4 Ways to Deal When You Do Something Embarassing


I do embarrassing things all the time. Wiping out in the middle of a crosswalk? Been there (more times that I would like to admit)! Walking around with deodorant marks on my black top? Sure. Totally misunderstanding what someone is asking me? Of course! The range of snafus is wide and the list is long. But what I don’t do? Walk around feeling all ashamed and humiliated most of the time. Chalk it up to having a mother who wasn’t afraid of making a public scene every now and again, but eventually I just stopped really caring what other people thought, especially when I’ve done something clumsy or a little odd. Here are 4 things that might help you cope next time potential humiliation knocks at your door.

1. Laugh or Apologize

If you’ve done something embarrassing to yourself, laugh at it. People will feel a lot less pity and a lot more admiration for how you handled the situation when they can laugh (at what is really probably a pretty funny situation) without you getting mad at them. It diffuses the tension from the situation when they’re waiting to see how you’ll react. Laughing works best when you’ve done something silly like trip in front of a crowd or tuck your skirt into your pantyhose. If you’ve done something that embarrasses you because you embarrassed someone else, like really putting your foot in your mouth in a meeting, the best route is apologizing publicly and immediately to show people that at least you realize your blunder. Then try to take corrective steps, and at the very least, just remember never to make that same mistake again.
2. Put it in Perspective
While it might seem like a world-ending humiliation in your eyes, to most other people, it’s a minor blip in one day where they’re really more preoccupied with their stuff. It helps to remember that most people (high school girls excluded) care more about their own lives than yours. If you don’t remind them of the embarrassing incident, they will probably forget in the time it took you to forget what the person sitting across from you on the subway was wearing.

3. Move Along
If you pick up acting normally like nothing happened, other people will take it as a cue that they should go back to normal business as usual as well. Even if you’re still cringing internally about how you could ever do such an embarrassing thing, regaining your composure, and pretending like you’ve gotten over it is the best way to deal until you actually have.

4. Remember that it Won’t Matter in 5 Minutes, Hours, Days or Months
I’ve found that most times I feel really humiliated in the moment, I end up describing the whole event in great detail a few days later to my friends with lots of laughs in between. While you might have to force the laugh when it’s happening, after the initial embarrassment has passed there’s usually a funny story there. And if your friends want to joke about it before you’re ready, a simple, “Too soon,” should quiet them down until you’re ready to laugh about it down the road. And trust me, eventually you will be.

How do you cope when you’ve done something really embarrassing?

The Science of Happiness (in a picture)

I know I’m at my happiest when I am well-rested, well-exercised, and well-fed. In those optimal physical conditions, I’m freest to feel the best vibes.Now the people of Care2 have put together this handy infographic to help you understand the science of being happy, and the best path to finding your sweet spot.


Get It: A 5 Step Guide to Killing It in Life


I was talking with a friend about asking for a raise at work – telling her she deserved it, and it wouldn’t hurt to ask. After all, the worst they can say is no, right? Her response, “It’s easy for you to do, you’re so confident.” Another day, another friend said, “It seems like you’ve been killing it lately – what’s your secret?” It made me stop and think.

Sure, I have an awesome apartment, and a job I dreamed about as a little kid, but was it really confidence or some special secret? What was it that helped me get what I wanted?

Because the truth is, when I go into a salary negotiation, I might seem calm and collected, but on the inside, I’m shaking in my pumps. And when I call my landlord to try to talk them down on my rent, it takes me a little while to work myself up to dialing the number. But somehow, I do it anyways.

Here’s what gets me over the I’m-so-nervous-I-can’t-do-it hump.

1. Don’t Quit

I have lived in neighborhoods of NYC that were less-than-ideal. My apartment was farther up town, or up a few more flights of stairs than I wanted. I had soul-stealing jobs that involved serving up food and beverages to strangers when I would rather have been penning a great American novel. Did I let it get me down? Sure. I was straight-up bummed out about my life circumstances for some long-ish periods of my life. Did I let it crush my dream? Nope.

Even when things aren’t how you want them to be, you have to remind yourself that sometimes, it’s not you, it’s them. It takes waaaay longer to get what you want than it seems like it should, but the only way to find out if you’ve got the right stuff is to keep your hat in the ring – especially when it seems like the odds are against you. (If we’re going with this whole gambling metaphor, that’s when the biggest payoffs come, right?)

2. Do the Work

Because no one likes it when someone has all these big life goals for themselves, but never does anything to move them closer to them, right? Right. If it’s a life partner you’re after, suck it up and go on 1 million OKCupid dates. Sure, a lot of them will suck, but you’re not going to meet anyone watching Netflix alone.  If you just can’t get the job you want, find a side hustle that moves you closer to that dream. Do it in your free time, on your weekends, do it for free until you have the experience to make a move towards getting paid in that direction. If you’re asking for a raise, you had better do some research in advance and have cold hard facts that demonstrate why you deserve it.

3. Have a Dress Rehearsal

Public speaking used to make me queasy. I would start most presentations by just telling the audience my face was going to turn bright red, so just expect it. I would be in a full sweat pretty much the entire time, and black out while I was doing it. Then, I had a job where I had to stand at the front of a room and teach groups of people. And the first few times? I would finish the class wondering what happened, happy I managed not to sweat through my shirt. But after I did it over and over again, I got better at it.

When I had to teach new material, I would say my presentation, out loud, while I was folding laundry at home. I asked my colleagues to let me do a practice run. When I had big interviews, I would call my sister and ask her to faux-interview me over the phone the night before. When I had my annual reviews, I would make a plan with an experienced aunt to present my goals and hopes. In short, I practiced what I wanted to say over and over and over so that when I inevitably got nervous the hope was I would go on autopilot and fall back on what I had rehearsed. Those actors who do this for every dang play are onto something.

4. Pretend You’ve Got This

I’ll never forget when I was out to dinner with a dear friend of mine who had been working for a couple years while I was still finishing up my Master’s. She said, “I have no idea what I am doing half the time. I just say OK, and then go figure it out!” When I started working, I tried to follow her advice- don’t be afraid to take something on because you’re not sure. Go for it, google the heck out of it, and ask questions as you go along. Most people prefer someone giving it a try than saying no out of the gate. When I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, or that I’m not good enough, I just pretend that I do and that I am. Everyone else is doing it anyways!

5. Feel Entitled

Ok, so recently, entitlement has gotten a pretty bad name with all of the “Rich kids of X” shows, Instagram feeds, and celebrity coverage floating around. I’m not telling you to go out and demand a Ferrari that you didn’t earn, or brag about that expensive trip you had given to you.

But as a concept, feeling entitled to…[fill in the blank] is really what confidence boils down to – that feeling of “I deserve this.” (Just circle back to number 2 first, and make sure you’re justified in that feeling.) When I go after something I want, I remind myself – I’ve worked hard for this, I went to school for this, I put in the time dating all those weirdoes for this, I did the research for this, I followed a 10K training plan to do this. Now, it’s time to get what’s mine. You’d be surprised at how good it can make you feel asking for what you want when you start off by thinking you deserve to have it.

Now get out there, and start killing it already!

Image by Jennifer

Always Late? It’s Probably Because You’re Too Busy Looking on the Bright Side

4961717384_f4da868db6_zIn what is arguably, the most optimistic look at running behind schedule that I’ve seen, a recent article puts it out there that maybe non-punctual people are just victims of being too positive. The chronically late are not just inconsiderate, or poor planners, no! They’re just a touch too hopeful. They think they can accomplish more in the time they have (laundry! Breakfast! A workout….in 45 minutes) than they actually can, which makes them regularly miss their timelines.

And if that’s not enough of a silver-lining for you, this attitude tends to make them live longer, have lower stress levels, and diminished risk of heart disease. Think of your type-b friend who strolls into work cool and collected (albeit 10 minutes late) when you are still drying the sweat from your brow after rushing in 5 minutes earlier.

People who are always late tend to look at the big picture, and figure, “It’s only 10 minutes!” Getting over the small stuff, and seeing time as more fluid can help you live in the moment and enjoy all the wonderful things while they’re happening, not only when they fit into a timeslot in your schedule.

So, the next time you’re stressing while you’re stuck in traffic, take a deep breath and adopt the positive point of view. You’ve got plenty of time! And when you make it to your destination relaxed and clear-headed, you’ll have the wherewithal to make the most of it.

Image by Sean MacEntee.

Go Outside, Be Happier


It seems like everyone is happier in the summertime. Maybe it’s all the beautiful sunshine and warmth after those cold winter and spring days. Maybe it’s the fun vacations we usually take. Or maybe, as the people behind Happify (a happiness-focused app) believe, it has something to do with all of the time we spend outdoors during this season. In a series of infographics, they explain how spending as little as 20 minutes a day in nature can make people feel more alive. Going to the beach makes you more active, less stressed, and have more fun with family and friends. Exercising outdoors can decrease inflammation in the body, and increases your sense of well-being. Even imagining yourself outside, or looking at a photo of a beautiful natural scene can improve mood. So, in case you need an excuse to get out there and enjoy the gorgeous weather this July 4th, do it for your happiness. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

Image by Xavier Donat.

If You Have 2 Minutes…Reorganize Your Apps


I am the type of person who is always downloading new apps. A friend mentions one they like and I have to have it. There’s an interesting-sounding free download, so I figure why not try it out? But the last time I’ve deleted or reordered apps from the default place they had appeared? It had been a while.

There were several apps I used nearly every morning (Timehop and Yes! Daily I’m looking at you) that were languishing all the way on my fourth page. That’s a lot of left and right swiping to get back and forth between the pages. There were others that I couldn’t even remember what they do.

So if you have a few spare minutes, take some time to move around those little icons so the ones you use are up first. Just get rid of the ones you haven’t opened in a while. And go ahead and move those sometimes ones to the back of the list.

It will make your days easier, and more efficient. Then next time you’re taking a video, you won’t have to be worried about running out of space.

Image by Sean MacEntee.

Notes to a Younger Me

older, wiser

A while back, some of my favorite bloggers started a series called notes to my younger self, in which their older-wiser-selves gave advice to their younger-I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing-teen. It got me thinking about things I would tell 18 year old me. Probably this:

You’ve always had a pretty solid outline of your life in mind–not the specifics, but the bare bones plan. You’ll go to college either waaaayy out in the country where you can ride horses every day and pledge in a sorority, or in the middle of the hustle bustle – a big city like nowhere you’ve ever lived before. When you’re there, you’ll make all the best friends, teach them a thing or two about how to party, and meet your wonderful future husband, though you’ll wait a bit to actually tie the knot. You even checked to make sure the schools you’re applying to have the types of guys you’re interested in. After you graduate, you’ll find a job in publishing that pays plenty to get by on, since you’re shiny, new and college educated. Who wouldn’t want to hire you? You’ll go on to lead a fabulous life.

Well, sweet pea, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but things aren’t going to turn out just like that. But don’t panic, things won’t work out anything like you planned, but you’ll end up being pretty darn happy most of the time despite it all. And that part about it being a fabulous life? Well, that part was spot on.

Maybe Don’t Sign Up for More Loans

Let’s be real here, you don’t have any idea what amount of money that sum on a paper really means, or how many hundreds of payments that will break out into once you have to start paying it back. Take some time to think about if the benefit you’ll get will balance out the cost in the long run. It might be nice to not be saddled with that debt.

Just Go Ahead and Sign Up for the Peace Corps

Yes, I know, 2 years seems like an almost-eternity right now, but darling, you’re graduating in the beginning of a recession. You’re not going to get a professional job that reflects your educational level for quite some time anyhow, and volunteering to make the world a better place would be time better spent than serving people mimosas at brunch, no? Just do it.

Stop Panicking About Being Poor

You’re actually pretty good at it. You can make lentil soup for days, and truly enjoy all the free things the city has to offer. Trader Joe’s doesn’t make $3 wine for nothing. You also have some generous friends who aren’t poor. Your late 20’s are for feeling rich, having more than $50 in your bank account, and honey, you’ll appreciate the money so much more once you’ve lived without it. And that will make you pretty successful at saving it once you’ve got it.

Make a Plan Already

One day, all of your friends and coworkers will make fun of you for being their little planner who picks every restaurant, chooses every night out, and organizes group vacations. Can you believe it? Try doing a little of that in your own life. Sometimes all it takes to get what you want is to ask for it. Get clear on what that is, sooner rather than later.

Exercise Isn’t Overrated/Stop Eating So Much Taco Bell

I mean, if we can learn one thing (besides the whole substance abuse thing) from Nicole Richie, it’s this: Lay off the taco bell already, amirite? I know it’s delicious, and it’s the only thing that’s open late in your small town, but those midnight quesadillas aren’t doing any favors for your figure.

The time you spend hiking, on the elliptical, or in boot camp class will cheer you up AND help burn off those 5 frozen margaritas you just housed before they turn into a serious front butt.

Stop Being So Damn Impatient

The timelines we create in our minds for when we should have certain things (jobs, money, apartments, husbands), are usually pretty skewed and unrealistic. When you’re feeling frustrated that you don’t have what you want, just remember it will probably take double the time you thought it would, and that’s just fine. You’re just being impatient anyways.

And now, after all this advice, spoiler alert: You’ll get that job you’ve wanted. You’ll move downtown. It won’t be what you thought it would, but it’ll be pretty darn great.

Would It Make a Good Wedding Toast?


As any one who has lived in NYC will tell you, dating here is a unique experience. For every million people that live in a place, the weirdo quotient goes up a notch (or 5). There are weird rules for getting together here, that are tricky to navigate, and often tough to understand.

Anywhere else in the country, you meet someone, you like them, you date for a few weeks, and it’s mutually assumed that you’re together (or so I’ve heard). Not so in NYC. When you date here, you’re a free agent until explicitly told otherwise, which can be a delicate balance to manage in new relationships. Do I keep dating other people? When should I inactivate my Tinder profile?

The endless choices available make it easier to write someone off because you know you have a million more options, or act like a total weirdo because you know that if you don’t want to, you actually never have to see them again. It’s not like you’ll be bumping into them at the one grocery store in town.

So, I’ve found myself giving people an extra chance, just to make sure I’m not letting the 5 other guys messaging me online make me think there is always something better. Or, I put up with something I normally wouldn’t because we haven’t really defined things yet.

Then, I was preparing for my best friend’s wedding, and writing my toast to the new husband and wife. It was so easy to put together, it came to me one morning on the treadmill. Their romance was so sweet, it was just narrowing down the moments I wanted to talk about. And I realized – nothing about the guy I was seeing would sound good in a wedding toast.

So next time I found myself wondering, is this the right guy? Should I move on? I use this simple barometer. If things work out, five years down the line. Would our story be easy to tell with a glass of champagne in our hands, and our hearts full of love?

If the answer is no, it’s probably time to move on.

Be Happier, Live Longer


If you’re reading this blog because you like to look on the bright side of crappy situations too, then you’re about to get some good news. A new study found that people who see the glass as half full just might live longer. How? People who stay calm in bad situations, or see the rainbow after the rain have lower levels of inflammation in their bodies. Higher inflammation is connected with life-threatening diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The research evaluated 800 adults with daily interviews about stress and how they reacted, and compared their responses to blood samples that measured inflammation. People who had a negative response to day-to-day pressures had elevated inflammation levels.

This all led the scientists to conclude that a sunny outlook can give health and well being a boost. Just another reason to stay positive next time a gray cloud is headed your way.

Image by Susanne Nilsson.