The Belle Writes a Book

November 21, 2013

Long before this blog came into existence I was encouraged to write.  I wrote short stories, speeches, essays, competition compositions, the dreaded high school portfolio, and more college term papers than I care to count.  I didn’t always have the courage to speak out, and often soothed myself by writing things down.  Some of my very best work was written in tears, along with some of my worst.
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Are you curious yet about my book?  It is a loose autobiography.  I am not sure that my life is book worthy, but I hope it might help others.
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 I have been plagued by unforeseen accidents, tragedy, poor choices, but I have been blessed with good people.  A doctor and his wife, an unlikely friend, a grandmother who never let me down, and son, all of which play an integral part in shaping who I am today.

It might include the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.  I will probably be accused of airing my dirty laundry, some of which might be unfavorable to me.  I write honestly, maybe brutally honest. The only things that filter me are the writing apps that I use and they only filter out the spelling mistakes!  What other people might view as my mistakes, I view as my triumphs.  If one person reads something I wrote and doesn’t feel alone, I have accomplished my goal.  Some of the most beautiful things in my life stemmed from a broken dream.

I have an entire book written in my head.  The words swirl in my brain, and slowly make their way to my computer screen.
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 It is cathartic.  Chapter one written, then chapter two, and suddenly I am making headway on my first novel.  Maybe one day a friend will get her wish and see it made into a Lifetime movie.  I don’t reckon I would mind that as long as they got a cute actress to play me.  

I will give you a preview of the heroine.  If Scarlett O’Hara, Pollyanna, Serena van der Woodsen, Jessie Spano, and Ada Monroe were not fictional characters, I would jokingly assume they could be found in my family tree.  The words clumsy, witty, bossy, occasionally ill-tempered, goofy, and kind hearted might accurately describe me.  SPOILER ALERT: She meets her prince charming who is disguised as a slightly nerdy but handsome professor, and they live happily ever after.  Don’t quote me on that yet, those chapters are still being written.  

So this Belle is writing a Book and she hopes some of you will eventually read it.
Happy Truthful Thursday,

An Intro to Coupons

November 5, 2013

I generally don’t post about coupons, but I have gotten enough questions lately that it would be easier to post than to type out responses.  Coupons are not difficult to use, the keys are collecting them and matching them to sale or clearance items.  I have a few favorite coupon/deal blogs I follow, they generally alert me to any really good deals.

Coupons on regular priced items rarely make a dent, but when used in conjunction with a sale they can help you score some sweet deals.  I will use the Kmart sale on Purex, Cottonelle, and Viva as an example.

Purex 50oz bottles of detergent were on sale for 4 for $9, they ring up $2.25 each regardless of the number purchased.  There were several nice Purex coupons floating around varying from $1 off each bottle to $1.50 off the purchase of 2.  If you could round up the $1 off each coupon, it brought the price down to $1.25 a bottle before the added bonus of the Catalina printing or the Shop Your Way savings.

Kmart has a free membership based savings program similar to a “Kroger card” called Shop Your Way.  It is free to sign up and you can earn rewards along with additional savings.   Shop Your Way members received an additional $3 off the purchase of 3 designated products during this specific sale.

So what is a Catalina?  I have had this question a few times today.  Catalina’s are the coupons that print at the end of a transaction with your receipt.  They are generally good toward a future purchase.  Catalina coupons generally only print out for a short period of time.  They can often be used with a manufacturers coupon.

A $3 off a future purchase catalina coupon printed with the purchase of 4 bottles of Purex detergent.  I used that catalina coupon toward my next purchase of Viva paper towels, which can be used in conjunction with a regular manufacturers coupon too.  The six pack of Viva paper towels were on sale for $3.99.   I used 3 high value $1 off the purchase of a pack of Viva paper towel coupons, since I was purchasing 3.  This brought the purchase price down to $2.99 a package, and then I used the catalina coupon for $3 off a future purchase to make the package price a $1.99.  This transaction printed a $3 catalina coupon toward a future purchase.

I used a similar senario for the Cottonelle toliet paper which was on sale for $3.99 for a 12 roll pack.  The toliet paper generated a $3 catalina toward a future purchase, and I used it to buy several more bottles of Purex since I had coupons left.

I had roughly $12 in my small stock pile of name brand products.  
Three 6 roll packs of Viva paper towels
Three 12 roll packs of Cottonelle toilet paper 
Nine bottles of 50oz Purex
1 package of 18 Purex Ultra detergent packets
Remember that many of these deals only last for a short time and if you don’t act quickly you won’t score.  
A few tips:
Start with small orders until you get the hang of things.
Find a regional coupon blogger and follow them on Facebook, they will post deals.  
Search for your own coupons through google
If you have more coupons than items you plan to purchase, surprise someone and leave a few near an item.  I love finding a surprise coupon, and you would too.  Don’t let coupons expire that someone else could use.  
I will try to post great deals as I find them.  I will also try to provide detailed explanations later but this should be plenty enough for now.  
Happy Manic Monday,

Preschool?: Where Does Time Go?

October 2, 2013

You know that say, “Today is the first day of the rest of you life”?  Everyday is the first day of the rest of your life, but on September 19th  my son had an important first.  He started school, actually preschool.  He isn’t going to just any old school.  I spent many years walking the halls of the same elementary school, just like my mother and grandfather did.  My great grandmother taught there when the school was opened many decades ago.  I can’t imagine a more perfect place for my son to start his education.  He has a wonderful teacher and a classroom full of new friends.  I can’t wait to see what the year holds for him. 

Happy Thoughtful Tuesday,

An Act of Kindness from a Faceless Nameless Stranger

July 5, 2013

Present day University of Kentucky Medical Center 

A few months ago I shared my story Salt on a Birds Tail .  I had a terrible accent on July 3, 1986, and broke my arm.  I didn’t “just” break it, that would be atypical of me.  I managed to turn my left arm into a mangled mess. My poor grandmother was so disheveled when she found me, I thought she might loose her mind.  I spent most of that July 4 in emergency surgery, roughly 6 hours.  I think the accident impacted the course of my life, but not as much as the random act of kindness I saw from a stranger.  

I was only six years old so I can’t remember details of his face, but I do remember the outline of a special anesthesiology resident who was very kind to me.  When I reached the University of Kentucky Hospital in the wee hours of July 4, 1986 I was terrified.  The last few hours had been spent traveling from hospital to hospital, the doctors were trying to get a faint pulse of circulation to my badly broken arm.  When I fell from the kitchen countertop onto the hardwood floors of my grandparents house, I had nearly crushed my arm.  It had dislocated the elbow, fractured the radial head miraculously without piercing though the skin, and cut off all circulation to my arm from the shoulder down.  I felt nothing, which given the severity of the accident probably wasn’t a bad thing.  

My beautiful scar 

The anesthesiology resident came into my exam room to see me prior to surgery.  I’m sure I was the last thing he wanted to see on a holiday.  I was horrifically frightened five year old girl with a limb threatening fracture.  This will sound cliche, but his presence was almost like an angel.  His demeanor was calming and peaceful.  He left me briefly before surgery and returned with a teddy bear.   I know some of you are probably thinking that I was hallucinating, but I still have the teddy bear.  He was a resident at one of the largest hospitals in the state.  I am sure he saw his share of trauma and bad accidents.  I am positive I wasn’t the only child he had been kind to during his residency.  When I woke up in recovery, he was sitting there watching over me.  I was fighting to wake up but the drugs had not worn off yet.  I can hazily recall him talking me back to sleep.  

I spent July 4, watching fireworks from a wing at the University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital.  I remember having a large collection of stuffed animals and flowers.   My prized possession was that bear.  I doubt that young doctor realized the impact he had on a scared little girl.  His random act of kindness by a complete stranger altered my life.  I was absolutely terrified, and he brought me comfort when I needed it most.  He taught me an invaluable life lesson.  I didn’t know his name or how to find him, but I always knew I wanted to repay his kindness.  

How do you repay someone for changing your life?  I always hoped that I could influence someone else, the way he influenced me.  

There is a passage which is often misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson which reads,

To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.

The faceless and nameless young man became my benchmark for success for many years. 

Happy Fantastic Friday

Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep

May 25, 2013

Flower arrangement by Glen Farmer of The Flower Shop

I went to the place where my brother was buried today.  I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry uncontrollably.  I sat on his grave and quietly remembered.  I always end up consumed with thoughts about what our lives would have been like if he hadn’t died.  I know that he is miss terribly by all of us.  


         Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush

                                                        Of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the swift uplifting rush
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
~Mary Frye

I’m glad Gabe isn’t old enough to understand what happened yet.  I’m not sure how you explain that to a child.  I want Gabe to know his Uncle and not remember the horrific way he died.  Gabe deserves to believe in, and have faith in others.  


True Love Really Does Exist: Taylor Morris & Danielle Kelly

May 23, 2013
Photo Credit: Tim Dodd & Sevenly

Society needs to know that true love really does exist, or maybe I am a hopeless romantic.  Two people can fall in love and survive anything if they have the will power to stick it out.  You can see the love and commitment that this couple have for each other and it is enough to make you envious.  Taylor Morris had four limbs amputated following an explosion while serving in Afghanistan.  Taylor was a Navy EOD technician. He never gave up the fight and neither did his girlfriend Danielle Kelly.  Their love story is told in 22 photos by photographer Tim Dodd.  This week Taylor is helping to support the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S.) through the Sevenly clothing line campaign.  I am honored to be a part of this campaign to earn money for T.A.P.S., and introduce to you a love story better than The Notebook. 

Taylor Morris and Danielle Kelly’s love story told by Tim Dodd in 22 pictures.  (just a warning, you might need tissues)                         

Please show your support for Taylor and our military members by checking out Sevenly this week.  Every purchase will help raise a donation to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.  T.A.P.S. provides support to family and friends of military personnel who perished in the line of duty.  

Happy Triumphant Thursday,

Shark Tank: Hope You Don’t Get Eaten Alive

May 17, 2013
Photo Credit: Raising America

Today is a big day for alot of Mom2.0Summit attendees.  Many of us did Shark Tank for HLN’s Raising America with Kyra Phillips.  The results of the Shark Tank will be announced on air at noon EST today on HLN.  I’m cheering for a few friends including myself.  It was nothing short of an amazing experience and I commend anyone else who had the guts to step up to the plate.  It is one thing to apply for a job or approach someone about  a position.  Everyone in the Shark Tank stood up in a very crowded room with a panel of somewhat intimidating judges, and pitched their story.  You had 2 minutes to state your case and then the judges gave you a red, yellow, or green light.  If you got 3 green lights you were safe, and if you got yellow lights then you had 20 more seconds to state your case. If three or more were red, it was game over.  Luckily for me, my first three lights were green.  My sole red light was from Rena Popp, and I got to chat with her more about that later.  I hope everyone will tune in today and watch the show.  There were so many fantastic auditions.

Happy Fantastic Friday,