Posted in Awesome Stuff

Happy Birthday To You

As a fellow GoldenDoodle owner, this story made my heart super-super-Happy! LOVE this!!! ♥️🐶 (Spoiler Alert: he took out a billboard to celebrate his pup’s first birthday – how badass is that??! 🌟 )

Be sure to watch the video that he posted of how they spent Dood’s Birthday day together – it’s FANTASTIC, and guaranteed to bring a smile to your face! 😊

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Cheers

I wrote about my love for Netflix’s “Cheer” the other day – it’s so good that even Saturday Night Live is getting in on the action! Their parody of “Cheer” is awesome – check it out!

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Anyone

Did you watch the Grammy’s on Sunday evening? We did, but it was definitely a more somber affair this year…hard to have a celebratory evening in, as Alicia Keyssaid in her opening, “the house that Kobe built”, his retired jerseys hanging from the rafters…it felt weird.

Normally after an awards show, I LOVE recapping the red carpet and discussing who wore what (and why), but this year that doesn’t feel quite right. (Although, do yourself a favor and check out Lizzo’s white red carpet gown – Atelier Versace, I think – STUNNING) Instead, let’s talk about some of the performances, shall we?

Lizzo opened the show – and that girl (and her flute) can really take care of business. Gorgeous! Love her! 😊

People are crapping all over Usher and his tribute to Prince – I thought it was fine, although I couldn’t grasp the point of FKA Twigs writhing around on that pole as he sang (seriously, though – she’s amazingly fit, pole dancing is hella hard, and she was fantastic)…mind you, I don’t get the point of her name, so perhaps the problem lies with me.

I thought Steven Tyler sounded terrible during the Aerosmith/Run DMC performance, which really bummed me out…I love “Walk This Way”. I hope Steven is okay.

John Legend, DJ Khaled, and some others did a tribute to Nipsy Hussle – I don’t know what I expected, but I thought that for one night DJ Khaled could refrain from acting like the world’s greatest hype man and quit mentioning his own name during a performance, but…I was wrong. Sidenote: Can you imagine if DJ Khaled and Jason Derulo (another great dropper of his own damn name) collaborated? Christ.

I, like everyone on Twitter last night, was SO distracted by the spinach in the teeth of Nick Jonas…and, for whatever reason, Kevin Jonas leaves me confused as well…but I thought the rest of their performance was good. Tanya Tucker (how’s that for a throwback??!) and Brandi Carlile were AWESOME! I would be so happy if Brandi played the piano and sang me the Yellow Pages…I think she’s divine. 😊

Billie Eilish had a HUGE night, and I’m super-happy for her and her brother…I find them, and their story, so charming and sweet, and they make me happy. Listening to their interview on Howard Stern really made me into a believer where they’re concerned – I like seeing nice things happen to nice people!

The real standout for me, performance-wise, was Demi Lovato – damn, girl. The song she performed was incredibly emotional, and watching her stand there, tears running down her face, and pour her heart out with that incredible voice of hers? SO. MOVING. In my mind, she was the biggest highlight of the night, hands down – incredible: click here to watch.

What’d you think? Any standout performances for you?

xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Only Prettier

I watched the documentary “Cheer” this week on Netflix – it.was.AMAZING. I didn’t intend to watch it: it started automatically after something I was watching had finished and I couldn’t find the remote, but let me tell you…THAT is must see TV! I’ve never known much about cheerleading (not usually my scene), but I learned a ton from this show, and I think I could now probably put together a full pyramid with a team of 20 if I had to. The cheerleaders featured are incredible athletes – but even more impressive was their backstories, and the kind of people they are. I told my family yesterday that I wanted both Jerry and Morgan to know that they have a home here with us, and they can join our family anytime they want – we love them and want them to do well. Since I’m the only one that’s seen the show, the rest of the clan was rather confused, but…I hope they trust my judgment. Both of those young adults showed more character, grit and determination than we usually see on TV (especially on shitty reality TV!), and I am here for it!

That’s Jerry on the left!
Morgan!

The main things I took away from “Cheer” were this: cheerleaders work so bloody hard that it blows your mind…the injuries alone were enough to derail normal people, but they plowed through the pain and kept going, never taking their eyes off the prize. I was also reminded about not judging books by their covers – all of these athletes look like the picture perfect image of what a cheerleader should be, yet nobody’s life is ever perfect, and theirs are as fraught with problems as the rest of us. I enjoyed the humanity of all of that. One of the cheerleaders featured – Gabi Butler – is already super-famous in the cheer world (because there is one, as I’ve recently learned), and she has endorsement deals here, public appearances there….seems to have it all – except she doesn’t. I felt truly sorry for her when I watched the coverage of her and her parents – those two seemed like a friggin’ NIGHTMARE! Talk about stage mother x 2 – her father was as bad if not worse than her mom!! I can’t imagine the pressure she feels because of them – hopefully their portrayal on the show was the result of bad editing and they aren’t like that in real life, as that would truly suck for Gabi. They were awful. She’s a talented kid who deserves better – she needs to go to school and get her education. Simple as that.

Coach Monica

A final takeaway from the show comes courtesy of Coach Monica Aldama – the way she cares for her athletes, the compassion yet toughness she shows to them…that shit was straight up inspiring. I want to do something that will make Coach Monica proud of me, because I can’t imagine how great that must feel. I also want to take that approach of hers and apply it to my life and what I do – figure out how to make those around me rise to the occasion the way the athletes did for Monica. She’s amazing!

Okay, okay…fangirl gushing over – just be sure to check out “Cheer”. I think you’re going to LOVE it! ♥️

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

I Will Remember You

Click on image for video

I’m shaken by the news of the helicopter crash that killed basketball great Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and three others today. My heart breaks for his wife Vanessa and their three daughters – I can’t imagine. 💔

Hold tightly to those you love, and be sure to let them know just how much you love them. Tomorrow is never promised.

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

So Alive

How’s your week been? Have you been keeping up with the impeachment trial? I have not, as I figured it would only raise my blood pressure and make my headache worse. I’ve an acute sensitivity to bullshit, and from the bits I’ve heard, this trial is full of it. I don’t think the process will do what it should do, and sadly I think Teflon Don will slide through this situation like he’s slid through everything else, and it’s a shame. The political situation here is a farce, and it’s making us all look like buffoons. Enough already. PSA: Please be sure to vote come November – if you aren’t registered yet, here’s a link: https://vote.gov/ . Every voice counts – really. Just do it.

This image here pretty much sums up my philosophy of life and how I approach things:

I hope your week has been better than mine, and I promise we will get back to regular content and business as usual around here this week! Enjoy your Sunday Funday – mwah! 💋 😘

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Know Yourself

A few years ago, I did some side work as a Virtual Assistant. I had a few clients that I worked with, and while I ultimately decided that this type of work wasn’t for me (actually, the truth was that the type of clients I was working with weren’t for me), I learned SO much – about myself, and what I’m willing to put up with.

One of my clients wanted to pay me for four hours of work per week, yet wanted me to answer phone calls and set up appointments for him 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Friday. That seems slightly more than four hours, don’t you think? I asked if he wanted to increase my hours – no. I asked if there was a way we could work something out so that I would have clients leave quick messages and call them back throughout the time that I was scheduled to work? Nope. As well, that four hours had to include a once a week, mandatory (in his eyes), video call meeting with me, the content of which was usually him berating me because I wasn’t as available as he wanted me to be. At first, I was trying to give his business more than the agreed upon four hours, but…then I realized I was devaluing myself and working for free, so…enough of that. After about four months, we moved on – he contacted the placement company and said that working with me had shown him that he needed full-time, in-office assistance, so…I was out. On to the next client.

I really liked the next client I worked for, and let me tell you, I did WAY more than our agreed upon tasks/hours. WAY more. I really respected the service that she was trying to provide – she was a life coach for women, and her work came from a good place. I found that she was very particular and fussy about things, but her business was about her, so I got it. She was very focused on developing her brand and empowering the women that she worked with – and I could really get on board with that. After a time, however, I found that she was focusing more on promotion of herself instead of actively helping the women she was working with – which I struggled with. However, it wasn’t my place, so I kept quiet, and waded through the reams of hippie/spirit/juju language that came from her (whenever she wrote even the simplest Facebook status update, it would take you 10+ minutes to read as it was SO long, and was all about every emotion she’d ever felt, all of the sacred things that were happening and whether or not they were in alignment, the conscious parenting and intentional grief people felt, holding space for feelings, reflecting on her thoughts and feelings CONSTANTLY – apparently I’m too damn pragmatic to worry about holding in anything apart from farts, and I don’t feel the need to share every thought I’ve ever had with everyone I know on Facebook!). Anyway, things were trucking along until after four months in (I’m seeing a pattern here, are you?), she informed me that due to lack of clients and finance issues, she could no longer afford me. I felt badly about that because I liked helping her clients – so badly, in fact, that I offered to keep working for her for a couple of months FOR FREE to finish the projects I had on the go with a couple of her clients. She said no. So, there’s that. I’m not sure why – perhaps I was getting too good at helping the clients?

The third client worked in real estate, and wanted to develop a lucrative online training business for other people desiring to be real estate agents – she wanted to be Marie Forleo if real estate. For realz, every day, she wanted EVERYTHING to be Marie Forleo – her website had to have a font once used by Marie, it had to feel like Marie’s site…everything. Obsessed with Forleo. The thing was that the content she was peddling in her online class was a whole metric shit ton of words that said very little. It was shocking to me – there was no content there. She made the mistake of asking me for my opinion, which I gave her – I let her know that the content was lacking, and shared with her loads of ideas on how we could beef that up and make the product better….no dice. She decided she didn’t want to work with me after 2 months. Fun fact – I’ve since looked at her online course, and guess what? She’s incorporated 99.9% of the ideas that I sent her way – huh.

My final client worked in the athletics industry, and he needed a lot of assistance. I edited a book for him (which has since been published, no editing credit to me) – actually, I rewrote the book for him as he struggled with literacy A LOT. I rewrote a large number of policy documents for him, and mass-produced contracts for his various speaking engagements. Our problem was that he was terrible (TERRIBLE) at communicating, and expected me to read his wants using my psychic powers. In the end, we decided to part ways as my crystal ball wasn’t working, and that was that.

The Virtual Assistant experience taught me quite a few things – first and foremost, placement agencies will often offer clients a 3 month reduced rate to reel them in, charging them the full amount in the 4th month…which, coincidentally, was when my clients decided they didn’t want to work with me. I didn’t know this at first, so I took the rejection BLOODY hard, but…now that I understand the way it works, I’ve no hard feelings. Business is business.

Second – I love VA work! I would love to do this type of thing all the time! Working from home/remotely is wonderful, and I loved learning new skills (I’m looking at you, InfusionSoft!). My already good multitasking skills have reached Olympic quality, thanks to taking this challenge on – and I made some moolah to supplement my meager Education income. Bonus!

I also learned that there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in this world, and I don’t have it in me to hock (hawk?) products to vulnerable populations and charge them A LOT of money for it. Salesmen blood does NOT run through my veins! Instead, I would like to create some great online products, and sell them at a very reasonable price, making the process affordable – and helpful – to the masses, not the elite few. I also will never use language like making space, and giving myself permission…if I want to do shit, I do it. Perhaps I give myself permission, but it’s internal, and I certainly don’t feel the need to share it. The oversharing and never-ending language drives me nuts. The world does not need to know every single feeling you’ve ever felt since the dawn of time – it’s okay to leave some stuff out. Be mysterious! Live a little!

Prior to working with my hippie client, I was toying with the idea of becoming a certified Life Coach – not because I believe I have life all figured out (hahahahahahahahahaha), but instead because I thought that I could apply the techniques and strategies that I would learn to help me figure it out and improve the quality of my life. I still think this is a great idea, and something I should look in to. The thing is that I don’t want to be her kind of Life Coach – that approach is way too much. I’m not that kind of person. I think I would be a different breed of Life Coach, one that tells it like it is and cuts straight through the bullshit with a very sharp knife – and actually helps people. I haven’t made a decision on this one yet, but I think I should pull a Nike and Just Do It. 😉

The media had a story this week that the peak age for the dreaded midlife crisis is 47.2 years of age. Huh. I’m not THAT far off from that figure, and I’m wondering if so much of what is going on with me these days is part of it? Am I in the early stages of the midlife crisis? Where’s the Harley Davidson? Where’s the sports car?? Why is my midlife crisis manifesting itself in deep self-analysis, career changes, and a sudden interest in being a wellness practitioner (when I’m nowhere near the picture of health??!)???? Argh!!!! 

Life has some ‘splaining to do. 😉

xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I came across this article this morning – the title is “How to be as Likeable as Mister Rogers”, and I kind of love it. Growing up with three TV channels in rural Canada, Mister Rogers was not part of my childhood (we had the Canadian version of him – Mr Dressup – who was just about as fantastic, let me tell you!). Once we got cable, though, I began checking out his show (yes I was 17, so what?) to see what the fuss was all about it…and I LOVED it. I found him to be everything that a person who hosts a show for kids should be – kind, sweet, caring, with such a lovely sense of joy and fun. I appreciated the cadence of his voice, the speech patterns he used were rhythmic and comforting…and don’t get me started on his magnificent puppets. I’m here for puppets anyway (I seriously love them – I don’t know why I don’t work at the Children’s Television Workshop on Sesame Street), but his were extra special. Sigh. I love him. Anyway, back to the list of ways you can be as likeable as Fred Rogers – and I hope you follow it and become as likeable as him. We need more of him in the world. For realz.

How to be as likeable as Mister Rogers

Tim Denning

Make light of dark topics

The TV show that made Mister Rogers famous was called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It was a kid’s TV show and often contained dark topics which Mister Rogers was able to present in a positive way.

His ideas about death and the inevitable event we will all face were spoken about using puppets, a dead goldfish lying in a tank that was later buried, and through the use of songs and puppets.

He took a dark subject like death and found something positive in it both for children and for the adults that would watch his show with their children. One such example saw Mister Rogers reflecting on what his mother used to say to him about death:

“Always look for the people who are helping.”

“You’ll always find somebody who’s trying to help.”

Even with a dark topic like death, there is a way to find the positive if you take Mister Rogers’ advice that he learned from his mother. It’s easy to find a horrible outlook from a dark topic — but it’s much harder to see the good and that’s one way to become more likable. Because people fall in love with those that can find the good in every situation.

Make everyone feel good

The whole way through watching both films, the viewer is left feeling good. You feel good for many reasons and most of them tie back to one central theme: it’s so easy to be a good person if you try hard enough the way Mister Rogers did.

There is so much to feel bad or guilty about in life and the internet only amplifies this problem. People that make us feel good are uncommon and so when we’re introduced to such an individual, we like them.

By making us feel good about the world, we feel good about ourselves.

And when we feel good about ourselves, we can achieve outcomes that we may otherwise of believed to be impossible. Make people feel good.

Give everybody your full attention

Ever spoken to someone about an important topic and they are looking at their phone or computer and giving you a small amount of their attention? You feel horrible and wish that they would just listen.

Mister Rogers was different — granted, technology was not robbing us of our attention during his era the way it is now. During many scenes reenacted by Tom Hanks in the film about Mister Rogers’ life (and confirmed by the journalist he was talking with, Tom Junod), Rogers takes a deep interest in everybody he talks with. He asked them questions about themselves and leaves them pondering thoughts long after the conversation is done.

He takes pictures with people he meets and calls them friends, making them feel important.

People love it when you pay attention to them and the way you do that is by being genuinely curious and asking questions about them, rather than talking about yourself.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less — CS Lewis

Plans don’t always work out

It one scene of the film, Mister Rogers says, “I want kids to know that plans don’t always work out.”

For a typically positive man, this may seem like strange advice. What makes Mister Rogers likable is that he tells the truth and doesn’t sugarcoat brutal life lessons.

By knowing that our plans won’t always work out, we can be prepared for it and not be disappointed or have our thoughts turn to trash when our plans fail. The corporate world has long told me that I must have a business plan (helpful advice), but what is often left out is that even with a plan, things generally don’t go accordingly.

Having a plan is not a way to prevent failure or even prevent it.

Positive ways to deal with feelings

Mister Rogers’ key theme of his TV show that made him likable was to find positive ways to deal with feelings.

We are going to have unhelpful feelings and learning to deal with them is far more useful than trying to suppress them or numb them with alcohol, drugs, binge-watching tv, being unkind on social media or eating junk food.

You deal with feelings by facing them head-on and looking inside yourself at the good and not-so-good parts of who you are.

Get people to tell the truth

Good luck ever trying to lie to Mister Rogers. He was known for getting people on and off camera, to tell the truth. There were the pauses and the stares into their eyes that unconsciously helped them to say what needed to be said.

Talking with Mister Rogers was refreshing because you knew that he wasn’t going to judge you or force you to agree with his view of the world.

Helping people tell the truth is useful and you do that, mostly, from listening to them and letting them know that you’re not going to judge them.

Know everyone’s name

One of the simplest hacks to be likable, that is often overlooked, is to remember people’s names. Cast, crew, journalists and the extras on set were often surprised by Mister Rogers’s uncanny ability to remember their first name and it made them feel valued.

No matter how famous or influential you are, do your best to remember people’s names.

Be well-researched

Researching someone before you meet them shows you care and they’ll like you for it. When Esquire journalist Tom Junod met Mister Rogers, he was surprised at how much research he had done on him.

Their conversations were deep and the friendship that developed later on was partly made possible by the research Rogers had done prior to meeting Tom. With social platforms dominating our lives, we can use them to be well-researched and incredibly curious when we meet someone for the first time.

I personally like to read up on the hobbies of business clients before I meet them to understand them from a different angle. You can tell me about your business, but I’ll learn more by hearing about your hobbies and why you chose them. Because hobbies and business are closely linked.

Give people a chance

Tom didn’t exactly have a brilliant reputation as a journalist with the way he wrote and it was risky, in a way, for Rogers to be followed around and written about by Tom.

But Mister Rogers gave people a chance and lets his character do the talking for him. Even with Tom’s controversial style of writing, it was impossible not to be inspired by Mister Rogers and share that truth with the audience.

See who people can be and not who they currently are, and trust your character to do the talking for you.

Show huge amounts of empathy

Another key theme of the TV show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was the teaching of empathy. It was a key theme throughout many of the 900 episodes and was acted out by Rogers himself and then portrayed through some of the characters featured in the show.

Joanne Rogers, widow of Mister Rogers, mentioned an interesting idea in an interview with NBC:

“Listen, it’s important for you to know that he was not a saint. Because if you think of him as a saint, then his message is unattainable.”

Being a saint makes the idea of empathy and kindness unattainable and the fact that you have made many mistakes and don’t always see the good in people is perfectly fine.

We’re likable because of who we are, not for unattainable perfection.

Work at your way of being

You may think Mister Rogers was never angry, given his outlook on life. In both films it becomes clear that he was, at times, angry. When asked about his children, he would admit that they were not perfect either.

Everything Rogers does is a work in progress. The reason his anger didn’t dominate was because he learned to work at it and deal with it. The same opportunity exists for you. You’re going to get angry, especially when you’re tired, and working with those feelings is useful. How can you channel that anger into something positive?

Rogers teaches us that we can choose how we respond to anger rather than have the default option selected for us and be held back by it. Working on yourself is how you become more likable and minimize anger that turns people against you.

Write back to people that support you

Mister Rogers would write back to his fans and meet them in real-life. He was generous with his time and gave it to people that needed it.

This is a huge learning for me. Lots of people will support you in your life as it progresses and when they reach out, you have the opportunity to connect with them. People find you more likable when you take the time to respond to them, even if it’s a brief response.

It’s one of the key reasons I do my best to respond to any reader that contacts me directly.

Don’t take the people who support you for granted, and you’ll be more likable for it.

Live modestly

Ever met someone with a giant mansion and a Lambo in the driveway? It’s hard to relate to them, isn’t it?

Mister Rogers was known for taking the subway each day to the TV studio even though his fame meant that he didn’t have to. Like the viral footage of Keanu Reeves riding the subway, Mister Rogers did the same because he lived modestly. You could relate to him because he was just like you.

He let his character shine rather than let his ego be polished and put on display with the accumulation of money. Perhaps Keanu learned this life lesson from Mister Rogers.

The world doesn’t need another rich dude flaunting their money and making us feel like a failure.

We need more people riding the subway and using their money to make a real difference.

Live within your means. Avoid the temptation to buy fancy stuff and you’ll be more likable because you’ll be relatable.

Sharing your problems is bravery

Mister Rogers wasn’t afraid to talk about his problems. It was a small act of bravery that helped the audience understand their own problems through his.

Demonstrating you’re imperfect through talking about your problems is useful. This insight was what inspired me to talk more about mental illness and it may have the same effect on you.

It’s okay not to be okay.

No normal life is free from pain

“There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth” — Mister Rogers

All great advice, eh? I know!!! I love this so much! I’m on my way to start putting this to practice right now. 😊

xxx