Fallen Hero Memorial Chest Fund with Shane Rodarte | Podcast Episode 32

My guest today is my business partner for the past 17 years, Shane Rodarte, President and co-founder of Shaka Studios Custom Furniture. Shane has been a full-time professional furniture maker for almost 30 years. He is also my husband.

Working with your spouse can be an entire series of podcasts, so we aren’t going to talk about that today. Instead, we are sharing a project that is near and dear to our hearts.

Shane and I recently launched the Fallen Hero Memorial Chest Fund on Indiegogo. Our mission is to build and deliver handcrafted solid cherry heirloom memorial chests to families who have lost a loved one in service of our country.

The first three Fallen Hero Memorial Chests will be given to the families of these brave servicemen.

The first three Fallen Hero Memorial Chests will be given to the families of these brave servicemen.

To learn more, or give the to fund, visit MemorialChestFund.org.

Houston custom furniture biz @ShaKaStudios wants to give memorial chests to 15 Texas Gold Star Families. Click To Tweet


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7 Deadly Social Media Sins

At Gratitude Geek, we focus on helping the little guy make a big impact.

This means I usually reject what the “big dogs” have to say about marketing because in my experience, pioneering online custom furniture sales, branding and advertising can never replace relationship building.

Sometimes one of those “big dogs” offers up a gem that any small business owner can implement for success. Xplain, a European digital strategy company with clients like Microsoft and Sony, created a Slideshare presentation on “Seven Social Media Sins” that every business owner needs to see. Scroll down to watch it now, or keep reading for my take on social media for small business owners.

Clients First

In my opinion, social media is not a substitute for personal interaction.

Social media is no substitute for relationship marketing. Here's how to keep your social engagement personal. Click To Tweet

Yes, you can interact on a personal level on many of the social media platforms via private messages. It shouldn’t be the only way you interact with your clients. It should just be one of the ways you add convenience for your client.

It’s about what is best for your clients.

Show up on the social media channels where your clients hang out. Remember the seven deadly social media sins when you engage with your audience, and build relationships first.

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Essential Oils for Everyday Living with Kelly Taylor | Podcast Episode 31

Essential Oils for Everyday Living

Listen in to this recording of a lunch and learn hosted by Kelly Taylor, certified herbalist and aromatherapist on Essential Oils for Everyday Living.  Kelly Taylor owns Cassia Aromatics, offering a full-line of top quality essential oils and synergistic essential oil blends.

Most importantly, she is a member of my Battling Bertha team!

Essential Oils for Everyday Living Podcast with @Kelly_A_Taylor @CassiaAromatics Click To Tweet

Connect with Kelly Taylor

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This article is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Way to Disturb the Universe, Monica Lewinsky

People often disturb the universe unintentionally.

Monica Lewinsky did not wake up one morning and say “Hey, today is the day I’m going to tell the entire world about the affair I am having with a married man who just happens to be the President of the United States.”

In fact, if it had been up to Monica, the sordid details of her private life would have remained, well, private. Her universe, and the entire world, it seemed, were quite disturbed.

Monica Lewinsky was the first victim of the dark side of the internet. Now, she is using her notoriety as the first person to be publicly shamed online to disturb the universe intentionally.

I was mesmerized by her talk to the Forbes Under 30 Summit.

Monica Lewinsky disturbs the universe at Forbes under 30 Summit. Click To Tweet

Way to turn your life around, Monica.  You go girl!

Korean Cucumber Tutorial

I posted this photo of a batch of Korean Cucumbers my daughter and I made on Facebook the other night and received a half a dozen requests for the recipe.

Recipe?  I don’t use no stinking recipe.  I can tell you the process but you’ll have to figure out the “recipe’ for yourself.

I learned how to make Korean Cucumbers by watching my mother, and grandmother, and then adapting their techniques to make it my own.  For instance, my grandmother put sugar in everything.   I don’t.  My mother used white vinegar.  I use raw apple cider vinegar.

When it comes to Korean cooking, I am a stickler for proper ingredients.  You can not cheat on the ingredients, but you do need to adjust them to your particular taste.  I love red pepper powder and garlic, so I use a lot.  I am also a touch on the heavy-handed side with the sesame oil.  Start with a little of each ingredient and add more to taste.  You might want to use more green onions.

Just experiment until you like the results!

Easy Korean Cucumber tutorial for people who don't like recipes. @ShakaStudios @HandmadeInTexas Click To Tweet

Korean Cucumber Tutorial


You must use Course Korean Red Pepper Powder as shown.


Gather your ingredients:

4 Cucumbers

1 bunch of green onions, sliced thinly, whites and all, except of course the ends.  If you like onions, use more.

4 to 8 garlic cloves crushed.  I use a garlic press.

Course Korean Red Pepper Powder to taste.  I use 2 heaping Chinese soup spoons worth, but you might want to use a lot less.   Note:  It is important to use authentic Korean red pepper powder; Do not try making Korean Cucumbers with cayenne pepper or chili powder.

Korean Sea Salt.  Any salt will do but Korean Sea Salt tastes delicious.

Apple Cider Vinegar to taste. Use the good stuff with the mother still in it.

Sesame Oil to taste.

Soy Sauce to taste. Be cautious or you’ll have super salty cucumbers.

Sesame Seeds (optional),

Sugar (optional.  I do not use it.)

The Process:

Peel cucumbers, cut in half length-wise, remove seeds, and thinly slice into half-moon shapes.  Add to a bowl, sprinkle with salt, toss, and cover with a towel for 30 or more minutes.  Drain the rendered liquid and taste a cucumber.  If it is too salty, rinse and squeeze out excess liquid.  These cucumbers should be salty but not too salty!  If the salt level is tolerable, then just squeeze out the liquid.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Taste as you go.  You want a nice combination of salty, spicy and garlicky.

You can eat these Korean Cucumbers immediately.  Store the leftovers in a jar in the fridge.  They will taste even better the next day and will store in the fridge for 7 to 10 days.

Korean Cucumbers

Korean Cucumbers

If you make these Korean Cucumbers be sure to come back and tell me how they turned out!


Living the Life that You Want with Kathi Laughman | Podcast Episode 30

In late January, I attended a Vision Workshop with Dawniel Winningham, founder of Wealthy Sisters Network.  Sitting across the aisle from me was a highly intellectual woman who quietly and confidently “owned her space” in the room.

Do you know what I mean by “owned her space”?  She was a woman with a purpose.

At the time I didn’t know her name, or anything about her other than she called herself a writer.  I knew I had to record a podcast interview with her.

That woman was Kathi Laughman, Founder and CEO of Mackenzie Circle.

There is more value in the rest of our stories than we ever dreamed possible. @klaughman Click To Tweet

Living the Life that You Want

Mackenzie Circle is a personal leadership training, development and coaching company that works with professionals that want to integrate their life and work in a meaningful way.

“Our programs and products focus on how to effectively fuel success by understanding and embracing its ultimate purpose in our lives. Our platform is that in order to realize the tomorrow we are capable of achieving, we must live it today. There is more value in the rest of our stories than we ever dreamed possible.” – Kathi Laughman


Listen in as we discuss:

  • What it means to live today like you want tomorrow to be
  • The five life strategies we all must have to realize our full potential
  • What is a life plan and why do we need one

Connect with Kathi Laughman

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Lower Cholesterol without Statin Drugs

Part of my breast cancer treatment protocol is 5 years of Tamoxifen, an estrogen-blocker.  It has many side effects and I was quite hesitant to take the drug.  However, I’ve been lucky in that I only have experienced two of the drugs side effects:  hip pain and high cholesterol.

My oncologist prescribed a statin to lower my cholesterol.  It increased the hip pain.  I really like the ability to walk, so I have opted to lower my cholesterol without statin drugs.

If you are looking for natural ways to lower your own cholesterol, here are some things to try.

Lower Cholesterol Without Statin Drugs

While there are other medications that can help lower cholesterol, a lot of people, including myself, would prefer to go about it the natural way. After all, if your body’s cholesterol count went up naturally, it can go down naturally as well.

Plus, doing it naturally allows you to save money, but also helps you create real health changes that last. You also reduce the risk of side effects, like hip pain.

How do you reduce your cholesterol naturally?

Talk to Your Doctor

Before you start trying to reduce cholesterol, talk to your doctor. Figure out where your cholesterol levels are at right now and what your target cholesterol levels should be.

This will give you a good baseline to work from and a good goal to move towards. When you get your check-up next time, you’ll be able to tell whether or not what you’re doing is working.

Walking is Wonderful Exercise

Walking is Wonderful Exercise

Get More Exercise

More exercise, even if in small increments, can do wonders for your cholesterol count.

If you prefer longer exercise sessions, try to get 3-4 sessions of 30 minutes or more per week. Make sure you sustain approximately 70% of your maximum heart rate for at least 20 minutes.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to exercise all at once, you can do just 5 minutes of exercise every hour of the day. This makes it very easy to keep up with the exercise schedule because it’s in small, bite-sized chunks.

I wear a Polar Loop Activity Tracker (affiliate link) to ensure I am moving enough each day.

Reduce Your Fat Intake

Fat intake has a lot to do with high cholesterol. Doctors say that instead of eating less egg or dairy, cutting back on fat is the real key.

Eliminate all junk food from your life. Stop eating TV dinners, microwavable meals and anything that’s highly processed. Stop eating deep fried foods.

Anything that has a high fat content should be avoided.

Add More Fiber to Your Diet

Researchers have found that as little as 15 grams of fiber per day can reduce your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels by as much as 10%.

Healthy fibers to add to your diet include vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains.

Try to add vegetables to every meal. Even just adding a small salad can go a long way. Eat fruits between meals as snacks instead of junk foods.

Finally, replace white rice or pasta with whole grains and/or beans. The transition might be difficult at first, but cooking with whole grains isn’t much more difficult than other forms of carbs.

Somebody PLEASE tell me how to make Spanish rice with brown rice!

Somebody PLEASE tell me how to make Spanish rice with brown rice!

The Great White Rice Debacle

As a woman of Asian descent, I refuse to completely give up my sticky white rice.  I can’t do it.  I have added brown rice for some meals but sticky white rice is necessary for others.

Also, my husband is of Mexican descent and he loves Spanish-style rice.  We have yet to successfully use brown rice to make Spanish rice.

If you have a recipe for Spanish rice using brown rice that you have personally used successfully, please post it in the comments!

The Bottom Line

Lowering your cholesterol without statin drugs isn’t complicated, but it does take some dedication and commitment. You’ll have to change a few things about your lifestyle. The best way to make sure you can come up with a plan and stick to it is to involve your friends and family to help you in the process.

Lower cholesterol without Statin drugs, the natural way! Click To Tweet

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This article is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Be Kind

As an independent relationship marketing strategist with SendOutCards, I am part of the SendOutCards kindness revolution.

I understand that kindness isn’t always easy. Kindness rests in the unique ability of each person to choose the perspective with which they view the world.

Today, choose to have an attitude of kindness.

Check out this blog post for some ideas on using kindness to connect to others.