Barbie Is a Feminist


Growing up, Barbie made me feel like I could do anything. Barbie was an astronaut, a teacher, a firefighter, a police officer, a pilot, a paleontologist, a business executive, a veterinarian, a pediatrician, a Nascar driver, a movie star, and a rock star. She was even President!

Being extremely accomplished and versatile in all her chosen careers, Barbie was completely independent and did not need to rely on a man to take care of her. In fact, Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken, doesn’t even have boy parts. I can’t think of anything more feminist than having a boyfriend who has been castrated. We definitely know who wears the pants in that relationship! It was Barbie, not Ken, who owned the Malibu Dream House and the Pink Corvette (which, according to all the pictures I’ve seen, I don’t think he was ever even allowed to drive). Barbie was gorgeous, successful, and also looked like she was having the time of her life.

My own mother grew up poor and had always wanted but never owned a Barbie of her own, so she made sure my sister and I were part of the popular Barbie culture. I’ll never forget the Christmas that Santa brought me my Barbie Dream House. I have pictures of me hugging the home with a huge smile on my face. I also had a Malibu Surf Shop where Barbie and Midge could rent rollerblades to skate along the beach. I owned an ice cream shop where Barbie could hang with her friends and also a stage where she could perform with her band, the Rockers. Decades later, little girls are still loving their Barbie dolls. My niece squealed with delight when she opened up the mermaid Barbie I bought her for Christmas last year. I would never give my niece a toy that I felt would affect her self-esteem in any way.

The main criticism of Barbie is that her unrealistic body proportions are blamed for causing self-esteem issues in young girls. The original Barbie doll was a fashion model, which explains the long legs, large bust and tiny waist. Clothes tend to look best on this body type, and part of the fun of playing with Barbie was dressing her in fabulous outfits. At the time Barbie was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler, most dolls were babydolls and little girls would play with them acting out the role of a mother. Barbie broke traditional roles, representing a woman who had more choices than being a wife and mother. She was the first doll that wasn’t a baby, a child or a cartoon character. She was a full grown glamorous, cosmopolitan career woman, which girls like me found very exciting, imagining what we would be like when we grew up. However, I never once compared my body to Barbie–I knew she was just a doll.  Rather than fixating on her figure, I was more focused on how I would someday get the Malibu Dream House.

Interestingly enough, according to the American Association of University Women, girls begin to lose their self-esteem during puberty, which coincidentally is also the time they give up their Barbies. I think all girls naturally become more self-conscious of their bodies during puberty, which has more to do with our bodies developing and changing, and less to do with Barbie. Although I didn’t compare my body to my Barbie dolls, I do remember being about ten years old and noticing that most of the girls in my class were thinner than I was. I also admired the very glamorous Supermodels of the ‘90s, and hoped one day I would be as beautiful as Cindy Crawford. It was lucky for me, and girls everywhere who also loved Cindy, that she came out with her very own workout video, helping women everywhere to shape their bodies. Although I never grew to be 5’9 like Cindy, I exercised to the video religiously every day in my living room and learned to eat healthy, taking control and being proactive about my body issues. Today I am a professional Pilates instructor, helping other people achieve their fitness goals and work through similar issues.

On a side note, models and fashion magazines are also often criticized for contributing to the issues we women have with our bodies, and I believe they definitely do have an influence on us. Some women feel threatened or pressured to look a certain way when they see images in magazines, but I appreciate and feel inspired by beauty, knowing that I will never be as thin as Kate Moss, but maybe that color lipstick or dress she’s wearing will look good on me. I would argue that the very business savvy Cindy Crawford, who also happened to be the valedictorian of her high school class, was a feminist like Barbie, smart and beautiful with a message of empowerment for girls everywhere.

Before I get back to Barbie, I do want to mention that I believe beauty comes in all shapes and ethnicities. Barbie, tall and blonde, is just one example of beauty.  Being half-Latina, I’m happy to see Barbie is now offered in several different ethnicities. Growing up, my sister had a Mexican Barbie she loved and identified with more than the blonde dolls. Since I don’t have Barbie’s proportions, I am thankful to curvy girls like J. Lo, Kim Kardashian, and Beyonce who have made being “bootylicious,” something I was once ashamed of, quite fashionable now.

The definition of a feminist is a person who advocates equal rights for women. Nowhere does the term specify what a feminist should look or dress like. So please don’t hate Barbie because she’s beautiful. If Barbie was judged solely on her resume, I think everyone would agree with me that she is indeed a feminist. She has done so much more to inspire and empower me than any of my other childhood toys, and she happened to beautiful. Personally, I was never threatened by Barbie’s beauty or body and don’t think she is to blame for self-esteem issues. If anything, I have Barbie to thank for my fascination with all things Malibu, which may have subconsciously led me to my Pepperdine education. Thank you, Barbie, for all the memories and making me feel like the possibilities for my future were endless♥

**Originally published on 2014**


Fireworks & Butterflies

Fireworks & Butterflies

I’ve attended Christine Hassler’s monthly group coaching sessions four times now. Christine is always very insightful, and Tuesday night was no exception. This month, she was discussing my favorite topic, love and relationships. Christine shared a quote from Antione de Saint-Exupery, which was coincidentally something my long-term ex-boyfriend often said to me, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction.” In other words, in a perfect relationship, both people should constantly be evolving and moving forward together, which I totally agree with. However, as I told my ex, of course I’m all for evolving and moving forward, but I didn’t want him to ever stop gazing in my eyes.

Since fireworks and butterflies are what I’m about, I was a little perplexed by Christine’s theory that when we meet someone and feel “sparks,” it is usually because, according to her, our “insecurities are attracted to each other.” I’d like to think some of us are more intuitive than that, and no disrespect, maybe some of us aren’t that insecure. I don’t doubt this theory is true in some instances, but it’s horrible to think that we can’t actually see sparks by seeing the love and light in another person. What happened to Namaste? The Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you. Those are the sparks I’m talking about!

When I expressed at the coaching session how I believe sparks could turn into something deeper, the girls seemed to think I lived in some fantasy world (maybe I do, but it’s totally working for me!). I’m realistic in the sense that I understand that no one is perfect, people make mistakes, there may be conflict, and we all have wounds. Also, that after the dopamine we release when we first fall in love wears off, we may have to work a little harder to keep the fire burning. However, what I learned from A Course in Miracles is that moment when you lock eyes with someone and are blinded by their light, that moment is what is real. The illusion actually comes later in the relationship when the ego creeps in and brings out our wounds to the surface. The universe brings us together in relationships to heal ourselves and each other in order for us to grow into our highest potential. It doesn’t hurt if your partner makes your head spin in the process.

Relationships are like a mirror in that the love you feel for another person is really a reflection of all the love you have inside of you. I’m always feeling fireworks with the men I fall for, so it’s quite possible that I’m the one bringing the fireworks to the table. Wayne Dyer says, “What you want to do is work hard at creating the exact thoughts in your mind towards others that will match up with the kind of relationship you wish to have.” Since I want magic, I seek to make every relationship I’m in as magical as possible. Marianne Williamson has an amazing book on this subject called Enchanted Love, which I highly recommend. She says, “If there isn’t fire, it isn’t love.”  You see, every fire begins with a spark!

Realizing that I’m not the most practical person, especially in matters of the heart, I decided to get a few other opinions on this topic. First I asked professional matchmaker Chelsea Autumn, who said she did not agree at all with Christine’s theory about sparks. Chelsea not only runs Queen of Hearts, Inc., where she has matched hundreds of happy couples, she also has a degree in psychology and was one of the stars of Millionaire Matchmaker, so when it comes to dating and relationships, I really value her opinion. Next I asked one of my most happily married clients who told me that there were definitely some serious sparks happening when she met her hubby. She’s been married for 28 years now, and she and her husband have two lovely children. My very wise ex-boyfriend, who I’m still great friends with, called me as I was writing this, so I thought I would see what his opinion was. He said, “That’s absurd–sparks are essential. People live for sparks!” The best response by far was from my very quotable dad when I asked him if he saw fireworks when he met my mom. He said he saw “cannons blasting through the air.” I guess we girls see fireworks, but the men who love us see cannons.

Christine went on to say that relationship expert Allison Armstrong (who I’m not familiar with) advises us that on a scale of 1-10, we should run when we feel sparks 8 or above, and we should pay more attention to those who are more of a 5 or 6. It kind of sounded ridiculous to me that I should blow off the men I have great chemistry with and go out with the men I’m less excited about. I guess it boils down to what type of girl you are.  Do you want to settle down as soon as possible, pop out some babies, and make muffins? Or are you craving excitement, adventure, and open to the infinite possibilities the universe may bring? I think you know where I stand.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced major sparks with someone and it didn’t work out, but I’m proud to say that actually I’ve had some 10’s show up for me like no other, and unfortunately, I’ve given some less exciting guys a chance who have turned out to be flakes. Regardless, I think the number on your spark-a-meter is not the best gauge of whether or not someone is a good match for you.

Here are my three most important criteria–you know I won’t steer you wrong:

  1.  How is he showing up for you?

Is he doing nice things for you, taking you on nice dates, giving you lots of attention? In my blog “The Truth about Men Will Set You Free,” I discussed how men prove their love by doing sweet things for their women. Dr. Pat Allen says that a man has a desire to produce into the appetite of a woman he loves. I am beyond grateful to be a woman who has inspired men to produce for me time and time again.

  1.  Does he make you want to be a better person?

Does he just want to get drunk and party with you or does he inspire you to grow? For instance, my long term ex loved to discuss books, take me to lectures, and museums. He encouraged me to go back to school and also to be a writer (even though it took me several years to listen to him).

  1.  Do you love who you are when you’re around him?

Do you feel happy and free and more like your authentic self around him? If so, that is a great sign!  If he makes you feel insecure or anxious more than you feel happy–he’s not the one. Blow him a kiss, and wish him well knowing that the universe will send you someone better suited for you.

Lastly, always remember that our thoughts create our reality. Therefore, we will manifest whatever we believe to be true. Since I had a traumatic experience when I got married very young, I’m not 100% sure I want to walk down that road again, but I am open to the possibility. I’ve always intended to create a fun, exciting, magical love life, and that is exactly what I’ve gotten. We can have whatever type of relationship we want whether it’s passion and fireworks or babies and cupcakes. So ladies, if you believe in magic, you will experience magic–why settle for a 5, when you can manifest a 10?


**Originally Published on February 2013**


What If You’re Just Not That into Him?


While I think the content and message were great, I have a little bit of an issue with the title He’s Just Not That Into You. Words are very powerful, and if I were to have written the book, I would have phrased the message in a way that is much more empowering to women. Perhaps, Why Would You Be Into Him? Why would any girl want a man who doesn’t call, doesn’t take her on nice dates, doesn’t make time for her, etc. While He’s Not Into You is a much more shocking catch phrase and was wildly successful (and even adapted into a movie), my concern is that the terminology leaves women across America feeling rejected instead of showing them what they should be looking for in a man. Since there’s been so much talk about him not being into you, let’s discuss what to do when you’re not that into him.

We girls always want to be kind when telling a guy we aren’t interested, so often we make up an excuse instead of directly saying I’m not interested, which could be hurtful. The most common excuse, and the one I use most, is to say I have a boyfriend. If I genuinely like someone and wouldn’t mind spending time with him but don’t think we are compatible romantically, I might suggest being friends. However, girls, never tell a guy you have no intention of seeing again, “Let’s just be friends,” because he will probably keep texting you trying to hang “as friends.” I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so for all the men whom I’ve been telling I’m too busy to date, please know it’s not an excuse, it’s actually true! But, girls, you can always say you are busy. Keep in mind, if he really likes you, he will still keep texting to see when you are free.

An ex-boyfriend once told me that I should tell men that I was “in love” because guys don’t really care if you have a boyfriend. Although he was correct that some men don’t respect when you are in a relationship, I thought that response was too dramatic to say to someone if he simply had asked for my phone number. For years, I’ve been saying “I have a boyfriend” instead of saying, “I’m just not interested,” but guys will usually come back with lines like “I’m not jealous” or “We could still have lunch.” I’ll respond “I’m sorry, I can’t” and that is usually enough. However, every once in a while there’s a guy who comes along that you have to be more direct with and let him know that you’re just not that into him.

About two years ago, I started receiving random flowers and notes on my car, which was parked outside the club where I work. Although my admirer left his name and phone number, I wasn’t sure exactly who he was and wasn’t interested in dating anyone from the club, so I never called. A few months later, one of my clients tried to set me up with my admirer. I told her I was not interested, but my client told me she thought he was a really cool guy and that we should be totally be friends. I had a boyfriend at the time, so I told her I wasn’t opposed to a friendship at work, but that I spent all my free time with my guy, so I couldn’t see her friend outside of the club.

The day after my then boyfriend and I broke up, my admirer must have gotten wind of the news because he left another letter along with chocolates (which had melted from the sun) on my car. The letter he left said that my client had very nice things to say about me and asked if we could please be friends. With my client in the middle, I felt I should be polite and send the guy a thank you text. He responded asking if I would meet him for a drink. Although I was a little hesitant to say yes, in the end, I decided to go feeling it would at least distract me from thinking about my very fresh breakup.

At the bar, after just a few short minutes, this guy I had never spoken to in my life started to tell me he loved me. I should mention he is from India where arranged marriages are not uncommon even today, so I wasn’t sure if this was a cultural thing or if the guy was loco. He explained that he had been trying to meet me for a long time but no one at the club would give him an introduction. (Maybe they all sensed he was a little bit off?) It was now already April, but my admirer handed me a purse that he had bought for me when he went to visit family in India over Christmas, never knowing when he would have the opportunity to give it to me. (He could have just left it on my car!)

This all may sound sweet and romantic to you, but because I wasn’t into him (plus the fact I don’t like commitment talk on the first date), I started to feel really anxious. He expressed that he wanted a future with me and told me he wanted to take me on camping trips all over the world. (The guy obviously didn’t know me. The last time I went camping was with the Brownies, and I quit the group after that experience, telling my mom we would just stick to room service.) I didn’t want to lead this love-stricken guy on, so I told him that we could be friends, but I was still not over my breakup, and aside from that, he was far too young for me (about four years younger). He continued to express his love for me and texted later that night saying he spoke to his dad in India and that his dad approves of our age difference. Later I received another text saying that his cousin married a woman ten years older, and they are very happy together. (Wow, that makes me feel a lot better about things!)

What started out as cute and flattering quickly turned annoying, with him texting me at work asking if he could bring me coffee or have lunch with me at the club. Obviously, his days were much more leisurely than mine. He was starting to stress me out when I needed to be focusing on work. I’m not sure what my exact words were since it was so long ago, but I eventually did succeed at getting him to leave me alone for the most part.

However, every once in awhile I would continue to receive random texts like, “You should love the man who loves you, not the one you love,” or “Just so you know, someone out there loves you and is thinking of you.” I chose to ignore the majority of these messages up until a couple weeks ago–I suppose I forgot how pushy and persistent he had been in the past. When he texted asking if he could take me out, I used my usual “I have a boyfriend” excuse. He then told me he loved me more than my boyfriend and said that even though I have a boyfriend, we could still hang as friends. I told him that I’m sorry, but I really don’t have the time. At that point, he started to bribe me to hang with him and later expressed that he wanted to hold me in his arms. I figured I needed to be more direct and told him, “Sorry, I’m not interested.” He responded to let him know if I ever changed my mind. I wanted to text him that I never will, but I thought that would be mean, so I simply didn’t answer.

A couple days later, I received a text from him asking if I gave any thought to what he said, and I told him, once again, that I wasn’t interested. He then said that he loved me and no one would have to know. Here is where I’ll be honest and admit that I could have done better and responded in a way that was more spiritually aligned. However, after two years of this guy not taking no for an answer, I was starting to become frustrated. I replied, “Yuck! Lose my number,” to which he responded, “Why can’t we be friends with benefits?” Totally offended, but remembering to be kind, I said, “Please don’t text me ever again.” (Well, maybe it wasn’t that kind, but I did say “please.”) He said, “Ok,” and thankfully, I haven’t heard from him since.

Looking back, I probably should have just ignored the guy, but I do feel it is cruel to leave someone who thinks he loves you hanging, and also I wanted to resolve the situation for my own peace of mind. He’d been pestering me for two whole years! I hope he meets a nice girl who appreciates his grand gestures, likes camping and doesn’t mind eating melted chocolates off her windshield. If he does call me again, I think it’s best not to respond, or if I do, maybe I should muster up the courage to say, “I’m just not into you.”

All this made me wonder if there is a way to let a guy down nicely, but honestly, not giving him an excuse or any false hope. My girlfriend Kate, who has her Masters in Psychology, had a brilliant suggestion–she said to simply say “No, thank you!”  If he asks for your number, “No, thank you.” If he asks to take you to dinner, “No, thank you.” If he asks you if you can be friends with benefits, “NO, THANK YOU!”

ididgyouherfuturelogo**Originally published on November  2013**




“The soul mate. The one you feel vibrate when they are a thousand miles away. The one you hear whisper when they think about you. The one who lets you move freely but embraces your shadow from afar. That one. The one you feel like you have known for a million years.”~Sarah Voldeng

In conversation, a friend of mine recently asked me what a soulmate is. Without hesitation, I immediately referred him to this Rebelle Society article “Soulmates vs. Life Partners,” which explains the concept much more eloquently than I could have via text message.

Soulmates are different than life-partners. People often settle down with a life-partner because of timing; perhaps they are ready to start a family or maybe they have a need for security or are simply looking for a companion. Most people do not want to be alone, and a practical person can’t wait around forever for something that seems like a fairy tale. This isn’t to disparage anyone; life-partnerships can still be extremely beautiful, loving and fulfilling relationships.

Sometimes as women, we go out with men who have similar interests and seem like they would be good potential boyfriends even if we are not feeling the electricity we desire. We secretly hope these guys grow on us and sometimes they do. Plenty of successful life-partner relationships have started out this way.

However, when you meet your soulmate, it will be a more intense connection than anything you’ve ever experienced, almost as though there is lightning running through your veins. You both will know that this is something so different and so special. There won’t be any question marks, for you nor for him. Men tell us such lovely things when they want to get close to us, but a soulmate will tell you things no other man could believably get away with, for instance, how he feels he’s known you in a past life (He does seem hauntingly familiar) or how his time with you is sacred. The two of you will just seem to speak the same language, and when he looks into your eyes, you will feel like you’ve come home.

Here’s the catch: while ideally your soulmate becomes your life-partner, that isn’t always the case. A soulmate is not always the person we should or could spend the rest of our lives with. So maybe you’re not destined to bake muffins and pay bills with your soulmate, but instead you’re simply meant to walk through fire together.

Soulmates come into your life and ignite a spark deep inside you, making you feel more radiant and alive. They almost always serve some sort of higher purpose, and even if they must fly away, they will have touched your life and left you feeling breathless. You will always be grateful for having lived and breathed in the same world as your soulmate.

This doesn’t mean soulmates are easily forgotten. Quite the contrary, in most cases, not a day will go by without thinking of your soulmate. And if you are lucky enough to see him again, it will be like no time has passed. While your soulmate is away, every love song, every poem reminds you of him, and even thousands of miles apart, your body tingles head to toe at the mere thought of him. He may even come to visit you in your dreams, wrapping his arms around you and whispering sweet nothings in your ear while you sleep. No matter how much time or distance between you and your soulmate, he will forever be in your heart.

Once you’ve experienced a soul connection, it’s hard to go to back to the conventional dating pool. The soulmate is a game changer! Knowing not every potential love interest is going to blow your mind the way a soulmate would, it’s important to keep an open mind, especially if it is a life-partner you’re seeking. For those of us who crave a soul connection, the good news is that even though they are few and far between, we can have more than one soulmate in our lifetime. So if you’ve experienced this cosmic connection before, it is quite possible you will experience it again. And if you’re really lucky, you just may find a soulmate and a life-partner in the same man♥

**Originally published on**


Born Scandalous

Born Scandalous CollageWhen I think back to my younger years, growing up in Chicago with a strict Latino father, I always picture myself as a girl who lived a very sheltered life. I swear, I barely even left the house as a teenager, except to go to school or the gym. I think most people would have described me as a sweet girl, very studious, and quite shy. So it came as a surprise to my parents when, somewhere around my third year in college, they discovered I was actually pretty rebellious. But, to be completely honest, the signs were always there.

I’d like to believe that I was an angel in almost every respect, but I was advanced for my years and in a hurry to grow up. Because of this, boys my own age never really appealed to me. The feeling was mutual—the boys in my grammar school often teased me and to be honest, could be quite mean at times. Two boys from my class, whom I mistakenly thought were friends, followed me home from school one day and spit all over my hair. However, when I turned about twelve, I started to get a great deal of attention from grown men who would stop me on the street to tell me I was beautiful, even sometimes asking for my phone number. I believe this is why I always had a thing for older men. They seemed to see something in me that the boys my own age hadn’t and treated me exponentially better.

Technically, I wasn’t allowed to date until I was sixteen, but of course, being quite precocious, I found a way around that rule. Since I went to an all-girls Catholic high school, I really didn’t know many boys my own age. What I was meeting were men who, I realize now, were far too old for me.

For instance, I remember being about fourteen and going to Medieval Times with my family, where I not only fell for, but exchanged numbers with a handsome knight. I was completely devastated when my mother told me I was not allowed to date the thirty-five-year old knight in shining armor. I did, however, sneak in a few phone calls to him here and there when I could.

Around that time, there was another man in his thirties who befriended me at the gym. We would meet a couple times a week to lift weights together. He even took me on a few motorcycle rides in the woods—I know, scary, right? To be honest, I wasn’t interested in this guy romantically—always the matchmaker, I actually wanted to set him up with my big sister, who is seven years older than me. Nevertheless, it was really fun for a teenage girl to be around all that testosterone and an implicit sense of danger.

My sophomore year in high school, I had an important school project to work on, and the neighborhood library simply wasn’t going to cut it. So a few of my girlfriends from my suburban Catholic high school and I took the train to the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago. What we didn’t realize was that it was Columbus Day, and the library was closed for the holiday. As my girlfriends and I stood outside the doors disappointed, we were approached by a group of sailors who had thought the library looked like the building from the movie Ghostbusters. Realizing the building was closed, the sailors invited us to the nearby Sears Tower, which was the tallest skyscraper in the world at that time. With the library closed and nothing else to do that afternoon, the girls and I decided to go on an adventure.

I paired off with a twenty-year-old blonde sailor who was born in Sweden but raised in California. When he asked me how old I was, I told him seventeen, two years older than my actual age. We hit it off, and his friend was interested in one of my friends. So my girlfriend and I began taking the train to the city every weekend to hang with the sailors, telling our parents that we were going to the “library.”

We met up with the sailors on several occasions, going to movies, museums, and walking around and making out in the freezing Chicago cold until our sailors had to leave the city to go on tour. So, at fifteen and not allowed to date yet, here I was with a twenty-year old sailor boyfriend. I realize this could have been really dangerous for a young girl, but things fortunately turned out better than you would expect.

With my sailor out on tour, I was able to completely focus on school. We exchanged letters, and I received gifts from all over the world. My parents obviously noticed these letters and packages coming to the house, so I casually explained that I had a friend who was in the Navy, easing them into the situation. I’m sure my dad didn’t like that his baby girl had a sailor for a pen pal, but my mom probably convinced dad it was harmless because the sailor wasn’t actually around.

However, when the sailor was done with his tour, and I was now sixteen and old enough to date, I invited him to a school dance. Knowing mom and dad wouldn’t approve of his age, I told them my sailor friend was only eighteen. To my surprise, my parents liked the guy!

About a year into the relationship, the sailor asked me where I was going to college. Not comfortable with the lie I had told, I came clean, telling him that I was really only sixteen. He told me that if he had known how old I truly was, he would never have dated me—I was far too young—but it was too late because he already loved me.

I know it sounds kind of scandalous to be dating someone that much older in high school, but I actually think this was a blessing in disguise. I believe having this long-distance boyfriend throughout high school kept me on the straight and narrow and prevented me from dating high school boys who probably wouldn’t have appreciated me nor, quite frankly, been able to handle me.

The sailor and I stayed together for five whole years, with him moving out to Malibu my second year of college at Pepperdine. However, he simply did not get the same girl in Malibu that he had fallen for in Chicago. When we met, I had been a sweet and innocent high school student with her nose in a book. By the time he joined me in California, I had gotten a taste of freedom and was no longer that sheltered girl anymore. My first year in college, I’d been sneaking into nightclubs hang out with rockers and soap stars. When my boyfriend moved to L.A. my second year, I missed hanging out with friends I had made and longed for the more wild nights of freshman year.

The irony is that when I felt I had outgrown the relationship, my parents tried to encourage me to stay with my then boyfriend. Dating a former sailor, five years older, simply isn’t as exciting when your parents are trying to push him on you. In fact, I think when my parents got in the mix, it made me want to rebel even more: I had to find something more forbidden, more intriguing, and more dangerous…and, boy, did I find it!

**A preface to my upcoming book Love, Miracles & Mayhem in the City of Angels**