Nathaniel and Ailsa yelled out “Happy Birthday Katelynn” excitedly seeing the balloons marking birthday: they are thrilled to see how their April Fools pranks are going. I got a bowl of salty cereal. They got me good. Grilling me on what surprises are to come, it’s a happy morning with more happy things on the way. I got some good kisses, perhaps because of that mouthful I swallowed with good humor. There were hugs, a prayer and they are out the door to school happy. That is what we want. You will hear laughter in the Greene house today.
Any mom knows that feeling when you first look in your baby’s eyes; it can’t be explained, its beyond description the love you feel and the recognition that a piece of your heart is always theirs. Katelynn would be six today. I can tell you that six years seemed impossible, yet here we are not only moving forward but happy. We are not happy she is gone, but happy that she ever came. Happy that I am her mom. Happy, and as funny as this sounds, that I am sane. Really, when I was first approached to write a book about Katelynn, my main concern was that I may be crazy later on, broken in despair. I am not, we are not, because we choose to be happy.
People tell me, “isn’t it a comfort to know where she is?” Yes, it is, but not really.
She is my baby. She is supposed to be here with me; I’m supposed to be crying over her first day of Kindergarten, not crying that my heart still wants to hold her… I could go down that path of bitter loss, but I won’t. That is not hotness. What does bring me comfort is that death has not changed that I am her mother. I am still Katelynn’s mom. I am Nathaniel’s mom. I am Ailsa’s mom. I am their mom.
That brings me comfort.
That gives me strength.
That brings joy.
She is learning as I am learning, teaching as I am teaching—we have an interaction. She sees me at my worst and my best; she sees me as none of my living children can. I joke that out of my three children she is the most demanding of my time and talents.
Here is the problem we moms have. It’s not easy giving our kids what they need, day after day, year after year. We wonder if we can do it. I wondered when Katelynn was placed in my arms if I could see her endure the life she had before her. We knew it wouldn’t be “normal” and it wasn’t. We never imagined it would be so short. Your mind just doesn’t go there, it can’t comprehend. Here is something odd: I still can’t comprehend it. I am in awe that six years later we still doing so well. I wish I could say its because I am just that awesome. Yep… I am that strong. But, I am not.
I pleaded, bargained, begged and agonized, searching for a different way than a life without her.
I want to be a good mom. I prayed for strength. That prayer uttered a thousand times has been enough; it’s become a habit I don’t even have to swallow hard to say. I thank God in every prayer for the comfort and guidance he gives us. I wonder if my husband even hears that line anymore that I have said it so many times. God does hears it, however.
My husband and I have talked many times in awe of what God has done. It’s not us. We were like two riders holding on to bucking horse hoping it would be over soon.
What you see the public me, I wouldn’t be the same without Katelynn. I had no ambition to be a speaker, to up my game in my makeup business. I was perfectly content to raise my kids, but I wanted more. I didn’t get what I wanted, so as a second option I followed the promptings given to build up my speaking. You know that question: what would you do, how would you live if you had no fear? I know the answer. I’m living it now. Nothing can hurt me like saying Goodbye to Katelynn did. One by one, I’ve let go of the things that hurt me and that held me back from being what God wants me to be. Because I am a mom, I can do hard things, I can do all things through God.
Before I became a mom, people advised me to take the time I drive with my kids in the car as an opportunity to talk to them. I’ve taken that idea on the road. I love the moments of bonding with my kids, hearing about their day, singing songs and having heart-to-hearts. The other day my son asked one of those really important questions during one of our drives. He said, “How do you know if you are doing what God wants?”
I was feeling very pleased with myself in a moment of motherhood eloquence as I answered his question. I could tell my answer had an effecton him, as he was looking thoughtfully ahead into the passenger side mirror. I knew he was deep in thought, perhaps looking into his soul. When he spoke I knew it would be profound… “Mom,” (pause) “how do I not have a mustache right now?!”
And then the moment was gone.
It just whizzed by.
I wish I could tell you that later the conversation picked up where it left off. But in reality, I don’t know if he heard a word I said, as he was so engrossed in the mystery of his facial hair.
That’s just kind of how motherhood goes doesn’t it?
My daughter recently said, “When I grow up, the first one I want to be like is Jesus” (How perfect is that? As I hear this, I am mentally high fiving myself!), “and the second one I want to be like is you, because you are so awesome.” (can I say proud momma?), “I don’t want to be like Daddy,” (what?!), “because he is a man. And I don’t want to be a man.” (the things kids say sometimes!)
I guess my kids are really thinking things through well…well at least they are thinking…even if they are saying things like, “It’s not my fault I am a good farter!” (my son didn’t say this—my daughter did). Or “My pits stink! They are wet and furry!” (that one WAS my son). Or my personal favorite quote, a commentary on my motherhood… “I’m hotness’s son.” Yeah, I guess at least they are learning something.
I am a Hot momma.
If you look up “mature eyes” on any internet search engine, you will find a pitch for skincare products and surgery. This perpetuates the idea that only young eyes (the kind that are airbrushed beyond reason) are beautiful. I am out to change that perception! When I meet with my clients face-to-face, I teach them about what I call the Anti-Aging Line™.
When I teach them about the Anti-Aging Line™, I find women refer their friends to me like crazy; because once you understand this, you really can improve your makeup application. I have been collecting pictures of my willing clients so you can see this on other eye shapes— that way you can find the Anti-Aging Line™ on yourself.
Find line between the corner of your nose, eye and where your brows should end.
Here is my mug:
Here is a close up.
Notice how I keep my makeup within the purple line? Each part of my makeup pulls the viewer up to where I want them to look. I don’t accentuate the downward angle of my eyes, because that points out the wrinkles. If I were to draw my makeup on my lid like we typically are taught, I would be accentuating the wrinkle, or the hinge that is there. When we are young, our eyes are angled up and we can do fun and funky makeup applications—but as the eyes come down, that doesn’t work. I’ve found that if you keep your makeup within the line, you are fine!
If you would like individual help with this, I can meet with you one-on-one in person or through Skype! You can contact me by emailing me at email@example.com or calling me toll free at (801) 455-7364. I’ll have a video up soon showing you more about the Anti-Aging Line™.
We see ourselves in a certain light and how we see ourselves affects our thinking. We need to feel good to “think” good. If we are in pain— physical or emotional, it is harder to see the tender moments for what they are. Instead, we are just gritting our teeth trying, to get through it.
This month, I spoke for Jamberry Nails in Orlando, Florida. I was the keynote speaker and was able to share basic image concepts in the two hour program. I spoke about what makes you beautiful, how have your clothes flatter your curves and entertained them with how to wear a scarf. I say entertain because I literally tucked the scarfs into my clothes so that has I pulled them out— it was like magic… well kinda… because I don’t have the skills of a magician, but it was a fun surprise! After I taught them how to use their scarves in versatile ways, each of the Executive Elites (that’s Jamberry’s top rock stars) were given a scarf along with other cool swag like my BOOK!
Scarfs are a great way to bring the eye up to your face. The extra fabric, added right at your chest area gives your figure more curve. Here’s a sneaky beauty tip— the eye doesn’t care the size of the hourglass, just as long as it sees an hourglass shape. Go on Pinterest and search for scarf tying ideas and play with what feels comfortable. For me, I found stuffing them down my pants and hiding them in my blazer to NOT be the most flattering look.
I had so much fun working with Jamberry Nails. They have these nail stickers they call “wraps”. You heat them up and they stay on your fingers or toes with no chipping for weeks! They have hundreds of patterns and I have become addicted. I used the product before and in my professional opinion there is nothing better for your toes. Seriously, they take just minutes to but on , no smelly application. On my toes, they stay for at least 4 weeks and look great the whole time. Here’s the bonus: right after you put them on you can climb into bed– no time waiting to dry. I love beauty that is simple—that is what I have been doing for the last 15 plus years full time—making beauty simple through my makeup classes, image workshops and speaking.
In 1989 big eye-shadow and big hair ruled. I was 16-years-old and was bold with my makeup too—I wore brown eye-shadow hesitatingly applied. Self-criticism held me back from enjoying those over the top eye-shadow styles of my youth. In my book I talk about how I was able to find my way out of the cycle of not appreciating what I had. Now, 25 years later, gravity has become an issue as I feel my wisdom growing, and I can totally appreciate what I have—beautiful, mature eyes.
If you only look at beauty magazines and Pinterest for your makeup application tips you may have laughed out loud as I cheer for my mature eyes—we could get really frustrated with our eyes because they are not the same as they were in 1989, 1979 or 1969. Time happens and our eyes shift. That shifting isn’t bad. I believe that ageing is beautiful and I want to help you see it!
As an early makeup artist most of my work came from brides. Those girls had the young eyes you find in all the magazines. You can really do anything you want with eyes like that—just look at the crazy makeup tips you find. I want the tips I share to help you feel more comfortable and see yourself as the beauty you are. I believe we are all beautiful; we have just been trained to think that only perfection is beautiful.
I have a ton of makeup tips for mature eyes—but here is my concern: if I just start posting these awesome tips you may not see what I am talking about. You need to be retrained first. You are beautiful. You are perfectly normal. What is being sold to you in magazines as “the standard” is not normal.
Look at this:
In this example, notice what you don’t see. There are no wrinkles, no hinge on the outside of the eye. We get this hinge wrinkle from the movement of the eye.
Now look at these:
These ladies must have been moving their eyes too much. With all these wrinkles, they must have had years of too much squinting in the sun. The problem is… these are nine year old girls! But THIS is the standard we are held to.
She is fabulously airbrushed to a standard of perfection that we all fail to meet. Because it is not real.
Here is a picture of me (please notice what a good hair day I am having).
I look stinkin’ hot and I am real. You can tell this picture hasn’t been edited because look at this picture and notice what you see.
It’s like I have wrinkles—shocking!! I look great for 41 as I use SeneGence skincare. Look at this without makeup on and see the real “normal”.
The wrinkles, the downward pull of the eye. Notice how you don’t see it on the first picture? It is because I used my makeup as a tool to guide the beholder to where I want you to look. (In my next makeup artist blog I am going to start teaching you those tricks.)
As you are out there looking at Pinterest, see if they are real tips on real faces or if the unreal standard of beauty will make you think that nine-year-old eyes are old because they are not airbrushed.
One of the first questions I got from people when I wrote How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness was, “When is there going to be an audiobook?” You, my readers have said you want to hear the stories, not just see them. I’ve heard you want to have it read to you as you drive, work, run errands. I know the real truth, you want to hear my hilarious voice tell you jokes and have me entertain you! Since my book shares many personal stories from my life, I knew I was the one that had to read it. I’ve worked hard to record my audiobook, working to give life to the words through my voice. I’m so excited to have the audiobook available for all of you.
Listen below for a sample from the audiobook.
If you pre-order before December 15th, your CD copy of How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness will be only $15.
Click here to pre-order a copy. CD copies of the book will be mailed out by December 15, and will arrive in the United States before Christmas. Merry Christmas and enjoy!
When I was 13-years-old I sat in the front row of a crowded room while Scott Anderson spoke. He delivered his speech with such passion, but never lost sight of his audience. I could feel his emotions as he spoke, I could see the tear as he talked about his brother and his battle with drugs; and I could relate because my own brother was in the grip of addiction. Scott shared a deeply personal story with a message for us. Afterward, I waited for him, thinking how cool it would be to shake his hand. If this had happened in today’s world, I would have taken a selfie with him. I still love meeting the speakers that move me, shaking their hand, thanking them for their speech and taking a picture with them like we are old friends.
I didn’t think about being a speaker until late 2009. When the thought came to me, it never left; at first I thought it was a sign I was going crazy. I didn’t want to stand in front of people with the kind of vulnerability that I had seen and admired in speakers like Scott Anderson. I didn’t see the skill sets building though years of leading classes and workshops on image and makeup. But God was pushing me hard to it. I was Leta. That was awesome enough. The amount of influence and interaction I had with others, my kids, hubby, my neighbors, friend’s – I was fulfilled, life was good. But now, even though I’m a speaker, I’m still me, Leta, even with the embarrassing clapping. I find it humbling that I have more influence and impact than I originally set out to have.
The speakers that I respect see the microphone not as an improvement to their status, ego or power, but as a gift that we have the honor to hold. Jason Hewlett, Kelly Swanson, Chad Hymas, Dan Clark, Kathy Loveless—for those of you not in the speaking world, these are some of the greats. They all view the stage as an honor. They are consistently in high demand, and deservedly so; they are really good people. They all have humility; they all have a deep knowledge that they are just people – they are normal people who get to do something incredible for their job. They are not in it for the glory, or the money. These speakers, like me, are in it because they feel pushed to speak. It’s a big responsibility; every single time before I take the stage I pray. I pray that my preparation was enough, that my message will connect, that I will make them laugh and then I get on stage. It has taken me a lifetime to become what I am and really intense focus to prepare my message. It didn’t just happen. What you see on stage is me in HD (High Definition). I am still me off stage, I’m still funny and prone to telling stories—but when I walk on stage it is no longer about me. It’s about the audience, it’s about you.
Because the truth is, you are why I speak. I speak to light up something in others, to make an impact, to know I really helped someone to laugh and think I really changed something—there are no words for that feeling.
From the time we are little, we are taught about the danger of strangers. We’re told scary things about how they lurk with menacing plans.
My dad owned a small trucking company. When I say small, I mean small as in my mom was the other driver, and we kids were the set-up crew.
Dad was often the stranger who stopped and helped the car on the side of the road with the hood up. It wasn’t uncommon for us to find a lady with a car full of kids. Dad would tinker on her car and soon have it up and running. He always had extra fan belts, duct tape and rope on hand, saying “you never know when someone could use it.” The people he helped often thanked him for his kindness with tears running down their faces, but Dad didn’t do it for the glory or any reward. He knew it was the right thing to do, and he quietly helped strangers.
I remember one late night in the middle of a snowstorm Dad saw a car stopped on the side of the freeway. He stopped and helped get the man’s car running. As my dad was leaving, the man gave him his card and said he wanted to help out my dad in return someday. That man was an internationally known dentist. It just so happened that not long after that stormy night, I was in a serious bicycle accident. I knocked out three of my teeth. That man was the one that came to the hospital, and made sure I got the care I needed; even though my parents were in-between insurance companies. This stranger saved large portions of my upper jaw bone.
My mom loves people. She says she never meets a stranger. One time we were out hiking, my mom went ahead to make lunch for us at the car. When I got to the end of the trail, I saw Mom sitting on the tailgate of our tan Toyota pickup truck surrounded by bikers, laughing with them and giving out sandwiches. I imagine some women would be horrified to find a pack of bikers around her vehicle, but not my mom. She offered them food and drew them with her wit. She learned one of them was a fan of Shakespeare. I’ll never forget seeing them quoting Shakespeare to each other over sandwiches of white bread, bologna, and that horrid cheese you have to unwrap the plastic from.
For me, the worst pains of my childhood didn’t come from strangers. It came from those who were in a position of trust who violated that trust.
So, when I became a mother I had a decision to make; to teach my children about the danger of strangers or to teach them that they needed to trust their inner voice, regardless of who the person was. I chose the latter.
This is what I tell my kids. If someone asks you to keep a secret from your parents it isn’t okay—ever. If someone touches you in your privates it isn’t okay—ever. I tell them they are people and their feelings and opinions matter. They know the voice of what is right and what is wrong speaks inside of them. I tell them to listen to that voice, and if they do, they will recognize danger. I tell them that while using that voice as a guide, they can have enriching experiences like meeting a biker that is a poet; a dentist that will save their jaw; a single mom whose tears of gratitude will teach lessons. I try to show them, like my parents showed me, that helping others when it may not be convenient is always the right thing to do.
I think they’re learning it. The other day at Costco I started a discussion with a couple in the line behind me. As we stood out by the carts they told me they were from Poland. We talked of hard work and their years of living under communism. They told me what makes a good Kielbasa sausage and the pride they feel in their children. They hugged and kissed me, told me I was beautiful and a good mother. Soon after, my daughter told me she wants them over for dinner. I do too… and after our discussion, I had better buy the right Kielbasa sausage.
WARNING, pictures of my dental surgery are below.
I admit it, I love my wiggle tooth, but I didn’t always.
When I was nine I knocked out my front three teeth, and the excessive dental work began. I hated the gap, it made it so obvious what missing and what was so clearly wrong with me. The funny thing is that those feelings of inadequacy were really coming from me, and not from others. Sure, kids teased me, but what made the situation worse was how I handled it. In my book How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness I teach how to get over self-taunts and about how to change the perceptions of ourselves to see the radiant women we really are.
I’ve learned in my nearly 20 years of working with women in beauty, that we all have an area, feature, or something we just don’t like about ourselves. Yes, there are makeup tricks that can minimize facial features to bring out our best; but I really love helping women see how beautiful they really are, and helping them start the real work—seeing themselves differently. I can meet with you one-on-one through Skype. I am here to help you see that you are far hotter than you think you are!
Through helping other women, I actually got so good at changing my perception that I LOVE my wiggle tooth! I’m not saying that I want to have a retainer with a tooth attached my whole life… but then again, maybe I do! The tooth is such a relatable subject and always an instant icebreaker. I often joke that “I am soooo HOT, I don’t need all my teeth!” It is funny– I like funny. But Mr. Greene doesn’t love it so much… I guess when he takes his wife out a on a romantic date, he would like to look across the table at a full toothed smile. It’s particularly annoying to him because we have already paid to have it repaired, and I’m putting it off because it’s so funny. I guess I can see his point of view on this.
So, on October 16th, I reluctantly dragged myself to the oral surgeon. I was so sad—not only would my adorable toothlessness be gone, but I knew it was going to hurt. I’m not really one who thinks being drilled on is fun. With that said, I firmly believe in choosing to have fun in any situation — here in this picture with the drill head attached to the recently placed implant.
I would like to point out that my lip color survived all of this with grace— meaning it stays on like a rock star! I forgot to take pictures that night of my still perfect makeup because I was high—you know, legally drugged up—since it really hurts to get drilled on. The important thing that every girl needs coming out of oral surgery is to know that her makeup is still there and looking awesome. I can help with you with that part, but the missing-tooth hotness, you will have to take care of on your own. I can show you how to bring out your best without looking like you tried too hard. If you want amazing skin, and want to know where to put your makeup and the right colors just for you that stay looking perfect all day until you take it off— I can help with that.
As for my tooth, in four months, after the bone heals around the implant, I will get a new set of not-as-hot-though-very-expensive-teeth. I firmly believe that Mr. Greene will miss the wiggle tooth. Although, if we’re being completely honest… probably not.