Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Day in the Life

Hello friends!  I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend with friends and family.  We spent it decorating for the Christmas holidays, visiting with friends and simply just enjoying a few days of each others company.  It was a fun filled few days but happy to be back into our usual routine today.  Last Monday I made the attempt of capturing a day in the life of us, it has been a LONG while since I have done this and wanted to capture at least one day of our routine before Nicholas heads to Kindergarten next year.


My alarm went off at 7:30, this is my time to get up, grab my coffee and make Jillian's lunch.  Nicholas will crawl into bed with us around 3am almost every night so I also snapped a quick shot of my little cuddle buddy and went downstairs.  I love this little man so much!


Jeff has already left for the day so this is my time to enjoy a little bit of quiet time and think about what we have going on for the day.


At 8am I head upstairs to wake up Jillian to start our busy morning routine.  


Nicholas hears me trying to wake up his sister and joins me in my efforts in trying to get her up.  After a few failed attempts, Nicholas apparently felt that this was a job for a super hero.


The kids are finally awake and dressed so we all head downstairs for breakfast.  


I have 20 minutes left to give Jillian her breakfast, brush her teeth and grab her coat and shoes before heading out to grab the bus at 8:30.  I also organize their book bags one last time to make sure they have everything.


My sweet girl waiting for the bus...



And off she goes...  I don't know if I will ever get used to that sad feeling of putting my kids on the bus for the day.  I miss her already!


I walk back to our home and snap a picture of our house to capture the colorful leaves in the back drop.  Such a pretty time of year! 


 Once Jillian is safely on the bus, I head back inside to get dressed, grab my coffee, and get Nicholas ready for preschool.  Nicholas's day begins at 9am so once Jillian is on the bus, it's a mad dash to head over to the other side of town.


Once Nicholas is at school, it is officially "Mama" time.  I get a rare 6 hours a week to myself and I try to use it VERY wisely.  Depending on the day, I will either run a few errands, straighten up the house, write a blog post, or work on my Limelight business.  Today I am heading home to write up my Easy Pizza Recipe for Kids blog post.  This is the face of a happy Mama about to enjoy a quiet home :)


Sitting in my office looking out the window white both kids are at school is so relaxing!!  It is truly one of my favorite things to do during the week.  


After pushing the "publish" button on my blog post, I head upstairs to quickly curl my hair before picking up Nicholas from school.  I decided to snap a quick picture of my outfit before heading out the door.  


At this point, my picture taking for thd day has just about ended.  LOL!!!  That is pretty much what life is like being alone with Nicholas.  Very demanding and not much time to concentrate on what I am doing.  At one point I went into my office to answer a few questions about Limelight and placed an order for a customer.  At 3:15 I get Jillian off the bus and did remember to snap a picture to document that occasion.


Once Jillian is home, I clear out her book bag and give both kids a snack.  I start to think about what I plan on making for dinner and decided on a mini-meatloaf recipe I came across using Manwich.  I will be blogging about that one here soon!


Not everyone in the house likes Manwich so I decided to top half with it and half without.  Jeff usually arrives home around 6pm and we eat shortly after that. After dinner the kids love to play and hang out with their Daddy, especially Nicholas.  Jeff is Nicholas's sports buddy so the two of them will typically play hockey or baseball for a bit while Jillian plays with her Barbie's or colors.  

At 8:15 I start the kids bedtime routine.  Nicholas goes to bed first.  He has an obsession with going to sleep in our bed and as you can see, with all of his stuffed dogs.  Once my little man is asleep, I carry him (and all of his little dogs) to his bed for the night.  


Once he is safely in his room, I head downstairs to put Jillian to bed.  After the kids are in bed, I will typically watch TV with Jeff for a bit or head into my office to do a little work.  

I hope you all enjoyed a little snippet of our day in the life of us.  It's both fun and exhausting all rolled up into one :)  


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday: Want, Need, Wear and Read

Happy Tuesday friends!  I hope you are all having a great week and in the Thankful spirit.  Strep has reeked havoc on our home the last few days with ALL of us sharing in the Strep love.  Yikes!!!!  Jeff was the last one to get it so hopefully in a few more days it will have exited the building just in time for some Thanksgiving family time.  Today I am linking up with Andrea over at Momfessionals and sharing our Christmas list in the categories of Want, Need, Wear and Read.  

My Want


I have been having so much fun with my new Limelight by Alcone business so far and have been gearing up for some makeup tutorials.  I have this makeup mirror saved to my Amazon Wish List and hope that it will somehow end up under our tree :)

My Need


I realized last night as I was changing the sheets on our bed that our comforter truly has seen better days.  I absolutely loved our comforter but even now, I think it is time to move on to something new like this grey comforter set from Target.

To Wear



I have had a thing for puffer vests this Fall and am in love with this one from J Crew Factory.  I think every girl needs a pink puffer vest in her life, don't you agree?

To Read


Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors and have been dying to read her new book which came out this past year.  I have read most of her books and have loved every one!  I highly recommend any of her books.

I can't wait to read everyone's Christmas wish lists for this year.  Have a great day!

XOXO,
Karen

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Top Tips for Working from Home



Hello friends! Happy Monday, I hope you all had a great weekend!  I wanted to share with you a few of the tips that I have learned over the last five years working from home in the direct sales indu
stry.   I wrote this post initially over at my Karen Tucci Beauty blog and knew that a lot of you who also work from home could also benefit from these tips.  I have certainly had my fair share of exciting victories along with some very ugly major fails trying to balance my family's needs with my business needs.  I hope that by sharing a few of my favorite tips will help you run a more successful at home direct sales business.  Balancing a busy family with a direct sales business is one of the biggest challenges I have ever had to take on, but with a lot of perseverance, planning and hard work, you too can achieve success and live a life you love.
  • Wake up before the kids.  I love getting up early in the morning, this is my time: it's quiet and my phone isn't chiming with endless alerts.  My house is cozy and I get so much done.  This is also my time to sit down and plan out my to do list for the day without interruption.
  • Get a good planner and use it.  In order to remember all of my business commitments, children's activities, school schedules and husband's work schedule, I needed a good planner to keep us organized.  Every Sunday I set aside an hour to go over my planner for the week, review what we have planned and schedule business activities around my family's schedule.  I also created a command center with a white board calendar system in our kitchen so we always had our family's schedule in front of us.  My husband loves to glance at our command center calendar every morning to see what we have going on as a family once he comes home from work.  It helps to keep us all organized and on schedule.
  • Keep an organized to do list.  Every morning I prioritize my to do list and write in my planner the top 5 things I would like to get done that day.  I focus on those 5 things throughout the day and if I end up checking them all off of my to do list, then it has been a productive day.  Anything else after that is considered gravy.  Don't try to take on the world and approach each day with a huge to do list.  You will be left feeling frustrated and disappointed.  Set reasonable expectations for yourself always putting the primary focus and attention on your family.  Their needs come first.  If you don't end up finishing those 5 things, give yourself some grace and move them to the top of the to do list the next day.  One of the hardest things for me as a work from home Mom was that I always wanted to knock out everything on my to do list all in one day.  With the distractions of having 2 little ones at home, it just wasn't possible.  By focusing on only 5 things, you will end the day feeling a sense of accomplishment and like you didn't ignore your family's needs in the process.
  • Create a functional work space.   One of my most favorite rooms in our home is my office.  I have completely made this space my own by painting the walls my favorite spa blue color and have everything organized to my liking.  I am truly the happiest and most productive working at my desk because I know it is the one thing in our home that is mine.  I also love to start my day off with a clean desk, be sure to keep your work space clean and decluttered.  Each morning I file away necessary paperwork and put items back in their proper place before tacking my to do list.  If you don't have a designated room in your house that functions as a home office, find a corner of your home that you can declare as your designated work space. 
  • Set business hours and stick to them.  One of the hardest things I have had to do when working from home was to know when to "clock out" and to finally end my work day.  I would work all day long if I allowed myself.  I am a natural people pleaser and would find myself answering questions from my team members at all hours of the night.  By setting specific business hours and communicating them to your team, you have now set the expectation that you will not be responding to their questions until the next business day.
  • Get dressed every day as if you were going into an office. As a former Corporate Accountant, I used to LOVE dressing up every day.  Ann Taylor and I were total BFF's.  My favorite quote as a career girl was "dress for the job you want, not the job you have".  Once I became a stay at home mom, I slowly turned into that yoga pants Mom and barely ever got dressed or did my make up.  It just wasn't a priority and some things just had to be sacrificed in order to get everything done.  I slowly found that when I did make an extra effort in my appearance, I would also make an extra effort in my business.  I became more confident in what I was doing because I felt better about myself.  Now with Live Streaming playing such an important part in the direct sales industry, I make it an effort almost every day to do my hair and make up incase the opportunity presents itself to hop on Facebook Live or create a small video.
  • Designate a power evening one night a week.  I allow myself to stay up late (2-3 hours) one night a week to knock out a few items on my to do list that I can't seem to get done during the day.  I also save the tasks such as filming YouTube videos, drafting up team newsletters or writing blog posts that require full concentration and without constant interruptions from the kids.   I found that I would accomplish more in one power evening than it would take me in a week due to the constant daily interruptions from my family.  I would have to drink an extra cup of coffee the next day, however,  it was worth it knowing how much I had accomplished the night before.
  • Turn your office into a Post Office. As a Stay At Home Mom of 2 little ones, I dreaded the task of taking them to the Post Office.  Standing in that long line and keeping my kids still was like herding cats into a box.  My son would stand next to me for about two minutes and then run off while my daughter struck up a conversation with the old lady five people in front of us.  I was literally out of breath and red with embarrassment by the time we got back into the car!  I was told by one of my team members about this amazing gadget called a Postage Scale and that you never have to go to the Post Office again.  Wait, what?  Sign me up!!!  When I heard about this, I ordered one immediately!  And it was everything that I had ever dreamed... I could mail samples, products, and team incentives all from the privacy of my own home.  It's like having a Post Office right inside The Direct Sales Mama Headquarters!  The mailman and I are now BFF's, he knows to expect a lot of packages from me.  And if you have too many to mail out, leave him a note in your mailbox asking him to pick up the remaining packages from your front porch.  This has truly been a game changer for me.

      Do you have any business tips to share?  I would love to hear them!  Please leave them in the comments below.  Have a great day Mamas!
       
      XOXO,
      Karen
       
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    Top Tips for Working from Home



    Hello friends! Happy Monday, I hope you all had a great weekend!  I wanted to share with you a few of the tips that I have learned over the last five years working from home in the direct sales indu
    stry.   I wrote this post initially over at my Direct Sales blog and knew that a lot of you who also work from home could also benefit from these tips.  I have certainly had my fair share of exciting victories along with some very ugly major fails trying to balance my family's needs with my business needs.  I hope that by sharing a few of my favorite tips will help you run a more successful at home direct sales business.  Balancing a busy family with a direct sales business is one of the biggest challenges I have ever had to take on, but with a lot of perseverance, planning and hard work, you too can achieve success and live a life you love.
    • Wake up before the kids.  I love getting up early in the morning, this is my time: it's quiet and my phone isn't chiming with endless alerts.  My house is cozy and I get so much done.  This is also my time to sit down and plan out my to do list for the day without interruption.
    • Get a good planner and use it.  In order to remember all of my business commitments, children's activities, school schedules and husband's work schedule, I needed a good planner to keep us organized.  Every Sunday I set aside an hour to go over my planner for the week, review what we have planned and schedule business activities around my family's schedule.  I also created a command center with a white board calendar system in our kitchen so we always had our family's schedule in front of us.  My husband loves to glance at our command center calendar every morning to see what we have going on as a family once he comes home from work.  It helps to keep us all organized and on schedule.
    • Keep an organized to do list.  Every morning I prioritize my to do list and write in my planner the top 5 things I would like to get done that day.  I focus on those 5 things throughout the day and if I end up checking them all off of my to do list, then it has been a productive day.  Anything else after that is considered gravy.  Don't try to take on the world and approach each day with a huge to do list.  You will be left feeling frustrated and disappointed.  Set reasonable expectations for yourself always putting the primary focus and attention on your family.  Their needs come first.  If you don't end up finishing those 5 things, give yourself some grace and move them to the top of the to do list the next day.  One of the hardest things for me as a work from home Mom was that I always wanted to knock out everything on my to do list all in one day.  With the distractions of having 2 little ones at home, it just wasn't possible.  By focusing on only 5 things, you will end the day feeling a sense of accomplishment and like you didn't ignore your family's needs in the process.
    • Create a functional work space.   One of my most favorite rooms in our home is my office.  I have completely made this space my own by painting the walls my favorite spa blue color and have everything organized to my liking.  I am truly the happiest and most productive working at my desk because I know it is the one thing in our home that is mine.  I also love to start my day off with a clean desk, be sure to keep your work space clean and decluttered.  Each morning I file away necessary paperwork and put items back in their proper place before tacking my to do list.  If you don't have a designated room in your house that functions as a home office, find a corner of your home that you can declare as your designated work space. 
    • Set business hours and stick to them.  One of the hardest things I have had to do when working from home was to know when to "clock out" and to finally end my work day.  I would work all day long if I allowed myself.  I am a natural people pleaser and would find myself answering questions from my team members at all hours of the night.  By setting specific business hours and communicating them to your team, you have now set the expectation that you will not be responding to their questions until the next business day.
    • Get dressed every day as if you were going into an office. As a former Corporate Accountant, I used to LOVE dressing up every day.  Ann Taylor and I were total BFF's.  My favorite quote as a career girl was "dress for the job you want, not the job you have".  Once I became a stay at home mom, I slowly turned into that yoga pants Mom and barely ever got dressed or did my make up.  It just wasn't a priority and some things just had to be sacrificed in order to get everything done.  I slowly found that when I did make an extra effort in my appearance, I would also make an extra effort in my business.  I became more confident in what I was doing because I felt better about myself.  Now with Live Streaming playing such an important part in the direct sales industry, I make it an effort almost every day to do my hair and make up incase the opportunity presents itself to hop on Facebook Live or create a small video.
    • Designate a power evening one night a week.  I allow myself to stay up late (2-3 hours) one night a week to knock out a few items on my to do list that I can't seem to get done during the day.  I also save the tasks such as filming YouTube videos, drafting up team newsletters or writing blog posts that require full concentration and without constant interruptions from the kids.   I found that I would accomplish more in one power evening than it would take me in a week due to the constant daily interruptions from my family.  I would have to drink an extra cup of coffee the next day, however,  it was worth it knowing how much I had accomplished the night before.
    • Turn your office into a Post Office. As a Stay At Home Mom of 2 little ones, I dreaded the task of taking them to the Post Office.  Standing in that long line and keeping my kids still was like herding cats into a box.  My son would stand next to me for about two minutes and then run off while my daughter struck up a conversation with the old lady five people in front of us.  I was literally out of breath and red with embarrassment by the time we got back into the car!  I was told by one of my team members about this amazing gadget called a Postage Scale and that you never have to go to the Post Office again.  Wait, what?  Sign me up!!!  When I heard about this, I ordered one immediately!  And it was everything that I had ever dreamed... I could mail samples, products, and team incentives all from the privacy of my own home.  It's like having a Post Office right inside The Direct Sales Mama Headquarters!  The mailman and I are now BFF's, he knows to expect a lot of packages from me.  And if you have too many to mail out, leave him a note in your mailbox asking him to pick up the remaining packages from your front porch.  This has truly been a game changer for me.

        Do you have any business tips to share?  I would love to hear them!  Please leave them in the comments below.  Have a great day Mamas!
         
        XOXO,
        Karen
         
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      Friday, November 18, 2016

      Friday Favorites



      Happy Friday friends!  I hope you are all having a great week :)  It's Friday!  Woohoo!!  It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL here in Cleveland today, 70 and sunny in mid-November.  What???  Don't be fooled, tomorrow reality is going to come craching down in the form of 2-4 inches of snow.  THIS is coming our way....yikes!



      Mother nature is truly amazing sometimes.  We are going to enjoy every bit of the next 12 hours.  As always, I am linking up with Andrea, Erika and Narci this week for a little weekly recap of my favorites.

      ONE




      The Fall foliage behind our home.  Every year I take a baseline picture in the beginning of September, right before the weather starts to turn (first picture).  The second picture was from earlier this week.  Again, Mother nature is so amazing, especially in the Fall.  With tomorrow's looming snowfall, I suspect a lot of the leaves still left on the trees will be coming down.

      TWO


      Easy and healthy recipes to make with your kids!  I blogged on Monday about how we try to ditch the delivery every now and then with our own pizza night at home.

      THREE



      Vests!  I blogged on Wednesday all about the vests I have been wearing this Fall.  With the mild weather, vests have been the perfect "Mommy" fall uniform.




      FOUR


      As much as I loved the fact that BOTH babies took a nap at the same time this week, the reason behind it was certainly not my favorite   My sweet girl came down with Strep Tuesday evening and has been home from school ever since.  Today is the first day she actually got off the couch to play with her toys so you know she is starting to feel better.  Thank goodness!

      FIVE


      I blogged over at The Direct Sales Mama this week my best tips for Working From Home.  It has been 5 years since I have left Corporate America and love to share with other Mamas my experience going from a Corporate career woman to a Work At Home Mama.  If you work from home or thinking about making the switch, I would love for you to check out my post!

      Have a great weekend friends!!

      XOXO

      Wednesday, November 16, 2016

      What I Wore Wednesday


      Happy Wednesday friends!  Today, I decided to link up with The Pleated Poppy for her What I Wore Wednesday link up party to share with all of you what I have been wearing this Fall.  You all know all about my love for Jane.com so I am sure it would not be too surprising to hear most of my items featured are from that amazing website.


      Top - Jane.com // Jeans - Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Jeans // Vest (similar) - New York & Company  // Booties - Jane.com // Necklace - Accessory Concierge


      Here is a close up of the necklace, I absolutely love this piece, it easily dresses up every Fall outfit.


      Top - Jane.com // Jeans - Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Jeans // Vest - Jane.com // Booties (tan no longer available) - Nine West 




      Top - Jane.com // Black Fleece Lined Leggings - Jane.com // Vest - Jane.com // Booties - Jane.com // Necklace - Etsy

      What about you?  What are you wearing?  What's your favorite Fall go-to?  I would love to know.

      XOXO
      Karen

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      Monday, November 14, 2016

      Easy Pizza Recipe for Kids


      Happy Monday Friends!  I hope you all had an amazing weekend.  We had a pretty relazing, low key weekend.  The first in a long time which was wonderful!  It's amazing what you can get done around the house when you are actually home :)

      Awhile back, I posted a few pictures of the kids helping me make homemade pizza.  As promised, I wanted to share the full recipe with all of you.  I absolutely love that this meal and it's so much healthier than our typical family pizza night with pizza ordered from the local pizzaria.   I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine!




      Ingredients:
      • Olive Oil (use as much as needed to press dough into pan)
      • Pizza dough (I bought from our local grocery store, do not use dough from tube)
      • Your family's favorite pizza toppings
      • Pizza Sauce
      • Cookie sheet
      How to Make It:

      Pre-heat your over following the directions on the pizza dough packaging.  Warm pizza dough to room temp.  Drizzle olive oil over dough and press into cookie sheet.  Drizzle more olive oil over dough to press evenly into cookie sheet.  Continue to add more olive oil as needed to work the dough evenly across the cookie sheet.  Top with pizza sauce and your family's favorite toppings.  Cook the pizza according to the instructions on your pizza dough packaging.  Brands can differ so be sure to follow the specific instructions for your particular pizza dough.  Enjoy!


      I hope you all had an amazing weekend!
      XOXO,
      Karen

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      Friday, November 11, 2016

      Friday Favorites - Life Lately Edition



      Happy Friday friends!  I hope you are all having a great week :)  It's Fri-yay!  Woohoo!! I can't tell you how happy I am to be inside on this cold and rainy day.  It actually feels good to have nothing to do and wanted to write a Friday Favorites post sharing what we have been up to these past few weeks.  Typically a Friday Favorites post is to summarize that week, however, we have done so much in these last few weeks and haven't had a chance to blog about it, we are going to kill two birds with one stone in one awesome post. LOL!!!  As always, I am linking up with Andrea, Erika and Narci this week for a little weekly recap of my favorites.

      ONE


      In my last Friday Favorites post, I was beyond thrilled that the Cleveland Indians had made it to the World Series.  Little did I know what an exciting and very emotional 10 days that would have been.  My heart is still recovering but so beyond thrilled and blessed for the amazing experience.  On a whim, my husband and I decided to head to Chicago for Game 5.   Even though the Tribe lost, it was truly one of the best things we have done in a long time. 


      Nothing like an "El" train selfie on our way to Wrigley Field.


       I am SO thrilled we made the 6 hour drive out to Chicago to be a part of this historical series.  

      TWO


      In the midst of the World Series craziness, there was little holiday that took place called Halloween :)  After our marathon trip to Chicago, we made the 6 hour trek back to Cleveland to get the kids ready for Halloween that day.  We arrived back in Cleveland just in time for Nicholas's Halloween concert.  Needless to say, there was lots of coffee to be had that day, Jeff and I were both functioning on only 4 hours of sleep.

      THREE


      One of my favorite things about blogging is all the amazing people I have met along the way.   At times, the blogging world can also reveal to us just how small this world really is.  I met Diane, the author of Goodbye Bread and Cheese, a few years ago during a Friday Favorite link ups.  Come to find out, she and I only live a few miles away.  We both have young boys who have become fast friends and love to get them together when we can.  Last Friday Diane was kind enough to invite me to her Luvs "WhatALuv" party where we shared what we loved.  It was fun night chatting with other Moms while the kids played.  Jillian got in on the fun writing down what she loved...Mommy!

      FOUR


      This little guy is growing up before my eyes and I am truly thankful for these next few months that we are able to spend together before he starts Kindergarten next Fall.  Sure, our days together while Jillian is at school can be beyond exhausting (if I only I could bottle up that 4 year old boy energy) but he plays just as hard as he cuddles and I will take his cuddles any day.  We had lunch at Chick Fil A yesterday after picking him up from preschool and we had so much fun!  

      FIVE


      My Limelight business.  To say I am having a blast playing around with make up is an understatement.  I snapped this picture yesterday after a long afternoon of running errands and couldn't get over that my make up was still in check.  Yay for professional grade makeup!


      If you are a Mom looking to simplify your morning makeup routing, I would love for you to check out my "5 Minute Make Up Routine for Moms" post.  There is nothing I like more than helping out other Mama's to look and feel their best.

      Have a great weekend friends!!

      XOXO