's Shark Week."


 

Describe your family:  Spirited and loving. My twin boys are hilarious and curious and sprightly, my sisters and I share my dad's dry English wit, but we love each other fiercely and we never have as much fun as when we're all together. 


 

What does the first hour of your day look like? The last hour?  If it's my turn to get up with the boys, then it looks like us cuddling on the couch watching Sesame Street, then having a little breakfast, or putting them in clothes so they can go outside and play basketball (they are obsessed). If it's not my morning, I get up and read something over breakfast and then sit down to my computer to check e-mail, check in with the site and our readers, and make sure Jess and I are on track for the day. Other than my kids and my husband and our nanny, she is the first person I talk to every day.


The last hour is usually me working on my laptop on the living room couch, trying to make sure the Web site is lined up decently for the next day so that I'm available to deal with any weirdness that crops up, like sick dudes or whatever, and then crawling into bed with my husband and just talking for a little while, making sure we have a chance to connect -- when he's working, he's often at work so late that our only time to really catch up is in those last minutes before we crash.


What makes you feel successful?  Looking at my kids. So cheesy, but so true. They're happy and healthy and the fact that we've been able to give them that kind of start to their life means the world to me.

 


What brings you joy?  My family, my friends, my work, and sometimes just that moment right after the kids pass out for the night and we've just tidied up all their toys and the house is silent. It's peace, and it's also a sense of, "Okay, we made it through another day. Woohoo."


 

What women do you admire?  My sister has an autistic daughter, who is almost eleven, and twin girls who are almost eight. And she has handled raising that family with the most extraordinary amount of patience and commitment and love, facing things that would've tested and broken lesser people, and always maintaining a sense of humor. If you ever want to think about things being predestined, then consider that she was chosen for her daughter because she is exactly the right person to raise her daughter - she has embraced autism research, she is active in autism groups, she is involved in her therapy and schooling, and she does it all without dropping the ball on her husband or her other kids. She is the mother I think we'd all like to think we would be in that situation, and certainly the mother I aspire to be.


And my mother right now is at the top of my list as well, for numerous reasons -- the kinds of things you never fully appreciate the wonders of until you, yourself, are an adult and/or a parent -- but doubly so because we just lost my father, her partner and best friend of almost 45 years. Mom doesn't live near any of us and so she's back into the grind of daily life without him, in the house where she lost him, also now moving from being a partner in the management of their affairs to the sole decision-maker, which is a huge mental and emotional leap. She's coping with all of this so brilliantly. She is so, so strong. I cannot say enough about how much I admire the way she has handled a situation I suspect I would not deal with as gracefully.

 


What do you like best about your closest friend?  I like that she is willing to let me ride her coattails and be her writing partner. :)


 

 

What do you like best about yourself?  I like that I am always driven to try and see the other side of things. I'm sure sometimes this is maddening to people, but I always feel like I am better prepared to defend my own stance on something if I have considered where the other side is coming from, whether it's an argument I'm having with someone or a business decision or a political matter. I think it's helped me slow down and chew on things instead of leaping to a decision or an action I might regret. Conversely, of course, this means sometimes I overthink things for am almost comedically long amount of time. And THAT is something I might like least about myself. Isn't it so often the case that bests and worsts are two sides of the same coin?


 

 

What advice would you give boys about girls?  You know, I always liked that line from "Singles" where Bridget Fonda says what she wants in a guy is someone who says "gesundheit" when she sneezes. Consideration goes a long way. It is not uncool to be nice, boys. Nice, and communicative.


Don't treat girls like they're guys. Girls, in my experience, like to know where they stand. So be straight with them. Call if you like them. If any of your dude friends tell you to play the game, string the girls along, don't act too interested... ignore them. Most girls don't want you to play the game. They want you to man up.


Pursuant to that, I think I would tell ANY teen that, when in doubt, act in a way that's not going to make you cringe later on in life. Because This Exact Moment might feel fleeting and like it's not a big deal, but if you're a teen then you have a good sixty or so years to look back on your life and you'd be surprised at what moments stick.


The best you can do is treat people in a way that won't make you ashamed of yourself down the line. You want to be proud of yourself, not walk into your high school reunion in 25 years wondering who you should apologize to, or hanging your head, or telling your spouse, "If so-and-so tells you I did such-and-such, um, well, just remember I was dumb when i was 16."


Well, I would definitely want to encourage them to be respectful, and all that jazz. Beyond that, communicate with them. Don't treat them like they're guys, who have the capability to leave all kinds of things unsaid between one another -- and often prefer to. Girls dissect the potential secret meanings to every word, or every silence, between them and a boy. 


How do you overcome adversity?  I take a deep breath and put my head down and work on getting through each day. I get advice and distractions from my friends and loved ones, but mostly, I just try and buck up and put one foot in front of the other, maybe find something else to focus on that's a positive.

That's basically what I'm doing now -- my dad passed away suddenly in mid-April and it's been a daily struggle to keep it together. But I have to -- having kids means I can't wallow; they deserve more than that from me -- so it's just, okay, power forward, get it done, give them quality time, and then at the end of the day I can decompress and feel what I need to feel, and then we move onto the next.


 

How do you want to be remembered?  As somebody who helped somebody, anybody, have a better day. And I certainly hope my kids will remember me as a loving and fun mother, rather than a tired old harridan who sucked the joy out of their lives, but who knows -- by the time they're in their teens maybe I WILL be a tired old harridan who sucks the joy out of their lives.

 





Meet Jessica


Name: Jessica Morgan   

Age Range:   36

Preferred Job Title:      Author, blogger

Industry:      Entertainment


 

Who are you?  I am a native Los Angeleno, a sports fan, a shoe junkie, a lover of terrible AND good TV, and reader of many, many books. I have a degree in English from UCLA, and once upon a time, I worked in television.


 

 

As the Fug Girls, you spend a lot of time looking at pictures of celebrities who are the media standard for the feminine ideal.  How do those images affect you as women?  How has it changed your perception of beauty?  As Heather said, in a way it makes me feel better -- if even these woman with all the resources in the world go outside looking a bit of a mess at times, then EVERYONE does it. I think examining celebrity foibles actually makes me feel more like they, too, are human -- which to me makes them more likeable, honestly. But of course, I don't think anyone who's ever picked up a magazine hasn't found herself thinking, "do I need hair extensions?" or "I am insufficiently moisturized."


It's easy to compare yourself to the genetically (and financially, and time-wise) blessed and think you look a bit bedraggled. But the older I get, the less I even think about it. Any of us could look amazing if we had six people on a team working on us for four hours before an event -- but that's not most of our jobs, the way it is for a celebrity. I just try and do the best I can at my own job, and hope I look decent in the process.

 


What is your favorite story from Fasion Week?  My favorite is the time, at our very first fashion week, when my heel got caught between the runway and the carpet, and I teetered over and I had this moment where it seemed as though I was about to land right in Anna Wintour's lap. I managed to catch myself -- I barely teetered at all, but it FELT very dramatic -- but in that moment before I knew whether or not I would be able to pull it together, it was all in slow motion and we sort of locked eyes and I thought, "DEAR GOD IF I LAND IN HER LAP, IT'S GOING TO BE ALL OVER THE INTERNET." And I feel as if I could read her mind, too, and she was thinking, "Oh my god, this girl is coming right at me. SECURITY!!"


 

What is it like to be part of the Pop Culture?  I truly never think of myself that way! I love, love, love meeting and talking to our readers, and my life would be poorer without them, but I never think of the blog as anything more than my entertaining job, where I get to talk to all the cool people in our little community.


If you could impart one pearl of wisdom into every mind, and have it understood completely, what would that be?  Mine comes from The Onion: "All Problems Could Be Solved By Just Stopping and Thinking For Two Seconds."


 

Describe your family:  My family is great -- very supportive and funny.  I'm single at the moment, no kids, so I always think of my family as being my Mom and Dad, who live fairly close by, and my sister Elizabeth, who's currently attending UC Santa Cruz, and my cozy network of friends.


 

What does the first hour of your day look like?  Coffee-filled. I am a night owl, so I almost always put in some work at night so I can sleep in a bit in the morning knowing the site is well under control. I usually wake up around 8:30am and loll around in bed for a little bit, waking up, then toss on a robe, put the coffee on, and answer emails and look over the GFY twitter and Facebook accounts, read the news, and basically try to start my day as gently as possible. There's a lot of staring out the window in my robe.

 


The last hour?  I try to read in bed for about an hour before I go to sleep. It is my favorite way to wind down from the day.

 

What makes you feel successful?  I always consider a day a success if I've made it through another one having gotten done everything that absolutely needed doing. But on a larger scale, I feel as if I have succeeded when people write to us and tell us that GFY made them laugh, or helped them through a difficult time.

 

What brings you joy?  A good book, a good meal, a good night's sleep, and a good evening with my friends or my family. Also, college football season.


What women do you admire?  Gosh, so many. Heather, for managing to juggle so much more in her life than I do -- I don't know how she manages to be such a great mom and wife, and still do such great creative work. My own mother, for just generally being a smart, awesome woman.  Tina Fey, for being hilarious and owning that she is bossy (as someone who is herself also slightly bossy). All the women in politics who have to do everything the men do, but ALSO have to get up at the crack of dawn to make sure their hair doesn't look totally insane.




 

What do you like best about your closest friend?  I like that she is willing to let me ride her coattails and be her writing partner. :)


What do you like best about yourself?  I think I am a pretty good friend. I have the capacity to endlessly listen to/discuss other people's problems. I legitimately find them interesting and am always willing to talk about them. I also have a great sense of direction, and I am an excellent parallel parker.


What advice would you give boys about girls?  We spend a lot of time over-analyzing whatever it is that you do; please understand this, and make it clear to us if you like us or not. Likewise, boys should know that girls WILL talk about them, and that girls are generally very loyal to their girlfriends, so if you are a jackass to one, you can kiss the idea of ever dating someone else in her particular circle of friends good-bye. And that circle of friends is much, much wider than you think it is. So be nice -- it will serve you better down the road.



How do you overcome adversity?  I guess I just try and power through it.  Every day, you've got to wake up and put one foot in front of the other, and I try and do that with as much good cheer as I can.



How do you want to be remembered?  Well, I would LIKE to be remembered as the greatest beauty of the 21st century, but THAT is definitely not going to happen. So I'll settle for being remembered as a good friend and an interesting person who will be missed.


Thank you so much to Heather and Jessica for being part of our Project!  Remember to leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy of Spoiled and some really pink nail polish.





Also, thank you to our Premium Sponsors, Too Too Fabulous, Note Worthy, and The Outside Lane, who made the giveaway possible!  Please check out their work.




The Evolution of a Domestic Engineer

Posted by Lane on June 14, 2011 at 7:56 PM Comments comments (2)

by Jamie Anne Grimes


 

Lane has asked me to take a few large steps out of my comfort zone and tell you more about little, old me. I love talking about gardens, saving money on groceries and making wonderful food, but I tend to clam up when it comes time to talk about myself. Where to begin?


My name is Jamie, I answer to Mom, honey also. I recently turned 40. I've been happily married to my sweet husband for over 14 years. We have two wonderful kids, aged 13 and 11. I'm a stay at home parent and domestic engineer. I've been a housewife since before my 13 year old was born. I never had huge career goals, I never wanted to be the boss, being a "bad ass" business woman never appealed to me.


For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a wife and mother. The kind of mother who was home when her kids got home from school, the kind of mom that made fresh cookies and made the beds....the kind of mother who was able to let her kids......be kids. I came from a home touched by divorce. My mother had to work, I was a latch key kid, I spent a lot of time looking after my younger brother. I was not much of a kid by the time I was 13, I was a little adult. A little adult with adult demands and a child's temper. I'm sure I was a peach to live with.



Lane and Jamie at 13.  Ah, the 80s.


And at 16...And at 39



The main point of my teenaged angst was that I wanted to do it differently. I wanted to be at home. My ideals lined up with the 1950's more than the late 1980's- early 1990's when I was a teen/young adult.


Housewives and stay at home parents are more common today in 2011 than they were in 1997 when I got married. It was shocking to my family that I wanted to stay home, I'm not sure they understood. I was raised by a strong, independent Mother and I also had a strong, independent step-Mother. I wanted to be a strong, independent domestic engineer...it confused them. My domestic skills have evolved over the years.


I'm embarrassed to say that when I was 21 I had no idea how to cook. I tried to make French toast, put the egg in the pan and covered it with bread and milk. I'm pretty sure my friend peed herself rolling on the floor laughing at me. I'm not kidding. I was clueless. The only thing I knew how to make was reservations. I was awesome at ordering things through the drive thru also. ;) After the French toast experience, I made myself a promise that I was going to learn how to cook. It's been an interesting ride. I've had many successes and many FAILS.


By the time I was 24, I felt brave (or crazy) enough to host a Thanksgiving party for my friends and then boyfriend (later husband) Wes. It went pretty well, but I'm sure the large quantities of wine we ingested helped a lot. Wes and I married in 1997 and my sweet husband has at least "tried" to eat everything I've subjected him to. Venison steaks, sta-goo (too much liquid in my stuffing) and funky pumpkin pies....he tried them all.


Now I make homemade oatmeal bread, granola, and a rocking slow cooker lasagna. I've come a long way, baby. I'm not saying I'm perfect, because I'm far from it. A basket full of clean clothing, that need to be put away, is eyeballing me as I write this. My beds are not always made, my floors get dusty and sometimes I lose my temper with my kids. I'm a work in progress, but aren't we all?


My blog, a Dash of Domestic follows my domestic adventures, successes and failures. I'm not too proud to post my FAILS. I truly believe that anyone, even those who feel they can burn water, can learn some level of cooking skills. I do my best to write easy to follow recipes with lots of pretty pictures. Thanks for reading!



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