Tuesday, June 30, 2009

5 Things I Learned at My High School Reunion

So as I mentioned on Monday, I attended my high school reunion this past weekend. I have been hovering at Facebook ever since, watching as people post new photos, chatting with folks about Saturday's party, and continuing to reminisce because it's fun and I'm not quite ready to be finished! My inability to refocus actually inspired me to share five of the things I learned at my reunion:

1. People change. Not just gray haired or bald, but grown-up and mature. You might have thought nothing would ever make the class nerd a cool person, but a reunion will prove otherwise. People grow and learn and become something you never expected. It's amazing to see.

2. People stay the same. The partyers may still be partying hearty. The slackers may not show up. The quiet ones may sit in the corner. Some things never change. But maybe the class nerd was always really cool and you never noticed. The passage of time helps you see the things about people that were there all along. Also amazing.

3. It's good to mingle. I can't believe how many times since Saturday I've said, "I wish I'd gotten a chance to talk with you." What's sad is that it was my own fault. I'm bad with crowds, I think. It's too loud, too much alcohol, too smoky, I claim. I don't know them well enough, they won't remember me, what if they didn't like me? Whatev. Some of my classmates are savvy about working a room: they know how to talk with anyone, anywhere, about anything, and feel comfortable. They know how to mingle, and they got the most out of Saturday's event. It's good to mingle. I need to practice.

4. I need a better elevator speech. You know, the 30 second what-do-you-do-and-why-should-I-care speech. "I make lip balm and blah-de-blah" isn't really cutting it, and it's kind of embarrassing. Which is crazy, because I love my job. Think about how much easier #3 would be if I had a presentable elevator speech?

5. It's good to stop and take stock now and again. Stepping away from my work and my life is hard because I enjoy it so much, but you don't see it complete unless you're on the outside. How great is it to realize that through planning or hard work or just dumb luck, you are exactly where you should be and doing what you want to do? And how sad would it be to miss areas that need improvement because you're not looking with an objective eye? Stepping away from the control panel even briefly gives valuable perspective.

I may be about ready to let this go and move on until the 30th reunion, but I'm so glad I went and saw old friends (and learned these 5 things...and a bunch more, besides). Do you have a reunion this summer? Are you planning to go? Are you looking forward to it? What do you expect to learn from the experience? Please share your thoughts and comments!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Word of the Week: Nostalgia

This past weekend I attended my 20th high school reunion with a few of my closest friends. If that wasn't enough to get me feeling nostalgic, at some point I realized that I have known my best friend, Jo (there we are in the picture) for 30 years. That hardly seems possible, but our sweet third grade teacher Miss Kelley introduced us in 1979. We felt like a couple of fine wines this weekend. (Or maybe I should say single malts?) Anyway, we're choosing to feel "well-aged"! Where did the time go?

Nostalgia is the ideal word for this week. It's from the Greek nostos, "return home", and that's just what all of us were aiming for. Some of us came home from right around the corner, while others flew in from Alaska, Washington, California, and even Iceland! Nostalgia describes homesickness, or getting sentimental about the past. It's that feeling that you can travel any distance, but you can never truly go home again.

This is only the first of the season of reunions with far-flung family members and old friends. I expect to revisit this word all summer long! I hope you can enjoy getting nostalgic this summer, too!

Friday, June 26, 2009

World's Shortest Marriage?

This is the shortest marriage I've ever heard of. This past Wednesday a couple in Germany tied the knot, then requested an annulment. Right after their wedding, the groom tried to cut his new wife's hair with a kitchen knife. She requested a restraining order. They attempted to work things out and ended up shouting at each other, then the groom spent the night in a homeless shelter.

Wow. I wonder if this was just a civil ceremony or if they had a lot of guests and the whole nine yards? They surely could have saved themselves a lot of trouble. Wouldn't you know? I mean, wouldn't you have some idea that you just couldn't get along with this person? Wouldn't there be doubts?

Here's my advice: if you have any doubts at all about your future spouse, DON'T DO IT!! What do you think? Does this seem completely crazy to you, too?!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rapunzel, Rapunzel: Donate Your Golden Hair!

For two years my daughter has been growing her hair so she could have it cut to donate, and yesterday was the big day! We visited Diana at Beau Bella, who cut ponytails more than 12 inches long (!!!), then gave Bronwyn a super new short 'do!

We chose to send her ponytails to Pantene Beautiful Lengths because the resulting wigs are donated to cancer patients. Distributed through the American Cancer Society wig banks, these wigs cost nothing to the recipients. (Did you know that some of the organizations that accept donations of hair sometimes charge for the wigs? That was news to me—make sure to do your research before you donate.)

We celebrated Bronwyn's generous gift by having a "girls' afternoon." The high point: some major shoe shopping. All I can say is, like mother, like daughter! When we came up for air, we each had new sandals, and Bronwyn had some fun new summer clothes. It was a great way to start off her vacation!

If you are interested in donating your hair to a great cause, check out the following links. Each organization has different requirements for the length of the hair and may also have different recipients (some are children, some cancer patients, some with alopecia, etc.).

Pantene Beautiful Lengths
Locks of Love
Wigs for Kids

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Treat People...

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, June 22, 2009

Word of the Week: Inspire

Oh, this is such a great word. It dates from the 14th Century, Middle English, from the Latin inspirare, to breathe. To inspire is to influence, move or guide; to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on.

I have so many things I'm working on right now that could really use a little inspiration! Feeling inspired really does literally feel like having new life breathed into you. Hope your week is inspired!

"To succeed you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you." --Tony Dorsett

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review of Cupcake Gift Set

My good friend Dolly from Dungaree Dolly's sent me a link to this video a while ago. One of her customers ordered a custom bag and got a special Dolly Girl thank you (which in this case was a cupcake gift set --here for the matching Dolly bag, too). Her customer is reviewing the Dolly bag on camera, and opens the cupcake goodies, too! Watch her try our cupcake hand cream, purse potion, and lip balm on camera starting about 4 minutes in!!

I just love this...and would LOVE to post any videos or photos of customers with our products! If you have ordered for a bachelorette party, bridal shower, or any other event, and would be willing to share photos or video clips, please email me so I can share with everyone!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Balm on the Fourth of July

They're back! Just in time for the Fourth, our only layered lip balms in cherry, vanilla, and blueberry flavors are ready to ship. VERY limited quantity, available through July or while supplies last. Get yours before they're gone!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Word of the Week: Gratitude

My husband went to Philadelphia for his high school reunion last Thursday night and returned late on Sunday. Our kids are 9 and 10 now, so much easier to handle "sans partner" than when they were little. But still, after a long weekend of even longer hours (which were sorely lacking his sense of humor and unique perspective), I find myself feeling oh-so-grateful for his return.

So this week's word is gratitude. I like this word for so many reasons, summed up quite nicely in the following quote:

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Melody Beattie

"Turns what we have into enough." Love that. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Take 10% off your next order

Get a coupon for 10% off your next order when you join our mailing list. Check out some sample newsletters to see what you can expect to find in your inbox every 4 to 6 weeks. You can sign up on that page, too.

And no, we don't share or sell your address. And yes, you can remove yourself whenever you get tired of receiving our newsletter. So there's nothing to lose by joining. But NOT joining, well, you'll lose...a coupon. Well, actually, MANY coupons, since we include one in almost every newsletter. Oh, and you'll miss out on some free products, too, since we almost always offer special links to free lip balms and lotions and sample products you can add to your orders. But apart from coupons and free stuff, there's nothing to lose. Wait, sometimes I talk about new products, too...and usually I talk about them in my newsletter first, so you'll miss Breaking News. So, to summarize, nothing to lose except coupons, free stuff, and Breaking News. Um, what are you waiting for?? Join the list!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bridal Bling

If you're looking for Bridal Bling, you can always check out BridalBling. Swarovski crystals and pearls, earrings, necklaces, bracelets. All lovely, and all at reasonable prices.

These are the Elinda earrings with 10mm white Swarovski pearls and sterling silver accents.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Word of the Week: glad

I realized I've been posting lots of obscure words, because I find them interesting and it's fun to share them. But I find that I'm particularly fond of this week's word, and it's so simple that it's often used without true appreciation.

Glad. This week's word is glad.

It's a simple word, a Middle English word about 1,000 years old, from the Old English gl├Žd, which meant "bright, shining, joyous." With Proto-Indo-European roots back even further, to words that meant "to shine, glitter, glow, be warm," people have used some version of this word to describe happiness and joy for a long time. It's the word you use to express your contentment with old friends: I'm glad you're here. It's the word you use to say how happy you are with someone's response: I'm glad you liked dinner! It's also the word you use to show your willingness: I'm glad to help.

It's a happy word for a Monday. I'm glad you took the time to read today--please say hi in the comments below!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Staycation in Midcoast Maine

If you believe what you read, many Americans are planning to stick close to home this summer. Closer is kinder to the wallet, so folks are replacing their vacations with "staycations" to reduce their travel expenses.

My family is no exception. My husband's company cut employees' vacation time this year to save costs, which leaves us with less time for summer fun. But it occurred to me that living as we do in Maine (AKA "Vacationland") we should be able to come up with plenty of entertainment for our own Summer Staycation. Here are a few of the things we can do right in our own backyard. And hey, if you venture to Midcoast Maine this summer, maybe you'll find something fun on our list, too!

The Maine State Music Theatre celebrated its 50th anniversary last year in Brunswick, Maine. This professional musical theatre features Broadway performers as well as extraordinary local talent in four musicals which run from early June through late August. Each year the selections are different...this year Dirty Rotten Scoundrels runs for the last two weeks of July. (I might need to get tickets for that one!)

Brunswick is also the home of Bowdoin College, and as with any campus, there are plenty of educational opportunities. (Thinking ahead to those rainy days...) The Bowdoin College Museum of Art has collections of ancient art, as well as Renaissance, Colonial, and Contemporary works. It's housed in the Walker Art Building, which was designed by the same firm responsible for the Brooklyn Museum and the Boston Public Library. My kids used to enjoy the lions on the terrace outside the museum, which were modeled after the lion sculpture in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy. (See the photo for Bronwyn's roar!) Check the schedule for upcoming exhibitions.

My kids are obsessed with the Guinness Book of World Records, so we will probably spend one rainy afternoon at DeLorme in Yarmouth, visiting the "World's Largest Revolving/Rotating Globe". Eartha was given this honor in 1999, and is quite impressive. Check here for directions and hours.

Not too far from DeLorme is Freeport, and a visit to Freeport is not complete without seeing L.L. Bean. The retail magnet draws thousands each year, and the 200 other retail shops (what we used to call the "sprouts") all around Bean's make it an amazing shopping experience. In addition to the shopping, L.L. Bean offers a calendar of events including free evening concerts. Patty Loveless will perform on the Fourth of July, and The Wallflowers on August 15th; the concerts run through early September.

Freeport also boasts a real desert. This product of topsoil erosion is called the Desert of Maine and is a unique destination in our otherwise mostly-wooded state. I admit I've never been to the Desert of Maine, but it's so close that I'm tempted to visit this summer.

One place we have visited in Freeport is Wolfe Neck Woods State Park. There are lots of wooded trails, some of which wind by the shore where you can see an osprey nest and watch these birds of prey as they fish. It's a beautiful park for a picnic or a walk (or geocaching...see my kids on their treasure hunt).

Another place we've hiked and picnicked is a stone's throw from Freeport in Pownal. Bradbury Mountain has gorgeous views and lots of trails. My family has snowshoed there, but I think we'll enjoy it more this summer when we can linger for a picnic lunch.

Of course when you're on vacation you should never cook, and I think a staycation should have the same rule. Bombay Mahal always ranks near the top for restaurants in Brunswick on TripAdvisor. Located at 99 Maine Street, this Indian restaurant boasts our favorite dal shorba. Wish I could figure out how to make mine half as good. I guess we'll just have to keep going back!

How about you? Do you have a favorite spot in Midcoast Maine? Please share your ideas for staycation activities here!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

How to Keep the Passion

For a while now, I've been trying to take Eleanor Roosevelt's advice to "Do one thing every day that scares you." It turns out that using this same strategy in your marriage may help you to stay together.

This article talks about how boredom can lead partners to lose interest or stray, and that trying new things stimulates the brain to feel the way it did when you were first in love. Dr. Barbara Bartlik, an assistant professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says that doing something "scary" causes a rush of adrenaline that can make you "feel sexier." Helen Fisher, a research professor at Rutgers, has this advice to keep the passion: “Marry the right person, have sex with them regularly, and go out and do novel, exciting things with them."

What do you think? Do you agree that being bored in a relationship is worse than tension or fighting? Do you think the answer is really this simple, or are there more important things than spontaneity and novelty?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Word of the Week: Widdershins

You often hear people talk about how great it is to think "out of the box." When companies have always played by a certain set of rules (GM, among many others lately) and they aren't doing so well, you realize that there truly is power in innovating and coming up with a new way of thinking about things.

So this week I'm liking this word: widdershins. It's an adverb, and it means backward, or in reverse order or direction. The word traditionally has a negative connotation because it's considered unlucky, but if thinking "forward" in the traditional manner isn't moving us forward, maybe we should think "backward." Or in another direction entirely.


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