I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR

Lion roaring, sitting, Panthera Leo, 10 years old, isolated on white

Did it really start for me in 1972? My mindset, that is?

I was just 6 years old and in the second grade at Nayatt Elementary School in Barrington, RI and I just loved to sing. This is going to freak some of you out, but I knew every word to Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter in the Rain” and “Sad Eyes” and Diana Ross’s “Baby Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” and I had all the dance moves just like the Supremes.   In fact, my earliest childhood dream that I can recall was my absolute desire “to be” DIANA ROSS.

I dreamt about being on stage, with a microphone, singing, wearing a long sparkly gown, a feather boa, with diamonds everywhere, with big hair and lots of glamour. I loved her.

I would take my parent’s record albums to school, go outside for recess and practice singing songs and learning the lyrics. I would do that instead of playing on the swing sets or playing marbles in the dirt (yes we played that back then). There was one particular singer that I became totally obsessed with. It was Helen Reddy, considered the Queen of 70’s POP.   Her new pop song, “I Am Woman” was the hottest song on the radio, and I knew every single word by heart.

When I learned Mrs. Collins, who was my second grade teacher, would allow the class to have “show and tell” on Friday’s, I decided that I would share my melodious voice with my classmates. I sang “I am Woman” with no fear, because I was completely competent and that gave me the confidence to do it. Why? Because I practiced singing the song a million times privately before I felt ready to sing it publicly. Back then I am not sure I really understood the meaning of the song, but I knew it by heart.  My husband always tells me I am the most prepared person he has ever met. I am. It has served me well. I never wing it. #preparation #confidence #competence

Recently I spoke at an event about this concept – Competence before Confidence.   Whatever you decide to tackle in life or business, preparation and practice is the key. Confidence will come with repetition. Do it bad enough times to get good at it. Repeat. Refine. Replicate. 

Fall, Get up. Fall no more.

But back to the song….  What really impacted me was recently reviewing the lyrics to the song, which I belted out at the top of my lungs in the second grade in front of all my friends and classmates.

Was I making a statement back then?  Did this song empower me at age 6? Would this become my unspoken mantra throughout the rest of my life? I can tell you this, I do represent every single word in this song.

For those of you who are my age….you will remember the song and you probably know all the words too!

I AM WOMAN

I am woman, hear me roar

In numbers too big to ignore

And I know too much to go back an’ pretend

’cause I’ve heard it all before

And I’ve been down there on the floor

No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Chorus

Oh yes I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong (strong)

I am invincible (invincible)

I am woman

You can bend but never break me

’cause it only serves to make me

More determined to achieve my final goal

And I come back even stronger

Not a novice any longer

’cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

Chorus

I am woman watch me grow

See me standing toe to toe

As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land

But I’m still an embryo

With a long long way to go

Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to I can face anything

I am strong (strong)

I am invincible (invincible)

I am woman

Oh, I am woman

I am invincible

I am strong

Fade

I am woman

I am invincible

I am strong

I am woman

For all my young fabulous female followers, you should all Watch the Performance! There is nothing you can’t do.   #girlpower #ladyboss

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZMZ7_w4RDM

Love Gina

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Time Will Either Promote You Or Expose You.

Exposed stampI’ve been slacking! I have been distracted for a couple of weeks taking care of business!

But today I woke up and said, I need to write so I can get away from all the political news! GOOD GRIEF!

I need to hide all TV remotes and avoid all news websites to stay away from the constant and repetitive reporting and analysis on every little move the presidential candidates make and every sentence they utter. Do we really have to endure this for the next 9 ½ months?

Yes, unless you live under a rock.

These 24 hour news channels regurgitate the same information every hour on the hour! Now the stakes are getting higher so the negative attacks and accusations are in full swing –and it’s quite entertaining watching grown adults wrestle in the mud. And to think…. one of them will be the new leader of the free world in a few months!

Now the reason I start my day with the news is because of my mother. She told me that I should always know about current events so I could be a sparkling and interesting conversationalist. LOL

Every morning while I’m having coffee, I read the headlines online for about 10-15 minutes. It’s just my routine. I get up to speed about what’s happening in the world so I can be a prepared and informed citizen. 🙂  Oh yeah, and a sparking conversationalist.  Thanks Mom.

But she also warned me that there’s 3 things I should never discuss or get tricked into discussing with anyone.

They are 1) Religion 2) Politics and 3) Other People’s Children.  Not necessarily in that order.

She said those subjects should be off limits in social situations. “They are polarizing topics and it never goes well. People are too emotional and passionate about them. It won’t go well. So zip it.”

So I heeded this advice. I don’t participate even if the bait is fresh! Trust me, it doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion. I have an opinion about everything but I exercise restraint and sometimes it’s not easy!

When I look at the political news today and I watch all the shenanigans and the self-promotion, I just think about this one concept.

                           Time will either promote you or expose you.

So it will be interesting to see who is standing tall at the end of the current political race. Someone will be promoted and someone will be exposed for who they really are. It shall be very interesting.

This also applies to your own life, not just a politician’s. You are 100% responsible for your own life and only you determine your outcomes. Only you are responsible for how you feel, the actions you take, the choices you make and the results you create. Everything starts with a decision. And those decisions, whether big or small are the reason you are at the place your at! Your life, at this moment, is an accumulation of all the choices you have made or didn’t make up until now. So take responsibility for your own life and circumstances. Own it. Own the decisions you have made so far and if you need to change something, change it.

Speaking of the news, decisions and exposure!  Let’s review some recent headlines…..

Musical Artist Beyonce performed at the SuperBowl and made a decision to tackle a very sensitive “black lives matter” subject and is now dealing with boycotts and backlash from police officers in Miami who refuse to work for her upcoming concert.   She’s in quite a firestorm at the moment.

Kanye West’s decision to take to social media and announce to the world that he’s $53 Million in debt along with his decision to have a “recorded” backstage SNL meltdown have sparked concern for the rapper’s mental health.

NFL Player Johnny Manziel is under a media microscope and criticized for his decisions which caused a series of run ins with the law, which could adversely affect his career as a professional football player.

Everything in life starts with a decision (big or small) and over time, you will either be promoted or exposed.  It makes you think about the important choices you make doesn’t it?

Only YOU are responsible for how you feel, the actions you take, the choices you make and the results you create. That’s how it works. Give some thought to yours!

Love,

Gina.

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“You Can’t Get In There”

Perseverance Word Circle Concept

Hey Moms out there.   I know you may have a similar story.

I have to write about it because I want the world to know how proud I am of my son at this moment, on this day, right now.

I used to worry about raising my son in Scottsdale, AZ because it is quite different from the blue collar east coast upbringing I had and the small town (population 1600) Midwest upbringing my husband had.

Most parents have the tendency to want to give their children more than what they had growing up.  It’s sort of a “given” in this town. Yes, I am one of those parents, but not at the expense of the core values I believe in and the things that I needed to learn and experience to prepare myself for life.

I didn’t want the extra things that I can provide financially take the place of work ethic, tenacity, dedication, commitment, hunger, success, failure, drive and ambition.  These are the important things that will shape the real man I want my son to become.  They are the most important things to me.  I knew I would support my son in many ways if I saw signs that those things lived inside him. I figured there was a good chance given the fact he has some of my genes.

And boy, are they in there!

They are showing up in the sport he loves and everything he has achieved and endured learning to play it.  It has been rewarding to watch the transformation, but it hasn’t been without some hard times and disappointments too.

He tried every sport since age 3. I encouraged him in everything, but it wasn’t until the 7th grade that I observed something very different happening.

It was the day he picked up a basketball, in my driveway.  

Now at that time, he couldn’t dribble or shoot like he can now, but with a little encouragement from a close friend and the rest of us, he joined the Boys and Girls Club recreational league and he started learning the game. He had great coaches who gave him confidence and that was key because he was brand new to the game.  Then, I watched him grow 11 inches over the next 3 years. Let me tell you that is the best thing that could ever happen to a baller.

Now, he’s 6’ 1”, with a few more inches to go, and he has been playing on his high school team. That was a great accomplishment and a testament to his hard work.  But it’s what he has been through on and off the court that inspires me beyond any words that I could possibly say or write.

Aside from school and hanging with friends, he plays basketball relentlessly.  His has enormous passion for the sport and I believe that it will take him wherever he wants to go. For him, the skill development he needed to acquire had to come on fast and furious. He had to catch up to compete at a higher level and the only way to do that was to have 100% commitment and to train and practice harder than any one else. Period.

I told him if he wanted it that bad, I would find him the right people and support him but he would have to work his butt off.  He had work to do.  I knew I needed to find basketball mentors that could train and guide him in several ways. My friend, an NBA Champion with the 93 Chicago Bulls, Joe Courtney, stepped up and mentally coached him up all summer.  Joe didn’t pick up a basketball until 10th grade and ended up playing with Michael Jordan — A good guy to talk too when you need a pep talk.

Then I found 3 great trainers, all specializing in different areas. Every single one of them love my kid. There’s just something about him. They tell me that teaching a player with that much passion and drive and ambition is rare. Coaches want to find those kids. And all of them spend more time, over and above, training and coaching him.  They come to his games and sit in the stands to see what his competition looks like. They don’t have to do that, but they do. They tell me he has extraordinary potential because of his work ethic.  They want him to succeed and they have so much belief in him. They are invested.

As an observer, the year over year improvement in his skills has been nothing short of remarkable. I told him to keep working hard and one day your basketball skills will do all the talking. Patience. He has done that. He’s persevered and he has earned the respect and admiration of his teammates. Now they are always at my house. They are always together. He has come a long way.

Now the season is coming to an end. He hasn’t seen as much playing time as he would like.  I tell him to stay positive and be patient but I’m not going to lie.  It’s probably one of the most difficult things to watch, as a mom, hoping the coach taps him to get up and get in the game, and it doesn’t happen.  I often think about how he feels. He knows how hard he works. He sits there, a total team player, game ready, anticipating that moment.  He may get to contribute. He may not. He takes it. He deals with it. He processes it and moves on.  He’s proud to be on the squad.  It just makes him want to work harder. After his 2 hour team practices end, he goes to work with his trainers at night. He trains all weekend. He never stops. Basketball never stops.

As his mother, I’m more concerned with his mental toughness and intestinal fortitude: defined as the courage and endurance to go on.   I tell him no one and nothing can stop him. No one and nothing can hold him back.  No one and nothing can define him. No one and nothing can get in his head.  “You can’t get in there.”  Your time will come.

He has a dream to play college basketball one day.  And, he’s got plenty of time.  I tell him to stick with his plan.

The bigger lesson here is he knows what hard work, commitment, never quitting, never giving up, belief in one self, dedication, tenacity, patience, mental toughness and intestinal fortitude are all about. Not only is he a good basketball player, but I believe he will become an authentic, morally sound leader in whatever he choses to do in this life. He now has invaluable life skills which he learned from playing the sport he loves.  I am so damn proud of him.

If you have a child in the same boat, keep on encouraging them!

Intestinal Fortitude will win!

Love,

Gina.

 

 

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“I GET TO, I DON’T HAVE TO”

Woman done cleaning being very excited and happy. Beautiful mixed race asian / caucasian model isolated on white background.

“I get to, I don’t have to”

Every day people say I have to go to work, I have to pay bills, I have to go grocery shopping, I have to take my kid to practice, I have to cook dinner, I have to go on a business trip, I have to clean my house, I have to go to dinner with clients. And, we say it like it’s the end of the world and a major inconvenience. I get it. Who the heck likes grocery shopping or cleaning their house? It’s not exactly the way most of us would choose to spend our free time.

But…

…what if we made a minor tweak in the language we use and instead said, ‘‘I get to”, before everything we do. I get to play tennis today, I get to go watch football on Sunday, I get to do laundry, I get to cook dinner.  Do you see my point?

We really are on this earth for a short time and shouldn’t we feel lucky and blessed to even be here? I mean, every single one of us is a miracle with a higher purpose, whether or not you have discovered it yet. Many of the things we get to do every day is for basic survival and other things are little luxuries and gifts that we take for granted.

We don’t have to do anything. We get to do everything.

Recently, I found myself saying the same things. I have to take down my Christmas decorations, I have to plan a birthday dinner, I have to go to the gym, I have to go to Cabo. (I know, slap me).

The truth is I am lucky to get to do all of those things, but when I started hearing myself, I sounded like a spoiled little brat. I was mad at myself. Then I started hearing everyone else around me say the same thing.  I have to, I have to, I have to.

Now, I say “I get to” and it sounds and feels so much better. All I did was change one word! I get to load the dishwasher! #truth.  I’m telling you if you start saying it this way, it won’t feel like such a nuisance.

This may help put my point in perspective. On Christmas Eve, my really close friend drove himself to the hospital after work because he could not breathe. They told him he had pneumonia and admitted him, but I didn’t know it.

About a week later, I texted him to see how the holidays went because he was on my mind. His name is Joe and not only is he my jeweler :), but he’s the only person I trust to take care of my house and my dog when I travel.  He is a close friend, always coming over my house for BBQ’s, dinners, or whatever other social event I create at Casa Weber. He has become an extension of my family.

He called me right after I texted him. It was 9 p.m. at night and he told me he was in the hospital. He proceeded to tell me why he went there on Christmas Eve. Then he said, “it’s really bad Gina; what looked like pneumonia is full blown leukemia.”

Of course, I was stunned, shocked, and immediately saddened. After a long conversation, I told him I’d be there tomorrow and then I went in my office and started researching the type of leukemia he was diagnosed with.

I went to the hospital the next day to see him. My timing was not ideal. I showed up 10 minutes after the doctor who was giving him a second opinion had left. That doctor had just told him (in his opinion) he had 2-6 months to live, maybe a year.  Then I walk in. He looks at me and said “oh no, why did you have to be the one that shows up now?” I couldn’t hug him, so he gave me knuckles and said Gina, WTF! FK!  His mind went straight to the 2 month option.  I tried to be as positive as possible and told him there must be other options, but then the tears started as a few family members and other friends arrived and he shared the news.

I left that evening knowing he needed to sleep and process everything.  I went home and did more research.

The next day, he got his fight on. Hell yeah! He decided to get the hell out of that hospital which was not a place that had the resources to fight the good fight. He also chose a team of doctors and experts who were positive about beating it.  He is now coming home this weekend after enduring 21 days of aggressive chemo and his team has a plan for a bone marrow transplant.  He’s on the right track and I can’t wait to see him out of that hospital room and back home.

I guarantee you he would love to say “I get to” wake up tomorrow. “I get to” make dinner, “I get to” see my dogs, “I get to” sleep in my own bed, and so on.

It makes you think doesn’t it? Let’s all just change one little word and be grateful we “get to” go grocery shopping and “we get” to clean our houses.

Love,

Gina.

 

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I BET ON GINA

successful-at-whatever

 

One of my famous lines…

“Why draw when you can trace? Why trace when you can copy?”

And ironically enough, I have “copied” that saying from someone else and I repeat it often. The minute I heard it, I was like… that’s brilliant and it’s true. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as an original idea. There are extensions, improvements and new iterations of ideas, but other than the creation of the universe, what is truly original?

I listed “some” of the major things that I have experienced so far in my life, and there’s a lot more- many I can’t write about lol.   Every one of them were pretty big “things” but hardly original; and in every case someone else learned to do it before I did.

Growing up, Graduating School, Playing Sports, Leaving for College, Getting a Job, Dating, Planning a Wedding, Marriage, Divorce, Having a Baby, Being a Single Mom, Step Parenting, Buying a house, Buying a car, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Investing, Starting a Business, Building a Business, Selling a Business, Public Speaking, Traveling …

Is there really anything that you are going to hear or see or experience in your lifetime that someone hasn’t already thought about or done or experienced? And isn’t it true that if you just paid attention and sought out the people who have preceded you in any these areas, couldn’t you figure out and learn how to do it for yourself?

My list above looks sort of boring, but I promise you, the details surrounding all of those things, which I already survived, could be a reality TV show and NY Times best seller. I can’t tell you how many people over the years have begged me to film one or write one. I may just do both. Just keep reading my blog and you will be thoroughly entertained with stories. I just have to figure out how to keep all the characters anonymous to protect the guilty, the innocent and the stupid!

Trust me, I am just warming up.

I had someone recently say to me, why are you successful at whatever? I mean, how are you successful at whatever you do? I didn’t really think about it until she asked me. But the truth is, I have been successful at whatever I put my mind to and my energy behind. I do not set out to fail. I don’t even consider it. Once I make a decision to do something, it’s like a lion just got released from its cage. I don’t mess around. It’s game on. I work tirelessly to ensure I won’t fail. It’s like I have an extra gear or something.

In many cases, I had zero experience. ZERO. Whether it was running a multi-million dollar sports marketing and motorsports program for a Fortune 30 or learning how to step parent, I figured it out along the way. (Both were equally challenging by the way).

I had to learn to be resourceful and that’s one of my greatest skills. I always rely on that. I stay resourceful and seek the information and of course, with knowledge comes power. Hardly a new concept people!

That’s why we have the internet. It’s all out there. So many endless resources at the click of the mouse.

That’s why we have teachers. So we can learn from subject matter experts who have spent years and decades learning so they can share their knowledge perspective.

That’s why we have parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. So we can get endless advice and wisdom from the ones who have gone before us and have the stories to prove it.

That’s why we have coaches. So we can become better at the one thing they have already learned and mastered and that’s why they are qualified to teach it.

That’s why we have mentors. So we can be guided down a career path and reach the level of success they already have.

Now in full disclosure, I’m not saying I haven’t failed before because I have been in situations where it was impossible to succeed, and I have really learned from those experiences. Interestingly though, it was always when I was not in full control of the situation.

So here’s what I know after earning all this infinite wisdom. I bet on Gina. I invest in Gina. I trust Gina. I listen to Gina.

I know my level of intuition is extraordinary and as long as I put myself in control of the ship, the intentions will be in the right place and the execution will follow.

Be resourceful and seek out all the necessary information and trust your gut.

Love,

Gina

 

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The Ocean Totally Creeps Me Out

Beautiful and dangerous underwater world

The ocean totally creeps me out.

There is something so mysterious about it — the darkness, the coldness, and the unpredictability of it. One minute it’s calm and peaceful, the next minute it’s violent and angry. The ocean is so damn moody. They always blame it on mother nature but I think it has a mind of its own. How can it be so beautiful and inviting one minute and then take out an entire resort town the next?

(all you marine scientists and oceanographers, this is metaphoric so I don’t need the science behind Tsunamis lol.)

Not mention the scary things in it. It seems like a new creature is discovered every week with new, never been seen before pictures to prove it. They find a new species after a gazillion years?

What about the things on the bottom that were swallowed up by it… and the divers that find pleasure going in to find it! Who are these people anyway?

I mean, how can fishermen and sailors go out in that crazy unknown place every day and not wonder what’s underneath them. Every time I go in the ocean and tread water, I kick my feet to create enough racket so nothing comes close to my toes. Are you with me? Why is that? I always think something is going to try to take a nibble. Who is the knucklehead that made the JAWS movie in 1975!

Now the world does a great job disguising the ocean to be heavenly…with big giant cruise ships, yachts, jet skis, sailboats, catamarans, private islands, white sandy beaches, coconuts…

I know. I have been on all of those things and to those places. I love the beach. Looking at it. Listening to it. I may swim in it, if I can see the bottom and the water is warm and turquoise…just sayin.

Hey, I’ve “snuba” dived (wimpy version of scuba) and snorkeled in Hawaii, The Bahamas, Mexico, and the Caribbean and I’ve even passed by a shark, stingrays and barracudas while doing it.  I survived it all, but it wasn’t exactly ideal.  I even chartered a small private sailboat once and sailed the around the eastern Caribbean islands for 10 days. I love adventure. Hell, I am an Aries.

BUT STILL, the ocean creeps me out.

I mean, does anyone really like the look of a lobster? A crab?  With those little beady eyes and claws crawling around so fast?  I know they taste good, but please find me one human who thinks they are cute. Jelly fish? Horseshoe Fish? Seaweed?  Come on people…. these are just the creepy little things that wash up on the beach.  Imagine what really lives down in the deep, deep dark, cold, scary ocean?  Hell, they still can’t find a 777 airplane and it’s been almost 2 years.

It also seems like it’s an “all for one, one for all” kind of place. I wonder about those poor little fish always looking over their shoulder wondering if they are on the breakfast, lunch, or dinner menu. I know there’s some sort of pecking order down there and I would imagine if you are a great white, you can do as you please. But for the rest, it cannot be fun and relaxing. I mean, they can never sleep. Everything just keeps moving. It’s sounds so exhausting doesn’t it?

Even though the ocean is creepy, it doesn’t stop me from…

Flying over it.

Cruising on it.

Sailing on it.

Fishing in it.

Swimming in it.

The damn earth is 71% ocean. I’ve learned to co-exist with it and pretend it’s a lovely little place. I don’t let the creepiness control me.

I really was just thinking about the ocean because I am going to be looking at it in a few days, but I started thinking about how the ocean is a lot like life.

It’s always unpredictable and mysterious. Sometimes it’s calm and peaceful and sometimes it causes a crazy storm and you just have to ride it out. Sometimes you will encounter powerful sharks who try to push you around and sometimes a shifty lobster with beady eyes shows up to try to create havoc in your life. (Just boil that sucker and eat him!)  Sometimes a new species shows up out of nowhere like today’s terrorists and we just need to find new ways to deal with them. Sometimes you finally make a decision in life to try something new, like going for a little swim, but once you get in the water, you start worrying about who or what could start biting your toes. And, then there are times when you are just minding your own business like a normal fish, just constantly moving, always swimming, never sleeping, just trying to survive.

I have experienced all of it and learned many lessons from it. Just when you think your life is looking perfect, with white sandy beaches and endless coconuts, the island is about to be taken out by a Tsunami!

I believe every person in your life shows up for a reason, whether they stay permanently or just a little while. But there is a reason they showed up.

Embrace the scary sharks, the poisonous stingrays, the shifty lobsters, the ugly horse fish, and all the other creatures just moving about you because they are teaching you something.

Make sure you always seek adventure! Be like me and pretend the ocean is a lovely little place so you can go yachting and sailing and fishing and swimming and fly over it!

Life is meant to be lived fearlessly and passionately.   Don’t let the creepy ocean stop you.

Love Gina.

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Boys Are Just Trouble

Fashionable young brunette.

For the past 4 weeks, I have been witnessing, hearing about, and giving advice to a bunch of drop dead gorgeous, in shape, charismatic, super smart, fun, outgoing sorority sisters on their trials and tribulations of dating boys…from ages 19-23.

To be young again…!!!

When they ask me for advice, I tell them boys are bad, LOL…and to focus on themselves, date a million guys, travel every weekend and never give up their power…and most importantly…be mysterious.

That’s hard to do in the age of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Everyone documents their every move.

“Look, here’s what I ate for breakfast, I was at the gym at noon, I went to class at 2, I had a Starbucks at 4….”

Where is the mystery girls??? Just get off social media for 24 hours and then watch all hell break loose.  “Where are you at?  Why are you not replying? I miss you? Can we talk? Can I see you tomorrow?

Ahhhhhh…the shift of power.

Sorry guys. I see the pattern over and over again. It’s actually quite interesting to observe from the sidelines. As soon as one of these guys has the upper hand, the games begin. And since we chicks are extremely emotional, we don’t handle the games very well.

And it’s all very unnecessary.

I know it’s easier said than done where there are heart strings involved, but make sure when you start a relationship that the words and behavior match up. If they don’t, it’s a red flag. Guys at this age want it both ways. On Monday they want a girlfriend and by the weekend, they want to be frat boys which often leads to bad decisions and bad behavior. And afterward, when something needs fixing, it’s all done via texting, which can just exacerbate the problem they are trying to fix!

Let me repeat, NO serious boyfriends in college.

First of all, never in one place, one town, one state, have I seen more beautiful girls with crazy potential. I think it’s something in the AZ water.

I personally think the young guys in Arizona are spoiled rotten. Many of them are not even cute and they have no game. They are just lucky –lucky to live and go to school in this state. Here, you can’t walk 10 feet without breaking your neck to look at a pretty girl. Most of the time, even in winter, clothes are minimal which means staying in shape is a top priority. Bottom line, they are all hot.

That’s why U of A and ASU are consistently ranked the sexiest colleges with the hottest girls every single year. It must be the sunshine because they all gravitate here.  I attended a sorority event recently and there had to be 700-800 people in the room. A slide show started introducing all the new girls to the sisterhood and I am telling you every single headshot they flashed on the screen could have been a cover shot for Vogue. I have never seen anything like it.

So yes, the guys have many options in AZ, and they really don’t appreciate how lucky they are.  I tell the girls they should fly to a different state one weekend and see the difference in how they are treated. They would have guys tripping over their feet. They would stand out versus blend.

So girls, as you head back to college, take this dating advice with you.

Rule #1          No serious boyfriends in college

Rule #2           Date many boys, travel and have fun

Rule #3           Let them chase you

Rule #4           If he’s a game player, ditch him

Rule #5           If he makes you feel bad, ditch him

Rule #6           If he doesn’t make you feel good, ditch him

Rule #7           Disappear from social media

Rule #8           Be mysterious

Rule # 9          Never EVER give up your power

Rule #10        Watch how he treats his Mom

Rule #10 is just a yard stick to go by. Just trust me on this. If he was was raised right and he has a healthy respect for women, you will see it in the way they treat their mama.

And if it’s good, you will want to date that guy.

So girls, it’s been a fun several weeks observing all the shenanigans and counseling you with the wisdom I’ve earned and gained over many years.

Good luck and stay single and fabulous until you are 30!

Love Gina.

 

 

 

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Brock the Artist!

BrockLast Monday, I went out for happy hour with my girlfriend Via who is my long time friend. Our friendship actually started in AZ when I walked into a fitness place in Scottsdale, two months pregnant, and asked for the best female trainer they had. I had just moved to Scottsdale and did not have one girlfriend in AZ.

That was 17 years ago. Little did I know they would supply me with years of crazy, fun experiences with my “sister from another mister” and fellow Aries buddy! We are a lot alike and born just 2 days apart but I’m the older one. She’s 7 years younger. Much of the shenanigans during these years with Via could be a stand alone best seller with scenes straight out of a movie. The dates, the relationships, the bar crawls, the marraiges, becoming mothers and all the craziness, sadness, happiness and laughter in between. I can talk to her about anything and visa versa. It’s like a secret Aries code. We talk, we drink, we laugh, we advise, we vent, we gossip and it’s like the best therapy session you could ask for. The price tag is only a couple of vodka sodas and in Via’s case, an extra chilled straight up Titos Martini with a squeeze of orange or lime, depending on the mood that night. LOL.

We are both so busy all the time, so we make the time around Christmas to get together. Via is a nutrionist and personal trainer by trade but has managed a fitness center for a very exclusive country club in AZ for 15 ½ years. She is loved by all of her clients for her expertise in fitness but you cannot help but fall in love with her larger than life personality. She’s like a walking magnet.

Nine years ago she was blessed with becoming a mother to an incredible son. His name is Brock. Today she is single mom and may I emphasize an incredible one. Brock is on the autism spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome and when he was diagnosed, she not only educated herself about it, but she completely altered and transformed her life to accommodate his.

She was telling me how amazingly well he is doing and she shared a typical day in her life. Many would not be able to handle it.  Everything is a routine and everything is timed and scheduled. Everything from the time they wake up, the short list of food he likes to eat without deviation, the time they eat breakfast down to the exact minute, the way in which they systematically and routinely get in the car each morning, the play dates and secret code words they use to communicate to one another.  It was amazing how Via has structured her life to handle these unique demands. Brock is on zero medication. She handles everything behaviorally and with routine, tons of love and patience and a great support system.  If the routine is compromised in any way, this could create a 10 minute or 3 hour meltdown (as she described it).  She was just sharing, not looking for me to feel sorry for her.  This is her new normal. More than anything, I think she just wants people on the outside like me to just understand her world.  For Via, spending three hours at a restaurant with a close friend is when she truly has normalcy outside of her own home.  Something many of us take for granted.

Brock is not only adorable, but he is also brilliant and has a very “I know what I want” personality just like his Mama. We laugh because she was telling me how at only 9 years old he told her it was her job to get him an agent and help make him famous and then proceeded to tell her what his fee shall be. The apple did not fall far from the tree!

See, Brock is an amazing artist. He already has his own business cards, and his own website so he can create a custom piece of artwork for his customers for $6 each. Just fill out the contact form and voila!  You will have your very own fun illustration underway!

Check out his website www.brockthaartist.com

I have received many Christmas cards this season but this was my favorite. She handed it to me and said this is a Brock Original. I love his entrepreneurial spirit and I would love to help make Brock famous!   Please share his website!

Love Gina.

 

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Become More With Less

quotes-let-go-tony-robbins-600x411I think I hoard clothes and unknowingly create clutter. I cannot believe how many clothes are in my freaking closet, which obviously I have accumulated over years and years. Shoes, boots, sneakers, clothes, purses, jackets, coats, blazers, dress pants, jeans, shirts, tennis skirts, golf clothes, shorts, tanks etc. I have business attire, work out attire, casual attire, evening attire, tennis attire, something for every occasion. It wasn’t until last week that I actually decided to stop ignoring all the crap in my closet and just start ripping things off hangers and putting them in giant Hefty bags. All of which were delivered to Good Will on New Year’s Eve Day.

The question? When the hell was the last time I wore this? You would be surprised at some of my answers. Like 2009? Bahahahahaha. More importantly is it even in style? And MOST importantly…does it even fit anymore? Now that’s the depressing one.

I literally entertained myself because some of the stuff I found was so hideous and I immediately wondered if there was any photo proof of me wearing any of it. If there was, it would be burned. LOL

If someone walked into my closet they would be horrified. Nothing is organized by season or color. Well actually the main color is BLACK so what’s the point? I don’t have everything 1 inch apart hanging perfectly on hangers. I have stuff everywhere. And I wonder why I always have a fashion crisis when I am looking for the one thing I cannot find because it’s stuck somewhere in the mess. I always envy the girlfriends that have a closet so meticulously organized. All shoes facing a certain way, all hangers uniform and facing one direction, everything zipped up and unwrinkled.

But then I think, they must have an assistant that does this for them or they have nothing to do all day. I could not imagine taking or wasting the time on such a mindless task. I’m sure I’m insulting someone here but there are so many more important things to do with my time! And in my house the closet suffers.

Then it occurred to me. I wear the same clothes every day, every week. It’s like the 80-20 rule. I wear the same 20% of the same stuff consistently. I’m always seeing same clothes in the laundry. And the other 80% is taking up A LOT of space in my overly cluttered closet. Every once in a while I break out of my routine and don something trendy. But it never lasts long. I am more of a classic dresser. I have a certain style. I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t. I’m a winter. Why would I own anything terracotta color? Just Saying? What was I thinking?

I have two choices. I can hire an assistant or downsize. It’s too much work. I am going to force myself to keep the 20% and donate the rest. But I know what will happen. With all this extra space I will be tempted to fill it and buy more clothes when the mood strikes and I get in an online shopping mode. It’s a vicious cycle! I think I need therapy or I will always have a cluttered closet! If you are like me, clean your closet this year. It feels good. Out with the old! Embrace the NEW!

Now, I am not just talking about clothes people! Remember those clothes I mentioned from 2009 that are old, out of style, and don’t fit anymore? Stay with me for a minute. Think of this a little more symbolically. The clothes are like the relationships, habits, behaviors and situations that you are still holding on too. You should make a decision to give them away and unclutter your closet.

Ask yourself this question. Even if they still fit, would you put them back on? For me the answer was clearly a NO. It doesn’t work for me anymore. It probably never worked but I tried it anyway. That’s ok. Trying new things is important. But knowing when to make peace with yourself and accept it wasn’t your “thing” and then having the courage to say Bub-Bye.

Does that relationship work for you anymore or does it just fill up space?
What about that unfulfilling job or career?
The extra 10 pounds?
The feeling sorry for yourself?
The fear about making a decision and letting go of the things that used to bring you happiness and comfort, but only create anxiety, or depression or loneliness now?

Maybe at the time, it was trendy and cool or you were feeling good in that moment. I get it. I have a list of questionable choices that I have made.

But I know that at my particular age, a certain degree of wisdom kicks in. I know who I am. I know what I like. I know what works. I have my priorities in the right order. I say “No” and don’t feel guilty saying it. I don’t feel pressure to do things or go places I have no interest going. I know the kind of people I want to be around. I care less about what people think. I have identified the jealous ones and the toxic ones and removed them from my closet. I am not seeking or searching or trying to fit in. It simply all adds up to a lot of clutter.

I’ve always been candid and honest and my friends know I don’t sugar coat things. But this year in particular I have a lower tolerance for accumulating clutter so I can make room for the things that really matter to me. How about you?

Everything in life starts with a decision.

Love Gina. If you are a hoarder of clothes and things, share your story with me at deargina@ginaweber.com

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2016 New Year’s Resolution to Frequently Fly Again

BessChasen

I must have logged a gazillion miles on a plane, and it’s now almost 3.5 decades of flying. My early career had me flying every Thursday through Monday, at a minimum, to an NHRA drag race or a NASCAR race or some other business or sports related meetings. If you follow motorsports, you know you they race every weekend during the season with just a couple of weekends off – usually Mother’s Day and Easter. In those days, I spent every weekend at the races.

The good news was I always was sitting in first class, meeting some very interesting people along the way. It was just my mode of transportation to get to where I was going to do business. Single, driven, independent career girl just crisscrossing the country, flying through every weather situation and enduring many delayed flights, connecting flights, de-iced planes, turbulence, sitting on the tarmac for hours and getting stuck in airports because of mechanical problems, weather, ice storms – you name it. No worries, I just made new friends and waited for the situation to fix itself. I didn’t even have the luxury of having a cell phone or a laptop to pass the time!

On April 17th of 2015, I had an unfortunate new flying experience and I was with my son. It was a completely traumatic experience and we are still struggling with it.

We left Phoenix in clear, sunny skies and then about 1 hour into the flight, we flew through hell. For about 10 minutes, which seemed like an eternity, we experienced extreme turbulence. The pilot asked flight attendants to be seated so we knew we were going to get some bumps, but it ended up surpassing the worst roller coaster ride of our lives. We were at cruising altitude at the time, so I had my laptop hooked up to Wi-Fi. As we went through it, it was shockingly violent and it just seemed to never end. I was holding on to my son and telling him to breathe and we would get through it. But truthfully we both thought this was the end. We started telling each other things that you would say to one another when you think your life is almost over, in between crying and breathing and watching the plane twist and turn and drop and bounce around in mid air. It was absolutely terrifying.

The lady next to me was praying with her head down on the tray table. The kids in the row behind us were screaming at the top of their lungs. I was trying to send a text to my husband but my phone was bouncing all over the place as I tried to type something. I got on my laptop and instant messaged my family from Facebook Messenger. We got a hold of my mother, my step daughter and my son’s Dad. We sent them messages telling them we loved them hoping they would get through to them.

After 10 minutes of this, it finally started to subside. The pilot finally spoke and explained we were through the worst of it, but there was no way to relax at this point. Every little bump after this was a trigger of the experience we just had. The worst part was we could not get off! We had to spend the next 3 hours in the air! The good news is we were able to communicate with our family through my laptop and the messenger app. That seemed to keep us calmer because we were connected to them. Plus we had Bess! — The world’s best flight attendant.

I can tell you that I have never been happier to be on the ground when we hit Florida. My son swore we would be driving back to Phoenix (and I was open to it…). No joke.

Read the letter I wrote to the CEO and President of US AIR and American Airlines, which were in the process of a merger at the time. This was the day after I arrived safely back in Arizona. You will get the “gist” —

Mr. Parker and Mr. Kirby,

I am seasoned traveler having logged hundreds upon hundreds of flights over 35+ years as a business traveler so flying is not a new experience for me. In fact, I was one of your highest level frequent flyers on US AIR when I was based in New England and US AIR was the primary airline to fly.

I am writing to you this morning from Scottsdale AZ after returning safely with my 15 year old son from a weekend trip to Orlando to see my mother who was recovering from heart surgery. On Friday April 17th, we departed PHX on USAIR 567. We experienced the most violent, severe, terrifying turbulence for about 10 minutes approximately one hour into that flight. I can tell you that my son and I were both terrified and completely traumatized sitting in Row 24. In all the years I have flown, this was the most severe turbulence I had ever experienced and the kind you read about on the news. My son, although only 15 years old, has traveled often and he has also flown by himself but this was different. I learned later that we flew though a “front” over Abilene, Texas. Afterwards, I realized there were reports of multiple tornados and baseball size hail and ground damage in and around that area that day.

What happened after this experience was amazing and I want you to know about your crews. The lead flight attendant on this flight was a woman Bess S. based out of Ft Lauderdale, FL. She knew immediately my son was experiencing extreme anxiety and he was having difficulty breathing and calming down. For the next 2 1/2 hours as the flight continued, she watched over him, checked on him, talked to him, knelt next to him, held his hand, told him that she had flown for 30 years and that everything would be okay and that the worst was over. She called the Captain (we learned his name was Captain Charlie), a 45 year experienced pilot. She told him that he wanted to meet us after the flight and he did. The Captain explained what we experienced and helped explain that sometimes this happens and reassured him the plane was built to handle this type of situation although my son was adamant he would never fly again. Bess shared her contact information with me and said if my son had any trouble or fear, to have him call her.

Now my challenge was getting my son back to PHX. We watched the SE weather religiously and rebooked several flights and finally made a last minute decision to board US AIR #450 on April 20 as that my best hope for a positive experience on the return. Get this, my son texted Bess the night before the flight and she called him right back. She told him everything would be fine, the weather looked clear and she recommended we get to the airport early. She looked up the crew to see if she knew them. She told me it was a PHX based crew and told me to request to pre-board and have us talk with the pilots and lead flight attendant. We did that and now we had another amazing experience with the Crew on US AIR #450. Lead Flight attendant Callie (22 years flying) introduced my son to Captain Brian and First Officer Steve. They spent time with him, told him that we were re-routed, showed him our flight plan, reassured him we would fly around the weather, and then we should have a clear flight after the first hour. We did have moderate turbulence in first hour but it was smooth for the next 4 hours. Callie was just as amazing. She checked on my son the entire flight, told him the pilots wanted to check on how he was doing, explained in advance why the seat belt sign was going on to manage his anxiety and continued to look after him. After we landed in PHX, I received a text from Bess. She wanted to make sure we got home safe. That is just above and beyond the call of duty! She is just amazing.

I just want you to know that you have some amazing employees and I hope you can share this with them and thank them for us. My son said if he ever flies again it would only be on USAIR. You gained a lifelong customer despite the trauma he experienced. My hope for my son was to reassure him that this was a rare event and I didn’t want this to prevent him from traveling the world and be fearful of flying.

4/ 17 USAIR 567 Captain Charlie and Lead Flight Attendant Bess S PHX TO MCO
4/ 20 USAIR 450 Captain Brian, F.O Steve, Lead Flight Attendant Callie with Caroline, Jay and Jeff

I hope that perhaps you could recognize them and thank them for their outstanding service. I don’t have their last names so I cannot thank them personally. Please share if you can.

Best regards and thank you.

These 2 saved our lives!!! US AIR’s FINEST!!!

Since this happened, we have developed a life long friendship with Bess and we talk and text often. She knew that I wasn’t losing my mind or exaggerating– she told me that was the worst turbulence she had ever experienced and she’s been a flight attendant for 30 years! Ah — validation that I’m not crazy!

I didn’t expect a response to my letter to the CEO’s of American and USAIR, but I got one approximately 6 weeks later. Bess called me. She told me her supervisor told her “Bess, a letter that was received about you from a passenger.” Next was the phone call to me from American Airlines letting me know they received my letter and asked if they could share and publish our story in their June 18th company newsletter. I said, of course. Then another call just came December 11th asking me if they could have permission to share the story.

Journalist Ted Reed just published an article on the top 6 best airline customer service stories of 2015 and our story was selected and featured in www.thestreet.com. Read more here. http://www.thestreet.com/story/13398522/2/top-six-airline-customer-service-moments-of-2015.html

On top of that, the story hit American Airlines Facebook and Instagram Feeds and has over 7000 likes, 250 shares and hundreds of comments. Even Chasen who follows American on Instagram saw his pic and wrote, “hey, that’s me.”

Little did I know that my letter would create all of this attention. I just wanted them to know that they had some amazing people who worked for them who helped us get through this ordeal well after the initial flight.

We did end up flying home from Florida. I have flown 3 times since April, but my son isn’t quite ready. When he is, we will create the trust again with short flights and go from there. Although I was a little anxious at first, I made a decision to overcome it and remind myself how many other times I flew and never had this kind of experience. (Did I mention, I made sure to fly first class so I could order a stiff drink before take off, LOL).

Severe turbulence is rare and Captain Charlie told us we would most likely never have a flight like that again in our lives. THANK GOD ☺. I do know now, after getting more educated and speaking with so many pilots – including my best friend Chris from high school (30+ year pilot who flies all over the world) that a front is something they try to avoid but sometimes do encounter if they can’t get around it. But the planes are built to handle it and we should not worry at all. Turbulence are just like speed bumps in the road when you are driving. We just happened to get a doozy of a speed bump that day!

It would make me feel better if you have a similar experience to share so I know we aren’t the only ones! Send to deargina@ginaweber.com and I will share!

Love Gina. Keep flying! We will!

Bess

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