a year in my life, comedy, diary, living well, rules for life

My sweet, dear Jennifer Saunders

Sunday, 12 March 2017 —

Have you ever read a book so good that you didn’t want to put it down?

Has the book ever been so good that you didn’t want to finish it because it would all be over?

That is the conundrum I am finding myself in.  I am approaching the end of reading Jennifer Saunders’ book, “Bonkers: My Life in Laughs”.  It’s all about her life as she approaches becoming a comedy legend at the BBC.  Her pairing with comedy partner Dawn French, her marriage to Ade (also another comedian).  They have a relatively normal life.  She loves fashion, but never gets free clothes, she buys all her own clothes and spends loads of money looking good “in her head” only to find that the mirror says different.  She is one of my favorite comedy writers.  Her show “Absolutely Fabulous” just kills me.  Her sketches with Dawn French are hilarious.  He humbleness is eye-opening.

There is NOT one pretentious bone in Jennifer’s body.  She doesn’t dwell on dumb shit like not having a series renewed or even getting breast cancer.  She knows she’s a procrastinator.  She knows she doesn’t like deadlines.  She has a healthy amount of celebrity gossip without being a witch to work with or being overly scandalous.  I find that she is really pretty grateful for her life and the direction it has taken.  She definitely has lived her life as a writer would.  She has acquired some wealth from it and has inspired countless other female comedians, British actors and actresses.  She uses the term “Actress” very loosely.  She knows she’s a writer.

Something I have been taking note of is how insanely normal she is.  She forgets that she’s famous.  She doesn’t live in a “famous” mentality.  She appreciates it, but doesn’t dwell in the ego of it.

19 Chapters and I’m on Chapter 18 already holding back moans and groans from reading the ending of the book.  I want more! Her work speaks for itself.  She was put up to a dare to write the “Absolutely Fabulous” movie that was released last year in theaters and the same for her book that came out a couple of years prior.  She is a horrible procrastinator, but a very brilliant worker when she wants to be.  She makes jokes about throwing unopened bank statements away and her husband panicking, opening them, and taking care of business.

She does not read the fine print of contracts.  She asks Maureen her agent/manager to take care of the reading and has very small requests like a bottle of wine for after comedy performances and passes to get into the BBC, but overall she’s not picky.

I have lived so much of my wonderful career as a salon educator, salon owner, sought-after talent as a writer, comedian, performer, host and freelance colorist in both areas of ego and humility.  I don’t think I’m the best everywhere I go, but I know I’m good at what I do.  I don’t like confrontation, but I will pipe up when I feel tested.  I do makes requests and I do ask and even demand for timeliness and ample time for planning.

I don’t transition well from work to home or work to an event or an event to home or presentation to car ride.  I need a lot of time to think.  I need a cocktail to think over.  I need someone to drive me everywhere because my anxiety gets the best of me on long-distance trips.  I wake up and meditate daily, I pray, I read The Zohar and the Torah and require a light breakfast after.  I book three clients back-to-back and shut my book down for an hour to transition.  I don’t transition well.  I need space.  I need alone time.  Jennifer reminds me of someone like me that needs a lot time to think.

We think differently than most people, we might lay on the floor and look at the cracks in the floor boards or listen to records or eat copious amounts of French Brie and drink wine right out of the bottle, but thinking gets done.  I abhor formality in meetings and I hate formal talk.  I think we should all just be ourselves.  I do, however, detest dirty words in a business meeting and I don’t like salacious gossip (no matter who you ask).  I don’t like hearing reviews, I don’t like sitting with people in large groups unless I’m the star of the show and I expect the same respect when I ask to have a cocktail alone.

There’s alot of thoughts that have run through my head as I’ve been reading Jennifer’s book.  I can see why AbFab was a worldwide success!  I can understand the admiration she has from others as they gaze at her accomplishments and I can understand why she has chosen to be funny even when life wasn’t so funny.

The main thing I’ve learned from her is that life is funny.  Even death and illness is funny. She does not “believe in God” she hints at in the book.  I do.  I am a bit more Universalist though when we talk about The Creator.  I don’t think God is sitting on his iPad watching us on some heavenly Hulu marking our permanent records, counting our dirty words, our eye rolls at people and taking note of how many times we skipped church or lied to a client.  I just don’t think those items are so BIG AND IMPORTANT that God will be a meany and send you straight to hell.  I don’t think Jennifer is an atheist.  I think she believes the Creator has blessed her and she is simply living life as an entertainer.

I think one of the best lessons I’m learning from reading this book that I want to share with you is to NOT sweat the small stuff.  You’ll be alright.  Pull the stick out of your ass and laugh at life when it takes a shit on you.  You’ll be alright.  You’ll be absolutely fabulous at everything you do… just like my sweet, dear Jennifer Saunders.

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a year in my life, diary, living well

A Chart Success

Wednesday, 1 March 2017 —

This morning I returned to the gym.  I have not been to the gym in probably two months.  For me, as soon as winter hits, I start to give up.  We all have holiday parties and bullshit we have to deal with and bullshit parties to attend.  I don’t tend to get up to work out (as it is very cold) and I don’t tend to get the tanning salon like I prefer to.  I wake up one day in mid February (predictably) and say that I feel sloshy and white.  By sloshy, I mean I can feel all my inners moving around.  When my body is toned,  I don’t feel sloshy.  Sloshy may just be my way of feeling “full” whether its bloating, eating too much, not tight enough, inflated, what have you.  I felt sloshy all last week and the beginning of this week which means, like clockwork, I’m back in the gym March 1st.

I really hate working out.  I tend to play iTunes and pretend the album I’m listening to was really produced, written and sang by me.  Each track, I’m a Billboard super star, 20x Grammy winner and a hit in Europe… especially in the gay clubs.  Gay clubbers hate me for being a gay man with this amazing career (those jealous bitches!).  I peddle faster and faster with each song (even if it’s a ballad) and imagine recording each song, seeing it dominate the charts, shoot the music video in my head and ultimately win more awards than Madonna.  In fact, she may want to work with me soon… then, the timer on the bike goes off (25:00) and my fictional success stops.

I’m out of the daydream.

I look at the mirror, not so pale, not so sloshy anymore.

A pop success!

Healthy.

Perhaps I’ll have a protein shake.  A vegan one, at that! I am on the up and up.

Walking out of the gym today fresh from my daydream, Madonna’s “Ray of Light” album on repeat and feeling 2 water lbs lighter, I got in the car and headed to the tanning salon.  I drove in pure silence today.  I thought about my day. I thought about the busy two weeks ahead in the salon and at Label.m.

Yes.  I’m a success. A bonafide chart success.  It’s not music I’m making and it’s not the Grammys, but I’m a success putting together classes, educating salon owners and spreading the work of the shampoo Messiah: Label.m.  Yes!  We are fabulous!

Working out has done me good.  I think I’ll keep it up.  I wonder what album I recorded that I’ll be listening to tomorrow…

 

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a year in my life, diary, living well, sunday

Just Throw Some Shit In A Bag…

Sunday, 8 January 2017 —

Thursday began the first of a 10-day stretch of work days.  Today, I’m in the salon on a Sunday and then in Denver tomorrow, back home Tuesday for a full-day and back to Denver Wednesday and back to work for two more days and off Saturday.  I am predicting that I sleep in til whenever.  I have no time limits on my days off unless I have a nail appointment or some odd shit planned. Once next Sunday hits, I have a week and half of working before I head to Dallas for Fashion Fix training with our International Artistic Director Efi Davies.  I’m incredibly excited to be included in this group of folks.

Between owning Rockstars + Lambs and working for Label.m, I am constantly moving and busy.  The day that there is NOTHING on my agenda feels good.  I think this coming Saturday is one of those days.  I do, however, want to see my mom.  I haven’t seen her since Christmas.  That’s a long stretch for me!  I don’t like being that distant from her . It’s not a fun feeling on the inside at all.

Coincidentally, my parents are traveling a lot these days and even more coincidental its the fact that they tend be be in transit at the same time as me.  They’re on their way to Salt Lake City today and Chris and I head to Denver this afternoon after I finish my color session. Always hustling— that must run in my blood.

Packing up an overnight bag is almost uneventful these days.  This isn’t my first rodeo.  I kind of just throw some shit I need in a bag and double check to make sure I have foundation, my flat iron and an Apple charger.  Off we go! Everything else can wait.  Got credit cards, got cash, got water, off we go! It’s really that easy.

As I get a little older, I always wonder how my parents did that.  How were they always prepared to leave and go on trips for work?  They just threw shit in a bag.  They went.  If you have all of your business affairs in order, you should be kosher to be gone for a couple of days.  I feel sorry for folks that don’t have a clear idea of where their lives are going.  They can’t keep minimum balances in their bank accounts, they don’t know what their schedules look like, they just kind of fly by the seat of their pants.  It’s truly horrifying to me. How can some live so insecurely?  That’s not adventure in my eyes, that’s irresponsible. I know as I tell people I can “just throw some shit in a bag and go” that it can come off as cocky, but it’s true.  It’s pressure free.

I have contemplated taking a small break from the blog.  I think some folks would argue that I don’t spend as much attention on it as I used to (and that would be true), but I feel like I need to take some time to live and evaluate what’s going on in my creative life.  I want to spend some time working on my book. I need to get my manuscript done.  I really want to submit it this year by June.  I think folks will love what I’m cooking up, but between salon, teaching, appearing and living my daily life, I have to take a break a from something, the blog is a suitable area to break from while I work silently on this project.  I’m thinking a good month will be good.  Perhaps.

As I throw some shit in a bag and get ready to jet-set this month, I am thinking February 1st seems like a great date to come back to the blog.  Time to focus on a couple other gigs for the rest of the month.  First “LuxeLove” hiatus approaching…

See you February 1st.  Will have lots to share with you then.

xo-j.

Follow me on Instagram @cooleyisthenewgarbo and Twitter @cooleyisgarbo and, of course, on Facebook.

 

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a year in my life, etiquette, Family, living well, luxelove, rules for life

Shabbat: Well-Laundered Armani

Saturday, 17 December 2016 — Shabbat

Tonight, I have a family Christmas dinner planned with my aunt, her sister, uncle, my mom and dad… possibly Chris.  Chris sits out family events quite a bit.  I don’t blame him. My mom and Chris haven’t classically gotten along in the past.  I feel like things are getting better between the two of them, but if sitting absent is more comfortable, I respect that.  I don’t particularly love it, but I respect it.  For the past few years, we have started this tradition of going out to eat the Friday or Saturday before Christmas.  I love the connection and the conversation.  We’ve tried a few new restaurants in the process which has exposed my parents to a lot of new options in the Pueblo area.

One really cool thing about Marty and Brenda living here before we arrived was that they know all of the cool, old school places that are historic or raved about by locals.  Sometimes the paint is so old in these places, you can read the age in the walls . It’s comforting.  The dishes aren’t always fancy and that’s ok.  The food has always been good, so we’re going to try a new place tonight.  I checked out their Facebook page and it looks like they have a good down-home bar and the plating is not spectacular, but people rave about their food.  I don’t think I’ll be wearing Armani tonight, but we’ll see.  I don’t want to come to Christmas dinner looking like a slob either.  If the restaurant serves our water in plastic tumblers though… that means I’m overdressed.  Even if the Armani I’m wearing is a t-shirt.

Last night I had dinner with my good friend Elizabeth.  We are into having dinner monthly these days.  We’re both salon owners, we both have a lot of fun.  Our conversations are wonderful: I talk, she listens.  I told her to stop me if I make her ears bleed.  I believe in my heart of hearts that she enjoys my company or we wouldn’t be breaking bread together. Frankly, making people laugh makes me happy.  Lately, I feel very serious and caught up in my own brain.  I really find it fucking annoying.  There’s no way I can go into 2017 sulking in self-analyzation.  I just can’t.

One thing I’ve evaluated in 2016 is the over seriousness of my own nature.  At work, I’m a powerhouse.  I border on seriousness and being funny.  I have so much on my plate that I don’t know what the fuck to do most of the time.  I feel pulled in sixteen directions all the time.  I have also been more sick this year than any other.  I had three Crohn’s flare-ups and a Bladder infection this year.  I’ve suffered from dehydration and thrown up too many times after over drinking/eating more than ever as well.  What a mess.  What an absolute mess.

I’ve been bored to tears, angered to tears, been pissed at friends, lost friends, disconnected from people I’m close to and weathered the storm of returning back to public life.  In 2017, there’s alot of changes coming: my diet has got to be more alkaline, the new love of drinking water all fucking day is a new way of life for me, telling people to leave me alone when I’m stressed is necessary and sometimes being brutally vocal and honest has got to take place.  I have never held my tongue so much as I have the last two years and frankly, the last two years has been annoying and given me a head ache because I’m afraid to offend people.  Who am I?  I had balls once. I’m such a pussy these days.  

On the flip side, I’ve fired three clients this year: two were drunk when they came in, one bounced her second check to me.  WTF, PEOPLE! All of these folks are power players in town as well.  Do they think they’re above the rules of life?  Rule #1 of life is this: Don’t be a fucking mess.  Rule #2 is don’t be so entitled that people whisper “bitch” or the c-word behind your back.  If folks are calling you nasty words, you probably ooze nastiness.  Rule #3 should be for you to get off your goddamned phones.  Really?  Facebook is not going anywhere.  Get off your phone.  You can only check-in so much!  The same people you’re tweeting would probably not even sit at a dinner table with you.  You’re diluted and delusional if you think someone on the internet is your best friend.  Gimme me a break.  It’s time to lock the phones up in a cage and get back to writing letters and talking to people again.

Part of me feels like I’m reclaiming my power.  It feels good.  I really just want my salon to do well.  I want this Label.m gig to continue to grow me and the brand in the industry.  I want to be more active again publicly, I want to lose some weight and tone up and look kind of hot for a man under 5′ 5”.  At midget-like height, you can’t gain 2 lbs!  2 pounds on me looks like Danny DeVito.  No shade on Danny, but I’m a style maker.  I’m a top colorist, I’m a blogger, I’m a speaker for a living.  You have to be pretty.  (If you’re pretty, you have to have an amazing personality!) My last few Facebook Live videos look bloody rough.  I need to tan and quit eating carbs.  I look horrible if you ask me.  I need a facelift.  

First things first: I have to get out of my own head.  My life is like my clothes, it doesn’t matter if the Armani is a button-up or a t-shirt, if it’s not pressed out and taken care of, it’ll just look a mess.  I’m not a mess, believe me, but it’s time to get the iron out and press out some wrinkles in my life.  2017 is going to be well-laundered, if you ask me.

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a year in my life, controversy, diary, don't be rude, etiquette, gossip, living well, politics, rules for life, spilling tea, sunday, Uncategorized

Sunday Morning: #TrumpPence vs “Hamilton”

Sunday, 20 November 2016 —

This morning on Twitter and Facebook has seriously got my knickers in a twist.  I can’t possibly read anymore about the shit-show named #TrumpPence16.  These two vile human beings are two of the biggest fucking crybabies I have ever ever EVER read press about.  By now, it’s no secret that the cast of “Hamilton” addressed Mr. Pence while he was visiting the theatre with their public service announcement asking for Mr. Pence to respect our American diversity and values.  I get it.  I think its worth addressing both president- and vice president-elect.  I think it could have been different.  I think they could have shot a really neat YouTube or Vimeo video and had it edited and addressed as a sweet virtual “love note” all over social media.  Pointing at him and asking him to listen in front of the audience puts him on the spot.  He felt attacked.  Boo-hoo.  

Hours later, Mr. Trump tweets for the Hamilton cast to “Apologize!”.  The use of an exclamation mark reads as raising your voice, yelling or excited.  I’ll take all three in this case.  WE are not in a board room, Mr. Trump.  These are the American people voicing their concern to your vice-president elect Mr. Pence that believes electroshock therapy and praying the gay away works. These are concerned, diverse people who perform for other concerned, diverse people in the United State of America.  You are scaring the diversity into each corner by demanding an apology.

I personally believe Mr. Pence called Donald, texted, Snapped, Insta’ed that he was picked on publicly and it lit a fire under Sugar Papa Trump’s ass after he just settled a $25 Million Dollar lawsuit in regards to Trump University two days earlier.  Donald is tired of being picked on by all of America and SNL.  His VP is not being taken seriously either and we keep tweeting, screaming, signing petitions in an effort for you to listen.  You issue a tweet that is insistent and Mr. Pence goes on TV and says he was “not offended”, but you, have Mr. Pence’s back saying he deserves an apology.

I don’t know anymore.  I think I’m going bat-shit crazy reading this shit.

To the cast of Hamilton: make a YouTube video, edit it well, say what you want to say and post it on ALL SOCIAL MEDIA as a love note to the -Elects of #TrumpPence.  Do it gracefully, not embarrassingly.

To Mr. Pence: you’re not offended, right?  But Donald is.  So, did you tell Donald one thing and us another? Go pray your chicken shit ways away.

To Mr. Trump: We will take you seriously when you STOP exploding on Twitter.  You are a President-Elect, act like it.  Show us brilliance, show us diplomacy, show us compassion, show us a leader. You need to lead, not react like someone whose best friend just got yelled at in a bar fight.  Please grow up.  You’re 70. We need you to be a 70 year old, wise man that is the leader of a country that honors freedom of speech.  Please shut down your Twitter.  We are NOT taking you seriously.

As I continue scrolling through Facebook, I am continuously appalled with people that think Liberals are causing this hate in the nation.  I don’t have a group to blame.  Republicans are not to blame, liberals are not to blame.  This shit show is to blame.  When you live in a country where the new president-elect and VP-elect act like they have hurt feeling EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY, the nation will reflect it.

Everyone needs to grow up.  

Learn to say please.  Learn to say thank you.  Be gracious.  Be kind.  Do not tweet when angry or drunk.  Do not point and address in a large crowd to someone who is one of the most-hated men in America right now.  Do not insight riots.  Do not act like a pussy.  Do not grab pussies.  Do not act like martyrs. This is all common sense shit, folks.

Act like leaders. Be examples of leaders.  Stop feeding the shit-show called The United States -Elects #TrumpPence.  We don’t look any smarter to the world at this moment in time.

That is all.

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a year in my life, don't be rude, Family, living well, spilling tea

Monday Afternoon: I’m still here; I’m still your friend.

Monday, 14 November, 2016 —

Do you ever have moments when you think back about some stuff you’ve said, written or thought and thought to yourself, “damn! I’m being a little harsh!” I’ve had a few of those moments lately and I feel as though none of those feelings need justification as of late.

This morning, I woke up and had a chance to catch up on messages and social media and drank my coffee and ate my toast before I drew a bath.  I was laying in the bathtub reading The New Yorker when my aesthetician texted and said she had a cancelation and that I could come in a touch earlier.  I said I’d get out of the tub and be right there.  As I was driving, my brain went in and out of thoughts about Thanksgiving, the gift-giving season and how many folks I have invited out to dinner between now and the end of the year.  Those folks mean a lot to me and I enjoy their company.  Those are truly the folks I want to greet 2017 with.  There are also a couple in my mind that pop up that have not reached out to me and I wonder to myself, “do they even know it seems as though they are avoiding me?”

I think I’m going to send them both holiday cards when I sit down to write them out this year.  No invites to dinner.  No lunch plans.  No day-drinking with them.

It’s very funny how The Universe, God, Ralph (whoever is up there) makes life filter itself out and how time creates distance between people.  If one doesn’t reach out, then instantly we feel we’re in conflict or something must be wrong.  Sometimes there are things that are wrong and sometimes everything is just fine, but we’re not on the same page.  I feel as though I’m not on the same page with two individuals right now.  The sad part is I’m not in a rush to re-connect either.

I haven’t done anything wrong.  I haven’t been salacious and I know these two folks very well.  I feel as though the distance is a message loud and clear and now I’m starting to regress against it.

To be the bigger person and act as though nothing ever happened is not how I feel lately.  To be mature and move forward feels most comfortable and to reach out during the holidays and say, “Hi, I’m still here, happy x-mas” feels forced, but worth a try.

I’m still here.  I’m still your friend.  I’m just disappointed in you both.

 

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living well

Sunday Evening: The Importance of Drinking Water

Sunday, 30 October 2016 —

One of the happiest times for me in life is being able to rest and reconnect with everyone when I can actually breathe and do so in a timely and relaxed manner.  My life always seems to get caught up in the monotony of daily duties.  I’m not just a salon owner, the roles of partner, son, friend all perplex me more than writing or doing hair or cooking for that matter.  Sometimes I’m just too busy being busy that I can’t take the time to be a good friend, son, partner, or whatever else I may be to you.  I’ve been forced to slow down the last week all due to a painful UTI and Bladder infection.  Chris has been really caring and understanding and so have a lot of my clients.  I tell you what, I’ve been so busy worrying about being busy that I’ve forgotten to drink water and take care of myself.  I would NOT wish this pain on my worst enemy!

Tomorrow I begin my first date of educational touring for Label.m.  Yes, the moment has arrived! I’m an educator for a great brand!  It’s almost surreal to me that this is actually happening, but it is! It’s been a long time coming to be working for a company that respects me and I respect all the folks involved as well on a corporate level AND A FRIENDLY level.  I was on the phone with one of my Label.m mates, Brenda from Chicago. She is wonderful and supportive to talk to.  I have a lot of respect for her and her way of looking at life.  Her joyfulness makes me very happy when I talk to her on the phone.  She watched a Facebook Live video I recorded yesterday and send me happy hugs and kisses via text message.  Today she told me what keeps her healthy and how she incorporates drinking water into her busy schedule at a fabulous salon in Chicago.  The best advice she shared with me today was that when she needs to eat or go to the restroom, she just flat out tells a guest, “I’ll do better after a couple bites of this or that.” or “I can service you better when…”  She just says it!  I thought I did too, but I guess it’s time to really put my foot down and realize that the folks that lose their cool with me need to take a fucking chill pill and wait.  I need to pee, I need to drink water, I need to fix my face and I DO NEED THAT lunch break.  So there!

Tomorrow I have a sales meeting in Denver.  Chris is taking me and we are coming home to  Pueblo right after.  I contemplated staying in D Town for the evening, but I have clients beginning at 8 on Tuesday so that will NOT WORK. I’m very excited to talk to the great folks at State Beauty Supply, my biggest worry is my eyebrows.  I feel like they’re caterpillars right now. I might sneak off to the salon and go do them before it gets too late.  I can’t represent an international company rocking undone eyebrows.  No way.

But first, I need to drink water….

 

 

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