The Girlfriend Gala

10th Anniversary Cake
Girlfriend Gala 10th Anniversary Cake
The 2016 Girlfriend Gala was yesterday. It was our tenth Victorious Celebration. If you were there, THANK YOU for coming. You are part of the reason it was MAGICAL. If you missed it, mark your calendar now for May 24, 2017. We sold out this year, so you don’t want to miss it again!
Among the highlights were the special presentations by two fabulous women. My special guest speaker was Pat Ciarrocchi, a beloved anchor with the local CBS affiliate who is now writing her next chapter. Pat talked to The Girlfriends about her girlfriends and described how each one impacted her life in a different way. It was so perfect because we all resonated with what she said. We all know how much impact and influence our girlfriends have on our lives. Think about it…think about the feelings you share with them…and it’s different at every age. Remember what you talked about with your grade school friends? It was other things with your high school and college friends. As life changed so did your conversation with old and new girlfriends…at your first real job…the ones who were in your wedding, then the ones you met through your kids…and on and on.
I remember being in 7th and 8th grade and walking to school with my friend, Karol. We talked about the boys we liked, getting our periods for the first time, stuff our parents made us do. You know, young teenage stuff. OK, the talking about boys stuff – I’ve done that at every age…except now they’re men.
Anyway, Karol moved away in high school, but we still talk about once a year and you know how it is with girlfriends, when we talk, and once we catch up on the details of our lives, we talk like we saw each other last week.
My high school alums were at the gala. That was really wonderful because we weren’t friends in high school but we were together during those awkward teenage years. Over class reunion committee meetings, we’ve developed an interesting relationship over the years. How many of your current friends know you as the person you were then AND as the woman you are today? It’s a very special relationship. And I’m so appreciative that they support me and the gala each year.
So that’s what Pat Ciarrocchi helped each of us to remember. And she had The Girlfriends laughing and crying…and it was really just what we all wanted.
That’s not what comedian Theresa Hummel Krallinger did. She just made us laugh…and she was pee in your pants funny. It was Theresa’s third time performing at Girlfriend Gala. I can’t repeat most of her jokes; they weren’t dirty, just a little blue. Like, when she talked about her spouse giving her a cubic zirconia…a fake diamond…so, to thank him, she gave him fake sex. Theresa also talked about growing up going to Catholic school…and how the big sin was chewing gum. If you were a parochial school girl (and so many of The Girlfriends are), you remember.
Our beneficiary this year was Home of the Sparrow. Matrie Johnson is its Program Director and she talked to The Girlfriends about the Shared Housing and Pre-Senior Bridge Program for women over 50. That’s where this year’s gala proceeds are going.
We had wonderful sponsors and donors. The Girlfriends get excited because we have such great silent auction and raffle items and they know they get a good deal. And our SWAG bags this year…they were worth over $50!
However, what makes The Girlfriend Gala so special is all The Girlfriend energy. It feels electric!
I think part of it is because we have history together. Some of it is personal because we’re there with our actual girlfriends. But, also, women make connections at Girlfriend Gala so they have either new girlfriends or new business colleagues from previous galas.
Another part of it is that we have history that is gender-based. That is, we’ve shared a piece of history together, feminist history. It’s different than what women in other times of history shared…and that’s a bond we all have…even if we don’t know each other personally.
I also think it helps that Penn Oaks Golf Club does a wonderful job for us – from the setup to the good food (and the food got great compliments!). Desserts came from the wonderful The Prosperity Sisters, owners of Full-Spirited Flavours, and they brought us their incredibly good liquor cakes for our desserts. Also, this year, The Masters Baker made us the most beautiful and delicious almond-flavored cake (pictured in this blog post).
Thank you for coming!! Hope to see you again at the 2017 gala…and it would be great to connect with you in between at my private group, the Victory Chicks Community!

Tip#8: Sugar and Alcohol

Christmas Cookies Cooling on Cookie SheetSave the Sugar and Alcohol for Socializing

You know how it is this time of year. You’re going out more than usual, people are bringing treats to work, family members are making the comfort foods from your childhood. It’s almost never-ending.
When I meet family and friends, I really enjoy sharing a drink with them and tasting all the Christmas goodies that are in abundance this time of year.  I also love to taste the goodies I’m making and maybe join my spouse for a drink before dinner.
But, when January rolls around, I wish I could take it all back. When I can’t snap my jeans, or the business suit jacket doesn’t button as easily, I get annoyed.I know it’s going to take a couple months to get those extra pounds off…and that’s only if I focus on doing all the right things.
Therein lies the rub. Focus isn’t easy in early January.  I loathe the mental fogginess that comes with too much indulgence and not enough rest.
So, over the years, I’ve developed a simple plan that seems to work. At the very least it helps me keep the “damage” to a minimum. Here’s the plan:

  • Only drink wine and other alcoholic drinks when you are out at a social event
  • Ditto with anything made with flour and sugar
  • Stick to protein and fruit at home
    • Eggs work great in a pinch: dinner omelets, hard-boiled for a snack, scrambled and tossed into boiling soup
    •  If you need a dessert, freeze grapes and eat a handful of them instead of cookies or crackers
  • Replace a mid-afternoon snack with protein and fruit (like an egg and an apple) or a protein drink
  • Drink more water.
    • Fill a pitcher with water add a sliced apple and 2 cinnamon sticks – it looks pretty and tastes so good that it makes drinking more water a treat.
    • A variation: sliced grapefuit and basil

Try these tips and you’re more likely to welcome the New Year with a clear head and happy body!
More tips for Happier Holidays

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May 9 WrapUp: Friday Happy Hour

AnnmarieKelly.WCBM..web About Moms, College and Spring Cleaning

Susan Torello was my guest today. Sue is a professional organizer, certified in home staging – that means she has official, credentialing letters after her name. Sue is the owner of First Impressions Chester County LLC based in West Chester, PA. Sue guides clients to meet their home organization or relocation goals by providing personalized organizational techniques, home staging, home downsizing and relocation services. Sue personally connects with each of her clients during an initial consultation to understand their needs and tailors an approach specifically for the client including a step by step action plan and timeline.
Sue’s objective is to eliminate the stress and anxiety that accompanies getting back control of time or preparing for life at a new location, ensuring that her clients always have the best “First Impressions” of their home. She has a few tips for how to get your home organized so you don’t have to work so hard to keep the clutter down. I’m really looking forward to doing that…how about you?
Also, I talked about going back to college and getting credits by taking CLEP tests. I know from my experience that CLEP’s are a lot of owrk (especially if, like me, you have to study for tests). But you can get 3 college credits for $80. Here’s how to learn more: CLEP EXAM
When we were talking about MOM stories, I referenced a couple Lisa Scottoline columns from The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Here’s the one that she wrote that appeared the same day as her mother’s obituary: Scottoline April 13
Here’s the one she wrote afterward: Scottoline: Memorium
You can learn more about The Girlfriend Gala and, if you can join us, REGISTER HERE
I’ll “see you” back at next week’s Friday Happy Hour with the hysterical Prosperity Sisters.
This is my “MOM QUOTE” from one of the funniest moms, Erma Bombeck: When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.


WrapUp: Friday Happy Hour

Fashionista Denise Hay came to today’s Happy Hour. She had great ideas for what to buy to look current this spring, including ways to update what you already have so you look FABULOUS this spring. She also gave great tips for feeling great! If you missed it, sign up for my newsletter or like me on FB to get news for when you can listen to the show is online. And Denise has a special offer for you:
SPECIAL SHOWING: W by Worth Spring & Summer fashions can be seen at the Staybridge Suites Glen Mills This Monday & Tuesday, April 14 & 15, from 12 to 5. All listeners who stop by will be entered into our raffle for a chance to win some fabulous prizes including gift certificates, accessories and clothes! No purchase necessary. Appointments  are suggested if you would like a personal consultation but not necessary. Contact Denise Hay at 610.348.6081;
I talked about an article in the Daily Times by Christine Flowers. Here’s the link…and the comments are an interesting read (though the grammar debate between a couple emailers was a waste of time): ConservativeWomen
TELL ME YOUR STORY!! Here’s how: VictoriousWomanContest
Have a great weekend!!

Ban Bossy???

BanBossyWhat have Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Condoleeza Rice &others been doing with FB’s CEO, Sheryl Sandberg?
They’ve been making a commercial or maybe you’d call it a public service announcement. The purpose is to ban the word bossy. Have you seen it?
I think Sandberg’s intention is a good one, and she definitely has a point. In a recent interview, she explained how little girls are called bossy on the playground.  Then, by the time they get into middle school, girls start to hang back and let boys take the lead. I taught middle school and know what she’s saying – I’ve watched it. And she’s right.
Sandberg said, “…if you ask girls why they don’t want to lead, whether it’s the school project [or] all the way on to running for office, they don’t want to be called bossy, and they don’t want to be disliked.” And that’s true. Statistics indicate that being liked is more important to most girls than being leaders. That continues into adulthood. I’ve had those kinds of conversations on my Happy Hour Radio Show talking about things like Queen Bee Syndrome with WomanTalk Live’s Ann Quasman or power women with Great Dame’s Sharon Hake or any one of a handful of other similar conversations.
Sandberg went on to say, “We call them too aggressive or other B-words in the workplace. They’re bossy as little girls, and then they’re aggressive, political, shrill, too ambitious as women.”
So, I agree with the sentiment and the intention of the PSA. However, I think banning the word bossy, or any other word, is just plain dumb. Here’s why:
Words have power, it’s true, but they only have the power you and I give the word. Banning the word only gives it more power. It becomes an even meaner thing to say…because it isn’t just an everyday insult, it’s a more potent arrow.
There was a day when the word feminist was associated with women like Gloria Steinem and Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex & the Single Woman. Back then they and their publications were met with sneers and jeers. But as women got a real handle on what the word meant, respected and well-known women, like Marlo Thomas & Oprah Winfrey, wore the feminist robe. Then men like Alan Alda said they too were feminists. Over time, the word and the attitude became something good.
Consider what one woman did with another “B” word. Instead of being offended, she decided the “B” word was an acronym for the phrase: Boys I’m Taking Charge Here. She give that “B” word a whole new power.
So, instead of banning the word, I’d rather see a PSA that celebrates it. At the end of the Sandberg PSA, Beyonce looks directly into the camera and pronounces, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.” And that’s the right direction. Little girls – and some of us big girls too – can wrap our heads around being the boss – and we ARE the boss. We earned the right to be the boss…and bossy. It’s a good thing!
And, realistically, if one little girl or boy (or big girl or boy) wants to hurt another, if we “ban bossy” mean girls and boys will just find another word to hurt. The goal shouldn’t be to ban anything. It should be to raise up what’s good and make it something we admire and want to be. I think that’s how a woman with power like Sheryl Sandberg, Condi Rice and the others – and men in that commercial – would most help not only little girls but some of us good girls who aren’t so little.
Here’s the PSA: Ban Bossy
Here’s the Sandberg interview: Sandberg/ABC

Today at Happy Hour

the-way-to-successWomen are “all in” when talking about getting a promotion or being a successful business owner. But talk about being a business or corporate leader and women shy away. What holds women back more, the glass ceiling or fear of leadership? Communications Expert Peggy Smith joins Annmarie Kelly for this Happy Hour look at women, leadership and communications.
Tune in Today at 3pmEST
Live and Local: WCHE 1520AM
Live and Online:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Longwood.GlassPumpkins Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I wish you a fabulous day of Thanksgiving.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s guest Sharon O’Connor’s “attitude of gratitude” tips and her special Friday Happy Hour gift to the Victorious Woman Community: Happy Hour with Sharon O’Connor

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!

My Excellent Adventure

WCHE.smallBill and Ted have nothing on me! I’m getting ready to start a new adventure, something that I’ve thought about doing for a long time…and now I am. This Friday, September 13, I’m starting my own one-hour, weekly radio show. It’s a local station in West Chester PA, WCHE 1520AM. You can listen – live and local – on And as soon as I learn how to do it, I’ll podcast it for you.
I’m excited!
What is something you’ve wanted to do for a long time? What stopped you? Are you ready to have your own excellent adventure with it?

Nyad: You're Never Too Old!

“You’re never too old to chase your dreams!”  That’s what Diana Nyad wants you to know. Today, the 64 year-old finally accomplished her goal of swimming from Cuba to Florida, and she did it without a shark cage – the longest unaided swim in history.
This time it took Nyad 53 hours to finally realize the dream she first had 35 years ago. She tried and failed. So, in 1978, Diane quit swimming and her dream did what many of our dreams do, it went underground.
Fast forward thirty years. Nyad was about to turn 60 and her mother died. She was looking to redefine herself. “You’re looking for something…,” and according to Nyad, “the dream comes alive.”
So with that, Diana Nyad decided to try swimming again. She started slowly and quietly…just to see how she felt. Gradually she built back her physical strength and picked up momentum. She decided she still had what it would take, mentally and emotionally.
In 2011 and 2012, Nyad made three attempts to realize her dream. Each time she was physically beat and suffered terribly from the stings of jellyfish. The last time she thought it was the end. And then it wasn’t.
In 2013, Nyad told CNN, “My whole mantra this year was ‘find a way’.” And she did…and won!
Her advice to anyone and everyone?

  • Never ever give up
  • You’re never too old to chase your dreams
  • It looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team

Have any of your dreams gone underground?

Ten Communication Secrets of Great Leaders posted this article by Mike Myatt a while ago. Here are his “top ten secrets” with my quickie summaries:

1. Speak not with a forked tongue:

Act like someone who deserves to be trusted

2. Get personal:

Let people know who you are (see also my article on building rapport)

3. Get specific:

Make your words clear and concise. Eliminate the chance for ambiguity. As one of my teachers used to say, “forget the peas and potatoes, just give me the meat.”

4. Focus on the leave-behinds not the take-aways:

Think about what the other person needs and wants and not just your agenda.

5. Have an open mind:

It’s OK if people disagree and challenge you. Learn how to have a healthy debate. It’s the way you get to stretch yourself.

6. Shut-up and listen:

this is the one that reminds us we have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

7. Replace ego with empathy:

Listen to needs and disagreements with your heart. If you understand where the other person is coming from, you

8. Read between the lines:

Understand what isn’t said AND what isn’t said. We miss a lot that’s implied or presumed.

9. When you speak, know what you’re talking about:

No fudging about what you know and how much of it you know. You can’t BS with your expertise and get away with it forever.

10. Speak to groups as individuals:

“Knowing how to work a room and establish credibility, trust, and rapport are keys to successful interactions.”
Read the whole article at Ten Communication Secrets of Great Leaders
For more tips and tricks, CLICK HERE to join the Victorious Woman Community
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