Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Teach a (wo)man to fish...

Sometimes there are days when I feel like I don’t have two pennies to rub together. On these days, I am haunted by the green-eyed monster, envious of my friend’s fabulous vacations, admiring the beautiful wardrobe of a co-worker or wishing I could spoil the Husband with a fancy dinner out. When the wanting and wishing gets so strong that psychoanalysis would diagnose me as an entitled brat, I have to take steps to remind myself of how lucky I am.

One of my favorite ways to remind myself of my comfortable place in the world is to give back. Whenever I’m having a blah day, I look for ways to do something small for a stranger, someone not expecting it. My favorite is paying for the person’s Starbucks behind me in the drive through. It reminds me that no matter how broke I feel, I can find money in my pocket for someone else, which means I’m not really that bad off (and I’m caffeinated, bonus).

While the Starbucks treats for strangers can cheer me up on an ugly Monday morning, I realize it doesn’t benefit someone who is really in need. And while you all might start following me through the Starbucks line in the off chance I’ll support your caffeine addiction, I doubt you are in any real need.

So the internal conflict began, how do I give back in a small way that is still a meaningful contribution?

Around this time, I saw this New York Times article and the journalists interviewed on Oprah.

I was inspired.

I have since been sponsoring a women’s education through the organization Women for Women International.

From the organizations website “Our Theory of Change: Women for Women International believes that when women are well, sustain an income, are decision-makers, and have strong social networks and safety-nets, they are in a much stronger position to advocate for their rights. This philosophy and our commitment to local leadership builds change and capacity at the grassroots level.”

This is something I did purely for myself, putting my money towards my values, not towards what is the new style, technology or product. I never anticipated writing about this or even sharing it with my friends, but how than could I expect the message to spread to those who have similar values. So, I hope you have the chance to read the article, check out the organization, or at least enjoy giving an unexpected surprise to someone in the near future.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Difficult Rite of Passage

It was two weekends ago that Biscuit, Husband and I went boating and camping in Cumberland. This was a big trip, not only did we camp, we brought Sammy, AND it was our first time taking the boat out without Padre. We might have taken on too much.

In between the laughter, swimming, cooking and eating, there were definitely arguments and tension. Luckily there weren't too many people around as I tried to back the trailer into the water for the first time. Husband was screaming directions, I was telling him to shut up and Biscuit was on the verge of an anxiety attack because of it all. Once we got her safely in the water, we were all ready for a cigarette and a stiff drink. 

The whole trip was a rite of passage that Biscuit and I took very seriously, titling our trip "Women's Empowerment Weekend". We didn't tell Husband this until we were already there. He didn't like that too much...

We had a great time but I think Sammy had the most fun. She slept for a week straight afterwards.

Picture 136

Picture 111

Picture 120

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Little Lift

I love shoes, but mostly I love heels. Slip on a new pair and step out the door to take on the world. But they don’t have to be new. The old standby’s make me just as giddy. There is nothing like the flood of femininity stirred together with power and confidence.
Heels make me taller, giving me a new perspective on the world. I look down on things that used to be eye level. I also am brought up to eye level with those that I want to challenge, Husband for one. Times like this I love being a woman–Three inches closer to the top and STYLISH.

Oh the style choices… You can go from princess to rocker chick with just the change of shoes. There are shoes to fit almost any mood, summer wedges and strappy sandals, powerful pumps to red stilettos, boots and Mary Jane's, preppy to sexy….

Then there is the fit. They always fit, despite how long it has been since I’ve seen the gym. I pull out a 6 ½ and the shoe fits like a glove. If it’s too tight, I grab a 7. No thought to why I need a bigger size, did I eat too much pizza. They make me feel sexy without size making a difference. Having a fat day? Step up a couple inches and voila, diva coming ‘atcha.

Then there is the price. My happiness doesn’t cost me a fortune. The Sex And The City-so-deep-in-debt-you-need-3 inches-to-see-over-the-credit-card-bills type of heels are too impractical for me. I’m smarter than that. I don’t need to spend a small fortune to love my shoes and have them fit my style. I’m sure fashionistas would argue this point, but I can still get my lift from the discount rack – thank you DSW! Besides, I’d be too nervous to really wear the shoes if they cost me more than my monthly mortgage payment.

So ladies, If you have the same love affair as I do, don your favorite pair this weekend,relish the satisfaction of being a little taller, celebrate your femininity and show off your style.

The inspiration for this post came from The Good Cook, who asked what makes us happy. Thanks!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Father's Daughter

As a rule, I usually stay away from political/topical/polarizing topics because the passion behind it can cause arguments that register on the Richter scale. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is now an environmental nightmare and I'm breaking my rule.  

While following the series of events in the news, I’ve also been following a parody twitter account @BPGlobalPR. This rouge character claims to work for BP’s PR department. The 140 character tweets are satirical jabs at BP’s attempts to keep the angry public at bay.

Put aside for a moment how I feel about the spill, the company's attempt to maintain its brand persona or the anonymous tweeter, I think the whole parody is a cultural reflection of how today’s savvy consumers expect more from a global corporation and that expectation gets attention.

These cynical consumers have lived through enough Enron's, Goldman Sachs’ and corrupt lenders to know better. They expect more from a global corporation. They expect transparency and honesty. While BP may think they are being transparent and honest, actions, like ensuring their workers sign confidentiality agreements, speak louder than words. 

The person behind this rouge twitter account has gotten so much attention that he/she/they recently release a blog post to explain why they are doing this. You may not agree, but I think it is an interesting perspective and an even better lesson on how communication is changing.

You can read it here

I would love to hear your thoughts...

I promise I'll be back to flowers, sunshine and puppies next week.

We bought sammy a lifejacket.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre