Typically toward the end of the year I take a reflect on my years goals and see what I was able to achieve and what was not even on the radar. 2017 gave me a lot of curve balls yet put me on an amazing path while still achieving many goals.
This year we unexpectedly moved. Though it was not something we intended to happen yet, It was the right path for us, My family is happier and we were able to add to kitties to our world this Holiday Season, which would not have happened in our old home.
One of my goals was to write more. This year I actively participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time! For years I have said someday to this, this year I said lets do it! Did I finish or reach my word count, no. But I did it and will do it again in 2018! The Reluctant Cheerleader is almost 10,000 words long and will continue it to completion.
My wellness was more of a focus in 2017 and will continue to be in 2018. Though i continued to try to put a routine that worked for me together, life decided my income was more important. 2018 will find a balance in both, especially since I am now an independent consultant for Arbonne! (Shameless plug here: http://www.arbonne.com/pws/karenrichards23569937/tabs/home.aspx ) My man has also completed and passed his ACE course for personal training and applying to gyms to start that journey as well.
Another goal for 2017 was to take a vacation. This technically did not happen BUT I did get to go on a Weekend retreat with Tealightful in Rochester NY! Buying the house did but a damper on a proper vacation, yet we went to a wedding and stayed in a hotel for 2 nights, we went to the beach, we went to Sesame Place and many other adventures. Memories were made and isn’t that what vacations with kids is all about?
All in all, I cannot complain about 2017 despite being a year that seemed to draw focus to all the negative. The journey had lots of mountains to climb and rewards were amazingI 2017 brought me closer to more achievements then the last 10 years (outside of my kids!) and I am excited to see what 2018 brings!
This is a very busy time of year — a wonderful one — but get-togethers, shopping for gifts, chorus concerts at school, and tree trimming can all be draining. Of course, your normal workday, parenting, and day to day tasks still are included in that “busy-ness.”
Sometimes we get so caught up in doing that we overlooking the importance of being.
Like smartphones, people could use a good charge, don’t you think? In this day and age when people are glued to technology and constantly checking to see how much battery is left, I think it is really so important to step back and say, “Wait, what about being a bit more mindful about my own feelings and energy level?”
When you are thinking about the more “traditional” ways to unwind, there is usually significant time involved. For example, many find it relaxing to go to the spa for…
Today is International Stress Awareness Day. Halloween is over and it’s time to start preparing for Thanksgiving. Before you know it, the holiday season will be in full swing and even the most optimistic, cheerful person may begin to feel stressed out.
We had the opportunity to get some really helpful tips from holistic physician and best-selling author, Dr. Bradley Nelson. You may be familiar with Dr. Nelson’s book, The Emotion Code.
We really found his tips to be helpful to us and wanted to share some of his expertise with you — afterall, who can’t relate to feelings of stress?
How to Manage Stress: 3 Tips from Dr. Nelson
1. Plan ahead and be flexible about your expectations. Think about your plans for the upcoming holidays. Everyone else has expectations and sometimes they won’t match with yours. Plan for spontaneity. If you allow the plans that others…
Growing up I do not really remember going to a lot of birthday parties. What parties I do remember were mostly family events and vague memories of childhood friends family parties that we were invited to. I am not sure if this was just the era we grew up in or if my small group of friends, like my family, did not do parties like I am experiencing with my kids.
Even before having kids of my own, I worked for a company who provided entertainment for kids birthday parties. This was more than I was used to but most of the parties I worked or observed were in home parties and the 60 min of entertainment was a nice break for the parents. Still not what I was used to growing up.
Now that my son is 5 and invited to more and more birthday parties, he is starting to ask and plan for his party in March! To date we have always done family parties and the last two years inviting some friends to meet us somewhere like Chuckie Cheese to play and have cake. I am beginning to think he feels left out after attending parties at Bounce U, Sky Zone, My little Gym, Science Seeds and one tomorrow at iPlay America that have 20+ children there.
With our life right now, this has not really been an option. The cost of these parties are easily a weeks worth of pay if not more. I was originally thinking a small gathering at our home for his next party. He will be 6 so he gets to invite 6 friends, not including family. If the weather is nice they can play outside if not its a small enough number that the basement can handle it! I know enough tricks from preforming at parties to give it some entertainment and the cost down. It worked great when he wanted a costume party. Now he is begging for a Bounce U party where he can invite his entire class.
I am not sure if that is in the cards for us, but with several more months to plan we may be able to compromise. I am hoping with some diligent planning and budgeting we can work out a deal with the location, All Heart Academy, where our son takes Ninja Warrior course training. They have a birthday package that includes a free month for the birthday child, if we can apply that to the party it should be doable. Not exactly what he wants but I think a good compromise of being able to invite his class mates and friends while keeping it simple. I hope!
Right now I am thankful our daughter has not experienced the party invite craze yet and we can still get away with cake at home . . . not to plan a Let it go/Elsa and triceratops themed day for her third birthday in December!
Recently I hosted an open house . Very informal but invitations were still sent via social media and text. I had eight people say they were coming, one who was unsure and a LOT of no responses. A few people shared their regrets, even last minute. Hey, I understand, life happens. For this type of invite a nice sorry cant make it maybe next time works!
I have always said I am a no pressure person, and I mean it. Really believe the art of just spending time with friends is lost on my generation and younger and would love to bring that art back! Technology has made it easier for people to keep in touch and see the experiences others are having but the more I observe, the more it seems these experiences are lacking friends, they are more insular.
Why do I bring this up? Out of the EIGHT people who said yes, two cancelled last minute (one of those had a legit family emergency) and the other 6 where straight out no shows. People I spoke with during the week about the event, even some that day, and not once did they say “Oh hope it is awesome unfortunately I cant make it. ”
According to the Spruce, “The term RSVP comes from the French expression “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please respond.” If RSVP is written on an invitation it means the invited guest must tell the host whether or not they plan to attend the party.
RSVP does not mean to respond only if you’re coming, and it does not mean respond only if you’re not coming (the expression “regrets only” is reserved for that instance). This means the host needs a definite head count for the planned event and needs it by the date specified on the invitation.”
In addition, “It is bad form to cancel an RSVP unless you have a very good reason, limited in general to illness or a death in your family. The host will already have made plans based on your attendance.”
Maybe I am old fashioned, but this is how I always felt about RSVPs. I would not say I am coming unless I know I will be able to attend. Even if the day of the event there is something else I would rather do, including letting my introvert side rule, I go because I said I would be there. For me this is more a show of respect for the host and my friend who thought enough to invite me then it is about me. They went through the time to organize, clean, prepare or buy food based on those coming. How would you feel if you planned an event , had friends who said they would be there and they never showed? That is why I go.
Once again I have let life stop me from doing something I love, writing! More specifically getting the stories out that are in my head. They may not be amazing, but when one takes hold it is difficult to stop from taking over my thoughts. Unfortunately for me they usually arrive at the most inconvenient times.
Yesterday while cleaning a clients home a memory struck and led to a story idea. I do not have a great hold on where this one is going yet but the premise has stuck. First, the back story.
Unless you knew me in high school, you may not recognize me as the same person. I was a bit reserved, except with my inner circle. I was not loud by any means and the only class I really put myself forward in was gym. Unlike many of my peers, I did not care about my clothes often wearing sweat pants or jeans and t shirts. My hair was usually in a ponytail or braid (oh wait, that hasn’t changed!) This is me on the last day of school either freshman or sophomore year, really cant remember as my sense of style did not change much! I do remember we weren’t supposed to sit on the lab tables but for some reason our homeroom teacher never cared when I did it . .
When I was a freshman in high school, my adviser met with me to review my grades, teacher recommendations and my college goals to choose my classes for Sophomore year. Do not remember speaking much about my classes and goals though she tried really hard to recruit me as a cheerleader!
I remember her speaking several times about how my smile was infectious and I had the build and athleticism to be really good. All I kept thinking was do you even know me? I hate being the center of attention. I was in no way anything like any of the other girls on the squad. Running spring track and managing the swim team was good for me, not a lot of people came to the events and I was able to stay active. I didn’t really fit any mold or click. I was average in grades with A’s and B’s. I was not popular though I had a decent amount of friends and generally not shunned by others (never last to be picked for a team type thing). I took shop classes as my electives, more because I preferred them to the other options. Cheering me? Of course I sad no thank you and she asked me to think about it some more.
Now as an adult I wonder what if, I the misfit who didn’t fit a stereo type in high school, would be like if I said yes . . .
Eerily, the adviser was right, I would have been good. I helped a friend of mine practice/train her freshman year for tryouts and she made the JV squad. She swore she would not have without my help.
This could be a fun little story to write . . . I may need background to help though. Would any of you who have experience in the cheer world want to sit down for a cuppa and share stories to make this work?
Recently I had the opportunity to take a two day one night solo trip for a sneak peek at the new products and catalog for Tealightful launching in September. It was not something I ever did before and was intrigued by the possibility. Not just the sneak peak, but meeting other people like myself who are trying to turn a passion into an income. It defintely helped me confirm I made the correct choice in joining this company.
The others I met while at the retreat where all amazing. As I never met anyone of them before, nor did I know anyone attending ( I do not have a TEAm) I was nervous I would get the cold shoulder. The you do not belong to out group, your not welcome. That was not the case. In fact it was the opposite!
The ladies I met while in Rochester, NY greeted me like an old friend the minute we met at check in to the hotel. As soon as they heard I was also there for the Tea Retreat they invited me to dinner. When I mentioned I needed to see if they could accommodate my dietary needs ( I have Celiacs Disease) one of the group walked over to the restaurant and back again before I even finished checking in to confirm the restaurant was able to accommodate Celiac needs!
After a bigger meal than I expected of truffle chips, I went back to my hotel room to settle in and rest. I made the drive to Rochester, NY immediately after cleaning a home in New Hope, PA. What started as a scheduled 5,5 hour trip turned into an almost 6.5 hour trip do to traffic and rerouting. Yet the hardest part of my day was ahead, spending my first night away from the kids; something I had not done since before my now almost 3 year old daughter was born.
As soon as I returned to the room I called home to say sweet dreams to the kids. I missed them and was afraid C would be frustrated with putting both kids to bed. Surprisingly everyone was in good spirits. My 5 year old wanted to know if he would see me in the morning, which he wouldn’t, but told him I would be home in time for good night kisses.
After such a long day it was easy to fall asleep in a strange bed, and I still woke up at my regular time thanks to my internal alarm clock. I do have to say the sound of my daughters morning siren wale for a diaper change and milk was not missed one bit!
Once I made my way to the breakfast area where I met another solo attendee we met up with the rest of the group from the night before, and we got to meet Tealightful’s founder and CEO Charlene Phillips. She is even nicer in person! She greeted us all by name and it was not rehearsed. She truly was amazed that we were all there and was even a little flustered by it!
After some pictures of the group we walked to the Mansion where the tasting was taking place . Again, the details Charlene took were impressive, she personally spoke with the kitchen and main chef to assure all my food would be safe and had me and one other guest with a food sensitivity go first to get our food to make sure we were able to eat before the others could take or cross contaminate.
Then there was the tea . . . oh the tea! We were able to taste 4 of the new teas coming out this season. The one I am most excited for is the Eggnog Butter Rum! The Pumpkin Creme Torte was also vert tasty and will be featured at the Fall Open house I am hosting on October 7th. There was also a Holiday Berry, which was very good. It is not my personal taste with the licorice flavor from the star Anise, but I know others will love it! The forth tea we tried was Apricot Sunrise, which I plan on featuring at a vendor event in December, it is also very tasty white tea which means the leaves can be used up to 4 times making it a great value as well!
Egg Nog Butter Rum
Pumpkin Creme Tort
Ironically what I am most excited about this season are the accessories! There is a beautiful stone gray tea pot I have my eye on with matching tea mugs. There are “teaspoon” mugs that I not only want for myself but think will
make great teacher gifts with some tea and honey samples. Definitely going to watch my spending this season with all these wonderful additions!
After the tea finished, we took a tour of the mansion that houses a wonderful collection of Women’s suffrage memorabilia. Then it was time for goodbyes . . . or more appropriately until the next retreat!
The drive home was a little easier and only took 5.5 hours. Though there was a brief time when I got nervous when I GPS rerouted me avoid some traffic and took my through some mountain back roads and I was on empty. Thankfully I was able to fill up just before getting back on the highway and made it home just in time to get the kids ready for bed.
It was an adventure for sure, and one I will make again.