Thursday, November 16, 2017

Giving Parents Their Sanity Back With Rock N Stroller



Having 5 children and being a work at home Mom, you can imagine how much time I spend in my mini van with children. I might as well stick a Taxi sign on the top and make a little extra money on the side. One of the things I miss most is jamming out to my own music while on the road. With children ranging in age from 2 to 15, on any given day I might listen to the same Paw Patrol DVD on repeat for hours, a football game courtesy of my teenage son or various radio stations that make my ears bleed thanks to my 14 year old daughter. The struggle is REAL especially because my 2 year old who pretty much runs the house usually wins when it comes to what we will be listening to or watching. Music has always been a huge part of my life and while I'm glad my kids all have that same love of music, there has to be some compromise somewhere, right? Well NOW there is. Allow me to introduce you to Rock-n-Stroller.

Rock-n-Stroller is a multi-volume CD collection produced by Andy Zulla and Matt Zarley and includes classic songs from the 70's and 80's in a kid-friendly style that everyone in the car can enjoy. Volume 1 is currently available on Amazon and iTunes and features some of the greatest hits of all time like Sweet Dreams (The Eurythmics), I Love Rock and Roll (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) and Sweet Child O' Mine. (Guns n' Roses)

For me, this has been a fun way to introduce my own kids to some of my favorite classic rocks songs and it has been so fun watching them sing along. The Rock-n-Stroller Volume 1 CD is available for download on iTunes and on Amazon for just $9.99 or $8.99 as a downloadable MP3.

About Rock-n-Stroller

Rock-n-Stroller was created by Matt Zarley and Andy Zulla after enduring countless hours of listening to their kids sing the latest top 40 tunes on the popular kids cover song CD's.  Andy said he and Matt had the idea to create a product that will allow their kids to sing the songs that they actually wanted to hear. And with that, Rock-n-Stroller was born.

Watch the trailer below and see if you can relate! 


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hidden Benefits of Running Your Own Business

Owning a business is a lucrative idea, since it allows a person to be their own boss. With the right strategy, you can earn far more than average salary. Starting home-based businesses is a relatively new idea and has become extremely popular within a short time period. It facilitates business owners to operate their business from the premises of their home.
Many people believe that running a business is all about earning more money and the authority to take all decisions on your own. However, it has various other benefits that many of us don’t know. Here are some lesser known ways in which a business can benefit you.

Improve Communication Skills:

When you run a business on your own, it becomes necessary for you to communicate with people. Be it your customers or employees, you have to get along with different people on a regular basis. Even if your communication skills are not great, you’re bound to improve them if you want to run your business successfully.
Customer service is one of the most important aspects that play a crucial role in the success of a business. You have to interact with customers to understand their requirements and negotiate the terms and regulations of your business without offending anyone.
Tax Benefits:

Aside from personal benefits, a business also has financial perks. If you’re running a home-based business, you can get certain tax benefits. It allows you to deduct different expenses of your home against business income tax such as utility bills, mortgage interest, maintenance costs and property taxes. However, you may need to consult a legal advisor to ensure that you qualify for the tax return.
Travel More Frequently:

You may get the opportunity of travelling to new places, depending on the scope of your business. If you have vendors or customers in different cities or countries, you may get to travel there frequently. You may not get this opportunity during your job. But every business owner has to travel quite frequently in order to run business operations in an efficient manner.
Aside from carrying out your business operations, you can spend a vacation with your family. It will save you travelling costs and allow you to spend a well-needed vacation away from your busy life. You can link your frequent flyer point’s accounts to get discounts. Business owners tend to be busier than people with a job. However, travelling to other cities or countries proves to be a great way to relax.
Meet New People:

Running your own business is a great way of meeting new people from diverse cultures. http://www.theworkpod.co facilitates entrepreneurs to get a shared working space. They can save costs of renting an entire office space and can interact with other businesses easily.
Moreover, running a business is also about improving your public speaking skills. In order to promote your business, you may need to address groups of people. It’ll help you attract customers to your business and help people who are in need of your advice.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

How to Save Money When Buying or Selling Property


Selling your house can be very exhausting as it takes up a lot of your time and energy. Some people are so desperate to sell their house that they end up losing money instead of saving it and maximizing their profits. If you are thinking about selling your house, here are some tips that will help you out. Read on. 

Hire an Expert Listing Agent

It is very important to hire the right listing agent, if you want to earn maximum return from selling your property. Some people hire inexperienced listing agents just because they tend to charge a lesser amount for their services, but this approach is not recommended. Experienced listing agents charge you more because they promote your property and offer better services than amateur property dealers or those listing agents who have just started.  

Pricing Your Home Correctly 

You need to be realistic when pricing your house. Remember that the longer your house stays on the market, the lesser worth it will have in the buyer’s eyes and its value will only decrease with time. If you price the house correctly, you will get interested buyers only. Here is how you can price your house correctly:*
Compare the price of similar houses in the same vicinity that have been sold in the past three months. While you are doing so, make sure that you take into account the prevailing market condition and whether the prices are going up and down. It always helps to see things from the buyer’s perspective, so quote an amount that you would have considered, had you been a buyer. 
  • Contact your bank and ask for a beneficiary discount to get an accurate payoff.
  • Get fixed price conveyancing from reliable websites or from Property Solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers.
  • Go to open houses in the neighbourhood and compare your house with other houses available in the market for sale. 
Prepare Your House for Sale 

If you want to get a good price for your property, you need to make sure that your house is ready for market. Here are some things that you can do:
  • Get broken items replaced or repaired. 
  • Make sure that the house is neat and tidy. 
  • Stage your home for the sale, so that you can sell it quickly. 
Have a Look at the Sales Contract

Your paperwork will include a list of legal processes and fees that the buyers and sellers will have to pay. You may get a buyer that will ask for inspection reports, or may negotiate on the closing price. In case that happens, you can always increase the sales price to compensate for the loss. Here are some tips that will help you out:
  • Negotiate on the fees. 
  • Try to close the deal  in the beginning of the month instead of at the end of the month, in order to save money on interest. 

 These are some of the ways in which you can save money when selling your house. How have you saved money selling or buying new property?



Monday, October 16, 2017

Zilis Hemp CBD Oil Review and Why I Joined This Awesome Company


I need to start this post off by explaining that I am NOT a salesperson. I have been begged by dozens of friends to join their teams in every business possible but I have always respectfully declined, mostly because I am a crazy busy Mom of 5 with literally NO spare time. If I am going to invest time and money into a business, it's going to be something that I really believe in. Not that I can't use extra money, after all, I am paying student loans back from a Bachelors degree that I didn't really need to be a stay at home mom. Extra money is always nice but not if it means I have to bug my friends and family to death about products that I really don't care about. Fast forward to a recent Facebook post made by an old friend of mine. She was using a product that was literally changing her life and when I saw that I suffered from a lot of the things she had listed, I was intrigued. Joining her team was not anywhere on my radar but getting my hands on this product was a top priority so she sent me a bottle in the mail and I had it two days later. This product was 7 CBD Hemp oil from Zilis. My friend sent me some literature on the product and I was excited to get started. 



I have ALWAYS been a huge supporter of medical marijuana because I believe that God gave us the plant to use because it has so many amazing medicinal properties. Having said that though, the majority of people suffering from various ailments cannot sit around stoned all day. If I had to actually smoke marijuana to get the good effects from it, I would never get anything done and I would be as big as a barn from sitting around all day with the munchies. HA! Kudos to you if you are able to smoke medicinal marijuana and still function but lets be realistic. Most of us could not do that in our every day lives. But CBD oil is different. This stuff is from the male hemp plant and doesn't contain THC. Sweet. 

Years ago I predicted that CBD was going to be a great thing someday that would help a lot of people but I never in a million years thought that I would be one of those people. Anxiety, migraines, insomnia, brain fog and achy joints are just a handful of the things I experience in my life on a regular basis but I am very leery of prescription and even some over the counter medications. Because of this, I have suffered needlessly. Yes, I know that there are probably medications that could have helped me but I wasn't willing to take them with possible side effects so I literally have suffered. So I got my hands on a bottle of this CBD oil from a company called Zilis and I recorded what I did and how I felt on each of the 7 days that I took it.

My 7 Day Challenge Diary 

Day 1: Woke up in the middle of the night with a horrible headache. Took 800mg of Ibuprofen at 4:00 a.m. and went back to sleep. Tossed and turned until 6:00 a.m. when I finally gave up and got up for the day.  Did very little throughout the day. Headache still dull and making me nauseous. Took a second dose of Ibuprofen around 12:00 along with some caffeine. Attempted housework but felt too sick to do anything so laid around most of the afternoon. Picked kids up from school at 3:00. Came home and checked mail and BOOM! CBD oil was in the mailbox. Took a dose while still sitting in my van in my driveway. Just a squirt under the tongue and it tasted GROSS! I looked at the bottle and saw that my friend had sent me the cinnamon. Noted. If I continue, make sure I order the wild berry next time. LOL! Went inside to face my very busy evening with 5 kids and a killer headache. Oh Joy. But wait! Got the kids settled down for snack and homework and started getting soccer clothes out for practice and realized that my headache was gone. Looked at the clock and it was around 4:30. Wow. A fluke? Not sure but thankful my headache was gone. Cooked dinner, got my boys to and from practice along with a trip the car wash and I felt good. Like, really good. I usually start yawning and struggling to stay awake around 9:00 p.m. but I was WIDE awake. Cleaned up, got laundry done, laid kids clothes out for bed and finally laid down to go to bed around 11:00. Didn't wake up until my alarm went off at 5:30 the next morning. YES!

Day 2: Woke up feeling refreshed after getting an uninterrupted night of sleep. Wow, my 2 year old didn't even wake me up kicking me. Went downtairs to start coffee and get my teenage daughter up for school. Not out of the ordinary for me, I felt a panic attack coming on. This is pretty much my normal. My panic attacks come out of nowhere. No explanation. No medical reason. My heart starts to pound, I get dizzy and nauseous and I feel myself starting to FREAK OUT! Immediately went downstairs and squirt a dose of the CBD oil under my tongue. Still gross but not as bad as yesterday. I guess on the first day I was expecting a good taste but this time I wasn't shocked by the bitter taste when I swallowed. Hopped in the shower and prayed that this panic attack would pass quick. Got out of the shower and noticed I felt much calmer. Normally on a day when I have a panic attack in the morning I will be on edge all day but I felt relaxed and ok. The rest of my day was uneventful but again I noticed how much energy I still had in the evening. Messaged my friend and asked a bazillion questions about what I needed to do if I wanted to sign on as a distributor. You know, just in case I actually liked this stuff. Joined a live webinar to learn about the company and I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me. A fairly new company with a product that is expected to grow 700% in the next 2 years according to Forbes magazine. I was also super impressed by another Pay it Forward thing that they do called a Blessing Bonus. Depending on your rank as a distributor, the company sends you $100-400 a month to GIVE AWAY. Yes, give away or pay it forward to someone else in need. The kids and I do this all of the time anyway. We do so much charity work and giving. This company ROCKS. Husband couldn't believe I was still rocking at 10:30 and I finally laid down at 11:00. Felt wide awake but went right to sleep and woke up with the alarm at 5:30.

Day 3. Woke up feeling good and refreshed. Parents were coming to visit so I started on my house-work right away. Noted that I felt energetic and not dragging like normal. I also noted that I hadn't had another headache since a couple days prior which is out of the normal because normally during this particular time of the month, daily headaches are the norm. (Sorry, TMI!) Took a squirt of the CBD oil under my tongue and spent the entire day cleaning and running errands. My parents showed up in the afternoon and we hung out, rode 4-wheelers and my Mom and I went and picked out a bazillion pumpkins for her to take back home with her the next day. I noted that I didn't feel like I needed a nap like I usually feel around 2-3 every afternoon. I felt good. I talked to my Mom who was also doing the 7 day challenge and she and I compared stories. She said she felt like she had more energy as well. We all went to bed around 10ish. I went right to sleep until the next morning.

Day 4. Woke up, again feeling great. Started looking more into this company, Zilis. Super impressed by this company. Every time someone places an order, they send nutrition packs to malnourished children in Haiti. That's awesome. Watched a video about it that my friend had sent and was super impressed. Awesome product and they care about those in need. Win, win. My Mom and I were talking about the product and she said she had wild berry so I took a squirt of hers to see if it was any better than the cinnamon. It was better. It wasn't delicious, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't as strong as the cinnamon. Spent the entire day running around to soccer games and around 4ish my parents headed home. I went home and cleaned up the house for a bit. Felt a little anxious so I took another squirt of the CBD oil around 4 p.m. Didn't even notice the strong taste like the first couple of days. My taste buds must have gotten used to it. Started feeling more calm and relaxed around 5:00 and the rest of the night was uneventful. Went to bed and went right to sleep. Slept through the night except for getting woke up by my 2 year old to go potty around 2 a.m. Went right back to sleep until the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m.

Day 5. Got up feeling good. Husband noted that he felt like I have been in better spirits this week. Inquired why I was in such a good mood. HA! I told him I felt like the CBD oil was making me less anxious and was helping me get more restful sleep at night. Left the room and when I came back in, caught him taking a squirt. Laughed and told him to get his own before taking my own morning squirt under my tongue. He said it didn't taste good but wasn't terrible. Compared it to a cough syrup which was funny because that's what my Mom said too. Went on with my day and hubby texted me around noon and noted that he felt awesome. He has a lot of pain as well as anxiety and depression (We are a hot mess some days) but he felt good. He also hates his job which usually puts him in a bad mood but I noticed how much more upbeat he was throughout the day. Both of us felt relaxed and calm that evening. Watched a movie and went to bed around 11:00. Slept through the night.

Day 6. Decided that I love this CBD Oil and this company. Took my morning dose and went on with my bad self.

I never journaled anymore after day 6 because I had decided by then that not only was I in love with this stuff, I decided that being a distributor is right for me because I want to share this product with EVERYONE I know. In the past month, I have seen this product literally change lives.

If you are interested in doing the 7 Day Challenge, shoot me an email at sarahlewis06@aol.com to order your trial bottle. These bottles are only available from distributors so they can't be ordered online. If you are interested in ordering online, you can give me a holler at the same email address and I can get you set up with a full sized bottle. This month we have a special where if you order the full sized bottle on auto-ship, you get a trial sized bottle FREE! 

Furthermore, if you are interested in working in a business in an industry that is projected to grow by 700% in the next 2 years, CONTACT ME! I am looking to grow my team across the country so we can get this product into as many hands as possible. THAT is how much I believe in it! Zilis has an amazing, super generous compensation plan with bonuses as well as healthcare benefits. You can't really find anything like this compensation plan with other direct sales companies! It's THAT good! 

All I can tell you is that this CBD oil has truly changed my life and I just want to share it with everyone I come in contact with. So glad I said yes to the 7 Day Challenge!!! 

*This post was not sponsored in any way. I purchased my 7 day trial at full price and paid to become a distributor.  Results will vary but everything here is 100% truthful and based on my experience with this amazing product* 



Goodbye Christopher Robin Release PLUS a Giveaway!

*This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer's Network and Fox Searchlight. All opinions belong to the owner of this site* 



If you have been watching and waiting for the release of Goodbye Christopher Robin, your wait is finally over! The film released on Friday, October 13 in select theaters across the country. Goodbye Christopher Robin gives a glimpse into the relationship between children's author A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin (Will Tllston) whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie-the-Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne and his nanny Olive, Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family?

We were sent the sweetest replica of the original Winnie the Pooh bear for national Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day and it brought back so many awesome memories of not only when I was a child watching Winnie the Pooh but memories with all of our own children too. Our youngest is obsessed with stuffed animals and a particular blanket that she loves to tote around as they are things that bring her comfort much like the stories brought to England during a very dark time.



Watch the trailer below!



We had a soccer tournament over the weekend with our sons so we haven't made it to watch the movie in Cincinnati yet but we are SO excited to go see it in the near future. What we are hearing from other movie-goers however is that the film has some very heavy themes so we suggest you read other reviews before taking the kids out to see it! Here is a pretty thorough review of the movie which goes along with most of the things we have heard from others who have been to see the film.



GIVEAWAY




One lucky reader will win a Goodbye Christopher Robin themed journal and tote bag!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Thanks to Fox Searchlight and Role Mommy Writer's Network for sponsoring this post and giveaway*




Monday, October 2, 2017

Starting a Real Estate Franchise

Properties on Your Mind? Get a Head Start on your own Real Estate Franchise 



Love properties? Of course you do! Who doesn’t? There’s the freedom of being your own boss, and the satisfaction of success if you finally make it big. Real Estate Franchising may be a portal to the realisation of your entrepreneurial dreams, especially if you’re fond of properties. Here are some of the top tips to nudge you in the right direction. 

1. Learn from the Best 

It’s key to observe and ask. You can’t be expected to know everything straight out. Get to know people who are in the same line as you and are successful. If you’re getting into a real estate franchise, you need to learn what a franchiser does best. Observe what they do, and learn from their mistakes. When you are around like minded people, you start to think like them and stay motivated. 

2. Do you REALLY love Properties? 

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was any successful business. If you’re in it just for the money, riding the bandwagon like countless others, avoid venturing in. Not to dissuade you from your pursuits, but goings may get tough in the future as housing, commercial markets. You need to be prepared to battle that crunch financially as well as mentally. If you’re driven by a passion for real estate, and not just the money, you’ll love it; through thick as well as thin. 

3. Outsource Costly Jobs 

When setting up any business, you are sure to face budget constraints. Startup costs can add up. A rule of thumb is to overestimate costs but reduce them wherever possible. Doing this without compromising on service quality goes without saying. Outsourcing your payroll is a cost-effective way to attain the savings you need in the early years of your franchise. It enables you to save up for a rainy day and allocate more funds to more pressing issues. Focused outsourcing takes special care to have your payroll managed in accordance with the country’s laws. 

4. Establish your Brand 

Promoting your franchise is one of the tenets of good business. Don’t become complacent with it. Keep at it with your marketing efforts with local newspaper, magazine, and radio advertisements. You can opt to have flyers distributed as well. TV, although it gets a lot of coverage, is far too expensive initially for your franchise. Web ads are also a cost effective tool when it comes to advertising your franchise. Place online ads wherever your target market (property buyers and sellers) are present.

 It really makes a positive impression on people if you do branded marketing giveaways upon completion of a deal. This may be a keychain, a desk clock, stress reliever (perhaps a fidget spinner) or a diary with your brand name and logo on it. Remember: A little extra goes a long way. 

5. Never forget about Clients or Employees 

Keeping with the last tip – never forget who you’re serving. You spend all of your hard earned resources including money time and energy on getting your customers on board. Pay special attention to those who are unhappy. If your website involves reviews, cater to negatives and positives, online as well as in real life. Address client concerns and rectify your franchise. Same goes with motivating employees. Always address concerns, always!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fall Shadow Box How-To With Westcott Glue Guns

This post is being sponsored by Role Mommy and Westcott. All opinions belong to the owners of this site* 




I can finally say "It's Fall" and I could not be more thrilled, even though the weather here in Ohio has been feeling more like July. This is my favorite season, my favorite time of year to cozy up with my family, spend hours baking in the kitchen and making fun Fall themed crafts. I like to start decorating for Fall right after Labor Day so I can leave it up for as long as possible before Christmas takes over, usually around Thanksgiving. This year I started as soon as September hit the calendar. It was cooler at the beginning of the month and it just felt like Fall! How could I not want to decorate for Fall when this is the view off of my front porch? 


A couple of months ago, we received some really fun new craft products from Westcott so we were extra excited to make something easy and fun. We only used the paper trimmer and mini hot glue gun for the craft below but we have been using the other stuff and I'm in love! The USB pencil sharpener is like the coolest thing since sliced bread. My son does high school at home so it keeps disappearing from my desk and reappearing on his. I think we just need to break down and buy another one! The hot glue pen is another fabulous Must Have in your craft closet. It's super easy to use and keeps everything nice and clean. 


I look for "easy" projects because we have 5 children and I always have helpers so I try to keep it as simple as possible so they can participate. We are almost finished decorating for this season but we found a lot of random goodies in the bottom of one of our Fall decor boxes so we decided to make a Fall themed shadow box! I love shadow boxes because you can make them in any theme and even if you are not great at crafts, you can still manage a nice finished product. If you don't have the stuff to make a shadowbox out of stuff that you already have, you can go just about anywhere to get inexpensive supplies. 



How-To Make a Fun Shadow Box for Fall 





Items Used:

Shadow Box 
Stock Paper 
Small Fall Themed Decor 
Westcott Mini Hot Glue Gun 
Westcott 12" Carbo Titanium Narrow Body Trimmer

Step 1: 
Gather Your Supplies 




Step 2: 
Cut Card Stock to fit the size of your shadow box. Use your hot glue gun to attach the card stock to the back of the shadow box insert. Sometimes they already come with a nice background but the one I bought was black and I wanted it to be a little more fall colored so I chose a pale yellow. 



Step 3: 
Arrange everything on the cardstock how you want it and carefully hot glue everything on. 



Step 4
If you want to add little floating pieces of decor, put them inside of the shadow box. In the one we made above, we used small decorative acorns, pinecones, leaves and pumpkins. We don't glue these, rather we just let them sit in the bottom of the  box. 

Step 5
Put everything in the shadowbox and attach the back on. All done! 



So easy and super cute!!! The kids had a blast helping me gather little things to go in our shadow box and it looks great hanging in our kitchen. The goodies from Westcott made this project even easier (The mini glue gun worked perfectly) and we can't wait to make some more in a couple of months for Christmas! 

If you need some inspiration for some crafting this Fall/Halloween season, visit the Westcott Creativators page! 

Thanks to the sponsor for the products to help us create this fun craft. 




Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Driving for Uber or Other Taxi-Like Companies

Companies like Uber and Lyft are gaining in popularity today as consumers learn more about them and that means that the need for drivers for these companies is also growing. I have spoken to a fair amount of people who actually make a living solely on driving for these taxi-like companies which is phenomenal for those who are in need of extra income. What sets these companies apart from traditional taxi companies is that the driver uses his/her own vehicle and basically sets his/her own schedule. So what exactly DOES it take to earn money driving for one of these companies?


1. A reliable vehicle is obviously the most important necessity to be a driver. Different states have different requirements but the vehicle has to be fairly new and must pass an inspection that can be done at a place local to you. This is basically the only startup cost to be a driver which is pretty awesome considering that you would invest thousands in start up costs for most other business ventures. If you already have a decently new 4-door vehicle your start up cost will be very minimal. Auto trader compiled a list of 7 great cars for an Uber driver

2. If you are interested in increasing your revenues as a driver, you may consider driving for Uber Black which is the luxury version of the traditional Uber service. If you have a 2010 or newer black luxury sedan (on the outside and inside) that can hold at least 4 passengers, you can drive passengers to higher end events at a higher fare. If you don't have a vehicle from the Uber luxury cars list, you can also consider renting one!



3. Personal insurance is also needed to be a driver. When the Uber app is turned off, personal insurance is active but when the Uber app is turned on, a secondary insurance kicks in from Uber itself.  According to Time, if your personal insurance companies finds out that you are driving for a ridesharing company, they can drop you from their policy. Furthermore, many insurance companies now have exclusions for those who drive for ridesharing companies.

4. A smartphone is a must have to drive for Uber as everything is done through the app. Uber has a list of approved cell phone devices on their webpage and drivers must have one that meets the minimum requirements. They have a list of banned smartphones that are not compatible with their platform. Drivers must also carry a minimum of 2 gb of data on their phone as well as airtime as sometimes it might be necessary to make or receive calls from the service.

Most people are pleasantly surprised on how fast they can get hooked up with a job with Uber or a similar company. If you have the above things already in place, which most people do, you can be making side income in no time at all!


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Great Gift Ideas for All Occasions

Gift giving can be one of the most wonderful (and stressful!) tasks ever. Finding the perfect gift that someone will actually enjoy and appreciate can be extremely difficult sometimes, especially when you want the gift to be something thoughtful AND something that the recipient will actually use. I have people on my holiday list this year that are extremely easy to shop for but others, not so much. If you are in the same boat as me, look no further. We have compiled some of the best gift ideas out there to help make your shopping this year a breeze. 


1. Entertainment Tickets

Whether you have a daughter who is obsessed with the latest boy band, a husband who is super committed to his favorite sports team or a mother who loves the opera, tickets are always a great choice for gifts. Last year my mother in law purchased my daughters and I tickets to our very first broadway show (The Little Mermaid) and we absolutely loved it! We all went together and not only did we get to see a great show, we got to build memories together which is priceless to me. My husband and I have been on both the giving and receiving end of tickets as gifts and they have never disappointed. A couple of years ago we received tickets to the Cincinnati Bengals (our favorite football team), our oldest son receives tickets every year for Reds Opening Day and we have purchased multiple concert tickets for our teenage daughter for various occasions. Keep in mind that an additional pre-paid gift card for concert souvenirs and even food will be extra appreciated, especially when the recipient is not financially secure. (i.e. a college student, teenager, etc.) 


2. Personalized Gifts 
I am crazy about personalized products. If you were to walk through my kids bedrooms, you will find their names on just about everything they have. If a child is your intended recipient, you can purchase them just about any personalized product and they will love it because what kid doesn't love to see something made just for them? Books, bags, clothing, etc. are all great ideas for personalized products for kids. If you are shopping for an adult, you can create personalized coffee mugs, cutting boards or even build your own luggage tags. The great thing about personalized products is that you can personalize just about anything these days. Last year we bought my husband a beautiful pocket knife set with his name engraved and this year I already ordered my daughter a beautiful personalized bracelet and book. Put Me in the Story is an amazing company where you can create books that actually star your child! You can't go wrong with a well thought out personalized gift! 


3. Experiences

Growing in popularity, gift givers from across the country have been giving the gift of experiences instead of physical gifts and recipients of these gifts could not be more thrilled. Whether you want to purchase a skydiving trip for a daredevil on your list or a romantic horseback riding experience for two, you can find some amazing activities to gift even the most difficult to buy for. You can find everything from paintball wars to hot air balloon rides.  Cloud 9 Living is our favorite one stop shop for amazing experiences that can be gifted to everyone on your list. 


4. Gift cards



When in doubt and all other ideas fail, a gift card is not a bad gift as long as it's something that the recipient will actually use. My parents love going to the movie theater (which can be pricey when you add in the price of popcorn, drinks and snacks) so a gift card to their local theater along with one to their favorite restaurant is the perfect gift that they can actually use and enjoy for a night out. Gift cards are perfect for those who are difficult to buy for or seemingly have everything already. According to Marketwatch, however, over 1 billion dollars in gift cards go unredeemed each year so make sure you purchase an appropriate gift card for its intended recipient. 

The holiday season is literally right around the corner......if you have a long list like me, you can't go wrong with some of the above ideas! Who do you find is the most difficult to shop for you on your list?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stop Night Sweats With a Cooling Mattress Pad

If you live in a warm climate then you know what it is like to wake up in the middle of the night feeling a little too warm around the neck. According to statistics, overheating during sleep is one of the major factors contributing to a bad nights’ sleep. One way to combat this is by purchasing a cooling mattress pad to top your mattress off with. 
Cooling mattress pads have become more and more popular in use to provide a cooler, more comfortable way to sleep, whether on old or new mattresses. So below are some things to consider when choosing the best cooling mattress pad for a cool nights’ sleep.



1 – More or less firmness?
If you have an older bed, the chances are that it has long since lost some of the comfort that was there in the beginning. Alternatively, you could have just bought a new bed that you haven’t quite ‘worn in’ yet and is still a little too hard for your liking.
When choosing the best cooling mattress pad for your bed, you need to take into consideration that, like with any bed topper, it will affect the way your bed feels to you. Decide whether you would like to stiffen up your bed or make it a little more comfy before you buy a cooling mattress topper.




This will help you choose because it means that depending on your preference you can knock out a few options from the get go depending on their material composition. We recommend consulting this list of the best cooling mattress pads as per TheSleepStudies.com.
2 – What is the best material to go for?
There is a wide variety of different cooling mattress pads out there. They range from memory foam infused with a cooling gel to duck down pads. Choosing the best material depends on your answer to the question above; do you want more firmness or more cushioning?
If you are looking to add a bit of firmness to your bed, a memory foam or similar cooling pad/topper is what you are looking for. The memory foam imprints against your body and offers you a very comfortable sleep while offering great support.  Just make sure that you get a gel infused memory foam. The gel acts as a heat regulator and draws heat away from your body as you sleep.

If you are looking for a bit more comfort, duck down or similar is the way to go. These pads offer an amazing amount of comfort and help soften your bed, especially if your mattress is a bit on the firm side. The only downside to these types of cooling mattress pads is that they tend to be higher up on the pricing scale. 
Other options for materials include latex (which is incredibly eco-friendly and provides great support), fibre (which has all the perks of feather or down pads but is hypoallergenic) or wool (which is extremely durable and can keep you warm on cold winter nights).
3 – How do I want it to cool my bed?
There are two types of mattress cooling pads - active and passive.
Active cooling pads generally make use of electrical outlets and have anything from fans that blow cool air into the mattress to a series of pipes that circulate cool liquids throughout the pad while you sleep. While these toppers generally are much better at regulating temperature than passive pads, they come with the inconvenience of having to be plugged in and are much heavier on your pocket than passive pads.

Passive pads however make use of simple methods to make sure that you stay cool while you sleep. Some, like the infused memory foam, use cooling gels which draw the heat away from your body and disperse it out of the pad, while others are designed to allow a cooling airflow to move through the pad while you sleep to allow hot air to dissipate. These are the more common cooling pads and are easy enough to put on and enjoy without having any extra troubles of plugging it in etc.
Most of the best cooling mattress pads belong to the category of passives.
4 – What other things do I need to check before I buy?
One of the major things that people forget to look out for when buying a cooling mattress pad is its ease in cleaning.
The best is to look for a cooling mattress pad that has a removable cover, preferably 100% cotton that adds more comfort, which you can easily take off the pad and throw into the machine. Be careful when purchasing your cooling pad as some have to be dry-cleaned while others you can just throw in the washer.
Also look out for anti-allergy cooling pads. This is generally only if you are looking to buy a feather/down or latex cooling pad however. Make sure that it is something that you will not have allergies to and that will be safe to use.
Asking yourself these five simple questions can often help you eliminate many cooling pads on the market and narrow your options down to exactly what you are looking for to find the best cooling mattress pad.

Friday, July 14, 2017

6 Things We Need To Stop Saying To Bereaved Parents


Joan Markwell knows the gut-wrenching, hollow feeling left behind when a child is taken too early. It’s a feeling that many mothers have experienced recently and throughout the last few years after tragic attacks in Orlando, Manchester, London, San Bernardino, Calif., and Charleston, S.C., just to name a few. 

With every new tragedy, vigil, story on the news or anniversary recognizing these events, plenty of mothers like Markwell – who lost her adult child to cancer – feel the sting of the wound that accompanies their loss. 

While that wound may have healed, there is still a scar left as a reminder of the pain that still lives on for many grieving family members, including mothers who are surviving with that pain in many different ways. 

“When a mother loses a child, the grief dictates her life,” says Markwell, author of the book Softening the Grief. “You don’t see an end to the pain. As the body reacts to the stress you feel, physical pain follows. Sleep is out of the question.”

It’s a grief that only they understand, however, and one that others usually don’t know how to deal with.  

“The first time we meet a friend since the death of our child occurred can be frightening,” says Markwell, “It’s not that we don’t want to see them; we just can’t face anyone without tearing up.”

To avoid those awkward situations, Markwell offers up some phrases you should avoid saying to grieving parents and instead offers alternatives: 


  • “You Are So Strong.” In reality we are exhausted from trying to look strong. Try this instead: “I know it’s hard to be strong right now. I’m here for you to lean on anytime. I have an open heart and time to listen.”

  • “Be Glad You Have Other Children.” We may have other children, but they cannot replace the child we’ve lost. Try this instead: “No child is replaceable, but I hope having your surviving children around you helps in easing the pain of your loss.”


  • “You’re not the first mother who has lost a child.” Yes, but this is the first time I’ve lost my child. Try this instead: “I know mothers who have lost children and how much they grieved. That has made me aware of what a fight this is for you. You will continue to be in my thoughts.”

  • “My child almost died, I know how you feel.” If you said this, you only had a clue about how it might feel to lose a child. Try this instead: “My child had a close brush with death, which was terrifying enough. There can be no comparison to actually losing a child.”  

  • “Time heals all wounds.” In time the mind covers wounds with scar tissue and pain lessens. But it’s never gone. Try this instead: “I hope in time your pain and grief will soften. Knowing it will take time, I stand beside you for the long haul.” 

  • “Everything Happens for a Reason.” There is never a good enough reason as to why our children were taken. Try this instead: “It goes beyond reason for any child to be taken from a mother. There was certainly no good reason to lose yours.”

“These awkward but common questions and statements can trigger a world of grief for bereaved mothers,” says Markwell. “When talking to a grieving parent about their lost child, it’s best to take a step back and choose your words carefully.”  


About Joan E. Markwell 

Joan Markwell is a small business and real estate owner who resides in Lawrenceburg, Ky. She is a former board member of the Lawrenceburg (Ky.) Chamber of Commerce, former board member of the Spencer County (Ky.) Tourism Board and former vice president of the National Association of Women in Construction, Bluegrass Chapter (Lexington, Ky.). Markwell lost her daughter Cindy – who was a mother of two herself – to cancer in 2013. Cindy’s children, Lucas and Samuel, are a big part of Markwell’s life, as is her son, Kris Fields. 

Keep Your Skin Healthy and Beautiful This Summer

I absolutely love Summer but it wreaks havoc on my skin. Between pool chemicals and the sun, if you don't take proper precautions, your skin will be a hot mess by the end of Summer. Luckily there are simple precautions that you can take to make sure you skin stays healthy and beautiful not only throughout the warm Summer months but throughout the whole year. 



Wear Sunscreen

Facts don't lie. Skin cancer is on the rise and it does not discriminate. According to skincancer.org, over 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year! 90% of those cases are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun. YIKES! I am somewhat psychotic when it comes to my family and sunscreen. Its a no-brainer when it comes to the pool, ocean, etc. but we don't always think about it when we are doing other activities outdoors. I keep a high SPF sunscreen in all of our vehicles as well as in our home so we have it on hand wherever we might be. We are known for our impromptu trips and adventures so planning ahead and keeping a bottle of sunscreen in the glove compartment of our vehicles is a must. I love to walk outside and my kids play outdoor sports so it's super important to make sure you are using sunscreen during these times as well. You don't just need sunscreen when you are swimming! You need to apply it liberally and often any time you are going to be outdoors. If you are looking for that Summer glow, consider a self tanning lotion or spray tan instead. 



Take Care of Your Lips 

When we think about sunscreen, we often forget about one of the most sensitive places on our face....our lips! I have made it a part of my regular skincare regimen to put sunscreen lip balm on daily. In the Summer time, I tend to use a lip balm instead of a gloss or stain because it adds more moisture and protection. Dry, chapped lips in the Summer are no fun. Find a product that is at least SPF 15 and incorporate it into your daily skincare regime. If your lips do get dry and cracked, you can find lip exfoliator at just about any store that carries beauty supplies. Exfoliate and then protect them as much as you can. 

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize 


Skin gets dried out for a variety of reasons during Summer months so moisturizing is probably the most important thing you can do for your skin. Radha Beauty Products carries a variety of natural products that can help keep your skin looking fabulous including a line of amazing moisturizers for even those with sensitive skin. I prefer to use two moisturizers, one for my body and a separate one for my face. If you can find one that uses all natural ingredients, I personally think they are superior to others with a more chemical makeup. Products with coconut oil , aloe, etc are what I look for in a good Summer moisturizer. If I am in the pool more than once or twice a week, my skin is so dry and itchy if I don't moisturize. 

Hydration is a MUST! 


Hot weather can deplete your body of water very quickly so staying hydrated is so important. Many experts say that you should drink a minimum of half of your body weight in water every single day. That means a person weighing 150 pounds should drink a minimum of 75 ounces of water a day and even more on days where you are very active. The CDC also advises that you increase water intake when you are running a fever, have diarrhea or vomiting and when you are in very hot climates. I also like to keep water rich fruits and veggies on hand throughout the Summer as well. We eat on average 1-2 watermelons a week between May and September. I like to cut them up into chunks and keep it in a large bowl in the refrigerator so it's always on hand for a cool treat. I also put them into large ziplock baggies and send them in my husband's lunchbox for work. Your skin is 64% water so it only makes sense that if you want healthy looking skin, hydration is key! 




Wherever this Summer takes you, take care of your skin. My latest motto is that we have only been given one body and it's our duty to take care of it or just like anything else, it's going to wear out long before it should. Take time to take care of yourself, your skin will thank you!