Sunday, March 10, 2013

This is ME (nice to meet you)


My name is Leslie. You can read why I chose my blog name HERE. But for now I’ll just say that I love romantic comedies with quirky, neurotic heroines.


Like this character.

If you liked Diane in this movie, we could be serious friends. We might end up being best friends if you also love the character of Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation (that IS me) and Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, especially the scene in the rain.

Right now I’m writing my first ever About Me page because every big (i.e. successful) blogger says I should have one so you’ll know what to expect from this blog. Only up-to-now I’ve ignored this advice because the truth is, I never knew what to say about myself. Serious, I rather give a big, glowing introduction of you, instead of me any day.

But I’m ready for a blog makeover, and that includes this page

and a few random facts about myself. So here it goes:

I got into the therapy field at age 25 and didn’t completely leave until I was in my forties. I begin with this fact because this was my life’s work, and you could say it changed my entire DNA.


My experience as a psychotherapist is the lens from which I see the world. It taught me that we’re all mostly the same from the inside. And that everyone’s doing the best they can with the skills they got in their families.


My career began when I moved to Los Angeles as a twenty-five year old graduate student and landed my dream job at bustling Eating Disorder Treatment Program.This was the late eighties when insurance companies were still paying for 4-6 week treatment programs inside hospitals, which meant one thing: people were coming from all walks of life to ask for help.

And they were meeting with me because I was the intake coordinator and it was my job to listen and assess them.


one of my favorite Anais Nin quotes.

I once estimated that in my seven years on the hospital unit I met face to face with over a thousand women. And that’s not counting all the phone calls that came through on our (800) line. When you consider that I averaged an hour with each woman, you can begin to imagine the stories that filled my life. Gritty, aching, painful stories. And once I started working in the session room there were even more. To say that this launched my career is an understatement.

I mention this because if you ever want to know what real courage looks like, spend time with people who are struggling to heal their emotional pain; women who are trying---often for the first time--- to speak openly and truthfully about how they feel—the good and bad.

I tell you, it will bring you to your knees.

But here’s the irony.

Like a lot of newbie therapists, I’d entered the field with the beaming hope of helping others without a clue that I was in need of healing myself.

My immersion in this eating disorder world, my training alongside an amazing clinical team, and my own therapy during this period left me reeling. It forced me to look deeply into myself.  To face my own feelings of chronic guilt. The feeling of not being good enough, despite all my achievements. And to understand the shame, which had been my shadowy friend for as long as I could remember.


During these years, I felt like I was standing on the tip of a cliff with the winds hurling 100 miles an hour at my back. Most of the time is was downright terrifying, but man, everyone should feel so alive.


It’s amazing how the universe plops us into the exact place we need to be… so we can work through our struggles.

Perfectionism, not feeling good enough, body image, dieting, beauty, boundaries, secrets, feelings, empowerment, women, authenticity.

This was once my world and sometimes so I write about these things here (starting the Memoir project)  because I believe in sharing our stories. Looking beneath the surface for answers.

And I believe in women lifting other women.



These days…

I’m a Stylist at heart…

tablescapes, vignettes, props, parties and flowers

I write about these things too.



Rustic, cottage, vintage, classic, French, Scandinavian, eclectic, country, farmhouse and a touch of bohemian. These are my decorating words, the ones that make my heart flutter.


And this is my philosophy for creating my home.

Because I’m always working on something.

I live in Sacramento, California with Mr. Moss.

I have two boys 18 and 20, and I’m soon to be an empty nester. So sometimes I write about mothering and letting go . Because I consider it the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I have a German Shepherd named Stella who is my baby.

My latest job: floral designer for a wedding


DSC_0449 copy

my parents at my last Halloween party

I threw a annual Halloween party for 16 years in a row because party planning makes me happy.

Favorite shows: Comedy: Daily Show with Jon StewartThe Colbert Report, Parks & Recreation, Drama: Homeland

I’m addicted to: Sunday morning news shows and American politics

Author that changed my life: Alice Miller (Drama of a Gifted Child)

I’m a pop culture failure. Hated Fifty Shades of Grey, I’ve never watched ONE reality show, even the Kardashians.

I like my coffee with milk.


I’ve seen every episode of The Office. At least once. Because Michael Scot is my favorite neurotic.

I’m an fanatical animal lover; I can’t watch any movie scene that includes an animal being wounded, hunted or dying.

My favorite Anne Lamott quote: “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.”



My worst quality: I’m messy

Best quality: My curiosity

Favorite thing to do: ‘family nights’

Favorite human being: Mr. Moss

My deepest aspiration: to be a writer

And if you’re still here….


the holstee manifesto

I welcome you to my blog.

hello friend.



(aka Gwen Moss)



I shared this with my friends here:



Technorati Tags:



michele said...

such a pleasure to meet you, new friend. what amazing work you have accomplished and what a support you have been to so many. look at your parents at your party! halloween has never been my thing, but i bet your party would change my mind. you already know we have mucho common ground. ya. my training as a therapist led me to realize i could not be that blank slate exploring darkness and the shadows with beautiful human beings whom i much preferred celebrating. hafez. anne lamott. diane keaton. i'm her too and i do remember drama of the gifted child rocking my world, but love's executioner (yalom) stuck with me more. anne lamott gave me the courage to begin writing and is my #1 favorite. i do have a mad crush on david sedaris though. we have 2 sons as well, 18 and 21. so the empty nest is approaching.

love to you on this blog journey, and looking forward to reading your lovely words.


Kari said...

Nice to meet you Leslie. :)

Calypso In The Country said...

Leslie, I enjoy your blog more and more every day! I look forward to reading some posts about raising your boys. Mine are 9 and 6. We are quickly approaching those ages where I might be needing lots of advice from someone who has gone through that stage! I enjoyed learning about your journey and look forward to reading more from you! Have a wonderful week!

Gypsy Heart said...

Are we sisters??? So many of the same characteristics, likes and dislikes. Thanks for sharing this!

I was an unpaid and uneducated (ok, a few college classes & additional medical/psychiatric training via work) counselor when I was working. I never really understood the "why" of bringing your personal stuff to work and sharing it with the world. I was a Supervisor and Manager...I really wasn't there to fix a life or three. Oh well, enough of that! There are truly thousands of damaged individuals out there. I was so fortunate to have therapy.

You are a gifted writer and I always look forward to your posts! Hope you have a fabulous week ~


Beauty and Wonder said...

Leslie, Gwen,
You are such an authentic woman. Thank you for all you share!

Anonymous said...

As you know, I am often amazed at how much you and I have in common, but after reading the above comment from Michelle, I'm beginning to wonder if you aren't just really good at connecting with people. Either way, I'm so happy that we are blog friends.


Anonymous said...

Hello Leslie! My name is Patty, I'm so happy I found your blog, I think you write as you probably talk, and that is wonderful. Love your previous posts, looking forward to the journey on the road ahead. Patty/BC

Christy James said...

I just love how you write exactly what's in your heart. I also love that you included the line, "I believe in women lifting other women." That is so important. We should all be supporting each other and cheering each other on because although it may not show on the outside, we all have struggled. Thanks for sharing:)
(Confessions if a Serial DIYer)

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Leslie I love this! I have been following ou for awhile and I always enjoy your posts. It is refreshing to fing an authentic blogger. I cannot wait or mor of your story.


Sarah said...

Nice to meet you, Gwen Moss. This is my first visit to your blog, so it's appropriate that I happened upon this post. '-)
I like the way you write, and I too am a stylist at heart. I spent my career in an elementary classroom working with young children. In some ways it's a bit like psychotherapy. You'd be surprised what crises, emotional and physical, that teachers deal with most days while trying to also teach the curriculum. So, I think we have much in common. Glad I found your blog. I'm now following along and will check in often.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is a lovely post, is wonderful learning more about you!

Art and Sand said...

Wow! I loved reading your story tonight.

I love Diane Keaton's character in Something's Got To Give. Don't you love it as she transforms from hysterically crying to hysterically laughing. And wouldn't it be fun to have an affair with Keanu Reeves!

I'm not a TV watcher, but I listen while my husband watches his favorites on his computer. We don't own a TV for many reasons and one of them is space. He was watching Parks & Rec on my iPad while I wrote my post on my laptop so I was laughing through it. And, I have listened to every episode of The Office.

Although I am a teacher (for 86 more days) I tell people I am an event planner because I plan all the parties, dances, fieldtrips and assemblies for the school.

I know I would enjoy every minute of visiting with you and kicking up my heels in your kitchen.

Thanks for a fun read tonight.

Lottie said...

So nice to meet you! You are an extremely gifted writer! I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts as we travel on this journey called life!

Leslie Harris said...

Hi Patty of Violets Are Blue. I wanted to let you know I try to respond to every comment by email, but today when I went to respond to your comment I couldn't. It looks like you're a 'no reply' blogger. So I wanted to thank you for your visit here!

Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

awesome post! I recently started volunteering as an accountability partner for "Mercy Ministries", I love to encourage other girls in their walk to freedom. (as I am a woman who dealt with eating disorder 20 years ago). love all the quotes...and I must be a mermaid too

Unknown said...

i'm tellin ya- we were meant to be friends...

Pam Kessler said...

Nice to meet you Leslie! It's fun to know more about you. You may be the first psychotherapist I have met that I enjoy hearing from!

Stacey said...

Leslie, I can tell it would be easy to like you. My favorite thing you talked about is that everyone is really doing the best they can with the family they grew up in. That just couldn't be more true.

Leena Milligan Lanteigne said...

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your life! Hugs, Leena

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

Isn't it wonderful to be able to pursue such diverse loves? From psychotherapy to design, writing and home life. Pretty cool!

Everyone has their own set of challenges. I struggle with perfectionism. My sister says that she's a perfectionist, so that others won't be able to criticize her. That's probably a lot of it. I've told my kids that no one gets through this life without their own set of struggles. We all have our own box that we'd rather keep the lid on.

I appreciate your honesty and for generously sharing it.

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

How lovely to read about your path and your struggles and your peace! I'm also smiling about the 'Places I keep my clothes' - somehow I'm happy you're a messy person.

Keep going on like this please. You are truly sharing beauty, creative, positivity and you often make me look at my life in a fresh way. Thank you! Xxcat

Anonymous said...

Good Morning, Leslie! I'm so happy to have found your blog...just the inspiration I need! My husband and I are empty nesters, just in the last two years. We have two daughters and both are married. I think we could be great friends! We have many similarities... I share your love of animals I even have to fast forward commercials for animal shelters! I can't bare to see the sad faces. So, my new friend I look forward to your blog posts and if you ever hold a class for anything I'm just a few short hours from Sacramento!

June G.

Unknown said...

Can I just say how much I loved reading made me smile & it also made me wish you were my neighbour, you would change & inspire my life....truly.

What a wonderful introduction to you, I love how your blog has grown even more these last few months. You have so much to share & are the most wonderful writer....everyone should read you.

Women lifting up & supporting other women, that is you all over....and I should know :)

Love all the quotes you have used too Xx

PS I'm so surprised that you are messy, that did make me laugh!!

Lori said...

I absolutely love this post Leslie! Your blog is one of my favourite places to visit and I feel like I am getting to know you better after each visit ~ especially this one. What a great line of work ~ you are truly a special person to devote your life to these women.

Anita at Cedar Hill said...

I love this Leslie!! Very real, and very helpful for me to get to know you better. Okay, you made the top 3 from The Scoop, so you know the drill, I need a photo since I can't download one from your blog!! Please get it to me as early as possible on Saturday!!

Donna@anangloinquébec said...

This is a wonderful post Leslie. It feels authentic. I know it is but that says something about you as a writer. Some bloggers lack the ability to connect through their words. Your honesty and willingness to put yourself out there is appreciated.
I am sure as a listener you were very good at what you did but it is so lovely for your readers now to connect with you on this page and all the rest.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

This post just confirms everything I already knew Leslie ... you are incredibly warm, caring, genuine and insighful. And your writing is so pure and from the heart. I was drawn in the moment I read your blog for the very first time. It's been a pleasure getting to know you!

Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

Absolutely the best "About Me" page in the blog world. Coming your way from Cedar Hill Ranch where we were featured together today. So nice to meet you! Happy to be following you via GFC and looking forward to getting to know you even better!

Anonymous said...


I found you on Pinterest. We like a lot of the same things. Happy to find you write a blog. I look forward to reading your future posts...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...