Focus on Giving Thanks

Focus is huge for me this year.  I want to focus on many specific things for my family, my advocacy work, my blog, my business, and more. However, before I am able to do any of this, I want to continue to focus on me. When I feel better about myself and my actions, everything else goes more smoothly. As you get older, you realize that if you continue to push yourself to the back of the priority list, everything else will suffer along the way. I am still learning to make me, myself, and I a part of the list (no less the top of the list), so I admit I am not expert. There is definitely a learning curve with bumps along the way.

Pay it forward with a thank you

Over the last year, I have tried to help myself to achieve less stress and not overreact about everything that crops up in life. This is HARD for someone that likes to be in control and has a Type A personality. With help from friends reminding me to breathe, I have learned to step back, wait a few minutes, collect my thoughts, and then respond. This has been huge when it works. In addition to this, I have seen that when I make others smile and happy it makes me feel better.

Something I learned in 2014 that I hope to carry over this year is the need to give thanks. It is not simply acceptable just to say a quick thanks, or acknowledge someone on Thanksgiving. We must work on letting others know when they do something amazing, are extra nice to you, or help you to stop a crisis from happening. Too many times, we are quick to use the phone to call to complain to an individual when we are upset. This day and age, email communications make it almost instantaneous even if nobody is around to answer the phone. Of course, this often means emotions are running high and word choices may not be the best.

I admit it, I am guilty of this just like most people. Playing defense is hard, especially when you are wearing your parenting hat. The mama bear in me immediately comes out and I can feel my blood pressure rising. It feels like a personal attack and it is too easy to fire off something in which the tone may not be interpreted properly.

My suggestion, hold back for a while and think about making someone else feel better in that moment. Use that pent up energy and emotion to let another individual know why they matter and how they have helped you, your business, your family, or something else.

Some ideas on when you could give another person with a surprise thank you:

–  If your child comes home from school happy, email their teacher to let them know how excited they were to learn about X, Y, and Z. Let go of differences you have about curriculum, testing, and anything else. Think of the teacher working with kids all day. Give them a nod so they know you are aware of what is happening and how happy your child is.

– Contact your local municipality to let them know if someone went out of their way and helped you. Get names and pay it forward.

– Give the crossing guard that is there every day in the extreme cold getting the kids safely around traffic a note and small gift card for some hot chocolate or coffee.

– When you see someone having a rough day, reach out to them. Let them know you are there. Follow up with an email or text the next day to see how they are doing and let them know you are thinking of them.

– Bring in a special treat to someone that has been especially helpful recently. Let them know it did not go unnoticed and that you are glad that they were there for you that time.

– As a parent of a child with an IEP, it is easy to be critical of the system. When things click and go well for your child, send encouraging notes to teachers, staff, CSE members, the superintendent, and School Board members. They need to know about the positive items taking place. This has been a huge focus of mine since September. The transition for my son to middle school went very well thanks to all of those involved.

Now it’s your turn, how will you pay it forward with a thank you? Please keep me posted because it also makes me smile to know that others are participating in similar ways.

It's Me

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Focusing Beyond the Squirrels of Life

I have not posted on my blog all year!


Well, it’s time to change that.

Happy New Year from The Angel Forever

The new year has started with a bang. Spending time with the boys before they went back to school. Getting back into the swing of things with school. Plus there were meetings, writing, working on my Jamberry business, and more.

This year, I have promised myself that I am going to get refocused on my blog. Last year, I spent a lot of time on other writing projects that kept me away from here. I know that changed the tone here. I want to get it back to where it was and more! Thanks to a blogging challenge with TypeAParent,  I am ready, willing, and able to get to work and make it happen.

Goal for TypeAChallenge

“Squirrels” take note,  you are toast. This year, I am going to kick you to that curb and wear blinders to maintain focus on my family, blog, advocacy, and business.

What are your immediate goals for 2015?

It's Me

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Favorites from 2014

When I look back at 2014, it was a year filled with changes. I did not post on my blog as much because I was focused on specific freelance work that is now over. More responsibilities came with personal life commitments. I continued to fight for public education through educating others about the corporate takeover of the educational world. Then, on the flip side, I worked hard with our school to get my son ready for the transition to middle school. Stress meant trying to give myself more time for ME. This included reading and crafting in whatever small amount of time I could squeeze in. Of course, the me time spurred an interest in pampering my own nails and starting a business which I hope to grow more in the year ahead.

Now it’s time to look back at some of my favorite blog posts that I wrote in 2014. They are in chronological order, just because it’s easier to share that way.

The Other Reality Television – An episode of Parenthood really hit a nerve with me. As a parent who has been through a child being diagnosed as on the autism spectrum, I often sit and watch the show with tears in my eyes. There is just something about Max that reminds me of my kiddo and his personal struggles with peers, school, and even family members.

Puffy Paint Snowmen and the Last Snowman Blog Tour – A friendship with artist/author JC Little spurred a memorable painting experience with my boys. We had so much fun making puffy paint and creating our own snow people that I have a feeling we will repeat it again this winter.

Last Snowman Puffy Paint Creations


Autism and Sensory Overload – In an attempt to share more with others about autism and help them to be aware, I wrote this post about sensory overload. It really can be hard to understand what it must be like, but to individuals on the spectrum they simply don’t know know that we experience the world in a different way. The video I shared is something that everyone should watch at least once.

Autism and Sensory Overload

Choose to Refuse in New York – For the second year in a row, we refused to allow our oldest son to take the New York State Math and ELA exams. This year it was my mission to get more people to understand why the tests are not something we should allow kids to take. At least 60,000 kids refused the NYS tests last year and it is expected to increase again in 2015. The following quote is what keeps me fighting for my children:

For too many years, we have been taught to blindly trust those in charge of the world of education. Right now, families across the nation and New York are standing up and saying that enough is enough. We are not going to sit back and let this testing madness continue. Our children deserve a proper public school education like past generations. If we don’t stand up and fight, the victims will be our kids who have already suffered enough in recent years.

Choose to Refuse

Capital Region CANstruction 2014 – The CANstruction events across the country are absolutely amazing and we are lucky enough to have one that takes place in the Capital Region. The boys have learned so much and they are powerful because they teach kids about helping others.

Capital Region Canstruction - Toy Story

VZWBuzz posts – There were so many during the year, but ones like Smartphone Video to the Rescue where I showed how my Lumia Icon saved the day with video remind me how lucky I am to be a member of this group of bloggers. Of course, while I am connected most of the time, my phone helps me to capture natural beauty like in Capturing Natural Beauty on the Go.

Beautiful orchid

Tuesday Tales – Grossology Exhibit – Our science museum membership got quite the workout thanks to the Grossology exhibit that was there for several months. The boys adored going multiple times to explore everything. There is just something fun about watching your child climb into a nose.

Going into Grossology at miSci NY

Saying Goodbye to Elementary School – The boys would never be in the same school again and it was an emotional time. The end of NHL’s elementary school days hit hard.

First Days of Elemtary School

Movies and Sensory Concerns – A trip to see Guardians of the Galaxy inspired a post about sensory concerns at the movies for many individuals, especially those on the spectrum.

Movies and Sensory Concerns

The Middle School Phone Debate – When a new phone arrived, it made me debate whether or not my son needed his own to head off to middle school. I listed five items to think about when making this decision in your family.

The Middle School Phone Debate

Middle School is Just What the Doctor Ordered – Worries for years started to melt away when NHL landed on his feet and loved middle school. It was hard to write this post because you never know if it could change, but I wanted to focus on the positive and share with others who are getting ready for this big transition.

Transitioning to Middle School

Tuesday Tales – The Albany Children’s Book Festival – Reading is huge in our house and the boys love getting to see the authors and illustrators behind their favorite books. We had a lot of fun catching up with several right after Halloween.

Bad Kitty sign drawn by Nick Bruel

Planning a Bar Mitzvah – Reality is coming whether I like it or not, and so is my son’s eventual Bar Mitzvah. Sharing how the planning process must move from denial state.

Bar Mitzvah Time Traditions

So many other posts with books that we adored, events that we went to, technology that I shared, and topics near and dear to my heart. Thank goodness we can look back to remind of of the year gone by and what goals we hope to accomplish in the year ahead.

What is your primary goal (I don’t like resolutions) for 2015 and why? I know for me I hope to maintain focus. If I allow little bumps in the road to allow me to have a squirrel moment, it is too easy to get districted and lose that focus.

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Sparkles and Valentine’s Day Nails

For years, I had given up on manicures. No matter what I tried, they did not last and it was frustrating to me. I wanted to have pretty nails because it reminded me of my Nana. I used to spend hours helping her with her beautifully manicured nails. Nail polish would chip and literally pop off my finger nails shortly after they dried. As the mother of two boys, I don’t have little girls asking me to polish their nails so I mostly gave up.

Thank goodness I was introduced to Jamberry nail wraps over the summer. Since that time, I decided to become a Jamberry Independent Consultant. For my birthday nails, I decided to channel my inner Elsa. After two weeks (<—YES, they really lasted that long), I removed them and decided to use my November host exclusive that was festive and full of sparkles.


I quickly fell in love with the way the sparkles on the wraps would shimmer and shine. I even used a photo of them with a snowman cookie for my Merry Christmas image on Instagram.


The funny thing is, I am already thinking ahead to what I will put on my nails next. I can’t wait to try some of the other Jamberry wraps that I have purchased like these:

Different Jamberry Nail Wraps

So many possibilities and now there are even more options since Jamberry just released fun new wraps for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter.

Jamberry Spring 2014 Holiday Designs

What is your favorite new design? I truly love them all and can not wait to see what other new items they add in the months ahead. Message me if you are interested in trying a sample, want to host a party (you earn FREE wraps), or place an order.

It's Me

Disclosure: I am a Jamberry Independent Consultant and paid for my own starter kit to sell these products. If people purchase items from me, I will earn money for my business.

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Charged and Ready to Capture the Holidays

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

The holidays have changed a lot since I was a child. Now, most adult members of the family have smartphones so they can snap photos and record precious moments on the go. Of course, this is great until you realize the red line on your phones battery is glaring at you. This means you have to stop and make sure to recharge your phone. During this time, you may miss a magical family moment. All of those photos that you shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and beyond zapped the battery.

Chanukah with the Droid Turbo

Enter the Droid Turbo.

This power house of a smartphone takes the Droid line to an entirely new level. My first smartphone was a Droid Bionic, so I am constantly amazed with how the phones have grown and changed over the years. No matter where we find ourselves this holiday season, the Droid Turbo has kept up with our needs. Recently, It saved the day when we left our camera at home during Thanksgiving.

The Droid Turbo

Droid Camera Action

This Droid smartphone has a camera that adjusts beautifully to different levels of light and motion. A wonderful item to have when you are trying to keep up with cousins running around at Thanksgiving, a holiday concert, skaters during Disney on Ice, and Chanukah candle lighting. The 21-megapixel camera means that we can print memories from the phone without worry. Oh and no need to waste a moment getting the camera ready, just flick your wrist and the camera comes alive in an instant. What has been most impressive this holiday season has been the flash on the Turbo. It has a dual LED that keeps color more true to life and helps us to avoid odd shadows that are common with smartphone flash use.

Celebrating the Festival of Lights

Super Charged Turbo Battery

The last thing you want to do when you are celebrating the holidays is pause to charge your phone. The battery life of Droid smartphone have always been top notch, but the Turbo outshines all of it’s predecessors.

Battery on the Droid Turbo

Yes, the Droid Turbo is a dream come true with a battery that can last up to 48 hours! We have never waited that long to test it, but it easily handles an entire day of holiday celebrations and social media shares without requiring recharge. Of course, for those times when it does need to charge, the Turbo is FAST. When using the Turbo Charger that comes with the phone, it can juice back eight hours in just 15 minutes. So even if you need to charge in an emergency, the time is minimal so you will not miss too much of the festivities.

What would you be able to accomplish this holiday season and beyond with a Droid Turbo? Don’t forget these are just two of the amazing features of this smartphone from Droid. More about the phone coming soon.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Droid Turbo to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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