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DELICIOUS FALL DRINKS

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite cool weather drinks with you. They’re very delicious and easy to make.

The first one is a basic white hot chocolate. The second is a peppermint white hot chocolate. And the third is a cinnamon hot chocolate. They each have only a few ingredients and are so easy to make.

All three of these recipes start out the same way. Measure half and half into your favorite mug. Then pour it into a sauce pan. Heat on low until it starts to warm [don’t heat too quickly or the milk will start to curdle.]

Basic white hot chocolate
1. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla [you can use more if you life] per each cup of half and half.

2. Add white chocolate chips [how much depends on how chocolaty you want it.]

3. Once the chips have melted and milk has reached the desired temperature, pour it back into your cup and top with colorful mini marshmallows.

Peppermint hot chocolate
1. Add crushed peppermint and white chocolate chips [you can use peppermint flavoring if you like and how much is up to you.]

2. Once peppermint and chips have melted pour back into cup. And top it with whipped cream and pieces of  crushed peppermint. You can even get fancy and add a peppermint stick.

Cinnamon hot chocolate
1. Add cinnamon [how much depends on how strong you want it.]

2. Add milk chocolate chips to desired taste.

3. Once everything has completely dissolved, pour into cup and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add a cinnamon stick for a fancier presentation.

The chips, whipped cream or marshmallows in each of these should add enough sweetness. But if you require more, add a little powdered sugar, it dissolves then granulated. 

Hope you enjoy it! Be sure to let me know what you think if you try it. Maybe you can come up with some other flavors. Leave a comment, love to hear from my readers.

Have a blessed day!

♥ Marti

A FALL COLOR STORY

Fall is my MOST favorite time of year for many reasons. But one of the biggest, is the way the world just seems to burst into flames. Well not literally, but those beautiful colors that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Nature can give us some of the best color inspiration no matter what time of year. But I think fall is the most gorgeous. Unfortunately where I live, its been too dry. We aren’t getting to experience that beautiful pop of color this year. I’ll just have to live vicariously! So please share your picture if you take any this season.

Now since I’m a winter girl, I can’t wear fall colors. But that doesn’t stop me from using them in other ways. Like creating beautiful layouts for scrap pages, brands, websites or decor. If there’s a way to use fall colors, I’ll find it. Even if its decorating the house once a year.

Come to think of it, fall decor can be left up longer then any other. Its at least a two month gig and all others are only one month max. Unless you’re one of those people who leave their Christmas decorations up all year long [I’m not judging.]

I like to put my fall decor up the day the calendar says its officially fall. And leave them until the day after Thanksgiving.

Enough about my decorating habits and on to today’s focus. COLOR!

Since fall always inspires me, I’ve put together a fall color palette for you. You are free to use these colors anyway you like. I would love to see anything you create from it. And I would love to hear what you love about fall. Leave a comment!

Have a blessed day! 

♥ Marti

Just right click on the image and save to your computer. 

DON’T GIVE UP THE DREAM

Thanks for joining me today! It’s a new season and there’s no time like now to live your dreams.

Everyone should have a dream for their life. How do you see your life , what did you want to be when you grew up? What did you hope to accomplish by now? Dreams change as we get older but there is always some form of it possible even if you think you’ve already missed your chance. Today I want to share my dreams with you. I hope it will encourage you to keep trying.

When I was a kid, the only thing I dreamed of being was a police officer. But as I got older, I realized because of asthma that wouldn’t be possible. I think the appealing part of being a cop was protecting people and getting rid of criminals.

There are so many other ways my dream could have played out. So many other law enforcement professions I could  have gotten into. At one time I even thought about going to law school. But because I wasn’t mature enough I made a lot of bad decisions. And I spent decades struggling in a life I wasn’t really meant to live. I tell you this because I want you to understand that most of us take wrong turns and screw up. And I also want you to understand that it doesn’t matter. You can still get on the right track and live some form of your dreams.

All my life I constantly found myself in customer service and care giving jobs. I realize now that it was all training for what was to come. Fast forward to the year 2018, I had just turned 60 the December of 2017. Six decades into a life of struggles and just surviving, I finally understood that I could still live my dreams. The life God meant for me to live.

Once I understood this, the first thing I did was write down everything I wanted my life to be. This is where you need to get down to the minute details. Even the smallest things in your life need to be written down. How do you see your life? What do you want to be doing? What makes you happy? What do you want to accomplish? You get the drift!

One of my dreams is to own my own business. I wrote down everything from my daily routine to the task I would be performing. And since I would be working from home, I wrote down what my apartment or house would look like. Even the state and town I would be living in. There are many more details but I think you understand. The more details the better.

The next thing I did was take that detailed description and start making a task list. Everything that needed to happen for my dreams to come true. This list also needs to be detailed. For my dream of starting a business, my list might look something like this

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Evaluate my gifts, talents and skills and decide which ones could be developed into a business
Research how to set up a business and make a list of steps I need to take
Put those steps on my daily to do list and start doing them
Build a website and start writing content that lets people know who I am and what my business is about
Build social media profiles to promote my business
Start writing content in my niche and blog about it. Also develope products if needed
etc.

You get the idea. You need every detail to make your dream happen. You also need goals which I will talk about
next week.

In closing, I will say this. For those of you who have more then one dream like me [starting a business, building a
ministry, etc.] Write them all down seperatly. Then figure out which one needs to happen first because most of
the time they have an order. For me starting my own business was key to funding the other dreams. Because lets
face it, any dream worth anything takes an investment of time and money.

Leave a comment and tell me about your dreams, I would love to hear from you.

Have a blessed day!
♥ Marti

A LESSON ON BLOGGING

Hey everyone, welcome back. Today I wanted to share my decade long blogging journey with you. Honestly, I don’t remember exactly when I started blogging but its been at least a decade.

When I first started, I used a free platform called Blogger. It was easy to use and I could build as
many blogs as I wanted. In the beginning, most of my blogs were personal journals or hobby related. I think I also had some ministry and writers blogs as well. WordPress was still fairly new and uncharted territory for me.

However; I did manage to get my feet wet with a few small health and fitness niche blogs. They were a big craze back then. I also used a micro blogging platform called Squidoo. I had really high hopes of creating lots of  blogs and squids to sell. That was also a big craze at the time. It seemed that many were making big money from building and selling them. Unfortunately it wasn’t a successful thing for me. Which left me wondering if it was really that successful for anyone.

Over time, all my blogs have faced the same fate. I would decided I wasn’t interested in them and move on to another blog. I could never seem to find my sweet spot. I think a lot of the problem in the first five years had to do with crazy life events and just being exhausted. I was taking care of an elderly mom and had a full time music ministry. Eventually I had to put my ministry on hold to take care of her 24/7. But as much as I love singing, I love my mom more. She was my best friend and whole world. After she passed in 2015, life events changed once again.

For the second half of the decade, I was uprooted and moved to a new state and a new life. I struggled to find my place and to survive. I made a few more attempts at blogging with Blogger but they also fell by the wayside. By now you’re probably saying, so how’s this any different? Won’t you loose interest the same way you have all the other times? The answer is, NO! I’ll tell you what’s different. Here’s what my blogging journey has taught me.

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First, I had the wrong mindset.
Second, I hadn’t found the right motivation.
And third, I was using a free platform.

There’s nothing wrong with that for a hobby or personal journal blog. But for a real business you need your own hosting. I couldn’t afford it back then but thankfully life changes. My passion for blogging never died, it just need to be reignited again.

So here is what I learned from all my failed attempts and even a few false starts with this blog.

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Get in the right frame of mind. Stop thinking about it as just a hobby. Get serious!
Find what you’re passionate about and have a natural talent for. If you don’t have the skills, learn them. I found I had a passion and natural talent for graphic design. But I needed to hone my skills so I practiced and learned from others in my field until I was good enough to start my business. Its never too late to learn something new.
Find a way to pay for hosting. You need to show your url not someone else’s. It’s worth it to look truly professional. If you’re not good at designing a website or branding it, then find someone who is. I know it
can be expensive but its worth it. And not all of us are in it only for the money. So you may be able to strike a deal if you have services you can trade for all or part their services.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned from the false starts on this blog, is
be prepared. Make sure you have everything ready before launching. Give yourself a few months after your site has been built to gather content. Make sure every page is complete and you have at least two weeks to a months worth of post and social media content. This will save you a lot of headaches.

Once I changed my mindset, found my passion, was able to invest in my business and took the time to get prepared, everything changed. I went from having a hobby to a real business and from being a crafter to a real entrepreneur. 

Also take  the time to arrange your work schedule. I’ve finally got mine planned and its worth taking the time to do this.  Here’s a little glimpse into my creative work week.

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Sunday and Monday I’m stuck in the house with no wifi [I’m a live in care giver.] So on these days I do a lot
of offline work [project planning, image editing, writing, brand photography, offline projects, etc.] If needed
I do have a lot of data so I can use my hotspot.
Tuesday through Saturday I leave the house at 11am need to be back by 5pm. During those hours out of the
house, I go to the library to work. During these days I do mostly online work [research, projects, social
media, image search, layout and scheduling post, etc.] The only offline work I do on Tuesday and Wednesday
is writing. Its sometimes difficult to get much of that done at the house [to many distractions]

I hope this post has encouraged some. No matter how long you’ve been trying, don’t give up. Keep trying until you find your sweet spot. I would love to hear about your experiences, leave me a comment.

Have a blessed day!


♥ Marti

TIME TO BEGIN AGAIN

Its a great day to Begin Again! Light a candle, curl up with a good book, have a cup of herbal tea. But re-charge, relax and start a new week with a new plan. GO GET IT!

marti smith

owner | designer | lifestyle blogger

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