Best of Live ClareLesley 2014–New Years Eve Edition

Happy New Years Eve!  Go out and Live ClareLesley tonight, BE SAFE (and send us your stories tomorrow!) 

YouTube message from Clare and LL (We’re real and in NYC together!!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NSrzllk_3c&feature=youtu.be

We are posting our favorites of 2014 to celebrate the end of the old, and the beginning of the new year.  We adore all of you, our readers and look forward to Living ClareLesley with you in 2015!  BIG NEWS to come soon!  But until then, read and share and love and LIVE CLARELESLEY! Day 3 favorite: TaB: What do you do when you don’t know what to do?  Pause, breathe, and Text A Bitch!! And make sure to stop back next, and every Wednesday for new blog posts!  Better yet, follow us and we’ll let you know when we have a new one up!  Also follow us on Facebook or Twitter @liveclarelesley  Also, feel free to #liveclarelesley and share and post!! xoxo–LL and Clare

Best of 2014 Day Two!

Day Two!!  As this is the week of new years, we wanted to say goodbye to 2014–a great year because it was the launch of the Live ClareLesley movement!  We want to thank all of our followers and readers–you all are amazing!  We’re so glad you’ve decided to Live ClareLesley!

This week we wanted to revisit some of our FAVORITE posts.  Please read, re-read, and share!  Come back each day this week to see what’s next!

Day2 of the 2014 Picks: The Best S-E-X: Are you having it?  Read our tips and tricks–go into the new year with a new view of sex!

And make sure to stop back next, and every Wednesday for new blog posts!  Better yet, follow us and we’ll let you know when we have a new one up!  Also follow us on Facebook or Twitter @liveclarelesley  Also, feel free to #liveclarelesley and share and post!!

xoxo–LL and Clare

Our Top 5 of 2014

As this is the week of new years, we wanted to say goodbye to 2014–a great year because it was the launch of the Live ClareLesley movement!  We want to thank all of our followers and readers–you all are amazing!  We’re so glad you’ve decided to Live ClareLesley!

This week we wanted to revisit some of our FAVORITE posts.  Please read, re-read, and share!  Come back each day this week to see what’s next!

Day 1 of the 2014 Picks: Growing Out of Friends— maybe its time to clean out your friend list, as well as your closet!

And make sure to stop back next, and every Wednesday for new blog posts!  Better yet, follow us and we’ll let you know when we have a new one up!  Also follow us on Facebook or Twitter @liveclarelesley  Also, feel free to #liveclarelesley and share and post!!

xoxo–LL and Clare

Happiness

There are some days that being happy seems like the worst chore. It should be easy—laughter, happy moments, smiles; when not forced seem to just happen automatically when the moment is right. But, when it is forced, when you’re just trying to find a modicum of hope, its more frustrating than sorting quinoa by hand, kernel by kernel.

However, happiness is really just an adjusted perspective. No, really, it is. The way or the view you have of something today can be different tomorrow. You like your job and are happy in it one day, but through a chain of events, your perspective is changed and you’re not a fan tomorrow. Maybe it’s something simple like a co-worker that you thought was an ally is now a questionable foe. Maybe you failed to complete an assignment, and got a slap on the wrist for it. Maybe you realized that you’ve got a higher calling in life and this job feels like its holding you back. Or any number of other things and combinations of factors. The point is, today your perspective of something that made you happy, has now been altered. You’ve shifted. Now that a kernel of doubt is seeding in your head, it starts to grow—for better or for worse. Sometimes you think and analyze the thing that happened, and sometimes you let it go, and it quietly changes within you. It creates unrest—and in my experience, unrest is never a happy feeling. Nothing is “wrong,” per se, but its no longer “right.” You can feel a crossroads coming—but you’re not quite there yet. I think because we start to feel the brink of change, that we feel this unrest. To give you a visual, you’ve been walking along your path for a while, somewhat blindly, because it has just a slight incline—one that makes you think that you’re going in the right direction, because a road that leads uphill must lead to something that will better you. As you feel yourself starting to edge up and over the top, you see—still off in the distance—but a change or a crossroads where you have to change or adapt. Well, I guess you don’t have to… you could turn around and go back down the way you came. But, it is my belief that even if you choose the wrong road, you’ll eventually wind your way back around to where you’re meant to go. But I digress.

If you’re looking for more on change, I wrote about that earlier here. Back to happiness. Change has happened causing unease and possibly anxiety. Anxiety, not sadness, is the opposite of happiness. This seems to be true in my life. I would wager it’s the same in yours. The thing is, whereas happiness seems like the easiest fixes to make, it is one of the hardest things to continually achieve. Partially because its an emotion open to interpretation. Partially because human beings tend to like things like answers, closure, and reasons. Because of this, the question we ask most is: Why? (Second only to asking where the closest bathroom is. Too many years of customer service have led me to live that statistic.)

Happiness, although we would like to believe it is simple, really isn’t as easy to achieve. Its not like it prepackaged at the local drug store—although the big pharmaceutical companies would like to tell you that it is. (By the way, I would like to pause for a moment and say that if you find yourself unchangingly depressed—GO SEEK HELP. There is nothing to be ashamed of, especially during these cold, depressing wintry months. Please seek out someone to talk to you. There are programs for low income therapy, and life coaching out there—just an internet search away.)

Back to the point: Some days you might just find yourselves visiting the doldrums. You know the feeling of unhappiness. Sometimes you find yourself there—nothing is specifically wrong or caused unhappiness, but something is just… off. Whatever this momentary feeling is, it’s been a few hours or a few days and you know that you’re the only one who can solve your unhappiness. This is a general rule. You’re the only one who can truly make yourself happy or unhappy. Again, it’s a perspective. How other people affect this is your view point of their actions. Its not that he didn’t call, its how you feel about him not calling and letting it affect you. Its not about the asshat at work who threw you under the bus, its that you let the asshat get under your skin. Happiness is ALWAYS a perspective.

I wrote this part in a green notebook on the subway on my way to my survival job. The train keeps making long stops at every station causing anxiety, unrest, and yes, unhappiness: I’ll probably be late, even though I left enough time. Today it’s a bigger deal that I’m on time, but there really isn’t much I can do. My happiness doesn’t depend on the train performing as it should, but instead rests in my brain. As an adult and a high functioning human, I have already made all of the connections in my brain which are this: Oh no! this train will make me late; my boss is in today and will be paying attention to my arrival time and will think that I regularly coast in like this every day when normally I’m on time, if not early, and I might get reprimanded, or even fired; and then I’d have no money and no place to live and I can’t take that Cancun vacation I had planned and I’ll have to move back in with my mother who will ask me daily about any number of my life choices from underwear, to detergent, to men and will point out that I’m doing it all wrong!

Woooooooah, Tiger!! Its JUST a train. Just a few minutes. And my mother isn’t that bad—actually my mother just recently turned in her application for sainthood, but that sounds like I’m bragging, and anyway I digress. Again… Lets go step by step backwards. I won’t have to live with my mom. There are other people I can live with, plus my roommate is super understanding, and we can call the landlord if needed. But it won’t be needed, because I won’t lose my job over a few minutes.   And even if I did, I will just apply for unemployment and other jobs in the interim. But really, my boss isn’t that bad, and is less stressed about time than I am. Deep breath. And once again the train is moving. (I actually was only two minutes late that day, and my boss wasn’t even there, so the point was moot).

Again, was all of this train nonsense a reality? Nope, it was perspective. Once I stepped back and told myself that all was ok, and took a breath, I was fine. Actually, I was happy to have an extra few minutes to write out my thoughts in my notebook, so I could get this inspiration written.

In those moments of unhappiness, step back. Go from the craziest thought first and debunk it. Breathe. Take it one step at a time, and come back from that negative ledge. All will be right again.

You deserve to be happy. You also control your happiness. Yup. Go ahead, read that again. You DESERVE to be HAPPY and are IN CONTROL of your OWN HAPPINESS. Stop the madness. When you feel your brain spiraling out of control, take it step by step backwards through the muck. Rationalize all of those thoughts. Most won’t happen. And for the ones that have a good chance, make a plan or two or three to give yourself the strength to deal with it. I don’t know each of you individually, but I’m sure you have some sort of resources at your disposal. If you’re reading this you’re already on the internet… just internet search some ideas!

Now, for the things that make you continually unhappy, think about how you can change them. Stop the idea that you can change another person—that DOESN’T work. However you can express to the other person your needs or concerns. Recently, a good friend of mine approached her boyfriend because she needed more communication… she asked if he would text and call her at least once a day, and that she needed some sort of reply to the texts she sent him. She wasn’t trying to change him, she was just expressing a need. Just because you express the need doesn’t mean you’ll get it, however in just saying it out loud to another person, you might also find that you don’t actually have that need, or it isn’t as big of a need as it seems. I am learning to ask for help when needed.  To read about it, go here.

You’ll find the moment you start to take control of your own happiness, you’ll actually find happiness. What a freaking mind blowing concept!?! Make your own happiness. Again—you deserve to be happy. So, go out, Live ClareLesley, and make your own happiness.   You’ll find that you’ll actually attract more happiness and will double your own return!

Clare

Desire: the New Goal Movement

Do not worry!  This is not another “How to set Resolutions you can stick to” blog.  I SWEAR! In fact you will never hear me talk about resolutions. Why? Well, I am just not sure anyone actually writes ones they want to do. More often they make resolutions they think they should do. Then, because these resolutions were not wholly yours, they are not kept, and the inevitable feeling of failure rears its ugly head.
I looked up the top resolutions for 2014. How many of these did you make last New Years?

1) Lose Weight

2) Get Organized

3) Spend Less, Save More

4) Enjoy Life to the Fullest

5) Staying fit and Healthy

6) Learn Something Exciting

7) Quit Smoking

8) Help Others in Their Dreams

9) Fall in Love

10) Spend More Time with Family

Now, how many of those did you Keep?  My point exactly!

So…like I said this is not a blog on resolutions. Resolutions just don’t work they way they are intended. Instead: set desires.  Resolutions rarely work. And don’t bother setting objective goals either. Nope! This year let’s set desires based on how you want to feel!  FEEL…you know feelings? Emotions. Desires! What does your heart and soul desire for your life this year and beyond?

Desire…the sexy Live ClareLesley way to prepare you for a positive path for your future! It’s the Fuck Yes way to set your “goals”. If you don’t desire the outcome, it’s a Fuck No! If something doesn’t resonate with you regularly, inevitably you’ll stop working towards it.  How do you want to feel next year about your career? What do you desire in your work life. How do you want to feel about your relationships? What do you desire in your friendships, partners?  How do you want to feel about your “insert your desire here”?

I know it sounds so odd to focus on desires at the beginning of the year; the end of the holiday season. But trust me it’s a much more positive way to achieve what you want in life to set goals based on feelings. Think about it. Example: how often did you say you were going to lose 10 lbs and only lost 8lbs. Then got frustrated, beat yourself up, and gave up?  What if instead of setting a measurable goal by the scale, you set a goal on how you want to feel about your body. For example in 2015 you want to see the beauty you possess. Treat your body like the temple it is. At the end of 2015 you want to look in the mirror and be proud of what you see. Then instead of counting every single calorie and binging out at the gym with the rest of the “resolutionaries” you made decisions based on feeling proud.

Lets look at some of the common resolutions and translate them into achievable desires.

Resolution: Spend less, Save More

Desire: Financially in Control

Would someone who is financially in control avoid checking their bank balance?  If you want to feel financially in control, you will filter important decisions through this feeling.  You may want to download a financial planner app to help you follow your money easier. Remember someone who is in control isn’t necessarily penny pinching. Instead, they know where there money is going and how much is going where and when.

Resolution: Go to the Gym

Desire: To have more energy

To feel more energetic will you get results sitting around and watching TV, eating salty foods? Or could you walk to the store instead of drive? Will you drink water instead of soda? Will you enjoy your food instead of eating because you think you need to? What activities give you an energetic feeling? Put those in your calendar and schedule your life around them.

Do you see where this is all going?  Somehow as we get older time flies faster. If you keep putting off setting goals you really want to achieve in your life you will wake up one day feeling regret or that it’s too late.  I am here to say that December is the new January! You don’t have to wait until the first of the year to get started.

Get honest with yourself about where you want your life to go someday. Get honest with your hearts desires! You are so freaking worth it! Ask your 100-year-old self what you want to tell stories about. How do you want to feel when you look back at your life. Work backwards from there. A year from now you will be so thrilled by what you started today.

Let’s ring in 2015 looking forward to being in control of how we want to FEEL not with all these rules about what can’t do anymore or what we need to do more of.  Feel Free, Feel Fresh and Feel Alive. Feel DESIRE in 2015!

Share your 2015 feelings and Desires with the Clare and I and the other Live ClareLesley Readers here!

xx~LL

Holiday Sanity: YES! You can have it!

I have worked in customer service for almost as long as I have been legally able to work in the United States… this is almost 20 years. About 10 of those have had me in retail; in a mall. The store where Lesley and I met used to have a holiday tram: we would have to park off the mall property, a few blocks away and the tram would bus us into the mall. This was a great idea, for many reasons, but inevitably sucked even more the first few days, and especially Black Friday because it would take more time. It. Was. Frustrating. This frustration we felt can be seen society wide during the holidays. Humanity emerges in these few weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of December—and not necessarily in a positive way. People are out and about and rushing around to find gifts and visit friends and family. Eating, cooking, wrapping, shopping. All of these things are done because its tradition. Because of “tradition” we force all of these extracurriculars on ourselves, at the end of the year. We feel the need, year after year, to do better, see more people, purchase better presents, make better food. Does it happen? Sometimes. Was all of the stress worth it? Probably not.

In the name of research for this piece I Googled “how to make the holidays better,” and “how to have the best holidays.” Most of the things that come up are shopping related, a few are travel related, there are a few checklists (that offer suggestions like: start shopping in September, start playing holiday music after Thanksgiving, and don’t try to decorate all in one day), and the article that came up that wins: “A Holiday Sweater Makes Everything Better.” Really? Shopping and decorating and sweaters sound like an utter NIGHTMARE waiting to happen.

As this holiday season begins, I encourage you to think of last year. How did you feel about the whole season when January 3rd arrived? Were you proud, satisfied, happy? Or were you exhausted and glad it was all over? What were the things you swore you would do differently?

Oh, this all makes me want to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Probably just the cartoon one, although the Jim Carey version is delightful.  “It came without ribbons. It came without bows. It came without packages boxes or bags…”

So not to totally jump into just Christmas, because so many people celebrate different holidays, but we all seem to get sucked into this holiday thing. It starts off just as the Starbucks cups change; a song here or there is a holiday one; the Salvation Army bells ringing… and the big one: Here in NYC the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade happens, and Santa Claus arrives. Sigh.

Don’t get me wrong. I love giving. I love getting together with friends. I love the smell of Christmas trees and I love walking Fifth Avenue and looking in the windows. There is something magical about this time of year. But, what do you do when the magic wears off and the frustration, and aggravation sets in?

Here at LiveClareLesley, we’re big on breathing deeply before approaching an issue or problem. We’re also big on giving you tips and suggestions on how to live through something. So, here are my suggestions from living on many different sides of this holiday: a worker, a traveler, a child, an adult, and even a grinch—yup, one Christmas I stayed home, refused to get out of my pajamas, did laundry and had Chinese food.

Remember the simple things:

1) No one in your life really wants you to suffer stress, especially for their sake. Really. No one I have EVER met has EVER said to me: gee, this is a great gift/dinner/idea that you’ve done, I just wish you would have worried and stressed and spent even more time than the 6 hours you already dedicated it to it, not to mention the sleepless night and the time you spent to earn the money to be able to afford this. Nope… that has never happened.

2) If something makes you want to scream, it’s the absolute wrong answer. Step back. Put the item down. Put the mixing bowl/spoon/knife down. Step away. Go do something different. Tell yourself that whatever you’re doing right now, its not worth the high level of stress its causing. Re-read number one.

3) Think of the simple things that make you happy. What is it you LIKE about this season? Its certainly NOT the pressure you’re putting on yourself. What is it? I LOVE watching Christmas movies—I try to make it through all of the cartoon classics and White Christmas, The Holiday, Love Actually, and Holiday Inn. And then I watch It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t. But I have those on reserve, and I make sure I have a bottle of whiskey to put a little into a cup of spicy tea or cocoa (a sensible splash in one cup when I get home and don’t have to be anywhere) and I snuggle up on the sofa and watch them. Or, I put one on and decorate a little. When you get stretched thin, remember your simple pleasures, and go immerse yourself in one!

4) Decorating. My dad lives in Colorado and is always decorating the outside of his house for Christmas. He used to joke that he was Clark W. Griswold (National Lampoons). He and my step mom spend a day or two (sometimes more) decorating the inside and the outside of the house. Now that all the kids are gone, they might not do as much, but sheesh!! So much decorating! Dad, I love you and if you read this, the house is always beautiful. But, I am ever the long term thinker—when putting up the decorations, I think about how much time it will take to put them away. Living in a TEENY TINY New York apartment, the decorating time is minimal because the space is minimal. However, I do like my twinkle lights. So, I give myself a time limit. How much time to I want to put into decorating. Total. In and out. I divide that in half and then allow myself that much time to decorate. Here’s the thing: it always looks good. This year I bought plastic snowflakes and put them up in the windows. I put on a Christmas Cartoon and decorated for the thirty minutes it was on. I felt more festive both while doing it and after. And then, I was done. Decorate how you want, for as long as you want… but keep it easy! I promise you, that you’re the only one who cares so much about the decorating.

5) Visiting and traveling. I refuse to travel these days. I don’t go home for Thanksgiving, and my mom and I go to the beach for Christmas. Done. My parents have been divorced forever, and I was always traveling for these holidays. I don’t want to do it anymore. I went to four different Thanksgiving dinners this year and I traveled via the subway. And I was happy. Point being: only travel as much as it makes you happy to do so. There are many other months in the year to see people. If it doesn’t get done this month, make January or February plans—those months are always rife with free time.

6) RELAX! I just had a conversation with a dear friend about her plans to go home for the holidays. She was already stressing out because her parents wanted her there for a week, but she had to work the day they wanted her to leave and the day they wanted for her return. By doing this, she had no time to actually relax during her holiday. Ok, side step for a little history lesson… the word holiday comes from “Holy Day” which was set aside by the church and the lords of the feuds to give relaxation to the workers (and to collect taxes). So, if you’re not giving yourself at least a little time to relax on your “holy day” you’re doing it all wrong. Make sure you set aside time to breathe and unwind. Remember that Santa only works one day a year, because its so stressful. He takes 364 days off.

Generally you need to remember to take care of yourself. Breathe. Meditate. Lock yourself in your room and do what makes you happy. Remember sickness and disease start when we stress ourselves out. You can wash your hands all you want, but if you’re not relaxing and breathing and resting, you’re gonna get sick.

So this holiday season, take time for yourself. Step back from the stress. Spend time with the people that really matter to you. If you feel stress creeping in, STOP what you’re doing and reevaluate if the task is worth the level of stress and ultimately your health. Now, go dig out that reindeer sweater, the fancy cocoa, and a fantastic movie and ENJOY this season.

–Clare the Elf

Because He ASKED!

Ever wonder how “that guy” got “that girl”? Come on, you know what I’m talking about here. Those stunning girls and those “average” looking guys. My opinion…my hunch…my gut tells me “those” guys manned up and asked her out!

A guy and I were chatting about how so many couples in LA don’t “match” up. Rarely do you see two good-looking people together. He had opinions about money, fame and sex. I’m sure there is some “right-ness” to his theory. But, as someone who is strong, successful, independent and good-looking (if I do say so myself), I can tell you how many times I’ve been asked out in the last 6 months: Once! Only once…

No, it’s not like I don’t put myself out there. By now you’ve ready plenty about me. I am out there. I put myself out there. I flirt with many a man, I make eye contact. Yet, no actual dates in my schedule. Just because I’ve only had one request for a date doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed a regular male companion from time to time. In time, I’ll explain how to set one of those up for success. I refuse to believe chivalry is dead. I have a slew of texts, Facebook messages, tweets and even Instagram photos of men sent to me, good looking successful and HOT professing their attraction towards me yet no date. They’ve told me they want to hang out. I ask: when? Crickets… Well guess what “good looking” boys? (Yes, boys. Men ask women out; boys cannot.) I refuse to pine for you, emasculate you, or need for you. I make my own happiness so you not asking doesn’t affect me. In fact, you’re not asking is more of a bullet dodged.

Why? Because while you’re attractive to first glance you would be a boy who would eventually annoy me thanks to my time Duty Dating. You might be great to have as a memory, a notch in my “hottie” belt. But, in the end a waste of time and disappointment. So, thank you for doing us both a favor. We didn’t waste a precious Friday night, a good table reservation, or even a condom.

Men: you want a woman? You have feelings for a woman? Ask her out! Seriously, pick up the phone (yes, I said pick up the phone), dial her number, and ask. What’s the worst case scenario? She says no? Ha! Unless she’s tied to someone else, that’s doubtful. Besides, no one died of rejection. Manliness, confidence, and ambition make every man sexier.

Ladies: stop wallowing when “the guy” doesn’t ask you out and take notice of all the options. Make the eye contact and see what happens. If the young version of Steven Spielberg asks you out, say yes! What if we banded together and stopped throwing ourselves at boys, and waited for men?

Guys, what if you stopped playing cool, got a little vulnerable, and asked the girl out?

What would happen? How would that look?

At Live ClareLesley we are all about growth. Here are some ways to change the way dating works in this world:

For my males: I know you seem cool on the outside and are sweet in the center it’s time to express yourself. You say you’re not mind readers. Well, news flash, ladies do not have superhero abilities either. We want to read and analyze everything, but the truth is we are usually way off on what we think you meant when you said “Hi, how are you?”  In fact, without your obvious intentions we just don’t know if you’re “into us” (and sometimes even with…ladies we do need to work on this). So, while you might be afraid to ruin a friendship, walk up to a stranger or send that text. YOLO just go for it. What if she actually says YES?  Stick Your Neck Out and see what happens.

Ladies, want to catch that guy’s eye? You have to look at them. Yep, eye contact and smile. Online, pics cannot have sunglasses. And your friends rock, but they take away from the beauty of the rock star that you are. Also, it’s time to stop pining for the boy whose not asking you out. He’s not asking for a reason. Who really cares what it is?  The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. I know. Had I pushed a year ago to be with the man I am with today, it would have gone all wrong, quickly. So, as we have said before, work on your self love, your self growth. Work on Living ClareLesley and becoming a WHOLE person. Then you will attract another WHOLE person. Can you picture how amazing that will be? I can. It will be worth the wait.

Everyone, the excuse “he/she is not my type” is out the window. If you’re single and alone, its obvious your type hasn’t exactly gotten you a home run. So, try on a different pair of jeans. See what happens. You like someone? Ask them out! What if they say no? Ask anyway…who cares! At least you know and can go about your day. What if they say YES? Isn’t it worth the risk?

My challenge to you is to love yourself, smile at strangers and have fun everyday. Flirt. The dates will come when it’s time. I promise. It has worked out for me, it’ll work for you!

LL