Valentine’s Day: The Challenge

“To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written.” ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau



I saw the fear in his eyes as I issued the words. No, it wasn’t the “challenge” – being an analytical thinker & a gamer, he loves puzzles- but the words which followed as I expressed, “Write me a letter for Valentine’s Day. From the heart.”

A few weeks ago, as Walton Boy and I were shopping, we watched shelves in stores begin to burst at the seams with cherry red hearts, cotton candy pink frothy cards, and flowery cursive expressions cascading off chocolate hearts and gummy cupids as they spilled over the shelves. Yes, Valentine’s Day. I knew then as his grip tightened over my hand the stress of expectation had begun. Now, understand we have already survived birthdays, the holidays, and the occasional “just because I love you” moments and succeeded with flying colors. However, I just had a feeling he would dread this more than a root canal. So, without hesitation, I turned to him and said, “I know what I want to do for Valentine’s Day. Forget cards, gifts, flowers, and meals by candlelight. Simply, I want us to write each other a letter, from the heart, as a special gift for the holiday.” I know he was pretty skeptical, he even asked about it one night when we were doing dishes, but I remained firm and reissued my request, “A letter from the heart. Nothing more, nothing less.”

In our life, love enters our world daily. His job as a musician is based partially on other’s love as he plays at weddings, dances, and even tonight, at a Valentine’s Dinner/Dance Event And, as I “save the world” daily, as he puts it, I open my heart to making a difference in the lives of students, organizations and sometimes the world. But this is a challenge for us to take time to really say it.

You may be thinking (and I suspect he did too) easy thing for her…She writes all the time, she was an English major, she is a girl and it will just come natural.
Not exactly, dear reader. In fact, during those weeks, I started and re-started several drafts and they just didn’t come out right. Sometimes it seemed too corny, sometimes too serious, sometimes just too stupid. Even now as I sit and look at the final copy sealed next to me on the desk, I wonder if it really is good enough. In the words of Alanis Morissette, Isn’t it Ironic?

However, after multiple drafts, I thought back to my initial decree. Write a letter. From the heart. Simple. So, I wrote from the heart why I love him.
Why I know in my heart, he has been the best gift I ever could have prayed for, wished for, or dreamed about in my imaginary fairy tale or reality. Why in a universe of a million stars, we managed to find each other and shine brighter together then we ever could have alone in this world. Why I know it was worth waiting and surviving other loves (and loss), when his love was eventually the one which exceeded all expectation in my life….and there is more. However, that is between the two of us, because not everything should be shared.

Today, in a world of technology, thousands of texts, posts, blogs, tweets, and emails will be sent across the wire (and wirelessly) expressing love, passion and the occasional realization of disgust over a holiday that gives more couples, singles, and those who witness it heartburn. But hopefully many of you will stop and realize the greatest gift today is what is burning from the heart.

Remember, it isn’t about the romance or expectation of commercialism, but more the gratitude, appreciation, and devotion you feel for your significant other, spouse, partner, child, parent, friend, or even your pet!

So there remains The Challenge. The Letter. The chance to give a gift of love. Simple. Pick up your pen, and make the decision.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Make it divalicious…


Gwinnett Girl 101

Hello, it’s 5am and I am finally doing this. After a year of posting on social media airwaves, we’re going to get down & detailed (and a little more personal). This is following lots of advice, encouragement, and downright guilty pleasure from awesome friends, colleagues, my well-intentioned parental units up in Michigan & one Walton Boy(more about him later) to “Just write it already!!” After all, I am the Gwinnett Girl.

Well, I could say how fabulously busy I have been, or that timing & web analysis had to be just right…but I can’t lie. It shows all over my face, trust me on this one, so truth is I was totally scared. Yup, fabu me with the good advice, the where to go, what to do, & who to know got a good case of the scaredy cat flu and spent a year – oh yeah, one pathetic LONG year hiding, starting & stopping blog entries, bugging friends for validation, & gifting myself a big old non-returnable complex that it wasn’t “good enough”…yet. Then this week it hit me. Somewhere around Sugarloaf Parkway & Satellite, I looked up and saw the lightbulb. (Not a cell tower or lights from NCR – a real A-HA moment) One of my biggest appeals isn’t just the advice, but who was behind Gwinnett Girl. the girl. Promise this is not one big self-serving dose of ego but really, why not SHARE amidst the stellar “Guide to Gwinnett,” a little more about who drives this weird pink & sometimes purple & green Cadillac of Divalicious. Some info on this Little (BIG) County I have grown to love in 4 awesome years.

I came up with “Gwinnett Girl” around 2009 and in what is now typical fashion, launched the “brand” via social media officially in 2010 in November. My real birthday month was a blur as I launched the logo, the fun, the party, Facebook page and a cool Twitter feed and began the dream to create the “Who’s Who, What’s What, and Why we love Gwinnett.” And it stuck. There are about 700 listeners & understanding fans out there who seem to think I have something good. (gee, no wonder I freaked out as a complex people pleaser) From the first day good friends dubbed me “GG” (thank you Sparkle Goddess, Earth Mama, StilettoMama, GwinnettBigSis and several other assorted Gwinnett Superheroes) I now spend my “free time” (for those who know me, stop laughing) posting about good things to do, where to go, & support of local businesses, events, people, and other sage advice because I decided one fine day that I was growing weary of hearing people say, “There is NOTHING to do, see, go, be, have fun in Gwinnett.” So.NOT.True. I tell people (and lucky you) when I moved here from a “Northern City of Brotherly Love” in 2007 1) never stepping foot in Atlanta, especially Gwinnett County for that matter; 2) knowing NOBODY and 3) “falling madly in love” with this crazy place, which took a hold of my heart and never let go. Fast forward to 2011 – am a little more than “connected” in Gwinnett and still residing as one of the biggest advocates and self-appointed cheerleader for this 800k plus melting pot extravaganza place I call home. So, I started the Facebook page and continued tweeting (@GwinnettGirl) and the fan base grew, and I started to get called on by people I expected to catch on and others who blew me out of the park. Encountered challenges, but made them opportunities – and gained advice from some awesome social media gurus on how to wrap my arms around this thing. Also, had distractions – good and unexpected but as many distractions do knock you in the head, necessary. I changed jobs, started writing again, adjusted some work/life balance & commitments, and met a guy- you will get to know him online as Walton Boy – who helped prod me along on this weird project despite my own internal self-conscious doubts.

But who am I? Well, I am an only child who is a former introvert turned extrovert (seriously – ask my friends in middle & high school), love eating banana peppers out of the jar, addicted to words & writing (hello, college English major), social media-savvy goddess, have a guilty love of scavenger hunts, skee-ball, stilettos (cute & functional, as I am 5’2), and using fabulous means to make the world über DIVALICIOUS (my “signature” term for something so ultimately cool you can’t resist it & must combust into spontaneous SQUEES of joy & rapture) Exactly. Some may find this too cutesy, or girly, or utterly mindless. Well, it’s me and although I am serious, stately, & refined – I save that for my day job and important GG professional matters but online, it fits me just fine. There is more.

For instance, why I love donning sparkly accessories or putting my best fashion foot forward while wearing my fave pair of yoga pants. Or those super suggestions to get networked or connected and survive another benefit, event, celebration, festival with panache. Or the “Gwinnett Gems” discovered in local shops, events, history, super fun locations, foodie/social media addictions and more. Or, how I wake up every day to save the world. (Truth serum: I really do)
But that is for another blog or two…I promise not to make you wait a year. In fact, I bet my “inner circle” of coaches and friends, who have finally come to after passing out with this published blog post, will now really light the fire under my stilettos. And I will write more.

Ready for this? Let’s go!