Monthly Archives: October 2011

Freakin’ Fabulous Friday!

Freakin’ Fabulous Friday!

I had such a great ”streets of New York encounter” on Tuesday in Tribeca – got to say hi to Clinton Kelly!  If that name isn’t familiar to you he is the co–host of What Not To Wear on TLC and The Chew on ABC.

I have always enjoyed Clinton’s insight and advice on What Not To Wear – if someone has made it to the point that their nearest and dearest sent them in as a subject they need that unrelenting honesty! Clinton has a perfect mix of kindness and snarkiness that I appreciate.

One of the cool things about actually running into Clinton was that I got to tell him how much I LOVE his book Freakin’ Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better than Everyone ElseThink Emily Post meets Martha Stewart meets, well Clinton Kelly! This book is a great read, funny but yet very helpful. I think it is a terrific gift for someone just starting out, or perhaps someone needing to start over!

Fabulousness to me is so much more than how you look. Who you are inside, how you act, how you treat others – it’s all part of the package.  Let’s face it – the truly fabulous didn’t get there by accident. Thought, consideration, learning and willingness to take advice all helped along the way. Freakin” Fabulous is definitely that advice book to help you along or help you brush up and get back on the path.

 

 

 

 

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Take Charge Tuesdays!

Take Charge Tuesdays!

In honor of my favorite Australian Hugh Jackman - today’s message is “have a go!”.

Put yourself out there, try new things, don’t be afraid to fail! What is the worst thing that can happen – someone will laugh at you, someone will say no, someone will think you a fool?  So what – better someone else think or say those things and you know in your heart you gave it a shot rather than not trying.

 How can you truly know your potential if you don’t challenge yourself to the highest limit? How do you know if you can succeed if you never try? Some of the greatest inventions of our time came after a long series of failures, some of the greatest potential I am sure has been wasted by those not willing to risk.

Go out there today and have a go – choose one thing and go for it!  Who knows what amazing things may lie ahead for you??!!

 

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Laughing Man: Hugh Jackman & Caffeine – Who Could Ask For Anything More?!

Laughing Man: Hugh Jackman & Caffeine – Who Could Ask For Anything More?!

While visiting Ethiopia as an ambassador for World Vision Hugh Jackman had the opportunity to meet a coffee farmer named Dukale. The time spent with Dukale, his family and community, enabled Hugh to see the benfits that the aid from World Vision provided to this group. Not only was Dukale able to provide for his family, but he was able to expand enough to provide work for others in the community and start a cafe serving his coffee. The coffee farm was also utilizing a new method of using manure as a source to provide methane to the homes, enabling the families to avoid the many negative aspects of using a fire as a source of heat including health risks due to the smoke.

The aid from World Vision - supporting a business and enabling it to grow and expand while improving the quality of life – was not a one time lump sum of money, but a resource toward a brighter, more productive future.

Hugh left Dukale promising to find a way to continue the dream of success and expansion for his friend.

Hugh Jackman finds inspiration with Ethiopian coffee farmers. Launches charity brand, Laughing Man

Fast forward a few years, add the inspiration of Paul Newman and AE Hotchner’s Newman’s Own using fine product and public profile to do good as detailed in Pursuit of the Common Good. The final piece of serendipity, a meeting with friends Barry & David Steingard who mention they are interested in re-entering the coffee business and you have the birth of Laughing Man: coffee, tea, chocolate and fine merchandise.

The motto for Laughing Man is “all be happy”, taken from the ancient Sanskrit Lokah Blessing “ ”May all beings everywhere be happy and free.” All profits from Laughing Man will be donated to charity – starting with World Vision and Harlem Village Academies and expanding to opportunities of education and growth for businesses and communities. This “seeding” of minds and businesses not only provides the immediate resources needed, but hope for the future as those benefiting from these opportunities grows exponentially. Opportunity to learn, grow and work is without a doubt a path to happiness and freedom.

Now onto the most important part – is it any good??  Well this morning I brewed my first pot of 184 Home Blend, ground from whole beans, and it was delicious. I am looking forward to visiting the Laughing Man Marketplace  at 184 Duane Street in Tribeca soon to sample the other offerings and hopefully educate myself and expand my caffeinated horizons. My husband Anthony had the hot chocolate and enjoyed the rich, dark flavor.  Definitely not the after school sweet powder from your childhood! I am waiting for my daughter Katie, the tea aficionado, to weigh in on the various teas offered. Love my tee shirt, and most importantly love that it all is part of doing good.

I aspire to be a philanthropist, to save the world one amoeba at a time. For now I am incredibly happy to find ways to contribute to businesses already in motion achieving those goals. You can do this too -  visit Laughing Man online at www.livelaughingman.com, or visit the Laughing Man Marketplace in person at 184 Duane Street, New York – just make sure you visit and do good!

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Thoughtful Thursdays!

Thoughtful Thursdays!
    

  “The best way to lose yourself is to find yourself in the service of others.

Mahatma Gandhi

There are times when things become overwhelming to us, when we feel ourselves sinking into the negative feelings. This is draining  to us emotionally, physically and spiritually.

One of the best ways to fight this feeling, to break free from the weight of negativity, is to reach out to others.

 Sometimes it takes thinking about someone else, their needs and their situations to put our own needs and situations into perspective. 

 

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Tortellini & Peas in Cream Sauce!

Tortellini & Peas in Cream Sauce!

This is one of my family’s favorites – adults love it, kids love it and it can become your “go to” anytime you promise to bring a dish.  The recipe is easily multiplied and is definitely not expensive to make.  It also serves as the base for some other delicious dishes coming up!! (Hint – have you ever had Paglia e Fieno?)

Tortellini & Peas in Cream Sauce

2 lbs. cheese tortellini (tri color makes for great presentation)

8 0z. package frozen petitte peas

1 stick of butter

1 1/2 cups heavy cream (can use half and half to lighten it up, but perhaps this isn’t your light recipe to begin with!!)

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

(grated peccorino romano cheese to taste if you like)

fresh parsley for garnish

1.  bring a large pot of salted water to a boil

2.  melt butter in a sauce pan until foamy, add cream

3. stir the butter and cream mixture frequently with a wooden spoon

4. when the water comes to a boil add the tortellini and peas

5.  season the butter and cream with salt and pepper to taste, add cheese here if desired

6. drain the pasta and peas when al dente (or longer to preference)

7.  stir sauce into pasta and peas, taste and season again with salt and pepper if desired

That’s all there is to it!  When plated or placed in a serving dish garnished with fresh parsley it looks great and tastes delicious!!

 

 

 

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Straight Ally Since 1965!

Straight Ally Since 1965!

I have been a straight ally since 1965 when I met my friend Silvio. The words were different then, but the intent and cruelty were the same. Fortunately my friend had a strong sense of who he was even at a young age and a group of friends from school and our theatre group that provided support and I guess protection of a sort.
One of my best friends now is an example of what it is to be a good man – not qualified by straight or gay – but a good man. He too had strength of character to make it through.
For all who do not have that in their personal lives, let them know the world at large is and can be a kinder place than what they know. Then go out there every day and make it so.

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Musical Mondays!

Musical Mondays!

“Lose Yourself”

Eminem

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
Yo

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo
(You better)

Keep your mind open to all kinds of music and the  message it conveys. You never know what will speak to you, inspire you, help you name what you are feeling or  keep you going when you feel you have nothing left to give.

Take the time to make playlists for times when you need inspiration, meditation or a place to be held until you feel you are ready to take the next step.

Make your own soundtrack – and remember when you score this story you have a choice in the ending!!

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Soulful Sundays!

Soulful Sundays!

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
Dalai Lama

There is a vast difference between naming your faith and living your faith.

 I often use the paradox of the person always early for service, sitting in the front pew who then makes faces at the late comers and those with little children who are trying their best to keep their kids quiet (sometimes using Cheerios or toys as bribes). Sometimes these denizens of the front row are the very same folks who cut you off in the parking lot or don’t acknowledge your friendly nod in the coffee shop.

Naming your faith and making sure it is on display for all to see is not the same as living a life, everyday, filled with kindness, compassion and service. Sorting your fellow community members into the worthy and the unworthy is so against the very lessons of love and acceptance at the root of faith. Feeling that a donation can buy your way in or “up” was the cause of religious separation hundreds of years ago, yet today we still see those that feel making a donation or inviting the religious from their congregation to their homes gives them the edge.

For every “pillar of the community” there are many that volunteer, serve, drop off donations and connect with political leaders on behalf of those in need among us. Because those random acts of kindness aren’t publicized and by their very nature don’t earn “brownie points” the value does not lie in how other’s perceive us but how God, or our greater being perceives us and at the end of the day – how we perceive ourselves.

In living our faith everday, starting from the inside out, it becomes who we are instead of what we do. We begin within ourselves, our homes and our families and then carry the positive energy to the world outside us. It puts us in touch with each other and with our God or Being in a way that is meaningdul and directive, and it is accepting of our shortcomings due to the fact that we are indeed all only human.

 

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Step It Up Saturdays!

Step It Up Saturdays!

The beauty of the Positive Thinking Cafe is that I can share in a way that hopefully is helpful to you, or gives you food for thought, but at the same time enables me to challenge myself as well.

I embrace technology in all its forms, and I would say I am fairly competent and capable when it comes to making the most of the opportunities it affords me both in my business and personal life.  However, I must confess my biggest weakness – a failure to weed out my email.

In my excitement about learning about many things and staying on top of various interests I have subscribed to many newsletters, blogs and alerts.  In my most positive sense I feel I can truly get a lot of information, but realistically my time constraints and organization of my email accounts are not keeping up.

I feel that at this point I should share with you how many emails each of my various accounts have that need to be weeded out – I just can’t – suffice it to say they are each over one thousand.  Not that I haven’t read or weeded through them, but I haven’t deleted them because on some level I thought ” oh, I need this”. 

Well today’s step it up challenge is to build some time into each day to actively work on this. I am going to start with fifteen minutes of dedicated deleting a day to address this and will let you know when I reach my initial goal of under 1,000 on each account. Do you have a system or ways that you address “techno-clutter”?  If so please share – I for one would be greatly appreciative!!

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Fabulous Fridays!

Fabulous Fridays!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles,” 1992 (commonly misattributed to Nelson Mandela, 1994 inauguration speech)

How often do we hold back who we truly are out of fear?  Fear of not fitting in, of not being good enough, of being lonely of being foolish, of being ridiculed or of being wrong.  What if that fear weren’t there and we put ourselves out into the world as the very best version of ourselves?  What if we tried without being afraid of failure or criticism?

Not all efforts would be successes, but not all would be failures.  The trial and error of discovering who we are, where our true talents lie, would be the journey of an authentic life. What we put out into the world, take us or leave us, comes from our most inner self.

On your way to personal fabulousness first and foremost lose the idea that you will find it by following someone else’s path.  By all means take a look at other’s style that appeals to you, read magazines and blogs, look at catalogs and take in the sights in the mall. Now take all of that information and find what appeals to you, what works for you. Don’t adapt the “uniform” of the moment – regardless of the price of the uniform rather than being a statement of fabulousness it is a statement that you are not secure enough to make your own mark. If you show up to work, or your kid’s school or a night out and you are wearing the same exact  thing as most of the people there – that is not fabulous, it is hiding in safety. The first person that had the look was fabulous, the rest too easily fell into the trap of following the pack. It is probably a very nice looking pack, but if you are seeking out fabulousness this is not the way to get there.

Today take a risk, change it up, try something new.  Head to the back of the closet, the bottom of the drawer. Who knows, the pack may just start following you!!

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