Wednesday, August 15, 2012

FIERCE & Famous: Helen Gurley Brown

Back in the day when I was an actual journalist, I had this idea that writing about sex would be the ultimate job.

I was inspired by Anka Radokovich, and even more so by former Cosmo editor, Helen Gurley Brown, who inspired a generation of women to have GREAT sex on their terms. 

I wanted to BE Anka and BE Helen. These women were FIERCE! 

Even though Helen lived to a ripe old age of 90, her passing on Aug. 13, 2012, caused me to reflect and see how far women have come (hahah yep, pun intended) in regards to being comfortable when it comes (bahahahaah) to talking about sex.

Sex, fucking, making love; it's all supposed to be something we can enjoy without the guilt yet so many women still have problems talking about it or, worse, even laughing about it.

I'm 37 so I've got a few years experience when it comes (HA!) to sex. I like to talk about it, make inappropriate comments in regards to it, and especially turn the most innocent comments on Twitter into a sexual innuendo.


Because (mostly) it makes people laugh. Those who are offended usually have sexual hang up *cough* in my humble opinion.

Everyone has sex. EVERYONE. And everyone masturbates or gets off in one way or another so as long as you're not hurting anyone (unless you're into that), or involving kids or animals (so not acceptable by any standards), then sex SHOULD be something that is enjoyed by all.

What I was 18 and just discovering sex (yes, shocker, I was a virgin until 3 months before my 18th birthday), having Helen say that it was OK for single women to enjoy sex, made my lack of inhibitions feel normal. I never felt like a slut because I didn't wait for a relationship to enjoy sex. I never cared about what other girls thought about me or said about me. I did what I wanted on my terms and enjoyed my single life (thanks Cosmo!).

When I applied to college, my entrance essay was on the taboos of single women having sex and the stigma attached to one-night stands, something I could never understand considering the same labels being applied to women were not stamped on men.

My argument was that in the 1700s, women were burned at the stakes if they appeared to enjoy sex. They were labelled "witches" because clearly women who orgasmed had to have some magical powers. 

I got into college based on that essay (and my sparkling personality) and seriously considered switching my career path from sports writing to being a sexpert of some sort.

I even had an idea for a book based on me and my friends but I never wrote it. A few years later when I was working at a daily paper as a sports scribe, Sex and the City became popular. To this day, I can't see that goddamn show without kicking myself.

Without women like Helen, I often wonder how much longer it would have taken to get to where we are. We've come (BAHAHAHA!) so far since the sexual revolution but we still have a ways to go when it comes to acceptance and removing taboos.

And I'm not talking about 50 Shades of Grey, either. There is far better erotica out there, ladies. All you have to do is google it.

Thanks Helen. Thank you for getting us this far. Rest in peace you naughty girl!

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Monday, July 30, 2012

FIERCE & Famous: Eleanor Roosevelt

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. 
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I am in awe of Eleanor Roosevelt for the genius gem of a quote right here, and although I am nowhere near as refined as Ms. Roosevelt, I would like to offer my own personal spin on what she is saying.


When your conversations veer off on a path of gossipy bullshit, you need to grab control of that conversation and recognize that you're being a catty bitch.

It's not easy, I know. Trust me, it's simple to talk about other people and find fault in how they're living their lives; gossip rags and websites wouldn't be in business if society didn't thrive on picking apart celebrities on a daily basis.


And this is a BIG ASS however...

Your conversations don't need to be that small or petty, YOU have control of what you and your friends talk about. If one friend starts in on the, "OMG did you hear (blah blah) is cheating on (blah blah)??" you can steer that conversation away to, "OMG did you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds!!??"

Conversations that you are having for the sake of TALKING about other people are pointless.

To some degree, we all like gossip whether it's Robsten and their big cheating scandal (le gasp), or sharing with our closest friends "secrets" about our other friends, it's gossip on some level.

Where does it end? 

If you find yourself CRAVING gossip, NEEDING to talk about other people whether or not they are celebrities or friends or even family, you need to figure out what the fuck is so wrong in your own life or that you are missing that you can't find anything better to discuss than other people.

Try this...

The next time you're out with your friends or with a group of peers, watch who brings up the gossip and ask them why they feel the need to bring it up.

Sometimes people don't even realize they are being so petty and just need a slap back to reality.

You can do it.

YOU have a great mind.


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

FIERCE & Famous: Audrey Hepburn

84 days until the 2012 FIERCE awards and I have a great new blog idea! Each week I will be posting famous FIERCE women who live/lived a FIERCE life.

Audrey Hepburn is our first in this series because she was an original FIERCE woman.

She exuded class, charm, grace and blazed her own trail, focusing more on her humanitarian efforts than her Hollywood career.

She knew who she was and she made no apologies to anyone.

Who do you want to see featured?

Who do YOU want to honour this year? 

You have until Aug. 31 to get your nominations in for the 2012 FIERCE Women of the Year awards presented by Edmonton City Centre Mall.

We're bringing the WOW factor this year thanks to our amazing sponsors including Focus CommunicationsElegant TouchesRiver Cree Resort & CasinoSimplee Serene, and Sparkle ~ Passion Style. 


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Monday, July 23, 2012

Beyond the Rear View Mirror

Shelley Streit was a sponsor at the
2011 FIERCE Women of  Year awards
Image via
I've had a lot of friends and acquaintances publish books lately and when I read their very personal stories, it seems weird in some ways because that person is actually real to me.

Does that make sense?

It's not like when you read a celebrity bio and go, "Ah, yeh, I know who she is," and feel somewhat connected to that person, it's more like you have coffee with someone and they hand you their life story to read.

I literally just finished reading Shelley Streit's book Beyond the Rear View Mirror and am impressed with how raw and vulnerable she is in telling her story. Shelley came into my life last year as a Facebook friend. I didn't know her other than maybe we exchanged tweets but one night, after venting my frustration with the lack of sponsors for the FIERCE awards and not knowing how I was going to make that event happen, she popped up in a Facebook chat saying, "How can I help you?"

My response was one of suspicion. 

I have (had, actually, I'm working to overcome that) a tough time trusting that people will offer help without expecting something in return or having serious ulterior motives so when I told Shelley that I was fine, hoping to brush her off, I was taken aback by her persistence to want to help me.

She immediately took a sponsorship and I sat in shock when I got a Paypal notice from her. I think I actually cried because I was so confused/moved by this generous offer from her. What I have learned since meeting her and having a few conversations with her is that she has a huge heart and will not say something she doesn't mean.

I've also seen her speak and let me tell you, she can captivate an audience.

I went to Shelley's book launch in April (yes, I have only just had a chance to read it), and have watched her soar, making opportunities and taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to her.


Shelley had a pretty shitty childhood and is not close with her mother. 

She made choices in her life that got her to where she is today and they weren't always easy.

She got through certain situations by going into survival mode.
She's suffered through depression and been in the darkest place possible.
She has dug pretty fuckin' deep into herself to shift her mindset and become the FIERCE woman she is today. 

I can relate to Shelley on every single level; our stories are very similar yet vastly different.

Go. Get the book. You will thank me later.

Oh, and among the many things Shelley has accomplished (besides launching the book, being a mom, and being an entrepreneur) was launching the Real Growth Retreat last spring. From what I've been hearing, it was quite the success! I'm going this year to learn from other women and I hope to see you there. Check THAT out, too.


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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Make Jen's Day

Jen Banks via
I love being inspired by other women!

Jen Banks is a self-professed techy, geek mom who is covered in tattoos and likes her wine. She is also someone who's compassion and generosity caught the attention of the Twitterverse when she posted a blog called, "Go Ahead, Make My Day."

This blog caught my attention because of Jen's selfless act of kindness and turning what should be a day of celebrating her into a day of helping other people.
Sunday, July 22nd is my birthday and I have only one wish: 
I wish that all of my friends, family, Twitter followers, FB friends, blog readers and even people in my Google + circles take a moment this weekend to give something to charity.
Give your time, give food, give diapers, give formula, give clothing, give money, give breast milk. What you give doesn’t matter as much as helping someone who needs it. 
When you give, take a picture. Then make sure I see it.
Tweet it using the #makejensday hashtag
Join the Make Jen’s Day Facebook page and post your photos on the wall
Use the #makejensday hashtag on Instagram.
Write a blog post about your experience and link back to this post
Email it:
She wrote the post after helping out someone in need and recognizing that she had been helped her at various times in her life. For that, I have mad respect.

Jen is a perfect example of someone who is making a difference.

Happy birthday Jen! May all of your birthday wishes come true!


P.S. If this doesn't get Jen nominated for a FIERCE award I don't know what will. Totally FIERCE in my humble opinion. 

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Going Blue 4U

Image via SimpleeSerene
One of my most favourite FIERCE women to talk about is Lee Horbachewski. 

I love telling her story and sharing who she is with the world because her strength, resilience, compassion, and light make her relatable and endearing to so many people who have suffered through depression.

Lee struggled for many years with whether or not she should openly discuss the fact that she tried to commit suicide after a dark battle with depression. People would ask her, "Do you really want to be known as the 'Suicide Girl?'"

She shared her story on her blog, through speaking engagements and finally wrote a book called A Quiet Strong Voice which she recently launched in Calgary, AB.

In it, she shares her pain, her struggles, even her suicide note that she left for her friends and family. Towards the end of the book, she offers a chapter called, "Your Personal Reflection," which is a place for you to put your own thoughts through a series of questions, plus she offers resources and help for people in distress.

This book is more than a story. It's a guide for anyone who has ever suffered with depression. It's a book I wish I had when I was going through my own personal journey.

Lee is determined to change the stigma of depression and suicide, and she created a campaign called "Going Blue 4 U.

This campaign is a FUN way to bring awareness to mental illness. You can donate directly through the website or raise money and dye your hair blue! Right now, Lee has a fundraiser going on to raise money for Going Blue 4 U. Check it out!

I'm also giving away a signed copy of Lee's book. All YOU have to do is leave a comment on the blog. I will randomly draw a winner on July 31.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What are you waiting for?

You Are Loved by Josh Groban on Grooveshark

I have a real problem with waiting.

I hate waiting to "be happy" or waiting to tell someone I love them. I don't like waiting to live life or waiting for a reason to celebrate.

Have you ever been to a funeral and heard all of the wonderful things that are said about a person and the life they lived?

Or after someone passes away, the outpouring of heartfelt emotions that are rarely shared when the person is alive?

Not waiting is one of the reasons I created the FIERCE Women of the Year awards. I refuse to wait to tell my friends that I love them. I don't care how uncomfortable it makes them to hear it or how much I look like Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man.

Shit needs to be said.

It's like those tributes at the Oscars or Grammys celebrating the lives of celebs who have OD'd passed away; nice, sweet, awwww so touching.


How about CELEBRATE the people you love, right now, at this moment. 

Cheer them on! Champion their accomplishments! Show them how much their life matters while they are ALIVE to be see it.

When I heard the news that Christine Jarvis, our first-ever Graceful Goddess recipient, was killed, I was devastated but I kept reminding myself that I got the chance to honour her life while she was here. Chris was more than a FIERCE winner, she was the woman who I counted on to make sure my kids were taken care of when I needed to schedule them with the pediatrician she  worked for. She watched me launch MOM Magazine and encouraged me when I launched FIERCE. Our brief visits at the doctor's office led to a sweet relationship through Facebook and I watched her share her life through pictures and posts. She was always genuinely happy, thoughtful, positive and maternal. She never expected anything in return for her charitable efforts, she was the proudest mom I know, and she quietly lived a full life.

I know the award meant a lot to her and she was humbled by the recognition but now that she's gone, it's one of the things I'm most proud of in my life.

Don't wait until it's too late to recognize the people in your life.

Nominations for the 2012 FIERCE Women of the Year awards are open until Aug, 31 to Alberta women. The event will be dedicated to the memory of Christine and I know she will be smiling and clapping along there with us.


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