Monday, December 30, 2013

How to Raise a Great Kid

This week is usually filled with great time off to relax and enjoy my family. But, this year my hubby is working and I am watching my half-sister's kids. I would love to say that watching kids is easy, but it's not.

Those "people" who say that stay at home moms have it easy, have no clue. I am not sure if I have the energy to hang out with babies everyday. Between the running, diapers, and whining.... no thanks. I don't remember it being so hard when my kids were little babies. Then my hubby reminded me that my kids were on my schedule and they were molded to fit like little puzzle pieces into my life that accented my very existence. In other words, it was fun.

The one thing I am getting out of the experience is remembering the fun high energy level of a happy baby! So happy that his face lights up the whole room. That's when I justify all of the sacrifices and time spent perfecting my bundle of joy in spite of all the useless advice I received. My kid "training" made it easy to wake up every day and live an exhausted life. So exhausted.

So today, I am going to share some advice that I wish someone had given me when I was a stay at home mommy taking care of my little angels.

1. Your baby, your rules. Don't let someone else tell you how to raise your kid. If you are using common sense and raising a kid that is well balanced then you are doing it right. Did your kid eat? Ok, you are off to a great start!

2. You're baby is more important than a spotless house. Babies get cranky, then they pass out. You should take a hint. If you are exhausted, take a nap when your baby does. It's a great time to recharge. The house will be there when you wake up.

3. Watch Your Mouth. It's more than the bad words. It's every thing. Speak happiness and kindness into your kid's life. Don't talk down about your kid and put negativity into the universe.

4. Communicate Clearly with your Baby. Using real words to communicate with your kid will make it easier for you. If you allow your kid to gesture for the things he/she wants, you will end up frustrated. Read books to your baby and hold them tight. They are only little for a short time.

So to all you stay at home mommy slackers, I applaud you for all you do to make your children rays of hope for the future... Thank you!

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

What the Duck?.... Interesting Article GQ

When I woke up this morning, my favorite show was trending on Facebook. #DuckDynasty is what’s up! I love this show. I just had to read that GQ article! I was already set to be really offended, but I wasn’t. It was just Phil saying things that are very similar to what is said on the show. The quote itself is a classic:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

I get it Phil… it’s not logical to you. This is what was said…. That’s not a “gay bashing” hate crime… it’s an opinion. Do you believe people have the right to voice their opinions? I do. As a blogger, how could I deviate from this thought?

Many of the shows’ fans are showing up en masse to demand that A&E lift the indefinite suspension it has placed on Phil. They want everyone to #BeardUp and boycott A&E. Did you know that Phil has over 1.8 million fans? Guess what—they don’t care that is REAL.

Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t this the same channel that shows people getting raped, murdered, and killed on CSI? How about that Rodeo Girls show? Nevermind, no one watches that. However, 11.8 million people watched the August 15 season 4 premiere and now we are at the gist of the situation. A&E cannot afford for Duck Dynasty fans to stay true to their battle cry.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Just Right Gift

Finding the right gift for your special someone has become an obsession. Every channel is filled to the brim with commercials offering you a glimpse into what could very well be "the one." Are you paying attention? I'm not.

Instead, I am digging into the memories I have made with my family and finding things that I know they will find useful. The girls were easy. But, the husband has been harder to decide. There are gifts I think will work but then do I really want my husband to have a gaming system?

I am not interested in being a game console widow. I think it's that sort of thing that makes it hard to pick the just right gift for someone so close to you. You get to have a first hand look at whether or not your gift selection was right on.

I decided to give it a little trial. Instead of giving him a game console, I bought him a tablet. I downloaded a few of his favorite games then watched him disappear. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be really. He has disappeared into the room for hours. But, we have watched movies on it and he's also reading a book with his Kindle app.

To make a tablet or other small hand held device really worth it's money you have to make sure it has internet access. A subscription to Amazon, Netflix, HBO, Cox cable and Cinemax has turned my husband's tablet into a little TV. I learned a lot from this little experiment. No gaming console for this house. The tablet has turned out to be perfect.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Make Memories, Not Payments... Just sayin'

Getting ready for the holidays? Me too! It has been a long time coming, but Christmas is finally here and you have a lot to do. Decorating, shopping, wrapping, and then the meals will keep you smiling or pulling your hair out depending on how well you can handle the stress.

What if we decide to spend quality time with our families and build more memories instead of spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars buying things we don't need. Things that get shuffled in with the rest of the "stuff" we also don't need.

No time was so clear to me than last Christmas. When days later, the tree was packed and the wrapping paper was thrown out it hit me... everything I handpicked with care or worked overtime to buy was tucked into a nook and forgotten. I didn't make a difference with all of the money I spent. It was just an expectation that I had set that I didn't want to maintain anymore.

The thought has been around for a long-time, but I had a hard time deciding that this is something that I am going to fully embrace. Why? Because when you build an expectation, then back off... it upsets the status quo. But, this year... I did it! Here are some tips if you want to try it too:

1. Quality not Quantity: This year, I looked at the list that my kid created and decided which thing she really needed and how each gift would bring her closer to her goal of being more independent. I decided on the car. Yes! The car was the one thing that I knew she would really appreciate.

2. Gift Exchange: Instead of digging deep into my pockets for my entire extended family. I initiated a gift exchange. This way, I only had to buy a few high quality gifts instead of trying to make everyone happy. Because making everyone happy isn't possible at any price.

3. Volunteer to help others: This is a great time to volunteer to help others. Make direct donations of time like clean an elderly neighbor's home. Bake cookies for a friend. Donate a toy to Toys For Tots.

4. Plan a Trip. Make memories. Too soon, your kids will be  grown and out of the house. Find a place where you can relax and eat a nice dinner out. Take your mini tree and decorate your hotel room with a few of your cherished ornaments.

Christmas is a great time to celebrate everything you already have! That's what I am doing this year. So when you don't get a Christmas card from me this year, please know that's it's not personal. I thought of how much your friendship means to me... I promise!

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Writer's Block


Today is the day I need to get my blog done, but I can't because I have writer's block. What a crazy way to end a Level 10 all day week! #WritersBlockSucks

I have several blogs started and many of them are going to be done later, but today..... the block is on.

What do you do when you find yourself against a deadline and you have writer's block...? I have been trying to get past it by just putting words on a page and getting around to the meat of the story.

Hmmmm.... this is my writer's block post and if you have any suggestions... please post a comment.


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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Escribe a Su Público Objetivo

Escribe a su público objetivo

¿Estás trabajando en una profesión nicho o una muy técnico que deja a los clientes potenciales agarrando un diccionario para mantenerse al día con sus mensajes en Facebook? Por supuesto que no! Nadie toma un diccionario, sólo siguen adelante. No deje que su base de clientes potenciales se marchen sin saber lo que puede hacer por ellos. Hable con su público y haga sus mensajes de Facebook legibles. #VixxBuzz

No es ninguna coincidencia que el periódico local está escrito en el nivel de secundaria. Esta es una práctica común conocido como Inglés conversacional. Los Facebook páginas de negocios son para tener conversaciones con clientes potenciales. Asegúrese de que ellos entiendan lo que está diciendo. Si huyen de su página sin saber lo que haces, pierdes.

Dé a su negocio otra fuente creíble de información mediante la participación de su público con el contenido que pueden leer y entender! Deje de usar terminología de industria que tienen que hacer Google.

Ellos ya están en su Fanpage .... darles algo de qué hablar!

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Write to Your Target Audience

Are you working in a niche profession or highly technical one that leaves potential clients grabbing a dictionary to keep up with your posts on Facebook? Of course not! No one grabs a dictionary, they just move on. Don’t let your potential client base walk away not knowing what you can do for them. Speak to your audience and make your Facebook posts readable. #VixxBuzz

It’s no coincidence that the local newspaper is written at the high school level. This is a common practice known as conversational English. Facebook Business Fanpages are about having conversations with potential clients. Make sure they understand what you are saying. If they are clicking away from your page without knowing what you do, you lose.
Give your business another credible source of information by engaging your audience with content they can read and understand! Stop using industry only terminology they have to Google.
They are already at your Fanpage…. give them something to talk about!
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Business Tip #3: Set a plan. Do it.

Are you ready for your day? I woke up today and went straight into Level 10. Every day that I do it is easier than the last. Never knowing that I needed to just do it... I was sabotaging my own efforts to be successful. Have you ever done that? Stop. Stop being your worst enemy.

When I sit and write all day and I fall more in love with my craft by the second. I remember what it was like to sit in a cubicle and be miserable. I remember all the hours I slaved to make miracles happen so others could benefit. I was happy to do it for others. I am more so to do it for myself. For the benefit of my family and my brand.

What are you willing to do for yourself? Think about that. What kind of mindset change do you need to get serious and make your dreams come true?

Just wake up, move into Level 10 and get to work. Sounds easy right? Well... it can be if you have a plan. 2013 is almost over and January 1st brings with it the opportunity to do more. To live more. To be more. I am working on my plan with the help of Eric Lofholm, his course is free! Join today at

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Business Tip #2: Give Exceptional Customer Service

Are you giving exceptional customer service? Can you afford not too?

This story is about a car I just bought my child. She is crazy happy with this new purchase and here's why:

Just before my suggy pop turned 18 she was in a terrible accident that totaled the Honda CRV she was given the year prior. This car was t-boned when she made a poor driving decision.

I wanted to get her a dependable car for less than 10k. This is a hard price point to work with. But, after the long search I finally got the call. The car was found and it was about half the price.

It was perfect except it was a stick. She wasn't the best at driving standard cars. The original car salesman said he would teach her. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. But, a new salesman understood my frustration and helped me out with the driving lessons. Why? Because he understands the value in doing what you say to keep or earn a loyal customer. 

I know that giving someone driving lessons is above and beyond what is normally expected, but if you say you are going to do something—do it! Under promise and over deliver wins raving fans. 

The truth is, every car I have ever bought has been from this dealership. Every one.  Why not treat me to your best? It's not about the sale today it's about building lasting relationships that can continue to grow your business and in this case repeat sales and referrals to my friends. 

This new salesman is looking for two more cars for me. One for my baby baby ASAP and a new one for me with a purchase date in mid February. Both sales could have gone to my first salesman, but I prefer better service. 

Everyday we have an opportunity to give and do more for our customers, clients, and members. Customer service is judged from the customer's perspective. Remember that. You need repeat business to grow your business. 

Because of my long standing relationship with this dealership, I won't share the name of the original salesman but I will highly recommend Doug Alpers. He's awesome! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

College Talk: Campus Tours

Are you having a hard time deciding where you are going to attend college? You may already be filling out college applications with the hope that this is going to be the right college for you. Some college students set foot on campus the first day the dorms open. But, if you can afford to visit the school—do it! The knowledge you gain from your visit can swing your vote when you are deciding between more than one college. 

I took my kids on several campus tours. I let my high school senior ask all the questions she wanted to. I wanted to see how she would process the information she was receiving. She asked random students we encountered during the tour questions too! Why? Because, they are not being paid to tell us all about the butterfly and rainbow aspects of their school. We asked about study places, food, night life, and job opportunities. 

College Tours... Campus tours are held on a regular basis or during certain hours. Check out the school's website to see when tours can be scheduled. If reservations are possible, make one! You don't want to arrive only to find that the tour is completely booked.

High school students can get letters from the college's admissions office to turn into their high school attendance office to take a tour in the middle of the week. This is a great time to show up because there will be lots of college students around and you will be able to get a real feel for campus life. Most colleges offer tours through their admissions department using students that are currently attending the school.

Open Houses....Universities can hold an open house where all of the departments work
together to give prospective students a real view of campus life including tours of the dorms. Often, student leaders are available to answer any questions you may have. The downfall to this type of tour is that it is very general information. There is often little time for personalized questions and situations. 

  • Take pictures when you are there to remind you of what each campus has to offer. 
  • Document your pros and cons during your visits to keep your information organized.
  • Write down any follow up questions you have about the university so you can get your answers.

Choosing a college is serious business. This is where you are going to spend the next four to five years of your life. You should make sure that you are going to be happy there!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

College Talk: Your Backup Plan

You have dreamed of attending ABC University your whole life! Ever moment of this time, you have planned all aspects of your college experience--including the list of friends you will call when you finally get your letter. Your best case scenario includes an acceptance from this college that will make all the others disappear. 


Yes! Don't limit yourself to one college. You need to apply to multiple colleges to ensure you are going to continue your education after you get your high school diploma. By the time you are wait listed or worse not admitted to your first choice school, it will be too late to apply to more choices. So, cover all your bases and apply to at least three schools including your local state university. If you want to go to UCLA, apply to other schools like CSU Monterrey Bay or San Marcos as well. 

It's great to have positive thoughts. It's better to have options. If you need financial assistance to pay the fees associated with college applications, see your guidance counselor. Even though it may seem like a large investment in the beginning, getting your application to multiple schools will help you make the decision down the road.

If you get into your choice school, financing may keep you from attending. So, having an alternative plan may be more feasible. Keep reading my blog for more college information regarding financial aid, grants, and applying for scholarships.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

College Talk: Scholarship Essays are Your New Favorite

It takes a lot of effort to write a scholarship essay and now that you in the college writing mode, it's a good time to write down a few ideas to win some scholarships.

Think of a time in your life when you faced adversity and how you overcame it. Were you ever bullied? Did you help a friend achieve something great? How do you give back to your community? These are all topics that work well with scholarship essays. Ask an adult to help you organize your thoughts about the situation.

Using the resources you have available will come into play here. When you need to put a spin on an event, there's no better person to ask than a trusted adult, mother, father, teacher, or other mentor. A second set of eyes can judge the quality of your answers and make sure that you are meeting all of the requirements listed in the scholarship application guidelines.

Use powerful words. Claim your victory by using action words. Don't say what you hope to do, say what you have done to see that your planned future is on the right path. For Example:

Option A: I like dogs. I hope to be a veterinarian one day.

Option B: This year, I have focused on giving back to my community by volunteering to walk dogs and care for them at the local shelter. I was able to see that working with animals is something that I have a deep passion for. I followed up with the veterinarian to find that my current skills set is a great match for the rigors of the veterinarian degree program.

Option B will show that you are serious about continuing your education. Make it impossible for them to say no! You may have to apply for 50 or more scholarships to earn a handful or even one. But, you can reuse well written essays as long as the scholarship is offered from different sources and all of the requirements of the scholarship are met!

Good Luck.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

College Talk: The Personal Essay

"Your application, transcripts, and test scores are the bones of your application," Dominique Lightsey informed the parents attending the first annual UCLA open house on September 28, 2013. "Your personal essay is what makes you different for the other applicants." She went on to compare your essay to the fleshy part of your body that makes you who you are.

Imagine that you can use words to express why you would be the perfect candidate for your dream school. Then choose the right words to convey your thoughts. This is the only thing that sets you apart from other students with the same GPA and testing scores.

Here are some tips to help you express yourself.

1. Read the questions. Often when telling a story, you can find yourself going off on a tangent. Doing this takes the reader away from the topic. If you don't answer multiple part questions, this will count against you. Either you want to go to college or your don't. So make sure your screener knows that you are taking the process seriously by answering the questions completely.

2. Be Interesting. When your application is being read, the admission staff is looking for certain answers. When they find them, they may stop reading so keep them interested by telling a compelling story.

3. Stick To You. It is great that your grandfather wanted you to go to ABC University. Say that, but also say that you want it too! Say why you want it from a very personal standpoint. It's not enough to say that it is a good fit for you. Instead, say that attending ABC University will fit in with your life plan of xxxxxx by xxxxxxx.

3. Choose Your Words Wisely. Make sure that you are using the right words correctly. Some words have duplicitous meaning so make sure you offer context to support your word choice. Also, read your completed essay out loud. Listen to the flow of the words. Does it make sense?

4. Deadlines Are Not a Suggestion. Stick with the deadlines that are posted. Often, the application is opened before you can submit it. Take your time to fill it out completely and check the information twice before you submit your answers. Work on it everyday until it is completed. Submit it well ahead of the deadline.

5. Brag About Yourself. It's okay. "Often, applicants don't brag about themselves enough," Lightsey said. Admission counselors want a clear view to why they should offer you admission. Give it to them! Before you get started, write down your high school resume. For each year, you should have a list of all your after school extras like sports, clubs, or organizations you participate in. Organize each year from the most influential to the least in regards to the importance in your life. Include this information when appropriate.

Thank you to Dominique Lightsey, UCLA Admissions office, for answering my questions.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Business Tip #1: Always Deliver on Your Promises

Always deliver on your promises. And, whenever possible, over-deliver. Why? Because everyone else will be doing just enough to not suck, while you are being a rockstar when you follow this tip!
Don't you want people to know that your level of professionalism knows no bounds? Whether you are faced with deadlines that were impossible to meet or changing priorities. No one cares that you had your back against the wall when you don't deliver... they only know that you can't get it done. Otherwise, you will have a following of people that have nothing but bad things to say about you. No one needs that!
Follow through says that you take a project seriously and finish it. That you can be trusted. When I take on a project, I break it into milestones and set deadlines for each part adjusting as necessary as long as my final deliverables are ready on time. This way, I always know that I am on tract for success. It feels much better to give someone a completed project early than an excuse to why it's not quite done.

If is seems that you will need a miracle to get the job done, dig deep and find your super power. Your clients will thank you!

Vicki Bezio, BSIT, MAEd

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Does Everyone Need to Know That?

Did you think you could control your settings on Facebook because someone told you so? They were wrong. You can only control some of your options. Others are always public knowledge.

People believe that Facebook gives you the power to keep information from going public, but that isn't the case! The Exact Facebook Terms can be found at, but here is a summary....

Some stories are always public stories and if you choose to comment on them, your comments will be public. When other people share information about you, THEY choose if your information is shared publicly or not! This is when choosing your friends wisely comes into play. "As a general rule, you should assume that if you do not see a sharing icon, the information will be publicly available." (Facebook Terms)

Your profile photos and cover photos are always public along with your name and username. If you don't want people to see your profile or cover photos forever, you need to delete them from the album. You can change the audience for your profile pictures one at a time following directions found at The Networks you affiliate yourself with are public knowledge.

What can you do about it? Facebook's advice is clear, if you don't want to share this information... Delete Your Account!

As an avid user of Facebook, I try to be mindful of what I share on my page. If  I check-in at a venue, I make sure I am ready to receive guests. On more than one occasion, my friends have pulled up a chair and joined me for a drink. I love it... I am a social person. If that's not you, then don't check-in, post pics, or advertise your activities in the moment... post them after the fact.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1st is Finally Here!

Do you know the significance of October 1st? 

If you are a California resident... you should! This is the day that the the University of California and California State universities open their application process. With their stringent application process, getting started on your application today will give you enough time to get it completed and ready to turn in during their November 1-30 application dates. 

Even if you are not ready to put your personal statement together today, read through the questions. Familiarize yourself with what the application requires. Stop by your registrar's office and get a copy of your unofficial transcripts and start putting that information in the application. This information isn't going to change. Be honest! At some point in the process, your transcripts will be ordered and verified.

You are only months away from graduation. This is not the time to drop the ball! Continue your hustle toward the finish line. Study more, do better. If you are wait-listed, your final grades will make the difference. Shine! 

Check out my blog this month when I share the expert advice of UCLA Admission Staff about putting your personal statement together!

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Monday, September 30, 2013

I Was Robbed, Now What?

Your college kid just called you to let you know that in their absence, their roommate threw a “rager” and now the computer he was using to get those all those A’s in college is missing! What can you do? We have all been there... young and careless. I know I have lost, broken, or been robbed of things I would really love to have. But, that's life. Living with a roommate is about compromise and you have to be smarter with your things.

As a parent, you want to go straight into “I told you…..” but that isn’t an effective use of time. Your kid can learn later! This is the time to make sure that you kid’s identity is protected and he will be able to get his homework turned in on time. Stop, Look, and Listen. Ask your kids the right questions to help them navigate this type of loss, then remind them that had they followed your instructions in the first place this conversation wouldn't be necessary! I hope that these questions will help you in helping your college kid. 

1. Are you missing any documents, where are your debit cards, driver's license, or Social Security Card? 
It's not enough to ask. You should wait while they locate all of these items and confirm that they are safe before you move on. Otherwise, this is the perfect time to report all of your credit cards stolen to the issuing banks. All of this is more important than getting your laptop stolen. Laptops can be replaced and you can recover most of your information but getting your identity stolen can haunt you forever.

2. Is your computer password protected?
Using a password will keep amateur thieves out of your personal information.  If you use a program like Windows 8 you will be able to change your password from a cellphone or a different computer.

3. Did you change all your email passwords and login information for websites like Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter?
A lot of times, we get comfortable and allow Internet sites to save our passwords for future use. If someone steals your computer, they have instant access to all of your files. Remember to accept the option that says to log you out of any other devices when you change your password.

4. Do you have backups of all your important documents, ie. homework that is due soon and in progress?  
Keeping your records backed up can save your life! Set a time to back up your computer everyday. Also, when you are working on a project. After you save and close it, email it to yourself. You will be able to work on it from any computer on campus or at a friend's home and this copy can save you if your seemingly fine computer takes an unexpected nosedive.

5. Did you report your computer stolen to the police? You need to report your computer stolen to the police because this is an item that can be recovered and returned if you can provide the serial number to the authorities.

6. Write down a list of anyone that was in the vicinity and call them to see if they saw anything suspicious. Then make sure you provide this list to the police. They probably know your neighbors better than you do.

Preventative Measures: 
Buy renter's insurance, it is so inexpensive! Documentation is key when it comes to getting a claim paid. Take pictures of what you have now (you can email pictures to yourself for safekeeping), make a list of each item and save your receipts from now on. If you buy additional warranties for your expensive items, then register them right away.

You need to have an apartment meeting and set some ground rules! Good Luck.. I will be blogging about living with roommates another time, but if this happens to you--comment below so I know.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Are You Showing your Work?

It's not enough to know what you need to do, how to do it, and to formulate a plan in your mind. You need to Show Your Work! As early as elementary school, students are ask to show their work or evidence their knowledge. Just answers shows that you are capable of finding them, not creating results.

Showing up strong with an idea that showcases your thoughts are valid goes a lot further than "I have this great idea." Think of any idea you have as a business proposal. Make sure that you are showcasing your best work and ideas at all times. Be consistent! Consistency is key to sustained business success. Deliver this information:

  • This is what I want to bring you.
  • This is the value of my service.
  • This is why you need to secure my services. 

By going that extra mile, you are adding value to your product or service. Show your audience your thinking by showing them what you can do to make their life run smoothly!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

It's OK to be Crazy... I Think

Do I miss my kid at college? I did.... until she called me crazy! Why can't kids just say thank you? Why do they have to add a qualifier? ie. "I am glad you make me try it [college] out first. Thank you so much for pushing me and being there for me! I am so lucky to have a mother like you:) well minus the crazy ;)"

What is this post really about? Please help me!

The questions I have so far:

I totally get the "try it out first" part. I was right when I told you that the guys are hotter in college and judging from the eye candy around that pool when I dropped you off at your apartment, I was spot on! I am happy that you are keeping busy learning new things... I want your grades to reflect a real effort... the "try."

Can you define push? Are you happy I pushed you? Literally pushed into oncoming traffic or encouraged you to do well in school. Because, I am "crazy." I need clarification...

The lucky part, I get that! Because, you have come a long way from the little whiner you started out as... the "real person." I know that this is an inside joke, but since I am writing this for you... it's all good.

The "crazy" part can go either way. I am going to go with the positive aspect of crazy to mean the do anything, no holds barred, my kid gets what she wants part of my personality that makes people yield to my way... that benefits you mostly!

Why are Facebook posts so hard to decipher?

Are You Ready to Send Your Kid to College?

With school in full swing, we have to get into our old habit of asking our kids did you do your homework? I hope that by high school, you have instilled the desire to succeed in your children and set them up to be successful. Time management is key.

Are you ready to send your students to college? Make sure your child has every advantage they need to get into the college of their dreams. Whether you are an alumnus or your child is going to a new college, they need to have the right testing scores, essays, and grades to be recognized as a potential student at the college of their choice. Finding that right balance takes more than asking your kid if they finished all of their homework.  There are plenty of free resources available to help your kid get into school.

1. Use Free School Resources.  Guidance counselors are skilled in assisting your students to get into college. We often forget that fact because counselors spend more time with the "problem" kids that the hard worker bees are often left unassisted. Be proactive, schedule an appointment with your counselor and student. Sit with them and ask the questions you know your kid isn't going to know how to ask. Counselors spend time going to colleges and learning about what they have to offer students. Sample questions are below:

  • How can I help my student get into college?
  • Where can I go to find free tutoring on campus?
  • What classes should my student take to get ready for college prep tests?
  • Do you recommend the ACT or the SAT?

Getting into college is about being the most prepared and looking like the applicant with the most potential for success. Using your free resources makes perfect sense...

2. Fill out your taxes and complete the FAFSA early. Regardless of how much money you make, fill out the FAFSA. The earlier the better. Some states use this information to award state mandated funds. When those funds run out, you lose. Also, private universities use this information to prepare a financial package for you. If your information isn't available until later in their process, the funds may run out.

3. Apply to more than one school. It's perfectly fine to know that you only want to go to ABC University, but what if you get in and can't afford to go even with student loans? Without a backup plan, you may have to wait a year or go to a community college. There isn't anything wrong with community college, but there are more class options at the larger universities and you will not have to worry about transferring your credits to a new school. Also, you can complete a Bachelor's degree without the extra expense of classes that don't count for anything on your degree plan.

4. Take your SAT or ACT early. The earlier you take the test, the more time you have to take it again. Some colleges take the math component from one test and the English component from another to give you a better score when you take the SAT. Study for the test. Use the sample questions to get comfortable with the style of the test.

Take a prep test at your campus. If you score well, colleges will notice.

5. Find inspiration by visiting the college campus. Take a campus tour. Ask their admissions office about their process and deadlines. Write them down then and follow up with setting deadlines for yourself. You may find that you like one campus more than another because of the staff or the surrounding areas.

Take a peek into classrooms and labs to see what kind of equipment is available when you attend. Start visiting colleges as soon as possible. Using the summer after your sophomore year will give you plenty of time to get on the mailing lists to visit campuses again in the fall and spring to attend open houses and tailgate parties.

6. Hire a professional to assist your student with filling out forms or test prep. This can be a daunting task for a parent to manage and go to work every day. Where your kid goes to college affects their future. The help you give can be as simple as getting them a tutor after school to improve their grades or spending thousands of dollars to preparatory programs to get them primed for greatness.

If you need help, you're not alone. Many are turning to professionals to get into better schools. But, what do you do if you can't afford to send your kid to a college boot camp? You get creative that's what you have to do. Your kids deserve the best chance to get into college. Don't let the cost discourage you...many of the programs offer you options.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Write to Your Target Audience

Are you working in a niche profession or highly technical one that leaves potential clients grabbing a dictionary to keep up with your posts on Facebook? Of course not! No one grabs a dictionary, they just move on. Don't let your potential client base walk away not knowing what you can do for them. Speak to your audience and make your Facebook posts readable. #VixxBuzz

It's no coincidence that the local newspaper is written at the high school level. This is a common practice known as conversational English. Facebook Business Fanpages are about having conversations with potential clients. Make sure they understand what you are saying. If they are clicking away from your page without knowing what you do, you lose.

Give your business another credible source of information by engaging your audience with content they can read and understand! Stop using industry only terminology they have to Google.

They are already at your Fanpage.... give them something to talk about!

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

I More Than Love You

Happy wife—happy life. Agreed!

My hubby and I were catching a high school game this weekend and the weather got really cold all of a sudden. We decided to wait for our little one at the truck. On the walk over my hubby was walking really fast!

I was "meandering" and he was way ahead of me. I had to break out in a jog to catch up to him the whole time whining about not being 6'1" so matching his strides were not as easy as he thinks. His response, "I'm carrying a backpack." Wow!
I slid into the truck and the silence was filling the air. "What's your major?" I teased him. He push up the middle console and pulled me into his lap. 

"I love you," I said. He laughed and kissed my neck. "No, seriously—I do " I insisted. Still playing our game. 

"Hmmmm..." he said and pushed my hair behind my ear. "You do?" He asked. 

"This is the first time I ever told a guy I loved him while we were making out in a car and meant it," I confessed. 

As a breeze blew across my shoulder, I turned my head to catch the deeply serious look on his face. "I more than love you. I love and adore you."

Who knew it was possible to love my angel any more than I did just moments before. 

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's Facebook, It's NOT That Serious Y'all

Correcting punctuation in a Facebook post as a comment is kinda rude! It's Facebook—it's not that serious y'all! Just read for enjoyment or move on. There's no need to let people know that their 'there' is really a 'they're.'

You're grown... You can make your own decisions on your personal page. But, what if it's a business Fanpage? What does poor punctuation say about your business practices? I can't trust you to help me from a client standpoint if your posts make you look unprofessional. With all the choices out there, let your communication style speak well for you! Reread the post before you hit send. It just takes a moment to look professional. Give them something else to focus on. 

Also, speak to your audience. There's a reason the newspaper it written at or near the 5th grade language. If you are in a highly technical field, try layman's terms then take it down a notch! No one knows if they need your service if they don't understand the words that are in your post. Besides, if they were following your train of thought 100% they can probably do it themselves. 

Like me on Facebook I double check my punctuation. *wink

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sharing is Caring

When we were little kids, we learned how to share. Sharing is Caring! As business owners we need to dig deep into our knowledge base to use skills we have learned to deliver better outcomes. Do you share?

Facebook has turned Likes, Comments, and Shares into Gold! Did you know that Facebook has options when sharing content? You can share to your timeline, to a select few friends, in a private message, and only you.

When I see a recipe that I have to have... I share it to "Only Me." It shows up on my timeline with a lock around it so only I can see it. I also use this for cleaning tips or things that I know I will use again.

If you share something to someone in a private message, they are the only one that sees it. As a group of social media network members, we should be sharing our message at least one time in 24 hours. Maybe, with the new currency we can see our post not only go viral but stay relevant enough to dominate the top of the feed for more than 24 hours.

The different sharing options allow you to select your audience. With these options available and the value of sharing posts, it is surprising that more people don't share everyday!

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Engage Your Audience with Content That Matters

Did you mean to say what you said when you said what you said? People read a lot more into your posts than you intend because they don't have your tone of voice to cue them into your meaning. You have to choose your words carefully. Then, you need to worry about engagement. Make them want to come back.

Are you giving your clients an opportunity to interact organically with your posts? If you are getting a lot of "Nice," "Thanks for sharing!" or "Interesting" as your responses, probably not. Generally when we are posting on Facebook to our client base, we want to give them new information about our business. Otherwise, what is the point? Do we need to maintain a business page if we are not adding value to our business? You need to provide another customer point of contact that gives your client a good feeling about your business.

Manage your comments, if you have the "reply" option turned onuse it. Correspond with your customers directly to their posts. I often see large corporations with comment spam to another product that can even be a competitor product. These comments should be deleted when they occur and the creator banned for poor taste. It's your business page!

If your customers are leaving you questions in the comments, answer them. If it's your policy to redirect questions and concerns to an email address, let them know and be consist so the next person can follow the same procedures with continued requests to forward all questions to But, answering the questions in the threads will give many people the same answer eliminating your need to respond to countless emails.

Don't be afraid to use graphics, videos, and articles for people to engage more with your posts. The new algorithms used by Facebook has turned comments, likes, and shares into gold!

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Negative Comments… Should We Delete?

When people post negative comments on your Facebook Business Fanpage to complain about your service or product, should you delete their posts?

There are mixed reviews on this subject. I say leave them and deal with them right then in the comments of the post. Try to put a positive spin on the situation by offering a real solution. If you delete every post that is negative on your business site, guess what…. People will tune out. By deleting the negative comments, you are creating another ad for your company and not a credible source to find real information about you. No one wants to read ads on Facebook!

You have a fan page to give your customers another way to interact with your business, so use it to your greatest advantage. Even when we do our best, there will be customers that want to complain. Each complaint should be met with an apology. Even if all you say is, “I apologize that my performance was not up to your standard.” Then, follow up with an offer to make it right. Be sincere in your deliver or don’t bother.

When people complain about you on Facebook, they are beyond the point where you are going to be able to assist them without an audience. At this point, you are being watched and the way you handle the situation is more critical than the original offense. These are your customers and you want them to know that you care about their experience. Someone may read what you wrote and compare your reaction to how they were handled elsewhere. Give them a reason to switch!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Travel Tips for Families During the Holidays

Airports are packed during the holidays with once a year travelers and you decide it's the perfect time to buy that discount ticket and take your little one across the country to sample grandma's cooking. It's not too late to change your plans but if you choose to travel during the peak times, you may want to follow these 6 tips.

1. Pack food. Pack food that your entire family can enjoy. Food that travels well like meal replacement bars, fruit, beef jerky, or almonds will stay fresh when you are delayed. Airport food is crazy expensive and often offers poor nutritional value.  You cannot go through the security checkpoint with liquids over 3.4 oz. But, you can bring empty water bottles and fill them when you are in the gate area. Many airport restaurants will allow you to fill your water for free. This liquid restriction does not apply to infant formula or baby food when you are accompanied by an infant. #PackFood

2. Print Your Boarding Pass at Home. Even the kiosks will have lines. If the system goes down from being over taxed, you will have your boarding pass and can go to the shorter line if you need to check a bag. Bring tip money to use the skycaps. Checking any baggage curbside will save you time in the long lines in the airport.

3. Leave your house extra early. The airport will be packed. Even if your plane is delayed, a plane swap can occur and your flight can be back on schedule in a snap. Getting through security can take an hour during peak times. If you are not in the gate area, you will miss your flight and during the holidays there are very few empty seats.

4. Pack Light and Pack Right. Remember, your kids will have a very short attention span so pack them things to do while you wait, puzzle books, coloring books, and reading books are a great start. If you are going to be gone for more than a couple of days, do laundry in your destination. Bring clothes that can be layered and interchanged. Ideally, each ticketed passenger will board with one carryon item and one personal item. Rick Steves gives you great tips at

5. Ship your gifts days before you leave. Travelling with kids will already have your hands full! There's no need to check wrapped gifts when you can order gifts online and have them delivered directly to grandma's house. Extra baggage can cost you a lot of money. Before you start home, pack up your gifts and ship them home.

6. Be Kind. Airport employees respond well to your great attitude. In fact, you can move mountains with a smile and kind words. What a breath of fresh air you can be after the last retched person! There is a lot of leeway in how fees are applied for people that know how to act. #BeKind

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Go the Extra Mile

Is it enough to do exactly what is expected? Not usually. People remember that you went the extra mile to ensure their happiness. This is how repeat business happens. Give your customers something to talk about... to rave about! Go the #ExtraMile. When you do you will be rewarded with a reputation you can build a business on.

Many stop just short of the best they can give because good enough has been their standard for too long. That little bit extra is why people shop around. It may not be the pricing structure, it could be the level of service someone else offers. It's not too late to increase your level of acceptable standard.

Even now, there are restaurants that I frequent that have exceptional service and ok food. Why? Because I like to have great service when I go out, it makes the meal more enjoyable for me. On the other hand, there are restaurants that have perfect food and hit or miss service. Do I eat there? No. I will, on occasion, order food to go. But, guess what that means? No upsells, no dessert, no beverages, etc. These are all items that the owners count on to pay their bills.

So, if there is room for you to do better... do it. You are only hurting yourself when you do just enough. Eventually, someone will come along and do what you could have done all along and blow you away!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Your Girl is Peeing on My Stick!

Craigslist—Get Your Man with Fake Positive Pregnancy Test

I was looking for something interesting to write about and I found out that women are selling positive pregnancy tests to other women “no questions asked.” No good can come from this practice. What do you think? Please comment below.

My take:

I am never amazed at what level of trickery a person will stoop to get what they want! When I read this article, I was sick. I had to see if this is real and how easy it is to find these women selling pregnancy tests. I looked in Oklahoma and found someone in less than a minute! When you are starting out a relationship based on a lie, the likelihood of relationship success is diminished. 

I understand doing all you can do to get what you want. But, this is too far. The foundation of any good relationship requires trust. If I can't trust you, then we have nothing. The worst part about this debauchery is that when the news is delivered, no need to use protection now... then Boom! That lie is now your reality. Hmmmm.... thank you babe for 19 years of love so I don't have to trap you with a fake pregnancy test. You already know... it's not happening here!

Original article can be found here: 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Get to Work

Shaking my head that another month has past and I haven’t reached all of my goals. I have made a serious dent and my deadlines are met so I feel great about the progress. I know that I have a lot to do and could probably use a virtual assistant to do half of the busy work I do in a day, but it is hard to trust someone else with your baby. Your gift to share with the world.

When I am rounding my twelfth hour and I know that I have too much pending to just quit now, I often find myself pushing through until my work is complete because I wanted to be a writer and that’s what writers do… we write. I use #vixxbuzz as a way to express myself. It isn’t as easy as is seemed at first because once I gave myself permission to do what I love, the flood gates were opened and ideas populated my brain. They fill my mind to overflowing and I can’t write them down fast enough, but they are there ready to be heard.

Have you ever loved something so much that you just couldn’t stop doing it? I mean really loved! Like when my kids were little and I just wanted to hold them all day and even when people came over to visit, I didn’t want to give them the chance to hold my babies but I did. I let other people hold these precious bundles of joy and it was okay. It didn’t change how much they loved me or responded to my attention. Why can’t I let someone else take what I have here and hold on to the little things that keep my focus split?

This is one of the things that entrepreneurs face every day. Finding a way to balance all they know in a way that maximizes the time they put into their business is key to business success. One person can’t do it all! You have to have a team of people you can count on to forward your vision. The ability of a team to achieve far outweighs what one person can accomplish alone. It’s not enough to love what you do. You have to love it enough to let others step in and assist you in accomplishing your goals. When you do this, you do more and that’s why we wanted to have a business in the first place.

If all you wanted was to do what everyone else is doing at the same level of competence, it wasn’t necessary to own your own business. The world doesn’t need more of the same. It needs more that is better, that makes a difference, and gives the world a glimpse into what can be accomplished when we stop making excuses and get to work. Otherwise we would just get a J-O-B! So, if you find yourself at the beach wishing you could do more with your business you should get to work. There is always more you can do.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Parent Tips for Teenage Dating

As a parent of two beautiful daughters I say make them wait until they are married. But, realistically that isn't reasonable. I think that Tony and I have had our share of debates on this issue and we came to an understanding that goes like this:

1. Set an Example. We needed to set the tone for dating in our children's lives. Setting a good example of how dating should look started with family date nights where the girls were able to enjoy the normal banter of a date situation. They contributed to the conversations by telling us about their day and where they wanted to go on our next vacation.

2. Greet the Parents. Anyone that wanted to take our girls out on a date needed to show up at the door and act like they had some sense. This should go without saying but we know it can't. Interviewing the potential dates was a great way to put us at ease with our little girl going off with a kid we didn't know.

3. Group Dates. Going out in a group takes the pressure off of your child to converse for an entire date. Also, their peers can give them feedback that as a parent, they won’t accept from you. If their friends think he sucks and they share it, you won’t have to.

4. Set a Time Limit. Let your kid know what time they need to be home and the consequences of not returning at the predetermined time. When they are late, even by one minute, follow through with the consequence. Nothing says "do whatever you want" more than letting this situation happen unchecked. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fake People Suck

The title should say it all! But, you know it doesn't!

Have you ever experienced a serious life event only to find when you look around, there isn’t anyone there to give you support. You know. Those friends that you have supported in all of their crazy drama filled times—even if it was self-inflicted. Vanished without a trace. When you could really use a friend, those friends are not available.

Somewhere in your mind, you knew that would happen. Even when you were consoling their latest boyfriend that cheated again! Well, you knew he was a cheater… isn’t that how you got together in the first place? When he was stepping out on his baby’s mama, he was a cheater then too. Just sayin’.

So, I have moved on too. Now that my life is back in order and I have time to listen to your drama, please don’t call—I changed the number.