Pathetic Purse Purge - Lipsticks - Let go of the past

I made a new video of my purse purge. I finally cleaned out the lipsticks that have found a home there. You can watch it here.  

What I learned is that I tend to hold on to things that I hate, even things that make me unhappy. I need to let them go, throw them in the trash and move on. Surround myself with things that make me happy.

Also I learned...

1.  Try on lipstick before purchase
2.  Don't buy online without being sure of the color.
3.  Some things are not worth the splurge.
4.  No corals, definitely not frosty ones.
5.  No warm colors

Know thyself.


10 Ways I Fail at Social Media

Let me count the ways I suck at social media....

10.  Twitter -  I am neither quick nor witty.


9.  YouTube - I am super pedantic and annoying.  It's like when I try to be light and funny, I only make it worse.


8.  Facebook live - I just forget the english language, stare at the camera awkwardly, and blurt something out.


7.  Pinterest - not talented


6.  Snap chat - take the worst selfies


5.  LinkedIn -  Stay-at-Home Mom for last 15 years


4.  Facebook - I'm worried I'm annoying my friends and family


3.  Google+ - Yeah, I just don't get it


2.  Instagram -  not a photographer


1.  Blogging - I'm not a writer.  I'm neither original nor profound.


New Starter Kit at Limelight by Alcone

Finally Limelight by Alcone seems to have solved their manufacturing delays and have opened up for new new Beauty Guides. It's been a long wait. And I have almost made my decision, but then, everything changes. Limelight changed their starter kit, no more foundations or concealers. Instead you get two lipsticks, an eyeliner, and a bamboo renew.

Basically now for $169 you are getting some skincare and a whole bunch of lip stuff. Really $169 for some lipgloss??? Seriously, if you want to sell you really need more items. It's an additional $112 for two foundations and concealers. Assuming retail prices:

                              Starter Kit                                $ 169
                              Foundations/Concealers       $ 112
                              Sotox/One Drop Wonder      $ 112
                              Primer                                        $ 32

That's $425 to get started. That's definitely more than I expected to spend just to get started. I knew that eventually I would have to buy more products but I hoped to be able to do a full face without additional expense. Here's me wearing the botanical foundation, which I love and I really hope to enjoy all the other products as well!

So now I'm thinking that I really need to sell some things on eBay soon to get some cash. I have bins of items stashed under my desk, waiting for me to find eBay inspiration. Unfortunately, right now, the Ikea wet bar install is taking over my space. I am hesitant to throw anything out until it's complete, which is only a few day away. So eBay and Limelight will have to wait.
My workspace is covered with IKEA debris
Check me out on YouTube discussing the new Limelight by Alcone Starter Kit.  Enjoy your day!

How our Spring Break College Tour turned into our Ikea Wet Bar

It's Spring Break! Tascha is a junior and that means spring break is all about college tours!

Three years ago when we moved back from Belgium, we decided to live in Maryland instead of Virginia. All our lives, we had planned on the kids attending one of Virginia's amazing instate universities, but choosing Maryland changed all that. Turns out Maryland doesn't have exactly the same choices. We have saved for in-state rates, not the $40-60,000 for out of state tuition. So far we are (I mean Tascha is) considering these schools for in-state Maryland rates...

But I wanted to show Tascha that there are plenty more schools that we can afford outside of Maryland. So Dan and I set to work using the net price calculators online and found a long list of schools that are affordable. Then I spent several days planning our spring break to visit these schools. Anyone who has planned a week long vacation with several destinations knows this is not a quick task. I made a complete itinerary, hotel reservations, dinner locations, printed out campus maps, picked out parking places near the tours, timed it all out perfectly for a 7 day tour of 13 southern universities and a day long break in Pigeon Forge to enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains.... Our spring break college tour!

We were set to leave Friday morning at 9 AM sharp. After school Thursday, Nick came home and informed us that he had to go to school for the half-day on Friday. Okay, not a big deal we could recover. But that night at dinner my plans came unraveled.

I'm pretty sure that the fault lies with me. I'll admit that the late start on Friday bothered me since we wouldn't be able to relax and enjoy UVA the way it deserves. So I presented another spring break option: a quick journey to Pennsylvania. I always present the family with options, and that, my friends, leads to problems. The opportunity to skip out on the weeklong college excursion and simply drive up Pennsylvania and visit a few schools and then head to Hershey Park was too tempting. The kids said no way to the Southern School Tour and hell yes to Hershey Park. Dan and I didn't handle the change of plans so well. We argued about the merits of our vacation and then the expense of the trip to visit the planned colleges for kids who claim to not want to go to those schools anyway. We settled on spending the money on ourselves and decided to finally finish the basement wet bar. If the kids didn't want to go to see schools that freed up the money we needed to complete our basement project.  

We had started finishing the basement last year.  So it was primarily done except for the blank wall where the kitchenette/wet bar belongs.  I had spent many hours dreaming about the plans and visiting Home Depot and Ikea to get assorted designs. Right from the start I wanted to keep the costs low.  I really wanted to stay under $3000. But my designs kept running about $5000.

My Pinterest board is filled with all sorts of amazing pins. Last June when a tornado destroyed our yard, all hopes of finishing the basement were put on the back burner and turned toward restoring our debris field into some semblance of a yard.  All the money we'd set aside for the basement towards the yard too.   We nonetheless continued to want to finish our wet bar and we knew that our plumbing permit was about to expire, and since the kids didn't want to go on my planned vacation, we figured that they could help us build some cabinets and learn how to install a kitchenette/wet bar.

So Friday morning departure plans came and went; we slept in. Why not, our vacations plans dashed, why not enjoy some rest. When I sleep, I really sleep. Finally around 2 o'clock we made it to IKEA; Nick came along to load the car. I had expected this to go quickly, since I already had the plans in Ikea's system. It did not. Ordering an IKEA kitchen is a very long process. Nick was tortured standing around waiting for the Ikea kitchen rep to finish up completing our plan and ordering our parts. Frankly, I'm not sure what was worse for him: the 4 hour wait or witnessing the 5 minute phone call I had with Tascha at home. Yes, I use speaker phone, I am that person. I hide away from people, but that doesn't seem to matter. I use speaker phone and that really bothers Nick.  Nick loaded the car and we got home around 7pm in time for our regular Friday homemade pizza night dinner.  The decision made, Spring Break was no longer about college tours; it was home improvement time.
Building the cabinets

Dinner at Sakura
The next few days were a blur of building, measuring, and slowly trying to figure it all out. Meals consisted of frozen foods and eating out because it was our vacation after all, and I was in home renovation mode.  It was an incredibly slow process. The kids built the cabinets; Dan and I installed them. We had a few moments of uncertainty and concern about the corner cabinet spacing and the stability of the peninsula. But with inspiration and Home Depot we managed to get it done.

Hiding from the work
 We did it. Here's the transformation so far.  This wall has been blank for a year because we have been anticipating this project.

In the end our Spring Break didn't end up at all as planned.

Day 1:  Charlottesville, VA               IKEA
Day 2:  Blacksburg, VA                    Install Upper Cabinets
Day 3:  Pigeon Forge , TN                Install Lower Cabinets 
Day 4:  Great Smoky Mountains      Return to IKEA
Day 5:  Columbia, SC                       Home Depot
Day 6:  Raleigh, NC                          Build Peninsula
Day 7:  Home

We opted for the Ikea quartz countertops and thankfully passed the inspection for a level installation. Now we wait another week for the countertop.  Then just some doors, plumbing, trim, caulking, paint, and decorations and it's done!  I can't wait to see how it comes together in the end.

10 Questions to Ask Before You Start Selling Limelight by Alcone

Are you thinking about selling Limelight by Alcone? I know I am. The recent freeze on enrolling new beauty guides due to low product stock and extremely delayed shipping sent up numerous red flags. But I remain undecided. Perhaps it's the unrelenting analytical side of me, but I can't just jump in. I need to think it though.

The decision to sell Limelight by Alcone is a giant leap, especially if you are new to direct sales. So, if direct sales/MLM is new to you, there are many things to consider before you jump in.

10.  Do I love the product?   
This one is especially difficult, because you can't find out until you try the products, which costs $$$. You really need to try out some samples and get a feel for the products. There are 2 reasons for this. First, and mostly obviously, people can tell. Your family, friends, and customers will know whether or not you actually love the product. Secondly, you need excitement to keep you motivated. Love for the product will keep you focused and keep you engaged with your potential customers.

9.  Do I understand Multilevel Marketing affectionally called Direct Sales?
Direct Sales is the process of selling a product without the use of a physical store.  Think old fashioned "peddler."  In the case of Limelight by Alcone you are the peddler, and customers buy directly from you or from your website.   Multi-level marketing is where the seller makes money from both selling the product and from enrolling new direct sellers.  The bigger your downstream team the bigger your profit!

8.  Do I have the money to get started?
It's not just the $169 for the Basic Startup Kit, there's also tax and shipping. Come to think of it, there is always tax and shipping on each and every sale, which changes the prices drastically for you and your customers as well.   

  • Basic Start-up Kit    $169
  • Sotox                       $  42
  • One Drop Wonder   $ 84
  • Other Makeup         $100
  • Tools                        $  85
  • 12 Months Website  $120
     Total                          $600

Adding up some of the extras you will buy when you are first starting out, makeup brushes, other tools or makeup, including Pomifera oil and Sotox, and the $10 a month website fee, you will spend at least $600 your first year.  

7.  Do I have a clear understanding of how much money I will make?
You will start out making 20% commission. Products range from $3 - $194, with a lipgloss at $18 and mascara at $20. Estimating an average price of about $25 a sale, you will need to make around 12 sales a month. These 12 sales will get you about $60 a month. But remember it will cost you about $600 your first year. Without building a downline or increasing your sales you won't be making any money. But with a downstream line, assuming you add one new team member a month and they continue adding one new team member a month, the profits find out more watch this video

6.  What am I going to do if I don't make $300? 
Once you grow a downline, this becomes important. You need to sell $300 of products to be active. This isn't going to be an initial concern, but it will be later. So if you do not sell $300 of product a month you don't get your downstream commission. There will come a time that it may cost you $300 to make back $200. Can I handle the stress of worrying about this $300 a month?

5.  Do I know enough people to sell?
A good rule of thumb is 1 in 10. Let's say 1 in 10 of your Facebook friends buy something from you. I have 400 Facebook friends, which means 40 will buy something from me. I think that sounds generous, but I'll take it. That means I will make 40 sales averaging $25 a sale. That only gets me through less than 4 months of minimum sales. Where am I going to get the rest of my sales? Which brings me to the next question.

4.  Do I have a plan?
You need a social media marketing plan. Do you think you can sustain your business with the people you currently know, or do you need to meet new contacts? How do you plan to meet them? How much are you going to post? Have you tested out making live videos? Do you want a website or blog?
It doesn't take long, but maybe an hour or so to sit down and think about what you can do to get started. As you continue, there are thousands of resources available to help you grow your market share. For now, have a starting plan. Make a few test videos, have a plan and keep your goal in focus.

3.  Are you comfortable with social media marketing?
The bulk of Limelight by Alcone sales is social media marketing. You will have to make videos, live videos, post selfies, and expose a large part of your home life to be successful. Are you comfortable with this? Do you take decent selfies? Are you okay with inundating your friends and family with Limelight products? Are you ready to stop political/controversial postings and focus on uplifting and inspirational themes?

2.  Do I have the time?
Making videos, developing relationships, keeping up with contacts, testing new products, posting inspirational memes, it all takes time. Many Beauty Guides spend over an hour a day on live videos. This is not a sit back and relax and the money will roll in business.  To be successful there is a significant time commitment. As a minimum, you must consider Limelight as your new hobby and spend a couple hours a day "working".

1.  Do I have the time right now?
Once you sign up, the clock starts. Now you don't have to sell, sell, sell immediately, but you do have to pay $10 a month website fees.  Also, there is significant pressure to sell $1000 your first month so you can get free products. So, before you begin make sure you are ready to go for it right now. Have your plan ready and your house in order, because you will be very busy right away.

These are the questions to ask yourself. Take the time to think it through, make sure you are making the right decision for yourself and your family. Good Luck!

Limelight in the Mail - Using Social Media to Sell

Well, it's been three weeks since I ordered the botanical foundation from Limelight by Alcone.  It finally shipped.  It's in the mail and I am patiently waiting.  I have heard that they are moving to a new warehouse and are working to get this problem resolved.  I certainly hope so!
Three weeks is far too long to wait.

In the meantime, I have been working on my social media plan and have been using Revlon Colorstay while I await my Limelight foundation; I'm chalky. Check it out...

Shopping for College Interview Clothing....

Tascha's College Interview

Tascha need some somewhat professional clothing for college interviews.  It's so hard to find decent clothing but that is age appropriate.  I don't want her to look like a 30 year old.   This is what we have so far.  Still need some shoes.  So much fun!!!

Eternal quest for ash blonde highlights

Yesterday I woke up determined to get my hair done right.   It's been nearly 20 years since it happened.  Back in the 90's I had this fabulous hairdressser John who always nailed it.   But I don't live in Connecticut anymore and I don't know what happened to John.  But I still want ash blonde hair.

I have cool skin and do not want brassy yellow hair.  No matter who does it or how much I pay, I wind up with brassy hair.  But the end of the two to three hours of the appointment, I am always disappointed but cannot manage to ever say, "Why is my hair yellow?  I carefully explained to you that I did not want yellow."   I don't say anything.

Ignore the red face from my attempt to fix my wonky brows
This morning I went to a new hair dresser.  Mandy quit doing hair last Spring, so I have been floating around trying new people.   Mandy didn't get it right either, but she was familiar, so I stayed with her for 1.5 years until she quit.   This morning I met Hannah, young and beautiful, with perfect ash blond highlights.  Once again, I requested ash blond hair, just like hers.  Now I knew this would be a problem, because my last coloring was a fiasco, leaving me with splotchy gold and rust hair.  But we discussed it, pulled out samples and decided on the perfect color.

I got yellow hair.  Of course.

I was pleasantly happy anyway.  She curled the ends and it looked much better than before, but still yellow.   Then I picked up my kids and Tascha said, "How come you are so happy, you didn't get the color you wanted?"    She was right.   fucking yellow hair.  I then continued complaining all the way to the dentist.  While waiting, I played around with Perfect365 and "photoshopped" a picture of me with ash blonde highlights.  Nick says it looks like I have gray hair.
The highlights of my dreams....
Maybe he's right.  Ash blonde is sort of gray.  And now that I'm 44, that's not far away.  I think I need to embrace my yellow hair.  Well at least until my next appointment in June.

This is what I will look with gray.  I will rock it.  But I can wait.

Giant Red Flags - Limelight by Alcone - and Fate

I think fate sent me a sign.  I was preparing a video about all the Giant Red Flags about Limelight by Alcone.  I found all these reasons to run away fast.   But I still wanted to do it.  I was sure it would be an "I-told-you-so" event for Dan, but I didn't care, I just wanted the makeup.  It's like when we go house hunting, if there is a pool, I can't see any flaws in the house.  The pool distracts me.   Well this pile of make-up is blinding.

Fate stepped in.  The kids broke the dishwasher.  I have to spend nearly $600 to buy a new one.   I'll have to wait for frivolous make-up.  So while I wait and save some money and sell some things on Ebay.   Let's talk about Limelight by Alcone again and this time, Let's look for Red Flags....

Red Flag #1  Imperative $300 sales each month to be active and $10 a month website fee. 

Red Flag #2  Incredibly long wait for shipping.  I ordered a foundation 12 days ago.  It still hasn't shipped.

Red Flag #3  So many people claiming it's not a pyramid scheme.  If it's not a pyramid scheme, then why does this even come up.  Shouldn't they just focus on selling the makeup.

Issue #1  Significant investment, since you will want to try out the products before you sell them.  Leading to pyramid scheme concerns.

Issue #2  Significant time investment. I worked the numbers out and with just the people I already know and interact with normally, I can not get the necessary numbers.  I need to attract lots of new contacts.  That is work.  

Issue#3  I hate when other people use Facebook to sell their products.  I don't want to constantly post about Limelight and "how much i love my job".

Issue #4  Extreme Shipping costs.  Items are reasonably priced before you add shipping.  Free shipping at over $200.  Also, If you pay for pay for express shipping your stuff goes to the front of the line.  That means you get priority on the limited stock and people that won't pay that much for shipping have to wait longer for more stock.

Time for another video discussing these issues and more...