Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We Have A Logo!

This is one of two versions. The other version has the company name and slogan outside of the oval.

We are really excited about the birth of our glove company and hope to have actual working samples before the end of January.

Our web site is being created and the business itself is under construction! Wish us fun! I'd say luck, but who needs luck when you have hard work? I say we need fun!
Happy New Year!

Logo Version Two

Monday, December 29, 2008

Farewell 2008!

I'm usually a little sad to see another year pass, but not this time. 2008 has been such a hard year for so many. I will say though, like with all things, we must experience the bad to be able to recognize the good. I've accomplished a great many things this year in spite of a work injury and the accident that left my back aching and my finger broken needing multiple surgeries. I've been reminded that it's the tough times that weed out the weak and help our true characters, for better and worse, to appear and show us how strong we are and what work we still need to do. How has this year shown you who you really are?

Friday, December 26, 2008

One Week Left

You have just one week left to accomplish anything left undone on your list for 2008! Can you do it? Maybe, maybe not. What's really important is that you keep working toward all the things you want to see happen in your life. January first isn't really any different than February, June, or November first. Certainly there's a special feeling that comes with all the social celebration of the ringing in of a new year, but you can start or keep to a list any time. My lists remain consistent from year to year, my goal is much more to stay on track and keep doing the daily work that makes my dreams come true!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Annual Christmas Wish

This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Think first of someone else. Be kind and gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still once again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Intentions

What are your intentions for this Christmas? Mine are that we will have a stress free, let it be what it is holiday and just enjoy our family. Even more so, I'd like for all of us to be able to let each other be and just get along easily. I'll let you next week know how successful I am!

My mom arrived last night (very late last night!), and Dave's mom will be here tomorrow. Mason will have Christmas with both his grandmothers and even more special is both grandmothers will have Christmas with Mason!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday and first thing this morning, after my sweetie made me coffee, this question was posed, "What if the rest of your life was the best of your life?" This got me thinking, yeah, what if?

What if I let go of this idea that I could have my twenty-something body back? Would I worry less about the Christmas cookie I ate and enjoy my walks more?

What if I looked at all the small changes I've made over the last three years and see the cumulative effects on my overall health? I've stopped drinking soda, nearly eliminated mayonnaise from my diet, generally speaking, eat my meals from a salad plate to help control my portions.

What if I focused on my physical strengths even if some days that focus will be on the fact that I have all my limbs and even though the might hurt, they still work? Better yet, I could be more proactive in lovingly strengthening them without falling back into the pressure cooker I create to be a twenty-something again.

For some reason milestones work for me to take action that sticks. Today is my birthday and I will start my day off by making a list of the stuff I need to finish for Christmas, and the stuff I want to do for me, for the long term, to make the rest of my life be the best of my life!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Are You Counting?

We have only ten days until Christmas and sixteen days until the new year, are you counting? If you are than I expect you realize that today is the first day of the rest of your life! Don't wait one more minute to start doing whatever it is you want to do.

Do you want to lose weight? I do! Figure out what that first step is and take it today. I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I recall my first diet being in early grade school. It didn't help that my mom has been overweight my whole life so I lived with her struggle to lose weight. I know it's in my genes, but I will fight this battle to my death. Hopefully in my attempt to reduce my weight, I will increase my overall health and live for many, many years. For today, I will call my family doctor to see if there's something wrong with my back and anything else I can do to ease the pain that has plagued me since being thrown from my horse back in September. I will do my yoga tape to continue doing what I can physically and continue my healthy diet. What will you do?

Do you want a new job? I do, too! I need to find steady employment early next year. I still do mortgages and have my gloves to peddle, but until those options take off, I need a paycheck! I'm working my social networks, putting my resume only where I want to work, and making my brain work overtime thinking of all the ways I can turn my talents into a salary.

The point I'm making is that this time next year will come whether you choose to make changes or not. I'm taking the steps to make my dreams come true, will you?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Send a Card Today!

Xerox is doing something cool to help you support our troops for free! If you go to this web can select a thank you card and Xerox will print it and then send it to a soldier currently serving in Iraq.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get everyone we know to send one! It's FREE and it only takes a moment to do. No matter how you feel about the war, our soldiers need to know we support them, and we can never thank them enough for the courage, commitment, and service to our country. Please take the time to send a card, and also pass this message onto to others so they can do the same. Thanks to you for taking the time to support our military!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

See's For Soldiers

Here's a photo of Dave last year with nearly $17,000 worth of See's candy donated through the Auburn Kiwanis club to be sent to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Walter Reed hospital in Washington DC. Wow, what a great year!

This year, with unemployment and the economy in such a mess, we have only been able to generate just over $1,200 in candy donations. This is the Kiwanis Club's only fundraiser for the year, so not only are the soldiers not getting these wonderful candy gifts, but our local community is also not getting the funds they need for scholarships, food baskets, and Boys and Girls Clubs activities, just to name just a few. If you want to help, e-mail me and I can get your donation where it needs to go. Contact Kathy at or Dave with the CA Army National Guard at 916-267-0669 to locate a Kiwanis See's store or to donate directly to the cause. Clubs participating are Auburn (Rock Creek Plaza - Kmart shopping center), Lincoln (Sun City Community Center and Trailer in the Rainbow Market parking lot), Roseville (Pleasant Grove Blvd next to Panerra Bread), and Rocklin. Call Dave for the location of the Rocklin store.

NOTE: 100% of the money donated goes to buy candy from the Kiwanis clubs to send to our troops!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Potluck and Meatballs!

We love meatballs! Dave especially loves meatballs slow-cooked in barbeque sauce. With that said, I have a delicious and super easy recipe for you to take to your next holiday party that's not barbeque and will make you the talk of the buffet table!

1 bag frozen (or homemade if you're feeling so industrious!) meatballs
1 jar Heinz Chili Sauce
1 can Ocean Spray Cranberry sauce

Mix the cranberry sauce with the chili sauce and pour over the meatballs. Cook on high in your crockpot for four hours and serve.

To learn more about the Ultimate Party Meatball and many other recipes and entertainling tips, go to, and while your surfing, check out!

We made these Ultimate Party Meatballs just last weekend and gobbled them up. Dave and Mason loved them. They are the perfect blend of sweet and spicy to make up a fun, filling meal. What more could you ask for?

Friday, December 5, 2008

What's Your Favorite Thing About Christmas?

I love way too many things to pick just one, but if I had to, I would pick cookies! I love Christmas cookies, especially shapes that I can decorate.

Being creative and a former professional cake decorator, this is my annual opportunity to decorate like mad. I may do a little something for Valentines day, and then I start to really warm up around Halloween. By the time December rolls around, I'm rearing to go with gingerbread houses, boys and girls, and snowflakes. I like to add in something basic like chocolate chip and bag up my goodies to give to friends and neighbors.

The very best part about Christmas cookies is that now I get to share them with Mason. I can teach him how to make the icing so it stays put, mix in just the right colors, and then decorate until every cookie is covered in sugar. He, of course, likes the eating! I do, too, but I like sharing the experience with him so much more.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What is the Magic of Christmas?

When people talk about the magic of Christmas, they usually have some experience from their past that conjures up emotions of faith and hope. Oprah tells a great story of being very poor and asking Santa for a doll. Her mother tells her there is no Santa and they have no money for Christmas. Just as her heart is sinking and her eyes welling with tears, there is a knock on their front door. Her mother opened the door to see two nuns standing there with gifts for her. She tells that story today as her Christmas miracle.

For me, the magic of Christmas is just like every other day of the year in that, if you have happiness in your heart, you can feel the magic of others all around you. If you only see the darkness and despair, than you'll be focusing in on that and missing the good that is happening at the very same time. I love my life and live in gratitude every day. I cry when I hear sad news especially as it pertains to children and animals. At the same time, I revel in Mason's laughter and how lucky he is to be surrounded by so much love, especially the love of his parents love for each other.

To me, the magic of Christmas is who you are everyday and how you embrace the season with lights, love, decorations, goodwill, and kindness.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Have You Found Your True North?

If you've found that singular passion in life that causes you to leap out of bed in the morning and think, "This is why I'm here." then this is for you. The True North snack company is looking for "True North" stories to motivate and inspire those who have yet to find theirs.

You can go to to share your story and if it's selected as America's most inspiring, it will be made into a 60-second commercial directed by Helen Hunt to be played during the Oscars! Oh, and if fame is not enough, how about fortune? Yes! $25,000 will also be yours to help you continue on the journey of your life.

You guys know me and know I'm am a contest winner. Many of you are doing life work that is exactly what True North is looking for. Send in your story because one thing is certain, you can't win if you don't play! Go to and tell your story. You have nothing to lose and inspiration to gain!

If you know someone who has an amazing story, send this their way!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Welcome to December! Do you believe? Believe in miracles, yourself, and your ability to find your true north? I believe in all of those things. Christmas is as much a state of mind as it is a time of year. "Whatever you think, you're right."

Let's mix the magic of Christmas with finding our way to our own dreams so we can be well on our way to intentionally winning in life right this very minute! Why wait until January first?

Write to me and tell me what your life long dream is and why you think you can't attain it. It may be that life, family, kids, bills, and any other myriad of circumstance seems to be in your way. Maybe I can give you another way to look at how you could be living that dream today. Along the way, I want to add a dash of cheer and sprinkle some wonder on your holiday season. Join me and share the dream that seems stalled.

Be silly, lighten up and see life through the eyes of a child. When was the last time you felt like anything was possible? My holiday wish for you is to see that dream come back to life and within reach right here and now! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gratitude - Day 30

Today I'm grateful for a long hike on a gorgeous day. I went with Mike, Neave, and Roberta and we did just over 5 miles. Keep in mind, I live on top of a hill so anywhere we go, it means we have a long walk back up!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gratitude - Day 29

Today I'm grateful for our friends who traveled to Auburn to celebrate another Thanksgiving. What fun! Mike, Neave, Steve, Roberta, Julie, Diana, Greg, Heather, Mary, and Keith are all here. lucky can one family be?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Graatitude - Day 28

Today I'm grateful for turkey sandwiches! Yum! I'm also grateful that I don't have to struggle anymore with Dave and Mason to keep the Christmas decorations down until I've had my full run of fall! Okay boys, have at it! Happy Holidays.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude - Day 27

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I'm grateful for all my family has in an economic time when others have so little. Simply having my family makes me wealthy beyond any amount of money we could possibly amass in a bank!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude - Day 26

Today I'm grateful for safe communication. We all have times in our lives when we have to confront a difficult situation and to know that you can say what you feel, honestly, and not be attacked, abused, or ridiculed is comforting. This is not to say that the conversation is easy or you will hear what you want, but there's comfort in having a willing participant to get through the difficulty with you. That's what I mean by "safe" communication.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gratitude - Day 25

Today I'm grateful for Kim B. Kim has leased our horse Chance and has already done more with him in two weeks than I did with him in more than a year. To be perfectly fair, Dave did more with him than I did, but now that he's with Kim, he's being properly conditioned to trail ride and possibly even be a competitive endurance horse. Thanks Kim for making Chance part of your family!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gratitude - Day 24

Today I'm grateful for my girlfriends! The women in my life fill a space no man can. With that said, I love that my husband is supportive and understands the importance of my bond with my girlfriends! We women know how much we need each other, but what a blessing when the men we love get it, too!

This is just one of what could be many pictures of the women in my life. Dahlynn and Marcella have been my friends since 1988. Not the longest, but certainly dear to my heart!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gratitude - Day 23

Today I have so many things to be grateful for but I'm going to share two of them. Happy 40th Anniversary to my sister Terry and her husband Bill! The average number of years Americans stay married is seven, so they are almost six times the average.

The other thing I'm so grateful for is today the son I gave up for adoption is eighteen years old. Happy birthday Michael J.!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gratitude - Day 22

Today I'm grateful that there are so many things to do in Auburn and the surrounding towns. this weekend we get to choose from the Mountain Mandarin Festival, The Ski and Snowboard Show, The Harvest Festival, along with numerous other holiday craft shows.

We will be going to the Ski and Snowboard show to see how many pairs of ZB Gloves we can sell (, and we'll stop in at the Mandarin Festival to get our delicious little mandarins for Thanksgiving. Here's the other part of our choices; the Ski and Snowboard show offers us a full day lift ticket to Northstar or Sierra at Tahoe with our paid admission ($15 to get in gets us each a $79 lift ticket). For the Mandarin Festival we were given free admission months ago and I held on to them knowing we would want to support our local growers.

In this economy, and as always for me, we're doing everything we can to make the most of all the things we do. I'm grateful we have so many options!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gratitude - Day 21

Happy Friday! We've been working together to create a community "Gratitude Journal" and at least one of you has hung in there with me! Laughing. No seriously, Lisa Anderson has posted almost everyday and she was even on a cruise in the Caribbean for more than a week! At this point, she is clearly the winner of my little prize but it's not too late for you to chime in. It's never too late to express those things in your life that you are grateful for.

Today I'm grateful for Mother's Cookies, you know, the little animals cookies with icing on them. The sad news is that this childhood icon of mine is to be no more. Mother's Cookies is going out of business so those little pink and white circus animals I remember eating as a child (and trying desperately not to eat as an adult!) will only be in stores until they are gone. For today, I'm grateful that I bought two bags of the Christmas cookies and will be sharing them on our Saturday Thanksgiving with our friends.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gratitude - Day 20

Today I'm grateful that our family has the resources we need to make ends meet. Times are tough for us with me not working but we have the things we need and most of all, we have each other. One day at a time and as long as we can keep it all in perspective, we'll be just fine!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gratitude - Day 19

Today I'm grateful for music. Studies have shown the calming effects of classical music on children and animals, and I'm sure you've noticed the difference in your workout when you have a great mix playing on your MP3 player. For me, music reminds me why I'm special (yeah, yeah, I've heard the little-yellow-bus jokes!), and at the same time, how we're all so alike. Certain songs take me back to events in my life and even chronicle it in some ways. How is music important in your daily life?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gratitude - Day 18

Today I'm grateful for our new front door! Hooray, it's actually on the hinges and looks beautiful. Those of you who have been here know that our door has seen better days.

Though I don't believe our door speaks to who we are as people, it's kind of like your smile, if your teeth are healthy and clean, you have an easier time extending your hand and introducing yourself.

With our front door, I will now feel confident opening it and feeling proud that our door reflects how happy we are to see you!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gratitude - Day 17

Today I'm grateful for the safe return of SPC Andrew Plank from Afghanistan. Andrew, his wife Kara, and their nine month old son Clayton live in PA. Kara read my story, A Constant Presence in a Chicken Soup book and felt the need to reach out to me (my e-mail is listed in the back of the book with my bio). As it turns out, our stories are strangely similar. The main thing we learned we had in common was that Andy was deployed when Clayton was just three weeks old, same as Dave and Mason.

Kara learned on Friday that Andy had safely returned to US soil from Afghanistan and they will be reuniting this week. If you want to see some heartwarming pictures you can visit Kara's blog at Welcome home Andy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gratitude - Day 16

Today I'm grateful for Sunday. Though Fridays are my favorite day of the week, my Sunday rituals make them welcome. I love it when we can sleep in (even if I can't actually sleep, I like to know that if I could, it would be okay) and don't have anywhere we need to be when we do get up. I like to have my coffee and read the paper in my pajamas. It's best when I can be outside, but even when it's raining, that's got it's appeal as well. Today is sunny and warm so it's coffee and the Sunday paper in the backyard with Riley sleeping at my feet. What a glorious day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gratitude - Day 15

Today I'm grateful for several things. First and foremost, for the GORGEOUS fall colors that make me feel like I want to explode every time I see a tree in multiple phases of color at once, or at dusk when the sunlight hits the Japanese maple outside our back gate. Magnificent!

I'm also grateful for my Mr. Riley. Oprah reported that she had to put her beloved chocolate cocker spaniel, Solomon to sleep. I cried openly feeling so sad but also grateful to feel the love for my Riley so deeply that my heart aches for a woman and her dog who I don't even know. You can see her heartfelt tribute to Solomon here:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gratitude - Day 14

Today I'm grateful for the new friends I make every day. I may not keep close lines of communication with all of them, but I certainly have at least one meaningful connection with someone I encounter every single day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gratitude - Day 13

Ah, lucky number 13! Yes, today I'm grateful for my lucky number 52. Yep, for more than 20 years 52 has been my favorite number. I think it's become lucky because I'm fond of it, and you all know, "whatever you think, you're right!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gratitude - Day 12

Today I'm grateful for the unlimited opportunities that are all around me. If you just open your eyes, you can see that anything you need or want is within your reach!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gratitude - Day 11

Today I'm grateful for the speedy recovery my hand is making. My finger is still not straight, but hopefully with time it'll get there.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gratitude - Day 10

Today I'm grateful for all the veterans who have ever served in our armed forces. It takes special people to sacrifice their freedom to preserve ours. Happy Veterans Day!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gratitude - Day 9

Today I'm grateful for seven "better than I ever dreamed they could be" years of marriage. It seems like yesterday that we met on the radio, built a friendship over six years, and finally acknowledged our true feelings. We still watch our wedding DVD and are in love as ever!

Happy Anniversary Flower! Love, your Bee

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gratitude - Day 8

Today I'm grateful that I get to spend time with Cris without our kids.

Today I get to do something really nice for her in exchange for all the times she's been there for me. She takes care of Mason so Dave and I can have some time alone, she house-sits to take care of Riley when we go away, but most of all, she's a wonderful friend! Thank you Cris!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Gratitude - Day 7

Today I'm grateful for Mason's sense of humor, he is so funny! I know in my heart his sense of humor comes from a sense of security in his life and it makes me happy that Dave and I provide for him that way. I believe the best gift you can give your children is parents who love each other.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gratitude - Day 6

Today I'm grateful for the journey of self discovery my husband has initiated for himself. He's been making small, but wonderful changes to better himself, take care of Mason, and make me happier. I love that he love's me like he does.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Gratitude - Day 5

Today I'm grateful for dry firewood and our wood burning stove.

if you're just joining us, we're working together to create the worlds biggest gratitude journal. Log in and share with us what you're grateful for today.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gratitude - Day 4

Today I'm grateful for my strong sense of self and Lisa Anderson for committing early and starting. Mike and an anonymous writer joined us yesterday, hooray!

I've been getting the message lately (and again), that my expectations are too high. in one example, it's been suggested that for me to expect anyone to plan to log onto my blog every day for a month and write one thing they're grateful for is ridiculous. Why? I don't know. I think if you are so inclined to keep a log or journal, why not here, with me?

I'm also grateful that all the election advertising is done! I bet we can all agree on that one.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gratitude - Day 3

I'm grateful for the early evenings that really make it feel like fall.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gratitude - Day 2

Today I'm grateful for the abundant rain that's falling. Finally!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Day One - Gratitude Journal

Happy November 1st! Today is the one year anniversary of my IWIL blog and I'm so glad I'm here. Today I'm grateful for those of you who have traveled with me this year, letting me know what you like (the general positive feeling of the blog), what you could live without (really long posts), and what you found really useful (the money tips!).

Today I'm grateful for each of you!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Today is a Partak family favorite as far as holidays go. Personally, I love 'em all but I get to really indulge in Halloween because it's in the top two for Dave and Mason.

Did you sign up to join me in creating the world's biggest on line gratitude journal? There's still time, we start tomorrow. I'll be posting at least one thing I'm grateful for each day and encourage you to do the same (using the comments feature of the blog). This should really speak to my ability to motivate people to actually follow through and take action. Come on guys, don't make me look bad!

So we're off early today to do the kid's safe Halloween in downtown Auburn and then we'll go again tonight after it gets dark. When we've tricked and treated all we can, we're going to a party for some refreshments. Sounds like fun. huh? What are you doing to celebrate Halloween? Chime in today so you know you can start journaling with me tomorrow.

Have a great day and take in as much of the excitement of the children around you today. With just an ounce of their energy, you should be able to keep smiling all day long! Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taking Pre-Orders!

I'm just about finished with my book Creative and Memorable Ways to Keep in Touch, Back to Basics and want to offer you a pre-order special. Since I'm self publishing this book in a very unorthodox way, it's costing a little more than it might with a publisher and contract. The big up-side is that the book is in full color. I plan to sell them for $15 each plus shipping. If you pre-order your copies, I'm selling them for $12.50 and no shipping costs. Also, I'll be donating seventy-five cents from the sale of every book to Operation Mom, Placer County (

They're not big books, in fact they are pretty, little gift books perfect for Christmas gifts. In this economy when money's tight, there are many ideas that only require a few minutes and a postage stamp. For such little effort, you make the day of someone you love. And by the way, there's still a few spaces for pictures. Send me yours today.

Here's the forward and of the book to give you an idea of what to expect.

People First!

I've written this book because as I look at the world around me, all I see are people in such a hurry. They're talking on cell phones, interrupting face-to-face conversations with real live people to read text messages, and even ending long-term relationships via e-mail. What's wrong with this picture? Everything! I believe it's the people in our lives that make life worth living. To me, it appears that living, breathing, feeling people have taken the extreme back seat to technology, and it's a shame. I'm the kind of girl who sends cards and handwritten letters on pretty paper. When I share a recipe, I hand write it on a card with notes about what I love about the dish, or if it's a family favorite and why. I've come to realize that this sort of thing -- sending cards, letters, and creative little gifts -- doesn't come naturally for everybody like it does for me. My friends are always so touched and make it a point to tell me how exceptional I am for making such an effort, when to me it's such a small thing.

I've had so much inspiration and help writing this book that I can't take all the credit. I also want it known that I'm sure I've not been the first to do or suggest every idea in this book, but I assure you I did come by them honestly. I either thought of them on my own or saw something that inspired me to come up with something similar. There has been no specific reference or research done to come up with any of the ideas here and in my other books.
It's also important to note that there may be ideas in this book that will be appropriate in another. I've done my best not to duplicate too many.

Join me now on a journey of connecting or reconnecting with the people in your life. Next time you get a text, dial that number instead and actually talk to the person texting you. Better yet, turn your phone off and talk face to face, even to the kind person making your coffee. And I dare you to thumb through this book and pick one idea you can do today, this very minute. You'll be reminded of how good it feels to touch someone and make yourself feel good along the way! It's just part of my personal makeup to show my loved ones how I feel and even though we are spread all over the world, they're never far from my thoughts and my heart. Join me, won't you?

Creative and Memorable Ways to Keep in Touch. Back to Basics, pre-order your copy today for the introductory price of $12.50 each. E-mail me at

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Here's The Plan!

For the month of November let's create the world's biggest gratitude journal. I believe in the power of gratitude to multiply itself and manifest in good for all, but working alone, we're not reaching as many beings as we could if we worked together. Think, We Are The World and let's create an undeniable vibration for all to feel. After all, good or bad, it starts with a feeling.

Friday will be a Happy Halloween post and then on Saturday I'm going to start posting a daily entry of gratitude. Join me and post your entry in the comments. You have to sign in as a google user, but it's simple and doesn't create spam. Come on, send this to all your friends and family and let's see how many of us we can get logging on everyday sharing in the good feelings of what we each have to be grateful for! Get your friends involved and create a team so if you can't post everyday, somone can post for the two, three, or four of you. get creative, but get in the game!

At the end of the month I'm going to tally who posted everyday and put those names in a hat to win a prize (if you're anonymous, I won't know who you are). There's going to be more than one prize, but we'll all win every day sharing in the wonderful energy of looking at the light, and the good that all of us have right under our noses. I know I have so much to be grateful for (just look at my family!), I can't wait to share in your loving, living prosperity as well!

Monday, October 27, 2008

What's Coming

It's Halloween week and our house is all abuzz with the spirit of the holiday. Dave and Mason got the house, inside and out, all decked out with tombstones, skeletons, and pumpkins. As we wind down the month of October, we're gearing up for a great November.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, it's a natural time to slow down and look around at all we have to be thankful for. Not only as we see 2008 come to a close, we can look ahead to an abundant and prosperous new year. It all starts with a feeling and the best way to feel good is to acknowledge all the good that surrounds you. That's all I'll say for now, but get ready to join me is creating a feeling of gratitude bigger than one you can create all by yourself!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sign Up Now!

I've got something fun planned for the month of November so subscribe to this blog today. Go to the bottom of the page and click the "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" link (maybe it will work if you click it right here) and have an e-mail automatically sent to you every time I update the blog. For the month of November you'll want to be in the loop.

Fun, sharing, a contest, and won't want to miss a beat!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Decisions, Decisions.

There's so much going on in life right now with a difficult economy, people struggling with personal finances and that can certainly lead to relationships being stressed. With that in mind, I have something special planned for the IWIL blog and the month of November. Next week I'll tell you what we're going to do and how you can participate and actually win some prizes.

November 1st is my one-year IWIL blog anniversary and I think we should celebrate together. Not only is this a great opportunity to (hopefully) make some announcements, but also to look ahead to the new year and see if we can't make some plans to apply the intentional winning concepts and ideas to the new year and maybe a new you! Start thinking about how you can adjust your life (job, family, business, finances) to this changing economy to take some stress off and start to get back to basics. If you haven't already, subscribe to this blog so you won't miss a beat!

Finally, I've not received many photos for the Creative and Memorable Ways to Keep in Touch book so if you want to be included, send me happy pictures of you with the people you most want to (or would want to) keep in touch with. You don't need a story, we only need to be able to have all people pictured be willing to sign a photo release if I use the shot. E-mail me at with your picture. This is a picture of our gorgeous Japanese maple welcoming you to our back yard. It's not quite this vibrant yet, but I'm excited to see the changes starting.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Glove Update

Hi Friends,

So what's new? We're getting back in the swing of things here at home and I'm feeling much better. After two surgeries (all the meds) and a ten day vacation (eating on the road), my body was begging for a break. I put myself on a ten day system cleanse, I'm eating lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and getting back to intentional exercise. It's amazing how fast we bounce back when we take care to put the good stuff in. The finger is healing but until the pin comes out, I'm having to be be very careful with everything I do with my left hand.

On the glove front, we got the second round of prototypes on Saturday. They look good, but still need work. The thumb is in the wrong place (too far in the palm of the hand), and the zipper isn't right. We really need to have a high quality zipper, higher quality than came in this new proto. I sent the changes back and will hopefully have an appointment to talk with our people this week.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Friday!

So what do you think, has this been fun not rambling on about the same topic all month? I don't know, I like having one specific thing we're talking about, but in light of my injured hand, it's been good to do smaller posts and less research.

On the hand (or more specifically, finger), I saw Dr. C on Wednesday to have the stitches taken out and it was another traumatic office visit. It started out okay, but the last two sutures were healed over so on came the nausea, heavy sweat, and near fainting. No kidding! I ended up leaving the office weak and in tears. The pin has to stay in for another four weeks but for the most part, in my day to day activities, it doesn't really hurt. Oddly enough, when I left the docs office crying it wasn't because of pain, it was more a release of the intensely painful experience I'd just had. It's all very weird to me.

So an update and I'll see you Monday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Silly Stuff Answers

Why do cowboys wear their pants too long? Cowboys wear their pants too long so when they're sitting in the saddle with their legs bent, their pants aren't too short.

And why do young children only want to eat bland or simple tasting foods? Because they're born with more than 10,000 taste buds as a defense mechanism to help them survive. Since they have such hyper-tasters, they prefer the hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and generally milder flavored foods. As we get older (and wiser knowing not to eat poison), those taste bud numbers decrease and we can then tolerate and enjoy bolder flavors.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why Do People Cross Their Fingers For Luck?

Sandy asked this question and I found an answer at ask Yahoo.

There are a number of curious gestures and sayings in our modern society that leave us scratching our heads. Apparently, we have superstitious folk in merry old England to thank for the peculiar practice of crossing our fingers for luck.

Witches, ghosts, and other supernatural ghouls were very real to people living in the 16th century. Illnesses and bad luck were blamed on these evil forces. Faith in the power of the Christian cross, therefore, was strong. A cough, a sneeze, or even a mention of a cold (thought to be a sign of the plague) was reason enough to cross yourself. The proper way to make the sign of the cross involves four steps -- touch the forehead, heart, left shoulder, then right shoulder with you right hand.

When a suspected witch crossed your path, you could make a cross shortcut by crossing your index and second finger or the index fingers of both hands. This would provide protection and ward off the evil influence. Just like in Dracula movies, it was believed the power of the cross or any religious talisman would combat the forces of darkness. People also wore crosses or carried their Bibles in case they happened upon a nefarious being. A clove of garlic worn around the neck was ammunition against werewolves and bad spirits, and both peasants and nobles attached bells known as "bezants" to their garments, hoping the sound would scare away evil spirits.

Though many of these beliefs have slowly died, the gestures they inspired have lived on. Let's face it, in today's scary world, we need all the luck we can get. If crossing your fingers, carrying a rabbit's foot, hanging a horseshoe, or rubbing a lucky penny helps you through the day, more power to you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Silly Stuff I Know...

What is the silly stuff you know? Do you know why tennis balls are fuzzy? If they weren't the game would be impossible to play. The ball if it were only rubber (without the fabric), would never stay on the court. See what I mean?

I'm one of those people who love to use silly stuff to start up conversations and get to know people. You might think this is useless space being used in my brain, not so. I've won many a prize, large and small with this "useless" information. Tell me this, why do cowboys wear their pants too long? Or one of my favorites, why do all children only want to eat bland or simple tasting foods? I'll give you the answers on Wednesday. In the meantime, post a question or little known fact back to me, I'd love to learn what you know!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Breaking News!

This week we're in Florida, and I've had two wonderful communications from the primary glove company we're talking with. The first was on Monday from the CEO. He let us know that the initial numbers were in and it's time to talk about how we want to structure our relationship. Awesome! How many inventors get to this point in the process all on their own?

The other one was from the VP of manufacturing for the same company letting us know the second round of prototyping is due in her hands today or Monday. She let us know that they made three versions of our gloves with the revisions from the first set. I can't wait until next week to see what we have and to start penning our deal.

I'll keep you posted!

A Glove Update

I spoke again with the glove company and it looks like things are finally moving forward. We have an appointment to talk on the 17th to run numbers and do costing. This is very exciting and even more promising is that the CEO advised me we would likely be in touch before then as the second round of proto types would be ready! Hooray!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Riley!

Actually, it's a little belated, but my Mr. Riley turned 6 on Saturday the 4th.

Dave gave Riley to me for my birthday in 2002. He's as much the light of my life as any of my family and friends are. Happy Birthday Riley!

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Love That I Have You To Help Me.

Happy October to all!

Before we start, introductions are in order. My name is Dahlynn McKowen and I'm part of Kathy's IW team.

For reasons beyond her control, Kathy is unable to type and asked me to pen this column. When she asked me—no, begged me—to take on the task, she carried on over the phone for several minutes as to what was in her head and what I should write about. Then she asked me to "squish" it all down to something reasonable. I just smiled to myself.

Now for some editorializing on my end; "squish" is an appropriate word when describing one of my dearest friends in the entire world, but only when it comes to her communication via writing. She writes like she talks. Seriously. Now, now—there's no need to get defensive. I'm not picking on her. She agrees with me. When working on writing projects with Kathy, she'll put dozens upon dozens of paragraphs on paper to get to that one solid paragraph. She squishes it all together, and for a professional writer and editor like myself, all I can do is sigh, then grin, at her very unique style. Through lots of squishing and squashing, Kathy eventually pulls it off and comes up with an awesome piece of writing, to my amazement.

But I'm getting off track—let's revisit why Kathy can't type this entry. She and her horse Chance had "squishy" intentions that just didn't work together at the right time. While in the saddle, Kathy intended to move one way, and Chance the other. The result? Kathy was thrown to the ground. Chance was okay but showed immediate concern for his "person" (Kathy said he had a look of, "How did you get down there?"). Besides a concussion, bruises and aches all over, Kathy ended up having two surgeries in three weeks' time on her hand. The last one rendered her hand useless for a good while, thus this guest column.

Kathy wanted me to talk about myself and hubby Ken, but that's not my intention (to humor Kathy, pop into to learn more about us). My intention was to share my feelings about Kathy and the way she communicates with you.

Recently, she wrote a story for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Resolutions in which she told of her desire/resolution to not talk so much. But that would be a HUGE mistake. Through all of her intensity and all of the good and true words that cascade out of her mouth and soul each and every day, her intentions are beyond pure and simple. She talks because she truly cares. She cares like no other person I know on this planet, and her desire to make the world a better place is so completely evident in every thing she does. As our leader in our upcoming release of the Intentional Winning series of books, there's no one better to guide the way—as squishy as it may be some days!

P.S. Kathy didn't read this prior to posting. I love you, Kathy! :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Friday

I'm happy to report that though I'm having to be SUPER careful with how I use my right hand, I'm not in the kind of pain I was in with the first surgery. I've found that I can take the cast and wrap off while I sleep and when I am home, but really need the reminder while out and about in the outside world.

I know this isn't anything all that to read about, but hey, it's real life!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Seeing Dr. C

I get to see the new & improved Halloween style finger today. I'm going to take a picture of it because I'm one of those people who wants to see. I look once and look away. Then
I have to look again, more closely, really look, you know? My Aunt Jeannette is like this, too, only more. I think she'll even ask if she can touch! Laughing.

Hopefully I'll get the use of some of the fingers on my left hand soon. I'll let you know on Friday.

Monday, September 29, 2008

On A Break....

With a broken finger! Visit for all the details.
I'll get back as soon as I can!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Up To Date

At this point, we're waiting for our second round of prototypes to come back and to have a discussion about costs. Once we know how much one pair of gloves costs to make, we can factor in all the other costs and people (us!) who need to get paid, we can then know if the whole licensing deal is going to be profitable. We're still targeting a fall 2009 date for our gloves to be for sale in stores.

I'll keep you posted on our progress and you keep me in the loop with all of your great ideas!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Standard Advance

The standard advance in a licensing deal is an advance against future royalties. Most contracts are written this way so that they licensee is not paying up front and then again (read as "more") as sales start and increase.

My thoughts on this are if you can give your licensee a good reason to pay you up front without it being contingent on future sales, then you're already ahead of the game. Some of the thoughts I've bounced off my attorney are an up front payment to cease negotiations with other possible licensees (usually a competitor), or payment for valuable contacts already made by me to market and sell the product (QVC and national television publicity). Both of these examples work best in an exclusive license scenario, but if you spend some time thinking about this, you can come up with many ideas that build value in you and your product, make your licensee look good, and basically put and keep more of the money you're intending to make in your bank account.

One more note on this subject, my experience has shown that the potential licensees I've spoken with have been very happy that Dave and I want to work with them on the research (much of which I did before I called them), development, and marketing. All three that I've been in negotiations with have come right out and told me that the everyday inventors they speak with would love nothing more than to drop an idea at their door step and collect a paycheck. It's as if an idea with a provisional patent is a winning lottery ticket. Now let's be honest, we all secretly think this way and wish it were so. We've heard the story of the lady who had this idea, made it at her kitchen table, wore it out in public where someone with influence saw it, loved it, bought it, and made this lady millions. Just like Hollywood, this is not real life.

Large companies love people who are willing to work and do their share to earn their keep. Offer up your services and be willing to follow through. If they want to do it all and pay you, beware; if you're not there, you might be missing out.

Think of ways you can get some good faith consideration up front without it being an advance and remember, anythings possible! Take that for what it's worth and roll up your sleeves, it's time to get to work!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Anything Goes!

One of the things that appeals to me with the area of licensing is that anything goes in negotiating the contract. In fact, there are standards that many use in licensing deals, but from what I'm learning, you can ask for anything you want.

For example, I feel strongly that no one can sell the features and benefits of our gloves better than I can. I'm proposing to our licensee that Dave and I work for their company as contractors rolling out the new line of gloves. Dave and I both have solid backgrounds in sales and marketing so we're certainly qualified. Additionally, people love a mother of invention story. We will ask for an up front payment when we sign our agreement (not an advance as is usually the case - I'll explain this in more detail on Wednesday), and then we'd like to be put on the companies payroll to travel the country doing in-store retail promotions, snow festivals, and introducing the product on QVC. This might appear to be an expensive way to roll out the product line, when in fact, we feel we can sell many more pairs of gloves by sharing our story and allowing other moms, dads, and grandparents get to know us. They will relate to us as we're an average, everyday American family just like they are. This kind of deal not only gives us the down payment for our IP, but it also gives us an income for a year, the opportunity to travel the US as a family, and we don't have an advance coming out of our royalties when they start to roll in.

Will our licensee agree to this kind of arrangement? That's yet to be seen, but we'll certainly put it up for negotiation. Even if we don't get the whole kit and caboodle, we'll certainly get something more than the standard license agreement. Most importantly, it's my opinion that this kind of forward thinking earns respect and will have our business partner thinking just a little more of us as innovators and individuals.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Never Fast Enough.

Once your willing to get out of your comfort zone and call the people who can help you get your product to market, the process will never happen as fast as it seems like it's happening. In my experience, every time someone said yes to me, I thought I'd made it.

With one of my potential business partners, every phone call we schedule gives me something to look forward to, and makes me feel like something will come of it. Something does, another step or plan and then (usually) several months before the next phone call. Hurry up and wait.

The reality is, this process is slow, and if you have a day job, keep it. You need to keep making your regular income but while you do, celebrate every single one of those moments that makes you feel like you made it. You only get to travel this road one time, you might bring other products to market, but you'll know the process and it won't ever be like this time again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who Will Buy Your Idea?

Is your idea something brand new, or is it something already on the market that you've done better? Either way, you either have to go into business to make it and sell it, or find someone who will do all of that and pay you along the way. The latter is licensing.

The first thing I did was find the companies who make gloves for little hands. I bought their smallest pair and measured the placement of the thumb and then had my son see if he could put them on. As usual, he couldn't put them on so I did as much research as I could about the company to see if they are a prospect for a potential licensing deal.

If I thought they were, I called and asked to speak with someone in their product research department. The people in this area of the company have all picked up the phone and been willing to talk and share details. In all of my cases, they gave me the name and direct phone number to the person I needed to speak with about licensing our idea. Once these conversations started, the signing of NDA's was easy as pie and we were off and running.

If your not willing to make the initial contact with the companies you hope to be business partners with, there's not much hope that they'll call you. Pick up the phone and introduce yourself!

Monday, September 15, 2008

How Hard are You Willing to Work?

If I haven't learned anything else in my life, I've learned that if it's worth having, it's worth working for. In the game of licensing, I'm finding that the work comes in organization and being willing to reach out in unconventional ways.

I've had to get organized in not only creating our idea, but hiring an attorney to file for our patents, research the facts and figures, investigate the competition, and figure out how we can pay for all of the steps. Those are the obvious things, but then I have to put my salesmen hat on and start researching and cold calling. You can't be afraid to pick up the phone and call the places you think will have an interest and the wherewithal to pay you for your idea.

When you look at each little piece it seems like "one little thing." In reality, when you keep your log and you go back and see all those little things, you can see how they add up in hours in your days. I've met people who say they aren't sales people. To that, all I can say is you better find that sales guy in you or hire someone who gets your idea. Nobody will sell your idea like you will, so if I can offer some advice, find your inner sales professional and pick up your phone.

Friday, September 12, 2008

One More Day

I think I can get back to business as usual on Monday. I want to see if I can get through today without taking the prescription pain medication.

Dave has gone to Anaheim this morning so that leaves me alone with Mason attempting to not use my left hand. Wish me luck and I'll be back with bells on come Monday morning!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm Back...Sort of.

Well, I wanted to stay right in step and not let this broken finger hinder my blogging process. No such luck. Surgery is what it is, and certainly it's painful. I had my finger fixed on Tuesday. Wednesday was not so bad, but by the end of the day, I was miserable. This morning is okay, but I'm extremely aware of where my finger has been cut, messed with, and sewn back up. To say it's uncomfortable is an understatement.

So to try to stay on track, I want to mention a really good book about licensing your IP, How To License Your Million Dollar Idea by Harvey Reese. Harvey does a great job explaining what it means to license your idea and he shares some really clever ways to go about doing it. I will say from my personal experience, he makes it sound easier than it really is. With that said, I will talk more about what Harvey advises and what I've come to know as my experience trying to license our gloves.

You can buy the book on line from, and I think you can also buy the current edition on Harvey's website at See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Note From My Doctor

I'll pick back up where I left off on licensing hopefully on Wednesday, depending on what I learn after seeing the doctor today.

Yesterday while meeting a lady about our horse, I took a spill. I'm okay but got a pretty good goose egg on my head, some really sore muscles in my low back and hips, and I broke my finger. Dave took me to the ER and the CT scan showed my brain looks like "it's never been used" (how exactly is one suppose to take a statement like that?), and my spine is in tact just fine. My finger however is not. I have to see a hand guy first thing tomorrow morning and will likely be having surgery on Tuesday. You can see the actual x-ray at on or around 9/8/08.

With that said, I'm still a little woozy and it's likely that I'll be pretty sore after a nights sleep. More importantly, I may not be so good with my keyboard after the doc gets done messing with my hand. I'll keep you posted but in the meantime, I'm extremely grateful that I'm only sore, with a bump on my head, and a broken finger (my first broken bone ever).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Other Options

There is more than one way to create an income from your invention or intellectual property (IP). Most people invent a product and it becomes like a new baby in the household, a real member of the family. They bring it to life, create a business, sell it and work really, really hard keeping it alive. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one who believes in free or easy money, but I do believe you can work smarter, not harder.

One of the ways other than producing and selling your product yourself is to license it to a company that already does something similar. With our gloves, we are in negotiations with several glove companies who already have established relationships with off shore manufacturers and distribution channels for retail sales. Next week I will talk about what I know of the licensing process and how you can determine if could consider this a viable option as well.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Finishing Up With Patents

This first thing people think when they come up with their big idea is that they need a patent. Maybe yes, maybe no, but you won't know if you don't do your homework. The very first thing you need to do is google your idea. If the search brings up pages and pages of similar products, you may not be the first to discover the need for this great thing. Do the on line searches several times with many different key words, you will be surprised what doesn't come up in the first search will come up in search number 25. Next, go to to do a patent search. This step can be daunting but you have to do it. Go to the patents section, then search both sections, patents pending, and patents issued. This again is one of those steps that will take some time. Use as many words as you can think of that may be part of whatever your idea is. If you can't find your idea in a web search or a preliminary patent search, then you're probably good to go to the next step.

I've made mention already that you need to create some kind of prototype to see your idea in real life. You need to know if it really will work. After you do that, you need to decide if you will pay an attorney to do a professional patent search or move ahead with just your research. Some attorneys will not file your application unless they do the search for you (you'll pay of course), as they have to represent you to the examiner at the patent office. They want to be as sure as they can be that they are going to get the patent issued.

You can do this yourself and for many things you don't need a patent. If you feel like you have a great idea that's not already on the market, get to manufacturing, producing, and selling your great product! You can do it. Remember, whatever you think, you're right!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day
More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Since we all work so hard, take today off and do something fun!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights

What are they and do you need one or all of them? Here are some brief definitions and information:

What is a Patent?
The standard legal definition is "A right to sue." It's an investment vehicle in terms of being a marketing document or a bargaining chip. Basically, if you apply for and are assigned an actual patent, you simply have the right to sue someone who produces or claims any rights to your intellectual property.

There are two types of Patents; Utility and Design.

  • Utility: New composition, manufacture, or method. Inventing or recreating how something functions or works.
  • Design: Just that, something that already exists and you are creating a new look.

What is a Trademark?
A name, phrase, or logo. A trademark is an indicator of the source of something. You can use a trademark for goods or services (TM or SM). Once your trademark have been accepted and registered, you would use the circle-R in place of the TM or SM.

There are some basic requirements for obtaining a trademark. The name must be sufficiently new - this often requires a preliminary search with the USPTO. It can't be confusingly similar and not descriptive.

What is a Copyright?
An automatic right to duplication. A copyright occurs when a work of art is created. With formal registration, others can't copy the work.

Copyright requirements are minimal. You can post your work as copyrighted by just marking it with the circle-C, the year it was created, and owner. You can also note, "All rights reserved." You do need to register your work with the USPTO to be able to actually go after someone for copyright infringements.

Interesting note; you can copyright an invention as a work of art and this is beneficial in preventing knock-offs from other countries trying to import them into the US.

In a nutshell:

  • Patent - Product
  • Trademark - Name
  • Copyright - Writings

Excerpted from the works of The Luther Law Firm.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Catch 'Ya Friday!

Hi guys,

I've got a summer bug. I don't know where it came from, but the sooner it's gone, the happier I'll be. I have so much to share with all of you. On Friday, I'll pick back up with the legal stuff with regard to patents, trademarks, and copyrights. For now, I'm stay'n close to the littlest room in the house!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm Tired and Inspired!

Welcome to a new week!

I'm pooped! I had the most amazing weekend and now I'm both inspired and exhausted. This weekend was the Mind to Market seminar in Oakland with Amilya Antonetti. In a nutshell, this was an intensive weekend of segmented education on everything from taking action on a good idea; from how the retail stores really accept new products (how much that costs to even be considered), to finding money to get started, legal stuff regarding patents, trademarks, copyrights, and accounting. Should you be a sole proprietor? A C-corp? An S-corp? A LLC? And then when you figure that out, is your product something you need to brand? Talk about an esoteric topic! Marketing, Public Relations, Creating the Perfect Pitch or better yet, knowing not to pitch and how to build a great working relationship instead. There was even a class on being open to changing the way you think about everything!

I felt like I went into the weekend with lots to learn, but also well on my way. Yeah, right! I not only have so much more to think about, re-think, undo, do differently, and some stuff I'm not going to do at all. It's hard to believe that I could be happy having my glove world picked up, taken apart, shaken vigorously, and all the pieces handed back to me. All the way home in the car, I felt like quitting. As I got home and thought about telling Dave, "Oh well, it was a fun little adventure, now I'm getting a regular job." all I could do was go to bed. Today, I'm still tired, but I'm ready to get back to work. To use the new tools and information to create this dream. So now it's back to the drawing board with all new, better quality paper, paint, tools, and a big dose of, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I know I can."

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm Off to See the Wizard(s)!

This is my M2M (Mind to Market) weekend in Oakland. Go back to the August 7th post where I told you all about it. When I come home on Sunday night, I will give you a full update for Monday's post.

Do you have an idea? Is there something you need that you can't find? What about something you use that could be better? These are all the simmering of a roaring boil! Go! Start! Do it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Will the Olympics Improve IP Protection in China?

Guest Writer, By Peter Skoutelas and Barbara Luther
With the Olympic Games beginning in China, we found the following information. China has historically had a culture of sharing and copying any new creation. This poses many issues with intellectual property protection and enforcement. China is working on changing this culture, which may benefit you.
Barbara J. Luther, Esq.

Change is in the wind for the protection of intellectual property rights in China-due in no small part to the Olympic Games in Beijing. To protect government owned Olympic Intellectual Property rights, the Chinese have started a program to educate the public on counterfeits.

Olympic Intellectual Property rights include Olympic symbol exclusive rights, trademark rights, and copyrights. All Beijing Olympic licensed products are authorized to be sold by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, or BOCOG. In November 2005, the BOCOG licensing program was launched. The program included 70 manufacturing and 80 retail companies. During the games, there will be approximately 10,000 licensed stores throughout China. These stores sell, among others, pins, stationary, toys, bags, arts and crafts, daily use products, audio and video products, sport utilities, food and more. In all, the products incorporate 600 designs, spanning 11 categories of licensed products. It would be no surprise to learn that thousands of vendors in China are actively selling from unauthorized commercial use of the Olympic Symbols. The products they’re selling illegally depict the Olympic Symbols along with Fuwa, the Beijing Olympic mascots. The Chinese government has started to realize the amount of money they stand to lose, after witnessing the 2004 Athens Games generate $61.5 million in revenues from the sale of licensed Olympics merchandise.

As a consequence, IP protection activity by the Chinese government has picked up recently and is proceeding along multiple fronts. Enforcement has included investigations by the authorities uncovering over 1,500 cases of violations
involving Beijing Olympic slogans, logos, and other trademarks. As a result,BOCOG, together with the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department, are determined to crack-down on unlicensed vendors who are pirating CDs, DVDs, and counterfeit Olympic products. Public education, including an anti-counterfeiting hotline promoted everywhere from TV to bumper stickers, has made the protection of Olympic IP a community cause. With the public tuned in, the authorities have begun receiving much needed help in cracking down on illegal goods bearing Olympic trademarks.

The Olympics Games bring the countries of the world together, to compete, to showcase their pride, and to enrich us all with their culture. Beijing 2008 will be an important test for the Chinese to lay to rest allegations and concerns from other countries. The Chinese government has had a sophisticated awareness of these issues for some time and has been quietly, patiently, laying the foundation for effective detection, adjudication, and application of legal remedies in protecting intellectual property rights. Finally, this is their chance to enforce respect of Intellectual Property rights and encourage acknowledgement of the unique products of others.
What do we recommend for protecting your Intellectual Property in China? Because the Chinese government is educating its citizens to reject fakes and is applying IP law against infringers, we are more optimistic for coverage. Keep in mind also that the rapid growth of the Chinese economy, combined with improvements in the IP enforcement regime, will in the coming years compound the value of patents, trademarks, and copyrights covering Chinese territory.
Finally, one thing is certain: if you don’t file in China, you’ll have no Chinese intellectual property rights to protect!

Call us to discuss your particular situation.
The Luther Law Firm, PLC © 2008 All Rights Reserved
10575 N 114th Street, Suite 103 Scottsdale, AZ 85259
Phone 480.344.7745 Fax 480.344.7748

The Luther Law Firm makes available this information for general informational purposes only. This information is not intended as legal advice. Moreover, no attorney-client relationship is created through your receipt or use of this information. Do not act upon them without first seeking legal counsel. Further, the information is general and may not apply to particular factual or

Monday, August 18, 2008

Still on Patents

There is so much to talk about and consider on this topic, you could probably blog on this subject alone!

So what did you come up with? Will you patent or not? I learned something else on this in terms of getting your product to market. Let's just assume you have a good idea and you choose not to get a patent. I'm certain you plan to put out a product that's the highest quality, best you can produce. In your plans, provide for a product that's a little less in terms of quality, make some minor changes, maybe not so many color choices, and produce and sell it for less. Yes! Knock yourself off! You heard me right, don't leave it to the Asians (meaning China), or even Wal Mart, make a less superior product, get it in the discount stores and collect your money for both the high and low end of your market!

The reality is, someone will do what you are doing. They will do it quickly, and they will have markets who will sell for them even though they may not have the rights to your intellectual property. You know that your patent is only as strong as your wallet is thick to protect it. My thoughts are do it first, do it best, do it twice, and have people think of you as the original. That way, even when someone is asking for the generic, they will ask for a "Coke." See what I'm saying?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Let's Take a Break!

So in reading back through the last couple of weeks, it feels to me like my posts have all be very matter of fact. I guess I want to share as much with you as I can, and it's hard to do that in a chit-chatty sort of way.

I went to a meeting Wednesday evening for a group called Parent Innovators. This is a group of women who are at all stages of ideas, development, licensing, manufacturing, and sales. The thing I thought was so wonderful about these women is that they're taking action to make their lives better. What more can I say? So many women, and people in general, want more out of life, but they're not willing to do the hard work. I hear all day long about people who don't have time or money, or both! Whatever you think, you're right!

There were two women at this meeting who are single moms (maybe more, but two I'm sure of), that want to take control of their lives, their finances, and do what they love. I applaud them. That's the point I'm getting to, if you find something that's born from your creative energy, you'll love to work on it. Making the extra hours in the day happen will be what you look forward to, instead of one more thing on your to-do list. I have sometimes thought, how can there be anything out there left to invent? In fact, there are so many things you could create to make life easier, fix a problem, fill a need, or even just do something better than it's currently being done.

So, chime in with some questions. Tell me what you think of what I'm learning & sharing and if its interesting and of use to you. I can't wait until the day that I'm really the expert, and can share what I know to empower men and women to make the time to chase their dreams. It's certainly not the easy road, but I suspect the most rewarding!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

To Patent or Not To Patent?

Do I need a patent? It's not always necessary to pay for a patent. You have to honestly evaluate your idea or product and decide how protectable it is. In reality, anyone who creates something new is going to be copied. Isn't that the highest form of flattery? Yes and no. It's not when their taking cash out of your retirement fund!

The number one rule with patents is, patents are only as enforceable as you have a bank roll to enforce them. Also, you have to know that someone is producing your product. You will be the police for your patent(s).

In the case of our gloves, we've determined that we do need patent protection. Think about it, we've honed in on making a measurement on the human hand intellectual property as it relates to gloves. That means, once we're fully patent protected, no one can make a glove that fits a child's hand without paying us a royalty. Think about that for a second (I know I am!). That's huge! So yes, we needed to go get us a patent.

The flip side is with a gadget, of some kind. I'm not belittling gadgets, I love them, you just have to look at where you want to spend your cash. Do you want to pay big bucks and big time getting a patent, only to be knocked off anyway, and now you have no money left to go after the people who knocked you up, I mean off! Laughing! Only a woman will really find that funny. In many cases, it pays to be the first to get your product to market, then take it to the biggest guy likely to knock you off, and see if you can license (I'll explain this in my next post) your idea to them. In many cases, they will pay you a royalty for everyone they sell, and you can just collect the checks. You were first, they bought your position, now you can get to the next thing.

Another piece of info that seems to be floating around out there, is that you need to write down your idea on a plain piece of paper, seal it in an envelope, and mail it to yourself. When you get it, don't open it. Save it for if you ever need to prove this was you idea, the postmark will be legal tender. In fact, what you really need to do, is file a provisional patent application with the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office ( and this will give you a full year to test drive your idea with the proper protection. You need to file your full patent application within one year of the filing date of the provisional, but this is the safer way to go. It costs $105. What happens is, the USPTO logs your idea, doesn't even look at it, and gives you a registration number. If someone tries to steal it, you can reference your registration number, at this time they will look at the idea, and determine that you had rights first. This is also a gray area, because is someone filed a provisional before you, there would be no way to know. In that case, should you find each other in the marketplace, the one who filed first, wins.

So to recap:

  • Determine if you need a patent

  • If you want to test drive your product, apply for a provisional patent.

  • If you don't need a patent, get to creating, prototyping, testing, and producing your product.

  • If you do need a patent, find a good attorney. I don't advise doing this on your own unless you've done it before, or know someone who has.

  • My attorney is Barbara Luther, The Luther Law Firm, 480-344-7745, I highly recommend her!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Create a Prototype

So now you have your idea, you've googled it until you can't google it anymore, it's not in a store near you, and it doesn't seem to exist. What now?
Figure out what you need to make it yourself. Yes, I said make it yourself! I know, there are some things that maybe you have no idea how to make. You know you need it, but you don't have the expertise to create it on your own. Here's where I think most people fall out of the game. They think they can't make a prototype, and are sure they can't afford to pay someone to make one for them, and even if they could afford to, if they tell anyone about it, it'll be stolen. You all know by now what I'm going to say, "Whatever you think, you're right!"

In my experience, I was able to make a prototype at my kitchen table using a pair of scissors, duct tape, a zipper, a needle and some thread, and a used snow glove from a thrift store. As far as textiles and wood products, you can go on line and search "rapid prototyping," or "rapid manufacturing." There are companies that knock off designers sometimes even before the designers themselves get their product out! You can also visit colleges to find students and professors who can help you. Post an ad for some help on There are many options if you're just willing to seek them out. It takes time, it may take some money, but if you don't do the work, you'll never experience the reward.

My best advice about this is to do whatever you can to make something on your own. You know what your idea is, what problem it's solving, and how you want it to work. Nobody will make your product like you will.

On the subject of someone stealing your idea. Yes, it can happen, but so can a serious car accident on your way to work. Are you not going to drive to work today? In reality, you can protect your idea with a very simple Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), and your inventor's log. You can also apply for a Provisional Patent that is a super simple process, only $110, and gives you a year of patent pending protection to really get out there and test drive your idea. The same way you drive safely and wear a seat belt to help ensure a safe trip in to work.

I'll talk more about what I know about patents and should or shouldn't you apply for a patent for your idea on Wednesday!

Friday, August 8, 2008

I Need a book

For those of you just joining us, I'm spending this month sharing my journey of bringing an idea to fruition, and then a product to market. It's still early in the story, so curl up with your computer and get motivated to know if I can do it, so can you!

So, I have this great idea, I know it will work, it seems at this point there's nothing else like it, but what do I do with it? I need a book. There has to be a book written by a mom, for a mom. There is, it's called The Mom Inventor's Handbook written by mom Tamara Monosoff.

The Mom Inventors Handbook: How to Turn Your Great Idea into the Next Big Thing

Frankly, I couldn't find any other books like this one and even as I searched again today, there are very few. If you have an idea, BUY THIS BOOK!

In any case, I needed a book and this was a good one. I read it from cover to cover and one of the great pieces of advice I got was to start and inventors log. This is basically a notebook, with pages that are bound, not loose leaf (very important), that is a journal of how you thought of your idea, when, where, why, how, and every step you took afterward. The reason this is so important is that this book could potentially be a legal document. If someone were to try to steal your idea and get it to market before you, you would likely take them to court. In a court of law, an inventors notebook could prove to be the one piece of evidence that wins your case. Some people advise to have your book notarized, but that's one of those things you have to decide to do or not to do. I didn't. My book starts going back to 2006 when Dave and I first realized Mason wanted gloves, not mittens. Gloves were extremely hard to come by in small sizes, and when we did find them, they didn't fit. I told the whole story, in long hand. Here is why I didn't have my book notarized; as I enter new information, I'm using different pens, my penmanship varies based on where I am (in the car, at a restaurant, in my bed, etc), and it's very clear that I did not sit down and create this log in haste to prove something. I also document who I speak with about it and why I was speaking with them. This is also proof that they took this idea from me.

The other thing I got from the book was to search the Internet extensively. Search it for an hour a day to make sure what you think you've created doesn't exist. Go online and search the USPTO website to see if you can find any patents or applications for what you want to do. If you can't find it, it may not exist. I searched and searched, and my friend Alice found a glove that seemed to be similar. I immediately bought it and found that though it was created to address my problem, it wasn't doing it. I poked all the holes in it I could and moved on with creating a better prototype. I enlisted my Aunt Jeannette to sew zippers in several pair of kids gloves I bought at thrift stores.

My next question was, do I need a patent?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

When Opportunity Knocks

I'm going to get a little ahead of myself here because this is a time sensitive issue. I'm a firm believer in the Universe providing for us what we need and when. In a way I could have never predicted, I was introduced to Amilya Antonetti ( For those of you who know her, you know why I was so excited. And for those of you who don't, well, you should! Smiling!

Amilya is the woman responsible for bringing the concept of "green" to household cleaners more than fifteen years ago. Go to her web site to read her story. What I want to share with you, is how Amilya has made it her mission to help people like me get our ideas off the ground without all the trials and tribulations that most have to go through just to realize they were given bad advice, or worse, taken for thousands of dollars needlessly.

I was fortunate enough to spend a day with Amilya and her team where I met Barb Luther, my patent attorney, and Bob Warden from QVC, just to name a few. In that single day, I got enough good, sound advice to take my idea and my kitchen table prototype and run like a mad woman. The day I spent with Amilya was in March of this year. In less than four months, I was patent pending, and in communication with two large manufactures of snow gloves. Both manufactures are creating real prototypes for me to review, and we are discussing how we want to do business. Do I want to strictly license the idea, or do Dave and I want to work with the company we chose to work with to promote the "mom invented" idea around the country? All of this came from one business day with Amilya!

Here's my question to you, do you want to spend your money trying this, and implementing that, or do you think enough of your idea to invest in the contacts you could make in a single day? What if I told you you could spend a weekend in this kind of company? It's a small investment to attend Amilya's Mind to Market weekend, and frankly, worth every penny and more! The weekend is $1295.00 and you will come away with everything you need to know to get your product to market. As a favor to me, for inviting you, you can do the whole weekend for $995! Yet again, another reason I love this group of people.

I haven't even told you the really good news (sounds like, "But wait! There's more!). There's an application process to attend. There won't be any two products or ideas the same, and if your product is not something that Amilya feels she can help you make happen, you won't ever spend a penny! Go to for complete information on the M2M weekend in Oakland.

I don't believe there's a more ethical and honest person out there to help you. Okay, so now you know how I feel about Amilya. You can certainly make your own choices about how to invest in your product and yourself, but let me wrap up by telling you, I'm working the M2M weekend in Oakland on August 22, 23, and 24th. I'm working it as a volunteer because I want to give back to the group that sent me on my way via a shooting star with a sling-shot!

From Amilya:


Thanks for putting this out there! I enjoy working with you and I look forward to meeting anyone you send my way.

If you have any friends that think they have what it takes and have an idea that is ready to launch, than tell them to come meet me. I want to know who they are and what great things we can do together.

One idea can change the world…don’t keep it to yourself!


Monday, August 4, 2008

Here's Why Golves Don't Fit Little Hands

For children (ages 1-6, possibly up to age 12) the placement of the thumb on existing kid's gloves is in the wrong place. It's apparent that manufacturers are making children’s gloves using the same pattern as adult gloves, only smaller. In fact, children’s hands are not simply smaller. They are different in that the space between the thumb and forefinger is not as long therefore, the thumb of the glove needs to be moved up toward the finger holes. You can easily see this when you put a glove on a child’s hand, they get their thumb in first and then their little fingers do not reach the proper placement through the finger holes. They usually go about half way, and the little finger does not get that far. This is of course, comes after the struggle to get their fingers in each hole at all, and we know because we struggled getting our little ones fingers in gloves because his fingers simply do not reach the holes!

The next big piece of this puzzle is that as parents, we can't see that our little one's fingers aren't reaching, so we keep trying to funnel them into those four little holes. Being able to completely open the back of the glove will do so many things!
  • It will give our young children a visual, they can now see right where to put their fingers.
  • With the thumb properly placed on the glove, their fingers will reach the holes they can see.
  • Being able to open the back will alleviate the frustration of pulling the lining out of the glove when they take it off.
  • We'll be able to properly clean the inside of the glove and also allow for sufficient air-flow for thorough drying.
  • Finally, we will eliminate the emotional heartache that both parent and child feel when we have to struggle every single time we have to wear gloves (that one for me is worth the whole price of admission!).

Finally, we have opted to move the little finger on the glove down to properly fit a human hand. Most all snow gloves have all of our fingers entering the holes at the same time. Look at the the inside of your hand and tell me that your pinky finger is in a perfect line with your other three fingers. Likely not.

This idea was certainly born out of a need for toddlers, but the truth is everyone needs a cold weather glove that properly fits them. Men's hands and not all "big," and women's hands are not men's hands simply smaller. We plan to create real sizes in gloves for real human hands. The zipper in the back of the glove will provide for a more snug fit, thus being safer, more functional, and certainly more comfortable.

So, I now know why, and know from making my kitchen table prototype that the zipper will work, what do I do now?