Do You Know Where You Come From?

Do You Know Where You Come From?

It seems like such an easy question, but what do you know about your family?  Most people know what country their ancestors came from.  Some people have traced their lineage to notable historic figures or events.  But what does that mean?

I saw a DNA test the other day and the person was more then 50% from one region.  I realized how amazing that was with all of the wars and conquerors for someones bloodline to still be that pure.  If you really think about it that is pretty amazing.  A country comes in and conquers another country and they mate with and drag away the most desirable people in the land.  However eventually those same attackers find themselves on the losing end of a war and have their best and brightest torn away from them.  You would think that with the possible exception of a few island nations that by now all DNA would be less then 1% anything and yet in most cases it isnt.

The question I have for you to think about to day is what that means.  Image the dreams, the hopes, the aspirations and even the fears that went into bringing you here.  To this point in your life.  To this specific mixture of DNA that makes you – YOU!  The things most of us take for granted is how amazing we all are.  There is no chance that you are a random accident!

Take some time today and think about where you come from and what that means.

And then celebrate YOU!

Sacrifices and Such

As mothers and wives we make sacrifices, don’t we ladies? We prepare food to please the household, give up girl time/me time if it means someone else can do something important to them, our tv viewing changes, we give up Eminem for Kids Bop, and we never take the last donut. If you’re like me you don’t really mind because none of those things makes you as happy as does the happiness of your family. But when they’re gone and you find yourself alone for a day or two in the house – You can get wild and have whatever you want! For me this weekend, while Hubs & kids went tubing to give me some time to catch up at work, that meant CHICKEN NACHOS! Mmhm. With lots of spicy pepper, onions, scallions, and cilantro. Not your “family” nachos at all. And ohh yeeeahhh –

I blackened the edges of the chips just a little bit.  Is your mouth watering? Mine was! Too bad my V3 was still going strong and only let me eat a few bites. Barely made a dent in it! Just wait til Mama’s mojito time later. I’ll make up for it then.  😉 What tiny things have you given up that didn’t fit in with family life? 

 

When Helping and Selling Collide

 

I have something exciting to share. I know what you’re going to say, “Everybody has something to sell, Cin, and everybody online is selling a product.” Maybe so. But I didn’t have one until now. And it has been tough for me to share with people, even though I’m so enthused about it because whether you’re reading a blog or talking to me in person, it’s natural to see things as marketing and selling. And I don’t want to be that to my friends and family. But I do want to share something great in case it’s just what you’ve been looking for. If you’re on my Facebook you know I run my mouth and share every damn thought that crosses my mind, whether it’s about politics, the new soap I bought, the wine I’m drinking or the delicious chips I just ate. But I’ve been holding back on this because I stand to help myself by offering to help you.  How stupid is that?

Anyway, all the fuss is about a brand new nutritional supplement called V3. Have you heard of it?

It’s often marketed as a diet pill because it can be a powerful weight loss tool if that’s what you want from it. But I hesitate to call it that because it is so much more than a diet pill – if you don’t want to lose weight it’s good for you too. And even though I was originally excited about it because I thought I had finally found a replacement for my old friend (the original) Metabolife to help me shed my adoption weight – What? You got rounder eating for 2 and making room for a tiny human growing in your body and I quit working out and ate my feelings to deal with a stressful adoption. Same thing! Now where was I? V3 weight loss, my original excitement, right! But although other people focused on weight loss lost lots of weight safely, my amazement has come in the form of being HAPPY! Let me explain.

V3 has 3 main goals – increased energy, enhanced mood, and suppressed appetite. In achieving those things you are also motivated to work out, inspired and empowered to work out longer and more effectively, drink more water, eat healthier, focus, have longer productive days, and get better quality sleep.

Here’s me Pre-V3…

I work from home. I snack. I eat bad food that makes me tired. I lose focus. I drink energy drinks then crash while serving dinner. By homework time I’m trying to survive the crash, grouchy, NOT enjoying my family, and often falling asleep on the couch with work still left to be done. Then starting the next day behind and doing the whole thing again. Sound familiar? I will post this on Facebook and there won’t be a soul who knows me who will read this and accuse me of exaggerating my symptoms and poor habits. (Although there will be some people who only know me know and will be shocked.) I am actually so prone to depression – environmental and clinical – that I spent a few months in bed, avoiding everyone, and became completely reclusive. I still am in recovery, I like to be home, safe. I’m working on it. Making progress, right Ladies?! But I can’t believe that other me was ever me. Sure I get down in the dumps on occasion like everybody else, but SHEESH! Get outta bed, Crazy! :) Oh well. Not anymore. Do I credit V3 for all my healing? Of course not. But it gave me some helpful assistance.

My focus and discipline during my work hours has quadrupled. (My writing business has grown) I have actually added hours to my day and I smile from the time I wake up until I go to bed. I rarely snack, I never crash. I have time to spend with my family because I finished all my work during the day. (My family is happier) I sleep better at night and I wake up CRAZY easier. I used to have private tantrums in bed when the alarm went off. My kids missed school because I was so beat from a succession of nights without quality sleep. Now, whether I go to bed at 10 or 2, I never wake up grouchy because my quality of sleep has improved so much. (I am happier)

***If I don’t get enough hours of sleep, no matter how good it is, I will feel sleepy and motivated to go to bed by 9 or 10 the next night. The V3 doesn’t mask tiredness or allow me to deprive myself of sleep (or food or anything) but it just keeps everything balanced and in good working order so that I can best handle whatever happens in my day.

I really hope this is coming across as excited and not a big old ad! :) I started off in a bad place so not everyone is going to go as bajiggety as I did because they don’t have as much healing to do. But if you can relate to ANY of those things I just described, or if you loved the energy of the old Metabolife like I did, I know you would love it. It was actually developed by the same woman that developed Metabolife! It is a safer, body friendly version though. You can take it for any or all of its health benefits for a long time with no side effects. Unlike other popular diet pills -RX AND over the counter – and energy boosters that cause rage, numbness, thrush mouth, and such after 6 weeks or so (if they even remain effective that long). The all natural ingredients really are an enriching supplement to your body’s chemistry. There are people on my team whose blood and sugar levels have become so balanced since starting V3 that they’ve gone off their blood pressure medication and reversed their diabetes WITH their doctor’s consent. Myself, no more Prozac for me. =) OR ENERGY DRINKS or naps. Just feeling good.

So! If it sounds like the miracle in a bottle you’ve been searching for, buy some. If you’re intrigued, ask for a free sample. If you’re perfectly happy, healthy, balanced, and ready for bikini season I hate you anyway and I don’t care what you do. But here’s the website, use the number 1641419 to get you through the areas it asks for it, and proceed however suits you. That everyone knows about it is all that matters to me :) However, if over the next year as it explodes and surpasses the popularity of Metabolife I find out that you bought some off the shelf or from a stranger instead of me – I will hunt you down. You’ve been warned.

Current V3 users! Please comment here the good and the bad. I like to monitor its effect on people, being that it’s so new. I also want to collect testimonials to help other people decide if it’s right for them. :) I will also hunt you down if you don’t comply with this friendly request. You all know who you are. And so do I :)

Better than Swag; The Impact of Blogher ’09 In Real Life Part 1 It’s All About Me

The theme of Blogher ’09 was  “In Real Life”.  When I first stumbled upon it in December and spontaneously decided to use the early Christmas money I had received to buy my ticket, I thought “In Real Life” made perfect sense.  Although my “real life” was not very aware of my blogging friends and family, my blogging community had made a huge impact on MY REAL LIFE over the last year or so.  Having now had a couple of days to reflect and review my notes, it is clear that this is a strong feeling among the 1500 Blogher attendees.

But for now, it’s all about me.

I had been feeling bad for a few years when I stumbled upon blogging.  Having been accessing the blogosphere since 2003 when I adopted my two children, I researched every lump, bump, rash, sob, and thought that my kids had and shared.  Most of the time I knew there was nothing to be concerned about, but I found reassurance anonymously reading stories of moms just like me who were experiencing the same things I was without having to confess to friends and fam in my REAL LIFE that I was paranoid and worried and lonely.

Bonding in the Blogosphere

Sometime between 2003 and 2007 things got wonky.  By the end of 2006 I was in full on depression, but didn’t know it.  Everybody has their “stuff” and mine is not really important to the story except to say that one day in February 2008 I woke up enough to look around and realize that things were not right. I knew I was lethargic, lacking my usual vibrance, and my pants were getting tight!, but I didn’t really REALIZE what was happening. Something made me look online for SOMETHING to do. A change to make.  I took surveys, I participated in panels, and socialized for points.  Then I met up with a fantastic woman named Summer who hired me to do some freelance writing.  We became fast friends.  It wasn’t long before I met another bad ass woman writer named Robin.  We were many states apart, shared interesting common thoughts, and kept each other  motivated, shared family life, set goals together and worked on projects together.  Last in my blogosphere BFF trio was Cindy, a hard working, beat the odds tough chick who reminded me through example to always get back up.    The three of us have run around online together together ever since.  Even though I have never met any of them, they are as real to me as anyone I know “in real life”.

You see in my “real life” I don’t know one single blogger or freelance writer.  In my lifetime of wanting to be a writer I finally found a group who UNDERSTOOD a passion that no one else did.  They knew the longing in my heart to put my words out there and we all worked and wished and dreamed and grew together.  Although our projects have taken us in different directions, we still support and take interest in one another’s work AND life.

Since that time, along with the encouragement of my online family, I went to the doctor, pursued therapy and learned of my clinical depression.  Like many in my community, writing is therapeutic for me so I found healing in my posts. (and comments and crazy emails — thanks to you few who have endured them!)  I was able to keep the darkness there for the most part and tried to keep the “crazy” on the down low in my “real life”.  At Blogher ’09 I learned I wasn’t alone.

Recluse Today, Solo in the Big City Tomorrow

Unfortunately, none of my Internet BFFs were able to make it to Blogher this year.  I was on my own and nervous, but knew it would be okay because in addition to my Internet BFFs, I had been welcomed into and supported by the blogging community in general.  And as a bonus, thanks to the power of TWITTER I found “Aranarose“of Lemonade Mama who lives less than ten minutes from me and in a last minute collision of events she and I made the trek from Flint to Chicago together where we roomed with a blogger/Twitter friend of hers whom neither of us had yet met “in real life”. Thanks again MEL!

As exciting as it was for me to see technology and community in action as my conference plans come together, I kept it on the down low in my “real life”. A common conversation at Blogher was the dreaded funny looks and confusion we often meet when we try and bring our two worlds together.  Remember the George Costanza theory of the dangers of allowing one of his worlds to infiltrate the other?  I think we all carry a bit of that fear around! Ha!  So I kept it mainly to myself as I rode the rollercoaster of one day thinking I am going to conference and the next day not.

For the entire month before conference I debated the practical against the possibilities. Two days before leaving “practical” had won out. I am a wife and a mom with responsibilities and obligations.  There was no time for dreaming and exploring possibilities.  One day before conference I received the email equivalent of a smack in the face.  The details are private but the meaning was clear, “Snap out of it! Quit being a chicken shit! Education is good! (and even) You deserve a mamatini.”

Having been spared my  30 day internal struggle, my husband was free to sweat the important stuff.  “You’re going to be in an entirely different state than us?” “You. Are driving. To Chicago?” “You have never met one single person involved?” “You are picking up a stranger, and driving 5 hours alone with her headed to you’re not sure where and staying in you’re not sure what room?” “Why are you packing your feather boas?” And lastly, upon my tearful departure, “If you come up missing Nancy Grace is coming after me so would you mind leaving a note  with the conference info and any other pertinent info for when she gets here?”

So that’s how it came to be that I,  recluse in recovery, pulled out of the driveway alone, armed with nothing but a feather boa and a smart phone, headed for the most social event I ever feared attending.  What happened? Was it worth it? What did I learn? Was the community as fabulous as I imagined?  Do you think I shook my bootie at the bowling alley or cried alone in my room draining the mini bar? Watch for part 2 to find out!

Let’s Talk About Swag, Baby!

The drive from Flint to Chicago last Thursday was an odd one.  I had picked up a woman I had never met in person and barely knew from Twitter, helped her get her bags into the car, and together we rode for 5+ hours.  Just like the changing dynamic between Gwyn & myself, the mood bounced around between nervous to thrilled and everything in between.  We were both in disbelief we were actually attending the blogging and social media conference and although we both knew we were in store for something special, we did not really know what was in store for us.  Unfortunately, neither will you.  Yet anyway. I will fill you in on Paula Deen, the future of social technology, and the amazing women I met later.  The topic today is freebies. Samples.  Swag, if you will.

The return trip on Sunday was not so different from Thursday’s drive, maybe a little quieter, and we were definitely much more exhausted.  The excitement was still there, though.  Gwyn and I alternated between enthusiastic conversations, our life’s philosophies, conference recaps & plans for the future, and quiet thoughtful moments where we held similar conversations with ourselves, contemplating what we had done and what we plan to do.  Today, though, I am distracted from my locked up genius busting out of my brain seams by some negative Blogher chatter that I would like to purge so I can move on.

Free stuff! As with any conference or exposition, there were vendors on hand: Folks who took their time and loaded up their products to present to us in fun and educational ways.  You know what else they did?  They brought us samples! Yummy treats to try, the latest beverages to hydrate us, and household & technological diddies to add fun and convenience to our lives.  If we like a particular product we may buy it, tell our family about it or even better yet, blog about it! That’s what the advertiser is hoping for.  And why not?  After feeding, entertaining, and educating us all weekend is it too much for them to be able to ask us to TRY their new snack cracker?  There were some comments questioning this practice, but I am going to answer “no. there is nothing wrong with this. It actually makes sense.” Now moving on.

To Swag or not to Swag? That is the real issue.

Ladies I understand that it is exciting to get stuff.  To try new things. To be ahead of the technology and cleaning product curve.  But is it cool to steal?  Would it make you proud to see your children bombard the other children to get to the front of the line where Santa Claus is passing out toys?  Did you really pay hundreds of dollars to mainly show up and score shit?

Not everyone behaved this way of course, but enough that I over heard vendors discussing not wanting to provide swag anymore because they don’t enjoy being attacked and pressured for more.

My thought on the matter is this.  Although I didn’t know anything about free goodies in the expo hall or swag bags at parties at the time that I signed up, I liked it.  It made me feel giddy like a kid.  I can no more speak for the blogher population than I can the entire mom population, but here’s my thing.  I don’t get out much and most of my cash goes to food and kids.  I haven’t been to the mall in years.  “Splurges” for me have come to be things like Mr. Clean sponges, a pretty new pen to journal with, and a full tank of gas all at once.  These things make me smile.  So for someone to walk up and hand me a bag filled with nail polish, glitter, lip gloss,  chocolate AND a not yet released doll for my daughter, I am delighted and touched.

Delighted to have a new lip gloss which is an unexpected bonus for me, and touched that the angels behind the scenese “get” me.  They know that even in this circumstance I feel selfish to receive bags of goodies and munch on chocolate and wine while my daughter is home watching out the window for me.  So they give me something for her, as well.  Several somethings in fact, so that I will allow myself to be treated well and enjoy some much needed adult time, getting educated and bonding with my sisters.

So please party planners and PR people:  Don’t let the immature greedy acts of a few ruin the swagsational spoiling of the appreciative majority.  Instead, feel free to get tougher on the offenders.  Taze them bitches if you have to.   But let the rest of us feel like rock stars for a couple days. :-)

Fun with Hot Rocks and Faucets

Guess what I am doing in November!  Nope.  Enjoying a long weekend at a spa resort in Arizona! Yay me!  No, the blogging business does not pay that well BUT I have a dear friend with a time share who includes me in her relaxation plans each year.  I am not sure which I get more excited about, the luxurious bathrooms or heavenly massage treatments.

In real life on a daily basis, I despise shower time.  The hot water runs out when I’m shaving my legs and it takes way too long to dry my hair and get fancied up.  But on vacation, free of schedule and responsibility, I could spend all day in the bathroom where the glass encased showers and multi head Grohe faucets are as beautiful to behold as any exhibit or attraction in town.

Even so, of course the massage treatments are by far superior to singing in the shower, even when the shower is bigger than my bedroom at home.  I am already stressing about which treatment I want, though.  Good thing I’m getting a massage!

Spa treatments are really pricey so I have to make some hard decisions.  Last year I wanted to try acupuncture, I’m all out of balance I’m just sure of it,  but chickened out.  Have you ever tried it?  There is also one called craniosacral that focuses on chronic head and back pain.  I’m all about that. I don’t care at all about the facial/mani/pedi stuff… but what the sugar scrubs, the hydro treatments and exfoliating spray tan?!  Somebody help me!

Everyone please share your spa experiences with me… what treatments did you love and which ones didn’t you love? Would you do them again or try something new?

Kettleworx Workout Works for Mama!

I think I know why I let myself gain so much weight, and it took gaining it then losing it to make sense of it all.  The last couple of weeks my body seems to be changing almost every day, and the pieces of clothing in my closet that fit me are multiplying daily.  It’s insane! And awesome!  The problem is my laid off husband is home every day following me around like I’m the pied piper!  LOL.  I am constantly swatting him away like a fly (a cute, less repulsive fly of course, but equally as distracting) so that I can get my work done.  I suppose this falls under that category of “a good problem to have”.  Want to know how I got myself into this pickle of being irresistible? :-)

I think I told you already I started taking adipex a couple of months ago and that my mood and energy soared.  I lost a lot of weight initially, but it didn’t make an impact on me.  It was cool to know that for the first month in 5 years I hadn’t GAINED a pound, but my wardrobe and my life didn’t feel much different beyond the energy and getting more accomplished each day.  I knew the key was working out but I couldn’t get motivated.

I work at home selling real estate.  And freelance writing. And I’m writing a book.  That’s a lot of sedentary stuff.  Plus I have school aged kids with lots of homework and a house that doesn’t clean itself.  I keep meaning to write a letter to the manufacturer but I am too busy.  Same with exercise.  Even my favorite TURBO JAM and YOGA BOOTY BALLET were not doing it for me.  Then I stumbled upon KETTLEWORX and that’s when the cool stuff started happening to my body.

Over the years I have done just about every workout. I started out doing “Lilias Yoga and You” on public TV when I was about 7. I got really serious in high school with Jane Fonda when her step aerobics were the hottest thing.  From there I went onto THE FIRM, KAREN VOIGHT, CINDY CRAWFORD, ALI MCGRAW, DENISE AUSTIN, KATHY SMITH and BILLY BLANKS.  I dabbled in the MTV workouts and celebrity stuff.   I never liked working out with male instructors, Tae Bo was the exception.  When I first watched the KETTLEWORX intro I was thrown by the music and the guy teaching it.  I wasn’t crazy about it.  But the magic here is the kettlebell.

Instead of using wrist weights or dumb bells, KETTLEWORX uses a weighted ball with a wide handled grip.  I was immediately hooked the moment I picked it up and tried the first sample exercise.  The rotation motion of the exercises feels fantastic, almost like a massage sometimes!, as it reached muscles I don’t normally feel activated with traditional weighted exercises.  My kettlebell is 5 lbs but there is a 10 lb version for the guys, and stronger than me girls I guess too. :-)  The design of the kettlebell just makes such perfect sense as you feel the effects of it during your workout.

The workouts are only 20 minutes long so they are easy to fit in and although they are challenging they are not at all awkward.  I actually got disrupted a week into the workout because I hurt my back and thought I couldn’t handle the exercises.  Having gotten tired of waiting for my back to stop hurting I decided to suck it up and feel the pain.  To my surprise, when I held my stomach in and watched my form, there was no pain during the workout AND my back immediately started feeling better in general.

If you decide to try it, I cannot stress enough how important it is to actually hold the kettlebell and try the exercises along with the intro dvd.  If you just watch it like I often do for a new dvd, you won’t get the full effect.  As much as I love the kettlebell and Kettleworx exercise, I am not crazy about the production and I really thought I was not going to like it.  I might have just put it away, never to be used like I did with WINSOR PILATES that bored me from the moment I pushed play, if I hadn’t picked up the kettlebell. I should also add that the dvd and instructor are just DIFFERENT from usual for me and I had to get used to it.  He has actually grown on me and I talk to him and call him a “bitch” through the tv just like I do my girl Chalene Johnson when she turns up the heat.  That’s a big compliment coming from a workout connoisseur like me! :-)

All that good stuff aside, I also have to consider that if I hadn’t picked up that precious kettlebell which has significantly changed the shape of my body and energy in just two weeks I wouldn’t have to hide from my husband all day!  So be careful what you wish for and be prepared for the “consequences” of getting in shape! :-)

Learning from Recession

I always try to find the silver lining in things and our current economic crisis is no exception.  When I take a minute to stop dwelling on the sacrifices and think about what we have accomplished and what I have learned, I find that there is, in fact, value to be found in recession.

I have always been irresponsible in my attitude against shopping for bargains.  “My time spent shopping for a deal is worth more than the money saved” I have often said.

Once I became a parent I scaled back on what I bought for myself, my house and my hubby so that I could buy more things for the kids.  That was my first taste of enjoying finding a bargain.  Every penny that I saved on myself was more that I could spend on the kids.

Then this recession got us in its grips and suddenly we had to scale back just to meet our basic needs.  I had to find the best prices on milk, bread, cereal, and all the staples in order to maintain them in the pantry.  I am actually being counseled by my very organized and moneywise friend on how to most effectively use coupons and store programs.  It is actually a lot of fun but I am just shocked over how much money I have wasted over the years.

I do a lot of shopping online for bigger items and have recently found value in sites like Overstock.com and Buy.com.  The prices are good and the items are often better quality than what I have bought around town.  Black Friday deals can be found all year long if you take the time to shop for them.

I cannot say I am glad that our country has hit hard times, but I am glad for the different perspective I have developed and the recession tips, tricks and tools I have learned that will serve me even better when the economy turns around and my job becomes lucrative again.

What have you learned during these troubling times?  What money saving changes have you made?

COOL CONTEST FOR SNEAKY SHOPPERS!!!

If you’ve been reading this week you know that I have been all about saving money while still enjoying what we like to do.  TODAY we are not going to talk about how to save money or the evils or overspending. Instead we are going to talk more about holiday shopping! We are going to talk about being rewarded for what you already bought!

There is this crazy contest going on at ebillme.com and they want to hear your secret shopping confessions.  Whether you committed secret online shopping, or got your item at the mall and hid it, ebillme.com wants to know about it.  You submit your shopping confession via video or written story.

Why would you keep your purchase a secret?

Maybe it’s a surprise for a loved one! Maybe you don’t want anyone to know that you need a $100 full body girdle to fit into your clothes at the moment.  Maybe your purchase is a little over budget and you are waiting for the right time to tell your Hubby.  There are no rules as to why you did it.  Just submit your story including what you bought, why you kept it on the down low, and how it all turned out.

Why should you submit your story?

Besides easing your guilty conscience you could win cash!  Ebillme.com is awarding $1500 per month for the best shopping confession and a grand prize of $15,000!!!!  MamaMia!  Check out the website for complete details, as well samples of other submissions, tips for successful stories, AND a message from last year’s grand prize winner.

WAIT!  There’s more!

This is actually a contest WITHIN a contest.  If you decide to sign up PUHLEEEEASE take my URL with you! (copy & paste my link from your browser to avoid mistakes) The blogger (in this case me) whose blog (Her Family Blog) generates the most contest entrants (that’s you!) wins a cash prize too! (that’s $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third.)

So zip over there, check it out, and sign up to win us some holiday cash!!!  Good luck to us all! And don’t forget to share your shopping confessions with us after you enter!

A Shout Out to My Entrecard Friends

This is a post for all you Entrecard Droppers, Bloggers and Mommies Making Money.  I have an opportunity for you to be featured on the Entrecard Blog.

First of all, if you have a blog and you don’t know what Entrecard is, I urge you to go there right now.  It is the simplest and most enjoyable way to generate traffic to your blog.  You sign up and put the widget in your side bar.  Other Entrecard droppers drop their “card” off at your site on the widget. Then you return the favor by visiting their site and dropping your card on them.  And so on.  You literally get back what you put into it.  A “drop” is quicker than a comment so you can generate more traffic in less time.  *Don’t abandon your comment campaigns though!  You still need to establish those relationships.

Back to the featured blog.  Every Thursday on the Entrecard Blog I will be featuring a blog of high quality and “it” factor.  Do you have “it”?  Would you like to nominate another blog that you think has “it”?

Leave me a comment here, or for extra exposure of your blog, send it to me on Twitter!

And for everyone not participating in Entrecard I have a little something for you, too. The SNL Palin rap. It never gets old. Having received over 2 MILLION hits already just since Saturday it is hard to believe there is anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but it you haven’t, PLEASE PLEASE click play.

For