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Monday, June 27, 2011

Ebeanstalk -- Your One Stop Shop for Educational Toys and Gifts for Children Ages 0 - 12 Years Old


If you are like me, I am always on the lookout for great educational products and companies when it comes to purchasing toys for my child and as gifts.  I would rather pay extra for a toy that I know will benefit and help a child with their learning   That being said, I recently had to purchase a toy for a friend's son's upcoming 3rd birthday, and I knew just where to go to get it -- Ebeanstalk.  If you are unfamiliar with Ebeanstalk and their products, you must time a few minutes to check out their website and offering.  You will be amazed at the assortment of products for children ages 0-12.  The website is easy to navigate and has toys and products searchable depending on a child's age range and gender.  How great is that.  No more searching through hundreds of products and descriptions just to find a toy that is age appropriate for your little one.  Ebeanstalk takes the guessing out of the product and provides you with a detailed description, including how each toy will benefit your child's developmental growth.   Just look at some of the top selling gifts for 3 year olds at Ebeanstalk:






Like I said, I recently stopped by the Ebeanstalk website as I had to pick up a gift for a friend's 3 year old son.  There were so many great products to choose from, including Arts and Crafts from Alex, as well as other educational toys from Melissa and Doug and other popular toy brands.  I ended up picking up the My Crafty Cars kit by Alex, as my friend's son is crazy about cars.  I thought this would be a great rainy day project to work on, and great Daddy and Me bonding time.  I can't wait to see what he thinks of his gift.  Stay tuned for an update in the coming weeks.

So, if your child or a child's friend has an upcoming birthday, why not head on over to Ebeanstalk today and pick up a gift today.  Good luck in picking just one toy.  I end up getting a few, as it is so hard to decide between such great educational toys.  With my daughter's first birthday coming up in a few weeks, you know where I will be doing my gift/toy shopping -- Ebeanstalk!

Disclosure:  I was compensated by Ebeanstalk for my post.  However, the views above are mine and mine alone.
Read more »

Ebeanstalk -- Your One Stop Shop for Educational Toys and Gifts for Children Ages 0 - 12 Years Old


If you are like me, I am always on the lookout for great educational products and companies when it comes to purchasing toys for my child and as gifts.  I would rather pay extra for a toy that I know will benefit and help a child with their learning   That being said, I recently had to purchase a toy for a friend's son's upcoming 3rd birthday, and I knew just where to go to get it -- Ebeanstalk.  If you are unfamiliar with Ebeanstalk and their products, you must time a few minutes to check out their website and offering.  You will be amazed at the assortment of products for children ages 0-12.  The website is easy to navigate and has toys and products searchable depending on a child's age range and gender.  How great is that.  No more searching through hundreds of products and descriptions just to find a toy that is age appropriate for your little one.  Ebeanstalk takes the guessing out of the product and provides you with a detailed description, including how each toy will benefit your child's developmental growth.   Just look at some of the top selling gifts for 3 year olds at Ebeanstalk:





Like I said, I recently stopped by the Ebeanstalk website as I had to pick up a gift for a friend's 3 year old son.  There were so many great products to choose from, including Arts and Crafts from Alex, as well as other educational toys from Melissa and Doug and other popular toy brands.  I ended up picking up the My Crafty Cars kit by Alex, as my friend's son is crazy about cars.  I thought this would be a great rainy day project to work on, and great Daddy and Me bonding time.  I can't wait to see what he thinks of his gift.  Stay tuned for an update in the coming weeks.

So, if your child or a child's friend has an upcoming birthday, why not head on over to Ebeanstalk today and pick up a gift today.  Good luck in picking just one toy.  I end up getting a few, as it is so hard to decide between such great educational toys.  With my daughter's first birthday coming up in a few weeks, you know where I will be doing my gift/toy shopping -- Ebeanstalk!

Disclosure:  I was compensated by Ebeanstalk for my post.  However, the views above are mine and mine alone.
Read more »

Spotlight on Mommy -- Mariette of My Dandelion Garden




Our second Spotlight Mom this week is Mariette of My Dandelion Garden.  I stumbled across her Etsy site with the same name and had to feature her.  She is a very busy mom, with 7 children, whom she all homeschooled, all while running a daycare and now her Etsy shop.  Just listening to her story and seeing her run successful businesses, it would get any mom entrepreneur or mother who is on the fence regarding starting a new business or working from home, a boost of confidence that it can be done.  Enjoy my interview with Mariette.


Name:  Mariette
Company Name/Product/Service: I have an Etsy account under My Dandelion Garden, as well as a family home child care under My Dandelion Garden Playschool
Company Location:  Olympia Washington
Company Website:  www.MyDandelionGarden.webs.com
Age of Company:  Etsy, 1 year and child care 22 years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: If it seems imposable, it is best to read the instructions.
Favorite Book:  Tthe encyclopedia of country living"


Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc. 

I am 43 year old mom. Best sum's me up. I met my husband when I was 15, Married him when I was 18 We had 7 children. Ages now 7, 10, 12, 13, 18, 21, and 23.   This May, I will be a grandma for the first time, and again in June. I was Widowed after 24 years, March of 2009.  I love sewing, gardening, my cats and chickens, my daycare, but most of all, I love my kids.

Briefly explain your business. 

My daycare was thought about just after my first daughter was born. In Washington it requires a license and alot of work. So I had my secound daughter and opened when she was 1. My love how my child care and my life have changed over the last 22 years. I started my Baby toys as an outlet to my love for sewing toys

How did it come about?

I have made most of my child care toys and though my children loved. Not to long ago I had a "tour of Homes" other day cares come and look around your space and you get to look around theirs. Many wanted me to make dolls and play food and many other things that for about 6 months I was working from 6 to 8 at daycare as well as sewing when I could catch a minute and from 8 to 10 or 11 at just sewing. Then my mom mentioned Etsy and I fell in love. Now I can sew Just what I want, when I want, and when I can. If someone wants something they can pick from what is already available.

What is a typical work day like?


At 6 to 7 am, children are dropped off and we all have to ready for our day. Many diapers, lots of cups of Juice, and many wonderful crafts. I get NAP TIME.. :) Then the school bus drops off and home work for 6 to 8 kids, and feeding 9 small children dinner. Then after pick up, I cut and sew with the sewing machine , so that the next time I get a chance to sit still I can stuff and hand sew. And there is the, I'm a single mom now. I have a lot of respect for my FIRST job.


What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 

Time. There is never enough time to get everything done. Or to get some of the ideas that are in my head, out onto paper. I would love to not have to sleep.

What did you do in your past work life?

I was a clerk typist 2 before kids started coming. I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher and thought this is just as important. In 2000 I had 4 stokes with my 10 year old daughter and she was born at 32 weeks and I find little thing just a little harder.

What have been some of your major successes? 

Seven beautiful home schooled children. Two grandchildren coming this Spring to daughters that were married first. 24 great years with my husband, Opening my child care. Period. That alone, is amazing to me. Being licensed in Washington for 21 years, finding the strangth to say good bye to my husband, and at being a good mom. I am sure thats not what you were expecting. But that is what I am proud of most. The rest is just how I enjoy my life. It's my fun.


What have been some of your major challenges? 

Same as most women I am sure. But mostly, knowing I was loosing my husband and then latter dealing with that and the 5 children I still have at home. The extra work it takes me to remember simple things. How long everyday things take as I get side tracked so easily now.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going? 

Life! The things that some people are to busy to notice. I realized that the sky begs to be looked at, Chickens love to feed on the weeds from my garden. Just watching them. Watching a baby just learning to walk. The little bow legged walk they have. I remember just hafter I got home from my stroke, feeling like there was just to much noise, to many "things", too much movement going on around me. People need to slow down and enjoy life and forget the big house and fancy car.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family? 

Making family always first. No matter what, they will come first. When everything comes in second, then the choice is already made for you, you know were to put your time.

What is next for your business? 

I see nothing much changing about either one, anytime soon. But life evolves.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 

Do only what feels right.  If your doing your best, then that is all you can expect of your self. Hang on for dear life and make the best choices you can. Don't let it kill you if it's not working like you had hoped.
Read more »

Spotlight on Mommy -- Maya Brenner of Maya Brenner Designs (Plus Giveaway)


I am excited to share my interview with Maya Brenner with you all this week.  After learning about her beautiful jewelry line, I had to interview her for my Spotlight on Mommy section.  Maya creates

Just check out all the buzz and press Maya has had, as well as all the top celebrities who love and wear her products.

"Maya Brenner Designs is both simple and classic, bold and modern. The collection is sold at finer boutiques nationally and in the UK and Japan with major retail clients including Henri Bendel, Fred Segal, Calypso, and Anthropologie. Maya’s jewelry has also been featured in InStyle, Lucky, People, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times "Style" section, Glamour, Women’s Wear Daily, Ladies" Home Journal, Life & Style, Daily Candy, and US Weekly. Articles written about her career have been posted on CNN.com and About.com, and Maya herself has appeared on “Good Day Live’s” Style File and the DIY network."

Just look at some of the beautiful pieces she offers through her online store.






Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post, for your chance to win your very own Maya Brenner piece.  Maya has graciously offered to give one lucky Inspired by Savannah reader a state necklace (winner chooses State of their choice).


And, now on to my interview with Maya. 



Name: Maya Brenner
Company Name/Product/Service: Maya Brenner Designs
Company Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
Company Website: www.mayabrenner.com  
Facebook URL: http://wwww.facebook.com/MayaBrennerDesigns
Twitter Handle: @MayaBDesigns
Age of Company:  Since 1998
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: “If you hesitate fully before each step, you spend your life
standing on one foot”
Favorite Book: Catcher in the Rye
    
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How many children do you have? What are their ages?
Your hobbies? Etc.
 

I am married to a reality TV executive producer.  We have 2 children; Jack age 7 and Sadie Love is 4.  My hobby was jewelry making and now it’s my career!   

Briefly explain your business. How did it come about?

I was a social worker in NYC, working with drug-addicted adolescents and started making jewelry at night to calm my nerves. I wore the necklaces and started getting stopped in the street with people asking to buy them and a business was born! Within a year I quit my full-time job and launched MBD.
 
What is a typical work day like?

Since, I run my own business, I’m always  “half working” while taking care of my other responsibilities (kids, house, husband, dog).  My offices are in downtown Los Angeles but I try to work from home as much as possible or even in my car!  I spend a lot of time on my phone, answering emails etc…
 
What has been a struggle while starting up your company?

Doing everything myself…making the jewelry, selling the jewelry, marketing it, shipping the orders  etc…That was all hard. But when things got too busy for one person, and especially after having children, I had to hand over most of the responsibilities to other people, which was even more difficult.
 
What did you do in your past work life? 

As I mentioned above I went to graduate school to become a Social Worker and worked with drug-addicted adolescents for 5 years in NYC.  While in school, I waitressed and was even a bathroom attendant at Planet Hollywood.
 
What have been some of your major successes?

After quitting my full-time job, I was able to get a trunk show at Henri Bendel’s. That same week I was written up in the “NY Times Sundays Style” section. I was also selected by Nissan to appear in a commercial.

My most recent success has being featured on the Today Show and selling 25,000 necklaces in one day!
 
What have been some of your major challenges?

Riding out the difficult economic times and making the decision to pull most of my wholesale accounts to focus on selling retail on my website was a challenge.  Luckily it’s been amazing and sales are through the roof!
 
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

Seeing how people respond to my designs — especially the State necklaces — and the excitement of expanding the line to now include necklaces in the shape of countries, continents and provinces.
 
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

I’m not sure I’ve gotten in right yet!  I try to explain to my kids that even though I’m home with them that I might need to check an email or make a phone call and my office knows not to call me during dinner time. But it’s a constant work in progress.   

What is next for your business?

I’m really excited to launch a brand new website within the next month.  It will have whole new look and feel as well as tons of new products!  But right now, I’m trying to master Twitter to engage with customers and promote my business in a new way.   

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling,
or are on the fence about starting a business?

If you’re passionate about your idea or business then you will love running your own company.

Along the way you will most likely find yourself to be tired, annoyed, defeated and overwhelmed…but it will be fantastic!!!


----GIVEAWAY---



One lucky Inspired by Savannah reader will win their very own best selling State necklace.  The winner will get to choose the state of their choice, and the final piece will be made out of sterling silver!!!!

To enter, please become a fan and "Like" Maya Brenner on Facebook.  Leave a comment on her wall, letting her know Inspired by Savannah sent you, as well as the link to giveaway.  When you have become friends, head back to my blog and leave a comment below letting me know, along with your email address. 

For an extra entry, head on over to Maya's website and let me know which piece you absolutely love.  Include a link with your comment. 

The contest will run until 11:59PM EST on July 18, 2011.  After that, I will use Random.org to draw a winner.

It is that easy! Don't forget to tell your friends to enter, as this would make a great addition to your jewelry collection or a nice gift.
Read more »

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tech Talk -- Great App for Kids -- Heidi Part 2 for the iPad and iPhone (Includes Giveaway)


A few weeks ago I shared with you a new app available for the iPhone and iPad -- Heidi.  If you missed my post, click here to read it now.  Today, I am happy to announce that Part II in this three-part app series has been released.  Having used Heidi, Part I for the past few weeks, I have to say this is one of my favorite iPad audio book apps.  I enjoy having the option of reading it to Savannah myself, or choosing the read-along version, and simply enjoying the story with her.  The second part in this series follows suit, and will amaze you with the beautiful illustrations and story.  It will definitely become a family favorite in your household, as it has in mine.

Here is a little bit more information on Heidi, Part II:

In this second of three sequels, Heidi is taken to Frankfurt by her Aunt Dete, to be the companion of the wheelchair bound Klara, who's mother has died some time ago.  There, everything starts to get topsy-turvy after Heidi's arrival ...

This bilingual interactive picture-audio book with wonderful illustrations by Diana Kizlauskas will delight your children.  Over 130 years ago, the Swiss author, Johanna Spyri, wrote about Heidi.  Nobody then would have thought that Heidi would become so famous.

Features:

  • Professional narration in English and German
  • Choose between "Read to Me" and "I Want to Read Myself"
  • Touch the person to make them speak (in the German version, have the Swiss people speak in Swiss dialect or German)
  • Touch animals and objects to them make sounds

JustKidsApps is a member of Moms with Apps, a collaborative group of family-friendly developers seeking to promote quality apps for kids and families.

Recommended Ages: 4-7, 8-10
Categories: Books, Classics


Here is a sneak peek at Heidi, Part II -- You can see for yourself how great this app for kids really is!!!


---BUY NOW---

Click here to buy the iPhone App of Heidi, Part II for only $.99.
Click here to buy the iPad App of Heidi, Part II for only $1.99.

Act now, as these prices are only valid until June 30th.  After that, the prices will raise it $3.99 for the iPad app and $2.99 for the iPhone app.

Part I will be available for $0.99 (iPad and iPhone version) during that time -- so, if you haven't purchased this part in the series, get it at this amazingly cheap price.

---GIVEAWAY---

The first 3 people to email me with the subject line, Heidi, Part II, will receive a FREE code to download this great app.


Don't forget to become JustKidsApps fans on Facebook  and Twitter to keep up to date about the progress and release of Part III.

Disclosure:  I was compensated for my time in writing and sharing this review.  The views above, however, are mine and mine alone.
Read more »

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Cena Block of Sane Spaces, LLC


CLOSED.  NO WINNER.


This week's Spotlight Mommy is Cena Block of Sane Spaces, LLC, an organizing & productivity consulting company.  Who doesn't need a little a help organizing their lives and spaces?  After having my daughter and starting my own business at home, I found that my time is limited when it comes to cleaning and keeping the house organized.  At times it gets so crazy that I wonder where the time has gone, when I look at the clock an it is already 6:00PM, and I have only completed half of my daily to-do list.

But, with the help of Cena and her Get Organized To Keep Your Family Sane" e-book and audio, I can breathe a little easier, as she offers tips and advice to get and stay organized, all while keeping myself and my family sane.  If organizing is hard for you, you definitely have to check out Cena's website and the services and e-books she has to offer.  Another e-book that I will be checking out is Time To Toss It!  Ebook - A guide to getting rid of those long-kept items!  If you’re ready to purge those cabinets, get this e-book! This contains advice and parameters to clean those  cabinets, collections and long-kept items. Inside you’ll find parameters on everything in your home from beauty products, to kitchen supplies and when you should toss items throughout your home. There is a special segment on purging your paper files and how long records should be retained. When you’re ready to purge – start here!

Isn't it time to get your life and family in order and stay organized?  What are you waiting for, head on over to Sane Spaces today to get started.  It is that easy!


One lucky Inspired by Savannah reader will win a copy of Cena's "Get Organized To Keep Your Family Sane" e-book and audio.  This e-book and the accompanying weekly audio tips provide nearly 6 months of weekly organizing ideas to implement for your home and family. Whether you have a slew of children, or are kid-free, these tips are modeled after “best practices” that work with real families.Each week, you’ll receive an audio tip in your email to help motivate you to implement that week’s organizing project. These simple actions will help you stay focused to remedy your spaces and systems in your home. When your spaces and systems are working, more consistent behaviors and habits naturally emerge that will keep your family organized.  To enter, please leave a comment below about an organizational skill that has worked for you, or if you have one area in your life that needs organizing, what is it?  Make sure to leave your email address with your comment, so that I can contact you if you win. This giveaway will end on 7/5, and I will use random.org to draw a winner.

And, now on to my interview with Cena of Sane Spaces, LLC.  Enjoy!


Name: Cena Block
Company Name/Product/Service: Sane Spaces, LLC - Organizing & Productivity Consulting
Company Location: Milford, PA
Company Website: http://www.sanespaces.com
Facebook URL:  http://www.facebook.com/sanespaces
Twitter Handle: @sanespaces
Age of Company: 3 Years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:  "Insanity means doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!"
Favorite Book:  Too many to list!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

 I have two boys 15 and 11. I am a singer, and love exercising, and anything outdoors. I love scrapping and card making - as well as interior decor and cooking.


Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

I have a background in training and performance management but left the corporate world to stay home with my kids. After about a 4 year hiatus from corporate, I wanted to find a way to bring my skills and background together in a life that worked to support my children and my husband. I did a skills and strengths inventory, did a lot of soul searching and decided that professional organizing brought together my skills in a very client-focused, transformational way. Sane Spaces was a conglomeration of both training, education, seminars and either group coaching or one on one support.  I offer training workshops and tele-seminars and work as a coach with professional moms and small businesses to increase their productivity and life balance.

What is a typical work day like? 

My days vary by client need and schedule. Sometimes I'm training, other times I'm developing new materials, other days I'm coaching and many days I'm planning and working on the marketing ends of my business.


What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  

 Truly defining what my business is and who I ideally want to work with.

What did you do in your past work life?

 I managed a team of training professionals focused on management and employee training within the Telecommunications industry.

What have been some of your major successes?

Feeling as though I am putting my well-earned background, strengths and skills to work to help others transform their lives.

What have been some of your major challenges?

Figuring out a way to build a profitable business while working 25-30 hour weeks! Learning how to run my own business and figuring out who I really want to work with and serve.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

The fact that I am home with my kids (when not working with clients) at the times they are home and that I can attend and remain very active in their day to day lives motivates me to keep going!


What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

Carving out time, space, and clear goals helps me be successful. Learning to say no has helped as well!


What is next for your business?

I began offering "Clarity Camp" Starting in April - It is intended to help professional moms who have either taken time off, or who are currently working (yet not happy) - get grounded and focused again. It is a conglomeration of working with core values, individual motivators, and job satisfaction, and learning some cool productivity techniques and tricks that will instantly make people feel empowered and more effective.


Are you stressed, overworked and spent? Are you ready to figure out the best way to re-engage and feel more in control of your self, your work, and your life?

Running a family and working during this global age means managing every aspect of your life. For today’s Mom, there is more to juggle now than ever before. Regain your peace-of-mind, a clear view of your life goals, and a better methodology for keeping stress away by attending my 8-week teleconference/coaching workshop, Clarity Camp. Sessions are weekly for four weeks, giving you time between sessions to put goals in action. The last two sessions are Coaching Calls to check in on your progress against those goals.
http://sanespaces.com/sane-spaces-clarity-camp/

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?  

JOIN CLARITY CAMP to get focused or sign up for a 1-on-1 coaching package with Cena!! http://sanespaces.com/how-i-can-help/coaching/
Read more »

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Jessica Lacy of Lacy Metals, Custom Sterling Silver Baby Spoons



I have been waiting to share this Spotlight Mommy with you all.  After stumbling across her website, I just fell in love with her custom sterling silver baby spoons.  I had never seen this product before and thought what a great baby shower gift or gift for a new mom. If you are looking for a unique gift to give a new mom, you definitely have to visit Jessica's website and see the beautiful work she does.  And, as a special gift for Inspired by Savannah  readers, Jessica is offering a 10% coupon code to use at checkout.  Simply enter coupon code, "mama" at checkout to receive this discount (for a limited time only, so act now!). 
Please note that all spoons are custom made with the baby’s name as the handle. They take 4-6 weeks to complete, and come in a beautifully wrapped gift box.  You will surely be the hit at the next baby shower with this gift.



And, now on to my interview with Jessica Lacy of Lacy Metals.  Enjoy!





Name: Jessica Lacy

Company Name/Product/Service: Lacy Metals ~ Custom Sterling Silver Baby Spoons

Company Location: Phoenix, AZ

Company Website: www.lacymetals.com

Age of Company: 10 years…wow!

Favorite Inspirational Quotes: "We thought that if we lasted for two to three years that would be fantastic." ~ Ringo Starr


Favorite Book: The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham



Tell us a little bit about yourself. How many children do you have? What are their ages? Your
hobbies? Etc.

I have one son, Jude Alexander, who is two and one husband, Dylan, who is fantastic. I love films, reading, writing, yoga, dancing and learning how to do new things. (Someday, I will learn to do magic!)

Briefly explain your business. How did it come about?

While teaching Jewelry Making to adults at the Mesa Arts Center, the director asked me to make a gift for an employee who’d just had a baby. I made a little spoon which said “mac” (Mesa Arts Center) and gave it to her. She opened the box and began to cry. She said it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen and immediately ordered one for her friend who was also about to deliver. The next thing I knew, I had a business to run.

What is a typical work day like?

I do almost all Lacy Metals work on the weekends, as I am a full-time teacher. So, usually on a Sunday, I just slip into my Silversmithing mode and prepare to work. I know that, because I make almost everything by hand, I will probably be sewing bags, writing gift cards or packaging up orders as well as making the spoons, so I try to do the messy stuff last. I always feel so accomplished after those days, like I have created my gift for this world.


What has been a struggle while starting up your company?

Managing a full-time job, a new child and graduate school all while trying to keep my business successful was quite a challenge at times, but thanks to me wonderful husband, I managed to do it all!

What did you do in your past work life?

I was a teacher. I taught jewelry classes to adults and I taught art to children. I was in three or four places a day, teaching different subjects at each location. I am really good at multitasking!!

What have been some of your major successes?

Absolutely my customer testimonials ~ what a great reward, selling my 1000th baby spoon, my beautiful son, Jude and my Master of Arts in Education.

What have been some of your major challenges?

The price of Sterling has skyrocketed, that has been a real challenge because I really did not want to raise my prices. I pride my company on bringing hand-made gifts to customers at a fair price, but unfortunately I had to raise them in 2010.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

My husband and my mother, they just tell me to keep going, me that I am doing great and things are going to be fine.


What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

I never get mad or take out frustrations on anyone else. I am always grateful for help.


What is next for your business?

Forks and Knives, someone just placed an order yesterday!

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?

Yes, this is your chance to make a difference in the world, to make your mark in our culture and to show your children that it is possible to catch their own dreams. The first time I advertised in Martha Stewart, I was at the bookstore searching for the issue, and a young man asked me what I was looking for. When I told him about my ad, he said, ‘wow, are you famous’. Smiling, I said, “No, I’m not.” Then I realized, it is not fame that I seek but eternalness, the idea that 1000 years from now, someone will look at an old silver spoon and wonder who made it; who was Lacy Metals?
Read more »

Spotlight on Mommy -- Carol Sankar of Carol Sankar Enterprises

This week's Spotlight Mommy is Carol Sankar of Carol Sankar Enterprises.  Being a new mom entrepreneur myself, it was great to learn about and interview Carol Sankar.  If you are contemplating becoming a work-at-home mom or thinking about starting your on business, you need to check out Carol's website and book.  You provides a lot of useful and helpful information.  And, now on to my interview with Carol.  Enjoy!





Name:  Carol Sankar
Company Name/Product/Service: Carol Sankar Enterprises     
Company Website:  www.CarolSankarEnterprises.com, www.CheersToYourSuccessBook.com,
Facebook URL: FaceBook.com/CarolSankar
Twitter Handle: @ CarolSankar
Age of Company:  2 yrs.
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: Success is a Journey not a Destination
Favorite Book: 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra



Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

I am an author, speaker, entrepreneur and business coach. I am the founder of Carol Sankar Enterprises headquartered in Charlotte, NC. I am a wife and busy mommy to my 6 year old son, Ryan Sankar.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

I am the founder of Carol Sankar Enterprises which specializes in helping people who are in the transition of leaving their 9-5 to explore entrepreneurship. I work with all sorts of visionaries who have the desire to start their own businesses but lack the effective tools and strategies to move forward. I started this company just under 2 years ago to help others remain inspired and to help them grow.


What is a typical work day like?

A typical day for me starts at approximately 7am after dropping off my son to school, I have 2 offices, however, I normally work from my home office during the weekday. I start the day by checking emails, going over my calendar to take a look at the day’s agenda, then I move onto responding to calls & emails. I typically receive 50-75 emails during the overnight hours and hundreds of media requests through the days that require my direct attention. A typical day for me ends around 5pm, which is mommy time. I am still on call with my ipad and phone at all times.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?

The struggle at first was defining my niche market. I have a desire to help everyone, but my target audience is the 25-45 year old aspiring entrepreneur.

What did you do in your past work life?

I was a Paralegal for over 8 years in various legal fields.

What have been some of your major successes?

Some of my major successes have been watching my company grow. In addition, I have written a few books and continue to receive opportunities to participate in quality events.

What have been some of your major challenges?

Some of my major challenges have been the ability to find quality and trustworthy individuals to help me run my business. I have encountered staff in the past who have attempted to join the company to leverage personal contacts, rather than work to build my brand.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

My belief that there are people who are stuck at job that is functioning below their potential and they need to break free.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

I make time for everyone. I make sure not to take calls on Sundays and I set clear business hours, although I am always mobile. It allows me to spend quality time with my family without compromising my business.

What is next for your business?

I am working on several projects which have been presented to me, including documentary features and teaching.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?

I will advise mom entrepreneurs to never give up. Starting a business is hard work but rewarding. Keep in mind the flexibility to spend more time with your family. I always give credit to entrepreneurship for enabling me to raise my son as a full time Mom while providing a better life for our family. You do not have to stay in ‘robotic’ syndrome, you can start a successful business today using the gifts and talents you already possess.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Book Blog Tour: My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren




Paperback, Fiction, 354 pages



About the book: 

Unknown to her tiny town of Deep Haven , Isadora Presley spends her nights as Miss Foolish Heart, the star host of a syndicated talk radio show. Millions tune in to hear her advice on dating and falling in love, unaware that she’s never really done either. Issy’s ratings soar when it seems she’s falling in love on-air with a caller. A caller she doesn’t realize lives right next door.

Caleb Knight served a tour of duty in Iraq and paid a steep price. The last thing he wants is pity, so he hides his disability and moves to Deep Haven to land his dream job as the high school football coach. When his beautiful neighbor catches his eye, in a moment of desperation he seeks advice from My Foolish Heart, the show that airs before his favorite sports broadcast. 

Before he knows it, Caleb finds himself drawn to the host—and more confused than ever. Is his perfect love the woman on the radio . . . or the one next door?



My Review:
I was excited to participate in this book tour as a tour stop for My Foolish Heart.  Having not read any of the other books in the Deep Haven series (this being the 4th), I didn't know what to expect.  When I received the book, I couldn't wait to begin reading, after seeing the inviting cover.  Having just finished up my children's book review for April and May, it was nice to return to reviewing and reading adult books.  This book is classified as an inspiration/Christian book, but after reading it, I would stay this book would be of interest to anyone who likes fiction.  Susan May Warren writes about two characters who are scarred emotionally and physically and how they deal with these issues.  I loved how Susan brought the reader in from the start and made you relate in some way to the characters and their flaws and personal struggles.  I found myself rooting for them from the start.  Everyone has their own insecurities, but it was nice to see how Susan played out these characters in her book. 

Overall, this was a quick and easy read.  I would definitely recommend this book for a summer beach read, or for those who have enjoyed the other books in the Deep Haven series.  I will be checking them out, as a result of reading and enjoying this book.

About Susan: 


Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia , Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota ’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder ofwww.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota , where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) 

A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:www.susanmaywarren.com.


Buy the book now at Amazon.




Win a Romantic Night on the Town from Miss Foolish Heart!

Susan May Warren is thrilled to announce the release of her latest Deep Haven book, My Foolish Heart!


To celebrate this charming novel about a dating expert who's never had a date, Susan has put together a romantic night on the town for one lucky couple. One grand prize winner will receive a Miss Foolish Heart prize package worth over $200!




The winner of the Romantic Night on the Town Prize Pack will receive:

* A $100 Visa Gift Card (For Dinner)

* A $100 Gift Certificate to a Hyatt/Marriott Hotel

* The entire Deep Haven series

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on June 16th. The winner will be announced that evening during Susan’s Miss Foolish Heart Party on Facebook! Susan will be chatting with guests, hosting a book club chat about My Foolish Heart, testing your Deep Haven trivia skills, and giving away tons of great stuff! (Gift certificates, books, donuts, and more!) Don't miss the fun and BRING YOUR FRIENDS! 


Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter


Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy of this book by the Litfuse Publicity Group in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book Review: The Medium Next Door: Adventures of a Real-Life Ghost Whisperer by Maureen Hancock

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 1 edition (April 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075731564X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757315640
  • Buy now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Summary:

At just five years old, Maureen Hancock discovered her ability to communicate with the dead. Descended from a long line of legendary Irish mystics, she was no stranger to the spiritual realm, but for fear of being misunderstood by her friends and family she kept the otherworldly messages to herself, eventually suppressing them completely.

Maureen wouldn't hear the spirits again until she was in a near-fatal car crash. Soon after, she had hundreds of voices in her head, many of which helped her crack cases and expose fraud in her role as a litigation paralegal at a large Boston law firm. Then, when tragedy struck on 9/11, Maureen was bombarded with messages from the spirit world. As each one made contact with her, she finally came to terms with her calling: to communicate with the deceased, assist the dying, search for missing children, and teach the living about life after death, all the while raising her children in her suburban home.

Maureen Hancock is literally is the Medium Next Door, and in this book and through her stories of her encounters with the other world as well as guided exercises at the conclusion of each chapter, she offers the same comfort and wisdom she shares in her healing encounters and lectures about what is out there waiting for all who are open to its mysteries. . . . 


My Review:

If you ever wondering what the life of Medium is like, you have to pick up this book, which follows Maureen Hancock from her childhood to adulthood, as she shares her psychic gift with her readers.  Not only is a personal memoir and account of her struggles with anxiety and depression as a result of her Medium abilities, but Maureen also offers useful tips to help cope with a lost one, to help you heal.

Usually, I don't read books like this, but I was curious to see what it was like to have psychic powers and how it meshes with a person's day to day life with family.  Overall, I have to say this was a very interesting read, and one that I enjoyed.  If you are skeptical about Mediums or just want to learn more, you should definitely pick up this book today.  It is a quick read and one that will help you connect with you own sensitive abilities.

About the Author:

Maureen has been a Reiki Master/Teacher for several years and studied Asian Bodywork and Chinese Medicine for 2 years at the Boston Shiatsu School & East West Institute of Alternative Medicine in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Trained by acupuncturists, Maureen applies the same theory and diagnosis, yet uses acupressure instead of needles, getting the same result…bringing the body back into balance by stimulating the body's own healing ability. Acupressure treats the symptoms and the underlying cause of health problems. Maureen has devised her own combination of techniques, which has people flocking from all over New England for profound healing and relaxation. She combines Shiatsu, Tui Na (Chinese acupressure), deep tissue massage, cranio sacral, Reiki, Reflexology and Tai stretches to her treatment which melt tension and brings the body back into balance.

Maureen also teaches stress management throughout New England for businesses, health organizations, professional athletes and public entities, combining her holistic training and stand-up comedy background. Maureen performed stand-up at the Comedy Connection, Nick's Comedy Stop, and Dick Doherty's in Boston, Massachusetts. "After all, laughter is the best medicine, and learning how to address the stress is key in today’s society," says Maureen.
After Maureen's car accident, she began to realize that her intuitive side was reawakened as she was hearing specific messages from passed loved ones for clients while performing healing work. Special healing messages from the departed loved ones of clients were validated and deep emotional healing was taking place. To see the smile return to the grieving loved one left behind was enough to make Maureen realize this gift needed to be shared and offered to those in need of messages of peace, and to help communicate that the continuity of life is real and our loved ones are not really "dead". Spirit communication is a delicate matter and messages are light and sometimes full of laughter. Maureen's extreme compassion shines a light on each and every client that walks through the door on the "Pathway to Healing."

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Maureen Howard of Baby Merlin Company (Plus Giveaway)

CLOSED.

And the winner is: Donna!





This week's Spotlight Mommy is Maureen Howard of Baby Merlin Company and inventor of the Magic Sleepsuit.  Just check out a few of the features and benefits of these amazing sleepsuits:
FEATURES
  • Soft, comfy microfleece outer layer
  • Cozy poly-fil layer for just enough warmth
  • Cuddly soft cotton inner layer next to baby's skin
  • Scooped neckline to help keep fabric away from baby's face
  • Double zipper for easy movement in/out of the suit and convenient diaper changes
  • Open hands to allow grasping and play
  • Open feet for ventilation and comfort
  • Multiple color choices (blue, yellow & pink available)
  • Machine washable and dryer safe 


BENEFITS
  • Provides a cozy, secure sleep environment to aide in baby's sleep
  • Helps muffle the startles and twitches that wake babies prematurely
  • Helps soothe baby back to sleep if woken
  • Eliminates the need for any blankets or loose bedding in the crib
  • Gives your baby a cozy and secure feeling while sleeping separate from you on a firm crib mattress
  • Designed for back sleeping and helps prevent baby from rolling from back to stomach
  • Baby should need only a cotton one-piece in suit; thus, eliminating the need to bundle or use several clothing layers
  • Helps to eliminate need to increase room temperature in nursery
  • Helps keep baby at a constant and comfortable body temperature all night long
  • Easy transition from car seat to crib
  • Provides familiarity when traveling or sleeping in a different environment
  • Becomes part of consistent nap/bedtime routine
  • Helps to minimize the need for parental intervention (i.e. nursing, holding or rocking to sleep, etc)
If your child is growing out of their swaddler, then you must pick up a Magic Sleepsuit from the Baby Merlin Company today.  Check out the sizing chart below for your little one:

SIZING

Ideally you should wait until your baby is 3 months of age to start using the Magic Sleepsuit, however, it really depends on the size of your child. The Magic Sleepsuit should fit comfortably, yet be snug enough so that the baby feels secure in the suit. There is some overlap between the small and large sizes with guidelines as follows:
Size AgeWeight
Small3-6 months12-18 lbs
Large6-9 months18-21 lbs

And, just for Inspired by Savannah readers, Maureen has kindly offered to offer a giveaway.  One lucky reader will win a Magic Sleepsuit in their color and size choice.  To enter, leave a comment below and let me know a soothing technique that has worked for you and your little one.  Make sure to include your email address with you comment, so that I can contact you if you win.  The giveaway will close on June 27th at 11:59 PM EST.  The winner will be drawn via random.org.


And, now on to my Spotlight of Mommy interview with Maureen Howard.  Enjoy!







Name: Maureen Howard
Company Name/Product/Service: Baby Merlin Company - Magic Sleepsuit
Company Location: PO Box 242, Uwchland, PA  19480
Company Website:  www.magicsleepsuit.com
Facebook URL:  Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit - http://www.facebook.com/MagicSleepsuit?sk=wall#!/MagicSleepsuit
Twitter Handle: @ Magic Sleepsuit
Age of Company:  2.5 years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:  A favorite inspiration poem of mine I came across in college - it is called "Dream Big".  Here is a link (it is fairly long) - http://www.make-your-own-photobooks.com/dream-big.html
Favorite Book: I like so many books - I'm in a book club in my neighborhood, so we are always reading good books.  The Help comes to mind as a recent favorite.
  
Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.  

I have four children (2 boys, 2 girls) ages 9, 7, 5 and 20 months.  I love to spend time with my family!  We are a very active family, and are very involved in sports and love to be outside doing things.  I enjoy reading and exercising.  I love the beach, and the pool.
 
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?  

When my first child was about 4 months old, he was not napping well in his crib (waking up every 30 minutes or so).  I would take him for walks in the jogging stroller, then roll it into my living room and he would sleep for 2-3 hours.  So, I decided to try to come up with something to simulate this environment, but for use in the crib, thus the Magic Sleepsuit was born.  I made him this sleepsuit and all of a sudden he started taking great naps and sleeping great at night - my husband and I really did call it the "Magic Sleepsuit", but at that point I had no thoughts of creating a product and starting a business.  Then my daughter came along, and went through the same phase and the Magic Sleepsuit saved the day again.  Then, friends starting asking me what I was putting my babies in to help them sleep, so I started making early prototypes for friends and they were working like a charm time and time again.  So, we started the process of researching the market, setting up a business, starting the patent process, getting protypes made, etc., etc.
 
What is a typical work day like?    

Again, I have four kids, so my first priority is getting them taken care of and off to school for the older ones.  I typically work on and off from home throughout the day as I can.  My husband and I often work many hours after we put the kids to bed.  We also work on weekends in between all the sports and other activities.
 
What has been a struggle while starting up your company?   

Specific to the business, finding the right manufacturer, and getting the product made just as I want it has been a little challenging.  Also, everything takes longer than you first think, which can be frustrating.  And, there just are not enough hours in the day to be doing all the things I want to be doing as a business owner and a Mom.  Finding that balance between running the business and running the household is often a challenge.
 
What did you do in your past work life? 

I am a pediatric physical therapist, and my profession helped me quite a bit in designing the Magic Sleepsuit.  I saw that it worked as a Mom, but as a pediatric physical therapist, it made sense to be why it work from a physiological perspective.
 
What have been some of your major successes?  

We have received media coverage on television shows and in magazines, and we've been to a celebrity gifting suite prior to the Golden Globes.  We've received endorsements from physicians, and have partnered with very well-known sleep expert, Kim West (The Sleep Lady).  Our business has grown very rapidly with the majority of our growth being from parents telling other parents about the Magic Sleepsuit.  I am very proud of all these accomplishments, but the most gratifying part of my business is knowing that my product is helping babies (and parents) sleep better.  I love getting emails and calls from customers thanking me and sharing how much the Magic Sleepsuit has helped them - that is best part!  
What have been some of your major challenges?  

As I mentioned above, finding the right manufacturer is not the easiest process.  And, just finding enough time to do everything I want to be doing to grow the business can be a challenge. 
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?  

My kids and family are always my greatest motivation for anything in my life.  But, more specific to my business, is knowing that the Magic Sleepsuit is really making a difference for so many parents - that keeps me going.  I think when you have a product that you truly believe in and that you feel others can benefit from, it makes it much easier to stay motivated.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?  

I actually don't have a secret, but sure could use one!  The balancing act is a constant struggle.  I certainly need to delegate more, which is sometimes hard to do being so immersed in my company, and my family! 
What is next for your business?   

We plan to continue to grow our company, and soon have the Magic Sleepsuit available in many retailers from smaller shops to larger scale retail chains.  We also plan to offer more products in the "Magic Sleepsuit Line". 
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?  

I would advise them to do a lot of research to make sure their product or service will have place in the market.  Then, if it is something they truly believe in, my advice would be to persist and move forward, but to have patience because it always takes longer than you think.  But if you truly believe in what you are doing, it will be well worth it!
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