Friday, April 30, 2010

Sextrology is So Very SeXXXy

I am tempted to do the victory dance- but Geoff cautioned me not to do it anymore- after what happened THE LAST TIME (geez, how embarrassing) but this truly was a "Sextrology" victory. I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to seduce a friend of mine with this book and it arose today- and yes, I had to be So Very Clever because he’s a skeptic.

I pulled THE BOOK out of my computer bag, where it resides- if you can imagine me carting about a generous book along with my computer and various legal pads loaded with Clever thoughts and hopeful dreams. I knew the sheer magnitude of it would catch his eye.

"What's that?" He inquired. I had to select my words carefully because I knew what would and wouldn’t turn him off.

"Oh this? My new favorite book. What’s your sign?"

"What? No way. You know I don’t believe in all that," he dismissed me with a wave.

"OK. Fine." While he went to fill his plate with Indian food, I looked up his sign- tail end of Libra and what I’d read of Libra didn’t fit at all. So, I skipped forward to Scorpio and BINGO! As he returned to the table, I began to read- from the top.

The first sentence stopped him mid-stride. He looked over my shoulder and said, "I’m not a Scorpio."

"I'm aware, but you are so close to Scorpio- it’s a better fit. Actually, it’s startlingly accurate."


I had no recourse but to keep reading. By the second and third sentences, he’d yet to pick up his fork. His brow had furrowed and his eyes narrowed. By the end of the chapter, he was lying on the seat of the booth with me speaking truth over him. I know it to be truth because I KNOW him. After we'd made it through the Scorpio chapter, I realized just how honored I am to be as close a friend with him as I am. The Scorpio is a circumspect creature- they are not quick to trust and rarely welcome new people to the inner sanctum.

As he lay there- letting concepts permeate- I sighed deeply. I felt relieved- because we tend to clash a bit at times and are forever trying to figure out how to communicate without getting hurt or hurting one another. Now I KNOW. We are likely not to have as many problems and I am going to be much more discerning moving forward as to the type of woman I suggest for him. Now, don’t get me wrong- there were portions that were not spot on, but much more right on than not.

Most amusing, when we got up to leave, he picked up the book and walked out with it. I decided to let him be nonchalant and pretended not to notice him clutching it to his chest. I can’t help but wonder what he’s going to do with it- research an old love- check out the cosmic coupling at the end of each chapter- read about his parents?

The places the book can take you are stunning.

I am so excited to have the new book by Starsky & Cox in my hot little hands. It might be the ONLY reason I let him abscond with my sacred tome. Here it is next to me- beckoning me like a fiery siren, I’m hoping I don’t end up dashed upon the rocks. Regretting my decisions in life- my own couplings so to mention. In my book (not literally-) no coupling should be regretted because of what we learn. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted- right? Nah- that is cynical talk.

OK, Clever Tribe. I wouldn't steer you wrong. This book illuminates dark places in relationships. It brings about understanding and compassion. Can you imagine sense being made?

Have a great weekend and I'll meet you back here on Monday! In the meantime "Sextrology" and "Cosmic Couplings" by Stella Starsky and Quinn Cox. You WON'T be sorry. Oh, and I'm about to read a book called "Sex, Lies and Religion" by a Clever Guy named Randy Elrod. The title is So Very Compelling- but as I promised- I won't be "discussing" religion on Clever. However, I certainly will let you know what you NEED to know.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NHL and Vegas? HOT- HOT- HOT

OK, Clever Girls- remember what I said about penalties in the NHL playoffs? Well, a perfect example of this is what occurred last night during the final (whew) game of the Wings / Coyote series in the first round. Four on four (this means each team had someone in the penalty box) creates a LOT of open ice (undefended ice) and that is a PERFECT field for the endeavors of a Clever forward like Pavel Datsyuk. The Wings were at their most intuitive last night- except when they dropped one to Fiddler on the faceoff. I’m going to call that luck on his part because that almost NEVER happens. On a faceoff- the goal is to take possession of the puck -and if it’s in your attacking zone- to set up a play to score. He banged it in on a one timer. I’m proud- as I always am of my guys who are going to advance to meet the Sharks.

Washington and Montreal are tied at 3.

Boston takes it from Buffalo 4-2.

Chicago won the Nashville series 4-2.

Pittsburgh took it 4-2.

Vancouver over Kings 4-2.

Sharks over Avs 4-2.

Flyers over Devils 4-1.

You might notice there are a lot of games to decide a matchup and that is true. I disagree with the number- best of three is sufficient (considering they have played each other all season -hockey at 82 games compared to football at 16). However, this does not translate to revenue and I’m pretty defensive when it comes to hockey income. The NHL lacks the star power of the other three yet they play harder are deserving of their pay (except in tragic excess) and tend to be much more humble than the "others."

So, all that to say- be patient- it’s a long run to the cup, and if you abhor hockey you don’t have to pay attention yet. Just KNOW what is going on so you can converse. Not show off- converse. BIG difference. HUGE.

If your guy is a Cancer (for those of you looking to settle down, Cancer is your man, according to the paradigm-shattering data collected by Stella Starsky and Quinn Cox- check out "Sextrology" and KNOW his sign!) AND a rabid hockey fan- look into taking him to Vegas on June 23rd for the NHL awards show for the BEST birthday ever. These are the high points as I see them:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gladiators are a Thing of the Past- Why are We Trying to Resurrect the Footwear?

It’s that time of year, Clever Tribe- a new season, and the fashion industry has once again executed a few frauds on the unsuspecting. The biggest is a "jean" issue. I’m going to clue you into the real story. Certain body types look best in certain jeans. I, for example, look best in a low rise straight leg- so, I don’t attempt to wear a flare (make me look short) or a wide leg (shorter yet) or a high waist (to say this makes me look comical is an understatement- and I’ve been told I have a flair for understatement).

I stick with what looks best regardless of the fact it is critical for the fashion industry to change up jean styles COMPLETELY every three years. Why do they do this? So you buy a whole new collection of jeans. The first year you say- "I’m never wearing that." The next year, you think, "Hmm, the wide leg isn’t going away, I guess I need to try them on- I’m like, the only person still wearing straight leg!" By the next year you LOVE the wide leg and even the people who look equally bad in them are wearing them so it must look GOOD. Now that you are comfortable- it starts ALL over again. And it's never a gradual transition so you can phase out one look and ease into another. From lowest of low rise to high waist- from wide leg to skinny jeans- from flare to straight leg.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Skinny- Bad. Bitch- Bad. Why Did I Buy That Book?

I was thinking about the book "Skinny Bitch" today- and I’ve already made clear I thought it was absurd and profane. First of all, if you need to speak like Jenny McCarthy to get your point across- ask yourself- who is your audience (idiots) and what does that do to your credibility (you no longer have any)?

Now, don’t misunderstand- I am a big fan of swearing- even the "F" word manages to work it’s way into conversation too often- but guess what? There is something called having a "sense of occasion"- an extension of the concept "a time and a place." I do not drop the big "F" in conversation with people I’ve just met- at meetings, during a contract negotiation or at church. I even mitigate the use of profanity around my "elders" unless they are family members because, frankly, how do you think I learned how to swear?

Actually, there's a rumor in our family that other little kids would come to the door when my brother was 3 and ask if he could come out and swear. Knowing my brother, I’d say this was less urban legend and more "classic" behavior on his part. So, as you see, swearing, like drinking, runs in my family- but so does knowing when not to swear (except my brother- he never did get the "sense of occasion" memo).

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's Drafty in Here- Thank Goodness

OK, Clever Girls- save the eye roll, this is a tough weekend and you are going to need to be prepared. I have to tell you, at some point, I'm going to stop holding your hand and ask you to do some of this on your own. HOWEVER- this is the first year of the CLEVER initiative and I see no reason why I can’t help to develop good habits. I will be honest. I’ve been so overwhelmed lately, I had to log onto my own freaking blog to double-check the order so as not to be stumped by the very knowledgeable man who took a bar stool next to me. We threw around some heavy topics and as soon as the draft started, I excused myself, double-checked where my teams were so I could issue forth some Clever conversation.

I must say, when the bartender asked if I was Mel Kiper Jr.’s sister I was flattered until I asked if he was telling me I bore a family resemblance (I plan to introduce you to all these talking heads- SOON. They do matter. Except Michelle Beadle- my gosh, she wears me OUT). Now, clearly, I look nothing like Mel Kiper (insert typo caused by violent shaking as a result of revulsion), but it is so nice to be heard. In a room of men, where I was last night, they actually deferred to me. How fantastic is that? It takes some effort to learn about the male realm. It might be impossible for many of you girls- no matter how Clever- to develop any REAL interest in sports- but this blog covers a great many MALE-oriented subjects. Dive in. It’s nice in here and doesn't smell as bad as you might think.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where There is Fire, There is Heat

OK, Clever Tribe- you have asked me fantastic questions about hot yoga and since I seem to need a Ph.D, in every single thing I do- I went to an authoritative voice in the field. Tanya Davis is co-owner of three Sunstone Yoga studios, in McKinney, Plano and Dallas. I was able to visit with her for a bit to get YOUR questions answered. Bearing in mind, when you are done reading this post- NO MORE EXCUSES.

I have to tell you, in the process of "chatting" with Tanya, she became curious about my practice and how it had evolved in the two years I have been diligently practicing. This is important for you as well. Turns out- while I have progressed- I have a LONG way to go.

That’s why they call it a "practice." I do know I feel better than I have in my life- I look better and my debilitating allergies are GONE. I sleep better, I finally have a figure I can stand to glimpse in a shop window without bursting into tears and I have a place I can go to UNPLUG.

Can you even fathom taking 90 minutes out of your insanely hectic day and closing the door behind you, devoting that time to nothing but yourself and emerging energized and ready to get back at it? It can happen, and while I am reluctant to use the term "you deserve it," I think everyone deserves some time to decompress and exercise.

The first thing I needed to know from Tanya was - what makes Sunstone different? The tagline is pain-free yoga, so I inquired as to the role of heat in Bikram and Sunstone yoga. "It’s essential. Yoga was developed in India and it’s really there." Following that logic- HEAT is a critical component of the proper practice of yoga. I’m inclined to agree.

When I tried yoga the first two times, at two different studios, I recall being so cold in the basement of my gym I was running in place before class. No one else was doing anything but sitting. Within five minutes I wanted to run for the door- my joints and muscles were screaming at me. I stuck with it and managed to leave with a pulled hamstring and having aggravated an old injury from gymnastics. It was the VERY last time I went to yoga until eight years later when I found myself in a Sunstone.

The heat intimidates people in theory- I talked to several people who had done boot camp-style workouts at two in the afternoon in parking lots on blacktop. My gosh, the temperature in Texas could have been close to one 160 degrees, radiating off pavement. No wonder they are terrified of the word "heat." Sunstone’s specially designed rooms are climate and humidity controlled and the only class more than 90 degrees is FIRE. The rest are under 90. In addition to warming your muscles and joints- the heat causes you to sweat. The release of toxins from your body leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.

The key to managing the heat and the sustained workout is hydration and replenishment of electrolytes. Sunstone offers packets of electrolytes to add to water, coconut water or acai juices (I recommend green tea or G2 for less sugar).

Unlike other forms of yoga, Tanya explained that Sunstone teaches the form and asks you to concentrate more on developing strength than to push for flexibility. Many of you said- "I’m not flexible." That comes with time, and in my case, VERY slowly. Every day of my practice is totally different. Some days, my balance is exceptional and I can rest in a difficult standing posture- other days, I cannot stay in one for longer than five seconds. Sunstone encourages patience with yourself and where you are in your practice. Accept each day for what it is.

For those of you who have grown frustrated or reached a plateau- reach out to an instructor. They are not just there to guide you during class. Tanya suggests you listen during class. Do not advance from one posture to the next without being guided. Each instructor does so differently. On her recommendation, I did this- clicked off auto-pilot and paid attention to how Anice was instructing me to enter a posture. It changed how I entered and my alignment. I’d asked her prior to class to offer me "adjustments" during class and those minute adjustments evolved my practice so much.

Another answer to moving to the next level in your practice is twofold. Take the beginner class- listen to the philosophy and start over. You’ll be shocked by how much you’ve forgotten. Then, do a private lesson with your favorite instructor. I moved through a few postures with Tanya and realized I was capable of going so much further than I thought I could.

I need to clarify- this is not a lose-weight-quick workout- don’t look for weight loss immediately. This is a transformative process and it starts from the inside out. You will work and in some cases, develop your core muscles, strengthening and building your powerhouse. From there, you are learning balance and tapping into areas of your body you have never noticed before.

For example- I’d always had a problem keeping the area between my buttocks and my hamstring toned and tight- until NOW. Learning how to isolate that connection during several of the postures has strengthened and sculpted the portion of my leg to a place of which I am proud. The next thing you will notice is that your clothes are fitting differently, and once that happens, things really start to change. By listening to my instructors, I learned the post above- bridge- can work that area by trying to "pull the heels" toward your butt though they are firmly planted.

Several of you expressed intimidation. This is an accessible concept. Sunstone even offers a beginners' series, in which you learn the basics and build upon them. Anyone, any age (as long as they are cleared by a doctor if they have health issues) can benefit from hot yoga. It will be the best thing you ever do for your long-term health. Can you imagine being as strong and fit at 80 as you are now? It can happen. You are in charge. Forget the scale and sign on for 90 minutes of true mind-body connection. The emotional benefits of doing so will change your attitude.

Dispense with preconceived notions of yoga. We all have them. I find in my parodied mental images a pot-smoking Owen Wilson was always present. Weird. You will not find incense, a cult-like atmosphere, attempts at spiritual conversion, intense meditation, chanting or anyone with castanets clanging in your ear as they swirl about you. The beauty of Sunstone is that it is whatever you want it to be. 90 minutes. No phones. No e-mails. No traffic. No boss. No kids. No divorce. No work. No demands other than those you have placed on yourself. Can you even imagine? I can. Every. Single. Day.

Here are two pictures of Tanya correcting triangle posture. You can see a big difference in my stance from the top photo and the bottom photo. Notice also she has to brace my straight leg so I don't fall on my booty. However, as my inner thighs strengthen, I will be able to work into this flexibility AND not fall down.

I want to remind the Clever Girls- most classes are 50 percent MEN. So ... if you want a place you can meet someone with a similar interest- this is a great way to connect. I do need to acknowledge some people really quick. Natalie- I am so glad you are still devoted to your practice! Cindy- So Very Proud of you! Dusty- I talked you into going at 6 a.m. and now I have punked out for awhile, but I am impressed by your commitment. Marcus- we need to get you back in- it will elevate your baseball skills from the inside OUT.

OK, I feel like there is so much percolating in my mind. I’ve had some interesting experiences lately, so things might get a little, uh, uncomfortable next week.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let's Talk Movies- but NOT During the Movie

OK, Clever Girls. This is the deal. Whether on TV, rented or at the box office, movies (and other forms of entertainment) are an undeniable component of our social fabric. While it may seem at times impossible to bridge the chasm that exists between those that interest men and those that interest women, movies, like relationships, involve compromise.

There are plenty of movies both sexes can enjoy together. When the newest sappy chick flick is released, don’t invite your man; there are options. When he asks what you have planned, tell him you are thinking of asking "Susie" to go see a "sappy, cry-your-eyes-out movie." If he says, "I’ll go," then he’s committing himself to said movie, and when he complains about it later you can gently remind him he invited himself. If he says, "I’d like to see a movie with you, why don’t we pick one we both want to see?" meet somewhere between "Alien Death March" and "My Dying Breath."

There is no avoiding those testosterone-filled movies, the release of which he will be anxiously awaiting, so, Clever Girls, think ahead. Most movies are released to the theaters on Fridays. Go online, or stop at the theater when it first opens, and get some tickets he can enjoy with friends. This will prevent you from ever having to see "Predator: 1,200" and the inevitable argument over which movie to see that night. Take this as an opportunity to catch up with all of the girlfriends you’ve been neglecting since you began your relationship. Here is a perfect arena for all of that girl talk you’ve been dying to unload.

OR, find a movie you want to see that has a similar running time and suggest you all meet after for a late dinner or drinks. The point is, Clever Girls CAN avoid movies they don't want to see and they DON'T guilt men into seeing chick flicks. Like "girl talk" these movies are for the "girls" to see together. So, in May- do not force him to endure "Sex and the City II"- although I do know a lot of guys who will watch and love it. They are So Very Clever.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Do You Have the Power to Alter the Course of Someone's Day?

When was the last time you said- "She’s so negative?" My favorite is when negative people say this about people who may or not be negative. Fact is, we seem obsessed by negativity- it makes our gossipy, morally bankrupt world go round.

It begins tragically young- the rumors, the gossiping, the bullying. Trash talk on the playground escalates in viciousness and the content changes as we grow older. Why are we so anxious to spread bad news? It’s so much more tantalizing than good news, eh?

I want to recognize the man who saved you all from my bitter invective toward bullies and bullying (but it will come soon- freaking HATE bullies). I was all set to unleash, when someone altered the course of my day. This "someone" is doing right instead of wrong, could be the poster child (or GQ cover) for customer service and gentility.

I was, as usual, famished- but decidedly NOT put together- but hey, it had been a very long week and I just needed a bite to eat. I noticed a restaurant I’d never heard of before- and anyone familiar with me knows I am more likely to sip a urine sample from a martini glass than enter a place I’ve never been looking so, uh, rough- but it sounded Italian and I was HUNGRY.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Who Were the Champions?

Ok, Clever Girls- and again, this is not meant to be punishment. As you sit in front of an NBA game this weekend- it might help you to know who the first NBA championship champion was and those of last five years. I'm going to up the ante by giving you the MVP of the game- who they played for at the time and where they are now.

This way, a Clever Girl could say- "Oh, so and such, didn’t he used to play for … and wasn’t he the MVP when they won the championship?" You see that this is phrased as a question? Why? Because men don’t like being TOLD a thing or two about sports- no matter how HOT you are … it is likely to leave a bad taste in his mouth. Clever Girls are NOT know-it-alls. We are intentional and our intention is to let our guy know we know a bit about his favorite sport- but are deferring to him for clarification.

Be certain his friends will take note and you will be well on your way to being that COOL chick who is invited to watch another game. This is an honor- I must tell you- because most guys think a girl who "likes sports" is pretending to and is actually a spy for the other girlfriends and wives who are out with each other during the game.

1947 Philadelphia Warriors- NO MVP

I decided to give you the last six, because my Detroit Pistons would have been cut otherwise and my brother would have given me hell about it.

2009 Lakers over Magic- Kobe Bryant- MVP with Lakers- still with Lakers

2008 Celtics over Lakers- Paul Pierce- MVP with Celtics- still with Celtics

2007 Spurs over Cavaliers- Tony Parker- MVP for Spurs- still with Spurs (married to Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria)

2006 Heat over Mavericks- Dwyane Wade- MVP for Heat- still with Heat

2005 Spurs over Pistons- Tim Duncan- MVP for Spurs- still with Spurs

2004 Pistons over Lakers- Chauncey Billups- MVP for Pistons now with Denver Nuggets

OK, that is a good start, and yes, it is a shame we lost Chauncey to Denver. Have a fantastic weekend.

If you are planning a wedding and need some help- check out the Wedding Tips for Clever Couples section of So Very Clever or click here for some local resources. If you are not finding what you need- e-mail me directly and I will get you started.

Friday, April 16, 2010

All Sports, All the Time

OK, Clever Girls- listen up. I normally don’t hit you with two sports posts in one week, but frankly, this is a VERY exciting time of year. It also signals the coming drought for some sports fans. After the NBA championship is decided and someone takes home the Stanley Cup- we have to rely on baseball. Totally fine with me- but I still take even the slightest cool breeze as an indication fall and college football is upon us. Luckily, the NFL draft begins on the 22nd of this month and once that concludes, we can speculate how the NFL will shape up until training camp begins in July.

I just loved the baseball post yesterday. Makes me miss my catcher’s gear- standing in the base line and forcing runners to barrel me (knock me over) to get to the base. As you can imagine, this backfired most of the time, as the runners got in trouble for hurting little old me. Or, I received the ball in the knick of time (depending on who was throwing it- geez) and was able to tag someone out. It’s a great position for someone with issues with aggression.

I want to share a funny story. I forgot to tell you I also used to be an umpire. When I was 15, I started as an umpire for T-ball. In case you are unfamiliar with this sport- the players are generally under 6, the ball is placed on a tee- about waist level- so it can be hit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hit the Cover Off the Ball, Clever Girls

Ok, Clever Girls, it’s time for me to prove to you how easy baseball is to follow. It used to be easier because the players wore really tight pants- now they’ve gotten fashion-forward and are sporting a straight leg. Anyway, eye on the ball. If you are anything like me, the more obtuse a concept, the less likely you are to be interested. The same follows with sports. If they are too difficult to comprehend, the likability decreases rapidly. Who has patience for something they don’t understand?

The object of baseball is to score the most runs (cross home base after rounding first, second and third). Before we explore the field- let’s talk about how baseball is played. The players not currently batting or on the field reside in little recessed areas on the first and third base lines called "dugouts." Baseball is played in innings. There is a top and bottom in each of nine innings. The team that leads the play at bat starts the top of the first inning. When that team gets three outs (we will discuss outs later), the other team is up to bat (offense). The team on the field is the defense. Games can go very quickly or drag out for hours and hours and hours depending on many factors- most of which will become apparent.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Brother's Wife's Cousin's Pool Guy is a Wedding Photographer

Thank you, Gary Donihoo/ f8 Studio

If you have a prescription for anxiety medication, or if you know how to buy it on the street, I suggest you take some prior to discussing fees for photography and videography. Once you are reasonably sure you will not fling yourself from the highest building in sight (keeping in mind, it does no good to maim yourself- pick a tall one), discard notions of those cardboard-box cameras.

Photography is one aspect of the wedding industry that has become overwrought with amateurs. The advent of the digital camera has spurred every housewife and bored executive to purchase the finest equipment and plunge headlong into the wedding industry.

It is called a wedding industry because a great deal of time and effort on the part of wedding professionals has served to create and maintain an ethical environment for the couples to function within. Now that it is being flooded with amateurs, the ethics are tepid at best. So, if ever it is more important to consider a hackneyed phrase, it is now - "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR." In your search for photographers, be wary of the ones who are extreme in either direction. Paying too little for photography may very well result in a disaster instead of wonderful lifelong images and paying too much might very well mean you are paying for a "name."

It is reasonable to dedicate 10 percent of the budget to photography and videography. After all, the day after the blessed event, it will be what you are left with to continuously relive the most important day of your life (Clever Guys bring home flowers, wine and dinner on Valentine’s Day and most likely anniversaries so you can curl up and watch your video).

A side note: If someone else is paying for the wedding, make sure to maximize the offerings. Go with a nice large album with a couple hundred pictures, big portraits (so you don’t have to buy art for your walls later), HD video and Blu-ray. If you are covering the costs, secure a well respected photographer, and if cost is an issue, make sure you get a copy of the images and consider an album down the road.

Now, this is flying at 30,000 feet. There is so much you need to know about wedding photography and it is one area of the planning you do not want to leave to chance. I once had a bride not book me because I was too expensive. A year later she came to me with a CD of wedding images.

I was alarmed she had only enough images to fit on a CD- until I looked at them. There was no shortage of imagery- oh, no- he’d shot it to death. However, he’d set the camera incorrectly and the file size was not even big enough to make a wallet-sized photo. She cried. I tsk-tsked as best I could- wanted to rub her nose in it, but Clever Girls don’t ever say "I told you so." I made her a nice little slide show for her iPod and sent her on her way.

I reminded her to tell all of her friends- somehow, in the wedding industry bad news doesn’t travel as fast as good news. I’ll never get it. There are so many shady people doing business out there and I will share some horror stories with you in the coming weeks- maybe I can scare you into NOT bargain shopping.

My brother said to me one day, "I heard wedding photographer is the number one overpaid job in the country." I looked at him.

Hmm. What was the most important day of your life thus far?" His wife was careful to train an eye on him.

"My wedding day." He responded, honestly, though reluctantly.

"Seems like a bargain then."

OK, that's it for me today. If you need more information on wedding planning ASAP, please go here. Consider me your wedding agent. E-mail me directly and I will get you started with some fantastic vendors in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tampa and Orlando. This advice is the last thing you get for free in the planning process.

I want to begin our Major League baseball series tomorrow. I’m really excited. Spring is in the air and I wish I were in Tiger Stadium, having a beer and taking in the cool breeze. Or, in Phoenix watching my Wings. Clever Girls- don't forget, tonight kicks of the race for the Stanley Cup!!!

The comments on the kettlebell post are still pouring in. I’m so glad you all enjoyed it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Drink From the Cup at Your Own Risk

Clever Girls- breaking news. The NHL has issued an opening round schedule for the cup race. Beginning on Wednesday night, Thursday and then Saturday. This is who is playing and for WHAT.

The defending champions, Pittsburgh Penguins will play on Wednesday at home against the Ottawa Senators at 7pm ET. It doesn’t take much of a mental leap to know where I will be at 7pm on Wednesday. I’ll establish the line on three camera shots of Mario Lemeiux. Anyone want the over? Me.

San Jose is at home facing the Colorado Avalanche- expected to begin 10:30pm ET. Anyone who knows me knows I will be long asleep by this point, and with great forth thought and restraint not on a crash course to a hang over.

Detroit is heading to Phoenix to face the Coyotes- this match up begins at 10pm ET- it will be at this point I begin to switch channels back and forth- or, if the Pens have things well in hand- which I imagine they will, I’ll be fully in support of MY Red Wings (at the risk of missing a shot of Mario- keeping in mind, this is because he is the greatest hockey player ever to step foot on ice- not because he is dizzyingly handsome).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

MY Sweet Sixteen

OK, it’s official- the NHL playoff matchups have been decided. Clever Girls, this is what you need to know going into one of the most exciting stretches in the sports year. Most important is the fact the first game is THIS Wednesday- I can’t wait.

I told you I’d let you know why playoff hockey is So Very Different from regular season play- there is no better time. During the playoffs, every second counts, which means the guys cannot risk drawing penalties that might give the other team a one-man or two-man advantage.

Remember- the team with a guy in the penalty box is "short-handed." If they make a goal, it's called a "short-handed" goal. The team with the advantage is on what is called a "power play." If they get a goal- it is called a "power play" goal. Now, given the obvious advantage of having one more guy on the ice than the opposition, it is more likely a goal will be scored by the team on the power play, so the "short-handed" team’s goal is to "kill" the penalty, which means they keep the opposition from scoring a goal during the time they are out manned.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

From Zero to Intolerable in Eight Minutes

I’ve said this before and, frankly, it bears repeating. Not only are our words wands- they can also serve as weapons. Clever Girls think before they speak- they are intentional when they do speak. After all, you can actually get what you want or accomplish something with a well worded statement.

So there I was at my very favorite wine bar in the world, Mercy, in Addison, Texas. I was enjoying a glass of pinot gris at the bar while waiting for friends and was delighted to witness the beginnings of a first and obviously "blind" date.

Why do I say obviously? They had no real idea what the other looked like, other than what must have been sorely outmoded photos online, because there was evidence of vague recognition on his part, which settled into uneasy acknowledgement.

I thought her ill-fitting navy blue "business suit" looked awful and, once again, can't understand why it's so difficult to take an alternate outfit to work for a quick changeup to after-five attire. Keeping in mind, I’m not being judgmental, but if you are going wear a suit of any kind,it should fit. I’m going to assume it was that time of the month and thereby a bit more snug than usual.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Running the Bases

OK, Clever Girls- this is warm up. Start stretching your hammies because it’s time to run the bases. Baseball used to be America’s “favorite pastime”- now the favorite pastime seems to be eating (which you can do at a game or watching a game) and watching TV (which works if you can’t be there live) oh, and jacking around on the internet.

I do adore baseball, but if it seems a little boring- try attending a game. It’s a lovely, relaxing and easy game to become a fan of. The rules are simple- the players used to wear tight pants and it seems they are not as fit as they once were- but still, super fun and despite all the controversy over performance enhancing drugs- a great way to spend a few hours.

A very Clever Daddy I know takes his young son to the Rangers opening day every single year. It’s a tradition he has established in their family which is likely to remain special and meaningful for the entirety of his child’s life. What a gift. OK, let’s get to it- shall we?

There are two leagues- not unlike football, basketball and hockey- those conferences are then divided into, well, divisions. After about one hundred and eighty five thousand games- there will begin a pennant race- it’s the Stanley Cup or Superbowl of baseball. Seriously, there are about 183 games per season- which is good news and bad news for you.

The good news is every game is not CRITICAL (meaning he can miss a few)- and the bad news is- every game might be CRITICAL to the hardcore fan. So, know your man going in. Accept his fanaticism and plan ahead.

American League East

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just Put it on and DON'T be Late

OK, Clever Guys- we’ve discussed the DRESS and what you can expect from that process. Now it's time to move on. Not nearly as important to ANYONE is what YOU will be wearing.You might have an opinion and if you do make sure it is high up on the list you make at the beginning or you will lose all of your bargaining chips early.

You may or may not recall me suggesting both the bride and groom make a top 10 list of the most important aspects of the wedding. Be certain your respective lists will look TOTALLY different.

Her list might read-

1) ceremony location

2) reception venue

3) date

4) dress

5) open bar

6) entertainment

7) cake

8) invitations

9) honeymoon

10) transportation.

Your list might read-

1) bachelor party (Playboy Mansion)

2) entertainment (Pussycat Dolls)

3) cigar roller at reception

4) Scotch bar

5) rehearsal dinner at Hooters

6) attire for men

7) honeymoon (VEGAS)

8) ceremony site (elope)

9) bikini instead of dress for bride

10) bachelor party (Playboy Mansion- important enough to list twice)

Now, in light of the fact you are likely not to get your way on any counts except possibly what you are going to wear- you're in a pretty good position to put your foot down. HOWEVER.

You might envision yourself the gangsta groom, but it probably won’t fly so eliminate all thoughts of the fedora and wallet-to-belt-loop chain. Come on, playa, the vest will be fitted, so no room to pack heat. Besides, it’s wedding not a music video.

Either way, know that finalizing the selection of your attire will be a lengthy and annoying process, much like bra shopping with your mother when you were 11. Try to be patient and enthusiastic. A little research on your part could unearth select boutiques that offer all the trappings of a gentleman-type experience for your entire male entourage - big screens, a bar, an outside area to smoke cigars. Note: in order to avoid an embarrassing situation, make sure the unpredictable groomsman understands the women running the boutique are not prostitutes.

This experience does exist. If you are lucky enough to be in the DFW area- Stardust Celebrations has the above referenced offerings for men. Get the guys together- go for your fitting- watch some sports, have some cocktails- fire up a stogey on the patio and then head out to Hooters, Fox Sports, Champps or Twin Peaks to take in some ice cold beer and sports. It doesn’t have to be a complete ass-kicking.

According to Donnie Brown of Donnie Brown Weddings- there are some new trends in men’s formal wear. "Men are wearing more formal suits in lieu of tuxedos," says Donnie. "I'm seeing more soft leather shoes than patent leather. It’s nice to have that shine, but I don’t think you should be able to use your shoe to see up bridesmaids' dresses!" Oh, Donnie.

I’m thinking Bradley Cooper in "The Hangover"- hmmm. I photographed a wedding in Los Angeles a while back. It took place in the late day and the men were sporting chocolate suits with a vague pinstripe and soft leather chocolate loafers- YUM. They looked fantastic and as it turned out the attire was Gucci head to toe. That was probably why my fire started. Big fan.Huge. The point is- you don't have to wear a traditional tuxedo or even black. As a matter of fact, chocolate or grey is a lovely option for a morning, day or afternoon wedding, and both transition well into the evening for reception attire.

Regardless of how you acquire the attire you will be wearing- you will put it on and be there on time. It’s really your ONLY responsibility that day. Get dressed. Show up. Got it?

OK Clever Couples- if you need more information ASAP- check out these articles or e-mail me directly and I will hook you up with some fantastic vendors free of charge. Love being your "wedding agent"- and thank you to those brides who have already trusted me to guide them to professionals in three states! I'm sorry, I know no one in London- yet. If you are in the wedding industry in London send me your websites for review and I’d be happy to start connecting brides and vendors!

How about that game last night- OMGOSH. What a fantastic effort on the part of Butler- if they keep at it, they will continue to be a threat for years to come- that is if Brad Stevens' mom lets him continue to masquerade as an adult.

Let's hit baseball this week- it's a great time because my home team- Detroit Tigers have a winning record and I'm not sure how long that will hold.

Monday, April 5, 2010

All About the S Tonight- Look Out, Butler

OK, Clever Girls. Big day in sports today. HUGE. Let me catch you up. Evan Turner of Ohio State won the Naismith with sadly not enough fanfare to make the ticker during the Yankee/ Red Sox game. It’s just not the Heisman. This marks the first time a player from Ohio State has won the Naismith so congratulations (might be the last time you hear that from me- the Buckeyes are a natural enemy of the Wolverine- sorry E Hogan).

I must tell you, Evan Turner might have the most fantastic smile I’ve ever seen, and he has A LOT to smile about- he’s also won the AP Player of the year award- and what a glittering assemblage the final ballot represented. This makes Evan the first Buckeye to take the AP award home since the sixties, which was HOT for Ohio State with three wins- Gary Bradds in 1964 and then Jerry Lucas won it twice in 1961 and 1962.

This junior is returning to Ohio State next year and I hope he doesn’t suffer a cataclysmic injury such as Da’Sean Butler sustained in the West Virginia Duke game. Sadly this WILL affect his draft stance. 2nd round to not at all depending on the intensity of the torn ACL on his left knee. I hate seeing the good ones go down and Da’Sean is a good one. Why couldn’t it have been Ron Artest (look him up- gross).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Basketball Heisman

OK, Clever Girls- listen up- because you will get major points for committing some of this information to memory today for later use Monday night when Duke takes on Butler. The basketball version of the Heisman is called the Naismith and is awarded to both the outstanding men’s NCAA basketball player and women’s NCAA basketball player (as well as men’s and women’s NCAA coach and official and high school player). That ceremony is today.

It’s an interesting year for the finalists- as three out of the four schools with players in the finals have never captured a Naismith.

The finalists of the 2010 NCAA men's Naismith trophy ballot are-

Sherron Collins- Kansas
Wes Johnson- Syracuse
Evan Turner- Ohio State
John Wall- Kentucky

Only Kansas has a previous winner- Danny Manning (1988).

I understand the trophy is a tribute to the founder of basketball, Dr. James Naismith- but the fact 5,000 people are awarded a Naismith trophy annually dilutes the honor a bit. Just my opinion.

Here is what you need to know. The first ever Naismith Trophy was awarded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club in 1969 to Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul- Jabbar). Major points for the Clever Girl who knows Kareem’s real name.

I know a lot of very Clever Guys who are devoted to college hoops- but very few of them can name the past five Naismith Trophy winners. Here you go.

2009 Blake Griffin- Oklahoma
2008 Tyler Hansbrough- North Carolina
2007 Kevin Durant- Texas
2006 J.J. Reddick- Duke
2005 Andrew Bogut- Utah

Now, I do not impart this information expecting you to show off. Clever Girls NEVER show off- gross. This is not to be prattled off in know-it-all fashion but rather- "Hey, who won the Naisman last year? Was it …?" Ask, don’t tell. Dudes hate being told a thing or two by women- especially when it comes to sports- ESPECIALLY if there are other dudes around. Here is another way to work it in for Monday night- "When was the last time Duke took home a Naismith? Hmmm. Was it Reddick?"

Coach K is the winningest Naismith coach in history ('89, '92, '99). It’s a short history though- the trophy has only been extended to coaches for 23 years. Coach K has an advantage in that this is his 30th year with Duke- 30 years. Would seem he’s due.

Duke is the winningest Naismith team in history with seven winners. I won't bore you with them- knowing that is plenty. If you are interested- look it up. Be intentional- I guarantee, if your Clever Guy is a Duke devotee, he will know every winner and year.

Another really exciting event takes place today- other than Easter- major league baseball opens TONIGHT! The New York Yankees take on the Boston Red Sox in the season opener. YIPEE!

Plan on me taking on baseball in the next two weeks- rules, regulations, history, scoring and terminology. This is a vast game with fantastic history. It's a tough game not to like- especially live.

This was a special Sunday edition of Clever Girl.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Kettlebell Krazy

OK, Clever Girls- in order give you the insider’s info on the growing fitness phenomenon kettlebell training, I consulted one of the most authoritative voices in the sport for some background and information with hopes of accomplishing two things. I hope you give kettlebells a try with an informed and educated coach if you are looking for a new workout plan or new results from working out. It is also my desire you retain enough information from this article to converse intelligently with a man or woman who is already enjoying the sport.

Let me introduce you to Ken Blackburn- he happens to be one of the most Clever Guys I know. Why? He is intentional on a massive scale. When he wants to achieve something ... look out.

By the age of 15, Ken had already earned a black belt in taekwondo and has become accomplished in various other forms of martial arts- stick and knife fighting, boxing and kick-boxing. An interest in elevating his fighting skills lead him to Brazilian jiu-jitsu- also referred to as Brazilian ground fighting (because most real-world fights end on the ground).

Created by Carlos and Helio Gracie, the Gracies are THE name in BJJ- another name to know in this realm is Carlos Machado- cousin of the Gracies. Clever Girls- this is a form of martial arts but has become a combat sport, self defense and a primary component of MMA (mixed martial arts). "BJJ is a fantastic way for women to learn to fight off their back as they are traditionally attacked from behind by larger assailants," said Ken. I call it enough time to get a bullet in the chamber.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gemini vs. Clever Capricorn- V to Clever Cap

Ok, Clever Tribe- this is how this went down. I was having breakfast with four guys- three out of four were friends. The other I had never met. We will call him "Mike" and I was warned well in advance he’d totally dismiss me. Knowing his name ahead of time, I looked him up on Facebook, got his birth date and then arrived early to read alllll about the Gemini male in Sextrology- the fantastic and epic tome written by Stella Starsky and Quinn Cox.

My friends told me he was a northerner and most people found him a little abrasive. Humph! I was a northerner and not easily intimidated. The gauntlet had been thrown and my goal was to enjoy my breakfast AND prove up the Clever concept to myself once again.

If you recall, being So Very Clever is about being intentional- approaching situations with as much knowledge as possible so you can converse intelligently with others- male or female.

Initially, the concept was to help give women enough information about the male realm that they might a) not feel intimidated to try something new b) find they enjoy something new c) have something to talk about with a man when the subject comes up whether they enjoyed it or not.

Clever has evolved a bit to encourage EVERYONE to be intentional- THINK- DO- ACT- SPEAK (omgosh, I just wrote SPANK- good thing I caught that).

As predicted, "Mike" would not engage with me. I was annoyed- because I KNEW what he was thinking. I was some vacuous airhead who was nothing more than 100-year-old arm candy for some poor bastard not in attendance.

The book told me this guy "is notoriously clever, able to anticipate people’s needs and moves, smoothly steering situations to his best advantage." It was going to be a shootout. I wanted his acknowledgment as a Guy’s Girl and he wanted me NOT to be the center of attention at breakfast. If I could not get his attention- I might quite being Clever. The angle here was to make him the center of attention WHILE he was validating me.

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