I usually don’t talk about my experiences or life as a #milspouse, especially during deployment times. It can be very stressful and overwhelming…not talking about it makes it seem “not real”. But once I had my daughter and had conversations with other military spouses and families I realized that sometime you need to talk about it. Sharing your feelings with someone who has been there or is going through a similar situation not only helps you but the other person as well. Even though we put on our “brave face” for our family and friends we (military spouses) need support and encouragement from those close to us and for that matter maybe even strangers.
As I write this post I am honored to have been nominated for the 2014 Heroes At Home Military Spouse Award. I truly appreciate the nomination and hope that I will an inspiration to another military spouse and her family.
(Above photo: me and the Mayor of Jacksonville Alvin Brown)
Resources for military spouses:
National Military Family Association
Red, White and Blue Pages
Military Spouse Business Association
If you have a daughter or son under the age of 10 that watches the Disney channel, then you’ve probably heard of Dottie Doc McStuffins. She has become quite popular over the last two years. She is even ranked one of 2013’s top Christmas toys! The show is about a 6 year old girl named Dottie McStuffins who wants to be a doctor like her mother. She fixes toys so everyone calls her “Doc”. Although my daughter isn’t even two yet she really likes the show and sings (well kind of) along to the theme song. I really like the show because it has positive messages. And even though there are many other cartoons or animated shows on tv I have found very few that are educational and “appropriate” for young children.
So because my daughter likes the Doc McStuffins character I went out an searched for a few things for her. To be honest most retail stores I went to either had none or one or two. Some of the larger toys were just to pricey…I didn’t want to spend $70 on a play clinic that she may or may not lose interest in, in a few weeks. Below is my compromise on a few deals I found at various places.
(above) Check out the mother load…all of this was under $75!
(above) I found these items at Dollar Tree for only $1!. And if you’ve ever shopped at a Dollar Tree you know they don’t all carry the same things and the selection when it comes to toys is very slim. So each item came from about 6 different locations. NOTE: I did not go to these 6 locations at once, if I was on a different side of town or out of town I would check the store where ever I was .
- Word Search
- Coloring book (not shown)
- Double sided crayons
- 24-count puzzle (2)
- Maracas (2)
- Tip Spinner
- Book of stickers
- Large velvet picture w/markers
- Small velvet picture w/markers
- Ping pong paddle
- Small tote bag
(above) I found these items at Walgreens! Who knew Walgreens has such a great toy selection.. Buy 2 get 1 Free or 3 for $13.98.
- Wall light $4.66
- Stationery set $4.66
- Stick n stamp activity set $4.66
- Puzzle Book $6.99
- Band-aid ($2.99 – Target)
- Doctor’s bag set ($9.99) reg $14.99
(above) I found this back pack w/folder at Khol’s.
- Back pack with folder $15 ( no longer available)
(above) I found this Hide n Play at DD’s discount. Like the Dollar Tree very slim selection. There was only one when I bought this.
I hope this post gives you a few ideas on where to get inexpensive toys for your little one. I also plan on letting her open up one toy every two days. That way it stretches the newness out. I may even save one or two for her birthday.
1. Price – I am constantly asked what is a good price when hiring a graphic designer. Unfortunately there is no cookie cutter answer. It is important to remember the concept, “sometimes you get what you pay for.” Don’t solely base your decision on price alone. You also need to look at the quality of work, the professionalism and experience of the designer along with the ease of the creative process. The perception of your company’s brand is initially determined by the logo and other visual elements associated with the company. Think of the price as an invest not an expense and decide which route is best for you in the long run.
2. Portfolio – Always ask to see samples of the graphic designer’s previous work. You can generally get an idea of their style and determine if it’s right for you and your company. Sometimes it’s just about preference.
3. Relationship – Take your time and get to know the designer on a personal level. Your goal is to not only find a qualified designer but develop a great working relationship. The designer should be someone who is not just wanting a job, but a partnership and wants to see your business succeed. The best solution would be to work with the same designer on all your marketing collateral for consistency… plus it makes the process for all involved an easier collaboration.
4. Referrals – Always ask for at least 3 referrals. Talk to previous clients and get the “real story”. Listen carefully for what they are not saying. Red flags may mean it’s not a good match. Some personalities just don’t work well together.
5. Reliability – I have received so many referrals from companies who previously worked with another graphic designer and one of the #1 negative statements I hear is “Designers are unreliable.” Look for a graphic designer that has a positive reputation for being on time and professional. During the initial communications and engagement if they are not responding in a timely manner this is more than likely the way it will be during the design process.
This video is an interesting view on the Vendor/Client relationship – in real world situations. Click here to see video
I hope these tips have helped you. Please feel free to pass them on. For additional questions you can contact me directly or leave a comment.