The Best Unexpected

Inspiration, laughter, and a tiny cheese obsession.

Try by Colbie Caillat

July 29, 2014

This song and video have been in my heart today.  As someone who works in the film and beauty industry, I have to fight to remind myself that the standards of beauty in the media do not define me.  It is so easy to fall into the rabbit hole of self doubt, self sabotage and criticism.  Who among us hasn’t felt defeated when the extra 10 pounds won’t come off, or you get that dreaded pimple.  It is heartbreaking to feel that you are good enough.  I struggled with it for years.  My insecurities started to hurt my relationships, and my confidence.  How could I be comfortable in front of a camera if I felt like a troll? How could I be romantic with my Mike if I couldn’t feel sexy? So, last year I decided to do something drastic…I threw out my scale, and took down my full length mirrors.  It may sound crazy, but it worked.  I stopped judging myself.  I stopped spending time picking apart my body, or hating my outfits.  It is still a journey.  The work of self acceptance will be a long road.  But, we all need to try to love ourselves more.  It is a battle, I know.  Be strong…. and TRY.

Colbie Caillat- Try

Put your make-up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim so they like you, do they like you?

Get your sexy on
Don’t be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong, so they like you
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try

Get your shopping on, at the mall, max your credit cards
You don’t have to choose, buy it all, so they like you
Do they like you?

Wait a second,
Why, should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you?
Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try, try, try, try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try

Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you Continue Reading

It is not about the weight….

July 22, 2014


For the past few months I have transformed.  Shedding my skin in tiny, cleansing ways.  At first, it was about losing weight, and fitting into a pair of jeans that didn’t have elastic on the waist (yes, I owned those. Don’t judge!).  But, for the past month my transformation has become more than just my jean size.  I have started to care for myself again.  I have been able to look in the mirror and smirk back at my reflection.  When someone has said I look good, I have said “thank you” instead of making a crack about my appearance.  I have finally began to enjoy all my wobbly bits and jiggly parts…because they are apart of me.  Because hating my body, and hiding myself under baggy clothes was exhausting.  There is such a tremendous amount of joy that comes with being comfortable in your own skin.  What a profound lesson….I have begun to love myself.  Who knew?! When I mentioned to my best friend that I wore a bikini the other week and was looking forward to the beach this summer, she seemed shocked and huffed “but you never do that. you hate that”.  She was right, the thought of being in front of others in a bikini or shorts used to terrify me.   So, you may ask, what has changed?  Well, here is the answer…I no longer base my self-acceptance on anyone else.  After so much loss, I refuse to lose any more memories or potential adventures because I am afraid of a strangers glare or condemnation.  One of my current mantras is: “Not my circus. Not my monkeys”.  Meaning, the craziness and mindless judgements of the crowd is not my problem.

This past week I got to enjoy the company of women who adored themselves, and joyfully embraced their muffin tops, and mommy bodies.  It was an amazing.  They were more focused on being good mothers, and honoring their friendships, rather than berating themselves over the extra 10 pounds or lack of perfect wardrobe. I had the honor of sitting with one of my closest friends, and basked in the glow of her newfound mommydom.  She shared with me how she too is transitioning and realised that she is a bit “hippie”.  She has never been more beautiful to me.  Her complete contentment with her choices, and her path was…for lack of a better word….completely awesome.  Then, there was another mother who laughed about her muffin top, and calmly stated that she “had better things to do than worry about my belly.  My husband thinks I am hot, so who else am I worried about”.  What a blazingly good statement!  And why has it taken me 36 years to love my belly? Well, ok… I may not completely love my belly….but I am trying.  We need to start treating eachother with respect, and stop the self hatred.  Maybe if we started telling ourselves “I am beautiful, I am funny, and freaking fantastic”  instead of “I am fat, I am lazy, and I am miserable” than things would change.  I know things have changed for me.  I may not look the best in shorts, but I am happy to stop hiding under my extra large sundresses.

So, this summer I will be at the beach in a bathing suit with my belly and my fair skin on full display…. and I can guarantee you I will be having a blast.   Continue Reading

“We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us-that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect”.

Growing up and Moving Forward

July 11, 2014



Here is the rub…no matter how much you love someone, you can not force them to try. You can not force them to move forward toward healing or helping themselves.  It the most blindingly frustrating thing.  So frustrating that it hurts.  Standing by the sidelines and watching someone continue to hurt themselves emotionally, spiritually, or even physically is a drain on your soul. You want to force them to care; to take their vitamins, drink green juices, practice the downward dog, go to therapy, and be willing to move forward with their life.  You want to get down on your hands and knees and plead.  Plead that they will stop.  Stop being indignant, depressed, reactive, angry, and stubborn.  You want to plead with them to try.  No more excuses. Get their ass up and do something!  Anything……please.

The reason I haven’t written much is because my heart and mind have been focused elsewhere.  I have watched a few of the people I love take nose dives into a space where I can’t reach them.  I know that I can’t help, because I too, have been in that black hole before.  I know that nobody could have helped me during my grief, and I now see how much it must have hurt those around me.  The truth is that you can’t force anyone to care.  They have to find that within themselves.  You can give advice, and plead for them to be open… but you can bet that same advice will fall upon deaf, or defensive ears.  Sometimes, your pleads for them to change will only sound like pompous berating.  When the person you love is hurting, the last thing they want to talk about is yoga or therapy.

What happens when this intersects with your own personal moments of trying to heal? Do you have to crawl back into the darkness?  This year I have grown significantly, and find peace in working to get healthier (both physically, and mentally).  Yet, I have had a hard time sharing these moments with the people closest to me.  I have been silent about my accomplishments, and they are just that….accomplishments.  It took every ounce of courage inside me to shed my old habits and skin.  To let go of the bad eating, the negative self talk, the fear of abandonment, and the grief that had surrounded me like a warm blanket.  I know how much easier it is to give in, and say “I can’t do anything about it. You don’t understand”.  Defensive tactics at best.  I work on trying to heal those old wounds every day.  Getting my 36-year-old self to an exercise class is reason for a parade! Learning to practice gratitude and patience, even when my go-to response is an anxiety attack….I think that deserves a happy dance!  Everyday I choose happiness and my health is an accomplishment.  It is a choice.  It is a choice I am making to survive.

But, how do you continue to love friends and family, as they stay stagnant and you are desperate to move forward?  Trying to break patterns, and find new ways to communicate is the only way.  It hurts.  It takes time, and is not guaranteed.  These are my struggles my friends.  How do you take care of yourself without causing a great divide between those closest to you?   Continue Reading

Learning Patience

June 12, 2014


For the past two weeks I have helped take care of my father as he recovers from knee replacement surgery (yes, the Farrell clan has had a crazy, surgery filled year!). During the time, life and business was put on the back burner, and my usual frantic “check off the to-do list” self was forced to take a breather. I had hoped to hit the ground running after my own recovery….but, life always has other plans.

I have realised that sometimes my biggest mistake is tackling  too many things at once, and then feeling defeated if I don’t accomplish everything in the time frame I allotted myself.  This new obsession with making every day a race of rapid productivity is exhausting.  The thing that I have fought with the most is the feeling that days are wasted if I am not accomplishing every little damn thing on my list.  Well hooey!  Why can’t I be proud of myself if I am able to check off one or two things on the list?!

The thing I have tried to practice these past few weeks is patience. With myself. With my family. With my career.  It will all fall into place….somehow.  It always does.  Last week I was able to listen to a conversation with Marlo Thomas, and her advice has repeated in my head all week.  Let me share some of these amazing morsels of wisdom:

“Everyday do one small thing to get you closer to your dream. Dream big but start small to avoid burnout”

“I take my confidence from working with what I have right now, not what I used to have”

“Put those words into your vocabulary….I need, I want, I love it, I insist. You have every right to your dream”

So, this week I have tried to focus on the tiny accomplishments.  Emails answered? Check!  Dishes done? Check! Articles finished? Check!

I am trying not to gloss over the little things that create the day. In truth, we should be proud of the little everyday accomplishments, as they are just as important as the big shiny goals.  Dreams and goals take time.  The tortoise wins the race, right?   So, this week let’s try to be patient with ourselves. Let’s try to give cheers for the baby steps and tiny victories. They are what create the journey.

Continue Reading

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”
Maya Angelou

Still I Rise

May 28, 2014

When I woke up this morning and heard the news of Maya Angelou’s passing, my heart dropped. My mother has been reading her poetry to me since I was a young girl, and like so many others, her words had a tremendous influence on my life. I still recite her wisdom in my subconscious on a daily basis. “When some one shows you who they are, believe them”, or ” You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’
Today I am grateful for her life, her wisdom, and the warmth and strength her words brought to me during so many hard times.

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise”

Maya Angelou
Continue Reading

Setbacks and Babysteps

May 23, 2014

smallsteps It has been almost a month. It has seemed like a decade. I wish I could gush about how easy the recovery has been, and how I have bounced back with ease.  But, that would be a ridiculous exaggeration.  In truth, it has been a very slow climb back to feeling healthy, or even somewhat normal.  The surgery and its intensity was abit more than my body could stand.  So, like any good obstacle, I was thrown against some very sharp setbacks.

  •  First, there was the infection at all four incision sites. This caused four days of “I want to rip my skin off” itching.  Mike threatened to tape  pot holders to my hands to keep me from scratching.  I begged to be knocked out.  The moment of true desperation occurred when Mike went to hug me, and I tried to rub up against him like a rabid dog to relieve the itching. Ahh….a moment for the scrapbooks!
  • Than, there was the double dose of hard core antibiotics that threw my belly into a permanent state of nausea.  Even the look of food sent me into a queasy state of misery.  Silver lining….10 pounds lost.
  • And last, but never least, the aching and often excruciating pain from the surgery.  Or, as my doctors like to say “Your body is just putting itself back together.  Give it time, and take some Percocet”.    Thanks.

Patience is not my strong point, and this has been the ultimate test.  Yet, I am so glad that I can sit here, 5 weeks later, and say that I am slowly but surely finding my way back.  I started work again this week, and the time off has given me a new verve that I was missing.  Ideas are flying out of me, and I feel hope again.  Hope.  I feel hope.

One of the things that I have always valued most about myself is my perseverance.  I keep trying. I keep fighting. I look a failure in the face and say “Thank you for playing. Now we move on”.   Yet, this past month has tested every ounce of my fight.  The nausea, the pain, and the exhaustion have at times become the monster I couldn’t fight.  Until last week.  May 16th.  The anniversary of my daughters passing.  I was reminded that I had fought the biggest monster of them all.  I had survived my daughter, and grown from it.  She inspired me.  She taught me what it meant to be a woman, and to be a partner.  Mike and I are here together, loving eachother.  Three years later I am still here.  Three years later and I love the life I have built.  I battled the biggest monster of my life and won.  So, these setbacks?  Yeah, I got this.

I have overcome, and will continue to overcome.  Stronger. Wiser. Braver.

And, 10 pounds lighter……