Oatmeal Choclate Chip Cookies

Cooking Up Something Good in the Kitchen

I have a nine year old son that likes to cook.

I find this very exciting as I’m a bit of a cook myself. I’ve been know to whip up something from nothing and blow away the boys when they come to the table. I have a list of “go-to” recipes that will bring a smile each and every time. And sometimes I just show up at the grocery store, throw some things that sound good into the basket, then head home to make a yummy something or other.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all of my creations are winners. Trust me. Don’t believe me? Ask about Tandoori Tofu over drinks some day. It’s actually worse than it sounds!

Chefs HatNot many people know this, but I actually attended culinary school for a while. I never had aspirations of becoming a world famous chef that owns a world famous restaurant. Actually, just the thought of that career path makes my stomach turn. Don’t get me wrong – I love good food and love when other people make it, and am so happy that other people went to school to become amazing chefs.

No, my reasons for going to culinary school were a little different. My desire was to learn what the different ingredients did. If you add an egg, what does it do? Do you need to add salt to all baked goods? When should I use oil vs. butter? How do different spices effect the flavors of different foods? When do you add this or that? For me, it was more about the science of the ingredients and being able to predict what happens to a recipe if I add/subtract/double this or that. And during my semester of culinary education, I learned how to craft, revise, embellish, and otherwise overhaul recipes in a whole new way.

So, back to my nine year old son that likes to cook. He also has the “taste” for wanting to know what different ingredients do, how the combine them to create different tastes and textures. From time to time I’ll go downstairs into the kitchen to find him making cookies or muffins. One day he even decided to make dinner for the whole family. He’s always so excited about what he is making! I absolutely love his enthusiasm.

Except he never follows a recipe.

Think about that for just a minute. He’s making cookies without a recipe. He’s making muffins without a recipe. He’s making a “dinner casserole” (his name for it) without a recipe. He carefully gets out all of the ingredients he would like to use. He throws some of this in a bowl along with a scoop of that. Adds a pinch of something and a dash of another. Sticks his finger in, tastes it, then decides if it needs more of one thing or another. Then he’ll get the baking pan or the muffin tin out, measure out his concoction, and asks me to put it in the oven for him.

Let’s just say there was one batch of muffins would could actually chew and swallow, although we felt the effects for a couple of days. There have been at least two batches of cookies that were completely inedible. I don’t know what they tasted like because they were so stuck to the pan that we couldn’t get any of them off. We had to soak the pan for two days before the “cookies” came off the pan. Dinner casserole was edible-ish, but very salty.

So why am I sharing this story? Not to embarrass him, I promise. (Although this will be a good post to share with his fiance one day!) But while watching his enthusiasm in the kitchen, creating what he hoped were the best cookies and muffins ever made, putting in great efforts (and sometimes a licked spoon) to batters that looked and smelled perfect, it occurred to me that he’s using the same strategies for baking that some business owners use when creating their marketing plan. He’s throwing a bunch of ingredients together to see if it’s going to work.

After each of these cooking experiments, I explained to him that it is best to start with a recipe. Since man first discovered fire, people have been creating and documenting how to prepare certain dishes – what ingredients to use, how to combine them together, what temperature to cook them at and for how long. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, or in this case, the recipe, each time you step into the kitchen.

It’s the same thing when you are trying to market your business. You can throw some stuff together. It may look okay. And then you put it out to the world. But no one is biting (pun intended). Maybe your message was a little flat or left a bad taste in your ideal client’s mouth. You could keep mixing different marketing strategies together trying to get the right amounts of each ingredient. Or, you can use a “marketing recipe” by learning from what people have done in the past and emulating the best parts of it.

There are plenty of marketing strategies out there. You can think of these are your business’s marketing cookbook. You can thumb through the cookbook, pick out two or three recipes that you want to give a try. Be sure to take the time to read through the whole recipe to make sure you don’t leave out any key ingredients.

And, just as there are different recipes for different eating types (gluten free, vegetarian, nothing but bacon), different marketing types will gel with you and your business in different ways. Speaking engagements may give you indigestion, while networking events will send you into a marketing “food” coma. Learn to listen to yourself and figure out the marketing recipes that you are going to feel the best about. We call this marketing alignment.

What the best part of starting with a recipe? In both the kitchen and your marketing strategies, if you start with something you know works, THEN you can experiment. Add a pinch of nutmeg to your oatmeal cookies. Throw in a dash of live workshops to your marketing mix. If you don’t like how it turns out, you fall back to what you know already works.

Not sure what marketing strategies are in alignment with you and your business? Let’s chat. We can help you figure out what recipe is best for you and your business and help you design an marketing action plan.


My Favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup unsifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 cups uncooked oatmeal
12oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip CookiesIn large bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color (about 4 minutes). Add vanilla and egg, mix on low sped until incorporated. In seperate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Stir in oats. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts (optional).

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8-9 minutes for chewy cookies, 10-11 minutes for a crisp cookie. Cool for 1 minute on baking sheet then remove to wire rack. Store in a tightly covered container.

Make it your own!
Add a pinch of cloves or a little more nutmeg. Leave out the walnuts. Use dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet. Swap out dried cherries for chocolate chips.


Now it’s your turn! Let us know what your favorite marketing mix is. Or just let us know if you liked the cookies. We’d love to hear from you!

Confessions of a Serial Killer

I am a serial killer.

I go out and try to kill it in my business every single day. I pride myself on being available for my clients. I provide them when high quality designs, quality programming. I use my 20 years of marketing experience to find ways to help clients grow their business through their websites and social media. I create engaging print materials to help my clients express themselves with a consistent message and brand across all their marketing platforms. I’ve even been known to spend 1.5 hours on the phone doing email tech support. I am not an email tech support person. But I do it because I want my clients to have the best possible customer service that I can provide to them. I kill it at customer service!

I am a serial killer.

MinecraftI try show up and be present every day for my family. I rouse kids out of bed. I make breakfast. I clean the kitchen, straighten up the living room, and sort through school papers too numerous to count. I make lunch. I shuttle kids to swimming, soccer, baseball, golf, lacrosse practice …. whatever is the sport du jour. I drive kids to piano lessons amid complaints of how this is such a waste of their time! And each time I tell them they will thank me some day. I listen to endless stories about MineCraft and Five Nights at Freddy’s with interest and enthusiasm – even though sometimes I think they are speaking a different language. I counsel and guide them on how to better communicate with the neighborhood kids. “You shouldn’t slam the door in the younger kid’s face. Just politely decline his invitation to come outside to play.” I play mediator between brothers who both want to play games on the Xbox at the same time. I take out the trash. I play nurse to scrapes, bruises, growing pains, bloody noses. I make dinner. I clean the kitchen. I grump and growl to get them to take a shower and brush their teeth. I tuck kids into bed.

I am a serial killer.

I try to bring my very best to everything I do and kill it!

But there are some days when I just can’t bring 100% to my work and family. There are some days when you’ve worked a 14 hour day staring at little tiny pieces of code on a computer monitor and all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and decompress. There are days when you wake up and it’s cold outside and you just don’t have the energy – the spark – that you know the day is going to require. There are days when all you want to do is not do anything.

It has taken me a long time to realize and acknowledge that there are days when my best self just isn’t going to be the person that shows up. And, that it is okay to have these days from time to time.

I’ve learned there is a pattern to when these days show up. They show up when work has been particularly busy and stressful – like when I’ve been working nose-to-the-grindstone to get a big project launched. I put all my effort into making sure these projects launch as smoothly as possible, whether that means extra hours behind the computer or on the phone with tech support, or emailing clients at midnight to let them know that the last items have been checked off the list. The project is completed. The project is finished. The stress level is reduced. And the body and mind shut down.

In the past I’ve tried to push through these days. I’ve tried to force myself to work through it knowing there is another project ready for me to work on, another load of laundry to do, more housecleaning that needs to be done, more errands that need to be run, more phone calls to make, new clients to win over. There is never not a to-do list. Ever.

But trying to push through these days is like trying to swim in mud. I takes a lot of effort and you don’t get very far.

 


 

Instead, I embrace them. I celebrate these days. I acknowledge that I am feeling run down and exhausted because I gave my best to my work and my family and know it is time to take care of ME. I know that I need to rest to recover so that I can get back to killing it at full strength in less time that if I just “worked through it.”

 


Moscow Mule

Recently, one such recovery day presented itself. I woke up exhausted mentally and physically. In a five day time span I launched a big website, launched a new business (Soulful Mompreneur), took a short road trip, nursed a sick kid back to health, and celebrated a friend’s birthday with a river party cookout. I rolled over in bed that glorious Sunday morning, looked at my husband and said, “I’m not doing anything today.”  I celebrated by staying in my PJs all day long. I didn’t even put on a bra. I never left the house. I binge watched a show on Netflix. I made & drank Moscow Mules. I relaxed. Every so often my husband would ask, “Hey you wanna go do ______?” And my answer each time was, “No, thank you. I’m taking a day off today.”

My friend Katie celebrates these days a little differently than me. She leaves the family behind and goes on a hike in a remote area or on a little known trail. She takes water and some nibbles. She goes into the woods and takes the time to look, feel and listen. She notices the pattern in the bark. She watches the squirrels play in the tree tops. She stops by a stream and listens to music of the water as is flows past her. She reconnects to nature as a way to reconnect and recharge herself.

Here is my challenge to you. The next time you find yourself run down, disconnected, over tired, over stressed, or whatever state of being you find yourself when you can no longer give your best to your work and your family, take some time just for you. It doesn’t have to be a whole day. Maybe a few hours are enough for you to recharge and take charge again. Always remember that you have to take time to take care of your self. Otherwise, you can’t be there to take care of the other important things in your life.

What do you do to recharge? We invite you to share in the comments below.

savvy mom entrepreneur

The Savvy Business + Mom + Me

Have you ever had a moment where the skies open up, and you hear music in the background like angels singing?  And you think to yourself, “Damn, that is Brilliant!”

I call them a-ha moments, and they can range from super small pops of insight like, “Bring in the dogs ’cause it’s fixing to rain,” to a huge, “Holy Crap!” revelations.

And I had one this weekend, surrounded by a whole bunch of proactive, philanthropic attendees at a “let’s change the world one woman at a time” event. Don’t get me wrong, I want to save the world. I just didn’t know how I was going to make my difference in the world at large. You have to admit it can be a bit daunting to see all the suffering in the world and realize you are a mere drop in the bucket.

But I had that “Holy Crap” a-ha moment. And in the mists of it all I felt that I finally get it, and get my path.

When I started my coaching practice officially in 2013 after publishing my first book Mommy Sense, my goal and biggest ambition was to help others be more aware of who they were in their business + their lives so they could show their kids how to become the great people they were meant to be.  That was pretty big for me, but it felt like it wasn’t fully developed yet.

Now my perspective + purpose have shifted to expand beyond that small vision to encompass a greater impact on a global level.

Why the change?

I realized in my own reflection that for you to grow and expand your business, your dream + vision have to grow and expand as well. It’s kind of like the video games where we are in the dark, and you can only see what your torch will light up for you in the space you are in.  Same thing.  I feel like I have stepped into a bigger room and can see more of where I am going and what I am meant to do to change the world in my own way.

So, what is the expanded vision, this big a-ha?  Well, I’ll tell you.  While my life purpose is to help, guide, and assist you in becoming more aware of who you are and being that person in all things, my business purpose has expanded to be more visionary.

I am a Hermit (heart lines in your hands) so I most desire the feeling of freedom. And to really succeed in a big way I realized I need a partner equal and fair. While my husband is amazing at supporting me at home, my business has just been me. While it has paid the bills, it really hasn’t grown like I thought it would.  Then I met Nicki (a Mom of kiddos who went to school with my son in Montessori), and over 3 bottles of wine we hatched Soulful Mompreneur!  This is where we get to empower, educate, inspire soulful, heart-centered women entrepreneurs build an amazing business they love doing what actually gives them the family life they have always dreamed of.

soulful-mom-logo

And NOW I feel like a SAVVY BUSINESS OWNER!

I realized our vision is to help you bring your vision to life in a way that is in alignment with who YOU are so you can make a positive impact in the world, bring home the bacon, and have more time for what you enjoy most, your family + friends.  Being in alignment is key:  to happiness, feeling successful, but also supporting and acknowledging the amazing around you like in your family.

Now I feel like a more proactive Mom, and supportive wife.

Whoa!  Feel like YOU don’t have a vision?  That is what I wondered over for years when I started my practice, but I realized I had one, even thought I knew I could not see the breathe + depth of it all.  I feel like I still cannot see all of it or how it will pan out, but I KNOW it is there.

So, my lesson share:  Be where you are. Be WHO you are.  No harsh judgement of what you should be doing or are NOT doing.  Allow your greater vision to come in it’s own time.  Meanwhile, keep doing what you are PULLED to do, and when you get frustrated, know you are pushing.

Now I feel like I am always being me, and it is a LOT less WORK!!!

Want to find what it means for you to be in alignment with what you are putting out into the world?

Try out our FREE Alignment quiz!

And if you feel you are not growing your business in a way that feels good to you, then I suggest listening in on our FREE call next week.  In 30 minutes (we are quick + to the point as always) we will cover Our Top 10 Alignment Strategies that will Boost your Business Results Now!

So, join us next week for our call, and we look forward to seeing how you change the world!

Exciting Stuff!

Cristy Nix, SoulfulMompreneur.com

Not Inspired? Get Connected!

Ever felt disconnected?  It sucks, just in general.  In your business, it can mean no clients or sales for the week… the month… months even.

So, what does it mean?  Being disconnected is being out of alignment from the inside out. Your business is made up your heart + soul, right?  It’s an active part of you. So, if you are not feeling inspired, then your personal self is where you need to start looking for answers.

Where do we look? Disconnected can be on any of the 4 levels of self : Physical, Emotional, Mental or Spiritual

What does it feel like?  Disconnected feels like: cranky, unhappy, drained, depressed, pushed/forced, overwhelmed or maxed out.

Find out what + why. Try a simple breathing exercise to look into your body to find out where you feel heavy, closed, dark, cold/warm… where is the block sitting?

Then tune in + ask why, and get clear on how to resolve it or release it to get connected again.

So, how do you re-connect?

Here are three ways to get connected quickly:

  1. Walking meditation: stepping away from your desk, couch, office and going for a walk helps clear the mind and refocus on what is important
  2. Talk to someone who gets you without judgment: saying it out loud
  3. Share your gifts to make someone’s life better.

Nicki and I are so excited to have you here and we would love to hear from you. Please tell us the ways you know when you are disconnected + how you reconnect.
Share + pass on.

Mercury is in Retrograde…AGAIN!

Cristy Nix, Intuitive Business Strategist

Cristy NIx, Heart Sync Group…mercury is in retrograde.

Hi All,

Well, some of you might be aware that Mercury is in retrograde right now.

So, what does this mean?

Scientifically speaking, it is one of the few times of the year when the planet Mercury rotates slower than usual. It actually passes between the earth and the sun during it’s orbit. And if you’re watching the night skies, this creates the illusion that the planet is moving backwards. What?! That’s right. It looks like it is moving backwards. I bet that one messed with early astronomers.

Scientists believe that Mercury has a very high density core thought to be made mostly of iron. It’s believed to have the highest iron content of any planet in our solar system. Why should you care? It means a big fat magnet is passing between Earth and the Sun. And this is not good for our electronic-centric society. Additionally, if you think about the human nervous system as running on electricity, it spells trouble for us, too.

Astrologically speaking, when the winged messenger of the gods flies backwards across the night sky, things get a little (or a lot) crazy. Mercury is the governing planet of communication, clear thinking, travel + mechanical devices. During Mercury retrograde things can go missing, haywire, or just stop working. Computer acting funny? Try to talk to your spouse or partner and the words just aren’t coming out right? Flight delayed? Mercury is in retrograde.

How to protect yourself?

  • Be proactive, and be mindful that things might not go as planned.
  • Be flexible and roll with the difficulties, don’t freak out and just re-act instead of acting (proactive)!
  • Don’t make any major decisions like signing contracts or picking a new roommate as clarity of mind is clouded right now.
  • And, when you get that little thought that pops into your head saying “go get the oil changed” or “let’s do it now and get it over with”, follow it…

I have found that knowing Mercury is in retrograde and being flexible and open saves a lot of head aches in the long run.

Exciting stuff!

 

Working Moms

Two Moms on a Mission

What started out as a day-long conference for moms turned into a passion to educate women entrepreneurs on how to not only succeed at their business, but create a family-work life balance that they love.

Cristy, Nicki and Johanna attended a conference in January 2014 that promoted itself as a Mom entrepreneur centered day of talks, discussions and workshops. They left feeling like they had spent a day listening to women talk about how they had created fabulous, successful careers. And then they had kids. They were left wondering, “Well, what happened to their careers after they had kids? Are there any stories of women who started and managed successful careers AFTER having kids?”

They sat down over a bottle of wine, some margaritas and a bowl of queso (to fuel creativity!) and hatched out what would become Soulful Aligned Entrepreneur – a coaching and mentoring program for women who want to create a thriving business, but still have the time and energy for a loving and supportive family life.

mission

Spiral notebook pages were filled with ideas and sketches, drawings and notes. Workshops, retreats, websites and blogs ideas were all discussed and jotted down. They would educate women entrepreneurs on basic business know-how, but also marketing, messaging, how to take care of themselves when we tend to loose ourselves between work and family. They would provide tools and resources on how to set up and manage money, home, work and fun.

Work, life, community

They came up with the core components that they felt were needed to facilitate a great work-life balance. Education and support are the main themes throughout their programs. They start with a self-discovery sesseion (Alignment Strategy Session) to help clients find the passion and purpose within their business. Clients walk away with an action plan for making their business a success while leaving time and energy for the lif they want and love.

A key component of their system is support. No women is an island. And no women should feel like one. Soulful Aligned Entrepreneur creates a support system for their clients with interactive forums, private Facebook groups, one-on-one coaching and mastermind calls. Everything is designed to provide women business owners with the tools and support that they need for success.

What started out as three moms eventually became two. With Soulful Aligned Entrepreneur, both Cristy and Nicki are dedicated to lifting up and supporting soulful women entrepreneurs through education, coaching and mentoring. They strongly believe that women are here to change the world. And, they plan to do their part to help make that happen.