Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Excercising Graditude

If you follow my instagram account, you'll notice I've started a daily photo routine every morning.  I take a 20 minute morning hike through my neighborhood of Beachwood Canyon and post 5 photographs of details that I came across on my walk.

It's a way to get my brain and body going before I head off to my job.  I don't post anything until I return from my hike to avoid constant intagramming in the middle of an experience.

As an unexpected side effect of this practice, I have become very aware of details, the small things, stuff that we generally pass up while we are caught up in the hustle of our day too busy getting somewhere to notice the path we took there.  This has truly opened my eyes to notice, really see what's around me.  I'm finding details that I simply never saw.  And I'm grateful for the homeowners, the architects, the neighborhood for continually surprising me.

My photos aren't the most exciting in the world, but they are a visual "Thank You" for those who go above and beyond to make this world a little more beautiful and interesting.

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Shot at Rediscovering My Passion

In 2002, I received a degree for Photojournalism, from the University of Texas. (Hook 'em!) I loved taking photos!  In the end, I wasn't too keen on being a newspaper photojournalist, but I still loved toting a camera around.

However, I just haven't really been indulging my camera craving as of late.  Earlier this summer, I blogged about having an Energy Bank, and how I have just enough energy to allot to my daily tasks, hobbies and relationships. 

Like many people who fall under the category of "Middle America," I work 9am-6pm, at a desk, 5 days a week.  My job is the 2nd biggest relationships I have, after my marriage.  While it comes with great perks and coworkers, it also drains me.  And due to the time commitment, I have focused more on my paycheck than my passions.

When the most recent issue of National Geographic arrived last week, I started taking my time, page-by-page, devouring the photos and stories.  And something caught my eye.....Your Shot.  There were three pages devoted to fantastic images captured by hobbyist.  Whaaa???? 

So I look up Your Shot online and see this FANTASTIC photo community that catalogues their favorite original photographs with the hope of being featured or published.  National Geographic photo editors regularly issue Assignments...an open call to photographers to complete a photo assignment including direction, parameters and deadlines, which will be original content based on their point of view, location and interpretation of the assignment.

Well, HELLO, passion!  We are back on track.  It's like being back in a photo-class of my peers without the tuition, required chemistry hours and bad 90's hair.

I feel alive with the desire to create again!  I am not a professional photographer nor do I necessarily wish to define myself as one.  But I'm an artist, who loves to take a beautiful image, even if I'm the only one who likes it.

Will I ever be published In National Geographic?  I don't know.  I'm not counting on it nor expecting it.  But I'm enjoying the community, the photos and the inspiration this outlet has ignited.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Not a Place for a Selfie

When I receive submissions for a job posting that I placed, I am not a fan of an applicant throwing in a headshot.  Unless looks are something required for the position, I do not need to see that the applicant once sought to be an actor and has a commercial headshot that now serves to land them administrative positions.  Because, honestly, that's EXACTLY what I think when there is an attached headshot.  In fact, I am often hesitant to call a person in for an interview who attaches a headshot because I assume they are still chasing the dream and will bail on a stable job for that chance to be a featured extra on a deferred-pay reality show.

Today....I was privy to an all time low. A selfie, attached to a resume and cover letter.

In this selfie-obsessed generation, we have songs about it "Let me Take a Selfie," a new abc comedy show called "Selfie" and I'm fairly positive that if you own a smartphone, you've taken a selfie.

I am not among the throng of selfie-haters....being that I can't drum up enough energy to care about how often a selfie is taken or posted or why.

HOWEVER, there is a time....a place.....a situation....

What is NOT appropriate is to apply for an office job at a agency and attach a selfie.

It wasn't just ANY selfie.  No, no.  It was a bathroom selfie, complete with, as my associate calls it, the asshole-face.  You can SEE the metal stall behind her!!!

The farthest this selfie got this applicant was to be blasted on my blog. 
As 20-year olds say these days.....I just...can't.
PS.....if you type "References upon request," I assume 1 of 2 things:
#1.  You have absolutely no friends, co-workers or cousins, twice-removed, who would speak favorably of you.
#2.  You are too lazy to perform a simple task.

Friday, June 27, 2014

READ: If you are currently job searching

I am currently dealing with incoming resumes for a position at my company and I am APPALLED at the way resumes are handed in now. 

They literally email over two attachments (their resume and cover letter), nothing written in the body of the email.

My opinion is as follows: if you cannot manage to cut-n-paste your cover letter into the body of your email, then I cannot manage to consider you.  This initial act of laziness, lack of communication and lack of respect towards a person in a hiring position shows your disregard for work ethic, at a glance.

Level up, people.  This is so pathetic.

Here is a snippet of what I get to read through:
"I have experience for what you need. I have been doing customer service over the phone. At one company I was one of eight given an award for helping to grow that company. I work in the entertainment industry, and I have a reliable  car. Also, I'm good with people."

*GAG* The lack of transitional skills from one line of thought to the next pains my writer's soul.

Frankly, if you can compose two three lines of text that show some semblance of cognitive thinking, you are head and shoulders above today's job submissions.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Like Thinking You Might be Miserable

Your ex found a new girlfriend...and she's hot

Your best friend is out on a night you are home....and having the time of her life.
Your sister makes more money than you...and has a great family.

And they are posting online ALL about it.  Big smiles!  Victory declared!  "Best-day-ever!" seems to be every day.  And you feel jealous, annoyed, disappointed that your life isn't as glittery and glamorous as their instagram/Twitter/Facebook feed suggest.  You block them.  You unfollow their feed.  You roll your eyes at their #hashtags of awesomeness.  You look for a way to find a crack in the armor, some dirt amongst the brilliance.

And you will find it....in articles like This is why you shouldn't take people's Facebook lives seriously which lets you and the world in on the secret that some people don't post the bad crap going on in their lives.  This blog writer consoles you by letting you know: "Everyone on Facebook looks like they're having a great time. Fun adventures, deep romances, amazing jobs. It's enough to make you feel inadequate, but it's also a lie. Nobody is really as happy as their Facebook wall claims..."

No shit, Captain Obvious.

In fact, I bet your ex did find a new hot girlfriend and that new hot girlfriend has psoriasis.  Is he going to let you and the mass media know that her scalp is flaky?  Is he going to do the just and honest thing and point out her flaws so you can feel a little bit better about yourself?  No, he probably isn't.  He's going to be a TOTAL douche and only post about his adoration for the good he sees in her.

Your best friend that is out without you is most likely not going to alert the world that she went home with a stranger that never texted her back after they hooked up.  Is she going to post about her inner insecurities and how she feels no one will ever see her true beauty?  Is she going to metaphorically slit her wrists and bleed out her deepest pain for her 1,685 "friends" on Facebook, so that they can understand her nightly partying helps her hide her loneliness, so you won't feel so lonely?  Probably not. 

Your sister bought a new car, is going on a 10-day vacation and is neck deep in Louboutins.  She makes more money in a month, than you do in 4 months and it has clearly bought her happiness.  Do you want to see how much caffeine she takes to make it through another grueling 80 hour work week?  And how that constant supply of buzz-inducing liquid has given her a stomach ulcer, not to mention constant diarrhea? Would you like to see her post how soul crushing it feels to barely see her kids, just so you can feel like money isn't everything?

People have lives.  Complete, complicated, dysfunctional lives.  And if you want to truly know how someone is doing, try calling them.  And if they aren't someone you would call and check up on, then why does their online media affect you?

You know what I REALLY can't stand is when someone uses a Facebook status to garner attention, self pity and becomes simply that bummer of a "friend" who it pains you to follow (*quietly unfollows the feed*).  Cause you know what? I enjoy a stream of cuddly puppies, finished racing medals and people finding success, happiness and love.  I have enough worries, bummers, and enough bad shit that simply happens in my life....which I won't be posting about.

Oh...one last thought....if you need to "take a break from Facebook"....I need you to do three things:
#1. Place your computer in the street
#2. Drive over it
#3. Go find your misplaced grasp on reality and what actually matters

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Schmuck

The general meaning of schmuck is a fool or idiot.  That's not what I'm inferring when I call myself or someone else a schmuck.  It's my way of saying, "You're someone who gives beyond what is right, just and healthy for your own existence."  In the Penny Vital Dictionary of Awesome Words, the abridged version, a schmuck is someone who gives of themselves foolishly, whole heartedly and with abandonment.  Sounds lovely, right?

Not always.

More often than not, a schmuck attracts a sponge.  A sponge is someone who soaks up the love, the gifts and the adoration from the schmuck and gets fluffier, fatter, fuller....without truly returning the favor. A sponge isn't necessarily corrupt in their essence nor taking these sacrifices with ill-intent, but is more or less ignorant of just how much it might be costing the schmuck to give it.  Whether that ignorance is feigned or genuine, that depends on the sponge.

As a former schmuck, I dated a lot of sponges in my life.  They reveled in how much I gave, contributed and sacrificed....all in the name of love and wanting to be loved.  And when it was over, I was in debt, full of resentment and feeling like I had been robbed.  However, everything that they had taken, I had freely gifted.

Over the course of my life, I have become to understand that resentment is a metaphorical destination and it takes your willingness to place yourself within its confines.  So I usually reroute myself these days.  I just go around or avoid it altogether.  When I give of myself, I proceed with a healthy measure of caution and discretion.

I no longer date or interact with sponges.  In fact, I married a schmuck.  He is the most loving, giving, self-sacrificing person I have ever met.  And the greatest way I can love him back is to limit his giving.  I don't need him to pay my bills.  I have my own job.  I don't need him to buy me expensive things or trips.  I pay for my stuff and I can pay my way.  My husband can love me in so many more ways without me depleting his funds or starting a precedence that my happiness relies on what or how much he gives me.  It's not his job to make my life easy or happy.  It's just his job to love me and be my best friend.

This train of thought stemmed from a Huffington Post article I read this week, titled Three Pieces Of Marriage Advice You Should Actually Listen To, by Michael Griswold.  Within the article comes this excerpt:

Marriage takes sacrifice: Saying that marriage takes sacrifice isn't exactly "stop the presses, breaking news"; most people are aware of this. But, what they might not be aware of is that both parties should sacrifice as equally as possible. Sacrificing in marriage isn't the problem — most things in life take sacrifice. But, when one partner sacrifices as often as a pitcher bunting with a runner on first and the other partner sacrifices almost never, you run into problems. This isn't to say there needs to be a tally (one sacrifice for me, one for you), but it should be as fair as possible. Good marriage relationship advice is to be cognizant of who is sacrificing more (or making the bigger sacrifices) and put forth an effort to even things out.

In essence, a necessary sacrifice is an ok thing as long as it's not an everyday thing.  And if you are dating a schmuck, know when to say no and have them scale back....it's the greatest way you can express your profound love for them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Who knew?
Well, if you actually know me, you knew.
For those of you who equally share a love of zombie flicks and pop art, go over and follow my alter ego and love of fluffy, brain-sucking shufflers at:
Click the banner and jump in to gooey goodness!
You can also head over to my personal Rot Shop
Here's a preview......

I appreciate all of the love and support!
-Penny Vital

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Weaning off the Wedding

I was warned that after the wedding bells tolled, I would be left a bit forlorn.  That there would be this feeling of "Wedding Blues."  That this would be a time where I would want to fill that void with a bundle of joy.  I was warned that I would be rushing from the alter to a fertility specialist.

Let's insert Africa here.


So, I thought about the whole having a baby thing.  And yes, the hubs and I are both wanting a family.  But.....I need to fulfill a travel void first.  Before I begin to plump up and waddle, in expectant joy, I want to take a trip.  Not just any trip, but a trip I would not do with a belly full of baby or with small children.

Some people want to go to France or Italy, maybe Spain, New Zealand or Australia.  I've had my Facebook feed flooded with vacation photos from Bali, Thailand and tropical islands.  And, yes, these places are fantastic!  But I could totally swing any of them with a family in tow. 

I'm not so sure I'd be so keen to let my little ones traverse through malaria riddled lands full of predators.  But for ME, that sounds AWESOME!!!.

I've decided I want to head to Africa for Christmas vacation with the husband.  We've decided.  WE.  I honestly didn't have to twist Jesse's arm too hard to get him to be on board with the trip. 

I've always loved the idea of Africa and the wildness of the land.  After watching "Long Way Down," (a television series documenting a motorcycle journey undertaken by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, on which they rode south through 18 countries from John o' Groats in Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa via Europe and Africa in 2007) I had a reinvested interest in Africa, the people, the wildlife and the experience of increasing my scope of the world past LA, past Texas, past the USA and into a remote wilderness.

I have been devouring books about the travel style, cultural heritage, vegetation, wildlife, etiquette of several of Africa's countries.  I've narrowed it down to Kenya and Rwanda as my top two picks for the travel itinerary. 

Kenya is so vast and beautiful.  The Maasai Mara is a top game range and the Maasai people captivate me.   I cannot wait to visit Giraffe Manor or the Elephant Orphanage.  I would also like to participate in http://www.stuffyourrucksack.com/ and see if there is some small way I could do something to help within the slums of Nairobi.

Rwanda has healed by leaps and bounds from a genocide that happened only 20 years ago.  A divided people who have begun to unite, to rebuild, and to rededicate themselves to the preservation of their land and wildlife. They have gorilla treks where you can look into the profound eyes of a mountain gorilla, unseen in any zoo because they do not survive captivity.

Just the thought gives me tingles up my spine.

So, after spending arduous hours and extensive brain power on planning and executing the details of my wedding in Kauai, I have begun to funnel that primed power into learning about Africa and just how I plan to get there.  In essence, this trip is my baby.....before I do that whole baby thing.

P.S.....so far my FAVE book I've read is called "Traveling Africa - A Woman's Guide" by Dana Atkinson.  Aside from providing experiences specifically about things a woman may need or come across, the author actually gives great anecdotes, a workable/affordable travel plan through Kruger National Park and simple advise that could pertain to anyone wishing to travel to Africa.  Female or male, if you are beginning to consider a trip to Africa....it's a good place to start.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

That's a Y.P. not a M.P.

So I ordered a Mother-of-the-Bride gift back on March 11th.  The notes on the store said that it could take 9-12 business days before it ships out.  Plenty of time, right?

Yesterday, April rolled on in and I realized that I had never received notice of this gift shipping.  We are exactly 15 business days past the order date and no update.  I log onto my Etsy account and see that the item has indeed not shipped.  So I reached out to the Etsy shop called JBExclusives and write:

"Hi, I read the approx shipping time, and all of your notes, and ordered March 11th. It is 3 weeks later and this item has yet to ship.
Do you have any idea if it may possibly ship prior to the end of this week?
This is intended as a Mother of the Bride gift for my mother at my wedding in 2 weeks.
If you do not think you can handle an order for a gift, one month prior to its necessity, I'd appreciate a refund and a possible notice of it taking over a month to receive your orders within your shop."

Yes, I just re-read this and I do realize that it's abrupt.  I recognize it.  I'm already in disgruntled mode, simply reeking of it.

JBExclusives responds:

 Thanks for contacting me. All 3/11 orders' approximate estimated ship date is 3/27. Your order will ship on 16th business days (4/2) at this moment. My apologies for the slight delay due to bridal peak season. I run 3 high volume shops on Etsy and can only provide approx. Ship date on all orders since it depends on daily order volume. I am working my full capacity while having a 15 month old baby that needs my attention. I am happy to cancel you order and offer the refund.

Ok, Jen, let me tell you what my immediate, doubly disgruntled self would like to say to you....

That's a Y.P., not a M.P.

Your Problem, not My Problem. 

You took my money, willingly, ably and under the guise of being able to complete this order, through your countless repetitive notes on your shop of how it takes 9-12 business days to ship.  I do not care that you have three burgeoning shops.  I do not care that you have a 15 month old.  What I care about is that you have my money and I have no gift for my mom.  Your inability to manage your time, your business and your family are your problems.  They are not my problems.  Maybe you need to do a little work on your time management.  Or maybe you should close down a few shops while you adjust to the strains of motherhood.  But whatever you do, it shouldn't involve my money, my time or my gift to my mom. 

Yes, Jen, you may cancel that order, which I assure you that you never started nor intended to start any time soon.

JBExclusives canceled that order and I had a refund within 6 hours.  THAT aspect the shop owner had on lock-down.

I then found an even better gift from a lovely store called which has a delightful necklace containing a small section of the map of Princeville, Kauai, which is where we are getting married.  Perfect. 

I ordered it yesterday.  It shipped priority today.  That's good business right there!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Wearing Tutus = Not Running

I didn't start running until I was 31.

One of my girlfriends had been trying to get in shape. We were discussing workouts and staying fit and she brought up that she wanted to try this obstacle course out, a 5K called The Warrior Dash.  I had never enjoyed running.  I wasn't amped to even consider it.  I wasn't even sure I could run 3 miles in one swoop.

My girlfriend sent me a link to the Warrior Dash website.  I see these photos of people running, smiling, covered in mud....and in costume.


There is a sporting event where you can dress up like a Viking?!

I was hooked.  I signed up.  And we had a whole crew go.  And I found out that I could indeed run 3 miles.  Hell, a few races later I upped it to running 10k's....6.2 miles.

Over the course of the first 3-4 years of running, I participated in over 20 races.  Most involved either mud, obstacle courses, a sparkly medal and, ever so often, a costume.  It was the inclusion of those things that kept me going back.

Who knew running could be FUN?!?

I can't even imagine the amount of new runners that have started to run because a race brought in an element of fun. Workouts weren't the static, depleting and dreadful experience I had come to expect anymore.

The idea of running is intimidating for someone who is not a competitive athlete.  It's a huge task to commit to moving oneself at a fast pace for an extended period of time....especially when sitting sounds so much better.  Safer.  If you were to look at my sitting skills, they would be A-plus.  I sit for work every day.  I multi-task from this chair like a BOSS. 

Now running, I'm not super fast.  I'm not graceful.  At times I plod through.  If I get a cramp, the whole world will know and my face will have that pained look of dying while in motion.  I don't multi-task whilst running....I'm lucky to be breathing steady and going in a semi-straight line.  If you were to look at my skills, you would not be impressed. 

I don't want to be judged for my running.  Ever.  So if I'm in costume or in a wig, if I've painted myself blue....you are laughing with me, not at me.  

I'm not running, I'm funning.

This whole stream of thought sparks from the notorious SELF Magazine article, which threw shade at runners in tutus.  It made fun of the so-called "tutu epidemic."  What they also did was ignorantly post a photo of a cancer survivor who was in a tutu, doing her first run while on chemo.  She also makes tutus for runners.  The profits from the sales of the tutus goes to a local charity which helps young girls stay motivated to be healthy and exercise.

BIG mistake for SELF Magazine.  HUGE.  This has cause such an uproar in the running community, which has lovingly welcomed thousands of tutu wearing, fun-loving people who handle themselves with a better sense of sportsmanship than SELF has demonstrated.  The magazine issued an apology and retracted their superior stance on the subject.  ......meh.  Unimpressed over here.

What I would really like SELF to do is pull their next glorified celeb off of the cover and give us this tutu wearing, cancer surviving, charitable, female athlete who does more for promoting the cause of staying healthy and having a good body image than another article telling us how Kate Hudson lost her post-baby weight.

I. Hate. My. Dress.

When you are plodding along and checking off the items on your Wedding To-Do List, one of the first things that a bride does is finalize THE dress. 

And I did that.

Back in mid-December, I took a few of my girlies over to Pebbles Bridal.  I let them pick all kinds of gowns for me, just to be silly.  Then I stuck to looking over more casual dresses in the bridesmaid section.  I'm getting married on a beach lawn, so I didn't want a prom-bomb or anything over embellished.  Several dresses were workable, then I tried on this construction cone orange dress, which aside from the color, looked like it met all of the requirements.  I declared us DONE! Checked the item off of my to-do list and moved on to the next line item.

Note, I am a very decisive person and I love a well-made and executed To-Do list.

My dress came in last week.  I was so excited to go pick it up.  I went Saturday afternoon, with my bridal lingerie in tow, so I could try on the entire ensemble.  The sales woman gave me a dressing room and my gown.  Everything fit ok, but I still felt it was a bit tight in the hips.  I walked out of the dressing room to look in the mirror.....at the same time a girl had brought a 12-person entourage to the same mirror to watch her be fit in a gown.  So as soon as I walked out, a dozen heads swiveled around and I heard several "Oooohs" and "Aaaahhhhs."  I was a bit overwhelmed at the hub-bub, smiled and then returned to my dressing room to disrobe.

I left with my dress, still unsure what it looked like, but I definitely opted to buy some Spanx to help with that tight-in-the-hips feel.

Almost 37 years old and I bought my first pair of Spanx.  They are like a boa constrictor and a pair of panty hose mated and had an ugly step-child. 

Once the Spanx arrived, I locked myself in the back of the house and once again assembled everything.  I went over to the mirror and tried to like it.  I amped myself up to like it.  But it just wasn't there.  When I first tried it on in the eclectic, distracting orange, it was great!  It was fun!  I even said, "But who would want this in orange?!"  However, it was exactly that trait that made the dress work.  In white, it was limp, cheap looking and there was no bright color to distract from the fact that the darts weren't in the right place for someone my height.  The whole reason it felt tight through the hips was the misplacement of the darts.  I would spend my wedding and reception trying to tug it in place all day.

I felt uncomfortable, under dressed.....and just not bride-like and beautiful.

That moment of honesty hit me like a brick.  I. Hate. My. Dress.

Then the brick melted into and ice cold wash of anxiety as I accepted that I am getting married in 18 days...and I don't have THE dress.  I have A dress.  But not THE dress.

I put everything back on the hanger and in their proper bags.  My sweats went back on and I walked out into the living room.  I picked up the computer and started looking at every wedding dress I could find online.

Jesse looked at me and asked what I was doing.  I waved him off and said that I was just doing "something" and he didn't need to concern himself.  After my "something" took up over an hour of my undivided attention, Jesse started to question me again.  He knew something was quite off.

I looked up at him and meekly stated, "I hate my dress."

His face just fell.  The same brick hit him.  He was immediately empathetic and wanted me to talk about it and not "shut him out."

My response was that I wasn't shutting him out, I was just not going to talk about it or I would go absolutely bezerk and possibly start crying.  In lieu of such activity, I decided to start searching online to see if there was anything I could rush order overnight.  I prefer to find solutions over having a hysterical moment.

After I confessed the horrible truth to him, I was able to Facebook one girlfriend, who works in fashion and went to the fitting with me.  She didn't write back, but called me immediately. Her first words, "Are you o-k?"

I assured her that I was not in full blown panic, but I don't love my dress.  She offered to come over to look at it, to see if it was just me being silly, whatever.  I responded that I knew this wasn't the one.  I didn't feel special.  I didn't feel beautiful.  I didn't feel it was right for my day.  I also let her know I was rush ordering items to my office and if that didn't work out, I might need her to ride sidekick for a whole bride-zilla dress shopping extravaganza.

I felt good about being honest.  I felt good about not trying to make the dress work.  I did not feel good about having nothing to wear to my wedding. 

I found two dresses and paid rush delivery.  They came in today.  I went to a loft we own upstairs with two of my coworkers who could help me pull them on.  We have a space, which has big mirrors and great natural lighting.

Both dresses looked better that the one I have deemed "unworkable."  And one looks perfectly heavenly.  The color works with my skin tone.  It's elegant, understated, simple, and it's THE dress.

Crisis averted.  I don't have to get married in my skivvies or a burlap sack.

Monday, March 17, 2014

What makes you think it will work this time?

My guy and I went out of town to Santa Barbara a couple of weekends ago.  One of the highlights of our trip wasn't a planned excursion.  We were both hungry and driving in circles, not really knowing what restaurants were near us.  We happened upon a small eatery with several tables outside and warming lamps.

Tre Lune.

I was in my converse high-tops and a fleece sweatshirt.  The entire crowd was dressed Santa Barbara casual....which is fancier than your normal casual.  I felt so underdressed and uncomfortable.  But being hungry over shadowed being properly attired.  I was positive the hostess was trying to find a way to hide us at the back bar, when miraculously a front table opened up. My fleece sweater was first and foremost the thing that each new diner was able to see.

And I'm sure my fleece sweater and converse made a huge impression on Carol Burnett, who was sitting at the table to our right.  I did my best to not loudly hum songs from Annie or the theme song to The Carol Burnett Show.

But the presence of a great female comedian/performer was not the moment that makes me smile.

To our left was another older couple.  The gentleman leaned over and said to Jesse, "You seem like a nice, polite young man and yet these tattoos you have speak of a much harsher experience.  Would you mind telling me their story?"

Jesse opened up and explained how his tattoos evolved from a poorly chosen wedding band tattoo and how they had grown from that one mistake into a beautiful and strong piece of body art, that is still in the creation process.  The couple were enamored by the story and we ended up conversing through the whole meal.

We found out that the husband of the couple was none other than, Mark Singer, the inventor of Gorilla Glue and that he sold his company several years ago.  He now gets to focus on his love of designing and building modern wood furniture.  You can see his story with Giati Furniture here: http://www.giati.com/about-giati/designer.php

Our quickly approaching marriage became a subject of conversation.  Mark asked Jesse and me, "What makes you think it will work this time?"  And I chose to respond with, "Well, we have both failed at marriage before.  We know what makes it not work and what is truly important to making it work."

Mark asked what I felt had made my marriage not work.  And I explained that I worried more about other people's happiness than my own.  I said, "I didn't speak my mind about how I truly felt.  I shoved it down, in an effort to be pleasing and perfect....and 7 years later, when I am in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer and wishing that I could change it all, I saw just how much damage my reluctance to be honest had taken." 

My first marriage was to a person who took full advantage of my people-pleasing personality and there was no honesty between us  At the end, there was just his expectations and me submissively fulfilling them.  Anger, resentment and self-loathing had taken center stage in our marriage, which led him to infidelity and our final separation.

I further went on to explain that Jesse had shown me that he could love me, knowing my story, knowing my pitfalls, my failures, my experiences...the lump sum that equates my existence....he knows and he loves, whether he understands or not.  He loves me.  And we are moving in the same direction, towards the same goals in life, family and work.  I have a partner, not a boss.  We are complimentary towards each other.  And that relationship, with continual work, honest communication and trust, equals success.  I have no doubt.

It was that moment, which makes me smile and makes my stomach flutter.  I have no doubt that I know this is the romance and the love I was meant for....this is the love that people wish and pray for.  And I'm worth receiving it.  I had to live out my life to get to a point where I could be ok with being loved, truly.

And this is it.

Walk Away.....


It is March 17th.  And to me, this is a big milestone.  It marks the one year anniversary of my last day working in nightlife.

Early 2013, started with a lot of drama and stress culminating from a series of bad, reckless decisions.  I was in over my head and trying to go about my day as if everything was alright.  Instead of acknowledging that I was part of a duplicitous side-business, my ex was threatening my life and I had to miss a day of work, so I could install security cameras in my apartment.

I was scared and I was mad and I felt trapped.  So trapped.  I spoke with a friend and he said two magical words, "Walk away."  If you are around dangerous people and involved in a situation you no longer feel safe within, you can walk away.  Just peace out.  You do not owe people your life or your sanity.

I don't?

No, I don't.  And I made two phone calls and walked away from promises, from people and from a heap of anxiety. 

Once I made that choice, I realized that I truly wanted a path of wholeness, of being appreciated and a serious decrease in the drama swirling about me.

A huge factor of the drama was working for nightlife.  I had a boss who had a major drug problem, who I'd caught stealing twice and who tried to switch me to other venues.  He also tried to block clients from using hosts, would lie about sales totals to minimize commissions on big sales and was basically a greedy drug addict who felt he could get away with murder.  Having corporate know he was stealing, sleeping through shifts, dumping work on other managers and treating people according to the size of their bar tab and it not affecting his job security one bit, maybe his feelings of indestructibility had merit.  Along with him, I had a co-worker who would binge on drugs and alcohol and the mood swings from that were nearly unbearable.

The amount of lying, stealing, cheating and an all over failure to deliver a level of customer service that was equitable to the loyalty of our clientele, had me completely appalled.  I stayed because I loved what our venue brought and the happiness I derived from giving my clients their best memories of birthday parties, sporting events and corporate success parties.  However, giving others happiness tends to fall short as the company you work for denies proper compensation for your effort, your input and the proper credit for giving your all to others.

My last day, my manager did not announce my departure or arrange any type of well-wishes.  I had given two years of service and he didn't even bother mentioning me in the pre-shift.  And when an email was sent from my supervisor, including management, to prompt an acknowledgment and a possible thank you...it went neglected.

I walked away.  And I was so angry that it meant nothing to them.  So angry and bitter that I wasn't valued.  After a year has gone by, I can see that I was never valued.  I was merely a vessel that could be put in one place or another and use my endearing nature to squeeze money from clients and build a fortune for a company who could replace me in a heartbeat. 

It was one of the worst "relationships" in my life.  One filled with lies, cheating, theft and alcohol and drug abuse that I had to suffer through.

And like any bad relationship....you can choose to walk away.

And when you value yourself more than the ego that comes with your phone blowing up and red ropes being lifted for you...when your sanity and self esteem are priorities above having your own table and a bottle of low-level booze, walking away can include a skip, a hop and a jump into a better lifestyle.

A year later, I am getting married in 27 days.  I can easily be away from my phone for hours on end.  I haven't been to a club in a year....and I'm experiencing life, love and a brighter future.

Walk away from what's dragging you down, to free yourself to walk into something that lifts you up.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine when I'm at the gym.  I roll up to the first available treadmill, place my water bottle and towel in their accessible positions and start to walk.  Every two minutes, I increase the incline. I hum along to my tunes and notice out of the corner of my eye, the person next to me, is gripping the treadmill for their life.

Guy or girl, doesn't matter.  They're holding onto the treadmill and ignoring that fact that by doing so, they are negating 15-20% of the calories they *think* they are burning.  Treadmill, elliptical, moving stairs, whichever....You are cheating!  Cheating yourself more than anything.  Little legs are wildly flailing and your knuckles are turning white.  It's probably the part of your body getting the greatest workout.

Cardio is hard.  The hardest thing is showing up consistently.  The next hardest thing is consistently challenging your body, so you don't plateau.

I know, I know....I shouldn't judge, but it infuriates me to see people continue such bad habits in the gym, just KNOWING that somewhere out there, they are griping to someone about seeing no results.

Just stop hanging onto the railings people....swing your arms, clench your buttocks, get results!

Words, Words, Words....

I am an intelligent creature...I swear by my beloved Frenchie, who farts, that I can add, subtract, email at break neck speed and read a book a week, simply for kicks. Moderately intelligent. I will give myself that...moderately. I feel good about that level, not too generous, but not underestimating the value of what a four year degree earns you....even when I delay that process and take 7 years to finish that degree...I WAS UNDECIDED ON MY MAJOR...ok?

Recently, I have come across the philosophical and over thinkers of our time. I can sit in a room with them and nod my head along with their discussion, interject an "I see" or "well, makes sense." When in all reality, I don't see, I don't even hear...I'm lost on what the meaning of the last 30 syllables that left your mouth were and I'm inconspicuously looking for the damned thesaurus you must be hiding somewhere.

It's when I realize that these fops, these narcissists of their own verbology, have never been called out on how perverse and moronic that they actually sound. And I'm pretty safe at assuming not a single idea that left their mottled brain was actually original....being that they seem to spout many quotes and references and use those bunny ear quotes a lot. I like bunnies. Really do, especially rabid ones.

The crowd that basks in the glow of the overly worded, is too embarrassed that they can't follow, they can't comprehend, they can't truly remember what the discussion is actually about, but could really use some hallucinogenic drugs at this point to watch the speaker's head melt...cause it would simply be more entertaining and remarkable.

God these people bore me and they do it while gleefully believing themselves to be the most interesting creatures on the planet. Hit head on wall, hit head on wall, hit head on wall.

So I've come to the point of where I plan to stand up for my people, the majority, us. The American population has an average intelligence and reading level of third graders. You know why? Cause we have to work, pay bills, we don't desperately cling to what we learned in British Literature or high school Calculus...cause you know why???? We have things to do and more valuable, lovely things to think upon and we are secure in that indulgence. I, myself, vow to claim ignorance, admit my lack of time spent studying the dictionary while instead I enjoyed the real world (complete with rabid bunnies).

Because if these philosophers actually cared to get their point across. If their main goal was to impress a major point and belief upon the world at large concerning religion, politics or perhaps the sexual practices of the Haitian peoples, as their legacy, then they would surely want to be understood. Instead, it seems that they merely want to hear their magnificent brains pouring from their tea stained lips (cause these people spend hell-of-time sipping hot teas at the local Sbucks). And each superior syllable that eeks past their gaping holes for mouths, challenges me to dare NOT to understand.

Well, I don't...dammit I don't. And I'm not sure I would really care about the topic if I did understand the words spewing from their mouth.

So...to these plunderers of the English language .. the time wasters of life ... the soulless who claim to have souls...the unoriginal who claim to be the MOST unique people ever (what a common statement).... I say to you ....

You are better than a Xanax. You are less exciting than an annual obgyn exam. A speculum has more personality and depth of character than you. You make me want to rip your face off and feed it to my lovely rabid bunnies whose sheer existence is a larger mark on society than your own.

And to you who actually listen to this drivel and revel in it, you are just as vapid. Go get a life. Find the philosophy of existing and maybe, just maybe, you will create your own life epiphany…and I swear when you do, the best and grandest of life's discoveries comes in the words of children, the colors from a crayon box and humbling experiences of the common man.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What Are You Going to do After the Wedding? ...huh.

Being wedding-obsessed is somewhat fun.  Colors, flowers, musicians, food, planning, planning, planning....it's a good time for a creative person with too much creativity inside and nowhere to put it.  It's been thrilling.  It is my pièce de résistance

I wake up and have a purpose.  Today I need to pick a cake flavor.  Tomorrow I really need to make a flower choice.  By next week, we should really have that itinerary, itenerized.  Every day there is a new challenge for my bridal-mind.  I mean, I had a mini-celebration when I finally found the right nail color this week.  If you heard people shouting in the streets or any celebrations nearby, it was most likely due to the success of the perfect manicure.

One of my coworkers asked me this week: "What will you do once the wedding is over?"

I laughed it off and replied, "Oh, just go back to being peaceful and quiet. Duuuhhhh."

Inside, there was screaming, a panic attack.  Holy crap! At some point, this wedding shin-dig will be complete.  I'll be all married and my art, my purpose, my sole driving focus will have reached the pinnacle.  I will have crested and then comes the plummet....face-plant into life.

I see why so many women go into baby-making mode right after a wedding.  That's a sure-fire way to ensure a life long project of raising a child and having a purpose gnawing at you every day. I'm not going into that mode.....just yet.  We do want kids, but I'd still like to selfishly enjoy my hubby, just the two of us, for a little while longer, uninterrupted. 

Where this line of thought has taken me to is that I love having a font of creativity.  This continual drive to focus, plan, divine into being, has been a breath of fresh air.  I like having something to do.  A sweet little project which keeps me humming about and feeling useful is nice.  I get so caught up in work and the daily grind that I end up putting all of my energy into earning a paycheck and paying my bills, that my artistic side withers and wastes away...forgotten.

I'm going to relish this planning time and my all-encompassing need to plan and be involved in creating my dream wedding to my favorite human.

But all of my friends and family ....beware.  Once I'm all married and back in LA as Mrs. Vital, I will be looking for personal projects and you might just get dragged in. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Age of Passive Aggressive Dating

I'll admit it. I've totally done this.

I was dating a guy and he wasn't texting me back or returning my calls.  It had been 2 days and no sign of him.  So I told him off.....through Twitter.

"Different day same shit, ain't nothing good in the hood."
I'd run away from this bitch and never come back if I could."

My method of communication annihilation: rap lyrics.  Oh, if I was mad, I would tweet aggressive rap lyrics....passive aggressively.  And once I hit the send button, I felt elated.  I felt powerful.  I totally said what I wanted.  Once that doucher opened his twitter and saw my latest post, he would be shamed.  SHAMED!!!  He would know what a beast I am.  And that makes me a winner.

Many years later...and dozens of rap tweets past...I am quite aware that those quotes from The Game did not make me a winner.  In fact, looking back, I'm not even sure what I was attempting to express.  While posting it gave me a bit of self-gratification, what it did not do was communicate on any level nor make any suitor behave better.

I'm now in a wonderful relationship.  And when I'm upset with my guy, I sit him down and we talk about it.  It gets resolved.  Communication happens.

Adults should not be relying on texts to resolve an issue or on a tweet to express how wrong someone behaved.  I can accept that from a 16 year old, who is bumbling her way through her first boyfriend.  I will even pardon my post-divorce self, as I was re-entering the dating world. 

But at some point, possibly the point where you own a car, you should be able to own a conversation.  You have to relinquish the twitter and the instagram and grab onto the talk. 

And if a guy, or a girl for that matter, is not making themselves available to talk, the biggest response you can have is to move on.  If you truly don't have time for losers, you don't take the time to post a passive aggressive meme about it, you simply walk away.  Actions speak louder than pixelated words.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I'm trying to help you, so let me insult you first...

I have recently seen posted and reposted an article telling girls to respect themselves and be cautious of what photos they post online.  Using carefully worded and thoughtful sentences, such as:
"Posing in a lace bra and G-string on Instagram doesn't give the perception that you a "lingerie model"... it makes you look cheap... like the only value you offer is your body."

The article further goes on to explain to the girls that Victoria's Secret models are REAL models.  Victoria's Secret models get paid to wear such outfits and, therefore, what they do is above and beyond what random girls on instagram are doing, which he equates to the lowly pandering of their "pink parts." That I find incredibly funny, as I have been told, by well-informed insiders, that the companionship of some of those Victoria's Secret models is sold more often than the lingerie they pose in. Yet, the blogger elevates them to embody the definition of a real model, basically, because he truly knows neither side of whom he is referring to.

Which brings me to the question, does the blogger actually know these instagramming girls?  Has he met them?  Is he truly trying to selflessly help them see their inner beauty by the condescending tone and belittlement he weaves throughout his paragraphs?  Or is he upset that his meme of the Dali Lama only received 12 likes, while a girl's faceless cleavage shot, #nofilter, received 1382?

I swear if my 16 year old niece ever posts something, which I feel is inappropriate, I would not be blasting the universe with an indirect, all-encompassing article that sprays vehemence like buckshot. I would be calling her mom and then my niece directly.

Attention Instagram "models" is a blog written by a man, for men and women who already agree with him.  I assure you, no girl posting photos of her bikini-clad body has stopped doing so based on this self-aggrandized blogger's infuriation about female body pics being posted online.

The author continues his sensitivity with:
"Any picture of a naked/half-naked woman will get LOTS of views online.  It doesn't make you special... it makes you an adult film star, but without the paycheck."

So not only has he told any girl with a body pic online that she isn't special, but she is also an unpaid sex worker.  Helpful, right?  Only if helpful arises from the combination of generalization mixed with judgmental nature being flung at you.  And one cannot ignore the constant stream of sexism throughout the entire piece as women are solely targeted.

Let's face it, society has moved away from the value of intimate social circles.  There is an increasing  importance placed on social media groups that involve people we will never ever meet. We can now have 1,000s of faceless screennames watch us, like us and follow us.  Social media has become the equivalent of a cyber-highschool where your ranking is based on the opinions of anyone who can access a wireless connection.  It's all just a popularity contest.  You either fall prey to it or you don't.

By writing the piece, the blogger has joined the attention-seeking masses he is criticizing.  His need to be liked and to gain favor has him sparking a discussion, which aligns himself to a group of haters who already exist, in an attempt to be the center of their attention.  Therefore, it is HE who is now liked.  HE who has his content blogged and reblogged.  His method was to take his anger, self-need and personal jealously out on a section of women he has never met.  He has shoved his spite and piety into a nice juicy metaphorical rack of its own.

He also tells these girls that they are:
"Giving peeks of [their] naked self away to random lurkers/stalkers/pedophiles, that's what."

To me, that falls into the threat of "you brought it on yourself."  The regressive mindset that if a girl is assaulted, she is probably encouraging it with a short skirt.  How dare she taunt, flaunt or enjoy baring her body?!  Men are around.  And if men see it, well, we can't control them can we?  Well, technically, the law attempts to and locks them up if they can't keep their hands to themselves...especially if seeing a girl in a bikini has them act like mindless beasts.  Is the blogger revealing his own poor ability to control his urges and asserting it onto the nature of men as a whole?  I would hope not.  I know many men who can handle the sight of the female form and be appreciative and respectful simultaneously.

The blogger drives the point that this is a self esteem issue, which to me is paradoxical.  Because if he had unwavering self esteem, then he would not have been affected by the instagram posting of strangers and how many likes they got.  He would have not felt a need to put these women in their place, so he could raise himself to a higher one.

To sum it up, this blogger comes off weak.  I find it very amusing that certain people aligned themselves with such a dull opinion over an obvious topic and, aside from me writing this, there has been zero affect by posting it.  I hope this blogger finds better things to do with his life than worry about a random girl, posting a random pic, which had nothing to do with him or how he believes people should behave.