Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A word of caution about hydraulic struts in car trunks!

It was just a week ago that I experienced "quite" a painful injury to my right hand, wrist and forearm when the trunk of my Mercedes-Benz SLK-230 slammed closed with that significant part of my body in the way. Without going into lurid details, it was an incredibly painful moment -- with lots of sound effects oh my! and many pleading prayers to the man upstairs. As I was in the parking lot of a grocery store, I could have dialed 911 or hollered for a stranger to help. Instead, I retreated into the front seat of my car until I could compose myself and drive myself home ... and put away said groceries.

Getting straight to the point! The next day, after seeking urgent medical care attention, I one-handedly googled to find if any other poor soul might have experienced a similar injury. I found two forums for Mercedes-Benz and SLK drivers, and left a one-hand typed caution. You see, I found several car drivers mention being hit in the head with their trunks, but no one said they injured their hand. What my message to those of you with those hydraulic struts meant to hold open your trunks, IF you get a warning bang on the head, HEED it! Immediately replace those hydraulic trunks struts.

At this time, some seven days later, the cast-like splint has been removed and I have been informed that I have no broken bones. I have just started to use my right hand to type; however, I am not pain-free. We are waiting to see if I need to follow up with an orthopedic doctor ... fingers crossed = not.

julieannbrady hand wrist and forearm injury from car trunk hydraulic struts failing

See if you can find that roadster of mine in my post about the Best Roadsters Ever.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Something that my cousin Cindy in Ohio sent me today!

You know the internet surely does beat out snail mail any and every day, don't you think? After all, the email that I got from my cousin Cindy up in Ohio surely would be lost in translation of a letter. You see, it looked really cool in my email with the animation of snow to set the mood and the story. Thanks Cindy for sending me that smiley today.

I think this is pretty funny. Please pardon the not really G-rated word she had to use to tell the story. I get it! Do you? Waving a special "Hi!" to my brother Paul up there in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Why? Well, simple! I can SO see my brother and this story. Here it is!!!! [Editor's comment: I retyped the message as it was in all caps. Although it is worthy of all caps, here it is in sentence case. Enjoy!]

98% of Americans say "Oh Shit" before
going in the ditch of a slippery road.

The other 2% are from Ohio and they say,
"Hold my beer and watch this!"

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Giving Thanks -- For the Fans Who Have Made a Difference!

This morning I am taking a moment to say "Thank You" to those 271 people that have shown their 'support' for something that means a lot to me. I have one lens in particular that stands out from all the rest of my  Squidoo lenses. This one lens means the most to me because it is because of a person who was a huge influence in my life ... someone who is no longer with us. Holidays with Grandma are a bit empty because grandma* is no longer with us.

Take a look at this fan art mosaic of my Stuffed Cabbage page. I see a lot of friendly faces there. If you are one of those friendly faces, my fellow Squidoo lensmasters, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there! Wow, 271 of my friends! That's not a bad number considering that I see 1,694 total fans on my profile page. And, thank you to the 531 lensmasters who have taken time to add their star to the page! Muchas Gracias and Köszönöm.

jaguarjulie fans who favorited stuffed cabbage lens

What's been very meaningful to me has been the "history" so to speak for this one meaningful lens! On April 16, 2009, this Stuffed Cabbage lens earned a purple star -- it's that special award for lenses with quality content made by Giant Squids. That was my very first purple star. Then, on April 19, 2009, this lens made it into the #1 spot overall on Squidoo; occupying that spot for some 24 days. That has been my only #1 lens, and it has meant the world to me. As Squidoo lensmasters we are rewarded in many meaningful ways. It's really not about the money; it is a form of acknowledgement that will stick with you.

It has been equally cool that there has been Google love for Stuffed Cabbage, much to the almost surprise of my hubby! He just smiles when I tell him all this stuff! Google has given this lens a pagerank of 6; that's pretty good I think. The lens has been getting great traffic too; traffic that should keep it in the overall Top 100; it's been there for over a year -- 465 days. Hmmm, I think I need to make some Stuffed Cabbage this weekend.

So, thank you those of you who have been a part of this remarkable, meaningful journey! I will never forget this.

*P.S. No, my grandma did not get run over by a reindeer. ;)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience as a Distinguished Visitor

Recently my hubby was in the right place at the right time to accept an offer to be a Distinguished Visitor on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. His 15 minutes of fame came on Sunday, November 15, 2009 when he joined 11 other Distinguished Visitors as they boarded the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) Supercarrier for two days of VIP treatment during an active training mission at sea off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

My hubby is a pretty low-key guy who takes most experiences in stride, but this one got him pretty excited! Hearing that he would have such a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I suggested he charge up his digital camera and take notes so that we could write a Squidoo lens about it!

Well, that was precisely what we did -- it was a joint project that took over one week of preliminary writing and staging of photographs and videos to tell the story. After hours of work, our joint project Squidoo lens was ready for primetime. A Distinguished Visitor of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was published on November 25, 2009. On December 1, 2009, this lens was awarded the highly-coveted Squidoo Purple Star; awarded to giant squids' lenses for quality content. I've selected one of my favorite videos which shows a F/A-18 Super Hornet in a picture-perfect tailhook landing.

You know there was another joint project with hubby that earned that Squidoo Purple Star. How to Create a Patio With Stone Pavers was published on July 13, 2009 and earned that Purple Star on July 14th. So, that is 2 for hubby and 4 for me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Returning from a brief hiatus -- I am back!

Isn't it just incredible? With the proliferance of social media platforms coupled with all the social interactions, if you miss a day, you miss a lot! Then try and imagine if you miss several days ... how incredibly challenging it can be to play catch up and try to figure out who, what, where, when, how and WHY? Well, don't you just hate it when life has to interrupt our online interactions? It sometimes might contribute to our friends thinking us as a bit anti-social or non-interactive.

Multitasking and multiple responsibilities certainly have kept me busy ... and I know a lot of moms and Rocketmoms out there are similarly busy. Whew!

I've been scanning a variety of forums and platforms to get a feel for what I've been missing. It is impossible to communicate with everyone or have the time to intelligently contribute to everything, so I've got to pick and choose.

I did make time to create some new lenses though. You see, these are a bit of therapy for me as is my Zazzle store. But, I'm noticing that my previous visitors aren't calling on me lately -- but I do see them elsewhere as I visit MANY lenses on a daily basis. Could it be all the groups of Squidoo that are occupying these people? Oh, I do hope they decide to come outside their comfort zones and groups to pay me and others a visit. I know the Rocketmoms include quite a few members now; shucks, the other day I visited a brand new -- JUST created -- lens to see 19 star ratings! Holy moly batman -- I've got lenses that are months and months old, but have one hand's worth of star ratings! Hello, can you hear me now?

I think Tony and Achim would both agree that I need to write more on the topic of humor. I am working on that and came up with a little ditty the other day. A little tongue-in-cheek humor exercise today -- putting words in my mouth(((s)))! ;)

P.S. Time for a remark from our sponsor(s). I sure would love to see a really good sports-minded lens. You got one??? Hey, let me know so I can visit it. Oh, and HELP!!! I think we are being overrun by zhu zhus.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ah fresh air - Perfect weather for chili

I moved South from Ohio quite a few years ago and sure do enjoy not having to shovel snow. Because the weather is warm in Northeastern Florida until the end of October, it makes us hunger for my award-winning chili recipe. This is one recipe that my grandma really didn't teach me. Racking my childhood memories, I really don't remember grandma making spicy chili ... Stuffed cabbage rolls, yes; chili, no.

award winning chili recipe google searchTraffic to my award-winning chili recipe started increasing in mid-September and has steadily been rising through the end of October. Recently, one day's traffic nearly hit 400 unique visitors and has been averaging well over 325 visitors daily. Surprisingly, the up-tick in visitors hasn't translated to rising lensrank as the lens has been declining for some mysterious reason. The highest lensrank achieved was #28 overall with a reported 26 days in the overall top 100. What's the reason for the high traffic? It is thanks to Google! This lens has been ranking as the #1 position in the Google search with a number of keyword phrases.

julieannbrady authentic and original award winning chili ingredients

So, what makes my award-winning chili recipe so special? I give away the secret ingredient on my page. I also spell out in black and white how to make this tasty chili recipe. It is a meatier consistency. We like to use a special kind of chili beans too and usually opt for the spicy ones. I also give you an idea of the cost to make this chili. My last recipe was geared up to feed the office staff of a dozen. The good thing about chili is that it won't go to waste. Simply freeze a portion of your chili batch for a quick fixer upper meal.

Why not drop by and participate in the award-winning chili debate about secret ingredients. Register your vote for how hot you like your chili. And, be sure to drop me a comment in the chili guestbook. Check out my recipe and let me know how you like it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Angels on earth can be heavenly indeed

Did you know that there are angels amongst us? Angels on earth? And that angels on earth can be quite heavenly indeed.

If you are a Squidoo lensmaster like JaguarJulie, you get to interact online with some wonderful lensmasters. It's really a great perk that you first of all are able to write about your passions and interests on the platform of Squidoo. Once you have become established with over 50 quality lenses, you have the opportunity to qualify to be a Giant Squid. Make over 100 quality lenses, and you may join the Giant Squid 100 Club. Giant Squids earn a number of perks for the honor of this role on Squidoo, and you will see gold stars on their lenses to designate that status. Take that a step further, and a Giant Squid might earn a purple star for their quality lenses. Purple stars are awarded weekly by the Giant Squid Organizers.

There is an additional honor that comes along a couple times a year on Squidoo, and that is the role of Squid Angel. JaguarJulie has been distinctly honored to regain her Squid Angel wings on October 13, 2009. Squid Angels have a code of ethics and honor in how they conduct their daily roles on Squidoo. They are entrusted with the ability to "bless" worthy lenses; to provide a little of their angel dust to deserving lensmasters' lenses. That is the glass is full scenario. Squid Angels can also serve in their roles to give a proverbial "thumbs down" to spam.

JaguarJulie grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and attended a number of Catholic schools. This 'rewarding' childhood presented her with the opportunity to attend daily masses, interact with priests and nuns and to learn more about heavenly angels. This childhood experience contributed to a deep appreciation for all things spiritual. So, JaguarJulie is quite the spiritual individual who is distinctly honored to be a bit spiritual in her role as Squid Angel. Thanks to those that made this possible! Blessings to YOU my dear!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A beautiful journey to Hollywood with the Traveling Squid!

To celebrate my three year anniversary with Squidoo on March 21, 2009, I launched The Journal of the Traveling Squid, Volume I. By now those of my friends who have followed this journey know that Gordon Hamilton in the U.K. was the first participant in this journey. And, you probably know the story behind my selecting Gordon? We had previously emailed each other to talk about my leaving a package for him at a Southern Spanish hotel. After deciding that might be a risky venture, I opted to mail the traveling squid directly to Gordon. However, I decided to leave a test package for Gordon with Juan, a receptionist at The Hotel Bali, Benalmadena.

the five dollar vacation in spainIn my package to Gordon, I include five brand new dollar bills -- USD currency. I wanted to send a little help with postage costs. It was from the five dollar bills that Gordon created a remarkable project, The Five Dollar Vacation - A Worldwide Charity Project with a Difference. This is a remarkable lens and an equally remarkable charity journey with a big difference. At Squidoo, a lensmaster can earn a bit of recognition for their remarkable work. It is called the purple star and it is a star that is purple-colored and appears on your work. Well, if you visit Gordon's lens, you will see a beautiful purple star there!

traveling squid in Hollywood with Kim GiancaterinoWell, Volume II of The Journal of the Traveling Squid departed Jacksonville, Florida on July 10, 2009, Seth Godin's birthday you all! The project had already spent 6 months in the U.K. so it seemed right to launch the second edition. As of this writing, the journal has visited Gil, Kimberly, Seth, Corey, Susan and now Kim -- Kim Giancaterino. The journal has traveled from Jacksonville, FL to Colorado, Wisconsin, New York, Virginia, Arkansas, and now California! Something beautiful happened in Hollywood with the traveling squid! We owe it all to our dear Kim who created a beautiful tribute and travel lens, The Journal of the Traveling Squid Goes Hollywood.

Oh, and how wonderful to hear that the Hollywood journey earned a coveted purple star when it was newly published? Congratulations to Kim and a big thank you for her beautiful, beautiful lens and journey. It doesn't get any better than this -- to think that the original lens earned a purple star, followed up by two additional purple stars for its goodwill journey around the world.

You'll want to take time to check out these wonderful lensmasters KimGiancaterino and Gordon_Hamilton as they write some truly amazing articles and lenses. And, they are remarkable people too!

P.S. Please be sure to check out my other writings over at Squidoo while you are at it! I'm known consistently as JaguarJulie there. And, if you are convinced that you are ready to put pedal to the meddle and maybe earn a purple star medal for your work, join me on Squidoo! I've helped many a lensmaster to succeed there; to write better lenses and to even earn giant squid status too. Oh, and be sure to check me out on Twitter -- Yep, I'm known as JaguarJulie there! I like being consistent with my messages. ;)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Thou art lovelier than a Daffodil -- Thou art Narcissus Poeticus!

A fellow Giant Squid asked me the other day what special 'lens' that I might be authoring as the #500 in my lens portfolio on Squidoo. I must tell you that I really had not special topic in mind, you know nothing that really resonated 500th or celebrated that number. After all, I really reached well over #500 a couple of weeks ago when we were celebrating all the absolutely wonderful Brands in Public. I had nine additional lenses to my portfolio that were relinquished. So, as of today, I am back to #500 with a special 'lens' that is not really special!

Thou art lovelier than a Daffodil -- Thou art Narcissus Poeticus! Ah, indeed ... we are talking flowers and the beautiful Daffodil that art known as Narcissus Poeticus. This is an interesting flower in that I remember my grandparents Cleveland, Ohio garden was filled with many a lovely flower, especially the Daffodil. But I did not knoweth thy name of Narcissus Poeticus until today.

I think the reason that I authored this particular topic lens was because I had made a SquidU Forum post about another lens, "Ode to MiMi -- Mi Mi Mi Mi!" There is a new thread for "Squids Gone Wild" where I posted. Although I am quite a proper 'young' lady that was brought up to be polite, courteous, considerate and observing of protocol and etiquette, I did opt to post in "Squids Gone Wild." So, I was venturing on the wild side in an attempt to show some alliteration and a little more humor than I normally do.

Well, one of my dear old buddies, posted in that thread and mentioned that "It's all about me....Me, me, me, me, me, meeeee ... The national anthem for all narcissists...." Ah, so that would be the subtle HINT about narcissus -- a bud of an idea for a lens about one of my favorite flowers!

narcissus poeticusPersonally, I think the name "Narcissus Poeticus" is so poetic for the daffodil -- and to consider that this flower has also the names of Poet's Daffodil, Pheasant's Eye, Pinkster Lily, and Findern Flower. Which one do you prefer? Those are some mighty special names. It's interesting to note that the legend and history of this daffodil mentions Narcissus as in Greek mythology. I love learning more about Greek mythology and am delighted to see so many such lenses on Squidoo.

Photo Credit: Poet's Daffodil by magnio.

So, had you known about Narcissus Poeticus or is a Daffodil a Daffodil to you? Allow me to quote a passage from "Daffodils" (1804) by William Wordsworth:

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

P.S. Had you heard that we are 1/3 Daffodil? So, carrying that thought a little further -- would that mean we are 1/3 Narcissus ... waxing poetically? Peace! Go forward and prosper.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A brand revisited becomes a new favorite of sorts.

I have been a brand enthusiast and brand ambassador for more years than I can remember. Sure it may have started as a youngster in Cleveland, Ohio, when that brand was probably more ethnic than traditional. By that I mean Hungarian! Huh, you ask? Hungarian is a brand? Well absolutely. Several years ago, I penned an article Made in Hungary -- Not JUST Goulash which celebrates the many high-profile brands that are indeed made in Hungary and in a sense Hungarian. Take a look at ALL of these brands! I think it is quite a remarkable list.
Alba, American Girl, Ann Taylor, Baumler Avantgarde, BCBG Max Azria, Benetton, Berwin & Wolff, Bogner, Bonpoint, Breckenridge, Cerruti 1881, Christian Aujard, Coach, Cornell, CRISCA Escada, Dana Buchman, DKNY, Dries Van Noten, Earl Jean, Escada, Faconnable, Feraud, Harve Benard by Bernard Holtzman, Hess Frackmann, Innocence, International Scene, J. Crew, Josef Seibel, Kishi, Lacoste, Lanz of Salzburg, LaMax Alba, Laura Ashley, Laurel, Levi, Liz Claiborne, LL Bean, Louis Feraud, Marc Jeffries Bronze Collection, Margaret Godfrey, Mark Henri, Marni, Mondi, Oilily, Pez, Pleasant Company, Polo, Portland, Puma, Rene Lezard, Rockport Dresports, Rodier, Sonia Rykiel, Stafford, Stanley Blacker, Stella McCartney, Strenesse, Theo Miles, Thierry Mugler for Mugler Trademark, Think!, Vass, Zippo, and Zodiac.

For the most part, you will notice that these brands are fashion or clothing labels. An exception would be Coach -- I'm sure you are familiar with the Coach Company line of handbags? Those that were produced in Hungary are the more classic and traditional style of handbags which are completely leather.

A couple of Fridays ago, hubby and I ventured to our local St. Johns Town Center mall. This mall has some fabulous brand stores including Brighton, Coach, Swarovski Crystal, abercrombie, BCBG, Bebe Sport, Betsey Johnson, GUESS, Juicy Couture, MAC Cosmetics, Pottery Barn, Tommy Bahama, and last but not the least Louis Vuitton. After an early dinner, we strolled through the mall and stopped in to a number of these brand stores.

judy handbagHubby did not accompany me into the Kate Spade store, but he did do a tour of the Coach and Louis Vuitton stores. Together we spent the longest time in the LV store deciding what we both agreed on would be my purchase if I won the lottery. We agreed on the Judy multicolor white handbag thinking that $2,200 was more affordable than the $4,400 limited edition handbag that I found "under glass" in the back of the store.

Several years ago, we visited Paris, France for St. Valentines Day and made it a point to visit the Louis Vuitton Paris store and the flagship Printemps store. It was a wonderful opportunity to see the luxury brands up close. At that time in my brand ambassador career, I was more of a Chanel and Givenchy brand enthusiast. I even opted for a purchase of a Givenchy clutch at the Paris airport. While I appreciated the many styles, shapes and colors of the Louis Vuitton luxury brand, it really didn't appeal to me as a brand collector.

So it was thanks to the recent revisit to the LV brand that I actually found an interest in that brand to the point that I would actually consider making a purchase ... making a purchase of the Judy multicolor white handbag with all the beautiful hardware. That is, when I win the Florida lottery! Are you a fan of this brand, or perhaps you have another that appeals to you? Hubby told me that I better start saving up my Squidoo monthly royalties to be able to afford this bag. That's OK, a girl can dream.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I am a Brand Ambassador -- How about YOU?

I have been a Brand Ambassador for more than a decade. It is thanks hugely to the impact of the internet and digital, social media which has brought Brand Ambassadorship to the forefront. My previous blog post, I love my brands and love brands in public - neat project, introduced my readers to Brands in Public -- brands that I support. It also discussed how I have been a BzzAgent for many years and that the Brands in Public project is a co-project between BzzAgent and Squidoo. Since that blog post, I followed up with Brands in Public on Twitter to spotlight the buzz on Twitter about this project.

That article is a Twitter List of what people are saying on Twitter -- about brands, branding, brands in public -- and where people are openly debating whether this new project is brand ambassadorship or a form of brand jacking or brand hijacking. When I caught that stream of consciousness, I must admit that I was bewildered to say the least. I wondered if maybe it was sour grapes or someone having an axe to grind with this project or with Seth Godin, Squidoo and/or BzzAgent. It seems that there are always going to be naysayers when there is a 'good' thing or something new or another way of 'looking at something.' And, from my years of online brand ambassadorship, I have seen that many people just HAVE to take the other side of the argument, to agree to disagree!

After another sleepless in Jacksonville night, I was up early to make some coffee, feed the plethora of cats, and then pen a new article, Brand Ambassador. I celebrate the brands; I celebrate what I do; I celebrate BzzAgent; I celebrate Squidoo; and I celebrate brands in public!

Amazon in Public | Crate & Barrel in Public | The Gap, Inc. in Public
Hermes in Public | KitchenAid in Public | L'Oreal in Public
Oracle in Public | Reality Check in Public | Wikipedia in Public

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I love my brands and love brands in public - neat project!

Something new for me would be Brands in Public -- I Support. You see, recently BzzAgent and Squidoo launched the project of Brands in Public whereas certain Squidoo lensmasters were invited to create brand pages for brands they love. It was a first come, first served basis, limited to 15 lensmasters. Thankfully, I got the go-ahead to participate late on Friday, September 18, 2009. Initially I selected 3 brands, from what was left on the availability list, on which to create an unofficial brand page:
  • Amazon in Public
  • L'Oreal in Public
  • Wikipedia in Public
I have a few more pages to add to the project and hope to get those produced before this Friday! I'm working on Crate and Barrel, Gap, Hermes, Intel, KitchenAid, Oracle, and Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check. A great selection of cool brands!

Have you participated in this project and created your own brand page? Well, you are cordially invited to add it to the special brand plexo list.

For more information on the Launching of Brands in Public, be sure to check out Seth Godin's blog post. There's a lot of great information there about brands in public! And, I would think that there is a pretty cool incentive to participate!
The first 100 brands that sign up will benefit from a share of the $500,000 in house ads Squidoo will run across the site promoting the service and the first partnering brands. Sales are handled by BzzAgent, so you'll be in good hands--please give them a call if you have any questions about the service.

P.S. I happened to see some source code which is interesting! target="_new" -- I've heard all the chit chat about the topicability of target="_blank" and no follow stuff too! But, now "new" -- this is interesting!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zazzle Shirts With a Bit of An Attitude -- Say What?

So, you've heard the news right? That JaguarJulie finally decided to make that commitment and opened her Zazzle store for her Jaguar Julie Designs! Yessirree Bob! JaguarJulie has over 16 years of online ecommerce experience behind her belt. She's not calling herself an expert or pro seller although she does have the credentials to prove it.
My line of Shirts With a Bit of an Attitude is a complement to my Squidoo lenses. These shirts are a bit of a social commentary on the too much information that is in our lives today, thanks to the internet.

Want to get a peak at some attitude? Some attitude shirts? You'll want to drop by the attitude article, Shirts with a Bit of an Attitude where everyone is welcome. Young and Old! Rich and Poor! Ornery and Persnickety -- hey you get the picture! No one will be turned away. Take a moment to express yourself and say Hi -- keeping in mind that if you have a non-friendly attitude about it all, you er your message can be deleted! Isn't life grand?

But I know this be true -- that working on these shirts with a bit of an attitude has been very therapeutic for me. It's a form of release and a social commentary on the state of affairs today. Old-timers unite! What's old is new again, and all that jazz.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Now you see it - now you don't and I want it - Casual Couture by Green Envelope

Undoubtedly you are familiar with the expression that "now you see it; now you don't!" Gosh, I've been told for years that I live on the cutting-edge, that I am the superlative of trendy and stylish. Some have called me trend-setting, style-conscious, or even a trend spotting, style guru. I have just finished a fifteen minute customer service chat with a friendly rep at Bluefly. You know I've followed Bluefly for some 8+ years; since my Stylehive days. That was before I got engaged to Squidoo ... and then got transported to HubPages!!

So it was the holidays and I was shopping online. I spotted something that I thought I had to have, but I didn't purchase it because $83 seemed a tad bit high for a top. I was debating using a 30% off coupon code should I want to purchase $125 of merchandise from Bluefly. I didn't jump at the 30% off, but waited until today. Upon my return to Bluefly, I did not spot that item in the new arrivals. I went back to my saved email to click through only to find that the item was no longer available.

Drat, I surely hate when that happens. Bluefly tempted me; I waited; it was too late. What's that they say, "you snooze, you lose?" Ah, indeed. So, I asked, "What about me adding that item to a wishlist? You got a wishlist function?" Hmmm, customer service informed me that Bluefly gets in LIMITED inventory of items and they usually sell out fast. Furthermore, the items do not get reordered??? No fair I say!

casual couture by green envelope bustier

So, this is a bit of an unusual post for me. It is a wishlist, want ad of sorts. What do I want? I want this: Casual Couture by Green Envelope black double knit bustier top. This cute bustier is ivory and black, made of a soft jersey knit on the neck and sleeves, with a double knit bustier and bodice. It was advertised with a retail value of $138.00, marked down 40% to $83.00. That still seems high. I would pay $30 for it. You got it? I want it. So, if you bought it and are thinking of returning it to Bluefly, HEY!!!!! Let me know.

UPDATE: September 13, 2014. Oh my, I sincerely can't believe it. Today I was going back through all my blog posts to do some updates and revisions. To check content and to check links. Coming to this blog post, I did a Google search on Casual Couture by Green Envelope and found the brand at Bluefly. Gosh, either I am living right or the world has stopped. You see, I think I found that bustier top I wanted! Take a look at this picture!

Casual Couture by Green Envelope black and white bustier top

Well, I surely wasn't looking to go shopping today, but when I saw the bustier top available at BlueFly, I had to buy it. It was showing an original retail price of $138.00 and was marked down to $24.50. Not too bad a price, only the shipping was a bit more than it should have been at $7.95. This black and white stretch jersey sweetheart bustier long sleeve top has a scoop neck with the black contrast bustier at the bust. It has a pleated styling along the empire waist with dual on-seam pockets. I can't see the pockets, but that's a nice feature. It measures 28-1/2 inches from the shoulder seam to the hem. It says contemporary fit; gosh I sure hope it fits me as I had to order a medium since large was not available. The fabric content is 65% Polyester, 27% Rayon, with 8% Spandex. I like polyester and spandex in my tops. Hand washing is recommended and I am pleased to know that it states made in the U.S.A.

Since I previously cautioned myself with "you snooze, you lose," I had to commit and make the purchase today!

google ads bluefly casual couture by green envelope
UPDATE TAKE TWO: Don't you just love how you can be searching for something online, then you commit to actually buying it, and THEN you get to see it being advertised to YOU ... just in case you didn't already buy it?

That's called being spot-on and relevant with advertisement!

So, as I continue my online session today, to get through hundreds of blog posts that I need to update, I continue to see that Casual Couture by Green Envelope top that I just purchased from Bluefly.

Thank you ... but, "Yes I am happy I made that purchase." And, "No, I don't want to change my mind ... yet!"

Kind of wild that you will visit a site and then see that same thing advertised to you over and over again.

Penguins are in interesting social breed

The latest email circulating through my family has to do with penguins. Penguins are an interesting breed because of their high level of social interactions. And, penguins can be known for their seemingly "agonistic displays ... which are intended to confront or drive off, or alternately appease and avoid conflict with, other individuals." Agonistic is defined as argumentative, aggressive or defensive social interaction.

So, the question posed to me today, "Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica - where do they go?"

It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintaining a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life. If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into and buried. The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing: "Freeeeze a jolly good fellow." Then they kick him in the ice hole.

Learn more about the penguin from the great Wikipedia reference. Read up on the breeding habits of penguins.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Sequence of Events -- well shoot already -- Stop the Insanity!

Yes, for it is a sequence of events that has produced a snowball effect to give me pause and want to holler out that back window, Stop the Insanity ... PLEASE!!!

I know you've probably seen those stress factor numbers where you can assess the stresses in your life with scores that you add up and arrive at a total. If that total falls into a certain range, well you are more likely to be impacted by all that stress. You know it's rather like cholesterol. There is good cholesterol and then there is bad cholesterol. You need a professional to help you understand and sort it out and take measures to rectify it! I'm not a doctor, but hubby thinks he is.

I am certainly glad to see that after losing some 45% on 401k investments, that there seems to be some recovery going on. Heck, the last quarter's envelope remained unopened for weeks! Then, I summoned up the courage to open my 401k statement and was more than a little surprised to actually see a positive figure. A long ways from getting back that nearly half loss on paper.

It was probably the lack of value that I was able to produce for my 401k that contributed to me not qualifying for a FAVORABLE interest rate for that secured loan which was for less than the amount of money that I had in savings in my bank of OVER 16 years. Yes, I had been with this high-profile bank with multiple accounts for over 16 years. Can't remember the last time I asked them for a loan. But, never previously did I actually HAVE the money secured in a bank to want to borrow against. Well, I told that there bank that they could keep the 10.5% interest rate for a secured loan, especially when they weren't even giving me 0.25% on the secured savings. Yesterday, I went in to chat with the cute loan guy. I told him it was pretty disappointing first that the rate STUNK and then the fact that he sent me a letter telling me the bank turned me down. Huh? I said I wouldn't take the loan at 10.5% and then I got the letter that the bank declined my loan. Oh, the cute loan guy said that was simply a form letter. Ha, WRONG form letter to send. "I am closing both my accounts and would like a cashier's check please."

You know, I've got some friends which I've shared our difficulties or shall I say challenges with our tenants! You know, those that have relied on the charity of my dear old hubby to NOT pay rent for over a year. I personally don't know how it has gotten that bad. We are talking over $15,000 that is owed to us for rent. This is so hard to take when lensmasters rely on declining monthly Squidoo royalties too to help offset those bills. So, when our second tenant defaulted on rent, OMG!!! I think I wanted to seriously flip my wig. Did you not hear what I said? Stop the Insanity ... PLEASE, PLEASE!!

For those of you out there who have been kind enough to offer up understanding for our Pug the Cat, thank you! Lately, we have been seeing that Pug is going backwards with her improvement from vestibular disease. I had no idea that this disease would take such a toll on a cat. It makes me think she has a more serious condition than the vet realized. Hubby calls her our CK, crooked kitty. Today, she has gotten more timid, cautious and afraid and is often hiding behind the sofa for no apparent reason. I just can't fathom the thought of putting her to sleep. Hubby is perplexed as Pug was the boldest of all the stray cats we manage.

So, had you heard of the water oak tree that fell over one day without warning? Can you believe that? Our tenant had his white work van parked in front of the tree; oh, it was totalled! No insurance. The totalled van is still on the property. The cement contractor has offered to cut it in four pieces to haul off -- we are hopeful that the tenant will accept that offer. This past Saturday, I got to see the property after the event! OMG. What a mess. Previously to that fallen tree, it was looking like the tenant would be moving. Don't know when that might happen now since the van is out of commission.

Did you know that we were one of the early adopters with the Nissan Murano in our community? Yep, we just finished off our second lease -- 6 years driving one of them. Well, hubby has been looking for several weeks for a replacement vehicle -- this time he wanted to actually buy the SUV rather than lease it. So, we put a lot of thought into what type of SUV would be the next one. Last Saturday, we spent 6 hours in the local Ford dealer showroom. 6 hours that I could have spent making a $1/hour working on Squidoo lenses you all. ;)

At 4pm EST Saturday, we drove off the lot with our brand new limited edition Ford Edge in a white platinum -- pearl like finish. It was the first special car that we have owned. So special, that there is a paint finish package included in the price to protect that pearl paint job you know!

SOooooooo ... Monday ... not 48 hours mind you after taking possession of that Edge ... hubby calls me from work to tell me that he needs to 'warn' me of something. "OMG, you didn't have an accident in that new car did YOU???" I calmly asked. "Ah, no," says hubby. "You see the weed whacker guy [name removed to protect his identity], was weed whacking the property. His wife told him to stay away from the cars. But he didn't. He broke the back window. Oh, don't worry, he probably didn't put too many pits into that paint job!"

Whew! Well, I will stop now with all this insanity because there is more, but I don't want to share -- some of it is way too personal. You don't need to know everything. But, just to know that this sequence of events is a partial list. For me, though, it is enough. I hope I don't lose any of my friends, buddies, and chums -- I think I can count you on more than just my hands and toes. Thank you for being there for me to offer understanding and compassion. I value our friendship.

Stop the Insanity ... PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!

P.S. Thank you friends, buddies, chums for allowing me to vent today! It seems that it is always something. You know?

Friends, Buddies, Chums and Then Someone Quite Special

Friend: that one special person who makes life a bit easier by just being there and listening to your problems and difficulties. -- Friends by Katy
It has been many years, in Columbus, Ohio, that I had a dear friend Joe who meant the world to me. He was a bit of an edgy guy; although he was mayor of a small town, he had a bit of that bad boy about him. Nevertheless, I was able to see the heart and soul of my friend Joe and felt a compassion for him. I've always wondered what happened to him. He used to always tell me that you can count yourself very lucky if you can count your TRUE friends on your hand -- and if you could count your friends on both hands, that would be special.

Friends come and go. Today there is so much going on in people's lives that they don't always think of those people who have become a part of their lives. The internet has surely brought people together from all walks of life and cultures. For me, Squidoo has surely been a large part of my life for some three and a half years. Way too many hours to count have been spent writing lenses, visiting other lensmasters' lenses, mentoring, advising, suggesting. Hubby tells all our friends that I make probably $1/hour for all my time. He thinks I should be working for Squidoo. Well, maybe some day.

Recently, there had been a series of events that have been quite stressful to say the least. Each event taken in the context of that event, might not seem so stressful or eventful. However, it has been the sequence of those events which gave me pause the other day. Like the snowball effect. Some lensmasters would suggest that you write a lens, vent, share your difficulties, and ask for other lensmasters to come and visit. To me, I opted to do twitter updates to get immediate venting. And, I might have lost some twitter followers through that action -- those who just didn't understand or maybe thought I'd over-reacted. Sometimes things can escalate to be a Stop the Insanity moment. Do you know what I mean?

So, what do Friends, Buddies, and Chums got to do with this? Well, simple. There was one special someone who was quite sensitive and responsive ... who was THERE for me in my moment of OMG!

julieannbrady-blackcat-you talking to me

Friends, Buddies, Chums -- Oh My! Thank you friends, buddies, chums -- that special someone in my life. So the next time a friend, buddy or chum of yours is having a bad moment, please don't THROW them under that BUS! Reach out and offer them a hand. A friendly word, a show of support. Who knows, you might be needing that next!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Size matters when talking about dumplings

Oh yes indeed, size does matter ladies and gentlemen when you are talking about dumplings. For me, the operative word would be SMALL. Oh, that is OK -- not to worry as small CAN be good and delicious. Especially, now that we are talking about little dumplings aka what I call Hungarian Spaetzle.

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, we were privileged to learn from a master chef of Hungarian and Slavic cooking. It was our grandmother Julia Nagy who made not only the best Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, but she also was a master at whipping up the most tasty Chicken Paprikas and Veal Paprikas.

I can remember sitting in the kitchen with grandma as she mixed up a seemingly easy to prepare recipe for spaetzle aka Hungarian Spaetzle aka little dumplings. She was very proficient at the way she would put the batter on a flat plate and then start cutting the batter from the edges of the plate into the boiling salted water. How something of such a simple recipe could always taste so great! One of life's great mysteries I think.

spaetzle little dumplingsGrandma's Chicken and Veal Paprikas had such a yummy taste, only improved upon by the little dumplings. I think it was also the sour cream that she used in her recipe that provided that recognizable taste that I can imagine in my mind. This is a really great picture to demonstrate WHAT little dumplings aka spaetzle should look like! Photo Credit: Spaetzle taken by Kobako.

big bread dumplingsNow ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the BIG dumplings! This is a pretty funny story that demonstrates a miscommunication or culture difference. These are, yes, BIG. They are commonly thought of as simply dumplings -- they are the bread dumplings.

Let me tell you that I knew NOTHING about big dumplings when we vacationed in Eastern Europe, The Czech Republic. We arrived in Prague and headed out for dinner. Oh boy, I thought, that sign says Hungarian Goulash with Dumplings. Ah, my mouth and taste buds were at attention. We sat down and the plate arrived. "What the heck is that?" I asked. Oh, those would be dumplings!

Nay nay nay! Those are not the dumplings of my youth. Those are not the dumplings that grandma Julia Nagy whipped up in her Cleveland kitchen. So, arriving home, I emailed mom a copy of this picture. Mom laughed and said to next time ask for Spaetzle if I wanted little dumplings! Thank you mom! We should have brought you along on vacation.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thank You Martha Stewart

First of all! Where in the world has JaguarJulie been for the past 3 weeks and why the heck hasn't she been blogging? Holy moly batman! Dude, that is one excellent question. Gosh, this has been one hell of a month. Hell? Can I say that if this is a PG-rated blog? Oh, I think so! Heck doesn't seem to quite get it enough. Sheeesh, the stuff I've seen this month. I really need to start blogging more so that I can get all of that stuff off my chest.

OK, so I've established the fact that I am 110% aware that I've not been blogging to keep my interested readers interested. I had finished up Summer School and felt I needed a bit of a self-enforced vacation. So, here we go!

You know, I've been thinking and talking about Martha Stewart for years and marveling how she has worked through obstacles to build a credible and renowned brand that just seems to get more vital each day. Well, I finally opted in March, 2008 to put my thoughts together in an article, Martha Stewart is Reading MY Lenses, because there was a bit of tangible evidence to support that fact that Martha Stewart and staff are reading lenses. Yes! We've actually seen visitors from Martha Stewart Living reading lenses. Yes we have! That's OK Martha, we still love YOU! Wouldn't it be pretty cool to actually see Martha adding her comments to our guestbooks? Ah, I'd like to see that!

So, what is one of Martha Stewart's favorite recipes to talk about on her show? Why, it is Polish stuffed cabbage! I'm personally an advocate for Hungarian stuffed cabbage as I remember my grandma Julie Nagy made the best Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls.

** Have you participated in the Hungarian vs. Polish debate to scientifically assess the better stuffed cabbage rolls?

** Have you also participated in the debate about the seasonality of stuffed cabbage rolls?

Now, it has been established that somebody at Martha Stewart Living is reading our lenses, right? Well, how coincidental is it then to see two search results from a Google search for "stuffed cabbage" as shown in this screen capture. Look closely, for you will see my article on Stuffed Cabbage that I talk about watching my grandmother Julia Nagy make the best stuffed cabbage rolls.

OK, look at the second search result -- Hey, it's Martha Stewart's website -- and it says something about her growing up and watching HER grandmother make stuffed cabbage! I thought that it was her mother that made the stuffed cabbage? Oh, grandma probably taught her mother too! Well, I surely do love grandmothers for they have popularized so many memories and recipes which are sure back in style today. Thanks grandma!

stuffed cabbage hungarian vs polish

So, "Thank You Martha Stewart!" You know Martha, I've commented a number of times on your blog, but you've been busy in the kitchen whipping up some delightful goodies that you've not stopped by to say hello! Well, hey, that's OK. But, you know, you are missing out on a future guest for your show.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Has Social Media Contributed to Your Life Interrupted

Can we be honest? Answer this question, "Has social media contributed to your life interrupted?" Have you found that your daily schedule embraces a variety of social media platforms? That you perhaps kick your day off with some tweets to friends and followers on Twitter? Or do you perhaps connect through Facebook? Or, maybe you are connecting through Squidoo and the Squidu Forum? Or, some other social media platform? What happens to your routine when you find you cannot access those platforms?

Well such was the case on Thursday, August 6, 2009, at approximately 9:20am EST. For me, it was another of my multitasking days with my work job and my online job. I was communicating via tweets just like so many of you. However, when I was hitting the submit button on Twitter, it would spin and spin and spin without sending my tweet. Refreshing helped a couple of times until 9:20am EST. I typed in a tweet and found it wouldn't register. Then, I refreshed the page and totally lost Twitter. For me, I found I could not access Twitter for more than 4 hours; probably closer to 6 hours. OMG, did that NOT seem like a lifetime?

social media interrupted the life of this orange tabby

So, what is this all about? Why do we seem to have such a reliance on Twitter? And, would you have thought one year ago that we would be sitting here talking about this reliance that we have on Twitter? That Twitter has taken hold of our daily lives. Well, I think it is quite a phenomenon.

I've recently been addressing some topicable issues which all taken into consideration raise the need for a reality check! Yes, I think it is time to assess what it is that we are doing -- what really matters? And, maybe thinking to the extreme -- time to 'stop the insanity?'

While you are contemplating some of these issues, may I offer up to you some reading material?
  1. First, you must recognize that you experienced this: Life Interrupted -- Yours, Mine and Ours!
  2. Next, you want to have this: Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki -- Thank you Guy!
  3. Last, go ahead and shout this: Stop the Insanity -- Feel Free to Vent!
Join me on Squidoo to express yourself and get a load off your mind! I know I've gotten LOADS off of my mind over the past several years thanks to Squidoo!

TWEET, TWEET, TWEET! -- Follow me, JaguarJulie on Twitter too! Let's kick our days off together!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Which is King - Content or Keywords

Can we equate this debate to one of the world's biggest mysteries? What came first, the chicken or the egg? Which is king these days? Is it authentic and unique content? Or is it keywords and keyword research? Can it really be that keywords are driving the 'need' for original content? Yes, keywords, the right keywords are paramount to your article being found and generating traffic. But is that what drives you? Can it have come to this that we writers are making determinations on what we will be writing about so that we can gain traffic and readers?

Personally, I am still a bit old school. I like to write about those things that interest me; about those things I am most passionate. I love writing/authoring lenses on Squidoo. I did love writing on my blog and striving to be an original. I derive my authenticity from my passions and interests. I am thrilled that I have amassed a great group of readers and friends and fellow associates who value what I might have to say.

you talking to me - YES - Julie Ann Brady

So, I'm sitting here this morning with a LOT on my mind. I'm thinking about blog content scrapers, syndicating of blogs, authenticity, value, -- lots of information, perhaps too much information. Where do we go from here?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Stealing People's Blog Posts is Just NOT Cool

Today I was made aware of another blog that is building their blog from other people's blog posts -- using FULL blog posts to build their blog and then try to sell stuff. Ironically, I was alerted through Google Alerts of this Google blogger stealing content. I have taken the time to leave my comment on those blog posts of mine that I've spotted. Since that blog is stacking some blog posts, I might have missed all the blog posts of mine that they've 'stolen.'

I have made it fully clear that I do not condone them using my content without permission. It seems they have found a number of other people's blogs from which to take content -- full blown blog posts.

The offending party's blog: http://governmentworkathome-admin.blogspot.com

There have been discussions recently on the SquidU Forum about this happening with Squidoo blogs. I'd read that this is sometimes seen as a form of syndication in providing the USED person's blogs or lenses with backlinks and traffic. However, to me this is unauthorized use of other person's content. I was never contacted by that Government Work at Home blog and asked if I would like to have my content used for their purposes of making money!

I have taken the time not only to advise that Google blogger to remove my content, but I have reported them to Google using the online webmaster tools.

Have you spotted your personal content at that Government Work at Home blog?

be the best that you can be - JulieAnnBrady
Be the best that you can be - JulieAnnBrady aka JaguarJulie

So, I penned this blog post in August 2009. It is almost June 2019 and you know what? The content scrapers have littered the internet, literally treating it like a litter box of non-authentic and stolen content. Good Grief! Will this ever end? Will Google decide to not index content scrapers stolen images and content? That would be a start, for sure!!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

JaguarJulie Just Finished Summer School

What's that you say? JaguarJulie has just finished Summer School? Huh? Yep, JaguarJulie, as a member of the Giant Squids, attended an 8-week Summer School course to hone her writing skills. In fact, she is already a member of the Giant Squid 100 Club, but still opted to try her hand at Summer School. All the Giant Squids were tasked with a different weekly assignment each Friday. JaguarJulie was chopping at the bit to get that last assignment in and finally get to enjoy her Summer!

Where am I going next? Ah, NO, not Disneyworld or Disneyland -- ha, gotcha on that one! Why it'd be the Jacksonville Zoo! That's where you can find JaguarJulie -- at the Jacksonville Zoo.

By the way, before you head out to visit the Jacksonville Zoo, do pay your respects and visit these lenses that JaguarJulie authored for the 8-week Giant Squid Summer School course. By the way, many have now been deleted!
  • Rocky the Raccoon -- Caption Me!
  • Pug the Cat -- Caption Me!
  • My Mind -- My Most Prized Possession!
  • Meyer's Latin Flair in Jacksonville, FL
  • Thank You Mom!
  • How to Create a Patio With Stone Pavers
  • Our Favorite Tool -- What is Your Favorite Tool?
  • My Favorite Lipstick -- Revealed
  • Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki
  • Jacksonville Zoo -- Your Entertainment Destination
Oh -- and this would be the sounding of the school bell -- the announcement that JaguarJulie is a graduate of Giant Squid Summer School -- oh, for old-timers like her, you can learn new tricks you all.
  • Summer School for Old-Timers -- A Graduate!

time to visit the jacksonville zoo
Wake-up you sleepy head -- meet me at the zoo -- the Jacksonville Zoo!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Are Your Tweets Disappearing Into Outer Space?

Have you ever gone back to do a search on your Twitter tweets to find that one particular tweet that you sent earlier in the day, only to find it NOT searchable? Have your tweets been disappearing seemingly into outer space or maybe the Bermuda Triangle?

There has been some discussion recently about certain Twitter members having their tweets not appearing or registering in searches. You can find that Twitter has addressed those issues in their blog.

For me today, there was one particular tweet that I went searching for and could simply NOT locate no matter how I configured my Twitter search. That got me a little concerned! I love Twitter and have been telling every one I meet how much it is such a great resource. Guy Kawasaki, a master twitterer has touted the merits of Twitter at length. Today, Guy Kawasaki stands at nearly 28,000 tweets to my meager 5,300. I wonder if Guy ever considers that maybe not all of his tweets are registering to be searchable.

How did I detect that my tweets weren't registering to be searchable today? It was maybe 1:15pm or so in the afternoon. I had been following @twittyquestions clues for the daily competition. I was zeroing in on the answer with the help of the two clues:

"While you can't see me...""you'll quickly know if I'm not there"

Then along came this clue that cinched it for me: "What do Colbie Caillat, Jesse McCartney, and the Spice Girls have in common?" I knew the answer was "oxygen" as that was a common denonimator amongst those three people!

So, I tweeted my answer: "oxygen #twittyquestions #contest" -- you can see the tweet in the screen capture below which I uploaded to twitpic.

jaguarjulie twitter tweet oxygen #twittyquestions #contest
However, when I went back to twitter search to search on twittyquestions, #twittyquestions, jaguarjulie, oxygen -- I tried lots of combinations -- I could simply NOT pull that tweet up in the search results. I tried a number of times, and then noticed someone else came along to play -- first with the answer "water" and then "oxygen" -- that was a full 16-20 minutes after my tweet! Well, by the end of the afternoon, since my tweet wasn't registering in search, the other player got the prize today for the correct answer.

Bah Humbug indeed. Outer space or the Bermuda Triangle coming into play -- whatever happened, don't you wonder if all your tweets, no matter how priceless, are registering?

I'm an optimist I keep telling myself -- I am of the thinking that there will be a reindexing of all the Twitter tweets today and that missing tweet of mine might fall into position! Gosh, I sure hope so.

Does Guy Kawasaki ever notice that he is missing tweets? I'll have to ask him. How about you? Has this happened to you? Oh, say -- wanna follow me on twitter and watch if this happens again. Follow JaguarJulie!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Let's get analytical and look at that bottom line

Normally, an analytical type blog post such as this one would be earmarked to appear on the Topicability blog, but today is a special day -- July 29th is the one year anniversary of Seth Godin's remarkable Triiibes! For me, having that opportunity to be a part of such a remarkable group -- well, I have been changed and it is all good. Thank you Seth Godin. Thank you fellow Triiibesmates!

So, let's get analytical and look at that bottom line shall we? How many times have you read a lens, article, or blog post from someone saying that they've earned hundreds of dollars in a day online. Really? Well, I know it can be done -- want to sell a quality book, an art print, poster, or maybe a mousepad? Pick the right one and you might see a hundred dollars in royalties for that sale or sales.

For me, I'm looking at the moment at my bottomline and putting the other side of my brain into drive to get analytical. For those of you following along, I'm looking at my big earners of all my lenses. That's a handy tab that can do some summary calculations to give you an idea of how well you are doing in banked royalties.

Some interesting tidbits that I am willing to share today:
  • 2 big earner lenses are in the top tier for additional royalties
  • 9 big earner lenses are in the second tier for additional royalties
  • 2-3 big earner lenses are lowly ranked to be out of the additional royalties
  • The remainder of big earner lenses are in the third tier to earn $0.08 perhaps each!
  • Average LR of all big earner lenses = 29,344

Monday, July 27, 2009

How to create your own DIY patio with stone pavers

I recently put together a do it yourself article on How to Create a Patio With Stone Pavers. It was our first joint project between hubby and myself. We had been waiting the entire year, well seven months precisely, to be able to start the work on our patio. You see, we had undergone a home renovation project to enclose our screened patio. The screens had taken a beating from all the country club cats who loved to climb to the roof via our patio screens. When those crazy cats would decide to come off the roof, they'd scale down the sides of the screens, leaving some mighty long cut marks from their claws.

So, we opted to have our patio enclosed ... and much to our delight, the letter recently arrived from the Architectural Review Board who performed the final inspection of the sunroom. Finally, some good news as they wrote, "found it to be in substantial compliance with the approved plans." Wow, we both said, "substantial compliance" -- now isn't that just about the nicest warm fuzzy you could get? Interestingly enough, today as I sit at my computer writing this blog post, I am awaiting the Jacksonville building inspector for our final inspection.

creating our patio with stone paversWell, back to the DIY patio! Hubby and I went to work big time on this patio project one warm Saturday. Home Depot had delivered a pallet of the patio base, leveling sand, and two types of stone pavers. The pallet had been parked in our front driveway for a couple of days awaiting the weekend. I volunteered to be the muscle ;) as I grabbed a hand truck and stacked two columns of stone pavers -- averaging probably 20 per carry. You can see the stack of stone pavers in this picture on the right. Hubby is smack dab in the middle of the project which took the most of that Saturday to finalize.

Hubby and I had so much fun creating our patio with the stone pavers, that we opted to do a how to article to show everyone how to do a patio! The very day after we published How to Create a Patio With Stone Pavers, it was awarded a purple star for its quality content.

If you are looking for an easy to follow guide with step-by-step instructions and big pictures to show you how to create your very own DIY patio, you need to read my How to Create a Patio With Stone Pavers. Please take a moment to leave me a comment and let me know if I've answered any of your questions about doing such a do it yourself project.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What is your primary color

What is your primary color -- have your taken the test? This morning I received an email from Sarah Martin of The Institute for Personal Growth which introduced me to Rick Smith who is debuting his new Primary Color Assessment. There was the invitation to take 15 minutes of my time to answer a series of questions, by selecting what was most like me and conversely what was least like me. I must admit, I don't always have an easy time with these types of questions, but I gave it the old college-try. The hook? I was asked, "Are you willing to invest 15 minutes of your day to potentially change the direction (and outcome) of your career?" Ah, yes! That was my answer.

So I took the challenge! So what is my primary color at the moment? Well I was a bit surprised because I love the color red and also the color yellow and the color fuchsia and other BRIGHT colors. My primary color? Hey, I am New Fallen Snow! What does that mean? Well according to my color assessment,

People who fall in to this color group are relatively new and far between. You have an excellent balance among the primary colors combining Leadership, Curiosity and Execution. It is likely that you enjoy and are good at most of the primary aspects of general management, though you may sometmes have difficulty making a firm decision and moving on.

new fallen snow
Did you know that New Fallen Snow is smack dab in the middle of that color spectrum? That's pretty interesting. According to the percentage results, I'm 91% curiosity, 91% execution, and 90% leadership.

The snapshot below shows you your results when you complete the primary color assessment test. You know, I remember taking a test when I was in college -- something about what color is my parachute!

At the moment, I'm checking out the "So What" and "Now What" to figure out what New Fallen Snow means -- and if I need an action plan! So, what is your primary color -- hey, why not take that test and then come back here and leave me a comment -- I'm interested to hear what the primary color is for my friends and fellow Squidoo lensmasters!

my primary color is new fallen snow

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

We will miss you Michael Jackson RIP

Hold Me
Like The River Jordan
And I Will Then Say To Thee
You Are My Friend

Carry Me
Like You Are My Brother
Love Me Like A Mother
Would You Be There?

Tell Me Will You Hold Me
When Wrong, Will You Scold Me
When Lost Will You Find Me?

But They Told Me
A Man Should Be Faithful
And Walk When Not Able
And Fight Till The End
But I'm Only Human

Everyone's Taking Control Of Me
Seems That The World's
Got A Role For Me
I'm So Confused
Will You Show To Me
You'll Be There For Me
And Care Enough To Bear Me

Hold Me
show me

Lay Your Head Lowly
told me
Softly Then Boldly
Carry Me There
I'm Only Human

Lead Me
hold me
Love Me And Feed Me
ye yeah
Kiss Me And Free Me
I Will Feel Blessed
I'm Only Human

Carry Me Boldly
Carry me
Lift Me Up Slowly
Carry Me There
I'm Only Human

Save Me
need me
Heal Me And Bathe Me
lift me up lift me up
Softly You Say To Me
I Will Be There
I Will Be There

Lift Me
I'm gonna care
Lift Me Up Slowly
Carry Me Boldly
Show Me You Care!
Show Me You Care!

Hold Me
Lay Your Head Lowly
I get lonely some times
Softly Then Boldly
I get lonely

Carry Me There
yeah yeah carry me there
yeah yeah yeah

In Our Darkest Hour
In My Deepest Despair
Will You Still Care?
Will You Be There?
In My Trials
And My Tribulations
Through Our Doubts
And Frustrations
In My Violence
In My Turbulence
Through My Fear
And My Confessions
In My Anguish And My Pain
Through My Joy And My Sorrow
In The Promise Of Another Tomorrow
I'll Never Let You Part
For You're Always In My Heart!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A difference in medical opinion oh boy

Submit each day to God, knowing that He is God over all your tomorrows. When God brings you to it, God will bring you through it.
For those of my loyal followers and readers, you know that I've written about my mom and her momerisms. What are momerisms you might ask? They are what we credit to our lifelong mentors -- our moms. All of their wisdom, humor and down-home sage advice. I've been quite thankful to have such a mom who is incredibly intelligent as well. I've poked, prodded and nudged her to get out more often to share her remarkable wit and intelligence online with my friends and followers. She's at least made an appearance ... now we can only hope for the best. 

So, what did I do the other day when I was faced with a heartbreaking dilemna? The thought that one of our beloved stray country club cats, Pug, might have a broken leg? You see, I had called a half dozen pet care facilities to try and arrange affordable care. After all, I was attached to this cat despite the fact she was not one of my pets. I had previously cared for her when she had a deep gash type wound in her left side -- oh, that only cost $152.49 at Saint Francis Animal Hospital. Not a huge amount of money, but a bit of an investment for a stray cat.

On Friday, I took Pug to First Coast No More Homeless Pets FCNMHP on the northside of Jacksonville. Thank God for FCNMHP -- I thank them as do many other residents of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida! We are so thankful that they opened their new clinic that can handle up to 200 spay and neuter procedures daily.

The capable vet at FCNMHP did her exam of Pug, manipulating Pug's leg and hip. She thought the hip joint seemed enlarged or swollen. I was thankful when she initially said there would be no need to amputate the leg as the limb wasn't necrotic -- "Such a limb injury should heal," she said. Yeah! However upon further exam, it was shown that Pug was sensitive about her head. Her pupils were two different sizes and one of her eyes has a cataract. "Let's put her on the floor and watch her," said the vet. It was but a few seconds of watching Pug try to stand and then walk. She was quite unsteady on her feet, particularly her back feet. "It looks like vestibular disease," said the vet. Oh no, I'm thinking! That sounds worse than a broken leg.

So FCNMHP completed the exam of Pug, giving her subcutaneous fluids and writing a prescription for Amoxicillin Suspension. It was recommended that I take Pug to a full-service vet who could do a pelvic spine x-ray and a complete examination with labs to check her bodily functions. I was seeing $$s dollar signs you all. Gosh, poor Pug.

I arrived at Saint Francis Animal Hospital about twenty-five minutes later. As it was lunch time, Pug couldn't be seen right away. Luckily, I guess, she was a returning patient from September 11, 2008, so she was in their system already. I opted to leave her with the paperwork I had from her FCNMHP visit. It was about 4pm when I returned to pick-up Pug. They dispensed Prednisone, Clavamox Drops, and Animax for me to administer to Pug. Hello out there to all of you who have had to give a sick cat a pill. As of this writing, I still have not attempted the Prednisone pill -- at least it's a small one. This morning we worked on our technique for the Clavamox Drops -- I'm not sure how much of the 1ml dose went down Pug's throat.

We've got Pug settled now in our guest bathroom. Since she is too loopy or wobbly to negotiate a litter box, I've got newspapers and a towel down on part of the floor. In another area, I've placed a low container of fresh water. The vet gave us 3 cans of A/D cat food -- Pug ate a bit of that last night, but doesn't seem to be very hungry today. It's dificult at best to determine if there is any improvement in her condition since we found her on Wednesday. She still tries to get up and walk but her back legs give out on her.

Pug has a follow-up exam on Tuesday with Saint Francis Animal Hospital. The results from her labs should be in by then and we hope to take it from there. You know what's so ironic about caring for an animal is that more has been spent on their care than on mine! Isn't it just incredible how much it costs these days to take an animal or pet to the vet? It'll break your wallet!

veterinary care at Saint Francis Animal Hospital in Jacksonville for Pug the cat
I know a little about a difference in medical opinion as in Pug's case, with the possible diagnosis of a broken leg, I got a difference in medical opinion. One person said it would cost me a couple thousands of dollars for surgery for the break along with dressing changes and follow-up care -- Oh boy! Next person said I should euthanize the animal -- Oh boy! Third person said I should amputate the leg -- Oh boy indeed!!!

So, back to the momerisms! Mom sends me this email today with the comment, "Boy, if this doesn't hit the nail on the head, I don't know what does!" Yes, mom! It hits the nail right smack dab on that head -- it sure does. And, I thank you for this.
Two different doctor's offices -- Hey, wouldn't you know it? It is a difference in medical opinion!
Two patients limp into two different medical clinics with the same complaint. Both have trouble walking and appear to require a hip replacement.

The FIRST patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week.
The SECOND sees his family doctor after waiting 3 weeks for an appointment, then waits 8 weeks to see a specialist, then gets an x-ray, which isn't reviewed for another week and finally has his surgery scheduled for 6 months from then.

Why the different treatment for the two patients?

The FIRST is a Golden Retriever. The SECOND is a Senior Citizen.

Next time take me to a vet!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The best stuffed cabbage Hungarian vs Polish recipes

You undoubtedly know that I am the Stuffed Cabbage Queen! I've been talking about stuffed cabbage offline for too many years to report -- actually since I was a young child in Cleveland, Ohio in my grandma Julia Nagy's kitchen. My grandma was the master at preparing stuffed cabbage rolls with her authentic Hungarian recipe. I can remember quite well her telling me that not all stuffed cabbage was prepared correctly. Her recipe included what was the secret ingredient to making her rolls delicious.

Then, along came Martha Stewart who has done a marvelous job in promoting stuffed cabbage with her Polish recipe for golabki. She also has a twist on the stuffed cabbage recipe that includes of all things carrots and apricot preserves. I am part Polish and certainly like Polish food and Polish recipes, but I will save those apricot preserves for the butter horns!

hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls cooking on stovetopIt is incredible how popular stuffed cabbage rolls are today. Stuffed Cabbage has become a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, people are preparing them not only on the stove top, but also in the oven and crock pots!

Normally, I use my crock pot for my stuffed peppers and will sometimes put them in the oven. But, Hungarian or Polish stuffed cabbage really should be made on the stove top in a cast iron pot. Grandma didn't use bacon or put anything to sweeten her rolls. My mom also recently reminded me that grandma used plenty of pepper -- yes, black pepper along with Hungarian paprika.

Want to learn how to make Hungarian or Polish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls -- authentically? Check out my recipes. Get grandma's authentic Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage rolls recipe -- with that secret ingredient! You know, there is even a vegetarian recipe for Hungarian stuffed cabbage!

Want to learn how to cook the Hungarian or maybe Polish way? Check out these cookbooks that I recommend:
  • Cooking the Hungarian Way (Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks)
  • Helen's Hungarian Heritage Recipes
  • June Meyer's Authentic Hungarian Heirloom Recipes Third Edition
  • Hungarian Cookbook: Old World Recipes for New World Cooks, Expanded Edition
  • More Hungarian Cookbooks
  • Great Polish Cookbooks

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If you don't have something nice to say

Ah, the anonymity of the internet makes for some interactions that can make a person cringe. Who really knows the person on the other end of the user ID -- what their motives are or if they are having a bad day or if that is really who there are. On any given day, one can read about the unkindnesses people experience in forums throughout the internet. It makes me think of a fellow lensmaster of mine who reported such a case. This is SO sad!

In my generation, when I grew up, I was blessed by learning from my grandmother. When my parents were getting a divorce, all of us kids piled into our grandparent's home in Cleveland, Ohio. We spent one full school year there and for that I am so very thankful.

you talking to me - JulieAnnBrady
Yes, grandma was talking to me ... no grandma is not a black cat. LOL
Learning from my grandmother each day taught me to be a better person. She was a remarkable woman. "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything." She taught me to bite my tongue. She taught me to be polite. She taught me not to say unkind words to others. She taught me to be honest, forthright and authentic. Thank you Grandma.

if  you don't have something nice to say
I sat down to jot off this short blog post after encountering a complete stranger this morning who asked me if I was stupid in a public forum. I don't know this person -- or I don't think I know this person. There are politically correct methods for expressing that you disagree with a person's thoughts.

So, what is it they say that we all have the right to freedom of speech?

People do sometimes say the darndest things -- it's NOT always the kids! Say Something Nice!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Love the Hayden-Harnett line of designer handbags!

I first discovered Hayden-Harnett over three years ago when I was active as a member of Stylehive. You can find Hayden-Harnett's site over at Stylehive and at their corporate website. Interestingly enough, I joined Stylehive on March 22, 2006 ONE day after joining Squidoo on March 21, 2006. That was one busy month for me. Yessiree Bob!

It was because Stylehive was sponsoring a contest to win a designer handbag that I had the opportunity to discover Hayden-Harnett and be the first stylist to bring that brand to Stylehive some 34 or so months ago!

What I love about the Hayden-Harnett brand that it is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York! They offer the coolest line of handbags, accessories, work and travel items, and even apparel! Through the years, I've heard from Toni and Ben at Hayden-Harnett -- these people haven't paid me to blog about their beautiful line! It is true love and appreciation for some of the finest designer products that I lust over.

hayden harnett tamasin tote in blueberry colorblockThis morning's lust is for the Tamasin Tote. Oh my goodness it is beautiful. If Stylehive was sponsoring another contest to win this handbag, I might just be back to compete! If you follow me on Squidoo, you know that I've done a lens on Color Block -- I think Color Block is such a hot fashion trend. Who knew it could be oh so trendy in a handbag -- The Tamasin Tote in Blueberry Color Block is ga-ga-ga-gorgeous! I want it!!! Get this -- because of the high demand for this item, it is on backorder!

hayden harnett tamasin tote in brandyIf you are not adventurous enough to want that color combination, why not consider the chocolatey Brandy color! This beautiful tote is a great size at 13-1/2" long x 14" high x 5-1/2" wide. It comes with a Hayden-Harnett luggage tag. I like the interior lining which is a pretty print. And the 9k gold Hayden-Harnett logo plated on the interior zipped pocket is a nice touch!

Oh, the Tamasin Tote also comes in Black. It sells for $495.00 which is competitive for designer handbags. I recently saw the Tamasin Tote for sale at Nordstrom!