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.

let’s get together

We’ve been social distancing for a few days so let’s get together and have a little girl talk. Join us for about 40 minutes of getting to know each other, and sharing our tips on surviving social distancing.

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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”.

a CULINARY EXPERIENCE At The Biltmore

by CY Cooper

In my last post for THIS IS YOUR BEST YEAR, I told all about my trip to see the Incredible Biltmore Estate for the Christmas Holidays.  As I explained in my last communication, I actually stayed at one of the hotels on the estate grounds…..The Village Inn.  Not only can you stay at one of the two hotels on the estate but there are also amazing restaurants on the property where you can dine.  The Biltmore has seven restaurants that offer a wide range of fine and casual dining choices.  The menus showcase fresh produce and meats that are raised and harvested on the Biltmore estate.  

Since we were arriving in Asheville, North Carolina in the afternoon, I went online before the trip and checked out the menu, reviews and made a reservation for the dinner buffet at DeerPark Restaurant.  If I have to say so myself, it was a great choice.  This buffet had everything from slow roasted prime rib, herb crusted turkey breast to citrus roasted salmon.  Let’s not mention the many appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes and of course numerous desserts including, a crepe station, black forest pavlova and eggnog cheesecake.  ALL the food was DELICIOUS.  

Now since we were staying at The Village Inn and had purchased the Christmas Tour Package, breakfast was included with the stay.  As you may know, I absolutely LOVE breakfast and the morning meal at the Village Social restaurant definitely started off each day in the correct way.  For some reason each morning I ordered the Social Breakfast which included two eggs (over medium) heirloom potatoes, toast and thick cut bacon.  Service was exceptional right along with the food.  

Because each day was started off with a satisfying breakfast, there really was no need for lunch.  Maybe a stop here and there for snacks but not a full blown lunch.  Next to the actual Biltmore estate,  there’s a section where there are shops and a restaurant called The Stable Cafe.  It’s a fitting name as it was once the estate’s actual horse stable.  The Stable Cafe features Appalachian comfort food for lunch including house smoked meats, Carolina barbeque, classic burgers, and salads.  The Dinner Menu at the Stable Cafe is simply OUTSTANDING. The dining room for dinner is located on the 2nd level.  Decorated beautifully for the holidays, the dining experience at The Stable Cafe was simply AMAZING.  Service was fantastic and the food was wonderful.  I ordered the Bone-In Pork Chop with sweet potato puree, fried brussel sprouts & apple sage butter.  My friend ordered the Shrimp & Grits with sauteed shrimp, Anson Mills blue corn grits, lobster butter, andouille sausage & scallions.  Please note at the end of the meal there was nothing left on either plate.  

As I mentioned in the previous post, this was my second visit to this magnificent house.  On my first trip I enjoyed afternoon tea in the Library Lounge at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.  The Inn is a 4 star hotel located on the grounds with incredible sweeping views of the estate.  On this trip I booked their Holiday Tea located in The Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.  With Mount Pisgah in the background, we enjoyed a full service afternoon tea with delicious scones, sandwiches & desserts.  As you have come to expect with anything associated with The Biltmore, service along with the food was impeccable.  

Enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays at the Biltmore was a dream come true for me.  BUT there was another perk that was added in that I didn’t see coming and that was……The Downton Abbey Exhibition currently on display at the Biltmore until April, 2020.  More about that in my next post.  

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and savor the moment.


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.

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.

Conversation, Movie, Museum and More–A Fun Night!

Another one is in the books! We had a great time at our latest outing with a great group of ladies. This time we decided to do a number of things in one outing, and it worked. There was something for everyone. There is no schedule as to when we will do an event, it is just when we think that something may interest some ladies, and we go for it.

When we heard that the Magnolia at the Modern (Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth) would be showing one of the most talked about movies around –The Farewell, we knew this was what we had been looking for.

Then we decided why not tour the Modern before the movie and see the great art work it contains. Entry into the museum on that day was free–that’s a win, win situation.

Touring the museum is always enjoyable. There is wonderful artwork inside and outside. The weather was beautiful so we were able to enjoy both. We even had time to go into the museum store to look around and make a few purchases.

So that we could get to know each other better, we had a reservation at Cafe Modern where we enjoyed cocktails, snacks and great conversation. Having time just to talk was fun and entertaining.

Then it was off to see the movie in the comfort of the theater at Magnolia at the Modern. It may not have all of the amenities that the newer theaters have, but it is cozy, and yes each lady was given snacks because everyone knows that you can’t go to the movies without snacks.

The movie lived up to its billing. I really can’t wait to see it again and see the things I missed. I will tell you though that there are subtitles because much of the movie is in Chinese and even a little Japanese with some English thrown it.

All in all the conversation was good, the museum was fun, the movie was great and the night was a lot of fun. We look forward to our next outing, and hope that you can join us. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.