Unlock Lawless: Please Bail Me Out

MDA Lock-up

Fundraising isn’t as hard as you think; you just need to come up with a plan.  As part of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Lockup event, I need  to support one child to go to summer camp and be released from “prison”. By turning this project into a fun campaign, I am confident I will raise the $800.

The Setup

Holy crap, I’m locked up and in the slammer! I’ll explain later, but right now I *really* need your help. Please bail me out- I need $500 but $10 will do! Wire the money here: http://bit.ly/unlocklawless

Remember, I’m innocent until proven guilty….


Charged With: Caring too much about the kids

Bail must be raised by Thursday or else…

The Emotional Plea

While it’s not a real jail, it’s even more important as I’m raising bail to help children and adults with muscle disease in my community who are supported by the vital work of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

I might not be able to rely on good behavior to get out so that’s why I need your help – I need you to donate to my bail! Just click on the donation button to make a secure donation - I know that together we’ll Make a Muscle and Make a Difference in the fight against muscle disease.

Campaign Theme:  Orange is the New Black

Campaign Tactics:

  • Office bake sale (Hugs & Kisses M&M Pretzel Bites)
    Since I’m being locked up, we figured something orange (or prison striped) could convince people to donate to my cause. The Hugs and Kisses M&M Pretzel Bites below should do the trick.)
  • Office orange sale
    A lot of people in our office are getting fit and losing weight. Clementines still provide them with a sweet treat while sticking with our Orange is the New Black theme.
  • Social media outreach
    We all need a little help from our friends from time to time. What better time to reach out to those who care most about you than when raising money for a good cause.



hugs and kisses


Rold Gold Pretzels
Hershey Kisses and Hugs
Fall M&M’s

Fall M&M's


Heat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pretzels on cookie sheet. Unwrap Hershey kisses and hugs and place on top of pretzels. Bake in over for 5 minutes or until kisses and hugs are shiny. Remove kisses and hugs pretzels from the oven and carefully press an M&M into the top of each kiss or hug. Place candies into the refrigerator to harden (about 30 minutes-1 hour). Enjoy!

pretzel bites


Tweet to share:

Owner of Discovering Arkansas @CourtneyRVL is locked up! Seriously. We need your help to bail her out. Wire $ here: http://bit.ly/unlocklawless


My Most Recent Paintings

Ever since I decided that I was going to paint 12 paintings in 2014, I have been on a painting streak.  I just love how relaxed painting makes me feel and once I complete a piece, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

Here are the paintings I have painted so far this year:

Decisions, DecisionsDecisions, decisions

Out of Darkness

Out of Darkness



Follow Your Arrow

Follow Your Arrow





A Beautiful Day on the Crystal Bridges Art Trail



It was a beautiful day today in NWA, so we decided that after so many days stuck in the house, we would get outside and enjoy the springlike weather by taking a walk on the Crystal Bridges Art Trail.














2014 Bucket List

bucket list

I was inspired by my friend Tonya Staab to create a 2014 Bucket List. It’s a great way to try new things, make goals and bring inspiration to your everyday life.  So, without further ado, here is my 2014 Bucket List:

1. Run a 5k

2. Zipline in the Ozarks

3. Paint one painting each month of the year = 12 paintings- Torn, Follow Your Arrow, Storm, Out of Darkness, Decisions, Decisions, Wounded

4. Read 24 books (or more)- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, Zoo by James Patterson, 12th of Never by James Patterson

5. Stay in a haunted hotel

6. Attend the Eureka art fair

7. Learn to canoe

8. Take a karate class

9. Spend a weekend visiting Arkansas wineries

10. Throw a dart at a map of Arkansas and spend a weekend exploring wherever it lands

11. Host a Sole Hope party

12. Go camping with the family

13. Wine and a hot tub with someone special after dark

14. Cook every dish in a cookbook

15. Take the kids horseback riding

16. Dig for diamonds

17. Take a painting class

18. Go to the opera

19. Eat at a new restaurant once a month

20. Do something spontaneous

21. Join a board

22. Girls weekend/day at a spa

23. Road trip to a state I’ve never been

24. Volunteer

25. Oaklawn horse races in Hot Springs

26. Review every restaurant on the square and blog it

27. Hike 5 new trails

28. Help clean up a park/lake/etc

29. Create a new family tradition

30. See the broadway show Chicago

31. Go to a comedy show

32. Plant a flower garden with the kids

33. Date night at a drive-in movie

34. Have family game night once a week

35. Fly in a hot air balloon

Kale Caprese Salad


We are always trying to come up with different types of salad recipes.  We love to go to the Farmer’s Market in Saturday morning and pick up local fruits and vegetables.

This weekend we picked up some basil, kale, green onion, heirloom tomatoes, peaches, broccolini, strawberry jam, red/yellow/green peppers and some really pretty succulents.


Kale Caprese Salad Recipe


Heirloom Tomatoes
Green Onion
Mozzarella Cheese
Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar

After washing and cutting the kale, we drizzled a few teaspoons of olive oil over the leaves.  Then we chopped up the green onion and placed on greens.  Then we sliced the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and placed them on top of the salad.  We then tore pieces of basil and placed on top.  We finished the salad with balsamic vinegar.  All of the flavors worked very well together!

Do I Care What Guys Think About My Lipstick?


Do I care what guys think about my lipstick?  Not really. I wear lipstick when I want to and when I don’t, I don’t.  I go with my personal preference.  I pick colors that I think look good and I usually stick with one lipstick for a long period of time.


I purchased a bold, bright red lipstick on my last trip to London that tastes like cherry and stays on my lips all day long.  I’ve gone boating, swimming, hiking, out to dinner, enjoyed a frozen yogurt all while wearing my favorite lipstick called Alarm by Rimmel London.  No one can believe how long it lasts and I get compliments every time I wear it.  I bought two tubes of Alarm while in London for fear I wouldn’t find it in the states.  Luckily, I checked to see if Walgreens carried it and sure enough, they did… so I can breath a sigh of relief.

Alarm by Rimmel

 I love my  Rimmel lipstick, but I was intrigued by a Huffington Post article today,  “Here’s What Guys Actually Think About Lipstick”.  I work with men in a professional environment and am married to a man, so I wanted to gain some insights into their thoughts about lipstick.

It looks like men like lipstick on a woman, as long as it’s the right color and looks attractive.  Some like a more natural look…


photo: Huffington Post

Some like a bold red lip…

red lipstick

photo: Huffington Post

My conclusion…

I’m going to continue to  wear my red Alarm lipstick with confidence and enjoy every minute of it!

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Part of Discovering Arkansas means discovering things to do in my own backyard, so Saturday morning seemed like the perfect time and day to head over to the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, AR.


For residents, admission into the Botanical garden is FREE Saturday mornings from 9am-noon.  What a perfect way to start the day!





We saw beautiful flowers, lush gardens, fountains, goldfish, butterflies, bumble bees, dragonflies, sculptures, statues, lily pads, caterpillars and so much more! Botanical-Garden-Fayetteville




chicken-botanical-gardens For more information on hours, directions and admission fees check out the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks website (here).

Check out other staycation ideas in North West Arkansas (here).

My Saturday Garage Sale Finds

garage sale

We went garage sale hopping on this fantastically beautiful Saturday and found some deals!

Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses: 10 cents

5 canvases in various sizes that I plan on painting over: $1.50

Barbie futon: $3

2 White milk glass candy dishes: $10


Total spent: $14.60




Hundreds of Ways to Enjoy Your City on a Budget




Mid Atlantic

NW (or all), Connecticut :: Parenting Miracles
Boston (or all), Massachusetts :: Maven of Savin
Central, New Jersey :: Our Good LIfe
Adirondak Mountains and Central, New York :: For This Season
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York :: Ann’s Entitled Life
Syracuse, New York :: I am THAT lady
Erie, Pennsylvania :: Growing Kids Ministry
Greater Harrisburg, Pennsylvania :: Family Balance Sheet
Hershey, Pennsylvania :: Good Deal Mama
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania :: Beyond the Cover
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania :: The Coupon “High”
Poconos, Pennsylvania :: Bucktown Bargains
Scranton, Pennsylvania :: Bucktown Bargains


Des Moines, Iowa :: Make the best of everything
Aurora, Illinois :: A Savings WOW!
Central, Illinois :: The Homeschool Scientist
Chicago, Illinois :: Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Naperville, Illinois :: The Sensible Mom
Schaumburg, Illinois :: Ravings By Rae
Fort Wayne, Indiana :: Simplified Saving
Indianapolis, Indiana (Metro Area) :: In Good Cents
Muncie, Indiana (Central IN) :: the daisyhead
Northern Indiana :: So Dough Savvy
Kansas City Area :: Kansas City Mamas
Metro Detroit, Michigan :: Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Rapids, Michigan :: Give Me Neither
Oakland County, Michigan :: Bargain Shopper Mom
Minneapolis, Minnesota :: Creative Couponing
Rural Minnesota (either Southern our Lake Country) :: Mommysavers.com
St. Cloud, Minnesota :: Frugal Finders
Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas :: Kosher on a Budget
Springfield, Missouri :: Getting Freedom
Cincinnati, Ohio :: Family Friendly Cincinnati
Columbus, Ohio :: Cleverly Simple
Dayton, Ohio :: Savings Lifestyle: Dayton
Mansfield, Ohio :: The Traveling Praters
NE Ohio :: Raising Lifelong Learners
Northeast Ohio (Canton, Akron, Cleveland) :: Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring
Black Hills, South Dakota :: Little House Living
South Dakota :: Moms Mustard Seeds
Oshkosh, Wisconsin :: Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom


Phoenix, Arizona :: Mom Endeavors
Scottsdale, Arizona :: Saving For Someday
Tucson, Arizona :: Desert Chica Ramblings
Colorado Springs, Colorado :: The Greenbacks Gal
Denver, Colorado :: Bargain Blessings
Helena, Montana :: The WiC Project
Omaha, Nebraska :: Mom Endeavors
Reno, Nevada – Lake Tahoe (Northern Nevada) :: Saving in Nevada


Fresno, California (Central Valley) :: NerdFamily Blog
Los Angeles, California :: Savings.com
San Diego, California :: Good Cheap Eats
San Diego, California :: Life as MOM
Portland, Oregon :: Frugal Living NW
Seattle, Washington :: Thrifty NW Mom

South Atlantic

Arkansas :: Discovering Arkansas
Washington, DC :: Kidventurous
Clearwater Beach, Florida :: Bargain Briana
Jacksonville, Florida :: Saving The Family Money
Southwest Florida (Ft. Myers area) :: Chaos Is Bliss
St. Augustine, Florida :: Simply St. Augustine
Tallahassee, Florida :: SwagGrabber
Atlanta, Georgia (metro area) :: Hodgepodge
Atlanta, Georgia (metro area) :: The Couponing Couple
Annapolis, Maryland :: The Happy Housewife
Hagerstown, Maryland :: Cheryl Pitt
Asheville, North Carolina :: Paradise Praises
Charlotte, North Carolina :: from our front porch lookin’ in…
Raleigh/Southeastern, North Carolina :: Upside Down Homeschooling
Upstate South Carolina :: The Tween & Me
Charlottesville, Virginia :: How to Have it All
Richmond, Virginia :: Teachers of Good Things
Smithfield, Virginia :: Walking in High Cotton
Virginia Beach, Virginia :: The Coupon Challenge

South Central

Coastal Alabama :: Meet Penny
Huntsville, Alabama :: The Traveling Praters
Northern Kentucky :: Simply Sherryl
Chattanooga, Tennessee :: Living Chic on the Cheap
East Tennessee (Smoky Mountains, Knoxville) :: Finding Joy on the Journey
Nashville, Tennessee :: Montessori Tidbits
Arlington, Texas :: Grocery Shop For FREE
Austin, Texas (Hill Country) :: Ponder the Path
College Station, Texas :: How to Homeschool My Child
Dallas, Texas :: Surviving The Stores
East Dallas, Texas :: Funky Faith Girl
Fort Worth, Texas :: Coupons & Freebies Mom
Houston, Texas :: MomsToolbox
Houston, Texas :: MyLitter
Katy, Texas :: Moms Confession
McAllen, Texas (Rio Grande Valley) :: iLoveMy5Kids
San Antonio, Texas :: Melissa’s Bargains

Fatal Errors Managers Make


I’ve been in a manager role for over 15 years.  It started back in my early 20′s when I managed surf and skate shops in San Diego and currently I’m a Vice President of Community Relations for a social shopper media company called Collective Bias.  In my current position, I manage over 1800 people which includes part time to full time contractors, full time employees and 1700 bloggers.

Although I have managed people for many years, I am always learning and continue seek out different ways of managing.

I just finished the book 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make and How You Can Avoid Them by W. Steven Brown and would love to share the key learnings I took away.  Some of these are things I already knew, but one can never be reminded enough.

  1. No effective manager allows an employee to enter his or her office with a problem that the employee does not carry out the door upon leaving.  It’s fatal to your time, and their performance.
  2. The wise manager seeks his closest friendships outside the company, because he thereby avoids the great temptation to establish improper affiliations in the workplace.  This is especially hard when you work in a startup.  We are in our 4th year at Collective Bias and some of us have been with the company since the beginning. Having spent MANY hours together has brought us very close to each other and our families.
  3. If someone comes to a meeting late, assume that that person has a reason for doing so.  If someone leaves early, assume that reason is perfectly acceptable.  On the other hand, if there is perpetual lateness, then it’s time to privately find out why.
  4. Deal with employees one on one.  This is a BIG one.  If you are upset or have a problem with someone’s behavior, speak to them privately.  Leaving the office is best, but reprimanding someone in front of other employees can be more fatal to your employees respecting and trusting you.
  5. Never do anything with an employee that you would not do with your firm’s number one client or customer.  I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one.  It’s completely self explanatory.
  6. To manage you cannot put the welfare of any individual above the welfare of the organization.  Everyone who manages effectively lives by this rule, and sometimes it hurts.
  7. Draw the employees husband or wife into the employee’s success.  Take any opportunity to thank him or her for being supportive of the employee.
  8. Never reprimand a person until he has demonstrated the desired behavior.  Successful managers refuse to condone incompetence.  If someone joins your company and doesn’t possess the skill set you hoped for, then it’s your duty to train and coach them.
  9. Positive confrontation calls for the manager to act quickly, before the problem grows.  This is one that managers struggle with ALL the time.  No one likes to have hard conversations, but they are crucial to your growth as a manager and to the growth of the employee.  Crucial!
  10. Set company or division goals and make it a game.  If goals are met, give everyone a prize.  As a company we have sales goals and every time we have a goal, we have achieved the prize dangling at the end of the stick.  From new a iPhone 5 to American Airlines vouchers when there is a prize at the end of the finish line and everyone works together as a team to win, it seems to be the key at getting results.
  11. Know your people, but if you become a marriage counselor of financial advisor, you have overstepped your boundaries.  I know you want to be there for your employees, but you need to set boundaries and you need to be clear when they have been overstepped.  I have stopped someone mid conversation to let them know they were sharing too much.
  12. Don’t rank employees.  This is something that I made the mistake of doing just a few months ago and stopped because it hurt some employees feelings.  I never thought about how it would make  someone feel when I did it.  I actually thought it would encourage the ones at the bottom to rise to the top.  For some it did and the competition was on full force, but some others gave up because of the embarrassment it caused them.
  13. Gradually transition responsibilities.  Just because you promote someone into a manager position from a non-manager position doesn’t mean they are going to suddenly act like a manager.  Give them time to transition into their role and make sure you are coaching them along.  This will prove to be more successful and benefit you and your new manager.