Yes, you read that right!!

I did win the lotto and I will be sharing my winnings with you!

If you have been following my newsletters, you’ll recall my shock and horror at what I learned while

watching Century of Self and Surveillance Capitalism. If you missed that one, you can read it here (along with all of my previous newsletters).

May was my annual women’s retreat in Myrtle Beach. What started out as a business mastermind gathering in 2021, has morphed into a four day non-stop fun fest with yours truly being the master of

ceremonies (well at least Master of the Excursions). 

This is the kind of trip where the destination doesn’t matter because we are the attraction. 

Starting in January, I made mermaid crowns, costumes, and accessories for our annual photo shoot.

Someone much thinner than I decided on the mermaid theme and I chose a vintage arcade as the second photo shoot location.

Fun Fact: It’s easy to look good with a pinball machine in front of you.

For four months, I designed, glued and bedazzled (and I am still vacuuming up glitter and rhinestones) and I packed up 3 large clear container bins, one ball gown, plus my luggage. The hatchback of the SUV barely closed shut.

When women get together, especially for a retreat, it’s Non Stop talking and laughing. It feels like going away to summer camp, so I really couldn’t wait to get out of the driveway. Four of the group of seven caravanned from Raleigh to Myrtle Beach and three flew in directly into MB.

We arrived at the same beach front condo we rent every year, flung open the balcony and poured our first libation. I figured it would be a good time to show everybody what I had made, do a

wardrobe check and see if anything needed to be added.

In all of the excitement, I FORGOT TO PACK THE CROWNS, The Most Important Part of the Photo Shoot!

Thankfully and most gratefully, Mr. Celtic Complexion came to the rescue and drove seven hours round trip to deliver the crowns to us. For that reason alone, he gets the Husband-of-the-Year Award. Whew, crisis averted!

I love upcycling clothing to make my own unique style. I view clothing as an artistic expression and use it to bring joy to others.

Color therapy, along with art therapy are tools in my toolbox to shift my mood. Although it sounds like a lot of woo-woo, it Really works. Read more about that here .

My first exposure to color therapy and wearing clothing as art came in the mid 90’s when a woman walked up to my makeup counter at Nordstrom wearing the most colorful ensemble I had ever seen. She was a happy, exuberant show stopper named Aleta and our shared love of Makeup Forever glitter powder sealed the deal for us becoming lifelong friends.

She shopped at the very best consignment and thrift shops in the SF Bay Area and taught me all about the maximalist aesthetic, only I was too young and insecure to wear anything but black back then.

It takes a lot of confidence to pull off a unique style and she was definitely viewed as a mysterious eccentric (a title I aspire to these days). Makes sense because she is a couple of decades older than me so she had more practice by the time I met her. She never missed an opportunity to dress for the occasion, even if that occasion was just grocery shopping.

I think of her every single time I dress to impress as in WWAD (what would Aleta do?). Ironically, she phoned me today and we had a lovely conversation about her new-to-her Johnny Was pieces.

This is a video about a woman named Lynn Dell, she reminds me a lot of Aleta. She was known as the Countess of Glamour. “Fashion says Me Too, but style says Only Me”. She owned a boutique off Broadway in NYC for 42 years and she is definitely an unapologetic icon.

I aspire to live as colorful as both of them as I age.

I’m sharing this with you because I used what I learned from them for a group activity during our trip. Feel free to steal this idea (and please let me know your results if you do).

I purchased a HUGE pink ball gown at Goodwill for $18. Think prom dress from the 80’s. Lots and LOTS of tulle and rhinestones (can’t forget the rhinestones!). I brought it with me and it didn’t quite excite the ladies like it did me, but I didn’t let that deter me.

The second night we were there, I brought the ball gown out to the balcony and they thought it was for me to wear. They know me well enough to know that yes, I would sit on an oceanfront balcony, sipping a cocktail while the portable fan blows wind in my hair (not just for dramatic effect, but for hot flashes too).

“I brought this for us,” I explained. I read the room: confusion, disbelief and excuses of why they couldn’t wear the dress. Rather than beg, plead or insist them to take turns wearing it, I decided to put it on and show them how much fun it was to wear the dress. You can’t put this dress on without wanting to twirl!

Mind you, we range in ages from mid 40’s to mid 60’s and sizes (6 to 14). They figured it wouldn’t fit and it wasn’t age appropriate. I set out on a mission to prove them wrong, lol.

Do you remember the old timey photo studios at Walt Disney World? They had costumes that fit everyone because they had ties in the back. Well I took that concept and brought along a blouse of the same color, cut it up the center and used it as a tie to hold the dress up if it didn’t zip up. I added some massive statement necklaces and voila’…it would fit anyone.

I put the dress on, and took my “assistant photographer” downstairs with me to get some great epic photos. I did get a lot of stares in the elevator and walking outside because most everyone else was in summer attire (bathing suits and shorts). Which one of these is not like the other one?

I confidently walked right in front of the building, waited in the median and when there were no cars coming, I ran into the middle of the street and started twirling while my assistant started snapping away. She didn’t stop until she heard a car approach. It was maybe 2 minutes tops. From the photo, it looks like I had free reign of the entire building.¬†

A few minutes later, as we walked back to the lobby, I spotted a set of huge wooden arched doors begging to be used as a prop. Happy to oblige, I ran in front of them and with the ambition of an America’s Next Top Model contestant, and imagined Tyra Banks and J. Alexander rooting me on.

She was able to take maybe 5 shots before they flung open. By this time, people were starting to wonder either who I was, or why I was wearing this cake topper of a dress.

We made our way back up to our hotel room and I showed the ladies my pictures and they wanted some of that pink dress magic too!

One by one, they slipped into the dress and went out to the balcony and twirled, danced, laughed and vogued to their heart’s content.

We cheered each other one and people from down below on the pier all wondered what we were up to. I watched them transform into little girls again. 

We talked about that dress the rest of the evening and we texted the photos to our friends and family back home (all who loved them and wanted to see more). It was a team building exercise for sure. They trusted me now to know I would only want them to look their best so any hair-brained Lucy idea I came up with after this, they were all in for.

The next day, a couple of us went skydiving (not I) and the rest of us visited a tropical botanical garden.The day after that was our mermaid photoshoot and the following day was a spa day.

We never did the same thing twice and we laughed non-stop for four days and nights. Big belly laughs that felt like a workout. The kind where you snort and just *may appreciate a Poise pad. 

It was as if we left the entire world at the door when we arrived and just enjoyed each other’s company. Eye-to-eye, no phones, no TV, no agenda. In other words, a perfect vacation.

I remember feeling so absolutely grateful that I have these kinds of friendships, the kind where you can joke with each other without being offended, have differences, not have to be guarded or wear a mask (metaphorically). We are all on different paths, have different goals and there is zero competition or jealousy.

I rode that wave of good vibes all the way home and as I got back into my routine in the following weeks;  working, doing chores, tending to my garden and reconnecting with my friends and family, something profoundly shifted in me.

Rather than chasing external markers of success, I have turned inward, seeking fulfillment through self-discovery and personal development. This shift was not precipitated by a major life event but rather a gradual realization that my previous goals no longer aligned with my current values and desires.

The following weekend upon returning from vacation, Mr. Celtic Complexion and I spent Saturday in the yard. We both wore headphones and listened to our favorite tunes.

As I was singing (loudly) and dancing around the flowers with the hose, he drove up behind me and asked if I wanted a ride. I smiled and jumped in the back and he drove around the perimeter of the yard as if giving me a tour of the property.

He kept looking back at me laughing and I remember distinctly thinking¬†“Don’t ever forget this moment”. I took out my phone and snapped this picture to make sure I didn’t:

He turned back around and continued to drive towards the shed and I thought to myself “I won the lottery, I have it all!”

What I mean by that isI already have great health ( a pain free body), a supportive husband who loves me just as I am and takes care of me, a mom who has turned into my best friend, a step son who has a great head on his shoulders and who I talk to every week, friends that make me laugh, a beautiful home, and fun hobbies that inspire me. 

It was my Ah-ha moment.

I let go of the 30 year old version of myself (and her goals) and the goals of my generation (the Greed-is-Good 80’s), and the goals of every marketing message that has been locked away in my subconscious since Sesame Street.

Along with that (and with the guidance of some amazing mentors), I saw and understood at the core of my being just how much time and energy is given away to things that won’t make any positive impact on my life, ever.

They are just robbing me of time which could be spent with the people I love, doing the things I love.

Maybe this is what Thomas Jefferson meant when he wrote “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence.

More than anything I’ve ever shared with you before, these two videos (Mel Robbins interviews) rocked me to the core and definitely re-affirmed my Ah-Ha moment.This one is about happiness  and this one is about stealing

time. 

This is how I won the lotto. I’m sharing the knowledge with you so that you can win the lotto too. Once you win, share it with those you care about too.