How To Build a Busy Bag

The warmer weather has arrived, hopefully to stay, and for many it means ROAD TRIP!  Or maybe it just means a staycation.  As a kid, long car rides and I would fall asleep.  Belinda liked to be kept busy when we traveled in the car.  What about your kids do they sleep or are they a “when are we going to get there” kind of kid?
Another recipe for disaster: Take an important meeting, or doctor’s appointment, add one squirmy toddler and hope (or pray, as the case may be) for a tantrum-free hour.  You know what I mean, those times when a quick trip turns into an hour plus mess.
Fear not because there is a simple way to ward off a boredom-induced meltdown – build a busy bag!  This tote  can be filled with quiet toys, books and crafts and is an easy way to keep your little one entertained and (relatively) silent.
Here’s how to make your own:

Start with the bag

Help your child choose a bag or tote to fill and then decorate it together! The Statement Canvas Shopper – or for littler hands, a Statement Canvas Mini Shopper – can be personalized with their name, a fun Icon-It, graphic or even their own photo or artwork! You can upload your littlest ones’ fingerpaint masterpieces online and create a bag they’ll carry long after the “originals” have been tossed.

Bring along something soft

Smaller children may enjoy having a comfort item or “lovie” they can snuggle while the grown-ups are busy. For older children, choose soft dolls or finger puppets for imaginative play instead of noisy plastic action figures.

Add a little fun

A simple activity keeps little fingers engaged and focused. Old-fashioned toys like lacing cards, paper dolls or a matching card game don’t take up much space and can be enjoyed over and over.

Encourage reading and writing

Babies and toddlers who can’t yet read love books with different textures and flaps to open and close. Older children may enjoy age-appropriate books or a notebook and pencil to practice handwriting. Include some coloring books and crayons (as long as you know they’ll be used only on paper).Add some of your child’s favorite toys and activities to customize your busy bag with whatever will keep them content. Keep your bag ready in the car or diaper bag so it’s always with you on the go, and switch out toys and games frequently to hold your child’s interest. And most importantly, have fun, because they’re only little for so long!

What do you carry to keep your little ones busy when you are out and about?  Do you have a favorite game to play on car trips?  Share it with us…
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Time for a Personal Rebrand?

Life has thrown me a curve ball and I don’t mean I am playing a game of baseball…..

Over the last three months, my direct sales business has been struggling.  Maybe it is me who has been struggling.  My bag is FULL – MS stuff, recovery, family and trying to continue my business to pay the bills.  It has been some of the worst months in three plus years.  Have I wallowed in a pity pot for a little bit?  YUP!  Did I beat myself up?  YUP!  I totally get how business fluctuates.  I am always grateful for a supportive network of other women business owners who help me to put things in perspective.

I know you are wondering………”what does this have to do with personal branding”, right?  During all of this, I have been thinking about my personal brand.  A way to incorporate my direct sales business with my angels.  I love both but trying to split my time has wrecked havoc on my health (or should I say my thought process).  I know, splitting my time between two loves is not good for either business, right?

What happens when your passion changes over time? In a recent article Dorie Clark‘s quotes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Clark emphasizes, “Your path may make perfect sense to you, but how can you persuade others to embrace your new brand — and take you seriously?”  This is where I’m at right NOW!  I have been in direct sales for 8 plus years and I am known for it, as I transition or merge the two, I need to get my current customers on both sides to embrace my new brand.

A personal rebrand isn’t easy! I mean isn’t it easier to continue along the same path where people know you for what you do best — or at least what they think you do best.  Over time, as your passions change, it’s only natural to pivot into new areas. Remember,  multiple rebranding will hold you back and create confusion, so follow these steps, and you’ll be ready to take your brand to the next level.

#1 Reflect: 

The first step in branding is to reflect on who you are, what you’ve accomplished and how you want the world to see you.  Search yourself on google – search your name, your business, or something people identify with you.  Ask friends you trust for their help.  Here are some  questions to help you to define your brand:

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. What are you good at?  
  3. What do you write about, talk about and share share about?  

#2 Define Your Personal Brand: 

You want  to simply stand out in the crowd by focusing on your unique gifts and what makes you different.  Is it something people relate to you?  When they see it, they think of you.  Is it a tagline?  Make a list of all of the things which make you stand out from the crowd.  In direct sales, this is extremely important because you want loyal customers, right?

#3 Create Your Brand:

Now you need to become visible, get yourself out there. Create an active social media presence with a personal website.  If you are in direct sales, you can usually change your URL to a catchy phrase or something which makes you stand out.  I used Go Daddy to change my direct sales website URL to “partywithHope”.  It is short and easy for customers to remember.  As for my angels it is simply a Facebook page of called “Hope’s Angel Connection”. PLUS  I always use my angel wings as a watermark on my graphics as a reminder of me!

#4 Connect to Others: 

Now you have a personal brand.  The next step is being visible in the arenas where you want to be successful. Know who you want your audience to be – stay at home moms, professionals, etc.  Get reviews or endorsements from customers, attend events, and network, to bolster and lend credibility to the brand you are marketing.  Don’t be shy about it – wear your brand every day.  I always have a ThirtyOne bag AND an angel charm on – each draw people into conversations.

Yup, it is really this simple. Remember, the success of personal branding depends on how well your audience understands your vision, and what you do best, as well as your authenticity. Share your brand with us!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

My Battle With Pride

Tasty Tuesday: Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

This YUMMY recipe is low carb AND it is gluten free!  This recipe is from “All Day I Dream of Food”. The website is full of LOTS of recipe which are also paleo.  There are some keto meal plans too.  The directions are easy enough to follow….

 

A tender, sweet low carb coffee cake filled with cinnamon and drizzled with cream cheese glaze.

Prep Time: 15 mins     Cook Time: 35 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Ingredients
Cinnamon Filling:
  • 3 tbsp Swerve Sweetener
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Cake:
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup Swerve Sweetener
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured whey protein powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 3 tbsp cream cheese softened
  • 2 tbsp powdered Swerve Sweetener
  • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F and grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. For the filling, combine the Swerve and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

  3. For the cake, whisk together almond flour, sweetener, protein powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

  4. Stir in the eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Add the almond milk and continue to stir until well combined.

  5. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan, then sprinkle with about two thirds of the cinnamon filling mixture. Spread the remaining batter over top and smooth with a knife or an offset spatula.

  6. Bake 35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  7. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon filling mixture. Let cool in pan.
  8. For the frosting, beat cream cheese, powdered erythritol, cream and vanilla extract together in a small bowl until smooth. Pipe or drizzle over cooled cake.
Recipe Notes:  Each serving has 5.4 g of carbs and 2.2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.2 g.
Whether you are shopping for ingredients or headed to the beach….. Thirty One’s Fresh Market Thermal is the answer! The Fresh Market Thermal is a stylish, portable thermal large enough to hold two 9″x13″ casserole dishes. A must-have for family picnics, tailgating, trips to the beach, days on the boat, potlucks, grocery shopping or weekend camping. Its water-resistant Leak Lock® thermal lining means you can add ice to this cooler bag to keep food and drinks cold. Need more room? The sides unsnap and expand to give you more space inside. Long handles allow you to carry it over your shoulder when you need to be hands-free. The Fresh Market Thermal also features a zipper closure for securing contents and an exterior front pocket to hold other important items.
The best part is it is ON SALE for $15 with a $35 purchase.  Be sure to check out my website at www.partywithHope.com.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Your Wedding Registry

Do you know someone getting married in the coming months?  Maybe it is you or a close friend or family member, whoever it is wedding registries are part of the planning process.  Just like shopping for rings or meeting with the florist, registering for gifts is one of the time-honored to-dos brides and grooms check off their list as they count down to their upcoming wedding.  I will admit, I had more fun doing this than hubby did.

But like lots of couples (us included), you may have been on your own for almost a decade (or more) and already have a fully outfitted kitchen and bedroom. Sure, you don’t “need” anything, but your wedding guests still want to give you something personal, beautiful or useful for your big day.

Although there will always be some non-negotiables when it comes to wedding etiquette (thank-you notes are a must), couples have more freedom than ever in building a wish list which fits their needs. Here are five ideas for making your registry your own:

#1 Enjoy an experience

If you truly can’t think of any “things” you want or need, make your first year as a married couple more memorable by registering for experiences like cooking classes, zip-lining excursions or dancing lessons. You can also create a special registry to help fund your honeymoon – everything from flights and hotels to sightseeing tours and fine dining.

#2 Upgrade what you already have

If your place is full of hand-me-downs, college-era furniture and the mismatched plates have seen better days, now is the time to upgrade to the higher-end cookware and linens you’ve coveted but wouldn’t necessarily buy for yourself. Think stand mixers, eco-friendly cookware and hello, 1000-thread-count sheets! Guests will love they can gift you with something you’ll use every day.

#3 Outfit your honeymoon

You’ve planned the trip of a lifetime, and you need the luggage to get you there! Ditch the beat-up suitcase you took to summer camp and register for a luxe matching set. Or let each of your personalities shine through with monogrammed travel bags from Thirty-One: the All Packed Duffle and new Away for the Weekender come in stylish prints and classic solids. Add a coordinated Glamour Case for your toiletries.

#4 Think outside the house

All set on dishes, towels and sheets? More retailers than ever are getting into the registry game to offer products outside the realm of bed and bath. If homeownership is in your near future, consider registering for gardening tools or even a lawnmower to make yardwork less of a chore, or create a welcoming patio area with furniture or a grill. Does a night under the stars sound romantic? Take your registry to the great outdoors with camping, hiking and fishing gear.

#5 Entertain Your Way

Sure, the fine china set is gorgeous, but when was the last time you hosted a formal dinner party for 12 – and wanted to hand-wash the dishes after? Save the cabinet space and register for the entertaining items you’ll actually use, like board games for casual nights in with friends, beer glasses for your favorite brews or a turntable for your vinyl collection. Build your wine and cheese spread on a personalized Close To Home™ Round Tray – so chic!

I am happy to set up a Thirty One Gift Registry for you which friends can easily access.  Make your wish list, reach out and I will set things up for you.  Need gifts for the bridal party?  Let me help you create one of a kind personalized gifts they will treasure forever.

Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!