Everyone Needs a Weathergirl

COLD-2
Photo Credit: Bitstrips

Can you believe it’s that time of year again? A big portion of the country has seen more snow in the month of November this year than ever before. In Texas, temperatures are dropping, snow and ice are threatening, and school closings are looming.

My daughter was on FaceTime with her friend last weekend and they are already discussing the threat of snow on Sunday. And the possibility of no school on Monday.

Enter my fun alter ego, Weathergirl.

I have loved the weather as long as I can remember. I even love tracking weather conditions. Say the words Doppler Radar and I get excited. Really excited. About three years ago, I started sharing my love for the weather on Facebook. When adverse conditions were a threat, I’d report the weather conditions and school closings for my friends. It was a cute and funny thing to do.

Until my entertainment turned serious for my friends who couldn’t figure out the forecast, traffic and school closings. Because even though I was entertaining, I reported it all. I was just that serious.

Last year we had a rough winter. I was on-call for weather issues the entire month of February. I gave myself the name Weathergirl, and a Facebook icon (for my friends, anyway) was born. Once winter ended, I returned to my old  self of Toni and carried on with my life.

If you had asked me this time last year if my weathergirl updates would have turned into an actual email list with updates and be a part of my blog, I would have laughed.

But now that’s exactly what has happened. When the tornadoes hit parts of North Texas last week, I got phone calls and text messages about the conditions. I was shocked, but I immediately saw the need. As I told my kids, “the people need to know! Weather girl must return!”‘

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Weathergirl is back! Photo credit: Bitstrips.

And return she did as winter storms are now here. Except now that I’m a bit more experienced in my blogging, so she’s gone a little high tech. To make sure you receive updates via email on North Texas weather, click here.

This week is pretty ugly. I think my Thanksgiving weekend may be busy, and I’m not just talking about eating turkey and shopping. Weathergirl is back. And you need to join her.

Holiday Organization Printables & More

Hey friends!

Thanksgiving is next week. Now, let’s imagine that I said that without hyperventilating. Except I am hyperventilating. And I’m not hosting anyone for dinner.

I suppose all of my anxiety about Thanksgiving is actually in preparation for the entire holiday season. So just in case you feel the slightest bit uneasy, I have some things to help you. Everything loves a good printable (or two),  right?

Click to access a Family Holiday Bucket List printable.
Click on the image to download the bucket list.
Click through to get a grocery shopping list printable for the holidays.
Click on the image to download your grocery & shopping list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember to sit down with your family to create a Family Holiday Bucket List so that you all can do the things that matter. Remember, no matter busy this season becomes, it’s time to focus on People Over Things. If you’d like a reminder delivered to your inbox every day from November 21 – January 1, sign up here.

Don’t forget to keep your holiday shopping list somewhere accessible like your purse. If you need a reminder on all of the things you need to do now, click on the image below to check out my Rock the Holidays webinar. Remember though, today is November 16 and everything I mentioned in the list needed to have been done by yesterday in order for you to stay ahead of the game. I just wanted to call that to your attention, but no pressure okay?

Click through to see how you can rock the holidays this year.
Click to watch my Rock the Holidays webinar on YouTube.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today on the Mocha Mob radio show, I’ll talking about what you need to be doing to prepare specifically for Thanksgiving, because after all it is next week. And of course, I’ll update you on what you can do to prepare your hearts and your minds for Christmas.

(Disclosure: This post does contain affiliate links for Amazon.)

I’m really glad you’re reading this today, but I sense you’ve got some preparations to make. And if, just if, your to-do list is feeling a tad to much, let Amazon help. Really, no one will know (or care) if your vegetable chopper was ordered on the internet. And if you’re not cooking, they have an excellent selection of hostess gifts and how-to videos on preparing typical holiday food items.

If you have too much to do before Thanksgiving, let Amazon help you!

Remember, we’re not behind. You still have plenty of time, I just want to make sure you have time to actually enjoy this year’s holiday season. Have you missed any recent posts? Click on the images below to read them.

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Read blog post from one mom about putting people first this year.

Family Togetherness This Fall With Road Trips

Happiness is…

Review of Buick Enclave.

With the exception of a few brief lapses of judgement, I have driven a minivan for about 12 years. When I wasn’t driving a minivan, I wished I was. With three children so close in age, and three carseats, and the need for  a lot of cargo space, and good gas mileage — the minivan was the practical choice.

And to be honest. I have worn my minivans like a badge of honor. I am identifiable as a mom by the car I drive. I can transport my kids and their friends all over the city. And the family road trips we’ve taken are awesome.

In the summer of 2008, I drove a minivan with three children and most of our belongings from Dallas to Chicago to Atlanta to Orlando to New Orleans and back to Dallas. That road trip gave us the opportunity to explore the open road as we recovered from divorce.

My minivan did not let us down. Ever.

And it has persevered through the additional family road trips, college reunions, family and gatherings, When one minivan would get old, then another would find a new place in our hearts. And yes, I did try to embrace a station wagon but it just wasn’t the same. And I’m still driving a minivan.

But now the kids are older. At 12, 14, and 15, I need a vehicle that has a lot of legroom for passengers, a lot of room for cargo, and sufficient cupholders and power sources. Ideally, one for each person.

And most importantly, I don’t need to identified as a mom by the kind of car that I drive. I need my back to feel comfortable when I drive, and I need to know that my kids and their belongings have space. Lots of it.

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Enter the 2015 Buick Enclave. Last weekend, my family and I had the opportunity to participate in Buick’s 24 Hours of Happiness challenge. Customers can now test drive a Buick for 24 hours at no cost with no strings attached. All you have to do is present your driver’s license and proof of insurance at a participating Buick dealership. Click here to find a participating dealer near you.

Let’s be perfectly clear. This is not your grandfather’s Buick. This car is a machine like no other. It is sleek, it is sexy, it is roomy, and it felt like I was floating on air. Without a doubt, I love this car. But I’m not the only one who loved it.

Buick Enclave 24-hour test drive
Why should I be the only one to have fun?
The 24-hour test drive allowed us to put this vehicle to the test.
The 24-hour test drive allowed us to put this vehicle to the test.

With three USB ports and three additional power outlets, everyone and (their devices) were happy.Overall, this car met all of our family’s needs and then some. It is definitely on the list (maybe at the top of it) as a potential next car for us.

2015 Buick Enclave Specifications

MSRP: From $39,050
MPG: Up to 17 city, 24 highway
Towing capacity: 4,500 lbs
Cargo volume: 23.3 ft³, 115.2 ft³ with seat area

Would you like to see a brochure about the car? Click here.

Special thanks to Sewell GMC/ Buick in Dallas for providing us with the car. For more information about the Sewell family of car dealerships, go to www. sewell.com

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SINGLE

Click here to read my series on simple social media

A Tale of Two Cities: Part Two

Two cities that have my heart are Chicago and Dallas. I know that Chicago is unbearable in the winter and Dallas is unbearable in the summer, but I love them both. My friend Kendra lives in the Chicago area and is a travel expert and writer. We thought it would be fun to put our heads (and blogs) together and feature a two-part series on two of my geographic loves. The third love, Mississippi, will be featured later this spring on my blog. If you’re planning to visit Dallas anytime soon, this is a must-have for sights to see!

A Texan Travel Guide to the Best Vacation in Dallas

By Toni Williams

Many are familiar with the Texas slogan, “Everything’s Bigger in Texas,” and visiting Dallas is no different. From the food to the friendly hospitality to the hotel accommodations to fun things to do, this city has your vacation covered! As a matter of fact, the Dallas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau launched a BIG campaign across the city and encourage visitors take photos in one of several life-sized sculptures proving that they did it big in Big D!

Longhorn Fun

Texas is famous for its cows, and Longhorns rule the town! While grazing cattle is a normal fixture when driving down Texas roads, it’s fun to know exactly where some of the hot spots are to see them for yourself. I-35 and Riverfront Blvd in downtown Dallas is the most popular place to see the longhorns grazing, and if you pull into the Fuel City gas station, you’ll be able to get a great view (and some of the best tasting tacos ever!)

If live cattle is not your thing, take a quick visit to Pioneer Plaza near Dallas City Hall and you will see why Texans love these beautiful and statuesque creatures. Take photos with the many Longhorn Statues on Young Street and you’ll see what everyone loves.

Presidential Facts & Figures

Dallas holds significant memories in the lives of two U.S. Presidential administrations. In 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas as his motorcade drove down Elm Street. An x marks the spot where the President was shot in front of the famed grassy knoll. History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Sixth Floor Museum, which is in the exact room that the fatal shot originated from.

Most recently, Dallas has enjoyed being home to the Presidential Library for former President and Dallas resident, George W. Bush. The Bush Library is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University, where academics and sports reign supreme.

A View From Above

A quick stop at Reunion Tower is a must for visitors to Dallas. Known to the locals as “The Ball,” this tower stretches 560 feet in the sky and gives impeccable views of the city from its newly renovated Geodeck. The top of the tower is also home to Wolgang Puck’s 560 revolving restaurant and the Cloud Nine Café is closer to the Geodeck for casual dining.

Best Place to Hang Your Saddle or Catch Some Shut Eye

Adjacent to Reunion Tower is the Hyatt Regency Dallas which does not disappoint. Within walking distance and a relative newcomer to downtown Dallas is The Dallas Omni Hotel, home to Bob’s Steak & Chop House restaurant.

What About the Kids?

In recent years, the City of Dallas built Klyde Warren Park along the overpass of Woodall Rogers Freeway. Today it is home to Dallas’ only outdoor skating rink in winter, and yoga, Zumba and awesome trucks during warmer weather. While kids participate in some of the many activities offered at the 5.2 across park, parents find it easy to relax and enjoy the free wifi. Other awesome parks for kids to explore include Texas Discovery Gardens in Fair Park, and Rory Myer Children’s Adventure Garden (also known as the park without walls) at the Dallas Arboretum.

Dallas is full of fun and adventure, and quite affordable. Admission to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center are both free daily and can easily be added to you list of things to do. Another museum on the list for families is the amazing Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Victory Park.

My Selfie

My friends are talented. They take these cool pictures of themselves in their cars and they look beautiful. And then I discovered that the photos they are taking are considered an art form in the social media photography world. And they are called selfies.

And so I wondered, what makes a good selfie? I scoured the internet for fun ideas and tried them on my own.

my selfie

1. Keep the focus on you. Obvious since it’s called a selfie. We don’t need the backseat and all that other stuff. Better yet, you could crop it so we really can’t tell where you are.

2. Keep practicing. My children and my students work on their selfie look all the time. I do not. But I need to keep practicing.

3. Use photo editing software. Lighting and color enhancements give you a professional look to your selfie. I use PicMonkey and it also also me to embed text on my photo if I want to. And it’s free.

4. Take the selfie using natural sunlight. The flash could cause extra glare and make you blink. Blinking in a selfie is not cool.

5. Remember to share. Put it on instagram, facebook, and twitter. You’re too pretty for others not to see it in their newsfeeds!

What do you think? Can you tell me your selfie photo tricks?