Tag Archives: Women

Supermassive Sparkly Obsession

Standard

About three things I am absolutely positive. First, I am 45 years old. Second, I probably should be embarrassed that I have seen all the Twilight movies, can’t wait for Breaking Dawn, Part 1 to be released next Fall, have all the Twilight Series books and have read them all cover to cover, and even have an Edward doll sitting on my book shelf next to them–complete with sparkly chest. And third, I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Twilight.

As I sit here with my dog, having a rare girls night, polishing our toes….well, my toes anyway. I mean, have you ever tried to polish the toenails of a Chihuahua? Anyway, as we sit here together, I am elated to find Twlight (the first movie) on Showtime! Nevermind that I have it already on DVD, along with New Moon and Eclipse too. Yes, I am hooked, and I probably should be ashamed, but I’m not.


I’ve read most of the articles out there from the feminist perspective, usually promoted on Huffington Post or somewhere like that, that slam this phenomenon, and women like me, for being bad role models for young women. I get where they are coming from and no, I don’t think young girls should strive to be vapid and to give themselves over completely to some man, only to lose who they could become only if they had burned their bras and spent their days reading and quoting the works of Oscar Wilde. I get it, truly I do. I want girls and women to be empowered just as much as the hairy legged braless woman down the street–probably more. This goes way beyond loyalty to my gender…

I’ve thought a lot about why I love Twilight…and, frankly, I get a little nutty every time one of the movies premieres. I probably will again once the long awaited Breaking Dawn finally hits theaters. I’ve felt this way a few other times in my life…first with Gone With the Wind, which I still love, and Under the Tuscan Sun, which Diane Lane played brilliantly. I think I love these movies (and books) for one reason–the pieces of myself that they portray. Scarlett O’hara speaks to my tenacity and ability to “think about that tomorrow”, which has gotten me through more than one life crisis. Under the Tuscan Sun effectively dramatizes that part of me that can, and has, impulsively changed my life because I didn’t have anything to go back to. And Twilight…well, that one takes me back to when I was a lot like Bella–more than just the freakishly pale skin, chocolate brown eyes, and dark hair.


I, too, moved in with my Dad when I was about Bella’s age. I only wish it had gone so romantically…you know, minus the blood letting and terror. And I wish I’d had an Edward of my own to gaze upon in the meadow, not that I ever had a meadow. I guess in the end, I, and probably all the other middle aged women willing to admit that we love Twilight, sort of live out our fantasy teen selves through Bella. And in the movie versions, the perfectly cast Kristen Stewart becomes Bella. And I mean really…who wouldn’t want two totally hot guys fighting over them, one of whom writes classical piano tunes for you, a life of magical adventure, and at the end of the day a great Dad to come home to who supports you unconditionally?


Hmmm…who needs sparkles…wonder if Barbie makes a Chief Swan doll?

A WittyBizGal Authentic Winner E-terview; Author and Motivational Speaker Mary Foley

Standard

I met Mary Foley a few months ago when she traveled here to Florida to deliver the keynote speech for my organization’s Independence Program graduation ceremony. Our purpose is to empower women in our community to work toward their own independence—financial, and otherwise. Many of our graduates had fought tough battles over the nine months they were with us in order to reach that amazing day when they could stand up assert to all of us in the audience that they had made impressive strides, and were well on their way to being strong, independent women who were now prepared to support themselves and give back to the community.

These gals deserved something special—or should I say someone really special, and Mary Foley did not disappoint! She made the graduates and all of us in the audience laugh and cry and feel great about being women. Then she inspired each of us to look inside and first figure out what we (not our mothers, our husbands, our sisters, or our kids) wanted out of this life we’ve been given—and told us to go out there and get it!

So, for this fifth and final in my series of Authentic Winner E-terviews, I am so honored that Mary graciously agreed to share with us a little bit about who she is, what she found out that she wanted out of life, and how she got it. I know you’ll love Mary Foley as much as I do, and will be inspired to get out there and live your own dreams, whether you’re a man or a woman.

WBG: Mary, you jumpstarted your career at a little company called America Online, back when it really was little. What was the one most important thing you learned during your time at AOL about being a successful working woman?

Mary Foley: When I was 23 years old with a newly earned industrial engineering degree, the only thing I knew was what I didn’t want for my career. I didn’t want to be an engineer!  I truly wished that someone would have waved a magic wand to tell me what I should do, where I should direct myself. There wasn’t anyone. It was up to me to decide, so I decided to move to a metropolitan area with lots of jobs and get started in something, anything, to pay the bills. From there, I could evaluate and make more choices.

I learned a lot of lessons during my AOL career, but the biggest one I learned is that you are in charge of your career. You are ultimately the only one responsible for your career (and life for that matter). And the first hurdle to success is between your ears. You have to determine where you want to take your career. There’s no waiting for someone to tell you, there’s no pre-determined path. So, learn all you can from mentors. Utilize all the career development opportunities that are offered by your employer and otherwise. But, the final direction and decisions regarding your career are up to you.

WBG: These days you travel all around the country teaching women how to “increase their sanity, confidence, and fun” and talk to women about women’s issues on your “Girlfriend We Gotta Talk” radio show when you’re back home in Virginia. I bet you’ve learned a lot about women! What are three things we all have in common, no matter what our walk of life, income level, or educational & career background?

Mary Foley: We are so much more alike than we are different!  We all want to feel good about who we are, we all want to feel confident in being able to handle life, and there’s not a woman yet that I’ve met that doesn’t want to laugh more often and more easily. The good news is that since so many women want the same thing, we can share what works and be there to support one another!

WBG: Who is the most interesting guest you’ve ever interviewed and featured on your radio show, and why?

Mary Foley: We’ve had so many great guests that it’s hard to pick just one.  However, a person who jumps to mind as exceptional is Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, featured speaker on The Secret, and transformational expert. She’s so good that she is one of the very few guests we’ve had on our show twice!  What makes her stand out is that she so effectively pierces through emotional and mental clutter with her straightforward concepts and poignant stories. The research findings she shared about being “happy for no reason” or experiencing “love for no reason” spoke to my head and her real stories spoke to my heart. I even got unexpectedly choked up on-air, which is very unusual for me!  I won’t forget that anytime soon…

WBG: If I decided to branch out and start a WittyBizGal cosmetics company, I would want to include a nail color line. I want to name 3 nail polishes; one for you, one for your mother, and one for your radio co-host. What would I call those three polishes, and what colors would they be?

Mary Foley: I would say I have 3 fabulous colors that I’ve already created that are perfect for you!

  • “Perfection is SOOO Over-rated” is my cappuccino nail color that I like wearing myself that’s a perfect reminder for my driver personality to just chill.
  • “Little Miss Smarty Pants” is a fun medium purple color that was created to honor my mom who would teasingly use the phrase to describe me and my sisters. I always smile when I say this nail color name!
  • “Laughter is My Face Lift” perfectly describes my friend and “Girlfriend We Gotta Talk!” radio show co-host Susie Galvez.  We share lots of laughs, even when we’re talking about serious subjects. And, the fact that she’s a beauty expert just tops it off!

Good luck on your WittyBizCal cosmetics line! ;D

WBG: Your book, Live Like Your Nail Color, along with its related speaking engagements and parties has been wildly popular and successful in getting busy women like me to sit down and think about who we really are & what we want out of life, all while taking a much needed break while our nail color dries. Can you give us a hint about what we can expect next from Mary Foley?

Mary Foley: Given these challenging times, women want more ideas on creating sanity for their lives and confidence for their careers. So, I’m redesigning my website maryfoley.com and creating a Facebook page to share more ideas to help. In addition, I’ve created some new live, in-person programs including about thriving on change and tapping into the secrets of successful women. I look forward to a continued conversation – we’re all in this together!

WBG: Mary, I couldn’t have said it better myself! And I think I can speak for women everywhere when I say that with an advocate like you on our side, our potential for #AuthenticWinning will know no limits! Thanks for allowing us a little peek inside Mary Foley’s World. 🙂

Mary’s Latest Book, Live Like Your Nail Color, is Available on Amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/eyOFu2

To Plan Your Very Own “Live Like Your Nail Color” Party, or to Arrange for Mary Foley to Speak at Your Next Event, Please Visit Her Professional Website at: www.maryfoley.com

To Listen to Recorded Full Radio Broadcasts of Girlfriends Mary Foley & Susie Galvez, Visit Girlfriend We Gotta Talk’s Website: http://www.girlfriendwegottatalk.com/

To Follow Mary on Twitter: @BodaciousMary

The Art and Pathology of Pessimistic Optimism; Confessions of a Middle Aged Beauty Contestant

Standard

If you’re ever asked to deliver my eulogy, you can tell your audience that I was pessimistically optimistic. Now, of course, they’ll all be too prostrate with grief to stop bawling long enough to stare at you like you’re crazy, but in case anybody asks, you can tell them that you say that about me because I never thought I was going to win anything, yet I kept acting as if I would. This is a major theme of my life, actually, definitely worth exploring on a good therapist’s couch someday, but if I spent as much time “exploring” in that way as I probably need to, I’d likely not get off the couch long enough to tend to my blog. This dichotomy of personality is what leads me to enter contests every now and then—contests that, truth be told, I probably don’t have a snowball’s chance of surviving a Florida summer of winning.


A few months ago, I entered the QVC/Bare Minerals “Women of B.E.” contest, in which the grand prize was a trip to the QVC studios, a Women of B.E. eyeshadow kit, and a chance to meet the company’s CEO of Swirl, Tap, and Buff, Ms. Leslie Blodgett. I really do love their makeup, and I like Leslie enough to follow her Tweets and her Facebook Fan Page. I’ve even interacted with her briefly on there, and it’s always fun when a well known person acknowledges your communication and talks back to you. But, as I knew I wouldn’t, but thought I might, I didn’t win that one—didn’t even make it to the top 10. Part of the problem is that in the case of most of these types of contests, the powers that be narrow down the competition to a manageable number by forcing participants to obtain a certain number of “Like” clicks on the internet before the actual judging begins. I don’t have as many close friends as a lot of women do, and am not willing to jeopardize the friendships I do have by nagging people nonstop to keep visiting my entry and clicking on it. I ask once, and that’s pretty much it. Nor am I willing to create 25 different Gmail accounts so that I can be my own best friend and click myself 25 extra times each day until the click voting ends. So, even though I know I’m never going to make it past the first cut, I am convinced that this time, I’m gonna go all the way, baby!

I’m at it again, this time with More Magazine’s annual “Beauty Search”. I resisted this one last year because, frankly, a middle aged beauty contest seemed just a shade past too silly, even for me. More is a great magazine for women who are no longer 25—sort of like Cosmo, Glamour, Vogue & Shape,  all rolled into one and directed at the over 40 female. But, as always with these things, that $10,000 grand prize and a chance to fly to New York and be photographed for the pages of More had my name on it! So, I wrote up my contest entry in about 5 minutes and pasted in that same picture from my blog that I took of myself into the little box, and impulsively became an aging beauty contestant. I might have increased my odds of winning if I’d put some more thought into what I wrote about “Why I Feel More Beautiful Than Ever”, or if I’d had some sort of professional photo taken of myself that didn’t involve saying cheese to the camera in my outstretched arm, but that’s just not how I roll. After all, I’m not going to win anyway, even though I will…


I did all of this in about an hour one morning, the picture’s not half bad, and I actually really meant all the things I said about beauty in my allotted 1500 characters or less. There is some stiff competition though…I never read the fine print in anything until after the fact, but in the last couple of days I was surprised to learn that the contest is open to women who will turn 35 by April, and up. So, there are some young hotties to contend with (I spotted more than one bikini clad rockin’ bod), as well as some ladies who are clearly professional models, or cancer survivors, or women who have triumphed over domestic violence, are running their own successful businesses, are doctors, lawyers, etc. Anyway, you get the picture. And then there’s me—this year’s winner. Be sure to look for me on the pages of More this summer, right after you read this Freshly Pressed blog on the WordPress Homepage…

Do New For Spring!

Standard


“God created toenails so we could keep trying new colors.” ~ Mary Foley, AKA @BodaciousMary

I don’t know about you, but I have always loved Spring! I am an impulsive sort, so I am attracted to rapid change, the birth of new ideas, off with the old, on with the new, etc. People have told me that I jump into new things too quickly and should take my time to test the waters, weigh the options, and proceed with caution. This is definitely good advice, and in my middle age, I do try to temper my impulsivity with a certain amount of looking before leaping. But, when Spring is in the air, I find that a lot of folks are feeling the same way I do 24/7, 365 days a year. There is a measure of permission granted to us by Mother Nature when She herself is undergoing transformation, to follow suit and try new things.

I read a great book a few years back called Do One Thing Different, by therapist Bill O’Hanlon. In it, he presents a unique problem solving technique which involves breaking patterns by first observing the sequence of events that always occurs when the negative thing happens, then altering just one minor thing in that sequence in order to disrupt the problem and solve it. I have used this method many times myself and have found it extremely effective in not only solving pesky problems, but also breaking ruts and renewing my well of energy and enthusiasm for life. The big takeaway for me with O’Hanlon’s proposed methodology is that changes (large and small) are impactful and necessary for our success and happiness in life.

Change is definitely in the air for me right now! I started a new blog, I became a first time grandmother, a reluctant but successful homeschooler, and I am beginning to make some meaningful contributions to a very worthwhile local nonprofit as a new board member. Those are all big changes, but the little changes I purposely make on a daily basis can take my mood from sad to happy, low energy to power surge, and so on…So, I guess what I am trying to say is that a little change can do you a lot of good, and now is the perfect time to try new things to problem solve, re-energize, break negative cycles, and so on.

Here are just a few innovative tiny, small, and medium Spring changes that can make a big difference:

  • Get a new haircut and/or color (this one requires some looking before leaping, lest you be boo-hooing and blaming WittyBizGal;-)
  • Clean out that junk drawer (we all have one)
  • Try a new nail color that stretches the limits of your comfort zone (mine in the photo is Crushed, from Sally Hansen–Muy Caliente!)
  • Find an exciting new volunteer opportunity in your area: http://www.volunteermatch.org/ (great searchable database of current openings)
  • Search the internet for a new recipe and make it for dinner tonight: http://www.recipe.com/
  • Move your living room or bedroom furniture around
  • Start your own blog (I’ve found the WordPress format to be super quick and easy! I impulsively signed up and wrote that first Charlie Sheen inspired blog in a grand total of about 3 hours one evening)
  • Take up a new hobby; This site seems to have the scoop on just about all of them: http://www.discoverahobby.com/

HAPPY SPRING CHANGE EVERYONE!

 


 


Play, To Win

Standard


When I was in my early 30’s, I decided I was finally ready to go back to college and “get my degree”. At that time, that was my primary end goal—it was unfinished business in my life and I intended to tie up that loose end once and for all. I was wide open to possibilities for a major then, and I fluctuated weekly between a nursing degree, because it was practical and I’d always be able to find a job, to psychology with the objective being to become a therapist, to business, because I’d always fancied myself as having some natural talent where business management was concerned.

So, with nontraditional student jitters and my one month old baby strapped to my chest, I bravely strode into the Admissions office of my local community college in California where I was living at the time, and registered for just one night class to get my feet wet—The Psychology of Human Relations.  A couple of weeks later, the night of my very first class had arrived! I fidgeted all day and worried about just about everything…Would I blow it again like I had when I attempted college right after high school? Was I trying to do too much with a newborn baby at home? Was I just too old? Had I missed my chance to do this? And so on…

Still somewhat exhausted from ongoing c-section recovery and being up nights with the baby, I nervously walked into class with the textbook I had purchased the day before, and found a seat. I was one of the first students to arrive (I’m always over eager and early) and was surprised when the class quickly filled, probably to the capacity set by the Fire Marshall. When the professor arrived and began to speak, I understood why…

The first thing Professor X said was, “Hi Class, thanks for coming tonight! You all have your textbooks? Good! Take them out, then put them back in your backpacks or under your desks…you won’t be needing them for the rest of the quarter.” A few of us looked at one another in disbelief…others hadn’t even brought or bought their texts because they knew this would happen and that’s why they signed up for this class, in this section, with this teacher. Slackers! 😉

The professor “lectured” for awhile, first going around the room and having everyone introduce themselves, after which we had what amounted to a large, somewhat uncomfortable group therapy session. It became more comfortable as the semester went on, because we got used to “sharing” and “mirroring” and other such hocus pocus psycho-therapeutic tools employed by our professor at Twilight Zone Night School. Anyway, as he was wrapping up that first night’s class, he gave us our assignment for next week—We were to each go out and buy ourselves three toys, and play with them for one hour a day, all week. Then we were to bring them back next week for even more sharing of our feelings about playing with our toys.

I went home and told my husband what had happened, and after he finished rolling his eyes at the sad state of academia in the state of California these days, he told me just to go with the flow and get my easy A—so I did. And, being overeager as I tend to be, I strapped the baby to my chest the very next morning and went to WalMart to fulfill step one of my assignment. I decided on a Cinderella coloring book, a brand new box of 64 Crayolas, some bubbles to blow, and a keychain with an interactive plastic toy on the end. Did I feel silly buying this stuff? YES! Luckily, my baby afforded the cashier the plausible assumption that I probably had an older child and home and was buying this stuff for him or her. Did I feel even sillier complying with Professor X’s orders to actually PLAY with my toys? OH YEAH! But, as I played, an hour each day as instructed….a funny thing happened—I began to feel free…less stressed…more creative, and more open to the possibilities of the life that lay before me. And best of all, I gradually let go of all the anxieties and fears I had about being a thirtysomething, potentially academically over the hill woman going back to school. Instead of “What if I can’t do it?”, I started to think, “Wow…what if I CAN?!”

Was Professor X a little crazy? Yeah, maybe…crazy like a fox! In that first class, which turned out to be highly nontraditional, just like me, I learned that in order to tackle the hard stuff…the complicated stuff in life, adults need play. We need it for a mental break, for stress relief, for creativity and sustainable productivity. Later on, as I took more night classes, the hard stuff came academically…I crammed for exams and stayed up till the wee hours writing papers. The hard stuff came in life too…I had yet another baby, we moved several times, and we struggled in all the ways young families struggle in modern America. I kept going to school…going and going and going until I reached my goal of at least a bachelor’s degree. Then, I set higher academic  goals for myself, met some, and am still working on others.

And you know what else I did? I PLAYED…yes, with toys. Except this time I did it on purpose and with purpose—and you should too! Play is beneficial and purposeful for adults, just as it is for children. It can make you more productive at work, because it helps you learn to think outside the box. It can improve your home life because it magically reduces stress. And if you’re like me, and were just naturally wound a little too tight from the moment the doc slapped your butt to say welcome to the world, it can help you lighten up and take life and yourself a little less seriously.

A Few Play Suggestions (you’re only limited by your imagination…and maybe your wallet):

  • Bubbles
  • Jacks
  • Marbles
  • Coloring Books/Crayons
  • Legos
  • Dolls
  • Puzzles
  • Clackers (those really big annoying ones)
  • A Frisbee ( human partner or dog required)
  • A new Build-A-Bear all your own (with an outfit), and yes you have to kiss the heart and make a wish before they stuff your bear
  • Magnetix
  • Matchbox Cars

 

A WittyBizGal Authentic Winner E-terview; Knit Creation Artist Sharmon Cate Hardin

Standard

Sharmon Cate Hardin and I attended the same Chattanooga, Tennessee area high school, but we didn’t really get to know one another until we became Facebook Friends a couple of years back. Since then, I have grown to admire her warmth, her generous spirit, and her amazing artistic talent with knitted creations. So, when I began my quest to source Authentic Winners to feature in my blog, Sharmon rose to the top of the list! Not only is she a successful proprietor of her own small e-business, Now You’re Covered, but she also donates a significant portion of her time, as well as her beautiful creations to the young patients of St. Jude Research Hospital.

WBG: How and when did you learn to knit? Did someone teach you, or are you self taught? And what made you decide to make a career out of it?

SCH: I first began working with yarn when I was around 10 years old and loved it. I was taught by my maternal grandmother and my mother. I am more of a watch and learn than read and learn which lead me to creating my own patterns today. I had always worked with yarns over the years as a hobby or making gifts for friends and relatives. Blankets, aka Afghans for new baby, bridal shower, etc. Never stopping with my need to create with yarn…

Several years ago I was deemed partially disabled. That is to say my health now prevents me from being able to hold a job that would be considered ‘gainful employment’. I was told that I was allowed to continue to earn some monies in addition to my small disability income. (My pride has stopped me from ever even trying to see if I qualify for any other assistance.)

One day my daughter asked if I could make her a lavender hat & matching scarf. This began my attraction to hat making. While beginning to sell my wares on Ebay http://myworld.ebay.com/handmadeintn/ I also began to substitute teach where my children attended school. There I was dubbed ‘The Yarn Lady’ by the students (in a very loving way of course). They were amazed at my ability to work while looking at them. After so many years of doing this, most stitches are easily felt while working in addition to viewing while working. I have been lucky enough to not have my hands and fingers affected by the arthritis that continues to deplete my abilities. I thank GOD for this! Just this year (2011), I was told I have carpal tunnel, but a small wrap renders that a non issue.

As I began to sell more and more on Ebay, I decided it couldn’t be that hard to create a website of my own, could it? I had already started sending business cards with each order!  So the webpage www.nowyourecovered.com was born. I struggled with naming my business as I knew there were several items I had ventured into making. Hats of course are my true love and where I get most excited in the designing. I even considered the business name: NogginToppers, but this did not cover all items. Since I began making blankets (Southern Name: “covers”:-), this is where the name idea was decided. Keeping with being grammatically correct, I kept the word: “you’re” in the web address. This has been my biggest issue when folks can’t remember where to find me as they type: “your” instead. I did toss around the idea of changing that, but I like it being unique too. I am entirely happy with where I am now. I have accepted my lack of ability to be out in the world working for others and have gladly embraced my God given talent to be used for making others happy with their orders.

WBG: You offer a very wide variety of items to your customers on your website—I even noticed knit bikinis on there! What is the craziest or most difficult item you’ve ever made to fulfill a customer’s order?

SCH: Hmmm, this may take some thought to think of the craziest. The one hat that took me the longest time to create was when our youngest daughter asked me to make a raccoon hat for our youngest Grand~boy, Levi.

Now that I think about it….The craziest thing I’ve ever made was an umbrella for Mikey. Mikey is a Build-a-Bear turtle that belongs to our oldest Grand~boy, Connor. What I wouldn’t do for my grands!!!

But then again… it could be the crock cozy too!  A friend of mine is the most wonderful esthetician and keeps her warm moist towels in a huge crock pot.  Together, she and I (shout out to Julie Shelton of “The Body Remedy” in Chattanooga, TN) decided how wonderful it would look if it were covered AND had non-slip polka dots added to the bottom. I receive a lot of ideas by dreaming them.

This is the reason my home page reads: Don’t just dream it, ORDER IT! I’m game to try to create ALMOST anything!

WBG: I’m intrigued by your professional association with St. Jude Research Hospital. Your website states that for every hat you sell, you donate one to St. Jude. What motivated you to give of your time and resources in this way to a charitable organization, and why St. Jude?

SCH: I was watching a St. Jude commercial one day and just knew this was what I was meant to do! Children have always had such a special place in my heart. I have never personally known a child that was in need of St. Jude’s help, but what a wonderful thing they are doing! How could anyone not be touched to help so that St. Jude’s research Hospital can continue to treat AND house these families during the scariest time in all their lives FOR FREE? If I have this ability to make hats for others to buy, why would I ever NOT want to share this ability with these precious children too? I could not imagine being selfish in that way.

I only wish I could see the faces of a few children that picked out one of my hats and the smile it could bring to their little angelic face. There are certain criteria for donating hats.  There’s a list on their webpage on what steps need to be taken not only for the children to be able to have a FREE hat, but to protect their possible allergies, etc. I JUST ADORE ST. JUDE! www.stjude.org

WBG: You offer quite a large selection of what you call “Chemo Soft Hats”, presumably for cancer patients who are losing or have lost their hair to chemotherapy treatment. What is different about these hats, and what sort of difference have they made in the lives of your customers who are cancer survivors?

SCH: I’m so glad you asked this question!  My mother is a cancer survivor x 3 and just recently learned it is back again. Some of the yarns I have are incredibly soft and what I refer to as ‘skin friendly’. I have learned so much as one of mom’s caregivers—the scalp can become extremely sensitive due to the chemotherapy. Also, my very best friend since 1st grade went through a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. (shout out to Paula Shelton – SURVIVOR!!) I sent Paula a box full to have all the choices she wanted during her hair loss. What a giving person she is to take her hats and donate them to her local area for women who may not be able to afford super soft hats for themselves too. I have given lots of these hats to local places in need of hats for cancer patients as well as personal friends. One man in particular is a HUGE UTK fan, so I made him what we called ‘orange hair’. A yarn called ‘fan-pel’ or ‘eyelash’ mimics hair that would stand out. Larry (a/k/a Lar~Dog) wore his ORANGE HAIR proudly to church, work, out to eat, wherever!  Oh how I wish I had a photo of him in his “ORANGE HAIR”!! He even had me make another for a friend of his that was also battling this unfair disease. This took me in the direction of making all sorts of colors for this style so anyone can have exactly what they would want.

There are several other materials I like to use in the creating of hats for cancer patients.  Some of which are: cashmere, boa, 100% cotton & Sherpa. These are some of the yarns that are best used for sensitive skin, or really anyone who wants that exceptional soft or plush feeling hat, scarf, etc.

To see my mom still wearing the chullo style (this is the type hat with the braids that hang down on either side) made with Sherpa tells me how much she loves it too. She has been wearing it since I first made it even when her hair came back! When Paula practically squeaked with joy over her new hats, my heart began to dance. Now and again I get an email from those who have purchased chemo hats from me telling me how much they love them. I get a lot of repeat business from cancer survivors who come back and buy another for someone they know who has to battle cancer too. I do hope that whoever has one of my chemo hats, if they decide they don’t need or want them after they battle is over that they would be so kind as to donate them somewhere to a cancer treatment center so that another person can have one too. (Now if I could only figure out how to work in my sleep to get a hat to every cancer patient in America….)

WBG: You and Now You’re Covered are associated with the 3/50 project, an organization which supports independently owned small businesses. Tell us a little more about the 3/50 project, and how the Recession and sluggish economy has impacted you as a small business owner.

SCH: The 3/50 project is a nationally run nonprofit organization that focuses attention to small businesses. There are supporters & independents. I am a supporter, listed here: http://www.the350project.net/states/states_t.html

The best explanation for the 3/50 project is this (snagged from their FAQ page): “The idea is to commit $50 each month to locally owned businesses, total. Maybe that means rethinking where you currently invest your money, opting to pick up that birthday card or pair of jeans in a locally owned business instead of the big box you’ve been going to. Or maybe it means eating out once a month because you realize slamming the brakes on all spending stalls economic recovery. It’s just that simple.”

The recession has definitely had a large impact on my business. My items are hand created which most folks consider ‘an extra’. The ‘extras’ are the first thing to be reduced or cut from most everyone’s budget. I am a giver by nature and make many donations in several areas as well as conducting contests on my Facebook Now You’re Covered fan page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Now-Youre-Covered/104613663623

I know the recession is affecting everyone and I want to know I’ve made a small difference along the way as well!

WBG: And finally, Sharmon, as a female entrepreneur with your own successful small business, what are three pieces of advice you have for other women who may have a hobby or idea that they dream of turning into a successful new venture?

SCH:

1. Be prepared with your knowledge of your hobby and/or idea. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

2. Dream BIG, but expect disappointments along the way. Remember when one door closes, another opens. Have a good support system: Friends, family, etc.

3. Think about how you can impact the world with what you have to offer. Follow your heart. Women are much stronger than the credit we are given. Believe in yourself and believe in what you want to do.

WBG: Thank you so much, Sharmon, for taking the time to talk with us—it has been a real pleasure to offer my readers the inside scoop and back story on both you & Now You’re Covered!

Follow Sharmon on Twitter: Sharms Hardin @nowyourecovered

To Browse and/or Purchase one of Sharmon’s beautiful and functional creations, please visit the Now You’re Covered website at:

www.nowyourecovered.com

or Sharmon’s Ebay page at:

http://myworld.ebay.com/handmadeintn/

For more information about St. Jude Research Hospital, please visit their organization’s website at: http://www.stjude.org/about

or follow St. Jude on Twitter: @StJude

A WittyBizGal Authentic Winner E-terview; Scoliosis Awareness Advocate Kerrie Bassow

Standard

Welcome to the very first in my series of E-terviews with Authentic Winners! To kick things off right, I am so pleased to feature my friend, Kerrie Bassow, who is also a dedicated nonprofit sector advocate for scoliosis awareness and research.

Scoliosis awareness is a cause which is near and dear to my heart because I am a scoliosis patient myself. At age 11, I was diagnosed with the disorder and spent 2 years wearing a Milwaukee Back Brace http://www.netterimages.com/image/1798.htm before undergoing spinal fusion surgery at 14, after which I wore a full torso body cast for nine months. That was 30+ years ago now but the disorder still affects my life in some ways, and the memory of the isolation and fear I felt as a young girl dealing with scoliosis, as well as the self image issues I grappled with primarily due to my very obvious back brace, stuck with me for many years.

Back then, there really wasn’t as much readily available information about the disorder for us scoliosis patients and our parents, and I did not have access to any support groups in my area. And of course this was long before the Internet, so I didn’t have information and support available to me at the click of a mouse like young people do today. It was really one of the most emotionally painful and difficult times in my life, and I wish I had known someone like Kerrie back then!

WBG: Kerrie, based upon your knowledge as a scoliosis awareness advocate, can you tell my readers who are unfamiliar with the disorder exactly what scoliosis is, who is at risk, how it is detected, and what treatment options are available?

KB: Scoliosis is a lateral curve of the spine developing in pre- and early adolescence.  Awareness of this condition, along with a 30 second posture test at home or in the Dr.’s office between the ages of 10-15 can help prevent scoliosis from developing into a serious condition. Currently, it is unknown what triggers the curve, or why some curves progress more than others, emphasizing the need for awareness and research.

WBG: Tell us a little bit about your family’s experience with scoliosis.

KB: Our daughter Libby was experiencing shoulder pain that I thought was growing pains or sore muscles from carrying her book bag. At her annual physical, we told her pediatrician. He had her bend over and touch her toes. What I saw looked like a turtle shell over her right shoulder.  We went for x-rays and the scoliosis diagnosis was confirmed.

It was gut wrenching having your 12 year old ask you if she was going to be ok; I had no answers for her, as I did not know what scoliosis was. Libby went from being diagnosed in late Oct. ’09 to surgery on Feb. 8, 2010, 5 days after she turned 13. Her curve was 43 thoracic and 26 lumbar at diagnosis and 62 thoracic with a 43 lumbar at surgery. Her spine was fused from thoracic 1-9.

WBG: In your personal experience, and also based upon your experience working with scoliosis patients and their families, what are the three biggest issues which must be addressed upon receiving a scoliosis diagnosis?

KB: I’m not a medical professional, but based on my experience the 3 biggest issues after diagnosis would be; 1) curve percent  2) where the child is in terms of bone growth 3) the treatment plan (do not “watch and wait” – check into a modified yoga or PT to counter balance the curve by building up muscle strength).

WBG: You recently opened a chapter of Scoliosis Association, Inc. in your local area. What client base does your organization work with, and what sort of information and services do you provide?

KB: I became a chapter President in my community recently under “The Scoliosis Association, Inc.” located in Safety Harbour, Florida. The Scoliosis Association is an international education and support system. They provide a quarterly issue of “BackTalk” a magazine with articles written by scoliosis specialists on treatment and new technology, along with all things related to the scoliosis spine. For $25.00 you can become a member which helps with the expense of brochures etc.

My local chapter serves a population of 260,000. Getting the news “out there” takes a long time.  I will be hosting 4 meetings annually with educational speakers from my area. I really desire to get scoliosis info into the hands of our 9-13 year olds and their parents. That will be my main focus along with support. I don’t want any other parent or child NOT to know scoliosis.

My slogan; Know the curve?  kNOw scoliosis.

WBG: Please tell us about your gorgeous Scoliosis Awareness Jewelry! What is the symbolism of the design? What is the cost, and how much of the purchase price goes directly to support Scoliosis research? And finally, how exactly can someone order one for themselves or a loved one?

KB:  Scoliosis Awareness Bracelets was created because Libby and I could not find a bracelet to wear every day. So together we designed one!  We figured if we liked them, maybe others would as well.  So I made up my first website, http://www.scoliosisawarenessbracelets.com

The bracelets are very symbolic of the scoliosis spine, recognize the scoliosis condition/sufferer, bring a bit of beauty to the condition, raise awareness, and monies for scoliosis research.


Symbolism of Our Scoliosis Jewelry:

*3 swarovski crystals, 4mm=cervical spine, 6mm=thoracic spine, 8mm=lumbar spine
*.925 sterling silver “S” curve bead = scoliosis spine
*dual strands of leather = bracing or rodding
*.925 wishbone charm = a reminder to be the power behind hope for a scoliosis cure and research

All components are .925 sterling silver. We just introduced a scoliosis pendant (thanks Lisa!) to match and are tweaking the design concept for a keychain.

Cost:

*Awareness only bracelet; $29.00 includes shipping/handling
*Bracelet for awareness and research; $40.00 total with $11 of that price going to The Scoliosis Association Research Endowment Fund OR The Scoliosis Research Society OR Shriners Hospital for Children Scoliosis Study – your choice
*The Pendants are $20.00 total with a $5.00 donation to the same as the bracelets.

There are several ways to get in touch with me to order:

 

 

WBG: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, Kerrie, and for being my very first E-terview-ee!

For more information about scoliosis, please visit the Mayo Clinic Online:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/scoliosis/DS00194

For more information on The Scoliosis Association, Inc., please visit the organization’s website at: http://www.scoliosis-assoc.org/

To follow Kerrie on Twitter: Kerrie Bassow, @ScoliMom