Irrelevant

It's never too late to do anything.

It’s never too late to do anything.

One of my very favorite quotes in the whole wide word (besides “The world runs on Dunkins”) is “Never, ever give up.” by one of history’s greatest heroes Sir Winston Churchill. Boy could we could sure use him in the times we’re living in today couldn’t we? But that’s a blog for another day.

What brings this quote to my mind? Recently, I read about an eighty three year old supermodel who just scored a Special Edition cover of New You Magazine. Gracing the cover of a magazine is nothing earth shattering for a supermodel to do. However because pop culture as a whole generally practices age bias on a regular basis and pushes the subliminal message that youth equals everything; to be eighty three and get the cover, that my friends in my humble Greek opinion is something to not only notice, but to stand up and cheer about. 

Age bias is a subject not many people want to talk about, but it goes on every day in all walks of life. It’s prevalent in entertainment, pop culture, TV, film, music, news, and even in the job market. What it boils down to is there are people out there (the so called experts) who determine other peoples value by their age, when in fact it’s irrelevant. No one can avoid growing older, we’re all going to get to be a particular age at some point in our lives, yes even Justin Bieber. We have a choice, buy into the “youth is everything fairytale” or stand up for age like Carmen Dell’Orefice has done.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with taking care of your health or striving to stay young at heart, body and mind. I believe your body is a miracle and you should definitely take care of it. What I am saying is that to allow someone to tell you that you’re either “too old or even too young” to do or achieve something is just ridiculous. If you’re still breathing you have every opportunity to achieve your dreams and goals.

There are people who have overcome insurmountable obstacles to go onto to achieve tremendous success in their fields. People who had they listened to the nay sayers, might never have. There are plenty, but I’ll just name a few.

When Susan Boyle was born she went without oxygen during the delivery. The Dr’s told her parents not to expect much from her. That she was born at a disadvantage and that she would never amount to much. She spent much of her life pursuing her dream and even when people discounted her, she didn’t let others determine her value. One day at the age of forty eight years old she got on a bus to audition for a singing competition in another city. She had never traveled that far alone, accidentally got on the wrong bus, and ended up taking six busses to get to the venue. She walked out onto the stage in stark contrast to most of the young hip contestants, stood firm in who she was, boldly told lead judge Simon Cowell her dream, and then showed the world her beautiful gift.

Dr. Ben Carson is another. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan his parents divorced when he was eight. Raised in what many could call not the greatest of situations by a single mom. He went from a boy with a violent temper (in the ninth grade he nearly stabbed a friend in a fight over a radio station) to what some would call one of the world’s most intelligent people. How did he do this? At some point as a youth, he made a choice to not let his circumstances determine his value and where he would end up in life. He could have listened to the experts, not enough money to go to college, too hard, too this, too that. Instead he focused on what he had on the inside, his faith, worked hard and went onto to pioneer a brain surgery procedure and to be one of the most gifted neurosurgeons in the country if not the world.

The key is to know that your value does not come from superficial things like your looks or age. It’s refreshing to see things like music artist Annie Lenox still going strong. Her performance at the 2015 Grammy Awards brought down the house, and she showed beyond any shadow of a doubt that age just doesn’t matter. What matters is if you are good at what you do. So whatever you’re working towards, whether it’s to be a mom, a teacher, a Dr., a nurse, lawyer, mechanic, rocket scientist, or even a rocker… own it. Hone your skills and be the best one you can be. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re “too anything”.

Stand up and be you, because at the end of the day there will only ever be one you. In the words of one of my favorite acting teachers in NYC Eric Loeb: “Students want to know what casting directors want, and how to book a job. Stop acting, there is only one you. Being you is the only thing that makes you different from the fifty other people who read for the role before you walked in, so stop “acting” and just “be you.”  

I would add be you wherever you are in your life right now. Then own it, like Fashion Icon Carmen Dell’Orefice does. Beauty is subjective, and real beauty comes from within.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7 (NLV) 

I leave you with a song I wrote about this very thing called “I Don’t Even Care”. Written about stuffing your ears full of cotton balls when the Debbie Downers of the world try to rain on your parade.

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

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Love Everywhere

It's amazing what happens when you look at the world through the lens of love.

It’s amazing what happens when you look at the world through the lens of love.

It’s almost here… don’t you just love how culture today seems to jump from one Holiday to the next before you even have time to enjoy the present one? I mean geesh it’s not even January 1st when you’re walking down the aisles at your local Target Store and Bamm there it is: the Valentine’s chocolate is staring you down (not that I mind chocolate staring me down anytime of the year). Seriously though… it’s just seems totally out of hand these days.

Sometimes I’d like to write a giant memo to the media, pop culture and the retail marketplace. If I could I would say: Slow down, enjoy life. Live the moment you’re “in” before you worry about planning (or shall I say helping people to plan) the “perfect” next one. So about those holidays, it’s almost time for the one all about love… Valentine’s Day. Are you ready?

Speaking of hearts mine is very happy these days. I am blessed to have had true love in my life for a long time now, so yes Valentine’s Day makes my heart happy. However, my heart is bursting right now because I recently finished recording two brand new songs. They are special because they are my very first CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) songs and I can’t wait to share them. I just submitted them to the copyright office. The new songs will soon be released to iTunes. Music videos are planned for spring, exact date coming soon so… stay tuned.

Why am I so excited about these songs? Because for my entire life I have loved to sing. Ever since I was a little kid, from the time I started to talk, and as long as I can remember, I have been getting lost in music. I was like a little Tina Turner (in the movie “What’s Love got To Do With It”) with the hairbrush in the mirror giving concerts in my bedroom, writing songs in my journal. After years of pursuing music for my own selfish reasons I came to a point where I turned it over to God with a desire to use my voice to be a blessing. To use every ounce of the gift he put in me to further his kingdom and touch people’s hearts and minds for Christ.

Let’s face it we are living in a crazy upside down world and it is just getting crazier by the day. Pop culture is completely saturated with icons, idols, symbols, and messages (both blatant and subliminal) that are the polar opposite of anything Godly. These things are even hidden in figures portrayed as good, light and positive. When in reality they are nothing but puppets of a much more sinister organization, a plan all designed to deceive and dumb down from the enemy. I find it sad to see people today, even people who call themselves Christians who believe in the Bible as the word of God, yet they are blind to what is going on around them. They watch and listen, as well as allow their kids to watch and listen to things in the pop culture world that are poisoning their minds.

Enter the antidote… you and me. We all have gifts and talents put into us by our creator. Gifts and talents to be used for his purpose to share the message of the gospel and counter the negative junk that is being pushed everywhere. So I for one have decided to use everything within me. Everything that I have to be the polar opposite of what is out there. To do good, and to be a light in a dark world. To help the hurting, love the lonely, lift the fallen, heal the broken and show the face of love that Jesus came to show us all.

Love can be everywhere when we all do something. There are opportunities all around us. There are hurting people, and animals who need to be rescued. We can all be a part of sprinkling love by using the gifts and talents we have to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Happy Valentine’s!

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

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He’s Back

I was kinda hoping he wasn't going to visit this year...

I was kinda hoping he wasn’t going to visit this year…

Just when I thought we might get to skate through the winter without any major snow events, it looks as if my fantasy winter forecast may just have a rude awakening. In case you missed it, the weather experts are saying Old Man Winter is about to rear his ugly head and dump what’s touted as “historic” amounts of snow on the North East in the next few days. This in and of itself enough to make me want to grab the Mister., the furkids, and flip flops and head south for the winter. Add this onto the muckery of late and you have a full blown chaos factory. What kind of chaos?…

Well it all started like this. My Yaya went to be with the Lord recently. So we traveled a few hours north to attend the memorial service and visit family. Sad yes because she will be missed by everyone, but also happy because she was such an inspiring and kind woman who touched so many people in her ninety years on this earth. She immigrated from Greece as a young girl of twenty two years of age and lived what really was the American Dream. She waited in line, went to school and learned to read and write English and then passed her exam to become an American citizen. She married her true love, raised three wonderful children, worked hard, never demanded anything from this country, and never took a penny she did not earn. As my uncle Chris so eloquently stated… a sharp contrast to whats going on in our country today.

Spending time with family to reflect and honor such a wonderful woman was enough. Grief as many have experienced can be hard. I found happiness though the day of the memorial, the morning was cold and snowy. When we came out of the luncheon at the church the skies were bright blue with blazing sunshine. The neatest part of this was my Papoo had passed just over a year earlier and he was obsessed with the weather. He was always talking about the weather and it was almost like they were giving everyone the sign that they were together and happy with Jesus.

So Saturday rolls around and it’s time to pack up the car and go home. We stopped for a hot cup of magic a la Dunkins for the road and off we went. We get not thirty miles from town when all of the sudden while driving down the highway the cruise control shuts off and this yellow coil looking do-dad light comes on in the dash. The car starts to slow down and acts as if it is not getting any power from the accelerator. I’m thinking “What in the heck in the world is happening with our 2013 German tank aka VW Passat TDI”? Normally I’m gushing to everyone about the 40+ mpg we get, how we just love love love our TDI, and how we can get from NY to FL on two tanks of diesel. Saturday night however, I was singing a different song.

After much sputtering, shaking, the coil light going off never to go back on, then the  engine light coming on, and a terrible wind whistle noise coming from the engine which eventually led to a burning smell, and three calls to roadside assistance, turning the car off and doing everything they told us… We found ourselves stranded in the middle of rural upstate NY on a cold dark side road with not one, not two, but five furkids in the car with us. Thankfully we were only thirty miles from family who came to rescue us and our belongings while the tow truck took Paul Passat off to the nearest VW dealer. Where it will sit until Monday morning when the dealer opens. After getting to safety lo and behold we discovered we are not the only ones this has happened to. The internet is full of people who had the exact same thing happen. The cruise control turns off while driving and end up just like we did. It turns out, in many of these cases it is the turbo blown and engine as well.

You can bet your bottom dollar that this Greek girl is going to be on the phone with VW ASAP. Especially since our car has only 25,000 miles on it, is under warranty, is also a certified preowned, and worst of all it has been into several service departments for a “hesitation issue” with the acellerator. Where we described to them that it felt like it was not getting power when pushing gas pedal and a sputtering at times. Only to be told it was “nothing to worry about”, that they did a computer update on the transmission that should take care of it. According to what we found on the internet there has been a known issue going on with the TDI’s in this model year and we were never made aware.

So on top of sorting out trying to get our car fixed we will be trying to get home just in time to get a wallop from old man winter as he makes his 2015 debut. Frustrating yes, but at the same time all fixable. At the end of the day it’s all a matter of perspective. I can complain because we got stuck on the highway at night, or I can be happy that we have a newer car that actually is under a warranty. I can be annoyed that there is a major snowstorm on it’s way or I can be happy I’m still here to complain about it… No matter what is going on, the most important thing is that we live every day to it’s fullest. Something that my Yaya did.

Times might not always be perfect, and yes they may even be hard. Every day there is something to learn and a new chance to plant seeds in the lives of those around us. So grab that shovel and get ready to welcome Old Man Winter back for what hopefully is a short stay.

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

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The Prize

Through the darkest times we still have a hope...

Through the darkest of times we still have a hope…

It’s that time again, the time of year when I find myself day dreaming about flip-flops and wishing the white stuff would disappear for good. It’s also awards season… the time of year when eyeballs around the world tune into see who takes home the golden statue.

Personally I was surprised at the Golden Globes snubs this year. There were some pretty fantastic films that didn’t even get a mention. Funny to see what was celebrated while the one film that has the possibility to perhaps make the biggest impact on people was sadly missing… Unbroken. Not just because I was first in line to see it on Christmas Eve with my family and a bucket of popcorn in my little hands and a cup of Dunkin’s hidden in my bag either.

Not to knock any of the other films but Unbroken was not only superbly produced, but it has the potential to change lives. If you’re thinking; yeah, yeah a big budget Hollywood film made by a big Hollywood star how could it be anything beyond all the narcissistic tabloid hullabaloo?… hear me out. Unbroken is a true story unlike anything anyone in my lifetime can even comprehend living through, but it’s also just the beginning of the story. The film leaves off when the hero returns home. That is where his journey really begins.

Unbroken tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II prisoner of war survivor. It details his gripping experience including 47 days floating on a raft in shark-infested waters in the Pacific Ocean. While the film details much of Zamperini’s life, including his Olympic career as a distance runner, it only shines a light on part of his story. Perhaps the best part is told not by a big Hollywood studio or star, but by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Filmed before Hollywood came calling “Louis Zamperini: Captured By Grace” tells the story of his life after returning home a hero. Through the power of the Gospel and his experience at the 1949 Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles, Louis overcame alcoholism, night terrors and a failing marriage to live a joyous and full Christ-centered life until his passing at age 97. Along the way he inspired millions. (To learn more about seeing it – click here)

We can get upset or complain about the things we see as problems. The economy, the weather (guilty as charged), global unrest, pop culture run amuck, and on and on. I however don’t think anything we face today compares to what he lived through. Not only Louis Zamperini, but also all of the other men and women of The Greatest Generation. Many have no idea what price was paid for the lives we have. The world might look a lot different today had it not been for their courage, strength and determination.

What I love most about his story is that as dark as it got he was never really alone. A man who didn’t really know a lot about faith, or grace: while he was out there floating on a raft in shark infested waters he made a promise to God that if he survived he would serve him the rest of his life. A promise that was long forgotten after being rescued from that raft, captured, thrown into one of the worst Japanese prison camps ever, living through years of brutal torture and starvation, and then actual rescue when the war was over. It wasn’t until he was home and his life was falling apart due in part from suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while attending that Billy Graham rally that he remembered that promise. While telling his story he says when he remembered he stood up without hesitation and gave his life to Christ. Once he did for the first time the nightmares were gone. The anger and desire for revenge were also gone.

He spent the rest of his life as a Christian Inspirational speaker focusing on forgiveness. His story was hard, it was brutal, and none of it made any sense at the time he was going through it. As a boy he overcame going from a troubled youth to an Olympic Athlete. It was his strength and determination that got him through that part of his life and it were those same qualities that helped him to survive his ordeal and go onto become a hero. He also had help from above. When looking back on his life it’s hard not to see the fingerprints of God all around.

So am I surprised that a film that has the power to impact people in such a way was snubbed by a liberal leaning secular organization? Not really. I hope it won’t be the same case with the Oscars. Because I suspect that after watching the film viewers will get curious to what happened after the movie ends and discover for themselves the rest of the story. Where he not only lived out the miracle of grace but went onto to share it with countless others along the way. That in my opinion is the best prize. So I do hope it will be included in order to be exposed to people across the globe.

Something I also hope to do with my music. Though I’ve spent a large part of my life chasing after a “prize” success in the music industry… I’ve come to understand the real prizes of life are not what we necessarily think they are. That’s why I’m working on my first faith based Contemporary Christian Music Album. My hope is to inspire people to be strong, courageous, to never quit, but most importantly to share the love of Jesus. To let people know they really are something beautiful, and to believe that no matter how far they’ve gone, there is someone who cares, who loves them and thinks they really are something worth dying for.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippines 4:13 (NIV)

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

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Spirit Through the New Year

Holiday Furkids!

Holiday Furkids!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year! The Aston furkids and I wanted to take time out to say we hope you and yours had an extra Happy Holidays, and we’re wishing everyone a Blessed New Year!

I’m super excited about 2015! I just finished recording two brand new CCM Songs that will be released in the New Year with Music Videos to follow. In addition I’ll also be working on the rest of my Contemporary Christian Music Album, along with an Inspirational 30-Day Devotional.

It’s been a long time in the making. Sometimes en route to goals things just happen easy breezy. Other times on the road to success things can happen like on a greeting card my little sister sent me long ago to keep me inspired. I still have it to this day in a frame in my office. I read it often and it reminds me that no matter how long the road to keep moving. So onward I march…

Success is a Journey...

Success is a Journey…

Recently my talented buddy Alfonzo Rachel! from PJTV & the band 20lb Sledge asked me to do a little spur of the moment rendition of Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts Gang classic “Christmas Time Is Here” with him. So here’s a happy song to add some merry to your holiday-ing.


Whether you have resolutions for the coming year or not… May you have a peaceful New Year and enjoy the spirit of Christmas not just now but each and every day. Like the song says: “Oh that we could always see such spirit through the year”…

Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

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Naughty or Nice

Christmas is almost here. I love Christmas, it’s one of my favorite Holidays. The Christmas music, special winter time hot beverages a la Dunkin Donuts, and yes even the snow. Now normally I hate the snow, but this is the one time of year I actually like it.

What kind of Christmas music would one find in my Pandora or iTunes?… Well that would be the Classics artists such as: The Rat Pack, Gene Autry, Nat King Cole, The Ronettes,  1940’s Christmas, a Very Special Christmas (all of them), you get my drift. I can sit and listen to Christmas music for hours.

One thing I’m just not really all about is shopping. I mean I like shopping as much as the next person, but I think Christmas has become far too commercialized over the years. It seems to get worse with each passing year. I was a-gasp when I learned that one of my favorite places to shop Kohl’s was going to stay open 24hrs a day until Christmas. I’m all for capitalism but that is just silly. I mean how much shopping does one have to do for crying out loud? Not to mention how it affects the employees who have to work the overnight shifts.

For me Christmas is about the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus. I do buy a few small gifts for my immediate family, husband, and furkids, literally a handful of people. Gifts are great but I love going after Christmas and scoring some great finds, so buying gifts for me is super easy… can anyone say gift card?

So since the big day is almost upon us, why not take a break from the hustle and bustle for a little laugh? Check out this episode of “Ava The Diva” and see what happens to Greek Girls who are mean to Santa. Make that mean to Santa or Mr. Bricks her manager, one may never know.


Maybe a big ol lump of coal in the stocking… Here’s my little disclaimer: “Ava The Diva” is my alter ego to the sarcastic tenth power. Wishing you and yours a great big smile, time spent with friends family and loved ones, and a beautiful blessed Christmas!

Blessings,
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

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Christmas Shopping

#Thanksgiving #BlackFriday #Deal #Skincare #Facebook

I hope everyone had a Happy Healthy Thanksgiving! For me it is quiet time with loved ones, a time to relax and reflect on blessings. One of the blessings I am thankful for this year was the opportunity to start my own skincare line “Get Glowing”. So in the spirit of getting ready for the Holiday Season and all the shopping that goes along with it, I wanted to fill you in on my Get Glowing “Cyber Monday / Holiday Promo”.

One of the main reasons I started “Get Glowing” was to help people. Now that Black Friday  has passed, Cyber Monday is here and Christmas just around the corner, I want to be a blessing. How am I doing that? By offering 15% OFF entire order NOW through Midnight Monday December 24th.

GET IT:
http://www.skinorder.com/Store.aspx?sid=10959

15% OFF Entire Order “Cyber Monday / Holiday Promo” with Coupon Code:
4D3E64BB02FC

“Get Glowing” is Medical grade skincare that delivers remarkable visible results without irritation. The result – healthy glowing skin. Cutting edge skincare formulations for men and women of all skin types that deliver results, not broken promises. The very same products I’ve used on my skin for over 10 yrs. causing random strangers in public to stop and ask about that “Glow”.

With so many things to do, have you stopped to take time for yourself? Christmas and The Holidays will be here before you know it. Get Glowing products make the perfect gift for you, your friends, family and loved ones! So what are you waiting for? Try it for yourself and learn to love your skin again. Happy Shopping!

#TBT #ThrowbackThursday #GetGlowing #Skincare #AntiAging #Glow
Blessings, Love & Get Glowing ~
Ava xo
www.avaaston.com

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