Monday, August 31, 2015

Quote of the Day

-- Quote of the Day -- 

“zen in its essence is the art 

of seeing into the nature

 of one’s own being.” 

~ D. T. Suzuki

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Planning A Fun Family Road Trip

*Today's article was written by: Judith Villarreal who invites you to find more ideas and tips on how to make sure you have fun family trips - click here or go to to learn more.

 -- Planning A Fun Family Road Trip --

There's really nothing more exciting than rounding up the gang together for a fun family trip. As summer takes a firmer grip on the days, one of the best (and certainly kid approved) ways to celebrate is with a road trip. As a classic way to gather the whole crew up for a week or so of bonding, the road trip is often overlooked as an activity that needs planning because the destination will offer up the fun. However, as it's often said: getting there is half the fun! Keep these awesome 10 things in mind when your family adventure rolls around.

1. Pack fun car games to keep the family entertained
Keep a variety of giggle inducing games that are car friendly to keep boredom away. You'll never have to hear another "Are we there yet?" from your squirmy kids in the backseat. A few ideas for games for your family fun trips are Mad Libs, I Spy, Car Bingo, and Name That Tune.

2. Pack yummy snacks for the road
Don't rely on the roadside convenience stores to satisfy your snack attacks. Having prepared snacks is a great way to keep any tummies from rumbling with the peace of mind that you know what exactly is going into your family's bellies. Wouldn't you rather feed your family wholesome cut veggies, sandwich squares, and juice than the sugary sodas and questionable hot dogs you'll find in a gas station?

3. Book an awesome hotel
Ensure your fun family trips go smoother than a jar of creamy Jiffy by carefully booking your hotel. You want to make sure that it has something that the whole family can enjoy like swimming pools, breakfasts, cable, and all sorts of other awesome goodies.

4. Go on adventurous tours
Skip the boring tours and opt for ones that offer a more memorable experience like ghost tours, dollhouse museums, or safari rides at a wild life center.

5. Do your research
Wherever your final destination is pinned, make sure you have a list of things to see and do before you get there.

6. Take a camera
With all of the excitement of the pending trip, cameras are sometimes forgotten. Be sure you won't miss special moments of your fun family trips by remembering to pack your camera, charger, and spare battery.

7. Get some fresh air
When you're planning out your days, don't forget to add a few trips that will offer outdoor fun and sunshine to give the little ones room to run around and stretch their legs.

8. Check out cheesy landmarks
Every city has cheesy landmarks. Go to each one and snap a silly photo.

9. Have some little-people time
Carve out a very special day that's all about the kiddos. Maybe you decide to head to a train museum that you know they'll love.

10. Have some grown up time
Don't forget to have some special grown up time too, though! Whether it's a nice dinner with wine or antiquing, be sure to include fun for the grown ups too.

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Product Review

 -- Product Review --

The only really good pair of scissors I’ve seen in my lifetime belonged to my late mother, who had a professional pair of tailor scissors that lasted her lifetime; they were inherited by a sewer in the family, along with her prized sewing machine. I was never allowed to touch those scissors but saw her use them to earn extra money as a single mother of 3, and to make all kinds of clothing and quilts for the family as the years passed by. I’ve been looking for a pair like those my entire life and now at 45 years young I finally found them.

Frank Garcia, owner of the Brickhouse Products Company (a.k.a Evergreen Supply), offered a pair of their amazing, all-purpose scissors as a review project around the third week of July. Amazon’s order confirmation gave an estimated delivery date of July 14th, however we picked up on July 18th, which was the next time my husband had time to cross the border (a couple miles south of us) to the mail service we use there. The scissors arrived in a yellow bubble padded envelope (11” X 14”), and were housed in a glossy black, thick cardboard box with the company logo embossed on the front and inside of the box. The box could make a good storage container keeping the scissors safe, but also keeping cupboards and drawers safe from the blades.

These scissors come pre-oiled and very sharp – they have an ideal shape and angle for almost any cutting project. The design allows for a comfortable, ergonomically correct grip with rubber-coated handles. The blades will, according to the company, stay sharp and are made of high carbon steel (stronger than stainless steel), and will reportedly last a lifetime. In fact the company offers a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their product!

These right-handed, high quality scissors weigh 7.4 ounces, and are approximately 9” long X .5” thick X 3.2” wide (at the handle) in size.

Sadly these are not available on for Canadians, but they can be found on where they have a list price of $47.99 but are currently on sale for $23.95.

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Quote of the Day

-- Quote of the Day --  

“Love is the vision of the soul 

when it is permitted 

to gaze upon immortal beauty.”   

~ Isadora Duncan

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

quote of the day

-- Quote of the Day -- 


"We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on."

 ~ Richard P. Feynman

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: 

Sustainable Artistry

 -- Sustainable Artistry --

* Today's article was written by: Virginia Arrisueño - owner and designer of DeNada Design Want to read more about fiber artists ? Visit

I am captivated by Orly Genger and her unique sculptural installations that completely commandeer both indoor and outdoor spaces. The main draw of her installations is that she builds them entirely out of rope. Genger's stacks and knots recycled rock climbing rope to transform large spaces and engage viewers.

In 2001, Genger graduated from Brown University with a BA. She later went on to receive a Postbaccalaureate degree from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002. The contemporary American sculptor is known for her large-scale installations that she painstakingly hand knots and crochets out of recycled rope. Featured in museums such as the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, Genger has become a "force of nature." Her outdoor exhibitions include large sculptures in Madison Square Park and Brown University.

While her work is minimalistic, it has a broad, popular appeal. Between the brilliant colors and daring positioning, Genger's work allows people to see the immense amount of time, labor, and energy she puts into the installations. In 2010, Genger created the exhibit "Big Boss," an 11.5-foot-high stack that burst through a gallery wall and flowed 28 feet into an adjoining room. The installation, which was for a show at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, required Genger to use over 100 miles of red painted rope. The result was a room covered in what appeared to be erupted lava.

Another of Genger's exhibitions, "Terra," was featured at Oklahoma Contemporary. The large, outdoor piece was made of 1.4 million feet of recycled lobster-fishing rope, and painted with 350 gallons of terra cotta colored paint. The exhibit "weaved" its way through the center of Campbell Park in Oklahoma City. Genger saw the vast, open space and "envisioned a line that would travel in a continual motion winding through the patch of land on which the work sits." The result was a winding line of bright red, flowing through the park. The maze-like installation is as impressive as "Big Boss" and features the same bright color palette.

While Genger is mainly known for her large sculptures, she also has a jewelry line in collaboration with Jaclyn Mayer. The pieces are as simply intricate as her large scale exhibitions. The bright colors featured are innovative and fresh, just like her installations. I admire Genger's dedication and passion for fiber art and appreciate her ambitious installations.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Product Review

-- Product Review -- 

Properly inflated tires save money, improve handling, extend tire life, reduce fuel consumption, and reduce uncomfortable bouncing and vibration from uneven surfaces. According to Verona Chadwick of the Get A Life Sales company: “Experts recommend checking your vehicle's tire pressure every month to ensure a safe, comfortable ride and maximum fuel efficiency.”

In our household that chore is up to my husband Dave who’s taken the responsibility to check our wheelbarrow, bicycles, RV trailer and Jeep tires, among others around the house from the lawnmower to various wheeled tools and gates. It isn’t that I am unwilling to do the chore, it is just such a difficult thing to do. You have to balance your body in awkward positions, try to read the pressure gauges that tend to be dirty or foggy, and depending on the weather or time of day, this can be a very difficult chore indeed.  Not all pressure gauges are easy to use as well, trying to get that perfect seal and not lose air from the tires.

It was recently our 25th anniversary, so I thought taking on the review project for the TravelSafer Digital Tire Gauge would be a perfect gift for my husband. I first heard from Verona Chadwick around mid June and once the details were worked out we placed the order for the product.

Amazon’s order confirmation offered a guaranteed delivery date of July 14th, however we picked it up on July 18th, which happened to be the next time we were at the border (we’re a few miles north of the US border). The product was shipped in a 9” X 11”, yellow, bubble-padded envelope. The product itself was housed in a plastic sleeve with a paperboard backing – I was pleased to see that the product was easily removed from the packaging without the need for sharp knives, and the packaging was easily separated for recycling. I was also pleased to see that the product was ready to use, right out of the box – you don’t have to run out and get special batteries or charge it up or anything.

There are several aspects about this tire gauge that sets it above its peers. Firstly – because of the illuminated nozzle and LCD screen it is really easy to use night or day. The light and display screen will automatically shut off in 20-60 seconds in order to save the 3-volt lithium ion battery’s lifespan. Alternatively you can manually turn it off by holding the on button down for 3 seconds.

The gauge is lightweight and has a compact design that will easily slip under the car seat, in the glove box or backpack, etc. – it is small enough that you can operate it with just one hand. It has a comfortable handgrip, which includes a serrated spot for the thumb as well. There’s even a hole in the handle for hanging on a pegboard or some other mechanism. This product weighs about 2.2 ounces, with a size (in inches) of about 5.5 X 2 X 1. It is silver in color with a blue LED light and screen. Unfortunately the gauge is made in China, which has fewer environmental laws than most other countries, and this also means a larger impact on the environment simply due to shipping.

To use, simply press the on/off button, wait for the display to light up and listen for a bleep sound – then place the nozzle over the valve, press firmly to ensure a good seal, then remove and read the display. It is that easy.

The instructions say that you can use this gauge on any tire (trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, wheelbarrows and wheeled tools or gates, etc.) – so I had Dave test that out around the house, workplace, garage, garden shed and workshop. It not only fit all the nozzles without the hassle of getting a good seal, it was easy to see what you are doing and it also produced accurate readings.

The gauge has 4 ranges that you can switch from with just a simple press of a button:

Psi - pounds per square inch

Bars – bars of pressure


Kpa - Kilopascals

I wasn’t familiar with some of those ranges so I did an online search and fount out some interesting information. According to “At sea level, Earth's atmosphere is pressing against the surface with a force of 1 kilogram per square centimeter. This pressure is identified as one "bar," and is equal to 100 Kilopascals or 14.7 pounds per square inch of pressure.”

Dave explained to me that the proper inflation for your tires would be indicated on the vehicle tire placard, certification label or in the owner's manual. Seasonal and environmental changes (hot, cold, snow, etc.) will affect the pressure required in your tires. Over inflation can increase the odds of your tires getting cut or punctured or broken by impact, whereas under inflated tires can cause excessive heat buildup and internal structure damage. You should check the tires and your spare tires once a month and also just before going on a long trip – and check them before you have driven the car, i.e. after parking overnight, to get a more accurate reading. Be sure to store seasonal tires in bags and under cover where they won’t be exposed to the sun and other elements. There are special tire covers you can purchase for parked vehicles. At the end of your tire’s life – recycling, reusing or repurpose are great options, but call around and see if anyone in your area can retread them as well. (*For ideas on the end of life for your tires check out our Trash Talk book series, book #1)
The company is so confident in their product that it is backed by an airtight 100% satisfaction, lifetime guarantee. While the TravelSafer Digital Tire Gauge isn’t available on for Canadians, it can be ordered from where it had an original list price of $17.99 (US), but is currently on sale for $13.99 (US).

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

quote of the day

-- Quote of the Day --  

The 3 R’s: 

“Respect yourself; 

Respect others;

 Take responsibility for your actions.” 

~ Dalai Lama

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Marketing matters

*Today's article comes to us from:
Ling Wong who specializes in coaching her clients to include all their big ideas into one cohesive message, nail the words that sell and design a plan to cut the busywork and do what matters. Visit
Find Ling and grab her free "How to Find YOUR Winning Formula" Training Series at

-- Marketing Matters --

A coaching client was nearing the end of her intensive program. We were at the stage to design a marketing plan for the next 6 months so she can cut the busywork and do what truly matters.

She is an experienced coach using a particular method. However, she has been "selling" the method in a very generalized manner without much focus. As a result, she had only been doing some workshops here and there for anyone and everyone who walked into the door, and never been able to funnel many of the participants into private clients and charge a premium for her services. Her pre-session assignment was to write down where she wants to be in 6 - 12 months. She came to the call empty-handed.

She felt paralyzed. She had these ideas that her goal "should" look a certain way - like, get 30 coaching clients, have a full practice, launch a blockbuster program, or earn $50k. She couldn't wrap her head around any of those. Not to mention whenever she thought of the "how" she froze. So I asked her, "what would you like to see happen in you being in your business in the next 6 months?" She told me she wanted to get a better sense of her ideal clients and the market. She wanted to gain more confidence by testing out her unique process on her new-found niche and clarity. She wanted to know that she has a solid footing.
Then she added... "but I don't know what I want in 6 months!"

I told her, she had exactly told me what she wanted - to gain a solid footing! The next question is - what does she need to know and what skills does she need to acquire, in order to get there.We created a plan to help her get a solid footing by knowing her market better, refining her offers and gaining more confidence through working with more clients.

"Progress" doesn't have to look like having 30 clients or making $15k a month. For my client, having a solid offering, getting great word-of-mouth, and gaining the confidence to build out her business is the exact progress she needs. Her plan takes into account her pace and where she is at right now. It is designed to help her test her process and build her confidence, while generating an income and getting testimonials by having a "pilot program" with a slightly lower price point (rather than giving away her services to people who may not be committed to doing the work.)

We mapped out her activities for the upcoming 6 months with HER in mind - in what way can she best utilize her strengths to attract new clients? Where are her ideal clients, and how is she going to communicate her relevance to them in a way that is congruent with her personality?

Finding marketing activities and promotional venues that are congruent with her personality turns out to be very important for this client who is an introvert and does a lot better in private conversations than in groups. First, we acknowledged that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her that the typical "networking" event is not her cup of tea, even though she has found her groove in conducting small group workshops.Then we mapped out how she can put herself in the path of her ideal clients using her strength (in this case, maybe a workshop) and quickly funnel them into one-on-one conversations that lead to the sales of her private program.

In a nutshell, here are the components she needs to put in place for the next few months:
  • Conduct conversations with those in her target market, which will inform the creation of her pilot program.
  • Create her pilot program (and set a cap or deadline for the special pricing to end.)
  • Brush up on her enrollment conversation skills.
  • Find local venues to conduct workshops or online "partners" (e.g. trade associations) through which she can offer a teleseminar or webinar.
  • Craft 1 to 3 signature talks to funnel potential clients into enrollment conversations.
  • Sell her 1:1 pilot program during the enrollment conversations.
Yes, there is website copy to write and list to build. Or a product to launch, or a book to write. But until she gets a solid footing, those can turn into busywork she can hide behind without really making an impact on her progress (i.e. getting clients and generating an income.) This may sound pretty simple - and that's the elegance of it. Now she only has to do a few things well to put herself on the fastest path to client, instead of having to do 29 things at a time - throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping something would stick.

She can now focus on doing what matters - isn't that the ultimate goal of having a plan?b Unfortunately, when creating a "marketing plan", many get caught in the "how it should look like" instead of how it's going help you do want truly matters.

Look at your marketing activities and promotional tactics, and ask these questions:
  • Are they putting you in the path of your ideal clients? (Mastering Twitter ad may not be worth the ROI if your peeps are hanging out on Instagram.)
  • Are they congruent with the way you want to show up? If there is a misalignment and you are dragging your feet to do the work, your prospects can smell it from miles away.
  • Do they serve to put your strengths and superpowers in the spotlight? Being lost in the sea of mediocrity is not where your big bucks lie.
  • Are they giving you ample opportunities to demonstrate why you are relevant to helping your ideal clients solve their problems? You can be all smart and sophisticated, but unless you are relevant, they don't care.
  • Do they work with each other to present a coherent message and a holistic view of your personal brand? Or are you stitching together a bunch of "templates" that make you sound like a schizo from one platform to the next?
  • Are they meeting you where you are at in terms of where your business is, so you are not trying to run before you learn to walk? Trying to launch a group program before you have a responsive list and work out the kinks with private clients may not be the best use of your time.

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

product review

-- Product Review -- 

I just love reviewing products made right here in Canada! Up to the last year I’ve never tried facial serums before, however I’ve since tried 4-5 brands out and have become a fan of what it can do for skin. Today I’m reviewing a certified organic 20% Vitamin C Serum via All Natural Advice ( company who specializes in organic beauty products made in Canada.

When I was first contacted in the first week of July by the president of the company, Stephen James, I was immediately impressed with the obvious pride he has in their company, the professional communications and the quality of their products. Stephen took the time to express his appreciation for our environmentally friendly blog – which was a very nice thing to do – and is something their company is quite passionate about. Stephen says: “As a company we chose to go organic. For example, our Vitamin C Serum used to be 70% organic as it was much thicker. We than moved to a sodium ascorbyl phosphate version of the Vitamin C which is highly effective and more stable when compared to lower grade Vitamin C Serums. By doing this we were able to change up our formula to ensure that now 100% of our ingredients are certified organic. The serum is a bit more liquid-y but the results are better as it absorbing deeper in your skin. In addition, none of products are tested on animals. We are very proud of the work [our employees] do, and we promote a happy work and family balance.

Amazon gave us an estimated delivery of July 13 – 14th, and sure enough – it arrived July 14th. It was shipped in a bubble pack, yellow envelope. The product is housed in a brown glass bottle (recyclable) encased in a bubble plastic envelope (recyclable) as well for additional safety during shipping. The bottle was topped with a white plastic pump with clear plastic protective cover, however it also comes with a rubber topped, plastic, screw cap style glass dropper.

According to Stephen: “When we started our company, we had two important principles to follow: provide a quality product and provide even better service and advice.” And you can certainly confirm this by visiting their site to find ample information on their products.

Like most serums, this one contains 20% vitamin C which fights age related skin issues, sun damage and stimulates collagen. Both men and women can use a serum. After washing (and shaving) your face, and applying toner (if you use it) get ready to put on some serum. If you haven’t used a serum before simply put a few pumps worth in the palm of your hand and apply to your face and neck, and forearms and backs of your hands. These are the areas most often exposed to natural elements (sun, wind, cold, etc.), things you may have accidentally splashed on your skin (paint, paint thinner, gas, oil, etc.) and also chemicals in the air (exhaust, workplace chemicals, etc.). Any and all of those that I’ve just listed can cause all kinds of damage to the skin ranging from accelerated signs of aging to darkened spots. This serum will soak in very quickly and once the liquid has soaked in, simply apply moisturizer (if you use it) as you would normally. It is best if you apply serum in the morning when you wake up and during the evening ritual of preparing for bed.

Like many of you I’ve been taking Vitamin C supplements every day because of all the things we come in contact with we need the additional help to fight off free radicals and damaging elements. By adding vitamin C serum to my daily routine, I am applying the vitamin directly to my skin where it is more effective than taking it orally. I’ve been using this brand for more than a week now, and have to say that this will be up there with my top 2 favorites in serum, (both made in Canada and with all natural ingredients). This brand has a 12-month shelf life. Something else that sets this brand above others is the size 60ml. / 2 fl. oz. – double of what other brands offer. It is also non-allergic and made for sensitive skin (yay!).

Ingredients: water, aloe, vitamin c. MSM, plant based hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, vitamin E, carbomer, arginine, ferulic acid, kosher veggie glycerin, organic jojoba oil, phenoxyethonol, ethyl hexyl glycerine, organic gotu kola extract, horsetail plant extract, organic geranium extract and organic dandelion extract.

The All Natural Advice company is based in Oakville, Ontario (Canada). As Stephen mentioned, not one of their products is tested on animals, and they offer 100% guarantee on all their products. This product is manufactured in an FDA registered laboratory and is GMP certified. If you order from their site – they offer free shipping within Canada and the USA.

Amazon Canada: $26.88 (CDN)

Amazon USA: Had an original list price of $49.99 but is currently on sale for $18.88 (US)

Amazon UK: Had an original list price of £$78.99 but is currently on sale for £14.88

Amazon France  & Amazon German: Both had an original list price of 48,88 but is currently on sale for EUR 20,88

Award-winning authors Dave and Lillian Brummet: