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What is the “(#)GIRLBOSS” hubbub all about?

SimoneAnne-1834

 

When I heard about Sophia Amoruso’s book #GIRLBOSS (can’t forget the hashtag!), I wondered what the thrill was. Yes, according to a Google search, she took an Ebay business and turned it into a thriving, multi-million dollar company, Nasty Gal.

Then, with a title as GIRLBOSS (one word for hashtag friendliness), it started a movement. Every girl is a GIRLBOSS. There is something about that word, that title that rubs me kinda wonky. Maybe it’s the “girl” part? I keep imagining girls wearing bad mobster Halloween costumes, with dreams of running thriving businesses while showcasing obviously planned social moments on Instagram. Just, no.

Or, as to speak Internet, I just can’t even.

Also the use of “girl” diminishes the power. Could that be it? Yes, there seems to be an increase of lovely ladies out there making a go at being their own boss. I did it, continue to do it, but I don’t give myself a title. I just want to fucking do it, because I don’t like making money for other people.

I don’t get off on rags-to-riches stories either. I could tell you about my life, my upbringing, the downfalls, the tears and the heartbreaks, the disappointments and the triumphs that made me WHO I AM TODAY (and sprinkle in some sincere gratitude), but I won’t. Business is hard. There is a lot of blood, sweat, tears, nerves, alcohol, hair-pulling, caffeine, prescription anxiety pills and breakdowns to get noticed. There is no formula to getting “it” right, what “it” is that you’re doing. As I’ve said before, creating and running a business is a constant cycle of improvement that requires your own common sense and observation to shape into your own success.

 

Have you read #GIRLBOSS? What do you think?

 

 

Image from Death to the Stock Photo

Where a kindred spirit can be found

Malika Favre

I placed my scarf along the back of the chair and sat down. My second cousin introduced me to her friend, who accompanied her to the funeral just an hour earlier. I looked over to see an older woman, with a friendly smile. A thick, Eastern European accent fluttered out with her greeting.

In those few minutes, I also learned that this woman with her many years of life, was a retired professor of Slavic Languages at a few universities. As a parishioner of the Greek Orthodox faith, she befriended my cousin, who is the church’s organist. We chatted at great length during our mercy meal of chicken and ziti while our bottomless coffees grew cold.  We didn’t mind, we became quick kindred spirits.

Born in the Soviet Union and educated in Kraków, my new friend found her way into the United States to finish her PhD and teach a variety of languages. She mentioned that she was blessed by Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis before they were popes. She lit up when I said I come from a Slovakian background and she asked if I knew any of the language, which I do not know a single lick of.

But, of course, the food! Food brings everyone together, even in conversation. We talked about the perfect mushrooms for Christmas Eve soup, pastries and cookie dough laden with sour cream and filled with fruit spreads. Potatoes, noodles and mushrooms—the staples to any Eastern European meal.

Then she asked the question, placing a hand on my arm, “What do you do?”

I placed my coffee cup back onto the saucer and without delay, told her my life story. It has been hard to figure my latest identity (am I an entrepreneur? a writer?), so I laid it all out. My education, the consideration of being an educator, to owning a bakery, to writing a book and now developing new entrepreneurial efforts.

She was interested in my writing. She was once asked to write a book about her life, but has since refused. “Why open old wounds?” she says. “I don’t want to do that to myself.”

We talked more about education, travel and my favorite topics as of late: faith and fate. She pulled me toward her and planted a kiss on my cheek, grabbing my cousin’s arm to get her attention. “I absolutely love this girl!” she exclaimed. “You speak with so much passion!”

My cousin nodded. “Your face lights up when you talk.”

I romanticize everything.

I want to do and experience things on level that pushes me to be this force that is something fierce. Quite appropriate after a funeral, yes?

 

 

“I’m so glad I met you today!” was said multiple times by both of us.

When it came time to leave, she gave me her email address to stay in touch. “I do keep up with technology,” she laughed. “I even use Skype!”

When I stepped away for a moment to get my jacket, out of the corner of my eye I saw her hand reach for my dad’s arm. “She’s definitely going places,” I heard her say to him.

“Yes, she is,” he replied.

 

 

Image by Malika Favre

 

New office inspiration

In a few days I’m moving and with the move I’m getting a new office! For the last few weeks, I have been using Pinterest like crazy to find inspiration for the new spot where all my writing will happen.

colors

 

My current office is grey, which I did not think I would grow to like, but I did. I am going to be leaving my grey walls behind for washed out grey walls and will accent with the other colors. I love the combination of red and teal and will accent with a cheery light yellow. I want colors that will create a great space to get work done.

patterns

 

Patterns! I love the look of geometric patterns. I will be hitting up Joann Fabric for something bright for a new set of curtains. What do you think? Teal? Grey? Yellow?

More inspiration:

 

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Looking forward to showing the progress after I unpack!

 

 

Images from Pinterest/Pantone

The one where I talk about The Empty Hearts

The coolest thing about the location of my old shop was that I was close enough to stop by Andy Babiuk’s Fab Gear. To the locals, the shop may have served as a convenience for musicians to pick up a pack of strings and ogle the Rickenbackers or Fenders adorning the walls. Not to mention the memorabilia. Records signed from Beatles members and other faces from the yesteryears of garage rock grace the walls. Atop a glass coffee table, are stacks of Babiuk’s published works: The Story Of Paul A. Bigsby: The Father Of The Modern Electric Solidbody Guitar, Beatles Gear and the latest Rolling Stones Gear. From the days of The Chesterfield Kings to being a published author and a consultant for the film Not Fade Away (it’s because of him, all the instruments in the film were sourced to show time period authenticity!), Babiuk is a good friend of Steven Van Zandt, so it only came natural that he’d offer what would be the band name for Babiuk’s next venture.

My brother would frequent Fab Gear more than I was able to—but either way—we would be regaled with tour stories, anecdotes about The Ramones and the writing process of his books. We heard about this new band he was putting together, but he was mum on the members. Of course, with the contacts Andy knew, it had to be good. At a later point, we did learn who was in the band and that they were in town recording the album nearby.

My brother and I flipped. Elliot Easton (The Cars), Clem Burke (Blondie) and Wally Palmar (The Romantics) are in town working on this album. Oh, and Ed Stasium (producer for The Ramones and many, many others) is producing.
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It was not long after, I walked into Fab Gear, while my brother was already there. As I opened the door to the tiny space, I was blasted with music. When the song stopped, Andy replied, with a slightly annoyed face. “That was a rough cut,” he sighed and started making note of what needed to be changed.

I was shocked that THAT was a rough cut.

Andy was in and out of the shop after that, flying out to LA for promo photos and promoting Stones Gear throughout the country. The same day The Connection came to visit both of our shops in May, was the day the news was released about the band name and the who’s who in the band.

The Empty Hearts. From the sacred offering of Little Steven Van Zandt’s collection of unused band names.

Fast forward to last night. The band has been in town for about a week and rehearsing heavily before they hit a few eastern-US dates and Japan. A special show at Sticky Lips Juke Joint was promoted all over local radio and news outlets (and even front page news on Monday’s Democrat and Chronicle). A packed beer and barbecue crowd waited for a new rock ‘n’ roll Fab Four to come up on stage. When they did, an hour and a half of heavy, solid and tight rock ‘n’ roll hit us in the face. Opening with the first cut on the album “Driving 90 Miles an Hour Down a One-Way Street,” the crowd ate it up like the pulled pork they must have consumed earlier. Then, we were treated to the Car’s favorite, “Just What I Needed.” Tossing a couple Cars and Romantics tunes, including “What I Like About You” into the set was the perfect end to a Tuesday night.

The Empty Hearts hit the first date of their tour tomorrow night.

 

 

 

Photo from The Empty Hearts website

Waiting in purgatory, searching for serendipity and why Saturn should go eat a bag of dicks

SimoneAnne-0180

 

Transition. I guess you can call it a transitional stage. Myself? I call it purgatory. It’s that cloudy, grey area that I’m existing smack dab in the middle of between one move to the next.

My new astrologer friend told me I’m meant to be a leader, that there are traits and skills I have not been able to tap into yet. Besides someone analyzing the influence of the planets with my star and moon signs, I’ve been hearing that for years from numerous faces. What untapped potential am I keeping under lock and key? I’m wrestling with myself to figure it out.

Last weekend, I ran into an old acquaintance. She is a lovely older woman, single and believes that things happen because of fate. Her singledom? Fate. Maybe she’ll meet someone in her 60’s, 70’s or 80’s, but she’s not worried. She is in great health after early detection cancer and gives herself the opportunity to travel without having to worry about strings at home. “Maybe this period is your time to really figure out what you want to do!” She exclaimed. When she’s on, she’s really on. I love talking to someone who gets excited for others and she offered some great encouragement. “In my honest opinion, I see you as a writer. That’s your strength and I see you going far with that.” She had no idea how much she made me made my day.

serendipity

The shock of not going to my shop everyday has waned and I’m ready to move on. There is a path and journey to every destination—it takes work to get there. I’ve put a plan in place to get me there and have realized every step in the past was taken for a reason, so I can’t live with any regrets or bang my head wondering why I should have done something different (because I have done that many times). I guess you can say I’ve experienced some serendipitous moments, which are finally making the next steps clearer.

The change of seasons has brought a sense of hustle into my life. Like, I am busting my ass at building my writing portfolio and putting together the plans for new ventures. I think the “back-to-school” vibe of getting a fresh start has influenced my actions. Clean slates and a fresh batch of plans. Back to astrology, it was pointed out to me that I’ve been under Saturn’s influence, including the infamous Saturn return, since 2012. So after my 29th birthday, I entered what has been the most strength-testing time. Looking back, I feel as if it may have some validity. Between business, family, relationships and personal sacrifices, I can definitely vouch that the last couple of years have pulled me through the wringer. Saturn leaves my sign for a while at the end of the month—at a time when I feel I picking up emotional pieces and finally getting that clearer idea of what to do next.

So, here we are two years later, and that big asshole of a ringed planet will be moving on to another sign in a couple weeks. I don’t know if it is the power of persuasion or not, but I do feel a sudden mental lift. It is a fabulous feeling.

Right now, it’s all about the hustle. If I don’t create the life I want, I must be slowing down. And there’s no time for that.

 

 

 

Photos: Death to the Stock Photo and We Heart It

Does every novel need conflict?

pages

 

Short answer: Sure.

Reason: Keeps the story interesting. Makes the reader want to continue to find out the resolution.

This week, I had a couple days to sit down and dig deep into the crevices of my brain and plot out the scenes for the Flour City Blues sequel. With most of the ideas, I’m finding myself laughing out loud over the hilarity that is going to be happening throughout the story. Then, I came to a complete halt.

Where is the conflict?

Throughout this musically-enhanced joyride that this book is going to be, I found this to be my real-life conflict. Where am I going with everything? Am I going to let my characters off the hook easily or throw them a few curve balls?

Flour City Blues had plenty of conflict: the parents, girl troubles and a brief rift in friendship. It came extremely easy. With this book, I’m finding it a bit challenging.

Comedy aside, I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

 

Have you had issues with developing conflict in your writing? How did you resolve your own writing “conflict”?

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Ove Töpfer via Free Images