Monday, November 22, 2010

Wanna talk about wine? Me too.

Last night my husband and I joined some friends for a sunset glass of wine and some appetizers, (John the cream cheese stuffed red peppers drizzled with honey were mouth watering!). Sure, it's November but that's the beauty of fall in Charlotte and we took advantage of the warm evening with pleasure.

One of the wines we enjoyed was Raffaldini's, Oenotria. A deep, flavorful red wine whose title blends a viniferous prefix and a little "ia" at the end to say "ciao!" to the Italian roots of the wine maker.

What made the evening even more conversationally fertile is the fact that we were a part of Raffalldini's Bella Blending last year, where yet unnamed wine blends are born. It seemed to be as natural to talk about that event as it would be to reminisce about going to a wedding, or graduation or birthday. It was a philosophical, human conversation provided by the proverbial grape and brought to bear by the hands that turned it into magic juice.

My point is a simple one. We were connected by friendship but also by the wine. It is as though a good glass of wine is the extra person at the table, displaying traits worth discussing, color, structure and flavors worth remarking and a story worth retelling. It's a simple metaphor; wine brings people together. But it is a sentinel to a core human exchange that is repeated thousands of times a day by wine lovers everywhere.

Indeed, the opportunity to pop a cork, slice bread and partake under the moon with friends is and always will be one of my favorite subjects.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gratitude or Platitudes, What's for dinner this Thanksgiving?

plat•i•tude – noun / 1. A flat, dull, or trite remark, esp. one uttered as if it were fresh or profound.

My turkey roaster has surely been one of the best things I ever purchased. It allows my plump bird to roast and simmer in an out of the way place and it still fills my home with the smell of herbs and butter and the promise of silky gravy. I AM grateful for that, nothing trite about it.

But, I am not without guile. I have other things on my mind, namely that Thanksgiving has come too soon and requires energy I once again find in short supply.

Because this is an American holiday, unifying faiths and backgrounds, it seems only natural that we would discard our feelings of un-fairness, and let the rolls rise, the cranberries pop and the yams, well yam, in peace. Instead I feel the tug of another holiday season bearing down on me. Maybe you do as well.

If you're finding that your gratitudes are turning into platitudes, maybe you need some girl time with Networking, Women and Wine to help you refuel and retool before the 25th and the barrage of family and food.

Hope top see you November 10th at D'vine Wine for Thanksgiving Wines, Authentic Connections and 5 tips to help you create a WOW table for less!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Changes mean a new beginning for Networking, Women and Wine

Many things have changed for the group this last month and one item in particular that we want to share with you. My partner, Carmen Hunter has taken a position in Asheville and will be moving to the mountains. We wish her luck, health and happiness in her new venture! This photo is of Carmen and her husband John in Italy doing what we love: drinking wine!

As far as the future of our chapter, I have chosen to continue our group here in Charlotte because I am passionate about the kind of connections women know how to make and I feel it’s valuable to have a platform for growth, safety and connection. You will still have a monthly venue for wine tasting with us in a safe, nurturing environment and we hope you will invite your friends and help us grow.

Thank you for your loyalty for the last 2 and a half years and keep in touch to find out about more events and exciting opportunities with Networking, Women and Wine!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bring on the Rain

Summer, the season of heat, warmth and the buzzing sound of life. We bask in the sun, turning our faces upward with grateful smiles and outstretched arms. It always seems everything is possible with sunshine!

From time to time, we are blessed with a welcome rainstorm in here Charlotte. It starts with a small rumble in the distance as the silver gray clouds gather in silent formation creating a heavenly border around us soon to offer a cooling shower.

It has been a long time since I've stood outside during a rainstorm, smelling the earth as it soaks up moisture and feeling the drops tickle my face. I watch from inside and admire the deluge as it washes away dust, haze and fallen petals often detached. But maybe I shouldn't be.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every time we were "interrupted" with our goals and tasks, by the "rain of unexpected events," that we could be grateful for the moments of repose and use them to see that good and bad exist together for our edification and joy? BELIEVE IT!!!

JoDee Messina has a wonderful song that I love called, "Bring On The Rain." The words, "Tomorrow's another day, and I'm thirsty anyway, so bring on the rain!" are so inspiring! It's a way to make sure that beliefs are not derailed by interruptions which are simply another lesson is being offered.

July is a month where beliefs are celebrated. Do you believe in your own success? Do you believe that your heart can guide you to what you're meant to do? Do you believe that good is all around us, even when it rains sorrow or hardship?

Believe can.

RSVP now for Networking, Women and Wine on Wednesday the 28th!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Mother Dimension

There is the earth and sky, water and wind, and all other manner of forces that bind us together. Then, there is another dimension which can only be described as the Mother Dimension. If you have a mother or are a mother, you know what I mean. (This should include all of you, unless there’s something you need to share about which planet you’re from?)

I will attempt to define this portion of our being, this suspension between and above all other physical laws. It is indeed a place that has power over us like nothing can. Wherever we are on its bandwidth, either young or old, we are most likely experiencing angst or confusion or pressure about the fact that MOTHER is a very complicated word.

We begin by sharing the body, the fluid, the emotion and soul’s energy of our mothers, as we grow from the miracle of cells bathed in warm, life giving liquid, to that of a girl born into a world of cold, light and noise. We are tethered to our mother’s hopes, her fears, her courage and the pain of birth. We fight with her, cling to her, bargain with her and protect her, and yet we also flee from her. It is with one look or casual word from her, which either brings back the demons of a childhood gone awry or an adolescence nurtured through wisdom and patience. Let’s be honest, we have all experienced both.

We look at the outline of her face, tracing curiously a jaw line, a handprint, or a slumped shoulder that resembles our own to find meaning in our own biology. In a way, it is the closest of relationships and yet the one that must be severed in order to become individuals. The insidious poison inherent in apron strings once severed, can feed our maturity. Yet when we have children of our own, we reconnect ourselves to the Mother Dimension putting us on another course of mystery.

This is a heavy way to define mothers, but I find that all of the poetic quotes, stories and bouquets that flow in and around us this time of year, do not describe the intensity with which we manage and balance our life with and as mothers. It is a subject that we must explore and resolve, celebrate and repent from and use to build a lifeline with our inner selves. It is the key to resolving who we want to be and who we may have already become.

On May 26th,Networking, Women and Wine will sponsor and share some ideas about how to , 1. Survive being a mother, 2. Survive having a mother and 3. Reconciling the two. We will do it over a glass of wine, a hug and a smile, a gathering of women nurturing each other’s noble traits. JOIN US!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Your blooms are beautiful and valuable and unique!

I opened my blinds this morning to smell the clean air, and examine the pools of yellow water gather in my planters and the cushions of my outdoor chairs.  Beyond my patio the dogwoods are in full bloom. The forest floor, so exposed and barren only a few weeks ago, is alive with ferns, tree shoots, and the freshly dug holes by foraging deer.

I would like to have rushed the process. Winter affects me severely as I age, the darkness played havoc with my moods. In my mind, I pushed nature intentionally to begin her green parade. I wanted to hear the hearty croaking of tree frogs and watch fireflies weave through the branches like children playing hide and seek. I was certainly ready for spring before she was ready to arrive.

As we all know, nature obeys only her laws. When it is all said and done, there is luxury in her rhythms and her majesty. Her cycle of life is sure and predictable and her language is spoken with wind and warmth. However, each species is also individual and they dance to their own earthly music. There is no peer pressure for the trees that have yet to push out their adolescent blooms, no disapproving glances shot towards the river birch that has been showing off before any of her neighbors. Branches do not question their own worth. With thin, green fingers they reach as high as possible to gather the sun’s golden rays while creeping-roots extend and stretch through the loam for the secret rivers of moisture and nutrients.

What can we learn from this? First, the self worth of nature is sure and vibrant and graceful. Attaining wealth or status is moot. The cells are programmed already to flourish and survive without looking over their bark-covered shoulders to see if another tree is gaining on them. Not one umbrella of foliage worries it has come to the party with the wrong pedigree.

As we seek to balance our financial worth and our self worth, interrupted indeed by April’s forced contributions to Uncle Sam, we might retreat back into a sense of feeling stunted and limited. We may be frustrated about our lack of ability to show off our success because our plumes are thin and withered.

I challenge each of you to look deep inside and consider what it means to flourish, and to see that you deserve to stand tall. I want you to hold your posture high and know that your blossoms are beautiful and personal and spectacular! Your worth is about your uniqueness. Stretch high and reach for the sun and keep your feet anchored to a foundation of principals, and a love of life.

In April, Networking, Women and Wine will address these feelings. We will offer wisdom about ways to balance wealth and self worth. We’ll offer strategies for saving money but also thoughts about being generous with the things that cannot be counted or compared.

Don’t miss this chance to embrace the value of you!

Monday, March 29, 2010

A safe place to be with women is Networking, Women and Wine!

Atlanta, Georgia is a fascinating city of old and new, youth and history, wealth and poverty. I spent the weekend in this city of Tara and sweet tea to relax, eat and laugh. Buckhead, our destination, is especially intriguing. The buildings are like fashion models dressed in the latest and most bizarre designs. They tower above the landscape, vying for your attention and the ‘wow’ you cannot help but utter when you see them. Colored glass, curving metal, angled windows, twisting corners; the variations are endless!

One cannot view this strutting display of architectural daring without thinking about the social scene within most women’s circles. Each enters the room adorned more brightly than the last. As women, we know that we will be inspected and reviewed, head to toe, by all the other women in the room. Compared, cataloged and then judged we will break up into groups wherein we feel comfort or an ability to blend in. Those who don’t will spend the evening either trying to break in, or feeling more desperate than before.

All men know women dress for women. Pocketbooks are not for comfort, they are for scale and show. Shoes are not for walking, they present that last bright exclamation of awe, and hair is certainly the crown of our ensemble. But consider this thought, even though the idea is to stand out; our natural chemistry as women is to find consensus, equality, and safety. Our hormonal balance is at its most efficient when we are comforting each other. So why do our actions seem to be in opposition to our true, inner needs?

Networking, Women and Wine speaks a lot of about ‘filling the vessel.’ What we mean is that all strength, all value and all growth comes from having balance inside us. Only then will our inner souls or vessels have the fuel and nourishment to nurture ourselves and others, see the path we’re meant to take, and find truth and peace in each day. Now it’s not that we don’t love talking about bracelets, cute shoes, fun earrings and the like, it’s just that in our meetings we talk opening and encouragingly and honestly about the hard, and judging dynamic we often create among women. We seek then to create a safe place for you to find new friends, to talk about your fears, your dreams, and your abilities as well as talk of uplifting things, with like minded women.

In April, as Uncle Sam smugly walks away with our hard earned money, we must find new ways to balance our finances. And we don’t mean taking a pen and balancing your checkbook. We going to talk about taking a mental assessment of the things that are dragging you down financially and how to find more value and joy in yourself and what you truly need to be happy. If you do consider joining us, this is not a gathering where you will feel like a stranger. In fact most of the women in our group say that you feel like you belong the moment you walk in.

Join us April 28th at D’Vine Wine to see what we’re all about!

Your only moment to manage is NOW - 5 tips to balance your time!

For purposes of becoming at peace with time we must understand that there is no other moment than now, no other place than here, no other decision than ours, no other emotion to choose but joy. Each is a miracle because is authored by us. We have the free will to make it wonderful!

1. Don’t spend ANY more time worrying about what others think of you. Whether it’s your kids, your mother, or your neighbor, free yourself of this burden. You cannot control their thoughts, and truly they are seeing you through their lens. Your ability to move forward without looking back will free you of these shackles and give you more time to achieve, dream and renew!

2. Eliminate the toxic elements of your life. This means people, activities, habits, even language. Although this requires a bit more courage, being truly honest about the things that drag you down, and deciding to purge yourself, will lighten your load. This may mean that some people who have been in your life for a long time will no longer occupy any or all of your life. But you must determine this with honesty and a true desire to move forward.

3. Slow down your rhythm and the elegance of life’s timing will be in your favor. I travel 10 miles up 521 to the freeway. The speed limit has just been changed to 45. I am constantly being passed by people who I again meet at a stop light. It is turning green for me and I rarely stop. They have been fuming for 30 seconds waiting for the green. We inevitably arrive at the on-ramp at the same time but the difference is I enjoyed my journey. No one takes time from you, and no one creates it. Each moment exists in perfect, sequential harmony. Make each moment that ticks meaningful, only you can do that.

4. Do things right the first time. From dishes, to laundry to filling up the car with gas, make it right and do it well. Even though it may take a few more minutes, you’ll be free of the task when it is done. Those little minutes that you’re trying to save by hurrying, will, without some sort of discipline, multiply like bunnies when you return to complete the task! Take pride and focus on one thing at a time. Give each task its due and respect. Assign every minute honor and awe. Squeeze the life and color and melody out of each second and it will, in turn, play music that makes life rhythmic.

5. Access experts and mentors. Yes, we often make fun of the men in our lives for not asking directions. But as women, we like to think we can figure anything out ourselves. Although we don’t discount our ability to multi-task, if you have found you need a little help, save time by asking someone who has already shortened the curve. Need to know when to turn the roast down from 400 degrees to 325? Call mom. What does that red light means on the dash? Call Manny at the station. Need to know how to make your DVD recorder work? Call your 5 year old niece.

All of these tips are meant to work in harmony. As you add each to your life they will create a more quiet and obvious path for you and you will be living more honestly and with wellness. This is the key to nurturing your noble traits!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pink, sparkly wine and rose colored glasses

Something wonderful happened last night at our February Networking, Women and Wine event. We lept beyond the whole "I'm Jane and I am a sales rep." dialogue and went headlong into a "here's who I really am, and here's what I hope to learn as I connect with all of you women!"

The pink prosecco was the first giveaway that this wouldn't be just an ordinary Wednesday. Bubbling around the rim, it served as the rose colored lenses we intended to see everything through. There were no borders or judgements. Our theme of learning to love ourself was in every discussion, and as each person shared a struggle or idea, the rest of the group offered insights and solutions that were honest, experience based and encouraging.

Wedged between the French Pinot Noir and the Argentinian Malbec (both were phenomenally tasty and complex and sold for around $16!) we drifted away from the idea of going to an event to GET something and landed securely on the shores of GIVING. I would dare say that as we all departed, we felt more empowered, more balanced and certainly more freer to build our businesses and careers with confidence and imagination, all because we connected on a very authentic level.

When Carmen and I first threw out our intention for 2010 to be a year of balance and to nurture the noble traits of women we hoped it would touch each women in a very personal way. Last night was the expression of those hopes. All who attended and ventured into our realm of safe networking and wine education gained new tools for life, and left behind only the stain of lipstick on the rim of our glasses.

Join us for our March meeting to continue the healing, friendship and celebration!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wine Comparisons that Teach You The Facts

Many of you ask about the ability to taste the difference between wine of various prices. You tell me you really can't tell the difference at all for many if not all of your wine purchases. Specifically your questions lean towards the difference between a $15 bottle of wine and say, a $30 bottle of wine. (What you're not telling me is that you haven't tried an $80 and don't want to if a $15 difference can't be measured.)
As you become more educated about the wine making process and the ability to discern taste, tannins and flavors, it's only natural to get excited about tasting a more expensive bottle and feeling a little note of exhilaration in the whole exotic process. Not finding a huge difference is either a letdown or a confirmation that the whole business is designed to fool you; that juice is juice. "I really can't tell the difference! Why should I pay more?"

I confess. I'm a bargain shopper. I love sales, and I simply cannot purchase an item unless the tag clearly states, "compare at:" with the next line reading, "our price..." I find it exciting to buy a BCBG sweatshirt that retails for $95 and rings up for me at $11.50. If I can buy it for that then clothes are clothes, and wine is wine. Right? Not necessarily.

Although the wine market is going through changes, and the recent cover of Wine Spectator features the headline that the overall prices of wine are going down, let's deconstruct the question and get tot he heart of your desire to find the difference.

If you become a fan of and read about wine from all sources, you see a pattern emerging. And that is that the price of wine is related to the cost to produce it. Specifically the land is the overriding element of price breakdown. As a wine consumer you have the choice of wines from almost every country in the world, and most regions make some kind of wine for the commercial market.

The other element is the grape itself. Various regions and growing conditions can yield very different flavor profiles and complexity. The grape is literally an infinite source of stimulation and discovery for your taste buds. As we become more familiar with grape varieties, wine makers, climate, blends, etc. end up fooling us and grapes begin to take on their own personality with no hint that one grape tastes like the other.

The third item that may be confusing you is the structure of the wine. Tannins, acidity, and alcohol content all confuse an inexperienced palate. Someone says its a dry wine and you think that means more tannins. Some say sweet and you think that means less alcohol. The list goes on.

Quite literally, the next element: wine marketing, is not designed to make it easy for you. It's designed to capture you and sell wine. Descriptions as well lure you with ratings, words that talk about body, mouth feel, finish and nose. All of these will play a different part in the process but may make you think they're describing a wine of exquisite structure when really it's just a combinations of tastes.

The final issue to consider when tasting wine is you. The beginning of the day is a better time to taste than evening. I'm not advocating you pop open the cork on a malbec to go with your cereal, but your palate is more discerning in the a.m. Also, if you're tasting it alone or with food, or even with a set of other wines, each will take on hugely different characteristics. You can almost obliterate a wine if you are matching food and wine incongruently. You can create a feeling in your mouth where tannins are indiscernible or acids are too pronounced. Tasting an expensive wine and a cheap wine incorrectly can render each bad or equally good.

Here's what you need to do when tasting wine so this confusion does not make you return to your beer and pretzels and say goodbye to the fruit of the vine forever.

Take the time to find out how to categorize and measure all the elements of wine when tasting it. Make sure you know how to serve the wine, taste the wine, pair the wine and understand the wine. You can only compare when other elements are controlled and/or equal.

When you go wine tasting, ask the distributor or proprietor to help you find the differences in the wine and explain that you want to know the difference between fine wines and not so fine wines. They can give you tips about making sure you give the wine a chance in your mouth with the proper tasting techniques. Sipping is a misnomer. If you're going to taste the wine, get a good amount in your mouth and make sure it touches all surfaces in your mouth. Breathe in a little while shifting the wine around your tongue and palate so your sense of smell can go to work giving your brain more signals.

Understand that price is not the ultimate comparison. The skill of wine making is a matter of dozens of different elements. Ask the wine maker about those elements so you can isolate the element of taste from one bottle to another. If your budget allows for a wine that is below $15, you can still ask for and find a wine that has superior qualities. In fact you may be able to spend much less than $15. However, if you're looking for something to wow the crowds and want to know about how to compare them, don't make it about price. Wines that range from $9 to $40 can taste similar, but only when choosing from wines in a scattered, pick-me kind of way. You can make educated choices.

Next, attend wine tastings and record your preferences. You may not find a pattern emerging but you will begin to train your brain to learn, in progression, about wine. In time you will be able to experience the absolute thrill of tasting a wine that takes on different characteristics while it's in your mouth and long after. You'll enjoy the absolutely huge difference in texture, and tastes. Soon when you can and do get the opportunity to taste something worthy of (and I do say worthy, not just priced) a hefty price tag, you can count it as one of the great experiences of being human!

Last but not least, and at the very least, drink if you enjoy and do it because you like what you're drinking. If you feel pressured by someone to keep inching up the cost of your bottles as a signal that you're a seasoned wine drinker, tell them to jump off a gnarly grapevine and point them to various articles on the web about wine rating. It's not a contest to see who can spend the most. It's about the whole, complex, exciting, creative and ever changing world of wine. A hobby that is fun alone and with others.

Happy tasting!

If you feel like everyone wants a little piece of you, read on.

It's true. Those little candy hearts know the real story. They have short, sweet, concise messages that get misunderstood by young and old alike.

Think about 4th grade: You plop the candy in an envelope, pass it back to the row behind you and soon Billy Smith is reading -YOU'RE CUTE!- and you're toast!

Seems today it's even harder to say the right things to the right people. Valentine's or not, we're all over stimulated and under motivated and giving "love" just feels like one more chore.

You are overwhelmed because you cannot find within yourself the wellspring of more to give because you are empty. You have not refilled the vessel because, in reality you do not no how to truly care for yourself. Carl Jung said, "The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely." In that is all the western truth of our gender. We have been trained to see ourselves as broken and un-whole. We have found fault in all our failures instead of experience. We have found ugliness in our wrinkles instead of wisdom. And we have found weakness in our tears instead of compassion.

On February 10th, we will explore these subjects, and share some new ideas with you that you can explore, to help increase your ability to love yourself. In essence we will help you fill your own vessel in a balanced, loving and nurturing way. As Mae West said so blatantly, "I don't like myself, I'm crazy about myself!"

Well, maybe there's a place in-between for all of us noble women.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seeking Our Own Balance

Last night, we drove home through a warm and violent rain storm. We watched the droplets pound the road, dance upon puddles, rush through streams carrying mud and leaves. Up close, from a view inside our car, the storm seemed almost personal. We struggled to see our path through the rivulets that casually traveled down our windshield without a conscious care that they partially blinded our view. Intentionally, we would hurl thousands of them away from our gaze with the swipe of a blade. But they were formidable. They kept coming. They were pure, happy, and falling on us in a way that lets you know nature doesn’t separate our conscious moments of power from the natural balance of any other creature in her domain.

We try, as humans, to bridle nature. We create dams and pipe lines; we suck up the living aquifers and create commerce out of a finite element. And still, when the rain falls, she first seeks to re-balance her own level. It is not political, or emotional. It is not vengeful or regal. It simply obeys the voice of nature.

I thought about all this last night, as we looked out our bedroom window, falling asleep to the sound of a rushing stream; captivated by the symphony of waves roaring across rocks and tree trunks. I thought about the fact that the natural flow of water, its unfettered ability to crash and splash on a random journey, is made all the more beautiful because she follows her own way. She seeks only to look at where her cargo will fall, not where the rocks or streams think it should be. Indeed the ledges of grass and weeds that erode away cannot stop the incessant tide. They must simply enjoy a countenance constantly changed by the rolling and swiftly traveling molecules of life.

As we seek balance in 2010, are we not like the waters that flow and carve and nurture? Do we not seek our own level by soothing those that ache and gathering laughter with whom we choose to find joy? Do we not feel more at peace when we gather with others to change the landscape with a natural but determined purpose? And are we not at peace when we allow the natural journey of our lives to create artful pathways and meadows of life? When we slake the thirst of others we are in balance. When we fall without a net we feel free. And when at last we soak into the earth and await the sun to bring us forth into the clouds to fall again, we know the circle of our existence is as it should be.

Networking, Women and Wine seeks to help you discover true balance and nurture it. Let’s join together to be a flood of healing and connections!

Monday, January 18, 2010

You need to decide what's worthy of your INBOX

It hit me, as I was depressing the ENTER button that would effectively release the trap door on my SPAM folder, that I hadn't even reviewed its contents this go around before trashing it. Gone were the 13 messages clogging it as I moved dutifully through my morning rituals.

It seems all our lives have now been relegated into two folders: Good Email and Bad Email. It's more than a PC problem, it's a PEOPLE problem.

I know I've done this: When a friend asks if you received the invite to the tree planting ceremony you never intended to patronize, you immediately offer the excuse, "It must have gone into my SPAM folder." Likewise, many important messages languish there, having been assigned to its abysmal location because of a tricky title, spelling error or just because your Email client simply decided to send it there. It's turning into our conscious on a disk!

What strikes me is that we allow this categorization to be a key component of our time management arsenal. As new ways to communicate enter our daily march from sunrise to sunset, we also find more ways to eliminate what passes through to us. And happily so. This electronic communications filter with a brain that is only explained by Physicists and Mystics, helps us to avoid the mundane and concentrate on the seemingly valid messages that harmoniously reside in our InBox. The trouble is, I still get advertisements for digestive health pills and truncated promises about wrinkle reduction right next to news from my business partner.

Again, we are faced with a metaphor about choices. In our innate human rhythm, we are willing to relegate our judgement of communication to a sentinel who appears to subliminally care about our priorities. Because this sorter resides in OUR computer, we're more than happy to overlook messages marked useless by this shaman of electronic babble. Have we looked into why we're happy with a Good-Mail, Bad-Mail color guard? And could it be, that in our own minds, we have innocently developed a good thought, bad thought lens that is just as arbitrary?

The contemporary truth in the phrase, "thoughts become things" is celebrated with a crescendo of hope with every book and workshop created. And with good reason. We need to take back our own decision making process. But the flippant effect of SPAM vs. INBOX, I fear, gives a false sense of thinking we're eliminating the real bad from the real good, instead of the comfortable from the uncomfortable, or the popular from the anonymous.

SPAM is kinda like that. There's enough 'uncomfortable content' in that folder, that we skim the titles and assume, with little or no cognitive engineering, that most of it is bad. And yet if something foolish, like an Email from a Facebook friend comes in the In-Box, asking us to compare ourselves to which shellfish we most resemble, we're all in. It's easier, isn't it. We've been given permission from the great Windows guru that it's okay.

Try this if we've got you thinking now about your good/bad Email decisions. For just two hours, (because we know you have to update your Facebook invites) try writing down the titles of all the Emails you open in that time. Then make a list of all the Emails you trash. See if you can't find a gem hiding in the BAD folder and a stinker residing in the GOOD one. Perhaps it will push you to make sure your own choices each day are not guided by habit, fear, peer pressure, or sleep deprivation but a value system with intention.

Then, resolve and say aloud, "This message is part of my responsibility as a choice. For answering it will push my life's desires and the good of others forward." Your answers may surprise you and help guide you in choosing what you will do with each day, each little folder, each little muscle in your fingers that runs your world with the words, OPEN, COMPOSE, SEND.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Celebrate Yourself. You are a Hero for any moment of courage!

A recent conversation with a friend yielded in interesting insight. A bright, successful and attractive women, who, like many of us has dealt with struggles and previous choices that were self-deprecating and perhaps destructive, she seemed poised to start on any journey of her choice, Armed with maturity, a pedigree of success, and a wisdom borne through experience she emulated the woman we all want to be.

However, she was blocked by a recurring sense of self doubt that was keeping her from exploring the abundance and possibility before her. The seeds of this sense of helplessness surfaced because she felt she hadn't learned to completely overcome the moments of despair. She was punishing herself because she had to work hard at finding the courage to move forward at times when the demons she felt as a child, were pushing hard at her core. Mentioning the countless things she had accomplished, but labeling them failures because she couldn't emerge without having to navigate through her self-doubt, I turned to her and said,

"It seems to me you are not celebrating your times of braveness. You are not rewarding yourself for the great deal of courage it has taken you to learn to have this positive dialog with yourself to pry yourself from these moments of darkness.You must be your own cheerleader and celebrate what is your most courageous triumph; that of helping yourself to see that you can find the light."

I could see by the look in her eyes she had not thought about being her own coach and supporter. A new smile grew on her face as she touched my shoulder. She could see clearly that she had not seen or taken credit for the courage she truly had.

In this month of new resolutions, of change, and hope, don't forget to be kind and gentle with yourself. As you heap upon yourselves the list of resolutions you deem important, keep in mind that you must balance them with kindness and insight. Knowing that the true hero is one who knows fear and channels it. Only the fool rushes in without knowing the cost and the brave are always celebrated for showing their wounds.

Come celebrate your own courage, taste fine wine, and make meaningful connections with Networking, Women and Wine!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Balancing Your Resolutions With Reality

It's funny, isn't it. In the blink of an eye we have arrived to see a new year, a new decade, a new month simply appear before us. All around the clear, cold air seems to glisten with hope and possibility. The bobbles that adorn our trees, or the candles that lite our nights, or even the families that have shared our bathrooms; all have gone away leaving us alone with our conscience and our intentions.

Now that it's just you and that little voice inside your head, you're probably following the crowd by listing out your resolutions. One more carrot stick and one less caramel macchiato. One more sit-up and one less slice of pecan pie. It's a see-saw of giving up and replacing old habits with new ones. A willingness to ignore temptation, followed by a cardboard reward.

Hmmm. I don't know about you, but I doubt that I'll make it to September without a chocolate chip cookie. Good chance that breakfast will be one of those cookies before the week is out considering it's my husband's favorite and he can eat ANYTHING he likes. And of course, when it does happen -- when I fall off the wagon, I'll fall into a pit of cookie dough and vanish into the mixture like slightly beaten eggs and creamed butter.

Carmen and I have a different approach for you. Let's talk with a new language about change. Shall we? In fact,let's simply just 'do change' in a whole new way. We will, together, approach each shift in our lives with gentleness and mindful nurturing. We will create abundance through the desire to change, with the idea that we need balance to maintain new habits. And last but not least, we will seek to surround ourselves with what we're yearning for, without hearing that harsh wooshing sound as all our comfort foods, habits and vices vanish into an abyss of non-achievable goals. In short, you will grow and not even know it!

2010's theme this year is The Year of Balance. What that means, is that if you're going to create shifts, you must be conscious of how to replace them in a gentle, kind and conscious fashion with other meaningful things.

This month seek out other strong women who can nurture your noble traits as women. We'll enjoy and learn about wine, create a safe place to find meaningful connections, and offer you a place to begin your NEW YEAR OF INTENTION!