Tag Archives: spina bifida

SheCon at Miami, Part Deux (I couldn’t make this up if I tried!)

Given several seemingly random events in my life, it has always boggled my mind how a journey isn’t over until God says it is. Today, as my always-efficient parents went into a packing frenzy, I selfishly sat in a depressed daze, pitying that SheCon had ended.

Little did I know that my journey was just beginning.

Allow me to backtrack now for a bit, so I can share with you some events that occurred yesterday (Saturday).

After returning to our hotel after a morning spent pitching the spina bifida cause to attendees at the expo hall, I checked Twitter to find out what was going on at the conference, so as not to miss out on anything. (I searched the “#shecon” hashtag.) I read a Tweet from a fellow blogger, saying that Lindsay Lohan was doing a photo shoot at the Raleigh Hotel in South Beach. I turned to my parents.

“Where’s the Raleigh Hotel?”

“It’s the one right next to us!” said Papi.

Before he could finish his sentence, Mami was already at our window (we had a corner room on the ninth floor), and she noticed some people setting up for a photo shoot.

Mami asked if a girl with dark hair wearing a straw hat was Lindsay. I turned on my Sony Cybershot and used the zoom to get a closer look. It certainly looked like her.

Then, a moment later, I realized it was her younger sister, Ali. I realized this only because Lindsay herself had come out of the penthouse suite, and had walked onto the terrace wearing a beautiful billowy, pastel-print dress, over what looked to be a swimming suit.

I started snapping away hastily, but apparently was able to get a few good shots of her, over a span of maybe 15 minutes, before Lindsay went back inside her suite.

The irony had not yet hit me that I was shooting photos of a photo shoot! It was such a beautiful scene, with the ocean in the background, very reminiscent of a scene in “Titanic” except with a sea goddess.

In my haste, I Tweeted a couple of the photos. It didn’t take ten minutes for me to get a message from a photography agency wanting to buy the photos from me!

As it happened, the paparazzi had been surrounding her hotel, trying to get a good shot of Lindsay, but they didn’t have a good vantage point.

What’s more, after such a long battle with addictions and the negativity surrounding her, it was refreshing to see Lindsay actively trying to get back on track.

It was beyond surreal to me that I was being contacted by the paparazzi for photos that I took from a privileged point of view, when I just happened to be in the right place at the right time (as usual when these things happen to me)!

In order to sell the photos, one of the conditions was that I remove these photos from any and all social media sites. Damn it. Oh, well. You’ll take my word for it…right?

This morning, I met with the Paparazzo (I won’t name him just now!) to share the photos and sign my contract. He was actually very impressed with the quality of the photos! They appeared as if I hadn’t been shooting from behind a window.

I spoke to him for a while about my cause (of course, I had to take advantage of this golden opportunity!). Since he has developed good relationships with several celebrities, he even suggested I draft a letter to some of them, and he would deliver them in person! Whoa.

After my business meeting with the photographer (who was convinced that LiLo had checked out from the Raleigh Hotel, since she hadn’t been spotted since then), I headed over to the Expo Hall to chat it up with a few conference attendees. I shared my mission with a very receptive group of people. All from very different walks of social media life, they offered suggestions and pledged to support Holdin’ Out in whatever ways possible. I left with a very positive outlook.

Back at the hotel, we checked out and needed to find a place to have lunch. One of the Shelborne’s very attentive staff members suggested having brunch at the Raleigh, which is a trendy spot in Miami. So we took his suggestion, and treated ourselves to a leisurely brunch (and my long-anticipated mojito!), served out on a terrace by the pool.

As we were finishing up our brunch (did you see that coming?), Ali Lohan strutted out of the lobby and out to the pool area. We gawked. Hadn’t they checked out? Ah, well. It’s not like I would actually approach her…right?

So, we took a stroll around the hotel patio, and I stood near the pool as I went over all the possible scenarios in my mind. And then– she passed right in front of us. Lindsay. This would be my moment of truth. I decided it would be better to be blown off by Lindsay Lohan than to not try at all!

I made my move before she got comfortable in a lounge chair. A timid voice that seemed to come from inside me spoke, and said, “Excuse me, are you Lindsay?”

The blonde girl in a loose black top, jean shorts and gladiator sandals replied, “Yeah.”

“I’m Laura,” I said, “Would you mind very much if I took a picture with you?”

Lindsay looked around furtively and said in a husky voice, “Yeah, sure.” So we took a quick shot.

With Lindsay. She was a sweetheart!

Then I said, “Thanks, real quick: I’m promoting awareness of spina bifida on my blog, because it’s so common, and yet it doesn’t get any media attention.”

She almost cut my off to say, “I’ve heard of it.”

So, this was it. “Will you please check it out?”

“Yeah, I’ll check it out.”

“Thank you so much! God Bless you!” I said.

I turned around and left with a sigh of abject satisfaction and glee.

Later that day, as we began our long drive home to Orlando, I got a series of strange phone calls. About three different numbers called my cell phone and it somehow got cut off or they hung up. I shrugged it off. Then, I got a text from Paparazzi, saying something about Lindsay Tweeting my blog. I searched like a maniac for her genuine Twitter handle, and found this Tweet:

Holy moly!!

I clicked on the link, which led to…a photo of my business card! The pic that she took was of the side with my E-mail address, my Twitter username, my Facebook page, and…my phone number! Hence the strange calls. LOL.

Hey, all for The Cause’s sake.

Lindsay is a person who I probably wouldn’t have imagined reaching out to, not because she doesn’t do charity, which I know she does; but rather because of her complicated personal life. But whatever led us to have lunch at the Raleigh today, it resulted in a successful contact. She Tweeted my info. More people are following me on Twitter now, and have friended me on Facebook! Some commented on my blog.

I’ve profiled on this blog the entire gamut of celebrities and politicians. I’ve sent the letters. Some of them have led me by a polite response to believe they would actually help. Others have been far too involved in their personal affairs to extend even that courtesy. So even if Lindsay didn’t need to get up from her lounge chair to do what she did today, the fact that she consciously chose to do that, means everything to me. And that makes her my hero.

And the fact that it was Lindsay Lohan who did this, matters to everyone else.

I no doubt wish her the absolute best in her life, and will be praying for her to make an awesome comeback! That’s why I handed over the photos– because they represent a strong, resilient, and very beautiful Lindsay, who believes in herself.

At least, that’s the one I’ll see every time I think back to these remarkable events.


Laurita ♥



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This Week’s Rundown– I Need a Schedule!

Every time it seems I’m about to settle into a routine, something comes along to turn my “schedule” upside down. The truth is, right now, I don’t have a schedule. I have a calendar on which I write down potential opportunities as they present themselves, but I don’t really wake up in the morning knowing exactly what I have programmed for the day.

So, what I really could use is a secretary. Any takers? Yeah. Didn’t think so.

On Saturday, I attended Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s 6th Annual Neighborhood & Community Summit at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Hotel. Even though I had to be there by 7:30 a.m., I jumped out of bed with a [partial] smile on my face, because I knew in my heart, it promised to be an exciting day.

During one of the time slots, I went to the “Ask Your Mayor” session. I didn’t hesitate when I asked Mayor Dyer his thoughts on Gov. Rick Scott’s recent cuts to disability programs. He immediately expressed disdain and disgust for the governor’s harmful policies, and stated that he was certain those cuts would jeopardize Florida citizens. At least, there is no doubt in my mind that he is on our team.

I could not leave without making sure that the Mayor and his staff members had my business card. I also made my “elevator pitch” to them, meaning I plugged Holdin’ Out and the spina bifida cause big time. 

With Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer!

With Orlando District 2 Commissioner Tony Ortiz, whom I first met at Relay for Life, and Juan Triana, and Juan Triana, Neighborhood Champion Award nominee.

As some of you might know, right now I am preparing for a trip to Miami (although I won’t say it too loudly!) to attend SheCon. You might recall what happened the last time my family planned a trip to Miami, and for a blogging conference, no less! I’m going to see if I can’t fit a few more necessities into my luggage, namely: a four-leaf clover, a rabbit’s foot, and a Rosary. (Probably not kidding about the Rosary!)

During the Mayor’s summit, I made a new friend, and she told me about an upcoming blogger event I hadn’t heard of– and which is very close to home! So, now it seems I’ll also be attending the Central Florida Blogger Conference in Maitland. I’m so excited about this one-day, no-travel-required, very-affordable event, which will hopefully be one more venue where I can promote the spina bifida cause.

And now I want to tell you briefly about a wake-up call I received. I got a phone call today from a young woman who was referred to me through a mutual contact, and whose daughter has spina bifida and is in those trying young adult years I’ve written about before. We were on the phone for over an hour! It seemed that, in talking to me, this mom was able to get a first-hand perspective of what those years are like, socially, emotionally, and in other ways. Before we ended our conversation, she thanked me over and over, and blessed me, for listening and talking to her.

So, I want to leave you all with this thought: I started off by saying I needed a “schedule,” but today’s phone call and the heartfelt exchange that followed showed me that God had other plans for me. Instead of just handing over my business card at an event for professionals and speaking to the bigwigs, I comforted a distressed mother. It’s easy to forget your true purpose when you’re busy chowing on chicken and risotto at a Hilton, but I’m glad this young woman reminded me that I live to serve, and not to be served.


Laurita ♥

P.S. I really missed being able to put a “heart” at the end of my sign-off. Thank you, WordPress!

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Day 311- chART charity art magazine

It seems today is proving to be somewhat of a productive day for me. I started it off having breakfast and studying for class, and then proceeded to E-mail today’s contact person.

I’ve decided to zero-in on chART, a publication that uses a passion for art as a vehicle for raising funds and awareness for numerous charitable endeavors. The magazine is published locally, in Winter Park, Florida. A few minutes ago, I E-mailed Casey Swann, the magazine’s publisher, and asked her to consider including an article about spina bifida awareness in the publication.


chART's classy, multidisciplinary approach to giving back is an artform in itself.

In looking at the overall big picture, it’s important to me not to lose focus on the local communities that are all about getting involved in worthy causes.

Initially, I was inspired to reach out to an art publication or non-profit when I learned that today would have been Frida Kahlo’s 103rd birthday! Kahlo was a famous Mexican painter who died 1954 after living with many medical complications, including contracting polio at age six.


Interestingly, it has been widely speculated that Kahlo also had spina bifida, although nothing has been proven. So, in honor of this late hero who might have had spina bifida, I wanted to share Google’s lovely depiction of Frida as is available today on the search-engine.

Have a beautiful day, everyone. Remember to please E-mail me at: laurita.tellado@gmail.com with any and all questions or suggestions!


Laurita ♥

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