Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Why I Gave Up Gambling

Well, the short answer to the title of this blog post is an easy one: because I lost money. Duh, right? But there's another reason, and that's that gambling is kind of a downer, and not just for the fact that you're throwing your earned money away. 

The only gambling I now do is when I get a $2 lottery ticket maybe every other month, when the mood strikes me. And I only gamble on online horse races when the site I signed up with gives me free money to bet with, usually only 50 cents or a dollar. The fact that I still lose on those free bets should tell you that horse racing is no better a form of gambling then anything else out there that you can play.

I also gave up going to casinos. Initially I loved visiting one once or twice a year; so much energy with all of those slot machines beeping and buzzing and making other sound effects, and I'd see people winning hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, I never really came home with a profit; if I was lucky I'd break even and the last couple of times I went I lost money. The last casino I went to with a few friends wasn't so much a casino as a slot parlor -- and the vibe of the place was very depressing. It was mostly senior citizens shuffling around and later in the afternoon, people who looked like they could have been homeless. No one was winning anything. The "energy" the place was giving out just felt heavy and lifeless to me. I lost the $100 I took with me to play and vowed to never return. 

I don't even want to look up and calculate just how much I lost last year on online horse gambling. The site I was using requires a $25 minimum deposit and you can use your credit card or Paypal. If I had to estimate, I can guess I've gambled away $700 or even more -- totally shameful, especially when I've been out of work, but to be honest, it was finally realizing that amount was gone that was the wake-up call for me. The most I ever won was $87 on a $2 bet because one of the horses had long shot odds, and that is what makes the genre no easier to win at than the slots or the lottery. I've watched many races on the site where a horse with 80-1 odds and no race history came in first, beating the odds-on favorites. It doesn't matter what a so-called professional handicapper predicts for a horse race; I'd say only about 25-50% of the time you can depend on their picks. In a race with animals, anything can and usually does happen. 

Plus, I knew it was becoming a borderline addiction for me -- and thus I knew I had to stop. 

The other thing that eventually bummed me out about the site I was playing on were the nasty arguments that took place in the chat box on the front page. Who knew there's a lot of ego among online horse race betters? One guy only played with fake money (which I have to admit now is the best way to play) and he'd be constantly picked apart by another guy who only bet real money. A lot of people liked to brag on there about how good they were with their picks, only to get furious at the jockeys and horses when they lost. 

To make a long story short, gambling was my way of taking action and trying to make something happen...i.e. attract extra money...but clearly it is not what the universe has in mind for me, so I stopped. And now my Paypal account is looking a lot more padded these days. 

Funny how that works. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Can People Change?

Not long ago I was wondering if my life would have turned out differently had I met someone in college and gotten married. Lots of people seem to meet each other in college and get married at some point -- I've seen them listed in the alumni magazine that my alma mater mails to me on occasion. 

Then I realized that I wasn't even dating material in college, let alone marriage material. I was a great student -- I didn't party (I was also a commuter so I wasn't living on campus) and in my spare time I helped the campus entertainment group organize social events, concerts, and other attractions for the college community (which is probably why I now enjoy Meetup.) 

However, I was still really shy and unconfident around boys. Part of that was due to the residual effects of being teased and bullied in junior high school. Even though my high school years were much better and I fell in with a really great group of girls that I'm still in touch with today through Facebook, I definitely didn't know how to flirt. I also didn't trust guys my age for a variety of reasons. I was worried that they'd want me to do things sexually that I didn't want to do, or make me go to parties with them and get drunk. There was one guy I had a crush on, but I didn't know how to approach him. No one on campus ever seemed to notice me, anyway. 

I also wasn't the greatest dresser and my knowledge of what you could do with makeup with a little limited. If you asked me when I was a freshman what it meant to be sexy I'm not sure I could have given the best answer. 

I also had no interest in college boys because it was during this time that I fell in love with a much older man, a wonderful friend that did treat me with respect and did see that there was a confident woman inside of me. When Joe died of cancer in early 1999 -- a few months after my father did -- I was devastated, but in time I became really grateful and felt lucky that I'd gotten to know such a special person. 

By the time Joe passed away (we stayed friends even after he moved to California) I was more confident and sexy; I had started choosing better looking, form fitting clothing (mostly from Victoria's Secret when they used to make nice clothes.) In time I also became a lot more confident around men, learning how to flirt and how to say what was on my mind. I also know a lot more what I want in a relationship today compared to when I was in my 20s (communication, communication, communication, and straight-to-the-point honesty among other things.) 

We have heard so many times that people don't change, but I have to disagree. I definitely believe that I have changed a lot in the past 20 years. Of course, I did so because I wanted to change, and I made it happen. Most of it occurred after learning about the law of attraction and knowing I had in within me to change. And that's the key. You can't make another person change; they have to realize it and want to do it for themselves. No, you shouldn't enter a relationship and expect another person to transform for you. But I personally believe that if someone wants to do so, it is perfectly possible to change. 

And as far as not meeting anyone in college, I don't regret it. Obviously I had to go through my own journey to get to where I am today, and there's a good chance I might be divorced right now had I met someone during that time. I now have way more to offer for the right partner compared to 20 years ago anyway. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It's Good To Get a Little Specific

It's a funny thing about this law of attraction thing -- ever since I determined that I want to be applying to content marketing manager jobs, I've begun seeing them listed here and there. One posted job in particular piqued my interest and sounded nearly perfect. It's for a company right in my town that makes a new home security camera that connects to your smartphone so you can monitor your house from your phone. The company was actually backed by $1M in donations through a Kickstarter campaign. The job requires lots of writing and growing their newsletter list, and the pay range and benefits they are offering is pretty darn sweet. 

But, for some reason, I was dragging my feet on actually applying for the job. For starters I'm still in the midst of updating my online portfolio and tweaking some of the copy on the site, and I also have to print out more samples for my portfolio that I bring to interviews. But there was something that didn't feel quite right, and when I went on the company's Facebook page I saw why. 

There are a lot of angry comments on their Facebook page right now. Actually, they've been getting posted for months. Apparently the company rushed to take pre-orders without knowing exactly when the units being made would be available to ship. Some people have been waiting for several months for their security camera to arrive. Yet a tech news website that ordered the camera stated in their review that they received it within 8 days of placing the order, which is naturally infuriating customers even more. 

At least one of the cameras that did arrive to a patient customer wasn't working, and they requested a refund. Another customer said they didn't realize the camera can't record through glass, which defeats the purpose because they want the camera to record anyone coming to their front door. The cameras also aren't made for outdoor use. 

Now, it could be that these are just the normal glitches of a business still in startup mode -- and it's possible in a few months they could have some of their manufacturing and shipping bugs worked out. But after working for one company that would change logos, advertising product names, and features after it was already out there in the marketplace -- requiring me to rewrite and redesign marketing material because the proper research hadn't been done beforehand -- I'm not so sure I want to get involved with this particular company. In fact it feels like a red flag. 

I had a small list of ideal qualities I want in a new job and employer...but oddly enough, "a company that has its act together and has good customer satisfaction" wasn't on this list! Well, it's definitely going on it now. One of the things I love about my freelance job is seeing happy customers leaving comments on our social media pages and tweeting and posting pictures of our products on Twitter and Instagram. Yes, we still get the odd complaint from time to time. But it's maybe one negative review for every 100 positive ones. 

All of which is a long, roundabout way of me saying there's nothing wrong with being specific when you want to manifest something with the law of attraction. Sometimes seeing the contrast is the only way you can figure out what you want, as I said in one of my last posts. Yes, there is such a thing as being too picky and too specific, but in this case I'd consider this a deal breaker. I definitely would not want to be the social media person reading and responding to numerous complaints from unhappy customers who hadn't received their product yet after months of delays. I can't blame them for being upset because I would be, too. 

It's good to be a little particular and specific with what you want to attract; after all, it's your happiness depending upon it. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Why I Try to Avoid Artificial Fragrances

One of my pet peeves is when companies add artificial fragrances to their products. At first they were most commonly found only in cosmetics and other beauty products, but now they're being added to everything including trash bags and even clothing! In fact, it was a package of children's pajamas containing an unnatural strong scent that a single dad ordered for one of his daughters that caused him to question and research just what is going on with synthetic fragrance usage in American manufacturing today. His findings became an eye-opening documentary that was released a few months ago called Stink! I haven't seen it yet, but plan to when it's released to DVD.

I try to avoid buying products that include synthetic fragrance for two reasons. First, I just plain hate the smell, and it never fades. When I was using body moisturizer such as Jergens and other brands years ago, I noticed that the disgustingly sweet artificial smell never completely faded until I took a shower again. When our neighbors do their laundry using scented fabric detergent on a warm day, we can definitely smell it through our open windows. (I also don't like it when someone overdoes it with perfume or cologne.) 

Second, there's probably going to be mounting evidence in the coming years about just how awful artificial fragrances are for us. There's already been studies linking some of the ingredients used to make artificial fragrance to hormone disruption and cancer, and researchers have suggested they could be a cause of other health problems and autism. Synthetic fragrances are made of chemicals, and because of a loop hole in a really outdated U.S. manufacturing law called The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, they can legally be made of any number of tens of thousands of chemicals and added to consumer products. No one really knows for sure about the effects of long-term exposure to these chemicals.

When the kitty litter we were using starting coming out of the bag with a noticeable added scent, we immediately switched to another brand that was unscented. We definitely didn't want our cats getting their paws exposed to these chemicals and licking them off. When I brought the smell up with the company that made the original brand we were using, they denied that there was any fragrance added to their litter but I and many other cat owners that left comments on their Facebook page disagreed. It smelled just like perfume -- and we were noticing it throughout the house on whatever furniture the cats had been on. 

Needless to say, I may be one of the few women in America that never wears perfume (though I used to when I was younger) and never steps into a Yankee Candle shop. I also never use car fresheners. When I first learned about the concerns over artificial fragrances, I tossed out the Jergens and started looking for moisturizers made with natural fragrance (or unscented ones) and as many natural ingredients as possible. 

One of these is a New Hampshire-based company called Loving Naturals; sadly, as a family-run business they encountered some personal problems and had to put production on hold. Right now their online stock is still extremely limited, so in the meantime I've been ordering body moisturizer made by Be Green Bath and Body here in Massachusetts. Be Green is operated by one woman who makes all of the products herself using natural ingredients. Her Peppermint Body Lotion, my favorite, is made with distilled water, grape seed oil, organic olive oil, organic sunflower oil, organic coconut oil, beeswax, organic cocoa butter, and honey. It smells like a York Peppermint Pattie and then naturally fades away a few minutes after you apply it. The only downside is these products usually cost a bit more than the brands you'd find in a drugstore, but for me they're totally worth it. 

There's several companies online that focus on making similar products so if Be Green doesn't appeal to you, there are many more out there. EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is an excellent resource for finding companies that make natural beauty products as well as gauging the toxicity level of the ingredients any product on the market. I also found a shower gel sold at Whole Foods that only contains grapefruit, lime, and orange oils to scent it -- and the price is very reasonable. There's no good reason for companies to not use natural oils to scent their products; the reason they don't is so that they can save money.

I know that I can't avoid chemicals and synthetic fragrances in everything (and I still use shampoo, conditioner, hair color, and hair mousse that contains them) but I definitely think picking some battles and eliminating what you can helps limit exposure. I'd much rather breathe in clean, unscented air then air containing artificial perfume any day. 

Here's the trailer to that documentary, Stink!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Learning To Be Less Judgmental

I have no hesitation in admitting that being judgmental is one of my negative qualities. I know in the past it has cost me a couple of friendships and in general, it just isn't a nice thing to be. Dr. Wayne Dyer had a few quotes about judging others, one of which was, "When you judge another, you do not define them; you define yourself." 

I tried very hard during the past couple of years to curb the urge to judge or say smack about someone behind their back; I'd be successful for a while and could keep my opinion to myself and then would slip back into it. But this past Christmas, a conversation with my niece really did open my eyes and enabled me to stop it. (I'm pretty sure none of my family members read this blog; they don't even read my other one but if at some point it seems they are, I may have to delete this post just in case.)

My niece is ten years younger than I am and I will admit that there was a period I was envious of her. She has always seemed to have a boyfriend starting from when she was in high school, to when she was living in different parts of country, and during 2015 she announced at least three times on Facebook that she was "in a relationship." However, each of these and any subsequent evidence of a romance like photos, etc. would eventually get deleted. So, I knew deep down that something was off...but without knowing any of the facts I assumed she was to blame for the relationship failures. I thought that she was pressuring the guys right away for a commitment, or that maybe her 7 year-old son was acting up around them and they were deciding they didn't like the possibility of eventually becoming a stepdad. But, none of this was the case at all. 

I spent the most time Christmas Day talking with her than any other family member. What I found out is that at least three of her past boyfriends cheated on her, including the father of her son, who is not only still dating the woman he betrayed her with, but has recently began dating a second woman. A guy she lived with in Florida years ago (whose name was Don) earned the nickname "Don Juan Marco" because he was sleeping with several girls on Marco Island while he was living with my niece. 

Another guy that she lived with up here a couple of years ago also cheated on her...after she gave him thousands of dollars to help fix up his house she was sharing with him at the time. She never got the money back. 

There's no obvious reason for any of these guys to cheat on my niece. She's 6 feet tall and gorgeous; she was once approached by a scout from a modeling agency when she lived in Florida but didn't pursue it because they wanted her to lose 20 pounds which would have made her dangerously underweight. She's very sweet and treats guys extremely well; buying them gifts and spending lots of time with them. It's not like she's not giving them attention or not having sex with them. She also doesn't introduce her son to a boyfriend unless they've been dating for a while. 

The latest guy that she was on-again, off-again with (and now currently off) has two young children with an ex-girlfriend he did not marry, but who is making his life (and started to make my niece's life) hell. My niece told me that his ex-girlfriend cheated on him and left him and the two kids, but refuses to move on despite having a new boyfriend. She damaged his car and my niece is worried that her car will get vandalized as well, although that's the least of the friction she was experiencing with him in this relationship. He told her a strange story about getting mugged by a guy at his gym that took $300 cash from him right before Christmas and neither she nor my brother believe the story. 

She's been going to a special surgical training school since September that only accepts something like 16 students annually (where she watches all kinds of operations and medical procedures taking place; something I know I could never do), so she's going to concentrate on finishing it this year and getting a job in he medical field. 

We had a long talk and it included the law of attraction. I gently explained to her that there could be something she's feeling or putting out there that's attracting the wrong men back to her. She agreed with me and said part of it was that she lives in my brother's basement instead of her own place and she doesn't feel so worthy these days on account of her living situation and not having a career. She said she does have this fantasy of someone swooping in and providing her with financial support. I reminded her that she's obviously working towards that goal and she won't always be living with my brother; there will come a day she'll have enough saved to buy her own home. 

She's done things in the past that I and other family members shook our heads at -- such as getting a huge tattoo on her back and spending money on other things that some might think is wasteful. But after my talk with her on Christmas Day, I really didn't care about any of that any more. It isn't any of my business what people choose to spend their money on -- and being out of work myself but still going out, I have no right to say anything. 

I reminded her, too, that's there's nothing wrong with being single -- and it's far better to be alone for the right reasons than to be with someone for the wrong ones. She totally agreed with me. 

Usually when you're judging you don't often know the whole story, and all of the facts. Of course I know that now, and have been getting really better at minding my own business.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

You Can't Get What You Want ('Til You Know What You Want)

This post may get a little wordy, so I'll just cut to the chase here: I've finally found what I want to do for my next job, and that's be a content marketing manager. Yes, it only took me nearly two years of unemployment to figure this out.

You often can't attract something unless you know what it is you want in the first place. Sometimes people don't know what they want in one particular area of their life. And as it turns out, I believe this is a reason why I've been floundering around in unemployment for close to two years, applying to a variety of jobs that were sorta close to what I had an idea I wanted to do (but not quite), and not really getting anywhere with ones I interviewed for.

That's where the title of this post comes in. It's also the name of a Joe Jackson song -- a song I was listening to it one day in work a few years ago when it dawned on me that it totally applied to the law of attraction. Joe is absolutely right -- you can't get what you want until you know what you want to begin with. (The Rolling Stones might disagree and say you can't always get what you want, but I personally believe the law of attraction does deliver what you're putting out there with your feelings and beliefs.)

It's like saying you want to use the law of attraction to find a house but you have no clue what the size of it should be, how many bedrooms it has, or what kind of neighborhood it's in. The same problem applies to a car, a partner, or in my case, a job.

I'll be honest -- all this time, I wasn't so sure what I wanted to do for my next career move. I've been in marketing for most of my post-college life, and the next logical step would be to apply for marketing manager positions (which is my "title" given to me by the company I freelance for.) But most MM positions that I looked at online came with a few unfavorable duties that I knew I did not want to do anymore. A couple of months after I was laid off, I started contemplating and made out a list of everything that I didn't like about my previous job, and then a new list of qualities that were the opposite of those -- this is a really helpful exercise I've read about a lot, by the way, for anyone having trouble zeroing in on exactly what they want. The contrast really helps in that respect.

One of the things I wrote down that I knew I didn't want to do was to be traveling to set up and take down booths at trade shows. Been there, done that, way too many times at other jobs. I actually have a love/hate relationship with trade shows. I like traveling and seeing a different city, I like meeting new people and don't mind talking to potential customers about a product or service, but I don't like having to stand on my feet all day (I did enough of that during my first job ever at a grocery store and later putting myself through college working at a local hotel.) Also it's just exhausting assembling a booth and then taking it down and packing everything up to be shipped back. One year at my last job, not only did I manage our entire presence at one trade show including designing the booth and marketing materials, ordering the equipment, shipping everything, and sending the travel info to every employee that was attending, but I then had to travel to the venue myself to set up the booth and help man it. It was actually during this trip that I realized it was time to start thinking about looking for a new job, but that's another post for another time.

Anyways, trade shows and traveling to participate in one and deal with the equipment was out for me. I'm also not crazy about playing around with spreadsheets and researching promotional items for a company to put their logo on and give out at the trade shows.

Last year and the year before I got interviews for a copywriter position, a social media manager position, a web content editor and some job that had a long title involving writing and newsletter creation. I turned down the last one for a few reasons, and I wasn't offered the other three. (Every company I interviewed for has accumulated several negative employee reviews online during the past year, so I feel it was for the best that I didn't get these jobs.)

I love social media, but I'm not crazy about the idea of doing in-depth analytics and reporting on how effective a tweet was, which is what a lot of SM managers are required to do these days.

In 2015 I also considered venturing into a different career. One of my friends that I met in my Meetup group insisted that I would make a good event or wedding planner, because of the fact I run a Meetup group. But there's a big difference between making a reservation for a restaurant and overseeing an event where anything could go wrong and where you have to be on-site for hours in case anything does hit the fan.

I applied to some office manager positions. I figured I'd be good at keeping a company kitchen clean and stocked and it would be a great opportunity to get to know everyone in a company. I think, however, that my vast amount of experience probably worked against me so I was never invited for an interview.

To make a long story short, it was a few weeks after I started meditating before bedtime that I felt an inner voice say to me, "You need to be writing." And then not long after that, while looking at jobs online, that I saw one with the title content marketing manager. No trade show management. No crunching numbers in a spreadsheet, and no ordering cheesy promotional items. Mostly this position within a company focuses on what I like to do best...writing social media statuses, blog posts, email promotions, and other marketing materials and figuring out how to get creative with them and repurpose them.

I still have my work cut out for me; I need to tweak my resume and update my online portfolio, but thanks to this clarity and focus I finally feel one step closer to finding the right job, now that I've figured out exactly what it is I want to do in the first place!

And in case you need to hear it, here's that great song by Joe Jackson:

Friday, January 8, 2016

Single and Down About It? Browse the Online Wedding Announcements (Seriously)

Valentine's Day is about a month away. If you're single, like me, the holiday can be a sore spot for you. I know it has been for me in the past, although a few years ago I chose a new tradition: I buy a gift or do something nice for myself. But that's actually a good subject for another time; this post is about people who feel down about being single, whether it's Valentine's Day or any other day. You may wonder if it's going to happen for you, and you may wonder what other people -- particularly those that are married or getting married -- have that you don't. 

I'm going to instruct you to do something that I recently did; peruse the wedding announcements section of your local paper or better yet, go online to look at some (The New York Times has an excellent online wedding section, bolstered by great stories about how couples met each other.)

I would like you to take a look at the couples, and notice something that I did. You may think that every couple that announces their wedding in the New York Times is young and beautiful. But that's hardly the case at all. 

I see all kinds of couples. There are younger ones, older ones, couples of mixed races and those that share the same ethnicity. There are stylish ones and ones that could use some help in the fashion department. There are gay couples and skinny couples and overweight couples. And although I didn't see any this time, people with disabilities get married -- sometimes to a person that doesn't have one. 

Some you may think are good looking, yes. But honestly, the last time I looked I saw mostly what I would consider average looking people. Why am I looking at wedding announcements online of people I don't know and telling you to do the same?

Because if it happened for them, then it can happen for you. 

It really is something that I realized not long ago about couples getting married. Think about it. Are any of these people really any better than you? No, I don't think so. Maybe some may outshine you a bit in certain areas. But every person is unique with unique qualities they bring to a relationship. And, really, it tells me that everyone has an equal chance at meeting the right partner and getting engaged.  

And there's two other positive benefits to browsing wedding announcements online. First of all, people are still getting married. Yay! I've read reports in the last few years about marriage in the U.S. being on the decline, and even blogged about it on Go Retro. How many of us have heard stories about, people that don't want to commit? (I heard one just the other day, from my hairdresser.) Seriously, looking at the numerous wedding announcements in the Times changed my belief in that area quite a bit and made me realize people are still walking down the aisle. 

Second, I strongly recommend reading about how each couple met (the Times also has an article right now of the most unique ways featured couples met in 2015.) It really is proof that the universe doesn't just have people meet on an online dating site (although one couple did meet on OKCupid) or at a singles event. One couple met on an online forum for their favorite sports team; some worked together, one was introduced by a friend, one met while volunteering for a Big Brothers Big Sisters event. and one couple -- both widows around the same age -- met each other on (OK, so maybe there is something to these dating sites.)

I'm not saying, of course, that everyone has to get married to be happy. But somehow, looking at a section of the paper that many years ago made me envious or feel a little unworthy has really changed my perspective and beliefs in this area. Give it a try sometime -- and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Why I Don't Pay Attention to The Competition (And Neither Should You)

We live in what a lot of people may consider a very competitive world; from the time we're little kids there's this drive instilled in us to try to be the best, to try to "beat" everyone else, and that there's only so much stuff (or people) to go around so we have to be better than everyone else to "get" it. 

That's not thinking of the world in terms of abundance, however. And while I'm still working on keeping the abundance thinking every day, there is one thing that I have always been very good at, and that's not paying any attention to my competition. 

When I interview for a job, I don't wonder what the backgrounds and skills of the other candidates are like. The few times I've tried online dating, I didn't worry about what the other women on the site looked like, their personalities, or what they had to offer (and after recently hearing a male friend's online dating horror stories, oh BOY! I REALLY don't have to worry.) And when I was submitting articles where only one writer would be chosen (and paid for) through a now-defunct writer's website I once belonged to, I didn't think about the dozens -- or in some cases, hundreds -- of other writers that were submitting articles on the same topics. (I ended up selling about ten pieces through that site as a result -- and I still miss it!) 

In all of these situations, I only focus(ed) on myself and what I have/had to offer. I try to be in competition only with myself, and work on improving myself not so that I can be better than anyone else, but be the best that I can be. 

And so should you. Worrying about the competition and if someone could be potentially "better" than you can really mess up your mind, and your self esteem. Someone out there is going to like you for what you have to uniquely offer, and unbeknownst to you, they'll think you're better than your unseen competition anyway. 

I've even applied the philosophy to writing my other blog, Go Retro. Not long after I first launched the blog I quickly came across another blog devoted to retro pop culture that seemed so much bigger and cooler than my site. The guy that writes it does a great job with the content he finds and posts -- and I'd be lying if I said I never found inspiration from some of his topics and content. I noticed that he was always attracting a lot more comments than mine was, mostly from guys. And he was -- and still is -- publishing on a daily basis; sometimes twice a day. 

But then a few years ago, I decided that it would be best if I just focused on Go Retro and not be concerned about whether it was attracting more followers than this other guy's site. I write about what I want to write about (some topics have been inspired by his, but many more have not.) It has my voice, not his...and while there's some crossover, I tend to write more article-style, informative-based posts while his contains a lot more images. I'm not knocking his site by any means; I still visit it from time to time -- but his topics are a lot different from mine. The site is definitely skewed towards attracting men, and I could never post a lot of the images that he does because they violate Google AdSense's rules. 

Go Retro probably doesn't get the traffic and number of followers that this other site gets, and that's OK with me. I'm really happy with the ideas and inspirations I get for posts, the overall feel of my site, and how much my writing has improved since I first started it. 

Everyone has something unique to offer in this world, so you might as well be you and focus on what you have to offer, instead of trying to be somebody else. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Face Cleaner Every Woman Should Try

I'm taking a break from writing about the "woo-woo" law of attraction stuff to instead share some love for my favorite beauty product on the planet. Why the change in topic for this particular post? Because I ran out of the darned stuff, and I'm currently living that old adage, "you don't know what you've got until it's gone." Or, to borrow what is perhaps a slightly out-of-place quote from Django Unchained, I miss it "like a baby misses his mammy's titty."

I'm talking about DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil. If you're a guy reading this post, you're not going to care enough to continue reading (and that's OK; you won't offend me...LOL.) But if you're a woman, particularly one that wears makeup on a regular basis (or even if you don't) trust me when I say this stuff is the bomb. And despite being made out of specially filtered and purified olive oil, this product will not clog your pores or give you acne. This is coming from someone with naturally oily skin who had acne for a period when she was in her 20s, and I've been using this product for probably a good decade without a single problem. 

I first discovered DHC when they sent me a sample of this oil plus a few of their other goodies in a catalog. I was really skeptical at first -- whoever heard of putting oil on your face to clean it? -- but once I tried it I have never stopped using it. This miracle cleanser dissolves makeup, even if it's waterproof, cleans your pores, removes loose skin cells, and softens your skin without making it greasy or leaving any kind of residue/buildup behind. The way it works is this: you dispense a pump or two into your dry hand and rub it all over your dry face. Yes, dry face. That's because Deep Cleansing Oil actually dissolves in water. So, when you're done rubbing it in, you rinse it off with warm water, then use your favorite cleanser to make sure your face is truly clean. Then you can use your favorite toner and/or moisturizer.

This is the company's best-selling product worldwide and their website says a bottle is sold every 10 seconds, and I believe it. All of their products are made in Japan and for the most part, they try to limit artificial and/or harmful ingredients in their items. 

There's no added fragrance, which is another reason why I love DHC products; to me, the oil just has a natural olive oil aroma. But the reason I love it so much is because I can't even explain how smooth and soft it leaves my skin. Trying to wash my face this week using just my cleanser and water has been torture by comparison. My hands don't glide over my face easily and it just doesn't feel as clean. And with a cold snap over New England right now, my face could really use this oil. I also wouldn't be surprised if it helps keep wrinkles and fine lines at bay through the years; supposedly the oil contains antioxidants. I actually can't say enough about DHC's products; there's only been maybe a couple that I've tried that I just didn't like. 

The one downside to this item is that you have to be careful not to get it in your eyes; it does sting like the dickens (and having cloudy oil on your eyeball is not the most comfortable feeling.) But other than that, it gets an A+ rating from me. 

I sent an email to DHC customer service asking about the status of my order; they said they would look into it, and so far there's been no further word...but in the meantime, I'm pretty sure you can contact them for samples of Deep Cleansing Oil, along with a catalog. They also make the best darned liquid eyeliner I've ever tried, but that's a post for another time. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Finding The Blessings In Unemployment (Or Wherever You Are In Life)

When I saw the above saying on a friend's Facebook page a few weeks ago, I knew I had to file it away and use it in a post here. Basically it means that you need to make peace with where you are in life and what is in order to move forward and allow new blessings in. And for me, that has meant making peace with being unemployed. 

It's been close to two years since my last job was eliminated, but it's only been during the past couple of months that I've really started to appreciate the benefits of the situation. And I don't just mean being able to wake up whenever I want and linger all morning in my bathrobe (those are two habits that I've been working on breaking, anyway.)

Sure, at the moment I don't have a steady check being direct deposited for me every other week, and I've had to pay for my own health and dental insurance. I'm also not socializing with a group of people during the day, and I really look forward to working with a team and having social stimulation again. But, I've been able to use my extra time to learn a few new skills that I didn't have much experience with in my last full-time job, and I know they can only benefit me in the job market. 

One of these was learning more about search engine optimization (SEO.) I took an online course last year which was so-so, but then registered for a few free webinars to learn more. After the most recent one a few months ago, I shared what I had learned with the CEO of the company I freelance for and asked if I could overhaul the SEO for the website. He happily obliged and together we worked on revising the product copy and adding keywords that people are searching for online, and also updated the meta tags and image file names. For...every...single...product (they have over 100!) I'll find out this weekend how much our efforts paid off when I go through Google Analytics and compare the search words that led people to our site in 2014 to the ones that led them there last year, and the differences in web traffic. 

Needless to say, Google Analytics was the second thing I taught myself more of in 2015. Previously I had only looked at the basic stats on it for the website, but eventually learned how to connect the SEO feature to it and learn everything that it could track for us. Recently I learned that Google has an online Analytics Academy where you can go through each section of the reporting and learn about each one, in depth, for free. It's one of my New Year's resolutions to begin going through it next week and tackling it. 

Being out of work has also allowed me to do a lot more of what I love to do most, writing. I've been able to enjoy that fun $15-per-article gig I picked up during the summer and have ended up learning about a lot of great non-profits and small businesses across the country that I never heard of before. I've also had more time to work on Go Retro and of course, launch this blog. 

And had I started a new job last year, I'm not sure how much time off I would have been allowed when my mother was in the hospital and then during her recovery. Even my oldest sister said she felt like it worked out for the best and now I can focus on the job search again. 

I really feel like I've learned a lot in the past few months and have a lot more confidence for the job market ahead. Do I want to be working full-time or close to it again? Absolutely. But in the meantime, being un/underemployed has definitely been a bit of a blessing. Here's hoping that the non-struggle and appreciating where I am is going to open that next door to where I'm going. 

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