Buy This: The Gift of Fear

If you’ve been following this blog since its inception, you know that I used do some product reviews of things I liked. I stopped for a while until I just realized that I could potentially be getting free stuff in exchange for advertising.

So, small businesses and marketing departments, please send me your free wine, Luna Bars, Dove body wash, hand made Etsy headbands…. just whatever crap you got lying around in the back, and I will write about it. But, no Diva Cups; I repeat, I DON’T WANT ANY DIVA CUPS.

So, my first review is for a book that I think can save your life and the lives of thousands:

734736_f260If you like any flavor of Law and Order and practical tips on how to not get murdered, The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker is the book for you.

Basically, the book is about trusting your intuition and it teaches you how to consciously predict whether someone is a violent threat to you. The first couple chapters are about how women can protect themselves from men before an attack happens, and Gavin uses real stories to illustrate his points. It is both exhilarating and terrifying, and maybe don’t read this right before bed.

He says:

“At core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will murder them.”

– Gav-Gav de Becker

Basically, Gavin just gets women, and he kind of goes on this adorable feminist rant for a couple paragraphs, and full disclosure, I am in love with him. Just don’t make the same mistake I did and look at his picture at the end of the book. There’s no harm in pretending that Ryan Gosling is advocating for your personal safety.

I hope I didn’t lose the male readers, because the rest of the book is about violence that can happen to anyone and how to predict/prevent it, so basically mass shootings, stalkers, how to fire a crazy person, etc. The information is both incredibly timely, yet only includes references that date back prior to about 1997, so get ready for some pre-9/11, OJ Simpson nostalgia.

Seriously, get this book, it’s both practical and fascinating, and you don’t have to be me to like it.

Now, ‘scuse me while I get back to spending 7 hours watching the Jodi Arias trial.

Tips on How to Not Get Murdered

I’m about to give you some practical information with a humorous delivery- basically the tone and angle of my future day time talk show, Real Talk with Dara (the revival and third act of my illustrious career in entertainment… like, Ellen’s talk show, or Rosie’s second talk show on OWN, to give you an example).

I’ve found that many girls I know have zero sense of their personal safety. You could say that maybe I’m just overly cautious (not that I’m always perfect about personal safety. Sometimes when I’m unsafely walking somewhere alone I just think that someone could totally abduct me right now if they wanted to, and then I brace myself every time I walk by a van). I’ve just watched a lot of Oprah in my day, which I feel is important because everyone on Oprah says they were watching a personal safety episode of Oprah, and then the next day they were abducted and had they not been watching Oprah the day before, they would have been killed. Now that Oprah is off the air I feel pretty naked- I could be one of those unfortunate people who was kidnapped and was never found because they hadn’t seen Oprah the day before.

Oprah Sitting 640

However, I feel like I’ve absorbed enough episodes to know what to do in a dangerous situation or how to avoid a dangerous situation, which I can pass along to you. (This stuff also comes from my mom, who I’d like to thank for my paranoid sense of personal safety).

Let’s have some Real Talk with Dara! shall we?

Let me preface this by saying that although this sounds crazy and that bad stuff won’t happen to you, I’ll be the first to tell you that it will definitely happen to you if you think it won’t. How do I know this? Well, if you watch enough Oprah, you know that every woman on that show (whether she’s been attacked or just anything tragic happens) they ALWAYS say, ‘I never thought it would happen to me.’ So, the law of Earth dictates that if you expect that you’re just one big walking murder target, the likelihood of it happening to you goes down (but don’t get comfy and think because you think it will happen to you it won’t happen to you… it’s a very fine and tricky line to walk).

Okay, here are my tips:

1. Check the backseat.


This rule is not only useful during a zombie apocalypse, but also when walking to your car in the gym parking lot. Don’t get in and then check it, check from the outside window and then when you are satisfied that there’s no murderers back there, get in the car. This might sound extreme, but my mom’s friend found a homeless person asleep in the back of her minivan once. I think he was just confused, not a murderer, but still, strangers in the backseat is never ideal.

2. Get in the car, lock it, and go. 

I actually got this from Dr. Phil, so that means it was basically from Oprah, too. When you get in your car close the door as soon as you sit down, then lock it. When you’re just getting into your car, settling in, putting your purse down, etc. your defenses are down and it’s the perfect time to murder you. Also, don’t sit around and text or put on lip gloss after you get in your car, either. This is another great time for someone to point a gun at your window… also, someone might want your parking spot and dilly-dallying is just very inconsiderate.

3. Don’t feel stupid about having someone walk you to your car or apartment. I’ve noticed that most people feel stupid about asking security or a friend to walk you to your car or apartment door, but like my parents say “Better safe than dead!” (maybe you can see where my extreme caution comes from). Just think, security is being paid to do this kind of stuff, so what do you care, and if you’re asking a friend or acquaintance, do you really think they feel put out to ensure your safety?

4. Have some common sense.

You know how every time the news reports that a woman has been abducted or attacked they say it happened at 3am as she was walking home alone? Or the last time they saw her was at the subway stop at 2am, ALONE? Don’t you always think, “well, what was she doing out that late alone?” and how many times have you been that girl? Not to say that bad things don’t happen in broad day light, but c’mon, don’t walk around late at night alone.

5. Don’t walk through parks after dark. 

Benson and Stabler looking for murderers in the park.

This might sound obvious, but I used to go to college across the street from a city park and it seemed like everyone felt fine about walking through it. Parks are Rape City, people!!! I’m not kidding. Have you seen Law and Order: SVU? Nothing good ever happens in parks!

6. Trust No One

Once I was watching I Shouldn’t Be Alive, and they did a story on this woman who went to a gas station alone at night (side note: get your gas during the day!!) and this teenager asked her for a ride. She said he looked kind of harmless and really sad and pathetic… she felt like maybe it was a bad idea, but she ignored her gut and took him anyway. He ended up raping her and shooting her in the face. She did survive, but I would prefer to avoid the situation all together.

7. Make eye contact.

When you see a potentially threatening person, make direct eye contact with them. It sends the message that you are alert and that you are more likely to be able to identify them later because you weren’t looking down or away from their face. Also don’t talk on your cell or listen to music… it makes you look, or causes you to be unaware and thus a better target.

8. If there’s a gun: run, run, run!

If you are able to run away, do so, gun or not. Also try running in a zig-zag pattern. The likelihood of a predator hitting a moving target is 4 out of 100, and if you are struck it’s more likely it won’t be a vital organ.

9. Never go to a second location.

This tip is an oldie, but a goodie. If you allow yourself to be taken to a second location, your chances of getting seriously hurt increase ten fold. So scream, crash the car, fight, etc.

10. Trust your gut.

If you don’t feel safe don’t do that thing. Your gut is alway right. This is like step 1, you guys.

Other Tips to Make You Afraid of Life

  • If you’re ever in a trunk, kick out the tail light and stick your hand through and wave. The driver won’t know but the car behind you will. Also, lots of new cars have an emergency trunk opener on the inside so look for that, too.
  • Have your apartment or car keys in your hand and ready while you walk. Put that key between two fingers and make a fist so you can jab someone’s eye out with it.
  • Let someone know where you’re going, like a roommate. If you don’t come home one night and you told them to expect you, then they can call the police a lot sooner than if they weren’t sure if you planned on coming home. Also, police will know where to look if they know where you were headed that night.

This is the stuff that I’m always aware of, all the time. Also know that at any given time, I am plotting exactly what I will use around me as a weapon and various escape routes available.

Being hyper-aware at all times is not as crippling as one might expect- knowledge is power, that sort of thing.

P.S. I swear this post makes me sound more neurotic than I am.

Do you have any safety tips?



Pumpkin Cupcakes with Oktoberfest Frosting

The title of this post is very misleading. A bait and switch if you will. I intended to make pumpkin cupcakes with Shipyard Pumpkinhead frosting last night so I could blog about what a triumph I am in the kitchen, but then realized I had none of the ingredients and it was too late for me to go to the grocery store (because I was in the middle of Desperate Housewives. I don’t even like DH anymore, but just about anything could keep me from going to the grocery store. I also didn’t end up finishing the episode).

Anyway, I ended up making squash and pumpkin pie spice cupcakes with Oktoberfest and pumpkin pie spice Swiss buttercream frosting. These were actually really good, so if you want to make it, put a can of squash in yellow cake mix. Then make Swiss buttercream and add Oktoberfest beer and food coloring. Done. You can take that recipe as your own and open up a cupcake shop or something.

Since the cupcakes didn’t work out as a recipe post, I just used them as my usual Sunday night last hurrah of sport eating until I “start Monday.” I think I’ve been starting Monday since I graduated college. It was 80 degrees Sunday so I went to the beach with my mom and dad and basically ate everything that I ate in this post.

I swear, though, I start today! What makes this Monday different from all other Monday’s? I start Oprah’s Lifeclass tonight, and please don’t underestimate how excited I am. Living my best life does not include eating 5 pieces of pizza over the course of a day!

Is anyone else doing the Lifeclass? You should so we can write in our gratitude journals and talk about it!


Today I’m Grateful For….

Because I am a disciple of the Church of Oprah, I think it’s important to remember what you’re grateful for besides just the obvious (being alive, your health, not being homeless…stuff you’re going to take for granted no matter what). So, in an effort to be grateful for the simple things in life, here’s a list of things I’m grateful for today.

LEAN POCKETS! I’ve never had a pocket- whether it be lean or hot- ever before, and though I’m grateful that I’ve found it, it’s hard to accept that the ham and cheese whole wheat one just entered my life. I feel like we’ve missed out on a lot of memories together.

Alex McCord is now following me on twitter. Now we can mean tweet Kelly together. Though, I’d be 100% more grateful if Caroline or Dina Manzo were following me. Or any of the Manzos/Lauritas.

Pretty window box flowers. It allows me to see some nature close up without ever having to leave my hermit’s nest of a home.

My extra large coffee mug I got for graduation (since graduating everything my mother gives me has an inspirational quote about pursuing my dreams on it). I like this mug because it’s cozy and because Oprah once told Tina Fey she knew she’d like her because she had big mugs. So this makes me twofold grateful for this mug: 1. I always knew Oprah would like me, and I have the big mugs to prove it (plus they have an inspirational quote on it so she’d like me extra), and 2. I’m obviously exactly like Tina Fey since having big mugs says a lot about you as a person.

I’m so grateful I remembered that I have a teeny tiny top hat in my possession and two teeny tiny dogs that fit into it, making it look like a full-sized top hat.

Say a Little Prayer for Courtney Cox and David Arquette

I implore you, American public, to say a little prayer for Courtney and David. When these two were married, they were hardly on my radar, but since David was on Oprah, I’m all about him, and I’m really pulling for these two kids to work it out. I just feel like they compliment each other so well- he pulls the stick out of her butt, and then she hits him with it when he’s out of line and acting like a man-child (btw my new favorite phrase is “man-child.” Expect to hear more about all my favorite man-children in the near future). Let’s all just send some positive vibes their way (and while you’re at it send some to Mr. and Mrs. Affleck… not that they’re in any marital trouble, but any extra support is great because if they ever divorced it would BREAK ME).