An Award-Winning Social Media Strategist, Producer and Personal Publicist, Joy Kennelly has covered the worlds of entertainment, red carpet events, celebrities, travel, technology, food festivals and fashion including the last six years of LA Fashion Week, in her page one Google blog, Pure, Unadulterated Joy.
For more information, please review: http://about.me/joykennelly
Please send any invites, tips and inquiries to: joyannatravel (at) gmail (dot) com
Recently, I had the wonderful experience of staying on a farm in the middle of Montana literally out in the middle of nowhere. It took over an hour to get into town and that was partly on dirt and gravel roads. It was heaven to be away from the smog, traffic, and certain things in LA.
While there, we had the opportunity to experience the most amazing wild caught salmon and organic skirt steak shipped directly to our door courtesy the publicist for Greensbury Market, an online grocery store with the most amazing array of fresh meats. Our order arrived frozen within a few days and as the publicist mentioned, it was in perfect condition.
Having gone to school in Seattle and worked for numerous catering companies in the area that served salmon, I knew what good salmon tasted like, but this was even better tasting because of the wildness of the flavor. I prepared it with a sweet soy sauce and served it broiled with wild rice on the side. Have to admit, was so hungry and this smelled so good, completely forgot to take pictures! My bad!
I had to hit the road prior to experiencing the skirt steak, but my friend enjoyed it a few days later with her husband cooking it with onions and said it was quite delicious. Here's how Greensbury prepared it - doesn't it make you hungry?
I was impressed at how fresh everything was and the ease in receiving this deep in the prairie. I'm sure it will be even easier to receive it in your neighborhood! Here's a little video that describes their story:
Our organic meat satisfies all USDA organic regulatory standards. This means our cattle have year-round access to the outdoors, are never subject to genetic engineering, are fed certified organic feed, and raised on certified organic land.
Our cattle are raised on small, family-run farms where they enjoy a grass-fed and grass-finished diet. They freely roam and are fed only grass and forage for their entire lives.
Our cattle live their lives the way nature intended. They spend the duration of their lives freely roaming on open pastures and are even provided with optional shelter in cases of inclement weather.
Our chickens are raised on feed that is made entirely from plant materials and free of animal by-products.
Our seafood is sourced from oceans and fisheries that are certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or rated either “Green” or “Yellow” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
Our animals are raised in a manner that conserves natural resources and biodiversity using systems and techniques that conserve and protect the environment.
My review of the Railroad Park Resort is biased because I've known the owners, Mark & Mary Lilley, for a very long time and know they ran a very successful campground elsewhere for about 30 years. They know what they're doing and it makes me happy to see them take on this very fun adventure here in Dunsmuir. For those who don’t know where Dunsmuir is, it’s just below the Oregon border, past Medford, on the northernmost part of California, above Shasta Lake in an area called Siskiyou (Siss Kew.)
According to the visitor site for Siskiyou: “Presiding over it all is Mount Shasta – the 14,179′ strato volcano that towers 10,000 over the surrounding area – and provides a ready playground for climbers, skiers, hikers and sightseers of all stripes.”
It reminds me a little of The Grand Budapest Hotel film, although Grand Budapest is hilarious! If you haven't seen it yet, you simply must! The views of the countryside are sumptuous, the acting superb, the cinematography amazing and the plot-line hysterical. For mature audiences only. Helps if you're a fan of Wes Anderson's directing too.
I also thought the Railroad Park Resort would be a great place for a conference because each of the 23 cabooses are independent, there's also six large cabins, an RV Park attached, multiple attached fine dining cars, and a very cute gift shop. Many of the cabooses include double beds, queen and king if memory holds true. Check out the website for exact details though because all the real details are there: http://www.rrpark.com/
Railroad Park Resort grounds
We enjoyed breakfast the next day and it was very hearty. Can you tell I like hearty?:) You don't have to stay here to dine either so if you're craving a unique night out with the Mrs., pop in.
Joy goofing around
Owners Mark & Mary Lilley enjoying breakfast here
Breakfast, dinner and a bar. What more could you want?
Each caboose is as it was originally, but with some enhancements to the restrooms because apparently when they were working cabooses your restroom would have been the size of a closet! LOL Now they're normal size and come with a shower or bathtub depending on your preference. Again, check the website because then you can choose which one suits you. Just know, it's a little hard to find when driving north because semi's often block the signs for the exit. I would mark it on your GPS to keep an eye out to make it simple. There's great signage heading south and it's very easy to find. Just look for Railroad Park Road exit. There's also a RV camp so pick your poison!:)
It's a fun, unique experience as you're driving between CA and the Pacific Northwest. It's reasonably priced, there's specials and I would encourage you to check it out! Mary and Mark are great and will take great care of you!
Having each lived in New York City at one point, we've both definitely dozed off inside trains before.
But sleeping on the subway or on a commuter train definitely lacks the romance of yesteryear. So when we discovered Railroad Park Resort — a lodge made entirely of antique railroad cars — we signed up pretty much immediately.
We got there right before sunset and asked the friendly desk agent where the best place to get a view of nearby Mount Shasta would be, and she literally just pointed up the road.
This place was pretty much a one-stop shop of gorgeous views.Continue reading here.
Here's another fun travel video produced by Go There Media which gives a nice overview of everything there is to see and do in and around the Railroad Park Resort, but please note, there are now 23 cabooses since this was filmed:
Sharing this because my very talented writer/director friend, John David Ware, has created a beautiful film entitled "Unbridled," (available in Nov., all rights intact) and will be participating at AFM. "Unbridled" has won festival awards in many categories including Acting, Best Film, Best Director and Best Score.
UNBRIDLED is a girl-and-her-horse thriller that tackles the hot-button, global social issue of human trafficking. Sarah (Tea McKay) eludes her captors and temporarily hides and finds healing at an equine-assisted therapy ranch.
“A surprisingly sensitive film, stripped of the visual agony of what these girls have suffered. Ware is careful to keep 'Unbridled' low-key and straightforward, never dipping into contrivances the premise might encourage.” (ThatMomentIn.com)
Featuring such stars as T.C. Stallings (“War Room” $90M), Eric Roberts (Dark Knight $533M), Dey Young (Flicka, $21M Red Eye $57M, Pretty Woman $178M), Lindsley Register (The Walking Dead, House of Cards) Jenn Gotzon (God’s Not Dead 2, $21M), UNBRIDLED introduces Tea McKay.
“McKay is very convincing, a natural, believable actress with good presence. She’s easily identifiable for teens and all (characters are) portrayed with great authenticity.” (ThatMomentIn.com)
A PG-13 rating is expected. The film is not visually graphic and is suitable for families with tweens on up.
Sarah (Tea McKay) is abused by a sex trafficker in her own home. She fights, but is overpowered by her mother’s new boyfriend, Roger, (Eric Roberts – The Dark Knight). Sarah’s mother, Karen (Dey Young – Pretty Woman) looks the other way. Roger toys with police Detective Sangrin (T.C. Stallings –War Room), who is desperate to find his own missing daughter.
Sarah escapes from Roger with help from some friends; including a boy she likes named Kenny (David Topp – Beverly Hills Canine Country Club).They guide her to The Academy, a safe place where she meets a mysterious horse, whose harrowing journey parallels her own. Sarah meets a closed group of young girls, who make her prove herself before being accepted. Her relationship with the horse promises healing until Roger is freed from jail. Sarah's life hangs in the balance as he hunts her down to re-join his dark empire. “UNBRIDLED” is inspired by a North Carolina Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program called Corral.
The teaser has 462,000 organic views on Facebook and YouTube and a rabid fan base. The team have identified at least three distinct audience segments: Horse Lovers, Anti-Human Traffic (Endorsements from The Salvation Army and Passage Out, etc.), and Faith-Based audiences.
The Director (Ware) can leverage a vast, worldwide network of filmmakers. He has built this network since 2003 through his amazing 168 Film Project which has launched 18,000 filmmakers. He has excellent ties to high level entertainment executives, faith-based organizations and churches, all who will get behind this film.
If this is of interest to you, John will have good availability starting the morning of Friday, Nov. 3 during AFM.
Millions of LAX passengers will now reach their connecting flights more quickly and conveniently, thanks to a brand-new, $148-million facility at the airport.
The Terminal 4 Connector is a new piece of the LAX Central Terminal Area that connects the airport’s south side terminals — Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 — with the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT).
Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) officials to announce the opening of the facility on September 29,2016. The Terminal 4 Connector saves valuable time by giving travelers a direct, post-security route between terminals. Joy Kennelly was there representing JDV Travel and enjoyed hearing everyone speak at this historic event. It's the first of many upgrades scheduled for LAX.
The Terminal 4 Connector is part of a broader $14-billion LAX modernization that includes an airport rail system, a new rental car facility and capital renovations to eight out of the airport’s nine terminals. In total, the modernization program is creating more than 120,000 local jobs, and adding more than $20 billion to the economy.
Previously, passengers needed to exit one terminal and re-enter another through federal security screening to catch their connecting flights. “LAX is one of the driving forces of our economy, supporting more than 600,000 jobs — that’s why we’re investing $14 billion right now to make it one of the world’s premier airports,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The Terminal 4 Connector will make international travel easier and more seamless for millions of passengers, and help us continue to expand our global reach.”
The new facility enables domestic passengers arriving at the south side terminals to catch international connecting flights at TBIT without going back through TSA security. It gives international passengers arriving at TBIT — who, by law, must rescreen their bags once they have cleared customs — an expedited security screening area that connects directly with the south side terminal concourses.
TBIT and the south side terminals hosted a combined 52.3 million passengers last year — about 70 percent of all the passengers who passed through LAX.
“The Terminal 4 Connector not only makes LAX more accommodating for travelers, it also displays our City’s dedication to building environmentally friendly infrastructure,” said City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who chairs the Council’s Innovation, Grants, Technology, Commerce and Trade Committee. “It sets a powerful precedent for future projects to uphold the same green standards and increase energy conservation.”
The opening of the Terminal 4 connector is a significant milestone in the effort to create post-security connections between all LAX terminals.
Future plans include another connector between TBIT and Terminal 3, and walkways between Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
"Today, we are dramatically improving the guest experience at LAX, and this connector will serve an important role by helping travelers save time,” said LAWA Chief Executive Officer Deborah Flint. “They will benefit from the freedom to move between terminals, where they can access more shopping and dining options, as well as other guest amenities.”
For more information about LAX, please visit www.lawa.aero/lax or follow on Twitter @flyLAXAirport, on Facebook www.facebook.com/LAInternationalAirport, and on YouTube at www.YouTube.com/laxairport1. Information about LAX’s ongoing multi-billion-dollar LAX Modernization Program, as well as tips and shortcuts to help navigate LAX during construction, are available at www.LAXisHappening.com. Photo Credit for Full Terminal 4 Connector Ceremony, Connecting Seatbelt image and terminal walkway by Michael Justice
Life has gotten progressively better and better. Had a wonderful visit with my Aunt and Cousins in Colorado while exploring opportunities for group travel in Glenwood Springs and Boulder. Having difficulty transferring pix from my phones to my computer and for awhile lost my camera, but it's coming back together soon. Thus, no pix for now unfortunately.
Also, been reading great books that are inspirational like Jessica Jackley's Clay, Water, Brick about her experiences with co-founding Kiva.org and ProFounder, which opened the door politically for current crowdfunding being approved by the government. She's extremely gifted, articulate, informative and connected.
Highly recommend reading her book if you're an entrepreneur seeking to do a global business like we are. What I enjoyed is the similarities in our backgrounds - raised in Christian homes, love East Africa, love helping disadvantaged people and more...
I really love learning and enjoyed hearing and learning from the British Social Media guru - Vincent Dignan who is really out there fashion-wise and how he conducts social media, but I'm telling you it works. Brilliant! Here's a tip for Instagram: Follow, like, like, like. Try it you'll like it.:)
Then, last weekend just completed another intensive media training program taught by Ann DeVere called Turn Your Interviews into Cash and met some really interesting people. Learned a lot too and can't wait to apply it.
May work with one woman I met to produce a business cruise if we decide to move forward with that idea. Another woman and I might collaborate on medical tourism. You never know what comes out of attending events is what I find.:)
My motto is Always be Learning and Growing.
Otherwise, living my life and enjoying each day despite having a leg injury that the ER docs haven't been able to explain or discover why I have it. All I know is I thought I was better, went out with my crutches for an evening event, and then was worse immediately.
Needless to say, even though I'm feeling better, sticking on my crutches until I see my new Dr this week. Despite the toll it plays on my hands too. I'm falling apart I tell ya.:)
Sometimes I think we're given challenges to make us slow down and have time to process what we're doing in life and who should be in our circles. I chose to separate from certain people while bringing other people closer and continuing good relationships I value which has been very healthy and healing.
Doesn't mean the difficult ones will be gone forever, but as I'm healing from my Mom's death, needed the mental space to focus on taking care of myself and get my life going again. You can't build when you're surrounded by negative energy that's always tearing you down. Feel much lighter now.
Busy pitching agents, angels, friends and others in an effort to get funding underway. There's so much more I could be doing if I could afford to bring in help and ramp up certain technological and marketing aspects.
In the meantime, just plugging away and grateful to Ariel Barco for his technical support and friendship as we change things up behind-the-scenes. Hire him! Great IT professional: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ariel-b-3438a750
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go read my book on The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan S. Kennedy.
I always know it's time to write when I keep going over what I want to convey for days at a time. I don't know if other writers do this, but I write my articles in my head first, edit and refine them and then they spill over when I sit down to actually put "pen to paper" so to speak.
However, this time, even though I've been mulling what I want to say about grief and the loss of my mom for the past week and longer, my thoughts are still jumbled, I haven't figured it all out, nor am I sure I want to.
Hopefully, by writing my thoughts down it will begin to make sense - at least to me.
Reader, hate to break it you, but you're just along for the ride...:)
As in the words of Counting Crows Big Yellow Taxi song, "Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone" this best describes my feelings and experiences since losing my little Mom this past May 1, 2016.
I never realized how much I counted on her until losing her. She was my best friend, my cheerleader, my confidante, my driver when I needed her to be, my travel companion, my IT department, my assistant, my mentor, my travel advisor, my spiritual advisor, my friend I sat with at church, my friend I went out to eat with like here in this picture at the Long Beach Lobster Festival, my mover, my car buyer, my apartment hunter, my solace, and my heart.
I miss her so much and each day when I think it can't hurt any more than when she first died, something else reminds me of how much I depended on her to be there for me.
Like now, hobbling around on crutches with a strained calf muscle. As if not being able to fully use my hands isn't bad enough. Sometimes you are forced to slow down and feel regardless of whether you want to or not.
I'm participating in my church's Grief Share program which has been very comforting. It's nice to have a place to go each week where it's ok to cry, share memories, learn from a 45 min video featuring experts and others who have lost a loved one, and comfort others who are grieving too.
The corresponding workbook which provides 5 daily devotions and places to journal has been very encouraging too. It helps to get what's in my mind out and down on paper. And later, to be able to share what spoke to us most.
One of the recommended Grief Share tools is writing a grief letter to friends and family explaining what you're going through and how they might help. I didn't really want to do it, but after seeing my sink full of dirty dishes, my clean laundry still not put away after 3 days, and being unable to drive without more pain, realized maybe writing this blog would do the same thing.
Those who are interested in what I'm going through and how they might help will read my "grief letter."
Those who don't, won't.
And that's okay.
Losing my Mom has drastically affected my life in more ways than ever imagined. I remember when someone I was working with asked me how I was doing and at that point I was still in denial and said, "I'm fine."
But the longer it's been since my Mom died, the more I see that I'm not fine.
I will be down the road perhaps, but right now?
Not so fine. Not fine at all.
It may appear so when you see me smiling or doing something interesting, but it's always there, a heartbeat away from coming to the surface.
Grief apparently exacerbates your emotional state and causes intense reactions of anger, among other emotions. I'm experiencing this now and hope writing this will help those who have experienced my intense feelings of anger will give me grace and forgive me because I am having trouble controlling it, but am really working hard on healing in therapy as a result.
"Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.
There are many other emotions under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger is the emotion we are most used to managing. The truth is that anger has no limits. It can extend not only to your friends, the doctors, your family, yourself and your loved one who died, but also to God. You may ask, “Where is God in this? Underneath anger is pain, your pain.
It is natural to feel deserted and abandoned, but we live in a society that fears anger. Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss. At first grief feels like being lost at sea: no connection to anything. Then you get angry at someone, maybe a person who didn’t attend the funeral, maybe a person who isn’t around, maybe a person who is different now that your loved one has died. Suddenly you have a structure – – your anger toward them.
The anger becomes a bridge over the open sea, a connection from you to them. It is something to hold onto; and a connection made from the strength of anger feels better than nothing. We usually know more about suppressing anger than feeling it. The anger is just another indication of the intensity of your love."
In another book I recently read, When Parents Die, whose "topics range from the psychological responses to a parent's death such as shock, depression, and guilt, to the practical consequences such as dealing with estates and funerals," I learned some people don't experience the typical five stages of grief at all, or they bounce around like I seem to be doing.
I have family members who think if they just keep moving, doing, traveling and escaping this reality of their spouse/mother being dead they will get past the painful feelings, but what I see happening, and experts concur, you don't ever "get past them" you bury them and they show up later.
If you deny feelings of sadness, loss, and depression, then you're more apt to respond with no emotions, nor feel other emotions as fully, or react in anger that's much more than the situation you're angry with would normally involve.
I wonder now if my Dad losing his Father two days before I was born and possibly never really grieving that loss fully explains why we've always had a difficult, distant relationship whereas my sisters have not.
I'll never know because my Dad isn't in touch with his feelings enough to ever confirm or deny. That's just him and I'm learning to accept him as he is and have compassion on who he is because at 83 years old, he ain't changing much.:)
How my family handles their grief over Mom dying is their journey, not mine. All I know right now is, I can't be there for them, nor can I expect them to be there for me because none of us have anything to give each other. We may want to, but we just don't.
And that's okay too.
When my Mom first died, all I felt was numb, like I was going through the motions. I felt this way when I placed my son in adoption when he was first born and realize now, going through my Mom's death, my adoption was a very similar experience.
Even though he didn't die when I placed him in our open adoption, the experience and reality of being a full-time mother raising him died when I signed the final legal papers finalizing our adoption. The finality of it was deeply wounding, knowing I would not be raising my only child, and took years and years of therapy to heal.
It was every bit as much a loss/death to me as losing my Mom.
I was numb for weeks, so depressed I became suicidal only pulling out of it when I went on an antidepressant which caused me to gain weight I've never been able to lose, and drastically changed my career path causing me to shut down my short film festival because short films were a constant reminder of what I had lost.
I began writing for the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau and thought I would pursue a journalism career, but when I saw my paychecks and the amount of work and hours I put into writing at the level I like to write, I knew it wasn't sustainable and began looking for alternative careers.
Not to say I wouldn't write for them again on a freelance basis, but just not as a full-time career.
Having marketed filmmakers for five years, it was a natural career decision to begin repping entertainment clients as a publicist because I knew the language, I knew the players, I knew the media and I knew it intimately from many levels - fundraising, pitching, showcasing, selecting, gathering judges, experts and others to support my vision.
Pitching over 300 agents/managers to get my client representation? No biggie. Happy to do it.
Writing press releases that get placement in multiple media outlets? No problem.
My PR Mentor, Marcia Groff, taught me the fine points of writing a press release and media relations based on her years of experience repping numerous major music acts while working for EMI America Records as National Coordinator of Artist Relations working with Kenny Rogers, Sir Cliff Richard, Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton and David Bowie.
Plus, taking a PR certificate program at UCLA Extension, attending multiple seminars, classes and workshops also further refined and validated my expertise.
Approaching publishers at BEA to pitch my author client and my open adoption book? No problem.
Although I did find it ironic none of the Christian publishers wanted my adoption story because my son was born out-of-wedlock and didn't fit prescribed Christian thinking. Readers Digest was interested until they read the anger I had still not fully healed from after my adoption.
Only positive, life-affirming stories for them too I guess. However, my story then was real. It was raw. And it was what many birthmoms experience immediately after an adoption.
Only no one ever wants to hear it.
It would ruin their view of adoption because in life, only the adoptive parent's life experiences matter or are supported because they're dealing with raising a child not their own. Never mind the woman left behind dealing with the loss. We don't exist in many book aisles because publishers don't think anyone will care.
How wrong they are. I devoured every book I could find on what the birth mom's experience was like because I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. I wanted to know if my feelings were normal. I wanted to understand. To be understood.
I wanted to heal.
However, many of the books that were published were written in the 60's, only spoke about closed adoptions, weren't my life experience at all and even though I could relate to certain aspects, much of it was drastically different. That's why I wrote my book proposal and worked on getting published.
I had heard Jamie Lee Curtis was somehow related to adoption and managed to attend an event where she was speaking and gave her my first couple of chapters to read. She read it, called me, and because I was on the other line I didn't pick up for some reason and missed speaking to her. She was so kind and told me it was a very moving story and needed to be told. She didn't leave her number and I never contacted her again after that.
It was the kind of encouragement I needed to hear then and remembering it even now, I have a soft spot in my heart for her as a person, while continuing to admire her as an actress/author.
I don't think the timing was right for me then though and feel when it's right, it will happen. My (our) story will be told.
And I'll be ready for it.
I found when I would speak to women who had experienced adoption back in the 60's who would call into Rose Vista Maternity Home where I was living at the time while I healed those mothers were angry at me for suggesting adoption to the pregnant women who lived there because they had never processed or accepted their decision.
Many had had adoption forced upon them with no recourse. I would have hated that too!
However, that wasn't my experience. I was choosing adoption. I was choosing the parents to raise my son. I was choosing to be able to stay in touch.
I had choices.
They did not.
I understood their anger, their pain and their hurt, but it's always been my goal to share a positive story on adoption because even though it was devastating at the time it happened, I'm at peace with it now after much counseling, much activism and speaking to potential adoptive parents and adoptees with unresolved abandonment issues.
I knew what I wanted to give my son through our open adoption and feel we have a good relationship because of that.
I even flew to DC to speak at a conference which C-Span covered to show that there really are three choices when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. It doesn't have to only be abortion, or raising your child as a single parent. You can also lovingly place your child with a family who would love to raise your child with all the benefits, security and financial resources many birthmoms aren't able to provide at the time.
I had people come up afterward to speak to me who appreciated my simplicity of thought and sharing my experience so boldly. But the woman who touched me most was someone who came up after and wanted me to hear her personal experiences with her multiple adoptions.
Once she had shared, I hugged her and told her thank you for sharing, she turned around without a word, and left, silently disappearing into the crowd.
It was like all she wanted was someone to hear her and share her pain. I get that. Sometimes all I want is someone to hear me about my Mom and what I miss about her which is why I'm so grateful my aunt, my Mom's youngest sister, is there for me.
I can't discuss this with my sisters because they're dealing with their own grief and we're reacting in negative ways which aren't healthy for any of us. Despite outward appearances, my mother's death was an extremely hurtful, wounding experience among my immediate family for all of us. Pictures of us smiling belie the hurtful words and actions that happened then, but it's a memory nonetheless which is why I keep them.
It's been safer and healthier just to take the break I need to heal without them and even my Dad to a certain extent, I'm finding.
I kinda experienced this with one sister when I chose my adoption too. While we were caring for my Mom together while Mom was on her deathbed, Grace was shocked to hear I was still in communication with the adoptive family because she had assumed it would be over when I placed him with them.
Nope. We're still in each other's lives. For better or worse.:)
That's the misconception I think a lot of people have about the way adoptions can be handled now. I don't blame Grace for being ignorant, many are, but hopefully by my continuing to share my life experience with my open adoption and others too, we'll begin to remove the stigma and mystery surrounding this life choice.
I get to see my son grow up, hear about his life and hope to one day have more of a relationship with him when he's ready. I always chose to stay in touch because I never wanted him to doubt my love for him or the reason I chose adoption was because I didn't want him, but because I wasn't able to fully parent him in the way I was raised and wanted him to experience - with a loving Mother and Father.
Especially since he's bi-racial and felt he needed a positive male role-model growing up in today's society.
But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, my Mom's death and my subsequent loss.
The other interesting thing I've discovered about grief is that the longer you numb out on antidepressants, the longer it takes to heal. As a result, I worked hard to get off mine by gaining support through a therapist, my Grief Share group, a massage therapist, and friends who are sensitive to what I'm going through, having experienced the loss of a loved one themselves, or having backgrounds in psychology and healing.
My Psychiatrist could see I was in a much better place than when I had originally come into see him sobbing uncontrollably and agreed with me, just asking to touch base in a few months to see if I still feel good. I'm sure I will.
I like having my sex drive back. I like feeling again and being able to cry. It feels good to feel human, rather than repressed and inhuman. And my uncontrollable sobbing and negative thinking has diminished. Not gone completely, because I'm still grieving, but it's much less.
I learned about the repression and effects of antidepressants on the brain while watching TED talks on grief, which I highly recommend watching if you're going through a loss yourself. Very helpful information there.
Here's one I listened to which I liked, but there's numerous others too. Find one that speaks to you...
Check out www.ted.com for a WIDE variety of subjects, experts from all over the world and you will be amazed at how you grow and change after listening. I study topics I'm interested in like grief, travel, leadership and humor by fully immersing myself in a topic and listening to everything there is available.
You can watch however you like though. They're free and suited to how you want to learn and grow. Highly recommend checking it out. But that's my experience. May not be yours.
Having friends and group support doesn't protect you from feeling feelings of sadness, loss and anger which is why I know I still have a lot of work to do to heal. I've also recognized that the trauma I've carried throughout my life that I've never fully addressed is coming to the forefront during this time because the loss of my pillar of support, my Mom, makes me feel more vulnerable, more alone, and more aware of my need to grow and change and heal now more than ever.
Her death is also helping me clarify what I will and won't accept in my life which is healthy. It's changing the way I look at my remaining immediate family, lowering my expectations on them, and giving me the freedom to pursue healthier relationships that are nurturing, loving and supportive outside my immediate family.
As one of my friends said her friend told her, We may be born from our parents into the family we ended up in, but that doesn't mean we owe them anything to stay attached. So, I'm learning to detach with love and back away slowly. It's painful, I don't know how long I will do it, but as I heal and redefine who I am in the world without my Mom it's needed.
My Mom, although she was great in many ways, never believed I accomplished everything I had with my career. She constantly told me I was lying, even when I showed her my work and my clients as proof, and never attended any of the bigger career moments in my life like producing an awards ceremony on the backlot of Paramount Studios.
She even told me to stop putting so many accomplishments on my resume because no one would want to hire me. As a result, I began hiding parts of myself I felt would threaten employers, potential boyfriends and others to fit more into her acceptable view of what a female should be.
Despite the fact she was simply a hairstylist with only an AA Degree, never had any career experiences like mine and didn't understand my world at all, I wanted to please her though and secretly thought maybe she was right.
What's been interesting since her death is my choosing to finally reclaim who I fully am. I'm tired of downplaying what I've done, where I've been, and what I've accomplished. I've sacrificed a lot over the years, I've earned it and I'm proud of my life accomplishments.
I also decided to pursue becoming a TED Fellow because watching all the TED Talks while I did work that doesn't require my full brain, I heard people I could relate to, learn from, enjoyed hearing, and knew I would grow from being around. Who knows if they will accept me or not, but it really helped me to reframe my own life while filling out the application which took over 6 hours to complete.
As the Swahili sign we often saw while driving around Kenya said, Pole Pole. Slowly, slowly.
Or as the 12-step slogan says, Progress, not perfection.
I knew my Mom from the day I was born until her final breath which I was there to experience. I will always cherish the final months we were able to spend together. Normally she would forget my birthday, leave with the rest of my family to celebrate Christmas without me, leaving me to fend for myself alone and feeling abandoned, but this last Christmas was different.
She returned home early from visiting my sister in Austin while my Dad continued to stay for three weeks and it was just me and her.
She was sick and I took care of her bringing her soup, Gatorade, and making sure she was ok in between work.
She was thrilled to have time alone to play with her new sewing machine which you can see here that we're now trying to sell including the table and corresponding other pattern table.
I'm grateful my Mom was open to going to San Diego to visit my Aunt and surprised us both with special birthday cakes making this my first birthday in years that she actually acknowledged and celebrated. She even spoke with regret that she had never thought of doing this years earlier and promised that from that time on we would celebrate together again.
I will always cherish that time and the knowledge my little Mom loved me as much as I loved her.
There's more memories, but I think I've bent your ear enough and written enough for now. Thanks for reading all the way to here if you have. Look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below, or via email. I moderate comments and don't always see them though until later fyi.
I would especially love to hear from those of you who knew my Mom, or had met my Mom, because it has been really lovely to receive emails, cards, and texts with that encouragement and understanding point-of-view.
Just please don't tell me like my high school counselor, Shirley did, I liked your sister's talk better at the funeral. Not helpful, or what I want to hear. Thanks Shirley. LOL
I look forward to continuing to grow and heal and will write more later. Hopefully, on happier topics.
Talking about beauty can go in so many directions. If you're a feminist, you're supposed to hate the superficiality of it all and look like Betty Friedan or Gloria Steinem. Heavy sigh.
If you're a model, or an actress, that's all you're supposed to think about because that's how you make a living.
But if you're an ordinary woman, living a normal life, often times it's a way of expressing your femininity and simply enjoying the simple pleasures of being a woman.
In other cases, it's a matter of establishing a new path in life that signifies the end of something that hurt you, like ending a marriage in divorce and then cutting off all your hair to be or feel like someone new.
Or in my case, ending a 16 year relationship/friendship and adding extensions, like I did this summer.
I like entering contests because I read somewhere that not enough people do and as a result, you often have a better chance of winning that you think you do. That's how I won an iPad, tickets to the Hollywood Bowl and this summer, my long hair extensions from the Hair Dreams Makeover contest.
Now you have to understand, I'm not a long hair girl. Ever since I was a child with hair down to my elbows and got a snarl the size of a baseball near my ear, my Mom cut off my hair and from then on my hair has always been shoulder length or shorter.
Thinking back, I wonder how my Mom let my hair get that tangled without knowing it and making it stop sooner, but that's neither here nor there. I also will always wonder why she liked cutting all our hair really short like boys leading an African we were traveling near to think I was a boy while living and traveling in Africa. Thanks Mom. LOL I also had another African offer to buy me in marriage months later so there you have it.:)
Now I've known Danny and Aubrey of Studio DNA since the day Yelp launched in Santa Monica near their former salon and had my hair done there during Yelp's block party open house of all the businesses along the block; which was a whole lot of fun by the way. Yelp was clever at building community then and they're clever now.
My hair extensions became like a new pet I needed to take care of which took my mind off a lot of difficult things I was dealing with. I learned you're not supposed to wash it every day (like I was used to, having fine hair), and had to learn how to take care of coarse hair which felt sometimes like an alien object attached to my head.
I was given this wonderful Swim Spray by a publicist which helped make sure the chlorine didn't turn my hair green or make my skin smell which I'm sure avid swimmers will enjoy. It also helped my skin not be itchy. No wonder it won a Bronze award from the National Parenting Publications Association (NAPPA)
Here's the official pitch: "Invented by a swimmer, SwimSpray is a 100% natural Vitamin C-based technology which solves the problems chlorine leaves behind – strong chlorine odor; dry, itchy, and irritated skin; bleached, straw-like hair; etc. It was developed by a swimmer for swimmers." Read the inventor's story next.
"'I was ready to give up swimming because of the post-workout chlorine smell I always had,'" says Andrew Chadeayne, PhD and inventor of SwimSpray. After trying three or four other products in the market, Dr. Chadeayne, who holds a PhD in Chemistry from Cornell University, was determined to solve his problem. After months of research, he developed the all-natural formula used in SwimSpray to neutralize the chlorine hair and skin.
Dr. Chadeayne, a former Princeton University swimmer, was able to regain his collegiate form and become the 2011 U.S. Masters Swimming National Champion in the 200 Backstroke. "'SwimSpray allowed me to swim as much as I wanted with none of the usual chlorine-related side effects. I invented the product because, like many swimmers, I was tired of smelling like chlorine all the time.'"
To be honest, with the summer being hot into September, so was I and was very happy with this product. You can buy it yourself here: www.swimspray.com and at select swim shop partners.
Now the next thing I had to deal with with my new extensions was my hair not feeling clean when I didn't have the 30 minutes or more it would take to dry it afterward and had to leave the house hoping it wasn't too noticeable.
This too was solved by a fun publicist who sent me this pitch initially.
"Showering is so last year! Who needs water and all that hassle, when you can just as easily spritz on some dry shampoo and be on your way. Save water for the fishes."
She nailed it so well I immediately asked her to send me samples and soon was experimenting with dry shampoos from RUSK, Marc Anthony True Professional and Macadamia Professional. Now indulge me as I share the specs because a friend asked me and I didn't know, but since I know women care about this, here's the official information:
Deepshine® Color Care Invisible Dry Shampoo instantly cleanses and revives hair between shampoos by absorbing excess oil and odor, leaving a fresh, clean scent.
HOW IT WORKS: Deepshine® Color Care Invisible Dry Shampoo is formulated with ChromAveil™, a patented UV protection technology that helps preserve chemically-colored and natural hair color to extend the time between coloring sessions.
INGREDIENTS AND FUNCTIONS:
ChromAveil™ features a patented blend of ingredients known to protect chemically-colored hair and natural hair color from the damaging effects caused by exposure to sunlight.
Marine Nutrient Complex helps replenish hair’s natural balance using a unique combination of marine extracts, proteins and trace minerals.
Tapioca Starch absorbs oil and cleanses hair to deliver a velvety soft texture.
Prevents hair color from fading and extends time between coloring
The RUSK Deepshine® Color Care Invisible Dry Shampoo is available at ULTA, Cosmoprof, or select salons. See RUSK1.com for details.
RUSK Deepshine® Color Care Invisible Dry Shampoo 8oz …..………...SRP: $19.00
RUSK Deepshine® Color Care Invisible Dry Shampoo 2oz…..………...SRP: $7.00
Travel size too people!
Now the next one, these are in no particular order by the way, is the 2ND DAY formula by Marc Anthony, developed with Nanotechnology and Zeolite to absorb oil without leaving a build-up or gritty texture. The highly porous nature of Zeolite acts as a filter, trapping excess oil on a molecular level so that your hair is clean and residue-free. (Don't you love the official pr language? So official!:)
A blend of Chamomile Extract, Stinging Nettle Extract and Pro Vitamin B5 offers added cleansing, conditioning and shine benefits so that your hair not only looks clean – it looks healthy. Plus, fewer washes equal richer color and less heavy oil equal extra volume.
Availability: $7.99 at Rite-Aid and Drugstore.com
And finally, my favorite out of all three, MACADAMIA PROFESSIONAL STYLE EXTEND DRY SHAMPOO, which of course is the most expensive, but when you see the ingredients you'll understand why.
Absorbs excess oil, product build-up and odor
Instantly refreshes hair, leaving it looking and feeling clean and fresh
Blends with all hair colors, leaving no powdery residue
Finish – Natural
Macadamia Oil – Omega 7, 5 and 3 fatty acids provide weightless moisture
Argan Oil – Omega 9 fatty acid repairs and strengthens
Aloe Vera Leaf Extract – hydrates, smoothes and nourishes hair
Ideal for extending the life of your hair color or blow out and use instead of shampoo for the first few days. Shake can well. Spray 8-10 inches from hair, targeting the scalp. Wait a minute, then brush or work lightly into hair. Style as desired.
Color safe, cruelty-free and free of sulfates, gluten and parabens
FRAGRANCE: Toasted Coconut Cream - really a big selling point!
TEXTURE: All Textures
I actually used each product and discovered that on different days different ones worked better, but have to admit, the scent of toasted coconut cream won me over and the ingredients of the Rusk one both left my hair feeling the best and garnered the most compliments. The other one I could tell my hair wasn't clean almost immediately which was very unpleasant when you leave the house early morning and then don't return home till late evening.
I would recommend the Macadamia Professional Style and the Rusk Dry Shampoo if you're really busy and don't want to have to worry about your hair once you leave the house. I also like the fact all three are available in travel sizes. I believe they fit within the airline parameters too so pop one in and go!
So thus ends our first soiree into my beauty firsts this summer.
Up next, Beauty and the Breast, otherwise known as my first visit to a plastic surgeon's office learning about breast surgery, vagina "enhancements" and my first spray tan. Oh, and my original breast cancer awareness effort with a photographer who shoots nude models and my inclusion in the Santa Ana Art Museum's breast cancer awareness exhibit featuring "Breast in a Bow."
Stay tuned. You won't want to miss this one.:)
(Author's Note: It has been pointed out that my reference to never being Jewish as referring to the feminists at the opening of my beauty article could be taken as anti-semitism, but that is wrong. It's simply stating that as a woman with Irish/German/Finnish genealogy who is a practicing Christian, I am not of Jewish lineage. This was meant simply as a joke. Nothing more, nothing less people.:)
It always surprises me when I encounter gender bias in my professional life because growing up, I wasn't given that world view, nor were my sisters. My Dad always felt all three of us girls could do, and would do, anything boys do.
Not that I liked it at the time, but I do feel it's shaped me into the strong person I am today and why I'm able to overcome setbacks, financial hardship, injuries, and other issues that might have stopped someone less driven than myself a long time ago.
It helps to surround myself with other strong women, read encouraging, inspiring books of women achievers, and participate in women-focused groups, conferences and other female-supportive endeavors. And have good doctors, therapists, etc.:)
We were raised working on my Dad's rentals - we painted, scraped, cleaned, gardened and were taught the value of doing a lot of the work yourself to increase profits, maintain control and develop stronger relationships with tenants.
We had to earn half our way into any extracurricular activity and were introduced to playing soccer at very young ages. We're all very competitive as a result and also extremely independent too. We were often pushed into activities that girls normally didn't have to learn on their own, but my Dad, being the man's man he is, thought nothing of it and encouraged us to try and do it.
Which we did.
And we continue to do to this day.
That's why when I hear men say, oh there weren't enough quality female teams applying to select more than one out of a group of 20, I say, really? REALLY?!
Every. single. time. I have ever pitched my travel company to anyone who has a female on their judging panel, they get the concept, they welcome us with open arms and they see us succeeding.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!
Every. single. time. I pitch my travel company for women to anyone without a woman involved in any capacity, we get turned down.
EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!
Now that makes it difficult when almost all the VC firms, accelerators, incubators etc have almost all men making decisions. Men do not understand how women buy, shop or influence buying decisions by virtue of their gender bias.
It is what it is, but I'm trying to help change it along with other women I admire like Geena Davis and her efforts fighting gender bias in media with her Geena Davis Institute called See Jane.
It's also why I was also pleased to discover Micheal Silverstein of Boston Consulting Group and his books and research on women's value and influence in the marketplace.
Here's his official bio in short taken from Wikipedia:
"Michael Silverstein is a senior partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group. He was one of the founders of the firm's global consumer practice and is known for his expertise in consumer behavior,retail, and marketing, particularly as it relates to the female economy.
When I approached him about sharing his findings with me about women and consumer spending he was so generous, I invited him to join my advisory board which he gladly did. Even writing this recommendation too in support of our endeavors for women in travel:
"Joy has identified an unsatisfied market niche. Women make a lot of purchase decisions on travel and have no source that helps them really identify their best option. Think of this idea as 'Angie's List' for travel. Joy has intent to be every bit as useful and commercial. Multiple revenue sources abound – fee for referral, subscription, preferred access, gift with purchase.
A very exciting idea needing next round of financing to prove or disprove. Women will love it when it is up and available."
So, think about it gentlemen. Who spends the most money in your household or family? Women. Who decides what to buy and plans your trips if you're married or in a relationship? Women.
Why then would you not value our contribution to the economy or think there's not a market for what female founders are creating just because you're not in that field or industry?
I just don't get it.
And that's why, my friends, I'm seriously considering starting a magazine that will highlight female achievements, issues and contributions to society that won't be fashion, celebrity driven like half the mags of the world for women are creating more and more vapid women who are only concerned about their appearance and finding a man, or abortion.
Nor so policy, political focused like MS in its one-sided approach to what women want and need in society. Not every female is a liberal MS Editors.:)
Nor something that is only age-focused, although balanced, like More magazine.
Just a magazine that encompasses all of women, in all races, all fields, all stages of their lives and champions those who are creating great companies that rarely are recognized by mainstream media, or if they are, it's about negative publicity which is rarely focused on when it's male.
Like Elizabeth Holmes who "founded Theranos in 2003 to make cheaper, easier-to-use blood tests. With a virtually painless prick of the finger and a few drops of blood, her labs can quickly run a multitude of tests at a fraction of the price of commercial labs." (Courtesy Forbes.)
There's so many more, but I have to run. I'm still just in the thinking stages, but feel very passionate about providing a magazine for my nieces and other young women who are being fed such garbage by traditional "female" magazines, it's a wonder any women get beyond their appearance or vagina these days.
We are worth more than our boobs, our legs, our hair and our vaginas contrary to popular belief men.
And Ladies, if you want to be empowered, then I would suggest attending Nicole Richie's women's conference this Sunday called Pearl xChange.
Lots of great empowering speakers, some celebrity cache, and the opportunity to connect with other women and develop relationships to further your life as a whole. Take it for what it is, but at least it's a step in the right direction and looks like a lot of fun.:)