Community Awareness // Heather’s Story


Heather is an 8-year survivor of mesothelioma – a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure.  When she was diagnosed, she had just given birth to her little girl and was told she had only 15 months to live.  Because she beat the odds and is one of few long-term survivors, she is now on a mission to spread awareness of mesothelioma by sharing her personal story.

She told me, “If having cancer has taught me anything, it’s the value of life and the value of gratitude. My diagnosis was in November, and every year during the holiday season, I am reminded of this difficult time. Therefore, I have set out to acknowledge something in my life that I am thankful for every day throughout the month of January.”

This year, she decided to take her story to the blogosphere and this is where she found me. I’ve been so blessed to have been in communication with her and be a part in sharing her story.  This January has been a month of reflection for me.  Heather had asked what I am most thankful for..I of coarse said my family and friends but most importantly good health. Her story has put life into perspective for me.   The past few months, I have heard so many close friends have been shocked with news that there loved ones are sick.  Most days, I am so stressed with work trying to build my brands and work my full time job I forget to stop, take a breath, and realize what is most important in life.  Never forget to take time for your loved ones even during the most stressful times in your career.  They are the “positive vibe”s you will need to get through the toughest and best times in life. Let me ask you, What are you thankful for?

CLICK HERE to read more about Heather Story!  She is SUCH an Inspiration to me!

Diva Spotlight: Connie Tran


What it means to be featured in the Diva Spotlight:

A Woman who openly displays their power, knowledge, and skill, receiving public recognition and honor
She is..
**A go getter
**Making a Change in the World
**A Dream Chaser
**An amazing example to young girls and the empowerment of woman
**Gives back to the community

The first Diva spotlight of 2012 features reporter Connie Tran from Los Angeles!   I am honored to feature her on my blog and share her story! She is the ultimate go getter and has always kept her eye on the prize of being a big time reporter.  I could not be more honored to feature her because she is an amazing example of everything a spotlight diva entitles.  Check out the interview I had with her below!

Marissa: what does reporting mean to you?
Connie: I’ve always believed that being a reporter is a public service. I am responsible for sharing people’s stories, and delivering the news, and that is a great honor. Everday I get to meet different people from all walks of life, and all I have to do is give them a voice. I believe working in news gives you a front row seat to life. I’m the first one to find out information, and all I have to do is tell the story with truth and confidence. It’s pretty amazing! The stories aren’t always fun, and most are actually difficult to convey. But, that is the power in news. When we share stories, we have a better understanding of one another, and a better understanding of the world.

Marissa: What have you learned most while being with the LA NEWS?
Connie: Working in the news business in Los Angeles has taught me how important it is to give back to the local communities. Often, those who are less fortunate are the ones who feel like they do not have a platform to express what they’re feeling. Those are the ones with captivating stories and ideas, and they deserve to be heard just as much as anyone else. The only way to get to know a community is to give back to them, whether it be service, or news coverage, or understanding.
Marissa: What’s the best advice you can give to woman?
Connie:  Don’t settle. Dream big, and believe with everything in your heart and soul that you will achieve that dream. The universe is only going to give you what you send out to the world, so stay positive (even when it seems terribly difficult), and have faith! Share stories with other women, and acknowledge the fact that all women are stronger than they know!

XO-Marissa Iacovoni

Diva Spotlight: Alicia Kelly

Diva Spotlight: Alicia Kelly

There are people you meet in your industry that either help you to become a better designer and/ or have no influence on you at all.  Alicia has not only had a huge impact on me and made me a better designer, she also has influenced those around her to know she knows the business and an eye for design.  We met a year ago while working for the same design firm and I couldn’t help but admire her poise, creativity, and ever so business savvy attitude.  She was able to juggle it all..budgets, other co workers, manage the office, and have a creative mind and execute her creativity into her work.  In the industry, you meet many people claiming they are the best or come off as they know everything.  Out of all of the young designers I have met, Alicia stands tall amongst all of them having all the traits in succeeding in this business.  I am excited to see what she does with her future and influences other young designers to take her lead.  She is the ultimate go getter and blew me away with her business savy personality. Alicia and I met at a design firm where her skills and expertise inspired me to be a better designer. She is an extremely hard worker. From designer to designer I have a huge amount of respect for her work and part in our design industy. I could not be more honored to feature her because she is an amazing example of everything a spotlight diva entitles. Check out the interview I had with her below!


Marissa: what does interior design mean to you?
Alicia: Interior design is pushing beyond the limits of what those believe is an engaging environment. Great design connects people to their surroundings, and often times it can be inspiring. I have always been fascinated by this concept, and I love being able to call my passion my career. I have recently taken on a new challenge this year as a designer for Steelcase and working in corporate interiors. Steelcase products address office environment space planning, interior architecture, and furniture, while innovating new ways to share information through today’s technology in the workplace. I love being able to work for a company that allows a freedom to design these spaces for others to connect and engage.

Marissa: What was the hardest transition from college to the working world? What advice can you give young woman entering into the work field?
Alicia: The hardest thing for me was not the technical aspects we learn from design in college. It was easy for me to become a better CAD drafter and paying close attention to detail, so the programs themselves were not the hard part. The most difficult things you learn come from experience in the field- such as how to take the correct dimensions, figuring out how to solve problems when there isn’t time left, working around fixed schedules and working under the clock. The best way to handle these things is to have good time management skills, have great communication with all parties involved and be organized. It’s always great to stay on top of things and to be one step ahead of the game!

Marissa: What have you learned most while being in the design industry?
Alicia: I have learned that no matter how perfect something is on paper, it is never like that in the field. Often times you have to think on your toes and come up with solutions on the spot! You should always be prepared to make last minute adjustments, have patience, and pay very close attention to detail. It is in those wonderful details that you find the greatest designers.

Marissa: Where do you see yourself with your career in 5 years??
Alicia: In the next 5 years, I hope to have broken into the commercial real estate market. I have always had a love for this and I am taking some classes this fall to become licensed! You never know what kinds of things you will want to do down the road! I always say it is best to take the time while you can to further your education and work on getting accredited or licensed if that is something you wish to do in the future.

Marissa: What’s the best advice you can give to woman?
Alicia: The most inspirational woman in my life has been my mother, so I will have to pass down her advice! She has always told me to go for the gold and to set my goals high. She has been my rock, so I know that anything is possible with the right support! Nothing in life has ever been handed to me, so working hard is definitely some advice I would give to other women. If you work hard, the results will follow. Always remember to take time for yourself because at the end of the day you create your own success!