Putting on my power suit…

Standing in my power…finally.

Standing in my power…finally.

Today, as I dressed in this “power suit” for a day of meetings, I was reminded that it is International Women’s Day.
I find it charmingly ironic that is also my father’s 76th birthday.
Not exactly the biggest advocate of feminism, this man who would be the first man I was to meet on this journey here on earth, was a larger-than-life personality, often described as taking up all the space in a room, always full of ideas…and my first symbol of what power was.
And, I was born into this world, stamped by a likeness to my father…and I despised it.
His power and self-assuredness at all costs scared me.
I looked like him.
I talked a lot like him.
I had a flair for dramatic delivery like him.
I was a lover of music like him.
I was strong like him.
I was a people person like him.
I liked being the center of attention like him.
And it all frightened me.
Our longtime family friends will remember how tears would stream down my face, and my bottom lip would pout out in protest, when people would tell me at age 3 that I looked just like my father.
Because there was nothing worse to me than that.
I was scared of him.
I was scared to be like him.
And, while many argued that I got the best parts of him, not a morsel of it did I want.
Recalling my protesting pout now, I realize that it wasn’t just because of a fear of my father, but more so…a fear of myself.
No, I wanted to be like my mother – unassumingly beautiful, soft, smart, ladylike, shy, and demure.
And, alas, I was none of these things.
I am most definitely not demure.
I am strong,
I am brave,
I’m a survivor,
I’m an inspirer,
I’m a creator.
But, demure?
No. That’s not my lot in this life.
That’s best left for someone else to be – a girl, perhaps, who has yet to learn her purpose, or a woman who recognizes – and embraces – that demureness is HER strength…her power.
Now, I see that perhaps my mom has gained some of my strength.
While I never learned her knack for knowing when to speak, or how to be shy and demure, perhaps something even more pivotal happened. Perhaps with my birth, my mom learned how to stand in her own power.
And, I have come to stand proudly in my inherited personal power, strength,  dynamism and “too-muchness”.
I now thank both God – and, my dad – for these traits, and I thank years of experiences for giving me the realization that these are indeed gifts, and not the curses I always deemed them to be.
And, after 38 years of being scared of my own power, I now can wear a power suit, and feel right at home.
Here’s to all women worldwide not only standing in their power, but embracing it…and maybe even stepping into a power suit every now and then.

KNOW. YOUR. WORTH.🏆

Know your worth.

Know your worth.

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.
WRONG.
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.
Eeek. 🙈
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?
Yikes.
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.”
Wow. WOW.
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.
Snap.

See What’s Possible…with Neutrogena

“Because ‘beautiful’ is the ability to look in the mirror and BELIEVE that anything is possible.”

I love everything that Neutrogena's #SeeWhatsPossible campaign is about

I love everything that Neutrogena’s #SeeWhatsPossible campaign is about

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.

Monday In A Nutshell

M O N D A Y. I N. A. N U T S H E L L.

Monday in a nutshell… *poncho by Sloane Rouge

Monday in a nutshell…
*poncho by Sloane Rouge

 

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

A Different Kind Of Dream

A. D I F F E R E N T. K I N D. O F. D R E A M. 🙌

Open yourself up…to a different kind of dream

Open yourself up…to a different kind of dream

I moved out to LA in 2000 to be an actor.
I became Barbra Streisand’s personal shopper.
Then, I became a country singer in the heart of LA’s Americana scene in a sweet, little americana band called Hawkeye.
The band broke up, and I moved to Nashville to be a country singer and songwriter. 
After Nashville didn’t work out as exactly as I planned, I moved back to LA, with my tail between my legs.
A heartbreak or broken dream or two later, I started a blog, and everything changed.
If you had told me back then, during any of those failures, that those dreams would come true – they would just look a little different than I had pictured – and I would get to be my authentic self for a living – I would never have believed you.
What I’m saying is this:
Sometimes, we have a dream and we give up on that dream when it doesn’t come to life exactly as we pictured that it would.
But, sometimes – if you just open your mind and heart to the endless possibilities out there – those dreams evolve.
And, they turn into even better, bigger dreams than you had ever hoped, or even dared to dream.
This past weekend was a dream weekend for me, as I’m sure you can imagine.
I attended Grammys parties on Friday, drove out to Palm Springs for 18 hours for the Modernism Week kickoff to toast the talk of the town – and my dear friend – designer, Christopher Kennedy. Sunday, I attended the Clive Davis party as a guest of Cover Girl, where I witnessed the coolest musical evening I’ve ever experienced. And, yesterday, I attended the Grammys for the first time, and in a beautifully full circle moment, caught up with all of my old music & recording family at the afterparty.
Today, I’m running on very little sleep from the past 4 days. While, I’m hoping I can string together sentences for a meeting later today, I just can’t wipe this darned smile off my face.
Here’s my message for you.
Dream.
Dream big.
Work hard.
Tell people what you want.
Help other people reach their dreams.
Do everything you can to get there.
And, then…
LET IT GO.
Leave some space open for a different kind of dream, because sometimes…those are the BEST kind of dreams.

I won the SuperBowl…of personal permission and freedom

The way I do the SuperBowl...

The way I do the SuperBowl…

As I’ve mentioned before, this year is all about balance for me – finding that elusive balance between work life and social life, and trying to carve out a distinction between the two when it comes to my career of being an extrovert.

Today was an excellent exercise in this.

I had to cancel Super Bowl plans for two different parties today to make sure that I could meet a deadline and finish some open projects before a busy week ahead.

I thought that I should just stay home and be terribly responsible, but my good friend Amy and I had made plans to walk and talk this morning. So, I decided to add some balance to my day, and honor that commitment.

We ended up going on a walk through her neighborhood of Larchmont/Hancock Park, and then, came home where she made a delicious farmers market-fresh lunch of veggie burger with fresh avocado toast and market greens with homemade dressing.

One of the most challenging parts of growing up is learning when to say yes, when to say no, and not regretting either answer.

As I headed home to write this afternoon, with a few taunting texts about missing the big game peppered in there, I realized that I was already a touchdown ahead because I had honored what I needed my Sunday to be for me. I may not have won a ring this Super Bowl Sunday, but I have won something much greater: personal permission and freedom. 🙌🏻🏉🏆

Puppies and porridge…and not taking anything personally

Puppies and Porridge

Puppies and Porridge

Porridge and puppies for breakfast – with a side of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz before barre class this morning.

I read this book back in 2009, on my dear friend Trey Fanjoy’s suggestion, but reading it again now is a whole different experience. I wanted to revisit it because I especially needed a little reminder of that 2nd agreement:

Don’t take anything personally. Oy vey.
What are the 4 agreements? These:
1) Be impeccable with your word.
2) Don’t take anything personally.
3) Don’t make assumptions.
4) Always do your best.
Do you try to live your life this way? Something to think about before Saturday sweeps us away into the weekend.

Friday Friendspiration: Jolie Williams Augustine

Friday Friendspiration is all about living a life you love, within the life you have been given.

Today’s Friday Friendspirer, Jolie Williams Augustine, does just that.

Friday Friendspiration with Jolie Augustine

Friday Friendspiration with Jolie Augustine

This is Jolie girl to me: the totally COOLEST girl ever. See, I met Jolie when I was in 5th grade, and she was dating my big brother, at the end of their senior year. When you’re 11 – well, let’s be honest – anyone older is cooler than you. So, when I moved out to LA in 2000, and discovered that Jolie lived out here, I was eager to see if her “coolness” had, well, kept.

It had.

I have been friends with Jolie for over 15 years now – going from a puppy-like girl, just wanting to impress her (as one of my big brother’s old girlfriends), to a fellow woman who admires this beautiful (editor’s note: Jolie would never refer to herself as “beautiful,” but I think it’s fine time she accepts the truth), fun, free-spirited, thoughtful, generous, music-loving, and, yes – COOL – woman, who lives in this same crazy world of Los Angeles that I do.

Jolie and me…at a show, no doubt. I wanna say this was Counting Crows? Wallflowers?

Jolie and me…at a show, no doubt. I wanna say this was Counting Crows? Wallflowers?

A teacher, she has taught me so much – not in a classroom – but through heartfelt conversations, musings over mimosas, and dozens of hours spent boogeying down to our favorite bands. That’s probably my favorite thing about Jolie: she’s always up to dance with you at a show, like all good Texan girls should be.

I’m so privileged to be on this journey together with her.

That’s Jolie girl in my words.

But, this is Jolie girl in her own words.

May her love of life, giving heart, spontaneous spirit – and perpetual willingness to dance – sing some music into your life, today.

***

The Friendspirer: Jolie Williams Augustine

Creating space. I live in Los Angeles, and have been teaching in public schools for 20 years, and recently took a two-year break for various reasons. I am very good at “keeping with the program” and life threw me some curve balls these past 2 years. The loss of my parents left a weirdly-shaped hole in my heart. I recently saw these words: “Instead of asking why they left, now ask, what beauty will I create in the space they no longer occupy?” Whoa. Parents take up a very significant space. So with them being gone and taking time off, life has felt a bit unnerving – and very peaceful – but also has made me ask myself “what do I want to do with this time – and, essentially – my life?” This answer is a work in progress, as we all are.

The world according to Jolie

The world according to Jolie

On the “glamour” of teaching. I have enjoyed the lifestyle teaching has given me, which includes: watching teenagers feel awkward, making them laugh…and listening to them, making music playlists (see link to her playlist gift to you at bottom), and playing music in class, read and discuss literature and most importantly, yes, time for travel and breaks. Working with teenagers is far from glamorous, and there is no room for ego or perfection. Parents and teachers know this and I have decided that working with young people, although humbling, is also a profound gift, and the rewards are subtle but many. One of these is pictured below. A former student wrote this about me 5 years after I had her as a student. I am not sure she was in my class the entire year but it’s nice to know she connected to me and the class. She is now majoring in Literature and Medicine!

 

* A former student wrote this about me 5 years after I had her as a student. I am not sure she was in my class the entire year but it's nice to know she connected to me and the class. She is now majoring in Literature and Medicine!

* A former student wrote this about me 5 years after I had her as a student. I am not sure she was in my class the entire year but it’s nice to know she connected to me and the class. She is now majoring in Literature and Medicine!

On wanderlust: cool things will follow. I have bit of a wanderlust and thankfully, my husband of 17 years tolerates my wishes to go somewhere or come along and make it an adventure. Yes, I love hotels and massages but I would much rather go somewhere where I don’t know where to go, maybe the people don’t speak english and cool things will follow. It know that most people my age do have tremendous responsibilities but some have lost the willingness (and maybe have fear?) to try something new, go somewhere different or meet new people. Thankfully, I have a small group of friends who do enjoy going to music festivals. YES, the average age is 15 at these festivals, but there is something exciting for me in seeing new music OUTDOORS, walking around and watching all the people. Most people my age cringe at the thought. I guess my friends and I have found a way to keep it simple, be comfortable, stay hydrated! and still get our groove on.

Jolie, getting her groove on

Jolie, getting her groove on

Keeping creatively inspired & California love. I have found that meeting new people, going to new places, and getting out of my comfort zone has kept me creatively inspired. I find new restaurants, music, books and places that I may never have found before. I don’t get wrapped up in details of things (maybe, that’s not a good thing?) but I know that especially today, people have appreciated my commitment to having fun and getting things done. I tend to make music playlists for people I have just met and will take up an offer for a visit. I love showing people around the city and California. Visits to a Korean spa,hiking, eating our way to Joshua Tree, Boyle Heights, the beach and Idylwild are all on the itinerary.  All the stressing and freaking out about the small things get you nowhere. Read any book by Cheryl Strayed, Anne Lamott, Jenny Lawson, Mary Karr, or Joan Didion and you will know this is true. Throw in David Sedaris, Sherman Alexie and Augusten Burroughs and you have my humorous life teachers.

 

Jolie and her "little sis" from Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters

Jolie and her “little sis” from Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters

Little sisters and homeboys. I spent the past year volunteering at Homeboy Industries, a gang rehabilitation organization, as a GED teacher and it reaffirmed my passion for teaching and connecting with people. I’ve lived in LA for 20 years and I have grown to really love and appreciate the good and bad of LA. It is very easy to separate oneself in LA based on neighborhoods and jobs but I have found the beauty being with people who make up a very significant part of LA and California and are generally overlooked. I have also been a part of the Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program for 7 years. I  met my  ‘little sis” when she was 11. It has been challenging at times to know how to help but sometimes I just need to know a visit to a bookstore, museum, a walk or getting ice-cream with someone can be just the thing needed. 

Jolie at 15, who probably wouldn't have listened to 44-year-old Jolie…but should.

Jolie at 15, who probably wouldn’t have listened to 44-year-old Jolie…but should.

Dear 15 Me. I know that when I was 15-years-old (see evidence above), I probably wouldn’t have listened to advice from my 44-year-old self. I was having too much fun thinking of boys and listening to Duran Duran. But I would share:

1. Be kind to the kids people make fun of.

2. Live in a a foreign country once in your life.

3. You’ll find a boyfriend. Don’t worry.

4. Salads are actually good. Put down the Doritos.

5. Keep having fun even when you get older.

***Editor’s Note:
Jolie’s gift to you. 
Our first friendspirer to offer a gift to our readers, Jolie wanted to share her “Feel It” Spotify playlist with you all, HERE. As someone who has been introduced to numerous bands and countless songs by this music aficionado, I can say that it truly is a gift…so OPEN IT UP !

For you!! Jolie's "Feel It" playlist on Spotify

For you!! Jolie’s “Feel It” playlist on Spotify

Thanks for the friendspiration, Jolie. If we inspire one person today, we have done our job.

Jolie and Rosie

Jolie and Rosie

xoxo,
Dawn

 

Dawnspiration: Monday got ya down?

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Man, isn’t this the picture of Monday in a nutshell?

Reluctantly shifting back into action, tugging on our leashes, biting the proverbial hand that feeds us?

I met this little guy, Skates, on my walk today in Hollywood, and felt that his adorable resistance could be a message for us all, today. See, we all know that life is a gift, but we often forget that making a living is also a gift. You might not like your “leash,” – many people don’t 100% of the time – but I bet you like the life it affords you to have. Until we all are granted trust funds from God, and I don’t foresee that happening in the near future, it looks like we’re all gonna have to make peace with that “work” leash, and learn to loosen our bite on it a bit. Speaking of trust funds, don’t waste time being jealous of the trust fund kids – in my experience, they’re often just as lost in finding their direction as the rest of us, if not more.

And, sure, if you are struggling every day, you might want to look for another profession, but before you start looking for a job responsible for feeding you and your family, I would recommend finding an outlet that feeds your soul. Something to warm up to, if the work day leaves you feeling a bit cold.

So, start today.

Do something today that makes you feel good.

Create.

Give back.

Entertain.

Be entertained.

And, happy Monday!

Don’t you know?

Today signifies a week full of possibilities in front of you.

Dear 15 Me: Heidi Klum

Dear 15 Me: Heidi Klum

Dear 15 Me: Heidi Klum

I caught up with the gorgeous (inside & out) Heidi Klum at the UNICEF ball last week at the Beverly Wilshire, here in LA.

Here’s what she had to say to her @dear15me self:

“I would do the same thing. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but you learn through your mistakes – you know your heartaches, or the silly, stupid things you’ve done in the past. Life is a roller coaster, so you need to have the good, bad and the ugly. You need all of that stuff to grow as a person.”

Thanks for sharing your hindsight wisdom and truth, Heidi! Such a pleasure chatting jewelry and advice with you! #Dear15me

p.s. Thanks, @milanwrld for introducing us!! 💗

*Photo by Lookbook LA