Archives for June 2013

Wordle Day!

I’ve been participating in a blogathon and today is the final day! Our theme today is to create a Wordle. If you’ve never heard of it, Wordle is a fun site where you can create  “word clouds” from text that you provide. You can also input a website and Wordle gets to work to create a cloud based on the words you use on the site. The cloud give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently on the site.

You can even play with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.

Here’s the Wordle I created from my blog. Try it out, it’s a lot of fun! Think about using it for your next presentation!Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 6.16

Wishes For New Graduates

small_4651661453Be the driver in your life. Don’t be a passenger in your own life. You may be tempted to just coast along as a passenger but remember this is your life and you should always, always be in the driver’s seat.

I’m not famous for anything in particular, so I’m not the type to get asked to make a commencement speech. I am, however, queen bee of my little blog here, so this is the speech I would make if someone asked me!

This is also in honor of my niece Sara who graduated from Ridgefield High School in Connecticut last week – and in anticipation of my daughter’s graduation next year.

Congratulations graduates of 2013!

  • Maintain your work ethic. Just when you think you have things figured out, something else will rear its ugly head. That is what you call “life” – so be prepared to work a little harder!
  • Be the driver in your life. Don’t be a passenger in your own life. You may be tempted to just coast along as a passenger but remember this is your life and you should always, always be in the driver’s seat.
  • Chase your dreams. Sure they may not be practical but your dreams are what make you who you are, giving them up is like cutting off on arm. Find a way to make them come true!
  • Believe in yourself. Don’t let a lack of confidence stand in your way! Even if you have to bluff your way the first time around.

Now go and do it! Don’t let your thoughts get the best of you. When you start to think of all the reasons why you can’t do something, stop and just do it.

photo credit: <a href=””>Makena G</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>


Summer 1947

Photo Friday: A Great Summer Photo

I’m sharing another vintage photo today of my mom and my aunt. My mom is on the right and my aunt on the left. It was taken at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, May, 1947.

My brother, the keeper of all family photography, posted this on Flicker and it has been viewed almost 5,000 times!

I just think it captures a beautiful moment in time of two carefree young girls.


Favorite Nora Ephron Quotes

I loved Nora Ephrons’ movies, especially “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally.” I also loved the wit and grit she demonstrated in her books. Ephron was all about “real life” – and she was able to translate her personal stories and experiences into great entertainment. Yesterday marked one year of her passing. To celebrate Ephron, I’ve compiled some of my favorite quotes:

Ephron loved to read and she had a family who encouraged reading. Her parents were both screenwriters and encouraged the arts.I feel the same way about reading.

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

She faced adversity in her life, as most of us have, but she was known not to wallow in self-pity and I love this quote.

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

Here’s a quote from her 1996 commencement speech at Wellesly College, great advice from someone who knew the importance of making trouble.

“Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.”

This is classic Ephron, contemplating the life and death…bread and chocolate. While the whole word wages a war against carbohydrates she states the obvious – they taste so good!

“Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it’s your last, or do you save your money on the chance you’ll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”

I think this is hilarious, my 82-year-old mother-in-law still dyes her hair and I don’t blame her. As much as I would love to get rid of this chore, I just couldn’t do it.

“There’s a reason why forty, fifty, and sixty don’t look the way they used to, and it’s not because of feminism, or better living through exercise. It’s because of hair dye. In the 1950’s only 7 percent of American women dyed their hair; today there are parts of Manhattan and Los Angeles where there are no gray-haired women at all.”

I have curly hair, need I say more. I don’t wear it curly, so it’s work to straighten it out. Sometimes I’d love to just shave it off!

“…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”

I love this quote because it reminds me of when I go shopping for shampoo. It just seems like there are so many choices out there, it’s maddening!

“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.” – Joe Fox/Nora Ephron


The Female Confidence Conundrum

IMG_4305From big girl panties to a secret note…

As human beings we all share the sense that we are not good enough from time to time but I think that women are particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of these thoughts.

I just read Dana Perino’s, former Press Secretary for President Bush, story on Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s blog. I knew I had to share it especially since writing about “confidence” has been on my mind. As human beings we all share the sense that we are not good enough from time to time but I think women are particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of these thoughts.

Perino’s predecessor was leaving and she was nervous about stepping into his position. She received this advice from Secretary Margaret Spellings on her first day: “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!”

I love this advice! I believe our gender undersells themselves a large majority of the time – whether we are in high school, just starting out in the world or hitting midlife and beyond.

I see it all the time. I could see and feel it, to my own amazement, at a professional conference I attended filled with women holding advanced degrees from highly regarded universities. Many of these women had taken career breaks, yet even sans this factor, I do see women holding back often and I even experience it with my  daughter whose entering senior year of high school.

This takes me back to first grade, one day our teacher asked us to write something about the student next to us on a piece of paper. I was standing next to a boy, who was sort of the class clown, and I wrote “funny.” His response to me was “smart.”

I opened up that slip of paper glanced at the letters as they evolved into the word “smart” and I immediately made a face. I recall this because my teacher called me out on it. She asked me why I made the face and I was dumbstruck. I’m not sure how it all ended but I’m pretty sure she gave me a pep talk about confidence. What a great teacher! Another reason I remember this event is that I was ashamed of being caught and thinking ill of myself.

Nina DiSesa, the first female to head McCann Erickson’s New York office, states in a New York Times article, “For Career Women, Confidence Is Crucial” that: “Women should emulate the single most important male characteristic that leads to their success: confidence (sometimes for no apparent reason). Confidence allows men to be outspoken, to take risks, to negotiate better on their own behalf, to pursue opportunities aggressively, to laugh, to be brave, to be self-involved, and to have no regrets about surrounding themselves with other men instead of men and women. If you don’t have confidence you won’t make it in a man’s world.”

Whatever our career path, I agree with DiSesa confidence is crucial – whether you are a rising star in the corporate world or raising children.

Next time I feel unsure about myself I’m going to think about those big girl panties. What do you think about women and confidence?

A Champion Of The Arts

get-attachment-27.aspxThat Girl Is Amazing: Suzie Alvey

For all the appeals of “Where are the women in the upper ranks of corporate America or politics?” – There are women like Suzie Alvey who are enriching their communities every day with their talents.

Every community needs a Suzie Alvey. She’s an artist, photographer, ardent volunteer, historian, mom and a champion of the arts. Recently named Village Historian of the town of Garden City, NY Alvey is a strong advocate for preserving the beauty of her village. Founded in 1869, Garden City has a rich history and was labeled one of America’s earliest “planned communities.”

As an artist, she shares her talents prodigiously. Whether it’s a charity event at her church, a historical society gala or a local artist exhibit, it’s likely you’ll spot Alvey wearing a broad smile and a camera slung over her head ready to promote or contribute her talents.

While raising three daughters with her husband Rob, also a serial volunteer, Alvey has run her own art business creating original, artistic family heirlooms. She has painted hundreds of house portraits pleasing homeowners from San Francisco to Switzerland. Her paintings and drawings are in many collections, including those of author, Nelson DeMille.


House portrait by Suzie Alvey.

She also specializes in portraits and wedding calligraphy.

“I enjoy creating artwork that gives so many people beautiful memories of their homes and families,” said Alvey. “Everyone has an interesting story. I hope my artwork will be handed down from this generation to the next.”

It’s no surprise that she was selected a “Woman of Distinction” in 2009 by NY Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt and was the October 2012 recipient of President Barack Obama’s President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Though singularly talented artistically, it is her altruism, love for her community and support for the arts that set her apart.

She’s spent countless time orchestrating exhibits at her local library to burn the flame for historical preservation and raise awareness among young residents. She is the originator of a series called “History Mystery Homes featured on Garden City Patch to help identify unnamed house photos in her village’s archives.

Alvey has long been involved with the Garden City Historical Society, Garden City Beautification Committee and is a founding member of the Garden City Bird Sanctuary.

Four generations of Alvey’s family have resided in Garden City. She is one of those people who brings a community to life. While raising her family, she opted for the flexibility of running her own business to reap what she calls “the best of both worlds.”


Suzie Alvey with her husband and three daughters.

Her advice for younger women coming up in the world is to “decide what is most important to you” and “be true to your values.” For artists, in particular, Alvey’s advice is not to underestimate the skill of “selling.” Alvey, who admits to being more retiring in nature, learned early on that being shy wasn’t gaining anything.

For all the appeals of “Where are the women?” and “Why aren’t they represented in the upper ranks of corporate America and politics? – There are women like Suzie Alvey who are enriching their communities every day with their talents.

Alvey studied with Dan Slapo- PSA Master Pastelist (Pastel Society of America) a national award-winning artist, teacher and author.  She also studied with John Rogers- AWS (American Watercolor Society), the national award-winning watercolorist who wrote, Watercolor Simplified.  Additionally, Suzie studied with Marion Brown- AWS, who was a student of Edgar Whitney AWS. She graduated from Albany State (SUNY) in New York with a Bachelor of Arts cum laude degree in Studio Art. 


Haiku Day!


This pic is in celebration of Haiku Day – even though I didn’t write about nature. Taken by my talented brother: Robert Barone!

I’m participating in a blogathon, a 30 day challenge to write every day, this month and today is Haiku Day! Every writer participating in the blogathon is challenged to write a haiku. I actually love writing poetry. I haven’t written a haiku since high school. I took a creative writing class and I fondly recall writing a haiku about my teacher. There was a little ribbing involved but it’s great to have someone write about you.

Today I decided to skip nature, traditionally many haiku poems focus on nature, not that I don’t love nature but I decided to write about what I really know and what I really know about is writing, motherhood and my dog.

I know that sounds strange but as I write this he is sitting under my stool as patient as ever waiting for his walk so I decided he deserves a little fame for his support!

Writing – in honor of the blogathon and having to write every day!

Words, words sometimes flow

other times, drip, drip, trickle

it’s a writer’s woe!

Motherhood – my kids lose everything and I mean everything!

Mother where is myyyyy

brain, head, body, arm, finger

thrown it all out say goodbyeeeee!

My dog – Harry is perfect!

My sleeping dog is

simply the best reminder

to slow down and smile.

This was so much fun. Try writing one today. Just remember 5, 7, 5 – that’s the syllable count of each line. No rhyming required!

Passing The Baton

Many women opted out of the workforce to raise families – hopefully the next generation will find more flexible options to combine parenting and a career.

Lisa Endlich Heffernan landed on The Today Show in response to her recent article featured on the Huffington Post, “Why I Regret Being A Stay-At-Home Mom.” She says the decision to leave the workforce was one of “the most expensive decisions of my life’” and “at no point did I calculate the lifetime impact of diminished earnings and prospects.”

These are powerful words and words I have thought of often. Like Heffernan, I decided to leave the workforce when I had my first child because my husband and I were both working long hours, commuting and sometimes traveling. I was 33 years old and I waited a long time to have a baby and I was fortunate that I could leave the workforce. Nevertheless, it wasn’t easy leaving the fast-paced lifestyle of working in New York City for the sleepy suburbs.

The rhythm of life hummed away and I had another child. I have had many of the same feelings Heffernan cites such as missing the different mix of people, over-worrying about my children, losing confidence and loss of income.

Through the years, I too have felt embarrassed at giving up a career. I remember my husband filling out an alumni yearbook survey and I was listed as homemaker. I recoiled at the word.

Staying home with my children has been the most rewarding experience of my life yet it has been a doubled edged sword.

My mother’s own experience as a young widow, taught me that not everyone has a fairy tale ending and not having a source of income is a gamble. I gambled and it worked out for me but for my daughter who will be heading to college next year I hope she will find an easier road to combine a career and family.

Heffernan calls her decision flawed, I believe she is being hard on herself. I left the workplace at a similar time and technology was in its infancy and job sharing or even part-time work was very limited. Her advice to keep a toe in the water would have been difficult but I think its excellent advice for girls coming up in the world now – and it’s never been easier due to technology.

I sometimes tell my daughter to look into work that is more flexible so she can balance a career and a family at the same time. As I pass the baton to the next generation I do think there will be less of an “all or nothing” approach.

It’s promising that San Francisco is considering a new family friendly workplace policy. The United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia have similar policies.

Hopefully, our country will recognize the importance of supporting more flexibility in the workforce to make it easier for parents to balance work and parenting.



On A Mission For Healthier Living

Nancy-Guberti_9915That Girl Is Amazing: Nancy Guberti. There’s nothing like a mother on a mission! Learn how a personal crisis turned into a quest to empower others to lead a healthier lifestyle!

After spending over 15 years on Wall Street at major brokerage firms including Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse First Boston, Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs, a personal crisis led Nancy Guberti on a new career path.

Her youngest son was diagnosed with a liver disorder and numerous allergies that were adversely affecting his health and development. The same gusto she employed on Wall Street, she used to find answers.

“I felt compelled to intervene when doctors did not offer much hope,” shared Guberti. “I used my Wall Street skills and a mother’s instinct to do my best to turn my son’s health around.”

She decided to learn more about the connection between allergies and food. Her father had also been an allergy sufferer. She began studying for her Masters in Nutrition while researching with scientists worldwide to find a cure for her son’s condition.

“The work ethic that I was accustomed to at my last position at Goldman Sachs helped me endure long days and nights,” explained Guberti. “I was able to stay focused. The final result was nothing short of a miracle and I was changed for life.”

She earned a Masters in Nutrition and opened up a private practice, Coach For Healthy Living. She is now a functional medicine specialist and nutritionist.

Finding a lifestyle that helped her son flourish physically, mentally and emotionally was a turning point for Guberti. She decided that helping other parents was a priority. She became a Defeat Autism Now practitioner and is one of Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue practitioners offering specialized functional medicine lab work and customized individualized supplement/homeopathic remedy regimes and food recommendations.

She also provides customized regimes for men, women, children, family and corporate wellness.

Nancy practices a biomedical and nutritional approach to healing.

“Living in today’s highly stressed society, filled with environmental toxins, genetically modified and processed foods, I provide functional medicine testing which I use to develop treatment regimes and diet recommendations to combat each client’s health issues,” Guberti explained.

A father in Virginia whose son has followed Guberti’s protocol shared: “I took our son to the doctor for a recheck and to all of our amazement…not only are all infections gone, but for the first time in a very, very, very long time, he doesn’t have fluid in his ears.”

For Guberti that’s a sign of a job well done. Though the transition wasn’t easy, she’s found much more than a career but a mission for healthy living.

“Switching careers at any age has its challenges but persistence and love of the mission is imperative,” added Guberti.

Nancy Guberti has offices in Greenwich CT and Westchester County. For further information visit or via email at nancy@nancyguberti.comFor healthy living advice follow her on Twitter and FacebookShe works with patients throughout the United States and seven different countries via office, phone and Skype.





Summer Is Here!

bathing beauties 1948 by Robert Barone

1948 Bathing Beauties

In commemoration of the first day of summer, I decided to celebrate Friday with a family photo. This photo was taken in 1948. My mother is the woman at the top of the pyramid. 

Fellow blogathoner, Denise Schipani of Mean Moms Rule also posted a lovely vintage photograph today.

I love this photo because it truly is evocative of a time gone by – when life was a lot simpler.

Happy Summer!


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