Amazing Grace

grace.jpgAmazing Grace

Grace. My word for 2018.

Grace: simple elegance or refinement of movement.

Gracie was the nickname of my great, great grandmother Grace Gray, who then became Grace Gray Muzzy. I fell in love with the name Gracie Gray when I learned about her over the Holidays in 2012. I loved it so much that I named my beauty blog after her.  Despite not having time to work on the blog, and then of course getting sick, separated, then divorced I held onto the domain graciegray.com for years, hoping that one day I might be able to relaunch it.

It’s funny how things work out in life. While I eventually let go of the domain, I launched this blog and launched MHA during probably the most challenging times of my life. But the word Grace has always remained in the back of my mind.

To trust God in the light is nothing, but trust him in the dark—

That is Faith.

CH Spurgeon

Heal: mind, body, skin is a slogan that embodies the MHA mission.  Healing is such a personal experience. I think faith is just as personal as healing is, which is likely why the two go hand in hand. In Alanon, they call it a higher power, which for me, was a way that I could understand it and where my journey finding my faith started.

I’m a big believer in fate. I’m a believer in everything happens for a reason.  And as much as I’ve questioned both of these I know I had to go through all of the darkness to get to this place of light.  I’m not going to preach God, the universe, Source, or whatever you want to call it. It’s personal and I respect all view points. I’m a spiritual person and take things from all religions & philosophies that speak to me.  In Alanon, they say “take what you like, leave the rest”, so I’ve applied that same concept to religion.  Otherwise, I’d fight it and look for things I don’t agree with on a logical sense.

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

Have you ever sat down and listened to the words of this song?  Admittedly I had to google wretch. Wretch: an unfortunate or unhappy person. I literally get chills every time I hear it.  If you know me, you know I love Elvis, so as I sit here writing this I’ve been listening to him sing this from Ultimate Gospel on repeat. It’s so beautiful and moves me to tears each time.  So many people are afraid of crying, but scientifically speaking crying gets your lymphatic system to move. This is critical for treating illness. You gotta feel to heal and so many people are afraid to feel things. You can’t force this on someone.  Just like you can’t force someone to heal. It doesn’t matter if its addiction, or a physical illness, it’s all connected and I believe the body is meant to heal itself. For me, I had to surrender all control, which if you know me, has not been easy, as I am very strong willed. This is why I wear reminders, like this bracelet from @myintent. It helps me surrender and have faith that God will protect me, that the Power of Good will protect me, and that whatever darkness and misery is put in my path it will eventually lead me to the light. And it has.

I once was lost, but now I’m found,

Was blind, but now I see.

Peace & Love

Megan

Amazing Grace, Elvis: Ultimate Gospel

https://youtu.be/6zAwh5M82jA

Allow me to reintroduce myself. In the Fat Suit (and sick).

Allow me to reintroduce myself. In the Fat Suit (and sick).

When I look back on my story, the first Lyme disease symptom, along with extreme fatigue, that was most evident was weight gain. To be clear, not everyone with Lyme gains weight. Although rare, some people don’t experience any weight fluctuations and/or some people lose weight, like a lot of weight. To the point where they look severely malnourished and anorexic. They can’t keep weight on no matter how hard they try. Now, I am aware that this is just as traumatic as gaining weight, but if I had the choice of gaining vs. losing, I will always choose losing. Perhaps it’s my own vanity, but I’d rather look like an emaciated model than the latter.

I could go on about how traumatizing this weight gain was. How I knew people thought I had “let myself go”, or perhaps this is why my marriage failed, or all the things people likely thought about me during this time, but I won’t. None of those were true and I refuse to give any sort of power to those ignorant assumptions. Did it suck to gain 60+ pounds right before my wedding? You bet. Was it difficult to get it off, at this age, with exercise limitations? Abso-f&*#-ing-lutey! But do I think it happened for a reason? As much as I protest this, yes, I believe that it did.

What infuriated me the most was somehow that weight gain, combined with my illness, put me in a position that I’d never been in, nor did I think I’d ever be in during my life. I call it the Fat Suit, much like the movie Shallow Hal, but from the viewpoint of Rosemary, GP’s character in the film. In the Fat Suit, I was shown a very ugly side of humanity. While I will never disclose names, because that’s not my style, the true colors of many were shown to me during this time. I often said: ‘there are a lot of women out there who hate me, or hated me”. It almost became comical, as this happened over and over again, mainly from women, but from men, too. I cannot believe the amount of disrespect I was given during this time. A time, when I should have been shown care, love, concern and empathy. Not ridiculed, judged, or looked down upon. The truth is, some people enjoyed seeing me like that. Sounds harsh, but I call it like it is, and they did. They enjoyed seeing me sick. They enjoyed seeing me in the Fat Suit. It likely made them feel superior and whatever jealousies, envies and/or hang ups they’d had with me glared at me smack dab in the face. To those people, shame on you, but know I also forgive you. That’s what empathy is, which is something I have always been, whether I’m thin and fit (thank you God, I got this back), or in the Fat Suit. I’m proud to be that person and will always remain kind, empathetic and compassionate. I will not allow the cruelty of this world turn me into a cold, bitter person. But with that said, I’m kind to myself first, so most of those people are either no longer in my life by (my) choice, or if they are its limited with serious boundaries.

Survival of the fittest is such an antiquated concept. We live in a world where people are sick, very sick and sadly, unless things start to change, our population is just going to get sicker. That being said, allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Megan Hopkins and I am someone who worked damn hard to achieve success and professional accolades. It took years of hard work to earn that title, so please explain to me how something like weight gain and/or illness diminishes that? I’m not speaking just for myself either. I’ve had this discussion with several other extremely successful individuals, both men and women, whom have also experienced this exact same thing after getting diagnosed with an illness. It legitimately baffles my mind that this stuff happens and until you go through it, you will likely not be able to understand what I’m referring to. This is why, with every fiber of my being, I am committed to trying to change how we treat those with illness and/or disabilities.

The future is Stigma Free. This is a big social media campaign right now. If you haven’t noticed it, now you will. This is largely what I love so much about social media and its power. Its provided us with a platform to unite globally with likeminded people in a way that’s never been done before. That power is beautiful. Quit judging. When you judge you are revealing a side of yourself that needs to be healed. It’s that simple, and so, so true. Heal yourself, love yourself and love your neighbor. It costs nothing to be kind. Absolutely nothing.

Namaste

Megan

To Have and to Hold

All you need is love. Just love. (and coffee)

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To have and to hold. I’ve thought a lot about those words since saying them myself. Watching one of my oldest friends say them to the man of her dreams, however, was when they really hit home.  Before I go into what those words mean to me and what I witnessed that day, I’d like to share with you how I met my beautiful friend Nicole (AKA Nikki).

Nikki and I met second semester, freshman year, at Arizona State University in a creative writing class.  We were paired up in groups and Nikki and I got to know one another as we both wrote about things meaningful to us from our childhood. That was the beginning of our 21 (gasp) year friendship.  This blog post, which has taken me far too long to complete, couldn’t be more fitting given how we met.

Nikki and I are both from the Midwest and while she left Arizona long before I did, we kept in touch. I would see her when I visited friends in Chicago and my sister and brother-in-law, who at the time were living in Evanston. This was long before Facebook, I think we had Myspace (again gasp), so the fact that we managed to keep in touch all those years is testament to our friendship.  When I got the opportunity to move to Chicago for work our relationship grew even closer.

Nikki and I have gone through so much of this life together. I can’t tell you how many memories I have of this darling woman, how many tears we’ve shed over break ups, heart aches, family matters, work stress and all the other things one goes through during their 20’s and into their 30’s. My Facebook photos are flooded with pictures of our wild nights tearing up the city as single women on the prowl.  Although she often got stuck in “the black hole”, the word many of my friends used to describe my first apartment in the city on Clark & Fullerton.  I’ve always been a homebody and love to entertain. Why go out if we’re having so much fun at my place, right?

When it came time for my own engagement my life would take me on a turn that separated the two of us for a while.  I’m so grateful for that, however, because I don’t think our friendship and my relationship with her husband would be as strong as it is today if that hadn’t happened. Its so cliche and everyone I think loathes the statement ‘everything happens for a reason’, but it really is true.  It takes time before you can look back and reflect on why things happen in life.

Nikki and Dan had an entirely different chapter before I moved back to Chicago and was introduced to him.  I’m a very intuitive person and I will tell you that I knew Dan was “Nikki’s person” the moment I met him. I loved him, his energy, his love and support of Nikki, for Nikki and everything about Nikki was so obvious in my eyes. They just “got’ one another and had a solid friendship, which is so important in a marriage. They have a lot of similar interests like golf, a passion for real estate, dining out (Nikki is a total foodie) and a shared love for their fur baby Wilson.

Milwaukee Bound

Soon after they got engaged it was time for them to move to Milwaukee. Ironically this became a theme, as many friends of mine left Chicago around a year after I moved back. Dan was given a major promotion (kudos to Dan) and before I knew it she was gone. I knew it was the right move for them, as our lives change so much after marriage. You kind of have to say good-bye to your single life. So off they went to start their new life together.

Dan and Nikki, in Nikki’s words: ‘weren’t super excited about any of the venues they saw in Chicago, nothing felt unique. We had just moved to Milwaukee and toured the Milwaukee Art Museum and were blown away with its beauty. They literally had one day left in the summer due to a cancellation from Northwestern Mutual that had the date saved for almost a year and forfeited their final deposit (yikes), so we felt like it was meant to be’. I say, AMEN to that!

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This by far goes down as one of my favorite weddings to date. Everything was exquisite and perfectly executed. This museum absolutely takes your breath away and seeing the space at night was a special treat.  If there is one thing Nikki knows how to do well that’s dance and I literally could not walk for days following this wedding. Maggie Speaks Band, from Chicago, did not disappoint, nor did the endless cocktails. I think I can speak for most people in that none of us wanted the night to end.

Much of the planning, well let’s be honest, pretty much ALL of the planning was done by this beautiful woman below, Nikki’s mom. Not only did she have one wedding to plan, but she had TWO, right after one another.  You heard me right, Nikki’s sister, Lindsay, was married in Chicago just weeks before Nikki’s wedding in Milwaukee. Nikki & Dan had their date picked out first, but it worked out well and was a summer their family will never forget. I still can’t believe she pulled both of these off. Its a lot of work, but she did it. I love this moment I captured between Nikki and her mom. It captures their relationship perfectly.

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As Nikki and Dan approach their one year anniversary I would like to remind them of the vows they shared with one another and what I witnessed that day, which was pure, genuine love. To have and to hold means (to me) to honor your commitment to one another and to your marriage, no matter what life throws at you. It means to hold one another above all else and to always have each other’s back.  You quickly realize that life isn’t “just about you” anymore the minute you say “I do” and no one tells you the first few years of marriage can actually be the hardest.  Never stop dating one another, never stop working on your “love”, showing your “love” and reminding each other exactly why you chose each other.  Never stop being best friends, having sex (LOTS OF IT) and having fun on this journey called life. I love you guys.  Cheers to many more years with the two of you!

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Be nice or leave

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Never in my life have I been more disgusted with humanity.

I woke up Monday morning like the rest of the world to the news about the Las Vegas massacre. It reminded me of how I felt waking up on 9/11. I find myself in tears while listening to the stories of the innocent victims; husbands holding their wives in their arms as they take their last breath, new born babies without their mothers, families broken up and lives forever changed because of hate. What happened in Vegas is deplorable.  I have no words and am in disbelief that this is the world we are living in today.

What ever happened to “love thy neighbor” or the “golden rule”? What ever happened to saying good morning as you pass someone on the street? What ever happened to saying thank you, what can I do to help, or I’m proud of you? In today’s world if you’re nice to someone they either think you’re flirting, weird, or something is wrong with you. What’s happened to integrity? What’s happened to loyalty and doing what’s right? What’s happened to loving each other and owning up to our mistakes? People would rather lie than be accountable. People would rather ghost someone (e.g. ignore an email and/or text) instead of being an adult and resolving an issue head on.  This has become the acceptable norm, but it is entirely unacceptable to me. Every day for the last year I have legitimately asked myself WTF is wrong with people? Monday morning was no different.

Stop selling out for your own personal gain. Stop choosing opportunity over loyalty. Stop hating on others to fill an empty void within yourself. Reach out to people. Ask how someone is doing. Ask that homeless person what they’re looking for in the dumpster. I recently did that and was surprised to learn he wasn’t looking for food or clothes. He was looking for electronics, DVDS, or things he could watch. He was kind enough to ask me if I needed help lifting the dumpster, as my hands were full and I had my dog.  That’s all it was, kindness from one human being to another. We are all in this together and no one person is better than the next. I’m a firm believer that you treat the janitor with the same respect that you treat the CEO. Life has many ups and downs and you never know when you’ll be at the bottom of the barrel. Be grateful for the ones that help you rise to the top, give credit where credit is due & pay it forward. In other words, stay humble, or life will do it for you. Trust me, it will. We live in this crazy world of social media, which (let’s be real) is all about self promotion & feeding narcissism. Humility is a thing of the past. 

I would rather sit and talk to that homeless person and have a real & honest conversation, as opposed to sitting down and talking about someone’s status, followers, or how much money they’re making. That doesn’t impress me. You know what impresses me? Kindness, loyalty, giving back impresses me. Gratitude and humility impress me and sadly those are all traits that very few possess these days. 

For those that have followers/status, please use your platform to do something good for the world. Don’t just give a portion of sales to a charity. That’s using something, like a tragedy, as a marketing ploy to sell more of your products and quite frankly, despicable. With all the natural disasters we’ve recently had I’ve seen more than I’d like of that on social media. Again, WTF is wrong with people? 

If you want to see change in the world, you have to be the change. Be that person.

Be nice or leave.

MH

What I’ve learned from my dog 🐼

What I’ve learned from my dog 🐼

Let me preface this with I wanted a cat. Seriously, I did. I lost that one and while both my ex and I grew up with labs, he’d wanted a Siberian Husky since he was in high school. So after I lost the cat battle, I googled ‘Siberian Husky Ohio’ and low and behold my little P’s picture popped up.  I immediately knew she was supposed to be my dog and called the breeder. Impulsive? You bet, but I knew in my gut she was put on this earth for me. She was the prettiest of two litters (same dad, 2 different moms), however truly the least ‘husky’ compared to the other pups.  A lot of people question my loyalty to my dog. I have fought to keep her extensively since I left Cleveland. I fought for her in my divorce (yes, very common these days, animals are considered ‘marital property’) and I have fought some of my family whom have strongly encouraged me to get rid of her.

Huskies are NOT recommended for first time dog owners. Leave it to me to get the most challenging dog. If you think owning a puppy is hard, try having a husky puppy! Its like having a wind up little crocodile coming at you at all times. I grew up as an equestrian and learned at a young age that owning an animal is a commitment. You don’t get a puppy (or any animal for that matter) and decide after a year that it doesn’t fit your lifestyle. That’s what happens with huskies all the time. Apparently even more so with the Game of Thrones obsession (dire wolves). Husky puppies (and malemutes) are the cutest puppies on the planet, BUT they are a handful.  I REFUSED to be one of those people, so I read as much as I could, joined closed Husky FB groups etc., in order to give my dog the best life possible.  Yes, I have become a crazy husky lady (I prefer husky advocate), way better than a crazy cat lady if you ask me!

I firmly believe animals are God’s greatest gifts. Despite the many dysfunctions in my family, the one thing we all have in common is our love of animals. Its really the only thing that has kept us bonded over the years.  Truly, that and my sister’s kids are the things we talk about most. My ex-husband and in-laws also loved animals, so after we lost their dog tragically I decided it was time to bring some JOY back into our lives. RIP, Shooter!

Pandi kept my marriage together that second year. While she was always my dog, and I her clear care taker, she loved her daddy like nothing else.  Typical female in that regard. During my darkest hours in Cleveland she was the only thing that kept me going.  She gave me purpose & needed me, plain and simple.  That was enough to keep me fighting this insidious disease. I didn’t want my health to destroy my family anymore than it had. It was destroying everything: my marriage, my relationships, my career and and my life. Not many believed I had Lyme and there was a lot of pressure as to how I should treat it. I didn’t choose the way I wanted to treat it because everyone was already questioning my sanity. There is nothing more terrifying than knowing that you are sick and feeling like the entire world is against you.  As they say in the Lyme community: “you just don’t get it, until you get it”. 💚

When I stopped working, I couldn’t afford to continue paying for my dog walker (whom Pandi adored), so I had to walk her.  My husband was in his second year of business school and busier than ever. She would have destroyed the house we were renting had I not done that, so that became my routine every day for 9 months.  When she was 8 weeks old I could barely walk down the street and back, or get down the stairs without hobbling and holding on to the railing every morning. The pain and fatigue were that unbearable.  We would take her to the Metro Parks on the weekends and I would struggle to keep up. My husband would have her pull me up the inclines because I could barely make it up on my own. Mind you, I hiked the Grand Canyon in college (that’s how sick I was).  She kept me moving and as she grew and demanded more, I was able to push myself more.  Not only has she helped my physical health, but she’s helped my mental health as well.  When I have anxiety she gets upset and gets me to pet her, play, or go outside.  I am able to calm myself down, because I won’t do that to her.  She really IS my therapy dog (working on that certification- don’t hate, its legit).

I’ve learned so much from this dog. I’ve learned that you have to respect boundaries, because they’re healthy and they aren’t going to go away. Like a lot of families, I didn’t grow up with them, so its a concept that was foreign to me. Pandi gets so much attention, people from all walks of life are fascinated with her and often (mainly children) come running up to her without warning. If you know dogs, you know this is a no-no. I’ve learned to have patience, as it takes a lot time to explain Pandi’s boundaries so everyone that wants to pet her gets the opportunity to do so. I’ve learned that you have to respect her for the kind of dog that she is and once you do that you can enjoy all the other wonderful things about her. I’ve learned you have to do this with people, too.  I’ve learned that trust is earned and it must be respected.  I’ve learned the true meaning of unconditional love and what it means to ‘protect your pack’. I’ve learned to trust her instinct, and because of that relearned to trust my own.  I’ve learned that dogs can bring all different types of people together and as my dog trainer said to me last year : “the best kind of people you will meet in this world are dog people”. Because of Pandi, I’ve learned that statement to be true. I’ve learned there are people in this world whom are good, kind and loving. I’ve learned that not everyone you meet has motives, or hidden agendas, and there are people that will accept you for you.  I never would have moved to this neighborhood had it not been for her & the proximity to the park. Because of that I’ve met new friends, all of whom have helped me rehabilitate and rediscover me. I don’t even want to think where I would be without this dog.  Thank you, God, for sending her to me.
Peace & love

M & P
pandi1                                     Go Cubs!

How Tracy Anderson Method is helping me kick fibro’s ass and find my Erika Jayne!

How Tracy Anderson Method is helping me kick fibro’s ass and find my Erika Jayne!

In Alanon they say that you know you need a meeting when you start to get ‘crunchy’. The same thing can be applied to writing and exercising for me.  For the last week I’ve felt pretty crummy.  Whenever seasons change my body becomes very susceptible to viruses, so on top of the every day challenges I have with my health, I then come down with other things, which basically means I need to sleep, but a lot of sleep, like a lot more than normal people.  I also took 2 heavy detox baths and went a little overboard with the epsom salt, so my body just needed rest.  Learning to accept this fact and allow my body to rest, without feeling guilt or shame, is still quite difficult for me.

Before I got sick I was extremely active.  Both my parents were active growing up, so exercise became an outlet for stress very early on in my life. Losing the ability to exercise was horribly traumatic, but oddly enough, I am beginning to understand part of why it happened.

Having grown up as a perfectionist, my body was never good enough. Looking back at this photo, taken when I bought my sample sale dress (which was 1.5 years before my wedding),  I am reminded of how awful I was to myself. My ex-husband used to tell me I was tiny. I was, but I didn’t think it. Sadly, I just didn’t see it. When I looked in the mirror, I always saw something that could be improved.  It took gaining 60+ pounds and practically dying for me to get to a point of acceptance and self love. That being said, this still isn’t easy for me. I don’t think as a woman in today’s society it ever will be, until we start sending better messages to our youth. It starts at home, in our schools, our communities, social media, everywhere.  Fortunately, I think the tides are starting to turn now that we are in this transparency movement (e.g.: Selena Gomez, Caitlyn Jenner, Chrissy Teigen etc.). Enter TAM.

Tracy Anderson Method (TAM):

My journey with TAM actually started right before my wedding.  My replacement for Chicago, whom I adored, was a health nut and had a Bachelors in Health Science (I think? Sorry Molls). She recommended TAM, which at the time, was just a DVD, as a way that I could exercise at home and on the road.  I was scrambling to try and lose some weight before my wedding. The weight was just weird. Coming on super strong the weeks leading up to my wedding, which was beyond traumatic in itself. What bride wants to gain weight? Seriously though, it sucked.  My body was changing and morphing into something I didn’t know,  or understand, and as hard as I tried, I didn’t have much control over what was happening.  In fact, the more I exercised, the worse I felt. I was also panicking because my boobs were just enormous. I could barely get into my dress; the dress that needed to be taken in when I bought it. Again, this was a sample sale dress (Priscilla of Boston), so it wasn’t like I was getting fittings over this period of time/weight gain. Thank GOD I never got implants. I would have had Kim K prego boobs and it would have been an even bigger disaster!

Be advised, Tracy Anderson Method is not easy. I could barely get through that DVD back then and couldn’t walk for days after starting it again this past March. But thats one of the things I love about Tracy.  Her method is a journey. Its a process, but a gentle and loving process. Please also know I by no means claim to be an expert on her method. There are loads of women out there on IG and a wonderful ‘Tamily’ community that have been extraordinarily helpful for me, as the moves are difficult to master. That’s also what I love about the method.  My cognitive symptoms have improved because you don’t get this down the first time. You have to practice and be consistent.  You also have to get over looking ridiculous, because you will, at first, but with time you begin to get it. From what I understand, there are lots of TAM critics out there (as with any workout), but to me that’s just negativity. Find what works for you and respect what works for others (my motto these days).

What I do know, is that she is constantly evolving her method and from what I gather it’s changed a bit from when she initially launched the DVDs. A lot of people stream her Master Class, but for now this is working for me.  I haven’t added the leg weights, but will. Doing her movements, repeatedly, for as long as you do, is hard enough without weights. Trust me, try it and you’ll understand. That’s another thing I like; her method is simple & doesn’t require a lot. All you need is 3 pound weights to start (then 5 pounds), leg weights, yoga mat & you’re golden.  Ironically, this is exactly what my first LLMD in Cleveland recommended as a way for me to rebuild muscle structure. I have lots of atrophy in my back, specifically the mid left side of my back, so he suggested low weights with repetition. I was actively treating Lyme at that time, so getting out of bed was hard enough. Patience is the #1 thing Lyme patients have to master. So, for anyone with Lyme, fibromyalgia, or double winners, like myself, this is helping me. I encourage you to try it. But I’ll say this again, its not easy and there are days when all my body wants to do is rest.  Thats the fibro talking, which is very confusing, because when you’re in pain and fatigued, you think you should rest. Its counterintuitive. If you have fibro, you feel me.

The hardest part is getting started, but once I do, I find myself getting lost in the music and my inner Erika Jayne comes out.  Now, mind you, I’m in the privacy of my home, so aside from Pandi, no one sees this, nor will they.  I can take breaks when I need to on her longer workouts, or focus on certain areas if need be, by doing her 10 minute workouts. Those 10 minute workouts are powerful, though.  On my worst days, I know I can get through 10 minutes. What usually happens is I get through one and after that I feel better to do another 10. Next thing you know I’ve done 30 minutes.  As long as I’m doing something, its helping and thats exactly the kind of mind set I have to embrace to beat this shit and reclaim my body. In Alanon they say that if you put your recovery first, then everything else in your life will be better. I’m constantly being reminded, by my body, that I have to put this first, before anything else.

Tracy is gentle and encourages you to listen to your body and take it at your own pace, which I’ve had to do.  I alternate TAM with yoga (big Rodney Yee fan, also on Gaiam). While I haven’t had babies, and I understand why she speaks to moms, my challenges are just different (stretching critical for fibro). That being said, I’ve been loooooving her Post Pregnancy 11 DVD,  which is currently on the Comcast Gaiam channel.

Last but not least, TAM has helped me rediscover my love for dance and movement. My mom had me in every dance class imaginable as a kid and I often wonder where my musical talents could have gone had I stuck with dance & voice (AKA not horses). In a way, Tracy has helped me rediscover me again.  I’m never going to be that girl, in that picture, in that dress again, and thats ok. I don’t want to be that girl again, but I DO want that BACK back and I trust that Tracy (and yoga) will help me get there.

#trustintracy

~MLH

link to the 10 minutes workout DVDS

https://www.amazon.com/Tracy-Anderson-Method-Express/dp/B00SWZIZIO

Serendipity from Down Under 

IMG_8270Hello everyone and Happy May! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged.  Part of that is due to pure laziness, the other part is timing. Many of you have seen me post on social media about Auspect Skincare. There is so much about Auspect that’s incredible, but before I go into the details about the brand, the ingredients, price point, where to buy etc., I’d like to share with you how I discovered this Australian gem.  

If you’ve read my first blog at graciegray.wordpress.com you already know that I’m an aesthetician and have represented several skincare lines throughout my professional career. If you’ve read any of my blog posts on here, you know that my life took a dramatic turn when I was hit with a major health setback. It was also the time that my husband and I decided to separate and move to Atlanta. Just call me Yolanda Foster (Hadid).  

You’re probably wondering why Atlanta? Well, its the #1 market in my industry. My in-laws had relocated to Roswell (just outside ATL) from Michigan, so while we were separating, there was still a chance we’d work things out. I was very close with my in-laws, so it just made sense. I also figured that if you’re going to rebuild your career, you might as well do it in the best market. 

Skincare has always been my passion. I got into this business because of my own acne and up until I got sick, loved my profession. Sadly, that love turned to disgust. To say that I was lost is an understatement. I didn’t know who I was, let alone what I wanted to do, or ‘could do’ given my circumstances. You have to understand, when you can’t get out of bed, or barely get down the stairs in your home, the last thing you’re thinking about is your aesthetics. That shit just didn’t matter and it made me question the superficiality that my industry represented. I don’t like to reflect on that time.  The emotions can be raw and if I start talking too much about it I find myself going to the negative. Its not a good place for me to be in my head. The point is, I lost what was a major part of my identity, that being my career. 

My time in Atlanta was brief, but I can now say, without a shadow of a doubt, the reason I had to get to Atlanta was to meet Auspect Skincare and the incredible people behind it. The company, which is based out of Melbourne, chose Atlanta and the SE as their test market (uber smart on their end)! Everything about the brand spoke to me. Its free of what the Aussies call the ‘nasties’ and caters to the ‘Whole Foods’ demographic (AKA all the people I thought were nuts, until I got sick and became one of them).  Auspect Skincare is free of: artificial fragrance/color, fillers, chemical dies, alcohol, parabens/harsh preservative systems, hormones, SLS, GMOs, propylene glycol, formaldehyde, hydroquinone, resorcinol, mineral and petroleum based oils and NO ANIMAL TESTING! Meeting Auspect was a true Godsend. I not only fell in love with the products, but I fell in love with the people, too. 🇦🇺

While this post is short and sweet, it won’t be another month before you hear from me again. Lots of exciting announcements on the horizon!

“The hardest thing about ‘everything happens for a reason’ is waiting for the reason to come along.”

 

Cheers for now! 

 

~MLH


📷 cred: @auspectskincare