Recommended Reads

Lisa Ferguson of Decor Mentor is a strong advocate of taking Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder test, a test that, through a series of questions, will help you determine your strengths. I love Lisa’s “elevate” philosophy. I love the energy she has and her focus and drive and how she puts herself out there, making opportunities happen, not only for herself, but for all those that she comes in contact with. She walks the walk…and, if you’re going to High Point Market next month, she is everywhere, doing her thing. Just check out the events calendar! So,  her vouching for the value in taking the test was enough for me…and, so I did such, today.

The test/approach is “unique” in that the typical focus is on people’s weaknesses and how we need to overcome said weaknesses. The test is straightforward and simple to take, and only takes about 30 minutes.

My take away?

My top 5 were not any surprises to me, but what going through this process did do was validate that I am doing exactly what I should be doing, and that in and of itself was beneficial, although, not going to lie, I still wanted to have my known weaknesses validated and be given some directives on how to work through those….for that I am getting some top notch advise on my audio version of Steve Willinghams’ Inner Game of Selling…a book/CD I refer to often!

Yes, I can feel good about the “strengths” identified as being Mine. Now to work I go, using these all in the Life I Live and Work I Do, with all the People I Love!

So, as one of my strengths is communicating, any way I can, I am going to end this by sharing  my top 5, according to how I answered the questions.


“Everything happens for a reason. You are sure of it….you are considerate, caring and accepting…. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives….your Faith is Strong.”  NOTE: Connecting/Caring came through as one of my “purpose theme” in exercise directed by Tracy Tyler , founder of Strategies for Success, @ the WITHIT Leadership Conference I attended in August….along with Staying Healthy, Making a Difference, Parenting with Wisdom and Love, and Inner Peace.


“You can sense the emotions of those around you….you can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are your own….you help people find the right phrases to express their feelings…to themselves as well as others…you help them give voice to their emotional life…witnessing the happiness of others brings you pleasure”….YES!

Woo: (stands for winning others over….if you didn’t know)

“You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you…strangers are energizing…you are drawn to them…you want to learn their names, ask them questions and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport… derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection….in your world there are no strangers you haven’t met yet—lots of them”. SO TRUE!


“You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write…AND HOW!.whether an idea, an event, a product’s features and benefits, a discovery, or a lesson—to survive….you and to divert people’s attention toward you and then capture it, lock it in….this is what draws you toward dramatic words and powerful word combinations…this is why people listen to you…your word pictures pique their interest, sharpen their world, and inspire them to act!” MY HOPE!


“You see the potential in others…each individual is a work in progress, alive with possibilities…when you interact with others, your goal is to help them experience success…you look for ways to challenge them…signs of growth in others are your fuel….they bring you strength and satisfaction….many will seek you out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that your helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to you.”

If you aren’t sure of where you stand in it all, I suggest you taking this test to clarify. A bit of advise, do buy online, as you can get for half of what the book sells for in book stores, BUT, don’t buy a used copy, as the access code to do the online test is only valid for one user.



Per most recent blog posting I have just returned from a 10 day trip that took me to Toronto and back, via New York, setting up my daughter and visiting family.

Unlike the majority of my road trips I had company for the most part, in the form of my daughter, and therefore talk time filled the air…BUT, on return trip I was left to my typical devices, phone, books on CD and tape recorder,  and thus have a couple of recent “reads” to recommend.

The Power of Small/Why Little Things Make All the Difference, is co authored by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, an obvious power house team that are the heart and soul behind the Kaplan Thaler Group, a highly successful ad agency out of New York City. The 4 CD set gives gentle reminders of the value in tending to detail/being kind/going the extra mile/making people smile…

Just love what is behind these women and all that they do and are.

 click image to directly to Amazon to purchase


The Inner Game of Selling/Mastering the Hidden Forces that Determine your Success,  by Ron Willingham, is not new to me, as I purchased the hardcover a few years back, from which I made several notes, highlighted heavily,  and found it very impactful upon that very first reading…enough to want to revisit by way of listening to it, as I did, last week.

           “Selling is 85% emotional and 15% logical.”

He  delves into the why of selling as opposed to technique and strategy….and what gets in the way of successful selling and how to grow into the successful salespersons we all have the ability to be…should that be our chosen vocation. Truly honors the profession of selling and what we can gain personally by engaging in such with integrity and honor.

  click image to directly to Amazon to purchase

Ron Willingham is founder and CEO of Integrity Systems, Inc., an international training and development company with more than 1.5 million graduates in 80 nations. He is the author of Integrity Service and Integrity Selling for the 21st Century. 

Love having the words of these authors ring in my mind as I seek to be the best I can be, at my job and in my life…. and thus the recommendation to those that may be interested in same.


P.S. You have any books to point in my direction, would appreciate it…


SCORE’S Mission Statement

To Deliver Expertise and Resources to Maximize the Success of Existing and Emerging Small Businesses.


….and that is exactly what my experience has been since I attended my first SCORE  workshop, on writing a business plan, last summer.

Following that most informative workshop I asked the presenter about securing someone to counsel me, as I worked to take my 10 year old business to the next level.  My understanding that such was available at no cost,  truth be told, it  just seemed too good to be true…but I had nothing to lose by exploring this venue.

 Long story short… the gentleman who presented the workshop was  true to his word and within a week one of the SCORE counsellors contacted me….the one he thought would work well for my particular needs.  We met shortly thereafter, and the rest is history. Nancy Strojny, who currently has her own consulting business and has a 20 plus year history with Proctor and Gamble, has become not only an indispensible resource for me, but also my cheerleader, reality checker and dear dear friend. We fit like a glove!

Yesterday I attended my 2nd SCORE workshop which served as a primer on using  Social Media and making it work for your business.  It was a cohesive and informative presentation made  by Nicki Hicks of flyte new media….touching all the major venues we as small business owners need to engage in to put our businesses “out there”….certainly a good launch pad for the many that attended that were either starting their own business, or working to understand the intricacies of facebook, blogging, twitter, linkedin etc. And although I do have a reasonable handle on this I walked away with tips/resources that I previously was unaware of.

I’m just over the top for an organization that delivers what it “sells”….and in this case what SCORE has to offer is either free or at a nominal charge.

If you are thinking of starting a business or already have a business, and are looking for some professional advise, you can’t lose by connecting with the fine folks at SCORE…at least that is my experience and therein my testimonial.

In Maine alone there are 7  SCORE chapters and there are 10,000 nationwide….just as an FYI.

Thank you Jane Pollak, for introducing this organization to me by way of your blog posting of Jan 25, 2010….Jane being another resource, specifically for Women Entrepeneurs, which is of great value to you and the growth of your business. At minimum you should follow her blog. And if you want more, her book Soul Proprieter, is one I’ve listened to repeatedly on my road trips….which are numerous.

  Click image to go directly to Amazon and purchase paper version.

…and this image if you want to listen to the book.

 Love love love sharing something, SCORE/Jane, which offers so much value to my many fellow entrepeneurs working their passion, and could use some handles…which we all do, eh?

Happy Day all.

and if you have a resource to share that has served you well, do just that…share.  Look forward to hearing from you.


…on the road again, and, as usual, armed with a couple of books on CD. As I don’t make it a priority to set time aside to read, I look forward to listening to books whilst driving. And, as my “average”  day driving is about 6 hours, I’m given good time to get through a book or two…with ample talk time, but of course, interspersed with my time listening .

And, as is my habit, at least one of the books I’m armed with, I choose with intent for it to serve as inspiration to fuel me forward in my cause….AND, I love it when I’m not disappointed by my choice.  As I had listened to my first Dr. Wayne Dyer book in October (en route to my parent’s 60th anniversary), called Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling…I was pretty sure I would be “good” when I chose (I rent for 1.00/2 weeks from my local library) yet another Wayne Dyer CD, entitled the Power of Intention.

Although I’m only half way through, will finish it on next leg of my trip on Monday, I am already feeling the empowerment he hopes to instill when people read/listen to his books, and thus my interest in sending this out as a “recommended read/listen”.

…for, although my “intention” to send this out will hold true, the fact remains that when I land in NC on Tuesday, that I will be hitting the ground running, in addition to Unity Event noted below, also have a container of merchandise landing AND a new member moving into ZAAR Design Center, and this would simply remain an intention and not a fulfilled one…and that would be a shame.

Yes, participating in the Unity in Design Event will have me flat out, and couldn’t be more excited for it, AND now, feeling very much that the energy I share with those that I come in contact with, is such that works to serve a greater good, and it just energizes me further.

So, for all Designers “intending” to attend the UNITY in Design Event but have yet to register, let me give you a venue here to do so by including link here to do a quick and dirty online registration, so you can fulfill that “intention” now. It is such an inspiring event, it would a shame for you not to make it….and you can sign up for  lunch @ ZAAR on Thursday here as well…no additional charge… it’s going to be so much fun…AND Inspiring, of course.

So, should you be inspired to purchase either the paper or DVD  version of Dr Dyer’s books, directly, you can do so by clicking the links below which will take you directly to Amazon. And, by purchasing by way of going through this link, a portion of said sale will go to Antiques by Zaar, as I’m set up as an Affiliate Member. Note that all proceeds from shopping through me to Amazon will go to the work of FIDA-PCH in Haiti.

 Audio  version

 Book  version

….and his other book of Inspiration, on just that, Inspiration…

   book version.

…..and audio version, for fellow road warriors.

So, to a good weekend to one and all. Won’t be writing over the weekend, taking it “off” for some couple time,  but hope to catch you on the flip side on Monday.


Last Thursday I hit the road, yet again…and, as usual, armed with my phone/charger (for the obvious), tape recorder/fresh tapes, for my “audio journal”, and a handful of books on CD, to catch my reading time. With this on hand, it amazes even me, how fast a full day, never more than 12 hours, of driving can pass.

More than just a "good read"...a MUST read.

As the impetus of this trip was to get to NC to prepare the warehouse/showroom for the semi annual High Point Furniture Market , followed by Market itself, I like to find CD books that “spur me on” to that dream I am following…AND, Seth Godins’  Small is the New Big’  did just that.

Without going into a full out review, let me entice anyone who feels that they might be wondering about putting themselves out on a limb, whether or not to do that…well, if you had any doubts, reading this will surely quell those, and in fact will assure you that you are most definitely on a track that will serve you, and others, well.

As I get closer to the introduction of ZAAR Design Center becoming a reality, following all online intros prefaced, I am feeling more and more that the uncertainty/uneasiness and “fear” are all worth combating, and necesssary feelings to have, to follow your heart and do what you feel you need/can do to contribute to the greater good, striving to be no less than Remarkable.

Thank you to my dear friend, and customer, Sylvia Muller/proprietor of The Mill House Inn, for introducing me to Seth, his blog, and subsequently to his books. Thank you to the Auburn Public Library, for having this book in stock at the time I was looking for something for my current road trip.


P.S. Tell you another thing. IF I had disappointed myself in NOT pushing forward with my “grand plans” my feelings following reading of this particular missive would’ve been more of “dumb me…I KNEW I should’ve bitten the bullet”….so nice to have such acknowledgment/support and FEEL like you have someone like Seth in your corner, spurring you on….

 click image to be taken directly to Amazon to purchase your own version…or do as I did and rent the audio version from your library for $1.00/2 weeks….

So excited to have another Book Giveaway…..

Terri Maurer and Katie Weeks have recently published a book specifically for Interior Designers….offering a selection of Successful Business Models.

Enter your name for a giveaway of an autographed copy by commenting on this blog or sending an email with Book Giveaway in the subject line to or leave a comment on the discussion board you found this blog.

And…by the way….

The drawing for the book will be done Friday February 19th at the luncheon/presentation (Terri and I are co presenting a seminar on the Value of Relationship Building for your business….AND, how it can be done online!) at my High Point Warehouse, as part of the Unity in Design Event sponsored by the High Point Design Center.

If in the area and would like to attend, you can still register online by visiting the HPDC online registration here.

Very much look forward to hearing from you on the Giveaway and seeing all that can make it this Friday.

If you have any questions on any of above,  just give a shout.

In the meanwhile, hope your week is off to a bang up start.

Personally , drove 11 hours from NY to NC yesterday and ready to hit the snow smattered ground in NC running!


Christmas Magic began 12/14 when Avery, my youngest took her & I to Wicked on Broadway for her Xmas Gift to me/us.

 It’s all abit of a blur, this past month…. but one FULL of warm fuzzies on the home front AND, thanks to YOU, the blogging front. Why, you might ask then, would, if you are able to increase your visibility and interest in your blog, promoting a book giveaway (evidenced by the response of just shy of 50 readers interested in participating in the giveaway) disappear for an entire month?

Simple answer. Family and Holidays….and not enough room for sharing this with my world as I have so been chomping at the bit to. And so here I am at the other end of it thrilled to be back and ready to keep a steady stream coming your way.

Annual Christmas Eve photo session in front of the tree....

  So, albeit a tad tardy, (drum roll please…) I did want you to know that there is indeed a winner. The autographed book is being posted to Richard McCusker, who responded to the blog that he saw on the Interiors  LinkedIn group discussion board. Richard is based out of Arkansas and is an Interior Architect/ Designer.  He too has a blog, called Custard By Design and you should check it out.

Although the book is being posted to Richard, I do feel that I am also a winner, for the wonderful response garnered from this giveaway…so, a huge thank you to you all who made yourself known.

 In watching the movie  Julie and Julia ( saw it over the Holiday) I could relate to her as a young blogger…writing, sharing and not knowing who she was reaching.  It is a strange thing we do…share our worlds, not fully sure who is indeed reading. But I do enjoy this venue and promise to keep it warm, fresh and offering assorted things, that which I have to offer on assorted levels of what is my colorful life.

Current lifestyle  does seem to be one of extremes at times, but being an owner/operator of my online business does give the latitude so I can be what I need to be for my family and also work my business….”balance” still being the challenge as well as keeping on top of “it” all.  So,yes, my goal for 2010 is to embrace the process of setting up structures and disciplining myself to follow them, so that I keep my rhythm going whether I am working from my home office in Maine, or whether I’m working out of my husband’s apartment in New York, or my daughter’s apartment in Montreal or in High Point working from my warehouse….or, as the case will be end of this month, while on a trip to Singapore to visit daughter there.

BELIEVE, BELIEVE, there in for me!

And, staying CONNECTED on all levels  truly remains a priority.  So many people in my world, so many opportunities at my fingertips, so excited to pull it all together and make 2010 Rock!

…..and if I can do it with “Style and Substance”, all the better.  🙂 (C0uldn’t resist.)

So very much look forward to sharing with you and hearing from you this coming year.


P.S. For the 45 plus that didn’t win the book, you can purchase on Amazon…click below to go directly there.

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