The Best Embarrassing Moments of My Life

In February 2011 I put on a cabaret to celebrate my 7 year anniversary in New York City. 10 days earlier I'd had the ah-hah moment for what would become Dean Street Society.

Performing to a sold-out crowd of my friends {to my shock dozens of people were turned away at the door, which is important because it's referenced in the video below} was one of the most frightening, fabulous & freeing things I've ever done. And of the whole event, the 9 minutes below are my fav. Mostly because people came up to me for weeks telling me how they wanted to throw up, cry, slide under the table, excuse themselves to the restroom because they could NOT handle the horrifying awkward mortification that was occuring live before their very eyes.

And because who doesn't want to feel THAT?! After two years I'm sharing this video for the first time as my Valentine's Day gift to you. Here's hoping no one has a first kiss or second date story this bad today.

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P.S. If you think Cory is funny you should a) Tune into the MTV show he writes for b) Follow him on Twitter & ask him if he wants to triple teetertotter kiss you c) Do nothing. Seriously, class clowns do not need to be encouraged. Surprisingly, it only encourages them.

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P.P.S. Having absolutely nothing to do with kissing, Marie Forleo's third training video is now live! If you missed the annoucement about The Mentorship Coterie I'm creating for a few hand-picked bloggers & entrepreneurs who enroll in Marie's B-School, read all about it. Deadline is March 4th!

Hello Southern Holiday Style

This blog post will go live at 8am. At 3:30 am my alarm will have gone off & a very grumpy, very silent, very non-morning-person moi will climb into a car service & head to the airport. I will be very unhappy. That is, until I meet my friends at LaGuardia & we embark on Sweet Home Alabama Holiday.

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Last year I hosted 26 people here in my home for Thanksgiving. It was one of the best days. My friend Ashley {pictured} had just started dating a boy named Brian who galantly carved the turkey. This Thanksgiving, we'll be in her parents home & the next day celebrating the two of them walking down the aisle. I have goosebumps as I type thinking of our hilarious Brooklyn crew runnin' all over a lil country town for the next five days. First stop tomorrow: Cracker Barrel. Second stop: Giant thrift store. Happy girl.

But before I go, I want to wish you a happy holiday. My heart still hurts for my neighbors rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy & I'm ever more so grateful this year for how much I have.

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P.S. There's another awesome {if I do say so myself} Business, Branding & Blogging Friday's post coming up this week & you just might want to carve out some time this weekend to sit & ponder on the questions I've got for ya. While you're snuggling on the couch in between the Macy's Parade & football, check out last week's post & feel encouraged.

Huffington Post

Bettys, I told you I would have more to share on my experiences with Hurricane Sandy today, & in the meantime I had the opportunity to share them yesterday in my first article on Huffington Post!

So thrilled to get to write my first piece there on the two things most close to my heart: Brooklyn & helping people shine. Please take a minute to consider how to best love people in your life when they're hurting, & share it with your friends on Twitter & Facebook. NYC is still hurting, needs to stay on people's radars to get help, & the universal message in this article is an easy way to do that. Read the piece here.

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In case you want to Tweet, here's some ready for you:

  • One stylist's experience serving neighbors during Hurricane Sandy. http://bit.ly/RE55uw Inspiration for your own story by @HilaryRushford.

  • NYC still needs our help after Hurricane Sandy. http://bit.ly/RE55uw @HilaryRushford on how we can help others to shine in a time of need.

  • How do you love someone in need? Find beauty amongst suffering? Shine in darkness? http://bit.ly/RE55uw @HilaryRushford for @HuffPostStyle

Now I'd love to hear your thoughts. What's a time you've felt in the darkness & loveliness, beauty, self-respect helped you to rise above it? Have you found my experiences to be true whether you were on the receiving or giving end? I'd love to hear your heart in the comments below.

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My Week with Sandy: A Hurricane Grows in Brooklyn

Just over a year ago my very first blog post was of Hurricane Irene. She was all bark & no bite, so when Hurricane Sandy came a calling the general buzz was that it’d be about the same. Unfortunately, that was not so.

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Here in my neighborhood, riding out the hurricane was fun. We padded back & forth to the apartments in our building we’re friends with, watching movies, reading magazines, eating pumpkin soup & making s’mores. In a city that’s always bustling we’d never had that many hours to just sit & hang out together.

Our internet & phone were down all week, which for someone who works from home, was maddening. SquareSpace -- my webite host -- had their building flooded, which is why the blog was dark all week. Venturing into the neighborhood in search of internet, it was like everyone took a sick day all at once. Coffee shops were taking reservations for a table time. Today as I write this I’m at a coffee shop that still has no internet so I can’t post this until I find a signal later on.

Many of my friends work jobs where they only get paid when they see clients & customers: a hair stylist, children’s speech pathologist, tour guide, waitress, salesman. We were completely & errily cut off from Manhattan when all the subways from Brooklyn flooded. Therefore even for those whose workplaces opened later in the week, it took them three hours to get there, waiting in lines a mile long to get on buses to drive over the bridge. 

However, I’m well aware that we’re blessed. We’d sit around the living room passing around our iPhones with new photos we’d found on Twitter or Instagram. Cars floated on flooded streets. A building in Chelsea had the entire front fly off, leaving it looking like a doll-house. The carousel I did this photo shoot on in Dumbo looked like an island.

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Source: Flooding / Chelsea / Carousel

The lower half of Manhattan was without power, heat, hot water, for nearly a week including people like Chelsea Clinton & Alec Baldwin. Nearby Red Hook, Brooklyn where low income families didn’t have the money to prepare with enough flashlights & canned food, lined up in droves once we were able to mobilize efforts to get them supplies. In Breezy Point, Queens an electric shortage led to a fire that took out hundreds of homes. In Rockaway, Brooklyn, the ocean took out rows & rows & rows of homes & in some cases the people who had not evacuated them. A fellow blogger was in Staten Island yesterday & told there are 100 bodies in a high school gymnasium that haven’t been officially added to the death toll yet because poliece have yet to identify the bodies.

When 9/11 happened, I had never been to New York. So my heart has never hurt for this city, now my city, as it does now. But I have also never been more proud of my fellow New Yorkers.

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I’ll share more about those efforts in a post on Wednesday. But for now I wanted to let those of you who’ve asked know how you can help.

TO DONATE FINANCIALLY:

My church, Trinity Grace, has set up a Hurricane Relief Fund. Regardless of your religious affiliations, the staff at TGC is already paid, so 100% of these donations go directly to relief. You do have to create a log-in for yourself, but won't be signed up for a mailing list or anything. So far we've met the needs in Red Hook, are still at work in the highly damanged East Village, moving on to Rockaway & Coney Island & will continue working with the funds we donate together.

TO SEND SUPPLIES:

We just finished our massive push in Red Hook & today our team is meeting to discuss where we can help best next. When we get specific needs I will share them on Twitter @HilaryRushford & my friend Sarah will share them via @TGCBrooklyn.

In the meantime, you can send supplies to a neighboring church we're partnering with:

St Jacobi's Church
5405 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220

TO STAY UP TO DATE ON HOW TO HELP:

In addition to following on Twitter @HilaryRushford & @TGCBrooklyn, our church also has a Facebook page where updates are shared in more than 140 characters.

Thank you for your love, thoughts & prayers for New York City. I could never love any place more, & you’re welcome to come visit us any time. Even in times of trouble, we’ll welcome you in & offer you a glass of wine to ride out the storms of life with us. Until then, thank you for your generosity & sending funds & supplies & helping me to help my neighbors rebuild their lives, homes & businesses. 

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We Live to Party Another Day!

A tornado touched down in Brooklyn last Saturday on the day of our soiree. {Insert Wizard of Oz joke here.} Thankfully, DIY decor & bow tie ensembles don't have an expiration date. So we're clicking our heels three times to make food & flowers anew, & applying a second coat of lipstick at the same time, same place, different date.

See you on Saturday. Bring your friends. Let's be bougie & play croquet. RSVP here.

Annoucement for Year #2!

If you missed the announcement during the online party, new pricing for style sessions will go into effect Monday, September 17th at 1pm EST. If you've considered booking a session, get in on the first year rates! If you have any hesitations drop me a line a Hilary@DeanStreetSociety.com. Let's see if a session is right for you & where you're at in life. Or if you know you're ready to create more providence in your life this fall, book a session now.

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P.S. Make things happen. RSVP. Then book a session. Boom. Party worth indeed.