It was the best and it all happened unexpectantly……..

Last fall when the days became gloomy, grey, cold and raining in the Pacific Northwest I was at work procrastinating on actually doing work when I walked into my coworkerś office. She was feeling frustrated and exhausted with the politics of work and just needed a break. With an empathetic ear I listened to her vent (her frustration was so understandable) and then suggested that WE should go on a vacation! Wouldn´t that be fun??!! Kerrie and I had bonded a couple years prior over our love of our dogs and I had taken care of her three month old puppies while she was out of town at a family memberś wedding, but aside from that we had never spent that much time together. I kid you not, a few SECONDS after I proclaimed that we needed a vacation our co-worker Linda walked in and said she could get us a great deal at an all inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta . Oh my gosh, were we really going to do this? YES!!!!!

We got a smokin’ deal on seven nights at an all inclusive resort for the end of February and with Kerrieś companion deal with Alaska airlines we made out like bandits!

Last year I had posted a blog about finding a bathing suit for the trip https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/justsharing.blog/379. I eventually found one that seemed to do exactly what I was wanting-enhance the good stuff, cover the not so good stuff and be happy with the results. The other thing I had to prepare for was how to deal with my fear of flying! Ugh. Turbulence is not my friend. It makes me cry. So I asked my doctor to prescribe me something to help me relax and reduce my anxiety.

Finally February 27th arrived and it was time to go on our spontaneoulsy planned vacation. We boarded the plane, I took my prescribed med and attempted to distract my nervousness with watching a movie, chatting with Kerrie and every 15 minutes checking the map to see how much more we had to travel. We finally arrived in Puerto Vallarta around 1pm and found our driver to take us to the hotel.

We stayed at the all inclusive Amber Now resort and it was gorgeous! Below is the view when we first walked in.

I will say the one thing that I did struggle with was that it was on the 15th floor and for someone that is afraid of heights (and flying) it was a little too high, and I admit I might have been a little dramatic about it, but 15 floors is high!

A little video of walking along the open hallway of the hotel on the 15th floor

Kerrie and I had no agenda. We spent most of our days laying by the pool drinking margaritas. We took full advantage of the bar and the food served at the pool. If we were up to it in the evening we ate at one of the five restaurants at the resort (all super good!) and I am not afraid to admit that we also indulged in room service, I mean after all, sitting by the pool all day is exhausting and we just didn´t have the energy to shower and dress for dinner.

We were able to pull ourselves away from the pool for two excursions and it was so well worth it. For the first one, we took a taxi to the ¨flea market” which is essentially all the shops where you can barter for whatever you want. There were SO many little shops to buy from, it just went on and on and on.

The next day we had such a fun time on a day trip to Las Caletas. It was an hour ride on a catamaran where they sold food and drinks, had entertainment and signed people up for the different activities. Kerrie really wanted to swim with a sting ray and a seal. I agreed to do it as well but it was not my favorite thing, to say the least. You may notice in the video I am staying close to Kerrie and keeping an eye on the damn sting ray that was swimming right up near us. After that little event we hung out on the hammocks that were literally on the beach! With a bar right there! They then fed us a delicious lunch and and we walked along the paths with all of its beautiful sights. On the way back to Puerto Vallarta all of the staff were so entertaining (and good looking), the music was loud and they were dancing and being goofy. What a fun day! Below are some pics and a video of the sting ray and seal experience.

Ugh!

This trip was like no other trip I had ever been on before. All inclusive is the way to go! Sometimes it was hard to wrap your head around that the delicious meal you just ate or the room service we just ordered did not cost us any money, just a few dollars for a tip. We met some great people, ate great food, drank many margaritas, relaxed, had no agenda, enjoyed the sights, saw whales not too far out in the ocean, did some gambling at the casino on sight and had two AWESOME and cheap massages right on the beach!!

I cannot wait to go back and I am so grateful for my traveling companion Kerrie and my friend and co-worker Linda for playing our travel agent and setting us up at Amber Now. If you ever get the opportunity to treat yourself, I highly recommend this trip.

Until next time here are a few more photos to enjoy…………

Just Sharing………

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Doin´ the Hustle…….!

The other day I was sitting with my dear friend Ederlinda, sharing the latest news of what has happened in our lives since we last checked in (probably three days worth of updates). Edś two older children recently went off on their own, one to travel the world and the other to tackle his first year of college, so she is now feeling the empty nest and has time on her hands. Boy, do I know that feeling! My advice to Ed…. ¨Girl you gotta get a side hustle!¨ And I am speaking from experience!

About two years ago with both of my boys out of high school and in college, living their lives like young adults do, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and needing an outlet. This may sound corny but it was after reading Amy Schumerś book ¨The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo¨ that inspired me to start this blog. I enjoyed sharing my blog posts, I was never short of topics and it fulfilled that creative restlessness. After about six months of blogging, the posting slowed down and I found myself restless again. One of the hopes I had in writing my blog was that it might generate some income or at least free swag (for cryin’out loud!), but it did neither. So ideas started swirling in my head again of what I could create and sell and how I would do this. My ideas centered around women empowerment messages on tshirts, pens or anything else I could put a logo on, but then………

One day I was sharing with my bff Kelly my ideas for generating some extra income. I thought about refurbishing furniture and then selling it on Craigslist or OfferUp but decided that would be too much work. I can´t remember exactly how, but we came across something called retail arbitrage on Amazon. Basically it´s buying items super cheap at WalMart or any other retail store and reselling it on Amazon for a profit. Itś pretty crazy how it works. They actually have an app that you can use to scan an item at the store and it shows you how much you would have to sell it for and how popular the item is so that way you know if itś worth selling. We tried this a few times. For instance Kelly found rolls of graduation ribbon at Michaelś for about $4 each and we sold them for $10 a roll on Amazon, but the problem we found with doing retail arbitrage was that shopping for items took up a lot of time. Although the ribbon did sell fast we didn´t want to spend our whole weekend going from store to store searching for clearance items.

That summer Kelly and I and the rest of our gang were all turning 50, so we started thinking about selling things around 5oth birthday parties BUT when we checked on Amazon their were TONS of party supplies and gifts for a 50th. The other event that was coming up for us was our sixteenth annual girls weekend.

When we looked on Amazon their were products for girls weekends but many of them were focused on bachelorette parties or many of the products would say something about ¨bitches,¨ which I find offensive. Once we saw how few products their were focused just on girls weekends, ideas came pouring out. We found our niche and our business, Gracie Products was born.

Developing our business has been a slow process. There has been lotś to learn, its been frustrating at times, confusing (Are we really making a profit when itś all said and done? Still to be determined) and in the beginning a little worrisome with forking out money and crossing our fingers that people will like our product. The best part about it? The creativity, spending time with Kelly and working together to make it work, the support of our friends and watching our product sell! We decided to stick with the Amazon platform and sell our product on what is called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Basically we buy from a wholesaler and send it to Amazon where they store it in one of their warehouses, advertise it, send it to the customer and put the money in our account when a customer buys our product. Amazon charges us some steep fees to do this but for us it is worth it. If we didn´t sell through Amazon we would have to store the product at home and spend our weekends and evenings packing and shipping to customers. No thank you!

We started our business with two products. One of which was a cute coffee mug with a girls weekend logo. We had problems with the mugs themselves so eventually removed them and have stuck with the one that seems to work, this charming stemless wine glass

We have been selling this glass for almost a year now and it has been so fun seeing where the customers are from. We sell to a lot of people on the east coast, especially the Carolinas (thank you Carolinians). So far we have sold probably around 300 glasses (as business owners, keeping track of numbers like these is not our strong point. Don´t worry we have one of our other bffś taking on this task) and have finally generated enough money that we can order again from the wholesaler without using our personal money or business credit card. I think this is a good thing!

Our next focus is really shoring up and organizing the amount of money going out versus how much is coming in (obviously very important) and creating a second product to sell. Gracie Products has been the perfect remedy for our empty nest syndrome and really the bottom line is…….. a girlś gotta have a side hustle.

You will find our product on Amazon if you just search ¨Girls Weekend¨ or at the link below:

If you are thinking about starting your side hustle using Amazon please feel free to reach out if you have questions. I have left out a lot of the tedious boring details like registering the business, setting up a business bank account, etc. etc. so let me know if you have questions.

Have an idea? Make it happen! We did.

It All Begins with Grace……

In my renewed dedication to posting on my blog, I thought I´d just start with the beginning of the year and write about events that have happened thus far.

In the spring of 2008 when my boys were nine and eleven years old and after not having a pet for the last year and a half it was time to get a new dog. We had lost our black lab Gracie Mae to kidney failure at the age of two and half . I knew I didn´t want a puppy (too much work) but still wanted a younger dog. During this time Craigslist was new and very popular, so I started my search for a new family pet there.

I found an ad for a half yellow lab and half golden retriever dog about three years old. Apparently the owners had gotten her at a shelter and only had her for less then a year but now wanted to find her a new home after she snapped at their toddler (startling a sleeping dog will sometimes create that reaction). I took the boys with me to meet her. She was adorable! I couldn´t believe they wanted to get rid of her. It pulled at our heartstrings though when the owners older child who was about four years old was crying when she learned we were taking the dog. The coincidental kicker in all this was her name was Gracie also! To differentiate her from our first Gracie, we gave her the name of Gracie Lou ❤.

Oh how we loved Gracie! Her quirky personality and funny idiosyncrasies made us laugh all the time. Probably one of her more well known mishaps happened one summer night at about midnight. I am lying in bed and suddenly I smell something funny. It was a HORRIBLE smell. The best way to describe it was a combination of gas and burnt rubber. Worried that it was a gas leak I called the fire department. I then put Gracie in the back bedroom in her crate, brushed my hair and put on a little lip gloss. The firefighters arrived and walked around the house with their gas detector. One of the firefighters checked all the bedrooms and then comes out says to me that he doesn´t think itś a gas leak he thinks Gracie got sprayed by a skunk!! We have a dog door in the kitchen to the backyard, Gracie was able to go in and out of the house as she pleased. I gave Gracie the tomato juice bath which they always tell you to do but it did very little to get rid of the smell. I had to throw out my boys´ bedspreads, wash all of our clothes (even the ones that were in the closets and dressers). When she got sprayed I think she immediately came in the house and then walked into each room and literally spread the horrible smell everywhere. It took weeks and weeks for that smell to go away. And guess what? About three years later, it happened again!!!!!!

A few other things we loved about Gracie:

  • Hunted for squirrels in the backyard and created a path through the lawn and behind the bushes of her hunting route.
  • Did not eat her food unless I was home. And when she did eat, she would bring her food into the living room where we were.
  • Butted her head against the boys´ bedrooms doors every night so she could go in and check on them.
  • She somehow ran away twice (during the day while I was at work) and each time I got a call from a very kind person saying they found her.
  • One night as she was running in the backyard her back hind leg went into paralysis. That was a midnight trip to the emergency vet.
  • Every weekend when we took her for a walk she was so excited, like she had never gone on a walk before.
  • Walked around the house with one of my shoes in her mouth (never chewed it).
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As the years went on she slowed down, some of her quirks went away while others emerged. She eventually lost her hearing and most of her vision but she still was a happy dog, loved to eat, loved to go on walks and loved it when we came home. The last few months of her life were her most difficult. It became harder for her to walk, her breathing was labored at times, she slept a lot and could no longer go on our weekend walks.

Fast forward to February 4, 2019 my son called me and said we have to take Gracie to the emergency room. When I got home, I saw her lying on the floor and I knew something was wrong. We took her to the emergency room and made the decision that it was time to put her to sleep. While we waited for the doctor to prep her and the rest of the family to show up to say their goodbyes, there was just a few moments when it was just her and I in the room and that was when she chose to go on her own.

They say having a family pet provides unconditional love and companionship, comfort and security. Gracie Lou did all these for us. For the eleven years she was with us she was the focal point of our family and I can only assume that it was meant to be that she became a part of our family. At some point I am going to plant a tree in our backyard in her memory so she will always be with us. Love your pet as much as they love you.

LOVE YOU ALWAYS GRACIE LOU❤

Oh itś been awhile………..

Goodness. Life gets busy, time slips by us, forgetfulness creeps in and shit happens. Thatś my excuse. Itś been months since I have really written anything for my blog. The past few weeks I have been thinking that I need to write again, but of course just never got around to it, until today.

This afternoon my sonś girlfriend, Taylur treated her mom, Kim and myself to pedicures (so sweet). As we sat there with our feet in the almost-too-hot water, Kim asked me about my blog. Ugh. There it was. I told her I had been thinking about blogging again but nothing came to mind to write about. She graciously complimented me on my writing style and blog. BAM! There was the inspiration I needed.

So for those that follow my blog (mainly family and friends and a few unknown followers) expect future blog posts to be life for me for the last six months. There has been fun business ventures, good times with friends and family, travel and great loss. I hope to share my experiences in a way that holds your interest, is hopefully entertaining (when appropriate), relatable and in the end offers insight, inspiration and information. Thank you Kim!

Until next time soon!!

A Father’s Love….

Red Tricycle

5 Reasons Dads Are So Important to Their Daughters

 

Much has been written and spoken about the mother-daughter relationship. Unfortunately, dads who are present, supportive, and involved don’t always get the credit that they deserve. This is a shame because the father-daughter relationship isn’t just special. It plays a pivotal role in the growth and development of the child.

So, let’s hear it for great dads! Here are five reasons why fathers are so important to their daughters.

1. Dad’s Create The Gold Standard For Future Romantic Relationships

As they get older daughters frequently pick mates who have similar attributes to their father. This means that dads really do model what their daughters learn to expect from relationships. This influence happens in many ways.

First, the way dads behave towards their daughter is key. Respectful and supportive fathers who keep their promises teach their daughters to expect that in their relationships. Daughters also see the way their fathers behave in their own romantic relationships. Finally, divorced dads should take note! The way dad’s interact with their former spouse can influence daughter’s as well.

2. A Father’s Love And Acceptance Greatly Impact Future Confidence

Loving fathers who provide praise, support, and unconditional love give their daughters the gift of confidence and high self-esteem. Daughters who have these traits grow into happy, and successful adults. Even better, dads don’t have to go to extraordinary lengths to make this happen. Simply being present, encouraging, and a good listener is often all daughters need to flourish.

3. Girls With Involved Fathers do Better Academically

Girls with dads who are involved in their educations often do better in school. If dads encourage their children to do well in school, help them when they struggle academically, and give them access to tools such as the best websites page for getting academic assistance, daughters can be amazingly successful.

Small acts such as helping with homework or encouraging daughters to take challenging courses can make a big difference. Dads who volunteer in schools demonstrate how important education is.

4. Fathers Often Encourage Their Daughters to Take Risks And be Adventurous

Whether it’s trying a new sport, enjoying new foods, repairing a car, traveling solo, or even standing up to a bully daughters often get their courage and sense of adventure from their fathers. However, dads must be careful in the way that they approach their daughters in order for them to learn these lessons.

Dads are often encouraged to be protectors, fixers, and rescuers. Sometimes this is a good thing. However, in order to raise daughters who are willing to be adventurous, are empowered to solve their own problems, and who feel capable of taking risks, good dads must go against these instincts. Instead, they can focus on telling their daughters that they are capable of doing most anything and empowering them to do so.

5. Supportive Fathers Can Help Improve Their Daughter’s Body Image

At some point, most girls feel less than confident with their bodies. For some, this is a minor thing. Unfortunately, for others, this can escalate. Girls with poor body images may isolate themselves socially, fret over the way they look, and lose confidence. In extreme cases, they may develop depression, anxiety, or eating disorders.

While dads aren’t the only people who influence the way their daughters view their own bodies, they do play a very important role. Not only do young girls take in the way that fathers speak to them about how they look, they are also influenced by the way their fathers speak about other’s appearance. Great dads speak respectfully about the way that people look regardless of their body type.

Daughters need great fathers. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to overstate the importance of the father-daughter relationship. Young women who have a positive relationship with their fathers achieve more academically. They make better relationship choices. They have high self-esteem. They believe they can achieve their goals, and they understand the importance of working hard in order to do so.

Loving, actively involved dads deserve praise and encouragement. They play a big role in turning girls into amazing women. That is something that we all benefit from.

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