Spanish Cove…Happy Trails

One happy day in the Spring of 2007, HH and I bought a 1976 traditional house in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville.  It was decorated in the style of “Early Ugly”, the previous owners having built the place 31 years prior, choosing decorator finishes that were all the rage in the 70’s (a green toilet, shag carpet, popcorn ceiling, foiled wallpaper and such.)  Decor aside, it was on a half acre lot with Spanish moss-covered oak trees, and it was the perfect location for the next stage in our lives.  We planned, as so many did in the early 2000’s, to renovate it, then host regular weekend parties, maybe grow our family in it, and then sell it a few years later for a hefty profit, a mere stepping stone to bigger and better real estate in the booming Florida market.

It is cliche to even say it, but my friends, life often doesn’t go as planned. One recession, one job eliminated, and two new babies later, we realized that we were going to live in this house for a long….long….long time.

Chapman Twins New Years

About 2 years in, I asked HH what his favorite spot was in the backyard.   He was puzzled until I explained that I was convinced we were going to die in this house and, should he go before me, I wanted to know where he’d like to be laid to rest.  It was that bad.

In 2012, things started to look up.  With the early success of my Rodan + Fields business and other strokes of good fortune, HH began the process of renovating our ugly home. Like most people who choose to renovate their home while they live in it, it goes incredibly slow and is horribly disruptive.


I went nearly 2 full years without kitchen counters, choosing to use discarded remnants of other people’s kitchen counters rested atop our cabinets until we could afford the Quartz we wanted.  The wood flooring we laid in 2014 did not match the kind we laid in 2012, so it had to be done again. We never once had a car parked in the garage because it held tools, flooring, tile, grout, base boards, lighting fixtures, crown molding, faucets, and more, not to mention the stuff that comes with 3 babies/boys.

House photos 004

Even with the improvements, we were stuck.  The house was all-consuming, leaving little time for family fun, no place for entertaining, and no extra money for anything.

Fast forward to this Spring, when the last bathroom had been gutted, tossing out mustard yellow tile and a Formica vanity to make way for a white subway surround and gorgeous modern double sinks.

When the last coat of paint dried, we realized the house was not only done, it was sell-able. And unless we wanted to re-do everything again (as realists, we know that with time comes a few broken windows, some school-age graffiti and general boy-life damage), we’d better hop to it.


So we sold it.

This was the house that my twins came home to, where two of my kids learned to walk and all three learned to ride a bike, where we held bouncy house birthday parties for Vader’s 3rd and 10th birthday (and my 40th!).  It was the place where my marriage was tested and not only survived, but thrived.

This was also a house that weighed on us like a ton of bricks, that kept us up many late nights whether in heated discussions about what we could afford to do next or quietly working away, covered in dust/paint/caulk/dirt from demolition or sanding or whatever was the project of the month.

And now, another family will get to enjoy the fruit of that labor.

What lies ahead for the Chapman family is a total departure from the last 9 and a half years. We have swapped our 2500 SF traditional and big yard for a 1350 SF apartment with a screened-in porch that is one-third the size of a decent parking space.

I am psyched.

I have the declared the next 12 months as the #YearOfResortLiving.  We will swim in the pool, workout in the gym, and play in the game room.  We will spend less time working on the upkeep of our place and more time exploring our city and hanging out with friends. And if you took the time to read this all the way through, my friends, that means YOU.  I may not have a guest room for weekend visits, but I do have a ridiculously strong desire to invite you over for a cold beer and a swim before the weather turns cool, or for a cookout in the fall using the shared grill and fire pit area.

Consider yourself invited – let’s do it soon.


Beyond that, who knows.  HH and I have talked about so many possiblities and the fact that we have options is fun, all by itself.  There is no hurry to get to a decision any time soon.

In the meantime, happy trails, Spanish Cove.  If you need me, I will be by the pool.


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2016 Road Trip – Post 1 of 4 – Logistics

Now that it has been a week since our return, I have had a little time to get perspective on our 11 day, 4 city trip to Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City and I wanted to share my thoughts, good, bad and ugly. (But, mostly good.)

This is a quick summary of the transportation and accommodations on each of our 11 days and 10 nights.

We picked these cities because they are all poor for RV travel.  In the future, if we do a major trip around the US, I want to avoid places like DC and NYC. From tolls to traffic, bridges and tunnels to expensive parking, I have enough anxiety about driving a car, let alone a monster size towable or motor coach.  So the decision was made to fly into DCA, and after sightseeing in the nation’s capitol, rent a car and drive the days in between, before dropping the car in NYC.   This way, we get to see these important and interesting places, without the dread of having to drive and park an RV.

To kick things off, we chose to fly. Jet Blue was super affordable and made traveling with kids easy, as each kid gets their own TV and choice of snacks.  Our flights left on time out of JAX airport and arrive in DC without incident.


Upon arrival at Reagan National Airport, we took the Metro to our hotel.  The Metro is really cheap and clean and we never had to wait more than a few minutes for a train. Truly, there is no need to rent a car to get around to see the sites in Washington DC.  Besides the subway, you can walk, rent a bike, or take a cab or Uber.  Parking is really expensive if you do have a car, so I recommend avoiding it.  (Our hotel garage was $30 per night!)

For lodging the DC, we chose the Embassy Suites in Alexandria, VA, perfectly located across the street from the Metro Station at King Street Station.   If you choose this hotel, you’ll also want to take advantage of sightseeing nearby in Olde Town. For that, the city of Alexandria provides a free round trip shuttle which also picks up in front of the hotel.  More on that later…  The hotel offers free breakfast and a happy hour with complementary snacks and drinks (including adult beverages!)  There is an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center and a very friendly staff.  We were there three nights.

After 4 days in DC,  HH picked up the car from Avis at DCA (again, using the Metro to get from our hotel to the airport.)   We loaded up the car, checked out of the hotel, and headed to Baltimore, a quick 1 hour drive from our place in VA.

In Baltimore, we wanted to experience the waterfront.  We decided to stay on a boat by booking a place through AirBnB.  It was a crazy thing to do with three boys, but I am glad we did it.  Not only was a famous Maryland crab restaurant just a few steps from where we were moored, but we were only a 20 minute walk to the Inner Harbor.  There was free overnight parking in the marina and the cost of the AirBnB was less than a hotel in the downtown corridor, with the added benefit of a waterfront sunrise.  If you can find an option like this, I recommend it.  No one in our family took showers on the boat, but for one night, who cares.

From MD to PA was another relatively short drive.  We found our Embassy Suites hotel on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with ease.  Having not been in Philadelphia in years, I learned that there are two central areas that are good for tourists to stay. The Parkway puts you close to the Franklin Institute (more on that later), the Art Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Free Library, and more.   If you want to be close to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and other spots more closely aligned to the start of our nation’s history,  you’ll want to choose another hotel.  To get to these other sites, we took Uber rather than drive the car and fuss with parking.  It was only $6 each way, but it was an added step that we would have avoided if we picked a hotel in that part of Philly.  We also walked a lot.  Philly is a great city to walk around it.  I loved seeing the signs to not “Block the Box” at every intersection, reminding drivers to stay out of the pedestrian cross walks and give them the right of way.

Once again, we drove from PA to NYC.  The drive was the longest of our three jounts, but still less then 2 hours, with “exciting” moments as we crossed through Delaware and New Jersey.  We used the Holland Tunnel and popped up into the city on our 7th day.

For New York, we went bold with our NYC lodging.  Originally, we had planned a hotel in the middle of Times Square.  With no car, (HH returned it soon after we arrived), we thought it would be easy to get to the sites and be exciting for the boys. However, at the last-minute, I changed course.  Several friends had suggested the Times Square was akin to Disney World, with noise and crowds waiting for you at the entrance to every hotel and that stressed me out.  Instead, I went the AirBnB route again, choosing a spot in the East Village with a park across the street and a washer and dryer, along with a chance to pretend I lived in NYC for a few days.

It was a risky choice, and for the most part, it paid off.  We liked the coffee shops and pizza places nearby.  As predicted, there was less noise and fewer crowds and we had more room than a hotel, with less hidden fees and more reasonable prices for things like meals, snacks and souvenirs. However, we went a little too far off the path of convenience.  The 5 block walk from the subway after a full day of sightseeing was a slog for me, let alone for my 8 and 11 year olds.

As for getting around in the city, we hardly spent anything.  The subway was REALLY cheap and the only time we didn’t use it was when we had a tour that started at a specific time and we were running late. I guess they have to make something affordable in NYC and public transit is it.

For the return flights, were went with Jet Blue again and chose to leave out of JFK.  Our subway trip to the airport was long, but manageable.  The Jet Blue terminal was well-appointed and cheerful, but that was forgotten when we sat on the runway for over an hour and a half waiting our turn to depart.  JFK is a very crowded airport and unbeknownst to me, they often have delays on the tarmac.  Lesson learned.

We got home 11 days later, poorer in the pocket, but rich with memories and experience.  Cannot wait to share with you what we did in the next 3 posts.

Until then, travel because you can and be well.




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My 2016 January Whole30 Recap

finished-the-w30-fb-coverI finished my 4th Whole30 on Wednesday.  (I also did a Whole30 in June ’13, July ’14, and January’ 15.) This particular span of 30 days included New Year’s Eve, the wedding of a friend, three trips for work and the debut of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Translation: This particular span of 30 days had me on the sidelines of champagne toasts, excellent catered food, meals at the company’s expense with a plethora of non-compliant options and movie popcorn. Ug.

This 2016 Whole30 was initially financially motivated.  My eating had gotten so bad that when I stepped on the scale after indulging my every whim during the holidays, I confirmed what I already knew.  Unless I wanted to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, I had to change.  I had NOTHING to wear that didn’t make me look that dancing wedding guest from Steel Magnolias. (see the part at 49 seconds.)

I am an all-or-nothing kind of person when it comes to diet and exercise.  I know that most people do best when they take everything in moderation; make good choices and enjoy small indulgences occasionally, but that is not how I operate.  I am lousy at having only having one cookie, one slice of pizza, or one glass of wine.  One turns into two…which turns into stuff-my-face-for-days.  Whole30 works for me because the rules are straight forward and there is no gray area.  It is all or nothing.

– Eat clean fish, meat, poultry, veggies, fruits, fats, nuts and good fats.

– Do not eat processed foods, grains, soy, sugar, alcohol, legumes, or dairy.

– Do it for 30 days.

– Reset your body and your mind at the same time.

So here is what I have taken from my most recent #Whole30:

  • I feel better, physically and mentally when I eat this way.
  • I am no longer grumpy about my #whole30 food choices. I have purchased two terrific cookbooks (NomNom Paleo and Whole30 Cookbook). I used Pinterest more and because of it, I was able to find several kid-friendly options that I can feed my family so that I am not cooking two different meals. (Check out my Pinterest Paleo board for ideas, although not 100% of the pins are Whole30 compliant.)
  • Plan. Plan. Plan.  Unlike my last Whole30s, I made and brought my breakfast or lunch to work every day, unless I had a function to attend.  I planned dinner one or two nights in advance and made sure to thaw, prep and wash the night before so that cooking was a breeze. This was key to maintaining a better mood and lower stress.
  • LARA bars = life savers.  Cherry pie and lemon bar are my favorites.


  • I lost 9 lbs. While this is great, it is only slightly more than half of what I need to lose to wear my favorite clothes again, but I’ll take it.
  • My pants and jeans that barely fit in December are not only able to be zipped up now, but look better because I am not bloated and puffy.  A flat tummy is so much nicer than a poochy one.
  • I am sleeping better.  While I never had “tiger blood” this time around, my energy level has been more consistent and mornings are not as tough after a restful night.
  • I am also not dragging in the afternoon.  With no need for an artificial sugar-boost toward the end of the work day, my kids have even noticed that I come home more energized and in a better mood.  (Having dinner dinner planned also helped eliviate post-work day stress…see lessons above.)
  • I have not felt or been sick in 30 days.  No upset stomach, no hangovers, no gurgling digestion issues, nada.  After months of indegestion, headaches, and general malaise, this is HUGE.

I took a more thoughtful approach to rewarding myself as well.  At 10 days, bought myself a new tube of lipstick. At 15 days, I took myself to the movies.  At 20 days, I got a manicure and pedicure.  At 29 days, I took a 45-minute long bubble bath. I had these ideas planned out in advance and I looked forward to them the way I usually to look forward to birthday cake at a party, although in truth, I still look foward for birthday cake.

I missed cheese most of all, so on day 31, I reintroduced some sugar-free dairy by adding a little goat cheese to my grilled chicken, but otherwise I had a regular Whole30 kinda day.  (I had learned from previous Whole30s that when I eat dairy combined with sugar, it is BAD.  The first time I had ice cream, I thought I was having a heart attack.)  I did not notice any significant side effects from the cheese aside from a little tummy rumbling. And it was worth it.  I will try a few more varieties of cheese and milk, before testing legumes and grains next.  And there might be wine.

Ok, there will be wine.

If you are curious about trying Whole30, I say go for it.  There is no real downside.  You won’t go hungry, there is no special powder you have to buy, no appliance you need to mix up your food, no contract you have to sign, and no points or calories you have to track.

Yes, 30 days of denying yourself some of your favorite foods is not fun, but on the other side, you might learn a bunch about your body and your self.

And you might get back into those skinny jeans.






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Obsessed with RV life

Two places on the inter-web have been my obsession this week.

Full Time Families (FTF): This resources is for those who are curious about family life on the road or have already make RV living a reality. The Facebook page for the group has tons of information about the practical realities of RVing with kiddos and the membership is very active.

Rand McNally’s Trip Maker – Don’t get me wrong; I am a card-carrying member of the AAA, but this website is so user-friendly.  I was able to plot up to 25 cities on the travel plan, get mileage, estimated driving time and gas costs and even poke around for other stops in the area that might be interesting.   I have already designed 4 (more) iterations of our trip.

In addition, I have bulked up my Pinterest page with lots more content about RV renovations, stuff to do with kids in cities I think we’ll eventually visit, tips for how to handle life on the road, and more.


The biggest “ah-ha” moment for me is how many people seem to be considering this every day? ! There are 5 or 10 new members of the FTF FB group page every time I log on and I am finding tons of blogs from couples with children of all ages who are already on the road.

While I have NO idea when we’ll do this, it is motivating to see others get going.  Are you on the road?  How long did it take you from idea to launch?  Any words of wisdom for me?

Posted in Kids, RV, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Back to School and the Ugly Cry

A friend with a 5-year old just shared a great piece with me from the Huffington Post; it is an open letter to the moms of soon-to-be Kindergartners. And now, as I sit here on the couch nearly five years after my first Kindergarten drop-off, and only a few weeks before my 10 year old Vader starts his last year of elementary school, I just finished up a good, long, ugly cry.

It was probably not for the reasons you’d think.

Like many moms,  I was sad that this right of passage had crept up on us after years of daycare drop offs.  It seemed to me that with arrival of Kindergarten, he would be off to college in a blink.  I was blown away by how simultaneously big and small my son seemed.  He was a little shy and visibly nervous, but I had faith he was ready.  I put on my brave face and away we went together into this new chapter in his life where the teacher assured me it was all going to be OK.   I scooted out the door to my car to have a long, good, ugly cry.

Like many mom’s, I expected that tomorrow would be a little easier and the next day, easier still.

I was wrong.

I have shared in earlier posts about the train wreck that was Vader’s year of Kindergarten. By the end of his first full year of school, Vader hated school and begged us not to send him back.  We sought professional guidance and put Vader thought months of testing and evaluation over the following summer, and ultimately, he was diagnosed with ADHD.

There was nothing wrong with him. He just needed us to meet him where he was. And we have.  No school is perfect, but his current school is much better at working with Vader in a way that works for Vader.  Heck, he made A/B honor roll at the end of 4th grade!  He has friends at school!  He wants to go back!

Happy ending, yes?!?

So what am I crying about?

I cry because I mourn for my son and his Kindergarten experience. There were so many fights.  Tons of crying.  Pleading.  Misery.  He was suffering and I was not able to protect him.

And it is possible it could happen again.

Like the mother in the Huffington post feature, I am still nervous for my son because even now, going into the fifth grade, I still worry.  Will he feel safe?  Will he feel smart?  Will he want to learn?  Will it all be OK?

Like these moms, I know I have to trust that I did everything I could to set my little one up for success, but I worry that it isn’t enough.

Because in Kindergarten, it wasn’t.

And now I am crying again.

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Insomnia is a tell-tale sign

I barely slept for the last two nights.

In between sending messages to my clients and business partners for my skin-care business, I read. I pinned.  I planned.  I tried to go to bed, but that didn’t work.

So then I read some more.  And pinned more.  I planned some more.  I need sleep, but my brain disagrees.

I learned about “boon-docking” and the websites that allow you to do that with other RV enthusiasts.

I read about converting old school buses into RVs.  And that those are called “Skoolies”. And you can convert coaches and city buses too.

I followed families on Facebook and Twitter who either completed journeys long ago and wrote books about it, or who are on the road now.

I thought about sleeping patterns, and how we’d get a space that everyone felt accommodated their needs (and did not force anyone to sleep next to Turtle, for fear of injury.)

I already changed the route.

Then I saw this…And then I changed it again.

I drafted a sample budget, determining what we might need to have in pocket, versus income coming (Thanks to Rodan + Fields) while on the road.  I tried to remember fixed expenses that we’d continue to have regardless of the trip like life insurance premiums and FL Prepaid payments.

At about 3:45 am both nights, I went upstairs, but only because I forgot to bring down the charger for my laptop and the battery was gone.

And then, I lay in bed and willed myself to sleep, albeit with visions of boys stomping through wooded national parks, starting wide-eyed at national monuments and playing with friends and family who live near and far across this great land.

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Let the planning commence.

For the past 3 years, I have been saying that at some point, I want to travel for an extended period of time with my husband and three sons.  A few months ago, I created a Pinterest Board.  When we took our 10 day summer vacation earlier this month, I mentally logged how the boys did in a variety of situations.

The daydream grew some legs today.  I took the first crack at planning the darn thing.

And this is what the 8 to 9 week trip looks like in its first draft.

  1. Jamestown, VA
  2. Washington D.C.
  3. New York, New York
  4. Boston, MA
  5. TBD, Maine
  6. Vernon, CT
  7. Philadelphia, PA
  8. Cincinnati, OH
  9. Chicago, IL
  10. Badlands National Park
  11. Mt. Rushmore National Memorial
  12. Yellowstone
  13. Seattle, WA
  14. Portland, OR
  15. Redwoods
  16. Pacific Coast highway
  17. San Francisco, CA
  18. Yosemite National Park
  19. Las Vegas, NV
  20. Albuquerque, NM
  21. Carlsbad Caverns, NM
  22. Dallas, TX
  23. Austin, TX
  24. New Orleans, LA
  25. Destin, FL
  26. Jacksonville, FL

I have nothing else for now.  I have no budget.  I have no idea which of these drives is a half day/ whole day/multi-day.  I am not sure if we’d rent or buy an RV, if we stay at camp sites or in hotels, or a combination of both.  I am not sure if there will be other cities added (Denver, Salt Lake and Los Angeles are the glaring ones I see missing at first blush.) I’d like to think we’d visit friends and family, but I am not sure who we’d see or where these folks will even be living by the time we take this trip.  And then there is the pesky part about WHEN WE take this trip.

But seeing it on a map, highlighted in that bright yellow/green color…even saying the names of the cities out loud or on the screen in this blog post makes it seem more real than ever before.

I am on the lookout for other travel bloggers who have some similar trips.  Have any advice? Know anyone that has done this? Any experiences you can share? Love to have your input.

Let the planning commence fun begin!

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It’s my Rodanniversary! I’ve got “thank you” freebies!

Freebie time!!

As I mentioned in my three-year update, I am celebrating!  While I have occasionally done a contest to win a sample of Rodan + Fields products in the past, this deserves something much bigger.  I have never done anything like this before.  Here is the scoop:

For all of my past and present clients, comment below (or on the Facebook post) about what you love about R+F t to win one of SIX prizes: either a free pack of Redefine eye cloths or a pair of the amazing Acute Care strips. The eye cloths minimize the appearance of lines, wrinkles and under-eye puffiness while dissolving stubborn eye makeup, even mascara. The Acute Care uses state-of-the-art technology to deliver anti-aging goodies to erase expression lines in your sleep!

Not already an R+F client? Be one of the first 3 people to post “Happy Rodanny!” and I will send you a FREE mini-facial. Aw heck, even if you are not one of the first 3 posters, I will draw for an additional 3 winners!  This little package of joy will give you a taste of the skin care products that have helped me grow my business into the successful operation that it is today.

THE BIG PRIZE! One lucky commenter is going to win the AMP MD Roller and Night Serums!! With continued use, AMP MD System is clinically proven to help skin appear firmer and make lines and wrinkles less noticeable!

I am so grateful for the support of friends, colleagues and family and I am thrilled to share nearly $400 in Rodan + Fields products with a few lucky folks.  I will do the drawings on Sunday, July 19th, around 8 pm EST! Be sure to include your name, if you comment on the blog post!

Rodanniversary3So happy!

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Three years. Two businesses. The update

In January 2012, a group of strangers gathered around me to form my team for a local business building competition.  Fifty-four hours later, this same team emerged victorious. We had won the first-ever Jacksonville Start Up Weekend at the University of North Florida, developing a company concept called “The Pinstitute”, a business which monetized projects on Pinterest.  For the first half of that year, the work of turning “Team Pinstitute” into a real company, later renamed Mystikit, had become my extracurricular obsession.  Every minute not at work or with my boys, was around a conference table at CoWork or on my laptop at home, trying to launch a start up.


Cover of Access Magazine, a section of 904 Magazine, 2013.

And then I had coffee with a friend.

I learned about her decision to start her own business.  She had begun selling a new (to me) anti-aging skin care line developed by Kathy Fields and Katie Rodan, the same two dermatologists who developed Proactiv.  The company was attracting clients all around the US using a newly launched web-based business model, having already succeeded in retail (in places like Bloomingdales, Niemans and even Nordstrom, where it was a #1 clinical brand by 2007.) Consultants like my friend promoted the products and processed orders, while the headquarters handled inventory and took care of shipments direct to the clients.

ACpressShe was running this business around her own full-time job, activities with her husband and two small children, and her many fitness and faith obligations.  She did not host monthly meetings or parties.   She did not have to drive around  town delivering her orders.    She had the full backing of the company with a money back guarantee on all sales, and was growing her business leveraging little pockets of time in her day.  Three months in, she was killing it.

I compared the two businesses.  MystiKit was a huge challenge and an adrenaline rush to work on.  It was time consuming, untested, expensive and all-new, but it was so very exciting and I believed it could be a huge success.   Rodan + Fields was a business that I could do while I was sitting in my car at red lights, waiting for my kids at soccer, or sitting in bed, drinking tea at 9 pm at night…and make money immediately.  The products were terrific and I had an out, if I needed it. (60-day money back guarantee on new consultant kits.)

I wanted to do both.

I realized I could do both.

I should do both.

I would do both.


Three years later, when most studies say that more than one-third of all new businesses will have failed, I am happy to report that both businesses are still alive and well, albeit they don’t look like I thought they would.

MystiKit still operates today under the leadership of my co-founder, Felix Frayman.  I left my post as CEO after more than 2 years, realizing that the only way for this idea to achieve maximum success was to have a full-time CEO.  The decision to step down and let Felix take over was not an easy one, but it was the right one.    I was not interested in leaving my full time job to run our business full time.  That was that.

The 2+ years I spent as the CEO of a true startup are invaluable to me.  Learning first hand about what it takes to get a new company off the ground from scratch, about how to raise external funding, how to take a concept from idea to reality, and to recruit top talent in a competitive market was like earning a second, and much more real, MBA.

My Rodan + Fields business is a whole other story.  After nearly 3 years, I have been privileged to serve more than 100 clients around the US and work with dozens of women (and even a couple of men) on starting their own companies.  And while this business is my own, I am not saddled with any of the significant overhead costs or administrative headaches that a “from scratch” business bears on its back.


HH and me hanging with two more seasoned co-founders, Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, November 2014.

The time I spend on my business is minor, compared to the personal, professional and financial rewards I have gleaned from it. What I thought would be a way to pay for the car payment or fund Christmas each year has far surpassed my expectations.  Not only has the income been a boon for our family (more on that in a sec), but I have honed my coaching skills, strengthened my time management abilities, and thickened my skin. (I came into this business having harbored a few negative preconceptions about direct selling and I get that a lot of people do as well.) I have new friends and business partners all over the US and have learned from watching this company deal with its own “start-up” lessons due to unprecedented growth.

As for the profits, my R+F business has been in the black since October of 2012.  Even better, it has been our family’s second largest source of monthly income.  And the travel?!? Free trips to Napa Valley (April 2014), Nashville (September 2014) and San Francisco (November 2014 and the first kid-free vacation for me and HH since 2007!!) Now, I am on track to earn a trip to Mexico in the Spring of 2016.

I look back at my decision and I am still amazed I took the leap.  With a full time job, three kids, AND another company to run, the least of my worries didn’t even seem to be that I had no knowledge of skin care. (I am embarrassed to admit I washed my face with a bar of yellow soap and I had the red, uneven skin to prove it.)

But I did it anyway.  I jumped into a multi -billion dollar industry with what is now the 4th largest US skincare company. I have learned from amazing people, changed people’s skin, and helped others grow their own businesses.  I am a better person for having taken this risk and it is only just getting started.

I’m always looking for smart, busy, and driven folks.  It doesn’t matter if you live in Miami or Maine, New Mexico or Newfoundland (yes, we are in Canada), if you want to give it a go, we should be talking over a cup of coffee or connecting via cell while you are in the car running around in your own busy life.

Who knows where we’ll both be three years from now.




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Whole30: I did it!!


Thirty days! I made it 30 days!  I can barely believe it.

Whole30 means that for 30 days, you live on a diet of clean meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices, coffee, tea, cold-pressed oils and/or animal fats…and nothing else. It is a lifestyle/eating plan meant to reset your system and allow you to determine, in your post-Whole30 efforts, what foods are working with your body and which ones are better left out of your diet.   You do not weigh yourself, take supplements, count calories or fat, or anything complicated.  Just eat these foods when you are hungry.

This was my second full Whole30.  In the summer of 2013, I did a Whole30 and when I was finished, I concluded that it was the hardest thing I have ever done for myself.  And it was also the best I had ever felt as an adult.  I felt invincible.

After you finish with Whole30, you are supposed to do a reintroduction phase where you bring back one food group at a time and see how it makes you feel.

Well…I did not do that back in 2013. Nope.  Instead, I promptly popped open a bottle of bubbly, drank it and then ate everything in sight for 24 hours. (In my defense, I ended my first Whole30 on the same day as my Dad’s memorial service.) Needless to say, I quickly transitioned from the “best-I-have-ever-felt” to the “worst-I-have-ever-felt”.

Now that I am finished with this round, and have successfully navigated New Year’s Eve, several work parties, a birthday party, and all of the days in between without sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, processed foods, alcohol, soy, or artificial anything, I do not want to screw it up again. But before I go charging the into my future all hyped up on good intentions, let me recap my results.

  • I lost NINE POUNDS, which is especially good since I gained 12 lbs over the course of 2014, whilst steadily enjoying ingesting spiraling-out-of-control-on a diet of goody bag treats, holiday candy, takeout pizza, French fries and other junk food.


  • I lost 12.5 inches from my bust, waist, hips and thighs. The biggest drop was across my bust (of course) which dropped from 37” to 35”, but the change that makes me the most happy is my waist where I went from 29½ ” to 27¾”. I can definitely feel it when I get dressed. In fact, I pulled out and tried on two formal gowns that I was unable to wear to my Rodan + Fields convention in September.  Before, I could not get the zipper past my waist.  Now, they zip up all the way!!
  • My hair has stopped falling out. Last year, I was in denial that the amount of hair that I held in my hand at the end of a shower. I kept telling myself it was stress related and as soon as ______ happened, it would change. Now, it has completely stopped falling out, proving that my diet was the primary culprit.
  • I embraced cooking. On my last Whole30, I relied on a short list of go-to recipes and I ate them over and over again. This time around, I cooked more and tried to be  inventive. I bought 3 new cookbooks (my favorite is this one), joined Facebook Whole30 support groups and followed a few Pinterest recipe boards. I made compliant versions of Outback’s Blooming Onion, homemade mayo, bone broth, Brussels sprouts, chicken nuggets, fried plantains and plenty of other new recipes. I also made sure to prep a few days out and to have options in the fridge, leveraging leftovers when possible.


The one big downer was that I did not slay the “sugar dragon”, although I proved that with enough motivation, I could ignore him for a while. I readily admit that I want a Reese’s Cup as much now as I did on Day 1. I am not sure when or where I will cave (who I am kidding…it’ll probably be tomorrow), but I do know that I will likely stop at one. I do not want to undo all of the goodwill I have shown my body. I feel like this time around, I will be able to choose small indulgences on rare occasions without falling into the viscous downward spiral of 2014.

As for the rest of my diet, I am going to try to do re-entry the right way. I will be starting with dairy. I miss cheese. I mean I reaaaaaaaally missed it – I dreamt about it 8 or 9 times over the last 30 days.   I will try to start with one kind of cheese and then experiment each day with something else new. AND, I need to stick with good food, whether it is cheese, or yogurt or anything that has been on the no-fly list for the last 30 days. Whole30 (and the incessant label reading that you have to do to comply with the program,) teaches you that real food is the way to go. It you cannot spell or pronounce the name of an ingredient, it is likely not real food. You should take a pass.

Tomorrow, aside from the real feta I plan to add to my Greek salad (and maybe a Reese’s Cup), my food will look very similar to the things I have been enjoying these last several weeks.  And that is just fine with me.

If you want to know more about Whole30*, check out the book that started it all, “It Starts With Food.” If you want a step-by-step guide, preregister for the soon-to-be-released Whole30 Guide.

Let me know if you want to jump in.  It is not easy to do, but it is SOOO worth it, and I would love to support you in your journey.


*The products here are placed in an Amazon store I created for my blog.

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