Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day... It's Not About Hamburgers, and Intoxication

Sometimes I have to chuckle... and often admittedly shake my head as we Americans "celebrate" our national holidays. We fire up the grills, invite family and friends over, we eat, we head to the beach, we swim, we drink, we get drunk, we fall down. (generally speaking) What typically fails to happen is the actual true moment of remembrance; the moment of true purpose of the holiday we are "celebrating". Memorial day is one of those holidays when we spend the entire weekend beforehand participating in these festivities and often forget the true meaning of the day. Although I suppose since it is also the kick off to the summer season I can cut people some slack. Don't get me wrong, I did not write this post to piss anyone off or ruffle any drunken feathers... to each his own celebration; you are not wrong for having fun, and I am certainly not judging you. All I am calling attention to is the absence of respect for what this day truly stands for.

I have had and still have family members and friends who fight for what this country prides itself in and I like to take this day to remember them for what they gave to us. It is a selfless act of valor and SHOULD be celebrated. They leave their families, spend months and even years away in a land that becomes their new home to GIVE US a gift we often take advantage of. I am guilty of taking it for granted myself and often think I would like to go somewhere that does not have the freedom we have to REALLY put things into perspective for me. Until then... I will use weekends and days such as this to remember those who fight and those who have lost their lives while fighting for me and my children. God blessed us with these men and women and for that I am truly thankful.

As you fire up those grills, ice those beers and laugh and enjoy your friends and family, (as you should) have at least 3 minutes of silent remembrance for the brave soldiers near and far. Thanks to ALL of those who serve for me and for our country... YOUR EFFORTS and DEDICATION ARE APPRECIATED! Here's to a safe, happy and memorial weekend!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Did I REALLY Do All of That in Two Days?

I know I am not "normal'... I say it ALL of the time; I FEEL it all of the time and quite frankly I like it MOST of the time. However, once in a while I sit back and say to myself... are you even human? Well, this weekend raised that question as I looked back at what I actually did in a matter of only two days.

Saturday morning I headed over to St. Petersburg to do makeup on a model for a shoot. Unfortunately, I had afternoon plans with a couple of girlfriends so I couldn't stay for the shoot as I normally do... "do it and go" jobs are rare for me, but you gotta do whatcha' gotta do. She looked great; that's all that mattered I suppose. Here is a quick "phone shot" I took before I left>>>>>

At about 12:30 I headed home to prep for my afternoon with two of my dearest friends; stopping at the grocery store to pick up a few things on the way. Since Corey was going to the movies and the kids were out playing with friends, the plan for us was to have some quality "girl time" while drinking refreshing cocktails and devouring yummy food which was tag-team cooked by my friend and I" food network" style. It was VERY yummy and very fun. Oh... but the day was not over; about 7:45 I said goodbye to my friends and headed into the bathroom to get ready for my friend Wendy's 50th birthday surprise party and I was out the door like Flash Gordon by 8:15. I stayed a few hours, met some new people and said goodbye knowing that I had a looooong Sunday ahead.  (ps>>that's me in the stripes)

Now onto Sunday....

As some of you know, I have a makeup and hair studio (now all of you know) that I have been operating out of an executive office building for about a year and half after moving out of my "retail" space in the county I previously lived in. It has been a quaint, private, cozy little space that my clients and I have enjoyed. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago I found out that the building was in pre-forclosure and had to begin to make decisions. Do I stay and see what is going to happen or do I make a new plan? Prior to finding out about this, the landlord had been hounding me about moving into a larger suite downstairs and although I was initially against it, I finally gave in when he made me an offer I could not refuse... only to be told a month later that he found someone else to rent it for more than I was paying and signed a lease with them... (after after I spent two weeks painting it my self, moving my stuff down stairs and setting up "shop".) Ahhhh, okay you USED me to get it looking good, I get it! Was that illegal? yes, I even talked to a lawyer who said I had a solid case, but these days, I choose to go with the philosophy that everything happens for a reason. I moved BACK upstairs into my old suite and carried on.

After being back in my old suite for a month, I have been continuously  harassed by the landlord, and the "hot seat" is simply not my seat of choice. He refused to give me a new lease stating that I was just "month to month" now, which left me unprotected and a bit uneasy. Although the building had now been sold to a "new guy" and is supposedly out of trouble, the "new guy" is standing behind the "old guy", and day to day business has left a lot to be desired for me. I have been in this business WAY too long and dealt with too many shady landlords to continue being "snowed" by two men who think that just because I am an attractive woman that I am brainless. They can take their sexual innuendo's and unethical comments and put them where the sun doesn't shine!

Due to cash flow, I have paid my rent between the 15th and 20th of EVERY month for over a year and got the "okay" from the original landlord before executing the lease to do so. However, Friday, I show up to find a 3-day to pay rent or vacate notice taped to my door like I was some sort of loser who doesn't pay rent. It wasn't folded, it wasn't in an envelope... nope, it was taped WIDE open on my door for everyone to see. NICE job proving you are a manly-man. This left me with two choices. Pay the rent (which I was going to do on the 20th anyway) and continue the drama or leave and use the money to set up a new space. Hmmm..... million dollar question.

So....I called their bluff and my Sunday was spent moving out of my cozy little place and bringing everything home. We even pulled up the beautiful floor I put in when I took the space. I left it as it was the day I moved in and left a nice little note with the keys on the new landlord's office desk...
I wonder how THAT will make his Monday?

They figured their little "tactic" would scare little ole' me? Little did they know that I have been bullied before... and since they gave me no lease... they were not protected either; funny how things backfire. As I locked the door to the building I thought of the good year I had, the purpose this place served and the growth that happened while I was there. I had a peaceful feeling which told me that I was doing the right thing. It was time for a new chapter, new beginnings and positive changes once again. Change is growth and that is priceless. I refuse to have drama in my life anymore, I rid myself of it as soon as it begins to appear. I lived in it for so long that I thought it was necessary... yep no thanks, lesson learned on that topic.

Today, I will meet with the contractor who will hopefully be building my cozy new space inside my garage and I am feeling pretty great about it. Fingers crossed I will be up and running soon. No more landlords, just a cozy space for making my clients look and feel amazing because THAT is all I need; and since I only work in my studio about 15 hours a week, this will be perfect! (not to mention the fact the extra $$ in my pocket) I truly proved to myself this weekend that when negative things happen YOU have control on how you allow them to affect you and it has everything to do with how stressful your life will be... hopefully you can take that lesson away from me today and allow it to carry into your week as negative stuff occurs.

The best part of the weekend was having the time EVEN after all the things I did to float in my pool and soak up some vitamin D with my family. It's amazing what you can get done, what you can fit in to a couple of days if you just MAKE the time. I hope you all had a terrific weekend and that you kick off this Monday with a positive attitude and a little ray of hope... and never ever forget that change is GOOD!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Feeling Like You Are Not Good Enough?

We all have those moments... when we feel like we just aren't good enough. Maybe it's a failing marriage or relationship, perhaps a job loss, demotion, loss of a home or the simple fact that we are not where we wanted to be at this point in our lives. We constantly compare ourselves to people who are doing more, have more and live what "appears" to be a better life than us.

 I am here to tell you that this feeling is normal and expected from time to time; but I am also here to tell you that when you have those moments you need to THINK AGAIN! Society has ruined our culture... the pressures of always needing to win; success being defined by expensive cars, huge homes filled with lavish, overpriced furniture and accessorized with things we never use. We are defined by $200 jeans, $500 shoes $2,000 hand bags and if we can't afford these things, we are "not good enough".

Being a mother, I do everything I can to teach my children that these things do NOT define who they are or how good they are and only compliment them if they have a good character to begin with. It makes me sick that my eleven year old gets picked on because she isn't on "Instagram" or that she doesn't have an "Iphone". She is 11! She has no business being on "Instagram", Facebook or Twitter, nor does she need a cell phone that costs that much attached to her hip. The ONLY time she gets to use her modest phone is when she is kicking it around the neighborhood and I need to know where she is and when she wants to yack on the phone with her friends; rules apply with this "phone" and if she doesn't follow them privileges go BUH -by! If she wants an Iphone, she can work to save money and buy one herself... how about THAT for a "reality lesson."

If you constantly compare yourself to other people, ESPECIALLY people who make more money than you, you will ALWAYS feel inferior if "things" are what define you. However, if you compare your character to other people's, perhaps your tune will change to a more positive jingle. When you don't make six figures, you don't make six figures. You can do one of three things... be depressed about it, do what it takes to make six figures, or just be thankful for what you have and realize that being a good person says way more in the long run than a six figure income. I used to feel inferior because there was a time in my life when I was just trying to make sure my electric and water stayed on, and quite frankly I felt worthless , like I had nothing to offer anyone. During that time, I accepted things I should never have accepted from men that I dated because I "felt" that's all I was worth. However if I had the mindset I have now back then I would have walked with my head high knowing that I worked my butt off as a single mother to give my  kids a nice home, clothes they could be proud of and that I was teaching them values, a good work ethic, and what it meant to never give up on your dreams. I was a good person who cared for others and THAT was worth way more than the credit I gave it. I would have made different choices and expected the best instead of settling for less. Although I can look back and wish I had known better, if I had not evolved from that time to who I am today, I would not have this wisdom; so I am okay to have lived it.

I encourage you to pull yourself out of that hole, don't allow your defeats to define your success. You ARE successful at something no matter WHAT your circumstances are; be proud of that. If you are not living the life you hoped to live, I can assure you that staying wrapped up in feelings of failure will absolutely prevent you from EVER getting that life. If you change your "stinkin' thinkin" then you clear your mind and allow it to drive in a positive gear... when that road opens up, miraculous things can happen and pretty soon you may just be living the life you always wanted.

Reflect on these thoughts over the weekend; Do you beat yourself up? Do you feel worthless? Do you feel like a failure? Are those feelings actually VALID or are you simply comparing yourself to others and not giving yourself credit for your successes? Be yourself, be PROUD of you, and if you are NOT a good person, then WORK ON THAT and forget the Mercedes... 
A bad person behind the wheel of a Mercedes is still a bad person, but a good person behind the wheel of a rusty old beater means more than most give it credit for!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's About BLOG Time!

WOW! I have lots of catching up to do! It has been 12 days since my last blog! What does that mean? Well... for some it may mean laziness or procrastination, but in my world it simply means that I have been SUPER BUSY and focused on something really important. (Unfortunately, it was more important than this.)
I usually blog even when I am busy, however with deadlines to meet I simply HAD to stay on task. (It's hard to control my mind when it's on fire.) I have been writing, writing writing! My goal is to have the book that I am ghost- writing for a client wrapped up by the end of June (fingers crossed) so that in August, I can start my next book with a hopeful release of early 2014. I am also planning a book party in Tampa for my current published title I Need the Happy Ending sometime towards the end of June if I can SQUEEEZE it in! Lots of busy work, preparation and planning; but that's the way I like it and would be bored if it were any other way. Intertwined in between all of that were three important commercial photo shoots that I had to execute looks for, one was for the awesome five member band, Wild Ginger, one was with the Tampa Bay Bucs players, and the last was a conceptual shoot on domestic violence; all of which are behind me now.

Over the last month and a half, (in my sparse-spare time) I have been reading a book called The Good Among the Great by Donald Van de Mark. It is an EXCELLENT book on the 19 traits of the most admirable, creative, and joyous people. I must admit, my initial attraction to the book was to see how many of the 19 traits I did NOT possess. I am constantly reading and learning on how to become the BEST "me" possible. Although some people find it strange that I do this, it is both fulfilling and rewarding to see how far I can push myself, to get out of my comfort zone in order to become a better person and to have that feeling that I am always evolving. But you know what the BEST part is? It is one of the FEW things that I actually do for MYSELF! (4 kids, a boyfriend, and three parallel careers don't leave much "me" time.)

I am just starting chapter (trait) # 11 and was humbled to find that so far, I possess 9 of the 10 traits covered, and have begun to work on the one out of ten I have not perfected yet. However, I can vividly remember the time in my life when these "traits" did not exist as part of who I was; I have certainly changed for the better. I can pinpoint the events, the moments, and in some cases, the books that led me to the knowledge/lessons I needed to make those changes. Reflecting on these times as I read this book has been pretty awesome.

I would like to share some of my favorite takeaways from the closing of chapter 10, which I just finished reading last night. I find them to be very useful and quite honestly, it was a nice reminder that like I say all of the time... if you love what you do, nothing else really matters... and that if you do something strictly for the "money", you will NEVER be fulfilled.

Here ya go.... I hope you think about these statements and reflect on your own life; think about whether or not you do these things or better yet, what holds you back from doing them.

Takeaways that I wanted to share:

"If you want to be accomplished, and even more, if you want to be joyous regardless of your level of achievement, find what excites you every day. It doesn't have to be the same thing that excited you ten years ago; in fact, it's very likely that your preferred routine will evolve throughout your life; as it should, to reflect your inner self; whoever that self is at any given moment."

"Unfortunately, we're often taught from a young age that the only thing that matters is achieving the goal. It's part of living in competitive market economies. Western and American cultures in particular emphasize the same message: results matter, winning is the most important thing, or even worse, the only thing. From grammar school to graduate school, what matters most are credentials, not the day-to-day joy of living, serving others, or creating." 

 "You must enjoy the process as much as the result to be fulfilled"

"Pay attention to your daydreams, particularly when you drive, shower and walk. These are times of sensory stimulation and thus open paths to non-analytical wisdom."

"Seek and learn to enjoy time alone"

"Don't believe everything you think!"

I must say that this chapter spoke so much to me. I beat myself up for years comparing myself to others. I am in a very competitive field, and being a single mom all of my life, I did not always have the financial ability to go to classes to gain further education. I did NOT go to college, only cosmetology school, and  have taken a "paid" hair workshop only once in my 22 year career. I NEVER had any "formal" makeup training of ANY kind until a month ago, because when I was learning, there wasn't anything available other than books unless you wanted  to work a makeup counter. (No thanks) Guess what? NONE of that stopped me. I read books, practiced on myself and other people and attended  a few free classes to get where I wanted to be. I not only enjoyed the process, I APPRECIATED the process because I built my career on my passions, my LOVE for what I do; in the end... THAT is all I needed. I am proof in the pudding right here. (let's make it chocolate!)

As an adult, I truly enjoy time alone;  that time becomes more precious with each thing that makes it harder to get. I will lock myself in a closet if I have to now in order to get this time to think, to erase the "busy" so I can tap into what I know is best for me. I have also learned over the last several years that "always trying to make the next buck" held me back for SO LONG! I was focused on the money because I HAD to be, I had bills to pay, kids to raise alone (I still do) however, there is much more joy in just DOING what I love. Ironically, focusing on that has presented more jobs, more opportunities and more money in the long run. I am rich... but not monetarily (if I was, I would not be driving around in a car with no A/C for the third year in a row ;in Florida might I add because I refuse to go into debt to get it fixed.)  I am fulfilled, I am happy, I AM RICH with the fruits of life, of loving what I do, how I make people feel, and sharing what I know to help others achieve and overcome. I can hold my head up high knowing  that I am often smarter than I knew, wiser than I should be for my age, but most important of all, resilient enough to keep living the best life I can.

I know that someday I will  have A/C in my car without having to go into debt to get it; 
until then, I will just burn more calories than those with it!! 

I want you to stop comparing yourself to others, be who YOU are and make the best out of that. Enjoy today, take time for you, and wake up tomorrow with an attitude that will help you grow and change in a positive way instead of one that holds you back, gets in the way and makes you feel like you are not as good as everyone else. Appreciate and find love in being unique, special, quirky, just being YOU!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

What It Means to Just "Chill"

It's been 12 days since my last blog! I was out of town on business unable to get online to connect with my audience and although my initial reaction was to panic, I decided to embrace the rare occasion of forced unplugging. I had an amazing time   even though travel kicked me right in the buttocks; I returned home with sniffles and what felt like a bowling ball rolling around in my head. Last night, as I sat staring at my computer screen trying to bang out a blog, I could not focus; my mind was on a roller coaster ride of all the things I learned, shared, needed to do and what is to come in the very near future. Just like everything in life... that down time was meant to be... in my case the calm before an incredibly exciting storm. I have spent my evenings this week just enjoying my children, my handsome significant other, all of whom I missed while I was gone and it has been awesome... and weird because it is SO unlike me to just CHILL!

I have worked since I was 13... full-time in my career since the age of 17; and have truly NEVER stopped. Never took more than three weeks for maternity leave; (with my last two it was less than that) and went 8 years without a vacation of ANY kind. I feel like I have spent the last hundred years of my 39 year old life  making, shaking, cooking and cleaning not only the bacon, but all it's greasy friends. The one thing I did NOT quite know how to do was relax. I did this a lot last week, as I sat in my hotel room with an unplugged TV no phone or internet... listening to myself breathe. I suddenly realized just how important to our well-being this exercise truly is. I consider myself a health and wellness nerd, yet I have failed for years to do what is probably the MOST important of all and that is GET SOME REST. I am happy to announce that I went to bed three nights in a row before 10:00pm! (that's history folks... never happens!)

I apologize... this is a short blog, because my head still feels like it's going to explode any minute, but I wanted to share this thought with you before the weekend hits.

If you are a rat on a wheel like me, someone who finds it hard not to feel guilty when you sit and do nothing... please realize like I did, that this time is necessary to clear your head, to focus on what's important and to push forward in everything you want to accomplish. Learn from your quiet time, embrace relaxation and don't EVER feel guilty for taking time for YOU! (If you have never had a problem doing this just humor me and pretend you learned something! HAHA!)


A photo I took in Provincetown Massachusetts last week... 
what a  BEAUTIFUL and peaceful place!