Hold the Glamour

I am a full-figure model and working mother. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I am a Leo. I am a first-generation Aussie and mother to two amazing little native New Yorkers. I believe that fashion is important—but so is real life. I believe that all women are beautiful and strong. I believe in working hard and loving harder. I believe in eating delicious food and drink with close friends, in breathing deep the air of new places, in laughing until you cry. I believe that when our bodies and minds are healthy and balanced, anything is possible.

Tag: Little Rock

The rippling effect of winter storms in the U.S.A.

Since returning from Australia on Sunday night I’ve had my fair share of excitement and action to say the least. I was barely home 20 hours before I had to get on another two planes bound for wonderful Little Rock, Arkansas again.

On a United Airlines plane, I sat next to a burly Priest and beside him a bearded lady sat that snored like a man. The whole plane was looking at her and since her snoring started before take-off, I knew it was going to be quite a journey. The signs were there.

I was connecting through Chicago and the Priest next to me said “Chicago is going to be hit by quite a storm tomorrow, possibly 10 inches”. As if God was talking to me though this man, I contacted my agent and travel agent immediately – you see I was connecting through Chicago the following evening on United again after my shoot was done. Thank you kind and informative Priest… You are a man of God indeed!

Who has time for jet lag? Two planes later and I gratefully make it to my final destination.

My 6am alarm was a challenge however, I managed through the day OK. My travel agent had changed my flight to connect through Atlanta the day before and just as well – my United Airlines flight through Chicago had been cancelled due to severe winter weather. See? It’s not glamourous but a crapshoot in avoiding disaster.

I was feeling good and confident about my journey home because as far as I knew, Atlanta was far away from the Mid-West storm. Ha – wrong again! The storms had created a rippling effect of delays and cancellations across the United States. Planes couldn’t get where they needed to and people were stranded and delayed by hours. Me included. Some never made it to their final destinations. We are talking about thousands of travelers. This is winter in the U.S.

As my shoot came to a finish, I received two calls from Delta Airlines saying my original flight had been delayed by two hours not once but twice in a matter of minutes. It was a scramble for my travel agent to try to get me back to New York pronto, you see I had to work in the city the following day. It was game on! (As it fortunately turned out, my day was switched around and I never lost the booking).

We tried it all out of Little Rock. A small domestic airport with zero direct flights to New York. My itinerary changed about four times and what resulted was far from ideal.

I ended up landing in Atlanta close to 10pm (was at the airport since 4pm) and the last connecting flight to La Guardia airport had taken off 10 mins prior to my landing. I tried to remain positive and was ready to sprint from terminal C to terminal T. It was no point as it was all too late. I simply had to roll with it. I had no choice.

So a Delta representative directed me to the customer service counter where I was checked in to a morning flight. I was put up in a Best Western Hotel near the airport for my inconvenience. This is the  first time in my career that I’ve been put up in a hotel by an airline and I hope it’s the last!

The last time I was in Little Rock almost two weeks ago, a similar thing happened remember? I had to stay overnight due to bad weather and fly back home on the first flight out. Connecting flights are no fun!

Well, this is not how I wanted to see Atlanta for the first time. I made it outside where the shuttle buses pull up and it was a circus. There were hundreds of people like me, stranded in Atlanta against their will.

Atlanta, GA - People everywhere in the freezing cold wind awaiting shuttle buses to their hotels, put up by the airlines

Atlanta, GA – People everywhere in the freezing cold wind awaiting shuttle buses to their hotels, put up by the airlines

It was freezing with high winds – no one was prepared for the frigid air that greeted us. Some people were in t-shirts bound for California. It was a shock to the system.

I waited approximately 15 minutes in the cold air before my shuttle from the hotel appeared mysteriously at around 11 pm. There were about 15 of us heading to the same place from all around the country. It was a hot mess!

I finally checked in, had a hot shower and got in to bed exhausted just before midnight. I really thought I was going to escape reality and find myself  in a deep five-hour sleep immediately… This was not the case. I tossed and turned for two hours, cold to the bone. I turned the heat up to 75 degrees fahrenheit (24 degrees celsius) to take the chill out of the room and me.

I woke to another recorded message from Delta… My 7.40am flight to New York had been cancelled. Why was I not surprised? I got to the airport in time to catch the first outbound flight  at 6.40am. I was so relieved to finally be going home. No amount of Visine was going to help this morning. It was not pretty.

Lately I feel my life and job are more about traveling and dodging aviation bullets rather than shooting fashion and being a fashion model. One has to be a trouble-shooter and ‘on’ all the time – you never know what’s going to happen!

Tomorrow I’m working in Philadelphia then I have two days scheduled in New York – yay to New York! I love shooting in the Big Apple – I get to sleep in my own bed, I get to see my family and I don’t have travel delays and unexpected overnight stays. It’s a welcome relief and change.

I have essentially been away from my husband and two children for two weeks now. It is tough on all of us. I’m looking forward to a wonderful weekend with my family, friends and Steve’s cousin who is visiting us from Australia. We have another jam-packed weekend of plans and activities with some rest included I hope.

NYC - Gloomy NY before a snow storm hits

NYC – Gloomy NY before a snow storm hits this evening

Where have you been stranded? And how?

What did you do until you made it to your final destination?

What wisdom or experience can you share?

Handy travel tips that make life easier

Since my last post, I’ve traveled out of New York a couple of times to Philly and Little Rock again. This time I got stuck in Little Rock, Arkansas. Funny how I can make it home during one of the biggest storms (Blizzard Nemo) in our area in a hundred years however, I can’t get home because of a thunderstorm.

On Monday early evening I was to fly out of Little Rock to New York, via Chicago. A thunderstorm delayed my outbound flight to Chicago and immediately it threatened my connection to New York. I had the choice to risk it and see what happens, end up in a hotel in Chicago or stay put in Little Rock. I decided to stay put.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to work yesterday however, it messed up my plans I had with Mila for the day as well as a bunch of errands I had to run and packing for my next trip.

Yesterday I woke up at 3.30am and caught a 6am flight out of Little Rock to Chicago where I connected for a flight to La Guardia. It was snowing when I arrived in Chicago. I arrived home around 1pm, approximately 14 hours after I was originally due to arrive. This is not the glamourous side to the business.

Little Rock, AK - My 6am sunrise from the plane

Little Rock, AK – My 6am sunrise from the plane

Chicago - It's snowing when we land

Chicago – It’s snowing when we land

You see I’m at JFK airport right now, awaiting my Qantas flight to Sydney, Australia. I start shooting for Ezibuy on Monday for a week and I’ve finally stopped still for what seems like the first time in days.

The endless preparation that goes on before I leave on big trips such as this one is incredible. The kids, house, me and business keep going on and on. Is it like this for all working mother’s? Is it like this for all people who travel a lot for their occupation? The constant juggling and planning never stops.

I wonder sometimes how I get it all done… I know my amazing husband has a lot to do with it. I am thankful and grateful for Steve who is my true partner in life and love. We are a team. I know I could not do this and have the life I/we have without him.

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you some travel tips that I have found to work for me whether I’m on the road for business or pleasure. If you have any ideas or tips you would like to share – please do so. I’m all ears.

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after your trip
  • Eat lightly
  • Pack healthy snacks like carrots and nuts in case you get hungry
  • Pack an eye-mask and ear plugs so you can zone out the noise and light and hopefully fall sleep
  • Pack some reading material especially for take-off and landing (no electronics allowed in use at this time)
  • Sleep whenever you can
  • Check and double-check all flight details and your itinerary
  • Ensure you have all travel documents in one, safe and easy place to access
  • Pack a scarf and extra clothes like a cardigan so you can layer – it can get very cold on the plane
  • Wear comfortable clothes

I’m sure I’ll remember other things to add. Stay tuned for more glamourous travel and life moments.

Blizzard Nemo – How do I get home?

I was on my way to Newark airport on Thursday afternoon when the driver of the Town Car mentioned the blizzard and storm heading our way to the Northeast the following day. He was asking about my trip and when I was due home. I told him the following night. He strongly suggested I check in with my travel agent as flights were being cancelled left, right and center. I had no idea! Where had I been hiding?

I called my booker at Ford and whilst I was on the phone to her, Delta called to inform me that my connecting flight from Atlanta to New York was cancelled on Friday night. It was on… Nature against me!

My travel agent changed my itinerary immediately. I had to get home on Friday night for a number of reasons. One of which, it was my husband’s birthday and we had made plans to celebrate and secondly, I didn’t want to be away from my family when crazy events like this occurred. We had to be together… No matter what.

So before I reached my hotel in Arkansas last Thursday night, a second flight had been cancelled. It was time to scramble. I asked if I could get home to New York via Amtrak (train) and my travel agent changed my itinerary for the third time. Nearly 3000 flights had been cancelled on Friday in the New York area alone. If I couldn’t fly home… I would have to find other means.

Little Rock, AK - leaving a beautiful day behind

Little Rock, AK – leaving a beautiful day behind

Mid-flight - Taking off from Little Rock, AK

Mid-flight – Taking off from Little Rock, AK

I ended up flying from Little Rock, AK to Washington, DC. My flight was on time and surprisingly it wasn’t full. I thought heading to the Northeast area would have been a hot mess. I kept checking and asking the airline if everything was on time and OK… Everything went smoothly and without any hiccups. I was so happy! Could this be for real? An impossibility turned into a simple reality?!

When I arrived in Washington, DC, I made my way via taxi to Union Station to catch an Amtrak train to Penn Station. I arrived two hours early and fortunately, managed to get on an earlier train. Two hours make a big difference at that time of night.

Washington, DC - Union Station

Washington, DC – Union Station

On route to New York, the train was packed and there was no evidence of snow, blizzard or storm until I reached Philadelphia (approximately 90 minutes before my final destination). It was incredible seeing and noticing the change in topography. My journey home was almost four hours on the train alone. Fortunately, it went by quickly. I spent a long part of my day traveling to get home.

An anthropologist sat next to me and we chatted most of the way to the Big Apple. She was an interesting woman. I love it when things like that happen so randomly and organically. I really enjoyed meeting Jill and discussing life, technology and family.

On a train going from Washington, DC to New York, NY

On a train going from Washington, DC to New York, NY

Once I arrived at Penn Station, NY, I hopped on the subway and made my way home to Brooklyn. The following two pictures I took whilst trying to walk home. The snow was pelting down and sideways. I could hardly see where I was going. It was 1am and hardly a soul on the street. It was exciting in a crazy way. I was so happy to be home… I was about to see my husband who was waiting up for me and I got to kiss my angels whilst they slept. Nothing else mattered. I was home, miraculously.

Brooklyn, NY - Out of the subway and onto the street

Brooklyn, NY – Out of the subway and onto the street

Brooklyn, NY - 1am and the Blizzard Nemo is still in full swing

Brooklyn, NY – 1am and Blizzard Nemo is still in full swing

Have you ever been stranded somewhere because of a natural disaster?

What happened?

What did you do?