TLC and The Revelation Project

A few months ago I was invited to blog for TLC’s new parenting site called Parentables and although I am loving it I have to say it’s incredibly hard to do knowing that other people outside my own social network will see my writing or eeeks, be able to criticize!

I always amaze myself at how insecure I can be when I venture out into the world of something new.  I love pretending I don’t care what people have to say about me while behind the scenes I have to make repeated trips to the bathroom for a nervous tinkle or two.

Anyway- the most exciting part is that The Revelation Project has also been invited to be posted there with the highly visible Kate Gosselin (I don’t have tv so something about Kate plus Eight or something? … and wait.. eight what? puppies?.. I mean, who would ever do that?  -animal control!) and some amazing writers such as Sarah Fernandez, Marla Garfield , and many more…

So far I’m only behind by three posts and would love to hear what some of you might want me to take a stab at writing about because somehow I have a feeling that you could all make me feel a bit braver if i knew you were kind of there with me. Kay?

I think i can i think i can i think i can…..

The two posts featured for The Revelation Project so far are this one and this one.

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The Revelation Project Part VII: Meaghan O’Neill

I first met Meg a few years ago through her sister who was working with me as I was pitching venture capital companies for a bright idea I had about saving the world. I had this amazing business coach who was directing me on how to build a board of advisors, and I wanted Meg to be one of them.  From the start Meg was “game” – and that’s how I’ve tended to look at her.  It would not surprise me if she played varsity sports all four years and was considered MVP or if she was named “most likely to be a team player” in her high school year book.  Hell- I would not surprise me if she graduated valedictorian of her class.  That’s kind of what I mean… I don’t actually know these things about her… it just would not surprise me at all.  She’s just comes off as “Meg” – what you see is what you get and what you get is someone who’s on your team in a huge way- and who comes across as likable and non threatening.  When you learn that she’s got all this amazing experience, know how and respect with absolutely no arrogance you think… how does she DO THAT?  I mean.  My head would be so huge it might literally pop off my body.  Not Meg. Meg is Meg is Meg.  I’m thinking that when women are really taken seriously as a presidential candidate that we might consider Meg.  Yeah, Meg for U.S. President.

Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, my name is Meg; I live in Newport, RI with my husband and son.
I’m a writer and editor, and I work for Parentables http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/ , a parenting website, and TreeHugger http://www.treehugger.com, a blog dedicated to environmental news and culture.

What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there) and what were the results you were expecting?

I had seen the outcome of a few prior shoots, so I was really excited to partake. But I tried not to psyche myself out by pretending it was “no big deal.” Luckily, my computer also melted down on the morning of the shoot, so I had a good distraction from my vanity (read: insecurity).

How did you feel during the shoot and was there anything in particular that made you feel more or less relaxed or open to the process?

Monica and Robyn are really approachable and down-to-earth, so that made me feel like I was on equal terms with them – and their cameras. And there wasn’t a big fuss about hair, make-up, and wardrobe, so there wasn’t this intimidating this is a big deal factor. It felt more like hanging out with friends.

Can you describe in three words the way you felt before we shot?
Giddy, giggly, anxious.

3 words for after

New. Best. Friends.

Three words for when you saw the results
Hey, that’s me!

After you left but before you saw the results – did you have any thoughts about the experience? What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?

I felt like I had just been out clubbing all night with my good friends. Like we had really lived it up for a while – grabbed the bull by the horns.

When you saw the results can you tell me your first impression?
Me: “I am outrageously laughing in every single picture. I should really take myself more seriously!”

Can you talk about the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?

Mom: “That doesn’t even look like you! When did you hair get so curly?”

Husband: “These are beautiful.”

What are some words you would use to describe how you were feeling throughout the shoot?

What the hell is my “sultry” look? (I need to work on that.)

Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?

I confirmed that I laugh and act goofy when I’m nervous. But I think I also conquered a little bit more of fear about being in the center of attention.

Did you feel empowered? Why? Why not?
Yes. Even if you’re not the kind of person who craves it, it’s pretty cool to know that someone is spending the time and energy to put you in the spotlight, and to know that you can be in control of it and that it’s okay to let yourself shine.

Since the shoot happened almost four weeks ago now can you talk about the lasting impact of the experience?  Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings?

For me this was probably, above all, a confidence building exercise. I don’t think I’m a weak person and I’m not unhappy with where I am in life, but I certainly have obstacles that I want to overcome and plenty of character flaws… Participating in the Revelation Project gave me a chance to reassess where I am and where I want to be and, ultimately, to ask myself not only “Where the hell do you think you’re headed?” but also “How do you want to get there?” That’s powerful stuff.

Do you think this was an important/valuable experience for yourself? Why?

For sure. I’m always up for a challenge, and for me, putting myself in front of a camera for two hours isn’t easy. So facing that fear was part of the experience – but a good part.

Do you think it’s relevant for other women? Why?
Absolutely. Participating in the Revelation Project isn’t just about getting your portrait taken. It’s an opportunity to reflect on who you’ve been, what you’ve become, and where you want to go. And if  you pay attention, you might even capture a glimpse of your own pure awesomeness.

How would you use the photos moving forward? Professionally? Personally? As gifts?

I’ve already used them professionally http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/author/meaghan-oneill , and I might use them personally. I’m not sure if I’m quite to the point of hanging large-scale photos of myself on the wall yet, but we’ll see.

If you could sum up the experience what would you say?
It was fun, exhilarating, and totally worth it. Also, when I first looked at the photos I thought, “Yeah, these are decent.” Then I went to choose a headshot and realized that I couldn’t decide which one I liked best. That’s a really nice feeling.

Can you recommend a great song or album you think other women who have donethis project might like?

I’m sort of in a Chrissie Hynde state of mind right now – she’s cool, confident, passionate, uniquely talented, and she hangs tough in a guys’ world without losing her femininity. Oh, and she’s like, approaching 60 and still totally rocking and gorgeous. That’s who I want to be.

What is the most challenging thing you have faced as a woman?

The hardest thing about being a woman in our generation is that we have so much choice, but at the same time so many expectations. We’ve benefited enormously from the women before us that worked their asses off to break through the glass ceiling. You can be a mom, a daughter, a wife, a boss, an employee. But there’s a lot of pressure — both self- and society-imposed — to do all of these things well all at the same time.

I think sometimes we forget to check in and see if we’re hitting the right balance — and to say no to something if we’re not. A wise woman once told me, “You can have it all; you just can’t have it all at the same time.” This is a woman, who, at different times in her life, has been a professional ballerina, an artist, and a stay-at-home mom, then became an M.D. in her fifties. I try to remember to live by those words. Cutting yourself is a break is some pretty good medicine.

Revelation Project Part VI: Sarah Fernandez

I’ve known Sarah for a few years now, and never realized that she is incredibly shy around the camera.

She gives the impression that nothing ever phases her, and has the ability to maintain a level head in some of the most frightening circumstances (…she used to work for me, trust me, frightening!) When she arrived with her sister Meg to be photographed for the project she seemed a little nervous and when the camera came out, she looked like she wanted to vanish-  “form of: INVISIBLE!”  but alas… this project is about being seen not about disappearing. Because part of the agreement is to have your photographs published on face book I’ve heard lots of feedback that Sarah’s photo’s were inspring for many women who saw them.  I found her interview answers just as inspiring so I’ve pasted them below in addition to some of her photos ( for those who missed them.)

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Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Ever since I was very young, I’ve had four goals: get married, have children, own a house and have my own business. At 34 I now have all of those things, but the last one, my interior and event design company and blog, Chateau & Bungalow, is still in its very early stages and I’m trying to figure out how to make it what I want it to be while working several other jobs, taking care of my two kids and getting the bills paid.

What is the biggest challenge that’s ever faced you as a woman?

I would probably have to say body image. I’ve never let anyone tell me that I couldn’t do something because I am a woman, but I’ve always struggled with being happy with the way I looked. In high school I remember thinking I was so fat even though I was a varsity athlete and was 30 lbs lighter than I am now. Now it’s my goal to look like that again!

Are you a mom?

Yes, I have an almost 5 year old son, Teddy and a 2 year old daughter, Carolina.

What are some of the issues that you think are important to explore as it relates to our gender?

I think most importantly, we need to look at how much woman really do in this day and age. It’s no joke that we should all be running around with super hero capes on. While there has been a shift over the past several decades of men becoming more involved in child rearing and even becoming stay at home dads, most of the women I know are doing all of the scheduling for their families, arranging for childcare, paying the bills, cleaning the house, grocery shopping and much more, all while working part or full time jobs and trying to squeeze in some quality time with their husbands, children and friends. It’s no wonder that we take care of ourselves last.

What’s your idea of a great “girls night?”

Hanging at someone’s house with a lot of wine, a lot of laughs, no place to go and no kids interrupting.

Is there anything in particular that made you feel like being part of the Revelation Project was a good idea right now?

I know I have the talent to do what I want to do, but after mostly being a stay at home mom for the past 2 years, I’ve really struggled with projecting the image I want when I rarely wear make-up, am living in the same pair of jeans each day, and am not really happy with the way I look.

About the shoot: What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there) and what were the results you were expecting?

I always love the idea of having great photos taken, typically with my family, but in the end I’m not usually happy with the way I look in them (back to that body image issue). But, I really needed some new head shots for work so I was just hoping I’d get one decent shot and I’d be happy.

How did you feel during the shoot and was there anything in particular that made you feel more or less relaxed or open to the process?

I wasn’t really nervous during the shoot, but I hate posing for pictures so it took me a while to find my comfortable spot. It helped that I knew Monica so well and my sister was there so there were a lot of laughs. And by the time I left, I felt like I’d known Robyn forever even though we’d only met a handful of time. It was the closest thing I’d had to a girl’s night in a while.

Can you describe in three words the way you felt before we shot?

Anxious. Excited. Tense.

Three words for after ?

Anxious. Excited. Relaxed.

Three words for when you saw the results ?

Happy. Excited. Surprised.

After you left but before you saw the results – did you have any thoughts about the experience?  What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?

We had such a fun afternoon that the session itself had put me in a good mood. I felt good and confident that there were going to be some good pictures, but there was still that little voice in the back of my head warning me not to get over-confident.

When you saw the results can you tell me your first impression?

I was really excited because I finally had photos that projected the image I wanted for my business.

Can you talk about the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?

I’ve had such an outpouring of compliments from people. It’s been overwhelming, but it feels great.

Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?

I realized I had crow’s feet! But there is a reason this is called The Revelation Project. I was thrilled that there were some great pictures, and it wasn’t that I was really upset that I had crow’s feet, but it was the first time that I really saw myself as an adult, which probably sounds crazy considering that I’m married, have two kids, and a lot of years of working behind me. It made me realize that I’m in the part of my life that I always looked forward to, and I need to start paying more attention to it and soak it all in before it passes me by.

Did you feel empowered? Why?  Why not?

Yes, it made me feel like I now I had proof that I am a beautiful person with style and that I could now put these images out there for people to see the person behind my business. I think it’s hard to be in a business that’s about style if you don’t walk the part too.

Since the shoot happened more than four weeks (yikes) ago now can you talk about the lasting impact of the experience?  Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings?

Well, the revelations about the time of my life that I’m in certainly will have a lasting effect, and one that I’m so happy I realized now before it was too late. But in addition to that, I never liked being the center of attention. I wouldn’t say that I do now, but I’m not as nervous about it anymore. Two weeks after this shoot, I had the chance to go to NYC for a photo shoot with my kids for my job as a writer for TLC’s new parenting blog, Parentables. Normally, I would have been a nervous wreck, but because I knew that it was possible for great photos to be shot, it just seemed easy. I couldn’t believe how relaxed I was about it, even being on video. I think that it has given me a new confidence that will lead to great things.

Do you think this was an important/valuable experience for yourself? Why?

Most definitely! I think it should be something we all do once a year just like going to the doctor for a physical. No matter how confident or beautiful we feel or don’t feel, it’s always good to take a step back and really look at who we are and where we want to go next. I think it helps us move forward.

Do you think it’s relevant for other women?  Why?

I think it’s invaluable to all women. When Monica first posted the images that she and Robyn shot of each other, I picked up the phone and called her and told her I thought they should be doing it for every girl out there. Young girls and women too are bombarded with images of impossibly thin models and movie stars who endure hours of hair and make-up before they are photographed that it is crazy that we expect them to have a healthy body image. I’m sure that’s part of the reason that I never did. For years, I’ve thought that girls should have a chance to do a photo shoot like the models in magazines so that they could have beautiful pictures of themselves too. This is a much more affordable way to achieve that, and it’s better because Monica and Robyn make sure that the results really look like the person and show people’s beautiful personalities too.

How would you use the photos moving forward? Professionally? Personally? As gifts?

I will definitely be using them professionally, and my husband, who didn’t really understand the whole idea when I first explained it to him, now wants to have a bunch of them printed and framed for around the house too.

What is your favorite song and why?

That’s a really hard question! There are so many. I guess I would say the one that makes me happy every time I hear it is “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison. It brings back all the happy memories of the summers I spent growing up in Newport (because it was on every mix tape we ever made in the 90s!) and it was the song my husband and I danced to at our wedding.

If you could sum up the experience what would you say?

Brilliant!

The Revelation Project: FAQ

The Revelation Project FAQ

1) What is the Revelation Project?

  • A Professional Photo Session: created by two professional photogs who have also been participants in the project
  • A Discovery Process: Intended to give participants a new vision of themselves
  • A Community: Intended to create a community of women who share an interest in self growth and discovery
  • A Conversation: that explores concepts and constructs self esteem, beauty, self expression, insight, happiness, and  identity that can be explored through interviews, blog posts, and photographs

2) How do I participate?

Just let us know you are interested in being a part of it and that you are open to the process and the discovery.

3) How much does it cost to participate?

Our requested minimum donation is $250.00

We also have “Package” options if you would like to use the shots for publicity or professional purposes so just ask

(PS: This barely covers the costs of the project but please know that we are always open to generous contributions that can also help cover those who can not afford to pay anything at all. We’ll leave your contribution decision up to you entirely with absolutely no judgement. We also find that it’s important that we mention that the project is very different than booking an actual photo session for professional head shots, publicity, or portraits and that a “typical” photo session of this caliber would run from $600- $1200)


4) What can i expect from being a part of the project?

What we are finding is that almost anything can happen.  At the very least, a positive “shift” seems to occur in the lives of those who participate and an “opening” is created that was not available before for women to rediscover or re-claim parts of themselves; their identity, dreams, beauty, confidence & self esteem.

5) How long is the session?

The session ranges from 2-3 hours. We help with wardrobe, make-up and hair and the goal is to capture your unique essence:  in other words it’s not a glamour shoot (but we aim high and you’ll usually look pretty darn amazing).

6) What is expected of me as a participant?

We ask that you be willing to share your photographs with your own social network as well as allow us to publish to our own.  We take this step so that the people in your life can be a part of your process in some small way (we find that it makes a difference). In addition we ask that you be willing to answer our interview questions so that they can be published in our blog posts, and we hold the rights to your photographs for future publicity purposes.

7) What are some of the benefits to doing this project?

  • Great photos of yourself (you will be able to keep your favorites, have access to your edited photo’s for digital use,  and can order prints if you care to).
  • It’s fun and inspiring!
  • It can be somewhat magical : many things are happening in the lives of women who have participated.

We simply ask that you drop us a line every now and again so that we can understand and document the impact that The Revelation Project brings to your life.

 

Worth mentioning:

We usually shoot on Friday’s during the hours of 9am – 3pm.

We shoot in natural light.

We usually just try to meet your mood and the “tone” of the shoot is light hearted & fun.

We shoot using a variety of artwork and furnishings but don’t make a big deal of the “props” and just try to let the shoot happen organically.

We make every attempt possible to have a child free environment for the duration of the shoot.  This is YOUR time and we try to keep it sacred. With that said- every so often we have a stray who usually ends up being entertained with a movie.

Please email  at rodgers107@cox.net for more information or to book your session.


Invited To Blog On TLC: Help Wanted

 

A couple of weeks I shared with Y’all on Facebook that I have been invited to blog for the TLC / Discovery Network’s new parenting blog YAY! (name and web address to be announced).

I was of course elated, and spoke with the editor about what topics I should blog about. Then proceeded to OBSESS about what to write about and how and what I should say, not say, and what would be good topics, what would be fun, interesting, compelling, worthy…. ok, so perhaps now you see I am entirely in my head about this and have not yet written one darn thing!  I think I have digital stage fright which is hard to believe based on the fact that I have no problem blogging about the most random embarrassing or most mundane things in my life knowing people who know me best are reading my posts (and I love you for it, and completely appreciate it).

Some people ask me why I do it at all… and I’ve thought about that long and hard.  I think I do it because I love to write, and after a lifetime of journaling and being social, blogging just seemed a natural extension of that.  I used to love blogging when the kids were babies. Brad was always gone at night and I felt isolated.  Then I was trying to build an audience for my company. Mostly I blogged in the beginning thinking no one was reading it (That was BFB = before facebook),  Although I struggle with grammer, and writing style, I am working to get better and I am inspired by several blogs out there that I follow such as:

Her Bad Mother :  I love – funny, entertaining, honest.

Nie Nie : Which is so heartbreakingly honest and inspiring I want to hold this woman close to my heart and never let her go ever.

Post Secret: Which is brilliant- like making a confession for all the world to see except anonymously!

Ohdeedoh: which is just a visual feast on home design and children

Operation Beautiful: Transforming the way you see yourself.

Epic Self: I just like to look and think about maybe looking at myself as Epic one day… you know, treating my body to healthy food, Yoga, and such.

Indexed: I so envy the mind that can think this way.  Every single entry is done on an index card by diagram, and I was turned on to this one by my friend Adam.

anyway, these are just a few of my favorites (If you want more let me know).

I decided maybe I should ask all of you who know me or semi- know me what things you would like to read or hear about from me on topics you think might be relevant.  Because the objective of the blog is as mostly a community for parents, topics can range from marriage, family, modern family, business, cooking, education, organization, home improvement, work, divorce, hobbies, humor, lifestyle, etc.  You know, everything people do anyways + the kids part.

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject and I will be sure to post the web address when it goes live.  I also want to say THANKS in advance for reading, and even thinking about topics on my behalf!

Five Tips on Discipline

Last night I attended a parent gathering at school to discuss “discipline” at home – a subject I find both fascinating and haunting.   Fascinating because It’s something I’d love to be better at, and haunting because of what i’ve stooped to thus far. Sometimes I forget that the goal NOW is to parent in such a way that the RESULT is that my children are well adjusted, compassionate & competent adults.

Here are a few things I learned I learned last night….

1) Sitting on my small child’s chest while yelling “who’s da man?” is only going to cause resentment and require a hefty investment in psychotherapy later in life ( yes, I’m ashamed to admit, he has pushed me this far)

2) Negotiating with your child is a bad habit and if you do it – you teach a child NOT to accept your limits. Most of the time there is NOTHING to negotiate.

3) Stop making empty threats: you will lose your power and your credibility.  Have a few rules and enforce them regularly with realistic consequences that actually work  (I remember i once took away Halloween like three times before we went out trick or treating! )

4) Discipline *as much as possible using natural consequences: for instance ; If dinner is served and your child makes the choice not to eat it, he or she will go to bed hungry.  Choosing NOT to eat the dinner causes the consequence of going to bed hungry.  It’s a guarantee this behavior will not persist for very long and your child will stop fussing when you put dinner on the table ( imagine? – this is going to be a hard one for me)  This does not mean, however that you allow your child to go outside without a coat and become cold if they so choose, but instead a natural consequence might be that they lose out on another privilege that might be important to them or that they be required to sit by themselves inside while everyone else play outdoors.

5) Your child is not your friend.   Children need a competent adult who loves them without strings attached. When you try to be their best friend you rob them of their parent.  Don’t make this mistake.

No matter what – discipline with consistency ( not consistently inconsistant) so that your child has a firm understanding of what his or her limits are. This also allows them the opportunity to self regulate later in life when you are not around.