Thursday, November 1, 2012

Creating What you Really Want!

I keep seeing that line over and over again, "if you can see it in your mind, you can create it in your life," and I’ve decided to put it to the test and see if maybe I can really take a bit more control and truly manifest what it is I REALLY want!!! 
For the last 12 years I have had retail stores…..the main focus used to be the cosmetics line I created because I needed a place to manufacture and ship products as well as catering to local clients…  But as the years went on the stores sort of morphed into something that resembled a little country store right in the middle of a bustling suburb.  Two years ago, when the rent started to get a little out of control we finally decided that enough was enough and closed up shop for good, or so I thought so at the time….but I suppose when you love doing something as much as I loved having my shop, the Universe finds a way to help you keep it alive.
Wouldn’t you know that as we were closing the store,  the little dream house hubby and I wound up finding is one the last homes in our suburb that is zoned for commercial and residential use??? It sits right next to a 75 year old farm that has the most delicious produce market and no end to the amount of traffic from people who have been shopping there for years.  The house even came complete with a garage that looks like it belongs somewhere else due to its insane size…almost like it was made for a little store.  So, this past Summer after dragging our feet on what seemed like a completely insane idea, we finally took the leap and turned our garage into a new version of my little country store, The Ruby Slippers Store .  But this time there was no rent, no landlord and no pressure to pay bills other than the ones for our home.  I could finally do exactly what I wanted and turn that garage into the little country store haven that I always dreamed I would have.  It quickly became a sweet little place where you could find myriad of antiques, vintage items, and a fantastic range of products created by local artists and me.  It was fantastic!!

In the beginning....this is one quarter of the garage before the makeover....the word OVERWHELMING came to several times during the transformation process.

You should have seen those cabinets with the doors on them....terrifying!

Those same cabinets today!!  Happy happy!
As the seasons started to change we went into a bit of a panic mode because the original idea was to alter the entire front of the garage into a more permanent store front, but the more we talked about it the crazier it sounded and so we just kind of stopping opening the store as soon as it got too cold….
Of course when you love something so much there is that nag….the one that pulls me into the garage every day wishing it was filled with people again….  There was something magical about that little store and somehow the most amazing people always seemed to wander in, stay for a while to share their stories and then pop back from time to time just to say hello and see what was new….I missed that camaraderie…more than I knew.

Summer Shopping at Ruby Slippers
So many fun items to see and enjoy!

I suppose when you want something badly enough you find a way to make it work, right??  Hubby and I have decided that while removing the garage door and creating an actual store front is not something we want to do there is no reason not to invite people to stop in using the side door…..  We’ll create bright signs that show them where to enter, decorate the front of the garage so it’s a little bit less like a GARAGE door and more like a fun seasonal fa├žade and once again be able to open my little shop.  There were a lot of reasons not to bother, not to waste our time…..and of course there is the idea that a lot of people will think we’re just plain nuts.  But it was such a fun little place, and it was SO exciting to meet new people every day, and invite local artists to sell their products here.  Even the neighbors were very supportive and loved the idea of being able to walk down their driveway, head over a few blocks and do a little shopping.
One of my favortie ceraminc artists, the amazing Susan Borghesi, in one of the artists I am lucky enough to represent at the store!  Just wonderful!
I’ve made myself a little nuts the last few weeks just trying to figure out how to keep Ruby Slippers going during the cold season and I am so excited to finally have it figured out….even more excited that I have the sort of wonderful husband with vision as crazy as mine is.  The garage is heated, the clients are local (and can soon even shop online if they want) and when something feels so right there is ALWAYS a way to make it happen!
I suppose we can create a laundry list of excuses for ourselves.  We can talk ourselves out of what we know will truly make us happy, or we can get a little creative, think outside the box and find a way to manifest that which we want so very much. This little garage store of mine might just be the craziest thing I will ever do, but then again, maybe that’s the best part!!!  I intentionally named the store the Ruby Slippers because for as long as I can remember Glenda has stayed in my head as she told Dorothy that she had had the power within her all along….and that’s exactly what this little shop represents to me. 

I hope that if you have what feels like a big bold idea, even if it feels absolutely insane, I hope that you will give yourself permission to step back and see how you can make it work.  I’m a firm believer that we truly are the artists and architects of our lives, but we will never get anywhere if we don’t at least try.  It’s a bit nuts to think that the Universe/God is really paying that much attention, but somehow I have a feeling that if we want something badly enough the energy will find its way to us and with a whole lot of work and an endless well of faith, we CAN make it happen.  We just need to find ourselves a comfy pair of Ruby Slippers and keep trying!
When you get a moment  I hope you’ll click over to visit the Ruby Slippers website and be a part of all that magic that somehow shows up at this little store!!

Wishing you a magical, manifesting sort of day!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are YOU Normal?

Dear lovelies.....Are YOU Normal???
Somebody recently told me that I need to make my website for The Ruby Slippers and Flawed is the New Fabulous look more “NORMAL.”  They told me it was too “artsy and colorful” to be taken seriously…..and for a day or so, I stared at those websites thinking maybe they were right.  Then it occurred to me that what is reflected on those sites actually IS my “NORMAL.”   Love it or leave it, what you see is what you get lovelies….  I’m the sort of girl who doesn’t like to color in the lines, I have a fear of living my life in a box and I don’t WANT to be just like the woman sitting next to me.  She may be beautiful, and sassy, fabulous and funny, and I will be the first in line to celebrate her, but BE like her?  No thank you.
What exactly IS this NORMAL thing I keep hearing people talk about?  Where is the definition and photo that shows me what it specifically means to BE normal?  Was there some sort of memo sent out that tells me what I am supposed to look and act like?? 
Your version of normal might be a crisp white shirt and a cubicle in an office, or maybe it’s an expansive art studio with ephemera as far as the eye can see…..perhaps your normal is a briefcase and a navy suit, or big wild flowers woven through your hair…. That’s what makes it so much fun….we each have our own version of NORMAL and frankly I think it’s quite fabulous!  I love when I can be in a room with 50 women and each one of them has their own story, their own look, personality, and so on. 
Can you imagine walking down a crowded street and bumping into one person after another who looks just like you?  I would lose my mind!  I think instead, we ought to launch a campaign to eliminate the word “normal” from our vocabulary.  Telling somebody they need to be more NORMAL is like telling a person not to be themselves or that the version of who they are showing the world is somehow wrong or not enough.  Who are we to judge?  I think that we need to focus on inviting people to be whatever their version of NORMAL might be.  We need to tell our daughters that just because she doesn’t look like a cheerleader or the model  on the cover of a magazine, she is still the MOST beautiful version of normal we ever did see.  We need to celebrate what makes us unique, we need to embrace that perhaps MY version of NORMAL is not something you would like to try on, but it doesn’t need to be! 
Whatever your version of normal is, I pray that you just choose to embrace it.  I hope that you have blue streaks in your hair, or maybe beautiful grey hair….I hope that you wear big fancy flowers, or maybe even a tie….I hope that you are an intentionally exact representation of who you are each and every day…even if you are constantly changing.  I hope that you cling to your version of normal and wear it as a big bold banner for all the world to see.
I’m quite certain that there really is no NORMAL, there is just you and I being who we are and regardless of what visual story we choose to share with the world on any given day, as long as we are happy with it, then that suits me just fine.
Today I hope you will stop to look around and celebrate each and every version of NORMAL that might pass you on the street…..celebrate that we have another day to be a walking, talking canvas… each as beautiful as the next!!  To heck with NORMAL lovelies…’s far more fun to just be YOU!
Wishing you buckets of rainbow colored bliss!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Are YOU Satisfied???

Dear Lovely….
I woke up the day after my birthday last week and realized it was time for some serious career alterations in my life.  Between my seasonal shop, The Ruby Slippers, the network I created, Tell a Girlfriend Network and now this new Flawed campaign, I feel like I’m pulling myself if a whole heck of a lot of different directions and its time to finally simplify things a bit.  The good news is, all roads lead back to a few common loves….I LOVE to support and empower small businesses, I love to remind women of how fundamentally amazing they are, I LOVE to write and I love the idea that I finally understand that with a little bit of work I can actually bring all of these things together into one fantastic place….. So, this time, instead of my usual, “wipe the slate clean and start over” I’m simply pushing myself to see things with new eyes….
It’s a very exciting time because I’m actually listening to my own advice and making the changes in my life that I know are long overdue.  For far too long, I have been making excuses as to why I couldn’t launch Flawed, or change Tell A Girlfriend to reflect what I know it has the potential to be…. I’ve talked myself out of what I knew would make me happy because there never seemed to be enough time, people might think I'm nuts and maybe the risk wouldn’t be worth it in the end….  But here’s the thing my dear friends, you don’t know until you try….
The funny thing about getting older is that we have the luxury of truly looking back on where we have been and giving ourselves the opportunity to celebrate the things that have worked and learning valuable lessons from those things that maybe didn’t turn out the way we had planned…
As for me, well this week marks the beginning of all the pieces of the puzzle finally evolving into one agenda….and I am just bubbling over with excitement for what I know the end result can be.
If you are like me, and there are things you have been contemplating changing,  I promise you there is nothing good that can from putting it on the back burner.  You will tell yourself that you’re just waiting for the right time, or letting an idea marinate and then all of a sudden a year has gone by and you’re still sitting in the exact same place.  If you’re happy there, then don’t change a thing, but if you have this nagging feeling that things can be better, well then it’s time to DO something.
Change of any kind is never easy, it’s scary and unpredictable and can push you far out of your comfort zone.  But what if beyond all that fear and discomfort lays a whole new world of opportunity for you?  What if by making just a few small adjustments you could finally be on a path towards your dream destination?  Wouldn’t it be worth it?  I think you already know the answer to that….
So, here I go….this week will be all about taking a lot of little steps towards pulling it all together and allowing my IT to reflect what I knew it could be all along.  I hope that you will join me and do what needs to be done in your own life that will bring you one step closer to that unconditional happy place….  I hope that you push yourself to take a step forward because you finally know deep in your heart that you deserve it….
When you do take the little jump, I hope that you will let me know how it’s going….I hope that you will give me the chance to celebrate along with you!  Just the idea of intentionally making a change is so exciting, and so worth every shred of the effort that it requires, but I want you to know that no matter what happens, sink or swim, the good news is that you cannot possibly fail simply because the most important thing is that you will have tried!!!
Wishing you all the faith in yourself you could ever need!!
Happy Day to you!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Happiness Pie....Go Ahead...Take a BITE!

Dear Lovely…..
I’ll be completely honest with you; I have the patience of a gnat….So when I create something new and get no response within the first five minutes I immediately begin to doubt myself….  That little voice, the one I told you about in an earlier post; NOna, rears her ugly little head and almost instantly I start hearing, “you don’t know what you’re talking about, nobody cares, you’re talking to yourself, nobody is listening….GET A JOB.”  It’s the same story every single time, no instant gratification = compete and total failure….
Yesterday was one of those days….tiny little meltdowns that culminated around dinner time with me deciding that I had made a big mistake; people don’t want to hear about their flaws and celebrate them…  So sometime around dinner I had decided that this was just a stupid idea that flopped before it ever got off the ground, I was cranky, mad, sad, and myriad of other self-sabotaging adjectives…  I tossed and turned most of the night lamenting over how I was going to tell my husband that all the money we had just spent on a trademark was just plain stupid and it was time for me to get a job at Taco Bell where I could at least get a discount on comfort food…
Then I woke up this morning and there in my in box was a teeny tiny little miracle…a very short  comment on my blog from a writer (thank you Joy) that simply said she was interested in featuring my blog in a newspaper.  WHAT?  I read it about fifteen times and all I could think to myself was “I thought nobody was reading this.”  I believed that besides a dear friend of mine and my poor husband who out of love for me HAS to read it nobody was even looking at my ramblings.  I’m sure you can only imagine that while I am crazy-over-the-moon about this blog being in a newspaper, the idea that someone was actually seeing it, well that just about blew me right out of my chair….
Here I was, the wildly impatient girl thinking that I had failed before I even got started and then I find out that the Universe just might see things a little differently, and perhaps is running on a different schedule than I am. 
Maybe you’re just like me (though let’s pray for your sake that you’re not), you had this BIG idea, the one you are so passionate about, the one that you just HAVE to share with the world because it means THAT much….you launch your dream and as you are waiting for the glowing reviews, as you are sitting and watching your inbox for the piles of orders that you KNOW are coming, you are instead met with that God awful sound of crickets….dead silence.  Nobody is applauding, nobody is ordering and you are sitting there ready to jump out the window.

But what if…..what if any minute something amazing is about to happen?  What if tomorrow or the next day your audience finally finds that trail of bread crumbs you left for them and slowly but surely they begin to find their way to you?  What if you had talked yourself into quitting before you ever even gave it a chance and just before the orders started piling up you shut the doors, pulled the plug and went back to bed?
The funny thing about dreams is that if you’re not terrified, if you’re not questioning yourself and fearing that maybe your IT won’t work then you probably aren’t really putting as much of yourself into it as you thought.  Dreams are personal, they are YOU out there for the whole world to see and yes, even be judged….but that’s life my friend.  If you’re a functioning human being then of course there will be doubt….of course Nona will be there with her big black flag and her nasty voice and her road blocks, and yes, even her crickets….but what matters most is what you choose to do about it.  How important is it to you?  What are you willing to risk in order to have your slice of the big beautiful Happiness Pie?
For me, well I’m working my butt off to slowly get to a place where the possibility of the amazing things that COULD happen is more important than the immediate outcome.  I am crawling at a snail’s pace to get there, but I am moving forward…and so can you.  You are this bright, shiny, perfectly imperfect woman with a dream and I promise you that your bliss is coming but you’ve got to intentionally leave the light on so that it can find you.  You’ve got to keep going forward in spite of that nasty Nona, you’ve got to force yourself to push on regardless of the fact that today might not have been your best day because there is a very good chance that tomorrow can be PHENOMINAL. 
You and I….well we have fabulous lives to live and whether you constantly believe it or not I promise you that you are worthy of every glimmer of hope that you had when you began your journey.  The road is bumpy and there might very be obstacles around every turn….but you CAN push through, you have what you need to make it happen…but the choice is yours.  Choose bliss or get yourself a fabulous polyester uniform and go get a job at Taco Bell.  (turns out I won’t be joining you there after all….) Go after the dream or spend the rest of your life wondering what might have been…’s completely up to you but I’m thinking bliss trumps regret every time!
Today is a FABULOUS day, a perfect day to invest in a pair of big girl pants,  grab a shiny fork and give yourself permission to take a BIG JUICY bite out of your very own Happiness Pie!  It’s fat free, incredibly satisfying and will leave you feeling full in the most delicious sort of way!
Wishing you the patience, courage and desire to truly believe in your dreams and the clear vision to see them through to fruition!
Endless blessings to you!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Monday morning wakeup call!

Dear lovelies....
It's a dismal Monday here in Naperville and if you're anything like me and respond to grey weather by wanting to jump right back into bed and hide until the sun comes up, I have a simple message for you today.  GET UP GET UP GET UP!
It's easy to feel lazy and BLAH when the rain is coming down in sheets and the sun is still sleeping, but you and I, well we've got much to do today!  We've got dreams to nurture, places to go, adventures to have and so much more just waiting around the corner....'s a rainy Monday, so it's not a good hair day....that just means you get to work a little harder than usual to be the girl who spreads a bit of sunshine wherever she goes!  So slather on that lipgloss, throw those shoulders back and get OUT there!
You just never know what sort of amazing things are waiting around the corner!  The day may be a bit flawed, but that doesn't make it any less potentially fabulous!!!
Wishing you a chocolate covered bliss filled sort of day!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Using Your History

Once upon a time when I was 15 years old my family was homeless.  Yup, you read that right, homeless.  I can remember it like it was yesterday because the whole experience obviously helped to shape who I am today.  I was sitting in Biology class and suddenly my mother’s face was at the door and she was feverishly gesturing for me to come out into the hall.  Mr. Mundy, my teacher saw what was happening and immediately excused me.
The moment I stepped outside my mom said “get your things out of your locker, your brother is already in the car and we’re moving.”  Uh….how is that even possible?  When I had left for school that morning everything was just fine.  As we got to the car I remember seeing my brother in the back seat looking just as confused as I was, but neither of us really said much because of the obvious state of panic my mother was in.  In a million years you could have never prepared either of us for the circus our lives were about to become.
As we pulled on to our street I can vividly remember seeing neighbors lined up as if they were getting ready to watch a parade.  There were moving trucks and two police cars sitting in front of our house and my father handed us a box of garbage bags and said,” hurry up and just put everything in these.”
Still reeling from the confusion of what was happening we walked into the house to find what felt like people everywhere dumping out our drawers and taking our furniture out of the house.  Without knowing what else to do I went up to my bedroom in tears and just started putting everything in the bags we were given.  It was obviously incredibly confusing and even today, it’s not something we ever talk about much and I still don’t completely understand what happened. 
What I do know for sure, what I do remember is that as all of our belongings were either being loaded onto trucks or piled on our front lawn not one of our neighbors came across the street to see if we were okay.  Most of the men were working, but the women were gathered in clusters pointing and staring as if they were watching a movie.  It was the most humiliating and horrible experience of my teen-age life.
Within a few hours our house was empty and the police put a big sticker on our door with some sort of box attached to the lock; we had just lost our home.
Evidently anything that we hadn’t put into the car was being taken to a storage locker…and our dog, well my mom drove off with her and we never saw that sweet dog again.  Later that afternoon we checked into a hotel….we stayed there for a couple of days and then all four of us moved into another one room hotel for the next several weeks. Eventually my parents did get us into a house, but by then, all of our belongings were gone because my father had never paid the bill on the storage locker.  To this day, I still don’t know what happened I only know that was just the beginning of what would prove to be an incredibly tumultuous and painful next couple of years, but that’s a whole other story. 
What sticks in my head today almost twenty eight years later is not that we lost our home or our belongings…no, what has stayed with me is that not one single person standing on the street that day, or even the days that followed, ever did one thing to see if she could help. We had grown up playing with their children, had sleepovers together, carpooled, and gone to school together yet, when the time came to really be there, when they could have done something good, they chose to do nothing but gossip.
There are large chunks of that experience that have stayed with me. I know now that the challenge is not trying to forget the past, but instead it is finding a way to use it to my advantage and make peace with it.  There are experiences we have in our lives that can damage us and we don’t even realize it until we are older and have the opportunity to look backwards.  The way those women responded to what our family was going through left a stain on my heart.  But it also opened my eyes and I truly believe that having been through that sort of humiliation has actually proven to be a valuable tool for me.
It All Comes Full Circle
Who would have ever believed that 25 years later I would be driving home and suddenly see a family on our block standing in front of their home with all of their belongings piled high on the front yard. The moment I saw it, I knew exactly what had happened and I instinctively just wanted to help.  We didn’t know the people, but I did know that they had kids and it was about to become a very scary situation for them.  So, in the midst of the chaos, when the school bus dropped the little one off that afternoon I was at my front door waiting to invite him in for cookies and cartoons while mom and dad sorted things out.  It was the least I could do.
 It was right around Christmas time and I can remember like it was yesterday that later that evening our neighbors had begun to gather and were whining about the fact that all of that JUNK on the lawn was taking away from how pretty the neighborhood had looked for the holidays.  One man even suggested that perhaps he should just rent a dumpster and throw everything on the lawn into it.  There was no shred of concern for the children or offer to help pack up their belongings.  There was no sympathy for the family or outpouring of assistance there was only malice, contempt and glaring judgment.   I was seeing the other side of what had happened to my family and it broke my heart all over again.
 I can’t possibly know how I would have responded had we not gone through that very same experience. I like to believe that I would have reacted the exact same way and wanted to reach out to help….  But what mattered in that moment was that I had lived through this horrible experience as a teen-ager and when the time came for me to use my history as a gift or a curse, I chose to make it into something positive.   I made the most of what I had been through and did what I could to stand up for those people and help, it was a conscious choice and one that I am proud to have made.   It would have been just as easy for me to recall what had happened to my family and respond by doing nothing since nobody had helped us, but I remember having the distinct feeling that seeing another family lose their home right on my own block couldn’t possibly just be a coincidence and instead must be an opportunity for me to do something potentially good.

 Now What?
Undoubtedly we have all lived through our own share of crap….bad things have happened to us that we can either use as excuses for our behavior or we can allow it to empower us.  The choice is ultimately yours, but I can tell you from personal experience that when you use your history for good you have the potential to change the life of somebody without even knowing it; you have the ability to make something a bit easier for the person in the midst of it.  Your experiences, for better or worse have given you a gift, a unique insight and put you in a place where you might be able to see or understand things that most other people wouldn’t even begin to relate to.  Perhaps at the time it was the worst experience of your life, but today you can decide to use it to help someone else and in the process you just might wind up healing yourself.    Ironically enough, in some strange sort of way my being there on the day that family lost their home brought things full circle for me and for the first time in more than twenty seven years I was finally free of it and could let it go. I won’t ever forget what it felt like to have lost our home, but today it helps to know that in some amazing sort of way it gave me the unique ability to be able to help someone else in the moment they needed it most. 
It may not be obvious right now, but the darkest moments of your history have the potential to bring someone else comfort and light.  I hope that when the time is right you will choose to be the one who can make a positive difference.
Wishing you overflowing buckets of bliss!