Written by: Jacqueline Stahl
Side orders just for your enjoyment...
Stories of the Unfaithful...
For two years I led a woman's group focused on love stories, fulfilled and unrequited. The women shared the pain of their affairs, their lover's affairs and the prospect of ending what they thought was the real thing.
The boldest woman in the group was an actress in her early 30's, newly engaged to a shy and talented artist. Her daily schedule was earmarked for workouts, acting classes, therapy, and writing poetry. The group was formed shortly after her mother died of stage four lung cancer. Each week she arrived late, her face powdered with grief and her mouth firing nonstop about the unfairness of life. The other women didn't wilt under her feisty commentary about the "ugly bitches" she met at auditions and the vast amount of alcohol she put away on every shift.
They let her rip until she cried. After one of these emotional breakthroughs, she shared a story of a man that came into a hotel restaurant where she waited tables. He was from Florence, worked for a clothing retail company and traveled to New York every month for one week. Her description of him wasn't flattering, but his shortage of hair and his below average command of English didn't discourage her from venturing into danger.
Over the next few weeks, the women in the group leaned in as she read his emails and texts.
Everyone, including myself was captivated by this foreign Man.
He promised her, "I will wait for you till my last breath." He wrote that he fell in love with her laugh and beautiful eyes. "Do you accept my true sweet words?" He swore, "If I do not honor this divine and powerful force I may as well die. Ciao Bella un bacio!"
One of the women who had recently moved in with her girlfriend laughed out loud: "You have to sleep with him, you don't want his divine death on your conscience."
With every opinion and reflection shared, no one said "end" the relationship. Instead, they encouraged it. Everyone in the group remarked on how much happier she seemed and how radiant she looked.
The little Italian man continued to court her and plan cultural excursions on his days off. They went to the Met, the MOMA and drank champagne at the Peninsula. He planned to take her sailing in Croatia and Italia. Yet, they still had not consummated the relationship.
The fair skinned and provocative Violinist in the group told everyone that this little man was "poetically inserting himself into her life so he has something to look forward to. She's a safe bet, she's engaged, and looking for a distraction from her unsuccessful existence." Then she mumbled, "he probably has a really small..."
The lunging happened first and then a real fist and face slapping fight broke out in my 300 square foot office. Screaming, hair pulling and the C word vibrating off the walls.
"That is enough!" I shouted louder than I ever have in my life. "Sit down and don't say a word until I am finished. This group was not created so we can sit here week after week formulating judgments about one another. We are here to actively listen and genuinely share our lives with each other. We don't always agree with each other, because our personal experiences inform the way we analyze and perceive each moment. Feeling compelled to blatantly hurt or undermine someone is not only unproductive, it is cruel. We are also here so we can safely make mistakes and then apologize and move forward. Let's begin again."
The violinist stood up and walked over to the chair where the actress was sitting and reached out her hand. "I behaved like a little $h!t and I'm sorry. I think I'm jealous of you. You are engaged to a nice guy and you have this International unrequited love affair going on. I have such a boring life and I'm angry at myself...not you. I didn't mean what I said."
The actress nodded her head and said, "He does have a really small..."
The group roared and we were out of time.
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Written by: Katie Cohen
Everybody expects their first kiss to be this monumental moment when gravity miraculously stops and you find yourself floating above the ground and gasping for air. Who even decided that it was supposed to be like that? I never understood the appeal.
Getting swept off your feet inevitably ends in a painful fall and having your breath taken away is a guaranteed trip to the emergency room. For a close friend of mine, it literally was a trip to the hospital, but not because she was gasping for air. Rather, because she woke up the next morning with a small bump on her lip after some eighth-grade stud took her kissing virginity. When her dermatologist quickly diagnosed this nasty little thing as a flat wart, my friend was sent home with a very strong cream to apply on the affected area before bedtime.
Less than 24 hours later, I received a call from a panicking teenager who insisted that her lips had tripled in size. When I entered my friend’s apartment with a sympathy tub of rocky road ice cream, and got my first glimpse of her blowfish lips, I realized that her mini tantrum was completely justified.
Another week went by, and the lip swelling only got worse, and was eventually accompanied by spiking. It was discovered that the severe reactions were side effects from the cream that was being used to treat the flat wart, which turned out to be a pimple according to the results of the biopsy. This cream that destroyed my friends mucosal membrane (particularly her lips) and compromised her good health is now recognized as extremely hazardous to the human body and is prescribed with great caution by doctors. More recent medical research has shown that the strong concentration of harmful chemicals in the formula can be “criminally dangerous” when applied to specific areas.
Unfortunately, so many of the ingredients in body and skincare products we use daily contain ingredients that are identical to those in the cream that my friend applied to her “wart”. Some of them are Paraben based, meaning they contain chemicals like Methylparaben, Propylparaben, IIsoparaben, Butylparaben. Phthalates are additional chemicals that should be avoided at all costs. It is outrageous that there are only minimal efforts made to expose the important truths behind the products we use, and even more astonishing that the majority of the products do more harm to us than they do good.
Our skin is a major player in our first line of defense, constantly fighting off harmful bacteria and toxins that our bodies come into contact with every day. So while we all want soft, clear, and youthful looking skin, we sometimes fail to remember that keeping our skin healthy has greater benefits than those at the aesthetic level! It is important to treat it with the proper care that it deserves by introducing treatments into our cleansing regiments that keep our skin clean without a toxic solution. It is counterproductive to clean your face with products that only contaminate your skin more in the end!
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Written by: Katie Cohen
So what's YOUR passion? Watch this video and be inspired by 11 & 12 year olds who are completing their final WOW Projects for Citizen Schools and The i adore me Kids Program. They have found their passion and used their creativity to impact their community.
Once we find our passion we can step into who we really are and what we want. There's no time like the present, so find that passion within you and bring it out into the world. We all have special gifts to share. What's yours?
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Written by: Betsy Karp
It’s Christmas Eve and I hope you are all enjoying some wonderful eggnog, family, friends and holiday cheer. Tis the season to be jolly. Sing some carols and stay present…and enjoy the presents (pun intended).
If you get stressed out, wondering if you are giving the right gift, if you are drinking and eating too much or just being around “too much” family, take a minute for yourself and breathe. Let go and enjoy. Whatever will be will be.
Dress in something fun and festive. Wear red, green or hot pink. Red promotes passion, energy and confidence. It helps you to feel powerful within yourself. Green will help open your heart, letting you feel love and abundance. Hot Pink is playful and fun. It makes you feel like a child all over again.
Enjoy yourself. It’s Christmas. Focus on all the love that surrounds you instead of the problems that arise. I hope this holiday brings you lots of peace in your heart. Wishing you all lots of love and a great BIG holiday hug.
You can never have enough hugs and kisses!
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Founder of i adore me
Written by: Betsy Karp
I can’t stop thinking about the tragedy and massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Fri, Dec. 14th. My heart and my condolences go out to all of those who lost anyone in this unthinkable, unfathomable occurrence. I am sending wishes and love to all those that are mourning and in deep, terrible pain.
I keep having this vivid visualization of 20 little, white angels in a beautiful circle, all holding hands with white snow coming down all around them. They are warm and toasty in their beautiful, white, down jackets and matching fleece berets, and they’re singing “Jingle Bells.” Everything is so pure and white, clear and clean, and the sky is lit up with so many beautiful stars. But there are perfectly, 20, brilliant stars shining down on each one of them. They are joyful and their spirits are so filled with love.
I keep picturing this over and over so that I can let go of some of the dark, angry, black and horrible feelings I have of this terrible tragedy. 20 little angels are singing, are loving and their spirits and souls are forever in our hearts. They are so pure and so loved, even for those who did not know them.
Take a minute now, close your eyes and envision what I have been visualizing. See if you can try to imagine these beautiful, 20, white, little angels. It is said that our spirits and our souls leave our bodies when we pass on, so let’s all remember and embrace them. If we all put our energy and love together for these families, just think how much lighter they will start to feel.
Life is so precious. It could be gone in an instant. So take some time today and remember how special the people in your life are. Don’t take anything for granted, because we don’t know when our time on this planet will be up. Look up in the sky tonight and let those 20 little angels shine on you.
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Founder of i adore me
There is a saying that it is better to give than receive. Whether you can give a little or a lot, giving is giving. Are you still searching for that perfect holiday present? How about sharing your appreciation and love? What could be better than giving someone the chance to experience self-love, catapulting them towards their dreams? Give them the gift of a happier, healthier life. Who doesn't deserve that?***The person lucky enough to get this gift certificate from you will be able to use it towards any program of their choice listed on the work with me page. When redeeming this gift certificate, they will also get 20% off the total cost of the program(s) they choose.