Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank You to Soldiers....Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow

Thank You Soldiers & God Bless

While Memorial Day is now associated with the start of the summer season, family barbecues, pool parties, big summer sales at the malls, and, of course, a paid day off work, let's all take the time to remember the true meaning of this day...

Living right next to Luke Air Force Base, I have the honor of seeing our young servicemen and women around my community, and I get to watch and hear our amazing jet fighters doing their practice runs directly overhead.  What an awesome sight that is!!  I also am close enough to hear their horns, which are played 4 times every day.  I cannot express the feeling of pride and humility I get being able to experience all this first-hand!
Red Poppies are the official Memorial Day flower

Here is some trivia about this day that I borrowed from Purple Trail.

Memorial Day Trivia:
  • Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who have died serving our country.
  • General John Alexander Logan ordered the Memorial Day holiday to be observed by decorating the war dead.
  • On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
  • Red Poppies are recognized as the Memorial Day flower.
  • “Taps” is often played at ceremonies on Memorial Day.
  • Memorial Day was first called “Decoration Day” because of the practice of decorating soldier’s graves with flowers.
  • New York was the 1st state to officially recognize Memorial Day.
  • Flowers and flags are the two most popular items people use to remember soldiers.
  • The south refused to honor the dead on Memorial Day until after World War I when the meaning of Memorial Day changed from honoring civil war dead to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.
  • Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971.
If you enjoy the freedoms we have as Americans, please take the time to thank a soldier or the family who has lost a loved one who served.  Remember that today, perhaps more than ever, these freedoms are being threatened in so many ways and from so many directions....and that in order to maintain the lifestyles we have come to expect, we must remain united and fight to protect our liberties!!

Whatever your plans for the day, please take the time to say a prayer for  those who have died for our freedom, and those who continue to fight for us every day!!
God Bless America!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In My Next Life....

It's been a week since school let out, it's 100 degrees outside, I've had the flu (or something resembling the flu) for a better part of the week, I've been working to build my business, done a lot of networking events and such, and then.....

I woke up this morning to what looks like a war zone!  My house has literally "gone to the dogs!"  Ronda and I spent the evening here working, so I didn't clean the kitchen after dinner, the clean clothes are piled feet-high on the living room couch, there are blankets everywhere (despite the hot temperatures!!), the stairs have so much stuff piled on them that it's a miracle no one has plummeted to their death trying to navigate around all the clutter, and....well....I could go on, but I think you get the point!!  If the doorbell were to ring, I would not even let my closest friends inside!!

And amongst all this mess, I have animals--lots and lots of animals--laying around, seemingly oblivious to the chaos that surrounds them!! 

Tweak, our Hunter...she's always bringing me presents
like dead birds or lizard tails.  She's so thoughtful!!

 Montana--our resident crazy lady!  She has to take prozac cuz she always tries to kill Max, the cattle dog....when you see the pics of Max, it will probably make sense!

This is Baby, I used to really like this one.....until.......  Well, let's just say I will like her more after I get her spayed!!

 Peaches....our old cat and reformed hunting champion!  Now he is only interested in 2 things--eating and sleeping, in no particular order!!

 Did you really think I was limited to dogs and cats???  These are two of our tortoises...Tank is the big guy.  He'll get to about 75 pounds.  And the little one is a baby sulcata.  He'll get even bigger than Tank!  
To their credit, they do not bark, meow, growl, bite, or bug!!
 Woah...almost forgot Hogan....God forbid, he's such a sensitive guy!!
 This is Max...don't let him fool you with this sleeping in the basket trick!!

 He's usually somewhere in the middle of the chaos!  Right now he and Jaxon are trying to figure out why there are still toys in the basket!

 Heck, we even have Monkeys that hang out in the trees!!
 But Wait!  Here is the Star of the Show...Jaxon!! 

 Jax and his toys!  He sleeps in his basket so no one will take his stuff!

 And another one of Jax just cuz he's the baby!!

I would like to state that this is far from ALL of our animals, but I just didn't want anyone to think I was exaggerating about having a zoo!!

Now back to my story about my disaster of a house!!!

Maybe the normal person would look at the mess surrounding them and their first thought would be to get up and start shoveling through it all....but my first thought???


Do any of them look stressed?  Embarrassed about the state of their surroundings?  Worried about whether HAZMAT is going to come in and condemn their home?  No.....none of them seem to care.....or even notice!  They just go on about their day, sleeping, playing, eating....all of their needs & most of their wants are given to them.....and they don't even have to clean up after themselves, much less everyone else!!

So, I ask you.....

Do you think I'm crazy for wanting, in my next life, to be one of my pets?  Looks like a good life to me!

But for now, I guess I better clean...cuz they sure as hell aren't going to!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My Favorite Designer Discount Site!!

Okay, so I was trying to figure out something to write about today that would be different than what I have already written....yes.....different from all 5 of my previous posts!  (Or is it 4??)

I went through a list of things going on right now, like lazy teenagers who sleep til noon, whether or not I believe Jack Bauer (24) is really going to die this season, or maybe even my personal assessment of which brand of tissue really is best....

I know, I know...these are all very compelling topics, and I am still tempted, but I had a crazy thought that I thought some of you might like better!  Discount Shopping!!!  Yes, those beautiful high-end items that we covet, but just can't imagine spending $150 on a tank top or $50 for four shades of eye shadow or $100 for a bamboo throw blanket.  Even in my most manic shopping moments, I am pretty good at realizing that a piece of cotton selling for $150 is really only making someone else rich.  However, if I can get that same shirt for $30?  Heck yeah, I'm all over it!!

Now, I have a lot of discount sites that I love, and one of these days, I will do a post listing more of my favorites, but at the networking event I attended on Wednesday, I was wearing my newest acquisition...a Romeo & Juliet Couture Tank Top.  I got so many compliments on it and shared this site with quite a few people, so I thought I'd share it here too.

Whether you are looking for designer handbags, shoes, clothing for the whole family, home accents & furnishing, or some really fabulous beauty products, you have to go to Hautelook!

Every day (except Sundays) at 8:00 am they launch new designer lines.  There are usually at least 20 different brands they are promoting in all different categories.  Now, the hitch is that you have to get there early because there are sometimes limited sizes and quantities available, and each sale only lasts a couple of days.  Some days you might find nothing you like...and some days you might get an urge to take out a second mortgage to buy all the stuff you want!  So my advice is to sign up for their daily email and go early and go often!!

The shipping is cheap and fast.  The customer service rocks.  And if you don't like it, you can return most items within 14 days, without a hassle.

So there you have it!  Today's tip on getting those awesome pieces you want at prices you can afford!!  Hit the link and sign up now!!  You never know what you will find!

By the way.....if you talk to my husband, don't tell him you heard about this from me!! (love you Russell!!)

Look like a Million Bucks for Less!!

Link to Hautelook

Friday, May 28, 2010

Networking Events--More than just Business

While I had every intention to get this post up yesterday, I woke up with one of those headaches that just beats against your brain like a bad bass beat on steroids!!  I tried a lovely combination of ibuprofen, vitamins, and lots of water--but it was determined to stick with me, so what did I do?  Yes, being the trooper I am, I gave in to the headache and schlept around all day...

So, here I am today to tell you all about my adventures in business networking!!  Having always worked for other people, business networking for myself seemed daunting.  All those doubts crept in...

Will I fit in?
Will I sound like an idiot?
Will I be dressed right?
What will I talk about?
and on and on and on.....

These thoughts ran around my brain like a hamster on a wheel, and I almost abandoned the idea of attending my first event.  Almost.

But I pulled up my big-girl pants, got myself ready to go, pulled my materials together, and headed out the door....and what did I learn?

I learned that the hamster on the wheel needs to take an extended nap!  Being in business for yourself can be emotionally stressful, but the way to combat those doubts and stresses, is to just get out there and do it!  Remember why you went into business for yourself.  Remember why you joined or started the company you represent.  Remember that everyone can be successful if they have a passion and determination for what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how they can help others do the same!

I also learned that the community of entrepreneurs, regardless of their industry, social status, professional status, sex, color, race, or religion, are, for the most part, always willing to offer advice, share experiences, and support each other.  No matter who you are, where you come from, and where you want to go, you will have your own personal group of cheerleaders and mentors to help you achieve your dreams!

In a short time, these people have become my peers and my friends!  So get out there, be yourself, meet some new people, share ideas, and build new, valuable relationships with other people who are succeeding in their industries!!

What is holding you back from achieving your dreams?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lavender helps alleviate pain?

Okay, so maybe I'm the "odd-man out" on this one, but upcoming trips to the dentist do not incite excitement or pleasure.  In fact, while I am sure that outside of the office, dentists are really nice the office??  Sadists.  Pure and Simple.

OKAY....don't send me hate mail for that--it's just my way of saying that I, in fact, have a dentist appointment coming up and I am not necessarily looking forward to it.  I really like my dentist too.  He's nice enough to play classic rock while he's working on me, and with two fingers in my mouth, likes to play "name that tune."  Of course, he's usually a little quicker guess the song, but it does keep my mind occupied!

Why am I writing about this?  Well, because I love (and am in the business of) scented candles...I like to create "moods" in my house depending on what my day holds, I have done some homework on different fragrances and their influences on people.

Today I thought I would share a little tip I learned about how a certain fragrance actually tricks your mind into forgetting about the discomfort (to put it mildly) many of us feel in the dental chair....

Whiffing lavender oil during your next dental visit may blur the memory of your pain. Researchers at the University of Florida College of Dentistry exposed 13 men and 13 women to uncomfortable heat and pressure on muscles in the jaw and back and then had them inhale lavender or an odorless control for 10 minutes during different sessions. The lavender oil significantly reduced the memory of pain's intensity and unpleasantness. How to use it: Shake 5 to 10 drops of lavender essential oil onto a tissue; inhale freely during dental work. - Prevention (January 2005) 

Now, I would prefer something that makes me forget the unpleasantness while getting the work done, but perhaps if I forget that I don't love trips to the dentist, I won't be so reluctant to go!

Anyway, I thought that was interesting, and hey, I'll give it a try!!  So stay tuned because I'll be sure and let you know how it goes afterward.   

**An extra thought**I wonder if burning a lavender-scented candle in my house would help me forget the pain of knowing I cleaned yesterday, and yet it's a disaster today?!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friends take the "Work" out of Working

Starting, building, and running a home-based business--or any business--can be daunting, intimidating, and confusing, to say the least.  There is always some self-doubt, insecurities, and questions about what your ultimate goals are, and how best to achieve them.  This is especially true with all of the information out there on the internet today.  For me, some of the big questions are:
1. Who do I want to talk to?
2. Where will I find these people, or where will they find me?
3. How many hours do I need to work to accomplish my goals?
4. How can I most effectively show others how they can reach their goals doing what I do?

Obviously, this is a very condensed list, but you get the point. 

On my own, fumbling through, trying to figure it all out--what to do, how to set it up, what's working and what's not working--is very inundating.  In fact, I have had several days where it seemed I spent hours online and accomplished nothing but filling up my spam folder in my mailbox.

A big reason I am in business for myself is for the flexibility and freedom of being able to manage my own time and to lifestyle my business in a way that suits me.  Working all day is not my goal is to work part-time and keep my full-time income.

Last night, my friend and fellow Mompreneur, Ronda, came over for a creativity brainstorming session.  We originally planned on taking a couple hours, sharing our information with each other, trading tips, etc....what we ended up doing is spending all night working together and having a blast!!  I had no idea what time it was until my husband said he was going to bed!!  We sat side-by-side at the dining room table with our laptops and notebooks and just blasting through ideas and sites, coming up with plans that worked for each of us. 

What a great way to keep motivated, share information, and get a lot of work done--all while spending time with a good friend!  It didn't feel like "work" at all!!

So next time you are feeling overwhelmed and it seems like you are doing nothing but chasing your tail, grab your "Ronda" and have a work party!!  Trust me, when you are feeling self-doubt, a friend is always a better person to go to for advice than yourself, because they understand you, your goals, your strengths, and keep you moving in the direction of your dreams!

Thank you, Ronda, for a great night--can't wait til next week!!!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

"They'll Grow Up Before You Know It!!" Words to live by...

I never really imagined what it would feel like when my first child would graduate from high school and move on from childhood to adulthood--until the reality of that hit this week when my daughter walked up to receive her diploma.  It was such a mix of emotions--part excitement, part joy, part sad--but beneath it all is pure pride that my child, the little baby that taught me what true love was, is growing up.

As she moves on with her life, discovering her passions, pursuing her dreams, walking through failure and triumph, I realize how grateful I am for who she is, and who she will become.  As with most 17-year old young adults, she flip-flops between what she wants to do with her life.  What her career path will be and where she will go to college.

Today, I am grateful for so many things.  For my husband, who is not my kids' biological father, but treats them as his own, and supports them in every way he can.  For my younger son, who is still discovering himself and his potential.  For my friends, who keep me moving forward.  For my parents, who have supported me through my own journey through motherhood...and who have laughed with me, and at me, as I struggle through life with teenagers....For God, whose love and guidance in my life, always shows me the way.....

And for the company I work with, who makes it possible for me to have a career that enables me to not only work from home around my own schedule, but to earn an incredible income as well.  With my business, I know I have the financial means to help my daughter get a jump-start on her life.  I can help her pay for college, allow her to work part-time so she can focus on her studies, and provide her with the tools she will need to succeed. 

For much of the kids' life, I was a single mom and worked hard to climb the corporate ladder to support my kids.  They spent time a lot of time in after-school programs while I worked long hours to make ends meet.  If only I had known then what I know now!!  Now, rather than working hard to make other people rich, I work shorter, smarter hours, to make myself "rich."  My "riches" today are not simply monetary.  They are the riches of a happy, fulfilling life.  I work from home, I work with friends, I work with my team, I work with the owners of my company, I work my way! 

Yes, today is a day that I can wake up, look at my almost-grown children, and be proud of my life.  I have taken control of my own financial future and am creating my own journey.  And by doing so, I am showing my children that they too, can reach for the moon and land amongst the stars!