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I grew up believing in fairy tales like so many little girls do; though I was usually more interested in the princess’s ridiculously (unachievable) long locks of hair and sparkly dresses than I was in living happily ever after. BUT nonetheless, I believed in it. I believed in life-long love and happiness and that there truly was a Prince Charming out there waiting for me. And once I found him, that would be it; in love and together forever. Easy peasy.

For those who know me, the idea of marriage has never been something that has weighed heavily on my mind nor has it had any sort of ‘biological clock’ attached to it. I always planned on getting married, and I still do… I think, but it’s never been a driving force in my life that I’ve been dying to check off of my to-do list. I’ve fallen in love a couple times, but things never felt “right” enough to bring me to the point of saying I Do. And being in my 30’s now, a handful of my friends are married, a few are divorced, a couple remarried, and another entire handful are fighting through the dreaded 7 year itch. Needless to say, marriage sometimes sounds more like a bunch of angry paperwork than falling into a forever type of love.

In case you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, the 7 year itch is a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines somewhere around year 7. Is it a real thing? I guess I’ve always hoped not, but more and more I would be inclined to say yes? A hesitant yes though. Relationships are hard, and anyone who isn’t actively working on bettering theirs (especially the 7+ year-ers) is setting themselves up for failure. But this begs the very important question that has been weighing on my mind lately, does love have an expiration date?

“If two people love each other there can be no happy ending to it.”
— Ernest Hemingway

People may point a finger and say, you were in a 10+ year relationship (13 to be exact, but who’s counting…) so there must be some way to make the magic last? And my reply to that is that we had too many break-ups to count, had too many reunions to count, and rode a roller coaster that continued to fall off the tracks every time shit got real. Relationships are HARD. We tried. We tried really, really hard. But the allure of trying something new, of giving up on something that just wasn't working, of seeking something (or someone) that offered a fresh challenge, new excitement, a new perspective, was too much of a draw for either one of us to handle. I’m not saying it was the only decision available, or even one that most would agree with, it’s just what we decided was best for us. In our case, love didn't win; life did.

So what does it all come down to? Does love truly have an expiration date where it seems to “run out?” You go from being so blinded by love that you can’t even think straight, to losing your mind when the other person talks during your favorite TV show. I once spent the night in my car in near zero temperatures with a boyfriend just so we wouldn’t have to spend the night apart. Mind you, we both had perfectly good dorm rooms that were nice and toasty warm, but neither was coed… so freeze our asses off we did. I remember not being able to feel my fingers, toes, nose, basically my entire body. But we had each other, and at the time, apparently that meant more than full body circulation. Fast forward 10 years and I would have given anything just to sleep alone in the bed by myself for a night. How does love span that entire spectrum? How did we let ourselves get to the point where our tanks had completely run out without even noticing?

Can you refuel somewhere along the way?

Gosh I hope so. I have a few friends who are on marriage number one and are still blissfully happy. I have a few on number two that are blissfully happy… though in all fairness, we are not old enough to have reached the 7 year itch fully twice yet, so only time will tell if the cycle ends here. And I have friends whose relationships (either marriage number one or two, or people like me who form more of a partnership) are ripping apart at the seams. So how did group number one make it? How did they refuel while the rest of us were left stranded on the side of the road?

I did what any curious human would do; I asked. I asked those in first marriages and those in second marriages and those in no marriages. Obviously group number one had figured out how to use these challenging life moments to fill up on what they needed to keep the love alive while the rest of us drove around on E. 

This is what surfaced over and over again:

Cheating seems to be a prevalent factor in a majority of relationships where things go south. Surprising? Nope. I wish I could say this was never me, but that would be a lie. I have been cheated on, done the cheating, cried about the cheating, caused the crying about the cheating…I am as equal a sinner as most. Again, relationships are hard and require effort and work to keep the passion alive, but here is what I have come to conclude about cheating. Cheating is not hard to do. In fact, there are ample opportunities for nearly anyone seeking outside affection, to find it. And it's oftentimes easier to look elsewhere than it is to actually face the music from within the pitfalls of your own relationships.

In its simplest form, I would compare cheating to a bandage. And not even a good Band-Aid brand bandage… more like the cheap drugstore bandages that end up getting stuck to the inside of your sock and serve no useful purpose. You are seeking something you feel your existing relationship can no longer provide, but very rarely do you go out seeking to find it in the name of love; so much more often you find it in the name of lust. Or worse, drunken, forgettable, regretful lust. Cheap, drugstore bandage cheating causes so much more pain and heartbreak down the road and never ends well for either party. Yet it happens so frequently because we are all looking for love, to feel loved, and to be loved, just in all the wrong lustful places. If love is what you seek, you have to be able to face the music of your own relationship, no matter how ugly it may sound, before you can ever find real love elsewhere.

Date nighters seem to be the strongest links in the chain. Parents, this one is for you. Childless couples, take note. As new parents, my sons’ father and I were terrible at date nights. In lieu of a babysitter, we rotated nights out with friends—he took Fridays and I took Saturdays. Bad idea. Bad bad bad. If this is you, stop immediately. We developed completely separate lives outside of each other, and subsequently, separate secondary relationships (yikes). Fast forward 6 years and baby #2 comes along. We vowed never to redo mistake from baby #1, so during this go-round we went into lockdown and never really went anywhere as a couple; we did most everything as a family. Another bad idea. No relationship can withstand revolving solely around the kids; complete romance killer. You want to keep the love alive? Get a babysitter.

Communication is almost always lacking in failing relationships. Also not surprising. When was the last time you had a real conversation with your significant other? We all get so wrapped up in going through the motions of day to day living at times that everything else falls by the wayside. How was your day? is literally spoken as a formality, not because you even care about the answer, but simply because you've been trained to say it. And what about the sweet texts throughout the day that you used to do? Absent. Lunch dates just to talk (without kids present)? They don’t happen. Date nights? Nonexistent. Sexting each other? Say what?...

So when do you communicate? Aha! Only when there’s a problem. Communication becomes code word for battle field and ends only when one of you is proverbially beaten down and bloody. Next course of action is to tap out, or walk out, or throw your significant other's clothes out of the second story window… pick your poison. Communication needs to happen on a positive level too, and this is so easy to side-step once the honeymoon stage is over.   

Sex; relationships need it, yet many lack it. Simple as that. I won’t even go into detail on how badly I let this one slip in a prior relationship, but let’s just assume if we were waiting for the paint on the house to dry, it would have already cracked and flaked off. If you have friends who are brand new to a relationship, you’re probably super annoyed by how handsy the happy couple is. Why? Because secretly we all miss that stage! It’s fun and exciting and the stomach butterflies are so real (just saying that makes me feel like a 9-year-old writing in my diary again). And if you’re nearing the 7 year itch those feelings have likely been replaced with all the stresses and worries of real-life, day-to-day living. Sex tonight? Nope, too tired. Tomorrow? Nah, not in the mood. Next month? Probably busy that night too... You gotta keep the romance alive! If that means vacations sans kids, do it. If that means rekindling lost love with flowers and sweet nothings, do it. If that means whips and chains, go rent 50 Shades of Gray and do your thang. Whatever needs to happen, do it.   

Is there hope?

As long as you have two parties who are still willing to try, there is always hope. Some couples are on the verge of something major and are looking/waiting for any reason to fall back in love. To them I would say, stop waiting for something to happen and make it happen! You are the author of your life story. Write how you want your story to end. 

So this next part is tricky. My Christian upbringing says to continue working through a relationship (especially a marriage) until you can fix the problems and rekindle lost love. However, millennials and generations on down seem to be more interested in trying something new rather than forcing a square peg into a round hole. Forgive that utterly simplistic example of working through a messy relationship, but it's how I feel too. Sometimes, going back and editing a chapter to change the outcome is a good thing. And sometimes, starting fresh is an even better thing. In my case, the past simply caught up to us. And because we had never taken the time to fix the earlier mistakes, years of compounded actions and emotions could no longer be contained and our story spilled off the pages. The last chapter of our story will still be written someday, just in separate books.    

Love is an imperfect science. It's supposed to make sense, but once emotion is involved, most logic flies right out the window. But take heart, because for as hard as relationships are, they are worth it. Making memories and building a solid foundation with one special person is priceless; that is LOVE, that is LIFE. Nobody wants to grow old alone. The key to it all is finding someone you can talk to, someone who challenges you, someone who has the same basic moral code as you. Find a person who likes to do the same things as you do, someone who makes you laugh until you cry, someone you can sit and talk to for hours while losing all track of time. Find someone who always respects you, always values what you bring to the table, loves you for all your unique and imperfect flaws, and most importantly, find someone who is willing to fight to remain IN love with you. If you already have that person, hold on tight and do what it takes to keep the love alive. And if the love has already run out on your relationship, know that every ending simply means a new beginning. 

I wear a vintage locket from time to time, which holds a picture of my Grandma and Grandpa and is inscribed with their 25th wedding anniversary (though they made it well past 50 years together). They were one of the rare exceptions who managed to live their vows “…until death do us part.” I still hold out hope that love can be what I grew up envisioning it to be. And that it doesn't have to be something that merely comes and goes with the passing of time.

Love doesn't have to fade away with the years and it doesn't always have to end. If your hourglass of sand is running low and hope remains, you CAN flip it over and start again. 

If you liked this post, check these out. They may help you sort your feelings out. 

The Only Constant in Life

5 Reasons Millennial Single Moms Choose Not to Marry (For Now)

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From great pain comes great art. I wish it worked differently, but the idea of a tortured writer, singer, artist, etc. discovering their greatest gifts during periods of pain, seems to hold true for, well, even me. The words flow more freely and more honestly in periods of emotional pain than they do when everything is at peace; Taylor Swift knows exactly what I’m talking about. And while I would never choose to live in this type of head space consistently, I find it oddly refreshing from time to time.

So let’s cut to the chase since beating around the bush has never really been my style. Is the Sometimes Single Mom, a single mom again? Yes. What happened? Lots of little (personal) things. How am I feeling about it? A little anxious, but ironically, more than anything, I feel ALIVE. When I go through periods of emotionless living, it makes me feel dead inside. There are no high or low points to my day… it just exists in one long stretch of monotony. To be angry and to scream, or to be emotionally drained and to sob until you can’t breathe, to be blissfully happy or heartbreakingly sad, all of that emotion makes me feel alive. And I would always choose feeling something over feeling nothing.

I do wish, however, that feeling alive meant falling more in love with the person I had dedicated a huge portion of my life to—the father of my two beautiful little babes—but life obviously had different plans, and I can finally say that I am ok with that. Did we try hard enough? I suppose that’s up for debate, but in my eyes, absolutely. Insanity—doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result—that was us. That, we can agree on. Hey, this didn’t work the first 37 times we tried, let’s give it another shot. If at first you do not succeed, try, try again; that quote leaves out one important detail. You need to make some tweaks here and there or you’ll literally run in circles. Try, fail, REVISE, try, fail, REVISE, try, fail, REVISE… Success. We failed miserably at this.

While I’m not really one for change, I do find it to be a necessary evil to deal with in life. Many of us seem to get stuck in these daily routines that turn us into robots, so much so that we go through the motions of living every single day, without ever really living at all. That’s precisely what I mean when I say I felt dead inside. When was the last time you truly looked forward to your day? Not happy with your job? Change it. Not sure about your relationship? Jump in the water or get off the dock. Afraid to take the leap you’ve been wanting to for years? Just f*cking do it already.

“You don’t have a right to the cards you think you should have been dealt, but you have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you are holding.”

Somebody recently shared a quote on Instagram that has played over and over in my head, which means it must resonate with some part of my being: “You don’t have a right to the cards you think you should have been dealt, but you have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you are holding.” This… YES! There are no true victims in life unless you are allowing yourself to be one. Why not play this next hand like it’s the one you’ve been waiting for your entire life? F all the rules about how life is supposed to go, and at what age you are supposed to get married, have kids, buy a house, have a fully functioning 401K, blah blah blah. You can't win if you never play the game. If life isn’t dealing you the hand you want, change it or deal with it… just don’t cry about it. Don’t get caught living a life that you hate. You may not love every second, but at least live so that you feel alive every single day.

To bring this back full circle; the world I was living in this past year was not one that was unhappy by any means. I was neither happy nor unhappy. I was very indifferent. People change over time. Change is inevitable. And relationships change over time too. You can grow together, or you can grow apart, it’s that simple. It takes a lot of work to continually grow together, and a lot less work to grow apart and walk away. That isn’t to say I feel I took the easy way out, but rather, I saw something in my life that so desperately needed a change. And rather than live another day in black and white, I decided to open a new door to discover a world full of color. I know it isn’t going to be easy. I know I’ll be a broken, sobbing mess some days, and other days I’ll be on top of the world. But I also know that with all that emotion comes feeling alive again. And oh how I’ve missed that.

This story is obviously far from over. And my thoughts will hopefully become more cohesive and make more sense as I  sort them out. So until then...

If you want to come along for the ride, let's do it. 

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Can a good eye cream really make or break your skincare routine? YES it can! The eyes are the focal point of the face and need products specifically made for them (or at least the area around them). Tired eyes, puffy eyes, dark circles, crow's feet... to effectively treat these telltale signs of, well, life, you need products made just for them. You wouldn't fight acne with Tylenol, so don't assume your regular face creams will effectively work on your eye areas either.

Why do the eyes need special attention? The skin underneath your eyes is thinner than elsewhere on your face, and is oh-so-delicate. Using heavy creams can irritate and weigh down this area, rather that pepping it up—which is usually what we're trying to do. 

Rodan + Fields, the #1 premium skincare line in the U.S., has you covered. If you are one of the thousands saying "I have eye issues," help is here. Rodan + Fields has become a household name in skincare after first developing the popular teenage skincare line ProActiv. With an enhanced focus on adult skincare, Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields have been continuing to innovate on revolutionary products that are disrupting the skincare and anti-aging market. 

The latest product drop from Convention 2017, Bright Eye Complex, has current (and potential) customers wondering what the big deal is when their previous Multi-function Eye Cream was already a game changer. 

I'll break down the two for you here (in layman's terms that anyone can understand) so that you can pick the formula best suited for you!

Multi-Function Eye Cream

Best suited for firming the skin around the eyes and treating fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. One of the first places most women develop fine lines and wrinkles is around their eyes (aka: the dreaded crow's feet). Collagen is what keeps your skin smooth, firm, and tight. As you age, however, the skin can't make enough collagen to keep you looking like your fresh-faced 20 year old self (sigh). But, you can replace the amino acids and proteins—the building blocks of collagen—in your skin by using a peptide cream.  

Peptides are tiny little particles that the body interprets as broken collagen. Subsequently, these peptides signal the body to boost collagen production to replace the broken areas. Increased collagen means increased tightness and firmness around the eyes, which helps smooth fine lines for younger looking skin. R+F's Multi Function Eye Cream is a lightweight formula that won't weigh down your under-eye area and combines powerful peptides to make the skin appear smoother, tighter, and firmer overall.



 

Bright Eye Complex

Best suited for treating puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. Releasing November of 2017, Rodan + Fields Bright Eye Complex had many avid R+F fans scratching their heads, wondering how it was different from the previously released Multi-Function Eye Cream. Turns out, this formula is made specifically for those of us who simply don't get enough sleep (ever) and need an added boost of hydration, awake-ness, and brightener—all in one.

This SUPER lightweight formula goes on easy and dries fast so you can be on your way in no time at all. A combination of phytonutrients and caffeine work to firm and tone the area around the eyes to decrease puffiness quickly. An illuminator helps brighten the eyes by eliminating those dark under eye circles. And an added hydrator keeps the skin around the eyes from getting dehydrated and dry. This powerful all—in—one punch keeps you looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed despite late nights studying for tests, working overtime, or feeding a hungry baby. Whatever your conundrum, let Bright Eye Complex fool everyone into thinking you're getting your 8 hours. 

And the million dollar question...

If I want to fight fine lines, puffiness, AND dark circles can I use both? YES! You can use both the Multi Function eye cream + Bright Eye Complex if you want to treat all areas. Layer the two by first applying the Bright Eye Complex, followed by the Multi Function Eye Cream second.

And if you've noticed the gorgeous lashes in these photos, check out this post for more details on Lash Boost! It was such a hot item this year it was sold out country wide for nearly 2 months! 

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Related Posts:

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Can You Really Make Money with Rodan + Fields?

Dear Direct Sales, You Annoy(ed) Me

 

 

 

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What is the very first thing you do when you contemplate purchasing a new product? Obviously you get on Amazon and see if it’s Amazon Prime eligible, right? Hallelujah for free shipping and delivery right to your doorstep!* Haha, oh wait… maybe that’s just me. But there is something Amazon absolutely nails that is vitally important to how business is conducted today; they have reviews! Tens, hundreds, thousands of reviews! And on virtually every type of product imaginable. Curious to know if those glow-in-the-dark mixing bowls really make tastier cookies? There’s a review for that…

We live in an ever-digital world where we are connected to dang-near everyone by just a few clicks of the mouse. We may not know or like everyone, but we sure seem to care what others have to say, especially in regards to products. And marketing messages from big companies are seriously so yesterday. We want to hear what real people are saying! Real people like you and me, fellow moms, co-workers, and everyday online shoppers. Reviews matter. And what reviewers have to say matters too!

So let’s talk bad reviews. Have you ever loved a certain product and went online to read the reviews about it and you’re like, say whaaaaat? I had a baby bouncer a few years back that was my absolute fav, but the reviews were horrendous. It doesn’t work like it claims, my baby hates it, it doesn’t bounce, it’s too stiff, there’s not enough bells and whistles, etc. etc. etc. I was shocked. My baby loved it, I loved the sleek lines (ahem, no bells and whistles), and I loved that it was stiff so that bouncing was minimal. Interesting, right? Two very different viewpoints for one product. Was either of us wrong? No. Because it’s all a matter of perception.

Ok, so now let’s talk skincare. Skincare is something that is a very personal, and oftentimes very touchy, subject. Skincare is also NOT a one-size-fits-all product. As a Rodan + Fields Consultant I preach about how amazing these products are. Why? Because I KNOW they are. I know the results that I get, that my customers get, that thousands of men, and women are all getting from these products. So when I read a bad review about them, I usually walk away with way more questions than answers. I so desperately want to ask the reviewer: How long did you use the products? What did your consultant recommend? What problems were you trying to correct? Did you allow your skin time to acclimate? Did you follow proper use instructions? Did your Consultant check-in after the sale? 

If Rodan + Fields products are truly so great, why then, the bad reviews? And as a Consultant, why in the world am I pointing this out? Simple. I had a potential customer who was super interested, but upon digging in to product reviews, let me know that she decided not to purchase based on the less-than-savory comments she had found (on Amazon, nonetheless - which, for the record, is NOT where you should be buying your R+F products). I was heart-broken because I know she would have really loved and benefited from Rodan + Fields. But I can’t say I blame her! I am a review-reading psychopath when I’m researching products, so I totally understand.

I decided to dig into some of these reviews myself to see if I could identify the root causes and recurring pain points, in an effort to debunk them, and when possible, to provide answers as to how these products can truly be so amazing, despite some negative press. 

Product Misuse

All skin is not created equal. Oily, dry, combo, light, dark, damaged, sensitive… the list goes on and on. Your Rodan + Fields Consultant should be able to advise you on which products work best for your skin type, on how to properly use them, and on any necessary precautions that should be taken before and during use. It’s their job, so they should be checking in with you, but if they aren’t, don’t feel bad for speaking up and voicing your concerns!

One Amazon review I read stated “…my skin burned from the toner…” Your skin should never burn from using toner; there is an obvious overuse problem here. (PING – incoming bad review). But the larger problem is this; most people do not intuitively know how to use an advanced skincare line like Rodan + Fields, so it is the job of the Consultant to educate the customers. When you decide to purchase from a direct sales company, the person you purchase from is responsible for more than just the sale; they are your main point of contact, and hopefully your biggest resource. Never feel bad for asking questions if you feel as though something isn't quite right! 

Knowledge transfer can be the make or break factor between someone loving the products or someone hating the products. Just keep it simple. Hi Noelle, when you receive your skincare regimen make sure to read the pamphlet that comes inside; it will tell you exactly how to add this product into your existing routine so that your skin can properly acclimate. It’s usually best to spot-test the new products on a small patch of skin to ensure you aren’t allergic before using over your entire face. Oh, and toners can be tricky if you aren’t familiar with them; use sparingly. Let me know if you have questions!

In many bad reviews, a little consultant intervention would have went a long way in helping to diagnose and correct problems long before the customer used Amazon as a sounding board for their skin woes. The products are amazing, and they work exactly as prescribed, but skincare is not always so cut and dry. Sometimes there is a degree of trial and error and product mix-and-match that needs to happen before you discover that sweet spot. Allow your Consultant to help you with that!

Pure Impatience

Think of all the elements we put our skin through on a daily basis. And all the times we fall asleep before washing our face... And then we get all bent out of shape when our skin freaks out on us. We know what we’re doing isn’t good for our skin, so we decide to buy Rodan + Fields products to help undo years of damage. And then, after three entire days of face washing, we are totally beleaguered and thoroughly annoyed that our skin doesn’t look like a shiny new porcelain doll. Sigh, what a waste of money, right? Totally writing a bad review about this…

Wrong! Products take time to work. Patience really is a virtue, and for acne strugglers, waiting for products to reduce flare-ups is like waiting for paint dry. Years of damage to your skin cannot simply be undone in a day, a week, or even a month. Think of this like going to the gym (I know, I know, fitness examples run rampant in my writing, but they work so well). When you jump into a weight loss journey, you have to be committed to making some big changes for weeks, months even. Why? Because you can’t go the gym once and expect your love handles to magically disappear and your abs to pop out. It isn’t going to happen quickly. But small, daily changes, persistence, and consistency WILL lead to results. The same goes for using skincare products. Give your skin and body time to adjust to new products and time to allow them to work. Patience. Patience. Patience. Your Consultant can give you an idea of what to expect so that you're properly prepared for the journey ahead.

Oh, and if you’ve heard of skin ‘purging’ – that gross period where your skin essentially pushes all the gunk to the surface to expel – it’s a real thing. Skincare products are intended to do exactly that. The bad has to come out so that the magic can happen underneath. Again, be patient and don't immediately assume they aren't working. Good things come to those who wait.  

Improper Expectations

A few reviews (specifically for Lash Boost this time) stated that after using the products for a couple weeks there was no change in lash length and fullness. A little well-known fact to Consultants (and hopefully to customers as well), is that the product clearly states that full results are usually achieved at 8 weeks. Thus, it’s no surprise that after a few weeks of use, eyelashes aren’t glazing the lenses of your sunglasses... YET. Set proper expectations first, followed up by a healthy dose of patience.

Acne is a brutal one. Acne takes time… sometimes months, before the bad clears up to make way for the good. And when you’re dying for clear skin, months can seem like an eternity, but again, your Consultant should help to set proper expectations from the get-go. And sometimes, it won’t take a month. Results may start to shine through in just a few weeks! And let's just go ahead and set the record straight while we're at it. Acne is not curable! No products on the market can 'cure' acne. But it is treatable! And Rodan + Fields does have amazing products for treating (and hopefully preventing) future break-outs. But results may take 2-3 months.  If you are a Consultant, paint realistic pictures for your customers, not just rosy colored ones. And if you’re a customer, be realistic (but optimistic) when setting timelines and expectations on how quickly you can and should make a decision about a product before writing a bad review.  

Allergies (sneeze, sneeze)

I feel like this should go without saying, but someone who has known allergies should, without a doubt, be given an ingredient list to look over in advance of any purchases. A particular review I read comes to mind. The reviewer was angry about an apparent allergic reaction to a product and was appalled that no one told her about the ingredients (PING – here comes another bad review). While pointing fingers in this blame game does no one any good, as a Consultant, be sure you are actively listening to your customers and providing all necessary information upfront. And as a customer, YOU know YOU better than anyone else. Allergic to gluten? Bring it up!

And keep in mind that just because someone has an allergy to a product, while that may warrant a one star review from that person, that does not speak to the effectiveness of the products and how they will work for YOU. It simply means they did not work for THEM. Curious about how a certain product could be a game changer FOR YOU? Just ask!

Wrong Product Line

A LOT of reviews center around what seems to be an apparent wrong product line selection by either the Consultant or the consumer. If you have sensitive skin and are using an aggressive skincare line, of course you are likely to experience irritation (and PING, another bad review pops up on Amazon). If you are actively working with your Consultant to determine which line is right for you, you needn’t worry. Again, ask questions! Dig into the brochures that are available online. Visit the website. Ask, ask, ask. When someone uses a product line that wasn’t intended for their skin type, of course a bad review is inevitable – because the product didn’t work as intended for that person.

As a Consultant, listening is your number one ally here. Listen to your customers first and then lead them in the right direction because finding the right products really can lead to life-changing results. 

Not for Everybody

And here’s the cold hard facts… while I think Rodan + Fields is the most incredible skincare line on the planet, I am not naive enough to believe that everyone is going to love it (not even Apple has been able to achieve a pure monopoly… they've come close though). Some people just aren’t going to like the products for one reason or another, and that’s ok! They are absolutely entitled to write a product review and to openly express their opinions.

As Consultants, we can do a lot to detract customers from writing bad reviews by delivering superior products and amazing service upfront. We know these products are totally bad-a$$, but we need our peers, our network, and our potential customers to know that too! We need them to be our cheerleaders, our brand advocates, our third-party voice! And the only way they are going to do that is if they get the service and results they were hoping for, and deserve.

A few bad reviews are inevitable. All products have them. But seeing ones that are flat out preventable is so frustrating (especially when it turns customers away). There is nothing to hide about Rodan + Fields products – there are no smoke screens or magic mirrors. All of the information needed to make an educated decision about these amazing products is out there, it's just a matter of finding what your customers need! 

If you’re a potential customer who is on the fence, but a bad review (or two) has you second guessing yourself, please just reach out with your questions. Everyone has different needs, concerns, and desired outcomes, so one conversation centered around YOU could be the missing piece of the puzzle. You have far more to lose by not asking than you do by simply raising your hand.

 

*And, in case you hadn't heard, just like Amazon Prime, Rodan + Fields Preferred Customers receive free shipping and have the privilege of products being shipped directly to their doorsteps. Ahhh isn't never leaving home great?

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Can You Really Make Money with Rodan + Fields?

Dear Direct Sales, You Annoy(ed) Me

 

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I wrote an article about six months ago that walked a person through my thought process as I pondered, and ultimately decided, to join an MLM. If you haven't read it, you should totally check it out here: Stop & Read: The Scam that is Rodan + Fields. The popularity of this article is largely due to the fact that there are hundreds, dare I say thousands, of people that obviously share the same sentiments about network marketing that I did. We have the same questions, the same doubts, the same hopes, and the same fears. Of those questions, the most common ones that I continue to hear from people are: Is this business legit? and Can I really make money?

Being half a year into this business (I can't believe it's already been that long), I thought now was as good a time as any to shed some light on these topics, with brutal honesty, and without all the marketing fluff that we're so used to hearing. 

First things first, let me reiterate that network marketing is not easy money, nor is it fast money, nor is it a get-rich-quick scheme. If that's what you were hoping this article would say, just stop reading now. There is no magic bullet, and there never will be. N-E-V-E-R. When I get emails from people asking me if Rodan + Fields is really as good as it seems (in regards to the business model), I always respond with "...yes, if you're willing to put in the work." And I think this scares some people away. I think that most people know in their gut that these home-based businesses take discipline, and perseverance, and resiliency, yet they want to hear something different. They want to hear the sunny-side, the marketing spin, the grass is definitely greener-side... you won't get that from me. 

So, you're saying the grass isn't greener?

No, not necessarily. I'm saying the grass is greener where you water it. Again, let's trace this back to hard work. I LOVE Rodan + Fields products and I LOVE the business. It is generous and offers amazing income potential. The company has incredible leaders, with sound business practices, and a great moral compass that guides them. I will tell you all of this with great enthusiasm because I truly believe it can, and does, changes lives! And then I will tell you that this business is exactly what you make it to be. Sigh... there's that hard work inference again. 

Ok, so it takes work, but what does work hard even mean? 

Quantifying 'working your business' is really, really difficult. Maintaining a steady stream of customers means doing small, daily (or at least very regular) actions that let those around you know you are in business. If you were an actual storefront and wanted new customers, your store sign better be flipped to OPEN almost every day. If not, customers will pass you right on by in search of those who are open. Customers want you to be ready when they are ready, not the other way around. Why? Because people are inherently selfish. I know I am! This means you must be constantly working on your business. 

“...letting customers know that you’re IN business and that you’re OPEN for business.”

Ok, so two steps: letting customers know you're IN business and that you're OPEN for business. Sounds easy right? In theory yes, but remember who you're competing with every day for your customer's time, attention, and money. Consumers see up to 5,000 messages a day, so making your voice heard is no easy feat. You have to figure out how to break through the clutter. That being said, do not confuse effective work with busy work. Taking 3 hours every night to write out the perfect reach-out message to one person is not an effective use of time, nor will you get anywhere fast (even if that message took a lot of really hard work to craft). Sorry. And being "open" everyday but never doing anything to draw attention to your business or to draw in new customers does not count as hard work either. 

So the only people who can make money are the ones...

...who have big networks of people, or are the ones who stay at home and have hours to spend working on their business every day. False and false. The successful people are the ones who figure out what their strengths are, capitalize on them, and use them to share Rodan + Fields with those around them. In four words, play to your strengths. Do this in all of life and you will be wildly successful. Period. And contrary to popular belief, the most successful people in network marketing are those who have time management skills down pat. Oftentimes, these are the busiest people, not the ones with the most free time. 

Answer my question! Is this business legit? 

Yes, on all levels, this business is legit. The foundation of this business is built on solid business practices without a pyramid scheme in sight. Network marketing is not illegal, at all (though similar types of companies from decades past have definitely muddied the waters). The products are tried and true and tested and reviewed and shared and loved! I loved the products long before I ever joined the business. The products and their results are what made me a believer - and eventually a consultant myself. Does it seem like Rodan + Fields consultants constantly talk about the products and the biz like it's too good to be true? Are they trying to cover something up? No Skeptical Sally, they aren't (this is what I initially thought too though, so I get it). It's called passion. When people are passionate about something it comes through in their voice and in their actions, and naturally, they talk about it.

Are there hidden inventories? Party requirements? Fees? Quotas? Etc. Thankfully no. I was terrified of this when I joined too. And I spent the better part of the first two months waiting for the other shoe to drop. It never dropped. We've all heard stories about certain companies who force you to spend nearly as much as you bring in, thereby causing you to break even (or more commonly, lose money), but that just isn't the case here. The commission you make off of selling products is yours - no strings attached. You earned it. Are there thresholds in which you can bump up your commission to a higher percentage? Sure. Are there added requirements that come with that? Yes there are. Nothing crazy, but with added reward usually comes higher expectation, so keep that in mind.

So it's all roses? Nope, I never said that. It's hard work. And with hard work comes reward. And with reward, one can certainly stop to smell the roses. 

Saving the best question for last... 

Can you really make money with Rodan + Fields? 

I'm assuming you want insight beyond being able to see the income disclosure statement? And my answer to that is of course you can! How much? That's up to you. Please don't sigh because you already knew I was going to say that. Your paycheck is dependent upon the work you do. YOU are your own boss. Don't feel like working? That's fine, but no one is paying you to watch Netflix and eat Pringles. Here is what I will say about it though: the money you make is very real... meaning, it's not just $30 here and $75 there. It's $350 here, $1200 there. It's REAL money. Enough money that it makes an impact. Enough money that you can really feel a difference in your life. And this is VERY achievable in the first few months. I know because I was there. Guaranteed? Of course not. But achievable? Absolutely. 

[Added insight from my own experience & perspective]

I have an awesome full-time job working as a Marketing Operations Systems Architect (if that means nothing to you, that's ok, because it doesn't matter). The point is, I work full time. I am also currently training to compete in my first fitness competition this fall, which eats up a LOT of my time. I am a mother to two; a 9 month old and a 6 year old (they just so happen to be my WHY I do what I do). I also love to write on my blog (wink wink). And yes, I still run a successful-by-my-standards Rodan + Fields business. I have been more than pleasantly surprised by each paycheck that comes through, downright shocked sometimes. Again, it is very real money that comes each month. Enough to pay entire bills, not just portions. And this is just the beginning for me. I am still new and getting my feet wet in this business. I still have a VERY small team of amazing, hard-working individuals who amaze me daily with their work ethic. You do not have to have an army to make money with Rodan + Fields. 

I think this is so important for people to hear and know, so I'll repeat: you do NOT have to have a large network of business partners in order to make money with Rodan + Fields, or even a small one for that matter. If your goal is to make $500 a month (or even $1000), you can do that without ever having a single business partner. This business is legit for those who love the products and just want to help provide these products to others and never want to utter the words "business partner" or "opportunity." This business is yours to run as you please and is exactly what you make it. 

Now I realize that naysayers will counter: of course you would talk-up a business you are a part of, why wouldn't you? And for that I would say, you're 100% right. But the one caveat is this: if I disliked this business, or found it to be a waste of my time, money, energy, etc., I would be 1000X more likely to stop selling than I would be to write a BS blog post about how great it is. Life is too short to spend time beating around the bush and putting my name behind something I don't believe in. 

Hopefully this helps shed some light on those burning questions you have about this company. If you want to dig in deeper, let's talk! There are never any strings attached. My job is not to convince you of anything - it's merely to help provide you with the information you need so that you can make the best decision for you. This is your life, your business, and your choice. Let me know how I can help!

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The ugly ‘I’ word is what comes to mind when I look back on this previous six weeks of competition prep. I hate having insecurities as much as anyone does, but in an industry where your body is the main topic of conversation, it’s inevitable. (I literally cannot fathom how supermodels function under this type of scrutiny). So here I stand, approaching the 12-week mark of my first prep, and shrouded in insecurities and comparisons between myself and others who are fitness competitors. I’m not lean enough. My waist isn’t small enough. My shoulders are too small. My glutes are WAY too small. My stomach isn’t flat enough… To the outside world I may look great, probably better than I ever have, but to myself, I see something very different staring back at me in the mirror. Wherever the bar was initially set at has been drastically changed, and a whole new level of fitness goals has been set (until of course, the bar continues to move as the competition draws near).

It takes a TON of work to build your glutes (booty). Happy they are finally coming in after weeks of focused efforts.

I am starting to see a very strong tie-in between the discipline that it takes to properly prepare for a show like this and eating disorders; I can only imagine there is a high correlation. Whereas with a true eating disorder you may eat a very limited amount of food (or none at all), and spend hours each day doing cardio to burn off every ounce of fat, with competition prep you nitpick and track nearly every bite of food that goes into your mouth, and head to the gym 6 days a week with the discipline of a military soldier. You become insanely hard on yourself for missing your macro goals for the day. You value your cheat meals as much as social gatherings with your closest friends. You ride the highs when you’re on point, you become a maniac when you fall short, you get up and repeat the cycle, day in and day out. I imagine that the highs probably feel much the same way that a bulimic feels when she purges or when an anorexic goes yet another day with an empty stomach. Gruesome comparison, I realize, but it seems fitting. It’s a very weird mindset… and one that I can already see is a very slippery slope.

That being said, there is an upside. With competition prep, when done properly, you are never starving… craving carbs, donuts, sugar, giant greasy cheeseburgers and fries, yea sure… but you are never not eating a sufficient amount of food. I am still sitting at close to 1750 calories a day (150 g protein and around 185 g carbs). I am not starving by a LONG SHOT nor do I feel that way. Am I seeing forward progress? Absolutely. Am I feeling insecure about where I’m at compared to others? A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y.

14 weeks out from my first fitness competition - with pup Luna looming in the background, per usual :)

Doing a competition like this takes a ton of sacrifice (as I stated in this overly long captioned Instagram post). You sacrifice a lot of time, a lot of money, a ton of sweat, and probably a tear or two along the way. Friends come and go, you make new ones, you find people who share your interests and you lose other people who walk away when they can’t stand to watch you pick apart one more restaurant menu (finding foods that fit your macros during prep is a difficult feat)… You will likely drive those very close to you up the wall during hangry outbursts or emotional spells. It is a trying time. But one I can confidently say will only make you stronger in the end (and I don’t mean just physically). The drive to compete comes from deep within yourself to strive towards excellence. However, this means you have to be in this 100% for YOU, and only you. Trying to live someone else’s dream, or match up to a standard someone else has set, will not get you out of bed at 4:30 in the morning to do squats and deadlifts. Doing this for your significant other will not get your butt to the gym 3-5 days a week to do HIIT sessions. And doing this solely because you think it will make you look better in a bikini will easily have you quitting months before show time rolls around. Nope, this is so much more than that.

So why do it at all? To prove to yourself that you can! When you approach, what was once an impossible goal, and rise to the challenge and conquer it, your outlook on what is and what isn't possible suddenly starts to shift and change. You begin to realize that your mindset controls so much more of your life than you ever thought before. Mind over matter. Mind over matter. Mind over matter. I feel like I'm starting to go down a deep and philosophical trail now, so I'll digress, but just know that achieving your goals helps to expand the realm of what is considered possible, and I want to push that as far as I can this year... and hopefully even further next year, and further the next, etc. 

Blending gym time + mom time - Kohen 8.5 months - 14 weeks out from first fitness competition

So lastly, why let the insecurities get you down? Preparing for the stage already has you in a higher echelon than most of the general population in terms of fitness, but I think that’s just it. People expect you to look perfect. You are being compared to others who are striving for perfection. And you are being judged based on looking perfect, or as close to it as possible. You have first timers (like me) up against seasoned pros! To just call it like it is, it’s f'n scary. How would insecurities not abound in a situation like this? Some insecurities drive you to work harder, push out one more rep, finish up one last set, get your butt out of bed and TRAIN HARDER. And being nervous about something isn't always bad either, it simply means you give a sh*t about the outcome.

Finding a way to balance the good nerves with the bad will definitely be the focus of these next four weeks as I enter into what is now truly Competition Prep.

18 WEEKS OUT -- 12 WEEKS OUT

Legs 3X/week with one glute specific day

Upper body 3X/week with focus on shoulders and back

HIIT 3X/week, 15-20 minute sets

MACROS: Roughly 1750 cal (150g protein, 50g fats, 185g carbs) with ONE cheat meal (preferably on Friday nights because it's a nice way to end the week). 

Catch up on earlier posts related to my first fitness competition journey below:

Fit Prep Part 1: The Backstory and Big Announcement

Fit Prep Part 2: The Necessary Evils

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Ahhh Generation Z (aka: Post-Millennials or, my personal favorite, the iGeneration), a group of kids who have no freaking idea what life was like before the Internet, or smartphones for that matter. To this group, 'apple' was never simply a fruit, but was always the coveted half-bitten symbol adorning the millions of devices you couldn't wait to get your hands on, whether you were 6 or 65.

Most Gen Z'ers spend more time on their personal devices than actually watching TV, a far cry from their parents and grandparents... surprising? It wasn't to me. Needless to say, I am raising a Gen Z'er, and if you think the discussion of 'when do I get to have my own phone' hasn't come up yet with a 6-year-old... think again. I partially blame Apple and their brilliant marketing ploys, and I partially blame other parents who buy their 6 year olds iPhones, causing panic amongst "less-fortunate" friends. But whatever the reason, getting your child a smartphone has become somewhat of a rite of passage. It's like the teeny-bopper version of getting their license. And in essence, it is a license, granting them keys to the largest library of information known to man, all at the touch of their fingertips (with some parental oversight, nudge nudge). 

I know I am not alone in trying to navigate this digital world, and I too, struggle with determining the right age to get my son his first phone (definitely not yet is all I've come up with so far), and once doing so, how do I ensure he stays safe? The world of sexting, cyberbullying, social media suicides, etc. is TERRIFYING, and as much as I would love to shield my boys from it all, realistically, I know that isn't going to happen. So, how then, does a parent jump into this all and not feel completely overwhelmed? Here are some pointers:

What is the right age for your child to get a smartphone

Recent studies show that anywhere between ages 7 and 10 are when children ARE getting smartphones; now, whether or not that is best has yet to be determined as we have not yet seen the long term effects of phone usage that early on in life - basically, we are all one-big-walking science experiment at this point. Ready to be totally terrified? A study conducted of 70,000 children found that sexting began, on average, in fifth grade, and pornography consumption began at, gulp, age 8. That is a second grader, just to put it into perspective (these statistics from a study done by Jesse Weinberg, author of: The Boogeyman Exists; And He's In Your Child's Back Pocket.)

Now before you go running to lock your child up in a closet (without their smartphone), realize that teaching a child how to fish is better than never teaching him at all, thus forcing him to learn from his weird neighbor down the street (I may have slaughtered that saying, but stay with me). Keeping your child sheltered and overly protected will likely do more harm than good. Realize that most of your child's friends will probably have smartphones (as I recently found out when my son told me about Bloody Mary... annoyed eye roll), and that they are bound to see certain images and videos, and to be exposed to less-than-pleasant scenarios at some point. 

No group rules here: judge your child's readiness for a smartphone by their own maturity level, responsibility level, and whether or not they are a little sh*t and, quite frankly, whether or not they deserve a smartphone. You, Mom (or Dad), as payer of the smartphone bill, get to set the ground rules that a phone is a PRIVILEGE, not a right, and can be taken away at any time. Kids are master manipulators, so don't you forget this.  

Be smarter than the apps

First of all, your kid may not remember to brush his teeth every morning, but do not be fooled. Kids are all mini-geniuses in their own right, and if you think that you can outsmart them technologically because you are older, you have some catching up to do. How about this: an app that appears to be a calculator, but when the right pattern of keys is entered, a secret photo album unlocks. Didn't see that coming, did you? Read about these other sneaky apps that will have you saying ay-yi-yi.

All parents, regardless of how tech savvy you think you are, should invest in some sort of cell phone monitoring software. As parent, it IS your right to check-in on what is happening with your child. Setting ground rules up front will help your child feel less like you are spying on them and more like you are trusting them to be responsible, but at the end of the day, you are responsible for helping to keep your child safe. 

Have a zero BS policy 

If dear Johnny is being a little puke or little Susy is being an overly dramatic everything-is-so-embarrassing drama queen, realize that kids are kids, and this is what they do. But if your kiddo is starting to act suspicious, withdrawn, or has an overly possessive hold over his/her smartphone, there may be cause for concern. Again, it is important to remember that having a smartphone is a privilege, not a right. Enforce a very strict zero tolerance policy for activity related to downloading images/apps/videos of subject matter that is strictly off limits, and have a zero tolerance policy for your child going behind your back to try to dismantle parental settings/controls. Just as the Lord giveth, the Lord can taketh away... the Lord being you, in this case. 

Practical monitoring tips

This infographic perfectly sums up how to tactfully monitor your child's smartphone usage and the route for doing so. 

Infographic courtesy of Scott Reddler

Your child's first smartphone doesn't have to be bad or scary time. In fact, it can be downright convenient for most parents. There are thousands of age-appropriate apps to help your child with everything from homework, to learning Chinese, to helping write a resume. Proper usage and monitoring is critical though, and when done correctly, will yield an entire household of happy campers.

Happy texting, calling, snapping, streaming, to you.

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To the jerk who took it upon himself to recite the urban legend of Bloody Mary to my 6-year-old, thanks a lot you a-hole. As if parenting isn’t hard enough with incessant arguments about allotted screen-time, breakfast choices, and having to change underwear (every single day), now we have to add in frightening, bone-chilling, I’m-never-going-to-the-bathroom-alone-again stupid urban legends.

Have you ever tried explaining fact versus fiction to a child? Cartoons versus real-life is a doable task, but trying to have them discern between what appears real and what is not, is much harder. Add in the age of YouTube, Photoshop, and digital artistry and literally nothing is as it seems.

Here’s how I tried to calm my son down about the aforementioned urban legend, which, I would NOT recommend doing because he spent the entire night in our bed, clinging to my side.

Parenting fail #1

Tell your child to watch you do the one single thing they are absolutely terrified about (i.e. looking into a dimly-lit mirror, preferably by candle for added effect, and saying the dreaded Bloody Mary phrase three times in a row). I did this in pure daylight, while my son screamed and hysterically begged me not to, while huddled in a ball in the corner. I visited a few child therapist blog sites after this and they highly recommended never downplaying a child’s fear by acting sarcastic or taking it light-hearted (oops), and rather, said to take their fear very seriously, and of course, try talking them through it. I felt like a complete a$$hole the rest of the night as my son found every excuse in the book to not leave the same room I was in, and would only go to the bathroom with all the lights on, while talking to me, and while making sure he had an excuse as to why I needed to be standing right there.

Lesson learned: Do not patronize your child by trying to show them how ‘un-scary’ their fear is by acting it out. It won’t work and it will make you look like the wicked witch of the west.

Parenting fail #2

Compare your child’s fear with something ‘realistic.’ Rather than being afraid of an urban legend, I tried telling my son that it was a much better use of his time and energy to be afraid of burglars or tornados. You know, something realistic. TERRIBLE idea; he’s actually petrified of those too. To offset my mistake, I tried throwing in something dumb, like rattlesnake bites…. By this point he was staring at me wide-eyed, wanting to know how burglars would break in and what they would steal… most notably if they would steal him, and if rattlesnakes could climb stairs and if he would hear the rattle before the bite… I feel like a terrible human at this point, maybe even the worst mom ever.

Lesson learned: Comparison is the thief of all joy. Do not use comparisons unless… well, just don’t.

Parenting fail #3

Tell your child that kids who try to scare other kids are small-minded individuals with nothing better to do with their lives. While I may believe this, I also realize that kids are kids… and they do dumb kid things. And kids also talk to each other and share things they’ve heard and learned along the way (things like, Santa isn’t real, boys like to kiss girls, and my mom thinks you guys are all small-minded people). Your child will regurgitate everything you tell them, so unless you want his friends’ parents knowing what you really think of their child, use constructive criticism to correct and help them learn.

Lesson learned: Kids don’t have filters. Make sure that whatever you are putting into their heads is ok to be repeated… continuously… and likely at a very loud volume (kids do not grasp the concept of whispering).

So what is the best way to calm your child’s fears? For starters, do none of the things I mentioned above. Instead, take your child seriously and have them talk to you about what makes their fear so scary. If they can’t seem to find the right words to tell you, have them draw a picture and describe it. Try to help them separate fact from fiction, and let them sleep in your bed for a night or two if needed; kids are little, and nighttime can be scary (tornados and rattlesnakes can be really scary too). Do not talk to them about their fear right before bedtime, but rather, when it’s light outside and when there is time to have a positive distraction afterwards.

I am happy to report that after 2 fearful nights, my son is going to the bathroom like a champ once again, and has returned to his own bed. I’m not sure the urban legend has completely dissipated from his mind, but kids seem to have a short memory for certain events, and thankfully, this was one of them. And circling back to the jerk who thought it was a good idea to tell a Kindergartner this urban legend, I kindly ask you to pick on someone your own size and to never scare my child again. Do not poke the momma bear.

 

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