Celebrate National Girlfriend’s Day! 5 tips on how to be a great friend

A friend sent Clare a National Girlfriend’s Day card last year, and to be honest, we hadn’t heard of it before that. A few people have reached out to us through this blog to ask us our viewpoint on friendship and on National Girlfriend’s Day. So here it is:   WE LOVE IT!

LL and Clare have now been friends for 14 years. We celebrate not only own crazy partnership, but all that we have in our lives! We do our best to have a weekly phone conversation, partially to discuss this blog and our future, and partially to get updates on each other’s lives! We have written some Blog posts about friends, to keep them or to leave them, making goals that include friends, and about taking care of each other. We both value health and loving yourself.

These are our 5 favorite tips for great friendships:

–reach out to your friend(s).  Relationships take tending.  So make sure you give it attention to help it grow! True friendships take time to grow. If you don’t water them or get the weeds out they’ll die out.

–listen.  The most important thing in any relationship is keeping your ears open.  Everyone needs support.

–don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions–yes, friends might be sore that you’re asking them, but things like life choices and health are nothing to take lightly.  We posted a health checklist below to start that conversation.

— be honest—even if you think it might hurt their feelings. If they find out you lied later it’s actually worse.

–have fun–friends help us let loose, try a new activity. Share your favorite thing to do with your friends today

Go out and celebrate all of your friends and friendships!  As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

-Clare and LL

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Below, check out an infographic made by Oscar Health Insurance Company!

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I Said Yes 

I’m Engaged!!! Yes, it’s true!  And when it happened, I was shocked beyond belief. I literally had no idea it was coming. I of course could not wait to tell my family and friends. Then it was time to write about it. Right? I mean I have to share this with our readers. I want to share this with you. The world! But why? Why did I want or feel the need to share my engagement news with you? I’m not someone who shares news to fluff my own feathers. I certainly don’t want my good news to make anyone feel less than.  So why share it? Well, the simple answer is I have always shared experiences from my life.

More importantly though I am sharing this with you because just 2 years before the proposal I was leaving a relationship after 5 years. One that did not end in a proposal. I thought I would be single for some time and maybe someday I would find the man I would spend my life with. Or maybe I wouldn’t but at least I would be rocking my bliss. Well while rocking my bliss and following my dreams and goals. While being me I met him.  I wasn’t looking I wasn’t expecting and then this happened. “Will you Marry me?” I was laying in a tent in Joshua Tree State park. I had slept the day away in the tent (we camp, the air mattress is a Serta and 18″high. Its a dream). I woke up to my Love laying next to me and looking into my eyes. He was so handsome and there was so much magic in his eyes I asked “What are you thinking about?” And he proposed…Right there. In the tent. My mind literally thought a million things at once. All I could say was “Are you serious?” Poor thing.  The look on his face when I said that!!  He responded with “Yes.” (Said more like yeah-that’s-why-I’m-asking-you.)  In reply I said “Yes!” While in the back of my head I was wondering if he planned to propose. Then he pulled out a box from his hiking shorts. We had never discussed what ring I would want. Only my dear friend Eric and the designer knew. I never wanted to pressure him. We talked about marriage being in our future. I believe in the beauty of organic growth. So, I figured I would tell him about my dream ring when the time was right.  He pulled out THE RING! Not just any ring but The ring that I wanted. The one he had NO idea about. I squealed “Are you kidding me?” Needless to say I was shocked. Stunned. In 30 seconds I went from a girlfriend to a Fiance. I went from thinking about future work projects and trips, to thinking about walking down the aisle towards the Man I love.


We kissed and then we went for a walk. We passed 18 people at the camp fire, and I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming still in my nap or if this was real. I am getting married and not just to anyone. To my Best Friend. There are plenty of people out there (Clare and I included) giving you advice on dating, life and You. It can be hard to hear all the advice. There is also a lot of crap advice out there. Don’t even get me started on the blogs I came across that of questions I should ask him before we get married (written by a 20 something single-never-been-married author). You have so many messages coming at you on how to “get someone.” I am sharing this exciting news in my life because I want for you to someday have your exciting news to share with us. I want to celebrate your joy. Maybe your joy is marriage but maybe it’s finally being comfortable in your own skin. When you are ready take a moment and:

  • Discover what your Happy Ever After Is
  • Care less about what others think and Care more about how you feel
  • Be you, Your Whole Self
  • Be open to learning new things and meeting new people
  • Have so much fun, laugh a lot

I cannot promise much, (as I am not the keeper of the Universe) but I can say one thing. If you are truly being you, having fun and working towards your Joy and not someone else’s you will find your happy ever after. I met him through a new friendship. He was not “my type.” He did not call me the next day (actually we didn’t even exchange numbers). He broke up with me two times before we ever dated. In less than a year we were engaged. This fall we will be married. I’m over 30.  I took some major “risks” to follow my dreams. I took some leaps of faith to stay true to myself when those around me thought I was crazy. I had to stay on my truth path. That path is what brought him into my world. That path is what attracted him to me. That path is leading me down the aisle to the Man I cannot wait to spend the rest of my days with.

I know that everyday is not blissful. There will be highs and lows but there will be lots of love and support. Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it. Share your dreams with Clare and I! We would love to hear them. Today, go say Yes to YOU.

xx~LL

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5 questions to help you focus your dreams.

I think I was six when I said, when I grew up I either wanted to be an archeologist or an actress. I loved digging in the dirt, and wanted to either find dinosaurs or Egyptian artifacts. I also loved playing dress up and creating my own version of skits in the back yard with all of my friends. I’ve always loved working with people and finding stories. Ultimately, that is what both of my career choices was about for me. What I didn’t understand as a child, is that both lives don’t always lead to the average living situation with a husband, kids, dog, house, mortgage, car, fence, etc. But you don’t think about those things as a kid.

When we were children it was easy to glamorize a career. It becomes part of our identity, our dream job. Children are often asked what they want to be when they grow up—it’s a standard question. It might change as we go through high school and college, depending on our aptitude and what we are exposed to.  But generally, we hold onto those dreams, those career goals.

I come from the fairy tale generation.  We grew up with Disney, parents who told us we could be anything we wanted to be, and President Clinton telling us that everyone deserved to go to college.  The trouble is, once through college, or stepping into the real world, we try our dream out.  We stretch our legs and try out our skills… but it sometimes isn’t enough, or isn’t the right fit.  As adults we still dream about a career or a goal, especially in the ones that are continually in our faces. The sane ones that we can judge on the surface, but don’t understand the depths of what they actually take to live them.

I’m approaching my five year anniversary in New York. It’s a very exciting milestone, for me. I have survived one of the most brutal cities, and have been somewhat successful in the career I wish to be in. The buckets of money have yet to arrive for my performances, however, I feel like I’m successful in my persistence in this career, as well as my achievements. However, as an actor I’m continually terrified. Terrified of when my next creative job will arrive. Terrified of where the money will come from. Terrified by the dozens of friends, who are just as talented, who quit the business and move home. Its an alarmingly large rate of people who attempt this city, only to return home a year or three later. They have either seen the dark side of the dream, accomplished the dream and didn’t achieve the level of happiness they wanted, or did and are ready for a new dream.

The thing about dreams is they keep us going.  They give us something to wake up in the morning for.  They give our life excitement and challenge. Drive is so important in life. Something or someone to wake up for is a necessity in life. However, we do grow and change and our life and choices form us, and remold us into different adults. We look back and forward at the same time and wonderwhat we really want to achieve. Some of my friends have gotten to the point in their lives and realize that what they really want out of life isn’t offered by their chosen career. Other friends figured this out in college, or just after, and diverted their path towards other things like children, or homes, or staying in the town they grew up. And that is perfectly fine. Point: sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.

Sometimes this stifles us. Sometimes it releases us. What is it that you are really dreaming? Do you want a specific job? Or perhaps a way of life, instead?

Start with your current dream: What is it?

Maybe get a piece of paper or something to make notes. And be honest with yourself.

What attracts you to it–this dream? Is it the goal itself or what the goal will bring? (for instance, if you want to be an actor, do you want to actually be a part of the craft, or do you want to be famous, or do you want to have money?)

Why are you attracted to that aspect? (if it’s the craft, is it because you love that you can become someone else? You like bringing life to someone else’s words? If its famous, do you like that it can open doors? Do you like that you can be charitable to whomever you want to? Do you like that your picture will be everywhere? If it’s the money, what do you want to do with that money? Do you think that getting the money is easy by acting?)

What are you doing to achieve that goal? (Are you auditioning daily? Are you watching movies and reading gossip magazines? Are you only dreaming?)

Switch gears.

What is stopping you from going after the goal? Fear? No talent? No connections? Family/job/money stopping you? (If its fear—do you really want it? If its talent—why are you still drawn to it? If its no connections—why don’t you have them, as in do you need to start looking, or go back to school, or network? If its family/your job/money—are you sure you’re not making excuses only to keep you from it?

If you had to give up everything and only choose one: your family, your dream, your security—which would you choose?

Think about your answers to the questions. Maybe the dream you’re dreaming isn’t the right focus.

Social media gives us a great view of society and sociology. Many people post what they love most and what they are most proud of on social media. What are you posting? Also, what makes you jealous, no matter how slight, when friends post it—why does this make you feel that way?

I dreamt of being an actress. I’m still in the process of making that happen, bumps and bruises, rejection, and the lack of having a “regular life” make it frustrating and mildly unappealing to me. That is my inside view. I look at Facebook and how people I went to college and high school with are married with children and enjoying their lives, while I sit, single in NYC. But I did dream the right dream. Maybe if you sit, looking out your window at others, you should take a look at what you really want and desire. Start with my questions above and analyze yourself. If you need help, feel free to reach out at liveclarelesley@gmail.com

Dreams are amazing. They pull us through the drudge of daily life. But, if it’s the wrong dream, it could be detrimental to your spirit. What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

(Art by de la vega, photo by Live ClareLesley)

5 steps to getting out of your own way

Recently, I was coaching a couple of studio managers.   They had complaints about their schedule; their teachers; their lives. They just didn’t feel they had enough time in the day to get things done. They felt they needed more help. Or, they were fearful that the job they have taken on cannot be done in the hours they have allotted.  Whether or not their complaints are valid or true,  doesn’t actually matter. Not that I am saying I don’t think complaints matter, or they their complaints don’t matter. Just that honestly, no job is perfect. Nobody is perfect, and no boss is perfect. Even if you work for yourself there are going to be people or things that F-up what you are trying to do.

I am going to tell you what I tell everyone who complains about life and work balance. Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.  If you want to workout in the mornings, but your job is 8-5, you are either going to have to work out super early OR find a job that let’s you workout before work. If you want to be home when your kids are home, you are going to have to find work or create work that allows that. I know it sounds easier to read/say then it is to do. But, honestly, if you take the time to do it, you get to live the life you want to live.  And your job/business supports that.  Which is how it should be.  Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.

See, I actually think getting upset or angry at a situation is a good thing. Get it out, say your complaints, write them down. Before you go crying on every persons shoulder that’s available, ask yourself: why are you complaining?  Is it really the co-worker who taps his feet on the wall at the desk next to you? Or is it that you just don’t like what you are doing? I listened to an interview James Altucher, author of Choose Yourself did with Gretchen Rubin…. who wrote The Happiness Project. She said that a women in her blog commented about hating her job and thinking of quitting. Before she did she asked herself some questions and her big complaint about her job was her commute. She hated her commute. Before quitting, she decided to listen to some books on tape during her commute. What happened next? She realized she really liked her job. It was just the drive in and out that drove her nuts. Now with the books on tape she was in heaven. She found herself listening in her driveway after work because she was so engrossed in the book. So, complain away if you must but again before going to friend after friend, co worker after co worker…tissue after tissue, find out why you are upset. What is truly the issue? Once you find the heart of the issue you can work on fixing that. Can you imagine what would have happened to our long commute listener if she had quit her job? She probably would have realized she left a job she loved but it would have been too little too late.

My dearest readers, I will repeat I am so ok with complaints. I listened to the managers above. I let them spend the whole time getting the “problems” off their chest. Then we got to the root of it. They had tried to fit their life, their kids their desires around their work. I challenged them to go home. Take out a blank calendar. Write in their desires first. Then create a work schedule around it. Does that mean major changes in their life? Maybe. Some clients may have to switch time slots or teachers. They may lose clients due to their new schedule and have to find clients to fit this new schedule. But, a few weeks from now when all that is put in place, they will be able to have their cake and eat it too. Will life be “happily ever after?” Can’t answer that, but I can promise that if they were honest with themselves when creating this new schedule even the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because they are living the lifestyle they desired.

Here’s how you can life your lifestyle:

1) What do you wish you had time to do each day, week, month?

2) Take out a blank weekly calendar

3) sharpie in the things you want time for each day, week, month

4) Put your work schedule in. Where their are overlaps ask yourself: “Can I move this work schedule to a different day, earlier or later?

5) If you can’t get your work schedule to jive with your hearts desires then you may have to search for another work option. Seek out something that will jive.  Don’t go quitting tomorrow but maybe you can begin to create your own business that allows for this. It will probably take time but a year from now you’ll be glad you started today.

So, tell me. What complaints do you keep repeating? Are you avoiding living the life you want to live so that you can continue to complain? Share your stories with us. Let us help you build your business around your desires.

xx~LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

How to Survive your own personal hell

I, as my title states, have been suffering in a level of hell that I might wish on my worst enemy, but never on anyone I care even the smallest amount about. I am a caring person that always helps others, or this is what I believe about myself and try to achieve. Most of my friends are willing to help me as well, emotionally and literally. However, this realm that I have found myself in, these past few weeks has been horrific on so many levels. And asking for help is almost as painful as suffering alone.

Unfortunately, human beings find ourselves in moments like this, a lot.  Breakups, job changes, situations ending, body failings, even death.  When things come up unexpectedly, or even if expected, when they aren’t easily fixed or handled, life is rough.  My recent hell: I found myself in a living situation that was immeasurably frustrating. Without going into exact detail, the building I was living in had become unlivable.  I tried to find solutions and to fix the issue, but to no avail. It seems like I spent hours and hours brainstorming how to deal with the situation, cleaning, packing, throwing things away, and being in discussion with my roommate and with others on finding solutions on how to live better. I tried to figure out how to fix it—which was so frustrating, being a person that finds solutions and executing them fearlessly—I could not fix this. Many nights, many days, were spent in tearful frustration.  I ended up taking the option that I didn’t want to take–I decided to move out. Moving is stressful in itself–and for those of you who have been following us for a while, it has only been a year since I last moved.  I realized getting out of my bad situation, and giving myself a fresh start was the best option.

There are no distinct ways to get through a crisis. Every crisis is different. Every one has its own difficulties. No one but you, while inside the crisis, can understand your feelings. And its frustrating because you know you can get through, but you don’t know how, or when, and it feels like it will never be over.  People are somewhat empathetic, because they have on some level, experienced something like your pain. Everyone will try to help.  Some people will just be terrible to you.  Some will want to help, but will feel like they cannot for whatever reasons. And sadly, although the help is wanted, it is never enough to salve whatever wounds are there.  Just remember that everyone is suffering something, so do your best to be kind.

Over the last few weeks, some sound bites have come into my head. Quotations and mantras seem to get me through, even more than asking for help. Because, the quiet, the solace, the calm, has to come from within. Breathing may be difficult, but you’re the only one who can control that. So it is up to you to keep breathing and keep moving on.

Everything will turn out alright in the end. If everything is not alright, it is not yet the end. –The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

There’s a light at the end of this tunnel you shout, but you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out, and those mistakes you made, you’ll just make them again, if you only try turning around.—Anna Nalick

The fault is not in our stars…, but in ourselves…—Julius Caesar

These have helped me. I go back to these. And that I WILL survive this. I have survived a great many things worse and equal to this, and I will survive this.  I have moved before.  I do have friends; I can ask for help; crying never killed anyone.  There are solutions–none are perfect–but they are there.

The only thing I can offer you, is empathy, and sound bites. You will find some kind of solution to your crisis. It will end eventually—it might not be the perfect way, but it will lead you on to the next chapter in your life.

  
Here are some thoughts:

  • Figure out the worst possible outcome and understand what will happen.   Most crises do not end in death. So you’ll get through.
  • Find a safe solace for yourself—and not one that is substance related. Meditation, yoga, deep breaths on a park bench. Make your safe place accessible, and go there any time you start to panic.
  • Come up with mantras, or quotes, or sayings. Listen to those. Hold tight to those. Even if they’re the most ridiculous. And if one doesn’t work for you, throw it out (In times like these, I loathe: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Its true, but I don’t need to be reminded of that.)
  • Find a treat for yourself. As in, when this is over, I’ll go have the best massage that I can afford. (Which is what I intend to do.)
  • For. Help. NO one minds. And if they do, then find someone else. Even strangers are willing to help. Every human experiences crisis at sometime or another. If people can help, they will. You might be strong enough, but get help.
  • A deep breath helps with so much.
  • Laugh! A good laugh is just as cleansing as a deep breath. Keep laughing and keep breathing.

I will survive my crisis. You will survive yours.

Clare

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5 Tips for changing up your dating game

“We had an amazing time! He walked me to my car, I drove him to his and he kissed me. Then he asked if he could call me. I gave him my number. He texted me right then, so I would have his. Haven’t heard from him since.”

That’s the short version of a friend’s latest Tinder date. The long version has even more details of a positive experience. They met and messaged through Tinder, so if he ever wanted to call her, he had to ask for her phone number. However, he also didn’t have to ask. He could have just said “have a great night!”  Her sadness is something I’m sure you all know someone or have gone through this before. Great date, no call. What the (insert your own explicative word here)?!

I am not a proponent of online dating. I have talked about it in Eye to Eye. I think all the dating apps keep our eyes on our devices and not on the present surroundings. Where there happen to be people! But no one is looking up so no one is meeting any one. Try it, walk into a cafe or restaurant and see if anyone is actually looking up? Aside from the fact that it’s terrible for your posture and spine strength you cannot meet people with you head down.

All the social media in the world has actually made us more lonely. Less connected. Now, these apps also make us believe that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Everyday more options, matches flood your inbox or app. You wake up and right there in your inbox or alerts is a fresh batch of new matches. People the app thinks are perfect matches for you! It’s not that much of a mystery why there was no call after a great date. They got home and after the typical 48 hours they already have had 10-30+ “matches”. Why wouldn’t they want to try out these other options first?

Dating websites do best the more people who are signing up for their services. The more profiles the more matches you’ll get the longer you stay on their site and the more money they make. Sure, they do need to make actual matches to have “success” stories. But, one thing dating websites and apps cannot do…make people actually go past the first intro, first communication or even a first date.

When I did online dating it was more to test out my Red Flags and Duty Dating. I’ll admit I wasn’t looking for Mr. Right. I was using Mr. Right Now to get me back in the dating saddle again. But, I fell into the temptation too. The massive amount of matches it’s easy to hit “like” on a profile then swipe to the next and hit “like” again. I felt like I was putting clothes on a wish list or adding men on a Pinterest board.

I had nothing invested, other than the time I was wasting, roaming the Internet dating site much like a flash sale on shoes. I put a bunch a men in my basket and then before checking out moved onto the next site.

So, can I blame this guy for taking her number then getting distracted? No. Do I blame him? No. I blame us all. I blame the social media marketing.  This situation is a mess.

Do I think there one person for everyone? No, but there are not as many fish in the sea as dating apps and sites would have you believe. The 30+ matches I had each week from match I probably spoke to one or two a week via email. Went on 1 or 3 dates. E-Harmony actually set me up with my Ex (who by the way I met online and was told he was a 91% match…I can honestly say we were not).

I do not think that many people on those sites are actually ready to commit even though they say they are.  I think they are on there so that they feel they have their finger on the pulse of dating. Because, it is easy to get a date off a site then in real life. The rejection of a date online is not as tough as the rejection of asking out someone in person..face to face. Honestly, what’s so terrible about rejection anyways? Isn’t it better you get rejected then to always wonder what if?

So, what are you to do? What’s s single person trying to meet someone to do?

1) make sure your honest in person and online

2) be bold: if you see someone out and about that you’re attracted to make eye contact and maybe even say something. Start a conversation.

3) have fun: dating is the fun part, if it leads to a relationship or marriage awesome. If it doesn’t better to find out sooner than later. But it should be fun in the beginning.

4) say yes if you mean it. Don’t be so focused on dating that you date or want to date someone so much that you trick yourself into having feeling for someone you don’t.

5) try something new. I’m not just taking new hobbies but new people. The “he/she is not my type” is lame and out dated. If your type was working for you then you’d be living your happy ever after.

My friend from the date is moving on. This one not worthy of another thought. She told me she likes a friend of a friend (I think she’s been interested for about a year). She’s going to get bold and invite him for a drink. The worst thing is he says no. She won’t die. The best thing it works out! I’d say the risk is worth it.

My dears, get off your apps and your phones during the hours you can be in public meeting people and living life. I know there plenty of people who fall in love and live happily from online dating. But, not everyone does. So, just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.

Xx~LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!