You guys, I have several friends who have done and are doing big things. But, when I was trying to decide who I wanted you to hear from, this chick right here was at the top of the list. I met Andrea when I was an insecure college student in Provo, Utah. She came rolling into the salon I worked at full of confidence and spunk. I was SO intimidated by her. Little did I know how much I would learn from her and how to shine even when life isn’t all sunshine and roses. When she decided to open her own day spa, she even took me with her (which was oh so helpful during my broker than broke newlywed days). I love her to pieces and I know you will too.
(1) Tell everyone about yourself.
I am originally from British Columbia, Canada. I spent several years in Pleasant Grove, Utah where I met and married the love of my life. We will be celebrating 22 years of marriage in May. I have four beautiful children and an angel baby. For the last 19 years I have been an educator and business owner as a Master Aesthetician. I currently reside in Chandler, Arizona and am proud to call it home. I am a former Mrs Arizona United States 2016 and Mrs Arizona International 2017.
(2) What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I think the obvious answer and the one we tend to say first are my kids. But as moms I think we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve for fear of sounding selfish or that it would make us sound like we don’t love our kids (which couldn’t be further from the truth) so yes, I will toot my own horn. I NEVER in a million years considered myself pretty, or beautiful, or special or unique or that I could possibly have anything of value to share with others. I was just trucking along in life doing my best to be a good mother, and wife, and Aesthetician. However, at 37 years old my children convinced me to do this pageant that a friend had recommended. I thought, how could I ever tell my own kids to step out of their comfort zone or try something new if I wasn’t willing to do it myself. So, I jumped in with both feet. Needless to say, that first try was a bit of a train wreck. I had no clue what I was doing, how to walk, dress, pose, speak etc. but the experience was so fun and an eye opener to what I could be capable of. Now don’t get me wrong, ALL those insecurities I had didn’t just magically go away. Especially when you’ve got seasoned pageant veterans who are models, and doctors, and news anchors, and athletes, and are seemingly perfect in every way your being compared to. But I did manage to realize with the help of my amazing husband, family and friends that it wasn’t about that. It became about what I could push myself to do, what I could learn about myself, what growth I could take from it. Not how I stacked up next to someone else. With that I knew I had to do that again, so I hired a pageant coach, got to work and busted my butt for a whole year to prepare to compete again. Well, hard work pays off and I WON! My greatest accomplishment wasn’t the fact that I won the crown. It was that I got out of my own way, I grew immensely as a woman, a mom, a wife, a human, and as me. I started to believe some things about myself that I never realized I didn’t believe. I understood my value, my strengths, my passion for community service, and that there are things out there greater than ourselves and being a mom or a wife or just an Aesthetician doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice who I am or goals I have.
(3) What insights have you gained through these experiences?
You are never too old to try new things. We are much more capable of what we give ourselves credit for and by putting aside the negative self-talk and doubt even for just a moment we see the bigger picture of who we are really are meant to be; and the power we all possess.
(4) What do you think holds people back from going after a dream?
Lots of things. Money, time, the thought of failure, energy, self-doubt or lack of knowledge about how and where to begin.
(5) What motto or mantra do you live by?
This changes for me on a regular basis but first and foremost I try to be kind. Secondly, it’s an evolution of sorts. Where I am in life with my career, my children, my marriage and in general, my motto changes. Be kind, live in the moment, be yourself, to give is to receive, etc.
(6) What experience has had the biggest impact on your life?
Up until 2008 I would have said my kids. However, in 2008 I went in for a same day, routine operation and woke up 3 days later in the ICU. The only thing I remember is being in a very warm place and seeing my grandmother. I later found out that my femoral artery was cut, and I bled out in surgery. So live for today and love hard!
(7) What is the best way for someone to get involved in their community?
I was fortunate enough to have been connected with march of dimes since the birth of my first son in 1998. With todays social media its nearly impossible to not find events, fundraisers, walks, etc. Id start with a search on Facebook or you can contact your local chamber of commerce. Visit hospitals, animal shelters, soup kitchens etc. and find out if they offer any volunteer events. Time is the most valuable thing we have to give and giving often fulfills you like nothing else can.
(8) What blessings have come from volunteering?
Mostly just being more appreciative for what I have. Involving my children has been great. Having them experience first hand giving of their time and seeing the less fortunate also helps keep them a little more humble.
(9) What are your top 3 tips to help someone get started on chasing their dreams?
1 - Make a plan and then a backup plan.
2 - Have a support system.
3 - Keep pushing, even when it seems impossible.
(10) What keeps you grounded?
I try to tell myself each day that my life is good, to be grateful for what I have and that the day is not promised.
(11) Is there anything you would do differently if given the chance?
No. The good times create memories and the bad times build strength. I am who I am because of all the experiences I’ve had.
(12) What is your favorite part of your connection with the March of Dimes? Pageants?
March of Dimes - I will forever be grateful to the MOD for saving my sons life as a preemie baby. I love that their goal is and always has been focused on saving lives of moms and babies alike. I participate in so many events with them it’s hard to pick a favorite. We do fundraisers with celebrity chefs, live auctions, the 5k walks, zoo events, symposiums, tv interviews, and NICU visits. I did get to take a helicopter ride on a preemie transport from one hospital to another once - that was really cool.
Pageant - All of it!! The gowns, the glamour, the competition, being on stage, sharing my passion and story with judges, the travel, the sisterhood, the nitty gritty of volunteering, getting dirty (picking up trash on the freeway or building houses for habitat for humanity), serving families at Thanksgiving with nowhere to go. ALL OF IT!!
(13) What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I am deathly terrified of snakes, but I love and have pet tarantulas.
(14) Finish the sentence…
The secret to being happy is…Yourself. No one can make you happy. We are in charge of our own happiness – period.! We all have this false sense of what our lives should look like, or be like, comparing what we have or don’t have. Being negative puts a damper on life. Focus every day on saying, thinking, speaking positive things. I’m a big believer of what you put in the universe, the universe returns. Happiness is a state of mind, it’s a conscious effort to just be happy. Not always easy, but possible.
And now you know why she’s one of my friendships I haven’t let slip away! I love Andrea’s advice to be present in your life now and take time to enjoy it now. Go do it!