Showing posts from August, 2013

Assertive vs. Bitch

Recently, I’ve had the privilege (not!) of dealing with a few very rude people.   A man who was panhandling at Trader Joe’s called me “bitch” because I refused to donate money to his cause.  This panhandler has the freedom of speech to stand outside and beg for money, I have the right to say no, right?  Not on his watch!!  I sat in my car and wondered why I was so upset that he dared call me a “bitch”?  A few minutes later, I realized I was upset because he publicly disagreed with my answer and instead of moving on he attacked my character!   I wasn’t being a “bitch” so I needed to step back and not take his random attack so personally, easier said than done.
I once heard Dr. Phil say that when men say “no”, it’s taken as an “end of the conversation, no”.  When women say “no”, it’s a gateway to negotiating, so when I strongly spoke up and meant business when I sternly but still politely said “no”, I was a bitch.  Circumstances like these made me shy and hesitant to even make eye cont…

Culture Crush Throwback Thursday: Time Out by The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Culture Crush gets in on the Throwback Thursday fun and shares an oldie and a goodie from the past. This week's highlight is the seminal jazz recording Time Out by The Dave Brubeck Quartet.

By Lisa

More than fifty years ago, The Dave Brubeck Quartet released Time Out, and brought jazz to the Billboard Hot 100. The first single from the LP, "Take Five," became the first million-selling jazz instrumental single on the Pop charts, and suddenly everyone wanted to groove out to this suddenly popular jazz group.

From the solo piano notes at the beginning of the first track, "Blue Rondo a la Turk," listeners knew this record was something special. The unusual meters/time signature of the individual songs are not the only reason, but the laid-back, West Coast attitude behind every track also set the vibe of The Dave Brubeck Quartet apart.

Comprised of bandleader Dave Brubeck on piano, his creative foil on alto saxophone Paul Desmond, rock solid bassist Eugene Wright an…

Have you ever been left out? I know the feeling.

My group of girlfriends recently got together to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of our own.  The planning stage was a frantic one, starting with the birthday girl possibly not being able to make it to our decoy plans (surprise birthday party).  Then we had to change locations because the host was called into work.  Followed by what foods to serve, who was making what dishes, pitching in for the group gift, aahhhh, get me out of here!!  We finally made it to the night before the party with everything being back on track, until…one of the ladies noticed that we left out our friend Stacy.  I felt horrible because I didn’t notice it.  I didn’t start the email thread but I still felt so bad that we left her out.  I texted her and called her, trying to let her know the plans.  She didn’t respond…I was already frantic trying not to blow the cover to our party and now I was sad and disappointed that we left Stacy out. 
Fortunately, Stacy showed up and all was good, right?  Not yet.  She…

Culture Crush Travel: This Finish Line Has Wine! - Santa Ynez Half-Marathon

By Lisa

Mother's Day Weekend, the hordes descend on Solvang and Los Olivos for the annual Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon. The race is traditionally run early in the morning, the Saturday before Mother's Day Sunday, and it's the perfect excuse for a lovely weekender in the Santa Ynez Valley.

For those of you who think a marathon, at 26.2 miles, is an insurmountable feat, consider the much more accessible half-marathon. Walking briskly most of the way, punctuated with a little jogging, one can comfortably finish the 13.1 miles under three hours. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.

On race day, get up early and grab the shuttle from Solvang by 6am and get to the beginning of the race in downtown Santa Ynez for the 7am start. Cruise through Los Olivos and then up twisty Corkscrew Hill and on through Ballard Canyon. You'll pass gorgeous wineries and ranches, complete with cattle, horses and the ubiquitous rows of vines. Plentiful water and energy drink stat…

All we need is love…and a little patience

I’ve met a few people over the past few years, men and women, who had me wondering… “How can your wife, partner, friends, or husband, put up with your shenanigans and antics?”  The answer is LOVE!  It sounds foolish to have those words come out of my mouth, but it’s true!
All of the judgmental attitude aside, and there’s plenty of it (just not today), I realize that men and women have wives, partners, friends, husbands who love them enough to overlook their loose lips, bad attitude, judgmental ways, old luggage that creates daily issues, all because they accept and love them enough to let stuff go. The question is, who doesn’t have issues and tendencies that make them unlikeable to some?  We all do!
For some, the luck runs out when their beloved fall out of love with them and focuses on all the bad in them.  I’ve had hmmm… a few ex-boyfriends who I thought were AMAZING and my friends thought they were jerks.  Alas, it took me a while to come to and/or was forced to see the bad in th…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 10


Culture Crush Throwback Thursday: The Dream Songs by John Berryman

Culture Crush gets in on the Throwback Thursday fun and shares an oldie and a goodie from the past. This week's highlight is 20th Century poet John Berryman's collection The Dream Songs.

By Lisa

The cadence of John Berryman's poetry, the rhythm of the actual words on the page, is magical. Unusual and unique, these poems speak the pure John Berryman voice that so many of his contemporaries and those who've come after recognize and respect. Looking back, 50 years on after publication, some of his poems can seem insensitive, especially those in which the speaker appears in blackface. But then, Mr. Berryman was never concerned about others' feelings with his work. His speaker, poor Henry, and his feelings, his long, drawn-out paens to himself, were always Mr. Berryman's chief concern.

The Dream Songs, published in 1969, collects Mr. Berryman's 77 Dream Songs and His Toy, His Dream, His Rest. Those two volumes make up Books I through VII, realizing the grand poe…

Tony Horton's 90-10 Rule diet

Bestie Note: Did you miss Tony Horton on Dr. Oz?  We didn't!  Here are the highlights of Tony's 90-10 Rule diet.  I have done the meal replacement shake and I love it and highly recommend it.  I'm did the 10 minute workout and I'm out of breath but the workout itself if very doable. Give it a try...we dare you!
Please visit : Creator of P90X Tony Horton is a fitness superstar whose workouts are trusted by everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Michelle Obama. Now he’s sharing his secrets with you. See the food rules and workout to make today Day 1 of a new, healthier you!
Tony Horton is all about long-term goals and long-term results. That’s why his plan focuses not just on looking better – but on overall well-being. His strategy is twofold: Begin a sustainable fitness routine and practice a simple food plan. Together these elements create a lasting lifestyle change.
The key component of this breakthrough plan is the "90-10 Rule," a critical diet gui…

Culture Crush Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Hardcover published June 5, 2012 (Crown)

Reviewed by Lisa

Wow. I couldn't put this one down. Author Gillian Flynn brings the noise with her third crime novel, Gone Girl. The story unfolds with the glimpses of the mind of Nick Dunne, husband, unemployed writer, part-time professor and bar owner and the diary entries of Amy Dunne, wife, wealthy city girl and subject of a series of famous children's books written by her parents.

Gone Girl is a fast read, heart-pounding fast - it can be read in a day, even with taking breaks to have a conversation, answer the phone, use the bathroom and for food and water. Ms. Flynn's taut prose and dual perspectives use the sin of omission to turn this psychological thriller on its side. By the end, you might not know for whom to cheer - maybe the author for this creation. I don't want to say too much, so as not to give too much away. I didn't even read the liner notes on the inside cover.

As with most crime novels of this ilk, the la…

Level of clearance, please?

It sounds ridiculous to assign a level of clearance to friends and loved ones, doesn’t it? It is awkward, but there’s a lighter way of figuring out which friends and family members fall in which level. There are the gentle and kind ones, the empathetic and loyal, and the good but not yet evolved enough to have empathy for themselves, let alone others. I’m a person who needs empathetic and loyal friends and family in my inner circle… then there’s the outer circle who I can be friends with and love them and support them. But I can’t entrust them with certain information about my life, because the relationships will turn into a complicated mess that ultimately leads me to disappointment and to turn away from those people. I have just realized that I need such a system to keep my friendship and family ties healthy. All of my life, I have easily shared the difficult situations I feel ashamed of with whichever friend has the time to hear me out, and I have gotten very disillusioned. The wa…

Back to School Lunch and snack

Bestie Note: I make a smaller sandwich than usual.  My kids get overwhelmed by big sandwiches in their lunch boxes so they end up not eating it at all.  Make the lunch attractive by adding a small bag of popcorn and a small treat!

Fresh Mozzarella BLT with Pesto Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence for Food Network Magazine
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 7 min Level: Easy Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients 1 4-inch piece baguette 2 slices low-sodium applewood-smoked bacon 1 1/2 teaspoons store-bought pesto 1 1/2 teaspoons low-fat mayonnaise 1 spear romaine lettuce 2 thick slices heirloom tomato 1 thick slice fresh mozzarella Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions Slice the baguette open, leaving one side attached to form a hinge. Cook the bacon in a skillet over low heat until crispy; drain on paper towels.
Combine the pesto with the mayonnaise and smear on the bottom part of the bread. Layer the romaine on the bread, then the tomato, bacon and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper; close the sandwich an…

Culture Crush Throwback Thursday: The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest

Culture Crush gets in on the Throwback Thursday fun and shares an oldie and a goodie from the past. This week's highlight is the eye-and-ear-opening LP released in 1991 from those masters of rhyme, A Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory.
By Lisa
From the opening bass groove of the first track "Excursions," we all knew this album was going deep. Blowing minds with their meld of jazz, blues and hip hop, ATCQ also moved rhyming to a supreme level. While the liner notes for Low End Theory only credited a few of the myriad samples used, Wikipedia has a full listing of all the great source music for the album's beats, including The Last Poets, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Ohio Players, Weather Report, the Steve Miller Band and Cannonball Adderly, to name a few.
A Tribe Called Quest not only put out these great new beats, their songs were stuffed with clever rhymes. Mental hip hop for your mind and a bumping groove for your body. Subject matter: late 80s/early 90s N…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 10


Culture Crush Book Review: Youth Series for Summer and Beyond

By Lisa

With the impending start of another school year, leisurely summer reading draws to a close. Hopefully there's still time for fun books, in addition to the homework and busier schedules. Perhaps your child didn't quite finish that beloved series or has discovered some awesome new adventures from their local library. Here are some more great youth series we discovered over the summer:

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Thirteen books in this loquacious and vocabulary-building series, following the travails and triumphs of the Baudelaire siblings. Terrific for fourth grade and up, adults included.

The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D'Lacey. Recently released Dark Fire is the fifth episode in the series that covers the adventures of David Rain and his work to save the environment and Earth, in a world of magic and dragons. Middle school aged readers will enjoy.

The Dragons of Wayward Crescent by Chris D'Lacey. For younger readers, these books tell fun …

Easy does it... Deep Breaths

My therapist’s office is a block away from the beach, so I make my lovely pilgrimage there every week for my session. On my hour drive (sometimes 45 minutes), I reflect on the days past, and try to make sense of my feelings so I can put together coherent sentences for my therapist.  On this particular hot summer day, I looked forward to cooling off, figuratively and literally. The past few days had been hard on me because I was battling a sinus infection, an ear infection and had a few pimples that I had popped and they were looking hideous. I lacked sleep and the hot summer day wasn’t helping. When I reached the coast, I got a glimpse of the ocean and the palm trees and opened my window to feel the breeze; all was ok for that split second. But then, when I was parking, I hurt my finger while trying to grab my water cup... and I. lost. it. Damn it! I couldn’t put myself together that day, so I walked to the office building where I would try calm down and not be pissed off because of …

Laughter… I can’t get enough of it!

My friend Tori and I laugh at the stupidest things. We call each other at stressful times during the day and say dumb things to make each other laugh. After our laugh fests, I feel happy and at ease about whatever was bothering me. Only problem is, we don’t have enough time to talk to each other everyday. Life gets busy and I forget how much fun it is to be goofy with her. At times, when I know she’s busy and I need to laugh, I look online for jokes or funny things to laugh at but it’s not the same. 
I once attended a laughing yoga class and I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. But, I ended up really enjoying it after the awkwardness of laughing at nothing. It was contagious and at one point I almost peed my pants laughing so hard. So, why don’t we search out laughter during tough times in life? That’s easy to answer, because it’s hard to find things funny when we're stressed out and/or overwhelmed. 
However, we make routines for our house chores, our children, our work, et…

Culture Crush Throwback Thursday: Moon Crossing Bridge by Tess Gallagher

Culture Crush gets in on the Throwback Thursday fun and shares an oldie and a goodie from the past. This week's highlight is Tess Gallagher's Moon Crossing Bridge, the first collection of poems published after the death of her husband, Raymond Carver.

By Lisa

It's been more than 20 years since the publication of Tess Gallagher's gorgeous, often heart-rending, collection of poems, Moon Crossing Bridge. Every word written under the silent canopy of her beloved partner's slow passing and then, absence, this book continues to be a pillar in the communal tent of poetry.

Many of us have been acquainted in some way with the work of her husband, Raymond Carver, the titan of contemporary American short fiction, be it through his books or the movies made from his books. Ever his counterpart in American contemporary poetry, Ms. Gallagher writes lush, image-laden poems, drawing on not only particularly American themes, but influences from cultures and artists throughout the wo…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 10