Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Newest E-book

I have just published my second book, Ideas For Creating a Luxurious Home On a Budget , on Amazon.com. The e-book contains practical ideas for adding a luxurious feeling  to your home - inside and out.

I am so excited to share my journey with you. I have always wanted to be a writer and so I began my blog many years ago. I have enjoyed your comments and companionship and will continue to do in the future. And now my dream of being a legitimate writer is coming true.

I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to my good friend, Fiona of How To Be Chic. We are writing buddies who encourage each other when either of us fills blocked in our own writing. Your friendship means the world to me!

Again, I thank you all for coming along on this journey with me. Here's to writing and kindred spirits!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Saving Money on Razors

Hello Friends! I like to let my readers know of wonderful things I have found and if it saves you money...all the better!

Have you heard of the Dollar Shave Club? I had been hearing about them for a few years and once I found out a friend of my husband's was using them and loved it...I decided to give it a try.

Razors are so expensive, aren't they? With this service, you choose one of three razors and you get 4 cartridges. Then every month you get 4 cartridges shipped directly to your home and it's so much cheaper than what you buy in the stores!

For the razors, you have the choice between the humble twin blade for $1/month, the 4x for $6/month, or the executive which has 6 blades for $9/month.

I chose the Executive because it has 6 blades. I added on one extra razor handle, as I prefer the men's razors and paid $13. Shipping was very fast....less than a week.

How did it perform? My husband and I both used our razors and absolutely LOVED them. Nothing we have ever bought in the stores has given as close of a shave as the ones we chose!

What's the catch? Nothing that I have found. You can change the frequency of your shipments to bi-monthly if needed. You can pause the shipments for 1-3 months. Or you can cancel your membership without any fees. It is a win-win in my book!

If you would like to check out the Dollar Shave Club for yourself, please use my link. I get a $5 credit for anyone who uses me as a referral.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

For the Love of Music

Growing up, Mama always had music playing. Early on, she passed her love of music on to me. I loved the melodies and harmonies that came through the air waves to the radio. Music was magical.

I never learned to play an instrument, but I sang. I've always been drawn to music that moves me. The artist's passion shows itself through his or her music. A skillful guitar lick can touch the heart as much as a soulful voice. 

Music can evoke strong emotions. It can make you recall places, people and memories. It can soothe you and uplift you. It can even boost your energy. 

You do not need to know anything at all about music to understand it. Just listen and see what feeling arises. I enjoy many genres, but my favorite music to listen to is from the mid 70s through the 80s. I call it the soundtrack of my childhood! :)

There are few things I need in life, but music is one of them. A life without music is unimaginable. There is no cost to enjoy music and who knows....maybe one of these days I'll learn to play guitar after all!

What is your favorite music genre? Do you have a favorite artist or song? Please share in the comments!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Make Your Home Your Own Bed and Breakfast Retreat

Though I have never been to a bed and breakfast, I sometimes imagine what it would be like and try to make my home comparable. 

To have a successful B&B, you have to have your finances in order. So a budget is of primary importance. Each month I write out a budget on paper so I can tick off items as they are paid. It's pretty simplistic, but it works. 

The B&B I imagine is clutter-free and nicely decorated. It is also clean and sweet-smelling. I regularly edit my possessions and strive to keep surfaces clear. Routine cleaning and maintenance goes a long way in creating a clean home environment.

Meals are important at a B&B. Lately, I've been looking for new recipes to try and strive to try a new one each week. A big hit recently was my Easy Shrimp Scampi....delish! I'll share the recipe soon because it's so easy and quick. Perfect for busy nights or if you are running low on energy!

When you stay at a B&B, your comfort in the bedroom is of utmost importance! I constantly strive to make our bedroom a serene and restful space. Quality sheets, good pillows, and layers of bedding really make a difference. I only have one set of sheets which I wash weekly. Soft lighting is nice and creates ambiance. And I use a linen spray {Clean Cotton} from the Yankee Candle Co.

As usual when you stay anywhere, bathroom cleanliness is a must. I try to keep the counters streamlined {it's a constant struggle}. I want to create a spa-like atmosphere in this room. I have some ideas on what I want to do, just need to begin to implement them.

I would say curb appeal is very important to a B&B. Keeping up with yard maintenance is a must. I have potted plants and flowers by the front door, a cheerful welcome flag, and a wind chime. I'm slowly getting my yard back to where I want it to be. The 18 months I worked outside the home really took a toll on my yard! 

Other nice touches I imagine in a B&B are scented candles and wax melts, soft music playing, areas to sit outside in the garden, fluffy white bath linens, and decadent dark chocolate.

Have you stayed in a B&B? If so, what did you love most about the experience? 

Friday, May 08, 2015

Happiness: Rules To Live By

It took me a long to come to the conclusion that not everyone is going to like me or agree with me and my choices. And that's fine. Everyone is free to have their own opinion. I don't need anyone's approval to live my life in the way I choose to. 

How often, though, do we let fear of what others will say or think prevent us from doing what we want or from trying something new? 

My thinking is this: you may as well make yourself as happy as you can because no one is going to do it for you. 

My happiness is not dependent on anyone but myself. And so is yours. Here are some guidelines I try to live by:

~ Stop worrying about what others are doing, saying, or thinking. It's none of your business.

~ Don't give others control over your emotions or your life. Remember, this is your life and you have the right to live it as you choose.

~ Live and let live. You live your life in the best way that you can and allow others to do the same.

~ Stay far away from drama. It's okay to have a calm and peaceful life. If the people in your life thrive on drama, you may have to end the relationship. You have the choice to not participate in their games.

~ Follow peace. Peace will never fail you and it is better for you mentally, physically and emotionally.

~ There are no failures. Even if something you try doesn't work out, you still have the experience. You've learned something from that experience. Go on to the next thing.

~ Do not take offense over every little thing. Will this matter a year from now? If not, let it go.

~ Happiness is a choice. Do the things that make you happy. Spend time with those who make you happy.

~ Look on the bright side. Train your mind to think positive thoughts. Expect good things to happen to you and more often than not, they will! 

How do you keep your peace and live happily? How do you deal with negative people in your life?

Thursday, May 07, 2015

How To Live Well

My dear friend, Fiona, from How To Be Chic has written her first e-book, How to Live Well, available on Kindle through Amazon. 

It's a little gem of a read filled with practical and simple ideas that will inspire and motivate you to live well every day and not just on specials occasions.

Priced at only 99 cents, you can't go wrong. It's a steal! I'm positive I will re-read my copy hundreds of time. It is delightfully refreshing, just like Fiona's blog!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Thoughts on Raising Children: Controversial?

Having never been one to follow the masses, I find it quite disturbing at the way most children are treated. I have sought to raise my children with love, respect and trust. I did not do everything perfectly, but my children are wonderful! 

I never wanted to be the parent that was lied to and kept in the dark, so I listened to my children and tried to keep an open mind. I wanted them to be able to come to me if they had a problem or needed advice with an issue they were facing.

I tried to honor who they are as individuals rather than trying to conform them into what I thought they should be or what was "acceptable" to the mainstream.

I gave them freedom to be who they are. We went through periods of goth dressing and frequent hair color changes and more. They needed to experiment to find their identity in the world. That season passed and we survived. :)

I chose to homeschool my children to give them the freedom to learn at their own pace and to have time to pursue their passions. Oh, the criticism was fierce! But I did what I felt was right for my children. It was never to keep them locked way from the "evil" world and influences. I saw the spirits' being crushed out of my two oldest and I could not allow that to continue. My youngest has never attended traditional school.

I have often been criticized for letting my children go walking across town to the park, etc. Yes, I understand we live in a world that can be dangerous, but there comes a point when you have to trust your children. You cannot keep them locked way forever. Yes, they will make mistakes. They are children. But that comes with learning how to navigate the world. Adults make mistakes every day!

My children have always had friends over (girls and boys) and were allowed to go stay with others (girls). If my children wanted to come home in the middle of the night, I'd go get them. 

Their wants and needs were just as important as ours. We looked for ways to get what they wanted: videos games, instruments, art supplies, cds, computers, magazines, whatever. They always had nice clothes whether they came from the thrift store, Walmart or the mall.

We took them places: out to eat, running errands, shopping, to parks, beaches nature trails, zoos, museums, bowling, mini golf and concerts. We go to birthday parties and family gatherings. I did not isolate them. They need to know how things in the real world work.

So I wrote all this to say - you had a choice in bringing your children into the world. Your children did not have that choice. They are not your little servants to do all your work. If you want respect, give it. Your child is an individual. He/She is not you. 

If you want your children to trust you, build that trust by spending time with them, doing things with them, and listening. Don't fly off the handle because they said or did something you don't agree with...that's a surefire way to be the parent that never knows the truth!

If you mess up, apologize. Guide your children and trust them. If your children are really so horrible that they can't be trusted (never, ever) then maybe you should look at your parenting. That may sound harsh, but try as you might to control them, they ultimately have free will and it will backfire on you. They will rebel. Stop automatically assuming the worst about your children's intentions!

Your children were entrusted to your care to be loved, guided, and cared for. Just because they are smaller and less powerful doesn't mean you can treat them like crap, talk to them like they are idiots, and disregard their needs and desires.

You can be your child's friend as well as their parent.