Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Everyone has an opinion….Can’t we Just Get Along

Comments, they are everywhere.  They are just merely opinions dialed down a notch, or are they?
I propose this question, swirling around in my head for one reason…. Raven Symone.  The last Cosby Kid to leave the nest, if the series had continued on for at least 8-10 more seasons.  Bill Cosby himself shut down production, after he wanted to quit while on top of Thursday night lineup.  I don’t blame him.
Fast forward, about 25 or more years later, and the youngest kid has given Miss Oprah Winfrey an interview to catch up viewers and fans on what she has been doing since the last episode of The Cosby Show.  She was on Hanging with Mr.Cooper, That’s so Raven, and other shows and other guest appearances and is a singer, but I’m not here to tell you about Raven’s many achievements, you can read about them on the web.  What I want to talk about is what she said in the interview.   In case you missed it, you can read about it here.   
Basically, she said that she did not want to be labeled, simply put.   What doesn’t she want to be labeled as?  She did not want to be labeled as a Gay and an African American Woman.  At first when I saw the interview, I said, “OK, your opinion.”  She wants to be called just “American”, no judgments is the name of the game.  By the way, she is currently dating a woman. 
The reason behind the “colorless” remark was, she does not know what part of Africa her people came from.  I can see that reason, because I, myself do not know what part of Africa my people came from.   When people see Raven Symone, They see a light-skinned black woman, which she does not mind people calling her, but she said that she feels she represents the Asian, white, and Indian American too.   I feel the same way too, because although people see me as a medium to dark skinned black woman, my bloodline is also Caucasian American (nationality unknown) and Cree American Indian.   Just like Raven Symone, my parents, parents, parents never discussed the origins of the African Slave trade with anyone in my family, to be passed down to me and my siblings and cousins, on what part our family played in, but that does not mean I am in denial of where my roots come from. I prefer ‘Black American’ as oppose to ‘African American’ for that reason alone.  But does it matter?  It should for this reason:  Actual Africans have come by way of plane to live here.  They are the ones who should be called African American.  Most of us, who are born in America, were mixed in with other races during the time of slavery.  Masters wanted a child or a side thing, without the little woman knowing about it.  After that, the slave woman was often shipped off to the next plantation, while the child was cared for by another slave.  They often became the ‘house slave’ so that the master can make sure that their offspring thrived without as much as a peep from the others.   Side note:  Did you know that Raven Symone played a young Queen in Alex Haley’s Queen, later played by Hale Berry?
So my next question is why light up Twitter?  I thought that Facebook or even Google plus would be a better arena for this little firestorm.   To me, that is Raven Symone’s opinion.  If she does not want to be labeled, let her be.  She isn’t killing anyone.  She just wants to be labeled “An American human who loves humans.”  I can see her point.  In other words, she does not want people to say, “You know, that Lesbian African American Woman who had a hit show on the Disney Channel.”  To that I have to say, “at least they are not calling her “Angry Black Woman”, and some of the other names people usually call black women, when they do not know your name.  I prefer, Miss Logan myself.  At least they have my last name right.

My point to the firestorm is this:  People have an opinion.  We all have opinions, and if Miss Raven Symone Christina Pearman (her full name) does not want to be labeled a Lesbian (the correct term for women who fall madly in love with another woman sexually) and African American (the correct term is Black American), do not waste my computer bytes by complaining about it, but then again, You have the right to your opinion, and the moral of the story is, at least she has you thinking about it. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Vlogging it 2.0

I realize that life has given me so many battles during the past few weeks, until I did not want nor had the strength to post anything much.  This is what happens what happens when you are overwhelmed by the stench of what is known as grief for someone or something, financial woes, and just feeling sorry for yourself.  The very idea of sharing my life with people is still new to me, as I am a known introvert.  When something happens in my life, rather it is through my own doing, or something happening in someone else’s life to the point where it affects you, it will affect you hard, depended on what type of person you are.
To that end, this past month, I have projects that I did not get to because of the events of July, August and September, rather good or bad.  I have lost three months out of my life, which could have been productive, but due to me being too busy to stop, or my own sadness during these events, I am playing catch-up.  It is a good thing that none of it had due dates, except from me.  No clients were involved.   But were they?
In a way they were, but they were what I like to call invisible clients.  They were people, who happened to wander into my Etsy shop, and saw 5 notebooks for sale day in and day out.  I did not make any new cards to sell, nor scrapbooks, so I left my shop as is.  Making new products was one way to get new clients, who have not heard about you into your shop, rather it is online or brick and mortar.  They were people, who could have been looking for a new writer to create a document for them, their blog or website, or their business.  The document, post, or even a printable could have been just the thing to put their services over the top.  These were the people, who could have sent me that contract, which could have been of something big for me, but I was so into the stuff that brought me down, until I wonder if I have missed my blessing.   Let me tell you why that was not necessarily a bad thing…
I had friends who needed someone to reach out to them, and to say, “I’m here for you”.  I had things that I needed to take care of, but I was so busy trying to make my businesses work, until I felt drained and overwhelmed with the business and other personal situations.  I had a God who said to me, “you need to rest”, but I fail to see that I needed all of this, because I was going too long without it.  I was not focus on Him, but I was focus on stuff, to which, my friend is not good. 
The things I am saying to you, as a Christian woman, what good is it to accumulate all this stuff, if:

A)   You are not blessing someone in the process, and
B)    You cannot take it with you.

Sure, we need to eat, we need to interact, and we need to pay for all of this stuff.  So, I am glad I did not catch up with all the things I did not take care of in the product making business. This rest gave me a chance to make some changes, some that I will share here, while others I will share on my other blogs, because they fit the subjects I have on them.  I will not share them in this post.    I will share this:  I am vlogging again.  I have computer with a webcam and I am looking into getting a tripod for my regular camera and smartphone for tutorials.  When I bought my Sony Camera for my birthday, they gave me a mini tripod, which is not the friendliest tripod in the world (I have seen better brands), but it will do for right now.   I asked a YouTubber named Gabrielle Flowers Raider of Gabe and Babe TV and The Gabe Fix in her Google Hangout last night if she had any pointers for my channel, and she said to Be ConsistentStart with once a week, and see how that goes.  So I have already made one new video before I asked her that question, so I will put up another one next week.

Anyway, I have ran over my time, so I will also be constant with my next blog post as well.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7, 2014: Tell us about your favorite autumnal edible treat.

OK, I have not writing in about a week.   The reason is I am was trying to gain some sales for my Longaberger business, and I am not dealing very well with being 50.  I will admit it, but I will save that topic for another time and place (if I feel like talking about it here.) Do not worry, I will get through it.
Today,  I want to talk about my favorite treat for fall. I am going to break it down into 4 categories:  savory, sweet, beverage, and all-time.
First for the savory…I love soups in the fall.  Nothing says warmth by the fire like soup.  I love clams, so my go to soup is a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder Soup.  I used to be a fan of Campbell’s regular NE clam chowder, but it does not have enough substantial pieces of clam for me.  I have gotten spoiled with the Chunky’s Soup line, but now even that does not do it for me.   I started eating Progresso’s NE Clam Chowder Soup, and I will stick to that.  Every time I go out, and the eating place has NE clam chowder for soup of the day, I buy it.  The treat is a big piece of bread, lightly toasted, so I can sop up all the sauce from the soup.
Now for the sweet… my mom’s Sweet Potato Pie.  I love it.  I do not like pumpkin pie, so this is my orange-colored pie, which is a great substitute.   What make her pies special?  It is a recipe that was handed down from my grandmother.  I do not know what all goes in other SP pies, but with my mother, there is brown sugar, nutmeg, clove, all-spice, evaporated milk, and butter, all mashed up in the sweet potato.   Next month is the month for it.
My beverage of choice is anything that I make in my Keurig Coffee machine.  I recently started back drinking Starbucks, but only when I travel, but nothing better than standing at the counter, sticking a k-cup in the machine, and hitting the start button.  While I am waiting (which does not take that long), I put in my cup some sweet cream, chocolate powder or syrup, and if I am good, and little bit of whipped cream (which has no calories, ladies, and only in moderation, my doctor says).  I stop putting granulated sugar in it. 
My all-time favorite fall food is…..Mac and Cheese.  There is nothing like melted cheese over a plate of noodles.  I am not talking about the box kind.  OH, NO!  I am talking about the kind where you make a white sauce and melt cheese in it.  While it is melting, boil the macaroni, don’t forget to salt the water, and cook it Al Dente.  Fold the mac into the cheese sauce, and you have loving in a bowl.   Now, I hate to admit this….bbbbuuuttt, my mom does not make that kind of Mac and Cheese.  She makes the kind that my grandmother (same grandmother who taught her how to make the pie), which is custard style.   I eat it, but it is not the same.  What I like about the cheese sauce kind, is you can throw in anything with the cheese sauce.  On The Kitchen, a show on The Food Network, I saw four kinds of Mac and Cheese being made, yummers!!   
Oh, I am going to the grocery store today, all this talk is making me go buy my favorites and have a theme dinner for tonight.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

A random Video and a visit with Galaxy

This is my first video in a while, and I thought I would challenge my phone, the android version of Siri to see if she was as smart as Siri. Nope, they are both dumb on conversation.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tell us about your favorite autumnal sound.

Hello, and welcome to October.  I have not officially welcomed anyone to September and the fall yet, so consider it late.  September was one of those months that rather not revisit at all. I have been in so of a depressive mood all month because of the different situations in my life, including the death of a couple of people, who I really had hoped would pull through, but God had other plans for them, and for one of them, I am still trying to wrap my finger on why she entered the world the way she did, and died just that quickly (yes, I am talking about a baby bared a day old).  I was hoping I would get to know her as she went through babyhood, into toddler, going to school, and I had hoped that I would get to see her get married and have a kid of her own, but again, God had other plans. 
I went through other things to during the month of September, and I realized that the world does not stop because a friend of yours lost a baby, a person you know collapses into a coma and dies a week later, or that you feel like you are stuck.  For that reason alone, I still needed to make my sales goals for the month (I was pulling a Hail Mary move at 2:30pm yesterday, a move I have not done since the 2012-13 selling season); The house needs cleaning (I will tackle that Friday); and finally I need to clean out my closet, put away the spring/summer wardrobe, pull out the fall/ winter stuff, and give or throw away the stuff I no longer can fit.  I also need to do a final spraying of the weeds on my patio so they will not come up, pull out the fall d├ęcor, and find some fall bedding. 

Despite everything that has happened last month, I need to do some things in the second bedroom to make it more livable (currently masquerading as a junk room), I want to talk to you about my favorite autumn sound.  It goes along with my favorite smell, Pumpkin.  That sound is sounds from the apple orchard.  It is people looking for that perfect apple and it depends on who is making that sound.  The sound could be, “mommy pick this apple”, “we can get 4 more to fit in this bag”, to no sound at all, just studying on how to get the apple.  I want to take my niece and nephews apple picking, but to be honest, I do not know where I want to go for this?  There is one, maybe two I can go, but I am not sure, since I have not been since my parents took me years ago.  While we are at it, we can pick that perfect pumpkin to go on the porch on my sister’s house.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Please Get a clue Martha, try to be helpful

Image from www.metro.us
On this Mentoring Monday, I want to once again address Martha Stewart.  Yes that queen of all things lifestyle living and telling everyone that it is “a Good Thing”.  I have no problem learning from her.  Martha’s ideas are wonderful, and she makes some valid points on how to clean, throw a dinner party, or providing a punch or two to cut out paper shapes (to which I own two).  She has an empire that is second to none in her field.
So why is it that Martha feels threaten when a blogger or a celeb like Gwyneth Paltrow steps into her territory?  In a world with population of over 800 billion people, I am sure there is plenty of room for both Ms. Stewart and Ms. Paltrow to give us their tips on how to make the perfect peach pie (although I say that my mamma make the best one).  The only difference is one is in her early 70’s and one is in her early 40’s.
So why is it that when we are experts in something, we feel threaten by another person who has that same knowledge?  Martha went off on bloggers last year for the same reason.  She said both in the interview with Porter magazine a few days ago about Ms. Paltrow and an interview about lifestyle bloggers last year that people should not quit their day job and stick to what they do best.  She said last year that bloggers should not make their family and friends become guinea pigs when creating a new recipe, then putting it in their blogs.  “Now Martha, isn't that how you started out?” “How would you have liked it, if the late Julia Childs said that about you when you tried to make Coq Au Vin for the first time and served it to your guests?” 
Instead of finding fault with a person who just want to give helpful hints on their blog, a person like Martha Stewart should be in a mentoring mode.  If there is something that isn't right, go to that person and say something like, “congratulations on your new venture.”  “I know that people will like your insight on the
subject.”  “I have noticed a couple of things on your site, and if you do not mind me saying, these are hints on what would help your site become better in the long run.”  Once that is said, give the advice, if they give you permission to do so.  If not, move on, and do not criticize.  They will find their way.   This is how you mentor, NOT tear down.  Encourage someone who admires what you do, enough to help them along the way.
I am sure that if Ms. Stewart would have done just that for us and Ms. Paltrow, the Paparazzi and others would steer away from that line of questioning. 

My wish for you this day forward is to give helpful and healthy criticism to others and not wishing that person to keep their day job.  There is room for everyone and plenty more. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Truth About Rates and freelancing.

Oh boy, I am tackling a tough writing subject today.   The next few posts, I will attempt to tackle the subject of freelancing.  Not only am I a freelance writer, but a freelance artist and designer.  I design the following:
·         Scrapbooks-both using the commercial albums that are out there, and making mini books, journals, and folios, as well as art journals.
·         Greeting and note cards
·         Alternative items.  In case you are wondering what that is, most people call it Upcycling.  It is where you decorate something to make it a different piece to function differently or function the same.
Anyway, that is the basics of what I do, but lately, I have been feeling a little stuck.  My Etsy shop has the same old 5 items in it and I have not written for someone in about 2-3 months.   You would think that I have gobs of money in my account.  Nope, ask me later on how I cope.  If you are freelancing, sometimes it is OK to hit a dry spell, right?  Not really.  If you are a writer, a cook, or a crafter, you need to remember that you need to put food on the table.  You have bills to pay, people to entertain (for those with kids), and it would be nice to not work in your jammies every once in a while. 
So how do you earn that extra $1,000 a week, if you still have a job, or if you going at it full time, have the ability to buy at least toothpaste?   Simple, start small.  Sometimes, you have to except projects that pay low or nothing at all, and you need to build from there.  That is what I am tackling for the next few posts and the first one is on the rate you expect your clients to pay you for your services.
I saw this article in Carol Tice’s website, and it is called 113 things you can do to grow your freelance writing-now.  She covers writing, but after looking at this article, I feel that it would apply to any freelance job.   Freelancing, in case you are not familiar with the title, is just a fancy way of saying, self-employed.  You are working for yourself.  You have a time clock, but it is in your head, and you can report to work any time you feel like it.  I do not recommend it, because just like a 9-5 job, the money you earn allows you freedom to do anything you want.  Well not anything, but you get the idea.
With that being said, she gives 3 these tips on rates:
  1. Tell your clients your rates are going up.
  2. Raise your rates for new clients.
  3. Raise your rates every year in the fall, to take effect the following year.
OK, you are probably telling me, “Tricia, that is all well and good, but I am just starting out, and besides that, I am doing a project for Aunt Millie, and I really do not want to charge her.”   I thought the same way, and if you are just starting, I can see why you do not want charge a lot for work at first.  For me, it is ok to do a project for Aunt Millie, the neighbor you have been friends with for 20 years, or your church, but at some point, you cannot do every project at low-no cost.   Again, you have to eat and pay bills.  There is also nothing wrong with bartering either, just as long as it is equal to the amount of services you give a client.
Upon my own research one of the problems that freelancers have is “what is my work worth to my client?”  This means are your skills top notch to the point of charging a rate to begin with?  That is something that you have to ask yourself.   Start by listing your skills.   I will use myself as a guide:
1.       Creative in
a.       Needle crafts
b.      Candle making
c.       Scrapbooking
d.      Card making
e.      Altering items
f.        An eye for detail
g.       Music
h.      Dance
i.         Journal making
j.        Writing
2.       People skills
a.       Good listener
b.      Follows directions well
c.       Investigator
I only listed a few, but note that I did not list just the physical skills, but things that would tell a new client what they need to know about me.   So, the things that you learned in Preschool and Kindergarten do matter.
Next, check out the rates of people who do the same thing.   In the corporate world, it is called checking out the competition.  If you are new to this, you can call to ask questions on how that person charges similar services.   For example, when I started, I checked everyone in custom scrapbooking.  I looked at their websites, and made note of the basic rates.  I looked at the years of experience, comments, and if they charged by the hour or per job.   Most custom scrapbookers and card makers charge by the piece.  Most writers charge per word.  For example:  an 8.5 x 11” scrapbook could run $7.50 per page.  So a 20-page scrapbook, without the fluff (no embellishments) can run about $150 (USD).  An example of a 791 page doc (the point where I typed 791), at $.10(USD) per word, could run a client $79.10.

Last, ask yourself, can I live off charging $150 for a scrapbook and $79.10 for a document, using the same examples?   Probably not, which is a good idea not to quit your day job just yet.  Keep in mind when charging your rates that there is no such thing as an overnight sensation.  You have to build up to the reputation, and that is why Ms. Tice suggest that you change your rates every fall to go into effect by January.  So how do you quit your day job?   Well, that is the next step in this process called freelancing, and the subject of my next post.