Yep…changes are tough, but a necessary part of life. This post is my way of telling you that things are changing. The quote below is one of my favorite quotes because you can apply it to your own life or the world. You must be the change first.
If you want the world to be more peaceful, you must be more peaceful. If you want to be a leader, you must lead. Take action in your life to see a difference in the world.
My personal interpretation of that quote means I must take action and do what I can to make the changes happen in my life. I know it seems” that I’ve slacked off lately, but that is so far from the case. I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes work on myself, my blog and my life. So let’s talk about those changes and the actions I’m taking.
I’m Doing B School
Yep, Marie Forleo’s B School. I finally did it. I’ve looked at it for the last 4 (maybe 5) years and every year I regret when I don’t do it.
I have so many plans in my head and feeling very overwhelmed when it comes to trying to get them out of my head and into my blog. I just completed module 5 last night and I know that this class is definitely worth the high price tag. I already feel like I have a better plan.
This change will bring my blog and business to a whole new level.
I’m Doing #50WorkDays Too
Because taking 1 class wasn’t enough now, I’m also taking the Blog to Profit (#50WorkDays) class put on my Regina of ByRegina.com. I LOVE LOVE LOVE her classes because she breaks things down into very easy simple steps. This class is a small one which I really do prefer because I get to know people better that way.
This change will give me a process to follow to get my ideas out of my head.
Rebranding My Blog
You saw the new logo, but that was only the beginning. I’m working on a new theme and I’m going to have a style guide and be all official! My goal is to get back to the roots of what I love about blogging. Sharing what I know with you. I got away from that recently. But no more. You will see less sponsored posts and more of me sharing my knowledge of tech, scrapbooking, running and blogging.
This change will breathe new life to my blog.
My New Logo
The colors you’ll be seeing a lot more of here are orange, pink and gold. That combination of colors makes me so happy. I’m also loving circles. Everything seems to happen in circles in my life.
This change makes me happy because I was tired of the old logo.
Working On Some Products
I have always wanted to write an ebook and I’m going to do it this year. This is one of those “stuck in my head” projects that I is bursting to get out of my head.
This change will let me do something on my goal and bucket list.
Changes In My Personal Life
I’m still dealing with some of my pancreatic health issues, but going at it from another angle. This seems to consume a lot of my life if I let it. I’m trying hard to not let it.
And I’m working really hard on getting rid of the 40 extra pounds that have slowly been added to my body since my total hysterectomy (and immediate menopause.) I’m headed to the doctor next week for a full physical to be sure there isn’t a medical reason that these pounds aren’t budging (other symptoms too.)
These changes will make it easier for me to do all I want to do because I will have more energy.
Family Life is Changing Too
My kids are all getting older (but I’m not.)
My oldest is finishing up his Freshman year of college. He is living at home so the change wasn’t huge, but he is now an adult. This change I liked. I love seeing my kids grow up.
My daughters are still very involved in dance. We are headed to our first big dance competition this weekend. I’ll be doing a lot of my classes from the competition this weekend. There is so much down time, so I’m making good use of that time. I guess this isn’t really a change, but I need to be fair and include all my kids in this update.
My other son is about to test for his red belt in TaeKwonDo. He has just one more belt after that and then he begins his Black Belt training. Watch out!! This change is going to give me a kick a$$ body-guard!
This school year is also my last in grade school. YAY!!! I will have NO kids in grade school and after 14 years of having at least one kid in grade school…I’m done! This change signifies a change in our family. Our kids are all growing up and becoming their own people. I love it!!
And my husband is still running trade shows and very supportive of all my projects! This isn’t a change, but that’s good. I don’t need to change husbands…I love the one I’ve had for 20 years.
That is my life in a nutshell now. Changes and all.
And here is my new haircut….just because it’s another change! My attempt to “be the change” on the outside too.
Let’s talk about “Be the change!” How do you “be the change” personally to make a difference in the world?
Is safety a priority in your house? Do you worry about safety when answering your front door? I do! I like to know who is at my door before I answer it for two reasons:
If they are selling me something, I’m not going to answer it.
If I don’t know who they are, I don’t want to open the door to find out who they are.
The Skybell WiFi Video Doorbell gives you the opportunity to see (live video action) and have a conversation with the person at your door without unlocking and opening your door. You do not need to be home (but they don’t know that.)
The first thing you need to do is replace your current doorbell with the SkyBell Doorbell. Installation was fairly easy. The location of our doorbell made it a bit tricky, but my husband easily followed the directions and figure out how to install it correctly on our door.
Then download the SkyBell iPhone or Android app. Once the app is installed on your phone, set up the WiFi. You will manage your new doorbell from your phone.
When someone comes to the door, they ring the SkyBell Doorbell just like a normal doorbell for the visitor. They push the button and you will hear a digital chime in the house and get a notice on any phone with the SkyBell app installed (can have multiple users.)
The first person to go to the app will see live video of the person at the door. You can talk to them by pressing the button in the app. Anyone else who tries to answer the doorbell will get a message that someone is using the app.
The visitor talks when they want to respond. You can also snap a photo from the live video feed by pressing the camera button. Here is a photo I took.
We loved that when we weren’t home we could still answer the door. I’m always carpooling kids somewhere and I used the SkyBell app often to see who was at the door. I liked that they didn’t know I wasn’t home, so it appeared that someone was home.
I also used it to check on my kids playing in the front yard.
Additional SkyBell Features
If someone comes to the door, but doesn’t press the doorbell, you will still be notified with the app after 10 seconds. The WiFi doorbell has a motion sensor so a visitor can be detected even if they don’t press the doorbell. You can turn the motion sensor off if you don’t want to use it. We had to do this during a 50 mph windy day.
Want to see if it’s raining at your house? Open the SkyBell app and you can look at the live video anytime. I like to use it to check on my kids walking home from the bus stop.
Want to take a nap and not be disturbed by your doorbell? No problem. There is a silent mode which turns off the indoor chime so SkyBell will only notify you with the app. You can take a nap and have others in the house get the door. We’ve been testing ours with and without the indoor chime. I don’t like the sound of the indoor chime, but unless I have my phone right with me, it’s a necessity for us.
Want to know who is ringing your doorbell at 11pm at night? You can see that someone up to 5 feet away in low light. We always have the front lights on for safety anyways, so we never had a problem seeing who was at the door.
Did We Like It?
We love being able to see who is at the door and talk to them. I do not like the sound of the digital chime, but when we turn it off and are not near our phones, we don’t know someone is at the door. But the sound isn’t enough to keep me from using it.
We had problems with hearing our old doorbell in certain places in the house, so now when I’m working out in the basement, I don’t miss a package that needs signing.
We have had some rain and the SkyBell is still running.
SkyBell WiFi Video Doorbell Giveaway
SkyBell is providing one(1) SkyBell WiFi Video DoorBell to one(1) lucky reader.
Last month I told you all about the new Dell XPS 13. I’ve had another month to use it and the best way to show you how it will fit into your lifestyle is to take you through my day with the XPS 13.
My day starts at 6:15 am and I wake up my youngest to get her to school. Once she is off, I get the rest of the kids up and I sit at the kitchen table with my XPS and check email, news, social media and read a few blogs.
I’m available for my kids, but getting some of the business tasks out-of-the-way. My battery power on my Dell XPS 13 starts between 9 and 10 hours.
TIP: I found turning down the brightness on the screen saves a LOT of battery power. It’s the biggest drainer for me. If I turn the brightness up, the battery in the morning goes down to about 5 hours.
After I workout and shower, I run errands and usually spend some time working at Starbucks or McDonald’s. I find I get a lot done in an hour or two away from home because I’m more focused. I bring my XPS with me while I run errands so I have it if I decide to stop and work.
It’s light enough and small enough and fits nicely in my purse. The infinity screen means I get a nice size screen in a small package and I love it. I also noticed that there are not any scratches on the laptop. I am constantly moving it around and taking it in and out of bags and my purse and no scratches.
After lunch, I work for a few hours in my office. I use my desktop primarily at this time, but my XPS is on the desk right next to me because that’s how I roll! No, seriously, I keep my calendar open on my XPS so I can easily see it while I’m working.
I will often plug it in while it’s on the desk because I want to turn the brightness up, but then sometimes I forget. Either way, it’s still juiced with about 3-4 hours to go.
Once the kids are home, I will work in the kitchen or family room with my XPS and when I drive the kids to activities, I take the XPS with me and often work in my car while I’m waiting to pick someone up.
Once again, those times I’m in my car are very productive because I’m more focused and not distracted by anything in the house. I keep the backup battery in my purse so that if I run out of juice at any point, I have more with me. Most days I don’t need it. But as I said before, it depends a lot on how I use the brightness.
While I’m making dinner, the Dell XPS 13 is once again on the kitchen counter. I may work or watch a movie or help kids with homework. While we eat dinner the XPS gets plugged in because I’m usually at less than an hour (if I didn’t recharge with the backup.)
Typically, that is the end of my work day, but often I’ll use the XPS for shopping, editing family photos or working on one of the many school or dance projects I volunteer for. I try not to take it to bed with me, but if we are researching a vacation, new car or something else, I will bring it upstairs.
So, as you can see, this Dell XPS 13 with Intel gets carried around a LOT! I wish I could say I’m really careful with it, but I’m not. I don’t have a cover on it and I carry with my keys and in a bag with notebooks and other things.
It has become my favorite laptop because it’s so small and light and the battery life fits in with my daily lifestyle. Having the backup battery is a tremendous help because I don’t worry about not having the cord with me and having to find a place to plug-in.
The life of the battery does depend greatly on what I’m doing, the programs I have running and the brightness of my screen. But I can tell you that the battery lasts longer than any other laptop I have used even before the battery backup.
I haven’t traveled with the XPS yet, but I can’t wait to try it out on a trip. Especially on our long 10 hour flight to Hawaii this summer.
Let’s Talk! Do you use a laptop throughout your day? How often do you need to plug-in?
Disclosure: I received the Dell XPS 13 with Intel for this review. All opinions are my own.
Have you thought about summer learning for your kids? I know, I know…it’s only March. But I just looked at our calendar and the end of the 3rd quarter is next week. Summer will be here before you know it.
I’m not big on making my kids do worksheets all summer long. I do believe that kids need time to be free and have adventures. That’s why I was very curious and excited about Brain Chase when I first learned about it. I was skeptical at first, but after hearing more about it, I can’t wait to get my kids started. This is very different. It’s more of an adventure that uses learning as the tool to discover more adventure.
What is Brain Chase?
Brain Chase is a 5 week online learning adventure for kids in 2nd through 8th grade. It is a treasure hunt where kids read, write and do math to progress through the adventure. This helps prevent the summer brain drain. The adventure is personalized for each child as they hunt for a golden mechanical treasure.
The prize? $10,000 scholarship and a trophy
Here is a video that shows you how the game works.
Now doesn’t that look like loads of fun?
The Nitty Gritty Details for Your Summer Learning Adventure
Starts at 9:00 am ET on Monday, June 22, 2015. It begins with an animated webisode where you’ll meet Me Merriweather, the star of the Brain Chase game.
Each week, your child will have 4 tasks. When they complete those tasks, they unlock the next webisode. Follow the story of Mae and her friends as they hunt for the Sunstone of Cortés.
Find the buried treasure which is a real Sunstone of Cortés and $10,000. Every 24 hours, the adventurers can log in and enter a guess. The first one to guess the location within a two-mile radius will travel with their family to claim the prize.
Here is another video about the 2015 challenge:
The Brain Chase was started by a husband and wife team, Allan and Heather Staker, after trying to figure out how to keep their five kids from suffering the summer learning loss. They wanted to create an academic challenge that kids would love. Allan remembered a book he had read in second grade, Masquerade by Kit Williams and that book sparked the Brain Chase.
Brain Chase Coupon Code
Before April 15, the cost for one child is $149 ($100 for each additional child.) Use the coupon code GEEKLIFE15 to get an additional 15% off. That brings the cost for one child down to $127. After 4/15, the cost for one child goes up to $199 (but the coupon code is still good.)
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Motherhood and Brain Chase. I received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
Let’s Talk! What do you do to ward off summer learning loss? Let me know if you sign your kids up for Brain Chase. My son is going to have a blast this summer with this and I can’t wait to follow along with him.
Just bear with me for a moment, I will explain how Netflix helps with goal setting. But first, let’s talk about visual goal setting.
Setting Goals With Vision Boards
I’ve discussed using vision boards several times in the past. Having something visual in front of you reminds you daily of what your goals are. Going through the process of creating the vision board can also help you refine your goals. Visual goal setting can be done in many ways.
Now you have created a vision board and you have it in front of you every day. What other tools can help you with visual goal setting? Visualization also involves imagining yourself completing those goals. Imagine what you will look like and feel like when you have reached your goals.
This is where Netflix can help you. It may be difficult to imagine something if you are unsure of what is involved. For example, my girls want to be dancers. Watching shows about dancing helps them visualize themselves in those same roles.
Here are some great shows to watch for different goals.
Becoming a Dancer
Dance Moms may have a lot of drama, but it does show how hard the girls work to be top notch dancers. Both of my girls like to watch Dance Moms not for the drama, but for the dancing and seeing girls like them themselves excelling in dance.
First Position gives dancers a first hand look at the inside world of being a ballerina.
Dance Academy give you a look at a school for dancers. These dancers are giving it their all to be the best of the best.
Visualize Becoming A Gymnast
The Gabby Douglas Story is a documentary showing how hard Gabby Douglas worked to become the first black gymnast to win the All-Around Championship in the Olympics.
McKenna is an American Girl story. McKenna wants to be a gymnast and it takes a lot of dedication and determination.
Become a Baker
Watch Cupcake Wars and you will find out all the skills needed to become a top notch baker. There is definitely a lot of artistry that goes into baking.
Running a Business
Undercover Boss shows all sides of running a business. Find out what it’s like to be the CEO and the janitor. This show also shows the back side of many different businesses. It’s really fascinating to see how a business is run.
Have you created a vision board for 2015? What shows or movies do you watch to help you set your goals? Netflix has a huge variety of shows and I’m sure you can find something. Let me know in the comments below what you watch.
Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I receive product in exchange for my monthly series. All visual goal setting opinions are my own.
The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook is like no other laptop I’ve seen yet. Since I’m always on-the-go, mobility is my #1 priority when looking for a laptop. What makes this one different? There are three features that stand out for me.
The infinity screen
The battery life
Smallest 13-inch on the planet!
Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook in Pictures
Let’s start by looking at some photos. The XPS has all the features of a full laptop, but yet it’s compact enough to fit into a purse and light enough at 2.6 lbs to carry with you all day.
The infinity screen (think infinity pool with no edges) goes from edge to edge so a 13.3 inch screen fits in the size of an 11 inch Ultrabook.
When closed, the XPS has a sleek and stylish look. One thing I love is that fingerprints don’t show up on the aluminum outside. Believe me, I tried. I hate that look of smudgy fingerprints all over my nice sleek laptop.
You will notice that at the back of the XPS, it is wider than at the front. This allows for the needed USB, SD card slot, headphone jack and even lights to show the battery life.
Dell XPS 13 Mobility
The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook is compact as I said earlier (smallest 13-inch on the planet,) but it still has a full keyboard and I had no problems using the keys.
The keyboard is back-lit so when you touch a key, lights underneath the keys light up. It’s great for working in bed (which of course I “never” do ::insert wink::)
With a battery that lasts up to 11 hours and a small compact battery charger (extra accessory,) the XPS should be able to power my day.
Over the next month, I’ll be using the Dell XPS 13 as my primary laptop. I tend to use a laptop at home a lot because I move around the house all day.
I start in the kitchen in the morning as the kids get ready for school, to my office, to the family room to catch up on the news during the day, back to the kitchen after school. Then it’s to the car and activities and back to the kitchen, the family room and finally working in bed.
I will show you how the XPS fits into my daily life and how I used the accessories that I received with the Dell XPS.
Be sure to check out the Dell XPS 13 page to see all the features and accessories.
Tell me in the comments what you look for in a mobile laptop? What features are important to you? I’ll test those out during he next month and report back here with my findings.
Disclosure: This is a Dell sponsored post. I received the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook and accessories in exchange for this series. All opinions are my own.
The words, work/life balance seem like a contradiction in terms so much of the time. But it all depends on how you look at it. You can find balance between your life and career if you tweak the definition and add in a dose of ME.
What is Work/Life Balance?
I found this definition on Wikipedia:
Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).
I think that is a pretty good definition, but for me, it needs a bit of clarity. That clarity is what helps me remove the guilt of the work/life balance juggle.
You can have balance between your work and family, but not at the same time.
That is where the prioritizing comes in. There will be days where you will miss out on a lifestyle event because of a career choice, but there will also be days where you have to choose your life over your career.
The Importance of ME in That Balance
There is one important piece that is often missing when we try to balance our lives. ME! Yes, you!
I know from experience when I don’t take care of myself, nothing else seems to work right. I can’t seem to find balance in anything and I feel very scattered.
It’s important to take care of you first. You need to be happy to be ME! When you are feeling happy and healthy, it’s easier to prioritize what is important at that moment.
Here are a few ways I take care of ME each day:
Have a cup of tea after everyone has left the house and read blogs.
Take a nap for 20 minutes in the afternoon to recharge my energy for my kids after school.
So, as you can see, it doesn’t mean you need to take off to Tahiti for a week (although that would be nice too.) You can carve out small moments in your day.
March 16 is ME Day
I like to take a full day to myself every few months and just do whatever I want and not feel guilty.
Maybe spend the full day on the couch with ice cream and chick flicks.
Or get out my planning calendar and make 1, 5, 10 year plans (I love to plan.)
Read all day.
Get a pedicure and massage.
ME Day was created by domain .ME to promote the values of tolerance, diversity and freedom to make our own work and lifestyle choices. Self preservation and taking care of ME is a very important part of that choice.
Let’s Talk About Taking Care of ME to find work/life balance.
What do you do to take care of you? Do you have a daily routine or save it up and do something big? How do you define work and life balance? Have you found balance in your life?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by domain .ME; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
It’s the night of February 13 and you are putting your child to bed and she tells you she needs Valentine’s Day cards for class the next day. WHAT?!!! Believe me, I’ve been there. Now, you could run to the store, but chances are pretty good that they are out of Valentine’s Day cards for the classroom. Been there! Instead, you can print Valentine’s Day cards at home.
I’m going to walk you through the steps here so you can easily follow along at 11:00 pm.
Printing Valentine’s Day Cards At Home
Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than you usually wake up. Why? Because your child will need to fill out the Valentine’s Day cards before school in the morning.
I love the way the Valentine’s cards came out. My daughter was worried they wouldn’t look the same as the ones you buy, but she was really happy with them. The colors were vibrant and the ink didn’t smear across the paper when she was writing them out.
We printed both the kids and the robots versions for variety.
Cut out the Valentine’s Day cards. I had my daughter do that, but if you are doing this late at night, you’ll need to do this yourself.
Go to bed knowing your child will have her Valentine’s Day cards tomorrow. Goodnight!
Good Morning! This is the step your child can do in the morning. Fill out the Valentine’s Day cards with the names of the kids in the classroom (hopefully the teacher sent you a list.)
Here is my daughter filling out the cards for her friends who are not in her class.
And you are done!!!
The Epson CreativeZone had so many projects that you can do with an Epson printer and paper. I spent hours searching it the other day and found so many fun crafts.
The Epson Expression Photo XP-860 is also a copier, scanner and fax machine. It is wireless so you can print from any phone or tablet.
Tell me about a time you had to create a last minute project for your kids. Do you keep supplies at home so you don’t have to run out? We use our printer a lot to create posters for projects at the last minute.
Disclosure: I received the Epson printer in exchange for my posts. All opinions are my own.
Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly. Have you bought your love a gift? Does she prefer gadgets over gold? Then she is like me. Getting a red or pink gadget for Valentine’s Day is the best gift!!
Here are a few suggestions…
Keys-To-Go Portable Keyboard
I have tried a LOT of portable keyboards and most of them are bulky and add weight to my bag. If they are light, then they are hard to use. I tried the Logitech Keys-To-Go portable keyboard and it is PERFECT for carrying with you everyday.
The keyboard is very thin. I slip it into my purse and I don’t notice a difference in weight. It doesn’t take up much space at all. I use the keyboard with my iPhone or a tablet. Sometimes I’m using my phone and I have a lot to write. I can easily whip out the Keys-To-Go and type up an email.
It connects to your device with Bluetooth. You can turn the keyboard on and off to save the battery when you aren’t using it. The battery is supposed to last 3 months, but since I’ve only had it about a month, I have not tested that. I do know that every time I turn it on, it works.
It is also very easy to clean up if you spill something on it. So don’t worry about pulling it out at the coffee shop if you need it.
I received the Keys-To-Go to test out before I added it to my gift guide.
UE MEGABOOM Portable Wireless Speaker
I got the UE MEGABOOM last week and my daughter and I fell in love with it. It’s very stylish. It’s the type of gadget that you want to put out on your table and decorate around it.
The huge + and – are the volume up and down buttons. It’s a small detail, but we thought it was brilliant. I hate searching for a small toggle switch when I want to turn the sound up or down.
But if that wasn’t enough, the UE MEGABOOM has an app for iPhone and Android. You can control the volume and sound from the app.
The sound is beautiful. We listened to Phantom of the Opera and the UE MEGABOOM did the music justice. No scratchy sound….just beautiful music.
Want to take the music to the beach or in the shower? No problem, the UE MEGABOOM is waterproof too.
I received the UE MEGABOOM to test out before I added it to my gift guide.
Nokia Lumia 1520
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a 6 inch Windows phone. It comes in this gorgeous red color.
I love when a phone is so beautiful, you don’t want to add a case to it. I’m a huge fan of the 6″ and up phones and this one feels awesome in my hands. It is very light at about 7 oz.
The best feature for me is the 20 mp camera. I use my phone as my main camera because it’s with me all the time. The Lumia phones have an extensive choice of apps for your camera and photos too. I like that you have control over many features when you take the photos such as brightness, etc.
I received the Lumia 1520 phone to try out before I included it in my gift guide.
Bemo Social Video Camera
I’ve talked about the Bemo before, but it’s getting another spot on another gift guide because I love it. It’s a very small camera that you can wear around your neck or click to your shirt or use with your hand.
It takes 8mp photos and HD video. Download the Bemo app for the iPhone and edit the video or photos on the spot and share. The app connects your phone with the Bemo. You can save up to 3 hours of video on the Bemo. I like that this is very small and light and fits easily in your pocket. It’s great for capturing your everyday life.
I received a Bemo last Fall to try out before adding to my Holiday Gift List, but I love it so much, I’m including it in my Valentine’s list too (and it comes in Moraccan Red.
Fuji Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera
My daughter wanted the Fuji instant camera for Christmas. It is a fun little camera. The quality of the photo is not going to be anything like a DSLR, but for instant fun, it’s perfect.
Great for instant craft fun too. The photos you get with an instant camera have a “feel” to them that can’t be duplicated with a filter. For me it was a bit of nostalgic fun, but worth it.
Selfie Stick & Wireless Shutter
Selfie sticks are all the rage now. If you pair the selfie stick with the wireless shutter, it’s tons of fun. You connect the shutter to your phone via Bluetooth so you can press the button and take the photo while you have the selfie stick way out away from your hand.
If you don’t know what a selfie stick is, let me explain. At one end, you put your phone (it’s in tightly, so it won’t fall out) and the stick telescopes out. It’s for taking selfie shots of groups. Sometimes your arm isn’t long enough and you can’t get everyone in the photo. But with a selfie stick, you can.