Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here we are on day 365, the New Year stretched out before us like a beautifully blank piece of paper just waiting to be written upon.

I feel as though much of what I could say here would sound very cliche and so I will keep it simple and say that 2010 has been a definitive year of growth for me personally. So much has happened that has brought both joy and sadness, but at its end lessons have been learned, new and wonderful connections have been made, friendships have blossomed and hope springs eternal (sorry, I couldn't help it!). I am so happy and grateful for all that has transpired and very excited to see where the year ahead will take me.

I am also very thankful for my cool little group of readers here in this humble space. I look forward to updating it on a more regular basis and plan to share some old family recipes as I have severely neglected my foodie side as of late!

I get nervous about sharing resolutions because, in true Gemini fashion, I will jinx myself. I can tell you that one of my main goals is to continue to find balance in life and to worry less. What are some of yours?

I want to wish you all the best that 2011 has to offer - now get out there and getcha some!!

Happy New Year and Much Love!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It Is A Beautiful World Indeed!

A funny thing happened one day, approximately three years ago... My husband was at the park playing with our two daughters aged four and almost two at the time. A mom at the park struck up a conversation with my dashingly handsome hubby, they got to talking and she explained that she was passing an hour while her older daughter was having a riding lesson at the farm down the road. A name and a phone number was given and thus began a very special relationship with a pony named Bonnie Beau Dot, a beautiful young woman who we think is the best riding instructor on the planet, and the owner of the farm, who I will refer to here as "Mrs. P." - a gorgeous, sassy, firecracker of a lady who might be found riding a big tractor or covered in some type of animal excrement one moment, and then spiffed up and sparkling, the effortlessly gracious party hostess the next. Mrs. P.'s farm is a magical place...

Last Friday night, Mrs. P. hosted a "House Concert" featuring Adam Crossley. What a treat to be able to meet and experience his music in such an intimate setting. Adam drew us all in with his sense of humor and gift of storytelling. Think Coldplay and Sting rolled into one big ball of fantasticalicious musicality - he's got that "it" factor that cannot be bought or taught. Adam Crossley is the real deal and I would like to help spread the word about this very talented singer songwiter.

In 2009 His song "Beautiful World" topped the AC Billboard charts and was the #1 Christmas song in America for three weeks in a row! You can listen here and also find it on his most recent album "Anvil Of A Heart" Adam Crossley : Beautiful World I have no idea why we aren't seeing Adam everywhere...but I have a feeling we will be soon!

As a bonus to our lovely evening, Crescent Moon Coffee and Tea Co. provided baked treats and the best coffee in the county!

At one point during the evening, my husband turned to me and said "What if I hadn't gone to the park that day with the girls?" We have had so many fun experiences, met some wonderful people, and made some lasting memories at this special place.

It's funny how things happen...and I trust that they're happening exactly as they should.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

TLC's Homemade Millionaire Episode 4

Based on conversations here and over at Tracy's ProductX Blog, this Friday's Homemade Millionaire hosted by the Super Fantasticalicious Kelly Ripa is sure to be an exciting one!

Don't shoot me, but I will not be watching or tweeting this Friday. I've got it set to record on my DVR and will not check anything online until after I watch. I've got a hot date with my husband and we don't get out much. So, while I am very excited to go out and hear some live music in a very cozy setting (which will also include good food, wine and making conversation with grown-ups), I am very sorry to be missing the show, and will be with you in spirit!

If what I have been reading about is true, I think we might be in for some "real" reality Friday night. It looks like all three of these brainy broads with big ideas (sorry, I couldn't help myself) have very appealing products.

Sarah Haviland and her Think Brand Products look very interesting. Hmmm, the sleuth in me wonders why her website is "under construction" with "more info coming soon"...a clue? I guess we will have to wait and see!

I love, love, LUV Haris Lender and her Luv-A-Cuva - so simple, so ingenious! (big sigh...yes, her name and company name are still wrong on this promo video I grabbed from YouTube. They fixed the one on the TLC website, but I was unable to get that one :) sorry Haris!) Kelly clearly LUVS your CUVA too and I think it's a winner!

Robyn Zimmer and her Window Origamilook so fabulous, I don't know anyone who wouldn't want these beautiful window treatments in their home! Definitely a "why didn't I think of that" invention.

Wishing all three of you ladies the best of luck! We will be watching and rooting for you.

Kelly, if there's a chance you might be reading this, I hope the hip mends quickly and that Mark is waiting on you personally and appropriately (wink, wink).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ready, Set, Let's Get Published!

The proverbial cheerleader in me (for the record, I never was an actual cheerleader) has been having such a blast writing, connecting, learning and sharing on BookRix that I wanna shout it to the moon! Have you got a book in your head just trying to get out? Well, grab your pencils, stretch your imagination and buckle up! It's gonna be a word wranglin', keyboard poundin' round up! Ahem, seriously, this is really fantastical.

Think that holding your own published book in your hands is a dream off in the distance? Not true! BookRix wants to help you get published with their free-to-enter BookRix “Get Published” Contest, going on now through January 17th, 2011.

This is a new style of contest for BookRix to host – at the end of this contest, one lucky winner will get to publish his or her book!

The grand prize, generously provided by

CreateSpace, is a Total Design Freedom Advanced Publishing Solution, (valued at $2,567!) which will include a custom cover and interior design, comprehensive copyediting, promotional text creation, a press release with targeted distribution, a complimentary upgrade to their Pro Plan, and a free CreateSpace ISBN if the winner does not already have one.

Plus, the winner of the “Get Published” BookRix Contest can choose any of the following sales channels through which he or she would like to enable the book for sale: the website, a CreateSpace eStore, and the CreateSpace expanded distribution channel.

The second place winner will receive a prize of $500 cash, with third place winning $300!

Have you just completed a NaNoWriMo novel this past November? Upload your NaNo work before January 17, 2011, for a chance to see your name in print! Join theFacebook Get Published BookRix Event to receive updates and news pertaining to this fantastic FREE contest!

Specific Contest Guidelines:

The book you choose to upload for the contest must be at least 25 BookRix pages long, but must not be your complete work. That will come later. You may not upload the entire book on to BookRix to be eligible for this contest.

All books must have a cover during the contest. However, the author whose book wins the first place prize will receive a unique cover as part of the prize provided by CreateSpace. Therefore, the “Get Published” contest entry covers on BookRix should be considered temporary.

Only fiction and nonfiction work is allowed in this contest.
You cannot enter work that has taken part in previous BookRix writing contests.

If you make it into the top ten or wildcard pick(s), you will be notified by BookRix to your personal e-mail address. At this time, you must send BookRix your complete work. So have your entire work completed ahead of time, but do not upload it on to BookRix. You will only have seven (7) days from notification to send in your book to BookRix via e-mail.

The complete work must be at least 30,000 words long and sent in Word document (or similar text file) format to after you receive official notification that you have made it into the top ten or wildcard pick(s) on BookRix.

If the chosen authors do not send their complete work within seven days, the next best-ranked author will be contacted and so on until ten best-rated books can be given to the jury for selection.

This contest is free-to-enter. Contestants must create a BookRix user profile to submit their works or to vote on contestants to participate.

Authors must register their stories for the contest by January 17, 2011, 6 pm (EST) / 9 am (PST)/ 11 pm (GMT).

Monday, December 6, 2010

You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers About TLC's Homemade Millionaire

Bless my Mama and pass me some pancakes, there has been a LOT of behind the scenes speculations about just exactly what the dillio might be with Homemade Millionaire, Milojo et al. Frankly, I am on the brink of over-analysis paralysis myself and I am not even on the show!

Couple of things that many of us have been noticing, and this first one might not seem like a big deal until you ask yourself the question: What if it were me and my business? So, without further ado ~

Five days ago, I politely brought it to the attention of the kind folks at The Learning Channel (which makes this slightly ironic come to think of it) that in their sneak peek video for this week they have Haris Lender and her company, LUV-A-CUVA spelled wrong (Harris Lender, Lova-Cova). They thanked me kindly and said how appreciative they were that I brought it to their attention. While I am sure that the person who sent me that message was, in fact, appreciative, the message has gotten lost somewhere down The Learning Channel pipeline never seeming to have reached the person whose job it is to edit their website. As of right now (I just double checked to save myself the taste of foot in mouth) 6:38 p.m. EST, still not changed.

I also had a very nice conversation with a trusted source at Milojo, who assured me they had also been in touch with TLC's publicity people to fix the very same issue and that they would reach out again. It feels like the folks at Kelly Ripa's production company, Milojo seem to genuinely care - at this point I am not so sure about TLC. I mean, they're The LEARNING Channel after all. I guess I have it in my head that tv networks employ the best and brightest and don't understand how many minutes it could possibly take for someone to fix this. Anywhoo - next!

We have also been wondering why Milojo had disappeared from Google! There was deep sucking in of breath and the rumblings of no hope for a Season 2 if Milojo has disappeared! Not to worry - Milojo is right here, chugging happily along and also very happy to know that they've got an SEO issue to deal with.

We wondered why, on the Monday morning after the premier of Homemade Millionaire, when Regis asked Kelly what she did over the weekend there was no talk of it whatsoever! What?! How could this possibly be? What does it mean? Why would she not be talking about how exciting it was to crown the first winner Marcy McKenna and her Styling Station?

My sweet source patiently explained to me that the Live Show that aired Monday, November 22 was taped previously because the Regis and Kelly folks were out taping in Las Vegas - mystery solved.

Many of us are still wondering why this show seems to be under publicized. I wanted to ask my source about this as well, but alas, time ran out. Maybe someone out there in tv land can shed some light.

Lot's of other interesting rumblings going on over at ProductX, but I'm hoping to get some conversations started here as well, so I hope you'll feel free to comment and share your own insights.

Looking forward to what I am predicting will be a VERY exciting show this Friday! Stay tuned for a preview...

And in case you're wondering, this is what I look like at approximately 6:15 a.m.

As always - thank you for reading! So many interesting people out there to connect with!


Friday, December 3, 2010

TLC's Homemade Millionaire Episode 3

Hey party people! Looking forward to seeing what Homemade Millionaire has to offer this evening! While I am starting to wonder if this might be the most under publicized show in TLC's line-up... (a post for another time) I am excited for these three ladies!!

Will it be Erika Wilson and her fabulous Purse Flats, Jennifer Martinson and her Magic Dress or Carissa Brown and her Carissa Rose Designs for us busty gals?

While there is no promo video this week, I can tell you (from my very quick research this morning) it looks like a couple of these women already have some great press under their belts! Carissa Brown has been featured by Adam Glassman, Creative Director for O Magazine , and Erika Wilson's Purse Flats have been featured in Glamour Magazine's Fashion Blog and MSNBC's Elevator Pitch! Jennifer Martinson, if you're reading, please feel free to plug any of your own press here as well!

So excited for the three of you and can't wait to see what comes out HAUTE tonight!

Feel free to share any and all advice with us here! We're also having some great conversations about Homemade Millionaire over at Tracy's ProductX blog - so be sure to check that out too!

Best of luck to all of you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Cyber Monday and I would like to celebrate my dear friend and fellow Woman Inventor Roberta Wagner!

It all started one evening around the dinner table when Roberta's nine year old daughter, Emily, said she wanted to bring her doll with them to New York for an upcoming day trip where they would make a traditional, special stop at the Amercian Girl Doll store. Roberta knew that once they left that store, she would then be stuck carrying Emily's doll. They looked and found other carriers on the market, however, none were hands-free, and walking through the busy streets of New York City makes holding hands with your children a must.

Roberta had a lightbulb moment and, being the creative person she is (her friends call her "Martha") whipped out her sewing machine and set to work making the first prototype of Carry-Her. On their next trip into the City, Emily used it to carry her doll and the response from people on the street was overwhelming. Twenty prototypes later, with Emily overseeing and assisting in the design process (the kid can sew too!) Carry-Her has been perfected and the word is spreading like wildfire.

Proudly manufactured in the US, Carry-Her Combos are flying out of the order fulfillment center aka Roberta's living room and into the arms of happy moms and girls all over the country!

Do yourself or someone you love a favor and get one today!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

And Now, An Important Word from Leslie Haywood

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Leslie Haywood. It is always so fun to speak with her! In light of all of the excitement over Homemade Millionaire, she reminded me of an article she posted on her blog in September of last year regarding "one of the biggest lies in business..."

I will admit that it is hard not to believe that getting your product on a show like Shark Tank, Pitchmen, American Inventor or Homemade Millionaire is the "Golden Ticket" to all of my entrepreneurial dreams coming true. The realistic me knows that this is not always the case and Leslie's article speaks volumes to this.

Hoping that many of my fellow inventor friends will read and find it useful too!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Homemade Millionaire: One Reject's Take

Processing complete (big sigh). Now that my five year old has been sent on her way to p.m. Kindergarten and I have enjoyed a nice lunch while crying my way through yesterday's Oprah's Ultimate Favorite Things, I think I am finally ready to provide my two cents on the Friday night Premier episode of Homemade Millionaire.

I tweeted myself silly...along with what seemed like about six other people. I even received a very sweet thank you DM from Kelly herself - Love you Kelly! One of the first things I was wondering as I was watching the show was "where is everyone?"

There has been a lot of commenting over on Tracy's ProductX blog, along with what seems like a lot of explaining by the winner, Marcy McKenna (me thinks thou doth protest too much).

This first part of my blog post is kind of like what my old boss and I used to call a "therapy letter". He would write a draft of a letter that would often start out not in the happiest of tones. I would type it up and turn it back over to him and we would hand the letter back and forth to one another with edits until eventually the letter was either never sent, or sent to the round file.

So, without further ado - here's me sounding a bit pitiful.

I flew to Chicago to attend Kelly Ripa's "Woman Inventor" casting call with a working prototype of my specialized cleaning tool in my hands and a prayer in my heart. I gave my best pitch... I know some of you have already heard it, and it seems VERY silly now:

"I'm a REAL Housewife in New Jersey - I haven't been nipped or tucked, and I still clean my own house, which is why I am so excited to tell you about my invention "Grime-Out!" This revolutionary new cleaning tool allows you to simultaneously scrub and rinse those tough to reach areas in the bath..."

See? I even brought my winning personality, which I have been told by many that I do possess, albeit in an often goofballesque fashion. I even write my own material! I also have in my filing cabinet a sealed envelope which I sent to myself certified mail a while back with another idea that's on the shelf for now.

As it turns out, and I shared this with the folks at Milojo as well, I too come from a family of inventors who have invented very significant things (e.g., Steve Jensen, invented Electronic Ballast for flourescent bulbs; John Christian Jensen, invented the P-Static Precipitator 1936, used on all aircraft today - my father and great grandfather respectively).

Frankly, I think I could kick some pitching ass on HSN and I know a lot of other ladies who could too (ahem, Marianne, Tracy, Ro, Ginny), especially when talking about their own product. But, unfortunately, we didn't realize that "ready to sell" meant, ready to host.

I do think (after dishing with friends and getting lots of other opinions) that this show would have been better served had it waited to put Marcy McKenna on at a later date, therefore allowing time for the product she submitted for consideration to be, know it sounds crazy... "ready to sell". There were thousands of women who auditioned for this show who are!

Was Tonya set up to be the black sheep of the first episode? It clearly stated in the application that you needed to have a "working prototype" and to be able to show how it worked. I know this because, since I could not bring a functioning shower with me to Chicago, my husband (not a film maker or producer) shot a demo video in our bathroom which we sent in with an online application. Yes, I applied online AND went to the casting call.

Again - bear with me because I REALLY want to see this show to succeed, but it was tough to watch the curly haired lady giving Tonya and her rollers a hard time due to the fact that THEY are the ones that brought her there! Clearly someone somewhere thought that Tonya and her MagicKurl rollers (not a working prototype) were good enough to make it on the show.

As for Stefany, I think she has a fantastic product that speaks for itself - I don't think the cuff "barely fit" around her hair, I think she was nervous and her fingers were a little shaky. It seemed so unfair that she was out in the first five minutes of the show!

Where was all of the step by step, through the process help we thought we were going to see? I thought, along with many others, that they would at least entertain us with some fun bloopers from the audition tapes.

Okay - now here's me with my big girl panties pulled way up:

This is what I know. This is television. No matter how much I love Kelly Ripa (and I do love her) and trust that her inentions for what she wanted to create here were/are good, there are a slew of other folks out there with their hands in it as well. Whether you want to believe it or not, these shows are about two things: entertainment and making money.

Also, cannot forget to mention what I thought was the quote of the show by Marcy that went something like "I'm not gonna have to invent something am I?" Really?

I went to Chicago and I had an experience that I will never forget and because of it, I have launched a business and am doing what I love to do. I am connected with some of the most incredible, empowering women you could ever ask to be included with and am so proud of all of them!

If you audition for a show like this and stake your life and being on it, you will be disappointed every time. We make our own destiny - I know you already know this!

Biggest lesson I think for many: You don't need to be on a reality television show to be successful. Your target audience is NOT watching this show - your fellow entrepreneurs are.

I will continue to support and look forward to tweeting about the show Friday night - I hope it will gain some momentum and at least put a spotlight on some really fabulous inventors.

My hat is off to ALL of the ladies - Marcy McKenna, Tonya Englebrecht and Stefany DiManno! There is no questioning that you are all winners!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and share!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Big Day for Women Inventors on TLC's Homemade Millionaire!

The big day has finally arrived! I know there are many thousands of us out there who applied and auditioned for Kelly Ripa's Homemade Millionaire. Since those auditions, almost a year and a half ago, there has been a lot of waiting, hoping, wondering and speculating. How exactly is this show going to turn out? Why wasn't I chosen? Who did get chosen?

Will it be Stefany DiManno and her DiManno Designs Hair Cuff? Marcy McKenna and her Styling Station? Tonya Engelbrecht and her MagicKurl? We will find out tonight!!

I have to be honest and say that I have a couple of favorites here, but am stumped as to who might be the next Homemade Millionaire out of these three!

Stefany's hair cuffs are haute! I can see Marcy's Styling Station being a bestseller and, as a native Southern Californian, it's hard for me not to be rooting for my fellow SoCal girl!! Are they trying to trick us with Tonya's rollers? They make her presentation seem much less fancy than the others - but I'm not fallin' for it - they look VERY cool :).

I am officially rooting for all of you ladies, because I have an inkling into what you have gone through to get your products to this point.

Good luck to all of you - We'll be watching and tweeting all about you!!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

TLC's Homemade Millionaire Rejects - They Razzle, They Dazzle!

On this the day before the BIG day we've all been waiting for, I wanted to spread some more casting call reject love to a few more ladies who ooze fabulousity (I heart Kimora Lee too).

This first gal, while I don't know her well, I can tell you she's like a bottle rocket wrapped in a stick of dynamite (not sure if this is possible, but you get the idea)- Kendra Kroll, Founder of Undercover Solutions, LLC and creator of the PortaPocket is a no BS, real as they come, go getter of a girl. Her product is another one of those "how cool is that" accessories that can be used by just about anyone. I am sure that we were in Chicago together, but I didn't meet her until a while later in Twitterland. She's had a ton of great press over the past couple of years (e.g., NBC's Today Show and Tonight Show with Jay Leno!) and you can now find PortaPocket on Chicago area CVS shelves! Kick Ass Kendra's not gonna let anything stand in her way!

This next lady is a wearer of many hats and a class act in every way. Cindy Mpasiakos, Founder of Pieces of Me by Cindy has created a product that I canont believe wasn't chosen for this show. I can absolutely visualize this as a viable addition to the HSN jewelry offerings. It is so unique, thoughtful and versatile! From sports fundraisers to family and friends, these beautiful puzzle piece charms are a perfect fit! (pun intended!) I think Cindy's story speaks for itself, so I've taken the liberty of sharing it.

"I am a stay at home mom with three children and a husband. I have my own decorating business called Serene Surroundings that I do from home. I came up with this idea when my son Joshua was looking through my jewelry box and found a rock. He said, "Can I keep this in my pocket so I can always have a piece of you with me." Later on that night, my daughter, Gabrielle was holding a picture of me under her pillow for the same reason. I thought it was so touching that they wanted to always have a part of me with them. I then started drawing pictures of ways that they and other kids could have a part of their loved ones and came up with "Pieces of Me by Cindy" puzzle charms."

I am so glad to know Cindy and can't wait to see where Pieces of Me is going...I've got a sneaking suspicion there are some BIG things in the pipeline. I know she lives not far from me and think we need to work on a Reject Reunion of sorts with the east coast ladies!

And there are many, many more:

Here's to the Rejects!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TLC's Homemade Millionaire Rejects Rock!

While I realize it had to be tough for Milojo (Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos' Production Co.) to choose the Women Inventors for the premier season of TLC's Homemade Millionaire, the ones left out in the cold aren't letting it slow them down!

I would now like to use my little corner of cyberspace to recognize the true fabulousness of some of the ladies and their products who I have come to know over the past year and a half.

First has to be Amy Sapirstein, Founder of Active Urban Mom LLC and her Mommy Mitten The night before I was heading for Chicago and desperately trying to figure out what to wear to the Chicago auditions (not to mention what to expect), I stumbled upon her blog where she posted about her experience at the NYC casting, along with a cute picture of herself holding the, at the time coveted, "Green Card". She might not have been chosen for the show, but Mommy Mitten is selling like hotcakes and is now available online at Babies 'R' Us and Toys 'R' Us! Thanks Amy, for saving me from a fashion disaster! Very glad to know her and call her a friend! One of these days we will meet up with some of the other ladies and have a very SATC afternoon!

Next up, Roberta Wagner, Founder of Carry-Her Inc. and Carry-Her, the one-of-a-kind doll carrier for Amercian Girl and all other 18" dolls. As the mother of two young girls who like to travel with their dolls, I can tell you first-hand this fabulous little backpack is a winner in every way! Do this: Get one (get two!), let your daughters wear them on your next outing and watch how many girls and their moms look, point, whisper and often ask "Where did you get that?" Sales of Carry-Her are startin' to blow up in a big way and she, like all of the other Women Inventors here, has worked her booty to the bone to make it happen. The bonus for me is that Roberta has become a dear friend who I adore and have learned a lot from personally through this experience. Love you Ro!

This next lady is about as true-blue as they come - always supportive and ready to lend a helping hand. If Ros Guerrero's Ficklets (Ficklets, LLC) are not the next Jibbitz, I don't know what is! I am that crazy lady who will approach complete strangers with kids wearing glasses to tell them about this fantastic product and say "See, Ficklets...they're like jibbitz for your glasses...look here's a picture on my phone." And there hasn't been a person yet who didn't say "Wow, what a cool idea! Those are so cute!" I have no idea what they say when I walk away, but I don't care - it's so easy to share about a product as fantastic as this. Last I heard, Ros was up all night getting a ready for shipment to a Distributor in Singapore! I am proud to call Ros friend as well, and am excited about her continued success!

I hope this gives you some idea - and maybe gives Milojo some ideas for Season 2 - of the incredible products being created and brought to market by Women Inventors! This door may have been closed to them, but I can guarantee they will tell you it's led them to so many other wonderful opportunities!

Keep your eyes peeled for more tomorrow!

And don't forget to Tweet Up with us Friday night! Homemade Millionaire will air this Friday, November 19th @ 10/9 Central on TLC! Check your local listings :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Countdown to Homemade Millionaire!

Let the countdown begin! Clear your calendars and make a date to watch Homemade Millionaire this Friday, November 19th on TLC at 10 p.m. EDT! We'll be all a Twitter and hope you'll join us!

Let's meet a few of the Inventors...

I've said it before and I'll keep on sayin' it - I am one of the happiest casting call rejects ever! Oh the places rejection has taken me! Never in a million years could I have predicted how much one 24 hr. whirlwind of a trip to Chicago to pitch my silly little cleaning tool would impact the course of my life. Because of this experience I have reconnected with old friends and made valuable new ones. I recently launched JenCann Productions and am excited about earning some extra "buck rogers" (as we like to call them around here) for being creative and doing what I love.

I met so many fabulous ladies in Chicago over a year ago and have also become very close with a few fellow rejects from the NYC casting. I can speak for them when I say we are rooting for all of the ladies who were chosen and look forward to showing our support on Friday nights! This is one of my favs! If Debra's Bake Huggers don't make you say "Why didn't I think of that?" I'll eat my hat!

If you or someone you know made it on, please share with us so we can cheer you on!

Kelly Ripa! Sending big love and shouts to you, Mark, the Milojo crew, TLC and HSN for the incredible opportunity you are giving these hardworking, passionate Women Inventors! I am proud to be an inventor who comes from a family of inventors!

Next time you're sitting on an airplane, look towards the outer edge of the wing and notice those two black sort of popsicle stick looking things. Those are called P-Static Precipitators and were invented by my Great Grandfather, John Christian Jensen in 1936.

On your next trip to the big box store look up at all of those flourescent lights (enough to give you a headache right?) and notice how they don't seem to throw off much heat. That's because in the 70's a super cool genius guy named Steve Jensen (aka my dad) invented the electronic ballast for flourescent bulbs to keep them from getting hot. Sheesh, you'd think I'd be some rich heiress considering how many flourescent light bulbs there are in the world, but no... Dad holds the patent and was paid a whopping $100 by the company he worked for at the time, Radiant Technologies in Southern California.

Have a great day and don't stop creating!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Hummingbird Moment

It was an afternoon in the spring of 1998 when my boss randomly said to me "You should buy a house." I was thirty years old, working as an Executive Assistant, for a software development and manufacturing company in California. My boss then gave me the name of his favorite realtor - a woman who had done many transactions for him, but whom he had never actually met. He could never have known how fateful that introduction would be.

I made the call and was very excited at the idea that there was even a remote possibility I could own my own home. I had been working and diligently contributing to my 401k for several years and now, what was once a dream was becoming more of a reality!

The realtor and I made a plan to meet and see houses in my price range on a Saturday afternoon. It was an idyllic Southern California day...not a cloud in the sky. We went through the first house, which was okay, but didn't really do anything for me. We moved on to the second house, a cute three bedroom rancher on a big corner lot with fruit trees and a small covered patio in the back. It needed a bit of TLC, but overall seemed like a great starter house. I wandered casually through the rooms, getting a feel for the place, imagining myself living there, and finally re-emerged into the living room where the realtor was patiently waiting.

The room boasted a large picture window facing the front yard. I love windows (who doesn't?) and this was a definite selling point for me. In my minds eye, I saw myself lining the window with little white lights for the holidays and maybe placing a chair in front of it to curl up in with a good book or cup of tea to enjoy the view of big old oak trees that lined the street.

As I was having my I-think-I-could-definitely-live-here moment, something caught my eye - a little rainbow on the wall across from the window...the kind made from the reflection of sun shining on a crystal. I hadn't noticed it at first, but there in that window was a small brass hummingbird with two little crystals dangling in each of its wings. It had clearly been there, suctioned onto that window, for some time, no doubt watching the world go by. I caught my breath, looked over at the woman who, in one short afternoon had become a friend, and tried to explain to her without bursting into tears, that my grandmother had the exact same hummingbird suctioned onto the bay window of her courtyard apartment for many years before she passed away in 1996.

Gram had been a mother to me for the first eight years of my life. We were very close and I had a difficult time getting over her death, which was unexpected. Even though she was gone, I would have my own little conversations with her about this or that, believing she was somewhere that she could hear me, and I would look for signs that it might actually be so. Seeing that little hummingbird in the window of the house meant only one thing to me... This was my house and Gram was telling me so!

An offer was made and accepted and, two months later, I held the keys to the little house on Orchard Drive. I was very proud... and I feel certain that Gram was too.

On the day that I moved in I noticed immediately that the hummingbird had been left behind. When my new friend/realtor came to check on me I pointed it out thinking she could make sure it got back to its owner. Now, she had tears in her eyes as she told me that she had shared my story with them and they were so moved that they decided to leave it for me. Other than the occasional dusting and polishing, the little hummingbird kept its rightful place in the picture window, and remains a symbol of the bond I will always have with my beloved Gram.

Do you have a Hummingbird Moment? I would love to hear your story!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting My Kicks with BookRix

High atop Keller’s Peak
inside the cozy Hotel Bar,
I spied from afar-
browned, creamy,
softened beauty compounded by brilliance
glowing amber by the light of the flickering fire…
Insides melted, knees weak,
How could my love be clarified?
The Land O’ Lakes seemed the
Perfect place to whip Plugra-licious passion
Blissful, butter colored memories, a hint of salt from the sea
All coming back to me,
like the warm breeze off the Grassland…

BookRix is a fun, informative, supportive community of readers, writers, authors and publishers. I've been having a lot of fun there discovering and learning - and best of all - it's FREE! It's a great way for independently published authors to gain exposure as BookRix allows you to link back to your own author website! They also have ongoing, free to join, writing contests that pay cash prizes!

My "handle" there is JenCannPro

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Authentic Shredded Chicken

It's getting to be that time of year again... the time of year when my friends start asking "Hey, Jen: Are you cooking?" Aaaah, it's like music to my ears, but also something I have learned to do on my own terms so that I don't turn something I am so passionate about into something that feels like work.

When I moved to the east coast nine years ago I realized in short order that one of the things I missed most about home (SoCal) was access to good Mexican food. There wasn't a taco shop in sight! Where was the tortilla section of the store!?! Back home the tortilla section is as big as the bread section! Where was the Herdez salsa? No Las Palmas enchilada sauce...I was starting to panic, when I heard a voice in my head- the humorously annoying voice of one of my old friends saying "Winners find a way Jen.". With that, I set about looking for the little family owned markets I knew had to be around here somewhere that might hold the keys to my Mexican foodie dreams. I found a few - one had always-ripe Haas avocados for half the price of the grocery store, one had oodles of all of the best brands of tortillas- the big ones for making burritos and three dozen packs of corn tortillas for tacos, taquitos and enchiladas! Once when my friend Marco missed his shipment of tortillas, his sister-in-law MADE me three dozen tortillas! Heaven.

I immediately set to work, determined to show my friends what Mexican food looks, tastes and feels like where I come from. I helped cater my new neighborhood's first Cinco de Mayo party. There were tacos, two kinds of enchiladas, carnitas, homemade rice and refried beans and, of course, fresh salsa and guacamole (now referred to as "Green Gold").
When I arrived with all the food my new friend said "I don't know what I was expecting, but this is phenomenal!" A huge compliment from a no BS girl from Queens.

A while later, I found myself making Mexican food for friends more frequently and West Coast Burrito Co. was born. I bought a special freezer and started filling it with love- er I mean trays of enchiladas and neatly arranged packages of burritos and taquitos.

These days it seems my little West Coast Burrito Co. has found its season, and that season is mostly during the Fall and Winter months. I make three different types of burritos, and chicken taquitos, which I sell in packages of thirty.

Recently someone on twitter (@tholmes14) asked me if I had any taco ideas, so I thought this would be the perfect recipe to share as you can use this traditionally prepared shredded chicken for lots of different Mexican dishes.

Hope you'll try and let me know what you think!


1 package boneless, skinless chicken breast (I like to rinse mine!)
1 clove fresh garlic (peeled & left whole)
1 small yellow onion (quartered)
1 bay leaf
4 tsp. Knorr Caldo de Pollo (Chicken flavor Bouillon)
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper


Retrieve your best deep pot with your Gram would have used (the one pictured here was my Gram's).
Lay chicken on bottom of pan and sprinkle with salt, a few cracks of pepper and bouillon powder.
Cover with COLD water to approx. an inch over chicken.
Add garlic clove, onion, and bay leaf.
Cover and cook over medium high heat until boiling. Then lower heat to simmer gently for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, remove from heat and let sit (lid on) for another 30 minutes - trust me :).

Meanwhile, ready your cutting board, two forks and a big bowl.

Remove chicken, one breast at a time to cutting board and shred with forks (go ahead, taste it!). It should be moist and tender. Doing this one at a time allows you to also pick out any little gristly things that you don't want to eat. I just push those aside.

After you've shredded the chicken, put it in the bowl and pour a little (1/4 cup?) of the broth into the bowl. This will keep your chicken moist and delicious.

This chicken can be used for tacos, taquitos, enchiladas and more.

I hope you'll try it and let me know what you think!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Calling All Angels

I have known Lisa Charleston (aka @CaringMom), Inventor of Night Helper Watches virtually for approximately one year. I have witnessed, and felt personally, her loyal support and words of kindness. This is my way of trying to help draw attention to her wonderful product and maybe, just maybe even attract an Angel Investor...

Lisa, along with her husband Carl, created and designed three specific styles of Night Helper. Two of the watches are designed for young children for the specific purpose of eliminating the fear and shame associated with bed-wetting. A third style is designed for adults dealing with incontinence, and also to aid in scheduling for tasks such as medication delivery or other timed medical procedures. Night Helper Watches will ultimately provide the wearer with confidence and a renewed sense of independence.

Having worked many years in the hospice and home care settings, Lisa grew to love her patients and cared for them as if they were family. Sadly, an injury took her away from the medical field.

While Lisa and her family have continued their journey to bring Night Helper Watches to the manufacturing stage, fees for production models have been quoted at $10,000. They have been the Night Helper Watches first monetary investors, and are now looking for an Angel Investor or other source of capital.

If you or someone you know may be able to help, please contact Lisa directly through her website

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Six Minute Salsa!

Want fresh salsa fast? When there's no time for scoring, blanching, peeling and dicing ROTEL is my "go-to" staple. The beauty of combining these cans of muy deliciosoness with a few other fresh ingredients is that your salsa is perfectly seasoned when it's done.

You can literally throw this together, then sit back and smile a secret smile as your family, friends...even salsa aficionados are impressed! I can personally guarantee at least one "Did you make this?" - especially if you live on the East Coast :).

The recipe below will make a large batch of salsa you can share.

Ready, set, GO!


2 cans ROTEL Original
2 cans ROTEL Mexican Lime & Cilantro
1 large (deep green) Jalepeno
1 bunch scallions (6-8)
1 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic (optional)


Thoroughly wash and rough chop (nothing fancy!) jalepeno, scallions, cilantro & garlic. In blender or large mixing bowl (you will need hand blender) combine all ingredients and puree! ROTEL's tomatoes are perfectly seasoned already, so no need to add extra salt!

Yes, that's it - Done. Fin. (No, I am not bi-lingual, I totally looked that one up.)

Now bust out your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy!

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Look Who's Guest Co-Hosting Inventor Showcase!

Listen to internet radio with SPEAK YOUR SUCCESS on Blog Talk Radio

Gonna keep this short and sweet! Hope you'll all be listening in tonight at 8:00 p.m. EDT as the dynamic Angle Bush and I interview the Queen of the Grill & Shark Tamer Extraordinaire, Ms. Leslie Haywood - Owner, Founder Charmed Life Products along with "The Henry Ford of Invention", Mr. George Davison, Owner, Founder Inventionland

Have a question you'd like me to ask? Feel free to leave it below and I will be sure to ask! Can't listen live? Don't worry, you can listen later! The show will be recorded and saved.

I must also say a big Thank You! to Ms. Angle Bush & Ms. Tracy "Pitchwoman" Sanders for sharing this FUNtasticalicious opportunity with me!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wahoo for Season 2: ABC's Shark Tank is Back!

They're back! Love 'em or hate 'em I can't get enough! Barbara Corcoran, Real Estate Mogul, Daymond John "The Godfather of Urban Fashion", Kevin Harrington "The Original Infomercial King", Kevin O'Leary, self proclaimed "Eco-Preneur" (aka Mean Kevin), and Robert Herjavec, Technology Wiz, are circling and ready to bite - hungry for the next big thing.

As I watch the entrepreneurs take the precarious walk down what seems like a very long hallway, through the estate-sized double doors and into shark infested, I mean the big conference room aptly named the "Shark Tank" - I hold my breath for a moment. You can cut the tension with a knife and, of course, through the magic of television, and just the right amount of daunting music, I am sucked in. My fellow inventor friends and other fans of the show are all aTwitter, and sometimes we are even chatting with the entrepreneurs being featured. We root for them and wonder which of the Sharks will bite - do they have a winner or will they be reduced to mere chum by Kevin O'Leary channeling his inner Simon Cowell (I just have to believe he's a teddy bear behind the scenes)?

I don't know about you, but there are several entrepreneurs who I would love to see a follow-up on - a "Where Are They Now" segment of the show. I posted the topic on the ST message boards and hope the powers that be will take notice.

How about you? Who are the three entreprenuers you would most like to see a follow-up on?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Accidental Alfredo

The name of this simple, kid-friendly dish is fitting because it's true. This quick dinner, which took approximately 15 minutes total time from stovetop to table...and not much longer from table to tummies, was one of those things that just sort of happened.

As a harried mom with two young girls at home - one of whom has a very fickle palate the moment - my dinner choices for this day were limited. It was either going to be grilled chicken, tater-tots and applesauce or the ever popular pasta w/garlic butter & cheese. Pasta won.

The tri-colored shells were brought back from Italy by my husband on his last detachment with the Navy (along with some good wine & olive oil) and needed to be used. As I sauteed a bit of garlic w/butter I thought about how I could jazz it up a little but not so much that no one would eat it. Here's what I came up with...

As always, I hope you'll give it a whirl and love it too!


1 lb./box tri-colored shells (any fun shape will do!)
3 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic chopped
1/3 cup lowfat half and half
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesean cheese
couple cracks of black pepper
sprinkle of kosher/sea salt


Bring big pot of salted water to rolling boil
Add pasta, give a stir and let boil for 8 or 9 min.
Drain pasta (sometimes I rinse, sometimes I don't)
In sauce pan (or same pot you cooked pasta in) saute garlic w/butter
Add half and half and let simmer for a minute
Add pasta and parmesean cheese, salt & pepper
Stir over low heat until well incorporated

I served family style and topped with some fresh grated Parmesean.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Homemade Millionaire on TLC

Wow! So, almost exactly one year ago I flew to Chicago for a chance to get my idea in front of some important people. I had no way of knowing just how much that 24 hr. whirlwind of a trip would change so many things in my life. It looks like "Homemade Millionaire" is finally going to air later this summer and I can't wait!

While my product and I were not selected to be part of the show, I will be forever grateful for the experience and for the folks I have met subsequently. If it were not for that trip I would never have met so many fabulous women inventors, many of whom I have become very close friends with - you know who you are! I would not have reconnected with a dear friend, Beverly Clark, who happens to be a bestselling author and incredible business woman with an empire of wedding accessories - before the Knot - there was Beverly Clark, she started it! I am now working closely with her on some very exciting projects. If it were not for that trip, it's doubtful I would have ever created an account on Twitter (I'm @GrimeOut) or here blogging and trying to exercise my writing muscles!

That single take-a-shot experience has led to so many other incredible experiences, like meeting and building relationships with the likes of John Cremeans aka the "Doctor of Shopology", who is now working with Kevin Harrington, aka the Original Infomercial King and Shark Tank fame on the newly created Military Shopping Channel!

I found out about the Milojo audition completely by accident and can't help but use the analogy of tossing a small rock into a pond... the ripples are definitely getting bigger!

Thank you Kelly Ripa et al! Best of luck to all of the ladies!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Channeling My Inner Hot Girl

For three days last week I decided to do a bit of "internal housekeeping" in the form of a lean protein and fruit plan (never going to use the word diet here!). At my age, 43 in actual years, but forever 29 in spirit, it sometimes takes a little shock to get the bod back to maximum fuel burning efficiency.

By the way, for those of you who feel like the time is just flying by, I've figured out how to slow things waaay down - stop eating complex carbohydrates. I will admit that as a busy mom (whose husband travels 4 days per week) I have a tendency to grab a little of this or a bite of whatever they're eating, or maybe those last couple of tater tots before they hit the trash. This three day exercise, more psychological for me than anything else, brought to my attention the extra calories I was consuming, without realizing it. I had to really listen to my "inner food voice" (something I learned from my favorite Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel's book "Naturally Thin"). I also recalled a snippet from Justine Bateman and Kelly Cutrone's "Wake Up and Get Real" Vlog, Episode 19 "Your Weight" where Justine made an excellent point when she said in part "...I don't really want to eat the bread basket, I just want her to be quiet..." This resonated LOUDLY with me as I find that when I am having a moment of frustration with my kids I start thinking about cheese and crackers (and wine :)).

It was a challenge, but I believe that if you are willing, you can do anything for three days. There were obstacles people! I overcame the friendly neighbor who, just a short walk through the yard away, always seems this time of year to have a fresh pitcher of frozen goodness, the kind that falls from the coconut rum tree. Then there was the ice-cream cake put before me at the end of Day 2 - NOPE, I thought, I know what ice-cream cake tastes like and it turns out it's not the last one left on the planet.

During this short time I rediscovered my love of fresh fruits and vegetables, which I have always loved, but honestly have just gotten lazy. For dinner each night I enjoyed a huge salad, my favorite greens are organic baby romaine, with raw veggies and some form of lean protein. The salad pictured here is very simple, but the dressing I concocted was what made it really satisfying - I am a sauce person - I love big flavors and playing with different combinations.

I have said in previous postings and it applies here, that I realize I am not saying anything new or novel here, just a way for me to share a new recipe with you through this experience.

I have come through the other side feeling clear headed and rejuvinated!

Hope you'll try this salad and enjoy!

Note: I would have toasted some pine nuts to sprinkle over the top, but didn't have any.

Simple Grilled Chicken Salad


3 cups organic (optional) baby romaine
1 (3-6 oz.) thin sliced chicken breast grilled & cut into strips
1 medium tomato sliced, then halved

3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil (2 for grilling chicken, 1 for dressing)
1 clove garlic chopped
juice of one lemon
fresh cracked pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes


Add 2 tbs (one good "round the pan") of olive oil to pan over medium heat
Add chopped garlic and turn heat DOWN a little so as not to burn
Saute garlic for 1-2 minutes, then remove and SAVE for dressing
Lightly salt and pepper chicken on both sides, then add to heated pan
Turn heat back to medium-medium high and cook approx. 4 min. on each side
Remove to plate or cutting board and set aside for a few minutes while you make dressing.


In small bowl add olive oil, then whisk in, lemon juice, garlic, a few good cracks of the peppermill, red pepper flakes and voila!

Find yourself a pretty plate or bowl (or not) add lettuce, tomato and chicken - I would also top with a few raw or toasted pine nuts (your choice), but didn't have any for this one.

There are a dozen other veggies and things you could add to this (e.g., red onion, red or yellow peppers, cucumber slices, etc.) Make it your own!

Nothing like a fresh salad in the summertime ~ Please do let me know if you try it and what you think! Would also love to hear some of your favorite salad recipes, so feel free to share!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another Letter from Gram: This One's For You Clarky!

Another gem from Gram. If I haven't mentioned before, she worked as a bank teller for 25+ yrs. in Southern California. I will never understand why her brains and creativity did not take her beyond the bank...I have an idea though that she lacked self-confidence. She was not a very social creature and spent most of her free time with her sisters or playing cards with a handful of close friends.

Looks like this was written in February or March of 1982 and she did receive a lengthy response from Anne Higgins, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Correspondence.

"Dear Mr. President,

Re: A lot of things that are on my mind.

And you are dear, Mr. President Regan, I backed you 99 & 99/100%, even though I belong to the lower middle class. But I need to understand what to me is simple plain fact, glaring truths ignored, that leaves that 1/100% question in the forefront of my mind. I need an answer, desperately, to clear up that feeling of the Sword of Damascus hanging over the heads of the hard working tax payer.

I want to back your cuts, I planned on buying shorter belts to be sure I tightened mine. Then I read about the hundreds of thousands of dollars, (dollars earned by the sweat of our brow), going to pay expenses for three past presidents. These men DO NOT NEED this money. They have become, through their political offices, millionaires in their own right. there is no rhyme or reason to drain our tax money for their POSTAGE, for MOVING expenses, for an OFFICE they could relocate in one of the many rooms in one of their many residences. There should NOT be one penny spent on any of their libraries. Not one is a Lincoln, Washington or Jefferson. A pension? Alright, though not one put in the twenty years that is necessary for the work force to put in to get one.

I am appalled and disgusted at the large tax break voted for the congress that was slyly attached to the Black Lung Disease Bill. Another unnecessary drain on our tax dollars. I cannot say disillusioned because Watergate culminated my downing suspicions of our elected officials. These men are already overpaid and do not need this extra benefit. Where is the belt tightening for them? Their fringe benefits, supplied by our hard earned dollars, are already a laughing, though through tears, matter. We are paying for ROYAL EXTRAS we would consider ridiculous to require our employers to furnish for us.

Make your cuts if you must (none would be necessary if there was proper and prudent management of our money) but make your cuts in the funds given to and enlarged on by the very men who vote this largess for themselves. Cutting the funds designated for the elderly and handicapped is gross, cruel.

Our servicemen who fight our bloody battles deserve top priority. Stop trying to take away what little and few benefits are given to them and/or their families on their return to private life, or after a flag has been placed in the lap of a wife whose husband has given the ultimate. Leave the ones struggling alone. If your advisers are calling the shots then please bring your compassion into play.

I'm sick of all of you and don't want to vote for any of you. Junkets, hell! I hope those puffy faced, bulbous nosed representatives we are supposed to trust all throw up in the morning when they look at themselves in the mirror, providing they shave their own faces. It makes me want to throw up myself when I think that part of our taxes pay for the perk that provides a barber to powder their faces and blow dry their wigs.

Millions of foreign thieves and slashes for our helpless? I cannot, do not understand. The unfairness overwhelms me.

I had such faith in you and your dream, but that faith is wavering.

I am distrustfully, but sincerely,

Martha Dordigan"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Letter From Gram

In light of current events, I can't help but think of my beloved Gram and the letters she would no doubt be writing today! The folder I cherish holds all sorts of snippets, thoughts, poems and even some correspondence from the White House (circa Reagan era). This gem is typewritten in all caps on yellow legal pad paper, and even contains some white-out edits.

I only wish there were more!

I believe this went to the White House and the newspaper where she no doubt read it ~

"Now I have heard everything! The American Tax Payer is about to foot the bill for the Study of Lesbianism in Sea Gulls, YES, I said SEA GULLS. Does anyone really care!!! A group of persons playing expensive games, what in the hell will that prove? It's enough to make the over-taxed, hard working, average citizen's already high blood pressure soar out of the top of his head.

I work happily to take care of myself. There are no tax payer subsidized luxury fringe benefits provided, just the security that if I do my work with honesty and integrity, my employer will continue to give me the chance to carry my own load. The amount of money taken from my paycheck in state taxes, federal taxes, social security and other taxes, that I have no choice as to their fairness, leaves me just enough to live from paycheck to paycheck. Though frustrated, I try not to complain. Then I read your article on this proposed study.

I won't bore the politicians with a list of the people who desperately need support. They couldn't care less. the common sense, average taxpayer will know where that money really belongs and to whom.

It makes me wonder just which politician's relative is in charge of this grand endeavor. I will await with baited breath for the results, assuming of course, that there will be an itemized report.

Could it be planned that in the near future a like grant could be made for the study of how to relieve the tax burden from the shoulders of the middle class worker?

Wishing I could afford to sleep on satin sheets, but having to settle for cotton I am,


Martha Dordigan
Tax Payer"

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Meaner Younger: Access and Excess = Trouble

Got a call from a good friend over the weekend who was very upset after finding out that one of her daughter's classmates, a fellow 4th grade girl, had created an "I hate so and so" page on Facebook.

My curiousity piqued, I thought I would search for myself to see what kind of "I Hate ______" pages I could find on Facebook. Facebook returned approximately 321,000 results. Turns out people hate everything from the President to Justin Bieber, Cheaters, Stupid Bitches, Duty, Sluts, Traffic, the Blackberry, some girl on Big Brother in another country, Cigarettes, Goodbyes and even (gasp) Facebook...I'm certain I could have located rainy days and Mondays if I tried!

The Facebook Statement of Rights clearly states:

#7 under Safety reads in part: You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening...

#5 under Registration and Account Security: You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.

Obviously anyone can go onto Facebook and lie about their age, etc...but the bigger question for me is where are the parents? I realize that I will not be saying anything here that most of us don't already know - but I must point out that it makes me sad when I hear this kind of thing because there seems to be so much more power behind the meanness of girls today, due in large part to the advancements in technology.

It seems the "what you don't know can't hurt you" moniker has been basically obliterated with so much instant access to information. Oh, did I forget to mention that the girl they hate is also a member of the group so that she can go on and defend herself? What in the Sam Hill is going on people??

I am no psychologist, however, I do not believe that nine or ten year old children possess the intelligence or forethought to understand the damage they are doing, not only to others, but ultimately to themselves. How can they possibly understand the permanence of what they are putting out never goes away. How will they feel about what they've done ten or twenty years from now?

Why is Facebook not monitoring these types of pages more closely?

It all comes back around to the same burning question: Where are the parents?

Would love to hear your feedback...

Friday, May 14, 2010

For Those Who Teach

I realize that Teacher Appreciation Week was last week, however, my Auntie Buttercup just sent me this gem written by my Grandma Jan after her first year of teaching at age 21 in 1932. Unfortunately, I never got to meet her as she died from colon cancer before I was born.

Grandma Jan's paper painted such a picture in my mind and I know it will for you too. So, to all those who teach - a heartfelt thank you for the part you play in the lives of children each day. I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I did!

A thought: How interesting it would be to actually find someone out there who might still remember Miss Dawson today...hmmm...I think they would be in their mid to late eighties now? Now that would be something.

Jan Dawson
1512 South 11th Street
Chickasha, Oklahoma
Why Do We Do It?
Scarcely had the commencement music faded from my ears and the tears of the departing graduate been shaken from my eyes, before I found myself plunged, unsuspecting and guileless, into the whirlpool of a small, wind-swept, Oklahoma prairie village, where I was to be one of the new school "marms" for the coming year. It was considerable of a jolt to unawakened eyes, accustomed to the calm serenity of a college background and activities, to view for the first time the mud-soaked, rutted streets, the countless pigs rooting about doorsteps, the small town, brick-fronted main street, the highway sign proclaiming proudly to a tourist world, "Prairie Town, Population 587", the cow pastures used as school playgrounds,-- the inevitable, small town outlook stamped upon every red bluff, brick and pig.
Stowing my bag away in my neat little room in a white bungalow on the highway and making arrangements to eat with two other teachers at "Auntie" Brown's, two cow pastures up the steep path leading to the water tower, I "girded my loins", so to speak, and made ready to tackle this school teaching game.
It was hot that fall, as only an Oklahoma September heat can be. The cotton trucks and low-swung wagons, creaking past the school buildings on their way to the cotton gins, stirred up the dust in clouds which settled on our desks and clothes and persons. Negro and white vagrant cotton pickers, sacks slung over shoulders, wended their sweating ways down the hard highway. The buildings were stifling. The classrooms, closely-packed, smelled sweaty and badly in need of air. Through the long, hot, sleepless nights, I could hear the "giant-strides" clanking on the playground near by, reminding me of the day to come as I lay, tired and aching in every bone from the day before.
The sounds of cars and heavy trucks humming swiftly through the town touched off my gypsy wanderlust, and it was a temptation, those hot autumn days, just to "thumb up" sometimes crossing the paving and hie ("Hie" is an expression meaning "get thee to" -- sort of Shakespearean) me away to new and greener pastures.
But when the first cool breeze of October came creeping down the Washita and rustled the cottonwoods along its banks, my days began to click off with a regularity that was amazing, and I found myself settling into the routine of my "job" with all the finesse and familiarity of an old hand.
It was a busy existence. when the long, blue school trucks lurched in early in the morning, unloading shouting, care-free farm children, lunch baskets and books in hand, upon the playgrounds, and the eight-thirty bell began tolling its summons, I would hurry out the back door, pick my way gingerly through the tall weeds by the roadside, scuttle across the highway, glancing wistfully at some new, shiny car speeding down it, leap the water in the ditch on the other side, grin at the yells from the see-saws of "Hello, SCHOOL teach-er!" as I crossed the playground, and emerge, breathless from the climb of three flights of stairs, in the office on the top floor of the ramshackle grade building to "sign in".
Lingering there with some of the other teachers on like mission, we would discuss how pretty Miss Evans' collar looked this morning, or how funny Mr. Frederick looked yesterday chasing those boys out of the gym, or pick up the latest bit of gossip from one of the truck drivers, until the sleek, oily approach of the principal would scatter us to our various posts and duties like tumbleweed before an approaching storm.
At nine o'clock, after checking off the last tardy from the seventh grade roll, I began the day in earnest. In their various turns, I taught the sixth, seventh and eighth grades reading; I taught them English, realizing that in spite of my arduous training, to their young minds it would still be, "The school bus ain't came in yet"; I taught them art, training scrubby fingers to become the future Rembrandts of Oklahoma; I trained them in programs and plays for assembly hours; I trudged across the cow pastures, (neatly dodging the old sow and her family of five little pigs), to the high school, where I introduced Longfellow, Washington Irving, Mark Twain, and various men of letters to a grinning American literature class; and at three-fifteen came the mecca of each day,-- my public speaking class. It was here that I unleashed the talents in which I had been trained. It was here that I taught shy, awkward boys and girls to stand up straight and face their fellowmen with poise and dignity. It was here, aided by twenty-six interested students, the cares and troubles of the day rolled lightly from my shoulders and I gained fresh hope and courage for the coming problems.
Save for a slight recess at noon, when, with the other teachers, I hurried up the path to eat "Auntie" Brown's boiled meat and greasy salad, which that good old soul, in a faded wrapper and flapping, men's bedroom slippers, her grizzly gray hair sticking out on each side of her face coquettishly, served to us, thus ran my day from eight-thirty until four.
But the day did not end there. The teachers were expected to attend all church revivals, the town's main form of amusement, all box suppers, all "rassling" matches and basketball games, the high school's athletic outlets, and always be on hand to help with a Sunday school party or any other form of frivolity in which they indulged.
Of course, we had our fun. There were our countless domino games on rainy afternoons; there was the joy of going to the post office for mail, the walks to the river bridge to hold "spitting" contests from the rickety railing, the rides in the hearse with the village undertaker, the climbs to the water tower to "see what we could see"; there were the long afternoons another teacher and I lay on our beds and spun yarns which made Baron Munchhausen hide his head in shame; there were the baseball games with the neighbor's children in the cow pasture, the wiener roasts, the picnics,-- it was fun.
And for this, I received each month as payment a warrant, marked carefully "Funds Not Available", for seventy-five dollars. I am still holding two of those warrants. In the spring, when the school doors closed for the last time, we had not received any pay for the past three months, and I scarcely had enough to buy a bus ticket to my home city, eleven miles away.
For this, I was educated. For this, I spent long hours in grammar and high schools and followed an elaborate, specialized course in college. For this, I spun dreams and molded my steps toward a career during adolescent years.
And yet, somehow, as I turned my back for the last time on the pigs, the red bluffs, the water tower, the wide main street, the cow pastures, the ramshackle school buildings, there was no feeling of regret in my heart.
For I had, as payment, the memory of the expression on cotton pickers' ragged little children's faces hearing for the first time the wonder and glamour of an Arabian Night's Tale, or changing with Cinderella from rags into riches, or following an enchanting Pooh Bear through his rambles in the 100 Acre Wood. I had the incredulous delight of intellectually starved youngsters doing for the first time a puppet show of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. I had the cherished picture of telling to little Davie in the sixth grade the story of a man of whom he had never heard, Jesus Christ.
I had the respect and friendship of high school students,-- students, many of whom rose at four in the morning to milk cows and do farm chores before coming to school,-- for teaching them what little I knew of stagecraft and acting. They received the thrills of professional Thespians as, in make-up and costumes, they did, in spite of the expensive royalty, a really "good" play. I shall never forget the look of pride on their sun-tanned faces as they placed in the state contest with a one-act play and how carefully they polished the plaque they received as reward.
There were mothers' and fathers' words of simple, honest praise ringing in my ears,-- enough to make a teacher's heart light as the prize cake at the last church social.
We may be penniless, we may darn our stockings until they resemble patchwork quilts, we may make over last year's clothes, we may work our tongues out for no material gain, we may be fools, -- but in touching simple lives, reaching back into plain, colorless backgrounds, in shaping destinies, in serving as we do, we have our reward. That's why, I guess, we do it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Special Skin Care Offer From Beverly Clark

Available to first 300 people only! Full system retails for $293 - You pay only $149.00 (plus $8.00 S&H)!

My great friend, Beverly Clark, author of #1 Bestseller “Planning A Wedding To Remember”, Owner/Founder Beverly Clark Diamonds & Bio-Basics Skincare is making a generous offer! Her skincare line, currently offered to the medical community, is being repackaged for launch into a high-end department store early next year.

While the packaging is being redesigned to reflect Beverly’s personal style, there is a small surplus of product that she is offering at better than wholesale prices!

This offer includes the following 3 month supply for $149.00 (plus $8.00 shipping and handling):

Cleansing Gel Retail Price: $25
HPH Facial Toner $35
Eye Renewal Day Gel $35
Bio-Balanced Moisturizing Crème $35
Renewal Essence Night Gel $35
Eye Intensive Night Gel $70

TOTAL: $235


Bio-Energy Repair Factor Serum (1) $18
Bio-Repair Body Lotion $40

Grand Total: $293

Performance Ingredients
Superior New Formula

The superiority of Bio-BasicsTM skin care products over high-end French products for making skin look youthful and fresh is evident in Bio-BasicsTM unique technology and premium ingredients. Bio-BasicsTM products promote regeneration of skin by working at the genetic, cellular and tissue levels. Highly effective and active cellular growth factors produced by an innovative high-tech method significantly aid skin in becoming healthier, clearer and more supple than ever before. Bio-BasicsTM products repair damaged skin, delay the formation of wrinkles, improve microcirculation, and prevent aging. Also, Bio-BasicsTM products' ability to restrain pigmentation gives skin a healthy, firm glow and establishes them as cutting edge products.

Based on Nobel Prize Winning Technology

Medical and cosmetic companies around the world quickly took advantage of cellular growth factors after they were discovered in the eighties. So notable was the discovery of cell growth factors that the scientists who discovered them were honored with a Nobel Prize. Unfortunately, many cosmetic companies only use trace elements of cellular growth factor, some herbal extracts and hot spring water in their products. With sub-par ingredients, their products only affect the skin's surface. But for effective skin revitalization, a product must go beyond the surface.

Skin Repair Expert

Bio-BasicsTM products go well beyond the surface. Quality ingredients and highly specialized emulsification techniques were especially developed to enable Bio-BasicsTM products to deeply penetrate cells and revitalize the skin. Bio-BasicsTM products' ability to quickly, safely and deeply penetrate skin cells for a youthful and healthy look makes them the premier products with Bio-BasicsTM hailed internationally as the "skin repair expert."

Bio-Basics Five Factor

Traditional factor products have only ever contained one factor, however, Bio-Basics contains five! It is well known that one kind of biological factor can only effect one type of target cell. Conversely, the five types of biological factors only need to be allocated correctly according to needs and they will attain a synergistic effect. The five factors efficacy is 30 to 100 times the efficacy of only one element. The five factors in Bio-Basics are combined to the same density at which they existed in a new born child. This density of the factors allows that Bio-Basics Products will provide the most effective results.


Human basic Fibroblast Growth Factor, hbFGF, This polypeptide cell factor helps restore and rejuvenate damaged skin. It strengthens the elasticity of skin and helps restore the natural color and moisture in the skin.

It helps accelerate the conversion of collagen protein to collagen fiber, elastic protein to elastic fiber.


Human Epidermal Growth Factor, hEFG, contains 53 amino acids with fragmented foundations, this stimulates the cells of the epidermis, resulting in growth of fiber cells, has been shown to increase the thickness of the skin. Stimulates and restores epidermis through strengthening the skin to resist the damaging environmental factors. Improves skins resistance to ward off possible damage caused by environment and aging process. It triggers the skin, thus easing and minimizing unwanted wrinkles.


Human Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, hVEGF, Brings nutrients and nourishment to the skin which add a youthful healthy looking glow to skin.


Human Fiber Growth Factor, hNGF, Improves skins resistance to ward off possible damage caused by environment and aging process. It triggers the skin, thus easing and minimizing unwanted wrinkles.


Melanin Inhibit Factor, MIF, Restores skin to its natural PH balance. It reduces the visible look of melanin deposits in the skin. Rejuvenates and invigorates skin by giving it a healthy youthful looking glow.


Please make checks payable to Beverly Clark Skin Care. Be sure to include Drivers License # and expiration on check.*


114 E. Haley St., Suite K
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

*Returned checks will be subject to bank charges.