Monday, April 30, 2012

Alloy Necklace giveaway . . . .

Today I am very happy to tell you that I will be giving away a beautiful necklace from Alloy Jewelry. I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to a wonderful young mother, Leah from Vermont, who not only makes beautiful jewelry, but has a beautiful story behind what she does and why she does it. First, take a look at this lovely necklace........
This 'Listen to the Surf' necklace is hand stamped on to this 1 1/2" copper bar. The bar is hand hammered to give a rustic texture, and a sterling silver starfish charm and freshwater pearl charm finish it off. Chain length is 16".

And now, please meet Leah. . . . . 

First and foremost, the most important thing I do is take care of my children.  That being said, while I think there's a certain amount of becoming a mother that comes naturally, I think people overlook the aspects of motherhood that DON'T come naturally.   Motherhood was a shock in many ways, and making jewelry (and the myriad of other half-finished creative projects I have strewn around the house) became my daily practice of paying attention to myself, even if it was for five minutes.  I began to see that the more I took care of myself the more patience I had with my kids. I went with it, and soon people started asking if they could "commission" a piece here and there.  I opened an Etsy shop and saved and saved, buying a new piece of equipment with the money from each necklace I sold.  I sent out samples to magazines, relentlessly looked for other ways to market myself and dreamed of the day I would have my own website and be able to call this my "job".  (All this while I had been editing legal books for a former employer as my "profession" and it was just SO not me!)

Eventually, I got an edit mention in Family Circle Magazine, and boy do they have loyal readers there! It made Alloy Jewelry more visible to the public and the business took off from there. I started doing quote and zodiac pieces to make the business more attractive to retail stores since custom work is hard to stock in stores.  I found that the quote pieces were becoming an obsession for me-I have a love of reading and words.  I started to see that as I would choose a quote for a necklace, I would associate that quote with one of my dear friends-for example "be with those who help your being"-Rumi necklace is for my girl, Anne, who lights up our lives even though we are far apart.  The necklaces I made had a new meaning to me now-I wore them and could hold that friend close to my heart-AND I could connect with customers in a different way, because they would ask for suggestions and would tell me the story of who they were buying for and I could help them pick out a quote (or design a new one) that was perfect.  Fun! 

More of her lovely creations.......

"I began to see that the more I took care of myself,
the more patience I had with my kids."

All you have to do to win is leave a comment below before 11:59 p.m. EST on May 7th. The drawing will be Tuesday, May 8th and is open to readers worldwide. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No better reasons to return to work . . . .

Good morning friends! How's life? I hope it's treating you well. Today I should consider doing a post about how crazy busy life can be, and how it can so easily become a blur if you let it. And that is exactly what could happen to me right now if I'm not careful. I am now back in the workforce again after taking a 7 year hiatus, and as busy as it is, it feels so good to be engaged in our business again. So I'm setting priorities and working hard to make sure I can keep the balance in my life that has proven to be so very vital. (More to come on that topic!)

But today I want to share with you a little bit about why my husband asked me to come back to work. He asked that I reengage in a completely different way. He wanted me to bring a bit of the human element to the business atmosphere that he thought was lacking, and he knew it was right up my alley. I was so willing to do that! I go to work to chat! talk to, and more importantly, to listen to our employees, to talk and listen to our customers, to fix minor annoyances, and to simply pay attention to what we can do to add more of the human touch. We all know that happy employees are productive employees, so I have the awesome task of making sure our employees are happy. I am loving this kind of reengagement! 
So what does human element mean? 

My favorite description comes from Tim Stepp........... 

It means sending thank you cards in your own hand writing even if your writing looks like a 5 year olds.

It means dropping your business to talk to a client/customer/employee about a life issue that they may have, and caring, not just because they're a client, but because they're a human being.

It means stepping outside of your role as a businessman/businesswoman, and extending yourself as a person.

I believe there are no better reasons to return to work. I'm so happy to be back, connecting, caring, and extending myself in a way that I believe is so important. 

Being happy at work rocks! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

....and have a wonderful weekend!

xo, Connie

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Being persistent means never giving up . . . .

It means to keep grinding it out regardless of the obstacles that keep coming your way. Think of obstacles as just bugs on a windshield, and persistence as the windshield wiper.

Have you seen the video entitled Caine's Arcade? Caine is a 9 year old boy whose dad owns a used automotive parts store in east LA. Watch how being persistent pays off for Caine. 

The sky is not your are!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

You can't change what you don't acknowledge . . . .

Are you getting real with yourself about your life and everybody in it? Are you being truthful about what isn't working? It's time to stop making excuses and start making results. If you are unwilling to acknowledge a thought, circumstance, problem, condition, behavior, or emotion--if you won't take ownership of your role in a situation--then you cannot and will not change it. If you refuse to acknowledge your own self-destructive behaviors, not only will they continue, they will actually gain momentum, become more deeply entrenched in a habitual pattern of your life, and grow more and more resistant to change. 

If you hope to have a winning life strategy, you have to be honest about where your life is right now. Find the strength and courage to ask yourself the hard questions, and to give yourself realistic answers. You cannot afford the luxury of defensiveness, and you cannot afford the luxury of lies and denial. Denial, after all, is what kills dreams. It kills hope. It kills what might have been a real chance to overcome a problem had the solution just been pursued in time. If you are unwilling to recognize a problem, you won't take the necessary action needed to correct it. Period. 

What isn't working in your life?.....your attitude, career, ongoing anger, fear, your weight-----whatever it is-----if it's not working, acknowledge it, then change it. 

From the book
Life Strategies

"Face it so you can replace it."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"You will lose someone you can't live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up. And you come through. It's like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly--that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp."

-Anne Lamott

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Manhattan bound . . . .

If my flight's on time, I'll be in New York for happy hour! This is one city that inspires and energizes me to no end. There is inspiration on every corner, and I'm planning on bringing plenty of it home with me. I always go with my eyes and my mind wide open. You'll miss out if you don't!

As soon as I drop off my bags, I'm heading straight to Acme, a new restaurant on Great Jones Street that replaces a Southern and Cajun restaurant of the same name. My son is a bartender here (second from left), and I'm hearing they are turning out some seriously impressive Scandinavian food. Can't wait to check it out.
Photo by Matt Dutile

And I'm so exited to be staying at 
Sister to The Standard on the Highline, this new Standard offers big city views in a cozy, residential setting. It comes with complimentary bikes that I'll definitely be using to ride to The Standard Grill on the West side for a delicious breakfast. Honestly, I don't mean to make it sound like this trip is all about the food, but I'd be lying if I told you that it's not a big part of it. 

I am going without much of plan, and I love it that way. Being spontaneous in a city like New York is the best. I wander. And wandering is when I find the most inspiration. I choose to roam through the city of ooh's and ahh's without an agenda. I'll let you know what I find this time. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wild thing, you make my heart sing . . . .

.......and that's because wild things live lives of pure action. In his book, Reinventing Yourself, Steve Chandler writes......

Today, the more I remember to live like a wild thing, taking action instead of brooding on my sad self, the faster self-pity drops away. Chronic sadness seems to become a thing of the past. Sadness is almost never anything but a form of fatigue. And fatigue, paradoxically, is almost always a result of living a life of too little action. The more action I build into my life, the better I sleep, and the less self-pity I feel. The better I sleep, the more energy I have. The more energy I have, the more will I have for taking action. And the more action I take, the happier I feel. The happier I feel, the better my relationships. The better my relationships, the better I sleep. It's the cycle of self-reinvention. 

From the book
Reinventing Yourself
by Steve Chandler

"Sometimes you just gotta give yourself 
what you wish someone else would give you."
Dr. Phil McGraw

Photo via flickr

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Take ownership of your spirit . . . .

If you've ever attended a concert and watched a performer "put it all out there", you'll know what I mean when I talk about owning your spirit. It can make your hair stand on end when you witness someone living a life that you know comes from deep within their soul. They loose their inhibitions and all concern for what others may think. 

We are the owners of our human spirit, and it's up to us to believe that we have it in us just as much as the performer on stage. You can set yourself free by changing how you talk to yourself about your capabilities. The greatness you see in others is also in you. I promise you that you can find it inside you, no matter who you are, no matter who you've invented yourself to be. 

Allow the passion that is buried deep within you to shine. Tap into it! It's there.

Partial text from the book
Reinventing Yourself
Steve Chandler 

"Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be. Close your eyes and let your spirit start to soar, and you'll live as you've never lived before."
-Erich Fromm

Monday, April 2, 2012

"Someday" is not a day of the week . . . .

Hi friends! How was your weekend? I had a very productive one and can't even begin to tell you what a difference it has already made for the start to my week. First, please allow me to tell you what has inspired me to get a move on. We have put our house on the market, so if and when it sells, we will be building a smaller place that is less than half the square footage, and THAT is my inspiration! The thought of having to move all my "stuff" has inspired me to get it together. I've begun to ask myself a few questions as I sort through my things.... "Do I really want to have to find a spot for it in a smaller place?", and "Do I love it?" I've decided that if I'm not using it, it's gone.  This is one job that I cannot procrastinate about. If I got an offer tomorrow, and did nothing in advance, I'd be in big twouble. I don't want to face that kind of pressure. So I know that the best way to get it done is to begin. It would truly be self-sabotaging to not get started, and I know it. Honestly, when you dread a task, it uses up more time and energy than just doing it. It literally exhausts me to think about doing it later. Do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you realize how soon not now becomes never? We make it harder on ourselves when we put things off. I love Mark Twains thoughts....."The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one." Thank you Mr. Twain. 

If you're facing an overwhelming task, and find that you're having a hard time getting started, take Mr. Twain's advice. Break it down into small manageable tasks, and just start with the first one.  

Do it now, brother. 
Do it now.
-Author Unknown

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams . . .

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams . . .
Follow your heart