Saturday, February 27, 2010

Say Yes to Life

Sometimes it's just a simple comment that will catch my attention. Ali Wentworth was on Friday's Oprah show and was attempting to try some of the Olympic sports with various Olympic athletes in Vancouver. Ali has a nice figure, but by no means a perfect body and doesn't appear to be someone who is a naturally gifted athlete. However, she is always up for a challenge. She once wore a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader outfit and cheered with the girls from Texas at their state fair. She wore a skeleton suit, figure skating outfit and speed skater outfit to try those respective sports. Let's just say she is not the most graceful person on ice. I don't think my body issues would allow me to do those things at this time coupled with the fear that I would look like a fool. That is one of the things that makes her so likable though, her humor and ability to laugh at herself. How do you teach that kind of fearlessness? Was she born that way or is it something she learned over time. Oprah's stylist described Ali as someone who says yes to life. It reminded me of the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey.

I've tried to take baby steps and be open to new things. This week I went to see a friend of my sisters speak at a church in town. She has the ability to speak with people who have passed on to heaven. That is something I normally wouldn't have attended, but I happened to get a call from a friend whose mother had passed away years ago on the same day as the speaking engagement. My friend says she often senses her mother's presence especially during the month of February which is her birth month. My friend's mother Linda didn't visit us that night despite efforts to try and channel her, but it was a very enlightening and comforting experience. I'm a person who cries very easily, and I was worried that it would be a overly emotional and very drama filled experience. It wasn't either one. On the contrary, it seemed very normal. She is a mom with three kids that leads a normal life aside from the fact that she has the ability to speak with angels. After experiencing her make connections with people in the audience, I truly believe she has a gift.

My point is are you willing to take the Nestea plunge (those who are around my age will understand this)? Break out of your comfort zone every now and then. You might be pleasantly surprised. Say yes to life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No Phone Zone Pledge

A show hasn't ended lately without Oprah urging viewers to take her no phone zone pledge. She has three different options if you go to her website.  No texting while driving, no texting and cell phone use only if it's hands free, or no phones period.  True to my nature, I took the middle of the road way out.   In my opinion, texting while driving should be a no brainer, but there are a lot of people who do it and it's not just teenagers.   According to Oprah, studies have shown that drivers talking on a cell phone are four times more likely to get into an accident. Almost 6,000 people have died and a half a million have been injured due to drivers having their hands off the wheel.  

Families shared their stories of losing a loved one as a result of someone talking or texting on their cell phone.  Oprah compared people talking on phones and texting in the car to having a multitude of drunk drivers on the road.  Dr. David Strayer shared studies that have been done on driver distractions.  According to Dr. Strayer, when people are talking on the phone they have tunnel vision and lose a lot of periphery information.  Your brain can only take in so much information and our brains aren't wired to multitask.  Part of me likes the luxury cell phones give us, and I hate to have any rights taken away from me.  However, I see how texting and cell phone usage in the car is a huge detriment to society.  One mother put it simply, "Your car isn't a phone booth.  It's purpose is to take you from point A to point B".  I used to call people every now and then just to chat while I was driving, but after seeing this show I will only use my bluetooth in necessary situations.   As a mother with a son a few years away from driving, my hope is that laws are passed in all 50 states that ban texting and talking on the phone while driving.

Dr. Oz gives us even more reasons to limit cell phone use.  Not only are they dangerous to use in the car, but some doctors believe and studies have been done that show the radio waves that cell phones use can cause serious health problems such as brain tumors after prolonged use.

Dr. Oz shares the following basic guidelines:
1. Don't keep your cell phone on you all the time
2. Use speakerphone or a wireless headset.
3. Limit exposure
4. Young children should only use them in case of an emergency.
5. Don't chat with a poor signal-it emits more radiation.
6. Don't wear wireless headsets as if they were jewelry. - I have seen people in the grocery store do this.  

Are you ready to take the pledge?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Locator

I tape all of Oprah's shows, and I will usually read the description of what the show is about and contemplate deleting it.  I've decided to at least watch the first 15 minutes of a show to see if it's something I'm interested in.   Last week one of Oprah's shows was about people who had been adopted and trying to locate their birth parents.  I hadn't intended on watching the whole show because I thought I wouldn't be able to relate to it since I wasn't adopted.  There are times in my life however, when I wondered how I could possibly be related to my siblings.  I think we've all experienced that at some point.  Oprah interviewed Troy Dunn who is an investigator and is the host of a new reality show starting in March called "The Locator".  Troy's job is to reunite old friends or missing relatives.  Troy had a lot of wonderful life quotes and myth busters. Here's a few that struck a chord with me.

Myth number 1-  Time heals all wounds.  In working with a lot of people on his show Troy has found some wounds are as fresh today as they were 25 years ago. According to Troy, sometimes to protect ourselves we create stories in our head that we repeat so many times it becomes fact. We write off a person because we think they are unworthy.   I have had situations in my life where someone hurt my feelings, and I tend to replay the scenario in my head so many times that the anger just festers.  Most of the time the feelings are real and justified.  The problem is when we elaborate on the facts and read things into them that aren't real.   Luckily my husband helps to keep me in check.

Myth number 2- Timing is everything.  Troy says, "Timing is something, but not everything. If you wait for timing to be everything you'll end up with nothing."  I really liked this one.  I'm a huge procrastinator.  I tend to put things off because I don't think I have enough time to do them or because things aren't perfect.  How many times have you not bought a new piece of clothing because you still need to lose that last 10 pounds.  If that were the case for me, I would still be wearing the same clothes I did 10 years ago which is a scary thought.   

Myth number 3-  Blood is thicker than water.  Troy says, "Who loves you when you need them.  That's your family."  I grew up in an Italian family and the importance of family was ingrained in us.  Family is important, but many people don't have the luxury of having their family close by and let's face it if they live close by sometimes you can get on each others nerves.  One of my new favorite shows is Modern Family.  They are all related in the show, but it shows how love and support can come in many different ways.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent.  Lent is the 40 day period before Easter and is traditionally a time of soul-searching, repentance and self-denial.  It is something nuns practice everyday.  News correspondent, Lisa Ling, often goes on different assignments for the Oprah show.  She interviewed a group of Nuns that lived in a convent in Michigan.  I was raised  Catholic, but never attended Catholic school.  However, my parents did back in the 40's and 50's and my perception of nuns was that they were mostly old and went around smacking your hands with rulers if you were naughty.  Hollywood's portrayal of nuns in movies seemed to be on par with my perceptions unless you were Sally Field in The Flying Nun.  I was surprised that a lot of the women interviewed were in their twenties.  Nuns take a vow of chastity and poverty.  The habits they wear represent their wedding dress.  Their marriage is with Christ. Oprah questioned the women on why they chose that lifestyle.  They all said it was something they were called to do.  It was a feeling they had in their heart or an inner voice calling them to that vocation.  One nun had left a successful career and wore designer clothes, but never felt fulfilled. 
I thought about how my reaction was similar to Oprahs.  Why would anyone want to be a nun?
It doesn't sound like much fun to me.  However, every single one of the nuns appeared to have a sense of peace, calm and contentment.  Their journey in life involved less stress and less things to worry about.  They don't wear make-up and have to worry about what their going to wear.  
I thought Lisa Ling summed it up best by saying that most people view nuns lives as very strict when actually they view their lives as very liberating.  They don't worry about being skinny enough, pretty enough or consuming enough anymore.  All of those arguments sound appealing, but a big part of me is happy that God hasn't called me to join the convent.  I'm pretty sure the owners of Target are happy too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Celine Dion

Celine Dion's appearance on Oprah last week brought to mind another way Oprah has influenced me over the years.  Several years ago one of my best friends was turning 40 and she saw Celine Dion on Oprah.  Caesar's Palace hotel in Las Vegas built a Colosseum especially for Celine to perform in for a set number of years.  Oprah raved about how her show was a life changing experience and how everyone needed to see Celine at the new Colosseum.  I like Celine, but have never been a huge fan .  However, Oprah's and my friends enthusiasm convinced several friends and I to hop on a plane to Vegas.  
While we were in Vegas we also had to check out a flower shop that Oprah had featured on her show.  One of my good friends loves flowers and so we wanted to try and find it for her.  We found the shop, but the place was already closed and left much to be desired from the outside. We took a picture of it anyway to prove we were there.    Celine's performance and the special effects were wonderful, but I personally wouldn't describe it as life changing.   We enjoyed the concert, but didn't have any major epiphanies.  Come to think of it though we did run into Kenny G on the way to the concert.  

What I've learned over the many years of watching Oprah's show is to pick and choose those things which reflect my personality and interests.  I truly believe Oprah is being authentic when she shares her favorite things whether if it's books, foods, clothing, shoes or vacation destinations.  I am my own person and while I love to learn about a new "favorite thing" that doesn't mean I should rush out and buy it.  The things that have truly inspired me or struck a chord with me are the things that I plan to share with my readers.  

Celine is no longer currently performing at Caesar's Palace, but for those of you that are fans, she announced on Oprah last week that she will be coming back to Vegas in March of 2011 with a new show.   You never know, it could be life changing the second time around.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Matchmaker

In keeping with the spirit of Valentine's Day I thought I'd write about Oprah's interview with Patti Novak, the matchmaker.  This show aired quite awhile back, but what I took away from it was the message that you teach people how to treat you.  People often repeat the same patterns in relationships.  According to Oprah, you become the star when you learn how to listen.    Listening validates the other person.  I feel like I'm a pretty good listener, but I'm guilty of repeating the uh huh phrase frequently when my kids are talking.  My husband will point it out to me, and I've tried to tell him it's a necessity.  Sometimes as a stay at home mom you need to tune your kids out in order to keep your sanity.  
I tend to raise my voice or get emotional when I feel like I'm not being heard.  Instead of getting my kids attention I think it just pushes them more away.  Maybe I'm wearing a big sign on my back that says "Don't listen to me" and I just don't realize it.  
For those of you who are looking for actual dating advice and disappointed that your not finding it here you can go to and type Patti Novak in the search engine.  Patti has all kinds of advice on the do's and dont's of dating.   Happy Valentine's weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Since Valentine's Day is quickly approaching I thought it would be appropriate to write about passion.  Unfortunately for my husband, it's not the type of passion he would like me to write about.  A common theme on Oprah's shows is following your passion in life.  She has featured many businesses such as Williams Sonoma and Cold Stone Creamery which started as a result of individuals following their passions in life.  The problem is a lot of people don't know what their passionate about.  Oprah has tried to help people find the answer by featuring life coaches and psychologists who have given us questions to ask ourselves.  My husband thinks I spend too much time seeking to find the answers when they are probably right in front of my face.  I have tried to listen to the voice within me and follow it which is one of the reasons why I started this blog.  

Years ago Oprah and Bob Greene, her trainer at the time,  were discussing exercise. The way I remember the conversation was as follows- Oprah talked about how she used to pray for discipline and Bob said, " discipline comes from doing."   I have never forgotten that comment.  I too am not always thrilled about exercising, but I force myself to do it and in turn have made it a habit.  It also helps that my exercise partner never lets me hear the end of it if I skip more than a day.  I am passionate about many things, but I tend to think about them more than I do them.  I'm easily overwhelmed, but if I just take baby steps and start doing things I find things aren't as big as I've made them out to be. 

Another thing I've learned from watching guests on Oprah's show is that if you do what you love the wealth will follow.  It would be nice if everyone that followed their passion became a millionaire, but that isn't always the case. Loving what you do and feeling fulfilled is a large part of being successful.  

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Artists Way

I'm reading a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It has helped me immensely so far. I started it years ago, but never finished the book or consistently did the exercises. A voice inside my head kept telling me to give it another try. There is an exercise called the morning pages where you write three pages every morning about whatever your thinking or feeling. You just write whatever pops into your head. At first you might think this is stupid, and I don't really have anything interesting to say. It is amazing how over time your writing starts revealing things to you. A lot of times I find that it is a form of prayer for me, and I'm having conversations with God. Some of you may be thinking it sounds like your just journaling. Your right. I have journaled in the past, but not every day and first thing in the morning. It didn't quite have the same effect on me. The book has a lot of exercises and encouraging and spiritual advice. You might be saying to yourself about now "What does this have to do with Oprah?" As I was writing my morning pages today it occurred to me that the way I learned about the book was through O Magazine. It was one of the book's on Elizabeth Shue's bookshelf. My friends know how much I love books and recommending them. If your an aspiring artist and wish to reconnect with your creativity. Check out the Artist's Way.

Friday, February 5, 2010


My first follower and friend JJ asked me what I thought of Oprah's interview with Wanda Barzee's children.   Wanda Barzee is one of Elizabeth Smart's kidnappers  They talked about their life growing up with their abusive father and crazy mother.  Wanda divorced her first husband then married religious radical Brian David Mitchell.  She did some pretty horrible things to her children.  For example, she served her youngest daughter her pet rabbit for dinner and told her it was chicken.  The cruelty that people dream up continues to amaze me.  Her children sensed she needed mental help from a young age, but Wanda also suffered from abuse by their  father. 
What I took away from this show was how each child had different memories of their experiences growing up.  The oldest daughter was the closest to her mother and was the favored child.  She was more willing to forgive her mother than the others.  I thought about my siblings and how we were all raised in the same house, but it never really occurred to me how we each may have a different perspective of our childhood  based on birth order or perhaps favoritism.  I think most people love their children unconditionally, but we all have different personalities which makes us unique.  My children have very different personalities and as a parent sometimes you can just relate to one more than another.  It doesn't make their perspective wrong it's just different from yours.  As a result we can all have different recollections of the same story.  The next time my husband remembers a story differently from me I'll have to keep this in mind.   

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lady Ga Ga

There are many things you can learn from watching Oprah from how the Internet works to how to get a good night sleep. I won't even attempt to cover all of the topics she has covered over the years. I'll cover the topics that made an impression on me and improved my quality of life. Since this is something I've been writing about for almost two years the topics won't always be based on current shows, but feel free to post your own comments on shows. I love to know what other people think because we all have a different perspective on things.

That leads me to a recent guest Oprah had on her show, Lady Ga Ga. My son watched the show with me and made the comment that he was surprised she was someone Oprah would have on her show. I think he said something like, she doesn't seem like the Oprah type. I sort of agreed with him. She is about as different as they come, but when I saw her interview on Oprah I was impressed by what a spiritual person she is. She says a prayer before every concert and mentions her aunt that passed away at a young age. She also talked about being a foodie and how she likes to cook. Because she is a very provocative and eccentric person most people disregard the fact that she is just a young woman with a close family who gets dressed every morning just like we do albeit her outfits consist of dead muppets, latex, feathers and a disco bra. Even though my brain and dress code may not be the same as hers, there are many people in this world who connect with her. I'm glad that she can be an inspiration to them and to the rest of us to dare to be ourselves even though it may not fit into the group majority.

Monday, February 1, 2010


My intention for starting this blog is so that I have a place to record all of the wisdom and inspiration that Oprah has brought into my world over the past 13 plus years. Over a year ago I started handwriting all of my thoughts in a notebook. The idea came to me after I saw a show with Denzel Washington, Forrest Whitaker and some of the young black actors from the movie the Great Debators. Oprah asked one of the young actors what it was like to work with Denzel and he made the comment that he kept a notebook with all of the advice he gave him while he was working on the film set. After that show, I had what Oprah would call an AHA moment and thought I'll write about what I've learned from watching Oprah. I decided it was time to get in touch with the current times and move from paper to computer. Computers and I tend to have a love hate relationship. Luckily, my husband agreed to help me get started so that I can share my journey with others and discover how Oprah has helped others who haven't had the advantage to be guests on her show. However, I did get to attend a show once. More on that later.