Friendship: Lessons Learned In The "A Friend A Day In May" Challenge

Last month, on May 1, I launched the A Friend A Day In May Challenge, urging you to join me in contacting at least one friend a day throughout the month. Based on the emails I received, Tweets, Retweets, and Facebook "likes" and "shares," the Friend A Day (AKA "FAD") challenge sparked a lot of interest... I hope it was a successful and fulfilling experience for you!

Circle of people around one person graphic
I'd like to share what I learned, AND was reminded of, regarding friendship from this experience:

1. While the challenge was a bit time intensive, the rewards reaped from the connections and re-connections outweighed any minor time issues. LESSON: Never be too busy for the people in your life.

2. True friends can pick up where you left off as if not a day has passed (let alone months, and in some cases, years). LESSON: Recognize these priceless relationships and cherish them.

3. New people who want to be friends with you will reciprocate any gesture you make. For example, if I emailed a new friend or acquaintance, they emailed back, if I called, they returned the call, and so on, always saying they were happy to be part of my FAD list. LESSON: Small gestures can have a big impact.

4. In sharing your life, and learning about others, many things are instantly put into perspective. LESSON: Life is life, and we are all the same.

5. On some days, because of upcoming time constraints, I had to contact two or three friends. On the days when I had to skip the FAD challenge, I discovered that skipping the "daily" connection made my day less complete. LESSON: Friendship is good medicine... Think of it like an apple a day!

6. In my approach to the FAD challenge, I didn't base the order of my outreach on length of friendship, distance, or any other qualifying circumstance, I just contacted each person on my list as the opportunity presented itself. By placing the same level of importance on everyone, whether I knew them for a few months or many years, the process never seemed awkward or forced. LESSON: Approach everyone with the same openness.

7. With local people on my list, I accepted and planned many an outing, AND I enjoyed every minute of: Luci & Doug Before The Raceattending a chic private party at a NY club; a catch-up luncheon that produced a Master Mind group; an über-thrilling ride in a race car (see picture); a marathon shopping experience filled with laughter; a Labyrinth walk followed by a leisurely lunch served up with a side of calmness and clarity; three great dinners with three different friends over platefuls of boisterous discussions; several coffee dates; hours of phone conversations; and a handful of detailed emails. LESSON: Plans are moments in time, your participation is an opportunity to have a new experience, then a memory.

On May 1, I had more than 30 people on my list; and it grew as more people popped into my mind. Since I tried to average "a friend a day," there are many more people to contact in June. I look forward to continuing this daily to-do (it's the best to-do on your list, truly!). 

Ultimately, whatever you are doing in life, you get what you give. I gave a lot and received so much more than what I expected from a simple phone call, email, or letter. Thank you to everyone already contacted, I look forward to keeping up with you... And to those who are still on my FAD list, I look forward to catching up! 

Did you take the FAD challenge? Let us know how it worked out, what you learned, and any suggestions for keeping these important relationships active. 


Sugared Butter Whip: This Hand & Body Polish Deserves A Big Round of Applause

A Giveaway & Product Review by Here We Are

Sugared Butter Whip Hand & Body Polish by Parisian's Pure IndulgenceAt first touch, Parisian's Pure Indulgence Sugared Butter Whip is so light and frothy, you'll doubt it is actually an exfoliating "scrub." But don't be fooled... This all natural, sugar-based product is a sweet treat for the hands, elbows, knees, and feet. 

Lightly scented with citrus essential oils, it's loaded with skin nourishing ingredients like shea butter, avocado butter, olive butter, sweet almond oil, cranberry seed oil, and more. The results for me were immediately apparent; after gently scrubbing each area for the recommended 10 seconds (BONUS: Beauty treatment TIME SAVER!), rinsing with warm water, then patting dry, my skin indeed looked polished. Each scrubbed area looks smooth and delightfully glistening but NOT sticky or greasy.

Plato said, "Necessity is the mother of invention." The Sugared Butter Whip was invented by Kelli Parisian as a better, natural option for her manicure clients. After sharing a few jars, demand for this product took off and Parisian's Pure Indulgence was launched. You can hear more about business, start-ups, beauty, and the importance of a positive, healthy lifestyle in my talk show interview with Kelli Parisian: Pure Indulgence & Timeless Beauty.

Available in two sizes, 6 ounce for $17.99, and 10 ounce for $25.99... Whichever size you prefer, a little goes a long way to making this a must-have beauty item that will last you all season, summer or winter. Say goodbye to dry, winter skin, and hello to buttery smooth skin ready to shine in short-sleeves and sandals!

Enter this month's HWA Giveaway for chances to win a jar of this light, but effective body care treatment. The more items you complete, the more chances you have to win. Thank you for participating & Good Luck!!

WINNER: Congrats Lauren!!

{the Rafflecopter widget has been removed}

 

{Product Review Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid review. A unit of the product was offered to and received by LUCIMAC Productions, the parent company of Here We Are; as per our Product Review Policy, submission of a product for a potential review in no way guarantees a review will be published, nor does it guarantee a positive review.}


Kelli Parisian: Pure Indulgence & Timeless Beauty

Here We Are Talk Radio Show MicrophoneThe Here We Are Talk Show presents an interview with entrepreneur and beauty expert, Kelli Parisian: Pure Indulgence & Timeless Beauty.

My guest, Kelli Parisian, founder and owner of Parisian's Pure Indulgence, shares all things beauty, PLUS important tips to developing a successful business.

In this candid discussion, Kelli reveals her secret to starting a business with one product (she now offers 45!). It's an approach anyone can use no matter what type of business start-up you have or are thinking about launching. From concept, to branding, to an essential daily MUST-DO, this busy lady gives listeners tips on how she has grown her company.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it can be created by one's approach to health & wellness. Everyone wants to look and feel good. Kelli explains her lifestyle philosophy for women of any age. Her advice, as a woman, and a beauty expert, can help you achieve looking good on the outside while feeling great on the inside. One look at Kelli and it is clear that she lives her message of creating timeless beauty with proven results!

Limited Time BONUS: Listen for a generous 20% DISCOUNT CODE on orders totaling $20.00 or more at Parisian's Pure Indulgence Organic Skin Care! NOTE: Offer is valid from 5/15/12 through 6/30/12 at 11:59pm PST.

Kelli Parisian is the founder of Parisian's Pure indulgence Organic Skin Care. She Kelli Parisianbelieves every woman possesses a rare beauty, all their own; and for the past 30 years Kelli has been assisting women to discover their unique qualities. After growing up in the California sun, Kelli saw a need for a toxin-free product line that would benefit women with sensitive skin, and be gentle on the environment. Whether it's enhancing women's beauty with her Parisian line of organic skin care, or teaching them how to allow their inner beauty to shine, she is a sought after beauty industry leader for her lifestyle advice, and innovative, effective products.


What The FUN?

Part 14 of the Here We Are Series - Live Your Life Out Loud

Letter FThis weekend is Mother's Day. Each year, we celebrate the women in our lives who have done so much for us, and sometimes everything for everybody. Whether or not you have children, I'll bet that you do quite a lot for others who may or may not be family. With all the "doing" that women "do" on a daily basis, we often forget to have FUN.

Starting today, when you are doing for others, stop and say to yourself, "What the FUN?" Then make time to have some... Let the "F = Freedom" from: menial tasks that don't mean anything in the long run, fitting in "me" time that makes you happy, trying something new, etc. It's these types of instances that represent Freedom in some form, even if it's only for a short time. That's why vacations are fun!

Letter UWith your selected "F for Freedom," now think, "U = Unburdened." Let go of guilt, worry, fear, uncertainty, or anything else that is holding you back from your particular "F." 

Again, say, "What the FUN?" Let go, and just let it happen; follow it however and wherever it takes you. Enjoy the feelings, revel in the freedom, exhale your emotional restraints so you can experience what "Unburdened" is... Be a kid again, focus, seize the moment, savor the experience. These are the times when you come away saying, "Is it over already?"

Letter NLast, but not least... "N = Now." There is no other time, no next year, or arbitrary date in the future, there is only today, this hour, this minute, this moment.

Seek out what makes you happy, giddy, silly, satisfied. Find what delivers the experience of feeling FREE & UNBURDENED, and do it NOW. Ask yourself each day how F + U + N adds up together in your life. It isn't about shunning responsibilities, it's about embracing the best parts of you that shine through when you are having fun. Remember to say, "What the FUN?"

 

 


May 2012: All Things French

Announcements, Updates, & Reminders

Emeralds, Rubies, Diamonds, Sapphires, Topaz stonesANNOUNCEMENTS

Beauté Et Intelligence: What do you get when you mix brains with beauty and business? Business owner, Kelli Parisian of Parisian's Pure Indulgence Organic Skincare. Tune in on April 15 at 12:30 pm EST for the upcoming Here We Are Talk Show, Kelli Parisian: Pure Indulgence & Timeless Beauty. Kelli will discuss creating a successful business, her approach to beauty - inside and out, and how women can reinvent themselves to live the life they want. BONUS: Listen for a secret DISCOUNT Code during the show. Nous Rejoindre (join us)!

Parlez Vous?: Chick Flick Chat is returning soon, thank you for your patience. Even though the show is in transition (it's all good!), you don't have to speak French to enjoy any of the many previously recorded Here We Are Talk Shows or Chick Flick Chat's. If you're a francophile like me, you'll especially like the CFC's featuring Midnight In Paris and Julie & Julia . If you haven't seen these films, give yourself an inexpensive, mini-vacation by renting both; each offers fabulous street shots of Paris. Bon voyage!

UPDATES

Économiser Du Papier: Trying to cut down on calories and paper in your life? While I don't promise that the Here We Are recipes in the Food and Drink category are low-cal, they are available for printing via a PrintFriendly button at the bottom of each recipe. Instead of printing the whole HWA page along with a recipe like our très facile Chocolate Pots de Crème, you can now print only the images/text you need which saves you paper and ink. Bonne Cuisine!

Cadeaux: Spring sprung with new gift giveaways starting again at HWA. Congrats to Rhondah S. for winning the La Isha Nutrient Rich Face Crème raffle. Thank you to all who participated in this April giveaway. In May, we will be offering another beauty item giveaway ... The raffle announcement will launch mid-month with a review of the product, I look forward to sharing my new favorite treatment. Bonne chance!

REMINDERS

Un Ami Un Jour: As you know, the Announcements article is usually the first post each month, but A Friend A Day In May took precedence to give you a chance to reach out to 30 friends, one each day in May! If you haven't started, I can tell you it is a fun and fulfilling experience... Téléphoner à un ami!

Pierre Du Mois: The stone of the month for May is Emerald. We recognize it as a deep green, the deeper and clearer the color, the more valuable and rare it is. It a symbol of hope; and it is believed to heal the heart. Emerald is the sacred stone of the goddess, Venus.


A Friend A Day In May

Take the Friend A Day Challenge

Circle of people around one person graphicDays fly away, weeks pass quickly, and a month goes by in the blink of an eye... Maybe you got together with a friend or two, or just maybe you meant to but didn't find the time to meet up or reach out. If a continuous cycle of work, life, and to-do lists fill your days each month, it's time to begin making time for a very important element in your life, your friends.

Today gives us a fresh start at another month; May equals Spring, and Spring equals Renewal. It's a perfect time to launch the Here We Are: A Friend A Day In May Challenge. This idea was sparked because like so many others, I juggle a lot on a daily basis. This year, it seems harder to keep up with the many people I am fortunate enough to have in my life, and it's leaving a void. I believe, "If it's happening to me, it's happening to others." So, if this is also happening to you, then I challenge you to take the FAD Challenge with me.

Each day, reach out to someone you consider a friend, or want to have as a friend. Think about hitting the number "30," one person each day for A Friend A Day In May. They could be male, female, new acquaintances, long-time confidants, a favorite cousin, people you've been meaning to get to know better, and business contacts that could develop into a friendship. No matter who they are in your life, if you don't take the time to make this happen, it won't! (You know it's true.)

How-To Take the Friend A Day Challenge - Psst! It's simple!!

1. Get a piece of paper and list 30 people you want to contact

2. Each day, pick a person and select a method of reaching out: a handwritten note, an email, or a phone call... Then DO it!!

3. No pressure to be witty, if you aren't sure what to say, then start with, "Hi, I've been thinking of you." Not only is it true, but it opens the conversation on a pleasant note. {Remember, everyone is busy - this is about reconnecting - a few minutes is all it takes.}

BONUS: When contacting those who live close by, set up a simple face to face meeting. Make a plan for coffee, lunch, a walk, shopping, etc.

Even if a long span of time has passed since your last contact with someone, it is never too late to reach out. The timing of your contact might be exactly what they need at that moment.

I'm committing to the FAD challenge, won't you join me? In 3 easy steps, you can be in touch with 30 friends this month!

Like the FAD idea? Then share it on Facebook, Tweet it, link to it in your newsletter or on your blog. Who knows? You might even get a call from someone on your own list who is thinking of you! Let me know how it's going in the comments or on the Here We Are page on FB.

June 1, 2012 UPDATE: Check out my follow up article, Friendship: Lessons Learned in the "Friend A Day In May" Challenge. 


Going For Broke

Who what when when why question answers directional arrows

No matter what it is you want, time is of the essence. Ask yourself, "Who, what, where, when, why, and how?" Answer these questions once and for all, and remember...

You can have anything you want if you want it desperately enough. You must want it with an inner exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world. ~ Sheilah Graham

Once you recognize the path provided by your answers, step out onto it with confidence, then Go For It... Go for Broke... Go Big, Go Bold, or Go Home.


Make Friends With PrintFriendly To Save Paper And Ink

Shades of Chartreuse ~ The Freshly Green Tips HWA Series

Print Friendly and PDF

No matter how "paperless" our lives become, a hard copy of information is often necessary. If you are a blogger you may enjoy offering a PrintFriendly button (like the one above) to your readers. If you are a reader, you will enjoy saving paper, ink, and $$ using the PrintFriendly button. It easily strips away ads, unwanted copy, and extra content that most web pages contain, leaving behind only what you need to include on your printed hard copy. 

After recently discovering this eco-friendly option developed by Taylor Norrish and Manu Janardhanan, I began adding the button to several Here We Are recipes. A nice feature is the option to change the size of the font before printing, which is great for quick glances at a recipe when you're cooking. Check out the option at the bottom of Grilled Salmon: Fast, Healthy, and Easy with Apples & Ginger OR Kiwi & Orange Topping.

You can also email or PDF an article, as well as eliminate sections by clicking a "delete this shadowed area" on the page (when you use it you will see what I mean, it's easy!). The originating link for a page is kept in tact at the top of the printed page to recognize source and lend attribution.

Save a tree... Don't burn money on paper and ink, use PrintFriendly next time you need to fire up your printer!

Check out this 2 minute video about how it all works and more ways to use it:


La Ishá Giveaway: Nutrient Rich Face Crème

As promised in the Spring Into Shape Announcements article, we have a fabulous giveaway for one lucky Here We Are reader! Sharon Gnatt Epel, founder of La Ishá, natural skin care for Timeless Beauty through Healthy Alternatives, will send the winner their newest anti-aging product, Nutrient Rich Face Crème. This $75- item is the perfect Mother's Day gift!

Nutrient rich face cream by La IshaFeatures of La Ishá's Nutrient Rich Face Crème:

Designed to support the health and beauty of dry, dull, aging and environmentally stressed skin

Contains an international blend of therapeutic oils that are highly compatible and easily absorbed

Increases turnover rate of skin cells

Fights wrinkles and softens skin

Supplies important essential fatty acid nutrients for skin health and cell metabolism

This sounds fabulous no matter what age your skin is! Enter to win... The raffle ends on April 26. GOOD LUCK & Thank you for entering!

WINNER: Rhonda S., congrats!!

(The widget has been removed. ~ Luci)


A Countdown Timer Helps Maximize Productivity

Timer with red dial stainless steeMeet my new best friend, Tommy Tempus, an old fashioned countdown timer! This shiny little guy and I spend a lot of fast, fleeting moments together doing all sorts of things.

He's happy to patiently sit on my desk ticking away the seconds with a low, steady repetition of clicks. He's even thoughtful enough to give me a five-minute warning with a pretty bell ping to tell me my time on a task is almost up. Whether I'm tweeting, posting on the Facebook timeline, reading recently discovered new blogs like Let's Get Deals Today and The Nancy Way {BTW: both share great info!}, writing, or sorting through paperwork, he keeps track of the minutes so I don't have to.

At first, I thought he might get on my nerves, but once I got used to his particular rhythmic beat, it morphed into a wonderful white noise that allows me to focus. In fact, he's hard at work right now as I write this article for you.

The best part is that Tommy enjoys his time out of the office, too. He helps me fold laundry, make homemade granola, and straighten up the house. He is so helpful that he's ready to be wound up for anything else on my To-Do list that can be completed in a quick, efficient, and timely manner. It's not about rushing; it's about concentrating your mind and your minutes.

Tommy is always on the clock and never complains about where we are or what we have to do. He doesn't even mind shopping, listening while I'm on the phone, or waiting for me to finish my makeup... Now if I could only get him to hold my purse!

While digital timers will work, you'll waste time trying to figure out how to program most of them, plus some require batteries or charging. If you don't have a simple, portable, hourly egg-timer type of friend, then get ready, set, and go buy one this minute. In fact, you might even be able to take home one of Tommy's cousins, also known as the Amco 60 Minute Timer, Red. Using a countdown timer will help control task time as you move through your work and home To-Do lists, you'll save precious hours and maximize your productivity. Tempus Fugit... So Carpe Diem!

How do you keep track of time? Do you use a countdown timer? Share your tips!


April 2012: Spring Into Shape

Announcements, Updates, and Reminders

Diamonds on gold fabricANNOUNCEMENTS

Changing Shape: If you've been wondering if yoga might be a way to get in shape, feel relaxed, and have some "me" time, then this month's Here We Are talk show is for you! Join me on Thursday, April 26, at 1:00pm EST when Kim Ellner discusses Yoga For Fitness, Health, Focus, and More! We'll learn how yoga can improve the way you feel in and about your body, while helping you find focus. Kim, owner of Yoga West, will also explain many of the options this ancient practice offers everyone at all levels. If you are avoiding yoga, you are missing out on benefiting your mind, your body, and your spirit. Namaste!

Smooth Skin In The Game: This month, courtesy of La Ishá, Natural Skin Care, we have a fabulous giveaway. One lucky HWA reader will win La Ishá's Nutrient Rich Face Crème (a very generous $75- value). Watch for the upcoming article for details & the entry widget... It's fun & easy to participate!

Every Rose Has A Thorn: The final episode of Season 16's "The Bachelor" gave us an earful about the drama that ensued after the final rose was handed out. In the last installment of this recurring Chick Flick Chat series, AFTER The Final Rose, the discussion covers the issue of trust (which seems to be the thorn that pricked the final recipient), the producers' antics, the audience reaction, the missing rejected bachelorette, and more. ALSO: Stay tuned, CFC will be posting its new line-up soon.

UPDATES

New From Me to You: Recently, I discovered a new gadget called AudioPal, which offered me the chance to welcome new and returning readers. If you haven't heard my new message, please click and listen (it's at the top of the left-hand sidebar)... And thank you for being here!

Spring Back: In last month's HWA article, Recipes For Life, it seems the pantry might have been overflowing with too much ambition! While we delivered six articles to your in-box, other projects delayed a few promised goodies. In April, we are going back into the cupboard to dust off Shades of Chartreuse ~ Freshly Green Tips... Now that Spring has sprung, it's the perfect time to reintroduce this living greener HWA series. Also, I'll be sharing my favorite new (non-virtual) gadget - it's an oldie but a goodie - but oh so useful; and lots more from our newly reshaped, April editorial calendar! NOTE: At HWA, we follow the maxim "quality over quantity."

REMINDERS

Strip Away The Old You: Get rid of those chemicals that surround your skin from head to toe. Spring is a good time to replenish your beauty supplies, but make sure you are replacing them with chemical-free options. Don't know where to start? Check out What's Your Number? An Easy, First Step To Living Chemical Free for a simple approach in letting your skin be naturally naked!

Stone of the Month: The April gemstone is Diamond. We recognize this white or clear stone by its ability to refract and reflect light when faceted. Ancient Hindus called the diamond "Vajra" meaning lightening, due to its strength and light throwing quality. The gift of a diamond represents everlasting love. It also symbolizes innocence.


Ivy Larson: Clean Cuisine - It's Much More Than Recipes

HWA Radio Show Mic CLICK HERE to LISTEN to the Here We Are talk show featuring Ivy Larson: Clean Cuisine - It's Much More Than Recipes.

We are all searching for ways to eat better and get fit, so we can feel and look great. You've heard that it's about the food choices you make... But how do you narrow down the choices? Where do you start? During this interview, Ivy Larson, co-founder of the Clean Cuisine lifestyle, shares easy to implement tips to get you on the right track. BONUS: This show offers a Discount Code!!

Learn from this health and wellness expert who knows a thing or two about the benefits of eating well! After Ivy was diagnosed with early stage MS, she and her husband, Dr. Andrew Larson, developed the Clean Cuisine approach as a way to alleviate Ivy's symptoms. It's success lead them to share their clean eating and healthy living strategy to benefit everyone.

No matter how busy your life, you will come away from this show with simple, usable information that will resonate with you the next time you are at the supermarket. Learn about anti-inflammation options, organic vs. non-organic choices, which cans contain BPA (and which brands don't), how food relates to aging issues, and much more... Plus, if it's time for you to make a change or improvement, during the show Ivy generously reveals a ➤➤➤➤15% DISCOUNT Code for listeners ➤➤➤ to use at the Clean Cuisine and More website.

I read Ivy's latest book, 30 Eat Clean Dinners, and I am excited to get on the plan. The recipes are easy-to-do, there are well-planned shopping lists, prep instructions, and it provides a variety of different, flavorful meals. There is something for everyone in this cookbook.

After you hear Ivy's story, and understand her approach to food and fitness, you will agree that it isn't hard to begin or improve upon a healthier lifestyle today. Join us to find out how the Clean Cuisine philosophy works for her and her family, and how it can work for you, too!


Two Thumbs Up: Maybelline Express Finish 50 Second Nail Color

A Product Review by Here We Are

Maybelline Express Finish Nail Polish in Racey Red

Product UPDATE: This product has been discontinued by Maybelline. SAD, but true!

It is still available online: Buy it here while you still can!!

In the meantime, I am currently testing a few other options and will let you know my results in an upcoming HWA product review. ~ Luci, 8/5/14

 

This little bottle of color will lend a hand in helping you paint the town red in a flash! With 20 shades to choose from, this is definitely a time-saving product to have in your beauty kit.

10 Top FingerTips for Maybelline's Express Finish 50 Second Nail Color:

1. It's dry in the two minutes it takes to apply one coat to both hands.

2. One coat gives you plenty of color with semi-opaque coverage.

3. Two coats gives you opaque coverage.

4. Due to its thin consistency, it is easy to brush on and control the amount of polish on the brush.

5. The .5 fluid ounce bottle lasts a long time without becoming clumpy or dried out.

6. Two coats of polish produces the color you see in the bottle.

7. While it's quick to apply, it is also quick to remove with regular polish remover without residual staining on the nails.

8. One coat lasts approx. 3 days but will start to fade around the edges a bit with lots of handwashing (not bad considering it only takes a minute to apply). NOTE: I only tested this on my hands.

9. Two coats lasts approx. 5 days. Again, unlike chipping, it will fade away at the edges, but it is quick & easy to touch up if you need to prolong the wearing time.

10. Most large drug store chains carry it for less than $4.00.

Bonus: This product also works well for quick and easy touch-ups which is perfect for your travel bag.

You May Also Like: The HWA review of Maybelline's SuperStay 24 Color for long lasting lip color that will get you through your busy day.

{Product Review Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid review. No consideration of any kind was offered to or received by LUCIMAC Productions [the parent company of Here We Are] in connection with this product or review.}


YOU Are ENOUGH

Part 13 of the HWA Series, Live Your Life Out Loud

Comparison is the Thief of Joy quote box, Theodore RooseveltHave you ever thought, "If only I were _____?" ➔ fill in the blank with whatever insecurity prevents you from feeling whole. Every time you compare yourself to someone else in any category, e.g., money, beauty, status, etc., it only serves to feed that insecurity. The funny thing is that it is all in your head, no one else knows what you are thinking or feeling. Yet, by trying to fill the void, it can dictate how the plot of your life plays out. In essence, you allow the comparison to control who you are instead of being the person you are meant to be.

Comparisons are the breading ground of self-alteration and overcompensation. You begin to perceive doing or having certain things will make you whole. Feeling like you are not rich/attractive/smart enough as compared to someone else can manifest into actions that can put you on a path of precarious life choices. The truth is, until you decide YOU ARE ENOUGH, proverbial warts and all, you will never be happy because you will never be whole.

Chasing things will not work. The holes get bigger with each inauthentic decision creating a repetitive cycle that deepens the insecurity. These decisions can manifest in a multitude of ways: You marry a man you don't love because you think he has an impressive degree; you buy a house on a certain street to show others that you can afford it; you starve yourself trying to attain the unattainable weight; you exaggerate your career achievements; you decorate your home to create an image of the picture perfect family; you shop for items you don't need; and so on. These actions temporarily mask the hole but never fill it. They allow you to feel like you are enough until the insecurity resurfaces and the illuminating darkness of that insecurity defeats your efforts. The only way to stop this cycle is to recognize and accept who you are, once and forever, and love it.

We've all caught ourselves making a comparison; some women consciously overcome it, while others don't know they are doing it. In his eulogy to Whitney Houston, Kevin Costner told us, "The Whitney I knew despite her fame and worldwide success, still asked, 'Am I still good enough, am I still pretty enough, will they like me?'" During my Chick Flick Chat coverage of "The Bachelor," I discussed this very issue when two women experienced this void on national television. Kacie B, upon being rejected after the hometown dates stated, "Why am I never enough?" Then Lindzi, after not receiving the final rose, told the cameras, "I wasn't enough." In pop culture, when we see or hear someone measuring themselves against others, it demonstrates that no one is immune. Different women, different backgrounds, universal self-esteem issue.

Release the need to prove anything through self-imposed pretenses because you are only fooling yourself. Let go of worrying about what other people think of you and care only about what you think of yourself. Stop comparing yourself against others, the superficial image someone projects does not give you insight into their life. It doesn't matter what other people have, look like, or do; Teddy Roosevelt was right, comparison is the thief of joy. It robs you of living happy and whole, stripping away your true self. You are enough, you always were, and you always will be. Know it, believe it... It is a joyful place to live.


Chick Flick Chat: "The Bachelor" S. 16, "The Women Tell All" and "The FINAL Rose" Episodes


PLUS: Episode #12, AFTER The Final Rose

Chick flick textpic2

CLICK Here To Listen to the Chick Flick Chat review and discussion of Episode #10, The Women Tell All, of ABC-TV's Season 16, "The Bachelor" show.

CLICK Here To Listen to the CFC review and discussion of Episode #11, The FINAL Rose.

Episode #10: The Women Tell ALL... And did they ever! They told us more about themselves than they realized during this Courtney Robertson bashing episode. Besides the lack of self-reflection, there was so much backstroking going on they should have taped this episode next to a pool!

Episode #11:  The FINAL Rose... Finally! It was a long, anticlimactic season for Bachelor Ben Flajnik, his 25 Bachelorettes, and the viewers. The final rose was offered and accepted, along with a gorgeous ring, among many references to it all being a fairytale.

Episode #12: The final episode of Season 16's "The Bachelor" gave us an eye and ear full about the drama that ensued after the final rose was handed out. In the last installment of this recurring Chick Flick Chat series, AFTER The Final Rose, the discussion offers a recap of the season, plus it covers the issue of trust (which seems to be the thorn that pricked the final recipient), the producers antics, the audience reaction, the missing rejected bachelorette, and more!


2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show

HAWAII: Islands of Aloha

Anyone who has got a book collection and a garden wants for nothing. ~ Cicero

If you missed this week's 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show, here are some of the highlights from my visit. Check out the major exhibitor list for details on the groups displaying some of the fabulous work seen in this slideshow. Ohoiho!! {Enjoy!}

Note: To take a longer look at any of the photos, hover your mouse over the bottom area of the player and click the pause button, then click it again to continue.


Chick Flick Chat: "The Bachelor" S.16, Episodes 8 and 9

Chick flick textpic2CLICK HERE to Listen to the Chick Flick Chat review and discussion of Episode #8 of ABC-TV's Season 16, "The Bachelor" show.

CLICK HERE to Listen to the CFC review and discussion of Episode #9.

Thank you to everyone who has been listening live, OnDemand, and via iTunes to the CFC recurring series covering this reality television show. As always, we appreciate each and every listener, and reader! As you may know, on each CFC, no matter the featured film or TV show, we debate, dissect, and dish the details of what we see on screen and what it all means. We are in the final chapters of this ongoing "real life" drama and Bachelor Ben Flajnik, with the help of his 25 Bachelorettes, served up quite a lot to chat about throughout this controversial season.

Episode #8: Meet the parents... It's time for the Hometown dates! Ben visits the remaining 4 bachelorettes' homes to get a glimpse of his potential future in-laws. Unfortunately for fan favorite, Kacie B., her folks won't be seeing Ben again. In our chat, we learn a lot more about Ben through this process than we do about the girls!

Episode #9: We're off to Switzerland... and the hot tubs are filled and bubbling! The "Fantasy Suite" cards are handed out to all three, but only two get a rose. There is no big surprise when the final two women are revealed. What is surprising is the way in which the old excuse, "It's me, not you," is cleverly worked into a past and a current kiss-off!

Everything that happens in the show is open for discussion, so join me next week to share your thoughts! Check out our CFC coverage of The Women Tell All on Tuesday, March 6 at 5:30pm EST.


March 2012: Recipes For Life

Announcements, Updates, and Reminders

Aquamarine, raw unpolished stoneANNOUNCEMENTS

Eat To Live: Searching for ways to eat better, get fit, and feel great? It isn't as hard as it sounds! Tune in on Wednesday, March 28, at 1:00pm EST for the Here We Are radio show, Ivy Larson: Clean Cuisine - It's Much More Than Recipes.

After being diagnosed with early stage MS, Ivy Larson, creator of Clean Cuisine And More, developed a clean eating and healthy living approach that can be implemented into any busy lifestyle. You can do it, too... Join us to learn how!

Chat Stew: The recurring Chick Flick Chat series featuring ABC-TV's reality television show, The Bachelor, continues until the final rose is given out by Ben Flajnik. This month, our Tuesday CFCs will feature The Women Tell All episode on March 5.

A week later, on March 13, after we learn who gets The Final Rose, we'll dish about what happens and to whom.

Then, on Monday, March 19, in the last of this CFC reality show coverage, we'll recap and discuss what was cooked up in this melting pot of bachelorettes stirred by the desire to get a rose; including what we learn during the After The Final Rose revelations.

Pantry Ingredients: This month, we are going back into the cupboard to dust off Shades of Chartreuse ~ Freshly Green Tips... Since spring is on the way, it's the perfect time to revisit this HWA living greener series. Also look for a quick and handy product review; #13 of the Live Your Life Out Loud personal growth articles under our Women In Media & Culture category; my favorite new gadget - it's an oldie but a goodie - but oh so useful; a business how-to of tips for maximizing your interactions; and more!

UPDATES

Pinterest Is Boiling Hot: If you haven't tried Pinterest yet because you need an invitation, I have a few left. Email me (see left sidebar) and I'll send you one {first come, first serve}. And be sure to follow me there!

From The Frying Pan Into The Fire: Facebook rolled out its new "timeline" program for pages. While it wasn't mandatory yet, the Here We Are page on FB is now using this latest format. Thank you to all the recent "likers" and as always, the tried and true HWA followers. Check it out & let us know what you think!

REMINDERS

Be a Plum, Not A Prune: If dry, winter heat, and cold weather are wreaking havoc on your skin then use the EXHALE Your Way To Beautiful Skin plan. You'll be plumped up and shining by summer!

Gemstone of The Month: The March gemstone is Aquamarine. We recognize this South American stone in shades of blue green to bright turquoise. Referred to as "water of the sea," it is believed to protect sailors while out at sea. It is also used as a meditation stone, and can bring peace and serenity. It carries the energy for magic, protection, and healing.


Ruth A. Casie: Romancing A "Knight of Runes," Writing, And More!

HWA Radio Show Mic wtextCLICK HERE to listen to the Here We Are interview with Ruth A. Casie: Romancing A "Knight of Runes," Writing, And More!

Do you have a passion to write? Are you working toward getting published? Not a writer but hoping to achieve a longtime dream? Newly published author, Ruth A. Casie, shares her journey of how she made her dream of becoming a published author into a reality. This busy lady offers an insightful, candid glimpse into her process of both writing, and her approach to life, while working toward a big goal. KnightofRunessml

If you are a writer, then Ruth's proven rule of R's will set you on a path to publishing success. No matter your genre, learn how this plan worked for her in developing a publishable historical fantasy novel. It worked so well in fact, she's hard at work writing more romance, adventure, and time-travel in the sequel to Knight of Runes!

If you are not a writer, you'll also hear how she manages to juggle a full-time job, a family, community service, hobbies and more while writing. Ruth offers three simple but highly effective steps in attacking the demands of today's busy lifestyle. She also opens up about jumping into your passion at any age, handling guilt, and that dirty, little word, "NO," which many women struggle with saying.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn from another woman who is living her dream. We all have similar challenges, hopes, and desires to succeed. This comprehensive, frank interview will leave you with useful information you can implement into your busy life.

More about this author... For 25 years, Ruth A. Casie has been writing for corporate America. Encouraged by family and friends, this ballroom dancing, Sudoku playing, aspiring gourmet, finally gave in and released her inner muse prompting a new journey of writing historical fantasy. Her book, Knight of Runes, features strong men and empowered women and how they cope with unexpected challenges. Ruth hopes her stories become your favorite adventures!

**** Meet Ruth: If you're in Chicago, April 11 - 15, be sure to stop by and say hello to Ruth at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention taking place at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel.**** 

 


Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask Reveals Sweet Results

A Product Review by Here We Are

Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask package
Looking for smoother, clearer, calmer skin? Then Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask developed by Dr. Murad may be an item to add to your beauty regimen. Long known for its health and beauty benefits, pomegranate fruit extract once again delivers in this easy-to-use, sweet scented, facial treat.

The product is sold as a package of 6 individually sealed applications for $22.50 (USD) at the Murad site, or for $13.50 on Amazon, {see first link in paragraph above} (NOTE: S&H may apply at both retailers). There is plenty of product in each packet to completely cover the face and neck. In fact, I think there is enough product that you could get two uses out of each one (if you preserve the extra for the suggested weekly application). BONUS: The packets are perfect for travel.

I tested this product for six weeks on a regular schedule. The mask is a clear, smooth, gel-like substance; there are no harsh exfoliants to scratch or irritate skin. At the first look and touch, you will think there isn't much to this product until your face starts to cool, tingle, tighten, and warm up! The instructions suggest leaving it on for 10 to 15 minutes, and I agree with the 15 minute part... For me, it was more effective when left on for the extra time.

It stays clear throughout the process, and doesn't wrinkle up your skin like some masks do when they've dried. While you rinse with warm water to remove, I also used a washcloth to aid in sweeping away dead skin cells. BONUS: The clear product doesn't stain your towels like clay or mud masks.

After each use my face felt and looked clean, refreshed, and hydrated. The results seem to be cumulative because since I've been using this mask, I haven't had a blemish or any "winter" dryness. This particular mask suits combination skin, but it feels gentle enough for any type. Everything about this product, from the ease of use as an at-home facial to its effectiveness makes this beauty treatment a winner. Murad definitely delivers sweet results with the Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask.

 

{Product Review Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid review. A unit of the product was offered to and received by LUCIMAC Productions, the parent company of Here We Are; as per our Product Review Policy, submission of a product for a potential review in no way guarantees a review will be published, nor does it guarantee a positive review.}


Chick Flick Chat: "The Bachelor" Ep. #6 AND #7 of Season 16

Chick flick ChatCLICK HERE to Listen to the Chick Flick Chat review and discussion of Episode #6 of ABC-TV's Season 16, "The Bachelor" show.

CLICK HERE to Listen to the CFC review and discussion of Episode #7.

A bit about why we are covering this reality show... It's about getting to the heart of reality television and how people behave when it comes to relationships, love, marriage, dating, and friendship (especially among women). Unlike actors in a film or scripted TV show, a show like "The Bachelor" puts real people into unreal situations and then uses what is captured on camera to deliver an edited version of real life. What we get as the viewer is a representation of human nature at its best and worst. On CFC, we use the details of what happens on-screen to explore what it all means, how it shapes behavior off-screen, and the messages this medium re-enforces.

Episode 6: Pass the Kleenex... The tears are flowing like rain in Panama City. From tribal body painting, a deserted island romp, some not-so-hot Salsa dancing, to an incredibly awkward kissing lesson, we chat about it all!

Episode 7: It's bikini time in Belize... If you are a bachelorette with a phobia, then this is the episode from hell! But not to worry, the girls still try to impress Ben Flajnik while overcoming their fears. WHY??!! He all but tells us who he will pick. Hint = the helicopter jumping, shark diving, and lobster spearing don't mean a thing to him!

Whether you love it or hate it, it's all open for discussion, so join me to share your thoughts about the upcoming "Home Town" dates! Check out the CFC coverage of Episode #8 on Tuesday, February 21 at 5:30pm EST.


Pinterest: Why All The Interest?

Pinterest_Logo

By now you've heard about the latest online craze, Pinterest. But what is it and why all the sudden interest in this social media website? While I use social networking on a daily basis, I am not an expert in it, but I have had a lot of trial and error experience in the three plus years since launching Here We Are. Last week, after my first encounter with Pinterest, I knew it was going to be a huge life & style hit with staying power. Besides the usefulness, unlike other sites, there is something about the Pinterest experience that makes you feel happy. Try it once and you'll see what I mean!

If you are wondering whether or not to join another online networking site, then the following list may be of interest to you!

Top 10 Things you need to know if you are new to Pinterest:

1. It is FUN!

2. No technical know-how needed! The simple user-friendly formatting lets you get right down to business without much of a learning curve. If you can "click," you can pin!!

3. It is FREE! 

4. It is all about visual imagery... With limited text, it's a bonus for the eye-strained web-surfer. Think of your account as a photo and video collection of anything and everything you like, want to share, learn about, cook, etc. According to the Pinterest about page, it "lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pin boards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes... you can browse pin boards created by other people. Browsing pin boards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests." NOTE: All boards are public so share wisely.

5. It's ADDICTIVE! There is so much to look at in every conceivable topic, interest, and area of life that it's easy to spend hours pinning and searching. 

6. It is EASY to master setting up your boards and then begin "pinning" images to them. As of now, there doesn't seem to be a limit to the amount of boards, but like anything else, the more organized and specific you are, the more organized and specific you are! Click through to this video I pinned to one of my boards, "How To Use Pinterest." Note: the user page has changed a bit since Beth Hunter recorded it, but the tutorial is excellent (click the image to see the video - click on the odd box below, the video is there, you may have to sign into Pinterest).

Source: staceymyers.com via Luci on Pinterest

  

 

7. It saves TIME & CLUTTER. Besides uploading a picture from your computer, when you find something you like on the web or in person (using a free iPhone app), you can pin a picture of that item to one of your boards. The benefit is that everything you want to keep track of is in one handy-dandy place...No more "file piles" of shopping ideas, magazine pages of furniture you want, brochures from your travel wish list, books you'd like to read, etc. It's all at your fingertips when you need it. TIP: Renovating? Then pin ideas you want to use and share your virtual boards with your designer.

8. It is a fabulous, VISUAL SEARCH engine. Find information you need by browsing the boards of others or by searching for specific items or ideas. Let's say you want a recipe for Key Lime Pie, just type it into the search box in the upper left corner and watch the Key Lime Pie's appear. Click through to the picture you like, and click again to be brought to the original page with the recipe (note: not every picture will have a website attached, but most do).

9. No worries about the original sources. Pinterest has taken care of this by maintaining original source information attached to each picture so you can like, comment, re-pin, embed, or tweet with just a click or two. (See #6 Source info at bottom of video screen shot for an attribution example.) UPDATE: I overstated the "no worries" approach, please read Why I Tearfully Deleted My Pinterest Inspiration Boards by Kristen Kowalski to learn more about the brewing copyright controversy that Pinterest and its users may be creating.

10. As a social platform for personal use, you will "meet" people with shared interests and likes, not just because you have a tenuous connection from high school. It helps you get to know people on a different level, you can "see" their personality by their selections. As a business use, it can serve as another marketing tool; check out The Marketer's Guide To Pinterest  and 56 Ways To Market Your Business On Pinterest for detailed, best practices tips on this approach.

Are you using Pinterest? Do you plan to? You can Follow me there. Remember, it's not how many boards you have, but what you pin that will make the experience fun. Start with one or two boards, you'll see how fast they multiply! Experiment, discover, and share with this new, uncomplicated tool that will definitely make you smile! Happy Pinning!!


February 2012: Sounds of Romance

Announcements, Updates, & Reminders

AmethystANNOUNCEMENTS

Reading, Writing, Romance: Do you have a passion to write? Dream of getting a book published? Join me for February's episode of the Here We Are Radio Show on February 25 at 11:00 am EST to learn how author, Ruth A. Casie, turned her dream of being published into a reality.

Her first novel, Knight of Runes, is filled with romance, adventure, KnightofRunessmltime-travel, and a heroine who revels in it all! Ruth will share how she juggled a full-time job, a family, community service, writing, and found a publisher all at the same time. Now that she is published, she hasn't slowed down a bit; the book's success has Ruth working on a sequel. We are sure to pick up valuable tips from this busy lady!

Until the Final Rose: The recurring Chick Flick Chat series continues every Tuesday following each week's drama, tears, and competition on ABC-TV's "The Bachelor" show. Here We Are is always adjusting to improve our content and delivery for our listeners and readers... If you are a regular reader at HWA, you'll notice the Chick Flick Chat recaps containing the show links will now include our coverage of 2 "Bachelor" episodes each until the last rose is given away.  

Whether you are a fan of this television show or not, the CFC review and discussion focuses on the representations of the women's roles as the situations are played out on Reality TV. We debate, dissect, and dish the details of what it all means. NOTE: If you miss the live show, you can always hear the recording any time On-Demand. I hope you'll check it out!

UPDATES

Can I P-Interest You?: Yesterday, I received an invitation from a fellow writer and blogger, Janet Aronica, to join Pinterest. I'd heard people raving about it but didn't understand it until I set up my own boards. It is fun - and addicting - but also very useful to visually "track" items you find and like on the internet. If you are already on Pinterest, or join it, please follow me and I will follow back. Thank you Janet & future pinners!

A Beating Heart: Well, not exactly... But you will hear new theme music on the HWA radio show. AND, in addition to Ruth A. Casie, 2012 offers a wonderful line-up of guests who will share their expertise on all sorts of topics to make your life better, brighter, and easier!

REMINDERS

Accept Only The Best: If things are not rosy in some of your relationships, take a second look at Love YOU. Now is the time to decide that you will only accept the best for yourself, so reevaluate and clean house! It's still early in the New Year and you'll be light and breezy by spring.

Gemstone of The Month: The February gemstone is the Amethyst. We recognize this quartz in shades of deep purple through mauve. It is known as a symbol for humility and sincerity. The word "amethyst" comes from the Greek word, "amethystos," meaning "without drunkenness" and is believed to protect its wearer from poison. It carries the energy for power, protection, and healing.


Chick Flick Chat: "The Bachelor" Episodes 4 AND 5, Season 16

Chick flick textpic2CLICK HERE to listen to the Chick Flick Chat review and discussion of Episode 4 of ABC-TV's Season 16, "The Bachelor" show.

CLICK HERE to listen to the CFC review and discussion of Episode 5.

To be clear... This recurring series by CFC is not a "Bachelor" show promotion! It's about getting to the nitty-gritty of reality TV, and this reality show is the perfect platform for such a discussion. In order to discuss what it all means in terms of relationships, love, marriage, dating, friendship, etc., we do have to review the details of what happens in each show. This includes the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly behavior that is captured on camera. 

Episode 4: The best way to describe the theme of this episode is "buggy." Between the bugs on a "romantic" canoe ride on a lake in Park City, Utah, the torturous fly-fishing scene, and the "bug" Courtney so masterfully planted in Ben's ear, it's hard to find another word to encompass this week's dating interludes. The drama was set against grandiose, breathtaking scenery that made the quibbling and backstabbing seem even more petty and small-minded. If nothing else, this episode revealed who was a Jedi Master ready for prime-time competition, and who jeopardized her own position due to her struggles with GTTS = Goodie Two-Shoes Syndrome

Episode 5: One, two, three strikes you're out! Ben Flajnik and the bachelorettes suit up to play a game of baseball. Their prize? Time with him. The only winning points scored in this episode are the many examples of what "not to do" on a date!

Whether you love it or hate it, it's all open for discussion, so join me to chime in and share your thoughts! Check out the upcoming CFC coverage of Episode #6 on Tuesday, February 7 at 5:30pm EST.


Chocolate Pots de Crème: Sounds Fancy But It's So Simple! Très Facile!

Chocolate Pots de Creme Mousse Pudding DessertCan you be anything but happy looking at this scrumptious treat? It tastes even better than it looks! This simple recipe makes it easy to enjoy this french dessert known as "pots de crème" - AKA pot of cream or custard - any time you have a chocolate craving.

Expect a deep, rich chocolate flavor from this little cup of love. The texture is thicker than a pudding, and firmer than a traditional mousse. The bonus is that it also has less fat and calories because you don't use heavy cream and can opt for low-fat or fat-free milk. In fact, you may already have the ingredients in your kitchen to whip a batch up tonight!

Ingredients

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1½ Tbs. sugar

1/3 cup milk - regular or low-fat (I could not detect any difference between the two milks in taste or texture, so go with low-fat and save the calories)

1 5oz. can of evaporated milk - it can be regular, low-fat, or fat-free

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips - semisweet are fine, too, but higher cocoa content in dark chocolate provides antioxidant benefits

1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract - you can also substitute the Vanilla with Almond or Mint extract to change the subtle, underlying flavor

1/4 tsp. cinnamon - add more if you really like it, but leave out if you use Mint extract

Pinch of salt

optional: Whipped Cream & Cherries for garnish

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Use the center rack.

2. Set up for a Bain-marie (water bath): Boil a small pot or tea kettle of water. Put 5 or 6 small ramekins into a roasting pan. Do NOT add the hot water yet. TIP: Put a paper towel on the bottom to prevent the cups from sliding around when the water is added.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the egg and egg yolk; set aside.

4. Mix the milks together in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil; stir this often so it doesn't scorch. At the first sign of a boil, remove the milk from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir in and return to heat. Whisking continuously, bring to a simmer for about 1 minute, be sure the chocolate is melted.

5. Using a ladle in one hand & a whisk in the other, scoop up a small amount of the melted chocolate mixture and slowly whisk into the eggs. TIP: You don't want to cook the eggs from the heat of the chocolate mixture, so whisk continuously throughout this process until all the chocolate is incorporated evenly.

6. Whisk in the Extract of your choice, cinnamon (if using), and pinch of salt.

7. Pour the chocolate mixture into the ramekins in even amounts. Tip: To avoid spilling, do not fill to the top. From the picture above, you can see that I filled 2/3 of the ramekin - just below the fill line.

8. Pull out middle oven rack, and place the roasting pan securely. Fill with the hot water until the ramekins are immersed - approx. 2/3 up the sides. Carefully slide the rack into the oven. Bake 25 - 30 minutes until set - they should be tight in the cups like a thick custard.

9. Leave the roaster in the oven, and carefully remove the ramekins with tongs, place on a wire rack to cool. NOTE: Be sure to wear a water resistant oven mitt when transferring the pots de crème.

10. Allow at least an hour or so to cool on the wire rack. Chill in fridge.

To serve, add whipped cream and a cherry. Voilà! A rich creamy, chocolate dessert that delights the chocolate lovers palette! Try all three extract versions and see which is your favorite. All are very good - I did a lot of testing before I would share this recipe... It was hard work but someone had to do it!! Enjoy!

 

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Chick Flick Chat: "The Bachelor" S. 16, Ep. 3

Chick flick chatCLICK HERE to listen to the Chick Flick Chat review and discussion of ABC-TV's "The Bachelor" Season 16, Episode 3.

NOTE: If you missed the original explanation regarding this recurring CFC series, check out Episode 1's article for details about why this particular reality show was selected for a recurring series.

Episode 3: The best word to describe what occurred in Episode 3 is "meltdown." The producers got ratings for the bikini clad street skiing, and the 16 remaining contestants got loopy over a new (or used - depending on how you look at it) bachelorette seeking Ben's affection. Neither scenario was pretty, nor entertaining; both were, unfortunately, a downhill slide into the worst of reality television. I'll leave this week's details on this frosty episode for you to hear!

If you haven't listened yet, please do, and if you are following this recurring discussion, let me know your thoughts. The CFC series featuring "The Bachelor" show is about the guts of reality TV, not the glory. Join me to chat live about Episode 4 of The Bachelor next Tuesday, 6:30pm EST. Whether you love it or hate it, it's all open for discussion, so chime in!

A big thank you to Andy Dehnart, TV critic, and publisher of the popular website Reality Blurred, for allowing me to quote his May/June 2011 RealScreen magazine article One (Real) Life To Live.


Walk your path one step at a time...

Lightening boltLife's circumstances are not always what you may wish them to be. The pattern of life does not necessarily go as you plan. Beyond any understanding, you may at times be led in different directions that you never imagined, dreamed, or designed. (via positive-thoughts.typepad.com)

via billvanloan.typepad.com

This weekend, a relative of mine was hit by a car as he was crossing the street. Now, we are all praying that this father, son, husband, grandfather, brother, cousin, nephew, and friend recovers. Get well, Anthony.

When I saw this quote, it highlighted how one second can change everything... A random, split second of abstract energy can alter one's course, and those with whom we share our lives, onto an unexpected path. 

I share this to remind you, and myself, to make every day count and to be grateful for the moments that make up each day. ~ Luci


Chick Flick Chat: "The Bachelor" S. 16, Episode. 2

Chick flick chatCLICK HERE to listen to the Chick Flick Chat review and discussion of ABC-TV's "The Bachelor" Season 16, Episode 2.

NOTE: If you missed the info regarding this recurring CFC series, check out Episode 1's article for details.

Episode 2: A week later and the drama heated up quickly this season. This is not surprising since the ratings for the first episode were down by 17%. Perhaps a bit of re-editing was performed before Ep. 2's airdate? In any case, we saw two one-on-one dates with Ben Flajnik, the sweet and playful bachelor. According to "Bachelor" protocol, these were successful dates because he gave both girls, Kacie B., and Courtney, roses at the conclusion of their respective time with him.

We were also treated (or shall I say tortured?) to the fairy-tale group date from hell. I won't go into detail here, but on the show I dish the dirt about the corniest of set-ups ever! This ensemble date, complete with taffeta, sparkles, and forced smiles, would make the toughest of competitors cringe with embarrassment.

When I recorded this week's CFC, I didn't realize that the hostility engendered during the group date extravaganza might actually have resurfaced at the cocktail party. The humiliation suffered by 11 of the 12 girls who didn't receive a rose on the group date - after putting aside their self-esteem - was revisited upon the girl who did get the rose, Blakeley. While there appeared to be "production" driven contrived interaction during the party, the display of anger and jealousy by several of the bachelorettes toward Blakeley was appalling. Call her any name in the book, but she may be the only one who understands this is a competition.

Were you thinking that this CFC series featuring "The Bachelor" show is all roses and candy? Not so much so! Join me to chat live about Episode 3 of The Bachelor next Tuesday, 6:30pm EST. Whether you love it or hate it, share your thoughts!

P.S. Thank you to Henry for calling in to ask a very challenging question on the CFC Ep. 1 show; and to Marie for her insightful comment about Jenna on the CFC Ep. 2 show. I loved hearing from you!


Full Moon Wishes

Part 12 of the HWA Series: Live Your Life Out Loud

Full moon January 8 2012Dreamers can find their way by moonlight and their only punishment is that they see the dawn before the rest of the world. ~ Oscar Wilde

This is a picture of the first full moon of 2012 (taken from my backyard deck). As children, we're taught to look up at the sky and "wish upon a star." There are also beliefs about wishing on a "new" moon's crescent. Whatever you like to wish upon, I think you'll agree that the light and energy of a full moon draws us in and calls to us to make a wish, share a dream, express a hope, set a goal.

Each month it shows up in all its glory, not just as a twinkle or a sliver, but as a full-faced presence. It has worked and waited each day to achieve its grandeur for the world to see.

Tonight I made a wish on the full moon, and I encourage you to express a wish, a dream, a hope, or a goal on it, too. Track yourself and see where you are next month. Let its light guide you toward your dreams, month to month, working each day to shine your light on the world! Wishing you fulfillment in 2012!


Chick Flick Chat: "The Bachelor" Season 16, Episode 1

Chick flick textpic2CLICK Here to listen to the Chick Flick Chat review and discussion of ABC-TV's "The Bachelor" Season 16, Episode 1.

NOTE: This is a weekly show for the 2012 season of "The Bachelor," which I am hosting solo - please consider calling in to chat with me when the show airs live!*

What the heck is going on with the never-ending search for love on reality shows!? When I first heard the premise for the original show 15 bachelors ago, I was shocked that anyone (aka a producer) could get 25 women together - on television - to tear it up over a man they've never met. While I haven't watched every season, I have run the gamut of emotions from happiness for certain contestants, surprise by the depth of human drama that is displayed, to utter disappointment in how women (and men) will behave in certain circumstances. 

In Episode 1, there is a lot to discuss; the important first impression steps out of the limo, Ben Flajnik's reactions, and the results of the first rose ceremony. Hear my take on who the producers picked to get roses - yes, the producers - it is a TV show after all, and TV shows need conflict in order to get ratings. Sad, but true!

Then we'll do it again next week on this recurring Chick Flick Chat series following every episode of Season 16 to the Final Rose Ceremony. As we go along, we'll dish and dissect the drama, the tears, the joy, the jealousy, the competition, and the emerging love that is propagated by reality dating. Call in to help me to explore what it all means. Is it real? Scripted? Why do people take this route? And more!

Whether you love or hate this show, watch any reality television, hear about it at the water cooler, or see the video clips... The saturation into our lives is here to stay. If you are interested in the human condition and how the images, behavior, and vocabulary in television and film influence our society, then join me live for these chats every Tuesday at 6:30pm EST.

*Here is the link for the upcoming show covering S.16, Episode 2 of "The Bachelor" series.


January 2012: Romancing The Stone

Announcements, Updates, & Reminders

loose Garnets, January birthstoneANNOUNCEMENTS 

New Year, Lighter You: Hello to 2012, and good-bye to 2011! While it is technically a man-made calendar date, the start of a new year is a great time to lighten up your stresses so you can Live Your Life Out Loud every day of the year. Now is the time to look back so you can look forward with a fresh approach. Take a long look at what is weighing you down. Clear out last year's clutter, change what needs changing, and toss out any residual baggage.

This will allow you to start the year with clear vision, excitement about the possibilities, and renewed purpose. No matter what it is you desire, it's easier to get there if you are a lean, mean, fightin' machine - access the old, analyze its meaning in your life, then say au revoir (and mean it!). Voilà! You're already pounds lighter on day one of your diet resolution!

Will You Accept This Rose?: I've debated for a long time about hosting a recurring Chick Flick Chat featuring one of television's reality series... Well, since we've already chatted about The Housewives, it's time to chat about the never-ending search for love on reality TV.

Join me this Tuesday at 5:30pm EST for Chick Flick Chat: The Bachelor to dish on each week's episode throughout season 16. We'll chat about the ups and downs of reality dating - the tears, the joy, the ensuing competition to win the bachelor's heart by the 25 bachelorettes - then the final rose. This is not a bash-fest, but a chance to explore what it all means about love, relationships, dating, marriage, and more... Let the drama begin!

UPDATES

Birthstones: Throughout 2011, each Announcements article contained a "Flower of the Month" item in the Reminders section. To continue this tradition in 2012, Here We Are will bring you fun facts on the "Gemstone of the Month." I hope you enjoy learning about each stone as we move through the year.

2012 Bling: The November gift, a gingerbread cookbook, went to Diana P. Congrats! NOTE: The Gift of the Month is morphing into scheduled giveaways and contests that will coordinate with radio show guest topics, specific HWA articles, the HWA video channel, and the HWA page on Facebook... More details will be announced soon! If you haven't yet subscribed by email to this website or liked us on Facebook, please do so to be included, thank you!

REMINDERS

Ruby Lips & Lipstick Tips: Throughout the holiday season, I relied on Maybelline's SuperStay lip color. The product stayed in place despite indulging on lots of champagne, chocolates, hello and goodbye kisses, and long dinner conversations. I hadn't worn it in a while and was reminded about how good it really is (just remember to reapply the balm).

Gemstone of The Month: The January gemstone is the Garnet. We recognize this mineral in shades of violet red to a deep brownish-red color. It is known as a symbol for purity, truth, love and compassion. The word "garnet" is from the Greek word, "granatum," meaning pomegranate seed, which reflects the shape and color of the stone. It carries the energy for love, luck, money, and healing.


Homemade Marshmallows: Fluffy, Eggless, and Fun To Make

Homemade marshmallows Vanilla marshmallows on red plateMaking homemade marshmallows is easy and fun to do for the whole family. There is something very pleasing about watching the ingredients turn into creamy white, delicious marshmallow dreaminess. This fluffy recipe mixture makes it hard to wait until they are ready to cut, so have a few spoons available for a quick tasting preview!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 Tbsp. or 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (NOTE: There are vegan gelatins on the market, but I used Knox brand for this recipe.)

1 cup cold water, divided in half

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup Confectioner's sugar sifted together with 1/2 cup Cornstarch

Instructions

Add the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water into a large mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer (NOTE: because of the long beating time, a hand mixer isn't practical). Let it soak for about 30 minutes.

Dust a 9 - 10 inch ceramic or glass baking dish with the Confectioner's sugar and cornstarch; set aside. Reserve the extra mixture for later. HINT: Be generous with the mixture and don't worry about using too much in the pan, most of it will be brushed off when you remove the dried marshmallow. NOTE: I use a 10 inch tart pan pictured in the Here We Are EASY Apple Tart Recipe. The ceramic allows the marshmallow to release more easily than a metal pan. BONUS: The edges get cut off anyway, so it doesn't matter that it is a round pan.

In a medium saucepan, mix together the granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cold water over low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Brush down any sugar on the sides of the pot, and stop stirring. Clip on a candy thermometer and raise the heat to high until the temperature reaches about 245 degrees; immediately remove from heat. Carefully pour the syrup mixture into a heat proof measuring cup. SAFETY TIP: Put the measuring cup into the sink and pour the hot ingredients into the cup to avoid splashing (this also keeps your cooktop clean!). UTENSIL TIP: If you don't have a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to a hard, rapid boil for about a minute but be careful not to burn it.

Turn the mixer on low and begin to slowly pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin. Once it is all added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat for about 10 minutes, then add in the vanilla extract and continue beating for another 3 to 5 minutes until white, fluffy, and thick. HINT: Toward the end of the beating cycle, slowly work backward on the mixer speeds until you are at the slowest speed, then slowly and SLIGHTLY raise the attachments until the marshmallow mixture is released into the bowl.

Using a flexible rubber spatula, ease the marshmallow mixture into the dusted pan and smooth. Generously dust the top of the marshmallow with the confectioner's sugar and cornstarch; smoothing out the sugar/starch on top with your hands. Place uncovered in a cool, dry area, overnight to dry.

The NEXT day: use a butter knife along the edge to loosen the marshmallow. To contain the sugar, place the slab of marshmallow on a large platter or cutting board. With sugar/starch dusted hands, smooth the sugar/starch mixture over both sides removing the excess. Cut off any rough edges with a pastry knife or a kitchen scissor. Cut into strips, then cubes (or any shape you like), and dredge each cube in the sugar/starch. TIP: Use a brushing on and off motion on each side of the marshmallow cube to get a nice, smooth finish from the sugar/starch mixture. This part takes a while, but it is a fun step for kids to do. Store in an airtight container if there are any left!

My recent batch yeilded about 24 large cubes (see picture) that averaged 1.5 inches each. Using a scissor makes this job go much faster. Besides being a preservative free treat, this recipe is also egg-less. Most store bought marshmallows are not preservative free AND contain egg whites. I don't know why, but marshmallows from this recipe seem to last longer in a cup of hot cocoa than store bought types. If you aren't a hot chocolate drinker, use this recipe to make mini-marshmallows to add to yam dishes, rocky road ice cream, fudge recipes, popcorn balls and more! Don't be put off by the long instructions, I've included lots of extra tips to help you enjoy making this messy, but fun and easy treat!!

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We Wish You All A...

Winter homes with smokeToday is the official start of the holiday season, beginning with Hanukkah, followed by Christmas, which kicks off Kwanzaa. Whatever holiday you celebrate, in addition to health and happiness, I wish for you a gift similar to the one I received this morning.

During an early morning phone call, a regular reader of Here We Are shared with me that the Live Your Life Out Loud Series gave her the inspiration to do just that over the past year - live her life out loud. Learning this fact is an unexpected, but wonderful gift for me.

No matter what it is you do throughout the year, week to week, day to day...

There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone's life. ~ Sister Mary Rose McGeady

***************

With much gratitude, and humility, I wish you all a Happy Holiday and a fabulous New Year! ~ Luci

**********************


Urban Decay Razor Sharp Finishing Powder Puts A Fine Finish On Your Face

A Product Review by Here We Are

Urbac Decay Razor Sharp Powder

2015 UPDATE: The company is no longer selling this product under the "Razor Sharp" name (as pictured). They have introduced a line called Naked Skin Ultra Defininition Loose Finishing Powder. I have not tested the newly named item BUT it appears to be similar, I will update when I find out more. ~ Luci

Three words sum up the effect this product can give you... Fabulous Flawless Finish! At first, I found the claims Urban Decay made about their Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder a bit on the cutting edge of hype. After testing the product over foundation, sunscreen, on bare skin, and as a late day touch-up, I have to agree that this "micro fine powder fools the eyes with 'optical blurring,' and miraculously seems to airbrush away skin's imperfections. It's a smooth, flawless, soft-focus finish that's flattering under even the harshest of lights."

The sponge top applicator is a fun, travel ready, throw-back to the powder puffs our grandmothers used. Razor Sharp is only sold in one translucent "universal shade." This product is all about achieving a fine finish, not about adding color to the face.

The trick is in the application process. While you have less control over the product than with a traditional pressed powder, a little practice will help you achieve the desired finish.

1. To use with the sponge: simply twist the container to release powder into the sponge, then gently puff the product onto your face and neck.

2. Use a dedicated fan brush and lightly brush the "puffed areas of product" downward in long sweeping strokes. If you don't brush it down, you could end up with circles of powder on your face. BONUS: Using downward strokes also helps keep small facial hair down. NOTE: If your skin is very oily, then you might not like the sponge application because you can't clean it (see #3).

3. Alternative use: Remove the lid and pour a little (and I really mean a little) bit of powder into a clean bowl, then use a brush to apply as you would with any loose powder. HINT: Less is more with this method. TIP: Be careful when pouring the product, it is very light and airy and you could waste a lot of it in the transfer.

Even though it is $30.00 for less than half an ounce, Razor Sharp is worth every penny. If you only use the sponge method, the product will last you a while (I average two months of daily use switching between the sponge method and the loose powder application).

It is hard to say if this is the best face powder on the market, but I'd wager it falls into the top ten. Have you tried this product? Tell us about it. Do you have a favorite finishing powder? Share with us because who doesn't want to look good every day?!

{Product Review Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid review. No consideration of any kind was offered to or received by LUCIMAC Productions, the parent company of Here We Are, in connection with this product or review.}


Pretty Gift Ideas For The Holidays & Beyond

Gift Ideas for a Hostess, Co-worker, Neighbor, Teacher, and More - Save Time & Money Throughout The Year

Pink Hat Box with coverNo matter the season, but especially at the end of the year, there is often a need for small, but pretty gifts. With so much to choose from and so little time to run around, I like to order a "collective gift idea" that can be split up and made into a number of gifts.

Doing this saves time because one order can take care of several gifting needs. It also saves money because you only pay shipping fees once. Think of it as a "one and done" shopping chore that can be handy for you throughout the whole year.

While I haven't ordered every item (hint - some of my readers may be seeing a few of these ideas in the future), I have ordered from all of the companies. My experience has been one of excellent customer service and value for the price points.

The Gift Ideas are listed from the non-personal to more personal options. I've included the cost per item with How-To's on maximizing each idea. They aren't fancy items, but with pretty wrapping and a handwritten note, they become special. It is the preparation and thought that count!

Shiny & Bright Candle Accoutrement

Idea: Garnet Hill has pretty White Ceramic Votive Holders, each of the 6 holders is stamped with a different sentimental word like "Believe," and "Glow." The cost is $68- (note: all pricing is w/o tax & shipping).

How-To: You could break this grouping up into 6 pieces at $11.33 each; but I suggest selecting 2 votive holders for each gift. This would cost $22.66 per gift. GIFTING TIP: Always give a complete gift, so include a candle in each holder before you wrap them up. Try Blue Moon Candles Tea Lights, at $11.00/dozen, each all natural candle only adds 91¢ and will infuse your package with a delicious scent.

Idea: Similar to the Garnet Hill Votive Holders, but very different in style and cost, are the Austro Artwork Votive Holders from Wisteria. A set of 6 retail for $28.00, BUT they are on sale today for $16.80 (a surprise I found as I was typing this article). That makes each holder $4.66, or $2.80 respectively.

How-To: These seem like they have to be in pairs, so make 3 sets of 2 each. Again, add tea-lights. TIP: Use tea-lights over the larger, traditional votive candles for ease of use and safety. Tea lights don't melt down and get stuck in the holder; plus, the flame stays lower in the container.

Eco-Friendly Tote

Idea: Red Envelope is selling Envirosax Market Bags. Each set is made up of 5 different graphic designs. The set of 5 is $39.95, making each bag only $7.99. There are 4 groupings (one is for kids) to select from and all are very colorful.

How-To: You get 5 gifts from this idea. Each bag comes with its own smaller carrying sack. If you tuck in a small denomination gift card or a reusable water bottle, you can stay under $20 per gift.

Silk Coin Purses

Idea: RSHCatalog has a grouping of 6 assorted color silk coin purses for $19.00. That is only $3.16 each for a handy, happy purse item. {NOTE: These purses sold out hours after this article was published. I am leaving the info & links in place in case they are restocked. ~Luci}

How-To: Add a gift card or lottery tickets in each, zip up and wrap. Add a shiny new penny for good luck, too!

Cool Scarves

Idea: Wisteria offers a selection of beautiful scarves which are actually big enough to wear as a wrap over a dress. Lightweight rayon makes them perfect for travel and all four seasons. There are 4 color groupings (Alpine, Caribbean, Cape Cod, Moroccan) that each contain 5 scarves in light to dark shades. Each group retails for $34.00, but the first three groupings are also on sale today for $27.20. This makes each scarf $6.80, or $5.44, respectively.

How-To: These are lovely on their own. Try to match the scarf color with the recipient's eyes, coat, or favorite color (if you know) for an added personal touch.

$$$$$$$$$$$$

Don't worry that you aren't spending enough by group buying, think of it as a creative way to save money and time while still giving pretty gifts. It's not about the cost, surprising someone during the current economic downturn is very thoughtful. Pretty wrapping paper and a bow also add to the visual enjoyment of receiving a gift for any occasion.

Hurry if you need these items for the holidays, or keep the list and buy afterwards for even more discounts, and store them in a dedicated box. When the need for a gift arises (and it will) during the year, just wrap it up! Do you have a way to save money and still give great gifts? Share your ideas with us!

BONUS: If you need more Hostess Gift ideas, check out last year's suggestions, which are still current and available this year! 

 

{Product Review/Shopping Disclaimer: This is NOT a paid review or endorsement. No consideration of any kind was offered to or received by LUCIMAC Productions, the parent company of Here We Are, in connection with these products or suggestions.}


December 2011: Stocking Stuffers

Announcements, Updates, & Reminders

Narcissus flower, AKA PaperwhitesANNOUNCEMENTS

Trimming The Tree: The Google+ button has been hung in the sidebar at Here We Are. If you are using this new social networking resource, please add us to your circle. While it is a shiny new platform, it looks promising. I've set a holiday goal to top off the end of the year by reading Google+ For Dummies so HWA can rock & roll into the New Year by connecting with you in more places!

Deck The Halls: December is a busy month for everyone and at HWA we want to make your life better, brighter, and easier... Check out Cold and Flu for tips to help you avoid feeling green like the Grinch this season; a beauty review to make you look flawless; shopping ideas to save you money and time; a recipe treat that's fun for the whole family, and more!

UPDATES

The Elves Go Green: The US Postal Service is as busy as Santa's workshop at this time of the year. They are now providing eco-friendly packaging materials that are Cradle to Cradle Certified, stamps with how-to tips for living greener, while working to reduce their carbon footprint. If you are mailing gifts this season, consider using the PO elves to deliver them for your holiday.

Gingerbread Cookies: The November Gift of the Month recipient has not yet responded. The Gingerbread recipe book winner will be announced in January. Please remember to subscribe by email & verify your subscription to have a chance in our gift giveaways. As in past years, in lieu of a December giveaway, HWA makes a donation to a worthy cause. This year, it will again be Canine Companions For Independence.

REMINDERS

Let It Snow: If you are already feeling the effects of cold weather, hand washing, and forced hot-air heat, leave the snow outside and counteract parched, flaky skin by using the HWA olive oil recipe for dry hands. It's easy, inexpensive, and effective! Check out Step #2 in Wave Goodbye To Dry Hands for details.

Making A List: The best time to update your winter wardrobe is right after the holidays. Make a list, check it twice, and stay on budget by buying only what you need, not because an item is on a deep discount. If you aren't sure about what's hot, and how to wear it, listen to the second half of Fall & Winter 2011: Beauty Tips and Fashion Trends for tips on how to maximize your style this season.

Flower of The Month: Obviously, this is the last time we will bring you the HWA Flower of the Month Reminder. It's been fun learning each meaning of the 12 flowers and I hope you've enjoyed this series. December's flower, the Paperwhite Narcissus, is a cousin to the Daffodil variety. Its general meaning is that its recipient is sweet.

I will bring you the lily that laughs,

I will twine with soft narcissus, the myrtle,

sweet crocus, white violet,

the purple hyacinth, and last,

the rose, loved-of-love. - "Heliodora"

~ Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961), US Poet


Lasagna In A Crock Pot? Yes, You Can!

An Easy, Adaptable, Slow Cooker Recipe

Lasagna in All-Clad Crock Pot after cooking for 5 hoursThink you can't do lasagna in a crock pot? Think again, you can! And it's easy as a blueberry pie!

Besides the time savings, and ease, the best part about this recipe is that it is fully adaptable to your choice of ingredients. Whether you're a vegetarian or love a traditional meat lasagna, you can make both versions using the following recipe. I tested this recipe a number of times until I got it just right, so I can share it with you.

Ingredients (see *NOTE*)

1.5 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Fresh Basil

1 - 2 boxes Lasagna Noodles (the old-fashioned kind, NOT the "no boil" or "no cook" type)

3 jars of Pasta Sauce - your brand choice, but use at least the 24 oz. size

16 oz. Mozzarella Cheese - whole or part skim, sliced into cubes

Ricotta Cheese - My "less is more" philosophy on calories = I use a small, 15 oz. Sorrento whole milk ricotta; it holds up to the heat better than the low fat or part skim options. There may be less of it throughout the lasagna, but it tastes so much better than the other types.

Option 1 - Vegetable Lasagna {the listed veggies do not have to be cooked before adding to the crock pot}

Eggplant - skinned & cut lengthwise; Zucchini - skinned & cut either lengthwise or in 1/4" circles; Red Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms - generously sliced (if they are too small, they won't hold up to the heat)

Option 2 - Meat Lasagna {meat should be browned before adding to the crock pot}

Lean Ground Beef - Add some olive oil and brown beef in a skillet, but don't overcook it. Mix in 1/2 cup pasta sauce at the end to keep it moist. NOTE: You can add chopped onions for extra flavor.

TIP: With either option, you will also need to line the bottom of the cooker with chopped onions or red peppers.

Instructions

1. To help with the clean up: use a paper towel & swipe the bottom & sides of your crock pot with thin layer of olive oil.

2. Layer the bottom with chopped onions or red peppers (or a combination).

3. Add a layer of overlapping lasagna noodles: you may have to break them to create a full "floor" to support the veggies/meat.

4. Build a level of vegetables (or meat, or both) by layering the eggplant, zucchini, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, random dollops of ricotta, a handful of cubed mozzarella, basil, topped by sauce.

5. Add another layer of lasagna noodles, repeating the process. Be generous with the pasta sauce on each layer. TIP: After you arrange the lasagna noodles and before adding the toppings, gently push down a bit on each layer. The whole batch will cook down a lot, so this step will give you a bit more room to build an extra layer to fill the crock pot.

6. When it is filled to the top edge, cover with one last layer of noodles, add more sauce. Cover the slow cooker. TIP: Save clean up time & don't add mozzarella cheese to the top layer of noodles because the cheese can bubble up and stick to the glass.)

7. Cook on LOW heat for about 5 hours. (Don't rush it... I tested this recipe on High for 4 hours, and the noodles were very gooey.)

Vegetable Lasagna square on white plate*NOTE*: You may have to increase/decrease the cooking time and amount of ingredient items according to the size of your crock pot. I listed the amount used for a large crock pot; obviously, the vegetable quotient is up to you and your likes/dislikes. FYI, I used an All-Clad 6.5 quart slow cooker.

So there you have it! An easy lasagna recipe that is sure to please everyone at dinner, and for lunch the next day. Pour a glass of red wine and enjoy!

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Clearly Fresh Bags Keep Food Clearly Fresher Longer!

Clearly Fresh Bags Product PhotoA Product Review By Here We Are

Do you avoid buying extra fruits and vegetables on sale because they might go bad before you'll eat them? Clearly Fresh Bags may be the solution to saving you money while keeping your pantry stocked. These food storage bags really do extend the shelf life of fruits and most vegetables.

The company website states, "For the past 15 years BreatheWay technology has been used in the commercial shipment of fresh fruits and vegetables." The BreatheWay patented polymer process "acts as an Oxygen/Carbon Dioxide passageway - allowing just the right amount of oxygen in and much more carbon dioxide out." This creates an "ideal atmosphere" in which to slow the dehydration of the stored food.

When the company contacted me to do a review (they did supply me with a sample package), I was a bit skeptical about the product claims. At Here We Are, our Product Review Policy states that supplying a product does not guarantee a review, nor does it guarantee a positive review. Our motto is, "If we like it, we will tell you, if we don't, we will tell you."

That being said... It worked on everything I tested, except for bagged lettuce. It seems bagged lettuce, mixed baby greens, and arugula are veggies that are best eaten on the day they are bought. All the types of bagged lettuce I tested (stored in the refrigerator) deteriorated at the same rate as when left in their original product bags. That is the bad news on this product review.

The good news is that ALL of the other types of fruit and vegetables stored in the Clearly Fresh Bags {CLB} lasted much longer than the same types of produce NOT stored in the CLB (i.e., left in the fruit bowl or the fridge crisper).

I followed the package directions of using one type of produce per CLB, pushing out the extra air, zipping closed, and storing either on the counter or in the fridge.

Here are my test results:

Refrigerator items...

Nectarines: put into CLB on 7/23, removed 8/4 = 12 days ➤ firm & tasty

Strawberries: in on 8/3, out on 8/12 = 9 days ➤ Good as the first day I bought them! I placed the entire carton (without cellophane wrapping) into the bag and only removed a few each day to eat. On the ninth day, there were at least 8 strawberries still as good as new.

Blueberries: in on 9/1, out on 9/7 = 6 days ➤ plump and juicy; again, I just stuck the whole pint into the bag without the wrapping and put it on a shelf in the fridge

Peaches: in on 8/25, out on 9/5 = 11 days ➤ like new

Counter items...

Bananas: in on 9/15, out on 9/22 = 7 days ➤ slight browning on the outside, but firm on the inside

Onions: in on 9/15, out on 10/1 = 16 days ➤ like new, they would have lasted longer had I not needed them to cook!

Eggplant: in on 10/2, out on 10/7 = 5 days ➤ it was fine (this might be the maximum time frame), it felt a bit softer than when it went into the CLB; BUT 5 days is a lot longer than the typical 2 days it takes for an eggplant to brown and soften

Red Peppers: in on 10/2, out on 10/12 = 10 days ➤ like new

At $3.99 for 10 bags plus S&H (and I even reused CLB for all of the counter items I tested), it seems a bargain considering the potential "shelf life" extension of stored fruits and vegetables. The longer they stay fresh for use, the more money you save. We've all thrown out produce in a week worth more than a package of the CLB. Clearly, Clearly Fresh Bags keep food fresher longer. Try your own experiment and let us know your results.


Fall and Winter 2011: Beauty Tips & Fashion Trends

Microphone for BTR showsCLICK Here to Listen to the Here We Are Radio Show episode Fall and Winter 2011: Beauty Tips & Fashion Trends.

Need some advice on how to keep your skin supple and smooth all winter long? Listen for easy head-to-toe tips to help you look good throughout the long, cold winter ahead.

Curious about mineral makeup and how to use it for a flawless finish? Follow my simple tricks for applying mineral makeup so you won't venture out looking like you are wearing a mask. If you're not into mineral makeup, we've got you covered with helpful how-to's and tips on lipstick, eyeliner, and powder, to keep you up to date and feeling great.

Want to update your wardrobe but not sure where to start? From coats to jewelry, I discuss current trends and how to save money while staying in style. Don't miss my Do's & Don'ts on how to wear popular items like sweater dresses, pencil skirts, animal prints and more! RRrrrr!

This show is not about spending money, but maximizing your dollars while looking good and staying current. The gloves came off in my first solo hosting gig - so whether you're a string bean, carrying junk in the trunk, or somewhere in between - you will come away with ways to optimize your wardrobe this season.

Thank you for joining me... Be sure to let me know your thoughts - and please share the show on Facebook, Tweet it, or tell a friend! Thx!


Fruit and Cheese Holiday Party Platter: A Beautiful, Healthy, Plentiful Display - Ready in Minutes

cheese fruit grape holiday party platterLast year, I was in the supermarket produce aisle when I saw an abundance of big, juicy, red grapes on a vine. It sparked a childhood memory of Thanksgiving holidays at my grandparent's house. I started telling my friend about how my grandmother used red and purple grapes as the center of a big platter, but when I turned around, my friend wandered off and someone else was standing there listening. He looked at me and smiled, "Sounds good." I smiled back, "It was." While I will never be back at her table again, I can recreate it and share the idea with you.

My grandmother, Lucy, was the Italian-American version of Martha Stewart. A product of her generation, she was a wife, mother, and homemaker extraordinaire. She knew no boundaries when it came to entertaining. At the time, I never appreciated the amount of preparation and planning it takes to create a feast, be it a large or small gathering. Now I realize that platter appeared every year because it looks great AND it's so EASY to create!

Ingredients for this "no cook" crowd pleaser:

A flat platter or 2 large dishes (one for each end of the table)

Red and Purple Grapes: gently wash and dry, leaving the grapes on their vines but snip the vines into smaller handy bunches for lifting off the platter

Cheese Wedges (pick whatever cheeses your crowd likes, no need to be fancy - go with familiar choices like Gouda or Blue Cheese); one cheese slicer per wedge keeps things neat

Cubed Cheese, e.g., aged swiss, sharp cheddar, provolone, parmigiana (only use up to a maximum of 5 cheese types all together - think $ saving, and platter size)

Shelled Walnut-halves, Whole shelled Almonds

Bread Sticks, Water Crackers (or any crackers you like)

Optional: Dried Fruit - like apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries; Baguette bread, thinly sliced; Sliced Pepperoni (while it's not a healthy item on your platter, the meat lover in the crowd will be happy)

Hors D'Oeuvres Toothpicks (this is also an opportunity to use your fish-forks)

Hors D'Oeuvre Plates

Assembling your items:

Looking down at the platter (bird's eye view), imagine it divided into pie wedge sections; put the toothpicks in a cup in the center or place on the table to the side of the platter(s).

Fill each imaginary section with one item, such as the grapes, cubed cheeses, cheese wedges, crackers, walnuts, almonds, dried fruit, bread slices; randomly place the bread sticks.

TIP: Don't clump everything together, leave space between the sections with a slight overlap for visual appeal.

HELPFUL HINT: Reserve some of each item because when you remove the platter to serve dinner, you can later replenish it to return to the table or buffet after dinner. [This isn't "double dipping" - everyone should be using toothpicks or fish forks.]

Grandma called this a "picking platter" and she was right, everyone likes to pick while they are chatting over a glass of wine before and after dinner. So whether your hosting a dinner party, a holiday extravaganza, or a wine and cheese tasting hour, this fruit and cheese platter is a beautiful, healthy way to put out a plentiful display with very little work. The hardest part may be finding the right platter to fit everything! Enjoy!

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November 2011: Slow Cookin'

Announcements, Updates, & Reminders

Purple mumsANNOUNCEMENTS

Start With A Simmer: November got off to a slow start due to the trickster Halloween storm that caught most of us off guard, and left many without power. No heat, no lights, no phone, and no internet made for an interesting week of living "unplugged." Normally, I voluntarily "unplug" at least one whole day a week. The four and a half days without power allowed me to focus on other things. It gave me the opportunity to sleep extra hours, catch up on reading, organize piles of decor swatches, enjoy face to face discussions, work on the Here We Are editorial calendar for 2012 (omg - it's coming quick!), etc. I share this experience to encourage you to implement a block of time for yourself each week to tune out, turn off, and unplug... You'll feel extra energy when you plug back in!

Turn Up The Heat: Challenges are good for us, right? If nothing else, they get the blood pumping. This month on the HWA radio show, I will venture out on my own into new territory by hosting a show without a guest or a co-host. Join me live for Fall & Winter 2011: Beauty Tips And Fashion Trends on Sunday, November 13, at 11:00am EST to discuss helpful products, pampering your skin, and trending styles to help you look your best this winter. Call in to share your tips, ask a question, or comment. 

On The Menu: Whether or not you are cooking a holiday meal, November means food. Look for the upcoming HWA articles on an easy-to-do platter (my Grandma's trick), food storage to save you $, my lasagna in a crock pot recipe (yes, it is possible AND delicious AND easy!), and more, to make your life better, brighter, and easier this holiday season!

UPDATES

Stir The Pot: In any recipe, there is usually more than one step... Same with subscribing online. Please be sure to VERIFY your HWA email subscription when you receive the confirmation email from "Feedburner Email Subscriptions" - just click the link and you are all set to go! If not, you won't be included in our Gift of The Month giveaway drawings. It's easy, it's free, and we never share or sell your information... Ever! We value your trust.

Take It To Go: We are finally caught up on the gift giving for the last several months. In Spooktacular we reminded you that the radio show "secret word" contest from Lisa Kasper, Entrepreneur: Making Scents Of It All ended Oct. 31. Thank you to all who listened and emailed Lisa, it was a great response.

The winner of the secret word contest is Katerina S; she and Ivy L., the September HWA gift recipient, are both receiving Eden's Alchemy Body Butters. The October HWA Gift of the Month, the pink-sugar scented "Hope" Candle from Blue Moon Candles goes to Kristin J. Congrats to the three lucky ladies, and thank you to Lisa Kasper for her generosity and great advice offered during her guest appearance. If you are starting a business, then this show will be invaluable for you.

Gingerbread Cookbook CoverThe November Gift of the Month is a new copy of the cookbook Gingerbread by Jennifer Lindner McGlinn. The book includes recipes for cakes, cookies, desserts, and more, ummm!

 

REMINDERS

Set The Timer: With so much to do during the busy holiday season, start early and pace yourself. Tasks are much easier done in chunks and completed during the time allotted.

Set The Table: Is your crystal and silver coming out for an appearance this season? Make sure they look good. Check out Sparkling Stemware: How To Care For Your Crystal and Cape Cod Metal Polishing Cloths, both articles will help you get your shine on for your next dinner party.

Flower of The Month: While you might not use Chrysanthemums as a centerpiece, they are a welcoming sight at the front door. They grow in a rainbow of colors, and their general meaning is, "cheerfulness; you're a wonderful friend."

When the winter chrysanthemums go,

there's nothing to write about

but radishes. ~ Matsuo Basho, poet

 


Energy Vampires and Toxic Friends and Poisonous Pals, Oh My!

Vampire Fangs with bloodWhile they don't show up saying, "I want to suck your blood," Energy Vampires will sap you of every ounce of energy you allow them to feast upon. Fear not! You are among many who have also met up with at least one of these draining monsters. Call them energy vampires, "toxic" friends, or poisonous pals, recognizing them will make you invulnerable to their dark charms.

These aberrant versions of friends appear in all shapes and sizes, and once they sink their teeth into you, it's hard to escape. The stats collected by SELF.com and TODAY.com (in a joint survey), on this scary relationship trend will startle you awake before you get bitten again!

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TODAY.com, the online home of America's No. 1 morning program, and SELF.com, the official website of the women's well-being magazine SELF, unveiled the results of their "Toxic Friends" survey, which searched for the truth about "poisonous pals." In the extensive poll of 18,000 women (ages 18 - 80), 84% said they have had at least one venomous friend who has brought toxicity into the relationship through belittling, backstabbing, or judging.

The top five types of toxic friends identified in the survey include:

- The "Narcissist" - 65% of people have endured an egomaniac pal.

- The "Chronic Downer" - 59% of people have a friend that is overly needy and emotionally draining.

- The "Critic" - 55% of people have become friends with someone that is overly critical.

- The "Underminer" - 45% of people have a friend that delivers backhanded compliments.

- The "Flake" - 37% of people have a friend who is reliably unreliable.

"More than 8 in 10 women say they have a toxic friend - a social vampire who sucks their time and joy - yet nobody admits to being a bad friend themselves," said Julia Sommerfeld, senior editor for TODAY.com. "Unlike family, we get to choose our friends, so it's a bit surprising that so many of us hang on to people that make us unhappy. Our results are a healthy reminder to surround yourself with friends who support and fortify you - and also, to look at your own behavior and make sure you are truly a friend worth keeping."

Perhaps even more surprising, 83 percent of women admitted that they have stayed in friendships with a "frenemy," simply because it felt too tough to end it.

"Women deal with stress from all over - the economy, their families, their bodies. Friends should be a source of strength, support and positive emotional well-being. If a friendship adds to the overall anxiety you're feeling, it may be that you owe it to yourself to make a change there," states Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief. "Think about the fact that your health is at stake and take measures to protect yourself against toxic emotions. SELF helps you figure out if and when you need to bail on a relationship and how to do it. It's a matter of taking care of yourself."

Additional findings from this survey include:

Best Friends: No Matter What?... 33% said that their toxic friend was also their best friend.

Work Buddies: Making Our 9 to 5 Easier?.. Nearly 40% have experienced a major conflict with a friend at work. 25% noted that when a work friendship ended, the work relationship felt strained, too.

Taking Our Friendships Online: 37% of respondents have hidden a friend on Facebook when upset or sick of him or her.

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These results should spook anyone into analyzing their friendships. If you aren't feeling good after an encounter with a particular pal, it may be time to make a change. Don't be afraid... Be brave, face the fear of ending the friendship, and remember to wear a scarf when you do it!

Thank you to TODAY.com and SELF.com for republication permission (color emphasis added).

★ TODAY.com is the first stop for consumers interested in news, advice and lifestyle information of all kinds. In addition to the interviews and tips from NBC's TODAY, the site offers a behind-the-scenes blog and regular expert columns on everything from food and fashion, to parenting and relationships. TODAY.com also offers original web-only reporting and interactive features to help make sense of the latest news and trends. TODAY.com. Don't miss a moment.
 
★ Reaching 10 million readers and online users, SELF provides the information and inspiration to help every woman take charge of her life, reach her well-being goals and become her best SELF. SELF is the founder of the Pink Ribbon for breast cancer awareness and an ASME National Magazine Award winner for excellence in journalistic achievement in print and online. SELF is published by Condé Nast, home to some of the world's most celebrated media brands. For more information, visit SELF.com.

 


Life Beyond Breast Cancer: Healing The Mind, Body, & Spirit

Microphone for BTR showsCLICK HERE to listen to the Here We Are radio show episode, Life Beyond Breast Cancer: Healing The Mind, Body, & Spirit.

If you are lost in a dark tunnel trying to find a life beyond breast cancer, then this is the show for you or someone you love.

Guests, Debbie Woodbury, and Lockey Maisonneuve, explain how healing the mind of the emotional grip of this ordeal, coupled with rehabilitative exercise to regain one's control over the body can put you on a beneficial path beyond the experience.

As cancer survivors, these ladies have both been down this path and share vulnerable, difficult moments, as well as a positive, real, and honest insight on making the most after the medical procedures are over. Learn from the philosophies and approach they offer during their live seminars for women going through the same experience.

You are not alone... Listen to this informative show, like their Facebook pages, take an exercise class, and join this much needed community experience that Debbie and Lockey are leading. Gain from what these ladies are offering as you work toward healing the mind, body and spirit.

Debbie Woodbury is a breast cancer survivor who, like other survivors moving beyond treatment, asked herself the question: Where do I go now? Her answer: she created Where We Go Now, an interactive community for cancer survivors living life beyond cancer. Where We Go Now is a place to share and connect through Debbie's blog, reader comments, the Gifts and Losses List, and her page on Facebook at Where We Go Now.com with Debbie Woodbury. She is excited to be a part of the richness of lives lived beyond cancer.

Lockey Maisonneuve is a personal trainer and breast cancer survivor. Lockey created MovingOn exercise programs for breast cancer survivors after experiencing the challenges that go along with rehabilitation and side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. MovingOn exercise programs are THE final stage of recovery from breast cancer. You can find out about her classes and more at Moving On From Cancer, and Lockeys Moving On page on Facebook.

NOTE: The HWA October Gift of The Month, is being provided by Lisa Kasper of  Blue Moon Candles. To shine light on the need for a breast cancer cure, she developed the Hope Candle - made from organic veggie wax with Blue Moon's Pink Sugar scent, wrapped in a pink silk bag. Lovely in so many ways! One HWA email subscriber will win a Hope Candle. Profits from the Hope Candle sales go to the American Cancer Society.

 

[The claims made about specific products or procedures on or through this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. The reviews and opinions provided on this show are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. Please consult with a health-care professional before taking or administering any new product or treatment to yourself or anyone else.]


10 Do's & Don'ts of Great Customer Service

Job Seal of ApprovalAs you may know, one of my many hats is that of a decor consultant. Currently, I am working on a flip house, as well as prepping for several new projects (it's been hectic!). The success of a renovation is measured by the details of the finished project (just ask Jeff Lewis, star of the television show, Flipping Out).

Over the last few years, I've dealt with dozens of trade people, from plumbers, tile workers, craftsmen, stone installers, to carpenters, landscapers, merchandisers, and more. My approach to each vendor is to treat them with respect, be on-time with payment, and strive toward a mutual dialogue to achieve the desired result. I've hired, fired, recommended, referred, and cultivated ongoing business relationships. I've learned a lot along the way as I've been the recipient of customer service that runs the gamut from excellent to decent to shockingly poor.

If you run or own a business of any kind, let these Do's & Don'ts for great customer service help you gain and maintain repeat clients:

1. Do what you say you are going to do

2. Don't try to amend the agreed upon transaction along the way

3. Do what you are hired to do as close in time as possible to the original agreement

4. Don't tell a customer who is on a deadline that you can't deliver because you've decided to go on vacation, pick up your kid from college, etc.; remember TIME IS $ FOR EVERYONE and the person with the $ is the boss!

5. Do ask questions about the project, order, selection, etc. (VERY IMPORTANT: Something may seem obvious, but clarifying could make the difference between right and wrong in the final result.)

6. Don't expect the customer to accept YOUR oversight/mistake in YOUR area of expertise. This is not a way to build loyalty. TIP: People (aka customers) realize things happen, so always try to offer a remedy or an option to alleviate an issue; it goes a loooong way to building a business relationship.

7. Do admit it if you make a mistake or run into a problem; being up front with a negative will garner loyalty

8. Don't put the onus of a problem on your employees; no one sounds good passing the buck onto another who has no power to change or amend the situation

9. Do return phone calls and emails immediately, or make a phone date to discuss issues, a new order, etc.; don't leave a customer hanging in limbo waiting on answers - deal with it sooner, rather than later - AND read the entire email

10. Do treat your customers with respect and appreciation; say THANK YOU when they refer someone, make a payment, use your service, tweet about you or your company, etc.

BONUS: Under-promise and over-deliver... Even small details go a long way to cultivating a business relationship!

Ultimately, it's about keeping your paying customers happy. You don't have to give away the store, but be mindful that you are treating people in the best possible way under the circumstance. A customer taken for granted is a customer lost to you forever. And remember, even the smallest of business owners are now subject to a national platform of ratings, reviews, comments... Word of mouth, good and bad, can travel as fast as the push of a button.

Did I forget anything? Have you had a great experience that business owners can learn from or implement? How about a really bad one? What is your customer service philosophy? Share with us!

DECOR TIP: One of the best ways to lend pop and value to any home is the use of natural stone. There is no alternative that looks quite as beautiful or makes such a statement, even in a small bathroom.


To Have And To Hold

Grandma & Grandpa's Wedding Portrait 1929Grandma's wisdom...

Today is my maternal grandparents wedding anniversary. They were married in 1929 (the day this picture was taken) and it lasted 63 years until death parted them; one from illness, the other a broken-heart.

Grandma and grandpa, also known as "Lucy and Pete," were a great influence in my formative years. I especially learned a lot about being a woman from my grandmother, who was a smart, fashionable, opinionated, funny, make-no-excuses, kind of lady. She said what she meant and meant what she said.

While my grandmother was a product of stereotypical gender roles, i.e., wife, mother, grandmother, she embraced it, was the best she could be, and always maintained her voice. She and my grandfather had the best marriage of anyone I've ever known. Not to say they didn't have ups and downs, but ultimately, they treated each other with respect, kindness, appreciation, and love.

This particular lesson came about as she was hurrying to wash out hair coloring before my grandfather came home from work. When I suggested that he wouldn't care, she looked at me in a very calm but definitive manner, and said,

There are things a husband doesn't need to know, things he never needs to see... It's up to you to decide what they are.

At the time, I was too young to really understand the importance of this philosophy. Now, I realize that she was right... Leaving a little mystery can be a healthy thing in any intimate relationship. It's about maintaining the magic. Do you agree? Is there something you never let your significant other see? Something you won't share? How do you keep the magic going? 

EXTRA: Other lesson's from Grandma, Holiday Haste Makes Waste (scroll down in article for 5 easy to use life lessons).

BONUS: Engaged? Check out 6 Easy and Practicle Tips For Planning A Wedding.


"We" Turns Three!

Red, yellow, blue balloons Get the cake and candles... Here We Are turns 3 today!

It's hard to believe three years has gone by since the first HWA post was published. In that time, we've grown quite a bit...

When I first registered the HWA website with the blog ranking site, Technorati, HWA received a ranking placement of 2 Million+ with zero authority. According to my research, in 2008 Technorati tracked and ranked over 100 million registered blogs. [Note: #1 is the highest available rank position; but the greater the authority number the better. Here is the Technorati Authority & Ranking FAQ page.]

Today, HWA is ranked on Technorati at 51,375 with a 96 overall authority quotient {these numbers do fluctuate slightly on a daily basis.} Not too shabby! Looks like we're heading in the right direction!

Using those numbers as a gage... it seems our intention - that every article, Facebook update, Radio Show, and Chick Flick Chat must serve the HWA reader - is working. Thank you for being part of this better, brighter, easier journey! We look forward to our fourth year with you.


October 2011: Spooktacular

Announcements, Updates, & Reminders 

Orange Calendula Flower Closeup ANNOUNCEMENTS

Energy Vampires: Every woman has encountered at least one of these draining monsters. Beware! They appear in all shapes and sizes disguised as friends. Stop letting them drain your blood (oops, I mean energy). Look for the upcoming Here We Are article about "toxic friends." The stats collected by Self.com and Today.com in a joint survey on this scary friendship trend will startle you awake before you get bitten again!

Ghouls Need Not Apply: The last words anyone wants to hear from a crazy roommate is, "I'm home!" Join us live on the air on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 5:30pm EST for our Chick Flick Chat radio show, featuring the films, "The Roommate" & "Single White Female" . Don't be afraid to call-in as we compare and contrast the latest nightmare tale with the classic female fear fest which arise out of twisted friendship plots.

Conquering Frightening Results: If you are lost in a dark tunnel trying to find a Life Beyond Breast Cancer: Healing The Mind, Body, & Spirit, be sure to tune in to this special episode of the HWA Radio Show on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 10:30am EST. Guests, Debbie Woodbury, of Where We Go Now, and Lockey Maisonneuve, of MovingOn, both know from first-hand experience about living beyond breast cancer. These ladies will share valuable guidance - from their sought after live seminars - on healing to help you find your way back into the light of life.

UPDATES

Blue Moon Candle's & Eden's Alchemy Ecobadge-1 Gifts Are Brewing: The September gift to one lucky HWA email subscriber, an Eden's Alchemy Body Butter, is being provided by EA's generous and talented business owner, Lisa Kasper. Besides the Sept. HWA gift, you still have another chance to win an Eden's Alchemy natural treat... Edens Alchemy Body Butter

No Trick, Just A Treat Giveaway: During Lisa's guest appearance on the HWA radio show, Lisa Kasper, Entrepreneur: Making Scents Of It All, Lisa revealed a "secret word." Listen to the show soon, then email her the secret word (through either of her websites; one email per person please) to be included in a random drawing [Hurry! All emails must be sent in by Oct. 31, 2011]. The gift is an Eden's Alchemy 8 oz. Nutrient Rich Body Butter, in the winners choice of fragrance.

Hope Candle copy_small Pink & Blue Moonlighting: This busy lady isn't stopping at two giveaways, she is also providing the HWA October Gift of The Month, from her other company, Blue Moon Candles. [Told ya' she is busy!]

To shine light on the need for a breast cancer cure, she developed the Hope Candle - made from organic veggie wax with Blue Moon's Pink Sugar scent, wrapped in a pink silk bag. Lovely in so many ways! One HWA email subscriber will win a Hope Candle. Thank you, Lisa! (All 3 winners will be listed in November's Announcements article.) Note: Profits from the Hope Candle sales go to the American Cancer Society.

REMINDERS

Bobbing For Apples: It's apple time! Not sure which type of apple to select for baking? Then carry the HWA Shopping List Of The Best Baking Apples to the store and bake up our EASY Apple Tart. Don't worry if a goblin hid your tart pan, just use a shallow pie dish.

Flower of the Month: The October flower is Calendula, AKA, Marigold. This bright yellow to deep orange color flower carries the general meaning of joy, comfort of the heart.

The Marigold, that goes to bed wi' the sun, and with him rises weeping. ~ Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Act IV, sc. iii


"Alphabet For Life" by Renee Stewart

Cluster of pink white dalhias If you are feeling a bit like everything you do these days takes extra time and effort, you are not alone. Perhaps it's the change of seasons, too many to-do's on your list, or the wild energy after the crazy weather patterns of late... Whatever the reason, the ABC's to living life more fully may help you put life's daily clutter into perspective. I saw this small plaque and thought it carried a big message, so I'm sharing it with you.

ALPHABET FOR LIFE

Accept differences

Be Kind

Count your Blessings

Dream

Express Thanks

Forgive

Give Freely

Harm No One

Imagine More

Jettison Anger

Keep Confidences

Love Truly

Master Something

Nurture Hope

Open Your Mind

Pack Lightly

Quell Rumors

Reciprocate

Seek Wisdon

Touch Hearts

Understand

Value Truth

Win Graciously

Xeriscape

Yearn for Peace

Zealously Support A Worthy Cause

~ Renee Stewart, Artist

 

Bonus: If you like this list, check out The ABC's of Aging Gracefully.


Lisa Kasper, Entrepreneur: Making Scents Of It All

Microphone for BTR shows CLICK Here to Listen to the Here We Are radio show episode, Lisa Kasper, Entrepreneur: Making Scents Of It All.

Are you new to business? Thinking of starting one? Not sure what comes first? Then this is the show for you! Learn from Lisa Kasper, owner of Blue Moon Candles and Eden's Alchemy Bathworks, as she generously shares her experiences in starting and running a business.

Get a glimpse of how she runs her companies and the natural, hand-crafted standards that go into each product she sells. The Eden's Alchemy bath and body care line are free of synthethic chemicals. [If you took the recent "count" challenge in the HWA article, What's Your Number? An Easy First Step To Living Chemical Free, you'll know that this is a refreshing option to the phthalate, paraben, and formaldehyde laden items that permeate much of the beauty care industry.]

During the show, this eco-friendly, candle maven lights the way for other women who have business dreams and goals... With an easy-to-apply approach, Lisa offers useful tips on how to recognize your passion, sets out three important steps to planning, explains the value of patience, and clarifies preparation vs. planning. In helping you make scents of it all, she describes passion as, "...an intense driving feeling." It doesn't matter what your business interest is, learn from someone who is doing what they love and making money at it!

Giveaway Alert: During the show, Lisa reveals a "secret word." Listen to the show soon, then email her the secret word (through either of her websites; one email per person please) to be included in a random drawing [end date is Oct. 31, 2011]. The gift will be an Eden's Alchemy 8 oz. Nutrient Rich Body Butter, in the winners choice of fragrance. Mmmm!

Lisa Kasper is the creative force behind Blue Moon Candles. Since starting her candle business in Southern California over ten years ago she has been finding inspiration in surprising places and redefining Eco-conscious candles with an edgy style. Lisa believes that Candlelight should be an affordable luxury everyone can enjoy. Her latest venture, Eden's Alchemy Bathworks, was created after searching for an answer to her daughter's struggle with eczema and asthma. The Eden's Alchemy product line of natural bath and body daily indulgences is free of synthetic chemicals, good for you and the environment, too!

Note: You may remember Lisa from an early HWA spotlight article, Blue Moon Candles Glow Green and Bright.

Bonus: Need to rediscover your passion? Check out Part 5 of the Live Your Life Out Loud series, Passion: Relight Your Fire.


This Minute!

Old alarm clock falling through red background A quick, but important reminder...

 

The previous minute as well as the next one are not as important as the present moment.

~ Gregory Zeorlin, Artist

 

If you don't know Gregory and his artwork, you will. Allow me to introduce you to his talent, poetry, and imaginative work.

Gregory Zeorlin is an artist who is inspired by the magic, logic, chaos and order that waits to be noticed in daily life. He creates art that reflects his ideas and writes poetry as part of his creative process. What he makes is based on what is on his mind. He's made art 30' wide, as well as pieces that fit in his pocket. Lately, he has made clocks that are anything but common. His clocks become stages where he presents eclectic observations about the world we share.

Currently, Gregory's Present Moment clock (which uses the above quote) can beGregory Zeorlin Hours Seeking Art Clock found at Uncommon Goods. Bright, colorful artwork with a purpose makes a perfect gift for a busy person!

Or how about this clock touting another of his "stop and think" quotes, (especially great for all the recovering Goody Two-Shoes out there!). You can find this one, and other fun, clever, and whimsical clocks at Zeorlin Art Clocks. Handmade in the USA + free shipping... Check them out, the holidays are coming, and time is ticking!