A Major Wake Up Call

There comes a time in your life where something happens that makes you have a huge reality check. That makes you go, “Is this really going to be the rest of my life? I should change this” and for me, that happened last week. I won’t go into too much detail, but it was something financial and it affected me so much that I didn’t think I was going to make my rent. Now, I am making changes, right now in my life that I have been liking and keeping, but like…this is something I’ve been working on, kind of slacking on but working on nevertheless, and this financial scare just really woke me up.

Was this going to be the rest of my life? Not having anything saved for a rainy day fund in case this stream of income I depend on doesn’t come through? Not working on my career, my business ideas, and just surviving, not thriving for the rest of my life? I saw a glimpse of what my life would be if I kept on slacking, not making any monetary changes, and it was not a pleasant one. I need to change sooner, rather than later, and I just thank God he got me through this hardship in one piece.

When I got back from dealing with everything, I was seeing things in a new light. Seeing the people on the streets, just seeming so sad and struggling so much and it was like, really weird seeing it all from a different perspective. But it was also, another sort of wake up call: I wasn’t going to be this, not anymore! I’m not going to put myself through this hell, I’m going to make money no matter what it takes: The amount I want so I live as comfortably as I desire. I’m going to make myself happy with what I do, and work the ways that I already know work at making money to do so. I’m gonna stop sitting on my butt, and go out there and build my income, save, and live life to the fullest! Raaawr!

I want to travel, I want to experience so many things…and simply surviving isn’t going to cut it for me anymore. I deserve better, and I’m going to fight until I get it!

So all in all, now that this crisis is over, I’m glad I got this wake up call. Sometimes, you don’t change your life any other way, right?

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New Hair Care Trick!

Zomg you guys.  So on Saturday, my Mom was messing with a few organic beauty treatments.  While we were doing the facial she was like “I’m going to wash your hair” and she put something in my hair that made it so silky and fluffy after I washed it out, then did a normal wash to my hair.  Now, I know it’s going to sound weird, but it totally works!  And you probably have it in your house already…

Mayonnaise.

Like, as soon as I washed the mayo out of my hair, it already felt like it was washed!  Felt better than any high-end conditioner I had used in the past, too.  I left it in my hair for maybe about, 3 hours before showering and man, what a difference!  I usually have a really hard time brushing my hair right after the first wash, but my hair was so fluffy that my brush just cut through the tangles like it was butta!  Butta, I say!

I know this treatment isn’t for everyone:  But I’d say it’s definitely worth a try!  I love holistic beauty treatments, and this is one I now want to start using on a regular basis.  Wowy, what a difference!

Do you have any good holistic facials or hair care systems you like to use?  Say so in the comments!

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Paid What You’re Worth

I had another post scheduled for today, but yesterday something kind of big happened to me, so I wanted to just take a minute to jot down what I was feeling in the moment (writing this on Monday). Before I go into that, though, some back story:

In March, I was asked to perform at a Women’s group meeting in June. There’s someone that plays the flute, and she wanted to accompany me while I sang a classic song (The Water is Wide) and at the time, she said I would be getting a certain rate. Now, there’s this one busy body, sticks-her-nose-where-it-never-belongs-secretary who is a control freak and I really don’t want to swear but what I’d prefer to call her is not a very pleasant word. She has consistently done her best to try and butt into me, and my family’s business, ruin opportunities for my career, and generally just be a gossip and irritancy. I moved recently, as I’ve stated before, and when my manager called to confirm the gig last week everything was fine. What happened last night? Glad you asked! My manager gets an email from the flute player saying “The secretary said you moved ___, so you can’t commute to perform? Also, we didn’t say we’d pay you the amount you’re saying we did”Well,

I was furious! I also felt bad because the flute player has wanted to do this particular song with me for like, a year and I didn’t want to let her down. But lowering my already low rate? I can commute, I have no idea where that stupid logic came from that I couldn’t get to the freaking location on time when ya know, this is my job. But even so, getting there costs money. Money, that they weren’t going to compensate me for because hey! The rate we are offering by the way is generous because we usually don’t pay for this event anyways.

…Then why did you tell me in March that I was going to get paid? Why are you undervaluing my worth as a performer in the first place? Why are you treating what I do, and work so hard at Every SINGLE DAY like I’m doing this as a hobby, have other means of making money, and generally disrespecting me?

I had to get the entire story from the flute player: Apparently, the secretary had spoken to the Arts event manager, and had been telling everyone involved that I couldn’t make it to perform. Another person on the board who plays piano conveniently said they could step in if I “couldn’t do it”.

My guess is that the piano player wanted to do it the entire time, but that’s just a theory I can’t back up with anything other than my gut feeling.

After I got the whole story, I had to sit and talk with my family. I felt really conflicted: On one hand, I didn’t want to seem flaky and bailing on something I had committed to months ago, but on the other hand, I really wasn’t getting anything out of staying commited to a deal that had been altered because of this woman. My brother kept on telling me “Keep your emotions out of this” and eventually after weighing the profit margin, and objectively looking at the situation, I declined to make the appearance.

Why?

I felt like if I had said yes, it would have been a slippery slope to my devaluation of my skills, and my self-worth. I have gotten lessons from a very well-known voice coach, I practice every day. I learn songs when they are requested of me to learn, and I put together sets and travel, and so much more I can’t even think of right now. I am worth more than what they were offering me, and I was not going to put myself through a week of drama, stress, and irritation when I have better things to be doing. I’ve been working on some songs, and during that whole ordeal earlier today I had lost complete motivation to do anything related to my singing tonight. It was draining, it was frustrating, and I did not need to put myself in a tense situation for no profit.

After I decided “No” a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt a lot happier: and I think that had a lot to do with just the fact that I took a stand, knew I was worth more, knew I needed more respect than these people were giving me. It felt good to make a difficult decision and know after making it that I had made the right choice. After all, what good is doing something you love for a living if you’re going to regret doing a certain gig and be angry with yourself later?

What will I do now? Why, what I’ve been doing: recording covers, working on getting gigs that pay me what I’m worth, working on youtube videos and generally improving my craft. Oh, and recording a video on Wednesday with the flute player: she agreed to do the arrangement with me on both of our free time so we could record it. I’m so excited! Never had live accompaniment before 

But yeah, a very valuable life lesson that I am going to take with me. I can only go up from here!

Forgeting Things, and my personal cure: List Making!

I’m sitting here, thinking of what to write about today and keep on getting ideas, then blanking out hardcore. I find this happens to me a lot: I always have ideas racing through my head, so fast that I can’t write them all down before I forget them lol. The ones that do stick? Basically any song I want to cover, or writing ideas for stories or fanfictions I write. Or wanting to google things for research, looking up business articles, looking at youtube…ya know, the internet junkies basics. Whenever I get a design idea for jewelry, that tends to fall out of my head, too and it’s super annoying! I always read on “How to remember things” articles that you should record memos to yourself, but I’m not the type of person to check those at all because…I forget XD

Now, I am not usually a forgetful person. In fact, I have a really good, long-term memory. It’s my short term, scatter brained self that’s the problem. And it doesn’t happen because I don’t get enough sleep, I get enough of that! I think it’s just that I have so much going on in my brain that not all of it stays in the fore front of my mind, so I am going to write this list down and hope that things I have been trying to remember pop up as I write: Lists are the one thing that do work for me, woo! This is a list of things that are ongoing for me and that I need to either start working on, or sstop procrastinating with:

– Look up different phone plans, preferably pay-as-you-go models and preferably ATT and T-Mobile. Where I am living my service on Virgin Mobile has gone inactive, and I needed a new phone any ways, so time to look at new options.
– Go through, and edit a short story I’ve been working on. I have to change some scenes around that don’t make much sense in the context of the universe.
– Finish the audition thread for my radioplay series: Add lines for characters, change the audition deadline, and post at various voice acting forums I belong to.
– Post a few new songs on SoundCloud: May wait until the week is over to do so, though so I don’t have a swarm of posts this week.
– Post the latest song I posted on Sound Cloud to other networks: Facebook, really. Did it everywhere else.
– Start working on a necklace design with both wire work and stringing. Make the wire wrapped components, or work with some wrapped beads I’ve been holding onto for awhile. I want to make a piece that incorporates both wire work and stringing in them, so I get a feel for combining techniques and don’t feel so at a loss as to how to do so.
– Write a new chapter of a series I’ve been working on, so close to finishing it!
– Work on getting videos for a few song covers, post said videos on youtube.
– Make a list of the covers I already have that I want to post on youtube to make said videos for.
– Aaand think that’s about it!

Seeing it all in a list like that, it does help a lot! And I can come back to this post and see what I still need to do. Mhmm, I am a fan of this plan! I’m off to be productive!

Relaxation Matters

Not the lying in bed all morning until you finally tell yourself “Oh, I should probably get up” type of relaxation, though that is very nice and one thing I can’t live without every once and awhile. I’ve noticed how important it is, however, to just be relaxed in general no matter what you’re doing. For me, before I warm up my voice, I make sure my body is relaxed, muscles all shaken out so I feel no tenseness in any part of my body. It doesn’t even have to be some rough and tough exercise – I literally just jump up and down and wiggle my arms and legs and torso until I feel like I’m loose enough to use all of my body to sing properly. And hey, if singing Shake it Off in your head is something you also like to do, more power to ya!

I didn’t always do this. I used to just go into my room and start singing. After a few weeks of feeling a lot of tenseness in my throat, and then going to my coach and him saying “Have you been practicing?” I realized I was doing something wrong herpaderp. When he said that I was like “…Yes?” and it was really an eye-opener to making sure I wasn’t doing anything to hurt my vocal cords. Enter the google research!

I am a huge researcher, and looking up tips here and there, watching a few you tube videos and pairing that with my coaches amazing advice, I realized how important relaxation was to my vocal health. Wowie what a difference! The next performance I had was a vast improvement to the vocal pains and strains I had been having in the past! Now I continue doing those certain shake-it-outs, along with other things that I do to stay in tip top vocal condition!

What do you do to relax and refocus?

Eurovision 2015 Final Thoughts and Reactions

This is just going to be a rambly excited thing because this was the first year that I ever watched Eurovision all the way through and it was so fun ayaaah. I know this isn’t normally a day when I post, but I am just so excited I had to write!

Eurovision Song Contest 2015 finished about an hour ago after a week of amazing songs, great diversity, and tons of fun. Vienna, Austria was the stage for this amazing event, and although I wasn’t there it truly felt like it as I watched the live stream. I’m a US citizen, so it was really nice seeing how free and accepting Europe in general is of everyone and everything no matter who you are or where you’re from: the love and support just oozed out of the screen, and it was truly inspirational to watch. As a singer, it was really interesting to see what was popular stylistically in other countries, and honestly, it’s the type of music I’m into and love to sing! It was so refreshing to see that a genre that may not be popular at all in the states has a following in European countries, and it really got me geared up to stop worrying so much about what I sing, and just to sing what I love and enjoy the moment and perform my heart out.

I was rooting for Spain all week, but there were so many good songs that even if Spain didn’t win, I would’ve been happy with them winning. I had two dark horses in the contest that I simply adored: Sweden, and Serbia. Both songs had amazing messages of just being happy with who you are, but I feel Sweden’s message went a bit deeper – that your worst enemy is you, and to stop fighting who you are and just ignore all the voices in your mind and strive for success. I guess it drove home for a lot more people as well, because Sweden won and I couldn’t be happier! Russia was a close second, and their singer was just so sincere and heartfelt. It was so adorable to watch her reaction as Russia racked up the votes in the first half of the results show. But bam, Sweden for a come from behind win!

Watching Eurovision was such an eye-opening experience. I’ve always loved Europe, but I’ve never wanted to travel to it more than I have now. The theme of the contest this year was building bridges, and if you watched the show you really, really felt that message was driven home beautifully.

If you want to listen to the songs, or watch the competition, go to the Eurovision channel on youtube! The press conference is on right now, so gotta go watch that XD Congrats Sweden, you rock!

Beach Fun Times

Tuesday I went down to the beach that’s five minutes away from my place with my Mom. I want to say I finally did, but it’s only been two weeks since we’ve been here so I want to refrain from saying ‘finally’ like I’ve just been lazing around my house for months and it’s been right there lol. Needless to say, I loved it!

We walked around for a while – trying to find where the entrance to the actual beach was. After about twenty minutes, we found it and just chilled and wandered around! The things I noticed:

– The sand is so white and pretty! I was shocked that I could see anything, at all honestly. I suppose the bigger an expanse something is, the better I can see it because I could see all the colors of the waves, all the sand colors and the fact that the waves were moving. My vision has been really shotty over the years, like worse than it was when I was a teenager, so I was a little nervous to go out to the ocean and not be able to see any of it. It was breath taking to see something in such detail again – even if it was just that I could diversify the colors and where they were on the ocean, it really took me aback. It makes me want to see what else I can well, see! I haven’t been using my eyes for so long because I had given up being able to use them in any capacity, So in short: big scenes good, small scenes bad for ma eyeballs!
– I’ve been dying to go down to the shoreline and pick up some shells. My Mom spotted some wet blue…things that looked like shells, so here’s hoping when they dry they are indeed shells that I can use in a design for a jewelry piece! If it turns out that it was some sort of swamp monster, then I knew ye well…
– Doggies! While we were standing there two dogs ran up to us and started sniffa-sniffin. They were so small and cute…until one started digging a hole and getting sand all over us, eek!
– One thing that happened that was so amusing: My Mom saw the tide rising up to where we were and she was like “Move fast!” and I started moving slowly. “Faster!” but it was too late – the tide had risen and gotten our feet all wet. Two things I learned: The water is very refreshingly cold, and feels like it’d be fun to swim in, which is something I hadn’t even considered!
– I hear that ocean breeze, the way it’s calling me~ the air was so refreshing, loved how you could smell every inch of the ocean in it. The walk to the beach is hilly, and usually I would have been winded and tired and wanted to go back home. But the air just really rejuvenated me and kept me going, and as I told my Mom it was great breath support exercise!
– Mom “snuck” a few beach selfies of me haha. My hair was blowing all over the place so I am curious to see how they turned out. Shall post them as soon as I nab them from my Mom’s tablet!

Definitely so happy to finally be living on the beach. It’s always been a dream of mine, and it’s everything I imagined it would be!

So how was your day? 