Cuteness for Life

Everyone is cut out to be cute.  Men, women, gay, straight, young, old – doesn’t matter.  For some, it might take a little practice, but it’s totally possible for all of us.  And it’s much longer lasting, more versatile, and more universal than being hot.  When I’m 80 years old, I’m definitely not going to be hot.  I’ll have wrinkles and gray hair and skin that hangs in strange places.  But I surely plan to be as cute as humanly possible.   Cute also gets things done.  People don’t want to help mean, serious, grown-ups.  Being hot and sexy doesn’t always get you the help you actually want.  But pulling the cute card works universally.  If you step on someone’s toes – literally or figuratively – be cute.  If you are trying to convince the airline to get you on the next flight, be cute.   Here are some tips for bringing on the cute in your life:   Play like a kid.  Come on, let that inner kid out to play.  Being a grown up is boring, so take a break from it every once in a while.  Personally, I love stickers and doodles and heart-shaped hole punches.  I like passing notes to people during boring meetings, organizing the M&Ms on my plate by color, or stacking objects on top of each other until they fall down.  Loosen up, be silly. Talk in funny voices.  Stick your tongue out at people.  If you play, you can get other people to play, and the whole energy around you gets a lot more fun.   Be in your body.  Please believe me when I tell you that your body does not want to sit still for […]

The Zen Road Warrior

Business travel has been a part of my professional life since my very first job. There are periods where I travel once every couple of months and periods where I travel every week. And let’s face it, it is really hard to stay Zen on the road. When I was younger, I didn’t give much thought to taking care of myself while traveling and would pretty easily get out of balance – and usually come down with a bad cold and in bed for a week. Now, I am better at caring for myself emotionally and physically while on the road, and wanted to share a few tips that help me get through the planes, trains, and hotels. ; Water: Buy a lightweight water bottle and bring it with you at all times so you don’t have to think about finding and drinking water. When flying, they deprive you of oxygen and only pass through with the drink cart once – maybe twice – during the flight. You’ll feel like hell the next day if you don’t hydrate. Plus, who wants to pay $7 for the bottle of water they leave you in the hotel room? Snacks: I’m a six small meals kind of gal and I have a strange food hoarding disorder when I fly – maybe it’s those stories of long hours on the tarmac and running out of food on planes. Plus, I like to eat healthy, and that can be hard to find in a bag of cheetos. So if it’s a day trip, I pack my regular meals and snacks so I know I will never be without food and I’ll make the right choices during the day. I also […]

The truth about false accusation

The fear of getting falsely accused of rape just doesn’t compare to the fear of an actual rapist getting away with his or her crime.  Statistics from Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2006-2010 and FBI reports.  NOTE (2/6/13):  As so many people continue to visit this site and share this convo-graphic, we’ve updated this post to include the context from this post.   As a wife, mom, survivor, and regular person until Monday morning, I am overwhelmed and astounded by the reaction and response to the “Truth About False Accusation” infographic, and encouraged by the dialogue that has emerged as a result of it.  Thank you to each and every person who shared it, debated it, loved it, and hated it. We accept and encourage debate on this and any future infographics released by The Enliven Project.  Given the massive amount of media coverage and online discussion about it, I wanted to provide some additional – and more well-thought out – context to the purpose of the graphic and The Enliven Project, as well as to address a bit of criticism about the data we used. The purpose of this graphic is to compare (primarily men’s) fear of being falsely accused of being a rapist to the many challenges around reporting, prosecuting, and punishing rapists. Two key figures drive that point home: A reporting rate of 10% A false reporting rate of 2% The other decision we made was to present data that fell within documented ranges, rather than reflect the findings of a particular report, because of the inherent challenge in collecting data on this issue.  Said another way: at the moment, an argument could be made that every source is flawed in some way.  The […]

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    Hallmark Cards and Cupcakes Hallmark Cards and Cupcakes

    Hallmark Cards and Cupcakes

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Hallmark Cards and Cupcakes

The fall is birthday season in my life, so I have been thinking about the kind of friend I am, and the kind of friend I am not. I am not a friend who often remembers to send cards – and will often forget birthdays.  I don’t make crafty gifts and pin photos of them to the Internet.  I often feel badly for not being creative and thoughtful like so many wonderful friends are. What kind of friend am I then? I’m the friend that invites you to move in with them when you go through a heart- wrenching breakup and are so sad you can’t even take care of yourself.  If I haven’t seen or spoken to you in a decade, I will still take you in, and make you tea and whiskey and find good junk tv.  I’m the friend you call when you find yourself in love with a married man because I won’t judge you – I will just try to listen and understand. I’m the friend you come to with secrets – dark ones – because nothing shocks me or makes me think less of you.  I’m the friend who will trash talk your ex-boyfriend when we run into him on the street and you aren’t quite sure what to say – I will make sure he knows he missed out big time.  I’m the friend who will seek justice on your behalf if you are betrayed or hurt by another, and make it my mission to seek vengeance on your enemies.  I’m the friend you come to when you need to cry until you can’t breathe anymore, and I will stroke your hair. And then, when your sobs become […]


I love when life gives me moments that affirm I am on the right path. When the universe gives me a wink and a nod. When I was a senior in high school, I was fortunate enough to be in the position of deciding between two great schools: Brown and Columbia. I had also gotten into Cal-Berkeley but wisely decided, with the strong encouragement of my parents, that it was too far away even though the pull of the west coast was very strong – and still is. Both schools had pre-decision days for accepted students where you could stay over, meet students, attend class, and generally get a feel for the place. While at Brown, I met this guy with crazy paint splattered pants, long hair, and clear truthful eyes. We hit it off right away and spent the day tooling around campus, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and chatting. It turned out that he was from California, and told me that Brown was the “Berkeley of the east coast.” The next day, I left for Columbia for the same kind of orientation. I walked into the welcome session, and lo and behold, my fancy pants buddy. It turned out he was making the same choice as I was. He seemed like just the kind of person I’d want to meet at college – smart, creative, and interesting. Fast forward three months later, my parents and I packed up the car and were driving to Brown for freshman orientation. We stopped at a rest stop on the highway, and as I opened the sliding door of the minivan, someone was getting out of the car next to me. I couldn’t believe it – Mr. […]

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    Workplace Rules:  Biting and Other No-Nos Workplace Rules:  Biting and Other No-Nos

    Workplace Rules: Biting and Other No-Nos

Workplace Rules: Biting and Other No-Nos

As is often the case, the basic principles that allow us to have happy and healthy lives don’t change much from the time we are tots to the time we are so-called adults.  One of the things I learned taking care of pre-schoolers is how important consistent and enforced boundaries are to creating an environment where everyone can grow, thrive, and have a good time. For example, biting.  I think we can all agree that biting is a no-no.  It’s not okay to bite other people, even if we are mad or upset.  That being said, toddlers often have a hard time expressing emotions and can get easily frustrated when things don’t go their way, and when that happens, they may use their little teeth in not-so-nice ways.  As such, any good and experienced preschool teacher or daycare provider knows how to prevent and manage biting. First, establish the ground rules: NO BITING. The rules apply to everyone – kids and grown ups – and they apply all the time, even when hungry and tired. Second, introduce ways to do handle frustration other than biting. Like sharing or taking turns. Or using words (which you may need to teach). Third, take responsibility for preventing bites from taking place. After all, it’s not entirely the toddler’s fault if he or she bites. If you know a kid gets frustrated easily, supervise them. Or provide special attention.  If they get cranky when tired or hungry, make sure they get a nap or a snack. A good teacher can read the room and see a bite coming down the pike. Finally, if a bite does take place, handle the situation rapidly and clearly. See #1:  Biting is never […]

The New Vacation

There are so many things are NOT covered in What to Expect When You Are Expecting, and new parents are left to their own devices to figure out. Like how to go on vacation.  Before kids, my husband and I would decide whether we wanted an “adventure” vacation (camping in Alaska, driving the Pacific Coast Highway) or a chill vacation (sunset sails in Cabo, lying on the beach in Aruba). We looked forward to driving around and seeing the sights, trying new restaurants, and enjoying a place we had never visited before. We just returned from a week an a half on the west coast with our 13-month old.  Boy, do we need a vacation after that adventure!  I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything – he started saying hiyee to people, learned the word “gorilla,” and splashed in the ocean for the first time.  But I do wish I had known a few things in advance.  Lucky for you, I jotted them down so I can pass along the wisdom to y’all: It’s about breakfast, not dinner.  First of all, everyone is in a good mood when they first wake up – even if it’s at an ungodly hour. Second, there is ALWAYS caffeine at breakfast, and most babies like some sort of breakfast food – who doesn’t?  And you are kidding yourself if you think you are going to check out the trendy restaurants about town unless your kid likes to sleep through ambient noise in a stroller shoved in a corner near the kitchen.  And please note, not every restaurant is baby friendly, so appreciate the ones that are!  We went to one place that didn’t have high chairs.  Holding your squirmy […]

Stuck in the Middle

 I’ve been told that, as a member of Generation X, I’m supposed to translate between Millennials and Baby Boomers in the workplace.  In other words, I often find myself in the middle, mediating, negotiating, and translating. Like most conflicts, it’s mostly about both sides being unable to listen without becoming defensive and buying into stereotypes instead of creating teachable moments.  As a Gen Xer, I find both Millennials and Baby Boomers slightly annoying yet quite charming in different ways.   I know that Baby Boomers can be rigid and hierarchical and Millennials can come across as entitled and lax, but I also appreciate the wisdom and experience of Boomers and the networked competence and insistent and innovative energy of Millennials. And since nobody asked, I thought I would lay out some advice on how to play nice in the workplace.   You don’t know what you don’t know. While its certainly possible for a newly minted college graduate to start a company or nonprofit, he or she would be wise to seek advice and input from people with more experience.  And a professional nearing retirement may not actually have his or her finger on the pulse of all the latest industry trends so it might be smart to run that plan by those who are more junior. Multi-generational organizations  identify blind spots and address them more effectively than those that are less age diverse. There is a place for innovation and for experience. Find a balance. Sometimes the way we have always done things is stale. Other times, it’s a proven method of success. Don’t try to innovate arithmetic. At the same time, there is always room for improvement, and sometimes old ways of doing things actually ARE stale. The Internet is so cool, but remember you need to know how to use it. Information – true and […]

Enlivening is Easy

Maybe it is the caffeine or the crispness in the air, but I felt particularly alive today. It occurred to me that making the world more alive is pretty darn easy. Here are four things you can do before you even get to work or school: 1. Leave a $1 tip with your cup of coffee. Barista jobs don’t pay very well and if you can afford $4 for a latte, you can spare the extra dollar. They need it more than you. 2. Speak up if someone’s tag is sticking out of their shirt. Or they have a crumb on their face. You will have just saved them that moment of wondering how long it had been there. And they will look sharp for the day. 3. Send a text message to someone you love. Brighten up their day. 4. Smile at strangers. Sure, some will look at you like you are crazy but some will smile back. It’s contagious. Like the Ebola virus.


Trigger Warning:  This post contains a personal story about rape. I was 17 and he was my friend. We were having sex – my first time – and I wanted to stop. I said, Can we stop?  He said, But I didn’t come yet. I said, But it really hurts.  Silence. He was on top. He was bigger. He continued until he was finished. I stared at the ceiling. When he was done, he told me he thought it was great – that I was great. He got dressed. I got dressed. He kissed me goodbye. I was 17 and he was my friend. I wrote this post over and over again, and was conflicted about publishing it.  It feels messy and complicated even 15 years later.   I invited him over to my house with the intention of having sex.  I invited him up to my room, put on some music, and happily made out with him.   We got undressed together. He asked if we could have sex and I said yes. But in that one moment when I asked to stop, it all changed.  In that one moment, it went from two teenagers messing around to one person deliberately hurting another person.  What happened to me hurt me in that moment – physically, emotionally, and mentally.  The physical hurt was brief but the emotional and mental damage lasted for many years after that. In the end, was it bad sex or rape? For years, I thought it was just sex – not even bad sex.  I thought that once I said yes, it meant yes to everything and everything was defined on the other person’s terms. It didn’t matter if it hurt me or I didn’t want to do it. I thought there was no […]