Sorry, I’m not sorry. No, really.

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As I was thinking this week about what my new year’s resolutions and hopes would be for 2016, I took a look back at 2015 to see how successful I was in bringing last year’s to life.  There were two on my list.  The first, “Do less and do it better”, is one I’ve been intensenly (if almost pychopathically) diligent about.  Slayed.

The second:  “Remove (decimate!, destroy!) qualifying language from your vocabulary”.

Hmm.  I’m headed in the right direction but still have a long way to go before I kick that nasty habit.

This is the “I’m sorry, but…”, “just”, “maybe I’m misreading this but, …” language that we all use to some degree, and that women tend to overuse (this woman does!) in both our personal and professional worlds.

If you guys haven’t seen Amy Schumer’s “I’m sorry” video, it’s a perfect snapshot of what I’m talking about.

I don’t usually think of myself as someone who has trouble projecting (or being) confident, but I started to realize how often I relied on these little qualifiers to soften my message or make it more amenable to the person I was speaking to — at my expense.  It went kind of like this:

Danielle:  “I’m sorry, I think I must have misunderstood what you originally said — I’d be happy to redo this [insert piece of work, chore, favor for a friend] with this new understanding.”

Evil Friend | Client: “Thanks!”

Danielle (Screaming inside my head): “I’M NOT REALLY SORRY, YOU MESSED UP NOT ME AND NOW I’M ANNOYED AT YOU THAT I APOLOGIZED”

Seemed like something to get away from.  And I see some variation of this all the time, particuarly in professional settings where men or male-culture dominates.  It’s hard to watch, but harder to know that I contribute to it. So, since the beginning of this year, I’ve been tracking this closely – rereading my emails and being intentional in my speech to get rid of the “actuallys”, “I thinks” and, most importantly, the “I’m sorrys” (unless I really was sorry or wrong which, you know, is rare).

It is HARD.  Even in this post I had to backspace a few times to get rid of some of those killers.  Still, simply being aware of it has been eye opening and rewarding.  I’ve become more honest with people and with myself.  I don’t have a default setting of taking the lion’s share of the responsibility (and am less likely to become the screaming internal she-devil mentioned above).  I’m more effective and clear, both at work and at home.

So, I think I’ll be pulling this one forward into 2016.  I’m not done with it yet.   If by the end of 2016, I’ve kicked this habit (and kept my chive plant alive…), I’ll call it a win.

&d

P.S. Check out this article on the new Google Chrome app that tracks  qualifiers for you!  It red lines the words you don’t need, and you correct them as if you would a typo. Wish I had this guy last year!

P.P.S.  Hope you all have a fabulous New Year’s Eve!  Stay tuned for our report on our New Orleans’ style masquerade.

2016 Bucket List

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Once the holidays end, there’s always a bit of a let down that follows.  A little bit of “well, now what…?”.  In NYC, the answer is usually four more months of winter and a spike in mood lamp sales.

So this year, amidst the holiday storm, I’m planning ahead so that come January 2nd, I’m excited to take 2016 by the horns – snow boots and all.

I’m creating a bucket list for 2016 (an awesome idea I stole from T) that lists the 24 new or ambitious things that I want to do in New York throughout the year.  I’m thinking that 2 a month will keep me on my toes, while actually being achievable in the madness that is every day life.

My hope is that it’ll give me structure and motivation to aggressively pursue the personal — not just the professional.  And, perhaps most importantly, allow me some sort of undetermined grand prize next December when I’ve slayed this list.

Here she is:

  1. MOMA PS1
  2. US Open
  3. Met Opera
  4. 9/11 Memorial
  5. Momufuku
  6. Mission Chinese
  7. Rockclimbing
  8. Bike all five boroughs
  9. Walk across the Manhattan bridge (with earplugs)
  10. Take a Soulcycle class (What IS all the hype about?!)
  11. Run a 10K
  12. Stay in crow pose for more than 2 seconds
  13. Take an Indian cooking class
  14. Read 24 fiction books
  15. Write twice a week
  16. Make homemade Gnocci
  17. Make Tamales
  18. Make Tagine
  19. Make Beignets
  20. Build a Gingerbread house
  21. Grow tomatoes (take that Brooklyn!)
  22. Learn to sew (don’t judge me for not knowing…)
  23. Learn to crochet
  24. Buy a lifetime supply of cloth napkins and ban paper towels

There you have it.  Who’s coming with me?  What’s on your bucket list?

&d

A New Orleans New Year’s Eve

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‘Tis the season, and we’re getting way ahead of ourselves – skipping right past Hannukah, Kwanza, Festivus and Christmas and planning for New Year’s Eve!  The plan this year:  an intimate New Orleans style masquerade dinner party, complete with poker, masks, and absinthe (if we’re feeling dangerous).

Having a great theme has injected a ridiculous – bordering on unhealthy, frankly – level of excitement around New Year’s Eve.  So, we’ve started menu and event planning.

For the menu, we’re rounding up our favorite New Orleans recipes.  The last time I was in New Orleans, I picked up The New Orleans Cookbook that promises classic meals from the city’s best chefs. So, I’m dusting it off the shelf that it’s been sitting on for way too long and going all out.

To whet our appetite…

  • Muffalata Deviled Eggs
  • Gumbo Dip
  • Okra Hush Puppies

For the main meal…

  • Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

And for dessert…

  • Classic King Cake
  • Beignets (first ever attempt at these tricky, delicious bites – fingers crossed!)

And for the main event… well, poker goes a long way.  But we’re also thinking we need a little something for those of us who don’t have the strongest poker faces (It’s sometimes just too exciting to get matching cards, isn’t it?).  So, we’re going to arm our guests with glitter, sparkles, feathers, and puff paint and have them create their own masks.  The not-so-unintended consequence: everyone will have a mask! No exceptions. I’m still a little traumatized from our Halloween party where only 3 of the 45 guests had costumes.  I’m done with the opt-in approach.

Between now and NYE we’re looking for more ideas to make this shindig as authentic New Orleans as we can get.  What NOLA inspired recipes and party ideas do you have in your arsenal?  Help us make this NYE as fabulous as possible!

We’ll be sharing the final recipes, make-your-own mask plan, and the pictures (all those that are appropriate anyway…) after we’ve rung in the New Year.  ‘Til then, joyeuses fêtes!

&d