thank-you-18872533Last week was one of highs and lows for me, but with the net result being an overwhelming sense of gratitude. The week began with homegoing services for my husband’s 90-year-old great Uncle. I was sad to say goodbye, but rejoiced in the fact that he had lived a full life and that he no longer had to endure the pain of his illness.

I then had the awesome opportunity to interview Doug Ramsey and Dan McCollum of AfterSix Productions. It was a wonderful conversation! I am so thankful to Dan and Doug for giving me the opportunity to share thoughts on the music industry, as well as allowing me to share their music with our TTWC family. A few days later, I reached 200 subscribers on This and That With Calandra’s Facebook page! Honestly, I had not been paying attention to the Facebook numbers lately, so it was a real surprise! I would like to take this time to thank EVERYONE who has ever had a kind word of encouragement for, subscribed to, posted a comment to, shared a post from, or contributed in any way to This and That With Calandra. I am ever grateful for your support!

Over the weekend, my business partners from SGF Events and Make Beauty Your Business hosted another Beauty 101 event, this time in Nyack, New York and it was a great success. We are already making plans to return in the next few weeks, and we are preparing for our next event, a trunk show in Arlington, Virginia in September.

As you know, I have been participating in Luvvie Ajayi’s 31WriteNow blogging challenge during the month of August. At the end of July, I was just coming off my 31 Day AudioMo challenge, where I created an audio post every day for a month, when I joined Luvvie’s blogging challenge. And a challenge it has been. I am grateful not just for being able to stretch my creativity each day, but I am also thankful for all the new supporters, subscribers, and commenters to This and That With Calandra. I have never had to juggle so many notifications at one time. I certainly do not take it for granted.

By the end of the week, I began to finally embrace things I had been reluctant to embrace in the past. I am energized and recharged, ready to face the next episode. My new mantra: BRING IT ON!

So yes, it was a phenomenal week!

(31WriteNow Challenge Day 27)


31WriteNow Challenge Day 26: The Home Stretch

WriteNowAs we approach the last week of the 31WriteNow Challenge, I have to admit that I feel like a runner on her last legs during a marathon. Unfortunately, I feel like I’m approaching the finish line WITHOUT that rush of adrenaline most racers seem to exhibit as they come into the home stretch!

This challenge was truly a challenge for me. I had just completed July’s AudioMo challenge – a month of daily audio posts. I confess that during THAT challenge, which was something I had NEVER done before, I thought to myself how interesting it was that I could more easily think of things to say. I also silently thanked God that I didn’t actually have to write on a daily basis! So on July 31, as I prepared my final audio message, I read about Luvvie Ajayi’s blog challenge. It almost felt like a personal punishment for wishing I didn’t have to write! That’s when I knew I HAD to participate in 31WriteNow. I found my inner-voice saying to me, “So you say you can’t do it? Well prove  that you CAN!” Being that it was the day before the blog challenge was to begin, I didn’t have time to contemplate or chicken out. I felt like I had no choice but to participate…and I’m glad that I did! Not only have I experienced tangible benefits (increased subscriptions, comments and other stats), but I have felt an extreme sense of personal accomplishment. A confirmation, if you will, that I have the passion and ability to write!

The road is getting a little rough in the home stretch, but I’m almost there…and I know I’ll make it to the end!

(31WriteNow Challenge Day 26)


ChallengesThe past few years have been a real mind stretch for me. Leading a new major project at work, stepping up my blogging game and building a business with new partners have me doing things I have never done before. I always say that I love a challenge, even though I am usually terrified when first faced with one! But in July, the rubber really hit the road and I went way out on a limb. I had been toying with the idea of podcasting, but I knew I did not have the audio equipment I needed…so I thought. Thanks to fellow blogger and podcaster Ray Garraud, I learned that for the level of podcasting I wanted to do, I needed very few tools. Ray, along with friend to This and That With Calandra, Mr. Fresh, also introduced me to AudioMo, an annual month-long challenge to create daily audio posts, linking each one to Twitter via hashtag #AudioMo. I downloaded and learned to use a few new apps and podcasting services, and on July 4, I officially joined the challenge and completed 27 of 31 days of audio posts as part of AudioMo, even meeting a few new folks along the way (big shout out to johnmill79 of A Blind Man’s Journey!)

I was quite proud of the fact that I actually found something to talk about every day, and I knew that my podcasting days had just begun! And then on July 31, something interesting happened – I found another challenge! One of my favorite bloggers, Luvvie Ajayi, was hosting her annual 31WriteNow Challenge, which was a blog post each day for the month of August. I knew that I was destined for it! And my podcasting friends Ray and John decided to join me! Clearly, writing has been much more of a daily challenge, but if I could do something I had never done before for a whole month, then I should be able to tackle writing – I mean, I already have a blog, right? LOL

But for me, nothing is ever just that simple. I am reminded of other challenges I have faced in life. I have learned to be self-forgiving when my initial reaction is a fearful one. That’s just human nature. The challenge of a challenge is to not remain fearful, but to turn that fear into energy to rise to the challenge! There’s no greater joy than to feel you have successfully ventured into unknown territory. Greater still is the knowledge that each challenge met brings more peace of mind and erodes some of the fear I experience at the onset of the next challenge.

So…are you ready for your next challenge?

(31WriteNow Challenge Day 18)

AudioMo Challenge

The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting

Photo credit: Wikipedia

A few days ago, I learned of a 30-day audio challenge sponsored by AudioMo. Two of my friends, Mr. Fresh and Ray Garraud mentioned it and are participating, so I thought I’d try my hand at it. A few months ago, I toyed with the idea of doing periodic podcasts, since sometimes it’s quicker for me to speak than write. I thought this challenge might help me get my feet wet. Yes, I know I’m a few days late (the challenge started on July 1). Well, here goes…

UPDATE – July 8, 2013 – I’ve decided to provide links to all AudioMo challenge podcasts on this page. Click  below for each episode, starting with Day 4…

AudioMo #7: Celebrate!

Mr. Ronald Gibbs, 60 years young!

Mr. Ronald Gibbs, 60 years young!

Today’s AudioMo topic is Celebrate! Today we celebrated our church musician’s 60th birthday with a beautiful soirée after church – and he planned it all! Sometimes you have to be good to YOURSELF. Happy birthday Bro. Gibbs!!

Listen in…Background music is I:Cube’s Adore.

AudioMo #6: Releasing Your Inner Child

Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2 (Photo credit: paul.hadsall)

Here’s Day 6 of the AudioMo Challenge – After seeing “Despicable Me 2” today with the family, I thought about how healthy it is to release your inner child and take time to laugh with your children. This summer, make sure you let your inner child out to play – just make sure you have him/her back in the house before the street lamps come on! Enjoy todays podcast below. Background music is Wayne Brady’s “Reading Can Be Fun” from the release Radio Wayne.