Blogging Tips – A Comlete Waste of Make-up

Blogging Tips

Blogging Tips!

I ran across this great blog: A Complete Waste of Make-up and wanted to share her great blog tips called 5 Ways to Grow Your Blog. Here is what she said:

 

Growing a blog can be tricky and maintaining that growth can be even harder. It’s so easy to give up and get discouraged but as someone who has been doing this nearly 5 years I am here to tell you DO NOT STOP. You are going to think  so many negative thoughts while you are trying to grow your blog especially if you are serious about it. I wanted to share 5 Ways to Grow Your Blog that ANYONE can do. You can read the rest on her blog : 5 Ways to Grow Your Blog. Enjoy!

Stuck in an Elevator

Have you ever been stuck in an elevator? I have and it wasn’t even a little bit fun. I posted about it here: Stuck in an Elevator but I couldn’t resist doing a video, though the recording isn’t the best.

Stuck in an Elevator

Our New Home

I wanted to give you a tour of our new home…on the outside. This house has some interesting features. We moved here almost three weeks ago. I talked about it here: For Now We Are Home.

Welcome to our New Home.

For Now We Are Home

The SITS Girls #BBCSTL

I just returned from The SITS Girls #BBCSTL and it was amazing. I am on a quest this year. I am attending both the Bloggy Boot Camps hosted by The SITS Girls, one in St. Louis which just took place and another in Atlanta in October; and the two Women Get Social events as well. I attended Women Get Social San Diego several weeks ago. There is another one in Philadelphia in September and I already have my ticket and room booked. You can read about San Diego here: Women Get Social-San Diego.

#BBCSTL was held at Embassy Suites Hotel in St. Charles, Missouri. My husband took the trip with me because our anniversary was three weeks ago and we just so happened to be moving to our new house that day. We decided to take a mini-vacay after the conference. The plans fit right in with my Route 66 obsession.

I gotta tell you, though Embassy Suites in St. Charles where the conference was held. What an exceptional place is was. Checking in was quick and pleasant. The staff was excellent. The room was spacious and nicely decorated, along with being clean which is a major must for me. And get this, they had a social hour from 5-7 every night where they provided drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, plus mixed snacks and popcorn.

The atrium and elevators, what a beautiful setting.

The SITS Girls #BBCSTL

If that’s not enough to make you flip your lid, (sorry, throwing in a little Beach Boys’ lyrics) they also provided breakfast. Not just any breakfast mind you, a breakfast with a made-to-order omelet, and/or pancakes, with or without chocolate chips. But that’s not all!. Oh no, they offered fruit, a variety of breads and pastries, yogurt, eggs and breakfast meat too, along with hot and cold beverages. There may have been other things that I’ve forgotten about but you get the picture, right? A very pleasant stay indeed with lots of extras.

Now a little about the conference itself.

#BBCSTL

How can I say just a little, I wonder. So many take aways for sure. Danielle Smith talked of the Top Ten Tips for Blogging Success. She is a gifted speaker and knows her stuff. At the last conference I bought her Social Media Engagement for Dummies book which was filled to the brim with tips galore. This time I bought Mom, Incorporated, which is proving to be full of insight and just as valuable.

Then there was Cynthia Wheeler @Napwarden. I loved talking with her. She had some stories, oh yes she did, and boy does she know web design. I want her to re-design my blog. I want her to make it pretty. She likes pretty. She knows pretty. It’s on my list.

Then we learned about Pitching Like a Pro from the pro herself, Allison Talamantez. I loved her. She reminded me of Tiffany Romero. She is a very knowledgeable woman who I want to sit and listen to until the cows come home. Since she is from Texas that could be awhile.

Holly Stanfield was a hoot! She told story after story of personal experiences, funny stories, true stories. She gave us all hope as we laughed our way through Engaging Your Readers: Finding Your Voice.

I love Francesca Banducci. I. Just. Do. She and Allison gave us some awesome sauce Tips and Tricks to Rocking Out Sponsored Content. They know what they’re talking about and I’m all ears.

And then there’s Facebook with it’s ever-changing algorithms. No one knows exactly what Mark Zuckerburg is up to because it all can change in an instant. That’s the nature of the Facebook beast. Fran and Cynthia helped us crack the code…or not…it all depends on Mark.

And we ended with Fran and Danielle talking about Powering Down. It is important to take care of yourself, I don’t care who you are. You only get one shot at this life, at raising your kids, at living each day. Just do it. It’s up to you.

We ended the day with a gathering hosted by David Mirassou of Mirassou Winery. What an interesting man to talk with. He is one of the sponsors of these conferences and he so graciously provides us with food and beverage after a long day of learning. I’m a huge fan of Moscato wine. It is delicately sweet and light.

I wish I could live there in that environment of learning, listening to those who have gone before, to forge a way for those of us who are in the trenches, making our way to where we want to be.

I don’t want to miss the journey and I’m glad for the insights I gleaned from these intelligent, caring and humorous women who so unselfishly share their time and pass along the wealth of knowledge they have worked hard to acquire.

 

Clorox, You’ve Been a Good Friend to Me

Tracking Pixel

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Clorox.

Have you heard about the Clorox Ick Awards? It’s a Chicago thing. Clorox is teaming up with famed Chicago improv troupe, The Second City Communications, for the Clorox Ick Awards. I was in Chicago just this morning, putting my life on the line while crossing Lake Shore Drive. Okay, maybe not putting my life on the line exactly, but it’s a busy place to cross for a small town girl like me. I just heard about the Clorox Ick Awards when I returned home. What are the odds? But I digress, as I often do. I wanted to tell you about the Clorox Ick Awards Twitter Event on April 9 from 6-10 p.m. ET, during which Clorox will be giving away $2,500 in prizes! How cool is that?

Clorox

I’m not sure about you but my life has been full of icky moments. Hey, I’m a mom to three (grown) kids. Some of the best parts of life are the everyday moments, spontaneous and imperfect. Some of these moments, however, are downright icky, but Clorox is here to help you through the messes.  I could talk about the baby icks and those diaper blow-outs for a good, long while, but I won’t. If you’ve had a baby at your house then you probably know what I’m talking about. Clorox was a good friend in those days. Clorox truly helped me get those Onesies clean, or whatever outfit was being worn when the incident occurred! I could always depend on Clorox when it came time to getting those icky stains out.

How could such a cutie be so…well, icky at times?

Clorox

 And later, when my boys were into baseball, Clorox was there for me then too. Why were they always (or usually) required to wear white pants? Who made that rule? Not a mother I bet. Those grass stains and ground in dirt, what a mess! My sons went all out when playing sports, organized or not, and you better believe their pants were stained after every game and practice. Instead of breaking the bank to buy multiple white baseball pants, I called on my good friend Clorox to lend a hand in keeping those baseball pants clean. It did the trick every time.

Clorox

Clorox

After my kids got older I discovered another great purpose for Clorox. Psst…confession time! I have a cleaning business. I clean homes and office building. Many places that I clean have tile and grout bathroom floors. I’m a minimalist when it comes to cleaning. I don’t use a lot of products. One product I am never without though, is glass cleaner. I found that it works on a lot of things. I used glass cleaner on tile floors for many years. I don’t anymore and here’s why. One day I noticed that the grout on a bathroom floor in one particular house, had turned somewhat green, a gentle, light hue of green. I realized that it was because of the continual use of the blue glass cleaner. Yikes! Clorox to the rescue. I was able to clean the grout and the problem was solved. It may have even saved my job!

And now you know some reasons why I have such a fondness for Clorox.

Have you found a special way to clean with Clorox? I would love to hear your tips.

Do you have an “icky” story to share? Don’t forget about the Clorox Ick Awards Twitter Event on April 9 from 6-10 p.m. ET and the $2,500 in prizes. Join the fun. Simply follow @Clorox on Twitter and share your own “icky moment”. Make sure you use the hashtag #ickies to be entered to win.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Clorox.

 

 

 

 

Route 66

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you know I like to travel and I am obsessed with Route 66. Doesn’t matter if it’s a day trip or an all-out vacation, I. LOVE. IT.

Route 66

This past weekend I attended #BBCSTL. It was great! My husband came along for a mini-vacay after the conference, in honor of our 34th anniversary. We are doing Route 66 from St. Louis to Chicago. I will be sharing soon but until then I decided to re-post from last year’s trip to Scottsdale for the NSA conference. Here it is:

This is my last post about our vacation. I got distracted with other things to write about this week but I did want to finish.

I am a Route 66 fanatic. Well a fan anyway. I love looking at all the old attractions when I just happen to find myself on the Mother Road.

When we were on our way home we stopped for the night in Amarillo, Texas. As luck would have it Route 66 was alive and well in Amarillo.

route 66

There were several attractions that we were able to squeeze into this brief pit stop as we travelled home. This sign was one such marker.

 Route 66

We had driven to a see a building that once housed an indoor pool turned dance hall in 1926 which hosted such artists as Louie Armstrong, Nat King Cole and Roy Orbison. The building was called The Nat and closed it’s doors in the early 1960s. Though not the best part of town these days, I just love that I got to see that building and read the sign that marks this historic sight.

Historic route 66

And another quirky sight in Amarillo was Cadillac Ranch, a privately owned piece of land. The owner would ”plant” a Cadillac  nose down into the ground back in the day, though I never really discovered exactly why he did this. I think there were a total of ten. It makes quite a spectacle as you are driving by on Interstate 40.

Route 66

Historic Route 66

The tragedy lies in the graffiti, in my humble opinion. And the horrific litter of spay paint cans tossed aside after folks finished getting their kicks on Route 66 by painting a car. But maybe that’s part of the experience? Who am I to judge?

Historic Route 66

I have a feeling when the gentleman planted those cars they looked a little more like the ones marking this RV campground which was right down the road.

Historic Route 66

When we crossed the Missouri State Line we stopped at the Welcome Center to stretch our legs, and much to my delight this is what awaited us. This rest area is definitely one of my favorites!

Historic Route 66

Inside the building, along with the usual travel information and maps, a room was decorated as a Route 66 haven.

Historic Route 66

Behind the building was a paved walking path made to look like the infamous highway with all the roadside stops. Loved it!

Historic Route 66

Historic Route 66

We drove 1,050 miles that day. It was a long haul but the sights along the way made it worth the while.

Wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

 

For Now We Are Home

Moving can be such a stressful event.

For Now We Are Home

Who am I kidding? It IS a stressful event. There is no way to simplify the process, though we did things a little differently this time. We closed a month before the actual move-in date. The entire house needed painting, along with a few other things that needed to be done so we were able to move a lot of things in over a period of a few weeks. The actual move-in date went smoothly with the help of the professional movers the hubs hired, (though some Vicodin came up missing afterwards…just saying) and a few friends to get the smaller stuff. We had most of our belongings in the new house by noon. Thanks to our many helpers!

Moving Day

Moving Day

For Now We Are Home

A special thanks to our friends who installed new toilet seats! :)

I’m not sure why I always think that is the biggest deal…moving all your stuff from one place to another, when in fact, the bigger deal comes in actually emptying the boxes and setting up house. It takes a village, or at least a few days. Confession time, each time we have moved there are usually a few unpacked boxes that get moved to the new house. Am I the only one?

Monday was the first “normal” day at home after living here one full week. My husband went back to work. He took a week off to wrap up some loose ends. It was normal in oh so many ways.

Call me crazy (it wouldn’t be the first time) but today I actually felt normal for the first time in three and a half years.

I remember when we left our home of 13 years back in August of 2010. I. Was. Devastated. Not just for me but for my family…my kids. I’m not going to dredge up the past (you can read about some of it here: Moving and here: Spring and What I Miss) but I gotta tell you, it just felt right as I was working around my house today. I raked leaves that haven’t been raked in at least 2 years. I planted a few bulbs among the many blooming daffodils. I hauled limbs and washed windows. I did things that one does to make a house a home. I really haven’t done that in three and a half years. I was actually excited to have a whole day at home. I haven’t felt like that in three and a half years either.

I can’t explain it. There’s just something about making a house your home, and something too when the house is yours and not one that belongs to a landlord.

It feels good. It feels right. But life is always changing. It is a balance of struggles, joys and times of transition. To expect anything different is an act of denial.

I plan to enjoy the time we are here. It may be our last move, though I have my doubts. For now though, we are home.

For Now We Are Home

 

 

 

 

Learning to Listen, Even in the Silence

The sermon at church tonight, A Song For Suffering by Dave Stone, reminded me of one I heard two years ago. I wrote a post about it: I Serve a God Who is Silent,  because it was applicable to my life at the time. I came home and looked for my post after the service. I’m sharing what I wrote two years ago here today.

Learning to Listen, even in the Silence

I serve a God who is silent. There, I said it out loud for all to read. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with that. Well, I do and I don’t. Let me explain.
Kyle Idleman, the teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church, taught a two-part sermon a few weeks ago about the silence of God. The first was entitled Mute: The Silent Treatment. I have been re-listening to those sermons because I often feel like I serve a God who is silent. Do you ever feel this way?
Kyle talked about the Intertestamental Period, the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. God was silent. I walked away with a question I am still pondering. If God was silent during that time frame, who’s to say He won’t be silent now, in an individual’s life? There are no rules to this, I’m guessing.

This I do know…the silence can be deafening. So we turn up the volume in our lives…we eat, we work, we shop, we read, we watch television, we play games, anything…ANYTHING to keep from hearing the silence.

And I am convinced now more than ever that the reason we do these things in excess isn’t to escape the pain we feel or are afraid of, but to drown out the noise that the silence of God produces.

I do understand that God has already spoken. It is recorded. He need never utter another word. It is finished. But this leads me down another trail of questions. The people who tell us the many wonderful things God is doing in their lives, what God is speaking to them, well, where does that leave those of us who serve a silent God? Where does that leave me? Where does it leave you, mother who just lost your child? Where does that live you who had cancer and deal with the daily pain caused by side effects? Where does that leave you who has a terminally ill spouse? Where does that leave you who are divorced and your family has distanced themselves from you? Where does that leave you, dear friend who has been homeless for a year now? Where?

I talked with a friend who is on the up side of a bad financial trial. She says God is bigger than debt. Yes He is, in her life, right now.

And another friend who assures me that everyone experiences valleys and mountain tops in their lives. I know this is true, but I gotta tell you, I know a lot of people who live in the valley. Good people. Spiritual people.

Where do I go now that I have come face to face with the silence of God? Oh don’t get me wrong, I have experienced His silence before in my life, but acknowledging and accepting it? Well that’s a different story altogether.

The answer is complexly simple. I trust. I trust in this God of silence who has promised to never leave me. I believe in His goodness and love. I’ve learned the lessons, though I am sure there are more. I’ve grown in ways I never intended, because of circumstance I never wanted.

I trust Him without understanding, or affection for the happenstances of life.
Even in the silence.
And perhaps, by some small chance, I suppose, in the silence is when He speaks the loudest, and that’s when it is the most difficult to hear.
Learning to listen even in the silence.

Life is Precious

Letter Eight

My Dearest Daughters,

Life is precious. Find the joy and hold on for all it’s worth.

Life is Precious

Here is the thing that keeps me wondering. How can life seem so unfair? Life isn’t fair. Never was, never will be. I know you’ve all heard me say this a million times. Even though I know this to be true, why is it so difficult to wrap my mind around the fullness of this truth?

How can a couple who are so utterly and completely devoted to each other, a couple who genuinely enjoy the company of each other, a couple who work together through good times and hard times, be the couple who has their spouse pass way too early in life, in their marriage, by human standards anyway. And other couples, couples who struggle in every area, couples who have a difficult time of communicating, couples who deal with addictions and other behaviors tied in with that, how can these couples last a lifetime (by human standards)?

How can a person so utterly and completely devoted to God pass so early? I am assuming though, aren’t I my dearest daughters, presuming to know the hearts of those I stand in judgment, and yes, that  is what it is if I assume to know their hearts. No one knows but the One who knows.

I grapple with life’s seemingly injustices. For if I were God…but I’m not. And that is a very good thing indeed.

I have an urgency to express to you to not take life for granted! Not for a second! The people who are close to you are here but for a time, an appointed time.

It’s never too late is a false statement that holds some truth. It’s never too late to make important, life-altering decisions, but you can only do so while you are here, breathing with every beat of your heart, for the heart will one day stop.

We know not when, for we are in a temporary body that will one day surely die

Hard truths, harsh words. But let me leave you with this. Life is also full of such joy it is hard to contain. In fact, you can’t. It must be shared or given away else it becomes a rotting heap of garbage. Life is precious, my dearest daughters, it just is.

Love,

Mother

Birthday at Science Hill Inn

The beauty of birthdays is sometimes found in historic restaurants. That’s exactly what happened to me last week! I celebrated with a friend on her birthday at a historic restaurant in Shelbyville, Science Hill Inn.

Birthdays and Historic Venues

I’ve wanted to dine at Science Hill Inn for a while now, and let me tell you it was worth the wait! I’ve walked through the shops and galleries that are located between the walls of this historic building but the restaurant was closed on the day I was there. The property was quite lovely both inside and out. It has been stated that: “Science Hill Inn is not simply a restaurant, it is a Kentucky tradition in fine southern dining.” I concur.

Science Hill

Birthdays and Historic Venues

I found the history of the place quite fascinating as well. (Taken from Science Hill website):  Julia Ann Hieronymus, a brilliant young educator, married John Tevis, a young Methodist minister, in their home state of Virginia. After they married John took a position as a pastor in Kentucky. In Shelbyville, Julia vowed to continue her teaching career by tutoring young girls who made their homes in the Kentucky wilderness. But she planned to teach her charges more than the traditional “gentlelady’s education” of reading, writing, and the social graces; she also endeavored to teach her students the sciences, something unheard of in those times. Unfortunately, the hardships of the Great Depression doomed many schools across the United States to failure. After 114 years of continuous operation, Science Hill graduated it’s last class in 1939. During its time, Science Hill School had established a reputation of greatness for its contribution to education and culture. the lives of those girls who graduated from the prestigious school have affected the development of every state of America.

The beauty of the day was in the food, drink, quaint setting and the company of my friend whose birthday we were celebrating.

Birthdays and Historic Venues

The bread basket was yummy with cornbread and those southern biscuits. I’ll have one of each please.

Birthdays and Historic Venues

Birthdays and Historic Venues

And in honor of the occasion we had a lovely glass of Bellini; Champaign and peach nectar blended to perfection.

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The entrée we both ordered was a traditional Kentucky dish called Hot Brown. This dish originated from Louisville’s Brown Hotel. This opened faced sandwich consists of turkey breast and crisp bacon on toast, topped with a delicious cheese sauce. A lovely was to celebrate a birthday with a friend.

I do love to travel even if it’s just thirty minutes from home. There is magic in the experience of new tastes and sights unknown.