Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lesson Learned


Yes I know its been quite a while. But I must share a most humbling feeling I have received quite recently...

Quickly, Yea I have a new job and God has smiled on me a little. I have a new job, a very fun job, making more money from the last job. Yes, money isn't everything, but I found out my old company "did me dirty", they laid me off to hire some one in San Francisco. Oh well, their loss. I am loyal, like a labrador retriever, but they didn't see it and decided that they were going to eliminate the Seattle position.

I am truly better off in the end and I might blog about it later but tonight I got my "come-upance".

Let me explain. A good friend of mine, I mean, If I had a sister I wish it would have been her, is getting married. I can not make her wedding Some might say I am not trying hard enough, call me! Moving on. She deserves a good, practical, usable gift. I thought a vacuum cleaner would be most beneficial. Personally the Oreck has done me well over the years! (oh stop with the "that isn't proper english"). Here is the issue:

We moved in 2008 and my mother-in-law (say anything bad and you'll be wrong) sent me an Oreck on my birthday - October, we moved in March. I need a vacuum and know how wonderful the Oreck was we went right to the store and purchased one. How did I know it was wonderful, my amazing mother-in-law gave me one years ago, when I had shag carpet, in my rented apartment.

Anyway , my birthday rolls around and what shows up on my porch an Oreck box! I hit the roof. My mother-in-law sent me a vacuum on my birthday, really! Into a closet that gift went! unopened.

Nearly four (4) year later my "I wish she was my sister' gets married. My un-elegant mind goes " HUM unused Oreck, still in the box, great gift". Stupid me!

I go to the Oreck website, they have changed the design. I cant send an old unused vacuum to such a sweet person. I proceed not listening to my heart.

Planning to put a card into the box I open it. Knowing that Hello Kitty is our "little secret", I was going to place a sticker on the vacuum.

OMG! When I open the box. First, Oreck has changed the style. How can I send an old style to my sweet friend? Second, my mother-in-law didn't insult me by sending me a vacuum on my birthday, no she sent me the top of the line. What a heel am !?!?!?

Three year later I see my mistake. I feel horrible! I then realize that was the old me. The me, truthfully, I didn't like very much. The developed me wouldn't have thought that way, nor behaved that way.

Sometime our past haunts us!

BTW, to end the story. She still needs a vacuum. She is getting the upright, the handheld and the bags to keep her going. And don't ask how much I/We put in her card :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


We’ve all heard – “the devil is in the details”. This is true in so many situations. One of these situations would be women’s purses, especially in the work force.

This is so noticeable when watching the news and seeing women lawmakers or their staffers.

The picture above is of the new IMF president, Christine Lagarde, very polished, very finished, very feminine. She isn’t trying to look like a man.Nor is any element of her outfit screaming for attention.

Its must be some kind of blindness or style amnesia with some women. They spend all this money and time on their suits and shoes and maybe even the bag they are carrying but no one seems to look at the whole picture.

Under full disclosure, I don’t like slouchy bags. They are very popular now. The thing with a slouchy big bag is you end carrying the kitchen sink. Not only that but the bag looks casual, which in some situations is perfect. Slouchy bags and flip flops to me are in the same casual category. If I wouldn’t wear flip flops then why use my big oversided slouchy bag.

In my last job, I traveled a lot. A big bag was great. You carried you ipad (and every attachment that goes with it), pashmina, a snack, maybe flat shoes, everthing! Even taking the train to work I used a large bag, again ipad, lunch, high heals and my purse were all in that big bag. Why the purse? Because for business meetings and lunch meetings that last thing I wanted to have to do was find a place for the bag, worry about the bag, carry the bag. I had more important things to deal with.

I’ve been at a meeting where the women actually misses a call because she cant find her phone in her bag. The whole phone at the table thing has been covered in many blogs. What it does do is show that you are unorganized and maybe indecisive because you got everything in the world in your bag.

Consider what you do need at a business meeting – ipad, wallet, phone, business cards, maybe sunglasses. Yes, you’ll need some make up, some make up not your whole paint palette. A finish powder and lipstick maybe a brush. Nothing more than that. You primp before you leave and with good quality make up you’ll be fine for 8 hours!

It always amazes me to see women in the bathroom primping, primping, primping. Hair, make-up, hair again. But they neglect to see their shoes are scuffed or the heal is torn or the sole is lose. The never check to see if there is a VUwL (visible underware line) be it bra or panties or snags in the nylons. Then to top it off they have this bag that could carry their dog that it is self is scuffed with pen marks. If they spent 10% of the time primping to look below their cleavage they might see the whole picture.

Funny to put it this way, but would you carry such a bag to the opera? I hope not. Would you carry that same bag to the club? Again, I hope not. Why do you spend more time concerned how you look outside of work then going to work. You’re look really can become a detriment to you career. You’ll need the money to do the fun things.

And don’t you dare say “Oh the man will pay”. You take care of your needs.

My husband has a funny saying for me “She is high maintenance but she is self maintaining”. Yup I bought my Lady Dior bag, for business, not my understanding husband.

We talk about buying quality, but there are times that fashionable items can update an outfit that don’t have to cost so much since they are not classics. Enjoy your big bags, but like everything else, at the correct time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sale Season

This is the season for sales and shopping, expect for Jos. A. Bank.

Why would I be singling out one company? I cant take it anymore! Every week for months, in the morning while getting dressed, I would hear their ad “Buy one suit, get two free”, “Buy one item 50% off, next items 60% off, your third item 70% off”.

I remember when they had their first “Buy one suit get two free”. Men weren’t buying suits because of the recession and they had such an overwhelming response they didn’t have enough tailors.

Then it started, some brilliant marketing person had the idea “Well if we got that much response let’s do it again, every week”. Not at first, it was twice a year, then on every holiday, now it has become every week.

Now, I can not escape the ad’s even though I am no longer employed. I thought since I get up a little later, I wouldn't hear the ad, one of the bright spots of unemployment. No, now they are on prime time.

Brooks and I have had a few discussions about this. Brooks understand men hate to shop and the sale sounds great. Personally, I think they are simply cheapening their brand.

Last night, we both came up with two new great sale pitches.

ARRRGGG – even as I am writing this one of their commercials came on – oh everything in the store is 60% for 3 or more items, is anyone else confused?

Here are our marketing ideas -

Brooks: “Buy half a suit get the other half free” This includes the sock, shirt, belt and tie.
Astor: “We’ve lowered our prices so you get a great deal any day of the week”

Do you have ideas for a new marketing plan for JAB?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun read

This was a great segment to listen to. I laughed thru mist of the interview, I'd hate to hear what other drivers were saying a the crazy laughing lady in the car beside them.

It will make a great read and maybe a new family tradition.

I think I'll try making this this weekend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pippa Middleton "'She's sweet but Pippa isn't wife material': What Alex Loudon's frightfully grand family say..."

When I heard this story on the Today show, I had to go looking for the article.

I might have bruised my jaw when it hit the floor from being so appalled!

When you read the article it is understandable that all of the celebrity that has been built up around her could be so off putting as to call it quits. Not many relationships have lasted in that kind of glare.

From the Today show the comment was made his family is a 'blue blood' and are discrete. Not sure what the family expected, their son was dating the sister-in-law to the future King of England. Well, her sister was dating the future King of England.

They obviously have royal connections without Pippa but I cannot help but think, she was good enough until the spot light, now she isn't discreet? Not her fault, they may have thought the red dress was to risque, I might agree, and didn't want the press but Pippa's personality is what I think is the issue. She is vivacious, fun with a zest for life. Other reports but Alex at the opposite end of the fun spectrum.

I am sure the family is super upset that their true feelings have been splashed all over the newspapers. Seems someone in their inner circle is less than discreet.

Then again, what does "frightfully grand" mean?

Pippa seems to be the least of their worries. Can someone say "damage control"?

I am confused, then again, I am not English, titled or a blue blood.

Rewarding Bad Behavior

Screaming, yelling, punching, kicking and getting falling down drunk, reality TV in a nutshell.

Yup, I’m a hater! I hate scrambling for my remote when something obnoxious, if not borderline criminal, comes up on my screen. I wouldn’t have people like this as my friends; I am certainly not inviting them into my home for 48 minutes each week.

I do watch reality TV or how else could I know what’s going, my life would be so empty. No, it wouldn’t; seriously, I do have other things in my life that really do matter(like finding a job).

So, why bother even writing the post.

Talking with most adults, they understand this behavior is unacceptable, and those perpetrating these actions are more court jesters than respected members of society. Here comes a hater comment, they are making a fabulous amount of money being fools. You have to ask yourself, what would I do for that kind of money? I also hope these people are not as foolish as they are being portrayed and have a good financial planner.

As adults, we have the skill set to look at this behavior and know it’s out of bounds. Children on the other had have not yet developed as a person, they may like these people as role models. They see this behavior as powerful, when we see it as sad.

As adults we do have a responsibility to younger people. Show them by your behavior what is acceptable, mannered, upstanding and hopefully fun and enjoyable. Give them a good in touch role model.

Reality TV isn’t going away but we have the power, called a remote.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Start - Day 2

It's been a while since I've posted. It was difficult for me to find the balance of work and personal life.

The balance has been given to me. My job position was eliminated on Friday. A complete shock. But I couldn't find the balance. I couldn't find me in the job. As odd as that sounds. Even though people are saying "Its for the best". It still does not help the feeling:

It really does make you examine your life, your decisions. I've had to work hard to get where I am. I now am looking at why, why did I work so hard to get, nowhere. Right now I look at the jobs available and I start looking at myself. The last two jobs (both of which had my position eliminated in the last 3 years) really were not a fit. They were what I thought I wanted. I really thought I wanted to work in the corporate world. I was so happy to have landed a job in one of the largest firms in the world. When that job went away, I thought what I really liked to do. I liked teaching and I know this specific software. So when I saw this teaching job come up, I was excited. But as the months went along, the joy was quickly replaced with anxiety. I never did a good enough job. Not that I didn't do a good job but it was always stated "How could you do it better". After a few months of that, you really become demoralized.

Now, I have free time, all the time in the world. Yesterday, out went 10 resumes. Funny that hits my quota for 3 weeks with unemployment insurance. All 10 are in my field in which I am educated, but the question now is do I really want to stay in this field. That is the same question I asked a year and a half ago. I found the new job in 5 months, which I thought was great. I was kind of out of the field, into a new direction of teaching.

Now, I am left with the same question. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? The only answer is live my life!

You know I've done most of the things in my life to have people like me. What a fool! Now, dont get me wrong, it is nice to have friends, people liking you. But now for me its more important that I like myself, that I find a job that I can be myself and like the job. In the corporate world my personality is not taken positively, I think. I do my job, but I have a sense of humor to me. I find the humor in most things and I cant stand grandstanding and people hypocrisy's and office politics, I cant play that game. People who try to make themselves something they are not irritate me. Sadly, that is corporate. Make people think you are something you are not. I've seen people let go that are great workers but they were not friends with the boss. They weren't good schmoozers.

This job got to me. I tried so hard to fit. I stressed myself so much I ended up wearing a heart monitor and having an MRI. I remember laying the in MRI machine and I was so mad at myself to have let a job get me so stressed that I was 'killing' myself. Really, I thought I had had a heart attack, actually two before I went to the doctor and found out it was just me and my stress. I knew I needed to change something.

What irks me is I needed to change something. To have someone else make the decision for you is what has me the most angry. Someone else is playing with my life. Bosses have control over your livelihood, so maybe its about time I go back and take control and run my own business. I did it 4 years ago for the eight years prior and was successful with it, I can do it again.

This is only day 2, there are a lot of feeling to go through.

I now have time to got through an edit all of the posts I wrote while traveling to work or for work.

There is a schedule to my day. And today I think I will have a cup of coffee on the patio and enjoy the beautiful sun.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Be careful what you offer

I started this blog for various reasons. One was my own upbringing. I have one of those " aunts". She knew every etiquette rule but never understood love, compassion, or elegance. I remember setting the dinning room table for dinner with a ruler. Imagine the stress when we had company for dinner.

Well, she is at it again.

My mother is flying from Houston to Philadelphia. She has not seen her sister in four years. She told my mother that she could stay with my aunts oldest son. That was until three days before she was to fly out. Imagine this, there isn't room and to top it off there isn't any time to spend with her.

My aunt offered something that was not hers to offer, her son's house. That is being presumptuous. Not elegant. To compound the situation her son had other plans.

The part that makes my blood boil, they haven't seen my mother for four years and yet they can not make time to see her? It's not like they have not had a months notice that she was coming to visit.

I do not have a close family and I was so angry at my aunt for her behavior I was going to call her and give her a piece of my mind, hopefully a piece I didn't need. Thankfully a piece of my brain did work, I remembered I dont have her phone number.

I removed myself from her life years ago. I saw the kind of person she was. She was only ever interested in appearance. There didn't need to be substance if there was appearance. She would act like the family had money. Great meals when we had guests, living in the most prominent neighborhoods,wearing the best clothing, new cars, you get the point. It looked good from the outside,except when it was only the family. Dinner at her house(we were never guests) was canned soup and sandwiches, one piece of cheese, one slice of ham, half leaf of lettuce, I am not kidding. The clothing, secondhand (the only thing I learned that was beneficial).

This may read as a rant and it is, but it also has some great points about elegance.

I needed to remove the "ugly" from my life to find my elegance.

If you offer something to someone make sure your not overstepping your bounds. Never say " oh she doesn't care", they may very much care. Think of their feelings, at this point just be respectful and ask. Kids are really bad at this, "what ever my parents have is mine" they hit up the closet and the bank account.

My aunt overstepping her bounds inconveniencing her son and hurting her sister, sadly she wont care nor will she learn. My friends think it's funny, I'll call before stopping, I will ask if something fits their schedule. One friend got annoyed, " just stop in" but I explained I was being respectful and I had no desire to stop in just as she was getting out of the shower!

So this afternoon, the daughter was the friend with the "shoulder" to cry on. Yes I would love to call my aunt, but it would be futile. In your life there are people like that. There is a scripture in the bible that comes to mind, not casting your pearls before swine. People with animal behavior will not learn by your example, they arnt looking for it. They a fine with themselves it's the world that has a problem and self improvement is for the weak.

Elegance is refinement, ongoing refinement.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


It's been a long time since I posted. I was on vacation. Not that I haven't written anything, I just haven't edited them.

Vacation was long overdue. I haven't taken a vacation in three years. I've taken long weekends but nothing longer then three days.

That is one thing I do regret, for the good of my mental health, is not taking a vacation earlier. The world we live in does make it hard for some families to take the needed time away for the sake of clearing your mind. Either you are unemployed or so worried if you take a vacation your job will be on the line. But in hindsight taking the vacation can clear your mind, putting things into perspective.

It was a good time away. A time to look at my daily life from the outside. To make plans for my future.

The saddest thing is coming home and within a week the stress level is back to what it was before hand. I do have the memories to reflect on when things get over the top. The plans made now are the things that are directing my life or at least I try to have them lead my life. What is the most irritating is when my daily current life gets in the way of the life I am trying to create.

That is why my posts are still not edited, my current life is getting in the way of my planned life. Time to get in control, I'll let you know how that goes. Arn't we all dealing with that?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9 11 Never Forget

This is the third time I've written this post.

I've ruminated all week about what to post. My cousin working at the site and putting the dust from his boots into a Ziploc bag and taking it back to site because for him the dust meant some one's loved one? or How our world has changed?

Then it came to me, I needed something personal. The vow I made that day and how it directly relates to this blog.

That day was one of the most beautiful mornings I could remember. Ever since then a day that is even close to the beauty of that morning makes my stomach flip.

That day went from the most amazing morning, sitting on my patio enjoying the weather and my coffee, to frantically calling looking my firefighter cousin (he wasn't even in NYC that day).

As the days went on, the stories of the lives cut short, their dreams, the dreams of their families never to be realized. Within that week I made a vow. I would never take for granted my life, a day in my life, my family or friends. I would make my life mean something. I would find the beauty in each day. I would find the love and share the love. There was just to much hate in the world. Hate in our lives.

Truthfully, that vow, at times has created tension in my life. Trying to live up to that with the reality of the 'mundane' in everyday life. As the days go on I've have created a balance.

Beauty and Love, that is foundation of this blog. Finding the beauty each day, adding beauty each day. Loving yourself with your 'flaws' and sharing that love. We are so negative on ourselves and that translates to others.

The best way to commemorate those that never finished their journey, is for us to follow our journey with zeal and gusto. They have added an extra level of meaning to all of our lives.

Let's never take for granted anything that is amazing in life.