Playing Many Parts

Great Book – Great Person

I don’t even remember where I heard about this book, which is a real shame, because I owe someone a really big thank you!  My favorite line:  “Screw it – just do it!.”  I liked that line so much, I let it inspire me and I am finally starting that business I have been dreaming of for years.  So to say this changed my life is actually a true statement for me.

I have made it a new habit this year to read through some great business books on my way to work.  It was either find a way to make my very stupid, overcrowded, long commute through very backed up Chicago traffic more enjoyable; or go to jail for smashing my way through to get to work in a reasonable amount of time.  Since my commute isn’t changing anytime soon, and jail will definitely NOT work with my claustrophobia, I decided I need to put this time to good use.  Audiobooks that teach new things are really a great way to learn all kinds of new things, and may just make me more successful at the same time.

Back to this book.  I didn’t really know who Richard Branson was before I read the book.  And yes, I do live under a rock so don’t judge me.  I had heard of that crazy entrepreneur who did the balloon trip and who was trying to plan vacations to the moon, but I knew nothing of the Virgin companies or him personally.  I can say with all seriousness now that I find him completely delightful and want to be a business owner like him someday.

This book is for anyone involved in business, but I think anyone who would like to be a great leader should read it.  He gives very practical advice on how to do business better, greener, and with more integrity than any other book I have read so far.  He seems fairly honest and open about what makes his company both unique and fun to work for.  I found myself making lots of lists on how I want to do things differently as I setup my new business.  I was inspired to both keep reading and to keep thinking about ways to deliver value to any future customers and employees.  I put the link here to the book because I think everyone in business should read it, and I really do plan to have all my friends, family and employees read this book.  It will be a graduation gift I give out for at least the next couple of years, or until my next great read.


Something New A Thankful Hump Day!

I was driving in to work today, bored to tears with my commute and I found my mind wondering to how I might be able to make my blog more interesting, or at least more meaningful. So today, I would like to focus on something that makes me happy, and very thankful.

I am thankful for my transportation that reliably takes me everywhere I want to go. I love that it has 4wheel drive, is convertible and is RED! But more importantly, if I let it, it reminds me daily that I am loved, cherished, and cared for by my husband.

You see, when DD needed a car last year, it was quickly decided that my current car was perfect for her, and that I needed a new one. My husband suggested a car that he thought I really wanted, but I’m a modern woman, I no longer wanted that car. I had only to mention once that I had always dreamed of owning a jeep when we were off to the dealer. My stoically Dutch husband may not be the most affectionate person, but when it counts (and his pocket book ALWAYS counts), he finds AWESOME ways to show me just how much he cares. I am blessed, and I choose to meditate on that and have a very thankful Hump Day.

What are you thankful for? What gives you hope and inspiration? What nice thing has someone done for you recently?

First HomeMade Gift

I am sure that when I was little and in grammar school I used to give my parents homemade gifts each year, but I have been out of school for just a couple (ah hem) of years now.  I have not made anything for my parents for Christmas in several years, but I decided it was time to change that, so, I gave my dad a homemade gift this year, and I am pretty sure he really liked it.

I found this easy little pattern over at McCall’s for a blanket with sleeves and a pocket and I knew that my dad would just love this if I could find the perfect material. . and thanks to, I sure did.  What do you think?  DS was sweet enough to model it for me, but what was even more fun was that BOTH kids requested one of their own!  I guess this was a big hit!!

How I Keep Stress Away at Christmas

I was thinking on my drive to work today that the folks on the radio are special. The woman on the morning talk show was going on and on about how stressed she was and her shopping is almost done, as is her baking and decorating. I was thinking how I had barely started those things and yet for the first year that I remember, I am not at all stressed.

Then, upon arriving to work and checking Christine Kane’s blog as I do each day, I saw that she was also blogging about how to destress, and I figured I may as well add my $.02.

There are three things that usually get me stressed out around Christams time; gifts, baking, and decorating. I will spend the next three days telling you why I am not worried about these things this year.

Gifts: All I had to do to not stress about this is two things. First, I asked myself to quickly list what I received last year. I couldn’t do it. I remember what my thoughtful husband got me, but for the most part, I couldn’t remember the gifts. I am guessing that many people are like me; they remember that they were thought of by friends and relatives, but can’t remember the actual gift. As long as you make the effort, there is absolutely no reason to stress over picking the perfect gift. It doesn’t exist.

Second, I made a list of all the gifts I need to get. I have 22 purchases to make. Now, I don’t know about you, but there are many days, at the outlet malls usually, where I can easily make 22 purchases in a matter of hours. Why is it that we insist on spending several weeekends at the malls this month of the year? Come on ladies, we can do this in a day or less. Again, the key is to quit looking for the perfect gift and instead do the best you can.

Do not let others stress you out, and please realize that none of us have the perfect home, gift, kids, husband, family. Enjoy whatever you do have!

5 Board Games Everyone Will Enjoy

eatit_.jpgI don’t want to do it, I don’t want to add another gift list, but I have to for two reasons. First, I want to record all my good ideas for myself, and second, everyone I talk to these days is looking for gift ideas. Let’s face it, it is the most important thing on all our minds right now. So, on to the board games.

My husband hates board games, but the kids and I love them. We also find that especially in the winter months, lots of couples like to come over for game night. . .and the food and fun is magical.

So, for those “gamers” on your holiday gift list, here are a few board games that I will be picking up for my friends this year (just so I can use them when I invite them over).

1. Eat It! Snacks & Sweets Trivia Game was feature in the December issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. Not only does it get great reviews, and include questions about my favorite food group, chocolate, it comes with coupons also. Who wouldn’t enjoy this gift?! ($28)

2. I need to add the Jumbo Sequence game to a list for my family, as we play this all the time with friends. It is a team game, and so the competitiveness in us all comes out, but it usually provides hours of entertainment for anyone who likes card games. ($33)

3. We LOVE Cranium. This is the board game that we go back to time after time, and now there is a new version out. I may even put Cranium Wow on my own Christmas list this year. ($30)

4. Another food related game for the magazine above is one called Celebrity Chef the Game. I’ll admit it, there is nothing I like to do better on a Saturday morning than make a cup of coffee, have some eggs, and sit down to an hour or two of the Food Network. This game will at least validate some of my time spent! ($30)

5. And finally, another game we play over and over again at our get togethers is Scene It. If the person you are buying for has an XBox 360, another GREAT game that I can’t wait to try is the XBox 360 verion of Scene It. ($60)

5 Inexpensive Gifts for Kids

I was looking for stocking stuffers for my kids, and some small gifts for nieces and nephews and found some really good ideas both online and the December issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray.

1. My son has had a rough year, and so I have promised his Dad that I will put only coal in his stocking this year, but at least with Christmas Coal, I have found a fun way to do that!Watches

2. I like these little watches for the Wobble DeckWobble Deckelementry aged kids on my list. I like that it was designed by a child at St Jude’s and I also like the price.

3. These gloves are just too funky. I plan to get a pair for my dauther and all the girls on my list.

4. Ever since Jeff Foxworthy came on and challenged us to be smarter than our 5th graders, the kids in my house have been clamoring to play a game where they can beat the parents. I am putting this game under the tree, friendly competition never hurt anyone, just as long as the parents win! This website is also nice, as there is free shipping, and the option to choose only gifts made in the US.

5. And although the Wobble Deck is made in China, I think this is too fun to Wobble DeckWobble Deckpass up. I think my teenagers will like this, and I am sure their dad will be anxious to show just how young he is with this game.