girlfriend advice

3 Qualities of a Wise Girlfriend | Advice on Girlfriend Advice!

girlfriend advice“Asking for advice is an act of humility … The act alone says ‘I need you.’” – Dennis Bakke

We’re friends right? Mind giving me a little advice?

When you’ve got an important decision to make, it’s fine to ask for a little friendly advice from your girlfriends – that’s what friends are for.

The thing is, it’s always a good idea to spend a bit of time up front to determine which of your girlfriends are going to give you the answer that you need. I say “need” because it’s not all that difficult to find a good friend who will say what you want to hear to make you happy. That is often not the best advice or the right advice or even honest advice. And you can never really be angry with someone who gave you what turns out to be bad advice when you asked for it in the first place.

I’m not talking about asking advice on what shoes to wear to a social event here.

There will be as many opinions as there are shoes. What I’m talking about is life advice on everything from finances to romances to serious health issues. The point is, you don’t want to ask a girlfriend who is notorious for carrying credit card debt advice on how to invest your 401K. So when you’re looking for sage, honest advice, there are a few things to consider about who you ask. I’ll call these the 3 Qualities of a Wise Girlfriend:

1. Living that validates their opinion

Look at the friends you have who are successful and happy in the areas that you want to ask advice about. Someone who just bought a new car that you know was painstaking in their research and is really happy with their choice. That person will love to share the legwork they put into buying the right car. Other friends might just tell you to buy that Jeep you’ve always talked about just because they think it will make you happy.

2. Listening more than proscribing

To really get an honest, thoughtful, considered opinion, think about the friends you have who are good listeners. Those you know make good decisions not on snap judgment and gut reaction, but on listening to as much as you can tell them about a situation first, then ask meaningful questions to clarify their understanding before they even begin to offer advice. When they do, remember it’s your turn to quietly listen to all they have to say – without interruption. Lots of great advice can be stifles with a single “but…”

3. Loving truth more than approval

For advice that will ultimately lead to your happiness in a situation, think about your friends who have it in them to be totally honest with you. They are the friends who will consider your asking for advice an honor, take it very seriously, and be honest and truthful in their response. Remember that they may not always tell you what you want to hear, and yes, the truth sometimes hurts, but they believe in the long run that what they tell you will have the best outcome and eventually result in your happiness. If you ask for advice, ask for truth rather than validation.

We’ve all experienced getting good advice that we’ve ignored, as well as giving great advice and having it go unheeded. It’s natural to push back on advice that doesn’t meet our expectations; it’s difficult to put your emotions aside and objectively consider an opinion that is opposed to yours. You always have the option of doing exactly what you want.

As far as advice on what shoes to wear, my advice is to ask as many girlfriends for their opinion as you can. We do love to give advice on fashion – and it can’t get you into too much trouble.

What girlfriend do you trust for great advice? Why?

Some girlfriend advice on girlfriends:

sparkle, quote,women,inspire,inspiration

5 EASY ways you can Inspire Your Girlfriends …

sparkle, quote,women,inspire,inspirationNever let anyone steal your SPARKLE.

Girlfriends have a wonderful way of bringing light and hope into our lives, right? Okay – well the GREAT Girlfriends do, but that’s our goal here at Girlfriendology, to be a GREAT Friend and that means we inspire our girlfriends to believe in themselves, feel beautiful and never let anyone steal their sparkle.

In the spirit of inspiring each other, here’s our 5 EASY ways YOU can inspire your Girlfriends …

1. Be POSITIVE. It’s easy to go negative but it’s inspiring NOT to. Be the friend who takes the supportive, affirmative, SPARKLY and helps her see the good over the bad. It may take a little effort to be positive when it would be so easy to go the opposite direction, but it’s kinda funny how being positive (even if you’re *kinda* just acting like it) can actually make you and her feel that way.

2. Be THOUGHTFUL and KIND. It just takes a moment to be thoughtful and kind. Be there for her on a bad day. Listen. Make her laugh. Inspire her by going a little further in your friendship – giving a thoughtful gift, offer to run errands when you know she is completely overwhelmed, calling her when she needs to talk, asking about her day or performance review. It only takes a moment to be thoughtful – and I’m pretty sure you’ll inspire her to be there for you when you need her too!

life is a beautiful ride3. Make it just about HER. My BFF Cath is doing amazing bike races this summer – like 100 miles in one day! Make your girlfriends feel special by showing up when they do something *crazy* like ride 100 miles! Or give her gifts that are personalized to her and her favorite things. Don’t make it about you and what’s going on in your life – make it about HER. What can you do/say/give her that makes the moment and memory special? Like how special her friendship is to you! Remind her that ‘life IS a beautiful ride’ with her as your friend!

4. Give her INSPIRING Gifts. I have a rule on holiday gifts for girlfriends. NEVER give them anything you’d give your mom, a random co-worker or the neighbor who you barely know. Gifts for girlfriends should be personal and meaningful, like a mug to express your friendship or a piece of art that shares your true sentiment.

5. Be GRATEFUL. And help remind her to be too. Show your gratitude for her friendship, for the good memories and happy times ahead, for the gift of health or even the gift of time together. Gratitude is contagious. On those days when she feels down, share your gratitude and faith that tomorrow will be a better day.

And – it is pretty EASY, right? The way to inspire your friends, is to BE A BETTER FRIEND. You can do it!

Friendship, Girlfriends, Vitamin

What your body might just be telling you that you need

Friendship, Girlfriends, VitaminYou know how our bodies often tell us what we need? If we’re deficient in a vitamin or mineral, we often long for something with it in it. When we crave fluids, it may be an indicator that we have a Vitamin B6 deficiency or that we’re just not taking in enough water. When we’re stressed, our bodies react with sleeplessness, weight gain or loss, changes in our physical appearance and attitude adjustments. All of those indicating, of course, that we need to reduce stress – right?

What would you pay for a drug that would reduce stress, make you healthier, happier, live longer and even feel prettier? Think there’s no such supplement or ‘magic pill?’ Or, think it isn’t legal or really good for you?

I can’t speak for men here (sorry guys, but you’ll want to share this with your female partners/friends), but there is such a supplement for women – it’s known as girlfriends. (Seriously!) Research has proven that it is part of our DNA to long for community with other females. Women are inherently social and have a strong need for female friendship.

Research has proven that:

  • For years, scientists have confirmed the “fight or flight” response to stress. However, those initial stress tests were only based on male participants. Once women were tested, we had a totally different reaction. Women respond with a need to  “tend and befriend.” Especially when stressed, we long to tend to our young/children and befriend other women.  The scientists studying this confirmed. When the female scientists were stressed, they got together with each other for coffee while the males often withdrew to their own offices/cubes.
  • Their research also confirmed that, for women, spending time with their female friends reduced their stress levels. And, on the other hand, not befriending other females raised their stress – which in my book makes it worse and by avoiding making it better with friendships is a double dose of stress!
  • Dove’s recent study found that 70% of women feel prettier because of their girlfriends. That’s better results than any miracle cream or plastic surgery claim!
  • Men who are married, have a longer life span than single men.  Marriage has no impact on women’s longevity although female friendships do. Interesting, isn’t it?
  • In fact, on the opposite site, women without strong social ties risk health issues equal to being overweight or a smoker. It’s that serious.

Relationships impact our health, happiness, longevity and self-esteem.

Based on this research, and in honor of this girlfriends, consider this article is a ‘public service message.’ Celebrating your friendship on a regular basis, will make you healthier, happier, less-stressed and live longer.

Check in with your body. Need a healthy dose of laughter or a kind shoulder to lean on? Crave some time where you can totally be yourself? Are you deficient in giving your girlfriends some of your time and making them more of a priority in your busy life? Supplement your schedule with some girlfriend time. Listen to your inner voice. Does it need to laugh and share?  Make plans with your favorite gal pals for National Women’s Friendship Day then keep the fun going all year long for a healthy dose of female friendship. Listen to your body and soul. Girlfriend time might be just what you need!

  • Most research from The Tending Instinct by Shelley E. Taylor. Also, information from Kappa Delta NWFD facts and Dove Beauty study.

 & Remember … The best vitamin for making friends: B1. — Author unknown

What is your body telling you about your friendships? Spend some time with your girlfriends and see if you don’t feel like you’ve got more energy and feel happier!

time friendship quote

Not enough time? 3 Impromptu Ways to see your Girlfriends

time friendship quoteThe way we spend our time defines who we are.” Jonathan Estrin

I met my girlfriends for Happy Hour tonight. We haven’t seen each other for too long and while we talk about getting together more, it is really hard to do when we all have jobs, lives, schedules that completely fill our lives almost 24/7. (Can you relate?)

We decided, over our second glass of wine and countless shared updates and laughs, that we HAVE to get together more often. HAVE to.

While we’d love to be on a schedule of making time for each other every week or every other week, or even once a month, we know our crazy lives. That is tough to do.

But what works for us sometimes? IMPROMPTU gatherings. A shared text with plans to meet. An opening in our schedule that gives us room to see each other.

It made me think. As the quote says: The way we spend our TIME defines who we are. It totally does. How we spend our limited extra hours is a great indication of what our priorities are, what – or WHO – is important to us.

So, in the spirit of my girlfriends and my assumption that you and your girlfriends might face a similar challenge of getting together, here are three ideas of impromptu girlfriend get-togethers:

1. Combining Tasks with Friends – You know the situation. You have so much to do that you spend all weekend running errands to catch up before another crazy week of work or plans. Right?! Why not ask a friend to join you? Groceries? She probably needs to go shopping too. Picking up dry cleaning, a run to the pet food store, clean out your closet, even weeding the garden – all things that are much more enjoyable when they’re with a friend – just ask!

3. Try a new time/plan – On our recent Friday off work, my BFF Barb texted me about meeting for lunch. It was mid-morning and a time we normally don’t even think of meeting up with a friend. It worked out perfectly and probably wouldn’t have if we’d planned ahead. Evenings not good for her and days not good for you – find a compromise and plan a weekend coffee date or a Friday night time for just the girls. You never know when you might start a new girlfriend tradition!

3. What-the-Hell Planning – I often say when I speak on social media marketing, I believe in the WTH marketing. WTH – TRY it! I also believe in WTH planning with friends. The next time you have a spare ticket to a play or concert, or hear about a new restaurant, or want to explore a new store – text or call a friend. She just may have time on her schedule. And, if she doesn’t, find another friend to join you. Don’t hold it against anyone if they can’t go – just trust that they’d rather be going somewhere with you and call them the next time.

So, girlfriend – who will your next impromptu girlfriend get-together be and with whom? Make time for your girlfriends. They are totally worth it. Inspire your friends with your impromptu planning and maybe they’ll surprise you as well with an impromptu girlfriend get-together. Life is short – spend time with your girlfriends!

friendship is a pricess gift

The Greatest Gift of Friendship is …

friendship is a pricess giftFriendship is a priceless gift
That can’t be bought or sold,
But its value is far greater
Than a mountain made of gold.

- Helen Steiner Rice

What gift of friendship do your friends give you? What one word describes how they impact your life? How does your BFF(s) bless your life?

They can’t be bought or sold. Their value is far better than a mountain made of gold.

Funny how friends come into your life. Crystal is a blogger and I wish I could remember the second that we met – I’m pretty sure it was at a blogger conference. Eventually, at another blogger conference, she introduced me to her BFF Monique. Of course, we all felt the joy and bond of friendship.

I got to see Crystal and ‘Mo this past weekend when in their city for a wedding. We haven’t been together in two years but it was just like yesterday. We picked up where we left off. We gave each other grace and showed the kindness and understanding of true friends. (And Crystal did give me a lovely gift of a necklace with an orange gerbera daisy :)

What’s the lesson? What can we learn about friendship and being a better friend?

It’s doing a few simple things …

1. Be there for each other – in good and bad times, are you the friend who gets ‘the call?’ Be there for each other. It’s so worth it!

2. Cheer each other up – We’re there for each other in good and bad times. Be the friend who is there for her friends!

3. Make time for each other – It’s probably the littlest BIG thing you can do – make room in your busy schedule for your BFF(s). Do that and she’ll always make time for you. (And you never know when you need some girlfriend time!)

Thanks Crystal and Monique (aka: #MoCris) – for the awesome gift of your friendship! LOVE YOU BOTH! & Here they are talking about how they became friends:

Friendship Summer quote

A Summer of Sister-Friend Fun … Happy Summer Solstice!

Friendship Summer quoteThe days are now getting shorter (WTHeck?!) but we’ve got the summer ahead, so let’s plan some fun things with our girlfriends! Here’s a Summer of Sister-Friend Fun – start planning!

A life without FRIENDSHIP* is like a year without summer. ~Improvised Swedish Proverb (our version, ‘Love’ is another option)

I love Summer – especially when it means I get to spend time with a friend. Actually, spending time with friends is a great excuse to forget the Summer chores and take some time off to just be around each other. I’m so ready for Summer to spend time meeting my college BFF Barb for Yoga in the Park, or some pool time with Cath, or biking with Paula. Who are you looking forward to spending with time this Summer? Here’s come ideas for making it a special Summer for you and your girlfriends!

Summer is the season for girlfriend time together! Like these 5 ways to Beat the Heat with Your Girlfriends5 Ways to Beat the Heat with Your Girlfriends this Summer!

And, it’s a great time to remember to be HAPPY. Here’s 5 Ways to have a Happy Summer | Girlfriend Advice on Happiness for Women

Make her feel special for her Summer Birthday or Special Summer Day! One of the great ways to show a friend how much her friendship means to you is to give her a special, thoughtful, unique and personal gift. (Don’t give her something you’d give your mom or coworker – give her a gift that is perfect for HER!) Here’s 10 Great Girlfriend Gifts for Summer.

What are YOU and your BFFs doing this Summer?

empowered women powerful beautiful

Girlfriend Advice … 3 ways to be an Empowered Woman

empowered women powerful beautiful

Empowered women are powerful and beautiful

“The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description.” Steve Maraboli

We all have it inside of us … the power to take control of our life, the strength to go after our dreams, the faith in ourselves that we need to shine as we should. But, admit it girlfriend, we often let others dim our light, seize our power, and cause us to doubt our dreams.

Today’s girlfriend advice is on regaining that empowerment and the power and beauty that comes with it. Here’s 3 ways to stay an empowered woman:

1. Find (& follow) your passion – It’s tough to cheer for others’ dreams when we’ve forgotten our own. Go after your “if only I could” list, then encourage other women to do the same. Don’t just say it – lead by example. It could mean leaving the ‘safe job’ and starting your own business. It might take you back to school or forward to your next profession. Whatever you dream, now is the time to go for it. Life is too short to not be a good friend or to go after your dreams.

2. Help others dream – and achieve their dreams – We like to think we’re here for others, right? We have the supreme honor of making an impact for other women on their road to their dreams. Maybe it’s working together or helping the other find a new career. Perhaps it is listening while she explores her options and being there whatever route she takes. Sometimes, it will probably be just being there as her cheerleader and biggest believer. Help your girlfriends seize the dreams that empower them.

3. Celebrate your feminine strength – As Winnie the Pooh (or A.A. Milne) said: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Celebrate the powerful female creature that you are and trust that you are stronger than you seem. Just remember that. And that your girlfriends believe in you and are there for you. 

Girlfriend, feel EMPOWERED today to do what you need to do to be who you need to be. Your girlfriends believe in you – do the same!

 

12 Ideas for a Fun Summer with Your Girlfriends

12 Ideas for a Fun Summer with Your Girlfriends

 Happy Summer Girlfriend! What are you and your friends doing this summer for fun? We’ve got 12 Ideas for a Fun Summer with Your Girlfriends – to beat the heat, have fun in the sun, and just enjoy the joys of girlfriends!

Girlfriendology friends are the sunshine, friendship quote“FRIENDS are the sunshine of life.” (Be someone’s sunshine today!)  – John Hay

1. Plan a picnic. There are so many wonderful ways to picnic during the summer. Find a picnic table at a park or bring your own blanket (red check table cloths are not mandatory). Find portable, easy to eat food, and savor the sunshine while you share lunch or dinner with your favorite outdoorsy girlfriend.

2. Go someplace you’ve been meaning to visit for a while. Go explore with a girlfriend! You know that list of places you’ve said you’re going to get to “someday”? Make now that “someday.” Call up a gal pal and head out to explore a particular part of town, a flea market, or park that you’ve never gotten around to visiting.

3. Nothing says summer like water. Whether you’re a swimmer or not, there are all sorts of ways to enjoy water activities in the summer with your friends. Find a pool, a pond, a lake, or a river, and relish the sights and sounds. Consider kayaking or canoeing on a lazy river or lake. Perhaps you and a friend prefer to float the day away in an inner tube or on a raft or at a local water park. Maybe hanging out with your friends while you take a dip in a pool is more your style, just don’t forget the sunscreen!

4. Share watermelon. We all love the freshness of summer fruits and vegetable, and when you can grow them yourself or buy them at a local farm stand, they are even better. But the most ‘summer’ fruit of all is watermelon. And it is the perfect size for sharing with a bunch of girlfriends.

12 Ideas for a Fun Summer with Your Girlfriends5. Try a new flavor of ice cream. If you’re not in the mood for fruit, consider trying new summertime ice cream flavors. It seems everyone from large ice cream distributors to local mom & pop stores bring out fantastic new flavors each summer. (What’s your favorite? And what’s your BFF’s favorite flavor?!) Or try making homemade ice cream and the sky’s the limit!

6. See a movie. On days when it is blazing hot and the idea of even walking to the mailbox seems dreadful, why not head to the movies? There are dozens of new releases this time of year and you are sure to find one that you and your girlfriends will enjoy as much as you enjoy the delightfully cool air conditioning. (Just checking – who’s seen BRIDEMAIDS? Who loved or didn’t love it? Share your girlfriend review!)

7. Read a great book. Summer is a wonderful time for reading a new book. The days are longer and it feels like there is extra time to sit and read for while each day. Are you part of a book club? What books do you recommend to your girlfriends?

8. Catch up on fresh looks with a favorite magazine* (or two). There is something completely indulgent about reading fun magazines (and blogs!) and summer seems like the perfect time for catching up on your favorites. Grab the copies you’ve been meaning to read for a while, set up a lawn chair, and relax. Then share those magazines or books with a girlfriend and have your own little reading group. Or read the same book as a long distance girlfriend then catch up on life and the book the next time you chat. Enjoy all the things you love – summer, reading and your great girlfriends!

9. Work together to be Healthier – Did you know that female friendship actually makes women healthier? It reduces stress (definitely a healthy thing) but it also means we support each other. Why not take a healthy challenge with your friends and these 5 ways to be healthier this summer?

10. Brunch! – Who doesn’t love Brunch, right?! It’s a perfect way to spend time with friends on a Saturday or Sunday mid-morning (probably not too early!). Invite the girls over, set up a picnic table or trays to take brunch outside (or stay in, if it’s just too hot!). What should you serve? How about a brunch bread bowl with ingredients that each girlfriend selects herself?! Check out the brunch recipe and wine pairing from the Wine Sisterhood. (They’re not only Wine Sisters, they’re also fabulous Foodies!)

11. Grilling Girls – Sure it’s hot, but some things are worth it! Fire up the grill with/for the girls with a tasty Cilantro Lime Beef Satay. Serve with Middle Sister Rebel Red or PromisQous Red and voila! Then jump in a pool and cool off! (Even if it’s just a wading pool or you feel like a kid again and run through a sprinkler

12. Celebrate Summer! Girlfriend parties are the BEST, right? So plan some time together. That’s all it takes. TIME TOGETHER! Summer Solstice, Pool Day, Sangria Saturday (check out that recipe!), Birthdays, 4th of July, Chick Flicks – or just make up an excuse to see your girlfriends!

What are YOU and YOUR GIRLFRIENDS doing for the Summer?

7 ways to cheer up a friend, be a better friend

7 Ways to Cheer Up a Girlfriend | Be a Better Friend

Don’t you love when your friends are there for you? Be a better friend …

7 ways to cheer up a friend, be a better friendWe all have great days when we want to shout happiness from a rooftop somewhere. We all have days that are neither wonderful nor terrible.  Sometimes we have days that are Just AwfulAs bad as it is when we have bad days, it is almost worse when a good friend has a bad day.  We feel for them and want to help—but often we don’t know what to do or how to help her.

There are all different kinds of days we’d rather not repeat.  Bad days range from the bad-hair-nail-chipped-spilled-the-coffee days to days when we get profoundly bad, unchangeable news.  How you help your BFF is going depend on the kind of “bad” day she’s having and on her personality (and yours).  Here are Seven Ways for cheering up a girlfriend on a bad day.

Pick up the phone

Sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest. There are days when the phone feels like it weighs a thousand pounds.  Usually it’s because we just don’t know what to say in the face of our friends troubles.  Remember—this isn’t a stranger, this is your friend. Pick up the phone and call.  I often find it useful to check with my friend to see what role she needs from me—is my job to help solve problems, to distract her and cheer her up, or just to listen.

Send a message

Tweet, text, email, Facebook message—how you contact your friend doesn’t matter.  What’s important is that you find a way to let her know you are thinking of her and sending her a virtual hug.

Or, rather than just send a message, why not send a link to a song?  Choose a song that brings back happy memories for the two of you.  Or send a song that makes people happy. (I have a friend who says it’s impossible to be sad when you listen to a Sousa march.)

Drop by to visit

Seeing a friendly face can sometimes make all the difference.  Stop by to show your friend that there are still smiles in the world.  Even if you only have five minutes (perhaps especially if you only have five minutes), that extra effort of showing up in person can make a huge impact.

Help her take action

Sometimes we are so stuck in a bad day that even breathing seems practically impossible. Often the best role you can play is to help your friend find a way to move through the rest of the day by taking action. Small steps lead to big results.  So if your friend is overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning her entire home by the weekend, try to focus her on at least getting one room finished by the end of the day.

Take some of the burden

Lending a hand can be huge gift of friendship. Is your friend freaking out about picking up food and flowers on opposite sides of town at the same time? Why not offer to pick up the flowers for her. If she’s stressed about making and wrapping cookies for an event, why not spend some time in her kitchen helping and visiting.

Dance!

Crank up the tunes, grab your friend, and start dancing. It’s amazing how your mood can improve when you move.  So ‘dance it out’ just like the gals on Grey’s Anatomy.

Just listen

Often the best thing we can do for a friend is simply be there to listen.  Listen while she shares her day, listen as she works through her struggles, listen as she laments the twists and turns she’s facing.   Leave the judgment, leave the solutions, and just listen with empathy and friendship.

How do YOU help friends who are having a tough day, girlfriend?

Judi is our Girlfriendology Chief of Brilliant Ideas, blogger at DearKidLoveMom.com and fab mom to Rachel who helped her come up with these great ways to cheer up a friend.

friendship, friends, women, girlfriends

Confessions of a Sucky Friend – How to be a better friend, part xvixiii

friendship, friends, women, girlfriends“The best way to have a friend, is to be one.”

I’m not saying I’m not there for my friends. I SO hope I am. But sometimes I’m not the great friend that I would like to be. Sometimes I drop the ball … forget a birthday, don’t call, don’t text back, don’t say the things I should say. Sometimes I’m not the friend I’d like to be. Sometimes I fall short in the friendship ‘stack.’

And, as the founder of Girlfriendology, I ‘should’ be the BEST of Friends, right?

But sometimes I’m like you – I struggle with the words, the effort, the time that allows me to be there for my friends. Sometimes work, people, life gets in the way of showing my friends the time and attention they deserve.

Girlfriend … you, like me, need to give ourselves a little grace. Hopefully our girlfriends do. Hopefully our BFFs know what it is like, why we forget to ask about their mom or annual review, why we aren’t there when we should be like when they’ve had a bad day or an argument with someone important. We need to forgive each other like we’d like to be forgiven.

Golden rule. Grace. Love. The power of Friendship.

Today … start over. Be the friend you would love to have. Be a little better every day. Just a little. It’s okay. We’ve all had those days – where we weren’t as good of girlfriends as we wish we would have been. Let’s forgive ourselves and each other.

Life is way too short to not be a better friend. Thanks girlfriends for your love, forgiveness and, most of all, your friendship.

Be a better friend. You’ll be glad you did.

poison ivy happiness

The Poison Ivy of our Happiness | Elements of Happiness

Thanksgiving quote let us be gratefulLet’s be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust

Part of being a good friend, is wanting our friends to be HAPPY – and doing what we can to encourage, inspire and assist them.

By now you know I recently moved into a new house. So this is my first spring to discover and experience all the flora and fauna. I have a “back 40” thats a nice combination of green grass, ground cover extending to a wooded area. Deer regularly visit. There’s plenty of room for the dog to run and a fire pit for evenings with friends.

There’s a lot of honeysuckle and brush growing in and there’s a clean, distinct line between lawn and the ground cover. But when I mowed the lawn I discovered my beautiful green ground cover hosted a healthy contingent of Poison Ivy.

I’ve experienced its effects before, and because of that I am even more susceptible to it. The recovery was uncomfortable but the experience taught me a valuable lesson on recognizing its leaves of three before it had a chance to play its game with me.

Such a simple metaphor for our experience. You’ve got a good life, lots of friends, a wonderful family, and a lot of good things going on. You’re happy. Then there in the fringes of you recognize some poison ivy growing. If not taken care of early and quickly it can cause you some real discomfort. Your ability to recognize the threat to your happiness is only as good as your resolve to take swift action against it.

The poison ivy in our lives comes in a variety of ways, often disguised as people or situations that seem pleasant and harmless enough, but can bring about a good deal of discomfort and distraction in seeking the happiness in our lives if we’re not being vigilant.

There will always be poison ivy in our lives, those irritant that grows just outside the lines of what makes you happy. While you may never be able to eradicate those things from your life, you have to be prepared to recognize them and rather than hoping they’ll go away on their own – which they won’t – do what it takes to control them.

poison ivy happinessFor me, it meant long pants, long sleeves, boots and gloves, some specific poison ivy eradicator and several hours of quality time in my back 40. By dealing with my poison ivy as soon as it was discovered and growing, its arrested development will give me great peace of mind when I invite the girlfriends over for cook outs and evening fires throughout the summer months.

No one ever said tending garden was just about planting the good seeds. There will always be the weeds, some just nuisance, some more threatening, to remind us that we have to work to cultivate and grow the happiness we all want in life.

Any girlfriend advice for poison ivy? The plant or those things in your life that make you unhappy? SHARE!

Have a great spring week girlfriends. And remember: leaves of three, let it be.

 

 

Spring party ideas

Seven Spring Parties for Girlfriends | Get-Together Ideas

Spring party ideasSeven Spring Parties: Fun Ways to Get Together with Girlfriends

It’s Spring! Time to dust off the winter blues, gather up your girlfriends, and celebrate the season. Here are seven great ideas for spring girlfriend get-togethers.

Pasta Party: What is better than an evening with pasta, garlic bread, and wine? Invite your girlfriends over for a spring pasta party! Whip up two different kinds of pasta, two or three light sauces featuring spring veggies (think baby zucchini and asparagus), ask friends to bring a variety of wines, and voila!

Sangria Soiree: Nothing says spring like a lazy afternoon spent with girlfriends sipping a fruity sangria. Splurge on colorful plastic goblets and a bright tablecloth to set the mood. Pretend you’re traveling together to Napa or on a cruise and enjoy a break with your BFFs!

Seed Swap: Every year I buy packets of seeds to plant and only use a portion of the seeds in each pouch. Why not share the bounty? Invite your girlfriends to bring over a packet or two (depending on the size of your gathering) of their favorite seeds. Have lots of small envelopes and a variety of permanent markers on hand. Encourage your guests to label and decorate the envelopes and share seeds and planting instructions. (Or bring over your seed starters – and share some baby plants.)

Old Fashioned Slumber Party: Remember how much fun slumber parties were when we were kids? Now is the perfect time to bring the fun back. Stock up on slumber party essentials: movies, popcorn, ice cream, nail polish, and fuzzy slippers, and plan to sleep in the next morning.

‘Tizer Teaser: Sometimes planning a dinner party can feel overwhelming. Try an evening of ‘tizers—appetizers! Set out a variety of cheeses, dish up some tasty hors d’oeuvres, and make a meal of these delectable bites.

Progressive Dinner: Can’t decide where to go for dinner? (Wherever you want. No, no, wherever you want. Really, it’s up to you.) No need to narrow down the options! Pick one spot for drinks and appetizers, another for the main course, and a third for a fabulous dessert. You can go really wild and choose a fourth for after dinner drinks, coffee, and more great girlfriend conversation.

Munch a Brunch: There is something luxurious and decadent about even the most informal of brunches. Menus can be sweet or savory or both. From bagels to eggs Benedict, you can make the recipes as simple or involved as you choose. Be sure to tell your guests what time you expect them—brunch can be pretty much any time of day!

What are your favorite ways to get together and greet spring? We’d love to hear your great ideas, girlfriend!

Thanks girlfriend Judi Cogen for sharing these spring parties for girlfriends! (We <3 Judi!

life, inspiration, perfect, friendship

Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be … Girlfriend Advice

PERFECT.

It’s a tough word, girlfriend. It’s something we women strive for, measure ourselves against and punish ourselves for not being. It’s a failure in how we succeed, love, earn, and even drop the ball on being a ‘perfect’ friend.

I know who I am. I am not perfect. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I’m one of them.

Mary J. Blige
 life, inspiration, perfect, friendship
Like the fabulous (and beautiful) Mary J., we’re not perfect women or perfect moms, partners, coworkers, and rarely perfect FRIENDS.
 
Grace. Acceptance. Unconditional love of friends. People who understand you, who understand that …
 
Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.

Hugh MackayLife isnt perfect be a better friend
 
Who here has a perfect life? Not me. But no one else does either. It doesn’t make it ‘not wonderful’ … great girlfriend advice from a woman who started with ‘big ears.’
 
Life doesn’t have to be Perfect to be WONDERFUL.
Annette Funicello
 life doesnt have to be perfect
So, in the words of the young, but wise …
 
Be happy with being you. Love your flaws. Own your quirks. And know that you are just as perfect as anyone else, exactly as you are.

Ariana Grande
be happy with being you
Or the incomparable B …
 
If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.

Beyonce Knowles
if everything was perfect

And, on FRIENDSHIP, from a FRIENDS expert …

Where would you be without friends? The people to pick you up when you need lifting? We come from homes far from perfect, so you end up almost parent and sibling to your friends – your own chosen family. There’s nothing like a really loyal, dependable, good friend. Nothing.

Jennifer Aniston
 

Dependable friendSo girlfriend. Let’s give ourselves grace in not being PERFECT. Let’s just try to be a really loyal, dependable, good friend. Let’s be the kind of friend that we’d love to have. That’s perfect enough for me!

5 ways to find more time for your friends

Be a Better Friend: 5 Ways to Find more time for your Girlfriends

5 ways to find more time for your friendsDo you balance your life to make time for your girlfriends?

Or do you struggle with balancing work, life, family, friendships and life?

Girlfriends make women healthier, happier, less stressed, live longer and feel more beautiful. Those wonderful benefits of female friendship improve our quality of life and are substantial to our level of happiness. So why don’t we work to have not only a life/work balance, but to have a life/friendship balance?

Probably the most common excuse for not making time for our girlfriends is that we don’t have the time. We have kids, jobs, homes, relationships, dirty clothes, meals to prepare, dishes to do and all the wonderful other things that women do on a daily basis. We constantly juggle deadlines and budgets, try to take care of ourselves and our families, and often don’t even sleep well to be rested for another day of responsibilities and expectations.

Here’s our girlfriend advice for being a better friend and maintaining a life friendship balance:

1. Make time with your girlfriends a priority. Put it on  your calendar. Schedule time together – and don’t change  plans. Examples: Every Sunday night: call up a girlfriend and catch up on her life. Check in at least once a week or month with different female friends. Send a birthday card to all your girlfriends on their birthdays. Show your girlfriend(s) how much their friendship means to you – be the kind of friend you’d love to have!

2. Make plans with girlfriends in advance. Monthly Book Club, an upcoming concert or sports event, a trip together. Plan ahead and balance your schedule around it. (See #1!) Sometimes we have to plan far ahead to make arrangements and get on everyone’s schedule. So, plan ahead for some great times with your girlfriends!

3. Multi-task: Spend time together and ‘get stuff done!’ Run, work-out or take a yoga class together. (It will motivate you to get exercising and make it much more fun!) Volunteer together – do good for others and spend time with your favorite BFF(s). Even plan some of your ‘chores’ together – meet to go grocery shopping, go to the garden/home store together and work on home projects together, cook meals ahead of time (together, of course) then split them so you both have meals prepared.

4. Get into a routine. As we mentioned above, call your girlfriends every Sunday afternoon or evening. Plan a girlfriend’s happy hour for the last Friday of the month and book a babysitter in advance. (Then possible share the babysitter with our girlfriend’s kids!) As shared on our Facebook page, some of my girlfriends have a standing girlfriend get-together – aka: “Champagne Tuesday.” (Does that sound fun and like you’d love to hang out with these girlfriends every week?!)

5. Look out for each other. Just like you need some work / life / friendship balance, so do your girlfriends. If your friend is working too much, invite her out to dinner to spend time away from work and with you. Talk about work some but also make the conversations about fun stuff – like reality shows, shoe shopping, upcoming travel plans, etc. If your BFF is a busy, busy mom, hire a babysitter for her and surprise her with a night out with you (and the girls).

Happiness is found in balance. Balancing our time allows us to allot for our needs – working to follow a passion (and affording us the income and free time to enjoy the rest of the hours in our lives), spending time with people we love and maintaining a sane life work balance.

Build some time into your schedule for your girlfriends. It’s important to your happiness. It’s important to the balance of work and life.

Share your girlfriend advice for maintaining a life work balance – and a life friendship balance!

For more girlfriend friendship inspiration from Girlfriendology blogs:

p.s. And … be a friend to Girlfriendology! Share this blog with your girlfriends by clicking the Facebook LIKE button below and also, when you’re on our Facebook page, SHARE IT WITH YOUR GIRLFRIENDS. (Please?!) Thanks girlfriend!

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true friendship

Friendship is …

true friendshipOne of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Per Wikipedia: Friendship is co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more humans.

There are 15 cities in the U.S. named “Friendship.”

Friendship 7, was an American spacecraft, used by John Glenn to orbit the Earth.

Dictionary.com says FRIENDSHIP is: 1. the state of being a friend; association as friends: to value a person’s friendship.
2. a friendly relation or intimacy.
3. friendly feeling or disposition.

Friendship is *kinda* a BIG deal, right?! Actually … it is.

What is FRIENDSHIP to YOU? WHO is a great example of friendship? WHO makes you want to be a better friend? It makes women healthier, happier, less stressed, live longer and feel more beautiful – so Friendship is a BIG deal.

To me, a perfect friend is a combination of the amazing qualities of the beautiful women in my life. The kindness of Julie, thoughtfulness of Terri, inspiration of Cath, Loyal friendship of Barb, support of Judi, and too many others to mention, but each just as valuable to my soul and spirit.

What we control, and what really matters is what kind of friend are we to them? Do we mirror back the positive support and generous nature? Or do we miss opportunities to be the kind of friend we’d like to have?

This relationship that brings happiness to our lives, makes our days brighter and our memories more fun, that warrants quotes and cities and ships and spacecraft and festivals and bracelets to be named after it :), deserves a good effort! Life is short – right? BE A BETTER FRIEND! Here’s some good ‘ole girlfriend advice on it …