The Top 10 Gifts for the AMAZING Women In Your Life – The Living Room Gift Guide 2015

Stuck on what to get that super woman in your life? A new book, nativity pillow, home decor or stress relief coloring book may be just the ticket. Check out these amazing items from our co-hosts and friends! (Links below!)

The Living Room Gift Guide 2015In no particular order!

1. Color Yourself Happy by Tara Reed get it on AMAZON.

2. Oh Holy Night, Nativity Pillow by Jennifer Pugh Studios get it HERE.

3. Hip to Home home decor by Heather Johnson & Melanie Donahoo available HERE.

4. 21 Days to Nurture Your Spirit by Christie Gardiner available HERE.

5. Make It Happen by Michelle McCullough get it on AMAZON.

6. Precious In His Sight by Jodi Robinson get it HERE.

7. A Half Fast Memoir by Kate Lee get it on AMAZON.

8. What Think Ye of Christmas Illustrated by Jana Parkin get it HERE.

9. Christmas Kisses: An Echo Ridge Anthology co-authored by Connie Sokol get it on AMAZON.

10. Family Fun Fridays by Heather Johnson get it HERE.

The Living Room Gift Guide 2015 page 2The Living Room Gift Guide 2015 page 3Don’t Miss THE LIVING ROOM.  A new show is live every Tuesday at noon! MT.

Follow us on social media:

To Read, or Not to Read…

This is a picture of me and my Christmas haul.  My husband enjoys cleaning out my

reading, seth godin, christmas gifts, amazon wish listAmazon.com wish list and I enjoy receiving things I picked out (don’t get me wrong, I also love a good surprise!).  This year I got a lot of books.  I love to read.  LOVE IT.  However, as a busy entrepreneur and mom of 2 young kids, I don’t seem to have the time that I would like to read all the books on my list.  In fact, since Christmas, I’ve really only finished 1 of the books in that stack.  Some of have been thumbed through and some are half finished (do you ever have multiple books going?).  Not to mention the fact that my book list grows by 1 or 2 a week, but I’m not reading them that quickly.

Lately, I have been loving audio books.  I spend a fair amount of time in the car so I can consume books quicker if I can have a listen instead of having to sneak into the bathroom and lock the door for 10 minutes so that I can get through another chapter in my current book.  I don’t have a Kindle, but I do take a book everywhere I go so that if I’m sitting at a doctors appointment or waiting somewhere I always have something to do.

How do you consume your books?  Listen?  Read good, old fashioned books?  Carry around a Kindle?

Happy Wednesday!

Michelle

Fun Find Friday – The App "Self-Help Classics" For the iPhone/iPad

If you have a smart phone, you need (and I mean NEED) the app “Self-Help Classics”.  Like most great things, this was introduced to me by my amazing friend Tiffany Walke Peterson.  She has been trying to get me to read the old school book, “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles for a year now.   She told me about this app, where you can get 30 old school classics for only $.99 RIGHT on my iPad (I don’t have a smart phone, but we can save that for another post).

THEN, Miss Tiffany, told me about the book on Self-Help Classics called, “The Game of Life and How to Play It” by Florence Shinn.  This book was first published in 1925.  It’s OLD, but man alive, I can’t read the pages fast enough.

Shinn talks about the correlation between our thoughts and actions and how it links to our spirituality.  She shares about how WE are holding ourselves back from getting what we want from life.  I won’t be able to do this book justice by review (and I haven’t finished it yet), but Shinn’s connections to success and divinity have me feeling amazingly peaceful and amazingly motivated at the same time.  It’s divine.

Want to read it with me?  You know you want to.  Go get it here.  You’ll be glad that you did.  The we can have a virtual book club in the comments below.  What are your favorite quotes and insights?  What did you learn about yourself while reading this book? Can’t wait to dive in with you!

Happy Friday,

Michelle

Book Review – Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte: Fun Find Friday

I’m doing a new thing on this blog.  When I find something I love, I’m going to share it in a new column called “Fun Find Friday”.  

Fire Starter Sessions, Danielle LaPorte, Book Review

I’m an open Danielle LaPorte fan.  With the exception of her occasional use of the “F” word, I love everything she does.  🙂 She’s an amazing speaker.  We had her come to Touchpoint for Startup Princess in 2010, and I found her to be incredibly business savvy, and super down to earth and easy to talk to.

Danielle Laporte, Fire Starter Sessions, Book Review, Success, Michelle McCullough, Life Balance

Though I knew I’d love reading this book, and thought I had died and gone to heaven when I got an advanced copy, I loved it even more than I thought I would.  I love the consistent through-line of heat, fire, and flame as an analogy to ignite the soul purpose that each of us have inside.  I love the typography and how her juiciest nuggets are in big, bold type to make sure that we don’t miss them.

I love the quote in this picture, “Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have.  Generating those feelings is the most creative thing you can do with your life.”

One thing I have wanted more than anything lately is clarity.  I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this before, but running and actually being your own company can be very vulnerable.  That kind of vulnerability makes me feel discombobulated and at times overwhelmed.  This quote leapt off the paper and fanned a flame with me.

When we focus on how we want to FEEL and do those things on a more regular basis then the clarity comes.  When we focus on “To Dos” we can easily get back to into overwhelm.   When I’m focused on peace, joy, and abundance then I’m more selective in my tasks.  I say “No” to the good things, so I can say “Yes” to the great ones.

I’m not doing this book justice with this review, but more than anything, I want you to read this book so that you can light your own fire and glean what you need.  This book is a must have for anyone who wants more love, joy, and even those who are chasing after more dollars in their pockets.  And it’s for those who have a message to share and want to birth it.

The book is released on April 17th, 2012.  You can reserve your copy and check out the bonuses for pre-ordering before April 17th.

Are you ready to be a Fire Starter?

Happy Friday!

Michelle

Book Review – The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, Publisher of Success Magazine

Last month, one of the books I devoured was The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.  Hardy is the publisher of a little publication called Success Magazine.  Ever heard of it? 😉

Lately, I’ve been a sponge.  Since December, I’ve read or listened to 9 books.  If you don’t read very much, but want to, I suggest that you turn your car into a roaming university.  Even if you’re just driving around town, 10 minutes here and there can really chunk books down and you can read a lot.  The more we feed our brain, the more possibilities are opened up to us.   I have a book going in my car, and a book on my iPad, and a good old fashioned paper book on my nightstand.  This is just one principle that Hardy talks about in his book, and one of my favorites that I’ve put into practice long before I read this book.  He also talks about turning off the boob tube (aka television) and feeding your brain good things.  I still have a TV at my house, but I’m REALLY careful about what I watch and how I spend my time.

As a personal development junkie, and as a success coach, I’ve read a lot of success books.  A lot of the content from book to book is similar.  That doesn’t mean that the book is bad, that means that path to success is paved with universal principles.

What I loved about this book is Hardy’s no nonsense approach.  He’s not going to coddle you and make every principle flowers and ribbons, he gives you the tips and tells you to get to work.  This book is small and compact, and at first glance, I thought that it wouldn’t be as valuable as other books that I have that are larger, but there were more actionable success nuggets in this book, than you’d get from reading a 300 page book on success.

It was a quick, easy read, and really, that’s what success should be about.   Success isn’t a secret, it’s just work.  And as Hardy explains, the more you do little things the greater the results in your life.

One of my favorite quotes and biggest takeaways from the book is “Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.”  It’s amazing to me that all of these success books are saying the same things, and yet, the greater population still feels unfulfilled and unsuccessful.  If you DO the things successful people (like Darren Hardy) do you, too, can have a life way beyond your current wildest imagination.  I love that Hardy was willing to share what HE does that has brought him success.  He’s transparent and he’s right.

Don’t get overwhelmed, and don’t think it’s something out of your reach.  All you need is right there in The Compound Effect.

Book Review: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

Title: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

Author: Mike Michalowicz

End Rating: Worth Reading

Total Number of Pages: 175

Okay, so I’m going to come clean.  I read this book on the toilet.  No lie.  Something about the title and toilet paper on the cover (or perhaps that’s the only place a mom can get dedicated time to read a book) inspired me to read it on the porceline throne.

Let me start off by saying I’m a huge fan of Mike Michalowicz, the author, and after first being introduced to him in 2008, I’ve become involved in his community for entrepreneurs.  I’m on his email list (which isn’t annoying and always offers pertinent information), I watch his little movie segments online, and because of him and his emails, I was featured in the project “An American Entrepreneur” in 2009.  He’s started a number of successful businesses and can put his money where his mouth is.

I’ll start with what I liked: First of all, his book is overall a great read.  Michalowicz’s passion for business oozes out of every page, and you can tell this guy LOVES business ownership.  It’s a contagious passion that makes me inspired to run my business with more heart and he really digs deep with you PERSONALLY to find out what drives you to run or start your business.  We all have that voice inside us that he calls “The Wall of Limiting Beliefs” that tells us we’ll never make it, we’ll never make a single dollar, and so on, and he helps each person find what drives them to break down that wall.  It was a great reminder for me.  As I prepare for baby #2 (due in December) I’m faced with a whole new “Wall” and his book helped me get through some times when I wanted to just throw in the towel.

Second, like it’s title, it inspired me to use what I’ve got and run with it.  Especially in tough economic times, it’s easy to get discouraged and think “I don’t have the resources to …(fill in the blank).”  But we all have unique gifts and talents and we can use the resources we have instead of spending our time wishing we had others.  Michalowicz encourages creativity, ingenuity and hard work to get you through any business situation.  We could all use a reminder to be a little more positive and just get to work.

Here’s what surprised me (and I’ve shared my thoughts with him personally through Twitter): If you have a problem with occasional foul language, you’ll be surprised by the use of expletives throughout the book.  Michalowicz is a no-nonsense guy and he says it like it is.  If that’s a big deal to you, at least I warned you in advance.  Rest assured, you won’t find a swear word on every page, but they are there.  Perhaps in support of the “potty” theme throughout the book.  Michalowicz even warns in the introduction, “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart…”

One final note:  This is a GREAT book for those getting started in business or if you have a dream in development.  I’ve been in business for 10 years and I was still able to get GREAT information but he does gear his message towards those who are starting up.

Michalowicz says in the book, “My goal for The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur is to be different and far better than the traditional business books and burned-out grad school rhetoric, from the first word to the last.”  Well Michael, to me, you succeeded.  Thanks for a great read and I recommend it to all of you!

For more information about Michael Michalowicz and the TPE community go to http://toiletpaperentrepreneur.com.

Book Review: Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki

“The main reason people struggle financially is because they have spent years in school but learned nothing about money. The result is that people learn to work for money…but never learn to have money work for them.” Robert Kiyosaki
So, if you’re like me, you look at your meager savings account, and think about your monthly bills and wonder how you are ever going to get ahead. Maybe you are worried about retirement and wonder if you are going to have to work for the rest of your life. Perhaps you wonder if you should be investing the little money that you do have, or if you should buy investment property…maybe you just dream of these things. Maybe you are dissatisfied with your job, and you don’t know what you should do next.Might I recommend Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kyosaki? This book was recommended to me by my friend, Monty, about a decade ago, and I finally read it in 2008. It’s a book I should have read 10 years ago, but better late than never, right?

You might be thinking, “I don’t have any money to invest”. That may be true, but this book does a good job of providing a base level of financial education to help you think differently about your savings account, the rat race, and paying your bills. I do believe that at least SOME of the principles in this book apply to ALL of us. I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends, thirtysomethings with a few kids, a mortgage and possible student loan debt, if I didn’t think there was SOMETHING in there that might ring true. (Also great for you single folk, or you older friends who haven’t figured out what you are going to do for retirement!) I guarantee at least one take-away, one a-ha moment that will mean something to you.

Some of you might be thinking, “I won’t understand a book like this. It intimidates me”. That’s what has kept me from reading the book for a decade. This book is a VERY easy read. It’s not a lot of numbers, it’s a lot of facts about how the rich keep their money and everyone else gives their money to everyone else (Government, bill collectors, credit companies, etc.), except themselves. He talks about his life and how he went down the path from career hopping (with a purpose) to retirement at age 47. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Again, it may not all apply to you, but something might make you think a little differently about money and making it work for you, instead of YOU working for it.

It’s a $16.95 investment. I thought about just passing my book around to friends, but I think that it’s worth the $16.95 ($11.53 on Amazon.com) for you to have a copy of your own. Something you can read, highlight and perhaps reference in the future. You can find the book on Amazon and have it shipped straight to your door (you can also have it shipped for free with supersaver shipping if you add something else to your order to make it $25.00), or you can find this at any bookstore. If you can’t afford it, try checking it out from the library, but I think this is a book that you want to have in your personal library. If that doesn’t sell you on it, leave a comment and I’ll make sure to give this to you for your next birthday or as a Christmas present ;).

Have any of you read this book already? How did it help you? Have you read any other financial books I should get my hands on?

As Robert would say, let’s meet in Hawaii to talk about it (and write it off as a business expense)!

Book Review: One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey, by Kenneth Blanchard

Title: The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey

Author: Kenneth Blanchard with William Oncken, Jr. and Hal Burrows

End Rating: Purchase and Add to your Business Book Library (Rating Scale: Purchase and Add to your Business Book Library, Borrow from a friend or the library, Don’t waste your time)

Total Number of Pages: 137

Time Investment: Quick Read (Can be read in one to two dedicated sittings)

I first read The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey as a requirement for my Marketing Management class in college about 10 years ago.  I had already read the One Minute Manager, which I enjoyed, but found this to be a book that every manager and every business owner needs to read.  Furthermore, I think the principles in this book need to be understood at every level in the organization.

I don’t want to give away every detail of this book, because I’d like you to read it for yourself and then pass it along to others in your company to read and then return to you.  This could be a great topic of conversation for your next one-on-one with the managers in your organization (even if there are only two if you).  I do, however, want to share two key principles with you that will help you understand why I enjoyed it so much:

First, what is a “monkey”? According to Blanchard, “A monkey is the next move.” Have you ever been in a meeting where you left with a lot of to do items, and you wonder if they really belong to you?  Have you ever been assigned a task and wondered if that task is really what needs to be done?  Then you could be dealing with a monkey.  Once I read this book, I learned that certain tasks don’t have to be done well, if they just need to be finished quickly.  Now this sounds bad, but think about it.  Aren’t there tasks in your life that you don’t need to treat like a gold plated proposal to a customer?  Monkeys are tasks that take up our time that SHOULD be spent in other places.  Are you the creator of your product?  Delegate other tasks like bookkeeping, shipping, etc that can be done by other people.

Second, and to me the most important, Blanchard talks about the concept that “All monkeys, must be handled at the lowest organizational level consistent with their welfare.”  This single principle has guided my professional life for the last 10 years.   When working for others, I got lots of points for taking Monkeys off my boss’ backs.  I was a valued employee because I freed up their time to do what only they can do.  I pushed to have every other task handed to me, and they loved me for it.  Wouldn’t you love it if those working for you would take Monkeys off YOUR back? Now that I own my own business, and often I’m the only employee, I still find ways to have others help take Monkeys off my back.  Yes, I can spend 3 hours packing and shipping quarterly catalogs, but I can pay a neighbor kid to do it for me for $15 and my three hours are better spent on my marketing plan and execution, something I currently cannot pay anyone to do for $15.

I welcome your review! Have you read the One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey? What principles have made a difference for you?  If you haven’t read the book, did this make you think of a Monkey you can give to someone else?  Tell us what it is, and what you’re going to do about it.

The post was previously published on StartupPrincess.com