Happy national #LoveYourPetDay Roxstars! In honor of today’s “holiday”, I wanted to talk about something incredibly close to my heart – animals! My family and I have three incredible dogs and a beautiful little birdy. I love fostering animals every chance I get, and those of you who know me, know that I can’t go a week without being near a horse (even though I don’t have one of my own – yet LOL). I’ve been so lucky to have the best, sweetest, smartest and (in my opinion) most adorable animals known to man – and they are such a huge part of my life everyday. That’s why I love getting to support incredible rescue organizations, such as The Little Angels Project, which is my favorite local animal rescue! Before I tell you all about them and their awesome mission to save animals, I have to boast about my adorable pets!
This is Oliver Queen (aka Ollie), the newest addition to our family! Yes, I’m a huge Arrow fan, and it just so happens that Oliver has a perfect white arrow on his chest! He is now an almost 2 year old chihuahua who we rescued from Paw Works last October. Oliver has such a gentle soul, but with a giant personality for a tiny dog, and he loves doing my warm ups with me everyday when I sing!
Roxy is my little baby girl who rules the house. LOL. She’s a chihuahua / rat terrier mix, who has the funniest habits, and always manages to get into trouble – she makes me laugh everyday bringing me my socks and kissing my face until I can’t breathe. My family and I came up with a name for her that encapsulates her crazy, sweet, cuddly, excited, playful and rambunctious personality – Schmenger. (So random – I know!) She is so athletic, and the terrier in her let’s her jump to crazy high heights, onto countertops and even into my arms! We actually found her in a stairwell when she was a little pup, abandoned and so scared, and now – I couldn’t imagine life without her!
And then there’s my sweet Lola. She’s our senior pup, (she just had a birthday a few days ago), and is 14 years old. At this point, she has her quirks of old age showing through – such as staring at walls and such, which makes me so sad, but she always amazes me how she runs around outside like a puppy. She is almost completely deaf now, but she loves to follow me around everywhere and get her neck massaged whenever I sit down. She’s also a bit of a movie star, as she was in a film in 2009 that had a scene in slow mo with her romping in a field of flowers… LOL. She’s such a sweetheart, and loves everyone and everything.
Last but not least, my beautiful bird, Bebe! She’s a green cheeked conure (a small breed of parrot), and has a perfect red heart on her chest. Her full name is Bebop, because on the first day I brought her home, I was playing some bebop jazz and she immediately took a liking to it and started squawking along! She absolutely loves music, and starts dancing whenever you sing to her. Before having a bird of my own, I had no idea that birds love cuddling! So now, every night before I put her to bed, I hold her and give her cuddles until she’s sleepy. She’s such a gem.
As you can probably tell, I absolutely love my animals, and I love getting the opportunity to support those who have dedicated their lives to helping animals in need. My friends at the The Little Angels Projects in Agoura Hills are doing some pretty amazing work to help animals of almost any species. They take animals who are sick, injured, or neglected – those that would almost certainly be put down at most shelters, and give them extensive medical care to rehabilitate them. Once the animals are healthy, they have the opportunity to find new, loving homes and be adopted. I’ve seen everything from cats & dogs to pigs & birds come through their doors and be healed of their injuries, thanks to the incredible team of veterinarians and volunteers who truly love animals.
To see more about the Little Angels Project and learn more about their mission, check out their website at www.littleangelsproject.org!
So again, Happy Love Your Pet Day! If you have a pet, give them a snuggle – but if you don’t have a pet of your own – today is the perfect day to adopt one!! 😉
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
WOW! I can’t even believe that another year has gone by. Time is moving sooo fast – but it has truly been a wonderful year! This year, I FINALLY released some of my own music! I managed to pass 1 million views on a video for the first time ever, passed 1 million followers on Facebook (THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!) and received over 3.2 Million views on my YouTube channel!!! I recorded my first album (which comes out super soon, I promise), and had the opportunity to work with such exceptional musicians and artists whilst recording it! I even had the chance to work with Grammy award winners! Next, I filmed 3 cinematic quality music videos (which come out soon) with crews of 50+ people (We also had the chance to film at the beautiful Paramount Ranch for two of them….), and traveled to 7 different locations worldwide to film even more! Wowza! For the most part, I took the year off of performing live shows to finish my album, film, and prepare for all the things that you don’t know about yet, but the shows I did do were sold out and had the most incredible energy! I can’t wait to hit the road again though!! This year was very big for my family and our company too, as we had many successful events, including our sold-out event, the Cancun Jazz Festival! Now we are expanding to MANY MORE festivals next year!!!
I’d like to take this opportunity to mention something pretty cool… My AMAZING family and I are going on this journey together! We work together in the music industry, and all support each other through each of our passions. This year, My mom has been directing music videos, producing music, and running a record company – and my dad has been producing and running music festivals, Launching his instrument company in the USA and is also an artist himself! So, kudos to my Exceptional family for just being you! (Also – shout out to my Papa who turned 90 this year and is still rocking the world!)
Even though our year was mostly filled with positivity, there have been quite a few trying times as well. I had anaphylaxis after eating walnuts, which was terrifying, to say the least. In November, immediately following the Borderline shooting in our community (where 12 people, including a childhood friend of mine, passed away.) we were evacuated from our home and office as the Woolsey fire ripped through our community, devastating our surroundings, friends and neighbors homes. Unfortunately, many national landmarks also burned down, including the infamous Paramount Ranch, where we had the chance to work for a week filming my music videos. Somehow, in the fires, we were lucky enough to have been spared, and both our home and office survived. (It literally came 1 home away from us on 2 sides!)
So, It’s been a jam-packed, tiring, slightly stressful but extremely fulfilling year, and I’m so grateful for every experience I’ve had! Now I’m ready for the next chapter, and I’m eagerly awaiting what’s to come.
I believe that 2019 is a very powerful year for me, as it will be the year that my debut album is released, along with some HUGEEEEE surprises that I can’t wait to tell you all about!!!
Thank you for following me on my journey, and I truly hope that you all have a wonderful 2019!
Love, Olivia 💖
Are you still looking for the perfect gift to give this Christmas?? I’ve created a list of my top 10 favorite gift ideas that are perfect for any budget and style! Let me know your favorites!!! 😉
(Simply click any of the images below to buy an item!)
Hopefully this list helped you find some perfect presents for Christmas, and maybe you even spotted a few for yourself! Have a fantastic holiday season, Roxstars!!
Olivia “Rox Watch” – Oscar Best Dressed List
…And Our pick for the Oscars 2018 It Girl!
From the Oscars 2018, Live from the Dolby Theatre on Sunday evening for the 90th annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
This post is co-written by Tamara Van Cleef (aka Mama Rox) – She loves the Academy Awards so much that they are literally a religious holiday for her!!! 🙂
Zendaya? She’s tall like me – 5’11”, and she looks like a Roman or Greek Goddess! She is stunning in a one shouldered, chocolate chiffon gown by Giambattista Valli. Her styling team rocks. Not a hair out of place. And the head to toe Bvlgari jewels aren’t so bad either. 🙂
The Jane the Virgin star, Gina Rodriguez, hit the red carpet in a stunning pale pink sparkly dress by Zuhair Murad. She is always so happy and bubbly, and we think that’s what makes her so beautiful. 🙂
Jennifer Lawrence is looking very Oscar like in a gunmetal gold sequin dress by Dior. Her Au nautural, beachy hair & cat eye makeup hit the bullseye of the hip, young Hollywood actress that she is.
TARAJI P. HENSON
Oscar’s 2018 It Girl….
And last but definitely not least… Out of the incredible girls listed above… here’s our pick for the “Oscar’s 2018 It Girl”!
None of the images used in this post are owned by us, all rights reserved from original owners 🙂 (I’m simply reposting to show my support of these incredible women in movies!)
- Record Player
This record player by Victrola is the perfect addition to any teen’s room. It comes in over 20 different colors and patterns, and is a great way to open up a conversation or start new hobby. I recently purchased this for one of my friends, and personally this is one of my favorite gifts to give! With an added bluetooth feature, you can pair your smartphone and use the speakers to play your music on your phone too. It not only supports buying and listening to music, but also keeps vinyl alive!!
Price $59 (On sale rn for $55.51)
- Amazon Fire 7
I LOVE the Amazon Fire!!! If you’re looking for a tablet to binge Netflix on, surf the web, play games and more – this is the tablet for you. Coming in just under $50, you honestly can’t beat it. You can easily listen to music, read books, control your smart home and take photos/videos!! Coming in multiple colors, this cheap tablet is the perfect gift for any teen.
Price range $49.99 – $69.99 (with added storage)
- Vibe setter
There are a ton of options for things that set a vibe, but my favorite mood setter rn is a salt lamp. There are a bunch of benefits associated with salt lamps, such as eliminating free radicals and helping to remove toxins in the air, but TBH – sometimes they’re great because they just look really cool. I personally like this mini night light salt lamp, because it can fit on any wall socket and provides a beautiful glow in any room.
- Poloroid camera
These are so much fun to give, and even better to see the results of! Indulging in teens never-ending quest to take the best photos for social media, Poloroids are not only fun to shoot, but make an Instagram feed unique in all the right ways. Coming in multiple colors, I like either the pink or blue…
Price $69 (but on sale rn for $55.61!!)
- Bluetooth Beanie
For the fashionable music lover, this bluetooth beanie hat is the perfect gift. Costing just under 10 dollars, this gives you a lot of bang for your buck. I received one of these as a gift not too long ago, and I absolutely love it!! It makes listening to music easy wherever you may be. What’s also great about this beanie is that both boys and girls love it – so it’s an easy gift to get for just about anyone!
****Tip: if you don’t know what to get a teen – you can never go wrong with an Amazon gift card!
That’s all for now folks! What are some of your favorite gifts to give / receive?
10,000 hours is a long time. The author Malcolm Gladwell first posed the statement that it takes about ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. That’s 8 hours a day, every day, for about 3 ½ years. Or (more realistically), 1 hour a day – which would take over 27 years. It seems nobody has that kind of time to spend in our day in age. So how do you become a master at something when you don’t have 10,000 hours? First, let’s analyze whether Gladwell’s statement may hold true or not…
My dad brought up this topic while we were on the tour bus this week, and it’s been brewing in my mind. I got to thinking, and I asked myself, how many hours have I spent practicing music? Writing? How about touring or learning about the music industry? When I added up my singing alone, I only got to about 5,000 or 6,000. I sing at least an hour a day – and have for the past 10 years (and before that I probably sang 20-30 min a day since age 4) + performances, recording, and writing music. How is it possible that I have not achieved 10,000 hours??? It seems that all I do is play music!! However, my dad reminded me, music is not the same as just singing. Nor is playing piano, guitar or ukulele. A master piano player cannot simply pick up a trumpet for the first time and be accomplished in that as well. Each and every instrument or field of music (or any skill for that matter) takes a separate amount of time to master. So although I may spend almost the entirety of every day helping to run Songbird Records, practicing all of my instruments, touring and recording – I am not (by the 10,000 hour rule) a master in any yet.
However – when we added up my dad’s time as a Saxophonist, we found that he had greatly surpassed the 10,000 hour mark. We stopped counting once we had calculated 23,000 hours or so. As a Berklee (College of Music) student, he spent around 6 hours every day for over 3 years playing his saxophone. Instead of going home for the summer, he worked day in and day out at completely mastering his art. When the other students returned from summer break, he realized the depth of his accomplishments, simply by comparing his grades to theirs. Now it’s been over 38 years since he began playing saxophone, and in my opinion (and so many others as well), he is the best saxophonist in the world. So in this case, 10,000 hours proved to be true, because he is indeed a master, and has been for so many years.
I can see the argument that you must first have an inclination towards the skill you are trying to master, and that may very well be true. Think about this; if all it took was 10,000 hours to achieve mastery – why don’t we see more people reaching it? For instance – I may try for 10,000 hours to become as brilliant of a painter as Monet, and may still never even come close, because I was not naturally inclined to be a painter. Whereas my good friend, Emily, was a born artist, and with 10,000 hours may even surpass Monet. (Just saying – you’re awesome Em!!!) This is why we see certain kids excel in school at some subjects. Their minds (and hearts) know the way and they will naturally take to a certain path. Even though you may study each subject equally, there will almost always be something that’s easiest to understand or that you love a little more than the rest – and THAT is what you will excel at with practice.
I look at the athletes competing at the Olympics in South Korea, and I wonder how many hours they have spent in preparation? Could it be that each of them has achieved over 10,000 hours? When I think about the time spent training for something so huge, I would assume that they spend at LEAST 2 hours every day perfecting their art, if not many more hours. Plus of course increasing their conditioning and strength with other exercises. But most Olympians are young, and (with a few exceptions) under 30 years old. If they started training around age 8 and are only 18 years old when competing, (assuming they practiced an average of 2 hours a day, every day, on their specific specialty of sport) they would fall almost 3,000 hours short of mastery. However, certain skills learned can cross between different fields. For instance, as a figure skater – you need knowledge of ballet training in order to best execute your routine. Which as a result, would increase your hours of practicing figure skating, because it can translate between the two sports. Coming back to music for a moment, certain skills are universal and don’t need to be learned separately for each instrument/specialty. For instance, learning to read sheet music is an almost universal concept between different fields of music (besides some slight modifications and associating the notes on a new instrument with what you already know how to read), as are certain beats and feels to a song. Once you learn certain concepts, they can translate beautifully between different areas of study, which greatly decreases the 10,000 hours PER individual subject.
What about prodigies? Do they apply to the 10,000 hour rule? I’m sure you’ve heard of kids who innately understand how to play piano, or have managed to master a skill in mere months, which might make one question Gladwell’s theory. In fact, prodigies even challenge our model of learning and education. If someone finds their calling (speaking esoterically for a moment) doesn’t that mean that’s what they were destined to do? And does that mean that everyone has a calling to something – even if they don’t know what it is yet? I think so. On a personal level, our mission in life should be to find our passion and nurture it. You could argue, why should you waste valuable time learning or practicing anything else, if you’ve already found what you’re good at??? And that’s where you stop to think. You see, everything we learn and absorb on a daily basis influences us. For example, If you were to stop studying anything else, once you had found you had a natural inclination to, say, gymnastics; you would miss out on reading the literature that inspired the thirst for knowledge, or practicing math (which is actually useful in many scenarios!), or you may not even learn about the world or entire universe around us. You may very well achieve mastery in gymnastics, but most likely will do so without the passion. Your entire world would revolve around gymnastics and you would probably lose the desire or will to continue with it. That’s why we must constantly expand our minds, challenging what we think we know, in order to feed our souls. Everything in life has a balance, and everyone has a breaking point.
But who’s to say that you must work 10,000 HOURS to become a master at something? Are there any hacks or shortcuts we can use? What about focusing on the quality of your time vs. the quantity… Instead of making it your mission to study or practice longer, how about increasing your efficiency? You may be able to get the same amount done in 3 hours instead of 8. It’s important to keep your brain clear from distractions when practicing your art or field of study. For instance, I was homeschooled my entire life, and I found that instead of studying my courses for 8 hours or more a day, I learned the best by studying an hour at a time for 2-3 hours daily. I almost always worked through holidays and summers, and as a result, I finished my coursework 2 years early and graduated high school at 16. Then I was able to continue my education by starting college courses. By keeping my time efficient and condensed, my concentration was higher and I was able to better grasp what I was learning at a quicker rate. There’s also another study that I came across not too long ago that states; the human brain best remembers what you learn first and last in each session. Everything in between seems to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why it’s crucial to take breaks in between your learning / practice time – in order to rest your mind and allow each topic to marinate. However, that doesn’t mean that you will simply remember each thing you read that’s ordered first and last…
An easy way to think about the way memories work is that our brains file our thoughts into two general places; short term and long term. The short term is “deleted” after a day or so; discarding things like the way you chewed your food at lunch, walking to another room and unimportant activities that you probably don’t need to remember with precision. Typically it sorts short term as things you didn’t feel great emotion towards, or the seemingly mundane parts of your day. But, what also gets buried, are things that you may not want to forget; such as parts of conversation, things you learned and more. It can also help protect your body and mind by causing you to forget details of trauma and negative experiences.
So, how can you tell your brain to remember certain things, in order to increase your learning efficiency and achieve mastery? That’s where your long term memory kicks in. Things that you’ve learned multiple times, in different situations, tell your mind that the information is important, and it therefore files it as long term. Think about all the ways that your mind receives information on a daily basis; through reading, writing, watching, talking, smelling, listening, touching, tasting, moving, perceiving, dreaming, feeling, imagining and more. We can’t blame our minds for filing information as short term and irrelevant if it was only recorded one time, and through one vice. For me, when I read a book, I not only see it with my eyes, I emote it into my imagination, mouthing the words, building the book’s world around me. I touch the letters on the page, absorbing not only what is happening in the story, but also observing my own surroundings and how I feel while reading it. Think about all of the ways I have just immersed myself in a single book – a single memory. Sight, Sound, Touch, and most importantly, using my mind.
We have been trained to think that the more hours you put into practicing something, the more you will learn. But what if that concept is completely wrong? Why can’t we train our minds to file the right information as long term?
It’s important to remember one more concept about the way memory works. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. You cannot learn something once and expect to remember it in detail 10 years from now, unless of course you have a super brain with photographic memory. For us normal folk, we must learn how to use the tools we have been given. An easy way to keep information handy, is repetition. When you first learn a concept, come back to it in 2-3 hours to ingrain it into your memory. Then 1-2 days later, review it. Now 1-2 weeks later, review it again. Let a few months pass, and recall it once more. Now that information will stick. Keep recalling and reviewing it briefly every year or so to keep it fresh, as your mind is constantly filling with more and more information, therefore burying the older, less prominent memories underneath your newest. But just like that, you’ve hacked your mind and memory.
Now think about how you can apply those concepts to the 10,000 hour rule. Do you still think you must spend that long in order to reach mastery? Or, can a natural calling, mixed with the right teachers, learning method and a little bit of time be enough? And what is mastery status anyway? Everyone has a different perception of what mastery is. Is mastery gaining fame? Winning an award? Is it recitation? Or, is it being able to feel what it is you do in your soul? Perhaps it’s a culmination of all of those things. My personal viewpoint on ultimate mastery is that it doesn’t exist. I know, I know – you’re wondering why you’ve just read an entire post about how to master something and I’ve just shattered the notion in one sentence. But, you see – no matter what knowledge I gain, or what level I think I’ve reached, there is still so much to learn – which is so exciting! Our definition of mastery is that you have comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment. But comprehensive means complete – and we still discover new things on a daily basis, in every field. So how can you be a master when you are still learning? What do you think? All I know for certain is that one must stay humble, positive and keep the flame of discovery alive.
As a great man once said; “I am still learning” – Michelangelo
So today I wanna talk to you about something very sensitive to me and one of the things I struggle to overcome every day…
I’ve never talked about this publicly. So here goes… I have extreme, life threatening allergies to tree nuts. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been allergic to nuts, but to be honest, it was always a mild allergy. I was also never allergic to hazelnuts, so I would eat Nutella ALL THE TIME! Then one day, about 4 years ago, I ate a pastry with Nutella in it, and all of a sudden I started getting short of breath. I wasn’t sure what was happening, so my mom gave me Benadryl and drove me to our local full service urgent care. Only, by the time we got there, I had swelled up like a pufferfish, couldn’t see, and couldn’t breathe. We had no idea what to do, because we had never experienced or even really knew about anaphylaxis.
We got inside as quickly as possible, crying, shaking and so completely terrified. Unfortunately, what we didn’t know was that a “full service” urgent care is not at all equipped for a situation like this. They stabbed me with an epipen, WHICH WAS BROKEN – and then lazily got around to finding another. I passed out, and the next thing I knew, an ambulance (that my mom had called – thank god) had arrived and a team of heroes was helping me. I had to have 2 epipens and a steroid shot just to wake me up. Then my heart rate was soaring over 170 and the paramedics were worried that I could have a heart attack!!!! I’m lucky to be alive.
It was the scariest day of my life.
After that, I then went to the allergist and got full allergy testing to see what exactly I was allergic to, and it turns out that my hazelnut allergy did in fact turn on out of the blue. I’m obviously not a doctor, so I can’t tell you the exact medical terms, but what they explained to me was that when you’re allergic to one tree nut, it’s extremely likely that you will develop allergies to ALL tree nuts!! Crazy!! I was prescribed epipens, and now carry them with me everywhere I go, as well as Benadryl (which turns out may have been the tipping point that saved my life 4 years ago).
It’s extremely difficult living with a severe allergy, and I’ve been turned away at countless restaurants saying that they couldn’t accommodate me. I have difficulties on airplanes when they serve nuts, I worry when I shake someone’s hand, and I can almost never trust anything I eat unless I’ve made it. I’ve had a lot of close calls and a few mild allergies since, but luckily most were alleviated (somewhat) by Benadryl. It’s especially hard traveling to other countries where you don’t speak the language – and I LOVE traveling and eating the local food!!
For example, one time I was in China on tour, and I was so proud of myself because I had a printout written in Mandarin saying what I was allergic to. I learned how to say it as well, so I asked to speak with the chef to tell him. He nodded and said he understood and ran off to make my food. I got up to get something at the buffet and I turned around to see the chef running towards me, holding a plate full of every single nut I had written on my printout!!! Horrified, I ran away saying, “NO! NO! NO!” He was so sweet and didn’t understand, so he pursued me through the restaurant – chasing me with a plate full of nuts! (My literal nightmare)
This last Friday, I had a cookie that I was assured by the chef didn’t have nuts – but guess what? It contained walnuts. What may seem like a minor mistake, could’ve been my life. I took a single (tiny) bite and my tongue instantly started tingling. I spit it out as fast as I humanly could and ran for my allergy kit. Within 10 seconds my lips, tongue and throat had swelled like I had WAY too much Botox or something. (Actually one of the EMT’s asked my mom if my lips looked normal and she replied, “No, she didn’t get Botox” and he laughed saying, “You never know in this day and age”) We called 911 and I was in the hospital until about 4am. Just because I was discharged doesn’t mean that I’m completely better though. There’s a recovery process that takes place after having anaphylaxis because your body is put into a state of shock (that’s why it’s commonly referred to as anaphylactic shock) that could take up to a week.
I wanted to tell you all about this, because after this Friday, I’ve decided I want to help raise awareness for people living with life threatening allergies. I meet so many people who simply don’t understand the severity of an allergy. I’ve gotten comments like, “Oh, it only has a little bit of pecans on top, so you should be fine.” Or, “Oh, our kitchen has a lot of cross contamination so I don’t know…” (which – eww?!?!) “Once you take an epipen aren’t you cured?” Or even friends of mine bringing me sweets (which I love so don’t stop) and forgetting about my allergies.
You’re probably wondering, “Why can’t you just avoid nuts? It can’t be that hard!”. But let me tell you – IT IS INSANELY HARD. People put nuts in everything, from flour (almond flour) to curries, massage oils to cosmetic products, shampoos to pretty much all baked goods (I can’t even walk into a bakery!!). And don’t even get me started about cross contamination or things “made on shared equipment”. Let me tell you – it is a difficult task for someone with nut allergies. If you can imagine, everyday I have to check every single ingredient on everything I eat or touch, constantly monitor my surroundings, and it can be daunting.
It has gotten to the point where I am literally afraid to eat out. When I’m at a restaurant, I talk to the server, busboy, and chef – asking each person the same questions – “are you sure???” (Yes, I’m that annoying person who asks 5x) and would you believe nuts have still slipped through at least 8 times. I actually now have my mom inspect and taste almost everything I eat, but that’s not reliable in the case of cross contamination. My allergies are so severe that even if I’m in the same room with nuts I can get a reaction. And the worst part? Every time I’m exposed, my allergies get more severe and sensitive.
Wanna know the science behind an allergy??? So, in layman’s terms – when someone is allergic to something, the body incorrectly identifies that allergen as a bad foreign substance and attacks it. The immune system kicks into overdrive and does everything in its power to “kill” that foreign body (just like how we fight off colds and flus, and the billions of bacteria we come into contact with.) Your histamines are working non stop and cause swelling to “protect your body” (sometimes resulting in hives or even causing you to look like a pufferfish – like what happens to me). The swelling can affect your entire body, including restricting your airways. It is extremely serious, and can be fatal. You may not realize it, but there are over 500 deaths every year from anaphylactic shock in the United States alone. And every three minutes, someone ends up in an ER due to food allergies. Not only do people with food allergies have to worry for their life, but many kids (and adults) are being bullied about it too, causing us to feel outcast and even more traumatized.
The medications to help alleviate an allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock can be a range of different things. For me, the 3 things that help are:
Benadryl; an antihistamine, so it helps to calm your immune system’s response.
Epipen’s; filled with epinephrine, that acts as a time saver (not a life saver) in order for you to have time to get medical attention.
And, Specific steroids (given in the hospital); which dampen your immune system for a longer amount of time so that the allergen can pass through your system.
Another issue I run into is when people use the term “allergy” for something they simply don’t like, which desensitizes people preparing food into not taking someone with a real allergy seriously. I have a good friend with Celiac Disease, and she CANNOT eat anything with Gluten. Some restaurants however, can’t tell the difference between an intolerance and someone “trying the latest fad”, so they don’t believe in the severity and allow cross contamination.
I believe that there shouldn’t be discrimination when ordering at a restaurant. It’s sad and embarrassing to be turned away saying that they can’t accommodate your disability. I completely understand the reasoning if you believe you can’t avoid cross contamination – and I’d actually prefer to be informed so that I don’t risk my life. HOWEVER – don’t you think that it’s wrong that some (most actually) restaurants discriminate against people with allergies and won’t even TRY to accommodate you??? Just saying…
I’m currently training my dog Oliver to be an allergy alert dog. He’s finished his actual alert training, and has amazingly already alerted me twice about an allergic reaction. Right now though, I’m working on scent training with him so he can alert me BEFORE I come into contact with nuts! He’s so smart – it’s incredible. I’m doing the training with sample scents, but I’m having someone else do the actual nut scent training with him. He is trained to constantly tune into my breathing (which for me, wheezing/ heavy breathing is the first thing that starts happening in an allergy). It’s helpful in the case where I’m in a room with nuts and I don’t even realize it, or if I’ve come into contact with them and have just started getting symptoms. In some cases, this means that I can leave the room before having a more severe response, take medication early, or even get to a hospital in time.
After my anaphylaxis on Friday, I had a show the following night. So I got out of the hospital, only getting about 5 hours sleep, and headed to the concert. It was difficult to sing because my throat was still inflamed, however, I pushed through because the show must go on. 🙂 Today, I’m still not 100% and I just got home from the concert. Now it’s time to fully recover and take some time off. Just a final thought… Allergies are a disability – and most definitely not a choice. I was wired this way, and I think that everyone should be informed about the severity of allergies. I strive to see a world where we accept, and not judge, people for whatever disability you may have been given in this life.
Ok, so as you may know – I’m a bit of a sucker for a great TV show…. I LOVE getting immersed in a story, and feeling the characters own emotions as though they were my own. So – I wanted to put together a list of my Favorite Shows on Netflix that you can binge right now! Some are geared for a younger audience and some for M+, so I’ll be sure to let you know in a brief description what you should expect…
Arrow is one of my favorite comics brought to life – based on “The Green Arrow”, it is filled with a dramatic story line, a heavy heroes and villains theme and TBH makes me want to train on a salmon ladder! I named my dog after the main character Oliver Queen (the Green Arrow), because my pup has a perfect arrow marking on his chest! Such a great show, Oliver Queen returns after being capsized and pronounced dead for 5 years. I love discovering Oliver’s true motives behind why he has decided to ‘save his city’…
- The Flash
OMG do I love The Flash!! Another comic, Barry Allen is struck by lightning due to a particle accelerator explosion, and wakes up months later to find he has superspeed. I love shows that combine powers with technology, and take me out of this reality we know to challenge the brain into thinking – what if? The characters are extremely lovable and this is a very fun show to watch.
(Start with Arrow, then begin watching this show – based in the same universe, the shows collaborate often!)
If you enjoy learning about the universe, this is the show for you. I’m a proud nerd, so yes – I spend my free time expanding my mind. Cosmos is wonderfully easy to understand and I always feel as though I’m watching a Doctor Who (which is another of my favorite series) episode, because some of the things that are being depicted, though real and proven by science, are so mind blowing that they edge on being straight out of a Sci Fi novel. I began watching this in the beginning of 10th grade just after it premiered, and it was the perfect study tool. An added bonus is that also makes my imagination run wild with possibilities!
- The Crown
The Crown is a gorgeously depicted period piece, which follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II. As we watch the Royal family’s history play out through their trials and tribulations, I feel as though I’m living it as a fly on the wall to this great family. With the crown comes fame, fortune, galas and the great spectacles we see on TV, but this show also shines a light on the hard work, perseverance, loneliness and great responsibility that is placed on a Royal’s shoulders. Splendid casting – but I will definitely miss Claire Foy going into future seasons!!
Now, Merlin came out a while ago, and it is still one of my favs. I’m currently re-watching it for the 3rd time… Merlin is set in (you guessed it) Camelot – with Arthur, the knights of the round table, dragons and (my favorite part) Magic! It starts in the time before Arthur became King, and Merlin is burdened with the knowledge of his and Arthur’s destiny. He is to protect Prince Arthur in order for him to become the great king he is destined to be, and unite the kingdoms. Ahh I love this show. It’s great too because this is the perfect show for the whole family to enjoy – no M+ content; but instead a whimsical story filled with good VS. evil subplots and lovable characters.
- Stranger Things
Ooh!!!!! So when I first started Stranger Things, I wasn’t sure if it would live up to all of the reviews I’d read, but instead it ended up exceeding my expectations. It can be terrifying at times, causing me to watch more ‘because I had to see what happened!’ – so needless to say I finished Season 1 in about 2 days. Set in the 80’s, a young boy goes missing and the town sets out to find him – and instead they find a young girl who has just escaped from a lab nearby. We soon realize that she has powers, there is a whole other alternate reality called the Upside Down, and more is going on in this small town in Indiana than meets the eye. The main cast is centered around a very talented group of kids, teens, a mom and a cop – so the dynamics are ever changing and one age group is constantly adjusting their point of view to meet the other side of things. It’s definitely worth watching if you haven’t already.
- The OA
Suddenly a young blind woman named Prairie appears after 7 years of being missing, her sight miraculously returned. It’s a show of self discovery, life, death and a dramatic story that plays out in 2 timelines, each episode revealing a little more of what had happened to Prairie in those 7 years. Extremely intense and please don’t make the mistake of watching it right before you go to sleep, because you’ll stay up all night binging it!
I’m sure you’ve heard of Sherlock, but I had to mention it anyway because it is truly amazing.
Sherlock Holmes is of course one of our most famous characters that has been played countless times, but it is brilliantly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock. I like to have a clear mind before watching, and I can never watch it when I’m tired, because the writing is so sharp and intelligent that I don’t want to miss a sentence. We watch as Sherlock and Dr. Watson solve the world’s greatest mysteries, whilst dealing with Sherlock’s egocentric personality where knows he’s the smartest guy in the room. It also taught me about mind palaces, and it’s quite fun to make your own!
Ok – this one is intense. I have a friend who literally took off time at work so he could finish this because it’s so addictive! I actually don’t want to give you too much of a synopsis, because it had me on the edge of my seat… BUT – I’ll let you know a little bit of it… Jason Bateman stars and his character has been laundering money for the (2nd largest) Mexican Drug Cartel, when things go awry. A ridiculously real depiction, brilliantly acted and written, the show follows his family as they figure out how to deal with an angry cartel.
I’m currently watching Season 2 with my parents and W.O.W. is it great!!
Based in current day, Travelers from the future take over the minds of people about to die… which in itself is a genius concept, and it is perfectly executed. Sent back in time to complete missions and save the future, we fall in love with the characters and watch as they navigate their new lives that they must live in.
Honorable Mention: Chuck
Still my all time favorite show – but they took it off Netflix!!!!!!!!!!! Nooooooo!!!!!! Please go watch/buy and support it!!!!!!
Chuck Bartowski is a normal guy working at the Buy More in Burbank, when he suddenly gets an email from an old friend from college. What he didn’t expect was that the email would download government secrets into his brain. Chuck instantly becomes a target, and he is assigned two agents from both the CIA and NSA to safeguard him. They realize that Chuck can access these secrets and is able to use the information to stop tragedies and go on secret missions!! It’s so good!!! I won’t say more because you simply must watch it!!! Also – PLEASE bring it back for a movie, another season or SOMETHING!!!
What are your favorite shows to watch on Netflix? Tweet me @oliviarox or by using #roxwatch with your favs!! (I think I have to do another list because I had to leave out SO many shows!!)
What a week!! So, if you’re a musician, you probably know what this weekend was – if not, lemme let you in on it… it’s a music convention called NAMM. 🙂
One of my favorite times of the year (besides Halloween of course) NAMM is filled with passionate people, exhibitors and SO. MUCH. GEAR. It’s literally a musician’s dream. You walk the floor of the convention center, running into friends, colleagues and your idols, all the while testing out and drooling over the cool new instruments and gear that just came out. This year, we had a group of 8 all walking around together, which I loved because that meant I got to hang out with my friends and super cool people the whole time!
I’ll tell you my highlights from the weekend (we were running around so much and had so many meetings that it’s too hard to tell you about all of them!)…
On Thursday, which is the first day of NAMM, we met up with some of our friends from China, South Korea and Taiwan, whom we met while on tour there, then my parents and I split off from our big group and we went to my rehearsal for a performance the next day. I met the band Rock Sugar for the first time, whom I would be playing with the next day! They’re awesome – and shout out to you gals if you’re reading this! We ended up getting to bed at about 2am after a super long day!
Then on Friday, I performed at the She Rocks Awards, where I paid tribute to Pat Benatar, singing her song, “Invincible”. (I have to toot my own horn for a second here, which I won’t normally do – BUT – I’ve been working so hard for so many years to increase my vocal range to hit higher notes, and for the longest time I could only hit a High G full voice – then about a year or two ago, I was able to increase it to a High A full voice (Which I was secretly impressed with myself about…). But Friday night, I hit a HIGH B FULL VOICE!!!!!!! Ok, now I’m done) Pat is such an inspiration and I was so grateful to have the honor to perform her song at an award ceremony celebrating her career in music! Unfortunately, Pat was unable to come to the award show because she came down with the flu. I’ve actually come close to performing with her / opening for her / meeting her on several occasions but at the last minute each scenario fell through – but one of these days I’m sure it’ll happen and they’ll be so much magnetic force that the universe will implode!! 😉
Then, making up for Pat not being there, I had the privilege of singing with the INCREDIBLE Melissa Etheridge and The B52’s!!! No pressure… 🙂
The B52’s were so supportive and sweet, and Melissa beelined over to hug me and tell me that I was amazing and that I was doing something right! Meanwhile, I’m like – uh – YOU’RE amazing!!!!
Then on Saturday, back at NAMM, we met with a bunch of companies discussing my new guitar line…. (SAY WHAT?!?!?) – more on that later! Then, I actually got given a beautiful pinkish/purple ukulele!!! So that was awesome! And I also bought a new guitar and case 😀
All in all it was a very successful weekend, and it’s funny because normally I’d be at NAMM from the second it opened until they turned the lights off on us, but this year I was so busy with everything else that I was only at NAMM for about 4 hours total!!! I met so many great people this week and now I’m ready to decompress and take a day off – but we still have one more day left… Right now, we’re all piled into an RV, driving back to our house for an after party we’re throwing tomorrow! It’s gonna be awesome!
Guess who got her driver’s license this week?!? MEEEEEE!!!
You’re probably wondering why I’m just getting it now, at 19, and not right out of the gate… Well, when I was 15 ½ (Old enough to get my Learner’s Permit), I was getting signed to Warner Bros Records. Then at 16 through age 17, I was on Idol getting chauffeured around (Which was pretty cool I must say 🙂 – “Oh there’s a car for you out back” 😀 LOVE). Then I went on tour from age 17 through (the beginning of) 18. The next few months, I was recording and constantly working, non-stop, and was hardly even going out anywhere because I needed to embrace my inner Hermit Crab. Now, here we are in present day – I got my Learner’s Permit about 3 months ago, and 2 days ago I took my first driving test and PASSED!!! So as you can see, it was never NECESSARY to get my license until now, so I just never got around to it.
Ok, and, I have a confession to make. I don’t get nervous singing in front of thousands, or pretty much anything that most people would cringe at the mere thought of, but I get REALLY nervous with tests. ANY kind of test and I’m so nervous I can barely stand up. It’s terrible. I can study and practice so much that I could literally repeat things sleeping, but as soon as I realize I’m being tested – I PANIC. So I was also kind of putting off getting my Permit and License because I knew I’d have to endure a lot of tests… :-/
So here’s what happened. As I was driving to my test with my parents, (in SUNNY California) the sky clouded up and it started raining. Literally the second time in 6 months, of all days. And it didn’t help that I just started reading the book, “H2O” which is about this post-apocalyptic world where practically everyone dies because of the rain being toxic and deadly. So that helped my nerves. 😉 I got there, checked in and waited in a designated spot. As soon as my instructor walked up to my car (well my parents car TBH), I couldn’t comprehend a word he was saying. “Blinkers” – I stared at the wheel in front of me, my mind COMPLETELY BLANK, and after a while, turned on my blinkers. “You don’t have to turn them on, just point.” Oh, ok. “Horn” I definitely knew this one. “Left Turn signal” I stared blankly at him, my mind so filled with nerves that I actually COULDN’T understand what he was saying. He said it 2 more times, about to mark a ding when I practically yelled out that I had it, I was so proud of myself. OMG. And then, I looked to my left and peering through the window were both of my parents, grinning with this hysterical look on their faces (like that look when proud parents hold up signs at a ball game and are telling everyone around them, “That’s MY daughter out there!!!”). I nearly died. Now, not only was I shaking from nerves, now my ‘I have to impress them’ instincts revved up. I took a really long deep breath and calmed down as much as I could. I got through the initial pre – check list, and he got in. I had one more goofball moment where I tried to pull forward without turning the car on – OMG – SO EMBARRASSING. But the second I pulled out of the driveway, I knew that I had to get ahold of myself entirely, not only for myself and my licence, but for the safety of others around me. I took another deep breath and zoned in on the task at hand. It’s just like what I’ve been doing everyday for months. I can do this. I drove.
After what seemed like under 10 minutes, he told me to turn back into the DMV. I panicked, because I had been told multiple times that it would take a long time, some people had even told me that they were on the road for 30 minutes! So, of course, my knee jerk reaction to that sentence was that I had failed miserably and we were returning because I had been so terrible. I knew I had made 2 small errors, to which I was so mad that I did the second it happened, but as I pulled in to park I started second guessing every single decision I had made on the road. Wait – were you supposed to stop at a stop sign for 2 seconds or 3? Did I go TOO slow through that school zone? Should I have stopped so that I could see the wheels of the car or the pavement below? I couldn’t remember what they recommended. Meanwhile, the tester is telling me my areas of improvement, and suddenly I hear him say (through my racing thoughts), “You’re a really safe driver though overall”. Now I completely tune in and I wait for the “But you didn’t pass today” – and instead he says, “Congratulations, you passed!”!!! I actually had him repeat it 2 more times saying, “I passed?”, “Really?”, before I took yes for an answer! LOL. I thought that for sure my nerves had caused me to fail, but they didn’t and I got my license!!!
So, for those of you who get test anxiety, like me, just believe in yourself and you can achieve anything you set your mind to. (Also, try deep breathing – it’s literally the only thing that helps me!!!)
I’m so excited to be on the road, and I wanted to let you know that I’ve taken the pledge to not text and drive, because distracted driving is a VERY serious issue and I value my life and the lives of others WAY too much for something as small as a text. Here’s a crazy statistic for you; those who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash. So please, take the pledge today and STICK to the promise you’re making to yourself and others. If you HAVE to get in contact with someone while driving, either ask a companion you may be traveling with to do it for you, or pull over. No text is worth someone’s life. 🙂
Alright, that’s all folks! Until next time! Safe driving!
Hello! Me again… This week was so much fun! We mainly spent our time in the recording studio – recording the next 2 songs that will be coming out soon!! It’s so exhilarating to finally be getting to hear my songs – that started with a mere thought in my mind – come to life! I want to share a story with you about my songwriting, and how it came to where I am today….
So, I first started writing songs when I was around 4 – but let’s be honest, those songs like, “My Mommy Went To South Africa” and “Fairies in the Trees”, are hardly album worthy… My first real turning point with my songwriting was when I was about 8 or 9, when I realized that songwriting could actually be a way to express my most complex of emotions. On a trip to LA back then (I was born and raised in Boulder, CO until about age 10) I saw a homeless person on the street, with her whole life in a shopping cart, and a sign saying, “Please Help Me, I’m homeless.”. I asked my mom if we could bring her home, and help her. Now, I had seen tragedy before and at that point had already traveled around a lot of the world with my parents, but somehow this was my first time registering the fact that there were people without a home, and those without love or someone to turn to for help. We watched as countless people passed her up without even glancing for more than a moment, meanwhile, she was pleading for help. I practically begged my mom to let us take her with us, for we had a home, we had clean clothes, we had food – so why not share those luxuries with someone in need? When my mom tried to explain to me why we couldn’t, I felt filled with knots and wanted more than anything to help. We gave her as much as we could, and then we left, with me in absolute tears.
I was distraught, confused, filled with questions about our human nature, and quite frankly – angry with the world.
When we got back to our hotel room, I could hardly think straight, and all I could talk about was this woman we had seen. I kept asking, “Why?”, and even now, I still come across that thought. Why can’t we help every person in need? Why is our world filled with people only out for themselves? But now a question that comes to mind is, “How can I change this?”.
I decided to put my complicated thoughts into an outlet – a song. It was called, “Love in Our Hearts” and it somehow encapsulated the exact feeling that I was trying to express, even though I couldn’t find the words. I realized that songwriting could be a tool used for good, and it could potentially make change in the world.
Soon after writing that song, I was chosen as one of the Colorado Best Of The Best Young Artists, and they asked me to perform at their Benefit concert, raising money for the charity Cherish Our Children International which benefited the Bridge for Peace program in Israel. For the benefit, they asked the children performing to help raise money for the charity, so of course, it became my absolute mission in life to raise as much money as humanly possible. I raised over $2,000, (which as a 9 year old, was a nearly insurmountable amount of money) and I ended up raising the most money, helping over 60 children for a year! We were then asked if they could use my song, “Love in Our Hearts”, as the theme song for their charity, Cherish Our Children International!
It soon occurred to me that my experience in LA, and my song that I wrote simply to help myself cope with what I was feeling, had expanded into helping others and therefore made a difference in the world. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to see this, and I thank my lucky stars that I did – for I saw the Power in Music.
Hi Roxstars!!! It’s Olivia!
Welcome to my FIRST EVER Sunday Blog Post!!!!! I’ve wanted to do a blog for a really long time, and I figured that the first week in 2018 was the perfect time to start!! Writing is my favorite thing in the world to do, whether it be songs, books, journaling or my new medium; blogging… I always feel so free when I’m writing something new, so I’m excited to finally have a designated place to voice my opinions and write to my heart’s content. I wanted to start something that I can post no matter where I am in the world or what I’m doing. Also, I get a lot of questions asking if it’s really me writing, so I just wanted to let you know that every blog post will be written by ME, so you’ll be hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth! 🙂
My life is an ever-changing revolving door of new information. One week I could be on tour, the next filming a music video, then in the studio, or at home spending time with my family and animals. One thing that is constant though, is my love for living every moment to its fullest, and I’d like to share that zest for life with you. Every blog post will be different, focusing on many subjects including (but not limited to) Music, Fashion, Exercise, Food/Recipes, Travel, Weekly Recaps, Health, Beauty, Quotes, and more. I’m an avid learner, so sometimes I’ll post about new things I learned, books I’ve read, life observations, or just about anything in between….You’ll basically be taking a trip inside my mind – so pretty much anything goes! 😉
If you would like to visually watch what I’m up to each week, go ahead and subscribe to my Youtube Channel (OliviaRoxMusic) and watch my Roxumentary. It’s a documentary series that follows my family and I through life that we started posting in 2015…
I’ll keep this first blog post short and sweet… See you next Sunday!