Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Best News for Independent Artists and Musicians - Gigmor

I remember loving to sing more than I loved most things.  I remember not knowing why people kept asking me to sing for them.  I thought they must just like Disney movies as much as I did.  Then people started to pay me with ice cream to sing more.  Before I knew it, I was on stage.  Well an altar, because it really began in Mass singing hymns in a choir. 

When people keep applauding, you don't stop.  You don't stop when the crowd loves what you have to offer.  On top of that, singing and performing, that's the only time I felt at peace, the only time I was completely myself.

I certainly do miss these feelings.  I have played at the Parish Room at the House of Blues on Sunset Blvd where I earned my first $100 for performing at a real venue.  A gig I got because I knew someone at Live Nation who happened to book the venue and happened to see my Facebook post about wanting to play gigs.  Another time I played an open mic night at the only bar in a one lane town in Hope, Alaska and brought the bar to sing along with me to a cover of Joan Osborn's "One of Us." Other live shows were open mic nights and National Anthems for college and professional sports games.  All this after 15 years of musical theater, I still struggled with the idea that I could make a living as singer.

I taught myself to play guitar over seven years.  Still not perfect, but it enabled me to write my own songs and perform them.  I always knew I would "make it." Whatever that meant. I can imagine a lot of musicians have trouble putting their guitars away. Or if not away, at least not played as often or out of the house.  And my two guitars collect dust and my microphone rests in a drawer with all the cords neatly packed away.

I thought this was where my life was going until Gigmor.  

Gigmor is a musician only social platform. Now we've all heard of ReverbNation and other platforms and God knows we've all used craigslist to find band mates or gigs, but I feel hope that there is a solution out there for indie artists.  We love to perform.  We all have day-jobs.  Maybe that can change.  Maybe I really can rock the casbah!  And maybe even I can make a few bucks, or more than a few, fingers crossed.

Right now, Gigmor already has a social platform that connects musicians to each other. Which is great.  You don't have to scour the internet of everything, you are only looking for performers.  It really does narrow down the search, by a lot.  I am also less scared as a female to look for band mates, because Craigslist is pretty scary.  

Gigmor has just announced that it is partnering with MUSIC BOX San Diego where the venue will book Gigmor Artists directly from the platform for gigs.  This is a great opportunity and hopefully just the beginning of a long list of venue partners that will aim to discover new talent and provide paying gigs for emerging artists.  I really am excited.

The MUSIC BOX, takes place of the former, ANTHOLOGY, and increased their capacity from 250 to over 700.  It's a great new venue and I look forward to checking it out, and hopefully maybe even playing a gig there!!  

It's amazing to think that someone out there is trying to bring the music business into the 21st century. Finally, someone is on the side of the artists, the music creators, the people who just want to sing! For so long record companies and executives are the only ones who make the big bucks and by then they've molded their indie artist into a cash machine.  I just want to play the way I want to play.  I want to feel the hot lights.  I want to connect to audience with my stories and my voice that has been silent for too long.  

This is the kick in the butt I needed to get out there and play again.  Thanks to Gigmor, I think I'll plug in that amp, set up the mic and rock on.

Gigmor is currently running an equity crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine.  When funded, Gigmor plans to use the funds to build a mobile app and develop the platform into a digital booking engine, where bands and artists can book a gig directly.  Never before have artists and venues been able to connect.  Gigmor aims to provide matching and ratings (GigScore) based on proprietary metrics to aids talent buyers in hiring the right bands for their venues.  

Fear not, my fellow indie musicians: CHANGE IS FINALLY COMING!  

Check out this video that explains what they are up to here 

My Gigmor Profile





Monday, July 6, 2015

The Very Best of Sharks! #Sharkweek

A photo posted by Alexandria Embleton (@alexinhwood) on





Imma EatchYo Legs...Dunna, Dunna... FAMILY GUY SHARK





A photo posted by Alexandria Embleton (@alexinhwood) on





Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Taking on the Pain of Others Can Cost You Your Health

Do you take on the pain of others?  Does a sad Facebook post from an acquaintance bother you for days on end?  Do you lie awake at night worrying about the troubles of your family and friends and wish you could make their problems and sadness disappear?  Is your emotional health taking a toll because you spend so much time caring for the distant pain of the world around you?

YOU ARE A VERY SPECIAL KIND OF PERSON, but there is a healthier way to show empathy and care for the ones you love.

You may be thinking...but I am always weighed down by this pain and the events and ailments that burden my friends.  How does this make me special?  Aren't I just a worrier?  Why can't I just let all these emotions go?  Why can't I be happy, and can I, when I know there is so much suffering?  Why am I so sensitive to everything around me?  Why do I feel like I notice things about people and feel them and others don't?

It is very possible that you are an Empath and a Highly Sensitive Person. An empath or healer if you like that term, truly takes on the pain of the people around them.  Empathy is just that and is not something everyone possesses.  I know people who cannot feel empathy at all and do not understand why a person would care that deeply about another.  That saddens me, but it also makes me envious at times that they don't feel constant pain and sadness by absorbing the world's pain.

There is a healthy way to be an empath and from what I am learning, it takes some effort and understanding that you are gifted.  An empath should not feel burdened by this gift, but blessed that their soul has the capacity to embrace other souls.  The thing to remember is that it is NOT your responsibility to ease others pain, or take it on for them.  As mental processes go, you may feel that if you ignore your friend's suffering, it is like you don't care or aren't acknowledging that they are going through a hard time.  But holding onto these emotions will end up becoming physical ailments from the toxic nature of negative thoughts and feelings.  Think of it this way.  If you feel sad for a friend, it doesn't take away their sadness.  No matter how you react or hold onto their suffering, they are the ones that must overcome.  As an empath it is wise to feel compassion and let them know that you understand, but to let the pain and weight pass right through you.  Holding onto years and years of other people's pain, seriously can cause chronic illness, depression and much more.

A photo posted by Alexandria Embleton (@alexinhwood) on

I am very interested in this topic since I am surrounded by empaths and have at times been one myself.  My mother and sister share this beautiful quality and literally lie awake, feeling the weight of the world.  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great social tools, but can also make this worse.  Hearing about a friend's miscarriage, divorce or loss of a loved one is information we take on just by logging into our social networks.  On top of that, the news and other worldly problems are in our faces every day and not from the television, but on our mobile phones.  We are bombarded with messaging and bad news.  How can one stay above the water with all this weight?

Let it go.  Let it pass.  Feel the pain for a second and let go the responsibility of feeling that pain.  The more you indulge the worse you will feel and while you are sympathetically trying to understand and make the world a better place, the problem will still be there because it is not yours to solve.  It's almost selfish to try to take away another's pain.

Pain begets learning.  A person must overcome their own obstacles to truly learn and build the tools THEY need to keep on going.  Trying to take away that process, will never benefit the sufferer, and suffering for them doesn't make them suffer less.  Take a breath.  Tell them you understand.  Listen.  Love.  Open your arms.  And then walk away and visualize the pain pass through you.  Do not hold onto it.  Do not try to make it smaller.  Do not wallow in it's sadness and give their pain, power over your happiness.

It is okay to be selfish.  A selfless person is rarely happy, fulfilled, or healthy.  It is unhealthy to lose oneself completely.  A proper empath is self-aware of their gifts and learns to use their gift of love and exercise compassion for those around them.

If you feel like this is a path you would like to read more about, I definitely recommend reading

Self-Care for the Self-Aware: A Guide for Highly Sensitive People, Empaths, Intuitives, and Healers by Dave Markowitz.

Stay tuned for more on this topic as I discover more on my own path.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Trich: From the Beginning to Where I Am Now

My journey has been an odd one since January 2013...when I began to feel a change in my hair texture.  I don't know if the change occurred because of natural aging and hair does over time or if it was the addition of anti depressants to my daily routine.  I have always been a fidgeter, a nervous type of person.  Easy to startle and not fond of being poked or tickled or touched without warning.  Since I can remember I have loved the softness of my hair and have always played with it, braided it, unbraided it, braided it again and just always twisting and twirling.  I never thought anything of it really and only a few people seemed to notice.  As I got older, I looked a little childish twirling my hair so I began to pay more attention to it and lessen that habit around others.

Well, in 2013, somehow my hair texture was different and as a certain hair twirler, fidgeter, OCD type person, I began pulling out and inspecting these hairs.  They were soooo curly, so different, so course compared to my perfectly straight and smooth head of hair.  To me they just did not match, or feel pleasing to me while I twirled and braided.  So out they went.  It seems that I didn't quite understand it and didn't need an explanation really until I had created a wider part and two small bald spots on my head.  I felt like a crazy person that I could let this happen, when my hair meant so much to me.

Since that time, I have struggled with Trichtillomania or Trich and we call it.  It's not OCD but more like the lack of impulse control and it's something I have had to face straight on.  There is no ignoring it and I don't know if I'll ever have a 100% no pull life, but I hope to.

For the last 5 years, I have done a lot of soul searching.  I've worked through crippling anxiety and hopeless depression and come back from it.  I am healthier now than I have ever been and with a better understanding of myself an an appreciation for my unique gifts.  I've worked with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which certainly has helped my battle with anxiety and depression and has become a safe place to grow, ask questions and to not feel so alone.  Because of this self-work, I feel a certain calmness that I never thought was possible, thanks to my "ME TEAM."  I call them my "me" team because they are all there for me in my corner to help me become my best self.  My Therapist doesn't psychoanalyze me. She listens.  And man, what a different a life can be when you have someone to do just that. Listen.  We are working together to realize the triggers of my trich and ways to forgive myself for how harsh I am on my own flaws and failings and to better love the imperfections that make me who I am.

In 2014, I was diagnosed with ADHD and suddenly everything made sense.  Another member of the "ME TEAM" has made it possible for me to slow down, listen, absorb and complete things.  I never thought it would be possible, and now it is.  Now I am not fighting to say something in a crowd, or interrupting people, or acting out, or doing so many things I thought I needed to do, because I can think beforehand.  Once I realized this and tested out which cocktail would help me be my best self, I began to see the possibilities of a real career.  I had the ability to finish a project without breaking down and to handle stress more easily.  I was able to listen contently to someone explain something and share their stories without me trying to bud in with my opinion so I wouldn't forget what I wanted to say.  I also realized so much why I worked better while playing with my hair, or biting my nails or tapping my foot, because I always needed my brain to be stimulated so I could focus.

While I got healthier on the anxiety/depression side of life and got rid of my eating problems, the anxiety or the whatever it is, comes out in the form of trich.  Whatever I can't control or understand or manipulate, I know I can ease some type of imbalance my making my hair more perfect, by locating imperfections and removing them.  It's a feeling of success and then immediately a sense of failure, because I pulled out another beautiful strand of hair, contributing to another empty spot on my head.  I don't want to do that.  I don't want to have this problem.  But it happens without me knowing.

So how does one retrain themselves to not do something they know they do, but they do without thinking?  I've joined online communities.  I've heard of people shaving their heads and joining support groups and attending conferences.  There\s a unique network of us that have BFRB's or Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors.  From hair pulling to skin picking to much more, many people struggle with BFRB's and are not sure how to get through it and are surrounded by families and friends that do not understand and offer little support.  To stop, is not something you can just do.

It makes me sooo sad to hear stories of teens living with their parents who just make their child feel worse because of this odd problem.  Making a trich sufferer feel bad about their habit doesnt make ANYTHING BETTER.  "Trichsters" as we have been known, are very sensitive people and already are trying their best to be better.  Compassion is what we need and support.  Tell us we are beautiful and help us on bad pull days.  If someone comes to you for help, listen.  Punishing a friend or child for having these odd BFRB's only makes them feel more alone and more imperfect.

A photo posted by Alexandria Embleton (@alexinhwood) on

To be pull-free or pick-free is a goal for all of us, but it's the habit that gets in the way and there isn't enough research to pin-point why we do what we do.  Instagram has been a helpful tool for me to connect with others and to also share my days with those who are on the same path.  It's hard to admit to have this odd problem, but we are all human and none of us are perfect.  Each of us has some weird thing, quirk, or issue we wish we didn't.

Do you have trich?  Do you struggle with this also?  Feel free to email me @ and connect with me on my social profiles.  I think we can all help each other stay strong and to support each other.  You are not alone.  You are beautiful with or without eyelashes or eyebrows.  Wigs are fun and so are clip ins!  No matter what your journey may be, I am here to help and I understand.  But remember: LOVE THYSELF
A photo posted by Alexandria Embleton (@alexinhwood) on
I plan to share more of my progress and I am working to grow back the bald spots and aim to be pull-free.

Please follow my Twitter and Instagram for posts and updates regarding #trich and other wellness tips.

The following books/products and people are helping me with my journey and I would recommend each to anyone that suffers...


Buy it on Amazon



Oil Reflections Anti-Oxidant Smoothing Oil

Buy at
VIVISCAL Hair Filler Fibers
Buy at

Buy on website
Great for trouble spots and ways to make hair seem thicker


Excited that my hair is growing longer. I finally can get it all up into a cute bun for bad pull days when I need to get it out of my way. Sitting and watching TV and driving are my biggest challenge since I'm not doing anything with my hands and naturally go to play with hair and braid it or feels it or my go to " put it up and then take it down and then put it up again" that drives my family crazy because it's distracting and also seems so unnecessary to them. When my ADHD meds wear off, I have trouble at home when I'm relaxing and don't have enough focus on much of anything. I am mindful and working all these things because I cannot wait for the day when there are no bald spots to hide and my hair is thick and fluffy again! #roadtorecovery #trich #nopullday #anxiety #wellness #ADHD #supportoninstagram #hairapy #lovethyself
A photo posted by Alexandria Embleton (@alexinhwood) on

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Film Festivals and Fun: Summer 2015

Los Angeles Premiere @ USC

The Warning takes on handheld camera and continuous long form acting scenes with this adventure / horror film.  Despite multiple warnings from the universe, three high school friends reunite to bust or prove the urban legend of Satan worship in Colorado while their troubled pasts confront them.  Some people felt sick in the front rows from the camera movements, but I did not.  I liked the long scenes, where cut wasn't an option for the director as it feels at times, more like a stage play than film.  Jeff Allen and Tiffany Joy Williams outshine their co-star, Summer Moore with convincing acting and genuine performances.  The film definitely feels like an older horror film, where some parts come off funnier than maybe intended.  The scare factor is low, as this situation is less scary and more spooky due to the location, darkness, sounds and the unknown as it surrounds the trio and forces intimate conversations between the films key players.  The ending seemed to wrap up quickly and definitely came out of nowhere.  Great shock for the ending and enjoyed the film style.  

Jeff Allen and Aleksandria [Alexandria] Embleton 
attend the Film Independent Member Reception 
June 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Source: Getty Images
More on Jeff Allen (Actor/Producer)

LAFF Screening for "FAN GIRL"

I enjoyed Kiernan Shipka is this teeny-bopper film.  It rides the surface of what could've been a deeper look into what inspires millennials as they navigate a socially connected online world with the one right in front of them.  What I would've killlllled for to have Instagram in high school as a way to express myself, instead of Xanga pages, pre-Facebook MySpace profiles and AIM profile captions.  
Kiernan shines and definitely brings fullness to her character which is so NOT Sally Draper, thankfully.  Kiernan's Talulah Farrow would've been my hero at 15 and I think she will be for plenty of young teens out there, ready to scoop up this film and the chance to enjoy many new songs from ALL TIME LOW, the real life band featured throughout the film and who's newest album, Future Hearts, just hit top 10.  

This pop-punk loving, Dashboard Confessional singing emo kid (during the 2000s) definitely wants this soundtrack and parents won't mind it either.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

CHRIS HANSEN is back with web-series: Hansen vs. Predator - UPDATED

Chris Hansen is my hero.  This is the Kickstarter video from his camp and I already got my BACKER BUNDLE to help fund his new show.

Support CHRIS HANSEN in scaring away all the creepy dudes out there and to educate those who are unaware of the threats online.

I will update this post as the campaign goes on, 
until then, HAVE A SEAT!

Tweet Chris Hansen -> @ChrisHansen

Until the new show airs, we will just have to stick to 
watching reruns on MSNBC and YouTube


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Trich: My Struggle is Still Here...

There are days when I forgot I have a problem.  I totally don't remember that I'm not like other people.  Yes lots of people play with their hair but with me it's different.  Today is tough.  This week was tough.  I have pulled out a lot of hairs this week.  Instead of punishing myself and being sad or feeling like everyone can see my imperfections, I am choosing to just STOP and take a breath and to be mindful.  Forgetting to be mindful is easy.  It's because it's so much easier not to pay attention to your impulses and to give in and to do what is comforting.

Playing with my hair, twirling, braiding have always been comforting to me since I was a little girl and it was never a REAL problem.  I believe that my anti-depressants changed the texture of my hair as medications tend to do.  So while my anxieties and depression was lifted my nuanced hair pulling began because my hair just felt different and I wanted to get rid of the ones that felt weird, different, bad, damaged.

This week has been bad.  And yes I am disappointed in myself.  I see all the tiny hairs that stand straight up and I have to use clear mascara to mat them down.  My scalp hurts actually from pulling too many good hairs from my part.  I hate that I can feel it.  My scalp, tingling and in somewhat painful fashion and it only draws MORE attention to my head and then I want to pull or twirl.  Blogging this is helping my process.  It is in fact, keeping me hands busy, which is a good thing.

I took a break from knitting, so maybe that's why I've pulled more lately.  I even bought another worry stone to keep with me, but I left it at home.  My fiddle toys sit in a drawer and now I'm back to square one.

Where to go from here.  I was doing soooooo good.  Good enough to not think that I literally rip my hair out because its cathartic, it feels good, it's making my hair more perfect, but having less hair in fact makes me feel less beautiful and more damaged than before.  Granted I don't have this as bad as others, but it does affect my life, my mental processes, my perception of myself, every day.

So just because I still have eyebrows and eyelashes and mostly a full head of hair, doesn't mean I don't have a real problem.  I definitely don't want to have large bald patches.  I need to be mindful and I need to not be angry with myself.  Everyone has a unique journey.

It's silly that my anxious energies come out in this way when I seemed to have solved a lot of my tummy problems.  And then this began.  With me there is always something.

This post doesn't necessarily have a point.  It's more of a vomiting of words to get out what my day today has been so far, in my Trich world.  But I am beautiful, I am loved and so are all of you.

I hope this reaches those who have a similar issue with impulse control and the need to pull.

let's stop the pull, together!

I am taking Hairburst to help me grow my hair and it has worked so far and is the only supplement that doesn't upset my stomach.  Check out their Instagram for lots of hair growth inspo!


You can check my referral link here!