Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taste Test & Bertolli Giveaway

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With Hurricane Sandy having paid the North Eastern United States a visit and Halloween being only a few days away, it's safe to say the fall is in full swing.  No more super sunny and warm days.  It's time for hats, scarfs and coats. 

With fall comes changes in our food choices.  Summer salads and lemonade are pushed aside for comfort food and warm cider.  I enjoy cooking and am looking forward to making vegetable soup and chicken and barley soup.  But there are times when I don't have time to cook.  Luckily I know from past experience that I can turn to Bertolli frozen meals for awesome, easy, quick soups. 

Recently the good people at Bertolli let me know they had a new line of frozen meals coming out.  They asked if I'd wanted to try the new line for free and offered to send me coupons so that one of my readers could try the.  I told them I had to think about it.  Just kidding of course I said yes.

I received my coupons in the mail a little while later.  I picked up the frozen meals at Target and called up two of my favorite people, my nieces and invited them over for a taste test.  I wanted to tell you all about the meals and give one of you the chance to win $40 worth of Bertolli coupons.  What could be a more joyful way to do it than to do it with my nieces.  My nieces and their step-mother came over for a girls night/ taste test at my house one Friday night.  The girls played with my dog, my cell phone, and my laptop while we watched Bride Wars.   In between all of that I did hold their attention long enough to do our taste test. 

We tried the Bertolli Classic Chicken Florentine & Farfalle, Classic Garlic Shrimp Risotto, and Classic Italian Sausage & Rigatoni. Before we tried them we all picked out the ones we were most excited to try.  My oldest niece thought she'd like the Italian Sausage & Rigatoni and the Garlic Shrimp Risotto the best.  Her sister was excited to try the Chicken Florentine& Farfalle and Italian Sausage & Rigatoni.  Their step-mother thought she'd like the Garlic Shrimp Risotto and Italian Sausage & Rigatoni the best.  I thought I'd like the Chicken Florentine & Farfalle the best. 

The meals were all easy to cook.  So easy in fact that I cooked them all at the same time.  I was carefull to use separate spoons while cooking to not interfere with out taste testing. 

The good news is we were all right to be excited to try the meals.  We liked all of them. However only my younger nice and her step-mom were right about which would be their favorite.  My favorite ended up being the Garlic Shrimp Risotto.  My nices' step-mom's favorite was the Italian Sausage & Rigatoni, one of the ones she was most excited to try.  My nieces both picked the same one as their favorite.  Check them out on video explaining which one they liked the best and why. 


How do you introduce or try no foods?  Would you or have you done a taste test?  Have you tried the new Bertolli Meals?  If you'd like to follow the instructions below and enter to win $40 in coupons for Bertolli Frozen Meals.

* Bertolli sent me coupons to purchase Bertolli frozen measl for my taste test. All of the opinions and content above are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flashback Friday: Escaping Loneliness

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Wow!!! This week has flown by.  This week I had more interactions with medical types than I would ever want.  Luckily all is well now.  The devil was definitely throwing some stress my way as a distraction from the positivity that I'll be partaking in at the Joy of Giving Charity Event tomorrow.  But I sent up some prayers to block the negativity that he was trowing. I can't believe the Event is only 1 day away.  Time does fly.  Will you be there? 

Now on to the Flashback. Today's Flashback Friday post, Chasing Joy or Maybe Just Escaping Loneliness, is about me dealing with feelings of loneliness during a dating dry spell.  My social life has picked up a little since the time I wrote that post.  But I'm still on the market, so if you know a cute joy chasing gentlemen, hook a sistah up!!!  Check out the post and leave some comments on how you deal with feelings of loneliness.

If this is your first Flashback here is the deal. Flashback Friday is a great way to re-discover our earlier works and discover some new blogs. Flashback Friday is where we Flashback to our older blog posts and give them new life through the power of the linky! Just pick out your link and add it below. You can link to any post you like the theme does not have to match my own post. Feel free to post a link to your Flashback post on the Chasing Joy Facebook Page so more Joy Chasers can access it. Use hashtags #FBF or #FlashbackFriday on twitter to advertise your Flashback post.

Add your link below and be sure to check out AT LEAST TWO other Flashback posts. I suggest the two listed before your post to make it easy. Please leave a comment saying why you selected your Flashback post and what you thought about the other Flashback posts. I'm looking forward to reading all of your Flashbacks.

*Don't forget to grab the I am Chasing Joy and Flashback Friday buttons!

**Also invite some of your blogging buddies to join the Linky too!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nervous But it's Ok

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I cannot believe the Joy of Giving, Chasing Joy Event is only a few days away.  I am both excited and nervous.  I mean there is a reason I write a blog.  I am much more comfortable behind the scenes than front and center.  But I am excited as well to see how it will all come together.  I have prayed over this event many times over the last few months.  Those prayers have been answered repeatedly as businesses have responded yes to my request for sponsorship and other businesses sought me out asking how they could help.  As the song goes I know He didn't bring me this far to leave me.  I know Saturday will be great and a good time for all.  My nerves are simply due to the fact that I care.  I care about this event. I want it to be a success and a Win for everyone involved. I want Braking Chains to get awesome donations for the women transitioning from welfare to work and independence.  I want those who offer donations to feel good about where their clothes, shoes, and accessories are going.  I want to be applauded for their willingness to give back and support worth while causes.  I guess I want a lot out of this one event.  No wonder I have butterflies in my tummy.

There is one thing that I am not nervous about at all.  I have no nerves, regrets, or 2nd guesses about the charity that I chose. Why? Because I visited Breaking Chains last weekend and saw the operation for myself.  It was clean and organized.  I loved that the room where the clothing and accessories are held is set up to look like a store.  Put yourself in the shoes of one of the women on the receiving end.  If you needed 2nd hand clothing to prepare for an interview, wouldn't you want to feel as though you were shopping?  Wouldn't you want to be able to pick an outfit you'd feel good and confident as opposed to having to settle for whatever is there?  Wouldn't you want to feel in control over what your wardrobe looked life as you started out into this next phase of your life?  That what we are giving when we give our clothing, shoes and accessories to Breaking Chains. 

But enough of me telling you, I'll show you.  This is what I saw when I visited the charity last weekend.

Breaking Chains Charity is located in the basement of Beloved Baptist Church.


There was a nice selection of shoes.  But definitely room to add your donations to the shelves. 



The remainder of the clothing after some of the women had their pick.

The Scarfs and Handbags looked a little sparse. 
Good thing we'll be donating some.
This is the Empty Accessories Case just waiting for our donations.


Here is a glimpse of the sewing room where the ladies can master the skill.

Now that you have seen where your donations will be going I hope you feel as good as I do about supporting this Charity.  Who will be joining me at BellaNor Boutique on Saturday?  Click here to Register. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

BRC2012 Part 3: Oh Joy! 7 Ways to Generate Traffic to Your Site

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I can't believe it has been a month since Blogalicious 12.  I am still basking in the after glow of conference time well spent.  This will be my last post about the conference, I think :-)  Hopefully you enjoyed part 1 (making it personal), part 2 (5 ways to make money), and my pictures from the conference. This post is covering conference tips on how to get more traffic to your website.

But, before I get into that there is one other aspect of the conference that I have not mentioned on this blog.  I had roommates at the conference.  They were not other bloggers, but two very supportive friends who came out to Vegas with me. If you are bored with what I have been recapping so far, head over to Girlfrienology and check out my October Post on How to Travel Joyfully with your Girlfriends.  If you have been loving my recap of Blogalicious 12 then stay put.  Here are ### ways to increase the traffic to your website.
  1. The main thing I heard at every conference, Blogalicious 12 being no different, is Key Words.  Making sure you are using the proper key words to attract the readers that are targeting tells Google what traffic to send you.  I am not an expert on Key Words or SEO so I cannot delve to deeply into this tip.  If you are a Key Word or SEO Expert than I look forward to your tips in the comments below.  Sharing is Caring :-)
  2. Repurposing your content was a good new tip for me.  Repurposing is exactly the way it sounds.  It is using the content on your blog for multiple purposes.  One bit of advice was to use the content from each blog post multiple times.  Take short synopsis of your blog posts and post them on Facebook and Twitter.  You can also repurpose your content on other websites that do not require original content.  I have repurposed some of my post on Blog Her. While I often post links to my blog posts on Facebook and Twitter to post a synopsis is a new idea that I plan to use.
  3. Taking advantage of guest blogging opportunities.  Many of us often look for opportunities to do guest posts on other blogs. But don't forget there is great opportunity to gain new readers when you allow others to guest post on your blog.  They can bring a totally different audience as they invite their readers to your blog.
  4. Linkedin is not just for people looking for traditional work.  I have revived my linkedin account after Blogalicious 12.  I thought it was tool that was only useful for making traditional private industry job connections.  Since I work in the public sector for my day job and  blog during my off time I thought it had no purpose. I was wrong, there are linkedin groups for bloggers and freelance writers.  You can also repurpose your blog content within the discussion areas on Linkedin.  I will be exploring Linkedin a bit more to see how else it is useful in increasing web traffic.
  5. This one is pretty self explanatory.  When you have online events make sure you have a sign in sheet that includes the option for people to join your mailing list.
  6. Pay attention to your web traffic.  Know the KeyWords that people used to find your website in search engines.  Know the location of most of your visitors.  Know how people are spending their time on your site so you know what type of info most interest your readers.  The most common tool for gathering traffic data that I have heard of is google analytics.  Use the info from your analytics to provide your readers with better content.
  7. Lastly, maintain your web and social media presence.  Keep your site up to date with current information. Respond and be conversational on Facebook and Twitter.
I of course plan to use this tips to generate more traffic here.  But these tips can be helpful with driving traffic to any website.  Charities, churches, schools, business, social groups and everyone else has a web presence these days.  What methods do you use to increase traffic to your website? What do you think of these tips from Blogalicious12?

Now quick, head over to Girlfriendology and check out my October Post on How to Travel Joyfully with your Girlfriends.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Flashback Friday: Reinventing Monday & Candle Giveaway Winner

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Happy Friday everyone! This was a fast week for me. But I'm not complaining.  The weekend is here and I am looking forward to some down time. I'm also looking forward to finalizing everything for the Joy of Giving, Chasing Joy Event.  I can't believe we are only one week away.  Will you be attending?  Have you shared the event with your friends, family, and followers? It's not to late so register and spread the word. 

Before we get to the Flashback I do have an announcement to make.  There were 77 entries in the Catalyst for Joy Candle give away. I have to say this was our best giveaway yet.  Thanks to Gourmet Scent Shop, A Joy of Giving Sponsor,we were able to select two winners.  The winners are Arelis and Rondah!!!  Thanks to everyone who entered.

Now on to the Flashback.  Today's Flashback Friday post, Reinventing Monday, like last week's Flashback is about going into Mondays with a positive outlook and setting goals for a Joyful week. Most of us don't look forward to Mondays because they mean back to work, back to getting up early, back to the daily grind. It is the end of the fun and relaxation of the weekend. But that is no way to start the week.  Especially in this economy if you are going to work on Monday it is a blessing.  So while you are enjoying the weekend, make up your mind to not go into Monday with a negative mind set. Instead go into Mondays with the idea of planning and sharing some goals that will help you have a good week.

If this is your first Flashback here is the deal. Flashback Friday is a great way to re-discover our earlier works and discover some new blogs. Flashback Friday is where we Flashback to our older blog posts and give them new life through the power of the linky! Just pick out your link and add it below. You can link to any post you like the theme does not have to match my own post. Feel free to post a link to your Flashback post on the Chasing Joy Facebook Page so more Joy Chasers can access it. Use hashtags #FBF or #FlashbackFriday on twitter to advertise your Flashback post.

Add your link below and be sure to check out AT LEAST TWO other Flashback posts. I suggest the two listed before your post to make it easy. Please leave a comment saying why you selected your Flashback post and what you thought about the other Flashback posts. I'm looking forward to reading all of your Flashbacks.

*Don't forget to grab the I am Chasing Joy and Flashback Friday buttons!
**Also invite some of your blogging buddies to join the Linky too!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dating Advice for a Joyful Relationship from Expert Paul Carrick Brunson

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Me and Paul Carrick Brunson after he signed my book.
About my weekend :-) Yesterday I told you about how my weekend was good and that I’d tell you about it later. Well it’s later. Saturday and Sunday I did blog related stuff that I’ll tell you about in future posts (I know, still making you wait :-) But on Friday I did something that was not blog related at all. It had to do with my love life or should I say my desire to have one LOL.


On Friday I went to a seminar and book signing for the only male black matchmaker that I know of, Mr. Paul Carrick Brunson. I first saw Paul on the Dr. Drew Show, Life Changers. He seemed very genuine. He was offering practical advice on dating to an audience made up of a lot of black people. You hardly ever see that on TV. He was also debunking some of the myths about love and relationships amongst black people including emphasizing that Black women are not bitter. I liked him and started following him on twitter. On two separate occasions I tweeted him with questions and he replied within a couple hours. The 2nd tweet I sent him was asking when he’d be bringing his dating/relationship expertise to Philly. His response was “Next Week” along with a link to the website for the It’s complicated tour. So that is how I ended up at VII Luxe Lounge on Friday night.

I was not sure what to expect of the evening. Initially I thought it would be like the dating mixer event that was shown on Dr. Drew’s show. Then after reading the website I thought it would be more of a seminar. It was a combination of both. The evening started off like a typical happy hour. Doors opened at 6 pm to drinks, wings, music and mingling. After some vocalizing by an up and coming artist, who’s name I did not catch, PCB (Paul Carrick Brunson) graced the stage.

Paul Carrick Brunson doing his thing.
His seminar was sort of a preview/walk through of his book It’s Complicated But Doesn’t Have to Be. He kept it really interactive with lots of audience participation. There was lots of laughing and even some hooting and hollering. A possible love connection was made, not for me, but for the cute couple who volunteered to go on stage for one of the exercises.

Here is a list of highlights from PCB’s presentation that I hope to delve deeper into in his book:
  • During a survey, the feature that the majority of women all said they wanted In a man was height. Over 6 feet to be exact. I have to include myself in that group, though I’m not counting shorter guys out.
  • Your chances for a long lasting relationship are greatly increased if you meet these four criteria: common values, in line with non-negotiables, complementary (not matching) personality types, and attraction. Non-negotiables are the things you won’t compromise on. Attention Mr. Future Joy Chaser, my non-negotiables are must believe in God and Jesus (yes both) and must want children. Values would include things like work ethic, iimportance of family, adventure, generosity, friendship, dependability, etc. Personality types need to mesh well and not be the same. Think of the arguments two people who both need to be right would have. Or think of the messy house that two laid back, I’ll get to it later, types would have. Attraction goes without saying. An interesting fact PCB shared was that studies show that men will describe a woman as hot if her waist is 70% smaller than her hips. Excuse me while I find my measuring tape :-) I think meeting the first three criteria is what keeps you together as you get older and looks start to fade. Maybe being solid in those three areas is what makes the attraction last. 
  • 3 tips for ladies approaching a man are keep it short don’t unsell yourself, be confident, and have swag (have your look together). For me this was the most valuable part of the night. If you remember from my post talking about how I was not feeling too confident, approaching men has not been my strong point. There was some roll play that showed how to do it.  It was funny but the best part was at the end the men who'd volunteered to participate told us what they felt the woment did best.   
  • Don’t think that if you have experienced love once you’ll never experience it again. Love can happen again.  Increase your social circle and be open to the possibilities. Your Mr. or Mrs. Right is likely less than 5 degrees of separation away. At least I hope my Mr. Joy Chaser is that close :-)
As I read through PCB’s book I’ll share any other tips that I ll attempt to put into practice. Have you read the book? I know a lot of you Joy Chasers are married. What are your tips for  awesome single girls, like me who are looking for their Mr. Awesome Single Guy?

Monday, October 15, 2012

BRC2012 Part 2: 5 Ways to Make Money

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Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend.  Mine was good and action packed.  I'll tell you all about it a little later in the week.

It's Monday therefore it is Make It Happen Monday on Chasing Joy. Make it Happen Monday is where we set goals that will help us have a more joyful week and post them to the Chasing Joy Facebook Page and on Twitter using the hashtag #MakeitHappenMonday.  While you are thinking about your goals for the week take into account some of the tips I picked up at Blogalicious 12  on ways to make money Blogging.  Even if you don't blog some of these tips may come in handy.  Everyone has a side hussle these days. I've heard more than one person emphasize the importance of having more than one income source.  I'd say that is becoming more and more necessary given the current economy.

Here are ways to make money Blogging:
  1. Write an E-Book - This is something I would like to do.  Writing an E-Book will give you credibility as an author.  Often people will do a free E-book first to gain an audience.
  2. Public Speaking - Public Speaking is a great way to generate a buzz and get people talking about you and the information you have to offer. 
  3. Events - Both online and in person events can generate income.  You can charge attendees and/or you can generate income form sponsorship.  Online events include webinars, twitter chats and live streaming. Offline events include conferences, and meet ups. 
  4. Videos - You tube allows you to monetize.  Don't just tell people how to do something.  Show them on video. 
  5. Sell Ad Space - You can sell ad space directly on your page.  You can also sell add space in connection with your events.  Sell ads to appear in your webinar or be visible at your in person, offline events.
Several other ways to generate income were discussed at the conference but these were the ones that resonated the most with me.  Besides, I shouldn't give all the conference info away if I want you to attend, right?

Now as you start to set goals and think about ways to generate more income sources keep in mind that you should not get so focused on making money that you forget about story telling on your blog or forget about the passion behind your business or hobbies.  Be sure to Make It Personal and know your voice, audience, and community as was discussed in Part 1 of this series.

If you are a blogger do you or will you plan to generate income using any of the above techniques?  If you do not blog do you have or think you need more than one source of income?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flashback Friday & Accessories Saturday!

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Happy Friday and welcome to the Flashback!!!

A while ago a fashion blogger friend of mine commented on not knowing which post to include for flashback Friday because she did not feel her blog was particularly inspirational.  I assured her that she could post whatever post she wanted for flashback Friday.  There are no requirements in terms of post topic.  The flashback is simply an opportunity to give old post new life :-)  The only requirement is you visit to other links. 

That was not the end of my response to my fashionable friend.  I told her that she was mistaken about her blog.  There is a lot of value in our outer appearance.  Now how you look is not as important as who you are.  But it is still important.  Personally, I have found that as I have gotten more immersed in Chasing Joy I have become more and more conscious of my appearance, in a good way.  I have recognized how things are kind of circular in that when I feel better I look better (more alert, smiling, better posture) and when I look better I feel better.  Who does not feel good when they walk past the mirror and like what they see. Learning about how to look my best as a full figured girl has given me more confidence.  So there is definite value and inspiration in beauty and fashion. 

This Flashback Friday I am excited because tomorrow I will have the opportunity to learn a bit more about fashion.  I will be attending Macy's Celebration of Accessories!  The Celebration of Accessories is a preview of Fall’s most talked-about accessories like studded clutches, suede ankle boots and statement necklaces. Stylists will be on hand to give tips on how accessories can keep your wardrobe current.  I'm excited to figure out some ways to make my current clothes look new so I can cut some of my shopping budget.  There is also a giveaway for a handbag, pair of boots from Carlos by Carlos Santana or a $250 Macy’s Gift Card! :-)

If you are free and in Philly come down to Macy's and join me.  The Celebration of Accessories will take place on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2pm at Macy’s Center City, Philadelphia PA, Grand Court, Main Floor.  If you are not in Philly don't worry there are Celebration of Accessories fall previews in other locations as well:

Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2pm

Macy’s Galleria at Hildago, Houston, TX
2nd Level
*with special guest Rebecca Spera

Saturday, Oct. 13 at 3pm

Macy’s Dadeland, Miami FL
1st Floor

Now, on to the Flashback!  Hopefully I have cleared up any confusion and all of you know you can link up any post you want :-)   My Flashback this week is Make it Happen Monday.  I know it is Friday and no one wants to think about Monday.  This post is just a reminder that Monday's don't have to be bad. We can use them as a time to set goals that bring us closer to the Joy we are chasing. 

Now, pick out a link to one of your oldie but goody post and add it below. Feel free to post a link to your Flashback post on the Chasing Joy Facebook Page so more Joy Chasers can access it. Use hashtags #FBF or #FlashbackFriday on twitter to advertise your Flashback post. Be sure to check out AT LEAST TWO other Flashback posts. I suggest the two listed before your post to make it easy. Please leave a comment saying why you selected your Flashback post and what you thought about the other Flashback posts. I'm looking forward to reading all of your Flashbacks.


*Don't forget to grab the I am Chasing Joy and Flashback Friday buttons!

**Also invite some of your blogging buddies to join the Linky too!
***Oh, and I hope to see you at Macy's on Saturday**

*Disclosure: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about Macy's Fall Accessories. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.






Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blogalicious 2012 Pictures for Wordless/Wordful Wednesday

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  It's Way to Go Wednesday, #WaytogoWednesday!!!  Way to go to Be Blogalicious for a successful Blogalicious 2012.  I loved it.  Here are some of my Pictures.
The View from my room was AWESOME!!!
Don't I look Blogalicious
Met up with some Bloggy Buddies :-)
At the Miller Coors Suite.  The are having a business plan competition
for a $50,000 business grant. Visit  http://millercoorsmues.com/


I had some fun on the strip.

Were these Pictures taken inside or outside???  
I found a beer I liked.  It was an apple cider.
Paris in Vegas!
This Bar really was negative 5 degrees inside with ice walls, tables, and glasses. 
They wouldn't let me take pictures inside :-(

It was really a wonderful time.  I can't wait for Blogalicious 2013!!!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Keep a Bad Moment from Stealing Your Joy

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For my last birthday a friend of mine gave me Joyce Meyer's book Living Beyond Your Feelings.  I did not start reading it right away.  But I have been reading it little by little in the mornings for the last few weeks.  The few pages I read this morning were about how easy it is for us to get stuck in our negative thoughts.

The reason these particular pages resonated with me is because I am guilty.  One thing will go wrong or not as expected.  The next thing I know my thoughts have gone on this downward stream of consciousness where each thought is more negative than the one before it.  Someone will say something that upsets me.  Then I'll start thinking how mean people are rehashing every mean thing people have said.  Next I'll start to get down on myself for not having had the appropriate snappy comebacks.  And then suddenly other people's lack of respect has become my own fault.  And the negative thoughts just continue on and on until I or often someone else like my mom or a friend snaps me out of it.  Now, you see why I must continue Chasing Joy.

Of course Ms. Meyer had a suggestion for this problem in those few pages.  She suggest stopping that downward spiral of negative thoughts by thinking about something positive.  That got me to thinking.  I should come up with a list of go to thoughts that I could turn to and concentrate on when something bad happens to keep me from spiraling out.  For me the easiest thoughts are memories.  So here are a few memories that will become my go to thoughts to reset my mind after a negative experience.
  • Buying my first Car - I did my research myself.  I had a friend who had her dad's old Nissan Sentra.  She had had it for a while and the car was over 10 years old and still going.  I decided that was what I wanted.  I knew I could not afford a new car so I looked for a used one.  I found I could go the haggle free way by buying through Enterprise Car Sales.  I found they had the car I wanted, a used 2005 Nissan Sentra, at the local lot.  My dad and I went together to get it.  It was Columbus Day 2005.  When we go their they could not find the keys.  I was thinking this was a sign to not buy the car as I had prayed heavily over this purchase.  While they attempted to locate the keys my dad and I drove to the closes Nissan dealership.  They did not have any used 2005 Sentras.  They showed us the New 2006 Sentra.  Which was several thousand more than I could afford.  While we were talking to the salesmen at the dealership the Enterprise salesman called to say they found the keys.  We hurried back to the used lot where we found that the used 2005 Nissan Sentra was the same in every way, including what was under the hood, as the New 2006 Sentra.  I felt so confident in my purchase as I signed the papers and drove off in my car.  I understood that all of that happened as a way to reassure me that this was the car for me.  My dad was proud of me for my research and securing my own financing.  It was an awesome day. 
  • The day I picked out my cat Peanut.  I went to the SPCA to get a cat.  I knew I wanted a kitten because they are so little and cute.  Peanut was in a cage with two other kittens.  The SPCA person said they were his brothers but they looked nothing like him.  Peanut is black and white and the other two were a brownish pattern.  Peanut was the smallest of the three.  I picked him because he was the runt and because his black and white patter was similar to the black and white pattern of my dad's cat.  I signed for him and agreed to have him fixed as was the SPCA's requirement.  I took him home a few days latter.  He has been terrorizing, I mean keeping me company, ever since.  LOL 
  • My 1st trip to Las Vegas.  This was my first trip going out of town with a man.  I felt like a grown up in a way that I never did prior to this trip.  I went with my ex-boyfriend and several friends from college.  I was surrounded by people who I loved being around and who loved being around me and none of them were family.  Which means our relationships were completely by choice.  We had fun; ate, dance, gambled, and went to shows.  We laughed a lot.  Even though that relationship did not work out I felt 100 percent secure in it at that time.  That was an awesome feeling that I look forward to experiencing again.
Thoughts are fluid some need to pass through like water through a strainer while others need to be contained stored for later use.  These are the thoughts and memories that I choose to store and use when ever something bad happens.  These thoughts are the ones I'll turn to to keep me from that downward spiral into negativity.  What are some of your positive thoughts or memories that you can go to when something starts to bring you down and steal your Joy?

Monday, October 8, 2012

BRC2012 Part 1: Making it Personal at Blogalicious

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Disclaimer, this post will be all about my experience at the Blogalicious Blog Conference.  It will cover the cool things that I learned and inspiration that I received to help me become a better blogger.  If you do not blog you may not want to read further, BUT I HOPE YOU DO!.  Why?  Because so much of what was covered at the blog conference applies to more than just bloggers.  If you have your own business, want to have your own business, have your own charity, enjoy social media, are active in your sorority or have a hobby that you want to invest more of yourself in than KEEP READING :-)

So where do I even begin.  I'll start by saying everyone should go to conferences.  It is so refreshing to be around people who understand and get what you do.  They share your excitement and enthusiasm to learn all their is to know about your interest.  That was my experience at Blogalicious as well as at all of the other blog conferences that I have attended.  So go online and start looking up conferences related to your own interests.  No matter what your in to I am sure there is a conference somewhere bringing people who share your interest together.  For example if you love Bingo you could go to the Bingo World 2013 Conference taking place in Mississippi next spring.

I noticed several themes at Blogalicious this year than kept coming up during the different presentations, panels, and breakout sessions.  They were Make It Personal, Ways to Generate Income (Make Money) and How to Get More Traffic to your site.  

I really want to share everything that I learned so that 1 you can use these tips to help you with your own, blog, business, charity, or hobby and 2 so that you will wish you were there and join me at Blogalicious 2013.  That's right I'm already planning to go even though I have no clue where it will be held. My vote is for Philly by the way!!!  In an effort to share all but not bore you with a super long post I'll break up all the info in a series of post. This post is already getting long so I will start us off with what it means to Make it Personal.

Making it personal means to be authentic.  Your blog, business, etc is an extension of you. It is your ideas, goals, and passions.  However as you get more involved it is really easy to get pulled in multiple directions and get distracted by money, opportunities, and other shinny things.  Now there is nothing wrong with money, opportunities, and other shinny things but if you are not careful you could look around one day and find that you are doing nothing like what you ever intended or wanted to do.  You have lost touch with your true vision and passion.  You have gone from being authentic to being whatever you need to be to get the money, opportunities, and shinny things.  But often along the way you have lost your joy and maybe even indirectly steered yourself away from the money, opportunities, and shinny things that you would have attracted naturally by being your authentic self. 

Here are a few things you should be aware of to help you stay authentic and Make it Personal:
  • Know your voice
    • Who are you?
    • Why do you do this?
    • What is your goal?
  • Know your audience
    • What is their demographic (age, gender, location, etc.)
  • Know your sponsors (or potential sponsors)
  • Who do you work for?
  • Who is your community?
My answers to this questions are as follows:
  • My Voice
    • I am a single woman in her 30s who recognizes that it is really easy for me to get weighted down with the hardships of life and become unhappy if I am not focused on Joy and Happiness.
    • I write this blog as a way of reminding myself to stay focused on being happy and to remind others that their personal happiness is important and and should be a top priority.
    • My goal is to never get stuck in a prolonged period of unhappiness and to provide a safe place online for people to talk about their own pursuit of Joy.
  • My Audience
    • My audience is largely made up of women between the ages of 25 and 44.  Many live in the Philadelphia area but a few live as far away as the UK and South Africa.
  • My sponsors
    • Sponsors can include any brands that promote improving quality of life.  Current sponsors for my upcoming event include self care services such as life coaching, hair care, stylist, and spa services.
  • My Boss
    • I work for myself first and foremost.  I started this blog to pull myself out of a dark place and I don't ever want to lose site of that purpose.  I also work for my readers and want to give them an entertaining and relatable experience with each blog post.
  • My community
    • My community includes people who like to have a positive and optimistic outlook on life and people who are looking for and who want to share inspiration.
Can you answer these questions about your blog, business, hobby and maybe even your current job?  What is your voice, audience, and community?

Stay tuned for the next post in the Blogalicous Recap 2012 series.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Flashback Friday: Dog Philosophy

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Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you all had a great week.  I am still riding high off of the Blogalicious 12 Conference.  It was a great time. However, before I left I was stressed because my dog, Hurt, had gotten sick and we had been in the animal ER only less than 24 hours before I got on the plane.  My mom took care of my sick dog while I was in Las Vegas and nursed him back to health.  Today's Flashback Friday, post Dog Philosophy, is appropriate because it is from another time when I had been worried over Hurt's health and he pulled through.  The post also shares how you can increase the Joy in your own life by taking on more of a Dog's Philosophy towards life.  Enjoy!

If this is your first Flashback here is the deal. Flashback Friday is a great way to re-discover our earlier works and discover some new blogs. Flashback Friday is where we Flashback to our older blog posts and give them new life through the power of the linky! Just pick out your link and add it below. You can link to any post you like the theme does not have to match my own post.  Feel free to post a link to your Flashback post on the Chasing Joy Facebook Page so more Joy Chasers can access it. Use hashtags #FBF or #FlashbackFriday on twitter to advertise your Flashback post.

Add your link below and be sure to check out AT LEAST TWO other Flashback posts. I suggest the two listed before your post to make it easy. Please leave a comment saying why you selected your Flashback post and what you thought about the other Flashback posts. I'm looking forward to reading all of your Flashbacks.

*Don't forget to grab the I am Chasing Joy and Flashback Friday buttons!
**Also invite some of your blogging buddies to join the Linky too!
** And Super Important,  Our Catalyst for Joy Candle Giveaway will be ending soon!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inspiration on The Path

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A funny thing happens when you are living the life you are supposed to lead.  God sends people into your life to keep you on the path.  Some will be in the race with you, neck and neck, as competitors (hopefully friendly competition) making you work harder. Others are way ahead of you leading the pack and paving the way.  A few of the most important people are on he sidelines.  Maybe they only recently noticed you started cheering you on or maybe they have been there all along.

When I was in my last year of college (funny I've mentioned college in my last post too) I had this feeling of know I was surrounded by girls who would make me better.  Well I am having that feeling again.  I feel like thee are some women in my life right now that are positioned to keep my on my path.  They support, encourage, and inspire me to continue Chasing Joy.

Of course the top of any list of women keeping me on my path would be my mom.  She is awesome and my number 1 supporter.  Every now and then when I question this blogging thing and the amount of time I spend doing it she simply reminds me that I like it.  She doesn't insist I continue or encourage me to let it go only reminds me that, oh yeah I really enjoy this. 

My friend Shanita goes on this list.  She and I have become friends as a result of her reading this blog.  She is a truly fun person.  She encourages me to let lose a little and have fun.  I am naturally a super cautious risk averse person and she helps me to throw caution to the wind.  Ok maybe not to the wind but at least a few feet away.  She also often reminds me to make sure I don't let other's take advantage of me, especially when it comes to dating.

The owner of Bellanor Boutique belongs on this list as well.  It's funny that I knew her briefly years ago and recently ran into each other. Now she is letting me use her Boutique to bring you the Joy of Giving Chasing Joy Event.  She opened her boutique during the recession and recently celebrated her one year anniversary.  She has held on to the entrepreneurial spirit that I left back in college.

This woman's online name says it all, PowerMommy.  She is about business.  She is a wife and the mother of 13 (blended family).  She is a CEO and Social Media Star.  She is even giving her own conference, Powered Up Weekend,  this month in DC.  She makes you feel like you can really do everything you want in life. 

Model and entrepreneur Jese Gary, is inspiring in multiple ways.  She enlightened me on the power of shape ware and how to be your own biggest fan at the Full Figured Fasionista Class I attended.  She invited me out to Sand Castle Winery who ended up becoming one of the sponsors for the Joy of Giving Chasing Joy Event.  She is also about her business but from a charitable perspective.  She started Luxegiving a business that helps charities in several states including Philly.  She has even invited Chasing Joy to join her in a charity jewelry sale.  She is donating 50% off of any sales from her online catalog this month to Breast Cancer awareness.  Just go to www.liasophia.com/jesegary to shop. Click on Browse our Jewelry and put in Chasing Joy in the hostess look up. (First name Chasing last name Joy). Your jewelry will be shipped directly to you from Jese.

My friend Maria at work is my idea of the model employee.  She gets her work done, knows her stuff but still makes time to socialize a little and be friendly.  She is kind and willing to share her knowledge. I wish more of us at work were like her.

I must mention Brandi from Mama Knows it all.  We first connected on twitter during my monthly #ChasingJoy Chat.  Then we met in person when I attended the conference Blogging While Brown.  Since then she has invited me to an inspiring group of women bloggers of color, Shads of Social Media.  She is a true connector of people and has surrounded me (virtually) with some other awesome ladies. 

And last but not least my fashionista friends Checky's Closet and Your Chic is Showing.  They have inspired me to take the time to make sure my outer me and my inner me match.  That my personality and inner beauty shine through. 

Wow!  This was supposed to be a short post.  But I am truly feeling surrounded by inspiration lately. 

So, who inspires you? Who keeps you on the path Chasing Joy?




Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October Challenge: Gratitude

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I'm back!

I returned home safely from my trip to Las Vegas from Blogalicious 2012.  Special Thanks to The Unconventional Librarian and Show and Stay Blog for stepping in with guest posts while I was away.   My Blogalicious trip was awesome.  I had so much fun with my girlfriends who came along with me.  I have also come home with so much inspiration and enthusiasm to bring to Chasing Joy.  But, I will go into detail about all of that in another post coming soon.

Today I am announcing our October Challenge.  I am not a particularly competitive person in terms of competing with others.  But I love to compete against myself with challenges that help me to improve and grow.  So for the month of October I am challenging myself and you to a Gratitude Challenge.

When I first started college a few years ago, along with all of the excitement I experienced I was also quite a bit overwhelmed.  One of the ways I handled the stress was by keeping a little journal. The journal was not of the diary type chronicling my daily deeds.  It was a little different.  One of the things that I journaled was gratitude.  Every day I would write down three things I was thankful for.  Doing this kept me grounded.  It kept me from focusing too much on all the things that could go wrong in this new environment.  I was busy being thankful for all that was going right.  It also kept me from having a woe is me attitude when things would go wrong.  It is hard to be consumed with self-pity while also practicing gratitude.\

So,  Our Challenge for the month of October is practice gratitude.  I want you to start each day listing three things you are thankful for.  The only rules are you cannot have any repeats and you must write them down.  Every day list three new things you are appreciative of.  Now, while I cannot tell you what to be thankful for I do want to encourage you to go a little deeper and list things that are not so obvious, like health, children, employment, etc...

With this challenge it is really important to take the step of writing the 3 things down.  You can list them all together in your very own gratitude journal.  I will be posting my three things on the Chasing Joy Facebook Page and on Twitter with the hashtag #CJOctChallenge. You are more than welcome to do the same and I will retweet and share your postings.  You can also feel free to email me your three gratitude's at joychasing@yahoo.com.  I also encourage you to get your like minded friends involved. You could text them your 3 things and become accountability partners for the challenge.

Let's get started.  Today I am thankful for:
  1.  friends who support my passion for blogging and Chasing Joy
  2. every opportunity I have to sleep late
  3. long, hot showers
Who's with me?  Who accepts the CJOctChallenge?  What are you thankful for Today?

Monday, October 1, 2012

What Brings Me Joy: Music

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As I was prparing to go away for a few days to attend the Blogalicious 2012 I reached out to my bloggy friends for guest posts.  One of my fellow Shades of Social Media Sisters Pammy Pam was happy to help me out.  Little did I know that her responding to my request would result in a brand new series on the Chasing Joy blog.

Chasing Joy is about my quest to find and hold on to joy.  But one of the really neat things about Joy is it's abstract quality.  What I find joyful may not be joyful to you and vice versa.  When I read Pam's guest post I was surprised that it was not about what I thought it would be about.  It was a pleasant surprise that lead me t wonder what other Joy Chasers find Joyful. Hence, the series was born.

The series is called What Brings Me Joy is....  You finish the sentence. If you have a passion, talent, or ability that brings you Joy you can be featured.  You don't have to be a blogger to be featured.  You only have to be willing to share what brings you Joy and why.

With that I'll turn it over to Pam for our first post in the What Brings Me Joy series.

You’d think for a post from an unconventional librarian I’d talk about books. To be sure, I do love books, but the one and only thing that brings me the most joy all day every day of my life? Music.

Music is my go to item for every aspect of my life:

• If I’m sad, Air on a “G” string comforts me like a warm blanket.

• When I’m stressed and need to relax, Pachelbel’s Cannon in C, smoothes my jagged nerves.

• If I’m cooking and in a good mood, my go to music choice is Buena Vista Social Club.

• When doing housework, nothing keeps me motivated like 80s music (I sound just like the Go Gos!).

• The rare times you’ll find me at the gym? Listening to my own personal compilation of Ricky Martin music, often in Spanish. I imagine I’m working out so that he’ll pick his first middle aged mama to be in a music video.

• The average day working or reading at home finds me listening to my local public radio station, playing classical all day long.

• Relaxing in the evenings can find me sipping a glass of vodka (wine?) and listening to jazz. Not that smooth jazz stuff, but the good stuff: Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong.

• In the car? I toggle between radio stations (80s) and soundtracks. You have no idea how good I sound singing along with the Dream Girls!

• And my most favorite type of music of all? Live music! Having lived in Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World, I’ve learned to appreciate music of all kinds, as long as it is live: country, rock, zydeco, tejano, r&b, etc. I like it all!

So, as you can see, not only am I an unconventional librarian because of my reading selections, but I am also pretty eclectic in my music choices as well and my joy is always found in music.
Pam has a Masters in Library and Information Science and is certified as a Library Media Specialist and in Elementary Education. She has experience as an educator, researching, designing, and implementing curriculum materials. Pam loves books and social media, and in her purse can be found with a book, a cup of coffee and her iPhone. She blogs at www.unconventionallibrarian.com.  Follow Pam on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. 

So, who will be next in the What Brings Me Joy series?  Tell me what brings you joy. 

If you want to be featured email me at joychasing@yahoo.com.

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