Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I Learned In A Cab.


I hopped into my first cab ride, on my first New York trip, with my first experience of the hustle and bustle of that crazy place. I loved it. I made it a goal that I would spread shine in New York City by getting to know the people who surrounded me. I ended up learning the life stories of my drivers while I was there. 
Every time I asked the drivers about their day, they were shocked. It was as if this human interaction was not normal and, actually, that I might be absurd for caring. At first, they would be hesitant. They kept the talk small and I could tell they would only keep talking if I was engaging them to speak. It made me sad and worried about the emptiness they must feel every day, passing thousands of people but never speaking with them. When did we all disconnect ourselves from each other so much?

On one particular cab ride, I met Abraham. When I asked how his day was he said, "fine. just like any other." He told me he's been driving taxis for 16 years. He started driving to pay the bills, and because money is consistent, he never left. And because he never left he got sucked into this life that he never would have chosen for himself. Abe dreams of being a pastor. He wants to lead people to God. I asked him what the craziest thing was that he has experienced as a cab driver. He told me that last week a guy got into his car just crying. The night before, he had tried to kill himself, but didn't have the guts to do it. Abraham spent the drive talking to him, consoling him and trying to explain God's love and that sometimes you just have to live through the storm, and then it ends. Abraham doesn't know what happened to the man when he left, but that he is able to help people who are in bad situations when they sit in his car.

I said, "Abe! You might not be a pastor yet, but you're a pastor in your own way. God is using you to speak and help people who wouldn't usually find themselves sitting in a church… and those are the best kind of people to help. You, actually, are living your dream."

He thought about it for a second, and said "maybe you're right."

I'm learning that sometimes our plans might look a little different than we first thought they would, but that they're still happening. And if we look closely, we can find ways to accomplish what we dream of doing as we go about our normal days. A lot of feeling fulfilled in our own lives involves helping others be fulfilled in their lives. Meet people, and if you're unsatisfied with where you are in life, come up with small ways you can start changing that. Look for the "cab opportunities" where someone is sent your way, and it's up to you to find out why and have a moment of purpose. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blue Apron.


When Mike and I got married, he entered into a reality of living with a non stereotypical wife.
Poor guy ;)
Oh, you want dinner buddy? Here's a pan.
Or, on a rare occasion when I found the desire and time to cook…
Sorry, here's your burnt dinner, I tried.
The first weekend we were married I tried to surprise my man with breakfast in bed. He awoke to a smoke filled kitchen, burning waffles, eggs, toast, and bacon, and me in tears. That's how cooking for me used to go. I've gotten better, but I hate finding ingredients at the store, and Mike does the shopping because grocery stores are too overwhelming for me to handle.

Blue Apron has saved my relationship with making meals these past couple of weeks!
Healthy food, with all the ingredients, instructions and saved time delivered right smack on your door step. I honestly want to kiss whoever invented this lifesaver. Zoe and Shiloh even love Blue Apron Meals. Zoe helped me cook and was so proud of her final product. I had no grocery store stress, no last minute wondering what I was feeding my kids for dinner, and we all ate meals that we'd never had before because someone else did all the work for us!

The meals come pre portioned, and you choose when you want the meal box delivered to you. The easy to follow recipe cards come in each box, and if you decide you want to skip a week of meals, no problem! The food is so fresh, and comes in a refrigerated box. I don't like red meat, so I told them I didn't want meals with it… so they didn't send it! You can customize it based on your likes. 
                 I have good news for you so you can try this program out. Blue Apron is offering you two free meals on your first box! Click here 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Behind The Scenes: Vogue and Joe Fresh

I'd have to chalk this one up as top 10 coolest experiences I've had in my life. 
Last week in New York with Vogue and Joe Fresh was seriously a dream. I can't wait to share with you the final product next month, but for now I hope you enjoy this little behind the scenes action. So much work, time, people, and talent goes in behind these shoots. I was surrounded by the best of the best of talent and it was so inspiring for me to learn and listen to them. I've also never had so many people stare at me while taking pictures before. I may or may not have broken a sweat from it. Here's some random things you wouldn't know unless you were there that I think are fun!
The day before the shoot you meet up with the team and stylist and they start putting your outfits together. You get a polaroid taken in each potential outfit, and then the team creates a story board and chooses what clothes you will actually wear for the shoot, what you will be doing in them, etc.
Everything is perfect on set. There's an alterations diva making clothing fit just right, a nail artist who gave me the most amazing paint job that I hope never comes off, and there's a frenzy of people running around making magic happen. They're used to models changing everywhere like no big deal… but I'm not… so I had to keep asking if I could go switch my clothes in the bathroom. Hahaha… Not quite on their level yet ;)
The studio that we shot as was in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg. It was a fun industrial vibe, and before I opened the doors I felt the base of the music bumping. It was such a fun environment, and I seriously would hang out with everyone I met if I lived in New York. I could just feel their creativity bouncing off the walls. It was refreshing and exciting for me. 
This photographer took our stills. We also shot video, which I feel more comfortable doing. It's weird, but I love speaking and engaging so it's more natural for me. But doing still photos in my clothing called for some direction from the photographer. He'd yell in his cute accent that I could hardly understand what pose he'd want me to do next. And then use confusing hand gestures and I basically just smiled and thought how crazy it was that I was shooting with the people I was with. That was the only thought process I had pretty much through out the whole day.
This is Q. Part of the glam squad and hair wizard. The guy would fix every fly away before every new shot and did what would be referred to by the rest of the guys on set as a "ninja braid". 
This is a turn table.
It spins you around
And spins.
And spins.
And spins.
Until you say stop because you might fall or puke.
And then people come over to make sure you're okay, and they probably think you're just a baby.
But they don't know that standing in heels, while a million people stare at you, on a small platform that spins around in a circle is actually quite a talented thing to accomplish. ;) 
I had several other scenes that you will see in the final product next month, and I can't wait to see them myself. To everyone at Joe Fresh, Vogue, and Socialyte… thank you! What an experience with some really great people, I am so grateful.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New York Photo Diary: Day 1

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Last night I took a red eye to visit New York City for the first time. 
I don't do well sleeping next to strangers on airplanes, so I landed here feeling like I was in the twilight zone, and had to take a few hour nap before my meetings for the day started. I can't wait to share with you next month the reason I am here.

I had big plans to take amazing pictures to share with you, but of course it rained and rained and rained.  Tonight I met up with a friend who lives here, and ate dinner at Rubys. A tiny little place that fits about 10 people. If you blink you'll miss it, but it's known for having some of the best burgers in the city. Afterwards, I took a little walk in the rain to Melissa's Cupcakes. Its a little shop you order through a window from, and they give you the cutest, tiniest cupcakes you've ever seen. The Peanut Butter and Jelly one basically made my heart stop… and to be honest I'm really excited to go explore more food places tomorrow during my breaks. I am such a foodie.
 I've never felt so close in proximity to people, but so far away from them. Everyone is very focused on getting done what they need to do. You guys, I can not believe this place. You see New York on TV and in pictures, you hear about it… but wow. It is nothing like I pictured. There's quadruple the amount of people here than I envisioned, the skyline is insane, and the lifestyle is even faster than I'm used to living.

I feel so grateful that I get to have experiences like this. By biggest goal is to grow The Shine Project so that the youth we employ can experience them too. There's so many people to meet, and cultures to experience… it makes America so much fun… and I am just grateful.

Thank you for supporting everything we do. Love love love you. xo.