Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Trouble with School Lunches
I've seen several documentaries, news stories and articles over the past few months about the low quality of food served in American Public Schools.  When compared to countries like France, Korea, Spain, and England our cafeteria food looks downright embarrassing.

My first reaction to this information was, like many parents, why can't we feed our kids better food?  Then I started to really analyze the data.

First, almost every nation brought into the comparison has a ridiculously smaller population.  It's much easier for a smaller system to sustain better quality food service.  When the entire country is the size of our single state of Texas it's easier to find local, fresh food sources.
Second, most of the countries compared to ours are in worse financial situations.  This means they are serving their children delicious healthy meals, but these kids will grow up to inherit exorbitant national debt. In countries like Spain and Portugal, they're looking at total bankruptcy.
Finally, many of these countries really don't treat children well in other ways.  One of the countries I researched as the largest population of orphans in first world nations.  Upon further research I learned that the majority of the orphans were simply given up by their parents because they weren't interested in their continuing care. Another country has an extremely high rate of children below poverty level.  These are children who aren't even enrolled in government schools.  They roam the streets and steal or beg for their lunches.

As I scanned through the information on site after site the information only became more depressing.  Logical analysis of the data made it seem like the only two options were:
1) Go deeper into the taxpayers pockets to serve the children healthier food, or
2) Neglect a higher percentage of children, and focus on serving a smaller quantity of lunches overall.

I believe there is a better way.  If each school district was responsible for raising the money for the school lunch program, the system would be broken into much smaller, more easily managed budgets.  If, as a parent, I knew I was providing healthy meals to my children, and their peers, I would be more emotionally involved in the decision making process.

Now I know this doesn't take into account really low income districts.  The first objection to a change of this kind is that kids in "rich" districts will be eating filet, while kids in "poor" ones will still be stuck with chicken nuggets.  This is where two options would come into play.
The first option would be a benefactor program.  People with incomes in a higher tax bracket would get a tax exemption for donating to local school lunch programs with a higher percentage of children in low income or poverty level families.  In other words, Mr Richman gets a small tax break if he donates a portion of his salary to Sally Poorkid's school.  This would remove several middle-men, provide Mr Richman with opportunities to show his benefactor status, and would add extra funds to Sally Poorkid's school lunch program.

The second option (which really should go hand in hand with the first option) would be to set up a mandatory lunch rotation with school parents.  Each child who attends the school would need a parent to work in the cafeteria a minimum number of days each year. For instance, there is an average enrollment of 694 students per school in the state of Florida.  The average number of children per family is two. There are approximately 180 days in the school year.  This means the parents would need to work in the cafeteria a minimum of 2 days per year.

As one final note I'd like to add the following:

What do you think?
I welcome rational discussion.  Ad Hominem, Straw Man, and other comments containing illogical fallacies will be removed.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Truth About Direct Sales

I've heard a lot of negative feedback over the years about Direct Sales companies.
The salespeople are pushy. The companies are illegal pyramid schemes. The prices are way too high.

But keep this in mind.

There are pushy sales people at Sears, but folks still shop there.  Car salesmen are pretty pushy at times, but we still buy cars from them.

The companies wouldn't be around with the type of longevity they have if they were illegal pyramid schemes.
The prices are higher because the product is usually better quality.  Go ahead... tell your mama that the Tupperware she's had in the cupboard since you were a wee babe is not as good as something you can buy at Walmart.

The prices are higher because here in America we pay people better.  Sure, you can find lower quality nail wraps at Walgreens, but I bet those folks who made them over in China would love to cross the Pacific and get a job at Jamberry USA.  The higher prices reflect better compensation, not just for salespeople, but for hostesses as well.  In reality most of the ladies who are in direct sales are looking for a way to pay the bills without losing out on quality time with their families.

The prices may be higher, but the customer service is usually far superior.  When was the last time someone in a blue vest at Walmart offered to deliver your items to your door?  Sure, Sears has a delivery service, but they charge extra for it.  The person who actually sold you the product doesn't deliver it.  They process the payment and then you're pushed off onto someone else.  Have you ever tried to return an appliance to a Sears store?
Sure, there are horror stories.  I have a few myself.

Nearly 20 years ago my husband and I were invited to dinner at an older couple house.  After a tasty meal, they pulled out a white-board and began giving us the Amway sales pitch.  We were so frustrated.  We thought this couple would be great mentors to us as we were just starting married life.

I knew someone who was such a pushy salseperson that I stopped buying from that particular company completely because I never wanted to deal with them again.

Another couple I've known for a very long time have bounced from MLM company to MLM company, always trying some new business and always calling me to talk about the latest "opportunity."

These stories have taught me some things over the years.

1) Never, EVER trick someone into a business promo.  If I ask you over to my house, it's because I genuinely want to get to know you.  I don't want your money.  I don't want your friend's money.  I just want to know the amazing person you are.  If you ask me about my nails, I'll tell you, but I'm not going to try to trick you into the business.
2) Don't be obnoxious.  Honestly, if I'm being obnoxious, please, please tell me.  I try to keep all of my business stuff separate from my personal life.  I look for ways to market my products without targeting friends and family. Even recently, I asked a couple family members to try the product for free, not because I want their money, but because I value their feedback based on their line of work.  I'll offer the opportunity to try a product I firmly believe in, but a no is a no.

3) Don't jump into MLM's lightly.  It's like the boy who cried "wolf".  Sure there are lots of direct sales companies out there.  I've hostessed parties for many of them, and will continue to do so.  These ladies are my friends and I want to support their businesses, but I also love their products.  I didn't join Jamberry to make a ton of money, although that is a perk.  I joined because I wanted to be able to wear the wraps without it impacting my budget.  I'm not going to be that lady who used to sell ____ but now she sells ____.

And that about sums it up.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Magic City Comic Con

I'm heading down to Magic City Comic Con next weekend to help a friend with her booth.  If you're in the area, stop by and check out her awesome Wibbly Wobbly Wares.  This is the second time I've worked with Julia.  The last time was pretty fun, and I'm expecting this one to be no different.

Julia hand makes beautiful necklaces, rings and other jewelry.  Although her favorite by far is Doctor Who, she also makes items from popular comic/super hero fandoms, Harry Potter and more.   Here's a picture of some works in progress:

One of my favorite things about going to Comic Con is seeing the creativity of the cos-players.  Where else can you dress up like your favorite character and walk around all day and not have people stare at you like you're some weirdo?

In anticipation of MC Comic Con I've been trying to come up with Jamberry Wraps that would complete a Costume.  Here are some pairings from my favorite Sci-Fi show.

The Doctor and His Companions

Ninth Doctor: Black and White Quad, Date Night, and Moon Glass
Rose Tyler: Anglophyle (NAS Custom order), Rose-Colored Glasses, China Rose Tips
Tenth Doctor: Champagne Toast, Navy Quatrefoil, and Luna
Eleven: Atlantis, Cherry Ice, and French Tips Bows
Amy Pond: Metallic Silver and White Fishnet, Fire Engine Tips, Tinsel Town
River Song: Snakeskin, Sea Glass, River (NAS Custom Order)

The Tardis

Just a few wraps with this one.
Gallifreyan (NAS Custom Design)
Berry Blue Tip and Berry Blue Glimmer
Darkest Black and Black Tips.

Doctor Who Villians

Weeping Angel: Diamond Dust Sparkle, Stone Tip or Midnight Celebration
Daleks: Progression, Marsala Mirage, or Fade Out
Cybermen: Metallic Chrome SilverRose Gold Sparkle, or Copper Penny Nail Lacquer

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Downton Abbey Nails

My BFF and I got the opportunity to go to an event sponsored by WPBT2, our local Public Television station.  They rented out the Cinema Paradiso in downtown Ft Lauderdale and showed the first episode of Downton Abbey: Season 5 the night before it airs on the telly (in America).

They rounded out the event with a reception complete with finger sandwiches, scones, a full bar and some delicious looking desserts.

As you all know by now I've been bit by the Jamberry bug and everything I do and see makes my brain buzz with ways to wear what I love on my nails.  So, I did some dreaming and came up with the following ways to show your love for this old fashioned, thoroughly British soap opera.
Style number 1: Anna

She's by far my favorite character on the show. She's put up with some pretty awful circumstances. Although I wish the writers would leave her to live in peace with Mr Bates, I know she's just such an easy target.

For her look I suggest a base coat of Raven Nail Lacquer, with Touch of Lace clear wraps on top. I'm waiting for my new bottle of "Raven" to arrive in the mail, so I can take a proper picture of this look.  In the meantime, check out the accent nail in this image to get an idea of what it looks like.

Style number 2: Mary

It took me a while to warm up to Lady Mary. She's so stubborn, and I guess it's true that the faults we see easily in others are the ones we carry in ourselves.  Now I see that her strong will is helping to save the family fortune.

For Mary's look I suggest something that would go with my favorite of her dinner dresses, pictured here.  Try pairing Cherry Ice wraps (which are the perfect shade of red) with a Black Floral accent nail.  Here is a good idea of the finished look.
Style number 3: Isobel

I love Lady Crawley for her willingness to help those in need without the rudeness of some of the younger characters.  Couple that with her penchant for getting under the Dowager Countess' snobby skin, and I love her even more.

For Lady Isobel I choose something that is at first simple and reserved, something fitting for a more mature woman.  The nude understatement of Victorian Lace looks beautiful as an accent.  However I want it to leave a happy note like the thin sliver glitter on Date Night. Check out the look in this picture.
Style number 4: Daisy

With her innocence and honesty, who couldn't love this adorable kitchen maid.  She was kind enough to marry a man she didn't love so his dying heart wouldn't be broken.  Because of that, she now has a future outside of the manor house if she chooses.

Daisy's look is simple.  China Rose Tips with accents of the full China Rose.  Check it out here.  And, don't forget to measure your nails before you order the French Tips.

Have a Jammin Day!

P.S.  If you love these looks, you can buy them by simply following the links.  If you want to earn free wraps, email me at Here's hoping the rest of the season is as good as the first episode.