Moms and daughter

One More Thing About Why We Love Our Moms

In the never-ending flow of (often superficial) self-help advice, there are innumerable slogans that tell us to “Live today.” “Be in the now.” “Live the Moment.” Somehow, this advice flows right by our mothers – and thank goodness for that.

Unconstrained by “the now”, moms are the most agile of time jumpers. They can recall when Joey’s first basketball team won its first game and Maria’s first role in a grade school play. Moms know how to join their kids in whatever is going on today with what will be happening in their future. Moms know how to look ahead, over the horizon, and plan for a moment that their kids won’t realize for a month, a year, or a long time from now.

So, we may learn one more way to appreciate the mothers in our lives by appreciating them for the ways they live in the past, present, and future all at the same time – especially the future.

When we are young we move from one big event to the next. We arrive at the first day of school, a birthday party, or a holiday without ever realizing that our moms have been thinking, imagining, and planning for the big day long before we do.

Take the first days of school. The kiddos are oblivious until a few days before the big event when, suddenly, they panic because summer freedom is about to disappear. But mom? Beginning somewhere just past the middle of summer, mom was living the first week of school and thinking of all that she needed to do before it arrived. She had a list: clothes, school supplies, lunches and snacks, carpools, and meeting teachers, along with afterschool activities such as sports, cheerleading, music lessons, dance class, math club, science club– all the things that coincide with the first days of school.

Mom begins to look ahead fairly early in the summer and by the time school starts she is doing a magical thing that moms do better than most anyone else –she’s doing two things at once. Mother is there with her kids, being a part of the moment, doing the practical daily chores, encouraging them to live well, do well, be kind, and enjoy themselves. And, at the same time as the kids are settling in to the new routine, mom is thinking about an upcoming birthday party or Halloween costumes.

Now, apply this magic over a whole calendar. When the kids are trick or treating, mom is having a great time. But, she is also planning Thanksgiving and Christmas. Kids will be opening Christmas presents. Mom will be there, heart and soul. But , she also has an eye on the fact that school will start again soon and she has things she wants ready for that. When school starts, Mom is thinking about a Valentine’s dance or Easter.

We do not mean to suggest that any mother does this perfectly, or needs to. Nor are we suggesting that our moms are automatons working for a future that never arrives. Mothers make mistakes, forget things, and experience moments of failure. Moreover, in the midst of it all, moms are also working, achieving personal goals, and enjoying friendship with other adults.

What we are saying is that mothers can teach us a lot if we look at how they observe the past, present, and future as a whole. For mom, time is something organic and elastic, and she uses it to bring together all of the experiences that make her life and her children’s lives as joyful and productive and satisfying as possible at any given moment, on any given day, during any month or year or lifetime.

The gift that mothers have to live in “the now” while at the same time imagining and planning for the future is not just to be appreciated, but also to be celebrated. This is one more thing to love about our moms.

Baroque Silver Dragonfly Earrings, Pendant, Ring, Bracelet

The Incredible Dragonfly in Art and Jewelry

Dragonflies arouse the imagination and dragonfly mythology has inspired art –poetry, paintings, totems, jewelry– in almost every culture and tradition. They are said to be messengers of joy, prosperity, and renewal. The imagination of the dragonfly arises from its unique characteristics, especially the fact that it transitions from one realm, water, to another, air.

The dragonfly begins its life in water. Dragonfly larvae live under the surface, some of them for as long as four years. There they eat almost anything, including tadpoles, mosquitoes, fish, and other larvae. When they mature, the dragonflies move their heads above the water’s surface and will spend a few hours up to as much as a day adjusting to breathing air.

Once they can breathe they will crawl to land and begin to dry. As they dry their larval shell begins to crack. Eventually the dragonfly unpacks itself. The long body/tail that has been compressed will unfold like a telescope to the long tube-shaped body. Over this it spreads the familiar four translucent wings. Those wings play with light, or perhaps light plays with the wings. In any event, the effect is a rainbow of color that changes from moment to moment as the dragonfly moves.

With a little imagination on our part we can see the dragonfly as a metaphor of our own activities. We pass from our daily lives, “under water,” into moments of revelation and delight as we travel, daydream, pray, and meditate. You might ask yourself, “how are dragonfly art pieces reminiscent of my own spiritual journey?”



Wearing Dragonfly Jewelry is an old tradition around the world. When you wear dragonfly earrings, are you reminding yourself of the whispers of creativity that arrive when you least expect them? Perhaps, the dragonfly necklace reminds you of the magical feelings in your heart when you have a special insight that was years in the making, something that was percolating inside until it suddenly arrives with a flash of brilliance. It could even be that the dragonfly you wear reminds you of the incredible things that you can do with “wise hands.”Baroque Silver Dragonfly Earrings, Pendant, Ring, Bracelet

If the dragonfly speaks to you, then you know something of this connection. And, if you have never thought of the dragonfly this way, then you may want to give this fascinating creature some thought. You never know how it might inspire you. There are many sites that flit over the top of the dragonfly without considering much about the life it lives.

We suggest you start by thinking of the literal activities of this fascinating creature that is so much more than a “bug.” The Smithsonian has a good page where you can begin to learn more about the incredible dragonfly.

Groomsmen gifts from AddvantageUSA

Getting Married? Tips on Gifts from the Groom

Grooms have a much busier life these days than back in the day when men bought a ring, popped the question, said “I do,” and left for the honeymoon.

Okay, it was never quite that simple, but, if you are engaged to be married, chances are you have already discovered your bride wants you (expects you) to be involved. And, you are okay with that. But, you need to know the rules of the game. You do not want to be surprised – or to be surprising someone else. So, there need to be conditions.


First condition: you want clarity on the expectations.

  • What are my responsibilities? (This is the groom’s task list.)
  • What are the “don’t go there” places that are controlled strictly by the bride, mother of the bride, etc? Demand to know the boundaries so you don’t cross them.
  • What are the things you will do together and are expected to do alone?

Second condition: you want participation/consultation. It is not only your bride’s wedding ceremony; it is also yours. Most men are willing to have the bride and her mother plan the majority of the wedding, so long as there is good communication and general agreement about the couple’s preferences.

Third condition: you want to avoid unnecessary drama. Planning a wedding can be stressful. You want to emphasize the joy and fun of your engagement.

Here are a few suggestions to help ensure your happy life starts off on the right foot. We’re keeping it short and sweet.

  1. Keep the romance alive during the planning. Tell her you love her with small gifts and gestures that remind her you love her.
  2. Plan the honeymoon together making sure it meets her dreams.
  3. Choose one person (usually the groom) to be responsible for making the final honeymoon arrangements. Trust, but verify.
  4. Register together at your favorite places.
  5. Plan a bachelor’s celebration of marriage. Think steak dinners, a golf day, poker night, camp out, cigar bar, charter (fishing) boat, you know what you like. Avoid risks that would spoil the celebration, not just for the groom, but for all the men in the wedding party (no drinking and driving, no hospital emergency room). We have all seen the videos of members of the wedding party passing out during the ceremony. We all know how that happens. That is not the wedding video your bride has been dreaming about.

Get memorial gifts for your groomsmen, personal gift for the bride, and something that says “thank you” to her mother and father.  For your groomsman gift set think about engraved tie clips, cuff links, or a small pocketknife.  For her, something personal, perhaps a limited edition of her favorite book, artwork from a favorite artist, or a piece of fun (inexpensive) jewelry she can wear on the honeymoon. For her parents, consider having a graphics designer make a display of some honeymoon photos.

Check out AddvantageUSA for more ideas. Give us a call at 888-601-5527 and let us brain storm with you. We’ve done this before. We can help.

DeWALT Reconditioned Drill Kit

What does DeWALT Reconditioned mean?

DeWALT Reconditioned is a brand name owned by the DeWALT company. It is only applied to (1) DeWALT tools that (2) were returned to DeWALT, and (3) reconditioned by DeWALT.

You’ve heard the old saying, “it’s just like new.” With DeWALT Reconditioned Tools that’s a fact. These reconditioned tools have been restored to the same performance standards as new. And, DeWALT backs it up with the same Limited Lifetime Warranty they give with their new tools.

You might ask, “are they used tools.” The answer is no. These are the types of tools that can become DeWALT Reconditioned:

  • Store display tools: These are the ones that are placed in stores to show off their inventory. They are routinely recycled back to DeWALT.
  • Customer returns: These are tools that customers return to a store, often because the customer gets the tool home and says, “wait, that’s not the thing I need.” If a tool has had any real use, it does not make it into the reconditioning assembly line.
  • Overstocks: Most DeWALT Reconditioned Tools were inventory for a store that stocked too many tools. Many that aren’t sold are returned to the factory. These tools will be examined and tested, and, if they pass the test they become DeWalt Reconditioned.

Since 1922, DeWALT has been one of the world’s best known and most trusted brands of power tools. It made its reputation as a “great company” by manufacturing top line power tools. Though it has added additional lines, such as hand tools, mechanics tools, and accessories, power tools remain the core business of DeWALT.

DeWALT earned its reputation two ways:

  • First, by making great products. DeWalt Power Tools are often described as sturdy, rugged, dependable, reliable, and high performance.
  • Second, by standing behind its products. DeWalt tools come with an industry recognized Limited Lifetime Warranty.

All of this means you can depend on DeWalt Reconditioned the same way that you would depend on tools new from DeWALT. Same tool, same company, same warranty, and same great quality. Check out DeWALT Reconditioned Tools.


Pouf from AddvantageUSA

What’s the Difference between a Pouf, an Ottoman, and a Hassock?

Until recently, most of us probably didn’t know the difference between a pouf and a puff. Today, poufs are an essential fashion item for many home decorators. The pouf may have a funny name, but it is useful because it (1) is versatile, (2) comes in shapes and sizes to fit almost any space, and (3) has as many colors, textures, patterns, and weaves as there are upholstery fabrics.pouf

Pouf is defined by the British Dictionary as “a large solid cushion, usually cylindrical or cubic in shape, used as a seat.” It is derived from the French word, “pouffe,” which has the same meaning.pouf

Poufs have great utility. As chairs, they can be easily moved around a room to add an extra seat wherever needed. Placed in front of your favorite sofa or chair, they also make a great footrest. They are also used as tabletops, especially if you keep a flat wood surface handy. Simply lay the wood on top to make a serving table.

poufBecause they are ordinarily much smaller than an upholstered chair, poufs make good accent pieces for your home furnishings. Select a bright color combination, and they will light up your room. On the other hand, with the right muted color a pouf will blend perfectly with your décor, and you will only notice it when you need it.

Now, back to our first question. What is the difference between a Pouf, an Ottoman, a Hassock, and a footstool? First, the typical footstool is made of wood. Though it may be used much like a pouf, the footstool is designed as a short step to reach up in cabinets and closets.  It is not really meant to be a comfortable place to sit.ottoman

The typical ottoman is a low seat made with wooden legs, a wooden box frame, and a cushioned top. Unlike the soft pillowy look of a pouf, the ottoman tends to look like what we might call “real furniture.” It is harder to make it blend. You would not put one in a corner and forget about it when it was not in use.

The hassock is more similar to the pouf than is the ottoman. However, the hassock was originally conceived as a kneeler or footstool. The true hassock, then, is shorter and smaller than a pouf. Over the course of time the word hassock has become more often associated with the utility of a pouf, and often the words can be used interchangeably to describe the same thing.

Take a look at the AddvantageUSA selection of poufs. See if the pouf would be right for your den, entertainment room, or kid’s bedroom. While you are at it, you might also want to take a look at earlier posts about color. These may help you choose the perfect poufs for your home.

Girl considering getting a loan

Being Prepared to Apply for a Personal Loan at a Bank

It is the Holiday season and many of us will once again watch the movie “Its a Wonderful Life” for the umpteenth time. We seem to never get tired of watching the life challenges that the James Stewart character goes through.

As the years have gone by, however, it has become more obvious how much the banking methods have changed in this country. Back in those days, a middle class person with good character could get a loan from any local bank. That was what we thought banks were meant for.

Today, it is really difficult to get a personal loan. Many large and regional banks have discontinued them. The financial institutions that are still offering personal loans require a top-rated credit history. They are quick to deny an application if all of their strict criteria is not completely met. Oh, and that good character thing – well that doesn’t matter anymore.

However, the need for a little cash to get over a slow period has not gone away. So, what do we do these days to give ourselves the best chance possible.

First, be prepared. When you do decide to apply for personal loan through a major financial institution, you do not want to be denied. In the Forbes article 5 Tips For Getting Your Bank Loan Approved, it states “It can be dangerous to your credit to continually apply for just any loan you think you may be able to get. Too many loan applications can ruin your credit and obliterate your chances of securing one in the near future.”

A key to not getting denied for a personal loan is to improve your credit history. One way to raise your credit rating is to acquire a secured credit card. Another way is to buy products on a payment plan that is easily within your ability to repay in a timely basis. For instance AddvantageUSA provides products that can be purchased online for a reasonable monthly payment. They then report your successful payment record to the major credit agencies. This is very effective.

These are a couple of ways to improve your credit rating in preparation of requesting a needed personal loan. Have you used other techniques? Share them with us.