Women Trailblazers; An Interview.

Jodie Filogomo at J’s Touch of Style recently recommended me to a local publication, Voyage Denver,for an interview in their Trailblazers series. It was really an honor to do this interview- just to be able to tell a bit of my story and have the opportunity to be an encouragement to other women. You can read the entire article here as well as the journey of other encouraging women trailblazers at Voyage Denver.

The photos and the article first appeared in Voyage Denver and have been shared here on my blog for you.

 Women Trailblazers. An interview with Melissa Williams in Voyage Denver Magazine.
Voyage Denver

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Williams.

Melissa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
For most of our now 29 years of married life, our family was immersed in the Intelligence Community. My husband was gone on countless, back to back deployments and we were raising three kiddos in the midst of it. That community can be very solitary. There are no office parties or BBQ’s. You don’t get to know your husband’s co-workers or their families. You live quietly, your children learn to live quietly and it’s a way of life that prevents transparency even to your closest friends.

Due to our crazy schedule, and the challenge it was to our family, we took the gigantic and completely uncertain leap to homeschool our kids. We hauled our three little guinea pigs all around the world, definitely pushing my own boundaries to the limits. It often meant traveling with them by myself where we would meet my husband in an agreed-upon country. He was typically working somewhere that would not be safe for us, under the circumstances.

I actually learned to blog by using the space to fill my husband in on what was going on with the family while he was gone. Our phone conversations were often very brief (usually less than 15 minutes!) and the connection was typically very poor, so by reading what I’d written on the blog about our little daily home adventures, he could ask the kids pertinent questions about their baseball game, or losing a tooth or whatever.

Back in those days, blogging was more of a “journal” and through it, I became friends with a handful of other homeschool moms. We were all quite literally going against what was popular at the time and it was helpful for us to share our hurdles.

That was close to 20 years ago and those ladies (and their children) have gone on to live some incredible lives. From careers, to travel, to writing books— probably the most notable from that little group is Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. At that time, we were all just diving in, shouldering the load and shaking in our tired mom boots, hoping we were doing the right thing!

Years marched on, we left the Intel Community, started our own business and the children grew into adults that we continue to be very proud of.

I was at a point in my life that allowed me to have a little more time to myself again (yes, mamas… it really DOES happen!), and I was moving in circles with our business that required me to look more professional. My yoga pants and ponytail uniform wasn’t going to cut it.

Not being one to throw in the proverbial towel, I began searching the Internet for style, makeup, skincare and fitness help for women my age. My results were dismal, to say the least. There were loads of twenty-somethings on the web doing makeup and style tutorials and they were great at what they were doing. But let’s face it, the way you apply makeup when you’re twenty, usually just won’t work after forty! And don’t even get me started on the changes involved in trying to stay fit over 40. There are new challenges that come with age, and I was looking for help!

As I began to find tips, tricks, products, and ideas on my own, I started the site Fresh Air and False Lashes to share those things with other women who were in midlife and might be searching for the same things.

I had no idea just how well it would resonate with so many women!

As I began to learn more about the business end of blogging, I knew I was onto something. I’ve connected with so many incredible women through this venture and it’s been such a pleasure to get to know women who are so incredibly talented and varied in their experiences.

Has it been a smooth road?
Is there a completely smooth road? If there is, I certainly haven’t encountered it. The struggle is real… but we are free to struggle!

It’s those hurdles and obstacles that make you MORE. Overcoming difficulties in life is what will provide that depth and richness to your future. It gives you experiences that can help others who are facing the same issues.

I always give young women the same advice, “Learn all you can and then go with your gut.” Whether it’s at home or at the office, don’t be afraid to make an unpopular decision when you believe it’s the right thing to do. Not everyone is going to like you and not everyone is going to agree with you, and that’s more than o.k. – you will never regret doing the right thing.

To those starting out, try to glean from those who are more experienced and then make a decision! If you need to change directions later, you absolutely can and should, but don’t let anything stop you from taking the leap. Trust your gut!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Fresh Air and False Lashes – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Fresh Air and False Lashes is a site dedicated to making life easier for women in midlife. I write about style, makeup, procedures, skin care, travel, and fitness all as it specifically applies to this time in a woman’s life. I try to be as transparent as possible while also bringing a sense of humor to most of the subjects that I write about. We are bombarded with seriousness and negativity and I really wanted to create a space that would bring real value while still bringing a smile and being a place of positivity for women. What am I most proud of in this business? Bringing genuine confidence and encouragement to women at a time in their lives when they sometimes describe feeling as though they are fading.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
I’m a positive person by nature and I believe there is so much value and energy in talking about the “way forward.” I find this an interesting question because let’s face it- I’m getting paid to try-out skincare and makeup products and tell people about them- Livin’ the dream kids, livin’ the dream!

In all seriousness, women are particularly suited for anything they want to do. My daughter is a certified Field Guide in South Africa. She slugged it out through blood, sweat, and tears to reach that goal and a lot of people tried to hold her down and discourage her. As parents, there was nothing we could do to help her. We just sat back watching, helplessly as she struggled. She just kept going and wouldn’t quit. She changed directions numerous times and had many setbacks, but she refused to let anyone stand in her way and now she is living a life that is her whole heart and life’s passion. She is incredibly inspiring because she MADE her opportunity in a field where women are very few.

I also have two sisters, both of whom run businesses in unlikely fields for women, so I’m familiar with the struggle, but to women everywhere I’d say, let your tenacity for what you want, be SO great that it’s maybe even a little scary. Refuse to be stopped. Keep paving that road.

Contact Info:

See the article and all the images here. Many thanks to Voyage Denver and to Jodie for the opportunity for this interview.

If you aren’t already, you can follow Jodie here. You will absolutely LOVE her blog!

Thank you so much for reading and sharing! I swear I have the very best readers on the web!

Women Trailblazers. An Interview with Voyage Denver.
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6 Comments

  1. May 6, 2019 / 12:59 pm

    That’s great to get to know you a bit better! Quite a story.

    • melissa
      Author
      May 6, 2019 / 7:09 pm

      Thanks so much for checking it out Nancy!
      ~Melissa xx

  2. This Main Line Life
    May 7, 2019 / 7:36 am

    Wow, that’s so interesting. I’m still stuck on the “Intelligence community” part. Must have been interesting and frustrating at the same time. I really love your sense of humor. You always bring levity into our over 40 struggles which is great.

    • melissa
      Author
      May 7, 2019 / 9:50 am

      Thanks Julie! Ooooohhhhhh yes. There is quite a bit more to the story for sure! And thanks for enjoying my sense of humor! Too much seriousness in the world, isn’t there? LOL- not everyone agrees, so I appreciate that!
      ~Melissa xx

  3. Angela Hall Carter
    May 8, 2019 / 7:25 am

    You’ve come a long way since high school! Then again…so have I! 😉

    • melissa
      Author
      May 8, 2019 / 7:52 am

      Thanks so much Angela! And oh my goodness- we really HAVE lived a lot of life haven’t we? Even though it’s never an easy road, I do feel so blessed for my experiences and I know you do too! Thanks for reading!
      ~Melissa xx

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