Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why I Blog

I looooove a good Before & After makeover. Whether it's a dingy basement turned into a magnificent crafter's retreat on HGTV or a dowdy housewife turned into a stylish vixen in a magazine spread, the 'after' isn't nearly as dramatic without the 'before' shot. You have to know how the project started out to fully appreciate the transformation that took place.

In my early blogging days, I published this 'BEFORE' picture of an organizing project {read the post HERE)...

...and had a commenter that said, "I could never publish a real 'before' picture!! I'd be too embarassed!" It gave me pause to consider why I blogged and what kind of blogger I wanted to be.

I realized that, as in real life, I have learned that hiding my flaws or pretending to be perfect doesn't do anyone any favors.

That 'before' picture would likely illicit one of two responses:

1. "Ugh! I can't believe anyone can live that way!" They probably work very hard to maintain a magazine-worthy life and have it all figured out (or are committed to pretending to), so I'm not really blogging about or for that person.

OR 2. "Wow, that looks like MY life!" and they are inspired to tackle their own project and are encouraged that they're not the only one dealing with whatever their 'before' happens to be. THAT is the woman I can relate to and THAT is who I write for.

By the way, bloggers are usually not the first type of person, showing off their idyllic existence to throw it in your face and make you feel inadequate. Bloggers are typically people who are trying to improve the quality of their life and pass along their tricks and tools to their readers.

Do bloggers edit what they publish? Um....yeah. Do I edit here? Of course. I don't go around in real life airing my dirty laundry or telling everyone I meet what I'm frustrated by in my life. Sometimes I may move the errant Lego parts, make the bed or give my dining room table an extra scrub-down before snapping a picture to post. I will, however, tell you honestly that with this...

comes THIS.

I blogged about my miscarriage, anxiety and fear, too. Go ahead and do a search on it, it's all there! :)

Authenticity, in the blogging world and in real life, is key. When I'm real with other people, it gives them permission to be real, too. And that's how we all grow and move toward the life we want. Seeing the 'before' just helps us appreciate the 'after' all the more.

Consider this blog a gigantic Before & After scrapbook of my life. I hope you'll find something useful here to aid your own transformation.

And if you need anything in 'real life,' feel free to e-mail me at

Monday, January 16, 2012

When Direct Sales Calls {part 3}

Read part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE.

Where we left off, I'd realized that I need a REAL job that made actual money. I'd always loved direct sales--and even Mary Kay in particular--but had never really "made it" yet. It was still a dream in my heart, though, along with leading and inspiring other women, networking with other women in business and living the life of my dreams (which included a flexible schedule so I could be with my family).

Sherrian (my Mary Kay trainer and director) says now that she saw the potential in me as soon as we met. After attending her makeover class, looking at the catalog, thinking about the particulars of the company and the business, my heart began to soar. I had to be realistic--I didn't WANT to start a new business from the ground up! I wanted something tried and true that would give me a simple formula to success that I could follow.

Come to find out, Mary Kay herself, when she founded the company, wanted a way to give women a chance to own their own business, to make their own way, to be successful and to be celebrated. The cosmetics was just the vehicle. I felt the same way. I want to lead and inspire women, work with women, encourage women to live the best life they can and help other women with their own businesses--and Mary Kay will be my vehicle. It just so happens that the vehicle is something I love--skin care and makeup! My dream is that it will also be a way for me to pour money into a charitable organization as well.

Just deciding on a job was an enormous relief. I had my "It" thing--and all the dreams and heart desires that went with it. My husband sat down with Sherrian and her husband the night I signed the contract to become a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant--on my birthday, November 29th 2011.

Some would say that starting this new venture over the holidays was crazy but I enjoyed getting my feet wet before plunging in in 2012. I've already had several sales and have been able to practice on about ten women. The business really suits me and it's a blast. Plus women walk away looking and feeling GREAT!

Sherrian and I just sat down together last week to look at my goals and dreams and to come up with a plan for me to follow. It is so simple: do five faces a week. That means that I need to just have to do five facials every week (whether one-on-one or in group settings), showing women the four-step skin care routine that suits their skin type, including the amazing satin hands treatment and the microdermabrasion. It may not be easy, but it is simple.

Direct sales had been calling my name for a long time. God had been putting this desire on my heart for many years. I feel like I am just beginning to fulfill my life-long destiny. I am so grateful that I finally answered the call. I know I have just started the ride of my life--now I'm just going to hang on and see where God takes it!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Do You Take Pictures of Your Dinner Table?

We've done it for as long as I can remember. Whether it's a birthday, a holiday or any other family celebration, if there is a meal involved, we set a lovely (usually themed) table and take a picture of it. We often take a picture of the spread of food and/or our plateful of food, too. It's what we do in my family. If there's a cake involved, we take a picture of that, too.

Some people make fun of us for this, asking, "What are you going to DO with hundreds of pictures of tables and food and cakes??" {"some people" being my brother and my husband}

We're just capturing the moment and trying to remember how much fun we had. This is how we celebrate LIFE! And each other! It doesn't matter about what becomes of all the pictures.

Some recent parties:

November 20th: My mom's birthday brunch.

Our brunch food, prepared by a local chef. It tasted as scrumptious as it looks.

November 29th: My birthday party table with a winter/snowflake theme.

The spread of food.

Christmas Day, Ethan at my mom's table. He loves to check it out, to see what we did. He already appreciates a fancy table. It doesn't hurt that he also matches the tablecloth.

December 28th: The winter/nature-themed table for my grandmother's going-away dinner.

We had the ham my husband's company gives out for Christmas (with a fabulous apple compote) with scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, biscuits and iced tea.

I duplicated it a week later for our New Year's Day dinner in our back yard.

When we were house hunting, I saw a picture of this tree in the yard and envisioned eating under it. It's so cool to literally be "living the dream."

It's dreamy, isn't it???

This time the menu was pork tenderloin, a black-eyed peas gumbo kinda thing and corn muffins (with iced tea, of course).

We try to dress up according to the theme when possible, too.

At mom's party, which had a Julia Child/cooking theme. Evidently I forgot I was still wearing my apron.

Me, my mom and my grandmother WITH the table at my birthday party. I asked my guests to dress festively. My mom was Mrs. Claus and I was a snow princess. I'm tellin' ya--we have fun.

Say what you will about "going to all that trouble" or spending the money but I don't care. It's all about celebrating life and enjoying good food with the ones you love and I'd have it no other way.

Now to think about our Valentine's Day table and food...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When My Husband Gets His Craft On

He was in the garage most of Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve Eve.

From our closet where I was fetching the boys' present to wrap, I could hear sawing and hammering on the other side of the wall. There was some cursing, too. And there were multiple trips to Home Depot and Hobby Lobby.

I knew it would be good.

But I didn't know it would be THIS good.

He constructed and stained the frame, cut out the openings, and printed and matted the pictures (including that one of us from two weeks ago, BIG, right in the middle).

I ADORE it. Talk about a labor of love. Evidently I'm not the only crafty one in this family!