Sunday, August 19, 2012

"... Bad Girls Go EVERYWHERE!"

"To know her was to truly love everything about her." says a former assistant of Helen Gurley-Brown. I didn't know her.  I didn't even really know of her, truth be told.  But I do know about the legacy that she leaves behind, and sadly, that doesn't even begin to skim the surface of the life of a woman who could have been my heroine.  Well, at least one of them anyway.

As I began the research for my book, "Why Should Men Have All The Fun?," one of the first reads I ventured across happened to be "Sex and the Single Girl." Flipping through its description and table of contents, I would swiftly dismissed it thinking... surely, a book written in 1962, (and years before I was born) would hold very little significance for today's modern single woman.  Instead, I chose to read books like "The Art of Seduction" by Robert Greene and Neil Strauss' "The Game." It wasn't hard to quantify that further getting inside the heads of men was to have been the chosen road. As it would turn out, neither of which served any purpose, since the my writing quickly took on a life of it's own, in the form of a memoir. Who knew?

But as I think back to those chapters told, I can recall how a few of the sexy, salacious articles in the very same Cosmopolitan Magazine, electrically charged some of the very actions I confessed on those pages.  From the barely there ads of racy under garments, to the erotic samples of fragrances that perfumed my mailbox each month, to say that it  somehow influenced the formidable woman I've become, would be a definite understatement.  Yes, the goal-oriented articles about "How to Land that Perfect Job," would prove to be an interesting read, but it was really the scandalous essays on "How to Please Your Man in Bed" that caught the eye of every college girl around.  And who could blame us?That's the stuff that Mama never told us about.  The sharing of that subscription with my five college roommates became a monthly ritual that would shape us all to some degree...and some of us more than others.  I can laugh now about how vividly I recall becoming inflamed about how my magazine would magically disappearing, never to be found again, which coincidentally led to putting a lock on my bedroom door, just to be able to get through an entire issue. Who knew?

And as I now glance through tidbits about the tantalizing life of Ms. Gurley Brown, I am now overcome by a slight sadness, ashamed to now realize the potential of her reach. Why did I not know of her before? A champion of women's sexual freedoms during the days when Jeannie would magically appear out of her bottle via her pretty puff of pink smoke, (barely showing her cleavage, much less her belly button) at the beck and call of her Master, Astronaut Tony Nelson. These were the days of Harriet Nelson and June Cleaver, whose lives centered around the shenanigans of their children, never kissing their husbands in the lips. Re-runs of I Love Lucy were still very much in the mix, depicting how Lucy and Ricky got pregnant with Little Ricky, while sleeping in separate twin-sized beds.  Yet, there is this trendsetter crying out to all of the single women across all lands to live large, be fearless, stay sexy and remain single. She was not just an infamous promoter of women's sexual liberation, she was a working-class woman's role model who declared herself, her magazine and her message feminist, all the while taking tons of flack from her critics.  She was in fact a teacher who didn't just preach it... she lived every word she wrote.  And while her actions may not warrant a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she does as the very least deserve a place in the pantheon of 20th-century feminist leaders. Who knew?

Now that I know a bit more about this intrepid heroine who I never existed to me until her death,  I  raise my glass of wine to her as I celebrate her words...

"Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere!"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fifty Shades of Fascinating Philosophies...

I can't speak for you, but there was a time in recent months where everything I saw and read had at least a reference to the trilogy... "Fifty Shades of Grey." Wanting to understand what all the hoop-la was about, I like everyone else, jumped on the bandwagon  and purchased a copy of the first book in the series.  Despite the publicity,  as a newly published author, I was genuinely intrigued to understand what the excitement was all about.  Exactly what was it about this book, by a fellow first time author, made everyone who read it... want more?  I could in fact understand, if this work centered around a famous person or persons that we could relate to on some tangible level.  But as a society, have we become so starved and curious about the sexual escapades of fictional characters?  Curious minds wanted to know... what magic was concocted in this particular series that would make THREE books, best sellers?  Does "Mommy Porn" really sell 20 million copies in a matter of a span of twelve months?  Inquiring minds really wanna know...

As research would determine, this primary audience who just happened to be married women, fantasized the core message about the redeeming power of love. These women verbalized buying "Steele-Grey" ties for their husbands while shopping for similar sex toys and blogging about the novel's unrivalled power to reignite the heat and intensity behind closed doors.

Interestingly enough, it would appear that readers are somewhat undecided about the writing talent of Ms. E.L. James.  While 55% of the James fans view her as is a genius who writes with tantalizing detail about forbidden sexual desires to submit, succumb, possess and ultimately punish our virgin princess who has just graduated from college, another 45%  of audience viewed in unfavorable, by giving it only one star on  What's more, the audience appears to relate to the complicated relationship between the insecure virgin and her bossy prince charming, whose relationship evolves very quickly over the course of this series. But at its core, James manages to captivate her readers with the most popular category in book publishing... "Love and Romance." Despite its mixed reputation, the series is an old-fashioned love story involving mild bondage, uncommon sex toys, and good old "vanilla sex" mixed with "kinky fuckery."  It is truly the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back plot which has fueled audiences for centuries.  And while I can honestly say that I have never really been a fan of "Chick Flicks" for the fictional sensationalism that continues to fuel this particular fantasy craze, I shamefully admit to not being able to put this book down, earnestly wanting to know with every page turn, what will happen next.

So exactly what did I learn from my experience through the best selling genre of
love and romance, also known as "Mommy Porn...???"

Does SEX Sell... Usually YES, but more importantly, most appear to be ultimately interested in the love aspect of this series. True enough, as the story unfolds, our virgin princess not only develops quite an appetite for her partner, she shows a stamina for what appears to be sex on almost a daily basis. While married women may NOT have that insatiable appetite for raw unadulterated sex, getting caught up in the sensationalism of fictional romanticism could prove to be quite the challenge.  After all, what woman wouldn't desire the best aspects of Mr. Grey to be hidden somewhere within their own true  partner? Page after page is a dissertation about how lost in love these two are for one another or descriptions about being in the throws of unbridled passion, although our hero can't stand to be touched. Ironic... maybe not.

Don't Show All Your Cards- Fiction or not, our virgin princess continually displays her insecurities throughout the trilogy by professing... "How can a beautiful man like this be interested in a young, inexperienced girl like me?"  Understanding that no one is perfect, its only human nature that we all might come to the table with our own form of insecurities.  Believing that we are all a work in progress, shouldn't we also think that it is in our best interest to continuously work on our issues, until they are no longer at the fore-front?  Even our prince recognized his faults and understood their origin as well as a need to resolve them.  Throughout the series, he continues to work on them, never giving up, and even encouraging the love of his life to do the same. While his solution was to seek the guidance of a shrink (and our prince confesses that he's seen many shrinks with many different methods of attack,) he established the need to continue on until he discovered who and what therapy worked best for him. Further acknowledging that he is still a work in progress, and still willing to do the work to get the job done. We are all deserving and worthy... if we believe we are.

What Works For Some May Not Work For Others-    Call it "degrading" or "mommy porn" or any of the other things that reviewers and critics alike have labeled it.  And while it may not be your thing... what it is very successful at is allowing its readers to escape the humdrum of every day life while addressing the needs of a particular woman, albeit it inexperienced, to have her every desire met by a man who truly adores her.  Tell me what woman in their right mind, would not want a piece of that action?  Fiction or not... sign me up!  And while the strong single women of today may not be willing to recognize "the N Word," the longing to be desired has to be forefront in the minds of those women simply just want to be loved.  Who among us can blame them?

Do Not Over Think Things-    As if you didn’t already recognize from our princess' constant inner dialogue, she spends way too much time in her head. Instead, let loose every now and then and go with your instincts.  If so led,  feel free to look for love in all the unexpected places. Yes, I understand that this is fiction true enough, but who knows what could be in store for you? How many times have you heard about a real-life romance that happened right under the receiver's nose?  You could call it fate or destiny, but isn't it plausible that it was a matter of taking a chance on something totally unexpected on the road the less traveled?  But even more simplistic than the task of finding love, is how this particular phenomenon of the tangible paper kind caused millions of women, including myself, to take a selfish time out to address a more important need... "ME TIME!"

So before you make the same error that I did... dismissing the hoop-la of the Fifty Shades Trilogy... Take heed to the words of our fictional Adonis, Christian Grey:

“My belief is to achieve success in any scheme.  One has to make oneself master of that scheme, know it inside and out, know every detail.”       

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"You Make Me Sick..."

"You make me sick!  You make single life look like its so much fun!  How do you do that?"

Who says something like that???    Unfortunately for me, the words came from a dear single girlfriend during a recent conversation. It all started as an inquiry into my recent four month solo travel epic through Central America, and some how evolved into..."You make me sick..." 

Now I am no expert on how to live an irresistibly insatiable life, but I am pretty darn happy and fulfilled.  I know myself, I know what I like, and I have an incredibly fun social life that just happens to be filled with a whole lot of terrific people.  In fact, I have the "BEST" girlfriends in the entire world to be more specific. And while they have a lot to do with what makes me happy in general, I also know how to celebrate my quiet time. 

But in my opinion, the woman who is miserably single will probably be pretty unhappy in other areas of her life. If I had to venture a guess, I would bet you anything there are other issues she's wrestling with and it's just easier to blame her singleness than it is to do the work she would need to address her true evils.

And while my friend's comment took me by surprise, I didn't believe for one moment her comment should be taken literally. Regardless of your marital status, I truly believe that one of our sole purposes on this Earth is to enjoy the life we have been given while collectively spreading love, joy and experience with those around us.  After all, the "Golden Rule... is to do onto others as you would have them do unto you."  If the situation were in reverse, and I was the one who was perceived as miserably single, I would hope that someone to take an interest to help me out of my melancholy and gloom.

With that purpose in mind, I tried my best to decipher the biggest influences that would have drawn her conclusion, and tried to make a few humble suggestions to aid her (and others for that matter) onto the road of the glorious single life...

Surround Yourself With FABULOUS People- I mentioned earlier that I have the "BEST" girlfriends in the world.  And while each of them serves a specific role, in general, I believe that we all do an excellent job of supporting and lifting up one another. We are more than friends... we are mentors,  teachers and sometimes family members. We are great listeners and we know just how to be there when we are needed. We also know how to make each other feel good about ourselves, and that's an important part of the friendship.  When we feel good about ourselves, it becomes infectious. We also understand that not everyone is going to like us... but we don't want everyone to like us. If they don't know what they are missing out on... then that's their problem and not ours.

Be a DOER... Not Just A THINKER- Thinkers sit around contemplating change, but DOERS actually put their thoughts to action.  What's the point of putting together a great plan, if its not executed. After all, "faith without works is dead"... right??? Doers are active people.  They have hobbies that they love and engage in them on a regular basis. Work is not the total focus of their being and achieving balance can take some time and practice, but makes for an incredibly well-rounded person.  They don't rely on other people to entertain them, they do a great job of doing that all by themselves. Doers are smart people with curious, educated opinions, and are not the least bit afraid of doing things alone if need be.  They enjoy their own company and do not wait for others to experience the things they themselves want to do.  You see them everywhere... the solo-ists who are enjoying the newest restaurant, taking that cooking class or traveling alone to explore a new city or country.

Truly Know THY Self- I truly believe that to be appealing to others, you must first be comfortable in your own skin. No games. No false pretenses. Just 100% you.  We are interesting people with terrific social lives. Take time out to figure out what makes you happy, because everyone loves a happy person.  Would you want to spend your time with someone who is a constant complainer?  You can't pretend to be a lover of wine if all the wine you know is White Zinfandel. (Sorry, if I offend anyone... but friends don't let friends drink white zinfandel!) Take the time to educate yourself on those things you enjoy.  Interested in something but don't know enough about it to really enjoy it?  Then take the time out to explore it. There is something about having a true interest in something to attract the right people to you.  From childhood, I had always wanted to explore scuba diving.  Recently,  I decided that I was finally going to do it.  During the process of enjoying my experience, I attracted the attention of a former scuba instructor who is now the director of one of the largest aquariums in the world. Guess who now has an exclusive invitation to take partake in one of the most unique diving experiences in the world?  Me! That's who!

It is my prayer, that these reflections will help anyone, regardless of your marital status, find the road to the glorious life you were meant to live!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

That Dreaded "N" Word...

No, not that one silly!  As a single women who is strong and fiercely independent, I do my best to be as autonomous as a single woman can be.  I've always been this way. Even as a young girl, I held down an after school job at a dance studio, simply because I didn't want to have to ask my mother for money. As an auntie, I am constantly encouraging my young nieces to do the same.  If you want something, go after it.  Be smart. Be strong. Be responsible. Be self-sufficient.

Do we as a society, condition our girls and young women in the same manner? I'm not just referring to money here. The messages are everywhere. Stay in school.  Don't have sex. Don't get pregnant. Be smart. Be strong. Be responsible. Be self-sufficent.  And while its all well-meaning, is it possible that its all to our determent?  Is it possible that we are imparting to our young maidens not to "need?"

We've all seen the reports of mothers who freely give of themselves to their families and friends, putting their own needs last.  Clothes need to be washed, dinner needs to be cooked, dishes need to be cleaned, and the kids need help with their homework.  And after she's worked all day, and all the household tasks are complete her husband now wants to fulfill his sexual "needs."  She probably won't communicate that she "needs" a bit of quiet time to herself, and a bubble bath was more along the lines of what she had in mind.  Or if she does, then she'll feel guilty about taking time out for herself.  So I have to ask the question... are we, the independent women of the world, perpetuating a dangerous cycle to give of ourselves never expecting to have our needs met in return?

Now in my professional life, there is no problem expressing the "needs" of the client to the team that will help me accomplish the goal.  Or going to my Facebook page to ask a question because I "need" more information or a second opinion.  But let me "need" more time with the guy I am dating, or "need" for someone to have compassion for a situation I am dealing with, and I can almost guarantee that I not going to ask for what I "need." To appear "needy" in a relationship is perceived as a "cardinal sin" and I'm just not going to do it. In my mind, to be "needy" translates into being helpless or powerless.  I am way to strong and self-sufficient for that.

It's funny when you think about it... but men don't appear to have this problem. I hear them use the word quite frequently. And while they may not expect to get all of their "needs" fulfilled, the certainly don't hesitate to ask in spite of it. Whether it comes to work, play or romance, they ask for what they want, and don't think twice about the perception of appearing needy. Its almost as though they are conditioned to expect for their needs to be met. Who says men are not communicators?

Its ironic that men rely on women throughout their entire lives...first starting with their mothers and then moving on to their girlfriends and finally their wives. So where did the disconnect happen for many of us women? We were not conditioned to rely on our fathers in the same way?

So I guess I find the "need " to ask myself... at what point did I decide it was wrong to "need," rely on others or even ask for help? When did "need" translate into helplessness or powerless? And more importantly, is this the message that I want to relay to my nieces and all of the other young women who's paths I have crossed?

The older I get, the more I realize how complicated life can be.  I've always understood the power of my words, and the importance of clear communication, but there are time when actions speak louder than words. The damage may have already been done, but I hope it's not too late to right the wrong... to "NEED" can be a good thing... and it's not the curse word it used to be.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Back To My Reality... As I Choose It For Now...

Sunset at San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” — Lao Tzu

As much as I hate to admit it... travel adventures as I know it are now over. Gone is the freedom of solo travel and the allure of meeting new friends to explore new adventures. At least, for now.  Not because I choose it to be over, but because the reality of life has come to the forefront. As much as I would love to globetrot as if I were Lewis and Clark, my last name is neither, and the Johnson's of my family tree has not endowed me a trust fund in which to subsidize my hearts desires.  And yes, although I can pay bills by internet and keep in touch with family members via Skype, I do not possess the team of people that I trust to give full autonomy to my financial state of affairs to renew car registration, car tags and drivers license. My guess is that to assemble a team as such would probably take millions... millions I do not have. At least not yet anyway.  And so my reality is... to return to life as I knew it.

But the truth is, life will never really be as it was.  The reality is... experiences make us grow. Learning new lessons, and implementing them into our lives changes everything about who we once were. Mr. Albert Einstein I know would agree.  To take a page from his book...

 “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”

Albert was a smart man.  Every time I step foot in a new city, a new country, a new continent... I am in awe.  There is something hypnotic about experiencing the world that you've only been able to read about on paper, come to life before your very eyes. The world, if you've never seen it, is the mysterious.  And it is out there, sitting, waiting for all who are willing to take privilege in it.

Sadly, when I joined the ranks of Americans who actually held passports in 1998, I was devastated to learn that I was part of a small but elite group just over 6.5 million or 15% of the international traveling minority in this country.   It wasn't until 2007, that the travesty of 9/11 made it mandatory for Americans traveling to Canada and Mexico be required to acquire passports when traveling on land or sea.  But even then, the number only jumped to 18.3 million or 22% of the American public. Even as of this writing, only 30% of Americans possess a passport in 2012, according to a recent CNN travel article.

“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” 
– Frank Herbert

But the truth is, travel can be a reality for all of us who deem it a priority.  I often hear people affirm ... "you sure travel a lot!", as if it were a privilege only afforded to the wealthy. Just yesterday, I heard those very words while chatting to an old high school acquaintance.  I suppose that is because, I do see it as my reality. And for things which we ourselves deem as important... these things then take precedence.

I suppose I obtained the spirit of exploration from my father.  A truck driver by trade, he was determined to see..."as much of GOD'S green Earth as HE would allow." Despite the fact he understood it required a bit more time to travel with me, because I "couldn't just pee in a cup" like my brother... he still deemed it significant for me to experience the long trek along the Canadian pipeline to the heights of Alaska... TWICE.  As a little girl, I often resented not being able to travel with my Dad as much as my brother, and so I in turn felt the urgency to direct my aim so that I could perfect the talent of being able to "pee in a cup." Little good that did me...

But back to the point at hand... there is never a good time for change, but it is important to understand is what the cost would be if we don't.  What do we stand to loose if we don't create travel opportunities for ourselves.  By not executing a curiosity for the unknown, what message does this send to our children, nieces, nephews and youth of tomorrow...  Americans are comfortable in their own environment, and do not find it important enough to venture out into unfamiliar territory. Why on Earth is that??? In many countries, but particularly Israeli, it is considered a rite of passage to travel abroad. They do this in the year following army service, as a way to unwind from the stress of serving two to three years.  I was able to experience this first hand during my travels throughout Central America. Young Israelis were everywhere, as were other nationalities. Sadly, few Americans were to be found.

Foremost on the reasons to travel is that you discover a lot about yourself. Now I'm not talking about taking a family trip to Disney World. When I speak of a special vacation, I envision someone backpacking across Europe or driving along the coast of Australia... that is, a trip with cultural significance. Not many things in the world can inspire you like seeing the Colosseum in Rome or the Pyramids in Egypt.  Whether you're a lover of history, architecture or nature, only travel will satisfy your passion. No words can describe the rush you feel when gazing upon the Mona Lisa or admiring the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Experiences can range from the legendary (watching the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain) to the relaxing (enjoying a hot spring while snow swirls around you in Iceland), but they share one common link: they are all memorable. In every corner of the world, there is excitement waiting for you. It is simply a matter of sticking your head out and going for it.

Time puts everything in perspective for us. Can you recall those stressful milestones that once invaded your life – your first exam, your first date, your first real job?  Many of these you barely remember because in the grand scheme they’re not the significant events they once were.  Leaving your current situation may seem daunting, but in the future it may only seem like a minor event in your life, and perhaps even an obvious choice.  If you don’t make the travel change now, will you regret it years later?

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what
 inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Amen Ms. Rosalia! Amen to that!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Finally...I Made It!

Depicts CIA involvement in the Revolution 
After a full 48 hours of travel mishaps, although small but irritating nonetheless, I finally made it to Nicaragua. Dumped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, I am bombarded by some six taxi drivers  all vying for a chance to win my cordobas. And while I am honestly annoyed by the pushy sales pitches, I can respect the need to hustle for the traveler's dollar amongst the heavy competition. For the winner, it can sometimes mean the luxury of having meat with the typical rice, beans and plantains for his family. But I cannot complain for it was here that I met Melanie, a sassy young Australian, who also was dumped out in the middle of nowhere. We rode for many hours on the same bus together, and never spoke a word to one another, but were now teaming up against the riot of men to share a taxi into Leon.

As it turns out, Leon is a very charming college town steeped rich with revolutionary history. At every turn you'll find evidence of a proud people fostering their wounds with pride. Colorful murals cleverly located near the university remind its young people of a past they are too young to have experienced. As I studied each one to interpret its meaning, I stumbled across one "representing the "Sandinistas" armed struggle and the CIA's role (the serpent) to influence the Nicaraguan elections. The fact that I was not personally involved in this manipulation did nothing to deter my guilt or remorse for enjoying the interesting depiction. I was American and that was reason enough. Sadly, the rest of the city was not as well maintained as one could hope for. What remains of its colonial stature, colossal cathedrals and a vibrant art scene, made it a city full of substance, and that made for a stimulating stay. Melanie and I found great places to satisfy our hunger, one favorite of ours, Barbaro, was worthy of a second visit.  A great city to experience on foot,  and in hindsight, I regret not doing a guided tour.  My main purpose for my stay was to hike and volcano board down the infamous Cerro Negro, which I shamelessly accomplished while crashing out twice. Nonetheless, it was an experience of a lifetime, one that I will arrogantly boast to my nieces and nephews once I return home.

Next on the "Gringo Trail" was the Nicaragua's oldest city of Granada, which sits on the foot of the majestic Volcan Mombacho while simultaneously resting on the dark sandy shores of Lago de Nicaragua. It's beautifully maintained colonial architecture does well representing the Spanish empire of old, and it doesn't hurt that the cuisine was to die for.  From the grand central park, to the fabulous cathedrals and cobblestone streets, this was a luminous city to explore on foot. It also serves as a great base for other outdoor excursions like exploring the nearby islands of Las Isletas, the handicrafts center Masaya, and the towns of Pueblos Blancos. This part of my adventure holds a special place in my heart... as it marks the first time I ventured out of my "solo traveler mode" to travel with a group of complete strangers that made an already awesome experience, that much more incredible.  Melanie and I quickly grew to a group of eleven, consisting our four Australians, four Americans, one Spaniard and two Israelis who were quickly dumped early on.  The Israelis need mention, for if it had not been for meeting them on the street, and recommending their hostel to us, Melanie and I would never have met the others. Since we were all traveling in the same direction, it just made sense to combine our experiences.  It was also this group that would be responsible for breaking me out of my "private room-private bath" snobbishness to share a dorm room, which was another experience in itself. Not one that I was fond of at first, but they made a believer out of me, and I was able to save a few pennies in the process.  Who knew?

After exploring Las Isletas, sharing pizza and wine, and group breakfasts at the Garden Cafe', our group of now eight traveled onwards via "Chicken Bus" to the popular pacific coast destination of San Juan del Sur which used to be a sleepy little Pacific coast hamlet, until it was discovered by backpackers and surfers as the perfect spot for beach wandering, kite surfing, deep sea fishing sunbathing... and of course surfing.  There is a laid back vibe to this town, and what originally was planned as a two day venture quickly turned into four and our group of eight now split in half to stay at separate hostels. We happened into town during "Caravana del Caribe" an outdoor night festival of live beachfront music and dancing.  This made it easy for our now two groups to convene together at night, as drinking and dancing in the streets of San Juan were right up our alley.  One night while enjoying the local beer at a beachfront bar, we watched the ending to a spectacular baseball game. Nicaragua is playing Cuba in a five game series.  "How great would it be to catch a game while we are here?" someone from the group comments.  Just like that, with a bit of planning, we were off on the next "Chicken Bus" to Managua to see the next game in the series.  Not something I would have done solo, that's for sure, despite being an avid sports fan, but being part of this group made it so much more electric. Cuba killed it in this game against Nica, and I am ecstatic that I had the chance to experience it. Blessing to my new travel buddies, Melanie, Jemma, Makensie, Carlos, Jennifer, Alexander and Daniel. Keep on Travelin'!!!

So after globetrotting in Central America for the past eight weeks, it's back to the real world as I know it. Responsibility is calling and I have a dog who is in need of his mother. Do not think that for one second, that I didn't try to scheme a way to get my dog to Central America.  If he were small enough, it would have been as easy as paying a fee for him to fly in the cabin. Sadly, it's too hot for him to fly as cargo, or I'd be on the next flight to Panama.

Who says "... Men have all the fun?!?"  Not me... that's for sure!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In The Pursuit of Happiness- Forming A Great Offense... Part 1

This month I celebrate the blessing of yet another birthday.  

My Facebook page both proudly and humbly showcases over 100 birthday well wishes from friends and family.  And while they are each individually humbling enough to bring any girl to tears… there was one in particular that made me take pause.  It conveyed:

“So I see you still have a love of the water… Blessings to you on a wonderful birthday.”

It was sent from a dear childhood friend with whom I had known since the fourth grade.  It gave pause because her exclamation brought me back to a youthful time when my career dream was to become a marine biologist.  It was this, that would later inspire me to become both lifeguard and a water safety instructor. The third of these career steps would require future certification from diving instruction. In hindsight, I’m not exactly sure how my youthful brain translated that into a career in water sciences, but back then, I made perfect sense. I knew, in my heart of hearts, becoming a marine biologist would fulfill a life long dream… and thus produce a lifetime of happiness.  

In the spirit of birthdays and happiness… There’s something that magically happens once you are fully aware that you are about to enter your forties.  At least it did for me, and for a few countless others  whom I have promised shall remain nameless. 

I remember it like it was yesterday, although in hindsight it was almost 10 years ago.   At age 36, I made the life altering decision to not have children.  Fresh out of a relationship lasting seven years that I felt sure would end in marriage; the thought of being a single parent was never even a remote possibility.  Unless my prince charming magically entered my life at thirty-six and we could make a successful run at things before I turned forty, the possibility of becoming a parent would be gone like the wind.  I searched for him, even prayed for him... but all to no avail.  

As strange as it may seem, there was almost a metamorphosis unconsciously manifesting during the three-year period following my childbearing decision.  And with that came the realization that I was living life as it came to me instead of creating the life I wanted.  As a sports fan, this translated into living a defensive life, when the reality should have been that I should be creating an offensive life.  Sure it is true that defense wins games… but it is the best offense that sets the tone for the ENTIRE game.  Set a great plan in motion, and then defend, but only as the need requires.

So at age 39, it became necessary to inaugurate a new way to think about my life’s path.  Firm on my parenting decision, and now knowing what was now set before me, another inexplicable decision was made, which would unknowingly amend the course of my life forever…  I made the choice to be happy. 

Sure this sounds easy enough, but in order to make it happen, and then make it stick, the process one subjects them to is not an easy one.  It’s not just a decision, but series of decisions, that then are required to translate into repeated actions, which should then be performed over and over on a weekly, monthly yearly basis.  

Simply stating that you want to be happy would then actually require that you understand exactly what happiness is.   Then the act of manifesting happiness in your own life takes not just an understanding of how that translates for you, but an entire journey involving exploration, that in my opinion… never really ends.

I believe that happiness is much more than the many words that describe it. Contentment, pleasure, gladness, joy, bliss, delight, exhilaration, ecstasy and glee just begin to touch the surface, once the implementation of happiness begins.  Webster defines it as:

Now, this is just my modest opinion, but to truly possess and retain these emotions is where the true occupation lies. Keep in mind that there are ebbs and flows in every life.  Considering this… How else can we expect to know what true happiness is, if we haven’t been privy to life’s sadness and hurt?  How would we begin to understand satisfaction, if we have never been through disappointment?  To expect to remain in a constant state of happiness is simply naive.  But at the risk of exploiting a further point… I would suppose that this is where defense would play a role.  A great offense is nothing without a great defense. 

So with that being said…  first know and understand what happiness means to you.  This is a big one so feel free to take your time with this one.  It’s important.  For with this initial step, as it then becomes the foundation to forming a great offense.

Without full the comprehension of what I have just described I began to comprise a catalog or a bucket list of sorts, of the items, things, accomplishments I needed to achieve in my trek to undertake the objective that is called happiness.  And while the record has been revised over the years, always remaining at the top has always been to see the world.  So this birthday, it’s Central America.   And since diving was previously on the infantile catalog… then why not knock off the adolescent aspiration as well?  As is my usual practice, I will be celebrating all month.  Most of the month will be consumed with travel, but I will make sure to close it out at the end of the month with family and friends.  It’s just a few of the many things that I know make me happy.  But since we are talking about it…

Exactly what does happiness mean to you…???

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Beauty of Solo Travel

I got sucked in... I mean really sucked in.  The original plan was to leave on Tuesday, but there's something about this place called Utila that spoke to me. It kept saying..."Don't go DJ.... you can't leave yet!" So, I heeded to the call and I didn't leave until the following Sunday.

That's the beauty of solo travel.  If I want to change my plans... I can do just that. But the truth is, who could blame me? With these warm, crystal blue waters filled with thousands of species of tropical fish, rich coral reefs and other fabulous marine life, I just couldn't give it all up without a fight. And I am so glad I didn't... my fight won a sighting of that "yellow-spotted" string ray in the above photo.  So your not into diving, maybe you prefer snorkeling, kayaking, hiking or even horseback riding. My guess is there is something here for everyone. I held out hope to encounter the magnificent blue whale sharks Utila is so famous for, but my timing wasn't quite right.  It seems that they are usually spotted during September and October or from March to April. Oh well, such is life.

But there is truly something in the air (or water) that draws you in and makes you not want to leave this place.  Over and over I heard stories from residents who came for a visit and never left. With all the comforts of home, this idyllic spot is the perfect combination of party town and diving haven.  Not being much of a party person in my older age, I opted for the more soothing diving haven.  And if sports is your thing, there are quite a few places to enjoy them.  My favorite place to do just that turned out to be "the best dive in town..." a little place amply named... Skid Row.  More than just a cool place to kick back with a cold beer and watch the game, the cuisine was simple, but indeed quite yummy.  Everything from a slammin' calzone and pizza, to taco salads and fajita style burritos that knock your socks off, you'll find many menu items to satisfy a craving for great food.  Absolutely, a great place to meet locals, and it's owner Ryan ended up being a really cool dude, despite the fact that he is rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder to win against my San Antonio Spurs in the NBA semi-finals.  We'll just see about that Ryan! Spurs are back at home for game five, and are gonna give them Thunder..."Some Nasty For Sure!"

With my birthday arriving this week, I kinda felt the need for a little love.  I couldn't think of a better spot to celebrate, than in the quaint colonial town of Copan Ruinas Most come for the Mayan Ruins that are within walking distance from the city's central park, but that's huge mistake.  This tranquil little spot sports an excellent collection of bars, restaurants and attractions too.  From the ultra fabulous Hacienda San Lucas with its romantic countryside eco-friendly setting, to the hypnotic Enchanted Wings Butterfly and Nature Center filled with it's amazing butterflies and 150 different species colorful orchids, you are sure to find something to strike your fancy.  If that isn't enough, try your hand at a two hour sunrise hike, horseback riding, birdwatching or even challenge yourself to a week of Spanish lessons.  There are two schools located here that have gotten great reviews, but my favorite is Guacamaya Spanish School During my one month stay in August 2011, Enrique ran a fabulous school and the teachers were all top notch, including my own maestra, Senora Delmey, who watched over me with the loving kindness of my own mother. Once again, my choice of residence is the ever so fabulous Via-Via. Quaint, with only five rooms, all with private baths, free wifi, superior vegetarian menu (with optional meat selections) awesome beer selections and movie nights for the equivalent of $1 each, this place is definitely a winner. Perhaps I'll spend my birthday at the very cool Macaw Mountain and Bird Reserve, before heading out for drinks with friends to Wine Barcito (yes, there is even a wine bar here) perhaps  ending the evening with movie night.  Tonight's showing... Chronicle. I'm told its a sci-fi flick about three high school friends who make some incredible discovery that gives them super powers that spin their lives out of control. Sounds marginal at best, but who knows what the evening will bring.

 I'll plant myself here through Sunday morning when then I am off to Nicaragua... and this time for real!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

More Honduran Adventures

La Ceiba, Honduras… a vibrant, hustling metropolis whose people are just as colorful as the streets they occupy.  With less than 200,00 residents, it’s not hard to understand why this town gets it reputation as a party town.  At first glance, one would think that there not much to this place, as it’s not particularly attractive or distinctive. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find more than just a drop off point for the Bay Islands or La Moskitia. Sitting ever so proudly below its own Pico Mountain, you’ll discover not just a pulsating bazaar filled with fine drinks and fabulous food… but its people are as warm and friendly as the smiles on their faces.  Come prepared with a phrase book and a bit of Spanish to get by, as English is not widely spoken here. But make an effort and its people are more than willing to assist…if they can.

I only experienced its pleasure by accident.  The original plan was to pass through on my way to the Bay Island of Utila, but problems with the last boat from the mainland sidelined me long enough to experience just a taste of what I would have missed out on. The next boat would leave out at 9:30 am and I was bound and determined to be on it, since partying isn’t really my thing.  But when it Rome… or La Ceiba…

Utila on the other hand has a slightly different vibe… a small island once idyllic for the British elite, now known to backpackers and party people alike as a diving haven. More quaint than it’s bigger and more popular brother Roatan to the east, its inhabitants will more than make up for the lack of beaches and fewer snorkeling sites. Your pocket will thank you as well, as food and lodging are less expensive here.  The longer I stay, the more it grows on me.  At the time of this posting, I would have been here a full eight days, and I can honestly say that I am not yet ready to leave.

My main focus here was indeed diving.  Sharing the same fabulous reefs and eco-system with its more famous and noticeably more expensive neighbor Belize, Honduras is one of the most economical places in the world to gain your diving certifications.  Everything from entry-level open water to dive master and instructor certifications can be obtained here at a fraction of the cost as lesser destinations offering similar amenities. There are currently seven different dive centers on the island and each with a different vibe, but something for everyone. Many also offer free accommodations while diving.  For me, the choice was Bay Island College of Diving who did a spectacular job of walking me through the certification process, as well as their fabulous facility... even BEFORE that had my money.  Charla and Remis... Thanks for the love!  Everyone on staff, from the other divemasters and instructors, right down to Seth, our boat captain was warm, friendly and outgoing. Overall, I can sum this up as a great experience.

Should you be less interested in diving and more interested in snorkeling or kayaking, Utila can certainly meet your fancy.  If rest and relaxation is on your list, then you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised, and your belly will be satisfied too.  I have yet to have a meal that was less than fabulous.  From the street vendors and little cocinas to the more established restaurants listed in the guidebooks and trip advisor, you’ll find everything from Indian and Italian to Sushi and locale fare.  Sadly, I was here for three days before I was able to find seafood on anyone’s menu… but proudly practicing responsible sustainable seafood practices, you’ll find no pouching on this island.  Posters are proudly published all over the island.  That was enough to lift my disappointment. 

These are certainly some of the warmest people I've met during my travels.  Special shout out goes out to The Bodden Family who truly opened their hearts as though I were a member of their own family,  during my stay at the Bayview Inn.  Driftwood Cafe' had one of the best seafood stews I had ever eaten, and Joya's, Ultra Light Cafe reignited my love of "the falafael." And although its not a regular item on her daily menu, Joya’s chocolate cheesecake flan was out of this world! Care for a taste of grilled kingfish, wahoo or baracuda, then let me suggest RJ's Bar and Grill... FANTASTIC! For a quick but fabulous breakfast try one of Liddia's delectable cinnamon rolls or egg sandwiches made on a homespun sweet coconut bread rolls baked fresh daily…Oh so yummy! 

With still a few days left to dive, my stay on Utila will probably end on Tuesday.  Then it’s on to the next stop… Nicaragua!

Monday, May 21, 2012

And The Beat Goes On...

After taking months off to be a virtuous daughter, and a dedicated new author, it was now cerebrally necessary to take my heart and my head back where it belonged… back on the road.  The urge to pick up where I had left off had been calling me for months, but it was essential for me to stand in for grander mission. One which had sidelined my road trip from the start.

During a stint through Guatemala, in mid-September of 2011, I received a dreaded phone call, informing that breast cancer struck again with a vengeance. It would be almost exactly one year to the day since the surgery of my mother’s original diagnosis.  Knowing there was no way to conscientiously continue my personal journey, I took time out to pause and handle business.

Today, I can thankfully report that Mom is now cancer free for a second time.  She has since been placed on notice to not accept or otherwise incubate any form of cancer at anytime in the foreseeable future. Eating in a more conscious manner, while engaging in a slightly more physical lifestyle than the sedentary one she had been used to, was no longer an option.  To insure this happened, at least temporarily, I left my beloved companion with her, an active but sweet two-year old Jack Russell mix, whose own lifestyle requires walking three times daily.  Not to insinuate that anyone would dare wish this dreaded disease on themselves or anyone else for that matter.  But making this declaration while taking my stance was my way of exercising my faith.  ("Faith without works is dead..." James 2:17 NKJV.) Throwing my demands out into the world to be heard and manifested, I have always believed in the power of words.  It is in large part why I decided to become a writer. ("The power of life and death is in the tongue." Proverbs 18:21)  But as an added insurance policy, a heart to heart with His Royal Holiness was needed. ("The effective prayer of the righteous man availeth much." James 5:16) And just like that in my heart I recieved, “the cancer will not kill her… although you just might.”  With my quick confirmation, I now believed I had permission to carry on.

I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of a airline fare war that required leaving out on the very day of my mother’s last cancer related doctor’s appointment. I’m not sure that sat well with her. I’m not sure that would have sat well with me either, had the situation been reversed. It bothered me to leave town on what could be a pending thought that implied I just had to take to first flight out to get the heck out of dodge.  This was not the case in the least, and a $150 savings in my flight costs partially justified my guilt. Nevertheless, this forty-four year old woman would succumb to the pressure, print the email, and explain my decision, all to avoid any drama that could potentially be lurking at some unknown point in the future. Luckily for me… the truth worked, at least for the time being.

With that being said, arriving on a flight that should have landed at 1am into San Pedro Sula, Honduras, didn’t until 3:00am, because of storms. The original plan was to get a hotel room for the night, knowing that there would be a bus at 9:30am. But under the current circumstances that didn’t make much sense considering the first bus out to Tela left at 5:30am.  Perhaps there was no need for a room, but was it wise to sit parked in the public terminal of an airport that was well known for it's  pick pockets and thieves, even despite the police presence with guns in tow? Surely there would be others that would be forced with the same dilemma until the bus and cab drivers were ready to report for duty. As I pondered my dilemma, a consoling awareness covered my body like a blanket, reassuring me that all would be well.  As luck would have it, a sizeable, yet amicable "gringo" by the name of Bobby, fresh from his American roots in Alabama, took a liking to me.  A 12 year resident of Talanga, just outside of Tegucigalpa, this formidable southern giant looked as mean as an ogre, but in actuality, was as gentle as a lamb.  It didn’t take long for me to comprehend that he was my blanket, but the irony here was, it was Bobby who was comfortable enough  to catch a hour-long nap, and I would be the one designated to watch over our belongings.  Some how, I was okay with that.  As I diligently stood guard, I noticed another less formidable gringo walking to and fro, but in a very unsettled manner.  I made sure to keep an eye on this one, as his clearly he was wrapped too tight.

As luck would have it, my less formidable gringo went by the name of Tony. He and Bobby were plane-mates a few rows behind me during our flight, and had already agreed to split a cab to the bus terminal. He too was nervous about the wait, and exhausted from the flight, he knew that if he sat down long enough, he would fall off to sleep. Tony decided the best way to not become a victim was to simply keep it moving. At 5:00 am, the  first cab drivers arrived to take us to the bus terminal, and as previously agreed by the two gingos, the three of us would split the $15 cab ride.  $5 per person was hard to refuse. As we parted ways at the terminal, it was my less formidable gringo, who took the second shift assuming the responsibility of my blanket.  It turns out that we were both headed in the same direction, and he promised Bobby that he would keep me safe.  God works in mysterious ways.

The guide book I am using for this trip called my beach destination, Tela…“a hot mess with sinister appeal."  As much as I hated to believe it, their description was sadly quite appropriate.  Barely on my second day, and I had yet to find anything to entice me to stay a third.  Void of all character, the town was divided into an old and new section, separated by only a bridge and the captains that parked their barges below it. To make matters worse, there was nothing "new" about its "new"section. Trying hard not to pass judgment so early on in my visit, I really searched hard to find the good within it. On the surface, it's beaches and town were both disappointingly dirty. My search to dig deeper uncovered only that's its people were cold, the food was average, and most of the service around town was marginal at best.  With two exceptions worthy of mention, Cesar Mariscos’ restaurant, whose ceviche was slammin’ and customer service was stupendous, and  Mango CafĂ© B&B, who despite the language barrier, made an effort to find someone whose English was just as bad as my Spanish and yet managed to make it work with a smile.  My travel guide made mention that English was spoken at most places.  Most of those people must have gone on vacation, knowing that I was on the way. I suppose this means that I must work harder on my Spanish to avoid the handicap. Oh well, lesson learned.

Next up La Ceiba and Utila Honduras…

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day to Me Too!

I am a daughter... I am a sister...  and of course,  everyone knows I am the best AUNTIE EVER!  But because I have chosen not to have children, does that not give me the privilege to celebrate Mother's Day?  While most would probably say no... I say absolutely YES!  Happy Mother's DayTo Me Too!

I know for a fact that I am not alone in this either.  There are thousands of other women just like me, who for any myriad of reasons, have been placed in the same boat.  For us, this day is bittersweet, but for all of the same reasons.  For us, this day is about more than just giving birth.  For us this day celebrates the act of mothering. For the record, and let me take this opportunity to make this clear... I am not for one moment minimizing the physical stamina and fortitude it takes to nourish and care for an unborn fetus that grows within the womb for nine months.  Nor am I weakening the strength necessary to push out a six to nine pound being out of ones body. I am simply pointing out that NOT going through these steps, in no way belittles the fact that you have not performed the act of motherhood. You can be just as important to someone as a mother can be, even if you haven't given birth to them.

For me, being a good daughter meant having a little sister attached to my hip since the age of twelve. For me, that translated into diaper changes, late night feedings and trips to the babysitter. For me, it meant after school homework sessions, and making sure that dinner got on the table, simply because mom had to work. She always had to work.  My parents divorced when I was about nine years old. When my sister was born, it was necessary for mom to take on several jobs just to keep the roof over our heads. And I, of course felt it necessary to do did my financial part as well. Relaxed labor laws allowed me the privilege to take advantage of the ability to take the little one to my after school gig at the local dance studio, and the summer gig at the community pool. Two incomes were certainly better than one in this case, and although it wasn't much, it was enough to pay for school lunches or contribute to school clothes shopping.  I vividly remember not being able to hang out with my friends because I had to babysit, or participate in sleep overs because I had to work.  Barely a teenager, I intensely recall the duty, urging and responsibility of motherhood, all the while blind to the obligation that I was feeling.

I tell this story because I know that I am not alone in this.  I tell my anthem to bring prominence to all of those who perform the act of motherhood simply because they feel the need.  Mothering is more than the act of giving birth... and I celebrate all of those who do it, even though they haven't had to push a little human being out of their womb. For them, they've chosen to act like a mom, even love like a mom,  and hold the responsibility of a mom, despite the obvious. Kudos to those who do it... simply because it needed to be done.  For me, it was done out of necessity. I can honestly say that I didn't choose to do it... it chose me.  Does that make me a hero for doing it without the option of a choice?  I'd say no... but I'll gladly take the option to celebrate this holiday with pride!

Happy Mother's Day to me... and continued blessings to all of those who chose the dedication of motherhood... whether or not they have chosen to give birth!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Movin' and Shakin'... Keepin' Y'all in the Loop

The past few weeks have certainly been a whirlwind... and for that I am truly grateful!  Ever since the book launch celebration held on February 28th, 2012, WHY SHOULD MEN HAVE ALL THE FUN?! has been rippin' and runnin' all over the southern and eastern coast.

The first stop was a signing held on March 3rd at The Cup in Atlanta, Georgia.  A fun event involving gourmet cupcakes, desert wine, port and a very interesting conversation with a book club who happened to be there to discuss another book they had read.  Curiosity led them to not only ask questions about WHY SHOULD MEN HAVE ALL THE FUN?!,  but we also exchanged witty repertoire regarding the position of women and their ability (or lack thereof) to date multiple people at the same time.  What made the dialog so engaging were varied opinions shared by both young men and women within this book club.  It was a fabulous time, and kudos to the book club for their interest as well as all of those who attended this special debut event.

Next stop, Houston Texas.  April 14th, 2012 was the day of the 5th Annual Houston Indie Book Fest.  Authors, publishers and lovers of indie books all converged upon Menil Park to participate in this fabulous event that pulled in a huge crowd. I think it's probably safe to say that the perfect, sunny 80 degree weather may have had a little bit to do with attracting book lovers to this fabulous outdoor event.

In between book signings and festivals was the tremendous opportunity to be interviewed by radio hosts, Ms. K, The Diva and Deacon Boss on the popular radio show, TALKIN' DA BIZ.  Although the conversation was mainly focused on WHY SHOULD MEN HAVE ALL THE FUN?!,  the premise and thought process behind the books purpose was widely discussed. I can't speak for the show's host, but I can honestly say that I had an amusing time.  Feel free to click on the underlined link to hear our discussion. Heartfelt thanks goes out to Ms. K for the invitation, as well as The Diva and Deacon Boss for the compelling and enjoyable conversation.

The latest signing, on the Rutgers University Campus in Newark, NJ was held on April 28th. The 1st Annual Harlem Book Festival was in full effect as it began at 10am to a "brisk" 45 degree morning.  It was thrilling to be back in the area where I grew up, for the first time in almost seven years.  The fact that I left 80 degree weather in Atlanta, was by no means a deterrent, but honestly speaking, my poor fingers were so frozen that there was no way to hold a pen... much less sign books.  Saving the day was the quick-thinking of my beautiful and brilliant niece, La Sha, who rescued my fingers simply by remembering she had hand warmers in the trunk of her car. Those hand warmers ended up being a life saver, since the high for the day ended up being a warm 58 degrees.  Yet still another highlight early on in the day was prompted by a young male psychology major who was genuinely interested in the thought process behind the book.  A very progressive and independent thinker whose opinions were not just encouraging to me, but uniquely obliging to the women he befriends. He also happened to be my first sale of the day.  Kudos to you, Dominic!  I sincerely thank you for your support!

This road isn't over. Not by a long shot. There is certainly more to do, much more work to be done.  This is just the beginning! I've been asked to do more radio interviews, and working currently to get this book into local indie bookstores in Atlanta and Austin. The marketing charge is also in full effect. It hasn't been an easy road, but it goes to show that if you only believe, with prayer, hard work, and the faith of a mustard seed,  you can be successful at anything you set your mind to.

“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Here's to the pursuit of dreams and happiness.  For more on photos, updates, and reviews go to

WHY SHOULD MEN HAVE ALL THE FUN?! is currently available on, in both paperback and e-reader versions. Fingers crossed, it should also be coming soon to an indie book store near you!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do you Have A Spare Tire???

Do you listen to Blog Talk Radio??? For those who do not know what it is, Blog Talk Radio is a web-based platform that allows callers to host a live call-in Internet broadcast without the use of complicated or expensive equipment.  All that is needed simply a computer and a phone. As a listener, you listen the same way you would traditional radio...just on your computer. Cool, huh???

Well admittedly, I had never listened in until recently. While preparing for my upcoming interview, I thought it might behoove me to do a bit of research, so I might have a better an idea of what I could be in store for.

While listening to the show, I heard a guy confirm being involved in a committed relationship and also admit to having a spare tire... aka the fall guy or fall girl in this case. You could call it someone who you know will be there whenever you call.  It could also be known as the number in the black book that never gets erased. The person you call whenever for whatever... and they are there for you.  Are you that girl???

And while the two female co-hosts argued all the various reasons why this is all kinds of wrong... I couldn't help the pure frustration I experienced while listening in. Yes, it is all kinds of wrong and yes all of their points were 100% valid, at least from the female perspective. But the listener side of me just wanted to shake them both scream back at my computer screen... "DID YOU REALLY HEAR WHAT HE JUST SAID TO YOU???" Sadly, I don't think they really heard him.

He's got a spare tire and in so many words... he's not getting rid of her. He's not asking for permission... he's telling you what he's got! As the banter continued back and forth, at the end of the day, the points his co-hosts argued will not make him go home and change his evil ways. This is just one of the many reasons "WHY MEN HAVE ALL THE FUN!"  Men know how to put their needs first. And while we ladies may not necessarily agree with this viewpoint,  He's still gonna do what he does...that's just what men do.

Now my question is...

How many men think the same way?  My guess is probably quite a few.

Then my next question is... Why aren't more women doing this too?  Just another guess, but I would venture to say that there are probably far more men than there are women with spare tires.

Now that we are aware that there is a possibility that this could be the case with your man... do you as women subscribe to the theory... If you can't beat 'em... join 'em!  Now that you are armed with a bit more information than you had do you intend to use it?  Do you file it away in your mental filing cabinet, never to be seen again until it slaps you in the face when it pops up again, leaving you surprised and unprepared?  Or do you flip that script ladies... and go out to get you one too? Maybe you already have one...  Whatever you decide, just don't end up like the guy in the picture posted above.  Clearly,  he didn't have a spare when he needed one... and he looks like he could have used one!

Two wrongs may not make it right... but it certainly does give us an even playing field!

Here's a link for tomorrow nights show (Wednesday 9pm EST/6pm PST)...
"Talkin' Da Biz w/ Ms. K and Diva"

Hope you'll be joining us!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Better Than A Boyfriend???

Anyone who has ever loved a dog has experienced that feeling of sheer excitement your dog has for you when return home from a rough day at the office.  Just the adorable way his whole body shakes as he swiftly wags his tail or that apparent smile on his face as his tongue hangs out of his mouth. He doesn’t care where you’ve been or why you stayed out so late.  He's just thrilled to see you…no questions asked!  It warms my heart just thinking about my dog's sheer unconditional love for me.

Well as it turns out, woman’s best friend may just be better for you than your husband or boyfriend.  Anecdotal and scientific evidence shows that dog owners (and pet owners in general)  tend to be healthier than the average person. Think I am crazy? Well think about this…

Better than Drugs for High Blood Pressure-
Yes, it’s true. While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, in a recent study, groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets!

Take Me Outside Mommy-
It’s no secret that dogs require walking and frequent exercising, forcing owners to be more active too.  According to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Public Health, people with dogs spent more time doing moderate to vigorous physical activity than those without.  Canadian researchers found that dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes per week, compared with non-dog owners, who walked an average of 168 minutes per week.  This doesn’t take into consideration the frequent games of catch or trips to the dog park.  Who knew?

Bad Mood?
Ever try hugging your dog after a bad day at work?  For those who love animals, it’s virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours. Research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of pet ownership as they followed a group of men with HIV/AIDS and discovered they were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet.

Got Stress?
Did you know that the simple act of just playing with Max or Sheba can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, causing you to calm and relax.  And while we all know the power of talking out your issues with friends and family who’s also a good listeners, recent research shows that spending time with a pet may be even better. Researcher have proven that when one is  conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present.  Probably because we all know that our pets don’t judge us; they just love us.

Not that I would ever advocate using your canine as a "Man-Magnet," but try taking your dog to the dog park or your favorite dog-friendly restaurant.  Dogs have shown time and time again that they have a funny way of bringing people together.  Almost every time Maxamole' and I enjoy a day out on the town, complete strangers (both men and women) stop us to chat. It also doesn't hurt that he's so darn cute...and friendly too. Not lonely?  Well, even I was surprised to learn that people with pets enjoy superior self-esteem,  and suffer less depression due to an optimistic mindset that companionship with animals engenders. Now for, this explains a lot.

Unconditional Love-
Speaking if that powerful four letter word... This is probably the best reason of all to own a dog. The man in your life may tell you he loves you, but is it unconditional? Pets can be there for you in ways that your man can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent at snuggling. If there is no one special in your life at the moment, then consider your furry friend to be the best antidote to combat loneliness. In fact, research shows that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when they spent time with other people. They didn't even have to own their furry little friends.

Did I mention that dogs have been known to detect low blood sugar?  Or how about detecting various types of cancer in their owners, when even their owners didn't suspect anything was wrong? And the list doesn’t stop there.  I'd be remiss if I didn't include those dogs that are trained to help those with other health issues such as autismseizures or the service dogs that assist with blindness.

I'll be the first to admit that dog ownership isn't for everyone.  Outside of the sheer dedication that is required to be a responsible pet owner, just the time, patience and financial obligation is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. The expense of pet ownership can be much more than you think. If it's not the hours of rug cleaning from house training, then it could be the replacement of your favorite shoes because Sonny found a new chew toy.  But at least in my experience, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

Now,  if I could only get my man to be just like my dog... life could truly be Heaven on Earth!!!  Hmmmmm???  I might be on to something...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Art of the Pick Up Line...

You happen to maneuver your shopping cart turning down aisle three when you come across an adorable specimen, standing in front of the organic breakfast cereal, that is just too resistible to let walk away. You manage to get a good look at both hands, and happen to notice that he's NOT wearing a wedding ring, NOR is there a sign of a tan line on either ring finger.  The realization of this fact begins to make you nervous and your palms get hot and sweaty.  At this moment you realize that you are starting to get flush in the face and before your anxiety makes you appear as though you are running a fever. Do you…

(A) Decide that you are just too shy to make a move and you continue walking down the isle letting a perfectly great opportunity get away?

(B) Get his attention by asking..."Remember me? Oh, that's right, I've met you only in my dreams."

(C) Wait until he reaches for a cereal box to ask..."Is that a really good cereal?" and finish with your best smile?

My fingers are crossed that you didn’t chose either “A” or “B.” In my earnest heart of hearts, I believe that the art of the pick up line is to simply not have a line at all. All those cheesy and sometimes sexist one-liners are not enough to get you to first base if you aren’t approaching him (or anyone for that matter) with sincerity.  The best one-liners aren’t one-liners at all but rather icebreakers or conversation starters that help you to make that initial approach.  Truth be told, if your too shy to make that initial approach, then a quick glance combined with a great smile might be all that you need to walk away with his phone number.

Many of my male counterparts have mentioned time and time again that they are not just flattered but for the most part relieved, when a woman makes the first move.  Not only is it an ego booster for them, they will more times than not, return the flirtation because of your effort.

Making the first move isn’t at all where this thing ends. On the contrary, it is only the beginning. Understand that your follow up is even more important than the initial approach. What good will it do to get him to engage in conversation if you don’t seal the deal with a phone number?

For example: Your delectable hottie of a specimen, standing in front of the organic breakfast cereal looks like he’s pretty fit and one could safely assume that he probably takes decent care of his body.  So do you…

(A) Thank him for his advice on the cereal and tell him to have a nice day before you walk away?

(B) Compliment him on his fit stature and tell him that you’d like to get his ideas on eating organic and staying fit?

(C) Admit that you only asked him about the cereal because you think he’s adorable, and could care less about the damn cereal?

In this case either B or C would work, but if you really want to get to know him better, I would suggest flattery because simply put, flattery could get you there.  In this case I’d suggest B. but don’t assume that the flattery will win him over.  If you don’t think he’s fit… then by all means, don’t say that. If your not comfortable with that, then come up with something else that flows off your tongue a bit better.  Never be fake about it! Always be genuine about your intent, because I promise you that if you are not, it could bite you in the butt later on when you are least expecting it. Alternatively, should you fess up and admit your true motive, you could be mistaken for a “player,” and then not be taken seriously. As a woman, trust me when I say this is not a good look. In this case, honesty combined with a bit of seduction is the best policy, and even if he doesn’t surrender his phone number, you can be comforted by the fact there is probably a smile on your face and have probably made his day.  Not half bad for five minutes worth of work.

I think the point here is…if you don’t try, you’ll never know what works for you.  I have found circumstances where all that was needed was a bit of eye contact and a smile.  In other cases, drumming up a full-fledged conversation combined with a few “off the cuff” moments of laughter sealed the deal.  But you’ll never know if you aren’t willing to move outside your box and give it a try. The key here is making the effort.

Trust and believe that this will not work 100% of the time.  Get it in your head that this will take some work to naturally flow off your tongue, and you may be faced with a bit of rejection.  But what ever you do, understand that rejection in no way means that you must give in the towel.  You’ve heard the saying… “If at fail you don’t succeed, try, try again!”  In this case, practice makes perfect.  Challenge yourself to see how successful you can be by trying to get the number. Make it a game… can I get 5 telephone numbers this weekend???

My advice…shoot for the moon!  If you miss… then at least you’ll be amongst the stars!  Oh… and HAPPY SURFING!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

35 Places to Help You Discover Where the Men Are

“I would love to date more than one man at a time… but I can’t even find one, much less date more than one!”

I hear this a lot.  It frustrates me to no end when I hear these words, because it doesn’t take much to figure out that men are EVERYWHERE!  I don’t think the question is…”Where are the men?” as much as the question should…”What can I do to get their attention?!” 

I bring up the point because I’m not convinced that a special effort needs to be made in order to meet men on your own turf.  Don’t believe me?  Look around you… men are in our grocery stores, gyms and work places.  They are in our banks, our dry cleaners and even our eateries.  They shop in our malls, they purchase gasoline from the same gas stations, and even get mani’s and pedi’s from the same nail shops… and often not all gay! Go figure!  So exactly how is it that we’ve missed the boat?

Perhaps it is not the result of what we see or where we go as much as it is the questions we ask?  It is my belief that the importance lies in how to get their attention, no matter where they may be.  But because I have been inundated with where they men are… I think we’ll save the topic of how to address them for a later date.  So, you wanna know the best places to find men…???

I mentioned this earlier… they really are everywhere!  Are you looking?  Try a casual perusal around the next time you walk to your car in the Target or Wal-Mart parking lot. I wouldn’t lie to you, they really are there! 

Have you checked out the free weight area of you local gym? OMG! They are all there! Short ones, tall ones, bulky ones, cute ones and everything in between.  At my gym, they always gravitate here, and some are even on mission while others try to make it a meat market. But don’t fret… working out after 5 pm brings out all kinds so the sky is the limit!

What guy do you know doesn’t have a liking for a gadget of some sort? Have you paid a visit to your local Apple store lately? Best Buy? So maybe your budget can’t accommodate a new TV, Blu-Ray player or hard drive.  But there’s nothing wrong with window shopping until such time as the need arises.  And the best part is… you don’t even need to know what you’re looking for. Just grab the best looking male that catches your attention and ask the question.  He doesn’t even need to be a salesperson for you to be provided with an answer…who says it even needs to be the right answer?

I suggest this one judiciously, because this one can really bite you in the buttocks if you are not careful!  Ladies, find a sport that you have a GENUINE interest in, and please do a bit of research before visiting the sports bar or venue of your choice.  Knowing something about what you came to see can really be the difference between a sincere connection, and a guy’s exposure to your true authenticity.  Don’t believe me?  Try walking into a sports bar with heels and a tube top versus the jersey of your favorite team and see how you are treated!  It may not be pretty… so just a warning! The only place that may grant you a break could be a tailgate event, but even then, if you aren’t a die hard fan, you’ve been forewarned!

Whether your in the market for a new vehicle or not, this is one place that brings out men of all kinds.  Maybe you missed this years event… keep an eye out for the next Boat Show, RV/ Camping / Hunting Expo, or Gun Show.  Maybe that’s not your thing… but maybe you're the outdoorsy rock climbing, kayaking or motorcycles.  I promise you, there is an app for that. 

I gotta say, of all of the place that I frequent, this has to be one of my favs!  It’s not that I love an opportunity to pimp out my dog… but if I can find a guy who loves his dog as much as I do, then we could have a winner on my hands.  How easy is it to meet at the local dog park for your first date? But a word of caution, DO NOT make the first date a picnic at the dog park!  Can you say disaster?

While we are on the subject of sports, lets not forget the sporting good stores that supply the needs of the hobbies we frequent.  And while I understand that they may be regional… Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, REI, Academy, Bass Pro Shop and Cabella’s are just a few of the ones that provide a wide selection of equipment.  Don’t forget about the smaller local suppliers and specialty shops (IE: bike  or skateboard shop) that can bring out experts of all kinds. While we are at it, does your employer sponsor a golf tournament or a baseball league? This just may be an opportunity for you to have a little lit of fun while creating an opening for yourself.

Not into sports?  Consider the coffee shops near your city’s financial center.  Another decent suggestion?  If you’re a traveler, why not try your airport? I’m sure you’ll find a bit more than the local janitor or the guy behind the news counter, although I have seen a few hot janitors during my travels as well.  Need more suggestions, what about your industry business conference? Although, just a word of caution, you might end up finding more married men on the prowl than single one’s looking for relationships.  Got a hobby? Try It is a great resource for finding like- minded people. Lastly, wanna give your home that much needed face-lift?  Try the local home improvement store such as Lowe’s or Home Depot.  From the plumbing aisle, to lumber, flooring and every place in between you’ll have access to everyone from the contractors that use those supplies to the do it yourself kind of guy.  And last but not least, if all else fails, online dating sites are definitely viable options with a decent selection of like minded men who may just want the same things you do. Tired of or not wanting to complete the complicated questionnaire of E-Harmony? Newer sites such OkCupid, POF, Zoosk and may just provide a whole new gene pool of fresh meat to choose from.

Well, there you go!  Now go out there and get to work!