Sunday, July 27, 2014

Meet Bianca Hendy, Musician and Songwriter

Bianca Hendy is 21-year-old musician and songwriter from Adelaide, Australia. Bianca's guitar skills and warming vocal talents complement each other perfectly to bring a raw and natural sound. Check out her work on SoundCloud, and follow her on Facebook.

1. Have you been interested in music since you were a small child, or did your interest come later?

Yeah, my interest sparked at a pretty young age. However, it wasn't till I was a bit older when I had the guts to be able to perform.

2. Who are some guitarists who have influenced you in developing your own style?

Um, that's a hard question as there's so many possibilities. Tom DeLonge was always up there.

3. As a songwriter, what's your process for writing a new song?

Well, normally I just pick up my guitar, start playing something random, and then sing along to it. I'm terrible as I never write anything down, so a lot of my songs get lost somewhere in the back of my mind.

4. How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?

I'd describe it as a story: every song has a story behind it. It's normally based on someone I've come across and their story or my own.

5. What plans do you have for the next year or so in terms of releasing new music or live performances/touring?

Well, I'm currently in the process of working on my new ep titled "Cheap Rumours," and once that's done, we'll go from there!

Thanks, Bianca!

Meet Nikki Hines, Owner of Shoeduce Me, An Online Shoe and Accessory Shop

Shoeduce Me is an online shoes and accessory boutique that finds the latest and hottest shoe trends in order to share them with an audience of style-minded women everywhere. The site was built from love and dedication for shoes of all sorts, along with a desire to bring Shoeduce Me's audience, better known as "Shoeducers," the latest and hottest in style and fashion. Shoeducers are lovers of shoes and style with an eye for design, color, high heeled shoe fashion, and the overall seductiveness heels can give to women all over the world. Shoeducers are confident, classy, sexy, and comfortable in their own skin no matter their size, shape, or color and have a passion for fashion. Shoeduce Me is delighted and dedicated to selling their Shoeducers the trendiest and most fashionable must-have shoes, clutches, and accessories to add to their collection.

Our interview is with the owner of Shoeduce Me, Nikki Hines. Visit for the latest shoes and accessories, and follow Shoeduce Me on Facebook as well as Pinterest and Instagram.

1. What inspired the creation of Shoeduce Me?

I wanted to create something with appeal, sexiness, style, and confidence with affordable prices. Fashion shouldn't be expensive to look good in it. Shoeduce Me was inspired by my love for shoes and shiny new things, how they are designed, how they look on me, and how they make me feel when I wear them, including my accessories.

2. Why are shoes such a key piece of any woman's wardrobe?

Shoes or heels to a woman are key. True "shoeducers" will eat one meal a day for seven days to get those one pair of shoes they saw online or in a magazine. Shoes represent a piece of a woman's fashion personality. It reveals our level of confidence and sexiness.

3. How do you decide which shoes to feature on your site?

Now, that's hard for me because I want to feature every shoe I would wear or stash in my closet. But it's really about having variety for different women whether sexy, reserved, or the very relaxed in flats woman. I try to cater to all women who also enjoy great style and as well as options.

4. Why are black shoes such a perennial favorite when it comes to shoes?

Just as a man should have at least one good looking suit in his closet, I truly believe women have a similar rule that should apply. Women should have at least one good pair of black heels in hers. Fashion wise, I believe it's important for all women to have them and not just a heel she wears to work but an all-around heel. Black heels go with everything, a heel for any occasion or fit whether with an evening gown, dress, or jeans.

5. In addition to shoes, what accessories do you consider to be important in building a striking wardrobe?

Mandy, I can remember my mother coming home from shopping one day and having this kind of blah outfit she purchased on clearance. But man, when she threw her accessories on I barely noticed the look from the bag. That same blah clearance item was like a must-have. I wanted her entire look from head to toe. It wasn't overpowering but accessorized simply enough that it made a difference. Fashion shouldn't be expensive, but you can look like a million bucks with the right accessories and place to shop for them. My biggest advice is to accessorize smart. Sometimes simplicity can also go a long way. Be creative, have fun, add color, make your look pop, but don't overkill. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Meet Tony Francis of Sweet Eve

Initially formed in 2008, Sweet Eve are Hollywood hard rockers with national touring experience under their studded belts. The band has a guitar heavy slightly experimental alt-rock sound that's just on the pop side of being all-out metal. Flying V-wielding front man Tony Francis has a straight-across-the-plate rock voice and belts out the songs while Andre Silva intertwines hooky lead sequences over the bombastic rhythms of drummer Alex Fox and bass player Leo Roriz. Sweet Eve has recently finished recording their debut album and it will be available soon. In the meantime check out the live footage of the band performing "Kings and Queens" at the legendary Whiskey A Go-Go in Hollywood.

Check out Sweet Eve on ReverbNation. Our interview below is with Tony Francis.

1. What inspired the formation of your band in 2008?

My last band broke up when we moved to California and I wasn't finished making music.

2. How has your sound evolved during the process of working together for several years now?

The longer you are working and writing, the more techniques and styles you learn which aids the writing process.

3. Do you mostly do shows in the greater Los Angeles area, or do you tour elsewhere as well?

We're on tour now. Texas this weekend and the rest of America in the next few.

4. What's your songwriting process like?

It's not locked down to anything. Songs just pop into my head. It could be a riff or a lyric.

5. If you could tell our readers anything about Sweet Eve, what would you want them to know?

We're really grateful for our fans. You guys keep us going even when it feels like the world is trying to stop us.

Thanks, Tony!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Meet Rich Marcello, Author

Rich Marcello is a contemporary fiction author, poet, and songwriter. He worked for many years as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies. During his time in technology, he never stopped creating art, and eventually his love for song and the written word grew to the point where he walked away from his first career to pursue poetry, song, and fiction with the same enthusiasm and discipline he demonstrated in business. Rich has published two novels, The Big Wide Calm and The Color of Home. Born in New Jersey, he lives in New England.

1. Reading about your novels, I like that your lead characters are artists. How do you choose your characters' professions and other key details about their lives?

Because I've been around the arts all of my life, either through songwriting, poetry, or over the last four years, writing novels, I tend to include at least one character in each novel who is an artist. In the first and second novels, I chose musicians. In the third, one of the main characters is a poet. It's a way for me to write, at least in part, from something I know and love well. The artists in my novels tend to be surrounded by folks who are not traditionally artistic which provides lots of contrast.

2. What inspired you to leave your job in technology and pursue your writing career?

Back in college, my English professor told me he would teach me to write novels if I switched majors from engineering and business to English. I was broke, so I stayed with engineering and business, but the desire to write remained with me all of my technology years. A number of years ago, I got the idea to write three novels about different kinds of love, and decided to leave everything technology-wise behind and go for it. It was the best decision of my life. The Color of Home, about romantic love, came out in 2013. The Big Wide Calm, at its core about platonic love, was just released. And The Beauty of the Fall will hopefully be out next year. After that, I have ideas for ten novels floating around, and plan to write for the rest of my life.

3. How does your previous experience in songwriting carry over into your current work as a novelist?

In two ways. First, I sometimes write about the songwriting process in my books. How one goes about creating a song is a process many people have not seen in detail, so it adds richness and authenticity to the main characters. Second, because songwriting is in part about conveying emotion and about the beauty of a phrase, I try to carry that over in my novels. Sometimes I'll spend an hour just on one sentence trying to get the words just right. With that said, because the first two novels had musicians in them, I've decided not to include any in The Beauty of the Fall.

4. What do you find most fun--and most challenging--about writing novels?

I like the process of writing every day first thing in the morning. When I wake up, it's loads of fun to start with a blank page and create something new. But not just that. I really love all aspects of writing. Creating something new. Re-writing. Word-smithing a sentence or phrase. Plotting. Pacing. Becoming a character for a time. All of it. The most challenging part is knowing I can only write five hours each day. After that, I'm toast. I have so much to write about, I wish I could up my hours. Smile.

5. What do you see as your goals as an artist over the next few years?

I'll finish The Beauty of the Fall. After that, I'll just keep going and write the next novel. I tend to love literary fiction, so I'll probably keep writing novels with which focus on truth, honesty, kindness, compassion, and love. Or more accurately, how folks intentionally and unintentionally have a hard time living their lives in those things.

Thanks, Rich!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Meet Brandi Jo Newman, Financial Advocate and Author

Based in San Antonio, Texas, Brandi Jo Newman helps people all over the country prepare for retirement through her retirement income course.

A quote from Brandi Jo: "Here's the truth about me and my business... I don't get paid unless you benefit. It's as simple as that! Many of my colleagues want to charge you excessive fees and separate you from your money. Not me, and I make that promise every day."

1. I saw on the front page of your website that over 300,000 baby boomers are retiring every month. Wow. Based on your experience, how many of these retirees are likely to be truly ready (financially) for retirement?

I would say only the many who have chosen to work with me on their retirement income choices. The unique approach that I follow does not depend on how much money they have saved or how many assets they have acquired throughout their lifetime. It is all dependent upon how efficiently their income choices are positioned.

Quite often a client of mine will enjoy more income over their lifetime, especially during retirement, just by simply being able to position their assets properly and following a more efficient strategy for a lifetime of guaranteed income.

We do this by allocating their assets into appropriate guaranteed vehicles but also leaving room for gains with the protection of a market volatility buffer of at least three to five years.

With all this being done well in advance of retirement time, we are able to increase my clients' retirement income by at least 30% and sometimes more than 50%. This means that someone who had roughly $125,000 of retirement income from pensions, 401k, IRA, and annuities can have at least an income of $187,500 a year guaranteed for life.

2. Do baby boomers still have time to improve their retirement prospects if they are retiring soon--or already retired?

Absolutely! There is always time, but you need to be realistic. The only thing I can't give anyone is their time back. And as we all know time is finite, so it is best to get started right now, today, with a pre-tax retirement summary to see where we are and where we need to focus.

I encourage anyone and everyone to contact me to get their retirement summary at no cost and then allow me to educate them about the many possibilities they may have. There is more to revealing more income choices than just another mutual fund or working longer or--worse--taking on more risk with their existing savings.

3. Would you tell us a little bit about your retirement income course? Does it include readings or videos or...?

The Retirement Income Planning Course is a series of five videos that I have produced to take someone through the entire understanding of how retirement income streams work. Many of my clients have accomplished the first half of their retirement goals which is compared to climbing a mountain: once you get to the top, you need to know how to get back down the mountain, and that's where maximum income options come into play.

The two white papers we discuss are important to the decision making process for which route to take during retirement. The Wharton Financial Institutions Center published a policy brief on the Importance of Investing A Lump Sum for Retirement Purposes. This is in direct relation to how retirement income streams work and how much changes in the investment environment when someone is taking an income from invested active assets. The policy brief shows just how much uncertainty there is with a retirement account that is being used for income purposes. The example case given in the policy brief shows that the income stream has less than a 50% chance of lasting the entire life of the retiree.

The other white paper we discuss is from Morningstar with one of the researchers being Dr. Wade Pfau who discussed the impact of such a low interest rate environment on retirees' assets and portfolios. The findings reveal how fragile retirees' portfolios can be given a lack of liquidity to sustain the bear market years during retirement.

4. What made you decide to focus your career on helping people with retirement financing?

I want to help all my clients through every phase of life. It just so happens that most of my clients are well into their accumulation years, and they want to make sure their assets, opportunities, and liquidity last for their entire lifetime.

We do this by making sure we capture most of their income outside of the markets' volatility first and then leveraging their liquidity for the purposes of lifestyle. Building the bridge between accumulation and distribution is where the permanent and guaranteed vehicles play a major for my clients.

5. Are there some lessons you learned as a professional golfer that have transferred into your current career as a financial advocate and author?

It's been said many times that one round of golf is like life. There are ups and downs throughout every round of golf we play. But the process and the strategy is what delivers us a good score. Golf as a metaphor for life is one that I talk about often with my clients.

We all know where and what the end goal is: we just need to make sure we have most efficient strategy possible for our course of life.

Thanks, Brandi Jo!