Tag Archives: love

The Power of Making Lists

sticky notes on cork board and on one sticky note are the words "make things happen"

 

In her book, How Much Joy Can You Stand?: A Creative Guide to Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True, Suzanne Falter-Barns, focuses on the power of making lists.  She suggest making the following lists:

 

  • 10 Things You are Passionate About
  • 10 Things You Love About Your Life
  • 10 Things That Are Uniquely You
  • 10 Things You Would Like to Share
  • 10 Things You Could Fix or Change About the World
  • 10 Things You’d Like To Do Before You Die

The power of making lists comes from reflecting and writing down the answers to these lists.  You will know more about yourself. You will recognize what you are passionate about and what you love about your life.  You will know what makes you, well–you!

You will think of specific things you can share (time, talents, or money).  You will think about what you could help fix or what you would like to change about the world.

Lastly, you will have the opportunity to think of things you would like to do before you die (your personal bucket list). Many people have testified to putting down the most unlikely events and they came true!

“Shark Tank” Investor and successful entrepreneur Barbara Cocoran, who uses lists to overcome her time constraints, organizes her lists into the following three sections:

  • Calls to make
  • Things to review
  • Projects to do

As you write the answers to these lists down, you will know more about yourself and your goals and dreams. I challenge you to experience the power of making lists! Lists also let you evaluate how you are spending your time. It is easy to be busy, but harder to be effective. The power of making lists may be that it changes your life!

40 Thoughts on Life Now That I Am 40

40 Thoughts on Life...Now That I am 40

 

Now that I have turned 40 years old, I am writing to reflect on 40 things I have learned in my lifetime.  These thoughts are not in any order of importance nor are they meant to cover every aspect of life.  I’m sure every adult has at least 40 of their own thoughts on life.

 

Life is short and long at the same time.  Sometimes things seem to take forever while other times you want moments to last forever.

The older you are, the faster time goes by.  As a child, it seemed like it took forever for your birthday and Christmas to come.  Now, birthdays are a reminder to me that we will not live forever.

Life can change in an instant.  Health challenges, car accidents, and other tragic events can drastically change your entire life.

You can either grow stronger or grow bitter after enduring the challenges of life.  I choose to grow stronger each day.  I am not referring to physical strength, but of growth in character and integrity as a person.

Our life is meant to be a blessing to others.  Look around you.  There is always someone less fortunate than you.

Sometimes your own time is the best gift you can give someone.  Time with the ones you love and care for.

Take time to celebrate life.  It is a gift to live every day in the PRESENT.  We cannot change the past and if we only live for the future, we can’t enjoy today.

Surprise yourself or someone else in your life.  Let someone know what they mean to you by giving them a hug or telling them in words specific things you appreciate about them.

As you spread love, it comes back to you.  It may not come from the same person, but you will be rewarded for your kind words and deeds.

Be grateful for the little things every day.  Thank God for things that we may take for granted.  That the sun is shining (providing us heat) or that it is raining (watering our plants and farmers’ crops).

Keep a gratitude jar with scraps of paper noting one thing each day that you are grateful for or something you heard that made you smile.  Read it aloud with family and friends on New Year’s Eve.

Life is an adventure.  Routines can help you achieve great things, but even for people that like to plan out every minute of their lives, you need to challenge yourself to do something different every day.  Drive the scenic route.  Smile at a stranger on the street.  Post something inspiring on social media.

Don’t be superstitious.  Thirteen can be a good number.  Maybe you were born on the 13th or the number 13 has another positive meaning for you.  Don’t bother with reading horoscopes or visiting psychics. Life is what you make it.

In all things, lean on God.  He’s got your back if you earnestly seek Him and ask Him to help you.  He loves you and wants you to live the best life possible.  He may allow challenges in your life, but He will never allow you to experience something greater than you can handle.

Appreciate what others have done for you. There is no way you would be where you are in life today where it not for the help of other people.  Take time to thank them personally.

If you are struggling financially to make ends meet, don’t be afraid to let others know.  Maybe some time in the future you can repay the favor to another person in need.

People need to know that you care.  There are people you probably know that may suffer from anxiety and depression as well as those who may be dying or in the process of recovering from a major surgery or even a stroke.  Reach out to them and listen.  Your presence in their life may be the motivation they need to live another day.

It is impossible to know everything about anything.  There is always something new to learn.  Even the most accomplished people in life, continue to practice their gifts.  Surgeons learn new procedures and artists learn new techniques. You can always grow in your abilities to do something–even in areas where you are considered an expert!

Everyone has their own opinions about a variety of issues.  Be less concerned about being “right” and be more concerned with how you treat others.  Kindness goes a long way.

Be a good sport when you lose at something.  This doesn’t necessarily have to be something athletic.  Whenever someone does something better than you, be thankful that they proved it possible to achieve.  There will always be people more talented than us.  What matters more is your character than your abilities.

Be a good sport when you win at something.  Recognize others for their achievements and thank them for participating.  You may be a role model or mentor to them.  It is important to help make other people feel important.

People tend to respect those that show them respect. Every person deserves respect.  Wealth, prestige, and fame are what the world values.  I believe it is more important to value someone for their character.

Your character is who you are when you think no one is looking.  If you do and say what you do only to impress others, in time it will become obvious that is your motivation.  However, if you are truly being YOU, then you may inspire those around you.

Look after those who cannot defend themselves.  Abuse (in all its forms) of other humans and abuse of animals must be stopped.  The sick and elderly also need looking after.  How you treat others reflects on who you are as a person.

People can change.  It is possible for people to improve their character and their life habits.  Be open to giving someone another chance.

Look for others around you that could benefit from your wisdom.  Even young people know things that older people may not.

Eat things that will fuel your body to function at its best.  The old saying is “garbage in, garbage out.”  I gave up the sugary (but oh so tasty) Chic-Fil-A frosted coffees to make my own healthy protein shakes at home.

Exercise regularly.  I need to do more than just walk my dog outside.  It may help for me to get an accountability partner to discuss my health and fitness goals.  I do know that working with weights helps build muscle tone and burn fat.  I think the more consistently I do something like exercise, the easier it will be for me to make it a good life habit.

Write down your goals in life.  Break them into smaller steps (a daily to-do list) that you can work on each day.  They say that those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.

Allow yourself to have fun.  Sometimes we can be so goal-oriented that we don’t reserve a little time each day to do something we enjoy.  For me, this includes spending time with family, watching movies, reading, and solving crossword puzzles.

Volunteer some of your time each week to help a person or a cause.  This gives your life more purpose.  You are contributing to something you feel is worthy of your time.  You are using your unique skill set (there is only one person exactly like you) to achieve things.

It is easier to keep things clean than to have things become messy all over again.  For example, I don’t keep many things in my car so that my car stays clean.  However, I need more discipline when it comes to my house.  I love how I feel when I just finished organizing a closet!

Be your own person. Don’t try to impress others by being someone other than yourself.  Be authentic to who you are!

Always be considerate of others around you.  You may not know everything they are going through.  Some people don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal challenges with others and they may even keep it bottled up inside.  If someone (in your opinion) overreacts to something, there may be more to the story.  Be there to listen, but don’t force them to tell you everything on their mind.

Not everyone is confident in their abilities to do specific things.  There are plenty of things I’m not yet confident in my abilities to do.  I have spoken on a few webinars, but I don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of others who can see me as I am speaking.  With the webinars I’ve done, no one could look at me.  However, if you stuck me in a room full of people looking at me, I would be more nervous.  Even people who appear confident may be faking it.  Fake it until you make it!

Do your best to avoid negativity.  Speak only positive words!  Replace “I can’t” with “I can”!  Swap “I don’t know how we will get this done” to “I know we will get this done.”  I don’t mean for you to be unrealistic, but belief in yourself and other people goes a long way towards achieving great things.

Take deep breaths and five-minute breaks throughout your day.  Those who work nonstop are LESS productive than those who take breaks.  It is more effective to study in twenty-minute bursts followed by ten-minute breaks than it is to study without taking a break.  Your brain and your body need time to accomplish what you are learning and doing.

Better to eat and stay hydrated throughout your day than to eat one big meal each day especially late at night.  Your metabolism does not need the shock!

Do a little bit each day towards your specific and measurable goals.  Don’t wait until the last minute to do something.  That just makes it tougher on yourself (and probably the people around you).

How much time any of us has is unknown.  People are more important than money or things.  Be loving and generous towards others.  Make the most of every day!

Thee Matriarch Boutique Inn

 

Thee Matriarch

Thee Matriarch Boutique Inn is celebrating three years of upscale bed and breakfast hospitality.  Rachelle Jamerson-Holmes used her design talents to skillfully decorate their Victorian manor in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  Husband Chef Fred Holmes is the culinary expert behind all the delicious gourmet food they prepare.

 

 

They actively host a wide variety of events right at their inn:

  • Top Chef Tuesdays: Every third Tuesday the community can come out and enjoy an international food, dessert and beverage tasting in a relaxed environment complete with sheer fun and networking. The cooking is prepared by local featured chefs, pastry chefs, caterers, cafes, bistros, and restaurants.
  • First Fridays: Every first Friday of each month Thee Matriarch invites you to experience a tantalizing feast of savory mouthwatering southern style favorites and their healthy alternatives.  Enjoy delightful lunch and dinner items created by Chef Fred!
  • Wine Tastings: Thee Matriarch offers a complimentary private guided wine tour of boutique, handcrafted, artisan wines from the wine country of California.  Taking their guests on a “colorful journey” of whites and red as they pair them with cheese and chocolates.

Thee-MatriarchThee-Matriarch

Thee Matriarch is listed in Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the 7 Top Black-Owned Bed and Breakfasts in America.  Rachelle and Fred make their guests feel welcome from the moment they walk in the door.  Whether they come for an event or stay overnight as a guest, their guests leave feeling even better than when they first arrived.

Everyone needs a little rest and relaxation.  They were voted one of the 12 Unforgettable Vacations in South Carolina If You Feel Like Really Splurging by the “Only In Your State” South Carolina website.

Millenium Magazine stated in their recent article, “Thee Matriarch Ranks Among the Top Boutiques” that “the couples love for people and their community fuels their enthusiasm to service their guest with excellent customer service, attention to details and personal attention.”

In Carolina Panorama’s article, “Best of the Best Orangeburg Couple’s Bed and Breakfast Named Among The Best Regional and National Boutique Inns”: “Designer Rachelle has elegantly restored and beautifully designed Thee Matriarch to appeal to business and leisure travelers satisfying the need for a full-service small- to medium-size venue for corporate retreats, seminars, family and class reunions, showers, weddings and receptions. An ideal setting for BFF, spa and golf getaways, Thee Matriarch’s Chef Fred crafts tantalizing cuisines of every genre for any occasion offering on and off property catering services.  Each bite will make your soul sing and yearn for more.”

Hosts Rachelle and Fred show their guests warm Southern hospitality.  Stay with them at Thee Matriarch in Orangeburg, South Carolina the next time you travel to the Palmetto State!

Bed and Breakfasts in December

Bed and Breakfasts in December

The Queen Victoria in Cape May, NJ during Christmas time

Bed and breakfasts, in December, can put on a spectacular display of holiday cheer. This is the best time of year to decorate your B&B. There are so many creative and festive ways to do so. The Queen Victoria in Cape May, New Jersey has exquisite outdoor Christmas lights! I love how they outlined their bed and breakfast to highlight that their inn has three floors and they hung lit garland with red bows on the fence all the way around their property.

Bed and Breakfasts in December

Decorative Doorway at Another Second Penny Inn of Stonington, CT

Another Second Penny Inn hung garland and put up a wreath with a red bow on their reflective glass door. The snow falling in Connecticut just adds to the bed and breakfast’s winter look.  They are located on a leafy, scenic road just 3 miles from Mystic and 2 miles north of Stonington Borough.

Their 1710 New England home offers friendly, romantic, and spacious accommodations for their bed and breakfast visitors. Winner of the Best Breakfast in New England, owners Jim and Sandra Wright, offer deluxe five course breakfasts on weekends and holidays and delicious Continental Breakfasts on the other mornings.

Curious about how this inn got its name? They offer this Ancient Persian saying to explain, “If you have two pennies, with the first, buy bread for your stomach and with the second, buy hyacinths for your soul.”

Bed and Breakfasts in December

Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast of Durham, NC adds to the festivities with garland & bows decorating the stairway

Morehead Manor of Durham, North Carolina was recently named the Best Black-Owned Bed and Breakfast in America by Black Enterprise magazine.  Innkeepers Daniel and Monica Edwards decorate their inn festively every year.  The garland and ribbon going down their staircase is but one area of the inn in the Bull City.  Within walking distance for their inn is the Durham Performing Arts Center which has holiday performances including the fortieth year of performances of A Christmas Carol! Durham is also the Tastiest Town of the South so between the delicious gourmet breakfasts at Morehead Manor and award-winning restaurants, your appetite will be more than satisfied!

The York Harbor Inn family of Inns in Maine is comprised of six separate lodges. The Main Inn offers twenty-two guest rooms. There are also two ocean view restaurants as well as lovely banquet and meeting rooms. Many luxury rooms feature ocean and beach view decks, fireplaces and/or Jacuzzi tubs. The York Harbor inn recognizes that people’s dogs are part of their family and they offer pet friendly rooms in their Harbor Crest building.  The picture of their Christmas tree by the fire is gorgeous.

Bed and Breakfasts in December

Stunning Dining Room of The Empress Bed and Breakfast in Little Rock, AR

Bob Blair and his wife Sharon Welch-Blair are owners of The Empress of Little Rock, in Arkansas. They have been open for nearly twenty years and they love their guests! “Anyone who loves people, enjoys welcoming them into your home, looks forward to a day of tasks and events of all kinds (everyday a new day), and works with a great crew should become an innkeeper.” Their enthusiasm for entertaining is evident when you look at their multi-award winning AAA four diamond rated bed and breakfast!  Every guest room at the historic inn has its own themed tree to create magic throughout the entire mansion. Bob and Sharon display their mementos and antiques in each room so you feel like you are not only experiencing the past, but are cherished guests of The Royal Family.

Bed and Breakfasts in December

The twinkling lights of the tree at the White Oak Manor in Jefferson, TX.

White Oak Manor is an historic bed and breakfast in Jefferson, Texas.  Innkeepers Dave and Tammy invite you to join their warm and friendly atmosphere.  It is especially beautiful to visit them this time of year with their festive holiday decorations.  Jefferson is always filled with love, laughter and friendly faces.

So how does your bed and breakfast celebrate the holidays? Feel free to make comments about what food you prepare for guests, special ways you decorate your inn, and anything else you do to make this time of year extra special.

Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast

Blue Mountain

 

Innkeepers Brady and Elaine Anderson-Wood love showing hospitality to their guests at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast in Missoula, Montana.  Missoula is said to be “the best small town under 100,000 people” in America.  With breathtaking views of the mountains and Bitterroot River as well as beautiful gardens and wildlife to watch.

 

 

They relish sharing their mountain, home, and Montana history with others from around the world.  Meeting people from every walk of life is a real treat for them.  Guests come for a variety of reasons including: visiting their kids at University of Montana, fishing, relaxing between visits to Yellowstone and Glacier Park.

Guests have visited from every state but Delaware as well as the countries of Israel, Bolivia, Jacarta, Mongolia, Honduras, Namibia, South Korea, and Romania.  One couple from France comes every year to enjoy Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast and the surrounding area. Brady and Elaine’s biggest surprise as innkeepers has been to see how people with very different view points are able to come together, share breakfast, and take away an appreciation for each other.

Elaine, who takes professional pictures, says she has always adored taking pictures because of her deep love and connection with nature.  The animals that can be found outside their B&B include: woodpeckers, humming birds, hawks, eagles, bears, bunnies, deer, wild turkeys, elk, chipmunks, and much more.

Because of her background in history and education,  Elaine was able to take more classes (including classes specifically oriented toward the bi-centennial of Lewis and Clark) to become an official tour guide.  There are so many lovely walking trails in their area.

Blue Mountain B&B is open year round and guests can stay for just one night if that is their desire.  Some choose to have one night escapes from Missoula, Helena, Great Falls, and other places. There are fun things to do all year long in Missoula.  The benefit of their particular location is that they are close to town, yet secluded.  Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast is on twenty acres of registered wildlife habitat next to National and State forest land.  The home was designed by their family and the room decor reflects their Swedish family heritage as well as their ranching backgrounds.

Their most loved breakfast dishes include their asparagus gratins, macadamia-crusted French toast, and Aebelskivers (a Dutch stove top doughnut).  Brady and Elaine would love to have fellow innkeepers as guests so they can enjoy the beauty of nature, do fun area activities and/or just relax, and taste their awesome breakfasts as well as share fellow inn-keeping experiences!

Your Website Needs Pictures

your website needs pictures

 

Your website needs pictures.  If this web page had no pictures, would it have caught your attention as well?  You need to wow your potential guests with amazing professional photographs showing them the experience they will have if they stay at your bed and breakfast.  

 

Your website needs pictures:

  • Outdoor Pictures
  • Gardening & Landscaping
  • Breathtaking Views
  • Guest Bedrooms
  • Guest Bathrooms
  • Gourmet Kitchen
  • Your Breakfasts & Other Delights
  • Common Areas
  • Grand Staircases & Fireplaces
  • Porch, Balcony & Deck
  • Your Antiques & Collections
  • Your Events such as Weddings & Concerts
  • Innkeepers/Owners
  • Area Attractions and Area Events
  • Events Hosted At Your Inn

The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is right!  For search engine optimization purposes, be sure to label your images with the relevant keywords. Capture their love of what your inn and local community has to offer with awesome photos because your website needs pictures!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

What Innkeepers Like Most

what innkeepers like most

I wanted to see if there were some common responses to the question I asked bed and breakfast innkeepers in an online Linked In group. The question was, “What do you like most about being an innkeeper?” Answers to what innkeepers like most included:

  • Welcoming guests from all over the world
  • Meeting people from all walks of life
  • Showing hospitality by making others feel at home
  • Conversations that flow naturally with guests
  • Feeding our guests well
  • Being my own boss
  • Satisfaction from making others happy
  • Having guests return again and again and forming long-term bonds with them

So what do YOU like best about being owning a bed and breakfast?  I can think of several responses, to what innkeepers like most, depending upon what activities you like to do at your B&B:

  • Greeting and speaking with guests
  • Cooking delicious breakfasts, desserts, and more
  • Hosting events such as weddings and group meetings
  • Tending to our beautiful garden
  • Renovating and restoring our home
  • Decorating the rooms
  • Designing several different packages for guests to choose from
  • Updating guests with a regular newsletter or blog
  • Using social media to promote our bed and breakfast

Everyday keep in mind what you love about being an innkeeper. Keep track of memorable moments with guests. Stay in touch with former guests and reach out to potential new guests. Join an innkeeping association for support from fellow innkeepers.  Now it is easier than ever to keep in contact with others in our connected world.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Verify Your Website To Pin Smarter

 

pin smarter

 

Pinterest helps people discover things in a simple and visual way. Pinners might find something they love while browsing your boards, scrolling through a category you’re listed in or searching for your bed and breakfast directly.  It is important to verify your website to pin smarter.

 

 

Pinterest offers Business sites to help brands and businesses who wish to use Pinterest to connect with their audience. In this blog post I will tell you exactly why  you want to verify your bed and breakfast’s website for your Business Pinterest Profile. Without verifying your website, you will be missing some very important information!

First, to verify your website, visit your Settings page and click on the Verify Website button. When your website is verified, people will see a checkmark next to your domain in search results. They will also see the full website URL and checkmark on your profile.

The verification badge helps people identify high-quality sources of content and more easily find the business they want in search results.  There you’ll find Pinterest tools and resources relevant to you, and see examples of how other businesses are using Pinterest.

Pinterest offers tips to businesses, including:
  • Pinning from various sources rather than one specific site.
  • Pinning from within Pinterest to engage with others (pinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds his/her network of followers)
  • Creating at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic.
For businesses, pinning can be a great way to highlight aspects of your brand that may not come to mind at first when people consider your brand. For example, not everyone knows:

  • B&B’s can have spas, salons, and shops
  • Bed and breakfasts can offer retreats and some perform weddings
  • All the wonderful amenities bed and breakfasts offer
  • About your wonderful hospitality and homemade cooking

Pinterest can also be a great tool to learn what your audience and potential guests like. Once your website is verified, you have access to Pinterest Analytics.  This is the why I was talking about.  This shows you which pins are most popular with pinners and see which pins are driving the most traffic to your site!

You can also see what boards your stuff appears on, how the pins are described and what people pin along with your stuff.  All of these insights will help you make smarter choices about what you pin and even develop a pinning strategy when you pin smarter.  Watch out: pinning can be addictive!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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