She Made Her Own Fairytale

I had an amazing interview with the fantastic Ali Williams former theme park princess and owner of Los Angeles’ Princess & Me Parties.  We sat down for an hour and a half for an extremely candid discussion about her experience working for the parks.

Ali worked in total for both coasts for a grand total of 3.5 years and she has a great “how I was hired story” After many (7) auditions she got a job as a park photographer, she was able to watch a learn from the girls doing the job day in and day out.  Eventually she made it through to the fittings stage.

Here they put you in the retired dresses and wigs (beat up and past their prime) and have you read.  She started to practice reading and was immediately stopped and went in and read for the casting directors.  At this point she was simply waiting for the call, which never came.

This didn’t stop her, the next call she went in and made it to the end for a brand new character at which the casting director told her she would be perfect for the character she never got the call for.  Within 5 days she received her offer and began her magical journey.

Slowly but surely the magic started to unravel, regularly you were told how special and amazing you are and of course the flip side of there are thousands of girls all waiting to take your job.  The manipulation to be quiet, conform and never be a “problem” is oh so real!  Ali dyed her hair red, a natural red but not her blonde she was hired with and this was taken to mean that she was being defiant.  You read that right, deciding to change her hair color within the rules was being defiant.  And from here they made her life hell.

 

Cosmetology decided too much of her hair was showing and told her they would either shave 3 inches off the underside of her hair right there in the room with everyone or she could go home and never return.  So in front of the entire room of girls getting ready they shaved her hair off. Management became relentless about how her hair color was her being a “problem”, force extending became a very real issue.

 

Managers can decide that you must stay beyond your scheduled time and there isn’t much you can do about it.  After a full 10 hour shift she was asked to force extend, she declined, I mean 10 hours is long enough lets be real, and was asked to “rethink her answer” and they would be back to check on her.  Once again she declined and they force extended her, pulling her from her princess shift and sending her to the other end of the park to do a fur set.

 

After arriving at her location and prepping to go out on set her greeter realized that there was a parade going by at that exact time with that exact character they insisted that she go out as.  They were setting her up to kill the magic with “double exposure.”  

One of the worst pieces of manipulation she ever witnessed was watching girls get disapproved in their characters on the spot, pulled right off set and are forced to greet for their replacement watching someone else play the role they never could again.  The promises never ended, “try again” “next time its yours” and that next time never comes.  The time may come if you are super quiet, and never questioned anything ever and let them abuse you. 

After a less than ideal with a party company after “getting out” Ali opened her own princess party company.  With a ton of sweat equity, guerrilla marketing and tons of research she now owns one of the top 5 companies in the LA area.  Her obsession with character integrity she learned from the parks sets her company high above the competition and has been a huge part of her success.

I asked Ali in one word how it was being a true girl boss her answer? “Liberating”

Life isn’t always the fairytale we think its gonna be.

Love and Light

Jess

P.S. Wanna find out more about Ali?

https://www.instagram.com/onlyalicat/

http://www.princessandmeparties.com

/imdb.me/ali-williams

AliWilliamsModel@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/OnlyAliCat/

You Are Worth More Than a Paycheck

This isn’t a post that was easy or pretty to write, this is a post of true honesty about my story.  I’m not alone in my story there are hundreds if not thousands of other girls pressured to not eat their food, over exercise and pretend they aren’t hungry and dying inside.  My story isn’t unique, my story isn’t alone and its not shocking if you are from this world.  The crown is way heavier than you could ever imagine!  The expectation to be perfect is unattainable.

 

You might be their favorite now but don’t worry that tide will quickly change and they will find a new flavor of the week.  Winning or keeping favor with casting is the goal that drives the most dangerous of realities.

In the over a decade I spent in theme parks I let someone else dictate my worth by what I weighed and what size I wore.  Yearly I had to “reaudition” for my job, then get weighed and measured.  Let that sink in, once a year I was put on a scale and told if I was good enough.  The pressure to fit in a certain dress size and weigh a certain number was insane, I mean who wants to lose their job?

Many I know turned to less than healthy options.  Having been disapproved for my size (possibly one of the most humiliating experiences ever in my life) and told I needed to lose 10 pounds in a week after already more than fitting the last size I was approved in, the choices to be healthy weren’t exactly on the table.  I starved myself for the week, I mean I ate either nothing or a single can of tuna with some (but not too much) mustard and then ran or did the elliptical for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

When I came back , drowned in my dress and continued to be praised for how “fantastic I looked.”  Keep in mind I was a size 0 and 5’7″ and with every pound I continued to lose the praise multiplied.  With every pound I was prettier, I was “better” at my job and the hours increased.

 

But no matter what I did it was never enough, the critiques about my “silhouette” became more extreme with each pound lost. The phrase “do you really need to eat that?” was asked too frequently and I was eating one can of tuna and one protein shake a day.  DID I REALLY NEED TO EAT THAT TINY BIT OF THE ONLY FOOD I ATE ALL DAY? YES! YES I DID!  Every time I even ate that can of tuna the guilt of “will I get fat and lose my job?” and “do I really deserve this food I’m eating” would rush over me.

I would go from one extreme to the other, starve myself for weeks, then binge, feel guilty and starve myself… the cycle continued over and over again.  The scale controlled everything about my life.  Multiple times a day I would climb on the scale and cry uncontrollably if I even gained an ounce.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I almost fainted or hid when I did.  I was running 3 miles a day, swimming and doing a cardio dvd.  I was like a trained dog, I destroyed myself for the praise, for A JOB! The dream of being a princess became nothing but a living nightmare.

At the end of the day, this was a paycheck.  There is no paycheck ever worth you!  You will always be worth more than a paycheck.

I am proud to report that the scale no longer dictates what I’m worth, who I am or what I can bring to the table.  Its a giant relief to just be me!   The demons still call to me, but the scale no longer dictates what I’m worth, what I bring to the table or my skills.  I determine what I’m worth, I determine who I am.

The Ultimate Pug Experience

I will neither confirm nor deny my extreme love for anything pug… lets be real I’m sitting here in my pug onesie, drinking wine from my pug mug while puggling (pug cuddling) with my baby Yoda, he’s actually snoring like crazy.  So when Holika Holika launched their Baby Pet Magic Mask Sheet set, including a pug anti wrinkle mask I was sold. Who cares if its a gimmick? I CAN MATCH MY BABY!!!  So Yoda and I sat down and gave this mask a try.

 

So mine for some reason was missing the wrinkles on the mask but the eyebrows in my opinion totally make the mask.

Its a very nice mask with:

  • nice and sturdy fabric with
  • tons of essence/serum on it.  (yes thats my pug onesie more photos to come)
  • and a super cute design

I left the mask on for 30ish minutes and that may or may not be wine in my “best dog mom” mug.

 

Yoda my less than willing picture taking buddy, wasn’t 100% sure what to make of the mask, granted he was more interested in sleeping than taking photos.

But i have to say my skin felt plump, smooth and soft after this mask.  Despite its potential to be SUPER gimmicky its actually the level of quality I have come to expect from Holika Holika.

 

So 4.5/5, I had to deduct a half point for my missing wrinkles on the mask which would have made this mask for me!  Yes, this is Yoda’s first appearance! Don’t be too shocked if you see his cute little squish face more, I mean after all I am a proud pug mom, heck he even made it into my about me!

Love and Light

Jess

P.S. Is there a super gimmicky product you can’t bring yourself to buy that you want me to try? Leave me a comment!  Let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paleo the Easy Way

Ever feel like that?  ME TOO!  I have allergies to all kinds of food (gluten, dairy, soy, peanut, walnut, sunflower).  It can be incredibly overwhelming to find food that doesn’t make me sick.  The convince of the meal prep boxes made me so jealous… till I discovered Sunbasket.  THEY HAVE PALEO FOOD!!!

The Paleo Diet is a diet often referred to as the caveman diet as.  It is free from all grains, dairy and legumes (if you wanna go crazy alcohol too but I’m not crazy like that). Its become very popular as a weight loss diet especially with cross fitters (Keto is the other one you hear a lot about from this crew).  Sticking to the paleo diet has made a giant change in my health for the better and Sunbasket makes it really easy!

Ill say the recipes were PHENOMINAL, full of flavor and never boring or depriving.

  • There were always a good selection of options (4-5 a week)
  • At a cost of $80ish a week including shipping for
  • 3 meals that serve two a week its a pretty good value for the money with the quality of meals you get.
  • Took 30 minutes or less!  Healthy and allergy friendly with zero stress? YES PLEASE!!
  • Each box comes with everything you need for each meal and a recipe book of all the weeks recipes (aka you can recreate these however you want to!!) giving you recipes for many meals to use in the future.

Want to subscribe? Click here for $40 off your first order *

Heres what I ordered,

Pork Chops with Kimchi Chimichurri and Sweet Potato

This was one of my favorite meals from all of my options on their meal plans.  The kimchi chimichurri was a really fun twist in this dish, it was savory, even my picky boyfriend LOVED this dish.  (He’s far from adventurous and very picky, steak is his order 90% of the time when we eat out).  It was a very simple to prepare dish.  The idea of Kimchi scared me a little, I’m super picky about my fermented foods but I was so incredibly surprised at the flavors it created. I’m a huge chimichurri fan so keep the twists coming!

 

 

 

 

Chorizo Chili with Coconut Cream

So this one for sure was on the super spicy side (this might have been my fault… oops!) I had mixed feelings about trying this recipe, I love chorizo but am used to standard chili with beans.  This was an incredibly pleasant surprise, minus the over spicing, I love chorizo and this was a really clever way to use it!  The coconut cream added an unexpected break in the flavors and pumpkin seeds added a great crunchy texture instead of the usual crackers.

 

 

 

 

Pork Chops with Apple and Kale Salad

Now this was actually my least favorite dish of the group.  The flavors were nice but the salad with the kale and apple was lacking the flavor punch I got from the other two (and frankly felt like a quick cheap filler) it was delicious but not as great as the other two I tried.  The texture of the kale and apples was unappealing with the pork chop and just didn’t work for me. The pork chop seasoning was DELICIOUS and I’ve recreated it several times.

 

 

 

This will certainly be a box I resubscribe to after I try a few more for you awesome people!  I think they made a real effort to create unique creative paleo options that the whole family can enjoy (even the pickiest of eaters).  Its organic as much as possible and they try to locally and source from small farms.  I give them a 4.5/5, growing pains have been an issue in the past and the high fat content could be less than ideal for some (including for the way my body loses weight).  Overall great meal box plan!