Archive for June, 2008

The Bachelorette, Relationships, and Risk

So I have to admit that I am a little bit obsessed with The Bachelorette this season.  I fell into it, I like to think, accidentally when I was on the road so often with Hijas last fall and watched week after week of Brad Womack as The Batchelor in hotel rooms across America.  I watched it like I watch scary movies, a grimace across my mouth, my hand guarding my face while trying to take in every last bit that I could see between my fingers.  In the end, Brad Womack DID THE UNTHINKABLE in reality tv parlance.  He let both girls go.  And one of those women is this season’s Bachelorette so I just had to catch what happens next for her.  Does she find her husband like she wants?  Will they really stay together after the last rose ceremony?  Will they get hitched– and join America’s favorite reality tv family– Trista and Ryan from the first Bachelorette- in forver bliss?     

And just in case we are wondering why more reality tv romances don’t work out, a study in Communication Reports reveals that people who are concerned about their image are less happy in their relationships.  I am sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that fixating on the impressions one is making keeps you from revealing who you truly are- thus leading to a superficial relationship.  We can all see how that plays out on national television, but it almost becomes, I bet, a chicken and the egg phemomenon in everyday life– if I could just know this was the real thing, I would show him/her who I really am.  But you can’t have the confidence of knowing that you are in the midst of what could be the real thing without taking a risk in the first place.  


June 30, 2008 at 7:49 pm Leave a comment

15 and a sex educator

I just came across this article in the LA Times about a 15 year old girl who feels her mission in life is to educate her peers about making wise decisions regarding their bodies, their health, and their sexuality.  I love seeing young women empowered already with a mission– especially a mission as important as this one. 

June 26, 2008 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

Cruz Avenue

At my Bronx reading a couple weeks ago, one of the women who participated in the research for Hijas Americanas attended wearing beautiful, eye-catching jewelry. Turns out she has launched a jewelry company, Cruz Avenue, inspired by her Latin American heritage.  The jewelry itself is one way that she is deliberately embracing her culture, and I just loved that expression.  The pieces are hand-made, and the materials are acquired from Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico.  I thought some of you might be interested in knowing about her work so I asked her to share some photos of her work with me.  You can learn more about the designs and designer at the Facebook page for Cruz Avenue or by emailing

June 25, 2008 at 9:08 am 3 comments

a collage, courtesy of Flick’r

I saw this great blog meme on Fighting Windmills and had to do it. 

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, and pick one image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is currently your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. What is one word that describes you?
12. What is your flickr name?
These photographers deserve credit for their photos:

And bravo! to these fabulous photographers:

1. Rosie   2. home cooking  3. Watering the Wall of Indifference   4.  Attitude

5.  Liberation  6.  Classic  7.  Rossbeigh Long Exposure    8.  Cow Cupcakes

9.  Torch Song  10. Fire Shot    11.  Dawn Passion    12.  Untitled  

June 24, 2008 at 5:28 pm 4 comments

Sex and The City: The Movie Reviews

We don’t have HBO and so I missed the television movement that was Sex and the City.  But because it was a movement, I can’t help but know who Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha, and Big are.  I even knew about Aidan.  And the dancer.  And about Manolos and the nameplate necklace and you get the picture.  So when the frenzy started about SATC:  The Movie, I couldn’t help but tune in to the dialogue about it.  Did it do the characters justice seemed to be a common thread of the conversations and, more globally, did it do women justice?  Rapt by the dialogue, I asked a handful of women to share their throughts here.  Below, you’ll find three reviews that show the range of reaction (read only at your own risk if you are spoiler adverse).  Feel free to join the dialogue! 


June 23, 2008 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

I believe that every life is worth stopping for

A few weeks ago, I told you all about the book This I Believe which is based on the National Public Radio series of the same name where Americans from all walks of life- famous and not so- read an essay over the radio that completes the thought that begin’s the book’s title.  The essays are very brief capsules of a life that uniquely capture the essence of our lives…

From Sarah Adams:   If I have one operating philosophy about life, it is this: Be cool to the pizza delivery dude; it’s good luck.   

From Eve Ensler:  I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. 

From Rick Moody:  I believe in the absolute and unlimited liberty of reading. 

From Victor Hanson:  I believe we are not alone. 

From Brian Grazer:  I believe in disrupting my comfort zone. 

From Martha Graham:  I belive that we learn by practice. 

From Cecile Gilmer:  I believe that families are not only blood relatives but sometimes just people that show up and love you when no one else will.

From Deirdre Sullivan:  I believe in always going to the funeral.

I mentioned the book because I was about to teach a workshop for a group of Davidson alumni who were doing a four day retreat that revolved around this very book, this very premise of articulating what one believes.  My job was to lead them to the water of their belief statements.  To help them grab on to which story and belief they would share and then begin the drafting of that belief statement. 

Their statements were remarkable– so much so, that I remember many still now: 

I believe in the power of a Christmas carol.  

I believe in the backyard garden. 

This I believe… Nerds Rule. 

I believe in the power of the underdog. 

I believe in listening. 

In preparing for the workshop, I toyed around with many of my own beliefs, reducing them to the one sentence soundbite that might later lead to my own individual belief statements about each. 

Here are some of mine:

I believe in the power of voice. 

I believe that exposure changes everything.

I believe that a little cupcake goes a long way. 

I believe that our passion is our purpose. 

I believe that powerful learning happens with an emotional connection. 

I believe that life keeps handing us the lesson we need to learn until we learn it. 

I believe that even when you don’t know what to say, you show up. 

This past week was both breathtaking and heartbreaking.  As it has always been, seeing my dear friend and her family filled my well.  But grieving the impossible loss of my friend’s father, a man who so many respected and loved, is the kind of thing that will split you open.  As her brother said in his eulogy, he would take this grief any day over not having ever known this man, his father.  When we left the church, the procession streamed out onto the Mississippi streets, winding miles and miles out to farm land, and I was reminded about a beautiful custom that still happens in some smaller Southern towns (maybe it happens elsewhere, too– I’ve only seen it in Vicksburg, Mississippi and Charleston, South Carolina).  Every car on the street pulled over and stopped for the duration of this incredibly long processional.  People on sidewalks took off their hats, covered their hearts.  No one looked impatient.  Not one person was on a cell phone as I drove by.  They were people of all ages, all cultures, stopped.  I wondered for a moment if I would have known at 16 to pull over and show this amount of respect– the way I saw one shirtless teenage boy do in his pickup truck.  For miles, we drove by stopped car after stopped car.  After having spent the entire day before with the dozens and dozens of family members who were tenderly holding each other in so much love, after watching a visitation line wind through the church with people who waited three hours to tell the family what this man had meant to them, after one of the most lovely celebrations of life that was the memorial service, after all of this, riding down that long road with every car pulled over, every walking person halted, every police officer stopping traffic with his hand over his heart, I was so very humbled by the magnitude of what his life meant and also by the magnitude of what every one of our lives really means.  In that spirit, I add one more statement to my list: 

I believe that every life is worth stopping for.     




June 23, 2008 at 11:47 am 5 comments

technology hiccup

So I set up posts to be published everyday while I was away but I just realized that it was a fruitless endeavor because none of them published. I promise all new posts next week- sorry for the curveball!

June 20, 2008 at 5:10 pm Leave a comment

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In a Bookstore Near You

What does it mean to be beautiful in America? For years, pop culture has insisted that beautiful women are tall, thin, and blonde. So what do you do if your mirror reflects olive skin, raven hair, and a short build? Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina offers a provocative account of the struggles and triumphs of Latina forced to reconcile these conflicting realities. Rosie Molinary combines her own experience with the voices of hundreds of Latinas who grew up in the US navigating issues of gender, image, and sexuality. This empathetic ethnography exemplifies the ways in which our experiences are both profoundly individualistic and comfortingly universal.
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