I stole this line from our very own Dan Woog of “06880” our local blogger on all things Westport. I stole it because I’m so proud he put it out there like that and I wanted to give him a big shout out. I’ve also copied it because it’s true. The Vagina Monologues are being performed this Sunday, March 7th. And we’re about to deliver a performance that cannot be matched at Westport Country Playhouse. We’ve raised over $25K for CT’s Domestic Violence and Crisis Center and City of Joy (VDays 2010 campaign to end the rape of women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo). Our two shows are ALMOST SOLD OUT. But that shouldn’t stop you from donating! Mail your tax deductable donation to VDAY Westport, PO Box 1084, Southport, CT 06890.

And to all you poster stealers and vandals — my vagina weeps for you.

Remember what Valentine’s Day was like back in 2nd grade? I do. I gave everyone in my class a Valentine. I didn’t discriminate. The goal was to make everyone feel special. I loved those paper Valentine’s. Just buying the box from the local Caldor filled me with excitement. The joy of bringing a little piece of love to everyone. And feeling loved in return. It was so simple. And no one felt left out. At the age of 7, all love was distributed equally. Okay, maybe you gave that one extra big valentine, that came in every box, to your best girlfriend, or your boy crush. But it was still about acknowledging every person in your class.

It was expectation that got in the way. How come Annie got more big cards than I did? Why didn’t Joe sign mine? Did Beth get more sweetheart candies? Jealousy and envy started to rear its head. And why didn’t Deacon give me one at all? I thought I was his best girl friend? All the acknowledgment was gone and now it was about who got more love than I did. And there is the bane of Valentine’s Day. It’s rooted in acknowledgment, cut down by expectation. And I’m here to tell you to let it all go. Because , it’s true, Joe didn’t sign my card. But he didn’t sign half of them because he thought the whole Valentine thing was weird anyway, so he just stopped signing, stuffed them all into the little white envelope, took the class list and wrote each name neatly on the front. He made sure everyone got one. Because even though he might not “like” you, you were his friend. Even peripherally. And that counted.

And here I am. A grown up. And here’s what I still know. It’s not a about presents. It’s not about dinner reservations. It’s not about being part of couple. And it is not about being lonely. When Valentine’s Day is done right — it’s about acknowledgment of time and love well spent. It’s not filled with expectation about how you want to be appreciated. It’s so much simpler than that. It’s about giving from a place of real heart. It’s about receiving with grace. And it’s about remembering how the glue tasted on those sweet little white envelopes as you sealed each and every one with just love and acknowledgment for time well spent.

Okay, everyone. Calm down. It’s just Valentine’s Day. And by calm down I mean leave the expectation at the door and just settle in and remember what’s important. The desire to feel loved.

Sure there are lots of ways to do this according to Hallmark and DeBeers. But I’m here to remind you what Valentine’s Day is all about acknowledgement. You thought I was going to say appreciation, didn’t you? But appreciation, on this particular day, gets all wrapped up in candy and jewelry and really expensive dinners at overly crowded restaurants. Appreciation implies expectation on the part of the person hoping to receive it, e.g., I hope s/he appreciates this. But for just his one day, I’m asking you to leave appreciation, and expectation, at the door. Why? Because this is what appreciation looks like the day after Valentine’s Day.

“Oh, Betty Sue, you have to see the diamond tennis bracelet Dick gave me for Valentine’s Day. He took me out to Chez Overprix, we drank champagne and then this appeared under my napkin when I came back from the ladies room. I can’t believe how much he spent on me. I can’t believe how in love we still are after all these years.” Betty Sue panics, scrambling for some fabulous story she can conjure to replace the fact that she got flowers and thank you, albeit a lovely one, from her husband, Jock, for being his wife and loving him so completely followed by a very romantic evening in the boudoir. Flowers? Are you kidding me? Jock makes more money than Dick!

Betty Sue got acknowledged. But was undermined by Diamond Lil’s “appreciative” husband. Because she didn’t really understand what just happened. Let’s go deeper and see who comes on top in this little scenario courtesy of Mirriam Webster

Appreciation 1 a : judgement, evaluation; especially : a favorable critical estimate b : sensitive awareness; especially : recognition of aesthetic values c : an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude 2 : increase in value
Acknowledgment 1 a : the act of acknowledging b : recognition or favorable notice of an act or achievement 2 : a thing done or given in recognition of something received 3 : a declaration or avowal of one’s act or of a fact to give it legal validity

And there we have it. Would you rather be judged for your aesthetic values or recognized for your achievement? Favorably critiqued, or validated through avowal? Appreciation may sound sexier but acknowledgement is sexier. These are important differences on this a confusing enough of all days. I’m just here to give you a little something to ponder before you drop a wad of cash. Just think before you spend. Look at actions rather than receipts. And make whoever that person next to you is feel like you can’t live without them by telling them rather than selling them.

My New Year’s resolution is to really focus on my health. Specifically, eating better. So regardless of the weight that I won’t lose, at least I’ll know I am eating healthier. And that’s sexy. Taking a stand for my body is sexy. Preparing food is sexy. I’ve slowed down and am taking pleasure in cooking for myself. I make better food choices when I go out. And even when I’ve been out late and didn’t have dinner, I think about what I’m stuffing in my mouth when I get home. Normally, I’d grab too much of some moderate to unhealthy snack. Last night, I came home at 10pm, pretty hungry, and stopped. I didn’t want to eat too much before bed or feel gross in the morning.

Enter the hemp bagel. I know! What was I thinking?

Hemp bagels are super high in protein and fiber. They are a new food choice for me. They are healthy, filling and ‘green.’ Eating one would keep me sated and, though I’m not sure why, make me feel like I’ve done something for the environment. I guess because these are what all those ‘green people’ eat. I toasted it, put on some butter, and headed upstairs to eat it in bed while I read.

It was like eating a bird’s nest. I could literally feel bits of twig and feathers as I chewed. I could taste every piece of compost that had contributed to each and every ingredient. I persevered, thinking I just had to get used to it. The offending bagel then proceeded to suck all hydration out of my mouth. Desperate gulps of water only left a party of wet sewage in its wake. Worse, eating this in bed was like an affront to my sensuality. Seeds all over. The foul taste a far cry from paint-on chocolate and whipped cream. It was horrible.

Let’s take a look at how exactly unsexy a product this is:

It’s poo brown with pea green understones.

It’s been covered in seeds to make it “look” like an Everything Bagel.

You could place a couple of robin’s eggs in the center and a bird would fly out of nowhere and start incubating them.

You can taste the compost from which it originated, including the horse manure, just from the photo.

It doesn’t even sound good: Hemp Bagel. Blech.

Now I’m all for healthy, organic food choices. But there is no one that will ever convince me that the hemp bagel is an appetizing and/or appealing bite of deliciousness. It is really, hands down, the unsexiest food product I have ever eaten. It left me yearning for the bready,  slightly-chewy, processed-flour, New York bagel – topped with 1/2″ of cream cheese on each half. Some lox and red onion. And not a seed to be found the next morning under my covers.

I don’t care how good hemp bagels are for me. You tree-hugging, unwashed, hippie folk can have every last one of them. Not only are they gross, they’ve turned my green-0-meter back 25 years. So go ahead, start a petition for the hemp bagel. Send me recipes ad finitum on how to make this bit of fencepost a succulent morsel of sexy. Just know that I won’t be serving one to my lover as an aphrodisiac any time soon.

So I’m working from home again. And I’m finding the whole thing quite fascinating.  At the shop I was sidetracked. I felt trapped at times. And more often that not, I was pretty unproductive. And now here I am at home with the same list of to do’s and it’s different. Invigorating. Dare I say it, sexy.

My new found freedom has an almost aphrodisiac quality to it. Maybe it’s the idea of “no rules.” Maybe it’s that I’m only responsible for me. But either way there is something overwhelmingly erotic about the whole experience. And in very interesting ways. Because I feel like I just broke up with myself and am dating again.

And I mean, I am on the market. I’ve changed my look. My routines. My outlook. My availability to do — well, anything. I’m in reinvention mode. And I feel hot. And it’s the little things. The things I knew but didn’t acknowledge. The things other people noticed, but didn’t want to say.

Flirting with myselfGetting dressed for the day. I’ve not been this enthusiastic in some time. I look in my closet each morning and think about what I’d like to wear. And I accessorize! All this to go downstairs and sit at my desk. I told myself it was away of addressing the day to ensure that I felt like I was ‘at work.’ But it was really about feeling good about myself and feeling purposeful and empowered. It’s about getting my sexy on even if it’s just for Malcolm and Gwyneth (the cliche cats).

I’m wearing more make up. In order to save time at home I was leaving make up application until I got to the shop. Big mistake. More often that not, it never went on. I even convinced myself that I looked okay without it. ‘No one really cares.’ Are you kidding me? I’m not only wearing make up, but I’m putting lipstick on and I’m not even leaving the house.

I’m losing weight. This is the kicker. Here I am home with a fully stocked fridge and I’m not interested. Nor am I using it as an excuse to get up and take a break (the tea kettle has taken on that duty). But more than that — not only am I not eating so much, I’m eating so much better. It wasn’t that I ate a lot at work, I just didn’t think about what I ate. Why? I think it’s because now that I feel sexier I care about what I’m eating and how my clothes fit again.

I’m socializing more. It’s not that I’m less busy. Don’t have as much to do. But not being locked up in the shop all day means I can work at 7am or 7pm. If I want to go for a walk, head out for a quick coffee to get some fresh perspective, I can. And going out at night, like tonight, doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Because I’m not exhausted at 6pm anymore. And I want to go out and see what might happen.

So you get the point. I’m dating again. And it feels great. I look good. I feel good. I want to go out tonight and flirt myself into some research. To talk about who I am, what I do. In the context of me. Not in the context of “that shop in Westport.” I’m me again. I’m sexy. I’m alive. I’m ready to have fun. I’m ready to work and see what’s next. I’m not sad about the shop. I’m grateful for what I learned and ready to take the good, leave the bad, and make Bedroom Matters better than it was before. Make me better than I was before.

So rereading this it’s all statement of the obvious. But it’s not that obvious when you’re in it. And I was in it. So take this as one more testimonial, trite as it might seem. And got out do some research for yourself. And tell me when you’re done.

Happy January 22nd. Yes, not exactly January 1st but a lot has been going on!

  • I went to France.
  • I came back and announced I was moving Bedroom Matters exclusively online.

    I'm just too busy.

  • I closed the shop.
  • I sold fixtures and furniture in record time.
  • I moved what was left of Bedroom Matters merchandise into my home.
  • I spent a week finding room for it (thank you Deacon).
  • I had my first Saturday off.
  • The playoffs were yesterday.
  • And, now I’m waiting for Michaelangelo so I shouldn’t even be here, I should be finding all the wires and cables so he can properly set up my home office.

That’s a lot. And I have a lot to do. But as  you can see I’ve been/am very, very busy.

This struck me this morning. I was wondering about a friend and if he’d actually dumped his girlfriend. This has taken years mind you. And I thought of calling him and realized he’d have a hundred excuses about why he couldn’t do it last week, which is why he hasn’t called — well that and he’s been very, very busy.

This train led me to thinking about the class design I had to put together for my Circles. Having a cycle on excuses. Especially when it comes to relationships. Because we have good ones. I mean I have a laundry list equal to that above. So I couldn’t possibly get to all of the other things critical right now to my building success without a bricks and mortar store — nevermind getting me one of those relationship things. Please. But the real reason. Fear. What happens if I just sit down and do all the things sitting on my list that are critical to me moving my life forward? The Unknown. And the unknown might deliver exactly what I ask and then what?

So many men and women have come to me in the last two years in fear of the state of the marriage. And they serve up a thousand and one reasons excuses about how that has happened. But what happens if you put all intention on action rather than  obstacle. Yes, my laundry list above was real. And very time consuming. But it was also a great barrier to sitting and:

  • writing my blog
  • starting S&M Speak
  • getting what I needed to done for Playboy and Lifetime
  • fixing my website
  • getting new merchant services for my website
  • adhering to my diet
  • finding love

These are important things. Major. And not to be overlooked because my barn is too messy for me to write in. My computer works. And, by the way, I face the wall looking out the window over the horse paddocks. My back is to the mess. Catch my drift? We create barriers that aren’t really important. They seem important when we  sit and list them. But they’re not.

So what’s you excuse for fixing and/or finding love in 2010? Go ahead. Make the list. Then read it out loud to a friend and watch their face. As Nike says, Just Do It. I did. And No. 1 on my list took me exactly :11 minutes — to write this blog. Looks my real to do list could be done by lunch time.

Now can I find Mr. Right by then?

Well you know what I’m going to choose. But can we talk about ‘nice’ for a minute? Christmas is all about virgins and children, and anything less than that is considered de rigeur. Really? Immaculate births? Where’s the fun in that? And while we’re so busy making memories for the “family” (read: children), we need to remember to take a little bit of time out for the adults.

It’s time for the to take back Christmas. And make the memories that yet another cashmere sweater can’t manage.

I know. When? Too tired. Too stressed. Too frustrated. Well, guess what. A good sleigh ride takes care of all those things that make the holiday time not so jolly. So here are a few good reasons to put some holiday jolly at the top of your Christmas list.

  1. Sex relieves stress. One good healthy release of endorphins is more than enough to take the edge off.
  2. Sex boosts your immune system. Who knows what germ warfare you’re under while you run yourself down with shopping and partying — all while standing behind the new H1N1 incubator.
  3. Sex boosts self esteem. Why does this matter? Ask me that again Christmas Day when your mother is telling you that you’re making the gravy all wrong. Or when your brother has just trumped your $25 American Express Gift cards with a $100 ones for iTunes for all the nephews (true story).
  4. Sex helps you sleep better. The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep. And you need it to help you with #2.
  5. And if none of those worked for you: Sex burns calories! What a great way to fight off the holiday 5. Without having to hit the gym.

So turn that Ho, Ho, Ho into a Ho, Ho… Oh. Go ahead and be naughty. And leave ‘nice’ to the stressed out, sleep deprived virgins.

Oh and no partner to relieve stress with? Then try clicking here.

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