Sunday, August 28, 2016

Personal Challenge - Day One

Over the years, I've been a fan of "The Secret".  If you don't know what this is, I recommend you go over to YouTube and watch the first 20 minutes of the video here:

Basically, it pertains to the Laws of Attraction where what you hold in your mind, whether real or not, becomes real.  So, if you want to lose weight, you say to yourself you are the weight you want to be and keep repeating it until you believe it.  When you believe it, the 'power(s) that is/be' makes it happen, and you'll reach the goal.  Same applies to wanting to make $X per week, month, or year.  If you get to a point that you believe it, it will happen.  Sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, right?  Well... not so fast.

I honestly have seen it in action in my life.  Sadly, while it has worked for me, I neglect keeping it up, it falls to the wayside, and I fall back into my limiting beliefs.  How has it worked, you ask?  I'll give ya three examples:

  • Before I left my ex-husband, I had a sports car I owned out right but the car wasn't practical for where I was moving since I needed a little more room.  I needed an SUV but because I was self-employed, financing would be a pain.  A month before I left, I wrote down what I wanted, that I'd have to spend NO money on it, and made it a point to think about it as often as possible.  "I am so happy and thankful now that I have a nice SUV instead of a car."  It got to the point that I knew I would have that SUV... and on the 29th day... the day before I was leaving... I found someone with a nice SUV that was looking to trade it for a sports car.  It was worth exactly what my car was... so after we met and checked each other's vehicles out, we swapped titles.  Ta da!  I had my SUV with only ONE day to spare!
  • I wanted to be a best-selling author.  I wrote this goal down and made a point to think about it every moment I could.  A few weeks go by and I stumble upon an author looking to make a paranormal romance box set with a few other authors.  I submit my work and she accepts it, along with manuscripts from three authors that are already best-sellers (and not just on Amazon either... I'm talking NY Times best-sellers!)  Move forward two months... and our box-set collaboration hits number #1 in our genre on Amazon!  Now I'm a best-selling author!
  • Tired of dating men that weren't perfect for me (I've always been one to believe in my 'soulmate')... and tired of dating in general, I made a list of every possible quality I could want in a man: height, interests, personality, income... even getting as specific as to eye color and that he should have dimples!  I ended up with a list of 24 qualities and set a goal of two months to find my "Mr. Wonderful".  I read my list as often as I could, but by the end of the first month, life got in my way and I forgot about my list.  I met and went out with a couple of duds, but get this... after the 3rd date with a guy I was growing quite fond of, I stumbled upon my list... and he had all but 1 thing missing!  (He's since gained that one thing he was lacking!)  AND I met him EXACTLY one month after the 'due' date!  I met him on January 13th, 2015... and he is the most amazing person I've ever met - my lover, my best friend... and the father of a son I always wanted but never thought I could have.  :)
I have other examples of what some people just call chance or happenstance working, but for sake of time, I'll leave it at that.  I'm bringing it up now because I have been working on 'The Secret' for a couple of weeks now.  My goal was to bring in $1,000 per week, and I've been telling myself I would by the 27th of August.  On the 26th... wouldn't you know it... I was contacted by someone that needed some design work on a regular basis... and it would equate to $800 per week.  Yes, it is $200 short, BUT I've noticed that if I 'ask' for money, it usually falls 20% short of my goal.  

Current goal - I've set a goal for $1,800 per week by October 1st.  (I want $1,500.)  What I need to do for this to happen is repeat "I am so happy and thankful now that I am making over $1,800 per week, every week, through various sources, as of October 1st, 2016!" as often as I think about it throughout the day.  I also will be thinking about how great it feels to be making that money.  This is a little over a 30-day challenge, so that's what I'll be calling it.  Feel free to follow along or make your own 30-day goal!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Raising Start-Up Capital In A Pinch (Part One)

Business ideas are great, but they are nothing unless you have the funds to start it with.  At that point, it turns into a "chicken and the egg" debate... do you need the money first or the idea?  A great business idea is fantastic... but you need the capital to start the business.  Having the funds to start a business is nice... but really nothing without an idea!  They are two major sides to the start-up coin and I have a couple of ideas to help you take care of one so you can focus on brainstorming ideas or getting started on that home-based business.

Part One - Freelancing


Before we get started here, it's important to note that no matter what you are wanting to get involved in, you need the proper mindset.  With this, nothing is impossible.  Now, don't misunderstand me... I don't mean that you won't fail - actually far from it.  I mean that if you have the right mindset, failure will be nothing more than a stepping stone to your goal.  You'll shake the mud off, learn from the mistake and continue on.

So how do you get this right mindset?  Basically, you consider everything... but take everything with a grain of salt:

  • Friends or family poo-pooing your idea to work from home?  If they aren't currently working from home or have never worked from home, what do they know?  Take what they say, consider it, and if there are no valid points, toss their criticism out.  Yes, you can do this!  It's up to you whether you allow their words to affect you.
  • Receive awful negative feedback?  This may be upsetting, but don't let it sidetrack you.  Consider what the writer says.  Is there anything you can gain from said nasty remarks?  If so, great.  Learn from those remarks and move on.  We are all different and do not all share the same opinions!
  • Having difficulties with a project?  The root of your job is helping someone solve a problem.  No, really... think about it.  Someone needs a brochure designed... why?  Maybe they can't sell on their own (problem).  Or they are looking for a ghost writer for their story... why?  Perhaps they can't write creatively (problem).  Just remember when working on a project that it's all about solving a problem.  When you do, value will be provided to your customer/client and they'll love you for it!
With that said, stay positive.  Watch out for certain words in your everyday vocabulary, words such as can't, impossible, and never.  When you use words like this, saying things such as "I can't", "It's impossible", and "I'll never be able to do...", you are limiting yourself right there.  You MUST stay positive!

Make $500+ per week with UpWork

If you've never heard of, perhaps you've heard of Odesk and Freelancer.  These two websites brought together people that needed a service completed and people who could complete the service for them.  Not too long ago, these two sites merged and we have UpWork today.

Now, some of you may be thinking "I have no skill to peddle on a freelancer website!"  Again, remember your mindset!  You're shooting yourself in the foot before we even begin here!  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has something they can offer on UpWork, whether answering phones, taking calls, or compiling spreadsheets to graphic design, coding, or writing.  Don't believe me?  Take a look at the most recent job postings and browse for a while.  I'm positive that after you scan a few pages of jobs you'll see several that you think "I can do that" to yourself.

Landing your first 'gig' isn't very complicated, but it is very important to your success on UpWork.  I'm not going to hold your hand here, but I do have a couple of tips to help you get started:
  1. Make sure your profile is 100% complete.  This means filling out your bio, work history, taking a few skills tests, etc.  (Bonus: some of the tests you take can earn you top marks on your profile if you do well!)
  2. When filling out your bio, avoid making it about you, you, you.  Instead, focus on how your particular skill set can solve problems for the client.  Instead of saying "I have blah blah blah experience with blah", say something more like, "Needing to hire a top-notch freelancer?  You'll need someone that will understand the importance of your project and reach high standards."
  3. Your avatar is important and should show your smiling face!
  4. Don't apply to every gig!  Choose a few each day that really speak to you.
  5. Apply for the lower-paying gigs at first to build up your feedback.  You must build a level of trust before you can land the top-paying gigs.
The amazing thing about UpWork is that once the gig is closed out successfully, you'll have access to your funds in a matter of days and the funds can be transferred to your bank account by means of ACH transfer!

Now take action!  Head over to and get started today!

Note: I will be putting together a step-by-step guide on freelancing in the future.  The guide will show you the best way to structure your profile and how to get the job posters to ignore all other freelancers the moment you apply.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Stay-At-Home-Mom can be Home-Business-Mom too!

Many of you may or may not know that I am currently "unemployed" as we await the arrival of our son.  I am doing a lot of freelance design and writing on the side to help supplement income... but it isn't a full-time job and certainly isn't bringing in what I made at my last place of employment.

Today, my boyfriend, who is my best friend and the love of my life, told me something that got me to thinking.  He's been working 40+ hours per week as a Federal Correctional Officer (basically a prison guard for a Federal pen... yeah... the scary prisons) to make up for my lack of employment.  Every morning, I have to watch him leave 7 and see him come home mentally exhausted at 5.  I told him that I missed him today and his reply was, "I miss you too.  Only 19 more years of this unless something changes".  What?  19 YEARS?!  I'd never thought about it that way and it was a staggering number.  So... for 988 more weeks... I'll have to do the same thing 5-6 days a week... say goodbye to my love only to see him come home later that day worn out and beat down by stress from his dangerous job?  That's 4,940 DAYS!  Screw that... I can make that 'change' he was talking about, couldn't I?  I'm a smart, business-minded woman after all!

After doing some reading, it dawned on me.  Being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) didn't mean no income... it just meant stay at home.  I could be a SAHM and a HBM (home business mom) too, right?  Sure, why not?  People have been doing it for years!

With that etched in my brain, I considered what would be the best business to run from home.  If I were to do research, what were my qualifications for a home business?

  1. Internet based - this will allow for transportability in the event of a job transfer or move
  2. Low entry cost - hey, funds are tight right now.  The start-up cost needs to be under $100.
  3. Unique - there are lists and lists of home-based businesses that can be started... but they've already been played out.  This needs to be new and different so as to have a chance at earning money faster.
  4. Ability to be automated - the point of all of this research is to find a way to make good money from home, not take time away from my family.  If the business can't be automated then it's not going to work for me.
  5. Ability to make money within a week or two - I don't know about you, but I need money now... not in a couple of months!
Armed with the five qualifications from above, I'm going to start my research.  I've already researched raising capital in a pinch and will post that tomorrow.  :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Now what... low iron?

Just as I was feeling better about preeclampsia, my doctor called me this morning and told me that my blood work came back with low iron.  My H&H (hemoglobin and hematocrit) was at 9.9 when it should be 11 or higher.  You all know me and know the first thing I did was google the possible issues with being anemic during the third trimester and good ole WebMD had this to say:
New research suggests that taking iron supplements as prescribed may play a role in reducing the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The researchers found that mothers of children with autism were significantly less likely to have taken iron supplements before and during pregnancy than those whose children seem to be developing normally.
The study authors also discovered that mothers 35 years of age and older who had low iron intake had a five times greater risk of having a child with autism.
ARGH!  So... even though I've been taking 95mg of iron (it's in my prenatals) on a daily basis, I still have low iron? Trying not to think about it.

Another note I'm going to add... if you're over 35, be sure to watch your iron levels so you aren't freaking out like I am, wondering how long your iron has been low and what it could possibly do to your baby.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Comprehensive and practical hospital bag

After tons of research on Google, I compiled a list of things that I am taking with me to the hospital to be as comfortable as possible during delivery and after.

For me:

  • 2 pairs non-skid socks
  • light-weight robe
  • 1-2 maternity bras
  • Nursing pads to keep bras as dry as possible
  • breastfeeding pillow if you plan to breastfeed
  • lip balm
  • toiletries: brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, makeup, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, glasses, contact case, contact solution, hair clips
  • heavy, overnight pads (my research shows women liked Always Maxi Extry Heavy Overnight)
  • Tucks pads (to put on pad to soothe ouchy spots)
  • sugar-free candy to keep mouth moist
  • pen and paper
  • non-perishable snacks (granola bars, cereal/protein bars, and wrapped prunes.  Prunes were recommended since you'll have to defecate before you leave... and the prunes will make it easier for a system that's just been through hell.)
  • cell phone charger
  • comfy and cute pjs to wear home
  • regular pjs
  • nightgown you don't mind tossing out
  • fluffy towel (hospital towels suck)
  • curling/straightening iron
  • couple pairs of undies (regular/maternity... whatever fits you comfortably)
  • book(s)
  • slippers
  • favorite pillow with old pillow case cover
For my mate:
  • change of clothes or two
  • toiletries: toothbrush, deodorant
  • reading material
  • camera
  • comfy clothes/t-shirt and pj bottoms
  • house shoes (Lord knows we can't call them slippers!)  :)
For baby:
  • coming home outfit - long sleeve onesie, hat, socks (if onesie doesn't have feet), and mittens
  • one or two onesies (bring one newborn and one 0-3-month-old size just in case!)
  • blanket
  • car seat (duh!)
  • that's it (hospital will have wipes, diapers, bottles, etc for you while you are there)
And there you have it, my list for my hospital bag JUST in case they send me to have our son early!  Always be prepared, right?  :)

If there is an essential that you feel I missed on this list, please leave a comment below!  Love to hear from you!

Too good to be true?

My pregnancy has been pretty easy thus far and I'm at 34-36 weeks today.  No morning sickness, no fatigue, no pain, no cravings, no stretch marks, no nesting, I've only gained 5lbs, and I can still sleep on my back with no problems.  In fact, I think I'm getting a good 6 hours of sleep at night! (Don't be jealous!)

However, my recent appointment has made me wonder if all is okay.  Did some research on preeclampsia today and it's no laughing matter.  If you are experiencing headaches, swelling of the feet, legs, hands or face, experiencing dizziness, or blurred vision, contact your doctor right away.  You may be experiencing the onset of preeclampsia and is potentially very dangerous for you and your baby.  According to the Mayo Clinic:

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, often the kidneys. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman whose blood pressure had been normal. Even a slight rise in blood pressure may be a sign of preeclampsia.
Left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious — even fatal — complications for both you and your baby. If you have preeclampsia, the only cure is delivery of your baby.
If you're diagnosed with preeclampsia too early in your pregnancy to deliver your baby, you and your doctor face a challenging task. Your baby needs more time to mature, but you need to avoid putting yourself or your baby at risk of serious complications.
So, that got me to thinking and doing even more research which lead to me calling my Dr.'s nurse.   I wanted to know if I am diagnosed with preeclampsia at my next appointment if they would either a) send me to L&D right then to induce/section me  b) schedule induction/section or  c)who knows.  The nurse said it all depends on the doctor and what they think.  (I've read that a systolic of 160 or a diastolic of 95 will do it.)  But she said, "I'd just be prepared, if I were you, and bring my hospital bag just in case."  Yikes!  The crib for our son isn't supposed to be delivered until the 16th and my next appointment is the 12th!

At any rate, I'm sitting here checking off items on my hospital bag.  I'll make another post with the things I'm including based on tons of Googling!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


I had an appointment yesterday to measure our son's movement and heart rate.  Before they hooked me up to the machine, they checked my blood pressure.  It normally runs and has been running between 120/80-128/80.  Yesterday it registered 148/90.  They checked it twice more (both in the same arm and with the same machine) and the results were similar.  The staff was a little alarmed and gave me a 24-hour urine test to do and bring back for my next appointment.  They are saying it may be preclampsia and if it doesn't adjust back to a more usual range, they may induce me early.

Part of me is thinking it's no big deal and they are over-reacting.  I mean, they could have taken the BP manually... or tried a different arm, but they did not.  Surely that would be standard procedure, right?  And the bf and I had a big, salty meal the night before... so maybe that had something to do with it?

Then there's the other part of me that's excited about meeting our son early.  He's been measuring big and weighing equally to his measure, which is 2 weeks further than I supposedly am.  We would LOVE for him to be born at the end of the month, which would put him at either 36 weeks OR 38, instead of the EDD of September 27th.  What I mean is, on my appointment on the 5th of this month, he measured 34 weeks and weighed 4.5lbs, instead of 32 weeks and the weight associated with that week.  Now, I know that the sizes and weights are only as good as the people taking them... but we are crossing our fingers that he's a big boy.  (Sounds crazy, I know.)

At any rate, preclampsia can be a dangerous thing, from what I read.  However, I haven't experienced any warning signs of it:  blurred vision, headaches, swelling of the legs and hands.  The higher a BP goes, the more stress it puts on the mother's body and that of the baby as well.

If you're pregnant and have been experiencing these symptoms, please call your doctor.  I might be making light of the situation, but it's no laughing matter.  Keep you and your baby safe.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Custom Diaper Bag

I found a really pretty bag on Etsy today, but of course, I can't leave things the way they are.  I'm trying to see if I can have the bag (pictured below) modified.  I want a grey linen to replace the camo.  The lady that makes the bags told me that she was also out of the floral print.  So... I made my own (pictured to the left).  Not really sure how this will turn out, but I'm hoping to end up with a bag that I can use as a purse later!

We are getting a neutral backpack diaper bag for the bf so he won't look like he's holding his wife's purse when he's out with our son.  :)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Baby Shower!

My friend is throwing me a baby shower and she asked me to design the invites since I'm not too shabby with the Adobe Creative Suite.  I've blurred out the names and contact info so I can post here.  I'm pretty pleased with the design, which is my take on something I saw on etsy a while back!

I'm super excited and happy that my friends want to do this for me, especially since most of their children are in middle/high school!  I'll be the oldest with the youngest, I suppose!

Low-carbing while pregnant and dealing with emotions

I've usually been a pretty even tempered person, but I've noticed that my emotions are running away with me as of late.  I'll hear a song on the radio and have to fight back the urge to cry... or someone says something that I construe as mean (while they may or may not mean it that way)... I want to yell vicious things at them and make them feel smaller than a skin cell.  I reluctantly admitted this to my bf yesterday and he said he was happy that at least I knew it was my hormones and he would try to be more sensitive.  (God bless that man.  We have so much stress in our lives right now due to a financial issue, so he's having to work a ton of overtime at a dangerous job he can't stand so we can buy stuff for our son.  Despite it all, he's still be the most loving, thoughtful, and comforting man I've ever known.  He rubs/kisses my growing belly at night, helps me up if I've been sitting on the floor even though I don't ask for help, he holds my hand and opens doors for me, and we go out on dates when he's not having to work very late.  :) )

Anyway, to combat the runaway emotions, I've found that taking a time-out so-to-speak helps a lot.  I need to go someplace quiet, such as our bedroom, sit in the dark, listen to soft music and take several deep breaths while thinking about my mood.  Is it really worth my stress?  Usually, it's not.  Within a few minutes, I'm back to myself.  :)

On a different note, since I'm wanting to maintain my weight and not gain a ton, I'm practicing a low-carb routine of 3 days on, 2 days off.  So far it's been working rather well.  I spoke with my doctor on the safety of doing a low carb diet while pregnant and her response was "Babies are made up of protein and water.  Fat mothers are made up of carbs and soda.  Just be sure you're eating plenty of veggies, drinking a ton of water, and taking the prenatal vitamins."  Being 40, I would like to shed the baby weight as quickly as possible... but my age makes it harder than it was at 25.  I don't want to be a fat parent as I want to do things with my son.  Because of that, I'm making a marked effort to be healthier than I was before I knew I was pregnant.  We have a flowerbed garden with green beans, cucumbers, peppers, and zucchini in full swing, which is great right now!  (Miracle Grow is the best!  Just sayin'!)

No pregnancy symptoms doesn't mean somethings wrong... enjoy it!

I meant to start this blog when I first found out I was pregnant, around May 2016 sometime, but life has a way of getting in the way.  :)

A little about me and how this all came into being... I am a writer and I've been with my amazing boyfriend since January 13th, 2015.  During my first marriage, my then husband wanted children pretty badly.  I always wanted to adopt for a variety of reasons (the first I will not mention as I'm sure it would ruffle some feathers), but the second reason was because the idea of being pregnant didn't appeal to me at all.  Being sick, not being able to drink, getting fat, having to subject myself to so many doctor's visits, not being able to sleep well... yeah.  Those things didn't sound like fun.  So when the ex and I went for a fertility check-up, I was relieved for my doctor to tell me that I would be unable to conceive since some certain hormone that I don't remember now was supposed to be at a 10 or higher... and I was at a level 7.  Husband at the time asked if that would change, and she said it was highly unlikely unless I went through hormone therapy.  No thanks!  That was in 2005.  Since then, I have divorced (2008), married (2010) and divorced (2014) all while not using birth control with my then husbands.

I met the love-of-my-life at the start of 2015 and after about 3 months of being in a committed relationship, we stopped using protection.  I mean, I obviously couldn't get pregnant!  He has a daughter from a previous marriage, and told me that his ex wife was told the same thing... that she couldn't get pregnant... but she did.  I remember laughing and telling him this was no where near the same situation!  I, in fact, COULD NOT get pregnant.

Come March 2016, I couldn't figure out why I was exhausted all of the time.  (I had missed periods, but I wasn't too concerned with that since that happened on a regular basis.)  I'd come home from my then job and nearly crash out on the sofa, which was totally unlike me.  The boyfriend suggested that I was pregnant, but I simply laughed.  "I can't get pregnant, remember?"  So we simply chalked it up to work being more stressful than usual.  

In May, we made a move halfway across the state for his work.  We packed up all of our belongings into a Uhaul and moved... just the two of us.  The exhaustion had let up, but I still was missing periods since January.  Since my mother had cancer, I was growing concerned I had some type of cervical or uterine cancer, so we thought it would be best that I had it checked out.  My fantastic boyfriend came with me to the doctor's visit and were both floored when the doc told me I was pregnant.  I freaked out a bit and told the doctor that there were no symptoms... could that be a wrong diagnosis and if it was correct, could the baby be okay?  She wheeled in a sonogram machine and again, boyfriend and I were at a loss when she ran a scanner over my stomach and a BABY, not a bean or a blip, a baby appeared on the screen.  I was 21 weeks pregnant.  I'd already burned through half of my pregnancy and had no idea.  No morning sickness, no pain, no expanding waist line...  Luckily, I like to take vitamins... so I was decent in that respect... but wow!  How did I get so lucky as to not have a baby with my ex's and this wait until I met the 'right' one?

Since then, I've had numerous doctor's visits and sonograms which confirm that our little son is doing perfectly well.  Today, I am at 31 weeks, almost to 32.  My waist has expanded a bit and I do get the occasional swollen feet/cankles, but everything else has been good.  In fact, I've only gained 3lbs since finding out I was pregnant.  (Docs say my son is burning up my fat reserves!)  Since I am 5'8" and was at 223lbs when I found out I was pregnant... I'm very happy he's burning up my fat!

Anyway, I'm writing this blog because as a 40 year old pregnant with my first and only child, I want to dispel that not having pregnancy symptoms doesn't mean that something is wrong with your baby.  Every pregnancy is different for every woman.  Honestly, had I not gone in to the doc, the only thing that would tell me something was up right now is I can feel and see him move!  I can wear nearly all of my old clothes still, with the exception a couple pairs of shorts that were tight then anyway.  I still wear the same size bra!