Life is too short for bad coffee

If you’ve been reading my goals posts, you’ll know that I’m struggling with my brain not liking my waist–I mean I’m human, so who among us does like our bodies more than three days in a row?

So I’m sitting here this morning, a lovely sunny summer Sunday in NYC, and enjoying my coffee.  There is nowhere I have to be today, I do have a few obligations (phone calls), and errands, but nowhere I have to be.  And I’m taking a lovely sip of my French pressed coffee and as I swallow, I’m realizing for the first time in weeks, I’m actually enjoying my coffee.  Its warmth, its nuttyness, its robust but creamy taste; as the warm and and the caffeine hit my system, I’m slowly awakening into, and becoming a part of the world again.  I’m drinking it out of one of my seven favorite mugs–If you’re an original follower you might remember that I’ve moved six times in three years–so I’ve dwindled down my coffee mug collection, so I have exactly the number of cups (that I LOVE) for the number of days in the week.  I’m drinking out of this beautiful oversized bone china tea cup–I can’t get away from working for three years in a fine china shop–all of my dishes HAVE to be quality!  I’d decided to enjoy my coffee and read a little (my roommate loaned me her copy of Warrior Goddess Training to assist my brain realignment with my body issues) as the sun and the breeze stream into my NYC apartment, and the coffee is bringing me into life and bliss, I’m realizing: this cup of coffee is amazing, and life is too short to drink crappy coffee.


Let me back up a little, and bring you to the pinnacle of why this realization is important.  For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been trying to drink alternative coffee.  As in, I like my coffee lightish and sweetish.  I don’t need it to taste like a Werther’s Original, but I don’t need to suck on coffee grounds, either.  The easy way to deal with this is to buy those presweetened flavored creamers.  Which have a lot of sugar.  I’ve been drinking these for years…. but I decided that a good way to cut my sugar intake was to take the flavored cream out of my life.  So I did.  I tried almond milk.  I tried unsweetened almond milk.  I tried cashew milk.  I tried sugar alternatives.  I tried just milk.  I was so unhappy–I tried to make alternative coffee work… but it just wasn’t the same.  Yeah, yeah, first world problems, I totally know… but its a fine line, isn’t it–the difference between taking care of one’s self well, and what we’ve deemed as a first world problem.  I mean, its one thing to complain about creamer when,  I realize, there are people starving in some countries, and I sit here and complain about finding a creamer that tastes good, but won’t add five pounds to my waist whenever I have a serving.  But this is about me taking care of myself.  Which is also a fine line.  When do we treat ourselves well, or when do we “take care of ourselves”.  


I’ve never been starving–I’ve had an extremely low or a negative amount in my bank account many times.  I’ve lived off of, and stretched food because of poor choices.  However, I also have gone the other direction and found myself eating just to try to make myself happy (aka have been extremely overweight because I was eating because I was depressed).

I’m not the most regimented of people–diets just don’t work for me… I find I become very irritable (aka an extreme bitch) and they never have anywhere close to the results I want (my stomach isn’t much flatter, and my thighs didn’t shrink).  However, I am good at moderation–I’ll happily have a handful of chips and stop.  Or one serving of ice cream.  I’ll have the yummy treat, but then be done.

As I get older, I’m seeing my metabolism slow.  I’m witnessing that 10 extra pounds of happiness each decade.  I’m probably more healthy than I’ve ever been, as living in New York makes me move and climb and walk much more than I’ve ever done in my life.  And yes, I actually go back and re-read my own blog on loving the skin I’m in now every three months or so.  But the voices in my head, will loudly remind me that I’m not as skinny as I could and hope to be.  Most of the time, I can tell those voices that I’m beautiful no matter what size I am.  Like Warrior Goddess Training, and other books like it I’ve read, tell me that its the size in the person not the size OF the person that matters.  In other words, confidence is what is beautiful/sexy/attractive.  Shape and size are all just perspective.


So back to my coffee–I’m reminded to return from my tangents to the original thought that started this blog because I just got myself a refill.  My mom was in town visiting me last week, and I bought flavored creamer for her–as I was finishing out my round of caramel flavored almond milk–still not a winner.  This delicious Hazelnut International Delight creamer was left over… and so coming from a “don’t waste food” home, I’m drinking it.  And for the first time in weeks, I’m enjoying the coffee.  The interesting thing is that it was too sweet and creamy on the first sip, so I watered it down with milk–and ultimately making it a little healthier.  A little.

Maybe my enjoyment comes from the fact that I’m drinking something I really like. Maybe my enjoyment comes from the fact that two weeks ago, I threw up my arms, went out and bought fat shorts and decided not to give a fuck about my weight.  Maybe the realization comes from the conversation I had with my roommate last night about “overweight” being the line of discomfort that you cross, and not the size of your clothing.  Maybe it comes from the price of happiness is worth wearing a size larger shorts this summer (and the understanding that the last two summers I was doing a lot of hiking and walking for my jobs, so I was more active albeit a smaller waist size). Maybe its something entirely different.  But this morning, in my one size larger shorts, I’m enjoying this cup of coffee and not caring about anything else.  And that’s the point of living, isn’t it–to deal with the ups and downs, and to enjoy and revel in as many moments of goodness as you can.

I’m going to finish this cup of coffee.  Let me know what you like to enjoy and revel in!

–Clare

 

 

 

Is There Merit in Laziness?

I was at work a few weeks ago, and I heard a co-worker quote Bill Gates: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

 

I’m having a hard time with this one. I’m not lazy. I’m an over-thinker, overachiever,  exuberant bundle of knowledge and positivity. No I’m not writing out my hedgehog for Danielle Laporte… Well. Though it’s kinda where this started…

Wait, let me start at the beginning. I’m an actor in New York City, which means in any given week, I work up to five different jobs, plus my free time is spent looking up auditions or going to plays.  I’ve never been a lazy person.  I started babysitting when I was 13, and had a job ever since. When given a task to do, I want to get it done. I do work first and have fun second–in fact, I usually can’t have fun or even relax if there are unfinished things to do. I’m not so crazy that I’ll get up and scrub the kitchen sink in the middle of the night, but if I’m in bed and I’ve forgotten to do something or get a grand idea, I get up and do it, or write myself a note for tomorrow.
Downtime is a thing I cherish. I love some of my TV shows and I’ll make time to sit and watch them. I love reading and I try to find time to read each day. I understand the desire to relax and do the “wants” in life and not the “needs.”  Believe me, I would much rather watch The Blacklist, rehearse plays, and sit around drinking coffee with my friends.
I’m always looking to entertain, be entertained, enlighten, or be enlightened.
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But lazy…let’s discuss this. Lazy people, if we use Bill Gates’s definition, will get things done faster because they want down time. They will find the most direct solution.
Lazy people make time for themselves. They take down time. They sleep. They relax.
Lazy people lay awake at night and don’t worry about being the best because it requires too much work. However, they will do just enough to get by.
Lazy people figure out how to get other people to do their work for them because they don’t make the effort. Thereby they free up their time to do what they want.
Lazy people almost always own up to being lazy.  And they don’t care that others call them that.
So, to all my overachievers, here are the lessons you should take from The Lazies.
1) Find the direct way to do something. There might be a better way, but sometimes you just need to finish. If you have time, you can go back and tweak and polish.
2) Take downtime. You NEED to sleep. You need to decompress. The more time you allow yourself to relax, the heather and more alert you will be.
3) Stop with the stress. I read something recently that said Worry means you’re thinking about the future. depression means you’re
Thinking about the past. Stop doing both and live in the moment. Tomorrow will get here whether you worry about it or not.
4) Delegate or ask for help if you can’t do something. Someone else can take care of that task if you can’t. Sometimes just the act of asking for assistance allieviates some of the stress.
5) Own what you are. I’m a busy driven woman who will make time for TV–it’s what I choose. Deal with it.
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I’m still not convinced that lazy people have it all right, but there is
some merit behind the behaviors of the lazy. (Now stop reading and procrastinating and go do something productive.)
Clare
 (And if you’re wondering… the lazy baby picture–that’s me.)
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Date your Jeans

It’s always been hard for me to see my friends sad about dating. Either they are sad because no one in particular is calling, no one is calling at all, the one they really want to call isn’t calling, or the wrong one is calling them…it’s a tough battle. On one hand dating can be so fun. On the other dating can become mundane, tiring and like digging a ditch. When have you dug “enough?”

First, I would like to say that if you are not having fun dating STOP! Take a break. Fill your calendar with things that feed your soul. Spend time with friends who make you laugh. Go dancing, workout, hit the spa. Spend time alone. Love being alone. Seriously, find a way to love your freedom. Then, get back out there and date. You’ll probably be asked out along your journey of loving the single life. People are always attracted to someone whose living fancy free.


Second, remind yourself that you are not dating to settle. You’re not looking to say “yeah this one will do.” When you are shopping for furniture a couch or chair “will do.” You don’t want to say “yeah, it’s ok, it’s nice.” My dear readers wall paper is nice! Yes, I have said that before and I will say it again. You get one life. Don’t spend it with wall paper. Spend it being your whole awesome self. Doing the things you love. Your first dates with a new person should feel as exciting as finding the perfect jeans. Not the ones that are too tight, or stretch out into shapes that don’t match yours. No, I’m talking that perfect pair of jeans that no matter dirty or clean they just feel wonderful. If you don’t know what I am talking about, stop dating. Go jeans shopping. Try them all on! The bell bottoms and high waist ones too. Go to vintage shops, go to bloomingdales. Seriously find the perfect pair. The jeans that make you stand taller. When you have those jeans then get back out their. You now know what you’re looking for in your partner. Someone who excites you so much you can’t wait to put them on.


Already have these jeans then go put them on and then make a date with your friends. Do not talk about dating at all. Talk about life, dreams, trips desires and see how much lighter you feel. Enjoy talking about the positive in your life. Then you can go back out on dates.

Because if you are not happy in your life, if you are not happy in your jeans, then every date, even a good one will feel bleh.


Lastly, if you are not freaking excited about the thought of them calling or texting you then let it go. Don’t wallow over a bad date you don’t care about. Who cares if the person you only liked a little doesn’t call. That’s a bullet dodged, my friends. I know you want to have a partner in crime. But, you should really want that partner. Don’t waste your time with jeans that don’t fit. Donate them. They are perfect fit for someone else. And that’s a great thing!

Enjoy your perfect jeans, readers.


xx~LL

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101 pieces of advice

We started out this blog, 99 posts ago (a whole year and a half ago), because we are told we give good advice and are always asked for it. Self-proclaimed, self-help junkies—we love and absorb ideas, knowledge and advice. We both love to expand the mind, quest for happy living, and search for analysis and reasoning in human behavior. Here are our 101 favorites from our blog, and from a few of our favorite bloggers (note that if you want to read more, just click the link at the end of each quote!):

  1. “OWN being in transition.”  Transitions
  2. “Help yourself out. Sort through all the issues in a simple and effective way: Make a list.”  Regain Control of your life- Make a list!
  3. “Things, life, kisses, don’t always happen the way you dream or plan.” First Kisses
  4. “Change needs to happen. Not all of it is drastic. Sometimes little change is good. It keeps you on your toes.” Patterns vs Change
  5. “You already know the answers.”  Breaking up was RIGHT to Do
  6. “It’s completely OK to know what you want but not want it now.” Don’t want it now
  7. “You really don’t need to keep things. Really.”  5 things I have learned from Moving
  8. It doesn’t matter where you lay your head, as long as you have a place to lay it.5 things I have learned from Moving
  9.  Be vulnerable. Take a breath. Ask for what you need. “ 5 things I have learned from Moving
  10. “… remember to breathe through the painful moments and just keep moving forward. If nothing else, you’ll figure it out as you go.” 5 things I have learned from Moving
  11. “Like any good relationship, a good friendship brings out the best in ourselves.  If you’re not seeing your best, you’re not in the right relationship anymore.” Growing out of Friends
  12. “Its time we make connecting in real life a trend again!”  Eye to Eye
  13. “Cut out the excess chatter and find that peace within.” Text-a-Bitch
  14. “It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.” No more projections please
  15. “‘No’ is a full sentence.” The Olsen Twins said that.  Basically…life’s too short to do anything you don’t want to do, or anything that makes you uncomfortable. You always have a choice.–Honestly Libby’s Blog
  16. “A flirt is really just a compliment of you being alive and in this spot at this moment.” Flirting: A How To Guide 16332829367_ddb088af60_k
  17. As cliché as it sounds, love will happen when you least expect it… The most important thing to do is make sure you are living a full life. Fill your days and nights with the things you love, your passions, your family, your friends. Don’t wait for love to happen.–This That and The Other Thang’s Blog
  18. “…. do it with bells on—figuratively that is.” Duty Dating
  19. “Statistics are like a bikini – what they show is interesting but the important stuff is covered up! In a world where we rely heavily on data, it’s people who are at the heart of what really matters and numbers can paint a very different picture, whether good or bad.”– Aloada Bobbins’s Blog
  20. “We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker.” Duty Dating
  21. Treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority.”  Duty Dating
  22. “Whatever happens, we are responsible for our own happiness and success.”– Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  23. “Truth sometimes hurts, but lies are ultimately more painful. Let’s stop lying to each other and make this a more truthful world.” Lying: is it really worth it?1438336432_0904c3f0be_o
  24. “..not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.” Whats in a Name? 
  25. “Maybe you want to be distracted by a 6 out of 7, but 7’s and 7 Plusses do exist, and are out there for the finding.” Move On From a “No”
  26. “If you want it and are willing to work for it, you can make it happen!  “It” can be anything.”–Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  27. “The thing about callings is that once you’re called you have to answer!” Leap of Faith
  28. “Chances of winning the lottery are increased significantly by actually buying a ticket.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  29. “If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave: do.” Am I an Amy
  30. “It’s wonderful if they call, it’s great if they take you out, but if you’re not being introduced to friends or other people in their lives after a month or so, there is a reason.” Professing
  31. “…forgiveness isn’t letting down the protection walls. Its more of the mental version of just releasing unneeded tension and relaxing your shoulders.”  How to Apologize to Yourself
  32. “Only tell others things that you wouldn’t mind the rest of the world knowing unless they have consistently proven that they are trustworthy.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  33. “…acting like a queen means watching and kicking lots of jester’s to the curb but one day your king—do not settle for a prince!—will show up.” RESPECT
  34. “You can change anything in your present.  You can take steps to cure your own unhappiness.” Stick Your Neck Out
  35. “Sex one time or multiple times does not a mate make. If you’re having sex to land a mate…” The Best Sex
  36. “My advice for you is dream big.  Work that dream backwards until you have something “small” to work with.” Climbing the Career LadderSONY DSC
  37. “…moving and doing creates options.”  Round Peg Square Hole
  38. “…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’.” Because He ASKED
  39. “If something makes you want to scream, it’s the absolute wrong answer. Step back. Put the item down.”  Holiday Sanity
  40. “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!” Desire
  41. “Happiness is ALWAYS just a perspective.” Happiness
  42. “Sudden change of who you are shouldn’t happen just because the calendar changed, but instead because you want to become a better, upgraded version of your current self.”  New Year, Same You: Upgraded
  43. “Once you start sneaking in the time to create, you’ll start making time for yourself to create.” Competitive Progress
  44. “Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.” In Your Social Face
  45. Make your own damn plans.”  Valentines Survival
  46. “Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness.”  Red Flags
  47. “Don’t make yourself smaller for a mistake.” Stop Saying I’m Sorry
  48. “ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make.” Sex with Friends
  49. “Remember, the right one isn’t “out there” but instead is inside of you.”  How to be Single
  50. “You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Isn’t that Amazing?” Climbing the Career Ladder
  51. “We decide when we want something to be done, and we arbitrarily pick dates and times and abilities that we think we should be able to do.” New Year: Same You. Upgraded
  52. “Remember, breathing is the opposite of nerves—if there is plenty of good warm breath in your stomach, there aren’t room for butterflies!”  Nerves: Squish Those Butterflies
  53. “You rest, you rust! Seriously. When I think about rust I remember this old wheelbarrow out in the back yard where I grew up. Do you really want to become and old wheelbarrow?”  Love the Skin You’re In
  54. “…dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out about or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.” Dating:  Straightforward From the Beginning
  55. “Texting does not a relationship make.” No Waiting Dating
  56. “Get your face out of your phone. Actually talk to people, see what happens.” Crying wolf on social media
  57. “Sometimes we set goals and then we grow out of them. Luckily we write goals on paper, not in stone.” How To Stop Avoiding Your Goals
  58. “How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.  Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.” Love Your Skin Now
  59. “It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.”  Texting is not a relationship
  60. “If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.” What Is Your Worth?
  61. “Sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  62. “You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.” Age–Does It Really Matter? 11445631923_df52846c49_o
  63. “Be ok with changing your timeline.” Are you in a trough of sorrow?
  64. “It is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone else.” Rest IS good for you
  65. “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.” 5 ways to change up your dating game
  66. “I will survive my crisis. You will survive yours.” How to survive your own personal hell
  67. “Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.” 5 steps for getting out of your own way
  68. “Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more.” Age–Does It Really Matter?
  69. “Slowly progress into the schedule you need to hit the goals you have.” Love the Skin You’re In
  70. “What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  71. “Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it.” I Said Yes
  72. “Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration.” 8 tips to survive your friends wedding announcements
  73. “Be careful what you say: your brain is listening.” Be careful the things you say: Your brain is listening
  74. “Love the person, leave the label off, and let your expectations and demands on a relationship fall away.” Labels are for Soup, Not People
  75. “You will not die from rejection.  The odds are better than any other form of gambling.” Just Ask Already
  76. “Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.” 5 Steps to get out of your own way
  77. “You are never “too” anything… so stop thinking that way!!” Why the word “Too” is just an excuse
  78. “That is the first thing you have to understand and realize is that all “single” means is that you’re not in a pair.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be–unless you choose it.” How To Be Single
  79. Wouldn’t you rather be your own original story? Knockoffs and remakes are rarely as exciting as the original.” How to deal with a barrage of green grass 2680294816_e710a43d3b_b
  80. “Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.” Sex with Friends
  81. “Focus on yourself. In this time that you’re waiting, think about things to do for yourself, or that you need to accomplish.” 6 Ways to Stop Your Waiting Anxiety
  82. “Stay Hydrated. Drink in lots of self love, big picture thinking and how this storm will prepare you for the future.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  83. “Don’t value the actual money more than you value time.” What is your WORTH
  84. “Don’t create realities that aren’t really happening.” Make like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  85. “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.”  How to Survive Your Own Personal Hell
  86. “You are in control of your life and your thoughts. Remember you have choices.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  87. “Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. No matter what you’ll try something new and you’ll learn something.” How writing a novel made me a better person
  88. “The thing is, you’re never alone in your crap.”  What to do when Shit Happens
  89. “Forget about “you only live once.” You only die once, and its getting closer every day.”  How to Face your Big Fears
  90. “Change it up! If freestyle isn’t working there are other strokes out there. The important thing is to take action. You’ll feel more in control of your situation.” Just Keep Swimming
  91. “Remember the beginning is always slow, but you have to just slog through it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there eventually.”  How writing a novel made me a better person
  92. “Take a look around you. Say a general thank you to the positives in your life.”  The Power of Thank You
  93. “Let’s stop being virtual recluses!  Go forth and have conversation.” Make Like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  94. “Being yourself, having fun and making eye contact are all things that attract someone to you and your personality.” Could your next date be at the grocery store?
  95. “Sitting around complaining about it and doing nothing to change it seems pretty silly don’t you think?  Unless you do something to change your situation, nothing will change.”  How to Let It Go2512983749_ee38b41e0d_b
  96. “By creating a new schedule for yourself the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because you are living the lifestyle you desire.”  5 Steps to Getting Out of Your Own Way
  97. Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances.How to Listen to Life Lessons
  98. “I understood that I would be even more unhappy and unfulfilled in my life, which would actually be worse than the possibility of failure and the humiliation.”  How to Face Your Big Fears
  99. Being kind only takes a moment of time, but it will earn you moments, hours, and years.–Clare
  100. The true definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. You can be the luckiest person in the world if you want to be.–LL
  101. Go out and be great.  Or at least enjoy the ride!–LCL

Thank you!  Here is to hundreds more blogs, stories, and pieces of advice!

xoxo–Clare and 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!

Photo credits–all photos from Flikr Creative Commons: 100 (by Ash); lightbulb (by Beat Kung); Create (by Dana Bateman); Truth (by T); Snowflakes (by MayYeo); Dream Big (by Heidi); Ant Heart (by uditha wickramanayaka)

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

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.

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

Oscar Women's CheckupsLRG

Age—does it really matter?

I found a grey hair!!! Most of you probably read that as an exclamation full of dread… but, I actually proclaimed it happily! My mother says it’s a blonde hair, but I’m kinda hoping it’s a grey one… why? So many reasons. I’m a character actress who is waiting to come into my age so I can actually play the roles I’m right for (and want to play… I am itching to play Mrs. Lovett, and Marmee, and King Lear).

Age matters to me, because growing older has mostly been good to me. (If you’re not a regular to our blog, it was my, and the blog’s, Birthday last week.) I’m older and wiser than I have ever been, but with age and wisdom comes knowledge that I have still farther to go. Its like climbing a mountain—when you start you just want to get to the top, but the farther up you get, you start to understand the world around you better and get these AMAZING views of the world.   I know as I age, I only have gotten better. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to any part of my life. I’m quite happy where I am and excited to look forward.

Recently I stopped into a jewelry store, and the woman who owns it and I were chatting about age. We first started talking about how my birthday was coming up and I was looking for a present for myself—I buy myself a piece of jewelry every year on my birthday—a tradition since I don’t have a significant other to do it for me. (For more on birthdays, check out our birthday blog! INSERT LINK). I stumbled on this bat necklace, and I loved it… and the price was $36—perfect because that is the age I was about to turn. She, like many, was shocked to hear that I am “that old” because I don’t look it. (Sigh. I don’t want wrinkles, but I would like to look older than my mid/late 20s… those roles are calling me!! But like we tell every child that just can’t wait to be “bigger”… that time will come.) Back to me purchasing a necklace. The proprietor was stunned I was young. She told me to enjoy it because she was, gasp, turning 50 this year. I was truly stunned that she was that old… because she didn’t look it either. She continued telling me not to be worried about being in my 40s because those were even better than 30s… (which must mean my 40s are going to be amazingly awesome).

We continued to chat, she telling me that turning the corner into 50s seemed like doom, as none of the fashion magazines talk about anything above that. I told her it was because women over a certain age don’t need fashion magazines to tell them how to behave, do their makeup, or live. I also told her that any milestone seems like a horror once you are on the cusp of it, but they’re always a breath of fresh air and wisdom on the other side. In other words, you’re at a new point on the mountain, and get to see a new view!

Its always interesting to me that people are concerned with age. I thought it was just women for the longest time, but I know many men who are also so concerned with it. Is it because ages are mile markers on where to be? Listen, we all climb the mountain. We’ll all get to the top when we get there. Why does it matter if we measure our journey versus those who are climbing with us or with those who have gone before us? It doesn’t. Think of any hike, or journey, or even mountain climb you’ve ever taken… you can kind of describe it to someone, but the things you saw and experienced along the way were different than others on that trail. Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more. If you go with a description on how to take the path, and try to see everything that someone else did, or even just look at the things they point out to you, the enjoyment and take away experience won’t be as great. Only you can live through your trials and tribulations. Only you can make your own mistakes. Only you can see what your eyes see.

Growing older is not a curse. Its not a burden. It shouldn’t be a frustration. Maybe you’re not on the same path. Maybe you’re not going as fast and getting as far as you should. I am where I am at 36. I wish I was older so I could have those experiences now… but I also wouldn’t trade it for the things I’m going through now.

At the time of writing this, I was doing Taming of the Shrew. I was playing Gremio (the “old man” suitor). This was a challenging role to play, because I was acting the role as a man. I was also acting the role as “old.” Every role I take on lately, I’m trying to be true to the role and the text, and not make it gimmicky—I’ve done that. I know how to do that. I want to walk on stage and have the audience think that I believe that I’m the person I say I am, and not have to pander or telegraph what I am. This was a fine line to walk, but it was an interesting path. Old people know that they’re old, but they’re also still living. Not all “old” looks the same. You will always feel old, because in this moment, you’re older than you’ve ever been. If you’re interested in more about my acting process, feel free to email or post a comment below and I’ll discuss more in depth… but, the point in talking about my character is: “old” is a perception, a viewpoint, an opinion. I was just as convincing being “old” without a crackly voice and hunched back, and my character was more believable. I was true to myself and my character from the view I have from my mountain looking out. I didn’t look up or down or compare myself and character to “old” people. I just was who I am, being truthful now.

During the rehearsal process of the play, we went out after rehearsals together as a cast. One of the gals in the play was adamant about not revealing her age. We’ve spent several evenings after rehearsal and performances trying to finagle how old she actually is. She will not give it up. (I tip my hat to her.) If she doesn’t want anyone to have preconceptions of her because of a number of years she’s lived, cheers to her. I, on the other hand, don’t give a rats ass about how old people think I am, versus how old I really am. For me its entertainment. In fact, I often forget how old I am, especially if I’m not in a milestone year, because it just doesn’t matter to me. My friend who wont reveal her age is at her point on the mountain, which happens to be the same as mine, just because we both have landed here in this moment. She might be climbing faster than me (aka she might be younger than me) or at the same rate, or slower. WHO CARES. My climb is mine and mine alone. Her’s is her climb. Her journey. Yours is your own.

Forget candles, forget calendars, forget numbers. As I said in Love Your Skin Now: your wrinkles are your memories, experiences, and past—it doesn’t matter how you got them, they are yours. Embrace them. You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.

I’m going to go blow out my candles, have a shot, and continue to climb my mountain. Just remember as you continue to climb to look around and embrace the view instead of judging how far you have to go still, or how behind you are from the rest of the pack.

Clare

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Its Our Birthday!!

One year ago TODAY we launched this blog… so Happy Birthday to our blog, and Happy Anniversary to all of you who share our page! To celebrate with all of you, we thought we would take the week off of advice, and instead pass out virtual party hats and give our views on anniversaries, birthdays, and this blog. We asked each other questions, and here is what we came out of that! Enjoy!!

Xoxo

LL and Clare

Clare: What is the most important thing about an anniversary or birthday (to you)?
LL: I feel that bday’s, and anniversaries, are great markers in our lives to reflect about where we have been and picture/plan where we are going. I used to think it was all about the birthDAY. All about the anniversary. That was the day, party, or experience I was waiting for. Now, I realize that the days and years leading up to the parties and anniversaries is where the life worth living is. The most important thing about the birthday and anniversary is seeing how far you have come. A birthday or anniversary is a time o remind and review: What is in your life that you want more of and what isn’t rocking your bliss; What do you need to let go of; Are the people celebrating with you the right ones.

LL: What’s your ideal dream celebration for your birthday?

Clare: I LOVE surprises, but I’m TERRIBLE at getting them, because I see variations in patterns and behavior… so unless the person/people doing the surprises are really slick, I usually figure stuff out (and I HATE IT!! I always feel bad when I figure things out, or I’m really cranky at the people who are trying to throw me a surprise, not knowing that they’re working on something wonderful!  Thank you to everyone who has ever tried to surprise me!!).  I would LOVE to have a surprise dinner all that I love there, lots of yummy (and maybe free food)… and then some silly activity like bowling or mini golf after.  (I like to mix my fancy with silly!)
Clare: What is a suggestion you have for people to make an anniversary or birthday celebration the best?

LL: Have it YOUR WAY. Seriously have the celebration you want to have. It’s why I celebrate my birthday with Choose Your Own Adventure Party.  I got so tired of throwing parties and inviting people getting excited to see all of the RSVP’s, only to have people flake at the last minute. I didn’t want to reserve/pay for a table for 30 to only have 14 show up. I also realized that celebrating and having fun on my birthday was important to me. That I had to control my controllables. I plan my own birthday my way and do what I want to do and where I want to do it. I invite all of my friends, families and co-workers and the only rule is that they don’t rsvp. Then I get to only see who shows up. All the positives of the parties no disappointments. So, just do what you want to do and don’t worry about entertaining your guests. It’s your Freaking day!!

LL: Are their any special anniversaries you celebrate other than your birthday and why?

Clare: I celebrate my NYC anniversary–as it seems many of us do here.  It takes a lot to follow a dream and to stay strong in that dream.  “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” is such a true statement.  I’m actually terrible at anniversaries and remembering other people’s birthdays… so glad technology helps me remember.  I LOVE celebrating any friend’s birthday.  I’m always happy to make cupcakes!

Clare: Do you have a special thing you do on your birthday or anniversary, like a tradition you like to follow?

LL: Hmm… I said above I don’t do RSVPs; I guess that translates to keeping no expectations, so that way everything is a surprise. I also like to think back on the past ones and reminisce on past memories.

Clare: Did I tell you what I do with birthday cards–because it seems a waste to read them and look at them and then toss them?  I stick them into books, cook books, and random nooks in my apartment.  Then, later down the line when its NOT my birthday, I run into the birthday wish again!  Its like hide-and-seek with birthday cards!  And a fun way to revisit those memories.

LL: What birthday or anniversary in your life do you still think about, look back to or remember as something more than just a birthday?

Clare: 7th birthday was when I had to grow up quickly.  30th birthday was when everything seemed to make sense again.  I revisit both of those, often.

Clare: What is the best birthday or anniversary gift you were ever given?

LL: Time. Time with me. I honestly tried to think of my favorite birthday gift. I truly do love all the gifts I have been given. I am someone who puts sentimental value on things. So I do love and cherish and keep gifts because of whom they’re from. I like them as the physical representation of the Time. Joining me on something fun, sharing experiences and making memories. Love those gifts the BEST!

Clare: It’s amazing what we remember and what we don’t, isn’t it?  I remember giving you a purse you LOVED one year… and you got me a pair of earrings, which were stolen from my suitcase this last year–I’m so sad they’re gone.  I think that is part of the reason I make people food for their birthday’s–its always enjoyed and appreciated, and it really doesn’t matter if its remembered!

LL: Speaking of gifts, you have a gift for writing!  What is a favorite blog you’ve written and I’ve written. Why? Did it surprise you?

Clare: Thanks, love!  You’re great at it, too!  Probably, Love Your Skin Now–it felt like a really risky and really, literally, naked piece to write.  I’m used to sharing my thoughts and insecurities through my characters on stage, but never my personal ones.  I’m so excited that I wrote it and it got such a great response.  I cried while writing it.

Clare: Where do you see this blog at our next anniversary?

LL: More blogs each week for our readers and our Book in print!

LL: Thinking forward, is there a birthday or anniversary you’re looking forward to celebrating?

Clare: September 8th this year I hit my 5 years in NYC.  I’m also looking forward to my 40th Birthday (which is only a few years away).  And this birthday…it’s the same day as the birth of our blog!

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Love Your Skin Now! 

LL recently wrote about Loving The Skin You’re In. I suggest you go read it, or re-read–spoiler, the article was about getting up and getting out and moving–but seriously, go read it!!! It’s VERY motivational! 

I want to reiterate that idea: Love the Skin You’re In! But I also want to remind you that you should love yourself now. Just as you are. Your body is like anything else in life: a result of choices; unique; amazing if you believe it is!
My body type is tall, curvy, overweight (according to BMI, I’m obese). I’m 6’1″ and people are in awe and at times jealous. I’ve made choices. I like to eat, and I love some exercise, but I don’t like to make time for it. This is ironic because LL is a pilates instructor, my roommate is a gym enthusiast (and just came home stating she dead lifted 200lbs–go, girl!), one of my best friends is a dancer and gym bunny, and another bestie is a trainer and a spin instructor. They ALL encourage me to get out and work out–and I admittedly make jokes and faces at them. What can I say–other things take priority.  Here’s me April 2015:
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Apple shaped–whenever I gain weight, I gain it all over–I have fought weight since hormones kicked in when I was a teenager. I have an crazily distorted body image (I forget I’m tall and just view myself as “big”). I’ve also learned how to dress myself so my squishy parts are camouflaged. When I was a teenager, I thought I was fat. I was a size 14 when most of the other girls were size 3s or 5s. Shopping in women’s sizes at 15 years old sucked. Pants and long sleeved things are always too short. I remember a specific incident when I shopped in the hip juniors fashion shop, bought a pair of Z Cavaricci shorts, that frankly barely hid my lower lady bits. I brought them home, and was immediately told to return them. I did–but for a pair exactly the same, but in a different color.  Those got returned as well, this time with parental figure towing me, and then a trip to JC Penney’s women’s section where I was bought bright coulattes–quite the opposite of what all kids my age were wearing. Needless to say, I was unhappy for so many reasons. As an adult, I mostly derive feeling I was fat. Probably because I insisted I was a 12, and the shorts that were too large were also too tight in the waist and I never wore them. I know that the phrase, “you’re too big for those shorts” was used for all unfortunate purchases during this incident. I’m pretty sure I gave up on myself sometime in high school. I know I tried again in my 20s to reimagine my body. But my body image has always been so distorted. My mind is a fun house mirror–the one that makes you look like Violet Beauregard AFTER she blows up like a blueberry. Every time I walk in front of the mirror, I hope I’ll see the other type of funhouse mirror–the one that stretches you and makes you look super tall and skinny.
Looking back at pictures from high school, I wasn’t ever that big. Tall yes. Round, no. I did get rounder as I got older. In fact at one point I was 270lbs–which on my frame was very plump. I struggled into size 20 pants. I was in a few plays around then so I know my measurements.  I was shocked when my waist took almost the entire measuring tape around my waist–56 inches.
I now walk as much as I can, I try to swim 2-3 times a week, and walk a little extra when I can. Even though I’m now down to a size 14, 223lbs, I’m just a little bigger than I was in high school, but I still have that distorted image of myself as Violet.
I’ve created a reality of my body that isn’t true. It is a daily wrestling match with my brain to actually know what I look like and to Love The Skin I’m In. It’s difficult. How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.
Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.
This is really hard–especially the first time. Because you are not allowed to pick yourself apart. The new TV show “Younger” Sutton Foster is about to go on a date and asks Debi Mazar about a “cleavage wrinkle”. To which Debi replies: women have such a distorted body image, stop creating issues that aren’t there.
Look at yourself. You beautiful snowflake!  Yes, there are things that could be changed, but the life you led and your genetics brought you to this. Don’t pick yourself apart for the first minute. Look at all body parts, all sides. Those oversized parts encompass joy. Those undersized parts are freedom. Those wrinkles are proof of wisdom.  Stretch marks show experience. Changing your body isn’t instant–even with surgery. Remember there is a healing process in THAT as well. Nothing is instant. The physical things you don’t like about yourself now took time to put there. I have my mother’s thighs and my father’s stomach. But I have MY memories–my friend’s birthday where we ate until our stomach’s hurt, my Christmas holiday in the Dominican Republic where French fries and margaritas were delivered to us on the beach, my dad’s pot roast whenever I’m home–my most favorite food. I have stretch marks on stomach and thighs to remind me of how unhappy I was at 270lbs and a reminder not to return to that–and I’m reminded to be happy at the 50 pounds I’ve lost.
Before you put your clothes back on, pick three things you really like about your body. It could be that you love your pinkie toenail on your right foot, it could be you love the shape of your belly button. Small details are ok. Hold on to the positives. When you start beating yourself up, use the three things you like as a mantra to remind yourself that you do possess beauty. You are a snowflake. Different. Beautiful!
Now, if you want to change things about yourself–DO!  But, unless you’re willing to actively and HEALTHILY work on yourself YOURE NOT ALLOWED TO COMPLAIN!  This negativity will only harm you more. Physically and mentally. Read this Danielle LaPorte article on positivity.
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To review:
1) Stop the negativity–towards your own body, and the bodies of others.
2) Get naked. Literally face the truth, your truth.
3) No matter what, find positivity about your body.
4) LOVE YOURSELF
5) Change it or don’t, just know you are the only one in control of how you look and feel.
…and someone hears Trumpets
Clare
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Art credit: Cheryl Richardson.

Dating: Straightforward From The Beginning

I meet the most interesting species of adults while dog walking—one of my many eclectic survival jobs. Anyway, yesterday at the dog park I was talking with a dog walker—who is a super nice guy, handsome, buiiilt—he’s a nutritionist and is a bulky dude. I see him often and we chat about different things. Yesterday, our conversation moved to: how to approach someone they’re interested in, and how much is too much “bluntness.” His word was “bluntness.”  I followed up with saying I think there is a big difference between “blunt” and “straightforward,” and he agreed. The trouble many of us face when attempting to date is that there is a whole pool of candidates with different desires. Some are in the shallow end, just looking to splash around and have some fun, while others are paddling around the middle of the pool kinda wanting to commit but don’t want to go all the way to the deep end, and at the far end are the invested divers and lap swimmers—the ones with commitment in mind—in the deepest part of the pool.  I told Buff Dogwalker that I think that no matter what part of the pool you’re in, no matter guy or gal—straightforward is always the best. I’m not saying walk up to someone and ask in the first thirty seconds if they’re interested in sex and only sex.

Instead what I’m saying is try to push aside your nervousness (visit my blog from two weeks ago!) And yes, everyone is nervous or has some modicum of the anticipation of rejection, especially in the dating world.

Here are some steps to get into straightforward dating:

1) Observe!  Instead of focusing on yourself, focus out and read the body language and cues of the other person. Everyone should probably know by now that if someone is leaning toward you, or coming closer they’re probably interested. If women smile or look down, or play with their hair—they’re interested. If men lean, or puff up, strut, or offer to buy you a drink—they’re interested. If none of these things happen, they’re probably not interested, so move on. When it comes to ladies, well, we will laugh, or find a way to touch you, or lean in. Eye contact, especially when it is followed by blushing or a smile is an indicator for attraction for either gender. And likewise for disinterest, if either party seems distracted, looks over your shoulder instead of at you, or finds a reason to walk away, they’re not interested. It sometimes happens that someone stops you as you’re walking away, but don’t bet on it—but if they do—stay.

2) Engage! Once initial interest is established, create easy conversation. It’s really ok to have a few topics that you always talk about—people joke about weather being a conversation topic that anyone can talk about, but its true. I’d pick a few things that you can easily converse about. Try not to talk about things that you’re a super smarty on, or political or religious topics… those can happen down the road. Music, celebrities, movies, community happenings, cheese: all are interesting starters.

3) Be Straightforward! After you’ve chatted for a bit, if you’re still interested, you can bring up that you’re interested in dating, or a casual romance (aka, just sex), or that you’re looking for something long term. I’m not saying you’ll be guaranteed any of these, but you’re welcome to throw it out there. You’re also welcome to just see what happens. A safer alternative is to ask the person on a date, if they don’t ask you first. On the first date you can always have the “this is what I want out of this relationship” conversation. I internet dated for a year, and to be honest, at some points I didn’t know where anything was going. Sometimes dudes told me flat out that they wanted a certain thing out of dating, whether it be dating, relationship, or sex. Although, at the time it was a shocking conversation (and could have been brought into the conversation more subtlety and not as pointed), I really appreciated those men who said something like, “I really like you, and I’m interested in only BLANK right now. Is that something you’re interested in?” I know you’re probably saying something like: “but that just totally pigeon holes the whole relationship into one thing.” Well, what can I say, you’re right. BUT, if its said straight forward what the other person wants, you can make your decision now and move on if you’re goals are different.

In this fast paced society where we can find information on our phones at any given moment, order food on the internet to be at our door in 30 minutes, and talk to anyone instantly, why not be straightforward with your dating desires just see what happens? I’m not saying flat out ask for sex. I’m saying state your intentions. As in, “I’m not looking to really dive into a relationship right now, but I want someone to go on fun outings with,” aka: I’m just looking to date. Or, “I’m really looking to just find someone for fun tonight,” aka: I really only want to hook up. And finally, “I’m looking for something long term to see how it goes,” aka: I want to date and possibly have a relationship. Always add on a: “And how about you?” to the end of these.

Yes, this may seem blunt, but turn it around; if you’re looking for something specific when you go out—which you probably are (its really ok, and probably best to be honest with yourself)—just be honest with the person you’re interested in. I have so many hindsight conversations with girlfriends and guyfriends that all sound like: If I had only known that he/she only wanted to date, I would have been willing to do just that, but I didn’t know. Yeah, it’s a bit brutal, but if you’re honest and lightly straight forward, you’re not leading the person on. Do you really want to keep someone around who has a different agenda?

Buff Dogwalker ended our conversation yesterday, saying that he wished he had known that the woman he approached only wanted to sleep with him. She told him at the end of their second and last date, that he could have had her, and she wondered why he waited so long—according to him, he didn’t even try to kiss her at the end of date two, even though he wanted to, he was trying to be a gentleman and prolong the romance. Hindsight, he said he would have slept with her and cut through all the baloney if only he’d known what she really wanted.

Almost three years ago, I started a relationship with a guy, and I thought that he wanted a relationship. He lived out of the city, so it was rough. One day, I invited him in for a sleepover. I realized the night of said sleepover that we were just going to be casual. Since we never talked about it, I didn’t know. He decided that he wanted a relationship. Because we didn’t talk about it, we were focused on different things, and three months later after stringing each other along, it ended poorly. I’m still beaten up about it… “if I had only done things differently” floats through my head when I see a doppelganger of his walk by me on the street…

So there you go. Agree, disagree. Try it, don’t try it. I’m all for honesty, and I’ve Duty Dated enough that I’m done—I know what I want, so from here on out, I’m going to state what I want upfront. Maybe it will work, or maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll miss out on possible opportunities. From now on out I’m going to be honest with myself and my conquests, relax, and see what happens.  Because dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.

–Clare

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Sex With Friends

I have promised in the past that I would explain how you can “hook up” with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship.
Finally I’m delivering…

First, is it possible to date, make out with, or sleep with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship? Sure! Anything is possible. Do I recommend getting skin close to all your friends? No. But the reality is: you probably will, and I want you armed with the tools to enjoy it before, during, and after.

A few disclaimers:
1) just because you “hook up” with someone, a friend, stranger, or date does not a relationship or commitment make.
2) if you “fall” for every person you flirt, kiss, text or sext (I have opinions on this stay tuned on my sexting blog another day) then diving into your pool of friends is not the best idea. In fact I would tell you absolutely not. You’re not able to handle it.
3) if the lack of communication from someone you sends you to the fridge, bar, or any other binge…you’re not ready (for dating of any kind, and definitely not dating a friend).
4) if you don’t have all the self love we coach/talk about here at Live ClareLesley…you’re not ready.

If you fall into the “not ready” category this doesn’t mean you have to hide in a closet. I don’t want to make a hermit-nun out of you. Quite the opposite, actually. But your focus shouldn’t be on dating anyone, especially your friends. Your focus should be self love, self respect, self growth. When you’re the person you want to be, then go enjoy the fruits of your labor. If that means hooking up with a friend, cool.  You will have our glowing permission. Get yourself to be your WHOLE self first. Then another Whole self will find you. It may even be a friend.

Ok, now that the disclaimers are out of the way lets get dirty, in a friendly way.

Why are friends with benefits a good idea? Think about it! You pick your friends based on things in common. You spend time together, talk about things you like, don’t like, want in life…sounds a lot like dating to me.

There’s nothing awkward about a friendship, no games being played it’s easy-peasy, my dears. So, it makes sense if you and a friend find your way into each others arms. In fact, in most of my coaching on relationships my clients wish they could find a partner they are best friends with. Again, why not dip into the friend pool?…you want your partner to be your friend. Your friendship foundation is already set. Try the dating thing. It might just be the door to a fantastic relationship.

Can you just be friends with benefits? Sure!  Again, anything is possible and it really depends on the two (or more in some cases…my sweet friend, you know who you are) parties involved. Again, you must be able to get past all four disclaimers above and you must truly know and love who you are. The other parties have to also be the same. It won’t work if one of you is a rock star in the self growth category and the other is starving for love, attention, and a partner.

Remember sleeping with a friend does not a partner make. Just because you and your friend cross that clothing barrier bridge, doesn’t mean you are an item. It means you slept with your friend. That actually is worth repeating! Anyone and I mean ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make. Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.

So, How do you start? Well one of you has to make a move, start the conversation. Is the thought of making a move freaking you out? Then, you’re not ready for this. In my past dates with friends, it’s not so black and white. The line from planning, to hang out as friends and going “out” is blurred. In fact, looking back I can’t say at the time I knew we were “crossing the barrier.” It was more like, I hoped we might.

The Comedian: He was more of an acquaintance. We would see each other out with other friends. The two of us were connected via the benefits of twitter and Facebook but we had not exchanged digits. We had lots of things in common. Eventually, he reached out to me personally. He heard I was single and we took our fringe friendship to a direct one. Texts became more frequent a date was planned and a dinner an kiss were enjoyed. There were no fireworks. We had a great time. We have hung out since even. Celebrate the successes we’ve achieved individually. We are closer friends now because we tried to take it to the next level.

Those of you who understand this, are ready for the dating world and even the dating-your-friend-pool world. Just because we didn’t fall madly for each other, does not mean we can’t be friends still. None of those things changed.

The Yogi: I do not recommend you fall for your Yoga, Pilates, Personal Trainer, EVER! If things get weird you will be the one to find a new teacher. They have their classes, their schedule set. In my case as a Pilates Instructor I know many other instructors so me dating a Yogi friend…well I have plenty of them. We had been friends for some time. Our clients and surrounding acquaintances often overlapped. Finding out we both were single at the same time, we set up a time. Again, no definite plans for the long term, but there were hopes. Wishes do come true. We had a great date, awesome convo, and an enjoyable night. We even wanted to go out again. But timing is everything. In the end we went back to being friends. We still are. We both have found wonderful happiness in other relationships. Turns out, now both of us  are dating someone we were friends with before.

My Love: We were introduced by a mutual friend. We had the best time together. We talked for hours. Then because timing is everything. We did nothing. Over the course of the next 4 months we spoke, even hung out once. We got to know each other. Then logistics in our lives made it easier to hang out. So we did every week. We talk about our pasts, past relationships, breakups, desires and dreams. Then we decided to give it a go! Best decision EVER. Dating one of my friends means I always have someone to talk to about ANYTHING. No games. Just love, kindness and respect.

What do each of these scenarios have in common?
1) COMMUNICATION.  In person, or over the phone. The good, old fashioned conversations. Between each other, not other people.
2) NO BIG DEALS.  We didn’t make a big deal about the event, we didn’t get lots of people involved. We just did our thing.
3) WE ARE STILL FRIENDS.  Friendships don’t end because you kiss. They end for other reasons. See “Growing out of Friends

Each of you reading this will have a different experience. I am not going to sit here and tell you go slow, go fast, do this, or don’t do that. Nope. You have to choose your own adventure. I won’t be there every step of the way. All I can tell you is what I have already: you must be your whole self before you date anyone. Especially your friend.

Have a friend crush? AWESOME maybe that’s the love of your life waiting for you to be ready to give it a go.  As someone who has their best friend as their partner, I will give you my blessing.  Every time.

Self Love first, Date second, and always Live ClareLesley

LL

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