Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm One of Five Top Experts to the World!

Back in 2004 I wanted to start working towards my master's degree in management. Because I don't drive balancing work and school transportation would be a feat. I wasn't yet married nor living with hubby so I did some investigating online. I knew there were plenty of schools that offered online degrees.

After finding an accredited school in Bellevue, Nebraska that offered a complete online program in management, I knew I had found my answer.

Now doing your degree online takes a lot of dedication and can have its pros and cons. Online studies do allow you to study when it is convenient for you, however you do not have that structured in-class setting to ask questions to your professor.

During an accounting class I found myself stumped and needing a bit more guidance. I am so challenged in math it isn't even funny!

Let me give you an example of how bad my math is. . .please don't judge LOL. My father finds it amusing to "test" my math skills by giving me random quizzes. He will say,

"Jamie, you go in to 7-11 and your total is $25.62 and you give them $30.00. How much change do you get back?"

As simple as that might be I would stare puzzled to come up with the exact number in my head. So what is my response to his little quiz?

"I don't shop at that store."

So back to my accounting class. I needed help. I needed a tutor. Not really knowing of anyone locally, I once again turned to the Internet. I did a simple Google search for online accounting tutors and came across the website LivePerson.com.

After perusing through their "experts" as they are called, I hired a woman from Egypt to guide me through my math challenges. I not only used her for my accounting class, which I got an A in, but some other classes some semesters later, which I also got A's in.

After graduating with my masters in 2005 my experience at LivePerson.com stuck with me. I took some time to explore what it took to be an "expert" and if there was a cost to promote your services on the site.

LivePerson.com is a provider of online engagement solutions that facilitate real-time assistance and expert advice. Connecting businesses and experts with consumers seeking help on the Web, their hosted software platform creates more relevant, compelling and personalized online experiences.

I was intrigued enough and signed up as an "expert" under their writing section. Within days, literally, my "business" took off. Helping everyone from college students to professionals, I was lending my time and talents to better the written word for others.

Recently I received a very interesting e-mail stating that after reviewing my reviews from clients, my work record and my personal story of why I began working with the company I had been chosen as one of their Top Five Experts to the World. WOO HOO!

Now, as if this wasn't exciting enough. . .a professions video and photography crew will be flying out from NY to spend a few days with you to create a promotional video of your work to be posted on their website to help drive more clients to my site. Double WOO HOO!

So I had the privileged of having four people follow me around for two days doing interviews, snapping pictures. . .invading my privacy. Sure come on in to the bathroom with me LOL. I honestly felt like I was on a reality TV show.

The experience was awesome! The recognition so appreciated! You have to understand. There are over 30,000 experts providing their services on LivePerson.com so to be chosen as one of the top 5 is HUGE.

In my day to day job I get to work with the media, often times being on air regarding a patient success story or event, however this experience was different. It was all about me, and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

I was thrilled with the final product!

Thank you to LivePerson.com for giving me this honor and for the wonderful experience. Lights, camera, action. . .I could get used to this!

Check out my video at Jamie Expert to the World. You can also view my profile here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Livin' Lush

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!!! First of all, thank you to all those in the military past and present who fought for our freedom. We celebrate you today!

This weekend my hubby and I took and impromptu trip to our local mall. We had nothing in mind in particular that we were on the lookout for, so we just enjoyed spending some leisurely time popping in and out of our favorite stores.

There is a newer wing to our mall that has stores like Sephora (My absolute favorite store for cosmetics. I spent the last of my gift card on some must have items.), Torrid, Coach and Oakley.

As my hubby and I were making our way through this section we passed a store that had the most intoxicating smell coming out of it.

We both quickly turned around to see where the scents of jasmine, grapefruit, ginger and vanilla were coming from.

The store is called Lush Handmade Cosmetics. This was the most amazing place with the most unique products. Now, I will say I am a sucker for cosmetics, lotions and bath items so I was easily intrigued by what Lush had to offer. Anything to feel pampered; I'm all over it.

We were greeted by a very nice young man who asked if we had ever been in the store before. Upon hearing neither of us had, he began to tell us that all of Lush's products are made from fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics. None of their products are tested on animals, which I love and everything is made fresh by hand using little or no preservatives or packaging, using only vegetarian ingredients and they tell you when they were made.

This store has everything. From solid lotions to cleansers to bath bubble bars to shampoos the options were endless and very well priced.

I left the store with a few things in my bag and much more on my wish list.

The treasured items that made it home with me included:
{Tea tree is extremely soothing and can work wonders on troubled or oily skin. I have normal to oily skin and usually by mid day I definitely have to re-powder myself. After just a few days of using Tea Tree Water I have seen a marketable difference in my skin not being so oily!}
{Imperialis is a finely crafted moisturizer for oily skin. Based on English herbalism and the majesty of the imperial age, Imperialism is made with lavender infusion to balance the skin's sebum production. Lavender encourages dry skin to produce more natural oils and discourages oily skin from overdoing it. I absolutely love this product!}

Wish list items include:

{This fruity body smoothie is made with the fresh juices of strawberries and lime to gently cleanse. Take a scoopful of this soft and creamy soap and lather all over your body for a luxurious wash. If you're skin tends to be dry it will be quenched by the fresh butternut squash, almond and olive oils that are stirred into each batch. Your skin will feel refreshed and buttery soft after a shower with this "lushious" smoothie}

{How can you resist a decadent dessert bubble bath that smells like almond icing? I can't! This bubble bar is called Marzibain because it smells like Marzipan. If you've got a sweet tooth but you're on a diet, take one of these and you'll be satisfied. Crumble the entire bar under running bath water for mounds of sweet, fluffy white bubbles.}

{Like Dolly says, 9 to 5 is quite the way to make a living. It can take its toll on the skin and leave you looking not your best. This is a gentle cleanser made with almond oil, dove orchids and everlasting flower absolute.}

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Flashback

{Glittery sunnies from Miu Miu perfect for Summer!}
This week the weather in sunny FL seemed to turn from hot to hotter! Typically I would greet the early heatwave with a smile on my face, but our AC at home decided to go on the fritz. For the last few days we have been very cautious about running the air, so I have been searching for ways to keep my cool and have found some great new items to do just that or at least look good in the process.

In other news, I will say that the office just wasn't the same this week as it was week one of not having one of my closest girlfriends working with me anymore. She has gone on to a new position outside of our hospital which she will absolutely shine in. I keep expecting her to show up with our favorite Five Guys lunch and our awesome chats. I'm definitely going to miss her!

Other noteworthy week enjoyment was watching the season two finale of Glee. The duet of "For Good" from the Broadway musical Wicked sung by Rachel and Kurt left me with chills. And that kiss between Rachel and Finn during their performance at Nationals would make any girls knees buckle. Now I must go months until season 3 premiers. Oh well, at least I have Dexter and True Blood coming back to get me through.

I hope you all had a great week and enjoy a wonderful long weekend!

{Frozen key lime pie on a stick dipped in Belgian Chocolate from Kermit's Key West Lime Shoppe. You don't have to travel to Key West to enjoy this Summer treat. They ship anywhere in the US.}

{Glee's "For Good" performance from Wicked. I couldn't resist singing along!}
{Really cute sparkly fats in my size. . .a kids 3! Darn my small feet! It is so hard to find shoes in my size that don't have Dora or Barbie on them!}

{The banana pudding milkshake at Chick-fil-A. It's like Heaven in a cup!}

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Feelin' Cheeky

In the realm of makeup, blush seems to get a bit overlooked. So much detail is focused on how do create a mesmerizing sultry eye or the perfect pouty lip. Let's not forget the importance of accentuating those cheek bones to give your cheeks a lovely lift no matter what your skin tone might be!

Too Faced playful blushing bronzers add the perfect amount of color to any look.
My personal favorite in the blushing bronzer line is Mocha Mi Amore. It's a rich and creamy plumy brown; a pick-me-up for the face or anywhere else you want a naturally naughty glow.

Pinch My Petals is a fresh and light blossom of pinky-mauve to brighten cheeks, forehead and chin for a perfectly pretty glow. 

Papa Don't Peach adds a burst of fresh, youthful radiance to shine that summertime warmth any time of the year.

The newest shade is La Vie En Rose, a cool pink blush with the slightest golden shimmer that brightens and accentuates cheeks!

Girls, don't fret over which box is your favorite. Get one of each and be envied by all!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Being a "Normal" Wife

This October it will be 5 years that I rolled down the aisle and said, "I do" to being the wife of the most amazing man I know. I was 28 at the time and so excited to spend the rest of my life being a wife to my best friend.

As any couple does, my hubby and I have gone through good times, bad times, and all the times in between. We are very good about working through any disagreement and thankfully don't find ourselves disagreeing on much of anything.

When I said "I do" in my mind I was instantly a different person. Of course I was still Jamie, but I was now not the single Jamie who had a fiance. I was the married Jamie who was now responsible for a putting on my wifely crown and taking care of my man.

I think for most women in their late 20's - early 30's, stepping in to that role isn't much of a stretch. We've typically gotten whatever "it" is out of our system and are ready to settle down and have a family. I certainly was at that point, but I had an inner struggle that I had to deal with.

How was I going to be a "normal" wife when I'm not normal?

I'm going to tell you ladies a little secret, but don't tell your hubby or significant other I said so. They might feel bad they are not pulling this kind of weight.

Here are the household "chores" my hubby does without my even asking (This is in addition to him helping me get dressed, take a shower, use the restroom, drive me where ever I want/need to go, etc):

1) Cleaning (dusting, mopping, vacuuming, windows, bathrooms, etc)
2) Laundry
3) Takes out the garbage
4) Cooks
5) Lawn maintenance (We have a lawn guy, but hubby will trim trees and such.)

I know that many women would say, "Thank you God!" if their spouse did what my hubby is doing. It isn't that I don't appreciate his efforts, but sometimes it leaves me with the feeling of. . .I'm the wife, I'm supposed to do those things. I physically can't do 99% of those things, so what can I do to feel like a "wife"?

My hubby, bless his heart, has told me time and again that it doesn't matter whatsoever to him that I cannot do the "normal" wifely deeds and that he is happy to do them. He reminds me that I am an emotional support to him, I make sure any appointments are made that we need for Dr visits, vehicle maintenance, I take care of making sure the bills go out on time. . .most of all, I do my best to make him happy.

In 2011, where the days of a retro"housewife" are becoming a thing of the past. I am learning to let go of the impression I have had in my head of what a wife's role should look like. I am embracing my role as my hubby's wife and am thankful every day to have found a man like him who embraces it with me.

I won't lie and say that it never bothers me that I can't surprise him with a home cooked meal or have his laundry done for him while he relaxes on the couch. All I can do is try my best to be the best at what I can do.

I may not be June Cleaver, but my hubby can sure give her a run for her money!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lock 'n Load

One of my biggest pet peeves is when you look in the mirror a few hours after you have applied the best makeup job ever, only to see your eye shadow is creased, half of your eye liner is faded, your face is shiny. . .it's just a complete mess.

Well ladies, get ready to arm yourself with Kat Von D's Lock n' Load at Sephora. This weightless mist locks down your look for up to 16-hours, so makeup stays rockin' all day and night long. Its Temperature Control Technology prevents makeup from melting down when it's warm and avoids dehydration and cracking when it's cold. Ideal for all skin types, it won't leave your skin feeling sticky or tight. It also works to prevent blush, eyeshadow, or lip color from fading, sliding, caking, or becoming excessively shiny. 

This magic in a bottle costs $24. A bit pricey you might think, but it is worth every penny! I love going through a complete days work or night out with my hubby and looking just as fresh and put together as I did when I first applied my makeup. 

With Kat Von D's Lock n' Load you'll never leave the house again without your secret ammo. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Grab My Button

Look to the right on this page and you'll see a brand new feature added to your favorite daily read; "Grab My Button."

If you enjoy this blog, which I know you do, you can now add this most fashionable button to your blog or website and let the whole world know about "I Look Good Today."

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Flashback

{A refreshing treat that speaks to my Italian heritage.}
This week was full of food firsts for me. From having Italian ice for the first time in my life, which I must admit I am a bit ashamed since I am 3/4 Italian, to eating a crab salad at Tokyo Sushi. The crab salad was a huge feat for me; especially because I really liked it. Those who know me best know that if it comes from the ocean. . .I'm not eating it. One of my favorite new food finds was the red bean ice cream also from Tokyo Sushi.

These explorations in food were most enjoyable to my taste buds, however my favorite thing this week happened yesterday at work. We have a patient who has brittle bone disease. Just a simple tap or bump can cause her to fracture a bone. This little angel comes to the hospital every four months for an IV treatment to help her bones strengthen so she fractures less. Isabella LOVES my hubby and I. Every time she sees me she wants to know where Mr. John is. Last night we spent a little over an hour with her. She had big news for us. She is six years old and this week she walked for the very first time. When you put into perspective that she wasn't even supposed to live to see her first birthday. . .that is huge. I'm sorry, but NOTHING else in my week brought me more joy than hearing that!

{The rich and creamy red bean ice cream at Tokyo Sushi.}

{My new Revlon Gum Drop scented nail polish. When it dries it has a sweet candy scent. It might not be real food, but it smells good enough to eat!}

{Isabella asked my hubby to read to her. Watching her interact with him, so engaged in the story . . . priceless. She loved the different voices he would use for the each Sesame Street characters. She would laugh so hard and just stare at the pages mesmerized.}

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Safe in Your Arms

My hubby and I were dating not even a year when photographer, Rob Hallet of Rob Hallett Photography captured this special moment at a company Christmas party.

As you can imagine, it isn't easy to slow dance with me in the "traditional" way, but my hubby was bound and determined that he was going to dance with me that night.

"It had to be you" was playing and my hubby asked me to dance. I had no idea how we were going to make this work, but it didn't matter. Before I knew it, he had swept me up out of my chair and made his way to the dance floor.

I remember our co-workers (We used to work together. . .that's how we met.) looking on with such emotion. They were all taken back by the way he was so lovingly holding me in his arms and caught up in the moment; as if we were the only ones on the dance floor.

I had no idea that pictures were being taken of us. When this shot was presented to me in a framed 5x7 I couldn't help but feel my eyes swelling up with tears.

Look at his face! Complete love and contentment. I just knew seeing this picture I'd always be safe in his arms!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hot Wheels

When you read the title of today's blog did the miniature matchbox cars come to mind? I'm sure it did. Well, I am here to change your way of thinking. From now on when you think of Hot Wheels your first instinct should be to think of Moi!

As long as I can remember I have had friends that lovingly nicknamed me Hot Wheels. Now, I understand the correlation that I'm in a wheelchair (vroom vroom), but I like to think the nickname is really because they think I'm a cutie in a wheelchair convertible.

The purpose of today's post is not to sound conceited. The purpose is to embrace what God has given you in this life and use those GIFTS to their utmost potential.

I have met many individuals in my lifetime that have physical disabilities. It saddens me that so many of them have been truly angry at the world because they were dealt this particular challenge.

I have seen defenses go through the roof when someone stares a little too long because they look "different" or when they just don't feel like being them anymore.

At the hospital I work at, our specialty is pediatic orthopedics. I see kids in wheelchairs, with braces, with artificial limbs every single day. I love when I get the opportunity to interact with these kids and be a role model to them. They see that I am working, married, independant . . . and oh ya, I happen to be in a wheelchair too. The challenges I have faced, I have overcome. . .I didn't see any other option but to do so.

So I challenge you. We all have our issues. No matter what yours are, embrace and own them. But you can't be called Hot Wheels. . .that's mine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Turn On Your High Beams!

Ladies get ready to turn on your high beams with Benefit's High Beam illuminating makeup.

High Beam is an ethereal pink liquid highlighter that creates a young, radiant, fresh complexion on all skin tones. For an angelic sheen use it as a spot highlighter or blend all over your complexion...the soft-focus sheen is enticing and sexy.
I love using this product! It gives my face just the right amount of shimmer, without being overwhelming. For daytime use I use it to brighten up my cheekbones. For a night out, I put it on my eyelids to create an alluring shimmer. 

So girlfriend get ready to shine and let this gorgeous pearly pink highlighting liquid make your complexion absolutely glow!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Will You Marry Me?

My hubby and I have been together since 2001. We married in 2006. He is the most amazing man, and I couldn't ask for a better husband. The unconditional love he shows for me would make any woman jealous. The way he looks at me from across the room or his touch still makes my heart melt.

I am often asked the proverbial, "How did he pop the question" question. It was one of the most romantic moments in my life that I will certainly never forget.

To say after three years of dating I was getting a little impatient to hear those magical words would be an understatement. I would find myself hinting, hoping to get any kind of clue that my engagement ring would soon be placed on my finger. 

"You know, Jessica and Ryan have only been dating a year, and they’re engaged."  

Long pause. Did he flinch? Sigh? Smile? Anything. . .? Nothing.

I had come to the conclusion that I was never going to get my ring, and then one day, while we were visiting my parents, my dad walked in to the bathroom while I was putting on my makeup. He shut the door.

"John just asked me if he could marry you."

My heart stopped; I think I may even have stopped breathing. I tried not to squeal in excitement. I didn’t want him to know that my dad had just told me the soon-to-be-announced good news.

Not knowing when he would pop the question, I played it cool, but days, weeks, and months went by with nothing happening. 

Did he change his mind? What could I have done to make him change his mind? We had been getting along so wonderfully. The wait was agonizing. He couldn't have changed his mind, I reassured myself. I just needed a plan. I knew exactly what I would do. . . bring up rings.

For the next few weeks I strategically emailed John a picture of the kind of ring I liked—a yellow gold band with three oval diamonds. I could tell by his responses that he was taking note. Then one day he said to me, 

"When we are in Pennsylvania this summer, let's visit Mr. Bucci and pick out your ring."

Mr. Bucci is a long-time family friend who happens to be one of Pittsburgh's most popular jewelers. He worked with my grandfather who passed away on my second birthday. Before, and especially after my grandfather's passing, Mr. Bucci always gave my family the "royal treatment" when it came to buying jewelry.

I couldn't wait for summer to get there so we could take our trip to Pittsburgh. I remember entering Mr. Bucci's store, with hundreds of rings in sight. It was any girl’s dream to have that many sparkling diamonds in front of her. I tried on ring after ring until I finally found the ring.

I begged and pleaded with John to let me show my family the ring since they wouldn't be able to see the it until the next year when we were visiting and I just knew we weren’t getting engaged anytime soon. It took three and a half years to get to this point, so I wasn’t holding my breath for the engagement to actually happen anytime soon. John agreed, and I wore the ring to my grandmother's house.

Everyone was in awe with the beauty of my “someday” engagement ring. I noticed the smile on John's face as he watched me admire how my ring sparkled in the light. I loved my ring so much that I made a deal with John.

"I promise to give the ring back to you in the morning, but can I please sleep with it on?"

I didn't want to give it back and thought perhaps if I had it on long enough John might just forget I had it on. He agreed, and I went to bed staring at my ring; the happiest girl in the world.

Did John forget the next morning and let me continue to wear my ring? Afraid not. 

"It’s time to give the ring back. Hand it over."

I pouted for a bit, but gave in and turned over my sparkling baby to him.  

When was I going to get my ring? At least I was able to wear it for a little while. I should be happy that I got to wear it at all.

That day John and I had plans to go to Moraine State Park, just the two of us. We had wanted to go for a walk to get away for a little while. My mom had mentioned that a few family members were going to the outlet mall, which John and I also enjoy, so I mentioned to him, 

“Why don't we go to the outlet with everyone today and we can go to Moraine tomorrow."

“No, we planned to go to the park today. We have to give back the rental car tomorrow. . .we need to do this today," he replied sternly.

I knew we had made plans to go to Moraine State Park as we really love being there, but I didn't understand what the big deal was.

It was beginning to cloud over, and I wondered as we made our way through the winding Pennsylvania roads if we would even be able to take our walk with the looming grey clouds overhead. Once we arrived we found a trail that looked suitable for a wheelchair, so we parked the car. 

As John got out and was pulling my manual wheelchair out of the trunk, the heavens opened up. Quickly he put the chair back in the trunk and rushed to get into the car.

"Well, I guess there went our walk," I said.

"No, let's drive around the park once. The rain never lasts long like it does in Florida," he answered.

Moraine State Park is rather large, and it took us about 20 minutes to drive around and return to our starting point. The rain had stopped, so we parked the car and again John went to open the trunk. Strike two. Here came the rain again.

At this point I had resigned myself to the fact that this walk was not happening. However, John insisted that we drive around one more time to give it a final try.

Why in the world was this walk so important? For goodness sake, I thought, we’ve now spent forty minutes driving around. What more could we see? I just didn't understand.

The third time proved to be the charm. We got out of the car and John pushed my wheelchair down the not so even path into the woods. This was meant to be a biking/hiking trail, so it wasn’t paved. What I hadn't realized was that it had large roots coming up from the ground, huge rocks and sticks everywhere . . . certainly not wheelchair friendly.

This wheelchair had no seat belt and I feared one of my wheels would get stuck in the soft dirt beneath me, or worse yet that John would hit a tree root or rock and I would land face-first into a pile of leaves. 

John kept saying, "Isn't this nice?" Wanting to be supportive of his efforts I agreed, yet I was white-knuckled the whole time, with my heart in my throat as I held on for dear life the further we went into the woods.

Finally after what seemed like miles he stopped. As I unclenched my grip and breathed a sigh of relief, John said to me, "You see, if we can get through this we can get through anything together."

As sweet as the sentiment was, I was trying to pull my wits back together as well as look for wild life. It isn't everyday that I find myself in the woods, you know.

When I turned my attention from trying to find Bambi, I noticed that John was kneeling beside me on one knee with my ring in his hand. I couldn't believe what was happening. John was proposing!

As he told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, we both cried. 

When he put the ring on my finger he said, “Now you will never have to take it off again."

I started to feel a light sprinkle coming through the canopy of leaves above us. The rain had started again, and there we were in the middle of the woods, but I didn't care. We sat there, holding each other and kissing and enjoying what would be the most romantic moments we had ever shared.

The rain started to come down harder, breaking through the leaves with more force, so we decided it was time to head back to the car. Surprisingly enough, the trip back through the uneven terrain seemed nowhere near as turbulent a ride. It must have been the power from my glistening ring. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. I think I was in shock that the moment had even happened.

As we broke through the coverage of trees, the rain was really coming down. We both were soaked to the core when we got back into the car. Again we kissed, and I just sat there, ecstatic that we were finally engaged!


Friday, May 13, 2011

My Scentiments Exactly!

I love perfume! I have over 20 bottles and I'm always searching for my next favorite sent to add to my collection.

I just do not feel that I am completely ready in the morning until I have spritzed on my perfume. However, I do feel that certain scents are better for different times of year.

Here are a few of my favorites for Spring that I am currently using. 

Vera Wang - Princess. Radiant and whimsical, Princess is a sheer, fruity floral - rich with vanilla and brimming with exotic flowers and succulent fruits.

Ed Hardy - Born Wild. “Let this daring fragrance take you on an adventure as impossible to resist as the woman wearing it." The feminine version is created by perfumer Calice Becker who wanted to depict a tropical island, warm sunset, long beaches and tasty cocktails. The perfume opens with refreshing fruity aromas of blackberry and black currant buds. A heart develops into intoxicating accords of magnolia and peach blossom. Notes of base continue the story with flowers and wood – lily of the valley and sandalwood and finally only attractive scent of musk lingers on the skin.

Juicy Couture. Indulge yourself in fruity ecstasy. This perfume smells juicy and delicious. Flavored with mandarin, watermelon, marigold, hyacinth, passion fruit, creme brulee, vanilla, patchouli, lily, caramel, woods, tuberose and wild rose.

Friday Flashback

{A beautiful marble sculpted fountain that welcomed us to our hotel, The Dolphin.}
I am very excited about today's post. It is the first of what I am calling Friday Flashback. Friday's will now be dedicated to looking back at the week and sharing with you a few of my favorite things that stood out to me (Inspired by Cupcakes and Cashmere's Five Things post. You musts check out Emily's blog. It is amazing!).

As you have read here, my hubby and I got to spend time at Disney for a video shoot this past week and after the work was done, it was time to play. The rest of my week was filled with Hospital Week events at work, hanging out with my former roommate for a movie night and preparing for a tri-family garage sale this coming weekend. It has been a good week, but I am very excited the weekend starts in just a few hours.

{A romantic dinner with my hubby at the eclectic Bluezoo restaurant  in the Dolphin Hotel. The heritage chicken was to die for!}

{Seeing my favorite Disney character, Eeyore, made completely from a plant at Epcot's Flower and Garden Expo. He's so cute!}

{The view from our dinner table as we ate in "Mexico" during our time in Epcot.}

{The gorgeous tiled fountain in "Morocco".}

{The movie Jumping the Broom. I laughed, I cried, I highly

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Baby You're a Firework!

Every time Katy Perry's song "Firework" comes on the radio, I get instantly excited, crank up the volume and belt out the words at the top of my lungs; filling my spirit with joy and laughter.

Come on, sing it with me. I know you know the words. . .

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Besides the fact that I love the song in general, I really love what the lyrics to this song represent, especially to me.

Living with a physical disability I face a world of judgement on a daily basis; and more times than not I find myself having to prove my ability above and beyond what a person without my physical challenges would have to do.

I can't tell you the number of times that it has been assumed by complete strangers that I have a learning disability strictly because I use a wheelchair to get around. Or they talk about me to my husband like I am not even there; asking questions that I am more than capable of answering.

Do those interactions hurt or anger me? Of course they do. Then I remind myself that their reaction to me isn't necessarily meant to be hurtful. For so many it is a lack of knowledge when it comes to people with disabilities. People become uncomfortable with what they don't understand.

When I hear "Firework" I think, yes, that's me! The song is like an anthem for anyone who wants to prove to the world they are worth it.

I know I am worth it!

It doesn't matter to me that I sit in a wheelchair. Those I come in contact with, or even those that might only see me from a distance, are going to know that I have a lot to offer. That there is so much inside of me that is just bursting to get out like a firework.

I have been blessed with many opportunities to show the world that this chair is not going to stop me. . .it's going to get me there faster (I have turbo!)!

So the next time you hear Katy Perry's "Firework" on the radio, let it speak to your inner Diva and don't be afraid to show the world what's inside of you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Get Organized (and Spend Less)

I know it's happened to me all too many times. I go shopping for a cute new outfit only to purchase something in the same colors or styles I already have burried in my closet.

So rather than heading out for another shopping trip, only to return with something you can't use or already own, consider these closet organization tips from style consultants Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo, also coathors of Life in Color.

These helpful hints are bound to help you make the most of what you already have and figure out what it is you really need.

- Hang, don't shelve, as much clothing as you can. Most of us forget what we have if we can't see it.

- Separate the pieces of your suites so you're inspired to wear a skirt or jacket or pants solo.

- Divide articles by style - tanks, then sleeveless, then short-sleeve, coats by length and so on.

- Arrange items  (top, dresses, etc) from light to dark. Ditch unflattering hues.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Mother Daughter Bond

With yesterday being Mother's Day, I really feel it appropriate to dedicate today's blog entry to my amazing mother.

I never realized growing up how big of an influence my mother would have on my life. I always thought my mother and I had a closer than usual relationship. Being born with a disability I would depend on my mother for physical things much longer than most "normal" children. Until the day I moved out, at age 19, my mother was still helping me get dressed every morning, she helped me go to the bathroom, she helped me do my hair, she drove me to and from school, she drove me anywhere I wanted to go. My mother was my lifeline.

When I moved out, although I now had friends doing for me what she had for 19 years, it struck me just how much for gave up to make sure that I lived a "normal" life. Because our relationship was, shall I say, "different", our bond is also "different".

I honestly believe that I am the independent, successful, courageous woman that I am today because of my mother. She always taught me that my disability did not define me. The wheelchair that I sit in is merely the way I get around and that is it. I may have to go about things in a different way, but my goals are just as attainable than that of a able bodied person. I know that because of my mother I have had the "anything is possible" attitude my entire life. I lived a normal life with the world at my fingers because of her, and if a road block got in my way, she was and is, always there to help me figure out the detour route to my destination.

I am now 33 and married, yet I still go to my mother with my problems. She is the most loving, compassionate, level headed person I know. In an instant her reassurance that everything is going to be OK calms my nerves. Her suggestions on how I should tackle a problem always has my best interest in mind.

I can't imagine not having her as my mother. I have shared some of the funniest, saddest and most extraordinary moments in my life with her.

A relationship like that cannot be replaced by anyone. I thank God daily for having her as my mother. I always think how the world would be a better place if everyone had a mother like her, but I smile because I know that I do.

I love you mom!

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm Going to Disney World!

Last November my husband and I had the opportunity to be background talent in the major motion picture, "Dolphin Tale". We had a wonderful six days on set and met so many wonderful people.

I was called last Friday by the casting director we had worked with asking me to be in another project; this time working for the big mouse himself at Walt Disney World.

I was thrilled to find out this morning that our hotel accommodations were booked to stay at the luxurious Dolphin Hotel.

Tomorrow morning will start early with a 7am start time on set, which means an arrival time to set at least an hr earlier.

The rest of the day will be spent shooting footage throughout Disney World. WOO HOO! How fun right?!

I am so very excited for this opportunity. Meeting Melanie has been such a blessing to my hubby and I. We have been provided with such wonderful opportunities to take part in and it is all thanks to her.

I haven't been to Disney World since I was a little girl. I do however remember the magical feeling of getting hugs from my favorite characters, riding the rides and being inside of that amazing castle and I can't wait to see it all again!

This weekend will once again bring memories that will last a lifetime. I can't tell you how many times I have been told by family and friends, "Just one more awesome opportunity you fell in to by just being you."

If being in movies and getting to spend the weekend at a luxury resort and going to Disney World goes with just being me, I certainly have no complaints!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why Me?

Growing up with a disability you would think there would be many "why me" moments, right? Why do I have to be stuck in this wheelchair? Why do I have to have multiple surgeries? Why do I have to work so much harder to physically do what all my peers do effortlessly?

That is what I think anyone would expect for someone with a disability to deal with mentally.

Not me!

Now, I would be lying if I said I never had a boo hoo moment, but to be honest, I can only remember one and I was in elementary school. After a few minutes of complaining to my father, all was right with the world again. I think I just had to vent.

I think, no, I KNOW, my attitude towards having a disability was instilled in me by my family. I am the only one in my family that has a disability, but I was never treated as if I did. I lived by the same expectations everyone else had. I was taught that yes, I may have to do some things in a different way, but nine times out of ten, there is ALWAYS a way.

I laugh to myself when I hear people jumping on the "why me" band wagon over the most trivial of things. I believe we all deserve our pitty parties, but I also believe that it is a positive attitude in yourself, a solid support system and your faith that will get you through whatever obsticle/s you're facing.

So why me?

I like to think that I was meant to be in this wheelchair for a number of different reasons.

Why me? Because perhaps, if people get to know me, the real me, not what they see on the outside; they may realize that they shouldn't judge people's character or abilities by their outside appearance.

Why me? Maybe I can help lead the way for others with disabilities to accomplish their goals and dreams.

Why me? Because when families with children that have a disability meet me and I can be an inspiration to them and help ease their worries about their child's future.

So the next time you are having a "why me" moment. Try to turn it around and think of the positive that could come out of it and ask yourself,

"Why not me?"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I was so excited when I received this comment regarding my I'm On the Mauve post.

"Hi Jamie, I bought the lipstick that you recommended. It's exactly what I have been looking for. Please continue with all those make-up/ beauty/style tips."

So as requested, here is another one of my makeup favorites.

COVERGIRL Wetslicks Amazemint isn't just a lip gloss, it's a smile treatment! Crest Peppermint Oil provides a minty-breath sensation while the gloss itself gives a dazzling high shine without all that sticky.

This lip gloss is a must have to keep in your purse. The colors are phenomenal! My go to color is "No Care Bare." It's the perfect nude gloss that adds just a hint of color.

I love the taste and smell of this gloss as well! It's like a mint chocolate sundae! No joke!

So tell me, what is your favorite lip gloss go to?

P.S. I love hearing from my readers and it means so much when I receive comments that you are enjoying my blog. Please keep your comments coming. Let me know what you like about my blog, what you'd like to see more of or any questions you might have for me.

Until tomorrow, I hope your day is filled with "Amazemint!"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Little Girl Hugs

I have never really had the strong urge to be a mother. Does that sound horrible? Maybe it is because my entire adult life I have been told it was not a smart idea for me to have children.

There is a laundry list of reasons why. For one, I am not 100% sure why I cannot walk. For years it was thought I could have Muscular Dystrophy. If I did, I would 100% pass it on to my child. I certainly wouldn't knowingly do that! Now if you know anything about MD, it is a degenerative disease. At 33-years-old I should have gotten worse; a lot worse. Thankfully I never have, so my guess is I do not have MD.

The other option is something happened during my birth. I was a breach inside the womb and because of my positioning I was scheduled to be a c-section. However, I was raring to go and was born naturally; bottom first. I always think . . . my poor mother!

My problem is an overall muscle weakness, and more so in my upper body than my lower body. I was told by my doctor there would be no way I would have the strength to have a child naturally. I was also told that because I am short in the torso, I probably wouldn't be able to carry a child to term. So even if I didn't have MD it still was very risky for me to get pregnant.

My hubby and I made the decision last year that we didn't want to take that risk of getting pregnant. I had surgery last year to ensure that didn't happen.

I didn't know at first how I would feel about the procedure and inevitably the end result. I was ending my chances of having a biological child. Had we exhausted all possible options? Was there another way for us to have a child together? Weirdly, I was pretty unaffected.

We have talked casually about adopting, but I never have thought either of us had the pressing desire to be parents. Don't get me wrong, we love kids! I just think with the differences my disability brings to our marriage, even though my hubby looks right past that, it still has an effect on our future.

Then I met Jessica and her wonderful family.

Jessica is a patient at the hospital I work at. She is also a part of the patient ambassador group I run and so I get to interact with her and her family for special events, photo shoots. . .the fun stuff.

Recently Jessica was part of a photo shoot at our hospital. When she wheeled up to my chair she had the biggest smile on her face as she said hello. We chatted about what she had been doing on her spring break, her new favorite movie. . .all the fun things going on in her five-yr-old life. Then she said, "I want to give you a hug."

The fact we are both in wheelchairs makes that rather difficult in a conventional hugging form. She pulled her chair up to the side of mine, but she was still not satisfied. 

Jessica is able to stand with the help of braces, so seeing the frustration on her daughters face, her mom asked her if she wanted to get out of her chair so she could hug me, and of course she said yes.

Even standing, Jessica was barely the height of my armrest. That wasn't going to stop her from giving me my hug. She stood on the left side of my chair with one arm behind my back, her head on my arm and her other arm around the front with her tiny hand resting on my stomach. She stood there patting my stomach with the most content look on her face.

My heart melted as I wrapped my arms around her. I think it is still in a puddle somewhere.

One of the adults who was also participating in our photo shoot said, "You really love Jamie, don't you?"

"Yes, I really do!" Jessica responded in the sweetest voice ever.

Throughout her time with me on the shoot, she would hold my hand between shots, ask me to play hide and seek with her and she would softly walk her little fingers up and down my arm as she tried to tickle me.

I loved every second of my interaction with this little angel. I could just see the love and pride radiating from her mother as she watched her pose for pictures and wrapped all of us around her finger.

At the end of the day, Jessica wanted another hug from me. She again was trying to figure out how to position her chair to give me a proper hug. I then asked her if she wanted to sit on my lap. Her eyes lit up and she beamed form ear to ear. 

Her mom gently lifted her from her chair and sat her on my lap. Immediately she threw her arms around me and squeezed with all her might. Her mom asked if she could take my picture with Jessica, and of course I said yes.

While posing for the picture, Jessica was sweetly stroking my hair and pressing her face into mine. I could not believe the extreme emotion I felt from being around her and her loving, playful spirit.

I came home that night filled with Jessica stories. I told my hubby, for the first time I really felt the desire to be a mother and how wonderful a feeling it was to get those little girl hugs!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Gleeful Surprise

I have been fantasizing about this "R" necklace ever since it was first shown worn by Ms. Rachel Berry on  Glee.

There was just something about it. I loved the swirly script styled initial and the fact the charm was connected to the necklace instead of just hanging off the chain. Rachel's "R" necklace had to be mine. . .in a "J" of course.  

I was thrilled to find the designer of this golden treasure, Ryan Ryan. Each necklace is hand designed in the initial of your choosing and available in 10k yellow or white gold for $149.

When asked by my parents for some suggestions for what I might like for my birthday, this little beauty was on the top of my list.

Inside my parent's birthday card there was a hint about my gift. "We hope it brings you much Glee." 
My heart was racing! Could it be?

When I pulled the box out of the very festive birthday balloon gift bag, a little red crushed velvet box was waiting for me. As I slowly opened it and saw my very own "J" necklace inside I squealed like a little girl.

My parents were correct with their sentiments inside their card. This truly was a Gleeful surprise!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's a Holiday!

Did you know that today is a holiday? Your calender may not highlight this sacred celebration, but today marks the start of National Toss Your Makeup Month!

When I looked at the list below I cringed on a few of the items I am still using that according to Good Housekeeping are way past their expiration date. It looks like it is out with the old and in with the new. At least this will give me an excuse to go makeup shopping. . .one of my favorite passtimes!

Here is a quick "when-to-toss-it" timeline so you'll know what you can keep and what you can replace.

- Every season: toss your mascara and liquid liner.

- Every six months: toss your skin-care regimen, sunscreens and liquid foundation.

- Every year: toss your hair products

-Every two years: toss your powder-based cosmetics (pressed powder & shadows), lipsticks and nail polish.