Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hello friends! I simply wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year.

I've started posting through my company blog (www.warrentoddduo.blogspot.com ). We're currently doing a series of holiday gifting! If you enjoy saving, you might want to take a gander ;).

Wishing you all the best and a fabulous evening (whether in jammies or dawned in your finest).

Warmest Regards!

XO
N

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Vision Beyond the Lens



Today, on the Warren Todd blog, we shared photos and the vision of photographer David Scarola. You can click the link below to learn more about this kind hearted man who takes every photo and creates a forever memory.



http://www.warrentoddduo.blogspot.com/2014/12/david-scarola-moments-behind-lens.html

I hope that you'll continue to follow our blog (www.warrentoddduo.blogspot.com) as we have fun with the wide world of events, art, design, fitness and everything hospitable and philanthropic!

I hope you enjoyed the warmest of Thanksgivings!

XO
N

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Fabulous Woman and a move...

Yes, I've moved over to www.warrentoddduo.blogspot.com where we chat about all things related to events and/or clients we represent. It is a blast and we enjoy every minute. This is not one of those blogs where the author's dread writing!

To that end, I thought I'd share a post about one of our contributors and give you a heads' up on what is to come!

Meet Vanessa Hewko!

Here's the link.

 http://warrentoddduo.blogspot.com/2014/09/vanessa-hewko-when-she-talks-health-and.html

XOXO to you all!

N

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Latest and a New Beginning

Hi fellow bloggers and blog lovers. I hope this post finds you doing well and loving life! Since I last wrote, I officially launched a company with a friend of many years (Warren Todd, Marketing, Events and Design) and we are off to the races. We've set up our preliminary blog and will do our best to share inspiring thoughts, posts of contributors, images, etc. that in any way touch marketing, events and design. We love that there is such a wide array of concepts and visions involved in this category.

I hope you'll follow our journey at www.warrentoddduo.blogspot.com. We should have our Facebook link up soon and hope that you'll follow our facebook page as well. We plan to move forward with giveaways and various interactive, fun initiatives.

I'll also leave you with our website: www.warrentodd.com.  Live in the South Florida area and are looking for an event planner or someone to help raise awareness to a cause...the list goes on? Call us! We'd love to help!

Have a wonderful day and hope to see you there!

XO
N

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Inspiration in the Life of a Force



The above quote can be found at the link below courtesy of www.sunsandsaltwater.com.
http://www.sunsandsaltwater.com/2014/01/20/monday-morning-affirmations-10/

I was extremely fortunate yesterday to attend what I would label as one of the loveliest funerals I've ever attended. It took place at a beautiful temple down here in South Florida and although the circumstances were sad, the time spent honoring the life of this lovely woman from service to burial was nothing short of beautiful. For the family and those of us who knew her, she was what you might say a "force of nature". Interestingly, everyone was shocked to hear of her death. Here's the irony, she was eighty eight years old. She operated, in spirit, as a twenty something although clearly, her wisdom and class matched far beyond her eighty eight years. After listening to family speak of her and having spoken with and watched her for years, I found her life to be incredibly inspiring.

Let me start by laying out a few key points that I found noteworthy (although, her entire life truly was worthy of praise).
- She was widowed after 30 years with 4 children (her second oldest was in high school to give a range of where she was in life at the time).
- Later in life, she was re-married and was to celebrate her 27th wedding anniversary this coming week.
- Once her first husband passed, she continued to be a rock for her family. Each child grew to be successful, whether it be in developing beautiful grandchildren, surely to touch many others or to become incredibly successful in their designated fields (one of which medically treated one of our presidents while in office).
- She was dedicated to her temple and spent her life volunteering her time (and never expected a thank you -- to say the least). She did this to an extreme. A clear example was when she was hired to perform a job and didn't understand why they passed her an envelope with a pay check enclosed. She thought she was just helping. Just "helping" take care of the office billing, while whipping that system into shape.
- She re-invented herself at age 50 and went back to school for accounting and hospital management (or some sort of hospital auditing process).
- She then spent years traveling the state of Florida making sure that each hospital was up to snuff...clearly with her shoulders back.
- She loved heels and pocket books as this embodiment of what it is to be a lady believed in dressing up and looking her best. Why? To show those around her respect and appreciation. She was devastated weeks before her death to learn that wearing those heels was no longer in the cards.
- She was an avid traveler and believed that travel was education and she clearly, couldn't get enough. She had been all around the world and back again.
- She continued University classes well into "retirement".
- She loved to cook (a "past time" that I've learned to be far more than a "past time" in life).

One thing is undeniable, she played the cards she was dealt and won!

Here's what I found most interesting, personally about this woman. She defined class. When she spoke, there was meaning. She believed in making the world a better place. She was most certainly a force, unafraid to voice her opinion. She was also the first to encourage each family member to push the boundaries and set their hopes high, goals maybe higher...and then achieve them! She stayed out of the lime light and yet wasn't afraid to enter a conversation and when she did, the other party was the lucky one (or parties). These are all elements that I noticed from a far and listened to as I watched family member after family member of all ages speak.

The last discussion that I had with this woman took place at a bar-b-q where I was seated next to her. My children are young (at the time, 3 and 5 I believe) and maintaining their best behavior over the course of hours with distractions, adults everywhere, a pool and yard to entice them and much more was challenging. I didn't eat to say the least. She took a minute to be very clear with me (as did another grandmother at the bar-b-q - it is funny how grandmother's just "know"). I listened closely! She told me I was doing a good job, had compassion for my situation and when she was finished, what felt like one, giant embarrassment became a source of empowerment. I needed that and she knew how to, ever so delicately, deliver it. She, by no means, was the woman who would sit by and let the children disrespect anyone -- even with my children that night. However, it was crystal clear that she had a purpose.

I believe this woman lived with a purpose. I believe her family is a shining example of that purpose. Her son was one of those to speak at her funeral. He ended his speech with one very striking message to her grandchildren. He noted that her legacy was them and the way that they passed down what she stood for. That will be a challenge. However, at the end of the day, isn't that what we all hope for in raising our children. We hope that when our children look at us, and raise their own children, they'll live to try and emulate our values and contributions and to pass that down throughout generations. Simply put, she did it right. She lived her life to set an example and most importantly, it worked. She did so in a manner that each family member dreamed to follow and then supported their empowerment to do so. I'd bet my bottom dollar that they'll achieve those goals. Why? Because she walked the walk.

I walked away with an ever renewed realization and motivation to "be the woman I want my daughter to be". What a gift it is to be able to do so!

Lastly, as her granddaughter eloquently concluded her speech in honor of her grandmother, she advised those around her, if asked to act their age, simply to remind those concerned that "it didn't stop Helene". I, for one, will remember that! This single mom got the memo!

Wishing all a wonderful Thursday!

XO
N

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Real Pearls and Inspiration in Honesty


Hello Land of Bloggers and Blog Followers!

Oh, how I've missed you. Well, truth be told, I haven't had time to miss much of anything, but it feels good to be back. Again, inspired with new beginnings, I'm going to take three and join in on the fun (you won't see me blogging daily as the other "successful bloggers" do). I suppose this is as much for me as anyone, but I came to play as they say! "They" as in whoever "they" want to be.

Yes, I'm still a mom,  still working and still believe in God's grace. Glad we're up to speed. I'm one lucky girl; lucky in love, lucky in life and lucky in dreams. Yet, at no point during this blog will I pretend that life is or has been laced with gold. Although I might show beautiful items, designs, "WTW's" (that's 'what to wear' for those who rock their alternating, favorite gray, orange and navy shirts on a daily basis - and look phenomenal doing so) or the like in admiration of something inspiring in my eyes, one thing is for sure; they mean nothing when it comes to real life. Literally. They are things, by no means lend themselves to the measure of a person and, in many cases, fall under the "I can't believe you would pay that for..." category. Yet, I'll throw in images, comments about or links to momentary eye candy. In short, we don't leave earth with any "thing" and, by no means, do I want to represent or lend this blog to the "I must have that to stake my claim in society" movement. Besides, I'd love to know which member of society has it staked out perfectly. I'm pretty sure that concept doesn't even exist. And, if so, those members of society better batten down the hatches. The winds can shift, the 'stakes of claims' age or go out of style and, in my experience, there is only one thing to hold on to and you may guess what that is for me. Let me help - it is God!

This blogger is a realist and an optimist. What you see is what you get. I love to dream and believe that life is, in fact, your oyster (as much as our minds get clouded with that concept from time to time). Age has taught me that the oyster is shaped differently for everyone. One person's pearl might feel a little small at times and another's so giant it's almost more than they can handle, but it is ours to slide around in, enjoy all that shines within it and, in whatever capacity possible, take all that the oyster represents in your life and make of it what you wish. More on that in another post.

While I was on hiatus from the blogging world, I decided to start a business and low and behold, we're off the ground. I have a partner in crime that I should call a partner in keeping it real because she has been so much more than a business partner to me. In fact, I can't even write that term without feeling weird. At any rate, we're off to the races and, as we progress, I might share a little here and there about what we're up to. I'll leave you with a little truth. I read all of the sayings about dreams and doing what you love so you don't feel like you are working. I love them. Most likely, I will post some of them. They make me smile. And then, I sit down at my computer or get back to work and realize that yes, it is wonderful to do what you love, but if you are doing it well, you will come to undesired road blocks. It is those road blocks or hurdles (specifically, those you overcome) that make you better at what you do. That even happens when you are loving what you do! So, I subscribe to the "lemonade into iced tea and on to a good ol' Arnie P." prescription for success. Surely, there is a better way to philosophize over that. I suppose I'll try someday. I suppose I'll be more successful someday as well. For today, that's what I've got.

So, here I am, the realist blogger who loves to dream, go for it and try to inspire along the way. How many people do you know that spend hours scanning Facebook only to click "log out" with a sad sigh? All that glitters is not gold, but we all have our oyster, can enjoy dreams and, in doing so, realize that nobody is to be left inferior for not having just bought the perfect home or given birth to the perfect child (that will never fill their diaper) or dawned the finest gown all to be documented, ever so importantly, for the "like's" of those following them on Facebook.

In honor of "keeping it real", here is a photo of my life to date. My children are awesome (not because they are perfect according to random measure or because they participate in all things elite and can out spell other children). I'm their mother and I'm partial. They keep me honest as "they" say! Part of what I think makes children so awesome is that each day represents an undiscovered adventure. How simple, yet profound.

So, here's to the adventure that is A Dance with Grace...




                                             Life if short, wear pink flippers and jump in!



        
             Sometimes you have to let your child express himself...especially when it comes to fashion! 

I'm a firm believer in a good nap. Sometimes, it's just what the doctor ordered. Why not enjoy it with your best friend?!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Marni Mann, Unleashed!



I'm so excited that Marni Mann has, once again, agreed to share with us about her journey as an author. Multiple books and another few layers of success later, she's the same open, driven, inspired and genuine person! This girl's talent ripens with age and yet she's as down to earth and humble as it gets. Mrs. Mann's latest book, Seductive Shadows, has been a little bit of a departure from her traditional approach. That's not to say that it is any less captivating. In fact, I think you'll find yourself as captivated as ever in what is perhaps a little more racey than your traditional nightly read. I always love reading her account of what makes up the life of a writer in such simple, yet inspiring manner. She doesn't beat around the bush and I can vouch for the fact that she's genuine and happy to be Marni Mann, a lover of friends and family and most importantly, a proud wife. That's not always easy to find. We all struggle with being content with who we are from time to time. Marni has always had an exceptional ability to put a person at ease with those beautiful, sincere eyes and smile or a laugh that keeps you remembering why she truly is as passionate, real, talented and engaged in following her dream as a writer as it appears. Simply put, she's comfortable in her own skin and as such, quite comfortable taking you on a ride to explore that of others! Let's let her words do the talking. Enjoy!

 
 
How did you make the switch to erotic writing?

It started with Charlie, my protagonist. For me, books always start with the characters. Certain images had triggered the story - a lace mask, a broken mirrored floor, several pieces of art, a psychic, etc. - and sex, organically, weaved them all together. I can’t say the switch was intentional, but I was aware that it was happening.

 

How long does it take you to write a book in general?

My first book took almost three years to complete. This last one I finished in about a month. It’s also my sixth book so the process has become much easier and much more streamlined.

 

Where do you get your inspiration?

Everywhere. Literally. Waiting in line at Starbucks, eavesdropping, movies, television, family, friends. I once read a quote that said, “I’m a writer. Anything you say or do may be used in a story.” It’s very true. (With permission, usually, of course.)

 

What helped you loosen up about writing on the racey side?

Practice, really. Besides the sex, this book was actually really challenging because it’s a very complex story with multiple layers. With each pass and draft it began to get easier. Oh, and wine. Lots of wine. ;)

 

What can you tell us about this book?

Charlie is a passionate, sensually-inspired art student, desperately seeking an escape from the abusive past that haunts her and a tragic accident that emptied her heart. Scarred and unable to love, her yearning for physical pleasure leads her into a tantalizing, dangerous world of power and seduction. The anonymity of the deal offers security; the money brings financial freedom and the madam is the mother figure she longs for.

 

But the thrill of the mansion and its arousing dominance quickly fades when she meets renowned-yet-mysterious Cameron Hardy, whose intense baby blue eyes send a nervous flutter through her core. Cameron is sexy, and not in a subtle way. He stimulates Charlie's art, her intellect and her desires. Just as he begins to break through her emotional boundaries, she discovers a devastating connection between her past and her scandalous work at the mansion, shattering everything she thought to be true.

 

Provocative, intoxicating and erotic, Seductive Shadows is the unforgettable tale of a young woman's self-discovery as she learns to forgive, to love and be loved, and to find redemption amidst a remarkable journey that will captivate your mind and stimulate your soul.

 

Is there anything about your writing (particularly in this book), that makes you nervous?

I used to get really nervous when discussing my novels in person, especially when meeting someone for the first time, because my writing is so dark. My books are honest and blunt, they’re very descriptive, and the topics I address are usually quite taboo. Now I embrace those conversations and I look forward to all the different reactions I get.

 

What has provided you the most confidence?

My readers. They’re truly AMAZING and loyal, so kind and complimentary. I save every note I receive and I read them all the time, especially on the days when I can’t get the words to click.

 

Where do you do most of your writing/thinking?

It depends on the weather. On really hot or cold days, I write in my office, but for the most part I write outside on my lanai. That’s one of the many reasons I love living in Florida. As for brainstorming/thinking, that’s constant: in the shower, walking the dogs, eating, basically every moment that I’m not writing or sleeping.

 

Who do you credit with inspiring you/supporting you with writing?

My husband, Brian, is tremendously supportive and I couldn’t do any of this without him. My creative team, my manager, editor and publisher, are just as inspiring and supportive. I’m so fortunate and grateful to have such a talented and caring force behind me.

 

What do you consider to be the best tools for learning to write?

Practice. Practice. Practice. Everyone says it, but it’s true. Every writer has their own unique voice and it’s impossible to find that voice unless you experiment. With practice, you’ll hone your craft. My other piece of advice is read everything you can get your hands on because behind every great writer is a great reader.

 

Looking forward, what gets your motor running/is exciting in terms of writing?

Preparing for new releases is always an exciting time. I’ve spent so much time writing this little nugget and watching it turn into a book - getting a face and a name, being put into layout, the marketing - is a pretty incredible experience. Starting a new project is just as exhilarating, especially when I have new characters to meet and speak for.

 

Can you give us a little something to look forward to or guess about for Marni's next project?

My next project is going to be a three-book series that’s set in Bar Harbor, Maine. The first book is tentatively titled Burned Betrayal, it’s in the New Adult genre, and it will be released in October. It’s about a young girl named Drew who loses her parents in a fire and the secrets and lies she uncovers after their death. It’s an emotional exploration, really, about family, friendship, and love.

 
As always, Niki, it has been such a pleasure. Thanks for taking the time to interview me and hosting me on your blog. xo



So, there you have it. That's what makes her tick, feeds her love of writing and reading and keeps her mind running. You can also learn more about Marni by clicking here.

To make it easier for you to purchase, I've included links below.

Amazon: Click here.
Kobo: Click here.
Barnes and Noble: Click here.
iTunes: Click here.





 
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