Thursday, July 5, 2018

Heros


With the 4th of July having just passed and all the talk about heroes, I wanted to talk about heroes too. Growing up, a hero to me was someone that you looked up to that did something extraordinary, invented something necessary or paved the way for others. To me, police, firefighters and the military were all heroes but in a different sense. They were there to help us, save us or keep us safe, they were all on a different (higher) level, at least to me.

The word hero is tossed around now to describe athletes, movie stars, or entertainers of any kinds including bands. To me, they are not heroes, they are lucky people that made it big and a ton of money by performing. They may all really love what they do but they are in no way heroes just because of their profession.

A hero is defined as below by Wikipedia.

hero (masculine) or heroine (feminine) is a real person or a main character of a literary work who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through feats of ingenuitybravery or strength; the original hero type of classical epics did such things for the sake of glory and honor. On the hand are Medieval and modern heroes, who perform great deeds for the common good instead of the classical goal of pride and fame.

Growing up my heroes were the three listed below not the popular athlete of the time. They each did something extraordinary and what I imagine they were told could not be done.


  • George Washington - lead a new country to find its identity
  • Abraham Lincoln - the 16th President, freed the slaves
  • Amelia Earhart - first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic
  • Clara Barton - a nurse in the American Civil war who started the American Red Cross

These are the type of people we need to put forth as heroes to our children. Even Orpah Winfrey who came from nothing, worked, learned and built an empire showing all little girls out there that you can do whatever you want. Even in this, still to this day, "mans world".

Let's promote the right kind of heroes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day / July 4th



While it's debated when the Declaration of Independence was actually signed (July 2 or July 4) it separated us from the British. The holiday has been observed/celebrated every year since 1777 in various ways. In 1777 there was a 13-gun salute in the morning and the evening along with a state dinner for Continental Congress that included the 12-gun salute, prayers, music, parades, and fireworks among other things. Great way to celebrate freedom in my opinion.




It wasn't until 1870 that Congress made July 4th a federal holiday although it was unpaid. Congress eventually changed it to a paid holiday in 1938.




July 4th is celebrated using some of the same events on that first night in 1777 - food, family, friends, music, and fireworks. Wearing the US flag on various clothing has also become a thing and it is not against any law as I've often heard.




I wanted to verify that so I Googled the question and was pointed to the American Legion to their questions page. Below are the question and answer which can also be found on their page - here.


Question: 
Is it permissible to wear an item of clothing that looks like the United States flag?
Answer: 
Unless an article of clothing is made from an actual United States flag, there is NO breach of flag etiquette whatsoever. People are simply expressing their patriotism and love of country by wearing an article of clothing that happens to be red, white, and blue with stars and stripes. There is nothing illegal about the wearing or use of these items.
So go forth and celebrate our Independence with family, friends, music, food, and of course fireworks.


Don't forget to wear your American Flag t-shirt.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Inspiration Comes from Anywhere



I had a phone interview a couple of weeks ago, one question asked is where do I find inspiration. Anywhere!

I picked up a free cabinet, it was in pretty bad shape but it was free and perfect for the book overflow from my office. I had leftover paint from an update done to one of the bedrooms in my house, it was perfect for what I had in mind. The colors leftover from the room is what sparked my idea for this bookshelf and a couple of other projects. 😁
Before bookshelf...the first image is the top of the bookshelf, it stands about 4 1/2 feet tall. The second image is of the bottom front to show the feet.
Feet & bottom of the bookshelf.
Updated bookshelf ready to use - whoo hoo! There are two colors, the inside is a seafoam while the outside and the trim is a blue-gray. ❤️❤️❤️ this color combo.
Perfectly placed just outside my office door with my book overflow and room for more. 👍🏼
I picked up this cabinet for $10 for my office to bring my printer down to where I can really use it (I'm only 5 feet tall and where the printer was it was over my head). As you can see it really needed some ❤️❤️. I also needed to decide if I wanted to put the doors back on or leave them off.
Work in progress - filling the holes, sanding - getting it ready for painting. Made the decision no doors and I bought hairpin legs (which I ❤️ ❤️❤️).
All done! Now I can reach my printer. Colors are the same but reversed from the bookshelf, outside and shelves are seafoam while the inside "walls" are the blue-gray. 😍😍
Can't forget the hairpin legs - so happy I found a reason to use them in a project. Need to find another project so I have a reason to buy and use them again. 😁
My kitchen before an ugly, brown and depressing. Just as a side note this is what the kitchen looked like when I bought the house. (I can't upload a video so unfortunately there can be no before and after). Believe me when I tell you I wanted to blow up my entire house because of how much I hated the kitchen. 
This picture is from when the house was inspected before moving in. It at least gives you an idea of how bad the kitchen was. 
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My dog ❤️s the vent when the air is on. This picture gives a bit more for you to see the ugliness of the kitchen. Blah!!!
A few quick pics of it all done.
Remember the doors from the $10 cabinet I upcycled for my office? They were cut down and used in my kitchen - one as a shelf to free up some counter space.
The other door was cut up to make a mail/key station so it could hang using a small picture hanger instead of two screws deep into the wall. Couldn't be happier with how it all turned out.
Final addition to the kitchen - getting rid of that ugly cafeteria like light. New blubs as well, the fixture came with bulbs that gave off an amber-like glow that was just not right for a kitchen. The new bulbs are a soft white. Still to finish is patching and painting the ceiling where that ugly light came from. But overall I am beyond ecstatic about the kitchen update.
If you have a project you want to tackle, plan it out, make sure you have everything and then just DO IT! 

Job Hunting Reality

Image result for job hunting

I am tired. Job hunting really is a full-time job in itself filled with depression, anxiety, rejection day in and day out.

They say the best way to get a new position is to network. But what if people in your network say things like sure I'll let you know if you hear anything, good luck or take care? Take care. That to me is a kiss-off so to speak. It is the same as saying I know you need help but I'm not going to be the one to help you. 

Makes me sad because while that is being typed out the thought in their mind is probably I'll keep an ear out and let them know. But the words say differently, they say HA, you are a blip in my life and I won't give you a second thought even if I hear something.

I know I am not the only one having these thoughts while out of work, searching for the next opportunity knowing the salary goal can be an issue but the skills that come along are more than worth it.

Hoping things change soon. I don't like not working, not contributing to the world in any small way and feeling lost.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Happy Memorial Day


Today is a day of remembrance for those we have lost fighting to obtain our freedom and those that we lost to keep it. If you're interested in the history and how the holiday began, check out this article on the history. It's pretty interesting.

While you spend time with friends and family remember those lost to their families and friends through the years.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Which way to go? What to do?


"Be at a crossroads" is defined in the Cambridge English Dictionary as "to be at a stage in your life when you have to make a very important decision".

Coincidentally a friend and I were let go from our respective positions within a week of each other, we did not work at the same company. This was about two months ago. Since then we have gone to a couple of job fairs, a term I use very loosely. We live just outside a major city on the East Coast, job fairs should be large events with a ton of local companies showing up looking for talent, so not the case here. The first one we went to was just sad; there were 7 companies there - 5 were financial companies, 1 funeral home, and a staffing agency. Not exactly a great turn out.

The second one we went to was at the baseball stadium in that large city, better options when it came to companies, there was about 30 total. A couple of trade schools, the military, the state police, a few staffing agencies, retailers; you get the picture. The same over and over again. I talked to a couple of the agencies since they were ones I had never heard of in this area. Thought it would give me more options when it came to finding something that is right for me. I emailed them later the same day, it was nice talking to you today here is a copy of my resume for your records kind of email. Then, nothing - crickets could be heard for miles after that. I do realize the emails could have been flagged as SPAM but you would think that agencies that like check their SPAM to make sure that they don't lose a lead or a potential candidate because of it. I gave it a couple of weeks, thinking maybe they just haven't checked SPAM yet. I've totally given up now.

My friend scheduled an interview with one of the companies from the first job fair, a financial company. If he was offered anything he didn't take it since he is not working there at this point.

I believe we are both sitting at this crossroad trying to figure out what we each want to do next. There is always the option of starting a business, folding and taking a job just to have a job that brings in a salary or keep searching to find the right fit. I vote for searching for the right fit, I've spent too much time working somewhere just because I needed a job to support my family (single parent here). It's time for me to find work that at the very least doesn't give me anxiety going in every morning.

Right now, that leaves us sitting here...searching to determine what will be next.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

National Chocolate Chip Day...

is a thing. Go figure!

I was poking around Pinterest and came across a 2016 Marketing Planning Guide. Well, that's two years old, dates are off a bit. :) So I went to find the author and see if there was an updated 2018 version. Found it...https://www.rebeccavandenberg.com, Rebecca Van Den Berg is a Digital Marketing Strategist, check out her What We Do page here. Thanks to Rebecca I now have the updated 2018 Marketing Planning calendar, that's where I found out it National Chocolate Chip Day is a thing!! It is on May 15th, so I am a day late but hey who doesn't love a chocolate chip cookie any day of the year?


I Googled it and found a great article here on the National Day Calendar website explaining how chocolate chips became a thing. It goes back to 1937 and it's all thanks to Ruth Graves from the Toll House Inn of Whitman, Massachusetts. Great article, take a few to give it a read.

The first time I made homemade chocolate cookies, not from a package or box, was in 8th grade Home-Ec class somewhere in the late 80's (which they should totally offer in schools again! - tirade for another post). It was intimidating at first, all the measuring, mixing, making sure it was all done precisely, baking is a science after all. By the end of that class, I had fallen in love with baking.

My love for baking has stayed with me all these years, I bake just because, for holiday desserts, for birthdays, or because the bananas are a bit too ripe to eat so here comes some banana bread. :) Anything homemade is perfect for gift giving and relatively inexpensive.

Several years ago I started making cookies and giving them away as Christmas gifts to co-workers. They are not old-fashioned chocolate chips cookies, I make them instead with Andes Candies. Yep, those delicious little mint candies that you used to get after dinner at certain restaurants (still get them at Olive Garden).

A little gesture that really doesn't take too much time but makes a great impact on the people getting them. Who doesn't like a little treat?

Go forth and bake!!

Toll House Chocolate Cookie Recipe courtesy of www.epicurious.com here.

YIELD Makes about 5 dozen cookies
ACTIVE TIME 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Pan Cookie Variation

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

Slice and Bake Cookie Variation

Prepare dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. 

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Do Ahead
Dough may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 8 weeks.

This recipe is made available as a courtesy by Nestle USA and www.VeryBestBaking.com. Nestle® Toll House® is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.


The Journey Begins...Again.

I've decided to begin writing again.

The blogs I find most interesting are written by women like me. Normal, everyday people that work, raise families, have hobbies, etc. That's what this will be, a blog for the everyday person just juggling life.

Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
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Thursday, April 7, 2016

American Idol Finale


Are you an American Idol fan? I absolutely LOVED the horrible auditions, Paula, Simon and Randy cracking up openly, all the goofiness. I watched more for that than the actual contest. I watched the first few season then quickly became bored. Can’t explain why, there was just something not holding my attention any longer. However, when I found out this would be the last ever season of American Idol I made sure to watch every single episode. Right from the beginning I had my favorites, La’Porsha, Dalton, Trent, Emily and Olivia Rox – her name alone is enough for me to want her to win. As the field narrowed from 24, to 12 to the top 5 La’Porsha quickly overtook every other contestant in my mind. Before we talk winner, let’s talk about that finale. WOW!

If I was asked to describe tonight’s American Idol Finale – EPIC – would be the only word to come to mind. The talent, the showmanship, the music, the energy, the performances…EPIC! I would expect nothing less after crowning 14 winners and preparing to crown one final winner.

The performances were amazing, typically when watching a show with so many performances there is at least one that stands out as a miss for me – not tonight. I had forgotten how powerful and intoxicating Jennifer Hudson’s voice was – pure magic. Perhaps my favorite collaboration was the country mash up with several American Idol alums, especially Scotty McCreery singing Garth Brooks’ hit Papa Loves Mama.

By time the tribute to the late, great David Bowie started I forgot I was watching the final episode of American Idol. Instead it reminded me of the ‘old school’ music awards shows where the performances were many and the speeches were few. So many powerful performances, guest appearances and emotions – now for the winner! My choice remains La’Porsha but there is no way I could possibly vote enough to fix the outcome. Wink.

The winner – TRENT HARMON!! I believe that was a surprise to a lot of people including the judges. Jennifer Lopez looked totally surprised, expecting the season favorite to win as well. 

Congratulations Trent Harmon!

I’m sure I can speak for millions of American’s when I say…here’s to a fabulous career doing what you love, Trent, have fun and live your dream. Class act all the way.

On a final note – Ryan was signing off with his famous line “and one more time, this is so tough, we say to you from Hollywood goodnight America – for now.” Maybe we will see another fabulous show with Ryan as the host? Only time will tell.

Monday, January 4, 2016

You Have to be Single to be a Single Mom



I came across an article that I pinned yesterday so I could read it; so glad I did. It is just a bit over a year old however it still rings true. Kristen Tea wrote an eloquent piece about the difference in being a single parent vs a married one based on her life. You can read the entire article here as I'm sure I cannot do it justice.

First I'd like to say thank you to Kristen for that wonderfully well put article. I am a single mom, have been since my daughter's father decided, while I was pregnant, that he wasn't going to be a father. I have raised her alone since birth, she will be 20 this March (2016) - her entire life.

I agree with you on all your points, Kristen, married mothers are not single mothers just because their spouse goes away on a business trip or friend weekend, same goes for the dads out there. There is still support emotionally, mentally and financially. There struggles are still real with hard decisions to be made for the best of their family - no denying that.

While I had a support system when it came to child care, all the decisions were mine and mine alone to make regarding the welfare of my daughter. Bedtimes, meals, to play sports or not, can she have a sleepover or will it disrupt the day - you get the point. Doing it alone if the toughest thing I have ever done but not something I would change for anything in the world.

If in your past you were a truly a single parent - working full time so you could pay the rent, the utilities, put food on the table, clothes on you and your child's back, then you are a single parent. If you did all of that and are now married, share responsibilities with another, you are no longer a single parent - those struggles are no longer yours to handle alone, be thankful.

If you have support, true support from a spouse, be thankful, grateful and appreciate the partnership. You still struggle in your own ways but your struggles can be shared with another.

To all the moms out there making comments about how women should ban together and support one another, I couldn't agree more however don't claim my single parent struggles as your own. I won't claim your where should we go on vacation, handsome husband makes so much money I don't know what to do with it struggles. Ok - seriously, I know families struggle, some spouses are abusive (mentally and / or physically), lazy, don't work or help around the house. To those spouses; I won't claim your struggles however you are in my prayers for the strength to do what is best for you and your child(ren).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Being A Single Parent...

...is easy, said no one ever!!

Now I don't complain about being a single parent, I didn't have to share the hugs, snuggles, hand holding or kisses when she was little. I also didn't get to share the 3 am fevers, bloody noses (allergies) or hospital visits. But still not complaining, she is my little girl even at almost 20 years old. 

Some of the most difficult times come when I've lost a job or simply don't make enough to pay bills. This year has been a rough one, I lost my job in January. Now that she is older my daughter is very aware of what's going on, especially since I am home almost everyday searching, talking and interviewing. When she was younger it was easier to keep her from knowing and stressing. I think this year with what's happened she is as stressed as I am about my situation. In reality it is our situation since I pay all the bills, household, cell phone, her car payment, insurance...everything. I wish she didn't know the struggle, that she was that innocent little girl that felt lucky to have mom home from work early.

I believe that from my struggle this year my daughter will learn a valuable lesson at a young age, one I wish I had learned, to be prepared for such an event...no work, job, position for almost a year.

Now heading into fall with all the activities we love to do will be even more stressful than before (no job / disposable income vs. limited disposable income). At least with limited disposable income we could participate in some of the events.

I hope learning this lesson will help my daughter prepare and make sure she has a safety net so if she falls victim to a lay off the stress won't be as horrible on her as it has been on me. I know for sure once I am actively working again I will begin building a safety net for me so this does not happen again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Advice: Good, Bad or Indifferent, It All Matters


Advice is freely given however not so easily taken. Even when not solicited advice can be helpful, yes even bad advice. The bad advice will help with sorting out the good advice given or at the very least help determine the next steps to be taken no matter what the situation. The good advice you will know right away, you’ll feel it.

When I was a teenager I worked in a retirement community dining room as a server providing breakfast and dinner to the residents. I don’t remember the incident that caused me to be sitting in the director’s office, waiting, feeling like I was in the principal’s office at school waiting for my punishment, this is where I received the best advice that sticks with me even now so many years later.

The advice I was given can be utilized in any situation. The beauty is in the generalization and simplicity. Can you fix it? (NO) Can you change it? (NO) if you can’t fix it or change it then why worry about it?

Worrying about something you cannot control will only drive you crazy. Let it go. Move on. Take what you need and form a plan of action then act.

While this may be redundant, it bears repeating, the best thing to do with any advice; bad, good or indifferent…
Ø  Listen carefully. You may actually get one nugget that helps.
Ø  Ignore what doesn't ‘feel’ right. Trust your instincts.
Ø  Great advice will resonant with you and help you move forward.
Ø  Sleep on it. Sleeping helps the unconscious mind work through the advice given helping pin point the important nuggets.


The best advice I can give when listening to or taking advice from someone, is always do what you feel is right for you and NEVER blame the person that gave you the advice you decided to take. It’s your decision no matter what the outcome.


Friday, November 14, 2014

It's mid-November. I don't say that as if it's not known but more in a OMG!! IT'S MID-NOVEMBER!! kind of way. Where did the year go? Feels like yesterday I was getting ready for my daughter's high school graduation in June and now we're almost knee deep in the holidays with turkeys, decorating, caroling (do people still do that?) and hot chocolate.
With the rush of the next couple of months I wanted to lighted the mood a bit and share something I learned today, the origin of the phrase "Black Friday". Many, like me, have always believed it was related to the one time of year retailers made a profit. Turns out it was Philly traffic-cops in the late 1950's that coined this term to describe the terrible traffic conditions in Center City the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Reporters at the time picked up on the story in early 1960's and did what they do best, made it big news. Retailers did not like this term and tried without success to have the day after Thanksgiving called "Big Friday!". So thank you to the Philly cops of the 1950's and the reporters of the 1960's for unknowingly naming one of the biggest shopping days of the year. "Black Friday" as we know it today, more for the financial being in the black, began in the 1980's however it was still mostly a "Philly thing".
Here's to all the retail associates that work on one of the most shopped days of the year, my thoughts are with you while I join the masses to shop. :)
Hope everyone has a wonderful, safe holiday season!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

GREATEST FEELING...being invited to publish on LinkedIn!!!


A few weeks ago I received an email inviting me to publish on LinkedIn. Great feeling to know that you've been noticed by such a large networking community. Now I'm not sure how they decide whom to invite, however that doesn't change the feeling of excitement I felt to do something I love...write.

You can find the first post here, http://bit.ly/GratefulArtcile, it's short and sweet.

The second post can be found here, http://bit.ly/OverwhelmedArticle. I'm still experimenting with topics. Not sure where to go from here however I'm super excited to take this journey.




Keep an eye out for new posts, I'll put them here and on Facebook too.

If you have topic ideas please comment on this post.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Losing My Baby...



This morning started off as a typical morning, me running around trying to get myself out the door on time, then I realize my daughter is up and about. That meant today is Wednesday, August 27th the first day of her freshman year in college...WOW. We left the house at just about the same time, me a couple of seconds before her. While I'm driving; running through my mind is how much she has grown from that very curious cute little girl to a young woman. I hit a red light, look in my rear view mirror and there she is driving to pick up her friend before school, I started crying. I am overcome with emotions: pride, a little bit of sadness and a whole lot of awe.

Time has flown by so quickly, it seems like just last week she was a sweet little 5 year old starting kindergarten ready to take on the world and completely proud of herself for being able to read (not recite) the alphabet backwards on the board.

Tabbie has grown from that loving little girl to a confident, intelligent, compassionate, strong-willed, independent young lady starting college and beginning her next chapter.

While I may feel on some level that I'm losing my baby...

I am without a doubt gaining a wonderful new adult in my life and I look forward to that new adventure.

(Tabbie is the bald one in the pic below.)