Newest Blog Entries


The Big Move to the Big Apple: Should This Go or Stay?

September 13, 2019 Margaret Crane

We are forever recycling the past with our possessions. They surround us in our homes. Many represent a special memory. For me there are so many but the most important are the Chinoiserie lamps and black lacquer bar we bought in San Francisco on our honeymoon, the thousands of vinyl records my late husband accumulated over his 68 years, the first painting we purchased from a local St. Louis art gallery, the early 20th-century Gramophone my husband found for sale at a farmhouse, the sheet music our two sons used to learn their various instruments, the carefully framed newspaper and...


Name Dropping Can Be a Drag: When & Why We Do It

September 06, 2019 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

In an age of narcissism and one-upmanship, name dropping might be getting worse. It may also be because we are all so visible and many crave being noticed. With name dropping, people toss out names of people, colleges, designers, restaurants, clubs, addresses, cities and friends—like the first pitch at a baseball game. But there’s a difference. With the first pitch, the ball gets thrown and that’s it. Most name droppers tend to go on and on with this type of conversational narcissism. Many think the name dropper is trying to impress. But that’s not always the case, and we’d like...


False Positive: Listening and Compassion are the Best Medicine

August 30, 2019 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

“Don’t worry, it’s really a nothing procedure.” Or, “The problem with your house is really no big deal; a few thousand dollars will correct it.” Or, here’s another, “Your mother is having an operation? I’m sure she’ll be fine.” We consider these mostly inane comments. They are not helpful in any way, shape or form. Someone typically says a variation of these types of responses trying to comfort you when something is awry, but the reality can be quite the opposite. Any of them might make you feel a tad--or maybe--greatly annoyed. The fact is that they’re not walking in...


Apartment Hunting NYC-Style: How I Found a New Home, Sweet Home

August 23, 2019 Margaret Crane

I land at LaGuardia Airport on a Monday and cab it to my youngest sister's apartment where I am staying. Before my two sisters and I begin the apartment search, I make it clear that I am interested in something newish. I explain why: "If I see a roach or mouse in my NYC apartment, I will freak." Of course, I am assuming that only old buildings have this problem.  Both sisters look at each other and laugh. They are quick to tell me it doesn't matter if the place is old or new. Roaches, mice (even rats—ugh!) are a...


Self-Confidence: Do You Have Enough? Here’s How to Ratchet Up More!

August 16, 2019 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

You’re about to give a speech and wish you had more confidence to deliver your talk slowly, without looking down at your notes, punch up some words as the pros do, answer questions knowledgably and smile throughout the presentation. You are told that the more you do this, the easier it gets as you build your self-confidence in the pursuit. Or you’re about to host a dinner party for your partner’s milestone birthday and wish you weren’t breaking out in a sweat as you try to get everything on the table at once, especially the dishes that are supposed to...