Perfect for someone

This morning while running around UCLA I was listening to this weeks episode of the “Being Boss” podcast.  They were interviewing artist Brenda Mangalore about her transition from working in the corporate world as a web designer to living as an artist. An artist who gets paid to do what she loves. She would pray that she wouldn’t have to go into work each day. One day this made her wonder. Why do I not want to go to work? It’s a perfectly good job. Great job really. That’s when she realized that this perfectly good job was perfectly good for someone else but not her.

Perfection is very attractive. We tend to all be striving to do something or multiple things perfectly. It’s easy to want to be the best. Perfection is a bright shiny object. It’s like a moth to a flame. But we usually fall for perfection on paper. Because as we know “Perfect” just doesn’t exist.

This all got me thinking. I remember setting my goals about 5ish years ago. I had some great goals about work that I wanted and can now look back and see I have achieved. But some of my personal and health goals. Well they were perfectly good goals. Goals many people would have understood and even supported me on or joined in with me. But, they didn’t really light my fire. I actually kept postponing them, making excuses of why I shouldn’t do them. Which got me wondering…why someone who loves achieving goals is literally shoving goals in a corner. Oh, because these goals were perfectly good for someone but not for me.

Here are a couple of other “perfect” journeys:

Perfect Job: As you know if you have been reading our blog for awhile I have twice left salaried jobs for something else. Something my heart was yearning for. Something bigger than what I was doing. Both times I was expecting people to be as excited as I was for this next adventure. What I found when I told people I was quitting my job was shock, concern and worry. Most people said “Are you sure?” There were only a couple people who were supportive in a way that didn’t feel like they were waiting for the bottom to drop. I even felt like some people thought I would change my mind. Both jobs on paper were pretty awesome. Decent work schedules, good pay, room for growth and the ability to lead others. But both had run their course. Both jobs were perfect for someone else but not for me.

Perfect Mate: Just like in my jobs situation when I left my ex I had more people as me “if I was sure?” Plenty of people reminding me I could always go back. Most people just didn’t understand how I could leave a relationship that was “working.” My ex was a lot of things that many people would want. He has even recently married. He was perfect on paper, a great person but just not the right mate for me.

I think it’s important for us all to take time to do inventory in our lives and see where we are keeping things because they are perfect on paper or because they are “perfect” for you.

Do you wake up and dreading doing something you used to love?

Do you find yourself wishing you would wake up sick so you don’t have to work?

Do you sometimes wish your significant other would break up with you?

Are you making excuses for not doing something you say you want?

It’s not easy to give up with “perfect on paper” situation. But, what if you could? What would it take to give it up? Do you have to save up money, take a class or classes, move somewhere? Vision your life doing what’s right for you instead of doing what’s right for someone else. Then take that leap of faith! I promise from our end you’ll get lots of high-fives.

I left that perfect job and perfect mate and am thousands times happier. Life would have been fine if I stayed. Life is so much fuller because I did me. I through out that perfect paper and just trusted my vision. It’s so worth it.

I highly recommend listening to the full podcast episode. It’s always incredible to hear how someone went from the 9-5 job to rocking their bliss. We all have our own journey. I’ll repeat that, we all have our own journey. Enjoy yours!

xx~LL

7 Life Habits I Learned in Acting Class

I look back fondly, and with a spoonful of laughter at one of my first required classes I took for my acting degree. My school called it “Voice and Movement,” but every acting program has a similar class. Before they’ll allow you to tackle text (or scripts), you have to learn how to effectively use your instrument (your body) and how to be kind to yourself. As a “kid” in her early 20s, I’ll admit I scoffed at some of the things we did. I called the class “kindergarten for actors” which I still do. And I still chuckle to myself at people lying on the floor doing “Dying Cockroach.” (Lay on your back. Put your arms and legs in the air and “tremor” or shake your arms and legs, while vocalizing (moaning out loud). It’s very silly looking, but it does help you relax your body and help yourself get a good deep breath.)

While we did many silly things, walked around the room with different parts of our body leading, said poems or tongue twisters while on all fours pretending to be animals, and other things that seemed silly then and now, but I’m sure helped embed technique into my soul. But the basics of acting, and life, really, were retaught to me in that class. I try to do these things daily, but sometimes they don’t happen–and honestly, my “bad days” are the ones I didn’t prep for. I’m not saying: do all of these things daily and everyday will be perfect. I’m just saying that if you go into every day “warmed up” you’ll have a much better chance at dealing with any crisis that arises.
1. Breathe— if you regularly read my posts, you’ll see a theme. I probably honed breathing in college, because it is the best way to conquer nerves, but my mother has been preaching deep breaths to me from day one. A good deep breath relaxes and centers you. It’s great to support your speaking voice. When I’m nervous, I think of my breath as those little scrubbing bubble dudes for my stomach butterflies and nerves; breath goes in and scrubs the stomach releasing the butterflies, who get caught in the bubbles and are released with an out breath. Laying flat on the floor and taking a deep breath in is also magical. It allows anything that you’re holding, to just release out. I should write a whole blog on breath and breathing…stay tuned!

2. Stretching–warm up that body. If you’ve been following my goals blog, I’ve been doing at least 4 Sun Salutations every morning. We did lots of yoga and Pilates when I was in Voice and Movement. Stretching was highly encouraged: every morning, before shows, and always at the start of class. Even if you’re just reaching high up to the sky and then down to your toes a few times and then twisting at the waist a little back and forth. Do your stretching after you’ve moved around a little. As in, pee, wash your face, put the kettle or coffee on and then stretch. I have truly gotten to the point where I miss stretching. I have a couple of jobs that require me to be very physical, and I make sure that I do some extra stretching on those days. I really can tell the difference.

3. Vocalizing–Everyone should make a little bit of noise upon waking up. Your vocal chords are a muscle, too! They need stretching. Do a gentle hum while making coffee or in the shower–the best place!! Just five minutes of gentle vocalization first thing in the morning–more if you want–will help. You’ll find you’ll clear your throat much less, you’ll be able to talk for longer and louder, and not be so vocally tired at the end of the day. Stretching your lips and face are good too. It’s ok. Make the funny noises and faces–no one is watching. (And if they are, charge admission!)

4. Use different tactics–one of my favorite exercises in class was using a technique created by Michael Chekhov–who has several technique books if you’re interested. One day my teacher walked in and while we were stretching and warming up, she wrote the following words on the board:

  • push
  • pull
  • lift
  • drag
  • penetrate
  • throw
  • cut
  • collect

The activity was to say our prepared monologue for the class that sat in a circle around us and during the monologue the teacher would shout out one of these words. We were to physically or vocally engage in the action without stopping our monologue. At first this was hard, but I now do it with any text I work on. This activity requires you to stop your already focused mind into doing something different.  It makes you change the idea that you’re working with and head in a different direction.  Switching up a tactic will do two things: give you a different perspective, and get you out of your rut.

When you are doing the same thing over and over, you get the same or similar results. When you do the same thing with a different tactic, even if it’s only inside you, there will be a shift or change. As I’m not one for drudgery or repeating the same things over and over and over the same way, I love using different tactics in life. Right now, I’m unhappy with my weight. On any given day I can push myself to eat more veggies, pull myself to work out more, and lift my spirits by telling myself that is only temporary. If I was only pushing myself, I’d give up.

5. Leave it outside–theater people are dramatic. Very dramatic. We were told that any time we had any emotional pull in our lives that it was to be left outside the door so for the 90 minutes we were in class, we had to focus on class, and not the emotional pull of our lives. This one was surprisingly easy–and I had a lot of drama back then, or what seemed like a lot of drama. We were to come in with open minds and hearts so we could do good work. This might not necessarily work for those of you who are at a desk for 8 hours, but giving yourself time limits for emotions is a good way to control them. Allow yourself to only be emotional on bathroom breaks. Or lunch time. Or only with specific people at designated times.  A coffee run can be a great kvetch session.  Again, it’s not for all people, but taking control of your emotions by allowing them at specific times is something I found very helpful to focus on other things. #savethedramaforyomama

6. Show up–first rule of my class was, sick or not, sad or happy, tired or awake, we were to show up for acting class.   This was required for two reasons, other than the “you should attend class” rule.  First–we all have a partner or someone we depend on.  If I couldn’t work, my partner would suffer my absence as well as me.  Sometimes if I wasn’t physically able to do my scene, just sitting and reading the script with my partner would make all the difference.

Second–most of the time showing up makes you feel better.  We were told that if we just showed up to class that we would get credit. If we were feeling too crummy to participate, we could just watch. If we were feeling death-warmed-up, we were dismissed. Most of the time, I felt better for just going. And twice I was allowed to leave without being counted absent. Maybe it’s only me, but perfect attendance feels pretty darn awesome.

7. Judge kindly–yourself or the work and creativity of others. We were told we should critique others work. It helps us see what we liked and didn’t like, and what works and doesn’t work.  Although you shouldn’t judge, critically looking at the work of others will help you understand the work.

Inversely, it also taught us how to take a critique or compliment. HOWEVER, when we were critiquing, if it was a negative–we were to use “I wish…” So instead of saying “you should have known your lines better” we were to say “I wish you would have been more familiar with the text.” Instead of “wow, you were over dramatic at one point” we would say “I wish you would have taken it down a notch in the middle, because everything on one note was grating.” Anything negatively can be said constructively. I find I get more results with everyone in my life if I ask or reply in a positive way.

It’s amazing that a class I took when I was 19-20 years old has rippled it’s way through my life. Little changes, little adjustments in your life and attitude make so much difference. Try some of these for a week or two. They really don’t take a lot of effort. Make a new habit and see how you feel!

–Clare

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Stop Recording, Enjoy the Actual Moment

At the end of May, my little step-sister got married. As I was curling her hair, she gave me strict instructions to tell the family to put away our phones. As I took my seat, the officiant announced that this was an “unplugged” ceremony, and that the bride and groom requested no photos or videos during the ceremony. There was a professional photographer to record it all. My sister just wanted us to enjoy and be a part of the ceremony. 

I LOVED THIS.  
I’ve been a “stop taking pictures, enjoy the moment” person even before everyone had a device in their hand and took on the role as head documentarian in their own lives. 


This being said–I take pictures. I spent three weeks in Europe last summer and took ironic daily selfies. Originally these were to send to my mom, but I ended up putting them up on social media because people on social media requested pictures and updates to see how my trip was going. I took almost 1000 pictures on my trip. Many of them were the same, taking and retaking moments to find “the perfect one”: perfect angle, perfect light, perfect moment. I took them so I would remember all the moments from my trip. The thing is, the memories that come to mind are NOTHING that I captured on my phone. Most of my pictures I’ve used for background art for LiveClareLesley quotes. I’ve deleted all but maybe 40 of those pictures. 
My rockstar friend, Angie, has gigs once a month–and I take pictures and videos at each of those. I’ve learned to take a moment and post them on social media in the moment–because the reason I take those pics and video are to promote her. I usually wait a week and then delete. I’m not worried about it, because I’ll remember her concerts, or at least moments of them. I never look at them after. I’ll stop every once in a while when I scroll through my pictures (usually to make art for LCL!) But other than that, I just don’t look at them. 

The point I’m trying to lead to is: why do we take so many photos and videos? Are we so in trusting of our memories? 
Whereas, I like seeing #flashbackfriday and #tbt posts, and I enjoy Facebook reminding me of posts I made in previous years, I don’t need to prep for these things. I don’t need to save every photo. 

I remember when I was younger, I hated looking through photo albums, especially those I wasn’t featured.  (I might be a brat, but I’d rather you just told me about your trip to The Grand Canyon instead of showing me 500 photos of you swearing and sweating on a donkey.) So many times pictures were just people standing in front of things–which spur memories, but never seems to capture them. I think even as a child I had the notion that the past was over and my memories of it were enough. Add in that my high school journalism teacher hated posed pictures–so that fostered something else in me. I generally stay away from posed pictures (other than the ironic selfie now and then). 

The thing is that people spend so much time recording the actual happening that they miss or don’t enjoy it. I loved my sister’s wedding because we were, all 50 of us in attendance, present for the 20 minutes together. Just being, rejoicing in love. It was great. There were many silly pictures taken before and after. But my best memories from the weekend are stored not in my phone, Facebook or a camera, but in my head. 


To modernize Ferris Bueller, stop and enjoy life instead of recording it, otherwise you’ll miss the actual moment. 

–Clare

When Entreprenuers Marry

“So, how’s married life?”

“Amazing!”

“Really?”

Seriously, I have this exchange almost daily. Someone asks me how married life is. I say amazing, so great, wonderful and other perfectly descriptive words that are honestly true. Instead of getting a “that’s so great” or “so happy for you.” I get the question: “Really?” Why are they so surprised? Why would they ask if they didn’t want to hear the truth? Were they wishing I said something else like “it’s ok?” I hate to think that they were hoping I would say something negative that would help them feel better about their own situation.


When my mother said it I finally asked her why everyone is acting surprised. Now, I don’t mean to imply that every person who says it is doubting. But, the way they say it seems to be a feeling of doubtful surprise. 

She said that it’s because there are adjustments getting used to the person, marriage is hard, etc. Of course I never went into marriage thinking it would be easy. Unlike many of my college friends I saw the ups and downs of a marriage. Side note: I went to a Private University and found out that many people never saw their parents fight ever. So, when they got married before 25 they were quite surprised. Back on to my blog, I actually don’t mind too much that I saw the arguing. They also showed the romance and were open and honest about sex and money. Going into marriage I wasn’t thinking it would be a walk in the park. 

But, I love being married! Seriously, when I say married life is amazing, it’s because, for my husband and I, it is.  Is our life easy? No. We both work multiple projects, we have dogs and some serious college debt. We basically work for ourselves which has its own entrepreneurial stress, we live in a studio apartment with 2 pitbulls. Our life is awesome! 

I don’t want to come off like my marriage/life is better than. Actually, I’m hoping I can address something more specific. Marriage or any relationship can be tough. Has its ups and it’s downs. But, it doesn’t have to be anything less than amazing.  

I listened to my mom and even a few others explain why they responded in a surprise. They had valid points. As a couple we are not experiencing those points.  At least not in a bad way. Sure, it takes getting used to going from living alone to living with someone. Combining schedules, goals and other life pressures are there daily, to challenge happiness. Here’s some of the points people have brought up are tough and how you can avoid them being an issue:


1)  Sharing space with someone else: My husband and I moved in together really quickly. Do I think this is why there was no adjusting to sharing space? Nope, but we adjusted prior to engagement so this was pretty status quo. I recommend you live with your significant other (SO) when you feel it’s right. For some people during the dating period is right. Others, post nuptials is a grand idea. Do not move in with you SO anytime before your ready. If anyone makes you feel like you should do it sooner or wait longer say “thank you, I’ll keep that in mind.” Then listen to your own gut.

We live in a studio with 2 dogs. There is not a lot of space for anyone. However, because I love our time together and we communicate we each have space for our things. Also, we don’t believe in buying more than what we need. If you are not used to sharing space with someone else before the big move in I recommend getting organized and getting rid of all things not necessary (both parties). Then, combine the households and donate duplicates or if you can just buy new stuff together and donate both “olds.” 

2) Finances: We have always pretty much gone dutch. I know this will shock some people but when we married we didn’t combine incomes. Instead we got a card together. The household stuff goes on the card we pay it off evenly and then we are free to spend our money how we want. So many fights come down to money. Someone spends and the other doesn’t or one person knows where all the money is going and the other doesn’t. We have financial goals together, savings and a vision for our future. But, we also have debts before the relationship. Our way is a great way to have constant communication about what we are buying and why without anyone feeling like they have to ask permission. This may sounds quite unromantic and very business-y but as I mentioned we are both Entrepreneurs so doing business is kind of our thing, and also when it comes to doing business it’s not personal. The finance part of life isn’t personal. So no need to treat it like it is.

3) Time: We have nights that are guaranteed work/meet with other nights and nights we expect to be together. We share a calendar so we can easily put dates and events in our schedules which allows us to avoid double booking because one person forgot to add an event to their calendar. We also don’t assume the other is free. We ask each other what we are up to for the weekend ahead and schedule in at least one date night or more a week. This way it feels like we are still asking the other person out. It’s important to have time together but also to have time with our own friends or doing our own projects.

4) Delegating tasks: Who does what? Why? When? Well, I refuse to nag and I hate to ask more than once. We use Basecamp to assign todo’s, send info and have conversations about projects. This keeps them from getting lost in a slew of text messages. It also frees up our conversations to be about our day, goals and more without constantly going over what needs to be done. Imagine your messages just having emoji’s, I love you’s and have a nice day!

5) Love Languages: There is an easy, simple quiz online and single or in a relationship you must take it. Knowing how you give and receive love makes it easier for someone else to receive your love and give you love in your own language. My love languages are “words of affirmation” and “touch.” My husbands are “acts of service” and “touch.” When I surprise him with a pizza I am speaking his love language. When he leaves me a note on my coffee cup telling me something sweet he is speaking mine. When we speak our own language to each other we are able to translate that. All relationships require communication and vulnerability.

There are probably more points of contention in relationships I could talk about. But, I’ll save those for a different day. If you’re single, keep these in the back of your mind for the next relationship. If you’re in a relationship and struggling with one of these, try it out. Let me know how it goes. No two relationships are the same.

Finally, I ran into two girlfriends this past week. One who has been married 10 years and another 3. Both asked how married life was going. I said “absolutely amazing!” They responded “isn’t it! Don’t you just love being married?” So, nice to hear that I am not the only one. Which means everyone can have amazingness in their relationships whether they are single, dating, married or betrothed.

xx~LL

PS you can check out our wedding at APracticalWedding.com and listen to our Story as we just launched a podcast.

Ways I’m trying to quash my jealousy. 

Jealousy is an interesting feeling. It comes up suddenly and inspires all sorts of feelings: rage, disappointment, loneliness, insecurity, to mention a few. Jealousy is the really frustrated and angry feeling of desire or need for what someone else has. According to Psychology Today “jealousy can strike…when a third party threat to a valued relationship is perceived…”

Now, I don’t get jealous easily. Sure I’ve felt my share of envy: wanting a certain role now, or a new flute in high school, wanting the drive others have to make their careers work.  I am envious of many people, but very rarely jealous.  And although similar, they’re far from the same thing.  Lately, I’ve been suffering tremendously, painful jealousy.  One of my friends seems to spend so much time with another friend and it drives me crazy, nee insane. Al, my friend, seems to continually post on social media every time they hang out. They see each other multiple times a week. They’ve been on vacations together.  And with it in my face constantly, I find that I’m actually doubly jealous because I want a friend like that, and I want to be that to my friend.  I want that, but for some reason can’t have it.  And I don’t know why.


Jealousy is not a fun way to feel. It’s anger and neediness all rolled into one. According to Psychology Today, it’s a survival skill that arises when a relationship feels threatened.  And I guess that is where I am. It’s an odd feeling–I rarely feel threatened.  But for some reason, this friendship I do. I just can’t be all the things that this other friend is to Al.  And I don’t know why. Which makes me seem inferior and unworthy, which makes me jealous and depressed. And the cycle doesn’t stop.

Relationships are chemical. All relationships. Romantic or platonic, although we’re more forgiving in the platonic kind. However this chemical attraction is what keeps the relationship going. We have to work hard on all relationships. We have to come forward, or in my case, let others come forward and take ownership of the relationship as well.  When one person doesn’t seem to put forward as much as the other, it’s frustrating. And it gets worse when they put, what seems to be more effort, towards another person.

I’m jealous because I want to be everything, but I can’t. I want to be as important to Al as he is to me….and I want to believe I am, but for some reason I don’t trust the fact. I don’t expect any of my friends to solely focus on me. That would be narcissistic and boring. But at the same time, I’m jealous that my friend seems to spend a lot of time with another one of his friends.

In a conversation tonight with my friend Dee, a nail was hit on the head. Dee tossed the painful realization at me that I’m seeking to fill a void in my life and seeking to fill it with people who aren’t correctly suited to do so. Instead I need to find the strength within myself to be complete, and not wait around for my friend Al to come dashing to my side–because that has never happened, and probably won’t.


As I’m writing this, I’m babysitting and watching the end of Big Hero 6–the kiddos started it before they went to bed and it’s running in the background. And I do love this movie.  Sorry to ruin it for you, but in one of the final scenes Beta Max says to Hiro–who doesn’t want to leave him– “I will always be with you.”

The Universe always sends the message we need, doesn’t it??

Trust.  Trust is the antidote to jealousy.


I have to trust my friendship.  It is important.  My friend Al does make time for me and is happy to see me, but for some reason I forget that the moment I see a picture on social media.  I have to create a strong talisman against this jealousy. So what am I doing to make this better?

  1. Breathe.  Yeah… this is ALWAYS my first step–but its important to do.
  2. Get it out physically.  DON’T HURT ANYONE, but a nice jog or a hearty physical workout always helps get the emotions out of my body.
  3. Block social media.  I took a break from my friend.  I hid him for a couple of weeks.  If I want to text or call or email, I do.  But I’m taking a social media hiatus until I can handle it again.  (After all, social media isn’t real life.  Its what people want you to see.)
  4. Journal.  And blog.  And talk to friends.  Get it out–otherwise it festers.
  5. Rational conversation.  When I’m ready, I’m going to have a rational, unemotional conversation with my friend–I actually have had this conversation with him a few times.  Every time he always hugs me, tells me I’m silly because he loves spending time with me.
  6. Know your pressure points.  Like in step one, I know that social media pics and posts push me over the edge.  You can’t avoid the pressure points forever, but know when you are about to steer into a situation that might set you off, either mentally arm yourself, or know you’re about to snap, and try to restrain your feelings.

I would like to make clear that I’M NOT a psychologist or psychiatrist.  However I do know people, and I am trying to learn my own mind.  Jealousy is not an easy emotion to deal with, and I certainly haven’t mastered or overcome it yet.  I would love to discuss this with any of you!  Please leave comments or suggestions!!

–Clare

How to create more time in your day

There are few guarantees in life. But, the amount of time in a day, days in a week and months in a year are pretty much always the same. There are always 7 days in a week with 24 hours each day and 60 minutes in each hour. If you find yourself wishing you had more time in your day, then here we go!

Grab a piece of paper or print out a blank calendar.

First, sharpie in “sleep.” Sleep is incredibly important. It creates better productivity and is not optional. Ariana Huffington‘s latest book has 50+ pages of source notes to prove this.  Sharpie in bed times and wake-ups. Set a “sleep” alarm just like you set an “awake” alarm. Have it go off 30 minutes before so you begin to prepare for your rest.

Second, sharpie in your actual work hours. I have hours I teach, and hours I do my office work.

Third, sharpie in your “you” time. Note that this isn’t 3rd because I think it’s low on the totem pole of importance. Its only third because many of you don’t have flexibility in your work schedules.


Then add any and all the other commitments you have.  Kids, date night, book clubs, etc.

Grab a calculator. How many hours are you giving away to other things not your goals or desires?

That whole saying “actions speak louder than words” applies here! If you wish you were working out more, then you should commit more time in your calendar to that desire. No, you cannot take away from sleep. But, maybe you could not stay late at work two days a week and get moving. You may have a desire to spend more time with friends but you don’t want to miss out on something else. Invite your friend along. This will give you double accountability too.


The point is not to make you feel like you have to fill up every minute of every day. It’s more about having you get honest with where you are wasting precious minutes on things that are not in line with your desires and goals. I am often asked to meet someone for coffee. But, I really don’t have extra coffee time in my day. So, I try to invite them on a run, yoga or to another friends art opening. Then I can literally double dip on the minutes in my day. Wait!? Did I just create “more time?”

Lastly, I set an alarm in my calendar to look over the week ahead. Is there a client who is out? Did a meeting cancel? Do I have “extra” time this week? If so I take a look at the projects I want to get done, the list of things I wish I had time for and I plug them in. Or, I save that extra time to Netflix and chill. Because sometimes that’s perfect for hitting the desires of life.

Let us know what you find out about yourself in the comments here. Did you find “extra”  time in your schedule?

xx~LL

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Six Tips on Avoiding Singledom Despiration

“Mawidge. A bwessed awangement that bwings us togever todayy”…a very often quoted moment from A Princess Bride. Always cracks me up, but today, its making me wonder….Why isn’t it my time yet?

So, folks, I’m having an issue…well, it’s ongoing, so maybe it’s more of a subscription. “Oh dear god, when will the right man come along so I can have a partner in life, and get married?”  Sadly, this is such a common thought these days for many of us.  We think it as if our lives aren’t complete, or can’t begin until we are partnered.

Social media isn’t making it any easier, because it’s in our face immediately when people are experiencing joyful times. Friends who are getting married and having babies and getting new cats: I’m so happy for you. I’m jealous of you. My heart flips from joy to ache in about three seconds of reading your post or seeing your pictures. I’m flip-flopping from one way of dating to the next, this month is Tinder; last month was minor bar hopping.  Its not like I’m not trying.
The weird thing is, I’m feeling mildly desperate–yup, I’ll admit the desperation. I’m a strong, driven, beautiful woman. With tomorrow being my 37th birthday, I’m not feeling my biological clock tick. Instead I have this anticipation of my expiration date approaching–and there really is a difference. Its a need to start something, instead of needing to create offspring.  So, disclaimer: I’m not one of those who NEEDS to have kids. It’s a possibility, but not a burning desire. However, I’ve lived almost half my life now–that is assuming I’ll live into my 80s as most of my grandparents did, and the thought creeps in from time to time that it might be too late.  In my current sanity, and also my current “research” via my online profile tell me that it’s never too late. My mother was remarried at 36. My father remarried at 40 and at 51. Matches are out there.  But lately this sense of “too late” is in my brain.

But what is “too late”?  Really?  Medically, its not super safe to have kids after 45… but adoption is always a possibility.  I know friends who have gotten married for the first time in their 40s and 50s…  I know many people who are single and fabulous.  So, this encroaching deadline to get married and have kids, this feeling that the parade might have passed me by–it doesn’t mean shit.  Its all in my head.

I thought about this for a bit, and came up with a few thoughts about “life starting” and why it feels like we’re waiting for a partner before that happens.  These thoughts might be helpful to you, too.

  1. Life has already started.  Move forward, or sit and watch it go by, its your choice.  But I’m much more like Tris in the Divergent series–I’m gonna jump on that train–its scary, but its better then staying where I’m sitting.
  2. Your life is your life.  There may be rules.  There may be an order.  Yours may or may not follow exactly along the path of everyone else’s… If it was supposed to, we would all get the same education, we would all have the same job, we would all have the same thoughts.  You are different, and that’s ok.
  3. Embrace the difference.  Love who you are.  Be the best you that you can be.  Figure out yourself.  Love that about you.  You are an ever changing, evolving entity.  That is a beautiful thing.
  4. Know you have choices.  If you really really really really wanted to, you could have the thing you think you most desire.  But for some reason you’re choosing something else that is more important.  Like, I could have a family and a house–but those weren’t my focus.   Being an actress was.  So I chose that.  I gave that my focus.  I’m proud of that.
  5. Maybe what you most desire isn’t really what you most desire.  I thought about the house and the car and the husband and the babies.  But the sparkle of the theater just kept distracting me, and the rest got put on the back burner.  I REALLY want to be here, in New York, acting.  But it took me a little while to see that.  I thought I needed to be like “everyone else” and go the family route first.  But after a few years, I went the career direction on the Life board game first.  There are many gloomy days.  But there are more happy days.
  6. Focus on what makes you happy.  Without hurting others, what would you do if there were no limits?  Why aren’t you pursuing that?  Seriously–go!!  Now!

So here’s the thing… we’re rounding the corner once again into wedding and baby seasons… and no matter where you are on the scale of relationships and babies and generally being happy, the truth is, your life is the accumulation of all of the choices you have made.  I chose to be an actress.  I chose to move to New York.  I chose a hard career in an insane city.  I don’t have babies or a partner, but I have an AMAZING Urban Family.  I am a nanny to a young man who will never forget me.  I am an auntie to some adorable doggies.  I am an Urban Sister to some of the most amazing, talented, giving people.  And I am in a city that always has something intriguing to distract and divert attention.  There are so many reasons I’m just “not there;” just not on the same track as everyone else.  The irony is that currently I work for an event planner–so my life is filled with weddings!

Congratulations to all of my family and friends across the globe who have been getting married and having babies!  I really am so happy and proud for you. Really and truly.

For those of you who aren’t–listen, its just not time yet, or its not the plan for you.  If you need a little pick me up or a little help in the “everyone is getting married BUT me and I don’t know how to handle it” department, I wrote a blog on that last year.

Know that its all going to be ok.  Focus on what makes you happy.  Life is messy and full of choices, but its also great and silly and fun.  Ultimately, its all going to work out.  I promise.

–Clare

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Why not Fail?

I put out a lot of myself “out there.” I have blogposts for Live ClareLesley and As The Crows Fly (my hubby and I blog, too) For Profitable Pilates, my business I have “notes to inspire” that I send out each week to those who sign up. I rarely hear back from any of the subscribers. I wonder: Did they read them? Did they like it? Hello…is anyone out there?!

Sometimes doubt, or that little negative voice, will get in my head. “What’s the point? Why am I doing this?”  But then I remember a couple things.  One, Clare and I have always tried to remind ourselves that we write our blogs for the joy of doing it.  Two, as Brene Brown likes to say “what would you do whether you failed or not?”

Whether I fail or not? What does that mean?

You’ve probably seen a bumper sticker or heard “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” It’s something people use to help people set goals, find a new journey and get going on their life. But, the truth is even if you thought up what you could do without failing doesn’t mean you won’t.


Does that mean you won’t do that “it” if you could fail? Which makes me wonder why failing is getting such a bad rap?

Failure gives us one very important thing: FEEDBACK.  It tells you what’s working, what’s not working and maybe whether or not you keep going. Failure isn’t a period. It’s not “The End.” It’s simply an outcome. Truth is, failure might not even be a bad thing. Plenty of amazing inventions have come out of failure–Latisse came out of experiments to help baldness. Instead of helping hair grow it made eyelashes and eyebrows grow! So, was that a failure?


I was listening to Happier  a podcast with Gretchen Rubin and her sister. They were talking about wether something was bad or not. How do you know that “bad” thing was a bad thing? Maybe, in 5 years you’ll look back and be glad that “bad” thing happened. What we feel is failing might be the exact thing we need to get to where we are supposed to go!

Doing something because you have to is amazing. Writing a blog, going for a job interview, trying something new because it is inside you and you just have to get it out is worth it. I will continue to write wether anyone reads it or not. I will continue to create and put out what is begging to be created even if I am the only one who enjoys it. I will continue to continue!

  1. Do “it” because you want to: not because you think it will look good or maybe someone will like it. The “likes” are fleeting. Also, just because someone didn’t like, comment or applaud doesn’t mean they didn’t see it or care about it.
  2. Be authentic: if you are doing what makes you the best you, if you are staying on your true north, being your whole awesome self you literally cannot fail.
  3. Keep on Keeping on: once you go for “it” pat yourself on the back and continue your journey. Once you have done something there is another something in you waiting to be created.
  4. Put your blinders on: Often we feel pretty freaking great about ourselves and what we do until we do the comparison thing…remember that everything is not as it seems. Like a horse staying on it’s course, racing towards the finish line puts on his blinders so should we.
  5. Freedom: when it doesn’t matter what the outcome is you can really go for it! You can really leap. You may fall, miss the net but the more you leap the stronger you get at landing.

After writing this blog I received my latest analytics for Profitable Pilates. Just because I felt like I was hearing crickets doesn’t mean there weren’t crowds! My open rates and click rates are incredible as far as what is considered average. So, the reality is success comes in all forms. What feels like failure is simply feedback. What will I do next? Whatever is in me and it won’t matter if it’s a success or not because I simply must do it!

xx~LL

Six ways to find your inner strength

You know what is amazing? Strength. And even more amazing than the strength itself is finding it unexpectedly inside you.
Lesley and I have been “live blogging” our goal reports to you weekly. We were inspired to do this because we were commended by a few readers when we announced we met a goal, and we thought that it might be a fun journey for you to take with us…because although the achieving is great–the journey is always…interesting. Also, posting publicly our goals is not only a follow-able journey, but it keeps us honest and on top of things we deem important. Things we need to work on to make ourselves stronger.
One of mine is fitness. I believe I wrote in my original post in January that my fitness goal is to find something I stick with and will make a habit of, as I am one of those who will work out for a bit doing one thing and will get bored and will just stop doing it. I want something I can practice regularly and keep doing.


Among the three things that seem to have stuck are Sun Salutations. I started just doing 4-5 every morning. This in itself was a struggle for a few reasons:

I’m out of shape and my upper body strength sucks

I’ve never been good at Downward Facing Dog

I LOVE waking up slowly: having a cup of coffee and just sitting for an hour or more in the morning.

If I’m working, I set my alarm until the last possible moment I can so I get all the sleep I want.
This was the beauty of sun salutations. A few can take as little or as long as I want. If I want to, I can do them quickly while my coffee is brewing and they don’t take any of my precious “Me” morning time, or my getting ready for work. Contrarily, if I want a more intense workout, I can stretch longer and deeper.


Now, any of you who have taken yoga know that Sun Salutations can take on many forms, with different poses in between. I generally have a plank pose in the middle of mine (prayer pose, down into a bend, lunge one leg back then the other to meet and go into plank, then lower down before pushing up into cobra or up dog, then push back into down dog, then waddle my way forward into half bend, then up into prayer pose. Repeat).
Back in college I took a few semesters of yoga, and I remember being extremely proud of my pectorals (aka, I had perky boobs and they were even better with strong muscles underneath-hey, I never said I wasn’t vain!) and loved yoga because of this. I also loved yoga because I could do it. I’m tall and strong, but wasn’t physically fit. And I loved that I could do yoga, be challenged, and was getting stronger without too much sweat or pain.
I chose to dive back into yoga this year, at least minimally because it works with my schedule and I can be the master of my own workout. I can go at my own pace–whatever that is that morning. And I can work as hard as I want to.


Again, my goal this year was to find something I would stick with. An addition to walking my 3 mile average that I walk daily in NYC. Something a little extra that I would want to do and can keep up with regularly. Losing weight and health and gaining muscle, blah blah are great–but my ultimate goal is to find something I’ll stick to. Something I won’t cringe at doing. Something I’ll just DO. So my body doesn’t go into rigarmortis before I die.
And it’s working. I’m doing 5-8 sun salutations in the morning. I aim for 8, but if I’m not feeling it when I first start, I do what I can and come back to them later. When I first started doing them, my body was like: “GURRRRRL. What do you think you’re doing?!?” But this morning, I found myself holding plank for 10 seconds each time without shaking arms, and holding down dog without wanting to cry–something that even at the peak of my previous yoga tenure, seemed to happen regularly. In other words, this morning I found myself stronger.
After only practicing a minimal amount daily, I’ve gained strength. My practice is maybe 10 minutes. I don’t really push myself. I don’t strain or hurt. Which is good because a lot of times I’ve stopped whatever workout because it hurts or I’m tired. And then I get out of the habit.

This may not be a surprise to a lot of you, but the secrets to getting stronger are:

1. Do something you can do regularly if not daily. If you can fit it in your schedule, you’ll keep doing it. Gretchen Rubin says in her book about habits is that it is easier to keep doing a habit then it is to not do it. So to quote the famous Nike ad campaign: just do it.

2. Find accountability–I think what gets me through the hump is that I blog about my progress weekly. I know people will read or will ask and therefore I am more willing to commit and stay accountable.

3. Make it convenient–I do my yoga in my living room while the coffee is brewing. Practice instead of staring at the percolation process pushes me to do it and get through it. I also like the challenge and the blood pumping!


4. Go at your pace–I know I like to feel successful about working out, so I start low and when I get confident I add more. I started with 5 sun salutations every day. I’ve added three more, and spend more time in each pose. Some days I add push-ups or add a Warrior or Triangle pose. When I feel good, I want to keep going. You could be the opposite–and that is fine. Do that. Go your own pace. No one else’s.

5. Know your goal. Maybe this should be first, but know what you want out of your pursuit. I would love to be skinny, but I know that “thin” isn’t a strong enough motivator for me. There are just too many amazing things to eat and too many things I would rather do than exercise. Therefore a “health” or anti-stagnant goal is great for me. Know what you really want so you can know what your focus is.

6. Don’t expect results or be upset if they don’t come right away–results will come, don’t get me wrong. But it might come in different forms. I lose weight in the three places I feel fattest in, last. And it never fails that I always feel larger/fatter within 3-5 weeks of working out. It just happens. Part of it is because I’m looking more closely. Part of it is because I’m expecting my body to lose weight. When I don’t expect my body to do things, it shows me results. Like being stronger.


Knowing these things will help you focus on creating and sticking with a habit that will eventually grant you the strength you slowly will work up to. You’ll get there!

–Clare

Fall in LOVE with the Messy Middle

I’m in the freaking MIDDLE! Ok, maybe I need to explain. There is an artist Dallas Clayton that has a painting and it says “The Beginning” then it says over and over again “The middle, the middle, the middle, the middle….”

The middle is can be the worst. In a movie we love the middle. It’s the part where the story is. Take the movie Serendipity. The beginning these two strangers meet. They have this wonderful moment. Then they leave their relationship future up to chance, serendipity. The middle of the movie, is approximately an hour is spent with them almost crossing paths over many years. The audience, during the middle is falling in love with the idea of John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale being a couple and we just can’t wait to see how on earth will these two find each other. Then the end comes. Spoiler alert: they find each other. That’s it! That’s all you get. Why?

Because the middle is where the story IS. The middle is messy and we just want someone to show us the way out. This messy middle rears it’s ugly head not only in love but in life, and business, too.


In a relationship, the messy middle is after the first date (or dates). It’s when you know you’ve got feeling but you don’t know what they other person is thinking. You don’t know what’s going to happen next. You want this crystal ball to just appear and tell you “Yes, you will” or “No, you won’t end up together.” I mean, that would be great. But then what? What experiences would you have that you could later in life work from?

In life, it can be after you make the decision to start on new health regime. You bought all the good foods. You put your workouts in your schedule. You’re doing it. But, when will you see changes? When will it be: 6 months from now?

I have been struggling with stomach issues for 7 years. Not everyday. There were times when doctors made adjustments and things got better. But the last 2 years have been worse than the first two of those 7. I have eliminated so much and tried this cleanse, that diet, no protein at night, no protein, only protein. I mean I have tried it all. I have several doctor appointments on the horizon and on am on a stomach reset now. The stomach reset I am on now has helped immensely. The first 3 days I wanted to quit every meal. It was so so SOOO hard. I mean I had to give up sugar AND coffee. My two favorite things in life.  But, this middle when would it end? Where am I headed?

In business, the middle can really take you down. It can cause you to question where you are going.  Why are you even doing this?  Can’t you just fast forward to when you are at your dream job?  Nope, you can’t. Because if you could, you wouldn’t like it. “Easy” sounds good, but it tastes bland. Not even Vanilla. Just, flavorless.

So, what do you do with all of this? What’s up with this messy middle? Well you can avoid it all together and do the same things you have always done. knowing  you’ll get what you have always got. Or, you can stick with it. You can just fall in love with the mess of the middle. Why? because when you are in the middle it means you are headed towards something great!

Remember that meme that was going around “This is amazing. I am amazing. This is sh*t. I am sh*t. This is amazing!” It’s the true process. The beginning gets you excited. Pulls you in. The middle can challenge your strength, drive and will. But, that minute at the “end” will be worth all of it because it’ll be YOU!

What “middle” are you in right now? I want to hear it!

xx~LL

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