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The Bell and the Allen Wrench

Do you believe in signs.. Is that corney???

I totally believe that the universe speaks to you in it’s own way – no matter what you believe in – I think it’s somewhat safe to say that we all believe in something  – luck, faith, self, karma, being good, etc etc etc..  I happen to believe that there is a greater force (although I have no idea what that is – I am not a religious person – but I do think there is a connection between good energy, good karma, creating intentions – and signs).

I’ve noticed many signs throughout my life — signs that come before you make a big decision, or a feeling you get when you “just know” something is going to happen…   I saw a pretty neat sign this past weekend….

We are under agreement for a new home, we were in this new house taking some measurements for a little wallpaper removal project (by little – I mean every single wall in this home is rockin some pretty ugly fabric wallpaper — even the outlet and lightswitch covers are covered up with this stuff) — anyways, the house has been empty for about a year and was completely wiped clean – not a book, a pen, a penny, or a paper clip was left behind —   other than two (well three) things.   A 1988 Subaru Wagon DL (which I am still not sure if we get to keep it or not) .. and placed next to each other on a random kitchen shelf — a wedding bell and an allen wrench — totally freakin’ random!The Bell and the Allen Wrench

Ok Ok – so what — a little bell and a freebie wrench that came with some piece of cheap furniture — but holy shit this is a sign —  not only am I working on building a wedding business ((get it – wrench to build the business and wedding bell = mind blown)) — but ALSO Kevin and I (not married)) are taking a big step in owning this home that will be our home for the next who-knows-how-long and at some point while we are living in this home we will exchange some I do’s — but most importantly — we are building a home together for us and the kids ((Double mind blown))  The wedding bell and the wrench represent so much that is relevant to us — I can’t believe it.  It’s a big whopping sign — that in this home — we are going to create magic – not only as a couple and as a family … but for our future with this business that I am going to build…

This house was meant to be our home — our good friend and realtor knew it when she saw it … and we knew it when we first walked in the door… and the universe confirmed it by leaving us this little sign —  I didn’t notice until after we went under agreement — but it is a nice reassurance — a reason to believe – a motivator – and a reminder to be great and to make something big happen — even if that greatness is just a home filled with love and fun — and a bonus of a business that I can build into my own masterpiece.  It’s all going to happen while we live there… our adventures – our careers – our family — will be built into something wonderful .. and it’s our place to make it all happen.

Look for signs – they are all over the place.

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Happy Overload

I haven’t written in here for almost a year – holy moly!

A lot has been happening – so here’s an update and here’s my promise (to myself) to write at least once a month.

Let’s see…  I guess I need to start from a catch-up perspective and then take it from there….

Starting with the Co-op… things are looking good for the Manchester Food Co-op. We are close (fingers crossed – toes crossed too) to be able to announce our location later this summer – this is a huge win for our community!  We need some social media volunteers – or really – just social media content contributors to help build the community online while we are working on putting together the physical space.  There are tons of opportunities for anyone who wants to get involved. Check things out here at

Then there’s my own business… what a journey this is.  I started doing a ton of research on the DIYDuvet concept – did you know it’s really hard to find affordable textiles that are made in the US… at least for a start-up with a small order. So I took a good look at my big list of business ideas. (this thing’s a monster – with everything from distillery ideas – to event marketing agency concepts – to an arts and crafts meets home economics mega-studio) I’ve narrowed down to work on an idea to change some thinking in the wedding industry… it’s going to be awesome.  I’ve been working with an agency called SCORE – it’s a non-profit that connects entrepreneurs with local mentors to help guide you over the hurdles and challenges that you may get stuck on. They offer advice, classes and mentoring is free to anyone with a dream and a vision to bring it to life.  It’s amazing!  I’ve been working on the business plan – on financial projections – and along the way learning more than I could have imagined.  Can’t wait for some big steps in the next coming months.

My regular job – is also pretty amazing lately. The company is growing as more people are becoming aware of the importance of taking supplements – and even more so – whole food vitamins and supplements. I’ve been able to meet some truly inspiring farmers from across the country, work on some great campaigns, all while working with some great friends – I really love my team.  Good and big things will be happening here – keep watch on FaceBook for contests and stuff.

That’s three crazy awesome things….. But why stop there…

#lifewithkevin is also pretty awesome!  We are selling my condo in Manchester and are hunting for a new home for us and Kevin’s kids (we have them part time). I can’t wait (like really really really can’t wait).  Natalie and Camden are gearing up for end of school… Natalie is making the big move into middle school and Camden will be a big dog in 5th grade. To be 10 again!!  We have a family trip planned to go to Olympic National Park, Victoria BC, Vancouver BC, The San Juan Islands and Seattle. (advice on things to see and do is welcome!!)  We made the decision to skip christmas present overload and plan a big trip each year instead… These lucky little nuggets get 8 Christmases after you add my family into the mix  – so everyone else can buy them presents and we will adventure far-and-wide (ha!).   Buckley – our doggie – made his own FaceBook Page: – we think he’s pretty cool – even after he ate my ipad this winter.

Well that sounds like a big ol’ happy fest – It seems as though when one thing goes well and when you’re surrounded by positive energy … it snowballs into more good things.  It’s nice to be in this upward spiral of awesome – its great to wake up every day excited for all sorts of fun things that make you happy! (might have just barfed a little bit but it’s true) .. bottom line — it’s been and it’s going to be a great year!

Until next month…


Buckley and I on a nice spring day drive with Kevin

Buckley and I on a nice Spring drive with Kevin – Look at his smile! #happy


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I joined the co-op!


Become a member today!

Become a member today!


I am so happy (really beyond happy- more like jumping up and down and singing that “I’m Excited” Pointers Sister song – happy! –  maybe a little Pharrell too). Last week I was voted into the Manchester Food Co-op Board of Directors… this is a really big deal for me.   Being part of this team gives me the opportunity to get involved in my community and give back in a way that will impact thousands of people and our local economy.

So what is a Food Co-op? Basically – in the most simple terms it is a member owned local grocery store … A grocery store dedicated to selling local and natural produce and products.  PLUS the store is a hub for community events such as cooking classes, wellness workshops, book signings, wine tastings, gardening 101 and anything else you can imagine (that’s part of where I come in – wink wink).  Co-ops have other amazing features like cafe’s, coffee bars, community gardens, bakeries ..and of course – so much more.  Every Co-op is unique in it’s own wonderful way- bringing together all who have common values and all who believe in local, natural, and neighborhood… (which is so important for all of us — i’ll refrain from any big anti-corporate soap-box comment)

All the goodness sold inside the store is locally sourced as much as possible… think about the impact of the support to the local community… local farmers, local bakers, local artisans, etc.  The goal is always to get all that you can from your immediate community and stretch your arms out from there – always working with small manufacturers in the US who have strong values and roots – and most importantly who are passionate about what they do.

How membership works is pretty cool… As a family or an individual you purchase one “share” per household for $100.  That $100 dollars goes directly towards running the co-op — during the early stages these dollars go towards getting the doors open and if you become a member after a co-op is already open the money goes directly towards any of the amazing components of the daily workings and supporting local farmers and the local economy.   As a member you are an owner… and you have voting rights, you share profits in the form of dividends and are privileged to other great member benefits like discounts and special events.  Seriously — who wouldn’t want to be part of this?!

Then there is a Board of Directors .. the primary role of this team is to work together to rally the community to grow the number of owner-members. This group also executes the business plan and works through all the happenings to get the store open and then managed once the ribbon is cut… seriously everything from hiring a general manager to negotiating the real estate  (even wearing pea-pod costumes to generate awareness and excitement) – there is no job this team doesn’t tackle.

I asked to join this board so that I could make a difference.  I met Carla, a board member at the Made in NH Expo this past spring.  Carla was a delight with huge amount of passion, she let me know about the open board position… I immediately jumped on the opportunity.  My diverse background which is rooted in experiential marketing, creative problem solving, and creating memorable consumer experiences sprinkled with an entrepreneurial mindset makes this opportunity a truly remarkable challenge.  This is a challenge I take on with great pride, with great excitement, and with a truly open mind to add something magical to our newest community center – The Manchester Food Co-op.

Please follow our progress here

If you are not a member yet, please join us here:

– For anyone reading this not in the Greater Manchester NH – I urge you to visit your local community co-op and consider becoming a member!

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Grow it like you mean it

If you dream it,You can grow itGrowing is so symbolic – not to write about a tacky cliché or analogy – but really it all comes down to growing…

We grow as humans – obviously from baby to adult. As we grow, our strengths and personalities evolve and become more and more defined. We have the power to grow our own “things”… we grow gardens, children, each other, careers, and our ideas and dreams… (see where I am going with this yet?)

I have a garden that I “grow”, this little garden brings me so much happiness and pride it’s kinda’ pathetic – and I get obsessed! Seriously obsessed… with how to make it bigger, more productive, and how I can add just one more plant or take over another few feet of what’s left of the yard. I start the seeds inside in early March – (this year I accidently used a concentrated manure mixture vs. potting soil and stunk up my entire house. I couldn’t bring myself to throw out the little stink bomb seedlings so I tried to dry out the poo pods by putting the seed tray on the porch during the day – the closed-in sun porch that gets to be over 100 degrees – the sun porch that you have to walk through to get into the house – like sewage up the nose – there was no escaping it! It was really bad – more then bad – it was absolutely disgusting… so I had to eventually give up on that batch and start over)

Anyways – I am obsessed with this garden! This year I drew out the plans to figure out how many seedlings I needed of each plant– oh yes – I said draw – with a pencil and crayons, color-coded and all! Also, this year, I spent weeks digging out new garden beds and then asked my boyfriend to help make hand-made strawberry planters that I saw on pinterest… (he couldn’t resist the opportunity to help and to make something awesome! He is always up for a good challenge and the next weekend we had badass strawberry planters! Love him!!) 

Once the garden beds were all ready and the custom mix of organic fertilizer had been tilled into the ground, all of the plants were placed. I check on them at least once a day – giving them water, plant food when needed, picking off any wilting leaves, pulling weeds, etc. I learn a lot about how to prevent bad munching bugs, and about preventing mold and which organic plant foods are best. Then it’s time for the reward, filling a basket with the mother load of fresh fruits and vegetables (almost everyday). I love to share with friends and family and try new recipes.

All of the planning, planting, caring and harvesting that comes along with the garden (and cooking, and pickling, and baking too) – it’s an accomplishment, it’s something to be proud of and it represents so much…

Which brings us to the moral of the story – we all have the power to grow, ourselves and our ideas and dreams. If you can see the end result and take the proper care and planning steps – if you put in the effort and don’t give up… even when things get stinky or weedy, great things happen (or in this case – bloom).

I look at my little garden as a reminder to myself that I have the power to grow anything I want; that things will be hard, that some times I will need to start over, that I need to be open to learning, and I will need help from others – but If I keep my focus – keep working at my idea(s) – it/they will GROW into something amazing.

It’s all about growing…. Growing ideas and dreams into realities: step-by-step, day-by-day – just like a garden.


This journey to greatness. It’s so on!


One of my last bits of advice from my grandfather was to hire a career coach – he said it would be expensive but to find a way to do it – that it would be totally worth it.  That next morning I did some searching online and found a company nearby. I went along for the next few weeks thinking about calling them – and about what I could get from having a career coach.   The day after my grandfathers funeral I heard a commercial for this same coaching firm on the radio – so – of course – I called them.

I went to two meetings – we went through my PI index, Myers Briggs, Strengths Assessments and talked about overall values and goals — I wept through both meetings… seriously — talking about what I really want brought out so much bottled up emotion that the tears just wouldn’t stop… they were happy tears – optimistic tears – and tears of self assurance… there were just a whole lot of tears goin’ on!

So with all this emotion and desire – what it comes down to is that my creative powers need to be fed – they are hungry little monsters and I am only feeding them bits and pieces of what they really need to survive. I need a truly creative outlet – that is fully mine – to create and shape and mold into whatever I want… My own masterpiece —

One of my struggles was to figure out which masterpiece to work on first — I have TONS of ideas for little businesses – tons of hobbies and interests and things that I could do  — things that would put all of my super powers and talents into full use. To be truly happy and fulfilled – I need to be using all of these powers. Like a beautiful orchestra – they create amazing music (and amazing things happen).

I mapped out a gigantic handful of ideas – and looked at this map over and over again for a few days – thinking about all of the different paths and ideas.  I needed to pick one that I am so passionate about that I can find myself losing track of time when working on it.  One that would give me the opportunity to use all of my strengths and values – and one that I can work on simultaneously without interfering with my job and career growth at the company I work for.

So – it is here we start with the first masterpiece.

This will be a website that sells plain duvet covers and will teach and inspire people to create their own… to decorate, paint, dye, sew, etc. etc. etc their own masterpiece – their own work of art – that they can not only snuggle up with – but add it to their home – to a bedroom – for themselves, for their kids…to brighten guest rooms, or give as gifts… to be made by college students for custom dorm room decor .. and for those obsessed (like me) to change things up on a regular basis.

Additionally – will serve as the hub for all things – updates on diyduvet, writing about the journey, and sprinkled
with some other hobbies – ideas – and things I happen to be getting into.

It’s so ON!   Here we go!

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Extraordinary Inspiration

Two years ago I spent 7 days with my grandparents – mostly driving from Vero Beach Florida back home to NH, it was the best road trip I have ever taken.  My grandparents told me stories of remarkable adventure, demonstrated their love for one another, and above all reminded me that we are all extraordinary.  Take your special gifts.. and a strong will, a bit of humility – and a pinch of passion and you have the makings to do amazing things. I wrote about what I learned on that trip so that I could always look back on it as a reminder – to do great things.

Last evening my grandfather passed away – peacefully with his family surrounding him.  As my tribute to him – I will be just as extraordinary as he was and I hope that I can inspire others along the way.  I do great things now — but I know I can be even greater!  I have no idea where this journey will take me.. but here is the first step!


7 days with Nana and Grandpa:

Wedding Day

Nana and Grandpa’s Wedding Day

6 Things I Must Do:

1.) Travel the intercoastal by boat and stop at every major port

2.) Take a train across Canada – take a month for the journey

3.) My family once owned the Carlisle Mills in Ireland – visit there at some point in my life

4.) Invite all my friends to Bermuda (or some fun destination) and have a weekend long party, time with good friends is priceless.

5.) Travel Travel Travel: Make sure I get to at least 50 other countries in my lifetime.

6.) Own my own business… My grandfather and father did it – so can I

Always Remember:

1.) Everyday is an opportunity – take it!

2.) Always say hello to strangers, you never know who you will meet. Networking is a powerful tool.

3.) Cocktail hour starts at 4- daily! Why Not?!?!

4.) Always travel with Cheese and Crackers and your favorite cocktail fixin’s  (you never know where you will be at 4pm)

5.) Marry your best friend – and love that person with all you have

6.) Read something interesting – everyday!  Even if it is just for 10 minutes.

Some Random Facts that I learned…

1.) My grandparents were married at City Hall and had a Thanksgiving Diner at a friends home for a reception (see picture from that day) They have been married for over 65 years.

2.) My grandfather started his own bank: FTB (F&^% The Banks)- until the Banks wanted to be part of it.

3.) My aunt Kathy is named after my grandfathers grandmother – my father was named Stephen because “it sounded good”

4.) My father was arrested when he was 16 for having beer in his car- ha! if you know him – you would know this is a pretty big deal.

5.) My father figured out some big math equation to get out of a speeding ticket if you are clocked by “aircraft”  based on inaccuracy factors. (I would like to know more about this)

6.) My great-grandfather came to the US from Ireland and was an extremely talented tailor. He lost his business to some bad decisions, and back in those days – the prosecuting lawyers took control of the company. (Carlisle Mills)

7.) My grandfather was stationed in Jamaica and in Cuba when he was in the service.. he met Castro and Hemingway (although Hemingway was in Key West I think).

8.) My grandmother has a sad story to tell about growing up – someday she will tell it.

9.) My grandfathers engineering career took-off due to a contract assignment he took in Greenland – he left for this trip two weeks after he and my grandmother were married. He was gone for a year. Upon his return he met the man who originally founded the family business E.D.Swett.

I couldn’t be any more lucky for the time I was able to spend with them!  I hope that my family and friends who know my grandparents can add to this list of stories and random facts about their very inspiring life.. these little notes don’t even begin to paint the picture of their extraordinary life!