About Laurie · Business Owner

EVO ’11 ~ Cuz I’m a Conference Goer

For my business I travel every so often and usually it’s for a social media conference so that I can meet fabulous people and stay up-to-date on an industry that seriously changes every 6 months.  {no joke}  This year my most favorite conference was the EVO Conference.

My roommates and yes we all “LIKE”  EVO and each other! {snicker}  

I’ve already blogged extensively about what I learned at EVO and you can check it out on the links below.  This post is more to showcase  how warm and collaborative bloggers really are!

What you don’t see from those wrap up conference posts with all the tips, is that we all really ADORE each other!  I’m not exaggerating.  For me, my favorite part about going to a conference is being able to see some of my favorite people on the planet!

Sure we tweet, Facebook, blog, stumble, +1, and see each other on YouTube all the time – but there’s just something so sweet about hugging a person you only get to see 4 times a year who totally gets you!

I might have asked this young man if I could hold his staff.  {d’oh}

You see, I get so bummed out when I see  negativity and snarky comments coming from other bloggers.  And it’s really been weighing on my mind lately.  I’ve been wondering:

  • What is the worlds perception of “mom bloggers”?
  • Does the public understand how much we respect and support one another?
  • Or is the loudest voice the only one that gets heard?  {I assure you she does not represent the rest of us.}

Another one of my concerns is the approach of newer bloggers.  You would seriously be appalled at some of the emails I receive in my inbox.  I have begun to worry that mutual respect for hard work and a job well done ~ has been replaced by entitlement and aggressive behaviors that could easily be construed as intrusive and flat out rude.

I’ve been contemplating my part in all of this.  Do I have a responsibility to speak up and share my experience?  Can I help in some small way to showcase the true nature of our friendships and business dealings?  Quite frankly, I don’t know.  But I’ve decided to share more about how I collaborate with fellow bloggers.  Not to be braggy or name-drop ~ cuz I think those qualities are unbecoming ~ but in an effort to give you an insiders look of how supportive and positive this world really is!

Therefore, I want to bring you inside my world of blogging. 

  • We seriously have SO much fun together!
  • We share strategies and ideas openly.
  • We call each other on the phone and text each other regularly.

  • Ego’s aren’t tolerated – so leave them in front of your computer. But honestly most of my friends don’t have one to begin with!

  • We actually scream when we see each other and give each other huge hugs.  It’s genuine.  It’s not cliquey, fake, or attention-seeking.  We miss each other that much!
  • We celebrate each others successes both in business and in life.  Jealousy and competition also isn’t tolerated.  {again, most of my friends live their life this way, so it’s rarely an issue.}
  • We welcome new bloggers into our world openly and help them all the time!
  • We do not require anything of each other.  We don’t expect our friends to promote us.  Sometimes it happens naturally ~ but it’s not implied, required, or asked for.

  • We expect each other to only be themselves, nothing more.  We can let our hair down with each other, vent, chill, share our successes, and just be us.  It’s a very safe place.

These are the kinds of people who I surround myself with in this fast-paced, highly talented, and demanding business.  They are the people who make it so much fun and lift me up.

{Thanks Justin for the photo!}

And girl ~ you should see us on the dance floor.  We tear it up!!  I love these women so much and I know that we’ll stay friends for the rest of our lives.  So if there’s anything that I want the world to know ~ it’s that professional bloggers are warm, collaborative, genuine and so accepting.  Not to mention a flippin’ good time!  {snicker}

I’m completely honored to be associated with these extraordinary women.  And my hope is that these are the type of women who’s behaviors will be emulated.  These are the characteristics that make a successful blogger a professional. One who:

  • Who becomes a spokes person for a national brand.
  • Who writes her own best-selling book
  • Who gets her own HGTV show
  • Who is featured in a New York Times article

In an industry that is becoming saturated with talented and brilliant women ~ these are the characteristics that will help you lead the pack and really make a difference in your niche.  Anything less is just a bunch of hoopla that will eventually be yesterdays hype, not tomorrows successful business woman.

Mine and Jenny’s Xbox Dance Off! {video}

To prove how much fun we really have together.  Here’s a silly video of Jenny and I  playing Xbox Dance Central in the Xbox Suite at EVO.  I didn’t do any editing like Jenny does – it just showcases how fun the game is and what an un-sexy dancer I am.  Who picked Riannah?!?  We should have known better.  {bwaahaa!}

About Laurie · Business Owner

Mom Casting Video Submission ~ Laurie {Tip Junkie}

Boy do I have a silly treat for you today. {{snicker}} A fabulous friend of mine {and someone who I greatly admire) guilt-tweated me into posting a Mom Casting video submission for the new blogger reality show that’s in the works.  {{bwaahaa!}}

I’m only doing this for YOU my dear Ciaran. Only for you! and Yes “guilt-tweeted” is a word.

In all honesty, there’s no way that I’ll be chosen so I’m not worried about it. The blogosphere is filled to the brim with successful mormon-mommy-bloggers to be the resident LDS reality show contestant.  Most of whom are way more talented than little ol’ me.

Why did I finally cave and do the video?  Well… a while ago, I realized that I was sabotaging myself and not accepting offers because I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, or that I would be so nervious I’d be a sweaty mess.

So I decided to stop that behavior immediately and just take what comes my way.  You never know where it will lead.  So with my new attidude, I’m considering all offers that I get no matter what.  {{snicker}}

Carpe diem.

About Laurie · Business Owner

How I Celebrated My Birthday

Thanks to my dear friend Lisa for the cake!  A little piece of heaven.

This year I spent my birthday in the most beautiful place on earth for a crafty mom-preneur, The Creative Connection Event. I blogged all about what I learned and who I met over on Tip Junkie:

How to Launch a Business
How to Use Social Media as a Marketing Tool
Entrepreneur Lunch Panel
Taking Business to the Next Level
Getting Published and Editorial Credit
The Future Face of Retail ~ The Digital Marketplace

    As an aspiring business woman myself, I was honored to rub shoulders with uber successful women like Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, blogger, turned business woman, turned author, she’s the next “Rachael Ray”.  Ree is so gracious and it was a highlight getting to chat with her several times throughout the weekend.

    Heather Bailey, graphics designer and blogger, who now licenses her designs with major corporations and has a fabric line, pattern line, and stationary line. I’m sure we’ll see her in Target very soon if she’s not already.  She’ll be a household name very soon as I’m sure she’ll pattern her product  line like “Martha Stewart Crafts”.  I’m in awe of her talent.

    Amy Butler is already uber famous as her patterns and fabrics are out of this world! She’s cute and kind as can be.

    I was at the event on an official capacity as one of the social media corespondents.  However, it wasn’t all work.  We headed over to the Mall of America, rode some roller coasters and a fabulous dinner.

    We went shopping at the Junk Bonanza!  It was really cool and reminded me of Canton but a lot more eclectic.  It was incredible to experience.

    It was completely appropriate to spend my birthday with these amazing women and fellow bloggers.  This year I decided to “go big or quit” with Tip Junkie.  Instead of riding the trends, I decided to take the bull by the horns and really see if I could make a career and full time living with TipJunkie.com.

    It’s been a heck of a lot of work and I’ve had to really focus on my goals and keep moving forward.  However, all the long hours have finally paid off and my goals have been realized.  Was it worth the sacrifices my family and I have made the past year?  Absolutely!  I’ve always believed that short-term sacrifice for long-term results is something that’s worth it for sure.

    What’s next? Well, I’m not quite sure.  I know that I’m going to sleep, a lot!  I’m going to start asking for help and collaborating more.  I’ll still be traveling, speaking, and attending events.  I’m open to what the future brings… so we’ll see.

    My entire childhood I grew up feeling like I was different and that my talents were very peculiar and unusual.  I cannot even begin to share with you the joy and gratitude I feel now as an adult finding my place and being able to use those strange talents to help others and make life a little more beautiful.  I have found purpose, a career, and a heck of a lot of joy in what I do.

    Being surrounded by women who also share my passions and unique talents has been a huge surprise and a major bonus! 

    I’m honored to be among such a talented and driven group of women.  They get me and I get them.  We have really formed long-lasting friendship and are constantly lifting each other up. We Skype, text, chat on the phone, email, Facebook, and even Tweet each other.  I consider this crazy online sisterhood a true gift and one I don’t take for granted.

    My friends in  real life also did not disappoint.  They threw me a delightful lunch where I accidentally insulted the waiter {“L” on forehead}, laughed so hard my side hurt, and teared up as I genuinely adore these women.  They are the women I rely on every day to help me carpool, plan fun outings with, get advice from, and gain strength from.  We vacation together as families, celebrate birthdays with, and they are amazing examples of who I am trying to become. 

    Ah, and then there’s my sister.  She has truly become my rock and best friend.  Honestly, I have no idea how she puts up with me, my work schedule, and all of my responsibilities.  But she’s always there and encouraging.  I hope to return the favor from here on out.  She most certainly deserves everything that life has to offer.  She’s the most generous, sincere, and thoughtful person you’ll ever meet.  Plus she’s so sarcastic and a hell of a lot of fun!

    Huge thanks to everyone for making my birthday so much fun.  It’s one I’ll never forget or take for granted.  I feel honored to have so many genuine friends who each have their own unique talents that I just adore them for.  You’re the best!

    About Laurie · Genuine


    Yes, I believe in evolution. Not the kind where we have evolved from monkeys, but the kind that slowly happens over time as you overcome your trials and find your purpose in life.

    I’m an “all or nothing” kind of gal. So when when I first started blogging three years ago, my goal was to make my blog as close to my real life as possible. Well, as my blogs and sites have evolved my free time has too. I was no longer able to keep my goal for my personal blog and with that came consequences. Since I couldn’t blog the way I wanted to – I went private.

    Since going private, I have really missed the “deadline” that sort of comes when being accountable for updating a blog. I’ve actually missed a lot of the perks of having a personal blog. Therefore, I decided to completely reinvent it to reflect myself as I am now – and stop trying to keep it to where I was at in 2007.

    So it’s out with the old…

    and in with the new thanks to Kreated by Kelsey who designed it for me!

    I do have a disclaimer here that I hope you’ll understand and always remember when reading:

    Disclaimer: These memories have been formatted to fit your computer screen.

    What does that mean? Well, it means that each post is a very brief reenactment of what actually happened. I have literally taken 10 minutes to slap it up and it doesn’t tell the entire story. Why? ‘Cuz I’m crazy busy and there are personal things that, even though I want to, I just can’t share.

    So please consider this blog a “grateful journal” of sorts that mainly focuses on how I’m “embellishing” my fabulously flawed life. And Ladies I am seriously flawed. No one knows that better than I do.

    Since we’re talking about evolution, I thought it would be fun to show you a quick gimps at my evolution in life and the journey that I’ve been on. It’s been a wild ride.

    1995 – When I became a wife. {{exciting}}

    1998 – When I became a Mom. {{exhausted}}

    2001 – When I became an Executive Homemaker {{driven}}

    2003 – Davis is now diagnosed and I’m rediscovering who I am as a woman with two children. {{self improvement stage}}

    2005 – Pregnant with my third son, trying to sell my home in Katy, and living in an apartment in Ft. Worth. {{bored and unchallenged}}

    2007 – When I became focused on beautifying my life. {{crazy fun}}

    2009 – Life as a single mother while Jason travels and gets his MBA. {{survival}}

    2010 – Enjoying the fruits of my labors. Right now I’m accepting opportunities that come my way and enjoying my children who are a lot less intense. {{finally}}

    About Laurie

    About Laurie

    Laurie is a creative soul who has a passion for embellishing life. She launched Executive Homemaker in 2006 which has over 600 printables for busy moms.

    Laurie loves to promote creative women through their fabulous ideas and products with Tip Junkie that features the best tips and tricks from everyday women.

    To meet the need of affordable advertising for Mom-prenuers she co-founded Chic Chick Media and Buy Mom Made.org.

    Laurie lives in Dallas, is a mom to 3 boys, cruise director for her family, and all around girly-girl. Her focus is to create moments that matter for herself, her man, and her children.

    Laurie’s Blogs & Sites:

    Tip Junkie – Creating moments that matter
    TJ Blog Events & Giveaway Directory – Free Stuff
    TJ Mom-preneur Shops – Promoting women in business
    TJ Community – Uniting creative women
    Twitter: @TipJunkie
    Follow on Facebook

    Buy Mom Made.org – “I pledge to buy products that are created and sold by moms and encourage others to do the same.”

    Executive Homemaker – Over 600 free printables for busy moms
    Follow on Facebook

    Chic Chick Media – Affordable advertising for blogs and shops
    Follow on Facebook

    Laurie’s Speaking Engagements:

    SITScation ’09 – Creating Your Own Blogging Experience
    Blissdom ’10 – Connecting with your Community of Readers
    Bloggy Boot Camp Phoenix ’10 – Mom-preneur Track
    Evo ’10

    About Laurie · Mother of Boys

    Slim and Sculpt

    After months of working out alone, I’ve finally gotten a work out partner! His form is fantastic for his first time! Notice he’s totally looking at the TV screen to know what to do. {{snicker}}

    It’s about time that I retire my latest workout routine, 10 Minute Solutions Slim & Sculpt Pilates.


    I can queue up several 10 minute work outs or do just 1.
    It’s quick.
    I like using the band.
    It works.

    Cons: I’m bored to tears with it.

    Any suggestions?

    About Laurie

    I’ve Missed You Honey

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    (Pic from Feb.)

    I found this song from Lisa’s blog as she has the best taste in music! Billy’s been living with us since February and I know they’re looking forward to her house selling so they can reunite and be together once again.

    On a personal note, Jason’s been traveling a lot this summer and it looks like he’ll be home for a while and taking a traveling break. Having him home consistently, I’ve realized how much I’ve missed him!

    You know how it is, you get in the groove and take on single-motherhood without looking back. But now that he’s in our life full time, I know that I couldn’t do this without him.

    “I never realized not having you here would hurt so much…
    I need your loving hands to come and pick me up.
    Every night I miss you!”

    He’s such an amazing man and totally gets me. I love you honey and (once again) I’m so glad you choose me. {{smooches}}

    About Laurie

    My Peeps

    **Warning! Gush Fest**

    Disclaimer: I feel compelled to share my feelings and gush a little on the women who have helped me during such a dark time. Please note this isn’t a brag, it’s a tribute to those women who have have consistently been there and to those who continue to lift me up.

    This post is about F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (Like my reenactment above. HA!) This topic has been on my mind a lot lately and was even more so before my back injury.

    It was inspired by Celia Fae’s post on ‘Homies’. She cracks me up with her sharp whit and fabulous definitions. She has a classification for pretty much everything! In her post she defines different types of friendships. I would classify myself as the Friend Collector.

    According to Celia, “Friend Collectors don’t acquire friends willy-nilly. They are deliberate. Friend Collectors find people who are very interesting or excel in one area, and then they befriend them. “

    I wouldn’t say I “collect” friends per se because I’m loyal to the core when it comes to friends. However, I am very deliberate and selective in who I choose to let into my life. I do try to choose people who have characteristics that I wish I could have or ones that I am working on developing.

    I usually have terrible luck in life, but when it comes to friends I’ve been very lucky. Lucky in the fact that I’m surrounded by so many incredible women that I cherish and love to be around. Many of them probably don’t even know how much they mean to me.

    First up is my sister Lisa. She brings out the “fun Laurie’ and we have the craziest moments together! We talk at least 3 times a week and nothing is off the table. She already sees me as the person I wish I could be and for that I’m so grateful.

    My Angel in life is Wendy. She has been a fun friend and is always up for participating in my crazy antics. But for 12 weeks she took such good care of me and scheduled child care, meals, and mothered Drake at least one day every week. All the while eliminating my guilt and allowing me to heal properly. The service she performed for me and my family is unmeasurable.

    Chanda & A.J. bring beauty and joy into my life. A.J. insists that I’m her friend not Chanda’s which totally makes me melt. I adore our adventures and play dates. Chanda is always up for a good time and I am too, so it’s a great match.

    Christina was Davis’ 3rd grade teacher and we’ve remained close friends. She came and visited me every week while I was recovering. We share a passion for reality TV and watched the Bachelor together religiously. We have great conversations and she completely over looks the fact that I’m a non-recycling, SUV-owning, Republican, Mormon. 😉

    HA! I have no idea what she sees in me but we have the best time together. She adores my boys and I absolutely adore her. I don’t know who has the bigger crush on Christina; Davis, Dylan, Drake or Me. hmmm?

    I think the easiest friendships to maintain are the ones who have kids your kids ages. I have such a strong bond with Wendy, Laurie M. and Tricia. We have vacationed together with our families, spent summers together on the lake, carpool to Scouts, holiday events, dinners, etc. They are amazing women in their own right and I really appreciate the family bonding times we have together. I’ll come up with any excuse to see them. 😉 Yes, I’ll even bring my kids. They can actually put up with all of us. {{cheesy grin}}

    Lisa is another Angel and a friend just like Wendy, Laurie M, and Tricia. Lisa fed my family and mothered my little boy every week for 12 weeks. I’ll always cherish her service and friendship. Jason and I love to double date with Lisa and her man as well as hang out together as families. She’s so easy to be around and has a big heart not to mention the most amazing cook!

    Celia has also defined the Types of Church Friends. These are a few of my church peeps. I feel so blessed because I love these women and choose to hang out with them because of who they are, not the callings we’ve shared. Each one possesses an inner strength that blows me away. I feel like a better person when I’m around them.

    I’m also blessed to have Blogging Church peeps. HA! These are the girls that share my passion for blogging and are deep in the throws of motherhood. They are so much fun to chat with and keep me entertained during those mandatory meetings. Even though my youngest is their oldest’ age, they make me feel apart of their group and young again.

    Due to scheduling conflicts, I had to drop out of Book Club & Mavens. {{teary}} I know the sacrifices we make for our family. I’ve missed these girls so much the past couple of months. I feel a little bit of an emptiness now that I don’t get to see them regularly. (Sadly, not everyone is pictured but you know who you are!)

    Each one of these ladies is an amazing woman in her own right. This group is so diverse and every person brings a completely different personality and style. These women were my first really close friends when I moved here. They’ve consistently been there at least three times a month with birthdays and movie nights. I value their friendship and the influence they’ve had on my life.

    I hope they know that they can call me at any time. I’ll be there for a girls night out, movie, a shoulder to cry on or laugh at (I mean with), food, child care, whatever. They mean the world to me. {{hugs}}

    I’ve been so impressed with these friends who have traveled to see me several times while I was laid up in bed. We aren’t neighbors and so their drive and sacrifice to visit me meant the world. I honestly feel like they have given so much of themselves that at times, I feel completely undeserving of their friendship. Their souls are so giving and alive that I straight up just feel blessed that they let me come hang out with them. {{teehee}}

    We have such an open and honest friendship and one that is completely different than many others. It’s such a breath of fresh air. There’s not much I wouldn’t do for these amazing women and I hope they feel my love and admiration for them. I got your back!

    Then there’s my Park Glen friends. Dude, they know how to have a good time!! Any excuse to see them; count me in. I tried so hard to buy a house in their church boundaries but no such luck. Talk about a disappointment.

    However, the PG Sista’s haven’t held it against me and still invite me to birthday dinners and holiday parties. Thank heaven!! I love their company and energy. Talk about a fantastic group of women.

    Melissa and I were friends in Katy and then became even closer friends when she moved to Utah. I think it was because we had to schedule in the time to talk and see each other. We’ve taken some crazy fun trips. But most importantly, she’s helped me grow in ways and experiences that I never thought possible. Because of her influence I’ve taken a course on Real Estate and found a passion I didn’t realize I had.

    Lisa and Melissa are “vacation friends” and so between the 3 of us, our trips always turn into an adventure! She has recently moved to Houston and I’m looking forward to the day I can stand to sit for 4 hours to go visit her. {{hugs!}}

    I’ve traveled to see my dear friend Diana at least 6 out of the 10 years that I’ve known her. We met at BYU and have been close friends ever since. We celebrated our 10 year anniversaries together and had a blast! She knows how to have a good time. 😉

    She has yet to come visit me in Texas. I think I should start campaigning now for her to come visit me this summer. What do you think?

    These are my Life Sentence Friends. It sounds like a negative but these are some of my favorite people in life. You know, the ones you were friends with during a significant time in life. For me, these are my friends from Katy when I was a new mom of 2 boys. When I struggled with Davis’ diagnosis of Autism during Dylan’s terrible two’s. These women probably have no idea how much they mean to me or how valuable their friendship was and still is during such a difficult time.

    I have their picture in my room and therefore I think of them often. Those pictures are a reminder of how hard life was and that because of their encouragement I survived. I hope to do the same for others.

    I adore all these women in my life, and those I don’t have pictures of, and I hope you each know that I’ve chosen you deliberately because you are amazing. I’m hoping that your specific character trait which I admire will rub off on me in one way or another. Bless you for being in my life. I consider myself a better person because of your influence.


    About Laurie

    P.T. Pain & Torture

    I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while now. I’ve been in physical therapy (pain & torture) 3 times a week for around 5 weeks and tomorrow will be my last session.

    My doctor had told me that I would need to go to P.T. to strengthen my back and learn how to properly lift things after my surgery.

    However, he did NOT tell me that it would be more like rehabilitation! My body was so week from 6 weeks of agony and non-use that my left leg even atrophied.

    It was hard work getting my body back to normal. Candy, my physical therapist, put my body through the wringer and pushed me to my limit. (Which in reality isn’t very far. teehee)

    I’ve felt like a weakling for too long and now my body is stronger and ready to be free of tri-weekly torture.

    I’ll still do some of the exercises on my own to keep my back strong. I took all these pictures so I wouldn’t forget the moves. 😉

    Now you know what I’ve been spending all my time doing. Absolutely nothing productive.

    Monday’s I go to P.T. and am tired the rest of the day.
    Tuesday I’m sore.
    Wednesday I go to P.T. and am tired the rest of the day.
    Thursday I am sore.
    Friday I go to P.T. and am tired the rest of the day.
    Saturday I am sore.
    Sunday I go to church and sit on those terrible chairs, therefore I am sore the rest of the day.

    I am NOT going to miss this schedule at all. I feel so free and excited to see what next week will bring. YAY!!

    About Laurie

    I Can Stand!

    Hey Ladies. My back surgery was a success and I can now stand comfortably, which I haven’t been able to do since Thanksgiving!

    I had a herniated (ruptured) disc in my back, L5 S1, and therefore underwent Discectomy and Laminectomy surgery. The doctors found a bone spur that was causing the additional pain I was experiencing with my sciatic nerve running down my left leg.

    Right now all is well, I can’t bend or twist which makes life a bit challenging. I’m either completely horizontal or completely vertical because it still hurts too much to sit. However, I’m so grateful to be on the road to recovery and will start physical therapy soon.

    I’m very weak, two of my toes in my left foot are still numb, and I feel like my body has atrophied. 😉 However, I feel so blessed to have my pain meds actually working and therefore I’m comfortable most of the time.

    At this point I’m just flat out grateful that I can stand. Boy, how I’ve taken that for granted.

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