Saturday, January 30, 2016

Out and about.

Out and about
Last few busy weeks in Jan. 2016
Riley in the snow!

It is 7am on the last Saturday in Jan. 2016 and I cannot believe that we have completed a whole month already. All of those BIG plans I had entering into 2016...opps!
I was checking my To do list the other day and although many items are left un-marked I was certainly looking a a FAT 80% complete. Not so bad! I have just a few more items on that list (get paint for the dining room, order business cards & promote my business) that are doable over the next 48 hours....(I could although I am NOT choosing to re-start my diet and exercise program).

One of the many 2016's I have on my list is to work my Close to My Heart business. 

I have been (yes I lost it for about a month) a Close to My Heart Consultant for about 8-9 years now (I honestly cannot remember how long.)
I have never been one of those rising STARs or even had average sales, but I had always meet my quota, enjoyed the discounted items I obtained, the art work I created, and above all the friendships I had made.
My life would definitely have taken a different course if not for Close to My Heart, Some of my dearest friendships have developed as a result. I have been a part of people's lives..watched their families grow, shared in their joys and tears., I have been embraced as a sister (which I have none naturally) and cannot imagine my life without being a part of this organization and a member of my team. Hearts a Flutter.
With all that being said, I have also changed over these last 8-9 years. I have lost many of my few creative customers, I have lost my OWN ambition to seek out others to replace them, and have spent the last 2-3 years maintaining my Consultant status solely on a few sporadic orders from friends (perhaps they feel sorry for me) and from purchases I myself have made.
I have maintained this simply to prolong the enjoyment I have found from being a part of these women's lives.
My little social club has become quite an expensive  (Although worth every single penny.)
As 2015 was coming to an end and I was still several hundred dollars outside of my consultant quota...I had some choices to make. Either I step up my game and give this business a real RUN or I bow out gracefully having LOVED every moment of it.
Me and choices are awful. I hemed and hawed this over for quite some time. Until I finally decided that I needed to make one last go of it.
I have decided to make 2016 my LAST go of it. I have not thrown myself onto the flames, I have tried that in the past and realize that when I go FULL THROTTLE...I get discouraged when I do not see immediate results. (sounds like everything I take on in my life.). So I am taking it slow...
I have decided,,,,,,

1. I can no longer make purchase based upon what I like. (I have nearly 9 years of items "I like" sitting in my craft room taking up space.)
2. I have to treat this as a is after all!!! If this was being treated as such....I WOULD HAVE TO FIRE MYSELF!!!  Business means  dedication, commitment and MOST IMPORTANTLY (this is where I almost always FAIL....)FOLLOW THROUGH.
3. Business's have a PLAN!!!! I do not even have Business CARDS!!! (Yep! nearly 9 years and NO business cards, I am thinking I have NEVER been to serious about this, what do you think?)
 4. Business's have a Schedule's, timeline/DEADLINES and STICK to it! ( I have to be reminded when or if it is the end of a CTMH quarter.)
5. Business's take sacrifice...RISKs...(Ultimately I have to step outside my comfort zone and invite people in. 99% of my past customers have been my friends, not once have I approached a stranger let alone an acquaintance about my business. Worse then that of those 99% who have shown an interest I have DROPPED THE BALL!!!!

I know a ton of people!!!! I know I am NOT shy!!!! I know I LOVE CLOSE TO MY HEART!!! I just don't know WHY I cannot get this business up and ROCKING!!!!

Quick insert of my Last Weekend Hearts a Flutter team meeting!!! These gals and the product is what keeps me going!!!!

With all this being said I am moving forward. SLOW but steady,...I have been pretty good so far. I have committed to addressing a few items on my list per month,

...start a Club. (I start my very first Scrapbooking club on Feb. 7th. (I only have 3 girls...but its a start and I have one more potential.)
...Let people KNOW what I do!!! I hold my very first "Make and Take" at my real job on Feb. 3d.
...GET BUSINESS CARDS!!! (I am ordering today as soon as I get off this blog.)
...Schedule time. Right now I have booked out committed times for Hostess Parties. (They are currently empty...but I am HOPEFUL.
...Make purchases with an intent to INSPIRE and TEACH!!! (I did buy the Regatta Workshop your way because I LOVED it!!! But If I can get my you know what together I might be able to present it as a workshop!!! I also purchased items for Parties, my club and the Make n Takes.

This is the Regatta workshop your way!!!

....Get prepared. Idea books, what I am going to present, layouts, order forms, PREP WORK done!!
( I was done with my first Club layouts sometime last month.)
 I may have already shown these.
 ....Follow up with leads. (this is the one I struggle with and what has usually stumped me...I don't follow through, People will say they are interested, or even might look at a book, some will even say I would love to do this or I have thought about doing this,,,and I have left the hook in the water!!! NO REELING!!!) .....I am sure this has to be some sort of self worth issue but I refuse to Freud myself right now.
I have made a dent in these and Along with re-starting my diet/exercise program on Feb 1st. I am also going to start 100 days of Close to My Heart. What that will include is that I have committed to doing SOMETHING related to Close to My Heart everyday for the next 100 days!!!! It can be a call to a potential customer, design a card workshop, prepare flyers, post on facebook, cut papers...order for the following month...etc. But I am committing to at least one thing CTMH each day for the next 100 days!!! I am hoping that this will make me follow through!!!!!!

 (Studio J which is CTMH's digital scrapbooking will be ending April 31st...I AM SUPER BUMBED)

... Friday evening I was overjoyed to meet up with Doreen and Renee and head out for a meal and shopping. I have not spent time with Doreen in FOREVER!! It was a pleasant reunion.
We had a nice meal at Stella's and then went shopping at Shoppingtown Mall. (which was the local mall when I was a kid...)It is so empty now. What is with all these malls? They seem to be disappearing out of existence. I honestly have no theories. Anyone else?....I purchased a silly hat and mittens for myself on sale.
We had a silly time all evening. Great fun!
 On the way home Renee and I saw this very strange glow in the sky....Creepy.

Saturday Tammy called and informed me of a BIG sale at the Thrifty Shopper. (I know how cheep can you get??? BUT I love it..) Tammy found a silly hat to be silly with me!!!
Sunday I watched GREASE LIVE... here is the link

Loved it but not nearly as much as the original....

I know this was not about my TRIP taking, but along with all this other stuff....It looks as if Feb. will be packed FULL of mini vacations and trip taking!!!!
SCRAPPING SLEEPOVER....CANADA.....MARDI GRAS WINE TOUR....ABBA TRIBUTE BAND.... ( and I am sure there will be more) Below I took this shot from my phone heading into work the other day....I thought the sky was simply amazing!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cascades indoor Water Park, ski dreams at Greek Peak and the best day for seeing Animals at the zoo!

Cascades and  Hope  Lodge,
Cortland NY
Greek Peak
Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Syracuse, NY
Saturday Jan. 15, 2016
Cascades indoor Water Park

Saturday, Kelly and I planned an all day adventure for the boys. We had discussed a few different options and decided upon the indoor water park in Cortland NY. This indoor water park and resort is just moment from Greek Peak Ski center. It has been years since I have skied, but wouldn't it be an amazing vacation to be at the lodge and skiing all day and water park all night. I am making my long bucket list and skiing at least one more time has got to be on that list.
link to website  cascades

We had discussed potentially booking a room for the night but there was a two night limit. Instead we decided to get day passes for the boys while we watched them enjoy themselves. Passes both access and spectators were NOT cheep. (Just an makes more sense to stay as it is included in the stay price.) To bad so sad...what is done is done. Cortland is about an hour drive from my house and as I was picking up Kelly another 15 or so minutes to get to the park. I left my house at 8:15 got Gavin and I some NOT so needed breakfast at Burger King and meet Kelly in Elbridge, The four of us then made our way on the back roads up into the mountains...then down into the valley..then up into the mountains again...until we finally arrived at Hope Lodge.

I am so regretting that we didn't stay for at least one night isn't this just beautiful????
We entered the water park area and we one of the first to enter the park. We quickly found a nice spot to spend our retreat day and relaxation while the boys changed and headed in to the wave pool. (It was so humid in the park and so cold outside my camera was fogged over for the longest time. These pictures are from my camera phone. )
The wave pool seemed to be the favorite attraction.

After some time in the wave pool the boys hit up the water slides. They didn't slide to much as two of the four slides had a weight restriction and they exceeded it. (That seems strange.)

There were some more fun water games like this water soaker
and when the bucket dumps the water falls from the roof.

I took tons of pictures from away across the room where our dry seats were located..the telephoto lenses is not so bad....before he noticed and waved.

Both the boys were thrilled that they were old enough to go into the hot tub. (I wish we had paid to play when we saw these babies....that would have been nice.) The cool thing about this hot tub is you can get to outside....

Matt takes his wade into the hot tub.
and here the boys are outside in the hot tub. Very cool.
After a few hours of playing the boys decided they were ready for some lunch..They were actually ready to head home, but we had hoped after some lunch they would want to return to the water. (They didn't.)
As I had said we hoped they would have returned to the water after lunch or we would have found a cheep meal on the road somewhere....Instead we had lunch in the lodge. (It was AlSO NOT CHEEP
I paid $40- for chicken tenders, a pepsi and a burger fries plate.  With taxes and a resort fee,.....wth!!!
If we hadn't had lunch however we may have missed this beautiful lodge.

(I need to have some lessons on how to take a picture with my camera or I need a new one...) Look at this mess.

We even got to see a room...Nice hun

After a tour of the lodge we made our way back to the water park and the boys both agreed they were done and ready to head home. (A very expensive short day....) Well what were we gonna do...make them swim and had fun in the water?
Instead we packed ourselves up and headed out towards the ski area. Gavin took pictures as we did a drive by.

This a view from the resort to the ski areas.

I had wanted to get a picture of Gavin and Matt sitting in the ski lift, but it was wet and Matt only had flip flops on....What was he thinking
Going up.

Gavin enjoyed taking random pictures.

Heading back towards Syracuse was much faster then the back roads we had came in on. Once we hit Route 81 is was a straight shot on the high way. It was still fairly early in the day and I asked if the crew was interested in stopping at the Syracuse Zoo, It was a unanimous YES. The zoo offers a free admission during some of  the winter months for anyone who has a camera with them for the photo contest. (It cannot be a cell phone.)
We paid $4- for all of us to enter. (Sort of makes up for the costly lunch). It had to be the best $4- spent. The animals were at their most I have ever seen them. (Of course my camera's battery died shortly after we got in.) I AM SO READY TO RID THIS CAMERA!!! I miss my old one!!!

I did manage to get a few pictures before the camera died....I so wished I had my old camera because there were some AMAZING opportunities for some serious animal sightings.

Have you ever seen anything like this? Its a fish, but it looks like it crawls ..
Here is a better one where it looks like it is crawling. 
The monkeys were out and about...(the rest of the pictures are from my phone.)
As way the lion.
He was a little sleepy.

But took some time out to stare down this young man.
This little guy looked right at me...Hi ya.
The monkeys were enjoying a little late day lounge,.
These birds are new to me. I never recall seeing them at this zoo, They were very pretty.
These birds are at home in the winter weather.
The wolves were a first. I have been coming to the Syracuse Zoo since I was a kid myself and you can almost NEVER get a sighting of the WOLVES. They are almost always hiding up in the tree areas and are never this close to the viewing station.

There were three of them in total and they were enjoying a deer. Perhaps they were only around as their meal was being added to their enclosure, but they were sure neat to see this close.
Of course the boys had to pose on the Tiger. (I have pictures of Gavin as a baby on the back of this guy.)
The tigers were not as front and center as the wolves and some of the other animals. (Sometimes they are right at the glass) They were easily visual but we noticed that there were two tigers and they were in separate enclosures. No one was around to tell us why.
This lynx was enjoying a late snack. This was the first time she (or he) has ever been out since I have been visiting, I also never seem to see this fox who was smiling at us as we passed.
 Both the coyotes were also easily sighted. (Another animal that we almost never see.)
 This one even looked up at us.
 We did not expect to see any of the Elephants, but one was braving the outdoor cold. His family was viewed through the windows of their new indoor enclosure.
 I fell in love with these guys who are NEVER out when I visit. These red panda's simply stole the show, They were so cute I wanted to take one home with me.

I must have taken like 30 pictures of these guys, They were so active too. They climbed the wood planks and the trees, it was almost as if they were waiting for a picture to be taken of them.
 We all held our breath as this one walked out on this little tree limb. He eventually took a face plant into the wooden planks below. I was just fearful he would fall.
Wow....It was getting a bit colder and none of us had planned to be outside. Matt was still in his flip flops. We saw the bear...who was not so cooperative in allowing his picture to be taken.
 then said good bye to these silly ducks that should have so flown south months ago.
Our day complete we headed home. Kelly and Matt stayed the night and we had Pizza at Avcolli's for dinner. Gavin got a new friend too.....
Meet Philip the newest addition to the Beale brood.

Snow hit us all pretty hard on Sunday....Monday and Tuesday....I am so ready to get back to normal.