Archive for October, 2012


Dating Decisions: Should You Settle in Love?

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

I don’t know if you watched the new show Nashville last night, but being a Connie Britton fan, I had the show’s debut date saved on my iCal. Luckily, I loved it! And one part of the show made me think of the struggle we sometimes have in love. But before I tell you which one, I must say…

Connie Britton as Rayna James in "Nashville" (Image:

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t yet seen the Nashville premiere and want to, watch it before reading this post!

The big question on the show was how veteran country star Rayna (Connie Britton) would handle her poor concert sales. She could either A) agree to “co-headline” and open for the former teen mean sensation Juliette (Hayden Panetierre), or B) she’d be on her own, as her record company would no longer promote her album. In other words, should she settle for sharing the stage with someone she didn’t believe in or try to make it on her own?

As Rayna told the record company executive: “You can kiss my decision as it’s walking out the door.” And that’s how I think we should handle those same cheap decisions in love.

When I think back to my dating days, I come across all kinds of dating “deals” I nearly or actually did settle for:

• I either A) only got to see the guy I liked if I met him at some bar after midnight or B) I’d be on my own to find someone who wanted to see me for breakfast, lunch and dinner, too.

• I either A) hung around with a guy I liked who only saw me as a friend or B) I’d be on my own to find someone who wanted a romantic relationship like I did.

• I either A) stayed in a relationship with someone I wasn’t my best self with or B) I’d be on my own to find someone I could shine with.

On paper (or, hey, on computer) these seem like easy choices! But we all know that in love, it’s hard to choose the tougher path. It can be lonely and sometimes scary to be on your own, unsure of what’s to come.

But like Rayna showed last night, it’s really the only way. If you believe in yourself and want the happy, fulfilling life you deserve, then you must choose the path that takes you there. It may be the tougher path. It may be the scarier one. But it’s the only choice you can make if you want your happy ending.

The foundation of dating optimism is that you believe you can have a great love on this earth. So the next time your date or hookup or friends-with-benefits or partner is making you feel “less than” the greatest catch on earth? Tell them they can kiss your decision as it’s walking out the door, too.

Big love,


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A Positive Rant: You Are a Catch, You Know




“Q&A: Should I settle for a nice guy I don’t really like?”

What Do *You* Do When No One Is Watching?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

We’re all pretty good about what we do when people are watching. We might pick up a pen our boss has dropped. Say “Bless you” to a coworker who sneezes in a meeting. Or open the door to let our date walk into the restaurant first. But who we really are is us on our own—the one we think no one is paying attention to.

Who you are here—alone, out in public, in the world—is how you'll feel about yourself. Give it your best shot. (Image: Sea Cliff bench by Ken Spencer)

What we say and do in those moments affects how we feel and who we are. That’s why I love this quote: “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” —H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

On one beautiful day in Venice, it was warm and breezy and sunny, the day people imagine every day in California is like. I walked into the bank and  witnessed this interaction of woman in line speaking to the man behind her:

“What a beautiful day, right?” she said. “Wow.”

“Terrible,” he said.

The woman laughed. She assumed he was kidding. “I know, it’s perfect,” she replied. “I could be out there all day.”

“What, with this wind?” he said, shaking his head. “It’s drying everything up. Pulling the smog from the Valley. It’s awful.”

The poor woman stood there stunned. And it was a reminder to me how the smallest interactions throughout our day say a lot about how we’re feeling and who we choose to be. Sure, maybe this guy was having a terrible, awful no-good day for many reasons, and that “drying wind” was the straw that broke his camel’s back. But maybe if he knew—if we knew—the way we were coming off in the world, it might inspire us to try to do it differently.

Try this: Imagine for an afternoon that some kind soul upstairs is doing a Powerpoint presentation on how to be a happy person, and your live tape has been pulled up to illustrate it. What can you do this afternoon that feels in line with the positive, good person you want to be? aHere are some ideas:

• Hold a door for a stranger.
• Make friendly small talk with the shyest-looking person at the party.
• Compliment the jacket of the person next to you.
• Pet the dog.
• Offer a ride.
• Lend a quarter to the guy out of change at the coffee counter.
• Smile. Laugh. Clap. High-five.

Go on, give that Powerpoint guy a real show. And then, after you do a few of these things, tune into how you’re feeling. Pretty great, right? Probably proud of your actions, warm in your heart and perfectly happy to have someone say, “You’re on Candid Camera!” Because this is how you want to feel and appear all the time.

Choose a bumper sticker motto for life that helps you make the right decisions, put on the right expression and be the person you want to be. Even if no one is looking, you’re looking. Want to feel like the good guy character? Be the good guy. Amazing how that works.

The motivating messages we use in our lives affects what we do and how we feel. So try using that bumper sticker motto for life and see how you feel.

Big love,



Happiness Idea: Toss Your Eraser!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

If you struggle with making any of ’em—from what to wear to work to whether or not to give love another shot—then today’s little happy life idea is for you!

The art of life is not that you take the clear path in front of you, it's that you set off on one and just see where it leads. (Image: Amy Spencer, Montauk Path)

My husband Gus and I can be pretty bad at making small decisions. It takes us 20 minutes to choose what to eat for lunch and 15 minutes to actually eat it. It takes us 45 minutes to pick a movie to watch, and Gus is asleep 10 minutes in. And our next vacation? My word, we’ll be debating the options until March. But I know we’re not alone.

With all the decision-making our modern world allows, sometimes we get so caught up in making the right choice that we paralyze ourselves from making any choice at all! In his book Paradox of Choice, author Barry Schwartz writes, “Choice no longer liberates, but debilitates.” What’s really behind all this? Well, I think that with all the information at our fingertips to help us make a perfect decision, we’re now terrified of now making the wrong one.

But here’s the thing. No matter how many pros & cons lists we make about a choice, sometimes it won’t work out. Sometimes the lunch place has stale bread, the movie stinks, the second date is a disaster and the job makes us miserable. And that’s okay! Becuase that’s how life works. We’re moving forward all the time. Like John W. Gardner once said, “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” No, you don’t have an eraser, but you have a huge, bright, empty piece of paper in front of you to draw in whatever direction you want to go next.

Try this: Give your brain’s decision department a break. Be bold! Imagine taking a permanent marker to draw your sign on the one piece of posterboard you have left. Just trust your gut, listen to your heart, and go for it. If you find yourself feeling along the way that it’s just not working out…redirect! There are very few decisions or mistakes in life that can’t be fixed. A wedding can be called off, and a called-off wedding can also be called right back on. Money can be mostly refunded, jobs can be quit, movies can be walked out of. And that piece of posterboard, it has a backside, too. Sure, maybe you end up with a little headache trying to fix it…but weren’t you giving yourself as much of a headache in struggling over the decision in the first place? Free yourself my making any choice at all, then see where it takes you next.

Gus and I have another trick that helps: We have an app called “The Decider” on our iPhones. And when we find ourselves torn between two great options, we declare, “Let’s let The Decider decide.” We type in the choices, watch the arrow spin, and see our future chosen for us. Really, it’s a relief. And so far, it’s worked out just fine.

Let’s not spend 30% of our lives debating what to do with the other 70%. What a waste of our spirit! Be fearless. Put the pencil to paper and just draw. Let your hand and heart guide you (or a Decider decide for you) and see how free you feel just making a choice so you can get back to living the brilliant art of your life again.

Big love,