Please let me introduce FOJ(Friend of Jewel) Lori Karmel, owner of Fort Lauderdale's We Take the Cake. Lori was among the first people that I met when I moved to Fort Lauderdale, and I like to say that I met her BO (Before Oprah). You see, We Take the Cake's Key Lime bundt cake was featured as one of Oprah's favorite things in 2004. The endorsement revitalized her business and she's still riding the wave. Let me introduce you to the woman behind it all.

Lori's family moved to South Florida from Toronto in 2000. Her son was a toddler and she was a full time mother. She found We Take the Cake while searching through the yellow pages for a birthday cake for him. She was intrigued by their chocolate cream cheese frosting. Once her son started school, she started looking for a business to get into, found that We Take the Cake was up for sale, bought it, and the rest is history.

Her biggest challenge day to day is balancing staffing with production, since it's all custom. Her goal is to produce a premium, quality product, in and out, and that can be hard to do consistently. But Lori seems to be getting it right!

Her family and friends are her biggest supporters, her husband even came aboard to take care of the operations aspect, allowing Lori to concentrate on what she does best--sales and marketing. She absolutely loves getting notes and letters back from satisfied clients. She thinks that it's the most rewarding part of her business.

But it wasn't always easy. She was motivated by a book written by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. It described his extraordinary journey that took the company from his initial vision to the overwhelming success that it is today. She advises anyone looking to start up a new business that the most important part is marketing--

"Don't sit around waiting for business to come to you. Think outside the box to bring new business in. Forget about traditional advertising."

She's working on some new things for We Take the Cake. She's always looking to create new products. Client suggestions help drive new designs, flavors, and product offerings. In fact, she now has brownies on the menu, after landing a deal with the new W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. She promises that the new Red Wine Reduction brownies will be a rich and fudgy hit! I can't wait to try them! You can contact Lori via email at or by phone at 888-901-2253.

Your comments--priceless!!

So, it's that time of year again. Next week is BEACH WEEK. It's the week that my family and friends descend upon South Florida for merriment, mirth, and mayhem. In other words, we have a ball!

Though I live very close to the Atlantic Ocean, I don't regularly visit. I do "see" if often, driving by. But next week, the visitors generally want to hang out on the beach--both Fort Lauderdale Beach and Miami Beach. We'll also visit those local attractions that they have come to love--including Sawgrass Mills Mall, Aventura Mall, Taverna Opa, Pollo Tropical, Bubba Gump's, the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, etc. etc.

This year, there are also planned jaunts to the Miami Dolphins training facility, Spa Boulevard, and the Dolphin Mall. I think they spend a lot of time online, trying to figure out where they want to go, but then we always seem to hit the same spots. Last year, we ate breakfast and dinner at the same restaurant--the restaurant staff found it quite amusing, since we took up half the place.

At any rate, blogging will continue, in fact, there may be pictures of some of the funniest moments. Please readers, if you don't pay attention to anything else that I've ever wrote, please digest this--FAMILY is the most important thing of all, at least for me. I love my family, even with all the craziness and drama. I was overjoyed to marry into another loving family. I would not be who I am today, had it not been for my family. I love them all, from the babies to the seniors.

What about you? What's your take on family? Could you live without them?

Your comments--priceless!!

The year was 1981. I was 17. It was the summer after my high school graduation. I was starry eyed and had NO idea what life was all about.

I had watched the courtship of Diana Spencer and Prince Charles on television with bated breath (no internet, LOL). Finally it all culminated in a gorgeous wedding. I thought that I would never again in life see anything so beautiful. It was a fairytale and she was becoming a princess. I copied her hair. I tried, badly, to fake a British accent. I was a huge fan of Lady Di and my heart broke for her sons when she passed away so tragically.

But, it was on this day, 28 years ago, when the wedding took place. Do you remember it? Were you into all the hoopla like I was? Were you a fan or foe?

Your comments--priceless!!

I love makeup. I love all the colors and all the brushes. I even own quite a bit of makeup and all the accessories. I follow faithfully many makeup blogs. The problem is--I don't wear makeup. Usually, my face is bare. If it's a special occasion, I may throw on lipgloss. The last time I had on more than "just lipgloss" was when I got married. I think I added eye shadow that day.

What is my problem with makeup? Why don't I wear it? I simply don't have time for all the fussing and blending and shading. Do I like how it looks? Absolutely. Do I stop at all the make up counters in Macy's? Absolutely. Do I take in the entire makeup wall in the drug store? Absolutely. Do I even make purchases? Absolutely.

Well, guess what? I've just realized that I am no spring chicken, so I may need to "spruce up" a bit. Starting soon (lol), I'm going to wear makeup regularly. Not a lot, but I'm certainly going to put forth more effort. How about that?

Your comments--priceless!!

Ok, I just couldn't let this one slide. Today, July 27th, has been celebrated since the middle ages as "Natl Sleepy Head Day." On this day, the last person sleeping, in a household, is awaken by either being thrown in a lake or the sea, or having water thrown on him.

In one Finnish town, a local celebrity (usually a politician, writer, or businessman) is chosen to be thrown into the sea, as part of the celebration. No one know who it is until the ceremony. Crowds gather to watch.

Since I'm ALWAYS the FIRST person awake in my home, this is one that I would definitely LIKE to celebrate. Since my husband is usually the LAST person awake in my home, this is one that I will definitely NOT celebrate. Somehow, I don't think he would understand, especially since neither of us is Finnish. But, this is definitely someplace that I want to travel to, right around July 27th. I'm putting it on my bucket list now.

If this was celebrated in the United States, who would be likely to get wet, in your home? You? Spouse? Child? Pet?

Your comments--priceless!!
Today marks the 19th anniversary of then President George H W Bush signing the ADA. It's the law that protects individuals with physical or mental impairments. It protects them in the areas of Employment, Public Entities & Public Transportation, Public Accommodations, and Telecommunications, among others. It prevents discrimination.

What does it say about society when we need laws to protect the least of us?

Your comments--priceless!!

So, it's been a week. A week of dominating the news. A week of dominating conversation. A week that the snowball has been rolling downhill.

I've been asked my thoughts. Since I was not there, I will be general--

If my neighbor saw folks(of any color) fiddling around at my back door, I would want her to call the police.

If the officer arrived and asked me for proof of residency, I would think that it was a reasonable request and comply.

If the officer then wanted me to step outside, in order to check my home, to be certain that I was not under duress, I would again think that it was reasonable and comply.

If I were POTUS, I would not have used the word "stupidly."

I do not think it is a good idea to have bad blood with the folks that would be "first responders" to my home.

I do think there is enough blame to go around.

That is all.

Your comments--priceless!!

Please let me introduce Shelby M Hill, a professional relationship coach and also an FOJ (Friend of Jewel). He coaches women regarding dating, relationship and social barriers. Interesting work, huh?

After watching women in his life experience unfulfilled, volatile, and dysfunctional relationships, he decided that he wanted to educate women about men--in addition to educating them on loving and working on themselves, rather than expecting a man to do it for them. He's challenged with making his clients understand that by investing in themselves, they can change the outcome of their personal situations.

One of the things that I love about Shelby is his unconditional and unabashed adoration for his wife, British. His blog, called
My Life With My Wife, is a glimpse inside their relationship and never fails to make me smile. His honest accounts of those little "situations" that all marriages experience have given me great insight into the "husband's" point of view. He calls British his best friend, business partner, lover and confidante. When he even thinks of her, he beams--and I find it quite refreshing!

Shelby has extended an invitation to my readers to friend him on Facebook (Shelby M Hill), follow him on Twitter(@shelbymhill), comment on his blog, and visit his website. He also offers complimentary coaching sessions. Contact him via email at for more information.

I asked Shelby about his plans for the future and I wasn't surprised to find that they include writing books, hosting teleseminars and speaking engagements. And of course, British.

Your comments--priceless!!

It was on this day, 25 years ago, that Vanessa L Williams, resigned as Miss America. This came after she made history as the first African American to be crowned Miss America. Soon after, nude photographs of her surfaced and the nightmare began.

Now today, this would be no big deal. Beauty queen scandals are quite commonplace, usually ending with the young lady fading away into oblivion. Vanessa refused to let it happen to her. She held her head high and kept her career moving. She has become quite the entertainer, having been nominated for Grammy, Emmy, and Tony awards.

Personally, I think she is one of the most beautiful women in the world. Simply gorgeous. I admire her drive and determination and the fact that she "never let them see her sweat." She'll always be Miss America to me.

Your comments--priceless!!
My regular readers know that I suffer from severe anemia. These last few months have been full of medical procedures and weekly visits to my hematologist. I take a large amount of iron in pill form everyday. While the iron pills haven't done very much for my hemoglobin numbers, they have curbed my constant craving for ice. That's a blessing because, at my worst, I would have rather eaten ice than food.

Well anyhow, last night, while talking to one of my favorite folks in the world, I explained that I hardly ever have that overwhelming desire for ice anymore. This lead to a discussion about the "best" ice, and where to get it. You see, ice cravers like me have preferences. Of course, I have the fancy schmancy fridge that makes ice, but I don't like the shape of that ice. The cubes aren't cubes at all. They are long and curved and much too dense.

I believe McDonald's has the best ice. They have flat, circular "cubes" that fit nicely in your mouth and hold their shape in non-carbonated beverages. I would give McDonald's ice a score of 9. The next best ice comes from Pollo Tropical. They have the true square cubes, but again, the size and density are amazing! I would give them a 7.5. In fairness, I probably should mention that Pollo Tropical using an inferior cup, that starts to leak in less than an hour. (You can't expect me to eat a huge cup of ice in less than an hour, can you?) The worst ice is from Antonio's pizza. The ice there is crushed--YUCK! It's like eating a snowcone without the syrup. I give them a score of 1. The next worse is KFC--the ice is too watery and melts too quickly, though they do use a plastic cup--no chance of leaking.

As you can see, I've become quite an expert on the ice served in my immediate neighborhood. Have you ever given it any thought? Or are you one of those folks who chooses places to eat, based strictly on the food???

Your comments--priceless!!
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What is your earliest memory? How far back can you remember? Do you remember when you were a toddler? a baby? in the womb? What things have stayed with you?

I have many snippets of memories from my babyhood, but since I wasn't adept yet on using the calendar, I'm not sure which was the earliest. I do remember the day that Martin Luther King was murdered. We lived in house off of Missouri Avenue in Northwest Washington. I remember that morning. I remember the hardwood floors and the bedroom furniture in my parents' room. I remember the black and white television and I remember my mother crying and when I asked her what was wrong, I remember her going into the adjacent bathroom, getting tissue, wiping and face and saying, "THEY killed Martin Luther King." I had no idea who that was, but I started to cry too. If I live to be 100, I'll never forget that clip of time.

What do you remember? Tell me about it.

Your comments--priceless!!

It was on this day, 40 years ago, that Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon. It was widely believed that, at some point in the future, people would live on the moon. I'm not sure about you, but this notion is not appealing to me at all. I wouldn't want to live in Idaho, let alone the moon.

I would, however, be glued to the television, should a colony of humans decide to set up camp on the moon. I would hope that they would set it up much like the tv show, Big Brother. That would bring new meaning to the term, "satellite tv." I'd love it.

How would they handle everyday occurrences--suppose the kids wanted to run away? Where do you run away to on the moon? Suppose you got a serious case of the munchies late at night? Would there be Taco Bell on the moon? Suppose you got invited to a party and needed something to wear? Would Macy's overnight a little black dress to you? This is how my mind works. I am always full of the "what ifs?" What if my Kindle didn't work up there? What if there was no internet? What if my husband couldn't find a job? What if there was no tiramisu????

What are your thoughts? Would you move to the moon? Why not?

Your comments--priceless!!

My grandmother used to say, "If you don't know how to shift gears, you don't know how to drive. You only know how to steer." So I learned to drive by shifting. But now, it seems that it's a lost art. Hardly anyone shifts gears these days, do they?

It's so much easier to just slip it into drive and go, especially if you want to talk on the phone, text, eat a sammich, put on mascara and do a crossword puzzle while driving. But there's also something very sexy about shifting. (Shoot, at my age, just breathing is sexy sometimes.)

What about you? Do you drive or do you just steer?

Your comments--priceless!!

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Is there a "better" place to grow up--city vs country--urban vs rural? I was born in the city--Washington, D of C. There was always someplace to go, someone to see, something to do.

I visited the country often. I spent entire summers in the country. But the whole time that I was there, I longed for the city. Not only was I bored, but I am/was scared of "critters." Not that the country didn't have it's good points. I liked the fresh air, the sound of roosters crowing in the morning, the slower pace. I had never seen cornfields in the city. I would have never seen water pumped from a well in the city. I never tasted North Carolina BBQ until i visited the country.

Instead, I was able to be one of the first riders on DC's subway system. I braved the brutal cold to see Jimmy Carter's inauguration parade. I saw Moses Malone play Urban League basketball the summer before he entered the NBA, straight from high school. I experienced my first musical, Purlie, with Robert Guillaume at the National Theatre.

I'm sure that I missed something by being reared in the big city, but I'm happy with the person that I have become. What about you? Where did you grow up? What are your fondest memories? Did you miss the "other" life?

Your comments--priceless!!

So, I was thinking--If my home were on fire, and all humans and pets were able to make it out safely, but I could also grab 3 other items, what would they be?

Well, I would grab my photo albums, even though most of my photos are stored online. I'm hoping that even though there is more than one album, that they only count for 1 item.

I would also grab my purse. It would contain my iPod, Blackberry, and Kindle. It would also have my keys, my atm card, and lip gloss.

Finally, I would take my personal Bible. I've had it for a long time and it needs to stay with me.

What would you take? Why?

Your comments--priceless!!

What qualifies someone to give you advice? Do they need to have experience with the given subject? Must they have significant success in that area. Often, I hear people say that they wouldn't take relationship advise from someone that wasn't in a good relationship. Or that they wouldn't take parenting advise from someone who didn't have children, etc.

But suppose that person has an advanced degree in children's psychology, but are childless? Would you discount the advice of such a person? Would a woman with several children be a better source of information?

What do you think? When you seek out advice from family, friends, or even professionals--what criteria do you use? Should they have experience the problem first hand? Or do they simply have to have your best interests in mind? Let me know what you think..

Your comments--priceless!!
For the last few weeks, I've been craving french fries doused with malt vinegar. And, I confess, I've given in to the temptation, more than once. If you've never had them, trust me when I say that it's good eating.

Anyhow, I mentioned it to a couple folks and they had never heard of the fries/vinegar combination. Some even questioned how the two tastes could possibly interact in a good way. I'll admit it, it may not sound tasty, but heck, there are a lot of things that don't sound tasty and actually are.

I mean really--whoever thought of bleu cheese on a burger? For that matter, who thought of bleu cheese, PERIOD? And who invented turducken? Were they drunk??

So, here's my question. What quirky things do you eat--ketchup on eggs? Mayo AND mustard on a sandwich? Tell me some of your weird combinations of food. I may try some..

Your comments--priceless!!
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What's your favorite time of day? For me, it's dawn. I love the few minutes between darkness and light. It's when I'm at my creative best.

I've been an early riser all of my life. I'm usually up hours before anyone else in my home. It's a great time for prayer, reflection, affirmations, and planning. I also catch up on the news, check emails, and write blog posts. If there's time, I may also check Facebook and Twitter. As the day wears on, the family arises, and the day starts. There's probably not another time of day when it's just me and my thoughts.

What's your favorite time of day? Are you an early bird like me? Are you a night owl? When are you at your best? Why?

Your comments--priceless!!

When normal folks get tired, they crawl into bed and go to sleep. Why am I not normal? I'm both tired and sleepy this morning.

I didn't get to bed until very late last night. I fell asleep immediately. I was out like a light. And then I woke up. I'd only slept for about 3 hours. I was still tired, but the Sandman had moved on. No more sleep for me. And of course, my husband was snoring soundly. He never has problems sleeping.

I'm not any more stressed than usual. I didn't have caffeine late yesterday. What is going on? Is a good night's sleep too much to ask??

Has this ever happened to you? How do you get yourself back to sleep? Please help.

Your comments--priceless!!
Please help me settle a 40 year old family argument! It all revolves around Porky Pig. You youngsters may not know who Porky Pig is, but the oldheads know. Porky Pig was an animated Warner Brothers cartoon character. His most distinguishing features were his severe stutter and his lack of pants(repeated later in Chuck E. Cheese).

Now, some of you may know that I have brothers. They are 14 months younger than me (which means that they, too, are OLD!) and they are twins. Anyhow, when we were all toddlers, our family "acquired" 3 children's plates. I haven't been able to determine how they came to the family, but they were in our kitchen as far back as I can remember. So, we got THREE plates. (THIS IS SIGNIFICANT). We had 3 children in the family. (THIS, TOO, IS SIGNIFICANT). Two of the plates had a huge Bugs Bunny in the center, and the third had Porky Pig. So, let's examine this. THREE PLATES. THREE KIDS. TWO BUGS. TWINS. ONE PORKY PIG. ME.

Well, at EVERY meal, and I do mean EVERY, there was a huge fight about which of us would get to eat from the plate with the big Porky Pig. It was like whatever meal that was on it tasted so much better. Whoever ended up with it gloated while the other 2 glared. For years, we argued about that plate. There were tears, fighting, slaps, punches, punishments, and it usually ended up with everybody being sent to bed early, sometimes without eating at all.

Anyhow, the plate was MINE. The Porky Pig was MINE. The boys had the Bugs Bunny plates. Porky was MINE!!!!! But noooo, do you think my parents would back me on this???? NOPE! We had to rotate Porky at every meal because they claimed they didn't know who rightfully owned Porky. They knew. They knew. It was MINE! And this lack of support, so early in my formative years, probably contributed heavily to the neurosis I suffer from today. But I digress--

S0metimes now, years later, when we get together as a family, someone will bring up the big Porky Pig plate and it will start a fierce debate. Both of my brothers still claim that the plate was theirs. My parents still claim that the plate didn't have a rightful owner, but was rather a "community" plate. Hmmph!! Ok, so I've told my side the story. Please tell me--WHOSE plate do YOU think it was??

Your comments--priceless!!

Have you noticed, lately, how many things can now be bought from vending machines? When I was growing up, soda machines were commonplace, as were newspaper and stamp machines. I remember the break room at my Mom's job that had revolving sandwiches. Now you can buy nearly anything from a vending machine.

Have you seen the machines in the grocery store that dispense movies? What about the machines in Macy's where you can buy Apple products, like iPods, and batteries? And the dispensers in airports that sell perfume?

Well, I've learned that Japan has the most unusual vending machines around. I'm told that you can purchase thing like umbrellas, fresh flowers, and porn from machines. I was able to picture those, but then I learned that you could also get fresh eggs, hot popcorn, beer, french fries, and hot ramen noodles. Wow! And we wonder where the jobs are going..

Your comments--priceless!!

Please meet FOJ Kathy McEvoy, the owner of Celebrate in Pink, the first collection of distinctive "pink ribbon" themed paper tableware. I met her a few months back, and we became fast friends.

She's originally from Easton, Pennsylvania, but after college in New York, she went to DC and has been in the DC area ever since. She's married with 2 adult sons and a dog. She's done everything from corporate VP to home staging, but in 2005, she had a life changing experience. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In 2007, she participated in her first major walk for breast cancer. While planning the victory celebration, she discovered that while she could find many pink ribbon products, no one sold plates and napkins. An idea was born...

It hasn't been easy for her. She's had many roadblocks and wanted to give up. But then she would think of the brave women that would benefit from her struggle--she gives 5 percent of her net proft to help women with breast cancer. Her spiritual journey is one of fulfillment. She lives each day to the fullest, taking nothing or nobody for granted, and celebrates gratitude moments everyday. She calls her diagnosis, a "wake up call."

You can help her by spreading the word about her products. She also wants to hear from anyone wanting to share stories about starting and growing a business. She has a lot to share, but also a lot to learn. She can be reached via email-- or by phone at 888-314-7465.

Her products can be viewed on my other blog, Things in Pink where they are the feature of the day.
Ok--Here's the question--Who pays for a date? Should the male always pay, no matter what? Should the female offer? What's your take? I'll tell you how I feel.

I think the person who asked should pay. If a woman calls a guy and invites him out to dinner, she should pay for the meal. If he calls her, he should pay for it. But, if I was dating someone regularly, I would have no problem in offering to pay occasionally--I think it's the right thing to do.

Of course, there are those guys that wouldn't let a woman pay, regardless. Those are the guys that are giving Chivalry mouth to mouth. If the guy insisted on paying, I would let him. However, if I asked him out, I would be prepared to pay for the activity.

How do you feel? If you are a woman, would you EVER pay for date? Ever? If yes, under what circumstances? If no, why not?

Your comments--priceless!

According to the fashion magazines, parachute pants are back! I am mortified! This post is to advise my readers this is a style that very few folks can wear. In fact, I can only think of ONE person that can pull this off in 2009. That is MC Hammer. This means that if your name is NOT MC Hammer, do NOT purchase, borrow, wear, or even try on a pair of these pants. This is NOT a cute look.

I've always said that I welcome all readers. But, I promise you--If I find out that you did not heed this warning, you will be forever banished from this site. I'm serious. I can NOT take this, especially with the recent acetaminophen warnings. Should I encounter you on a leisurely stroll through the mall and you have on parachute pants, I will pretend that I don't know you--even if you are my Mama! I am not playing!

Your comments--priceless!

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