Victoria’s Secrets: Taking Comfort in Family and Inspirational Words

The stunning view from my terrace.
The stunning view from my terrace.
Credit: Victoria Schneps

For years I’ve enjoyed summers in bucolic Westhampton and, since owning Dan’s Papers, it’s become a year-round pleasure to be there. But I also go “up island” to my new home near Manhasset.

The magnificently serene and glorious views of snow are apparent in both my “worlds.” The recent storms made me stop venturing out. At first, I felt lonely watching the dramatic snow silently fall and not being able to share it with anyone. But then the phone rang.

Human contact—it’s a remarkable thing! As much as the impressive views of snow inspire me and bring a smile to my face, I came to realize my family, friends and colleagues create bigger smiles! So, it was a delight to talk on FaceTime with my grandchildren during the stunning seven-hour snowfall. Sloane even created a portrait of me in watercolors and then colored pens while we talked on the phone!

Another comfort I’ve taken in being alone is reading. I’ve been watching the pile of books on my nightstand build and now I have the time to go through them.

Last week I wrote about my brilliant friend and colleague Dan Rattiner’s book, In the Hamptons. This week, I read two books that nurture the mind and body.

The first book is a self-proclaimed do-it-yourself resource book by Debra Smith-Milberg called Every Body Is Different. As a professional wellness coach, her book is a tutorial in how to have a healthy lifestyle.

I keep Debra’s book on my night table to be reminded and re-inspired.

For me, that means being wiser in choosing what I eat, exercising more effectively and managing stress. Her easy-to-follow chapters helped me refocus and remind me of what I needed to do to lose weight. I’ve already shed five pounds by dropping dairy products!

I also had the opportunity to speak with Debra and learn about her philosophy firsthand. She even got on a video call with me to guide my workout session!

Debra is truly a pragmatic guide who offers concrete ideas. I loved the testimonials from her successful clients with their words and what really caught my eye were the before and after photos featured in the book!

I also loved her easy-to-manage tricks to portion control! For women, she offered the following tips (men can double these!):

  • One serving of protein is the size of your palm
  • A serving of veggies is the size of your fist
  • A serving of carbs is your cupped hand
  • A serving of fat is the size of your thumb.

I try to keep her book near me to be reminded and re-inspired.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and honoring as a Power Woman of Long Island Joanna Dodd Massey. I learned that she had written several books based on her decades of running public relations departments in multiple national media companies.

Her latest book, Communicating During a Crisis, has a very powerful subtitle: “Influencing Others When the Stakes are High.”

Joanna’s book offers advice on how people skills can help businesses cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

The book offers exactly the right mix of practical, truthful, funny and personal experiences of handling crises and is filled with specific suggestions to cope with the COVID-19 crisis we are all facing in our businesses.

One paragraph really resonated with in which she wrote, “Lighten the ‘f’ up—things always work out.” Having been in business for so long, I have lived that advice.

There are many more words of wisdom to be found in her book.

Read both Joanna’s book and Debra’s books for inspiration during these difficult days as we continue to fight the disease that has struck us in countless ways.

Stay strong and keep your courage!

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