Vincent Van Gogh is my very favorite artist of all time. I have traveled far and wide to see his works, and I never fail to be moved to tears by the beauty of his artistry. The Irving Stone bio of Vincent's life (Lust for Life) is one of my all-time favorite books, and I read it religiously at least once a year…and I cry every single time. I could talk about Vincent, his life and his work (the two being practically interchangeable anyway) for hours – so imagine my absolute delight when I heard about the upcoming movie 'Loving Vincent', told entirely through animated oil paintings…check out the trailer below, it's going to be incredible:

I cannot wait! I bet I will cry again….oh well…. 😉



Hold On

I read this article on MindBodyGreen the other day, and found it to be DEEPLY profound for me – please give it a look:

Why You Should Never Date An “Avoidant” + What That Actually Means
by Annice Star
Undoubtedly you’ve heard of attachment styles by now. They explain many common patterns experienced in relationships. The attachment approach to coupling says that people fall into one of three attachment styles: secure, anxious, or avoidant. These labels pretty well describe the characteristics of each one.

Putting it simply, secure attachers enjoy connecting intimately and tend to stay bonded. Anxious attachers are capable of attachment but often feel insecure, so they need comforting and reassurance. Avoidants try to avoid attachment altogether.

The dating pool is always plentifully stocked with avoidants who seldom deeply attach to any partner. Without attachment, it’s easy for them to either boot their significant others or get dumped themselves, so they just keep recirculating.

If you are dating and looking for a mate who will last, it’s your job to spot the avoidants before you get entangled with a person who is unlikely to ever make you feel safe or loved. As always, the best way to judge whether a person is right for you is to stay in close touch with how you feel when you are together. Here are some avoidant tendencies along with feelings you are likely to experience as a result of each one.

1. Refusal or inability to acknowledge your feelings.

Has anyone ever said to you “I’m not responsible for your feelings”? While we are all responsible for our own feelings, people in healthy relationships share responsibility for the one another’s emotional well-being.

How it feels:

You feel ignored and alone. Expressing your feelings is a no-no – that’s the avoidant’s rule. They call all the shots or else they bolt, so you’re sunk if you are looking for loving support.

2. Secrecy.

Avoidant types often think someone is out to get them, including you. So, they hide aspects of their lives that make them feel vulnerable. They create an invisible web of hidden people, facts, and histories, along with little white lies that often seem ridiculous or unnecessary. They are especially intent on hiding information from you because your attempts to get closer to them makes you feel threatening to them.

How it feels:

lt feels disconcerting. Why won’t they tell you about X, Y or Z? If there’s nothing to hide, they should be open and enjoy sharing. But that’s the last thing an avoidant wants to do.

3. Pining for an ex.

Avoidants can’t experience intimacy because they’re afraid of it. The only time they can really appreciate it is after a relationship is over. Then they tend to idealize an ex’s qualities. Though they may not realize it, this is often a subconscious defense mechanism giving them a reason to avoid connecting with a new partner. This pattern can also take the form of waiting for “The One,” whom they fantasize will make relating effortlessly perfect. No one measures up to their ideals, including you.

How it feels:

You feel inadequate. You will never be as captivating as the ex or the hypothetical, mystical “One” who has been enshrined on a pedestal in their mind. Ultimately you just don’t measure up. And no one can.

4. Emotional stinginess.

This type avoids the “L word” at all costs. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they’re afraid an expression of love will mean they are attached. That’s not the only expression they keep in check; they’re also hesitant to share praise, acknowledgement, or appreciation. Over time, this wears on the partner who’s left to shoulder all of the emotional labor while the avoidant remains passive.

How it feels:

You’re emotionally starved. Like a hungry person, you’re constantly looking to your partner in the hopes that they will offer you some emotional nourishment, but it never comes.

5. Constant emotional highs and lows.

People with avoidant behaviors are actually very conflicted individuals. Like all humans, they crave attachment and do better when they have it. So, the avoidant, on occasion, will let their guard down and step a little closer to their partner. But as soon as they feel a bit more capable, the fear of intimacy flares up again and the rollercoaster continues its bumpy ride.

How it feels:

You feel exhausted. You get your hopes up only to be let down again. Push and pull isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s all an avoidant can manage.


Think you might be dating an avoidant? Here’s what you can do:

The obvious answer is to get out while you can. But if you’re in something long-term, or there’s a compelling reason to keep trying, take heart. Research shows that attachment styles can be changed. The caveat here is that, just like with any relationship endeavor, you both have to be fully on board. Unfortunately, that is a tall order for an avoidant.

If you do manage to get your avoidant partner on board, find a therapist who can help you evolve your attachment styles and perspectives to a more secure framework. Attachment theory suggests we all do better when we have a secure base from which to operate, which explains why so many of us desire a significant other who makes us feel safe and loved. From there, we can venture out in the world to become our best selves.


I’ve never noticed this before, but upon reflecting on my (rather checkered) relationship history, I have definitely had a tendency to be drawn towards ‘avoidants’…except I didn’t know what they were called. I fall into the anxious category – I am a person who needs a metric shit-ton of reassurance at all times…something that avoidants are incapable of, so is it any wonder that my relationships have often left me feeling so completely unfulfilled? It all becomes clear now. Grr. I’m sure Freud would have had a field day figuring out why I am so drawn to avoidants (my father worked away from home most of my life – daddy issues abound) — isn’t it amazing how the circle of life goes? How everything that you are can be traced back to events that happened when you were younger? Grr again. I prefer this circle of life:


Hakuna Matata, friends – have a good day. 🙂


Three Little Birds


Watch this video of the looooooovely David Tennant reassuring the world that things are going to be okay – and remember, we can trust him…he’s a doctor. 😉


I love him – he’s awesome. 🙂



PS: I got this in an email this weekend, and wanted to share it – it’s nice to be reminded of the importance of gratitude and positive thinking from time to time:

1. Today, I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I’m working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile.”

  1. Today, I asked my mentor – a very successful business man in his 70s- what his top 3 tips are for success. He smiled and said, “Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.”

  2. Today, after a 72 hour shift at the fire station, a woman ran up to me at the grocery store and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn’t recognize her. She let go with tears of joy in her eyes and the most sincere smile and said, “On 9-11-2001, you carried me out of the World Trade

  3. Today, after I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died, he licked the tears off my face.

  4. Today at 7AM, I woke up feeling ill, but decided I needed the money, so I went into work. At 3PM I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat too. A man in a BMW pulled over, gave me a ride, we chatted, and then he offered me a job.
    I start tomorrow.

  5. Today, as my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said, “I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this
    more often.”

  6. Today, I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.

  7. Today, in the cutest voice, my 8-year-old daughter asked me to start recycling. I chuckled and asked, “Why?” She replied, “So you can help me save the planet.” I chuckled again and asked, “And why do you want to save the planet?” Because that’s where I keep all my stuff,” she said.

  8. Today, when I witnessed a 27-year-old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2-year-old daughter’s antics, I suddenly realized that I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again.

  9. Today, a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he
    said, “I hope you feel better soon.”

  10. Today, I was feeling down because the results of a biopsy came back malignant. When I got home, I opened an e-mail that said, “Thinking of you today. If you need me, I’m a phone call away.” It was from a high school friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years.

  11. Today, I was traveling in Kenya and I met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He said he hadn’t eaten anything in over 3 days and looked extremely skinny and unhealthy. Then my friend offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating. The first thing the man said was, “We can share it.


Start Me Up

Happy 2017, friends! I’ve taken a bit of a break over the past week and a half – it was much needed, and it has been lovely. As well as needing a hot minute to recharge, I was struggling to find the words to say as 2016 managed to end with more depressing news (Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, my very beloved George Michael…I could go on) – I saw this on Twitter, and think there may be something to it:



It seems that 2016 was a strange year for pretty much everyone – not everything was bad, of course (thank God), but there were some moments….anyway, onward and upward! Bring on 2017!!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? Here’s my list:

Learn to paint – with watercolors and acrylics
Continue to study Italian
Continue to study coding – finish the Code Camp program
Make some progress with finances
Spend more time with the Wee One and the other peeps I love
Get a new job!

I avoided all of the cliche items – join a gym, weight loss, become a better person, blah blah blah…. there’s nothing wrong with the person I am, I have no time for a gym, I’m already working on the weight loss, so – I think I like my list. It focuses on the things that matter to me: more time with my friends and family, positive career changes, improving the quality of my life, and learning new stuff. I will keep you posted on how this list turns out – cross your fingers for me! 🙂

I’ve collected a bunch of stuff during my time off that I want to share with you – I will start posting these articles and fun things this week, just to get our year together started off right. Happy New Year to you, my friends….let’s make 2017 much better than 2016 (it won’t take much!)!!! 🙂



Only the Good Die Young

Continuing on with the best music week ever, I went to see Billy Joel in concert on Friday evening – and he absolutely did not disappoint! I saw him once before – in 1990 – and he sounded as good now as he did then. What a show!!! Here’s a couple of pictures from the concert:

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Sadly my seats weren’t the greatest, but it didn’t matter at all…I still loved every moment. What are your favorite Billy songs? I’m partial to these ones:



I had better stop….I could keep you here for hours listening to Billy’s music. He’s awesome!!

Happy Monday, my friends! 🙂


My Grown Up Christmas List

Alright, friends – here are some gift ideas for your loved ones for Christmas!! There is no theme to this list (other than awesomeness)…it’s just a bunch of things that are currently tickling my fancy. 🙂 Enjoy! 🙂


1) This camera:


2) This ring:



3) This necklace:


4) This book:



5) These office supplies:

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6) These journals/notebooks:


7) Stranger Things Cross Stitch:

img_1152 img_1153


8) This book:


9) This record – and this one, too!:


10) This yoga kit:




Happy shopping! Ho ho ho!


That’s What Friends Are For


I’m watching “When Harry Met Sally” as the rain pounds against my windows, for the third day in a row. The air is so wet and cool, I feel like I’m back in England…but it’s done a lot to get me in the spirit of Christmas. I love it! I’m finally starting to feel festive – ho!ho!ho! Oh, by the way – this movie totally stands up…it’s still fantastic. The back and forth between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal is so absolutely delightful – even though I’ve seen this movie 264 times (at least), I still feel like I’m falling in love, too, as I watch this. Awesome! 🙂


I came across this article recently, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you! 🙂

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

Meeting new people can be awkward. What should you say? How can you make a good impression? How do you keep a conversation going?
Research shows relationships are vital to happiness and networking is the key to getting jobs and building a fulfilling career.

Robin was head of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program and has studied interpersonal relations for over 27 years. He’s an expert on how to make people like you.

1) The Most Important Thing To Do With Anyone You Meet

Robin’s #1 piece of advice: “Seek someone else’s thoughts and opinions without judging them.”
Ask questions. Listen. But don’t judge. Nobody — including you — likes to feel judged.

Studies show people get more pleasure from talking about themselves than they do from food or money:
Talking about ourselves—whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter—triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money…

2) Suspend Your Ego To Get People To Like You

Most of us are just dying to point out how other people are wrong. (Comment sections on the internet are fueled by this, aren’t they?)
And it kills rapport. Want to correct someone? Want to one-up them with your clever little story? Don’t do it.

Contradicting people doesn’t build relationships. Dale Carnegie said it many years ago — and modern neuroscience agrees.
When people hear things that contradict their beliefs, the logical part of their mind shuts down and their brain prepares to fight.

3) How To Be A Good Listener

We’ve all heard that listening skills are vital but nobody explains the right way to do it. What’s the secret?
Stop thinking about what you’re going to say next and focus on what they’re saying right now.
Be curious and ask to hear more about what interests you.
What you do is this: as soon as you have that story or thought that you want to share, toss it. Consciously tell yourself, “I am not going to say it.”
All you should be doing is asking yourself, “What idea or thought that they mentioned do I find fascinating and want to explore?”
Research shows just asking people to tell you more makes you more likable and gets them to want to help you.

4) The Best Question To Ask People

Life can be tough for everyone: rich or poor, old or young. Everyone.
We all face challenges and we like to talk about them. So that’s what to ask about.

Questions are incredibly powerful. What’s one of the most potent ways to influence someone? Merely asking for advice.

5) How To Make Strangers Feel At Ease

First thing: tell them you only have a minute because you’re headed out the door.

Research shows just asking people if now is a good time makes them more likely to comply with requests:
The results showed that compliance rates were higher when the requester inquired about respondents’ availability and waited for a response than when he pursued his set speech without waiting and inquiring about respondents’ availability.
Nobody wants to feel trapped talking to some weirdo. People are more likely to help you than you think, but they need to feel safe and in control.

6) The Best Body Language For Building Rapport

Your words should be positive, free of ego and judgment — and your body language (“non-verbals”) needs to match.

From Dale Carnegie to peer-reviewed studies, everyone says smiles matter. (In fact, to increase their power, smile slower.)
It makes us happier too. Neuroscience research shows smiling gives the brain as much pleasure as 2000 bars of chocolate — or $25,000.

Depending on whose smile you see, the researchers found that one smile can be as pleasurable and stimulating as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate! …it took up to 16,000 pounds sterling in cash to generate the same level of brain stimulation as one smile! This is equivalent to about $25,000 per smile…

7) How To Deal With Someone You Don’t Trust
Don’t be hostile but be direct: ask them what they want. What are their goals in this interaction?

I watch for validation. If someone is trying to validate me and my thoughts and opinions, I am alert to it. I love doing that as well. So now I’m looking for intent. Are you there for me or are you there for you? If you are there strictly for your own gain and you’re not talking in terms of my priorities ever, that’s when I’m seeing someone is there to manipulate me.
Want to build a connection with someone? Focus on trust, not tricks. That’s how you earn respect. Trust is fragile. And mistrust is self-fulfilling.

Sum Up

Here are Robin’s tips:
The single most important thing is non-judgmental validation. Seek someone else’s thoughts and opinions without judging them.
Suspend your ego. Focus on them.
Really listen, don’t just wait to talk. Ask them questions; don’t try to come up with stories to impress.
Ask people about what’s been challenging them.
Establishing a time constraint early in the conversation can put strangers at ease.
Smile, chin down, blade your body, palms up, open and upward non-verbals.
If you think someone is trying to manipulate you, clarify goals. Don’t be hostile or aggressive, but ask them to be straight about what they want.

I love this article, don’t you? I find that I feel so ridiculously awkward 99.7% of the time, and I feel like it’s nearly impossible for me to make connections with people, and I have no idea why. This never used to be a problem, but somehow as I’ve aged, it has become one. I just don’t get it. I think I’m interesting and kinda fun, but…this is not a popular opinion that is shared by many, sadly. Boo! Hiss! That’s kind of why I liked this article – maybe if I apply some of these tips, I will have more success with people. I’ve never thought that I was a person who monopolized conversations talking about myself, but…perhaps I’ve become one? (I bloody hope not – I loathe that quality in people) I try to be a good listener, but maybe I am not 110% present and engaged – this could actually be part of my problem. I’ve been thinking about presence lately, and trying to stop with the distractions that are always running rampant in my head. I like it when someone I am with looks at me, speaks to me, pays attention to me – and not their phone/the tv/whatever other distractions are going on around them. I am trying to learn to be present, to give those around me the same respect and attention that I want from them. This article from Zen Habits has some great suggestions on being present – they suggest a small regular practice of meditation (I downloaded some Gabby Bernstein meditations yesterday, I am SO trying this one this week!), work with others (on meditation, on whatever you are working on within yourself – three cheers for accountability partners), have mindfulness bells (set alarms on your phone/computer to remind you to pause and pay attention to what is going on around you), set an intention before an activity (I want to set intentions for my days as I begin them in the morning – how will you know if you’re where you’re supposed to be unless you know where it is that you want to go?), reflect daily (I’m such a fan of a few quiet moments at the end of the day – I really ought to get back to journaling, though), and finally, see everything as a teacher, meaning step out of the moment and see what you could possibly learn from these moments by being present. I’m not sure if these tips will do much, but…what harm is there in trying, eh? I’ve been working hard on cutting down on my technology consumption lately, and I’m finding that a) it has me feeling better, and b) I’m also becoming increasingly annoyed at how dependent those around me are on the technology in their lives – which is stupid. What other people do is none of my business, so why get worked up about it? Time for more zen….or perhaps Zinfandel? 😉


God Save the Queen


Have you checked out the Netflix series “The Crown” yet? If not, you absolutely need to – it’s fantastic! The ten episode first series is said to have cost £100 million, a pretty penny for a television program. However, each episode is so visually stunning, so full of beautiful detail that the money was certainly well-spent!

The program covers the Royal Family from 1947-1956, tumultuous and exciting years as Princess Elizabeth marries Prince Phillip, and then becomes Queen. Even though many of us are familiar with the Royal Family and their history, you will still be riveted by the human aspect of this representation, as these monarchs who have become almost ‘characters’ to the public over the years are portrayed as intensely human, flaws and all. It’s really something when you consider the life of duty and service that these people have been born in to, and what a blessing – and a burden – that really is. Claire Foy plays Queen Elizabeth, and she does an excellent job of playing a woman who is trying to balance her marriage and her young family with far greater responsibilities…shame on me for ever complaining about my own struggles with the equation of the work-life balance! 😉


The reviews of the program have been mixed, which is usually the case – that’s why I rarely listen to reviews anyway. I have thoroughly enjoyed the program – it has made me think an awful lot, which is kind of the goal of entertainment, don’t you think? I enjoyed Matt Smith’s portrayal of Prince Phillip, a man who has to step aside and let his wife shine…a lot of men would struggle with this one. I don’t know why it is so difficult for members of the species that pees standing up to let the women in their lives be in the spotlight – I just don’t get it. I don’t know why so many men – even today – continue to be threatened by strong women.


Just last week, a dear friend of mine ended her relationship with an idiotic man (in my humble opinion). I am sorry that their relationship didn’t work out, but frankly, in my limited knowledge of the man in question, I don’t think he was anywhere close to being worthy of her. As she and I have discussed the details of the breakup this week, I feel so sad for the pain she is feeling – especially since she feels as if this entire thing is because she is unloveable, as if there is something wrong with her. I know that to be false, because I know this girl very well, and I love her with all my heart (different, I know, but…still) – and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with her at all. She is incredibly smart, witty, hard-working, ambitious, successful, beautiful, funny and charming – she is, to put it in the most plain and simple way that I can, the PERFECT catch. She refuses to settle for less than the best, and she will not accept shabby treatment from anybody in her life – which is, sadly, probably the reason that she is single. A lot of men are intimidated by her because she’s nobody’s fool, and for the less-confident penis-bearers amongst us, that just makes her a little too much to deal with. It’s totally their loss, if you ask me.

This is a problem that I can understand. I am nowhere near the catch of my beautiful friend…and I know that I can be a lot to deal with. I know that I am not the easiest person in the world to live with, I’m sarcastic sometimes, my mind never, ever shuts off so keeping up with all of that thinking is exhausting for most mere mortals. I’m a go-getter, and frankly I get pissy with those that aren’t as motivated because I find that I end up resenting them and their complacency – that looks like laziness to me! I’m insecure, and I like a lot of reassurance, which I know has pissed a lot of men off over the years. I have many, many more faults than those I’m listing here (I’m loathe to include the entire list in case you begin hating me), but trust me…it’s considerable. However, I am so worth loving. I know this. 🙂 I am a person who has a HUGE heart, I love big, I am generous to a fault, I care so deeply for those around me that there is literally nothing I wouldn’t do for someone I loved (Seriously – if you want to rob a bank, befriend me, get me to care for you and love you…and I will definitely drive your getaway car! 😉 ). But, as much as I know that I am worth loving and worth the trouble, there seem so few candidates who are actually up for the task. I think that’s where my friend has struggled – she hasn’t been able to find someone strong enough to be her man – just like Sheryl Crow sang about all those years ago. The similarities between she and I explain why we connected the way we did and became friends – and it probably also explains why the two of us have had a somewhat checkered past with the men in our lives. She has been MUCH more sensible than I have been over the years, but…I wear my heart on my sleeve, what can I say? 😉 It really does take a special man to love girls like us – someone who is strong, but not controlling; who is confident enough in himself to not be afraid to let us shine, aware enough to stroke our delicate egos and give us the reassurance we need; and someone who will support us in everything we do, be brave enough to call us on our bullshit when we are being assholes, and be able to laugh at/with us when we are being sarcastic windbags.

These men are out there, though – I promise you they are.:-) To those who love me unconditionally and answered in the affirmative to my Sheryl Crow question – thank you. 🙂 I love you, too. 🙂






Going Underground

I hope you’ve had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of good food and even better people, my friends! In the spirit of the positive energy that I’m hoping surrounds you, check out this video by Max Stossel- Subway Love was Max’s first poetry video, and was an immediate viral success. It was the winner of the Gold Coast International Film Festival, featured by the majority of major media publications, and written about in 12 different languages:

As you make your way through the world today (and everyday), be sure to look around you, be present, and really see the people nearby. You just never know who is falling in love at first sight with you.