Aug 292020
 

This is Chelsie Kenyon, a phenomenal brain trainer and marketing coachDear Chelsie,

I don’t remember how I found you, but I believe I was on You Tube looking for something motivational. Not sure why I clicked on you, but I did. The last thing I thought I needed was some glamour girl Barbie doll telling me what to do. As I was about to click out of there, you said shit ton, one of my very favorite technical terms. 😉 Then you started talking about kicking ass. Somewhere down the line you dropped an F-Bomb. Blonde bombshell or not, dare I think I found my tribe and its name is Chelsie Kenyon?

A Little About Me

I am short and round, an old Nana who is way past her glory, if I ever had any. I have a self-esteem problem. My mother didn’t like me and, to her, I was fat, ugly and good for nothing. She repeated it till her dying day when I was 61. She’s still in my head, but I’m fighting. So your California Golden Girl look was the last person I thought I wanted to listen to. You could have Bobbi Brown do my makeup, dye my hair, carve the tonnage off of me with a chain saw and put me on a rack for a year or so. Not a snowball’s chance in hell of looking like you or even close. But, hey, I’m old enough to be your mother, so. . .

Chelsie, You Kept Getting In My Head

After that first video I looked you up on the net. I found this massively impressive website, chock full of glamour shots. I cringed. But I listened, too. You were real. I found the link to your Facebook group and clicked the join button. To say I was blown away is an understatement. I was still having trouble with the glamour girl look. Jealousy? Not at my age. Maybe regret for what never was and what never will be. After a day or two, I was hanging on to every word you said. And then I did the unthinkable. . . I bought a course from you, Ms. Barbie Doll. Okay, okay. It was a small course, but I bought it.

That First Course

Your course came in two parts. The little second part about building a Campsite link I did first as it looked like something this technoeejit could handle. And I did. I was so pumped! So I tackled the other part, “Quick and Dirty Funnels.” Of course, I didn’t tell anybody that I didn’t know what the hell a funnel was. But I figured I was still teachable, even at my age. So I went through the course once. I went through the course twice. In the middle of the third time I broke down in tears. I had no idea what was going on. Should have saved my money. Every negative voice came rushing back.

But Your Group. . .

I was going to get out of your group, but. . .I couldn’t. I was like the proverbial moth to a flame. Then I jumped in another group with you. And then. . . the photophobic that is me purchased your Fauxtography course, you know, the one that makes you look like you’ve done a pro photoshoot but using just your phone and some props. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

When I look in the mirror all I see is an ugly old lady with wrinkles and a huge nose. Yeah, I know that’s not technically true, but it’s historical conditioning. I’ve done a lot of work in breaking out of that, but WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU, MA’AM. . . . taking a photography course brought it all slamming back like a sucker punch to the gut. The voices in my head told me I was an idiot, a fool, stupid, yada yada yada. But, hell, I paid for it. So I opened it up.

Fauxtography

At first I had every excuse in the book why I couldn’t do this. There isn’t any white space in my house. The tripod doesn’t work right. I don’t know how to use the camera in my phone all that well. I’m gonna look ridiculous. I’m just gonna open up old wounds. And on and on it went. My usual self-hatred. But I kept clicking on the lessons. And a strange thought started appearing, one that said maybe I COULD do this. Every time I closed the course, my brain snuck right back in and snickered, “FOOL!!!” But. . .but. . . but this was really good information. No, I was NOT gonna look like you. I was gonna look like me. That had to be okay. Me is okay. I kept repeating that over and over and over again.

And a Selfie Started It All

The course is not about taking selfies, but I decided to try a few things. I had to dig deep and figure out what was actually fueling my camera fears.

First one was hair. I have very little of it due to medical conditions. And right now what’s left is plague hair, not cut since February. But hair is easy. I have wigs. In fact, I have a wig almost the exact color my hair was in the olden days, kind of like a bright shiny penny. The second thing is I have next to no eyebrows. Then what did I buy the damn Anastasia eyebrow powder for? I went to work. Eyebrows on. Check. Wig on. Check. And here I sat, feeling like a foolish old lady who was playing dress-up.

I started clicking away. I took some ridiculous-ass pics at first. Thank God you can erase them. I would have had to cut up the negatives in the old days. Remember when you had to wait two weeks to discover your photos sucked? LOL But then I got a few good ones. And then I got one that made me sit here with my jaw on the desk. That can’t be me! I sent it to my husband. This man who has loved me for 52 years texted back, “Who dat?” with a heart on it.

“THE Selfie”

Me with a red wig and happy

And Now Push Comes to Shove

Now it was time to do what scared me the most. Me. On Camera. Front-facing. Me and the tripod. Hoo boy!!! I chickened out several times. I repeated several sections of Fauxtography, all the while seeing Chelsie’s beautiful smile and hearing her encouraging me to pull a Nike and Just Do It. So I did. Again, the ridiculous-ass pics showed up. Delete works nicely. But then there were a few. . . I’ll let you be the judge.”

Thank You, Chelsie!!!

I can’t thank you enough, Chelsie Kenyon. You pushed me, you shoved me, you kicked my ass hard. You. Someone I normally wouldn’t even give the time of day with a broken watch only because of how gorgeous you are. How ridiculous is that? But the substance behind that gorgeousness came through loud and clear, even to this faded and jaded old lady. I am so glad I stayed. You now see me all over your groups. I may be the oldest one in there. I absolutely don’t care. I’m in. And guess what? You’re stuck with me, woman. I’m not going anywhere. Oh, and I just bought two more courses. 🙂

Love,
Carla

P.S. Wanna go check Chelsie out? Her name is linked to her site at the beginning of this blog post. Her FB group is The E.P.I.C. Woman Collective – For your Brain and Business. Just click and knock on the door! And for a hella good marketing technique, try The Daily Prompt. You will NOT regret it!!!

Aug 082020
 

When you live in a rural area and there is no power, you lose your toilets, too.Hurricane Isaias came barreling up the Atlantic Coast earlier this week after walloping parts of the Caribbean. Storms happen all the time in New Jersey. Sometimes, we get nailed; other times, we don’t. We got trounced by a derecho (a severe vertical wind storm) in 2012 in my neck of the woods, to be followed up by Hurricane Sandy which mostly missed us but almost destroyed the northern end of the state. So when the power went down on Tuesday morning, it was ho-hum. It’ll be back on in a few minutes. Except that it wasn’t.

Living in The Boonies

I live in a rural area. No power means no nuttin’ honey, including the bathrooms. Yes, we have our own well, but you need an electric pump to get that water up out of the ground and into the house. When my kids were little, we had a big swimming pool in the back yard and we used to run a bucket brigade to flush the toilets. The pool’s been gone for ages. During the derecho and Hurricane Sandy we had these huge industrial barrels which we used to take to a friend’s house who had city water and fill them up. It got to be quite a drag. We also used to stockpile gallons of bottled water for taking showers.

For Want of a Generator

We sat in our 105-degree living room for almost a month without power back in 2012 when the derecho hit. We were totally cut off. We had to make sure we could get out to get gas in the cars so we could pull them up to a window and run a charging cord out to power our phones. This was our only connection to the outside world. Telephone lines were out, too. We lost the food in the fridge and freezer. Everybody smelled really good (NOT). We had a camp stove out on the back porch for making coffee and elementary cooking. A friend eventually loaned us a small generator and it was such a relief. Right then and there I made a vow that I would do whatever it took to get a generator of our own.

It took me a while to save the money, but we waited for a deal at Harbor Freight and eventually got one. Armed with saved cash and a 20% off coupon, we proudly brought home the generator that has been gracing my back yard ever since. It doesn’t run the entire house, but it runs enough of it. We had it for a year-and-a-half before we needed it. I thought. . . all that money and those storms were a one-off? And then I remembered. Hey, this is New Jersey. So it got use. Not a lot, but it was a relief to know it was there.

But Life Without Power in Today’s World?

We waited for quite some time for the power to come back on the other day, thinking. . . “Any minute now it will be back.” The electric company always puts estimates on their outage line. No estimates. Hmmm So after waiting for 5 or 6 hours (yeah, we’re stubborn), hubby went out to hook up the generator. That at least gave us lights, water pump, fridge and freezer. It also gave me back a computer.

That’s good, right? Yes, it is. Before the computer got back online I was thinking, “Oh, I’ll just do this, this and that.” But I couldn’t do this, this and that without power. Banking? Need the computer. Business? Need the computer. Letting people know we were okay? Need the computer. And the computer needs. . . power. So we were effectively stuck. It took me a while to get things caught up and, truth be told, a day later I’m still not totally caught up. As they say in the Disney movie, it threw off my groove.

Where Was My Phone?

Well, yes, my phone was operating, but. . . it wouldn’t load much of anything. No weather reports. Facebook? It loaded from the cache and wouldn’t update. The only thing reliably working was Messenger and texting, so at least I could let a few people know we were okay. As far as keeping in contact in other ways, forget it. And we have good phones on a decent network. Well, at least I thought we did.

So. . . Back to That Generator

If you live in a heavily-populated area you probably won’t ever face any of this. When I complained after the 2012 fiasco, the electric company told me that they complete repairs by population of districts or some such garbage. My *district* has a whopping 16 homes in it so guess who gets last place? Yep, you’ve got it. But as rural as we are, there are other areas around here who get last minus one or two. I have friends still waiting with no end in sight.

Our generator is a must for this type of life. Without it, we would have been much worse off, a mini version of 2012. Yes, it takes gasoline to run. We keep some gas cans full for the tractor to mow the grass and the generator. As soon as that last can got emptied into the tank, we ran for more gas. Hubs fixed it so I could take a shower. I was grateful. Sure beats pouring gallons of bottled water over yourself, lathering up and then pouring more to rinse.

So How Did YOU Get Through This One?

If you live on the east coast, how did you weather Isaias? What do you do when the power goes out? To me, it almost seemed to be adding insult to injury on top of the plague we’re going through. But this is Hurricane Alley. I know there’s more coming. I’ve lived with hurricanes almost all of my life. They never seemed quite as bad as this one. I think I’m just getting old.

(This is too close to home. We were lucky. No damage.)

Jul 312020
 

A new word has entered our lexicon, maskne, or acne from wearing a maskWith the advent of having to or choosing to wear masks in public, a new word has entered our lexicon. . . maskne. This, of course, is acne due to the wearing of a mask. If you have acne-prone skin, anything disturbing it will tend to cause breakouts. But even those not normally prone to acne are seeing zits, inflammation and redness due to the conditions created by wearing a mask. Our facial skin is used to being out in the open. And, by the way, this is NOT a should you or should you not wear a mask. This is a better way to help maskne.

Standard Stuff

You can always use the standard OTC acne treatments. These things are chemical farms, though, and I’ve had enough of that stuff on my skin to last three lifetimes. But, again, many of them DO work and, if it’s your only option, you may want to try it. CAUTION: If you are over the age of 20, please do NOT use Clearasil. It’s made for super oily teen skins and will turn you into the Sahara Desert unless your face is normally an oil slick. There is a better way to help maskne.

My New Way Begins With Lavender

So now we get to my favorite method, essential oils. Do they help? Research says yes. And one of the words I use most often in my oily adventure is LAVENDER. I think if I only had one bottle of essential oil it would have to be lavender although I’m not a big fan of the smell. (Getting more used to it, though.) I put it on my itchy bug bites last night and wham, bam, thank you ma’am. . . they stopped itching. It’s good for all kinds of skin things, acne being only one of them. Since we’re not supposed to touch our faces, put it on a cotton ball and spot treat. It’s a super gentle oil.

Tea Tree Oil

Lavender DOES have some competition in the acne department, though. The biggest contender is TEA TREE OIL, another one I can’t stand the smell of. LOL Despite the smell, its healing benefits are legendary. Add one to two drops of this oil to a cotton ball and spot treat. You can also dilute it if your skin is super sensitive. Dilution of an essential oil with a carrier oil does NOT reduce its effectiveness. NOTE: If you have oily skin normally and not just in our age of masks, don’t use coconut oil for carrier oil as it can clog your pores.

Frankincense

One of my faves, FRANKINCENSE, can also be used to combat maskne. The boswellic acids contained in this beautiful oil are capable of soothing inflammation and killing the bacteria that causes acne (P. acnes).

Thyme

And my favorite nightly back rub, THYME, is also a champion of the cause. Laboratory studies have demonstrated that Thyme is an effective way of killing P. acnes. NOTE: Do NOT apply Thyme to your eyes or get it near them.

Rosemary

ROSEMARY has also been shown to damage P. acnes. It’s is currently being studied in the lab as an antifungal, too.

Cinnamon (or Cinnamon Bark)

CINNAMON (cinnamon bark) is good for more than baking. It’s also proven effective at fighting P. acnes. There have been studies that seem to show a reduction in menstrual pain as another benefit to this wonderful sniff.

A little research will turn up a few others in your search for a better way to help maskne.

Sadly, Maskne is here to stay for a while. So grab your favorite essential oil and have at it! You should also check the video below for tips on how to properly wear and care for your mask.

DISCLAIMER (1): I am NOT a medical or scientific professional and nothing you find on this page is intended as medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical care. References are given for certain statements and facts which are not my own. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.

DISCLAIMER (2): I am a Young Living Independent Representative. If you follow the links for the various essential oils you will end up on a website with my member number on it. If you follow it and purchase, I will receive a small portion of the sale. My member number is 18641551 if you’d like to join me on my oily adventures. 🙂

 

Jul 242020
 

My email box is overflowing with ad after ad after ad.Okay. I get it. Retailers are in business to sell product and online buying has blossomed during the pandemic. In fact, so many people are buying online that many small-to- medium brick and mortars are closing their doors for good while Jeff Bezos and his Amazon Empire get richer and richer. Sad, but the way it is right now. And just like everyone else, I’m shopping online more and more. These retailers send me emails. LOTS of emails. Six or more per day. Why are they bugging the snot outta me? Folks, this is email marketing gone wild.

Is Email Marketing Even Still Relevant?

Yes, I believe it is. Even in this day of texts, FB ads and Instagram, there’s still a place for emails. Plus, you don’t have to make the extra click as you do on a text ad to see the product. You can see it right on the email in most cases. Yes, you have to click if you want to explore further, but you can make that decision almost immediately. And everyone checks their emails, right? Don’t you do that first thing in the morning? I do.

The Old Reliables

There are reliable companies like L.L. Bean. One email every other day, maybe every day if they’re running a hot sale. No “Hey, you forgot this!!!” No “Why are you not buying? Do you hate us now?” None of that. Just an email a day or every other day pointing out something they think I might like or that’s on sale. And I can deal with this. I even like it. They are a good, reliable retailer with quality products, fair prices and fast delivery. And they don’t bombard me with useless emails!!!

The Repetitive Emails

I subscribe to a lot of stores because, buying online, I want the best deals possible. I don’t mind one email a day with features and special purchases. In fact, these emails are welcome. BUT SIX TO TEN A DAY? Cut me a break!!! I had to ditch one place that sent one every single hour on the hour for 24 hours straight. Do they really think this “pester marketing” is going to win them loyal customers? They must.

The Reminder Emails

It used to be if you looked at something but didn’t purchase, a day or two later you’d get an email saying it was available if you were still interested. Nice. Friendly. Non-intrusive. And if you were lucky, they’d offer you a small discount to go and complete your order. Now? Within an hour (sometimes minutes) after looking at something, I get, “Hey, did you forget this?” or “This is yours, right?” or “You left this in your cart!” And if I don’t go purchase the product more emails come in a regular progression throughout the day. To answer the questions they feel they must ask, “No, I did not forget this” and “No, it’s not mine as I haven’t bought it” and “No, I didn’t leave it in my cart. I don’t want it.”

The Guilt Emails

The ones that really get me are the ones that attempt to hang the guilt. . . on the CUSTOMER!!! Again, haven’t purchased in a while. I got one that said, “Why don’t you like us anymore?” And then there was, “Did we do something to make you hate us?” That was a good one, even I have to admit. No in both cases. Maybe I just don’t need anything right now. Novel concept, eh?

The Threat Emails

So I don’t buy something from a company for maybe a week. Then cometh, “We’re going to have to drop you from our email list since we haven’t heard from you.” HUH? Wanna drop me? Go for it! If you hit me with this one I don’t want your stinkin’ emails or product anyway.

So What’s the Answer?

STOP SENDING SO MANY @(&$&)(@*#$ EMAILS!!! Quite truthfully, if you bombard me with 10-12 emails a day, I’m off to a competitor to find that product. You just lost a sale. Do you care? Probably not. How do I know this? HERE COMES ANOTHER EMAIL!!!!

Retailers send you way too many emails to get you to buy something!

‘Wow! I’ve got one from someone I know!’

Jul 172020
 

As a child I always asked why. I was a pain about it. I am still the little girl who asks why.I was a pain in the butt as a child. Everyone around me got tired of me asking questions. It was an Olympic sport with me. The family thought I would be a journalist as I was the princess of What, Where, Why, When and How. Probably should have been. I was one of those kids who just had to know. As I grew, I realized that some questions just don’t have answers. It saddened me then; it saddens me now. And even as an old lady, inside of me is the little girl who still asks why.

Recent Events

So many recent deaths have taken a toll on my psyche. Young beautiful people, successful people, and now they’re gone. Some are a bit older. Some are very old and have lived a good long life. And as we know, all good things must come to an end. But when that end comes way too soon, you start to question why. And why now? Is there something in the air besides COVID-19? Are we going through a planetary shift? Climate Change? Oooops, there I go again. But. . .WHY?

When Money Doesn’t Cut It

My mom used to tell me, “You can’t buy happiness,” to which I usually shot back, “Maybe not, but it makes the misery more bearable.” Does it? After the alarming rate of young folks with money leaving this earth, I honestly think she was right and I was wrong.

I don’t pretend to have any type of knowledge of the whys and the wherefores of this world. That’s the department of a higher power well above my pay grade. But it sure makes you wonder why someone like Naya Rivera, by all accounts a good mom who worshiped her son, couldn’t get back in that boat. She made sure her baby was safely in and then, for whatever, reason, she slipped away. Why did she have to go? Where was that one last push of gargantuan strength that many say saves them?

There I go again, the little girl who still asks why.

A young man like Brandon Keough. He looks so much like his famous Grandpop (Elvis Presley) it’s scary. By all reports a nice and talented young man from a famous and talented family. Took his own life. Why? What was missing in his life? He didn’t suffer, as most of us define suffering. Or did he? Why did he feel suicide was the only way out? According to a lifelong friend, he felt the pressure to carry on the Presley name, especially since he looked so much like Elvis. His friend said it was an overwhelming force on Brandon. So sad.

Others Taken From Us

Actress, wife and mother Kelly Preston passed on the other day from breast cancer. She was only 57. She hadn’t finished raising her children. Why her? Why now?

Nick Cordero, 41, a bright star on Broadway and a reported great guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He fell victim to COVID-19 and went through three months of hell before his lungs gave up the ghost. He left a wife and a one-year-old baby. Why him? Why now?

And the disaster that opened up this strange year in January 2020, Kobe Bryant. Whatever you thought of Kobe, he was only 41 and way too young to go. He left a wife and three kids. One daughter died with him. Why them? Why now?

There I go again, the little girl who still asks why.

The Ones Who Went the Distance

We lost a lot of “old folks” in the past few months, too. I don’t feel so bad about these people. They got to live a long life and left an enduring legacy. What more can you ask for? I think my question here is why did they make it when others didn’t? What spark did they have that let them live into their 80s, 90s and beyond? Good genes? Maybe. I’m talking about people like . .

Jerry Stiller
Carl Reiner
Little Richard
Ian Holm
Buck Henry
Kirk Douglas
Orson Bean
Charlie Daniels

What did they have that was special? Why did they live so long?

If you want a more complete list of who we’ve lost in 2020, click here.

And Then There’s Me

I guess you could call it survivor’s guilt. I was supposed to be dead at 30. Then again at 45. Then I went for the hat trick at 50. So why am I still here when others who battled with me are not? I’m not so special. But here I sit and so many others are just memories. A nurse said to me one time, “Well, honey, you have a family to raise.” So did the others. I feel blessed to be sitting here writing this, but I still ask why the others are not here with me.

If you have any answers for me, please put them in a comment. Maybe there are no answers. And maybe I’m just doomed to be the little girl who still asks why to the questions that have no answers, except for those that are blowin’ in the wind.