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!

Holiday Road Trip Survival Guide

 

This week starts one of the busiest travel period of the year…

Why this week?  In NJ, it is teacher’s convention add to that Election Day  and it makes for a week (or almost a week) off from school for the kids.  Next up is Thanksgiving then Christmas.

What about the weekend trips to see the leaves change?  This is what I think about hitting the road…. So, whether you’re going away for a long weekend or just a day, road trips can definitely add to the holiday joy – and stress. But from packing to snacking, Thirty-One has some helpful tips that will have you looking forward to the journey as much as the destination!

 

Savvy packing

My husband always jokes about the packing skills.  I can fit LOTS of stuff into a small space and still see out the back window.  It comes from all of the trips to cheering competitions and craft shows.  Organized packing can mean fewer bags, and fewer bags means more room to stretch your legs on the long car ride! For your clothes and other essentials, load up a couple of All Packed Duffles or Fold-Over Weekenders. These travel bags are just the right size for holidays away, and their soft edges mean you can squeeze several into your trunk more easily than boxy suitcases.

Blankets and pillows are road trip essentials, whether they’re for napping on the way to your destination or extra bedding once you get there. Instead of letting your backseat become a sea of blankets, fold and store bedding in a Large Utility Tote (LUT) in your trunk so it’ll be easy to access during pit stops. You’ll be all set to snuggle up by the fire with family and friends, and LUTs are also great for keeping all of those carefully wrapped gifts safe and sound!

Packing toiletries for travel is always tricky, but the Fold Up Family Organizer is a great option to store all your bottles and brushes. The clear zipper pockets make it easy to see what’s where without products falling out during the drive.

Smart snacking

Packing snacks can help you save money and time on the road. Juice boxes, string cheese sticks and fruit like grapes or apple slices are all easy, no-mess snacks for kids and adults alike, and they fit perfectly in the Fresh Market Thermal. This cooler keeps all your food and drinks secure during long road trips and then folds up nicely once its empty, giving you even more leg room. Or, load it up with holiday leftovers for the trip home!

Holiday gatherings usually mean food and lots of it. Whether you’ve whipped up a tasty casserole or some decadent desserts, bring something special to the table with our Perfect Party Set. Just the right size to tuck securely under a seat, this cooler helps you transport all your hard holiday work safely to the table.

Activity tracking

Nothing makes time fly like keeping yourself occupied during a road trip. If you’re looking for some inspiration to help pass the time while travelling, try out these ideas:

  • Audio books or podcasts are a great option if passengers have differing music tastes, and they still let the driver be involved! Download a couple of funny podcast episodes or holiday-themed books before your trip to switch things up from the radio.
  • Plan fun pit stops. If you’re going to be spending hours in the car, map out some fun stopping points that will give you an excuse to get out and stretch your legs. Check online before you depart to see if there are any monuments, bakeries or nature sites along your route.
  • Journal challenges: Get the kids’ creative juices flowing! Give each passenger a Journal Trio journal and some pencils. Throughout the trip, call out challenges like “draw a picture of Grandma’s house” or “make up a story about what Santa does the day after Christmas.” It’s fun for kids to share what they’ve come up with, but it’s also fun for you to think up the challenges!
Fashion hacking

A long car ride in your most stylish holiday outfit? After a few miles, those scratchy sequins might make you wish you had opted for sweats. Instead, travel fashionably (and comfortably) by taking your basics and dressing them up with JK by Thirty-One jewelry! Add a little sparkle to a plain sweater with the bold Fringed & Fabulous Necklace or a dainty pair of Gallery Earrings. You’ll feel comfortable and ready to celebrate as soon as you roll up to that holiday party.

Keeping your jewelry secure and organized while travelling can save lots of time, headaches and untangling in the long run. Jewelry organizers like the Baubles & Bracelets Case are perfect for separating delicate chains from dangling earrings so that you can have yourself a stylish little holiday.

When you’re taking a holiday road trip, every item needs to pull double duty, and that includes your handbag! Travel in style with classics like the Organizing Shoulder Bag or the new Colorblock Tote. These fashionable additions complete any outfit, and no one needs to know that you’ve tucked extra socks or toiletries inside!

What hacks help you travel during the holidays? Let us know with the #thirtyone hashtag!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unlocking the Power of Praise

Thank you Rachel Wojo for today’s message….

My 21-year-old daughter, Taylor, stares at me as she sits propped up in her hospital bed. Not many young adults would ask for a hospital bed in their room, but she hasn’t been able to ask me for anything in 15 years. I attempt to read the communication in her eyes and will her body language to reveal her needs and desires. She’s been a frontline disease fighter since birth and since age 4, we’ve faced the eventual outcome of no cure and no treatment. My thoughts turn to prayer, an instinctive reflex I’ve cultivated for all these years, but somehow, I can only be silent.

Though I can find no words in the moment, I long for God’s presence. Just as my girl will move her leg over to touch mine so she can simply know that I am here, so I find myself seeking moments to be still and know that He is God and yes, He is here. I remind myself that prayer begins with praise. Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name.

How do I find words to praise God when my child, my heart existing outside my body, is suffering? Limbs that once ran everywhere have withered down to skin and bone. Hands that once grabbed with lightning speed can barely hold a sippy cup to her mouth. Voice box that once chimed “Mom-my” is lost, never to be returned on this earth. Though together we’ve practiced gratitude day after day, frankly, we are running out of things to be thankful for.

But Jesus didn’t begin His prayer with thanksgiving. And the praise didn’t begin with things God has given. Nor did it begin with God’s work. Jesus first reminded God of Who He is. With this epiphany, the prayer that I couldn’t begin starts to form as I grip my girl’s hand. Just as Jesus began his prayer with words of adoration, so my prayer reflex is stimulated to follow his model.

Praise is the most powerful tool in our prayer arsenal. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15, NIV) As today’s truth explains, the blood of Jesus sacrificed on the cross provides our direct access to God. As a result, we are privileged to enter the presence of our Father and whisper praises directly to Him! When we stand before the Almighty God, we come as we are. It doesn’t mean we have a complete understanding of His work in our lives. It simply means our hearts are trusting and believing Him to be the ever-present, never-changing God who loves us beyond our comprehension.

When we can’t find praise in our hearts because we don’t understand what God is doing, we can always praise God for Who He is. He is the God Who never changes and has loved us since the beginning of time. Praise Him!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Find Balance with Vacation Veronica

Today is the last day of school for many so enter Vacation Veronica.  You have consistently been working your business and along comes the “Double J” months.  The kids are on vacation.  The pool is calling.  The sun is enticing you.  Those inner gremlins taunt you with “you deserve a break”, “you worked hard” or “no one wants to shop during the summer”.  Yup, we have all heard or thought those things, right?  What will it hurt to take a few weeks off?  I will jump right back in when the kids are back in school.  Been there, done that and the results were not pretty.

Summer living is easy, at least here at the Jersey shore unless you are fighting traffic from all of the “shoobies”.  Pools, picnics, gardening, homemade ice cream, life at the beach, on the lake, and the lazy days of summer are what we want our lives to be full of, right?

Most adults have to work a JOB, so all of the fun summer things are squeezed into weekends or vacation.  For those who have their own business, there are BIG choices to make. Sometimes, it is hard to remember our “business is flexible, not optional”, especially if you want to get paid!

I know it is the end of June and we still have the whole summer to go, right?  What are you going to do with your business?

Have you mentally put your business on hold?  Are you going to do it all summer?  Sure you can BUT how is it going to effect your customers, your team, and maybe even your company.

We often talk about “vacations” during the holiday months, right?  I can’t be the only one who finds it hard to work between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We tend to take a “holimonth instead of a holiday”. Not good for your business then and certainly not good during the summer.

Think about the excuses everyone has about not working their business during the year:

  • July/August – Summer time is vacation time, fun time. Who wants to work when everyone else is enjoying summer fun
  • September/October – Back to School and sports
  • November/December – holiday times.
  • January – No one has any money because they spent it all on gifts
  • April  – Easter or Spring Break
  • June – Graduations, weddings, end of school year parties, etc.

Do you see the pattern?  So, if you don’t have a plan, you can end up working your business maybe two months out of the year.  I don’t know about you but I definitely would have to work 24/7 to make sure I made enough money to pay the bills all year long.  No one says you can’t enjoy lots of vacation time when you have your own business, you just need to have a plan.

Here are the 5W’s of Direct Sales which helped me keep “Vacation Veronica” away:

  1. WHO will I share this with? Who will have my next show?
  2. WHAT do I want my business to provide for me? What is my vision? What difference do I want to make in this world?
  3. WHEN will I make time for my work and for my family?
  4. WHERE will I be in one year? Where is my time best spent right now?
  5. WHY am I really doing this? WHY does this bring me joy?

When I keep the answers to these questions in front of me, Vacation Veronica doesn’t have a chance to get me sidetracked. I am not saying we don’t all need a break but let’s put it in perspective. If you owned your own store-front and took a month off, don’t you think it would be hard to get back into the swing of things. What if you work a full-time job and took a month off? Would you want to go back to work and when you did, wouldn’t you still have vacation brain?

When you imagine your summer, think about what you want, and create an intentional plan.

Here’s to hoping Vacation Veronica doesn’t linger long at my house or yours.  Take a break and enjoy your family and friends but don’t neglect your business.  If you had a store front, you wouldn’t close for 2 weeks would you?  So why should you close your direct sales business for 2 weeks unless you are fully booked for the next 2 months – even then, I am not sure I would stop working my business.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!