Life is a story. What’s your story?

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved to read books.  Then one day she realized she could write her own…

Over the next few months, I will be sharing more of my story with all of you.  Who I was, who I am, who I want to be, how I got here, and how I plan to get where I want to go.  We each travel our own journeys in life.  We win, we lose, we learn.  I have a pendant that I give to my Rodan + Fields business partners that says “The journey is the reward.”  I know what my goals are and regardless of whether or not I realize them or if they change along the way, I am loving the journey as it unfolds.  The best part has been meeting new and fabulous people, connecting with them, and hearing their stories.  Some share a lot, some share a little, but I find that I can almost always relate to it in some way.  I’ve learned so much about others, and myself.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve found a long-lost sister because our stories are so similar.  Other times, I find that I can look at something in a different way because of someone’s story.  So while I’m still putting my words together to tell my story, my question to you is this:

Facing Fear: A time to freeze or a time to sparkle?

Once upon a time I decided to try something new.  Then I realized how scary that really is.

A good friend called me this week and told me she was scared.  Scared to move forward, scared to reach for the dreams she’d set for herself and her family, scared that she was out of reasons to put off those next steps.  And this left her not knowing what to do next.  I realized that I feel very much the same way.  We’ve both caught ourselves saying “I’ll hit the ground running when…” or “Once I ___, then I can really start running.”  What happens when there’s no longer anything in your way but yourself?

Change is scary.  The unknown is worrisome.  I can’t help but picture a friend’s baby girl, standing and thinking about taking that first step.  She’s on the verge of something new, something exciting, and something pretty scary to an 11-month-old.  Sure, it could could go horribly wrong.  But what if it goes incredibly right?  At what point do we decide that the fear of missing out on wonderful is more frightening than the fear of what could go wrong?  What if you were to acknowledge that anything bad is a part of the journey to great?  Would that change your willingness to take that next step?

I attended a fabulous seminar a couple of weeks ago.  Brilliant and Bankable Live with Julie Steelman and Lisa Steadman.  I went there because I need to work on getting out of my own way.  There were so many empowering take-aways, but here’s one that continues to stick with me: “Do you want to live the same great year 99 times, or would you rather live a great year 99 different ways?”  It made me stop to think.  There are many stories of our top earners in Rodan + Fields about how things were tough (almost a sense of desperation at times) and that motivated them to run to the top with this business.  I look at my life and while it could always improve, I’m pretty happy with it the way it is… and I think that makes it harder.  I want to retire my husband in the next few years like I know is possible, but that desire hasn’t yet been enough to overcome my fears.  I want the lifestyle that I can achieve, but I let fears keep me from doing what I need to do to get there.  So back to living this year 99 times.  I love this year, but I want the 99 different ways… and THAT is where I will find my motivation to move through my fears and to the life that I and my family deserve.  I’m ready to sparkle and I want to teach others to do the same.  So many of us stay where we are because it’s comfortable and change is not.  But what are we missing out on?  How much better could life be if we are willing to be a little uncomfortable as we grow?

What fears stand between you and your dreams?  When will you decide that fear of not reaching your dreams is bigger than the fears that are in the way?  And if you’ve already moved past this point, what tips can you share for those of us still in the struggle?

Cancer sucks, believe, a dream come true, and a little bit of sparkle

Once upon a time, a queen met her king, had a princess, and then was forced to face a fire-breathing dragon.  What follows is the roller coaster of the past few days.


I admittedly have a few posts that I started and couldn’t bring myself to post over the past few days.  Today I’m able to approach everything that happened with a smile in my heart and a little bit of sparkle.

Cancer sucks.  Tomorrow I will attend the memorial service and celebration of life of one of my mommy friends.  We met three years ago when our girls were newborns.  They were in Gymboree together, in a playgroup of “gymkids” together, and in dance class together.  Allie should be celebrating her 32nd birthday in a couple of weeks.  Instead, she lost her 2 year battle with colon and liver cancer on March 1st, at home, surrounded by her family and friends.  She leaves behind her amazing little girl, her incredible husband, and her loving family and friends.  To say I’m devastated for Brian and Riley would minimize what I’m feeling.  I look at my little girl and can’t possibly imagine not being here for her, or her growing up without me.  Things like this aren’t supposed to happen.  Cancer sucks.

Believe.  For two years, this is what Allie told us to do.  Believe in them, believe in her, and believe that she was going to send cancer packing.  And for most of those two years, I was sure she was right.  She never stopped smiling that contagious, beautiful smile.  She never stopped living and being an incredible mom to Riley.  She was there in the mommy & me dance class with her chemo pump on her back.  She was at the park.  It was only last week that I heard she looked sick for the first time.  On Monday morning, I learned that she was in ICU and not expected to make it.  By Monday night, we learned that she was home, unconscious.  Tuesday morning, I purposefully didn’t check my phone/email until I was at a friend’s house because I knew I didn’t want to check it.  I got to my friend’s for a private zumba class, and there it was… the email telling me that Allie lost her battle the night before.  I can no longer believe that she will beat cancer, but for her, I will continue to believe that all things are possible.  I won’t let the little things upset or discourage me.  Those times that my little princess is driving me nuts, I will hug her and love her because Allie can’t do that for Riley any more.  She has changed my life and the lives of so many for the better and for life.  We have a new angel looking out for us.  Believe.

Dreams do come true.  Allie’s dream was of course to beat cancer.  And when she did, she wanted to throw a huge party in a big red barn and have Brad Paisley sing.  His music has been what someone called the soundtrack to her life with Brian and Riley.  A video was made in attempt to get Brad’s attention to do something for Allie’s celebration of life (ideally to have him here live).  I’m happy to say that in less than 24 hours of that video being posted, Brad had not only heard of Allie and seen the video, but he had called Brian.  Dreams really do come true.

A little bit of sparkle.  Today I had the pleasure of hanging out with some new friends at a little home boutique.  Of all of the vendors there, and of all the jewelry that was displayed, this bit of sparkle jumped out at me and called my name.

The photo does not do it justice.  It is a beautiful lime green and clear crystal, sparkly bangle.  I normally would walk right by the green jewelry and head straight to blue (my favorite color) or pink (for my princess).  But today, the sun was shining, people were happy, and this beauty called to me.  It reminds me of Allie and reminds me of the type of person I want to be.  Green for her Relay for Life team logo and as her signature color, sparkly like her smile, and just plain beautiful which is what Allie was both inside and out.  I know that I had posted that my charity of choice for my Rodan + Fields business was the American Heart Association for both February and March, but in honor of Allie’s life and loss, I will be donating to her Relay for Life team.  Allie gave us all just that… a little bit of sparkle.

Allie, I am honored to have known you.  I learned so much from you about how to be courageous and how to truly live life to the fullest.  You will be forever missed.

What does your future hold?

Once upon a time my magic mirror gave me a glimpse into the future and what I saw wasn’t pretty.

Have you tried the Age-o-Meter yet?  You may have seen it on my Rodan + Fields Facebook page.  Upload a favorite photo or capture a new one from your webcam.  Be sure to share your results so your friends can fast forward 30 years too!  Try the Age-o-Meter.

Afraid to see what the future may hold?  Check out this Skin Age Test by Artistry that I found on Philstar via @megansturde.

Does Your Skin Show Your True Age?

It is always good to know the biological age of your skin in order to choose the right skin-care. Here’s a test by Artistry to determine just how old your skin really is regardless of your age.

Take the test yourself; write down your chronological age (age based on your birth date) and answer the following questions. If your answer to any of the question is YES, add or subtract as recommended the number assigned to the questions from your chronological age:

1. Do you wear Sun Protection daily? -2

2. Do you use a tanning bed or booth? +17

3.Do you spend more than eight hours per week outdoors during the day? +8

4. Do you use daily skin-care products (cleanser, moisturizer, etc)?  -2

5. Do you use age-defying treatment products (like Miracle Worker)? -5

6. Do you use a mega multivitamins every day? -4

7. Do you use a one-a-day vitamin supplement? -3

8. Do you take an additional antioxidant like vitamin E or C every day? -1

9. Do you experience high stress? +3

10. Do you sleep seven to eight hours per night? -3

11. Do you exercise a minimum of 60 minutes weekly? -2

12. Do you live in a metropolitan area? +2

13. Do you consume four or more alcoholic beverages per week? +3

14. Do you smoke? +8

15. Are you exposed to second-hand smoke? +7

16. Do you drink eight or more glasses of water daily? -2

Whatever the result of your skin age test is, it is never too early to be proactive in taking proper care of your skin. Remember, the best cosmetic a woman can have is great looking skin.

If you refuse to look your age at 25, 40, or even 80, check out the item that Allure Magazine touted on the Today Show as a “must have for anti-aging in 2011.” (<– click to watch the video clip)  Skip expensive (and scary) injections and try this at-home anti-aging routine today.  Be sure to ask how you can save 10% and get FREE shipping.

As Drs. Rodan and Fields say, “the best wrinkle is the one you never get.”

Happy Hearts Day — Chocolate Indulgence

Once upon a time, chocolate was a girl’s friend… then enemy… and now friend again!

Mythbuster (from Drs. Rodan and Fields): Chocolate causes acne.

The overall correlation between diet and acne is still unclear. However, dermatologists now understand that it is not likely to be the cocoa / chocolate component of that Godiva truffle that is behind an acne flare-up, but it could be the sugar that is the culprit.  That’s because foods that are high on the glycemic index (high sugar/carbohydrate foods) are not skin friendly in general. High glycemic foods cause a surge of insulin in the body which may accelerate collagen breakdown and increase oil production (thus increasing the likelihood of breakouts). So regardless of your skin concern, eating healthy foods will always serve you well and help your skin resist the effects of inflammation and stress.

We have all heard recent reports that eating chocolate is actually GOOD for you.  It contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is a precursor to seratonin, a mood stabilizer. Cocoa powder is also a powerful antioxidant that protects and frees the skin from free radicals that cause damage to skin layers.

So what does this mean for you??  As with most anything, moderation.  A chocolate or two from that pretty heart box is not going to cause the breakout of the century, but sitting and eating the whole box will cause that nasty insulin surge the doctors talked about.

But, here’s a great way to indulge in some chocolate and improve your skin at the same time:

a diet-friendly chocolate face mask 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (sour cream will work as well)
  • 3 teaspoons of oatmeal powder

Preparation

Mix ingredients until you get an even consistency.  Apply to a clean face and gently massage to exfoliate the dead skin cell layer.  Leave on for 20 minutes.  Rinse with lukewarm water.

Why not enjoy one of those Godiva truffles during your 20 minute wait?

So, why honey and oatmeal?  You will hear me talk more about the wonders of honey, but it’s added here for its anti-bacterial properties as well as it’s ability to cleanse skin and open clogged pores.  The oatmeal is great for sensitive skin as a gentle yet effective exfoliant (aka micro-dermabrasion).

So now that we busted those chocolate myths and gave you a great recipe for a facial mask, enjoy this day and… INDULGE!!

Want more great skin care tips?  Don’t forget to sign up for my R+F Newsletter, coming soon to your inbox!  Let me know how much you loved this mask after you try it!

Spark and Hustle Los Angeles

Once upon a time, a girl took a huge leap of faith and it was worth every penny.

It’s been a week since I first sat down to attend #socialvention with Cindy Morrison.  It was the close of the first day of Tory Johnson‘s Spark and Hustle Conference in Los Angeles.  There are 200 women in Tulsa right now running around a room discussing hash-tags and I so wish I was there with them.

This part of my Rodan + Fields journey happened on a total whim.  It went something like this: I was playing on Facebook and a top leader in my company posts a link to a blog.  I follow the leader, so I read it.  It was a great article by Tory Johnson that I will have to try to find and link.  Well, I’m a researcher, so I’m all over the website learning about who Tory Johnson is.  I don’t know about you, but living with a little princess, I don’t often get to watch shows like Good Morning America.  Mickey Mouse yes, GMA no.  Then I see that she is hosting a conference series and it’s kicking off near me.  Oh, and I can do a vendor table at one of the evening events.  But — it’s not cheap, at least not for someone just starting her business while her husband is finishing school in an economy that has hit our savings pretty hard.  So I wait and I resign myself to following Tory on Facebook because it’s all I could do.

Then I see it.  A “black Friday” offer for a discount plus a free vendor table.  I excitedly call my husband and tell him that we need to talk about it when he gets home because it’s a big investment.  I start emailing with Tory’s staff, find out that my company is not already represented, etc.  About 45 minutes later, there I am with my credit card paying for the conference.  Hours later my hubby comes home and asks about it.  “Oh, yeah, um, I couldn’t pass it up and I already registered.”  I knew in my gut that I needed to go, and I couldn’t have been more right.

Focusing on women entrepreneurs, I had the obvious goals — learn more about owning and building my businesses.  I got that, but I left with so much more.  I left with new supports, new mastermind partners, and what I believe will be some life-long friendships.  We laughed, we cried, and we ate too many sweets.  I can’t even begin to describe the experience.  I’m still in awe of the speaker line-up as it was phenomenal.  When I got the topics list prior to the conference, I thought “how am I going to choose which sessions to attend?”  I’m used to having break-outs, but this was different.  We all sat together and had the privilege of listening to each and every speaker with plenty of time to build relationships and networks with the women (and men) who attended and presented.  I can’t tell you how inspired I am each day as posts from these amazing people come across my Facebook and my Twitter.  You can’t have a bad day when you know these incredible people because they pick you right back up and remind you of where you are going.

I could go on and on (and on) about this experience and still not capture it all.

Were you there? I’d love to highlight you in a blog post and add you to my links. Contact me to work on the details.

Are you wanting to be there? Contact me for a special discount code.  If you make one large investment in learning about growing your business in 2011, make sure Spark and Hustle is at the top of that list.  You will not regret it for a second!

Happy (and Healthy) Hearts Month — Shopping for a Cause

Once upon a time, a newlywed couple arrived back home after their wedding.  Life would NEVER be the same.

Four days after our fairytale wedding, my husband and I drove to his parents’ home to retrieve the gifts and other wedding paraphernalia they had brought back for us.  In my old life, that autism specialist life, I lived on my phone when I was away from work.  I was the boss and was admittedly a work-a-holic.   We pulled into the driveway and my husband went into the house while I finished a call.  He soon came running out to tell me that his dad was there and he couldn’t wake him up.  I won’t go into the details, but what I can say is that all of the efforts were to no avail.  Married for only 4 days and I had lost my new father-in-law, my husband had lost his dad, and the not-even-yet-thought-of princess lost the papa she’d never know.

We knew he had a heart condition, congestive heart failure.  He had a pacemaker.  The doctors had wanted to change it out for one with a defibrillator, but he refused.  What we didn’t know is that two years prior, he’d been given 2 or so years to live.

What some of you know and others may not is that each year I donate to charities as our holiday gift to our friends and family.  I’ve donated some of my Aerowyn’s Castle items to good causes, but had not yet thought to link my Rodan + Fields business to a charity.  It was listening to Julia Fikse of Save the Tatas at Tory Johnson’s Los Angeles Spark and Hustle Conference last week that finally pushed that idea into my thought processes.

I’m sure you all know that February is American Heart Month.  But to honor my father-in-law’s passing 5 years ago next month (March 29), I am offering the following from February 1st through the end of March.

For all NEW Preferred Customers, I will give you the option of receiving a check for $14.95 to “refund” your enrollment fee at the end of your first 60 days OR I will donate that same $14.95 to the American Heart Association at the end of March.  It’s your choice.

For all returning Preferred Customers, I will donate 5% of your replenishment order or 10% of any “off-month” orders.  You still get your 10% savings for off-month orders, but are responsible for paying shipping.

For all NEW Business Partners, I will continue to purchase your first set of business cards and name tag.  In addition, I will donate $20 for signing up and 5% of your replenishment order if it occurs before the end of March.

My fund-raising goal: $500.  While it doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s a big goal if you do the math.  Please share this with your friends and family.  Know that you can contribute to a great cause while getting the best skin of your life.  For those who want to determine your own financial success, join me on the Rodan + Fields journey.  What will your legacy be?