A woman on a mission to unveil every facet of my life, where I’ve been, where I’m going, from the darkest of days to the ones that have shined the brightest. I’m an open book. My passion is sharing what I’ve learned in the field of Positive Psychology, yoga, mindfulness, health and wellbeing while challenging you to reframe the story you’ve been living. To question every false belief you’ve conjured up, and to break through the barriers that are keeping you in the wings. Waiting in the wings of your life, waiting for something, someone, to call your name to the stage. What you might not realize is that your name has been being called all along. What are you waiting for?
Beneath the surface of the woman you see before you today is a little red headed, freckle-faced middle school girl who felt very ostracized while growing up in a small town in Florida.
Ironically enough, that girl grew up and went on to capture the title of Miss Florida in 2009. That might be considered the pinnacle, but I like to believe that was just the beginning of a life long education in how to become the best version of myself, incrementally, every day, so that I can make the biggest impact on my community, and ultimately this world.
I have always had a unique perspective on life which meant I didn't quite fit into the usual conversations with people my age. At my 10th birthday party, I thought about things like “man, life is going by so quickly, I really need to find a way to slow it down.” I couldn’t exactly have these conversations with my friends, for fear of being told I was weird so I grew up hanging out with my parents and their friends. Bonus: I have, what I consider, amazing taste in music.
I didn't get invited to the birthday parties or the sleepovers, and I definitely didn't go to the school dances. I actually didn't have a date to any of them!
The point is, that same little girl is the one who went off to college, who struggled with self-worth, with my first heartbreak, with feeling like I had no gifts to offer or even a voice, for that matter. I questioned it all. I questioned why I felt like I was the only one experiencing struggle. I’m sure you’ve asked the same thing.
Back at home, I felt like the rug had been ripped out from beneath my family. The recession, a failing real estate market, and my parents being real estate agents was, not great, to say the least.
I watched as my father struggled to find his way, facing midlife, and faced with the harsh reality that he might have to start over, he did, what I now see as just a human mistake. He left. The responsibility must have been too great to bear.
I was graduating college. I felt lost, confused, and my self-worth was lower than ever before. I watched my mother go through heartbreak, while trying to mend my own.
I kept asking myself, "What now?" "What are you going to do now? You're done with college, your mom is alone, you have to figure this out. You have to be an example for your little brother, Rachael. Now get up." (I did lay in bed for quite some time. Feeling like I weighed 900 pounds.)
That same girl showed up to the Miss Florida pageant, but with a mission. I had been speaking on behalf of my mother's foundation, HOPE Helps, Inc., about the issue of homelessness and how it was affecting our local community: families facing homelessness for the first time. These speaking engagements and a burning desire to share my platform with the world are what lit me on fire as I headed to this competition.
The way I saw it, if I turned enough of my attention to other social issues, I wouldn’t have to think about my own. If I got out of my own head long enough and stopped feeling sorry for myself, I could make a change. I had a lot against me. I had never been to a state pageant. I had no idea how to do my hair or my makeup. I had used the last of my college savings to buy a gown. I felt completely inadequate when it came to all things 'pageant.' Not to mention the 47 amazing, unique, talented women that also showed up. All of us applying for the same job.
I knew that there was a reason this passion had been placed into my heart. I dug deep to give it every thing I had. I fought past the insecurities, the wondering if anyone would even notice me, I fought past the feeling that my Irish step dancing talent wouldn't be good enough.
I held on to the notion that if given the job, not title, but the job of being Miss Florida, I would then have a state wide microphone in my hand and I would have so much more influence to do the work that I knew had to be done for the families, the children, and those facing homelessness.
I guess you might say, it was totally out of my hands and yet I felt like everything was riding on it, and when my name was called that Saturday night, I honestly do not remember hearing it. There was a ringing in my ears. I fell to the ground in disbelief. I fell to the ground and I covered my face.
I look back on the photos from that crowning moment and everyone asks, "Why did you cover your beautiful face?" "Everyone wanted to see you!"
And now what I see is a girl who had no idea what she had inside of her, and a panel of 5 judges in front of her who placed that crown and that responsibility in my hands for a reason.
I worked for 365 days to make the most impact that I possibly could, and what I did not realize is that I was receiving the greatest lesson of all, 24/7 for 365 days. I learned how to step into my own, I learned who I was, I learned how to love myself. I got comfortable spending time alone, on the highway, just me and my inner thoughts. I learned what I stood for and what I wouldn't put up with. I learned how to walk into a room and own it. I learned how to network and give speeches to entire conferences. I learned that I have a voice, I matter, and I am worthy of love and belonging and so much more. That year gave me the most incredible gift, and it's that gift that I want nothing more than to share with you.
You, too, are worthy of living the life you’ve always dreamed about. I promise.
How can I teach this you might ask…I’d love to tell you all about my training. (You see, that learning never stops, and when I finished with my year as Miss Florida is when the real education began)
I feel so grateful to be able to earn a living doing what I love. I am never more on fire for life than when I wrap up a session with one of my clients, watching her implement changes, week after week, finding time for self-care, mindfulness and changing her life for the better.
I really, really am so glad you’re here. I know you might have been thinking, “How could I possibly implement the changes she has?” “I’m nothing like her, how will she relate to me?”
And I hope that my sharing a little piece of this journey of mine opens your eyes to the fact that I’m walking along on this adventure too. I certainly don’t know every thing, I don’t have it all figured out, I question everything, and fear grabs a hold of me often.
That’s the beauty of all of it! It is in those troubled times that we find our strength and resiliency and, that, is where the growth happens.
I am committed to being authentic with you, realistic about being human, open with my thoughts, dedicated to a growth mindset, all while challenging you to do the same.
This incredible life is meant to be messy, it’s meant to be lived in, the width of it, the depth of it, the lows that we’re sometimes scared to share and the unbelievable victories!
I’m honored that you chose to read my story. I hope you found something in it that maybe gave you a shift in perspective, perhaps a new way of looking at something.
I would love to hear from you! You can email me on the Contact Me page here.
I’d love to send my video blogs, thoughts, goofy musings, and thought provoking conversation to ya! Just enter your name and email. Click Here.
Plus I’ll immediately send you my free poster “Rachael’s Top Ten Tips for Detoxing” You can hang it anywhere! Inside your closet, on your mirror, or just go ahead and cover up that TV screen ;)
Thank you for giving me some of your time. I really am glad you’re here.
All my best and to your best life,
I am Miss Florida 2009. I signed myself up to compete for the title of Miss UCF and it was one of the most defining moments of my life. The decision to not worry about what other people think anymore changed my life, and with that same mindset I went into the Miss Florida pageant only two months after graduating college and swept the entire competition.
I have made a full time career in the entertainment industry including modeling on the runway, in advertising, in the fitness industry and as a corporate spokesperson for companies like Lexus, Disney, and Loreal.
During my training, I studied over 100 dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques, and innovative coaching methods with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts. My teachers included Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine; Dr. Deepak Chopra, leader in the field of mind-body medicine; Dr. David Katz, Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center; Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard University; Geneen Roth, bestselling author and expert on emotional eating; and many other leading researchers and nutrition authorities.
In 2013 I was privileged to study under Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar and received a certificate in Positive Psychology. Through practical applications of the science of happiness you can and will increase your wellbeing, resilience, optimism, motivation, and overall joy of life! My toolbox is equipped with many practices and simple techniques that can be done on a daily basis to truly be a better you! Clients will find that positive psychology principles are the underlying theme of anything we work on together.
I studied yoga at the Kripalu Institute for Health and Wellness. As a certified yoga instructor, I can not only teach yoga but meditation and mindfulness. Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with stress and responsibilities? A mindfulness and meditation practice can be very effective in finding center and getting grounded, enabling you to offer the best version of you to the world.