Skip to content

Archive for

Being Laid Back Stresses Me Out

For those of you who noticed, and thank you for noticing, I didn’t publish a post last week. In a very exciting turn of events I’ve been asked to put together a book proposal (!!) for this blog. Yay! It’s extremely exciting and truly what I hoped would happen and, as you can imagine, I’m hell bent on knocking it out of the park. With that in mind, I’ve decided to change my posting schedule to every other Monday while I finalize the proposal and, with any luck, write the book. I feel this way I can ensure that both mediums get the attention they deserve. Thank you for your interest. Please tell your friends, and subscribe if you’ve been enjoying it. Publishers love numbers and the more people I have reading, the better my chance at succeeding in the transition from on-line to on paper. Thanks a million!! Now onto the blog….

Last Saturday was Loch’s first ever t-ball game. He’s been taking t-ball every Tuesday for a month and this weekend was his first real game. Perhaps I should preface this by saying that Loch, though able to really crack a ball at our house, has yet to show any real aptitude for a particular sport, or to be completely fair, sports in general. Some boys I know are all over athletics. My nephew for one is like the mini-Shawn White of ball sports. You give that kid a ball and he astounds you. His abilities come naturally and he clearly loves it.

My amazing nephew kicking soccer's butt. How cool is this kid?

Loch's into being active for dancing and roll playing. Here's my little Indian Chief doing a kitchen boogie.

Loch on the other hand, God bless him, seems only mildly interested in physical activity at best. Now it could be an age thing or that he just hasn’t found his strength yet, but ever since he was a little dude – and all the kids would be climbing and running and jumping – he was happy to just hang out and chat and role play and do voices and songs. He would do activities if encouraged, but for the most part he was happy at a less physical level. However, at the recent parent teacher conference at his new preschool we were told – much to our ire and aniexty – that Loch was “fleshy”. We were like, huh??? Fleshy? The teacher tried to clarify her thought by going on to say he was “soft”. “Soft like fat???” No, apparently, soft like lack of muscle tone. Lack of muscle tone?? He just turned 4. How ripped is he supposed to be? She went on to say that he wasn’t catching balls or climbing as they’d like to see. She finalized her point by saying it was possible that Loch would never be a “fully physical person”. What now?! How the H do you know that? He’s flippin’ 4!  We don’t know what kind of person he’s going to turn into. Why label him with that kind of stigma now? How does that benefit him in any way?

Does this kid look "fleshy" to you?

We were pretty angry in the weeks following that meeting. Personally, I’m of the opinion that unless there’s a real and glaring problem with a child that the parents are A: unaware of or B: not properly managing, to make broad assessments/assumptions about what might be wrong with your child or who your child might be in the future, is an unnecessary and futile endeavor at this age and only serves to stress everyone out. There’s too much pressure these days for our kids to be brilliant, little geniuses in everything and too much strain on their caregivers to ensure they turn out that way. In the world of standardized testing it’s like we’ve forgotten that kids develop at their own pace and until there is something worth dealing with – a clear developmental delay or behavioral issue – it doesn’t help to constantly compare them to their peers or try to match them to their appropriate “benchmark”. Having a sense of where your child is can be important as far as helping them grow and learn, but inferring there’s a problem if they aren’t all meeting certain “requirements” at exactly the same time, seems to cause more harm than good. The same teacher told one of my friends her 3 year old “wasn’t at all academic” and another that her child “might have developmental delays” and the kid is clearly fine. The more parents I spoke with, the more I realized we’d all been told something negative. It was as if the teachers were lookingfor issues just to make sure they didn’t miss anything. These people see our children between 6-9 hours a week. 6-9 hours a week with 3 and 4 year olds and you think you can clearly assess their future potential? Parents are already alarmists. Why make it worse?

He's physical...if he's interested.

That being said, I’m having a hard time taking my own advice or getting that teacher’s words out of my head. Even after I cross referenced with his morning teacher – who’s had him for 2 full years, 12 hours a week – and she told me that she felt the assessment was unnecessary and premature and Loch was a wonderfully active and well adjusted child,  I still felt anxious. In my heart I knew he was fine, and quite frankly, probably just physically drained after being at another school all morning, but I still felt strained. No one wants to hear their child is lacking in any department. Plus, I’m aware that my child seems a little apathetic when it comes to physical things. Can he hit a ball? In our yard, sure. Yes. Well even. But also for about 10 minutes and then he’s bored. Does he run?  Totally. Not like those kids who never stop running, but when he does do it, he actually does it really well. Does he ride a bike? Yep. With skill and strength. But he’s really only interested if you walk beside him so he can chat with you the whole time. He’s never been a climber or a swinger, which was good for my nerves – I never found him on top of any furniture – but bad for my anxiety as I’d watch kids clambering over him as he lay like a wet noodle over a piece of equipment calling for help.

I realize it’s an “everyone in his own time”, “don’t worry”, “he’s going to be who he’s going to be” type of a thing, but I’m feeling the pressure, and trying to pretend I’m not only makes it worse.

Not bad right?!

So, his first t-ball game was this weekend. I’m not sure if he’s loving t-ball – the coach is harsh and shouldn’t be working with 3-5 year olds – but for the most part he’s excited, so we go. Frankly, we’d go even if he wasn’t excited as I’m trying to instill a non-quitter mentality, though I’m not completely sure I chose exactly the right place to teach this (see: Coach).  Anyway, up until last week we were working on skills – throwing, hitting, catching – and now we’re starting to play games. Loch’s a pretty good thrower (when he’s paying attention) and a pretty good hitter (when he’s not phoning it in). His catching is abysmal but so is everyone else’s so it seems on par. There are some kids (like my nephew) who are already good. They come with their big brothers and their own bats and seem to handle the skills like little pros. Whether it’s a product of working at home with their families or just natural dexterity, I’m not sure, but it must feel pretty amazing to be the parent of a child who is clearly excelling. It’s how I’ve always felt with Loch’s verbal and conversational skills but sports abilities happen in a more public forum and are more easily comparable, so it feels different somehow. We show up for opening day and find the kids we practice with have been split into 2 teams. 11 kids – including all the “ringers” – are the Angels, and Loch and two minuscule 3-year olds boys are the Cardinals. It was ridiculous. 3 kids to what would soon grow to 12, and hopelessly mismatched in the skills department. As I stood there smiling at my son I started to fester.

Lochie, front left, at the head of his team of 3.

Opening day started with all the teams from the league present. T-ball, Softball, Baseball. 3-16 year olds with our little guys looking cute and tiny compared to the big kids. We did a lot of nice things. Pledge of allegiance. National anthem. Speech about the importance of little league by an old major leaguer. It was lovely and totally Americana, but I was still preoccupied with the size of Loch’s team. By the time he ran up to run the bases in front of the cheering crowd and the announcer said, “Where’s the rest of your team?”  I was crawling out of my skin. Good question announcer guy. Where were they? Why were the teams so drastically uneven in both size and ability? Even if the rest of his team showed up before the game started, what kind of parents just skip the opening ceremony? Are they even going to care or help? Loch, who’s already not sure he wants to do this, is going to either A: be unable to play, or B: lose miserably and think the game isn’t fun. I found myself looking at Sean to express my anxiety and then looking at Loch and saying, “Isn’t this great? You’re going to have the best time!” I’d bitch to my mother, and then turn and smile and cheer my baby so he had no idea I was upset. It was exhausting.

My little man in the dugout of 3. He wasn't quite sure what to expect.

Right before we were scheduled to begin, 5 kids showed up. No uniforms. No gloves. One was sick. We waited for them to get changed and join Loch and the other Cardinals. Now keep in mind seeing that we’ve only worked on skills, most of these kids have no idea how to actually play the game. They hit the ball and the coach yells “Run!” and they run forwards after their ball. Why wouldn’t they? No one’s taught them any different. They get on first base and there’s another hit and they run randomly across the diamond. It’s chaos. I’m not going to lie, it’s kinda hard to watch. At the last practice I actually left the stands to join the assistant coaches (read: Dads) on the field because it was too distressing to watch these little people flailing around, not having a clue what’s going on. And before I come off like some freakish sport’s mom, I’d like to say that parents are encouraged to help, so I wasn’t out of my mind going out there. But there I am panting with my stupid lung disease, running the bases with the kids. Explaining where to go. Running after the ball that’s gone through 4 kid’s legs in a row and is now in the outfield. So, keeping that last “practice” in mind, and looking at Loch’s delapatated team, I was expecting this whole thing to be a disaster. Sean, in his infinite wisdom and optimism, told me to relax. He reminded me that it was just a t-ball game and the point was just to have fun. I smiled at him and then turned to my mom and said, “Relaxing gives me anxiety.” 

It's actually pretty funny when you think about it. It's like the blind leading the blind out there.

The game started with Loch’s team up to bat. He hit it and, having practiced at home, ran right to first base. Yay! Sean was was at the T helping the second kid, and when he hit it, he ran to first and Loch went to second. The third kid came up – one of the 3 girls on Loch’s team – and got a great hit so Loch was now on third. There was a little confusion when the second batter ran to the pitcher’s mound instead of second base but it was quickly sorted out and we moved on. As the fourth hitter ran to first and my son rounded for home all my anxiety lifted. Everything in his little body exuded joy. I could kill myself that I’d given my camera to my mom. As he crossed home plate, he turned around, jumped in the air and pumped his fist as high as he could. Looking at him you would have thought he’d won the World Series. He was so thrilled. And in that moment I realized he didn’t care that he had limited skills, or a rag tag team, or even that he didn’t really understand the game. He was just having fun. Learning about teamwork and sports and being outside and working with others. He was happy, and wasn’t that why I signed him up in the first place? Whether he grows up to be sporty or not, isn’t the point for my child to have fun?

How happy is this face?!

As a parent it’s easy to forget that stuff. Even after my epiphany at the ball game, I found myself frustrated later that afternoon when Loch went to a birthday party that included swimming. Knowing I couldn’t take him in the water myself – a trauma for his ex-lifeguard mama who now gets too tired – I took along his speedo swim jacket to ensure his safety. It’s not a life jacket per say but a floatation device that, should you be paddling and kicking, will keep you above the water. He was dying to swim, but as soon as he was in the pool he was clutching at the wall and crying for help. He’s taken lessons on and off since he was 1, and for the past 5 months he’s been in lessons every single week. I’ve seen him swim clear across a pool unassisted more times that I can count. But here he is on the edge of the pool – wearing a floaty – totally panicked and crying. Now, if I truly believed he was scared to his core – the way he is of dogs – I’d feel differently. But I could tell that this was more a matter of getting attention and a lack of focus. He’s got a bit of a focus problem. He’s so interested in the world that he tends to get distracted when he’s not totally engaged. His skiing instructor told us he was “a gifted and natural skier when he wanted to be”  but when he was distracted he lost all apparent skill.

I LOVED this weekend. He was so keen and interested. It was great to watch!

This is what I was witnessing in the pool. I talked to him at the edge, and when he finally accepted that his vest would keep him up, he started having fun. It was lovely to see him kicking and paddling around the pool. To watch him interacting with his pals in the water and really enjoying the day, but there was a part of me that had to keep reminding myself not to feel disappointed he was in the vest, not keeping up with his friends swimming on their own. I know he’ll eventually learn and that it’s important he’s happy and confident in the water first, but it’s so hard not to want to speed things along. Mentally I know pushing him won’t help, frankly it’ll probably just hinder, but the voice inside my head is screaming “I was swimming at 4. Why isn’t he? What am I doing wrong?!”

Being laid back and relaxed is not my natural state. My resting anxiety level floats somewhere between aware and amped. I can enjoy a beach vacation and I’m happy to chill and read a book but my way of interacting with the world rests more in a state of alertness. I’m quite quick to get peeved. I have little patience for mismanaged situations (the team dichotomies) or dense people (people who screw up their jobs due to lack of effort or brain power), and as someone who’s always worked hard to see results, being a parent is an interesting challenge in learning not to push my child to be where I’d like him to be, but accept – within reason – where he is without pressure.

My face kind of says it all.

I realize that people like me are often tough to be around. We get riled up and need to “fix” situations, or learn to accept them, and that can be difficult for us. I see the strain my anxiety puts on my husband and I truly make an effort to tamp it down. The thing is, as much as I’d like to let more things roll off my back – and parenthood has really required me to embrace this – I would never want to be a “relaxed” person. The world can’t be all chilled out, don’t worry, hakuna matata type people. Nothing would ever get done. I’m not saying I couldn’t use a lifetime supply of chill pills. I’m just saying I wouldn’t want to be on them all the time. Stress can be either an instigator to accomplishment or it can weigh you down. For the most part I’m the former.

There’s an old saying, if you want something done, give it to a busy person. I believe that. But what you have to keep in mind is highly functioning people also tend to be a little wired. It’s a trade off.

Is there a happy medium? Probably. Do I wish I had it? I guess. But, I’m used to being like this, and I only feel bad about it when I’m compared to more laid back people. Who would there be to say the things you’re too embarrassed to say, or handle the situation you wish was different but didn’t want to make waves, without my kind of person? Who would  send back your uncooked fish or get your drink order corrected? Who would make sure all the kids got a turn, or get you a second opinion at the hospital where the doctor on call appears to be half asleep and making bad decisions? It’s people like me that do that. The stressed out, high strung, tightly wound people. We’re the people who say no to the terrible hotel room. Someone will take that room, and they’ll pay the same amount as the people not looking at the the air conditioning ducts, but that person won’t be me, and if you hang out with me, it won’t be you either. In the grand scheme of things does my son’s team really matter? No. But I’ve paid and signed up for the full experience and if it isn’t that, you can take your “no big deal/hang loose/who cares” mentality back to Hawaii or Coachella because I’m not buying.

If that game on Saturday had turned out differently and Loch’s team had gotten clobbered been unable to play, my strain would have impelled me to speak and I believe ultimately everyone would’ve been better for it. But as it was, everything turned out just fine and I could, in all honesty, relax and enjoy.

I just have to hope that’s good enough.

Because it’s the best that I can do.

Go Cardinals!

Advertisements

Spoiled Abuse

Dear Lochie,

I’m sorry you can’t have everything you want.

I’m glad you can’t have everything you want.

The thing is, even if  we were wildly rich – which we currently are not – and could give you everything, I still wouldn’t, and I’ll tell you why…

If you have everything, get everything, want and wish for nothing, what’s left? What do you hope for? Save for? Strive for? How do you create a work ethic in someone that’s been given everything they want, every time they wanted it? Where’s the inspiration? Parents, in my opinion, do you no favors by giving in to your every whim, nor do we help you long term by constantly surrounding you with “stuff”. Now, that’s not to say you don’t have a boatload of stuff because, let’s be honest, you do, but you also have limits, and time and time again, for various reasons, we say no. Lately we’ve been saying no a lot.

Christmas at your Grandparents in Eugene. Granted there were 3 grandchildren and 4 children there but still....holy moly present bagoly.

You recently had your 4th Birthday and maybe it’s the age, or the increased awareness, or the fact that you were in present land for 2 straight months -your birthday falls almost immediately after Christmas – but we’ve found you’re requesting more and more things these days and it’s something we have to curb.  Look I get it. You’re an only child. Plus, you’re the only grandchild of an only child and though your father has a brother with 3 children of their own, you also have adoring, spoiling grandparents on that side too. Add in all the friends and extended family and it’s a pretty sweet deal. However, I think unwrapping gifts for such an elongated period of time warped your mind a bit.

About a month ago we went to Disneyland. We have season passes and can go for the day if we have the time. Your Granny, who had been staying with us for 2 weeks, had just been dropped off at the airport and you were bummed. You guys have a lot of fun together and you get pretty down when she has to go. Your Dad and I thought it would be a good idea to just continue from the airport to Disney to distract you from missing Granny. Plus after such a busy birthday month, we thought it would be nice to spend the day – just the 3 of us – at a place we all love. The thing is, we weren’t there 2 minutes before you started asking for things. Now, you don’t get everything you ask for, so it’s not too hard to say no to you, but this was like an onslaught. You wanted ice cream. We made you eat lunch and then you had one. You wanted cotton candy. We reminded you you’d just had an ice cream. You wanted a balloon. No, they’re useless and you can’t take them on rides. You wanted a drink. We’d brought water. You wanted a cherro. No. You wanted a hat. No. You wanted a lolly bigger than your face. No. You wanted to be carried. We’d brought a stroller anticipating that request. You wanted another ice cream, a smaller lolly, a balloon again. You wanted. You wanted. You wanted. You wanted.

Arriving at Disney for the "You Can't Always Get What You Want" Tour.

We finally lost it when you insisted you get a toy when we left the Star Tours ride. We weren’t trying to be mean, but give me a break. We explained you’d just had your birthday. Then you’d gone to Legoland and Sea World and stayed at a hotel with toys and treats galore. We reminded you of the ton of new thing you had at home and finalized our – probably way too long – lecture with a speech about getting off a ride not equalling a gift. You were pissed. PISSED. All folded arms and huffing breaths. Finally you looked at us and said, “I always ask for things and you never get me anything.” We pulled your stroller over so fast I’m sure you had whiplash. I knelt down so we were face to face and firmly explained that what you had said was “not ok.”  That you were a very lucky boy who had more things than most children could even dream of, and that if that was going to be your attitude, Daddy and I would leave the park that very minute, and I meant it. You, sensing the seriousness of the situation, became very upset. You didn’t want to leave the park. You didn’t want our day to be over. Finally you said, “I don’t understand. I asked nicely.”  I had to explain that asking nicely – though correct – doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, just as saying “excuse me” then pushing someone out of your way doesn’t negate the behavior. I went on to tell you that I would love to give you everything you wanted, but if I did, I’d be a bad Mom. That saying yes to everything makes everything mean nothing. You’d become, what I call, a Greedy Gus. A “Me, me, me, what’s next? I want, I want, I want…”kind of person. A stuff junkie just looking for the next high. I’m not sure how much you understood, but your attitude totally changed. You seemed to accept that there would be no toys that day and you were content to stop asking. When I stood up, your Dad told me he was glad I had bent down faster than him, because if he’d been down there, we’d be walking out of the park right now.

The rest of the day was great, and as we passed bedraggled parents, carting wailing children out of stores, I realized we weren’t alone. It’s hard to be a good parent. It’s so much easier to give in. No tears. No arguing. No explanations. But to make my life easier, I believe I’d be making your future life harder. I look at Suri Cruise in her $7000 outfits and the Jolie-Pitt kids on their seemingly endless trips to the toy stores and candy shops and I think it’s a good thing they’ll probably have everything handed to them their whole life because if these kids didn’t get everything they wanted, I’m not sure they’d be prepared to handle it. I’m going to just hope for the best for their futures because for every Montana Fishburn or Paris Hilton there’s a Nell Newman or an Ivanka Trump. Or at least I like to think there is.

Living in this town makes me nervous sometimes though. Is it even possible these days to grow up both privileged and grounded? Or, with so much excess around, do the Haves and their offspring just become more and more disassociated?

Your Dad and I left the movies the other night and were waiting for the valet to get our car. As we stood there a car pulled up in front of us. It was a white, 2 door, totally tricked out, top-of-the-line BMW. But it was the amount of extras that really made us take notice. Everything was custom. The paint job. The cream leather seats with contrasting piping. The white (!) chrome rims. Even the stereo and dash looked like they’d been specially designed. It was a FANCY car. And that’s saying something in LA. So, as we stood there waiting for the hip hop star or media mogul to come and claim it, from behind us 4 kids emerged. I say kids because there is no other way to describe them. If I worked at the Fair I would have guessed the driver’s age to be 14, except seeing that he was about to drive, I would have been wrong. As I watched him pull back his seat for his friends to climb in, his leather, low rider, skinny jeans blinging at me and his 15 year old girlfriend with her over the knee socks and Louis Vitton bag getting into the passenger seat, I realized that this was not his Daddy’s car. This was his car. The car he clearly just got for his 16th birthday and I felt kinda sick. As they drove away I looked over at your Dad and said, “What just happened?! ……. Seriously. What just happened?”

He just shook his head.

This is my lame attempt to recreate what I saw from bmwusa.com. It doesn't even come close to doing this car justice.

Here’s the thing. Clearly that boy was the child of some bazillionaire movie producer for whom money is no option, but where is there to go if your first car is $140K? Unless you’re taking over the family business or your parents continue to pick up the tab for the rest of your life, there’s nowhere to go but down. I feel the same way when I see young girls in Dior sunglasses and Marc Jacobs flip flops carrying their books in Miu Miu bags. What the H? What kind of precedence does that set? No high schooler should be wearing clothes that women in their 30’s and 40’s are wearing – or aspiring to wear. It gives a warped sense of entitlement that’s hard to turn off. Even little old me with my teenage Oakley’s had a hard time adjusting when I got to the real world. Granny and Granddad gave me a lovely childhood. I went to a terrific school. Spent my summers at camp and the cottage. Went on at least one trip a year, and Christmas and my birthday were almost always a guaranteed ticket to what I’d asked for. I lived a charmed life. I didn’t get everything I wanted but, I almost didn’t notice. I can still remember things I didn’t get but they were things like the green and white Benetton rugby shirt that everyone had, not like a grad trip…or bus fare. It wasn’t till later that I realized how blessed I was to come out of University with no debt, and it wasn’t until I moved to NYC – where my dad paid my rent – that I realized how much of a struggle life could be, and how hard it was to keep up with the lifestyle I’d taken as a given. I was shocked and more than a little dismayed when I found I couldn’t afford a quarter of what I wanted (or expected) and it sucked. How could I not have enough money to eat out? How could I not afford new clothes? And vacations…forget about it. Saying nothing for the very limited vacation time a non-student gets, being an actress really meant being a waitress and that means “paying bills” money, not “living life” money. It was hard. Like wake up and smell the reality hard.

And my first car was my mom’s hand-me-down ’85 Honda Civic hatchback – with the optional passenger side mirror and tape deck that we hadn’t optioned – not a 100 thousand dollar luxury vehicle.

As I’ve mentioned before I’m still dependent on your grand-parents for help and I hate it. I want to be self sufficient but I also want to be happy and true to myself and that means slugging away in the world of the Arts till it happens. But by the time you read this I hope to be long off the parental dole. I have these wonderful dreams of paying them back – not that they’d expect it – or buying them the fabulous big ticket items they dream of – hello, new kitchen at the cottage or Gentleman’s racer – but mostly I want enough to be able to properly care for them when they’re old. I see my mom taking care of Aunt Jane or, up to last year, Grand Mimi, and I realize that there will probably be a number of relatives that I will likely be responsible for too. The gift of the only child can look a little daunting as people start to age. I need to work my ass off to secure all of our lives, and until about 10 years ago, I’m not sure I really got that. Up till then everything had come relatively easily to me,  and I guess I assumed it always would. When my acting career stalled it was a major wake up call. Getting married was a shock to the system. Having a baby was like being dropped on my head, and getting sick showed me that my easy life had been but a lovely dream.

Look, I’d like you to have the best of both worlds. I’d like you to be comfortable and secure knowing that we will do right by you as far as what you need, and know that we will give you enough of what you want. As George Clooney’s character says about money in the recent Oscar nominated film The Descendants, “You want to give your children enough to do something, but not enough to do nothing.”

en.wikipedia.org

I want your first car to be a safe, solid, second-hand car that makes you feel cool, but wouldn’t be looked at twice by Jay Z. I want it to be a BIG DEAL when you get your first luxury whatever. I want it to be thrilling for you when you finally get that big ticket item you’ve been hoping for. I want you to budget out a trip with your friends instead of just assuming we’ll pick up the tab. We probably will. I hope we’ll be able to. But I want you to know where the money comes from and what efforts have been made to give us all the things we want.

Too spoiled can make you weak. It’s not a character builder. Many people I know who grew up with everything struggled as adults. Many ended up with drinking, drug  or personality problems. It’s akin to what I said about The Death of Anticipation. We need to build some suspense into our lives to teach us what’s worth valuing. We need to create some hope and desire. Without it, you can drift through life in a haze of boredom trying to get your kicks doing inappropriate (and often dangerous) things attempting to feel “something”.

I don’t want that for you.

blog.stuvu.com

Your father and I have recently solidified our decision to send you to private school. After touring 15 schools, including many of the public LAUSD schools, we’ve concluded that our money will be best spent giving you the strongest possible start in life. It is our hope to instill a love of learning that gives you the foundation on which to build the rest of your life. In order to do this though, we’ll have to make some major concessions. We might not buy a house for a while…if ever. We’ll have to live within our means, and my dreams of grander will have to take a backseat to what’s best for you. You’ll quite probably get less “stuff” and it’ll be an adjustment for all. Including your grandparents who – in keeping up with their endless generosity – have offered to help. It’s a big deal for us. But it’s the best we can do for you, so we’ll do it. I don’t need you to feel guilty or even grateful – in the grandiose sense of the word – like we need constant thanks or props. I just need you to understand where we’re coming from and if you can’t have all you ask for – or all your friend’s might have – this is why.

Life is a joy but it’s also a struggle, and I think the more aware you are of the reality of the effort, the more likely you are to enjoy the path as you move towards your own success.

I wish you great success. But I also want your feet firmly planted on the ground, so when the time comes you can decide whether you even want a $140K car.

Then you can go out and buy one for yourself.

xo your mom

Fighting

Dear Loch,

People fight. It happens. It’s unpleasant but it’s a necessary part of human interactions you’d best be able to accept and work with, rather than rail against. When I hear couples say they never fight I often think they’re A: lying, or, if they’re not, it’s B: a bit weird. Unhealthy even. People can’t possibly agree on everything. Especially people that spend a lot of time in each other’s company. It’s unrealistic and it puts unrealistic expectations on us if it’s something we’re expected to do. Agreeing and choosing to agree for the sake of civility, are two different things. And though there is definitely a place for that kind of concession, I think for the most part, healthy disagreements are one of the things that help us learn and grow as people. They allow us to be true to ourselves, and know that our opinions don’t have to be the same as others to be accepted. If they do, then you might have other issues to deal with. What you don’t want is to be someone who looks to fight. Someone who’s angry or mean and takes their stress out on others. Conflict for the sake of conflict is not a character building exercise.

The key word in disagreements is “healthy”. There are ways to fight that can be good, proactive discord in order to make a change. There’s a way to stand up for your beliefs that don’t undermine or belittle. This is not always easy to do, and God knows it takes practice and effort, but it’s something worth striving for. What you want to avoid are arguments that lead to petty, cruel behavior that degrade or disparage others. You want to play fair. To be kind even in conflict. And if you can’t muster kind, at least try and be civil. No name calling. No below the belt shots. And an avoidance of tangents and things from the past that cloud the matter in question.

iamusayo.tumblr.com

Stick to the issue at hand. No “f*^# you’s” or personal attacks. Try not to interrupt – I’m personally terrible at this – and try to avoid saying anything you’ll regret later. I was fighting with your Dad once – I can’t remember what about – and, in the heat of the moment, I said, “Well maybe you should just divorce me, and…” His face looked like I’d slapped him. I immediately took it back. Acknowledged my idiot behavior and sincerely apologized for it, but your Dad flipped out. Rightly so. I get it. I shouldn’t have said it. It was stupid and my “I’m sorry. I’m angry. I didn’t mean it” wasn’t cutting it for him. But then he did what I will also advise you not to do, which is to milk the situation – when the tables have shifted, for whatever reason, in your favor – and was ‘righteously’ angry for hours. Both of us blew it that day. Me, with my rash, insincere comment, and him in his need to punish me for my mistake.

When fighting, above all, be respectful. You may believe someone is behaving irrationally, stupid or ridiculous, but remember to them, their behavior is totally justified. Keep that in mind. I’m not saying you have to necessarily turn the other cheek, but try and see it from their point of view. Fighting fair means looking for the compromise. Both people matter so really try and listen. When it’s possible to turn off the rushing sound in your head that says “shut up shut up shut up – you’re an idiot – shut up”, what you hear might make sense to you. People are worthy of respect no matter how furious, misunderstood or unjustly attacked you feel. How you treat someone in a period of strife can linger long after the issue has passed. For the most part, this is also true when going head to head with someone you don’t know – a stranger, a person of authority, a jerk in a bar – no matter how much they deserve it – and people often do – try and keep your cool. Civility is more likely to deliver the result you want or, at the very least, help make your point.

allwomenstalk.com

When deciding whether to address an issue head on, it’s important you take into account who it is you’re dealing with and what the result of the fallout might be. With my parents or your Dad, I tackle almost every problem because A: they’ve promised to love me always – the unconditional love factor – and B: I interact with them on a daily basis and I’d rather nip issues in the bud than deal with them over and over – Groundhog Day style – for the rest of my life. With friends and acquaintances it’s a different story because it’s not  a given that the relationship will be able to survive a fight without changing, and ultimately I don’t see most people enough to justify fighting over something that’s not an incredibly huge deal. A friend who’s always late or insists on always picking the restaurant? Who cares? Go where they want to go and tell them you’re meeting a half an hour earlier than you plan to show up. An acquaintance who has a way of seeing the negative side of every issue? Eh. Just take their advise with a grain of salt and avoid telling them stories about things that really matter to you. A pal who never mentions the birthday cards you send? Suck it up or stop sending the cards, but don’t get into a fight about it. What’s the point? Even if they started thanking you, it would always feel insincere. There are a lot of situations where it’s better to just accept people’s “isms” and move on. In many cases a situation or behavior is so unlikely to occur again that creating conflict around it is just unnecessary.

That being said, I recently had a fight with one of my oldest and dearest friends and the altercation caught me totally unprepared. Without going into too much detail, I became irritated by her constant texting with a potential suitor over the span of 2 days. Granted I am hopelessly out of the loop in the dating scene, but I got tired of playing second fiddle to a phone. The thing was, I was trying to be encouraging and understanding. To help out. I was even open to her ditching me to hang out with him. Ultimately I just wanted her to be happy, and if being with him would have done that, I would have been fine. As it was, she was with me, but not really with me, and as her phone binged for the 100th time in 3 hours, and she stopped half way out the door I was holding to get it, I sighed – a deep, OMFG sigh– and almost immediately after that the fight began. When I say fight, I mean she chewed me out for being essentially bratty and deliberately obtuse, and I chose to act like I was nowhere near as annoyed as I was. The thing is, I was worried about how far the situation could escalate. I was pretty pissed off and if I met her energy in that moment – which I easily could have done – I wasn’t sure we’d get out with our relationship intact. So, in that moment, I made the choice to let her rail against me and then try to patch things up later. That’s the thing about fighting, you must always weigh “winning” over what’s best for the relationship. In this case, I wanted my friend. I love her. And I decided I would rather have her feel superior to me than have us stop speaking. Though it was frustrating to be unable to make my point, I’m sure it was the right thing to do. I know that when we see each other next, enough time will have passed for us both to be truly over it. I can’t say the same thing would be true if we’d gone head to head.

hellobeautiful.com

The thing is, I hate fighting. I’m a great debater – and I love to be right – so I’m pretty good at it. But I hate it. It makes me sad. Even if you crush someone’s argument, you still feel empty afterwards. I’ve avoided a lot of fights in my life because no matter how upset or disappointed I was, the fight itself was unlikely to yield anything other than tension and anxiety. Sometimes friends let you down, or people do things that annoy you, or you think a situation should be playing out another way, but you have to consider if the situation is likely to arise again. Is it worth getting in to? I think, as you age, you’re better at letting things slide and just enjoying people’s company. When you’re younger, and you see your friends every day, it’s sometimes necessary to mention smaller annoyances as you’re dealing with them far more often. Annoyance breeds discontent, discontent breeds resentment, resentment breeds hostility, and hostility can destroy a relationship.

You need to really consider which direct conflicts you want a part of. Which ones are likely to yield the outcome you want – a changed behavior or result – and which ones you should just walk away from. These are serious questions to answer – often in just a heartbeat – and will significantly effect how you interact with the world. I was treated terribly by a Director of mine once. I was a major asset to him when he first created a show in New York. We talked everyday, and through collaboration I really helped shape what went onto become one of the most successful Off-Broadway plays of the 2000’s. It was his baby, but I was a pretty good nanny. However, he got it into his head that we should be “collaborating” on more than just the play, and when I wasn’t on board, his behavior changed over night. Not only did he stop listening to me, he also stopped publicly acknowledging me, unless it was to criticize or call me out in front of the cast. I got it. I didn’t like it, but I got it. He was putting me in my place. Showing me who was boss. But I wasn’t going to let it ruin my chances to move forward with the show when it moved  to LA.

youarefab.wordpress.com

Unfortunately in LA it got worse. When his reiterated desire to expand our relationship failed, he started a “relationship” with my roommate which resulted in my being fired from the show, being stranded in LA with nowhere to live – I’d subleased my apartment in New York – and, at the request of my ex-roommate – who felt I’d “stolen her agent” –  he called my representation to tell them what an awful actress and person I was. I did damage control for weeks and though they didn’t drop me right away, it forever affected how they saw me. A year later – after they had dumped me – that same Director asked me to come back for the new run of the show in New York. People thought I was crazy to go, but I saw it as an opportunity to clear my name – you certainly don’t pay an “unprofessional” actress to fly across the country on your dime – and finally get my Equity card in the process. I ended up doing 5 weeks of the show without fighting with him once. No one could believe I’d ignored the opportunity to give him what for. But really, what would have been the point? He’s not going to change. He knew how I felt. Fighting with him would simply have been a waste of energy.

Often when I fight I just want it to be over. When I was young I asked Granny how to end a fight if you don’t want to apologize. She told me I could say, “I’m sorry we had a fight.”That way I could be contrite about the fight itself, but not have to fake an apology I didn’t mean. That advice has served me well in the past. It works best when the two people involved can agree to disagree – a solid position if you can work with it – for the sake of the relationship. But sometimes agreeing to disagree doesn’t work, and you have to work through a disagreement to get to the other side. That’s when you end up genuinely apologizing. I have to say, your Dad and I are very good at this. Even after our worst, drag out fights, we always come to an understanding and our apologies are specific and clear, as is the plan on which to move forward. This is not to say we don’t have conflict issues. It just means we finish strong.

bodyandsoul.com.au

Your Dad and I see eye to eye on most things and, after almost 10 years together, are still truly best friends. But we can really throw down. Maybe it’s a fire sign thing – he’s a Scorpio, I’m a Leo . Maybe it’s a actor thing – we’re both wildly sensitive and probably too keenly aware of verbal and non-verbal nuances. Or maybe it’s a built up tension thing. We both live under extremely high levels of stress, and when we fight it’s almost like we uncork a bottle that blows up all over us. Over the past year we’ve been trying very hard to take a step back – when we’re in the thick of it – to calm down and reassess. If we don’t, we often find ourselves on a train we can’t get off, and our fights escalate well beyond where they should.

For a long time our disagreements could almost follow a check list of events, which in itself was a problem. It went something like this:

I’d criticize your Dad or bring up something I was unhappy with.

Your Dad would get defensive.

He’d find something I’d done that was similar, or just as bad, and turn the issue around on me.

I’d get furious that I was now somehow supposed to be apologizing and that the original issue had been hijacked.

We’d both raise our voices and one of us would storm out of the room.

The other would follow.

I’d end up saying something like “Forget it, forget it” and shutting down. Preferring to end it than continue with the fight.

We’d take a break – be it 10 minutes, an hour, the whole day.

We’d come back together, calmer, removed from the heat, with some perspective.

We’d discuss the issue calmly.

The issue would be resolved and both of us would feel heard.

We’d both apologize

Though our fights always ended up in a positive place, we really put each other through the ringer to get there. For a while I found I was avoiding saying how I felt in order to avoid the inevitable fight that would follow. Lately though, in large part to your father’s efforts, we are trying to fight more productively. To avoid the middle section and to move faster to the mutual hearing of each other. We tried the marriage councilor trick of repeating what the other said to make sure we were listening and understanding. “So, you’re saying, you’re concerned about blankety blank and that it makes you feel blank. Is that right?”  And though this technique has the ability to work – on occasion keeping us calm and on point – sometimes in the heat of a moment you forget to go there and go to the dark place instead. In those instances, your father has taken it on himself to try and avoid his oft repeated step of getting fired up and counterbalancing with something I’ve done – which not only took us way off topic, but made us both super mad – and I’m attempting to stop shutting down when things aren’t going as I’d like. With those steps out of the equation, we’re better able to tackle issues head on without the fear of the fight itself holding us back.

Are we perfect? No. Are we working to be better? Yes. And I would take our fighting any day over the silent seething that other people do. The people who’s go to answer when asked what’s wrong is “Nothing” and then walk around feeling bitter and unheard. Your Granny has a tendency to do that. Her voice, her body language, her entire demeanor says “I’m furious” but when you ask what the issue is, she’s say she’s fine. It’s not true, nor is it productive. I have a tendency to get worked up about things quite quickly, but I’m also quick to move on if we can address the issue at hand. My problem lies in when we can’t because one person isn’t admitting there’s a problem. You can’t get the elephant out of the room if one person is pretending they can’t see it.

irenesavavese.com

Fighting is going to happen. It is. It’s life. Try and keep things civil and kind and if the matter must be discussed, then get on with it. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. Sometimes it just makes it worse. Maybe that was my mistake with my friend. Perhaps I should have just been like, “Step away from the phone…” earlier and we might have been able to laugh and move on, but as it was, I acted like I was fine until my “nothing” blew up in my face.

One last thing I’d like to mention is physical fighting. Personally, I don’t think there’s ever a need to strike someone in anger. Self-defense and protecting another is understandable, but an assault record will follow you forever so be very careful what position you put yourself in. I don’t get physical fighting but I’m also the first to admit I’m a girl, and I get that it’s different for boys. The only time I really had a sense of what boys go through was after college when I got into a fight leaving a club with one of my closest girlfriends. I hadn’t been drinking but she had, and she refused to let me drive my car home. I was furious. I wasn’t drunk. I needed it the next morning for work and leaving it in a downtown parking lot overnight was a ridiculous inconvenience to give her (inebriated) peace of mind. She was so adamant though that I finally broke down and took a cab home with her. About 3 minutes into the ride – the hostility in the air was so thick you could feel it – she laid off and punched me in the arm. Hard. I was shocked. But I did what any sane person would do and I punched her back. I like to think we grappled in the back of the cab for another minute but it was probably more like flailing, broken wrist, up-and-down-hands that girls often do when they fight. After we’d expelled all our energy, we sat back and took a deep breath and she said, “I feel better don’t you?” And I did. Completely better. All our ire had been extinguished in the rush of physicality and I thought, is this why boys fight? Like literally hitting each other to end the fight? They might have something there. Girls have a way of mind f*^#ing each other for years over an argument. Would we all be better off just to wrestle?

en.wikipedia.org

Look, you do what you can – the best you can – to resolve your conflicts with people. Holding grudges is a waste of your energy. I wish I could save you from all pain, all hurt, but sometimes it’s the tough moments in life that really shape who we are. Hit things head on when need be, and walk away when you can. Anger dissipates, but how you behave in moments of anger can define your character forever.

Who do you want to be?

I love you. I trust you’ll make the best choices possible. And remember, I’m always in your corner.

xo your mom

empowermentexperience.com

Style and Fashion

Dear Lochie,

Boy, I could rock this post if you had a sister, however it’d be like 10 pages long, and she’d totally ignore it because no girl wants fashion advice from her mother, so this might be better. Personally, I love men’s fashion. I always have. I’m all about the well dressed man. There’s absolutely a time and place for baseball caps and cargos, but when you feel like stepping away from that, I think I can be of some service to you. I realize your future girlfriends will probably get involved too, but let’s give them a little something to work with…

As a general rule let’s just say look nice. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear what’s comfortable, it just means make some semblance of an effort. Your appearance is a message to the world about how you feel about yourself and how you’d like to be perceived. A well dressed man gets noticed. If you look good, you feel good. And believe it or not, you will be taken – and take yourself – more seriously if you’ve made an effort.

Everything is bad in this picture from backtobudda.com

There are lots of men to look to for inspiration. Men used to dress very stylishly. Suits and hats were dereguire, and men looked sharp no matter where they went. Then we went through a period of style drought where everything was hideously ugly (the 70’s), or over the top (the 80’s) and then caring about how you looked was somehow frowned upon as vain or unmanly (the hideous grunge 90’s). I personally lived through flannel on flannel and double denim being the height of fashion. We are now entering a phase where men can dress with some attention without fear of mocking or judgement. Style is back, and for that I am very glad.

Beautiful, classy Cary Grant from finemoviesonline.com

As far as stylish men to take your cue from (other than your father, who definitely has it going on), you might want to look at: Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, Tom Ford, David Bekham, George Clooney, Ryan Renolds, or pretty much anyone on this list from Esquire, my personal favorite men’s mag.

As far as dressing, there are some simple rules beyond the no sandals and socks stuff that can make any outfit look better. These are great things too keep in mind as you put yourself together. This is by no means a complete list, but more of a guideline on which to build your personal sense of style.

Stand up straight – this is something I myself am terrible at, but plan to push on you as much as possible. Own your whole body. Don’t slouch around and diminish what you’ve been given. Be proud of your physique and wear those clothes lest they wear you.

Iron – not your T-shirts or God forbid, your jeans – but your dress shirts and suits (of which you should own at least one fabulously fitting one at all times). Try not to look rumpled unless it’s a deliberate choice you are cultivating a la Johnny Depp. His style may not be my favorite, but at least he’s got one.

Look after your shoes – dingy, dirty, gross shoes say a lot about a man. This is not to say you can’t have well loved, warn in boots – those can be fabulous – but avoid scuffed, uncared for shoes at the bottom of your pants. It screws up everything above them. When it comes to your shoes take some care. You should own a solid collection. I’m not saying be Imelda Marcos. I’m just saying that a pair of sneakers and a some flip flops aren’t going to cut it. Sure you should have trainers for working out, but you should also have a great pair of sneakers to wear with pants and shorts. Dress sneakers I like to call them. You should purchase at least one pair of dress shoes (though black & brown give you more options),  and keep them shined and taken care of. I’d also advise making sure they’re both comfortable and something you truly want to wear rather than just a generic “dress shoes” with laces. I’d advise investing in a pair of dress boots too. Sleek ones that can be worn with jeans or a dress pant. Your Dad got a pair of Too Boot NY dress boots two years ago and he’s in love with them. We’d be buying more if we could afford the price tag. Speaking of price tags, invest in a pair of cool, rugged boots like Frys, or the like, that you can wear daily with jeans. Finally finish up the shoe shelf with a summer shoe like Toms or flips (watch out that your feet aren’t gross) and a winter boot to wear in the snow. Sounds like a lot? To be honest, you could have way more and still be nowhere near dandy territory.

Same guy in an ill fitted and well fitted suit. Pretty big difference, no? fabmanual.wordpress.com

Watch the fit of your clothes. Make sure your clothes aren’t too big or too small. Fitted is good. Tight is bad. Loose is good. Baggy is bad. Your clothes should skim your body. Graze your muscles not stick to them. Always try things on before you buy them. You might be a Medium in one store and a Large in another. Get to know what looks good on you and work with that. Just because something’s “in” doesn’t mean you should be in it. Not all people can wear all looks, and the height of style starts at dressing for you not for the trends. Right now super skinny jeans are being seen on men all over town. Your father -who actually has a butt – can not pull these pants off and he knows it. He looks good in a boot cut pant that fits and balances his body. He smartly sticks with what works. Don’t be a fashion victim.

Ryan Reynolds always looks great as seen on askmen.com

Find a tailor – Fancy? Sure. But a good tailor can make all the difference between looking good and looking great. If something almost fits, you can use a tailor to make it perfect. Narrow out the sleeves, take in the waist. You can not however make a jacket fit your shoulders better. You have to get that right when you buy it.

Buy the best of what you can afford. But remember, just because it’s expensive doesn’t necessarily make it the best. Don’t get caught up in labels. It’s worth paying money for good quality fabrics and workmanship but not for the name in the back – or God forbid across your chest. Things that are worth splurging on are things like suits, shoes, sunglasses, a great pair of jeans, a leather jacket, a blazer and a watch. The things that last, fill out your wardrobe, and make a statement. But for the most part the $29 Gap t-shirt will work just as well as the $100 t-shirt from Vince.

Bekham is a style horse, in no short part to his wife. Seen here looking great at omgnews.com

Avoid the color beige or off white. Mostly it just looks like you’re soiled and it flatters few skin tones. Avoid bolo ties, pointy dress shoes, mock turtlenecks, one piece anythings, and any clothes that look like they’ve been tattooed, bedazzled or pre-ripped (I’m talking to you Ed Hardy). Turtlenecks in general are a difficult look to pull off. There are exceptions that work in a knit for a kind of retro-Aspen-ski-vacation vibe, but in general but you might wanna stick with a crew, V, or henley as the neckline for your shirts.

Keep your clothes clean. Unless you rock at laundry (which I don’t, so I have no discernible skills to teach you), find a good dry cleaner for your better stuff. Too many good things have been ruined by inept laundering.

Don "Boy can he rock a suit" Draper at the villagevoice.com

When buying a suit, it’d be my advice to stick with a one or two button, single breasted jacket with flat front pants. Again, this is not a hard and fast rule but more of a strong suggestion. Few men can pull off the double breasted look without looking like gangsters or older business men, and pleated pants are only necessary if you’re doing a 1940’s thing or are overweight and can’t pull off a flat front. When trying a suit on, think about what you need it for. If you’re only going to own one suit, you want it to be multi-seasonal – a 10 month suit if you will – and appropriate for multiple uses. Ask for a shirt and tie when trying it on so you get the real feel and look, and pick a material that you A: like the feeling of and B: is breathable. This is where putting in a couple extra dollars is helpful.  A nice black (good color to start with), light weight wool suit can take you so many places. You can wear it with a tie in a formal or business setting. You can wear it with an open shirt to look sharp on the town. You can loosen the tie or wear it with a cool t-shirt (if this is a look you like and can pull off) for a hip downtown vibe, and you can wear both pieces separate from each other as a blazer and pants. A piece of clothing that multipurpose deserves to be splurged on. But, at the very least, consider fit and fabric as your primary goals. I’ve seen your Dad rock a $350 H&M suit because it fits like a glove and he feels good in it. I read in GQ once that wearing a suit doesn’t have to be a lesson in conformity. The note was, “Wear a suit. Don’t look like one.” Take a look at Don Draper played by John Hamm, on the currently popular television show Mad Men. He couldn’t look more like a Man and less like a corporate drone if he tried.

The tuxedo that caused your father to have his tuxedo tailored. Seen at lehighvalleylive.com

If you can, invest in a tuxedo. Get a great fitting, good quality tuxedo with classic, trim styling. It’s amazing how nice it is to have one of these in your wardrobe and not have to rent one every time you need to dress up. Plus, if you invest in a classic one you feel good in, you’re pretty much set for every formal occasion in the next 15 years if you don’t outgrow it in the girth department. It’d also be my advice to consider the vest over the cummerbund. Few can pull off the satin cinch belt without looking foolish or, at the very least, uncomfortable. A vest or, as we’re seeing more and more these days, just the pants themselves, are great for a cleaner, slicker look. You can then decide if you want to wear a straight or a bow tie – preferably that you tie yourself – and your shirt should have a little pin tuck interest. No ruffles ever. Unless you’re being ironic. Then have at it.

As far as accessories go, consider the following:  Glasses can look exceptionally cool. If you have to wear them, really wear them. Don’t pick frames that hide on your face or you hope will fade away. Pick bold frames you can really rock. Your Dad had subtle glasses for a while but always felt nerdy in them. He switched them up for black “geek chic” Ray Ban Wayfarers, and even though it’s a classically nerdier look, he loves them and looks way cooler for it. Personally, I’m big on scarves for men. Big ones in the winter to keep out the cold and thin ones in the warmer months to add to an outfit. A t-shirt and jeans gets a total makeover when you add a scarf. Don’t be afraid of the accessory. It can really elevate an outfit with very minimal effort. A well chosen cuff link or pocket square can be an understated way to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Hats are having a resurgence right now. I hope that sticks around. Hats look fabulous on men. Not baseball caps – which have their place and can be cute in a sporty, collegiate way – but real, hat, hats. Find one that balances your body and face. As always, forget what’s hip and figure out what works for you. What goes with your clothes, your life, your personality? Also remember that thicker fabrics, like wool or felt, are good in the fall/winter and the raffia/straw type ones are good in the spring/summer (or if you still live in LA, almost all year round). If you wear one, just be sure to own it and not fuss with it.  Finally, jewelry on men is really taking off these days. Personally, I’m a purist in the male bling department, and tend to like the less is more approach. I like elegant watches without jewels, plain wedding bands and the occasional necklace or cuff. I know more and more men are wearing multiple rings, earrings, and bracelets, and that gem stones are finding their way into men’s wardrobes, but I’ll take an understated gentleman over a gilded peacock any day.

Be flexible and aware of dressing for where you are. If you don’t normally dress up for dinner at home (which we only do on holidays) but you’re at someone’s house that does, fall in. We had the opposite thing at the cottage one year when a friend of mine brought her boyfriend for the weekend and he wore slacks and Prada loafers the entire time. He looked good, but totally out of place and came off pretty pomp-y if truth be told. Respect the environment. For our Honeymoon your Dad and I went to Greece and Italy and we didn’t pack any shorts or crew neck t-shirts. Too American. Too casual. Instead we went with the ‘When in Rome’ mentality and dressed like the locals. I wore a lot of skirts and dresses, and your Dad wore a lot of linen pants and polos. He even ended up buying one of those shorty short bathing suits because 2 days into our trip he said he felt like “Joe America” in his huge, oversized surf shorts. Turns out he looked great in his Euro suit. But you have to be willing to bend a bit in order to figure that stuff out.

Jake Gyllenhaal looking great in accessories at isabellasnow.com. A smirk wouldn't hurt him though.

They say that clothes make the man, but it’s the man himself that’s really important. Be a man worth taking notice of. Be a good man. A stand up man. An honest man. Sure dress well and take care of yourself – your hygiene, your stray hairs, the way you smell – but never hide behind your aesthetic and for goodness sakes smile. You might look terrific but if you’re just Broody McBroody pants, no one’s going to want to hang out with you anyway.

Ultimately, the bottom line of fashion is to make it feel like you. Find your own personal way of dressing that is reflective of who you are. Your style will change as you age but it should always be distinctly and individually Loch.

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

I love you baby. Knock em dead!

xo Mommy