Wednesday, June 30, 2010

YES! I finished the 30-Day Blog Challenge!!

Okay, so this is the final post of the 30-Day Blog Challenge!!  I heard about the challenge after only one week of blogging...and I thought, "hey!  I can write 30 blogs in 30 days..."  So I decided to sign up. 

Let me tell you (or perhaps you already know), this is not as easy as it sounds.  I originally started my blog as a way to talk introduce people to my products and my business opportunity.  I quickly found, however, that no one, myself included, wants to read a blog that is completely devoted to a home business--or any other single topic.

I decided instead to write about my life and all the wonderful, frustrating, crazy, awesome people, places, and things that make up who I am.  There is always something going on around here that I can turn into a funny, useful, or meaningful story. 

I also started a new feature for my blog called, "Friday Featured Biz" where I feature one small business owner each Friday on my blog.  Through my networking events, I have met the most incredible and dynamic people and have taken my appreciation of small business to a whole new level. This has been a great feature for me, and I hope, as I continue to blog, my followers will grow and these businesses will get some new clients through me.

Today I found myself 3 posts behind on the Challenge, and almost threw in the towel.  Another friend messaged me on Facebook and encouraged me to finish the Challenge.  I decided that she was right--how silly to go this far just to give up at the last minute.  So, here I am, pounding out this final post so I can get it sent out and can run out the door to another Networking Event!!! 

With that, I will say goodnight!  My goal is to continue writing new articles 4 times per week, so you will see me either tomorrow or Friday for sure!  I have another fabulous small business to feature on Friday, so if I don't see you before, I hope to see you then!!

Until Next Time....

Toxic Relationships

Toxic Relationships.  We all have them.  Whether it is a family member, partner, co-worker, or friend--we all have relationships that bring us down.  The question is "What to do about it?"  Of course, the answer is not as simple as the question.  A spouse or family member needs to be approached differently than a friend or co-worker. 

The reason I am writing about this is that yesterday I had to make a painful, yet necessary, decision to walk away from what started out as an incredible friendship, but ended up being toxic to me.  It was such a hard thing to do, but after a week of feeling sick to my stomach and worrying about it, I had to choose what was best for me.  I would like to say it didn't get ugly, but the truth is it was not pleasant.  It is a lot like getting a divorce--if we could do it happily and without upset, why would we have to do it at all?  So, while it was not nasty, it was very uncomfortable.  

I took the day to let myself grieve the loss of what was once such a close friendship, and then got up today and moved forward.  I am a firm believer that God brings people into our lives at specific times for a reason.  And when that reason has resolved, there is not always anything else holding the relationship together, except time.  And time isn't always enough. Things had started going wrong in this friendship a long time ago, and it was not until very recently I realized that the friendship was adding more stress, tension, and drama than it was worth.

I am thankful for the awesome gifts I received as a result of the relationship, and am hopeful that one day, we will both be able to look past the bad times and be friendly.  But, whether that happens or doesn't happen, is out of my hands right now.  It is time to concentrate on the relationships that are working in my life today.  And be grateful for the wonderful things God has planned for me. 

Until Next Time....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Selling Yourself

Why did I become involved with Scent-Sations?  The first reason is because I love home fragrance, followed quickly by my (completely innocent) fascination with fire.  So, when I ran across the creator of the "highest performing candles on the market" who also happened to offer one of the best compensation plans I had ever seen, I knew it was worth checking out. 

I have never been in the sales industry and certainly never in any type of direct sales, so I wasn't sure I could cut it.  After really thinking about it, however, I came to realize that I have been "selling" all my life--just not in the traditional sense of the word.  Truth be told, there isn't much that is traditional about me anyway, so when I started thinking outside the box, I decided that I am, in fact, a great salesperson!

Every job I have ever had, I got because of my ability to "sell" myself to the company.  Sure there were people more qualified than I was, but I sold my unique skills--the ones that made me stand out from the pack.  More often than not, that is the main reason I was hired.  Sure, I have the college education and the experience to be able to get an interview, but it was how I handled myself at the interview that landed me the position.  (The fact that I was a single mom with 2 kids who counted on me to "bring home the bacon" was an added incentive!)

As a mother, I have to "sell" ideas to the kids all the time.  I have to take an activity that they would not normally go for, and twist it around enough to make it sound enticing to them. 

I could go on and on....but you get the idea.  The fact is, we are all salespeople, when we choose to be.  We use our passion and our powers of persuasion to get others to follow our lead.

For me, the passion is the most important factor in any type of "sales" whether it be personal or professional.  If you do not truly believe in what you are selling, no one else will either. 

No matter who you are, where you come from, or where you want to go, find your passion.  Believe in yourself and your abilities.  Look in the mirror and figure out what it is that makes you unique.  What can you offer that others don't have? 

Today, I am working hard to build not only my business, but helping others do the same.  Every one of us has the ability to go out and create our dream life.  It can be difficult to get past the obstacles we have placed in our way, but every challenge presents a chance to grow and to learn.  All we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other....and if we are persistent in our pursuit, we will get there.

What is holding you back from achieving your dreams?

At Home Spa Recipe -- Brown Sugar Body Scrub

No Need for an expensive trip to the spa with this fabulous and simple body scrub!!

Create a Spa in Your Home

I went to a Culinary Meetup Group on Sunday, and the theme this month was "Spa at Home."  Each woman created a home-made spa recipe to share.  I went with my stand-by:  Brown Sugar Body Scrub.  It is incredibly easy to make and is versatile, depending on what ingredients you have on hand.  And did I mention that it is FABULOUS!!

This is a recipe that I created myself after spending $15 on a store-bought scrub.  After reading the ingredients, I figure their profit margin had to be around 1000%, and rather than give anyone that kind of money again, I'd recreate the recipe myself.  I have been using it for over a year now, and still love it!

Here goes:

Brown Sugar 

  • Excellent to exfoliate dry skin from head to toe.  
  • Sugar scrubs also tightens pores and adds moisture to the skin leaving it smooth and soft. 
  • Sugar contains glycolic acid that works to protect and moisture the skin and help the body maintain a natural balance.


  • Incredible antiseptic and is rich in antioxidants and flavanoids
  • Cleopatra as an anti-aging remedy.
  • Promotes healing of cuts and abrasions.  
  • Because it is a humectant, it attracts and maintains moisture balance in the skin, without being oily.

Coconut Oil

  • Safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin.
  • Delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age.
  • Helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and other skin conditions.

Almond Oil

  • Improves complexion and retains glow
  • Moisturizes deeply
  • Soothes skin irritation and inflammation
  • Delays the again process
  • Lightens dark under-eye circles
  • Relieves dry, itchy skin
  • Cures chapped lips and body rashes

If you do not have Almond Oil, you can substitute Olive Oil, which is also an excellent moisturizer.  Secret Ingredient:  I love the smell of vanilla, and sometimes will put just a dash of pure vanilla in the mix!

I do not have the amounts written down anywhere.  Start with one cup of brown sugar and then add equal amounts of honey, coconut oil, and almond oil.  Mix it with your fingers (they'll thank you for the scrub!) and add additional ingredients until you get the consistency of cookie dough (?)...I can't think of a good comparison for the consistency.  You want it to be wet enough to spread evenly, yet solid enough to scoop out of the bowl.

I use the scrub 2 - 3 times a week and this amount should last about that long.  If you plan on keeping it longer, I suggest keeping it an airtight container in the fridge.  I use the scrub right before I am done showering and apply it in a circular motion with your hand, a washcloth or a loofah. It is great to use from head to toe--I even use it on my face!  

Let it sit for a minute or two so your skin can absorb it, and then rinse....No Need for Additional Moisturizer!! 

I love home-spa recipes....
What is your favorite???

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another Exciting Episode of "Life With Teens"

I remember the days, a few years ago, when my kids still had brains.  Those precious moments when, in their need to be self-sufficient, they would think for themselves.  They would do for themselves.  They wanted to prove how big they were, so they would actually get off their butts just to show me that they could _________ (insert random chore) on their own--without my help.  I remember actually being irritated by their independence at times.  (WHAT?!)  

Flash-Forward:  My kids have lost their brains, their self-sufficiency, and really, most of their other desirable qualities as well.

This is what I would like to see a little more of:

Sunday is house cleaning day.  Sunday has always been house cleaning day.  It's a family tradition.  Sunday is typically the day when I wake up way too early, come downstairs, and realize that, DAMMIT, my house is a complete disaster again!  Don't get me wrong--we get chores done daily, but for some reason, by Sunday, it looks like we've never picked up a thing around here!

I will admit that I am a total bitch    not always pleasant as I   storm up the stairs screaming my kids' names wake the kids up to get started.  However, in my defense, I usually wait until about 10:00 to get them up, and by that time, I've had at least 4 good hours to assess the damage around here and work up an attitude.

Or maybe I get an attitude because I know what comes next.  The inevitable question.  The one question that makes me really go crazy.....

"What are we supposed to do?"  

REALLY?!  We have been cleaning house on Sunday for as long as I can remember, and they've been an active part of helping to clean since they were in preschool.  We've lived in this particular home for five years.....and you don't know what to do?! 

I can look around and see 100 things that need to be done, without even blinking.  And you don't know what to do?!  

This is the point when I go from irritated to stark-raving-mad lunatic!  I know, I know....there are things I can do to keep it from getting to this point with them.  I could write it all out, for instance.  But WHY?!  These are the same kids who knew exactly what to do when they were 6 and 7.  How can they have forgotten?!

I keep waiting for my kids to come back around to the days when they were old enough to help and young enough to want to help.  To be thinkers, movers, doers!  Yes, the day when I realize my years of  nagging, screaming, begging, and threatening    hard work have finally paid off.....

And as I am daydreaming about this wonderful time, when the brain cells awaken from assumed death, my husband yells from the kitchen, "Honey, where's the mustard?"   

HOLY CRAP!  In the same place it's been for 5 years now......

If my family is called upon to "save the world" I come to the only logical conclusion there is:


Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Featured Biz! Next Level Consulting & Virtual Ass't Services

It's Friday!!!  Which means it's time for this week's Friday's Featured Biz!

This week, I am honored to introduce you to another awesome lady I have become friends with through this wonderful world of Social Media!  I am always amazed at the people I have "met" through Facebook, MySpace, (yes, I have had a MySpace account--I have teenagers--it's a must!) and now Blogging.  The internet really does make the world a much smaller place, and open us up to people, places, & things we might not otherwise have a chance to experience.

This week, I would like to introduce Lisa Rodriguez with Next Level Consulting & Virtual Assistant Services.  Not only does she provide Small Biz Consulting Services, but her blog is filled with awesome tips, tricks, and links!  

This is what Lisa had to say:

Next Level Consulting & Virtual Assistant Services
"Next Level Consulting & Virtual Assistance is a small business consulting and virtual assistance firm that specializes in helping coaches, consultants, speakers and other online entreprenuers create productive businesses, while maximizing their internet presence and revenues.   Collectively our background spans over 24 years as both office and virtual professionals providing administrative and business support.  Our team members are willing to show initiative and play more of a “partner” role vs. simply taking care of specific tasks. 
I choose small/online-based businesses as my niche market because I firmly believe this market in particular is poised for the most growth in the next five years.  The current state of the economy and a shaky job market has been a catalyst for more and more of the "downsized" to take a risk and pursue their dream of working from home.  It offers flexibility, especially for those with families and the earning potential is not limited by your perceived value at a large firm.  Trends are emerging that indicate more and more people are on the internet, not in front of their television sets - and they are all searching for ways to create income.  And they also all have the same issue in common - they need support in their efforts.  I really enjoy partnering with entrepreneurs to help them achieve success with their businesses.
I also believe supporting other home-based business owners - not just my clients.  I offer business promotion on both my website, as well as my newsletter free of charge.  I love how social media and networking opens opportunities you might otherwise not have had.  Watching that happen for others is what makes my "job" so rewarding."
Be sure to check out Lisa's Blog, and tell her Happy Birthday while you are there--her birthday was yesterday, June 24, which I just discovered.  Also, make sure you join her Facebook Fan Page!  She provides such awesome information, you won't want to miss a thing!
If you are looking for some great biz tips or if you are in need of a Virtual Assistant (aren't we all sometimes???) or Consulting, consider talking to Lisa and finding out how she can help you grow your business, manage your time, and de-stress your life!  
Thank you, Lisa, for this awesome post, for the service you provide, and for being a part of Friday Featured Biz!
Please remember to Support the Small Business Owners in your community and online!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Parent's Prayer for their Teen

A Parent's Prayer for their Teen
--written by JGrimes and reprinted here with her permission.  For that I am grateful...this is a beautiful prayer and well worth reading, reading, reading....

Dear God, I need to talk to you for a minute about these kids you gave me. First of all, let me make this clear. I adore them. They amaze me, a million different times throughout each day. They are clearly your creation and not my own. And for this, I am thankful. I could have never come up with something this wonderful, even if you had asked me to write out what I had in mind on paper before they were born. But, I want you to know that I am scared. The world looks to me, as their parent, to teach them and protect them, raising them to be successful adults. I wonder why, then, must the world work against me on every step? As a little girl, my precious daughter – well, actually, she is Your precious daughter – happily skipped through her day, treasuring each moment and believing anything was possible. But somewhere along the way to being a teenager, she lost her joy. Now, her days are filled with paralyzing self doubt and deceptive invitations to the path of acceptance. My adorable son, who once started each day by holding my face in his hands just to tell me he loved me, can no longer look me in the eye. He tries to hide behind walls built over time, convinced that I will never understand him. But I see through to his breaking heart, and mine breaks right along with his. It always has. Always will. These are your children. And they are perfect. How can I get them to see that? How can I protect them from the false expectations of their peers, who are all struggling to find their way just the same? How can I prove to them that they were designed to stand out, rather than to fit in? Sometimes, I watch them sleeping and this is my silent prayer for them: Hold them in your arms. Always. Reveal yourself to them often, proving that they are never alone. Help them to be strong enough to make a difference; to change the lives of others rather than changing who they are to fit in. Make their paths straight before them, just as you promised to do, and then give them the strength to follow. The decisions they make today can alter the path of the rest of their lives. Please help them to better understand this, and protect them when the time arrives to make those choices. Show them that the rules we have in place are to protect them; not to prevent them from having fun, but rather to keep them from crossing lines into adulthood long before they are ready. Help them understand that once you cross those lines, there is no going back to being a kid. Help them never to doubt you, especially when teachers and others cause them to question their beliefs. How can they ever find their true value if they believe they were an accident or grew from the ground or from monkeys of some sort? Their very existence proves that You are real, so please comfort them and give them your answers long before they need them. I pray these same things for their future spouses and children. Protect their future and create it in a way that brings them all closer together and to you in the end. And God, please keep whispering these things to them until they are ready for me to tell them face to face. Because Lord, I adore my teens, and am so thankful you chose me to be their parent. Give me what I need to do the job you asked of me, and hold me when I’m scared. I never want to let either of you down. In Jesus Name, Amen

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"You want to do WHAT?!" Letting Our Children Grow Up...

When my daughter, Taylor, (18 next month) was in kindergarten, it was already clear that she was going to be one of those kids who would create her own path in this world.  Her kindergarten teacher called me to a meeting and said, "I have been teaching 5-year-old kids for more than 20 years, and I have never seen anyone do...."  Yes, that is when I knew Taylor would be her own person No Matter What!!

Being an artistic, creative, outgoing, outspoken girl, she has gone through a complete cycle of career ideas--all if which she would be perfect for:  

  • When she was going through her pink, blue, purple hair stage, she wanted to be a Hairstylist.
  • When she was going through her Raccoon Eye make-up days, she thought a Makeup Artist might be "it."
  • Then she discovered the joy of photography, and with her artistic eye, she would have been good at it.  But then she realized she might have to take pictures of something other than herself! 
  • When she went through her experimenting with drugs phase (yes, it happens.....) and went through a rehab program, she thought perhaps that was her calling (although truth be told, 8 years of college might have been a little more than she could swallow!) 
  • She took a culinary class in high school and set about immediately looking into culinary schools.  At this phase, she actually applied and was accepted into a fantastic culinary arts school!
  • And then, she realized that she didn't really like cooking--she liked baking and designing, so we looked into pastry arts schools, which, again, is a great fit for her!
Flash Forward to Present Day!!!
Taylor comes home last week, and being frustrated with her current job where she is not getting enough hours to support her shopping habit, she announces to me:


Okay, so I have to tell you....while this may not be the career path I would have chosen for my little 5-year old girl, I told her to look into what she needed to do to make it happen!  The amazing thing??  She did it!  She went online to research, she made phone calls, she talked to shop owners--she actually did the work!  Now, this says a lot about her dedication to this line of work. So....

We went together to a new tattoo shop that opened less than a mile away, and talked to the owner.  We'd been in his shop several times and he is a nice guy.  You might not guess that by looking at him, but he is.  He does not do drugs, he does not drink, he has never smoked a cigarette, and he is the father of a teenage daughter.  He understands my concerns and I trust that he will take care of her....and that says a lot!

She started working there last week, and she loves it!  She has an outlet for her creative side and she is learning--not just about piercing, but about business and customer service and health issues.  Kevin (the owner) is preparing her for her future.  He insists that she learn the business inside-out--not just how to poke holes in people!!  haha

She gets up in the morning, gets her chores done, and is excited to go to work!!  She has a plan...she wants to finish this apprenticeship and then work part-time while she goes back to college for pastry arts.  This career choice will allow her to earn enough money to pay for college and possibly, one day, move out of my house!  

Yes, I always knew my daughter was not cut out for the traditional career path, but I could not be more proud of her!  She has found her passion and is now doing what it takes to Achieve Her Dreams!

As Moms, we always say "we just want our kids to be happy!"  Well, what I see is a happy little girl morphing into a happy young lady!

And that is enough for me!!

Now my son is another story all together.....

Until Next Time...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Who Inspires You and Keeps You Motivated?

No matter who you are, what you do, or where you are in your life, there is someone out there who inspires you to keep moving forward....Who is that someone?  Any why?

Today, more than ever, we are inundated by Motivational Speakers, Books, CDs, DVDs, Seminars, etc...and it can be overwhelming!  I would like to know who it is that is keeping you moving forward in your life, and helping you to be the best you can be!

Let's get the discussion going--Leave a comment in here with the top person/persons on your list that you are currently listening to or getting advice from.  Be as specific as possible in case someone else wants to pick up a book or CD by your favorite Motivator!

I understand that God (however you may refer to God) and our families are generally always our biggest motivators to improve our lives, so let's just make that a given.  Let's focus on those outside influences we rely on!!

My list is pretty big, so I am going to list only the resources I am currently utilizing:

Zig Ziglar's "Setting Goals" which is an amazing set of CD's that are easy to listen to and easy to follow.  Zig is always an inspiration!! 

Larry Wingett's "Shut Up, Stop Whining, & Get a Life! A kick-butt approach to a Better Life."  I absolutely love the way he just says it like it is.  He talks about taking responsibility for your life and then taking action to create the life you want.  I highly recommend this book!!  I plan on working my way through all his stuff!
Nightingale-Conant 50th Anniversary Collection, which is a 12-CD set of blips from the best of the best in the Nightingale Group.  Love it!  Perfect for leaving in the car, as most segments are only a few minutes long.

Charles Umphread, the co-owner of Scent-Sations, the company I work with.  He has been an amazing resource for me since I first joined the company.  He is always ready to help, and he says it like it is.  He truly wants everyone in the company to achieve success, and it shows in his attitude, work ethic, and business relationships.


Okay, these are a few of my inspirations!  

Your Turn!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Why "Trying" is not enough....

I am reading a book by Larry Winget called, "Shutup, Stop Whining, & Get A Life."  And, I have to tell you, it is one awesome book!!  He tells how it is, without all the fluff, and really makes the reader stop, think, and evaluate.  At least, he's causing me to stand up and take notice of my life--where I am now compared to where I want to be.

For years, I wanted to be in business for myself.  I spent literally years thinking about it and even "tried" my hand at my own clothing business.  I failed.  Why?  Because I "tried."  I didn't just "do" it!  I was not immediately successful and I had all kinds of excuses for why I was not (the economy was bad, I didn't have the right contacts, it took too much time away from my family, etc.....)  However, what are those but excuses??  The bottom line is that I "tried," and truth be told, I didn't really try that hard.  I was so scared of failing that I just didn't go for it!  I had failure in my head, which showed in my actions, and I got exactly what I manifested.....a failed business.

After that experience, I put business on the back-burner.  I kept my feelers out there for an opportunity, but nothing really moved me.  Until, that is, I found the company I am with now.  I am passionate about fragrance--I love perfumes, candles, oils, anything that smells good--even a good grilled steak!  If it smells good, I am attracted to it!  That passion led me to my own gourmet candle business.

When I found this business, I did my research on the company, the products, the compensation plan, etc.  I learned all I could find on the internet because I did not want to fail again.  What I found was that I could find nothing negative about any aspect of this company.  Nothing Negative on the internet.  Knowing that people are quick to complain about anything that rubs them wrong, I assumed I would find at least something out there to raise a red flag about this opportunity.  But nada....Pretty amazing in my eyes!

What does that tell me?  That tells me that I can be successful.  That tells me that I can have everything that the company promises I can have.  That tells me that other people (thousands of other people) are making money and enjoying their experience with this company and their products.

That tells me that it is up to me to make it happen!  So, I signed up.  I attend webinars.  I read the training materials.  I talk to the leaders of the company.  I pick up the phone and call the owners.  I do what is recommended.  Hey, I even started a blog.  I ask friends to host parties for me.  I go to networking meetings to meet people and introduce my product and my business.  I get out of my comfort zone to do the things that I see successful people do.

I am involved.  That is the bottom line.  I cannot "try" to work this business.  I already know what happens when I "try"--I set myself up to fail.  I have to do.  I have to think about what I want in my life and then go out and make it happen.  I need a plan, and then I need to follow that plan.

Have I reached my goals?  Not by a long shot.  But I continue to do  the next right thing.  I continue to emulate the successful people I admire.  I continue to get out of my own way.  I no longer "try" to do something, I just do it!

And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I will achieve my dreams.  I believe in myself, and I am willing to do what it takes to be where I want to be.

Are you headed in the direction you want to be going?  What is stopping you from achieving your goals?  Or what have you done to get where you want to be?

Leave me a comment and let me know!!  We can all work together to Achieve Our Dreams!!

To read more about my business, please see my page, "CandleLight Dreams..."  

Until next Time...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Launching "Friday Featured Biz!!"

Proud to announce the Launching of "Friday Featured Biz!"  
 I am thrilled to be kicking off my Friday Featured Biz with Lindsay of Happy Housewife Designs!!  She designed my awesome new blog with professionalism, dedication, and patience!!  And for a price that the "big guys" couldn't touch!!

Without further ado, here is what Lindsay has to say about her business, Happy Housewife Designs, and about the importance of supporting small business owners....

Happy Housewife Designs

"When Lesa told me that she wanted to feature me on her blog I was so flattered.  I mean I knew she loved her design but enough to do a whole post on me!  Wow!

Like a lot of moms I started my business because I wanted to do something that not only helped with the family income but also gave me something that I loved to do.  I told myself when I started out that I would "try it" and see where it goes.  After a year of learning and several nights of wanting to throw my computer through the window I got there.  I was a designer.  I had taken the time which was usually during naps and once everyone was in bed asleep to learn, practice, and make design after design on my own personal blog.  Then I opened up my business and have been so happy to be able to help other mom bloggers out by giving them a design they love at an affordable price.

I love working with other bloggers.  Because you run into so many other moms that are in some kind of business and there are so many great products out there.  I think its great that we have been given an outlet to let us do what we love from our home and while we raise our kids.  I love being contacted by other mom bloggers who have great products that they believe in and want to share.  I just bought an IPhone cover from one of these mom shops and it saved my phones life the other day when I dropped it (don't tell the hubby).  But that would never be something that I could find in a regular store.  I know they have cases but this case was cute and at a great price.

So come stop by my design shop and maybe even enter a giveaway (we have a HUGE one coming in July).  I promise you will end up with a design you love and maybe even find a new blogger BFF like I have found my in great friend Lesa!"

Lindsay and I spent a lot of  time talking, both on the phone, as well as via email.  She took the time to answer my endless questions, and was dedicated to getting my blog exactly the way I wanted it!  Better than that?  I really have made a friend!  

So, the next time you need a total blog make-over, or simply a tweak to your current design, please consider Lindsay for your next project!!

Thank you for reading, and for supporting the small business owner, where your business really is appreciated!!

****To have your small biz featured, please send me an email at, with the subject line "Featured Biz" and let me know!  The "rules" are simple...write a paragraph about your business and services/products, and another paragraph about why supporting small business is important to you, and how you personally support small business either online or in your community.  

That's it.  My goal is to get everyone involved in supporting each other and keep our businesses growing!!  And hey!  If you make a friend through the process, let me know!!****

Thanks for reading, and for supporting Lindsay in her dream of staying home to care for her son while running her own business!!

Until Next Time....  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Small-Town Shopping hidden in the City!!

As promised in yesterday's post, and in honor of the kick-off to my Friday Featured Business, I will be taking you on a "tour" of Catlin Court.  Yesterday afternoon, I grabbed my daughter and my camera and went to a little district, 2 blocks off a main street in the City of Glendale, Arizona, where "Mom & Pop" Shops are alive, and if not flourishing, determined to survive!! 

Because pictures really are worth 1000 words, this will be largely a photographic journey back in time.  Where people are happy to see you, the yards are lush, green, and maintained.  Where there is an air of peace and tranquility.  Where these people are devoted to keeping their businesses alive in this unstable economic time.  

As one shop owner said to me, "I've been here 18 years.  I do it out of love."

Off we go....
First Stop--a trip to Halo to visit my friend Ronda
and get Taylor's nails done!!

In case you can't tell, Taylor didn't like it at all....

After Ronda, we walked directly next door to....
Where we spent a few minutes talking to Shelley, who is one amazing lady!!!  
You can't buy this quality in a grocery store!!
This is my kind of cookie!!!

The store across the street was closed, 
but worthy of a picture!!
Down the street we go....almost every store is a converted house on tree-lined streets that make you feel right at home....check out these pics.....

I had so much fun, and even Taylor had to admit that there really is something special about this place.  I have so many fantastic pictures...of all the incredible merchandise inside the stores & more of the outside...Believe it or not, there are over 80 businesses in this district!!

I think, however, that I will save them for another day.  I do want to leave you with a couple final thoughts.  

First, I have been to this district only two times in recent history.  (Yes, I am guilty of choosing convenience over character.  A flaw I am working very hard at correcting.)  Yet, there are shop owners who already recognize my face, and are happy to see me.  They introduce me to other shop owners who wander in, and love to tell stories about all the awesome things to do in their beautiful little corner of the world!!
I ask you:  When is the last time you walked into Wal-Mart and someone, not only recognized you, but was happy to see you, and talked to you like a long-time friend?  If that happens to you, I need to shop at your Wal-Mart, because it does not happen at mine!!

Next time you need a unique gift, or just have the urge to do a little window-shopping, search out that hidden gem in your city....and give your business to the people who deserve it.  And who will give it back ten-fold.

Thanks to the shop-owners who allowed my camera and my questions...and thank to you, for going on this tour with me.  
Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Expect Success!!: Implementing 10 ways to stay Organized...can I do it???

Expect Success!!: Implementing 10 ways to stay Organized...can I do it???

Implementing 10 ways to stay Organized...can I do it???

Okay, so if you read my post yesterday, then you know I am a self-proclaimed clutter-brain!!  If you didn't read it, it's still below this post, so feel free!  To find tips on how to organize my day, I did a Google search for "Tips to organize my day."  There were a few  Thousands of sites to choose even boasting 1,000 tips to get organized!!  This seemed just a tad daunting, so I chose something that is a little more my speed... 10 ways to Organize Your Time !!

Surely even I, the most unorganized and unstructured person on the planet, can implement 10 simple ways to keep myself on track!  Right?  Well, let's find out!  On to that list!!!  

1.  Have Time Management Tools.  (i.e. Computer, Calendar, Notebook, etc....)
Okay, So I have these things. I have always had these things.  That's awesome.  It tells me to "have" them, but not how to effectively "use" them.  I mean, I get it.  Keeping a calendar is a fantastic idea--but it seems to work better for other people.  I buy calendars and planners....I just forget to use them. 

2.  Know Your Priorities. 
Yes, this is important.  In fact, this is one that I am generally pretty good at.  Of course, because life has a way of shifting priorities at a moment's notice, it is also important to be flexible.  But, overall, I think I am okay on this one.

3.  Have a Routine.  
What?!   This one is really really really tough for me!  I'm a "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" impulsive kind of girl!!!  Just like the Time Management Tools, I get that this is important, but implementing structure seems ....oh, what's the word...."structured?"  Hmmm.....On to Number 4.

4. Stay Organized.
Hmmmm....this is truly perplexing....isn't that why I am on this site to begin with?  How do I stay organized when I was not organized in the first place????  Clearly, the author of this article thought that "9 Ways To Stay Organized" didn't sound nearly as good, so they threw this one in to make 10.   I'm on to their game!!

5.  Always Have A Plan.
Alright.  I think I was pretty cool with the "Get Organized/Stay Organized" thing, but isn't "having a plan" suspiciously close to "Having a Routine?!"

6.  Don't Waste Time.
Okay, I am really feeling like there is way too much redundancy in this list.  Like perhaps this page is a "waste of time."  But we're already halfway done....let's just get through it.

7.  Have Extra Time That You Need Personally.
Okay, so now we're talking!  If there is one  thing I am good at, it's taking personal time.  Perfect.  I am feeling more organized already!!  

 8. Track Your Time.
This one is all about using tools (software programs, notes....mainly the same stuff we are supposed to use for Tip #1.)  I think we all know how I feel about this.  It's great in theory, but I really think I require baby-steps on using all these programs that are supposed to save time!  And what does that take???  That's right--Time!

9.  Use The Right Resources.
Okay, so this one is in complete contradiction to both Numbers 1 and 8!!  This tip talks about how computer programs and tools can take so much time to find and implement.  DUH!!  Isn't that what I've been saying???

10.  Ask for Help You Need It. 
Isn't that why I came to this site??  


No, That's not necessarily true.  I can, in fact, implement these things.  Some of them (think "personal time") I already do!  However, if I take this list apart and really examine it, I come up with less than 10 actual individual tips, and honestly, nothing I do not already know in theory--I need to learn how to put it into practice.  I feel less than fulfilled.

Remember the "baby-steps" I talked about?  Yes, I need to go back to the basics.  

So, here's my plan.  Rather than hit up the "1000 tips" in hopes of finding 10 original, easy-to-implement plans of action, I am going to do the most basic organization of all.  The one thing that has stood the test of time.  Those words that husbands have historically dreaded since the days of carving notes in stone: 

"A Honey-Do List!"  But rather than a honey-do list for my husband, it will be for myself.  The simple theory of writing it down and crossing it off as I get it done.  In fact, for one week, that will be my goal.  If I can get that done, then maybe, just maybe, I can add one more simple organizational task....and eventually, I will find a system that works for me!!

Tune in Tomorrow when I take you on a visual stroll through historical old-town Glendale, with all its fabulous charm and Mom & Pop shops!!  


Monday, June 14, 2010

Organization--Not my Strongest Suit!!

Organization is a nasty little 12-letter word in my mind!!  I so envy those people who get up in the morning and just "know" what they need to get done, and the most time-efficient way of accomplishing it all.  You know the ones I'm talking about, and maybe you are even one of them.  They are always put together and are rarely seen scrambling around for misplaced keys, shoes, or brain!  They just grab their list, or calendar, or whatever it is that they use, and off they go!!! 

Okay, so this is maybe aiming a little high,
but what are we without dreams???

If I sound bitter, well, I am.  I have always wanted to be one of  those people.  I really am more of a "get out of bed, stumble downstairs, suck down a pot of coffee, sit down to check my email...."and somehow after that, it's a blackout until about noon!  Mind you, I'm up at 5:00 am most mornings, so that's a significant amount of unaccounted-time out of my day!  Don't get me wrong--I have great intentions!  Sometimes I even remember what they were!  But rarely do I accomplish even half of what is on my to-do list.  Rarely.  

This is my Starting Point...
Okay, so it's not this bad...but that's probably only because most of my work is "paperless!"

Because I am someone who doesn't like to complain without some sort of solution, I have formulated --okay, I'm still formulating--a plan to get myself organized!!  I want people like me to look at me and think, "I wish I was more like her!"  

Now, I don't know about all of you, but when I need clues on how to do something better-in this case, getting my day organized--I head to the one place that seems to have all the answers:  GOOGLE!!!  And here's what I learned.

Apparently getting organized is simple!  In fact, according to more than one site, they have over 1,000 ideas to simplify my life!!!  Wow, Really??  1,000???  Okay, clearly that site is not for me.  On to the next one.

Yes, this is better:  TEN WAYS TO ORGANIZE YOUR TIME!!

Sometimes baby-steps are best.  I understand, especially now that I am running my own business, that my time needs to be used more effectively.  Duh.  I meant to write a post for my blog this morning...and here it is, 9:30 pm and I am finally getting to it!  

One of  the things I love about working from home is my ability to manage my day--HAHAHAHA!  That is not happening right now.  But it needs to.  And it can (at least according to Google!)

So, tonight's homework for myself:  Read ALL 10 ways to organize my time--not just the ones I like....and then formulate a plan to start implementing these strategies into my day.  Check back tomorrow to see what I have figured out!!  Maybe you'll find a tip you can use in your life...or if you have a tip for me, please share!!  I won't hate you just because you're organized!

Until then....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Argh....Teenagers--Gimme Diapers Any Day!

So, I have been wondering what to blog about today....and I flipped through a million different things in my mind, but did not feel that inspiration.  Until, that is, I had a little temper tantrum a few minutes ago.  Now, the rational part of my brain knows that maybe screaming bloody murder at the top of my lungs isn't the most effective way to get my kids to get off their butts and help our around the house, but....sometimes it feels so damn good!!  So that's what I did!  And guess what happened?!?

NOTHING!  I screamed, I yelled, I pleaded, I begged, and I can't be sure, but I think my head spun 360 and I hurled green guck!  And the response for all that energy???  NOTHING.  They looked at me with perplexed faces, calmly waited for me to either finish screaming or pass out from exhaustion, and then went back to their business of holding down the furniture.....

Okay, to put this in perspective for you, I've downloaded a couple pics to give you a better idea of what it looked like.  Pictures really are worth 1000 words.

This is how I usually react.....

So I really thought that when THIS happened

That they might Notice.....
and I'd see a little of THIS

THIS is the Reaction I got....
 So, I did what any mother would do....
If memory serves, I believe I even said I was never cooking again! Yes, I know, you know, and they know, that this is not a credible threat. But I told you that I went a little psycho....and it seemed reasonable at the time...

Then I went outside (loudly) and I had myself a little "Time Out"....when I came in, I opened up Microsoft Excel and created chore charts for my almost-grown children.  Yes, it really brings me back to their younger childhood days (imagine me daydreaming).  There is a list of chores for every day of the week.  They are hanging on the fridge for all their friends to see...only thing missing is the "star stickers" to show what good kids they are.  I refuse to spend a dollar on stickers, even to prove my point.  I think grounding them if they don't do them is a more effective way of dealing with them.

Anyway,  I feel better now.  Blogging does that (and so does bitching,) so it must be really cathartic to write a bitchy blog! 

To all the Mommies struggling with sleeping through the night, potty-training, and pre-school.....ENJOY IT!!  You have NO idea what's in store for you later!!  

Until tomorrow......

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer Pasta Salad

So, this is my first recipe I've put up...but since my family "begs" for this pasta salad, I figure maybe it's worthy of a post!  Now mind you, I like to cook, but not bake.  The reason for this is that in cooking, I can be more creative.  I rarely measure, and hardly ever cook the same thing the same way twice!  This is what I love about cooking!!  Baking, on the other hand, demands attention to detail.  Not my greatest strength!  I have a very limited amount of patience, so I leave the baking to my daughter, who will be studying pastry arts this fall.


Pasta is NOT the enemy!! 

Now, On to the Recipe!!

2 boxes tri-color rotini
2 bottles of your favorite Italian Dressing--Do use one with lots of flavor like Newman's Own.
1-2 cans black (or green) olives, sliced or halved
1-2 small jars of marinated artichoke hearts, sliced
Marinated sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

And any combination of these veggies (diced)  in whatever amounts you want!!  NO RULES!!  =)

Green, Yellow, Red, and/or Orange Bell Peppers--adds color, taste, & nutrients, so use them all if you have them
Green Onions (Salad Onions or regular onions if you don't have these)
Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Boil the noodles until JUST SOFT--do not overcook!! Strain them and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Toss in some of the salad dressing to keep the noodles from sticking.
Add your veggies and the rest of the dressing.
Add Salt and Pepper to taste
Stir, Stir, Stir
Cover and Refrigerate for an hour or two to let it chill and allow the flavors to blend.

And for an extra kick:

Fresh Basil, and Parmesan Cheese also really Rock this Salad!!

VOILA!!!  You have enough pasta salad to feed the neighborhood--Trust me, they'll be coming back for more!!

Tweak this to fit your family--and use what you've got in the fridge!!  Like I said, there's no "wrong" way to make this.  To me, the goal is to use as many fresh veggies as I have on hand!!  So add some, remove some, play with it, experiment and have fun!!

Let me know what you think!!  And, if you try something that really works that isn't here, send me a shout-out--I'm always open to new ideas!!

New Blog is Ready to Kick Off "Featured Business Friday!!!"

When Lindsay (who runs Happy Housewife Designs) was putting together my blog--no easy feat, I am sure--she asked me to come up with the titles for my pages.

Because I am a woman of many words, I wanted to be able to create a blog where people could come and easily find the information they were looking for--whether it be to laugh at my crazy family life, commiserate with being a mother of a teenager, check out pics of my zoo, learn a biz tip or two, read about the Featured Businesses I support, learn about my favorite designer discount sites & links I love, or perhaps find out more about my home business.

I am one of those impatient ADD kinda people who, if I cannot quickly find what I am looking for, will either give up, or, more likely, get distracted by another feature of the blog, and forget why I was there in the first place!!  I figured there might be more people out  there like me, so I am trying to keep it as simple as possible.

Like my Tagline suggests, this blog, which started out for my home business, has quickly evolved into a place for me to write about "Life and The In-between!"  If there is ever a subject you would like me to research and blog about, let me know!!  I am always open for ideas!!

Also, I would like to remind you all about Featured Business Friday!!!  It will kick off this coming Friday with the Lovely Lindsay, who designed this blog...and then will feature one, possibly two, small businesses per week (largely depending on the response from my readers!!)

If you would like to have your business featured on my blog, here's the scoop!!

Leave me a comment with your name, your blog name and url, a sentence or two about what your business offers, and another sentence or two about why you believe supporting small business is so important, and what you do in your life to promote that, either in your community or online.

***Deal Breaker:  Because I am doing the Featured Business promotion in order to remind others how important it is to support the small business owner, if you do not tell me why you believe supporting the little guy is important to you, and what you do personally to support the little guy, I cannot feature your business.  I cannot stress how important this is to me, so please don't forget to add that info in your comment!!***