Friday, March 30, 2012

Don't Ditch That Old Technology

In the process of doing my recent house cleaning, I ran across my old Kodak Easy Share camera. This thing is probably about eight years old and still runs on two AA batteries. Since the cameras on cell phones have gotten so good and it’s easy to share the pictures from the phones, I have started to opt for using my cell phone to take pictures.


But when I pulled out this camera, I had to be think critically before just tossing this in the recycling bin. This camera is 3.1 mega pixels which is not good in terms of purchasing new camera, but excellent when compared to the front facing camera on my Android phone which is only 1.3 MP. So, I popped in some new batteries and put my old friend to the test. I have been very happy with results but decided to do a side by side comparison with my cell phone to see if new really is better.

Now, my cell phone is an HTC Incredible 2 with an 8 MP camera. It almost seems unfair to compare them, but take a look at pics.


The first picture was taken with the Kodak EasyShare. The second picture was taken with the cell phone-I put the Kodak in the picture so I wouldn’t get them confused. Both pictures have the same lighting. I used the flash on both. I have to say, I like the picture that the Kodak took better. The colors are not as washed out. What do you think?

Bottom line, don’t be so quick to upgrade. Technology manufacturers like to convince us that we need newer, better, bigger but is that always the best option for us? We really need to step outside of the marketing and use a little critical thinking of our own.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Use or Trade

I’m continuing to go through the house, cleaning out where I can and getting rid of things I no longer need or want. Next up was the media cabinet. It was getting to the point where I couldn’t fit much more in it without messy stacking that threatened to tumble out eat time you opened the cabinet.

I checked the trade-in requirements for my local used video/games/music/book store before starting because anything that can go will go there for now. I do have some items that don’t meet the requirements and I will keep them for now, but I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for options for getting rids of those.

My media cabinet went from this…


to this…


I didn’t count my totals but I have an assortment of VHS, DVD and CDs ready for trade. The place I am going has the option for cash buy or trade, but since I am a regular customer I will be going for the trade as it is much more valuable.


I added my used first generation e-ink Kindle to the pile and walked away with $159.85 in store credit. Only 5 items were rejected and returned to my media cabinet

How is your cleaning going? Have you tackled your media collection?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coffee Chat-Race and Hunger


I should be cleaning my mess of a dining room table, but I just had to take a few moments to continue discussing race. People’s true views always seem to come out at times when you just want to shake your head and say, “REALLY”. So, let’s talk about The Hunger Games.

Let me just say that I have not read the books nor seen the first movie (yet). I have a lot of friends that have been raving about the books and now that the frenzy seems to be growing, I will put them on my to-read list. This morning, I was perusing Facebook and someone linked this this article. Apparently, there is a lot of backlash over the casting of two black characters in the movie. One of these is Lenny Kravitz. Lenny Kravitz! I thought white people loved Lenny! It seems you are not so liked when you step off your stage and into the pages of someone’s favorite book.

I too have often been surprised at the casting of characters in a movie from a book that I have read. I am a very visual person so when I read a description of someone, I immediately have a picture of them in my head. A lot of times, Hollywood’s rendition and mine do not match. It takes a bit to get used to but I can honestly say I’ve never had an objection over color. Sometimes I object with the body style of the actor not matching the book’s description or even the actor’s personality, but never their skin color. In most cases (when you look at the kind of movie-from-book adaptations that are happening these days), color doesn’t even matter (Alabaster, sparkly skinned vampires aside). Alas, a mass of Hungry movie-goers do not agree with me.

Some have even gone so far as to say they weren’t upset about one of the characters being killed when they found out she was cast as a black woman. That hurt a bit. It hurt because its such a typical Hollywood thing to have the black actors cast as the expendable characters. It’s like watching the old Star Trek episodes. Based on the color of the uniform, you know who is going to get killed on an away mission. The same is true in many Hollywood movies. I’m always shocked when a black man or woman makes it to the end of the movie. I’m still surprised LL Cool J made it to the end of Deep Blue Sea. Once Samuel Jackson was killed in such grand fashion, I just knew LL was next. But, he made it. That is rare my friends. Very rare indeed.

And now I have to wonder if this backlash points at a bigger issue. Lately, books that I have read have had very loose descriptions when it comes to black characters. Even Suzanne Collins writes the Hunger Games characters as dark skinned rather than flat-out calling them black or African American. Do editors encourage writers to be loosy-goosy with black people. Will a book with no black characters or easily exchangeable characters be more likely to be optioned into film or tv?If you are a writer (published or not) or avid book-to-movie buff, I would like to know what you think. Do you shy away from black characters?

Picking Up Subsitutions


Ignore the boiling pot in the background. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I am prone to make batches of soup in the middle of the night.

I wanted to make sure I followed up on my migraine diagnosis that I received last year. I am still learning to live dairy free, but I’m happy to say that I am finding some really good alternatives to the dairy products that I love and miss so dearly.

Last month, I attended a healthy cooking class in Hixson, TN that was sponsored by the Seventh Day Adventist Church whose members are primarily vegan. Even though I don’t have plans to go fully vegan, I do think we should eat more meat-free meals than we do and because of my dairy-migraine issue, I need to learn to cook dairy free. There is no better place to learn that than in a vegan kitchen.

So, let me run through with you some of the dairy substitutes that I have either already tried or am about to try.

  • Milk--I gave up regular milk years ago and started drinking Soy Milk. For the past few months, I have preferred Almond Milk. Both are great alternatives. I have had no problem substituting them in recipes other than having to account for the sweeter taste. Regardless of which I pick up, I always go for the Silk brand.
  • Cheese--When I was in Virginia, I discovered a pizza place that had vegan pizzas. I fell in love with the cheese they used and by calling the restaurant and researching through Google, I found that I could buy this cheese in the store. The brand is Daiya and it melts so perfectly. I have used it for everything, including grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Vegan cream cheese--This particular brand is the best that I have tried and I am loving it on everything. Remember my sexy breakfast?
  • Sour cream--I have not tried this Better Than Sour Cream yet, but I have a couple of recipes that recommend it so I will be trying this soon. I have the Tofutti brand.
  • Ricotta Cheese--this is also made by Tofutti and I have yet to try it. A friend bought it for me to try after I was talking about finding substitutes to allow me to make my favorite lasagna roll recipe.--more on that in a bit.
  • Tofu--During the healthy cooking class, the instructor showed us exactly how to use Tofu as a substitute for ricotta cheese. This was the first thing that I tried following the class and it worked perfectly. My favorite lasagna rolls are back on my frequent meal list.
  • Yogurt--So Delicious is the best brand for dairy free ice creams and yogurts. I was thrilled when I ran across this greek style version in the store. I ate some of the plain this morning with some of my homemade granola. love, love, love!
Learning to cook with a food restriction is difficult but it is doable and the results can be oh-so delicious. And just so you know I’m not kidding--yea, you!--below is a pan of my favorite lasagna rolls, made with tofu in place of ricotta cheese and topped with Daiya mozzarella style shreds. yum!

IMAG1160-2012-03-27-14-22.jpg IMAG1161-2012-03-27-14-22.jpg

Even if dairy is not an issue for you, try a few of these substitutions for a healthier eating option.

Monday, March 26, 2012

There is So Much To Say

This past weekend, I drank a little too much wine which always causes me to get a little too sappy. My perpetual state of sappiness led me to sit down and write 15 cards (yes, 15!) to be sent to my fiancé. He will be visiting me in about 2 1/2 weeks and I want to build some excitement for this trip. So, I have 15 very loving and/or steamy messages that will be heading his way. They are sealed, addressed and stamped and I will be dropping one or two of them in the mail each day over the next two weeks.


And one of you will get some cards of your own to send. As I stated in this post, Hallmark has been gracious enough to extend their Vow to Tell Them campaign through me and on to one of you.

Six of you posted comments against one or both of my Hallmark related posts. I numbered you all on a sheet of paper and used to generate a random number.


And the lucky recipient is Victoria! You can learn more about Victoria here. She is a local (to Chattanooga) author and blogger.

Thank you all for commenting on my posts. And please send a little sunshine someone’s way by putting a card in the mail. And it goes without saying that you will be helping out our struggling postal system.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hair of The Day-3/24

My natural hair is now long enough to use one of my favorite hair accessories.


Sorry for the quality of the picture. It’s a little tricky getting a back shot from your camera. This is a hand carved, wooden hair stick that I bought years ago at the Chattanooga Market. I wish I could remember the name of the vendor. It’s a very sweet couple from somewhere close to Sweetwater, TN. I remember the last time I spoke with the wife, she apologized because their prices had to go up. They started selling on the internet and the demand for their pieces went through the roof. There is never a need to apologize when you sell quality products. I have had this hair pin for probably 7 years and my thick hair has never cause a problem for it. I’m hoping to see them at this year’s market so I can purchase more of them.

I do love to wear my hair pinned up, especially during the hot summer so you will see more up-dos from me in the near future.


I’m even wearing make-up today. I’m trying out some new products from Mary-Kay. Review soon.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Coffee Chat-Trayvon Martin

I went to Starbucks this morning to buy a bag of my favorite coffee blend-Breakfast blend. It seems anything made for breakfast is my favorite as the English Breakfast is my favorite blend of tea. I’m brewing a carafe of coffee to enjoy while I spend a little time with the computer catching up with the news, my RSS feed items and my blogging.


Let’s chat a minute, shall we.

I have been following the Trayvon Martin case in Florida and although I have been publicly silent about it, I have been quietly praying. I try to avoid topics that become overly political or racial on this blog, but today, I was so hurt when I read an article written by someone in Chicago speaking against the media attention that has been shown to one single shooting in Florida. He wants us to concentrate on the innocent people that have been shot accidentally in Chicago due to drive-by shootings. I agree that we don’t need to loose focus on our local issues but he fed right into the issue when he decided to make his first point that Trayvon was a “towering” figure standing over 6 feet tall. At that point his credibility went straight out the window. You don’t shoot a man because he’s taller than what you think you can handle. I am disgusted at the views that are coming out surrounding this issue. Regardless of which side you stand on, just take a minute to evaluate what your underlying views are. If a towering black man wearing a hood was walking down your street, would you get nervous? Would you shoot?

Serial killers are typically nerdy, middle-aged white men. Should I shoot the next one that the power company sends knocking at my door. Better yet, the mail man. He might go “postal” at my front door. I don’t look at anyone’s skin tone and automatically assume they are criminals. We need to stop letting our views on another race dictate how the law is applied in this country.

And it’s okay not to know how to feel, which is where I am. I have heard the story. I have heard the 911 tape and it breaks my heart. But I also think there is a lot to this story that we don’t know. What I do feel is the shooter should be arrested and charged. Let him post bail and defend his actions as any of us would be called to do in the same situation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


So much as been going on but my blogging is not keeping up with it all. Not to mention, I have been getting so caught up in what’s been going on that I have been forgetting to take pictures.

Last week, my mother and grandmother came to visit. My mother, who was a transitioning natural, let me cut her hair and give her a henna treatment while my grandmother graciously tackled several of the sewing projects in my works-in-progress bin. I took no pictures. Absolutely none.

Mom and grandma also helped me visit florists for the wedding. I visited two beautiful shops and have no pictures to document the outing, but I’m sure I will be visiting them both again in the future.

And I really need to blog about the Costco that opened close to Chattanooga. They snuck that in on me while I was on business assignment in DC. Granted I was gone for two years so I should have expected some changes, but this is one I was not expecting. I am loving Costco. I was worried I wouldn’t have need for the membership, but the fruits and vegetables are enough to keep me going back. The selection is amazing and the grapefruits are the size of a child’s head! I’m serious. Check out your local Costco and you will see what I’m talking about.

I took a sewing class tonight (Big Hoop Love) and even though I did not take any pictures, I will be blogging about the projects I made and all that I learned.

Ta-Ta for now, kiddies.

Hope you are having an allergy free start to the spring. (I’m not!)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Continuing To Vow

During Blissdom 2012, Hallmark asked us to make a video of who we were sending a card to. This is my video. I was cute that day! I am not a video maker at all, but I didn’t do too bad. I took some tips away from this of things to improve but I am thrilled that I even stepped up to do this. That is a big deal for me. I am by no means an extrovert so I consider this a major growth moment.

In continuing to spread the word about this special campaign, Hallmark is giving me the opportunity to get you into the spirit of telling those in your life the things they need to know. They will send a package of cards to one of my lovely readers. Please make a comment to this post or my previous Hallmark Blissdom post and I will randomly select one person to receive these goodies from Hallmark. Comments posted by midnight March 21st are eligible.

What do you need to tell the people in your life?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Reading the Woody Allen Collection


Continuing on my reading journey for the year, I devoured four Woody Allen books in my Audible library. Despite my repulsion at some of the decisions Mr. Woody has made in his personal life, I adore this man as a great writer. And hearing him read his short stories was even better. He is so comical and entertaining and personable…yes, I find Woody Allen personable. This man can turn a simple conversation about nothing into an event that makes you want to be a fly on the wall. My fiancé considers him the original Seinfeld. His re-writes of history are nothing short of hilarious and his subtle, yet jarring, methods of insulting characters had me laughing all over the place. I know insults shouldn’t be funny but he does them in such a way that they are too over the top to be taken seriously.

I would love to have a few dinners with Woody to see how his thought process flows. For now, I’ll just settle with this collection of books. I give these the highest rank possible, two thumbs up and a highly motivating and expressive recommendation to read.

All book links provided (in the sidebar) are from Amazon where I am an affiliate, but please support the book seller of your choice.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Healthy and Sexy


What do you get when you mix De Wafelbakkers whole grain pancakes, vegan cream cheese, a banana and strawberries? Well, you get what I consider a healthy, simple and very sexy breakfast--or anytime meal as I did not actually eat this for breakfast.


Seriously, if my fiancé served me this as breakfast in bed, I would love him forever…or at least until it was time for another great meal.
De Wafelbakkers is a new brand to me. They had a booth at Blissdom 2012 letting us sample their whole grain and flax seed pancakes. I love these pancakes and the best thing is, you don’t need any syrup. These babies are quite tasty on their own. But that standalone flavor also makes them prime candidates for accepting toppings. They provided us a recipe card for a Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich but you could easily top this with cream cheese (as I did), Nutella or any other nut butter you have around the house. You could also be very boring and just add syrup but I dare you to break out of the box and ditch the sugar-laden topper.

De Wafelbakkers provided other goodies to Blissdom attendees but none tops the chance to make a video to become their spokesperson. One of the great things that Blissdom brought to me was an opportunity to break out of my shell. I jumped at the chance of making a video for their great product and if nothing comes from it, I did something I never thought I would do.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yes, I Want to See Your Public Parts

My book journey continues on. I was able to knock these two+ books out while cleaning the house. I forgot to mention in the last post that I consume books in three ways--physical books, kindle and audio. I will try to note this for each book from now on.

All book links provided (in the sidebar) are from Amazon where I am an affiliate, but please support the book seller of your choice.

A Place of Yes by Bethenny Frankel

I first became aware of Bethenny through the Real Housewives of New York. She is an amazing business woman and I enjoy listening to her speak. She has a sense of humor that really meshes with me and, like me, she has a bit of a potty mouth. You can’t fault a woman for that! Actually, she more inappropriate than potty but depending on the crowd, that could be the same thing. I really like her Place of Yes attitude and her tips for getting everything you want are principles that should be incorporated into everyone’s life, especially for us women. There is no limit to what we can do and she is definitely a woman who will make it happen. Although she has managed to live an affluent life, she did not come from great means. Check her out and you will definitely be inspired. I listed to this in audio read by Bethenny.


Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis

This is a great read for any of you that have blogs, post on Facebook or send out the occasional twitter. We are sharing our lives more and more online and that has started to blur the lines between what is to be considered public and private. What you once considered private about yourself may not be so private anymore. This is a very intellectual view of how the public/private conversation has evolved over time and continues to change with each new technology. If you are a regular listener to any of the TWIT network podcast shows, then you are familiar with Jeff and will recognize his voice. I listed to this in audio read by Jeff. The book gets a little too much into politics but let’s face it, our politicians are now threatening our way of “internet” life and we have to know what going on and get involved before they destroy the true nature of what makes the internet such an amazing tool. Read the book. You will be enlightened.


Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman

From the beginning, I did not like this book. I got this book free through my membership with Audible. I wish I had not taken it. But news about the book was buzzing. Every time you turned around someone was talking about Thomas Friedman. I didn’t want to miss out on the greatness. I could have done without it. Audiobooks can be made or broken by the person that reads them. When I am buying a book, I always listen to the sample to see if its a voice I can tolerate. When I really love the voice, I will follow them to see what else they have read, it doesn’t even need to be in the same genre or by the same author. I just like a good voice. The “voice” of Hot, Flat and Crowded is a good voice but an overly trained one. He’s reading the book in a tone and manner that is much too happy and optimistic. And that took away from Friedman’s writing. But, if I was reading the book I wouldn’t make it far before throwing it against the wall. Friendman’s writing is disjointed. He gives examples of his points that seem to have nothing to do with what is speaking about. You often don’t get the point until much later. What does America building walls around consulates have to do with America needing to invest in clean energy? He talks about these side by side as if the connection is obvious. All in all, the Earth is Hot because of global warming. The Earth is Flat because our use of importing, exporting, technology and internet has connected us in such a profound way. And the Earth is Crowded just because its crowded (too many people using too much stuff). He doesn’t present the science behind his points in a way that allows you to absorb and understand the impact. He presents everything in a sensationalist, fear mongering fashion that frankly turned me off. I love science, I believe in global warming, I believe that we need to change how we live. But constant fear is not the way to do it. He even went so far as to say Hurricane Katrina was the product of global warming and an example of how we are not ready for what he calls “unmanageable climate change”. We have a whole season that rolls around every year that we call “Hurricane Season”. Every year, we watch storms form to determine their strength and their path. We get small hurricanes, we get big hurricanes and we respect the damage they can do. None of them are manageable. Katrina was a big storm, no doubt. But the true damage from Katrina didn’t come from the storm itself but from policies and infrastructure that had not been maintained. If those levies had not breeched, we would be having a much different discussion about Katrina. Granted, global warming could have contributed to the strength of Katrina, but the damage of Katrina was man made.

I did not finish Hot, Flat and Crowded. I do not recommend it at all. There are plenty of sources out there that will give you the facts and not incite unnecessary fear.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chia Water?

A few weeks ago, I attended a healthy cooking class in town. I am still digesting all the wonderful information that was given during the two day event but one thing that was mentioned briefly was chia seeds.

It did not occur to me immediately that I knew exactly what chia seeds were. The little terra-cotta animals growing wild hair was the furthest thing from my mind, but that’s exactly what they are. The little grass-hair growing seeds that so many of us had in our kitchen windows so many, many years ago. But fast forward to today and I now know that chia seeds are amazing little seeds that I should pay a little attention to.


Over the past year, I have been trying to increase my water intake. I have gotten into the habit of keeping a cup of ice water with me at all time, especially when I will be in any one place for a period of time. Yesterday when visiting a friend, she dumped a couple of spoons of chia seeds into my water and suggested that I adopt it regularly. She said a church member does it and it’s a good way to add the whole grain to your diet. I was incredibly nervous. Chia seeds develop a gelatinous substance around them when they soak in water and I immediately thought of flax seeds. You can soak flax seeds in water for a period of time and end up with a really great hair gel. So I was just a little bit worried that after 20 minutes my water would be sludge. But it wasn’t and I survived my first encounter with chia.

When I got home, I consulted Dr. Google and I learned so much.

  • This little seed absorbs 9 times its weight in water and since it takes your body longer to break down the chia, your body stay hydrated for longer.
  • That little expanded water seed fills you up so you stay full longer and eat less if you consume the chia seeds regularly.
  • Chia is considered roughage so you will get a little cleaning as it goes through your system.
  • Zero calories, lots of fiber--you don’t get any better than that.
  • Chia is a gluten free grain for those with gluten intolerances or allergies.
The more I read, the more I was determined to continue adding chia to all of my drinks. Since it doesn’t affect the flavor, you can add them to your water or your favorite fruit juices and forget they are there.

And, if you are diabetic or suffer from the occasional sugar spike (or dip), the chia will help you stay more level.

Please try it and let me know what changes you notice. I’m hoping this will help my skin stay hydrated and my fiber level increase. I want to hear what you think.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Giggles and Lorax, Book Reviews

My reading goal for 2012 is to read 100 books. This is quite a lofty goal and I doubt I’ll make it but I’m going to try and get as close as I can. Considering how much reading this will really entail, I won’t be possible for me to do full book reviews on all of them. So from time to time I’ll do a recap of what I have read and my recommendation of whether or not you should pick it up. In the last couple of weeks, I was able to knock out four books. Two of them are children’s books and I thought about not counting those, but when you set such a lofty goal for the year, ALL BOOKS COUNT!

March 7th is World Read Out Loud Day. Consider incorporating one of these books into your activities for the day.

All book links provided (in the sidebar) are from Amazon where I am an affiliate, but please support the book seller of your choice.


Building Better Families by Matthew Kelly

I think this is a must-read for families with children. Even though, at this time, I do not plan to have children, there was valuable information for me as well. This book gives practical information about learning to be a better wife, a better husband, a better parent and above all, a better version of yourself.

Amy Giggles by Coy Bowles

I received this book at Blissdom 2012 in support of ConAgra’s Foods campaign to end child hunger. This is a really great book that encourages kids to be themselves and not hold back who they are for the sake of pleasing everyone else. Little Amy is adorable and she has a laugh that will never be suppressed. After reading it, I gifted it to a very stubborn and beautiful little girl (and her brother) who I am sure will have no problem suppressing her personality. If you have a little one in your life, please get this book for them.


The Dating Dilemmas of Delilah Dunnfield by Victoria Thurman

This was a personal read for me as well as entertaining as it was written by my friend Victoria. I do have to say Delilah is a character that made me nervous. I wanted to shield my eyes while reading afraid for the next “experience” that would befall her. In great southern lingo, one of the characters says “Lord love a duck!” and that’s what I had to say time and time again. This is a fun read and the author is working on the sequel. (hurry up, Victoria!)

The Lorax by Dr. Suess

I never read The Lorax as a child and considering my love for trees, I’m not exactly sure how I missed this one. It would have been one of my favorites, maybe even beating out Daisy Head Mayzie. The Lorax is as relevant a story today as it was when Dr. Suess first wrote it. We must always be aware of the effects of what we do to the earth and pray that there will always be a seed available that allows us to recover after what we have done. I highly recommend this book for all children and adults. This book was a gift to Blissdom 2012 attendees along with a birthday party for Dr. Seuss that also celebrated The Lorax movie that just opened in theaters. I hope to get out to see the movie this week. I hate I don’t have one of those Lorax mustaches to wear. I am very happy to say that I SPEAK FOR THE TREES. I will be gifting this book to my nephew. Hopefully I can get it to him before he sees the movie.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vow To Tell Them...


I am still working on a good recap post for Blissdom 2012, after which I was planning to get into talk about the sponsors that were there. But there is one thing I did at the conference that keeps coming back to me and I just have to write about it now.

During the conference, Hallmark literally set up shop in one of the rooms. They had plenty of cards on display and their one dictate to us was to pick as many cards as we wanted and address them to either conference attendees (by twitter handle) or to physical addresses and they would mail for us.


I went through my mental list of family and friends that really have been such a support to me lately and I wrote out my heart to each of them. When I wrote out the card to my fiancé, I had to hold back the tears. I made it out of Hallmark’s mini store, but I couldn’t hold back the tears when sitting in the Centrum lunch listening to Chris Mann sing.

It really is important to tell people what they need to hear but also to tell them what you need them to know.
I needed to tell a friend oversees that she is such a constant inspiration to me. I am watching her grow and I am truly inspired.
I needed to tell my mother that I miss her dearly and I cannot wait to see her in a few weeks.
I needed to tell my grandmother that I am so proud of how she has used her craft over the last year to bring comfort to storm victims.
I needed to tell a family that they are so uplifting to me and I enjoy the time I get to spend with them, especially the family dinners.
And I needed to tell my fiancé that I am growing and getting more excited at my future role as his wife. I needed to tell him how much I miss his smile, his face and his hugs.

OH MY! I’m crying again!

I was happy to be able to bless these friends and family with the cards, but now I am the one reaping the blessings. Every time someone calls me and tells me they received the card and they appreciated me sending it, my heart is lifted and I am grateful that Hallmark gave me this opportunity to reach out.

I encourage you to send cards to those that are touching your heart. I have vowed to tell you how much this opportunity meant and now I hope you vow to continue the effort.

*edited to clarify that Hallmark was a sponsor, not a vendor. Sorry for the confusion.