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Do you VACATION or STAYCATION? Or…

…SLAYCATION?

What’s your “cation” mode? All three are applicable to different stages and seasons in life, amiright?

I’ll admit, I dream of a day when I can go on a real VACATION again and not bring any work along. But for now, I spend about an hour (sometimes two) a day working when I’m away from home. Mostly carry-on, keep the business going kind of stuff – but when you are a freelancer and depend upon the (sometimes last minute) needs of your clients to keep income flowing, it’s kind of a no-brainer to do a bit of work while on vacation.

Even so, I never thought of it as a real SLAYCATION until last year when I was camping in Yosemite and during my daily quick email check I found an invitation to do the voiceover for an explainer video for Bitcoin. So what did I do? I recorded that voiceover in the motorhome, then wrapped up my laptop and rode my bike in the rain to the lodge for slooooow wifi to send the file to the client, and I got PAID. Yep. SLAY-cation mode in full swing.

This was my setup that week. Usually, it’s pillows and blankets strategically arranged on a hotel bed. Or using the luggage rack or an ironing board to create a cubby underneath. Whatever works. Voiceover actors are notorious for setting up mobile recording studios in every situation. (If you’re curious, just search “vo pillow fort” on Facebook and several photos will pop up.) In fact, one of my friends did her first audition for a background voice role for Incredibles 2 from a pillow fort makeshift studio in a hotel room! It’s a thing. (Yes, she got the job.)

Or sometimes, we just use a kitchen table. Like that time sitting at an antique kitchen table about 5 years ago in Italy…

*sigh*

Whether you are a full time entrepreneur or working a side hustle in the evenings and on weekends, you know the value of showing up for your business. Whenever. Wherever. It’s what we do.

So today, I celebrate you!

Whether you choose to take a VACATION, stay close to home and STAYCATION, or take your work with you for a SLAYCATION. I get you.

It’s a Saturday in July, and I’d tell you to take a day off – but you’re probably working. 😉

No matter what, I know you’ll make every moment count.

To your success,

Tami

P.S. If you know you should be on a slaycation this season, but are choking up when you want to chat live with your tribe on social media, I think the Brand Voice Roundtable Facebook group might be helpful. Sit with us at the table and explore ways to tell your brand’s story. It’s also a safe space to practice delivering your message – we will cheer you on, I promise! There’s a seat for you at the table – just fill in the form below to join!

How to Recover from Laryngitis

‘Tis the season. For losing your voice.

And doesn’t laryngitis always happen at the WORST possible time? Waking up one day and not having a voice can set you back days or even weeks if you had things planned like videos, podcasting or live broadcasts. Unfortunately, there’s no immediate fix, but there are measures you can take to lessen the inflammation and perhaps heal a bit faster.

How did you get laryngitis?

Losing your voice could be from one or a combination of several reasons –

  • a virus causing an upper respiratory infection (aka the common cold),
  • overuse – just too much talking or singing,
  • smoking or exposure to smoke or polluted air,
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) Google it – it’s a thing,
  • and, my personal new non-favorite: allergies!

Any or all of these situations can cut your voice down like a sword-wielding pirate taking over a ship.

You are at the mercy of time.

Yes, TIME. Although there are a few things you can do to speed up the clock a bit.

Treating laryngitis

  1. Rest your voice. This is the #1 tip for a reason. STOP TALKING. I know it’s incredibly hard, but the more you force your voice to produce sound, the longer you’ll drag this thing out. Get a notepad, a dry erase board, or install a text to speech app on your phone and choose the fun British voice to be you for awhile. Just stop talking.
  2. Don’t whisper. I know, you thought it was okay. But in reality you risk doing more damage when you whisper. (See #1 for communication ideas)
  3. Breathe moist air – got a vaporizer? Use it. Take a nice hot shower, even lean over the sink a few times a day and breathe in some steamy moist air.
  4. Drink water. I originally wrote “drink fluids” in my notes – but really, the only thing you need to be drinking right now is water. Lots and lots of water. This will help hydrate your whole body as well as those pesky dried out vocal chords, and it is a key to healing your voice. Half of your body weight in ounces is a good target. (Here, let me do that math for you: if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water. You’re welcome.)
  5. Drink warm liquids. Yes, this goes along with tip #4, drink water. Your warm liquids could be plain water (maybe add some lemon), or one of the throat calming teas available now such as Throat Coat Tea by Traditional Medicinals or Honey Lemon Throat Comfort by Yogi. If you have a sore throat along with laryngitis, drinking warm water or tea will soothe and moisten your throat. Mmmmmmmmm…
  6. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can cause dehydration, which can dry out your throat and cause more hoarseness. We are trying to get well, remember?
  7. Avoid caffeine. I know you’re not happy about this, but caffeine can have the same drying effects as alcohol. This is a great time to decaffeinate yourself – or maybe just stick to one coffee instead of your usual five. I mean, how fast do you want to be heard again?

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are combinations of herbs or essential oils that may show great promise in helping to maintain vocal health – in fact, if you’ve found a sure fire way to speed up the healing process after losing your voice, would you let me know about it in the comments? I’d really like to learn about what works for you!

Photo by Remy_Loz on Unsplash

Your Brand Has a Story – How Will You Tell It?

Your Brand Has a Story – How Will You Tell It?

Do you know how to be the voice of your brand while livestreaming on social media and when to hire a professional voice?

“I know I should be going live on social media, but I’m too nervous.”

“How do I connect with people using live video? I just don’t have the personality for that.”

“I don’t like my voice, so I’m sure others won’t either.”

These are just some of the stories we tell ourselves. Have you done it? In this day of instant access to everything, you know you should be connecting with your followers by going live, but you just. can’t. seem. to. take. that. leap.

I’m here to help.

Every brand has a story. How well you tell that story determines your impact on the world. Using live video on social media is the best way to connect personally with your potential clients, but how do you do that?

Let me introduce myself: Hi, my name is Tami Romani, and I’m a Brand Voice Strategist. 

What that means is I help small business owners feel comfortable when they are being the voice of their own brand on social media, and I also help them to know when to hire a professional voice, like mine, for maximum impact in their marketing efforts.

As a voiceover talent for more than 30 years, I love being the voice of a brand, but I also know that in this age of social media it’s vital for an entrepreneur to connect with their followers on a much more personal level – with live video on social media. My business owner friends have been coming to me for years for help with feeling better about their voices. Now, more than ever, it’s important for an entrepreneur to learn how to feel comfortable in their own voice when they are going live to connect with their tribe. Just as important is knowing when it’s best to use a professional voice for maximum impact. If my voice isn’t a fit for your brand, I’ll help you find one from my large network of voice-over professionals who are ready and willing to help.

Let’s get started Voicing Your Brand!

I ate a cookie and it did not kill me. Yet.

Yet.
This whole sugar is bad for my brain, sugar will make me dumb, and sugar will kill me knowledge is definitely a cross to bear sometimes. I mean, whatever happened to enjoying that sugar fix from time to time? Here’s what I tell myself every time I just want that cookie, dammit!

  • It’s just one. One won’t hurt.
  • I only eat sugar on the weekends or when I’m with friends.
  • I’m kinda stressed right now, I need it to take the edge off – it makes me feel so much better.
  • I don’t have a problem. I mean, I’m not that overweight.
  • It’s not that big a deal. I can quit whenever I want.

So, I was at a party and ate a glorious looking homemade chocolate chip cookie.

And it tasted terrible.

No, really. Not because it wasn’t baked with love. Because my taste buds have changed.

So the next time you hear me talking about sugar like I’m a typical drug addict, gently remind me of this post and my quest for better health. Because in the end, I want to be the 85 year old grandma playing with my great grandkids in the park, and not the one they visit every month in the old folks’ home.

Brain Healthy Chocolate Fix Smoothie

This is my go-to daily chocolate fix. No sugar, just wonderful chocolatey goodness!
You’ll notice I don’t include measurements. Mostly because I fly by the seat of my pants when I mix this together, adding whatever goodness is in the fridge and strikes my fancy. I like to make this in my little Bullet blender – it makes a perfect one serving size that way.

Layer into blender:

Optional:

  • handful of spinach leaves or other greens (you won’t even taste them, I promise!)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 frozen or fresh avocado (makes it lusciously thick and creamy)
  • scoop of egg white protein powder for added protein

Blend and ENJOY!

Variations & Update: Doggone it! My recent blood test shows high triglycerides and I therefore must be more careful about my fruit intake. Bananas (my daily favorite) are a no-go for awhile because of their high glycemic content. So, I substituted half an apple and this was almost as good as the original!

Scarcity or Abundance? It’s a Mindset

I knew I was going to make some changes. Just not YET, I thought.
Well, it’s time. It’s more than time. It’s downright urgent. I have a family history of women living to be 90 and above, and if I am going to do the same while living a full and vibrant life, I’d better get serious about changing up the things that will keep me from that life.

As I’ve said before, just thinking about making changes gets you nowhere. Not until I give a voice to those changes will things begin to happen. So I did. I announced to the world that I’d answered a challenge by Dr. Daniel Amen and his wife, Tana, to become a Brain Warrior. In doing so, I will be doing all I can to avoid Alzheimer’s, heart disease & diabetes – among so many other things.

The date was set. Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

And then what did I do? Knowing what was coming I proceeded to eat the sugar, the popcorn, the chips, the ___________ (anything and everything) so that by the time the 4th came, I’d gained 3 pounds and was feeling very sluggish. I wasn’t going to let that cute couple with the healthy brains take away my happy food!

Except it didn’t make me happy. The sugar gave me headaches and restless sleep. The popcorn and chips made me feel bloated, and the extra pounds made me frown every time I got dressed to leave the house. But darn it, I wasn’t deprived!

Or was I?

The sense that I would never, ever, ever eat anything “good” again sent me reeling into a cesspool of a scarcity mindset. It won’t matter if I eat this handful of chocolate chips, or these few Hershey’s Kisses left over from Easter, or a couple of chips with some salsa, or. Or. OR. Especially since I won’t ever eat anything good again.

Emotional eating is a curious thing. It creeps up on you when you thought you had your resolve conquered. I mean, I know the right things to eat. I’ve done the Whole 30 Plan before. Quite successfully, in fact. But man, do I get blindsided by the sight of a chocolate tidbit.

It turns out Mindset is the number one item on Daniel and Tana Amen’s mastery list. And it’s a biggie. Without the right mindset, I can’t make progress. That nasty boogie man called scarcity will rear his ugly head and take me down.

What I learned tonight from Tana Amen, is that this program is not about deprivation – it’s about abundance.

Fruit.

Abundance.

Oh.

Abundance?

I like that word. It makes me feel vibrant and alive. It gives me a handle on my business. It makes me a better wife, mom and grandma. It makes me a better me.

Leaving behind the scarcity mindset to walk in abundance is a choice I’m making. Starting now.

Let’s do this together – you can join the livestream by signing up here. Six months from now you’ll thank your healthier self.

Twenty years from now you’ll thank you even more.

 

Give Voice to a Fuller Life

I love springtime. It brings the promise of new life and change. At any given moment, the new songs of birds and vibrant colors of budding flowers saturate the senses. I was granted life in springtime, which may be why I love it so much.
Seasons come and go in life. Like the coming of spring, a new season has been brewing in me for awhile now and just when I’m reaching the age when many women slow down, I’m feeling a desire to ramp things up.

Life. Isn’t it funny? Change is inevitable, and we can either embrace it, or fight it. We can grow with it, or stunt our growth by kicking and screaming our way to oblivion. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic. Think about it, though… don’t you know that person who just wants to quit on life? To just sit and vegetate for the rest of his or her days? I do.

But that’s not me. And if you’re reading this, I suspect that’s not you either.

We know we need to change and grow. It’s a strong desire we think about. A lot. What I’ve found though, is a chasm of disconnect between the knowing and the doing.  I know I need to lose a few pounds. I know I need to organize my life. I know I need to allow for some down time to relax and recharge. But do I DO it? Nope. Not whole-heartedly, anyway.

It’s nice to think about changing myself. I envision what it would be like to be my ideal (for me) weight and shop for clothes without disgust. I think about how efficient I would be if my office was tidy. I love the idea of how much my mind would be cleared if I got rid of some of the clutter in my home. I fantasize about taking a day off to play with my grandson without feeling like I have a ton of things that need to be accomplished.

A month later, I’m still thinking. There is no doing. And in all of this thinking and not doing, I’ve learned something very important: I have to speak the change I want to happen. It must have a voice. Thinking about it to myself gets me absolutely nowhere. Goals and visions for my future must be written down and spoken to allow for my conscious brain to actually get it, and begin moving towards the changes I seek.

voicing change (1)

Okay, so let’s make a deal: I’m in if you are. I’m 57 years old today and I’ve got big dreams and plans. None of it will happen unless I take the leap of giving a voice to those things that must change in order to reach those dreams. I’d like a fuller life, but there’s some stuff in the way. How about we work together on voicing change to a fuller life?

That sounds pretty good.

Today is my birthday and it’s time for a change. I’m giving it a voice.

 

 

There’s That Word Again…

I don’t know about you, but at the beginning of the year I take inventory of my life. Last year was good, but I had little focus and follow through. It seemed the success I had was haphazard, at best. Lucky me, I did fairly well in spite of myself, but there was something missing.
I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately about having a theme word for 2016. I did this in 2014 and the word was DEEPER. That year, I went deeper in all areas of my life – my walk with the Lord became more resolute and He brought me to new places because of my commitment to going deeper.

Have you ever asked God for a word to set the tone for your year? It’s quite eye-opening. I chuckle at the fact that God has such different ideas about what needs to be accomplished than I do. I was inspired by Nikki’s choice of the word SIMPLICITY, because who DOESN’T need to pare down and remove all the distractions? Kristin’s choice of CONSISTENCY spoke volumes to me as well – I could use some consistency in my life.

I filled 3 pages with words I was hoping might inspire me to move beyond my sluggish vision for myself. They were all great words. Any one of them would have been appropriate. Perfect, even. Words like

MOMENTUM * FORWARD * EMPOWER * GROWTH * RESOLVE * ACTION * INTENTIONAL * CONSISTENT * SAVOR * IGNITE * COMMIT * FOCUS * DILIGENCE * SOAR * PERSISTENCE * YES * DISCIPLINE* BALANCE * BRAVE * RISK * PURPOSE

You get the idea.

But God doesn’t see what I see. So I asked Him to show me a word to adopt as my theme for 2016. On those 3 pages, I first highlighted all the words that jumped out at me, or “spoke” to me. Now I’m left with about 25 words. Funny thing, I had written the word Intentional about 4 times and highlighted it each time. But I still wasn’t convinced.

Now, instead of SEEING the word “intentional” periodically, I began HEARING it. I’m not kidding. It was everywhere. So much so that I chuckled at God’s sense of humor each time I heard the word. A couple weeks ago on a Saturday I attended a business training class where the speaker emphasized the need to be INTENTIONAL in our business. Emphasized is not even a strong enough word – she must have said it at least 20 times. The very next day, my pastor preached about beginning again in the new year. As he spoke about not settling for being comfortable, about how God has called us move out of our comfort so he can speak to us and through us. This requires being INTENTIONAL about how we use our time and resources. He added, “Don’t you dare set your agenda for the year. Give God the pen and let HIM write your plan.”

Okay, got it. My foray into being intentional needs to include hearing from God for each step.

In 2015  I neglected to choose a word and I was floundering. Busy without being productive. I felt a sense of disconnect between my calling and my reality. Nothing seemed to move forward. My year was okay, but certainly not great, and most certainly not fantastic. And not even close to being spectacular or even fabulous. I believe God has placed spectacular gifts inside of us, and it is up to us to use those gifts.

I want the best God has for me. So this year I know the word I need to focus on is INTENTIONAL. I know beyond a doubt that God has called me to great things, as I believe He has called each one of us. The key is, will we answer that call? Will we look toward intentional living so that we are effective for the gospel? Daily that word is before me, and daily I am taking steps to live a life of INTENTION.

I want the best God has for me. So this year I know the word I need to focus on is INTENTIONAL. (1)

 

Me? Called to Ministry? Nah.

Tami.Scripture.LaunchPhoto-1024x768
I come from a family of ministers.  My mom, my dad, a few aunts, uncles, cousins, my sister and my niece all professed to be “called” to the ministry at a young age.  Even my daughter spent 2014 traveling to 11 countries in 11 months to minister to others on the world stage of missions.

Me?  Nope. Not me.  If there’s one thing I’ve always known about myself, it’s that I was NOT called to be a minister.  Being called to the ministry was something that happened to other preacher’s kids at summer camp.  Not me.  Many of my friends and family in ministry know God put this call on their lives.  I never felt that way.  Never had that still, small voice telling me to leave my nets and follow Jesus into the unknown throes of ministry.

When I was a kid, being “called” to the ministry meant you HEARD the call, and ANSWERED that call by attending Bible college or seminary, getting ordained as a pastor and leading a group of adults or families or youth or a choir in the day to day living out of faith.  It was messy and challenging and involved being able to speak wisdom in front of a group of people.

I have to admit to being both envious of those who heard the call and relieved that I wasn’t one of them.  Being a PK (pastor’s kid), I’d heard my share of messy stories and really couldn’t fathom being the one who would help out someone in that kind of need.

I don’t think kids now have this dilemma.  If they grow up in a church, they are sent on missions trips out of the country or even in their own towns.  Feeding the hungry, clothing the homeless, bringing hope to the hopeless.  They are the hands and feet of Jesus.  They LOVE like Jesus did.  They don’t wait for a calling. They DO stuff.

But me? I wasn’t called.  So I lived my life.  I raised my kids. I taught them to love Jesus.  I prayed for family members and friends. Even counseled a friend or two in a tough spot.  I gave a sandwich to a beggar on the street.  Gave a blanket to a cold homeless woman on a rainy night. Wait. What? That sounds suspiciously like ministry.

And so, at the ripe old age of fifty-something, I’m finally realizing I am called.  Called just like you are called.  In the trenches of real life.  It’s still messy and challenging, but doesn’t necessarily involve being able to speak in front of a group of people.

What it does involve is being available.  Teachable.  Willing to use your gifts to share the gospel.

Which brings us to today.  LifeWordsToday, to be exact. A blog my sister and our daughters started writing almost two years ago, with a few things written by my mom tossed in. We’ve now posted 157 times. Our readership is still quite low…or is it? We know God allows just the right eyes to read our words at the time they are needed. And that is enough.

About a month before we ever began discussing the idea for this blog, I came upon a scripture – Psalm 49:3  “My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding.”  I was compelled to write it on a card to keep in my Bible.  Next to the verse I wrote, “3/12/13 = from God = (?about what?)”

A calling, perhaps?

What’s your calling?