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)

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

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!

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!

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!

Kissing IS Personal

One of my first memories of the tale of my Love and I was our first kiss. Oddly, I don’t tell this detail I’m about to share with you often. In fact, when I tell our story I see this scene in my head but I gloss over the detail, or shorten our first night into a sentence or two. “We had an amazing night, I knew he and I were perfect for each other just Not right now. I left without giving him my number and he didn’t ask.” Then I go into the next headlines.
The truth is that our first night getting to know each other was/is truly special. We talked for hours at Sassafras, a saloon in Hollywood. We actually shared our breakups (both of us just barely 6 months out of serious relationships). Shared our life goals and our Strength Finders results. Ok, so we are also kind of nerdy. My point in telling you this is, before there was even the potential of another encounter we got intimate. Vulnerable. We shared honest details about ourselves.

Then he ASKED if he could kiss me.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were standing there face to face. Of course I wanted him to. Of course I was hoping. Then he asked!

Now, I’m trying to think back of all the kisses I have had. As you know from my post “First Kiss” that one didn’t. I know my ex didn’t and I’m pretty sure those I kissed during “Duty Dating” didn’t.  Not that they should have or needed to ask. Body language can also imply that one is ready and open to kissing.

However, in this moment he asked me. When my entire insides screamed YES!   I knew this was different. It wasn’t just my physical being but much deeper than that.  I responded with “I was hoping you would.” Not so much a spoiler alert since we are together. But, yes we stood there and kissed and…well our families read this so….

My favorite movie, if I haven’t told you already, is Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. When I say favorite I mean FAVVVVVORITE!!!! I can quote it from the opening to the closing credits. Aside from the great and soon to be blogged about “What’s your Dream? Hey Sista What’s your dream?” or the scene where she walks back on to Rodeo and says “You work on commission right? Big Mistake! Big!  Huge.” Shoves her bags up in the air at the snooty sales women. I am sure I’ll write about that too. Today’s blog is about Getting Personal.  When Richard Gere’s character and her are discussing what she will and will not do for money. She’ll do anything. But she won’t kiss on the lips. Too Personal.

Is Kissing too Personal?

I have written about Your Best Sex and  Sex with Friends. If you haven’t read those. Click the links and do read. It’s important you know that I am not a prude. I am not here to say that you shouldn’t get close, personal, intimate, sexy. Quite the opposite. I want all of that and more for you.

Today, on the phone with my Love I said “I cannot wait until you’re not sick; I miss kissing you.” He has the flu; I teach Pilates so I cannot get sick. He knows that if I get sick, it halts my income. But back to kissing.  He said: “I know two days ago I was thinking if it was possible to have sex without kissing.”

Aside from the weirdness of that remark. Also, how anyone with the flu could possibly perform is a question I do not have the answer to. I proclaimed No Kissing is the best part. Ok, well almost the best part. But it’s one if not THE most important part. It’s like Julia Roberts’ character says: it’s too personal.

Maybe this is TMI, but I love kissing. When I see him at Trader Joe’s waling down the isle toward me, I can be taken up in the moment, and we actually kiss like couples do in a romantic scene in the movies. I guess low cost organic food packages for individuals gets me romantic. Or more likely than not we just enjoy being that personal; that intimate.

Kissing is very important!   Before you do the deed, I think it’s pretty important to enjoy kissing the other person. You can learn a lot about someone by the way they kiss you. If you’re present and aware of what you like and need you will probably be better prepared to make the decision of whether or not you want to take it to the next step. P.S. I am not sure what the next base is anymore. Somewhere in between the generations, first and third, or second base just became a blur of tastes or preferences. But kissing should be first. You should like it and want more of it.

If you’re single, please take the time to get to know someone, enjoy kissing them. Do not rush this step and end up in a relationship that doesn’t have kissing you enjoy.

In a relationship…when’s the last time you truly kissed your partner? I’m not talking about the kisses because it’s part of the routine. I’m talking the kisses where time stands still. The kiss where your surroundings blur, are forgotten, the Trader Joe’s aisles disappear, and it’s just you and your mate. Those don’t have to be special occasion. In fact, I’d argue they shouldn’t be special occasion.

But,  you have to want it. You have to make the point to do it. The next time you kiss, be present. Be intimate. Let yourself enjoy your partner. Even if it’s in the TJs aisle.

So, before you can have Sex with Friends, Your Best Sex or even a third, fourth or future date: get personal. Get kissed!  And if you like it, have seconds!

Xx–LL

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Red Flags: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

“In the beginning, what red flags did you ignore?” My therapist asked me in my second session post break up. I sat there speechless for a moment. At first, I wanted to get defensive and say there weren’t any.  Then as I opened my mouth to say so, I realized it was probably not true.  She told me that there are always red flags, some flags are redder than others, but there are always red flags.  She sent me home with homework: I had to think back and spot all the red flags that I ignored.  What were they?  Why did I excuse them? How red were they?

Sitting in that office on that couch I just couldn’t admit to myself that there were red flags in a relationship that seemed so perfect.  After being out of the relationship for more than a year, I can tell you every red flag and how red it was. I can even tell you the day one flag was waving, so bright and shiny like it was waiting for a bull to come charging, and instead of paying attention, I brushed it away. Actually, I rolled it up so quickly and shoved it in a trunk and put that trunk in the back of a garage and then put things in front of that trunk hoping to pack away the existence of the flag.

Of course that never works. If you’ve been in a relationship that didn’t work out you too can look back and see the signs. If you can’t I beg you to go back. Like Clare says in Patterns Versus Change  we’ll continue the same patterns until we learn from them.

I am not saying that any of us are free of flags. I think that we all have our own flags in a variety of colors and that’s what makes us unique. But some flags should be hints while others are red alert warnings. Not every person you date will be the right match for you. My last relationship was the picture of perfection. What every girl is supposed to want. I ignored the flags because society’s idea of “perfect” trumped my idea of “perfect.” Working on my therapy homework, I unpacked the garage after leaving my session and started looking at the flags I ignored. What an eye opener that was!

What happened next? My confidence in dating, trust within myself, my own choices, and eventually, love. I grew up, grew strong, and got honest.

As a coach for relationships and goals there’s often lots of red flags that I hear about.  My Duty Dating was the perfect red flag training ever for my life. As I listen to friends, clients, people at coffee shops (I do eavesdrop, but it’s all in the name of research), I ask myself “how red is that flag” for me?  As an outside observer, things look different.  Flags that are really really red to me, might be orange to you.  Its not my job nor my place to interfere or interpret your flags. Side note: friends want your advice that doesn’t mean you can judge their flag coloring (see No More Projections Please). However observing others is a good and less invasive beginning to viewing your own flags. I want you to practice recognizing the red flags that pop up or stand out in your life and in those of others, and then also observe what patterns or feelings arise.

Lately there’s been some sadness and disappointment in the dating world with my friends, clients, even from some of you readers. You meet someone, there’s excitement, smiles, something to look forward to and plans for your weekend. Then a few dates later, combustion!  Or worse: silence. We’ve all been there, I’ve been there. Can you get upset, sad, disappointed and or stab a voo doo doll?  Sure, for a moment.  Maybe you give yourself a day; mourn the loss of “what could have been.” Then pick yourself up! Dust yourself off, and ask yourself the tough question. The honest question. What Red Flags did I ignore? What behaviors did I pay no attention to or excuse away?

Dating can be hard. Life can feel lonely. But do you really want to be with someone just so you’re not alone? I didn’t think so! Get excited about a date but remember while you’re hoping their into you make sure you’re into them! Show off your colors and take a look at all of theirs. There are two people in a relationship. Even if one of you walks away, or stops calling you, at least you will not have been a participationless bystander. You were a an equal partner in the relationship (again at least should have been). Not that I want you to think that if something didn’t work out its your fault! I am absolutely not saying that. We all have choices. We choose what to pay attention to, who to give our attention to, and how we deserve to be treated.

On your next date, instead of excusing the guttural reaction because someone is cute, your type, the first date in five years, dig deeper.  Ask the tough questions. You may be surprised. Something you thought was red is orange. Something you thought was yellow was bright freaking RED.

We have no control of others actions. We can only control our controllables. If you are honest with yourself, totally love and value yourself, those red flags will stand out like a Viking at the Art Museum (not that Vikings don’t go to art museums just that Vikings stand out pretty much anywhere).

You won’t “fall” for every opportunity…not because you’re pessimistic but because you’re in control of your ship. You have awareness of your wants, needs and desires. Red flags just get in the way of those things. They delay your happiness. Why oh why, my loves, would you let your own self get in the way of your own happiness?

Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness. Let those in who support you. Show them who you are and see them for their true selves. See the red flags. See the other colors of them. Make a decision, and try it out. If it doesn’t work with this person, at least you were honest. Try the next person; maybe their flags are the right colors for you! Then you two can roll around in your other colored flags and run off into the sunset holding your sans red flags hands high!

Xx~LL

Valentines Survival: did you make it?

This week, Clare posted about Valentine’s Survival.  What did you end up doing to celebrate Valentines/Galentines/Palentines? We want to know!! REALLY!

One of Clare’s passions is cooking. On the 12th she hung out with the soulmate and they made a delicious dinner together. Then Clare made fudge on the 13th with another bestie. See the sweet video here.

On the 14th Lesley and her boyfriend did couples yoga, went on a romantic hike, and went off the grid–shutting down their phones and all devices– and spent the time with each other. Spending time together was more important than exchanging presents:

Clare and a bestie went to dinner on the 14th, saw The Last Five Years, and afterwards met composer Jason Robert Brown.

At LiveClareLesley we made our experiences surrounding Valentine’s what we personally wanted and needed. We survived Valentines, by sharing love with the people we care about. What did you do? Please share below, or Tweet and Facebook your photos and experiences and tag us, and don’t forget to add #liveclarelesley

–Love LL and Clare