Thursday, September 30, 2010

On Vacation Until Friday


Thanks for stopping by! I'll be taking the next few days off to enjoy time with my dad, who arrived yesterday evening. It's hard to believe it's been nearly a year since we last saw one another and we're really enjoying catching up and fitting in as much dad-daughter time as we can over the next few days.

I'll be back on Friday with a new post.

Have an awesome week!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Feature Friday: Getting Ready for Fall


I love reading blogs, probably more than books at the moment. I love all of the wonderful information I can find so quickly and you're all just so creative and have great content to write about! I took some time this week to do a little reading and came across three blog posts that I wanted to share with everyone.



The first is a great post by the author of Struggling to be Stylish on the various ways you can jazz up your corporate desk. Work from home? No problem, the tips will work for a home office also. I truly believe that a pretty, functional and organized desk makes for a wonderful workspace. I can't work amongst the chaos of clutter and I never feel inspired in a boring space. What better time to do a little sprucing up than fall, since you'll be spending more time indoors.



 With my favorite season- fall-on its way, I've been getting excited about holiday crafts, DIY projects and switching up our summer home decor of seashells and beach colors to that of warm, earthy and woodsy accessories and colors. Throw pillows are such a great way to instantly change a room because of the many colors, textures and sizes available.

Have you had your eye on a cable knit sweater pillow like the one above from Potterybarn? Well, Karen of Strictly Simple Style was after that look and she was able to accomplish it for less than $5! Visit her blog post to see how she transformed a thrift store sweater into something fabulous and at a fraction of the cost of major retailers.


I don't know anyone who doesn't love a good giveaway. While perusing Kristin's blog, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, I came across her giveaway which features her most recent sponsor. She is giving away a custom window treatment. Pop over to enter and don't forget to browse her blog as she has a lot of great DIY projects and design inspiration too.



Speaking of sponsors, I wanted to introduce you to my latest sponsor. Vanessa of Luxuria jewelry took advantage of my $5/mo. ad space promo to share her lovely jewels with all of you. Her pieces are classic, elegant and unique. She is offering Classy & Fabulous readers either 15% off of your order OR free shipping from Spain to anywhere you are located. Use Promo code: CLASSYWOMAN15 to get the deal. Click HERE to view her pieces, below is a sneak peak. I love the look of these rings and the amethyst drop earrings-so pretty!



What great blog posts have you come across recently? What fun fall DIY projects decor or crafts have you been working on?  Leave a comment and share them with all of us!

Have a wonderful weekend! I'll be putting the wreath up on our door and doing some fall cleaning this weekend in preparation for another yard sale. My dad is going to be flying in from California next week for a little visit, I'm looking forward to the company and so excited to see him, it's nearly been a whole year! What are you up to?




Thursday, September 23, 2010

Best Motivation Video Ever!


You might remember that I recently wrote about the importance of being willing to make changes and take risks to live the life you've always dreamed of, in my post Be Bold, Achieve Greatness. Most recently I shared with you where I'm at right now in my own life and the risks that my husband and I are taking to create an even better life with more opportunity. I love motivational messages that encourage me to live life to the fullest and I thought I'd share this quick little video with you, it's SO inspiring!



I first saw this video titled 'best motivation video ever' at The Lettered Cottage, and knew I wanted to share it with all of you. My favorite message comes right at the end of this video. If you've never failed, you've never LIVED! Life equals risk, there's no way around it. Falling in love, being self-empolyed and even working for an employer are all risky business.

Most people are scared to death of taking big risks or moving towards the unknown, but the reality is that as uncomfortable as change may be, if you don't take chances you can't make advances. It's okay if things don't go exactly as you planned, it's what we do with failed attempts that make us successful in the end. Life is short, we only get this one chance to do everything that we've ever wanted. Don't let other people put their map on you or tell you what you can or cannot do. With daily diligence and an inner passion, you can reach your biggest dreams!

I believe that doing what we love will truly make us happy. It's sad to see that there are so many unhappy people in this world. We can chase after everything under the sun (money, things, people) but at the end of the day if we aren't fulfilling our life's purpose, pursuing our goals and are not really enjoying what we are doing with each day, we cannot truly be happy.



What have you always dreamed of doing but held back from beginning? What have you decided to tackle, regardless of how long and difficult the road may be? As always, anonymous comments are welcome. What would you if you knew you couldn't fail and money wasn't an issue? I'd so love to hear what YOUR dreams are!

Dream Big!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reader Request: What's Mine is His?


A few weeks ago, the Manners Monday series was focused on Table Etiquette and Manners as it pertains to dining in, dining out, and the sometimes uncomfortable interview over lunch.

After one particular post on table etiquette not only did I receive a few comments and some e-mails from all of you about the topic of 'food stealers' and sharing food, I also received a reader request in my inbox. I've been asked to keep her name anonymous. Our e-mail conversation is below:

Hi Karla,


At casual family dinners, my husband thinks it is okay to reach out and grab a piece of my food from my plate before he asks, and he does so with his fingers. I don't mind him having the food, but I think it is very rude to "pick" food from a person's plate then asking if it is okay that they have it after the fact.

I think if someone wants to try a portion of food from another's plate they should ask permission (even if it is a spouse) and then use a utensil, not their hands. My husband says I'm selfish and snooty for being that way. I say that is not the case. What do you think?

~Anonymous



Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for writing in! :) A few of my readers mentioned in the comments section that their husbands do the same thing, so you are not alone. You are completely correct for feeling that it's rude of him to have taken food from your plate without asking first, especially with his fingers. This is definitely poor manners.

If something is on our own plate it belongs to us, if it is on another person's plate, it belongs to them. Whether in a high end restaurant or in McDonald's, good manners always require asking first, even if it's only ONE french fry off of their plate. Close family members aren't exempt from the need to ask, in fact it is by asking first that we show our respect for one another and simultaneously teach our children what is considered polite, as they mimic the behavior they see.

When the other person agrees to share, you should typically let them portion out what they want to give you on a separate small plate or in a casual setting, transfer the food to your plate with their utensil. If they invite you to take what you like, be sure to use utensils, not fingers.

You are not being snooty or selfish in any way at all. In fact, I find it humorous how many times classy women and those that are polite get labeled as snooty. I received a reader request several  months ago on that very topic which you might be interested to read, it's titled 'Classy or Snooty?.

She then replied:

Dear Karla,


I very much appreciate you responding to my question about table manners and reaffirming my belief about what is considered "proper". Thank You! It really helps to hear another person's perspective on a topic that is still important in today's society, but many have become complacent about. You have been so helpful!


Thanks Again!


Sincerely,
~Anonymous 

Do you have family or friends that feel it's okay to steal your food or pick from your plate? How do you handle it? I'd love to hear from you!

I hope you all are having a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall is in the Air!


Although it's still VERY hot here in Orlando, I believe fall might finally be on its way! Every night for the past four months I've slept with a fan blowing on me and nothing but a flat sheet on top of me to stay cool. The A/C bills here in FL can climb quite high as many run them day and night-$400-600 seems to be the norm for a 2000 sq ft home.  We, however, have been leaving the air off as much as possible in the morning and evening while we work from home and  favor fans at night while we sleep. It lets us save about 50% on our utility bill which is great. This morning I woke up a bit chilly and actually had to turn it off.  With just over a week until the official start of Autumn, I'm hoping this trend sticks around so I can get all cozy in my duvet again!


Early this morning I enjoyed a good 45 minute walk in my neighborhood. I love hearing the the many birds that come together to create their melody and seeing the squirrels chase each other around the big oak trees. This time of year is great because the grass has finally recovered from the insane heat and actually has a chance to grow green. Even my pink inpatients have exploded and are now bursting out of their pot! I love being surrounded by nature but I do miss one of my favorite things of fall-the changing and falling of leaves. The bright orange, burnt red and sunny yellows are so picturesque and photo-worthy. I also miss hiking and long walks in jeans and a sweater and the crunching of leaves under my feet.


{A bit daring, wasn't I? }



{Hiking in Ontario, Canada-Early Fall 2005}


Upon arriving home from my walk I decided to do something a little bit fall-ish. After having the windows literally sealed all summer, until it's cool enough to open them all up, I wanted to do something to make our home feel fresh again. Every fall and winter I like to make my own air refresher. I had all the ingredients on hand so it was perfect. On the stove I filled a small saucepan with 3 cups of water and snapped 3 cinnamon sticks in half and put them into the water. Then I ate an orange and cut up the peel with kitchen shears into long strips (you can slice them with a knife also) and tossed that into the water. I added 5 cloves and a dash of nutmeg and left it to simmer on the lowest heat setting. Our house is now filled with orangy-cinnamon goodness!



This is a great way to naturally freshen your home without toxic air freshener sprays, candles, plug-ins and fragrance oils. Cinnamon is pretty powerful and has a wonderful scent that can travel to various rooms of your home. I used to use fragrance oils but I don't want to fill my home with chemicals and toxins. Did you know that by lighting regular paraffin candles that you actually make your home 11x more toxic?! If you are a candle lover, soy candles are a good bet since they don't emit the black smoke that pollutes the indoor air. Look for those that have lead-free wicks and are made with pure essential oils. They are perfect for those that suffer from allergies to these chemicals. One of the most toxic ingredients is the phthalates that are used to preserve the fragrance, the same ingredient that is often used in plastics to make them flexible, it's also in perfumes too.

I recently switched and now use Pacifica natural perfume and it smells amazing!  My favorite scent of the moment is Tahitian Gardenia and their soy candles are awesome! Sometimes you can even find them marked down in stores like Ross or Marshalls.You can Pacifica online or at Whole Foods. It's funny, since all of my cleaners, fragrances and soaps have been replaced with natural versions over the years, I can't even get near a glade plug-in now in someones home.



Another great idea is to place a drop or two of pure essential oil of cinnamon, clove, or even orange on a light bulb in the evening. As soon as the light is turned on, it heats up and the oil becomes activated. Just be careful not to use too much so that it doesn't drip down onto your furniture. You can also use fragrance rings with these pure essential oils. Instead of store bought reed diffusers, you can use a package of wooden skewers (snip the pointy ends off) from the dollar store in a glass jar and place 12-15 drops of essential oil in the jar per ounce of carrier oil like almond oil etc., as well as on the skewers and you have a home made reed diffuser for next to nothing! The best part is they last for months and are far less expensive than buying them. It makes a great gift idea too! My favorite brand of essential oils is Aura Cacia-I've been enjoying a whole lot of lavender, lemon and peppermint lately up until today that is. :)

I am a huge fan of nature. Paul and I really believe in living green and toxin-free. I hope that you give this air freshener recipe a try in your own home and enjoy the arrival of fall!

Have a lovely day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Manners Monday: Conversation Topics to Avoid


Welcome back to the Manners Monday series! Today I'll be sharing how we relate to others-particularly strangers and acquaintances whether it be at a party or a work function as it pertains to topics of conversation.

During the summer I've had the opportunity to attend several parties, backyard BBQ's and other events. With such events comes the meeting of new people, often friends of friends. While some might want to pour their heart out to a friend over recent events in our life, we must refrain from doing so with those that we've just met. In addition, there are many great conversation starters and various topics that are completely acceptable, on the contrary there are also many to steer clear of as well.

I want to begin on a positive note, here are some great topics to focus on as you are newly introduced to someone or engage in conversation with strangers.

If you're being introduced, hopefully the host will have mentioned something that he/she knew you had in common. If that isn't the case, one of the best ways to begin a conversation at an event is to ask how they know the host or person being honored at the event. You can never go wrong here since you already have something in common by being in the same place, and it is bound to open the door to more commonality that you can branch off of.




Begin by asking other questions, avoid talking all about yourself out of nervous habit. Be aware of questions that are very personal such as health or relationship troubles, status, etc. Instead, you can ask about a new movie, tv show, a new restaurant in the area, local happenings or compliment them on something you truly admire such as their shoes or handbag. I don't know anyone that doesn't enjoy a genuine compliment and it is bound to start a conversation in the direction of something you are both interested in.

The particular mood of the event should match the tone of conversation. If you're at a funeral, that is not the best time to talk about your date the night before or your upcoming trip to the Caribbean. On the flip side, if you're at a lively party, it is not a good time to discuss the details of your divorce or the death of a loved one.

When you are conversing in  a group, it is important to let everyone have a turn to speak but also to speak about topics that everyone can enjoy. Speaking to a group of 6 about something that only you and one of your colleagues can relate too is a sure way to not only bore the group but make them feel like outsiders.




"Conversation is the art of never appearing a bore, of knowing how to say everything interestingly, to entertain with no matter what, to be charming with nothing at all."

~Guy de Maupassant
 

6 Topics to be Mindful Of:

1. Sex-Although there are many people of all ages who feel completely comfortable sharing their escapades with perfect strangers, it can be perceived by many as inappropriate and distasteful. What one finds completely acceptable, another might view as being completely disgusting. It's best to keep this topic under wraps. It's also a good idea to avoid discussing adultery or making comments and gossiping about couples that you know of who are in that predicament. You never know if someone else may know someone you know. Besides, gossiping is just not classy.

2. Money- Among close friends and in private, this isn't as much of a faux pas but in the company of strangers, discussing money has a tendency to make others feel uncomfortable. For someone that doesn't have much of it, they might start to feel inadequate and it will cause them to now focus on it instead of enjoy their surroundings. Also, the person discussing it will just come across as materialistic which is never a good quality in anyone. It is never acceptable to ask anyone how much they earn likewise, it is best to leave the details of your salary out of the equation.  If you want to ask a trusted friend to compare and ensure you are being paid what you are worth, do so privately, not in the company of others. Even then, your friend might not be interested in divulging that information so use discretion there. Again, avoid idle gossip or discussing the financial situation of others. This happens a lot in families and in circles of friends but it truly is none of anyone else's business.

3. Religion- This topic should probably come as no surprise, but I'm still amazed at the amount of people that feel the need to push their opinions and religious practices on others, especially complete strangers! A person's faith is a personal decision and nobody should be made to feel bad about it. There are those that truly do have more interest and questions rather than than comments, but asking the same person mulitple questions could start to feel like they are on trial and they may not want to be subject to that line of questioning and being responsible to represent a whole faith group. This is especially true if this same religion has been recently under attack in the media. While you don't need to avoid it completely, it's best to tread lightly with this one unless you are at church with others that share your same beliefs.

4. Health Issues- We all discuss health at some point-eating better, choosing organic, how to avoid x,y, or z. But aside from your close friends or your physician, it's best to keep this topic to a minimum. Avoid all conversation around extended illness and surgeries. It can be a depressing topic that doesn't do much in the way of maintaining an upbeat environment. If you're at an event surrounding food or at a party, it is best to avoid speaking on anything pertaining to this topic, you wouldn't want to turn someone off of food for the evening.

5. Politics-A favorite conversation of many that often gets carried away and can greatly offend others. It is best to avoid asking strangers which political party they support, who they are going to vote for and/or why. While often deep and lively, conversation around politics can stir some great debates and  can leave a few feeling attacked if not handled carefully.

Conversations around politics are usually best brought up around friends or close family members that know how you feel and won't be offended by your personal stance as they you know it is just a debate rather than attack on their personal character if you don't share the same political interest.

6. Family & Siblings- This last one might come as a bit of a surprise, however you'd be amazed at the amount of people that have had sibling rivalries, grew up with a sibling that was the 'favorite' or had less-than-wonderful memories of their childhood upbringing as it pertains to their parents. When asked about their extended family or if they have any siblings, it could bring up a lot of negative emotions and unresolved issues that they may not be prepared to discuss. It is best to avoid asking this topic unless they bring it up. Likewise, asking a married couple if/when they plan on having children might seem completely innocent but could bring up feelings of inadequacy and sadness if they are having difficulty conceiving.





With the holiday season quickly approaching, I thougtht I'd share a really neat gift-giving idea which is great as a conversation starter during dinner and house parties. Table Topics is a company offers numerous decks of cards that are great for parties or the dinner table. I also thought these placecards were a neat and affordable option too.This would also make a fun DIY project/gift for someone too by using fun cardstock designs and creating your own conversation questions.

As with all topics in the Manners Monday series, this is  by no means a complete list, but my hope is that it may help you think about topics of conversation in a new way or serves as a little refresher. What topics of conversation do discuss with perfect strangers or new acquaintances? Which ones do you completely avoid and why?

I'd love to hear your personal experiences and what YOU have to say, leave a comment and let us know! :)


XO

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Creative Kitchen DIY On a Dime!


When I find posts that really wow me I can't help but not share them with all of you. Today's post is a spotlight on a kitchen that went from dull and drab to totally fab! For anyone that has ever lived in an apartment where painting was prohibited, personal preferences and changes were not embraced by a landlord, you'll certainly appreciate the creativity by Erin of Rare & Beautiful Treasures.



You see, Erin is documenting the decorating process of her tiny rental home with her family of 3 for the next year (until they move). The owners have asked that they not paint, or add any permanent changes. You can imagine my curiosity then when she was presented with the challenge of this tiny kitchen space:




And then she transformed it into THIS and did it on a tiny budget!


{via}


HELLO bright and cheery! You will be so amazed at how she changed the color of those cabinets without any paint. I'm not going to say anymore though-for detailed close-up pictures and a description of how she did it, you can visit her post which  is titled 'The Little Kitchen that Could'. Her images are much larger that what I have here. You'll also see 2 cute pics of her and her darling baby boy, Wynn. :) Don't you just love that name?

No matter where we are at in life-living in a large home in suburbia, a tiny apartment in the city or a comfortable country home, there are always affordable and fun ways to make a dramatic impact on even the smallest of budgets.

Happy Weekend. I hope this post will inspire you to do something creative!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where Have I Been, You Ask?


I've received a few warm e-mails with questions and also blog comments lately as to my whereabouts. I've still been here in the blogosphere but not nearly as regularly as I have been in the past. I can assure you that I not only read your blogs when I have the free time to do so but that I still read every one of your comments and e-mails too, in fact they brighten my day!

As I mentioned in this post, I've been in a bit of a reflective place lately.The truth is that I've been going through a transition period that I'm still figuring out and have in turn taken on a bit more responsibility as well which has stolen some of my time. I've been playing catch up in so many areas but I'm working on many new blog posts and trying to put the finishing touches on my book once and for all so that it can get published and will be available for all of you! For anyone that has ever written a book, you know what a long process it can be. Creating and editing the same content over and over, and making tweaks so it will be just perfect takes time but I've loved every minute of it because I know it will be be a valuable read for many.

Part of this delay came from my decision to write 3 books simultaneously over several months. I finally had to make the choice to focus on one at a time because it was a bit chaotic to say the least! Once this first one is launched here soon, (dare I put a timeline or date on it at this point. LOL) I actually have two others baking in the oven that will be launched in 2011 which I am also excited about.  Along side of my literary life we've been dealing with some ill family members and have also been working out the logistics of a possible upcoming move.



While I don't use my blog as a means to document all the details of my personal life, since we are friends here, I think it is important for me to be transparent and share where I'm at and perhaps my absence at times will make more sense. Since the early spring of this year, my husband and I have been busy praying about and discussing something that he's wanted to pursue-getting his Masters Degree in Global Affairs. This of course not only involves an investment of time but also money and for a period of time we will be living apart-he in NYC while he attends NYU and I'll be in FL. He is already there now, I dropped him off at the airport last Tuesday.

It was hard to cuddle with him at the airport for and hour and then watch him walk through security to his gate. There have been a lot of tears over the past few weeks leading up to this point and our home is definitely more quiet without his presence, but I know it won't be like this forever. He has settled into an affordable apartment through a Christian Missions organization and is really enjoying the part of town he is in- Astoria- and has a wonderful view of the New York skyline. While it doesn't provide the same level of coziness (he tells me it needs the 'Karla' touch) he has made it his home for now and he began classes a couple days ago and knows he is really going to enjoy his program.



While I miss him dearly already, he and I both lived on our own for several years before ever meeting, dating or marrying. We are both extremely independent and we do like our quiet time. This time has allowed me uninterrupted moments to focus in a greater way-whether I'm working or spending time on my hobbies. I'm sure it has allowed him the kind of solitude free of distractions that he needs to study as well.

I want to make sure I'm clear here that we are not separating  or living in separates states because we want to be in any way. In fact, we just celebrated our 4th Anniversary this Labor Day weekend on Sept.3rd and we love each other more today then we did the day we married. :) I know that long distance relationships aren't for everyone and while we did endure a long distance relationship for the short months that we were dating and engaged, it was never anything that I had planned on while being married. Let me tell you, I have a whole new appreciation for army wives!

The good news is that we can visit each other on weekends and I definitely plan to visit as often as I can since he has Fridays off from school. As his wife I want him to pursue his dreams and want to support him in the same way he supports me my life passions and goals. He has traveled to over 60 countries and is very passionate about seeing the world  and studying worldly affairs in general. He is also a part-time Real Estate agent and works with clients on an international basis. I honestly couldn't think of a more perfect program for him to be in, place to be living in or a more opportune time for everything to come together.



In this economy it wasn't worth it for us to sell our home in Florida-homes here are going for 1/3 of what they are worth. We are  fortunate that this was a home that he inherited several years ago from his grandparents that has a small mortgage payment however it still has all of the regular ol' bills to pay. We discussed everything from renting it out to others, leaving it as is or having me stay in the home while he is in NY. I'm still in our home today-there is a lot of expense to store furniture and not every renter will value or care for your home the way that you would, so we made the decision not to rent.  Since I am still committed to a few design clients I will most likely be here until the end of the year. At that time we'll evaluate whether or not I will stay here longer or join hubby in chilly NYC after finding a larger apartment for the both of us. There is a lot to take in at the moment and on a daily basis friends and family ask me when I'm moving up there and I really don't have any good answers for anyone.

Speaking of friends, one of the toughest decisions actually surrounds family and friends. Moving here 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada was a huge change for me. For months I longed to just spend a Saturday with my best girlfriends, talk about everyday stuff in the same way that we once did or spend the holidays with my  family. Getting used to the area, finding my way around Orlando and making new friends all while trying to begin a business in a new Country was a bit daunting and there were a few days of frustration and tears along the way. Truth be told I don't really want to start all over again after 4 years here.

On the flip side, being in New York will actually bring me up north again closer to my best friends and extended family. I love that idea but know that I still wouldn't see them every month, so I want to be realistic about mine/their expectations. That aspect is very alluring however the cold weather is not. When you've moved from harsh winters to no winters, that factor does come into play. I do have winter coats and boots and all cold weather gear up in our attic but the thought of treading through snow again for more than just a visit is not something that I really want to do right now-I like the beauty of snow but I love wearing sandals year round more. LOL.



Something we discussed last year was potentially starting to try for a baby this summer-real spontaneous we are, I know.  It was hard to think of the possibility of holding off for another year or two as his program is a 2-year masters degree. Turning another year older in August was certainly a reminder that time is a tickin'. We are going to see how his first year goes and where we are at that point at which time we may entertain the idea or wait one more year. This is all coming at a time when so many of my close friends and family members already have toddlers, have just had babies, or are expecting one soon so my heart aches a bit. Every baby shower has left me feeling excited for the mommy-to-be but anxious for my own. I have always dreamed of being a mother and pray that our decision to hold off for now doesn't leave us running out of time when we finally make that decision. My mother was 37 when she was pregnant my younger brother so I'm pretty confident that all will be well, since I have a few years to go before that time.

With these changes and this move also comes more household responsibility and upkeep, some administrative responsibilities as I help to run the 'family business' of managing real estate clients all while finishing off client design jobs and deciding whether I should continue to market my business here or close up shop for 2 years and start over for a little while in New York to later return. I'm trying to make the best financial decisions as we now have two residences to account for.

What I know for sure is that we have a very strong marriage that can withstand the stormy seas and high winds of life (as we've been through many already), but I know it won't always be easy. I am so grateful for my hubby and near or far I know we are always within each other's heart. In fact, that was one of the things he stressed before he left. He had really hoped that I would have be able to join him in NY, but the timing just didn't allow for it. You know what they say though-distance makes the heart grow fonder! ;)

In terms of this blog, one thing that I can tell you is that my commitment to it hasn't changed. This blog is a passion for me and I enjoy all of the friendships that I've made so far and am looking forward to the ones that I will continue to make. Having said that, some weeks may have more posts than others but I'm working on a bunch now that I can schedule in advance to keep things hopping.

I also wanted to let you know that the Manners Monday series has not disappeared, it will be making its return next Monday and I'll also be sharing more tips via the What to Wear posts along with an assortment of other post topics and reader requests. You can find many of these posts in my sidebar. Now that the summer is over and fall is approaching, I feel excited about everything that it has to offer-from warm decor and crisp air to hot apple cider and pumpkin carving, there will be posts on that too.

{Northern California-Fall '09}


Since fall is my favorite season, I've decided to extend the special promotion of $5/month ad space to anyone interested-there are a few spaces left for September, otherwise I can post your ad in October.  You can visit the sponsors tab for more information or to reserve your spot via Paypal. You can see some of our other sponsors in the sidebar.This offer will be available until October.31, 2010 after which time regular rates will apply.

So, that's what I've been up to. How about you? What does your fall season look like-any changes on the horizon? I'd love to hear what you've been up to!

XO

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The CSN Stores' Giveaway Winner!


I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend and enjoyed the last official long weekend of summer! Thank you so much for participating in my CSN Stores Birthday Giveaway and again for your sweet Birthday wishes. I really do have the best blog readers. :)

I was excited to see that we had 124 entries, the biggest participation here to date! (We actually had 125, but the last one was submitted after the deadline.)

Random.org selected our winner, and it is...... No. 27! Congratulations to Carolsue of  'Carolsue's Bloggys: Things I found on the web'


Carolsue took advantage of the free daily entries and was able to enter 13 times! Carolsue, enjoy your $55 gift certificate! Please e-mail me and I will provide you with the details for your prize.


Everyone I know loves a good giveaway so I look forward to running another one a little later this month.


Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mid-week Inspiration


I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your sincere birthday wishes over the past few days as you entered the $55 CSN Stores birthday giveaway. I read every comment and each personal note warmed my heart. It's  wonderful to meet so many sweet women through blogging. :) Also, if you haven't entered, there is still time, the giveaway closes Sept.6th.

This past week has been a reflective one. While I've enjoyed reading several bloggers' posts so far this week, I haven't felt much like writing lately myself. I'm having one of those months where I feel like my "to do" list will never end and it's hard to focus without feeling guilty that something else isn't being attended to.

In my absence of words, how about some powerful words of inspiration from others for the rest of your week?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us. Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us."

~ Nelson Mandela, inaugural address, written by Marianne Williamson
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."

~ Leo Buscaglia



"What a blessing it is that life can be such a challenge. For it is in working through those challenges that we truly shine. "

~Ralph Marston


“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

~Anonymous



“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.”

~E. Joseph Cossman



A few months ago I came across Ralph Marston on twitter. He has a website called The Daily Motivator and I really enjoy reading and re-tweeting some of his messages. This particular message spoke to me today as it pertains to time, timing and taking action. I'm really big on creating plans of actions and goals and sometimes tend to focus on the finer details. This was a good reminder of the power of action and momentum.

Effective Action


Stop sitting around wondering if this will work out or if that won't work out. Get busy and find out for yourself.

Stop wishing that you had more to work with. You have more than enough to get started in this moment.

Once you start, once you make that first effort, you'll be able to tap into the power of momentum. The initial results you get will enable you to make the next effort.

Quit worrying about not having enough time, for that worrying itself just wastes your precious time. Simply and gratefully make use of the time you have, and you'll always be making progress.

Put thought into your efforts, but don't make your thoughts a substitute for your efforts. Get busy and put your best thoughts into effective action.

Give your best to this day, give your best to the effort, and good things will come from it. Though it won't always be the way you expect, you will always find ways to create real, unique value and richness in your life.
~Ralph Marston

Happy September!

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