Monday, December 28, 2009

From Fussy Babies to Stressed Out Adults - Tips for Restoring Calm

The Holidays bring excitement, fun, parties...and for many, stress or depression. Here are a few articles that can help you restore the calm during the Holiday Season (and the rest of the year too!)


photo credit:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Recycle and Reuse This Holiday Season

Make it a point to recycle and reuse this Holiday Season. It's good for the environment, easy on the wallet, and encourages lots of participation from the family. Need a few ideas to get started? Check out some of these:

Save this year's Holiday greeting cards to reuse next year. An easy and frugal way to reuse: Cut off the front cover and use next year as a Holiday postcard. Simple draw a line down the middle of the back of the card to separate the areas for address and message. You'll save on postage too!

With Holiday cooking comes lots of opportunity to recycle and reuse food containers. Glass jars can be recycled and reused to make your own herb infused oils ( a great gift idea), and plastic milk containers can be used for crafts, storage and gardening, among other things.

Here's a tip for recycling/reusing wrapping paper:
Save the cardboard tubes from your wrapping paper this season, and use it to store the paper that is salvageable after the family has opened their gifts. Trim off torn areas, then roll the used paper onto the cardboard tubes to reduce wrinkles. It's easy to store, and saves you money on next year's Holiday Season.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Now IS the Time to Remodel

I received a voicemail message from my client on Saturday... in a nutshell she was THRILLED that her Powder Room remodeling project was moving along smoothly and quickly. My client lives in a coastal community here in Orange County, where 12-18 months ago a 2-4 month wait was the "norm" for just about any type of remodeling work - from painting to plumbing.

This project by the way, was a major "rush" -- literally 6 days to schedule carpeting, painting, and plumbing upgrades ready in time for Thanksgiving dinner!  A feat to be accomplished with no less than three different contractors schedules, not to mention juggling delivery of fixtures and carpeting.  Usually, I would not lay odds that it could be accomplished in such a time schedule (unless of course you have the Extreme Makeover team handy...)  However, it seems the Recession/down economy has freed up some schedules of many local contractors, and has "hungry" vendors willing to go the extra mile to find products, even if that means driving it in from another warehouse 30 miles away.

Last Wednesday, after the wallpaper had been installed (that unfortunately was the one item we couldn't seem to rush), we went to a "wholesale to the public" store that sells bath fixtures available for pickup by the plumber in a 1-day turnaround. We then picked out an eco-friendly sea grass carpeting that was installed on Friday, picked up a fabulous 5 ft. mirror at another store, and scheduled the painter and plumber...all agreeing to be done by Tues. at 5 p.m.  Can't wait to hear what the Thanksgiving guests think!

If you are currently thinking of remodeling a room or rooms in your home and have the budget, there's a good chance you may be able to get your project done on time and without going over budget.  It's a win-win proposition for homeowners and local businesses that have seen a drop in their sales.

Some tips:
  • If you can, pick up fixtures and hardware yourself, and pay on the spot. You'll save the contractor's markup and can be assured necessary items are in stock or can be pulled from another location.
  • Stick to the schedules you arrange for delivery and installation.
  • Make sure your contractors know you can pay in cash at the time the job is completed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

There's Centerpieces...and Then There's CENTERPIECES

I recently wrote an article to share some of the inexpensive Holiday centerpiece ideas I've used over the years. Having budget-friendly options seems more important this year, when so many are scaling back on seasonal entertaining.  

Creating an inexpensive holiday centerpiece for your Thanksgiving or Christmas table can be easily achieved with a few items from your garden or pantry.  With a little creativity, you can create works of art for your holiday table, with little or no money spent. 

Now, having said that...I also want to showcase a cake designer on the East Coast that makes incredibly creative cakes for all types of gatherings, from birthdays to ... yep, you guessed it -- cakes that create a spectacular centerpiece for your Thanksgiving or Christmas table. Check out the Thanksgiving Cornucopia centerpiece cake from

Whatever your Holiday budget - I hope you are inspired to create a beautiful centerpiece to share with family and friends.  It's all about the options isn't it? As a side note: I am REALLY thankful that PinkCakeBox doesn't offer shipping to the West Coast! ;)

Pink Cake Box Cake

Monday, November 2, 2009

Adventures in Aromatherapy

I've been using aromatherapy on some level for years, creating a sense of well-being by using essential oils to create moods at home, induce a sense of relaxation or healing in the bath and in massage.  Recently, I've been expanding my knowledge and use of essential and infused oils -- and am amazed at the depths of knowledge that is available.  Tonight is the last of the aromatherapy classes I've been taking as part of the certificate program for Holistic Wellness Practitioner, and I can truly say it's been one of the most informative and interesting classes I've taken in the past year or so.

Check out Health, Happiness and Essential Oils - my Squidoo Lens on the subject.

Note:  There is a significant difference between pure essential oils and fragrance oils.  More info is available at the National Assoc. for Holistic Aromatherapy

Friday, October 16, 2009

No Impact Week - Changing Your Lifestyle Strategies

In case you've missed the recent media coverage, No Impact Week will begin on Sunday, October 18th. What is it you ask?

Mission (via

To empower citizens to make choices which better their lives and lower their environmental impact through lifestyle change, community action, and participation in environmental politics.
The No Impact Project was conceived by Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man, following the success of his blog, book, and film, which chronicle his family’s year-long experiment living a zero-waste lifestyle in New York City. Central to his thesis is the notion that deep-seated individual behavior change leads to both cultural change and political engagement. Living low-impact provides a clear entry point into the environmental movement. This thesis is the bedrock of the No Impact Project.

Regardless of your current shade of green, the No Impact Project week can be a great place to start living a lifestyle that is low-impact. You can also download the No Impact Experiment manual free at the website.

To get Colin's book of his year long zero-living adventure (with his family):

Want to do more with your family or community?
How to Be an Effective Activist

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DIY Home Remodeling

Home remodeling stores such as Home Depot and Lowes have held their own in these recent tough economic times. Some have speculated that this is largely due to the Do-It-Yourself home remodeling trends that have seen an increase in homeowners completing more of the types of remodeling projects that they might have previously contracted out to others.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Websites to Unveil

I've been working hard (and collaborating with several fellow writers from eHow and Associated Content) to get FOUR new websites up and running over the last month or so. Each has a distinct theme, and features lots of articles and resources. Check 'em out when you can.

Hearth & Home contains a variety of resources and articles designed to help you make y
our home and family the best it can be. Topics include green living, remodeling projects, hobbies and crafts, health and nutrition, travel and pets.

Small Biz Digest:
Whether you are a current small business owner trying to stay afloat, considering a start-up business, freelancing after a layoff, or are a work-at-home entrepreneur, we've got plenty of info, tips, articles and more to help you succeed in the world of Small Business.

For Women By Women:
FWBW's articles are all written by women. Topics include work & career, motherhood, beauty, and health.

I hope you'll bookmark the sites, as we will be adding content to them every month!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Maximizing Your Home Value

The recent downturn in the real estate market has meant for some that the value of their home or neighborhood is nowhere near what it was 18 months ago. Home sellers that might not have worried as much about their home's current condition before, are now realizing they'll need to do everything humanly possible to sell it at a decent price (or even sell it at all). If this applies to you, check out these articles:

Check out Hearth-N-Home's remodeling section for a few more tips that can help maximize your home.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's All About the Driving

Planning a road trip for the upcoming long weekend? Thinking of including the family dog? Or perhaps, you're looking for a few ways to stay safe and sane on your daily commute. [ADDITIONAL CONTENT/ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Combating the Challenges of Small Business

This year so far has been a challenging time for almost every family and small business owner that I know. From printing shops to online crafters, work-at-home moms and thrift store owners - I've seen many struggle (including myself) to find a balance between costs and profits that keep your business running, and your customers or clients coming back. Here are a few articles that may help you find a balance in your own small business or "extra money" venture.[ADDITIONAL CONTENT/ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

More resources and articles can be found at the Small Biz Digest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back-To-School Info

It's almost time... summer vacation is coming to a close and the kids are going back to school!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Computers and Your Health

If you're like me, you spend a substantial portion of your day sitting in front of a computer screen. While many of us use our laptops or computers to make a living, stay connected with family and friends, and network with other small businesses, it can spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e for your overall health and well-being if you're not careful. Back pain, eye strain and general wellness can suffer without some preventative measures. [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Friday, July 10, 2009

Promoting Your Small Business Online FREE

For most small businesses with small marketing budgets, free online advertising can be an effective way to connect with new customers; create a buzz around a product or upcoming event; or stay connected with your current clients. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MerchantCircle and MySpace are just a few of the popular ways you can promote your business or services:

Got a Twitter Account or are considering getting one?
Check out these Twitter marketing articles:


Familiar with MerchantCircle? MerchantCircle allows businesses to connect with other businesses, find new customers, advertise ongoing specials, or just stay in touch with current customers. Check out this article on using MerchantCircle to connect with local customers :


Is your business listed on Google Maps? It should be!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Being A Good American Citizen

Being an American Citizen for some is a birthright, for others it is attained through naturalization. Recently, I was at a rally where a woman stated that she came to America to become a citizen because this was a country that expected each of us to DREAM. If that doesn't re-energize your patriotic batteries, I don't know what will.


Friday, June 26, 2009

How to Avoid Common Blog Mistakes

A blog can be an excellent marketing tool for a business, or it can provide a great platform to voice your opinion. However, a successful blog is primarily dependent on having a legion of followers.Here are some simple tips to avoid the types of mistakes that leave a blog out in the cold. [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Content Marketing Cheat Sheet

Below is an excellent presentation for business owners that are looking for tips and resources for content marketing that is web savvy and designed to build your customer base. The information is both valuable and timely, whether you are a budding Mompreneur or an established small to mid size company. Be sure to click on the hyperlinks within the presentation to connect with even more great articles on building buzz and profit:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How Safe Are Your Kids Online?

We've all heard the news reports of kids that have been harmed by online predators. Most parents make the assumption of "not my kid"... they're too smart, too innocent, too informed to give out personal information or to join a chat room, send sexting messages or view inappropriate content. Unfortunately, parents are often times the last to know how truly Internet savvy kids can be. The good news is there are a variety of resources available for parents. One that I have recently come across is Livia Web Protection. The company provides Home Web filtering protection software that is effective and easy to use. They've also received several awards, including The National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval. They offer a free 14-day trial which makes it a no-risk investment that you may want to consider.

For additional information on Internet (and cell phone) safety:

Netsmartz - an interactive educational safety resource from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Provides free and non-technical cyber security and safety resources to the public.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Vacations Close To Home

Yes, there are layoffs, an economy that has tanked, and gas prices that are out of control. But that doesn't have to mean the end of the family summer vacation. Money may be tight, but that's no reason to cancel the summer fun. Many American families are opting for a stay-at-home vacation (or as it's now been dubbed, "staycation".)


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Are You A Stay At Home Mom with A Great Idea?

"The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world". Even more so it seems in today's economy. Moms are known to be clever and resourceful, and now they are leading the pack when it comes to creating income opportunities from home. So much so that they've been given their own title: "Mompreneur" or "Mommy Entrepreneurs".


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Step Family Success

From time to time I deal with families that are either going through the process of divorce, or are doing their best to coexist as a "blended" family. If you or someone you know is attempting to creating successful relationships within the family unit, you may find some support and resources at the STEP-Carefully blog. This blog is dedicated to helping stepparents who are already stressed and harried enough, to find and develop healthier ways of living.They've also got a free step-family newsletter that you can sign up to receive via email.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Budget-Friendly Summer

School will be out before you know it, and many families will be searching for budget-friendly ideas to keep the kids inspired, entertained, active, and full of smiles throughout the summer. Here's a few resources that can help:

Because I live in CA and know how expensive vacationing here can be, here's a few articles/resources that can help the budget vacation along:
Regardless of your budget, summertime can be a great time for families - so enjoy it!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Choosing A Painting Contractor

Exterior and interior painting are two of the most common types of home improvement or remodeling projects that homeowners typically hire contractors to complete. There are several things to consider when searching for a contractor that will best suit your needs.  Here are a few steps to take when hiring a painting contractor that will save you headaches and possibly money, in the long run: [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shades of Green

"Going Green" has become a common term these days (with good reason). There are literally hundreds of ways you can help to make a difference... even if , like me, you're not ready to live off the grid just yet. I guess you could say I'm a lighter shade of green. It thrills me to see the millions of people that are raising their own awareness, and sharing it with others. I've met hundreds of people on Twitter that are all trying to go green in varying shades, clicked on dozens of links to organizations that are springing up (profit and non-profit), and have learned so much regarding alternative energy, recycling, sustainability and more.There is much to be done... and the great part is: everyone can do something. For ideas and inspiration: check out my Free and Green Stuff blog, or join me on Twitter (@upon-request_oc).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Constant Contact - Small Business Solutions

I'm currently using Constant Contact to create my clients' e-zines or newsletters and would highly recommend it to small businesses as a means of staying in touch with your current clients, as well as building your client base. (and no, I'm not a paid spokesperson... just a happy user!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Paint A Chalkboard!

Creating a chalkboard surface on a child's wall is a great way to encourage their artistic talents, and adds a unique an inexpensive touch to the room. Several options are available for painting a chalkboard onto a door, wall, or even the side of a dresser. 

For families, having a chalkboard wall in the garage, laundry room, family room -- or anywhere the family gathers is a great way to centralize communication and have schedules handy.   [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Friday, May 15, 2009

Have you heard of

Great way to share your photos and video with family and friends, AND get free prints!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Using Google Maps for Business

Did you know you can add free online coupons to show up on your Google Maps listing?  What you say... you don't have a FREE business listing on Google Maps?  If not, you're definitely missing out on a great opportunity!  [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Friday, May 8, 2009

10 Tips for Safer Camping

Now is the time to get together with family and friends and enjoy the Great Outdoors.  Camping is a great way to spend quality time, but are you practicing camping safety?  
Here are 10 Tips for Safer Camping.

photo: ©

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

National Mom's Nite Out

Thursday, May 7th is National Mom's Nite Out - designed to bring together moms across the U.S. virtually and in "real life" and give them a well deserved night out. [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Monday, April 27, 2009

How To Be A Good Houseguest

Staying with family, friends, or colleagues, can be a great bonding experience for all, if you are a good house guest. Sure, there are some hosts who throw open the doors and tell you to "do whatever you want", but if you aren't 100% sure that you can take that statement literally... proceed with caution.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How To Create A Business Travel Profile

A business travel profile is an easy way to help you keep all your traveler's preferences and details together on one form. [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is Your Child's Daycare Really Clean?

A daycare may look clean, but has the staff done all that they could do to keep your kids healthy and safe from unnecessary bacteria? READ MORE

photo credit:

Ever Wonder What Pill Is What??

There have been times when I was traveling that I put several over-the-counter medication in a single container to save space. While it seemed very convenient at the time, relying on my memory to identify each of the unknown pills was probably not the best idea.Here are a few ways to help you identify pills and other medications:   [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How To Choose A Water Filter

Bottled water is not only an expensive alternative to tap that creates unnecessary waste, but its' quality has also come in to question. Water filters help to remove the odors and tastes that are often associated with tap water as well as minerals, sediment, and chlorine, and are available in a large variety of types, sizes, and price ranges. [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Friday, March 27, 2009

How To Start A 529 College Savings Plan

Future college tuition costs can be greatly reduced with a 529 Plan, or Qualified Tuition Plan. A 529 is a tax advantaged savings plan that is available in two options, either a pre-paid tuition plan or an investment plan.[ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Monday, March 9, 2009

Managing Your Finances

I know, I know, managing our finances is just about all anyone is thinking about these days!  But there are some smart ways to take control of your finances - and I've detailed a few tips [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Need Extra Income? Try Amazon's MTurk!

Amazon's Mechanical Turk ( is an online marketplace that allows Requesters to post a variety of jobs they need help with, and Workers to complete the tasks (know as Human Intelligence Tasks or HITs). MTurk is open 24/7, which makes it an appealing option for many who are looking to make money working from home.  Read more

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Business News Articles - Keeping Up Online

Keeping up with the latest business news around the world is important, especially in today's economy. Many of us prefer to view the news online, and there are dozens of available sites on the Internet to keep abreast of the top stories, trends, and analyses.  [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Interested in writing online articles for fun and profit?  If so, check out some of the great information at's forum written by writers for writers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How To Start A Non-Profit Organization

A Non-Profit is an organization whose main objective is to support an issue or area of concern such as a charity, educational program, or a religion. In the U.S., most non-profits are established with 501(c)(3) tax status...[ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Resources for Small Business: Websites You Should Know About

If you are a Small Business owner or are considering starting a business, here a few websites that can help you get started.
Read more

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TAX TIPS for Small Business Owners

I am not a Tax or Bookkeeping expert, but I have a great resource to share:  For Your Business Bookkeeping Services.  Cheryl Hinkson, the owner, is well-versed in "all things bookkeeping" for business and has even written a great article that I found to be so helpful that I just had to share it:  How To Audit Proof Your Schedule C.  Definitely worth the read!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Go Green In Huntington Beach!

How to Go Green in Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach, CA is committed to being an environmentally safe, energy efficient, healthy community.  If you are a resident here, there are many ways you can support the City's commitment to Going Green.  Read more

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Need To Find New Customers For Your Business?

These are difficult economic times, especially for small businesses who have seen drastic drops in their customer base and revenues. Here are a few effective ways to attract new customers, and keep your business doors open!  [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]

photo credit:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Picking A Business Friendly E-Mail Address

Personalizing your e-mail is a good thing, but there are some e-mail names that don't tend to show you in your best light, when it comes to business communications... read more

photo courtesy of

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Virtual Assistant for Therapists

I have a great client that persuaded me to add a page to my website just for Therapists and other mental health providers. She is a therapist herself, and over the course of working together, I've come to realize there are truly special scenarios for therapists when it comes to marketing their practice and supporting them in general, whether it be posting online ads, creating e-zines or newsletters, or preparing workshop presentations.

Today I published my new page designed for therapists and others in the industry who may need help. You can view it here: Assistants for Therapists

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's A Mult-tasking World!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article on eHow titled How To Enjoy The Art of Single Tasking, and yet here I am, spinning my wheels in the crazy world of multi-tasking and not taking my own advice!  

  • I'm in the process of moving, 
  • I currently have the roommates from Hell that have hindered that process
  • I have a deadline for a client's newsletters and am still waiting for "pieces".
  • I'm trying to schedule help & a truck for tomorrow -- ok, in all honesty, I'm trying to get my son to confirm he will be here on schedule.  He, of course, is not answering his cell phone due to the Super Bowl.
  • I'm writing articles on eHow, Triond, and Bukisa throughout the day
Sound like your world too?  Let's just take a moment... and breathe...

I had to laugh when I realized I was doing everything I counsel others not to do!  It's so easy to fall isn't it!?   One thing at a time.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New To Huntington Beach? Have A Dog?

Huntington Beach has several options for dog owners to enjoy the great outdoors with their favorite pooch! Check out my article for local favorites:
Read More