Boot Camp with American Inventor’s Doug Hall


What an adventure! This past June, Jayne and I had the opportunity to participate in a weekend boot camp with 20 or so other inventors, hosted by American Inventor’s Doug Hall. The camp was held at his Eureka Ranch (Doug of course, was sporting his signature style- a Hawaiin style shirt and bare feet) and we had an amazing time.

You know, the wonderful thing about inventors and entrepreneurs is that they are just really great people who have all struggled in one way or another, are creative, love to network and come from all walks of life. We met some great people including Sheryl McDonald – the in-brella chick from American Inventor. You would love her!

 Anyway, we spent an intense weekend of individual and group work; brainstorming, networking, creating, and focused on old and new ideas that we have for future products. We had moments of total frustration and several “light bulb” ones when ideas suddenly made so much sense. We would walk into the Eureka Ranch, first thing in the morning, fresh and energized. We’d go home at night needing tylenol and a massage! It was that intense. Sunday morning (which was the final day) ,  we were driving back to the ranch for one last session and Jayne and I truly wanted to cry. We had so many ideas and had thought so far out of our box all weekend, that we just didn’t know where it all was leading. All of a sudden, through conversation, it clicked. We knew we were changing our focus and going to take a new path. A really exciting one at that!

Of course, we can’t tell you where this new path leads – it’s top secret and in product development…but you’ll be sure to know what it is in the next 6 months! Pretty exciting stuff!

For anyone who has a dream, an invention, or even needs to kick start an existing business, I highly recommend visiting and learning more about what he does. He has written two great books called Jump Starting your Business brain and Jump Starting your Marketing brain and even has free downloads to listen to his audio book. Very, very good stuff!

Doug Hall may irritate the hell out of you on American Inventor, but I am here to tell you he a great guy, a genius at what he does, and truly wants to help you.

My advice to you as an inventor? Have faith in your dream, never give up, battle your fear, listen to your gut, learn from your mistakes (you will make them), be a sponge and realize that struggling and overcoming obstacles is what prepares you for the future. Remember, when bad things happen, they happen for a reason and can only make you stronger. Last of all, and most importantly – what goes around comes around. Always pay forward. More on that next week!


Let’s talk… about Fear!


FEAR. I don’t know about you, but fear has played a part in more decisions I have made throughout my life, than I would actually like to admit! I’m thinking that I must be going through a mid-life kind of crisis thing because suddenly, I’m not as afraid as I used to be.  Okay, friends will tell you that I’ve always seen the glass as half full. Life has been pretty good. I’m still married after twenty-two years, have 3 great kids, a dog, a cat, a place to call home. But the fact is that after many years of doing everything for everyone else (often much unappreciated) and wanting everyone to like me (not possible),  I began lose sight of who I really was and made a very scary decision that no longer would fear  dictate my choices in life.

About 8 years or so, my business partner and I came up with an idea for an organizer (eventually, the Decorating Assistant). Over the course of a few years I took a class on patents at our local library, did some sketches, and day dreamed about bringing our idea to market. It became a  passion and an obsession. But I was afraid. My husband didn’t believe in the idea. I didn’t know anyone who had ever invented anything before. And let’s be honest – I could fail.

Enter Mark Twain. He wrote; “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” After reading that quote, one night, I woke up and thought “What if I’m sixty years old and have never followed my dream because I was afraid?” I made the decision to act inspite of fear. From that night on, I have actively pursued my dream.

Faith is what I rely on. Following my dream has been a mix of endless blessings, really difficult times, tears, and prayer. But, I can honestly say that at times when we thought we would fail, I have never ever regretted following my dream. I have become stronger, wiser, and a better person. I know that any struggle I have had has been to prepare me for a bigger battle. I know that my children will learn from me to follow their dreams. I know that the few true friends I have are worth so much more than all the others I used to try to please combined.

It’s really an amazing journey. The kids have survived and can actually do laundry now. The husband is mostly on the bandwagon, and I  know that Mark Twain was a truly wise man.  If I have any words of wisdom to share from this, it is that if you let fear rule your life you will be looking back years from now and asking yourself “what If…” instead of “what’s next”. I choose what’s next!

Let’s Talk

Besides my weekly posts about decorating, I’ve decided to start doing a thing called Let’s Talk. Why? Well, ultimately, I hope to share thoughts of events and things that have inspired me, and I’m hoping that you’ll do the same! I’m pretty sure that there may be a day or two that is just like venting or even simple rambling – I apologize in advance! What I really hope to do is share conversations, make new friends and grow with you on journey that we call life!

Lets face it – life is a journey full of mountains and valleys, of sunshine and rainy days; we walk a winding path intertwined with people and events that are often amazing and sometimes heartbreaking. But…I believe that these things are what help to define who we are and where we are going. They prepare us for bigger and better things in life. I’d love to hear from you! What inspires you? what drives you? what are you afraid of? what has been your biggest challenge?