Great Ideas

Do you ever have great ideas in theory? I have them all the time, these great ideas. Like driving for three hours to an all day event after three hours sleep and back home that evening.

This is me on exhaustion. I’m silly tired.

Great ideas. In fact, I’m trying to sit here and collect my thoughts to make sure this blog post isn’t a rambling mess of incoherent thoughts and actually write something worth reading.

I should start by telling you what I’ve been up to, which is as good of place as any in my opinion. First things first, I’ve gone back to work for KGB Global as their Senior Director of Business Development. What? This is what happens when you try to leave the social media world (for work) and it drags you back kicking and screaming.

That’s not the only news, as there is something else coming down the pipeline I’m not at liberty to announce just yet. Let’s just say I’ve been a busy bee.

My book is moving along as well. I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year, mainly because I’ll need to write close to 1,700 words a day to complete the challenge and there’s no time for editing. Which means it will be an ugly piece of work, but that’s why you spend a lot more time editing than you do writing.

(I’m pretty sure I won’t complete the challenge for the 5th year running, but that’s another story for another day.)

Facebook is STILL off my phone. Can you believe that? It’s been a while and I’m reaping the benefits. Mainly those of people who are terrified of leaving their house because they might touch something, or have to talk to people.

On the home front, or shall I say “home building front,” we’re moving right along. Our pre-drywall inspection is this Friday and when I drove by yesterday I saw the electrician working. I’m counting down the days until I can decorate my office and set up the kitchen. Who am I’m kidding? What I’m really looking forward to is wearing socks and sliding across my brand new hardwood floors. WHEE!

I’m quite serious about running across the floor and sliding. The Kid and I stopped recently to pick up something to drink and I blew my straw paper at him. He giggled and said “mom, you’re just a kid at heart.” I think that’s been my best great idea recently, to not take things so seriously. It’s such a relief.

Tell me about your great ideas in the comments!

5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Home Feel More Like Fall

Five-2

Autumn is my season. Summer sunshine is fading into cooler evenings, leaves crunching underfoot, vivid colors, and scents unique to this time of year foster a strong sense of nostalgia I start longing for in early August. There are a few things I do to prepare and welcome the arrival of the season and will hopefully help make your home feel more like fall.

Make your home feel like fall with these quick tips! {www.adailypinch.com}

1. Smell. I associate so much with fragrance. Scent creates an impression on us which is hard to forget. In fact, 73% of people think aroma and smell matters most in the home during fall. During autumn I prefer to bring in the smells of pumpkin, burning leaves, sandalwood and caramel. Nothing too sweet, so I normally have two fragrances going at once to balance things out.

Currently, I have a firewood candle burning to mimic a real fireplace. The seductive dance of scent is lingering in my house, and dancing in my nose.

2. Taste. The tastes of fall are spicier, earthier, and linger on the tongue. Flavors like cinnamon, ginger, sage, nutmeg, and pumpkin are found everywhere. My favorite thing to do is slice some fresh ginger in a cup, add a green tea bag, and steep. You can top with honey, but I prefer to drink it as is. It’s warming and soothing, the perfect indulgent treat after a long day.

3. Sight. Bring in autumn decorations. Pumpkins. Gourds. Add a new bouquet of flowers. Replace the wreath on your front door with a grapevine wreath filled with faux leaves.

4. Touch. Soft throws come out of the linen closet and drape the back of my sofa and rocking chair for these cooler months. I curl up with a good book, my tea, and let the breeze cool my home. Even on the days that it’s 80 degrees here, at least the sight of the my knit blankets and throws invites the look of fall in.

5. Sound. Open the door or a window or take a walk to listen to birds singing, leaves crunching under your feet, crisp breezes blowing through the trees.

The Charlotte “Boo-Tox Bash” is October 30 — Hosted by Dermatology, Laser & Vein Specialists of the Carolinas

"Boo-Tox" Bash at Dermatology, Laser and Vein Specialists of the Carolinas

Disclosure: This post was not sponsored, but I’m pretty sure my friend Marcia will bestow lots of love and kisses upon me for sharing.

Dermatology, Laser & Vein Specialists of the Carolinas will hold its 7th annual “Boo-Tox” Bash on Thursday, October 30, at its Charlotte office located at 1918 Randolph Road, Suite 550 from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. What is a “Boo-Tox” bash? Well, it’s your chance to try Botox or Xeomin injections for the first time, or if you’re an old pro, to save some money while supporting a good cause. To add to the fun, staff members will be dressed in costumes, and the office will feature a ‘spooky’ decor. Patients are welcome to dress up for the fun or the confidentiality!

"Boo-Tox" Bash at Dermatology, Laser and Vein Specialists of the Carolinas

At the “Boo-Tox Bash,” a Botox® or Xeomin® injection will cost only $8.99 per unit, compared to the regular price of $14. Anyone who brings a friend who buys at the same time will pay just $8.00 per unit for each. Do you hear the wheels in my head spinning? I’m calculating what it would cost to relax my Crowe’s Feet and forehead lines.

Botox injections have grown increasingly popular in the U.S. with more than 6.1 million   performed in doctors’ offices in 2012, and men a growing part of that number. In fact, the decade of 2000 – 2010 is referred to as the “Brotox Decade” with the use of Botox by men increases 258%, according the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Furthermore, Botox Cosmetic was the most popular cosmetic treatment chosen by men in 2010 — beating both hair restoration and liposuction — treatments historically more popular among the male population.

But what about the risks of discounted Botox deals I’ve read about in the news? This bash is different. Patients are encouraged to call and schedule in advance. (Walk-ins are welcome as available.) Five board-certified staff physicians will be on hand to perform services. You’re not being injected by someone at a party in a home, you’re still in a medical setting and will be treated as if you had set up an appointment during normal business operating hours. Clinical and spooky at the same time!

With my birthday coming up in a few weeks, I am fully aware I’m a woman of a certain age. Yes friends, I’m (sort of) mid-life and proud of it. However, I’m also quite aware that’s it’s almost time to start doing a little extra maintenance on my face. Yet, I’ve always been put off by the cost, so I did a little research and found out people no longer need view non-surgical cosmetic treatments as a frightening experience or be afraid of the cost. During this event, women – and men – can visit the office for a one-stop day of beauty, purchasing services at substantial discounts and having them performed during the same visit.

Proceeds:

A portion of proceeds from this year’s event will benefit both The Purple Promise Foundation, to end melanoma http://www.purplepromise.org and Stand Up To Cancerhttp://www.standup2cancer.org.

Appointments:

For more information or to make an appointment, clients should call 704.375.6766 or visitwww.carolinaskin.com/bootox. All specials must be pre-paid over the phone or in person on October 30th.The expiration date for all services purchased is March 31st, 2015. Credit for any specials purchased is non-transferrable.

“Boo-Tox” Bash Specials:

New this year, are free varicose and spider vein screenings, by appointment only. http://carolinaskin.com/veintreatments.asp

Those buying fillers will save $100 when they buy one, $200 when they buy two and $300 when they buy three with pre-paid pricing. These include Restylane®, Radiesse®, Voluma® and Belotero®.

Clients will also get special pre-paid pricing on miraDry ®and CoolSculpting®, include personalized CoolSculpting ® consultations. http://carolinaskin.com/ CoolSculpting.asp

About Dermatology, Laser & Vein Specialists of the Carolinas:

Dermatology, Laser & Vein Specialists of the Carolinas was Charlotte’s  first Mohs Surgery Center when it opened in 1990 and  remains the busiest Mohs Surgery practice in the area.  Now with their team of board-certified physicians, DLVS offers additional services, including face lifting surgery, blepharoplasty (eye lifts), laser hair removal, laser skin resurfacing, endovenous laser ablation, sclerotherapy, tattoo removal, laser resurfacing and many fillers. There is also a medical aesthetician on staff who performs skin care and facial treatments, and several lines of skin care products are available for sale.  The practice also offers the most advanced treatment options available for general dermatology, skin cancer, varicose veins, laser surgery and cosmetic surgery. Physicians are in the office every day and personally perform or directly supervise all procedures done in the office. For more information visit: www.carolinaskin.com/Bootox or call 704-375-6766.

I broke up with Facebook, sort of.

I broke up with Facebook last week and deleted it off of my phone. Sorry Facebook, it’s not me, it’s you.  So much of my day, and my phone battery, is spent on Facebook. It goes beyond the normal social media marketing and checking in I would normally do. I’ll be quite honest with you, my response every time I’d hear the “ding” of my phone announcing a new update, etc., was Pavlovian. I had to check my Facebook!

I wasn’t writing as much I want to. I was getting behind on client work and having to catch up at the last minute possible. Who am I kidding, I was laying in bed, checking Facebook and electronics are a no-no for me in bed because the blue light exposure affects my sleep in so many ways.

What have I learned over the past few days? I’m less stressed. I’m pretty sure if you checked my blood pressure, it’s lower as well. Is it just because I’m only on Facebook if I have it open to work? No, because I do all of my Facebook for work from a third-party account.

According to Dr. Kathy Charles at the Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, Facebook does create less than desirable outcomes due to our activity on the social networking site:

  • 12% of the users studied said their Facebook site made them anxious
  • 30% said they felt guilty about rejecting friend requests
  • Many said they felt pressure to come up with inventive status updates
  • Many did not like the different rules of online etiquette for different friends.

Are you one of those numbers? I am definitely in the 12% of those who Facebook makes anxious. It’s not because I want to impress people, but more because everyone has lost their filter on Facebook, sharing angry rants, over-share personal information about their intimate lives, or openly weep over every single tragedy in the world. Not that there’s anything wrong with what they’re doing, but I absorb a lot from other people so there has had to be a place where I exert control over things that affect my emotions again.

Furthermore, while I realize it’s also a great way of connecting and receiving support from your community, are the people you truly want or need that support from people you’ve not see in twenty years and who wouldn’t give you the time of day in high school?

When you boil all of this down, it’s very much a personal preference. For me, I’m better with less exposure to others emotions. Sounds harsh, but it makes my life better. Taking care of me is essential.

 

 

Pig Farming — City Girl Goes Back to Her Roots — Part 1

Pigs crowding to get a closer look at us.

I recently went on a press trip sponsored by the Animal Agriculture Alliance and the National Pork Board to tour pig farms. Yes, you heard me correctly, pig farming. Most people think I’m the epitome of prissy and have no idea I was quite the tomboy growing up. So throwing off my uniform of sundresses and cute shoes to hop into work boots was actually quite a bit of fun for this country turned city girl.

Our merry band of bloggers flew in from all over the country to Raleigh, NC, and after a luscious dinner at 18 Seaboard headed to our hotel for a nights rest before meeting the bus the next morning at 7 a.m. to drive to Clinton, NC. I’ve been a lot of places, but Clinton is not one of them. It was going back home, but only if home was a much more remote area. How remote? A lot of time my phone service was on 1x — I’ve not seen that type of coverage since I had a flip phone.

But, I digress. We were told to not dress up, wear makeup, nor shower that morning. Half-awake women, heading to breakfast, no makeup and in dire need of caffeine is never a pretty sight. Once we were caffeinated and fed, we headed to our first farm. The one where the Mama Pigs and their babies live.

This is where you need to throw your Charlotte’s Web/Old McDonald ideals out of the window. There were no overalls. No farmer with a wad of tobacco in his jaw. What we experienced, and what I went to, was a full on facility that sells their product (pigs) to processing facilities (Smithfied). It was a raw, behind the scenes look I prepared for in advance. No surprises. Complete transparency. That’s what I’m sharing here today.

The first farm we visited is where the magic happens. Cue the cheesy music. Before we got off the bus, our shoes has to be covered with plastic booties so we didn’t contaminate the soil at the farm. Safety is a huge factor — not only mine, but for the pigs. When you’re visiting a breeding farm, you don’t want to take anything in to the pigs, as a virus could wipe out an entire barn.

#FarmtoPork Contamination Prevention

What did we do? We showered. Together. Head to toe. It was a bonding experience, for sure. On normal press trips, I’m usually wearing a full face of makeup, some casual accessories, and all black. On this one I got naked, rocked a white zip-up jumpsuit and big black rubber work boots with wet hair. Porcine haute couture, as it were.

Ilina rocking the white jumpsuit on the #farmtopork tour in Clinton, NC.

As salacious as that sounds, it was all for good reason. When you arrive at a facility where pigs are bred, you’re considered to be “dirty,” until you’ve showered from head to toe and are dressed in clothes and boots that haven’t been exposed to the outside world. That also includes your under garments.

Once we were all suited and booted, we split into groups to head out on to the farm to find out exactly what happens when you’re in the commercial pork industry. Quite frankly, it was a little — underwhelming. Believe me, I’ve sat here staring at this line for over ten minutes and know that’s the word I’m looking for. My only previous pig knowledge was that of my uncle’s pigs who weren’t quite free roaming, but had quite a bit of land they made their own, and were fed “slop.”

In the breeding facility, pigs are contained in a small solo pen (farrowing crate) for safety. Now, let me explain. In this pen, they can’t turn around. For good reason. When you inseminate a pig, it’s very clinical. Kind of like basting a turkey, except this turkey weighs 300 pounds. We witnessed pig insemination and two of the bloggers in my group, Ilina and Gina, actually did the insemination (with help, of course.) The pigs card was noted and they were left in their pen as they are inseminated two days in a row to help ensure pregnancy.
Gina inseminating a pig on #farmtopork
How do they collect the male samples? Well, I’m not sure y’all want to hear that. But if you email me, I’ll tell you.

One of the reasons it’s essential to keep sows separated when you’re breeding is due to aggression. (Think about what you know about hormonal females.) Sows fight for dominance of a group if they are unfamiliar with each other. If they are in a group pen with former neighbors from their service crates, the fighting may be worse as they weren’t able to stake a claim for dominance while together, yet seperate. (Jerry Springer for pigs, y’all.)

While we were in the barn, we witnessed the “magic trick” performed by breeders to find out if a sow who’s been weaned is in heat again. They put a boar (male pig) on a cart and he rides by them. Imagine a king on a remote controlled litter (that’s actually what they’re called) riding by his female admirers and those seeking his amorous advances suddenly got very still and their ears perked up. That’s the sign breeders are looking for — docile sows who are in heat.

Ultrasound is used to confirm pregnancy in the sows. It doesn’t look like little piglets, just black fluid filled sacs. Sows stay in the gestation/farrowing crates for 21 days in order to protect the fetuses (see sow dominance above) and are then moved to group housing with 2-4 other sows where they’ll live until right before they give birth.

……

This is part one in my series “City Girl Goes Back to Her Roots.” I’ll be posting part two tomorrow; it’s all about the babies. Many thanks to the National Pork Board, the Animal Agriculture Alliance and Prestage Farms for opening their doors to us and answering our questions, no matter how uncomfortable they might have been. 

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