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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Meet Kristi McAllister, Blogger at Truly Madly Sassy

Kristi McAllister recently started the blog, Truly Madly Sassy, which she describes as a personal blog about grief, hope, loss, love, transition, and the perils of everyday life. She lives in North Carolina, where she enjoys such hobbies as baking cupcakes and indulging in Starbucks beverages. The best way to learn about what's important to Kristi is to read her blog!

1. What inspired you to start blogging?

For years, I've had friends tell me that I had a great way with words, but I never really thought about it, to be honest. Then, back in the fall semester of 2016, one of my favorite professors, Wayne Loving, had asked our Economics class to post something on the discussion board about why we chose our particular major (mine is social work), so I posted about a friend who had committed suicide the year prior. Mr. Loving publicly commented on that post about how well I articulated things and from that day forward, he continued to prod me to start a blog so that I could help others. I completely give him all the accolades for what has become Truly Madly Sassy because his encouragement alone is what led me to start it. Even today, he occasionally sends me an email cheering me on so that I keep things going! Professors like him are hard to come by, and I feel so fortunate to have had him because he truly cares about his students and wants all of us to succeed at whatever we're good at.

2. How do you choose the topics to cover in your posts?

Interestingly enough, most of the things I cover in my blog posts are directly related to my own life experiences. I've often found that living transparently and authentically means being open and honest about all of our wounds because in talking about those things, we not only heal ourselves but others as well. At other times, I'll just get a hint of inspiration and wonder about things like what people might regret in their lives. My friends are my biggest fans and they’re always willing to take part in informal Facebook polls by baring their souls to me so that I can build a blog around their answers. Honestly, it's all rather spontaneous and rarely planned. I have to chew on things a long time before I can sit down and put something together that's coherent!

3. Do you have any special goals you hope to achieve through your website?

It might sound cliché, but I didn't start the blog to make money, although I would welcome it if that ever came about! But my biggest goal is to help others who might be enduring circumstances that seem unbearable. Many of us have crawled through hopelessness and sometimes, we feel insignificant because of that. If I can reach one person who might be struggling with a relationship, a loss, or someone who is seeking hope in a dismal moment, I feel that I've done my part in bettering humanity by letting them know that there’s always a little light somewhere if we just grab onto it.

4. What are some other websites that inspire you?

Iyanla Vanzant's website is always one that I frequently look at because in so many ways, I relate to her life experiences. Not only that, I love her books. I rarely keep a book that I've read, but I keep all of hers! Elizabeth Gilbert's website is equally awesome because she always has some sort of interesting podcast that I can find hope in. And last but certainly not least, Brene Brown is my hero and her website is the bomb diggity! I absolutely adore her work, especially where courage and vulnerability is concerned. That woman inspires me every day to be real!

5. Do you have a particular idea of your reader(s) in mind as you write, and what would you most like potential visitors to your blog to know about you?

I think Truly Madly Sassy has something for everybody, honestly. Most subjects revolve around love and relationships of all sorts, and who hasn't had ups and downs with both of those?! I'd say most of my readers are women, but I have had comments from men here and there on particular posts. I don't really sit down and say "Okay, I need to target this audience today"--I just write!

I think as writers, being raw and real with our own scars allow the readers who follow us to relate not only to our stories, but to theirs as well. It's always comforting to me when I go through hard times to hear another person say "Me too!". I suppose if I wanted potential visitors to know anything about me, it would be this: I am far from perfect and fight the daily battle of feeling "good enough" in a big world of edits; however, my life experiences have made me the woman I am today and continue to shape me into the person I ultimately want to become. We all have room for improvement; not only that, we are all capable of being better people day in and day out if we just work at it. That's a long explanation, so the short version is this: I'm just a real person with real wounds who inspires to help others grow as I gain personal growth myself. It's all about transparency!

Thanks, Kristi!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Meet Robin Waters Casper, Author and Therapist

Meet Robin Waters Casper is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Certified Reiki Master Teacher, an author, and a publisher. She enjoys writing books for children of all ages, and publishing books in a variety of genres including poetry, new age, and romance. Learn more about Robin and her work by visiting http://www.watersnlight.com.

1. How did you first become interested in practicing Reiki?

The most fascinating, empowering, and inspiring element leading me to learn the practice of Reiki was its beautiful, healing energy that works as well for treating oneself, once attuned to it, as it does for others. Because of some major auto-immune problems, I was gratified to find something I could implement naturally and with no other cost after the class. This means I now have direct access with my own inner power to bring forth at will for pain management whenever I choose, no need to run off to this practitioner or that doctor with every ache and pain. Other profound benefits are spiritual alignment with my higher self, more clarity and intuition, less anxiety and stress, and generally a calmer, healthier sense of well-being, even though I still have a compromised physical being. My initial interest blossomed into a sincere desire to become a Reiki Master Teacher so I could pass on this ability to others.

2. What do you see as the connection between your work as a Marriage and Family Therapist and your work as a Reiki practitioner and an author/publisher?

My current career, a blend of Reiki and writing/publishing books, arose from a background as a helper in the healing process. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I mostly worked with children, teens, and families. I was the 0 to 5 (California First Five) Program Therapist at our local Mental Health Center. I loved working with families and their young children, using techniques specifically designed to enhance attunement in relationships between the child, parents, and caregivers. Increased brain development due to the mirroring of feelings, eye-contact, healthy touch, and audio communication of talking, reading, and singing often brought much joy, closeness, and, sometimes, parental reunification. A child’s first five years sets up an entire life and what happens during those years will directly effect that individual in either healthy or unhealthy attachment and brain development. To be part of positively impacting children and families in this way has been an honor. Lucky Lucky the Love Puppy; A read-along, sing-along, feelings picture book grew from this work at Butte County Department of Behavioral Health in Northern California.

Additionally, I was a play therapist working individually with children, and I would at times create my own materials. When I was a private practice intern, my supervisor, Julie Tamminga, whom I met at my first therapist job, Children’s Bureau of Southern California, immersed me in Mindfulness Training via Zen-inspired Vypassana Meditation, a technique she called “Focused Watching”, a way to observe the body while following the breath. Because creators frequently use what they know to write or explore projects that interest them, I wrote a children’s story to help children identify emotions from how their body felt inside and to breathe through the difficult times when they were feeling upset. It also touched on other issues, including grief, problem-solving, compassionate caring, and general self-soothing. I presented the story to Joyce C. Mills, MFC, Ph.D., award-winning therapy storyteller, and Executive Director at StoryPlay Center, Arizona, at a workshop of hers I attended. I was fortunate that she agreed to consult and provide endorsement for the book for ages 7 to 9 that evolved into Mindful Max and the Mental Magic Club.

Before that, earlier in my career, Julie had introduced me to Reiki, practicing her new skills on me as I was beginning to show signs of health problems. But it wasn’t until many years later when a massage therapist used Reiki, and years later still, when an alternative health NAET practitioner, Vickie Van Scyoc, re-introduced it to me and a mutual friend, Casey Fickardt-Hersch, LCSW, invited me to attend a Reiki One Class that I wanted to learn it for myself. I did not know back when Julie or the massage therapist provided me with energy healing, that if one learned Reiki, one could use it for self-treatment. I now make it a point to inform people that we all are healers and all have this ability within us, and that Reiki is easily learned and accessed.

The next writing project sprung from spirituality and a psychologically inspired imagination: a novel I’ve been writing, revising, and pursuing editing for many years, originally called Rich with Wonder, but now titled, Beaming up Rosie. The story revolves around a quirky, nearly middle-aged dentist, Rosie Rich, who has managed to suppress her tumultuous history, but is dogged by a fear of being swallowed up in a pit of Hell for her sins. She meets young, cosmic surfer-hunk, Ken Wonder, and catapults onto a sexy, roller-coaster ride of metaphysical New Age antics and synchronicities, sending her into a tail-spin of emotional and spiritual challenges, as she desperately seeks redemption while encountering this odd, sensual conundrum of Mystical Magic Man vs. Dangerous Devil’s Delighter, alternate dimensions, and layers of synchronicity where healers, psychics, mediums, spirit guides, angels, entities, occultist proponents and past lives confront and intertangle with her present-day human dramas. I plan on releasing it this year, 2017.

Lucky Lucky the Love Puppy; A read-along, sing-along, feelings picture book, is the last book I wrote and the first one I published once I decided to start Waters N Light Reiki N Books. For ages baby to six, it follows Lucky, my true-life Golden Cocker Spaniel, as he emotes various feelings through doggy behaviors. The story began as a song that fell from my lips one day as I was petting him. Another incidence of allowing creativity to unfold naturally, I grabbed my smart phone and recorded it, knowing instantly it would be my next book. I wrote the song, had it transcribed and put to piano music by Gina Trenalone, then professionally recorded it at Heirloom Studios in Chico, California. At the end of the story/song, I present questions to invite discussion with teachers, parents, and therapists about feelings. Obviously, again, it was inspired from connections in my work singing and reading to children with parents for the above-mentioned attunement and brain development process. I am super proud of all my books, but this one is the most fun as I go out in the world singing and flipping pages for children in classrooms and libraries. The kids often spontaneously sing the catchy first part, “Oh Lucky Lucky the Love Puppy”. There is a Spanish version in the works. Now that I’ve moved to Hawaii, I seriously plan to create and collaborate on Lucky Lucky Aloha Puppy, the next version with English and Hawaiian translation. I see it as an enjoyable, interactive, and effective way to introduce children to emotional education.

Note: In addition to Amazon, you can also find my work on CDBaby.

3. What inspired you to start writing and publishing books?

As you can see, my higher self, or soul if you will, compels me to write entertaining projects with substance that offer healing to others, whatever age they may be. Self-publishing is now a viable way for authors to publish with many established authors who’ve landed traditional contracts utilizing self-publishing, or combining modes for their backlist. Thus, Waters N Light Reiki N Books stemmed from a sincere desire to bring my brand to the public while retaining all rights. However, Beaming up Rosie, may branch out into the traditional world on its own journey to self-realize. I am open to that unfoldment given the right situation.

4. Do you have an intentional goal as an author to help your readers in some way?

I intend to weave meaningful emotional and/or spiritual insight into each book without preaching or lecturing. I strive to make the reading experience one that is engaging, mesmerizing, and, perhaps, thought-provoking. To this extent, I envision a non-fiction series of miraculous phenomenal events as reported by healers of all kinds in the Sublime Healers 300 Series.

5. What else would you like people reading this interview to know about you and your work?

I consider it an honor and a privilege to teach, write, and record about healing. One mission I have is to bring Reiki to as many people on the planet as possible, so I co-developed a Reiki Volunteer Program at Enloe Medical Center. I encourage others to bring Reiki Programs to their communities. I love to assist and collaborate with other Reiki Teachers, which led to creating several tools for a more effortless and engaging process, including power points for Reiki I, Reiki II, and Advanced Reiki Training (Reiki 3 Part I), a free Reiki Intro accessed at www.watersnlight.com home page or at www.learnitlive.com, a tool for Reiki Grounding in the chakras for attunements, Harp Solo & Chakra Grounding Meditation, (see below) and chakra harp to play in the background of classes, and promoting my Reiki Master Teacher, Kathy Christian’s, CD, Reiki Meditation for Self-Treatment, an awesome way to get folks immediately started using Reiki for self-care. I administer a Facebook group called Helping Reiki Master Teachers Teach. I plan on continuing to teach Reiki so many others can experience its awe-inspiring benefits. I would like to teach it ocean-side here in Maui, and, also, continue as a Spiritual Expert Instructor online at www.learnitlive.com.

In 2016, I released a CD/Download with my colleague, Rev. Dr. Katy Valentine, Harp Solo & Chakra Grounding Meditation, (also professionally recorded at Heirloom Studios) that consists of a brief introduction, a 13-minute Harp Chakra Grounding Meditation of soothing voice against Katy’s lovely harp that is tuned in ancient modes to correspond with the chakras, followed by about 40 minutes of Divine Energy Harp Solo with more chakra-tuned harp and then a couple minutes of light Celtic harp, Katy’s original composition, Swift Wind, to bring the listener back to the present moment. I, my students, and others listen for grounding, prayer, meditation, attunements, background for massage, complimentary arts of all kinds, and yoga. Available as a CDAmazon, CreateSpace (Amazon’s creative Design Department) and CDBaby, also Katy’s website: www.agapeharp.com.

As far as books and the Lucky Lucky the Love Puppy Song, and links to our harp meditation CD/download, all may be found on my website or at my online store through my website: www.watersnlight.com/books.html and www.watersnlight.com/products/services.html. My author name is Robin Waters Casper, LMFT. It will be Robin L. Waters for Beaming up Rosie.

If you wish further info or communication, or are interested in Reiki classes, collaborative Hawaii Reiki teaching opportunities, tools, publishing collaborations, or submitting a phenomenal healing story for the Sublime Healers 300 Series, please visit www.watersnlight.com and drop me a note through the contact form. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks, Robin!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Recent Projects from M Models and Talent Agency

With offices in Toronto and Calgary, M Models and Talent Agency helps find talent for a wide variety of roles in everything from print media campaigns to prime-time television shows. They work with models and actors of all ages, from children to adults, and they work with beginners as well as people who have already been featured in many ad campaigns or acting projects. In short, they are a respected agency made up of talent agents who have many years of experience in all aspects/genres of media.

Some of their most recent placements have involved campaigns for such famous names as Comcast, TRESseme, York Transit, Ford, Jordan, Tvo, Cineplex, and Nintendo. The Nintendo job was for a YouTube promotion that was broadcast live from the YouTube offices.

Some other recent jobs involved a music videos for The Weekend, Michael Buble, and the French artist Yao. Even more exciting was the job landed by M Models and Talent's client Thomas K. who landed a part on the Investigation Discovery show, Fear Thy Neighbor. And two clients, Christopher and Arya K., have recently been featured on the vampire-themed show, Shadow Hunters.

I've shared the link to the M Models blog before, but I just found out that they have an Instagram account, too. Check it out here. Whether you're a model or actor looking for work, or a casting director looking for talent, I think you'll find this Instagram feed to be a great source of inspiration. And be sure to visit http://www.mmodels.typepad.com for more detailed descriptions of the projects M Models and Talent Agency works on every day.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Meet Nancy See, Content Creator

Nancy See is a web developer who enjoys volunteering with her local CERT program, and she's also a board member at Forge54. Forge54 brings a community of passionate marketing and creative individuals together to serve nonprofit organizations through skilled giving.

For Nancy, 2017 is the year she's decided to stop placing limits on herself. She's getting out of her comfort zone, facing her fears, and doing things she wouldn't normally do--every single day. Follow Nancy's Break Outta Boring project on Instagram and YouTube as she completes 365 challenges in 365 days.

1. What gave you the idea to do 365 challenges in 365 days?

I was at a point in my life where everything I was doing was pretty routine. Then, it hit me. Here I was in my twenties and I wasn't living life. I was simply existing and I didn't want to anymore. I decided that I shouldn't wait until I was running out of time to see what life had to offer. The time was now and I decided to do something about it.

I actually started my project on December 1st, 2016, but the activities I did weren't so exciting--many were activities like, "try a new craft or try a new blend of tea." Mid-way through December, I decided that I wanted to do more activities that actually pushed me out of my comfort zone and/or normal things that I normally wouldn't do. That is where this idea was born. I had heard about two other people who did their own version of a 365 day project, and they inspired me to try my hand at it. That was when Break Outta Boring was born.

2. How do you come up with the ideas for the individual challenges?

Some of the challenges stem from fear. I have a fear of heights, so I went zip lining. I have a fear of snakes, so I went to hold a python. Other times, the challenges are spontaneous. I may be out and about and a situation may come up to try something new. If my immediate answer is, "no," then that is my new challenge of the day. I also have had family, friends, and co-workers give me some great ideas as well.

3. Why did you decide on Instagram and YouTube as the places to share your challenges, rather than setting up a website/blog?

I started with Instagram because that was a platform I felt comfortable with. With Instagram, it's very quick and easy to post a photo of the activity I did for that day. Even though I started with Instagram, I knew that YouTube would be a better platform for what I was doing. I wanted people to see my reaction and the reactions of others in my video when I do the challenges. Photos can't fully capture what videos can, so I started posting short clips on Instagram stories, then I moved to posting short clips as my Instagram posts, and then I finally posted my first video on YouTube on January 31st. The video has since been deleted. As for a website/blog, that will be up soon!

4. What are some of your favorite challenges you've done so far?

I enjoyed zip lining--how crazy that I may have missed the opportunity to find out that I actually liked it. I also enjoyed outrigger canoe paddling. That sport would have never even crossed my mind to even try. To add, I like the challenges I have done where I approach strangers. A few years ago, I definitely wouldn't have gone up to strangers and asked them for photos or asked to sit with them at dinner in a restaurant. Surprisingly, everyone is very nice and many are willing to participate in the challenges I do.

5. What's your advice to other people who are feeling a bit stuck in their usual routine and want to try something new and step out of their comfort zone?

As cliche as it sounds, "just do it." Many times people overthink things and situations before they even get a chance to try it. They have already placed a limit on themselves if that is how they approach trying new things. I know how that feels. I was there and I am still there on occasion. You just have to look at it and say, "No. I am not going to fear you. Fear has stopped me long enough and it won't stop me any longer." Just be curious about the world and see what happens when you stop limiting yourself.

Thanks, Nancy!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Meet Jose, a Real Estate Agent in Miami Florida

Jose is an enthusiastic and dependable real-estate broker in the southern region of Florida. His top priority is customer service, adeptly and skillfully guiding clients through the process of purchasing or selling a property. In his words: "My ultimate goal is the client's complete satisfaction. To accomplish that, I carefully listen to their needs and desires for their new property and tirelessly search the market to find their ideal home at the best price." Jose is committed to his clients and will give a high level of dedication and support until the transaction is completed.

He is currently working with the builders of Aria on the Bay, a 53-story building located in South Beach across from the breathtaking Biscayne Bay with unobstructed water views.

1. What do you enjoy about working as a realtor in Miami, Florida?

Working from the sunshine state, it's a true joy to wake up and seeing the sun shining, and the warmth of the weather brings families from across the globe. As a real-estate broker, you have the tools and resources to help clients achieve their goals. Whether you are purchasing your first home or an investment property, it's one of the biggest investments most Americans make in their lives. This is very fulfilling to see clients have a true sense of security, and trust in your ability to deliver results is key. Working with all the different cultures from Canada to Asia and South America is always an added bonus because you grow through diversity of cultures and beliefs.

2. When you think about the condos in the new Aria on the Bay building, what are some details that make these homes extra special?

There are various properties that are in the pre-construction phase in Miami, but Aria oy the Bay is a true gem that stands out from the rest, and the reason is its LOCATION. The condo sits in the downtown area of Miami that is off the main strip or Biscayne Blvd and is located on North Bay Shore Drive which is an parallel street to Biscayne. The property is within a 2-mile radius of 95 Interstate, so you don't have to cross the hustle and bustle traffic of downtown.

3. I noticed that Aria on the Bay has condos available in many different sizes, offering from 1000 to 6000 square feet of space--plus over 21,00 square feet of amenities. Are you seeing a lot of interest in this building so far?

The building has many different sizes to fit everyone's budget: the studio and the smaller units that are 815 sqft are selling in the mid 400's. If a client would like a more spacious unit and more bedrooms in the condo, the 3-4 bedrooms are priced from 1.5 Million to 2 Million depending on the floor and the view. The association fees are very reasonable, and they start at .75 cents a sqft There is a tremendous amount of interest in this building, and investors are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into escrow accounts in many different brokerage firms across the city.

4. What are some of your favorite things about the building in terms of its design and amenities?

All of the 21,000 finishing touches are going to be spectacular, with European touches throughout the property. The building will have high ceilings, Italian kitchens, a gym, a spa, a children's play room, a business conference center, tennis courts, a volleyball court, and an outdoor fire pit with seating for all of your family. The building also has its own beauty salon located inside the complex, so you don’t even have to hop in the car for a quick trim or blow dry for work or any special event. Aria oy the Bay is is the place to be and be seen here in South Florida.

5. Where in Miami is Aria on the Bay located, and why do you think this particular area is a desirable one, especially for buyers in search of luxury condo living?

Aria by the Bay over looks a beautiful park and the blue waters of Biscayne Bay: this is its true unique quality, and I say this because if you were to purchase a property over looking Central Park in NYC/Manhattan, you would be paying several thousand per sqft along with higher association fees, not to mention the frigid winters of New York. The city protects the park, so the property owners are guaranteed unobstructed views of the water. With the units' creators Melo Group in conjunction with world famous Arquitectonica International Corporation, led by Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Faia, the condo is going to be a huge hit when it's finished in 2018. The building has its own private elevators for its clients and home owners. Arquitectonica has been building master pieces since 1977 and has been exhibiting his work from across the globe.

Thanks, Jose!