Tuesday, August 3, 2010

So Begins My Chicago 3-Day Story...

This evening I arrived in Chicago for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk!

While waiting in the DFW airport, I met an interesting man. Interesting from the standpoint that he offered me a bite of his McDonald's Snack Wrap. Unfortunately, it was made with chicken or I might have taken him up on his offer. (Well no, not really!)

Soon I realized that his wife was sitting across the way from us. I began to ask him if he would like for me to trade seats with her so they could sit together. Before I could even get the question out of my mouth, he said "Oh no, I'm having too much fun!". (I thought I had asked the wrong person the question, but I soon figured out that his wife was probably the real one having fun!)

Our conversation led to why we were at the airport. He explained that he and his wife are relocating from Chicago to Phoenix. They just found someplace to live in Phoenix, and were returning to Chicago to pack their belongings. Then he asked why I was headed to Chicago. I said "I'm walking in a 3-Day breast cancer walk. He asked "The Susan G. Komen Walk?". After I said yes, he explained that his wife is a 12 year survivor (YAY!!!). He then called to his wife and said "Honey, she is doing the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk". His wife simply smiled and gave me the thumbs up. I gave her a smile and the thumbs up back. As they left to board the plane, they thanked me and wished me well this weekend.

You know what? My day didn't start the best. At that time, little did I know what the day had in store for me. I didn't know that I would have the pleasure of meeting yet another unknown person who has fought breast cancer and won! This is the reason that I walk...for all of the people that I know and don't know who have fought or are fighting breast cancer, knowing that I can make a difference with each step that I take.

And yes...my day ended much better than I ever could have expected!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

2011 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Series

Yesterday the first 2010 3-Day for the Cure Walk series started in Boston, MA (Go Walkers!).

And guess what? I also received an email announcing the 2011 3-Day for the Cure Walk series!

Decisions, decisions...to walk or not to walk, that is the question. And as of this moment, I don't have an answer. My indecisiveness has nothing to do with not having walked my first (as in more than one) 3-Day walk this year. (Believe me, once you walk 1 time, you will be hooked for life!). I am wondering if it is time for me to show my support and appreciation in another way by being a crew member instead of a walker.

But please, don't let my wandering thoughts prevent YOU from signing up for a 3-Day Walk for next year. The following are the event cities and dates:

2011 3-Day for the Cure Schedule

Boston July 22-24 Cleveland July 29-31
Chicago August 5-7 Michigan August 12-14
Twin Cities August 19-21 Denver August 26-28
San Francisco Bay Area September 9-11
Seattle September 16-18 Washington, D.C. September 23-25
Philadelphia October 14-16 Atlanta October 21-23
Tampa Bay October 28-30
Dallas/Fort Worth November 4-6 Arizona November 11-13
San Diego November 18-20

And, if you register by November 23rd you can receive a $35 registration discount using the code CURE2011.

What's stopping YOU from making the journey of a lifetime?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Where Has the Time Gone?

Wow, I can hardly believe that my last post was April 1st. Where has the time gone? Where have I been? I'm so glad that you asked...

After returning home from a work assignment in January, I decided that it was time for me to try to get my life in order. Well, at least sit down and come up with a plan for my life. For those who know me well, you already know that my life is a form of organized chaos, I can't sit still, and no one ever knows what I will do next.

In March, I decided to pursue my Master of Arts in Education/Adult Education and Training degree. That's in addition to working a full time job that has the added excitement of never knowing when (or where) I will be called on assignment (or for how long), and training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk (oh, did I forget to mention that I am walking in TWO 3-Day events this year?).

I quickly found out that there really aren't enough hours in the day! I used to say 'People make time for the things that they really want to do'. Well, I have since retracted that statement. After working a 12+ hour day (6 days a week), studying, and trying to find time to train, there isn't too much time for anything else. I soon realized that work gets in the way, and I really would be happy just being a student and a walker.

So, that is where the time has gone for me. But never fear...I'm back!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk Discount Code

I know that you have been thinking about walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Walk with me in Chicago or Dallas this year.

And guess what?

To make you really want to walk, you can register between April 12 – 23 for a $25 discount off the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure™ registration? To receive the discount, give the promotional code TEAMKOMEN when you register online at The3Day.org or via phone at 800-996-3DAY.

And even if you decide to walk in a city other than Chicago or Dallas, my feelings won't be hurt! Really, they won't be. Just walk...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today, Do Something Different

This morning as I was driving in my car I heard a radio advertisement about 'doing something different'. Well, it was 5:30 in the morning and I was on my way to volunteer at the Rock and Roll Dallas Half Marathon. So yes, that was something different from my normal Sunday morning routine.

From time to time I think some areas of my life tend to settle into what's comfortable and I miss out on new experiences. Looking back over the past several months the following are some different things I tried:

1) My hair - I had been wearing it in a similar style for way too long. And I found as it was getting longer, it really wasn't as exciting as I thought. (As a good friend tells me 'People's styles get caught in a time where they think they looked good') So last summer I decided to cut my hair to a chin length bob and added highlights. What I got was a sassier look and lots of compliments!

2) Training Walks - When I start my 3 Day breast cancer training walks from home I always walk on the side of the street that my house is on. Well last week I crossed the street and noticed lots of great ideas (and NOT so great!) for adding color to my landscaping.

3) Meals on Wheels - A couple of weeks ago I volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels to the elderly and shut it. It felt great to bring a hot meal to someone and possibly be the only person they would talk to that day.

Doing something different doesn't have to be earth shattering or mind boggling, it can be really simple. What are you going to do different today?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Writer's Block?

Writer's block - a condition, associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.

Ok, let's be honest, my blog doesn't constitute 'writing as a profession', but I am experiencing a bit of writer's block! Just when I was ready to jump start my blog into something great, post every day, and hopefully have lots of dedicated followers, this writer's block thing set in. (And besides, I really didn't think anyone cared if I was posting or not, until someone told me that I hadn't posted anything in a while.)

Right now it seems like my life is at such a crossroads: I will be turning 40 in about a month (can't believe I just typed that!), I am restless with my career choice, I am seriously contemplating starting my Master's degree (ok, I am scheduled to start online classes next week so I guess it is more than just 'contemplating' at this point), and I am dealing with a family member being seriously ill.

My crossroads has moved me to the point of not doing anything, which isn't good. I would say that I need to get away, but the truth of the matter is that my last work assignment ended over 6 weeks ago, so what would I be getting away from? Some days I just wish there was a 'Do Over' button and that I could reset my life to a certain point in time. But honestly, I don't even know what point in time I would choose.

Hopefully my writer's block will pass soon. Hopefully I will pass my crossroads even sooner.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

3-Day for the Cure Discount!

Are you thinking about participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure? Do you have family or friends that are thinking about it too? Well TODAY is a great day to register!

Register for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure between February 24 – March 9 with the discount code RESOLVE and you will receive a $25 discount off the registration fee.

And you can always use the $25 you save as your first step toward meeting your fundraising goal. Doesn't get too much better than that!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

3 Day Thursdays - Finding the Right Walking Shoe

This past weekend my walking team 'Angels for the Cure' were invited to a shoe clinic at Luke's Locker to get fitted for walking shoes for the 3 Day. For those of you that think 'I already have walking/running shoes for the 3 Day and I don't need to get a new pair', read on!

If this is your first year walking in the 3 Day, YOU WILL WANT TO GET FITTED FOR APPROPRIATE WALKING SHOES!!! Seriously, think about it...you'll be walking 60 miles and that's not even counting all of the miles you'll walk during training (you will be doing training walks, right?). I cannot stress the importance of finding appropriate shoes (and socks) for you to wear.

The benefit of going to a running store vs. a mall athletic store is that a running store specializes with assisting people who run or walk endurance events. The people that work in running stores are usually runners or walkers themselves and they can provide a lot of valuable information (about shoes, clothing, what to eat, etc.) as you prepare for the 3 Day.

In addition to their personal experiences they are able to accurately fit you with a pair of shoes. (Case in point - I am a Nike girl to heart...Nike Shox are all that I wear. But not for the 3 Day.) They will watch you walk and then bring out various shoes that they believe will work best for you. You are then able to try on the shoes in the store to see how they feel. (Luke's Locker actually has a treadmill and a walking path to try out potential shoes).

You're probably thinking that the shoes are expensive, right? Of course you can pay just about any price for a pair of shoes. But the great thing is that the sales associates are not out to make the biggest sale. They want to help you AND your feet. The shoes that I have worn cost in the neighborhod of $110 a pair. Believe me, a small investment for comfort and not getting blisters!

On the day of a foot clinic the hosting store will usually offer an additional discount if you purchase shoes (or other items) at that time. I also recommend taking in a pair of your current walking shoes for the shoe specialist to look at the current tread pattern on your shoes.

One last thing to think about is that you should have 2 pairs of shoes to rotate during your training walks and for the actual 3 Day event. The sooner that you are able to find the shoes that you will walk in the sooner you will know how your shoes and feet will respond in case you need to make a change.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Bachelor

One of my guilty pleasures is the ABC reality TV show The Bachelor (and of course The Bachelorette!). I started watching the reality series because I was intrigued with the concept of a person finding love from a pool of 25 potential members of the opposite sex that had been hand chosen for that person. Being a single female I thought the concept was a great way to narrow the playing field to find true love.

I honestly have to admit that the first few series I watched of The Bachelor that I honestly believed in it. I really cheered for the women and felt my heart melt once The Bachelor gave his final rose and true love was found (and did I mention an engagement ring too?).

But then somewhere along the line I guess the reality set in for me. How could I not see that this show was just an opportunity for someone to date 25 women (or men) at one time? The lucky Bachelor gets to go on fabulous one-on-one dates, two-on-one dates, and sometimes even group dates. It is amazing that somehow he kisses woman after woman and none of women seem to have a problem with it. And as the playing field narrows down to a few select candidates that he 'thinks he is really falling for' there is always the option to spend the night in a fantasy suite (Hmmm...I don't think it takes too much thought about what really goes on in the fantasy suite!).

This past week one of the contestants had to choose between staying on the show and her career. (It's important to point out that this same scenario happened on the last series so it is time for the producers to come up with a new angle...yawn). Although she was a top pick of mine, I really couldn't believe how much time was spent agonizing over her choice. Ok, I am a true romantic at heart, but...if it came down to me continuing on a reality TV show or my career, I think the choice would be fairly easy. (Certainly I know that things happen, but wouldn't she of made certain she had off all the time that she needed to be on the show? Oh that's right! This is reality TV!)

As much as The Bachelor has made me think twice about women finding true love on the series, I'll still be tuned in next week to see what happens!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Did I Miss the Baby Gene?

A friend of mine got married several months ago. Soon after the wedding took place we spoke about how she and her husband were looking forward to becoming parents and were hopeful to become pregnant within the next year. I remember how happy and excited she was looking forward to their new life together.

Then today she shared with me that she experienced a miscarriage at the nine and a half week point in her pregnancy.

When she told me the news my heart immediately broke for her. I know that she will make an AWESOME mother once she is blessed with children. I am thankful that she is in a very good place with what occurred and knows that God has bigger things in store for her and her husband. To top it all off, her doctor is very optimistic that she should be able to conceive again.

Since I began blogging I have encountered many blogs by women who have documented their experiences with infertility and miscarriages. I can't read the blogs for long because I find myself saddened. I don't know if my sadness is for them or if it is for me...I have never had the desire to have children. I sometimes wonder 'Did I miss the baby gene when I was born?' because I don't understand the deep desire that many women have to have children.

From the time that I was a young girl I knew that I didn't want to have children. Even once I married my thoughts never swayed about that (very fortunate for me since my marriage ended before it really ever began). Interesting fact is that I really love children and people often comment how good I am with them. I have a wonderful 8 year old goddaughter who means the world to me and there isn't anything that I wouldn't do to protect her or for her well being.

Until about a year and a half ago I had been suffering for 5 years with a medical condition that had made my life so intolerable and unpredictable, and me, incredibly miserable and unhappy in the process. Since I was in my early thirties at the onset of my medical problems, my physician wanted me to wait until I was older to make a final decision about having a hysterectomy. When my medical condition finally got to the point that I had no other medical alternatives I proceeded with the operation.

Leading up to the surgery I wondered how would I really feel once the choice was no longer mine about not having children? What if I met someone and they really wanted us to have children together? I can honestly say that I have never had a moment of regret about my decision.

So, to answer my original question: Yes, I think I did miss the baby gene, but I also believe that someone more deserving than I received it instead.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Magnolia Bakery Cafe

Last year when I was on assignment in Pasadena, TX I found a wonderful lunch spot called Magnolia Café and Bakery. They have wonderful sandwiches, salads, soups, and I would be remiss if I left out their desserts…FABULOUS! So yesterday as I was driving around between appointments I decided to stop at the location in Lewisville, TX.

For the past week or so I have been in hot pursuit of a ham salad sandwich. And believe it or not, you can’t find ham salad sandwiches everywhere. There are TONS of varieties of chicken salad (and anyone who knows me knows that I do not eat chicken!) and tuna salad in grocery stores, but ham salad seems to be a rarity. So when I saw the sign for Magnolia Café and Bakery I knew my craving would be satisfied.

I had some great ham salad on whole wheat bread along with kettle chips and a side of sliced carrots. But the ultimate ending to my lunch was the homemade Coca Cola Cake that they make. The cake sits on the dessert counter in a pan that looks like it came from my grandmother’s kitchen. The cake is about 2 ½ inches thick and is covered with some type of fudgy, chocolate icing…yummy!

If you are ever in the Houston or Dallas areas you won’t be disappointed (or hungry!) if you find Magnolia Café and Bakery!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Barnes and Noble Nook

After many weeks of waiting my Barnes and Noble Nook finally arrived!

Last Fall I was contemplating purchasing an Amazon Kindle 2. Believe me, this was a big decision since I am definitely old school when it comes to books: I like to touch books, feel the pages between my fingers, and you can’t beat that new book smell. But after I had a chance to play around with a friend’s Kindle, I was like I love it!

Well, right about that time Barnes and Noble announced that they would be introducing their own eReader, Nook. And being the diehard B&N fan that I am, I had to wait until the Nook made its debut to make my final decision.

Some of the pros that I liked about the Nook are:

1. It has a color, touch screen.

2. When you are in a B&N store you can download a book to your Nook to read just like you would pick up a regular book from the shelf to read.

3.You can lend your eBooks to other people.

(To be honest, there are a lot of similarities between the Nook and the Kindle; for me the choice just came down to a brand that I was familiar with.)

Now the downside to obtaining the Nook was the waiting! I did have to wait about a month until my Nook shipped. I also picked out a cute cover for my Nook but it is still on backorder. So hopefully it will be here one day soon.

Stay tuned for more updates on my Nook! If any of my readers has a Nook, pleae let me know what you think about it too.

Friday, February 5, 2010

When In Doubt Don't Bounce!

The other day while I was out trying to enjoy a quick lunch, I found it quickly interrupted.

A couple of tables away from me there were two ladies and a toddler. Knowing that toddlers will be toddlers, I specifically choose a table a little bit away from them. But I found it wasn’t the toddler that I had to be worried about.

I soon realized that it was the little boy’s first birthday (Yay! Happy Birthday!) and that his mother and her friend had brought him out to have a cupcake on his actual birthday. From the conversation I overheard, his birthday party was taking place in a couple of days.

The little boy’s mother then left the table to go order something else to eat. It was quickly apparent that the friend didn’t quite know what to do with the little boy. (To me he seemed very content sitting there and smiling at the ladies that he could make eye contact with.) So she decided to pull out a toy. This toy was a conglomerate of plastic things on a bouncy string. She then began bouncing the plastic things on the table.

Everyone close by figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t the little boy bouncing the items due to the rhythmic sound the plastic was making as it struck the plastic table top. Just when I thought I was the only person annoyed by the noise, another customer next to me looked up and had a similar expression of disbelief on her face.

The little boy finally turned around and looked at the toy, but then he did something interesting…he pulled it from her hands and he dropped it on the ground. YAY! But that wasn’t the end of it. She then proceeded to pick up the toy and started bouncing it again. Once again the little boy took it from her and guess what? He dropped it on the ground!

Now, I am not a baby expert, but….I am thinking that if he really wanted to play with the toy, he wouldn’t keep dropping it on the floor. Well, obviously she thought she was a baby expert so she picked up the toy yet AGAIN and began to bounce it on the table!

Fortunately the little boy’s mom returned and the bouncing stopped. Maybe she heard it from the counter and decided to put us all out of our misery and return to the table. Thank goodness for small favors!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

3-Day Thursdays

In honor of me officially signing up for the 2010 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure breast cancer walks in Chicago and Dallas, I have decided to make Thursdays '3-Day Thursdays' on Shannon's World!

I also have more exciting news...I submitted an application to become a 3-Day Ambassador and it was accepted! Since I only became an Ambassador earlier this morning, I don't fully know what my responsibilities will be. I'm not interested in doing any TV or radio interviews, but I am interested in being a social media ambassador and write about my 3-Day experiences on my blog.

I am hopeful that the PR firm handling this will provide me with information about informing other 3-Day walkers about my blog. Hopefully my readers (hint, hint) will share my blog with other people who might be interested in walking for the first time, those that are already signed up to walk, or anyone who might be interested in my 3-Day activities. Also, if any of you have any questions please be certain to email or post the question within the comments.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Is It Just a Car?

One day last week the 'Service Engine Soon' light illuminated in my car. I was a bit perplexed since I had been out of town and hadn't driven my car in about 3 weeks. (Funny how those things just pop on, right?)

Being the independent woman that I am, I proceeded to pull out the owner's manual to troubleshoot the problem myself. Since the light wasn't flashing (which meant if it was I should take it to a dealership ASAP and not drive over 45 m.p.h. - whew!) and was a solid light, it appeared the problem could be less severe. The manual suggested to check the gas cap to insure it was on correctly and tightly. Certainly that must be the problem since I had gotten gas the night before. Well...

That didn't appear to be the problem. After 'driving several trips' the light did not go off as the owner's manual suggested it might. So off I was to contact the dealership service department and probably get taken for a real ride.

Now is probably a good time to point out that my car is 10 years old with 140,000 miles. For the past 5 years I have driven it less due to my current job, but let's face it, the first 5 years were probably pretty tough on it. I take good care of my car - I wash it, take it in for scheduled maintenance and when it's sick (like now) take it to the dealership service department.

Since I am celebrating the Big 4-0 this year (that's another story!) purchasing a new car has been on my mind as a presant to myself. BUT, I want to purchase a new car when I am ready to purchase a new car. NOT because I am faced with a high auto repair bill and I will make a rash decision to 'fix' the problem. So I began to do my research...

I found out what the Kelly Blue Book trade in value and private sale value of my car would be. Then I came up with a make it or break figure for the car repair:

1. If the car repair was over X dollars, I wouldn't get it fixed and would negotiate with the dealership for a trade in towards a new vehicle or

2. If the car repair was under X dollars, I would get the car repaired but begin working on selling the car myself.

Fortunately the repair was under my break figure (whew!). I really didn't want to make a rash decision about purchasing a car and I have been without a car payment for soooo long that I am really not that excited about having one again.

The real thing that I realized through all of this is what my car means to me...this car is the first brand new car that I purchased all by myself. I purchased the car while I was married (in my name only) and I was able to afford the payments after the divorce and without anyone's assistance. I have been able to pay for the maintenance and repairs. For me this car represents my independence and what I can do on my own. I'm not so certain that I am ready to trade that in to someone else just yet.

But if someone showed up with this and a red ribbon tied on it, I think my new love affair would begin:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Afternoon With My Goddaughter

The other day my 8 year old goddaughter and I had an outing to a local mosaic studio Smashing Times. The first time we went was a couple of years ago and she absolutely loved it! She is sooo creative and it amazes me how quickly she can come up with an idea and then BANG! she has created something!

Me on the other hand...I want for whatever I am going to make to be perfect. (Well, as close to perfect as I can get it.) I want to pick the right project, the right color tiles, and the right placement of the tiles. While I was sitting there contemplating life, my goddaughter was a third of the way finished with her project. Needless to say, I didn't do a project on this outing!

After we were finished we stopped by Sonic because it was Happy Hour! And if you don't have a Sonic in your area...Happy Hour means that all drinks and slushes are half price everyday from 2 pm - 4 pm. (Certainly you didn't think I would take an 8 year old to a real happy hour, did you?) Her drink of choice was a Green Apple Slushie and mine was a Strawberry Lime Aid Slushie - yum!

On our way back to her house she said 'Auntie, I used to think that you were my fairy godmother and not my godmother.' (Yes, I do remember her telling people that but honestly I thought she knew what the difference was)

She went on to say 'I used to think that you could fly places.' (Yes, I do remember her asking me about flying. Just when I thought we were joking about flying, I guess she was serious!)

The more I spend time with my goddaughter she reminds me of things that are important in life: laughing, having fun and believing in oneself. Sometimes I get so caught up in the busyness of the day and forget about the things that should be important, not the things that I have no control over or cannot change that I let dictate my life.

Monday, February 1, 2010

February NaBloPoMo

For those new to blogging you are probably wondering ‘What does ‘NaBloPoMo stand for?’ Yes, I too asked the same question at one point when I was a newbie to the world of blogging.

NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month. The idea is to post a blog every day for 30 days (or in this case 28 days since February is a short month!) to set the habit for posting regularly. Each month there is a theme, and the theme for this month is ‘TIES’. (I am just going to be hopeful that I can get through 28 days of posting and not worry so much about the theme my first go around.)

Over the past several months I have wanted to take my blog to the next level (whatever that might be!) I am hopeful that participating in NaBloPoMo will help me develop my blogging voice, pick up new followers, and tie me closer to the wonderful world of blogging!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 3-Day for the Cure

Yes, I am back walking the 2010 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure…in The Windy City AND The Big D! Crazy, right? Not at all if you followed my 3-Day journey last year. I learned a lot about myself, met some AWESOME people along the way, and I made a difference.

But you might be wondering what motivates me to walk not only one, but TWO, 3-day, 60 mile walks this year. (Although my math is not always the best, I do realize this means a total of 6 days and 120 miles)

First, the selfish reasons:

1) I love Chicago! (And who doesn’t?! Garrett Popcorn Shops, The Magnificent Mile, Giordano’s…the list goes on and on)

2) After family and friends cheered me on at the 2009 Dallas 3-Day, I thought if I walk in Chicago (only 2 hours from my hometown) that even more family and friends would come out to support me! (Who doesn’t like people clapping and cheering them on every 3 feet making them feeling like a rock star?)

3) My team, Angels for the Cure, in Dallas. They have become some of my biggest supporters AND friends. (Walking 60 miles is always more fun with a friend or two!)

Now, the real reasons:

1) When I began my last mile to Closing Ceremonies last year in Dallas .
I knew that was only the beginning of my continued support of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure

2) Breast cancer education, research and finding a cure has always been a personal passion of mine.

3) Breast cancer has personally affected my family and some very great friends. And THEY ARE ALL SURVIVORS!!!

How can I not walk again?

As much as I am excited about walking this year (I have already updated both of my personal 3-Day web pages and blogs, updated my status on Facebook, and updated this blog) I am nervous about the commitment I have made to raise a minimum of $4,300. That’s a lot of money!

I have to admit that raising $2,300 last year was easier than I thought. The big thing I learned was to just talk about the 3-Day journey I was on. (As much as it might seem that I am ‘All about me’, when it comes down to it, it is very difficult for me to talk about me.) And whenever I would someone would ask ‘Do you accept donations for the walk?’ Many times I received donations from people that I had no idea who were personally affected by breast cancer. So I quickly realized that I was doing millions of women and men affected by breast cancer a disservice by not asking for donations.

So this year will be different…I am going to tell everyone that I encounter about what I am doing AND ask for their support. Hopefully by time November rolls around I will still have family and friends that haven’t tired of hearing about my journey!

And since you are reading this (someone is reading this, right?) please check out my 3-Day websites and consider making a donation:


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blogger Extraordinaire?

Whew…I can hardly believe that I actually completed ICLW this month! YAY!!! And in the process I even gained a few more followers – double YAY!!! (For those that are wondering 'What the heck is ICLW?' please check out this blog Stirrup Queens.

I feel these accomplishments are just the push I need to take my blogging to the next level. I have always loved to write…whether it is a letter, keeping a journal, or even making a list, I love to write. And for those that know me pretty well, my life seems full of stories to share with my family and friends (I think I might even be eligible for a reality show, but I'll focus on blogging for now). I'll admit that they probably don't always want to hear my stories and that sometimes the stories can border on TMI (too much information), but certainly they don't want me to keep all of that inside!

I contacted someone a few weeks ago to help me revamp my blog. Unfortunately she is a little backed up, but hopefully within the next couple of months you will see a new and improved Shannon's World. In the meantime get prepared for more random thoughts from me!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How People Lose Track of Cash

According to USA Today Snapshots the following is the percentage of adults who lose track of cash spending when doing the following:

Grocery Shopping - 34%

Leisure Shopping - 32%

Enjoying Night Out - 31%

Dining Out - 26%

Buying Snacks - 25%

Daily Lunch - 22%

Looking at the list I can see that I have been guilty of losing track of spending in all of those categories. Although I find that if I have actual cash in my hand I am a bit more selective about my purchases. And it is true that the daily mindless little purchases (snacks from a vending machine, Starbucks coffee, etc.) are the purchases that add up to large amounts over time.

A few years ago after reviewing my bank statement I realized that a Starbucks debit was just about every few line items. Once I totaled up how much I was spending there, I was floored!!! So I decided to get a part time job at Starbucks.

After going through the extensive training (learning more about coffee than I ever wanted to know), making all types of drink concoctions, and working at a very busy location, I had a new found appreciation for Baristas! One of the major perks was that I could drink all the Starbucks I wanted while working which quickly added money back to my checking account.

What are some ways that you have tracked your spending and then done something positive about it?

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Fresh Market

While on a work assignment in Virginia Beach, Virginia I had the pleasure of being introduced to The Fresh Market speciality food store. When I heard the phrase 'They have an entire row dedicated to trail mixes!' I knew that I had to check it out!

True to my friend's word, The Fresh Market has at least 20 different types of trail mixes (Sweet Carolina is one of my personal favs) in addition to about another 20 speciality mixes. And if a store has good, fresh banana chips, it definitely ups their ranking with me!

Just when I thought I had already died and gone to heaven, I found the most wonderful snack: purple sweet potato chips! I love, love, LOVE sweet potatoes (I have a baked one about 5 times a week!) so when I saw the purple sweet potato chips, I knew I had to try them. I'll admit that the $9.99 per pound price scared me (well, not really) but I had to taste them. And it was love at first bite!
In addition to the wonderful mixes The Fresh Market has, they also have a fabulous prepared food section (really great for people like me that don't always find time to cook, but like to have a healthier food option available).

I also love fresh flowers and you can get an awesome bouquet of flowers for less then 10 bucks!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bond No. 9

Bond No. 9 is the name of a fragrance collection, as well as the address of its headquarters boutique at 9 Bond Street, in NoHo. The collection was launched as homage to a great city and each fragrance represents a specific downtown, midtown, or uptown locale or a city-wide sensibility.

While in NYC a couple of years ago, I had the chance to smell the Bond No. 9 fragrance collection. I was in the city for a Girl’s Weekend and we were purchasing the fragrance as a surprise birthday gift for a friend on the trip.

About a year or so later I decided to splurge on me and purchased The Scent of Peace fragrance and The Scent of Peace Body Silk. I don’t often use the word ‘splurge’ and ‘me’ in the same sentence because I think I am worth it. But, let’s be honest… spending over $250 on perfume and lotion is a bit much, even for me. (NOTE: the funding for the splurge came from my $750 bingo winnings while on vacation)

Although I really love the fragrance (and let’s be honest, the bottle too!) I have to say that the customer service from Bond No. 9 is first class. Once I made a purchase with them I was given VIP status, which includes:

1) Being the very first to receive free samples of their newest scents, even before they officially debut and

2) Receiving surprise scents on a regular basis!

Now, you might think these free samples and surprise scents are the garden variety type that you receive in Macy’s when you request a fragrance sample. No, no, no! These samples are cute little Bon Bon’s that are a complete .25 FL OZ! Perfect for traveling with and mixing up my daily fragrance choices.

After doing some checking on the Bond No. 9 website their Bon Bon’s cost about $15 each (if you could purchase them individually). To date I cannot tell you how many Bon Bon’s I have received. And you know what? Since my first purchase almost two and a half years ago, I have never purchased anything else from Bond No. 9.

My last kudos to Bond No. 9 is that they also acknowledge that we are in a recession. Throughout the past year they have specials were if you purchase a fragrance and bring in an empty Bond No. 9 bottle (and who wouldn’t save their beautiful empty bottle?) you can have it refilled for free. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Up in the Air

I recently had the opportunity to see the newly released holiday movie Up In the Air starring George Clooney. I'll be honest, George Clooney is pretty easy on the eye but he wasn't the reason for me wanting to see this movie. When I first saw the previews I thought 'This movie kinda sort of sounds like my life!'.

George Clooney's character, Ryan Bingham, is a corporate downsizer and business traveler. Ryan is constantly on the road traveling from city to city, living out of a suitcase and racking up frequent traveler points from various travel reward programs (airlines, rental car companies, hotels, etc.).

I work for a large insurance company in a department that handles catastrophic weather related events for my company. Like Ryan, I travel a LOT for my company...I am on the road about 8 - 9 months out of the year, travel from city to city, and spend most of my time living out of a suitcase. Fortunately I am not threatening other people's livelihoods due to corporate downsizing, but hopefully I am assisting to get their lives back on track after the damage they have sustained.

The following are some similarities between Ryan Bingham and I:

1) Travel Rewards - Although Ryan is a member of just about every travel program out there, his main goal was to reach 10,000,000 frequent flier miles with American Airlines.

Although I fly commercially I don't think (and hope!) that I will ever reach 10,000,000 frequent flier miles! On the other hand I am a member of many travel reward programs. My big one is Marriott Rewards. Friends and family never have to worry about paying for a hotel stay since I have more points than I'll ever use.

2) Family - Ryan is viewed as an outsider by his family. His younger sister is getting married and has chosen her future husband's uncle to walk her down the aisle.

Sometimes I feel like an outsider to my family. This past Christmas was the first time I had been home to see them in a year. Many will think 'What's the big deal?'. The big deal is that me and my family are very close and it just isn't acceptable to only see them once a year.

3) Nomads - Ryan loves (and mean LOVES!) being on the road. When his job is threatened by technology I could tell that he was really pained about returning to a 'normal' life that didn't involve travel. At one point I believe he said that he was more comfortable on the road than he was at home - never mind that home for Ryan is a sparsely furnished one bedroom apartment.

I too love the sense of adventure with traveling to a new city and seeing parts of the country that I would never have any reason to go to - like Bismark, North Dakota for example. When I first took my current position my life was in a bit of flux...someone that I loved more than life itself had died and I found myself losing my way. This job allowed me to hide and not face the realities that I needed to face.

4) Love - During the course of the movie, Ryan meets a woman (of course there has to be a love story in there!). She is just like him in regards to traveling. But for the first time, I believe Ryan really begins to open his heart and his life to let someone else in.

For so long I have used my job as a shield to hide behind from the realities of life. I have a feeling that there are some wonderful possibilities out there for me to find balance in my life. I might just be ready to hang up my travel wings too! Well, maybe...