Book Review {The Magnolia Story & A Trip to Magnolia Silos}

One benefit of going through chemotherapy is the downtime. Whereas before chemo I didn’t take time to read books, I am now able to read a little more. One book I have wanted to read for awhile is The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper on HGTV.  I love their show and their enthusiastic spirit working together. It reminds me a little bit of me and Wayne as we have worked together on our businesses for over 8 years now. Albeit, Chip and Joanna have taken leaps to expand their business and their dreams. I give them a tremendous amount of credit for working hard, but still keeping their values intact.

 Their book was published in October, 2016 and I am just now finishing it. It took me a minute to figure out the writing style. They both wrote the book from their different perspectives and the font changes when one or the other is writing. Joanna writes the most and Chip provides excerpts and thoughts throughout.

I try to look for books that can inspire and this one fit the bill. The book takes us from each childhood throughout their time dating. They speak of what their families are like and how they were raised.  The bulk of the book shares how they started their business and what steps they took to finance and design and collaborate. They also speak of their faith and what inspires them to move forward in achieving their dreams. They are two very different people, but they do balance each other’s personalities. I respect their value system in making their family number one priority. Definitely a good read.

It just so happened that on our trip to Texas last October,  we were able to visit Magnolia at the Silos. I had been looking forward to visiting the market and the Silos Baking Co which had just opened earlier in the Summer. Waco, Texas was not what I expected. It sort of reminded me of an old town which had seen better days and  a better economy. There are a lot of run down areas in town. I got the impression Chip & Joanna Gaines have fueled a lot of income into this town and it is revitalized.  I often wondered when watching the show, why the prices are so low on these houses. I believe property prices will definitely go up with the added tourist connection and I am happy for the City of Waco.

Magnolia at the Silos was not too busy when we pulled in. However, parking is very limited and we had to park about two blocks away because there is no parking lot at the Silos. Many people parked on the street and a trolley is available to transport.

We were greeted at the door by Market employees who were very warm and friendly. The atmosphere in the Market is casual and the setup is beautiful. It wasn’t stark or cold and the items were displayed for easy access. I found a ton of cute, decorative “stuff” to bring home, but a lot of items seemed very expensive. I did buy a few things and when we checked out we were given a cute postcard with a thank you note and picture of Chip and Joanna. I thought it was a nice touch.

We visited the Magnolia Seed Supply which was a small building off to the side of the silos. The building was almost as small as a shed and didn’t offer a lot of merchandise, mostly t-shirts and “fairy garden” items. The garden outside of the Seed Supply is beautiful and quite large for the space. It was very well laid out and looked like an “active” garden space.

Our last stop was the Silos Baking Co. The line to get in wasn’t long for us and I think we were fortunate to visit at a slow time. There was a greeter at the door who handed us an order form and explained what the seasonal baked good was. We wanted to taste a selection of items so we ordered 2 cookies (which were large cookies) and one of each of the flavors of cupcakes. They were packaged beautifully and I was impressed with the attention to detail on each cupcake. Later that night we cut each cupcake into small bites and spread them on a platter to share after dinner. I didn’t think they were the best I have ever tasted, but a good cupcake. I think they are displayed creatively, but I think they must charge so much for each cupcake to pay for the packaging. I think the baked goods were a little pricey (but I could just be frugal?)!

I applaud Chip and Joanna Gaines for the awesome way they have created their business. I think they have created many jobs and increased the economy for Waco. They set a good example for families everywhere and I respect their values. I am inspired by their story.

If you would like to read their story, pick up their book here

I’m Dreaming of a……Ranch?

I started chemotherapy treatment for my breast cancer diagnosis 10 days ago. I think I did well according to others who have gone through it, but I was scared the entire time. I will share with you step by step on the procedure and  recovery in a new post this week, but today I just want to set cancer aside and dream. Dream of a ranch. What?

Funny, liberating, life changing things go through your mind when  you get a life threatening diagnosis. You start letting little things go. You let drama fade off. Little things no longer seem like big things. People and experiences take on a bigger meaning. AND you dream. For me, it is dreaming of a less stressful life with open air, a garden and more living on a ranch. I have always dreamed of living on a farmhouse long before farmhouses became the trend. However, we live in the high desert of Southern California where the only thing that people farm is, well, tumbleweeds? We also own a successful business and not moving from the area anytime soon. So, my husband explained that the difference between a ranch and  farm was that a farm is where you farm land  for food (duh! I’m not an idiot) and a ranch is a type of farm where you typically raise animals. BUT the goods news is you can have a farmhouse on a ranch. Lest you think I am losing it, I think you can put whatever house wherever you want it in whatever area you live in.  That’s exactly what I am going to do! Build a ranch in the desert.

The BIG plan is to wait until I am in remission before making any moves. Once we get the go ahead, we want to purchase at least 5 acres of land in a more remote area of the San Bernardino Mountains. We will  enclose the property with a fence and bring in utilities. Then we will build a barn (aka detached garage) and have friends or a family member move to the property to be a caretaker of the property and watch over the building process of the main house to ensure nothing is stolen while under construction. Once construction is complete we will move in and rent out the home we live in now.

I am not sure if my dream will come true, but there is more than a 50/50 chance we can make this happen. Focusing on this dream helps me get through chemo and think of better days ahead. I will keep you posted the closer we get to making it happen. A girl can dream right?

10 Steps to Start Your Own Business

As a woman who has started three businesses, I have a lot of experience on what to do and not to do. I have made a lot of mistakes, but I have learned from each mistake. Do you have an idea and just don’t know where to start? Let me help you!

Here are my top 10 Steps to Start Your Own Business:

1. Develop An Idea

Whether your idea is a cleaning business, selling vegetables at a farm stand, selling eggs, becoming a real estate agent or writing a book: think about what you are really good at and concentrate on what makes you happy. Start a business that you will love doing each day.

2. Research Your Market

Find out who is in the market for your idea. If you plan on selling pillow covers, who will your ideal clients be? Find out how many clients you can reasonably sell your products or services to.

3. Write A Mission Statement

Do not confuse this with branding. In order to stay focused on who your company (even if it’s just you!), write down your mission statement and follow it. A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company, organization or person; its reason for existing; a written declaration of an organization’s core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time. Your mission statement should read something like this:

One Step Woman is blog to inspire women to put value in her life by sharing ideas, knowledge and experience so that she can reach the best potential and happiness for her own life.  

4. Figure Out A Business Plan

Even if numbers aren’t your strong point, it is important  to write a business plan.  Know your product and know who your clients are so that you know how much money you can make with your idea. There are many business templates available. Find a simple template and see if your numbers work.

5. Establish A Budget

In my opinion this is the number one reason business succeed or fail. You must have a written budget for your home and your business. Write down how much it will cost to purchase your chickens, feed them, get a business license, health permits, packaging, etc.

6. Get Advice From A Mentor

I am not talking about your sister in law who just has an opinion, but from someone who has ran their own business successfully. Take this person to lunch, ask questions without interfering in their business. Give them something of value for them being your mentor.

7. Name Your Business 

This is the fun part. Make sure your name reflects the product. Our business name is Schultz Property Inspections. You got it…we do property inspections. Make it catchy so people will remember the name. Also check your Secretary of State website to ensure the name you want to use isn’t already registered. Google the name as well to see if someone else is using the name so that you can avoid any potential legal problems.

8. Brand Your Business  

What are your colors? Do you have a logo? Does your name, colors and logo all reflect the attitude of your business?

9. Secure Your Permits & Licenses

ALWAYS check with your local city hall to get the complete requirements to operate your business. Seek the advice of an accountant for tax purposes. Do not skimp on legalities. Its not worth getting fined because you did not start your business up correctly.

10. Enjoy The Ride!

There are so many more tips and lessons for opening your own business for you to learn. Most importantly, the feeling of success after you start making money doing what you love is totally worth it!

I am in the process of writing a detailed E-Course on How to Start Your Business. My target date is June 1 2017. I want to give you all the information I have learned to start three successful businesses. I know you can do it!

My Breast Cancer Journey {Having a Biopsy}

I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma on November 1, 2016. On December 27, 2016 my cancer was upgraded to Stage 3 due to the size of the tumor removed was 8.5 cm and one lymph node was malignant. One in 8 women will find out they have Breast Cancer each year. More than 80% of Breast Cancer diagnoses are Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. According to breastcancer.org :

“Invasive means that the cancer has “invaded” or spread to the surrounding breast tissues. Ductal means that the cancer began in the milk ducts, which are the “pipes” that carry milk from the milk-producing lobules to the nipple. Carcinoma refers to any cancer that begins in the skin or other tissues that cover internal organs — such as breast tissue. All together, “Invasive Ductal Carcinoma” refers to cancer that has broken through the wall of the milk duct and begun to invade the tissues of the breast. Over time, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma can spread to the lymph nodes and possibly to other areas of the body.”

This is my story….

So after I FOUND A LUMP,  I made an appointment with my primary doctor. I had just finished my post operative care for my hysterectomy so my doctor’s office was surprised I was making an appointment so soon. Once i told them why, they quickly made an appointment. Unfortunately, my primary physician left the practice so I had to see a nurse practitioner whom I had never met.  Once in the office, she asked me a few questions and examined my breasts. She told me she didn’t think it was anything to worry about and that she really couldn’t feel a lump. I insisted that I could feel the lump in my upper right breast. She told me that since I was insisting that I felt something, she would refer me to get an ultrasound to ease my mind. Insisting to get a second opinion would be the best decision I would ever make.

I was able to get an appointment rather quickly, which was the next week. Wayne went with me to my appointment at a Women’s Center. The Women’s Center completely specializes in women’s diseases. It was decorated very feminine and warm. I felt very comfortable there.

I was escorted to the back dressing rooms and changed into a gown. Since I had an ultrasound many times before I wasn’t too concerned. I was placed into a dimly lit room on a padded table. Two ultrasound technicians conducted the ultrasound. It lasted about 20 minutes. One of the technicians took her findings to a doctor who examined the pictures. The doctor then came into the room and introduced himself . He told me he wanted to take a better look at my right breast. I started to get a very uneasy feeling. My instincts told me I had breast cancer. After the doctor looked at the screen and asked me a few questions, he told me he wanted me to do a biopsy to get a closer look at the lump and know for sure whether or not it was cancer.

My biopsy was scheduled for November 1, 2016 at the Women’s Center with the same doctor. My Mom went with me to the appointment. I never had a biopsy and didn’t know how the procedure would go. The experience turned out to be one of the best I have had with a doctor. The nurse brought me and my Mom back to the dressing rooms. I changed into a gown and they took us into the doctor’s office where he thoroughly explained what to expect. He expressed his concerns about the size of the lump and the timeline to hear about the results of the biopsy.

The doctor took us into the exam room. A nurse was in the room waiting. They were both so sweet and caring. The doctor turned on some light music and brought out some aromatherapy oils (I kid you not!). He told me they were meant to relax me so it wasn’t such a scary experience. The nurse gave me a pillow and some tissues. The doctor rubbed some oils on my pillow. The nurse draped a sheet over my neck so I wouldn’t see what was happening during the biopsy. They allowed my Mom to stay in the room to make me more comfortable.

I laid on my side and was given a local anesthesia. I didn’t feel a thing! The doctor took five samples. I overheard the doctor and nurse talking about “floaters” and “Sinkers”. I asked what they were referring to. The doctor was very upfront with me and told me “floaters were benign and sinkers are most likely malignant”. I had one sinker.  I asked him if he thought t was cancer and he said “yes”. I didn’t cry. I think I knew in my gut that I had cancer, He told me to call my primary doctor and make an appointment no later than three days from my appointment so I could get the results immediately after she received them. I was able to get an appointment the following week within five days from my biopsy. The biopsy lasted about an hour.

My primary doctor (nurse practitioner) confirmed that I had cancer. Wayne went with me to the appointment. She gave me a hug and told me a story about her sister whom had cancer and made a complete recovery. I was encouraged by her story, but had so many questions that she could not answer. She told me most of my questions would be answered by my surgeon and oncologist. I was happy to know the wheels were in motion to curing my cancer and I was anxious to get moving.

Next time, a visit to the surgeon and how things started moving very, very fast! Until next time…

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