Ignoring Red Flags

There is something to say about intuition. I think every human being has it, some are more in tune to it than others, but I truly believe that when encountering a bad situation or even a not-so-great person, our intuition tries to tell us. It's like our soul foreshadows the future and is bracing itself for the pain that will come. Intuition is a survival mechanism that we all have.

I have been in two different situations where I have flat out ignored the red flags. And they weren't just waving in front of me either. They were beating over the head shouting, "DANGER, DANGER, GET OUT NOW!" I think there was also a police man frantically trying to direct me into another direction as I drove past, battered and bruised from being hit with the red flags. Of course I am speaking metaphorically here, but the warning signs were so obvious. Literally I remember thinking, "This isn't good. What am I doing?" And I shushed that little voice as fast as I could. The first time after months of the voice speaking to me I finally listened and took action, but the second time it happened was when I really felt kind of stupid.

I always love to learn from the mistakes that I have made and Lord knows, I have made my fair share of them. I add it to the list of lessons, pat myself on the back, move on and tell myself I won't make that same mistake again. But the second time I was seeing these red flags wizz by, I ignored them. Denial is a powerful thing, isn't it? What I learned from that situation was this: The more vulnerable I was in a situation (for example, recently getting your heart broken, losing a job, etc) the more likely I was to ignore the warning signs. You would think it would be the opposite, that I would have been more guarded. But for me, it was like I couldn't stand the thought of being hurt again or being in another bad situation, so if I ignored it maybe it would all just go away. Right?

For the most part, we make decisions based on safety and fear. In some cases, people may may ignore their intuition because they think where they are is safe, where as it may be that they are just comfortable. In my case, I ignored my intuition because I was afraid of another failed relationship. At that particular point in my life I would rather have a bad relationship than no relationship. Come to think of it, I actually thought I was comfortable because I had become so accustomed to being in a codependant relationship, I didn't know what a functional, healthy one looked like.

Thankfully, it only took twice for me to really understand we are our own best friend. And if you do choose to ignore the red flags, look at it like this: Would you not tell your best friend something that you knew would obviously hurt them? I would venture to guess that you would tell them, so think of your intuition warning you is like your best friend whispering in your ear because they care about you.


I was listening to a radio show this morning and the DJ's were discussing multitasking. They were talking about their jobs and parenting and how some people are constantly just going going going, always having several things they are doing or going to do at once, never slowing down. Various people were calling in telling their story of all the things they do, like one woman woke up at 4:30 am and instead of just enjoying a quiet morning to herself, she couldn't stand the thought of doing nothing so she went to the grocery store.

It got me thinking about people that can't slow down, perhaps because I struggle with this myself. I think the adrenaline that goes along with stress and too many commitments is like a drug. It becomes an addiction that you just can't stop. You feed on it, and when life slows down, there is a sense of urgency, a need to have more to do. I also think it's a matter of control. There are so many things we can't control in our lives, the more things we can control, the better we feel.

I have struggled for years with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It's a disorder that can cause any stressful situation, however minor, to turn into a full blown panic attack, or if you're lucky, just irrational thinking. The way I describe it is that I will have a stressful thought or worry, then 3 minutes later I am planning my own funeral in my head because I am sure that all of this is going to wind up in some disaster. Thankfully, now those thoughts are few and far between, and I have learned to slow down and try to get peace in my life, and in my mind. Some questions I ask myself when I start to get stressed are:

"What is the worst case scenario if I can't get this done?"
"Will someone be hurt if I can't get this done?"
"If I don't do this am I being lazy, or just nice to myself?"
"What do I need to do to make this easier on myself?"
"Is this really worth stressing over?"

Usually this helps and I can either better organize my thoughts and/or tasks and just slow down.

The Republicrat

I have been debating whether or not to post this for months now, and now that the election is over, I am going to brave it. It has nothing to do with coaching or making your life better. Perhaps it's my own selfishness of just wanting to get it off my chest.

Since I was 18 years old I have been a registered Republican. I don't remember my own parents being politically charged in any way as I was growing up, but growing up in the 80's, I was a product of the Reagan years. When I met my first husband, his family was very conservative which encouraged my values and beliefs. When I went started classes at Cal State San Marcos I proudly became a member of the CSUSM College Republicans. But as the years passed I started to realize that not all of my beliefs were congruent with the GOP. But then again, a lot of them did. I felt like I was in a tug-o-war and I wanted no part of it. As if I had identified myself wholeheartedly with a group, and then got lost. Then 9/11 happened and I wore the nametag "Republican" proudly once again. Two years later when we went to war, I started to see which side of the fence my friends stood on, and a lot of them weren't on my side. I didn't back down from my beliefs. I can honestly say that at that time I was not influenced by anyone else than myself. However after getting into two different arguments with two different friends about politics, I decided I couldn't have the conversation anymore. It's not worth damaging a friendship over.

But election time came up and to be honest, I was happy to see it happen because let's face it; I don't think GWB is getting any awards for being America's greatest president. But for the first time in my adult life I was actually quiet about my beliefs and who I was voting for. Why? Did the tug-o-war finally get to me? Was I begrudgingly trading in my College Republican t-shirt for an Obama hat?

In a metaphorical sense, I feel like a little girl, standing in between her fighting, divorced parents that despise each other. I love both, and I believe in both, but I don't like some of the things both are doing. But I am forced to choose. And either way, I lose.

I love my country. I am grateful that I was born here and I have more opportunities than most of the world can even dream of. I love that my children have those same things. I am happy to see we have an African-American president, it will show my children tolerance and that anything is possible and that we are one step closer to seeing a woman as president. But I am still lost in this Democrat/Republican battle and quite honestly, I don't quite understand why some people will not even listen to other people's beliefs. I think as long as we have 2 parties, we will be a nation divided.

Crisis = Rebirth

Recently I have been reading the book, "Welcome to Your Crisis". I bought it when I went through my divorce, but actually just started reading it about a year ago (I know, it's been a long process getting through it), but only halfway through it, I have learned so much about how important crisis are to us and shaping who we are.

A few hours before I found out that my marriage was truly over, I went for a run in Carlsbad. There are some cliffs that have a breathtaking view of the beach and the ocean and I had ran by that spot many times. Something made me stop and stand to look out over the cliffs. It was February and it was unusually warm. There was a song that was hugely popular at that time called "Unwritten" by Natasha Bettingfield. It happened to be playing on my ipod at that moment. As I listened to the lyrics and looked out at the vast Pacific ocean in front of me, taking in the breeze and the warm sun on my face I couldn't help but think these words were meant for me:

"I am unwritten
Can't read my mind, I'm undefined

I'm just beginning
The pen's in my hand, ending unplanned"

There was so much uncertainty for me at that time, for the first time in 13 years I was really uncertain as to which direction I was going to go in. For months I had been struggling whether or not to stay in my marriage. But for some reason, I knew that no matter what, no matter how long the journey ahead of me was going to be, no matter how much of an uphill battle it was, I was going to be okay. Standing there looking out ahead of me, knowing that I had so much more to look forward to in my life. I was lucky enough to be re-born. I outgrew my old life, it was time for me to move on to something better. The moment didn't last long.

A few hours later my whole life changed. A single phone call made the decision that for months I had been struggling to make. Now, I won't sit here and tell you that I just skipped off smiling to the tune of my favorite song and all was well. No, far be it from that. My whole comfortable world was not just turned upside down, it was taken away. Within minutes I was a different person not only to myself, but to others as well.

It's only been 2 years since this event. Sometimes I feel like it's been much longer, I've come so far and that time seems like a distant memory. Then other times I feel like it's still fresh. For a while I tried to pretend that that painful part of my life was all over, and it had no effect on me whatsoever. It was the past, period. But, truthfully, I can't deny that it shaped who I am today, typing these words. There is no question that I have become a better person because of this. I have learned so much and for me, it just happened to be a very dramatic way to figure all these things out. Apparently, a dramatic end was what it took for me to move on. Sometimes I wish that it didn't have to be so painful, but in reality, I'm glad it happened to me. 2 years ago I would have never said that, I literally thought I could die from the pain I was in. But that crisis allowed me to start over, to be reborn as whatever I wanted to be. I had complete control of the new person I was about to become. After a few months of shock, grieving, confusion and resistance to change, I finally realized that I couldn't move on unless I really looked at this experience as a blessing. I was given a gift. Sure, it wasn't wrapped up with a pretty bow, but it was a gift nonetheless. One of significant value for my future self. Yes, I was terrified having to start all over at 30 years old, but lucky for me, I was only 30 years old!

On a side note: It's funny....when I first decided to be a life coach in 2003 I remember thinking, "Gosh, I don't know if I would be able to relate to some people that are going through rough times in their life. I don't have that kind of life experience" Be careful what you wish for! Perhaps that was a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts.

Laura Day, author of the book, talks about crisis leading to rebirth and compares it to a baby growing in a womb. The baby grows and grows in it's comfortable environment, then there comes a time when the baby has outgrown it's home, needs to be born for it's own survival into a new environment. I look at my experience as such. I grew as a person and needed to move on to be who I was meant to be. Maybe that's why babies cry when they're born, because they are upset about leaving their comfortable place they have grown to love and maybe it hurts a little to be born. They eventually get used to their new place and really don't even remember that old place anymore. Crisis is the same way. So the next time you are facing a crisis right in the eyes, maybe even for a moment look at it like a blank page in front of you, and you have the pen in your hand. Start writing!

Big plans for 2009!

As I have mentioned in a couple of my previous posts, my good friend Jenny Ferry has asked yours truly to be a speaker at a series of workshops in 2009. There are several portions, including finance, career, relationships, nutrition and exercise and my portion; style/self-concept. As many of you know I left the fashion industry about 5 years ago to go back to school to get my B.S. in Kinesiology. What some people don't know is why I left the fashion industry in the first place...

Immediately after I graduated from Fashion Careers of California College, I beat out 4 other interns from my school to land a job as an assistant buyer at a chain of surf shops. I thought it was my dream job! Soon after I got the job I realized why that position had been a revolving door for so long. I worked long hours, wasn't paid enough, didn't have enough training, was over-worked and the upper management was, well, awful to say the least. I kept thinking a had to stick it out, I wasn't a quitter and so many girls would kill for that job! After a few months just about every person who had a position higher than myself had made me cry and I chalked it up to needing thicker skin and I was just learning the ropes. I assumed the vice president of the company hated me (which was the most intimidating woman I had ever met), but one day her admin assistant told me she overheard her telling the president of the company that I was the "it" girl at the company. I kept telling myself this was my stepping stone to bigger things and I needed to just stick it out for a few years.

Then things just got worse. When my boss knew I was at my limit she would tell me over and over again how wonderful I was and what would she ever do without me. As I sat there at 9 pm on a Friday night, knowing I would be there in the morning on Saturday too, I really started to think about my future. Did I want to do this forever? Was it my ambition to work in fashion and dedicate my career to it? No, and believe me when I say I mean nothing against anyone that does, it just wasn't what I felt that I was supposed to do. I was sticking it out and trying to get ahead for the wrong reasons. And thank God I realized it when I was only 25.

I know I was put here to be a leader, make a change and better myself and others. That's why I am so excited to be a part of these workshops! I'm not going to simply tell these girls how to dress, they can get a $12 subscription to a fashion magazine to do that. This is much, MUCH bigger. I am passionate that your self worth, self esteem and self-confidence are the guiding lights to build a better you! Our image and how we portray it sends a message to others of how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us. And many of us are confused about what our style really is and if it's really "us", or how society is dressing us. It's all intertwined and I can't wait to share what I have learned with others.

So, check it out if you haven't already, the Crest of Your Life Workshops, here

Who's the judge?

In my life and especially in the somewhat recent past, I have been judged. And I'm not talking the "Oh, how great for Andrea that she is doing so well" I mean the downright dirty, "She is a blah, blah, blah (insert your imagination here)" Granted, the people that said these terrible things were not people that I associate with, nor do they know me at all. And I know that those things are not true. However, when it happened and my core character was slammed, I was so angry...no angry doesn't describe it, I was so infuriated that someone that does not know me could actually form the words out loud to say such hideous and ugly things about me AND that it was below me to defend myself to these people well, you get the picture. I was pretty mad. And the worst part was that I have done it too, to others.


So, when it happened to me, boy was that a pivotal moment in my life. Who was I to judge someone else? I don't know their thoughts, their emotions, their struggles. I have not walked a single step in their shoes, nor will I ever, so how on earth can I say what is right or wrong for them?

During one of my weekends at the Coaches Training Institute I had a coaching session where I had to "sit" with these feelings. My homework was to judge others (silently). When I was given this homework assignment I was literally sick to my stomach. My hands started sweating and I told my coach this. He said, "Good. Then obviously you need to do this" That day I had to look at my friends, one by one, people that I had grown so close to and in my mind, judge them. It was awful. However, it was a great exercise because it solidified my core value of not judging others.

We're all human beings doing the best we can in this world. And we all want the same things: To love and to be loved. I would hope we all strive to be good people and to be happy. So when it's all said and done, let's try not to judge others too harshly.

What my 20’s meant to me: Friendships

This weekend I was having a conversation with one of my best friends, Annamaria Loven. We were discussing friendships and how sometimes it's necessary to "break-up" with a friend. The dynamics of this are interesting because in many ways it's the same as breaking up with a boyfriend. In my 20's I had a friend that I worked with. She was fun to hang out with, but after a few months the friendship got a little strange, I didn't trust her and just plain wanted out of the friendship. I was too chicken to tell her so, in fear of hurting her feelings (I mean what do you say, "This just isn't working out, I think we should see other friends. Let's still be...oh, wait a minute, no I don't want to be friends, so just go away, please.") so I just ignored her calls and made excuses not to see her. I know, not the most mature way to handle it, but that's what I did. Years later I ran into her and I thought maybe she changed, that things could be different between us and I gave her my number. She never called. I guess I had it coming.

But with that situation I came to realize that some friendships in our life are just not worth having. Why do we keep them around? Because we think it will get better? Because we don't want to hurt our friends feelings? Who knows, but truth be told, if it's toxic, it's toxic and you may as well throw it out. I don't have the answer on how to end toxic friendships, but if the friendship isn't supportive and empowering to you, then walk away. And the great thing about friendships is that you can reengage them later if it's right. I have had 2 really good friends where this has happened. At one point one of my friends let me go because I had so much drama in my life and she had her own personal challenges as well. She could not for her own sanity be supportive of me so she took a break from me for a few months. Yes, I was hurt, but I respected her for it and in retrospect, she couldn't be the kind of friend that I needed at that time, so why should she have to fake it? It's not like she was my only friend to lean on. Which brings me to...

I believe in your 20's is when you begin to discover which kind of friends you have and for what reasons. Any time you go through a major life change (marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, major career change, etc) you really do find out not only who your good friends are, but what role they play in your life. For instance, one of my friends will tell it like it is, no matter what. She is direct and honest. Sometimes, if I'm not ready to hear that kind of support, I don't call her. And that's okay. Another friend I have will never give advice, just listen and tell me she loves me and supports me even if I did something crazy. This is also the friend I could call from prison to come bail me out in the middle of the night and I wouldn't even need to tell her what I did. I have a friend that I couldn't call to pick me up because sometimes she's a flake, (I love her anyway), but she knows it and I love her because I can tell her anything and she would never judge me.

So, I guess the most important lesson is if you have a friendship that isn't serving you, it's time to get rid if it. It's like that rule of an item of clothing: If you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it.

What my 20’s meant to me: Relationships

Since I have been asked to be a speaker at the Crest of your Life Workshops, it's got me thinking a lot about what I learned in my 20's. Twenty something. What an immense time of growth. What sticks out in my mind the most is that I was in a relationship with the same person for my entire 20’s. That story didn’t end well, but it had a lot of chapters. Some great, some bad, with lots of suspense and drama lurking around every corner.

What did I learn? A LOT! I learned that I can’t look to someone else to esteem me. (What a big job that is for someone else to take on, isn't it?). And I shouldn’t want to give it away. It is precious and all mine. Forever!

I learned to respect myself because many times others won’t. And, just as important, them not respecting me really didn't have anything to do with me. It's their stuff, not mine.

I learned that relationships shouldn’t always be exciting. Drama all the time is not a good thing! Don’t get used to it, because when you do, when things get good, you may end up sabotaging functional relationships to feed on drama. I remember thinking, "I can't stand that girl who just thrives on drama." and sadly, I WAS that girl! I'm not sure where along the way I got comfortable being uncomfortable, but it happened without me noticing.

I learned that you will get back what you put out. After the breakup of my 13 year relationship, I was so hurt and bitter. I would never admit it, but I was. Much too early to be in a new relationship, I entered one quickly, and fell flat on my face "in love". That 8 month relationship turned out to be the most toxic, co-dependant relationship I have ever had. And even while I was in it and knew it was bad, I would have rather been in a bad relationship than no relationship. So, my point is, that I got back EXACTLY what I had put out into the universe. I was sad, bitter, angry, mistrusting and hurt. And I got back a relationship that was sad, bitter, angry, mistrusting and hurt. Imagine that!

It took me until I was 32 to realize what I truly deserved. I always knew that I deserved a great man and a mutually respectful relationship, but I was always in love with what the man or relationship "could be if". "Could be if" never loved me back. I waited, and waited, but it never happened. So when I realized what I truly deserved, and truly believed, not just told myself, but truly believed that I was worthy of it, it happened. And I married him, and he is truly wonderful. And the relationship has mutual respect, is functional, stable and carries the values that we both honor. It was all worth the wait and the journey.

Gasp! I'm really going to do it!

Drumroll please…..

Cutting my hair!!!

Okay, I know you’re rolling your eyes thinking, “I’m reading this post about her cutting her freaking hair?” Well, I do have a point. As a woman, our hair is like our breasts. It’s what makes us a woman. I’ve had long hair all my life. In high school it was so long it got caught in the waistband of my pants (granted, back in the early 90’s our pants were up around our boobs), but it’s always been long and quite honestly, it’s become my security blanket. I see cute shoulder length do’s and say, “Ohh…that’s so cute on her, I wish I could have that style” and I always chicken out. Or one of my friends says “Don’t do it! You’ll regret it!” But lately, well, more like the past few years, I wash it, let it air dry (not pretty) and put it in a pony tail which is exactly how it is right now as I type. It’s so long and heavy sometimes I get a headache from it pulling on my brain.

As women, having a new hairstyle is like changing your life. I mean, look at what Britney Spears did when she was having a life crisis! She shaved her head!

I'm not the same girl I was when I was 20, but I have the same hairstyle. Actually, I've pretty much had the same hairstyle since I was 6, only varying it by bangs, or no bangs, see above picture. So why now? Why am I suddenly brave enough to take the plunge? Well, if you know me, you know I've been through some major life changes in the past 3 years. A divorce, a bad relationship, a new, wonderful marriage and a beautiful child. Finishing up a college degree and a new career. So, I think it's time for a new hairstyle. When I read that last sentence, a new hairstyle is really not that big of a deal!

Who would you rather be around: A woman who is funny or a woman who is gorgeous?

With all the super-skinny-emaciated celebrities out there for decades now, I often find myself cheering for the more "normal" looking woman. Tonight my husband and I were watching Chelsea Lately and I said, "I love Chelsea because she's so pretty and not so 'celebrity' skinny". He replied, "Have you noticed that a lot of famous female comedians aren't super skinny?" I thought about some of my all time favorites, Margaret Cho , Janeane Garofalo and Ellen DeGeneres and thought he was right. As some of us know, many of some great female comedians have struggled with weight issues publicly including Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin, but I guess what I am really trying to say, is most of the funniest women on TV, aren't "model-drop-dead gorgeous". So, that leads me to the question: Would you rather be around a woman who is funny or drop-dead gorgeous?

One thing I try to achieve day in and day out is to not take life too seriously. All in all, if we sit back and watch it, it's funny. Take sex, for example. C'mon, it's funny. The faces, the noises, the carrying on and on. IT'S FUNNY!!! Yes, it's intimate and beautiful....but it's funny. And I'm a potty humor junkie. True story: My 12 year old nephew called me to tell me that he was watching a weather report on the news and the weather man tried to say "Showers started..." and instead he said "sharted" (which we all know means when you think you have to fart and you shit instead). I love that my 12 year old nephew thought to call his 33 year old aunt Andrea because she would appreciate that and think it was funny.

How much happier would women be if they spent as much time trying to have fun as they do trying to be beautiful? And not care what people thought about them? Hey, I am guilty of feeling judged positively or negatively about the way I look or how much I laugh loudly, but at the end of the day, I would rather make someone laugh than have them think I am pretty.

P.S. Here is a great Vanity Fair article.

Personal Style Part 2

About a week ago I was in the library at Cal State University San Marcos. I couldn't help but overhear a conversation between 4 girls that were sitting behind me. They were talking about someones cute baby and one of the girls said, "I was such a cute baby, but I grew up to be so ugly" Her friends giggled and their conversation went on.


It took everything I had not to turn around and give them my speech. But, it really got me thinking about young girls and our perception of ourselves. Being a teenager and into our early 20's is such a rough time on our self esteem and ego. We've been mostly let free from our parents, but aren't "grown up" enough to know who we really are (I'm 33 and I'm still trying to figure it all out). We are bombarded daily by ads about what is perfect, that we "need" to be thin, that we "need" to have a boyfriend. If you asked 100 girls how many of them think they are pretty, I would bet that maybe 5 or 10 would say yes. And if it was in front of others, I'm not sure if any would admit to it. Who made the rule that admitting that we are beautiful= being conceited? Doesn't conceited mean having an exaggerated sense of self-importance? People that have no sense of what being beautiful really is? People that really think they are better than others?

How I am relating this to personal style is that your style is so much more than the way you dress. It is an expression of your character. Like it or not, we live in a world where we are judged and first impressions are so important. If we walk around sloppy, uncomfortable and just a mess all the time, what message are we putting out of our character? AND, if we live our life in constant physical chaos, won't it come back and make our lives and the way we view ourselves chaotic? (I know, that's a mouthful.) Pretty soon, we are such a mess in every way, that we are getting back what we put out there, and we think, "This isn't good, and neither am I". BAM!

I guess this post was all over the place, but then again so was my mind when I was writing it. I suppose if someone is having problmes getting their life in order, if they get themselves in order on the outside, hopefully the rest will follow suit.

Why do we spank ourselves?

This weekend I had the opportunity to be coached by a Life Coach. So there I was in the hot seat (I call it that because I was sweating profusely) and she confronted me on something I have been told before, but have always brushed off: The way I beat myself up about things that have happened in my life and now that I really think about it, things that still do happen. It's true. It's like an all out assault on my soul, beat down by none other than me!! I no longer tolerate people in my life that treat me badly and am proud of the fact that I have successfully eradicated those people from my life. It's like I gave myself a vaccination to protect me against having any kind of relationship with any toxic person. But the vaccine is useless against me. It's really quite ridiculous! I ask myself, "Would I be friends with me? Do I treat people with respect? When I make a mistake do I apologize and try to fix it?" and the answer to all is an astounding "YES!!!" Then why is it that I am unconsciously mean to myself when I am nicer to others, and I am the person I spend the most time with and should love the most.

One attribute I strive to maintain is to not judge others. It's not my job (like I need another one anyway) and it really is quite ugly. But somehow I have made judging myself an exception to the rule. That's a bunch of CRAP!

Some of my worst offenders are:
"You should have known better"
"People think you are annoying"

And I have to admit, I am too embarrassed to write anymore!

So, my point is, just be conscious of it and knock it off! All of us. This world is tough, but there is so much good. And so many, many good people. I'm one of them!

Distorted Perception of Beauty

A few weeks ago I was surfing the web and looking at different wedding photographers websites. What's become popular in the world of photography is what is known as "Boudoir Photography". It's basically photos that are done in a classy, sexy way, usually in a bedroom. There is usually no nudity and the photos can vary on their seductiveness based on the taste and choice of the person having them taken. Think Playboy without the nudity.

I came across a particular site where the female photographer was very talented. On her website the photographer had commented on what a fantastic gift these photos would be for your husband or boyfriend. There was a place on her website where people could leave comments. The first comment was someone complimenting her style of photography. The second comment was from a man who was another wedding photographer. I can't remember his exact words, but it was something to the extent of, "This type of photography really disturbs me. What else are you doing to gauge your customers? What is the husband supposed to do with these pictures, put them in a frame in his office? What if their children see them?" Okay, obviously this man is a closet pervert, but regardless, later that day I thought about it and couldn't stop. Then I got really angry. About a week later I tried to find her site again so I could go back and comment to him, but alas, I couldn't find it.

So (as I climb on my soapbox)...as a woman, and if you are a woman reading this you know how many times a day we are bombarded with what our society deems as beautiful. Billboards, magazines, websites and don't get me started on the cosmetics industry. Diet pills sell by the millions, there is a nail salon on every corner. Eyelash extensions? Plastic surgery is STILL on the rise. Waxing, bleaching, high heels, Spanx, the list is endless. But let me get back to the magazines. Ah yes, Maxim, FHM, Stuff magazine, Playboy and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. News Flash, boys, THOSE WOMEN DON'T REALLY LOOK LIKE THAT IN PERSON! So, I am ecstatic that this type of photography is becoming popular. I encourage ALL adult women to get pictures like that taken. Get your hair and make up done, get a spray-on tan and go. And you too can get airbrushed and photo shopped like a professional model. Did you know there is actually a tool that makes your legs longer? Ironically, as I scroll down on my blog my eye catches the picture of Jet, the American Gladiator that I admire for her kick-ass body. Can I look like that? Yes, if I worked out 6 hours a day. Do I want to? Not entirely. Well, maybe for a day, but I would get grossed out from being slathered in baby oil.

I don't want to sound like a prude, I'm really not. But I was moved by Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. I don't have a daughter, and I hope someday to have one, and when I do I hope I can remind myself to often teach her about real beauty. Because if I don't she'll get it 100 times over from the media.

I'll never forget the best compliment I ever received from a boy. I used to babysit a little boy named Tyler. I was in my 20's and he was 6 years old. We were playing outside and the conversation went like this:

Tyler: Andrea, do you know why I like you?

Me: No, why?

Tyler: Because you're nice and fun and you look pretty when you smile.

Me: Tyler, that's the nicest thing any boy has ever said to me. Thank you.

Personal Style

Yesterday I spoke with a friend of mine from the Coaches Training Institute. Jenny Ferry was presenting an opportunity for me to be a part of her workshop, which empowers young 20 something women transitioning into the "real world". As I thought about it, it struck me that I know more about this than being a mom. I've been a mom for a year, but I was a 20 something for 10 years.

What Jenny asked me to be a part of was "Personal Style". Hmmmm....I do have a degree in Fashion Merchandising from Fashion Careers of California College and worked in the fashion industry for several years before I made the switch to Exercise Science. Which made me think about how much my personal style has changed since then. Of coarse we evolve, especially as women. We graduate from college, some get married, some have kids, some change jobs. The way we dress, our hairstyles and make-up change with the ever evolving trends, but does the core of our personal style really change? Personal style goes beyond just how we look. The music we listen to, the way we decorate our homes, even our cars emulate who we really are.

I love watching fashion programs on TV. I love Project Runway, but one that I can't stand is "What Not to Wear". First off, the woman on there, Stacy London, rips people to shreds and makes them feel stupid for the way they dress. Is that anyway to start a new look? Like it's not daunting enough to venture into a new "you", but to tell someone, "You look like you wrapped yourself in grandmas drapes and then she vomited on you!" Ugh! It's too uncomfortable for me to watch. Then, they put them in new outfits and most of the time you can see the uncomfortableness all over the peoples faces. My point is, that you can't fake it. For instance, I love Gwen Stefani's style. She's a musician, a mom, she's hip and cute, a trendsetter by every stretch of the imagination. Can I pull off her style? (Hysterical laughing)....NO! It's just not me. I would be in the back pages of Glamour Magazine's "Fashion Do's and Don'ts" with a black box over my face. The caption would read, "DON'T be a mom from the suburbs and try to pull off someone else's look and think you're cute". And Stacy London would be in the background of the picture pointing and laughing at me with her devil ears and pitchfork.

As I look in my own closet I made a mental inventory of what's there. Plain t-shirts in every color of the rainbow. Cute, well-fitting jeans, some more dressy shirts. Now, the back of my closet is more interesting, however those clothes don't see the light of day too often. It's just not where I am right now. And I'm okay with that. I'm comfortable, myself, put-together and well...a mom. Do I need to wear my Charles David heels and $200 jeans while I pick up chicken off the floor and clean dirty diapers? I'm stylish when I need to be and to me, that's my own Personal Style.

I am anti-yoga

Today I popped in the 4th of 12 videos from a new workout program I am doing and it was a Yoga workout. I have done Yoga before and although I think it's a great workout and admire those that do it, I have never been a big fan. It's slow and boring. I can't concentrate and I have come to the conclusion that I am mentally unable to meditate. As much as I would love to, I just can't. Give me 2 Tylenol PM and 3 glasses of wine and I might be able to...but other than that I just can't.

So, the video was 90 minutes long. I knew right when I saw how long it was that this was going to be a struggle. I made it a half an hour before I pressed stop and found something better to do.

Are some people just wired NOT to be able to do things like that? I mean 90 minutes, are you kidding me? Maybe I have adult onset ADD or something, but that's just ridiculous! The whole thirty minutes my mind was spinning, "My hands are sweating. I wonder if the people in the video are as bored as I am? This pose makes my head hurt because my ponytail is too heavy. Maybe I should get a haircut. Am I ready for short hair? Is today Saturday or Sunday? Should we get a dog?" and on and on.

Well, like I always say, It is what it is!

Just be.

A couple months back in one of my coaches training classes we were asked to write down what was important to us. I can't remember the exact exercise, but there I was scribbling a list of this and that. I stopped to think hard about what it was that I wanted and then it hit me. I want to just be.

If you know me, you know that I can be a bit of a spazz. I like to think of it as "dynamically energetic". Sometimes I am in such a hurry to do everything, I totally miss the journey because I am so focused on the destination. Gandhi once said, "There is more to life than increasing its speed" (by the way, that's on my vision board. See below). By slowing down we enable ourselves to truly connect with others, and "be" instead of "do". I think having my son has taught me how to slow down too. This morning I watched him play with a wooden block. He threw it on the floor and watched it scoot across the floor. He crawled over to it, picked it up, inspected it and threw it again. Over and over, for 15 minutes.

So, I crossed out all the things I wrote on that piece of paper and wrote, "Just be." I think I will find that piece of paper and frame it.

No second chance for the lost time

"If in fact we're miserable in the process, what's the point of earning money in the first place?" -Paddi Lund

I wonder how many people are truly miserable in their jobs. Or even just unhappy. As I type this my eyebrows furrow and I am sad for those people. Many people spend more hours per week at their jobs than they do at home and with the people they love. Day in and day out, dragging around at a job that they dislike, or even hate. All for what? Money? Success? Recognition? I heard somewhere that homeless people that have been living that way for a long time actually choose it. (Maybe they have the right idea?)

At any rate, we have no second chance for the lost time.

How much is too much?

As I contemplate taking on another job, I get the familiar feeling of being overwhelmed. How in the world can I take a full load of classes (which includes Organic Chemistry), work part time, have a network marketing gig, manage to squeeze running in there, take care of my one year old son, keep going with my coaching certification, keep the house clean, and attend playgroup?

Perhaps I can turn it around and look at it all as if I am extremely blessed. Blessed to have such a great education, the opportunity to help others, have a beautiful and healthy child, have a healthy body that I can maintain, a roof over my head and wonderful friends to share it all with.

Five minutes ago when I started this post I had no idea where it was going. I sat down at the computer while I have a precious few minutes because my son is napping just to get it all down, all of the things that are weighing on me. And I give myself a pat on the back for shifting my attitude so easily. Anyone can, some more easily than others, and some may need to remind themselves of a better and more positive attitude. But it's possible!

For All the Mommies

Granted, I have only been a mom now for 10 months, and I have a long road ahead of me. But the reason for this post is to talk about the reason I became passionate about this profession.

I remember my own mother when I was somewhere at the elementary school age. At that point I still looked at both of my parents as though they were somewhat superhuman. As many children do, I never thought they had normal emotions, ever got sick or tired. My mom worked full time and still had time to make dinner, vacuum every day and I never saw a speck of dirt in our window sills. But looking back, I'll bet she was so tired.

So where did she put herself on her list of priorities? Second, after me? Fourth, after my older brother and sister? Or maybe fifth, after her 3 kids and husband. Actually, it was probably sixth, because I'm sure she would clean up the house before she took some time for herself.

Remember those commercials in the 80's of the mom in the bubble bath with all the background chaos, "Calgon, take me away!" We should all take time to say that phrase, replacing "Calgon" with our own name. Take yourself away, mommy! Give yourself a break from the cleaning, tutoring, chauffeuring, dressing, bathing, disciplining, entertaining, "room momming", ...I'm getting tired just thinking about it! The way I see it is moms feel like they are speeding down the freeway, petal to the metal, passing off ramp, after off ramp, all the while having to pee really, really bad, but just don't have time to stop. It's time to slow down, get off the freeway and pee. Even if only for a minute. The freeway will always be there when you are done, and you'll be in a much better mood.

I hear a lot of, "But I don't have time! My kids/husband/job/pets need me!" And of course they do, but a rested, happy mommy makes for a happy family. Positive energy is contagious, it radiates all around you, especially to those who spend a lot of time with you. So, if nothing else do it for your family. Be nice to yourself, you have the opportunity to be the nicest, most gracious person the most important person in your life: YOU!

Peaks and Valleys

I think we all remember little things our parents used to say to us when we were kids. I don't mean the "you'll get your mouth washed out with soap" lines, but the positive things. My dad always used to say "peaks and valleys" whenever something bad would happen. I never understood it until I got older what exactly he meant, but it's such a simple verse that says so much.

Lately I have been so looking forward to my future. My marriage, my family, my career and my own personal growth. Then something happens that can make all of that seem like it sits so far into the future, sitting in a dry desert with sad faces looking back at me. But I shrug my shoulders and say, "peaks and valleys". And let me tell you, have I seen some valleys!! But the peaks are so much more beautiful and I can always look forward to seeing one when I am down in the valley.

"Can't You Just Get Your Sh*t Together?"

A few months ago I was watching an episode of "Chelsea Lately". If you don't know who she is, she's a tell-it-like-it-is comic that hosts B list celebrities. She was interviewing a woman who was the star of her own reality show and the woman mentioned that the producers of her show hired a life coach for her. Chelsea says, "Do people really have life coaches? Can't people just get their shit together?"

My first reaction was that I was a little insulted by this! But then I realized, if people really could get it together, there would be no therapists, psychiatrists, nutritionists, personal trainers, closet organizers, financial planners, etc. The list goes on! So, I guess the answer is no, we can't get it together! I'm the first to admit there have been times in my life where I couldn't get it together and needed some help! Nobody is perfect, we all need a little help once in a while to keep us together, I guess even reality TV stars!


1. a feeling of satisfaction at having achieved your desires

What a big, enormous word. I think living in this country, and maybe even more so in southern California, we are always wanting more. Once we get what we want, there is always something in some window that we see that we have to have.

Looking around at my own life, I really have everything that fulfills me. A loving relationship, a healthy child, a warm home. I have more than most, I would assume. When you ask someone, "What fulfills you?" it is usually met with a big sigh and the sentence starts with "Ummmm....." People really have to dig deep in their hearts to answer this. Then usually a smile appears as they think of their answer. You can tell a lot about a person by what they say, but you can tell even more by their facial expressions. If they are getting it or not. And if they are not getting it, their disappointment.

I'm excited to know that I will help people make steps toward their own fulfillment. And to quote the Hokey Pokey, "That's what it's all about!"

The First Post

And so it starts.

Why wait? I decided to become a life coach when my own life took a turn. I was faced with a promotion at my retail job and thought about what my future would look like. Hmmm....boring. Unfulfilled. I mean, if you're going to spend 40 hours a week doing something, shouldn't it kick ass? Or at least not be crap? Most people spend more time at work than they do with their own families.

So, I went back to college to get a degree with something I was fascinated with, Exercise Science. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew I was going somewhere great. When I read about life coaching in 2002, I knew that was what I was going to do. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I can do this and be great at it. Helping others to live their ideal life. Every day that you spend not trying to lead a more fulfilling life for yourself is a day wasted. And I emphasize "for yourself". Not for anyone else. Sure, we all do things for our families, our spouses, our children, our friends, it's important but when you're 95 and about to die, will you be glad you had a "just okay" life, filled with doing everything for everyone else, or will you be glad you lived YOUR ideal life?