How to Continue Regressing

Posted in self help by Steph Auteri on March 26, 2008
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Last month, I wrote about the positive effects of reveling in more childish pursuits. I had just started attending hoop class, and was hella excited about how much fun it was, how much work it was, and how awesome I was eventually going to become at it (um, the jury’s still out on that last one).

I’m still attending class weekly, and have even invested in a regular practice hoop, in addition to a travelhoop, but am eager to tell you of a new class I’ve recently started attending.

A freestyle dance exercise class, Dance Dance Party Party is sort of like indulging in that whole dancing in front of the mirror in your underwear thing. In group form. To all of the best guilty pleasure songs you could ever imagine.

Marinating in stranger-sweat aside, it was a damn good time. When they turned on the disco lights and turned off the overheads, I was relieved, because it had suddenly occurred to me that my dance-move repertoire left much to be desired. But as the 90 minutes went by, I found myself feeling freer and freer to embrace my inner spastic-so-you-think-you-can-dance wannabe.

My legs felt progressively sorer as the week goes on, but it was a good sore.

DDPP takes place in a number of major cities across the country, so you should definitely check it out. Hard-core exercise is a lot easier to take when it doesn’t feel like exercise.


How to Inspire Yourself

Posted in self help by Steph Auteri on March 25, 2008

inspiration wall.

I’ve been wanting to share this blog with you — Inspiration Boards — for quite some time now. The Blog Master — Lori Pickert — periodically showcases the inspiration boards of others…visual mindmaps that allow us to see these artists’ muses all laid out, often in collage form.

It made me wish for my own inspiration board, and wonder what I would place on it.

Final determination:

  • quotes from my favorite writers, as their words inspire me most of all. Highly featured names would be Lorrie Moore and Barbara Kingsolver, and I would, of course, include a poem memorized since childhood: “A word is dead / when it is said / some say. / I say it just / begins to live / that day.” — Emily Dickinson
  • a photo of my grandmother, along with one of me and an abusive ex. My grandmother died believing that I was going to remain with this man permanently. When I think of both her and him, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come, and of how proud she would be of me.

grandma and me.

  • photos of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, whose gothic architecture inspires my design sensibilities, especially when it comes to my most recent design obsessions.
  • photos of works from my favorite designers. Especially Tord Boontje.

fairy tale.primavera tiles
other side vases.

Your turn!

How to Balance Intimacy with Eroticism

Posted in self help by Steph Auteri on March 5, 2008
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unhappy couple.

So is it even possible to keep erotic excitement alive in a long-term relationship? When the person you love is as familiar to you as that old, ratty pillow your mother sewed for you back in your toddler years, how can you possibly get excited about him or her anymore? Is this slide into affection and deeper intimacy a form of a more mature love, signaling the end of a youthful passion that was bound to end eventually?

This might be TMI, but I’ve been struggling with a low libido for the past few years.

If this is TMI, I’m giving you the chance to bow out now.


Yes or No.

Posted in self help by Steph Auteri on March 3, 2008
Tags: , , , , ,


Over the course of the past year, I’ve been trying to become better at saying “no.” People had been telling me that I was overwhelming and overburdening myself…taking on too much…and I couldn’t really argue. As the result of an always-hectic schedule, I was consistently tired, never worked out anymore, and had terrible eating habits. (Looking back, this is probably how I gained 30-odd pounds in the past eight months and, let me tell you, it’s harder to take off than it was to put on.)

But, very slowly, I have been learning to feel less guilty about saying no, and life has become more manageable.

But then I read Danny Wallace’s Yes Man.

So yeah. This is yet another post about yet another inspirational-type stunt-memoir.

All of a sudden, they seem to be the only thing on my to-read pile.


The premise of Yes Man is this: Danny Wallace vowed (hell, he even penned a manifesto) to say “yes” to absolutely everything for the course of a year.

And then, luckily for us, he wrote about it.

But I’m not writing this post merely because Yes Man was such a delightful read (which it was). Nay. Though this book made me laugh out loud like a loony tune several times, I’m writing this post because it also inspired me.

At first, we are treated to Wallace saying yes to the most inane and ridiculous things. (One particularly awesome running gag is his susceptibility to spam mail from a beleaguered sultan looking to transfer large sums of money.) But then, there are chains of yeses that visibly change him, giving him opportunities that heretofore he would never had, allowing to experience things that heretofore would never have entered his orbit.

At one point, the words of a hypnotist (who just happens to hypnotize people with the help of his dog), resonate with Wallace (and with the reader as well): “When you think about it, probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise things just sort of stay the same.”

So…if your life will benefit both from learning to say yes, and learning to say no, how do you choose!?

I have the feeling that it’s perhaps best to learn to say no to the things you would normally say yes to due to feelings of misplaced guilt and/or obligation.

And it’s best to learn to say yes to the things you would normally say no to due to feelings of fear or laziness.

Got that?

Are there any points in your life that you can pinpoint where you directly benefited from saying a yes or a no?