What’s on top?

July is National Ice Cream month!  I’m super excited.  What’s your favorite?  I enjoy many varieties of ice cream from coconut and chocolate chip to peach and cookie dough.  One of my favorite aspects of ice cream is putting on the toppings! Whether you like home-made ice cream, low fat or good old Breyers, here are some of the top ice cream toppings that can bring the whole family to the table.

toasted coconut

pineapple

bananas

heath bar

snickers

cookies

almond biscotti

amaretti cookies

chopped toasted almonds

strawberries

rainbow decors

chocolate sprinkles/jimmies

mini candy-coated chocolates

maraschino cherries

hot fudge

mango

granola

gingersnaps

marshmallow crème

jarred dulce de leche

chocolate-covered raisins or almonds

candied ginger

lemon or orange peels

honey berry puree

peach praline

brownies

Teddy Grahams

vanilla wafers

oatmeal cookies

animal crackers

butterscotch chips

chocolate chips

peanut butter chips

toffee chips

crushed pretzels

mini marshmallows

sweet sherry sauce

crushed peppermint

rhubarb blackberry compote

caramel apple

cinnamon chocolate sauce

cherry chocolate sauce

tart cherry sauce

butterscotch sauce

caramel sauce

What about you?  What’s your favorite topping?  I’d love to hear your favorites, and any suggestions I missed, below.

Advertisements

Mistakes or Failures?

There are a lot of people in the business world telling entrepreneurs that they can help them create a successful business.  Don’t get me wrong, as an entrepreneur or business owner it is great to get help and learn from other business owners.  It’s also good to hear the perspectives of those who have been successful in the past.  One of those great leaders was John Wooden.  John said:

“You can make mistakes, but you are not a failure until you blame others for those mistakes.”

The biggest key that John Wooden captures here is that mistakes are ok!  Your mistakes, or those of others, are the quickest ways to learn how to be successful-unless you blame others for those mistakes. The second you start blaming others, you lose much of your ability to learn from your mistakes and part of being an entrepreneur is being responsible for your future, and you can’t be responsible if you’re blaming others.

The good news is that if you don’t blame others, and you learn from your mistakes, each mistake will bring you closer to the success you desire.  So every time you’re faced with a mistake, take a step back and admit responsibility.  The dust will clear a lot quicker if you own up quickly.  Once the dust is clear, gather the pieces of the mistake like a CSI unit gathers evidence at a crime scene.  Every little detail counts here, you never know if, in addition to the glaring issue, there are little fissures that helped create the crack.  So write up your report and set changes in motion so that you will automatically be correcting your course in the areas that caused the mistake.

So stop brushing your mistakes under the table and behind you as quick as you can and actually take the time to learn from them.  What have you learned from your mistakes?  I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

The Secret of Happiness

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” Leo Burnett

Life is all about secrets, think about the book that made major headlines and still is transforming lives.  Nature itself has many secrets that have kept us guessing throughout the ages.  But to many the biggest secret of all is happiness.  Where is happiness?  How do we find happiness?  Is there such a thing?  Do we create our own happiness?  What is happiness anyway?

I think that Leo Burnett has stumbled upon a bigger secret than most; the secret of curiosity.  Curiosity is the secret to creativity, the secret to staying young and living long, and perhaps even the secret to happiness.

So how can we incorporate the secret of curiosity into our lives?  We can ask our coworkers to explain things to us, talk with other professionals about what they do, visit businesses like cafes and restaurants just to see how they do things, try new foods, meet new people, spend time discovering spirituality and cultures, and of course, be creative!

Why does curiosity work so well to help us discover happiness? Because the more you experience, the better chance you’ll have of discovering yourself and what makes you happy.  Happiness will be elusive until you learn who you are, because happiness is subjective to each of us; we each have our own specific definition of happiness.  How I define happiness may be completely different than yours, but we can both do creative things, speak with tons of people and travel to distant lands together and discover our own definitions of happiness.

So what about you?  What would make you happy this month, this week, today, or even right now?  I invite you to share your thoughts below.

Parenting Priorities

Maybe you’ve had as tough a month as a parent as many I know have.  It’s often hard to be a parent, parents have a very unique set of challenges that change with each passing day, year and generation.  Over my 10+ years of working with parents I’ve seen a lot.  The one thing I know that makes a bigger difference than almost anything else is this: take a break.

What am I talking about?  I’m talking about hiring a babysitter at least once a week for 4 hours during the day.  I’m talking about getting someone to watch the kids and put them to bed at least once a month so you can have date night.  I’m talking about sending the kids to camp, pre-k, afterschool programs and to visit their grandparents and cousins.

Why? For several reasons.  First, unless you’ve got a neighborhood with tons of kids your kids age to play with, the kids need to be interacting with kids their own age on a relaxed basis.  Second, the kids need to be with other adults because other adults and people can teach your kids lessons and help your kids with things you can’t do.  Third, you must get a break at least once a week or you can basically plan for a breakdown.

Never feel ashamed or like less of a person because you ask for help.  You’re smarter than those who think they can just push through it and make it on their own.

Once you’ve worked in some free time away from your kids, I encourage you to focus on really making the most of the time you do have with your kids.  Babysitters and other family members do not a parent make.  You’ve still got responsibilities as a parent to raise your children as creative, passionate, smart individuals.

What about you?  What lessons have you learned from being a parent or being with parents?

What is Money?

What is money?  If I asked you this question what would your answer be?  Maybe you would tell me that the stuff in your pocket or purse is money.  Well, you’d be wrong.

Money is energy.

It was created so we would have an easy way to exchange something for what we wanted. You see, back in the day if you wanted some corn, and you had apples, you could only trade your apples for the corn and if the person who had the corn didn’t want apples, well, you were stuck.  Thus was born the desire to not have to trade your goods for their goods, but have an easy way to get what you want.

Money is energy, it’s neither good nor bad.

Money only magnifies who you are already.  So if you’re a generous person, when you have lots of money you’ll still be generous.  If you are unhappy with life, you’ll be even more unhappy with a lot of money.

Money is energy, neither good nor bad, and goes to those who know how to care for it.

If you don’t know how to care for money when you win the lottery, you’ll lose it all quickly.  But if you have good money smarts and know how to care for, use and invest your money, you’ll get even more.

Speaking of smarts, what are some things you can do with the cash and paychecks that come your way to be smart with your money?  First have a spending plan.  No, I didn’t say have a saving plan, I said spending plan.   You’re going to spend the money, so plan how!  Plan that you’ll spend some on food, some on living expenses, some on education, some on charity and giving back and “spend” some at the bank.  Be a smart spender and you will be less likely to have financial issues.  Second, pay attention!  Keep track of what and where you’re spending your cash so you are aware of your spending habits and can plan. Third, have more cash coming in.  I strongly suggest that you sell items on Ebay, Etsy or on another platform that will help you have some extra spending money, or even starting a home-based business that will help the end of the month not be so scary.

Those are some thoughts about money.  What are your thoughts and questions?  I’d love to hear them below.

Living the Creative Life

One aspect of my life that I would never want to give up is creativity.  I absolutely thrive on writing, mixing colors, drawing, sewing and just being creative in general.  I also love being creative when I organize, create a social media plan, write a devotional or help a client figure out what’s going on in their life.

It’s not just my life that I love is creative, I love meeting other creative individuals.  My Feature Friday blog posts on my creative blog showcase some of those individuals.  Many people tell me they aren’t creative individuals, and I have to disagree.  Everyone is creative in one shape or form, they just may not recognize it as creativity.  Whether you’re looking for your creative passion or just want to include more creativity in your life, here are 4 ideas.

Have a hobby
If you don’t already have a hobby like fishing, scrapbooking, making furniture, cooking or crafting, it’s time to get one!  Not only will it help you stay sane and balanced through tough times, you’ll also feel more complete as a human when you’re able to put your passion into the hobby.

Raise creative kids
If you’re a parent, this is a must.  We’re raising our kids by TV, sports and video games, and not encouraging book reading, outdoor adventures and creative interaction like painting and other arts.  As I’ve said many times before, TV, sports and video games are not the enemy.  Not having balance in your life is.  Getting your kids involved with creative pursuits will actually give them a better chance of being successful throughout life because creativity does great things for the brain.

Be passionate about your work
It’s hard to be excited about pushy customers, typing  or calculating numbers, believe me, I know.  That’s where your can-do attitude and creative spirit comes in.  Challenge yourself to make work bearable, and if you just can’t, get a different job or start a business that you’ll actually enjoy.

Take advantage of creative opportunities in your life
When an opportunity appears at work to be creative, take it!  When your church or community group asks for volunteers or coordinators, try it.  When you’ve got the opportunity to help a friend figure out what’s going on, help them.  Put your talents and abilities to creative use.

What about you?  What do you do creatively that makes your life special?  I’d love to hear your suggestions, you can share them below.

Going on a Picnic to…

It’s July!  You’ve probably got some fun vacations planned already, but if you don’t here are a couple of family-fun picnic ideas!

At the pool:
Don’t just bring some snacks, bring an actual lunch that you can spread out on a fun beach blanket beside the pool (it will make your day at the pool a little longer :)).

At a friend’s house:
Grab your lunches and head over to have lunch on a friend’s lawn.  The kids will have fun trading snack and playing a game of tag or baseball afterwards.

On a hill:
Go for that hike you’ve been talking about and bring a picnic lunch to eat at your destination while looking at some beautiful scenery.

At a ghost town:
Don’t go trespassing, but if you have a ghost town near you, it might be fun to eat your picnic lunch where people used to eat their lunches or do their work.

Botanical garden:
There are lots of beautiful gardens that are open to the public.  You can either plan for a whole day including time to explore the gardens or just plan to eat lunch among the roses.

An Island:
Row out to an island in the middle of a lake, pick a big rock and enjoy your delicious lunch on your own private island.

The Beach:
Nothing says summer like bringing your picnic lunch to the beach!  Look out for seagulls that would be happy to eat your lunch for you though!

What about you?  Where did you have a great picnic?  I invite you to share your memories below.

Ingenuity and Suggestions

It’s a lot of fun being an entrepreneur, we get to schedule our own day, pick our own hours, work with the clients we want to work with and help as many people as we can.  One of the best aspects, and sometimes most challenging is well captured by George Smith Patton:

“Never tell people how to do things.  Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” George Smith Patton

As an entrepreneur, you’ll have some people, potential clients, come to you and “suggest” how they would like you to complete their project.  It is very important to listen to what they’re saying and really hear them out.  Ask follow up questions to help get a good picture of what they’re really looking for, what their company is about and what they’re looking for from your services.  Why?  Because they may think they want one thing, but their answers to your questions may tell you something else.

After getting the big picture and a glimpse of the small picture in addition to their “suggestions” go ahead and do what you do best.  Write up, draw up, or create a couple of options for them.  One that includes their “suggestions”, and a couple that you put together based on what they told you and your creative genius.  Hopefully they’ll like what you’ve come up with because it better captures their business and what they need than what they told you.

Go ahead, surprise someone this week with how amazing you are.  It’s a lot of fun for you, and they will hopefully be pleasantly surprised by what you offer.

I’d love if you shared your stories of “suggestions” and how you turned it around below.

Need Money? Get Organized!

Summer is the perfect time to organize your home!   Why? Because you can sell everything you don’t want at a garage sale!  It’s not only a great way to get some money, but also great motivation to clean out your home.  Where should you start?

Start with the obvious.  Typical items include tables and furniture, chotchkies, kitchenware, tools, books and toys.   Put these items in one location for the sale, maybe your garage for a week or so until you have the sale.  If you can put items in a box for safekeeping until the sale, do so.

Then go to the less obvious. Go through storage closets, the attic, under your beds, in the garage and in the basement.  This will take longer, but you’ll probably find some great gems to sell.

Finally go through your clothes.  Clothes are usually harder to sell at garage sales, unless you have something really great.  But, even if you can’t sell all the clothes you want to get rid of, you can donate them to an organization like Vietnam Veterans.

If you really want to make your garage sale a success you can ask your neighbors to have a garage sale the same weekend!  Once you’ve had your successful garage sale, donate whatever you didn’t sell.  Then you’ll be ready to finish organizing what you have left in your closets and around the house and maybe even buy some new things with the money you’ve earned like a closet organization system or some new storage-friendly furniture.  Happy selling!

Real Relationships

How is your relationship with your significant other?  What word would you use to describe it?  Rocky?  Healthy?  Growing?  Challenging?  Busy?  Active? Alive?  Awesome?  Boring?  Frustrating?  I’ve seen a lot of relationships lately that can be described using many of the negative words I just listed.  If you asked people who don’t have very good relationships, they’ll probably list a myriad of reasons why the relationship isn’t going so well.

One key reason that so many relationships are struggling these days is because of a lack of honesty.  If you’re in a challenging relationship, before you go yell at your partner for not being honest, understand that there are two sides of honesty to think about:

Your honesty and their honesty.

First and foremost you must be honest with yourself.  You need to admit and understand what your needs, wants and desires in the relationship are.  You also have to understand what your needs, wants and desires are period.  If you can’t be honest with yourself, and take responsibility for your needs, there’s absolutely no point in asking your partner to be honest with you about anything.   You also can’t expect to have a satisfying relationship if you don’t know what you need from the relationship, or to put into the relationship, to be satisfied.  Once you’ve been honest with yourself about what your needs really are, you need to discuss those needs with your partner.  They need to know what you need from life and from the relationship. You also have to be honest with them about your expectations for the relationship.

Second, they must be honest with you.  They also have needs and desires from life and the relationship.  Ask them to share their expectations and honest needs for your relationship and life with you.

Once you’ve both been honest with each other about where you are in life, your needs in life and from the relationship and your expectations from the relationship, you must be honest about whether that relationship can meet those needs and expectations.   If your current relationship can’t meet those needs and expectations, either you both need new expectations, need to revise how your relationship runs so that both your needs can be better met, or you need to be honest about the need to change the type of relationship you have.

Changes in a relationship, whether you’re talking divorce or just habits, are never easy.  Being honest with each other about your relationship and each of your needs is a good step to take in creating a healthier relationship.  What are your thoughts?  I invite you to share your perspective below.