A Story of a Business Idea, Delayed

Once upon a time, in what seems like a completely different life time, I was a massage therapist, working for myself. I had a business partner, Laura, and together we were trying to create something wonderful. Our business was called Absolute Balance. It was 1999.

That year there was a Holistic Networkers Expo at the Arlington Convention Center, and we wanted to be a part of it. However, we had no money for a booth ($450), so we came up with the brilliant idea of offering our services in exchange. Our idea? We would give the keynote speakers a massage in the name of the promoter. She loved the idea, and we were in.

We intended to promote our business (massage therapy) with free demos, but we also knew we could make some money if we offered something for sale. That was the birth of the idea of my all natural skin care products. I offered Beauty Oils to balance the facial skin, massage/bath oils, and lotions. We sold a few of them, but we sold more of the gemstones and jewelry we had on hand. One woman even bought my moldavite necklace right off of my neck!

A year later, Absolute Balance became unbalanced, and Laura and I dissolved our partnership to go our separate ways. At that time, we both agreed not to use the Absolute Balance name, so I changed my products to reflect the fact that I was now using essential oils I had purchased in Egypt on a tour in the spring of 2000. Egyptian Elixirs was born. My fragrances were expanded, and the few people that I convinced to buy them loved them and wanted more.

But I never really got my company off the ground. It was expensive buying the supplies needed, and with no real market for them just selling through my massage therapy business, I became frustrated and decided to just let them go. I used up my remaining supply, gave some away as gifts, and resigned myself that Egyptian Elixirs was a fun phase of my life, but nothing really important.

And yet, the idea has not left my mind. It keeps popping up, especially as I see others doing what I never had the wherewithal to do: promoting all natural things. Last night, while trying to unwind and get to sleep, the entire new line just popped into my head. The ideas were coming so fast they made my head spin, and I jumped up and started writing down what I saw in my mind.

I have a new name for my products, and I know what the label will look like, and the products I will offer. The products will include facial balancing oils, lip balms, body lotions, bath/massage oils, milk bath, and foot balms. Head to toe, my all natural skin care products have everything a person needs, and no nasty chemicals.

The next step is to figure out where to sell them and to get a manufacturer to produce and drop ship them for me. I think that was my major mistake in the beginning. I thought I had to create everything! I was creating the labels on Print Shop, using my inkjet printer to produce them, and then having to seal them so the ink wouldn’t run if it got wet. I bought all the ingredients and made the products, then bottled them and labeled them. It wasn’t very professional looking, and the ingredients, especially the essential oils, were prohibitively expensive for something I really had no market for yet.

I have a lot of work ahead of me to get this out to the world, but I’m determined. If this keeps popping up in my life, I must not be finished with it. I can take a hint.

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I think it is time for some pictures, don’t you? I love seeing the pics in people’s blogs, and it’s been waaay too long since I posted some.

What you’ll be seeing here are some food pics since last January, plus some pictures of around the University of Texas at Arlington that I took yesterday.

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A Change in Dreams

Be careful what you ask for, for you will surely get it. I mean that in a very good sense!

I visualized and prayed for a place of my own, and now I have the opportunity to receive (for free) a travel trailer. A place of my own! However, I’ve been feeling guilty for not really wanting it (it has some ‘issues’ that would need to be overcome), but what I’m realizing is that I want more.

The lure of the road is great, and I still want to travel the world. However, I am realizing that I really, really want to be able to cook a lot. I love to cook, and if I cannot get into the kitchen and create things, I am not happy. Having access to fresh food, including pastured eggs and meats and naturally raised vegetables is also important to me. I also like having air conditioning. Living in a van, RV, or travel trailer limits those things, and I don’t want to live that way on a permanent basis. Until I was offered this trailer, I didn’t realize that.

With that in mind, I am changing my dreams. I now hereby let the Universe know that I see myself living in a wonderful homestead, with chickens and a garden, and plenty of room to cook and preserve foods. I have air conditioning, or I live in a location that doesn’t need it. My home is made of natural and reclaimed materials, with renewable energy as well as being on the grid. I have internet all the time!

All this or something better is mine now. I choose it. Thank you, Universe, for bringing me exactly what I asked for.

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I’m back!

My journey continues. I guess I should back up and tell you what I’ve been up to since I last posted in January, though.

For eight months, from October 23, 2011, to July 3, 2012, I lived with my best friend and her husband in Cordova, TN. That’s a suburb of Memphis, on the east side. It was a delightful time, in which I played personal chef for them and cooked up a storm, and in between cooking, I used the Internet.

That utopia came to an end when my friend’s daughter and her family were forced to move in with them because they lost their house. A sad commentary on the state of the economy, isn’t it? Anyway, it was time for me to move on anyway. I’d become complacent, and I’d put my Diet to Live For Tour on the back burner. I’m still not sure when that is going to happen, but I’m back to pondering that.

On the evening of July 3rd, I took Megabus from Memphis to Dallas, arriving in Grand Prairie. I loved that, because it’s right next to Arlington, where my kids live, and easy for my son to pick me up at 7:30am on the 4th of July. Megabus is pretty nice and it’s an express, so we only stopped in Little Rock to pick up and drop off passengers. The trip was around 8.5 hours, instead of 11 or 13 on Greyhound.

My son took me to his apartment so I could hear him play the violin, which he only took up a couple of months ago. He’s quite good! I loved on his cats and we talked about his impending move to Provo, Utah, following his fiancée. His sister soon intervened, though, and insisted he bring me to her house, where I would be staying.

My daughter lives with her two roommates in a lovely townhouse not too far from where we lived before in Arlington. The townhouse is older, probably built in the 1960s. They all graciously took me in to live while I figured things out. I slept on the sofa (not bad, actually), and cooked for my daughter and her boyfriend (you know I can’t NOT cook).

Today, after spending the better part of two weeks, I left my daughter’s home and am now staying with a friend of mine who lives on campus. He was my student when I was a tutor at the University of Texas at Arlington, and he finally located me a month or so ago. He’s still in school, and needed my expertise for his presentation and paper. When he heard I was basically homeless, he offered to let me share his apartment with him while I looked for a job so that I can afford to get my own place. I’m so grateful to him!

So, that brings us up to date. I just arrived. My friend has gone back to bed, since he works nights. He’ll bring me a key in the morning, so I can go out when he’s at school or work. He’s insisting I take the bed, but I feel guilty doing that. However, I can see a way for this to work. I sleep nights; he works nights (3 days a week). It’s a no-brainer, right? We can share the bed that way. I suspect he’ll be sleeping on the sofa the rest of the week. He’s very gallant.

More to come. I’ve decided to resurrect this blog and get it going again. I’ll have some pics of foods that I’ve made and not shared that I’ll post, and I’ll keep you all updated on my money-making plans.
Tata for now!

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Confession Time

I fudged on my Diet to Live For today. My friend and I went out to take her sister to the doc, and on the way home, we decided we wanted burgers for dinner. Since I started fighting a cold virus a day or so ago, I just didn’t feel like cooking. So, we went to Backyard Burgers, because it’s right by her house, and because…well,they’re good.

It started innocently enough. We ordered the American burger, with cheese and bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, mustard, and ketchup. The woman behind the counter asked what kind of bun, and we said it didn’t matter, we weren’t eating it. She said, “I can make it a low carb burger, no problem,” which we eagerly accepted.

Now here is where the problem started. I asked her if their fries had wheat in them, because I was allergic to wheat. She ran to the back to check, and announced that the box only said “potatoes.” I said if there was an ingredient list and all it said was potatoes, then we were safe. So we both ordered fries. Once in the car, however, I realized that these were “seasoned” fries, and might not be so innocent.

At home, before we ate, I went online to Backyard Burger’s website to look up the allergens. Sure enough, the fries contained gluten.

By that time, the smell of the fries, plus the burger and my hunger, all conspired to have me throw up my hands and say, “Screw it, I’m eating the damn fries!” And so I did. All of them. And they were good.

Now I’m feeling a little guilty and ashamed at falling off the wagon and eating something with grains in it. True, it probably wasn’t enough to cause me to instantly swell up and gain 5 pounds, and since I don’t have celiac disease and am not really allergic to gluten, it’s probably not going to kill me.

A friend on Facebook, when I confessed this ‘sin,’ told me to prove to everyone out there that succumbing to a moment of weakness doesn’t mean I have to give up the Diet to Live For. So I went to the kitchen, and made a panful of bacon, and my friend and I ate bacon and sliced tomatoes. Her dog, Miles, helpfully watched me, in hopes of scoring some of the bacon…and of course, we complied. That is one spoiled dog. And I am feeling much better now, after climbing back on the wagon.

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Halloween Dinner

After spending an hour or two at Sam’s Club today, my friend and I decided we needed a treat for Halloween night, and one that wouldn’t make our waistlines expand. That meant pork chops, baby limas, and sauteed asparagus.

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Winning the wheat war – an update

My friend’s husband (the trucker) called today to say he’s had to take his belt in a notch. He’s been wheat free since Monday. Not very low-carb, and not totally grain-free, so this is amazing.

Being on the road, with no fridge in the truck, and having to eat with one hand while driving sometimes, it’s not easy to find wheat-free and low carb food options. He gave in and bought some Wendy’s chicken tenders to eat, and reported that they no longer taste good to him (secret cheer!).

Meanwhile, here in Memphis, my friend and I are eating salads with boiled chicken, sugar-free chocolate covered pecans, low carb peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, bacon, and eggs. Yum. She’s losing weight, too.

Chocolate chip peanut butter cookies...low carb!

sugar free chocolate covered pecans

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Dinner and dessert in Memphis

I’m in Memphis now, staying with my best friend and her husband for a while. One of the ways I’m earning my bed and board here is by teaching them how to eliminate wheat from their diet and eat LCHF (low carb/high fat). It’s been 4 days now, and they’re doing great. I took all the wheat products out of the pantry, and moved the stuff from the fridge to the freezer out in the garage.

They are still eating more carbs than I’d like, in the form of sodas and popcorn, but we’re getting there. Tonight I made them dinner: baked cod, sauteed asparagus, and cole slaw. For dessert, I made a low carb peanut butter cookie and added chopped up Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate.

Other goodies they’ve loved: my sugar-free chocolate covered nuts (walnuts and pecans), and chocolate whipped cream mousse.

As well as cooking for them, we’ve been eating out a lot this week. I’m thrilled to say that they’ve avoided all wheat, even allowing me to send the bread basket away at Logan’s Steak House. Yesterday we ate at the Dixie Cafe, and they managed to stay away from the rolls, which were on the table for the other people in our party. They’ve got great willpower so far!

Here are pics from today’s lovely meal and goodies:

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Sugar is a pain in the butt

Interesting n=1 observation. I caved and ate an entire Butterfinger candy bar 2 nights ago. That’s about 44 grams of carbohydrate, way more than I usually allow myself in an entire day, much less in one weak moment. Yesterday, I started feeling pain in my left hip. I noticed it about midday, and as the day wore on, it got worse and worse. It was so bad, I could hardly walk last night. The pain seemed to be right in the joint, and then radiated down the front of my thigh; felt like it was in the bone. The odd thing? It was only on the left side. The right hip felt fine, which is good, because I would have been immobile, otherwise.

This morning, the pain is nearly all gone. Ate no chocolate yesterday at all. Had fried eggs and bacon for breakfast, a bacon cheeseburger with avocado for dinner (no bun, of course). Basically all protein and fat. I did eat a couple of Werther’s sugar free caramel and coffee hard candies, and my homemade lemonade (bottled lemon and lime juices, 2 packets of Truvia).

I thought it might be from sitting on my butt all day at the computer, but I’ve been doing that for that past couple of weeks. Why all of a sudden would I hurt so bad I could barely walk? And why would it all of a sudden be (mostly) gone over night?

Thinking I had ingested some type of grain, or at least gluten, I went on a search this morning. Found this article detailing gluten in typical Halloween candies. Their research says that Butterfingers don’t have gluten in them.

A search of the Internet found no listing of ingredients, even on the Nestle site (which did have nutritional labels for their candies). However, my daughter still hadn’t eaten her Butterfinger, so I absconded with it. Here is what the package lists as ingredients:

Corn syrup, sugar, ground roasted peanuts, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, cocoa, molasses, and less than 1% of whey, confectioner’s corn flakes, nonfat milk, salt, lactic acid esters, soy lecithin, soybean oil, cornstarch, artificial flavors, TBHQ and citric acid (to preserve freshness), yellow 5, red 40.

No gluten, but it does contain corn starch. My question is: If the Butterfinger bar caused the pain in my butt, was it the sugar and corn syrup, or the cornstarch that triggered it? Either way, this little ‘experiment’ just proved to me, once again, that grains and sugar are poison to my body. I can hardly wait for the pain to be completely gone and be back to my normal Diet to Live For self.

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