Getting Ready to Update the Home!

So, even though we just moved into our new house last year, it’s already time for a few updates! And a few adjustments for Jack who will be crawling soon.

I ran across this awesome article offering some advice for hottest home design trends coming in 2017, and I have to say – the mixed metals are already happening in this household! I was on point before it was trendy! I mean come on – it’s impossible to find exactly what you want in fixtures in the SAME EXACT COLOR throughout your house. You can mix silver and gold in your jewelry, why not mix silver and bronze in your house – done! But, my new favorite?? Grass cloth wall coverings. Seriously – some people still hate this trend, but I’ve loved it for years, and now that we have our home that I hope we live in until our kids are old and grown. . . .I want to add a little pop of it. I was thinking the master bedroom. Hottest Home Design Trends

As for decorations, I’ve been taking a look at a lot of Pinterest Boards lately. Even though we have been in our house for a year now, our bedroom and upstairs hallway is devoid of any artwork or pictures! But, I love this idea I saw  – we just need to print out all of our awesome iphone photosscreen-shot-2016-10-12-at-10-49-11-am

I also, love this site that talks about how to babyproof your home and there’s even a quiz. I mean, I didn’t even realize some of the things that I need to do before Jack starts crawling. So. much. stuff. Seems like I’ll be doing this in the next few weeks!

So, here’s to fall and planning on 2017! Cheers!

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Fall has Fallen – and so have my gutters

Welp, fall is here again! Temperatures are headed down – way down. Daily low temps in Nashville have plummeted from 67F to 55F just in September. If you haven’t pulled out your jackets yet, you better get ready, because the temperatures are only going lower.

 

Daily hi/lo temps in Nashville - September 2016

Daily hi/lo temps in Nashville – September 2016 (Weatherspark)

 

Another big part of fall for me is fixing up things around my home before winter sets in. Things like gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, and lawn repairs come to mind. I recently found this fall checklist from contractor Michael & Son which details a few of the these and more actions you should take to get your house fully prepared for fall and winter.

One of my big projects this fall will be to replace my “dumb” thermostat with a smart, connected thermostat like Nest or Ecobee. I’m dragging my home into the future. If you need me, I’ll be outside enjoying the last days of summer!

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Nashville is Suuuper Hot

Ok, so my in laws just moved to town. Not 30 minutes away, not across town, but 2 minutes away to be exact. You may be having flashbacks of Marie Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond’ where the MIL stops by unexpected, and constantly berates her DIL. But wipe all that away because – brace yourself  for this  – I LOVE my inlaws! My MIL is not only beautiful, smart, worldly and wise – she’s fun and sweet, and “gets it”. My father is law is the same way  – seriously – no Frank Barone here. You would never know they both lead an international organization and travel the world teaching people and doing amazing things, but they do.

Anyway – they aren’t close to retiring yet – but we did have to have the conversation about the longevity here in Nashville. They moved here – as did their son and my brother in law, so that we could all be close together. So, the possibilities of a reverse mortgage did cross our minds. I mean, it would be great for them to stay in their home as long as they choose, and after 15 or so years, something like a reverse mortgage may be a great possibility for them. They could update their house or retire easy without having to pay a mortgage!
reverse mortgage But, the market in Nashville is so hot right now. And we are enjoying our views, interest rates and the economy while we can. Seriously – our realtor one year ago today told us that about 80 people are moving to Nashville every day. Crazy right? Well, after being here 10 years, I can definitely see why it’s a great place for people to move, and stick around. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Nashvillian by Choice,

Mia Ficken

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FranchiseOpportunities

So, Franchise Opportunities?

I love my job. Really I do. . . but some days I dream of owning my own business and being my own boss (I’m sure I’d be horrible at it – but I dream nonetheless).

So, Dave and I were perusing some franchise opportunities over the weekend and thinking about how cool it would be to own a frozen yogurt shop (fattening, but fun), or a car dealership. Seriously – I used to work for car guys – that’s where the money is, and we’d never have to worry about paying full price for repairs! Anyway, we did find this cool site, FranchiseOpportunities.com  and it was really awesome. We found some franchises that don’t cost much to start. It’s nice, because you can search by startup cost, industry and location.

So, since we love to travel and we don’t have a lot of money to put toward a franchise, we looked for those that were $20k and below in TN. . . and y’all we may have found the perfect one! We could be cruise planners – seriously, getting to research fabulous vacations all day everyday? Sign me up – I’m sure we’d get some sweet kickbacks and free trips along the way.

In all seriousness though, of all the entrepreneurs I know, it seems like owning a franchise is the best of both worlds. You don’t have to put up a ton of capital, you have a great strategy in place that is already working and most of the early start up research and grunt work has already been done for you. Why do you think so many famous people own franchises – because that’s where the money is, without too much thought.

So, who’s to say I’ll never own my own business one day. I’ll keep this site in my back pocket  – and 20 years from now, maybe I’ll work up the courage 😉

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This weekend brought to you by, Organization

Well, after 5.5 months since Jack’s early arrival I have finally found time to do some “spring” cleaning and organization. Seriously – don’t judge. I will never judge a mother again.

With Jack’s colic lasting 3 months, then at 4 months having major surgery to repair a blockage in his kidney (followed by 2 weeks of the most awful recovery). . . I’m finally recovering and doing “normal” things!

Whoever said babies just eat, poop and sleep were wrong! So. damn. wrong. For the first three months if Jack wasn’t eating or being held (well, even if he was being held), he was crying. Colic is real, y’all.

So, as I was saying. After months of sleeplessness (which by the way hasn’t returned  – Jack still loves eating at 12 & 2am each night!) I am finally getting my house in order – literally. So, I just wanted to share a few of my accomplishments from the weekend. One being that I finally finished his room – again, don’t judge.

img_5922-1

Pantry Before (left) and After (right)

 

And, I finally finished the vacant wall in Jack’s room. Complete with a little Happy Halloween artwork (I’m early, but I’ll probably be late for Thanksgiving – so it works out). img_5924-1

 

So – thanks for visiting the site, and indulging in my boastfulness 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

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Hazardous Holiday Awareness for this Labor Day

While holidays are a time for fun and merriment, and the ever so appreciated extra day off work – they can also be surprisingly dangerous. From traffic fatalities to turkey injuries, some of the statistics related to holiday injuries will surprise and inspire you to exercise more caution the next time you engage in these celebrations.

 

While New Years and Thanksgiving typically rank highest in most accident-prone holidays, Labor Day isn’t too far off. As time on the road during this three-day holiday increases, so do the chances for accidents. Based on previous years, The National Safety Council estimates 405 fatalities will occur this Labor Day weekend. With 30 million people expected to travel the roads this holiday, in comparison to the 2.5 million travelling by plane, you can expect the roads to be pretty packed.

 

Think about the following factors before driving this holiday weekend.

 

  • Don’t travel during peak hours. According to Waze, it found that the best time to drive before Labor Day is Thursday afternoon after 2pm, because traffic peaks in the morning and lunch hours. If you are travelling on Labor Day, wake up bright and early because the majority of travellers will be hitting the road between noon and 3pm that day.
  • Don’t be the reason traffic happens. Make sure your vehicle has been properly tuned up and is in good shape for travelling.
  • Restrain everyone in the vehicle. That not only means your little bundles of joy, but you too – Mom and Dad! Even Rover should be harnessed. There are dog seat belts and apparatuses to protect him or her, at various pet stores across the country.
  • Remember the 3 D’s. Don’t Drive Drowsy. Take plenty of breaks and do not push yourself to drive through tiredness. 41% of fatal traffic accidents are single vehicle crashes occurring during the late night / early morning hours.
  • And as always drive sober. If you are incapacitated always have a sober driver that is available to drive.
  • If all else fails, consider a staycation! From most cities in the US, you can find something interesting, unique and fun only about 60 miles from your front door. These “one tank trips” save on gas, headaches and time, but offer fun and entertainment that will keep your family engaged.

 

So, please be safe this Labor Day weekend and enjoy your beer and BBQ’s wherever your travels take you.Hazardous Hollidays-final

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My Summer Goals: Bakeries and Travel

I’ve grown to enjoy some of the simpler things in life, one of my favorites being a good bakery. There is something so comforting about a bakery. The smell of of fresh bread baking, the deliciously decadent pastries, and the calming coffee aromas. I could sit in a bakery and work all day or brunch all weekend.

One of my favorite places in Nashville to visit is Marché Artisan Foods. They have breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner and are located in East Nashville. Everything I’ve ever ordered there has been so delicious, I really don’t think anything on the menu is bad! There is just something about the atmosphere that makes me forget about the world and enjoy my time and company there. But at the same time, also reminds me of home. When I lived in Virginia I used to go downtown to brunch at Bread Furst Bakery with my friends and family. Bread Furst is located in Van Ness, a great location right in the heart of Northwest DC. One of my good friends actually just moved into the Park Van Ness apartments and has become a regular at Bread Furst. She is always taunting me with pictures of her baked goods, it’s cruel!

ParkVan Ness Bread Furst

Now that it’s warm out all I want to do is spend time outside. I’ve loved the adventure of moving to Nashville and starting my life here. But there are times when I miss things about living in the DC area –especially sitting outside brunching with my friends on a beautiful day! I can’t wait to visit my friend in her sweet new apartment and catch up over a tasty brunch. Yet my envy over her pastry pics has launched a new desire, more-so a mission, for my summer. Instead of getting jealous over my friend’s new routine now that she has moved to Park Van Ness, I’m going to take charge and explore Nashville this summer. Now I know I live here but there are so many things to do and places to see, it never gets old. And on top of that, I now have a beautiful little baby to introduce to all the cool places in the city we call home! I’m looking forward to starting this new summer adventure. I’ll let you know how it goes!!

 

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Veterans Call: Honoring My Grandfather and all Veterans

veterans call

 

On April 9, 1942 the US surrendered to the Japanese during WWII on the Bataan Peninsula. The Filipino and American troops on Bataan were forced to make the long 65 mile journey back to the prison camps. They marched on foot for days without food and water. Thousands died during that long march, which is why it is aptly called the Bataan Death March, today.

I grew up with stories of my grandfather, the war hero, but it never really sunk in until I was much older. My father’s father was in the Battan Death March. Let that sink in. . . he survived – which was a miracle in itself. . . therefore my father was born, and me, and so on. . . . Wow.

Now, I don’t know if my grandfather suffered from PTSD or not, but I know that he didn’t sustain any life altering injuries – which is just mind boggling to me. I’m from pretty good stock, eh? I just know that because he was a medic during the war he just so happened to have some insulin on his person at the time of the surrender, and we believe that is what kept him alive during the march – as well as his will to live. Many died due to the brutality of their captors, these men were starved, beaten and bayoneted if they were too weak to walk.

This seems like a black and white movie to me, to think that my grandfather suffered this way and survived, however it makes me that much more aware of the casualties and sufferings of war. I have donated to many causes over the years, but donating to veterans causes is one the ones that really makes me feel like I’m honoring my grandfather. I just recently downloaded an app, Veterans Call. It’s easy to download, choose which veteran charity you would like to donate to, then the money is just charged to your monthly cellphone bill. It’s easy and it’s a great way to help the brothers and sisters of war that fight so valiantly for our freedom.

So, this summer, right after Memorial Day and on to Independence Day, I salute those who have fought for our freedom. They are more brave than we’ll ever know. So if you want to help a veteran or just say thank you for what they have done, I would download the Veterans Call app today and donate. . . here’s a link as well.

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

 

 

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Working for a Living: Benefits of Small vs. Large Companies

Working for a Living: Benefits of Small vs Large Companies

My life on both sides

 

My first job right out of college – 3 days after graduation – was with a small marketing agency (which consisted of 4 people – total) as an AE selling promotional materials. Yep. . . it was probably the worst job ever – but it taught me a lot and definitely made me realize what I DIDN’T want to do. Now, 13 years later, I find myself still with a small agency with decidedly more employees and doing something I love. However, I look at my sister who has worked for behemoth companies her entire 14-year career and wonder, how does it feel walking into work each morning fresh off the metro with your ID badge, riding the cramped elevator to the 27th floor and plopping down in a cubicle next to 25 of your “closest” collegues. I just don’t think I could do it.

Throughout your career you will have many choices, and deciding whether to go with a large or small company could actually be one of the most important ones – especially if it’s at the start of your career. Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer, but there are lots of pros and cons that you should weigh before taking that career move.

Keep in mind that there are almost no guarantees when it comes to the rumors you hear about large and small companies. For example, “Smaller companies offer horrible benefits packages.” when the fact is, that is not true for all, and you may run across the exception. I have.

Also, the rumors that large companies offer great 401k options. . . not always true (just ask me, my last company of over 200 people offered only 1% matching for our 401K’s if you put at least 4% in each year). I mean, it’s a match, but come on.

So, I’ve created a list of Pro’s and Con’s for each. This is just my own two cents – but if it helps someone during their search – or made you at least think about your options more – I’m happy.

Justworks PEO for small business

 

Pro’s of Working with a Small Company

  • Success is seen. Everyone wants to be rewarded for hard work, and it is easier to be recognized for it in smaller companies than in larger ones. If you are just starting out, this will be useful in establishing your abilities and gaining references and a reputation that will follow you throughout your career. Trust me, I have been blessed to use references from places I worked over 7 years ago, because I was good and because I was friendly. Unless you work near the top of a large company, your successes will probably never reach the ears of the CEO.
  • Agility. You can speak directly to upper management whenever you need to. Projects move much quicker with less cogs in the wheel, and lastly sometimes you can work from home – big perk 🙂
  • You’ll rarely be bored. It’s true. I have left jobs in larger corporations either because I was bored and felt as if I were literally stealing money. . . or because I was just bored by the every day reduncancy of the tasks at hand, and knew (really knew), that would never change. Small companies are great tools to grow and find new avenues to do your job or help people in other departments – allowing your scope of understanding to continuously evolve.

Con’s of Working with a Small Company

  • Failure is seen. You can’t hide when there’s nothing or no one to hide behind. Great successes are seen, but know that the opposite is true too.
  • Benefits Packages are smaller. Mentioned this earlier, but this is not always the case. There are PEO’s like Justworks, for instance that work for smaller businesses and help them gain the leverage they need to get better healthcare pricing, offer HR departments for compliance and other HR related items, 401k offerings and more.
  • There may be no HR department. This is true, but usually smaller companies don’t need one. However, if the company is larger than 25 people it’s usually best to have something like this in place, and that’s where small businesses again can rely on PEO’s.
Justworks PEO for small business

Pro’s of Working with a Larger Company

  • More Structure. From the day you start you know what your job is, the organizational chart, paths for growth within the company (or not) and whether or not you need to watch out for Bob, the guy in accounting who steals other people’s coffee creamer.
  • Better Benefits. Yes, larger companies are usually better at providing good health insurance or retirement plans. But that usually only matters if you take advantage of them. For instance, if you are on your SO’s plan, health benefits won’t matter. And retirement packages. . . if they don’t match, you can probably start a 401K on your own, and know exactly where your money is going and have more control. If they do match – that’s a great thing – TAKE ADVANTAGE.
  • Vertical or Horizontal Movement Within the Company. Maybe you hate change. Maybe you hate job hunting. This is a great opportunity to change positions and explore a new area without ever having to leave the building! It’s usually easier to be hired from the inside than out.

Con’s of working at a Big Company

  • Change is slow. Amen. Having worked at both large and small companies, I can remember the frustration of the time it took for change (even a change that could benefit the company or the team greatly)! It’s part laziness (I know) and part politics. But it’s 100% crappy. If you are looking to make a mark and create change, smaller companies provide that more so than larger ones.
  • Good People are Crucial. Your quality of life will vary greatly based on the people you work with on a regular basis. Even though this is true for small companies too – the damage is more pronounced if there’s a web of people standing between you and your goals, or a part of the company you would rather be invested in.

 

 

 

 

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Drinking and Driving Awareness

DWI / DUI Laws & AwarenessAfter getting past the New Year, Superbowl Sunday and in preparation for the upcoming St. Patty’s Day parties and Summer Concert/BBQ season, I thought it was time to do a post about drinking and driving.

Rules of blood alcohol level limits vary in each state, as do open container regulations and legal actions if you are caught not abiding the law. I guess since I’m a mother to be, I have become much more cautious on the road and very aware of other drivers (especially on nights like NYE where I was the DD), and I thought it would be good to throw my two cents out there.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no saint . . . but when you are a mother it’s like a switch turns on and everything you do now is for the child, or in protection of the child. Even though I do partake in one or two glasses of wine with dinner (when I’m not pregnant), there have been instances where that intake was three glasses instead, and I was probably over the limit even though I didn’t feel like it after a good meal and 3 hours at dinner.

So, as I’ve gotten older and (**cough, ahem, wiser**) I never want to put myself or others in potential danger again. Here are some tips, and information on alcohol and driving while intoxicated that may help you or someone you love in the future. Below are sites that will cover legal BAC levels per state, breathalyzers for sale, DUI/DWI laws, Open Container Laws and Uber info (a definite must over drinking and driving). 

  1. Legal BAC Limits: Some states have lowered the legal BAC limit so much, that only one drink at dinner is acceptable, therefore, it’s good to know what your state’s legal limit is. BAC per state: http://www.breathalyzeralcoholtester.com/state-bac-limits
  2. Breathalyzers for Sale: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=breathalyzers+for+sale
  3. DUI/DWI Laws: http://www.dallasdwilawyer.org/dallas-dwi-information/some-things-you-should-to-know-about-dwi/
  4. Open Container Laws: http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/open-container-and-consumption-statutes.aspx
  5. Why Uber rocks: http://guardianinterlock.com/blog/drinking-and-driving-uber/

So during the upcoming spring and summer seasons – eat, drink and be merry. . . but most of all be safe.Dallas DWI Lawyers

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