Woman Wednesday: Allison

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Allison, Denver, Colorado

“I believe that if we let ourselves be paralyzed by our fears, we’ll never achieve our full potential.”

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m passionate about documentary filmmaking because of the ability to connect people through stories. I’m currently touring the film festival circuit with a documentary about two elderly, married entomologists. I’ve filmed digital content for clients like National Geographic, the BBC, the Travel Channel, Lonely Planet, NBC, and a host of others.

Steve Jobs famously said, ‘The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation to come.’ I fully believe that! Stories have such incredible power to inspire, to reveal our shared humanity, to bring about positive change, and to create empathy and emotion (humor being one of my favorites).

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I’m also really passionate about helping female entrepreneurs acquire the skills to create their own video content from home. With the development of the COVID-19 coronavirus, I think a lot of women will be working from home over the next few months, doing more video conference calls, and trying to incorporate DIY video into their business to bring in clients. I wanted to help other women continue to succeed with their businesses! So, I recently began sharing the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years from big-budget film shoots and digital storytelling content and modifying it to help women create high-quality DIY videos from home. I’m really dedicated to helping them learn to make videoes and storytelling their business ally. I’m passionate about showing them not only learn how to use gear but also how to map out the story arc, messaging, and branding in each of their videos and conference calls with clients; how to develop a strategy before they begin putting up videos; and how to map out the way in which each video plays into the larger story of their business. Once they have that knowledge and skill set, they will have such incredible power to inspire and connect with clients!

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was a major introvert as a child. I was very quiet and spent an enormous amount of time reading. I loved stories, and I read everything from Roman mythology to the history of Dorothea Lange, to the latest science fiction novels. At 15, I began taking summer school classes at Stanford, and I later received both my undergraduate and master’s degrees from Stanford. My early fascination with storytelling influenced my decision to become a newspaper reporter after graduation. After a time, I transitioned to telling stories through film and video and incorporated the skills of a print journalist into my approach to documentaries and digital content.

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: When I first picked up a camera, I remember being very intimidated by the technical aspects of it. And I remember being similarly daunted by all of the logistics and crafting of a story arc when I made my first film. But I believe that if we let ourselves be paralyzed by our fears, we’ll never achieve our full potential. I steadily acquired the storytelling and production skills and the knowledge of film gear, and I would love to help other women out with that—especially female entrepreneurs who are working at home and need to incorporate DIY video into their business. I definitely empathize with how video can initially feel very formidable. My message is: Don’t let that fear paralyze you! There are so many ways to DIY it. And I’m more than willing to help anyone out that needs advice. There are many statistics about the power of videos and storytelling, but for me, it all comes down to the ability to connect with others, to inspire and motivate them, and to foster our shared humanity.

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: To me, being a modern feminist means supporting those who identify as women, lifting each other up, amplifying our voices, and having the right to personally choose how we live our lives. I also think it’s crucial to consider feminism through an intersectional lens if we want the movement to be truly inclusive and representative of the voices of women of all races, classes, religions, abilities, and orientations.

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Woman Wednesday: 25 Christmas Gifts That Don’t Cost a Thing

Merry Christmas to all of our readers who celebrate the wonderful holiday of Christmas! And warm wishes and Happy Holidays to our readers around the world who may or may not celebrate other holidays. In the spirit of today, December 25, Christmas, we’ve collected 25 “gifts” for you. These “gifts” are 25 life “gifts” that cannot be bought with money, and they are “gifts” mentioned by our featured women on The Woman Wednesday Blog. Enjoy! 

 

  1. Family. They might not always be there, so appreciate the time you have with them. Three years ago, I lost my Dad to cancer and that has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been through. He was gone 3 months after his diagnosis. My family and I barely had time to process one piece of information before being hit with something new. It rocked my world losing someone so close to me.” ~Jessica M., Maryland

  2. Friends. True friends are there for your ups and downs, successes and failures. They like you for the person you are, and they cannot be bought.

  3. Love. True love is one of the most beautiful and magical aspects of life. Of course, it cannot be bought!

  4. Positive mindset. You can make today a good day or a bad day. It’s all about your mindset. “I learned very early on that I could either be a victim of circumstance or I could take those challenges and grow from them. I try really hard to be a force of positivity and a problem solver.” ~Melissa, Utah 

    “If you don’t believe in yourself first, you will fail every time. So for me, first and foremost is get your mindset right in the beginning, and set the foundations to build an amazing life for yourself and stick at it! The only way you will stick at anything is self-reliance, discipline, and self-belief.”   ~Carly, Melbourne, Australia


  5. Moral support. Whether giving moral support or receiving it, being there for someone does not cost a thing.“He was so understanding of my situation and was like the perfect puzzle piece to the kids and I.” ~Lisa, Canada 

  6. Giving back. Giving our time to others is one of the greatest gifts we have to give, whether we are making dinner with our family, visiting a grandparent or old friend, or volunteering for a good cause. 

  7. Hard work. It feels good to know hard work.“I have learned that nothing comes easy that is worthwhile, and this is where hard work and grit comes in.” ~Sarah, Washington

  8. Success. When you finally achieve what you set out to achieve, there is no other feeling like it! 

  9. Independence. “Be you, stay you, do you. There is no one like you and the moment you appreciate that about you, the rest of the world will!” ~Maria Tan, Philippines 

  10. Passion. “Passion is what makes you persevere through setbacks, unhappiness, and fear of failure to achieve your dreams. It is the core drive of your motivation.” ~Ashlee, Florida

  11. Proving haters wrong. “People will judge you, try to change you, try to break you, and even try to stop you. But that is all in the process of getting to the top!” ~Felissa, Georgia

  12. Health. We don’t have full control over our health, but what we do each day matters. If you are able to get out of bed right now, that is a gift. The doctors told me I might never walk again. When you’re faced with that kind of news, you have a choice—accept what you’re being told or try and do something about it.”  ~Kezia, England

  13. Exercise. People would pay big money to live longer. Here is one FREE way to live longer: exercise! Though it may be difficult to get started, exercise has amazing benefits! The studies don’t lie; exercise can make you live longer! So, if you are able, find something you like that gets your body moving! If you have the ability to move your body, that is a gift. 

  14. Creating. Creating something with your own hands feels amazing. Create a story, a poem, a drawing, build something. “Don’t be afraid to put your work out there. It’s very daunting at first, but it’s so rewarding when people read your book and tell you how much they love it.” ~Dee J. Stone, Surname authors in USA

    “Whenever you feel completely disappointed, desperate, and that life is completely pointless, turn to that color or canvas, pot or music, or whatever makes you feel joy.” ~Ioana, Romania


  15. Patience. If it does not come easily to you, it can be learned.

  16. Mindfulness. “I have to take care of myself by sleeping, eating healthy, exercising, spending time with God through prayer, and meditation as well as reading my Bible. I have to be intentional about making time for myself, family and friends, as well as work.” ~Ruby B. Johnson, West Africa

  17. Curiosity. We can be curious and try new things and explore this beautiful planet.Something I’d like others to know is that whatever you want to do is possible if you really want to make it happen. I make traveling and seeing the world a priority. This isn’t to say that I spend an extreme amount of money on it either. I budget it into my expenses just like groceries. I need to see the world. And while I love my job, I always feel a constant urge to know that the world and my life is bigger than sitting at a desk or on a train. It’s always worth it, and it is totally possible!” ~Justine S., New Jersey  

  18. Knowledge. You never know what you might learn next and how it may impact the rest of your life. “I signed up for one design class and absolutely loved it! I found that I not only had a passion for interior design, but I had a God-given gift to envision a space based off my clients’ wants and needs.” ~Ariel, Texas

  19. Choice. Knowing you have choice to eat that sandwich, see that friend, to remove someone negative from your life. It’s your choice.You are amazing! Take care and love yourself. You are worth loving! You have everything you need inside of yourself. You have the cognitive power to improve your life through your thoughts and emotions. If you’re stuck in a bad relationship or situation, know you have the power to change that.” ~Lisa, Canada

    “In my point of view, during our lives, we have the chance to make positive impacts in our environment by understanding that life is full of good intent. I am passionate about people. Each of us has a story—something to tell the world. As human beings, we all deserve to be unique and to make mistakes in order to learn.” ~Idoia, Spain


  20. Forgiveness. Forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily mean letting someone who is negative back in your life. You can forgive without compromising your happiness. Forgiving someone will most likely make you happier; you can forgive this person to their face or just in your heart. 

  21. Appreciation for the good and bad. Being able to appreciate not only the good but the bad. See the bad as opportunities to make you a better person, to learn, to experience the world fully. It is all a part of the ride. “What I’ve learned in my journey is that life is a journey full of hills and valleys. I used to believe that I was a victim to life’s circumstances, but what I had to be awakened to is that I also had choices in the decisions I was making in my life.” ~Amiee, Indiana

    “I have learned to enjoy every moment. I wish I could go back to my 16-year-old self and tell her that nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you think about it. Everything in life moves on and changes, and everything is about different stages.” ~Leire, Spain


  22. Nature. “My favorite quote is ‘There’s a sunrise and sunset in every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss any of them.'” ~Stacy, Florida

  23. Senses. The smell of roses. The feel of cotton. The sight of flowers or clouds in the sky. The touch of a hug from a loved one. The taste of pizza. We derive a lot of happiness from our senses. They compromise the human experience! Having a bad day? Go pick yourself some flowers, eat your favorite food, take a warm shower, watch the sunset, or give someone a hug! 

  24. Ability to read. When you can read, the world is at your fingertips. You can learn anything, do anything. Anything is possible. “I learn from these stories and it’s important to me. They color the dreams of my reality and future and help me find the adventure in my life. Find your life’s adventures.” ~Lachelle, California

  25. Being alive today. 

You are alive today. While you have probably heard the saying, “Life is a precious gift,” a question you must ask yourself is…

Do you live each day as if it were a gift?

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stresses and activities and requirements we face each day. Requirements to go to work, to feed our family, to clean our apartment or house, to pick up this, do that, cancel this, and so on. Maybe someone cut you off on the road, you got in a fight with your mother, or you got stuck in traffic for two hours. Or worse, you are drowning in debt, you lost someone near and dear to you, or you are suffering from a health condition (physical, mental, you name it). The fact is you are alive now. You may not be tomorrow. It’s simply the truth that you just don’t know what tomorrow could bring. We need to try our best to enjoy every single day that we are alive. And that may be hard sometimes, especially if you are suffering from a terminal disease in a hospital bed, or you lost someone who means the world to you, or you suffer from depression and you constantly feel it. No one lives this life without suffering, and no one makes it out alive. While we could be sad and harp on death, choose to harp on life. Because you are here now. Make choices to live your life the best way you can. Choose to see the good. Choose to see life. Choose to live it the way you want. 

At the end of the day, there is nothing greater than the gift of life. You are alive. So, what do you want to do today with your precious gift of today? Do you want to say hello to a stranger and make their day? Do you want to go for a walk outside? Do you want to bake cookies with your mom or go to lunch with dad? Do you want to catch up with a sibling or an old friend? Do you want to snuggle with your cat? Do you want to finally take the first step toward following your dreams? Do you want to tell your family how much you love them? Do you want to watch the sunset? Do you want to go try the tacos at that new Mexican restaurant that just opened? Do you want to drive or fly to a place you have never been to before? Do you want to profess your love to someone you can’t get out of your mind? Whatever it is you have always wanted to do, ask yourself, “Why not do it today?” Because today is a gift. Use it however you choose. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

Wishing you health, happiness, and the power for you to create your day as you wish.

 

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

 

For more inspirational content and stories of women from across the world, visit The Woman Wednesday Blog.

Woman Wednesday: Erika

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Erika, Memphis, Tennessee 

“Your happiness, your purpose, and your success belongs to you in every aspect of your life! People will judge you, hate you, and simply write you off, all based on their feelings towards you, but their feelings or validation of you does not control your destiny!” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I really enjoy helping others. If I can impact and make a difference in just one person’s life, then I feel as if I am making a world of a difference! As a child, I was always the kind friend who enjoyed helping my friends out, and it drove me to want to be (and later becoming) a registered nurse! With a new sense of empowerment after releasing my first book, Not Easily Bothered: From a Vengeful Driven Divorce to a Much Happier Life. I have recently released my second book, Their Validation, Your Success Powered by Purpose! I have had others question the purpose of my writings. I’ve had strangers publicly speak negatively of me because they thought I had malicious intentions, but at the end of the day, my books were successful; thus serving their purpose to help someone learn from my experiences!

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was very sheltered as a child; my parents did not allow me to venture out much, but I managed to have a few select friends that they approved. And we would spend time doing things that kids with running imaginations do! We would write out our own screenplays and act them out during playtime. I remember being the shy one, but my friends would always enjoy my ideas. I kept a journal, which allowed me to express my thoughts in writing without being judged by my parents or friends. But I never thought I would become an author sharing some of my most personable moments. I remember as a kid being taught to do the right thing and me being the one who typically did what was right versus being easily influenced by others and choosing to do what was wrong! I’ve always been a person who thought for herself!

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Simply to believe in yourself and never allow the misconceptions that others may have of you to ruin your happiness or your success! Your happiness, your purpose, and your success belongs to you in every aspect of your life! People will judge you, hate you, and simply write you off, all based on their feelings towards you, but their feelings or validation of you does not control your destiny! Never allow someone who has absolutely nothing to do with your purpose to hinder it for you!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means that every woman is entitled to live and carry out her very own story all while not being judged for it because she is a woman! Women are powerful and deserve to be treated equally all while supporting, empowering, and uplifting one another!

 

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I’d love to connect with you! 

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Woman Wednesday: Alison

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Alison W., Virginia Beach, Virginia

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about helping women feel beautiful in their own skin. I am the owner of Wanderlust Dream Hair, and I sell hair toppers for women with thinning hair, women with hair loss due to medical conditions, and women who just want that extra volume! I have always had fine, thin hair and tried everything to make it appear thicker: hair extensions, volumizing spray, et cetera, but nothing really worked for me because traditional hair extensions do not address thinning on the top of your head. I also started medical treatment for chronic migraines that created even more hair loss, so I was motivated to find a solution. Then I discovered toppers! Toppers clip to the top of your existing hair and create the appearance of thicker, fuller hair.

 

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Body image is such a big issue for a lot of women. Most of us don’t realize that those celebrity hairstyles we covet are just wigs, toppers, or extensions. Hollywood paints a false picture of what a naturally beautiful woman looks like.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were volatile. I was born with a limb difference (Poland syndrome), which means I only have two fingers on my right hand. So, confidence was a big issue for me growing up. Add thin hair to that, and you have a recipe for a wallflower. My mom was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away when I was 13. I remember when she brought home her first wig from the wig bank. She hated it. It was hot and because it was made for someone else, it never fit her comfortably. She was embarrassed to leave the house somedays because of how she looked. I really wish that we had known about toppers back then. I think she would have loved them. My mom is a big part of my “why” when it comes to my business.

 

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Pictured: One of Alison’s clients using her Wanderlust Dream Hair topper

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Something valuable I learned from a young age, due to my limb difference, is that sometimes you have to find your own way. You have to figure out how to do things yourself and not try to imitate someone else’s process because it might not work for you. I think this idea is helpful in life and in business. Comparison is the thief of joy. We are resilient, and it is amazing what we can do when we let go of traditional mindsets about how to do things and figure out what works for us. I’ve also learned to laugh at myself more. I started taking improv/comedy classes a couple of years ago. Being on stage is one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. It has also boosted my confidence in general. The first rule of improv is to make your partner look good, which means saying yes to whatever they say. So, if they tell you that you are an alien, you are an alien. I’ve learned a lot about teamwork and confidence doing improv. I highly recommend improv; it is so good for the soul.

 

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Pictured: Before and after of one of Alison’s clients using her Wanderlust Dream Hair topper. Hair topper is shown on the right. 

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism is a word that has always had a bit of a negative connotation to me. I am more of an egalitarian; meaning in my marriage, we share all of the responsibilities. There is no such thing as woman’s work or man’s work. My husband is the better cook anyway! And I can lay a tile floor. I love busting through those gender expectations. I am definitely not anti-man, but I am definitely pro-woman! I think it is important for women to support other women. Yes, we have disadvantages in the workplace. Yes, we are not always treated equally. So, I think it is important to support and encourage each other as women instead of tearing each other down. We women can be super competitive, but I want to cheer on my competition. I want us all to win.

 

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I’d love to connect with you! 

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wanderlustdreamhair/

Website: https://www.wanderlustdreamhair.com/shop

 

 

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Woman Wednesday: Ashlee

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Ashlee, Boca Raton, Florida

“When you have the strength to ask for help, you will see how far you can go.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Passion is what makes you persevere through setbacks, unhappiness, and fear of failure to achieve your dreams. It is the core drive of your motivation. There are two things I am passionate about: mediation and yoga. I love practicing yoga because the act of relaxation makes me remember what I value the most in life: happiness and independence. Unfortunately, with so much clutter in today’s society, it is hard to concentrate on your mental health. The reason I enjoy cleaning is that I become less stressed and breathe again. When I clean, I create a welcoming environment every time someone walks into that home. As Marie Kondo says, “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.” 

 

My bedroom is my office

 

Currently, I am working on optimizing google analytics for my home cleaning business, Aurora Professional Cleaning Services. I started out naive about online marketing. However, by studying educational courses and reaching out to seasoned veterans, I am becoming more confident knowing I can be a strong business owner. When you have the strength to ask for help, you will see how far you can go.

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My parents, extended family, and friends were very supportive of me and my younger sister growing up. I am grateful for the experiences my parents provided for me. We had Sunday family dinners and neighborhood pizza nights. I would volunteer at church and school events. I would attend local small-town fairs and support local businesses. It is about family. My father was my soccer coach, which grew my love for sports and friendly competition. And my mother was constantly dedicated to her career, which I admired.  

 

Thomas Family

 

I was fortunate to have traveled around the world to learn about different cultures and my own ancestry in Norway and Sweden. After graduating from Kean University with a B.A. in communications/public relations, I backpacked across Scandinavia–couch-hopping at family and friend’s homes, learning about how I became who I am today. It was an eye-opening experience that will forever be imprinted on me. Plus, it was an amazing experience before I started building my career and life in Southern Florida.

 

Hill Top Mandal, Norway overlooing the North Sea

 

Pictured below are some photos from homes that utilized Ashlee’s Aurora Professional Cleaning Services.

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NJ House 17

 

Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: There are TWO valuable lessons I have learned through building this cleaning company. One, create homemade products. Keeping it eco-friendly is a safe way to clean and live because you know exactly what you are touching every day. Plus, combining your own ingredients is cost-efficient. Yes, sometimes you need brand name products, but consider DYI first and foremost.

 

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NJ House 4

 

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Two, do NOT sell your services for less than you are worth. There are too many stories, some of my own, that after the service is done, you do not ask for enough money. This is a physical labor service, so take pride in your work and make sure you let the clients know it is about quality. Since each job is different, I have learned to pay yourself by the situation NOT by the hour. The person behind my rise in confidence to become an entrepreneur told me, “Give me 1% of your trust, and I will prove the other 99%.”

 

Ashlee and Thor

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism is about having the opportunity to speak up and have a choice without fear of animosity. Women should hold their heads high with respect for themselves and value the strengths of other women. Feminism means (to me) there are no boundaries, we are all human. One of my favorite songs/quotes is by John Lennon–

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us, and the world will live as one.”

 

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I’d love to connect with you!

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/auroraprocleaning

Instagram: www.instagram.com/aurora_pro_cleaning

Website: www.auroraprocleaning.com

 

 

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