Monday, July 27, 2015

*Sigh*

I'm stressed. Not just a little stressed either, like a whole bunch. There's a LOT going on and it involves all aspects of my life.

My first born has to complete about 100 tasks before starting college near the end of August and quite frankly, we are behind on about 75 of them. We are also preparing to move her into her first apartment this weekend and we ALL know what fun organizing a move can be. Let's not forget the new I-pad the school said she HAS to have, along with a new laptop and let's not forget that tuition bill either.

My 9 to 5 is ramping up, including having just done mid-year performance reviews, which quite honestly, could have gone better. The federal government is breathing down my neck, as are some of my co-workers.

I'm working on spreading the word about my new book, while boosting sales of Wands and Gloss, while also attempting to organize my records and documents.

Oh, I need to get my son his annual exam, sign him up again for flag football, pretty soon start to do reserach for his 10th birthday party, go for my mammogram and figure out why the dr's office is just now charging me $200 for an exam I had in January.

My house looks like a Febreze commercial and the dog smells like one big Cheeto. The laundry is piled to the ceiling and there are dishes in the sink.

I am doing my level best to stay calm, cool, collected but it's hard. My mind wanders all day and lands on all kinds of lunacy. What if I packed up one of those bandanas on a stick and just walked down my street like a hobo, off to see the world, with my strip-less debit card and my license?

I'm not usually a complainer. I handle times like this with an SVU marathon and a locked bedroom door but I want to share in case you feel the same. In case you feel that every single way you turn, someone is asking you for something, or to do something. Yes, some things are a joy to do, like hug your babies and grow your business, but some things are just a pain in the ass. I feel your pain. I know what it's like when there's too much on that to-do list.

I need a personal assistant...and a steak with a little pink...and a pear martini....and a #$%$% break.


As always, thanks for reading. You're my fave. :)
Nikki

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Keep it simple silly....

My skin started going awry long before I was a teenager. I think I was 9 years old when the first pimple showed up and they just kept on coming.  It turned into quite the emotional roller coaster when I would find what I thought was THE product to heal my skin, only to discover,  it too would fail.

I was always mesmerized by those with invisible pores and a flawless complexion. They were always so casual about it,  never understanding my awe. This perfect skin was simply what they were used to.  I continued to stare and must admit, still do  til this day. 

If I had a dollar for every treatment I've tried,  I'd be able to go back to my new love,  St. Thomas and stay a few weeks.

Twice, I did a round of Accutane which is so powerful that you had to have a pregnancy test before going on it to ensure you weren't pregnant because they flat out told you that it caused birth defects. From that first pill of Accutane,  I didn't get another breakout. It worked by drying up the oil on your skin,  which unfortunately also dried up your whole body,  including your lips and tears. Yes, sounds extreme but I was gorgeous honey and for the first time,  I could look people in the eye without makeup.  It was a wonderful feeling.

Well,  as it turns out,  the effects of the Accutane wear off, plus it was taken off the market and I began to break out again. I got it under control and accepted that this was just my lot in life.

So, I was back to trying every formulation out there.

The acne had been extremely annoying recently because I thought. "I'm 43, almost 44. When exactly am I going to stop breaking out? When the first wrinkle arrives? "

Well,  one day while in my daughter's bathroom, I noticed she had some lemon juice and baking soda on the counter.  I also noticed that her skin (yes, I passed on the acne curse) had drastically improved.  Well,  she told me she was mixing  those two to scrub her face each morning and night.  I immediately went to the store to spend about $3.00 on baking soda and lemon juice.

Well,  I'm happy to report that my skin has improved drastically.  I barely need to use any makeup at all and that's exactly where I want to be at 43 years old. 

Sometimes the simplest things are the ones that truly work.

As always,  thank you for reading.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Be kinder...to you!

2015 has been a year like no other.  There have been so many new and wonderful things happening. Biz partner and I finally feel like the business is hitting a stride and our creative juices are really rolling. You know how it is when you get that first A in a hard class?  You now know that you can do it so you're determined to keep that going.  We've had some phenomenal wins so far this year and as the corporate folk say, we need to "leverage" that experience to facilitate more successes.
So we've been talking a lot about next steps and they are exciting!
Personally,  my first born is now a high school graduate and about to embark on a whole new journey.  She is maturing and ready to take the next step in life.  My grandson has two little pieces of rice (teeth) emerging too. Life is moving and growing and changing. All of this activity is exciting but can also be exhausting. If you don't stop sometimes and recharge you will surely burn out and fail to be productive to anyone.

At this very moment,  I am lying in a bed, in a beautiful suite, listening to the ocean and feeling the breeze. The fan is circulating that ocean air and all is well.  There are no thoughts of tasks or obligations. My entire job while on vacay is to rest, rejuvenate, and relax.  I'm enjoying my Philly family and feeling their unconditional love.  This experience will be what I think about if someone tells me to go to a happy place in my mind. 

The message of this blog entry is simple.  If you're going to give OF yourself to everyone, all day long,  then you had better be sure to give TO yourself too. This trip was a gift to ME because I'm learning everyday to be kinder to myself.
Please be kinder to yourself.

As always,  thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Go Soar!

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Does it match what you turned out to be? I wanted to be a 5th grade teacher when I was younger but then I made the surprising discovery that I wasn't too keen on spending the entire day with children that I didn't actually give birth to. So...the teacher thing went no further than that.

So I decided that I'd be a business chick. I knew I didn't want to be a doctor or lawyer so business it was and off I went to major in business in college.

Here's what was NEVER on my list :
1. Entrepreneur
2. Author

I never really knew any business owners growing up.  My family was made up of hardworking 9 to 5'ers. That was my example. ..it was what we did.  Imagine my surprise when an annoyance turned into an actual company with a logo and checking account.

This year,  I'll add "Author" to the list of things which define me and that has come as a surprise too.

The honest truth is this: while none of these things were planned,  they have enriched my life in ways I couldn't imagine. 

Are you following a prepared plan or allowing life to guide you?

Take a chance, step outside of your comfort zone. I promise,  you will discover gifts and talents you had no idea you possessed.

Go soar!!
As always,  thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Chasing My Dreams

As I was preparing to attend my daughter's graduation last weekend, I was filled with so many emotions. I mean let's face it.......your child will only graduate from high school once. I was excited, elated, nervous and maybe a little sad. My daughter, along with so many other graduates was about to embark on a major journey........a journey into the unknown and that made me nervous. 

I looked at old baby pictures and reminisced about days gone by when she relied on and needed me for so much........and that made me quite reflective .....because my role for her was changing and morphing into something more mature and refined.

I challenged myself to see all of the good and wonderful things that lay ahead for my baby girl.......the fact that she has dreams and a vision for her future made me excited. She was actually looking forward to this "unknown and uncharted" territory that she was about to travel. I wanted her to live each day to the fullest.

I was elated that despite the many obstacles that lay upon her path, she consistently triumphed over those very things that were meant to hold her back. She was becoming a woman and I was proud of the adult that she had become.......she would be graduating as a member of the National Honors Society and attending college in the fall.

I thought about all of the sacrifices that I had made in order to provide my children a better life and that reflection brought about an astounding revelation......she would have to make her own journey.......a journey with sacrifices and mistakes.......a journey with crazy twists and turns, but always, hopefully leading her along the path of joy and happiness.......the path of her dreams and visions that would eventually come true. I wanted to encourage her to not just dream; but to chase her dreams down......you know, make them happen.

As I looked in the mirror, I saw the younger version of myself and I wanted to tell her so many things to do differently but instead I smiled and accepted that all of my past moments, both good and bad have prepared me for the woman that I am today. A woman who is living an amazing life and making my dreams come true. I was no longer scared or nervous for my daughter.......only excited, elated and now overjoyed at this most amazing person she has become, who will do some pretty spectacular things.

Today, as I prepared for my television debut on QVC, I couldn't help but think of my daughter.....a young lady who has inspired me in more ways than she may ever know......a woman who is already walking in her destiny, working towards her dreams. I wanted her to be proud of me knowing that today, I chased down a dream.......and tomorrow.....I'll chase down another one.

Nikki's Magic Wand is available at www.nikkismagicwand.comwww.nikkismagicwand.com, www.amazon.com, and at www.qvc.com

Saturday, May 30, 2015

What QVC has taught me. . . . .so far.

I recently visited QVC to get some on air training for Nikki's Magic Wand's upcoming television debut. I was able to see firsthand what goes on behind the scenes when preparing a brand for their on camera presence. While I was there I learned some invaluable tools that will continue to help me as an entrepreneur and business owner and I wanted to share them with you.

 Here's my "Top 10 Tools Every Business Person Should Have and Use":

1.  Smile Big and Bright
2.  Dress the Part
3.  Prepare, Prepare and Prepare
4.  Have your Elevator Pitch......It Must Be Tight
5.  Don't Talk Over the Other Person
6.  Make Eye Contact
7.  Be Gracious at All Times
8.  Focus On Three Selling Points
9.  Network and Make Connections
10. Never, Ever, Ever Give Up

Smile Big and Bright: People should be able to see your excitement and enthusiasm. Show them that you're glad to be there.

Dress the Part: Wear professional yet comfortable attire. When people are meeting you for the first time or the twelfth time, make sure that your clothes represent your brand. 

Prepare, Prepare and Prepare: Being ready is an understatement. You may not get a second chance at an opportunity, so make sure you're ready to seize that moment by being prepared and ready to deliver your elevator pitch and information about your product, brand or service.

Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready: Your elevator pitch is seriously one of the single most important items to have ready at any given moment. An elevator pitch is a brief, prepared statement that defines a product, service or outlines the value of an organization or an individual in as little as 15 seconds. The length of a typical elevator ride. 

Don't Talk Over the Other Person: Being able to listen and respond is all about timing. When you're in an environment where you share the spotlight, listening to the other person and maintaining good eye contact is key to the success of your timely follow up and hopefully a good conversation.

Make Eye Contact: Having good eye contact is good because it shows the person that you're speaking with that you're engaged and committed to the conversation. 

Be Gracious at All Times: To be gracious, is to be courteous, kind and pleasant. This one act will carry you very far when networking and meeting other business professionals.

Focus on Three Selling Points: When you have three selling points it makes it easier for the consumer to identify and apply those solutions/ key points to their lives and thus turning into a sale.

Network and Make Connections: In just about every place or situation you will meet new people and new people equal new contacts and that means new connections. Always carry updated business cards and remember to smile and know your elevator pitch.
 
Never.....Ever......Ever Give Up: Regardless of where you are in your journey and the odds that you seem to face, remember to keep moving forward and never......ever.....ever give up. You may be closer to the finish line than you think.

We'll keep you posted on our official QVC air date!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Be Fearless!


A dear friend stumbled across a popular magazine's search for "real women".  They were looking for women to feature in their ageless beauty campaign. She knew that I would want....that I would need to enter my grandmother.

When I think of this lady....so many things come to mind. She's passionate, caring, resilient, smart, loving, graceful, beautiful and fearless. She is all about her family. All of the qualities that I would hope any woman would want to possess. She is not only an ageless beauty but she's timeless as well.

When I decided to enter her in this contest, I was both excited and nervous. I mean this  is kinda like a contest......you know, where there is a "winner", to some degree. I didn't like the thought of my granny being judged......especially by people who didn't know her, people that couldn't possibly see that her outer beauty was only a mere fragment of the beauty that was on the inside. I knew that this was nothing but a smidgen of fear talking, but it had me at "hello". I quickly dismissed the fear, replaced it with "hope" and "excitement" and proceeded with the application. I think I was slightly giddy when I hit the "send" button......I had just entered granny.....no turning back now.

A couple of days later, we got a response.....granny would be going to New York. She was officially an "Ageless Beauty". We've known this all along but now the world would see this rare beauty for themselves.

I was already planning her modeling career.....I would become her manager and we'd travel the world.

Now, let's get back to reality......when I saw the article, I was beaming from ear to ear, like a proud parent. I had done something so simple that yielded such major results. I thought about how so many of us, when given the opportunity to do something that's out of our comfort zone or something that may seem unobtainable, we don't take that chance......we won't hit the "send" button. We stay paralyzed in fear.......fear of rejection or fear of failure.

But what if we were to change our mindset.....if only for a few minutes, a few hours or even for a few days.....imagine all of the possibilities.

You're never too old to start living your dream, to try something new......be adventurous.....be fearless. Start living your life like its golden!

Nikki

Ageless Beauty "Mildred Chestnut" is featured in the May 2015 edition of Essence Magazine.