My theatrical 10 seconds under the knife.

I was having a teeny tiny mole removed at the dermatologist this morning at 7:30am. “Perfect!” I thought, because I’ll be in and out and back at my desk by 8:30 at the most. She numbed the area where she was about to cut. “Can you feel this?” “Nope,” I replied. She began cutting. During the procedure, one of my highly anticipated contracts came in. I knew this because I was working on my phone while the doctor was cutting away. Who wouldn’t do that? [Not a real question]. I was pretty excited and continued working to make sure the contract was secured on our end, I thanked the client, etc. It’s super easy to multitask when you can’t feel anyone cutting into your back. So why not? [Again. Not a real question.]

Anyhoooo. . . . .

IMG_7844I may have forgotten to mention that I’m not the best recipient of anesthesia and I got dizzy after my minor procedure. They had me lie down, gave me ice packs, orange juice and a granola bar, took my blood pressure, blah blah blah. After an hour, I was still a little dizzy but feeling better than I was; so I knew I was improving. This is not unusual for me. The doctor then thought it was best to call 9.1.1. WTF?! Nooooo! I’m fine. “It’ll keep improving,” I told her. 


Within a few minutes, not 1 or 2 but FIVE EMT firemen showed up. Easy on the eyes, I’ll admit. When they walked in, I was still returning emails and getting some work done. Oh yes, and I took opportunity to document the drama. 

Because. That’s. Important.


They asked me if I wanted to go the hospital. I said no. They took all my vitals, etc. and said the same thing I was trying to tell the doctor. . .that it was probably a reaction to the anesthesia.

They said everything was normal. . . .well, as normal as Manire can be. 

They didn’t want me to drive, so I opted to Uber home. Of course, they had to bring me down to the front of the building in a wheelchair. So much drama. Gawd. I finally filled Andy in and he was all ready to come home but I said, nah, I’m fine. Too independent? Maybe. I’m working on it. At least I didn’t hitch hike. 

The end. 


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My boring date. . . . then in walked the couple in chains. . . .

I was not a good dater. Those I’ve dated who are reading this can attest to that. It’s ok, this isn’t news to me but thank you for being kind. I couldn’t believe anyone could ever really love me for being me. The real me. The loud, sweet, mushy, assertive, afraid to be vulnerable me. I tried my hand at dating but went into it with a laissez-faire attitude; doing my due diligence, shall we say. 

On this particular night circa 2006, my date and I went to PF Chang’s in Sherman Oaks, CA. I figured I’d just get it over with. So here we are. “Um, so tell me about yourself, blah blah blah.” There we too many uncomfortable gaps in our conversation and I already made up my mind that he wasn’t the guy for me.

canstockphoto13339763BoilingWater1The time seemed to be moving like watching water boil. Forever. Next thing I knew, everyone’s head in the restaurant turned in an exact direction. In walked a couple chained together and semi-bound like they were about to film a Chatsworth-type of film.

I became highly intrigued, and couldn’t wait to call them out. I  turned back to my date and asked him if he mind that I go find out what these people are about, he said “no, I don’t mind” and I excused myself and walked over to the table of intrigue. “Hi. I’m Michelle. So what’s your deal?” They replied “What do you mean?” I said “Don’t tell me that if I walked in here with my hair on fire, you wouldn’t notice. You’re on fire and I want to know all about it.” They laughed in a stunned way and invited me to sit down. They explained to me that they choose to live an alternative lifestyle and wanted to live that way everyday, no matter what. They even went so far to invite me to their show with their alter ego names, etc. I said, “Well good for you for being who you are. I respect that, however, it ain’t my thing but ‘yay you.’ I like the statement, I like your bravery for being who you are.” Soon it got even a little too uncomfortable for me as they were trying to convince me to enter their world. I’ll leave the intricate details out but I politely, again, said “Not my thing but great if it’s your thing.”

I returned to my date and by the look on his face, he was either about to run or propose. Don’t worry. I already made the decision that we’re breaking up. Next thing I knew, my new chained friends come to our table and dropped off their contact information and waved goodbye to until they reached the door.

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to be who you are. People don’t have to agree with you and may even call you weird or strange and try to convince that you need to be like them but that’s only because they don’t know who they are. If you think I’m referring to the people in chains, think again.

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If a hot stone massages’ regular price is really low, is it too good to be true? Answer: Yes

IMG_8495I rigorously workout three to four times a week at the most awesome boot camp ever, Muddy Warriors. But I’ll get into more detail about how great it is in a separate post. My reason for pointing it out in this post is a precursor to my latest massage experience. Feeling tight and needing a good massage has been on my mind but I frankly didn’t want to spend the money.

As I was about to head into the grocery store, I noticed one of those Chinese Foot and Body massage places that seem to be all the rage lately and a friend of mine brought me to one by her house months ago and it was a fantastic full body massage experience for only $20. I was sold so surely this one would be just as great too, right? Um, nope.

When I walked in, the place was lacking in ambiance which I was ok with considering the price. I asked the guy at desk for a hot stone massage. He looked worried. I said “Do you not have the hot stones ready?” He replied “No, no it’s ok. Yes, we do it. ” He asked me to pay first which I thought was odd but maybe that’s just the way they did business. So I paid. I found it a little uncomfortable to have to add a tip at this juncture so I ventured somewhere in the middle.

As he lead me to the back, I passed by several empty massage tables with only one taken by another worker who was watching some kind of anime on her iPad. I figured it was just a slow day for them and kept following the guy from the front desk. He led me into a private room with no ceiling. You know, the kind of rooms with only four walls and the top part is open.

I got undressed and laid on the table waiting for my masseur and my awesome, hell of a deal, hot stone massage. In walks the same man from the  front desk and he  starts massaging my back. I thought this was odd, but hey, I’m getting a great deal so he probably has to wear a lot of hats.

About a minute into the massage, I asked where the hot stones were. He said, “later, later.” I didn’t get it because I clearly asked for a hot stone massage soooooooo, am I missing something here? Seconds later he runs out of the room leaving the door wide open screaming down the hall in broken English mixed with what I would assume was his native language “Where are the hot stones?! Where are the hot stones?!”

Next thing I heard was him screaming even louder “Hot! Hot! Hot!” as he runs into the room holding the hot stones in a towel then proceeds to drop them all. I was like “OMG!.” He looked at me and smiled with fear stating that the stones were very hot. I laughingly told him not to worry about it. It’s ok. I was partly in shock, uncomfortable yet propelled to stay to see what the hell would happen next.

He continues with the massage and after a few minutes he decides to try the stones on me and burns my back. Now I was screaming in pain. He abruptly runs out of the room, again, leaving the door wide open, and screams at someone asking why the stones are so hot. At this point, I was convinced I was on some sort of episode of Punk’d but then I remembered only I think I’m famous and wasn’t that show so 10 years ago?

Finally the stones cooled down halfway through my hot stone massage and he used them on my back. Not too bad, I thought, but he really didn’t seem to know what he as doing.  Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 10.43.16 PMI think maybe he sensed I felt something amiss and at that point, he thought to line up the stones down the middle of my back with a lone stone on each butt check. Um. What? Oh wait, that’s how they advertise this in all the pictures, however I don’t see any on butts. Was that the extent of his training? It felt like he was building some sort of damn rather than what’s pictured here. Now, let me be clear, I’ve had several hot stone massages but this was just not right.

He left the stones there for a while and continued to massage my legs and arms with just his hands. He finally removed the stones and apparently, that was the end of the hot stone part of my entire hot stone massage.

Next, he felt the urge to grab my bare butt checks and shake them like they were a bowl full of jelly. Now, I get that it’s the holiday season, but this was just taking it too far. Or perhaps he mistook me for Kim Kardashian. Doubtful.

After the humorous, uncomfortable, almost walking out part my back massage, he asked me to turn over. I did. He was then massaging my neck with my head turned toward the left. Next thing I knew his finger was deep inside my ear and he asked me if I wanted my ears cleaned. Um. OMG! NO. Then I just started laughing, thinking, “are we done yet?” At that point I was looking around for cameras. This all had to be a joke or I was dreaming I was in a Seinfeld episode and this was asian Kramer giving me the worst and most uncomfortable massage on earth. Nope, I didn’t wake up and there were no cameras. This was my reality for the day.

I walked out and wondered if I should ever tell anyone. Yes. Yes, I should. It’s pure comedy.



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My brief affair with the NYPD

AndysAptNYCWhen Andy was living in mid-town Manhattan and in the beginning stages of interviewing for his, now, current job in Los Angeles, we spoke via Skype and text more than usual. On this particular day he had his second phone interview with some of the top people in the company. I was going out with one of my girlfriends for a cocktail and on the way, Andy and I were texting and I asked him how it went and my phone fell silent.

At first, I thought he was only messing with my need to know the play-by-play every second. I ignored it and figured he’d respond when he was ready. As the night progressed, I texted him about the new place I’d found and how much he would like it. I went into more detail over the next couple of hours. Nothing. No response. Pure silence. This absolutely wasn’t like him. Especially with me.

Something was awry. I started going to the dark place envisioning him dead alone in his three-story walk-up in his NYC apartment while his yellow Labrador, Chloe, is whimpering for her corpse of a father. Darkness came, blinders went up and full Manire came into focus.

As I was stating my panic aloud with conviction that something was tragically wrong, the guy on the bar stool next to me said “he probably just fell asleep or something.” I assured him he had no idea what he as talking about.

Fear and horror ran through my veins at rapid speed. My body was tense and my heart was racing. I texted Andy again along with his brother who lived nearby and notified each that I was going to call the police if I didn’t get a response from Andy in, like, right now. Again, nothing.

I called the New York Police Department (NYPD) and explained that my boyfriend is probably dead and being eaten by the famous New York rats and roaches. They said he had to be missing a certain amount of time, blah blah blah was all I heard next. I’m not sure what came out of my mouth after that but it worked and they were on their way.

I asked my girlfriend to take me home. I burst through my front door, ran to my computer, opened Skype and there was Andy on the other end. Just hanging out watching TV.

“Um, hi Andy,” I said feeling totally relieved and then worried that the police would show up any minute. I asked Andy where his cell phone was. He replied, “In my pants pocket on the bathroom floor. I fell asleep and just woke up.” “Oh, um, er, wow, whoopsie,” I thought.

“Sooooooo, did the police happen to stop by?” “WHAT?!!!,” he said with a loud voice and very big eyes. I said “I may have called the police because you didn’t answer any of my texts or calls.” In the middle of me trying to explain my deep love for him, the police called and let him know they’re downstairs and would like to talk to him.

Over the next several minutes I waited in anticipation while staring at Andy’s empty living room through my computer. Andy eventually came back and was unimpressed about the police questioning him to make sure he was alive, yet impressed I could get the NYPD to move that quickly.

He gave me a little lecture about the embarrassment and uncomfortable-ness of it all. My reply was simple, “Answer your god**** phone next time.”


I’m still not sure about ‘marriage’ not because I don’t want to be with Andy. He has nothing to do with it. It seems commercialized to me. If you know us, you know there is nothing commercial about us.

Recently, we got married. But on our own terms. As a girl, I dreamed about my wedding day and I had my whole life planned out; then life got in the way and thankfully it did. I’ve been engaged before. Twice. But I had the common sense to know it wasn’t right. I didn’t want to get married. I refused to succumb to societies’ standards of what they think I should do mixed with the fact that I was scared to death to give up any perceived control I think I had. Deep down, did I want to get married? Did I want a family? Yes. Yes I did. But I wanted what everyone told me was impossible. I wanted someone real. Someone with greater depth than me. Someone to challenge me. Someone who was stronger and smarter than me. Enter Andy. If you want to know the entire story of how we got together, read my earlier blog post here.

Cut to six years later. We fight. We laugh. We cry. We have pain. We have excitement. We have realness. Am I in love with rose-colored glasses thinking I’ve found my Prince Charming? No. Except I am in love with him. Andy. Prince Charming? Who the hell came up with that? I don’t think either of us are a perfect anything. If you’re human, you’re not perfect.

Andy is the person I’ve chosen to struggle through life with. We decided to get married because it was personal to us and we wanted to share that commitment to the people who we’re closest to. Trying to keep our wedding simple was an impossible task made by those around me. All out of love I might add. Did I tell you that my hairstylist (the best ever) made me do a practice run? WTF?! fowle-wedding-0015

April 5, 2014 6pm. It’s here. Our wedding day.

As people arrived, we had them sign our guest book. With their fingerprint. The fingerprints would act as leaves to complete a picture of an oak tree which is Andrew’s favorite tree and reminds us of the beauty of central California. At the time I thought this was a really cool idea, however, 20 years from now we won’t know who came to our wedding so we’ll have to refer to these pictures and not their fingerprints. At least we’ll have their DNA?


After people signed our guest book, they walked out to our backyard and were greeted with passed hors d’oeuvres, a cocktail and my punkin’, Andy. Because that’s how we roll.



I was in the back getting ready with my niece, Grace, who also has Manire patience; that of a gnat. We’re good pretenders only because we know there’s a camera present. Don’t we look mellow and patient? I know, Academy Award worthy.


As I was about to be helped into my dress by my girlfriends, they put a giant kibosh on my choice of undergarments. What do they have against black granny panties underneath a white gown anyhow? I mean, come on, they’re practical and comfortable. So I was forced to change into something more enticing for my new husband. I figured I can do it up for at least one night. Nice of me, I know. fowle-wedding-0050Our ceremony was officiated by our dear friend, Rev. Laurie Shiers, who recently completed her theological studies at the Universal Church. Online. Everyone gathered in a circle in our backyard underneath bistro lighting and lanterns each holding a candlefowle-wedding-0041.

I walked out with my father, talking the entire time, smiling, laughing, loudly saying hi to everyone and was handed off to Andy. Apparently this isn’t the bride protocol. And?

The ceremony began with welcome remarks from the great Rev. Shiers, “Welcome and thank you all so much for joining us as we celebrate Andrew and Michelle’s commitment to one another. As the writer Marcel Proust said, ‘Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.’ You are the people who have helped Michelle and Andrew bloom, both individually and as a couple. And your presence throughout their lives and especially today has made them so happy. They want to acknowledge and thank all of you for your support and participation today. A special shout out to everyone who travelled from Oklahoma, Seattle, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Atlanta as well as those who made it from behind the Orange Curtain.”

Cut to Andrew “We would especially like to thank our families who have patiently waited for this day. . . .” Yes, as you can already tell, our wedding wasn’t typical. It was actual.

I chimed in with. . . .”and have put up with our quirkiness. . . .as you should because, you know, we’re awesome.”


At that point we walked around and hugged every single person in attendance. Now I have to admit I was finished about an hour before Andrew. I’m a mover. Andrew took his time and sincerely hugged everyone tight and was more present. I may have mentioned something to that effect while I was waiting. Like “Come on honey, let’s go.” Hey, I’d like to think it made it all the more charming.


And deeper into the ceremony we dove. Rev. Shiers continued “A circle represents unity and wholeness. As an important part of Michelle and Andrew’s close circle of family and friends, we are all gathered together in this circle to witness and support Andrew and Michelle as they become husband and wife.”

“Please close your eyes and take a long slow, deep breath, now. . . .feel your breath connecting you with each other, with Michelle and Andrew, feel the earth under your feet, the breeze on your skin, take in the sounds of nature. Think of a wish you’d like to share with Andrew and Michelle and take a moment to silently send it their way.”

“Michelle and Andrew have known one another for over 20 years. First as friends in college. Then after reconnecting online 6+ years ago, Andrew surprised Michelle by showing up at her Christmas party and romance bloomed. Several of us here today were there for that great moment when Michelle saw Andrew walk through her front door. It was electric. Michelle had hired ‘little people’ to dress as elves, had them serve hors d’oeuvres to her guests and I swear those little elves worked their magic that night. Six years, a few Labrador retrievers and many cross-country trips later, Michelle and Andrew are ready and excited to proclaim their love, and voice their commitment to one another.”

So far so good. Rev. Shiers is great for a reason. She went on “When I sat down with Michelle and Andrew to talk about this ceremony and what marriage means to both of them, a couple of themes kept coming up. Companionship – finding that person you want to grow old with – was one of them, and I think that’s common. But Michelle and Andrew also mentioned vulnerability and trust – trust through the hard times when you want to run away and being all in no matter what. To me, that shows such depth and beautiful acceptance. Michelle and Andrew are truly seen by one another and nobody is running away.”

“Another important aspect of marriage for both Michelle and Andrew is family. For them, this union is so much about bringing families together. As Andrew put it, he wants to be Uncle Andrew ‘for real.’ Which reminds me of a great little passage from The Velveteen Rabbit:

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 7.23.26 PM“‘What is REAL?'” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. ‘Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?’

Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit. 

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because one you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’

‘I suppose you are Real?’ said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.’

‘The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,’ he said. ‘That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.’

“Andrew and Michelle have made each other REAL. You may have only been a couple for a handful of years, but thanks to your mutual love, respect and acceptance, you’ve truly grown up together. You give each other permission to be who you are and by doing that, you also make space for the people you are becoming.”

Because I pretend I’m a quarter Jewish on my mother’s side (her father was Jewish so it’s not supposed to count but I count it), we incorporated a tree planting into our ceremony where people wrote down their well wishes and added them to our tree. Plus it was Laurie’s idea. She’s totally Jewish. And now a reverend. Anyway. . . . .take it away Rev. Shiers. . . .

fowle-wedding-0049“As a living, giving representation of their growing love, Michelle and Andrew are going to plant an Acacia tree as a symbolic part of this ceremony, which will be placed in their front yard after their honeymoon. The Acacia tree is a symbolic and sacred tree in many cultures. It’s often called The Tree of Life. Just like that this beautiful tree now covered with your wishes and wisdom, marriage requires constant nurturing and nourishment. As Michelle and Andrew provide the sun, soil, and water for this tree, they will provide the encouragement, trust, and love needed on a daily basis to consciously nurture and nourish their connection to each other.”

At that point we added some dirt to the base of the tree and watered it.

Some of my favorite wishes from the tree were:

“Happy Wedding, Grace, 8, 2014, April 5.”

“May you always have cheesy eggs and lots of love. xo KP”

“To my favorite oldest daughter, I wish you the happiness you have given to other to be yours forever, love mom.”

“I wish for you to grow to 100 together and die together so one is not left alone.”

And so on. . . . .honestly they were all awesome.

Carrying on in her Rev. Shiers way, “Andrew and Michelle, you have proclaimed yourselves ready this spring evening to voice your commitment to each other. We, your circle of family and friends, are here for you, here to honor you, and to witness your hearts’ declaration. Michelle and Andrew, do you, with family and friends as your witnesses, present yourselves willingly and of your own accord to be joined in marriage?”

“We do.” (That was us saying that)

“Will you promise to care for each other in the joys and sorrows of life, come what may, and to share the responsibility for growth and enrichment of your life together?”

“We will.” (Again, us) OMG we’re really doing it. We’re getting married. Whoa.

Next, Rev. Shiers said, “Then please turn to each other and share the vows you have written.”

Of course we had to write our own vows. But who goes first? We weren’t sure so we did rock, paper, scissors. True story. I won.

Michelle’s vows (that’s me)

fowle-wedding-0052Andrew, I have seen the best of you and the worst of you and I choose both. I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I’m with you.

I love that you’re able to bring about my softness and vulnerability. As most can attest here, that’s quite a feat.

I love you for putting your hand into my guarded heart and not letting all my foolish ways stop you from loving me and for bringing into the light all the beautiful things that no one else had looked far enough to find.

I love you because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good. And more than any fate could have done to make me happy. You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign. You have done it by simply being yourself.

You have taught me so much about the world around me, how to be a better-equipped intellect, a more thoughtful person and a deeper thinker. I’ll never forget the time I asked who Francis Scott Key was and the horrified look you had on your face. My latest news was that Michael Jackson had died. Funny as it may be, I was ashamed and took it upon myself to get more educated about American History and you are such an integral part of that; patiently answering all my questions and, honestly, in a way that no history teacher ever could. I can actually understand you and it resonates with me.

I’ve watched you take great care about vacuuming the floors and furniture, mopping and making sure everything looks perfect before anyone comes over to ensure they feel comfortable in our home. Even if it’s someone I’ve known for over 30 years and they’ve have seen me at my worst. You’re very mindful about how other people feel and your thoughtfulness reaches to the core of me and connects me to you more than you will ever know.

More than all of this, when hard times happen, you get closer. You’re the man who never leaves my side. You’re the man hugging me and helping me move forward. You’re the man who takes action when I’m stuck. You’re the man I want with me in every foxhole ahead. You’re the man.

In our marriage, I vow to be devoted to only you. I will cherish and adore you, I will lift you up when you are down and to be yours forever.

Andrew’s vows fowle-wedding-0054

Michelle, I love you for your honesty. Every kind. Sometimes gullible, sometimes scrupulous and even a bit horrifying, which might secretly be my favorite. But mostly it’s that distinct Manire kind of truth. The kind that hasn’t changed since we were kids and I’ve often tried to emulate since then. It’s the kind where you just don’t care what people think and love them anyway. It’s fearless and yet so very sweet. Family, friends and even strangers respond to it like some kind of magic and love you even more. It’s always there and yet it always surprises me. I don’t always have that fearlessness, or sweetness, it takes more for me, but I do with you.

I love you for your loyalty. Some decisions about us, the family and friends are little and come easy, others are harder and take time, but when you make them, you have a drive that is unstoppable. It is a fierceness of love that shows me what devotion should be.

I love you for your nurturing. When we have family or friends overnight, you’ll cook 100 pancakes and waffles, two kinds of sausage and bacon, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, soft-boiled eggs, poached eggs and fruit shakes for five and forget to eat something yourself. You’ll call doctors and make appointments to perform completely unnecessary tests. You’ll spend an entire day taking the dogs and cat to the vet. What you do for our home is endless. It is an abundant love. But I draw the line at calling the cops if I don’t pick up on the fourth try. I might just be napping.

I love you for your tremendous strength. To be honest, loyal and caring such as you takes a tremendous amount of courage. You only waver in exhaustion, but that doesn’t last long. Too long, though, and I have to admit, I’m kind of lost. You are my rock.

Your tenacity for life and love bodes well for us and every day it reminds me to be a better man. It speaks to me about what is to be a family. It took a long time for me to see it. A lot of Manire truth. But I do see it. To be a real uncle, brother, son and now husband is all the reality I need. I can promise you this, if I get even close to doing for you what you do for me, then I might finally believe a marriage can be happy and forever. Till death do us apart and all that.

But, I still wonder, in the end, that all we ever know here is I’ll owe you me and you’ll owe me you.

Yeah, we both sobbed like babies. We’re mushy underneath it all but if you know us, you already know that.

Next, the bling. Who doesn’t love bling? Rev. Shiers finishes out the ceremony. “Brandon (our 14-year-old nephew), can you please bring the rings?”

“For thousands of years, lovers have exchanged rings as a token of their vows. Let these rings be a sign that love has a past, a present and a future. Through you and within you. Andrew, take Michelle’s ring and place it on her finger and repeat after me:



‘I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you to be my lover, my partner and my best friend, to the end of my days. Wear it, think of me, and know that I  love you.’ 

“Michelle, take Andrew’s ring and place it on his finger and repeat after me:

‘I give you this ring as a sign that I choose you to be my over, my partner and my best friend, to the end of my days. Wear it, think of me, and know that I love you.’


It’s all becoming very real, I thought to myself. Will it be different? I think so. And then the pronouncement. “Michelle and Andrew, we have heard your promise to share your lives in marriage. We recognize and respect the vows you have made here this day before each one of us as a witness. In honesty and sincerity of what you have said and done here today, and in accordance with the laws of the state of California and the ONLINE Universal Life Church Ministry, it is my honor and delight to declare you as husband and wife. Please feel free to make out.” fowle-wedding-0056“As Michelle and Andrew take their first moments as husband and wife, let’s take one more opportunity to make a wish for them as we blow out these candles.” The end. Of the ceremony. Oh, yeah, there’s more. Of course there’s more.

fowle-wedding-0063First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a song written for and dedicated entirely to me. I’d say that’s about right. So my poodle, punkin’ pie also known as Andrew, Andy, honey, love cakes and petunia wrote a song, recorded it with the renowned Kirsten Proffit of Calico and tenth grade geometry and sang it at our wedding. You’re dying to hear the song, aren’t you? Ok, here you go. You’ll need an access code so email me for one. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. ;)

So yeah, that’ pretty much how it went down. Then we ate dinner, did a dance to our song, drank a little and walked inside and passed out. Did we consummate our marriage? All I’ll say is that my forced fancy panties aren’t saying a word but they were definitely worth the effort. #fowlepartyof2

For all the pictures, click here. Over and out.

Disclaimer: Andy is sometimes referred to as Andrew, flower, punkin’ pie, lover, honey, lover cakes, petunia and whatever the mood strikes in me in the moment. I’m talking about the same person. Photo credit: Sheri Geoffreys Photography

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The second day of seventh grade

I was a certified tomboy by the time I reached the seventh grade. I had a brother, a step-brother and six step-cousins that were boys. I knew how to hold my own and lived in my corduroys and wallabees.

At thirteen, there was no doubt I was on the verge of womanhood and hello mom; “let’s put you in a dress and heels with a nice clutch purse for school.” Yes, I had the same look of horror a deer has when caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi-truck.

My mother is quite convincing and unrelenting when she has an idea. I stood no chance of clinging to my boy clothes. On the second day of seventh grade I dressed according to her vision. I donned the thick, wool, plaid, a-frame skirt wrapped around my chubby waist, a flowing long-sleeve butterick blouse with a tie collar, a macrame clutch purse and high-heeled, wedged shoes with far too many straps for my taste.

As I got out of my mom’s car and headed to class I had to concentrate on each step. I was not a good walker in high heels. Nor am I today. I was so focused on each step, trying to balance my school books in both hands while clinging to my fashionable clutch purse under my left arm that I didn’t notice my first period class was all wrong. I thought “All of these people look so different from yesterday. I guess this is how it goes down in Junior High.” Next thing I knew, I was singled out as being in the wrong class. My face, bright red, I quietly put my clunky high-heeled wedge shoes on the floor beside me and wobbled up until I was fully upright. I picked up my book, folder and ladylike clutch purse, put one foot in front of the other and moved toward the door in a slow methodical motion to make sure I didn’t fall. The trip between my desk and the door felt like it took an hour with all eyes on me.

Once outside the door, I breathed a sigh of relief and calmly looked at my papers to see where I needed to be. I thought “Ok, Michelle, it’s not that bad. You can do this. You got it. Only seven more periods to go.” Self-talk helped me through a lot but seven more periods until school was over seemed like two lifetimes away.

I took a deep breath and got to the right class. I made it through unscathed and alive. That was a big win.

Next, I moved on to second period English. Our teacher, Mrs. Morris, was either in her sixties or seventies, had Einstein big, white hair, spoke loudly because she couldn’t hear herself and handed out detentions like candy on Halloween. She immediately scared me, but again, I thought “I guess this is how it goes down in Junior High. It’s hardcore.”

The first few minutes of class were going well. I was sitting uncomfortably in my 1970’s constructed wraparound school desk designed strictly for right-handers doing my work. With my left-hand. I’m left-handed. In a right-handed world. Next thing I knew my pencil rolled off the right-hand side of my desk onto the floor. The only unrestricted passageway was to my left, but the last thing I wanted to do was to get back up and balance on those awful shoes, walk around my desk, bend down and pick up my pencil. That would cause way too much of a scene. Using the creative right side of my brain, I was convinced I could easily lean over my desk arm on the right and softly pick up my pencil. I was reaching, reaching, almost got it and then BAM! I completely fell over trapped in my chair with my legs straight up in the air and my skirt perfectly over my head. All I could think of was “Ok, Michelle, you can do this. Only five more periods to go.” Yeah, not helping. Through unrelenting laughter, Mrs. Morris screamed “Don’t just sit there, help her up!”

I got the help I needed and was back up in working order and my skirt was back down where it belonged. Leaning on past trauma, I knew it was my attitude that would decide everything else and I held fast to that and kept my head high. Was it easy? No, but when you believe it, everyone else around you starts to believe it too.

Eventually the day came to a close. There were a few other minor bumps in my day but nothing to spell out here. The lesson here is that I continued on even when it was hard and people laughed at me. The more confident I stayed in myself the more confident others became in me. I soon embraced the mantra if you’re expending all your energy on my failure, my success or my every movement, you’re wasting your life. But hey, I never said I don’t like the attention.

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My prom. My date. And my dad.

I was a horrible dancer. In fact, I still am. I cared about my lack of dancing skill when I was in Junior High and High School but I learned to embrace my disability like I embraced my dyslexia, left-handed-ness and klutzy demeanor and turned it into something endearing. To me anyway. Some may beg to differ.

In high school, I knew the subject of my prom would eventually come up. I was scared to go only because I knew I’d have to dance at some point and then I’d be discovered that I was no John Travolta. You know, because everyone totally thought I had his moves, I’m sure.

I was ok with skipping it but my mother pushed me to go. She said she never went to hers and regretted it ever since. So I decided I would go with my boyfriend.

My parents divorced with I was five. When I was seven, we moved out of Los Angeles’ west side to a tiny town of 2,000 called Corona. It was a bit of culture shock I’ll admit but we got used to it. Corona was about an hour outside of Los Angeles. My dad was dedicated to seeing us as much as possible and would make the hour car ride each way every other weekend. I never doubted that he loved me. Everywhere we went, he made sure he had his camera. It was a large camera, along with all his gear, stifling flashbulbs and tripod.

He clearly didn’t want to miss out on anything we did or experienced. As a teen it was just plain embarrassing. He would make us pose with the sales people at the store, pose in crowded areas where there were lots of other teenagers who didn’t have their dad fawning all over them like they were two. He was just so focused on us that I don’t think he ever thought about how horrified we were. Or did he? Dad?!

When I told my dad I was going to my prom, he was so excited and invited himself. At seventeen years old, I didn’t know how to tell him no. No dad. He wouldn’t have heard it anyway.

So he made the hour trip to our house in Corona along with his big camera, clunky accessories and gear. He arrived before I was awake. He couldn’t wait to capture my every movement on film. Lucky lucky me.

As I awoke, all I heard was *click *click. There was my dad taking pictures already. Oh god. He enthusiastically announced that he would be following me around all day to capture every inch of this special occasion. At that moment, I thought to myself “I’m so glad he was nowhere near me when I started my menstrual cycle.” I’m not sure I would have recovered from that one.

As I slowly came to life I was ready for my day. I had to pick up the boutineer, get my hair and makeup done and get my dress on. My dad followed my every step with his camera ready.

IMG_5605 First I picked up the boutineer. The huge smile you see was hiding my horror. It was my coping mechanism.
IMG_5606 Next, it was time for make up. I still don’t like people touching my eyes. It freaks me out and I continue to offer that same expression. It’s just claustrophobic.
IMG_5608 Hair. I have lots and lots of thick hair. That was next. The stylist managed her way through as did I while my dad was snapping pictures from every angle.
IMG_5609 Finally I was done. All the beauty 1985 had to offer.

Now it was time to go home and get dressed. There I was. Like a princess. From 1985.



My date arrived. But wait, let’s capture every moment. Oh god!



Ok, we’re ready to go. “Bye dad. Thanks.”


No such luck. As we got into our car my dad promptly pulled up behind us and followed us all the way to Anaheim to join us for dinner before our prom. Oh. Ma. Gawd.

And there he is. The man of the hour. Dad.


When the menus came out, I put my foot down and told dad it was time for him to go home. Please.


He seemed disappointed and I felt a bad but I just couldn’t take my date AND my dad to my senior prom. It wasn’t gonna happen.

This was the night I learned two very important lessons. One, my father loves me and loving me too much is never too much. It’s just right. Second, boys will put up with anything in hopes for a good return on their investment.

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The coyote that almost ate me

Andy and I go on walks around our neighborhood pretty much every night. Last night was no different from any other night. There was a nice breeze, beautiful scenery and many people doing the same.

We catch up on our days’ events and engage in debates about various topics. We’re usually interrupted by my flailing arms and crooked saunter. Oh, I’m just fine but I usually catch Andy somewhere startling. Yes, my personality carries through every inch of my body. Like loose, live wires.

We walk anywhere from 2-3 miles. Sometimes more. I realize some people think we moved to the country where there are no stop lights and deer run wild. Keep in mind it’s Northridge. California. Los Angeles County. Not Wyoming’s Outback.

As we were cruising through paved streets with not a deer in sight, Andy briskly flings me to the other side of him. At first I thought it was my flailing arms payback but the next thing I know, we’re face to face with this: Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 4.43.18 PM

I screamed like a girl and clung to my big, strong man who was ready to fight to the death for me. He readied his sword and shouted “on guard!” I was so proud, yet fearful for his life.

I was sure that the king set this up as there as been much rivalry in the kingdom. It’s been especially hard on me because my ladies in waiting aren’t very nice to me. It hurts my feelings. It’s like they think they should be a princess, blah blah blah.

Anyhow, Andrew ran up a large, nearby tree, did a backflip and before he landed perfectly on his beautiful feet, he beheaded the creature.

The darkness turned to light, the munchkins came out to celebrate in song. Something about a yellow brick road. Doesn’t matter. It was all sparkly and fun.

When I woke up, I realized the creature was this:Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 5.02.29 PMWhile I was a little disheartened it wasn’t this: Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 5.04.11 PM

I was still in awe but ready to kill it with my bare hands. Doesn’t this coyote know that there are small animals running around the neighborhood. I mean seriously, how insensitive can he be?

Andy made a lot of noise and chased it off. Still, that was impressive to me that his instinct kicked in to protect me and handle the danger. And all this time I thought I only annoyed him. Andy loves me and the coyote did not eat me. I know this, because I could not write this. The end.

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I was not a face washer


I feel pretty. . .Oh so pretty.

I’m simple. I’m not talking about my bigger than life personality. I’m speaking about my “beauty” regimen. I never had one. I was blessed with pretty good facial skin. People always thought I was younger than I was. Wash my face before I go to bed? Why? I don’t even wear makeup most days.

Why did I need beauty products? Not to mention, it was too much work and super expensive. Cleanser, $20, but wait, which one do I need? The comforting cream cleanser, wash-away gel cleanser, take the day off cleansing milk, cleansing balm, rinse-off foaming cleanser, redness solutions soothing cleaner? OMG! GET OUT! Ok, now that’s just the cleanser. To “properly” attend to my skin, I’ll also need correcting serum at about $45, a moisturizer lotion costing approximately $25, eye cream at $50, exfoliating cream because we need to exfoliate apparently, at $25, hand cream costing about thirty bucks, a moisture overnight mask-I’m sure is a must for $33, oh yes and the all important eye lift cream at around $40. I’m closing in on $300 here and I guarantee you there are many that I missed. Good god! Um, no thanks. I’ll age gracefully. I’m good.

About 9 months ago, my girlfriend Annie and I were catching up on the phone. I hadn’t seen her in, at least, a year. She runs a successful talent agency here in Los Angeles. She and I are similar. Neither of us were face washers nor did we wear much makeup if any at all.

As we were speaking she was all freakin’ jazzed up about some skin care cream called Nerium. I was like “WTF Annie! You don’t even wash your face.” My next question was: “Is this an MLM pyramid scheme thingy? I can’t believe you would do something like this. This IS SO NOT YOU!” Now I have a great deal of respect for Annie. She’s incredibly successful and I know this isn’t something she was looking for or even needed to do to earn income. But I sat back and listened to her. She’s a business woman, I’m a business woman. Maybe I should listen. A good opportunity is a good opportunity.

She starts telling me that Nerium was discovered by accident. Scientists from Nerium Biotechnology were trying to cure skin cancer. They didn’t cure the cancer but it was improving peoples’ skin by an average of 30%. Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 3.39.38 PMI didn’t know that – that was significant because what did I know about skin care? Nothing. I didn’t even realize how much money people spent on it. Turns out it’s an 80 million dollar business just in the United States alone.

As the conversation continued, she went on to tell me about the management team and about the CEO, Jeff Olson and how he is restructuring the bad stigma that people have with network marketing companies.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been involved with a couple of MLM businesses and I was never impressed. First off, it was too complicated, I had to buy too much inventory to stay qualified to get paid pennies. Plus it was really never about the product; instead it was about recruiting as many people as possible. The taste in my mouth was bad, as I think it is with many people. I’m not money motivated. I’m about what I’m offering. I have to believe in it to talk about it and share it. I’ve always believed that if you do what you love and the money will take care of itself.

I continued to listen when she told me that Nerium was so much more than that. The biotechnology company that discovered this is an exclusive partner with Nerium. This means they own it from seed to seal. I kept listening. I was intrigued. She continued, “more importantly this cannot be duplicated and there is a huge barrier of entry for anyone who wants to copy them.” That’s a big deal because anything that can be copied will be copied and soon you see it in big box stores and you’re out of business. My business head was kicking in. I get what she sees here.

She went on to add that there are over thirteen ways to get paid and the company is structured so anyone who puts in the extra 5 or so hours a week can make great extra income. Everything is transparent. There are no “power legs” (I just learned what that was) where people at the bottom are making nothing but money for people at the top. Actually, that sounds more like corporate America. . .Anyhoo. . . .On top of all this Nerium gives back. What this means is for every preferred customer and/or brand partner I sign up, Nerium sends me a free bottle. Who does that? NO OTHER networking marketing company has done this in the history of network marketing. Within the last year, Nerium has given back over $10 million in products back to their preferred customers and brand partners. I think that’s pretty cool.

I could go on an on here but, honestly, this isn’t meant to be any sort of sales pitch. Now who’s excited? Yeah, that would be me.

I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll check it out and try it. This all sounds great but I’ll believe it when I see it. If I see it.” For me, my face really wasn’t an issue. I didn’t have a lot of wrinkles but my arms, that’s a whole other problem all by itself. I [had] keratosis pilaris, also more commonly known as chicken skin, on my upper arms. I always felt self-conscience when people hugged me or touched my arms. I did try several things over the years to lessen it but nothing, and I mean nothing, worked. When I got a massage, the masseuse would ask me if I ever drank water and aptly remind me that my skin was sucking up all their oil. To answer, I replied “yes, I drink tons of water and sorry about the oil.”

So I got a bottle and put it on before I went to bed. Hey, I can do this. No regime. No drama. One and done. Manire likey. Went to bed and rinsed it off in the morning. I didn’t think much about it because I wasn’t expecting any kind of result. Three days later Andy was hugging me and said “Wow, your skin is so soft.” I jumped up in shock and thought he’s got to be kidding me. I felt my arms and could NOT believe the smoothness. To me, this was a game changer. Big time. I saw the business opportunity and the proven results.

I called Annie and said, “What is in this stuff!!??” Although she already told me, she kindly repeated herself that is was the, now patented antioxidant, NAE-8 extract from the Nerium Oleander plant. When she originally told me, I was only half listening because while I respected Annie, none of what she was telling me could actually be true, right? Wrong. Here’s a great short video. You’ll like it.

IMG_5475To push my belief way over the top, I finally met up with Annie face-to-face and when she walked into the room, I screamed. I could not believe how good her skin looked. Just look what it did to her eye here. She looked at least 10 years younger than the last time I saw her about a year earlier.

Now you can either purchase this product with a 30 day money back guarantee or do the business and become a brand partner. The product is for anyone with skin but the business isn’t for everyone and that’s exactly what she told me. I thought “Why is she blowing me off?” I pushed and pushed her so I could sign up. I understood what she meant that the business isn’t for everyone. People who are all sales-y (like me) and entrepreneurial (like me) have a little bit more of a difficult time because we think we know how to do everything better than how easy they lay it out for us and help us become successful. She was right and I’ll be honest (again), this is the first time I’ve actually plugged into a system and followed any sort of structure. Anyone can do this. And there you have it. My story of why I decided to launch this incredible side business and the best part? All I do is share it with people. I haven’t sold a thing. It sells itself. Truly. This is the first time I’ve ever been a part of a network marketing company where it’s actually about the product and not recruiting a gazillion people that you’ll never talk to again.

Now Andy has me rub it on his face and back every night AND in the morning with their new day cream before he goes to work. That’s saying a lot. Besides making Andy, the skeptic, a believer, the cost is only $80 for the night cream, it’s a one and done product and I totally get it free. They just keep shipping me bottles. For. Free.

If you have skin and want to try it, let me know and I’ll get you a bottle to try out. Think about how pretty you can look. Just like me.

Other references you may be interested in:

Nerium Safety

Nerium Clinical Trials

Nerium Research and Development

The Science Behind Nerium

Nerium Real Results Photo Gallery

Nerium AD

Nerium Compensation Plan

Relationship (or network) Marketing

Nerium Ingredients

P.S. I’m still not a “face washer” per se, but I rinse it off now and apply my Nerium every night and every day. I’m not sure I can live without this. That’s a big step.

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I was the #1 mortgage banker. At 14.

IMG_5581I would say that fourteen is probably the most awkward age. My body was going through a lot of changes on every level. It’s the year I never wanted to be seen with my parents but loved them. I was fourteen, after all; a full-fledged adult who knew everything.

My mom went from single-mom status and worked as a secretary all the way up to vice president of a mortgage banking firm, The Hammond Company, in the late 1970s. She never had anyone help her do anything. I always watched my mom and was in total awe of her ability at work. She and my father were on the same page about their belief that their kids could do anything they wanted as long as they put their mind to it.

During the summer, shortly after my fourteenth birthday, my mom thought it would be good for me to go to work. She took me into her office everyday. I started off filing mega amounts of paperwork in a cluttered, stuffy room with no windows. She was harder on me than anyone else so I guessed being the daughter of the boss never had any perks. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was being given the biggest perk of all.

The Hammond Company had more than a dozen branches across the state and my mom’s branch was the number one branch most of the time. I did notice, however, that she didn’t have any sales reps and she was the only woman as a branch manager. I used to ask her “Mom, all the other branches have sales reps working for their branch manager. Why don’t you have any? And why are you the only woman? Did other women not want the job?” I was sure there were many offers to women but they must have turned them down. Her reply was something I never forgot. “Sales reps are too much work for me. I can do it better on my own. I set myself a goal of one loan a day and I don’t stop until I get that loan.” She didn’t say too much about why there wasn’t other women in leadership only because I think she didn’t want to discourage me. What I did grasp was her simple goal of one loan a day. Something so simple made her hugely successful. This is where I learned to set small goals to do great things.

As I sat in her office having these enlightened conversations, I noticed the tremendous amount of award plaques [of her achievements] on the wall behind her. I would ask “Mom, when did you get all these awards? I don’t remember going to any ceremonies.” She confidently replied “There were no ceremonies. I get a call from our president and he would tell me I broke another record or that I’ve done something that has never been done before so I would make myself a plaque and hang it up. It’s not untrue. When customers come in here and see all those awards of achievement, they feel more confident about my abilities. People want to work with winners. You need to think different Michelle. That’s the key.” My mouth dropped open. I couldn’t believe she could be so ballsy, but, oh yes, yes I could. She always continued to surprise me.

Relax, it was like a strawberry slushy.

Relax, it was like a strawberry slushy.

Finally, my mom felt I was ready to go into the field. For years, when I would call her office, ask for my mom and they would tell me she’s out in the field. I always thought she was actually standing in a field for hours on end. She would come home and I would ask her why she was in a field all day. No matter how many times she tried to explain it to me, I never really understood, until she put ME out in the field.

My mother was tough and always had high expectations. (For those who’ve worked with me, now know where I got it from.) She would drive me up to real estate office after real estate office in her long, white Cadillac Deville, tell me to go inside and only meet with the president and hand them a flyer for my mom’s mortgage services. I was mortified and horrified so I guess I was mortihorrified? She looked me squarely in the eyes and was very specific when she said “If the receptionist won’t let you back, wait until she gets busy, walk back like you belong there, hold your head high, find the president, look him or her in the eye, shake their hand, introduce yourself and hand them a flyer. Presidents are always the loneliest and welcome the conversation.” I thought she was absolutely insane. But she was kind of scary and totally convincing so I did what she said.

Soon afterwards, I was listed in The Hammond Company’s weekly report as the number one sales rep of the entire Hammond Company. I was fourteen years old. Other managers and sales reps were calling ME to find out how I did it. Honestly, I had no idea. I just did what my mom told me to do and people gave her the loans.

I carried this kind of philosophy throughout my career. Show up. Do the activities and your success will happen. It’s not hard to do but it’s just as easy not to do and that small difference can give you tremendous success or tremendous failure. This doesn’t mean that I don’t fail. I fail all the time but the difference is – I don’t give up. I keep trying. I reinvent myself if needed. I keep going.

I now own a full-service marketing company, Manire. We specialize in design for web, print, events, branding, media buying and more. Within the last few years, I also launched my social media consulting business where I go in and train companies on how to make social media work for them. Contact me if you think I can help you. If you need accolades and references, I have a gazillion. Where do you think I learned it from?

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