True business perseverance…. Small business spotlight!

In New England we have gotten a LOT of snow.  They say this was worse than the blizzard of 78.  I heard one news reporter say Boston got over 100 inches since January 28th.

giant snowman

To say that it has been difficult to run a business is a complete understatement!  Between closing full days mid-storm, closing early, opening late,it has been a nightmare for my business and all of my small business friends.  Then when it finally stops snowing, there is the cleanup.  After the 70 inch mark, there was just no place to put the snow anymore.  The snow mounds are so high, you can barely see out of most windows.  Then there are problems that come with so much snow that you just don’t even think of, leaks that never existed suddenly appear.  Heavy snow on weak roofs have caused some roofs to cave in and collapse.  My husband had to get on our roof twice and shovel.

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

A local business in my neighborhood has had to close their business for the four weeks.  It is a dance studio called In Sync Center of the Arts.  They are one of the most well run and talented dance studios in my area.  What drew me in to this dance studio 5 years ago was how many classes they offered- not just for dance, but taekwondo, lego club, music lessons, and drama. I have four kids and I loved that all of them could take a class at once and I would get a whole hour all to myself :-). In the lobby, they have big screen tv’s that show all of the classes so you can see everyone at once.  LOVE IT!

The week before February vacation,  Insync’s next-door neighbor’s roof collapsed.  Thankfully it was empty and nobody was hurt physically.  Financially, it is devastating.  There are 5 business all in this little strip mall and they are all closed.  If I had to guess how many people were employed between the five businesses I would say hundreds.  Hundreds of people out of work because of something out of their control!  It’s heartbreaking!

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

Teri, the owner of Isync, was trying to unplug and relax for a few days during Feb vacation with her husband and kids.  She actually left her phone in her hotel room while out for dinner, only to return to hear about the nightmare she has now been living for weeks.  She had to cut her vacation short and rush home to make sense out of her new situation.  She was not allowed on the property. The electricity and gas is shut off and everything is roped off until it is deemed safe.

Most people would curl up into a ball and feel sorry for themselves, but not Teri.  She had her team up and running the next day seeking out temporary space for her business.  They brought their phones and laptops to a fabulous little coffee shop (mine 🙂 ) and worked as a team and didn’t stop until they found space that would work.

She ended up with two spaces, one by day and a high school for the night classes.  The high school is perfect because there are so many class rooms that it allows many dance classes to go on at the same time.

Amazing strength, creativity, and the drive to go on.  All admirable qualities that I believe most entrepreneurs have.  Teri has a crazy awesome team loaded with talent and is clearly flexible.

Awesome, talented staff!

Awesome, talented staff!

I am honored to be a customer of theirs and I love how they are handling this situation.

There is so much negativity and tragedy shown on the news and social media, I just had to share how a real life woman turned some serious sour lemons into delicious lemonade 🙂

insynlogo

Isn’t it Time to Put Pre-Prom Tanning to Bed?

I don’t know a mom or dad who doesn’t remember tanning before prom- or even just to feel some “sunshine” during a long New England winter. When I was a teen, I signed up for tanning in packages of 10 or 12 sessions at a local fitness center, at a price easily afforded on a teen’s meager budget, and I enjoyed baking in the bed or dancing in the heat to the too-loud music in a booth for 8-12 minutes.  Having never sunburned in my life, I didn’t give a thought to the dangers of the concentrated UV rays penetrating my young skin. No parental permission was required and, although that has changed in some states, it’s not enough.

At the Massachusetts Conference for Women in December, I met Meghan Rothschild, a vibrant and beautiful Marketing & PR Manager and Melanoma survivor. Meg told me the frightening story of her diagnosis and treatment. At age 19, she mentioned to her doctor that a mole on her abdomen was itchy. The doctor thought it looked “a little funny,” so it was removed and biopsied. Two weeks later, Meghan was told that she had Stage 2 Malignant Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Her head reeling from the news, she headed in for surgery to remove eight lymph nodes, which left her with four disfiguring scars. Luckily for Meghan, her cancer was caught early and she was declared cancer-free after her surgery. She was now a survivor, but also a 20 year old covered in disfiguring scars, knowing that her own choices- her own pursuit of beauty through tanning- had led to her nightmare. Meghan is as tough as she is beautiful, so it’s no surprise that her next step was to share her experience to help spare others. Eleven years cancer-free, she is an outspoken advocate for Melanoma education and prevention and is the spokesperson and marketing & PR manager for Melanoma Foundation New England.

According to a 2014 study by Wehner and colleagues, more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer may be related to indoor tanning in the United States each year.

On July 29, 2014 the Surgeon General issued a Call to Action to address skin cancer as a major public health concern. Lawmakers are taking notice- at least 41 states have already passed some type of legislation that regulates minors using tanning beds. Just last Wednesday, New Hampshire’s House of Representatives passed a bill that will ban tanning beds and booths for minors, but leaving it up to states creates too much gray area. National legislation, like the laws that regulate alcohol and tobacco, would be the best way to reduce teens’ exposure to the dangerous UV rays in tanning beds. Today, Meghan is in Washington DC, with over 100 other survivors, working with MFNE, Melanoma Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society to push for national tanning legislation to protect others from Melanoma and other skin cancers.

As parents, it’s our job, not only to apply sunblock to our babies, but to educate our teens and ourselves about sun safety. As my 16 year-old excitedly plans for her prom- she already has her gorgeous dress!!- I’m happy to say that tanning will never be on her to-do list!

Check out your state’s tanning laws here. To learn more about preventing Melanoma, visit MFNE or Melanoma Research Foundation.

Meghan Rothschild, in DC to speak about Melanoma and push for tanning legislation.

Meghan Rothschild, in DC to speak about Melanoma and push for tanning legislation.

Yummy oooey gooey black bean brownie recipe!

I am on a mission to get more protein in my children’s (especially my daughter’s) diet.  They won’t eat very many green things and are super picky.  I think most kids with food allergies tend to be picky, and mine are no different.

I have been trying to master this black bean brownie recipe for weeks but up until today they tasted like….  well… beans!!

I adjusted a few things this morning and it was a hit!!  They are SO GOOD!!!

 

black bean brownie 3

 

Here is my super easy recipe!!

 

Ingredients:

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  ( I use Vermont Nut Free cocoa powder)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I also broke up a nut free chocolate bar for the topping and added nut free butterscotch chips)

Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender to puree, except the toppings.  I added a touch of water to the blender to help it along.

Black bean brownie

Grease a pan (I used a glass pie plate) and pour in.  Place your toppings on top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Let cool.

Dig in and enjoy!!!

-J

black bean brownie 2

My Daughter Asks Why ‘American Idol’ Contestants Are Judged on Their Looks

It is Saturday night, so I let the kids stay up a little later. We were all kind of lazy and didn’t feel like playing a game so we thought we might watch a movie. It was past 8:30 and too late to start a movie, so I decided to check out the DVR to see what we had waiting for us.

We had a few American Idol shows recorded and none watched. Although American Idol is a great family friendly show, it is rated PG and makes me cringe…a lot. Not sure why most shows have to go over the line with swearing and topics (spoke of virginity with one of the guests on the show we watched tonight) and lots of bleeps and hell, and “fricken” (hate that word). I don’t need my 7 year old walking into school Monday saying this “fricken sucks” because he heard it on tv!

Back to our night- we have a nice fire in the fireplace, snuggled in our pjs and warm blankets watching the audition shows of American Idol. I keep hearing my 9 year old daughter saying something under her breath. I didn’t know what she was saying and kind of ignored her because it is nearly impossible to watch anything with four kids, two dogs, two loud gerbils running on wheels and my guinea pig squealing for attention. Everyone talks, or jokes, or laughs and I CAN’T HEAR the show. So I ignored her. A few times.

Microphone American Idol post

Finally I hear her crystal clear saying “why do the judges keep mentioning what they look like?”. I pause the show and ask her what she is talking about. She is seriously angry that the judges keep talking about contestants’ smiles, hair, legs, body, booties, total package and looks over all. “Why does it matter what these people look like when this is a singing competition?”

Oh, how I love to hear this. I must be doing something right. I have worked SO HARD to not mention how unhappy I am with my looks. I have been overweight since the sperm hit the egg with kid number one and that was 13 years ago. I got bigger with each one and now cannot lose it. I want to complain all of the time. But I don’t- Ever. We don’t say the word fat. We don’t say ugly, I don’t discuss size or weight. I never speak badly about myself or anybody else. When the conversation starts to head in that direction with others, I try and steer it in a healthier direction.

We do speak of eating healthy, bathing, brushing and flossing, why I wear makeup, why women shave and men don’t in the United States. We do speak of strong, healthy, talented people. We speak of following your dreams and not being afraid to try new things. We focus on the positive and eliminate negativity where ever possible.

I did hear her speak negatively about herself once. With a friend, she said something about not liking her hair. After the friend left I asked her about it. She told me she really does like her hair but all of the girls say negative things about themselves so she tried to think of something she could say and her hair was all she could think of. We spoke about lying, being negative and not being true to yourself. I haven’t heard anything like that again.

Who knows what the future holds, but her strong opinion tonight made me feel so good about how she feels now. She was disgusted that these judges were paying attention to the way people looked instead of just focusing on how they sound. She really understands that judging people based on looks doesn’t make any sense. It is such a simple concept, isn’t it? A singing contest should have fabulous singers. Now, how do we tell the judges?!

*Image used is from Shutterstock.com

New Year’s Resolutions…. NaBloPoMo day 1

I have decided to take the NaBloPoMO blogging challenge of blogging daily for a month!  Feeling a little nervous!

Today’s prompt:  What are you New Year’s Resolutions for the new year?  Tell us how you chose them.

I have been on a path of change for a long time now.  I feel like life is like an onion and I just keep peeling back the layers.  Some make me cry and others I am fine with.

I am pretty aware of making better choices for myself year round but I love starting a new year fresh!  I love creating vision boards and fun little resolution crafts with the kids on New Years Eve.  This year we made little people (see image below) and put whatever resolutions came to mind on the shirt.  These little resolution people will hang in our living room all year and we (four kids and my husband) will check in with each other to make sure we are all on the right path.

resolution pic

My personal resolutions are to focus on being more present, meditate daily, play more games with my children, get back to juicing weekly, reduce clutter, cut out processed foods, get out of debt, blog more frequently and learn more about investing.

I have been taking baby steps towards bigger goals for about 10 years.  For example I cut out g.m.o.’s last year, switched to raw milk, and began juicing two years ago.  I cut out gluten in September and am prepared to cut out processed foods now.  I haven’t quite  yet defined what processed food is to me but am working on it.

Baby steps have always worked for me.  I like to practice giving something up just before I go cold turkey.  It’s funny because I feel like I am SO FAR away from my goals but when I actually stop and look how far I have come, I can see real progress.

It is only one day into 2015 and I am loving it already.  It is going to be my best year yet, I can feel it.

 

7 Reasons Why You Need To Try Taekwondo

I have done every workout ever. Aerobics, step, spin, kickboxing, cross fit, tae-bo, personal training, running, walking, yoga.  Like I said; name it and I have most likely done it.

Throughout the years, I have gone through fitness phases, falling in deep like with different things. I have always been active, playing basketball, rollerblading, bike riding. (And walking the beach always kind of centers me.)

I was introduced to taekwondo about 5 years ago when my 2 oldest boys began taking classes. I fell in love then. I loved the instructors. I loved the discipline. I loved the fact that it focuses on the whole person, not just the two hours per week you are in class. Taekwondo taught my children about strength, perseverance, respect, dignity and how to give back. Good grades are expected at school when you are a taekwondo student and so is good behavior.

Two years ago they started offering parent classes. I felt a little silly to be quite honest. I am a rather large 42 year old woman in a white martial arts uniform! Then class began and I fell even deeper in love.

7 Reasons Why You Need to Try Taekwondo…..

1. A distracting challenge!! I don’t know about you, but I need a distraction. If I am counting how many pushups I am doing, my brain starts to spit curses out at me, telling me how bad I stink and that I should stop now. You will be so distracted by the language, the precise kicks, blocks, and punches, that you will forget you are working out! These workouts are intense, but you won’t even notice! I need and appreciate the distraction. Classes fly by and I am usually sad when they are over.

2. It is both physically and mentally challenging. Having to memorize forms (a series of kicks, blocks, punches, and stances orchestrated in a specific order) while focusing on having your foot pointing in the right direction, while having your leg at the right height, while simultaneously remembering to chamber. It’s a LOT to remember, it strenuous and hard work. I get so excited when I feel I have mastered a move, only to learn there are 10 more layers to that move and I have only mastered the first one.

3. Taekwondo will center you. After you get to know your forms you will come to rely on them to bring peace. I got a root canal last year and to calm my anxiety, I closed my eyes and went through my form in my head over and over. It really gave me some peace.

tkd blog post

4.  You get a prize every few months!!! A new colored belt to mark your higher rank. It may sound silly, but trust me you will wear that belt with pride and count down the minutes until you get your hands on the next color!

5.  You get to wear a comfy uniform (that looks super cool!). There is no stressing out about wearing the cutest tank and black spandex, no competition amongst anybody. We all look the same in class, except for the belt which distinguishes rank.

6.  You get to work out your frustrations on a bag, pad or person (with pads on). I frequently walk in to tkd all stressed out and leave a whole new person with a whole new perspective.

7.  You get to break wood! How cool is that? Who would have ever thought that I would be breaking wood with my  heels of steel 🙂 in my forties?!?! 🙂

 

Oh yeah, I broke this :-)

Oh yeah, I broke this 🙂

I am so grateful to have found taekwondo.  See you in class! 🙂

 

 

Jennifer Ormond is a Boston based entrepreneur, author, radio personality, blogger, mom to 4 amazing kids and wife. Lover of business, coffee, writing, children and parenting. Queen of sarcasm and eternal optimist! Connect with Jenn at mommybusiness.net, coffeebreakcafe.net, or jenniferormond.com ,@jennormond and @mommybiz7.

Nobody likes B.O., right?

Since my children were a thought in my head I have been grappling with how to be the healthiest I can be and how to get rid of all the chemicals I ingest or use like as in shampoo, soap, lotion, makeup, cleaning products, over-processed food, etc…. My biggest struggle has been deodorant. I don’t want to stink and I don’t want my children to be the “smelly kid” in school. It is bad enough that my oldest (12) is the only one at his lunch table that uses a re-usable bag for his sandwich and re-usable water container, thank goodness he doesn’t care all that much…..

I have experimented with deodorants over the years…. I grew up with Secret, and boy oh boy do I love Secret. There are so many scents to choose from and I don’t ever smell bad when I wear it. But I remember becoming concerned when I accidentally purchased their “clear” line and it just didn’t wash off. I felt like I had a thick layer of rubbery plastic under my pits…. for days…. I hated it and stopped using it. But it got me thinking about exactly what am I putting on my freshly shaved, open pores, right next to my breast tissue and directly on my arm pit….

I am not a scientific person at all and usually don’t retain the large words that I can’t pronounce of the ingredients of products I use (unfortunately). Aluminum is the key word that I do remember,look for and avoid. I also recall reading an article about women in America having a much higher rate of breast cancer than women of other countries. It had been linked to the fact that women in America shave their armpits and then put chemicals directly on that freshly shaved skin that cause cancer. Makes sense to me. Also scared the crap out of me and thus began my search for deodorant that would help me not smell like an Italian sub (love Italian subs, just not the smell btw) and not put large quantities of chemicals in my body. So I have been on a mission on and off for a number of years and I think I have finally figured out the answer….

I have tried every single all natural and chemical name brand deodorant out there. Nothing works like antiperspirant with chemicals. I can work out and sweat all day long and still smell like fresh flowers…. Some of the all natural products actually make me smell worse before I even sweat!! This past week I was determined to find a winning all natural deodorant and I think I did. I put the chemical antiperspirant under one pit and the all natural under the other every day this week…. I varied the all naturals based on what I thought did a good job keeping me smelling clean :-). By the end of the week, I just wore my new favorite winning all natural deodorant all by itself and really worked my butt off at taekwondo on Wednesday night and then worked out on Thursday morning WITHOUT showering and you know what??? I didn’t stink…. I even made my husband sniff me… Yeah whatever, he doesn’t mind 🙂

The winning deodorant is… drum roll please…. Crystal, I have two; one is Crystal Body Deodorant Spray and the other is Crystal Essence Mineral Body Spray. They are basically water and mineral salts and they really, truly work. I prefer the Pomegranate scent but my son and husband prefer the plain…

Jenn's deodorant :-)

For the record, I am not being paid to speak about this, nor have I been sent a sample (feel free to send me samples btw :-)), this is just my opinion on something that has been bugging me for years. I love solving problems and I think I have solved this one, for me by the way… Upon further investigation this deodorant has two ingredients, one is purified water and the other is natural mineral salts (Potassium Alum). Alum? Isn’t that short for the word I am trying to avoid??? Argh!! I have read some more about this and the belief is that Potassium Alum is a much larger molecule and not very absorbable through the skin which is different from Aluminum Chlorohydrate which is a common ingredient in chemical deodorants. From what I have read, this is the winning deodorant for me.

On to finding the right chemical free shampoo, suggestions please!!!

Here is the link to my new favorite deodorant…. http://www.thecrystal.com/product_information.cfm

Jenn

Eating Healthy!

More resolutions today! Bernard Kinsella, of Good Health Kitchen in Norwell, MA, joined us to talk about eating healthy. We can’t wait to take a class or have a dinner party with Bernard. Learn more about Bernard and his classes at www.goodlifekitchen.com

Because it’s always easier to make good choices when things are planned ahead of time, here’s a week’s worth of dinner, all planned out for you- http://pinterest.com/mommybusiness/a-week-s-worth-of-dinners/ and check out the smoothie recipes too, for an easy way to sneak some more fruit and veggies into your kids!

Follow us on facebook and pinterest- I promise lots of good ideas and tips to make life easier!

-Melissa

  

Commit 2BFit!

It’s 2013 and we’re talking resolutions! The #1 resolution is to lose weight and/or get in shape. Our guest today, Katie Kickbutt, gave us some great tips about sticking to resolutions. She says you have to “Commit to be fit” and set “short, measurable goals.” I agree. I love the special she’s running now to get us started on our fitness goals- Monthly membership with 4 visits a week for $100, or you can get a punch card for 8 sessions for $85! Find Katie at www.Commit2BFitStudio.com.

-Melissa and Jenn