Category Archives: WOW Women

Ode To Oprah

I received an offer from O, The Oprah Magazine for a $12 yearly subscription.  I haven’t been a subscriber in a while but since the show is ending and a $1 per month price is crazy, good, I decided to send in a check.  Besides getting a free O totebag and a chance to win a Kindle loaded with every Oprah book pick ever featured, I also got a leaflet that noted Oprah’s all time, top 10 “What I know For Sure” tenets.

In honor of the final Oprah show airing tomorrow and all that we’ve learned from her many guests, I’d like to give a shout out to Ms. Winfrey as these tenets definitely have stood and will continue to stand the test of time.  Some I’ve used. Other’s I’m still working on.  All I’ll try to pass down to my daughters.

  1. What you put out comes back to you.
  2. You define your own life.
  3. The past has no power over the present.
  4. When people show you who they are, believe them.
  5. Worrying is a waste of time.
  6. You become what you believe.
  7. The only prayer you ever need to say is Thank You.
  8. Your happiness is directly proportional to the amount of love that you give.
  9. Failure is an opportunity to go in an different direction.
  10. If your thoughts and choices are different from others the world will not fall apart.

Number 4 is the tenet that has helped me the most.  I’ve ended friendships, kept my distance from people, made important life decisions – all to my advantage by  following that nugget of wisdom.  I use it at work, at home, in my neighborhood and even at dinner parties.  I used to make excuses for people’s behavior.  I now see bad behavior as information that I need to have.

Other Oprah life lessons that I’ve benefitted from are:

  1. To get your attention, the universe will drop a pebble on your head.  If that doesn’t work, it’ll drop a rock, then a brick, etc.  I’ve found that over the years, I’m better at reacting to the pebble and not needing a piano to drop on me.  Thank you, Oprah.
  2. When you see crazy coming – Cross the street! Iyanla Vanzant  taught us that one and it’s very similar to the when people show you who they are, believe them philosophy from the above list.  It also works with when you see bitterness, laziness, judgement, I’m going to take advantage of you, or I’m going to be a pain in your ass, coming – cross the street as well.
  3. Knowing when you’re trying to be right versus trying to solve a problem.  (A Dr. Philism from his early days pre-his own show). This has assisted me when having discussions with my husband as well as shaped many an argument with my teenage daughters. I’ve definitely not mastered it, but at least it’s in my consciousness.
  4. Truly tapping into and trusting your intuition is one of the most powerful things that you can do for yourself.  I’ve had the opportunity to be in situations where I knew no one, had no background information and only had my intuition to guide me.  My internal guidance system was eerily accurate during those times. Thank you Gary Zukav for sharing this with your readers and the Oprah show audience
  5. Seeing fear as a gift that keeps you safe.  Security expert Gavin de Becker’s idea that you should ALWAYS listen to that voice in your head and never out logic yourself when it comes to your safety.  Who knows if it’s worked as I’ve never been a victim of anything violent, which could in fact be proof in and of itself.

I can honestly say that over the last 25 years, I’ve learned quite a bit from Oprah’s show, her magazine and all of the experts she’s featured.  Of course not everyone agrees.  Joan Rivers was once quoted by The National Enquirer as saying that “She feels Oprah’s real gift is exploiting people’s suffering and emotions and turning them into TV ratings.”  I don’t think she exploited people’s suffering as much as she’s wanted her audience to learn from it.  Many of her viewers featured these last few weeks have illustrated that point by coming forward to share how the show has changed them, or even saved them.

One woman said that a show about safety made her fight an attacker to avoid being taken to second location and thus saved her life as her attacker as she later discovered that her attacker had killed people in this manner.

Another viewer said that show about a stressed out mom who’s baby died when she forgot and left her in a hot car made her a more mindful parent.  When her own baby’s cries that she normally ignored as fussiness seemed different one afternoon, she remembered the mom that had been featured, walked into the nursery only to find her infant being strangled by the cord of her window blinds. She believes that being inspired to be more present saved her child’s life.

One mom said that advice given to a grieving mom on Oprah was her only “anchor” as she dealt with the overwhelming grief that she was experiencing when her own child died.

That’s powerful and important television.  How many talk show hosts even come close to that?

Oprah isn’t perfect.  Not every guest was phenomenal.  In fact, I’m still a little confused as to why she gave so much airtime to celebrities without medical training spouting medical advice?  But in the end, even the gaffes are okay because I also believe that…

  1. The universe honors intentions not necessarily outcomes

and I believe that her’s were good.  She never guaranteed results as much as she simply gave us more options.

I think the Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes show that’s been airing on OWN really drove home how the “Oprah Way” of doing things is not a bad way to live. Each week you get a behind the scenes look at Oprah and her team pulling together two shows.  Many of these hard working producers (that are clearly working long, stressful hours) are at their core, very centered and present people.  When something goes wrong, they are surprisingly calm, compassionate and gracious, even.  They, along with Oprah, seem to really live this “Oprahic lifestyle”, if you will.  Yes they get angry and disappointed and flustered, because they’re human – but they stay centered in a way that you don’t see illustrated in most reality shows. It makes you wonder what it would be like to work in an environment like that every day?  Or better yet, be the type of person that brings that energy to a work environment each day.  Maybe that’s why the show has been so successful – because it’s not only been hosted by Oprah, but produced by people that are very “Oprah-like”.  People with good intentions that are mindfully attempting to do their jobs well.

I’m definitely going to miss Oprah.  I think women over 50 are just beginning to settle into their power so imagine what else she could’ve taught us had her show stayed on the air?  I look forward to seeing what she’ll do with an entire network.  I’m guessing that it’ll be pretty spectacular.

Thank You Oprah.  Wishing you all the best.


See Michelle Cook

My cooking was at it’s healthiest (and my weight at it’s lowest, ironically) when I lived in Hoboken, NJ and attended the Institute For Integrative Nutrition. But looking back I’m realizing that I had 2 friends that were into healthy cooking at the time as well.  Anja, my Danish friend, only used fresh, organic ingredients, cooked from scratch and was pretty much appalled by the convenience foods of the American diet.  Michelle was less appalled by Americans (she’s Canadian for God’s sake).  She just happened to be a fitness, cooking, and health food junkie.  She worked out.  She cooked tofu.  She had a strange obsession with hot peppers. She put zucchini in her chocolate cake recipe.  But most importantly, she was the first health nut I had ever met that didn’t necessarily hug trees while wearing a lot of clothes made of hemp.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m feeling strangely drawn to healthy cooking again. After returning to work and allowing my wifely and motherly cooking duties to seriously slide, I’m pulling out old recipes, making longer grocery lists and revisiting my healthier ways.  Hmm…I can’t help but wonder if it’s because I’ve recently reconnected with Michelle who’s now living in Australia.  Besides emailing one another, I’ve been reading her cooking blog and it’s as if we’re hanging out again – she just happens to be living on the other side of the planet instead of in the apartment building next door.

So was it the school or Michelle that got my ass in shape back then?  Who knows?  What I do know is that she’s wonderfully adept at updating recipes and making them as healthy as possible.  Since healthy eating will be on everyone’s mind in about 10 days, check out her blog for lots of great recipe ideas and wonderful food photos. But before before heading over to her corner of the blogosphere, I thought you all might like to get to know my friend Michelle a little better.

LBP:  When did you start your blog?
MP:  I started my blog a little over a year ago after my husband finally convinced me that this would be a fun way to make my own personalized cookbook.    I was worried about starting one because I am in no way a writer but over the year I’ve really come to enjoy just focusing on food and adding a bit of quirky family stories every once in a while.

Are the recipes from other cookbooks or ones you’ve adapted yourself?
To be honest, I was once a huge cookbook collector and would read them like one would a novel but since we began to travel more and more I donated most of them and my favorites are now sitting in a storage warehouse in Quebec.    I try to create my own recipes but many are certainly adapted from memories of cooking shows and books that I’ve read.   I will often just “healthify” every day recipes but if I use an original I do always give credit where credit is due.   It’s also fun to give a shout out to other bloggers when you try out their ideas.  It’s a respect thing.

Do you have a favorite cookbook you return to often?
I love Janet and Greta PodleskiEat Shrink and Be Merry along with Crazy Plates are probably my favorite cookbooks. They’re fun to read and the recipes are simple every day meals made a little healthier which is basically what I try to do.  I don’t like to make dishes that are too complicated.  Instead I try to encourage people to stay away from foods you didn’t make yourself.  Frozen, prepared meals, take out and restaurant food are the biggest problems today as far as I’m concerned.

Do you really lay in bed thinking about food / cooking?
You have no idea!  Just the other night I had to finally get up and watch television so that I could stop dreaming about dates.  I was doing a blog on a new date butter recipe and it was all I could think about.   I try to get a blog out at least 6 days a week so I am constantly thinking about new food ideas.   Thank God thinking about food is calorie free or I’d be in trouble!

Would you rather cook or bake?
Bake hands down.  I get a weird pleasure out of watching a cake rise, especially one that is full of healthier substitutions.  Baking bread to me is like an art and I am still surprised each time it works!  I have two teenage girls. Baking is therapeutic 🙂

Would you rather cook or work out?
That’s an easy one!  I cook because I love it.  I work out because I have to.  Like probably 90% of people, I don’t really enjoy spending an hour in a stinky gym with grunting monkeys trying to suck in my stomach but I do enjoy the mood enhancing effects exercising has on me.   Leaving the gym and feeling fit is a definite high.

Since you’re into fitness…
To lose weight do you think it’s a 50/50 split between food and nutrition?  Or is the stuff you eat more important than the calories you burn?
Food is 80-90% for the average person. I have seen and trained women who bust their butts in the gym every day (far more than me) and never lose a pound or change their body shape.  The simple reason is that they consume more calories than they work off and often those calories come from low nutrient dense foods as well as alcohol.  People will often maintain their weight and fitness levels for years and train like an athlete simply because they refuse to change their diets.    I think that’s a huge waste of time in a gym.  I would rather eat a healthy diet and exercise as little as possible.

I ask because I know a lot of people that lose weight without exercising, just by dramatically changing their diet.  But I’ve yet to meet a WOMAN that loses weight from dramatically changing her exercise.  Men on the other hand seem to be able to do either and lose weight.
Yes, sadly it is true that men can drop their doughnut a day habit and lose 10 lbs in the first week while we lucky ladies hold on to our muffin tops for dear life!  But here’s the thing, although it is clearly easier for men to drop weight quicker, it is just as hard for them to maintain that loss if they don’t eventually change their diets and add exercise.  As we get older the combination of the two become more and more important since our calorie needs get lower and lower. I see women lower their calories each year to maintain their weight until they are consuming 900-1200 calories a day.  These low numbers mean that they are missing out on important nutrients in their diets, bone saving exercise and the simple pleasure of eating.  Food and exercise go hand in hand for both men and women even if one plays a bigger role.

Tell me about the nutrition counseling you offer.
I offer 1:1 daily monitoring through an online food journal.  I watch what you eat each day because you record everything on this website.  In doing that you are able to see exactly what you consume and I then recommend changes and let you know where you should actually be with the macro numbers (fat, carbs, protein, etc.)  I also send nutrition information for you to read  regularly and use my blog to direct you to recipes

This is something that only works for people really willing to take the time to search a data base and log every single thing they eat and drink every day for at least the month.   It’s a bit time consuming at the beginning but I know for a fact that seeing and being honest with a food journal is very eye opening for people.  I have a client right now down 85lbs in 6 months.  He’s under 300lbs for the first time since he was in his 20s and he is now 51.  I sound like an infomercial 😦  I just really believe in the journaling process.

Thanks Michelle!  I’ve eaten Michelle’s food and made many of her recipes – they are always tasty and easy to make.  If you want to overhaul your diet or would like to work with Michelle, check out her blog, See Michelle Cook.  Happy Eating!

Speak Easy To Me

Jaxin was an amazing dog with a cool name that was adopted by my Uncle Paul and his wife, Ann.  If you’re a lover of dogs and superb storytelling, you’ll enjoy this video.  It was a part of Tulane’s digital stories project that Ann did for work.  (Thanks Ann for given me permission to post it.)

I don’t know about you, but after watching this and other video’s from Tulane’s Digital Stories Site it’s making me want to grab my camera and speak easy to others from behind my lens.

Chasing Junkies


Sunday night at the Cowboy Junkies concert, in Alexandria, VA, lead singer Margo Timmons told a funny story about her son.  It was the last stop on their tour before heading back to Canada for a few weeks off and her son was anxious for her to get home and basically wanted her to skip the show and head back earlier.  Since she couldn’t do that, she promised to sing him a song – any song he wanted.  He wanted her to sing one of the band’s new songs, the one about “all of the blood and bleeding”.

You hear a story like that and you don’t feel like a bad mom for leaving your kids home for the evening to hit a concert with a group of girlfriends.  I’m sure that little Edward probably knows on some level that folks haven’t been coming to hear his mom’s band for the past 20 years in search of pep or a warm and fuzzy feeling.  In fact at one point in the evening, Timmons announced that she was going to sing another, “sad song” because she loved them and she figured the fact that we were there meant that we all probably loved sad songs too.

It was a fun night with good friends and the first time I’ve heard the Junkies from a venue with seating.  I think all Junkie concerts should be in seated venues. It was nice to sit back, relax and enjoy the show.  The last time I heard them play live, I was still breastfeeding my daughter and distracted by my ballooning bosoms.  This time around I was able to go with the flow and get lost in the sound.

This concert was very different from last month when me and my friend, DeeAnn, took our daughters to an Adele show at the 9:30 Club in D.C.  First off we stood the whole time.  Secondly, the crowd was more diverse and although we saw a 75-year-old, shaking her groove thing, the average age of an Adele fan is much younger than the average age of a Junkie fan.


Since Adele is only 20 herself, she gives off a different energy. When she’s talking with the audience it is as if the entire time she’s thinking, I can’t believe I’m on this stage, commanding this space and all of these people paid to see me. She’s new to the fame thing and although she’s a confident performer, you can tell that she’s just tickled to be there.  Her voice sounds like it originates from her toes and moves through her body and out her mouth where it literally knocks you out, yet she sort of leans against the mic like it’s really no big deal to throw those big, bluesy notes into the atmosphere.

Whereas Margo Timmon’s sound is ethereal and resonates from the neck up.  It’s a more angelic voice that seems to fly down from above and skip like a stone off her vocal chords before heading out to the audience.  Her stage presence is much different.  When the band takes a few minutes to rock out, she turns her back to the audience, takes a seat, and sips her tea, almost to say, “Well boys will be boys, so I’m going to let these guys have their moment.  Let me know when they’re done and I’ll get back to singing.”  She’s in her third decade of performing.  She can turn her back on the audience and trust that they’ll be there when she turns around.

After all of the manufactured, lip syncing performances of the inauguration and The Super Bowl, is was so nice to listen to a live performance.  There were some sound issues and sometimes words were lost in the shuffle.  Adele warned us that one of her songs was written about someone she can’t stand so sometimes when she sings it she gets a little pissy and forgets the words.  At one point during Something More Besides You, Timmons did forget the words so she did what anyone would do.  She laughed and said, “Shit,” before finding her place in the song.

These last few weeks have reminded me how much I enjoy concerts and hearing what a performer sounds like outside the studio.  That’s the whole point of seeing someone live.  You want to get a feel for their personality outside of the music.  You want to know if they really do have the chops or if their CD was filled with a shit-load of post production.  And frankly as a parent I loved taking my kid to a show to see someone that wasn’t stick thin with matrix-style choreography that distracts from the music.  I want her to see that girls with amazing abilities can do their thing, their own way on their own terms.  So we start with gals like Adele and hopefully we’ll get to to a Junkies concert someday.

At least my eldest will be able to say that she went to her first concert with one of her best friends at a DC night club – she’ll just have to leave out the part about her mom being there.

Fembot Future: Favorable or Fiasco?

Usually when I get an idea for a blog, I need a moment to determine how I feel about an issue.  However, when I saw this video clip, featuring Le Tung’s female android creation, Aiko, my issue wasn’t what to write as much as where to begin.

As a scientist, I’m pretty impressed with the fact that such a realistic android has been invented.  But I gotta tell you, as a parent I’m disturbed by how young Aiko looks.

What kind of creep makes a 12-year-old looking fembot?

She's looks like she's 12-years-old! Does anyone else find that to be creepy?

As a feminist, I’m grossed out by the way in which the inventor chose to illustrate his creation’s understanding of perversity.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As a pretty blunt and straightforward person, I’m annoyed that when asked if he has sex with his creation he replies, “Yes, Aiko has sensors in her body including her private parts, and yes even down there.  AND yes Aiko is still a virgin, AND NO I do not sleep with her.”

Listen Le Tung.  If you’re smart enough to invent a robot, you’re smart enough to say the word “vagina”.  And if you took the time to put sensors in said vagina and give her a G-spot, don’t tell me that you’re not having sex with her.  And on the off chance that you are telling the truth and Aiko has turned you down, then at least admit that you hope to market her as a sex toy.  Why else would you have this picture of Aiko on your homepage?

Clearly, they're just friends.

Clearly, they're just friends.

My final annoyance comes from Le Tung’s “wish list” of Aiko’s future skills and abilities that he hopes for her to master:

  1. Facial Expressions
  2. Make tea and coffee
  3. Feed me sushi
  4. Make simple breakfast: eggs and bacon
  5. If I lie my head down on Aiko lap, have her clean my ears with a Q-tip.
  6. Ability to massage my shoulders and neck.
  7. Able to do print and write
  8. Clean the windows
  9. Dust the shelves
  10. Clean my toilet. (I hate cleaning the bathroom, might as well have someone else do it for me)

Hey, I’ve got one.  Let’s teach Aiko to puncture his eardrum with her Q-tip and then shove it up his ass.  She’s a high functioning, bilingual computer for Christ’s sake.  The bitch can do calculus.  The selfish bastard could at least have her working on the cure for cancer while she’s clipping his toenails.

But the more I explored my outrage with Le Tung, I wondered if perhaps he was more than a computer genius, but also the answer to our pervert and pedophilia ending prayers.  Could realistic looking androids be created and given to all of the psychos out there?  Would sick bastards leave real kids alone if they had fake ones?  Would rapists steal fembots to dominate instead of pulling living and breathing women into bushes?

Considering that 90% of sex trafficking involves women and girls, 50,000 females are trafficked into the United States and 2 million children worldwide are in forced into prostitution each year, would fembots do for the sex industry what automation did for the car industry?

Imagine the productivity and profit margins.  You don’t have to feed a fembot – just charge her batteries.  No more smuggling humans across state lines – just buy one at Costco.  She certainly wont run off and if she dies you don’t have to bury the body,  just recycle her parts.  An android could probably service twice if not three times as many Johns as a real woman and from a public health standpoint, you could disinfect Aiko, “down there” and voila,  no more sexually transmitted diseases.

Or would androids used for sexual satisfaction simply perpetuate more perversity in the world? Will fembots that never age, need no foreplay, and never say no (or can at least be unplugged if they do) create such an unrealistic feminine ideal that even more psychos and perverts will be created?  Will it merely take porn to even more unrealistic and dangerous, three dimensional level?

I really don’t know the answer but I think with guys like Le Tung having access to the technology that’s available today, we’re about to find out sooner than we thought.

more about “fembot“, posted with vodpod

Dear Madonna

Hi.  You don’t know me but I’ve been a fan for a while.  It was 1982 when you burst on the scene and although I had Cagney and Lacy as well as Joan Jett to inspire me, lets face it, you took it to a whole other level.  I remember seeing you on MTV for the first time.  You had your own style and clearly didn’t give a damn about what anyone thought of you. As a 15-year-old, it was truly exhilarating to witness your meteoric rise.

You were unafraid to explore your sexuality, experiment with your image, and tell your truth through music and videos.  Remember when you rolled around in the wedding dress at the MTV awards?  Remember the cone-shaped bras and the Papa Don’t Preach blacklash?  Remember back in 1989 when you were so damn controversial that Pepsi dropped you as their spokesperson because you had pissed off so many of their customers with your Like A Prayer video?

Good times.  Good times.

We’ve grown up together, and I’ve always appreciated your honesty.  You let us back stage during your Truth or Dare Tour and bared all for your Sex book.  You were all about expressing yourself and made us promise to do the same.  Hell, you even wrote us a song so we’d know how to do it.

Even when your shenanigans were over the top and you came off as being needy, I could at least fall back on the notion that you were being honest.  I mean, you were the gal that wouldn’t fix the gap in your teeth and stood up to the Vatican when it bitched about you so regardless of one’s opinion of your art, all could agree that you were the ballsiest performer on the planet.

Because of your commitment to honesty, I feel that it’s only fair to return the favor.  Someone needs to give it to you straight, so here goes.

I don’t believe you anymore. And while I have your attention – you’re trying waaaaay too hard.

Back when you were a kid wanting to be respected in your industry, your mischief made sense. But you’re 50 now and you’ve earned your industry’s respect – thus this drive of yours doesn’t seem like discipline as much as it seems like desperation.  Your quest to do whatever it takes to stay young and relevant is frankly, making you irrelevant.

It’s not too late to make a switch and change your image again.  Lets face it, that’s what you do best.  It’ll all seem planned and calculated.  So here goes.

Truth or Dare.

I DARE you to…




Her eyebrows and hair change, but why not her face?

I dare you to be our poster girl again.  I dare you to show us your wrinkles in the same brave way you’ve flashed every other body part that you own.  I dare you to remove the cheek implants, cease and desist the Botox injections and for God sake, get rid of the English accent.


Madonna Pre-Photo Shop with wrinkles.

You have the unique opportunity to do for beauty and aging what you did for sexuality and expression. You can show the world that beauty, like sex, isn’t bound by the number of candles on a birthday cake. You could empower women to embrace rather than run from their age.  As a 50-something sex symbol you could raise the bar of what society deems seductive and subconsciously teach men that women their own age are worthy of their time and attention.

Come on!  You’re Madonna!  You can make aging okay.  Go ahead.  I dare you.

Photos Shop Rendition of Madonna With Wrinkles

Photo Shop Rendition of an elderly Madonna With Wrinkles

Image taken from

Finally Seeing The Light

My daughter celebrated her birthday last month and I actually got in one of the photos due to carrying the cake out to the birthday girl.  I didn’t pose or even think about how I looked.  It was my daughter’s birthday, not mine and the focus of the picture was her, not me.

When I downloaded the photos and came across the one that included me I couldn’t help but notice that I looked like shit!  But a funny thing happened next.  Instead of silently, bitching and moaning about how fat I am, a logical, sensible thought went through my brain.  Truth be told, I was wearing the most unflattering, ugly, poorly proportioned, boxy, sweatshirt that I owned.  To add insult to injury, it had a sheepskin-like texture which would add girth to anyone.

Please allow the following photo to be placed into evidence:


Me wearing non-Tim Gunn approved apparel.

The old me would have used the moment as an excuse to pig out on left-over birthday cake or run out in desperation to the As Seen On TV kiosk at the mall to buy an Ab-Roller.  But the post-40, smart, fabulous, I’ve watched enough Tim Gunn to know better, me did something very out of character.  I made the connection that many items in my closet in no way represented my body or style and therefore are not a personification of who I am.

Because I knew the truth about my body underneath that ugly sweatshirt, the next day I prayed to the fashion Gods, asked myself, “What Would Tim Gunn Do?” and within a few hours had removed every outdated, poorly fitting piece of clothing from my wardrobe.  I had a pile of pants and skirts to take to be altered, a large pile for Good Will as well as a pile for the garbage.  All aspirational clothes (you know, the clothes you’re going to wear just as soon as you lose five pounds) were also given away.  I was left with a much smaller selection, a lot of black and a clear idea of what I need to purchase (jackets, wrap dresses, a few more skirts, more colorful items and at least 2 more bras).

Further photographic proof that the clothes make the woman:

See, I do have a waist.

See, I do have a waist.

Here’s another photo that I didn’t pose for because when you’re letting it all hang out, things tend to, well, all hang out.  Yet as you can see above, when I wore a shirt that better flattered my shape, even an unflattering photo (of me drunk singing karaoke no less) turned out okay.

So dear reader, I ask you.  Do you need to see the light?  Are you too hard on yourself when it comes to your body?  Does your closet need a makeover?  Are you waiting to lose weight and looking like hell in the meantime?

Get some damn clothes that fit!  The economy is collapsing around us, so give away what you don’t want or need and you’ll make someone’s day.  Most importantly, tune in to Tim Gunn’s Guide To Style so you too can learn that it’s not always your body that’s the problem.  Often times it is what you choose to put on your body that’s the problem.

What I love about Tim’s show is that no one loses weight, they simply learn how to dress and they look absolutely phenomenal by the end of the hour.  Sure they get a new haircut and makeup tips but the only bodily changes are due to dressing correctly for their sillohuette and proportions.  It really is must-see TV for anyone that struggles with their body image.