Monday, February 4, 2013

Back to the Beginning...

I’ve heard it said that sometimes you have to go back to the beginning in order to find what you’re looking for….  Well, if that’s true, then I’m exactly where I need to be!
I originally launched this blog almost two and half years ago, and to be honest with you, I was thoroughly enjoying sharing bits and pieces of who I am, what my life is like and more….but then I started asking myself what the point was….I started telling myself that I needed to somehow be making some sort of contribution to the world other than jotting down all my thoughts in some obscure web based place.  So, I took this dream I had been carrying around FOREVER and I decided to make it into something real.  I created the Tell A Girlfriend Network.
I had this magical vision of a place where women would line up to shop and support small business owners….we would have monthly get-togethers where we could celebrate one another, introduce our businesses and design our own version of Utopia.  For a while, it felt like it was really happening!  The network took off at lightning speed, amazing female entrepreneurs were joining and life was really good…..until the day people started telling me that I needed to change my network, I needed to make it different.  “They” said it wasn’t main-stream enough…  WHAT? 
I’m not really sure what mainstream means, but that’s not the word that comes to mind when I am trying to describe myself or the vision I had for my network.  But, as I’m sure you can relate, when people start pointing out things that are wrong, we tend to forget what’s important to US, what OUR dream is, and suddenly we begin to morph what WE want into what the crowd thinks we SHOULD want.
Honestly, that was the beginning of me letting my beloved network start to drift away from me.  The more I became what people told me I should be, the more miserable I was….and so the story goes.
Then one day last November I woke up and realized that I was unhappy not because of my network, but because I had allowed someone who doesn’t even know me tell me who I was supposed to be.  That was the morning I said “screw it, I’m taking my network back to what I have always known it could be… part marketing, one part celebration, a pinch of inspiration, a splash of empowerment and a whole lot of fearlessly fabulous female owned businesses as far as the eye can see.
Today I am excited to be re-launching my network, expanding on my original vision and putting my personality back into the process!   It is a big day for me because I finally feel that while this evolution of myself and Tell A Girlfriend is nowhere near complete, at least I will always be able to say I did it my way!
The great lesson here is that we are all surrounded by people who would have us believing what their version of us should be.  They will tell us that OUR dreams are not the RIGHT dreams, or that we are doing IT wrong.  At the end of the day, feedback can be fabulous as long as we don’t allow it to creep in and change who we are. 
Inspiration Pie was always part of MY dream, and maybe you won’t have time to visit every day, but at least you’ll know that when you feel like it, you can pop over and say hello, soak up a little sunshine and take a breath for a moment.
I’ve been running around like a crazy person searching high and low for my bliss and the irony is that it was here under my nose all along! 
You deserve to live your OWN story.  There will always be nay-sayers, but at the end of the day, that little voice in your heart needs to be the one you pay the most attention to, and if you do, then I am certain that you own version of bliss might just be lurking right under your own nose!
Welcome to Inspiration Pie!  Many things have changed for me since I created this blog, but that’s all just part of the journey and I am THRILLED that you will be along for the next chapter!
Wishing you many blessing and your own bliss!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just the Way YOU are.....

Dear most beautiful wonderful you!
It is incredibly easy to let the opinions of others lead you to doubt who you authentically are. We can get so caught up in what other people want us to be that sometimes we forget to be ourselves. We are all on such a beautiful and unique path of personal evolution towards becoming the very best and most amazing version of ourselves....but we will never get to bask in the beauty of our own individuality if we are constantly inviting other people to tell us what we need to change!

Each and every one of us has our own version of what we think somebody else should look like, how we believe they should act, how they should make a living, what color they should paint the walls.....and the list goes on and on! But what if we just took a step back and let people be who they are? What if the next time I wanted to blurt out "oh you should do this...." I just kept it to myself until I was asked for my opinion? (I'm trying....I promise I am)

Unless you're living under a rock with your ears taped shut, then chances are, somebody is going to offer up their version of what they will believe will work best for you. Their hearts are always in the right place and they truly want the best for you, but at the end of the day, don't we all bring our ideals from a place of our own experiences? So, at any given moment twenty five people could offer 25 different opinions of what they honestly believe will work best for you....and in their minds, they would be right! However, what works for yu and me and our lives might not work for "them"......what feels comfortable and right for me might make "them" want to run away shaking their head.....and that's okay!!!

The most wonderful thing about co-existing with billions of other people is that we are all ever-changing glorious works of art. No two canvases the same, no two journeys ever completely mirrored and that's the awesomel thing about it. It would be a boring world if every time you turned around you bumped into a clone of yourself. Yet, it's so easy to get caught up in what other people believe to be true about you. Today, I hope that whatever opinions are offered to you, whatever somebody tells you that you need to change, and however somebody might tell you to make things better, you do not allow them to make you doubt who you are.

You and I are perfectly flawed and oh-so-beautiful human beings who make this world a much colorful and extra-ordianary place because of all the unique qualities that we bring to the party!
I think Billy Joel knew what he was talking about when he said "don't go changing to try and please me, I love you just the way you are...." and that's the ticket friend....we need to love each other and ourselves just the way we are!!!
I wish you a day filled with your own version of fabulous and the confidence to know that you are nothing short of amazing....just the way you are!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There is so much to SEE!

Sometimes I get caught up....wrapped up, tied up.....and just plain distracted. I buzz around hoping to get to a scrap of paper or napkin in time to write down a new idea, a fabulous quote or a random observation I have made. I bounce from facebook to blogs, to my own website and then let the dogs out. I swirl and twirl and make endless lists of things to do, places to go, emails to return......I just plain get caught up! Then I am caught off guard by a random smile from a passerby and as I am consciously smiling back I wonder if I spend enough time paying attention to the people around me. Not the guy I call hubby....not family or friends, but those random souls I pass in the grocery store....the woman standing next to me as I am pumping gas.

Am I paying enough attention? I spend so much of my time with my head down trying to cross things off of lists that I am starting to wonder if I am missing out on fleeting moments that come and go in the blink of an eye. I wonder if the Universe has given me some great gift or generous little wink that went sadly unnoticed because heaven forbid I forget the Ranch dressing in aisle Four.

Regardless of how we are allowing the world to see us, we are, each one of us, such fragile souls....each of us just hoping to be noticed once in a while. A kind word can change the entire course of a day, a smile from a passer-by can lift a somber little random act of kindness has the potential to cause a ripple effect that can ultimately be felt in the tiniest, but most amazing ways by countless recipients.....all because we paid attention.

We notice the girl with the sad eyes who just wanted you to glance her way, but do we really see her? We look at the woman with the magnifying glass who is desperately trying to read the label on a jar of peas but is struggling because her vision just isn't what it used to be, but do we see her? We notice the homeless woman that we have been passing on the street for months now, but do we see her? I can think of so many things I tend to notice on a daily basis, but unless I can stop and actually see what is going on around me, then I wonder what I have let just slip right past me. The true impact of observation is diminished when we don't take the time to feel it, or when something needs to be done and we tell ourselves that somebody else will do it, or when we're just so busy that we don't notice anything special at all.

Every single day I know that I am surrounded by flashes of little miracles, opportunities to reach out to the person standing next to me....snippets of true beauty....and windows of inspiration. But it is only when I slow it all down long enough to see it that I am actually permitting myself to give and receive all of these gifts...

Life is chaos, it is hectic, and dizzying and often feels like a whirling top just spinning out of control. But then, if you're as lucky as I was yesterday you stop just long enough to look outside the kitchen window and see a dozen-ish yellow finches who dropped by to say hello and check out your tomato plants. Teeny tiny little gifts that I would have surely missed if I hadn't stopped to take a breathe from all the madness.

Today is another busy day, you have a to-do list a mile long and 45 things that demand your immediate attention. But I hope that in the middle of it all you will grant yourself time to stop and really SEE. See the people around you who so desperately want your attention, see the changing of the leaves before they completely dry out and return back to dust, see the smallest of miracles...whatever your version of a miracle might be. We are so lucky and so incredibly blessed. We have this big beautiful world in front of us just waiting to be noticed. Today is the perfect day to truly and purposely take a good look around and just allow yourself to SEE.

I wish you a wonderful day of clear and intentional vision!!!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Vintage Girl Living in a Modern World.....

Seriously.....could this day get any more gorgeous? If you're here in the Chi-town area like I am then I don't have to tell you that days like this don't come often! Perfect temp, a beautiful breeze, sun.....and NO humidity! Why can't it be like this all year? Because then we would complain that the weather never changes and we mid-westerners love our variety.

Anyway....I digress (as usual)..... a perfect world where everything was free and I didn't have to worry about earning a living to help keep the lights on, or terrifying my husband by dressing like Lucille Ball, I would be living smack dab in the middle of my own antique shop. I would serve lemonade (with a splash or two of vodka on the weekends...or after five pm), little pastries made by a local girl, and be dressed in vintage clothing from the 40s from head to toe. But alas, instead I became a bit of collector of all things rusty, old, and full of character! Hubby and I love heading out to out-of-the-way antique shops or flea markets in search of the perfect something that we both know we really don't need!

We've been slowly but surely finding amazing pieces that for us, were just the perfect additions to our home! For us, these have become the perfect conversation pieces even if we just wind up only talking to each other! There is something so inspiring and magical about old, weathered items that "brand new" just can't compete with. From the smell to the rust, I just fall in love over and over again! I often find myself wishing I could talk to the people that originally had these items in their homes and find out what life was like for them. I just know that every piece has a story to tell and love the idea of celebrating its history! So, I hope you enjoy the few pieces that I have posted. For us, they are little treasures that make me smile every time I look at them!

We stumbled across this piece at an antique store near the house and first thought nothing of it other than it was beautiful....but then the magic happened! The owner of the store came right over to show us that when you open the lid there is this amazing self contained bar sitting right inside! It even had the original martini top and olive picks.....and the light works! So, I'm not sure how well you can see this, but oh my fabulous and the perfect home for our vintage beverage canisters that we picked up at an estate sale! Hubby loves when people come over and he gets to open the bar and show them this amazing piece of furniture!

Not sure how great the photo is, but from the original mirror to the retro light, we think it's just beautiful!!! All I need now is long cigarette holder, a good martini and some long white gloves....which I'm sure I have in my collection already!

This is another of our treasures! I know you're wondering what is so exciting about an old greasy wheel, but take a look at the photo below of the amazing OLD baggage cart that its attached to! When hubby first stumbled upon this in the back of an old warehouse and called to tell me about me I had no idea I could literally fall in love with a piece of furniture the way I have! He saw it and immediately thought it would make the perfect coffee table, and boy was he right! Our home was built in the 40s and to furnish it with modern pieces just didnt seem like US, so from the moment he dragged it home, it was true love for both us!

It's the perfect piece!!! Flanked by our oh-so-glam long red couch and that corner loveseat we found. I know, I know, nothing matches, but that's the best part!!! We thought about cleaning that cart up and refinishing it, but decided that part of the personality is all of the imperfections that came along with it...kind of like me.....perfectly full of imperfections!!!

Enjoy the rest of this magnificent day and thanks for indulging me and letting me share a few of my other inspirations!!!

Big hugs!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Meet Mad Max!

Good morning everybody! My name is Max....or as my parents affectionately refer to me; Mad Max! Actually, I'm starting to think that maybe my real name is "NO MAX," because I seem to hear that a lot, so I will have to get back to you later on that one! I'm a little Lhasa Apso with a huge personality, I just got adopted by my new parents Gary and Heather about three weeks ago and I just love it here! I now have a furry dog sister named Betsy, and three cat cousins named Jake, Newman and Bella! I love to chase them around the house and torment them as often as possible just so they know that I might be really little, but my goal is to be KING!

I'm only about 5 months old so my favorite things to do are go potty every five minutes on whatever pretty wood and tile floors I can find. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy going outside and running around, but I just don't see that as a good place to use the bathroom when there are so many nice places right here inside! My parents have repeatedly told me that going potty outside is the right thing to do, but honestly, it's just not my scene! I am much happier to get out into the yard and drag enormous sticks around, eat whatever leaves I can shove into my mouth and then enjoy the cool breeze for a second or two before trying to bother Betsy!
So far I'm really loving this place.....there were some really cool toys here when I arrived that I am guessing belonged to Betsy, but even when Heather and Gary say "NO MAX," I can't help but try to hoard them all for myself! They are SO much fun to chew on!! I don't think Betsy likes me too much yet, but I know that eventually she will come to love my wit and humor.....I hope! As for the cats.....Newman is the most fun! I chase him around the house and force him to jump up as high as he can on the furniture and then I try to jump up and knock him down. It hasn't worked yet but I am no quitter so one of these days I will win!
Beyond that I think you can already tell that I use my adorable underbite and huge tail as a way to win people over and if that doesn't work then I really enjoy trying to bite their ankles and scare them! It's really funny to watch them jump and yell my name, "NO MAX," over and over again! Overall I think that once I get used to the rules and these strange parents I have (why are these people always trying to hug a macho guy like me?) this is going to be a pretty cool place to live, so far I give it two paws up..... Now if I just get out into that yard long enough to get those darned squirrels out of here everything would be fine!!!
Have a nice day!
Mad Max!