Advice from a Spectacular Failure


Occasionally, it’s nice to get unsolicited advice. 

People tell me that I give good advice, and I don’t think they’re entirely wrong. The thing is, I am someone who exhaustively thinks out every step of each possible course of action, tries very hard, cares too much about outcomes, and fails spectacularly. I’ve often thought that I should have a slogan, like a fancy car or an airline, and that my slogan would be, “I make mistakes so you don’t have to.” I mean, I share everything, mistakes and all, with my friends. What good are my mistakes, if we can’t all learn from them? This pain and heartache has to have some sort of value.

Here is some advice that I would like to share with you:

– I am one person, and I can only accomplish so much any given day. That said, most tasks are within my ability.

Edward Everett Hale quote. Designed by Anthony K. Valley (CC by 2.0).
Edward Everett Hale quote. Designed by Anthony K. Valley (CC by 2.0).

– Life is not meant to only contain suffering. But suffering and sadness are the natural contrasts to joy, and without them, it’s impossible to recognize and appreciate when they abate, and when happiness takes hold again. So appreciate sadness, for what it has to teach us about happiness.

– Sorrow is not never-ending. Neither is joy. You can’t escape, or hold on to either.

– I am a single mom, but parenting is not the only thing that defines me. I love to sing, and dance. I love cooking. Patterns and bright colors make my eyes happy, and my heart beats to the sound of the Caribbean Sea. Meeting new people, and making authentic connections make me feel alive.

Eyeshadow makes me giddy.

– I feel better after I exercise, no matter how tired I thought I was before I started.

– Sharing my failures, large and small, with my daughter is a way to safeguard her against this curse of constantly seeking perfection. I am human, and my failures don’t make me less of a person.

– I deserve love, compassion, and respect. Especially from myself.

– If you don’t know how to love yourself, start by treating yourself the way the person who loves you most would treat you. It doesn’t matter if that person is with you, or far away, alive or dead. Let them guide your self love.

– Other people are generally not thinking about me, and I don’t need to worry about how they perceive me.

– A dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce will correct the flavor of too much sherry in homemade French Onion Soup.

– Nachos are a perfectly acceptable dinner, every once in a while.


– Retin-A really will make your skin look better, and it’s a lot different now than it was 25 years ago. It still causes a little peeling, and redness, but not like before. Trust me.

– Every single time I do something that makes me uncomfortable or scared, it is a small victory. Talking to strangers, speaking in a meeting, signing my daughter up for a sport I can’t help her with, driving in a strange city, asking for help to put up a Christmas tree… all count as victories.

– My small victories give me a reason to be confident.

– When I ask for help, I’m allowing someone the opportunity make a difference in my life. It feels vulnerable and scary to admit that I need help, but it doesn’t mean I am weak.

– Buy the more expensive Christmas tree stand. And the waterproof pad. You eventually will regret it if you don’t. An expensive stand and waterproof pad are less expensive than fixing warped flooring.

– Always express your gratitude.

– Know what recharges you. I am an extrovert and being with my friends gives me strength.

– It’s only hair. Cut it, dye it, leave it alone… do whatever you want with it.

– Roast your broccoli at 400 degrees, coated with a little olive oil, salt and garlic powder, for about 20 minutes. You won’t regret it.

– Wear whatever makes you feel happy. If you don’t feel happy in what you’re wearing, don’t wear it. Give it away- maybe someone else will feel happy in it.

– Be authentic. Your truth matters.

– Make sure the people you love know how much you love them.

Family. Photo by Stephanie Brigan


  1. The advice from your list that I give most to my kids AND to myself is that other people are generally only thinking about themselves, not you or me. It’s easy to forget (like broccoli, apparently)!

    • Sara,
      Oddly, I have less trouble remembering my broccoli than I do this tip. I know it’s true, but it’s definitely the one that I am most likely to forget, in favor of replaying my dumber moment and accompanying shame. Still working on this one, for sure.

  2. Ha! Just burned my broccoli last night. First time trying to roast it and I tried it with Montreal Steak Seasoning. I still loved it even burned and was happy that I tried something new. Love all of these, especially the one about hair 🙂 xo

    • Rey- I’m so sorry it burned! We eat way too much broccoli jerky over here too. Laura is smart to set a timer. But I hope you got the idea of how amazing it can be, when not cooked to a crisp.

  3. Just make sure you set the timer for the broccoli. Daydreamers like me have learned that burned broccoli is not the aromatherapy treat one might hope for.


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