Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A little Monday inspiration...

Posted this on Facebook today - thought it was worth sharing...

Ryan told me a story years ago that still resonates with me today. He was on the practice squad in Jacksonville when his coach came up to him right before practice and said, "Neufeld, you've been here two weeks. You better show me something or you're out of here." Personally, I don't respond to that kind of pressure - I tend to get flustered, shut down. But Ryan said he had one of his best practices ever, even with the fear of being cut lingering over him. He went on to play several more years in the NFL (it's like dog years 1=7 in real life - LOL). Just an interesting tidbit on what can happen depending on how we respond to adversity... 





Want to talk about beating the odds... undrafted guy out of UCLA plays 7 NFL seasons.  That takes a lot of hard work...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Silver Dollar Ball 2012

Once again, XO Ranch in Aubrey, Texas set the scene for the 2012 Silver Dollar Ball.  The annual event, which raises money for the American Cancer Society, was well attended and fun was had by all!  The usual "Vanna White" couldn't attend this year's event, so I was her back up during the live action.  I felt like a boxing ring girl, without the bikini thong.









Anyway, it was a great time, on a perfect evening in Texas.  Joe Diffie was the headline performer and Former Dallas Cowboy Drew Pearson was the honorary chair.  As for me, it was nice to just attend as a guest - and I still got put to work.  Fun times had by all.  Special thanks to Mardi and Chip Ferrier as we know they are facing a difficult time as their loved one battles cancer.  Please keep them in your prayers.

7s

7s.  At least that's what I call them.  But most of you may be familiar with them when addressed properly - 7 For All Mankind.  I don't use the full name of the premier brand of denim lifestyle products because I have a more intimate relationship with the brand.  When I first decided to venture away from the Gap denim of my early days, I knew it was time to take it up a notch.  It was time for boutique so boutique jeans.  

There on a table lay piles of jeans in different sizes, lengths, washes and colors.  The length was particularly important to me.  You see, I have a 33" inseam.  I hate floodin' when I don't want to be.  So I grabbed a pair of 7s I was assured were LONG.  I hurriedly tried them on in a pseudo-protective changing room but I didn't care if anyone caught a glimpse of my junk.  I had found the perfect jean.  Those jeans cupped my behind giving me curves in all the right places.  The button at the waist easily snapped and held my waist together without causing that dreadful "muffin top."  Then I looked down and my jeans were touching the floor - actually touched the floor.  I was so used to wearing jeans that looked like capris on me that I'd given up.  But no, not with 7 For All Mankind jeans.  Twenty plus pairs later, they are still my 7s.  And they still mean comfort, summer and cool to me after all these years.


I was excited when I recently received an invitation to attend the reveal of the ground breaking Summer 2012 campaign at Northpark Mall - sounds like I missed a truly interesting preview.  This campaign intrigues me -  born from an art film imagined and created by James Franco in collaboration with the Lipman, the unorthodox campaign is an original multimedia experience that embodies the brands California roots and forever cool aesthetic.  Based on what I've seen, the collection lives up to its name.

Think laid back California lifestyle, that road trip up the coastline wearing prints with compelling assortments of florals, lace prints and tie dye while the colors and cuts will keep you in trend for the season.  Vibrant colors that are washed down to create subdued shades that look as though they are faded by the son and sea will bring the collection full circle.

What can I say - this collection epitomizes summer.




Make sure you check out the summer 2012 collection at NorthPark Mall.  I know I will be ASAP.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mothers...

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving

My babies...


How it all started...

New chapters...

Full circle...


 
Wishing all the moms out there a happy mother's day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jordan Winery 4 on 4 Art Competition



As a "celebrity" (I use that word loosely), I am often asked to do the most interesting things.  When I received a call from Rising Gallery in downtown Dallas asking if I'd be interested in judging an art competition, I didn't hesitate!  This wasn't just any art competition - the two-day event was actually part of Jordan Winery's 40th anniversary celebration.  Artists submitted works that had to meet certain criteria.  The one below was my absolute favorite - I believe it came in second place.  The attention to detail was stunning - made me feel like I was back in Sonoma.  Well, minus the heat and humidity.


The Jordan Winery blog described the event as follows:

A family-owned winery well-known in Texas for its food-friendly Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, Jordan kicked off its 40th birthday festivities in Texas with the 4 on 4 Dallas Art Competition, part of a coast-to-coast, four-city initiative to marry the distinct flavors of metropolitan cities with the essence of Jordan wines and Sonoma wine country. RISING Gallery on Jackson Street, owned by Bryan and Taber Wetz, hosted the Dallas-Fort Worth call to entries, culminating in a one-night-only public exhibition and Jordan wine tasting, which was hosted by D Magazine, and presented 20 stunning works of art that highlighted diverse painting techniques and talents—and featured distinctively Dallas elements, from the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and Reunion Tower to cowboy boots and horses. The event took place April 24 with approximately 150 guests in attendance—local Jordan wine fans, D subscribers, art aficionados, local tastemakers and the artists themselves. Guests sipped on 2009 Jordan Chardonnay and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon paired with delicious hors d’oeuvres (coconut-crusted lobster tail skewers, Texas goat cheese truffles, beef kabobs, shaved tenderloin on crostini) by Doug Boster Catering. The panel of expert judges for the competition included Dawn Neufeld, a star on VH1’s “Football Wives”; Peter Simek, arts editor for D Magazine; Susan Roth Romans, owner and curator at Ro2 Art; Veletta Lill, executive director of Dallas Arts District; Cris Worley, director of Cris Worley Fine Arts; and James Beard Award-nominated chef and restaurateur Kent Rathbun. The anticipation was palpable as the judges handed in their top three choices.



The winner of the competition was an artist by the name of Tom Ford - he took home $5,000.00 in prize money for creating an amazing piece of work commemorating Jordan Winery's 40th!


On a special note, we had a chance to chat with John Jordan, CEO of the winery.  We started sharing stories - I told him I got my law degree at UC Davis which is only about 45 minutes away from their base in Sonoma.  John told me he's also a lawyer.  I love hearing awesome tales of lawyers doing really, really cool things.  The Jordan folks told us they host an epic Halloween party every year - the Neufelds might have to take a trip to wine country this year!


Thanks again to Rising Gallery, Frankie Garcia, D Magazine and Jordan Winery for including me in this fabulous event.  We hate that would couldn't participate in the other festivities that weekend but are sure hoping to make it up to you!!!  The Neufelds will be crashing soon!  

Until then, you can learn more about the Jordan Winery here and the Rising Gallery at here - special thanks to you all for putting on such a tremendous event.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Two fun events this weekend...

This weekend was busy as usual - first up, the Frisco Women's League Mother-Daughter Tea benefiting Hope Park Frisco!  The Candyland-themed decor in the Embassy Suites ballroom in Frisco was so much fun!  Bryn had a blast playing with some of her BFFs.  It was an honor to be the event's honorary chair!  Check out more about Frisco Women's League at http://www.friscowomensleague.org/ and Hope Park Frisco at www.hopeparkfrisco.org.





My daughter was obviously thrilled.

A highlight of the event was winning three of the children's auction baskets.  Unfortunately, I was messing around and didn't check my silent auction items and went home empty.

Yesterday I co-emceed the Leading Women of America Crowning and Awards Ceremony with 105.7 on-air personality Lynne Haze.  The beautiful event featured LWA ambassadors and honored women who are role models and community contributors.



A special shout out to Watters Designs for outfitting me for the weekend - you make it easy for me to look and feel great!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Awareness...

I've had a lot of new visitors to my blog over the last couple of days, many of whom did not hesitate to share their opinions of me (anonymously, of course - cowards).  Few of them actually addressed what I said in my blog post about Deion and Pilar Sanders.  I shared my actual EXPERIENCES with Pilar and my opinions based on those experiences.  Many of these people know no more about her than what they've seen on "reality" t.v. and/or social media websites, yet they defend her by attacking me personally.  Acknowledging these "haters" is not to give them power, but to make people aware of some of the ridiculousness and hatred people spout.  

Funny thing is, none of this is new - it's just round two.  Heard it all before during Football Wives...

So for those of you inclined to speak ill of my son by calling him a "retard" or by saying he is a punishment from God, this is who you're talking about - without a doubt one of the best gifts I've ever received:

And with his little sister who just adores him...

And here I am with the husband I just adore (he'll tell you the feeling is mutual)...
I know it's going to just burn some of y'all to pieces that we're happy.

And goodness - some of y'all need to stop throwing so much shade and think before you speak (or type).  The hypocrisy is unreal.  You say I'm not a Christian but then you cuss me out, call me names and attack me.  Careful - God don't like ugly (as some of you have said).  Practice what you preach...

I didn't say anything in my blog I wouldn't have said in person to Pilar Sanders.  Some of you, however, I am certain would never in a million years say to my face what you posted anonymously on this blog (your comments won't get published by the way).  Cyberbullies are pathetic - yes, I'm talking to you.  

I appreciate the folks who actually took the time to read and digest what I had to say.  For those of you who chose to ignore the gist of my post, I hope tomorrow is a better day for you filled with contentment, joy and peace!  Life is too short y'all...



Mean People

For those of you who are new to my blog, I rarely approve comments from anonymous posters who come here to cause problems.  So before you waste time coming up with some clever way to disagree or insult me, know that I'll see it but everyone else won't.  And I'm pretty much unfazed by hatred...  M'kay?

Oh, and another thing - actually read the blog post you're commenting on... it'll make your points more effective and likely to be published.


Bullies only win if we let them!


DYING laughing right now. Woke up to an anonymous blog post from someone who claims they went to high school with me. They talked about how I was chubby with fuzzy eyebrows - true. I think I was rocking close to 150 lbs and had a unibrow - it was AWFUL!  But I'm proof that some folks do get better with age.  It's a wonderful testament to young girls out there who feel a little awkward in high school who get bullied by folks just like "anonymous" - IT GETS BETTER!



But then anonymous goes on to talk about how I'm insecure, hurt, old and have flabby boobies (they used the "t" word - I'll spare you). Really?!?!? Been checking out my boobs lately anonymous? Someone sounds like you're hurt - and it ain't me! So thanks for taking the time to post on my blog. Won't be re-posting what you said because it's just mean. And mean people kinda suck!  I'm not a fan of bullies, especially anonymous ones who hides behind internet anonymity!


“So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life's a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.”  ― Marilyn Monroe



By the way, I know someone else who was bullied in middle school because he was tall and awkward.  He went on to do some pretty awesome things. #winning



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I can't believe Junior's gone...


I am writing this post with a heavy heart after hearing the devastating news today that Junior Seau, arguably one of the best linebackers to ever play in the NFL, committed suicide with a single gunshot wound to the chest.  I am always saddened to hear of a death in the NFL family, but this one is particularly hard because there is a personal connection and it hits uncomfortably close to home.

As an undergraduate student at UCLA, I interned with a company called Nine, Inc.  Headquartered in Beverly Hills, the company was owned and operated by NFL quarterback Rodney Peete.  I remember sitting in the office with the other new interns for our first meeting when Rodney's wife, Holly Robinson Peete, walked in looking radiant at five-and-a-half months pregnant with their twins (who would've known back then that we'd both be raising sons with autism).  I had been a fan of Holly's since her 21 Jump Street days - the fact that Rodney played football was a bonus because I'd always loved the sport.  

Nine, Inc. produced high-profile fundraising and sporting events including a celebrity-studded Super Bowl fashion event called Passion for Fashion.  The work was hard and I didn't get paid squat (well, nothing at the beginning, but I hustled to make ends meet because it was worth it).  There were perks.  We flew to Philly one time to produce the Eagles' Christmas party.  I'd fly to Miami to help out with preparations for Super Bowl events.  I hobbled all over San Diego on crutches after I broke my foot the week before Super Bowl in 1998.  We'd help other teammates of Rodney's produce their charity events.  They were fun times of which I have many memories.  After nearly two years of hustlin', the only reason I left Nine, Inc. was because I was starting law school.

Rodney and I often razzed each other about the fact that we were from different 'hoods.  You see, Rodney was the former star quarterback at USC, my crosstown nemesis.  We joked though that all the interns in the office were from UCLA, so he must've known where to recruit the smart ones.  Much to my chagrin, we'd be over at USC all the time but we'd run into some of their greats - Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen, Junior Seau.  Then it was on and crackin' - always good times.

Rodney and his former 'SC teammates would work together on projects for the 'SC Legends campaign and golf tournaments.  One of those golf tournaments belonged to the one, the only Junior Seau.  The event was held at the La Costa Resort in Carlsbad so it almost felt like we were camping out or on vacation.  Every evening, Junior's family, namely Cousin Randall, would be cooking up something good outside while mama Seau was inside.  My favorite Randall dish was his crab potato salad.  I ate so much I got sick.  This family was wonderful.  So inviting, so supporting.  Everyone's a cousin.  It didn't take much to become a part of the crew.  After 3 or 4 days at La Costa, everybody felt like family.

With the crew hanging before a Chargers/Eagles game - both Junior and Rodney were playing.  We were tailgating with Randall.  He can cook y'all...



My memories of Junior are pretty awesome.  Tailgating with his fam prior to a game, getting hugs from Junior and teammates after the game, then fun times at Junior's restaurant for an event.  I had my first cigar in Junior Seau's restaurant sitting next to Newy Scruggs.  The fun we had made all the hard work we did to make the events memorable was worth it.

Junior and Rodney were brothers.  They loved each other.  I know Rodney is devastated right now.  Sending him many virtual hugs.

Junior was always so kinda.  His right hand girl B who ran is organization was THE woman.  She took care of what was happening, she made sure Junior was where he needed to be.  B took care of Junior and his family.  She was an adopted relative in their clan.  B is my girl - we been friends since the beginning of all this.  Hearing the news today, she was the first person I thought about - I had to know she was ok.

Gunshot wound to the chest.  Dear God, I thought.  CTE.  It's becoming a bad word in the NFL.  We've seen this before.  Two other former players have committed suicide recently.  Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest and left instructions to have his brain examined.  Junior seemingly committed suicide in the same manner.  Another player, a man spearheading one of the concussion lawsuits, recently took his own life.  Often times when the autopsies are complete, the results will show these men suffered from CTE.  Football and CTE are the common denominators in these cases of young retired pro-athletes killing themselves.

I hyperventilated as I called my husband yesterday to tell him about Junior.  It took me a while to say the words, then the waterworks flowed.  Ryan was silent.  Just very quite.  Surely taking it all in, trying to come up with the right words to comfort me when he still needed to figure out where his strength was going to come from.  I can imagine he contemplated something like this happening to him.  I know I did.

I haven't seen Junior in many years.  I was saddened to hear a while back that he and his beautiful wife were divorcing.  In 2010, I remember hoping that Junior didn't intentionally drive off of that cliff.  A suicide attempt?  No way, not the Junior I knew.

Then this.  That one shot.  Another NFL player dead.  A player surrounded by a loving, supportive family.  The same guy who called everybody "buddy."  The same guy who always had a smile on his face who could give you that kind of hug that said "I got you,"  He's gone.

The first thing I thought about when I heard about this today is CTE.   What is CTE,? you might ask.  Well...

What is CTE?

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s. However, recent reports have been published of neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau. These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement. The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.

As I go through that last list, I think about all of the ones I can check off because my husband is experiencing them.  The depression is a big one.  Memory loss is the biggest problem.  At 36, my husband can't remember to do more than one thing a day unless it's written down for him.  It's scary.  We are recognizing the symptoms, and that's scary.


On Football Wives, we addressed injuries and were often criticized for "complaining" because our husbands chose to play the game and were compensated well for it.  Yes, they chose the game.  But I think it's hard for anyone to truly contemplate the long-term effects and life after the game.  I've always said for the fans, football is just a game.  Spectators want to see the hard hits and collisions.  For us, it's the rest of our lives.  We'll be dealing with the repercussions of the game for decades to come (if we're given decades - the average life span of a former NFL player is 55).  Problem is, the insurance will eventually run out.  With a host of pre-existing conditions, we'll hopefully find Ryan coverage.  The thought is scary.


In discussing the risks of the game, I had another football wife whose husband played with Ryan briefly say that since Ryan chose to play, Ryan chose to die.  I have a hard time believing that.  When Ryan was a rookie he wasn't given any mortality stats.  He wasn't invited to the rookie symposium we hear about so much because undrafted rookies are anticipated to play in the league for 7 years.  In football, you can't be soft.  You can't be injured.  You can't need help.  It was get out there and play, even if you're concussed, hurt, etc., or you will loose your job.  And so they did because they had to earn a living and were able to do so doing what they loved.  I think only recently players and the league are really contemplating the toll this game takes.  


I am going to assume here that if someone had a magic ball and told Junior Seau that when he hit 43, he would commit suicide, I bet he'd trade it all - all the money, all the fame, all the accolades - to be here with his family.  It's just a game in the end, and is it worth risking your life?   I know most players will tell you they'd do it all over again.  I understand that.  But I think it's time we start taking care of these players once they get out of the league, both physically and mentally.  


I have been screaming about CTE for a while now, mostly after seeing cognitive issues in Ryan.  I've heard from other wives who immediately thought CTE too when they heard about Junior.  I've heard it talked about on all the sports channels today.  So is it time to vow to do something about it?  How many more have to die before we start taking the mental health of former players seriously?


It's time for the NFL and the NFLPA to provide long term services to NFL players and their families.  Counselors and therapists should be provided free of charge if players are having problems.  We know this is a difficult sport that takes its toll on the players.  Don't help them out for a couple of years - they need to be helped out for LIFE!  The effects of football don't magically stop after 5 years - they keep going, and I dare say get worse.


It's time to provide football wives with the tools to help in this terribly difficult transition.  Our husbands are often depressed and in denial and we're their first line of defense with no resources to help.  It's time.  Enough is enough.  The NFL knows this is a rough sport, and it's time for the NFL to take care of these players, all of them, for as long as necessary.


Rest in peace Junior Seau...

Unbelievably sad...

I was shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Junior Seau today.  This one hits close to home.  I have to teach class this evening, but hope to post an entry this evening.  Please keep the very close-knit Seau family in your prayers.  The NFL is mourning the loss of a great man....