Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New year new you

Happy New Year!
They say the new year is a time for new beginnings. A whole new chance to begin again. New year, new you, or maybe a new me. Possibly the same old me, just one that I haven't seen in a while.

It's that time of the year when we get the opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new one ahead. For me the last year has really been a great opportunity to grow and expand my awareness of all kinds of things from health/wellness and going almost totally vegan to changes in fitness. The year I began to really love yoga. Which for a girl who spent most of her life doing all kind of crazy workouts, is actually quite surprising. I never thought I would love it as much as I do. In fact it has been the best thing for my back. Having sustained a back injury in two close-dated car accidents years back, really put a damper on the crazy workouts. Since I started to do yoga regularly, honestly my back hurts if I "don't"do yoga.

Anyhow back to my original thought. It happened kind of randomly actually, but it got me to thinking. My acting representative was visiting shortly before Christmas. He started to tease me a bit about the fact that he has a hard time finding jobs to submit me for. As there are far less castings for blondes than for brunettes. If you are at a certain level in an entertainment career you can have your hair any color and mostly people adjust to you, or you change it for a role, then put it back as needed. However, until that point, you kind of need to be able to "be" what is being cast. So if a role says "female 30-40 brunette" he can't send me if my hair is blonde.

Unless, my inside voice started to say "unless I wear a wig". So the next chance I had I dragged the Mr. along to some local wig shops. Just to get an idea of how I would look, because honestly I had not seen it in so long I couldn't even remember how I looked as a brunette.

Yes it is true, I did not come from the manufacturer (the man upstairs)with blonde hair. So I put on a few and of course none of the pictures below are what I have in mind, but making use of what they had in the shop, I took a few fun pics just to see how I looked in a dark hairdo. So here ya go:

Holy 90's hairdo & way dark... but it's what they had!  
Whole lotta hair & super dark with BANGS! (Good gravy)
 As you can see, I look quite different, it was a bit shocking for me. Of course these are much darker than my hair actually grows out of my noggin. However, it was fun to try them on an see a different version of me. So in order to be cooperative with my acting rep, I am going to humor him and comply with his request. Hey what do I have to loose? If it works I can have more opportunities for acting work. If not, I can always put it back if I don't like it.

My plan, is to just go light brown with some blonde in the front more along the lines of Jennifer Anniston. To have even more options, I am also going to order a wig online in a medium brown ,and then have my talented Mr. (being a super awesome photographer is one of his many talents) take headshots of me in both colors. This way my acting rep has more options.

This my friends is how the new year is going to bring a new version of the old me. What are your plans for the New Year? Do you have any resolutions, big ones, small ones? Whatever they are try to keep a positive mindset. I think sometimes we can set big goals and then beat ourselves up if we don't accomplish everything all at once or as quickly as we might like.

Remember to be grateful for the past year and thankful for every day, because it is a gift. We only get one day at a time and that my friends is the best advice I can give as to how to roll into the New Year.

Wishing you and yours a beautiful, blessed and HAPPY New Year!

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

Monday, November 19, 2018

No Worries




With a title like that one might think this could be a blog about a sunny beach vacation with some Jimmy Buffet playing in the background and a tropical drink in one's hand. Nope. This is a blog about a very serious topic... the holidays.

Funny how that word can mean different things to different people. For me, it seems like every year they come around faster than I expect. Which in turn causes some people to move into overdrive mode trying to get every little thing done to make sure that the holidays are "perfect"

Except there is no such thing as"perfect", so now what? For some people without family the holidays are something they want to avoid altogether. For people with large extended families the holidays start practically right after Veterans Day and go nonstop until after New Year. Seems like every year people put their Christmas tree up earlier and earlier. I know people who hardly get any sleep because they are so busy that they run themselves ragged practically making themselves sick trying to do and be everything. So where is the happy medium?

I say the happy medium is you. We are all lights. We all have the ability to either be people lifter's or drags. Opportunities arise each and every day to either build people up or to tear them down. So in this time of year when there are so many extremes all around bombarding us at every turn, from stores to places of employment, we get to choose what we will be in the situations we are faced with.

Every day is a gift whether one has a large extended family with boatloads of holiday activities going on, or for the person living alone without any family. It's a simple choice. It's easy to get wrapped up in making sure everything you want to accomplish get's done and things get marked off the "to do"list. However, I think it's important in the midst of the daily "grind"to be flexible and if everything gets done that's great. On the other hand if every single little thing on that list does not get checked off, not to beat yourself up over it. At the same time, not to be so wrapped up into our own "to do's"that we miss those opportunities where we can be lifters.

My motto is if I see something I "do something". Meaning if I encounter a situation where someone needs something, and I am able to be that something, then I do it. This motto was actually the inspiration for my latest single released to iTunes titled "Don't Walk Away."(Click here to listen on iTunes) Here's a section of the lyrics: 

ARE YOU BUILDING UP OR TEARING DOWN
HEARTS ARE HURTING CAN YOU HEAR THE SOUND
HE SAID WHEN YOU DID IT TO THE LEAST OF THESE
YOU DID IT TO ME


DON’T WALK AWAY, DON’T WALK AWAY
SOMEBODY NEEDS YOU NOW
DON’T WALK AWAY, DON’T WALK AWAY
YOU MIGHT BE THE ANSWER HOW


You get the idea... basically my motto is, if a situation arises and you can do or be that something for someone, I say like the Nike saying goes... "just do it". Which in reading this it might seem like I'm saying to do two opposite things. On the one hand I say don't kill yourself trying to do everything, and then on the other hand I'm saying to do something. Actually it all comes back down to that happy medium again. That's where the no worries mentality comes in.

Let everything roll off like water off of a ducks back. Keeping in mind that every day is a blessing, to count every blessing and when we have the chance, to "be"a blessing to those we encounter. People, animals, whatever the case may be. Not to be so busy that we miss opportunities to be the answer how. If we run into a situation that we can change, don't assume someone else will do it. Just imagine... what a wonderful world it would be.

May your holidays be filled with many many blessings.

Music, Love & Blessings ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Best Dressed

Who can resist a furkid dressed in a costume? I can't. Which is why every year one of my favorite fall traditions is picking out cute costumes for my furbabies and taking loads of pics!

My almost twelve-year-old Pekingese Punkin Pie says they are not costumes, rather "torture devices",and that dressing them all up in these costumes is animal cruelty. Then I tell her she has no idea what animal cruelty is. Further, that if she wants to see what actual animal cruelty is to go on Facebook for about five seconds and she will see it with her own eyeballs on the pages of one of the countless rescue groups that work so hard to pick up the pieces for so many innocent creatures. Which is why I always give to as many as I can because without the rescues these animals would never get the second chance they so desperately need and deserve. Of course I talk to my dog... doesn't everyone? 

Anyhow back to a happy topic, pets in costumes. Now I would love to dress my two spoiled black cats up in costumes, but like Punkin says "they don't need a Halloween Costume because they come with a built-in one, they are black cats." Besides putting a costume on Jaxson and Bella would probably go about the same way putting their leash and harness on when they have to travel or go to the vet, which isn't a very pleasant experience.

So it's up to the dogs to fill the cute bucket year after year. So without further ado... I present the 2018 Aston Dogs Howl-O-Ween Costume Parade.



I give you Pepe. My little rescue monkey who is a sixteen plus year old Tibetan Spaniel new hope only euthanasia list survivor from the NYC ACC. He had a lot of issues when he first came to us, but after six years he is a very happy old man enjoying the life he should have had for his entire life.


Next is Punkin Pie. A beautiful Pekingese girl who is going to be twelve in November. We have had her almost her entire life and she is spoiled as it gets and we love her to pieces!




Next is little Lulukins. She is a Shitzu who is also a rescue from the NYC ACC the same shelter that Pepe came from. The vet says she is somewhere under five, we are not exactly sure. She was very young when we rescued her three years ago. Lulu is the without a doubt the happiest little dog I have ever met in my life, she literally bounces when she walks.



 









 And all together.... for the group humiliation shot (as Punkin would say) I present to you below... the Aston Furkids Halloween 2018 photo!




Shortly after we already assembled the group for the humiliation, we rescued a Japanese Chin who we have named Yuki. Since he is still settling in and learning what life is like around our house, new smells, new things, new people, new stuff... we did not want to stress him out by dressing him up in a torture device too ;o) So his humiliation pic will have to wait until next year when he can join the bunch for the Halloween Costume Parade. So for now, this normal un costume pic will have to do. I give you the newest member to the Aston pack... Yuki.




Happy Howl-O-Ween!

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com


Monday, September 10, 2018

In The Heart

Photo taken by my husband Keith.
Available at www.keith-rousseau.pixelscom
I'm not sure why I'm surprised when it happens, but somehow it seems to get me every year. It's late August, I'm doing my best to soak in every last bit of summer I possibly can, and then the next thing you know it's Labor Day. Sometimes Labor Day just so happens to fall on my Birthday. So by the time I'm done with my whole week before and week after my birthday doings it hits me, it's almost September 11th.

So then I say to myself it's time to be grateful. To be thankful and grateful for all of my days, even the bad weather days. Grateful that myself and my loved ones are here to enjoy them with, the good the bad and the ugly.

It is a difficult time of year for many who lost loved ones that tragic day. It is hard to believe it was seventeen years ago. Grief and loss are never easy for anyone. I cannot imagine having to bear a loss from something so tragic. The one thing that can help to bring a sense of peace in any loss though is the knowing that our loved ones are never really "gone"from us. We carry them with us in our hearts until we see them again one day in heaven.

Words I wrote many years ago while dealing with the loss of a loved one. Words that then went into a song, my song titled "I Carry You With Me". A song that helped me to deal with a difficult loss, and has since helped many others as well since it's release (click here to watch video). I have received emails from people across the world writing to tell how much the song had touched and helped them.

One time I even received a frantic email from a women in Ireland looking for the chords so it could be sung at her Mother's Eulogy, I happily sent them to her. As an artist that is really what it is all about. I have heard it said that art is our soul's expression, and I think it's spot on. As a music artist I live to create music that I hope will touch people and positively influence their lives in some little way, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Photo taken by my husband Keith.
Available at www.keith-rousseau.pixels.com
So on hard days like September 11th reflect and remember... in the end love really is what makes the world go around. Love comes from our heart, and our heart is where our loved ones are. We may not be able to see them, but we can feel them. They are with always us and one day we will see them again.

Blessings, Love and Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

Monday, August 6, 2018

Anything Is Possible

Beautiful painting by Mouth and Foot Artist Tom Yendell.

Most people who follow my blog know a few things about me. First coffee, Dunkin Donuts (I'll pass on the Starbucks please). Second, that I love animals. My sentiments about the topic are basically to borrow the words from a famous T-shirt worn by Doris Day "Be kind to animals or I'll kill you."This leads me to the next thing, that I was either born without a filter, or it broke off sometime in-between the time I was born and now. Most importantly and on a more serious note, that my desire is to be a people lifter.

So besides making and releasing music that is meant to encourage and inspire people, I like to share things I come across that I think can benefit someone somewhere. We all do really, at least I think we do. Anyway I was posting something to instagram last night and came across a video and it just absolutely blew my mind in a good way. Click to watch Foot and Mouth Artist Tom Yendell create beautiful Flower Explosion painting.

When I watched this video, I was amazed by what he is able to do with what many would call a disability. Upon visiting his Artist Tom Yendell Website  I learned that due to the drug Thalidomide he was born without arms or hands. He has learned to do everything with his feet. To be perfectly honest the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw his work (besides being extremely inspired) was "what's your excuse?" I sat there thinking how so many people today without even realizing it (myself included) so often complain about not being able to do the things we want to do because of thus and such, and life and this or that has happened, and so on. I'm sure you get the drift.

When here is a man with a real "limitation" that could and would keep many a person from expressing their desire to paint being born without arms or hands. Yet here he is painting and he has blown past any so called "limitations" by following his desire to create art. He had a vision in his mind and he made it happen. 

So here comes the harsh part, the following may or may not offend some people (as so many are so easily offended these days) yet it needs to be said. So many people today make issues and complain about things like gender identification, what bathrooms they want to use or identify with. They go as far as to make so much noise and bully major corporations into letting men use women's bathrooms (which really isn't good or safe for anyone especially little kids - I'm just sayin).People on college campuses making all kinds of chaos about so many things that in the grand scheme of things really in my humble Greek opinion seem pretty petty. 

We all have gifts and talents. Every single one of us human beings was beautifully and wonderfully made. Whether we want to acknowledge our creator or not. We all have something very special and unique to offer to the world. Yet I think we spend way too much time focusing on limitations or things that we may see as obstacles. When in reality if we would just focus on the thing we are great at, and offer that to the world, the world would be so much better. 

Yes bad things happen to the good and bad. Maybe my view is choosing to see things through rose colored glasses, but you know what? I would rather see the world through rose colored glasses and see the good in everything rather than see the problem in everything.

So much of what is spewed on a daily basis via news and social media is negative. Seeing Tom Yendell paint a spectacular piece of art with a credit card using his feet better than most people who do have arms and hands was like a punch in the gut. If he can do that, my friends we can do anything we set our minds to, anything. It really is that simple. You can either overcome or be overcome. You can choose to be a victor or a victim. The choice is in our minds.  

Hope you take a minute to check out some of his work and are inspired by his talents to focus on and develop your own. Have a beautiful day! 

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com