Thursday, June 23, 2011

How To Get In the Summer Mode

Summer always excites me. 

There is a renewed energy - birds are more lively, the sun is blazing, the blue sky is brilliant, and the air has a certain "summery" scent to it.

Kids are out of school, so their play days start earlier. There are less cars on the road. More people are lounging at cafes and coffee shops.

Priorities shift. 

In the American culture, we are so accustomed to being productive. We are constantly working, trying to do more, hit our goals, hone our craft - we are always in the "busy" mode. Unfortunately, trying to get into the "summer" mindframe can be hard to do.

How can we break out of the busy into the summer mindset? 

Think like a kid.

1. Anticipate - Kids work hard during the school year. And they look forward to summer break. Since summer comes at the same time every year, start gearing your mind and heart toward it. Look forward to days of fun and relaxation.

2. Get active - Look for summer events, concerts and activities to do your community. Take a walk after work to decompress and refresh. Explore a new trail on your bike. Find a fun dance class like salsa, swing or the tango. Go to the water park with your little ones. Set up a badminton net on your front lawn and toss the birdie around.

3. Enjoy the outdoors - Remember the days when you and your friends played outside until the street lights came on or your mom or dad hollered your name to come in and eat dinner? Summer is about being outside - not cooped up indoors. Dine outdoors: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Get your grill in gear and cook on your patio. Picnic more. Take a nap on a chaise lounge or a blanket laid out on the grass.

4. Be giddy! Kids embrace the energy and giddiness of summer. They don't stress over school, how they should have done more extra credit work, written a longer essay, drawn a better picture, joined more clubs and organizations - they tend to let the pressures of school go. They get that summer is about relaxing and having a fun time - not being tense and uptight.

I know - you have a job to go, a business to run, and/or a household to take care of, etc. In the midst of those responsibilities, you can still let lightness and life flow in your daily "work". Allow the season of summer to lift some of those grown-up "burdens".  Luxuriate in all that the summer season embodies: sunshine, blue skies, brightness, and recreation.

You will find yourself more refreshed and more productive in the daily work stuff.

Don't let busy fool you. Summer is here! Let the kid in you come out and play!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Goal-Setting? Piece of Cake (One Piece at a Time) - Part 2

Last time, I shared with you the "setting-up" stage for setting your goals. I want to share with you my practical tools to make progress toward your goals.

Get your head in the game. So often, we get stuck in the planning stage and never move on to the actual doing stage. It is just a matter of jumping into it and making the decision to do something today.  

1. Write it. I am an advocate of writing everything down. Writing down your goals is the first step in make them a reality. There is something mystical about putting a heart's desire, vision, plan on paper. It is a commitment to yourself. Like a contract, once you have set pen to paper the things you are planning to do, you have set things in motion. You have made yourself a promise. Writing it down not only clears your thoughts, but gives you a clear vision of what you are working toward.

2. Use a calendar. I tend to be time-oriented, always marking how long it takes me to drive somewhere, to write a blog, to read a book, etc. Marking your goals in a calendar, is again a visual tool to help you stay on your mark, and it also helps you to adjust, if necessary the reality of your goal being met. Perhaps  your 20-year high school reunion is a year away, and you want to get into shape. Putting your goal-markers on your calendar will help keep you in line with your exercise and eating program. And if you reach your goal early, that's a feat! And on the flip-side, if you've experienced a bit of a set-back, you can modify your goal end-date. 

Use whatever type of calendar system works for you. Maybe it is a planner, a year-long wall calendar, or perhaps you are a techie and prefer an online calendar or the smart calendar on your iPhone or Blackberry. Use the tools that suit you and your personality. 

3. Seek a partner to motivate you. Some people need a coach, a trusted friend, or a pacing partner to help them stay focused. An accountability partner will keep you on track, and help you when you feel stuck, get frustrated, or are tempted to throw in the towel. A friend who cheers you on toward your goals will help you stick to them. For example, having a business mentor or coach can help an entrepreneur navigate the waters of business, providing tools, resources and connections that may help you stay on track with your business or enterprise. 

Goals are not meant to be faraway, someday fantasies. They are also not scary, insurmountable tasks that we keep putting off. Achieving our goals is truly life-changing! Not only do they bring us closer to those things we seek or are dreaming about, but they also build our character and work/ business ethic.

What are you goals for 2011? Just because it is not the beginning of the year is it too late to set some in place. 

Let me know what some of you are working toward!

Looking forward to hear from you. 

Press on! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

10 Words That don’t Mean What You Think They Do

This was originally posted on by Mark Nichols. 

As English evolves, word meanings shift and turn, sometimes reversing themselves altogether. These 10 words have shifted their senses over the years.

In some cases, we are wise to likewise be flexible; in others, we relax our vocabulary at the expense of useful distinctions:

1. Decimate 
The literal meaning of this word, as all you lovers of Latin (not to be confused with Latin lovers) know all too well, is “to reduce by one-tenth,” supposedly from the punitive custom of selecting one out of 10 captives by lot and killing those so selected. But the senses for this rhadamanthine Roman policy have proliferated, so that now it means “tithed,” “drastically reduced,” or “destroyed” as well.

2. Disinterested 
Commonly employed to mean “not interested,” disinterested has a precise, useful meaning of “neutral, unbiased.”

3. Enormity 
Some people would reserve this word to mean “monstrously wicked,” but it is properly invoked to refer to anything overwhelming or an unexpected event of great magnitude, and thus it need not be invariably corrected to enormousness.

Refrain, however, from diluting the word’s impact in such usage as, “The enormity of the new stadium struck them as they approached the towering entrance.”

4. Fortuitous 
This word means “occurring by chance,” but its resemblance to fortune has given it an adopted sense of “lucky.”

For meticulous adherence to the traditional meaning, use fortuitous only in the sense indicated in this sentence: “His arrival at that moment was fortuitous, because her note had not specified the exact time of her departure.”

Nothing in the context qualifies his arrival as fortunate; the sentence merely states that he arrived in time without knowing that he would do so.

The informal meaning is expressed here: “His fortuitous arrival at that very moment enabled him to intercept the incriminating letter.” In this sentence, the time of his appearance is identified as a lucky stroke.

5. Fulsome 
This term originally meant “abundant, generous, full,” but that sense was rendered obsolete when the word acquired a negative connotation of “offensive, excessive, effusive.”

Conservative descriptivists rail against the use of fulsome in a positive sense, but the cold, hard fact is that this sense has been increasingly resurgent for many years, and the adulatory meaning is now much more common than the condemnatory one.

If you wish to stand fast before the tsunami of inevitability, be my guest, but fulsome as an exquisite insult has been consigned to the dustbin of history. Some commentators recommend that because of the word’s ambiguity, it’s best to avoid its use altogether. If you insist, make sure the context is clear.

6. Ironic 
The impact of ironic has been diluted because many people use it to mean “coincidental,” when its traditional definition is “counter to expectations or what is appropriate.” For more coverage on the improper use of "irony," read here.

7. Literally 
Some folks get exercised when this term is used in place of its antonym, figuratively. However, in a hyperbolic sense, that meaning is justified. Unfortunately, that sense is literally overused.

8. Notorious 
This term is occasionally used in a neutral sense. That’s not an error, but the word literally means “known.” However, its dominant connotation is that the fame is a result of infamy.

9. Peruse 
This victim of definition reversal literally means “to use thoroughly,” and its first sense is that of careful steady or attentive reading.

However, many writers (myself included) have employed it as a synonym for scan—enough writers, as a matter of fact, that its second sense is “to look over or through in a casual or cursory manner.”

Unfortunately, these mirror meanings mean that if you use the word, I advise you to support it with context that clarifies the intended sense.

10. Plethora 
Plethora originally referred to an excess of something, but that usage is rare now, and more often the sense is simply of abundance. The medical meaning of swelling caused by an excess of blood is all but unknown.

A version of this story first appeared on

Friday, May 6, 2011

Goal-Setting? Piece of Cake (One Piece at a Time) - Part 1

I know - that's a very heady headline, but how many often do we go through life putting off goals and end up floundering because we don't take the time to organize and set goals?

This is part 1 of goal-setting. This speaks about my own experience with goals and my to-do list, which I have found very helpful for me over the years. 

As a fairly organized person, I realized that once I started my business, I had to bring the art of organization and goal-setting to a new level. This is a task that is fairly easy once you begin to look at it as parceled segments.

The process of goal-setting can be in three phases:
1. Declutter - Throw everything out that you do not need, have not touched, or looked at for the past year. Simply put, this means tossing the previous years' to-do and goals lists so that you can start fresh. Getting "stuck" in a goal or a task that you never got to will give you a headache. It is best to crumple that piece of paper and throw it away. A fresh start gives you a fresh perspective, and the energy to start anew.

2. Divide and conquer - Break down your tasks and to-do's into bite-size chunks:
Things that require immediate attention or things that you need to do right now. If you just started a business, your immediates would be: file your business name with the registrar's office, set up your website, order business cards, set up your home office, etc. The "preliminary" aspects of whatever is your Big Audacious Hairy Goal/ Dream is simply getting down to the basics.
Things that can wait another month or so for you to tackle. For your business, these are things like purchasing all-new office equipment. Whoa, tigeress! Before you get uber-excited about looking like a "legitimate" entrepreneur, first assess the needs of your business. Maybe you can do with your current laptop and cell phone. You also do not need to be on every single social media tool out there. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Vimeo - these are amazing tools and resources. But does it make sense for your type of business? Get your feet wet in your new venture and "test" what works or doesn't. You will save yourself a lot of needless set-up and purchases if you give yourself a one-month grace period to tinker and toy with your business needs.
Things that you can work toward for the next 6 months. Education, networking, researching, connecting are all moving parts of your business that can you do not have to jump into at the onset, but with deliberate planning, are vital aspects of your business goals. Planning out what you will attend, what group to become a part, and who you are willing to align yourself with takes time. Do not think that you should do all these things in the first month of your goal-setting. That is guaranteed burn-out, and send you reeling in frustration and not accomplishing any real thing.

3. Execute - Once your tasks and ultimate goals are compartmentalized into smaller doable tasks, it is time to start doing the work. This can be the hardest part. There is sometimes a long, rickety bridge between wishing something and actually doing it. Just like exercising, you just have to throw on the shoes and go outside and start running! And at the risk of sounding cliched, as Nike so aptly put, "JUST DO IT!"

Stay tuned for part 2 next week!

If you have any feedback or comments, I would love to hear from you!

Friday, April 29, 2011


Feature Article
The New Rules of Marketing
For many years the traditional methods for building a brand and getting the word out about your products or services consisted of spending a lot of money on advertising campaigns and  even more on a public relations firm to pitch the media on your behalf and hope for the best. Well my friends, the rules have changed. Today you have much more control over your message and who you are able to reach.
Consumers appear to have little patience with traditional advertising such as billboards, television commercials, newspaper ads and messages that pop up in taxi cabs, movie theatres and bathroom stalls. But now you have a tremendous opportunity to publish great content and connect with like-minded networks of people online to build your own buzz, establish yourself as an authority in your industry and attract more clients than ever before.
Never has there been a better time to harness the power of the Web and “Word of Mouse” to propel a brand to seemingly instant recognition and success. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you can easily turn into a household name overnight, even though to others it might appear that way. As we know from Malcolm Gladwell in his book, The Tipping Point, trends that seem to come out of thin air were actually manufactured in a very strategic manner by people working diligently behind the scenes.
The new rules of marketing put the power back into your hands. You have before you an incredible opportunity to tell your authentic story the way you want it to be told. You have the ability to reach thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people who want to hear your message. Understand these new rules and you’ll be well on your way:
1. Static vs. Fluid
The traditional methods of telling your story were static – a marketing brochure or pretty website with information about you and your company. To survive in today’s overcrowded marketplace, your marketing needs to initiate a conversation. Videos, blogs, Q&A’s, interactive tools etc. all get the conversation started between you and your target market. If you aren’t fluid enough to engage your market quickly, you will lose them to others who offer more flexibility, content and interesting options.
2. Print vs. Electronic
Gone are the days when we get all of our news and information from the newspaper and morning show. Everyone has moved online, including all of the media giants. Claim your online space now and make sure people will want to talk about it. In other words, offer something interesting and valuable. Having an opt-in box on your website that says, “Sign up for our newsletter” isn’t going to cut it anymore.
3. Advertising vs. Authenticity
Unless you are Coca Cola, NBC or Apple, which have established name recognition and substantial advertising budgets, it doesn’t make sense to allocate your hard-earned dollars to advertising when there are other, more effective ways to get noticed. Today’s consumer is so overwhelmed by information, that the first thing she turns off is the advertising messages. What she’s really looking for is authenticity. If your story is compelling and you are able to touch her in a meaningful way, then you are much more likely to count her among your tribe.
4. Networking vs. Connecting
While you still may be attending a weekly networking breakfast at the Chamber of Commerce and are probably making some great connections through your non-profit board, it’s just as important today to spend time connecting and networking online with groups of people who can help you take your brand and your message viral. New marketing is about moving beyond hundreds of people into the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. Resources like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Squidoo and millions of blogs make this possible.
5. Expert vs. Authority
Anyone can call themselves an expert. However, there has never been a better time to plug into the power of the Web to go beyond the expert realm and establish yourself as an authority with your message. The powerful combination of Web content such as blog entries, videos, article submissions and more, plus a network of people to share and pass along your message through social media platforms, can quickly spread like wildfire.
6. Word of Mouth vs. Word of Mouse
Having other people tell your story creates a domino effect to success. The power in “Word of Mouse” is in both the sheer volume of people that your message has the capacity to reach on the Web as well as the speed in which it can be delivered.
Even though the Web and all of the options available can appear overwhelming, don’t be intimidated. It’s really a matter of just starting somewhere. Pick something that resonates with you, whether it’s blogging, submitting articles online, adding video to your website or setting up a page on one of the social media sites, and just start there. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2011
Would you like to use this article in your newsletter, blog or website? You’re welcome to share this article. When you do, you must include this complete copyright blurb:
Liz Dennery Sanders wants you to build your buzz and be successful beyond your wildest dreams. As the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a brand development and celebrity outreach firm, she founded SheBrand, to help female entrepreneurs build powerful personal brands, attract more clients and position themselves as experts in their industries.  You can reach her directly at or

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You Are Your Brand

The other day, I was walking through the halls of work, my heels clickity-clackity on the hard floor. 

Someone in the inner offices asked, "Who is that with the heels?" 

The response, "It's Donina, of course!" 



Chew on that for a bit....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stand By

It's been a while since I've posted. 

But don't worry

I haven't quit. 

I am currently in the process of combining my website, On High Heels and this blog, Blogging On High Heels, onto one WordPress theme.

On High Heels is simply revising and redesigning.

So - please stand by!

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Celebrating Women - Part II

Degas - Ballet Dancers

Women can have brains, beauty, and business savvy.

Any woman who says that's narrow-minded is 
uncomfortable in her own skin.

Stop being uncomfortable. 

Embrace your femininity!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Transforming Kate

Kate Winslet dons a new pixie cut. 


Celebrating Women

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. 

This is why we should celebrate being who we are:
  • Women are natural nurturers. As moms, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, we give sage wisdom, support and encouragement. We kiss boo-boos, nurse cuts and bruises, and give hugs when the boy we crushed on asked somebody else to the dance.
  • Women are multi-taskers. We can have a load of laundry going, converse on the phone while a meal is being cooked, correct a child's homework, and still not let you go out looking like that. 
  • Women are connectors. Because we love to engage in conversation, we have girls night out, girl-talk, mommies groups, wine diva groups, and just about any other reason to simply get together and connect. 
  • Women are resourceful. I'm thinking Mrs. Ingalls resourceful, who cooked on one wood-burning stove, made Pa, Laura, Mary, Carrie and Grace's clothes, cooked pie from scratch and made all of the family Christmas gifts by hand. The pioneering spirit lives on in women today. Though we have modern amenities to make life "easier", who else but mom or aunt or sister can throw together a last-minute Halloween costume or bake 300 cupcakes for the school bake sale - the night before!
  • Women are strong. We give birth, help others to give birth, nurse an entire household that is sick (and still keep the house in order, after SHE catches what everybody else has), stand firm when a loved-one decides to leave and never return, and love on when our hearts are broken.
  • Women are persistent. Though we have made strides in modern times, women are still paid less than their male counterparts in the marketplace. In response, women have started more business in the last ten years, created jobs, taken over some industries such as marketing and P.R., and mentor other young women and other entrepreneurs toward success and leadership.
  • Women give birth to leaders. This is my favorite thing about women. Though we can't change our personal and historical past, we can shape and mold the future through the generations that will come after us. Women can teach sons how to be men of valor, honor and integrity. They can also teach daughters to be women of beauty, strength, and courage.

Women, let's be proud of who we are, and let us honor each other in the spirit of sisterhood and friendship. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Frustration Can Be Motivating

This has been a frustrating week. Writer's block. Idea drain. Entrepreneurial envy. Insecurity. 

Rather than trying to take these issues head-on, I had to step away - not send out pitches, not write down blog ideas, and not even read anybody's email newsletters and blogs. I had to take off my entrepreneurial hat for a little while.

Perhaps that is a female way to handle frustrations (versus men, who more likely would press through the wall of frustration, kick it down, and step over the rubble). But for the girl in me, I wasn't up for duking it out with Frustration.

So how did I alleviate this frustration? Alas, not with a pint of ice cream, nor a bubble bath, not even a glass of vino.

What did this On High Heeled chick do instead?

I got more frustrated!   

And began to imagine. To imagine life as a daily 9-to-5er, with a J-O-B as my major source of income for the rest of my life, dealing with:
  • having to play nice to a boss who would never teach me what he/ she knew so that I could be a leader in the organization
  • having to commute in the nightmarish L.A. traffic 
  • working really, really hard only to get that good ole' 3% merit increase at the end of the year
  • getting laid off (again)
  • being juggled about by the economy
  • getting a 1% merit increase because the company has to down-size (and yes, I have actually received a 1% increase while working in a major company)
Ummm - no thank you!

Like waking up from a nightmare, those "would-rathers" made me realize that the frustrations of being a woman entrepreneur, a solopreneur, to be exact, are motivating factors for me to press on and keep going!

There's nothing more reward than running a grueling marathon - and actually finishing! 

That is what I intend to do with On High Heels! Keep running the race, and fighting the good fight.

I want to someday look back at my legacy and see the steps of my high heels making giant leaps and bounds for women in business. 

Frustrated? That's a good thing. It can steer closer to your dreams and push your goals full steam ahead.

What about you? What do you do when challenges come along? What keeps you moving forward? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Charlie Sheen Method of Getting Publicity

We have all heard him and seen him: Charlie Sheen in his raw state of angst and anger. The rants, the insults, and the personal derisions leveled against his employer, Chuck Lorre, creator of the hit show, Two and a Half Men. Though it would be better described as notoriety, Charlie Sheen's recent public outbursts and displays can give us a few lessons on publicity, but not the negative kind.

Lesson 1. Make outrageous statements. Soon after getting locked out of the Warner Bros. studio, Charlie contacted radio stations and began to vent. Those vents were personal and offensive toward his employer. Yet they were provocative enough that they made everyone want to hear what he said.

Publicists create outrageous "headlines", but they are meant to grab the audience - not to insult or abuse. The eye-popping headline wants to pull you in order to engage and interface with you. Not push you away.

Lesson 2. Go on a press junket. Though Charlie already has the name to garner any media outlet he wants, he put himself on every network & radio program that would have him. I could not turn on the TV or go online without hearing about current Charlie's problems.

Publicists reach out to the media with relevant stories and current trends. Perfecting your pitch to the media can get you placed, and with patient persistence, combined with a developed relationship, you can become an "inside" source for a reporter. At this point, a press junket may not be too far-fetched.

Lesson 3. Show your "raw" side. Charlie's "big" interview aired on ABC's 20/20 where he smoked a cigarette, admitted he was on drugs, called the "Charlie Sheen drug", and exposed obviously erratic behavior. This was Charlie no-holds-barred, as he told his side of the story.

Good publicity tells your story. It is not about your product, service, business, stats, etc., but about the woman behind the success. We all are eager to know about, and root for, the journey you took to get from ordinary 9-to-5er to the wildly successful venture you launched.

In the world of celebrity, even bad publicity is considered "good" for public image. This is not the case in business. Smart marketing and branding garners good publicity. So when in doubt about your publicity campaign, take a lesson from the Charlie Sheen Method - and do the opposite.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Get Rid of Dream-Killers

This week, be DELIBERATE about who you listen to you. Excuse yourself from those in your life who (discreetly) are not your fans or haven't given your new venture a high-5. 

Flood your mind with positive thoughts and with forward-moving people! 

Pursue your dreams ~~

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is Your Business Worth a Million?

What is your brand worth? 

What is the value of your business?

It's not the market valuation.

Definitely not the fees you charge.

Not based on an independent auditor.

Pure and simple, the value that you give to your brand is what it is worth. 

A diamond is initially a lump of black coal - until it is cut and polished. That process gives the diamond a sometimes $1M+ value.

Think about that regarding your business. Build and grow your business by doing things of great worth. Treating your business like a million dollar business already (even when it currently is not) will set it up to be a success - YOU decide!

(And yes, diamonds ARE a girl's best friend!)

Disclaimer: Alas, the purse in this post is not mine. It is The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Girl, My Shoes and a Mouse

Disney has recently started a campaign to capture kids that are still in the womb! Whether it is a genius marketing idea or just plain brainwashing, the giant media conglomerate knows how to reach its target audience.

I have to admit, the Mouse House sure knows how to market. Disney has its marketing techniques down to a science - its case studies could probably fill volumes. Its marketing gurus study their target consumers, figure out what those consumers want, and give them what they want. That is the most basic of marketing concepts.

Give the customer what he wants, and later he will think it's what he needs.

The other day, my girlfriend and her toddler daughter came for a visit. No sooner did they walk through the door that the little girl saw my fuzzy pink slippers, rip off her shoes, and put the fuzzies on! It was amusing, and it made me think, "She's only 2, but the girl that she is loves footwear!"

This little girl knows what she likes. And she went after it.  No cajoling or bribing required.

Consumers are still people who know what they want, want what they want, and (if truth be told) love the entire process of being courted in the marketplace. But they are bombarded on a daily basis with all kinds of marketing messages. From sun up to sun down, they are surrounded by billboards, bus signs, shop windows, posters, TV and radio commercials, pop-ups, and even the occasional banner-toting airplane. The consumer is grabbed, startled, and jolted into looking and, hopefully purchasing.

The more savvy marketer will, like Disney, study his subject. Figure out what that subject wants, and then delivers. No hard sell there. Pure marketing - at its best.

Back to my friend's 2-year-old. After a nice lunch and a quick jaunt at the neighborhood park, we came back to my apartment to relax. I had recently purchased a great pair of platform shoes that I wanted to show my girlfriend. Yes, you guessed it, the little girl saw my heels, stopped what she was doing, squealed with delight and proceeded to slip her tiny feet in my lady-size sandals.

Though this pint-size diva is only 2, she already knows a great pair of shoes when she sees them. Not that I think its wise to start a line of toddler stilettos, but the point is, know your target audience: what they want, what makes them squeal with excitement, and be the one to offer them your product or service. Plain and simple.

It's all about a girl and her shoes...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another Made-Up Holiday

I will admit that it is with some annoyance that I view Valentine's Day.

When I was in grade school, it was a fun day: pestering my mom to take me to the store to buy a bag of those heart candies and a package of cards. Then coming home to write out the cards to my best friends, teachers, and maybe a boy I had a crush on, stuffing a few heart candies in the envelope, and waiting with anticipation until that great day arrived.

Unfortunately, the innocence and playfulness of Valentine's Day has been overshadowed by the frenzied commercialism of it. Jewelry retailers, flower shops, even gear up for one of their most profitable "holidays". It is no longer about love or romance - it's about buying the perfect red-laced or most blingy item possible to show your loved-one that you are no slouch. 

Truth be told, many unfortunate souls also make this day their shining moment of being loved by the greatest husband, boyfriend or significant other walking on this side of the world. Workplaces are fraught with delivery people wielding massive arrangements of flora, sprigs and sprays. Desks, tables and every conceivable flat surface have flowers galore sent to a spouse in order to shout "I love you!". Singles snicker at the boldness of it all, and some feel a tinge of alienation. This made-up holiday has a way of excluding a lot of people in the American population.

Let's return to the innocent school days of passing out Valentines to all our friends, teachers, and pets! Valentine's Day should be a whimsical day of outrageous, outward display of our affection for everyone we love - not just the romantic loves of our lives. Couples should not only declare their love to their "loves", but also to those singles who have helped, i.e. babysat or house-sat for them; singles should declare their love to their parents, siblings, good and best friends.

Valentine's Day should be not be filled with so much commercialism or pressure to buy something that gets tossed aside after a few days. A friend told me years ago, that we should tell those we love that we love them EVERYDAY. Hmmm - what a concept!

Happy Love Days!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

No Strings Attached (And All That Nonsense)

By now many of you have probably seen the movie (or at least the movie trailer), "No Strings Attached",  a story about no-strings-attached sex between two friends. Ashton Kutcher is Natalie Portman's pal, and they have an arrangement to get together whenever the need arises and "use each other" for sex. And we know the formula: they end up falling for each other, and the meaningless sex turns into true, forever, happily-after love.

Though the premise attempts to redeem itself, the message is quite misleading, and sadly, there are many people out there that will unwittingly believe that such a relationship could truly become reality. Unfortunately, the message will also translate differently for a woman than for a man. Women will think along romantic notions (sighs and butterflies), and men will think they this is the best arrangement ever (playah!) - both will end up with nothing but fool's gold.

I realize that I am ranting about a movie, but let's face it - we can get caught up in the fantasy of movies. I read an article some time ago which postulated that women's ideas about men and romance might be heavily predicated by what the movies portray - consciously or unconsciously. Whether or not there is some truth in that, it is rather disconcerting to see movies like "No Strings Attached" playing up the "positives" of an otherwise no-win romantic situation. There is nothing redemptive about the "no strings attached" concept, in romance, in business, in life!

Unfortunately, real life does not play like out like the "No Strings Attached" premise. We're not in Kansas anymore - someone's heart will be broken.  Rarely will the "bad boy" be reformed by the "good-girl-next-door", true love will not materialize after a heated night of passion, nor will the rich heir to a fortune throw his inheritance away just because he falls hard for the poor servant. Fairy tales are just that - they make our hearts swell, as we cheer the underdog. But let's not subconsciously think that life can somehow mirror what we see on the big screen - not even an iota.

Ladies, value and esteem yourselves! Becoming a "mean girl" or thinking that the "Ugly Truth" will morph into something "sweet" and "cute" is not endearing in the real world. Guys, you can be strong and masculine, and espouse honor and integrity. Bad behavior a la "Jersey Shores" or "Housewives" is totally NOT cool! No matter how entertaining to watch on TV.

Being a "no strings attached" person is shallow and non-committal. No personal relationship, business, project, or career can survive and thrive with such a life-view. A life worth having is fully committed in all facets: love, relationships, work, and business. It's the stuff that fulfilled dreams and sweet successes. You gotta be all in, otherwise don't play at all.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is There Such a Thing as a Cheap Giver?

Last week I queried my friends about the concept of giving. My question was, "What are your thoughts on someone who professes to have a lot of money, but proceeds to give cheap gifts?" I got a gamut of comments and opinions ranging from "be thankful for whatever it is you receive, big or small" to "people who give stingily are also stingy in heart". Whatever the circumstance you are in: whether you had a lean year and had to tighten up on the monetary "value" of the gifts you gave or you have an amazing bank account that never depletes, I believe giving is a state of the heart.

It seems that the word "give" itself connotes generosity. One definition I found states [that to give is] "to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation". Synonyms that come to mind are: "bestow", "present", "offer", "provide". These words certainly convey an attitude of generosity. The thesaurus shows the word "generous" to mean "big-hearted", "giving". Wow! 

So is there such a thing as a "cheap" giver? Not really, if the "giver" is really giving with the fullest intention of what that word truly means. My take is that if you are not generous to give, or you give only to those whom you find "favorable", then you should not give at all. You are not a giver, you are a show-off with your money. It is an insult, an slap in someone's face to give without a "big heart". One of my respondents said,"If you give without really caring for that person, you might as well give them a box of poo". My, well-said....