Girl Talk #3

“thisisyourbestyear” is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Girl Talk with “thisisyourbestyear”
Time: Apr 10, 2020 08:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

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Surviving Social Distancing

So we have been told to stay at home, and some of us are having a hard time while others have found new callings, and our new wardrobe. Why is it so hard for some of us to be alone when really in todays world we are never alone? You know with all the social media there is always someone there.

I actually don’t remember my first few days of social distancing since I was frantically converting my face-to-face classes to online classes. It had to be done, and done quickly. After working furiously and relentlessly it was time to rest. So my next few days of social distancing were spent in pajamas. It was time to catch up on rest (you can catch up).

My first days were spent going from the bed to my favorite chair(s). There was a lot of looking at magazines, trying to find something to watch on television–I can’t binge watch. It helped that it was raining all day and night.

I kept in touch with friends and family by calling, texting, social media and more. My kids and I could see each other over the phone/computer. So all in all it wasn’t that bad. My husband was still going to court for a few hours a day, and that helped.

When you can’t go anywhere it makes you want to go more, and it was beginning to happen to my friends and me. Then we all decided that there was things that we could do.

Here are some of the things that we did:

  • Got up and moved. There were those that could do an exercise program via the internet, social media, television and more. You can do a different one every day. I have found out that I have no rhythm–Latin Zumba and I do not see eye to eye. I did however keep moving. There are some people who took walks around the block or on the track. Some that finally used that stationary bike and other equipment that was collecting dust.
  • When the sun finally came out there was yard work to be done, mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, repotting plants and even planting flowers and that vegetable garden. I repotted plants, planted a vegetable garden, but then ran into a snake so no flowers were planted in the front flower boxes (and they may not get planted this season).
  • Many of us were a little bit more culinary inclined. Instead of preparing what we always prepared, we tried different things. We took out those gadgets, you know the Instant Pot, the airfryer, the electric skillet–we finally figured out what the convection button was on the oven.
  • Some of us even briefly went out. My sister and I went to the location of Hardie’s Fresh Foods truck, and got fruits and vegetables. They did social distancing. You never got out of the car–they bought everything to your car and loaded it.
  • We held our first Meet and Greet–Girl Talk via Zoom. Our next one is April 3 at 8 pm CST via Zoom. (Use the ID 843-171-852).
  • Deep cleaning your house is always an option. My shutters and blinds are getting deeped cleaned, and are now their original bright white.
  • Hopefully creative juices will start to flow like a river and not a slow moving one.
  • Read just for pleasure. I’m reading another Robert Parker book. It helps that I imagine Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone.
  • Prayers..no need to say anything else.

There are so many other things that people are doing and dealing with during this pandemic. Reach out to those that are truly alone, give them a call, send them a quick note. There are a large group of people who do not do social media. Remember “thisisyourbestyear“, please be safe.

Our next Zoom “Girl Talk” will be on Friday, April 3 at 8 PM CST. Please use the ID 843-171-852. See you soon.

YOUR SAFETY

Most of us will say that we remember the “good old days”. The days when we didn’t lock the doors, the days when the windows were open, the front door greeted everyone with a latch screen and the only reason that we locked the car doors was so that we could play with the lock pulling it up and pushing it down. We remember when going to the mall alone was therapeutic–a time for us to just clear our mind.

These days are so different, and we have had to take so many precautions that our mothers’ never thought about. We all know about the precautions in the house–a lot of us have ring doorbells, security cameras, security systems and more to protect us while we are in our homes, and to protect the things we have in our homes while we are away. But what about while we are out, what kind of precautions do we as “women of a certain age” take to remain safe.

A law enforcement officer told me some simple things to do that can enhance our safety while we are out:

  • Always try to take someone with you–not a child that you have to constantly watch–you will not be attentive to the things around you.
  • If you go with someone else have your purse inside next to them–they will have to go between both of you to grab your purse.
  • Only take the card(s) that you need and if possible put them in an easily accessible place on your person–an inside pocket that zips, etc.
  • Keep your windows rolled up at traffic lights–they can grab you at the light.
  • Carry bags/purses in your nondominant arm–you fight better with your dominant arm.
  • Don’t stop for gas at night, but if you must and you feel someone staring at you, don’t drop your eyes, look them straight in the eyes–they will then know you have seen them and can identify them.
  • Don’t get in the car with anyone. Fight until you can’t fight any more–your chances are much if you don’t get in the car.
  • If you are accosted, and can get away run and scream like your life depends on it–it does.
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers at parties, in bars, etc.–we’ve heard this all our lives.
  • Don’t stop when someone points and tells you that you have a car problem–drive to a well lighted area, call 911 on your phone while you are looking for a place to pull over.
  • Use major highways when possible–they are better traveled. They have signage and are well lit.

There are many other things that we could do to try and stay safe such as carrying pepper spray, taking self-defense courses and even taking a concealed weapons course.

Share some of your precautions that you take so that we can assist each other in staying safe. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”take extra precautions when you are out and about like your life depends on it, it does. Don’t forget to share the precautions you take.

USE THESE 5 STEPS TO MAKE YOUR FIRST CRAFT SHOW A SUCCESS

*Guest post by Tina Martin

**I know a lot of crafters–people who make things, and are actually good at it. In fact one of my friends just rented a space to showcase her handy work. This article will assist you in hosting a successful craft fair and put you on the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Are you a maker or an artisan who is gearing up for your very first market or craft show? Then you should know that making your booth a hit with customers can take some planning and effort, especially if you want to increase your sales. So, before you begin setting up your table, take note of these simple ways that you can attract customers and sales for your new business. 

Streamline Management and Operations 

If you were building a house, you wouldn’t dream of getting started without the proper tools. Before you take your arts and crafts business to the next level, make sure you have the right tools to help build yourself up to success. For instance, getting your operations under control is crucial when you need to focus on setting up at your first craft show, and doing so can be effortless when you have business management tools, such as software to make point-of-sale operations more efficient, in your small business toolbox. Another way to enhance your operations and reduce your stress is to download productivity apps to keep yourself on track. You will need a solid smartphone to use those apps, so be sure to complete the next step. 

Upgrade to a More Powerful Mobile Device

If you don’t have a fast, efficient smartphone, you could be missing out on a lucrative revenue stream: mobile credit card processing. If you need a smartphone to handle all of those swipes as well as other essential business tasks, consider a next generation model. Phones like the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10+ can help increase sales and even help promote your business. Contact your wireless provider to see if they offer any trade-in deals where you can swap your older model phone for a discounted new model. 

Create and Post Engaging Social Media Content 

How do you get people excited about your products when you don’t have an actual storefront? By using social media, of course. Start by selecting the best platform to showcase your products and connect with your target audience. Many makers opt for Instagram since photos and videos are at the heart of this popular social media platform. You also need followers to boost your business, so don’t be shy about asking folks to like, share, and follow your account, or even printing business cards featuring your social media info. 

Promote Products with Organized, Attractive Displays 

Now that you have all the right ingredients to get folks to visit your booth or table, you need to make sure they are really “wowed” by what they see. That means taking some time to educate yourself around a few visual merchandising basics. First, find ways to showcase your products, including large-scale photos and clever signage. Next, try to set up your displays so that shoppers can easily browse and even touch your products. Touch can be especially important since people are more likely to buy items when they can touch them first. 

Connect With Customers Through Quality Service 

Your displays and products will entice shoppers to visit your booth or table, but your personality is what will drive people to actually make purchases. So, before you set up at your first market, show, or event, be sure to refresh yourself on some ways to offer excellent customer service. Showing up to your booth with a friendly attitude and a genuine smile can go a long way in helping shoppers connect with your business, so try to get a positive start to each day you will be working your booth so that you can attract loyal customers to help boost your business. 

Your first craft show can be a success so long as you take the time to plan out some key strategies. Planning is always essential for ensuring these events are as stress-free as possible, but know that keeping a positive attitude is crucial as well. So, be mindful of the way you present your products, and always be mindful of the way you present yourself. Good luck!  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

*Tina stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.

**Check out the crafts of friend to the blog Steffany Villalobos. You can find her creations–Freestylecraft at the Mercantile #313, 7200 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116.

NOW ON YOUTUBE–BOSS WOMEN AND US!

We’ve started a new series, in fact, we’ve started a YouTube Channel. The channel is “thisisyourbestyear”, and we have been hard at work on it.

In the past we have had one or two videos that we have shared on YouTube, but we have now decided to go all in so that we can keep you informed on all levels. We’ve decided to expand the blog.

Our first official venture is a series that we entitled “Boss Women”. These are women who are entrepreneurs, community leaders and more. These are women who work hard while multitasking. These are “Boss Women”, women who are the “boss” of not only their businesses, but their lives.

Each boss woman is different in the ways they came into their entrepreneurial self. Some knew from the very start while others worked in corporate and decided it was not for them, retired or maybe stayed home to raise the children, and now find themselves empty nesters.

There will be so many other things that we will post to YouTube in the future. We’re working all the kinks out of our recordings, doing research on equipment we need (and can afford) to make the videos better.

If you are a “Boss Woman” or know a “Boss Woman” who might want to be interviewed for our series send us an email. We want to showcase their businesses and them. Just by interviewing them may give another woman the sign they need to becoming their own boss.

Remember you can now read us on our website and on these social media sites. Each one of them may have something different so give them a look.

  • Facebook—thisisyourbestyear
  • Instagram–thisisyourbestyear
  • YouTube— thisisyourbestyear
  • Tumblr—- thisisyourbestyear
  • Twitter—- thisisyourbestyear@mariciajohns

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and this journey of women of a certain age gets better because we are the “boss” of our lives.

DOWNTON ABBEY VISITS THE BILTMORE ESTATE

In my third and final installment regarding my visit to the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina the package I purchased included a special treat from our friends from across the pond.  Just recently I saw the movie “Downton Abbey.”  The film picks up where the PBS series left off and I am a big fan of the show.  

While visiting the magnificent Biltmore during the Christmas holidays to view the incredible decorations, it just so happened that “The Downton Abbey Exhibition” had recently opened at the estate.  There were of course costumes from the series and movie as well as furniture, documents, props and audio visual presentations regarding the life of the British aristocracy in the early 20th century.  I loved the exhibition and the history that went with it.  The “Downton Abbey Exhibition” will be at the Biltmore Estate until April 2020.  If you’re a fan of the show, it’s definitely worth the price of admission.

In my best British accent–remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

4 Tips For Taking Your Home-Based Business From Couch To Dream Office

*Guest post by Tina Martin

Many women of a certain age have decided they want to start their own business and work out of their home at their leisure. One of the main problems they/we run into is that we have always worked in an office setting. This post by Tina Martin will help you turn your couch into an efficient office.

Is a lack of space holding back your home-based business? Workspace challenges are one of the most common obstacles that home-based business owners face, so you’re definitely not alone with these woes. If you want to have your best year yet, and help your home-based business thrive, however, you have to find creative ways to solve those home workspace challenges. So if you are ready to take your home-based business to the next level of success, here are some tips for creating your dream office at home: 

Bigger Business Dreams May Require a Bigger Home

Sometimes what you really need to create your dream home workspace is to move to a bigger place. You can research local home prices to see if this is a reasonable move for your new business ventures—home sale prices in Fort Worth are averaging $255,000. Keep in mind that having more space means more options for creating a home office and organized storage. So if you would need to rent storage space or an office, moving to a new home could actually save you some serious cash in the long run. Aside from financial and business considerations, other signs that you need more living space are dealing with clutter in your current home or not wanting to deal with the high costs of renovating. If you feel like your quality of life or productivity is suffering, it may also be time to buy a bigger home. 

Smart Home Office Design May Require Outside Help 

When business is booming, you should consider any investments you make into your new home workspace as investments in the future success of your home-based business. This includes any fees you may pay for professional designers, who can help create the best layout for a productive home office. If you’re concerned that hiring professionals is outside your budget, Business Insider explains that some companies offer free design services, or will at least provide a cost-free consultation. These services are often complimentary when you purchase home office products from major retailers like Pottery Barn or West Elm.

DIY Renovations Can Boost ROI on Home Workspaces 

If you feel comfortable wielding tools, then you may be able to save even more on your new home workspace. That’s because by using DIY websites to tackle renovation tasks and project to-dos, you will be able to avoid paying hefty contractor fees. These sites are full of resources for handy homeowners and home-based business owners, including tips for putting together a project budget and tutorials for building custom furniture. So if you have the time and attention to detail, refer to these DIY resources to create your dream home office. To keep those DIY projects from becoming disasters, you will want to consider some key points before you start. Safety should always be top concern, so leave more complex remodeling jobs to professionals. 

Small Touches Can Help Keep a Home Office Organized 

Once you have the bones of your new home workspace all worked out, you can move onto the finer details. Just keep in mind that design and decor details can really make or break the feel of your home office, so give these touches the same consideration as major project elements. For example, the paint colors you choose for your office walls can either hinder or help creativity and productivity. So if you want a burst of energy during your workday, opt for a sunny yellow color, but if you prefer to enhance your concentration, warm hues of pink or peach may be best. Decor can also play a key role in improving your home office space and can even add storage—consider getting a few decorative bins, which you can buy on Amazon for $29.99.

There are so many perks to having a dedicated workspace in your home, especially if you are trying to grow your home-based business. Creating your dream home office can help you keep your life balanced, and it can also offer a space to keep you productive. Plus, you may even be able to take advantage of tax benefits that will give you more room for future business projects.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear” let’s get busy.

* Tina stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Grandparents As Parents

Being a grandparent is one of the best things this side of heaven. Each grandparent thinks their grandchildren are the cutest in the world. Their grandchildren are the smartest, so much smarter than their children were at that age. When grandchildren come to visit, grandparents give them almost anything they desire. They let them do whatever their hearts can imagine and more. This is so true for the preteen grandchildren. As they grow into teenage years it’s another story. Grandparents love grandchildren because after all the fun they have, the food they have eaten, the playing they have done and much more they are packed up and sent home to their parents. Grandparents can then go back to whatever they want to do–they’ve earned it.

Some grandparents can’t send their grandchildren home to their parents because they have become the parents. There have always been grandparents that raised their grandchildren for some reason. There was always Big Mama Susie, Granny Louise, Paw Paw, Daddy James and more who took on the role of raising a grandchild.

In the state of Texas alone there are approximately 823,750 children under the age of 18 living in homes where the householders are grandparents or other relatives with the majority living with grandparents.

According to the Grandfacts State Fact Sheets there are over 315,000 grandparents that are raising grandchildren. Of those:

  • 67% are under the age 60
  • 62% are still in the workforce
  • 23% live in poverty
  • 23% have a disability
  • 26% are unmarried (grandchildren are living with a single parent)

These grandparents having raised their children have once again taken on the responsibility for the day-to-day maintenance of a home, schedules, meals, homework, play dates and more. These items may seem simple, but homework is not the same as it was a generation ago. Years ago play dates consisted of going outside and playing with the kids in the neighborhood. There was no scheduling of activities. Birthday parties consisted of cake, punch and a few games in the backyard or den. There was no social media, cell phones and internet. In addition to time, the majority of these things carry a monetary component.

The grandparents who are raising their grandchildren now have to redo their lives, their dreams and much more. They have to give up their independence and start all over again. Their finances will ultimately take a hit, and retirement may not be in the picture in the near future. That dream of finally starting their own business has again become just a dream.

All of this is not to say that grandparents do not cherish their grandchildren, it’s just that their lives or at least the idea of what their lives should look like at this stage of life will have to change. Their new normal is not the normal they day dreamed about.

There are programs that will assist the grandparents in their new role as primary parents. At my church a senior group meets once a month to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of raising grandchildren when you thought you would only see them on the weekends. It allows the grandparents to learn from others who are in similar situations, and to give guidance to those that need it .

In every state there are organizations that will assist those that are raising children for the second time. AARP has great information in the Grandfacts sheets for the United States and for your state. There are local programs that can assist also.

Grandparents may need a little help when raising grandchildren. Those that take on this task are indeed “grand”. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and just in case you didn’t know my grandchild is the cutest and smartest.

Getting Healthy Shouldn’t Be Expensive: 3 Ways Seniors Can Boost Their Health On A Budget

*guest post by Jason Lewis

Looking at fitness classes, meal delivery services, and other health-related products, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that a healthy lifestyle is unaffordable. But the truth is, living well doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you want to improve your health but are worried about the expense, try these three strategies for staying healthy on a budget.

Avoid Sticker Shock at the Doctor

Out-of-pocket medical bills are disastrous for your budget. Not only is healthcare expensive, but most of the time you don’t know what a procedure costs until you get the bill.

Original Medicare comes with significant cost-sharing requirements. Without supplemental coverage, Medicare beneficiaries spend an average of $5,374 on out-of-pocket medical costs (not including premiums) every year. Seniors with high medical needs and no supplemental coverage spend more than $7,000 on out-of-pocket costs.

Supplemental coverage reduces out-of-pocket costs so your medical spending is more predictable and easier to budget around. Instead of getting hit with a big bill after a hospital visit, you pay premiums for a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan that reduces your cost-sharing requirements. If you have high medical needs, Medigap is likely the better choice for you. Otherwise, you can see greater savings with a Medicare Advantage plan like those from Humana. Medicare Advantage plans vary by state, so you’ll want to comparison shop and crunch numbers to find the most cost-effective plan for you.

Supplement Your Workout at Home

Staying active saves you thousands in healthcare costs, but if you’re only paying attention to your health while you’re at the gym, you’re not getting the most bang for your buck. Healthy habits at home — especially those focused on your mental health — can exponentially improve the health benefits you see from just working out alone. 

From speeding up physical recovery to making workouts more enjoyable, incorporating self-care into your life boast a slew of benefits. However, many people don’t make it a priority because they erroneously think taking care of themselves means long massages, expensive vacations, or other costly, time-consuming activities. 

Fortunately, that’s not the case. There are plenty of budget-friendly self-care tactics you can incorporate into your daily routine. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, daily meditation, a relaxing bath, and an earlier bedtime are just a few examples of how you can prioritize your own well-being without breaking the bank. 

Eat Healthy on a Budget

Are you convinced that eating healthy is too expensive? There’s no question that healthy foods can be costly, but they don’t have to be. If you shop all organic from a high-end grocer and eat out several times a week, a dietary shift could double your grocery bill. But there are plenty of ways to eat well without spending a fortune.

Instead of buying everything organic, stick to the dirty dozen for your organic produce and buy conventional for the rest. You should also eat smaller servings of free-range and grass-fed meat, getting more of your protein from plant sources instead. Rather than buying processed foods that hike up your grocery bill without providing much nutritional value, stick to whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fresh meat and fish. Buying from the bulk section is another great call: When producers don’t have to pay for packaging, those savings are passed along to you. Just pay attention to price, because while most things are cheaper in bulk, some bulk products could be more expensive.

There’s no shortage of products promising better health in exchange for your hard-earned money, but good health doesn’t come from a miracle cure or any other quick-fix solution. If you really want to enjoy your best health, start with the basics: good healthcare, an active lifestyle, and a healthy diet. These simple steps don’t cost a lot and will save you thousands in health problems throughout your senior years.

“Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–taking these steps can help us all.

*This post was written by guest blogger Jason Lewis. Jason is a personal trainer and the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created StrongWell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65.

Breast Cancer–Be Aware All Year

We all know that October is

and we are asked to

We wear the pink ribbons for a month and even donate money.

We must continue to remind our friends, sisters, cousins–even ourselves that

and that there are certain things that put us at

but, we also know that

So don’t forget to get that yearly uncomfortable mammogram. We all know someone, or we are that someone who can say

Let’s continue to help those with breast cancer be a

We are all aware in October, but breast cancer occurs all year. All of us know someone that did not defeat this disease or are living with it, so let’s not only be aware, let’s

Let’s continue to support those organizations that you feel are working toward a cure. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and breast cancer has affected us all in one way or another. We are in this together.