Modeling Day - Part I

"Here", the photographer said as he slid my portfolio back across the table.

"Really?", I thought. He didn't even look up. How could I break my neck to get here, learning new streets, taking the hot subway just to get here on time and this photographer doesn't even look at me?

I was on a go see. That was what breaking into modeling was like when I first started that hot summer in New York City over 32 years ago. I had grown up in a small town. I was successful in most everything I put my hand to. I was in the band, honor society, a church youth group and the swim team. I swam 5 1/2 hours a day and still found time to make great grades in school. I was a people pleaser. I found value in my performance. i enjoyed doing things to the best of my ability and I had been successful....until now. 

What was wrong with me? I was 18, in New York City alone trying to fit into a job that I never dreamed of doing. A job that others would die for. I thought I had my life planned out. I was accepted into the pharmacy program at University of Rhode Island in the fall of my senior year.

Now here I was, all hot and sweaty finding my way around NYC this summer I graduated high school while all my friends were laughing, partying and having a stress free summer before college. They weren't counting calories or worrying about their looks. They weren't lost in the Big Apple, trying to find their way in a new job that they didn't even want. What was I doing? Most days, I felt depressed, lonely, isolated and hungry.

Don't get my wrong. I was blessed; I just didn't feel it some days back then. It was hard, lonely work. I would have days where the agency would send me on "go sees" all day. I would have a list of addresses to find and a certain time to show up. Go sees were a way to get jobs but after walking the streets, taking subways and taxis just to get to a certain studio, I would find it hard to look good. I would go from studio to studio. Some were nice others were really busy. As I walked into studios, I never really knew who was important, who I should talk to. Each studio was different. Some had models all made up on set, looking cool and collected as I stood there waiting, feeling harried and very much an outsider. I fought the feeling of rejection a lot back then. My day could be ruined from a bad reaction to my portfolio. Was it me? Do I belong here? Funny enough, some of the rudest people, the ones the didn't look me in the eye, were the very ones who booked me while the ones who spent time talking and laughing with me didn't necessarily mean future work.

For more on my modeling story you can purchase my book, "A Model for a Better Future" available on Amazon.  

 

The Value of Good Friends

When I was married, I leaned on my husband for friendship and support and asked his opinion on almost all matters. A problem with the kids or work and I went to him first for his take. Girlfriends were always around and important but not the ones that I went to first or listened to the most. Then I got divorced. What a change for me! For awhile, I would call my ex-husband and ask him for his opinion on some things like changing the tires on the car or what good movies were playing. I had a hard time letting go and finding me.

Slowly I realized that I needed to make my own way and find friends who would have my best interests. I still spoke to girlfriends that lived far away and they were always there for me but I needed women who lived where I did. After I divorced, I moved out to Denver and lived with my oldest son for 6 weeks while I got on my feet. I then moved to Boulder not knowing a soul. I moved into my wonderful little house on a warm sunny day. December 1st and all was well. The next morning I woke up to the threat of a huge snow storm coming in that would last for days. I remember that my car was not ready for snow and even has rear wheel drive; a huge "no no" if you want to be safe on the roads driving in Colorado. I remember feeling so alone and isolated wondering what I had done. I survived the snow storm, lonely but safe. I was grateful for the little things!

I remember feeling so lonely. A smile from the mail lady made my day! I started to venture out though, looking for what I wanted to do. I found a church and went by myself which I had never really done before. I always had kids or a husband to go with. Now the kids were grown and the husband was gone! I prayed for a new best girlfriend. It seemed like a stretch and it didn't happen immediately. I waited for months and stayed on the lookout! Soon God gave me the women who have become my closest friends. I also had one of my "before divorce" girlfriends move out to Boulder, who is a huge blessing and support for me!

I decided to start a girls night once a month at my house. It started at Christmas time, gathering to make cookies. It was so much fun, that we decided to meet once a month and "do" a craft, like painting. So much good has come out of those gatherings! I am realizing the wonderful gift of female friendship. They can hear any problem, laugh with me or share my pain. They bring healthy encouragement to my life and I am forever grateful. If you feel lonely, ask for a friend and hopefully soon, you will realize that women friends rock! 

Self Promotion

Self Promotion! ...I am writing this article to vent a bit. I find that our country has become more and more self promoting… Everyone seems to be selling something and nothing seems to be free anymore. It is impossible to watch TV shows without more commercials than show… Our emails have become burdened with promotions; almost everywhere we turn, someone is selling something. News articles, doctors advice, “how to” sites ALL have ways to promote at the bottom of the article. Everyone wants to “SHARE”…We are inundated with too much information and it comes at a cost!

It seems that we slid into a self absorbed people… Looking back, I don't think we were this bad. It is all about “what can you do for me” or “look at me” or “look at me while you buy this product”! I have grown sick of it even though marketing and advertising has been the basis of my modeling business the last 38 years I have been working. It seems to be everywhere we look as do TV shows that highlight the worst of our human nature for all the world to see…people have become famous for what show they are on rather than for strong skills. Companies are hiring people to represent their products based on how many “FRIENDS’ they have verses how much talent they have. The reality shows are all about “look at me”.

I have started to feel guilty if I spend too much time on social media. It is hard based on what I did for work not to have pictures that say, “Look at me”. Social media can also burn up so much time out of my day. I know that I have better things to do; enjoy nature on a long walk, find people to engage with, write articles that really help people (with no strings attached)! I want to feel useful not self absorbed!

Even when I was in Italy, there were too many people with “selfie sticks” taking photos on front of everything. It ruined it for me and I didn't want to take my photo at all. I think I am in 4 pictures out of the hundreds that I took while in Italy and I definitely didn't buy a selfie stick even though hundreds were offered to me. I was more interested in the historical treasure I was visiting and wanted to read all about the history of it, than taking a photo in front of it.

I have sent out newsletters for year and years and now blogs. I just want to share what I have learned in all the years of working and meeting the most interesting people. So, if I am so big on helping others, why this article? I think that more and more people feel the same way and I want to encourage you to go out and make a difference to someone else and find ways to be less self absorbed. Ciao.

Backpacking Italy - Follow Up

Recently I traveled to Italy, taking only a backpack. I have since come home and realize that I have a greater appreciation for America and all of our benefits in this country and also the little things that make my house a home. Don’t get me wrong, I had a marvelous time and found the people in Italy to be warm and generous. I am just happy to be home.

The backpack that I took was wonderful. I kept the weight of the pack to about 20 pounds knowing that I would be walking with it for up to 30 minute stretches traveling to 5 different cities.

I flew into Venice airport, walked 15 minutes to a water taxi and got dropped off at the top of the island. That was the last taxi I took until the morning I left for the airport 17 days later! There are no cars in Venice. There are a lot of small narrow alleys that they call streets. It took 20 minutes of walking (after only 2 hours of sleep) to find my small hotel. It felt great to put the pack down. I must have walked 10 miles that first day, without the pack, trying to stay awake. It was painful, but helped me quickly get on Italian time, which was 8 hours ahead of mine.

I thought when I packed, that I had covered all the bases. If you asked me when I left if I packed the most necessary but minimum things, I would have given an emphatic “yes”. I learned some things though. Basically, I got by with less clothes than I brought but also craved other things like hair conditioner, my flatiron and perfume.

I found that I used my black capri pants each night with basic solid colored sleeveless tops. The restaurants are hot! I also wore a black sweater jacket walking to and from dinner. I dressed up my dinner look with colorful silk scarves (I don't wear them here in the states but loved them over there.) I brought 2 solid color dresses and 2 black skirts that I hardly wore. I wished that I had brought black short boots. Some dinners were a 30 minute walk and it rained a lot over there. I used black sneakers but would have felt more dressed up and fit in better with black boots.

I was happy with my day outfits which were walking shoes, capri pants with pockets and a tee shirt with a long sleeved pullover. I felt best with muted colors and didn't use my bright colors very often. My small over the shoulder purse was priceless as was my raincoat!

Since I have come home, I realized that I should have been easier on myself. Bringing less clothes and shoes made me feel denied and punished. I went too far “staying minimal” and for the next trip will bring some more “stuff” that makes me feel more at home no matter where I am!

Fun with Benefits!

I want to talk about fun. Having fun can encompass a lot of different activities…I know for many, when they think of fun, it has to do with being part of a social scene and partying… but I am here to suggest that you might think of new ways to have fun and also stay fit and healthy, which are your benefits!

I looked up the definition of “fun” and found many ways to describe it. An enjoyable activity. Entertainment, especially from an activity that is not important or serious. Pleasure, especially with leisurely activities..fun is pleasant, personal, and to some extent unpredictable. These definitions still leave a lot of room for interpretation! For some people, fun is being active and moving…participating or watching sports, hobbies, being outside…for others it could mean a party scene, something illegal or many other unhealthy activities.

I think of staying in shape as fun! It is easy for me to have fun while working out. For some, staying fit and healthy requires a change in mindset.. What does that mean, do you ask? Well, fun for me is being outdoors and “doing” something physical… Hiking, biking, running or any outdoor sport… I think of those activities as being fun… and I look forward to doing them over and over. To me, that is having a healthy mindset.

If your idea of fun is to do something damaging to your health, then you might want to think of trying to change your mindset. Maybe you need to sit down and ask yourself some questions. What could you do that was healthy that you thought of as fun? Find something that will make you feel good about yourself, especially when you wake up the next morning!

Here are some suggestions for having some new fun! If you are more of a loner, try going on a nature walk to look at the beautiful outdoors or animal life. Climb to the top of a hill or mountain and enjoy the peace of nature or walk on a quiet path or the beach…If you are more social, try going to a health club and learning a new way to work out. You could also join a new group that does something you have been thinking of doing but not gotten the chance, or nerve to try. If you are shy but want to be in the presence of people, take a friend.

Whatever your plans this summer, try to find new ways to have fun and stay healthy. Remember at the end of the day, it is good to look back and reflect on what fun you had and also to feel good about yourself.

What is Anti-Aging?

Anti-aging is a term that covers a broad range of opinions and products. Anti-aging means to stop the aging process by stopping or slowing down oxidation or free radical damage, which can lead to premature aging. This term is a fairly new health category and seems to be a good sales term that is popping up everywhere. It is applied to so many treatments and products that the true meaning is getting lost and people are getting confused. Remember that the anti-aging goal is to minimize damage from free radicals that injure cells and damage DNA.

Here are some of the main treatments and product categories for anti-aging: supplements, lotions, serums, spa treatments, plastic surgery treatments and overall ways of living, to name a few. How can we keep up with all the different ways to stay young without wearing ourselves out? Sometimes we have to start slowly one step at a time.

Let’s examine what we put into our bodies: Supplements and food. Anti-aging supplements are also called antioxidants. Some of the best and most potent anti oxidant supplements in single form are: Resveratrol, CoQ10, Bee Pollen, Curcumin, Astaxanthin and Alpha Lipoic Acid, to name a few. These supplements can be taken individually or combined with other ingredients.

There are also foods that naturally help fight aging. All berries, dark chocolate, beans, and fish with omega 3’s, vegetables (and NO, ketchup is NOT a vegetable!), nuts, red wine, avocado, whole grains and garlic are all great anti oxidants.

There is also a new category emerging called “superfoods” which are nutrient dense foods. The list is varied depending on who you talk to but these are some that I like: goji berries, chia seeds and blue green algae.

So even though we covered one area of anti-aging here, we found quite a list of different ways to fight for our youth. If this is all new to you, it may be time to ask yourself if you should take anything for free radical damage control. If you want to start adding these foods daily to your diet, it certainly won’t hurt you and may even slow down the aging process. You can also look into supplementing your diet with some of the supplements listed above. There are many products to choose from and you may want to run the idea by your doctor like I have done. Fighting the clock can be easy or complicated depending on how much time and money you want to put into it. Sometimes it is as easy as slipping some chia seeds into your next beverage or cereal bowl.

Stay young my friend!

Beauty From The Inside

What is real beauty? 

Have you ever noticed people who seem to carry a dark cloud over them? They walk into a room and there is an immediate feeling of yuck? I have. I have also notice that there are others who seem to be happy no matter what the circumstance. They are the kind of people I tend to gravitate towards, as I like to be around people who find the positive in a situation.

Have you ever looked at the face of people who are negative? It seem that the phrase "sour puss" was meant for them? They tend to have more worry lines on their face and wear a permanent scowl. How about the people who carry that inner light in them of happiness and joy? The phrase "sunny smile" or "bright disposition" seems to fit them. They walk into a room and it seems to brighten with goodness and purpose.

Why am I talking about attitudes in a beauty article???

I believe that our inner thoughts can affect our outer beauty. After all, beauty is not only about how you look in the physical. It is about how you make others feel. Experiencing beauty in others often involves perceiving them to be in balance and harmony with nature. When we view beauty or what we think is beautiful, we tend to feel a sense of well being. All is right with the world. Beauty is a characteristic of HOW a personal makes you feel.

Ideal beauty is meant to be admired. We all have our ideas of what is beautiful; in art, nature and people. We have the phrase, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" but there seems to be a standard through the centuries for what exactly is beautiful. One trait that stands the test of time is symmetry. Lacking flaws or the absence of genetic or acquired defects; which as far as viewing people goes includes well proportioned bodies and young, smooth skin.

From what I have found to be true, beauty not only consists with the outer features but also that inner personality and intelligence, grace and morality. Elegance is also important in determining beauty to me. People, who are intelligent, elegant and graceful on the inside, generate a sense of beauty on the outside.

Beauty also presents a standard for comparison and can generate feelings of jealousy and inferiority. We spend millions of dollars in this country alone, trying to be more beautiful. Some of us forget our own beautiful traits while only focusing on others unattainable traits. This leads to misery in my mind. Each one of us has a desire to "fit in" and being beautiful is one way to be popular. Think of this. Does beauty on the outside mean beautiful on the inside? Does beauty on the inside mean beautiful on the outside? You decide. My life is spent seeking both inner and outer beauty. How about you?

What a Trip!

I am going on a trip to Italy, traveling to 5 different cities, for 3 weeks and decided to take up a challenge… to only bring a backpack and purse! That means only taking the most necessary things with me. I am literally weighing every decision and let me tell you, I have been agonizing over what I cant live without and what I have to let stay behind! It is really challenging me as it is helping me define what I think I need to hang on to, to feel more secure! For instance, I am bringing only a bare minimum of make up and absolutely nothing to “do” my hair with! No curling iron and no straightener. (They are kinda heavy) So, I cut my hair to a shorter length knowing that it would be easier to take care of. I know I have my wigs if I need longer hair when I come home. I also let go of the mindset that I have to look a certain way to be beautiful. I  just want to have a good time over there and not feel pressure to look a certain way!

I stopped getting tips on my nails as I can’t think how to try and get a “fill” and how to describe gel verses acrylic in Italian! You know I can't make 3 weeks without a fill, so my nails are natural. Packing was challenging and I started with my piles 3 weeks before the trip. Which bras were the most comfortable and how many would do? Colored tee shirts that were too bright for Europe had to stay in the drawer. I had to find clothes that dried quickly and are light and a jacket could be used both during the day and for evening strolls. I am bringing 3 pairs of shoes…I found a pair of walking shoes that are semi waterproof but also light and comfortable, a pair of black light weight sneakers and a pair of evening flats.

It was interesting to take stock of what items I can’t live without and find others that were useful in more than one area. I have the basics like toothpaste, pain reliever and bandaids, but I wanted to take oils that were beneficial also. I have a small vial of oil for my face and hair (as I don't think they have conditioner as much over there). I also wanted to take an essential oil that was an antiseptic and had a variety of uses so I chose Tea Tree oil and lavender. The lavender also helps me to relax. 

So, this trip will be an adventure in more than one way. I am leaving behind things that make me happy or feel good about myself and venturing out with the bare minimum, while concentrating on new and wonderful sights and culture. I plan on enjoying things that are not in my comfort zone and trying new things for personal growth! What a trip!

Grew up swimming...

I grew up swimming competitively from age 6-18. I was programmed at a young age to work out my body. All of my close friends swam and I got used to training each day. When I went to NYC at 18, I no longer had a coach telling me what to do, so I had to find ways to work out that I looked forward to. I joined a gym and quickly learned how to use the aerobic and weight machines. I also learned that I liked to set personal goals since I was now training alone. I found that if I signed up for running races, then I would tend to go to the gym more often to get prepared. What motivates you? If you didn't grow up with exercise, how can you fit it into your life now?

Eating well was another thing for me to learn. Growing up swimming 5 1/2 hours a day, I didn’t worry about calories. I would eat a slice of cheesecake the moment I got home from swim practice BEFORE dinner. When I went to NYC to model, I realized that I couldn’t eat the same things that I did while swimming. I had to learn new eating habits. I starved, ate macrobiotic, tried weird diets and proven diets and suffered the whole time with each one. I was miserable. 

Time, along with trial and error, taught me what my body likes and needs and foods to absolutely avoid. If you know me, you know I am adamant about certain foods and will not touch them no matter what people say. I know certain foods don’t help me and can harm me. I am not willing to let myself have one minute of joy while I eat something bad for me and then have days or weeks to pay for it afterward. I make up my mind beforehand to stay strong and not cheat. Why? I have learned that some things are just not worth that small amount of pleasure. I look toward healthy long term effects.

Some tricks I learned are to make up my mind beforehand to eat foods good for me.  Shop the outside aisles of the grocery store for fresh ingredients. Substitute in recipes healthier ingredients and foods that are more beneficial. You can find out how I do this in my ebook, CHEAT EAT on Amazon. Make a conscious effort to add more vegetables into your meals even if you have to cut them up and hide them in a sauce. I did that to my kids a lot! Make an effort to get out and move your body. Find a friend to stay active with or go out for a solitary walk with the dog; just get moving! After reading this article, make a conscious decision to start new patterns and ways of thinking for a healthier life. Don’t live in the now, look to a long, healthy future!

Spring Cleaning our Bodies!

Depending on where you live, spring has arrived (or will come quickly) and it is time to look ahead. Since we all want to look our best, we need to take stock of our bodies. Many of us have been hiding under layers of clothes and eating more than normal in order to stay warm, and now is the time to come out from under those layers! How can we prepare for the upcoming season? We prepare our hearts, minds and bodies by cleaning out the negative and focusing on what is good and right and healthy.

Spring is a time to open windows for fresh air and clean out the house. We can clean out our bodies as well as detoxes that I cover in my ebook, Lean Clean, found on Amazon.com. I think spring cleaning our bodies is important. Think of how much better you will feel getting rid of toxins that accumulated during the winter months. Cleaning out our bodies helps us to feel better internally and therefore feel better about ourselves.

Spring is also a time for us to readjust the way we take care of ourselves. We need a new mindset that helps us make healthy choices. If we have gotten into a bad habit during the dark winter months, now is the time to expose it and come clean! No more hibernating with a bag of chips and sitting on the couch! Join a club or a group that makes you get out of the house and MOVE somehow. A new yoga and Pilates class would be good for us all, while others can be more vigorous and find a running or biking club and starting counting the miles. 

If you take a vacation in the spring, think about a healthy one. There are numerous spa vacations that help to restart and refresh ourselves. Spending the day with relaxing treatments or scrubs, and then having a chef prepare a healthy meal, may be just the thing for you right now. If you can't find the time for a healthy vacation, you can still find the time for new, fresh recipes to eat. We have to spend time preparing food. I find the fresh, unaltered food is not only easy but good for us. I try to eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables with some beans and nuts added to stay at a healthy weight and feel good about myself. 

Other ways to refresh ourselves is to re-establish old friendships that we may have neglected during the dark winter months. Don't wait for the phone to ring, pick it up and reconnect with friends that you have been thinking about. It may even be good to meet them to exercise together! I will be spring cleaning with you!

Finally, find time to reconnect with God. Take time for a grateful hike or a stroll along a favorite pathway. It is good to practice being grateful for all you have been given. It is also a great way to refresh and get ready for a fantastic spring ahead!