Celebrating Small Business with The UPS Store #SmallBizSalute #CollectiveBias #giveaway

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SmallBizSalute #CollectiveBias


At a conference I was at recently one of the speakers asked us to define where were from. To some, it was defined by where we were born. Others referenced a “hometown” location and to some it was the city they currently live in.  Our speaker gave us a new perspective when she asked us “Where do the shopkeepers know your name?”  That’s how you know, where you are really from she said.


When I think of shopkeepers, I think of local businesses. I think of people of the community serving with dillegence to make the city great. People with  heart and an entrepreneurial spirit. That fresh perspective from our speaker couldn’t have come upon the heels of a better time. I returned home to Austin with a fresh invitation from The UPS Store inviting my husband to network and to get to know more small businesses in our area. The event would help celebrate National Small Business Week and all the hard working small businesses around the country.

The UPS Store #SmallBizSalute

The UPS Store does a great job of supporting small business owners in their endeavors. I believe they are able to do this so effectively because The UPS Store locations are locally owned and operated themselves. The stores are not only run by small business owners, but are there to support local startups, entrepreneurs and other small businesses, help solve their problems and connect with their peers.

The UPS Store Chi'lantro

As small business owners ourselves for many years, we identified with the success and struggles mentioned that night. Jae Kim, local business owner of Chi’Lantro BBQ, spoke to us sharing his story of growing his business from the ground up. The late nights and early mornings he talked about made my husband and I exchange knowing glances, remembering what it like. I can only describe it like becoming new parents again. Everything you do is centered around making your business a success because as a small business owner the health of your business really is dependent upon your dedication and commitment to it.

Avocado Bar

I was so impressed with the event that evening. In addition to networking with other amazing business owners over drinks and an amazing avocado bar, we also heard from representatives from other organizations who provide growth opportunities for small businesses. SCORE, a non-profit organization offers free Small Business Counseling and Resources, low-cost Business Workshops, and special customized services. They know the time of most small business owners is in high demand so there are even online workshops available. The U.S. Small Business Association also spoke to us and offered an open door to all the benefits they provide.

I speak from experience when I say, growing a small business can be one of the toughest most rewarding jobs that exists (outside of parenting, of course). Having these organisations brought together by The UPS Store to share their support and encouragement was so uplifting. It takes drive, resilience, and courage to start and maintain small business success. Hats off to all the small business owners out there- We salute you!!

How often do you shop local? Do the shopkeepers near you know your name? Do you know theirs? I encourage you you to visit a small business near you this week and get to know them. I’m sure if you asked they would have some interesting stories to share about why they choose to start their business. Take the time- I’m sure you wont regret it!

The UPS Store

To help spread the love and celebrate the love of small businesses, we are hosting a giveaway!! We are giving away 4 ($25) GC to The UPS Store. There will be 4 winners total. Open to US residents. Giveaway will end 5/18 at midnight.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let’s Have a Disney Side Party ! #DisneySide 2015

(I was sent a #DisneySide at home celebration kit to host our party. all experience and opinions are 100% my own. Get tips for creating your own Disney Side celebration at www.disneysidecelebrations.com)

Disney. It really IS just pure magic, isn’t it? I don’t just mean Disney World, Disneyland, or Cinderella’s castle. It supersedes a geographic location. The magic of Disney comes alive anywhere and anytime you mention it. Even those who have never visited a Disney park understand the magic. Maybe it was a movie, a toy, or even a song that inspired you to fall in love with Disney. No matter your age, gender, color, or country – the magic of Disney & the love of mouse ears are universal.

our Disney side party 2015

A few weeks ago we shared that we were selected as hosts for a multigenerational Disney Side at home celebration. We received a box full of Disney goodies from the Disney Parks team to share with our guests. Our littles did and unboxing video ( check it out here) to share what was inside- boy, were they excited! We’ve talked often about how much we love our neighbors on the street. So, it just seemed logical that we would invite everyone into our Disney Side Party to share our communal love of Disney.Disney Side snacksMid-morning, we set up in the driveway for treats and games. It wasn’t long before everyone had come to join in the fun. The kids asked if they could dress in costume- YES please! We had a Merida, a tinkerbell, and some “heros”. Every story needs a hero, right.

Kids and adults created Disney chalk drawings ( which totally brought to mind the chalk paintings Bert did in Mary Poppins)

disneyside chalk

disneyside chalk 2

We had fun playing “Put the smile Mickey”

mickey CollageWhile the kids played Disney Bingo, the grownup party guests also had a fun time reminiscing about trips to the Disney parks and sharing tips for future trips.

Disney Side party games

We didn’t limit the Disney fun to just those on the invite list. The BEST thing about doing our party outside was the neighbors who were just out for a walk stopped to join the fun. The kids would ask them a Disney trivia question and offer them a prize too. Everyone has a little Disney magic in them!

princess polish

As our party guests began to tire from all the fun and afternoon naps approached, we sent them off with plenty of activities and games to continue the fun at home. In true Disney fashion, we exceeded their expectations and went a step further. Our Disney princess guests took home some favors of mini-manicure polish and EVERYONE had plenty of fun things in their family goody bags.

A wonderful time was had by all. I think Brother Bear summed up our day best with this line: “Telling stories and laughing with friends: precious moments you’ll never forget.”

Even though our Disney Side party is over, come play along with us! Show us YOUR #DisneySide in the comments below: What’s your favorite quote from a Disney movie?

Munster Mansion Home Tour

munster mansion home tour 2014When Alice shoots me a message and asks if I’d like a tour…a private tour…of the Munster Mansion, I was ALL over it!!!  Those of us in the Waxahachie area have all come to a slow crawl trying to sneak a peek down memory lane at the fantastic replica.  But the inside…to get to see INSIDE…

Let’s just say it did NOT disappoint!!!  Our host  was so gracious and down to earth, giving us the low down on their whole journey.  My boys were in heaven…As the front door opened and who greets us? Spot Munster Mansion

Yep…Spot…a glowing green-eyed, smoke-billowing, roaring dragon.  Sheer awesomeness.

Because the original Munster Home was a set, the home owner and her husband made their own blueprints of the house by studying all…and I mean all of the episodes.  She would watch how many steps it took to get from one point to another and base her measurements on those steps.  She is constantly searching for EXACT pieces…even finding the exact stove on Craig’s list.  It’s like the ultimate scavenger hunt.  SERIOUS Munster fans may pick up on one or two discrepancies…like one place where the wallpaper should look torn (she knows, she knows…she’s getting to it…), but usually the fans are a huge help and study the shows, zoom in on frames and help her get just the right thing.

herman Munster Mansion

The tour was truly a blast…the rotating suit of armor, secret passages, the dungeon, etc.  Our favorite was Eddie’s room…the crocodile cage, a huge rat trap, and Spot’s GINORMOUS collar dangling next to Eddie’s velvet short set (which was donated to them by a man who said his mother made it for his Halloween costume when he was a child).

Eddies Room Munster Mansion

My boys started chuckling at one point, pointing to the fireplace in the living room.  They said Eddie likes to throw logs on the fireplace and hide behind the sofa pounding out dust when he’s upset. They immediately pictured the episode because the set up was so accurate.

Speaking of accuracy…the biggest compliment she’s ever received was from one of the former cast members (I can’t remember if it was Grandpa or Eddie!!).  She said he walked through the door and got tears in his eyes because their incredible attention to detail flooded him with memories.

Grandpa Munster Mansion

She’s had at least 3 of the cast members out to the house…Grandpa, Eddie and Marilyn.  In fact, Marilyn (Pat Priest) is coming this weekend!  She’s the “homely” one ;). She’ll be signing autographs at their annual tour event. Munster Mansion event 2014

The tour is a must see…$20 per person, $12 for children under 12.  They have buses that run from a nearby school so you don’t have to park on the busy street.  They will have all SORTS of fun stuff on the grounds…fire breathers, balloon twisters, carnival games, a ferris wheel….they have a movie room with the shows running, roasted corn, hot dogs…comic memorabilia…and her hubby fires up the coach every 20 minutes or so!!!  GOOD STUFF!!!

Munster Mansion Mobile

This should be a fun event for the whole family!!!  Make sure you head to Waxahachie this weekend (Oct. 24 & 25, 7pm-midnight) for their annual tour and costume party charity event…park at Finley Jr. High. 2401 Brown St (1313 Mockingbird Lane won’t get ya there…they tried!!).  I’d recommend getting there by 7…the line can get long!!
For more info, please visit MunsterMansion.com

I know you’ll have a blast!!  We sure did!!

Karen Scott

Karen Scott


 Karen is a Licensed Dyslexia Therapist turned stay-at-home mom/homeschool mom/chicken lady/YL essential oil junkie who loves to see the world through rose colored glasses.  Even the worst of days can make for a stellar story, right?

George Strait : The Cowboy Rides Away

George Strait The Cowboy Rides Away“I was a young troubadour when I rode in on a song . I’ll be an old troubadour when I’m gone”

When I think about my childhood,  so many memories with my Dad are accompanied by a George Strait song playing in the background.  He was my father’s favorite country music artist. We would watch every CMA awards show together and a “Go George!” was shouted out with every nomination. Fast forward a few years and George Strait song even played during my father’s funeral. It just seemed to fit.

Several months ago, Randy and I heard that George Strait would end his music touring career with  “The Cowboy Rides Away”. The last show would be close by in Arlington, Texas. Filled with nostalgia, I simply had to go.  It was something I would have loved to experience with my dad.

George Strait : The Cowboy Rides Away

Both Randy & I had the presale ticket date & hour marked on our calendar but when the day came, the phone lines filled so quickly and the internet site went down. All  tickets sold out within minutes. By a matter of luck, we were able to get an amazing deal on floor seats a few days later. Forget that it would be months until the actual concert, we were beyond thrilled!

On the day of the show, we put on our boots and left early knowing parking and traffic would be crazy. We found our seats (amazingly close to the stage!) and text some of our friends who were also coming to the show to meet us. The best part of any awesome experience is sharing it with friends right?!George StraitThis concert  was by far one THE best shows we have ever been to. In addition to the awesomeness of George Strait, several other artists came to join the stage and sing  along side him as a tribute to hi music career. Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride, Jason Aldeen, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Faith Hill, and Kenny Chesney all made stage appearances to sing along with King George that night. There were so many big names, I’m afraid I’m missing someone.

George Strait CMAForget all those memories at home watching the CMA’s, with all the artists on stage it felt like we were AT the CMA’s. It was probably even better because they looked like they were enjoying playing music and singing, not simply performing. They were enjoying the evening as the evening as much as the crowd!

George Strait crowd

Speaking of the crowd, what a crowd it was! The AT& T stadium set a record-breaking attendance that night. The concert drew in 104,793 fans to the AT&T stadium( formerly known as Cowboy stadium). It was amazing to be a part of the evening!

It was kind of an emotional event for me as well. Part of me was unbelievably excited to be there and another part was sad that I didn’t get the opportunity to share it with my Dad who first introduced me to George’s music. He would have loved it.

Since we were on the floor and so close to the stage lots of couples were out in the aisle and next to the stage dancing. Randy and I followed suit. We danced and laughed. And then we danced to some more. It was really an incomparable experience . I mean, how many times in life do you get the opportunity to dance right next to George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Faith Hill while they sing and play for you live???!!  It made for one unforgettable evening and one memory that we will both talk about for the rest of our lives.

George sang “Troubadour” while a video of his music career played in the background. Everyone returned to the stage for an encore performance and then George addressed the crowd saying ““This has been such a special evening for me. Thank you for all the years of support.” After that, he threw his cowboy hat into the crowd, balloons and confetti fell from the ceiling as The Cowboy really did ride away.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Grand Prairie Celebrates its 25th Anniversary


 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Grand Prairie invites the public to join in celebrating 25 years of bringing the weird, odd and fun to the Metroplex.

Before school was out for summer, I was able to accompany our daughter on a super fun outing with her classmates to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in Grand Prairie, TX.  We had the BEST time experiencing all the unique exhibits in theOdditorium, not to mention our many photo ops in Louis Tussaud’s Palace of Wax ( read about the rest of our time here.) Seeing the building from the highway had always intrigued us and certainly made it an attraction we knew we wanted to visit.  We had a ton of stories to share after out initial visit but we knew we would have to bring the rest of out family back so they could get the full experience for themselves.

If your family was like us and has had Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Grand Prairie on your “Must see places to visit in DFW” list, you wont want to miss this perfect opportunity!

Ripley’s Grand Prairie will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Saturday, July 5th!!
There will be plenty of FREE events outside the attraction, including:
  • Games
  • Snacks
  • Face painting
  • Bounce houses
  • Prizes
People who want to enjoy the attractions – Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Grand Prairie Odditorium, Louis Tussaud’s Palace of Wax, Ripley’s Enchanted Mirror Maze and the Impossible LaseRace – will save $5 on the price of any combo ticket( July 5th 2014 only)

The all-day celebration begins when the doors open at 10 am.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Grand Prairie is located at 601 E. Palace Parkway.
For more information, visit ripleys.com/grandprairie