Stop Telling Women To Smile

A week ago I was sitting at my favorite coffee shop, notebook in hand and a coffee on the table.  I pulled out my mirror to see if I had anything on my face, quickly fixing my concealer that was out of place from my oversized sunglasses.

“Your makeup looks fine!” a stranger next to me declared.  I looked over, laughed, and continued to set up shop at my seat.

He didn’t stop there.  “You know, most men would say women look best without makeup.  It’s Sunday!  Don’t wear makeup!”

Newsflash: I wear makeup for me, not you.

I love to dress up, wear red lipstick, and don my Karen Walker shades.  Not looking for validation, on most days I simply want to write in peace; the last thing I want is to have strangers approach me to give me unsolicited advice or flirt poorly at a coffee shop.

Nevertheless, whether or not it was meant to be a compliment, it was still suggesting I change who I am or what I do.  That never sits well with me- flirting or not.  It’s manipulative, and it’s unwelcomed.

Here’s a comprehensive list of things women don’t need to hear from a man:

  • How to wear our hair
  • What clothes to choose
  • How long our hair “should” be
  • When to wear makeup
  • That we should smile

Maybe some women need the words of the opposite sex to gain their confidence, but I am not one of them.

“The sexualization behind telling women to smile is alarming. It makes women feel that we are only meant to be happy and pretty and it’s a passive way to engage into an unwanted conversation.” –

I’ve had ex-boyfriends try and dress me up in the shortest of skirts, 6 inch heels, and cleavage revealing attire.  That’s just not my style.  I’ve even had an ex ask me if I was going to a funeral because I was wearing all black.  Didn’t you know black is slimming and chic?  Just look at Audrey Hepburn.  I doubt she cared what other people said about her little black dress.

The guy at the cafe went on to later tell me how our meeting was “serendipitous,” in which I immediately rolled my eyes.

No, you just sat next to a woman and started telling her what to do and not to do.  Also, I have no interest in a divorced 50-something who was thumbing through his “Plenty of Fish” app.

Women can have it pretty rough out there, but as long as we hold our own and stick to our laurels, we will be just fine.

Just don’t tell me to smile.

Inspired by Stop Telling Women to Smile, a street art project addressing gender-based street harassment.

A Woman’s Intuition is Always Right

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you first meet someone?

That little sign that says, “stay away,” or even, “he seems a little douchey?”

I try not to generalize or stereotype (keyword: try), so I often used to ignore that gut feeling.

I give the poor chap the benefit of the doubt, despite his obvious attempts at overselling himself. Over the past 15 years or so I’ve seen the same patterns, over and over, and as soon as I do, I shake my head and think “damn it, Kristin, you already had this one pinned.”

Within the first few exchanges, if a man suggests going on vacation with you, talks about your future, wants to introduce you to his family, or takes you somewhere elaborate, run. Fun fast.

Listen to your intuition.

It won’t oversell itself to you.

Stop Letting Distractions Stand In Your Way

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Living life in limbo is inevitable from time to time, but today I had an epiphany:

When you’re working toward a goal, don’t try and fill your life with other things to provide comfort.

Keep moving.  Focus on your mark.  You’ll get there.

I chatted with a friend about this earlier today- we are both writers working on our own brands, yet we have both been guilty of letting distractions alter our mindset.  Why on earth would we let other people, places, or things stand in our way?  While she’s out in Los Angeles working toward her dreams, and I’m here in Boston working on mine. It was wonderful and perfect to connect with her about where I’m at right now, because she’s in the same spot, too!

Oh, I just love how life works out.  Just as we started to feel a bit irritable and discontent about our “distractions,” we both passed the tests and recognized that we need to get back to work.

People and situations will come into your life when they’re supposed to, but don’t try and manipulate the situation.  Whether you’re filling your time with a new TV series or going out on dates for no good reason, stop.  I’m serious.  Everything falls into place as it should, including those uncomfortable moments.  Don’t dig yourself into a deeper hole and get off track.

Each moment teaches you a lesson- so remember your goal, stay on your path, and you’ll be just fine. ❤

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Instant Gratification: Why It Doesn’t Work

We all want to feel good, right?  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that a positive mindset is ongoing work; we’ll never discover a “magic cure” or a key to happiness.

However, here is the real secret:

Happiness comes from within.

So, how do we create happiness within ourselves?  It takes a lot of work, re-framing our thoughts, and building a solid foundation.  Whether it’s a spiritual practice or health routine, finding a way to empower ourselves is key to long-lasting fulfillment.

Let’s think about instant gratification for a minute.  As a woman who used to go out and spend $400 on a handbag, spend money mindlessly at a bar, or go on dates to feel better when in an uncomfortable state, it always left me empty inside.  I always regretted my decisions, whether it was due to something I said while drinking, being late on a bill, or  never hearing from the guy again (and yes, sometimes all three were correlated!).

It’s not a very good feeling when you’re seeking validation from the outside.  Those handbags in my closet picked up dust, my mental health suffered from drinking, and I didn’t know how to function without validation from outside sources.

I had to stop, reset, and learn new tools to cope with being uncomfortable.

So, in October 2016, I took a month to do just that.  At the time, I had left New York City, attempted a life in Chicago, and had yet to decide to move to Boston.  With no assets to my name or home to call my own- not even a city to claim as mine- I had a completely blank slate.

I had no idea what to do; all I had was faith.

It took a few twists and turns to learn what I wanted out of life, but I worked with amazing coaches, leaders, and people in my support circle to help me see the good in myself when I couldn’t recognize it on my own.

Now, with a solid foundation, I am not only able to pass on what I have learned to others, but I no longer seek outside validation.  I am confident in the woman I have become.  Sure, I still like a nice handbag, but I learned the value in quality over quantity- in all areas of my life.

I hope I have been able to help you live beautifully through my writing this past year and a half, for this blog is a journey from the very first week I moved to Boston.  I am always here to talk, so please feel free to reach out if you’re going through a rough patch, are seeking guidance, or need a listening ear.

Remember: life is a marathon, not a race!

When you invest in yourself, others will invest in you, too.

Pamper Yourself for You

One of my biggest pet peeves is when one of my friends makes the comment, “Ugh. I have to shave my legs because I have a date.”

Girl- why aren’t you doing this for YOURSELF?

Personally, I prefer smooth legs.  Maybe you don’t.  That’s fine; but pick a man who likes you either way.  

More importantly though, you don’t need another person to validate you.  You don’t need an excuse to dress up. You don’t need a special occasion to feel pretty.

Wear the nice pajamas.  Put on the fancy underwear.  Use the nice conditioner.  But please, please- do it for YOU– not him.

Men come, and men go, but remember- you will always have yourself.  Treat her right.

Embrace Being A Girlie Girl

I’ve been a girlie girl for as long as I can remember.

In fact, I was a girlie girl before I was even conscious of the sunglasses on my face or the ruffles on my clothes.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree- as I get older, I’ve noticed I am becoming more and more like the ladiest of ladies- my mother.

Although I’ve always been known to have a dry wit, a lot of guy friends, and would be more likely found at a sports bar than dancing at a club, I would never, ever, put down my lipstick, listen to a guy advise me on what to wear, or stop shaving my legs in the winter.

Why on earth do women think they need a man to take care of themselves?

It’s so, so ridiculous.

I don’t know about you, but I do everything I do for me.

Over the years my boyfriends have tried and tell me not to wear makeup.  They’ve encouraged me to put on a pair of jeans and ditch the dress, to stop wearing the big sunglasses, to grow out my hair, and to take off my lipgloss.  They’ve told me to dress sexy, they’ve told me to stay in sweatpants, and hell, they’ve even told me what they wanted their ex-girlfriends to wear.

And you know what?  I kept doing what I wanted to do.

I will never cease to roll my eyes at any magazine or propaganda that informs women how to please their man, dress for their man, or attract more men. You know what I have to say to that? Be your damn self, because that’s how you’ll attract the right man.

I know what you’re thinking, “this girl is single- what does she know?”  Well, I’m the one who called off a wedding ten years ago, has lived with three men over the course of my life, and I’ve always been the one to leave.  I don’t stick around for the stifling-  I would much rather be free than “taken care of.”  I’ll be on my own unless I meet a man who embraces my girliness, loves my lipstick, and encourages me to be me.  

I suppose I just can’t come to terms with women who don’t want to do things for themselves.  Being a girlie girl doesn’t make you weak, being graceful doesn’t make you any less powerful, and embracing your femininity doesn’t mean a man can walk all over you.

Being female is a superpower.

So, take your power back.

My wish is for women to stop putting so much weight on men’s opinions and how it makes them think of themselves.  I don’t want to hear about women changing their clothes because of a man’s opinion, memes complaining about having to take care of yourself because of a date, or hear that my friends acted like this.  No.  Just no.

Shave your damn legs for yourselves, ladies.  Trust me, it feels great.

The Final Season of LOVE: Vulnerability Wins

With a heavy heart, I’m sad to say I finished the third and final season of LOVE last night.

I started watching it on Saturday evening and told myself I would spread it out over a week or two, but I only lasted about two and a half days. Nevertheless, I am pleased to say it was even more satisfying than the first two seasons- and that’s saying a lot.

The best part of the final season is how they are both finally honest- even when it hurt. Yes, it took a lot of bumps, turning the blame on the other, hiding their true feelings, and encountering a crazy amount of ridiculous situations, but once Mickey and Gus broke down and let all the cards out on the table, they realized they could get through anything together.

No one is perfect, but understanding and acceptance are key. This makes me feel more at ease about my own life and relationships.

What would have happened if we would have just been honest all along?

I hope you take the time to watch this amazing Netflix gem- it’s uncomfortably relatable and a breath of fresh air. There are also more parallels between Mickey and myself than I can count, which is another reason I love this show so much. I hope everyone who watches can see behind the goofy moments and realize how raw, beautiful, and real these characters are.

Keep Doing You

Lately I have been seeing a lot of propaganda online about what is on trend, what not to wear and worse, what men want you to do and how they want you to look.  From how to act to what to shave, I have begun holding silly resentments at those articles and the people who wrote them.  At the risk of sounded bitter or jaded, I’ve got to say- who cares “what men want?”

I would rather be alone forever than change for someone else.

This is probably why I have been single for nearly three years; I am quite stubborn and fiercely independent.  I’ll run away when things don’t work out instead of staying in an unhappy relationship.  Appropriately, my editor at Thought Catalog wrote this article that popped up in my Facebook feed, which couldn’t be more perfect for today’s sentiments.

I have dabbled with dating apps while living in Boston, only to have a few dry conversations and less-than-stellar dates.  Nothing has stuck… not even a good laugh or a friendship.  It’s always the same thing- “how do you like Boston?” “What do you do for work?” “You seem to move a lot.” “Do you ever take off your sunglasses?”

Stop.  Better yet, I need to stop.

I’ve felt judged and belittled, which is all on me.  This certainly isn’t a period of my life where my stress level can tolerate dating, what others think of me or the “big picture.”  I need to focus on myself and the now.

I’ve repeatedly thought, “maybe this time will be different,” hoping to find a diamond in the rough.  Dating used to come naturally for me, but at 30-something I continually find disappointment.  It’s just not time yet.  I’ve run back to unhealthy past relationships because I know what I’m going to get, which just fuels the insanity.

After talking with a good friend on Sunday about our shenanigans, we came to the conclusion that we both just need to focus on ourselves.  Old traumas are brought to the forefront when I meet people who try and change me for their own fancy, something I didn’t really acknowledge until this past spring.  While it would be nice to have a buddy to do things with, explore the east coast, drink coffee with in the morning and talk to at night, I have plenty on my plate to keep my life full.

Until the day I do meet my best friend who compliments my life, not try to change it, I’ll continue to focus on myself, my career, my friendships, and my oversized sunglasses.