Thursday, June 25, 2020

Flagged

I have seen a lot of talk, lately, about the confederate flag and how some people are upset that most people want it removed from use. It is strange to me that lack of empathy those people posses, while still expecting that people should empathize with their desire to use such a hateful flag.

While I would love wax poetic about why that flag is degrading and why it was never something to have pride in in the first place, I think, instead, I should just mention that there are many other types of flags for one to have pride in.

In fact, it is currently Pride Month, so there are literally pride flags to mention. There is the gay pride flag, lesbian pride flag, bisexual pride flag, asexual pride flag, transgender pride flag, etc. Even if none of those thing applies to you personally, you likely have a friend or family member to whom it does apply. And even if you don't, supporting the underrepresented is extremely important.

If you think that's too "political", although equality and basic human rights are not political in the slightest, there are things lie sports team flags. My husband has several in support of his favorite teams. These are fun because it's a way to show pride in the college you went to or a team you grew up watching with your parents, or just your support of a team you like. It helps you feel more connected, like you are a part of it, instead of just a spectator.

Of course, there is country flags, like my husband has an Irish flag, because he was born in Ireland, and there are even state flags. State Flags, as far as I know, are not a novel idea, by any means. However, that does not mean I actually know anything about them. I've often found myself presented with a flag and wonder what it was for, only to discover it was a state flag. For the longest time I could not even identify the Florida flag. I have lived here my whole life.


Flags have never really been my thing, but it was interesting to look at all the different state flags and I actually kind of love the idea of flying your home state when you move away and things like that. A way to keep a piece of your roots with you no matter where you go. A real piece of history. Of your personal roots, not some "cause" that was never the right side.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Hitting the Books

Most people might not know this about me, but I love to read. Actually, to be more accurate, I used to love reading. In recent (and not-so-recent) years I have very much gotten distracted by life. It had gotten to the point that I cannot even remember how long it has been since I have read an actual book all the way through.

I have half-read along several books with my son during the school year, so that I could better help him with his school assignments. I have read things online, short stories written by friends or that are part of fandoms that I am interested in. But I have not read a whole book in years.

During the time, it never felt like it had been that long. Now, looking back, it feels like a lifetime. Like I am starting at the beginning or something. That seems absurd, but maybe it is fairly correct. I've missed out on every single book released in the past 5 years at least, let alone all the classics I had never read before that. It makes me sad to think about.

And I am so excited to be diving back in to an exciting world, or many, many worlds, of fiction, but I am also very overwhelmed. I don't know where to start. I have always been a sucker for angsty plots. I like a thrilling, even heartbreaking read, as long as it has a satisfying ending.


And as much as I love fiction, I also love non-fiction. I love reading people's struggles and accomplishments and the lessons they have learned and the wisdom they can share because of all that. I love being able to see how much we all have in common, no matter who we are or where we are from.

In fact, I have always wanted to write a book. My sister and I have discussed it more than once. We've had a very interesting life. My siblings and I have all faced many hardships and even our mother before us. We have tried (and sometimes failed) to break generational "curses" and to be better people and leave a better example and legacy for our own children. I feel like we have a story that, unfortunately, many can resonate with.

We have never taken it super seriously, but it is something that we have always had in our heads. I would really love to look more into self publishing and how that could work for people like my sister and I. Using Sam Haskell as an example, it worked out phenomenally well for him.

Just being able to sit and write out all my experiences like that would be incredibly therapeutic, I think. I always tend to use writing as a way to vent my emotions anyway. I have done poetry when I am feeling sad or depressed or stressed out for as long as I can remember. Being able to take it a step further and actually publish something meaningful would be so incredible.

I think someday we are really going to do it. I feel like it is something we both need to do. Until then, I will lose myself in all the amazing stories that other people have bestowed upon the world. That is more than enough for now.

Real Estate Investing

A few years ago my husband and I first began, tentatively, to look for investment opportunities. Neither of us had ever really had any experience in that area, and we didn't even know where to start. My husband's father had quite a bit of success with investing. He offered us some advise, which we were extremely grateful for.

I wish that we had been more outright and asked him more. He has since passed on, making that impossible now. The wisdom he did impart us with was still incredibly helpful, though. In addition to helping us discover the best interest gaining savings accounts, like CDs, his biggest recommendation was real estate investment.

He had experience with it. He had taken affordable, less than desirable properties, and fixed them up, creating thriving business and attractive renting and sale prospects. He often rented out his own second home during the months they were in their primary home, and offered us so many tips on the best ways to go about that type of property renting.

We were actively looking for a place to do that type of thing a couple years ago, and then life got in the way, as it so often seems to do, and that had to take a backseat. Now, we are starting to revisit the idea real estate investment. More specifically, wholesaling real estate.

We have just discovered this type of real estate investing, and it seems really interesting, since there appears to be very little risk involved. It is also ideal because we would not be tasked with providing any of the repairs. I am excited to really dive into this, and use it as at least the starting point of our investment experience. Once we have really gotten the hang of it (and started to build up a nice little nest egg from the profits) we could move on to more complex, and costly ventures.


Ideally, the goal will be to eventually own a second property (or more than that) that we can rent out. For profit would be wonderful, but my father in law told us that it even if you rent it out at just enough to cover the mortgage and taxes, you are still coming out far ahead, since, in such a case, the renters are buying your property for you. Down the line, you will still own another property that you technically didn't have to pay for.

As I mentioned, we would like to do this at least once, so that, with the house we have now, and the other property, we would be able to have a home for each of our children. Though the ultimate goal is to acquire two additional homes, so that each child can have one when they are old enough, and we would still have our own home.

Being able to provide for our children in such a way is very import to us. My parents were not able to do that kind of thing, and I understand and adore them for everything they have done. Still, I want my children to have more. My husband feels the same. His parents were able to do more, and he wants to surpass that, still. Hopefully, in addition to whatever assets we can pass on to them, we also can install some useful knowledge, like my husband's father has done for us.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Chill Out this Summer

It's time, summer is almost (officially) here. In Florida, it's been here for weeks already, but that doesn't mean it won't get even hotter. Imagine wearing a huge jacket, while sitting by a campfire, inside your oven and then you can imagine what a moderate day in Florida summer is like.

So, to say things are about to heat up is an understatement. And when you consider the fact that a lot of indoor activities are still closed or, at least, not fully safe for social distancing, then the demand for outdoor fun is only increased. At least around here we have the beach, not that we go, it's always slammed without out-of-towners.

There is still picnics, and walks and bike riding and a multitude of other outdoor activities. All of which will be hot as can be. The need to stay hydrated and cool is essential. Literally, there is so much risk involved with being in that kind of heat without proper hydration.

I guess what I am saying is, get a cooler and truckloads of ice bags and make sure stay cool and drink water. I hate water, believe me, but many other drinks can act as a diuretic and dehydrate you further, and that is the last thing you will want.

In addition to truckloads of ice and water, sunscreen is very important, too. Even if you don't burn, which you still might, you can still cause skin damage, like sunspots and wrinkles, and even get skin cancer. Sunscreen and shade are your friend.

Summer might look a little different this year, but lets enjoy it. Maybe it will be the best one yet. Embrace the new normal and have fun, and be SAFE.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

The Future of Mobile Messaging

In today's fast paced world, mobile messaging is more important than ever. It is vital to be able to reach your audience in their comfort zone. Meaningful engagement is essential to successful business. You have to make a connection and it has to be accessible. Staying at the forefront requires being up to date, or even ahead of the times.

Getting in on the future first is a great way to get a leg up in your business. Especially the future of communication since the relationships are the most important aspect of any venture. That is why having an innovative messaging platform is such a great asset.

I am really excited by the new possibilities. I love the idea of a cloud based communication platform. It makes so much sense that it seems obvious. It's crazy how the future comes along and makes you wonder how you ever managed things before. It is so seamless and makes it easy to track and automate your engagement.


I love easy it is. Everything that takes the place of phone calls is a step up, in my socially anxious opinion, but there is "next level" and then there is "out of this world", and this new solution from Syniverse is definitely out of this world. It almost makes me feel a little silly, getting so excited about something as mundane as a tool for my brand, but this is really useful.

There are so many invaluable features, like language translation that translates (properly) your message before dispatching it to your international customers/subscribers. Analytics tracking helps you learn what is working well and what could use some improvement. Learning your audience is they key to keeping and growing it.

Omni-channel engagement allows you to ensure that customers receive seamless communication across all platforms. And with template management and automated orchestration, you can be sure that you are communicating effectively and relevantly on all platforms in every situation. Having triggering messaging that is coordinated by case needs is so helpful.

SMS verification allows for security for peace of mind, with customers knowing that they are protected. It also keeps your business safe and secure. Confidence is so important. Knowing that you are protected and having your customers know they are protected, as well, is worth so much.

What I really love is the backing of a team of experts. These experts will help you create a custom mobile strategy, and deploy mobile campaigns and programs, anywhere in the world. That is especially useful for me. Even when things are straightforward and user friendly, I always like to second guess myself and worry that I am doing something incorrectly or not as effectively as I could be. Guidance and reassurance are really invaluable to me.

Overall, this is a really challenging time for so many companies, and customers, too, for that matter. Every tool is important and building for the future is essential. The future can be daunting, but it's all we have and we can make it spectacular. That starts with using the most innovative solutions. See you at the top.

It Really is a Craft

Just because more things are opening up does not bean that COVID has gone away. In fact since "phase 3" efforts have started, cases are on the rise. People are trying to go out and socialize and do things just for the sake of doing them.

I get it. We, as a species, crave companionship and interaction. It is natural, but we still need to use caution and stay home when we can. As an introvert, I am always down to stay home, but more than that, I just appreciate having a chance to relax and enjoy a little extra leisure time. Netflix and I are having quite a good time together.

I do more than Netflix, of course. There is also Youtube. So clearly, I am being very productive. I've recently found Melvin Brewing and I am really enjoying all the videos. They are super interesting, way more than I thought they would be. I am just starting to learn more about craft beer, and there are so many different kinds and methods and it's really neat.

It's cool how anything can be art, in a way. Fashion, cooking, beer. Anything. There are so many kinds of talent and self expression and I just love getting to learn about them. That's what is so cool about craft beer. I love that attention to detail and high standards of quality. And I love the uniqueness and the passion and supporting real people and small businesses over huge corporations.

If we ever needed a really good craft beer, this is the time. We could all take a little time calm our nerves with a nice, refreshing, craft beer and use our extended isolation time to reflect and grow and find ways (small or large) to make the world a little bit better for our fellow humans.

I know it's small, but I plan on spreading the love for Father's Day. I want to show all the dads in my life a little extra love and make sure they know that they are still appreciated, no matter how hectic or grim the world can sometimes seem. I know my own dad will be getting some cool craft beers from Melvin Brewing. The Killer Bees is his favorite.

My brother will be getting the same. Well, not the same. He's getting Back in the Haze. That's more his speed. I love how amazing the cans are. Another form of art. It makes me want some just to display or something.


Whether drinking to yourself, your father, or just waking up to another day in this sometimes hard, always crazy, but potentially beautiful world, take a little extra time to savor the flavor and all the heart and soul and passion that goes into it. Take a little extra time to appreciate the art and make a toast to doing better and being thankful and enjoying life.

Take care of yourself, take care of others, and take a sip of a delicious craft beer. Drink it all in. We'll get through this like we always have and maybe this time we'll learn something and come out for the better. Until next time, take care.