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Love to Learn

Some may find this statement a little crazy, but I’m going to make it anyway. I love to learn! I love just about every action related to learning: taking notes (and yes, I sometimes color code them); listening to an engaging teacher; discovering something new; experiencing higher level thinking, and most of all, reading. As a retired English teacher—none of that should be overly surprising.

Of course, I spent a great deal of my life learning about literature—I personally love the classics—grammar, writing, speaking. Yet, as I encountered new students in my classes who had so much to teach me, I realized how much I could learn from them. I learned about the latest fashion trends, the best musicians, scary movies, fast cars, a variety of animals and reptiles, urban legends, and so much more. I’ve come to realize that my students shared so many wonderful things about the world in which we live, and I loved learning from them.

Even though I am not in the traditional classroom anymore, I am carrying on those amazing learning experiences. I still love to read, and occasionally even watch videos, about animals, reptiles, cars, and especially scary movies. The past few days I’ve been learning virtually through the Avon Convention: so many fascinating things about skincare, fragrance creation, and marketing. I’ve found myself taking notes (flashback to college days), researching more about specific topics, and watching videos from outside experts. Call me crazy, but I have loved every minute of it.

While society tends to put emphasis on physical exercise, (definitely nothing wrong with a balanced diet and some physical activity) the most important organ often gets overlooked. Just as important as doing our leg lifts, walking each day, and eating fruits and vegetables, is the need to exercise our brains. Whether it be a creative hobby, playing an instrument, reading, researching, taking a gardening class; make sure to take time to work out that gray matter in between your ears. No matter your age, you are never too old to learn—you just might love it!

Should you require ideas on what you can learn, feel free to contact me. I’ve collected a large list of fascinating topics from my past students I’d be happy to share.

Three Steps to Fighting Humidity Frizz!

If you live in a section of this world that has high humidity, then you can relate to the never ending fight with humidity frizz. For those who live in Ohio like me, especially southwestern Ohio, you know that our weather can literally change from one hour to the next. Summer, especially August, almost always brings ridiculously high percentages of humidity. For instance, today, we have 83% which is absolutely miserable. Even being poolside can still be uncomfortable.

If you have curly hair, humidity is a nightmare. Even folks with straight hair face the frizz where I live. It has taken me years to find a product to combat the frizzies—even trips to the salon didn’t yield anything to help. Three years ago, I discovered CHI® Essentials Repairing Serum through Avon—Game Changer! I was watching training videos on the new Chi line and discovered a professional stylist explaining how the serum could help with humidity. It only took me a few seconds to add it to my shopping cart, and I’ve kept it in stock every since! Not only does it cut down the frizz, but it also nourishes and moisturizes my hair. Right after gently towel drying, I add a quarter sized amount of serum to my palm and run it through my hair with my fingers. Did I mention that it also cuts through the tangles as well?! It does—my long, curly hair which can get tangled easily overnight is so easy to comb out after applying the CHI® Essentials Repairing Serum. (Check out my Product Page for more details and the ingredient list).

Just recently, Avon added a new line of shampoo and conditioners: Elastine Botanicals. Choose from Avocado & Qunioa, Rosemary & Sea Salt, or Cherry Blossom & Hyaluronic Acid. All are terrific, but the Avocado and Quinoa blend is specifically designed to target—you guessed it–frizz! Once again, both the shampoo and conditioner found themselves in my shopping cart lightning fast! Finally, I’ve found some great products at super prices to help me survive the crazy humidity and sultry summers we have here in southwest Ohio. No matter where you live, if you deal with high humidity and the dreaded frizzies, I’d recommend checking out these products. (Check out my Product Page for more about the Elastine Botanical shampoos).

So, what are the three steps? They are pretty simple—here they are:

Step 1. Wash with the new Avon Elastine Botanicals Avocado & Quinoa Shampoo. (Because I have long, thick hair, I wash it twice every day).

Step 2. Condition after shampooing with Avon Elastine Botanicals Avocado & Quinoa Conditioner.

Step 3. Right before styling, smooth CHI® Essentials Repairing Serum in to your hair before styling. I usually add a quarter sized amount to my palm and comb it through with my fingers. Super easy!!

Keep It Super Simple

Life can be incredibly cluttered and complex. Whether you are a young student in college or a couple in your golden years, you are likely to face overwhelm at some point. Working on the hope that the complexity in your life is not due to a life altering tragedy, but rather the typical day to day life challenges, I’d like to share one of my most important life principles: K.I.S.S. The acronym is often presented in a variety of ways: “Keep It Simple Sweetie,” (Sorry, I don’t know you well enough to call you “sweetie”), “Keep It Simple Stupid (That one is reserved only for my husband—LOL), or in the most polite version-“Keep it Super Simple.”

I get it—some times, you just can’t. When your schedule is packed as a result of outside commitments that you do not control, such as your son’s soccer practice, getting stuck in a huge traffic jam, having to work late—it’s often hard to follow this creed. Yet, when you can—even if it’s late at night after everyone has fallen off to sleep—choose simple. Put away the technology; forget about what you have to do tomorrow at work; turn off the television; just stop. Breathe. Listen to the silence (you really can do this). Go outside if you are able and just gather in the sounds of nature at night. Give your mind and your body time to just exist, quietly, peacefully, simply.

When you can control your schedule, avoid the trap of continuing to live in that fast-paced hectic spinning wheel. Stop the ride. As a family, take time to breathe and just exist simply together, even if it’s only for half an hour. This simple time can do so much to regenerate and reconnect you all together. Just like in your alone time above, turn off technology, the television, and all negative conversations. Sit and just be together. It’s totally fine if the kids want to do something simple like draw or read. You can do the same—work on a hobby, but do it together, in the same room, without any other distractions. You can even talk together, but avoid upsetting topics—this time should focus only on the good. You will begin to find that the stillness, the peace, and the quiet can bring so much balance and focus to everyone in your family if you stick together in continuing and growing this routine as often as you can.

As for me, well–as soon as I finish typing this blog—I’m going to tune out of all my “To Do” broadcasts, and tune in to just being. Quiet. Peaceful. Simple.

K.I.S.S.

Press Pause on Negativity

When I first started teaching, I LOVED it! I never missed a day, and I spent just about every day in the summers taking classes and planning for the upcoming year. Come August, I couldn’t wait to get back into the classroom—even though the ambient temperature ranged from 90-105 from August to late September. That was my life for the first 20 years of my career. While I didn’t exactly plan on retiring right when I hit 30 years, life had a different idea. Honestly, although not what I had been planning, education had changed so much—it wasn’t too difficult to pack up those boxes (even though it came in March instead of the end of May due to the massive quarantines of 2020).

Sorry, this post isn’t about my retirement or all the weirdness surrounding it. It’s about the fact that I really wasn’t in love with my career anymore. The kids were always THE number one reason I chose to teach, but with politics and governmental policies and controls, my hands and feet were tied. I looked like one of those poor calves with all four legs tied up at a rodeo. I loved helping kids, but suddenly, I could do very little to reach them anymore. The happiness and excitement I felt almost every day for the first 20 years was long gone. Retiring didn’t mean I was giving up on life and going to sit home eating bon bons—that is so not me. It meant it was time for me to find something else to do that made me happy again.

While I’m not a top leader with Avon (no President’s Club)—YET! I’m learning more and more every day about business, marketing, networking, being more social (whooo boy that is tough sometimes), and so much more. I love what I’m doing, because I am growing and learning, branching out into a whole new world. You would think every one would be happy for me, right? After so much time dedicated to teaching, I have been blessed with the opportunity to seek a new path that makes me incredibly happy. Sadly, it seems like every so often, someone has to throw that, “Aren’t you going to find a REAL job?” attitude at me. It comes in many forms and many comments, and sometimes, it’s comments thrown not at me, but at those closest to me.

The young girl who started teaching at age 21 would have shriveled under such negativity, but in the past thirty years, I’ve developed a much thicker veneer. For those who may look at I what I am doing as not a real job, not one has ever asked me what it’s like. How do you run a small business as an Independent Representative? What all goes into it? (I’ll answer those questions and more in a future post). The problem is that there are those who think if you don’t get up at the crow of the rooster and drag yourself into a hot, dusty classroom or a stuffy cubicle, then you don’t have a real job. So NOT TRUE!

If it’s one thing that I intend to do, it is to prove those people wrong. That negativity and snarkiness just makes me more determined to make this adventure successful. It pushes me to work harder, learn more, and strive to reach the President’s Club as soon as I can. If you’re facing this kind of negativity in what you are doing, I encourage you to channel that into determination. Hold your head high. Square back your shoulders. Dig in your heels and push forward. Are you happy with what you are doing? Do you enjoy working from home? Do you enjoy learning and growing in new ways? If you answered yes to these questions, you have all you need. Those “yes” answers are strong enough to help you push all that negativity aside. Don’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of your dreams. I know I’m not!

A Little Spa Goes A Long Way

I confess—while I love a candlelit bubble bath, dreamy bath oils, and luxurious body lotions, I’m not likely to be found at a spa. I’m a little to much of an introvert for a social, personal care experience, but I love being able to do spa-like treatments at home! Even something as simple as a facial skin care routine can brighten my spirits. Honestly, I don’t always do my routine every day and night. I think our skin needs to just breathe naturally once every few days. Yet, I do love the feeling of a light yet fresh cleanser followed up with a stimulating toner and then finishing with a lighter than air serum, eye treatment and night lotions.

For me, I want products that are light, have a natural herbal or floral scent that aren’t overpowering or migraine-inducing, and make my skin feel toned and look glowing. Washing away the make-up, dirt and impurities from the day seem to wash away all the stresses as well. I truly believe that simple things can go a long way in making us feel better, at least it works for me. If you don’t have a simple facial skin care routine, give it a try. It doesn’t have to be complex or take hours; it just needs to make you feel better about you and the world around you.

Customers

I started with my sister, my mother, and three good friends who made occasional purchases. There’s a lot of comfort in that group, especially for someone like me. I’m sometimes a little shy. The idea of just talking to a complete stranger while standing in line at the grocery store was way out of my comfort zone. Instead, I chose to begin with posts on neighborhood apps and on Facebook groups. The response was so much more than I imagined. In one month, five new ladies have placed orders. Additionally, eight more have requested catalogs. I never dreamed that my business could grow this way.

It might seem small, but it’s a start! The best part of all this is not the sales, it’s the new friends I have discovered. I have had the pleasure of meeting five of the kindest ladies who are always a joy to talk to and to visit. I always thought my aunt’s collection of Avon bottles was wonderful, but I’m learning that collecting new friends is even more terrific!

My Why

Pretty simple—I love Avon. Always have. When I was young, my aunt was a representative. I loved visiting her and was fascinated by the shelves in the basement lined with all of the cologne bottles my uncle collected: cars, trains, cowboys. In the guest bedroom, there were shelves lined with her perfume bottles: girls in long dresses, kittens, and Christmas ornaments. My favorite part was the drawer full of lipstick samples, those tiny gems of which I was able to pick a few every visit. Naturally, my mother made regular purchases of Avon products for many years. While I tried other products and some pricey lines of cosmetics and perfumes over the years, I still purchased Avon whenever I came across a catalog.

A few years ago, after not being able to find Avon for many years, I decided to join as an Independent Representative. I could order when I needed and get a nice little discount, plus my sister and mother still liked to order as well. Fast forward to 2020, the year of upheaval for so many of us! I retired from teaching and was then thrust into a tumultuous family circumstance which required some difficult decisions. I put Avon aside as I worked to get through this time. Thankfully, after a few months, life began to improve, but it wasn’t until June 2021 that Avon came knocking.

Literally, Avon found me again. I hadn’t placed an order in months and honestly thought my account had been closed, but then a brand new customer contacted me. When I tried to access my account to place her order, I learned that as a result of the difficulties faced during Corona, Avon had not canceled any accounts. Isn’t it amazing how little blessings seem to find us when we need them most? In a little over a month, I suddenly had more customers than just my family and I, enough to make me realize that this was a rare unexpected gift. It wasn’t that I was bored in retirement—I have many interests and hobbies that keep me very busy. However, with a now empty nest—our youngest was off to college—and with missing some of the things I used to do as a teacher, the idea of making Avon into an actual business and not just a once in a while hobby, became an exciting new bright spot in my life.

Long explanation for a simple why, I suppose. Or maybe it’s because I just love talking about Avon and how it has always been a positive in my life. Regardless, why I do this, why I am now working to build my Avon business, is because I truly love it. I love the company, the products, the customers, the planning, the creating, and the learning. It feels amazing to be doing something that I love so much, to work from home, and still have time for my hobbies, my family, and my fur babies!