Monday, October 26, 2009

If you take advantage of everything America has to offer, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

A quote from the first female vice president candidate in the US (representing a major political party), Geraldine Ferraro. So over the weekend, I had an opportunity to travel to Canada, our friendly neighbors to the north. I was visiting our first Canadian Gamma Phi Beta chapter in Toronto, the one that made as us an INTERNATIONAL sorority. First, let me say that Toronto is a very cool city, I have been there before but was reminded that it is a great city for food and culture. Well, as you can imagine, I did stop by a pub while I was there, I know QUITE out of character for me, but I figured what the heck...when in Canada....SIDE STORY, I stayed at this cute little bed and breakfast and between my building, the building where they had the hotel registration and the building next to it, there were FOUR pubs! My sorority sister and I walked up and said we want to go to the hotel bar, the bouncer guy says...LADY there are bars everywhere! NUFF SAID.

Well, we were sitting at the bar, enjoying an adult beverage, my sorority sister was enjoying a PINT as the natives call it and we were chatting with a Canadian, an Irishman and the bartender (no, this isn't the start to a joke). They were asking what we thought of Toronto. And I said, Toronto is very cool, I didn't realize how European the city feels. In the US, you don't really get that feeling. And the bartender said NO, but cities in the states are very unique, you aren't going to find them anywhere else. You can find cities like Toronto everywhere. I don't know if he was just being nice, he was waiting for his tip, but it really did make me stop and think.

American cities are UNIQUE? Well, he is right. Let's just name a few Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Houston and Las Vegas. Can you think of ANY OTHER country in the world that has five cities that are as unique as these? Now, you KNOW that I am obsessed with France and England and their history, but I have to say, hearing someone say this about our country made me pretty proud.

I did watch the John Adams mini-series on HBO two years ago and it was fascinating to see how our country was founded and the forward thinking minds that shaped our country and we are truly unique. And yes, I agree that our country has had some bad times that many of us would rather forget, our treatment of American Indians, African Americans and Japanese Americans comes to mind immediately. However, there is NOT a country in this world that does not have parts of their history that they would like to forget (well I don't know, I guess the NEUTRAL Swiss probably don't have much). But, I can't imagine that there are many Germans of today that are proud of the Holocaust.

Additionally, there are many things in American politics today that I don't agree with, like our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I have my own opinions about Republicans and Democrats...but guess what? I live in the USA, so I am allowed to have those opinions. So I must say after hearing what that bartender said, I did decide that the states are a pretty good place to live and I can't imagine going somewhere else (unless Jason Statham married me and moved me to Paris, I might be able to handle that).

So, ladies seriously, let me wave my freaky American pride flag for a moment. Despite all of our flaws, we are the land of the free and the home of the brave, let's try to be proud, intelligent and responsible Americans. And for a brief moment be thankful to live here, don't bad-mouth America, work to make it better!

JZRRGRL...OFF soap box again. Cheers and CIAO BELLAS.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.

Ok, here's my question...with all of the technology and science in the world, I mean, we can make cars that parallel park themselves for crying out loud (for all of those parking impaired in the suburbs of Chicago, YA, I am talking to you), we can genetically engineer foods so that corn can be more digestible and we can PAUSE live TV! So here is one of my questions, why can't we make foods that are good for you taste like foods that are bad for you? I mean seriously, why can't brocoli taste like french fries? What can't spinach taste like chocolate chip cookies? And why can't plain baked chicken (read: dry) taste like fried chicken (yes, just like the Colonel makes). I mean, we want everyone to eat healthy, right? Well, that is the way! And for that matter, why can't the pasta and potatoes that I LOVE actually sculpt my abdominals instead of giving me that little muffin top that I work SO hard to get rid of?

AND the answer is: probably because all of the chemicals would cause cancer, right?

Ladies seriously, all joking aside...with all the science and medical breakthroughs in the world, WHY OH WHY, can't we find a cure for cancer? Please indulge me for a bit, as I have been facing a horrible situation this past week with my dear sister and I want to share the story. My sister has a 25 year old friend who is an amazing young woman and put herself through undergrad and graduate school at Kansas (but we won't hold that against her). She chose to dedicate her life to help others less fortunate than herself, namely, our homeless. She has stage 4 ovarian cancer and her prognosis is not positive. Thank goodness she has amazing friends and a wonderful boyfriend of nine years. There is no words to describe how unfair life is in this situation.

So I am absolutely convinced that someday, we are going to laugh and be appalled about how we treat cancer these days, I mean, slash it and burn it right? Well, long long ago, doctors used to use leeches and bleed people to cure diseases. We look at that now and think that is crazy, well I truly believe (and hope that it happens sooner rather than later) that we will think chemo and radiation are crazy. Some very smart person is going to create a drug or injection to cure cancer.

While I know that this blog post is a bit of a departure from my regular posts, ladies seriously, as I sit here tearing up thinking of my sister's dear friend, if you have time or money to give and you are trying to find a cause, give it to finding a cure! And all the smart people in America! LISTEN TO ME...let's use all of that brain power we are using to create cars that park themselves and find a cure.

To my sister's dear friend...god bless and I am praying for a miracle (they do happen) and for all of the rest of you out there fighting or affected by cancer, my heart goes out to you! Let's find a cure!

Cheers and CIAO BELLAS.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ALL the single ladies! Put your hands up!

Oh yes, the time is upon us again, ladies and gentlemen, Sweetest Day is just around the corner, it falls on October 17th this year. OH MAN, I do not like how this holiday has been morphed into a Valentine's Day in the fall. WARNING: the following comments are from a jaded, single woman. Some comments may not be appropriate for the hopeless romantics and happily coupled, married and in LOVE people out there.

OK, SO Sweetest is primarily celebrated in the Midwest, because apparently, the men here need to be reminded twice a year to buy their girlfriends or wives, flowers, cards, dinner, etc. Midwest men, you should be insulted that you have to be reminded twice. And I guess that the East coast and West coast men don't need the second reminder..HMMM. Anyway, do you know the actual origin of this holiday? Here is what my Google research found: The holiday is said to have begun in the city of Cleveland, Ohio in 1922. Candy store employee Herbert Birch Kingston put together a group of citizens to provide small gifts to homeless people, orphans, and others who had fallen on hard times.

OK, GREAT IDEA! Hey Hallmark, why did we have to make it a second Valentine's Day? And yes, I know, I said like a bitter female, I just don't understand why we constantly have to be focused on couples, love and marriage in this country. Don't get me wrong, I completely respect the happily married couples out there, and if you can find someone that you can stand to be around ALL THE TIME and they can stand you...go for it. Heck, my parents are celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary on Saturday, October 17th, ironically.

And if you are single, everyone assumes that you are looking for someone to marry. "Don't worry, you'll find someone", blah, blah, blah. Hey, just what, I may not be looking for someone to marry, do I want to find someone to date and have a long term relationship with? SURE, but marry, EH, I could take it or leave it. Several decades ago, women had to get married as the men were the breadwinners, but that is not the case anymore. Ninety two million people in the US (42% of the total population) are single, but it seems that everything is focused on couples. Perhaps 42% of the activities, events and holidays should be focused on single people.

You know I joke all the time with my friends about the fact that if I did actually get married (again), my husband might have to keep his own place, because after being single for almost 9 years, I am not sure I could live with someone again. So ladies seriously, if you are happy being single, don't get so focused on getting married and don't let your friends and family convince you into believing that is the only way to go.

Single, married, looking, whatever is, ladies seriously, be happy with you and your relationship status! Cheers and CIAO BELLAS.

Monday, October 5, 2009

No shame in the game...

So every once in a while as I am looking in the mirror, I THINK I see one of those pesky grey hairs on my head (my colorist assures me that there are none, not sure I believe it). Sometimes I think it is an illusion because I couldn't possibly be old enough to have grey hair...I mean seriously! So I started thinking that we should probably discuss hair color...and as far as I am concerned, no self respecting female of today would wear their natural hair color, UNLESS, you are truly genetically blessed with a beautiful hair color...and even then I am a little skeptical.

Now, I have been coloring my hair in some form for at least 15 years (and NO not out of the box, because god knows I would end up with blue hair). I think I started with highlights and then really got impatient with all those little squares of foil, so I decided single process was easier, quicker and honestly cheaper. Then I went to a red for many years and now I am at a very dark brown, almost black. SO, I know you are saying WHO CARES about JZZRGRL's hair color, right? Well, a few things to remember ladies...FIRST OF ALL, there is NO shame in the game of coloring your hair, especially when you want to cover those grey hairs (my mom has been coloring hers since her 30s and she is in her 60s now). Plus it is fun to try different hair colors. And guess what, it is just hair and that color will fade out if you don't like it. Much easier to fix that a really short haircut.

SECOND OF ALL, pick a shade that is no more than 5-6 shades different than your natural to start. I saw a very cute college woman this past weekend, who CLEARLY had very dark natural hair and she had hers dyed PLATINUM blonde. Her eyebrows did not match and it was really harsh. Not many people can pull that off (Gwen Stefanic and Marilyn Monroe are the only ones that come to mind) If your eyebrows don't match, consider have them dyed as well. After that if you feel your features and skin tone can handle something more drastic, go for it.

THIRD, if you make a drastic change, make sure your personality and style can pull it off. One of my besties, the redhead as you know her, colors hers red and dark brown. And I would not recommend it for many people, but her personality and style completely matches it. Which is part of the reason why I call her the fiesty redhead.

FOURTH, if you are trying two different colors, be careful about how drastically different the colors are. NOW, this is my opinion, but females who pair black and very blonde, look a bit like a zebra. Enhancing your natural color is the best way to make a statement.

LASTLY, if you are trying a new color or trying hair color for the first time, do yourself AND your hair a favor, go to a salon and have a professional do it. I have seen too many BAD boxed hair color jobs to allow you to do that to yourself.

So ladies seriously, it is fall in most parts of the country, maybe for something new, try a new hair color, go darker, go lighter! Or for those of you that have never tried a new color (GASP!), try it, you might like it. People will notice and react. Trust me, when I dyed my hair darker and cut my bangs, I got more dates! You never know!

Cheers and CIAO BELLAS.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Have we created social morons?

Ok, so I was just chatting with a girlfriend and she was telling me stories about a guy that she "sort of" likes....they have hung out a few times, know each other, have had flirty text messages, etc. And he keeps "kind of" asking her to do stuff, but is like last minute or it is something like...hey, I am going to the bar to hang with my friends, do you want to come with? WHAT? Now, this is a good looking guy who has an important job and I am sure has to speak to people everyday, how come he can't say, hey, I would like to hang out, do you want to get dinner and then hang with my friends?? Have men forgotten how to ask women out? Are we such a casual society that men and women don't do the dinner and a movie anymore? AM I REALLY OLD and don't get it? Probably....

I have been told that men and women in college don't even date anymore, they just TXT and hook up. GEEZ, that sounds like it could get old after a while. What happens when these men and women graduate and go into the real world? How do they meet their future partner? OH, I know, online dating, which has worked for many people, but generally, the woman and the man "fabricate" the truth about themselves and then are disappointed when they actually meet in person. Is this why our divorce rate continues to skyrocket? We marry people with whom we cannot communicate and then get 3-10 years down the road and realize we married the wrong person?

I believe that our digital society: email, TXT messages, and facebook have taken away our face to face conversation and therefore, we have lost the ability to have a conversation and have become social morons. Thinking about this makes me even more thankful that our Greek system has recruitment so that at least many of our sorority women are getting conversation skills training in college!

And, men think they have it easy, they can "communicate" with women over TXT and we continue to let it go on. Ladies seriously, do you find it more and more difficult to make conversation with men? Well, as sad as it is, we might have to help our socially challenged men (and keep in mind this can apply to our girlfriends as well).

1. Does he have trouble asking you out? Help him, clarify, do you mean that you want me to come and hang out with you? Can we maybe go have dinner beforehand and not just hook up? Keep in mind, you may have to remind him a few times, sometimes we are not dealing with the sharpest knives in the drawer! ;)

2. Does he only communicate over TXT message? If so, maybe gently remind him to call you or that you can talk about it when you see him. Or if gently doesn't work, possibly hit him over the head with HIS Blackberry (don't hurt yours). OH yeah and don't answer his TXT messages if you want him to talk to you.

3. Does he have a confrontation that needs to be made with a family member or with you and decides to send an email instead? No, those types of conversations have to be made in person. And I know they are hard, it is easier to send an email.

So maybe, we shouldn't write these men off just yet, but help them along the way. But ladies seriously, if you try to help him and he doesn't want help or show some signs of improvement in the conversation area, then he might just be a social moron and needs to be kicked to the curb.

Ladies seriously, help yourself, your friends and your men, keep face to face conversation alive. Make the guys ask you out in person or at minimum on the phone. As I sign off, I am reminded that my parent's 39th wedding anniversary is coming up this month. Do you think that they could have survived this long if they didn't communicate with one another? AND, my dad is not SO technically saavy (well neither is mom), so if he would have had to TXT my mom to ask her out, it wouldn't have happened! Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, thanks for being great parents and showing everyone how to have a successful marriage after all of these years!

Cheers and CIAO BELLAS!