Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Easily Share Your Blog Button with Readers

Ever wonder how to share that pretty blog button you designed and slaved over for hours with others so they could post it on their blogs as well?  Well here's the easy way to share (and more people will share your blog button if you 'do the work' for them!) your blog button!

First, you need to upload your blog button to a photo sharing site such as Photobucket.  Once your button has been uploaded to your account, it should look like this:


The information you see below will appear when you hover your mouse over the uploaded image.  Move your mouse down to the IMG code box and click on the link in the space to the right which will automatically copy this string of code for you.

Open a Notepad or WordPad window (or any program you have that will let you do simple unformatted text) and paste your copied code into that document.  It should now look similar to this (only with your links):


Hit enter a few times to put some space between your copied code and the following.  Copy this exactly as is and we will change the highlighted parts to be specific to your blog and blog button:

<a href="http://YOUR BLOG LINK HERE.COM" target="new"><img src="INSERT THE IMG LINK FROM ABOVE HERE" border="0" title="YOUR BLOG NAME"></a><br>
<textarea rows="06" cols="20"><a target="new" href="

So, my image link would be: http://i684.photobucket.com/albums/vv209/themadwhitewoman/LifeInAHouseOfTestosterone1-1.gif and my blog link would be http://lifeinahouseoftestosterone.blogspot.com.  So using these links and changing the information highlighted in RED above, my completed code would look like this:

<a href="http://lifeinahouseoftestosterone.blogspot.com" target="new"><img src="http://i684.photobucket.com/albums/vv209/themadwhitewoman/LifeInAHouseOfTestosterone1-1.gif " border="0" title="Life in a House of Testosterone"></a><br>
<textarea rows="06" cols="20"><a target="new" href="
http://lifeinahouseoftestosterone.blogspot.com"><img src="http://i684.photobucket.com/albums/vv209/themadwhitewoman/LifeInAHouseOfTestosterone1-1.gif " title="Life in a House of Testosterone" /></a></textarea>

Change the links in red above as I did to reflect YOUR personal blog address and YOUR personal blog button image code.

Next, go to your Blogger dashboard and find your blog and click on Design and then we are going to Add a Gadget.  Look for the HTML/JavaScript gadget and click on that.  When your gadget opens you are going to give it a name and then paste your completed information from above into the Content area.

Your gadget should now look like this:


Now before you hit "save" and add this to your blog design – at the very beginning you need to add <center> and then at the very end directly after </textarea> you need to add </center>.  Once you have done that, hit "save" and then move your gadget to where you would like it to appear on your blog.

What these two codes do is tell it to center all of the information between.  This way your information shows up neatly centered on your blog – like this:


That's it!  If you wish to adjust the width of your text box – you can play with the area that says "cols=20" and just adjust the numbers higher (like 40) to make it wider if you would like.  Now anyone can snag your blog button you spent so much time on and easily paste the code into an HTML/JavaScript gadget on their blog and share the love!

This tutorial is of my own design and creation and copyrighted to ©Kimberly Miller.  This tutorial was written by me on February 28, 2012.  Any similarity to any other tutorial is purely coincidental.  If you wish to share this tutorial with others, please only share the link to this tutorial in your Yahoo/Google groups and direct others to my blog to view the tutorial post.  Thank you!

Katie Morris – Mary Kay Consultant Extraordinaire!

marykay_logoMany, many, MANY moons ago – I had the pleasure of attending a Mary Kay party that a friend of mine had.  She was just starting out as a consultant and told me that if I helped her get some bodies to her first party she'd give me a little makeup kit of my own to play with – so I did.  That was the extent of my experience with Mary Kay.  At the time of her party, I tossed around the idea of becoming a consultant myself – but I'm not one to go door-to-door or to have parties and constantly be looking for people to drag to a party – so I never bothered with it afterwards.

Well back on January 20, 2012, I was hopping around the internet like I normally do, checking messages and tweets and reading up on some new blog posts, when I happened upon this tweet:

"@tmww If you're in the Richmond area I'd love to give you a FREE facial & a gift just for helping! Promise this isn't spam!"

Now you know me – I am ALWAYS up for a freebie – and a gift to boot?  Shoot!  So I sent her a tweet back and asked her to email me with some specifics.  Thus started our little journey together.  Over the next few weeks, we emailed each other back and forth attempting to set up a date and time when I could host a party and get some friends either here at my home or to her studio.  Being a stay at home mom with the majority of my friends inside this little box on my desk – I had to put my thinking cap on and see which of my neighbors might be interested in coming.

So finally the date was set – Monday, February 27.  Well Monday came and I discovered that my daughter could not come (she was scheduled to work) and another friend could not come (she was scheduled to work), so that left just four of us.  Not a problem.  I had my *game plan* all worked out for the day...I had until noon to be on the computer and do what I needed to do online and then it was time to buckle down and get the house in ship-shape condition (not a fun or easy task with the mess that the Testosterone make on a daily basis!).  I sent text messages out to everyone who had said that they would attend around 8am yesterday morning to remind them about the party last night and to RSVP and assure this crazy lady that they were definitely going to be there.  So I busted my hump scrubbing and dusting and sweeping and mopping every surface that did not move until the house sparkled for the next 6 hours.  Yes, it took me 6 hours to get my house into what I call "acceptable" condition for company (I'm totally anal like that about making sure my house is just about spotless when I have people coming over). 

katie morrisKatie arrived and I hit it off with her instantly.  She is a truly wonderful young lady, and I am very pleased to know her and have worked with her.  We chatted about family and college and life in general and discovered we both worked for law firms – it was really nice to be able to connect with her and find out that we had much in common.

As my guests arrived, Katie set up and we were ready for our pampering – and pampering we GOT.  The Mary Kay products of today are nothing like I remember them being from 25 years ago.  We started off with the Satin Hands products (which, after cleaning house all day with bleach and Lysol I desperately needed!) and I fell in love instantly.  Satin is exactly the word to describe how my hands felt.  Absolute heaven and the peach smell? Oh my gosh – absolutely DIVINE.

Next we moved on to our facials and had the pleasure of experiencing the TimeWise Miracle.  If you closed your eyes, you would have sworn you were at a day spa being pampered – that's how incredibly wonderful this product is!  I have noticed the older I get, the drier my skin gets, and I literally feel as though I am using GALLONS of moisturizer on my face to make it feel normal again and not like the Sahara desert!  With just a little tiny dab of the TimeWise moisturizer – I was sold.  My face felt like pure satin and I can honestly say that I have never ever ever felt my face be that soft ever before.  It was wonderful!

We then moved on to the Mary Kay Foundation Primer and the Mary Kay Mineral Powder Foundation.  When you paint the walls in your home, you always use a primer first to ensure that the paint lasts longer and stays beautiful looking – well the Mary Kay Foundation Primer does the same thing – it keeps your makeup in place and beautifully flawless all day long, and you only need a teeny tiny dab to cover your entire face (another product that I absolutely adored and purchased) which I love.  I like makeup that is going to go a long way and not be gone within two or three weeks.

About this time I had some new unexpected guests arrive (hubby grabbed some additional warm bodies to add to the mayhem for me – wasn't that sweet of him?) and Katie took things all in stride ... she didn't miss a beat!  We got a chance to experiment with the Eye Makeup Remover, the Crème Eye Color, the Mineral Cheek Color, the mascara and the beautiful selection of lip colors and the Satin Lips products!  (I tried to coerce The Man Thing into trying the Satin Lips but he was being a stick-in-the-mud and said he'd stick with his trusty Chapstick lol!)

What completely amazed me is that Katie gave both myself and a neighbor of mine (a beautiful African-American woman) the exact same crème eye color to use – and they looked completely different on each of us.  You would NEVER have been able to tell that we were using the same makeup on our eyes.  Completely amazing.

I felt like a princess when all was said and done, and I believe the other ladies did as well.  I didn't want to wash any of it off last night it felt so good LOL! 

I want to thank all of the ladies who attended last night and enjoyed themselves, and thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for helping Katie out as well!  While I am still not "that type" to become a Mary Kay consultant at this point in my life – I am going to do everything within my power to help Katie become a raging success with HER business!

You will find the Mary Kay Cosmetics logo on my blog with a link to Katie's website.  You can also follow her on Twitter (she tweets the most awesome inspirational messages all the time!) and she also has a Facebook fan page

If you would like to become a consultant or host your own party in the metro Richmond area – please let her know!  She would be more than happy to come out and give you and your friends the royal princess treatment just like she did for mine!  In addition, if you are interested in purchasing some Mary Kay products but do not have a consultant in your area, you can order yours directly from Katie and she'll get them out to you in no time at all!

A special thanks to Katie as well – for putting up with this crazy stay-at-home mom who changed dates and times a gazillion times before finally settling on a date – and for being such a sweet and wonderful young lady and letting your enthusiasm and energy shine through! 


Monday, February 27, 2012

Happiness Resides in Your Soul

I am extremely thankful for the blessing that is my friends today.  No matter what they are going through, their hearts – like mine – always go out to those who are having a rough time or dealing with something truly upsetting to them.  I just want these particular friends to know that you are always in my heart, thoughts, and prayers. 

I have so much going on today it isn't even funny!  I am hosting my first ever Mary Kay facial/makeover party this evening at 7pm – at my completely TRASHED apartment!  Aye carumba!  I've given myself till noon to be on the computer and get caught up with some things I needed to get taken care of – and then its off to clean and get the house tidied up as much as possible before Katie Morris appears at 6pm to begin setting up her magic!  I am so excited!!!

I also want to share that my daughter is hosting her first ever giveaway on her blog, A +Girl Life!  You have got to check out the beautiful item she is giving away – I'm not going to tell you what it is either!  You have to go and see for yourself!  The giveaway ends on March 25th at 12pm EST – so don't wait!!!

In addition – she has this great little gizmo on her blog that I stole too!  It's called PunchTab and it is what she is using to reward visitors and also what she is using to run her giveaway.  Nifty little gadget – check it out – and it is now part of the LIAH blog as well!  So you can earn rewards and loyalty program points just by visiting our blogs!  Your badges that you earn will be displayed at the bottom and the rewards tab is on the left of each post – just click to find out what your reward is!

Finally, I would like to share some touching photos with you all.  As you know, our four-legged family member, Mollyanna, is the absolute joy of our household with her love and antics and playfulness.  We would be lost without her.  Dogs bring so much unconditional love and understanding to their owners, so this is my tribute to her as well as to all of these dogs showcased below. 








Go hug the pooch who loves you...

Thursday, February 23, 2012


sneakpeeqI think I've fallen in love with technology once again!  I came across this absolutely fantastic site the other day called sneakpeeq where every day they have new products and suggestions for you to "peeq" at.  Every time you peeq to flip a price tag and reveal their (seriously) scandalously low prices – you earn rewards!  You also get surprises as you peeq – but you have to peeq to win!!!'

Definitely worth a few minutes of your time every day – and just so you know – there are all manner of goodies available!  This isn't a site dedicated to just one particular item like clothing or technology – you never know WHAT is going to be posted from day to day!!!  There are several sections – Living, Style, Taste, and Exclusives – and they change daily so be sure to check them out!!

You can also find sneakpeeq on Facebook (and peek right from Facebook too!) as well as Twitter...so what are you doing still sitting here reading?!?  Go do some sneakpeeq-ing people!  You'll be crazy glad you did!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Momma's Ramblings

Today's been a rough day for me for some reason.  Might have something to do with the late nights to bed the past few days, or the fact that my Man Thing is having health issues and is just too damn STUBBORN to carry his ass to the emergency room like I have told him, like his cardiologist has told him, like his primary care physician has told him.  His favorite response to that is, "I have work to do," to which I reply, "Well you won't be able to do it when you're DEAD either jackass!" 

Sigh.  He's a man....need I say more?

J. has been thoroughly enjoying his *vacation* from school with the Man Thing giving him back his XBox and his computer so he's not *bored* while he's home on suspension for ten days.  Um, that's the whole POINT of suspension – a *punishment* for something you did wrong.  Well homework came home today for him – and I'm picking his textbooks up at school from his locker tomorrow....vacation is O-V-E-R because there will also be some "momma assigned" reading homework to be done as well.  Checked on his grades today and he's failing EVERYTHING but one class for the 3rd Quarter.  Not good.  Not ACCEPTABLE – especially when I know he can do the work and he's just refusing to do it on principle for whatever reason.

I've also been tossing about the idea of trying to find something on a full-time basis that I can do from home.  Due to my own health issues – it would need to be something that I can do from home for the next six to 12 months though until I can get MY issues dealt with – then I can return to the 'normal' workforce if I so desire.  I'm also going to be getting my driver license back.  It's been long enough that I've been without it, and I miss driving and being able to go where I want whenever I want.  Heaven knows that I don't want anything at all to happen to the Man Thing – but I need to be sure that I am able to take care of myself and my children in the event something should happen and he's no longer able to work – so I'm tossing about ideas there as well.

The future is up in the air at the moment – on lots of fronts – so I think rather than try to deal with them all any longer, I'm going to just say adieu and call it a night. 

Welcome Wednesday Hosted by Take It From Me

Welcome Wednesday is now open ALL week and will start NEW every Wednesday!   The blog hop is hosted by Take It From Me, Happy Hour Projects, and Let's Move It Mommas!  Welcome Wednesday is a great way to meet new people and learn new things, as well as increase your blog followers LOL!


To be a part of the Welcome Wednesday festivities – just follow these 5 simple steps:

1.  Follow us via Google Friend Connect, Google+, Linky Followers, Facebook, Twitter, as well as checking out the Spotlighted Blog of the Week!

2.  Link up your blog name and URL with the Linky below.  ( You only need to add your information once, it will be seen on all the blogs that are participating )

3.  Grab our Welcome Wednesday button and include it in a post about the event on your blog.

4.  Go to as many blogs on the McLinky list below as you can/want and follow them.  Be sure to tell them you are from Welcome Wednesday!!

5.  Be sure to follow back any new followers you have gained from the Welcome Wednesday event!

Without further adieu, this week's spotlight blog is:

Sarah from Alderberry Hill writes:  "I am a crafting Momma who has the best family and a great husband. Life is hectic, real hectic. Between work & home life, there's barely any me time but I always make time for creating and sharing with all of you. It's a fabulous hobby and I enjoy it to the fullest. At Alderberry Hill I hope you'll find something to inspire you to create as well."

What's neat about our Blog Hop:

-Put the same linky list code on your blog and you'll have the exact same list!

- Your blog visitors can add their blog to your list and it will show up on Everyone's lists!


Don't forget to leave a comment below if you are new to the blog hop or a new follower so we can follow you back and get ready to have some fun!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to Share Your Incredimail Letters on Your Blog

I have had several people ask me how to go about sharing their Incredimail letters that they create on their blog for others to snag as well that are not part of the Yahoo and Google groups that they share them in, so I decided to whip up this tutorial for you and make it nice and simple!

You need a file cabinet on Google Sites to upload your files to.  (The reason I suggest Google sites versus 4Shared is that you do not have to wait for the download, and the people saving your letters do not have to click on several different links or wait to receive the letters – makes for happy downloaders who will continue to come back to your site because you've made it easy to receive your letters!)

Go to www.google.com and sign in (if you do not have a Google account, make one).  Once you are signed in you will see the following bar across the top of your browser:


Click on More and then click on Even more at the bottom of the drop down menu.


Scroll down to the Home and Office section and click on Sites and when the page opens you want to click on the CREATE button as shown below:


You then need to create your home page – don't worry – it's very simple!  Just select the Blank template and then name your site (I suggest something short) and then click on CREATE when you have finished naming your home page:


You will now be taken to your home page for your site as shown below (I had to change my name from IM letters to my letter creations hence the different names) and your site should show up like mine below:


On your new home page – look to the right of your screen and you will see the NEW PAGE option – click on this to create your file cabinet to store your letters and wallpapers and whatever else you would like to share on your blog:


When you select the New page option – you will have the following screen appear.  You need to fill in the name of your page (I suggest files) and then scroll down to "Select a template to use" and be sure you choose the "File Cabinet" option.  Then just click Create and your file cabinet will now be available!


Google will automatically load your Files page for you which will look like this.


Now you can begin uploading your IMF files to share on your blog.  To do so all you need to do is click on the Add file button as shown above, select the IMF file from your computer and you are finished!  You will now see your IMF file uploaded to the files section as shown below.


Now we are going to show you how to share your IMF file using Blogger.  Open a new window in your browser (you need to keep your file cabinet open in another window to access your files) and log in to your blog on Blogger and click on the New Post button to create a new blog post.  Insert the Title you wish to use for the blog post and you can begin with your text about your post.  We will then add the preview you created in letter creator (see my Letter Creator IMF Preview Tutorial) by clicking on the image link as shown below:


You will see the following screen appear giving you an option to choose a file to upload or to add a link to a preview already online.  I suggest just uploading your preview and allowing Blogger to host the image (it is much simpler to do so this way than to upload and link from a photo sharing site such as Photobucket or Fotki).  Once you see the preview on your screen with the blue box around it, click on Add Selected so that it will add that particular image to your blog post as shown below:


Your image will automatically be inserted as a small size – once it is inserted you will have the option to choose small medium large or original for your preview size.  Use whatever size works best for you and does not overlap your blog post margins and bleed into your sideborder area of your blog.


Once you have adjusted the size of your preview, click the image once and then click on the link selection in your blog post bar.  Switch over to your file cabinet and right click on the download link for your IMF letter, and then go back to your blog post window and paste it into the Web address field as shown below:


The nice feature of using Google Sites to host your IMF files is that the file will automatically download when clicked so there is no need to open the link in a new window (although you can leave this box checked if you wish to do so).  Once you have inserted your link, click on the OK button and your IMF letter download is now attached to the preview!

All you need to do is instruct your readers to click on the image to download the file, add your labels, and publish!

This tutorial is of my own design and creation and copyrighted to ©Kimberly Miller.  Any similarity to any other tutorial is purely coincidental.  If you wish to share this tutorial with others, please only share the link to this tutorial in your Yahoo/Google groups and direct others to my blog to view the tutorial post.  Thank you!

Letter Creator IMF Preview Tutorial

This is a tutorial designed to assist those who create Incredimail stationery in creating a preview of your letters to share on your blogs or web sites to enable others to download your letters.

Very simple tutorial, and only takes a few steps.  Put your letter together in Letter Creator as you normally would and add it to your Incredimail files.  Before closing your letter creator screen; however, adjust the image preview on your screen so that a majority of the image can be seen as well as the text and/or footer section of your letter.

Your next step is to hit your Prt Scr key on your keyboard (Print Screen) to take a snapshot of your screen and then paste that image into Paintshop Pro or whatever imaging program you are using.  We are now going to crop that screenshot image as shown below:


You need to crop just the image area that you want to share.  Do not worry about trying to get the entire letter (especially if you have a header and sideborder area) in the cropped area – this is just a preview of the letter to give your readers an overview of what the completed letter looks like.  Once you have this area cropped, just double click on the image and it will delete the areas that are outside the cropped area. 

I suggest that when you save your preview you give it the same name as your IMF letter so that they are grouped together on your hard drive and easy to find both the letter and the preview.

You are now ready to move on to the next tutorial – How to Share Your Incredimail Letters on Your Blog.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Welcome Wednesday!

Join me in participating in the Welcome Wednesday blog hop that is hosted by Take It From Me each week.  Below you will find a linky list of participating blogs.  If you would like to participate as well, just follow these 5 simple steps:

1.  Follow us via Google Friend Connect, Google+, LinkyFollowers, Facebook or Twitter as well as the Spotlighted Blog of the Week!
2.  Link up your blog name and URL with the Linky below.  You only need to add your info once for it to be seen on ALL the blog hop posts!
3.  Grab our Welcome Wednesday button and include it in a post about the event on your blog.
4.  Go to as many blogs on the McLinky as you want and Follow them.  Be sure th tell them you are from Welcome Wednesday!
5.  Be sure to follow back any followers you have gained from our Welcome Wednesday event!

------This Weeks Blog Spotlight----
Tiffani from Thoughts from Tiffani writes: "Hello all! My name is Tiffani and I am the driving force behind Thoughts from Tiffani.  It is where I come to rant and rave about my family, friends, and life in general. Most of my thoughts are random and occasionally they will include crafting, work, diet, exercise (or lack thereof), and fashion."

What's neat about our Blog Hop:
-Put the same linky list code on your blog and you'll have the exact same list!
- Your blog visitors can add their blog to your list and it will show up on EVERYONE'S lists!
**Leave a comment with your blog address if you are new to our hop so we can follow you back**

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Look for LIAH!

I finally got my tail in gear and got the new look for Life in a House of Testosterone finished today!  Unfortunately, my IntenseDebate comments just disappeared and I don't really want to reinstall it as Blogger now has the same format that allows you to reply to comments made on the blog – so there is no reason for me to have it.  IntenseDebate, however, is revamping their comment import/export service so no idea when I will be able to get the older comments imported back into the blog – but they have been downloaded so that I can as soon as its available again.

I've been a busy gal with some great new artists from Artistic Dreams Imaging which I'll be showing off later on.  At the moment, we're headed out the door to take my poor little man, T., to see the doctor again.  His ear infection is apparently back in full force and he's been crying all day long off and on.  So hopefully Dr. C. can get him fixed up and rolling again, bless his heart.  I know how that feels – not fun.

Be back a bit later with some new creative genius from yours truly and an update on what's been going on in my neck of the woods!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's Chainsaw Time!

Do you sleep with someone who snores?  Are you the individual doing the snoring?  Do people tell you that you sound like a chainsaw when you snore?  Are you banished to the living room couch, or does your partner leave and sleep on the couch just to get away from the noise?  Do you constantly get woken up due to your partner yelling at you to roll over, or jabbing you in the ribs to wake you up and make you change positions?

Yeah.  Me too.  I'm the chainsaw in my household.

It is something that apparently runs in my family – on my maternal side of the family at that.  My mother used to snore unmercifully.  It was so bad, that my brother and I would sneak into mom and dad's room at night and we would sometimes pinch her nose closed until she stopped and rolled over.  Dad, on the other hand, slept like the dead – nothing woke him up – ever.

The Man Thing and I will celebrate 18 years together in June.  Hopefully.  The way things have been going lately though – I don't know if we'll make it that long if I don't do something – quick – to stop the snoring.  I've been spending my nights on the living room couch for about the past three months now because of my snoring because my man thing has been having some health issues of his own and needs his rest.

So this morning, by the simple grace of God, I saw the infomercial about ZQuiet again.  It is the one product that I have seen that has been cleared by the FDA – which means not only is the material safe – but also that the product achieves its intended purpose.  I've tried other solutions, the sprays and the breathing strips, and they don't work.  I've looked into pillows and chinstraps.  ZQuiet is the only product I have seen that gently advances the lower jaw to create a widened airspace in the back of the throat – where the loud snoring noise is caused due to the vibration of the soft tissue surrounding the airspace.

The company is so sure that it will alleviate any snoring, they offer you a 30 day trial of ZQuiet for just $9.95.  If you do not return the ZQuiet within 45 days of receipt, then your credit card is charged the remaining $59.95 and it is yours.  While I think it is a bit pricy, it is a small price to pay for peace and harmony within my household – not to mention a good night's sleep for a change!

So dear readers, my order goes in tomorrow morning...and I will be giving a complete and honest review right here on the product once I receive it!

Followers Giveaway Winner Announced


I am pleased to announce that we have chosen a winner for the Followers Giveaway!

followers giveaway winner

The winner has been contacted and has (3) days to respond via email.  If the winner does not respond within the required timeframe, another winner will be chosen at that time.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who entered and tweeted about the giveaway and talked about little ole me on your blog – I really appreciate you guys spreading the word about the new blog and trying to get the word out for me!  While we didn't make our 200 followers like I had hoped – I am very grateful and appreciative of all of you who do pop in and visit with me and leave a comment on my ramblings now and again!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Feelings of Helplessness

I am drowning in a myriad of feelings at the moment – the most prevalent being helplessness.  J. just returned to school today after a five day out of school suspension.  Less than 4 hours into school, I received a phone call.  He told a teacher to "mind your own f***ing business" and landed himself on two days of in school suspension.

I held it together on the phone with the principal while discussing the matter, and immediately dissolved into a puddle of tears the minute the phone was hung up.  I don't know how to help him.  I see him how he truly is – so talented, so sweet – and I don't understand where any of this comes from or why.  He cannot be isolated for the rest of his life in small group settings – what happens when he gets a job?  He wants to join the military – how is he going to handle being in a unit with hundreds of others – and be able to follow instructions and do as he is told if he cannot even master keeping his mouth shut in school?

I knew the call was going to come.  I knew it.  When he left this morning for school, I told him – no, I pleaded with him, to please make good choices, to not get into any trouble, to just be quiet and do his work.  He gave me his silly grin and said, "Um-hum, sure." 

His dad thinks that all of J.'s problems can be fixed with medication and "a talking to" from him.  I try to tell him that J. needs to learn how to deal with different situations and environments – because he obviously cannot do so on his own steam – and while I unrealistically expected the teachers at his school to focus all their attention on helping him in class, I do understand that isn't possible in middle school.  It's not elementary school where he could go to his IEP teacher's room and spend the day there.  Middle school means growing up, things are done differently – and we are both feeling a bit helpless at the moment I think.  I think he should talk to a counselor ... but considering the way that he shuts down when he doesn't want to talk – I don't know that that would be a good avenue to follow either.

I don't know how to help him – and it scares the living hell out of me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Back to Basics

Have you ever just sat down and taken a look at your life and went, "I need to get back to the basics" and then wondered just how to go about doing so?

Life gets so hectic, so crazy, that often times we forget to just stop and breathe, you know?  So I am doing this for my own sanity.  I miss doing what I love – and that is creating and writing.  I never seem to have enough hours in the day to do all that I wish to do – and this is something that I have been working on since the beginning of the year.

So you will be seeing some changes around here.  I am going to be simplifying the blog and making it less busy.  Much as I would love to continue in the affiliate programs that I belong to, I don't make any money from them, and a lot of people quite frankly find the ads rather annoying (or so I've been told).  I know personally I don't really look at ads on other blogs unless they are pop-up, in-your-face annoying and I have no choice but to deal with them before I can read the blog post I came to read.  The blog design is going to be cleaner, lighter, less in-your-face, although I will be keeping my gal with the martini glass because, well, that's just ME.

I'm also afraid I am going to be cutting down on some groups.  I belong to a variety of Yahoo groups, 41 at last count to be exact, and barely have time to keep up with any of them.  So I will be leaving quite a few of my groups as well.  There are several that I will remain in due to personal obligations, but the others I will have to put on the back burner until I am ready to be a willing participant.

To my friends on Facebook – please do not send me game requests.  I do not play any games on Facebook any longer.  I simply do not have the time to do so.  I hardly have time to read everyone's posts – let alone start back up the game craziness.  I don't want you to be sitting and waiting for me to send you this or that – because it simply will not happen.  I don't receive the requests because I have the games blocked – so please don't waste your time sending them to me, okay? 

I am getting back to designing and doing what I truly love – letters, wallpapers, tags – and the occasional blog design.  I may or may not start the blog design business back up – it depends on how my time is and whether the drive and inclination is still there.  With so many people out there doing the same thing – I'm sure there is someone more talented and experienced than I who would be willing to do your blog design.  We shall see though.

With the health issues that TMT is currently going through, as well as the health issues that J. is facing – I want to devote more of my time to them.  To helping them deal with what they are going through, to reading and learning more about the things that are affecting them – and that includes taking in a few seminars that are coming to town and doing some research.

In addition, as a member of several creative teams for some talented scrapkit designers, I want to be able to devote my time to creating with their beautiful work.  I am also currently the Creative Team Manager for Artistic Dreams Imaging, and I am devoting a good portion of my online time to making our creative team one of the best out there.

So changes are coming – and I hope that you will enjoy the new look when its finished!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Al Rio 1962-2012


( Image Courtesy of Kiya Sama )

The art world and the PSP community lost a talented individual yesterday.  Al Rio, Brazil-based "good girl artist" passed away on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, an apparent suicide by hanging, with no note of explanation left behind.

The following was written by David Campiti, CEO of Glass House Graphics, and Al's agent for many years.

Al Rio, born Alvaro Araújo Lourenço do Rio on 05/19/62, was raised in Fortaleza, in the northeast of Brazil. Al began his career in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as an artist in the early '90s, illustrating books for a local English School.

After working as animation director at this same company, Al became an animator in Brazil for Disney, working on such properties as the syndicated Aladdin animated series.

Upon joining the comics-centric international art agency Glass House Graphics in the mid-'90s, Al began working for DC Comics, though his "big break" came from succeeding J. Scott Campbell on Wildstorm's Gen 13. From there, Al, best known for his versatility and his ability of drawing some of the sexiest women in comics, went on to draw for Marvel, Vertigo Press, Dark Horse, Chaos! Comics, Avatar Press, Crossgen, Zenescope, Image, and more -- drawing titles such as his own series Exposure, as well as Captain America, DV8, Voodoo, Purgatori, Lady Death, X-Men, New Mutants, Spider-Man, Vampirella, and Star Wars, among many others.

At the time of his death, Al Rio was nearing completion of Fever Moon, a graphic novel for Random House (Del Rey), written by best-selling authors Karen Marie Moning and David Lawrence, for release this summer.

His Exposure property, which Al proudly claimed was "the sexiest supernatural story ever," has recently been serialized, and a campaign for a hardcover collection of Exposure was launched days ago on Kickstarter.  (Contributions beyond printing and production costs will be donated to Al Rio's family.)

A major fan of science-fiction, he working on a book collecting all the aliens, spaceships, alien worlds and all sci-fi material he has created over the years; Al was also in the midst of creating two more books -- Al Rio's How To Draw Girls and a definitive coffee table book of his paintings, illustrations and sketches, The Sexy Art of Al Rio.

A great artist, Al Rio was also a great person, tutoring art students and donating art to worthy causes.

Al leaves behind three children: Rene, Adrielle, and Isabel, and his wife Zilda. His funeral will be held on Wednesday, February 1st, on Cemitério São João Batista, in Fortaleza, Brazil.

"Few could draw as well, adapting to so many styles so effortlessly, as Al Rio," said David Campiti, his agent of many years. "We'd gotten together several weeks ago and were working hard on his projects, so news of his death came as quite s shock. He was a long-time friend whose art was a great joy to me and even inspired my wife's drawing career. Generous and humble, he'll be deeply missed."

Contributions may be made to his family on his behalf through Kickstarter, and condolences may be sent to his family through terry@alrioart.com and David@glasshousegraphics.com.

$RIZ8SMMArtistic Dreams Imaging, one of the licensing agencies in the Paintshop Pro community where Al sold his work, is hosting an auction throughout the month of February offering tube packages of Al's tubes and downloadable prints.  All proceeds from the auction will go to Al's family.  A winning bidder will be chosen daily throughout the month, with winning bidders getting their choice of Al's tubes.

Please open your hearts and join us here during the month of February.