Partner Costumes for an Unwilling Partner

I enjoy making and wearing costumes.

Historical.  1890’s and 1790’s.

Historical. 1890’s and 1790’s.

Cosplay.  Get it? I’m Olaf the Snowman!

Cosplay. Get it? I’m Olaf the Snowman!

Halloween.  What does the fox say?

Halloween. What does the fox say?

My now college-aged daughters grew up wearing homemade costumes, and now create them for themselves.

My husband, on the other hand, does not like dressing in costume. In fact, I cannot show you the photos of him in his Hunger Games costume.

Hunger Games  cosplay. We look good, my  husband  looks miserable (so I edited him out).

Hunger Games cosplay. We look good, my husband looks miserable (so I edited him out).

In this video lesson, I show how to create one example of a partner costume, for when your partner is unwilling.

What is the issue? Being comfortable? Looking unusual? Both of these issues go away when you dress up as the American Gothic painting!

What are some other ideas for partner costumes with an unwilling partner?

Restaurant #2: Too Much Competition

Look at all the lovely, identical snakes for sale at the  pet store ! How can I choose?

Look at all the lovely, identical snakes for sale at the pet store! How can I choose?

How do you stand out in a crowded field?

Our town has a taco shop on nearly every street. How can they all stay in business?

Our Cuisine Quest to eat at every restaurant in our town took us to a taco shop we had never been to before.  My husband was excited that they had posole.  Posole is a soup with hominy and meat, often served with tortillas, cilantro, radishes, avocado slices, cabbage, or onions.

Not many taco shops have red posole! You can see how difficult it is to make  here .

Not many taco shops have red posole! You can see how difficult it is to make here.

I ordered a carnitas plate, which is pork served with items to eat separately, or together in a tortilla.

The pork carnitas were delicious, not too fatty, and enough for leftovers.

The pork carnitas were delicious, not too fatty, and enough for leftovers.

Again, my question is, how do you stand out in a crowd?

Personal attention.  For this restaurant, the lady at the counter seemed to know everyone who came in.  These individuals and families come again and again because they know someone will show that they are happy to see them!


Would we come back again?  For me, since there are so many taco shops in my town, I will be more picky.  I want a place with Coke products.  And, I prefer my guacamole to be more chunky.  Yes, those are little things, and with this restaurant being so friendly I am uncomfortable saying this, but I would go elsewhere.

My husband will be back again for that posole!  Unless the next taco shop has posole that is just as good….One fork up.

How do you stand out in a crowded field?

Five Reasons to Use Video for your Business


Why is video important for your business?  Video reveals personality.  Simple videos that show who you are can be an effective way to put a face and personality to your business name.

1. Every business should have video on it's website.  We do business with who we know, like, and trust.  Let your potential customer get to know you!

2.  Stand out with a Facebook Cover Video on your business Facebook page.  At the top of every business Facebook page is a square photo, usually used for a company logo, and a wide rectangle cover photo.  Put a cover video there!  Your page will be more engaging and create a richer experience for your audience by spotlighting your business in one of the most prominent spaces, your page cover. Video gets your brand remembered.

3.  Be shareable with a Facebook/Instagram ad.  88% of short videos (less than 1 minute) viewed on mobile devices are watched through to the end. The end is where you call to action is. People share video they find interesting or valuable or (especially) cute or funny.

4.  Take advantage of time-lapse, especially if your business creates or fixes something.  Search engines love video.  Time-lapse is eye-catching, especially if it enhances a more significant story.

5.  Promote your event with video.  Video conveys huge amounts of information in a short time through show and tell, and is more engaging to the senses.

Tonya Lehman, owner of Joy Lab, can help you with all your business and personal video needs!

Twice Baked Potatoes


Instead of getting tired of eating leftovers, change them into a freezer meal!

I ended up with lots of baked potatoes after a church lunch.  I like eating baked potatoes with melted butter, or with bacon and cheddar.  But I wanted to make something a bit more special.  Something that I didn’t have to eat right away.

Freezer meals are completely prepared dinners that you simply thaw and serve later.  Watch this video to learn how to change baked potatoes into fancy Twice Baked Potatoes for your freezer!

What would you put in your twice baked potatoes?


The Restaurant Rut

The Cuisine Quest begins......

sweet tomatoes souplantation salads soups bakery

My husband and I are in a restaurant rut.  We are trapped in a if/then feedback loop.

  • If we want tacos, then we go to Rubios Fish Tacos.

  • If we want salad, then we go to Souplantation.

  • If we want a burger, then we go to Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

We do have our favorite independent restaurants.  But they are also part of the rut.

It’s time to make a change!

But how?  What will keep us from falling back into old habits?

We will eat once at every single restaurant in town!

city limits sign

Our suburban city is 9 square miles of rolling hills, population 57,100.  Two interstate freeway traverse the city, with one high school, one large shopping mall, many strip malls, an older revitalized downtown, 12 parks, a civic center, and an active parks and rec program.

How do we find all the restaurants in our town?  Our town borders other towns seamlessly, so that most residents don’t know where one city ends and the next one starts.

yellow pages logo

In the old days, I would have simply looked in the restaurant section of the Yellow Pages.  Every restaurant would have been listed by city.  Easy!  But what about now?

Restaurants are businesses.  So, each would have a business license on file with the city.  According to our city website, I could get a list of all the restaurants with business licence for 50 cents each.  So, if there are 100 restaurants, that would cost me $50.  No, thank you!

typical city hall building
google maps logo

Google Maps has a search function.  I type in my city, then click NEARBY, then Restaurants.  It gives me 20 restaurants at a time, with a short description, and pins them on the map.  Total number of restaurants – 141!  But wait; some of those are nearby, and not in my town. I’ll have to cross check with the actual address.  Very tedious.

It turns out that the Yellow Pages has developed a partnership with Yelp, the online crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses.  In the search boxes, I can only find restaurants near my city, not only in my city.  But with Yelp, the address is in the search results, so I can easily pick out the correct restaurants.  At the top right, Yelp writes “Showing 1-10 of 1458”.  There cannot possibly be 1458 restaurants in my city! Or even near my city.

How do we refine our restaurant list?

yelp logo
mcdonald's logo

A lot of chain restaurants are on the Google Maps and Yelp list.  For our quest, we will ignore chain restaurants.  But when is a restaurant a chain?  Here is a good discussion about what makes a restaurant a chain.  For our purposes, if there are 5 or more of the same restaurant, we will not count it.

What about bars and pubs?  I’m not interested in hanging out at some dingy bar that happens to serve tater tots.  Not that there are any dingy bars in my town.  But, just in case, we will not include anyplace that is only over 21.

cocktails sign in neon
starbucks logo

And coffee shops?  I would not count Starbucks as a restaurant, but we have several independent coffee shops with breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.  If the coffee shop has made to order items, not just reheat the stuff in the display case, then we will count it.

How do we rate the restaurants we visit?

We are going to be simple here.  Would we return?  Forks up, or forks down.

How do we keep track of the restaurants we have visited, and have yet to visit?

We are map people.  We are chart and list lovers.  Stay tuned for details on how we corral that Yelp and Google Maps list into something manageable.

Any advice?

cute girls whispering secrets

Chemistry is Hard

Learn Something New with online video courses!  Share Your Passion by creating online video courses!

Passing chemistry is possible, but it is not easy!

  • You take notes in class.

  • You do the homework.

  • You ask questions.

  • You go to your professor's office hours.

It simply takes lots of time working many chemistry problems.  Here is a sample video tutorial.  Use this to help you with your next dimensional anaylysis problem.

How Often Should I Post Video on my Facebook Business Page?

facebook video image

How often should I post new video on my Facebook business page?

The bloggers say it depends.  On audience preferences, audience demographics, the size of your following, the type of your business.

The bloggers say to look at your data, look at your demographic.

The bloggers say to look at a business similar to yours, and to copy them. 

Let’s try that.

The directions by Sophia Dagnon in agora pulse are for your own business.  But let’s extend that to a type of business for which you don’t have Facebook Insights access.

Take Payment Processing.  Put Payment Processing Business in the search bar, and click Pages.  You want the business page to see how often they post video.  I’m comparing local companies, so I click that Category to the left.

screenshot of facebook search results payment processing business

How are they listed?  Who is listed first?  We won’t delve into the ever-changing mysteries of Facebook ranking here.

screenshot facebook search results

We have a range of number of likes, and star rating.  For brevity, let’s look at the first four on the ranking.

Total-Apps Advanced Payment Processing Solutions hasn’t posted anything for over 30 days for their 2K followers. Five videos, the most recent posted over 1 year ago.

Processing Point Inc hasn’t posted anything for over 3 months for their 311 followers.  No videos.

Elite Payment Processing hasn’t posted anything for over 2 months for their 1.5K followers.  No videos.

Central Payment Processing hasn’t posted anything for over 2 months for their 74 followers.  No videos.

Limited Conclusion:  Payment Processing businesses are not using video at all.

If you are a payment processor, should you invest in video for Facebook?

Yes.  The people who like these business pages are people who use their services already.  You want to drive new business to your company.  Invest in quality video, pay to boost it, and you will get people talking and sharing your video. 

We are still left with our first question:  How often should I post new video on my Facebook page?

Once a week.  We will have to do what the bloggers say, and rely on data.  Post one video, and see how many views and shares and likes and subscribers you get.  Next week, post another video and check results.  Third week, repost the first video.  By the fourth week, you will know if once a week works, or if it is annoying.  By the fourth week, you will know if any sales have happened, and can adjust accordingly.

Is that too much?  Is that overwhelming?  Then just post one quality video, and pay to boost the same video once a month.

Sometimes we just have to get our toes wet before jumping in.  Do one video.  Put one video out.  Don't worry if it isn't perfect.  If we wait for everything to be perfect, nothing will ever get done. 

If we wait for everything to be perfect, nothing will ever get done.
— Tonya Lehman, @JoyLabLearning