Women’s Voices 2015 with Author Delia Ephron

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I feel a shift coming on. Not the kind Grandma used to wear or a sudden shift between two tectonic plates resulting in my chandelier swinging from the rafters (or better yet me) mind you. I’m talking about the kind that takes place from within. No words or directions, just a movement. I knew it would take me to a new and likely, bigger space. A powerful surge of energy forcing me forward on a new journey, highlighting extraordinary women and their stories. Women who change the world.

Then, it happened. An invitation to attend Women’s Voices 2015: Featuring Guest Speaker Delia Ephron and Woman of the Year Debbie Margolis. I just knew I had to go. It was meant to be. A day for self-reflection and camaraderie featuring two dynamic women sharing their stories. It was like getting a direct telegram from the director of internal shifts through their words and messages. Messages for all women.

“Women’s Voices” is the largest annual gathering of Jewish women in Orange County and is the signature campaign event of Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federation & Family Services. From the moment I stepped off the escalator, I heard what sounded like a swarm of mystical bees huddling around their hive. Making a bee-line to the ballroom (sorry I had to), 750 leaders, vital educators, philanthropists and fierce females were surrounded by pink lights with the word Voices illuminating the walls. What energy!

What may at first seem like a diverse highlight of two talented, fabulous women, actually reveals the same starting point: one of strength of character, founded on the resolve to follow one’s own path. The program began honoring Debbie Margolis, a philanthropic woman who thinks outside of the box and gives back to the community. A lot! Margolis, also a past president of Women’s Philanthropy, just finished a two-year term as president of Jewish Federation & Family Services. She was humbled as her parents and children watched with pride.

Someone who has always been herself is Delia Ephron, bestselling author, screenwriter, journalist and playwright. Her most recent book, Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.), a memoir, was published last fall. Ephron is like a clever master D.J. sequencing the latest riffs, covering everything from family, movies and writing  – to love, loss and baked goods. This is a woman who hasn’t lost her sense of humor and wit – not to mention honesty. She puts a flashlight on what’s real in a very relatable way, making us all feel connected.

Ephron was raised to have a career and the unspoken message for her and her sisters was, you will be writers. Her powerhouse family valued the written word above all else. Growing up in Beverly Hills, her parents were screenwriters (Phoebe and Henry Ephron), and her three sisters Nora, Amy and Hallie Ephron all grew up to be writers as well. “We borrowed lines from each other the way other sisters borrow dresses.” she writes. Frequent writing companion and sister Nora, (who passed away) was one of her biggest inspirations. It was Delia’s destiny to be a writer. Partially a result of unbelievable programming, as her father shouted “that’s a great line, write it down,” every time she said something funny.

There were times she needed to change direction. Her word to the wise? Have basic work habits to be focused, it’s the the only thing that gives you legs. After writing “How to Eat like a child” at the age of 32, she read the piece and thought…this is who I am. Writing told her who she was…witty with a sparkling sense of humor. Certainly history is full of female writers who had to submit their work under a male nom de plume to even have their work looked at, let alone published. It’s inspiring to see a woman in a man’s world reach success.

Delia Ephron’s mother (who wore one liners like armour) said: “Don’t worship celebrities, they’re no better than you are.” I raise my glass to the bravery and determination of women who came before us with their insightful courage. Although not a new concept, women learning from strong, vigorous women who go before them, it is a concept and awareness that creeps up on us as we get older, don’t you think? I didn’t always focus on older women (myself included!) until I got to be this age.

At the end of the day, recognize a tectonic shift when it’s happening. I’m still working to find my own voice asking: what do I know, what do I think, what are my stories? It’s my game and I make the rules. Writing is my fingerprint. Bring on a full serving of fearlessness and chocolate mouse (as chocolate will make us happier.)

I’d like to mention the seed for this post started with a conversation I had with a friend. Well, several truth be told. They’ve been listening to my diatribe about equality for women and how it’s time to redefine the stereotype of the mature woman and let each individual claim their own beauty. I’ve had the privilege to blog about dazzling chefs toiling over their pots and fashion designers creating in their studios telling me they’ve been inspired by Risotto Milanese. What a ride. Being curious is a very important aspect of staying young at heart, but below the gloss is often a lot of grit. Perhaps it’s time to dig deeper? Life is change and isn’t change good? Sure, it may be tough at times, but that’s what makes the journey so exciting and worth taking. Making a life change is pretty scary. But you know what’s even scarier — regret, as Ephron shares. I say march on all you traveler’s of change!

In closing Delia told a personal story about her door man. He was very ill so she put him in a cab, paid for it and sent him to Beth Israel Hospital. She had more important things do like return a few things to Bergdorfs. As she walked down the street she thought to herself “Bergdorf – Beth Israel, Bergdorf- Beth Israel”. It was this unbelievable moral dilemma. With a warm smile she shared, “Moments when you are asked to give are really Bergdorf – Beth Israel moments. As you go through life, always be working from the inside out. Plain and simple: Do what you love. Give to things that touch your heart.” Ladies, you’ve got this!

I dedicate this post to those who never shy from going their own way, to all women who share loving acts of kindness, and to you dear Delia for your illuminating spirit. You’re a beautiful badass in my eyes. Especially in your black leather Beatle boots…

Shift happens.


Special thanks to Vicki Capizzi for lovley invite. I attended in honor of Paulette Ancharoff and her mother Rachel. 

Images Courtesy of Ron Levy Photography | Barmitzvah/Batmitzvah Photography |Wedding Photography/ Corporate Events:  http://ronlevyphotography.com/

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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