If you aren’t already an avid reader of Las Vegas Woman Magazine, you need to check it out now.  Once you fall in love with the publication because of how it highlights the leading ladies in the Las Vegas valley, you’ll naturally want to hear who is the leader of leaders sharing these stories and that will lead you to my friend, Tammy Shaw.  Tammy is one of those mighty people who is larger than life, but always open to sharing the adventures and misadventures that have led her to where she is today.  Today.  Oh today!  

Today the entire world got to witness Tammy marry one of Las Vegas’ top performers, Seth Grabel, live on the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in LA. As Queen Latifah officiated, Macklemore sang his hit “Same Love” and the world rejoiced as 68 people from all backgrounds committed to a lifetime of loving each other.  The coolest part about the entire thing was how Tammy kept all of her friends and family in the loop each step of the way, updating everyone with social media through rehearsals, backstage, and during the big moment.  We may not have been right there on stage with her and Seth, but we felt like it and this magical couple deserves nothing more than the entire world as their audience as they set out on a lifetime of happiness and joy.  I could not be happier for them and I hope as this monumental moment happened that you, too, were able to share it.  My sincerest congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Grabel and thank you for sharing it with all of us!   

That’s Tammy and Seth right in front backstage!



Allow me to tell you a story about an artist.  The little girl on the left has been painting, drawing, and doing all things art for her entire life.  She can’t recall when she started, but she knows that she just loves it.  One day at her school a couple of real professional artists came to work with the kids and she came home to tell her parents that she finally realized that she could “be an artist.”  Her parents agreed that she could be anything she wanted to be and encouraged her to follow her passion.  At the next community arts festival, this little five year old girl was so bold that she asked if she, too, could have her very own booth to sell her art.  Her parents set about helping her make it happen, stocking up on more art supplies than ever before and completing the application for the arts booth.  Finally, on the day of the community arts festival this little girl got her booth ready with a collection of 40 pieces and her parents held their breath, hoping that something sold and that the general public wouldn’t be harsh critics of the art this little artist was so proud of.  An amazing thing happened as those parents sat back to let this little artist run her business: she sold out.  An hour before the arts festival ended this little artist was $380 richer and completely out of art to sell.  

This little five year old artist is my oldest daughter, Bella.  Yes, she was born to an entrepreneurial mommy, but I have to tell you that before she began this project I didn’t know a thing about the difference between acrylic, oil, or water color paint.  I don’t spend a lot of time in art galleries and Bella is really the first professional artist I know very well at all.  Now, I don’t know if she is going to stick with this, but I do know that at 11:30PM, once it had gotten very cold and the crowds were gone, I asked her if she wanted to do this again and she was just as enthusiastic as she was when it all started. Through the process she learned about business presentation and how to properly display her paintings.  She delegated out marketing tasks to her little 4 year old sister, Mia, and got frustrated occasionally when her employee became a challenge to manage.  She mastered the art of the sale, figuring out that once you get the painting into the customer’s hands, they’re going home with it.  And she was brilliant at customer service, signing paintings and taking photos with her customers to make sure they liked what they purchased.  I never sat her down or gave her classes in how to do any of these things, but she observes everything and is forever taking mental notes on how the world works.  

I am a proud mommy and I appreciate that Bella may have some unfair advantages in the entrepreneurial department from watching me do what I do, but what surprised me most was the feedback from the adult artists and general public.  Not a single person had a negative thing to say and many of the artists thanked my husband and I for encouraging Bella to dive into the arts.  

Now, I would never dare to tell anyone that I know it all when it comes to parenting, but if there is one thing that Bella teaches me on a daily basis it is to embrace hope.  Hope that yes, the next generation is on the right track in spite of all of the negative crap we read in the news.  Hope that even the dreams of the smallest members of our society can come true.  Hope that communities can come together to make those dreams a reality.  And, most of all, hope that no matter what this little lady sets her mind to achieving, she can make it happen.

Visit Bella’s world at www.bellacastellarin.com today!


The downtown Las Vegas community lost a friend yesterday and it’s almost a year from the loss of another friend, who was the reason I relocated to downtown Las Vegas in the first place.  The news is impossible to understand and I suspect that I’m not the only one who is left shocked by the loss of someone so young, so ambitious, and with so much life left to live.  If there is one thought that came to the forefront for me this morning, it was that “this is not my story to tell.”  It just isn’t.  I could tell you about how my little girls always forced hugs onto this person, who wasn’t entirely sure what to do with two enthusiastic little girls throwing themselves at him or why, of all the people in the community, they picked him to wave at every time we drove through the community.   


When my friend passed last year there was a media firestorm.  At the time, the entrepreneurial world was reeling from the loss of several high profile entrepreneurs and the media thought that we needed a reason.  That somehow, if they dug deep enough into a lifetime of dirty secrets, they would find some reason for why someone would take their own life.  That by giving us the play by play of every stupid decision, every raw, unfiltered moment not meant for public consumption, that the people who didn’t know this person would somehow feel his loss was explainable.  It never made any sense to me then and it sure doesn’t make any more sense today.  A year later I am able to laugh that he would be happy that my family and I have found our footing in this crazy downtown community.  I am able to smile as I watch my 5 year old daughter selling her art during First Friday, confident that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, sure to continue on after all of us grown ups have moved into retirement communities.  

Articles, blogs, and stories were all written after we lost him and I’m sure this may not be much different. Experts, thought leaders, and friends will try to find a why or a how we could have prevented this.  We will look at ourselves in the mirror and at each other wondering what we could have done differently, what we missed, and search for answers that will never come.  At the end of the day, I am left with the thought that it is just not my story to tell.  These leaders aren’t here to tell the story and no amount of wishing or praying will bring them back to share their story with us.  Their story is unwritten and, out of respect for both of them, I’d like to see it left that way.  Their final chapter rests with each of us and in how we will live our lives every day differently, how we reach out to our neighbors, and how we carry on each day doing their best characteristics justice.  It is the truest testament that we can live for these friends that we have lost.  


PictureJoey Fatone from *NSYNC and I

I had an interesting call today with an experienced recording artist who is quite sure that, after fifteen years of trying to grind it out, he has a hit on his hands.  This may, in fact, be the case, but he challenged me with a good question that I think all ambitious people have pondered at one point or another along your journey. As if it were a random values pop quiz, he said “If you could have a rolodex full of all the right people or one million dollars, which would you rather have?”  An interesting one.  If you’re like me, you got stuck on the idea of “who the hell uses a rolodex anymore?!” But hey, once I got past that point, I said the answer was clear as day and I was confused how he didn’t see it.  

PictureJeremy and I at the Beyonce concert
You see, I was looking back over the course of the past month and there isn’t one once in a lifetime cool thing that happened to me that money could buy.  I’ve been better than front row at a Beyonce concert at the MGM with my business partner entirely because we worked hard for people we care about.  I’ve been in the audience as Garth Brooks taped his live CBS concert from the Wynn, crying as he shared why he, too, loved James Taylor and his wonderful story about meeting him.  I got to see Joey Fatone from *NSYNC perform live and then not only get a photo, but actually have a conversation with him about why I’ve loved him since I was a teenager.  You can’t buy tickets to these kinds of experiences and damn right, you shouldn’t be able to.  They are the stuff of magic and hard work meeting opportunity.  It’s all the sacrifices adding up to something great.

PictureGarth Brooks CBS Live Taping with my favorite humans
A million dollars is nice and it probably would have meant I had a better car or nicer clothes, but I wouldn’t sell you my relationships- the heart of my rolodex- for any number followed by a dollar sign.  Now, I don’t know where the recording artist with his hit song is going to end up, but after hearing his philosophy about money being what mattered, it was easy for me to pass on the project.  If money could buy fame, we’d buy tickets to concerts to see trust fund babies squawk.  I have no doubt that countless people have tried and maybe it worked once or twice.  In my life I’ll take the crazy friends that the universe has put into my world, who are happy to bring me along on these once in a lifetime experiences.  Rolodex all the way.

Let me count the ways.  This month marks one year that I have lived, worked, and played in downtown Las Vegas.  In that time, I had heard about this Rumgr app on and off for quite a few months.  Descriptions ranged from it being like a dignified yard sale experience to being modern Shabby Chic hunting.  To be totally honest, I didn’t see the need for it until I went to visit our storage unit.  Ah yes, did I neglect to share that we moved from a 5,000 square foot home to a 1,200 square foot apartment along this journey?  For months I managed to ignore the $120/month storage unit beast until one day I realized that if I could get rid of the storage unit, I could afford a cleaning service!  That was it.  It was me cleaning toilets or someone else and the storage unit had to go.  Since we live in a high rise in the heart of downtown hosting a yard sale wasn’t an option, so trying out this new app became my solution rather than diving into Craigslist and it’s “intimate encounters”.  So far it has been an amazing experience, with the Rumgr team exceeding my every expectation along the way.  For the sake of full disclosure I should say that no one paid me to write this review.  I love this Downtown Project #DTLV based company all on my own and the founder, Dylan, granted my request for an interview out of the kindness of his heart because he’s pretty dang awesome.  My personal favorite quote?  ”I’m too lazy and too nerdy.”  LOL!


PictureNYE with my friend Michael

Happy New Year everyone!  2013 was a great year and I imagine you learned as many lessons as life handed me, some more gently than others.  2014 is here and rather than telling you all the goals or resolutions that you need to make, I’m going to share a few things that you have GOT to stop doing right now.  

I know, you aren’t thrilled about your waist, your cellulite, or your flabby arms.  We all have that part of our body that we are just sure we can fix with the right crash diet.  I’ve tried them all: paleo, vegetarian, HCG, Dr. Bernstein, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and I’m here to save you years of yo yo dieting with a crazy common sense concept.  Ready?  Eat less, move your ass more.  End of story. Food isn’t the enemy and even Heidi Klum has parts of her body that she isn’t thrilled about.  Instead of hyper focusing on controlling what is on your plate with military precision, train yourself to focus on changing your life.  Ditch the diet and go for a walk.  

Oh you know her.  The bitch that has grown since you were a little girl.  It’s the voice that kept you from voicing your opinion as a child, the one that tells you that you aren’t good enough or that no one likes you.  I hate that chick.  At one point in my life she held me back from being my best me and kept my mouth shut. Today is the day.  Earlier this year a good friend challenged me to turn off that inner monologue and, while I wish that I could tell you that it happened overnight, it is a daily struggle, but here’s the good news: I am fighting the battle.  I am replacing that voice with the mantras of my good friends telling me that I am good enough, that I am smart enough, and, gosh darn it, people like me.  I look forward to the day when that bitch is mute.  

When your world is cluttered, your life is cluttered.  Get your booty into the closest Container Store, Wal Mart, or anywhere that sells organizational materials.  Separate out the things you can’t live without, the things that are nice to have, what you can sell, and what has to go to the trash.  Give yourself a weekend.  I did this last weekend and, thanks to the handy, easy to use application Rumgr I have made some extra cash and awoke to a perfectly pristine closet this morning.  While you’re organizing the stuff in your life, take the time to organize the people.  Who takes from you without ever giving back?  Who sucks the positivity out of a room?  Who makes you better that you haven’t given as much time as you would like to?  Reorganize your world.  

When you were a child you believed that you could do anything- even fly.  No possibility was impossible. Somewhere along the way you lost the wonder.  Life added it’s natural patina and it wore on you.  You’re tired. The altruism seems a million years away.  I get it.  Life ain’t easy and I know you’ve had more than your fair share of mountains to climb.  It sucks.  However, I would challenge you to sit quietly and try your best to remember that child.  Get back to that kid who was sure they could fly.  Now, what does that kid want to do in the world?  You’re in there.  If you sit quietly enough, you’ll find that kid.  The world is still your oyster my friends.  Dig deep and find the pearl.