Throwback Thursday – A Holiday Weekend

Yes, I know it is only Thursday but I am sure you are already planning for a long holiday weekend, right?  This post was originally written back in 2013 (when I was a newbie to blogging).

Growing up on the Jersey Shore, Memorial Day weekend was filled with mixed emotions. It was the start of the summer season which meant the “bennies” (or shoobies as we called them in South Jersey) would be invading for the next few months.

In high school, I worked at Kohr’s at Third Avenue so this was the first BIG weekend we got to work. Typically, we started working on weekends when it was nice around Easter. This was the weekend we were able to reconnect with old friends who came home from college or those who traveled to work for the summer. We enjoyed days on the beach and long nights on the boardwalk – working and hanging out with friends. The summer traffic was never really thought about nor did we really think about the people invading our beaches.

Fast forward to my mid-20’s when I moved to South Jersey – living just outside of Ocean City and working in Atlantic City.  I came to dread this weekend. No longer did it hold the joy of traveling to the beach and long nights of hanging on the boardwalk. Now it was filled with shoobies/ bennies who congested the roads and littered our beaches. It made parking impossible. The joy of the summer was replaced with dread. Honestly, we spent more time at the beach from Easter to around the middle of June then we did the entire summer. Those were the days filled with sunshine, quiet moments on the beach and only a little bit of traffic mostly caused by locals.  

Yes, I know it is great for the economy and a definite plus for all of the small businesses in the area. For many businesses, the summer season is what carries them through the long cold winter.  As for me, I will wait until the mid-week between now and mid June to enjoy the warmth of the beach and strolls on the boardwalk. Then I will wait, patiently, for the crowds to go home before I head back to the beach. The pool at the complex will be my haven during the day and on an occasional mid-week night, we may travel down to take a stroll on the boardwalk.

Last Sunday after we celebrated our wedding anniversary at the Wharfside in Point, we rode along the beach.  I will admit, the excitement of seeing the rides going, people walking on the boardwalk and some traffic brought back so many memories. I actually can’t wait this year to enjoy some of the craziness.

What are your plans for this weekend at the Jersey Shore? Do you have any tips for avoiding the crowds and still enjoying our wonderful beaches? I would love to hear them.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday – S’mores Pies

I have always loves s’mores.  I remember when Belinda was younger, we used to hang out at my best friend’s house and the kids would make them in the fire pit.  BUT, if you are watching those calories, you want to limit yourself to just one.  Honestly, can you?  I know I can’t.  So I am grateful for the recipe from Hungry Girl.

The best part is, you don’t need an outdoor fire to make them, you can do them right in your own kitchen anytime.  WOOHOO!!! So be sure to stock up on the ingredients when you hit the grocery store.

1/6th of recipe (1 mini pie): 149 calories, 6g total fat (2g sat fat), 128mg sodium, 20.5g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 8g sugars, 3.5g protein  SmartPoints® value 6*

Prep: 20 minutes   Cook: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
Crust
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup light whipped butter or light buttery spread
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp. powdered peanut butter
2 packets no-calorie sweetener (like Truvia)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt

Filling
2 tbsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup mini marshmallows
2 graham crackers (1/2 sheet), finely crushed

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 6 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray.
  • To make the crust, pulse oats to the consistency of coarse flour in a small blender/food processor.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter for 20 seconds, or until melted.
  • In a large bowl, combine ground oats, melted butter, and remaining crust ingredients. Mix until uniform with the consistency of wet sand.
  • Evenly distribute mixture among the 6 cups of the muffin pan, using your hands or a flat utensil to firmly press and form the crusts. Press it into the edges and up along the sides.
  • Bake until firm, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, and set oven to broil.
  • Evenly distribute 1 tbsp. chocolate chips among the crusts. Top with marshmallows and remaining 1 tbsp. chocolate chips.
  • Cook until marshmallows have melted and lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  • Sprinkle with crushed graham crackers.

Here is a great way to carry all of the s’mores must haves when you head out this summer.  Thirty One’s Perfect Party Set is great for this.

This thermal bag will prevent your chocolate from melting in the heat.  An entertaining wonder! This thermal keeps your food warm or cool on your way to the party, with two compartments sized to fit 9” x 13” pans.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Command an Audience

audience-300x200Happy Monday and it is time to conquer the world!

Believe it or not, I’m an introvert, content to be on my own working behind the scenes.  I work every day to overcome this in my business.  I mean, let’s be honest, being in direct sales you need to be out sharing and talking to people, right?

I never thought I would or could command an audience.  When I think of an audience, I think of standing in front of a large group of people speaking – YIKES!  The knees start to shake, I get nervous and totally forget what I am trying to say.  Without even knowing it, we command an audience…

  • Are you a mom or dad? Your family is an audience.
  • Have a job? Your co-workers are an audience.
  • Own a business? Your employees and customers are audiences.

When I put things in this perspective, it is a little bit easier to swallow.  The list goes on because an audience can be just one person you are talking to.  I love Andy Andrews! When I first saw him a Thirty One’s National Conference, I wanted to soak up everything he said.  The memory may not be great BUT I do read everything he puts out.  Some things stick with me while others I need to re-read lots of time.

He has an actual formula for commanding an audience no matter the size of the audience.

1. You want the audience to view you as a friend.

Do you feel like you need to have an answer for everything?  Are you a “know it all”?  Did you know the way your audience see you can determine how successful you are?   When your audience identifies with you or see you as a friend, they are more likely to be nice and engage in conversation.  Think about the people you enjoy being around. Then consider each situation from your audience’s point of view and make an effort to be friends with them, you will win their hearts.

2. You always want to actively engage your audience.

Do you get distracted talking to people (a group or event one person)?  You must ACTIVELY keep your audience engaged the whole time you are talking with them.  It can be stressful, right?  I tend to lose focus now with the MS and as a result, I tend to lose my audience.  So, I am working on way to acknowledge the distraction or “squirrel moment” so I can get back on track (for me and for them).

When I am talking to a small group (like at a home party), I used to stand in the front of the room – almost frozen in place, afraid to move.  Now, I walk around and talk to people while sharing the products.  If someone responds to something I said, I may walk over and share the product with them or try to engage them further in conversation.

The truth is despite my best efforts, I will become distracted or my audience will so I have to be ready to deal with it before it happens.

3. Communicate “what’s in it for them.”

When it comes to reading, watching, or listening, we only pay attention to things of interest, or those which affect us, or benefit us.  I mean, you aren’t interested in something, how long are you going to continue to listen or are you going to zone out?

Let your audience know what they will get from you (or the conversation).  If you simply tell them—they will show interest. Sounds easy, right? The key is to take the focus off of you and share what THEY want.  I have been doing this at my Thirty One parties but talking with the hostess before hand to get her favorites or the things she thinks might be of interest to her guests.  It has made a BIG difference in the interactions during a party.

The key is to Always keep “what’s in it for them” in the top of your mind. Tell the the value of your information upfront and it will not only keep their attention but it will also help you to focus your message on the key points.

If you want to make an impact, you must learn to engage and interest your audience.

What are your best tips for keeping your audience engaged or interested? Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

A Wedding Anniversary

WOW!  It doesn’t seem possible but six years ago today, I married my amazing hubby.  For those of you who know our story, sorry for the repeat but it is a true tale of unconditional love which lasted over time.

Rob and I dated the summer BEFORE high school – I was from OTHS and he was from Neptune. A strange mix during those years, I mean our schools were rivals.  He walked into my house with a friend of the family and our eyes met.  The rest was history.  There are some pictures which along with some stories have helped me to remember.

Opposite schools, different backgrounds – not a great match.  I caved under peer pressure and the desire to fit in my first year in HS.  We broke up and never spoke again. He went his way and I went mine.

In July 2001, I received a note in the mail from him. He said after a year of searching, this was his last attempt to connect with me. The search for me started because of a roadside memorial said “HOPE”. He wanted to make sure it wasn’t me.  The easy thing would have been to reach out to my dad but who does things the easy way, right?

When I saw the note, I smiled but then there was a look of amazement across my face. Belinda was like Who is this? Tell me more? She had no idea who he was nor did she know much about my high school days so she was curious.

I wasn’t looking for a relationship.  I was content for it to be “Belinda and I” (or you and me kid) till she went to college.  Little did I know, God had other plans for us.  Rob and I emailed for over 3 months sharing all aspects of our life.  I shared tales of my past as did he.  We connected but I never let him believe we would be anything more than friends – I wasn’t interested.  My heart was opening up but “love” just didn’t seem to be in the cards.

On October 12, 2001 after working the midnight shift, Rob drove to EHT to spend the day with me at a craft show.  Yes, a craft show.  He knew I would be there all day and it didn’t matter.  He walked in the door and our eyes met – my heart skipped a beat.  NOPE!  I wasn’t looking for a relationship.  The day was busy with lots of kids, I was making American Girl doll clothes back then.  At the end of the day, he helped me pack up everything and we went back to my house for dinner.  Belinda was spending the day with friends so we spend hours talking and reconnecting. He showed me a picture of me from the summer we dated which he kept all of those years.  It was the first of many trips Rob would make to EHT over the next 5 years. He traveled to EHT to spend his days off with us every week.  He traveled to cheering competitions, sat through practices, and went to craft shows.

One year later, at Christmas, Rob proposed and I accepted! Yes, we were engaged for almost 9 years before we got married. He was concerned about Belinda. He didn’t want to change her life as she was in high school – a competitive cheerleader, active in church and EHT was the only home she had ever known.  They had their ups and downs.  This was the first man in her life besides my dad and her best friend’s dad.  He would give her the world. She is the daughter he never had.

When Belinda left for college, I sold our home in EHT and moved to Brick. Not an easy move for me, Miss Independent.  I had been in my own home for about 20 plus years and had built a life there. Once Belinda became a resident of North Carolina and was in her final year of college – the wedding date was set. I was calm and just thought it would be a routine kind of thing.  I mean could a piece of paper and a ceremony really make a difference?

I was a nervous. Why?  It was a simple ceremony with a few close friends and family. As my dad started to walk me down the aisle, the reality hit. This was really happening – I was getting married. I almost passed out walking down the aisle and the pictures show the slight look of panic.  It passed as I saw Rob, just as nervous standing with Pastor and Belinda smiling at me. It was an amazing day – the weather was beautiful, our families were there and we got to celebrate with those who mean the most to us.

I wouldn’t change a minute of the last 16 years. We have had our rough spots but we have worked through them. Health issues about the last few years have taken a toll on both of us.  Rob’s unconditional love has helped me to grow as a wife, a mom and a person. We are definitely opposites but we do compliment each other – opposites attract, right?

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, my hubby. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Gaining Confidence Is An Ongoing Process

I have been having one of those weeks…. yup, fear and doubt has crept in.  My confidence has been shaken and I am wondering what my purpose is in life.  What happened?  I’m not sure except I have had some weird health days.  Days of feeling unsure.  Most days I can shake it then there are some when I need a confidence booster.  Surrounding myself with supportive  friends and family is part of it BUT sometimes I need to work on me.

Here are some things I do to help shake those nasty inner gremlins:

1.  Share Your Gifts & Passion with Others

Everyone has gifts and talents even when our confidence is lacking.  When I have days like this, I start writing.  Because I know sharing my struggles with others is one of my gifts.  You have accomplished great things – don’t downplay what you have achieved.  I know I am guilty of this all of the time.  The truth is, we are all good at something and there is always someone who wants to learn.

2. Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes

When I have days like this, I tend to focus on all of the mistakes I made in life. Remember negative thoughts brings more negative thoughts.  When we hold ourselves or others to high standards expecting perfection, we are usually left feeling less than, a failure, and unworthy. Give yourself a break!  Self-forgiveness is an important step towards building your self esteem and confidence.  Everyone make mistakes, you are no exception and you deserve to be forgiven.

3. Pay it Forward or Pay Yourself

Are you looking to right your wrongs or make a change due to mistakes from your past which may be holding you back?  We can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away BUT we can change the outcome.  Didn’t make school a priority in your life?  Go back and take some classes.  Maybe you weren’t there for friends and family – make amends.  As a recovering addict, my mission is to help those who are struggling because others helped m.  What mistake can you forgive yourself for so you can move on?

4. Be Solution Focused

I always say negative thoughts brings more negative – positive brings more positive, it is the way of the Universe.  So, when you are always complaining about not having enough (of anything), nothing gets accomplished. Look for solutions when things aren’t going as planned. This will take some practice before it becomes natural.  In the end, you will be able to approach a problem from a mindset of how to solve it instead of WHY ME victim mindset.

5. Smile

I know it is hard to smile when you are feeling less than BUT a little smile goes a long way. You would be surprised how it can actually change your mindset. It makes me feel good to smile, and it can also brighten someone else’s day.  In some cases this is where I advocate, fake it till you make it.   I don’t mean being fake to others, it is about learning to pick your head up and feel good along the way. The more you do it, before long, you will forget you were “faking it” and actually feed better, maybe even GOOD or GREAT!

6. Fear is Your Friend

FEAR is huge when we are not feeling confident (at least for me).  I am trying hard to use fear to my advantage! Think about it – fear shows up when you are about to step out of your comfort zone, stretch yourself and build your confidence. This is your secret weapon to growing.  When you recognize it is about to get scary, you are about to expand yourself which is HUGE confidence builder.

Despite popular belief (and my constant writing about it) I do struggle with confidence.  I am always amazed how I am more confident around people I don’t know then I am around friends or business colleagues.  Those nasty inner gremlins love to play the comparison game.

Share your struggles and your successes with us.  Let’s BUILD each other up so we are all successful in our business (and our lives).

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!