Wednesday, April 29, 2015


I thought I would use this blog more for gestational updates, but this pregnancy has been wholly uneventful. No one wants to hear me talk about how I only missed 15 minutes of the Louis CK interview on Fresh Air yesterday for my dentist appointment, or how I haven't had a zit in 7 months, or how despite all the milkshakes and carbs, I have only managed to gain 7 lbs and it may be entirely in my boobs. Throw all the rotten vegetables you want. I understand.

One thing I have really been enjoying is going back to bed in the morning to hang out while this little butternut squash (the pregnancy emails love to compare to vegetables) has her morning jam session. I always wish I could peek inside and if that is actually her head butting me in the side, or if those are hands or feet tickling my hip. This morning she was so weirdly repetitive I kept thinking of Hanna-Barbera cartoon musicians.

Monday, April 27, 2015

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It: Find Your Happy Place!

I used to dread Mondays. I dreaded them so much that I couldn't always fully enjoy Sunday. There is a lot to be said for the environment I landed in, but for my purposes today, it is enough to say that career burnout just happens sometimes. For me, I suspect it had a lot to do with dating and marrying a veteran. Being yelled at for inconsequential shit was just not something I could take seriously anymore. While that made for a difficult final year in my former career, it was a great thing in the long run. I can honestly say that I get maximum enjoyment out of nearly every day. I'm grateful for what I have, I strive for what I want, and I don't sweat the small stuff.

When I was facing the question of where to go next, and realizing that the problem was burnout and another company in the same industry was a bandaid and not a cure, I discovered Travel Actors: World Travel Specialists through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP). After six years of writing Craves, Caves, & Graves, I was looking for a way to make more serious money from travel advice, particularly my Disney obsession. When you express interest in becoming a travel agent, people LOVE to tell you it's a dying business. While it may be true that many people enjoy researching and booking their own travel on the internet these day, trust me, there plenty of people who don't find this enjoyable at all. Especially when it comes to planning that Disney Vacation the kids are begging for. I love it, and after putting 40-60 hours of research into our amazing honeymoon, I decided to pay it forward. By becoming a registered travel agent, I was able to provide this service at no extra charge to my friends, family, and clients. Win-win!

Around that same time, I discovered Jewelscent. I had always been curious about direct sales, but I didn't want to lose my weekends to parties, parties, and more parties. Oh, and the begging people to host parties. A direct sales company based on an e-commerce site and referral link for social sharing was right up my alley. I loooooooove to tell people what I think of products and websites, I love social media, AND I love helping people make money on the internet! I didn't even know when I signed up that the company was brand new and had less that 100 consultants. That's how excited I was about the products and and the focus on social sharing. I quickly realized the opportunity before me, and convinced some of my friends to sign up, too.

I am a problem solver, and naturally fell into the role of helping other new consultants get started and find answers to their questions. I knew enough about direct sales to know that getting in early means limitless potential, and so I spent as much free time as I could building my business. I learned everything I could, and went from zero experience in direct sales to becoming a Founding Leader with Jewelscent in just 18 months. Before I started this, I was one of those people who thought that direct sales could never be more than a little pocket money, because I saw so many people jump from company to company, or sell for 4 or 5 companies at once. What I have learned is that a direct sales business is like a franchise. It's a real business, and you are a real business owner, just like you opened a store. It takes a significant investment of time and yes, money, to create a serious income. HOWEVER, anyone can do it at any level they chose. If you just want to go to out to dinner once a week on your Jewelscent money, that is an easy goal to accomplish. if you want to sell a little bit for several different companies, you can do that to. But if you want to create a new career like me, you have to work it!

Here's what Monday looks like for me today: I am 7 months pregnant and was able to sleep until 9:30 am. I answered some emails on my FitDesk this morning, then went to a doctor's appointment without having to tell anyone I was leaving the office. When I got home, I created an Instagram tutorial for my team and wrote this blog. Tonight I'll get on a conference call for a bit and then watch last night's Game of Thrones while I work on making shower scrubs to sell at a vendor show this weekend, which I do once or twice a month because they are fun!

In the past year, Francis and I went to Walt Disney World twice and took a Disney Cruise, and I also visited Disneyland this past February with a posse of other Jewelscent consultants when we were in the Anaheim area for the Jewelscent Leadership Conference. We are likely to visit Disneyland and take a Disney Cruise again next year, even with a baby.  I have become an evangelist for entrepreneurship and self-employment, but the MOST important thing is that you find a way to make money doing something you love. In this business we like to ask "What is your WHY?" Meaning, what really motivates you to do what you do? My WHY is to show my daughter that there's more to life than "getting by", that it's never too late to follow your dreams, and that nothing is impossible.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Crazy Cat Lady, Part 2

So, we have this cat with an eating disorder. We actually took her to the vet twice and were trying all these crazy expensive foods because she was throwing up all the time. We tried expensive grain free wet food, prescription food, this weird paste for digestive problems, everything. Then one day, for whatever reason, I just put a tiny handful of food onto the windowsill where the cats eat (so they dogs don't steal their food) and it was like this:

She literally hoovers up her food. Or as Francis puts it, "I watched her unhinge her jaw like an effing snake." She doesn't chew, which explains why the barfed up food is still whole. Hector, our younger dog, had a similar problem when he came to live with us, and we bought him a slow feeder, so we looked for a slow feeder for cats.

The first one we tried was the Northmate Interactive Feeder. It worked.... for awhile. But Miss V is like a velociraptor. She's a skilled hunter (every few years we get some mice in the house and she will take out a family in 48 hours) and enjoys a challenge, even to the point where she stopped trying to get to Marcellus's food bowl because she was adequately entertained. 

Sidebar: I think Miss V got two cats worth of brains, and Marcellus was the loser. I hear he once hid in the basement FROM A KITTEN. He would starve to death if he had to use an interactive feeder, so we took pity on him and let him eat from a bowl. He doesn't overeat, so it works out. 

Back to the Northmate: As you can see from the video, Miss V has mastered it. She got so good at it that she started barfing again from eating too fast, so now we have to try a new kind of feeder. Enter the Aikiou Stimulo. These are the only two slow feeders for cats I have found, so when she masters this one, I don't know what is next, other than getting rid of my white dining room chairs.

Now she is back to eating at a normal pace, BUT she has started to forage for any extra food she can get. I am positive  - POSITIVE - that she gets the right amount of food for her age and size, so either we have turned food into such a fun game that she's addicted, or she just has a compulsion to eat until she barfs, all the time. She can get on top of the refrigerator, which is freestanding, she can get into the upper kitchen cabinets, she can get into the pantry, and I THINK she might be able to get into the latching food bins, though I haven't caught her in the act yet. It has gotten to the point where we had to change the dogs' food schedules, too, because she will eat dog food if she can get it. Now everyone gets 10 minutes with their bowl several times a day, and if they don't eat, the food has to be locked up until lunchtime, or tea time, or dinner time. The whole house is slave to a 9lb cat's bulimia.