Positivity Journal

Every time something positive happens at work, I add it to my positivity journal.

What is this journal you ask?  This is something I learned during student teaching.  You keep track of the positive that happens to you everyday.  DO NOT skip a day, even if you don’t think there is anything positive that day, you have to write something.  For instance, maybe your hair looks really good that day, or your shoes are rocking.


Crochet & Business

In this wonderful world of business, one must know the product they are selling.  They must know how to market, price and sell it.

Many at-home, home start-ups, and handmade shops struggle with the pricing part of this equation and in failing in pricing, tend to fail in selling.  They have no problem knowing their product and how to market it.  Well, maybe a little struggle in the market, after all how can you market a product that you don’t know the price of.

Anyway, I found a great place that mentioned how prices came about in retail shops and though I need to model that more closely.  There is still leeway in the formula where you can control the price of your product, but it gives you a more formal, solid way of looking at prices.

What is this fantastic formula you may ask? well I’ll tell you.  The formula for pricing should look like this:

Cost of material + Labor = base/break even price

For instance, the yarn cost me $5.00 apiece and I used 2 balls of yarn.  it took me 4 hours to make and I charge $10/hr. Base Price would be: $50.  For a whole sale price, the price that you would get if you sold your items to a store for resail (not taking into account the 20-30% consignment shops would take of the product once it sold, that is another blog entirely), any way, wholesale price would be:

(material + Labor)X2

That would be (50)x2 or $100.  so for $100 the store could purchase what ever product cost me $50 to make.

Retail price, the price you are suppose to charge customers (but I never do as it seems expensive, but again if I were a shop like walmart and these were the costs associated with making the product, this is what the customer shopping at a retail shop would be spending to buy the item),

Wholesale x 2.  so the retail price of this product would be $200.

Most individuals that make homemade goods, never get close to charging retail price, although there are a few that are even higher than retail (maybe they include shipping, taxes, or other additional fees that are negotiated).  Whatever the reason, individuals never feel that their products are worth retail.  When you compare a shirt made by your own hands to a shirt you picked up at the store just on price yea there is a significant difference.  But there is also as significant difference in longevity, personalization, quality, etc..

I may not yet charge retail for the goods that I produce, but I at least have a grasp on how I should be pricing.  For me, that’s good enough for right now.

It has been way to long friends

One thing I am finding out, is that maybe I am not cut out for blogging.  I go too long before I update!

That being said, I am back today with an update on the crazy life of an insurance producer/freelance crocheter.

First, the insurance business is starting to pick up.  The 1/1/2016 renewals and quotes are starting to come through, which means most of my days are spent working the spreadsheet language.  I’m not going to lie, it had been a super long time since I had worked with excel.  Possibly even as far back as statistics in college or actually since they had their own program, as far back as high school.  DO NOT let anyone tell you it’s like riding a bike.  Sometimes when you forget that information, it’s just plain gone!  I had to relearn some of the formula components and really slow myself down from when I started using excel again.  But thanks to the help of: Microsoft Excel 2013 (part of the teach yourself visually complete) by Paul Mcfedries, I’m able to at least use formulas and functions required by my job.

What is my job?  Well, as the assistant to the broker, I work behind the scenes.  I send out the information she tells me to for quotes.   Then when we receive the renewals and/or quotes from carriers, I put together the comparison spreadsheet she uses in the presentation to the group.  I also work on the customer service aspects of the job: answering the phone; enrollment; termination; updating information that needs updated; general office duties.  Basically I am secretary and assistant and customer service rep in this little two person office.

How is the crochet business you ask?

It’s going well thank you 🙂

I’ve almost got the shirt finished for my Wyoming customer.  I plan on making lots of cotton wash/dish cloths for Christmas presents.  I figure what doesn’t sell, I can add to my friends and family presents.  I will also more than likely be making mittens.

That’s all for now folks! 🙂  Thanks for coming back to read, and please pass the word on!

WHAT?! A 5k?! Wait a minute what about vacation beginnings?

Well shoot, I haven’t finished blogging about vacation.

We left for vacation Thursday September 24th around 2pm.  It was a pretty decent time to leave as we were hoping to hit at least Springfield Ohio that evening.  What we didn’t account for, the time difference and when we would hit Indy.  We ended up getting to Indy during rush hour.  doh!  Probably not the smartest thing we have done.  We did make it to Springfield Ohio that night, saw a Quality Inn and decided to stay there for the night.  Also, not the best decision of the trip.  Apparently Quality does not mean getting what you pay for.  At least not at this one.  It appeared that the first floor level at one point, at least in the hallway, had water damage.  It reminded me of the hotel I stayed at in Anchorage, except Anchorage hotel apologized and had free breakfast/great price.

Anyway, we drove (and by we I mean the boyfriend) the rest of the way to Pennsylvania the next day.   We made it to our stopping point by 630, which was good because the buffet that the boyfriends friend wanted to take us to closed at 7!  The friend was waiting for us and would you believe he had my dream car! that’s right a mustang in the exact color that I’ve wanted.  He drove us to dutch way which reminds me of the Amish buffet around Arcola area, only better.  Anyway, thanks to the fast moves of the mustang (perfectly colored mustang) we made it in plenty of time to be seated and eat.  We ended up closing the place down actually.

Saturday September 26, we woke up super early! I’m talking we were up by 530 am.  Again, I think we fell victim to the time change again.  Anyway, we were able to have time to wake-up, take showers and talk for a little while before boyfriends friend met us to show us around.  We were in for some pretty A-mazing suprises!  First, we visited a farm toy store.  Yes, boyfriend collects toys.  No it isn’t creepy.  He’s actually very cute when he nerds out :).  Anyway, found some really cool toys there, some way super expensive (100 bucks for a little toy that looks like it would break within seconds!) and some super inexpensive ones $1 or less.  Of course I say toy, but really they are all collectibles and not meant to be played with.

After the toy store, we had to waste some time before the next stop opened.  We were not told what the next destination was yet, as his friend wanted to keep it secret.  In order to kill time, the friend took us to Target.  Yup, Target.

Wilbur Chocolate Factory.  This was the surprise being kept from the boyfriend and I.  Let me say that again, Wilbur Chocolate.  Why did I say it twice?  why did I bold it?  Well have you heard of Wilbur Chocolate?! I hadn’t, but after I tasted it, I forgot all about Hershey.  It became, Hershey who?! oh yea that’s the next town over right.

Wilbur Chocolate Factory makes this amazing chocolate called Wilbur buds.  You wouldn’t know it by the name, but they resemble Hershey Kisses.  There is a very good reason for that too, they were the inspiration for Hershey Kisses.  But just like in movies, the original is always better!

If you were to ask me in a fight against Wilbur vs. Hershey, who I would choose, I would definitely go with Wilbur.  They are smoother, richer and just all around better.

We also when to Knoebles (the k is not silent, is is k noebles.  like kanobles).  it’s an amusement park north of where we were staying.  Actually I yet again fell asleep on the ride…sorry boyfriend!!!  The parking and entrance to the amusement park is totally free.  You pay per ride you go on, which is not much.  We stayed the entire rest of the day, and all together three of us spent less than $60 that day.  We had fun on the bumper cars, Ferris wheel, ski lift, roller coaster (except boyfriend he gets roller coaster sick…he is getting old now…31 dundundun), i thought there was more rides, but maybe I’m wrong.  anyway, it was all fun!! I would highly recommend Knoebles.  It was originally owned and run by the knoeble family, however a few years ago, Hershey bought the park.  There was panic among locals and knoeble enthusiasts.  They believed that Hershey would start charging for parking and entrance (just like they do for their Hershey Park amusement park), however in order to keep the peace with locals, they kept it as is.  They have not made it another Hershey attraction.  Which is good, because it keeps its low key local appeal.

This is probably all I can type for now.  I know I’m leaving you hanging on Sunday and Monday and the 5k coming up this weekend that I hinted at in the headline.  I’ll be back in the next few days to update!!  Also, I’ll try and sneak in a few pictures from the trip.

Thank you for reading/liking/subscribing!!

VACATION! Pennsylvania/Indiana…the last day

Have you ever wondered if the hotels pay attention to your special requests that you make when booking a room?


But, to tell you about that keep in mind, I have to tell you about the last day of my trip first.  I know, that’s back word’s from how a person normally tells their story, but am I normal?  Wait don’t answer that.

We had just spent a very long day on the road Monday driving from Hershey Pennsylvania area to Auburn Indiana.  We went in to sign in and find where our room would be before we went to look for lunch.  I sent the boyfriend (:)) out to read the plates on the car, and the registration lady leans over the desk and whispers, next time you have a request like that call and verify it with us.  Everything got taken care of, but we just saw the request.

I have a puzzled look on my face, not really remember the request I made, or why I made one.  The lovely boyfriend came back inside we got our key and we headed up to the room.  As soon as I opened the door, I saw what the lady meant.  There were flower petals on the floor leading to the bed!

I, in my quest to see if they hotels really pay attention to the special requests, requested for a romantic room.  This is what I received.

IMG_1787 IMG_1788

Naturally, I smiled and was excited and had to bring a few home with me to remember.

Anyway, this is all I have time for today, stay tuned over the week to hear more adventures, including Knoebles adventures (amusement park), Hershey vs Wilbur chocolate arguments, and toy show extravaganza!


Moving, Licensed, and Vacation Oh my!

Our office officially moved!!!

It took about 3 complete days to seriously pack everything in a manner to which we would still be able to identify it later.  And it took a matter of slightly less than 2 hours to pack everything into the moving truck.  The hardest part was driving to the new location.

Let me explain that.  We had this ginormous plant in the office.  My boss said it was given to her after her parents passed.  Which means it has been growing for some 10 years.  Anyway, this thing is out of control huge, and it was my front seat passenger.  Every time we came up to a stop sign, I had to snake my hand around to find the absolute front, then squish it back so I could see out the right side.  And of course most of our turns were left hand turns, so I had to see if anyone was coming from the right.  Anyway, we made it through town and I managed to make it onto the interstate.  At this point, I should point out that I was the caboose.  The rear end.  The last in the line.  The moving truck went a max of 45 on the highway, not because that’s how fast my boss felt comfortable, but thats how fast the moving truck went.  No faster.  So here I am in the rear consciously not letting myself look in the rear view mirror, because I would rather not know when someone was going to smash into me for going so slow.  Anyway, we got about half way and IT STARTS POURING AND LIGHTNING!!

Perfect day to move as it turns out, I know.

So, we finally get to our new location, we all climb out of our various cars and head for inside.  We wait about 10 or 15 minutes for the storm to die down and the rain to subside before we move everything in.  In the mean time, the carpets are still in the midst of getting cleaned!

For a work day, it was exciting, unique, and I’d love to do it again :).

The unpacking has commenced, even though I still do not have a receptionist desk.  I’m working off of a folding table currently.  It’s a long one though, so it works quite well for me.  I’m in the process of figuring out what I want my reception area to look like, while also knowing that in a week or so when the actual desk comes in, that it will look completely different yet again.

I finally applied for my producer license with the state of Illinois.  the important part here, it was ACCEPTED!  I am a fully licensed producer for Life and Health insurance in the state of Illinois.  I’m just waiting on my license to make it to me :).

I started this job at the end of July in what seemed like a flurry of activity.  I literally went from one job to the other.  On a Wednesday in July, I finished my job with the hospital and on that Thursday I started my job here.  I could not have asked things to work out any better than they did in the transition, or since.  In fact, in 2 days I go on vacation.  yup you read that correct.  I get to go on vacation.  I mentioned to my boss ahead of time in the interview process that I had a vacation planned before I decided to switch jobs.  My taking this job was contingent on still being able to keep this vacation time.  It is the first vacation with my boyfriend after all.  The first of many I hope?  There is nothing more telling of what a person is like than being on the road with them, which makes me a little afraid! and yet very excited for this trip to Pennsylvania.

With that being said, stay tuned to hear alllll about the excitement, travel and experience in the coming week.

Purple    <—- The shirt I am currently working on for a customer.

Busy Busy Bee!!!


First, I passed the Illinois Life insurance and Illinois Accident/Health Insurance producer exams!!  That means I have just one hurdle left, applying for my license, before I’m a producer with the state of Illinois.

Now, I know it has been forever since I last posted, and I’m sorry.   Please forgive me and over look this indiscretion.  That being said, I have been busy! From studying for and taking the producer test, to packing the office and sending out emails for my boss on renewals.  From, spending time with the family (and boyfriend!!) to spending time working on my own business, this month has been full!

Speaking of my own business.  I had an email requesting a shirt.  Now, I had just taken down my etsy site and come to terms with the fact that I might not ever sell anything beyond family.  I suppose one should never give up on themselves though.  I quoted a price for the shirt, it was accepted and I’m currently in the process of completing it :).

As for spending time with family and the boyfriend.  I convinced the boyfriend to go with me to my Grandma Jackson’s on Labor day.  I was not entirely sure what to expect or how much family would be there, but I gave him as much of a heads up as I could knowing what the make-up is usually like on holidays (or use to be as it seems I can never quite make it there on holidays anymore).  It was a pleasant surprise when the boyfriend fit right in!  no complaining, no wanting to leave early, no scared look on his face.  He even wondered off and got to talking with one of my uncles on his own.  In fact, after words he even said it reminded him of his own family.  🙂 I think he’s a keeper folks.  Oh, and the family enjoyed having him there as well, I think?

This month is not over yet, and it is only projected to get busier.  In exactly one week from tomorrow the boyfriend and I will be leaving on vacation! We are headed to Pennsylvania, the real purpose is the toy show they have, but I have made a secondary purpose of seeing Hershey Pennsylvania a priority as well ;).  Any advice on where to get quick bites to eat on the way to Pennsylvania from Illinois?????

Ah well, Time to get back to packing the office up, we move the office on Friday!!!

Thanks for being patient and waiting for the next blog entry.  I enjoy being able to write out what I’m doing, even if no one reads it;).

if you have suggestions for what you would like to read about in this blog, do not hesitate to let me know.

Life, Getting Busy, and Taking Care of Myself


One little word that encompasses sooooo much!

When someone asks “Why have you been away so long?” The usual answer is well, life has gotten in the way.

Or why didn’t you keep in touch?  Life.

It’s amazing how life moves on whether or not you are ready for it to, whether or not everyone you count on is in your life and whether or not you can afford for it to.  No, there hasn’t been a tragedy of sorts in my life, and yes most people that mean anything to me are still with me, but you don’t talk to everyone you know every day.  You don’t have hourly updates with friends on where their life is and where they are headed.  Sometimes, when you stopped and take stalk, you realize its been months, maybe even years since you last talked to someone that use to be your rock, your listening ear, your own personal therapist.

Anyway, those are just some of the things I have been thinking of.  If I haven’t spoken to you in a while, please know that yes, you are still on my mind.  I think about most of the people in my life daily.  If it were not for friends or family that I may not speak to often but still want to be connected to, I wouldn’t even have a facebook.  But this wonderful tool, lets just have a glimpse into their lives while we may not play a pivotal role.  Don’t worry, I will get around to speaking to you again my friends!

As for getting busy, it seems like a lot of life is falling into place at the same time.

Work wise, I’m finally starting to get things, finally starting to understand why we do what we do and how we do it.  I take my producer license test on the 14th, ahh!  The office we are opening in another town is almost complete, furniture and phone/internet install is today!  Our projected move in date is around September 14th, yes that’s right the same day as my producer license test!!! Also, we are starting to get a few more renewals and requests for insurance coming into the office.  What does that mean for me?  Well, right now, it means a lot more spreadsheet/excel fun for this gal!

I have also been on this kick of wanting to really take care of myself lately.  No not, sort of, lets go on a diet take care of myself.  I mean, lets figure out a way to solve all my problems and get me back on the meds to help fight this pcos and high blood pressure take care of myself kick.  So far, so good.  I’ll have to keep you all posted though.

As for now, it’s time to get back to work!

Life after the seminar!

I know, I know, I know! It’s been a few days since I last posted.

I bet you have all been waiting with baited breath for my next post too.  Well, wait no more!

The last two days, I had to drive to Champaign for a seminar on Health and Life insurance.  I have to tell you, I am not that great at driving in Chambana.  In fact, I kind of hate it.  Hate is usually a strong word, I know, but in this instance it is not strong enough.  Anyway, I followed my GPS (thank goodness my data restarted the day before I had to drive there), and I actually had a pretty nice drive to the hotel the seminar was being held at.

I had been warned by ****, the individual who works on crop insurance here at the bank, that it would be a somewhat boring seminar and I should expect to be tired and overwhelmed.  But, that is about all the preparation for the seminar that I had.  Keep this in mind when I write about how well I did after.

I learned all kinds of interesting life insurance and accident/health insurance info. at this seminar.  As well as laws and regulations of being a producer and selling insurance.  Contrary to what I was told, I actually found some of the seminar far less than boring, in fact, I would go so far as to say some of it was fun and interesting.  Especially the second day when it came to the health insurance portion.

Any who, I met some really cool peeps in that class.  There were six of us, so it was relatively small and it gave the speaker time and flexibility to give us a little more attention than if it were a huge number of people in the seminar.  In fact, I met one girl who will be working with Health Alliance, Two who will be working with north west and then two other agents who are in independent companies like myself.  Lunch was nothing to worry about as well for the most part all went to eat together and talked about our lives rather than insurance.

After the first day (Monday), it was recommended that we take the 1st practice test.  It would be  practice test on life insurance.  The goal was to miss no more than 20 questions on this first test (which would give a 60% passing rate).  The next practice test for life we are suppose to be reaching a goal of 85%, or no more than 7 missed.  Well, I did the test Monday night, even though I was exhausted and my family was talking up a storm, plush I had a headache.  I only missed three questions!!  That’s right folks, I scored a 94% right out of the gate.

I was a little nervous Tuesday when we had to take the final for the seminar.  We then had accident/health and the laws and regulations.  I did not know going into it, that we would be taking a test right then and there.  I mean, two days of studying and we were ready for the final?! Anyway, I took it no problem, 100%.  I thought I had this in the bag.  I called Tuesday night to schedule my state test, because yes, we just had to take a test to prove that we were ready to take a test.  Then after taking the second test I get to apply for my license.  So, in essence, you take a test to prove you can take a test, to prove you can apply for a license.  Seems like too much red time to me.  But gotta do what you gotta do.

Anyway, all of this just to say, I am now ready for the next step.  Unfortunately, I don’t take my test until September 14th, so this leaves time for me to forget the information, unless I study like I’m suppose to. Don’t worry I already did another practice test today.  This time on the accident/health.  I only missed 4!  The goal for the first practice test on accident/health was also no more than 20, so I made that goal and then some :).

thanks for reading, and thanks to those who encouraged me to do what I wanted.  This just feel right.

A BOYRFRIEND?! Say WHAT?!?!?!?! Random thoughts on a Thursday.

First of all, if the boyfriend is reading this, I am not going to post your name or any personal information about you.  I did not ask your permission to include you, so it would not be right of me to do so.

A blog post on my boyfriend, OK well maybe not on the boyfriend, but he is part of my life and I did promise to blog about all the adventures in my life.

If you know me, you know that for most, almost all, of my life I have been single.  No boyfriend.  But, the question is, do any of you know why?!  Nope, well maybe one, ok maybe two.  My mother and my cousin (Cassi) both know a lot of my story.  They are the two on this planet that know more about me than anyone else.  I suppose with that, you will want to know why most of my life I was without a boyfriend.  Am I ugly?  Is there something wrong with me?

The answer to both questions is a resounding NO.  I am not ugly and there is nothing wrong with me.  Well, maybe I’m partial on both accounts.  Then why?  Life.  Childhood bullying.  Family situations.  All of those factor into why.

I grew up on a farm at least 10-15 minutes from a small town where I went to school.  10-15 minutes doesn’t sound so bad until you realize that as a kid you can’t drive into town to hang out with your friends.  You are entirely reliant on the adults in your life.  When the adults in your life are hired hands on a farm or students going to nursing school, they have absolutely no time to take you into town for things that are not important.  When you are a kid, if you don’t make the time to hang out with friends or try to be included in events (which by the way just because my parents didn’t have the time didn’t mean they didn’t try.  I was in softball up till high school and I was in band which meant summer band! In junior high i was even on the track team!).  But really, when you live a life that is mostly mysterious to your fellow classmates you become something other.  Something to wonder about.  Something to make stories up about and then make fun of.

That’s right folks, yours truly was subjected to bullying all of her life.  Notice I said subjected to, not victim of.  I could have easily used the victim word, but I refused and still refuse to play victim to anyone! What does this have to do with a boyfriend, well you will see I promise.  Keep in mind that this bullying was very intense.  Most nights I cried myself to sleep.  This went on from Kindergarten (which I was to young to know what was happening so did not bother me at the time) until I was well into high school.

When I did start liking people, it was a joke to everyone around.  How dare Kristen have a crush on you.  We will show her.  In junior high, I almost became a laughing stock of sorts.  Then, when hurting me had not satisfied their needs, they tried tricking me.  I stood fast.  I put my heart and soul into learning my clarinet.  I wrote poems at home, I doodled the heck out of my notebooks, and tried to be an artist.  I rode my bike all over the country side, anything I could to get out of my own head.  To stop thinking.  On a side note, this is also why I hate fishing.  In fishing there is too much time to think, too much time to dwell on whats happening and what other people are thinking.

Any who, I made it through that and eventually I no longer had the desire to even try.  Why try to attract someone or act on a crush when it was just going to end in all that torture?!

Thank goodness I grew out of that and found my current boyfriend.  I have waited literally my entire life for someone to just accept me.  I may not like what I look like or be happy where I am in life, but you know what he told me early on in the relationship… he said, He didn’t fall in love with me for my looks.  LOVE.  love isn’t what you look like.  love isn’t superficial.  LOVE real love.  It’s acceptance.

How did I get so lucky to find someone who I instantly trusted.  Someone who I instinctively knew accepted me, but also had the courage to say it to my face!  He loves me and he means it.  Never in my entire life have I met anyone who doesn’t have to fight through any wall, doesn’t have to break them down.  Because when I am around him, they do not exist.

So, sadly I wont see the boyfriend until Friday (tomorrow), but when I do, I will have my big goofy grin on ready for a big hug and passionate kiss.

Love you more babe!

Also, thank you readers for following/reading/liking my blog.  Stay tuned for more adventures, stories, and random thoughts.