Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Introducing Artist Gia S. Monroe

I always like to visit artists' websites, and Gia S. Monroe has a fun site called Art Crazy & Trinkets. On the main page of the site, Gia currently has posted a variety of original images she calls "Original Crazy Art" which you can have printed on greeting cards. Her artwork is also available on calendars, t-shirts, posters, and more. Many of her images are figurative and show beautiful women; some have an element of fantasy to them, and all of them are vivid and colorful.

Gia creates unique art using multiple mediums. She also produces what she calls a "creature feature" which means the customer can provide her with a picture, and she will make a portrait as any creature/character that he or she desires; it's a one-of-a-kind piece of art and makes a fun gift.

If you click on the word "more" on the upper right corner of Gia's site, you'll find some other treasures as well. If you're looking for handcrafted three-dimensional art pieces, you can find beautiful butterfly night light terrariums in different shapes and sizes. There's also a health and beauty section which features all organic and naturally handcrafted products such as anti-aging creams and perfumes.

Gia is a creative person who works on a lot of different projects, and I wish her the best with her website and her artistic career. Check out to learn more about her and her work.

Introducing, a Website About the Automotive Industry is an automotive website covering everything from automotive reviews to how to rebuild a gearbox. The editors accept blog posts from other sources on a monthly basis and promote them heavily through social media.

1. As a community for people in the automotive industry, what does seek to publish?

We are looking to communicate content from small to medium sized businesses who are specialists in their own niche of the automotive market. By giving the "small guy" a platform to talk from, we hope to build a user base that will create conversation and interaction.

2. Where do you find content to share on your site?

We are active on Google+, and we have many requests from businesses to promote their thoughts, which we are happy to do! We have a number of other sites and forums which we participate in and find that the dialogue often creates relationships with other like-minded individuals.

3. What do you see as some of the most interesting topics in the auto world today?

The subprime bubble! We are still feeling the aftershocks of the housing crash, and yet we are heading into the same disaster with used car loans.

4. How have you seen automotive professionals increase their offline business by becoming more active online?

Absolutely! One of the dealers I work with at present now generates over 50% of their sales from the web. Almost 10% of this now comes from social media!

5. Do you have any tips when it comes to writing in an effective/engaging way about auto-related topics?

Be passionate about it. Also, I try to find topics which I can break down into a series. That way one great topic covers many articles!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Meet Gayle Nielsen, Hypnotherapist and Artist

Gayle Nielsen is a Master Hypnotherapist based in Wisconsin who works with clients using cutting edge consciousness technology to shift their reality. Her life is her art--helping everyday people live their lives in new and more joyful ways. Her photography and digital art inspires both herself and others with new perspectives and possibilities. Visit Gayle online at, as well as on Facebook. The photos in this post were taken by Gayle.

1. How did you first become interested in doing hypnotherapy work?

I've been interested in the power of our subconscious mind and in helping others ever since I was a child. When I had the opportunity to make a career change, after years of working in a technical field for a large corporation, I pursued the training in hypnosis and other holistic modalities that allow me to really help my clients now.

2. What are some issues that you help clients address through hypnotherapy?

In addition to the usual things like smoking cessation, weight release, and stress relief, I love to do regression sessions with clients to help them resolve long-standing issues that prevent them from being truly happy with the life they are creating. I feel great when a client is totally amazed with the results we achieve together.

3. What is Matrix Energetics®, and how does it help people?

While it's not really possible for me to define what Matrix Energetics® is, I can say that I've learned a set of tools that make it easier for me to access my natural abilities, the same abilities that each of us has, to shift reality in what seems to be a miraculous way. It has been my experience that clients have had positive changes in relationships, careers, and health after an ME session. I've seen this in my life as well! And it happens in what seems to be a natural way, as if that wonderful thing that just happened has always been there, but just now is the client noticing it!

4. Reading your blog, it seems to me that your interest in taking photos also approaches photography as a metaphor. Would you tell us a little more about this?

Maybe, yes, a metaphor for life. When I notice something interesting and decide to photograph it, I’ve just taken a representative moment of that thing, from my perspective, with that specific lighting, through the lens of my awareness, to create a unique experience that I may be able to share with others. I share the symbol of that thing...not the thing itself. Isn't that what we do with our lives? We choose a series of unique moments of awareness, influenced by our seeming past, moving into the future, keeping the ones we want and discarding the ones we don't to experience, in the end, a complete work of art called our life. Sharing with others--optional.

5. What do you see as the relationship between art and healing?

I don't really like the word "healing." It assumes that there is a state of being "not well" from which we need to be healed. I don't believe that. What I believe is that we subconsciously, unconsciously, are choosing to experience everything in our life. Pain may be useful as a signal to change something. Creating art is an intentional process, as creating our life may be. It's a sharing of perspective and observations. The deepest pain has created some of the most meaningful transformations. Life IS art. Art IS life.

Thanks, Gayle!

Meet Emma, Blogger, Lawyer, and Traveler

Roots and Wings is a blog written by Emma, a lawyer and world traveler who lives in Melbourne, Australia. She describes her blog as sharing her journey to try and have roots (career, family, relationships, etc) at the same time as wings (travel!).

1. How did you decide on the title "Roots and Wings" (R.A.W.) for your blog?

I was on the plane coming home from eight months in Europe, and I was feeling very frustrated and torn about coming back to Australia to pick up my career. It took a few more years, several holidays, and a job change for me to realize that my frustration was a result of my struggle to "have it all." I was trying to lay down roots and a foundation, while still having the freedom to explore and spread my wings. At first, I didn't really know what to do with this realization. I briefly contemplated an ankle tattoo of "Roots & Wings" before the light bulb idea to start a blog. I think I made the right choice!

2. What helps you to balance your career as a lawyer with finding time for travel and other pursuits?

A strong work ethic and a good relationship with my boss. Although travel is a non-negotiable part of my life, I still view it as a privilege rather than an automatic right. I work hard, establish trust, and encourage my boss to value "performance over presence." If the work gets done well and on time, there's no reason to decline my holiday request. I very rarely have enough annual leave but am more than happy to take unpaid leave--you always seem to have the money or the time for a holiday, but rarely both. So, instead of trying to earn more money (although, that's always nice), I'm focusing on scheduling the time to actually spend it--preferably in the Mediterranean!

3. When you travel, do you prefer to do a lot of planning ahead of time about what you'll do when you visit a certain place, or do you prefer to let things happen more spontaneously?

I’m much more of a planner! I actually just wrote a post about this because I think that people (wrongly) assume all travelers are aimless wanderers. The perfect holiday needs to balance both, so that there is some pre-planned structure and space for spontaneity. Read more and get a copy of my template holiday planner here.

4. What would your advice be for people who want to travel internationally but feel hesitant somehow, maybe because of the expense of maybe because of the unfamiliarity of going abroad, etc?

Just do it. It will be challenging but it will be amazing. You can overcome a lot of those issues by researching and planning--work out a budget, research the cities, look at discussion boards, and find the best hostels/hotels. If you're not keen on solo travel, join a tour group, teach English, volunteer, or find work through companies like WWOOF or WorkAway. This is a great way to meet like-minded people, save money, have support, and get a really authentic experience.

5. As you imagine your future self, what do you picture yourself doing?

I'm not exactly sure, but I'm excited! I'd love to be in a role where I'm doing something strategic and innovative but able to work with my own hours and location--my career path is looking more like a scatter diagram than a line graph but it's not going to be a "cookie cutter" life and that's the main thing ( I'm currently exploring opportunities for another extended working holiday in 2015--six months split between NYC and Italy is the dream. I'm loving being a blogger, too, so hopefully Roots & Wings will take me somewhere amazing.

Check out Emma's posts here.

Thanks, Emma!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Meet TK McLennon, Author and Editor

TrailBlasian is a new anthology which shares the experiences of seventeen Black women who have taken the bold step to wave goodbye to their homes in North America and start new lives in East Asia. The anthology is available on Amazon and was edited by Canadian-born writer T.K. McLennon.

1. In your experience, what are some of the factors that motivate people from North America to move to Asian countries?

I would say that lack of jobs at home and financial reasons are probably the most common, but also wanderlust, appreciation for Asian culture, escapism, love/relationship, and career are among the most common reasons I've heard.

2. In addition to the teaching/education field, are there other major areas of employment that offer opportunities for English-speaking people moving to Asia?

Well, if you're American, there are several Army bases in Asia, particularly in South Korea. Of course there are expats who work for multinational for profit or not for profit organizations and also small or medium business people who do trade and whatnot.

3. Are there aspects of the expat experience that you feel are unique to Black women?

I would have to say concerns about how to maintain healthy hair and skin is a bit of a big deal. In the intro to the book, I discuss this a bit more, but also in Asia (as in other parts of the world) there is a thriving skin-bleaching industry. I found it nearly impossible in some countries to find lotions or other skincare products that did not contain some kind of whitening agent. Of course a bigger concern for many is racism/sexism, especially as it relates to your personal safety. Black women are often typecast in a few narrow stereotypes perpetuated through American media, and as expats in Asia there is a concern that we may be denied work or social opportunities due to race or sex prejudice.

4. Do you see the anthology as memoir or scholarship--or both?


5. Your book has been described as "groundbreaking." What has been the response from readers so far?

The readers have their favorites. People intensely agree or disagree with some of the writers' viewpoints. Readers can relate well with the story writers and appreciate the photos and bios that give the writers' journeys their unique context. Even people who have not read the book are intrigued by the the subject matter. It's early days since the official US launch though, and I expect there will be several ongoing panel-style and book-club-like discussions in the near future.

Thanks, TK!