Category Archives: Weeklies

Rules of Being a Lady: Be Intelligent But Not a Know-It-All

A lady is accomplished, well-spoken, elegant, refined, intelligent, gracious, patient, and forgiving. She bears no ill will against others, and she is honest without being vindictive. She inspires people and gains their respect by setting an excellent example of behavior.

While I aim to be all of this, I miserably miss the mark in so many ways, and it is always so very difficult to know where to focus your energy and what needs refining.

In an attempt to save on thousands of dollars in psychologist fees, a dear friend and I agreed to be brutally honest with eachother and give one another our top 3 suggestions to improve ourselves. We had made plans for dinner (and an elegant one at that), and looking back, I wish we had kept our dinner conversation to pleasantries and appropriate conversation for eating. As it was, this topic should obviously have accompanied the port we drank later at my home.

Hindsight is 20/20.

The first item he suggested hit me between the eyes, and I truly have yet to recover from it.

He complimented me by saying I was obviously intelligent, very well-read and creative. He said he enjoyed my company and our conversations immensely. He then proceeded to explain that I use my intellect as a defense, or even as a weapon used to bully other people and protect myself. He mentioned several instances, some of which were surprisingly inaccurate from my perspective. But my heart began to sink even more as I listened to him continue speaking, realizing that whether it was my intention or not, I was indeed intimidating and perceived as using my intelligence to get the upper hand in relationships.

So I did what any lady should NOT do: I fought him. I argued my case, gave examples with reasons, explained how I spent so many years allowing my ex-husband to do all my thinking for me… and I “won” the argument. I successfully made him feel horrible for doing something I had asked him to do — to help me identify my weaknesses — and not only that, but I had intellectually punished him for doing it.

Oh. My.

I suppose my NewYear’s resolutions are writing themselves.

Ladies, consider yourself. How can we remain woman of wit and character without taking prisoners? Intelligence is to be valued when properly yielded. Being a know-it-all or using your intellect to leverage a position of power MAY work in the boardroom, but it is a threat to healthy friendships and relationships in every other realm.

So, I am publicly apologizing to him and attempting to make up for it by letting you in on his wisdom.

Love,

Lady Grey

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Self-Care for Women

Ok, ladies. Here it is. The moment of truth when I ask you if you are really taking care of yourself. No, I don’t care about your eyebrows or your workout schedule. I just mean are you forgetting to take care of yourself because you spend every waking minute taking care of others? So often, women consider themselves selfish if they dedicate any time or energy to self-care, as if the world is judging them for taking a moment to apply a little lipstick.

What the world needs from you is the energized, happy you, not the self-depraved, exhausted you. Your children need a mommy who is affectionate and patient. Your significant other needs someone to rely on. Your friends need you to be a good listener and loyal gal. Your coworkers need to know you are alert and bringing your A game.

So here are 10 simple ways (not the only ways, but 10 I came up with) to care for yourself without making extreme changes to your day and without breaking the bank.

1. Sleep. All of us are guilty of burning the candle at both ends so we can pay bills or waking before the rest of the gang to make sure we have some time to ourselves. But in doing so, do we sacrifice our own health and make ourselves more stressed out? You are better served sleeping your 7 or 8 hours a night and being more efficient during your waking hours. Sleep has been shown to improve everything from memory to weight loss, so don’t skimp here. So grab yourself a comfy pair of your favorite pj’s (or none at all, if that’s how you roll), and start dreaming!

eatinghealthy2. Eating healthy. I’m guilty as charged. I grab and go. I cheat when I’m at work lunches. I make dinners that are way too processed and hardly enough “clean” food. In our fast-paced, break-neck society, there is hardly enough time to breath, let alone make good food choices.

But it’s important to care for yourself (and indirectly, your loved ones) by stocking your home with healthy snacks. Hummus, baby carrots, bananas, apples, almonds – these are all great snacks I can throw in my purse. I even found little snack-sized containers of hummus at the grocery store this month. Perfect for dipping vegetables and laden with protein!

As for meals, I try and stick to fruit or whole grain bars without preservatives in them, occasionally succumbing to the bagel and cream cheese temptation when I’m having a bad morning. I do my best to balance my work lunches – salads with protein, even if eating at a fast food joint. I love grabbing hard-boiled eggs, which most markets have in their quick lunch refrigerator section now, too. Dinner is always a challenge with the crazy dance studio schedule I keep, but I try to make sure I balance meals and don’t eat after I’m done teaching (around 9 pm at night).

No more soda. Is this even a question? Just don’t drink it. It’s like putting sugary formaldehyde in your body. Just say no.sallyhansenhardasnailssterngthener

3. Nails. As a little girl, I watched my mother paint her nails meticulously at least twice a week, once on Saturday evenings and once midweek when she had done most of her gardening. No excuses – you don’t need a professional manicure. You don’t. Take care of your SELF. At least buff your nails and push your cuticles back once a week, even if you have to do it in the shower. To protect your nails, use Sally Hansen Hard as Nails products. I have always used them to help my nails bounce back after gels, acrylics, splits, etc. Amazing products and even just the top coat will perk up your nails and keep them healthy and shiny.

remingtonrollers4. Hair. I’m a dance teacher and a mommy. I’ve spent the last 27 years in a ponytail, a bun, or a french twist. In the last few months, I bough myself new hot rollers and a few new hair products. Now, when I’m tempted to just throw my hair up wet, I’ll make myself blow dry and style it. Now, when I have a messy bedhead, I have a great straightener and can use it to clean up my tresses in just a few minutes. I have gotten countless compliments on how much younger and less “serious” (read: severe) I look with my hair down. I love feeling like I’m channeling my inner Rita Hayworth!

5. Skin care. This isn’t all that hard. Just get yourself a beautiful jar of coconut oil. Seriously. I’ve never fallen so madly in love with any skin care product EVER. Ditch all the chemicals and nonsense, and cut straight to the chase. I use it as eye makeup remover, moisturizer (all over my body), deep conditioner on my hair, and more. If you don’t believe me, check out this article.

6. Undergarments. A little story for you. I once had thousands and thousands of dollars of lingerie – corsets, garter belts, stockings, bras, panties, you name it. Then I got married and had kids. It’s a long story, but I literally got rid of all but one corset. Do you know how lovely it feels to buy yourself cute panties again?!? I’ve put a small allowance in my monthly budget to replace all the crappy undergarments that currently take up residence in my dresser. I’ve begun wearing stockings to work, matching (gasp) bras and panties, waist trainers, and more. Talk about reminding yourself how to feel feminine again! If you don’t belong to Victoria’s Secrets Angel Reward program, make sure you join so you get your coupon in the mail each month for a free panty. That’s what originally got me back in the store!

7. Time with friends. So often, we forget that there are friends who have our back. We often can pick up with them right where we left off, and they will understand every last success and struggle you’ve had. It need not be a coffee date; a phone call will suffice. I like to call my friends when I’m traveling to and from work. Work your way down through your contact list and then start back up at the top again when you finish. Bogged down by kids all day? Try texting a friend and having a shared “virtual” glass of wine while you chat for 20 minutes just after the kids go to bed!

8. Quiet time. Maybe I’m strange, but I can’t live without this. Some of us pray, some of us write, some of us meditate. But everyone needs time to just BE. No obligations, no distractions. So go somewhere alone, whether a walk in your neighborhood, a moment in the kitchen with a hot cup of coffee, a fragrant candle and a good book, or just quiet, silent space in your room. Recharge for 15 minutes. Five, if you can’t manage 15. Allow yourself to be filled up again with positive thoughts and happiness. Breath deeply and remember not to sweat the small stuff.

vintagelife9. Small luxuries. Speaking of small stuff, can you really afford to NOT grab a copy of Vintage Life? (By the way, I am now accepting subscription gifts if anyone is feeling generous today!) Mentally, is it going to make the world of difference if you get yourself a new travel mug or buy that dark chocolate in the checkout if everyone at home is grumpy tonight? It is, it will make the difference. And you will be a better woman for it this day, week, month. Work it into your budget so you can pamper yourself just a little – those little luxuries go a long way to making day-to-day life less daunting.

10. That one little thing (OLT). For you, this might be clean sheets. It might be cream in your coffee. It might be jamming out to your favorite song in the car. Whatever sets you right and makes you pause for even just a moment to be thankful… that’s your one little thing. My OLT today is my blog. Talking to all of you helps me remember that we’re real, we’re human, and we’re all in this together.

Inspiring Women: Melody Gardot

gardot4I first discovered this woman when she played an intimate concert in our town’s small theatre back in 2009. When she hit the stage in her stilettos, fedora, corset, dark glasses, and walking stick… oh my, my. I’ve never seen such an icon of femininity. She was by far the sexiest, most confident, most elegant woman I’d seen in my lifetime. Her mode of moving immediately slowed time to a near crawl, and I could feel her energy seep out and roll in waves off the front of the stage to where this quiet, closeted, little Lady Grey sat with her mouth hanging open.

Melody Gardot greeted us in hushed tones, breathy, ethereal, and altogether far too French for me to comprehend. At the time, I didn’t realize I was encountering a woman who understood and lived my love of all things French, from Edith Piaf to the dark streets of Montmartre in the evening.

When she opened her mouth to sing those first life-changing notes, I felt like my soul rose up out of my chest to ride them through the air. She lift her brandy snifter off the piano, took a sip, and started in again. I had no idea then that she had overcome anything. Hell, she was who I aspired to be in that moment… larger than life, magnetic, and magical.

Who could ever have imagined that just a few years prior she had been unable to speak, sing, or walk… let alone stride onto that stage and steal my heart?

But that is exactly what happened. In 2003, she had been hit by a car while riding her bicycle in Philadelphia.She suffered incredible injuries to her spine and head, resulting in a stay at the hospital of over a year. While there, an insightful doctor suggested (thank GOODNESS), that music often was used to reprogram and grow neural pathways. She began writing her music from her bed, while once again learning to brush her teeth, overcome pain, and cope with the overwhelming loss of both her short and long term memory.

gardotTake a moment and watch these videos of her. There is no trace of an injury, no hint of handicap. She is not only a beautiful woman who has overcome so very much, but she is one of my favorite musicians. Her music is her own – copying no one. She has created it from the very depths of her soul, and I believe it will speak to you. Each of the videos I have posted here are completely different. She reinvents herself and reaches and pushes for something new every time she creates. Her new album came out this week, and I hope I’ve already made you a fan.

Love,
Lady Grey