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 Little Pizzazz on Casual Friday

Today I picked out a pearl-embellished little black dress to wear to work.  It’s Friday, which calls for a little pizzazz.

Even a gal who doesn’t “party” anymore can enjoy a flouncy dress to ring in the weekend, right?

Of course she can.

I strolled through Cambridge, Dunkin Donuts in hand and my Karen Walker shades on.  I felt fantastic, with a Holly Golightly energy about me.

Dressing up gives me life!

I hopped onto the bus in Harvard Square and headed into the office.  Listening to a song that I envisioned as the soundtrack to my glamorous morning commute, I closed my eyes and felt grateful for this summer day.

I hopped off the bus and walked into my office.  As I sat at my desk, a coworker walked by and said hello.

“You look nice today,” he remarked.

“Thank you,”  I replied.

“I say this because it’s casual Friday,” he continued.  “You don’t have to dress up.”

“I know.”  I smiled.  Dressing up makes me happy.”

Although it’s Friday and I could have worn jeans, life is about the moments- especially the small ones- that bring you joy.  Slow down and smell the flowers, spritz on that special perfume, and splurge on a delicious lunch.

Here’s to Casual Friday- and doing what gives your own workday a little pizzazz.

Summer Style in the City


It has been a beautiful summer in Boston!  I was born and raised along the shores of Lake Michigan (which is hard to beat) and I’m thrilled to be living on the East Coast where Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and the Cape are right at my fingertips.  I can’t  imagine living in a place where I didn’t have water all around me; it’s my source of inspiration, peace, and is perfect for my morning meditation.  

Boston is also known for its beautiful neighborhoods, lush parks, lovely architecture and rich history, so my summer has been filled with exploring and photographing the beauty around me.  Although I haven’t made it to the beach yet, I’ve enjoyed many days in Boston Common, along the Charles River and strolling through the Seaport District.


I spent the past three summers in New York City, where humidity is much more fierce than here in New England.  My go-to ensemble– the little black dress and oversized sunglasses- still suits me well for any occasion; work, play or for a night out.

Some may say to avoid black in the summer due to the heat, but I highly disagree.  There’s nothing chicer and easier than throwing on a black sundress, bangles and shades, complete with a bright bag and lipstick.

What’s your summer style?