My Dad has struck again. He decided that we should do an extended family vacation next year. Extended family? Is he kidding? I have more close family members than most people, and now he wants to extend that?? Seriously? All of us? The babies? The toddlers? The hip hoppers? The old folks? ALL of us? He can't be serious, but he is.

He's thinks that we should all do a cruise next summer. I guess he hasn't considered that some of us don't get along with others of us, and that some of us are not above murder by cruise ship. We put the FUN, in dysFUNctional. And what cruise line would welcome US on their ship? This is gonna be good.

So anywho, Carnival has a new ship coming out, called the Dream. It sets sail this fall. We shall be on it next summer. A gang of us (pun intended). We'll visit ports in Mexico, Belize, and Honduras. I have no idea how the jail systems work in these countries. Oh yeah..this is gonna be good!

I think I'm excited. Especially when the agent told me that a lot of the decisions rested with me. Hmmmm..you mean that I could "accidentally" schedule my own dinner time apart from theirs? And that "Carnival" could make a mistake and put my cabin wayyyyyyy on the other side of the ship? Hmmmm..this may not be so bad after all...

Your comments--priceless!!
Two years ago today, Apple introduced the iPhone. It resulted in what I call, "The Fruit Salad War: Apple vs. Blackberry." Each is vying for consumers to buy their fruit. Two years later, many of us put a piece of fruit up to our ears daily.

I think that there's room for both in the salad. Some folks prefer apples, some blackberries. I actually like them both, but if I was hardpressed--I'd have to go for the berry. My blackberry is an integral part of my life. It's my phone, my calendar, my address book, my camera, my GPS system, my video player, my newspaper, my Twitter, internet, and Facebook(on the go). I probably couldn't function without it.

What about you? How tightly are you and your cell phone connected? Do you use all of the functions of your phone? How do you "get away?"

Your comments--priceless!!

Yesterday, the husband and I went to see Transformers 2. The show was at 4:30. We arrived at the mall at about 3:15, picked up our tickets, and walked the around for a little bit before we went back to the theater at about 4:00.

The theater was filling fast. We found seats. The next half hour was filled with "Is this seat taken? Is that seat taken? Can you move down one?" etc. What is the deal with that? How come you show up 5 mins before screening time with a party of 6 and are upset when 20 other folks won't shift their own seats around so that you and yours can sit together?

Or worse, why show up 10 mins late and want to keep striding back and forth in front of the screen? Is that right? Especially when the tickets were $14 each?

And finally, if you are sitting next to me and have popcorn and nachos and I have none, why get upset when I casually reach over and grab a handful?? I know that we don't know each other, but heck, we're spending 2 hours next to each other in the dark. There are married folks that don't spend that much darkness together. Give up the popcorn!!!

Your comments--priceless!!

Why is my mailbox full of offers for things that enhance a part of the body that women don't have? Why do folks from foreign countries want me to help them assist in getting millions of dollars to the United States? Why do banks where I don't have an account want me to login in because they've had a security breach?


Do folks really fall for these scams? I'm thinking that they obviously do, or the spammers would get tired and stop, wouldn't they? Wouldn't they? They are making money or they wouldn't continue. And if that is indeed the case, I'm broke and am now trying to think of a scam scheme that will bring me a boatload of money. Any ideas?--I'll split the profits with you...


Your comments--priceless!!


The world has lost a true musical genius. He led a very troubled life, I pray that his soul has found peace.

I had silenced my Blackberry while seeing a movie and when I turned it back on, I was alerted that he had been hospitalized. I followed the story until late into the night. Where were you when you got the news?

Your comments--priceless!!


I'm jealous of those folks on television that predict the weather. How come they are hardly ever right and get to keep their jobs? Why do we even need weather folks? What would happen if we didn't have them.

Right now, we listen to the weather report and take a chance on whether it's right. If I take my umbrella, it doesn't rain. If I don't, it pours. If we didnt have a weather report, we'd take that same chance. What's the difference?

From now on, I'm not listening to the weather. I'm going to use the time that the weather report is on to..to...to do something else. Something worthwhile. Like exercise. That's it. I will hit the MUTE button and exercise while the weather is on. Crunches. No--push ups. No--jumping jacks. Yes, I will do jumping jacks with my back turned to the television. That's the ticket. And, the number of them that I've done before I collapse will determine if it's going to rain. If I fall out on 3, which is likely, I will take my umbrella, because 3 is an odd number. If I come to and last number I remember is 4, which is even, I'll leave it at home. Same odds...

Your comments--priceless!!

I guess I'm spoiled by the fact that both my husband and my dad are men. Men's men. The strong, virile kind of men. The kind of men that work hard, provide, and are the rock of the family. I guess that's why I don't understand men that aren't. Men that haved to be begged, coaxed, or even forced to do the right things.

For example, what's the deal with men that don't contribute financially to the household? In these tough economic times, I understand that he may be out of work temporarily. TEMPORARILY. I do understand that. But when your day consists of eating, watching tv, farting, and video games--all day, every day--that is a problem.

And, what about men that have no contact with those children that they know they have fathered? What is manly about that? How can rifts with the other parent keep you away from your child?

And finally, what about gossipy, drama-laden men? If you insist on being catty, be a full maned lion, not Garfield! Let's get it together.

Your comments--priceless!


Today marks the 3 year anniversary of the death of someone who helped shape my childhood--Aaron Spelling. He worked on some of my favorite television shows from the 70s and 80s, including: Charlie's Angels, Family, Starsky & Hutch, The Mod Squad, Dynasty, Fantasy Island, Beverly Hills 90210, S.W.A.T, etc. There are more than 200 shows where Aaron is credited with being either the Producer or Executive Producer.

He seemed to have a gift for creating hit series, as well as made for tv movies, and though I'm sure that I wasn't his target audience, I am a great fan of his work. Looking back, it seems that I watched an awful lot of television as a child, and I'm sure it helped shape me into who I am today.

What were your favorite shows of your childhood? Why? What do you think they taught you?

Your comments--priceless!!

You may have noticed that both my blogs have been nominated for the 2009 Black Weblog Awards. I have not been able to get contest rules for these yet, but I will post them as soon as I have them. As far as the Social Luxe Awards, thanks to everyone that has voted for me in the Most Inspiring Blog category. The links for voting are in the side column. I love you guys!


The winners of the Axe Giveaway are:

Glamorous Beauty

Sharon Ball

Beth

Blqlvr Girl

They will each receive a box of Axe Hair products and styling aids. Please email your mailing addresses to me.

Your comments--priceless!

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Today, I salute my Dad. He's a lot of things--a dad, grand dad, brother, uncle, cousin, friend, Vietnam Vet, cancer survivor, sports fanatic, lover of fine foods and music. I love him immensely. I wouldn't trade him for the world. He's simply the best. And I know the feeling is mutual. Happy Fathers Day, Dad!



I can't be with him today, but he is ALWAYS in my heart. What about you? Whether he's still with you or not, how will you honor him today?

Your comments--priceless!

I've been notified by the SocialLuxe Lounge that TheTinyJEWELBox has been nominated for Most Inspiring Blog. SocialLuxe Lounge announces these awards at the prestigious BlogHer Conference. The awards are given to deserving female bloggers in a variety of categories.

I'm honored to even be nominated! You can vote for me by going to the link on my site. Unfortunately, some of the nominated blogs don't have the names attached, so it may take a bit of searching. Just go to "Most Inspiring" and click on those with no names attached. You can vote once a day until July 6th. The top 5 finalists will then be chosen by panel.

How cool is this!

Your comments--pricesless!

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Please meet FOJ Natalie McNeal. She is a journalist for the Miami Herald, and the author of the popular blog, The Frugalista Files. The Frugalista Files show us the "frugal" side of being fabulous.

Last year, Natalie, tired of living paycheck to paycheck, pitched the concept of the blog to the Herald. She wanted to go a whole month without spending extra money--no eating out, no manicures, no pedicures, no beauty salon, etc. and chronicle the experience. They agreed and she took on the month long challenge, saving $400. What happened next is phenomenal. What was supposed to a month of blogging has continued ever since, establishing her as a expert in personal finance. I read it faithfully, and would recommend it to you, as well. It's chocked full of money saving tips and specials. Recent posts have advised me of free shakes from Orange Julius, free music from Amazon, and free beauty treatments, among other things. I even email her tidbits when I come across them. You may have seen her recently on local tv and panel discussions, as well as nationally, on CNN.

While the Frugalista Files is new, Natalie is certainly no newcomer to the business. Originally from Chicago, she's known since high school that she wanted to be a journalist. After graduating from Howard University, she ended up here in South Florida and we are so lucky to have her!

We can support her by reading her column, commenting on her posts, and purchasing her upcoming book. Her contact information is on her page. Her twitter name is @frugalista. Don't forget, the purpose of FOJ(Friend of Jewel) Fridays is to introduce you to folks that I find interesting, so that you can expand your circles. Get to know someone. Make a friend!


Your comments--priceless!!
Yesterday, the Miami Dade County School Board voted to name a new North Miami high school in honor of professional athlete Alonzo Mourning, and his wife Tracy. I think that it was quite fitting. They have made amazing philanthropic offerings to the South Florida area, especially those causes that champion children.

Zo founded Alonzo Mourning Charities in 1997. AMC raises money for local programs that serve under priviledged youth. His flagship event, Zo's Summer Groove, is one of the biggest put on annually in Miami. ZSG attracts both celebrities and celebrity seekers, for a weekend of charity events, including a golf tournament, comedy show, and basketball game. Tracy founded the Honey Shine program in 2002, geared towards girls. I've attended a few of Honey Shine's events and they are top notch. They also support kidney disease programs--Zo received a kidney transplant in 2003.

These are just a few of their endeavors. They take "giving back" very serious. The Mournings have been recognized locally and nationally, several times, as Family of the Year. They lend a hand wherever it's needed, though not always public. I'm glad to see that they were recognized in this huge way. They are way deserving.

Your comments--priceless!!


I believe that part of growing up is participating in self examination and knowing one's self. I also believe that growing up doesn't always coincide with society's calendar. I was 35 before I finally "grew up." But you have to be able to figure out who you are.

Recently, I've noticed that many folks in my life don't know who they are. How can you not know that you are narrowminded or short tempered or humorless? Do they really not know or are they simply denying it? Last week, I was called a bigot. Later, the person apologized, saying that after conversing with me further, they realized that they were wrong. I had to admit that I had not been offended with the accusation, due to knowing what my character flaws are and bigotry is not on the list. Had they said spoiled, or sarcastic, or even haughty, I couldn't have argued--those can be correct assumptions for me in certain situations.

Do you know who you are? Do others constantly accuse you of having a personality challenge that you don't think you have? Have you checked the mirror lately? What are your thoughts?

Your comments--priceless!!


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Here's the question--How has your life most benefitted from the internet? This is an easy one for me. By far, the hugest benefit for me has been the amazing friendships that I've developed. I've met the most amazing folks on the web. I'm not sure if I could have met them any other way.

And I'm able to do research from home. As I child, I did some research for school at my neighborhood library. But for in-depth research, I had to go to the Main Library, in downtown DC. That involved money, buses, and walking. My children have much more available to them instantly, without even leaving the house. The amount of information available on the net still amazes me. I won't even mention shopping from home.

I've even astounding business contacts. It's helped me tremendously in nearly every position that I've held. I'm not sure what my life would be like if there was no internet. I doubt that it would have been the same.

What about you? What area of your life has the internet impacted most? Tell me about it...

Your comments--priceless!!

A huge part of blogging is reading and commenting on other blogs. A couple weeks ago, one of my favorite bloggers reviewed Axe's new hair products. Not only did I leave a comment on her post, but I also tweeted her about how my 12 year old son swears by Axe, though he had never used the hair line. We had a quick little banter about it. Little did I know, Axe was listening! They contacted me, offering hair products for my son and giveaways for my readers. My son was excited and I was too!

If you aren't familiar with Axe, they are a Unilever brand that includes deodorant body sprays, deodorant and anti-perspirant sticks, shower gels, and now hair care products. The new hair care line includes shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. They all smell great!

The good folks over at Axe sent enough for multiple winners to receive both a shampoo and a styling aid, so here are the rules:

1. Leave a comment on this post for your initial entry. Don't forget to include a valid email address, should I not already know how to contact you.

2. For an additional entry, sign up to get my blog via email. The sign up form is on the right sidebar. You must also verify the subscription. If you are already a subscriber, you will automatically get an additional entry.

3. Become a Google Friend Connect follower of my blog. Click on the Google Friend widget on the sidebar. If you are already connected with me via Google Friend, you will automatically get this entry.

4. Tweet this and send me a link. It's worth another entry.

5. Post this on Facebook. It'll get you yet another entry.

6. Forward this to at least 4 other folks for yet another entry. Please copy me on the email.

That is 6 chances to win! Keep in mind though, you MUST leave a comment for the initial entry. Without the comment, none of the other entries will count.

Contest ends at midnight EST, next Sunday, June 21st (Fathers Day), and winners will be announced on Monday's post.

About 10 days ago, I wrote a post about my frustrations as a blogger. While blogging may look easy, it's actually one of the most challenging things that I've ever taken on. I wasn't even sure if I should continue. My reader base was very supportive and I thank you. I also prayed for a sign from God about whether or not this was a path that I should be walking.

Well, it wasn't just my readers who helped. Many other bloggers came forth to weigh in. They gave me words of encouragement and, more importantly, validated some of the things that I am doing. I was amazed at the caliber of folks that not only sent notes and tweets, but also spoke to me by phone. I am so grateful for them. One of them challenged me to something wayyy out of my comfort zone. I haven't quite done it, but I will. TODAY.

I think that God has spoken on it. I think that I should continue blogging. I think that I should also work hard at mastering the craft. I've come up with new topics and features. I can continue, at least for the time being. I feel excited, and also rejuvenated. Life is good!

Be a catalyst today. Give a word of encouragement, even where you think none is needed. You never know...

Your comments--priceless!



A few nights ago, a friend shared with me that the leader of one of her hobby groups had advised the group that they should look into cosmetic surgery. The day after that, I heard that Chastity Bono was in the early stages of gender reassignment. What is really going on, folks??

I don't believe in surgery to change your physical body, unless it relates to your health. I advised my friend to run away from that group, to not even consider going under the knife for cosmetic reasons.

I also believe that He created us in his perfect image and that He makes NO mistakes. I'm not willing to surgically change anything about me. I am charged with honoring Him with my body.

What do you think of cosmetic surgery? Would you do it? Have you done it? Why?

Your comments--priceless!!


Please meet FOJ Kevin Carty, Vice President of Sales at Classic Exhibits, out in Portland, Oregon. In my professional life, I've been working with Classic Exhibits for only the last three years, Kevin is celebrating 15 years with Classic. Kevin does something that I find absolutely extraordinary and I want to share it with you.

Back in April 2000, Kevin was diagnosed with Stage 3 Testicular Cancer. Though his family was supportive, he found that his greatest strength and inspiration came from the fellow cancer patients, doctors, and nurses that he was surrounded by, 8 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. They kept him going. A gift from a friend led him to look into the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The LAF not only raises money for cancer research, but also works at keeping the disease in the public, as well as our government's eye and making sure that drug companies don't wrongly capitalize on the sickness.

Kevin started participating in the LIVESTRONG Challenge. This event allows people of all ages to "pick a fight with cancer." You can walk, run, bike, donate, or volunteer. On June 21st, in Seattle, he will bicycle 100 miles, and hopes to raise $25k personally and $50k through his team. He says the ride is HARD! "100 miles HARD, but as he rides, he reminds himself that it is only hard for ONE day, and is nowhere near as hard as chemo treatments." He also hopes to raise enough to earn a trip to Austin, Texas, to ride personally with Lance Armstrong.

As if that were NOT amazing enough, Kevin then gives the trip to a child with cancer, through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, allowing that child to spend the day with Lance. Kevin says, "These kiddos will not likely beat cancer like I did. And if, even for just one day, they can spend a day with someone that they find inspiring, that's one day that they will surely not be focused on their battle with cancer." Let me just say that I am humbled and honored to be a FOK! It's folks like him that remind me that God certainly has a lot more work to do with me..

And, did I mention that the single most important part of the ride for Kevin is the namecards that he wears on his back?? There are names that he collects, and wears "in Honor of" or "in Memory of." I am proud to say that he will be riding this year with the name of my dad, who is a survivor of prostate cancer. If you have loved ones that you would like Kevin to ride with, please email him those names.

We can support Kevin in this by donating to the LAF, by clicking here. This link will take you directly to his page. You can also contact Kevin at kevin@classicexhibits.com. And please consider following him on Twitter. His twitter name is @kevin_carty.

Your comments--priceless!!



Yesterday, when I left the hospital, I had but ONE thing on my mind--EATING. I had no idea what I wanted to eat, only that I wanted to devour a lot of it.

I got home and before I could even taste the first morsels that I've gotten to enjoy in the last few days, I was stunned by the news of the shooting at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I was so taken aback that I put my fork down. What is the world coming to? When you have elderly folk committing such heinous acts of hate, there's a problem.

I used to work at the Holocaust Museum, years ago, in the Development department. Imagine that, an African American Christian raising funds for a museum whose permanent exhibit documented the Jewish holocaust. Believe it or not, I had a ball. The folks that I met while working there were some of the best people in the world. And we were such a diverse group. I learned so much there, and am still in touch with some of my co-workers, 15 years later.

I believe that I am truly colorblind. If I like you, it has nothing to do with your color. If I don't like you, it has nothing to do with your color. I have friends and family that represent every hue in the rainbow. I treasure ALL of my friends and each one enhances my life. Not everyone is so lucky. A lot of people limit themselves to getting to know only 1 segment of society. I don't think they realize what they are missing out on. It saddens me.

I've decided to introduce a new feature, FOJ FRIDAYS. It will start tomorrow. There are so many FOJ's that I would like to introduce you to. Each has touched my world in some way and have interesting stories to tell. Each will include contact information. If someone's story touches you, let them know. Reach out to them. Expand your circle.

And tell me what your thoughts are on diversity. Do you have limited exposure to those of different races, creeds, and colors? Are there those that you particularly avoid? Why?

Your comments-priceless!!


We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Look what we've done! We've raised a generation of kids that are always bored, and don't really know how to have fun.

Like last week, when our power was out, my kids were at a total loss for what to do. When I was growing up, power or lack thereof, had absolutely NOTHING to do with my fun. I didn't need batteries. Heck, our televisions didn't even require remotes. My, how things have changed...

I'm certain that this factors into why so many youngsters are turning to drugs. They simply need to be stimulated. It must truly suck to be growing up in these times! In my own family, we used to have game night, where we played games as a family, complete with snacks. This was as recent as 3 or 4 years ago. Why did we stop?

When is the last time you saw a group of girls sitting on the concrete playing jacks? When did you last see, or even think of, a tetherball pole? How about the hula hoop? A deck of Old Maid cards? In the past umpteen years, have you run across folks playing Twister, or Mother May I? Or best yet, have you seen the looks on the faces of youth when you try to explain the hand/string games like "Cat's Cradle?"

What's happened to us? And more importantly, how do we fix it?

Your comments--priceless!!

So, the question is--What would you be excited to find on the ground today? What would absolutely make your day if you could, just randomly, come across it? What would make you scream out "WOO HOO" and mean it?

This is probably my easiest post ever. I know exactly what I would want to find today. As I prepare to have a medical procedure tomorrow, I would want to find a body full of iron enriched blood. That sounds kind of morbid, huh? But it's true--I want to find 10 pints of blood.

Hmmm..but IF i DID find 10 pints of blood(the average in an adult human), just sitting on the side of the road, would I really pick it up and demand someone insert it into my body? Uhhh, definitely not. So perhaps I don't really want to find blood. Perhaps what I really want to find is--a TEACUP YORKIE!!!

Your comments--priceless!


The Powerball lottery jackpot crept up to $232 million dollars last month, before finally being won by a 23 year old, South Dakota cowboy. After seeing him on television, a little of my anger over not winning myself subsided. He bought his ticket in a little town called Winner.

The Powerball officials held a press conference on Friday to showcase him and I must say, he seemed like just the kind of person who should have won, IF I couldn't. He lives with his parents on a 320-acre cattle ranch.

Seems that his family had fallen on hard times. They don't have a phone, their mobile home was repossessed, they are behind in their taxes, and had taken to selling scrap metal and picking up hay off the side of the road to feed their animals. They live in one of the poorest counties in the country.

At the press conference, he read from a prepared statement. In his first statement, he thanked the Lord for the opportunity and blessing. He then vowed not to squander it. He said he wanted to repay his community "many times over" for helping his family. Even though he took the lump sum payout, he has yet to go on a spending spree.

I think he has his head on straight. I hope he follows through with his plans. And I still praying for my own ship to come in.

Your comments--priceless!!



My problem lately has been focus. I have a long list of things that I need to get accomplished and I just never seem to get started.

This week is nearly filled to the brim. So I'm not going to try to pack more into it. But, starting next week--I will plan my work and work my plan. If I am to received all the blessings that I believe are in store for me, I have to put in the work. I simply haven't been doing it.

But the staycation is over. I am back on course. As always, if you are an obstacle in my path--PREPARE TO BE TRAMPLED!

Your comments--priceless!!



Yesterday, our power was out, due to one of our daily storms. During the rainy season, the power is out regularly, though not usually for long.

On the other side of the house, my kids were scrambling. They were figuring how long they had before they would be bored. DearDaughter used the laptop until it died--about 2 hours or so. Then she turned to her phone. It held out another 2 hours or so. She was in the middle of a text when it shut down. She screamed, "How RUDE!" She moved on to the iPod Touch. It failed her quickly.

DearSon started with his PSP. It actually told him that he had 2 hours and some change. He was happy(for the moment). Two hours later, he picked up his iPod. Oops, he has neglected charging it for the past few days. It didn't last long. He ended up on his phone, but after an hour of steady texting, it too fell asleep.

I fared much better. I actually switched off the laptop after playing a few rounds of Hearts. I decided against watching a movie on my portable DVD player, and went straight for the Kindle. Like my son, I rarely charge the Kindle, but with a battery life of about 2 weeks, I was set. I read for hours and hours, only looking up when one of them yelled because their gadget failed. I even used my Kindle's internet to order new books. Except for being hot as heck, I did quite well. My Blackberry kept me company as well. I was able to tweet quite frequently and keep the Twitterverse updated on my status.

I hope the lesson learned in my home yesterday was to keep your gadgets charged. Somehow, though, I doubt it...

Yourcomments--priceless!!


This weekend, I had a phone conversation with a FOJ. We went to high school together. He's now in the Atlanta area, and I'm in South Florida. One of the things that we discussed during that long conversation was a moment that most native Washingtonians have had.

It's the moment that you realize that you took all of the free cultural activities in the Washington, DC area for granted. I remember when that moment hit me. It was in the late 90's. I was on a business trip to Milwaukee. There was another woman there from North Carolina. She was very young and not very well traveled. I could tell because she considered Milwaukee to be the "big city." Hmmph. Anyhow, she wanted to go to the zoo, but after talking to her mom, they decided that she shouldn't be roaming the "big city" alone. She looked like she was about to cry, so I offered to go with her. Our hotel arranged the transportation.

When we got there, my mouth dropped when I saw the price of admission. If memory serves me correctly, it was something like $25 bucks! I do remember asking the ticket lady if they even had pandas. They didn't. I was shocked, but Country Girl's eyes welled up with tears again, so I just paid it. I hope the Milwaukee Zoo folks don't come after me for this, but they have NOTHING on the National Zoo in DC. I guess it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, but it was then that I realized that I really need to partake more of the sites in the Nation's Capital.

There's so much there to do, and a lot of it is free or very inexpensive. There's the Smithsonian, the National Zoo, The White House, The Capitol, The Vietnam Vet's Memorial, The Lincoln & Jefferson Memorials, etc. It's a great place to vacation, since the tourist spending requirements are so low. Unfortunately, many residents never take advantage.

What kinds of attractions are in your hometown that are free or inexpensive? What should every tourist see? Have you seen it? When was the last time you did the tourist thing in your hometown?

Your comments--priceless!!
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