One afternoon, a bit ago at the ripe age of 28, I found myself on multiple floors of Barney’s New York. I was on a quest for the perfect cashmere turtleneck sweater, mock beret, Italian leather shoes and a clever pants suit. Although that perfect suit was not uncovered and the shoes were too tight, several dress shirts, the sweater, beret and a few accessories were carried out through those huge double doors. Unfortunately, only the beret was for me. The shopping spree, a sartorialist’s delight was initiated by, orchestrated by and purely for the benefit of my then boyfriend. I brushed off his fashion-narcissistic tendencies to the onset of a midlife crisis (he was in his earlier 40’s, sitting in an age chair similar to the one my tush is parked in now). He was also a New Yorker, born and raised, so perhaps in a way, much like Anderson Cooper, style and fashion ran in his family.
Lingerie is one of the few pieces of clothing that regardless of its design, pretty patterns and label is worn primarily for the support of the wearer.
For most women flunking the course on “How to Dress like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan”, shed few tears. Who wants to publicly walk around in their underwear anyway. And while the Victoria’s Secret Angels and most Maxim covers would suggest lingerie’s purpose is largely for the visual enjoyment of the onlooker, it is generally kept under wraps. However, like wolves to a full moon, when Valentines Day or anniversaries roll around, everyone, men and women alike give in to the allure of exposing her bra and panties. Flounce, lace and maybe fantasy leather distinguish the undergarments of this day versus the purely utilitarian cotton and lycra pieces for the other 364 days of the year. Your Spanx is designed to morph you 8lbs slimmer, but a blush-colored lace corset is designed to seduce. The irony of course is that according to a recent study, most men would rather see you in nothing at all.
Last year I took a stab at a hashtag campaign. #IHEARTTRACYANDERSON. I was getting remarried and wanted to look like a super model with a PHD - code for smart and sultry. Let's just say, as a GenXer, I may need my intern to shift-shape my quirkiness and deep thinking into social media cool. Speaking of shape shifting, I find myself giving that wellness campaign, minus the #, another go. Why? Because it works.
I won’t give a number, but let’s just say according to a recent British woman’s survey, I am too old to wear a mini skirt. Little do they know that I have killer legs that give Gwyn Paltrow two good reasons to burn another hour with her celebrity trainer. Actually according to this survey, even GP who is just a few years younger (she’s 44) should pack her minis in a goodwill box and bid them an adios. Not that I strut about with my thighs and possible tush visible to all, I certainly don't like being told what to do with it or to show it off. (Did you get that GOP?)
A couple of weeks ago, I published a podcast about work/life balance, taking a pause to reflect on the path we are on to re-evaluate whether we'd like to proceed as planned or redirect and get in deeper touch with our values. I referenced the 1970's television show, Wonder Woman as a reminder of not only our duality as modern women (working woman/superhero), but also the meditative and solo ways that we can connect to our true self to tread further along our life path. Check it out and let me know in the comments below how you pull back and recharge your emotional and physical batteries and reset your lifestyle GPS.
One New Year holiday some many moons ago, I walked up and down a temple and shrine decorated mountain in Miyajima, Japan lighting candles, making offerings, and collecting Omamori (small brocade bag style amulets that may contain a prayer, religious inscription of invocation) to bless the new year. I recall the last temple I visited where I inscribed on a big white candle, all of my wishes and aspirations for that year. The list was long. Mega. A very long and beautiful story short, I had trouble lighting my candle - a sign to the Gods that my prayers may not be honored. My the grace of a kind man (he jumped in on my third try and shielded the flame from the brisk wind) and his family (they were praying as hard as I was), my candle burned bright on the mountain and for those 12 months. My take-away, my ask(s) were big and I would likely need help, a community of like-minded and supportive people to mentor, protect and cheer me on.
Spring has sprung, pastels, florals and all things pretty surround us like chirping birds and fresh air. As we shed the excess layers and ideally the excess winter plump that kept us warm and cozy during all those snowstorms, our excess baggage, those heavy suedes and latticed leathers (oh how I love my vintage BV saddle bag) are no longer needed. And would totally clash with that Vetta swing dress. You know the one I’m talking about. So let’s focus on the bags. Better yet, lets look at how other cool green mujer are going to stuff all their stuff into those little purses.
My daughter and I “say prayers” as an extension of her bedtime ritual. Given, she and I have a mixed religious background (which is code for we celebrate Passover and Christmas) our prayer sessions are more gratitude-connected than specific God-centered. It works for us and the sentiment is more practical and authentic. My daughter in her super independent and loquacious self, recently put a kibosh on my guided Thank-you’s by crafting her own list of people, places and things worthy of bedtime mention. She is generous with her gratitude. Besides her me, her grandparents, aunt, teachers and besties, Minny Mouse and Sophia The First often make the cut.
by Contributing Essayist, Katharine Ransom
The first time I realized I might not be able to finish my terminal degree was on the morning of November 9th. I was absolutely distraught: When I started this program, I assumed Hillary would win the election and all would continue as usual. Over the next few weeks, I tried to maintain hope that something or someone would prevent Trump from taking office. I successfully completed my first semester with a 3.9 GPA and tried to hold onto that hope. As time passed, and opportunities for the future I planned on slipped away, my desire to continue down this road of academia continued to dwindle. My background in Economics and Business tells me that many of Trump’s policies will not be good for the economy; and I don’t mean that neo-liberal policies are the solution to the world’s problems. He does not consider the struggles of women, minorities, the LGBTQ, or disabled persons in his policies. He does not consider how hard some of us have to fight, every day, just to make it through.
In case you missed the 3-Day Challenge - How to Be Your Own Kind of Activist, you can listen in on our new podcast!
Check it out and work with me to develop key traits of being a successful social impact leader.
Day 1 - Knowing your vision and your mission. What causes or issues pull at your soul and beg for your attention. Get clear on who you want to serve and whether (or how) they want you advocating on their behalf.
Day 2 - Discover a few strategies to help you teach, not preach and how to rise to a leadership role from within and/or be willing to follow. Learn the signs of real collaboration and how to redirect your focus on the people, not the personalities within the group.
Day 3 - Step up start your own projects!