As some of you know, I do quite a bit of creative consulting and brand strategizing.
It started 3 years ago, and I don’t promote it because it was not something I ever set out to do.
Rather, it was something that found me – smackdab in the middle of doing what I love – and I answered the call.
After all, much to my mother’s chagrin, I am not a business major. I am just a person who built the brand, and as strange as it sounds the brand just happens to be me. People took notice and started asking for help, and started PAYING me for it.
Yep. Not something I planned or had even attempted to manifest.
I am a creative, not a business person, I always thought.
It was a lovely lesson in avoiding labels, because labels can so easily be peeled off and applied elsewhere.
Recently, I had a growing experience when a friend asked if they could be a client and put me on retainer.
It made me very uncomfortable, so much so that I said I needed to take a day to think about it.
I mean, I love working with brands, charities and personalities, but a close friend who would pay me like they do?
But, then this friend put it beautifully, when addressing my initial hesitation with genuine confusion.
“Why does this make you uncomfortable? You are the best at what you do, and I want to hire the best. If not you, I’ll hire someone else, and why would I hire someone else when I have the budget to pay a friend who would do it better than anyone else?”
That made my decision MUCH easier.
And, it made me really get in touch with my hesitation, and where it stemmed from.
I realized that as confident as I have become as I’ve accrued years and experiences on this here planet and in this here Hollywood town, sometimes I question my value, even when I may not realize that is what I’m doing.
I find this particularly funny because I have no problem whatsoever letting others know what THEIR value is – so much so, that sometimes, I actually think my greatest strength is helping other people understand what their biggest value is on this earth.
Today, as I sat at a brunch meeting at Urth Cafe with a pr maven turned blossoming blogger, who was seeking some guidance and direction, I was reminded of this one area in which I am still growing, and learning…and, then I listened to my words to her as I said them.
“Know your worth. Don’t spend so much time trying to take care of everyone else, that you forget to take time for yourself. Sometimes, we involve ourselves in caring for others, so that we don’t have to be brave and do what we are most scared to do.”
As much as we all have a responsibility to care for one another, our utmost responsibility is to care for ourselves.
And, one way to care for yourself, Dawn McCoy (and you, dear reader) is by recognizing your talents and strengths, making them readily available for other people…and KNOWING YOUR WORTH.
One Final Flowery Paper For Pat Conroy
by Dawn McCoy
It’s raining tonight in Los Angeles, and I can’t help but be reminded of my belief as a child that anytime it rained, God must be crying.
It seemed like it rained for every funeral I ever attended until I was in high school.
I read my first Pat Conroy book in 8th grade.
My big brother loved Pat Conroy, and had referenced a pivotal line from The Lords of Discipline in his high school commencement address:
“I WEAR THE RING.”
7 years later, I would base my own commencement address around the same quote, dutifully paying homage to both my beloved big brother whom I had failed at trying to be, and to the author who inspired me all along the way in that failed process.
Pat Conroy so permeated my literary, intellectual and emotional growth and experience as a teenager that in 9th grade, Mrs. Mrozek suggested that I read other authors because my writing tended to follow suit in Conroy’s voice in that it was utterly, deliciously – and sometimes, terribly – flowery.
Her note on many of my papers was simply: “Avoid corn.”
I did not.
Flowery writing would be my saving grace in graduating high school, getting into college, and graduating college in 3.5 years.
It would also be the basis of my career in Los Angeles: understanding the power of words and the emotions they can invoke, when delivered honestly and beautifully, with a little nod to prose, poetry and alliteration.
I thank Pat Conroy for that.
I also thank Pat Conroy for writing about his fractured family, suffering from mental illness, abuse, addiction…and southern heritage.
He dutifully detailed all of the beautiful ups and downs, and dramas and traumas, with little judgment or hindsight…but with plenty of honesty and heart.
He made me feel less alone by communicating that even in the craziest of families, the underlying current that keeps everyone together truly is love.
I have often compared my own father to the father character in Conroy’s “The Great Santini,” and I suppose I always will. The patriarch in that book resonated with me in ways few other characters in fiction have managed to do, probably because he was a fictional character based on a nonfictional man. In fact, he was based on Pat’s father – so specifically so – that his mother famously took the book as evidence to the judge in her divorce case against Pat’s father, years later.
As I sit here tonight, heartbroken, I ask myself why I mourn so deeply for this man.
After all, I didn’t know him apart from the home he maintained on my bookcase.
Well, part of me mourns because when we’re given that frequently asked parlor question, “Who would you invite – living or dead – to your dream dinner party?” Pat was always my first answer. I honestly thought that one day I would make it happen, and we would sit there swapping southern tragic tales of foiled families over our recipes for shrimp’n’grits, peach cobbler and sweet tea.
I also mourn because he has been such a constant in my life.
Years after reading all of his books, some twice, I would find myself working for Barbra Streisand, who directed and starred in the adaptation of Pat’s “The Prince Of Tides.” I remember standing in her laundry room, looking up a phone number in her address book, when I spotted Pat’s phone number.
I can finally admit that I called the number, heard his voice, and then hung up like a giddy schoolgirl.
Much like family, he has just always been a part of my story.
And, now his story has come to an end.
Here’s what I learn from this…as I’ve learned before, and I pray I won’t learn again.
Reach out to people.
Tell them why you appreciate them. What their work has meant to you. What they mean to you.
Let them know their value to you and your world.
And do it all, without expecting nothing in return.
I will never forgive myself for not sending a single letter to my favorite author to thank him for what he has given me.
So, please don’t make that mistake.
Thank you, Pat, for showing me that while we are the product of our parents, it doesn’t mean that we have to walk the same paths as our parents.
Their stories are not our stories.
And our futures have little to do with the past, unless we give the past that kind of control.
You are the best teacher I ever had.
“I find happy an elusive word, but I do feel something good going on.” (Pat Conroy)
Most little girls grow up, dreaming of becoming a princess or something…but, me?
I grew up, dreaming of award shows and living the Hollywood life.
Well, dream granted!!!
Never have I been reminded of that dream coming true more than when I was asked to attend a behind-the-scenes look of The Grammys with Cover Girl and attend the annual Clive Davis pre-Grammys gala at The Beverly Hilton, the night before the big event.
While I would attend The Grammys and an after-party with friends the following afternoon, my pre-Grammys party was strong on Sunday, thanks to my friends at Cover Girl.
My Cover Girl Grammys glam experience started with a behind-the-scenes tour of Staples Center, where The Grammys would be held the following day.
We walked the red carpet, saw Kendrick Lamar rehearse for a bit, and rode up the “escalator to heaven” where winners go to the press room after they win their Grammy(s).
It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And, the day just got better and better.
To prepare for Clive’s party, Cover Girl sent over the Glam Squad to do my makeup and get me all dolled up with some of their prettiest products.
I wanted my makeup to be as fun as I felt (hey, ABS by Allen Schwartz deep plunging neckline!), and wanted to channel a little bit of that little Dawn who used to dream of such a magical day, back while was singing in chapel in my school days.
Look I was going for? Award-season Sandra Bullock. After all, my first Hollywood job was being her stand-in in Miss Congeniality in Austin, so it only makes sense that my dream would come full circle, in FULL color!
So, we stuck with a perfect, perky pink lip with Cover Girl Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Vitamin Infused Balm in Sprinkle, dewy, glowing skin thanks to Cover Girl TruBLEND Liquid Makeup foundation, a pop of natural color on the cheeks with Cover Girl TruBLEND Blush in Medium Rose, defined eyes with Cover Girl TruNaked Eyeshadow Palette in Roses, and lots of lashes, thanks to Cover Girl Plumpify Lash Blast Pro.
The best part? Each of these products is $10 or under!!!
That evening, I attended what was – quite honestly – the best event of my life: the Clive Davis pre-Grammys Gala.
I sat at the table with Cover Girl, Procter & Gamble and three other influencers who were as over the moon to be there as I was.
So, with all of the events I get to attend, why was this one so special?
Well, here’s but a small selection of some of the artists who performed: Dave Grohl, Beck, Barry Manilow, Melissa Etheridge, Fetty Wap, Earth Wind and Fire, Adam Lambert, Jack Antonoff of Fun, Andra Day, Elle King, Meghan Trainor, Chicago, and the piece de resistance…CARLY SIMON! Yes, you heard me.
She sang “You’re So Vain,” and the whole room of wall-to-wall celebrities were dancing and singing right along with me.
It was one of those life-making moments I shall never forget.
I was happily surprised after the 6-hour gala to see that my makeup hadn’t budged a bit, so I decided to do the whole makeup routine again for The Grammys the following evening, when I attended with my friends, Mike & Aphrodite Camello. Changing it up a bit from straight strands to beach-waved locks, I was going for an Emmylou Harris meets Loretta Lynn country vibe to celebrate all of my friends in from Nashville who were nominated.
Afterwards, I hung out at The Mavericks’ after party at Velvet Margarita with my Grammy-nominated friends, The Mavericks…
and one of my dearest friends, director Trey Fanjoy (who also happens to be not only an award-winning video director herself for Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift, but also the wife of Eddie Perez, the guitarist for The Mavericks.
And, while my Cover Girl makeup lasted beautifully and flawlessly all night long…
after 4 days of non-stop going and glamming, it was time for this girl to say good night.
‘Til next year, Grammys.
Can’t wait to do it all over again, Cover Girl.
Anyone else got a case of the Mondays?
We sure do.
It’s a no-makeup, no-dry-your-hair, New York Yankees-baseball cap-kinda day.
Got some work to do, some voiceover auditions, lunch with dear friends, and some Bachelor in the evening.
As I always say, Monday is my weekend.
“Because ‘beautiful’ is the ability to look in the mirror and BELIEVE that anything is possible.”
I love the Oscars. I always have and I always will.
Because, to me, the Academy Awards are all about dreams coming true and memories being made.
When I watch them, I dream a bit bigger and have a bit more hope that my dreams will come true.
So, when I heard about Neutrogena’s new, powerful “Neutrogena See What’s Possible” campaign, that will be making its broadcast debut at the 88th Academy Awards tomorrow, Sunday Feb. 28 (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on ABC) I knew I had to be a part of it.
See, I know it’s my job on this planet to encourage people to live lives they love, to empower people to realize that their unique differences are what will make their dreams come true, and to help women feel their most beautiful, simply by being their most authentic selves.
Through thousands of hours meeting with women around the world, Neutrogena uncovered a universal truth – women are stepping back to examine what’s possible in their lives so they can pursue their dreams.
Always on a mission to create, innovate, and rethink what’s possible in skincare, Neutrogena identified this shared value and was inspired to launch its first-ever global campaign: “Neutrogena See What’s Possible.”
Voiced by Brand Ambassador and creative consultant Kerry Washington, the inspiring ad features real women following their passions and finding their purpose.
The empowering video brings to life the brand’s point of view on beauty, namely what really makes a woman beautiful is the ability to look in the mirror and know that anything is possible.
Neutrogena Brand Ambassadors including Kerry Washington, Jennifer Garner and Julie Bowen, and beauty vloggers from seven countries will share words of encouragement in the brand’s first global digital video series.
Here in the United States, the brand has forged a partnership with Girls Inc. – an organization I’m a big fan of – whose mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.
Find your inspiration by viewing the campaign on the brand’s “Neutrogena See What’s Possible” website and Neutrogena YouTube channel, and discover inspirational content on the brand’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels.
You can also join the conversation by sharing your own personal stories and words of encouragement, and use those to empower other women across social media by using the hashtag #SeeWhatsPossible.
I also don’t think it’s an accident at all that I’m posting this video right before I go speak to 100 teen girls about living a life they love. Not an accident, at all.
We need more of this in the world, please.
For more information, visit here.
*This is a sponsored post by Neutrogena. While products or compensation were provided, the words and opinions are all my own. I never post about something I don’t believe in 100%. That’s just not who I am. Thank you, Neutrogena, for letting me be a partner in this powerful campaign.
I have been a big fan of Dove for as long as I can remember.
Not only do they make products that both work – and work within everyone’s budget – but they also are big supporters of women looking and feeling their best, while appreciating the differences that make them unique.
Now, that’s a brand I can stand beside.
Recently, I had the honor of spending a whole day with Dove. And, I have to be honest with you guys – it was one of those events where I feel very lucky to be doing what I do.
Before I got to join my fellow “Trendsetters” for a day of Dove fun, I had a few other events to hit first. Thankfully, Dove had sent me their Beauty Finish Dry Spray Deodorant to keep me fresh and dry throughout the day.
My best discovery about this deodorant? Um, it’s magical.
You can spray it on and immediately put on your prettiest fashion pieces, with zero residue ruining your look.
And, that’s exactly what I did. Nothing – nada – on my Joie silk blouse and Rebecca Taylor vest.
As for Dove Day?
Well, we started the day with a ladies lunch at Viviane, one of my favorite brunch spots in town.
I had time o catch up with my peers – who are more friends than “coworkers” in this industry – and discuss our picks for fashion and beauty trends. My picks? For fashion – Easter pastel hues, faux fur and pops of gold, and for beauty – shimmering eyes, dewy skin and glossy nude and baby pink lips.
Next, we were off to my neighborhood nail salon, where everybody knows your name: Enamel Diction.
Famous for their fabulous nail art, they are equally known for their oh-so-cool ColorAstrology sessions with Rose Theodora.
Can you say FUN!??! And, verrrry enlightening.
After supplying Rose with my date of birth, time of birth and city of birth, she gave me my whole chart, along with all of my power colors. For me, she suggested flirty pastel pinks and soft lavenders to open up my romantic possibilities, because while everything else seems to be in my favor, my love life might want to perk up a bit.
She told me to steer clear of red, because while it’s a power color, it also can frighten off suitors. Oh! Point taken. Lilacy pink it is!
Before we headed off to our next stop, we experienced the full fragrance variety of Dove Dry Spray Deodorants by doing a bit of a bell jar test. Rose had also written down on our chart which deodorant scent would appeal to our senses best, based on our ColorAstrology chart. SO fun!
Lastly, we headed over to Satine Boutique, where we had a mini shopping spree. Little sets of accessories were all grouped together on a table, and we each got to pick which one suited our style best…kind of the same way, we got to pick our Dove Dry Spray Deodorants!
After a dream of a day, I was off to two more events that evening. And, honest to God, Dove kept me dry all night long. No wonder since it promises 48-hour protection! It’s now a staple on my dressing table, and it is a life-saver!
Dawn Do: Try Dove Dry Spray Deodorant to feel secure that your clothes stay dry and you feel fresh and confident!
M O N D A Y. I N. A. N U T S H E L L.
Anybody feeling like Miss Ellie today?
If so, perhaps try perking up your perspective.
Rather than viewing Monday as the end of your weekend, view Monday as the start of what might be the greatest week of your life: a week packed with possibilities, a week open to opportunities, and a week bursting with beginnings.
This week is a gift just for you.
So, unwrap it!
Only you can determine how it’s going to shape up.
And, if you begin today to set out to live a life that you truly love, you will begin to love the weekdays just as much as you love the weekends. Yep. REALLY.
So, how will you begin to design a life you love this week?
Poncho: Sloane Rouge
H A T E R S. G O N N A. H A T E? well, I’m not havin’ it. ✋
And, neither is Ashton Kutcher.
Thanks so much, Ashton, for featuring the #KissAndMakeup anti-bullying campaign with Bystander Revolution & Tarte Cosmetics – and the small part I play in it – on your Aplus site and social media channels today.
Taking a stand against cyberbullying and cruelty is a no-brainier for me, and many of you out there. But, that’s not the case across the board, unfortunately.
Ironically enough – and, basically proving the point of the whole campaign – there are negative, bully-style comments below the picture on Ashton’s Facebook page. 😒
When will it stop?
When we MAKE it stop.
Tell your friends.
Teach your children.
Share with your teachers.
Send love when you can to those who need it.
Defend those who are defenseless.
And, take a stand.
Yes, even if it’s just on social media.
Especially on social media.
The power of social media is just that: POWER.
It can remind people that there are people behind the pictures. While it’s true that haters are gonna hate, it’s also true that that hate is usually rooted in something much deeper and much darker.
I truly believe that if we drown all that hate in loads of love, those haters aren’t gonna be hatin’ for long. Love is just too powerful a potion for them not to drink. 🙌
R E D. V E L V E T. E V E R Y T H I N G. ❤️ When my friend Ning and I decided it was time for one of our dine & dish affairs to properly catch up, she immediately thought of the red velvet pancakes at her neighborhood fave, Larchmont Bungalow.
I was a little skeptical…but highly intrigued. And, now that I don’t have to fit in 14 dresses for Grammys weekend, today was our day to get our red velvet indulgence on.
A full-on tasting of their red velvet pancakes with sweet cream cheese filling, red velvet waffles with crème anglaise and fresh blackberries, the Jambalaya omelet, their latkes with lox, poached egg, and their take on the traditional potato pancake accoutrements of sour cream, apples and chives made for one very filling fix of a brunch.
The best part was that Ning and I got to chat more than the normal 10 minutes we get at most events we attend, and made future plans. Now, to pay the price at Pure Barre Beverly Hills at noon.
Parting (and reality) is such sweet sorrow…