Sheng Moua

Monday, May 21, 2012


This past Sunday (5/20/12), Prince and I had the honor of being VIP guests for Working Wardrobes Women's Career Success Graduation.  Where do I start with this organization? My heart sings whenever I think of them and the person who originally started this amazing organization.  

Before I dive into what the event I attended this past weekend was about, I have to first mention what Working Wardrobes is all about.  First and foremost, it was founded by a woman! If you know my story, I personally struggled with the words "You are just a girl" with my own past and insecurities.  Immediately knowing that this was a woman founded organization, it empowered me even more.  I wanted to know who this person was and I made it a mission to learn more about her and hopefully meet her in person one day.  I knew this was an organization I was going to really enjoy volunteering with. 
(Below is an excerpt from their website along with a link). 

"Working Wardrobes empowers men, women & young adults overcoming difficult challenges to confidently enter the workforce and achieve self-sufficiency. We provide career training, job placement assistance and wardrobe services in an environment of dignity and respect.

Each year we serve over 5,000 clients from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, including Welfare-to-Work, alcohol & substance abuse, domestic violence, transitional homelessness, catastrophic illness and other life crises." (

I first volunteered with them back in 2006 when they had their "Dream Girls & Distinguished Gentlemen" Prom Event.  I was a student at FIDM and I wanted to volunteer for an organization that gave back to the community. I was also volunteering and doing internships elsewhere but being that I was still in Fashion school, I wanted to work with organizations that had something to do with Fashion.  I was referred to Working Wardrobes by my Activities Coordinator at FIDM, and it changed my life.  I had already obtained my MBA by this time and decided to quit my day job to chase my dreams.  We sold our house and my husband worked as I went back to Fashion school.  I knew that I had to make the most of my one year Professional Designation program at FIDM so that meant volunteer, volunteer and more volunteer work.  

I signed up alone and walked into the event not knowing anything but the fact that I was there to volunteer for anything and everything.  I was told that it was a pre-prom event for high school students and that was it.  I read up a little bit on the organization but had no idea what I was walking into.  Although I drove to the event alone, the moment I walked out of my car, I noticed how many other volunteers were there.  When I checked in, I was asked to pick a role.  I looked at the list and one of them said, "Personal Shopper".  I picked that role because that was one thing I knew I was good, wait, great at!  After the coordinators explained what it was they wanted us to do, the role I chose was perfect. 

There must have been over 300 high school students that day (or more).  Each of the Personal Shoppers would take a young girl and walk her around the gymnasium where they housed racks and racks of prom dresses that were graciously donated by the community.  Among the racks of prom dresses, were also donated accessories such as jewelry, purses, shoes and everything prom that came from local companies and boutiques. I noticed one of the jewelers right away, which was Cookie Lee. My cousin was selling Cookie Lee at that time so I was so happy to see that they took part in this amazing organization.  I met other volunteers from all walks of life such as corporate executives, nurses, doctors, teachers, other students and a few success clients who came back to volunteer by paying it back to someone else.  I was so touched by everyone's stories and why they wanted to volunteer for Working Wardrobes.  The moment I started to work with the girls, I knew this was an organization I wanted to be a part of forever.  The young ladies were so happy and appreciative of what we were doing for them by helping them shop for an entire prom ensemble in preparation for a prom they may not have been able to attend.  What they didn't know was how much of an impact they had made in our lives. I came from a low income family and I wasn't able to participate in many of the school activities because my parents couldn't afford the uniforms or couldn't buy me a specific instrument.  I knew what it was like growing up and not being able to do what you wanted to do.  Some of the girls I worked with were so humbled and so thankful for the smallest things.  Some were  a little shy and sometimes even scared to pick a dress while there were those that wanted to try everything..  I loved it.  My heart was filled with nothing but love and compassion and I never wanted the Personal Shopping experience to stop.  

Throughout the years, I've followed many of their events and I knew one day, I was going to return and be part of that family.  I reached out to them and they were so happy with open arms to embrace what it was I was able to contribute. I don't have a load of money to donate (btw, every penny counts and even the priceless volunteer hours do too!), but I do have an expertise that I could offer in return for what they've done for me.  I also have a "Dollhouse" full of clothes, shoes and accessories to donate! Among the few things I did have to offer, I also had a story behind my bubbly personality.  I was able to relate to many of those girls I helped back then and now as a woman, a wife and a mom, I am able to also relate to some of the ladies from the Self-Esteem/Career Success Workshops.  I had no confidence in myself, I hated who I was and I had no idea how to get myself out of this rut.  Fortunately I was able to eventually find myself through god, but Working Wardrobes was (and still is) a safe haven for others who needed them the most. This past weekend, I witnessed the smiles, the love, confidence and perseverance from these ladies that just charged me even more.  They went through a 6 week coaching session on how to get themselves back on their feet and into the real world. They learned skills on how to write and edit a resume, how to interview and how to dress for success.  The ladies were in a Fashion Show, had a before and after photo shoot and a graduation that was priceless.  It was a graduation of empowerment, acceptance, confidence and overall beauty from inside and out.  They had makeovers from volunteered makeup and hair stylists and they were fully transformed from the inside out.  Although it was clear that they were made up on the outside, it was even more clear that their insides were even more beautiful when they stood on stage to give their own testimony of their 6 week experience.  It was so invigorating to be in a room filled with so much love and positivity.

Before I turn this blog into a novel (which I can easily do.. I can't talk enough about this organization) I wanted to mention that I FINALLY got to meet the CEO and Founder of Working Wardrobes, Jerri Rosen.  My contact and friend, Allyson introduced me to Jerri as she just coincidentally came walking towards us and I just found myself falling into her arms, because I've been waiting to hug this lovely lady for 6 years! She had the biggest smile and the warmest heart there was.  I could have met the President of America and not felt the way I did for Jerri.  She changed lives, she gave hope back into people who had lost it all, she gave life back to men who thought they'd never be able to provide for their family again... Jerri is my hero, and she is a woman! I wanted to be her when I grew up and here I was standing (wait, hugging her) next to her and she was so humbled and ever so lovely.  Her smile just brightens up your heart even if you didn't know who she was.  Prince knew nothing about her and quickly felt the love that Jerri sprinkled everywhere she walked.  

The rest of the day was just as positive, if not more.  The other volunteers I met were students from Bolsa Grande High School, to the Director of The Phoenix House, Tasha Hollins ( Prince had never volunteered before so this was his first event to witness a change that he too am excited to be part of.  I was happy to be able to show him what made my heart so happy whenever I spoke about Working Wardrobes and the things they do for others.  Well, I know I've written a book and a half, so if you are interested (and I hope you are) in knowing more about them, please "like" them on facebook ( and go on their website to see if you could volunteer or donate to this amazing cause.  They have so many other events that you can take part in so make sure you check out their website! Btw, its been 22 wonderful years and Jerri originally started it from her garage... What an amazing story and an even amazing woman! 


I will have some collateral to share with you all at HMF this coming weekend if you have any questions about this life-changing organization.  See photos below of our amazing time as guests of this event.  

Prince and I are ready to go....  
We have arrived at Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley
I met the cute Flo, who also volunteers at Working Wardrobes as well.
She was our tour guide of the event. 
Allyson and I 
CEO, Founder and my hero Jerri Rosen
Flo and I doing our tour of the different stations at the school 
Look at me, always talking! Here with Megan and Allyson 
He's observing...  and feeling so empowered himself
Jerri and The Phoenix House Director Tasha Hollins
Lunch provided by The Olive Garden and served by
the wonderful volunteers from US Bank... 

Sorry, this photo is a little blurry but you have the idea of the many racks
they laid out in the gymnasium

The wonderful volunteers from Bolsa Grande High School 

The ladies looked amazing during their Fashion Show
The ladies got up to share their six week experience.. Their testimonies were so
touching and emotional. 
Congratulating the graduates!!!! 
We took off our tags but our hearts got so much bigger (see below) 
Need I say more?

Thank you Working Wardrobes for such an amazing day. We were so honored to be in the presence
of such wonderful and loving individuals. We can't wait for the next event!!

Would you like to spend a day with me and perhaps get to know me a little more?
You can.... Come volunteer with me!


Friday, May 18, 2012

And the winner is.......

I wanted to do an official "Winner Announcement" to Susan Lo ( who was #6 on the lineup.  I hope you love it as much as I do.  Susan lives in South Carolina, so from the West Coast to the East Coast, I am so happy to meet you and to know someone such as yourself.  I can't wait to see you in it so take lots of pictures.  Now you've got a piece of me from my "Dollhouse" and I hope you truly enjoy the message behind it. 

Congratulations Susan!!! 

- Beauty For Ashes... 

A "More Beautiful You"...My First Giveaway

Brothers and sisters, friends and family…. Hello!  

It’s amazing that I have 1000 friends on my personal styling facebook page!! Thank you for accepting my friend requests and also for adding me as your friend as well. Some of you may think… only 1000 friends and she’s so happy? The truth is, the number of “friends” on Facebook has never been a big deal to me because I used to go in every month and delete people I didn’t personally know. I had a lot of personal family photos and status on my page so I had to be careful who I be-friended on FB. After I created Aidan his own page (personally monitored by myself of course), I looked at my vision, my goals in life and ultimately what I want my legacy to be. In the midst of finding myself, I also knew how important it was to reach out and say hello and meet new friends, who I don’t already know. With that said, I know that I don’t know everyone on my FB page, nor have spoken/commented with all of you, but I’m so glad that we are now part of each other’s lives. Technology has found a way to bring us together from all facets of life, culture and from all over the world. I especially want to thank those who took the extra time to “like” my “Beautyforashes” page, read my story and follow me on my blog as well. I know there are some of my fans from my musical artist days that are still following my career and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for always supporting me no matter what or where I went with my career.

My blog is very personal to me. Think of it as my diary. It’s where I get to write down my thoughts, share my own personal stories, my passion and my drive for life and ultimately finding who I am meant to be. I want to open up my heart to you and in return show you how you can open up to yourself and those you love as well. The only reason why I can do this is because I am my own story. I’ve lived it, bruised over it, had my heart broken over it, felt neglected, unloved, ugly, fat, short… you name it, I’ve lived it. Through it all, I’ve overcome it and I am so much better for it. I know I can’t do this alone nor was I ever doing it alone. Above all, I know I have my god who I can always ask for guidance.

First of all, yes I found myself through god, but it very important for me to express that this is not a religion or a godly based site. God just happens to be a huge part of which I am today, someone I’ve submitted myself to whole heartedly, so you will hear me talking about him. I am not here to push my faith on anyone nor would I even try to do so. His name is so sacred to me that I would not dare solicit his humbled name to those that do not wish to come upon him. I just want you to know that I am a child of god and if you ever do wish to know that side of me, I’m open and willing to talk about it anytime, anywhere. You need prayers, I’m your girl but I’m not here to push my god on anyone. Now with that said, onto the purpose of my giveaway…

As I slowly started to find myself, I knew there was a bigger purpose to why I went through life the way I did. I finally understood that everything I went through has made me who I am today. Being a minority, specifically a Hmong girl growing up with traditional parents, non-believer relatives, being judged for being different (I was a natural fashion stylist even back then…lol but was labeled as being the “odd one” so therefore, I was automatically labeled as the “bad” one) to trying to prove to everyone that I too can make a difference. Through battles with myself, untold stories of my past, and finally coming to terms with what had happened, why it happened and finally putting a label on it, has put the biggest “PEACE” of my life into perspective. Nothing else matters if you don’t know who you are, the purpose why you exist and why you are so important to the people around you and the ones who try so hard to be a part of your world. I’ve always grown up with such a bubbly personality so if I was to tell you that I had all these issues growing up, you’d probably be surprised, but I did.

My story is very long and there will be a time when I do open up even more about it. I want the purpose of my giveaway to be a way of thanking and encouraging those of you who shared your current “search” for beauty with me and each other. I am so fortunate to have such an amazing “Dollhouse” and most of you (especially the ladies) have expressed how much you loved it. It makes me happy because I am truly blessed to be able to spoil myself as a girl, with all the girly stuff that comes with being who we are. No matter how many pairs of shoes I have, designer handbags, accessories or makeup products I own, it’s the core of who I am inside that truly matters vs what I have on the outside.

With this gift, I want you to know that not only did it come from my “Dollhouse” but it comes directly from my heart. Not only will you have this gift, but I have the other half of it….Whenever you wear it, I want you to think of love, passion, compassion and hope for your own “search for beauty” – Let this gift be the beginning of your walk with yourself and ultimately finding the beauty you are searching for.… and when I wear mine, I’ll be thinking about you and my continued search for inner beauty. I will know that somewhere out there, I have a sister who belongs to me in sharing the other half of my gift. The gift itself is not much, but the meaning behind it is priceless… because my beautiful, you are priceless.

Good luck and if you don’t win this time, just know that you have already stepped out in confidence and we will walk this path together. I will have more gifts to give away in the near future, because if this is one common thing we share before knowing each other, then it’s what we’ll first share together!

Once my blog is publicly published, the giveaway will be CLOSED and I will do a random drawing from, a website created for giveaways such as this and the winner will be announced!

With love and beauty….


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More Beautiful You....

Do you ever find yourself so enveloped in something so deep that you can’t stop smiling? I know I do everyday, and I can’t seem to stop. I’m listening to a song that my sister sent me this morning by Kari Jobe – “Here” ( and as tears fill up my eyes, I am sitting here at my desk (at work, mind you), so blessed to know why I can’t contain myself and why I can’t stop smiling when I only had 3 hours of sleep. I know that I can rest in him and breathe in and out because I know I have found him here.

I have been blessed with so many new friends, love and words of favor that it makes me want to do and give even more. There are those who used to follow my old blog and noticed the difference in me and I’m sure having wondered why I’m so different now… Well, if you want to know, don’t be afraid to ask. I am and will always be truthful to you and here on my blog. If you just met me, I am so pleased and honored to know you, for today I am a better me. For those who knew me when, I also want you to know that I am better today for I know of a love that only exist through my heavenly father, for which you too, can find that love if you allow yourself to do so. This feeling is an incomparable, unconditional love that only you can find through opening up your heart and being obedient to his calling.

Every morning I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me. I’ve already submitted myself to the lord and have asked him to use me as his light into this world. Let me help those who need his love and his healing because I too was that person. I am still healing but never in my wildest dream, would I have thought of being where I am today. It’s a peace inside my heart that only he has helped me overcome. If you want to see this peace, just come and meet me.  Come ready to open up your heart because I am waiting with open arms. In his world, we have no pride, no ego and no shame. We have only our souls and it belongs to him because he created us to be exactly who we are.

So my friends, find his healing, your heart isn’t silent anymore, he is here…. Breathe in… Breathe out… you will find in him, come and rest here and lay your burdens down, come and rest here, there is refuge for you now. You’ll find his peace and know you’re not alone anymore. He is near, you’ll find his healing, your heart isn’t shattered anymore, he is here…. Breathe…….

I am so humbled by all the love, inspiration and the love I‘ve received thus far, and I look forward to this new journey I am on, because I know where my ultimate destination is. Until I get there, I am making every minute of my journey matter and it starts with us.. you and me!

Breathe in……… Breathe out…….. You will find him… He is here!

*** I know that my passion is Fashion, but remember that it is more important to dress for who you are and not for who you want to be, for  "There could never be a more beautiful you!"

I love this song and sometimes we just need a little word of encouragement to get us through the day.. This is my "go to" song (among many others) so today, I wanted to share this with you as well.

“More Beautiful You”, by Jonny Diaz:

Have a great day BEAUTIFUL...!

Monday, May 14, 2012

HMF Fashion Show Updates

As you know, I am currently in the middle of a Fashion Show production phenomenon that's going to happen on May 26th in Fresno California.  We have an amazing group of young designers who has lots of passion, hope and desire for a higher level of creation in transforming who they are and the collections they plan to showcase.  Everyone has a full time job and most of them are still full-time students.  They are taking time to design part time for this amazing event and I am so proud of them.

This past weekend, May 12th was our first official meet and greet, rehearsal and fitting session.  I, along with a few others, are from SoCal, some from Sacramento and Fresno.  The show is in Fresno so that's where we all gathered.  It was such an amazing day and what an honor it was for me, in one day, to meet so many amazing, amazing ladies with such talent, beauty and passion for what they do and for where they want to go with their careers.

We had a vast group of individuals who were designing, modeling, hair, makeup artists and volunteering for the first time and I'm just so happy that they've chosen this event to do so.  I am so happy with our HMF Fashion Cast and Crew and I sure hope they are happy with the direction we are headed.  As the models can tell you from our past rehearsal, this is not going to be your "typical" fashion show, but more of a "show that showcases fashion" - It means, we are putting on a show that showcases not only the fashion, but the person behind it as well... Without giving it away, you surely do not want to miss this show.

I wanted to also take this time to welcome our official DJ for the show.. His name is Larry Chang, aka DJ Peekaboo, all the way from Sacramento. I never thought it would be so hard to find the "RIGHT" DJ for the show, but after speaking with 4 different DJs, Peekaboo was perfect and he was as passionate as I was and was ready to take part of something super amazing! I know, I'm a little bias because I'm producing it... but I am my very own #1 fan so I guess I'd have to root for myself as well.. (wink, wink).  All kidding aside,  we are so happy and honored to have DJ Peekaboo, an amazing mobile DJ, join us..  I am looking forward to an awesome show with a wonderful cast and crew!


Here are some photos from our rehearsal on May 12th..  More to come..
(See more photos from my Facebook page:

All Photos are courtesy of Jeremy Chaimontree of Jem Chaimontree Photography.