Monday, June 30, 2008

You have no idea...

My life is boring (actually I prefer it this way). But, I try to come up with something of interest for those of you that visit my site every once in awhile. That entails hours of searching the web (what a chore ; ) to bring something to talk about. So, while searching my little business sites, I am constantly amazed at how many people have a talent, know they are good and start a business to bring these talents to others. Just this week, I have come across:
- A wardrobe stylist/closet auditor - Who knew there was such a thing???? It is like the fashion forward friend who will tell you what needs to stay and what needs to go.
- Someone who only writes text for clients
- A business that handwrites notes for you
- A gift consulting service
It just goes to show, you can make money by utilizing any of your talents. All you need is a name and a website!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Do you recognize the beauty in your day?

Pudge & I. He is one of my daily"joy bringers."

One of my quirks is that I am a little random. I can digress easily, I have many thoughts at one time, I get excited easily, etc... So, somehow yesterday a story that I heard at church about a year ago popped into my mind. And, as the story was probably supposed to do a year ago, got me thinking about whether I really take the time to "stop and smell the roses" and recognize the beauty in my life.

So after googling the details I remembered, I finally found the article online. I will briefly recap the story, but you can read the whole Washington Post article by clicking here. It is a little long, but totally worth the read...or at least a skim.
Anyway, as a small child, Joshua Bell had an extraordinary gift for the violin. "His parents, both psychologists, decided formal training might be a good idea after they saw that their son had strung rubber bands across his dresser drawers and was replicating classical tunes by ear, moving drawers in and out to vary the pitch." Wow.
Joshua was in Washington DC to perform at the Library of Congress. He was approached by the Washington Post to see if he would participate in a "social experiment" of sorts. Would he play his violin for free for 45 minutes during rush hour in the train station and see what happens? He agreed. They came up with a hypothesis of what would happen, how many people would stop and how much money he would make in that amount of time. They estimated he would make around $1000 in tips from passerbys, had called in extra security should someone recognize him and word spread and were pretty certain that a crowd would gather.
However, what happened was just the opposite. No crowd gathered. In his 45 minutes of playing he only made around $40 in tips. People rushed past, ipods were on, blue tooths and cell phones were attached to ears. The hustle and bustle of everyday life shut out the beauty of what was right in front of everyone's very eyes. The only group of people that stopped consistently to listen were children. However, they were quickly whisked away by their parents to again become part of the crowd in a hurry.
It made me wonder, how often in a day am I presented with beauty around me that I don't even recognize. Do I encounter a "Joshua Bell" in my day-to-day life? Do I see the beauty in around me? Am I thankful enough for my blessings? Probably not. But, it is nice to be reminded every once in awhile in my random thoughts that I do have lots of things in my life to bring me joy and, in turn, allow me to bring joy to others.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hide & Seek Boutique

I have recently been working with a longtime friend, Jackie, on her new business venture. I absolutely LOVE to help people get their businesess off the ground. And, it is even more fun to help someone who has a great idea!

Jackie has two little ones and has done what the best entrepreneurs do: found a need in the marketplace and filled it. Jackie will be desiging/creating absolutely adorable mat covers for little ones who take naps at school, matching pillow cases, oil cloth portfolio bags, darling bag tags, mom's organizational products and more! Jackie has exquisite taste and starting her own business is just a natural extension of what she does best -- using her creativity and working with people!

I have loved working with her to get her business started from the ground up! We have worked on all aspects of a new start up, from name to logo to state filings she has gotten it done in under one month's time.

Her business name came from her children's favorite game to play but still leaves her plenty of room to expand her product line and grow her business in the future. We designed her logo with the butterfly design, as butterflies play a game of hide and seek with the world.

I will post a link to her site as soon as she gets it up and going. I am positive she will have awesome success. She has a great product, great packaging and a winning personality! Her items will definitely be the next "must haves" for the modern mom!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

My husband and I are thinking of selling our house, so I spent a great deal of time this weekend getting everything super clean and fixed up. We have put a lot of work into it since we bought it. Many weekends were spent painting, hammering, nailing, and, my favorite part, shopping!

Tommy bought the house a couple of years before we got married and it stayed pretty much the same until we got engaged. Since this was going to be our first home, I had some pretty big ideas of what I wanted for my first house! Our first order of business was getting the hardwood floors refinished. They are beautiful!

Next, we had the kitchen and bathroom retiled. The kitchen had linoleum floors and were in desperate need of repair. Behind the fridge there was the original table that dropped down from the wall, even though it was really cool, we had to remove it to make the kitchen more functional. The countertops in the bathroom and the kitchen were absolutely awful. They were stained, ugly, bad. So, we got a nice piece for the bathroom and had granite countertops and tumbled marble for the backsplash. I love it! Then, our old stuff didn't look as nice, so we bought stainless appliances. I was most excited about the dishwasher because the previous owners only had a portable one that no longer worked. Ugh! I honestly went two years washing dishes by hand. I never cooked. Poor Tommy.

The house was built in 1939 and we are only the third owners, which is amazing due to the age of the house. Houses built back then had so much character.

The original crown moldings in the house are awesome. We have a fabulous carpenter who worked installed crown moldings in our bedrooms to match the crown molding in the living and dining room. It is a little detail that makes such a huge difference in the room. I wish I had taken before and after pics. It really is the icing on the cake!

We haven't actually listed our house yet, but are working with a realtor. So, if you or someone you know may be interested, feel free to comment or email me and I will get you in touch with her!

1,350 Square Feet
2 Bedrooms
1 Bath
Hardwoods throughout
Plantation Shutters
Granite Slab Countertops in kitchen and bath
Tumbled Marble Backsplash in kitchen
Stainless Appliances
2 Car Garage
Midtown location, close to TU


More Memories!

Today, I have about a billion things to do to get our house in "sale condition" but since it is the weekend, I decided to "reward" myself with a cup of coffee and reading the paper. I get about halfway through and got to the business section, which happens to be my 2nd favorite section of the paper (got to love the Scene) and I see this picture:

For those of you who don't know, this is my dad! Considering, he passed away 5 years ago, this was beyond shocking! But, it was so nice to see that John Stancavage had written an article about my dad and his passion for electric vehicles. I always knew my dad was ahead of his time and it was so nice to see he is still remembered by those who knew him. He was very special and it is so rewarding to still hear about him and that he is fondly remembered. So, a special thanks to John for making my Sunday.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Dad

For those of you who know me, I always had a special connection to my dad. He knew the answer to everything and I still find myself, even after five years, wanting to get his opinion on something. He would be very proud of how decisive I have become. I could barely decide on dinner without his help!

He really was an amazing person and always wanted abundance for everyone around him, while he himself would have sacrificed to allow that. He helped start the Habitat for Humanity Chapter in Shreveport and started a community garden for those less fortunate, so that they would be able to have fresh fruits and vegetables. He found a way to let his interests/passions help others. I am definitely a better person because of my dad and very proud of him and all that he accomplished in his short life.
Yesterday, my mom sent me an email with a tribute song that my dad's best friend from college wrote about him. It means a lot to me to have this tribute to him.

I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Great Site...

So, I have been super busy lately! It is hard being a jet setter like me. Ha!

Anyway, I still have found plenty of time to surf the web and I came across an awesome site that I want to share with all the women who have started their own business or are thinking of starting one: I am addicted. And, the name is super clever too. Not only does it feature women who have started their own businesses, but it has message boards and endless resources for anyone who might not know where to begin! You could spend days just looking around and reading inspirational stories.

I love to help motivate people to follow their dreams and live their passion. (Email me if you need extra inspiration -- I promise I can get you excited about your dream job!) Really, there is no better way to live life. I hope this helps someone else who has an idea and wants to make it happen!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Where I go everyday...

Each day my morning begins at 7 AM. It begins with a pup at the edge of the bed begging for pets, than my big dog begging for pets, then my husband hugging me goodbye. My little ritual also includes turning on the Today Show (love it!) and going through about 8 websites. So, I decided I would share my little web world with you guys.

1- I am an email addict so I check my email. This will be the first of more than 90 times in a day.
2- Craigslist - You can seriously find some interesting items on here. If you are in the mood for really strange stuff check out the free section! I always look at the pets, real estate, creative and event services. Never posted, totally a lurker.
3- Then, I go to We are always in a constant state of looking for a house upgrade, but are still in our little "bungalow." I am sure we will live here forever.
4- I will go and see if the Pioneer Woman has posted her blog for the day yet.
5- Check out the Hostess with the Mostess Blog.
6- Check out the Decor 8 Blog.
7- Then I will finish my morning up with a check of My Yahoo page, customized with every piece of celebrity gossip known to man. But, I will claim this helps me keep up with "trends" and what is going on in the world. Also, I now have a whole arsenal of information for Trivial Pursuit, Pop Culture edition.
8- Check my email again -- I told you I am addicted.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A little rant...

Okay, so lately I have been perplexed as I have tried to give several vendors business but have gotten no response via email. From both work related inquiries to personal, I am wondering does anyone really even need the business? Ugh!

When I am working with my clients, I advise them to utilize email as a preferred method of contact (when face-to-face is not feasible). I love email because it not only gives you an electronic record of all of your business dealings but it also lets you respond when you have a screaming child, are in your car or it is way too late to call a client back. I even advise them to use vendors who are "electronic." As, again, it is great to have a record of orders, questions and responses.

When I owned my floral design business, I always got great responses from my clients about my quick response time. (I am probably a little emailed obsessed, admittedly.) But, it saved me many, many times when I ordered one color of flower but received another. And, I often referred back to client emails as a confirmation of what specifics they may have had regarding their order from me.

My recommendation to anyone who is starting their own business or currently owns a business, if you list your email as a contact be sure that you check and respond to email at least once a day. Okay, rant over : )

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Add a little life to your house

One of my favorite things to do when I have a clean house (or when I need motivation to clean) is to buy fresh flowers. Nothing makes your home feel clean and beautiful like fresh flowers. This weekend and I had a little get together and I just spent $10 at Reasors and bought some fun flowers. Theses arrangements are just in tiny vases (they are actually place card holders). I just cut the stems short and voila--impress your friends and family! Ha!

Later this week I will post how to buy artificial flowers. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE real flowers, but I have some tips on how to buy "faux" ones that are so great they will fool your friends. It never fails that everytime I have someone over they ask if they are real!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Pioneer Woman

My friend, Kelsey, got me HOOKED on the Pioneer Woman's Blog. It all started with her love story, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. If you don't have two hours, don't even try to read it because you cannot stop! It is that good. Makes me wish my husband was a cowboy...well, kind of!

Anyway, I was looking on her archives and she had posted the most adorable desserts that I must make at my next party.

Are these honestly not darling? I just didn't want to deprive any of my readers to this great site. You will get addicted!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What's in a name?

Right now, I am helping a client/friend name her new business. Truly, this is one of the most important steps in starting a new business. I have never had the pleasure of naming a child (or really even my dogs---they both came with names). But, the thought process of choosing a business name has many similarities. Obviously, you want your business to have a unique name that no one else has. (Similar to how most parents don't want 5 Katie's in the classroom). You want to have a name that is meaningful to you and your business. However, the business name cannot be so generic that when your business expands and grows that this name does not make sense. (Remember before Panera it was St. Louis Bread Company? See it did not really work so well outside of St. Louis...)

Other things to consider when choosing a name is the length, how long your domain name will be, strange spellings that might be confusing when giving your name verbally to clients (think any name that is plural but ends in "z") and if your name can sustain your business growth. For example, the previously mentioned friend is going to be creating an absolutely adorable line of items for pre-school aged children and organizational items for mom's. When thinking of the name, I don't want to put her in one particular niche where it looks like her business only serves small children OR mom's. The name is crucial in setting the tone for your business.

When meeting with my clients and helping them with their names and logos, I like to discuss their interests, favorite colors, things they enjoy and their target market. With this I am able to come up with many options. While it might be a process that takes hours or days, once the perfect name is chosen it is like falling in love all over again and renewing that passion you have for your new endeavor! For more information on naming your business, check out this article from Entrpreneur Magazine.
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