Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pageants? Yes, they are a good least most of them!

Erinn Figg, writer for the Memphis Daily News, wrote a wonderful article recently detailing the benefits to be reaped from pageant participation.  And, yes, there are many!  Poise, self-discovery, interview skills, confidence, committment to charity...just to name a few.  I'm not here to say the pageant industry is perfect.  I have definitely been disappointed and frustrated by less than fair outcomes on several occasions (especially since I have started coaching), but at the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, there are lessons to be learned and skills to be honed.  The point of pageantry is (should be) self discovery, awareness, and improvement.  If you are competing solely to win, you will be, more often than not, disappointed.  Pageantry is a journey that should be enjoyed and appreciated for what it opportunity to become the best version of yourself.     

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Who Peed on My Yoga Mat?

You know that delicious moment when you realize your husband is utterly clueless and you have an opportunity to blow his comfort zone to pieces?  I live for those moments, and I relish administering the reality smackdown.  Frankly, it brings me joy in this life!  Luckily, for my entertainment value, my friend Lela Davidson, who also has a bit of an evil streak, relishes in these moments too.

Written with a take no prisoners (especially when it comes to those she loves the most :) honesty, Lela shares her family's finest moments in a laugh out loud collection of essays every woman will eat up with a spoon.  I shared one particularly hilarious tidbit with my husband that literally left him shaking with laughter...
During a romantic weekend getaway, Lela caught her husband, John, stroking his face with a random loofah a prior guest had left behind in their hotel room.  Utterly grossed out, Lela explained to her clueless husband that loofahs are not in fact used exclusively to cleanse faces. 

Horrified, John asked, "So, that thing hanging in our shower- that fluffy thing?  You use it on your..."

"Ass crack,"  Lela replied, thereby blowing John's sweet and sanitary idea of loofahs into a million poop scented pieces.

Staring helplessly and forlornly out the hotel window, John lamented to himself, "I specifically don't use that on my ass because I know its for your face."

Relishing in that priceless moment of smackdown, Lela replied, "That's funny Babe.  Because I specifically don't use that thing on my face because I know its for your ass."

See?  Good stuff.  Now, go buy this book.  You will laugh out loud and maybe give yourself permission to embrace your own family's freak flag and fly that thing freely; at least for a little bit :)


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nashville. Seriously?!

Kimberly Williams Paisley?  Check.  Connie Britton?  Check.  Mary-Marsha Riley?  Say what?! 
Sure it was a small scene, and I didn't say anything, but appearing, even for a few seconds, on an ABC prime time show was AMAZING!  Actually, filming it was more of a thrill than seeing it on TV.  Just being part of it all was surreal.  I feel so blessed to have had that opportunity.  I'm fulfilling dreams every day.  I've also started dancing again instead of just sitting on the couch every week and watching "Dancing with the Stars" and wishing I could do something like that.  And, I'm having SO much fun!  Stop telling yourself no, and go for it! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Never Stop Dreaming

After we reach a certain age I think it is unavoidable that we allow some of our dreams to fall by the wayside.
"It is too late." 
"I am too old." 
"There are other things in my life more important than chasing that dream." 
"I chose another path, so I'm committed to follow it."
"Other people will judge me and think my dream is silly." 
How many of you have made one or more of these excuses, and in doing so, given up on pursuing a dream?  I know I have.  I spent ten years dreading almost every day that I went to work as a lawyer.  But, I spent three years in law school and ten years practicing law.  Being a lawyer was part of my identity; a very large part.  The law was the path I chose.  Am I not obligated to follow the path I chose?  I struggled mightily with this dilemma.  In fact, it took me between six to eight months to finally give myself permission to leave my job at the law firm and start my own personal training and pageant coaching business.  And, even after I made the big move, I was consumed with self doubt, regret, and guilt.  But, now, two and one half years after following my heart and releasing myself from expectations that no longer made me happy, I am content in my decision, thankful that I was brave enough to take the leap, excited and in awe of the opportunities I have been blessed with and the successful business I have created, and thankful for my husband who made it possible for me to take a chance and fulfillment.
The moral of this story is two fold.  Life is too short to follow a path that no longer makes you happy, and it is never too late to be the person and do the things you have always dreamed of being and doing.  Make sure the path you are walking is right for you.  Don't allow yourself to be shackled by old expectations.  If it doesn't make you happy anymore, take a u-turn.  Be authentic to who you are NOW and what you want NOW.  
Go For It! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Memphis City Beautiful Curb Couture Trashion Show

Attention all Memphis Fashionistas!!  I am so excited to be on the Host Committee for the Second Annual Curb Couture Trashion Show to benefit Memphis City Beautiful.  Local designers will be showcasing their creative and beautiful designs which they will create out of everyday materials and products which generally end up in our trash (think soda cans, newspapers, milk cartons, trash bags, etc.).  It is basically Memphis' version of a "Project Runway" challenge.  The event will be held in downtown Memphis on Sunday, October 7, 2012, and there will be food from the Majestic Grille and drinks; all included with the purchase of your $50 ticket to the event.  What a deal!  You can buy your tickets to this fun and unique event from me, so contact me today so you don't miss out!     

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tonight is the finals of Mrs. International 2012!

This time last year, I was sitting in the amazingly talented and unbelievably kind Cari Baker's makeup chair putting on the final touches for the Mrs. International 2011 Pageant.  I have ALL good memories from my week in Chicago last year.  I will always appreciate the opportunity to be in the presence of the 52 other impressive and inspirational contestants and the opportunity to be, and put forward, the best me I could achieve.  My goal was Top 12.  To finish as the third runner-up and also receive the fitness and evening gown awards gave me such a feeling of overwhelming appreciation and pride.  I worked as hard as I could and crossed all my "t"s and dotted all my "i"s.  I left with no regrets, and I will eternally be a fan of this amazing pageant system.  Good luck to the Class of 2012!  May you leave Chicago inspired to continue to be the good you want to see in the world and feeling as wonderful about yourself and your experience as I did :)

Mary-Marsha Riley
Mrs. Tennessee International 2011


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Newly Discovered Memphis Treasure

Yesterday, at the invitation of my friend and client, Brittany Fitzpatrick, who is also Miss Shelby County International 2011 and the Communications Director for the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis, I spoke to the employees of the Ronald McDonald House about the benefits of and the best ways to live a healthy and active lifestyle.  After my speech, Brittany treated me to a tour of their wonderful facility.  While on the tour, I was reminded that although we hear about so many bad things happening in Memphis, there are so many absolutely amazing organizations working tirelessly every day to improve our city and world.  The services and kindness provided by the RMH to the families of children suffering from illness are extraordinary and life altering.

I will forever be a supporter of this wonderful organization and will encourage others to do the same.  For those of you who do not know, the RMH provides all the resident families with food, toiletries, paper products, and laundry detergent free of charge.  Of course, all of these products are provided by donations from the public.  If you are looking for a place to donate or a cause to champion, I encourage you to learn more about your local Ronald McDonald House.