Friday, August 30, 2013

Walk the Walk... Don't Just Talk the Talk

I want to start off by saying that I love all of my readers, you guys are truly awesome. I love your emails, your loving support and well... it gives me a reason to keep typing these words. I truly am thankful for ALL of you. Now... I meant EVERY word of what I just said, and I hope that you know that. However, I am hoping that one of the reasons that you love me is because I am real... no "faux" going on here and with that comes brutal honesty, my favorite thing to receive, because I learn from it and quite honestly, my favorite thing to give because YOU learn from it. Brutal honesty is NOT negative, it's simply the "real" and not so fluffy stuff that can either put you on your butt or get you off of it; a reality check in a loving way... at least it is when it comes from me.

So... here it is, tonight's topic, and although it is geared more towards the self employed freelancers out there, anyone in business for themselves can take the advice; and perhaps even those who are employed can find a hint of something in here to take to the "thought bank". Because of my vulnerability and openness regarding the adversity and life struggles that I have faced and overcome, I am sought out for advice from all angles all of the time. Most of the time, I freely give that advice to those who ask. (freely AND for free.) That is how I roll... I love to teach; an educator at at heart, as well as several times in real life over the past 22 years in my career. I LOVE TO TEACH and have people GET it, seeing that light bulb go off is exhilarating. However, once in a while, I am asked advice by someone whose lack of knowledge makes me scratch my head.

Now, before you jump to conclusions thinking I am knocking some one's intelligence... hear me out. I do NOT mean this disrespectfully at ALL. I am however baffled at how many people are out there like that little cartoon dude saying "which way do I go...duh? Which way... tell me, tell me." They have SO little knowledge about what they are doing that I am shocked that they even feel comfortable and confident enough to get up and say that they are in business every day, let alone to be taken seriously. Am I THAT much of a nerd? Makes me wonder.

 Freelancers galore.... everyone is an expert these days... buy some "high-end" makeup at Walgreens, some fancy brushes from MAC, (which you can name by number) watch a few makeup tutorials on You Tube taught by a 15-year old with killer eye shadow skills and VOILA! You are a makeup artist charging $75 an hour for your "expertise." Drop some coin on a Nikon or Canon DSLR, an umbrella light and a fake brick backdrop and BAM! You are a photographer. You have no website, no portfolio, no identity on Social Media and no plan, but you want to make the money I make doing what I do, or what he does, or what she does after we have spent many, many years of sweat equity, thousands of dollars in tools, gear, business essentials, seminars, training and hours of actual WORK, some paid, and some which we did for free just to prove what we can do because of all the "Fakefessionals" out there. We have a website, taken the time to build a reputation, developed a business savvy nature and have become successful at what we do because of all this which is why WE get asked for advice. It's like it is assumed that we have some sort of "easy button" that you can borrow to become an overnight Rock Star.

I hate to break your hearts...mainly because of how much you mean to me... BUT it does not work that way. Quit being lazy, become PASSIONATE about what you do and INVEST in your career, and I mean way more than fancy tools and equipment. PLEASE EDUCATE yourself; GOOGLE is FREE for goodness sake. If you don't have the money to attend seminars spend a few hours a day, a week, online learning from the pro's. There are plenty of free or extremely inexpensive online courses to take and you will find the time to take advantage of them if you stop watching reality TV and worry about your OWN reality. Don't tell me you cannot afford a seminar when you drink Starbucks every darn day. Excuses... excuses; they get you nowhere or even worse. Stop watching Joe Blow Camera and 15 year old girls with fierce eye shadow skills, learn from your peers... the people who count, the ones that can HELP you build a REAL career and take it to the next level. There are some amazing beginners out there, and I am in no way discrediting them because I have learned from students... but my point is there are way too many people not willing to put in the time, money and effort to become a true professional.

As I prepare to head out to Las Vegas on Monday for Photoshop World 2013, I am excited to be surrounded by these pros yet another year. It's energizing and I am not even a photographer; I am just their makeup chic. They make ME want to pick up a camera though... I can't lie! Good thing for them all of those buttons intimidate the heck out of me because with my makeup, hair and wardrobe skills I could probably give them some serious competition. ;)

Once I come back, I will be prepping for an amazing makeup and business training event with The Powder Group; "THE ARTIST SUMMIT" held in my home state of Massachusetts at the tip of the cape in beautiful Provincetown. I am investing in my career once again... and know that it will be well worth it.

So here is my advice to all of you reading. PLEASE... if you are going to be in business BE IN BUSINESS. Before you worry about getting clients and work, LOOK THE PART, HAVE THE ESSENTIALS AND GET THE TRAINING. Stop trying to make what I make when you have not done what I have done to get where I am. Plain and simple, with hard work, money invested, dedication, and true conviction... YOU WILL GET THERE... but if you don't have a business card, a portfolio, and at minimum a basic website, go back to the drawing board because THAT is your beginning. I don't care if you do makeup, hair, photography, write books, food service, jewelry making, carpentry or any other freelance career or small business... you need these things. I have had a website since before websites were necessary because I learned "first things first", and whatever I did not have I figured out how to get it and IN THE RIGHT ORDER. When you climb the Empire State Building, you don't start at the top.

Last but CERTAINLY not least realize that if you want to make a living in your craft one day, you are ruining it for everyone including yourself by being out there "pretending" to be what you are not yet. You may charge less for lower quality work, but by doing so, you devalue the industry you are so desperately trying to be a part of. Then when the ones who are pro's show up with rates that are equivalent to their knowledge and true expertise, we get looked at like we have three heads and have to explain why we charge what we charge. Let's ALL join hands and put the value back into our industries because trade work and bartering will NOT put food on anyone's table, and I don't believe the power company will accept a makeover on trade. I am thankful to have clients that value my expertise but I want EVERY client out there to value YOU the industries that I love so much.

If this blog doesn't help you... just wait. I have a book for you, (I just have to finish writing it; hint-hint) Now go have yourself an AMAZING weekend! I love you all and want nothing more than for  EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to LOVE and LIVE what you do and live your life to it's absolute fullest potential!


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Monday, August 26, 2013

Push Yourself... Be Limitless... Take Chances and SOAR!

A life without limits... could be considered nice in some ways, dangerous in others, however many times we hold ourselves back from being anywhere close to being limitless in our lives. Life HAS limits, sure... but not as many, nor the kind that most people think. When you are your own worst enemy, life is tough... I mean EVERYTHING is tough because YOU make it that way. You focus on what you CAN'T do, what you CAN'T afford, what you CAN'T other words your LIMITS. Focusing on limits (unless we are talking speed limits) is NOT how to succeed in ANYTHING.

Let's pretend for a moment, that you had no limits... you had no challenges, you had nothing to hold you back. Do you think that you would be motivated? I doubt it. If you truly think about limits... they are made to dodge, to escape from and to CRUSH through with all of your might. Who wants limits? Nobody, but we need them to excite us, to fuel us and to motivate us into action.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I had a lot of  limitations... single mom of 4, no college degree (which "they" say you need), no money in the bank that did not have someone else's name on it, no family around to help me and not enough time in the day to do everything I wanted or needed to do. I could have chosen to focus on all of that... it would have been EASY, but instead I focused on my dreams, my goals, the things I said that I would do, and said "to hell with the limits; I am going to go after what I want and FOUND a way to make things happen." THAT is the attitude it takes to make it, THAT is what will get you where you hope and aspire to be. I have put this into action over the past 3 years, I have been relentless in my attempts and let me be the first to share that between that attitude and finding my place in faith again, my life has done a 180. It almost seems too easy now. I ask, I receive, I put ideas out there and connect with people who matter and VOILA! Things happen that bring me closer and closer to everything I have EVER wanted. That does not mean I don't experience obstacles... if you follow me you know better but I just don't let that stop me. I preach this all of the time, and as long as you follow my blog, I will likely continue... that's my passion. To keep YOU from quitting yourself!

Over the past year my freelance business has multiplied by I don't even KNOW how many percent, but it's a lot. (I stink at math... thank God for calculators and Microsoft Excel, I will get back to you on stats after consulting my accountant, HA!) It's not because I sat around waiting for stuff to fall in my lap and it's certainly not because I sat around moping about how many things were keeping me from achieving my goals. I have been so blessed this year with new connections, new referrals, and it was because I networked and delivered top notch service every time. If I messed up, I fixed it, if there was a problem, I addressed it, if there was something a client needed, I made it happen, I took chances, put money on the line, and stayed awake more hours than I slept; I put out 150% and in return it has been a great and rewarding year. In this competitive business you HAVE to stand out, you cannot blend in, unless you want to have a second job supporting your desired career. If you stay "safe" you will never fulfill your hearts desires. Get out of that box and SOAR!

Today has been an AMAZING Monday. I heard from several of my photographer clients today, some called to book me for work, one called me to tell me that two more of the images we created together are now award winning and that another received international merit... then one called as he was editing an image that we created together just to say and I quote "I just wanted to call as I am editing a shot we did together and say that YOU ROCK". I was also contacted for another ghost writing project over the weekend... obviously I cannot say who, but I will share that if I am officially hired, I will have the incredible honor of helping a celebrity bring their story to life. Yep... I said celebrity. All because I opened my big mouth and took a chance, I talked about what I do, and an opportunity presented...can't get any better than that. I am filled up to the rim with excitement and blessings today, and I really needed it. Last week kicked my buttocks, and it's just what I asked for.

Life is good, when you ALLOW it to be good, but if all you allow into your mind are the limits and the bad stuff that will hold you back... well, you bring about what you think about. As I cram a gagillion things from my "to do" list in this week before my business trip to Vegas next week, I will say that a life without limits IS possible because you set the bar, so set it high and go after whatever it is you want. Wouldn't it be better to die trying than to never have tried at all?

Don't focus on your limits... focus on being limitless, fearless, and take a chance on YOU! 

My newest award winning  conceptual work
Created with 2012 Florida Professional Photographer of the Year
Randy Van Duinen
(you will be able to view full sized images on my website later this week)

1st Place in Digital Illustration
Florida Professional Photographer
Model: Julie Anna Cole
Makeup Hair and Body Art by Shelley Giard

Distinguished Award Digital Illustration
Florida Professional Photography Association
model: Julie Anna Cole
Makeup Hair and Wardrobe by Shelley Giard

International Merit Award
Professional Photography Association
model: Ursula Mae
Makeup, Hair by Shelley Giard
Wardrobe by Shelley Giard and Michelle Owens Cobble of Wicked Threads


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Follies and Freak outs....the First Day of School...

Well... if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that my life will always keep me on my toes, and because of that I stay mentally prepared for anything. What I am quickly realizing is that I should mentally prepare my kids for anything too. The kids had their first day of school yesterday, it was middle school for my daughter Baleigh and her anxiety levels were off the charts. Tears rolled as I tucked her into bed Monday night and I did my best to let her know EVERYTHING would be fine because that is my job. She is attending a school of the arts magnet school this year; a publicly-funded themed specialty school out of our district that students must apply for and be accepted into in order to attend. Being the creative-artsy-dramatic kid she is, it is the PERFECT school for her and Baleigh could not be more excited to have this opportunity. With it however, comes a LONG day and at least 4 hours of that day is on a bus. Just to put things into perspective of why, she catches a bus in our neighborhood which then takes her to a "transfer station" where she gets on another bus that ultimately takes her to school.

Here is the story of her first day.

Yesterday morning I woke Baleigh at 5:00 am so we can be out the door by 5:40 to catch the first bus. She is SO scared that she is going to miss the bus, get on the wrong bus, not know which bus to transfer to, and I... being the optimistic mom that I am assure her it will all be okay. We hit the doorway at 5:40 and drive to the bus stop at the front of our development. We sit.. and wait and we are the only ones there for quite a while. Then finally other kids arrive., and we wait.......... Finally the bus arrives about 20 minutes behind schedule (normal for the first day) and I wait to see if all the kids get on the bus... they do so I tell her to go ahead, wish her a good day and tell her once again that she will be fine. She leaves, I go home and start corralling the other two out of bed. My cell phone rings about 20 minutes later, it's Baleigh and she sounds frantic, I internally freak for a moment thinking something terrible has happened; she is breathing heavy and her words are all jumbled. She finally calms down long enough to say "Mom, I am on the wrong bus. This bus is going to HIGH SCHOOL." my nerves calmed knowing that she was safe and I tell her it will be okay. She is flipping out on the other end full of fear and worry... I asked her to stay on the phone with me until the bus stopped and to let me know when it stopped. She says... "Okay we are stopped" I say... "go tell the bus driver you are on the wrong bus and that I need to talk to them." He gets on the phone and I explain what happened and he says that she can stay on his route with him and that he will be sure she gets to school but that it will be late. I get back on the phone with her and tell her how lucky she is to have the extra time to wake up and assure her all is well now. I hang up and continue to get the other two ready to catch their bus.

Over the next several hours Baleigh is flooding me with text messages that literally have me doubled over in laughter. She is describing her bus experience play by play... staying connected to me via text was probably her way of calming fragile little nerves. She begins describing kids on the bus, saying she feels like a shrimp because they are all high school kids, telling me how she is hearing the "f" word and was shocked at two girls kissing. I had a "moment" and thought to myself that my sweet daughter is growing up and she is going to begin experiencing "the real world" and I have to make sure she is mentally ready.

She finally got to school at 10:00, 4 hours after she got on the bus and because of first day delays... she arrived home 2½ hours late at 7:00 pm. We greeted her with hot and ready pizza rolls and cookies and cream ice cream (VERY rare things in my house.) She spent 8 hours on a hot school bus yesterday no bathroom and ran out of snacks and water, but despite all of the craziness, she was smiling about her day and said it went really good. She quickly shared she was going to eat, shower and go to straight to bed. She was mentally and physically drained... WHAT a first day!

Even though she was not supposed to have the "home" cell phone with her due to my rules, I am VERY happy that she disobeyed and had it with her. She has now pleaded her case that she needs to take it every day for emergencies. I have agreed as long as she stops taking pictures of the "weird" kids on the school bus. (yes... she had a gallery of photos to show me.) I will anxiously await her first butt kicking. I am happy to announce she got on the right bus today but had her phone JUST IN CASE.

The lesson I want you to take from this blog is this....

No matter how much we think we should tell our kids that nothing will go wrong, that everything will be okay... there is no guarantee on that and it's actually a lie. Instead, we should prepare them mentally for when things DON'T go right so they don't fall apart and let them know that staying calm is the best thing to do in emergency situations. Below is her first thread of texts to me. I explained that love is not always between a boy and a girl and that "gay girls" are good people too. However, I chuckled as I realized that she is headed for the reality ride of her life!


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Monday, August 19, 2013

Raising Independent, Confident, Fearless Kids

As expected, this week has kicked off with Facebook and other social media sites being flooded with all of the "first day of school" pictures. I find it fun, comical and even interesting to see the pictures and read the comments from each parent this time of year. Some parents are doing the happy dance, some are crying tears of joy, some are frazzled, others are in disbelief and then you have those that are genuinely sad... feeling lost when their kids go to school because it makes their stay-at-home life seem too empty. Despite the whirlwind of emotions going on, one thing that links us ALL together is the feeling of how quickly time flies when you are a parent. Time that once seemed to stand still suddenly travels at light speed and before we know it we are sending our kids across the stage with a cap and gown. (I know, I have been there.) Being a mother of 4 children; Cierra 21, Baleigh 11, Zane almost 5 and Abrielle almost 4, I still have 3 more opportunities to experience the swiftness of human life during these 13 years of school life. Sometimes it seems as though they were just born, and other times it feels as though it has been forever since I smelled that "baby smell" on their skin... that natural scent which they possess at birth that you become addicted to and never want to go away; although it slowly does, and one day it is replaced with body odor (middle school just wait!) Sorry... I was getting too sappy and did not want to make you cry... quick wit to the rescue.

Seriously though, time does fly and they do grow up REALLY fast and we are responsible for the type of adult they become (to an extent) What I have tried to do with all of mine is force upon them independence, confidence and I teach them to be fearless. I feel that with those three traits you can accomplish ANYTHING in life. So many parents today enable poor behavior, create spoiled brats, make their kids paranoid and do not teach them what they need to know to survive... some of the parents don't even know how to survive themselves, but instead of learning they unintentionally breed dependent individuals that have a hard time making it on their own in the real world. That REALLY bugs me, so behold... my wheels turn. 

I remember the first time I heard the term "helicopter parent", I chuckled because I have met them... some of them are my friends and although I love them wholeheartedly, I do not agree with what they do. I keep my thoughts to myself unless they ask my opinion on how to raise kids, then I simply share my philosophy. I guess when I sit back and think about it, being a single career mom did my kids some good after all. I have not always had time to play with them every second, leaving them to occupy themselves. I did not always have the money to get them everything they wanted or take them to all the places they wanted to go, so they don't expect it and when I am able to do something extra it's a real treat! I do however work hard in order to provide them their needs. They have always lived in a nice, clean home in a good neighborhood,  they wear nice clothes that I bought on sale racks because paying retail was not within the budget and it's stupid to do that anyway, and I almost always read them a bedtime story or sing them a bedtime song unless I am out of town or sick. (at least until they are 8 or so when they say it's weird) My kids have watched me do all of these things over and over again. So... What are the learned behaviors in all of that? Work hard, make needs your priority, having a nice clean home is important, always live within your means, and be sure to make time for bedtime stories and lullaby's. Simple, concise and valuable.

As I was talking to my son today who will be starting kindergarten tomorrow, I told him that I would take him to school on his first day and walk him to class. He says... "Mom, I would like to ride the bus on my first day of school." I said to him... "Are you sure? You do not even know where your classroom is because we had to miss your open house."  and he replied... "It's okay Mom, I will just ask someone where to go."  I was left with a feeling of pride... and thought, YEP, he is definitely my kid. HA-HA Although I could force him to get in my car so I can hold his hand all the way to class, I have to say that I am proud of him and quite confident that he will be fine. Therefore, I am going to grant his independent wish and strap a lanyard to his neck so they can direct him to class tomorrow... his very first day of kindergarten. I am also proud that he found it important to be on the "special bus" with his little sister, because as he so sweetly stated... "I really love her and want to ride with her on her bus."  Now, if I could only help relieve my 11 year old's Middle School anxiety a bit more I would be content!

As you see your kids off to school this year, ask yourself what behaviors they are learning from you. Are you teaching them what they need to know in order to survive in the real world without you? As much as we don't want to admit it... we won't always be there for them so there is no better time to start than NOW. If you are not sure how to survive yourself? Well... there are books, blogs (ahem) and resources that can hold your hand all the way to class.

Now go create awesome kids that will turn into responsible adults. Set the right examples and teach them what's REALLY important in life. Enough is enough with all this modern hooplah! Get out the "Leave It to Beaver" archives and introduce some of that back into our world! 

Have an awesome week!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Staying Calm

When I wrote the title to this blog I chuckled... out loud actually, because if I had been told that I would EVER be writing a blog about how to stay calm in any matter I would have said... "Yeah, wrong girl."  I admit... I am high strung or perhaps assertive, or positively aggressive... oh crud... I am really all three of those things most of the time but mostly in a positive fashion. I am passionate and honest, and don't consider any of those things a fault. Back to my point; CALM is NOT a word I would ever use to describe myself unless I am talking about the feeling I have when I am tucked away without interruption in the mountains or floating on a lazy river somewhere or the feeling I want to possess more often. In fact, my friend Shellie would totally back me up here after seeing my "power self" on the first morning of my recent 7-day visit with her. As she put it... "I typically wake up to a very quiet house with nobody home, then today, I woke up and heard you on a business call and was so alarmed... it threw me for a loop and got me all anxious and excited."  When she told me that I laughed so hard I nearly spit out my coffee. I am so used to "me" and the way that I am, that I don't even realize my presence sometimes. I have had people say that after hearing me speak they are ready to run a marathon... which I always took as a compliment; that WAS a compliment right?

WHAT HAPPENED TODAY? Well, I surprised myself, I was CALM and cool and even collected when I should have been frazzled, anxiety stricken and freaking out. My youngest daughter Abrielle who has Down syndrome although blessed to not have most of the typical health issues of a child with DS, does tend to get respiratory issues when allergens are in the air, or when she catches a common cold. Their anatomy is different and her neck is shorter, so it's just one of those things. With  that being said, I take her to the doctor (a place I avoid unless we can't cure things with  home remedies) at the FIRST sign of a cough because it could quickly take a turn for the worst and put us in the E.R.(Been there, done that, got the hospital gown.)

Before I left on my recent business trip, "Brie" had caught a little cold, so I took her to the doctor as a safety measure before I left where they gave her a heavy duty breathing treatment, an antibiotic for a minor ear infection and instructions to have someone bring her in for a follow up. (Which my mom followed.) While I was gone, she broke out in hives due to an allergic reaction to the antibiotic and had to be switched off of it but her cold/cough got better. The day after I returned home however, her cough started up again and we had an appointment to see her doctor tomorrow. Well... today just as we were heading to my moms after hearing news that her brother had fallen 16ft in an old building when a rotting floor gave way, Abrielle started into a coughing fit which rapidly induced projectile vomiting AS I AM DRIVING down the highway! I won't go into further detail for obvious reasons, but if you know what a car seat is like, it is TILTED in the PERFECT position to allow her to aspirate as this is happening. LOVELY! Instead of freaking out, I STAYED CALM and kindly asked my rebellious 11 year old Baleigh to get in the back seat and hold Brie's head forward to which she says "EWWWW I don't want her throwing up on me."   "PAUSE.... BREATHE, STAY CALM" I said to myself before I blew a gasket and yelled at her to GET IN THE BACK SEAT! I CALMLY explained how Brie could choke and her lungs could fill up in the position she was in causing BIG problems and told her that I needed her help. She got all worked up and upset that I freaked her out by saying Brie could die, to which again... (breathe in) I stayed calm and said, "Well honey... lesson learned , just do as I ask with no questions next time and I won't have to paint the awful details for you; when I ask something of you there is always a reason." (breathe out.)

She reluctantly climbed into the back seat and held Brie's head forward every time she coughed, and I assured her a shower would fix everything that was happening to her. We got to the doctor covered in yuck and managed to strip Brie down and get her all cleaned up before her next "delivery". Talk about taking it all in stride, my precious little monkey smiled after every heaving episode including the two on the way home. I must say that I was as calm as I have ever been in a situation like that... and YES, I have been there before. What I found was that I was able to think clearer and handle things better this way and it helped me realize that I am STILL changing, STILL growing and STILL evolving and I think that is pretty cool. All those weird books I read really do work.

To sum it all up... the uncle whom I mentioned earlier that fell 16 ft. through a rotten floor is doing okay tonight. Although it was a bad fall, they have his condition stabilized. Prayers are most certainly welcomed for his safe and rapid recovery. Abrielle aka "Brie" is doing MUCH better after a breathing treatment, a pump from her inhaler and a nice warm bath, Baleigh is all showered and I am... well... I am writing this blog about staying calm. It's amazing what we can get through in life if we just learn how to handle it. I promise you, I have dealt with much worse and handled things WAY worse, but continuing to grow and learn about what makes ME tick is how I improve. I will likely always be a bit high strung, assertive, aggressive, business-like, honest and passionate... ( AND no, I don't like fuzzy slippers or the color pink.) I will always make you want to run a marathon or start a business, but since I like to inspire and motivate people it works... besides, I love all of those things about me. Funny thing is I also am gentle enough to kiss boo boo's read bedtime stories in a silly voice, giggle as often as I can and never take anything too seriously anymore. These days if you get in my way I will simply smile instead of wanting to trip you ... now THAT is PERSONAL GROWTH!

Have a great night! Thanks for reading! Thanks for sharing! I will see you Friday! 


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Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Week.... Another Blog

Hi there Everyone!

Gosh... I thought I would NEVER get over that 13 days of traveling! I seriously don't know how people do that kind of thing all of the time; I suppose it is what you get used to, but I must admit that I much prefer the 5 day trips. So.... I left off half asleep in the Sacramento airport with a long flight delay and I must share with you that I never found that bench to fall asleep on before my flight took off.  However, I did find a lonely book that someone had left by the phone charging station, and since it had not been claimed during the duration of me sitting there and blogging, I decided to rescue it and take it on my journey.

( If you did not read part 1 click here)

Funny story... so I board the plane barely able to keep my eyes open as I quickly glance at my seat assignment and see 26C... "Cool" I thought,  "Isle seat." As I mosey down the airplane isle I find my seat, sit down, put my bag under the seat in front of me and buckle up like a good little passenger. Moments later, this VERY rude lady makes her way beside me and says in a most unpleasant voice, "Excuse me, YOU are in MY seat" to which I kindly say, "I am sorry, my ticket says 26C." to which she replies... "And YOU are in 25C... MY seat." I quickly unbuckle, collect my bag and stand as I apologize for my error explaining that I had been up since 5am and that my tired eyes were to blame. She says, "Yeah... well I have you beat, I have been up since 4 am now hurry up."

It was in THIS moment, yep... THIS VERY MOMENT that I truly realized how much I have REALLY changed, yep... my exhausted self stayed quiet and just moved out of her beloved way. What I really wanted to say was "Oh, yes, how silly of me to not realize that THIS was a competition between you and I would you like to go another round in the isle?"  The wiser me however, realized that we would have held up the flight and I just wanted to get home, so I proceeded to nestle into my ACTUAL assigned seat and was pleasantly surprised to find that nobody else was assigned to my row... HA! I got to lay down and sleep the ENTIRE flight to Houston. Karma... pays off, SCORE! I smiled really big at her and said thank you for correcting me as I passed her on my way off the plane; apparently she had to stay on for the next leg of her trip. (I almost stuck my tongue out... NO JOKE!)

Continuing with my story...  we landed in  Houston at 7:00 am and my connecting flight to Tampa was scheduled to leave at 7:05... yep no chance of getting on THAT flight so they put me on the 10:35 flight. Yay... NOT. But hey, what are you going to do? I decided to read that abandoned book which someone had left  for me at the Sacramento airport ... a pretty good one I must say. I will share why this book has significance when I finish reading it... I have only half-way figured it out at this point, but you know my philosophy by now.... NOTHING IS ON ACCIDENT! Up in the air I was the pickle in the middle and hoped I did not lay my head on any one's shoulder or even worse, drool on them because this girl was OUT! Before I knew it our eagle had landed... almost an hour late. The pilot thanked us and said he knew we had a choice of what carrier to use and at that groggy moment I was coherent enough to mumble... yeah, I apparently made the WRONG one, and the lady next to me chuckled. I got off the plane found my way to baggage claim and was happily greeted by my clan. FINALLY got home!

Long travels but a great trip in all, I was thankful and blessed to be a part of everything. It makes for better writing and funny blogs so hey.... I will do what I have to do to deliver the juicy stuff! It definitely took me the past few days to recover but I was back up at 5:30 am for another photo shoot this morning. Just call me the MACHINE! Now only two more weeks before my next 5-day trip. God help me! Not to mention that school starts next week for my kiddos! YAHOO!!!!

Here are some pictures I took on my little nature walk in North Lake Tahoe! 

Yeah.... I will take this as my home one day!

Mountains make me happy
I am obsessed with rocks and textures

They don't have trees like this in Florida!

So much beauty in everyday things

I think I could get used to this view

Headed over to South Shore

Me and my shadow went for a walk

More rocks

On my drive to South Shore

The Beautiful End


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Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Early Bird Gets Delayed

Here I sit in the Sacramento International Airport eyes wanting to shut, brain still semi-working and TONS of time before I board my plane. I had already arrived 3 hours early because I had nowhere to really go and when I was told there was a flight delay and I will now leave at 1:00 a.m. California time I thought, "A great chance to write a weekend blog."  I will warn you now that I am am BEYOND exhausted and will not be held responsible for any jibberish that I may write.

I left Lake Tahoe today after an amazing week of doing makeup for Teeny B Bikini Couture; one of my favorite commercial clients (despite the 5 a.m. call times we must have to catch that amazing morning sun.) After 7 days in San Jose last week and 5 days in Lake Tahoe... I will have been away for 13 days by the time I get home tomorrow morning; GOSH! I am SO ready to be home! 6 a.m.wake up times on a 3 hour time difference, staying up till wee hours for 7 days writing, followed by 5 days of 5 a.m. call times for makeup and evening prep for the next day, has left me sort of brain dead.. yep I am done, even a bit grumpy-tired if I may admit.

However, as I sit here and reflect on my trip, I am smiling, (despite my need for toothpicks) because I am living my dream... LIKE REALLY! NO JOKE! I said that I would do this one day. I envisioned myself being flown all over the country to do makeup and hair, writing inspirational books and speaking to others about my story. Talking to people about how to achieve their dreams and how to BELIEVE. I had my doubts... we all do, but I never allowed my doubts to overshadow what I wanted to go after and well... smack me now, but IT WORKED! I know that my next stage of this success journey are paychecks that will make me pass out... so please pray that I don't have a heart attack before I am able to GIVE some of that money to people who need it more than me. Will I do that? Sure I will; after I set my mom and dad up with a worry free bank account for all they have done for me. I have always been a giver... even when I did not have anything monetary to give... ask anyone who knows me, they will verify this statement. Giving of myself, my time, and my "things" has done more for me than I ever imagined. I have been blessed in return time and time again. I get paid... I make a nice living, but money has certainly never been my biggest blessing. The biggest blessings are knowing that you did something right, doing something that you set out to do, doing something that helped someone else... and having something that you can be proud of even when you are still struggling. THOSE are things that money cannot buy and THOSE are the things I don't ever want to lose.

Okay... time for me to go, I am in need of a cot.. or a bench or a chair to sleep in until I can board my plane. My eyes are shut now and I still have an hour to wait. (thank goodness I know where the keys are.) I will resume my regular blog schedule next week and perhaps share some pictures from my trip!

"If someone says that your dreams are impossible who cares... 
unless that person is YOU !!


Monday, August 5, 2013

What a SIGNIFICANT Day This Is...

Hi Guys!

 I was flown out to California last Monday to complete a ghost-writing project that I have been diligently working on since March. There were 6 more chapters to write and I am ELATED to announce that I just completed the book about 30 minutes ago. I also write a guest blog the first Monday of each month for Hopes Not A Crime; a ministry that I am an inspirational speaker AKA "Hope Ambassador" for. However, due to my busy week of LITERALLY staring at a computer screen in cozy yoga pants, no makeup and classical music playing in my headphones, I had not gotten the chance to write it. I decided that I would get it done as SOON as I finished the book; the goal I was attacking today with an intensity I cannot even explain. It is a book about finding faith in God's will and keeping hope through the adversity you encounter in life, and well.... I must say that it's an amazing read.

I kind of feel like that writer that recluses for weeks then comes out with her manuscript in hand, hair disheveled screaming “It’s  done!” (Actually that's kind of how it really happened except it was only 6 days)

Here I sit, ready to write my guest blog and it just struck midnight... making it August 5th... 2013. I looked up to God and smiled... as a tear came to my eye. I have felt his presence in this room all week, and now I wonder if it was Him I was feeling or perhaps someone else I know. ( Hi Teresa!) What a significant day August 5th is in my life... August 5th, 2011 is also when I finished my first book... a memoir which was dedicated to my sister who died on August 5th, 1981. The day that my life changed forever, the event that shattered my belief in God which led me down a long and lonely path of Atheism where I was lost for years. How miraculously things have changed since then, how beautiful I feel my story truly is but I have now helped someone else share theirs in another book... through a gift that I was given by HIM and I completed it just 30 minutes before the clock struck twelve the eve of August 5th...

I honestly sit here in awe, in tears, in a full blown emotional moment as God is speaking to me once again, showing me that He is really here. I don't mind if you are not with me on this... I am just sharing, you don't have to believe in it's authenticity... but it is VERY real for me. I then continued to sit here and think of what my plans are for today... I am having lunch with one of my fans/ turned friend who just happens to live just minutes from where I am staying which is literally across the country from my home in Florida. He is a man who lost his child and was able to get my book which talks about grief , loss and how there is purpose for it which I believe can only be revealed if we open our minds and our hearts to the Big Guy. If you read my blog, you KNOW that I am faithful and you KNOW that you should NEVER feel uncomfortable here... regardless of your beliefs; I don't judge because I know where I came from. I just want everyone to have what I have gained in life so I sometimes share through my writing how I got here.

Peace... that's what I have now. The weights of the world  have been lifted off of me as I have learned to trust God more and more. I made a promise to Him the day he revealed what He could do... the day that I was on my knees crying yelling at this "imaginary man" I did not even believe in to SHOW ME he was real because I had nothing left. I was lost, broken and feeling unworthy of anything good. I wanted to have a happier life, and thought that what I was doing was going to get it, man-o-man was I wrong! It was the ONLY time that I gave up in my entire life... I gave up control and screamed for someone else to take over and well... HE did! I made a promise to never lose faith again and I must say that I have only failed to trust completely once since then. I was picked up from my fall VERY quickly when that happened and immediately started that first book. I knew when it was done that THIS was my true calling and that it would be something I would do for the rest of my life. Now... I have made it happen for someone else, I have given them a gift through mine... it's a feeling that I cannot even wrap my brain around, yet I never want this feeling to go away.

In our weakest, darkest moments we lose faith, we shut everyone out so that we don't have to admit failure that we can do it on our own. Guess what? As I sit here 32 years to the day that my beautiful sister Teresa was taken from us, I may be crying... but these are different tears. I am thanking that Big Guy in the sky for giving me peace in taking the very day that made me hate him at one point in my life and turning it into a day that I can celebrate because it now also represents my significant walk back into His loving arms.

If you can only take just ONE THING away from this blog post  please take this...

We all walk aimlessly around at times thinking we can do it all alone. I am here to tell you that when this happens you need something more significant... I encourage you to find what that is for YOU.

Have an amazing day!



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