July’s All-Star Renel

This month, our Guest Column features a story by Renel Brooks-Moon, a woman whose name is widely recognized throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Renel is the host and morning dee-jay of “Renel in the Morning” on KISS-FM, while also being the public address announcer for the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park. Renel is a trailblazer as a woman in the sport announcing profession. This month is no exception, as Renel prepares to announce Major League Baseball’s All Star Game on July 10. (Watch the game on TV and you’ll hear her voice in the background!)

Renel’s story, “Finding my Voice”, was borne from an interview with Johanna on June 25.
Read her story by clicking here

We welcome your comments, below!

Johanna & Patti

Granny DTBF!

It’s May and we are very excited to feature a story from Doris “Granny D” Haddock as our Guest Column this month.

If you haven’t heard of her, this is a great time to become acquainted with this fabulous woman. She walked across America at the age of 89. No easy feat for anyone, far less an 89-year old woman. Why, you may ask? To raise awareness and support for campaign finance reform. Her story is one-of-a-kind and her example is beautiful.

We celebrate her passion and her work by sharing an excerpt from her book about the walk, entitled “Granny D: Walking Across America in My 90th Year,” written with Dennis Burke.

Link to our Guest Column (top right of this page) to read her story!

We welcome your comments!

Johanna & Patti

No Secrets in New Delhi

I just came upon my cd of Carly Simon’s “No Secrets.” Talk about a soundtrack from your past. This one is on the top three. For me, it’s New Delhi, India. 1973. I’m nine years old. We play this album so often, it’s like the McCloy family album of 1973.

It brings me back to early evenings in the living room, parents sipping cocktails. Then, to my room. Playing our old piano along with one of the songs, “Embrace Me.” Playing the song over and over and over, trying to learn how to play the piano by hitting the keys along in tune, singing the words, “then one night daddy died, and went to Heaven and God came down to Earth and slipped away.” How I would imagine what that would be like. My daddy dying. The emotions. The loss. Little did I know my dad would die when I was still relatively young; 21 years old.

Every song had its own world of meaning. The particular context of the time in our lives when it became imprinted. The correlation of its tone and lyrics to the mood it created. Carly was with us there. Our little bubble of life at 12 Friends Colony West, New Delhi.

My brother and his wife named their daughter Carly. My family fondly thinks it has to do with the influence that Ms. Simon had on us. The love she brought. The family bonds she created. It sounds corny, but we all have music that sticks with us like that. We may not always remember about certain artists or songs, but when we hear an impactful song from the past, boy, do those floodgates of sense memory open up and remind us!

We might have intellectual disconnects in the present and poo-poo an artist that once brought us joy, because they are no longer hip or heard or popular or understood. But ya can’t take that memory away and the happiness that it brought you. The impact it has at a pivotal time in your life will never go away.

KC and the Sunshine Band’s “That’s the way I Like it.” For me, that’s Ithaca, New York, 1975; my one year of living in the U.S between birth and college. Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall”? That’s Tokyo. 1979. Dancing in the crowded discos of Roppongi on Saturday nights, sipping silly drinks like blue Hawaiians or violet fizzes. Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House”? Durham, North Carolina, 1983. Definitely the soundtrack of the house I lived in off of Duke’s east campus with my sister and our housemates from all over the world. (All of our friends joked that this album was playing every single time they came over, and I think they were probably right.) And one more, while I’m on a roll here. Fine Young Cannibals’ “The Raw and the Cooked.” That’s Bequia, West Indies, July, 1989. I was in this oasis of a place with 20 other actors, studying acting with Sandy Meisner. This happened to be the album that often played on the boombox when we took breaks or danced at night. I always go back to Bequia when I hear that album, and undoubtedly, so will all the other actors that were there with me that month.

My friend Ilse is a musician who describes her need for music as a drug. I think music is a drug. Just because you don’t drink or smoke it, doesn’t mean it isn’t mood altering to a huge degree. It influences our mood. We use it to bring us up, or to bring us down. We use it to party. We use it to ponder. We use it to exercise. We use it to escape. When you turn on your ipod, how do you choose what song you will listen to? Well, the question often is; how do you want to feel?

Ilse is one of those music-driven people who slips away in consciousness whenever music is playing. You know how that goes. Trying to maintain a conversation flow becomes an arduous task with people who get lost in music. They’re gonners. You just have to sit out the tune and hope for the best, Maybe it’s just this one song. My brother’s the same way.  They’re in another world and you have to be patient to get their attention. But we all do it. Hey, I did it tonight when Henri was trying to talk to me. I got lost in New Delhi with “No Secrets”. The past was back, alive and well. New Delhi in Berkeley. 1973 in 2007. Music can do that.


Going with the Flow / Feb Guest Column

When we told Karen that we wanted to feature her story in our Guest Column this month, she was thrilled, yet also surprised. She thought Dare To Be Fabulous featured columnists who were oriented toward success. Well, our answer to that is, IT IS! To us, success is not just about outside accomplishments, but even more, about the spirit of daring to be true to ourselves, of defying conventions, personal histories, or our own fears; of following our guts, our hearts, our intuition. After all, momentary decisions can also be momentous ones! Little things we choose to do each day are important. They add up to create the bigger picture, and in that bigger picture, conventionally defined successes may or may not happen. But it’s in daring to be true to yourself that you Dare To Be Fabulous!

So, we bring you Karen’s story about her totally unanticipated yet very welcome change from a home-bound to an ocean-bound existence. It is entitled, “Go with the Flow.” Link to it at the top of our column page. Also, scroll down the side of this page to link to previous posts. We welcome your input through the comments section below each item!

We continue to accept submissions, so if you haven’t already shared your own DTBF story with us, please do! And spread the word to the women in your life. Read our story guidelines by clicking under “stories.”

If you are interested in donning some Dare To Be Fabulous tees or undies, we have some available on the boutique page. (We also have Large, XL and 2X sweatshirts in the same colors, so let us know if you’d like to order any of those.) Link on “boutique” …or write to us if you’d like to order sweatshirts.


Patti & Johanna
Co-creators/ Co-Editors

A Tribute to Governor Ann Richards

Whether Republican, Democratic, or Independent, no one would argue the sheer fabulousness of former Texas governor Ann Richards, whom we sadly lost to cancer on September 13 at the age of 73. When we first conceived of Dare To Be Fabulous, the incomparable Ann Richards was at the top of both Johanna’s and my lists of women we felt truly defined the concept.

Along with her laser-precise, sometimes outrageous, yet warm and self-deprecating humor, Ann Richards was known for her innovation in government, her compassion, and her trailblazing. During her tenure as governor, she appointed more women and minorities to important positions than all three of her successors put together. She never stopped being a champion for the success and advancement of women. Most important in my view, is her founding of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, scheduled to open next year in Austin. An incredible legacy and an incredible gift to young women and to society. And my question is: Why had no one thought to do that earlier? It took Ann Richards.

Many articles will no doubt be published in the coming days in tribute to this legendary woman, but here we will link the AP story by Kelly Shannon that appeared today: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060914/ap_on_re_us/obit_richards . It ends with a quote responding to a question about what she might have done differently had she known she would only be a one-term governor. “Oh,” she said, “I would probably have raised more hell.”

Today, in honor of the great Ann Richards, instead of encouraging you to “Dare To Be Fabulous,” we’d just like to say, “Dare To Raise Hell!”


Pumping Iron at 86

When we think of all the times we have felt too tired to work out, we can now reflect on this gorgeous woman. Check out her amazing story at the link below, as reported in the Philadelphia City Paper. Dare to be fabulous, strong, and healthy at any age. And thanks to Lisa for calling this to our attention!


Honoring Betty Friedan and Coretta Scott King

We honor two fabulous women who died this week: Betty Friedan and Coretta Scott King. Women who were part of the revolutionary movements of the 1960s and continued throughout their lives to generate change and awaken consciousness in people everywhere. Women who defied the societal standards of their time and proposed the radical notion that men and women, and all races, were created equal.

Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan became world famous for her book “The Feminine Mystique,” a book she wrote while living as a suburban housewife in New York. She had graduated from Smith College in 1942 and later studied with the renowned psychologist, Erik Erikson at U.C. Berkeley. When she was offered a second prestigious fellowship in the graduate school of Psychology, her husband pressured her to turn it down. It was then that she wrote “The Feminine Mystique” (published in 1963). This book was founded on the notion that men and women were created equal and analyzed how women had been affected in the years following World War II by their expected societal roles and their limited means to fulfill career aspirations. In later editions, the issue of choice was also integrated into the book. In 1966, Ms. Friedan helped found the National Organization of Women. And then, in 1971, with Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug, she founded the Women’s Political Caucus. Ms. Friedan wrote several other books, but it was “The Feminine Mystique” that continued to provoke questions and to inspire women, and men, all over the world, to transform themselves and the societies they lived in. She died on Saturday, her 85th birthday, of congestive heart failure.

Read about Betty Friedan’s books

Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King died Monday at the age of 78. She was in Mexico at an alternative medicine clinic, where she was being treated for advanced ovarian cancer. Mrs. King is the first woman and the first black person to lie in honor at the Georgia State Capitol, a place long regarded as the hotbed of segregation, and the location in which her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr., first began his quest to raise the spirit of his fellow citizens to empower themselves and to claim their civil rights by no longer accepting the intense racism and prejudice that prevailed in the world around them. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and created a wave of change that Mrs. King continued to undulate in her own quiet and noble manner after Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination in 1968.

From her biography on the King Center’s website, here is the brief biography of Coretta Scott King:

“Coretta Scott King is one of the most influential women leaders in our world today. Prepared by her family, education, and personality for a life committed to social justice and peace, she entered the world stage in 1955 as wife of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and as a leading participant in the American Civil Rights Movement. Her remarkable partnership with Dr. King resulted not only in four talented children, but in a life devoted to the highest values of human dignity in service to social change. Mrs. King has traveled throughout our nation and world speaking out on behalf of racial and economic justice, women’s and children’s rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom, the needs of the poor and homeless, full-employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and ecological sanity. In her distinguished and productive career, she has lent her support to democracy movements world-wide and served as a consultant to many world leaders, including Corazon Aquino, Kenneth Kaunda, and Nelson Mandela.”

For more information: http://www.thekingcenter.org/

Read or listen to NPR’s report about Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King and Betty Friedan, two women from different walks of life, made a difference in the world by being true to themselves and voicing their beliefs in freedom and equality. May they continue to inspire us all.



DTBF at the White House!

From DTBF subscriber, Bonnie. DTBF at the White House!!! Isn’t this great?

Hey, if any of you have DTBF photos that you would like to share with our site visitors and subscribers, send them along for our consideration. Maybe we’ll start a photo page!

Road Trip

My love and I just went on a road trip through Nevada to Colorado and Utah. We drove on 50, the Loneliest Highway, and stayed in ma and pa motels along the way. When we got to Colorado, we hiked and explored, going from Denver to the Rockies to the Collegiate Peaks. Then, it was on to Utah’s Arches and Canyonlands. We ate greasy food from fast food drive-throughs and stopped at supermarkets to get fresh fruit and vegetables and some micro-brewed beers for the evenings. We had no music with us. It was just us and the wind and AM radio. Occasionally, we’d tune into an NPR station or a 70s rock station, but mostly it was talk radio or country music. My love sang songs and the longer he drove, the sillier he got.

It took me three days to fully decompress. For the first two days my brain was always going back to thinking about what I forgot to do at work or what I should do when getting back. Finally, after we got to the Rockies, I was back in the moment again, relaxed, connected, happy. For the next few days, I soaked in the surroundings and took in the adventure like a drug. It was peaceful yet invigorating to be in such beautiful natural settings, to hike up long trails with no one else in sight and view the expanse of mountain vistas or canyons, as far as the eye could see. No cars. No machines. No voices. No signs of civilization. Just our breath and our songs and our quiet conversations.

For me, this is when I am most “myself.” When I no longer think about whether I’m “enough.” When I no longer question my choices based on whether or not they may or may not be popular or accepted or even understood. And it occurs to me that this has always been the case for me, growing up the way I did.

For me, traveling is the adventure. Finding a destination is temporary. The movement is the thing. My ego fades. My spiritual being takes over. I don’t think so much from the outside. I just am. And in that space, all is well. All is fabulous. For me, this is DTBF. To simply be. To be at peace with myself and to feel connected to the pulse of life that is all around. I feel so vibrant and happy.

Sometimes, when I’m in the mode of the routines of daily living and working, I feel like a baseball player fielding balls. I’m on alert and at the ready for a line drive or a fly ball, a stolen base or an error. The phone is ringing incessantly and hundreds of Emails wait for a reply. Everyone wants answers and wants them now. I feel laden with expectations. The to-do list grows exponentially. It can be such a striking contrast to the peace I experience in Nature.

Ah, but Nature is right outside my front door. And as long as I can walk on an isolated trail, stand on the beach and listen to the ocean, or hear birds singing their beautiful songs, I am able to keep coming back to that place of peace and connection and vibrancy. And this is what keeps me ticking. This is what fuels me. This is what makes me feel absolutely fabulous.