What a year! And it isn't over yet...
It's been a hell of a year for more reasons than one! Engaged in January and married in May... that in itself would be enough to make 2015 the greatest year ever.
photograph by Scott Smallin
Top it off with finding out on your wedding day that you are a finalist for JTV's Rockstar Designer Competition and that is reason enough to smile. But it just keeps getting better. I made it to the top 10 after friends and family all over social media voted daily for over a month. Then I progressed to the TOP 5 after winning the judges over with background footage of me just being me.
video courtesy of JTV
The top 5 finalists were flown to Knoxville, TN where we spent the last week of June going through daily challenges and eliminations to make up the first ever home shopping network reality series. We went into this thinking it would solely be a youtube series and were later informed that it would be airing on JTV's network which reaches 85 million households... Let me repeat that, 85 million households!!! I returned home to Myrtle Beach with four new wonderfully creative women as friends and the big secret of knowing that I had won!
My new hubby and I set off on our month long road trip honeymoon out west and I had four solid weeks to digest all of the excitement. 2015 has blown my mind at this point!
We got home from our honeymoon just in time for the show's premier Friday, August 31. The top 5 contestants were announced and. At that point, going grocery shopping got tricky because running into people brought on various questions..."So have you already filmed the show or do you go away each week?" or "How are you here when you are on TV?" By the end of the eight weeks, I was just as anxious for them to announce the winner as everyone else even though I knew the outcome. I didn't know how much longer I could go to bootcamp and yoga and dodge the inquiries.
The finale of the show aired over a week ago on Friday, Sept 18. I spent that weekend in Knoxville, accompanied by my father, celebrating my moment as the first ever JTV Rockstar Designer. I met with the buyers to discuss the line that I will design and sell exclusively for JTV and later went on the LIVE Girlfriend Friday show with JTV's veteran hosts Misty Mills and Nikki Rouleau after I was announced the winner! I spent the weekend with my dad touring Knoxville, cheering on the VOLS and finished up my trip teaching on JTV's Jewel School with Sheree Henry on Monday morning. Before heading back to the beach, we gathered in the atrium of the JTV headquarters so that I could pull the winning raffle ticket for one lucky employee to win a gift card. There I found myself standing in the middle of the room with applause all around me.
Today, Sunday, Sept 27 I sit here trying to gather the words to describe every emotion that I am feeling about this year. In addition to the JTV hoopla, I had pieces of my jewelry in Charleston Magazine and Grand Strand Magazine. I was named one of Grand Strand's Most Stylish and voted Best Jeweler in Myrtle Beach from the Grand Strand's Most Happening List. I had a beautiful article written about me in Sasee magazine and just two days ago an article in our local paper, The Sun News. Am I tooting my own horn here? No way Jose!! I am in complete awe of what has come from four years of hard work devoted to creating my dream job and not giving up! I am grateful for every single person that has helped me get here and supported me along the way! I am thankful for my family, friends and mentors who believe in me and want to see me succeed.
photograph by Andrew Cebulka for Grand Strand Magazine
They always say when it rains, it pours and I just haven't had a chance to dry off from the beautiful showers that 2015 has blessed me with. Truth be told, it was just last year that I had a moment of contemplation about my career as a jeweler. What was my vision and direction? Fear and doubt crept in (and still does sometimes) and I wondered if I should just make it a hobby. But I gave it time, I prayed about it and I just kept making jewelry. This questioning and seeking filtered into other areas of my life and it allowed for me to get honest with myself. I committed myself to a healthier lifestyle of daily bootcamp or yoga. I changed my diet and began to see a difference in my body and my mind. Things started to align personally and professionally and I kept moving forward. I keep looking forward.
I can look back on my almost 32 years and remember vividly the shitty ones. But each one of those not so great chapters were the turn of the tide and the years that followed the worst ones were some of the breakthrough moments in my life. 2015 has been that breakthrough year where I've learned so much about myself and I've realized what I am capable of doing. I can see so much more clearly a direction and a goal, while still allowing things to manifest as they may.
photograph by Scott Smallin
I share with you all of these things because maybe you are having a wonderful year and you need someone to share that excitement with! Don't be afraid to pat yourself on the back and be ecstatic about it! I'm proud of you and encourage you to keep going! Maybe things are turning out the way you thought they would and you are contemplating throwing in the towel. If that's the case, take time to think it through, weigh your options and make the decisions that will make you the most happy in the end. Don't give up on your dream too easily or quickly! Ask for help and stay humble.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have supported and continue to support this little jewelry dream, watched the show, root me on, follow my little love story and our wild adventures, laughed along with me at my on air facial expressions, ask me about Rice + Beans (my sweet kitties) and share with me this beautiful thing called life! 2015 is one for the books!