Why women primp

Why women primp -  an age old question that really seems to have no answer.  There is something innate in us that makes us want to look pretty, be attractive.  Although we may not admit it, we all do it.  That's why the cosmetic and beauty care industry is one of the largest in the world. 
Is it right or wrong?  There is no correct answer to that question.  I think that what is important is why we do it.  Waht are our motivations to have the perfect haircut, impeccable makeup, pedicures, manicures, waxing of all different types and at least a little bit of a tan?    This line of questions ran through my mind as my legs are being twisted into different positions to allow my waxer access.   Why do we do this?  I will admit, I am a primper.  I have my favorite salon/spa for the great haircut and color (thanks Meredith!), manicurist, pedicurist, esthetician for my facials and waxing.  My favorite cosmetics (MAC) and hair products (Dirt by Jonathan Antin).  I don't consider myself a fanatic and my bathroom is not overflowing, but I do enjoy feeling good because I look good. 
So what are my motivations?  Probably the same as any other woman.  We like other people to see us as attractive.  It allows us to present the image we have of ourselves, or more accurately the image we would like to have, to the rest of the world.  We do it for lovers and husbands.  Because we need to be the mom that looks the best on the soccer sidelines, because we think our appearance is a factor in our success in the workplace.  And for the best reason of all, to make ourselves feel good. 
So go ahead girls, there is nothing wrong with being a primper, as long we we are not expecting the results to change our lives and are not willing to go to extremes (read, bathroom full of products & cosmetics) hoping to create those changes.
I like that I can put on a little mascara and a smile and feel comfortable going out in public.  But, I also really like the way I feel when I pull out the hair product, take a little time to add the blush and eyeshadow to the mascara, when I am shaved, waxed, manicured and pedicured.  (There is something about looking down at pretty red toes that can just make you smile.)    Combine that with some pretty underwear or lingerie and
So, just for me, I will continue to do so.   My toes and nails will be painted, there will be at least mascara on my eyelashes, a little bit of glow to my skin, legs and underarms shaved and wax applied to parts of my body that only a special someone will ever get to see.   Add a big smile to all of that and it's a perfect package.

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Amazing weekends

Everyone once in a while you have one of those amazing weekends that sends you back to life so completely refreshed and ready to face whatever comes next.  This was mine.  I spent Friday evening at a wine-tasting with old and new girlfriends.  I have never been a big wine drinker, but in the last year or so I have been trying to learn more about wines and figure out what I do and don't like.  (Mainly whites and sweeter reds).  Fortunately a couple of my friends know alot about wine and are doing a great job teaching me.  We had a wonderful time – it was truly good friends, good wine, good nibbles and insightful conversation.  The best way to end a week.

Saturday dawned gloomy and rainy.  Not the most encouraging thing when you have a lot of walking to do.  It was Street Team Day for the Breast Cancer 3-Day.  The day for the "advance" team to go through the neighborhoods on our walk letting them know when we will be coming through and asking them to show their support as the walkers come by.  Fortunately the clouds parted, the sun shone and it was a lovely day.  Our efforts were met with much enthusiasm by the people along the route and I got a good training walk in.  (Only 2 weeks until the 3-Day!!! Gotta get ready for those 60 miles.)  My good friends Ed, Vici and Mark fed me dinner on Saturday night (Thanks for the fajitas – guys).  It was really nice of them because as tired as I was, it would have been a popcorn dinner night.

Sunday was beautiful!!!!!  The weather was perfect – sunny and a bit warm. My good friend Denise, who fortunately only lives around the corner,  and I had a breakfast at the cafe around the corner  (frittatas at Farmicia – Yum!) then we were off to upper Bucks County for a day of kayaking on the Delaware River.  What fun we had!!  And no kayaks tipped or stuck on the rocks — Yeah us!   Since it was still early and a gorgeous day – it was a stop in New Hope for lunch, drinks and relaxing.  The deck at Triumph Brewery was a nice spot for ice cold beer and really good Tuscan Pizza.  We wandered around town — both of us wishing we had unlimited money to spend in all the cool stores and then we found really comfy seats on the patio/bar at the Logan Inn.  People watching with Nate and Dana who were sitting next to us got to be pretty interesting.  And then came the best surprise, Denise's mom, Sharon, joined us for a couple of drinks. It was tons of laughter and girl talk on a beautiful street on a gorgeous day.

One of those weekends that just is perfect.  It let me wake up this morning with a whole new attitude.   The day just got better when an old friend reached out with an apology and a request to start working on resolving some past differences.   The week is off to a really good start.  Fall Equinox started on Sunday morning and began my birthday month… And next week is my birthday and the 3-Day!

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My adopted city – why I Love Philadelphia

 I was born in Oklahoma.  My mother was from there and my father is from Texas.  Almost all of my family lives in Texas and I will always carry a part of Texas in my heart.  "Deep in the heart of Texas"   :) 
But fate, a man and probably a few bad choices led me to the Philadelphia area over 20 years and there are so many reasons I have not left.  Some having to do with circumstances, some with pride, some with love and some just because this is such an amazing place to be. My father was a career Army officer so we did our share of traveling. I've visited or lived in a lot of other places in the beautiful USA and each is unique.  There are a lot of places in the country where the history is as rich, the culture as dignified and the excitement as intense, but there is a feel to Philly that no where else has. At least for me. 

It's definitely not the weather that keeps me here.  I hate to be cold, but the beautiful change of seasons can be worth bundling up for.   Maybe it is the small town feel of this big city.  Everyone says this is a city of neighborhoods and it is completely true.  From one block to the next you can move into a different world, yet it is all the same and we are all tied together by proximity and our love for this place.  And it's not just the city, this entire area – Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey, Delaware.  The diversity, the changing views, it becomes difficult to express how wonderful it all is and why I feel so at home here.   I have spent time living in apartment complexes in the ultimate suburbia of South Jersey  which has its own charm when you really want a neighborhood feel.  And the shore (the beach/ocean for those of you not from here) is less than an hour away!   I've also lived out in the rolling hills of Chester County (about 45 minutes west of the city) in beautiful old 100+ year old houses .  The openness, the green, the history and never really being that far from anything was comforting and natural.  Probably why I spent almost 10 years out there.  For the last year+ I have lived right in the middle of this gorgeous city.  Right in the middle of the excitement, the history, the beauty and other people, who like me, love the feel and pulse that reverberates down the cobblestone streets, the fantastic restaurants, bars and shops, the little tucked away neighborhood parks, the skyscrapers, bridges and the river. 

I am sure that everyone has their reasons and their feelings about where they live.  As for me, I will always be an Oklahoman and a Texan, nothing breaks family ties, but I am most definitely now a Philly girl too.

Check out my photos on Flickr as I post pics of the things in my city that catch my eye.   So what do you love about you live?

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Choices – move or stay

There comes a time in our lives when we realize that we have to make choices.  Many, many different choices, including whether we either move on and up or sit, stagnate and be miserable.   Recently, I figured out that I was at the Make a Choice point.  I need to examine my life and make choices about my future.  There has been a lot that has happened, at lot of it out my control, that has impacted my vision of my future.   What I kept forgetting is that our visions of the future don't mean anything. They are just that – visions, stray clouds floating around our environment.  Until we build a solid base of  dreams & hard work under those visions, we have nothing.  We build our way to the clouds with the passion of our dreams, the desire to achieve them and the hard work we are willing to expend to get to them.  And when that vision has to change, it means that somewhere a rung was missing from the ladder or a brick from the wall. Maybe not one that we forgot, but sometimes one that we gets removed.

So I have a vision of my future that appears to no longer be viable.  The people and places that I had imagined are not likely to be in the new future that I now have to envision and build.  What now?   Thus, I am at my choices.  Do I stay here where I am emotionally?  Letting these feelings rule what my future shall be.  Or do I find a way to navigate through these emotions so that I can begin to move forward and start to build something underneath a new vision of my future.   I know that some people would say that it is an easy decision.  It seems so obvious.  Move on.  Don't let yourself be mired in misery.  But as all of us who have been through this particular set of choices knows, it's not that easy.   I just have to figure out how to do it anyway.  

The question now becomes, how do you go about changing your vision of your future?  Suggestions?

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QotD: Via Snail Mail

When did you last write/receive a handwritten, snail-mail letter? Who was it to/from? 
Submitted by Places Unknown.

Every year on my birthday, I receive several cards from my parents and my aunts (Mom's sisters) with wonderful, sweet notes in them reminding me how much I am loved.  My Mom is gone now and my wonderful Dad and aunts carry on the tradition.  As wonderful as e-mail and instant access is, these are the little things that should never be lost.   In the same vain as this question, I try and make sure that my children and my significant other receive the same type of notes and/or cards from me at least on their birthday, but as often as possible.

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QotD: Total Trust

Who would you trust with your life?

Anyone in my family, that pretty much goes without saying.  I come from a large family and though we may not always agree and may let too long go between communicating, we will always be there for each other.  No matter what.
And the precious few people that I can truly call my friends.  Not my acquaintances, not those people who I just hang out with, but those wonderful few people, they know who they are, that are always there for me when it is good or bad.  I've learned that these people, I would lay my life down for and they have earned my full trust also. 

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Do we just work or do we “work”

Have you taken any time to stop and really think about your job?  What you do and why you do it?  How did you end up doing it?  How do you feel about it?
The story of my career is pretty simple.  I moved away from home (Texas) to Philly for a man I met in college.  I was looking for just about any job to pay our bills.  His father was in the insurance industry and knew someone who had a job for me.  So, here I am 20+ years later in the same industry doing something that I never imagined I would be doing.  The funny thing is that I sort of like it and I'm pretty good at it. 
So to answer my own questions – yes, I think about my job often.  I weigh the pros and cons of continuing to do what I do.  I could have a comfortable career, making a decent living, doing something that I am pretty good at, but that is not overly challenging.   Most days it is an ok job to do, some days I can't wait to quit.  But that is no different than anyone else.
Or do I take a leap, jump out into the unknown and do what my heart really desires – start my own business. Be my own boss, build something with my own 2 hands, my heart and my passion.   It is what I want most, my dream. 
So where do I find the courage to make it come true?  I have great examples, friends and acquaintances who are independents and freelancers and are making great successes out of their careers.  Do I have what they have?  I know I have the passion and the drive.  What else do I need?   So will they let me pick their brains?  Can they explain to me what that thing is that gets them past the make and break, the thing that makes them not question whether or not to continue. 
I know how hard those decisions and feelings can be.  I was with a good friend through the first 3 years of his business.  Those times we celebrated each new idea, client, contact or contract and the times when he was so unsure of whether or not he could succeed, he just needed to lean on a friend.
So how do I take that first step, put aside the fear and uncertainty and just take the step?  Guess it is going to be make a solid plan, have the passion shut my eyes, step forward and hope that there is not dead air underneath me.

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One of the most valuable gifts we are given in this life is the gift of friendship.   My mother taught me that lesson.   Her theory was there were no strangers, only friends we had not made yet.  Growing up in a military family, it was vital lesson to learn.  New places and new experiences forced us to always be open the experience of new friends.
As I become a more mature woman, the more I understand what my mother meant about the value of our friends.  They are our guiding stars, our therapists, our encouragement and our strength.  They are the ones who are not afraid to tell us when we are wrong and our are biggest cheerleaders when we are right.
They understand our joys, our heartaches, our insecurities, what makes us laugh and what makes us cry.
And we are the same for them.  This is what makes us friends.  This is what makes them invaluable in our lives. 
So embrace those friends, hold them as close to you as you can and don't let them go.  Celebrate them and celebrate the relationship you have with them.  It is a cherished gift.

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