I Did My Own What Not To Wear Makeover and It Worked!

Paying attention to fashion, spending time putting on makeup and shelling out money for professional hair care products seemed frivolous.

I was wrong. My lack of fashion sense, and overall presentation, smacked me right in the face this summer.

I’d nominate you

During my ‘lunch breaks’ I tuned in to reruns of TLC’s What Not To Wear – the makeover show featuring stylists Stacy London and Clinton Kelly who transformed more than 300 people in the course of 10 years.

Sitting in my denim capris and oversized t-shirt, I related to those contributors who were ambushed in their yoga pants and Crocs as they wandered out the grocery store sporting a limp ponytails and baseball caps.

After my 8-year-old suggested I go on the show, I decided to pair my style reboot with the show’s comeback slated for 2020.

Style Rules work

Working from home for the past year gave me the excuse to put my daily appearance on the back burner. In my home office, there was no dress code or need to dress to impress.

During the show, the stylists would make contributors put on their favorite outfit before telling them exactly what was wrong with it. Then, they’d proceed to throw away 90% percent of their existing wardrobe.

Normally I’d have my sister or close friends serve as my stylists, they have no problem with brutal honesty, but they’re an ocean away. Lucky for me, our daughters are willing to tell me when my clothes look like a sack.

It’s been 16 years since the first episode aired and the basic rules still apply because they’re not trend specific. I don’t have the $5,000 each contributor spent during their week in New York City, but I do have the style rules.

As I tried on clothes I would normally walk past or put something on because my girls said it would make me look pretty, I began to feel more empowered. I started to see my own style identity.

My Rules and Results

I picked three of the 10 style rules to tackle first. These were the most logical for the rut I found myself in after my 15-year fashion identity crisis, gaining and losing weight and lack of motivation to dress well when working from home.

  1. Find Clothes that Fit

I hate shopping, trying things on and spending a lot of money on clothes. I haven’t shopped by designer labels since browsing the racks at Merry-Go-Round for I.O.U. and Z. Cavaricci.

I certainly never thought to spend money on tailoring my clothes. I didn’t care how the clothes really looked as long as they buttoned and zipped. My lumpy sweaters and saggy jeans didn’t do anything for my style, much less my self esteem.

Sales racks and resale shops provide great options as long as I know what to look for: clothes that feature a defined waist; provide structure not just hang on my frame; lengthen my legs with darker washed pants and jeans; and skirts (pencil or A-line) that cut above the knee.

2. Mommy Doesn’t Mean Frumpy

Most women, and even some men, lose their identity in becoming a spouse and parent. We’re conditioned to put our needs AFTER those of our loved ones. So we go months without haircuts or color. We wear the same clothes for years. We trade our high heels for flip flops.

Even before marriage and kids, I wasn’t following any particular fashion style, I was just getting dressed. The show’s style rules helped hone in on the key parts of style that make any person, with any body type, look and feel their best.

I ditched my frumpy and outdated clothes for some key pieces that flatter my figure and give me confidence.

3. Style needs color, pattern, texture and shine

Mixing patterns, colors and textures puts you on the fast track to the Worst Dressed Lists. Or so I thought. Apparently, wearing these combinations are as much about confidence as they are about style.

Wearing clothes that fit the What Not to Wear style rules.
Working the What Not To Wear Rules about fit, color, and self care.

More Than Clothes

Hair and makeup complete any makeover. I used to apply the bare minimum to avoid looking like a sickly Victorian woman with no eyebrows.

Using the 5-Minute Face from makeup artist Carmindy proves a little effort goes a long way. I even bought a makeup brush set and organizer to ensure I keep up with the routine.

My hair has a mind of it’s own and I never know how it could look minute by minute. I followed Ted Gibson’s hairstyle advice, find quality products that complement my natural curls. Now, I wear my hair down without fear of looking like Mufasa by the end of the day.

Make your own final reveal

A style evolution takes some effort. It means being open to change and loving yourself enough to put your best self forward.

Go through your closets and purge what doesn’t make you feel good.

Bring an honest, but kind, friend or family member shopping with you to break out of style ruts.

Know putting effort into your appearance and style routine isn’t selfish, or old fashioned.

Maybe we don’t all get a televised teary-eyed reveal for our friends and family, but they will notice the difference in your appearance and confidence. More importantly, so will you.

3 Life Lessons from TV Christmas Movies

My name is Melissa and I love Hallmark Christmas movies.

With more than 85 million people planning to tune in this season, I’m not alone.

I still love my Discovery ID, Dateline and 20/20 shows. But every once in a while, I need a break from these gruesome stories of what damage people do to each other.

Sometimes, I need a character named Holly to ditch her CEO fiancé for a guy in a flannel that sells Christmas trees in a small town.

Sometimes I need a movie that highlights love, compassion and a little faith.

Yes, they are predictable and have similar plot lines. But each also offers some life lessons that can benefit us all.

Slow  Down

We’re all busy. We maintain schedules and appointments with a little time for spontaneity. Even when we get the change for free time, we’re online or taking pictures of the moment rather than being fully present in it.

The holiday season is meant to be spent with those you care about. Virtually every Hallmark Christmas movie includes at least one character attached to their phone and shouting orders to those around them.

That same character inevitably stops by, or gets stranded in, a small town with people who hug more than they Tweet. A place where townsfolk sit around a coffee shop and talk to each other rather than type a status update.

By the end of the 120 minutes, the wound-up city slicker learns to ditch the attachment to technology, fall in love with a local, slowdown and connect with those around them.

Yeah, it’s a movie. But it does remind us to not let life’s distractions come between us and those we love. It doesn’t hurt to be in idyllic surroundings with townspeople singing carols.

Be True to Yourself

We’re spread thin. Self-care is something many talk about, but few actually do.

Some of us stay in jobs or continue relationships when we know they are not benefiting us or bringing us joy. We plug along these paths because it’s easier than shaking things up by going for what we want.

In these beloved movies, at least one character hesitates to jump into what will bring them personal joy. A new job, romance or conversation that could change the course of their life – there is always that back and forth internal monologue that holds the character back.

Fear not! About halfway through the movie, the character wakes up and realizes they cannot hold back anymore and they take the plunge. Often, with great success. Sometimes even on Christmas Eve when the snow begins to fall.

Being everything to everyone is exhausting. Be sure you are doing at least one thing you love every day – like watching hokey movies. Life’s too short to not be yourself.

Believe in Miracles

Christmas celebrates the ultimate miracle.

During our busy lives we often fail to see the little miracles that appear before us. We miss the opportunity to play a part in being someone’s miracle.

So many of these holiday movies showcase the greater good within each of us. They also give hints to the good that surrounds us, in ways we don’t always see or expect.

Whether a holiday movie is a blockbuster on the big screen or a romantic television production, there is a moment when good intervenes and story’s outcome fills viewers with the sense that miracles can happen.

You’re right, these movies don’t imitate real life. They are overly optimistic and a little cheesy. They are hopeful and heartwarming. They make us believe there is good in everyone.

Wouldn’t it be a miracle if we could live like that everyday?

 

Share your favorite holiday movie! Here’s the full list of new Hallmark Christmas Movies.

 

These Are My Boobies, And You Can’t Touch Them

The Brett Kavanaugh sexual assault investigation has the majority of people agreeing on one thing.

Conversations about consent, sexual assault, harassment and misconduct must continue.

The more we talk, the more we confront the issues, the more we listen to victims and the more we educate ourselves and our children about consent – the less chances there are of someone we love becoming a victim.

We need to stop shying away from these topics and engage our kids in honest (age appropriate) discussions about their bodies and who may touch them.

It’s going to take a collective effort to make some real changes regarding respecting personal boundaries and teaching consent. It starts with me. And you.

Empowerment Starts Early

My husband and I take every moment we can empower our girls and give them the support to be confident in themselves regarding their bodies and boundaries.

With so many outside influences, teaching our girls to protect and respect themselves is already a concern. From music to television and movies, they already have sexual imagery and vocabulary.

Our girls began daycare when they were weeks old. By age three, we felt it important to talk with them about their bodies and setting personal boundaries.

There was no danger from staff or students, but we wanted to arm them with the age appropriate knowledge of their bodies. Also, to ensure they knew we supported their feelings about who can engage in contact with them.

We explained their bodies are their own and that areas covered by a bathing suit are private. These areas should not be touched by anyone unless it was mom and dad during bath (they were toddlers) or the doctor when mom and dad were in the room.

They knew if anyone touched them in way they didn’t like, they could tell a trusted adult if mom and dad weren’t there. And we would believe them.

Daisy went to school the next day and walked up to a group of kids saying, ‘These are my boobies, and you can’t touch them.’ While she presented it a little more directly than we talked about, she knew well enough to say this is my body and I say what goes. I love that about our girls.

Don’t leave it to the teachers

Our youngest loves all things feminine – high heels, bras, fancy dresses and accessories. There are times we have say no to certain outfits inappropriate for her age. Ev usually replies, ‘It’s my body, why can’t I wear it?’

Explaining that some people will look at her clothing and make judgement about her is too much for a five-year-old. She will learn soon enough how those judgement can lead to sexually charged comments and behavior.

It’s our job to ensure she knows those behaviors are wrong and she isn’t to blame for other people’s actions.

Teaching our kids to feel comfortable in their own skin and confident in their sexual boundaries is essential. Sexual education isn’t just for the classroom. Parents must take an active role.

In a time when only eight of the 24 states that require sex education include discussion of consent, parents need to make consent a main topic of regular dialog.

It’s an uncomfortable conversation. However, if we don’t all get on the same page of what these definitions of consent, harassment and assault are, we’ll be treading water here for years to come.

Sexual misconduct, harassment and assault are not the same

Sexual boundaries and the laws to protect victims are confusing. While federal law has specific language, state laws can vary on whether actions are civil violations, criminal acts or just tacky behavior.

For example, in Minnesota, sexual misconduct can include groping and fondling of breasts and is classified as a misdemeanor. However, in New York, sexual misconduct includes actually engaging in sex.

If that wasn’t confusing enough, The Barna Group found discrepancies between men and women in the what constitutes sexual harassment.

According to their survey, 86% of women stated making sexual comments about someone’s looks at work qualifies as sexual harassment. When asked the same question, 70% of men equated those same comments as sexual harassment – a significant difference of opinion.

How can we get those definitions and viewpoints aligned? We advocate for improved legislation, active investigations, and victims’ rights. We talk with our employer/employees, with our government leaders, our school administration and our youth.

Discussions about engaging in sex is not enough. Conversations with our boys and girls must include consent and ensuring that any sexual interaction is mutual.

Talking Points for parents

  • Understanding body language – what do visual signs of discomfort look like
  • Listening and respecting other people’s feelings
  • Discuss how they would respond to specific scenarios
  • Explain that changing your mind about a conversation topic or action is okay
  • Encourage them to look out for their friends and tell an adult if they think a friend was hurt

Additional discussion topics can be found in Parents magazine or Child Mind Institute.

If you have additional helpful sites, messages or dialog points on how you plan to help our youth understand sexual consent please share. Conversations lead to action.

Worth the Wait

At the end of the month, we celebrate a milestone – our 10th wedding anniversary.

Even more of an accomplishment is that we still like each other. You read that correctly. I LIKE my husband.

Don’t get me wrong, we do love each other. Love evolves and changes with each new experience and adventure life throws your way. Sharing a life together is much easier, and more fun, when you marry one of your best friends.

I’m not a Relationship expert, I just play one on TV

Based on my romantic track record prior to Matt, I wouldn’t consider myself worthy of offering any type of romantic advice. I kissed quite a few frogs and I am pretty sure there were times I was the frog.

In my 20s I was convinced relationships were supposed to be fiery and full of passion, not quiet and easy. That could be why previous romances crashed and burned and left me swearing off dramatic relationships forever.

Those previous experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly – helped guide me in maintaining a successful marriage with my soul mate who had been right in front of me for years.

Friend Zone

Ours was not love at first sight.

Matt will be the first to say he didn’t want anything to do with me when we met on the bus at age 11. He claims my sister and I were both loud and mean, but what girl in junior high isn’t? Over the next few years we both got over my adolescent moodiness and became friends.

We went on a single date in high school because I preferred not to ruin our friendship by actually dating. He did ask me to prom our junior year of high school, as friends, and we remained so for nearly 15 years.

We needed those years to grow up and gain experiences. No matter where I moved in the States or he overseas, we always remained in contact and tried to see each other when we could.

During a visit for his brother’s wedding, Matt looked me straight in the eye and said he was tired of me dating people who treated me poorly. He boldly stated we should risk our friendship and finally date. Talk about fiery exit from the friend zone.

We’ve got issues

When couples first get together, they put out the best versions of themselves. Most of us like to wait a few months before we reveal our inner crazy or quirks.

Because of our years as friends, we knew what we were getting ourselves into. We didn’t hide our crazy quirks, we gave them a high five.

All those previous relationship mistakes proved to be good for our marriage. We had talked about them as they happened and knew the effects they had on us personally. They serve as lessons learned so we don’t make those errors again.

We still have flaws, but we don’t use them against each other or point them out. We help each other do better and be better.

Dynamic Duo

Marriage takes mutual effort, but it shouldn’t be hard work. The other half of your dynamic duo should never bring intentional tears, cause self-doubt or insults. Your partner should soothe your worries and not add to them.

Finding the right life partner comes with time and experience. Since we didn’t get married until we were age 30, we had a chance to really develop a sense of self and selflessness that has proved essential in marriage.

Two weeks after we married, we moved to the East Coast. Matt then traveled more than half of that first year. He deployed when our oldest was six months and traveled consistently when both girls were toddlers.

None of us were excited about that schedule, however, we worked together to keep our relationship and our kids at the top of our priority list.

About a year ago, we started talking about relocating again due to Matt’s job. While we didn’t have a choice about our move to Maryland, we had numerous conversations about what kind of move would be best for our family this time.

While we’re here in Germany, he will be traveling less and we can enjoy our time here together. In addition, he’s supporting my efforts to be more entrepreneurial and work from home as a freelance writer.

No matter where we go or the type of work either of us do, I know he’s always in my corner and I’m in his.

Humor Me

Matt has always been funny. His humor is a bit of slapstick and a whole lot of sarcastic. He was the same when we were kids, just shorter with longer hair.

He can pull out movie quotes or song lyrics at just the right time when I am about to lose my cool so that I end up laughing instead of a foul-mouthed tirade.

Adding kids to a marriage pretty much forces a sense of humor. The crazy antics of our mini-me’s keep us on our toes and smiling. Sharing this parenthood journey with Matt is one of my favorites parts in our story. Chaos, toys, dog hair and laughter fills our house.

I’m in awe how our girls take on so much of our personalities yet remain unique. Watching Matt play, teach and encourage the girls has me fall in love with him each day all over again.

Keeping it alive

We don’t look like we did when we first met or even when we got married.

We don’t go bar hopping, belt out karaoke or attend late-night concerts anymore.

Date nights aren’t what they used to be, but we make an effort to spend time alone together. It’s often with beers and Netflix after kids are asleep, or walking the track while kids are playing soccer.

While it’s not glamorous or wild, these are opportunities for quality time to talk to each other about things other than work or parenting. That time to be ourselves and connect as a couple is so important.

However, when he playfully winks at me over the dinner table or tells me I look good (even if I’m in my pj’s) I am taken back to when he first said he loved me and it’s as if no time has passed.

Everyone knew but me

Apparently, I was the only one surprised at Matt’s dating declaration all those years ago.

Friends and family came out of the woodwork with comments like, ‘finally’ and ‘I knew it’. Even my dad said, “Well, it’s about time” when Matt asked for my hand in marriage.

I was pretty clueless there were any romantic feelings harbored over the years. During all our conversations, Matt never offered any clues that he thought of me as anything more than a friend.  He’s joked that he knew his patience would prove successful in the long run.

As we moved into our house in Maryland, I found a letter Matt had written to me when I was in college and he was active duty, stationed in Georgia. It was a casual letter just catching up and talking about making time to meet for a drink next time we were both in our hometown.

I don’t know why I had kept that letter all these years, but it made me think that there was a larger plan long before I was remotely aware of it.

I’m glad we didn’t date in high school. It wouldn’t be the same. This marriage, the life we built together, was worth the wait.

      

    

 

It’s All About Me

I’m thinking of myself and I’m not sorry.

When I was in my 20’s, I had time for hobbies that weren’t for anyone’s benefit but mine. I could name a dozen things that I liked to do in my spare time. Now, I’m not sure I could name three.

About two years ago, Ev drew a picture at daycare with the theme My Mom Likes to… Her response was “do dishes”. NO! I don’t like it, they have to be done. Just like laundry and mowing the grass. They certainly don’t count as hobbies.

Having a career and family took my focus. Spare time went from checking out local bands and Friday night softball to falling asleep on the couch at 9 pm watching Netflix. I always felt guilty if I wanted to do things just for me. It just wasn’t a priority.

Since arriving in Germany, I’m getting better at doing what I like to do. Not what I have to do. Not what I should do. What I want to do. I’m purposefully rediscovering my hobbies.

There’s no pictures in it

Aside from making time to write, I’m returning to one of my first passions, reading. Don’t get me wrong, we read with the kids daily, but these books don’t rhyme, don’t involve a princess and don’t even have pictures. Gaston would not approve.

When we first moved to Maryland, Matt traveled all the time. I needed a way to make friends and keep busy, so I joined a book club. Over the nine years we were there, I made some amazing friends while reading many books outside my comfort zone. Even after the girls arrived, and my participation lessened, I enjoyed having adult discussions and the chance to explore genres that I would often overlook.

I love getting recommendations from friends and family. It helps me expand my reading list and get to know them better through which books ‘speak’ to them.

I’m not a big spender on books. I don’t keep them or re-read them so the thrift store is my favorite book store. After I read them, they get donated back – the circle of life!

I’m not opposed to special ordering books when needed, like when a group of us decided we’d read selections from a banned book list. We made it through two books before our lives interrupted and we fell off the naughty reading wagon.

We Do It Nearly Every Night

If you make something a priority, you’ll find a way to make time and do it. Virtually every night, Matt and I are getting busy between the covers – book covers. I know what you were thinking 50 Shades of Grey lovers.

Our new house is about twice the size of our previous home, so we’re experiencing some ‘growing pains’ with the girls at bedtime. On the weekends, they do sister-sleepover, but since they don’t stop giggling, talking and arguing until 10 pm those days, we make them sleep in their own rooms on school nights. This, of course, makes Evelyn panic because she hates to be alone.

To help ease her fears as she drifts to sleep, we have started to stay upstairs in our room, or the balcony off our room, so she knows we’re close. I’m loving these mini date night sessions when I have Matt to myself. We’ve opted not have a TV in our room so that usually means he and I are having real conversations without being interrupted and eventually, reading.

It also means I’m staying up late for just one more chapter then regretting it when the alarm goes off. Totally worth it though.

Don’t Be Your Own Identity Thief

I’m a wife and mom, but that’s not entirely who I am. I don’t have to let those roles define me. I can still find ways to be an individual when caring for our family. If I want to raise our girls to be healthy, strong and independent women, I need to lead by example.

It’s time to stop thinking that wanting a break is bad. Understand it’s healthy not selfish to get a hobby! And, it’s good for your partner to do it, too.

I deserve time to read, garden, take a class, shop alone, have a girl’s weekend or just sit in hot bath for hours and not feel guilty. You know, this sounds like the beginnings of a To Do List that I could actually enjoy.

We Made It

Across time zones, across the ocean and across the street from amazing bakeries and restaurants. We made it.

I had fears how it would work. Our kids were ready to move in with the neighbors to avoid leaving them. I had my ugly cry as we were sent off with a blessing from our church who has been our family for nearly ten years. We said heartfelt goodbyes to family and friends and to the house where our family began.

I had excitement and anticipation. I had doubts and concerns. We faced nearly two weeks in a hotel room before an eight hour flight to another hotel room a world away from everyone we knew and loved. I had pictured the worst case scenarios for every situation.

To my delightful surprise, it went like clockwork. Airport, flight and arrival – smooth. Adjustment to new time – smooth. Starting school and work, making friends and finding a house – smooth. I’ve been afraid to jinx it, but we’ve all adjusted to living in Wiesbaden, Germany pretty damn good.

We’ve only begun exploring our new home and the vast amount of history, culture, fun and adventure that await us. From local festivals and carnivals to farmer’s markets and amusement parks, we’ve loved everything we’ve seen so far.

We’re learning German (very slowly), getting our house in order and collecting tour books for when family and friends visit this summer. We’re tracking the best wineries and beer tours, so let me know if you have any favorites!

I’ve wondered if this was the right choice for our family since we started discussing the option a year ago. I’m sure there will be times I have insecurities, today, I don’t. The girls made friends from the base hotel and school. Our neighbors include children, and bunnies, and a park with a zip line. We have a large backyard and playroom. We have a room waiting for family to arrive.

We have years to explore and enjoy this chapter. I bet will be better than I ever thought.

A Virtual Sisterhood Still Counts

I’ve lived 700 miles from my hometown for nearly a decade. Many of my best friends are scattered around the country. During that time I’ve learned to value the virtual sisterhood in our friendships that we’ve maintained via email, phone, text, video calls and a ton of other media outlets that keep our sisterhood in tact.

There are very few friends out there like the ones you had growing up…total Stand by Me reference…and yet there are times that when you desperately need a friend, it’s not who you think it will be to catch you as you fall.

I’m in numerous groups on social media, mostly for entertainment. One of my favorites is a local ‘mommy’ group where we share a virtual sisterhood about marriage, kids, careers and best places for happy hour. We’ve talked about our kids poop – size, color, frequency –  which stores are offering the best deals on the ‘it’ toy of the day and where to get the perfect mojito.

A recent post broke my heart. A fellow member discovered her husband of more than a decade had been cheating on her over the past year. Her simple confession, and request for best places to binge eat and drink, sparked a reaction that turned my broken heart into wings.

Within minutes, this woman received so many posts I couldn’t keep up with all the comments flooding in. Our little group filled this woman’s feed with words of encouragement, sympathy and offers to help in her quest for a well-deserved binge. Over the next few days she had more than 100 posts, and I’m sure even more personal messages.

She had hundreds of women, all in her actual and virtual community, immediately there to help her vent and get on the road to healing. There post that spanned the spectrum of support. From plots for this wayward husband’s demise to offers to grab margaritas women were reaching out. Some even shared stories of their own battles with infidelity.

Women can be catty and competitive. It’s easy to lash out and put each other down – especially when you don’t have to do it face to face. There are lots of people who look at social media and don’t recognize all the positive ways it can influence and affect our lives. In this case, I was proud to be a part of this group there we stood along our sister and helped her through a terrible ordeal.

We owe it to ourselves and each other to be supportive and encouraging to our fellow women. No matter if you’ve been friends for a lifetime or just joined a group, be honest, open and understanding to each other. A virtual sisterhood counts as much as a live one when you need it, and you never know when you will need your sisters to lift you up.

Why I Write

The love of writing has been running through my veins for as long as I can remember.

Growing up, most kids dread writing assignments. Book reports brought about eye rolls and grabbing CliffsNotes to squeak out a report in the nick of time.

Not me. I loved it. What I loved more than the reading and the writing was doing it under pressure and on tight deadlines. It was exhilarating to get a final paper done with mere hours, sometimes minutes, to spare.

Most writers live in two worlds. The one in which everyone else roams and the one where their imaginations run wild. There is something about putting words onto paper, or now on a screen, that allows the thoughts in writers’ minds to manifest as reality.

I fell in love with journalism in my junior high years thanks to Barbara Walters. As I went through high school and honed skills with a very encouraging English/Journalism teacher, it soon became clear that writing was the only college major I could consider. I never loved school or studying, so in order to push my way through four years of college, I had to choose the one thing that made early classes worth it.

I wanted to take my place at the anchor desk like Babs, but my Midwestern dialect – speaking too fast and not annunciating well enough – kept me to field reporter and copy writer. After an amazing internship at NBC 5 Chicago, I moved to a small town in Arizona to launch my journalism career.

There is something about the interview, the slow divulgence of information and personal conversation. There is something about building a relationship with those in your community, in civil service, DEA agents, and occasionally a celebrity. Now I’ve interviewed athletic celebrities and even mascots – Red Bird from St. Louis. I’ve enjoying talking with Ed McMahon and sitting in press conferences with Noah Wyle.

I’ve covered elections, council meetings, police beats and education news. But there is still something about bringing out someone’s personal story. Making the everyday person on the street into a household name, even if just for a week in their small community.

In my reporter days, we had a weekly feature in our community newspaper. The Personality Profile allowed us to find the hidden gems within our coverage communities. Most people are hesitant to talk about themselves and don’t feel they have anything importance to share. As conversations developed, their inner story is revealed and everyone has a story.

Writing doesn’t just allow for the author to put their works into the hands of readers. It allows authors to bring their subjects to life. To share a portion of their imagination. To bring a glimpse of how we see the world as people, places and things to unlock and share.

Now more than 20 years since making the decision to write for a living, I’ve come home to it. I bring with me over a decade of journalism experience, five years of marketing and public relations writing and even a few years in non profit outreach. Each of those jobs and years of experience aid in my ability to manage time, work under deadlines, get the story out and touch the hearts of readers. That’s still the best job I can imagine.