I know a buttload of talented, gifted people. A BUTTLOAD. (I keep hoping some of their gifts will rub off on me and I shall fly! Fly to the top of the highest mountain!)
So I'm going to promote them, because (a) I can since this is my blog and I get to do whatever I want and (b) this is my blog and I get to do whatever I want on it.
Disclaimer: these products are fully, wholy, absolutely being endorsed by me, and if I could make you, I would force you to buy their products and you would THANK me for it. I swear on all that is holy and St. Mary's left buttock, you would thank me. Because your life would be happier and you would be at peace.
Endorsement #1. Patresa Hartman is a thoughtful, introspective, wise, and funny wordsmith/songwriter. I met Patresa on a blog years and years ago when I was reaching out to other writers and creative/expressives, and I latched onto her like a burr from a bush full of brambles. Fortunately for me, she has never pulled me off and we are friends to this day. I heart her, a lot.
Several years ago, Patresa and her friend Holly gathered me and about 7 other creative/expressive women (and 1 man) together and challenged us to a group project called COFFEE (it was an acronym for something real hipster--I can't remember what though. Something about chickens or champions). We each picked something that scared the bejeesus out of us or something that was really challenging to us--we tackled those things, wrestled around in the mud with them, and kicked their asses until we were standing tall and proud, flexing our muscles like Rosie the Riveter(s).
Someone's project was writing a novel...another was going to tackle an entire Be More Creative program...another was going to jump out of a plane or something. My project was Cooking More (seriously, 2010 Amy?). Today, my project would be Pitch a Television Show to a Real TV Producer...or Take an Acting Class and Audition for a Real Play...or Write Your Effing Novel Already, Amy. But 2010 Amy was a big, ridiculous idiot, so I wrote about shopping at Whole Foods and filmed myself "cooking." Like I'm Jamie Oliver's hick wannabe cousin.
Patresa's project was to sing in front of a live audience. Patresa can SING, y'all! She always has, but she was scared shitless to do it in front of strangers. So she wrote about her fears on the COFFEE blog, filmed a bunch of YouTube videos of her sharing her beautiful song creations, and then, finally, one night deep in the darkest of winter ('cause that's when the magic happens), she went to a coffeehouse, stretched out her wings...and she flew.
Inspiring. She's simply inspiring. (This is the part where she is cringing in embarrassment at her computer and rolling her eyes and going: Dude, you're really overselling this.) (And this is the part where I am shushing her, and telling her to stop that, stop it right now!) I am determined for Patresa to be a household name.
So here's what she has done since embarking on that journey four years ago: she's written a bunch of gorgeous, heart-filled songs. Songs that, when I heard them as I drove to work one day, kind of made me teary-eyed. I said out loud to nobody in the car except maybe to her heart miles away, "Patresa! Oh my god! This is YOU! This is YOU, Patresa!" Because I remember what a big chicken she was, and NOW look at her. Just LOOK at her!
I love Patresa's voice, I love her words, I love her soothing melodies and rhythms. Her music is beautiful, reflections of her soul. And I promise I am not just saying this to get you to buy her product (the stuff I'm about to write is to get you to buy her product). Her songs remind me of Ani Difranco and Alanis Morrisette (but after she got over being angry about being dumped and discovered Buddha). With a tad bit of Ingrid Michaelson. Maybe some Suzanne Vega here and there. And then big chunks of her own sound that nobody else has done.
Here's the really creative part: she wrote a book (with only 8 cuss words in it) to go with the CD. And the consumer conscious, gorgeous part about that is if you'd really rather just read words, you can skip the CD (although you'd be insane to do that) or if you'd really rather just listen to her music, you can skip the book (although you'd be insane to do that). The book is a collection of essays to go with the songs, and the essays will have you connecting so strongly to Patresa's creative musings, you will wonder--as I often do--if she's stealing your inner thoughts somehow. She writes from the heart, and is an innate storyteller/connector of people.
So here are some links to Patresa's Reverb nation and Facebook pages. But if you just want to cut to the chase and go get you some amazing amazingness, go HERE: patresahartman.com.
Endorsement #2. I met my friend Angie several years ago when we worked together. We got very close due to extenuating and stressful circumstances, and then? One day? Angie stopped me in the hall and went, "Hey. I have a project I need your help with." And proceeded to let me know she had an idea for a television show, but she needed someone who could write...and would I be willing to consider writing the script for it? At least the pilot?
I had never written a script before, but I have written a lot of other stuff, and so I thought: writing is writing is writing is writing, right? How hard can it be? I high fived her, and said: "Let's get her done!" And then proceeded to slowly discover: writing is NOT writing is NOT writing is NOT writing. Script writing is much different than short story writing...but I'm working on it. I'm totally trainable! (Unless it's cooking...that's going to be a lifelong in-training project, I discovered during the COFFEE project.)
At any rate, that was just information to tell you why and how Angie became such a dear friend. She has a sweet, creative, imaginative little girl a really great husband, and she has a bunch of chickens (plus 1 mean old rooster), goats, a donkey, and an awesome saltwater swimming pool that Miss M and I are completely going to commandeer all next summer.
The coolest thing about Angie is that she's not only a creative/expressive, but she's a Scientist on top of it. Who says Science and Creativity aren't connected?! (Not Albert Einstein.) She's a talented photographer AND she's a budding fashion designer. I just discovered this the other day when she sent me a link on Facebook to her Etsy shop and offered up the exact kind of dress I'd have lived in when I was 5 or 6. (okay, fine...it would have also needed sparkles, but I'm sure Angie can do it.) So go HERE if you'd like to own some of her amazing fashion creations...hopefully you also have someone near you who can wear it. (If you're telling me you could totally wear something a 4 year old girl could wear because it's just your size since you are a size negative 12, then we can't be friends. I'm sorry, I know that's very shallow of me, but it's how I feel and so I'm sorry, no. We can't hang out.)
Endorsement #3. My sweet friend Jaime is an amazing photographer! In addition to star photographer, Jaime is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know. She's a consummate problem solver and vessel of positivity. When I broke my foot a year ago, Jaime showed up at my house with one of those long handled claw thingies so I could sit in my makeshift wheelchair/office chair and be able to reach stuff up high. She brought Miss M star sunglasses, because Jaime's that kind of thoughtful. Later, the claw thingie became a toy for Miss M, and she would play with it while wearing her star sunglasses.
And on top of all that, Jaime's got an artist's eye.
Really, I don't know why she's languishing in a day job when she could be out there, traipsing the world on assignment from National Geographic. Or snapping pictures of famous people (she would be the CLASSY section of the paparazzi).
Last summer, Jaime got to go to Portugal and Spain, and I completely traveled vicariously with her through all her lovely photographs. When Hugh Jackman stars in the movie version of one of my books, I will invite Jaime to the red carpet premiere and Hugh and I will give her all the exclusive photos and make her world famous and rich. Annie Liebowitz will fume for years about it.
You can buy some of her amazeball photographs of amazing places HERE: JaimeMara Photography.
Endorsment #4. My friend Brenda is also a former coworker. If you need your kid to learn anything, she's the person to put your kid with. She's also got a supernatural ability when it comes to being organized and on target. In addition to all of that, Brenda bakes hot cross buns. No seriously, she bakes. Like a madwoman, she bakes. In fact, she has a whole business called Brenda Bakes. She can make amazing cakes! And cupcakes. And cake pops. And other sweet treats that will send you into sugar shock and put you on a diet until mid-2015 but good god it'll be worth it.
Listen: if you need a cake? This is your cake lady. She could make you a cake of Godzilla looking pensive yet irreverent as he holds leftover bits of chewed up humans bleeding out guts and stuff. I don't know why in the world you'd even want a cake like that, but let's say you did. Brenda could make it.
So if you live in Atlanta, you should...wait, what? What did you just say? You don't live in Atlanta?! Oh. Jeez. God. Sorry. Well, that sucks so much for you. But if you DO live in Atlanta, (1) high five on choosing to move here and (2) if you need an amazing cake while you're here, you can click THIS: brendabakes.com and Brenda will totally bake you one. (If you ask for my Godzilla cake, you have to save me a piece.)
That's it. I bet I forgot someone amazing. If I did, I will be doing another round of talent agency of amazing amazement endorsements later, and I will fix this! (This is the problem with knowing a lot of talented creatives. There's so many my brain doesn't always get them all.)
In conclusion: by the end of today, I expect you to have ordered a CD/book by an amazing singer/songwriter...a gorgeous dress that hopefully your daughter/granddaughter/niece/brave nephew in touch with his mystical feminine can wear to parties...a stunning rendition of life in Spain or Portugal or Georgia/USA...and a Godzilla cake (of which you will save me the bloody guts piece and I don't want to hear a single complaint about that since I was the one who told you about this).
Got it? GO!