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Door to Door Solicitation – How is this still a thing?

Knock, knock. Who’s there?

It’s some random person trying to sell you something you don’t want.

This really bugs me. Recently my doorbell rang at dusk and I was faced with yet another door to door solicitation. I thought, how in this crazy world is this still a thing?

For all the horror stories we hear on the news, why would anyone be expected to open their door to a stranger to listen to some spiel about whatever product, religion or political platform this person is supporting? It befuddles me that this practice is still permitted. Yet, the constitution says it can be so, so apparently it’s so.

I find this ridiculous. If I want to know anything about anything I will happily Google it in the safety of my home behind locked doors.

What’s more frustrating about these folks, who present as the friendly faces of door to door solicitation, is that unless you address them they seem not to want to go away. I’ve had my doorbell ring up to five times before these relentless peddlers give up. It’s bad enough that I have to listen to it, but I know it’s unsettling for poor Oscar and I certainly don’t want my girls to ever reach a point of frustration where they would consider opening the door.

What to Do

I firmly believe that any and all door to door solicitation should be a thing of the past. That said, in order to move these folks along as quickly as possible, I’ve adopted the following technique to kindly get them off my doorstep. A no soliciting sign at my door is also a possibility, but I’m not quite there yet.

  1. I never open the door to an unfamiliar face I am not expecting.
  2. I speak through the window of my front door to send the message that I’m not open to a conversation. If they can’t hear me, too bad.
  3. As soon as I’m 100% sure they are door to door solicitors, I put my hand up and firmly state, “I’m sorry, I do not entertain any kind of door to door solicitation.” If I have to talk over them, I do.
  4. I close with a big, loud thank you and wait until they leave.

That’s it. Every time I’ve done this, they stop their sales pitch, say OK and walk away. Truthfully, I hate to be rude, but I imagine they must understand how, in today’s day and age, what they are doing just doesn’t make sense.

How do you handle unwelcome sales calls?


Living With Intention – Maureen Magauran, M.D.

Living With intention promotional materials

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Maureen Magauran, M.D. for several years. I first featured her home in an article I wrote on Feng Shui. Later, I called on Maureen for an article I wrote on alternative medicine. Her unique approach to treating anxiety and depression with meditation and non-medicinal therapies was compelling.

Although a board-certified physician, with the ability to prescribe medication, Maureen reserves that option for only those cases that truly require it.  Otherwise, Maureen fully supports a holistic approach. I love this and admire her integrity.

Living With Intention

Recently Maureen invited me to her free talk about Living With Intention and I was thrilled to be able to make it. I brought along a friend and together we enjoyed Maureen’s insights on how to live life fully and with purpose.

Anyone who knows me knows I love stuff like this. Just the reminder to tune into what I’m doing in life is enough to help me reset my routine in a thoughtful way. So often we are caught up in the mad rush and we lose sight of what’s important. Maureen’s talk gave me pause and got me thinking about where I’m going and what I want to do in life.

Maureen shared how the sudden loss of her youngest sister personally set her on this path to answer the question, “What am I doing here?”

My favorite exercise in the talk was when Maureen challenged each of us to write down our response to the question, “If you had two weeks to live, what would you do?” Wow, that really hit me. I’d never thought about my own mortality in such a specific, make a list, kind of way. Getting started was a little uncomfortable at first, but once I wrote one thing down, the answers kept flowing.

I’m glad to have attended Maureen’s talk. Living With Intention is something I’m excited to pay closer attention to.

To read more about the talk I attended, and other great posts, check out Maureen’s Blog Page here. And, enjoy Maureen’s FREE Stress-Less 7 Day Challenge here.

Who couldn’t benefit from a little less stress in their life?

Maureen Magauran, M.D.


Elin Hilderbrand Winter Series – Book Club

Elin Hilderbrand Winter Series


What better time to read the Elin Hilderbrand Winter series of books than winter. In what was supposed to be a trilogy including Winter Street, Winter Stroll and Winter Storms, book club committed to read any one of the three for our last meeting. As it turned out, there was a fourth book, Winter Solstice. At least two of us in the club read all four. Unlike our last pick, The Boys in the Boat, the Elin Hilderbrand Winter series were super easy reads. Perfect distractions during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Elin Hilderbrand Winter Series

Known as the “Queen of Summer,” author Elin Hilderbrand tackled this winter set of stories like a pro. The beauty of Hilderbrand’s books is that they are quick and lightweight. How else could I have gotten through four novels since book club’s last gathering?

Like all of Hilderbrand’s books, the entire Winter series is set on Nantucket where Hilderbrand and her family reside. It follows the Quinn family through a litany of family drama, romance, joy and sorrow.  I likened each book in the series to a soap opera. I found myself sucked into the storylines despite their hokey nature. Wisely, Hilderbrand ended each of the first three books with a cliff hanger that left me wanting answers and so onto the next book I would go.

Part of what I enjoyed about these books was Hilderbrand’s reference to actual places on Nantucket as well as Boston. It lent a certain authenticity to the novels, but I must admit there were times the mentions seemed like product placements. I wondered if the businesses named were sponsoring their spot on her pages. It was curious to me, but not off-putting.

Interested in a Synopsis?

Check out each book in the Elin Hilderband Winter Series at Goodreads.

The Fourth Book

At the close of the third book, Winter Storms, Hilderbrand had pretty much wrapped up all of the Quinn family drama and dysfunction with a neat little bow, so I was surprised that a fourth book followed. Interestingly, in the book jacket, Hilderbrand explained that her publisher had requested the fourth book when another book in their anticipated list had fallen through. She managed to squeak out Winter Solstice in four weeks. Wow! It’s no wonder she’s such a prolific author…#lifegoals!

But let me be clear, if you are a reader who enjoys some heft in your prose, Elin Hilderbrand may not be your kind of author. For me, however, her casual kind of storytelling and her Winter series were easy and enjoyable.

Next Up

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner. Looking forward to that one!

My Style Makeover with Lysa Pelletier

Lysa in all her fabulous glory! Photo by Emily O’Brien Photography


As 2017 came to a close, I felt an irresistible urge for change. Change in my home décor, my workout routine, my diet and, most desperately, my style. I feel lucky to have a friend and expert in the field of fashion who helped me with this last one. It’s not that I don’t have clothes I like, I just don’t know how to put them together in a current and cool way.

Enter my good friend and personal stylist, Lysa Pelletier. Lysa and I have known each other for about twelve years since our daughter’s attended preschool together. I was always drawn to Lysa’s bold style and hilarious sense of humor. I’ve had the good fortune to work with Lysa, be a guest on her radio show and participate in creative pursuits that nurture the artsy spirit that bonds us.

After talking about it time and again, I finally invited Lysa into my closet and my style makeover began. My big question was, why do I wear the same old things over and over when I have plenty of great clothes and shoes to choose from?

Closet Conversations

Bye, Bye, Bye

First things first, Lysa helped me lose the snooze wear and I don’t mean pajamas. Lysa helped me clear out items in my closet that were outdated and unworthy. I actually loved this part. I didn’t mind getting rid of things and every time we tossed something, I wondered why I’d held onto it for so long. “You’re better than this,” Lysa said about an old, out of style, top. I couldn’t have agreed more and out it went.

Work it

After the purge, I pulled items I should be wearing but never do. I have several pieces of clothing that never see the light of day, but are fantastic. I just struggle with how to wear them. Lysa gave me the best advice – she said, “You’ve got to make your clothes work for you.” In other words, if you have jeans or a shirt that you never wear because they’re too long, grab your scissors and cut them. If you have a top that is itchy around the neckline, try wearing another top under it.


Lysa in action! Top right, Lysa collapses on my to-go pile. Bottom left, Lysa throws on a gray crushed velvet blazer I got in Paris. She showed me how easy it is to make it look good. Bottom right, Lysa came armed with ideas and notepad to jot down items to fill in the gaps.


Back to Basics

Layering has always been a challenge for me and now I know why. I had no basics to pair with the fun jackets, sweaters and shoes I stockpile and never wear. No black turtleneck, no white T, no fitted tops. It’s no wonder I couldn’t pull any outfits together. I needed those simple pieces to tie my outfits together. Meanwhile, those pieces I never wear have their moment to shine.


The best part of my styling session was letting Lysa do her magic! In my case, Lysa brought together tops, bottoms, jackets, sweaters and shoes I never would have matched. In fact, I learned I am way too matchy-matchy and need to take more risks mixing patterns and colors. She created looks that take my style up a notch in just the way I had hoped. And all of those missing basics from my wardrobe…Lysa ran out and picked up exactly what I needed. I was thrilled!


6 looks from my style makeover
I have had the pink boots featured in two of these shots for over 10 years and never wore them. They’ve already hit the streets twice!


All about Lysa

Lysa is a photo stylist and personal stylist working with top brands including New Balance, Rue La La, Titlest and American Airlines. Check out her beautiful body of work at AnchorArtist.com. She is the style editor at Merrimack Valley Magazine and the hilarious host of her own talk show, Valley Girls (find them on Facebook), on Eagle RadioNETalks.net.


Style Makeover with Lysa

If you are interested in stepping up your style with Lysa email her at lysap@comcast.net. She will revamp your closet and your style in a way perfectly suited to you and your budget. Lysa is an expert at mixing high and low price points – great style doesn’t have to cost a fortune.


Thank you!

Thank you Lysa, for giving me the guidance to look at my closet in a whole new way. Before my style makeover, I never would have had the courage to purchase the wild boots (bottom right in photo collage above) that I love so much and for which I have received so many compliments.

You have inspired me to dare to be different and take the time to consider outfits that would never have occurred to me.

Repost – My Favorite Cold Remedies for Fighting Coughs and Colds

Originally posted on December 5, 2016.

I wish I weren’t compelled to share this again, but it looks like we are in for a nasty cough and cold season. I know several folks diagnosed with flu and news reports indicate the latest vaccine was not effective in fighting the current strains.  So back to my bag of tricks with the hope of avoiding the worst of it. Do you have other suggestions to avoid getting sick this season?Cold remedies - Peppermint tea, menthol rub and shower tablets, Epsom salts and orange juice

Well, as fast as the holiday season has hit, so has cough and cold season.  We just recently had a touch of it in my house, but I know several families who’ve been hit hard.

When it comes to coughs, colds, sore throats, stuffy noses and heads, my remedy regime is ridiculously basic.  It’s not that I’m a naturalist or homeopath, I just don’t like the way most medicines make me feel.  If it’s not Advil or Tylenol, I’m hard pressed to take it.

Tony’s slightest sniffle go-to is always Nyquil. He’s Nyquil’s biggest fan and always suggests I give it a go when I’m not feeling my best.  My response is always the same, “No Thanks – that stuff makes me feel foggy.”

He doesn’t understand my reluctance and insists I’ll get a better night’s sleep. That may be true, but my issue isn’t with sleeping. It’s when I wake up and for the next 24-48 hours I feel like I’m walking in mud. Maybe I’m sensitive, but any variation of decongestant, antihistamine or cough suppressant just doesn’t sit well with me.

So what’s a girl to do when the sniffling, sneezing and stuffy head kicks in?  Here are a few of my favorite cold remedies whenever anyone in my house starts to get sick.

Draw a Warm, Salty Bath

At the very first sign of the common cold, which for me is usually a scratchy sore throat, I draw a soothing warm bath and throw in one to two cups of Epsom salts.  Friends that know me will laugh when they read this because some think I’m actually a little nutty about this remedy, but in my experience it really works.

When Ally was little, she would often suffer from nasty colds and ear infections.  Her body’s response was always a high fever. If, after a visit to the pediatrician, we were instructed to let the virus run its course, my first line of defense was to pop her into an Epsom salt bath. Within hours, her fever would break and she would soon be on the road to recovery.  It makes sense that the therapeutic salts help draw out bacteria and germs that contribute to feeling lousy.

If nothing else, the warm, salty bath is relaxing and promotes sleep just as well as Nyquil. And I don’t wake up the next day feeling hungover. Epsom salts are good for other purposes too: achy muscles – Epsom salts, skin irritation – Epsom salts, exfoliant – Epsom salts. You get the idea. Check out more ways to use Epsom salts, including crafts and gardening, from the Epsom Salt Council. Who knew Epsom salts had its own council?

Menthol Cold Remedies

If my salty solution doesn’t cure all and I’m still stuffed up, my next old school option is Vick’s VapoRub. Yes, this powerful mentholated cream, that’s been around forever, is still one of my favorite cold remedies and, weirdly, the smell I’m sure many people hate, brings up sweet memories of childhood. I’d slather this stuff all over with the hope of relieving whatever symptom was ailing me. And today, I believe it still serves its purpose having offered relief for all of those in my family who’ve used it. I’ve put it on noses, chests, feet and even just waved the jar under my little ladies’ noses to help clear out those stuffed up passages.  This is another classic that has more than just a few functions.  Check out these surprising uses.

In a similar vein, a new remedy I’ve yet to try but will as soon as the need arises, is something my kick-boxing instructor mentioned in class last week (Thanks Rory!). I ran right out to stock up.  They are menthol shower tablets. I could only find a generic brand, but these tablets work similarly to Vick’s VapoRub using the heat of the shower to release menthol infused steam into the air. Sounds perfect for opening airways and reviving a sluggish state of mind.

Drink Liquids

Finally, peppermint tea and good old orange juice are staples on my list of cold remedies. They hydrate and fortify and we all know that loading up on fluids when sick is a great way to flush out impurities. I load up on vitamin C fortified orange juice and peppermint tea because it’s bright and has its own health benefits including fever reducer, pain reliever and cough suppressant.

Of course I’m no doctor, but these simple cold remedies have helped me and my family get through countless coughs and colds without popping too many pills.

What are your best ways to get through a cough and cold?  Do you have home cold remedies that you love?