A Guilded Age

What are these times we are living in? The news is dismal, our connections are weakened by pandemic and politics, and it’s cold when it should be warm and it’s warm when it should be cold. However, we are resilient! And as such, fortunate to have ways and people who continue to leave us the better for time spent – one of MY favorite barometers for days and relationships.

One such person, who brings ways and joy, is my decades long friend, and creative muse, Rena Tobey. Rena is an educator by heart and an Angel in spirit. Years ago, when I met her, she was a Life Coach when it was a new genre. Man, did she have insight by the bushel. I still live by several thngs I learned with her. One, I’ll gift you with: Cherry Pie. When you have a situation and you think it’s only one way , see it as a pie and try to imagine other slices of what might be. This has helped me to soften my stance at times, for my self and others. It works!

Flash forward to today. Here’s her About from her webite www.renatobey.com

Rena values learning, creative possibility, and fun and dedicates her energy to sparking lively minds. Building on an academic and organizational career, she is passionate about engaging people with all forms of visual expression and filling the spoken word with verve.She has a PhD in Human and Organizational Studies, with 14 years experience as an organizational coach, trainer, and consultant.  Recently, Rena completed her MA, art history program at Hunter College, with a thesis on Elizabeth Okie Paxton and her provocative 1910 painting The Breakfast Tray.

That, and so much more, Rena brings to bare. Wanna taste? Check out her latest offering this Thursday – a library program, February 17th at 7 p.m. EST. https://tuxedoparklibrary.libcal.com/event/8828173

And if any of you are watching A Guilded Age, then I think you will appreciate so much of what Rena has to say – she is like having a companion who whispers details and brings to life what you are watching. So fun!! Check her out. I promise you will be the better for poking around her site and finding other books to read, things to hear and insights to carry you away from the news… and toward better moments.

Armchair Travel

Sticking close to home, but yearning to leave? Wanna travel, but can’t bare the thought of “what ifs”? Well, lucky for you – Sketching Spain Barcelona is just the ticket! Pre-Covid, my friend, art teacher and creative Muse, Judith Cassel-Mamet, and her delightful art partner, Danny (who lives in Spain), put together a sketching trip to Spain. But alas, this year’s trip is postponed – in person. Lucky for us, Judith and Danny have made it possible for us to still go – and you can join in, all from the comforts of your own armchair. Check out the links below and see how you can spend the winter months learning how to sketch, enjoying the sights of Barcelona and even learning about the wines that might have been served! So fun, you may want to bring a friend! Give the gift of Sketching Spain to yourself AND a friend! It will truly be the trip of a lifetime. And you won’t even have to wear a mask. Empaca tus lapices y disfruta!

Sketching Spain: All About Vinohttps://online.classes.sketchingspain.com/courses/sketching-spain-all-about-vino?ref=58921e
Sketching Spain: Barcelonahttps://online.classes.sketchingspain.com/courses/Sketching-spain?ref=58921e

MindFULL Mother’s Day Gift

shellWhile every day should be Mother’s Day, the designated day to celebrate a special woman in your life who MindFULLY mothers you, is next week. And do I have the perfect something you can send…Roses.

BFD, you say? Well, actually, yes! For the roses I’m turning you on to will last for six months. And that is truly a MindFULL way to show someone just how much she really means.

How did I find these amazing roses? Via Luxe Bloom®, the innovative flower company founded by one of my First Bosses, Marketing Mentor, Friend, and Style Icon, Shelley Rosen. While I am tired of the phrase “BadAss Woman”, Shelley really is. After rising through the ranks of the Sales Promotion Agency world and McDonalds, Shelley launched her own brand management company, AirLift. She has helped grow almost any major brand that comes to mind. It’s no wonder she turned her attention to flowers. And I think it’s kinda funny that her last name is Rosen and she sells Roses. Meant to be.

When I asked Shelley about Luxe Bloom® and Mother’s Day, she said, “Mother’s Day is a magical time for Luxe Bloom®. We receive so many gift requests and seeing the notes that accompany the gifts make us smile with joy. Mom’s do so much for us, why not gift her something she can just enjoy with no care? At Luxe Bloom, we sell real rose arrangements that can last up to 60 days without any water or care. Simply open the box and display. Leading luxury hotels like the St. Regis Washington use our rose displays to make a high impact for luxury guest just two blocks from the White House. We are changing the way people buy flowers with our time and money saving innovation. Our no care roses are sure to please.”

So, check out their Mother’s Day Collection. If you buy now, they can ship by Monday May 8th to make it in time for Mother’s Day! And for MindFULL Creative friends, use the promo code FRIENDSFAM for a 10% off discount on your purchase.

https://www.luxebloom.com/collections/all

Delight, honor and lasting sentiment. Now, that’s MindFULLY Creative!

How do you MindFULLY honor the Mothering Women in your life?

Let us know!

 

 

 

In This Together

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? It depends on who’s looking. For many kids, while they see themselves reflected over the sink, they rarely see themselves in young adult books and movies.

That’s where In This Together Media shines like a beacon, beckoning All kids, of All races, sexual orientation, and socio-economic diversity. In This Together Media strives to offer “diverse, realistic, unwhitewashed representations of kids, especially girls, in YA and middle-grade literature.”

When you visit In This Together Media, http://inthistogethermedia.com/ this gorgeous description greets you and pulls you into a world that celebrates All stories.

“We believe that everyone should be able to imagine themselves when they pick up a book or watch a movie. Sadly, today’s media doesn’t reflect everyone. We’re out to change that. We package books and films to create more diversity in media. We highlight the stories of all children and young adults, including gay, black, girls, transgender, and more. Beyond just highlighting them, we want them to be the stars of the stories we create, inspiring others just like them to be who the are – with confidence and power.”

Excited about the company on many levels, I was also really inspired by the founder’s stories. Over the last month, almost every woman I have spoken with seems to be grappling with the same questions: “What’s Next?” “I’ve done the same thing for so long, what can I possibly do now?” Founders Carey Albertine and Saira Rao were classmates at University of VA. Carey has an MBA, worked in Investment Banking and has held various positions in the creative world of late night television. Saira has been an attorney and news producer. After they became Moms, they recognized that few books reflected the rich and diverse world they occupied. Together they created their company and used Kickstarter to help fund it.

Basically, they stopped talking and got doing.

Check out this awesome article on them from Fast Company https://www.fastcompany.com/3031332/most-creative-people/the-stars-of-these-young-adult-books-swear-struggle-and-generally-act-l

And check out their latest offering —  Emily Ziff Griffin’s debut YA novel, Light Years.

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Let their mission MindFULLY lead you through a real world in YA literature, and let their story of friendship, tenacity and possibility inspire you to do something that speaks to you. Afterall, we all have a story.

What could you MindFULLY create that would reflect your world? Let us know!

Caveat: This post is for TMC readers who have kids heading to college this Fall, or may already be there. For the rest of my wonderful readers, TMC will be back on track in September with lots of MindFULL Creative ideas to share!

I’m gonna make this post short and sweet. My bandwidth is rather narrow these days. With my daughter’s imminent departure for college fast approaching, my chest is tight, my heart is full and my eyes are brimming with the tears of pride and sadness. Thank goodness for my friends and family who have walked the path before us. Their support, wisdom and loving kindness have been invaluable.

This weekend, Auntie Karen and Niece Miriam visited. A rising college Junior, Miriam had much to share. One of the best pieces of advice she got and passed on: “You’re gonna have bad days. Just like you did at home. And it doesn’t mean it’s the wrong fit or anything major. It’s just a bad day in a different place.”

addieKarenmiri

There is so much info out there, so as we say, “Take the best and leave the rest” — I’m sharing two of the best saving graces I have received over the last few months: Letting Go (Fifth Edition): A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years, by Karen Levin Coburn and an article, written by an old friend’s darling, smart and honest son, James Keane, about his freshman year at Northwestern. http://time.com/3896431/to-the-freshman-class-of-2015-its-ok-if-everythings-great-is-a-lie/
In my mind, and on my desktop (Well before DT used it), The Rolling Stones song
You Can’t Always Get What You Want keeps playing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zgAWHRJC1Y

It’s a MindFULL reminder…with dear friends, honest resources, and a whole lot of Faith, ya get what ya need.

How are you MindFULLY navigating kids and college? Let us know!

MindFULL Summah Inspahration

Ahh…finally. The dog days of summer have rolled in, and with them blooms of inspiration abound. As I clean off my iPad and iPhone, making way for new pics and memories, podcasts, books and a few TV shows, I feel the soft slow beat of ease.

Two fun TV shows fill my iPad: Season 2 Grace and Frankie and comedian W. Kamau Bell’s show The United Shades of America on CNN.

Grace and Frankie’s second season may not be as juicy as the first, but the music is still terrific and Lily Tomlin’s clothes relate-able. From her closet I discovered, Sleevey Wonders, ½ shirts you can wear under sleeveless tops and dresses to hide your Haddasah arms (www.sleeveywonders.com) I think she wears a full (and expensive) version, but these are just as good and less bulky.

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The Grace and Frankie Season 2 Playlist is at www.tunefind.com/show/grace-and-frankie/season-2

Then there is W. Kamau Bell’s The United Shades of America on CNN. The comedian takes you on a 1 hour journey to places you might not have thought to go: Inside the KKK, behind prison walls, on a beat  with cops in Camden, NJ to name a few. Last night we went to Alaska. Bell brings a perspective and sense of humor to another side of people and places. My daughter turned us onto him and now we watch as a family.

But… we can’t spend all of our time glued to a screen. While there are tons of lists for the perfect summer read, the two books I am taking on vacation are The Point of Vanishing, a memoir of two years in solitude by Howard Axelrod and Death In The Off Season by Francine Mathews. Francine is an inspirational friend and an entertaining and educational writer – from her Jane Austen series, to her historical fiction books on JFK and Ian Fleming, to these new summer page turners set on the shores of New England. If I can’t get there in person, this is the next best way of smelling the sea air as I cut just one more slice of blueberry pie and pretend.

My mom turned me onto Axelrod’s book, a memoir depicting his tale of a pickup game of basketball at the end of his junior year at Harvard, and a slight of hand that left him permanently blinded in his right eye. My mom, ever so cute and creative, chose it for her book club to read and then hosted the meeting and gave everyone a patch to cover their right eye with as they discussed his experience.

As I pack my bag for vacation, I am abuzz with the anticipation of entry into new worlds and their notings in my trusty travel journal, thanks to Judith Cassel-Mamet and her ever creative blog jcmamet.com. Let the filling of pages begin!

What are you MindFULLY watching, reading and listening to this summer?

Let us know!

Beautiful

What do sex, faith and race all have in common? Your perception of each relies on your perspective.

I LOVE this! Not only because it was a question posed by a Senior high school boy for whom I hold high regard, but because his answer gave me much to think about while standing in an open field, holding a piece of painted metal in the hot morning sun. Rather than melt, I was cooled by the “aha” of how much I value perception, perspective and the heartfelt knowing of who stands for me, and for whom I stand.

Last week, at 9pm, an email from a mom I had known since my daughter’s days at her K-8 school came in. Help! Her son had bumped up against the deadline of his Senior Project and he needed several pairs of hands the next day to help finish it out. Without asking why or for what, I immediately responded Yes. To me, it wasn’t about the details, but the act of showing up for a friend and simply doing what was needed – something I personally place a high value on.

The next morning, with curiosity and delight, we Moms found ourselves in a large wet grassy field in the rolling and beautiful back valley of a local school, moving as directed – to the right, to the left, a little higher and a little lower. Turns out the project, built on learnings from The Beautiful Project, was the brainchild of this young man we had watched grow from a gangly, bright little middle school boy into a thoughtful, smart, handsome and quirky young man. I loved his project – he wrote poems and short stories about perception and perspective when one looks at sex, faith and race and then physically cut metal pieces, hand painted them and used his talent for math and science to parcel each piece individually, so that when standing at a distance, different pieces made up the words Sex, Faith and Race. One big giant metaphor.

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As I stood there and laughed, I also stood there and wept.

I wept for his creative brilliance. I wept for the support and sincere good cheer this group of moms gave to each other and to these kids over the last 12 years (and for the amazing and loving friends and family who showed up for my daughter over the last few weeks to celebrate her high school graduation). I wept for the friend who taught our children creative applications to intellectual challenges, and was no longer living to see us all standing in the field. I wept for the end of this era. I wept for the future this young man had in front of him, and how special it was that he would leave his legacy in the grassy fields of his high school.

Touched to my core, I raised my metal piece high, and low, and side to side. And when I was done, I left with my own new perspective. Amazing what our kids can teach us.

Who do you MindFULLY stand for and who stands for you? Let us know!

 

 

The Uniform

 

UNI

I love me two good things in life: a great Customer Service experience and a good “Uni” (a.k.a. “The Uniform”) — that Go-To outfit you can count on, regardless of weather or weight. Imagine my delight, when I stumbled upon both!

Color me crazy, but on Black Friday, I agreed to go to the Mall with my teenage daughter. Determined not to buy anything for myself, I wandered into LOFT while she scoured a Sale next door. Of course, there to greet me on the first rack in the store, was a tan tunic sweater for $20. It had my name on it.

“You’ll love it and should buy more than 1,” said the adorable, perky Sales Associate. Knowing I wanted for nothing, I stuck to the tan, even tho’ I eyed the black (who couldn’t use yet another black top?) and the silver. When I got home, I tried it on. It could not have fit more comfortably, nor been cuter. Of course, my “want for nothing” attitude flew out the window and I headed back to the Mall the next day. There in the store window read 30% Off Everything. My adrenaline rushed straight to my head, only to come crashing to my feet upon learning that my sweater was up to Full price and now marked down only 30%.

THIS makes me crazy. If it’s a $20 sweater, sell it for $20. If it’s $60, sell it for $60. After a quick chat with the same adorable, perky Sales Associate, we agreed I’d buy the silver sweater for 30% off and then call her Monday, when it was going to be 50% (!) off and get a price adjustment. OK. I know…I need a life…but that’s another post for another time. Excited at the thought of 50% off, I asked one of the ladies behind the counter about the houndstooth leggings to go with it. “Oh, those will never go on sale – they’re part of  a special line and if you read the fine print, you’ll see they are excluded from the Sale.” “But, that’s not fair, the sign says 30% Off Everything” I said. “You should read the fine print. I don’t set the price, I just sell the stuff.”

Those who know me, are probably laughing and cringing at this point in the story, shaking their heads and whispering under their breath, “Wait for it… wait for it…”

Well, needless to say, I launched into my Customer Service shpeal and laid out my retail background and marketing credentials. Big deal. It was what it was. I could take it or leave it. I took the sweater and left the leggings.

(Cyber) Monday, before calling my new personal shopper,  Janet, for my price adjustment, I poked around the LOFT website, only to see that the sweater was marked down to $23, but you had to pay $10 for shipping! Seriously? And to make matters worse, the leggings were right there for 50% off.

Lucky for me ( and really for them), I got a great sales rep on the phone, who patiently listened to my rant and without batting an eye, waved the shipping, sent it in 3 days and threw in a 50% off a full price item card. I ended up buying the black sweater, silver sweater and leggings for the Full price of one sweater!

I wrote a Kudos letter to LOFT and with gratitude for my new “Uni” donated a “Uni” (3 nice sweaters and a pair of pants) to a shelter. Now, I am all set for the winter. Bring on the snow and bread!

p.s. In an attempt to spunk up my “Uni”, I wear a “Uni” necklace designed by our fabulous and talented cousin, Susan Mayer. One good piece from Susan’s collection can change any outfit. Check out her jewelry line at any HML store or www.74harleystreet.com

 What’s your MindFULLy favorite “Uniform”? Let us know!  

 

 

Keep On Keepin On

Such were the words uttered by Legendary jazz musician Clark Terry (who taught Quincy Jones and mentored Miles Davis) to his latest young protégé, blind 23-year-old pianist Justin Kauflin, every time they said good-bye. In this thoughtful documentary of the same name, Keep On Keepin’ On is the story of their touching and enduring friendship. After my friend and I sat in the theater for 15 minutes post credits, I came home and added both Terry and Kauflin to my Pandora playlist. Inspired to tears, I highly recommend it.

As some may know, I love the movies. I often go alone and am drenched in the dialogue, inspired by the sets and captivated by the costumes. I get this love of cinema from my mom, Elaine, whom I think has great taste in movies. As the weather gets colder and long winter nights encourage us to escape the dreariness without leaving our homes, I gift you with some of her favorites.

And as she would encourage, so do I — pour a glass of wine, pop some popcorn and pull up your favorite blanket. May you find inspiration, motivation or simple delight in one of her recommendations.

  1. The Grifters
  2. Coming Home
  3. Renaissance Man
  4. The Verdict
  5. The Talented Mr. Ripley
  6. Primal Fear
  7. Witness
  8. Gross Point Blank
  9. Charlie Wilson’s War
  10. Crimes and Misdemeanors
  11. God Father I and II
  12. Wall Street
  13. Fargo
  14. Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  15. Shawshank Redemption
  16. The Good Bye Girl
  17. Le Femme Nakita
  18. Married to the Mob
  19. Network
  20. 6 Degrees of Separation
  21. The Sting
  22. Shirley Valentine
  23. Sling Blade
  24. Working Girl
  25. Goodwill Hunting
  26. Dial M for Murder
  27. Justice for All
  28. Good Morning Vietnam
  29. The Graduate
  30. MASH
  31. The Joy Luck Club
  32. Fabulous Baker Boys
  33. Diabolique
  34. Philadelphia

 

What movies have MindFULLY delighted you? Let us know!

Be of Ease

“Be of Ease” is the quote my mom uses when signing off her emails.

With the Holidays upon us, we hear a lot about giving gifts. While I want for little in the “Stuff” department, there is something I pray to receive. Perspective.

For me, Perspective is the greatest gift. It’s free. I can give it to myself and I can share it with others. It brings with it the Ease my mom wishes for us, Humor and Forgiveness. And I love those guys!

Recently, Jill and I were talking about the book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris. Harris, you may know, is an ABC News Anchor. After suffering a panic attack on live TV during a Good Morning America segment, Harris set about learning what he could do to reduce anxiety and came upon mediation. Meditating changed his life. Check out his interview with Gretchen Rubin to learn more. http://www.amazon.com/10%25-Happier-Self-Help-Actually-Works–/dp/0062265423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417448008&sr=8-1&keywords=10%25+happier

Boy, what we could do with 10%. The anxiety level in our house is kinda high right now. Suffice to say, I am blessed with a high school Junior who is determined to do well at whatever she sets her mind to – and her mind is on overload as she juggles the next two weeks (after juggling the last month) and heads toward Finals, the State competition for one of her favorite and most time demanding classes (which happens to fall on the first day of Finals, moving some of them later into the week – which only adds more stress) and a recent realization that she will need to study over the holidays for college tests this Winter/Spring. No rest for weary Juniors the country over.

These are “first world problems” as “They” wisely say. Nontheless, managing the stress of so many balls in the air, can get to even the most seasoned handler of us all.

“Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader” and so, all I can do is cheer her on. Even tho’ I can’t pull my old skirt up past my knees, I can find ways to show I am on her team. I made her a Junior Year Stress Relief Kit for her backpack filled with Rescue Remedy, lavender oil, Emergen-cee’, protein bars and a cotton ball.  A lovely mom we know gave her this beautiful stress relieving aromatherapy necklace; she had it leftover from her own daughter’s Junior year. My intention is simply to offer a variety of touchstones to bring her back to a deep breath. With breath comes perspective. And sharing that learning is all I can do for her.

locketEveryone seems to have his or her own version of stress right now. Some friends are dealing with their own illnesses, others are dealing with aging parents, kids in school, kids out of school, work demands, family dynamics and holiday thorns. No one seems immune. However, in an effort to inoculate myself from taking it all in, today I am sporting my happy shoes –  my metaphor for taking a step toward finding my own way (I think it will be downloading Dan’s book to my iPad).

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Here’s to hoping you find your own version of ease delivered to your door and heart this Holiday Season. Peace Out.avi player download free

How do you find MindFULLY find what you need during stressful times?

Let us know!