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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dream kitchens

Have you ever considered remodeling your kitchen or bathroom? I have – many times. Let’s just say I’m a dreamer. I get a kick out of imagining what it would be like to have the house of my dreams, which includes personalizing each of the spaces with the ideal elements. One of the most engaging daydreams I have is what my dream kitchen will look like.

There are quite a few types of sinks one can use in their kitchen with different materials and different installations including undermount kitchen sinks. Of course there are a lot of different elements to consider, but since I spend so much time at the kitchen sink it’s the only thing I can picture right now.

What’s your dream kitchen like?

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Matters of the heart – a book review of The Threadbare Heart by Jennie Nash

I am mighty pleased that I’ve had the chance to get a little reading done. Wait, let me clarify: Not just reading, but finishing books! For me that’s extremely exciting. Most recently, I’ve read The Threadbare Heart by Jennie Nash, which I won from 5 Minutes for Books, and A Hole in the Attic by Mary Ellen Dias.

When I first began reading The Threadbare Heart I had a little trouble concentrating and getting into the story. I think it was just my brain being distracted because the overall story and message of the book soon engulfed me and started my brain churning.

From the back of the book:

A photo of her sons. A doormat from Target. Twenty-three tubs of fabric.  Somehow it comforts Lily to list the things she lost when a wildfire engulfed the Santa Barbara avocado ranch she shared with her husband, Tom. He didn’t make it out either. His last act was to save her grandmother’s lace from the flames – an heirloom she has never been able to take scissors to, that she was saving for someday.

As she negotiates her way through her grief, mourning both the tangible and intangible, Lily wonders about her long marriage. Was it worth all the work, the self-denial? Did she stay with Tom just to avoid loneliness? Should she have been more like her mother, Eleanor – thrice-married and even now, approaching eighty, cavalier about men and, it seems, even about her daughter’s emotions?

It is up to Lily to understand what she could still gain even when it seems that everything is lost. Someday has arrived.

Without giving a lot away, I’ll just say that while Lily discovers the true meaning of what’s going inside of her head and heart in the midst of grieving, you may discover something about yourself and what you believe about love, marriage and commitment.

This is the first book where I’ve actually read and thoughtfully considered my answers to the reader’s guide at the end. It’s because The Threadbare Heart was more than entertainment to me, it’s a glimpse into others’ thoughts (in the form of the characters) about feelings that effect each individual in a different way. And it was a way for me to seriously consider where my opinion falls.

Nash is also the author of The Last Beach Bungalow and The Only True Genius in the Family, which both received rave reviews. I can’t wait to read those as well.

If you’ve read The Threadbare Heart then please leave a comment letting me know what you thought. Otherwise, share what your favorite read has been.

Disclosure: I won a copy of The Threadbare Heart in a giveaway at 5 Minutes for Books, but that in no way affected my opinion of the book. No other compensation was received. If you click the picture and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. My complete disclosure policy is a click away.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

What can Reputation Management Services do for you?

What does your online reputation say about you? And what is that online reputation worth to you? If it’s been slung through the mud then it’ll definitely be worth a lot to get it cleaned up. Using Reputation Management Services will help remove the negative opinion you see on search engines about your company, your brand and even your clients.

People like to complain and they can do it freely on the web. You can use Reputation Management Services to regain control of a sullied reputation. Research shows that four out of five individuals use the Internet to search for information about companies, services and products. And, to make matters worse, what they find will influence their decision about whether they want to do business with you or not.

That’s why each individual – especially those responsible for companies, brands and clients – should be proactive about managing their online reputation. You don’t have to worry about being proactive if you hire a company specializing in Reputation Management Services.

It doesn’t matter where the negative information is coming from, a reputation manager can help you overcome it. All you have to do is contact one and they’ll tell you what they can do to help.

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Fantasy Jewelry Box, Earlums & more – reviews & reveals

I’ve told you many times about my addiction to skincare products, but what you may not know is that I also have a thing for jewelry. I think I’m just now realizing how big of an obsession or addiction it really is. I think it started when I was a senior in high school and got my first credit card: It was for Kay Jewelers. Back then it was easy to charge up a couple of hundred dollars and pay it off by the end of the month because I was working and only had myself to be concerned with. Well, things changed rather quickly when I had my first child in 1991 and the obsession simply went a little dormant.

The life of a blogger can re-ignite all kinds of things. I mean, you guys are wonderfully talented and generous. You hold giveaways and make jewelry, and the more I looked around the blogosphere the more my palms started to itch to continue to fill my jewelry box. So I started entering jewelry giveaways.

As I searched my blog looking for the post I’m sure I wrote about the Twillypop necklaces I won from Diane Estrella’s blog back in early December, I realized that I’ve written about jewelry quite a bit. (I still can’t find that post.) Sara, Twillypop lady, is an extremely talented and unique artist. She describes her jewelry as “a line of fun, functional, affordable, trendy at times, timeless at others, line of necklaces.”

Please excuse the photo quality.


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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Donate vehicles to Vietnam Veterans

Vietnam Veterans of America needs our support. They're asking for donations of cars, trucks or vans that will be used to help those who have given their service to us and our country: Our veterans. The car donation will provide critical support for veterans in their times of need. In addition to the vehicles mentioned above, they can - in most cases - accept boats, motorcycles, RV's, campers and property.



This is a car donation charity that converts car donations into cash to assist deserving veterans and their families through the provided programs. Donors determine the Fair Market Value of their vehicle, up to $500, and if it sells for more than that Vietnam Veterans of America will send donors an IRS Form 1098-C showing the higher selling price so it can be claimed as your tax deduction when filing your taxes.


It's quick, easy and secure:
  1. Fill out a form.
  2. Schedule a free convenient pickup time. (A tow truck comes to your location.)
  3. Receive your tax deduction. (They issue a tax deduction donation receipt after the vehicle is received.)
Take a moment to help the Vietnam Veterans of America support the Vietnam Vets, donate a car today.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

First Black male valedictorian in more than a decade...

... at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta.


Momlogic recently posted: "We were just amazed and inspired when we watched Atlanta senior Deonte Bridges' valedictorian speech on YouTube. How did his mother, Paris Hardaway, raise such an amazing son? To find out, we went straight to the source. Paris speaks to momlogic about her incredible child." I watched the YouTube video and listened to the young man's speech: I was encouraged that there are young people today succeeding and achieving despite their circumstances. I was moved by the creativity and emotion he expressed. And I was sure it is something you'd like to experience as well.

Here's the interview, which is re-posted with permission from Momlogic
 

momlogic: What was your reaction when Deonte was named valedictorian this year?

Paris Hardaway: 
I was excited and overwhelmed! I started calling everyone and telling everybody. Stuff like that, I can't keep to myself. I was on the train when Deonte called me and told me. He said he was the first black male to receive the award in over a decade. I just lost it and had to calm down because I was on public transportation. I didn't tell anyone on the train because I didn't want them to think I was crazy, but I called my cousin and knew it would get out from there because she'd notify everybody! I cry when I look from where we came to where we are now. Things could have gone in a totally different way. For me to be here and see what Deonte has accomplished is a gift.




Deonte Bridges and mom
ml: How did you feel hearing Deonte's beautiful graduation-day speech?

PH:
 That day when Deonte made that speech, I was sitting there listening. I was already in tears from hearing the salutatorian's speech and life story. When Deonte started telling his story, I saw him becoming emotional -- I sat there in awe because even being his mom, I didn't realize he was dealing with these things at the level he expressed it. I look at him as my hero. He gave me the courage and support I needed after being diagnosed with leukemia. He was in middle school, around age 13, when I was diagnosed, and I knew I had to be here for him, so I fought for my life. It was me and him, and with him being my youngest, I knew I had to be a mother to him. I wanted to see him progress over the years. It was through God's grace and mercy I was there that day to see him. He spoke life into me and Deonte.

ml
: What was Deonte's childhood like? Did he face any challenges?

PH:
 Deonte is the youngest of my four children ... he's my baby. My oldest is 37, my son Maurice would have been 34, my daughter is 30 and Deonte is now 18. My son, Maurice, was 20 years old when he passed away. He went to play basketball with friends and went into cardiac arrest and passed away.

Growing up, Deonte faced pressures from the outside world but never gave in to them. From birth to age 4, we lived in a neighborhood that was surrounded with drugs, guns and violence. Where we lived, it wasn't that bad, but it was definitely within the area. When Deonte was 4, we moved to "West End" in Atlanta. It was the same type of atmosphere, but we were in a better section. Those types of things were around, but I kept my kids away from it. They were familiar with what was going on -- they saw and knew it was there, but they stayed away.


No matter how much you try to protect your kids, things are still out there. One day, Deonte attended an event
at the school. After, his friend's mom drove him home. Instead of bringing him to the house, she dropped him off at the bus stop. As he walked home, he was robbed at gunpoint and they took his wallet, cell phone and ID. I was always worried for Deonte because he went to school in the morning when it was dark and he came home at night when it was dark again. I always wanted him to get there safely and return home safely. There is so much going on in the world and in the streets with killings, robberies and more.

ml
: What kind of student was Deonte? And at what age did you realize there was something truly special about him?

PH:
 He was an excellent student from pre-K until his graduation. From the time I put him in pre-K, he excelled. Nine out of ten times, he was the only male student getting awards or honors in school. He was always the top male student in his class. When he was a little boy, I noticed a difference in him than other kids. We watched "Sesame Street," "Barney" and "Mister Rogers'" together. All his teachers were always telling me how smart he was, and in third grade, his teacher suggested I get him tested because she felt he was gifted. I never had to help him with homework ... he was always smart.

ml
: How is your health now?

PH:
 I was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago when Deonte was 13. I am doing pretty good now. I am in remission, but will always have to take my medication forever to prevent it from returning. I can't be in cold because my bones ache and hurt, but I am getting by and thank God for allowing me to be here with Deonte and my family.

ml
: What are Deonte's future plans?

PH: 
Deonte is planning to attend the University of Georgia. As of now, he wants to study business and accounting, but he's got the world at his feet. He's very talented, and he's a wonderful songwriter, so we'll see ....

m
l: What advice would you give to other moms?

PH:
 I would tell them to continue to support and love their kids. Let them know that if nobody else has their back, you do. Encourage them in any way, form or fashion. Say good things to them no matter what the outside world says. Every day is a fight, so stay in the fight and focus on goals and dreams. You're there with them and you want them to see they can accomplish all they desire to do.



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Using the right cook top cleaner

The glass and ceramic smooth top ranges are really popular due to their convenience and beauty, but what some consumers do not realize is that in order to maintain that appearance over the long haul the right cook top cleaner must be used. Those smooth surfaces have to be cleaned regularly and there are certain cleaners, including Weiman Glass Cool Top® Cleaner, which are specifically formulated for those types of ranges. The Weiman cleaner removes food that has dried or been burned on the cook top and it will not mar the pristine surface.

When used regularly, the right cook top cleaner keeps your range looking brand new and beautiful and, believe it or not, it can help older ranges to renew their lost beauty. And, as an additional precaution, be sure to use the right scrubbing pads so you don’t scratch the surface of the cook top. Using the right pad and cleaner also reduces the amount of hard scrubbing that’s needed.

Although I’d love to, I don’t have one of the smooth cook top stoves yet. Do you have one? If so, take a moment to share what cleaners you have used on it, what worked and what didn’t.
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Internet connection fix

For quite some time, when my computer would go into hibernation (and even when it was shut down) it would lose the wireless Internet connection. And getting it back up took more time than I have to spare each day. I called my computer-knowledgeable friend for a fix. Ten minutes later he had the answer in my in box. Today, my gift to you is the easy instructions on how to solve this problem:

1. Click Start
2. Right Click Computer
3. Click Manage
4. Click Device Manager in the left window pane
5. Go to Network Adapters and click the arrow to the left of the words
6. Now you will see your network adapter or adapters if you have more than one. In my case it was an Atheros L1 Gigabit. Right Click your network adapter.
7. Click Properties
8. Go to the Power Management Tab
9. Make sure all boxes are unchecked.
10. Once you've unchecked the boxes click okay and restart your system.
11. Enjoy never losing your connection again.

I'm not sure where he found these instructions, but they worked. One computer problem down and one to go. Now if you know how to fix my Windows Live Writer problem, please leave a comment to let me know. Thanks ... enjoy your Monday.
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