Tuesday, March 1, 2016

NEVER Ask Anyone Their Opinion Again!


Why other people's opinions don't matter and how they can actually be harmful...

I feel very fortunate that I learned this lesson at an early age.  When I was about 18 years old, I realized that other people’s opinions didn’t matter and I quit asking people what they thought about my ideas (which have always been a bit outlandish).  That doesn’t mean that others are not knowledgeable and may have great insight to share, but the key is to differentiate between opinions and information.

If you have a dream in your heart and in your mind, it no longer matters what ANYONE else thinks of it.  Have you ever been really excited about a dream, goal or idea you have only to have that energy sucked right out of you by someone telling you that they thinks it’s a dumb idea or that you’d never be able to achieve it?  It is human nature to knock someone’s ideas or dreams.  Sometimes it’s because they fear you will fail and want to save you from that pain, but most of the time it comes from a place of jealousy… because they were too scared to go after their own dreams or maybe because they fear that you will succeed and leave them behind.   Either way, it’s not worth having their negativity weighing you down… life has enough obstacles to deal with.


So... rather than asking someone their opinion, ask them informational questions only.  For example,
when I was 22 years old, I wanted to buy a motor home and drive it from Oregon down through Mexico to my windsurfing destinations… just me, my dog and the open road.  If I had asked people what they thought, the majority would have said that I was a crazy and not to do it.  Well, I already knew I was crazy (enough), so what I really needed to do was gather INFORMATION that would help me determine whether I could pull it off or not.  I started asking people (all kinds of people) questions like, “Where is a good place to buy a used motor home?”  “What paperwork are needed to take a dog across the border?” “Where can I get insurance that would cover me in Mexico?”  What are the best driving routes?” etc…

Once I gathered the answers to all these questions, I was able to determine that I would indeed be able to safely and successful drive and live in my motor home around Mexico… it turned out to be one of the best times of my life!!!

It takes some time and practice to only ask informational questions, but eventually you will get so good at knowing the difference you will either stop the person from sharing their “opinion” and be able to turn it into an informational conversation, or you will simply learn to ignore that part of the
Here's how you can get yourself into the routine of being an information gathering machine and an opinion deflector:  
1. Identify a goal or dream that you have for yourself.  Maybe it will be going back to school, moving, taking a trip or changing careers.
2. Make a list of all the questions and concerns you have around this idea.
3. Go through your list and write down how to ask these questions in an informational format.  You can even go so far as to think about how someone might try to answer a question with their opinion and how you can change the conversation so they are only giving you info.
4. Like anything, practice makes perfect, so practice a little everyday (where to go for lunch, should you email someone back, what to wear, what new phone to buy, etc...).  Pretty soon it will be second nature to converse this way and trust me, it will save you years of heartache and anguish.

If you have any INFORMATIONAL questions I can answer for you... please let me know :) kasten@sophisticatedrebel.com

Thursday, February 4, 2016

My Issues with Valentine's Day

The commercials have started… Online, tv, radio, storefronts… “Buy this to show her how much you love her”…  What a crock!

When I was younger and single, I was always so sad around Valentine’s Day because I didn’t have a significant other in my life to make me feel “special”.  I knew lots of people that felt the exact same way and we all dreaded that holiday.  What we didn’t understand was that the holiday was nothing more than an opportunity for retailers to market their crap via guilt trips… It has nothing to do with how special you are or how much someone loves you!! (I now affectionately refer to it as a Hallmark Holiday).  Now, I admit that there are several holidays that we celebrate here in the US that have strayed far from their original purposes,  but this one seems to be the one that leaves a lot of people feeling left out and hurt.

The pressures of Valentine’s day start in grade school… kids give each other little paper valentine’s cards (the one’s you get at the store that folded over and just say To: and From: ).   At 8 years old, it clearly isn’t about “love”, but rather becomes a popularity contest.  Kids compare how many valentines’ they get and if they don’t get as many as some of the other kids, they feel like they aren’t very “cool”.  So, at a young age we are teaching kids that if people don’t give you cards on a day specified by marketers, that they must not be loved or lovable… don’t kids have it hard enough already?!?!

Another thing that really bothers me about Valentine’s Day is how one sided it is, it’s all about a man buying a woman something “special” to show their love?  Gee, no pressure there.  If you don’t spend enough money she may think you don’t really love her.   If you spend too much money and it’s early in the relationship, you might be sending her the wrong signals.  It all seems a bit unfair to me… relationships are a two way street (always), so why isn’t the message geared to tell men AND WOMEN to be showering their loved ones with gifts??   MORE IMPORTANTLY, wouldn’t it seem more authentic if a man (or woman) got you flowers, a box of candy or jewelry on some completely arbitrary day??

The thing that finally changed it for me was when I was dating a man who did the coolest thing on Valentine’s Day… he would spend the day with his two teenage daughters getting pedicures together, bringing them flowers, going out to lunch, etc…  He would tell them that he never wanted them to feel bad or left out, because they always had at least one man in their life that loved them and thought they incredibly special… their dad :).   If you are wondering what he got me for Valentine’s Day, the answer is nothing (and I was about it).  The best gift I got from him was watching how he treated his daughters and the message he was sending them.   From that moment on, I no longer cared about Valentine’s Day.

You may think it’s odd that I own a company that sells a product that would actually make a really nice, personalized, unique Valentines’ gift and yet we’re not doing any major “Valentine’s Day Promotions”…   That’s because Sophisticated Rebel would rather their customers buy it as a gift (or for themselves) for a graduation, birthday, or just because!  This year for Valentine’s Day, Sophisticated Rebel is doing something to try and spread the love to those who most likely need it the most.   The women of the Sophisticated Rebel Tribe and I are collecting purses that aren’t being used anymore, filling them with toiletries, candies and notes of hope and encouragement and delivering them to women at domestic violence shelters. 

If you know someone who might be feeling sad or lonely this Valentine’s day, I hope you reach out to them…   
Find a way to spread some love this Valentine’s Day… and everyday!

(If you would like to join the Sophisticated Rebel Tribe, please send a request on Facebook): Sophisticated Rebels 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Diana Costain

November 2015 Featured Sophisticated Rebel - Diana Costain
Diana Costain
I have never been one to be awe struck by others and their accomplishments, but the day I met Diana Costain at an event for entrepreneurs, I literally turned to her and said, "I want to be like you when I grow up!"  She was embodied everything that felt defined success... owned several businesses, financially free, beautiful, healthy, happy, smart, approachable, helpful, fun and adventurous!!   Little did I know, she would become one of my dearest friends, confidants and mentors.  I am honored to feature her as this months Sophisticated Rebel and share her inspirational story with you.  

Diana was born and raised in Vancouver BC, Canada.  The early years of her life were not easy, her father was incredibly abusive (he especially enjoyed beating her on her Birthday)... after showing up at school with bruises from head to toe, child protective services stepped in, removed her from her parents and put her into a foster home.  Foster care did not to turn out to be any less traumatic... her foster father choked and raped her and told her she had to call him "dad".  Diana ran away figuring she would be much better off on her own. When CPS found her, however, they threatened that if she continued to run away from foster care that she would be put into a women's detention facility until she turned 18.  This is when Diana's heart filled with hatred.  She was determined not to return to foster care and convinced CPS that she would stay in school and get a job.  Diana was 15 years old and completely on her own.

Typically these types of challenges lead to a life of bad choice and continued cycles of abuse,  but not for Diana, she had her eyes set on greater things and used these challenges to fuel her.

Her accomplishments are nothing short of incredible, including several "firsts" for a woman.
Diana was the first female to have a paper route (an entrepreneur from the beginning).  
She was one of the first female stock brokers in British Columbia and was the first woman to stand on the floor of the Vancouver stock exchange.
Diana was the founding share holder in the largest all cash software deal in B.C. 
She hosted and produced a weekly radio show called, "The Art of Investing" and was a frequent guest investor on a show similar to Shark Tank... 
All of this while raising her two daughters BY HERSELF!

Diana with her two daughters and granddaughters
Diana now lives in Phoenix Arizona where she owns and runs a commercial real estate investment company, she is an active investor in other companies, is an integral part of the business community, a doting grandmother and  a member of a water ski club.  She is inviting, supportive, driven and loyal and the world is a better place because of her.  I hope you all get the chance to meet Diana Costain one day.  In the mean time, I grabbed a few minutes of her time to ask her some of the questions I figured we could all learn from. 

Me: "What is the biggest struggle you've overcome?"
Diana: "Learning to believe in myself, it's very hard to accomplish anything in life if you don't believe in yourself."

Me: "What have been your biggest motivators?"
Diana: "When I was in my 20's I was motivated by anger and revenge.  My motivation came from wanting to prove to all the people that said I couldn't do it and wouldn't amount to anything, that they were wrong.  Over the years that has changed a lot, once I realized that it didn't matter what those people thought of me the anger and revenge faded.  What motivates me know is learning to find a better way to do things and then sharing that knowledge with others."

Me: "What are you most proud of?"
Diana: "My independence, the ability to no longer need approval from others... I no longer care what others think of me."  "What others think of me is none of my business" she chuckles.

Me: "What advice would you give to other women?"
Diana: "Stop looking to other people and external things for your happiness, look internally and take responsibility for your own happiness.  Remove the "if" from you inner dialogue (if we had more money, if we lived closer, if the schools were better, if only ______ then I would be happy." 

Me: "If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do different?"
Diana: "Nothing... my experiences (all of them), made me who I am today.  I am proud of who I am and really like myself, so I wouldn't change a thing."

Me: "What goals do you have for the future?"
Diana: "I was always way more afraid of success than I ever was of failure, now I am ready to embrace success, be crystal clear on what I want and accept things as they come.  I am working of focusing my energy on what I want rather than what I don't want."

Me: "How would you define a Sophisticated Rebel?"
Diana: "Someone who is strong, determined, an independent thinker, has charisma, is focused and most of all doesn't give a damn... does things their own way."

Me: "Is there anything you'd like to see SoReb (the company) do?"
Diana: "No, I love the name, what you stand for and everything you are doing... I can't wait to see what is coming in the future!"

Diana and me (Kasten Spethmann co-founder of Sophisticated Rebel)
Diana is an incredible role model for women everywhere... you will never find her cutting other women down, instead you will find her building them up and helping them find their own strength.  She is truly a Sophisticated Rebel.

By Kasten Spethmann

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Keeping Women & the Earth Beautiful

The PRINTER CARTRIDGE is what allowed everyone to make lab quality prints on a desktop.  Without them we'd have to toss our old printer and buy a new one every time the color ran out.  It sounds insane but that's exactly what we do every time our lipstick runs out.  Tens of millions of applicators end up in landfills every year and those applicators are what account for 80% of the cost of what you paid for the lipstick.  So I decided to copy the printer world and named a brand exactly what it is... - JUST THE COLOR!
This of course meant I needed a very cool applicator that the cartridge could mate with so it could be filled.  My partner created an amazing stainless steel REFILLABLE applicator that you only have to buy once.  It's FLAT which means it can fit in a places traditional lipstick can't.  It's mirror polished, can hang from any chain and because it's metal - it can be engraved with your personal message or attitude.  We call it the Forever Blade and this applicator is one that's designed to never see a landfill.  So now when your lipstick runs out, you simply buy a fresh JUST THE COLOR cartridge and refill your Forever Blade for only $10.  That's $10 for some of the best quality lipstick on the planet.
Feel good about the lipstick you are using... www.sophisticatedrebel.com 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

One of the Countries 1st Undercover Female DEA Agents - Michelle Deaver

October’s Featured Sophisticated Rebel


Deaver described the challenges of being one of the only women in the field. She often struggled to gain admiration from her team, especially as a supervisor.

Drug dogs and K9 officers surrounded the Louisiana auto shop. Over the last few months the owner had been visited by an airline hostess who had regularly purchased cocaine from him.  Now she stood across from him and revealed her true identitiy as a federal agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Michelle Deaver broke into an industry that was almost exclusively male and paved the trail for other females that desired careers in the drug and law enforcement agencies.  She epitomizes what it means to be a Sophisticated Rebel!!   I have so much respect, admiration and gratitude for her.  I am honored to be able to share her inspirational and energizing story with you...

"As a female it's very difficult, because you have to have the male agents respect you and you want to be part of them, so you have to work very hard to earn their respect."

"I was born and raised in Southern California by parents who instilled success in their three daughters.  I began my college experience as a “rebel” and sought a career with the US Forest Service and attend Humboldt State University where the redwoods meet the coast in Northern California.  After a dismal summer job in forestry, I decided to transfer to Cal State Long Beach to finish my degree.  I was introduced to the criminal justice system by a professor who encouraged me to apply for an internship with the US Customs Service.  I graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in criminal justice and worked fulltime for the US Customs Service.  I was hooked.
While with the USCS, I developed a great ability of reading people and observation skills.  At 23 years old, I decided that I wanted to be an investigator and applied to three different federal agencies.  I had offers from all three and decided on the Drug Enforcement Administration.  My decision was based on their need for female agents not their filling a quota demanded by the government.  My time at the academy in Glynco, GA challenged me physically and mentally.  There were very few females in the agency at that time so we were always watched and critically judged.  There was never a time at the gun range that I didn’t have a range officer behind me, watching to make sure I did everything right.  It actually made me work harder and I was a terrific marksman and in great shape because of the challenge. 
I spent the next 7 years working in Los Angeles, New Orleans and then was transferred to Phoenix.  I was single at the time and probably worked 16 hours a day.  I was the only female agent at that time in the New Orleans office and did a lot of undercover work.  I did so much undercover work that sometimes I would go home at night and have to write myself notes about who I was portraying so I didn’t get my various undercover personas confused.  Mistakes like that could get someone killed.
Working in a law enforcement agency was ALWAYS a challenge.  It wasn’t that the other DEA agents questioned my ability; it was often the state and local law enforcement officers.  I was single, from Southern California and a female.  Three strikes in some minds, but I worked hard to prove my ability with passion and commitment. 
I met my husband, got married and had two children while in Arizona.  I was transferred to Massachusetts so my family was uprooted and moved.  I was assigned to work a gang task force and worked from about noon to 2am.  It was a brutal assignment for me and my family.  The work was long and very dangerous.  My husband and I had certain codes in case we ran into any gang members who knew me so they wouldn’t see my family.  We became friends with a close group of people in Massachusetts and they were our reality release.  We remain friends 15 years later.
I was transferred to Dallas and was promoted to a Supervisory Special Agent.  I became interested in public speaking and would conduct numerous presentations to parents, teachers and community members on current drug trends.  I was often surprised on how ignorant parents would be on teenage drug use, so I really enjoyed helping them and teaching.
I retired from the Drug Enforcement Administration after 30 years of government service.  Not one to sit, I applied for and was hired as a criminal justice teacher at a school district career center.  My black and white personality was changed to grey as I saw what some teenagers have to live through at home.  I loved to influence high school students to become the best they could be and introduce them to the life that I loved.  I shared my challenges, sacrifices and successes.  My favorite saying was that I hoped that they could find a career where they could lay their head down at night and KNOW that they have made a difference.   
My passion for making a difference continues as I apply to sit on the board of directors with a foundation whose mission is to help troubled and homeless teens.  I will see where this new adventure takes me.
I guess my advice to other females is to find something, anything and be the best.  There are always bumps on the path, sometimes boulders.  I guess what you do with those boulders is what defines you.  I would also encourage a release of tension, someone or something to help you through those hard times.  Everything is a balance and takes work.  But the payoff is a passion that always burns". 
    ~  Michelle
Michelle wearing her Forever Blade while enjoying on some well deserved R & R on their boat in Crystal Beach Texas!

A Custom Engraved Forever Blade for a true REBEL with a Cause - Michelle Deaver

The world needs more women like Michelle Deaver... Retired DEA, Mother, Wife, Teacher, Friend, Leader... SOPHISTICATED REBEL!!

Friday, September 25, 2015


Sophisticated Rebel has always been more than a cool lipstick… SO MUCH MORE!

We believe that every business should have 3 elements to be considered successful.  

1. A company should provide an excellent product or service.
2. A company should make A LOT of money (if not, it should be a non-profit).
3. A company should use its success to improve the community around them (whether locally or globally). 
It should use its social leverage (social media reach and voice) to bring awareness, educate, encourage, promote & praise those that are already doing the things to create change.  It should ALSO use its success to financially support organizations that are in the trenches daily doing the work to make the world a better place.  Companies like Tom's Shoes and  Warby Parker are great examples of companies that are already doing this.

The third element is why we created "Rebel with a Cause", a non-profit fund that grants money to charities that embody the sophisticated rebel spirit.   A portion of our profits go into the fund and that money is then granted to charities through an application process.
The charities might be organizations that are providing scholarships for girls who want to study engineering, protecting women in countries where their safety is threatened daily,  a group that promotes positive body images, anti bullying, etc…  The example I often use is Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot for trying to get an education and is now helping other girls get educated.

RWAC has been a part of Sophisticated Rebel since its inception.  We wanted a business that would provide a vehicle that could do big things to help women.  Lipstick seems like such a perfect fit… it is the cornerstone of what women wear to feel feminine.

There are a lot of women that would love to be able to help women and girls that are less fortunate, but they often don’t have the time or financial means to do so.
Now millions of women can help others around the world by simply buying a lipstick (and a pretty darn cool one too).

I invite women everywhere to join our tribe, buy some lipstick and be part of a movement that is changing the world!!
~ Kasten

How a Chinese Tennis Star took on the Communist Chinese Government... and WON

Li Na – Tennis Phenom, took on the Chinese Government and WON!  She became the 2nd highest paid female athlete in the WORLD.  Her rebellion, determination and talent changed the rules for athletes throughout China… thousands of girls in China strive to be just like her.   She is brave, determined, smart and beautiful and we are proud to showcase her as a Sophisticated Rebel.
Here is a recent interview with Li Na on 60 mins… it’s 12 mins long and worth every second.
Li Na, Sophisticated Rebel thanks you!