Discipline And The Single Parent

2011-10-19 16.11.26

I remember the moment like it was yesterday, my oldest son who may have been around 7 or 8 years old at the time was acting up and being just terrible! As a single mom, I was letting it go. Let’s face it, I was tired from arguing, disciplining and truth be told I felt guilty. Guilty for taking something away from them that I grew up with, a family, normalcy, one home. Because of all of those things, I let things slide. It was easier.

So as my son was having this outburst and I did little to stop it, my dad made the decision to step in. He pulled me aside, looked me in the eye and said “If you don’t put your foot up his ass, one day he will be bigger than you and you won’t be able to.”. 

His words hit me. Hard!  I heard him loud and clear but I still wasn’t sure if I could do it. What I did know was that it was time to change and to figure out how. My grandmother would say that children are like trees. When they are young, it’s up to us to shape them, to watch them and guide the trunk to grow straight and sturdy. One day that tree will have roots that run deep and a trunk the wind can no longer move.

It all started to make sense to me and I did what was hard to do. I started to discipline. There were many battles at first but slowly over time, they decreased and as my boys grew to become teenagers I grew to have more and more gratitude for that initial conversation with me dad.

When I see a single parent over compensating the way I did, I get it. My heart actually breaks a little for them because I understand the internal battle they are dealing with. I also hope that one day soon that someone or something will help them get the message the way I did and the key to that is that the decision is made to follow through with it.

Stilettos And Sweats

I’m in no way an expert in this but what I learned through my process was:

Be Loving But Firm :  It’s important to make sure the child understands that YOU are the parent and he/she is the child. Be direct, firm and loving at the same time. Get right down to their level, look each other in the eye and say it firmly.  It’s ok to lose your temper, but never lose control.

  • Be Consistent:  Consistency is important so that the child understands that inappropriate or disrespectful behavior is not ok sometimes. This is the most difficult when we are busy or in my case, when a lot of people were around. Initially, I was nervous about addressing the behavior in public because I didn’t know what the response would be. Although I would pull them aside, I knew I couldn’t wait until later to address because they wouldn’t fully understand. I would have to address it right then and there and pray that it didn’t create an embarrassing scene. However, it never did. Or maybe it did and I’ve just forgotten by now, but the point is, they quickly learned what appropriate behavior looked like.
  • No Timeline:  When I first started to take an item away from them, I would give it back as soon as the scene was over or I would tell them that they could have the item back at a certain time. When that time came around, you can bet they were asking for it back and even if it was unearned, they would argue that I told them they could have it at that time. They were right! Then I learned, NO timelines of when they can have it back. It was at my discretion and I based it off of their behavior.
  • Stick To What You Say:   If you do take an item or event away, stick to what you say! Don’t threaten that they lost going to that birthday party because of the way they were acting and then an hour later, tell them it’s ok to go to that party. What you just did was take all of the energy and work it took up to that point and tossed it in the trash. They learned nothing at all. It was all lost.

I’ll admit that it wasn’t an easy transition. Their dad was tougher and more consistent that I was and there are times that I wished I had more of what he did, and other times I believe that the balance worked out well.   Looking back today and seeing the end result, I can say that the tough times early on were more than worth it!

Children want to be disciplined. Even if they don’t see it today, they will understand it later that discipline is love. I can promise you that they will be thankful. When I ask my boys now who they believe they will discipline like, they tell me their dad! They see the importance of disciplining and they still really like us! Go figure!  That’s when I realized that they finally got it.

Stilettos and sweats xoxo

 

It’s Just The Beginning

Some days it seems like my entire life has revolved around my weight. There were years when I looked great and loved working out, to years during my divorce when I looked even better {thanks to the divorce diet}, but felt my absolute worst…to days when I hated the way I looked and nothing motivated me to change. Sure, I would think about it but who wants to go to the gym with a bunch of beautifully fit people when you feel like the blob that just rolled through the doorway?

I’m at a point in my life where everything is honestly pretty good. I guess you can say all of the excuses I used to use are no longer usable. It’s time to get real with myself and face this challenge. I love challenges. I live for challenges, but this one, well…it’s a big one for me and one I love to put on the back burner.

My goal is not to go down to a certain size or weight. Right now my goal looks a little different. It’s a goal to be committed for one full month of working out 3 days at the gym, 1 hr a day. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, I just completed my first week and let e tell you that those 3 days that I got up at 5:30 to workout would not have happened if I wasn’t committed to meeting my friend there. Rolling over, hitting snooze and staying in bed was so much more desirable. In fact, I hated every minute of getting ready and driving there. I was miserable and grumpy! However, being there and leaving was another story! I felt great, like I accomplished something even if it was a small goal. I did it and I’m doing my happy dance about it!

Anyhow, here’s to the start of a new beginning.

Being in the moment

Just BeEveryone is rushing around, juggling several roles with a million and one things on our mind. We are busy and we wear our busyness with pride. Somewhere along the way it seems that busy began to equate with success. My calendar is filled with obligations and being “slammed” is an understatement. I like busy, though. It’s what I know. I’m a multitasker with a consistently a lot on my plate.

The trouble is, I don’t want to be so busy that I miss the stuff that matters most. I want to be more in the present and take note of the simple things that I walk right past every day. I’ve realized my addiction with my career, my phone. I know that I am not as present with my friends and family as I want to be. I may be part of the conversation but there are times I’ve learned when to place the “uh-uh” appropriately without any idea of what has been said because I’m my mind is somewhere else. So now that I realize that it needs to change, now what?

  1. Step Away From The Cellphone: During the business day, my cellphone is near me for obvious reasons, however after 5pm, I leave it in my purse or on my nightstand and only check it periodically. When my phone is right there, I find myself scrolling through social media pages, liking, commenting and sharing…but during the same time, not being present with the people that are actually in the room with me.
  2. REALLY being part of the conversation: Ok, so I have already admitted that there are too many times that I’m not really paying attention to the conversation I’m having and I didn’t realize how that would actually be a bit of a challenge to change that. But being aware of it has helped me engage more in conversations. I try to not only listen, but remember what was said and then comment on something that was important to that person the next time I see them. I’m always impressed when someone remembers something I say. I guess it makes me realize that not only were they really listening to me, but that they also care.
  3. Gratitude Journal: I have started and restarted a gratitude journal more than a few times. It’s one of those pieces of my life that bring everything back into perspective for me right away. Each day I write 10 things I am grateful for that day…from getting the job from a client to listening to a thunderstorm at night {one of the things I love!}  If you’re feeling down about anything, I highly recommend this! It’s impossible to feel depressed and gratitude at the same time.
  4. Take some ME time in the morning:  Each morning is my time to get my head on right for the day. I use this time to reflect, pray, meditate or whatever it is you want to call it. I make it a point to clear my head and regroup for what the day holds, reminding myself to be aware of people, places and moments that come into my life during the day and how to make it even better.
  5. Leave Work at Work: Having my own business, this one is a challenge. My clients have my office number and cell phone number. They call, email and text all hours of the day and night. When I get a message from them, my mind goes directly back to work. I’m thinking about their account, taking care of what they need right away, responding to their text or email and instantly allowing my mind to leave my family and race back to work. This was a tough one for me to fix, so I did the following. I keep my phone away from me and turn off my email during the evening. It can wait until morning, or at least later that evening if I choose to work on some things.

Life is short and we seem to rush thought it, looking for the next BIG. We put off meeting with friends and family until after a certain event and even when we are with them, we really aren’t. It always amazes me the amount of peace I find when I take in the simple pleasures of life and even if I need daily reminders to do so, I’m ready to appreciate all of the simple pleasures in the now.

Stilettos and sweats xoxo

 

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla

Ingredients

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Quesadilla
  • 1 Pkg G-Free Tortillas
  • ½ Cooked Chicken Breast, chopped or shredded
  • ¼ Cup Gluten Free BBQ Sauce
  • 2 Green Onions, chopped
  • 2½ Cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded
  • Gluten Free Cooking Spray
Instructions
  1. Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. When skillet hot, spray with cooking spray.
  3. Place one of the gluten free tortillas on skillet.
  4. Cover tortilla with cheese.  Sprinkle chicken and green onions over cheese.  Cover with another gluten free tortilla.
  5. When bottom tortilla night and golden brown, lift with large spatula and quickly spray the pan again and then flip quesadilla into pan.  Cook till second side is golden brown.
  6. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  7. Serve Hot and Enjoy!!

The Choice of Happiness

happiness stilettos and sweats“Happiness is a choice.” I said to my friend who was crying to me about her latest relationship issues. She was just there; a rut, not all that happy but really believed she was happier than being alone again.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t giving her the sympathy I think she was seeking and couldn’t understand what the problem was. Happiness is a  choice. It just depends what we choose to focus our energy on. When we are in a situation that isn’t making us happy, there are a few things to consider:

  1. Is this really a non-fulfilling, air sucking relationship or situation? Does it make your life better or worse? Are you settling?    If the situation isn’t one that can make your heart sing or feed your soul  in some positive way, then get out of the situation!  Don’t settle for mediocre when you can have amazing. By settling, you’re stopping what you really want from entering your life, and that’s even worse in my opinion.
  2. What are you focusing your energy on?   If the situation isn’t all that bad, in fact, it has some good to it…but somewhere along the way that good got misplaced somewhere and everything just feels like a weight on your shoulders, then it’s time to look in the mirror and get real with yourself!  What are YOU focusing on? I would bet it’s all those little things that drive you crazy or irritate you. (just a guess) Try to focus on only the good instead. Let’s face it, when we get into those ruts, everything that person does can be annoying! So, say that 95% of what they do is just flat out wrong!! Then what? Easy…Focus on the 5% that they do right.

We all go through ups and downs, times when everything is perfect and other times when it seems like nothing goes our way. Everything is temporary…the bad times and unfortunately, the good times too. But that’s what makes life so fulfilling. Through the good we share that joy and through the tougher times, we grow and find the lessons that make us stronger and better. Life is a journey, embrace it and make the decision to make it a journey of happiness.

Stilettos and sweats xoxo

 

 

It’s a Do-Over…Again

You know what sucks? That I thought I was “over” blogging and too busy in my life to worry about it. I mean let’s face it, it takes a LOT of time to be a blogger! Every daily occurrence has the possibility of being blog material but finding the time to sit and write, well, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Not when you’re like most working moms and juggling 100 things at once!

Anyhow, I made the decision to let my blog go in the beginning of the year! I was too busy and just didn’t have the time to put into it any longer. For a while, I was 100% ok with my decision, but then, as time moved on, that itch returned. I missed it! There was so much happening around me that I needed this outlet to share…because I know there are so many other moms that can relate to what I’m going through. I could take the approach that I have valuable insight to share…but the fact is, it’s nice to know I’m not alone on this journey.

I’m not the perfect mom, nor do I want to be. I see the moms who try to make everyone around them believe that they have it all together. I mean, maybe they do, but I doubt it! I don’t think any of us do. I just think there are a handful of moms like myself, that are willing to stand up and say that we have no idea what we are doing and we’re hoping to get it as close to right as we possibly can.

Anyhow, here’s not a do over…again! I guess I’m just not ready to quit quite yet!

XOXO

16 Must Have Free Business Tools

Sassy Girl Media 16 Free Business toolsSmall business isn’t really small at all! In fact, small businesses are growing and being noticed.  If you’re a solopreneur, like myself, finding the best tools without breaking the bank, is a must. That’s why I’m sharing some of my favorite free tools to help run your business.

Google Analytics

You realized that you need a website and your goal is to drive traffic there. You love the way it looks and couldn’t be more excited about it. But who is visiting your site? How long are they staying? What are they looking at? This tool will answer all of those questions. It’s a little complex, but the  statistics and information it provides makes it valuable for SEO and marketing.

LinkedIn

It still surprises me how many people are not on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is a social website that is used mainly for business purposes and networking. On LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to build connections, share ideas, and follow groups that are tailored just for your industry. If you are not on LinkedIn, it’s time you became part of this community and start networking.

Google Drive

Google makes it hard for us to avoid them when they keep coming up with such great tools. Google Drive is a cloud storage for all of your files. This is great, but especially if you are on the go! All of your files are stored so that you can access them whether you are on your laptop, tablet or phone. I really love the templates they offer too,  if you need to create a form and are looking for a quick guideline, I mean, why recreate the wheel if someone already created it for you?!

Dropbox

Dropbox is also a way to save and share files on the cloud. It’s a tough comparison between Dropbox and Google Drive, both have similar capabilities and is just a matter of preference.

Canva

If you want a designing tool that is easy to use, Canva is for you! This site allows you to create designs for web or print.

Mailchimp

You need a newsletter just like you need a website. Mailchimp offers you a way to design your newsletter and manage your subscribers. You can even add forms to your Facebook page to encourage newsletter sign ups. It’s easy to use, allowing you to create your own layouts or using one of their templates.

Flickr

Looking for free photos that you are able to use can sometimes be a tough task. Flikr allows you too upload, organize, edit and share your images. It’s easy to search thousand of free images.

Color In Material Design

The psychology of color should always be considered when starting your business. What impression are you trying to make. The colors you select will provide that immediate feeling to your customer. Color psychology has always appealed to me which is why I love this tool so much. It provides you with the color pallets and tips on how to use them effectively.

Toggl

If you’re a small business that has to track the time you spent on clients projects, then this is a great tool to use! Toggl is a free time tracker that is easy to use. You can create clients, projects, generate reports and more with the free version. It makes tracking your time a complete breeze.

Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting provides you with everything you need to run your business, from invoices, payments, accounting and even payroll. You’re able to customize your invoices, link to your PayPal or bank information for automated tracking and set up reminders to for unpaid invoices.

Hootsuite

Social media is a must in today’s market, between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the list goes on, it can be overwhelming as a small business owner to manage all of these accounts. Hootsuite allows you to manage everything in one place while setting up posts to post automatically at a time you designate. *Instagram, however will send you a reminder to post and does not automatically post for you. Hopefully this will change!

#SmallBizChat

#SmallBizchat is a weekly conversation on Twitter, where small business owners can come together to discuss questions that they may have and get answers. This group meets every Wednesday at 8PM EST.

Docracy

Docracy is an open collection of legal contracts and documents that you can access. Not only does it provide you with a source of free legal documents, it also allows you to sign the documents as well!

Score

I remember when I first launched my business and a businessman reached out to me to help mentor me. I was thrilled to have a resource like that. Score provides that resource to all entrepreneurs. Score provides you mentors that will help guide you if needed. The website alone, however, is a great source of information!

SBA.GOV

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a website that provides small businesses a wealth of information. Starting with is starting a business the right choice for you, to creating a business plan to financing. There are even courses you can take to help increase your knowledge and understanding of being a small business owner.

Unroll.Me

If you’re like me, you get a ton of emails. Unroll.me allows you to unsubscribe to those unnecessary emails all at once. When time is valuable, this is a great way to save so a lot of time.
The tools I mentioned above are free to use and there are so many more out there. Keep in mind, that most of the tools that I mentioned are able to be upgraded for a fee so that you can use even more of what that company has to offer.  Do you have a favorite free business tool?  I would love to hear about it!

{Sassy Girl Media}

Stilettos and sweats xoxo

WordPress: .com vs .org

WordPress-ComparisonOne of the most common discussions I have with newbie bloggers is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Most didn’t even realize there was a difference and clumped everything into one bucket. But there is! So when I’m asked “Which one should I use?”, I usually respond with “What do you want to do with your blog?” 

There are a laundry list of differences, but to save you from being bored, I’m going to cut right to the key differences that I have found are the most important to those who I have spoke to.

The three biggest differences:

1. Cost: 

WordPress.com is a free open source website that is shared my many people.

WordPress.org is a self hosted website where you are responsible for the fees to maintain it

2. Freedom/Limitation:

You’ve heard the saying “you get what you paid for”, and maybe the “free version is exactly what you need right now, however with WordPress.com, there are limitations.  With WordPress.com, you cannot upload plugins or themes. You are also not permitted to runGoogle Adwords on your blog or any ads  at all for that matter.

3. Design/Maintenance 

So this overlaps #2 above just a little, but to go a tad more in depth…with WordPress.com, you are not able to get creative with the way that you want your blog to look. With the .org version, you can add a variety of plugins, change the theme or even create your own theme. However, with that also comes responsibilities. Instead of knowing that WordPress will correct any issues when you’re using .com, with .org it is up to you to find a solution, take care of hosting your site, updating your plug ins, and backing up your site.

In my opinion…

If your desire to start a blog is to gain followers and have it grow into something where it can possibly generate some income for you, then I would definitely just jump right in to WordPress.org. I know all of the maintenance may sound overwhelming but the rewards of having the freedom to create whatever you want to create, trumps that fear in my book. WordPress.org is the winner by a landslide in my book.

But what if you want all of the benefits but the maintenance part is still overwhelming? Simple! Just  hire someone to help you out! You don’t have to know everything about it…just how to post your thoughts for starters. Outsource the parts you don’t know to help get you started.

 What is your experience of using WordPress.org and WordPress.com? Let us know in the comments below.

{Sassy Girl Media}

Instagram Offers Multiple Account Functionality

Instagram Offers Multiple Account FunctionalityTo many, this news has been long overdue and we couldn’t be more thrilled with Instagram! Finally! Instagram offers multiple account functionality so that you can toggle between accounts. As a social media manager, Instagram is part of my my daily routine and logging in and out of accounts can be inconvenient and time consuming to say the least.

Instagram has heard our cries and is doing something about it! Thank you!  This update is rolling out as we speak! Here’s how to know if you have it yet!

  1. Log into your Instagram account and Select the options at the top right hand corner.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and if you have it, you’ll see “Add Account” Finally! Instagram Offers Multiple Account Functionality
  3. Select that and add the accounts that you want to toggle between
    Finally! Instagram Offers Multiple Account Functionality
    Instagram Offers Multiple Accounts

Thank you Instagram for making our social lives a little bit easier!

{Sassy Girl Media}

Stilettos and sweats xoxo

Create Your Blog in 15 minutes

Sassy Girl MediaSo you want to start a blog? I get approached often from people inquiring on what they need to do to start a blog. It’s really not all that difficult, but if you’re thinking that you’re going to start a blog and all of of sudden make a ton of money from it, I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.

Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely make money with your blog! I know I have! But it doesn’t happen instantly. Keep in mind that your website is your storefront and the impression you make is important if you want people to continue coming back. So, let’s just get started and get that blog going!

1 Who are your customers? {Pick a niche}

What is your niche? Who is your target audience and what are you going to blog about? This is the very first step in creating your blog. Figure out what you are most passionate about then decide if your blog is something you want to make money from or not. Research that niche and see what others are doing. Look for keywords and what is working.

2. What are you calling your store? {Pick a domain}

So you did your research, found a niche that you’re passionate about, so now you need a name and a domain! You need to make sure it’s available. You can do so by going to a site like Network Solutions or Godaddy.com.

3. Location! Location! Location! {Pick a Blogging Platform}

Next you need to decide which blogging platform you want to use. The two most popular ones are WordPress and Blogger.  There are a million posts out on the internet that explain the pros and cons with each. I’ll just stick to the point and give my opinion, you can make your own based on what fits your needs the best.

Both platforms are great. There isn’t a wrong answer when choosing which to go with, however I enjoy freedom and being able to work outside of what is given. That being said, my choice is WordPress.org.  Bot platforms are free, but WordPress.org (which is the self hosted site) gives you more freedom to create your site the way you want to!

4. Get  the keys!  Congratulations…You’re almost there!! {Pick a host}

You need a host for your site. What this means is the company that holds all of your files for your site and makes it possible to put you on the internet. {There’s much more to it than that, but we’re keeping it simple today}  You can host your Blog where you purchased your domain, or find packages through companies like BlueHost.com

5. Time to Decorate the Store!! {Design}

This is the fun part!! At least for me it is. This is the part that people see, the first impression they get. This is important that you’re able to instantly share what your about in about 30 seconds. Just pick a them and create it the way you want! You can add widgets, plug ins, change colors, add pages, links…etc. It’s limitless on what you can do! If you’re not comfortable with it, then I would recommend hiring someone to design it for you and save yourself the time it takes to learn everything. Focus on what you love instead. Sassy Girl Media Start a Blog

6. Let’s stock those shelves!! {Write}

Time to pour your heart out and Write! Write Write!  Share what you’ve been wanting to share. This is your time!

7. Market your store {Social Share}

It’s great to have a website, a blog, a brick and mortar store….but if you don’t promote it properly, no one will find it. So, how to do you do that? The easiest way is through social media! Share on your Facebook, Instagram, Tubmlr, or Pinterest! There’s a lot of places to share what you have to say!  Engage with other bloggers. Comment on their posts, share. You might be surprised to find what a great community the blogging world really is!

That’s pretty much it! In 15 minutes you can have your own blog and share your thoughts or wisdom with the rest of the world!  If you’re new to the blogging world or thinking about starting, I would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment and Best of Luck!

{Sassy Girl Media}

Stilettos and sweats xoxo