In a Pikle? Never fear, Miranda is here!

On this Small Business Saturday (albeit late on Saturday) I’d like to feature one of my very good friends who is also a stay at home mom working several small businesses to contribute financially to her family while also being the primary caregiver to her beautiful two year old son.  Miranda Gonzales is a woman of very many talents, and is highly dedicated to making time in her life to cultivate all her passions.  She is passionate about healthy, clean eating; an artist with a crochet hook; and the first In a Pikle independent consultant in our area.  Miranda and I met at a local library story time weekly event and became fast friends.  I am an avid supporter of all my friends in their businesses, but I especially enjoy supporting this woman because her heart is so pure and genuine.  Also, I just LOVE the beautiful hand crocheted specialty items she makes, and am obsessed with the Pikles she pedals (yes, I do love opportunities for alliteration!).

In a Pikle, is a company that sells fun & fancy wallet sized emergency kits, that literally carry anything you might need if you were to find yourself in a pickle!  I hosted a party a few weeks ago and earned lots of free and half priced items that I will be sharing pictures of with you, as examples of just how useful a Pikle can be and the many options for its uses.

But first, I’d like Miranda to talk a little about her business and experience as a small business owner.

Miranda Gonzales

Hi! I’m Miranda. 27 year old, SAHM of a wonderfully energetic and bright two year old boy. The mental and emotional adjustment of going from what I considered a vibrant, active life as a single career woman to married and shortly after with a kid, had it’s ups and downs. I’m driven, I still have personal goals. One of them is feeling inside of me that I’m contributing in every way possible, including financial, without taking away from my kid’s time with me. With that said, I’m not into direct sales. That’s what most moms say right before they’re driving all their friends away in every direction with countless invites to Mary Kay parties.
There are so many great companies one can buy into as a direct marketing consultant. Usually if you’ve heard of one, you can throw a stone in any direction and hit three of them from the same company. When I went to a In a Pikle party, it was the first time I’d heard of the product, the consultant was the only one in a 50-100 mile radius of my area, and it’s a company still in it’s first 5 years. Those factors combined with the uniqueness of a product that is attractive and so multi-functional, created in me a strong urge to give it a go. So that’s what I’m doing.
I’m encouraged to stay with this company because of their philosophy behind having no “C” in Pikle. They don’t believe in competition, but rather supporting and helping each other grow. I’ve already experienced that from their support group that is actually supportive. All the women in the group are trying to make an extra buck for their families. When they could be consumed with their own parties and sales, they instead show up at each other’s parties to bolster the efforts of the other consultant.
Direct marketing of 2014 is not the business plan I witnessed as a little girl sprawled on the floor of random homes I got dragged to month after month with a mother who would frequently attend and host parties for various products; Mary Kay, Tupperware, Home Interior, and so many more. People definitely do not welcome hosting or attending house parties in our mobile-device driven world. Marketing is largely done on Facebook from what I can tell, and not always successfully. However, not only is it convenient to those who do decide to show up, it’s great for the mom throwing the party because she get’s to do it after her kid goes to bed! So I’m giving it a go. I stay up anywhere from 12am-2am, catch roughly (and very rough most nights) 4 hours of sleep. Get started with minimum 4 cups of joe, go hard with stuff in the home til 8 or 9pm, then do my small business tasks, and repeat… probably until the day I die. It’s the life I chose, and every day I choose to fall in love with it all over again!
Thank you Laura so much for the opportunity to appear on your fantastic blog! Best of luck to all of my direct marketing compatriots on Small Business Saturday!”

So, What’s a Pikle??

IMG_6610

It’s a super cute, very organized way of keeping up with just about ANYTHING!

It’s great as an Emergency Kit for your car (or anywhere):

10846499_10152890840685460_2467517998172317750_n 10846404_10152890840720460_7856067409571315572_n

This one is packed with everything from tissues to a pocket knife, tool card, matches and mini screw drivers!

This one is packed with everything from tissues to a pocket knife, tool card, matches and mini screw drivers!

It even has insect repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and a spot remover pen!

It even has insect repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and a spot remover pen!

I’ve got one to organize the chaos from my purse where I carry everything but the kitchen sink…

This one has a small perfume bottle (filled with my favorite perfume), lip gloss, hand sanitizer, spot removal pen, a small note pad & pen, hair ties, bobby pins, pill box with pain relievers, mini screw drivers, small scissors, gum, tums, you name it, it's in this! And it fits in my purse perfectly next to my wallet.

This one has a small perfume bottle (filled with my favorite perfume), lip gloss, hand sanitizer, spot removal pen, a small note pad & pen, hair ties, bobby pins, pill box with pain relievers, mini screw drivers, small scissors, gum, tums, you name it, it’s in this! And it fits in my purse perfectly next to my wallet.

10410683_10152890784565460_359675114097797593_n

They’ve also got a bigger style called the Bundle Pikle, it’s PERFECT for a makeup bag, toddler “baby bag” or my favorite use is to organize my other obsession, my Jamberry wrap necessities!

This is the Bundle Pikle (on right) next to my purse organizer Pikle (left) for size comparison sake.

This is the Bundle Pikle (on right) next to my purse organizer Pikle (left) for size comparison sake.

Side view comparison.

Side view comparison.

The Bundle Pikle has JUST been released and only comes in two colors/styles at the moment; black and green:

Black Bundle Pikle

Black Bundle Pikle

Green Bundle Pikle

Green Bundle Pikle

Here’s how I use my Black Bundle Pikle as my baby bag when I take my 21 month old daughter out with me for the day:

I love the organization of the clear pockets so I can quickly find whatever it is I need for my little one.  Also, the straps on the right are great for holding a small container of wipes and a few diapers (I also have a tube of diaper cream tucked in there).

I love the organization of the clear pockets so I can quickly find whatever it is I need for my little one. Also, the straps on the right are great for holding a small container of wipes and a few diapers (I also have a tube of diaper cream tucked in there).

Even my large Vera Bradley wallet fits in the side pocket so it also doubles as my purse for the day!

Even my large Vera Bradley wallet fits in the side pocket so it also doubles as my purse for the day!

And last, but certainly not least, how I used my Green Bundle Pikle to organize my Jamberry accessories:

I've got my nail utensils, polish remover pads, my Jamberry wraps, and my mini heater (right side in straps, with the cord in the left hand pocket) all neatly organized in my Bundle ready at a moment's notice!

I’ve got my nail utensils, polish remover pads, my Jamberry wraps, and my mini heater (right side in straps, with the cord in the left hand pocket) all neatly organized in my Bundle ready at a moment’s notice!

10563203_10152890803515460_4680497333982877462_n

As you can see, I am a big fan of organization, which is probably why I fell in love with In a Pikle’s product so quickly!

If you are interested in learning more about In a Pikle, or Miranda’s other businesses, please click the links below to find her websites and fan page on Facebook.

http://parties.inapikle.com/MRSPikles

http://shopdelightfullysweet.com

https://www.facebook.com/DelightfullySweetShopAndBlog

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and learn about another small business woman!

Advertisements

Tasty Tuesday – Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers:

  • 1  15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa (follow cooking directions on package)*
  • 1 tsp of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

*I like to season my quinoa with southwest seasonings (the recipe I use comes from my 21 Day Fix eating plan book) while it is cooking so the seasonings cook into the quinoa and make the burgers that much more flavorful!

Directions: cook 1/4 cup quinoa and cool.  Roughly mash the black beans with a fork so it becomes a pate-like mixture. Mix quinoa, black beans, bell pepper, onion, garlic, spices and egg using hands. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Heat olive oil in skillet to medium heat.  Cook the patties 2/3 minutes on each side.  Whole wheat buns optional.  You can use lettuce as buns instead (and in my opinion the lettuce allows you to fully taste the flavor of the burgers better).

Tasty Tuesday – Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Today’s recipe is inspired by the cold weather we’re experiencing and the fact that I’m home sick with the flu, and let’s face it, soups are comfort food when you are sick… even when they are healthy soups!
Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup:

  • 2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups good quality chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 cup (or 1 10-ounce can) red enchilada sauce *homemade (recipe below) or store bought
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more/less to taste

*Optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, diced red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips/chips

Directions: Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 on low heat until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily.  Use two forks to shred the chicken.  Serve warm, with optional garnishes.  You can also refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5 days. Or freeze it for up to 3 months.

Red Enchilada Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups vegetable stock

Heat oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add flour and stir together over the heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano).  Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove the lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thick.

Support Small Business Saturday

Given that this is the busiest shopping weekend of the year, and it is also Small Business Saturday, I thought it fitting to post about my experiences as a small business owner.  I hope to dedicate Saturdays in the future to help support the people in my life that are also small business owners by featuring a new business person each Saturday and having them share a bit about what they do, what it means to their family, and their triumphs and struggles in the cut throat world of sales.  But for now, I’m going to share my own, very honest, thoughts on trying to make it as a successful small business owner.

Everyone should be required to spend a year working a small business.  It must be something they believe in, and truly want to share with others, but also that they rely on for an income.  I say this because if everyone were required to dedicate a year of their lives earnestly working a small business I believe small businesses would be seen in a much clearer (and untainted) light, and they would find themselves with unmatched support from not only their loved ones, but their loved one’s friend base, and so on and so forth.  Why?  Because….

Only then will you understand what it’s like to spend every free moment of your time networking, answering questions, and catering to the needs of your customers.

Only then will you know what it feels like to spend weeks, and months (maybe even years) having the same conversation with a potential customer just to have the conversation end in, “I can’t afford it.” (Or some other typical excuse.)

Only then will you experience rejection dozens of times a day, just to have to pick yourself back up and keep trying, with an unaffected smile on your face.

Only then will you feel the pain of having close friends and family purposefully avoid ever asking you about what’s going on in your life, because they don’t want to hear anything about your business… even after you have politely asked about and listened to every detail about their life, including what they do for work.

Only then will you comprehend the frustration and hypocrisy of someone telling you “no” because they “can’t afford it.” yet post pictures of the new Louis Vuitton bag they just bought (with their new iPhone).

Only then will you empathize with the financial drain of mailing out catalogs or samples to those who seem interested and excited to become a customer, just to have them never ever respond to your attempts at following up with them.

Only then will you realize what it’s like to have people expect free services, samples and products from you with no intent on their part of ever purchasing from you.

Only then will you understand the disappointment and hurt of having a good friend or family member knowingly purchase from a large corporation the EXACT same thing they could have bought from you, because they could save a few dollars for themselves… or worse, because they purposefully didn’t want to support you.

Only then will you experience what it’s like to be continuously ignored by your friends and family via every mode available to us in this day in age (phone, email, social media, written letter) because heaven forbid they respond to you in a respectful manner, even if it is to respectfully decline.

Only then will you find out who the true supporters are in your life… you will learn that support doesn’t mean who is buying from you, but quite the opposite… who lifts you up, encourages you, helps you network and reach others.  Most importantly who realizes how hard you work, how passionate you are, and wants to see you succeed!?!  Who quite obviously doesn’t? It’s a harsh reality to face.

Only then will you realize that despite all the daily negative you face working a small business, it is one of the only “jobs” out there that can lead you to an unmatched income in as little as 3 to 5 years. An income that can allow you to become a stay at home mom, or remain a stay at home parent (in my case), take your families on amazing vacations or even retire your spouse so you can spend more time with the ones you love.

In the past 6 years I’ve worked 3 different home based businesses seriously.  I’ve faced such negative responses from those in my life I fully expected to be my strongest supporters that I walked away from those businesses, admitting defeat and pledging never to return to the sales world again.  In all honesty, the hurt and rejection I faced in those years brought on much of my depression and anxiety and lead to an unhealthy lifestyle of emotional eating.  When I began my most recent journey with health and fitness, I swore I would not take it on as a business opportunity, but just as an avenue to get my workout programs and health supplements at a discount.  Within a month I realized I had been letting all the negative from my past experiences hold me back from an amazing opportunity, so I gave it a chance. This time I jumped in knowing what to expect from people… nothing.  I don’t expect a thing.  I hope for those that care about me to want to support me in any manner they can, but I do not expect it.  Does that mean I get hurt less often this time around? No.  I’m still the same person, with the same feelings, just wiser and more experienced.  I’ve tried to take all those past negative, hurtful situations and put them to good use in my life.  Instead of dwelling on how others treated me, I’ve gone out of my way to help others the way I had hoped I’d be helped by my loved ones.  I’ve focused on networking with others that have the same vision as I do, and being a constant source of support in their lives.  I still have rough days, and weeks, but that’s life.  I still have people that constantly ignore me, or close friends who never even bother to ask how my coaching career is going, but I try to remind myself that is their issue, not mine.  I know if the roles were reversed I’d be their number one supporter, and we attract what we put out in the world.  I’m sad for them, knowing they will attract negative, unsupportive energy… but I don’t waste too much time worrying about that, because I’m busy putting out positive, loving energy to help others in my life.

So this Small Business Saturday (and everyday after) remember that when you support someone in your life, whether that be as a customer or just an emotional support system, you are helping them provide for their family… you are helping them put dinner on the table, or afford that special Christmas gift for their child.  Believe me, your support will be more appreciated than you can imagine!

Holiday… more like HELLiday

Confession… I have just come from my daughter’s room where I held her in my arms until we were both close to sleep.  This is arguably the most relaxing part of my day; cuddled on an overstuffed arm chair with my feet up, surrounded by darkness and the soft whir of the white noise machine.  It’s in these precious moments with my daughter I remind myself to contemplate just how blessed I am.  And I do, for about ten seconds, before the barrage of mental “to-do” lists begin playing themselves over and over in my mind.  There goes my relaxation.  I typically spend anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour attempting to get my daughter calmed from the day and settled in for sleep, and during that time I not only replay almost every moment from my day in my head trying to recall what all I DIDN’T get done, but I begin creating a list of things I need to get done that night and in the coming days.  “Can’t forget to change the laundry over to the drier before I go to bed. Oh, crap, forgot to send the rent check! I need to email my cousin back about Christmas plans.  I still have 7 hours of continuing education to complete before the end of the year!  When am I going to get that in? I need to post to my Like page, invite people to my clean eating and fitness groups, catch up on training seminars, and squeeze in some personal development.”  The list goes on and on, and I often find myself feeling like I need a “to-do” list for my “to-do” list, so I don’t forget anything.  Compound that with the fact that it’s the night before a holiday weekend, and well, I seriously contemplated going straight to bed after leaving my daughter’s room… my way of sticking my proverbial ostrich head in the ground to avoid it all. This got me thinking, when did it shift? When did the excitement and anticipation of a holiday I once had as a child and young woman pivot into an almost debilitating anxiety?  How have I gone full circle from loving the holidays to dreading them?  Is this just the reality of becoming a responsible adult, or is it a product of my anxiety disorder?  No matter what it stems from, normal or abnormal, it stinks.  It’s been a long time since I’ve felt relaxed and looked forward to a holiday.  Which is sad, because that’s the exact opposite of the purpose of a “holiday.”

Finding balance in everyday life has proved itself almost impossible since I became a mom, and it’s definitely something that is on my mind and troubles me daily.  I don’t have the answer of how to fix this, otherwise I wouldn’t have found myself writing about it.  And I’m not sure what this post is really accomplishing, except maybe to reach others who feel the same way.  So, to those of us who find ourselves in quiet panic attacks on the eve of this Thankful holiday, I send you love and understanding… Let’s remind ourselves to breathe, allow ourselves to be imperfect, and forgive ourselves if we fail and have a meltdown.  It will be okay, this holiday will pass and we can go back to being anxious and feeling like we never have enough time to get the every day stuff done.  Let’s be thankful we have this life to stress us out!  Happy Thanksgiving-eve!

Tasty Tuesday – Maple Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash

Maple Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash

In honor of the upcoming food frenzy holiday, I thought I’d share a new clean recipe I tried the other night. After making it I realized this would make an excelled guilt free Thanksgiving side dish!  So I’m excited to share with you my first Tasty Tuesday recipe:

Maple Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash

  • 1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large Apple, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup Walnut Pieces (may substitute Pecans)
  • 2 T Olive Oil (may substitute Coconut Oil for sweeter flavor)
  • 2 T Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 T Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425.  Cover a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray (or grease lightly with coconut oil for a more “clean” approach).  In a large bowl mix squash, apples, and walnuts with olive oil.  Place squash mixture on pan and roast for 40 minutes, turning half way through. Be careful not to burn the walnuts. Toss with remaining ingredients.  I personally mixed remaining ingredients together first then drizzled over squash mixture and tossed.

Like this recipe and want more just like it? Join my free clean eating group on Facebook on Monday December 1st!  Find my “Like” page on Facebook and send me a message you’d like to join! www.facebook.com/Healthyhabitshealfitness