Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stealing Style and Smart Ideas - Who are Your Icons?

Recently I was asked who my style icon is, and combined with my recent post about Amal Clooney, it got me thinking about who's style I really admire that I can also relate to. I've always liked the way Eva Longoria dresses, because 1) at 40, she's a grown up, 2) she is not tall and neither am I , 3) she has deeper coloring like me and 4) she's displays a lot of sexy, vibrant confidence in her clothing choices, which I would like to do. I don't have the glamorous life Eva Longoria has, but if I did, I'd dress like she does. Although there's no way I can handle those super high heels!
Images of Longoria via Stylebistro.com

























The process of selecting a style icon got me thinking about the importance of having role models in our lives. Do we need them? Shouldn't we be expressing our true selves, not copying the choices or lives of others?

But I recently read this fun book on creativity called "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon, (actually, I stole it from my mom) and he believes it's our job to be influenced by the ideas and work of others. "Nothing is truly original," he writes of the creative process. "Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by."


So who you and what you choose to imitate, when filtered through your unique point of view, becomes new and original! Being influenced by others is not lazy or uninspired, it's art. If I copy Eva Longoria's style I'm actually taking deliberate steps to creating my own. Honestly, when I think of my most prolifically creative friends, they are constantly on the lookout for cool ideas to shamelessly use for their own purposes.

So, when it comes to stealing from icons, why should I stop at fashion? I can have a Humor and Wit Icon (hello Tina Fey) a Writer Icon (obsessing over The Fault in Our Stars author John Green, but who isn't?) a Leadership Icon (Jimmy Carter standing up for women's rights is a thing of beauty) and a Life Coach Icon (Martha Beck, you just get it.) I can have icons for cooking and organizing and exercising and presenting and being a good parent. I can copy anyone I find worthy or hip or inspiring or hot. How liberating it is to not have to be original!

What about you? Who is your style icon? And once you've figured that one out, who else is worth stealing from? Share here so I can copy from you.



Image via wikipedia.com

Monday, April 13, 2015

Amal Clooney shows women can have it all - or at least more!


She's a brilliant international human rights lawyer and speaks three languages.  She's stunningly beautiful and impeccably dressed.  She has captured the heart of one of the hunkiest, most elusive movie stars of all time. Amal Alamuddin Clooney, a woman of intellect, sophistication, style, and character,  proves what women have been longing for - we really can have it all. Hooray!

Image via the LA Times
But also, ugh.

I'm fascinated by Amal, as is the rest of the world. There's even a blog completely devoted to analyzing her style.  The photos of her are incredible - her exotic features and luxuriant hair, those amazing designer clothes, her confidence and ease. I've seen plenty beautiful women in the media, but they're models or actresses - their job is to look good. Amal looks ravishing heading to teach a class at Columbia's law school. It's impressive and, I gotta say, intimidating.

Photo via https://amalalamuddinstyle.wordpress.com
Of course women can be successful and beautiful, but Amal's dazzling display of both qualities leaves me feeling like a slacker. Amal is a defender of free speech and women's rights across the globe. I can sit at my computer in my pj's and write about relationships and sex for 35 minutes straight. Last weekend Amal wore a feather trimmed Giambattista Valli crop top out for drinks at The Monkey Bar in New York. Last weekend I wore a black t-shirt and Gap boyfriend jeans to World of Beer in Evanston to watch the NCAA basketball playoffs.

See why I'm feeling like a slouch?

Although she sets the bar high, I'm glad Amal is having her moment. Her looks may be gaining her attention (apparently Vogue's Anna Wintour is her fashion advisor) but her accomplishments are truly impressive. I  need to know about more multi-dimensional, multi-talented women like her - they'll motivate me to up my game.

And if they happen to be wearing Gap jeans, all the better.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Too Much Food, Not Enough Information

If you didn't see the Weight Watchers Superbowl ad, take a look. It really drives home the point that there is entirely too much deliciously oozy, buttery, sugary, tempting food available out there!


Talking about diets is boring, so I'm won't go into how I'm back on Weight Watchers, the only weight loss program that has ever worked for me. But tracking every bite I put in my mouth has made me realize that the portion sizes and calories being served up in restaurants and coffee shops and kiosks are really absurd. No wonder a third of all Americans are obese.

I don't think we're suffering from a lack of willpower; the problem is a lack of knowledge. Luckily, most restaurants post nutritional information on their websites.

Have you ever looked up the nutritional information of some of your favorite restaurant dishes? Our family loves California Pizza Kitchen, where I regularly order the fish tacos, which seems like a light and healthy dish, right? Nope, it has 1040 calories, as much as a BBQ Chicken Pizza.  But knowing that doesn't mean I have to stop dining there. Instead, I can order something lighter or split an entree with my husband. I'm in control!

Look, no food is bad - I eat everything and I know there's a Big Mac (550 calories) in my near future - but we owe it to ourselves to understand what we're putting in our bodies. And whether it's tracking points with Weight Watchers or just keeping a food journal, writing down what you eat is a powerful tool for better health. ( PS - I've lost six pounds!)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Marjie's Holiday Gift Guide, Just Indulge Me

 I'm indulging myself by sharing what's on my Christmas list this year. The Holiday season is the one time of year when you can consider what gifts you'd really love to receive, which is a true pleasure. Stop thinking about everyone else in your family for a brief half hour and consider what objects would delight YOU. Making a list of your desires is as much fun as getting the actual gifts!

1. A yoga mat - I've been taking yoga for six months and loving it. I think it's time I owned my own mat.

2. Jonathan Adler pottery, candles, decorative objects. I don't care which, just surprise me! Here are some shots from his store in Newport Beach where we visited over Spring Break, but you can shop via his colorful website. So whimsical/sexy/ fun.

Ha!



















3. Plaid flannel shirts. I'm feeling the men's lumberjack trend this season and am enamored with plaid shirts. Worn over a fitted tank they are comfy and look and feel cooler than sweaters. I have a couple cute shirts I picked up at Old Navy, but I want more. Here's one from J. Crew I like.




4. Upside down hoop earrings. These pictured below are the ultimate by Lana for $445, but I've seen less expensive versions all over. A surprising twist for your lobes.




5. Netflix. Will someone in my family please set this up and explain it to me? I know I'm woefully out of it and missing some of the best TV programming out there.



6. Ray Ban Aviators. They are classic and cool. I want to get matching pairs with my husband so I can pretend we're movie stars.



7. Jo Malone's new Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne. Smells divine!



8. Vans leather slip ons. I think these are the winter equivalent of flip flops. Cute, practical, easy to step into when running out, and they cover your whole foot!


Other items on my wish list are lip gloss, gloves, scented candles, champagne, family harmony, a good night's sleep, and some cuddle time in front of the tree with my husband - hopefully while we wear our matching Ran Bans!

What are you longing for in the gift department? I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

7 Ways Yoga Makes You Sexy!

I discovered yoga this summer at Heaven Meets Earth in Evanston, and I'm a mid-life convert. It simply makes me feel delicious from head to toe. Here's a version of a column I wrote a few months ago for MakeitBetter.net. Namaste!

1. Yoga is a sensual experience.
For women to experience pleasure in bed, they need a steady diet of pleasure in other areas of their lives. Yoga is great exercise, but it also engages all the senses. In class we enjoy beautiful music, low lighting, and comfy props like cushions, blankets, and lavender eye pillows. Sometimes our teacher will sound a gong, or anoint us with fragrant essential oils – a valuable reminder that there are many ways for a body to feel good.

2. Yoga gets you out of your head.
Image from Prevention.com - Yoga Poses for Better Sex
One of the biggest barriers for women to feel desire is the incessant chatter filling our minds. Yoga shuts off that multi-tasking noise. “When I get into my yoga practice,” my girlfriend Ivy* tells me, “ I only focus on my breathing - the inhale and the exhale. My mind is very quiet after a practice.” Ivy uses that technique when it comes to intimacy with her husband; it allows her to relax and fully appreciate the experience.

3. It connects you to your femininity.
Sports and workouts are healthy and fun but, according to Lisa Faremouth Weber, the founder of Heaven Meets Earth, competition and comparison come from a masculine, ego-based mindset. Yoga is individual, inward exploration. The practice can be challenging, but is infused with gratitude, artful movement, and intention – a more feminine approach that balances all the goal oriented achieving we do. “Feminine exercise gives you joy,” says Lisa. “Women need to experience ravishing abandonment daily.”

4. You’ll feel great about your body.  Women are often incredibly critical about their bodies. I’ve only been taking yoga for a few weeks, but I’m already surprised by the new things I can do. Ivy puts it this way, “When I’m doing yoga, I like myself more - I feel the most happy, proud and content.” It’s not about how you look, it’s about what you can do and how you feel. Making that positive connection with your body feels awesome.

5. It gets you in shape for the sack.
With the deep lunges, down dogs and bridge poses it’s no stretch to see how yoga makes women more physically fit for lovemaking. Yoga improves strength and flexibility in all areas of the body, but is especially helpful in opening up the oft-neglected muscles surrounding the hips and pelvis –which one of my teachers calls the “bowl of the soul.” More flexibility means less pain, more options and more fun when it comes to sex.

6.  Yoga makes you look hot.
Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow rave about the benefits of yoga. Not only does it tone your body and give you great posture, it improves your circulation and makes your skin look more radiant too. Ivy started doing yoga for the peace of mind, but she was delighted by the changes in her body. “Once I started seeing the results, I liked the way I looked, and I felt more interested in being sexual.”

7. Yoga blisses you out.
Ivy regularly experiences joy while practicing yoga. “There are moments in class when I feel like I can look at my inner mirror and my heart is singing. I wonder - can everybody see what’s happening to me here? It’s like my heart is just bursting forth from my body!”

“In yoga we have flashes of bliss,” explains Lisa. “The Sanskrit name for them is Samadhi. This is when we stop, pause, breathe, plug in and open to the sea of love within ourselves. We can’t experience that when we’re constricted.” The good news, Lisa tells me, is that once you’ve been awakened to these flashes, you can experience them in everyday life.


*Not her real name.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Butt Really Kim?

Is Kim Kardashian simply a beautiful woman celebrating her sensuality, or a shameless fame monger using the assets (pun intended) that gained her attention in the first place to perpetuate her celebrity?

Or is this just a big, bawdy joke?

I have to say, this cover of Paper Magazine made me laugh and laugh. I've never read Paper before (probably not cool enough) but I think we all got mooned.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sex & the Suburbs on WGN Radio

Yesterday I had the opportunity to bring my Sex & the Suburbs column to WGN Radio on Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano's afternoon radio show. Bob (Marianne's husband) had jury duty, so Steve Bertrand filled in for him. The three of us had a most stimulating discussion about what men and women want for the holidays. I think Steve felt a bit outnumbered, but he was a great sport and very funny. Thanks for having me on your show Marianne, it was a blast!

You can listen to our segment on WGN Radio's website. Let's be generous to our mates this holiday season!


Photo courtesy of wgnradio.com