Francesca Schwarz: Divas of Direct Sales

Welcome to my blog series, Divas of Direct Sales.  In this series, we will be interviewing amazing women who are loud and proud about their businesses.

Francesca Schwarz, Ciao Bella Boutique LLC featuring Paisley Raye

Catch up with her:  Instagram & Her amazing Facebook Community 

Tell us a bit about yourself 
I am from the Pacific Northwest. Married the Navy and that brought me to Virginia. Mother to a 2-year-old male terrorist that for some reason I love unconditionally.
What is the one thing that attracted you to your brand/direct sales in general
LuLaRoe was actually my first step into the direct sales world. I was a new mom who needed a social outlet incredibly bad. Because the Navy had moved us to Virginia I was far away from friends and family that would under normal circumstances lend a helping hand/guidance through this new motherhood journey. I had always worked so staying at home with a new baby and not having my own money was extremely difficult for me to grasp. I saw the community and friendships that were being built around this clothing brand and I wanted THAT! I have now moved on from LLR to opening my own boutique as well as signing on as an independent stylist with Paisley Raye!
What is the one thing about life that the direct sales has taught you or reinforced for you
To be me. Unapologetically ME! I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is okay! (because I drink coffee…so….) By being myself I will attract those that are like me and even those that are complete opposite (We are typically attracted to our opposite counterparts are we not?). You will never please everyone, so don’t even try!
What is one of our favorite products that your company sells, and something from another company?
 Paisley Raye has this incredible retro-inspired dress called the Dahlia and I seriously could wear this dress EVERY DAY! I drink Java Momma coffee every day (best coffee…seriously, you will throw your old shit out). I am obsessed with the R&F body lotion and sunscreen… have you tried it?!?! It does not smell like sunscreen!!! It’s heavenly! (I have to slather my sleeve tattoo in sunscreen to protect the vibrant colors from the sun’s damaging rays)
If you were able to go back and do one thing differently when you started your business what would it be?
Hmmmmm I don’t really think I would do anything different! I really like how things have played out and the lessons I have learned in the journey!
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you have and why?
Ummmm well sunscreen for that gorgeous tattoo sleeve of mine lol. Can I have my phone and Wifi? I mean…. all my friends live in my phone…. just saying 😉
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
…. Black…. it’s the new Black. 😉 Can’t have enough Black. We will rename it though…. “Queen of Darkness” ….hmmm let’s add some gold glitter flecks in that crayon too.
What is the one thing (technology, product, service) that makes running your business better/easier?

Ummm… does Brenda Ster and everything she has created count as a service? Because she is why I am here.

A penguin walks through your front door right now wearing a sombrero. What does she say and why is she there?
“Oh shit, sorry, I thought this was the arctic! Must be because you’re one cool bitch!” … she just wanted to chill 😉
Tea, coffee or other?
COFFEE…. seriously…. that is all I drink… it counts as water consumption right?

Favorite Motivational Quote / Song
Oh, well…. Meghan Trainor’s song “Me too” never fails to get me dancing and in a better mood

Side Note:  I had “heard” about Francesca from a great friend of mine, then started stalking her groups and other social media outlets – this really is one cool chick, and any penguin (or any of the rest of us) would be lucky to hang out with her for a couple of hours.

Make sure you check Francesca out, and if you are interested in being featured as a Diva of Direct Sales – send me a message, I would love to share your story.

Technology and Children: Why we chose to give our 8 year old access

Our 8-year-old child has her first personal technology, her own cell phone.children, parenting, technology, social Media

Now, let me clarify, that cell phone doesn’t have access to cellular service right now.  It does have access to our home wifi.  When we gave it to here, here were the rules.

  • No access to the ‘phone’ prior to school
  • Only 15 minutes when she gets home
  • Only 15 minutes after dinner
  • It is not allowed to leave the house without permission
  • It is not allowed in her bedroom
  • She can’t download anything without my permission (I have it set up so she can’t, it notifies me – best part, she has never tried)
  • I can take the phone and check it at ANY time
  • If at any time these rules are broken, the phone is DESTROYED and she doesn’t get another one until she is 13
  • So, here is the interesting thing, she was ATTACHED to the phone for the first week, now – 6 months later, it goes days in the charging area.  She has 3 friends who have similar situations, so occasionally, she asks to use it in the morning (like maybe once a week).  She uses it to schedule play time with her friend who lives across the city and is learning how to schedule her time.  She has also asked to download an app that helps her practice her dancing.  She has a Bible app that she uses on Sunday afternoons to look up and read more information about the bible verses she learns in the morning.  She also has downloaded a Shopkins game.

As parents, we have also believed in moderation. We have allowed our children to have access to television, but the interesting thing is, they are just as likely to ask to go outside or create or draw something.  My 8-year-old is more likely to curling up on a chair across from the TV and just read her books.  I know this isn’t the decision that a lot of parents would make, but it is what works for us.

We are already starting to talk about alcohol and other issues like that.  In Europe, it is not uncommon for children younger than mine to have access to a small glass of wine with dinner.  Not sure where we are going with that one yet, but we will figure it out.

Now, once we get to Social Media, that will be another discussion.  We made the choice to slowly introduce this type of technology and access to our children. To teach them the power that comes with having access to other people and how to use it in a positive and supportive manner.

Just something that works for us.
If you would like to know more about parenting with technology – this is an amazing group that I recommend you check out.  Sassy Suite Junior Suite

 

And I would love to have you join me over in our Facebook Community that talks all about living clean, positive lives – with some gratitude and some tea thrown in!

3 Steps to Write Blog Posts in under 10 minutes

quick blog postAre you looking for tips on how to write blog posts quickly?

One of the challenges most bloggers have is to write blog posts quickly enough to keep up with trends and keep the fresh content on their blogs.  Many bloggers are not trained writers, so having a simple system is important in their workflow.  Here are 3 simple steps.

1.  Come up with your topic.  You will need to refine this into your title, but keep it clear and focused.  You are going to want to (on average) write 300-700 words on this topic.

2.  Now, write down 3-5 main points for that article.  These are important, as they will frame your article and basically for each of the 3-5 paragraphs.

3.  Flush out each paragraph.  Making sure to write approximately 100-200 words on each main point.  You may need to go back and create an opening and closing paragraph based on what your topic is.  But by doing all of that, you should have a nice quick blog to send out into the wild.

Other great ways to create a blog quickly

Do a “Numbered Post” like the one here.  “5 Top things” “3 Ways to” again – super easy, creating an opening and closing dialogue, then the points in between, and you are good to go! I also have a great app for Google Chrome called Grammarly, that works wonders in keeping my spelling in check!

It is important to write blog posts regularly.  You want to hit a minimum of 40-50 blog posts before Google really starts to recognize you.  It is always recommended that you try and be consistent with your blogging, so at the beginning look at adding between one to two blog posts a week.  Once you hit the magic forty, you can slow down and always remember to keep promoting posts that you have already written!  People need to read what you wrote.

Hope this helps!

Facebook Live Set up: Working from Home

Note: This post contains affiliate links. To see our full affiliate disclosure – click HERE

What is your Facebook Live set up?

So, recently I posted a picture of my set up for my Facebook lives.  It is kind of hacked together and inexpensive, but it works (and works well).  I run my little mini-empire from a 4×8 foot space in our family living room.  I wanted to have natural light during the day, but a lot of what I do, I do in the evenings, or on cloudy days (because I live in Eastern Ontario – and there are a lot of cloudy days.

So, here is my equipment list.  (Disclaimer – I make NOTHING off of any of the links on this page.  I am not currently an Amazon affiliate, so here, enjoy!)

My laptop stand!

I LOVE this stand.  It gets my MacBook off my desk, at a good height.  There is space underneath that I can tuck pens or notebooks.  I have to admit, I needed it up about another 1/2 inch, so I stuck a small book under it.  I am terrible at not using my mouse, so I still end up using the track Pag, and this fits it so nicely!

The Clamps

These clamps come in a set of 2, and I purchased 2 packages – they open to about 2″ to clamp onto just about anything. 
They have a pre-built in swivel, so I can manipulate where the light is pointed, or where the camera is!  The clamps have little rubber feet.  I have lost one, so then I went and glued the others on.  It just helps them be more sturdy.

 

The support for my phone

This was hard to find.  I wanted to something that would be flexible for my phone, my husband’s phone, and our small point & shoot camera.  It is very adjustable, but sturdy at the same time.  Opens up fairly wide.

 

The Lights (probably the most important thing)

Being a past professional photographer, I know that your lighting is everything, so I wanted something that had a good option for the amount of light, was lightweight to hold onto the clips, and was BATTERY powered (because I didn’t want extra cords running).  This thing runs off of 6 – AA batteries.  I have been using it fairly often for over a year, and still, haven’t had to replace the batteries.  I have 2, and if I am doing a longer video, I will get both up and angle point them at me.  They are also a great light for product shots because they are continuous, you can see where any shadows are.  They come with some filters, but honestly, I am not sure where they are!  The light intensity is adjustable, so you can adapt it depending on how far away you are from the source.  I tend to be about 2-3 feet, so  I keep the 1 light on the lowest setting.  If you were further away, just crank it up a bit!

Small Portable (and flexible) tripod

One of the things you didn’t see in the pictures, is my joby tripod.  I love this thing (and this one comes with the same phone clip as I am recommending above.  As a family, we take it all over – because I am a geek, a lot of time, I will throw one of those lights in, so I can get better pictures when I am traveling.  It means that I can attach a phone or light, in a lot of places.

So there you have it – my big advanced facebook live kit!  Investing in a few key pieces can really help the quality of what you do.

So, thanks for checking me out – if you want to know more about me – come and have a read over here or if you want to hang out with me in my facebook computer, come on over here!

Creating a Life that Works for Me: Living with Anxiety

Yes, you can live with an anxiety disorder – you really can.

I have always know that my “brain” didn’t work the same as others.  Starting in my early teens, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and went on YEARS of drugs and treatments.  In my early 20’s I decided that I wanted off the medications, so I decided one day to go “cold turkey”.  (by the way, I really don’t recommend doing that!).

From that time to my early 40’s I was able to manage most of my issues with “bandaid” medications to deal with situations when they arose.  I realize that mental illness runs through my family, and I am not shocked when another family member mentions symptoms or situations that cause anxiety or is suffering from depression and how they are managing and coping with them.

Back in the early summer 2017, I had a trigger incident, and it caused a series of “unfortunate events”.  I am a dog person, I actually think that having an animal is one of the ways that I handle the anxiety and stress of life.  Our loved 5-year-old sheltie was diagnosed with Lymphoma, and we lost her in less than a week. – but the hardest part, was that due to situations, I was alone with her for most of the time she was ill, and that took a real toll on me, and the guilt that I couldn’t somehow “save” her pushes me right over the edge.  That spiraled into a number of other situations, that I felt no control, huge anxiety that was physical and mental, and not being able to handle coping with people for days on end.   And with that, I chose to go back into counseling.  And when I did, I received a label/diagnoses that FINALLY made sense for a lot of things that I have dealt with for my life.

AGROPHOBIA – most people don’t know what that is, and many that do, may have the wrong understanding, so my goal is to

  1.  Help myself and my family manage this diagnosis
  2.  Do a little education about the diagnosis

So, HERE is the clinical definition

Definition

The word agoraphobia is derived from Greek words literally meaning “fear of the marketplace.” The term is used to describe an irrational and often disabling fear of being out in public.

Description

Agoraphobia is just one type of phobia or irrational fear.  People with phobias feel dread or panic when they are faced with certain objects, situations, activities, or even people.  People with agoraphobia often experience panic attacks, but panic attacks are not a requirement for a diagnosis.  The defining feature of agoraphobia is anxiety about being in a place from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing, or in which help might not be available.  People suffering from agoraphobia usually avoid anxiety-provoking situations, or dealing with them become physically and emotionally draining, in extreme cases, some people become totally housebound.

Causes and symptoms

Agrophobia is the most common type of phobia, and it is estimated to affect between 5-12% of North Americans, within their life.  Agrophobia is twice as common in women as it is in men and usually strikes between the ages of 15-45.

Symptoms may include trembling, sweating, heart palpitations, jitters, fatigue, nausea, a rapid pulse and a sense of impending doom.

So, what does that really mean (at least in relation to me)
A lot of times, I will make plans with friends, but at the last minute, my anxiety takes hold and I either hope they cancel, or I cancel, and if I am able to go through with it, it takes a lot out of me emotionally and physically.
When going anywhere, I like being the one to drive, then I have my vehicle (I never understood that it was my way of having an escape).  There are days that I literally don’t want to leave the house, but I do, because I know it is too easy not to.  (There are days I don’t leave the house, but that is just simply that I don’t have to).
I have created a life where I can work mostly from home, through social media, and well, I LOVE it!  Most people would have no idea when they see me – but going out into public social situations are physically exhausting for me, and I usually have to prepare myself mentally and have a quiet place to retreat to recharge and escape.  I am fine going shopping, doing errands, but in situations that most people wouldn’t bat an eye – well, I have issues with.  One more than one occasion I have canceled something “big” at the last moment because I simply can not handle whatever it is.  Once, I had planned a girls weekend, and it started out small, like 2 or 3 of us, well it ended up being almost 8 people, and I didn’t know most of them, so at the last minute, I came up with some excuse and bailed.  That friend was so mad at me, she never spoke to me again. I live with the reactions of other people not understanding, I have learned to not regret what I miss, and to accept that some others don’t understand.

One thing that I can say, remember that you can not see mental health issues.  Take the time to listen to cues, and when you have a family member or friend who you are worried about – ask… many times, they don’t know how to open the conversation.

 

Modere: Liquid Biocell

Modere’s Liquid Biocell Life

liquid collegean

Liquid BioCell® Life is the super nutraceutical with award-winning Liquid BioCell®, an ingredient that is clinically shown to relieve joint pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hips and knees. It also helps reduce the number of deep wrinkles and maintain healthy, younger-looking skin. Liquid BioCell® Life combines the multi-patented power of Collagen/HA Matrix Technology™ with 10 phytonutrient-rich superfoods, which are infused into a unique liquid delivery system that provides fast absorption and results. Liquid BioCell® is so remarkable that it has been awarded 7 U.S. and international patents and multiple industry awards. Products containing Liquid BioCell® have been featured on NBC, Good Morning America and Fox News.

  • Helps to reduce the number of deep wrinkles and maintain healthy skin
  • Provides antioxidant benefits to support good health
  • Helps to relieve joint pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hips & knees
  • Helps to metabolize fats and proteins
  • Supports connective tissue and wound healing
  • Promotes healthy teeth, gums, bones & cartilage
  • Great-tasting natural fruit flavour
  • All products formulated with our exclusive Collagen/HA Matrix Technology™ help maintain healthy skin and help relieve the joint pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hips and knees

Interested in buying this amazing product or finding out more information – click here

Review coming soon