Special Effects Makeup Progression

It started when I got a Ben Nye Bruise Wheel. My roommate allowed me to practice on him.

This led to tackling zombie makeup on myself. Then, on my roommate.

Next I tackled bite marks. My second attempt allowed me to add more detail to veins and such.

Finally, it was time to use my skills.

You might be asking… why Zombies?

Every year one of our family members hosts an awesome Zombie party. It’s like a giant escape room on their property with lots of decorations, props, and NERF weapons.

I really, really wanted to win the prize for best costume.

My husband, sadly, did not bring home a medal. I’m still bitter about that.

Later that year I used the same skills at a fundraiser. We dressed up as a crystal witch and her amethyst minion. I learned how to craft crystals from hot glue.

A few of my favorite looks.

For comparison, this is where I was circa 2006. YouTube and access to quality supplies have been game changers:

Spa Marketing: Lakewood Ranch Medical Massage

I have a friend who is a chiropractor with a digital (very low radiation) x-ray machine. He allowed me to take several fun xrays for marketing.

One year I had a large booth at a convention called Tattoo Fest. I was able to hire other therapists to work the booth with me. (No way I could do all four long days by myself!)

We promoted massage to the artists as well as prospective tattoo clients. It was a blast.

Gouache Class Project

I frequently take classes to enrich my life. Mike Grecian was a representative of Holbein paints. In one of his color theory classes, we were given an image to recreate with gouache. (That’s like watercolor but more opaque.) I finished one set of oranges in class and completed a second set on my own. The only colors available were cyan, magenta, yellow, white, and black. I am very pleased with how they turned out.

We were supplied with high-quality watercolor paper, a greyscale value image, and a color reference image as well as the gouache and assorted disposables.

I’m proud of these and they currently hang in my kitchen.

Digital Artwork: Pet Portraits

In 2018 I challenged myself to paint a dog. I had never done an animal portrait before. This ended up creating a new hobby and a small side gig. What could be better than doggos, art, and money?


The first, and most important, step in a successful pet portrait is choosing a good set of reference photos. Without a good reference photo selection, I will not take the commission.

Next, I load the image into Corel Painter. (I also have used Adobe Photoshop and other applications. I can adapt between them, but found I prefer Painter for the animal portraits. I prefer Clip Studio Paint for human portraits.)

I LOVE having the ability to have a set of reference images to work from. I can use them to ensure proper placement of the nose, eyes, ears, and other distinguishing features that turn the piece from a generic dog to a specific dog.

Using the reference as a guide I end up with something like this:

It may not look like much, but this guide is very helpful for the next steps.

I have roughly (ruff-ley?) blocked in the colors for the fur that I will paint in later.

Next, I developed the eyes, tongue, and nose a bit more and then put a background color behind the dog. You’ll see just how ugly this gets in a moment.

I have seen many artists give up at this point. The ugly middle point. I have learned to enjoy seeing artwork transform itself throughout the process.

That color blocking is now working in my favor as I start to focus on the fur.

This is the teaser image that I shared with Riley’s owner. I had to make sure I marked it work in progress to discourage early posting and sharing. Once the eyes have some life in them people get very excited.

Viola! The final social media image. The client also received a digital file without watermarks for printing.

Photography and Digital Manipulation

In 2014 I took a series of photographs around iconic Sarasota, Florida locations and edited them into “little worlds” in Photoshop.

It should be noted that this was the long way to do it. Now apps allow you to make a 360 degree photo with a click!

Pictured above is the courtyard of the Ringing Museum. The statue of David can be seen in the upper portion of the image.

Workshop: Projecting Your Voice for Networking Success

I have always believed that the skills I have learned can be applied to other areas of life. I was a theater kid in high school. I noticed many of my networking groups had professionals who couldn’t speak loud enough. I created a seminar that helped business people learn how to be heard.

Volunteering: An Evening for Healthy Start

One of the ways that I would give back to the community as a massage therapy was to take my massage chair to events and give 100% of the tips to the event.

It was a great way to meet people who were involved in nonprofit work and in serving the community. Additionally, I helped raise money for An Evening for Healthy Start as well as other charities over the years.

Client Lead Generation Tool: Top 50 Touch Tips for Couples

in 2014 I created my second lead generation tool. This ebook had 50 of my top touch tips for couples.

Over the years I have learned that many partners want to help their loved ones with aches and pains. After teaching private workshops, as well as being a professional massage educator, I put together my best advice.

The business purpose was to generate leads for couples who would like to enroll in a private workshop.

The social responsibility purpose was to make this information free and accessible to people who wanted to learn how to touch more effectively.

The book was only somewhat successful in lead generation for clients, however I was invited to speak at select conferences and was able to present material developed out of this book throughout Florida.

Client Lead Generation Tool: Free Headache Guide

After years of specializing in helping people who suffered from headaches, I put together a printable pdf guide.

The business purpose of the guide was to generate leads through my website. It was successful and helped establish me as a headache expert.

The social responsibility purpose of the guide was to offer free accessible information to all headache sufferers who wanted it. It turned out to be very helpful to many people.

The guide was extensive. It was an in-depth health communication report that also included guided headache tracking and journaling.

Before I released this project I had a physician review it for accuracy as well as clinical usefulness. Dr. Caroline Jackson, DO, practices family medicine in the state of Florida. She told me that she wished every patient who shows up with a headache would bring a filled-out version of my packet with them.

Most people cannot answer the questions their PCP needs to diagnose and treat. A journal allows them to accurately track symptoms, identify triggers, and hopefully reduce the frequency of their suffering.

Event Coordination: Guest Speaker Workshop

One of the ways I grew my massage therapy practice was by promoting valuable resources to my clients and collaborating with other professionals. Shana Rosenthal is a local expert in helping people overcome their inner obstacles.

This type of event required networking and building rapport with an allied healthcare professional. We negotiated on date and details. I coordinated the marketing efforts. The event was so successful that we had to book additional dates.

Adjust Your Life + Medical Massage

I love collaboration.

In 2013 When I found a new space to rent from a chiropractor in Lakewood Ranch, I was excited! We both belonged to the same networking group (SWAT: Successful Women Aligning Together) and had lunched together many times.

Press releases and networking garnered the attention of the local paper. Additionally, we held a successful open house together in which dozens of SWAT Sisters came to support us.

My First Massage Office Makeover

In 2004 I received my licensure as a massage therapist in the state of Florida. Once I built up enough business I rented my first office.

It was a long narrow space in the back of an office complex. I was faced with a utility access box and fluorescent lighting.

When I first moved in I had nothing but a card table, a folding chair, my massage table, a lamp, and a cd player. It was sparse, but my clients weren’t there for a spa ambiance.

Eventually, I was able to set up the room how I wanted it. I put money back into the office, did a lot of the work myself, and begged for favors from friends.

I covered the ceiling with a gorgeous length of fabric. My mom did the sewing. An interior designer friend helped me choose colors that would make the space feel less narrow.

The cabinets in the back were custom-made for me by a good friend named Gary. We solved the access-panel issue by building a shelf that could be moved away.

Hangers and a chair for the client were placed on the other side of the room. It was just enough space for a folding chair. I fell in love with battery-operated candles. No smoke, no risk of fire, portable, and provides just enough light for the therapist to work.

The fluorescent lights were not used very often once the fabric was hung. I prefer a softer light in a massage room. A standing lamp, purchased for less than $10 from home depot, was enough to light up one corner.

We used lines strung across the room anchored to hooks on either side. This allowed us to create a ceiling that was swoopy and billowy.

For those who are curious, this was the shared waiting room. I had nothing to do with the decorations.

Technical Writing: Employee Handbook

Massage therapy is an interesting profession. An employee handbook often needs to cover many situations due to the sensitive and intimate nature of legitimate therapeutic massage.

Additionally, I wanted to ensure that expectations were clear when it came to treating every client with dignity and respect.

Click “download” below to view the file.