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World Suicide Prevention Day

It’s World Suicide Prevention Day and for the first time ever I’m going to be open and share my truth. When I was 13, I attempted suicide by ingesting handfuls of pills, any and everything from my medicine cabinet. I was lonely, unhappy and felt unloved. I was nearly successful. I remember being able to hear but not see very well as darkness closed in. I fell off of the top bunk of the bunk bed I shared with my sister and hit my back on the corner of the stereo. The jolt of pain brought me out of my haze and I slept it off.

I remember the fear in my sister’s eyes and my already fragile heart broke even further. Over 25 years later I still see that look and feel horrible guilt over it. Suicidal thoughts accompanied a mental breakdown in 2013 while I was out of town for school (I was working 50 hrs a week and in a full-time Ph.D program at the time) and I immediately called my home crying and begging for help. When I got home from Chicago I made a beeline to my PCP and she put me on medication and sent me find a therapist.

I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression most of my life and am finally in a better place mentally and emotionally. I sought help, channeled my anxiety and fear into creative pursuits and things I found productive. I am now allowing myself the grace that I afford to everyone else and practicing self care.

If you need help, if you have thoughts of just wanting the pain to stop, there is a whole tribe of people who will embarace you and stand in the gap for you. My employer Ginger @carebyginger (soon to be Headspace Health) has some great resources that get you on the path to wholeness and wellness.
https://www.ginger.com/activities/strategies-for-coping-with-depression

Peace & Blessings

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2021 in Inspiration, Uncategorized

 

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VO Health – Taking Care of Those Precious Pipes

VO Health – Taking Care of Those Precious Pipes

As an herbalist and voice actor, my health, and specifically my vocal health, is so very, very important to me. My journey in herbalism began with my Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 17, I’m 38 now.  I was looking for ways to incorporate herbal/natural remedies in conjunction with Western medicine to help alleviate my symptoms and slow the progression.  As a voice actor, I had a traumatic and nearly fatal asthma attack and vocal cord paralysis in the summer of 2016 that required me to be put on a ventilator and having a tracheotomy.   I ended up with complications that resulted in a tracheal resection, a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and subcutaneous emphysema.  I say all that to say that I couldn’t talk for nearly two months, I had to learn to care for a trach, etc.  

Once I had been discharged and the trach was removed, I had to focus on falling back in love with my voice (my vocal range had changed) and how to best care for my voice and vocal health.  Here are my tips for keeping your vocal health front and present: 

  1. Sleep– Caring for your pipes starts with whole body care. Getting enough sleep affects so many body functions; from cognition, immune system response, digestion, mental health, etc. Getting a consistent sleep routine is vital. 
  2. Foreplay – Now everyone knows you can’t just jump in the booth without any prep work and expect your voice to give you its best. In order to coax the best performance out of your voice you have to give it loving attention.  Warm that thing up – vo warmups, lip trills, tongue twisters, scales, proper inflection, etc. 
  •  Voice straws* https://singingstraw.com/
    • They are back in stock!  Vocal straws train the posturing of the vocal folds and changes the posture of the vocal tube, i.e. it lengthens the Epi Laryngeal Space.
  • Cheryl Porter*https://cherylportermethod.com/
    • AHMAZING vocal coach who has an entire program to help you find your range along with practice materials and videos, etc. 
  • Rodney Saulsberry* – has a great book “Tongue Twisters and Vocal Warm Ups” sold on Amazon.

3. Regular Maintenance– This includes voice rest, listening to your body (when it’s fatigued, stressed, etc. -see #1), maintaining a healthy diet (avoiding caffeine, chocolate, sugar, dairy and smoking -both cigarettes and weed at least 2 hours prior to a session).  

  • Frankly putting anything into your lungs other than oxygen before a session isn’t the best of ideas. If you are a fan of, procurer or indulger of THC, please don’t smoke before your sessions. It will affect/change the texture of your voice. If you use THC for relaxation purposes I encourage you to eat it (edibles rather than smoking it). CBD can provide some of the same relaxation and anti-anxiety properties without the psychogenic properties that THC has.
  • Proper hydration (not just before a session/auditions) is key as well.  By the time you realize that you are thirsty you are already dehydrated.  Keeping your air passages moisturized by using a bedside humidifier with distilled water at night.  I wouldn’t necessarily advocate their use in the booth due to noise interference. 
  • Keep a scarf 🧣 on when out in windy/cold weather. This helps to keep warmth in and cold out. Cold temps cause constriction on muscles and tissues and decreased blood flow to those affected areas. 

4. Leave it alone when it doesn’t want to be bothered 

  • There is nothing worse than someone wanting something from you and you are in no mood to oblige. But you acquiesce to shut them up. Is it your best performance? Nope. Is the other party satisfied or generally let down  b/c of a lackluster encounter? Exactly. If your voice is fatigued or stressed and you push it b/c it’s a high paying, high visibility audition you will not give your best. Not only might you not book the job, you may leave a bad impression with casting directors, agents, etc. 
  • Stress, anxiety, illness, irritation- all these show up in your reads. It’s the equivalent of the elephant in the room sitting on the couch loudly eating your best snacks, drinking your fav scotch and who stole the remote and is watching Seinfeld reruns.

5. Protect your mental mind -give yourself grace and be patient with yourself. Frustration comes across in your reads. 

  • Be present in the moment and take a step back if you need to regroup during a session. Trust, the director and client will respect that you have a process and need to gather yourself in order to give them your best. 
  • Practice mindfulness 🧘🏽‍♀️- make your recording space a healthy and welcoming place, regardless of where you record. I have lavender/rosemary sachets hanging in my closet-booth, led light strips to set the tone and mood, and I meditate and do deep breathing before every session. Whether it is with my coach(es), a workout, audition recording, recording session or training webinar.
  • Lavender is known for its relaxing properties and rosemary counteracts anxiety and increases attention. I grow and dry my own lavender, add dried lavender flower and rosemary from my favorite herbal suppliers (The Bulk Herb Store, Mountain Rose Herbs & Monterey Spice Company) and a few drops of lavender and rosemary essential oils to a drawstring bag and hang it in an inconspicuous place.

I hope that these tips help you and cause you to dig a little deeper into your own herbalism journey and vocal health!

Be Well!

Tanesha

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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T. Nicole Designs to Participate in Luxury Celebrity Gift Lounge in Honor of the Television’s Best and Brightest Stars

T. Nicole Designs to Participate in Luxury Celebrity Gift Lounge in Honor of the Television’s Best and Brightest Stars

We are pleased to announce T. Nicole Designs, in association with The Artisan Group, will participate in an invitation-only luxury celebrity gift lounge hosted by GBK Productions on September 16-17, 2016 at an exclusive location in Beverly Hills, California in honor television’s best and brightest stars.

Our Fidelis Bracelet Collection, Nautical Dreams Bracelets, Granite Haze, Black Rose and Dragon’s Blood bracelets will be prominently featured on display at The Artisan Group’s exhibit, and all attending celebrities, select press and media, and other VIPs will receive our Fidelis Lion Head bracelet in either Black Onyx or Garnet in their swag bags. This event will also be attended by around forty press and media outlets.

Fidleis

To learn more about T. Nicole Designs and our products, or our participation in this exclusive event, visit www.designsbytnicole.com ], call 832-529-2696 or email tnicole@designsbytnicole.com.

Tanesha N. Graham, T. Nicole Designs’ sole proprietor, is a resident of Houston, TX.

ABOUT THE ARTISAN GROUP

The Artisan Group® (http://www.theartisangroup.org) is a premier entertainment marketing group dedicated to representing small business artisans at the best celebrity gift lounges and press events. The organization provides a collective sampling of handcrafted products to celebrities and members of the press at top luxury gift lounges such as those leading up to The Academy Awards, The Golden Globes, The MTV Movie Awards and The Primetime Emmys.

The Artisan Group also coordinates product placement of its member’s handcrafted products on such hit television shows as Scandal, The Voice, The Vampire Diaries, Days of Our Lives, The Young & The Restless, Modern Family, Jane The Virgin and Law & Order: SVU, among others. Membership in The Artisan Group is juried and by invitation only.

For press inquiries regarding The Artisan Group, please visit http://www.theartisangroup.org or email press@theartisangroup.org.

* Neither T. Nicole Designs nor The Artisan Group are officially affiliated with The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (The Emmys or The Primetime Emmys).

 

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2016 in Uncategorized, Work Life

 

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T. Nicole Designs Mission Main Street Grant Opportunity

T. Nicole Designs Mission Main Street Grant Opportunity

Hey bling lovers!!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, I’ve been super busy with design work and creating the 2015 Lookbook, among other random sparkly things. LOL  But this new post is one that is super exciting!!

T. Nicole Designs has just applied for a $100,000 grant from Chase’s Mission Main Street Grants!!  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Safari Collection

The Safari Collection

Hey Bling Lovers!

The first few months of 2015 have been über busy for me, with creating a brand new website, launching the T. Nicole Designs Etsy Store , working on multiple collections at the same time and launching my YouTube channel.  But the hard work has been well worth it for me, as my second collection, the Safari Collection, officially debuted at midnight on Thursday!  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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2015: My Year of Fulfillment

Happy New Year Lovebugs!

A new year has been ushered in and with it that I have left behind the wounds and transgressions of 2014. Life dealt me a really rough hand in 2014, between stress, work, my health taking more dips and flips than the most stomach dropping, heart pounding of roller coasters. I was on the verge of and had a mental breakdown. I took a leave of absence from my Ph.D Clinical Psychology program to focus on my health and wellbeing; it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a very long time.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Easter PSA

We are at the halfway mark of Holy Week and there is something that has stuck in my craw for years.  It’s time for another PSA/ “Grinds My Gears”segment.

*Drags soapbox to the middle of the room, steps up and taps mic*

Excuse me, excuse me.  May I have your attention please?

As you all gear up for Easter/Resurrection Sunday and are buying all these pastel colored dresses, Steve Harvey suits, hats, and finery, it grinds my gears when some of you people randomly do stuff  and accept things just because they are in popular culture.  Here’s a biology lesson just case you all didn’t know, rabbits/hares/bunnies DON’T lay eggs.  Never in the history of the world has a rabbit or rabbit-related organism laid a multicolored, painted, glitterfied chicken egg.  Not the Cadbury Bunny, not Bugs Bunny, no daggone bunny lays eggs!

When The Lord rose from the grave and the stone was rolled away there was not a bunny sitting at the threshold with the angel waiting to announce His resurrection.  There wasn’t a rabbit there pooping out colored hard-boiled eggs and jelly beans on top of pink plastic grass.

Just as a bit of history for you, chicken eggs were dyed red by early Christians in Mesopotamia to symbolize the blood of Jesus shed on Calvary. The shell represents the tomb of Christ and the breaking of the shell a symbolic representation of his breaking the chains of death.  The Easter egg custom was adopted by the Catholic Church in 1610 A.D. by Pope Paul V.  We as Christians can see the egg as a symbol of resurrection as the egg contains new life within it. How this morphed into adults hiding cooked eggs that were dyed the night before while watching the Ten Commandments is beyond me.  Hiding eggs in the grass, trees, bushes, under cars, etc. has to be one of the stupidest things I have seen.  Kids are fighting and pushing each other out of the way to get an egg that you know they won’t even eat, it will decay in a plastic basket next to pink and blue marshmallow Peeps that will NEVER decay.  You know that at least one of those eggs won’t be found and less than a week later as it rots in the sun, just out of sight, you will be complaining about a sulfur smell and dumbfounded as to where it is coming from.  I have no issue with Easter eggs as long as you understand and explain to kids the symbolism behind it.

To do something, anything for that matter, just because it has always been done (tradition), just because, and/or without the right context is off putting and asinine.

Your ignorance is showing, tuck it back in, nobody wants or needs to see that.

And that my lovelies is what grinds my gears!

*drops mic, climbs down off soapbox, places a purple dyed egg covered in glitter on the ground and exits stage right*

Even the bunny is confused...

Even the bunny is confused…

easter-bunny-2

Food for Thought

T. Nicole

 

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What Are They Thinking?

Happy Friday my lovelies!!  It is Friday and despite some of the negativity that has gone on this week I refuse to let it get me down.  I am headed home to play with my three dogs and I found this in an email from a former co-worker and it made me laugh.  I don’t know who to attribute this to but I had to share it.  I’m not a fan of cats, I am dog lover myself (Tyson, Lennox and Lola) below but this is hilarious!!

Lenny & TyTy

Lenny & TyTy

Tyson & Lola

Tyson & Lola

Find something to make you smile today and every day.

WHAT PETS WRITE IN THEIR DIARIES

Excerpts from a Dog’s Diary…..

8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm – Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm – Milk Bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat’s Daily Diary…

Day 983 of my captivity…

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They
dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or
some sort of dry nuggets.

Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless
must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to
disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I
had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly
demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending
comments about what a ‘good little hunter’ I am. Idiots.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed
in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could
hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due
to the power of ‘allergies.’ I must learn what this means and how to use it
to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my
tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this
again tomorrow — but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The
dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released – and seems to be
more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the
guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors
have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is
safe. For now…

Blessing and Happiness

T. Nicole

 

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Gems and Dresses

With a new year comes fresh perspective and gratitude for all those things we have been privileged enough to have and experience.  Some of you may know that I have a passion for making jewelry and for community outreach and activism.  With that T. Nicole Designs is proud to present “Gems and Dresses”, a philanthropic endeavor to provide dresses and coordinating handmade accessories for school formals and proms for those young ladies in the Houston Metro Area who would otherwise wouldn’t be able attend.

I’m hoping to be blessing to many young women in the Houston Metro Area and am asking your help in going through your closet archives for any dresses, cocktail, after-five, formal, etc. that you would be willing to donate to this cause. Any donation would be greatly appreciated!

If you know of a young lady, in the Houston Metro Area, who I could be a blessing to please send us an email at gemsanddresses@designsbytnicole.com.

http://www.designsbytnicole.com/NewProjects.html

Gems & Dresses

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Raising a Baptist Finger

I started this particular blog post on Sunday but the WordPress app on my Kindle deleted EVERYTHING I had saved locally the minute I connected to a wifi network!!!!  I was beyond pissed off and irritated so I am forced to recollect what I wrote in its entirety.  My plucky nature knows no bounds and I am the first to admit that I’m glad that I don’t always say the first thing that comes to mind.  However it does bear stating that I am guilty of not exactly being able to hide my contempt and disdain for certain things, much as I may try… ok, so I don’t exactly try a lot of times… Don’t judge me!! LOL

As temps reach into the mid-high 80’s with a heat index in the 90’s in many parts of the country people are reaching into the back of their closets and bringing out their lighter clothing.  I must tell you that a good many of these choices should have stayed in the archives; it wasn’t right last season and nothing about the passage of this past year has made it any more appropriate.  My fashion PSAs have covered just about every situation and locale except church.  Some of y’all will say I’m going to hell for this post and that God said come as you are.  The latter of these is true, He did same come as you are but He also wants things done decent and in order.  Some of the clothing choices made are neither decent nor in any semblance of order!!    Black, White, Purple, Polka Dotted or otherwise this applies to anyone going to any church in any country on the face of the planet.  Whether you go to church on Friday, Sunday, Thursday, Saturday or mid-week services, this applies to you.

  1.  First and foremost, for the love of the fashion gods, just because they make it in your size does not mean you should buy it, let alone wear it!!  This should go without saying but EVERY Sunday I see folks who have poured their size 16 self into a size 12.  I am beautifully curvaceous and love it but you will NEVER catch me wearing anything a size too small.  I will buy it larger and have it tailored.
  2. Pantyhose with open-toed shoes… This is a no-no ladies….
  3.  Pantyhose with runs that go from your ankle up to your thigh, then you try to cover it with a prayer cloth…  You cannot put pantyhose on a cactus and not expect them to end up looking like a game of Donkey Kong!  I personally feel it is too damn hot to wear pantyhose but do you boo boo, do you.
  4.  Bodyshapers, Spanx, are a requirement under unlined skirts and dresses.  When you come to the alter for prayer your behind should not look like two pigs fighting under a blanket.
  5. Hats are great, I am a fan of and own quite a few: sunhats, Bowlers, Fedoras (my personal fav), Pageboys, and caps, whatever.  Your hat should not block 2-3 rows of parishioners behind you nor should it be able to be spotted via satellite on Google Maps.
  6. Men please stop wearing colored linen with matching shoes.
  7. Tighty Whities are not appropriate underwear under linen… if you have doubts or questions about what is please consult with the women in your life… it can be your mother for all I care as long as she doesn’t also have questionable taste as well.

I have yet to grace the public with a questionable or less than stellar ensemble.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not so vain as to say that the most important thing about going to church is what you have on.  No, I’m just saying that the randomness and foolishness that comes through the door detracts from what we should be focusing on.

Just because you are in God’s house doesn’t exempt you from being decent!!  LMBO!!  Y’all know I am my own special breed of special!!

Blessings and Happiness

T. Nicole

 

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