We all have our own right of passage as long as I can move forward……

I once worked with a woman who told me that the reason she got a nose job at the age of 16 was because she grew up in Long Island. She went on to explain in great detail that it’s a certain right of passage for every Jewish girl from that area of NY to get plastic surgery just before she is old enough to apply for a drivers license.

At the time, I thought that was funny and took her only half seriously even though I knew she meant every word.

But now, years later, I have quickly learned that there are certain rights of passage when you live in Florida…..

First, you MUST take up tennis. Even if, like myself, you don’t like the sport. In fact, I absolutely hate it. I hate everything about it:

1. The sun – I spend way too much money on skincare and fight way too hard for an umbrella at the pool to jeopardize my vampire skin  just to be on a tennis team. Not worth it.

2. Lateral movement – of any form. Unless you’re a crab, who moves side to side anyway? It’s so unnatural. Our bodies were meant to move forward- (isn’ that why everyone loves the caveman diet? or maybe that’s something else- tbd) – even though I don’t run anymore at least I know that if I did, my legs would move in front of me instead of to the sides- it’s just so awkward.

3. The outfits. Skirts to workout? Makes no sense.

4. Everyone’s always icing their elbows after they play…..you don’t need to be Doctor Oz to know that means with tennis, you get injured easily. 

So tennis is one right I do not partake in.

The next right of passage is you have to get a little white dog. Or it can be a golden color – a mix of a poodle or a golden retriever- either way it has to have some form of “poo” or “malti” breed in it. But nothing big and nothing intimidating. It must bark very loud and incessantly and every old lady on your street must walk theirs at the same time so they all bark in unison at each other.

The third right of passage is you must get a boob job or at the very least, an excellent push up bra. And you must wear very tight form fitting tank tops to work out and then walk around all day in them. Again, I do not partake in this right.

The fourth right is you must drink ice coffee or green juice in big cups and walk around with them all day long. In your flip flops. Unless it’s 70 degrees or below and then you wear a winter coat and knee high boots.

Lesson Learned:

In life, there are movements and progressions that form who we are. You take what you like and make it what you want, but most importantly, make it your own.

The Emperors new sushi roll…..

I was reading an article last night in the NY Post (which, if you’re not from NY or simply not familiar with the publication, it’s known to be like the red headed step child of the NY Times, only it’s so much more fun – that I consider it more like it’s cool single uncle instead.)

Not only does it sum up important world events (albeit in the very back of the paper right next to the classifieds- you kind of have to search a few times for it, at least I’m told it’s there) but it gives detailed information about things that are truly important – such as more supercilious things Gwyneth wrote on Goop, which bar mitzvah Paris Hilton earned $1million for her unlimited skills at DJaying and what Kimye’s daughter, North, wore to fashion week, .

So when I came across the article about the hottest new sushi restaurant in NYC, Kappo Massa, I just couldn’t help but giggle. The column described this hot spot as the trendiest, most exclusive place that serves only the “1%” and of course, Mr. and Mrs. George Clooney (they apparently ate there twice so it must be cool!)

The best part about the description of the place is that not only is the food so very expensive ($240 for ONE  particular roll) but –wait for it- it’s not even good. You heard me, the food seemingly is subpar – and that’s on a good night.

But the joke is, no one seems to care.

One patron was quoted as saying even the anorexics put up with the prices because – “they can.”

This reminded me of a story I used to love when I was little:  ‘The Emperors new clothes’.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this one but I’ll spell it out anyway.

Stupid fools who try and boast about the money they have to burn and enjoy spending $1400 on a bottle of Moet are so easily convinced that they are spending their money just to be exclusive when really the restaurant owners are the ones laughing all the way to the bank (along with the emperor’s tailor).

It reminded me of a country club next door to the one I live in that recently just raised its fees- without renovating or updating or adding anything new to offer to their members- all because they want to keep the place “exclusive”.

Lesson Learned:

Fools be fools.

As someone who’s been providing financial advice for many years now, I say if you want good sushi there are plenty of places that will keep you satiated for under $14 a roll – save the $300 rolls for when you go out for dinner with the Emperor and his new cloak.

Ask the experts but wait until the commercial…..

Whenever I get a few extra minutes at the end of my workout I try and take some time to talk to the trainers about diet and exercise. Well, some of them at least. You see, the personal trainers at my gym tend to cater to an older crowd so there are a few who take advantage of the fact that some older people don’t really feel like working out entirely and like to chat and take long breaks in between sets.

One trainer in particular loves to strategically place his clients on a machine that faces the TV. He knows that without fail the person will inevitably finish the set and take a long break to watch the segment and start discussing it with him. I once put my phone stopwatch on and timed how long of a break he took just chatting with his client- 18 minutes! Do you know how many activities you can squeeze into 18 minutes? There have been instances where my entire workout lasted just 17 minutes. I felt like going up to her and offering to to watch TV with her for $100 an hour instead of the pretense of working out with someone who’s already doing just that.

But not all trainers are that lazy and  I like to hear their opinions and advice that they offer to their clients. For the most part their exercises are pretty basic and safe (a philosophy I adhere to and practice daily- I am so not into the crazy fitness fads when athletes try and show off their agility and core strength by standing upside down on a BOSU balancing on their finger nails with only their gel polish holding their entire body up – these showy types turn me off and most often than not injure themselves).

(this was the before shot…)

Nope, I am a big fan of the basics. They are safe, easy to follow and most importantly; they work. Exercise should be fun and tolerable and at the very least- get you motivated to just move.

So when I overheard one of the trainers giving his client what he referred to as a great diet plan I just had to listen.

He started out just right with a breakfast that consisted of fruit, lean protein (like eggs) and a healthy carbohydrate such as oatmeal (although oats are technically not gluten they still will affect those with celiac disease so should be avoided if that’s the case- and I don’t mean those people who are self proclaimed gluten free preachers who just avoid eating it because they think it’s fattening.)

So far, so good….

Then he suggested as a mid morning snack that she drink a protein shake either chocolate or vanilla flavor or eat a protein bar.

And that’s where I lost him…. I just had to hold myself back from getting up on my soapbox and preaching about the accolades of eating pure whole ingredients – foods that consist of ONE ingredient (like fish, avocados, fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts etc.) – not the protein shakes that are loaded with chemicals such as, but not limited to- (just love that phrase, I use it a lot) soy lecithin, corn maltodextrin, cocoa powder processed with alkali, artificial flavor, whey protein isolate, carrageenan, xanthan gum…. the list of unpronounceable goes on and on.

What exactly is healthy about all that?

I suppose I could be wrong?

And besides, unless you’re a marathoner or triathlete, the average person doesn’t need all that added protein in a day to build muscle, especially those that workout in between TV segments.

But I kept my mouth shut and mumbled something to myself as I tend to do and went on with my day.

Lesson Learned:

Not all professionals are authorities or experts in what they are supposed to know. Sometimes knowledge comes from doing your own research and asking questions.

Have a great workout!

When you’re full of it just blend it out…..

I recently bought myself a magic bullet. I know what you’re thinking- what a hypocrite after I just wrote a blog about how I hate juicing not even 3 weeks ago. True, I still agree that juicing as a meal replacement is like drinking a salad-  only not as tasty -and just doesn’t work for me.

Now that I am no longer a toddler and not quite an old lady, I still prefer to CHEW my food. But I soon discovered that there are other benefits that can be obtained from an over priced kitchen gadget that can chop up a stalk of celery within 4 seconds, other than being too lazy to actually use your teeth.

Hear me out.

Flash back 2 weeks ago. I spent the entire weekend in bed sick as a dog. I felt more nauseated than ever before (and yes I even took a pregnancy test – almost disappointed when turned out negative -not because I want another baby – please, I cringe just imagining the amount of work it would take to lose that weight at my age – but for the simple reason that it would explain the symptoms and at least I would know the issue wasn’t related to drinking too much.)

Image result for pregnancy weight gain funny

When that came back negative, I just dismissed it as going way overboard with my Friday night cheat meal the night before (which if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I allow myself weekends to indulge in fun foods which always starts with happy hour. I pride myself on my ability to gain 100 pounds on the weekends and lose 102 by Tuesday.

Image result for weight gain funny

But this time it was different. I felt so sick I ended up having to go to urgent care which started a series of tests – from cat scan, pelvic exam, ultrasound and GI exams. Let’s just say I put my insurance card to work. The results- all came back that I am healthy as a horse- with only one issue…I am extremely constipated. Or, as my husband just loves to point out and remind me constantly –

I am literally full of sh$t.

After trying the doctors advice of adding mirilax to my ice coffee which only made the problem significantly worse – I decided to take out my magic cauldron and experiment with my own natural homeopathic recipes.

Image result for witch cauldron funny

I have always been a big fan of using natural roots and herbs in my every day diet and I drink lemon water with ginger root every single day, but I decided to take my elixir a step further.

After a few times of mixing all different types of ingredients together (and having to spit out most of them) I came up with the perfect blend that fixed my problem almost instantly. And from there a star was born.

I have now been adding in a green(ish) smoothie to my every day diet in between meals.

I admit, it’s somewhat of an acquired taste and takes getting used to. But let’s be honest, if you can convince yourself that you like Beer in college just because it was the cheapest way to get drunk at a frat party then you certainly can convince yourself to like a green smoothie!

Lesson learned:

Sometimes we tend to rule out or dismiss things that don’t make sense to us at first but you never know when you may need to use them in a different form. Be open minded and good things will come!

Now for some big news!…..

I have also decided to enhance my blog and coming soon I will be adding a full website which will include all kinds of easy healthy recipes, even easier yet impactful exercises and all kinds of other good stuff- so be on the lookout!

Now for my easy digestive restorative healing recipe for a low calorie and (not so ) delicious (but good enough) natural health smoothie:

Blend the following together:

1 teaspoon flax seeds

¼ piece of raw ginger root (cut off the outside peel)

¼ lemon (also cut off the peel)

½ cup unsweetened coconut water (can use distilled water but coconut adds a flavorful punch)

1 truvia packet

1 cup kale (a vegetable I find to be absolutely vile tasting but when blended I don’t even detect its flavor yet still benefit from its many health benefits such as Vitamins A,C, B and K as well as folate, Alpha- Linolenic and Omega 3 fatty acids

1-cup butter lettuce or spinach (your choice)

2 mini cucumbers

Optional: 1/8-teaspoon sheep sorrel root (powder form)

Optional: 1/8-teaspoon burdock root (powder form)

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon turkish rhubarb root (powder)

½ cup frozen blueberries

¼ avocado (optional but adds consistency and healthy fat- feel free to just eat it with carrot sticks instead while you’re blending your smoothie)

1 celery stick

4 strawberries

Cinnamon (optional)

Email me with recipes, comments and feedback always welcome!

Lose yourself….You get one shot do not miss your chance to blow this

Everyone is a somebody to someone at some point in life.

The other day I was having small talk with the guy sitting next to me on the bike at the gym. If I had to guess, I would estimate that he was in his early 70’s – yet still in great shape. He was over 6 feet tall and had big muscular shoulders with a thick head of white hair.

You can tell he was the kind of man who took care of his his body in his youth. It was early in the morning and I had seen him many times before but never really had a conversation with him. After he left, someone whispered to me that the guy I was talking to was one of the original members of a famous rock band in the early 60’s called Sha Na Na.

So of course I did what everyone in this day and age does, and I googled him. For those of you who grew up in the 70’s you may remember a few of their performances on ‘Solid Gold’ (– remember those Solid Gold dancers? Their sexy bodies dressed in skin tight gold lame’ rubber looking jump suits – dancing around for a few minutes in between the show just before commercial break – true visionaries decades before the popularity of dancing with the stars….

The pictures that popped up of him and the band –so young all in their early 20’s – looking all rock and roll in jeans and leather jackets and tight white T-shirts with a pack of cigarettes rolled into their sleeve – you could tell they were big shots back in their day. ( You could also tell it was clearly the 60’s as nowadays rockstars have tattoos on their sleeves instead of cigs)

Which made me think for a minute   – here he is- decades later – working out and playing golf – enjoying his golden years somewhat anonymously just like everyone else. Even though he had his 15 minutes of fame, he is now just like all the other old men at happy hour- all vying for the same free chicken wings before they run out.

Image result for old man chicken wings funny

I suppose it would be like if my future grandchildren ran into Justin Beiber 60 years from now. They might think it was cool to meet someone that was famous for a blink of an eye but unrecognizable to them.

Reflecting back on someone’s life reminded me of an exercise I try and do from time to time which I refer to as “the rocking chair test”.

The idea of the test is to envision yourself when you’re old and looking back at your life and reflecting on what you’ve accomplished. (Although I never understood why old people are depicted in cartoons as sitting on rocking chairs – I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t get dizzy just looking at a swing let alone actually swaying back and forth on a chair that rocks.)

But the idea is to do this type of mental test every now and then to remind yourself of what you wanted to accomplish before you’re next in line to enter the pearly gates. (Assuming you’ve led a good life and that’s where you’re headed – we all know it beats the alternative!)

I work with people to plan for their retirement all the time and yet when asked how they see themselves living in retirement age most have to just assume (and HOPE) that it will be in the same lifestyle they have now – which most always leads to an assessment and evaluation of their financial goals. But I like to take it a step further and ask them about their personal goals and what they want to achieve on a level beyond finances…..like who they want to be remembered as on every level- from spiritually and emotionally to their relationships and connections in life.

Lesson Learned:

Sometimes in life we need to take time out to appreciate who we are before we can look back and appreciate who we’ve become. Our great sage of this generation, Eminem, has told us many times that there are no dress rehearsals and in life  “you get one shot / do not miss your chance to blow this”  so what are you going to do to make your ONLY show the  best one???

And now for your viewing pleasure:

Of Mice and (WO)men….

Sunday mornings are my day to sleep in. I have trained my 9-year-old well, because she now brings me “breakfast” in bed, which means I have extra clean up to do afterwards  – (worth it!)

I usually stay in bed, read the paper and maybe even watch a movie. By the time I decide to get up I am fully relaxed and ready to start the day.

So last Sunday, while searching for a morning movie I happened to stumble upon a rerun of “Batman”- the authentic original series that took place in the 60’s starring Adam West.

Ahhh…the good old days when TV was innocent and shows were as violent as simply flashing the words

”Kapow!!” and “Shazam!!!” during the fight scenes.

I grew up watching all those shows like Wonder Woman and the Bionic Man so when I saw that there was an episode of Batman I did not hesitate to ask my 9 year old to stay and watch it with me.

The premise of this particular episode was that the bad guys had placed electronic mice triggered with bombs all over Gotham City. Now, this was shot back in the 60’s, so special effects weren’t exactly what she is used to seeing today – we’re talking props like a rubber mouse that literally could be confused with a bar of ivory soap.

The episode concluded with Batman acting as a pied piper and together with Robin, they played their flutes while leading the mice to the outskirts of town.

So far it was still pretty innocent and simultaneously ridiculous but all par for the course for a 60’s TV show where the super hero’s wore Lycra tights.

But just then things took a turn…they then showed a scene where the policewomen at the police station were so terrified of these mice –albeit so evidently fake wind up toys you wouldn’t even want to win at a carnival – that they had to stand on their desk and ultimately faint at the sight of the electronic rodents.

At this point I was starting to regret my decision to invite my 9-year-old daughter to watch such a chauvinistic scene – but she didn’t seem bothered – she even giggled at the fight scenes. But toward the end when the police chief announced that –

“You just can’t send a woman to do a man’s job!’”–

well that was all my daughter had to hear. She immediately deemed Batman to be a sexist show and vowed to never watch another episode. (Besides, even SpongeBob has better fight scenes and Sandy the FEMALE Squirrel always kicks SpongeBob’s ass.)

I had to stop and think for a minute just how far we’ve come in the world of Hollywood and the depiction of female role models.

I have always been egalitarian and as I age I become even more  feminist – I lead my life with high feminine self-esteem but now that I have daughters I realize more and more just how important –no essential- it is to lead by example and encourage them to have careers and be independent thinkers.

Lesson Learned:

Old TV shows serve a very good purpose…. they offer the nostalgic effect that brings us back our childhood in heartwarming flashes – yet they also concrete what we already know – just how far we’ve come!

Shake it up!…..And Shake her off……

When my girls were little, my older one would complain to me that the younger one would follow her around and do whatever she did, went wherever she went.

I told her it’s a sign of love and she should be flattered that her little sister wants to be just like her and be with her all the time.

She would still complain that it was so annoying and I would just dismiss it as cute.

They soon outgrew that stage as now, although still close as can be, they are complete opposites- one is a girly girl, the other; a tom boy (which unfortunately for me- someone who hates to shop- makes it impossible for them to share clothes).

Flash forward to the past few months ……

There’s a woman at the gym that follows ME around and does whatever I do, goes wherever I go.

For example, if I were working on the leg machine she suddenly would be working on the leg machine in between my sets – and would adjust the weight stack each time. So I would go over to the Lat machine and sure enough she would stop the leg machine and follow me to the LATs…again, adjusting the weight in between my sets.

I would just dismiss it as me thinking she was doing a similar routine as me.

But as time went on, she would start to make comments about my workouts – not compliments either- but more like passive aggressive commentary in a very competitive way. It became pretty clear that she was in fact trailing my workouts and yet oddly enough, would simultaneously criticize them.

Don’t get me wrong; I have done my share of following trainers around the gym over the years.

When I was first licensed as a fitness trainer so many years ago, I spent my workout time watching different trainers techniques with different types of clients. I was lucky enough to be living in NYC where it was common for celebrities to work out at the same gym as I did so I would follow them around…not because they were famous but because they were guaranteed to afford the best trainers.

I watched countless videos and read as many books as I could get my hands on. This was before the time of the internet-  and fitness was not the multibillion dollar behemoth it has now become. There were no Jillian Michaels videos or P90X apps and all I had available were some old issues of SHAPE magazine and cable reruns of Gilad’s Bodies in Motion. (Those nude pantyhose were so hot weren’t they? So not kidding.)

But watching others who were more experienced really helped give me ideas on how to create a workout routine that worked best for me. I would adjust and modify what I saw to accommodate my own body and fitness goals.

I learned that exercise is personal and not all workouts fit all people.

My friend would make fun of me that I was like the ‘Will and Grace’ episode where Grace follows the trainer and his client around the gym because she’s too cheap to pay for one herself only to discover that the other woman’s goals were to reduce her boobs and enlarge her ass.

Yup, Workouts are personal.

For instance, I have a friend who loves to run.

She’s fast, dedicated and runs every morning even in the freezing cold NYC winters. I have another friend who only does Yoga.

Both women have beautiful bodies and both swear they would never do the others workout no matter what you paid them. And you know what?… Both women are right!

Over the years I’ve figured out what works for me.

I believe you should enjoy exercise and you should never push yourself to do something you don’t like.

I personally don’t enjoy running so I bike, lift weights and swim instead.

So when this woman started following me around the gym I could not help myself from messing with her just a little.

I began my set with the leg machine and sure enough she would soon follow. I then immediately moved to the other side of the gym and did some triceps – which of course, she soon followed.

Then I hit the floor and did a set of burpees (when it comes to burpees I do exactly 9…. Simply because 8 is not enough and 10 is just showing off).

Then I dove into skaters (a plyo move) and immediately ran back to the other side of the gym and did a superset of squats and lunges. Then one minute of jump ropes only to run back to the leg machine again and did the whole routine over again without stopping.

After about 20 minutes of this I had to admit I was wiped and my heart was racing!

I looked around and she was gone- she had gone off to use the cardio machine.

Success! But my thumping heart rate made me stop and think (and catch my breath);

I hadn’t felt this pumped in a long time.

My workouts had become somewhat stagnant lately and for the first time in weeks I had changed it up ….. and loved it!!

Lesson Learned…

Sometimes all it takes is the attempt to shake something or someone off to make you shake things up a bit and actually be productive! If Imitation is the best form of flattery than at least make sure it increases your heart rate at the same time.

And now for your viewing pleasure click link below:

Your GUT is always right….now put down the nachos

Image result for stomach pains funny

I had to take my 11 year old to the doctor because of her stomach pains that have been consistent for a few weeks.

Although I was relieved when it turned out not to be anything serious, I was still slightly devastated that the reasons for her agony stemmed from (as she cringes while typing it:)…her poor diet.

How could it be that Ms. Balsamfitsecret who preaches  the merits of eating healthy could have a child with such poor eating habits?

Now I know what you’re all thinking – you probably think that I’m this health Nazi who won’t let her kids eat junk. On the contrary!! – actually that’s the problem- I did not want them to grow up feeling deprived and then rebel once they are old enough to buy their own food and become obese adults .

You see, I grew up in a house of junk. Literally and figuratively- junk was out at all times of the day.

My house was the house everyone wanted to come to because we had no curfew and junk food was available and sitting out all day and all night (that’s because everyone was too lazy to put anything away and my mom-love you dearly if your reading this – is a pack rat and let’s just say the opposite of a germaphobe.

She would bring home stray dogs she’d find in the parking lot of the local grocery store despite the fact that my father was not an animal lover and asked her not to. It was always the same story; We would keep the dog for a few weeks until it tore apart everything since no one bothered to train it or walk it and then one day I’d come home from school and it was gone with no explanation other than “ he had to go”. I didn’t ask then – and I won’t ask now – where they went but I suspect that farm story that they told me was slightly fabricated.

In my house growing up with 3 brothers and 3 male cousins who were always around playing ball, wrestling and giving each other wedgies and titty twisters, the last thing anyone cared about was healthy eating.

Image result for boys wrestling funny

So I suppose you can say that I rebelled from the filth by becoming a clean freak myself and learning how to eat healthy was something that started out as an obsession in my late teens and evolved into a passion throughout my entire adult life. I have studied nutrition for over twenty years and became certified in all things fitness. Even though I do not work at a gym, as a financial advisor I do consult and preach the virtues of healthy habits to my clients.

SO there I stood at the doctors office being lectured about how terrible processed foods are for the digestive system. (ummmmm- duh?)

Image result for doctors advice food funny.

After a few minutes of letting HIM lecture ME- I decided to join him on his soapbox and no longer justify “they’re just kids” excuse for eating processed foods that I know are terrible for them – or for anyone for that matter. The irony is that I would never eat the things I allow my kids to eat. I eat whole natural foods, healthy fats, proteins, fruits and vegetables  and rarely anything processed…..and for the most part so do they- at least at HOME while I’m serving it to them. I have cut up fruits and vegetables always at the ready to grab and go. I have chicken and fish prepared every night for dinner.

So why the mea culpa what they decide to eat in school or swim practice or friends houses??

Because junk food is called that for a reason. If you put junk into your body your stomach will let you know it’s not ok with that. Trust your gut- LITERALLY!!

Don’t get me wrong; of course I will still let them have dessert at restaurants and ice cream at the beach. Yes, they are just kids and everyone no matter what age should enjoy some indulgence here and there. I am already pretty good about not buying processed foods but will pack them even more healthful choices so they are not tempted to trade their cut up mango for Doritos.

Lesson Learned :

Even when you know you’re right about healthy living yet don’t do what your gut is telling you to, you can end up doing more damage than you ever considered. Rule of thumb is to always stick to your gut and it will lead to a healthy one!

Back by popular demand next week some more healthy eating tips, recipes and of course- the preaching of the benefits of WINE!

have a great weekend! go enjoy happy hour!

Be yourself- case dismissed…..

I am a creature of habit. I get up at the same time everyday, (even when I don’t have work – I still have to pee) eat the same foods (even on weekends, as most of you know, is when all bets are off- even my cheat foods are the same), I use the same machine at the gym to warm up, (hate cardio so try and limit it to reading morning emails), and go about my work day pretty much on schedule until bedtime which, although does vary, typically entails my kids tucking ME in rather than the other way around. I hate to travel far, let alone leave Palm Beach and even though I do go to Miami at least twice a week it’s mostly work related (which I enjoy so much that I sometimes have to remind myself how lucky I am that my social life and work life are often one in the same….as long as I don’t have to dance)

Whenever I do have to travel more than 30 miles away, my husband reminds me that it’s a good thing and healthy for me to stop acting like I’m in the witness protection program.

Yes, I am a homebody.

So just when I thought I was safe and secure hidden behind my country club gates something happened that stirred up my routine.

I was summonsed for jury duty.

After about 20 minutes of trying to find a spot that was not in an undercover parking garage (I’ve seen enough movies to know what could happen to women walking alone in an undercover garage that I’d rather walk the mile and a half in heels as long as parking is outside and street level.) I finally arrived at the courthouse.

At first I thought I was walking into the wrong entrance – maybe I had accidentally entered the convicted felons area? – Seemed like the people walking in should be hanging out at the local gun range or tattoo parlor. (Parlor? is that word even used anymore? and before any of my friends with tats  get all worked up – you know I don’t mean offense to yours- I’m talking about the ones on peoples FACES).

After waiting in a single line to pass through security, which was similar to the airport but luckily, since I did not have time for a pedicure, we got to keep our shoes on, we were sent to a room where they spent the first hour giving speeches and showing videos of what the process entails and how this country is built on being fair. That part made me chuckle just a little- especially when they showed the videos that attempted to pull on our heartstrings by showing people of all races hugging their kids and saluting the flag.

Reminded me of the super bowl commercial from Nationwide – really??

What I found to be indicative of the dumbing down of America was that only a handful of us left to use our laptops and catch up on work in the juror’s lounge and the overwhelming majority of people chose to stay and watch movies all day long.

At first the only seat available was next to an obese man drinking soda and belching after each sip. I chose to get up and move to another room after he took out a  nail clipper from his pocket and began  clipping his fingernails  and placing each one into his empty soda can.

I sat there- even more motivated to think of reasons that I could possibly use to excuse myself from sitting on a jury….(of my piers- really??)

Childcare?

Self-employment?

All good- but used so many times before that I doubted they would work.

Then the woman next to me got up to use the restroom and asked me to watch her computer while she was gone. I accepted her request and when she returned she thanked me and went right back to work. About 10 minutes later it was my turn to use the restroom and when I packed up and took my laptop with me she looked at me as though she could not believe the audacity I had that I did not trust her with my belongings as she so willingly had done with hers.

I just gave her a look that said, “Lady, its not that I don’t trust YOU….it’s that I don’t trust ANYONE.”

And just like that I found my excuse.

Dismissed!

Lesson Learned:

When in doubt just be yourself.

All you have to do is ask……

I recently had to travel for business and stay in a hotel for 3 nights. Although it was a very upscale resort style place, the germ freak in me never truly enjoys sleeping anywhere but my own bed, let alone showering where several thousand other feet have showered before me (and lets be honest, who doesn’t pee in the shower?)

Whenever I step foot into a hotel room the first thing I do is take out my pocket sanitizing wipes and scrub the place down. First I start with the remote (because we all know hotel porn is like pizza- even when it’s bad it’s good)

By the time I’m done scouring the place to make it suitable enough for me to relax I then head downstairs to explore the facilities. I check out the gym (which I only managed to use the first morning before my meetings and immediately realized I should have gotten a tetanus shot to protect myself from the rusty equipment) and of course it goes without saying that the next place I explore is the lobby bar.

Now let me take it back a few steps for you. The reason I traveled in the fist place is that I needed – no, wanted- to attend a financial services seminar. When I called very last minute to register I was told it was sold out and wait list only.

So I picked up the phone and called the company sponsoring the event and asked for the marketing person in charge and -whala – I managed to secure a spot for the coveted event…. circumventing the wait list.

Then I called the hotel where the conference was taking place to book my room and again was told it was sold out. I hung up and called right back and asked to speak to the manager, explained the situation, asked if I could get squeezed into one of their reserve rooms and – whala – I got “the last room”.

I then did not have WIFI working in my room the first night and when I called down to ask for tech support I was put on hold for enough time to finish a glass of wine. Once my glass was empty I hung up (to refill).

Then I called the front desk, asked to speak to the manager and – whala – not only did I get WIFI working immediately- but they sent up a bottle of wine and snack tray -compliments of the hotel “for my trouble”.

The last day I decided to head back home early so I called the front desk after my last meeting which ended at 5 pm and asked if there were any way the could reduce the room price because although I stayed half the day I would not be staying overnight. The woman put me on hold to ask her manager (at which point I imagined the classic Seinfeld move where Jerry describes to Elaine the conversation between the rental car agent and her manager when they really are discussing absolutely nothing and pretending to care about his concerns) because I ended up with a “Sorry we can’t help you. You’ll be charged the full price”.

At which point I hung up and called right back and asked to speak to the manager and once again asked if they could work out a price for me because I would not be staying the night although I fully understood that I was well past the late checkout time and –  Wahla- I got the entire day/night taken off my bill.

Lesson Learned:

All you need to do is ask and – wahla

Magic happens. Sometimes it’s not just about HOW you ask but also WHOM you ask and most often than not, it’s the combination of both.

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