Friday, February 13, 2015

Love the One You're With

Love the One You're With. What does that mean? If you've been following our posts over the last few weeks, you know that it sure as hell doesn't mean settling for a loveless story just because it is convenient or you don't know how to get out of it.

What it means, my Darlings, is love the person looking back at you from the mirror. That's "the One" you need to love more than anyone else. Until you truly love yourself, don't bother getting involved with another person.

You already know my credentials, so here Miss O will speak with authority.  I have found that those people who stay in dead-end relationships are stuck because they don't think they deserve better. They don't have a high opinion of themselves and so they allow any douchebag with decent hygiene to take advantage of them. If you believe that you are a wonderful person, you cannot allow yourself to be treated poorly. If you have respect for yourself, you will command respect from others. If you don't, why should anyone else bother?

If you are looking for a mate to be your life raft, the story is already doomed. If you think finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, and "being loved" is going to turn your life around, lift you out of loneliness and "complete you", it could work for a little while. In the same way putting a band-aid over a ax wound could stem the blood flow.

However, if you think you're already pretty f*cking great, and a significant other will be the icing on the cake, then you have a damn good shot at finding the real thing. My point: You have to love yourself FIRST.

When I met Honey I was having the best hair day of my life. I had splurged on a new 'do with the fabulous Sebastien and walked out of the salon thinking: I am the cutest girl in Paris. No small feat in a city teeming with babes.

I was supposed to have had a date that night with a Russian Count, who called me to say: Dahlink, I can't see you this weekend, I have to fly to Stockholm blah blah blah excuses excuses excuses. Are you angry?
I checked my pulse and thought: Nope. 
The Count actually said: I hope you don't meet your future husband tonight, I will be so jealous. 
Did he think I should be sitting at home pining away?
I simply replied: We'll see. I hung up and thought: I am fabulous and brilliant, and my hair and I are going out on the town. You snooze, you lose, Dahlink.

Honey has since confessed that he didn't really love my haircut, but I was emanating such an "I'm awesome" vibe that it was like a tractor beam he couldn't escape.

February 14th is a day fraught with anxiety and stress for many. If you are single, the fact seems to be rubbed in your face. If you are coupled, the ridiculous expectations are no fun. I sent her two dozen roses but she was pissed because I didn't write a card.  You can't win. It really is no different from the day before or the day after. I know that you know this logically, but sometimes it is hard to see past the cupid and hearts conspiracy perpetrated by the greeting card mafia..

So to take your mind off it, I am giving you a homework assignment. It doesn't matter if you are happily/miserably attached or single.

You are going to write a love yourself. No protesting. You will do it.

It can be flowery, it can be bullet-points. I don't care. This assignment is mandatory, and you will write it down. Or type it, if you're one of "those" people. You've never written a love letter? Now's your chance. I am asking you to tell yourself what's so great about YOU. The things you appreciate, the quirks that are loveable. At least one of the points must be a compliment about the physical you.

Sidebar: when I teach Charm School, the first lesson is: How To Accept a Compliment. Most people are incredibly inept at responding to a compliment. Why oh why is our first instinct to be self-deprecating? to put ourselves down? Enough with this rubbish, I say! Be honest: when someone gives you a compliment, do you say thank you and mean it? Or do you deflect and turn it against yourself?

You like my dress? Oh, well I've actually gained weight and can't wear my other clothes waaaah waaah waaah. NO.
You think my hair looks good? But my skin is a mess and I don't have a boyfriend. UNACCEPTABLE.

I'm going to quote my girl, Whitney:
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

Back to your letter...I know there are things that you love about unique, wonderful you. Please, Darlings, take a few minutes to do this for yourself.

I'm going to give you a head-start with a sample Love Letter to Me.

Dear Miss O,

Have I ever told you how happy I am that I get to spend my life with you? I think you're terrific, and I am lucky to be near you everyday.

I love you from your delicate ankles to your well-groomed eyebrows and every part in between. I love that you can sing the St. John Passion from memory and also the complete oeuvre of Hall n' Oates. I think it's pretty neat that you don't take sh*t from anyone, and that you color-coordinate your closet. I find it adorable that you want to eat ice cream even when it's frackin' freezing outside. I love the way you don't give a f*ck about styles or trends and have created your own original look. I appreciate that you are a dedicated friend to me (even when you have to call me out) and those you care about.

I am proud that you're my "One". I heart you and I hope that we will be together for many more years.

xox Miss O

Ok, Darlings, now it's your turn. Write your letter (or print it out) and save it somewhere special to look at if you forget how magnificent, how loveable, how awesome you are. After you finish writing, go to the mirror or take out your compact, and tell the person looking back: I LOVE YOU. Go do it. Now.

You are loved, Darlings. Now pass me those chocolates!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Let's Get Physical!

In the spirit of Your Body is a Temple, I decided to dust off my favorite exercise dvd. And when I say favorite, I mean my only exercise dvd. Dancing with Julianne.

Back in the day, my mother had a collection of fitness books and videos from '80's beauty icons: Jane Fonda, Raquel Welch, Jaclyn Smith, and Christie Brinkley. Sometimes I would try to fumble through Raquel's yoga tape with Mom...I was an expert at the Cobra pose, where you basically just lie there and lift your head up a bit. The only thing I can remember about Jane Fonda's workout were her high-fashion legwarmers. Jaclyn Smith's book was a glossy ode to 'natural beauty'... with excellent lighting. And Christie...Christie Brinkley's book was the Beauty Bible. For the sixth grade Cotillon Dance I begged my mother to recreate one of Christie's hairstyles from the book for me. It took HOURS and bore little resemblance to her glorious mane of California Blonde, but I felt super glamorous nonetheless.

I must give a shout-out to my mother here...any non-professional attempting to tame this wild head of curls with a blow-dryer deserves a medal. Thanks, Mom.

I was convinced that the Little Dragon would want to dance with me (and Julianne) and we could have a fun and painless family fitness activity. I'm going to be in great shape and I'll probably win a parenting award for inspiring my toddler to get physical!

I hit play, started grooving to the upbeat intro music, and realized I should probably have a water bottle handy. PAUSE. Ok, now I'm totally ready, this is going to be awesome. Wait, should I be drinking water or is it better to drink a healthy juice? I think I read somewhere that you should drink juice when you're working out. I don't want to mess up my metabolism. No, now I remember, you should drink water during the work, and juice immediately after. I'm going to be so f*cking healthy, I can feel it already! Here we go, Julianne...ok, marching in place, no sweat. Wait, I need to get a towel in case I do sweat. PAUSE. I think I'll put on a headband while I'm at it. Uh-oh, is that the baby? Maybe I should let her cry it out? No, get the baby and just march in place for as long as it takes to calm her down. At least I'll be doing something...hold on a minute, I'm having a déjà-vu.

(cue tape from January 2011)

I slid in the dvd, excited that I was finally going to “work out”. I was sure that after a few weeks following this program, I would be ready to audition for the Rockettes. Julianne appeared on the screen, cheerful, friendly, your best girlfriend, your smokin' hot galpal that you're super jealous of, but she's really nice so you can't hate her. She started with some helpful tips for the Cha-Cha, then explained how to execute a turn in the Paso Doble. Ok, uh-huh, a few false steps and then I was in the ZONE.

Five minutes in and I was still kicking ass. Up to this point, I had been focused on following Julianne's footwork and then I realized the camera was getting up close and personal with...Julianne's thighs. Also her abs. And her hips. I forgot to mention that she was wearing a scrap of lycra that normally I would have found objectionable, but her dancers body is so gorgeous that she was pulling it off. Big time. Also, she is really smiley and cute so it didn't piss me off. Whoever her stylist is deserves a Nobel Prize... or something. I considered getting a bag of chips and sitting down to watch the rest of the “program” like a movie, but I figured that would be counterproductive.

Next came the warm-up with her two back-up dancers. Ok, the cat/cow, neck roll, hip circles. The camera was in extreme close-up. Her lycra outfit was a marvel of engineering. It stretched and flexed with every move but never revealed “too much”. (N.B. do not leave your husband alone with this dvd)

I looked at the clock. Time to turn on the stove. We have an electric stove and it takes a pretty long time to get going and a really inordinate amount of time to boil water. If I started it now, then I could do my workout with Julianne and my bowl of pasta would be ready just in time. Because I was going to really need those carbs after my intense workout. And probably some lean protein. (Carbs? Lean protein? I have no idea what I'm talking about.  What I do know is that Honey eats a bowl of pasta bigger than my head after a morning at the gym)

Ok, so while the water is boiling I'll make some sauce. Let's see, what do we have here? Ooh, shallots. And for the lean protein...lardons. They're cut into tiny pieces so that must be lean. And for a healthy vegetable, champignons de Paris. This meal is definitely going to replenish my electrolytes! Maybe I should add some white wine, you know, to help with re-hydration. Is one cup enough?
Well now that I've opened the bottle, I can't just leave it sitting around. I think there's a French law about that. If a bottle has been opened, at least one glass must be consumed. That makes sense, really.

Waters boiling already. Honey usually eats 500 grams of pasta so I should probably just eat 400, you know because he has a faster metabolism. I know I'm forgetting something. Of course, crème fraiche! (If you haven't met crème fraiche, she is sour cream's more delicious full-fat sister.) Honey always cracks a raw egg over his pasta, but I think that might be too much protein for me since I don't want to bulk up. I'm going for “toned”.

What's that noise? Did I leave the TV on? Oh, riiiiight, Julianne. Damn, I missed all the steps, but I can still get in the Cool Down before my pasta is ready.

I think I'm going to go weigh myself. I'm sure I've already lost a couple of kilos. Now where did I leave the wine?

Have a great work-out, Friendlies, and Bon Appétit.