"Lead With Love And Glitter"
The first thing you should know about me is I'm a born and raised California girl. My great grandparents moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from New Orleans and Alabama, my grandparents both grew up in Oakland, my mom was born and raised there, and (other than the year I spent living at Disney World...it's a long story...) I've lived in Cali my whole life. To me; San Francisco, Los Angeles, Napa, Yosemite, weren't destinations, they were just where you went on the weekend. What I'm trying to say is, when it came to being exposed to different cultures, open-mindedness, adventure, and the arts...I was one lucky bitch.
Chapter 1: Ooh Child
When I was a kid my family did a lot of staycations and road trip vacations. We didn't fly much, but we spent a ton of time in the car! My step sister lived outside Sacramento and since the drive the get her was almost 3 hours we found ourselves in a hotel (shout out to every Red Lion Inn that put up with us stealing soap off the maid's carts and trying to sell it to guests for a quarter) or roadside attraction, or a full-on vacation every other weekend. I mean, my mom figured if you’re driving to Sacramento, why stop there when you can keep going to Lake Tahoe or Reno? She was all about resort life. Pools with waterfalls, suites where we had our own room away from the grown-ups, fancy restaurants...my mom's idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service.
My dad was more about the outdoors. Summers were for cabin living, swimming, and fishing in Trinity and Twain Harte, and winters were for skiing and snowmen in Lake Tahoe.
And of course...Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Knotts Berry Farm all made the list too. California childhoods are never boring.
Chapter 2: Youth Gone Wild
My teen years were spent exploring the Bay Area. I didn’t know San Fransico was a “destination”, it was just home. It’s where we went on school field trips and took classes on the weekends. BART took us anywhere we could get to on a few bucks. Telegraph Ave and Cal State in Berkley; we’d explore China Town, Fisherman's Wharf, Haight & Ashbury, and the Castro in San Francisco…we had no idea that our backyard was some people’s vacation dream.
I attended Modeling School every Sunday in Union Square (fashion was my religion), and Thursday nights were spent in an old victorian mansion Finishing School with a dozen other girls learning manners and what fork to eat with, and yes, we really did walk with books on our heads. My mom thought these weekly classes would keep me on the straight and narrow, maybe calm down a little bit of the wild child she gave birth to...but no such luck. All they did was give me access to a whole new world of fashion, style, glitz, and glam!
I learned a few things for sure in those years, I loved being in front of a camera, I loved being on stage, and I loved being the center of attention (ok, fine, I already knew those things, but now I was addicted!)
Chapter 3: Spice Up Your Life
My 20’s had me traveling again. France, Italy, New Orleans, Florida, Washington, Las Vegas, Los Angeles…anywhere I could afford, or convince someone to take me, lol. I was a stripper, a professional wrestler, I went to college... and when I realized fashion design wasn't my thing, I majored in History of Fashion.
I got married, had a baby, and my dream was to “world school” my son. Travel everywhere and teach him everything by real-life experiences. As it turned out, Skyler wasn’t really into traveling. We learned that he was on the autism spectrum when he was two years old, and because of his sensitive sensory needs, travel was hard on him. So we settled down into a wonderful Skyler-friendly life! He went to school and I worked there as a special needs paraprofessional in the classroom next to his.
His dad and I split up, but that allowed me to meet the love of my life.