47 Weeks to 50 | F the Vodka Soda

There is a LOT of talk about what happens to your body as you age, and there are a thousand and one strategies to stay thin and maintain your younger body. I have a LOT to say about this, and this is the first installment.

First, let’s be crystal clear nearly every woman I know is gaining weight— rounding, losing muscle and fighting like a mother-f’er to keep the scales from tipping. If you let the regimen go for even one minute, it takes six months to lose just five pounds instead of the six days it took once upon a time. We’re all suffering over it. Half of my conversations with friends my age are about what a bitch it is to not gain weight and what we’re doing about it. We are detoxing, cutting out carbs, fasting intermittently, working out at Orange Theory, barring, spinning, yoga-ing— you name it we’re doing it. I thought the suffering over weight was bad when I was 35 with 15 percent body fat, but no one told me this was coming.

For most of my freaking life I have deprived myself. I have watched every single morsel that went into my mouth. As an athlete and competitive cyclist, I thought if I just lost that 10 pounds I would go faster up the hill. I counted calories. I drank vodka soda. WHY? Because “it had no sugar,” “it was the least of the calories,” “it didn’t raise your blood sugar,” “it didn’t slow down your metabolism.”

F THAT.

I’ve been part of Alison Cross’ Body, Beauty and Bravery movement since she created it along with Project Authentic Beauty. I have studied about and dealt with my own body dysmorphia and disordered eating. And, ya know what? As I approach 50, I am so sick of watching people’s Facebook posts about how proud they are for being so self-disciplined that they can eat kale and drink water all day, work out for an hour and maintain their size zero.

I absolutely 100 percent believe in taking care of your body. I believe in consistent exercise. My own routine (when travel, work, fatigue or life doesn’t interrupt it) includes barre class twice a week, swimming/paddling four or five times at 45 minutes each, weight training twice a week for an hour, pilates once a week, yoga once a week and I also try to get in a few hours of cardio. If I don’t do that each and every week, I end up an entire size and a half larger.

I also pretty healthy most of the time: A cup of bullet proof coffee (it works for me, and I’m not debating it), green juice from detox, a Shakeology shake every day, and 10 meals each week are from a service called Fit and Fresh Cuisine. These are low carb options, so I get a 380-calorie meal including a protein and a vegetable. I also have wine and the occasional gummy sour candy because I love it and that isn’t changing. When I go out to dinner, which is maybe twice a week, I eat whatever the F I want. If eating like this is keeping me a size above where I’d like to be, then so be it.

You know what is more important that fitting into the narrow confines of my ideal shape?

LIVING MY LIFE!  ENJOYING THE MEALS CREATED BY CHEFS WHO HONOR THEIR SOUL THROUGH THEIR CRAFT, DRINKING WINE AND WHISKY THAT WAS CRAFTED WITH LOVE, BREAKING BREAD WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY I LOVE!

At this point in my life, I’m not buying into depriving myself of one more thing. Life is too damned short. Every day, someone is getting sick or dying, and I imagine this will happen more frequently from this point forward. Am I really going to be saying to myself on my deathbed I wish I was one size smaller? NO! I’m going to be thankful for that damned Mexican brownie I ate this weekend and that $1 slice of New York Pizza at 2am after I drank manhattans in Manhattan!

Yes, I have to offset the indulgences. Why? BECAUSE I NEED THIS BODY TO LAST ME THE NEXT 50 YEARS! I have to swim and stretch and weight train and maintain a level of cardiovascular fitness that allows me to have a physical life, so I can surf and hike and travel and be in pretty great shape. Sure, I don’t eat just any old thing I want whenever I want because I still need to be responsible and my body needs healthy food to function. Plus, it’s still reality that if I eat more than I burn I will gain weight.

I have seen PLENTY of women who won’t go out to eat, pass on birthday cake and champagne, won’t eat a slice of bread. This is no way to live. And for what?

I challenge each and every one of you to STOP talking about what diet you’re on and what you did or didn’t do to gain/lose those extra few pounds that no one noticed anyway. While we’re at it, how about we stop saying to our friends “you look skinny” like it’s a good thing.

How about we tell each other how beautiful we look? How about we acknowledge each other for being healthy?

We have to stop obsessing over the scale and a clothing size.

Especially at this age. LOVE YO SELF

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48 weeks to 50 | My youngest turns 22

My daughter, Quinn, turns 22 today, so I thought there’s no time like the present to talk about children.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see someone who has a 22-year-old (my son is nearly 24, and I certainly don’t see that). I have a LOT of friends who still have teenagers and a few who have younger children too. In this day and age anything goes, and there are benefits to having kids at both ends of the age spectrum. When you’re 25 with kids you might have more energy (debatable), but when you’re 35 you typically have more money and a better sense of your Self. You also probably have had a chance to go out and explore the world before giving up your private time for the higher purpose of raising kids.

I watched most of my friends go out to party, travel and have adventures while I was changing diapers, attending school assemblies and watching baseball games. Now, a lot of those friends are watching me as I’m getting to do things I always wanted while they’re carpooling and wondering how they’ll ever make it through the day to get some rest.

I never thought I would have kids, but having them has been the greatest adventure of my life. It’s also been the toughest thing I’ve ever done. Not only did I have two kids just two years apart, but I didn’t always have the financial resources that allowed me to provide the things I wanted for them when we were all younger. Somehow, though, we managed, which has made this new phase ever so sweet. Everything I learned about management— time, people, even myself— came from raising kids.

Through it all, I did the best I could with what I had, and I’m sure you are too. Here’s hoping the day will come when your kids will recognize that.

That is what I think is extraordinary. You start off being a parent thinking you’ll be so much better than your parents. “I’m not going to do ‘x’ like my parents did.” Then, there you are catching yourself saying and doing the exact things you swore you would never say or do!

Eventually, I came to the realization my kids are on their own journey just as I am. As their parent and the one who brought them into the world, I’ve done my best to equip them with as many tools as I can to get through this thing called life.

As I mother, I believe my job is to support my kids in finding their path, in finding their passions, in caring about the world around them and in being self-sufficient so they can take care of themselves in this crazy and sometimes cruel world. My main concern was always to make sure they were good human beings. And I have done that. My greatest accomplishment is that they are good people

As they are getting ready to fly on their own I often ask myself, “Have I done enough? Have I given them enough?” Is it enough for them to go out on their own and have a life they love? Can they love and be loved? Can they forgive? Can they heal their hurts and learn from their mistakes? Can they make a living to support the lifestyles they want to live? Do they feel like global citizens so they can always think of the world around them?

Have I been a good role model?

SO many questions!

I can tell you that I’ve enjoyed lots of stages in being a mom. I LOVED the stage before school. I heard once that having little kids helps you to remember how to play. And boy did we! We played dress up and sang and watched Barney. There was cowboy camp and tea parties and Disney. And then there was middle and high school. I started Authentic Beauty when I was turning 40. The kids were in middle and high school. Quinn was mad at me for a long time, as I took time away to start a business.

Starting Authentic Beauty stemmed from the bold decision that seeing one client at a time was not going to give me the life I wanted for my kids. I also realized I had something way bigger to contribute than being stuck in a basement in an athletic club (my first makeup studio was in the basement of Olde Towne Athletic Club, and it could barely fit two people in it). I had to grow to disrupt our life.

Making a decision to disrupt your family and your kids is a hard one— the hardest thing I’ve ever done in fact. This is because you’re not just effecting yourself… you’re responsible for the little beings to whom you gave life. We struggled for many years as I launched Authentic Beauty— both financially and emotionally. The kids weren’t able to do the things a lot of their friends were doing. They had to sacrifice with me.

What they got to see (at least I hope they do now) is how hard I worked and how much I had to overcome and persevere in order to make my dream come true. They had to see my fear and my heartbreak and my sheer exhaustion. But, they also saw the wins! They saw a physical space come to life. They saw me on TV and in magazines. And got to hear their friends say they saw me in the media too.

As I look back on this journey of motherhood, my heart is so full. And, as I look forward I’m even more excited!

Here is the thing no one tells you— it gets EVEN BETTER as they get older!

I’ve been fortunate to learn from so many older and wiser women who have gone before me. Everyone seems to talk about motherhood as only comprising the ages of birth through 18. Then your child graduates, becomes an adult and goes off into the world. Then, suddenly, you get to be a grandma.

Well, I’m here to tell you this age might be my favorite. WHY? Because you get to share the world through ADULT EYES!!! Your adult children can have cocktails with you, and you can talk about the world. All of a sudden, this being you’ve known since birth is an adult seeing the world with new eyes. You get to share that with them!

I’ve gotten to travel abroad with both my kids, and the joy I received from doing that will forever make me smile from the depths of my soul.

The message here for moms with younger kids (and there are a whole lot more of you my age with that reality)— IT GETS BETTER! You’ll have your mom journey (however you choose to do it), but know that just as every year past 40 has gotten sweeter and richer and better so does the experience of being a mom.

Honor your path.

PS, I’ll be writing at some point about the dynamics between mothers and daughters, so stay tuned. pastedGraphic.png

49 Weeks to 50

I’m a little behind with my 50 to 50 journal, but I’ve found that writing these are just a bit more difficult than I thought they would be. It’s one thing to write about makeup and quite another to write about more intimate topics. I’m doing my best to write MY truth while still making sure I don’t say the wrong thing and wind up upsetting someone— when have I ever cared about that before?!

And there’s the point of this week’s blog post. As I approach 50, I’ve stopped really caring what other people think.

One of the greatest gifts I ever received was gleaned during marketing training. What was that amazing gift? Learning I don’t have to and shouldn’t try to appeal to everyone as a business. Instead of shooting for generalizable appeal, you narrow down your target market. Your job is to figure out who is your tribe and then appeal to them! Don’t worry about the rest of the folks out there. They are not your people. Wow, did that ever free me up as a business owner and as a person! At Authentic Beauty, we have a certain woman who likes to come see us, and they are our tribe. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a member!

As a younger woman, I remember turning myself inside out to be liked and respected by others. I had been taught from a young age by societal pressures that the goal for women was to cast a wide net, have a huge network and do what you needed to do to be liked and respected. You know what? This strategy worked for me. I have SO many friends. I have nearly 4,000 friends on Facebook, and I personally know nearly all of them. Okay, maybe I added a few in the beginning I didn’t know, but we had 50 friends in common so…

Now, as I am “getting on with age,” I’ve finally settled into my own skin. This is one of those unexpected yet tremendous endowments that comes with having some extra years. I am not apologizing for who I am. I am no longer looking for approval. I, personally, only want to be around people who inspire me by giving back, fighting the good fight, having a prosperous mindset, and live their lives as adventurous and globally minded citizens of the world. These people are not victims. They own their personal histories and have risen above it. They don’t blame anyone for where they are in their lives. In short, they own their shit. They are like me, and that’s why they’re my friends. I have drastically reduced the amount of energy vampires in my world, and I’ve gotten A LOT better at being a good judge of character.

Ever do one of those tests that tells you what kind of dog you would be based on your personality? I’m a golden retriever. I LOVE everyone. I really do. I look for the best in everyone I meet, and I do my absolute best to release any judgment I may have. I will follow you around and wag my tail and be a great companion. As I’ve gotten older and wiser, however, I’ve realized you need to give people 60 days to see their true nature revealed. I learned this as a business owner and definitely in my personal life. Here is the philosophy:

EVERYONE is on their best behavior when you first meet them. You see all the shiny happy because that’s what they want you to see. It’s human nature. By the time you reach day 60, however, you’ll start to see the cracks and glimpses of the edges that may not work for you in your life. This doesn’t mean I’m going to remove the person from my life. It just means I may have a reality check about someone I thought was going to be a lifelong friend. This holds true for intimate relationships as well, by the way.

So, my point is I am now being FULLY who I am as I approach 50. All my quirkiness, passion, self-expression, loudness, sometimes inability to stop myself from sharing my life and forgetting to ask about yours, drama, temper that lasts for 15 minutes, spontaneity and wine drinking. If who I am is someone you want to be around, than great. If not, then so be it. I’m good, and I’m not toning it down— for anyone.

This may mean I might have to apologize every now and again, which I’ll do if I was inappropriate or flat out in the wrong (as we all are from time to time). But if you know who I am, you also know I’m committed to being the best person I can be and to helping you be the best person you can be. I’m committed to doing the right thing, to empowering women to love themselves when they look in the mirror, to always seeing a higher perspective and to believing that dreams can and do become realities. I believe in the goodness of people and that you can change your situation if you truly want to. Sure, I have my shortcomings. I OWN THEM. Ask my staff— I occasionally will have a moment where I lose it and yell. Yes, it happens. But, I will ALWAYS apologize.

Long story short, we are only human. If we’re going to have a life we love and leave this planet better than we found it, we need to figure out who we are and why we’re here. This allows us to focus on learning to love, to forgive, the be the best we can be. In so doing, we also learn how to rise above the hard times and the times that people are cruel (and there will be those times). This is because learning to manage our thoughts and stress allows us to become mentally strong. Through it all, we need to get along, to encourage one another and to build strong communities.

The greatest joy in my life is being loved exactly the way I am and knowing my friends accept me as I am. I never have to worry about where I stand with them. There is SO much freedom in this.

To my younger friends— Start looking forward to having the BEST relationships of your life as you add some years. You’ll begin to know who your friends truly are, more immediately recognize your tribe and be far less concerned with those you don’t connect with. You’ll also stop trying to please the people who aren’t your “target market,” which is a really fantastic place to be.

50 to 50 Week #50 | The Issue of Lifestyle

The countdown has officially begun. It’s week #50 until I turn 50. My 49th year has begun and, already, I’m trying to decide what I want to do for my 50th birthday. It also happens to be the 10-year anniversary of my business, Authentic Beauty, and I already have planned three surf retreats and a trip to India with a friend of mine who owns a company called Around the World Beauty. Top that off with my daughter graduating from Georgia Southern University and the planning stages of another European Adventure, and you have quite a busy year to come.

A LOT is happening. It’s a good problem to have!

As I head into my 50th year on this planet, the most important question I’m asking myself is what kind of lifestyle do I want for my self?

This is a question we don’t ask ourselves enough (if at all) when we begin our adult lives. We just kind of get going as life hands us sets of circumstances. Whether that means marriage, children, a busy career or something else, life can become a blur. Then, one day, we seem to “wake up” and find ourselves anxious about where we suddenly find ourselves.

When I was younger, I was fortunate to be introduced to the concept of designing a life worth living. Through this introduction, I developed an understanding of life that allowed me the mental freedom to become a makeup artist, a personal trainer, a competitive cyclist at 29 years old, a surfer even later in life (because I loved it not because I’m any good) and to launch a business in Authentic Beauty that I both love and means a lot to me on a very foundational level.

What we do ask ourselves at different intervals in our lives are questions like, “What is important to me?” or “What is meaningful in my life?”

Births, deaths, divorces and so much more force us to ask important (and often tough) questions that we normally don’t take time to consider because we’re busy and life gets in the way. Asking these types of questions can be disruptive. But, when you do begin asking them, you may realize that the life, relationships or material possessions you have are no longer want drives you— or may be things that you really didn’t even want in the first place if you’re honest with yourself.

514Tjs5uFWLAuthor Sarah Ban Breathnach, who wrote the iconic books Simple Abundance and Something More – The Pathway to Creating Your Authentic Self, was a disruptor in my life. I was given the book Something More for my 30th birthday. She demands her readers examine where they may be settling in life. Where did you give up your dreams and settle for something else? My life drastically altered after I read her books. I was forced to investigate where I was heading (which was NOT where I wanted to be), and I began to lay the groundwork for the life I have now.

Now, do NOT get me wrong I LOVE MY LIFE. I have spent the past 10 years truly crafting it. I have checked off some HUGE bucket list items:

  • Opening Authentic Beauty Brow and Makeup Studio— a safe place for women to explore their image and learn how to do their makeup. Making it a decade through a down economy and a tremendous number of obstacles has been a blessing
  • Surfing in Nicaragua three or four times a year for the past three years, including bringing groups of women to experience it for themselves
  • Getting two kids through college
  • Helping my staff grow successful businesses for themselves
  • Traveling to Europe
  • Being physically fit
  • Staying married for 11 years

This is not the entire list, but it is the one I dreamed of 10 years ago when it, honestly, seemed a far, far, far reach.

Now, here I am asking myself what do I want the next 10 years (and beyond) to look like! Now that I have so much abundance in my life, it’s time to think about how I want to structure my life.

51Nd8SIgBvL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_The concept of lifestyle keeps coming back to me. Several years ago, I was introduced to the work of T. Harv Eker. He wrote the book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. This book turned into a seminar, and he offered courses on business, marketing and on being a warrior (basically how to be a bad ass in life). I did a lot of the seminars he offered. Before I started Authentic Beauty, I had ZERO business understanding. I don’t even think I understood the concept of marketing. It was because of Harv that I was able to transcend my past and have the courage to launch a business. I learned the skills necessary to become a business owner. I met my business mentors, and I overcame the sheer terror it took to decide to change my life.

One of the questions he asked back then was, “What do you want your lifestyle to look like?” This was, and still is, a tough question because most of us go through life working really, really hard and believing there’s no other way. The myth that you have to work 40+ hours a week to get stuff (a car, a house, vacations, kid’s college, dinners out, nice clothes and other things) doesn’t start from a place of strategically thinking about what you want in life.

We don’t start off answering the question, “What is important to me?” We just start. We also don’t always really know what’s important to us (or what’s going to be important to us 20 years in the future) when we’re young. We start with from the fundamental belief that we have to get a job and work our asses off 40+ hours every week before (maybe) ending up with the ability to have a car, a house and some nice stuff. It’s a bonus if we get to take vacations and eventually have a family.

When you start from this place early in life, it’s really hard to backtrack. This is what makes it so hard to entertain the concept of “lifestyle” smack in the middle of the life we’ve worked so hard to create.

When I took Harv’s seminar, my mind was blown to think I could have my financial needs match my lifestyle. Now, it certainly didn’t happen over night, and I’m still not 100 percent there. That, I think, is divine discontent.

So, approaching 50 years of age, what do I want NOW?

  • I want time at home
  • I want time to travel
  • I want to focus on my fitness at least an hour a day
  • I want to be healthy, fit and free enough to surf and travel three or four times a year

And here is the greatest lifestyle examination—

IS IT POSSIBLE TO WORK THREE WEEKS ON AND ONE WEEK OFF?

What would that look like? Could I design that as part of my life? Is that what I really want?

I’m fortunate that I can try it out for a few months and see if it works. I have set up my life to give me the freedom to do that. That didn’t happen overnight, and Ii took a crazy leap of faith. It took working not just 40+ hours a week but 60-70 hours a week, staying up until 3am for countless months at a time— if not years at a time. It took risking financial safety and security and it took daily action.

And, now, here I am willing to shift it again because I want to have a different lifestyle. What might have happened had I asked myself this question earlier in life?

I was told by a wonderful client (in her late 60s) that now is the time I’ll be the freest in my life. I’ll be able to travel and do what I want. As the kids are leaving the nest but before you have grandchildren and aging parents. Enjoy every second.

Of course, she is so right. My freedom as I know it is over the second I become a grandparent. I have begged both of my children 10 YEARS off please. Let me have these 10 years to myself and so… What am I going to do?

This is one of the main questions I intend to ask myself repeatedly during this year leading up to 50. I don’t think there is one definitive answer. I think I’ll just marinate on it for a while— look at where I am and what I think I want. I know I want to listen to the sound of the waves more than I currently am. ☺  I know I want to be in my house more. I know I want to see more of this world.

Now, I get to define my future from a place of, “If I could have my life be ANY WAY I want it to be what would I create?” What does that list look like. You know what? If I don’t like it or if it doesn’t work I GET TO CHANGE IT!!!

I invite you to try on what kind of lifestyle you might live if money or time weren’t an issue! Live outside life’s constraints, and let the vision begin. I’m doing it right now, and you can too!  Stay tuned to see what I come up with, and please share your lifestyle list too!

50 to 50 The Birthday Post: “I am a Perennial”

50 to 50 The Birthday Post: “I am a Perennial”

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Just days from my 49th birthday on the balcony of our hotel in Venice, Italy.

Today is my 49th birthday. There are 52 weeks between today and my 50th birthday, and I have given this a lot of thought.

FIFTY has seemed ominous. Like this place you will get to in your life and it will all be different. You will be OLD.

However, as I’m approaching this number on the dial, old is the last thing I feel or look or ANYTHING of that nature!

I feel the best I ever have. I have a life I love, the bestest friends a girl could ask for, great relationships with my family, a solid relationship with my husband and a business that I launched that is an expression of my passion. I love my children (and they love me), and I am happy. Best of all… I think it’s only going to get better.

In my mind (and in my younger friends’ minds), 50 seems like a cliff you’re going to fall off when you get there. And, it most certainly is, but not in the way most people think. Fifty also can be the place you jump off to soar into the next part of life. I realized this when I started seeing some of the most amazing women I know reinvent themselves and evolve into the best version of themselves after they turned 50. These powerhouse women whom I get to call my friends look amazing, travel, contribute, are vibrant and confident and are in no way shrinking in the face of society’s expectation that you are old when you are 50 and beyond.

I find myself asking whom do I want to be? What do I want my life to look like? Time is more important to me than ever. I am not wasting it on what’s not important. So, I am defining what is really meaningful. I’ve done this at different intervals in my life but, at this momentous one, I have perspective. I no longer have anywhere to get to. There is no wall to climb and nothing (really) to achieve. Life has become about living and experiencing and soaking it up. I have “turned out.” This is it.

About a month ago, a friend shared an article from the Telegraph that originally was posted by entrepreneur Gina Pell in the Medium.  The title of the piece was “Why Women of 40 and 50 are the New ‘Ageless Generation.” Of course, I had to read it. The phrase “perennials” was born.

“The Perennials. We are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages. We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge and know how to hustle. We comprise an inclusive, enduring mindset, not a divisive demographic. Perennials are also vectors who have a wide appeal and spread ideas and commerce faster than any single generation.”

When I read this article, I happened to be in Nicaragua on a surf adventure. I read it out loud to Casey, the owner at Soma Surf Resort and a close friend, as well as a former executive at Calvin Klein who “retired” with her husband of 40 years to open a boutique resort near one of the best surf breaks in the world. Her response? “What about 60? I started this venture at 60.”  And there you have it! She is absolutely one of the most inspirational women I know, and what the hell do I know turning 50?!

Since learning about Perennials I have been reading it out loud to my clients, the Authentic Beauties, and more than a few times there have been straight out tears spontaneous and flowing. To be recognized. To be acknowledged. To be spoken for. There is finally a group I belong to.

I am forever blooming, and so are the women with whom I surround myself. I refuse to be taken out because I have a few more wrinkles, a few more pounds and I happen to be past the breeding age. In fact, I am the most free I have ever been because of these things. My son is out of college, my daughter is graduating this year and my body is no longer something I suffer over but celebrate. Of course, my body needs to be fit so I can continue to go on global adventures and do the things I love (like surfing). But, the focus has changed. Today, I consider how I take care of this body so it lasts me and is functioning optimally  for the next 50 years!!!! It is definitely not about depriving myself so I can fit in the size jeans I was NEVER meant to wear in the first place.

So… I have decided to write a blog every week beginning the first week in September called 50 to 50. I will be writing every week about all things 50. There are so many topics that I want to address I couldn’t fit it in one post. I have been wanting to blog for a while and committing to this is it. I hope you will join me on this adventure I am taking toward the big 5-0.

Thank you my amazing friends. There are just too many to acknowledge. So, if you are reading this, consider yourself one of them.

And thank you for all the birthday wishes.

Want to keep up with everything I’m doing? Check out the Authentic Beauty blog for more updates.

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Happy Anniversary Authentic Beauty

It was four years ago today that I opened the doors of Authentic Beauty.

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Five years ago I decided I wanted it and was willing to do something about the dream I had been living with most of my adult life. It’s funny that the original blog about the day I said goodbye to my former life still lives and will forever live on this site. (Say Goodbye to Olde Towne). You will hear inspirational speakers and business cheerleaders state that in starting a business you have to row away from the shore and be willing to lose site of it with only the vision of where you want to go in mind. That’s exactly how it’s done. You have to have faith in yourself, in making decisions when it’s scary to do so, you have to inspire others, you have to ask for help, you have to REALLY want it and you have to get up day after day in the face of the possibility of failure and keep taking action. But the really important part: You let go completely of what you know.

It’s funny that the first blog post was written on November 2, 2007. Many of you know the extended version of the story. The short of it: We signed a lease (in 2007) on a building that didn’t get building permitted until 10 months after the lease was signed. And once it was approved the building required too much work for it to be financially feasible and I had to walk away. In doing so I had no home-no place to work. I was lucky enough to have had three amazing salon owners to allow me to see clients and regroup; Richie Arpino, Jeff South from Intrigue and Todd Suttles. I rotated between three locations trying my best to keep the dream alive.  Meanwhile my original team who helped me create the vision walked away and I was even sued by people I trusted with my life. It was a desperate time. I just kept moving forward and took one step at a time.

In September of 2008 Todd Suttles asked me if I would be interested in renting the front area of his salon. It had been his reception area and he decided he was going to downsize. As scary as it was committing to a fixed expense I knew this was a good offer. The location was perfect. There was natural lighting and enough space to grow. I signed the lease and painted the walls.

Now here it is four years later. I own the entire business at 4674 Roswell rd. Todd Suttles moved on and left me with the entire space. We have 7 incredible artists, a lash technician, a director of operations, 2 estheticians, a spray tan room, 6 hairstylists, a graphic designer and a LOT of other people who help to bring this vision to life. Today I am in awe. I didn’t want a party. We are having a staff training and learning how to custom blend lipsticks. I want to sit and reflect and drink champagne with my team.

Today also happens to be the day we are expecting the compact for our makeup line to arrive. I have been working on developing this line for 2 years. The packaging will be environmentally friendly. I REFUSE to make something that can’t be recycled or biodegrade. The prototype is bringing my future, The launch of Authentic Beauty Cosmetics. This line will be non-toxic AND of the highest quality possible. There have been so many people that have been instrumental to our success. I am afraid to start naming names because I will forget someone I am sure. When I look to the future I am clear. I believe this year will be the best one yet. Makeup Lounges and beauty Bars are gaining momentum. We will have our 3 in 1 Magic Foundation ready for sale, our signature looks will be happening, we will renovate the salon and we will be ready to expand to location number 2. I want to thank EVERYONE who is a part of this. I cannot transform the way the beauty industry does business on my own.

The events and accolades over the past 4 years:

Makeup Artist for Eve Ensler, playwright Vagina Monologues and momma to V-day #onebillionrising

Most Eligible Shoot Jezebel Magazine  Makeup Team 2008

Featured Beauty Shopper Jezebel Magazine 2008

Q100 Shout out from Jessica Dauler as the Brow Guru of Atlanta

Makeup and Brows for Jenn Hobby of Q100

Personal Makeup Artist for Laura Turner Seydel

Personal Makeup for Beth Weitzman editor of Jezebel Magazine/Modern Luxury

Best of What’s New Jezebel Magazine 2009

Beauty Writer for Piedmont Review

Best Makeup Artist by Jezebel Magazine 2010

Best of Beauty Brows/Atlanta Allure Magazine 2010,2011, 2012

Most Creative Atlantan voted by Common Creativ ( Top 20 I think)

Over 40 & Fabulous Best Self Magazine

Woman of Power & Influence Atlantan Magazine

Featured Speaker at Survivor’s Day SEGO (South Eastern Gynecological Oncology)

Speaker for Tory Johnson’s Spark and Hustle and personal makeup for when she’s in town (she also was the fire under my butt to make the makeup!)

Educator for Elaine Sterling Institute of Esthetics

Panel Member for the Makeup Forever Pro Tour

Pure Fashion Presenters ( Four Years)

Celebrity Dance Challenge Participant EDIN

Featured on Jean Chatzky’s Blog

Featured in the AJC

Sponsor for the Get the Lead Out Event to benefit the Environmental Working Group

There are just so many many opportunities I have had and I can barely name them all.

The mentors I have had WOW

Means Davis

T Harv Eker (without Millionaire Mind none of this would be possible)

Landmark Education (specifically Janet Malzahn who yelled at me when I was 22 and changed my life-Becky Robins and David Fisher and Sheryl Jeter)

Christine Comaford

Keith Cunningham

Wendy Watkins

Kurt Bonatz

Stacey Anderson

Robyn Spizman

Laura Seydel
Meg Reggie
Kathleen Plate

There are just too many to name. Thank you if you are not on this list

And to my family. My children who have had to endure all that we have been through to get where we are. To my brother, sister, mother, stepfather, stepmother and father who have supported me in every way and to my husband Charlton who told me I could do it and held my hand even when it was really really bad.

To all you Authentic Beauties: Thank you for following the call! You have made your way in the studio because you are an Authentic Beauty. It is because of you I work so hard. You are all beautiful inside and out. I am privileged to be a part of your life. There are over two thousand of you now and the number keeps growing. Thank you for being a part of this journey, for spending your money with us and for telling your friends. When this is all said and done you will be able to say that you helped transform the way the beauty industry does business.

 

 

 

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Conclusion: Celebrity Dance Challenge

I want to thank EVERYONE for all your support and encouragement. From the moment I agreed to do EDIN’s Celebrity Dance Challenge you all made sure to ask how training was going and tell me how great I would do.When it came time to vote you all came out in droves! And on performance day many of you emailed, texted, posted on my facebook wall and even SHOWED UP at the theater to cheer me on.

Being a celebrity on a dance challenge is everything you think it is. I watched Dancing With the Stars this season asn I have a profound respect for both the dancers and the celebrities. I only had to do ONE dance that I had 2 months to train for. I can’t imagine having to do a new dance EVERY week. Wow.

What I did get the opportunity to experience was being paired with an AMAZING dance partner who will be my friend for life. Jeffrey Scott Bailey held my hand and me together. Every week he pushed me and empowered me. It was so so so much fun to dance with him every week. And to be honest, I never read his bio until after the event. This guy’s bio reads like a who’s who. He made it fun and it showed on stage. We were in synch and laughed through the whole thing.

When we finally got the the final dress rehearsal on the Friday evening before the event I was sooo nervous I couldn’t stand it. I was really scared! Thank you to Bubba Carr for talking me through it and calming me down. It is one thing to do it in a studio laughing and another thing on a STAGE looking at to seats knowing an audience will be watching.

In the final moments we also decided to pull a costume change. We had planned all along for me to dress like Judy Garland in “Get Happy”. She wore a double breasted jacket with short heels and fishnet stockings. For whatever reason I just couldn’t find the right jacket and the heels just didn’t look or feel right. Jeffrey tells me the night before, ” I put on my version of the outfit and I looked like a choir boy. Let’s do 80’s punk”. We were dancing to One Night in Bangkok from the play Chess. He informed me he was wearing his boots. “Well, if you are wearing your boots, then I am wearing mine”, I told him. I own platform boots from my heavy metal concert days. Now, keep in mind that I had not practiced in these. These boots make me over 6 feet 2 inches.

I went home that night and practiced in my garage. I felt better in the boots than I did in the small heels! Now if I could just land the cartwheel. I got to the theater early on Saturday and practiced over and over. I didn’t miss once. What the hell!

Jeffrey and I were first on. I don’t know how we managed to get that honor but I guess it was better to get it over with.

I wasn’t really nervous. I just wanted to be done. I went for it and I felt good about it. I gave it my all. I worked REALLY hard to prepare for this. I am NOT a dancer but I tell you, I will be taking classes next year because hands down this was one of the most fun experiences I have had. I got to breakthrough in ways I never imagined.

I didn’t win but for me I was happy I got to participate. Ginair McKerrow was the winner. She did a beautiful contemporary piece. I was thrilled for her. She is a friend and an Authentic Beauty Client so we had weeks of cheering each other on! All the other “celebrities” who competed danced their hearts out. I especially loved Samantha Mohr, of the Weather Channel‘s performance.

Hands down it was one of the best experiences I have had. In addition I used it as an opportunity to get myself fit again. I am in the gym 4-5 days a week and have dropped a size or 2. I feel really good.

Thank you again for all your encouragement!  Here is the video. (this video was taken by my daughter. There was no professional videographer). ENJOY!

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Celebrity Dance Challenge Part 3: My former life as a personal trainer.

My Fitness Personal Training Dec 2003

I have two children, Zach who is about to turn 18 and Quinn who just turned 16. Zach was born in 1993 and weighed 10.6 pounds. I gained 75 pounds. I remember spotting a scale after I delivered on my way to my hospital room and despite the fact I could barely move, I walked myself to that scale only to discover I had only lost 15 pounds post delivery. NOT GOOD.

I had Quinn 23 months later. I gained 85 pounds with her. Here’s the thing, I was sick BOTH pregnancies with a nausea that is beyond anything I have ever experienced up to this point in my life. The only thing that made me feel better was bread and depending on the day it was a baguette or crackers. I was tested for diabetes and other issues but my body was doing what it needed to do.

Post pregnancy #1 I went to the gym and took classes. I felt pretty good about where I was at by the time I was pregnant with #2 I was within 10 pounds of where I started. However, post delivery with #2 I could tell my body had changed. Everyone said I looked good but when I saw pictures of myself I had flabby arms. Never in my life! I was an athlete! That was how I pictured myself and that was not how I was looking. And to top it off I couldn’t get out of the house. The 2 kids 23 months apart rendered me useless. I found managing an infant and a 2 year old the hardest thing I have ever had to do. At one point my friends did an intervention. I hadn’t gotten out of my red robe for weeks. They made me get dressed.

I decided the gym would be a good idea. It would get me out of the house. The hour for working out and the SHOWER! The uninterrupted time in the SHOWER while the kids were in the childcare room. Ahhh. I made the gym a regular occurrence, and slowly I became more fit. It was 1996 and personal training was becoming more popular.

I had never weight trained before. As a cyclist it was discouraged to add extra muscle weight (STUPID) so I only trained my legs in the winter for 3 months.  I had no idea any of the principals or understanding of physiology. However, I watched the trainers at the gym and decided I would use someone to help me get back in shape since my body was not bouncing back.

Allen was my trainer. Within 4 months of training I had a better body then I did when I was in college. I felt strong and fit and saw amazing definition. I watched the trainers work and I thought I could do that! I had a sports  background, I was a great motivator, I was comfortable being a person’s personal space AND my kids could stay in the childcare room while I worked!!!!  I asked Allen how you became a trainer… Answer: you take a nationally certified test. I became certified and was hired to work at Ladies Workout Express in East Cobb (Marietta).

I spent 10 years in East Cobb as a personal trainer. I learned so much about my own personal fitness, how to build a clientele, how to motivate others and hold them accountable. I worked my way up to nearly 30 clients and many of those I had over 8-10 years. I miss training today.

When I left personal training I was 12-15% body fat. I weighed 155 pounds. What that means: I had 18.6-23.25 pounds of fat on my body and the rest was lean mass. No one ever believed I weighed that much. I was a size 6….or as I like to say a size 6 with a size 8 butt. 🙂 That was my genetic potential. Meaning there was no dieting or exercising myself any thinner. That was it.

I never anticipated I would stop training all together. When I started Authentic Beauty I was working out in the gym at least 6 hours a week plus on the bike time. It varied when I stopped racing but I was still on it 4 times a week an hour or two or three at a time.

Launching Authentic Beauty was like having a child that needed full time attention 24 hours a day. I found myself for the first time EVER sedentary. I was in front of the computer or in front of the chair doing brows 24-7, I ate bad food…actually, I ate NO food all day and then ate event food and drank more alcohol than I ever did in college.

What I learned while I was training. DON’T GET ON THE SCALE. It does not tell the whole picture. You must test your body fat and do measurements. Feel your clothes.

I truly believe we are, as Americans, body image obsessed. After working with Alison Cross, the co-founder of Project Authentic Beauty and founder of the Body Beauty and Bravery Project and being made aware of how disordered we all are by buying into this STUPID unrealistic standard of beauty and in my case the unhealthy obsession with being thin for my sport; I used to measure EVERY morsel that went into my mouth…..this was normal. I  realized  how NOT normal this was. Alison is an EXPERT eating disorder specialist and LPC. She was telling me I had a LOT of warning signs. How could this be? I was a health advocate.

I observed my obsession with my food. It took a while but I definitely had a break through.

However, I used launching this business as an excuse to eat poorly and ignore my well being. Yes, it did require my full attention as a child would. But the child just turned 4. How many women have you heard they never lost the baby weight? And the baby is 10? It is NOT healthy to have a large percentage of body fat in proportion to your lean mass.

When I was asked to participate in the Dance Challenge I promised myself I would not become obsessed. This event is to benefit EDIN- the Eating Disorders Information Network.An organization that is COMMITTED to healthy body image and self-esteem in girls. They provide a much needed perspective on food and eating among other important things.

How I have reframed my position on losing weight: BECOME HEALTHY. BECOME FIT. It is not about the scale. However, I knew I needed a baseline to begin this training. I got on the scale. I gained 25 pounds since I stopped training!!!!  I took a deep breath. My measurements: I gained a few inches on my hips and waist but the biggest surprise: 4 inches in my chest and let’s be clear that is not in my boobs. WOW.

So how do you get fit and healthy and not obsess? You go back to basics. What I know? You weight train 2-3 times a week and do the same for cardiovascular activity. You make sure you eat every 2-3 hours healthy foods that nourish your body.

So far I am down over 10 pounds and an entire dress size.

In the next entry I am going to share what I am doing. I have a LOT of wonderful resources that were not around when I was a trainer. I discovered so many cool things.

What I love most about training again: FEELING STRONG AND BALANCED and energized. Looking good isn’t a bad thing either.

TO PURCHASE FOR THE TICKETS FOR DECEMBER THE 3RD CELEBRITY DANCE CHALLENGE  CLICK HERE

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Celebrity Dance Challenge Part 2/ Cycling My Passion!!!!!

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Once upon a time I was an athlete. From the time I can remember I was riding my big wheel, climbing trees and jungle gyms. I started gymnastics when I was five,  raced track, played tennis on the boy’s team in High School and then I found cycling.

I had a guy friend who rode his bike from Albany, NY to Cape Cod. Everyone thought he was crazy. However, since I lived in the middle of nowhere (for a few years I lived on the Vermont border in New York) in order to see my friends, and since my Dad couldn’t drive me, I got on the bike and rode. I thought, “If Chris can ride to Cape Cod, I can ride down the street”-even if down the street meant a 2 mile climb straight uphill on the way back.

I began riding my bike everywhere. It didn’t matter how far or how long it took me. I kept breaking frames and my Dad kept buying me bikes. At 16 I was riding 100 miles one way to volunteer for the 6 Day Advanced Course ( A week long ropes course focusing on breaking through where you stop in life). I think about it now and I don’t think it was a good idea with the fact I had a bad bike, no extra tubes or knew how to change a flat,  just in case I got a flat, no cell phone etc. But I did it anyway and those were some of the happiest moments of my life. I never felt freer, more alive and accomplished.

It was the summer of 1984 and it was Olympic year. I LOVE the Olympics. I love what it stands for. I love to watch athletes from all over the world come together and give it their all after preparing every minute of every day for their sport. I was watching one day and the announcer said, “Stay tuned for Women’s Cycling, an inaugural event”. WHAT? A sport???  CYCLING IS A SPORT??  I had no idea that it was. I didn’t know people raced their bikes or that the Tour de France existed.  I began investigating this “sport”.

That’s when I wrote Bicycling Magazine and asked them “how do you break into this sport????”.  My question was published in their magazine. Pre- internet you had to go to your local bike store and they were the ones that passed on where the races were. I found a great store, bought a new bike (thanks Dad) and found a race.

I raced my first race. I had no idea what I was doing and I crashed. I was strong enough to hang in but had no idea what to do when turning a corner at 25mph. LOL. I hit a hay bale in front of a fire hydrant. Ouch!

I rode my bike over 250 miles a week for several years and throughout my college experience. I looked for people who rode and any races I could go to. I still had no idea what I was doing but I absolutely LOVED riding my bike. My senior year however, I still hadn’t figured out how to get into the sport (this was 1988) and I quit. I sold all my gear and I was bitter.

I didn’t get on a bike again until 1996.

The summer of 1996 the Olympics were coming to Atlanta. I was mad! I had an almost 1 and 3 year old and the last thing I needed to be reminded of was riding. Olympic fever almost alluded me until the torch was just outside of Atlanta. I couldn’t stand it! I called up Randstad, the staffing company and said put me in the middle of all of it. I worked a beer cart at Underground. SOOOO MUCH FUN!  The magic and aliveness of the Olympics will be embedded in my memory forever.

The Women’s Road Race was on a Sunday. I didn’t have to be to work until after noon so I thought, “I’ll just go watch a lap”. Well, I stood near Christ the King Church on Peachtree and as the riders turned the corner from Peachtree Battle with the helicopters overhead, I lost it. I remembered how much I loved this sport. I called in sick and I watched the whole race and made my way to the finish to watch a 38 year old woman win the gold. I was inspired and decided right then and there I was going to ride again.

Somehow I managed to find the right bike at the time, the right bike shop and joined the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training. I signed up to ride 111 miles for the Tour de Tucson the following November (which I did my first race in 5 hours and 55 min) and in the meantime I received my certification to become a personal trainer.

I wanted to be in the Olympics more than anything. I raced for over 8 years. I trained at 5 am when I had to. I would train all morning, sometimes riding 75 miles and then do makeup all afternoon.  I had to lie to my ex husband. I begged everyone I knew to watch my kids for just a few hours so I could train. I made some of the most lasting friendships (love you Tricia O’Brien-it was at her wedding I met my husband Charlton who was an AMAZING cyclist). And in the end when I finally made a team that could have helped me become the best I was capable of they didn’t ask me to return for a second year because they didn’t want to “ask me to take time away from my family”. I was devastated.

I also realized that I was NEVER going to be in the Olympics. I was sad and I needed to figure out for me what life was like not figuring out how to get a workout in every day.

I will tell you….when I hear someone say I don’t have enough time…I hear… I am not willing to do what it takes; I will not choose….. I had 2 children who were little. I still made it home to make dinner. I read stories and gave them baths. They saw their mom compete and work hard. They went to my races. One vivid memory I have is of my son sticking his head out the car window and yelling, “Get your butt up the hill MOM!!!”  I still think about that and I smile.

I created my life to support my cycling. If you are committed, anything is possible. Maybe not the Olympics but close. 🙂

Next entry: Personal Training, 11 years dedicated to others fitness compared to the last four years launching Authentic Beauty and not working out for the first time in my adult life…STAY TUNED

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Celebrity Dance Challenge Part 1

Recurring memory:  I am 13 years old in theater classes at the prestigious Empire State Youth Theater Institute.  I LOVED  this program. (I always thought I was going to be an actress when I grew up). I took the city bus to downtown Albany, NY and went to class in the theater on the capital concourse known as the “Egg” every Saturday morning.  We were required to take dance in the morning. It didn’t matter that I was told for most of my life that Grace was not my middle name.  Our dance instructor is Ka-ren, not Karen. She was from England, spoke with a British accent and was a fierce ballerina.

Karen, although beautiful could be extremely cruel. When at the barre, if my stomach was sticking out, should would flick it, never explaining that if I held my core (or taking the time to explain to me what my core was) my posture would be better. I was already conscious about my “pooch” as I was a sensitive teen. But the most vivid memory I have is of practicing a routine. I loved to be in the front row (can you imagine?). I was never any good at memorizing the dance numbers we did but if I could follow someone, I was great! A new girl had been in the class a few weeks. She had a dance background and I LOVED following her. She was talented at dance the way I was at theater. Then one day in the middle of a routine, Ka-ren singled me out in front of the entire class and made me do it by myself. I couldn’t do it.  I was humiliated and I never wanted to be in the front row again and then I never wanted to dance in a class again. I dropped out of the Institute and I don’t think I ever took a group dance class again.

I found out a few years after that Karen had killed herself. I wasn’t happy to hear that although she caused me so much pain and humiliation.

My younger sister took dance most of her youth and I think she even takes adult classes to this day. I found my physical self-expression in gymnastics and later in cycling and in personal training. Bottom line, I became an athlete and saved my dancing for the dance floor at a club.

Every year Authentic Beauty helps EDIN (Eating Disorders Information Network) with their Celebrity Dance Challenge, a fundraising event for their important organization very much like Dancing With the Stars. It is awesome to watch all the local celebrities give it their all and become dancers. Some better than others, but ALL having fun and dancing passionately. I thought “good for them”. I will NEVER do that. I enjoy my support roll doing makeup BACKSTAGE.

I attended a luncheon with Lisbeth Rhine, Edin’s administrator in January who looked at me and said, “You should dance this year”. I laughed at her and DID NOT take her seriously. A few months later again, “Be a dancer” and then finally one last request this summer. I guess they really are serious.

FIRST….I am NOT celebrity enough to do this.

TWO I have not danced (formally) since I was 13.

THREE, even though I WAS an athlete (another blog) I am NOT now

FOUR, how can I find the time……

And then I found myself saying yes. I will give you the reasons why:

ONE: Do you remember the quote about doing something once a year that scares you? This SCARES me. I can jump out of planes, go over 55mph on a bicycle downhill, open a business in a BAD economy, attend a course called Enlightened Warrior, but ask me to dance on stage….FORGET IT!  So I thought about really understanding and knowing the power that comes from breaking through personal and physical limitations this has both for me.

TWO: EDIN is my sister non-profit. I visited them when I first launched Authentic Beauty and the administrator at the time listened to what I had to say and said, “Just wanted to make sure you aren’t LIPSTICK EMPOWERMENT”. I think I am to a certain degree lol. EDIN informs girls about the danger of obsessing over their bodies and give strategies and information to our girls so that they can make healthy choices, in addition to giving all kinds of support and information to anyone who is dealing with an eating disorder.  Project Authentic Beauty’s Director ( AB’s non-profit initiative), Alison Cross has over 15 years of experience with Eating Disorders. She designed our Body, Beauty and Bravery seminar and PAB to empower girls and women to feel beautiful from the inside out. EDIN is our sister organization in having that mission become a reality.

THREE: I needed a PERSONAL goal. I have business goals up the wazoo. If you all didn’t know I was a personal trainer for over 10 years, I was a competitive cyclist for 8. I have the Olympic Motto tattooed on my ankle (citius, altius, fortius). I was/am out of shape. I know myself that in having a goal I will transform myself…..

FOUR: I wanted to inspire those of you out there who know how busy I am with the business, my clients, the events, my family (two teens and a husband) that you can do something like this if you commit. It is all about the commitment and taking action.

I will talk in the next blog about what my history was as an athlete, a personal trainer, AFTER delivering a 10 pound baby and weighing 210 pounds at the time of delivery. AND now current state of CEO and business owner and not having the time to exercise consistently…….and having gained 25 POUNDS since giving up personal training and starting AB 5 years ago!!!!!

I will show you pictures and tell the story! STAY TUNED…. I will also tell you how I am getting in shape and becoming fit at 43 in preparation for this dance. I will share about my rehearsals with my amazing partner Jeffrey Scott Bailey.

I have already discovered MANY MANY MANY resources in this journey already.

Looking forward to sharing this with you all.

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