How was everyone’s long weekend? I can’t believe it is already Wednesday and today we are having February’s edition of Posh Mom Chats! As a reminder, Posh Mom Chats is a Featured Interview segment with an inspiring woman who is also a successful influencer/blogger/mom-treprenuer who is also a super mom. Today’s feature is really an inspiration; she defies the definition of age despite being over 50 bears the spirit of a 20 year old. Catherine O’Connell is the brains and beauty behind the blog CatherineGraceO, her quintessential Cali style spirit draws you in immediately when you visit her blog. She is a survivor of misdiagnosed Lyme disease that almost costed her life, her story of recovery is amazing and inspirational.
I met Catherine in a blogger support group and right away I was so captivated by her vibrant photos and thoughtful captions that accompanies them. I logged onto her website and read about her story of how she almost lost her life from Lyme disease that was mistaken for a cold. This amazing lady lives everyday to the fullest, she is so masterful at the practice of yoga which she is not shy at displaying them on her blog and her social media. Catherine is also a writer for the Huffington Post and Thrive Global, her interview is always an interesting read and she did not hold back on telling how she got this amazing gig. Without further ado, Posh Mom Chats with Catherine Grace O’connell, the spirit and soul behind CatherineGraceO.
Q: How did you start your blogging journey and how long have you been blogging for?
I started this journey just over a year ago on Instagram. I had a vision of what I wanted to create and began working on my blog in December of 2015. After about 7 months of hard work, the blog officially launched in July of 2016. Quite honestly, it’s like birthing a child with the amount of time, work and preparation that goes into it.
Q: You are very active in raising awareness about Lyme Disease as you have previously been affected by it and almost lost your life. I think the general public is still not too keen on what it is and how serious it should be diagnosed. Can you tell us a little more about your battle with this disease and how you overcame it?
I was diagnosed in spring of 2014, although I most likely had it for over ten years. Lyme is known as “The Great Imitator” and most people can go undiagnosed for long periods of time. The public is lacking in basic information as it’s an illness that can be highly polarizing, particularly among physicians and their ability to diagnose it. If Lyme is diagnosed in its early stages, it’s easily treated with antibiotics. After the acute phase has passed, however, treatment becomes a nightmare and you go down the rabbit hole. And it truly is the beginning of an seemingly endless nightmare. I spent an entire year bedridden with seizures and unable to function. My weight dropped to just over 100 pounds and my organs began shutting down. I went through a Near Death Experience. I was angry and I didn’t want to live as I could see no way out of the suffering.
Q: You have two grown children who are very successful in their own creative artistry pursuits and I often see them guest starring on your Instagram. How do they feel about having such a cool hip mom?
Well, that made me laugh! I don’t tend to take myself very seriously. My daughter Maddie is an actress in Hollywood. She’s been perfecting her craft for 21 years and she and my son, Ryan, are my pride and joy. She’s been super supportive as she was the real catalyst for my recovery. Maddie didn’t think I would make it and is amazed at how my life has changed in a year. She definitely loves the perks as she steals most of my wardrobe! She loves my sense of style although we have very different looks. My son, Ryan, is an outstanding guitar player and empathetic and sensitive like me. We’ve always been really close. They are both very proud of me as they know I’ve come a very long way in a short time and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Q: You write featured articles for HuffPost, one of my favorite online media agency. How did this amazing opportunity happen?
My daughter told me about a friend of hers who adopted a wonderful philosophy and that was to take a risk and ask for things you assume are way beyond your reach. I moved to LA to earn my Masters in Spiritual Psychology. One of my friends began writing for The Huffington Post. I asked her for a contact and she sent me Arianna’s email. I emailed Arianna right away with my story and she got back to me immediately asking me to share my voice on the Post! She’s no longer at The Huffington Post, having launched Thrive Global late last year. I’m now writing for them as well. My best advice is don’t hold back. Take your time in crafting an email that embodies the essence of you and your message. Do extensive research and try to establish a personal connection. The blogging world is highly saturated as you well know. It’s more important than ever to know what you stand for in order to stand out from the crowd. It must be authentic and unique to you. Don’t try and copy anyone else. Be yourself!
Q: Of all the people you have interviewed, who has been your favorite so far and why?
I’m working on an amazing interview right now. I’m interviewing Hannah Storm as she is getting ready to host ESPN’s coverage of The Super Bowl. Hannah is 55, same as me, and she is highly supportive of women at midlife. I have a campaign launching next month and Hannah is on board supporting the campaign. She’s an amazing woman who has accomplished a great deal in her life. She’s a fabulous role model for women. She’s the top female journalist in the male dominated world of sports. She doesn’t hold back from using her voice to stand up for what’s right and ethical in the world of sports.
Q: How do you manage your time between blogging, keeping fit with Yoga (you look absolutely amazing in all your photos), writing for HuffPost and spending time with family?
Thank you for the lovely compliment! The truth is that we are all pressed for time these days and life feels busier than ever before. One thing I’m very open about is my own struggles and finding balance in life is a struggle for most of us. I find when I start my day off on the right note with prayer and meditation and follow that with yoga or a BarMethod class, my days are far more centered and peaceful. I’m a Reiki Master Teacher and I’m very mindful of energy. Starting your own business takes a great deal of time and energy. I’m a relationship person and I thrive on connection.I’m interested in getting to know the heart and soul of the human being behind the image. What I care about is people and I love digging deep and learning about their everyday struggles. In the end, we are the same on the inside.
Q: You’ve had a very successful career that has very little to do with fashion in your earlier years. How is being a style and fitness blogger different from that? If you could relive it all over, would you jump right into being a style blogger or stay with your career path?
I graduated from Vanderbilt University with a double major in Economics and French. I had every intention to go to third world countries and save the world. Life had another plan as I ended up working for Senator Howard Baker, the Majority Leader of the Senate, on Capitol Hill. It was an exciting time in my life. I grew up loving fashion and beauty. I would buy stacks of fashion magazines and spend hours dreaming. That was my true passion yet I was discouraged from taking that path. I had a lot of people telling me that fashion was superficial and vacant. It took me 30 years to return to my calling which is what I’m doing now. Fashion lights me up every single day. And, the truth is I’m doing what I went to school for…to change the world. My motto is “Fashion is my medium. It’s not my message.” I’m not motivated by selling clothes but rather a powerful message. My message is to help others love themselves and believe in themselves. I tend to do things very differently from others in the blogging world and I’m very vocal about it. This world is going through challenging times and we must work together and help one another. I wouldn’t change my path today for anything in the world.
Lastly, I have a fun quick fire round for all my interviewees 🙂
- Wear Only summer clothes or Only winter gear? I’m a Boho beach girl…SUMMER!
- Heels or Flats all day? Surprisingly my Boho side usually wins over my Chic side. FLATS!
- Have a personal chef or personal masseuse? Oh…that’s tough…can’t a girl have both? If I had to choose, it would be a masseuse.
- Great hair day or flawless make up? That’s easy as I barely know how to wear make up…I’ll be honest. Great hair always makes me feel amazing.
- Vintage style or Athleisure style? I used to be a big Vintage girl. Now, I’m far more into the Athleisure trend.
- Insta-famous or Blogger of the year? I don’t want to be a flash in the pan…Blogger of the year!