Great Expectations

*A Coaching Lesson

You know how something happens and it stays with you, it bothers you.  That loop starts playing in your monkey 
mind, going around and around?

I was out to dinner a few weeks ago with girlfriends.  I had had a long day and was looking forward to having a delicious drink.  My drink of choice always involves Vodka, more often than not Tito's, with variations of other ingredients such as ~ a splash of cranberry juice and muddled mint (I have a slight obsession with mint), possibly a cucumber mint martini or some kind of vodka infusion, like a Stoli doli (vodka seeped in pineapples).  On this occasion I ordered whatever the name of the drink was that had vodka, elderflower, tonic and fresh lime.  I asked for it without the tonic.  I don't like bubbles and it takes the drink in another direction.  We waited a ridiculously long time for the drinks to come and when they did come, I asked the waitress, is there tonic in whatever the name of the drink was?  She responded no.  I said, "There are bubbles."  She took it away but came back quickly about to put the drink down in front of me again and said, 
"The bartender gave you a splash of soda, instead of tonic."  I asked her to take it back and have the bartender make me the drink with NO BUBBLES.  I must have said it with a slight attitude.  When I asked for the drink with no tonic, I assumed he was including all the other ingredients and just omitting the tonic, not taking it upon himself to add an ingredient that was not even included in the drink.  It did not occur to me to say "and nothing else" when ordering.  You don't order an omelette for example off the menu that reads spinach, mushroom, and American cheese and say, "I'd like it with spinach, mushroom and no American cheese."  Then the omelette comes and it has spinach, mushroom and mozzarella cheese.  This made no sense to me!  I told the lovely waitress with the drink in her hand to take it back.  I didn't want it anymore.  I felt so disappointed.  Honestly, it was an easy fix and a silly misunderstanding, but my disappointment over rode my intellect in that moment.

My girlfriend turned to me and said I was rude to the waitress.  I felt terrible!  I didn't mean to be rude to the waitress.  That was not my intention.  I don't want to be that person that is rude to waitstaff:  Ever!  Hell, I was a waitress for years and it's a hard job.  Why was I rude to the waitress?  For two days it played out in my mind.  What could I have done differently?  Why did I handle the situation the way I did?  I  don't want to be the person who brings that kind of energy into a situation. Why, why, why?  It was honestly ridiculous that I was obsessing about this for so long.

AHA!  The reason was UNMET EXPECTATIONS.  I was expecting a drink just the way I like it. That was my mistake.  Of course when something little and seemingly insignificant like this scenario occurs, it is always indicative of a bigger issue.  By Jones I think I've got it!  I am more often than not disappointed when I have an expectation about something, anything, and it is not fulfilled the way I wish it should be.  This is not a new conversation that I have with myself and is fairly common for most of us.   I have to learn to let it go, not become focused on what is not working but on what I can control and how it can work for me.  It was just a perfect little metaphor showing itself in an unexpected way. 

 People do not bend to our will.  Places and things just are what they are. There is no conspiracy to "piss us off" or cosmically conspire against us.  When expectations are not met, disappointment or frustration set in and we just have to do our best to turn our thoughts around, tell ourselves a different story.  Things happen for us, not to us.  I guess I needed a little reminder.

I need to work on replacing expectation with appreciation.  Do you?  This is not uncommon.  I may make a similar mistake in the future, but I have an awareness now that I did not have before.  I will hopefully recall this situation, behave differently, thereby not allowing this to happen again.  There's the growth!  When you know better you can do better!


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Got Gooped

While I was in The Hamptons I stopped into Gwynnie's Goop pop up in Amagansett.  It was a perfectly beautiful representation of the brand that is ever growing and ever expanding.  The exterior of Goop's temporary home is a quintessential 20th century landmark shingled cottage.  The interior aesthetic is upscale general store with the feel of beautiful English country home, housing a little of this and a little of that.

Gwyneth requested the general store vibe, one that sells everything from clothes to beauty products to farm to table accoutrements.  The challenge was creating something pretty and unique, but on brand within this historic cottage utilizing its original floors and beams.  Interior designer Vicky Charles heeded the call.  Miranda Brooks tended to the garden.  No stone was left unturned.

Goop skincare products were an obvious selling feature, but other "wellness" products, home and garden decor, food and other carefully curated merchandise aimed towards the Hamptonite lifestyle makes summer in the Hamptons photo ready.

yes please

The Language of Flowers in Feng Shui

If you have been following me on social media you know I did a Facebook live that talked about discarding dead and dried flowers.  I got comments, I got emails.  I truly enjoyed hearing everyone's comments.  It inspired his blog post.  It seems people are quite attached to their floral arrangements.

Fresh flowers are best!  They universally radiate life, healing energy, beauty, renewal, grace.  IF buying and maintaining live arrangements isn't your thing, nice silk ones are an alternative.  Feng shui is all about creating positive CHI or energy.  There was some resistance from dried flower owners.

So, since nothing is black and white, IF somebody had an arrangement they loved, I would never make them throw it out if it looked beautiful, had meaning and was kept in a way that elevated it.  This is the mindful message.  Flowers must look beautiful, otherwise the message is lost.

Some specific flowers have a deeper feng shui meaning ~

Chrysanthemums represent good luck, ease and balance
Narcissus represents "the flowering of one's talent or career."  Good for an office setting!
Orchid represents a classical symbol of fertility and purity, spiritual growth
Cherry Blossoms (fruit bearing branches) represent vitality, health and new beginnings
Peony (my favorite) represents feminine beauty, sensuality
Lotus is the most symbolic flower representing spiritual mastery, harmony and perfection.
Hydrangea represents gratitude and enlightenment
     red ~ love
     yellow ~ friendship
     white ~ purity
     pink ~ admiration

Dried flowers represent death.  They represent stagnation.  It is the wrong kind of energy that is now flowing through your home.  Take stock, make sure everything you have serves you and has a purpose.  Make sure that nothing, including dried flowers are dust collectors or clutter.  You either believe in the energy you are helping to create in your home or you don't, but wouldn't you rather suspend disbelief and do anything you could to create "more good vibes?"  I know I would.

However, if you must hang on to your dried, dead arrangement bring in some fresh flowers to counter balance the positivity we're going for.

There are exceptions to every rule.  If you love something and it holds deep meaning or a special memory, I would never tell you to toss it.  What I would say is, "Elevate it."  Make it beautiful, make it special, make it lovely.  If you have some dried lavender for example (lavender is healing), create a wreath with it.  Tuck it in a beautiful basket, keep it dusted and seal it.  You are changing the energy around it.

Look what can be done with pressed flowers.  Even beautiful painted flowers do the trick.  When you look at this you see creativity and beauty.  Art has life, and these flower petals take on a deeper meaning.  The challenge with dried flowers is to keep it fresh.  That sounds ironic, but there in lies the "yang" or good chi keeping it on the positive side.


Remember, there are no hard and fast rules.  Think of these suggestions like guidelines.  If you think there may be something blocking you in your home, the dried, discolored flowers may be doing it.  They may just be standing in the way of you and whatever.... just sayin

Aspen Favorites

Do you know what keeps me coming back to this amazing place besides memories made over years of family trips?  It's the majesty of the mountains, the natural beauty of the alpine landscape, the amazing restaurants, the top tier culture and arts, the shopping!
The saying goes, you go for the winters and stay for the summers.  I can regale you with stories of how I have seen the town change over the past some thirty(ish) odd years, but I won't.  I'll just tell you my top favorite things to do or where to go when you get there. This is a very small sampling. There is so much more to this special place than meets the eye.

It wouldn't be a trip to town if I did not have a Paradise chocolate chip cookie (or several).  I play a game with myself to see how long I can hold out before going in.  I am learning to just taste the samples they have on the counter now.  There is a reason that the line is always out the door.  The cookies are addictive, the baked goods are moist and oh so flavorful, and the gelato style ice cream is heavenly!  The square right out front is a gathering spot in all seasons, but in the summer with the Aspen Music School hosting musicians from all over the world, it is especially entertaining.

MAX  is my first choice for fashion forward clothes and accessories.  I met Max years ago when he first opened his chic little Aspen location and am happy for his success.  He and his business partner Scott are fulfilling a dream and giving back to women's causes.  Good taste, smart buying practices and philanthropy always wins.

This is a super secret but I am sharing it with you.  A-1 Oriental Foot Massage is the place to go after a day on the slopes or hiking the backcountry.  It's pure bliss to just lay there and have your aching feet rubbed.  You can add a chair massage for a nominal fee.  It's the biggest bang for your buck in town!

Hotel Jerome is not a secret, but having a drink in the library is still on the top of my list.  The J Bar has the best burgers and truffle fries - FYI

I always love stopping into the world of McHugh's Antiques, but the antiques are being squeezed out by contemporary art.  With the likes of Hunt Slonem whom I wrote about here and here, Robert Kuo's menagerie of lacquered animals and fruit, magnificent mobiles by newcomer, Parisian designer Christal Sadde that I am crazy about, New Zealander artist Rob Tucker , museum worthy Rainforest baskets, RISD grad Lloyd Martin and a plethora of other goodies including a beautiful selection of jewelry, McHugh's has something for everyone.

There is no shortage of great restaurants.  Meat and Cheese has proven to be popular.  I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite restaurant (Aspen Kitchen), but this hip hot spot is great for a cheese board, charcuterie or salad.

Paris Underground has been part of many a project I have worked on.  A beautifully curated selection of furniture, accessories and objects from France and beyond.  The shop started out small with  Murano glass and a strong mid century vibe culled from the 30's, 40's and 50's has blossomed into a cross cultural, more modern aesthetic the is a "must see" destination while in town.

You don't need a boutique gym when you have all the outdoor activities out your door.  There is everything you could want including a Soulcycle pop up last season, but an easy walk with great views close to town is the Rio Grande Trail.  If you jump on a bike and continue down the path (up in some cases) you'll reach Woody Creek Tavern which is a fun lunch stop that Hunter S. Thompson made famous.

For a small town with a BIG town feel, there is almost nothing you cannot find.  It's as wonderful for children as it is for seniors.

I should be on the Aspen tourist board.  It is a subject I am quite passionate about.