4th Annual Chemo Care Tote Campaign

As part of “Giving Tuesday” I am kicking off  my “4th Annual CHEMO CARE TOTES” Campaign.

When I began my journey with Thirty One in 2011, I wanted to make a difference.  Actually, I have been making  difference all of my life – from collecting funds for MD as a child to working in soup kitchens and food pantries to bringing a smile to those who are struggling.  I want to share my spiritual gifts of “helps and encouragement” so others know someone cares when they are struggling.

Here is the message I received from past recipients:

Wanted to let you know I have handed out all of the beautiful bags you had donated for women battling breast cancer. Each person loved the bag and it put a smile on their face to know someone was kind and providing a sense of support as they started their chemotherapy treatments. Thank you again for supporting our patients.

Yes, I cried the first time!… Now, I get goosebumps every time I read it.  Cancer has touched each of us in some way – a friend, a family member, a sister, a mother, a father, a child, and the list goes on.

This project is near and dear to my heart.  It is a tribute to my family who fought a good fight against this dreaded disease and lost: Edythe (kidney cancer), Elsie (breast cancer), Pop-pop (lung cancer) and my dad (prostrate cancer). I spent many hours in the Oncology Units with Elsie and Edythe as they underwent chemo treatments.  I held their hand when they struggled with the insertion of the needles.  I was there when they were sick from the chemo and sat by their bedside when they were too weak to go out.  As a friend said #cancersucks.  It takes many from us long before their time.  It ravages families.  It leaves children parentless.  It has parents burying children.

With my own health struggles, I have spent many hours in the infusion units of local hospitals.  I am blessed to only have to be there a short time – time for blood work and special testing.  The many women I have seen are not there for a one time visit, they are there for weeks of painful treatments.  They smile and carry on conversations  while encouraging each other.  My heart breaks and the tears come each time I leave the unit for I know what their struggles are like.

Your gift/ sponsorship of $25 will pay for the bag.   I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with a variety of things like a blanket/scarf, notepad, pen, bottle of water, lotion, warm socks, chap stick and crossword puzzle book. Donations will again be delivered to the local Cancer Care Center at Southern Ocean Medical Center to bring a smile to the face of those who are fighting this dreadful disease.

chemo bagsLast year, we delivered 31 bags BUT this year, my goal is 50.  I know it is a HUGE jump but I am confident we are up for the challenge. Yes, I know it is the holiday season.  Yes, I know money is tight.  STOP for a moment and think how you would feel if someone handed you an unexpected gift – no strings attached – when you were feeling your lowest.  Let the love of this holiday season shine through with your help.

For $25 you can bring a smile to someone who is fighting the cancer battle.

You can sponsor a bag in memory of someone, in honor of someone or just anonymously. Payments can be made via check, credit card or through Paypal at hopesgiftcloset@comcast.net as a friend/family.   If you see me at a vendor event, I will be happy to accept your donation.

Won’t you help us to make a difference today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Casual Cargo Bag – Not Just a Diaper Bag

First, my “baby” has turned 30 years old so I definitely don’t need a diaper bag BUT I do LOVE this bag.  I have actually been using it every day for the last few weeks.  It is AMAZING!

For those of you who have been around Thirty One for awhile, you may remember the original Casual Cargo Bag… it was actually the #1 choice by moms in 2014.  Don’t believe me, check out www.babycenter.com.  I know you are wondering why did it go away, right?    Like all good things, it went away and came back even more AMAZING!  How can you improve on great, right?  Well, we did!  

The NEW Casual Cargo Bag is part of Baby by Thirty One.  So, it is officially a diaper bag but it is so much more! It’s an easy-to-wear, everyday canvas cargo tote for anyone who’s on the go. Do you commute to work?  How about travel to practices with the kids?  Spend a lot of time on the road playing mom taxi or for work?  This bag is a great solution!

Let’s start with its extended top handle straps and detachable, adjustable strap which gives you the versatility to wear it as a shoulder bag or a crossbody bag.  It is in a cotton/canvas fabric with a polyester lining.   The crossbody strap let’s you keep your hands free when chasing after the kids.  It has two exterior pockets with magnetic closures which is the perfect spot for your keys or maybe the baby’s binky.  I have my business cards in one along with a note pad to gather potential customers contact information.  I know you are wonder, why didn’t I say these pockets were good for your cell phone.  Because there is actually a cell phone pocket on the outside which will fit most phones including some of the new larger ones.   No need to go digging around in your bag when you are juggling the baby.

Let’s move to the inside which has multiple pockets and LOTS  of space.  My favorite new feature is an interior thermal pocket with a leak lock lining.  This is a great spot to keep a snack and a bottle of water.  I haven’t put it to the test to see how much it can hold but there is quite a bit of room.  It did hold enough snacks/ light food for a recent vendor event.

Also on the side is two flat pockets AND 2 elastic side pockets which are great for bottles or containers of snacks.  Top it off with a zipper closure and you are ready to hit the road with a stylish, yet functional diaper bag.  Did I mention you can have it personalized too?  The best part is when you don’t need a diaper bag any more, it is still a GREAT bag to use every day.  It is roomy but not HUGE.

The next question is – “Is it washable?” I have to admit the company does not recommend washing this item.  They do recommend wiping it with a damp cloth using mild soap only and then air drying.  I will tell you I have customers who have tossed this into the washer on a gentle cycle and air dried it who give it rave reviews when all was said and done.

At a cost of $68, this durable, fun, functional and stylish bag is the perfect gift for the new or soon to be mom.  How about for the college student or even the work at home mom.  If you want to see this product up close – contact me for a product experience (one-on-one product showing) or have a home party where you can get all the things you will want to keep the new nursery neat and tidy…

Whose ready to shop??? Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is another Thanksgiving filled with lots of emotions…as usual, I will be spending a lot of time crying.   Tears of gratitude for the blessings of this year mixed with tears of sadness.

This is our second Thanksgiving without my dad.  Since Belinda was a baby, we locked in two holidays which were always spent with dad – Father’s Day and Thanksgiving.  We will be spending the day with my step-mom and extended family but it will be a struggle.  Belinda is in NC celebrating Thanksgiving with her in-laws.  As I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, I struggle with memories of past years filled with high school football games, homecoming floats, dinner at Grams with the entire family.

Today I am counting my blessings….  Blessed to have a supportive hubby, it has been a rough year but he has been my rock.  I am grateful I was able to fix us a mini Thanksgiving dinner on Monday since he is working today.   I am grateful my family is healthy as mom and Sal head off on a cruise..

This Laura Story song is one of my favorites…

Thirty One continues to bless my life and be the thing which keeps me going on those bad days.  Who would have thought 7 plus years ago, a $99 kit would make such a difference in someone’s live?   Over the last 6 months, my business has grown beyond my wildest dreams.  I have an amazing team of women who inspire me with their strength, courage and friendship.  I’m grateful I am still able to earn an income despite the challenges of MS.  I have a multitude of women who have gone from customers and hostesses to friends.  The greatest blessing is the ability to share with those who are struggling by giving back to our community.

Words can’t express how grateful I am today and every day. My wish is each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving – enjoy the time with your friends and family. Cherish the moments for all the years to come.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Gwen Smith…

Dear Lord:

We come with hearts of gratitude today to bless Your name and to ask that Your hand of blessing would be upon us. THANK YOU, Father, for loving us with an eternal love that stands firm, even when we are unlovable. THANK YOU for being faithful, righteous, holy and just, yet willing to see us, Your children, through divine eyes of compassion, mercy, forgiveness and grace. THANK YOU for being a God of restoration and renewal in the midst of a broken, pain-filled world. THANK YOU for providing for our needs, directing our paths, and establishing our steps.

We acknowledge Your sovereignty, Lord, and freshly submit to Your will today. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our children, grandchildren, marriages, families, and loved ones. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our country, president, governors, senators, representatives, and local officials. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our communities, churches, schools, work places, decisions, and opportunities. Please FILL US with the presence of Your joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self control today. HELP US to see as You see and to love as You love. HELP US to serve others humbly for the sake of Your name. HELP US to be light that shines in the darkness. HELP US to follow Your ways and continually seek Your leading.

You are our hope and our strength, Lord. We give you THANKS in all of this and ask for the fullness of Your BLESSING in all these things, according to the power of Jesus Christ who is at work within us through Your Holy Spirit.

Amen

Have a ThirtyOne-derful Thanksgiving!

Pack Like a Pro

Happy HUMP DAY!  For some, this may be a day off and the start of a LONG week-end  on one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.  Can you believe more people travel on Thanksgiving weekend then any other time of the year?  Whether you are flying or driving to your destination, packing can be a chore…  When you are driving, you can pack what you want and even over pack, right?  But what about when you are flying?  Carry on versus checked luggage?  Roll on or tote?  It is enough to make your head spin.If you are flying this holiday week, here are some quick and easy packing tips to lighten your load.

1. Mix and Match

Do you really need a different outfit every single day?  The truth is you don’t.  I have always been of the mindset to take  “just in case” clothes.   I have learned when I fly, less is more.  I use the mix and match theory.  Pack neutral colors and colors which go together, nobody will notice your wearing the same pants two days in a row.

2. Light Clothing

The best thing about denim is you can wear it day after, day, after day, and it is perfect for traveling. The problem is denim is heavy.  I never really thought about this BUT it is so true.  So why not wear it on the plane so it’s not in your luggage.  Have a shirt or two in your bag to go with your jeans and some lighter pants if you must carry extra clothes.

3. Digital Entertainment

Let’s be honest, will you actually read the book you are carrying or will you be trolling the internet, listening to music or playing a game?  Don’t over pack with books and reading materials. Use a Kindle or an app on a iPhone or iPad.  I love this idea if you must have an actual book: buy one at the airport, then return it to the same bookstore at a different airport. You’ll get 50% back.

While you are sitting at the airport, do some people watching for some great travel tips.  The expert travelers travel very light while the novice is loaded down with lots of bags and struggling.  By using these lug-less luggage tips on your next trip, you’ll look like a pro, just like them!

Here are some of my favorite Thirty One products for traveling…  The Glamour Case is great for traveling or to organize your bathroom space at home.  It has four brush holders and a clear PVC zip pocket which keeps your cosmetics, toiletries and other beauty needs at your fingertips. The zip closure and top handle strap ensure transporting it is neat and easy

The Fold Up Family Organizer (#1) hangs up wherever you need it – in closets, the garage, the kids’ rooms, the bathroom (shower rack when traveling) — anywhere there’s a bar or a hook. It has four separate zip-close clear pockets, so you can sort anything from your craft supplies, to beauty products.  This is a great way to travel with activities for the kids – fold it up, snap it closed and carry it easily with a top handle strap. OR let them carry their own.

As for suitcases, the All Packed Duffle (#3) and the Retro Metro Weekender (#2) are my all time favorites.  I usually use the weekender and hubby travels with the duffle bag.  The weekender is the perfect with an adjustable, detachable strap, you can turn it into a shoulder bag or crossbody bag with ease. It has an interior zipper pocket and exterior flat pocket so you can keep valuables separate and secure. I love the fact this bag will fit under the seat of the plane or it is durable enough to withstand the baggage handlers.  If it gets a little dirty, toss it into the wash.  Yes, it is machine washable.  The All Packed Duffle is perfect for the gym, weekends away, sports, camping, overnight or whenever you need a fabulous carryall. The exterior compartment keeps your shoes separate from the rest of your clothes, while two interior mesh pockets keep things in place during transport. Carry it by hand or sling it over your shoulder.

So whether you are flying or driving this holiday weekend, be safe.  Enjoy the moments with family and give thanks for the many blessings you have had during the year.

What is your best travel tip when flying?  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

How To Get Your Kids to Clean Their Room

Belinda may be grown BUT I do remember the battle for her to keep her room clean – okay, even neat would have been nice.  I was grateful company never had to walk past her room to get to the bathroom or I could just close her door….  What about you?  Do you struggle to get your kids to clean up their room?  Are things tossed EVERY WHERE???

If you’re a parent, you have heard the endless excuses your kids can come up with when it’s time to clean their rooms.  From “I’ll do it later!” to “I’m too tired,” we’ve heard them all! The truth is, we probably used them ourselves at some point in our life, right?  Here are a few tricks to help make the room-cleaning battle a bit easier.

1. Set clear, realistic expectations

What is clean to us may not be clean to our kids.  We need to set age-appropriate goals to help them recognize when their room is “clean.”  For a three-year-old, a clean room could simply mean books are on the shelf, toys in their place and dirty clothes in the hamper. Yet for an eight-year-old, there could be the added responsibility of making their bed or putting clean clothes away.  The key is we need to share our expectations with our children.  Maybe even give them a list of what to do and if they can’t read, use pictures with the words.

2. Let your kids OWN their space

Belinda’s room was her room – seems like a no-brainer, right?  I let her make her own decisions but often gave her just two choices I could leave with – whether it was picking out her clothes, what color her room was or what game to play.  I never thought about giving her a .choice about where things went in  her room… It did get better once we put the closet organizer in with shelves and a spot to hang her clothes.

primaryFor some kids, putting toys, games and clothes away is never fun – except when there’s a monster involved! Here is a unique craft idea to turn Thirty One’s  Your Way® Cube or Your Way® Rectangle storage bin into a fun monster kids can keep their belongings in.

Not only does it help keep bedrooms and toy rooms neat, it makes a great decoration and an adorable gift your kids will love. I’m pretty sure this is one monster your kids will want under their beds … or in their closets!

image1Here is what you will need:

  • 1 white sticky-back foam sheet (color optional)
  • Pair of sticky-back googly eyes – size and number of eyes optional
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • FREE monster teeth template (Your Way® Cube and Rectangle sizes included)
  • Glue stick (for other/additional design options)

How to make it:

  1. Choose either a Your Way® Cube with matching Cube Lid or Your Way® Rectangle with matching Rectangle Lid in the color or print you want your monster to be.
  2. Print out the monster teeth template below and cut two rows of teeth for your cube or rectangle from the sticky-back foam sheet. If you prefer, you can also design your own teeth, but be sure to measure the window or panel of your bin first.
  3. Peel and stick the teeth to either the clear PVC window or chalkboard panel of your bin, aligning the flat edges to the top and bottom edge.
  4. Next, identify the front-facing edge of your lid, and place it on your bin. This will help you decide on the placement of your googly eyes.
  5. Now, peel and stick the eyes in place to the front-facing edge of the lid. You made a monster!

 

Add even more embellishments, if you’d like: Maybe some foam-sheet spots in a contrasting color, or eyelashes, horns, ears or a nose. Maybe even glue a little faux fur or feathers to the lid for hair!

Consider stacking up a few monster cubes to create a fun tower shape or line them up on shelves to create a monster row. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and be creative!  Click the link:  Monster Teeth Template to get the teeth

 

3. Set a good example

Kids learn by example, right?  They learn from what we do, and not from what we say.  I’m sure you have said it at least once “Do as I say, not as I do”… Admit it, we all have.  Honestly, sometimes it’s easier to say, “Clean your room!” and walk away than to actually go in and HELP our kids.  Sometimes, it takes just that!  If your child is resisting, why not get down on the floor and help.  When you do the work together, you are setting a good example of how families help each other – and it actually is a chance to spend  some quality time talking and bonding with your child.

I wish we had personalized containers like The Littles Carry-All Caddies, Mini Storage Bins and Your Way Cubes when Belinda was younger.  They are the perfect size for storing toys, extra clothes and other stuff which clutter up a child’s room. Plus, they can be personalized with your child’s name, a favorite picture or animal (using our Icon-Its) or anything else you come up with.  Have some fun with your kids and let them help in personalizing the storage and organization products for their rooms.

How do you help your children keep their space neat and tidy? Show us your organized kids’ rooms by sharing your photos on social media – we love seeing how you put Thirty-One’s  products to use. Tag us with #partywithHope

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!