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: transportation

Never take it for granted

I just returned from a shoot in San Francisco. I love this US city and there is something special and different about San Fran from most other places I visit.

San Francisco - Just landed and heading  directly to my fitting

San Francisco – Just landed and heading directly to my fitting

You can blindfold me before getting off an aircraft and I just know whether I’m on the east or west coast of America. On the west coast, the skies are bluer and clearer (or so they seem) — there is a feeling of space, clarity and nature. I love the difference between the coasts.

San Francisco - The skies are blue and vast

San Francisco – The skies are blue and vast

As my plane was descending and about to land, I looked outside my window and saw the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 that crashed upon landing, lying on the runway, only days before my arrival.

I was shocked to see it, seeing the plane in real life — what made headlines all over the world for days on end was now staring up at me as I flew over it.

It was so surreal and strange as I stared out the window. I was reminded how precious life is and how blessed I feel with the all the traveling I do.

San Francisco Airport

San Francisco Airport

To all those involved and affected by this horrible tragedy, my thoughts and condolences go out to you. I am deeply sorry.

San Francisco sessions

I recently returned from San Francisco, CA were I was working on a shoot with a new client. I flew the six hours it takes to get to the west coast from New York and I must say, I love San Fran! It has been over ten years since I was there last. I have missed it. The sun, blue skies and mild winter weather welcomed me with open arms. I could live in San Francisco in a heartbeat. I really enjoy the west coast of the USA.

Once on the ground, I caught a cab and checked into my downtown hotel. I stayed at the Hotel Diva and I’m sure the hotel has seen many a Diva walk the hallways. The small boutique hotel was clean, comfortable and the staff were helpful and friendly. I requested a ‘quiet’ room and fortunately got one. Sometimes it is hard to get such a room in a place like this.

I slept really well – the bed was so comfortable I barely moved. I love a good, big, comfy bed and the right pillows are crucial. I slept with four body pillows of a soft to medium firmness. Just right! I was in heaven.

I caught up with one of the two models I was working with – Molly, in the foyer of the hotel. We shared a cab to the studio where we were shooting the following day. We had a fitting for our outfits to ensure they fit correctly and properly. Tailors were on hand to have the clothes fit our bodies. Not too many clients do this these days unless it’s an advertising job, campaign or the client simply has a good budget.

San Francisco - Ivana, Molly and I at our fitting

San Francisco – Ivana, Molly and I at our fitting

San Francisco - the clothes on the rack for the eight day shoot

San Francisco – the clothes on the racks for the eight-day shoot

After our fitting was done, Molly and I went to Tan Bella for a spray tan. The client wanted our skin tone to be a little warmer (colour) so off we went inside our very own spray tan booths. We were instructed how to stand and position our bodies in four different poses to ensure an even coverage all over.

San Francisco - Tan Bella for a spray tan

San Francisco – Tan Bella for a spray tan

A machine sprayed me for the first time and it was a very good and even tan. There was no bronzer applied with the tan so it didn’t rub off onto our clothes etc. We kept the tan on overnight and showered in the morning so it could process. We had to keep the spray tan on for at least six hours.

I have a client who requests a spray tan all the time, and usually a woman with a spray gun applies the tan and instructs you how to stand and move inside a little room. The tan from Tan Bella is hands down the best I’ve ever had anywhere in the world. I was impressed.

Molly and I return to our hotel not long after. I call my family and say good night to my angels – there is a three-hour time zone difference from the west and east coasts of America so I had to call before their bedtime.

Then, Ivana and I step out for a quick and yummy dinner in a nearby Japanese restaurant. It was delicious and it was lovely to have company and someone to share the experience.

The next day, the shoot goes smoothly and the very large production team are happy with our progress and results. I shoot single shots of my outfits then doubles with either Molly or Ivana and then finally the client wants options with the three of us in the same shot. The more models in a shot, the longer the shot takes and the more frames you have to take, generally speaking. You see, three of us have to look good in the same image which is harder than one might think.

San Francisco - Hans our photographer is all smiles during our shoot

San Francisco – Hans our photographer is all smiles during our shoot

We finish early and the three of us head straight to the airport hoping to catch the last flight of the afternoon, before the red-eye flights we are booked on, heading to the east coast. We don’t make it and that’s just what happens sometimes. I just go with it.

San Francisco - Molly, me and Ivana on our way to the airport

San Francisco – Molly, me and Ivana on our way to the airport

The American Airlines terminal at San Francisco airport is one of the cleanest, nicest, newest, widest I’ve ever seen! As I passed through security, I spotted a Yoga Room inside the terminal! Are you kidding? I have never seen a Yoga Room in an airport before… Welcome to the west coast people! I love it.

San Francisco - the Yoga Room at American Airlines terminal

San Francisco – the Yoga Room at American Airlines terminal

I sat in the Airline lounge comfortably waiting for my 10.40pm flight to New York. I ordered a meal from one of the organic/natural deli’s in the terminal. It was so up my alley. There was fresh, healthy food choices every where I looked. I wish all airport terminals were like this one. It was so civilised.

San Francisco - American Airlines terminal

San Francisco – American Airlines terminal

San Francisco - American Airlines terminal

San Francisco – American Airlines terminal

What amazing or crazy things have you seen in your travels?

What airport terminals do you love to frequent? Why?

What suggestions or recommendations do you have for better services inside airports?

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?

10 planes in 8 days

I do laugh when people say I lead a glamourous life! I was a total wreck up until a few days ago and I like many other working mothers and parents still have to keep going, no matter what.

Midflight from Sydney to Los Angeles

Mid-flight from Sydney to Los Angeles

I returned from Australia almost two weeks ago and for the first few nights was awake most of the evening with jet-lag. Oh how I love jet-lag especially traveling east! It is in my experience, always worse on your body.

The day after I returned home I had to unpack and re-pack my bag for another work trip. I desperately tried to find the time to kiss and hug my family a million times before a six-hour journey to the middle of Arkansas on two different planes. I was asleep before take off both times and I slept most of the way, only to find myself stiff and sore from sleeping upright in an uncomfortable airline chair.

Arkansas - Arriving at a late hour and the airport is empty

Arkansas – Arriving at a late hour and the airport is deserted

This is survival – I arrive an hour late and not only is it below freezing in Arkansas, my ride isn’t at the airport as arranged. I call the hotel and they don’t have me booked in with them this particular night so I go ahead and make a booking myself, catch a yellow cab for a half hour drive out of the city, heading to the woods it seemed. I watch too much Law & Order as my mind was racing – I’ve never been to this part of the world before and it was dark, cold and remote. I was wide awake at this point with my mobile in hand.

I repeat the address to the taxi driver who is approx. 6’3” and is wearing overalls, to make sure he knows where to rightfully take me. See, I told you! All he says is, “Yes, ma’am”. You can’t blame me for being nervous right?

I then wait at the hotel reception for about 15 minutes as their computer system was down and the new kid on the block wasn’t able to kick-start it without help from someone on the phone. I just roll with it – there is no point in doing anything else.

I finally get to my room after midnight and the room is freezing. It takes me about two hours to fall asleep as I kept getting up trying to get warm. I put socks on first, then a blanket over me then another, until I reluctantly turned the heater on. It sounded like I was on an airport runway without earplugs or headphones. Lucky for me, I always travel with earplugs and an eye mask. Tools of the trade.

I wake at 6am for a 7am start. Fortunately, the crew were as eager as I was for a Starbucks run before work. The shoot went smoothly and quickly enough. Jet-lag slapped me in the face again by 2.30pm and I could not wait till my 6pm connecting flight so I could sleep, even if it was for an hour. I didn’t know what time zone my body was in.

Notice the WiFi sign on planes these days - gone are the No Smoking ones

Notice the WiFi sign on planes these days – gone are the No Smoking ones

I arrive home a day later at 1am from the airport and find myself awake till 5am, lying in bed trying desperately to zone out. What can I say… I thought of one million things I could have done during this time if it were daylight. I could have been so productive.

The couple of days that followed, I stayed as still as possible and at home with my family before a busy shoot in Manhattan. I rock-n-roll from one city to another!

New York - Finishing touches at the hair and make-up station

New York – Finishing touches at the hair and make-up station

New York - Walking to the subway from the midtown studio with The Empire State Building in front

New York – Walking to the subway from the midtown studio with The Empire State Building in front

This lovely pattern went on for almost a week, including a second trip to Arkansas. I am happy to say the second trip went smoothly and without any delays. My ride even made contact before I left for New York. Happy days indeed!

I traveled on 10 planes in eight days. It is exhausting and tiring to say the least. I have finally caught up on much-needed sleep and rest. My lips are dry from constantly kissing my angels and husband… Making up for lost time.

Next stop Philadelphia… Stay tuned!

What is the worst jet-lag you have ever experienced?

How long did it take you to recover?

What remedies or methods have you tried to get over jet-lag that worked for you?

Extremes of anything are dangerous

In the morning, I leave Sydney for New York. I’m flying with Qantas (my airline of choice), so I am looking forward to making my journey safely and comfortably home to the Big Apple. I cannot wait to see my precious family even though it’ll be for less than 24 hours.

Within 24 hours of touching down at JFK, I’m stepping on another plane heading to the middle of America for work on my next shoot. Catch-up family time is going to have to wait until the weekend (when I think I’m going to be home).

It has been a hot and fiery summer in Australia with fires burning out of control. Homes have been lost and certainly the lives of the innocent. It is headline news night after night – so sad and tragic to watch and listen to.

Global warming is out of control and we can see, notice and personally experience the impact of what it is doing everywhere in the world, whether in the Northern or Southern Hemispheres.

I know of someone who returned from Germany the other day and he describes his three weeks in Europe as freezing. New York up until recently has been freezing.

The weather patterns around the world seem to be out-of-control. Extremes of weather are dangerous. Extremes of anything are dangerous.

What are we going to do about it?

What are you doing about it?

What suggestions do you have to improve the way of the world?

Radio City Rockettes and Magnolia Bakery

Since my last post I’ve been a very busy bee. I’ve traveled and worked in Milwaukee and Minneapolis for most of the week or so in-between. Time escapes me and before I know it, I’m in the here and now and it’s the eve before Thanksgiving. It’s probably the biggest public holiday in the U.S. of A and I am yet to get my head around hosting this traditional event. So here goes…

I did mange to squeeze some family time over the weekend however – I took Mila to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (The Rockettes in all their glory and precise splendor). It was amazing. We both loved it and it was our first time to the show for both of us. Mila and I both highly recommend it. We had orchestra seats and we saw it all before our eyes. It was fabulous.

NYC - Radio City Christmas Spectacular

NYC – Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The show was truly a spectacular and it was so precise and the dancers were in exact time. Mila, I and the hundreds who saw the show that session simply loved it. We were blown away.

Afterwards, we enjoyed the delicious Magnolia Bakery only blocks from where we were. Mila selected her six favourite cupcakes for her, Levi and our guests due later that day. What can I say other than yum and gone! A must on the New York City circuit. Remember the scenes in Sex and the City? If not, go back and revisit.

NYC - Rockettes Toy Soldier

NYC – Rockettes Toy Soldier routine

The Toy Soldier routine was simply amazing. It took minutes for all of the dancers to fall down gracefully and rhythmically. It was one of the best choreographed routines I’ve seen ever seen and coming from an ex-dancer that’s something! I was left speechless.

Before I know it, six loads of laundry later, whilst frantically packing for my work trip, I hop on a plane from JFK for an almost three-hour flight to work. Once I arrive, I’m then privileged to a wonderful catch-up with Barbara Bricker for a few days. Whilst we were working together, one of the many things we spoke about and discussed at length was Thanksgiving dinner. Barb helped me come up with my menu and traditional dinner fare for the holiday. I was most thankful and grateful. It is my first time hosting the entire event so it was important to get it right. A work in progress I must say as I emailed my darling husband Steve the shopping list.

Minneapolis - Barbara and I

Minneapolis – Barbara and I

Minneapolis -Beri Smithers and the gang

Minneapolis -Beri Smithers and the gang

After we finish our shoot, four of the six models were heading home to New York. We rushed to our cars and headed to the airport. As soon as I got in my car with Beri, I took off my make-up and called home. The picture below is me negotiating with my four and two-year olds to eat their wonderful dinner that our nanny Isabel had made for them. It’s a hard sell.

Beri, who was riding with me in the car starts laughing and takes the picture below. Her words to me were, ” From supermodel to super negotiator”. She is not wrong. Beri Smithers’ too is a supermodel and she was one of the first straight-sized models I ever met when I moved to New York. She is a rock star and I love her so.

Minneapolis - In the car on the way to the airport

Minneapolis – In the car on the way to the airport

I arrive home by midnight and am so tired my eyes are bloodshot. I cannot wait to get to sleep however, it takes me a very long time. I have Thanksgiving dinner to prepare and host and for that, I am geed up! My next installment will be me hosting me first ever Thanksgiving dinner… Success or failure to come!

Stay tuned.