Sunday, January 29, 2012

{Monday} Moments: Tag Team


Recently I was tagged by
Tiffini, author of the blog
to answer a series of 
questions about myself.

Normally, I would shy
away from a proposition
like that.

But here's the thing.  Tiff
is kind and friendly.  She
shares her hopes and fears
in the most unselfconscious
and generous way.

And it's good to share.


So here it goes.

The first part of the tag
is to list 11 fun facts
about myself.

1.  The Genius app on my i-pod
 {suggests music based on
what it perceives as your taste}
is very confused, as my music
collection ranges from Billy
Holiday to Lady Antebellum,
Green Day to Mercy Me.

2.  Since high school, I have
been five feet, ten inches tall.
Until last year, when I began
measuring in at a quarter inch
taller. {Pilates?  Yoga?  Hmm....}


3.  I get tears in my eyes when
I sing hymns at church or the
National Anthem at ball games.
{Am I alone here?}

4.  I cannot talk on the phone
with a friend for less than half an
hour, unless we are making plans
to meet.  Not possible.  My mom
or my out of town friends know
this and will schedule a phone
date with me on the calendar.

5.  I am half city mouse and
half country mouse.....the energy
of both places appeals to my spirit.


6.  I love to dance.  
Weddings, fundraisers, black
tie events.....If there is a dance 
floor, I'm there.

7.  I do not like roller coasters.
The last time I rode one was nearly
ten years ago in Las Vegas.  
It was the type that goes upside
down and it was on top of a
hotel.  I was humoring my hubby
on his birthday.  Never again.
Never.
{Sorry, honey!}

8.  I fall asleep and wake to
the sound of the ocean or a
thunderstorm every night,
thanks to my sound machine
alarm clock.


9.  I am a sucker for actors with
English, Irish or Scottish 
accents!
  
10.  I adore nice soap.  I find
beautiful Italian olive oil and
lavender bars at Homegoods and
TJ Maxx.  My little indulgence.

Still with me?
  
The second part of the tag
included questions created by
Tiffini.  I'll keep these brief....


Are you a hugger?  Oh, yeah : )




What is your favorite color?
Blue ~ any type ~ sky blue,
sea glass blue, cobalt....

Dream vacation?  Rent a little
cottage in Scotland for a month.
Read, drink wine, take long
walks.  Heaven.

What do you want to be when
you grow up?  I always wanted
to be a stay at home mom, so I'm
already in a happy place.  I also
wanted to be a writer and my 
blog allows me to pretend.



Favorite indoor and outdoor activity?
Indoor:  cuddling with my family
and watching movies.  Outdoor:
walking or biking.



If you could change your name,
what would it be?  Mae, an
old-fashioned family name.

When you eat out, do you usually
order dessert?  Not as often as I
want to {which is nearly always!}




What is your favorite day of
the week?  Friday.

What was your favorite food as
a child?  Pancakes.

What is something you learned
in the last week?  Things to do
while visiting Vancouver, BC.

Gorgeous Vancouver
Do you have a nickname?  
 I have the usual suspects 
from childhood ~ Suzy and Sue,
as well as Tuti.  My teenagers
still call me Mommy, which 
I love.

So there you have it.
My tag-team confessional.


My daughter visiting a school in Vancouver.

I am supposed to tag more
people to keep this game going,
but it's late Sunday night and
I've only been home a few hours
since Friday, when I left to visit
colleges with my daughter. 
I'll start catching up with all 
of you in the morning : )

Thank you, Tiff, for encouraging
me to share a bit more of myself.


And thanks to all of YOU, for
listening and for participating in
Monday Moments over the last
three months.  I've enjoyed our
chats at the water cooler and
hope you will leave a comment
or link up a post to this one, 
sometime this week.

This will be the last in this series,
but I'm looking forward to sharing
other moments, on other days,
with you.....

Have a wonderful week!

xx
Suzanne


PS:  Also, a HUGE
thank you for all the 
very, very supportive words
regarding my new venture.
Made my homecoming
that much sweeter!
There is still time
to enter the giveaway,
here.



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lift Off and a Giveaway


Without leaps of
imagination, or dreaming,
we lose the excitement
of possibilities.  Dreaming,
after all, is a form of planning.

~ Gloria Steinem



Via


On the first Friday
of January I joined my
friend Lisa in a monthly
challenge that she kicked
off that day, called
Before & After.

The idea was to publicly
write about a project idea
{Before} and then on the
last Friday of the month,
reveal the progress that
had been made {After}.

In other words, move
the ball forward by
making ourselves 
accountable
to our readers.



It worked.

My mom and I have been
talking about marketing
a product we devised for
the last several years.

Talked about a sturdy design.
Talked about a name.
Talked about price.
Talked about craft fairs.
Talked about an Etsy shop.

Basically, a lot of talk.


Oh, we'd had moments
of fired-up inspiration.

Mom scoured the markets
for the highest quality
components and tested
quite a few.  Eventually,
she placed orders and we
had what we needed to
begin creating our product.

Still, we stalled out.



Why?

Things like forming an
LLC, obtaining a Tax ID
number, creating a logo,
brainstorming a name that
hadn't been taken.....

Details.  We let details
derail our plans.

In the meantime, whenever
we used our product, we
got compliments.  We were
asked Where can I get one?
We were told how clever
and how organized we were.
{Loved that!}


Where all ideas start ~ a cute note book!

When I read about Lisa's
Before & After challenge,
I knew this was the year.

So, without further ado,
I introduce you to the
Card Keyper.





The idea for the Card
Keyper came about when
Mom and I got tired of
keeping track of all of the
cards in our purses.  You
know the ones I mean....

library card
book store card
Anthro card
REI card
grocery store card
gas station VIP card
pet store card
etc. etc. etc.



We each had over 25 cards
like this at the time.  Too many
to squeeze into a wallet and
way too many to have roaming
around the wilds of our purses.

Inspiration was born when
I saw my daughter's Latin
flashcards corralled on a
silver ring, keeping them
handy as well as easy
to switch out.

I mentioned it to Mom and
off she went to the office
store to buy loose-leaf rings
to hold our cards.





Houston, we have a problem.

A typical one-hole punch
might work on index cards,
but not on plastic ones.  

Houston, we have another
problem.

The rings available at the
office supply store aren't
meant to be opened and
closed on a regular basis.
They are thin and lose
their ability to stay closed
fairly quickly.



This is where our Product
Development Team {aka,
Mom} came into play.  She
sourced terrific, durable 
rings and the mightiest little 
one-hole punch that cut those
plastic holes like butter.

She also found these sweet
lock and key charms to
give this ring some bling.



That was a year ago. 

The Marketing Team {aka,
Me} went to work three
weeks ago on the logistics
end, applying for our LLC 
{limited liability corp}
designation and setting up
our new Etsy shop.  

Last spring I'd asked several
kind friends to test drive the
CK and their feedback helped
me to write instructions to 
include with the product.





And now, we have 
lift-off!

To celebrate the launch
of the Card Keyper, we are
 giving away three sets to
 Privet and Holly readers.
{Retail value:  $9.95}

Just leave us a comment,
sharing your thoughts on
our product.  That's it!
The giveaway will be open
until February 3rd.



{And if you would visit
our Etsy shop and mark
this little invention as a
favorite, we would be
oh-so-grateful.}

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty 
lies opportunity.


~ Albert Einstein

xx
Suzanne





Sunday, January 22, 2012

{Monday} Moments: You Just Never Know



You just never know
what moments
will make up the fabric
of an ordinary day.  

On Friday, as the
snow drifted down
steadily outside our
windows, I opened
an e-mail from a
complete stranger.

She had written to
ask me a favor.



Why?  In her own
words, Heather wrote:

Your visitors are the
exact type of people
I am trying to reach
out to; the kind of
people who could 
gain something from
my story.

And what a story.



Heather and her husband
were blessed with their
only child, Lily, in 2005.

When Lily was just
three and a half months old,
Heather was diagnosed
with a type of cancer called
malignant pleural 
mesothelioma.



I'm sure you've seen 
the ads on TV for people
suffering with this cancer. 
They show retired miners,
construction workers or
factory laborers, because
there is a link between a 
substance called asbestos, 
which many products used
to be made from, and 
mesothelioma.

In those ads, I've never
seen a 36 year old mom 
with a newborn.


Heather and Lily, 2005
Turns out this self-
proclaimed daddy's girl
 had a father who worked
 in construction and brought
dust home on his clothes.


Dust mixed with asbestos.

Nobody knew then that
something as innocent as
a young girl throwing on
her dad's coat and boots to
run outside and feed her
rabbits would lead to the
word cancer being written
in her life story, later on.



And what a cancer.

Malignant pleural 
mesothelioma is 90-95% 
fatal. Heather's thoughts
immediately went to her
baby.  I won't see
her grow up.  

But her story had
a different ending.

She is one of
the 5-10%.



Her diagnosing doctor 
suggested the new mom
consider consulting with a
specialist in Boston, who had
pioneered a surgery for
pleural Mesothelioma.  Since
the cancer had not spread
to her lymph nodes, Heather
was a candidate for this
major surgery and chemo.

She credits that surgery,
along with faith, gratitude
and a strong will to live,
for being cancer-free, 
six years later.



Would you consider placing
a link to my blog on your site
as a resource for your readers?

She had me at hello.

Read more about Heather's
journey and her campaign 
to spread hope for
Mesothelioma survival,
 here.


Heather and Family, today.
You just never know
what moments will
make up the fabric
of an ordinary day.

xx
Suzanne

Share your own recent
moments, here at our
virtual water cooler, by
leaving a comment or
linking a post.
Don't be shy.....we'll make
room : )