Friday, July 17, 2015

It Has Been 11 Years!

As I get older, I realize how time flies.  I remember back to my elementary days (first grade I think), standing in the lunch line thinking, "When is this year going to end?  I've been in the first grade FOREVER!"  (Note: I have no idea why I remember this, but it's very vivid!)  As I got older, and my perspective changed, especially about time, experiences started to fly by.

Thirteen years ago, I met my best friend.  We were both teachers at Thornhill Elementary School in Oakland.  I was a fifth grade teacher, and he was the music teacher.  When I first met him, I thought his last name was Swinhart (like a pig) and proceeded to call him that until my students corrected me.  I'm sure I actually called him Mr. Swinhart to his face, but he never said anything.  (Ahh, what a nice guy!)

After clearing up the situation about his last name, flaking on 3 dates with him, and giving each other awkward colleague hugs (once I actually showed up for dates,) we soon made plans to travel to Peru together and once we got back home, I proceeded to ask him to move in with me, and a year after that asked him to marry me.  Now, it's been eleven years since we've been married (today!) We have two very awesome girls (with a boy on the way), we've laughed (boy have we laughed), and we've cried.  It's been the quickest eleven years of my life, and it's the one area that I wish would slow down, because I'm having to much fun!

So Eric, this year on our anniversary, I'm not writing how amazing you are in a card... you get a whole blog post!!! Thank you for teaching me to:

1) Take risks:  This guy moved out to California, got a day job, and started playing in multiple bands.  My favorite band he played in was STUNG: A Tribute to the Police... They still play (minus Eric), but you should still check them out!
2) Follow Passions:  Eric has BIG IDEA's.  Whether it be growing 12 hops strains in our backyard, raising the back of our house, or starting a Music Education Research Project for the kids of Oakland, he does it.  Eric is amazing at seeing a problem, making a plan to try to fix it, and implementing it.  
3) Be Kind to EVERYONE:  Eric is one of the nicest people I know.  He can turn anyone's frustration or bad day into a great one with his corny"Middle School" jokes, smile, and damn those dimples... apparently he's been getting out of trouble since preschool by flashing those dimples!
4) Give Loyalty/Support to Others:  Eric is a great supporter.  Without his support, Handbrewed Soaps wouldn't be here.  He pushes me to focus all of my energy on my passion of beer soap!  He comes up with new ideas for me, and is usually the brains behind our shenanigans.  And he sticks with you, through good and bad times. He does this for all of his friends and family
5) Laugh:  I have never laughed so much with a person.  Eric has a talent for using  his corny-ass humor to deflate conflicts and brings humor to serious situations that may not need to be so serious (if you know what I mean.)  He is goofy ball.
6) Care:  Eric is very caring, so much sometimes that he worries himself to death.  He cares for/about things that many people would look over.  But this is what brings him back to his passions.  And if it's a passion, Eric will pursue it!

There are many more things he has taught me, these are the big six!  Thanks Eric for these past 11 years...  I can't wait to see what the next 11 will bring! Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to Travel with Your Favorite Handmade Soap


Are you going on a road trip or traveling this summer?  Well we sure are, and the biggest thing I struggle with is keeping my skin happy! Depending on the environment, my skin can be dry one minute and oily the next. That's why it's important to me that I bring my soap (Handbrewed Soaps) with me. But I'll be honest, REAL soap doesn't always travel that well because it needs to dry out between uses or it will turn into a soggy mess. To keep that from happening, I like to cut my soap into small chunks (like a pat of butter) for single uses. I transport them in a sandwich baggy. When I'm ready to wash -up, I take one pat of soap out of the baggy, use it, and then dispose of it after a single use. My skin is happy, and so am I as I don't have a soap mess to worry about!!  What traveling tips do you have?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How to Make A Calculated Risk In Life

There come times in your life when you have to make choices that involves risk.  These choices are risks because they have an unknown outcome such as job/ career changes, relocation from family and friends, leaving or starting a relationship, following your dreams when others think it's silly.  Taking a risk is exciting, but scary.  By taking a risk, you are entering uncharted water.  Depending on your personality, you may thrive by risk taking or be scared to death of it.  Either way, you know you need to take the risk because you hope that by following this choice, you will be happier and more fulfilled then you currently are.

I'm in the middle, I love risk taking because it's exciting and challenges my creativity.  However, I'm also scared of it because I I need to think about how it with affect my growing family. Over the past week, I have had to make a choice that involves a risk regarding Handbrewed Soaps.  The biggest question I had was, "Why would I take this risk?"  To discover the answer, I took out a piece of paper and did a brain dumb on the following four sub -questions.

1)  How does this risk match with my mission and goals for my business and personal life?
2)  How does this risk challenge me in a creative, fun-way?
3)  How will this risk open me up to new opportunities and experiences?
4)  What fears does the potential risk bring up for me?

Questions 1-3 are more about practical application.  My family and how I structure my business life around them is VERY important.  If it fits into our family/business lifestyle, then it's a go!  If it's a fun challenge that will open doors for me, then count me in!  Question #4, however, is the most important sub question because this is usually my "NO!" instinct!  This is what threatens my comfort zone. By naming this fear, it has been acknowledge and the "sting" is taken away!  If #1-3 point to yes, but #4 points to a no, well then, I'm taking the risk!  But if there is any concern in #1-3, it's a no go... no matter how tempted I am.

Again, I am no expert, but this worked for me! And yes, I am taking the risk... (details to follow!) What process do you go through when contemplating a risk?








Monday, July 6, 2015

A Great Day at Rogue Farms

I must say, I am falling in love with Oregon. It's beautiful country and the people are super friendly! The food is amazing! I ordered a side salad expecting iceberg lettuce with carrots and tomatoes, but instead received a bed of fresh mixed greens with beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, croutons, corn, and carrots! Then when I ordered milk for the kids, the server asked, "Cow or soy?" "One of each!" I responded as my lactose intolerant daughter beamed because no restaurant EVER has soy milk! I can go on and on about how awesome Oregon is (there are gas attendants that pump your gas. I mean they tell you to get back in your vehicle if you try to pump your own!), and I just did!!! The day kept getting better. We then went to Rogue Farm in Independence, OR. Basically, everything they grow is what they put into their beers.  We were greeted with acres of hops fields. As you enter the actual farm, there is a tasting room on your left that offers food with a kids menu.There are picnic tables that line the perimeter of lawn where you are welcome to play corn-hole, frisbee, giant chests, or giant scrabble! You can take a tour with an employee or walk around yourselves (just make sure you don't go into any areas that say Employees Only). We spent a good two hours there and would have stayed longer had the heat not gotten to us! So the next time you are in Oregon, stop at Rogue Farms! It's a very chill, family beer environment!







Friday, July 3, 2015

How to Avoid Traffic Jams in Your Business


Your car is packed. Your destination is routed. You will be spending the next 6 hours on the highway. You're prepped and primed, ready for this adventure. Until you get on the freeway and it's a parking lot! What!!!!! Does everyone have the same idea that I do? 
That's what happened to us as we left for a week long R & R. Everyone was fleeing the Bay Area for the Fourth of July Weekend, just like us!!! Let me tell you, we do not do well sucking on car exhaust.  Knowing our goal and what general direction we needed to go in we found the path of least resistance and followed that path! And what we encountered, was well worth the additional THIRTY minutes (yes it took us a shorter time even with the stops we made) it took us to get there! We got to drive through the beautiful Sonoma/ Napa vineyards, discovered the Petaluma Creamery, and made the hubby happy by stopping off at the Lagunitas Brewing Company. 
This experience reminds me a lot of running your own business, especially in relationship with the advice that Donna Maria from the Indie Business Network gives. She stresses the importance of being your authentic self, creating your own path when it comes to your business and having a community of people to learn from. Because when you don't create your own path, you may wind up doing what everyone else is doing and you get stuck in traffic.  We as humans have an inclination get from point A to B. We often follow the "pack" because it's safe and sometimes it's easier to follow the person in front of you, than to do your own thing. But if you create our own path, you have experiences that you didn't expect. You might make a wrong turn, but you'll find your way again. And it is possible (stay with me on this one), you might actually have fun finding your own way!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

How to Deal with being Wiped Out

Image from: brainlesstales
Wiped out can mean lots of different things: being tired, run down, to 'everything' being taken away from you.  Today I experienced the latter, and boy was I on an emotional roller coaster.  I was scared, I felt lost.  I yelled, I got into arguments with my loved ones... why me?  But then after hours of should-of's, could-of's, I realized that I was perceiving that everything was being taken away.  I still had my family/friends, a shelter, and food. These three things being the most important things I could ever need or want.  And if these things were still there, what was really being taken away?  An object, an idea?  How did I make this realization you wonder?  Well....


1) Take a nap.  I knew that I wasn't making any decisions with a clear head.

2) Listen. By taking a nap, I was able to hear criticisms, or concerns with an open heart (not being defensive) and get feedback on what to do in this situation.

3) Stop and Ask. By asking myself, "What does 'everything' being taken away really mean to me?"  I was hearing what other's thought, but how did I define it?

Step three was a turning point in my day.  What matters the most is all around me.  What more can I need!

Thank you for reading my "vague" description of the day!  I would love to hear what you do when you've been wiped  out!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When was the Last Time our Founding Fathers Took a Bath?

Every wish you were a fly on the wall to hear what the real conversations were about while these guys signed the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution?  Every wonder how stinky the room was?  I do, probably because I'm a soap person.  But seriously, it had to smell pretty bad.  Hygiene at that time was A LITTLE DIFFERENT than it is today!  Getting clean in Colonial America meant 'sponging off' usually just the hands and face.  Those that had a more luxurious home, may of had a wash basin and pitcher.  An under shirt was used to conceal sweat that would stain the "fancy" fabrics these men probably wore.

If you needed to thoroughly wash (which was usually once a month) a wooden tub would do the job. However, it was an ordeal to prepare this bath.  The tub had to be dragged out, someone had to draw the water from the well and then heat it.  The towel and soap would need to be found. And the person would have to stop worrying about catching a disease, as it was commonly though that a clean body would attract illness.  In other words, dirt and your natural oils created a protective layer guarding against disease.

Then there was the soap making processes that was fairly tricky.  Soap making was left to the women.  They had to make lye and save enough oil to make the soap.  They needed 6 bushels of wood ash for the lye and 24 pounds of grease/oil to make one barrel of soap.  To make lye they added wood ash to a barrel and layered each addition with straw.  The straw would stop the ash from clogging as water was added every once in a while to it. The ash water (lye) would seep out of a hole at the bottom of the barrel.  The grease and lye was then added and cooked together to make a very soft soap that was used for monthly baths. The most challenging part was figuring out how strong the lye was.  To see if the lye was strong enough, they tested the lye on a potato.  If it perforated, it was strong enough!

So yes, that room was EXTREMELY smelly.  Maybe I wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall!  LOL


References:
http://www.history.org/foundation/journal/autumn00/bathe.cfm
http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/idascorner/soap/the-origin-of-soap
http://roleofwomenincolonialtimes.weebly.com/making-soap.html
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