Tools to Make my Life & Work Easier

As a writer, a shopper, a person, an independent contractor, etc., I use a variety of online tools to make my life easier.  Here is a list of the tools I used throughout my day.

I start my Toggl timer first thing in the morning when I start working.  I pulled up MindManager to look at an outline of an online course that I’m editing.

When I got a call from the office, I whipped out my LiveBinders to look at an itinerary for international travelers leaving at 9 o’clock tonight.  When my client wanted to collaborate on an article, Join.me was the ticket.

You get the picture.  Seriously, I used ALL of these today.  I am a terrible housekeeper, but I am productive writer and work-from-home kind of gal.

Internet tools make me be able to spread myself thinner than ever before!  (That’s sarcasm…not going to put in an “LOL.”)

Adult Books (Coloring Books, that is.)

Remember coloring books?  

Well, now we can have our own!  We don’t have to share with the children or grandchildren anymore!  They’re supposed to be stress-relief tools.  My judgment says they will stress me to the wall because I can color worth a flip. And, I will be stressed because I don’t have time. None the less, I am about to order the Creative Cat Coloring Book!  Of course, that will require art supplies to go with it.  (Good thing I have a lot of points saved upon on my Amazon Rewards Card for such frivolities.  It is guilt free spending.)

My good friend DB bought a coloring book last week.  She started coloring last night.  I asked her this afternoon (her morning) how the coloring was going.  DB said her hand was tired and she’d be ordering gel pens to go along with her other art supplies.

I’m tagging this post as Stocking Stuffers!  This will be a fun gift for our 50 plus girlfriends.

Review – Skip Bo Craze Revival

You have probably played the card game Skip Bo and if you have, you love it or you hate it.  I was introduced to it on a cruise.  It was our go-to way to spend time out at sea.

Meanwhile, back here at the ranch, I am fortunate to have four 50-plus friends who like playing cards; I carried my Skip Bo cards to our last gathering and we’ve all gotten addicted not only to playing the Skip Bo card game cards together, we have all downloaded the Skip Bo app and we’re playing that, too!

Skip Bo can accommodate five players.  There used to be four of them and they had a great time playing Spades. Now that I’m in the group, playing Spades is out of the question.  Spades is the favorite game for all of us, but Spades  for five isn’t fun.  Next weekend, my high ol’ time for celebrating Labor Day will be in the midst of a Skip Bo throw down.

If you haven’t tried Skip Bo for a while, download the app on your Kindle Fire or phone and have fun with it!  I play mine on my Kindle Fire HD, my iPad Mini, and my phone.

Being 50 plus years old is the best…like college, but with more money, and you can play Skip Bo all night if you want to!

Don’t forget to wear your cheaters!

The Warren & Janet Show

Being 50 plus means you have a parent or two (if you’re fortunate) that’s about 80 years old.  My mother is 82.  She has a boyfriend named Warren.  They are a hoot!

Below is a little YouTube video from my mother’s 80th birthday.  Conversations with Mother and her boyfriend Warren are hilarious (as long as you don’t have to really deal with an actual problem!)

My mother has become a little bit famous on Facebook because I post our conversations.  Here are a few of the favorites.

Brenda & Janet in July, 2014.

Brenda & Janet in July, 2014.

Review – Striking Allegra K Tops (Colorful, Easy Care) – $10 and up

These are four of my favorite tops for perking me up on a day I’d rather stay under the covers with my pups.  They are so pretty and flowy that it’s almost like wearing a fun costume.  (I have at least six more Allegra K tops like these that I’ll review later.)

I took a chance when I ordered my first Allegra K topI mean, how good can a top be that costs only $8 – $10?  Since my first order, these tops have become a passion of mine.  I look at least once a week to see if there are new prints available.  I have received so many compliments on my Allegra K tops that I’ve decided to become a network publisher to promote them. I own every one of the tops in this review and can say that my experience ordering, wearing, and laundering them has been top notch.

 The directions say to “hand wash.”  I do NOT hand wash mine.  I wash them in Woolite and throw them into the dryer on low heat with other similar types of clothes.

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In my 20s, I didn’t have style, I had a helluva bosom.

In my 20s, I didn’t have style, I had a helluva bosom.

In my 30s, I made adorable two-piece suits with short skirts and tailored jackets to make the best of that bosom.  I wore them with classic pumps.

In my 40s, I grieved the passing of my husband and mourned not being in my 20s or 30s, so I schlepped around a lot without a bit of style. When I got dressed, it was usually a subtle navy or black pantsuits and pearls.

After I turned 50, I realized that all this that’s ME wasn’t going to get any better and I’d better make peace with that and rock it.

When I’m this lady’s age, I hope I’m rocking it even harder!  Read about her on the Advanced Style blog.

From Advanced Style

Review – Longer, Thicker Lashes (with Younique 3D Fiber Mascara)

Younique 3D Fiber Mascara is one of my very, very favorite things.  It’s the real deal.  Don’t order this on Amazon or eBay because you’re probably getting a knock off of China.  Take a look at my pictures below.  If you like what you see, visit my Younique website to order.

I try to keep lots of these in stock (12 on hand today) and can ship within 48 hours or faster via Priority Mail with tracking if you want to order it direct from me.  I take PayPal and credit cards.  Here are my direct prices:

The price for one is $29 plus $2.40 tax.  If I ship it to you via Priority Mail, add $5.95 to that.  I can ship two for one shipping price of $5.95.  If you buy three, I will pay for the shipping, shipping is free.  If you buy four, I’ll pay the shipping and you will get a $5 discount.

TO ORDER:

For now, I’m not automated.  You’ll either need to send me a payment via PayPal (to brendasstone at gmail) for the amount specified for one, two, three, or four 3D Mascara set, or send an email to the same address to tell me when I can call you to get your credit card number.

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Recipe – Bob’s Texas Tomato & Bacon Soup

I won’t post many recipes, but this one is good and special to me. My grandfather whose name was Bob taught me how to make it when I was very young.  I wrote the recipe down for a friend.  She made it today and shared the picture with me.  I thought it’d be nice to have the recipe handy to share with readers and friends.

Bob's Texas Tomato and Bacon Soup

Bob’s Texas Tomato and Bacon Soup

Bob’s Texas Tomato & Bacon Soup

  • 6 – 10 slices of bacon (or more)
  • One large onion – chopped
  • Two cans of stewed tomatoes (size: 15.5 oz)
  • One can of tomato sauce (size 15.5 oz)
  • Two cups of milk
  • Cornstarch 2 – 3 tablespoons (my favorite thickener, some use flour).
  • Black Pepper & Salt

PLUS:

  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1 or 2 cornbread mixes, 1 egg, 2/3 cup of milk needed for each mix.
  • Go ahead and prepare the cornbread and put in the oven.

Run the stewed tomatoes through a food processor to puree.  I have also used a stick blender. Some people like the chunks and prefer not to puree the tomatoes as finely as I do. When you are finished, set aside.

Using a soup pot: Fry the slices of bacon until crisp. Remove and set on paper towels to drain.

Use the drippings to sauté the onion. Poor off the excess and drop the onions into the hot bacon grease.  Cook the onion until transparent.

Add the pureed tomatoes and the tomato sauce to the onions. Cook at medium high heat. Bring to a foaming boil.

Add two cups of milk and observe that it will look like it has curdled. Reduce to low heat for a few minutes and it will begin to mix well and become smooth in appearance.

Put about two tablespoons of cornstarch in a cup or glass. Add about three tablespoons of cool water and mix well. Pour the ¼ cup of water to the cornstarch mix and stir well. Use to thicken soup to your liking. Add water if you get it too thick and cook a few minutes longer.

Use plenty of black pepper to season and salt to taste.

Crumble the bacon on top of it, or put the bacon in a bowl for adding at the table.

Serve with, or over, lots of cornbread. This recipe makes about a two quarts of soup.

Counting Today’s Blessings (No one called the police.)

This morning I was sleeping, and I was sleeping, sleeping, sleeping…such GOOD sleeping.  I woke up about 10:30 a.m. and stumbled in to make a cup of coffee.  My Samsung Gear 2 (aka my Life Alert, so say my smart@ss co-workers) started blinking alerting me that I had a phone call.

I had left my lifeline, my Samsung Note 4, in the bedroom, but I needed to answer because it was a client–my bread/butter of writing client.  I hit the little button and spoke into my watch.  “Hello?”  He said, “ARE YOU OKAY?”

“Yes…I’m fine, why? I slept in.”

He:  “I’ve called you six times and I have already called Rob and I was about to call the police and drive to College Station. In all these years you have never NOT answered your phone.”

Still speaking with slurry sleepy words into my Gear 2 and fumbling with the coffee, I said the only sentence I could say, “So, did Rob answer?” (Wow, I thought…what kind of smart @ss question was that?)

My caller must have thought so, too. He didn’t answer me.  He grumpily said that now that he was sure I wasn’t dead, he was going to have coffee with a friend.

I stumbled back to bed with my coffee cup and noted that indeed I had turned the ringer off on my phone.  UGH!

First of all, I’m so blessed to have this man as a friend.  I’m blessed that he values me not only as a contractor but that he cares about me. I feel horrible that I scared him like that.

I’m blessed that he didn’t have my mother’s number because that would have been the icing on the cake.

I’m blessed because I was wearing my Samsung Gear 2 and didn’t cause my friend anymore worry which would have resulted in a 911 call.

I’m REALLY blessed that he didn’t race to my door or didn’t call the police so they would see me open the door in response to loud pounding (which no doubt would bring out the neighbors so that they could all see me) standing there squinting into the sunlight with hair standing on end wearing nothing but a brown wife beater and a pair of leopard print granny panties with two frantic backups, old Foxy, a fuzzy pom mix, and a little black dog named Harry that doesn’t know how to bark, just scream like a banshee.

Well, as they say, all’s well that ends well.  A good Saturday has come and gone and my unfortunate readers will need bleach to get that visual out of their eyes.

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