Confident Woman Rising

I was recently inspired to share more of my story because of a photoshoot we partnered with Self Love Beauty for. We titled the shoot “I am Brave” and with 16 women, we celebrated what moments in our lives make us brave. It was so incredible and empowering! It led me to start asking myself more questions about what made me feel brave and about what I wanted to see looking back on my journey, when I reflect on it in future years. So, I ask…

Have you ever had people in your life make you feel ‘less than’ and cause you to doubt your ability to accomplish your goals and dreams?

Yeah, me too… too many times to count! So, why is it that we let others steal our confidence and let their opinions take up space in our minds, rent free? 

For me, it’s because for a long time, I wasn’t secure in myself. I was unhealthy, overweight, suffering from depression and anxiety, and struggling with infertility and loss. I didn’t believe in myself or that I had any real worth, because just getting out of bed each day was a struggle. Others’ opinions are what I lived for – I needed validation from them that I was good, worthy, and loved. Oh, how lost I was.

Looking at the old me, back in 2016, I had two college degrees that weren’t taking me anywhere. In my many years of working in health care, I didn’t feel confident, respected or valued. I didn’t feel like anyone else thought I was capable of achieving more. I had worked alongside many supervisors and executives and proved my work ethic and loyalty. Time and time again, I made the effort, yet I wasn’t getting any offers or any phone calls back regarding job applications I had put in. 

On top of that, I also felt awful all of the time, mostly due to a battle with a binge/restrict eating disorder, habitual dieting, and poor management of my mental health concerns. I felt alienated and many people around me didn’t understand my reactions to sensitive situations surrounding food, stress, infertility, pregnancy and loss. I had never felt so alone and unconfident in my entire life as I did then. 

My journey to healing and confidence began in 2017 with being brave enough to take back my health. Sure, I lost some physical weight, but I also started to desire taking care of myself again, physically AND mentally. I found a supportive group of people who were cheering me on. I finally started to gain confidence in my body and in my mindset. I began to believe that I COULD achieve the things I put my mind to. It was the start of a new chapter for me. 

Over the last two years, I have continued to grow and heal. I have been cheering on so many others in their health journeys and focusing on strengthening my faith and marriage. Not everyone has supported my path, but I’ve chosen to be brave. I focus on the ones that have and I lean into my mentors and the people that inspire me most to keep me moving forward. I have also been focusing on finding a fitness routine that is best for me, both in mind and body. I even felt called to start a women’s community to create a local network of support among women in our area. That was completely out of my comfort zone, but I’m grateful that I had my husband, friends, and family cheering me on in that endeavor. It came at the perfect time. 

Ladies connecting during one of Fill Up Your Cup’s monthly social gatherings

I recently had a relapse with my depression and eating disorder, earlier in the year. I felt so lost and unsure of how to deal with it. Thanks to the support of a counselor, nutritionist, the women’s community I started, and many others, I was able get back on the path to healing. It hasn’t been easy and there have been a lot of dark days. However, I am incredibly proud of how far I’ve come and learning self-love has been a huge part of building my confidence. It isn’t easy to be vulnerable and share these struggles, but I do it because I know there are others out there, struggling with the same issues. I’m willing to be a brave light for them, bring awareness, and offer my story as hope. The goal of Fill Up Your Cup is to provide support, so I want others to know, they are never alone.

Because of the journey I’ve taken, it has helped me make some tough decisions. Not always popular decisions, but necessary ones for my healing. I’ve learned that I need to shift my role in how I help others in their health. I’ve also been inspired to pursue becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. This is a huge shift, but I feel totally called to live out my journey in the most honest and authentic way that I can. I’ve learned to say “no” when necessary and not to let others’ opinions determine the way in which I should go. I want to be brave and serve and love others in the way that I feel God has asked me to and that requires leaning into Him, even when it doesn’t seem simple or hardships come along.

Though this life hasn’t gone how I had “planned,” I’m so grateful that I’ve built confidence, strength and resilience through the ups and downs and the new friendships I’ve formed. I’m grateful for the healing taking place in me that has inspired me to keep going and help others keep going in their own life journeys too. So when the naysayers say you “can’t do it” or “won’t ever make it,” just know that you CAN and you WILL. If it has been placed in your heart and you have the desire, move on it and don’t give up. Small steps add up to big results. Don’t look back years from now wondering “what if…” Look back knowing you took all the chances you were given and made the most of every moment. Take the first step. Be confident. Be brave.


Feature Friday: Anne Marie Fox – Holistic Beauty at Aura


Anne Marie Fox, Aura Organic Beauty

Not only is Anne Fox an expert in holistic beauty, but she holds many certifications in Reiki, along with the roles of busy mom and wife. She is a warm and calm soul that radiates joy and passion when she shares her heart for holistic beauty and wellness. Anne has an incredible story full of adventure, starting in her home country of Ireland and continuing to the U.S. and even London, U.K. for specialized training before she began working on luxury cruise ships to provide specialized spa services while sailing the world earlier in her career. 

She found joy in forming amazing relationships with her ship mates while on her world travels, and overcame the many fears that come along with being away on your own for months at a time, helping her to build strong confidence. Anne strongly values her family and loves forming lasting relationships with her clients. She is also a certified Reiki master trained in Usui, Karuna, and Holy Fire®️ practices. She has years of expertise and currently provides her amazing range of beauty services in Midland at Aura Organic Beauty located at 128 Ashman Circle. Anne lives in Midland with her husband, Justin, and two children. Today, she shares some of her story, her passion for holistic beauty and how self-care affects her and each of her clients lives in positive ways.


What products or services do you provide? 

A range of face & body treatments including, holistic therapeutic massage, aromatherapy, Himalayan salt stone massage, Indian head massage, signature Reiki massage, organic skin care, anti-aging facials & more!

Briefly share a little about what motivated you to start working in the holistic beauty industry? 

I felt that it was my time. I have been in the industry since 1997. I trained in Ireland at Roberta Mechan International College of Beauty. I worked at Roberta’s cosmetic surgery and beauty clinic in Belfast for several years, when I decided to travel while still in my profession. I traveled to London to train with Steiner Trans Ocean preparing to work aboard luxury cruise ships for 2 years. I moved to the States and worked for Douglas J. Aveda Institute in Okemos for 4.5 years before moving to Midland. I really just wanted to keep the high standard I have been trained to incorporated into my own business. So all of that and continuing education led me to go out on my own!

Did you have a mentor or someone who encouraged you to start your journey in holistic beauty?

My mum! She encouraged me to train in beauty therapy and was with me the day I interviewed to get into school. Later, I received my Usui and Karuna Reiki Master certifications while working with Ways to Wellness, also located in Midland, as well as my Holy Fire®️ III Master certification with William Lee Rand.

How have you positively impacted your community as a result of the beauty services you provide? 

When guests come to me, they have a place to let go and relax, feel taken care of and feel peaceful within. I feel that ripples into their families, work and social life. Everyone needs that from time to time.

What is your favorite part about being in charge of your own schedule?

Definitely being able to spend more time with my family! I also get to do what I love and what I’m passionate about!

What challenges have you encountered in your business and how do you work through them?

I think it takes a lot of courage to run your own business but if you believe in yourself you can overcome any challenge. Never give up! It can be easy to take care of everyone else and not take care of yourself. Learning to take care of myself through practices like Reiki, yoga, and meditation helped me find balance and healing.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. Focusing on the positive has helped me see more positivity in every day.

What encouragement would you offer to a woman who is pursuing a dream of hers, in business or another area? 

To always believe in yourself and to reach out to others if you need help, and also to take care of yourself first.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote that you identify with?

I have many! My favorite one right now is, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” -Marianne Williamson


You can coordinate services with Anne by visiting auraorganicbeauty.com and booking online. Aura Organic Beauty is located at 128 Ashman Circle, Midland, Michigan. Thank you Anne for bringing your talents and expertise to our community and helping others find wellness through amazing self-care services!

Feature Friday: Samatha Miller – Kalon Salon

“If you are unhappy and have dreams, stop dreaming and start doing. Nothing happens without a little action.”



Samatha Miller, Owner of Kalon Salon

Samatha Miller opened her private salon studio, Kalon Salon, in June 2016. She highly values her clients personal needs and provides them with the best in customer experience and hair services. She is a ‘Born This Way’ color specialist, and holds the impressive title of Redken Artist, earned through proving her skills and talent, along with completing a rigorous training program. She is always seeking to improve and learn new techniques and feels most creative with precision cutting and customized color.

From the moment you meet Samatha, you can feel her passion and energy. Not only does she own Kalon Salon, in Midland, but she also private pitching coach for girls softball in Bay City! This woman loves her work and that genuine passion came through when when we met over coffee to discuss her journey to becoming a hairdresser and opening her own salon. This week, Samatha shares more details of that journey and the joys and challenges that come along with owning a business and building her dreams.


Briefly share a little about what motivated you to open Kalon Salon.

Samatha: I have been a licensed hairdresser for about 10 years. I have worked as an employee and a renter in salons throughout those years. In the summer of 2015, I lost my father to suicide and this caused a dramatic change in my perspective on everything. I almost left the hair industry. I was encouraged, mostly by Justin, to open a studio space where I could work independently. This has allowed me to focus on creating greater connections with my clients and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Did you have outside encouragement that helped you to make the decision to start your own business?

Samatha: I actually looked up the definition of ‘mentor’ because it has been a hot word lately, especially in the Podcasts I listen to… a mentor is an experienced or trusted advisor. I am not sure I have had just one or a limited number of mentors in my life. I believe that everyone I meet has experience I can learn from. Every person, no matter their age, background, or life, has experience and expertise in something. The key to that is always to remember that the expert is no longer an expert if they stop learning or growing. 

How have you positively impacted your community as a result of your talents? 

Samatha: I actually presented this question to a few clients for feedback. The answers I received included: “You make me feel beautiful every time I sit in your chair,” and “This is one of the only places for me to relax.” Our mission as professionals is to make you feel better about how your hair looks and we want to you feel a little less stressed while you are in our chair. I have also assisted with a work placement program, donating professional product and my services to men and women to get them ready for job interviews, and educate them on best practices for haircare maintenance. 

What is your favorite part about running your own private salon? 

Samatha: The biggest difference is the privacy you get in the stand alone studio. The space feels a little safer than a traditional salon because there isn’t concern of who might overhear and I notice clients are more willing to let their guard down. I love the ability to let someone talk the whole time they are in my chair so they can get everything off their chest. On the other hand, the privacy of the studio gives clients the quiet space they really need, when that is desired or necessary. 

What has been a difficult challenge you’ve experienced running your salon and how do you work through it?

Samatha: The biggest challenge about running a business is not letting it run my life. It is still an every day struggle to try to find balance between working behind the chair, keeping my business organized behind the scenes, running my softball coaching business, keeping up with client and student communications and still trying to find time to spend at home with Justin. My clients that know me well, joke often about whether or not I ever take any time at home. The truth is, I have yet to overcome this challenge. I am working on it and I believe as a business owner this is a challenge you are always fighting in some form.

What encouragement would you offer to another woman who is pursuing a dream of hers?

Samatha: I will say what I say to a bunch of softball girls, “Stop thinking and just do it!” The only good that thinking does, is keep us where we are. If where you are is your goal, more power to you. I am happy for you. If you are unhappy and have dreams, stop dreaming and start doing. Nothing happens without a little action. I know it is scary but what isn’t? That is life sister. Life is scary. As women, we need to stop holding ourselves and others back. When one of us can rise, we can all rise together. Let’s spread the love and support. 

What is your favorite inspirational or motivational quote? From whom?

Samatha: I don’t have one favorite quote, but I share quotes that resonate with me in my Instagram captions, so if you want more, follow me there! One that I have written on a post-it to refer back to regularly is, “Put your a** where your heart wants to be.” I don’t remember where this came from, so I can’t give credit, but it is a reminder to me that life is full of choices and I choose almost everything in life. One choice leads to another, which leads to another. If you find yourself somewhere that makes you unhappy, put yourself somewhere else. Find where your heart desires to be and make that happen.


Readers — let me just say, “Wow!” I told you Samatha’s passion would come through in her story! This is a woman who has decided to honor her calling. I love her desire to uplift and support other women in the community and in the salon chair, all while helping young girls to be empowered to do their best on the softball field and in their own lives. Thank you for being an inspiration to our community, Samatha!

If you would like to connect or follow Samatha, you can find her on Facebook and Instagram @samathajhair . You can also find her on the web at samathamiller.com