Finding Solace

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I haven’t written anything in the last few days…Which feels substantial, since I started this blog with the intent to publish a post five days a week.  I’m realizing that, perhaps, I’m not cut out for blogging every single day, because I can feel myself feeling mentally drained and pressured.  (Maybe publishing just a few times a week would be more realistic with my already busy schedule…?)  I’m going to keep riding things out, to decide what’s comfortable for me.

Anyways…  In other news, I’m (very) happy to report that my passion for illustration has been completely rekindled; and that I am currently updating my portfolio with new work!  (For example, above is a tiny sketch I was working on this evening, for an illustration series that I’m developing.  I took some of my inspiration, from the Saipua image that’s below.)   In the upcoming weeks, I will be unveiling new paintings and I have plans to open an online shop!  So, stay tuned for more details.

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My Own Meaningful Decision

JamieBeck_Journal(Photography Credit: Jamie Beck | Ann Street Studio)

Let me start by saying that this essay isn’t what I’d originally intended, when I began writing today.

After waiting five (yes…five) excruciating weeks for my iPhone 5s to arrive, my new baby – Siri – finally appeared yesterday.  I was going to tell you all about how much I love her; and how she’s already starting to make life a little more convenient.  But, that won’t be what I’ll share about, today.  Ultimately, I’d rather talk about something that’s meaningful.  (Does anyone really need another, “OMG, I got my iPhone!” update, anyways?)

Instead, I’d like to talk about a recent decision that I acted upon…  What lead to making it, why it’s meaningful, and the consequences that have followed.

Decisions are, generally, pretty simple things; right?  Each of us makes them, every day.  “What shirt will I wear today?” or “What will I have for breakfast?”…  (Or, even: “Do I WANT breakfast, today?”)  We decide on how to live out our days, with such ease that the choices become unconscious.  That is, until something presents itself that is so striking, you’re forced to pause and really think about how you should act.  How would you handle yourself, if someone accidentally spilled coffee on the shirt you’re wearing?  Or, if you were served breakfast with an insect in your meal, how would you react?  In moments like these, decisions have the potential to go from “ordinary” to “extraordinary”…whether we realize it or not.

For me, my typical nature is to be laid-back about things.  My philosophy is that incidents like “spilled coffee” or a “fly in my omelet” are accidental…not intentionally offensive.  Though it’s not in my spirit to behave assertively in accidental moments of disrespect, recently, I made a decision to take a stand.

What lead to making my decision?  (And – What exactly happened?)

Well, I’ll tell you…  In case you’re new to knowing me, I’m not just a blogger.  I, also, have a background in marketing; and I work for an organization that produces nationally-televised shows on a major TV network in America.  (One thing I haven’t mentioned, is that I’ve also been the Managing Editor of a women’s magazine…and that I’ve interviewed some notable personalities, such as Olivia Newton-John, Josie Bissett, and Denise Austin.)  I disclose these things here-and-now, not to toot my own horn or pat myself on the back; but, rather, to explain that I’m someone who (though I’m still relatively young, at 31 years old) has a degree of journalistic credibility.  In plain terms, I’m not new to writing articles or interviews.  True, I’m not someone who has been published through Conde Nast or Meredith; but, I do know my stuff.

Not long ago, I reached out to an entity and proposed writing an article/interview, for this very blog. (For personal and legal reasons, I will not disclose the identity of this entity.  I will only say it is an entity that is growing in popularity; but, is relatively new.)  Without spelling out more info than necessary, the Entity declined my “pitch”.  But, here’s the thing: the Entity was dismissive, toward my request.  No – the Entity acted dismissively, towards me.

Nobody likes feeling rejected.  (Especially, this little blogger/marketer/editor/suffragette.)

And, so, after taking some time to collect my thoughts…  I made the conscious decision to reach out to the Entity again…  This time, with a purpose to expose how things could have been handled differently.

Why is this meaningful?

Because, it’s been a great lesson in tolerance, professionalism, and tact.  I’m always learning about myself; and, through this experience, I discovered where I’m really willing to draw a line…and “not” be passively-tolerant.  I also learned that it’s really important to strive for “staying classy”, even in situations when you might feel emotional.

In my message to the Entity, I tried to strike a balance between being firm…but, also, being “kind”.  Like the imaginary server bringing me the imaginary fly in my (imaginary) omelet, the Entity wasn’t out to upset me.  Most likely, they were totally clueless that they’d done anything “wrong”.  Therefore, I positioned my message from a place of thoughtfulness, so that we both (myself and the Entity) could gain something from our exchange.

What have been the consequences?

It’s hard to tell, whether my memo had much impact on this entity.  Up to this point, the “E” hasn’t responded.  But, I think…no…I know…that the Entity got my message, loud and clear.  The “E” must have taken some of what I said to heart, because I’ve noticed a difference in the way that they interact with others who aren’t so different from myself.

So, do I have any regrets, in taking my stand?  No.  And, yes.

I’m proud of myself, for getting out of my comfort zone and directly expressing my views.  It wasn’t an easy decision to make, particularly because I’m a gigantic enthusiast of this entity.

On the other hand, I have potentially risked closing the door on any future opportunities, when it comes to working with the Entity down the road.  (Not happy about that.  If anything, it saddens me.)

In the end, I just have to tell myself that I did what I felt was the right thing to do.

Refresh, Recharge, Renew

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I’ll be honest, this past week has been a pretty tiring week.  (I know – that’s not quite what you’d expect as an opening line, when the accompanying image is this gorgeous sunset that you see before you.)  I’m still trying to get used to blogging on a regular basis, when I already have so many other (time-consuming) things on my plate.

And, if I’m going to be really honest, I should admit that…on many occasions through this past month…I’ve been up until the wee hours of the morning…fighting for blog inspiration, editing photos, and mustering the ability to write content.  Hopefully, it’s been engaging stuff, up to this point; but, I feel that I haven’t reached my full potential in this space I’m carving for myself.  I’ve been so drained with getting things started, it’s prevented me from focusing on writing that’s of quality.

I know I can make this little blog so much better than it’s been.  The words can be so much more insightful.  The topics so much richer.  What I need, is to find a balance between contributing to my place here; and my place in the “non-digital” world…

When I searched through my photo archives, for inspiration on how to conclude this week, I came across these images.  They’re from the trip that Hubby and I took to Greece, when we were on our honeymoon.  And, while I realize that it might not make very much sense to publish these, when this blog is supposed to be dedicated to my life in AMERICA…  I’m posting these, regardless.

It’s a serene looking place; isn’t it?  Well, the pictures don’t do it justice.  It was heaven on Earth.  Literally.  I don’t remember a place making me feel more at peace; or, giving me as much of a sense of possibility in the world.  And, perhaps that’s the point…  Maybe I need to get back to living a sense of that; and not complicate things for myself…

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I hope you have a a wonderful weekend. I’m planning to spend mine, relaxing, so that I may return here next week…refreshed and ready to give this my all.

My Role in The Entertainment Industry

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Since I made the decision to start this blog at the beginning of this month, I’ve been fairly quiet about a particular subject, when I’ve talked about myself. I refer to the different roles I currently play within the Entertainment Industry.

I’ve made the conscious effort to downplay this part of my life, when I write, for a few different reasons… One motivating factor is an intent to keep this – my personal blog – completely separate from my place of work. The thoughts and opinions that I’ve shared these past two weeks (and will continue to share) are mine; and mine, alone. And I don’t want this distinction to be blurred.

Another reason I haven’t talked about my entertainment experience, is from a fear that you – my reader – might become more invested in my background…and less invested in my prowess as an artist or designer.

I’m realizing that, while I still believe these are valid concerns, I really should let you guys in on this part of my life. Because, it’s a huge part of who I am; and you can’t really get to know me, if I don’t peel back this layer of myself.

So, here’s is a bit more about me – my background and what separates me from a lot of others who also write about art, design, and home décor:

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By day, I work in marketing, for a media and television production company.  We produce a few different TV shows that are geared to empower women; and they’re televised on a major, American, television network.  While I don’t feel comfortable disclosing the name of my organization, the network our shows air on, or even the very identities of our shows – I’m happy to tell you that I love working in television. I’ve met all kinds of celebrities (such as Josie Bissett, above), and I continue to learn so much about this facet of the industry.

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Another tidbit: Sometimes cool things happen at my office, like the time that Hulk Hogan made an unannounced visit. No, not everything about my workplace is glamorous; but, it’s not your typical business-setting, either.

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In addition to the work I do in television, I also do some freelance stuff through the Crest Theatre in Delray Beach.  (I’m happy to name-drop them!  lol.)  I’ve been working with The Crest, since 2004, and I consider much of the staff almost as family.  (Above is a snapshot of me working backstage at an Everclear concert.)

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Above: Some behind-the-scenes candids taken at The Crest, during a production of “Sleeping Beauty” with the Moscow Ballet on Ice.

I could tell you all kinds of stories, about the people I’ve encountered while working in theatre.  Particularly, when it comes to the national tours of shows that have passed through; and some of the Broadway personalities I’ve met.  But, that’ll have to be some other time…

For now, I’m glad to finally open up a bit more about this, and pull back the curtain…ever-so-slightly.

In Close-Up: A Self-Portrait (Age 24-31)

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I’m not one of those people who freaks every time I find a new line on my face.  On the contrary, I’m kind of fascinated by aging…

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Above: Me, at the age of 24.

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Above: At the age of 25.

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Above: At 30.

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Above: Me, today, at the “ripe old age” of 31.

I think I’m going to stop here and just allow the pictures to speak for themselves…

I wish you all a fabulous weekend!  I’m planning to do a bit of traveling, over my own weekend – and, if all goes according to plan, I should have some interesting stuff to share with you next week!

Grateful

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My grandparents on my father’s side of my family were Jewish and Holocaust survivors. (That’s them, pictured above, on the day of their wedding.) My grandfather was originally from Germany – my grandmother was from Romania.  And as traumatic as their individual experiences were during WWII (particularly for my grandma – who had been imprisoned in Auschwitz), the reality is that I wouldn’t exist if history had played out any other way.

You see, they went to separate concentration camps; and it wasn’t until they were finally liberated and sent to the same hospital in Sweden, that they were able to meet and fall in love.  I’m thankful that they were strong enough to survive the war and find one another, despite the cost of whom they lost along their journey.

My mother’s parents were a contrast, culturally.  For one thing, they weren’t Jewish.  And they had been born and raised in America, versus growing up as Eastern Europeans and immigrating to the US.  I had a really special connection with my American grandmother, whom I called “Grandma Ohio” or “Grandma ‘Hio”.  (The nickname originated, when I was little.  It started with some song she’d always serenade me with, that had “Ohio, Ohio!” in the lyrics.)

My Grandma ‘Hio showed me the value of world-history, as she was insanely interested in things like Egyptology and England’s royal family-tree.  A gifted fine-artist, she passed her creativity down to me like the passing of the Olympic torch.  And finally, she taught me that traveling the world is one of life’s most exhilarating experiences.

It was after Grandma ‘Hio passed away, in the Spring of 2006 – that I learned she never truly had the opportunity to travel.  She went to London, sometime in the 1970’s; and that was the only time she went anywhere, in her entire lifetime.  Perhaps she was so grateful for the blessings in her life, that it masked her life’s regrets?  (I’ll never know.)

Below is an item that she’d bought from “Dickens Old Curiosity Shop”, through her only voyage across the Atlantic.  It’s one of my most cherished keepsakes – and it serves an important reminder:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

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Hello Sunshine!

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Greetings from Of Sand & Snow!  This is the first time I’ve ever managed my own blog, though I’m a longtime blog-surfer.  I remember the first blogs that resounded with me – which I consistently still read.  I’d stumbled upon them, during a time when I was planning my wedding and constantly looking for new inspiration.  After I’d exchanged marriage vows and had no more “purpose” for reading said blogs, I’d still find myself returning to the same resources.  I suppose that I did this for the same reason that anyone else follows a blog: to watch how our bloggy-heroes continue to make their homes, wardrobes, or lives just a little more beautiful.  Now, here I am…Joining the ranks of the people who have inspired me.  I do hope that I manage to breathe life into S&S, justly.

So.  Now that I have your attention and that we’re getting acquainted, here are a few things to know about my personality and the content you will continue to find here:

  • I tend to write the same way that I naturally hold a conversation.  (Literally.)  If you’re a personal friend of mine who’s reading this, you can probably hear my voice reciting these words.
  • I’ll always speak (er…write) with sincerity, passion, and good humor.
  • As long as I’m mentioning “passion”, I should tell you what I’m most passionate about and what I really stand for…  My first love has belonged to film and to television, since I was a small child.  It’s helped to shape who I am and my perception.
  • Secondly, I fiercely love exploring the world.  My schedule doesn’t permit much long-distance travel, unfortunately.  To compensate, I explore where I live.  On S&S, I plan to talk about the interesting places I have come across, with special emphasis on locations that are “unique” and “off the radar”.
  • Lastly, I love me some great design!  (All kinds: graphic, interior, the list goes on.)  I’ll often showcase how I use my personal skills to improve the home I share with my hubby.  Oh yeah – it’s our first home!

Until we meet again, tomorrow. I’ll be talking about one of the first places I fell in love with, when I moved to South Florida.