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Thursday, August 12, 2010

What in the world was I thinking?

… I should have taken the week off.

Right now I’m sitting at the kitchen table with the sound of cartoons and pre-schooler noises floating around my head (yes, Anna is home today). I have my feet propped up and a cup of coffee standing by. I wish I felt as unfrazzled as I look, but the fact of the matter is time is slipping by at a record speed and I am nowhere close to accomplishing or completing or something-ing anything.

Let me explain why my head is frazzled, but I’m trying to maintain my cool:

  • The two middle children started school on Monday.
  • When I pick them up each day I drive them to the daycare for afterschool.
  • I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday morning, which I was late for.
  • Today, I have to (I’m going to!) drive two hours to my best friend’s place and take him to get his dental surgery. Then come back.
  • Friday I have to ensure Amber has everything she needs and has the van loaded because…
  • I have to drive three hours (Is it three? I can’t remember.) on Saturday to take her to campus and drive home.

In the middle of all of that I had writing and editing assignments, posts and reviews I was supposed to be doing along with the parenting and household stuff. Well, I thought I had it all under control ‘til I started getting behind on work two days ago. Because I started getting tired. Because I started going to bed later. Because I was trying to get everything done.

(If you’re really into grammar and sentence structure and all of that please forgive me. My eyes are blurry and my head hurts.)

So, you see, I should have taken the week off from work. You know, scheduled a few posts and slipped in some paid ones when I could. As it stands now I have two late assignments and others pending.

Did I already say I should have taken the week off?

Okay, gotta run to shower and get dressed so I can pick the two middle kids up from school early for their big sister to care for so I can get on the road.

Well, I am looking forward to munching on some of my goodies that I got from 1800Baskets. Now that’s one of the highlights for the week I’ll have to tell you about later.


What’s your secret blog weapon?

About 10 minutes ago I signed up for I know you’re wondering what it is, right? Just nod politely. According to the site Blog Copy monitors and analyzes what your blog “readers copy from your blog and share with their friends.” Sounds like a handy tool, right?

I tested it out for myself by copying something on my site then logging back into Blog Copy to see the results. I was surprised at how accurate it was and how much information it gave it regards to what was copied. Test it out for yourself. It will definitely come in handy to ensure that no one is using your words as their own.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Plus and minus – Part 2

It’s a girl!

Last week, in Part 1 of Plus and minus, I told you about some recent changes that are going on: The organization of my office. The cancellation of a contract. And working on making my business and life conducive to the life I want to live. This has come about through some business and personal coaching that I’m doing with a long-time friend/colleague/client Rick Sherrell.

One of the things we discussed last week is my desire to work on my dream of making jewelry and selling it. Right now I mostly make jewelry for my own use and enjoyment, and I recently made a piece for my daughter’s 19th birthday. (Sidebar: It was one of her 19 days of gifts that’ll I’ll have to tell you about at a later date.)

I’m really pleased with how the set turned out. I call her The Prudence Set.



I can’t take full credit for the bracelet because I left the pattern of the beads and adornments as they came. I liked the pattern and design. I shortened it to fit Amber’s wrist and added the toggle clasp. The only thing I need to get a little better at is considering and determining length before I get started. The necklace looks fabulous on her, but the top square adornments hit right at the base of her neck and I would have liked them to be down some maybe to her collarbone.


If you recall, quite some time ago I mentioned to you and asked your advice about making jewelry. Here’s the link to that post to jolt your memory.

And, not too long ago, I told you about the one piece I made that I’m talking myself into sure I’m going to sell. Her name is Abby. Funny how the name of my first piece to sell begins with the letter ‘A’ just like my children’s names.


Now, one of the things Rick and I discussed was avenues (and customers!) in which I can test my jewelry-making skills on. I won’t reveal what that is right now, but I am really excited to have some initial “orders.” Everything I make will be one-of-a-kind because I want this process to be somewhat spontaneous, extremely creative and – overall – magnificently enjoyable. When I was making Prudence, I walked pass the supplies and the pendant a million times. I sat and stared at it. I touched it and rearranged beads… originally I had planned on it being beaded and not in chain… and tried to put myself into Amber’s mindset about what she really likes and feels when it comes to accessories.

And I hit the nail on the head.

Like I told you in last week’s post; it’s all about change and enjoyment. I’m confident that I’m on my way to doing exactly that. (And they say Virgos are resistant to change! LOL – It’s true.)

I’m anxious to hear what you think about the jewelry I’ve made, and any suggestions you have for me. Thank you…


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vehicle modification/equipment for persons with disabilities

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NMEDA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Not too long ago I was waiting for the valet at the veteran’s hospital to bring my minivan around when I saw an older couple getting into their van. The husband was in an electric wheelchair and his wife got in behind the wheel of their minivan.

Before I even realized what had happened, she had pushed a button that lowered the van and put down a wheelchair lift, which he then rolled onto. The wheelchair lift rose and he maneuvered into place in the right front passenger area. He reached up and pushed a button and the door smoothly slid close after the wheelchair lift was stored. The vehicle then returned to its normal height.

Had I passed that van on the street I probably wouldn’t have noticed anything different. I was really impressed at the ease in which it accommodated him and his wife, and could only imagine where they had to go to get what I thought of as a “customized.”

And just today I because aware of NMEDA, which is a non-profit trade association that educates consumers on buying products from a NMEDA qualified dealer. This association promotes safe driving and equipment for the disabled. Members  (are the ones that sell handicap vans and vehicle modifications) of this association are required to adhere to the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Believe it or not there are adapted vehicles sold over the Internet and through catalogs, but NMEDA warns against purchasing these as no two people with a disability are alike. A NMEDA dealer will do a personalized “in person” evaluation.

If this is a service that would be beneficial to you or a loved one, it’s easy enough to find a dealer near you. Go to and put in your zip code to find the dealer closest to you. I put in mind and there are three NMEDA dealers within a 40-mile radius. Why don’t you do the same thing and then leave a comment letting me know the closest dealer to you?

Visit my sponsor: NMEDA

Testing L’Oreal® micro-pulse™ technology – product review

Have you heard about L’Oreal® Paris Collagen Micro-Pulse™ Eye? I first saw it on a television commercial and wondered if it worked. Well, thanks to  BzzAgent, which I’m a member of, I am reviewing the product. This is especially exciting to me because as most of you know I’m addicted to skincare products.

Here’s a bit of information from the brochure about the product, which is the first to market the micro-pulse technology:

“… L’Oreal® Paris Collagen Micro-Pulse™ Eye is the next generation Eye Treatment that effectively reduces dark circles, wrinkles and puffy bags. The results are brighter, smoother eyes. … this first-of-its-kind total eye correction system with a Micro-Pulse massager, featuring an innovative micro-pulsing technology unlike anything you’ve tried before. It’s a combination of a unique and potent cream with Erasyl to help diminish dark circles and Collagen to help smooth away wrinkles with a ground breaking micro-pulse massager to minimize eye puffiness.”

This is definitely a product like none other that I’ve tried especially given the micro-pulse technology. The results that it’s reputed to give are immediate reduction of crow’s feet and eye bags and in four weeks crow’s feet will appear reduced, dark circles will appear minimized and eye bags will appear visibly diminished.

It’s easy to use: All I have to do is dot the cream under my eyes then turn the micro-pulse massager on holding it in about five different spots for about two seconds each. Then I sweep the massager from middle of eye to inner eye and from middle of eye to outer eye for about 10 seconds on each eye and I’m done. The entire process takes about two minutes – if that long – twice per day.

Now let’s see what my photographic evidence shows. (Sidebar: All of my lovely blogger friends never see the dark circles and wrinkles that I see. It is there just not as pronounced as I think it is, I guess.)

Here are my eyes before using the L’Oreal® Paris Collagen Micro-Pulse™ Eye on June 27 (I could have sworn it was just two weeks ago, but I see it’s been more than a month). Do you see the dark circles and slight puffiness?


I applied it later that day (I didn’t get it applied near as pretty as they do on the commercial)…


The following two were taken on the same day a little while after I used the product. (Sorry for the blurriness.) Can you see a difference yet? Although puffiness is not normally a major problem of mine, I can see a slight difference in that area compared to the first picture.







The next one is also the same day.

DSCF5087The next three are today (more than 30 days after I started using it) and I’ve only used the product once thus far. When I took the first one I had the flash on and I thought, “Wow, there is a difference in the dark circles. They don’t look as dark.”


So I decided to turn off the flash and see if it’s true and, to me, it looks like my dark circles have been diminished. What do you think? I’m going to keep using it to see if there’s a marked difference by the time I run out of the L’Oreal® Paris Collagen Micro-Pulse™ Eye.

DSCF5090 DSCF5092     Thus far I’m pleased with this L’Oreal product. I’m not really surprised because – in general – I like the brand.

Other facts you may find interesting:

  1. It’s ophthalmologist and dermatologist safety tested
  2. It features a non-greasy, fragrance-free formula (true! It goes on very smoothly)
  3. As of July 1st, it can be found in all major drug stores, supermarkets and big box stores for a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Have you tried it yet? If not, do you plan to? What do you think about it so far? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Benefits of earning an online degree

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of USC. All opinions are 100% mine.

There are a lot of things to consider when making the decision to go back to school to get a degree. In order to make that decision, one must consider the pros and cons of all available options. The two main choices to start with are whether you want to learn in a classroom or work toward an online degree.

Each option has its cons, but let’s consider the benefits of earning an online degree. One of the main things that returning or nontraditional students consider is the convenience and flexibility of online learning. You can often work at your own pace, from wherever you are and dress however you want. If that means waking up in the morning and sitting in bed wearing your favorite pajamas to “go to” class or hanging out at your favorite cafe while you participate then it’s up to you.

For educators and aspiring teachers the USC Rossier School of Education’s MAT@USC offers the prestige of earning a Master of Arts in teaching from an elite and internationally renowned research university that has a 100-year history of educating teachers.

USC’s School of Education is ranked #22 in the United States and #9 among all private universities by US News and World Report. And there are other facts to take into consideration when comparing them with other programs. The interactive online learning is combined with field-based experiences that are facilitated and directed by faculty who are recognized for their contributions to modern education.

They offer a tuition reimbursement program for MAT@USC graduates and complete USC student status and benefits, participation in commencement ceremonies, free lifetime Alumni Association memberships and more. Additional program information can be found on their site.

 Visit my sponsor: Master of Arts in Teaching degree online from USC


School begins…

Part 1

Today is the first day of school for my two middle children. Andre heads to the first grade (I so can’t believe it!) and Amareah is excitedly on her way to kindergarten. This was their dad’s weekend so I met them this morning to wish them well and give them hugs, kisses, high fives and reassurances that I would be there when school is over.

DSCF5083I’ve mentioned before that I’m not one of those extremely mushy moms who gets all teary eyed at new milestones, but today I became a little “thoughtful” (I guess that’s the correct word). I returned home after watching them walk into school with their father and younger sister, and I thought about the upcoming weeks. Their older sister will be returning to college this week (that’ll be Part 2) and the baby sister will be starting head start at the end of the month (that’s Part 3).

I stared at that picture. That little girl on the left – the one who I breastfed for a year, the one who sucked her two middle fingers for four years until she decided to stop on her own and the one who declared she didn’t want to go to head start any longer – is proudly and eagerly looking forward to her school year.

Their little faces and bodies hold all of those memories and feelings. And although I’m anxious for the empty nest, for days where I can take a nap and not have to concern myself with someone else’s schedule and pick up times – I am still the mommy and I’m semi-ready to tackle another school year.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pleasures of new friends

A few days ago I shared with you about the No-Go BlogHer Blog Hop. Through that I’ve been meeting a lot of new friends and reading their creative and interesting blogs. There are definitely some fascinating, beautiful people to get to know.

There are many I could mention here, but today I just want to share what a new friend has done. Ellie, of Book Blab for KIDS!, has given me an award.

versatile blogger award

This is particularly special to me because it’s from a new friend, it’s the first award I’ve received in forever and I think it fits me. After posting this I realized I think I’m supposed to reveal seven things about myself. Is it seven or 10? IDK…

  1. I’m addicted to magazines and books.
  2. I’m addicted to chocolate.
  3. I’m addicted to my BF.
  4. I’m addicted to coffee.
  5. I’m addicted to my laptop.
  6. I’m addicted… no, I just kidding. No more addictions: I like action-filled, murder, suspense-type movies.
  7. My favorite color is red.

Not that exciting, but parts of me nonetheless. Now for a little sharing – my choices for this award are:

There are so many other deserving blog friends. Just because you aren’t listed here doesn’t mean I don’t think you’re extra, super-dee-duper fabulicious!

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