Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Good Friend Guide

Hello wonderful friends!! 

As promised, I have comprised a "Good Friend Guide" as a follow up to last week's blog on the importance of friendship. I have developed these points as a result of wisdom gained from my own experiences and the insight I have acquired via others' viewpoints and feedback over the years and recently.

              The Good Friend Guide: Basic Rules to Keep You in Check

*Stay Social*
-When you don't feel like going out and meeting up with your friends, do it anyway.
-It takes energy after a long work day and may break up your routine, but you will be happy you did afterwards, and your friends will too. 
-Being with your friends is mutually beneficial. When you make time for your pals, you build stronger relationships and your life becomes more enriched with a support system and people who love you.
-It is important for you not to seclude yourself from your friends because the more you do, the less motivated you will be to make an effort, and consequently, the more your friends will feel like you aren't invested...and the farther apart you will grow.

*Be Dependable*
- Stay true to your commitments. If you are a person who has a crazy schedule or you have a habit of canceling plans last minute,  don't commit until you know you can. Then you won't be breaking a promise and you are up front from the start. You really don't want to be seen as a flake. 
- If you do make a commitment, stick to it. 

*Be Honest* 
- Don't underestimate the intelligence of your friends, they know when your BSing them and when you're coming up with lame excuses.
- If you don't feel like following through with a plan to hang out, be honest about the reason. If they're your real friends, they should understand you and will appreciate your realness.
- Tell your friends the real reason because more than likely, they've figured it out anyways and no one likes to be lied to. Deceiving your friends will lose you points real quick.
- Being honest only strengthens your relationships. Being open and raw is scary sometimes, but it is the only way to form genuine friendships. 
- Get over your fear over being judged, people appreciate candidness and when you are open, they will feel more comfortable revealing their true selves as well. 

*Have Good Character*
- As hard as it may be sometimes, try really hard not to say something about a friend that you wouldn't say or haven't already said directly to them. Most likely, it will get back to them and nothing gets resolved by talking to someone else about it. Not to mention, do you want your friends talking about you behind your back?

*Be Self Sufficient*
- Friends are not your babysitters, they are your equals. This means in order to have a balanced friendship, it is important to be independent and take care of yourself. 
- Do not expect your friends to take care of you all the time. It becomes apparent and annoying quickly to everyone. 
- For instance; 1. Be able to drive yourself places and  give your friends a lift every now and then; 2. Plan ahead and be sure you have a bag that can carry your own belongings when you go out; and 3. Take the reigns occasionally and make the plans; make the reservations or look up the directions when you're lost in the car, don't just sit there texting, expecting someone else to figure it out. 

*Be Thoughtful*
- Although our lives can be really busy; our careers and money will not be at our funeral, our relationships will. Make time to check on your friends and show them you care. It takes 2 seconds to send a text! Celebrate their successes, support their endeavors and be a listening ear through tough times. 
- Seek to give and be the friend that you want to have in return. 

One of my favorite suggestions that I received for this guide was from, Miss Oregon USA 2009, Sylvie Tarpinian and it is as follows: 

"Seek to understand before seeking to be understood."

This phrase completely gives me a refreshing mindset. Instead of always focusing on what they can do for you or how your friends should improve in one way or another; focus your energies, instead, on what you can do for them and what is going on in their lives. It is amazing how the feeling of sadness is lifted when you ask a friend how they are truly doing and you engage in a conversation that is all about them. Life is so much more rewarding and meaningful when you are giving to others as opposed to always thinking of yourself. 

In summary, life is so much richer with true, meaningful friendships. But, they don't just come to you, they take energy and effort. However, the rewards you reap are greater than the seeds you sow. This holiday season and going in to the New Year, reflect on the kind of friend you have been and how you see your friendships blossoming in the future. Choose the friends with whom you invest your energy and love with care; be sure they are Team You and will only be a positive influence in your life. 

"Our relatives are the family that we are born with, our friends are the family we choose."
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! This is such a fun topic!

Until next time,

Kristen Dalton

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Friendship and The Golden Rule

When growing up, especially through middle and high school, I struggled with having real friends. I'm not going to give the whole personal rundown, but to sum it mom was right when she said, "As you get older, you'll realize who your real friends are."

Let's face it, they didn't make the movie, Mean Girls for no reason. Girls can be brutally mean and hurtful to one another, so it can be hard to get to a point of being able to trust and lean on girlfriends after a certain amount of painful experiences.

While growing up, I had very high standards for myself in terms of maintaining strong morals and values and I only wanted to surround myself with people who shared in the same philosophies, so we could build each other up (bible study and my faith had a lot to do with this.) But, when you think of a girl in high school and college who doesn't drink, smoke, do drugs or have sex, the friendship pool and invitations to parties for her get smaller and smaller.  At the time, I thought it was good to be strong and steadfast in my beliefs, so I really didn't have a lot of friends, and I focused on my goals instead. I am a fiercely devoted friend and take being a good friend seriously, so when a "best friend" would wrong me in one way or another, I would be devastated and continue to lose faith in having solid friendships with girls. You could say, I had a SUPER SENSITIVE personality trait, which is exhausting for other people.

All these things are flaws on my part. When I look back now, I realize that when I thought I was being a good person and staying true to my values (while gradually cutting people out) I was actually being judgmental and intolerant. Granted, I was in high school so I didn't have the maturity to realize that everyone makes mistakes and grows differently, but I was too hard on people and expected too much from them. When someone let me down or disappointed me, I pretty much broke up with them and continued building my wall so I wouldn't get hurt. I thought, "you are drinking illegally or trying drugs, you are a bad person" or "you talked about me behind my back or didn't stand up for me, you are not the best friend I am to you." Now, that I am older and more open minded, I think, "Geez! Cut a person a break already. You will never have friends if you are so hard on people!"

Fast forward 3 years and I have learned so much. My mentality on being a good person has changed a bit and isn't so clear cut/ black and white. I am 1000 times much more accepting of people and their "isms" and have realized that EVERYBODY has problems, have gone through dark times in their lives, and no one is perfect. I have learned to take people as they are and my friendships have flourished. I am in such an amazing place right now and feel incredibly in awe of the fact that I have made genuine friends who share with me in the same philosophies and life values. I honestly don't know how I could survive life without them, and I find life to be so much more substantial with them in it.  They are the kind of friends that cheer for you, congratulate you in your success, and are there for you in pain.

In summary, you have to take people as they are. Quit being judgmental! Obviously, you want to guard your heart and wisely choose the people whom you trust and consider your inner circle. However, no matter how awesome a person or friend is, they are going to have qualities that annoy or irk you...but hey that's what makes them them! Who cares if one friend is having fun at the club and wants to get freaky with some random guy on the dance floor? She's having fun, let her! And if another friend goes MIA for a month or two for one reason or's annoying and maybe you wouldn't do it, but there probably was a time in your life where you messed up too, communicate your feelings to her so she realizes how her actions affected you, then forgive her for it. That is how friends will last over time, with communication and forgiveness. BUT, do not be mistaken that there are situations where you may need to reconsider a certain friend for your "inner circle" because their actions are toxic and they are affecting you negatively. Maybe that person should be considered an acquaintance in your mind, instead. Your friends should bring out the best in you, support your dreams and take you as you are.

Finally, choose your friends wisely, be as accepting, forgiving, and trustworthy of them as you would want them to be of you, aka: The Golden Rule. No one is perfect, and a little communication goes a long way. 

Next week, I am planning on creating a Do's and Don't guide to being a good friend. I would love your suggestions for this list! :-)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoroughly Modern Woman with Traditional Values

Hi everyone!

This blog is very opinionated and perhaps controversial based on conversations I have had with models, make-up artists on set, friends, married and divorced couples. I look forward to your comments. 

Today we see more and more, women taking on more and more. We are obviously, no longer solely expected to, nor do most of us want to be stay at home housewives whose purpose is to clean, cook, and produce children.  However, that absolutely doesn't mean we women are cleared of that expectation, no not in the slightest. Women are expected to have careers, contribute equally to the household income and pop out babies, then to be excellent mommies, volunteer at the kid's school, oversee household finances, manage the family calendar, cook and clean. Umm...excuse me? I'm sorry, but that sounds like we've taken on 2 roles. How did it get to this point and why is it continuing?

While I am a modern woman who absolutely was raised to be financially independent and to pursue my dreams and goals, I fully expect my husband to be the primary breadwinner if he expects me to be super mommy when we have children one day. I am shocked at the amount of conversations I have had with men who make comments like: "She isn't pulling her weight with her salary" or  "I expect my wife to have a career and to raise the kids."  WHAT? I am troubled with this attitude that men have today and with the way that women let it continue.

Now, while women clearly are excellent multi-taskers and there is nothing we really can't do, that doesn't mean we should be expected to do it all! But is it the man's fault entirely for having this outlook? Or have women pushed their "equal" abilities to men so much to the point where they just don't know what their role is anymore?

Ladies, it is time to take the reins and assert yourself! YES, you can have your career and financial wealth, BUT this doesn't mean that when you are married with children, you should be expected to balance being the perfect domestic house mom and powerful career woman, contributing the same income you were before kids! Now, is the time to decide, what do I want my marriage to look like? How do I want my life to be when I have children? Before you get married, it is important you have this discussion with your future husband and let him know that yes, while clearly I am capable of bringing in an income, I will not be "pulling the same weight" when I am raising your children :-) Unless, of course you want to.

I have no experience being married, but I have spoken with a lot of married and divorced couples, dating couples and read a lot of books on relationships. I think it is important in a marriage to have defined roles, so the woman doesn't get overwhelmed, feeling like she has to do it all and the man doesn't think he has to do anything except bring home a paycheck. Listen, guys, if you want to pull the whole, "times have changed and both the husband and wife should contribute to the household income" card, then you better be prepared to roll up your sleeves and change some diapers, prepare school lunches the night before and attend PTA meetings, got it?

It's one thing if the wife WANTS to work while raising her family, but it's a whole 'nother thing for hubby to EXPECT her to contribute financially and be the maid and nanny FULL TIME. I know when I get married, I will probably want to work but I certainly do not want my husband ever asking me when I'm getting my next paycheck or telling me I should find a better paying job so we can pay the bills. No sir, we women are expected to do EVERYTHING nowadays and while we can, the one thing you are expected to do is provide for your family.

Times are different now and roles can vary from couple to couple based on what works best for them. I think the most important way for there to be balance in a marriage and for both parties to be happy, is with communication. 

In summary, I am proud of the progress women have made over time and I love seeing so many influential women breaking through the glass ceiling in media, politics, business etc. However, this doesn't mean we should HAVE to play both roles when we get married and start raising children. I feel like women are over-exerting themselves and men are allowing it. So women, draw those lines and decide how you want your roles to be before you get married. The habits you start in a relationship and marriage is the way it will continue. 

Communication is key, it is important your man knows WAY in advance how you expect to be treated so you can work out any differences you have BEFORE you close the deal. 

Until next time,

Kristen Dalton

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Skin Care News FLASH!

Hi loves!

So I am a huge skin care fanatic and I am always trying new lines and products. I have spent a lot of money getting extensive facials, and then buying one or two of the products the aesthetician recommends. Recently, I was convinced by one of my friends to buy an entire organic skin care line she had been using, which is something I had never tried before. Before that, I used all SkinMedica products and before that, I was using products especially from a world renowned dermatologist in NYC. By the way, all this craziness stems from suffering years of major cystic acne on my face, back and chest, which resulted in 2 cycles of accutane, so now I'm adamant about taking good care of my skin to prevent breakouts and premature aging.

With all of these products, I was looking for something to keep my skin clear, firm and toned and to minimize some wrinkles that have already formed because I am ridiculously expressive when I talk!
With all of them...I'd say I got some clear skin results from the dermatologist line and some decent moisture from SkinMedica and the organic line, but other than that...ZIP, ZERO, NADA!

I am here to tell all of you...expensive spa or dermatologist products and "all organic" with fruity berry antioxidants this and that does NOT mean better.  Recently, I judged a pageant with two people whose job is to inspect and approve the statements skin care companies make about their function and results. When I asked them what the best brand was they found after years and years in the industry...they said... 

Oil of Olay! 

Wait, what? really?? But it's in a pharmacy and so commercialized?!

They went in to a long explanation of how they use the same ingredients as high end, unreachable brands that celebrities use and how it is just as effective. So...when I finally ran out of the organic line I was using, which was causing more breakouts and leaving my skin dry by the end of the day, I took the jump to Oil of Olay! I am now using the Regenerist line serum and microfirming cream, the Regenerist skin clearing face wash and the 7 in 1 day cream with SPF. I have been using it for about 2 weeks, and I have seen SUCH a difference, thank God! My skin is smoother, clearer, and firmer! I'm so happy I took the plunge so I can save myself lots of money in the long run and find it in any local pharmacy instead of ordering online or going to a doctor's office. 

Seriously, I am sticking to this product line for now and I think you guys will be happy if you try it as well. Please give me some feedback on your results with Oil of Olay or any other lines you have had a noteworthy experience with and let's keep each other looking and feeling beautiful...without breaking the bank!

Until next time,