Friday Favorites

Friday, December 05, 2014


Hello Friends! Happy Friday! I hope you are having a great week.  I don't know about you but this week seemed to have flew by for me.  I am sure this is how it is going to be this entire holiday season, so much to do and so little time!!    I am excited to kick off the weekend by linking up with Erika from A Little Bit of Everything with a Friday Favorites post.  Going through my camera roll I realized I have not taken that many pictures this week hence again with it just being a really busy week, even too busy to take some pictures!!  Anyways, here are my Friday Favorites from the week.  Enjoy!

We had a rare warm day here in Cleveland on Sunday and Jeff was able to put up all of our Christmas lights.  I snapped this picture using the Instaweather App which is one of my favorites.  I love how you and document your pictures with what the weather was doing on that particular day. Genius!


 
I started the South Beach diet on Monday after a weekend of Thanksgiving indulging not to mention all of the Halloween candy I had consumed in the last few weeks.  Mama's pants were getting tight and drastic action needed to be taken.  The South Beach Diet is my favorite way to shed a few pounds quickly without giving up too much.  Yes, I have to give up my love of carbs, but even on Phase 1 you can eat a few "good" carbs such as beans.  The first day is always the hardest but I am already on Day 5 and still hanging in there.  I like to stay on the full 2 weeks of Phase 1 where I typically lose around 5 pounds.   Wish me luck as I head into the weekend, especially with all of the parties we have scheduled, it will be tempting but I am determined to make it through to the other side :)
 
 
 
Here is the other culprit for the few extra pounds, anyone else love the French's Fried Onions that go into the Green Bean Casserole?  Ah-maz-ing!!!  When I was little, I would always sneak these while my Mom was trying to make her Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole.  She would always have to hide them so we would have some left!!  Growing up, our Green Bean Casserole was always a little light on the onion because of my obsession.  LOL!  This Thanksgiving, we bought a ginormous bag at Sam's Club which probably wasn't the best idea.  It made for the perfect snack for several days but now I am paying for it.  I sent this picture to my Mom which gave her a good laugh :)
 
 
 
"Paci" the Elf made his return this week and my kids are loving that he is back for another Christmas.  "Paci" brought Christmas jammies with him for the kids and they loved having a present to open so early in the holiday season!  I hope to turn this into a tradition every year. 
 
I have been struggling getting into the groove of remembering to move him, I need to add some kind of alert to my iPhone because one of these days I am going to slip up.  Jillian seems more into the Elf than Nicholas. I think he just likes him because she does.  I am sure he will get more excited about it as the years go on.  They still haven't quite understood the whole point that he goes back to Santa and reports whether they have been good or bad much to my dismay as a parent.  Isn't that the whole reason a Mom came up with the Elf on the Shelf in the first place?  LOL!!
 
 
The Winter season always brings a lot of deer sightings in our back yard along with it.  These sweet deer hung out in our woods for most of the afternoon yesterday and decided to even take a little nap.  The kids just love having these deer and other critters as our neighbors. 
 
 
 Can you believe Christmas is only 20 days away?  Hope you're enjoying EVERY minute of the holiday season!  Have a GREAT weekend!!
 
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October 2014 Wrap Up

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hello friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  After a pretty chilly weekend here in Cleveland, we are experiencing a beautiful Fall day in the mid-sixties.  This Fall has been full of ups and downs weather wise.  When I finally feel that Winter is about to rear it's ugly head, a beautiful day seems to pop up out of nowhere.  This Fall has been amazing so far and I don't want it to end.  Let's hope Mother Nature still has a few more days like today left in her back pocket for us to enjoy!!!
 
October truly was a blur for us and I never ended up getting out all of our Halloween decorations.  It was one of those things where I felt I had more time and then...boom!  Halloween was upon us and it was too late.  This year, I am vowing to get our Christmas decorations out early so we can at least enjoy them before things get way too crazy.  I feel like I am still getting back into the blogging groove but excited to at least being able to blog when I can.  Running three blogs is no easy task but I am up for the challenge and appreciate you all stopping by and saying hello.  I love writing these monthly blog wrap ups because it gives me a chance to reflect on what we did for the month and look forward to the month ahead which I am sure will be just as busy if not more!
 
 
In the beginning of the month, we headed out to our local pumpkin patch and apple orchard.  Thank goodness we did it then because we never had the opportunity to go back later in the month.
 

 
Nicholas has been obsessed with tractors lately so we have been going on a lot of "tractor walks" around the neighborhood this Fall.  Luckily, we live in a new construction neighborhood with several homes currently under construction.  There is never a shortage of tractors around here so needless to say this little man is in his glory!  It gets me out of the house too and on a walk so it's a win-win for both of us.
 
 
The leaves behind our home have been absolutely gorgeous this year and I have been trying to take a weekly picture to capture the beautiful changes.
 
 
We met up with my sister and sister in law in the middle of the month on the west side of Cleveland to check out their pumpkin patch. 
 

I love that all of the cousins on my side of the family are all the same age, they have so much fun together!!
 
 
The Fall just isn't compete without a "cow-train" selfie with my sister and the kids.
 
 
 
We enjoyed our annual tradition of the Lake Farm Park Haunted Hayrides even though it was an absolute downpour the night we were scheduled to go.  The kids were still in good spirits and were such good sports about going a hayride in the cold and rain.  We were able to snap one quick picture under cover with one of the haunted hayride volunteers.  I thought for sure Jillian would lose it when the Mad Hatter came up to her but she took it all in stride and posed for a cute pic.
 
 
Queen Elsa and Jake and the Neverland Pirates made a lot of guest appearances towards the end of the month.  I had Jillian in and out of her costume at least four times between Strongsville's Hullabaloo, her Preschool Halloween party, Dance Class Dress Up Party and on Halloween Day itself.  I just love Halloween and this age, it is so much fun and the kids really got into it this year! My two little ones and my sister's daughter at Strongsville's Hullabaloo night out.  My sister's other daughter was home sick wit pink eye which was so sad, she was truly missed!
 
 
Jillian dressed up for dance class the Saturday before Halloween and it seemed more like "Dress Up Like Elsa" day than Halloween.  It was a sea of blue out there!
 
 
Jillian's school program was so sweet and cute!  Her school always does a good job for the holidays which makes things so special for us as parents to see.
 
 
My little ham!!! 
 
 
Although it sprinkled most of the evening, the kids had an absolute blast on Halloween!!  Nicholas really got into Trick Or Treating this year and it was so fun seeing his personality blossom.  He actually surprised us with just HOW into it he got, it was adorable seeing his little face light up with every house we stopped at. 

 
It is such a joy experiencing these Halloween memories with our little family!!  So hard to believe it is already over as the Christmas holiday already seems to be upon us.  With such a memorable month behind us, it only makes me more excited to see what memories this holidays season will bring.  Hope you all had a wonderful October!!!
 
 
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The Direct Sales Mama ~ Booking Tip # 1

Wednesday, November 05, 2014



What is your go to tip for booking more parties? I always play a Booking Game such as "Deal or No Deal". It is so much fun and your future hostesses love receiving a little bonus for booking a party with you!
 
I would love your support by following my The Direct Sales Mama Facebook Page, Instagram and on all social media as ‪#‎thedirectsalesmama
 
 
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The Direct Sales Mama ~ Selling Tip #1



Developing a RELATIONSHIP with your customer is the KEY to a successful business. Always under promise and OVER deliver.
I would love your support by following my The Direct Sales Mama Facebook Page, Instagram and on all social media as ‪#‎thedirectsalesmama
 
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Favorite Things Party ~ Target Beauty Section Favorites

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Hello friends! I hope you are all had a fun weekend and amazing start to your Halloween week.  We had a neighborhood Halloween party on Saturday and it was an absolute blast!  It was so nice to have a date night with the hubs and get out of the house just the two of us.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably saw a fun glimpse of my Flapper costume.



This picture of Jeff and I in our costumes makes me smile every time!  Today I am linking up with Erika and Andrea with our favorite things under $10.  I am a huge fan lately of a few items that I picked up in the Target Beauty Section this Summer and they have pretty much been my make-up staples since.  Both items give you just a slight hint of sun-kissed pink without making you look like a clown.  



The Master Glaze Blush by Maybelline in Just Pinched Pink is honestly the best blush I have ever tried.  I apply it lightly to my cheek bones with a beauty blender and it gives my cheeks healthy sun-kissed pink glow.

 

The Maybelline 24 Hour Color Tatoo Metal in Pink is the perfect eye shadow base.  It truly does live up to it's name and it stays on all day long as if it were tattooed on!  I apply a light coat to my lid with my fingertip and then swipe the residual under my brow which adds just the slightest hint of shimmer.  I feel like it really brightens up my face.  I will then use my favorite Mac Brown eyeshadow in Satin Taupe on the outer lid and crease.  Both shadows compliment each other so well!

Thank you so much for joining me today for the Favorite Things party.  I hope you all have an amazing week!


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All Things Loved in September

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hello friends!  I hope you all had an amazing weekend!  We were extremely busy on Saturday but enjoyed a low key kinda day on Sunday.  It was definitely a nice relaxing end to a pretty crazy weekend overall.   One thing I certainly missed during my blogging break were my All Things Loved posts.  These posts were a great way to recap our busy month and share all of the things I was obsessing about.   All wrapped up into one fun post!  I am truly excited today to jump right back in and talk about what I was loving in September!

 
{All Things Loved in September}
 
 
1. The Re-Launch of Karen At Home Blog
 
 
 
Can I just say again how good it feels to be blogging again?  Thanks to all of you who have commented and actually came back!  I really appreciate it and excited to catch up with all of you again.
 
2. Perfectly Posh's Sweet Dreams Ultra Hydrating Night Crème
 
Perfectly Posh Night Creme
 
I shared this on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago, but I’m so in love with this night Creme that I have to bring it to the blog, too!  The crème feels so cool and nourishing after I wash my face every night.  I have truly never been so excited to wash my face at night. The Perfectly Posh Night Creme is a natural, gentle, and hyper hydrating, wrinkle resisting night creme for face and neck.  In a future post, I hope to talk about my current skin care regime and the Perfectly Posh Sweet Dreams is certainly an important step in my routine!
 
3. Jillian is Back to School
 

 
As much as I love Summer, I was happy for Jillian to start Preschool again this September.  It feels good to be back into a routine and it actually forces me out of the house at an early hour.  While Jillian is at school, Nicholas and I will usually hit Target, the Grocery Store or run some other errand. Since Jillian is only at school for a little over 2 hours, most of the time it doesn't make sense for us to head back home.
 
4. The Beginning of Fall
 
Notice that this says "the beginning of Fall" as in the end of Fall is certainly not my favorite.  For Clevelanders, the end of Fall means the crazy start of Winter will be here shortly and I probably won't be seeing any of my neighbors or really anyone else for that matter for about 4 months.  Ugh! 
 
What I do love about the beginning of Fall is all of the fun activities we get to do with the kids.  We went apple picking with Jillian's preschool class and have also visited many pumpkin patches as a family. 
 
 
 
I now have more apples that I know what to do with and hope to make homemade applesauce in the crock pot this week.
 
I also love how the trees behind our home transform from Summer to Winter and hope to document this amazing transformation each month.  As  you can see in the picture below, the slightest bit of orange started to peek through at the tops of the trees on the left hand side at the end of September.
 

5. Jarlsberg Dip
 
 
 
I have shared on my blog before what a big snacker I am and this Jarlsberg dip does not help that habit.  I truly would rather eat dips and appetizers all day instead of an actual meal.  Please tell me I am not the only one!  In early September, a group of my Origami Owl sisters and I planned a girls day and toured a few local wineries.  Our limo was stocked with yummy snacks and this amazing dip was one of the things I just couldn't get enough of.  And it goes great with wine so it is definitely a winner in my book :)  Thankfully our local grocery store keeps several on hand and I have been picking up a new one almost every week. 
 
There were so many things that I was loving this month that it was hard to narrow it down to a short list!  What were you loving this September?
 
Thanks again to everyone who has stopped by and said hello.  I truly appreciate the warm welcome back into the blogging community!   
 
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The Direct Sales Mama ~ My Success Story

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hello friends!  I hope you are having an amazing weekend!  We are having picture perfect Fall weather and loving every minute of it.  I am often asked how I became "The Direct Sales Mama" and love sharing my story and success tips with anyone who asks.  I have a passion for inspiring women to believe in themselves by building their own Direct Sales businesses and have experience building teams of women all over the United States. I love helping others to realize their financial and personal goals which is what Direct Sales is all about! 

I began my Direct Sales journey when I attended a Thirty-One Gifts party in June 2011.  I immediately fell in love with the company and products.   I had been to several home parties in the past, however, never actually considered the possibility of joining a Direct Sales company. The thought never even crossed my mind!  I did not see myself as a sales girl and already had a very secure career as a Corporate Accountant.  I was also very shy, dreaded speaking in front of large groups, and loved the comfort of my little office cubical.  However, this time something felt different.  While at the party, I read a few of the heart warming testimonies printed in the catalog about how Thirty-One had changed their lives in so many ways.  I was intrigued by these women's success stories and thumbed through the catalog to read every one.  After placing my order, I decided to take the Thirty-One Gifts catalog home with me that evening instead of returning it to the consultant.  I know this sounds strange but something about Thirty-One Gifts spoke to me and I decided to talk to Jeff about the possibility of signing up to be a consultant.  Jeff and I were also in the process of trying for Baby #2 and I was struggling heavily with the guilt of being a working Mom. I told Jeff that I wanted to give it a shot and if it didn't work out, I had a bunch of cute bags to keep. If it did work out, this could possibly the answer I was looking for... a job with a flexible schedule that would allow me to stay at home with my kids.  No more daycare, no more germs, no more mommy/work guilt, etc. Sure, I wouldn't make the same amount of money at first as my steady corporate accounting job but the earning potential was there.   So I took the plunge and signed up!  Do you want to hear something completely crazy? I found out I was pregnant with Nicholas a few hours later.   I honestly felt like God was guiding me through my decision.   He knew the constant internal conflict and guilt I was always feeling as a working Mom and He provided. 

After a very successful career as a Thirty-One Gifts Consultant, I was introduced to Origami Owl® in 2013. I fell in love with the products and the opportunity to join a Direct Sales company in the early stages.   I also decided when I joined Origami Owl® to combine my passion of Direct Sales, Blogging and Social Media to create an Origami Owl® Blog.  I couldn’t think of a better way to share my journey, knowledge and passion with my team and other Origami Owl® Independent Designers.  I truly was living my dream every day by bringing together my love of Blogging, Social Media and Direct Sales into one amazing career!!!   
In my first year as an Origami Owl® Designer, I built a team of almost 300 amazing ladies, promoted 4 times and earned the title of the #2 Sponsor in the entire company.   I also qualified as one of the top 150 Designers to earn a trip for two to Cabo San Lucas. 

As if I didn't have enough on my plate, I decided in June 2014 to sign up as a Perfectly Posh Consultant after struggling with hormonal acne.  Perfectly Posh products are a high quality, pampering brand with amazing spa-quality products. They are free of parabens, paraffins, gluten and soy and were pretty much all I could use on my face for several months.  I absolutely love all of the products Perfectly Posh has to offer and am having a blast product testing each and every one.  If you would like to try a sample of a Perfectly Posh product, please click here to learn more. 

After three years of working in Direct Sales, I surpassed my Corporate Accountant’s salary and contribute to my family's financial income more than I ever did as a working Mom.  My Direct Sales journey has been an amazing one so far and I am loving every minute!  It is my personal goal to motivate and inspire women of all ages to achieve their dreams and empower them to make a difference in the lives of others through Direct Sales. My goal is to help other women achieve success and financial independence in building fabulous and profitable Direct Sales businesses. I look forward to sharing a few Direct Sales success tips through my Karen At Home blog.  I am proof that anyone can live the American dream of staying home with yours kids with the help of Direct Sales.

Are you involved in Direct Sales?  Please leave a comment below and share your journey with us, I would love to hear from you!
Want to follow me at The Direct Sales Mama on Social Media?  Find me on Facebook, Instagram and all Social Media at #thedirectsalesmama.

***The Direct Sales Mama Blog coming soon***
 
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Crockpot Chicken and Yellow Rice

Friday, September 26, 2014



Hi Friends, did you all have a good week?  We had some beautiful Fall weather here and tried to spend a lot of our time outside.  Jillian had a field trip to a local apple orchard and it couldn't have been a more perfect Fall day!  Trying to savor every moment of this beautiful sunshine before the cold weather sets in!!  Hoping every week this Fall is just as beautiful as it has been this week. 

Anyway, I wanted to blog about the yummy Crockpot Chicken and Yellow Rice I made a few weeks ago that I posted on Instagram and Facebook.  Several of you had asked about the recipe so here you go!  I originally found this recipe on Pinterest and couldn't wait to make it.  I love everything with cooked onion, rice and red pepper in it so it was definitely a now brainer to me when it came to pinning this! Yum!  I would have loved if I could have just thrown the raw rice into the crock pot along with everything else but do not believe this recipe would allow it.  Any Crock Pot experts out there want to let me know if you think it can be done?  Perhaps next time when I am feeling brave I will try it out!   Enjoy!!!
 
{What You Need}
 
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 large Yellow onion (chopped)
1 large Red Pepper (chopped)
Two 8 ounce boxes of Zatarain's Yellow Rice Mix (cooked)
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
 
 {How You Make It}

 
 
Place your chicken and onion in the crock pot along with the cans of cream of chicken soup.  Once the chicken is cooked through (around 2-3 hours on low), I cooked the boxes of Zatarain's Yellow Rice via the directions on the box.   Once the rice was cooked, I added it to the crock pot along with the corn and cheese.  Allow mixture to cook another hour in the crock pot.  Enjoy!! 
 
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Friday Favorites

Friday, September 19, 2014


Hello Friends! Happy Friday! I hope you are having a great week.  It has really started to feel like Fall this week and even broke down and turned the heat on this week.  We have had some CHILLY nights here in Cleveland and can't remember the last time we turned the heat on this early.  I am still pretty giddy about blogging again and kicking off the weekend by linking up with Erika from A Little Bit of Everything with a Friday Favorites post.



I am absolutely loving Jillian's new dance studio and so excited we made the switch this year.  It's everything I was hoping for and more.  Jillian is also noticeably happier and look forward to watching my little dancer every week!



I have been on a bit of a Pinterest kick lately and tried out an amazing new Crockpot recipe.  I plan on blogging about it next week, be sure to stay tuned.  Your taste buds will thank you!



Now that Jillian is back in preschool, I am able to renew my Dunkin Donuts addiction again.  Jillian's preschool is right around the corner from our local Dunkin Donuts and I usually treat myself at least once a week.  



Do you find 'Back to School' means 'Back to Fast Food'? I am finding now that we are out and about more with our new routine, it's easy to grab food on the go.  This week we decided to head to Chick Fil A after picking Jillian up from Preschool.  The kids were so excited I let them play for an extended amout of time, can't you tell?




Being a work at home Mom, I often find little gifts left for me in my office.  This week it was My Little Ponies.  I think they brightened up my desk, don't you?

Hope you ladies have a wonderful weekend!  Thank you so much for stopping by!


 
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The Re-Launch of Karen At Home Blog

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hello friends!!!  I am so excited to officially start blogging again.  It feels so good to be back and can't wait to dive back into it this Fall.  I am sure you all have been wondering what I have been up to although I have to wonder, is anyone still even here?  LOL!!!!  If you are, PLEASE leave me a comment and say hello so I can reconnect with my blogging friends.  I would love to see what you all have been up to. 
 

So let me catch you all up on what's been going on with me this past year.  I believe we left off with me kicking off my Origami Owl® business and trying to balance working from home and raising my two beautiful babies.  As you can see by the lacking of blogging, that pretty much took up all of my time and then some.  Something had to give and unfortunately it was my blog.  I have to admit, it was actually a nice break.  The stress of NOT blogging was starting to get to me, it was just something always on the back of my mind.  Once I made the decision that I had to give it up while I focused on growing my business, I felt better about things and I was finally OK that I was no longer blogging.  Or was I?  LOL!  I actually was STILL blogging, but for the purposes of growing my business.  I started a very successful blog for my Origami Owl® business and put my heart, soul and blogging skills into that blog for the last year and a half.  It turned out to be an amazing tool for my team to refer too on popular Direct Sales topics, training and team updates.  It was also a place for potential new team members to find out more about my Origami Owl® business and my amazing team, the Hoot Mamas.  I began my Origami Owl® career in January 2013 and in that time, I grew a team of 325 amazing ladies and earned Top 2 sponsor in the nation.  I still can not even believe I achieved such an award and beyond humbled that so many awesome ladies decided to join me in my journey.  I am sure you can now understand why I have been so busy this last 18 months!!!! 
 
 
Even though a lot of  time was spent growing my new business, my primary focus has always been on my kids, Jillian age 4 and Nicholas age 2.  They are the main reason I left my Accounting career to become a Stay At Home Mom and they will always be my first priority.  I some how manage to train and help my team right along side being at home with my two babies.   Every day is a new challenge trying to find that balance, but we make it work and I wouldn't have it any other way. 
 
In a nutshell, that has pretty much been what's been going on with me in the last 18 months, my business and my babies.   I have a lot more to share with you all but will update you as we move forward in my next chapter of blogging.  We have so many plans this Fall and Winter of updating the house since we are finally out of the "baby stage" and can't wait to share my projects with all of you.  I also plan on continuing my usual blogging topics of home décor, recipes, latest obsession, our life and also plan on adding in a few posts about how to successfully run a Direct Sales business.  I know of so many fellow Moms and Bloggers that run Direct Sales businesses out of their homes and would love to share a few of my tips with you.  I am so excited to be back, I hope you are all doing amazing and can't wait to reconnect with the Blogging community again.   Thank you so much for stopping by!!!!
 
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