Thursday, July 7, 2016

Can We Get Back Together?

It's funny how life gets crazy sometimes, isn't it?

I've been thinking about this blog over the past few weeks. I was trying to decide if I had time to get it going again, and last night my mom stumbled onto the blog. She loved it, and her excitement is wearing off on me.

So, if you'll have me, I'm back!

Here are the most exciting updates since I last posted.

  • I'm still obsessed with leggings. (I found a pair of nylon/spandex leggings at Walmart for $4
    this weekend! I don't know if the deal is around everywhere, but they're great. Not see-through at all.)
  • I'm still looking for a consistent job that I can do from the comfort of my home. I've had some temporary work for a few months of the year, but nothing that keeps bringing in the money.
  • Biggest news of all! We're giving Miss K a brother! Mr. C will be here in September! 
So I might focus on some pregnancy fashion for the next few posts. 

Thanks for the second chance! I'm excited to be back. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Plight of the Sales Mom

All of my life I was taught that marketing jobs, and the sales people who work them, are bad. They're after your money and you'd have to be a complete fool to get involved. I don't know if it's because my mom had a bad experience, or if it's because my mom is as gullible, naive, innocent, easy (whatever word you want to use) as me, and we get taken in at the drop of a hat. I don't know, but whatever it is, I PROMISED myself that I would never get taken in by these multi-level marketing corporations that promise quick money and don't deliver. I'm afraid that some of my paranoia about sales people brought some, perhaps, unnecessary rudeness on my part.

I managed a KFC after my husband and I got married. Two weeks after I started I was still new and hadn't gotten the feel for the flow of traffic in my tiny, rather remote store. There was a special going (one of those all dark meat buckets everyone loves) and I was working with a young man who wasn't quite motivated. At some point during the dinner rush a man and his wife ordered the special, was served and left again without my knowledge. They came through the front of the store and I'd been working drive-through that evening. With an hour left before we closed up, the couple returned. I didn't recognize them, but I could tell something was wrong. I asked the man if I could help him and it was like I'd set off a bomb. The man was in my face explaining in no uncertain terms that my team and I were incompetent, and that there was a special place reserved for us in hell. I was shocked. There were two other customers in the store and they were shocked. My unmotivated co-worker was nowhere to be found. You should just know that I went to a religious college, in a religious town where the crime reports included petty theft and the occasional accidental fire. I let the man vent for a minute and then asked him what had happened. He told me that in his 10 piece, dark meat bucket he had received a single chicken breast - white meat. He went on for another five minutes using vulgar language and generally disparaging me and my store, and then he slammed out the door. His poor wife was pale and shaking, and apologized a thousand times for her husband's behavior. I replaced their entire order and she left as well. I tried to help the next customer in line, but broke down in tears before I could finish. It had been a long day, and never in my life had I been spoken to like that man spoke to me. I saw the man in the bank a few months later and smiled at him. He literally ran in the other direction. I hope it was remorse for having flipped out over a piece of chicken.

You would think that after all of this I would have realized that sales people, in a store or not, are not evil, but I still hang up without a word to the telemarketers, and I still brush impertinently past the booth workers in the mall, as if giving them a moment of time or a polite response would somehow give them a chance to work their magic. Worst of all, I ignore completely the peppy messages from fellow mothers who are simply trying to provide some semblance of a living for their families by selling other companies' products.

Recently, in a mother's group I follow on Facebook, there was a degrading message about people selling things within the group. Generally it isn't allowed, and I've never had an issue with it, but apparently this woman had. I read four of the comments and could read no more. It was then that I had this ah-ha moment.

MOST sales people are NOT TRYING TO SCAM YOU. They do want your business, and it'd be great if you were interested, but what they want most is a way to scratch out a living from a really dry, dusty employment industry.

I know. There are reports all the time about bad businesses, and dishonest people who really are scamming people out of their money. But the sweet mom from your church group who stops by peddling ItWorks, or Mary Kay, or dare I say, Beachbody. They are not trying to hurt you. They are not trying to steal away your life savings. They are not trying to trick you. If you're not interested, just say "no, thank you". If they continue to press, calmly say again, "really, no thank you". Sales people, if they say "no" they say "no". Respect that. Lets just all be civil to each other.

A dear, sweet friend of mine once told me that in every interaction you have, you either improve or you destroy. Don't destroy that woman (or man). What's the point? Why is that absolutely necessary? A calm, simple negative answer is much more uplifting than screaming filth into a phone, slamming a door, or playing some sort of prank.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope it makes you think.

I also hope you'll forgive a particularly opinionated post on a blog branded for fashion.

**There are scammers out there. Do your research before you invest in something. Follow your instincts and be smart - not rude.**

Friday, August 21, 2015

Struggling with the Blog Life

Hey everyone!

Long time, no talk. I know. I'm sorry. I got a temporary job in May and between that and my daughter this sweet, innocent little blog was thrown under the bus. I see I've had some devoted viewers over the past few days and I appreciate your commitment! I do hope to come back to the fold eventually.

Since 2013, when my daughter was born, I've been exploring work-at-home job options (thus, the blog). Here are some things I've tried:

- Survey sites (inconsistent, boring, pay next to nothing)
- Transcribing (all but impossible with a talkative toddler)
- Blogging (LOVE! but it doesn't pay much to start)
- Fiverr (mostly loved it, the review process can be brutal to your business)
- Pearson (the most boring job on the planet, but it pays like a real job)
- Book reviews (if you don't mind reading poorly edited books, this one's for you. Find it here)

When looking at work-from-home positions I look for three things:
1. Interesting work
2. Good pay
3. Consistent opportunities
It seems to me that most of the time I have to pick two of those and sacrifice the other. I'll know I've found the perfect job when I can get all three.

To continue on my journey, I'm trying the world of multi-level marketing (yikes... always promised myself I would never do this...) with Beachbody. I chose Beachbody because I've seen their workouts, they have an incredible reputation, and I don't have to have an inventory of stuff that I had to use my own money to buy. Plus, I have a friend who has had major success with this and she can walk me through the process. Over the next few months my blog posts will probably focus around this opportunity. Fitness fashion anyone?

If you've heard about Beachbody and are interested in trying their products, or even jumping into the world of coaching, let me know! That friend I mentioned has plenty of space under her wing and we'll be in it together.

They don't let me beautify my own site, but I like their design. You can get all the information you need about the company and contact me if you're interested. Check it out here and let me know what you think.

Anyone else been successful in the world of marketing?

P.S. If you're not entirely sure about this Beachbody thing, you can sign up for a free account and do more exploring! Go to my website (here) and click the join button.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Elegance Tip #9: Get Dressed with a Purpose

As a stay-at-home mom the hardest thing for me to do is get out of bed like I mean it every morning. I've been blessed with a little one who sleeps until 8am or 9am regularly, and although I love getting up before her, I hate getting up early. If I do get up before Miss K, I slump into the living room and into my rocking chair in front of the computer where I will get right to work on checking Facebook and email and doing absolutely nothing productive. I'm a log in my chair until the inevitable moment Miss K starts calling me to get her out of her crib. In that moment I realize I could have spent that hour writing a blog post, cleaning the living room, or getting ready for the day. What's really sad is that I always complain that I don't have a lot of time to get dressed in the morning. The truth is I actually do have some time, but I don't use it very wisely. So instead of getting dressed with a purpose I usually end up in some pair of leggings (that probably came from the hamper) and the first t-shirt I can find.

So what does it actually mean to get dressed with a purpose?

When I have a substituting job I get up early and I do my hair, I put on makeup, and I choose an outfit that is pretty and appropriate for the day. On the days I don't work I just don't care. By the end of the day I feel like a slob and I look like one too. It's hard to be elegant if you feel like a slob.

To fix this, and follow the tip, I've been trying to plan my outfits for the days I don't leave the house with as much thought and precision as I do when I'm going to work. I've discovered that this is a little harder because I don't want to feel confined and "dressed up" when I'm sitting at home and my collection of comfy clothes isn't quite as large, but I'm working on it.

How do you get dressed with purpose?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Elegance Tip #10: Don't Be Afraid to Get Dirty

No matter how well dressed you may be, if you won't get down and play on the floor with your children, you're losing out on an opportunity to be elegant.

This is why I'm such an advocate for leggings. At any given moment I want to be able to plop down on the floor and sit with my daughter while she plays with her doll. I want to be able to jump off the couch and dance with her when her favorite song ("Defying Gravity" from Wicked) comes on. I want to chase her through the house and listen to her giggle.

One of my favorite memories in my daughter's (almost) two years is sitting with her in a shallow hole dug in the sand filled with muddy sea water in my brand new Marilyn Monroe swimsuit. I'm sure my legs didn't look attractive, I'm sure I was showing off the fat in my arms and back and stomach, and I'm pretty okay with the fact that no one got a picture. But Miss K didn't care. She was just having a great time telling her mommy a story.

So no matter what you're wearing, remember that elegance sometimes means letting go of your pride, ignoring the dirt, and jumping into the sand with your kids (or nieces and nephews or grand-kids). Dirt can be cleaned away and clothing can be replaced, but our kids' childhood is fleeting.

Audrey Hepburn
Jennifer Garner

My Joy-Filled Life

Monday, May 4, 2015

Elegance in May

Wow it's been a crazy week! I'm really excited about this month's theme. I planned out the entire year before I started my blog, but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with May. It's summer here in the desert and school is getting out, but it's still spring in most of the country so I didn't want to start my summer posts. It's also my birthday month so I wanted it to be extra special. I left it blank in my calendar and told myself I could do whatever I wanted, but it had to be good.

It's good. I'm absolutely looking forward to writing everything for this month.

The theme is:

This month's posts will consist of my top eight tips on staying elegant when you hardly have time to get dressed, much less dress up. There will be an awesome outfit overhaul that will show off some formal attire that would be easy to wear as a mom. I'm going to show you how to do my "normal" hair - a basic, but elegant bun and a few other things that I believe help a woman be elegant no matter what the circumstances.

Let's start off with the most basic definition of elegance. Google says that elegance is "the quality of being graceful and stylish in appearance or manner; style." I think you can be completely elegant in manner and have zero sense of style. This month my tips focus on a combination of elegance in dress and elegance in manner. 

I don't really think a person can be elegant in dress and not be elegant in manner. Kim Kardashian comes to mind. Most people would say she's stylish, but I don't like her personality so when I think of her I don't think elegant (not that I've ever met her, maybe she's perfectly nice).

When I think of elegant women I think of Kate Middleton, Audrey Hepburn, and Emma Watson.

I can also think of a few people I know who are the epitome of elegance. This month I'm going to work on my own elegance while I write my tips, and I hope you'll be inspired to be a better you as well.

Happy May everyone!

photo credit: 2008-12-09 Wieskirche, Steingaden, Neuschwanstein 040 Schloss Neuschwanstein via photopin (license)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Outfit Overhaul - Heather Davis

I have an adorable, sweet sister who has recently begun college. Hmm... now that I think about it, I think this is her second semester. I don't know if that counts as "recent" anymore. Since having my baby I lose track of time really easily.

Anyway. She had her computer stolen while she was doing her laundry this past week. It's so sad. She worked so hard to get that computer and I feel so bad. I can't really help with the computer, but I thought she'd appreciate an outfit just for her to help cheer her up.

She's studying to be a marine biologist, and getting straight A's while doing it. My first year of college I was studying theater and I remember being on the phone with my mom having an absolute  melt down because I was struggling to do the work for a class. She has always had an incredible head on her shoulders and I'm so proud of her.

As if she needs an overhaul. What a beauty!
Underwater Introduction TeeIf I were to describe her style it would be "casual edginess". She has plenty of comfy outfits so in celebration of her brilliant brain I thought I'd give her an idea for a job interview outfit that fits with her chosen profession and her edgy style.

I saw this shirt and I wish I currently had money so that I could get it for her. It's so "Heather". You'll remember it from my post about the ModCloth sale. I decided it would be perfect for her job interview outfit. If you're thinking "wow... that's kind of casual for an interview" keep reading!!

To jazz up the t-shirt I would pair it with these plain, black slacks . Slacks are an essential part of every outfit. I have a wonderful pair of maternity slacks, but I need to invest in another pair that aren't maternity pants. I use black slacks for everything. If an event requires nice dress, but not something formal I go with slacks. I always make sure my slacks are comfortable. My belief is that just because you have to wear it to work doesn't mean it needs to be stuffy and hard to wear.

To really pull this outfit together, though, you really need a blazer . The edginess is in the t-shirt, but to pull it off for something professional it needs to be dressed up. The reviews on this blazer are a little hard to follow. From what I gather you'll need to order a size up for the best fit. For example, I think I'd probably be okay with a medium, but I'd order the large just to be sure. Remember to return it if it doesn't work for you.

Heather is working on her shoe collection as well. (I think it has way cuter stuff than mine does, too. Amber is the sister with the shoe collection I talk about all the time.) I think a pair of simple black pumps would be perfect for a job interview. A pair of dark blue shoes might work well to work in the blue from the shirt.

For accessories, go with plain simple earrings. Teardrop diamonds or pearls would look really classy. Heather has a few piercings and I think it would depend on who you're interviewing with if I would show those off or not. Do a teardrop earring in the bottom and then a stud in the others if you think they'd be okay with that. I would imagine that in the world of marine biology they'd probably celebrate some spunk, but really I have no idea. Personally, I would skip a necklace. That'd be a lot going on in the mid section of this outfit.

You could do so much with this outfit. Tuck in the shirt and wear a belt with the jacket. Instead of a blazer wear a dark cardigan. Cuff the bottom of the slacks to really add some edge. Wear a shrug or a cropped jacket and let the t-shirt and the print really show off. Wear a dark pencil skirt to show off some leg. The more I think about it the more adorable I think it would be.