Saturday, November 30, 2013

2013 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Gift Guide

Welcome to the 2013 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fan Gift Guide. For some people the only gift wanted under the tree or in the stocking is something that has to do with their favorite NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. For all of you buying for Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans, including yourself, here is a gift list entirely for you. Ten gifts at all different price points for the hardcore Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan. All items featured have the most current websites available. Just click the link. Enjoy and Happy Shopping! Make it a Dale Earnhardt Jr./ No. 88 Christmas!

Driver #8 By: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jade Gurss -

In the Red: The 2001 Season With Dale Earnhardt Jr. By: Jade Gurss

NASCAR Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy Pit Crew Set by K'NEX

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3 pack of Golf balls

Chase Authentics Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 2013 Straightaway T-Shirt – White

Wave 7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Cue Ball and “88” Eight Ball

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Race Day Pack

Insignia Collection NASCAR Dale Earnhardt Jr. Leather Bracelet & Sterling Silver "88" Bead Set

WinCraft Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Keg-a-Que -

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Out Of The Shadow Of Greatness

Friday, November 29, 2013

2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome in to the 2013 Holiday Gift Guide.

Hopefully this piece will serve you with offerings of great, unique gifts that those you are buying for – even if that’s you – will love.

The Cozy Scarf – Christmas comes at the start of winter which means months of cold, blustery weather. Even if you live in warmer climates a cold snap can make you want to cuddle up in something warm yet fashionable. The Cozy Scarf is a handmade accessory that is as functional and practical as it is beautiful. Get your orders in by December 15th for Christmas delivery.

Custom Jewelry by Tammy – Looking for just the right bauble? Tammy will work with you on design and create a unique piece for you. She carries a huge array of beads, charms, and themes to make all kinds of jewels. Customer service is top-notch, the price point is reasonable, and the finished product is always stunning! If doing a custom order, contact Tammy a.s.a.p. for Christmas delivery. Also, check out the jewelry and other giftware Tammy has in stock for sale.

Nutrition Map: Your Guide To Eating Healthy In The Real World By: Yvonne Quinones Syto – A fabulous, accessible, and wonderful book that breaks down the path to a healthier lifestyle in week by week format. This is NOT a diet book but a lifestyle changer. Small changes add up to overall better health. Easy to read, follow, and stick with for a brand new you in 2014 and beyond!

Stephanie Calinoff One of a Kind Glass Jewelry – Her works are recognizable, highly regarded, and truly one-of-a-kind. Spiritual, charitable, inspirational, and charming are words to describe Calinoff’s line of jewels. Learn about her connection to NASCAR, charities, and more and pick up some of these gorgeous creations for yourself and some lucky women on your gift list.

Drafting the Circuits gear – Race fans who love the articles, radio programs, and social media updates provided by Drafting the Circuits would love to proudly wear and showcase the DTC label on clothing, housewares, etc. A full range of products at every price point is available.

Fast Lane Poetry by Unique Hiram – A terrific read for an avid race fan or someone who doesn’t get it… yet! Definitely a great gift for anybody who loves a illuminative read. Hiram has written two other books all of which are worthy reads and wonderful gifts. For ordering information look here:

Domestic Goddess – The wonderful smells of good food and drink are lovingly handmade and reproduced for scented candles by this amazing business. Charmingly named, pleasingly scented with homemade goodness, these candles will light your holiday season and beyond. One candle and you’ll be hooked! To find product to purchase, shop here:
Please allow 5-7 days for orders to be filled.

Chief 187™ gear – Fan of Simple Joys? Love the articles at Chief 187™Chatter? Follow Chief 187™ on Facebook and Twitter? Why not own some gear that profiles it? Good quality products with Chief 187™ emblazoned on every piece.

Circle of Hope: An Inspiring NASCAR Journey written by Deann Alford – A NASCAR book off the beaten path that highlights true stories of lesser known drivers. From Buzzie and David Reutimann to David Gilliland, this uplifting and interesting book is a must-have for the NASCAR fan who needs a fix in the off season!

These are nine suggestions for sites to buy an endless combination of gifts. They are “small business” and the backbone of America. The products, books, and items are reasonably priced and would make wonderful gifts for those on your list, including you!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prepping For The Holidays 2013

As Thanksgiving Week settles in our nation, thoughts turn from turkey dinner, football, and pumpkin pie to endless Christmas lists. The need to decorate, purchase gifts, wrap, and organize a fabulous Christmas exists all within the desire to have budgets that leave us less anxiety-ridden in January than we’ve ever been before.

There are ways to make Christmas “lavish” without the outrageous price tags. It takes a little time and effort – and a strong resolve – but it can be done.

First, it’s important to be realistic. In this material world we live, do we need more stuff? In the interest of making room, take two to four days to sweep through your home and discard old toys, clothes, appliances, and the like that are still in working order but don’t work in your life. Donate them so others may reap the benefits of their greatness still left.

For broken toys, games with missing pieces, soiled clothes that can’t be fixed, and anything unusable, throw out. Just purge, it’s time.
There, look around and see what you’ve gained by taking things OUT of the house!

Next, time to think creatively about how to make this Christmas spectacular. Is it the latest game, toy, electronic, or clothing that your family will always remember? They all tend to be discarded and forgotten about a few months (and in some cases a few hours) after Christmas.
Of course there need to be presents, I’m not suggesting otherwise, but a fresh approach needs to be taken.

First, find out the one gift on the recipient’s list that they truly want – just one. Make sure it is a reasonable item that will be used, loved, and appreciated. Tall order but an important fact; what we buy nowadays must be “worth it” as money is a scarce resource.

Next, fill in gifts around the main one that are awesome but not necessarily advertised to the person.

For children put the toys of old out: jump rope, kick ball, bubbles, hacky sack, baseball and glove, sidewalk chalk. These items aren’t overly expensive and promote activity, especially outside. If you are fearful the children won’t like them because all they asked for is video games, it is imperative you go this route! To sweeten the deal, tell the child you will go out and show them how to play with these toys. Children simply want our time and attention. They are so used to being told to watch television or play a video game they seem to not care, but they are hungry for interaction with parents/adults.

Children of all ages might enjoy a fresh pack of Crayola crayons and a coloring book/sketch pad depending on their creativity/skill level. This can either be a main gift or a stocking stuffer. Add lined paper and pens/pencils for the inspiring writer/story teller.

Consumables are always a great idea. These are items you use and then are finished – food, hygiene staples, cleaning supplies, candles. Whether you replenish what you know the recipient has and uses or try to introduce them to a great product you endorse, these gifts are usually welcomed. They are not items that “take up room” “require dusting” or “waste space”.

This is not the time to buy the dollar store potent perfume, food that smells funny, or deodorant that is untested. Be sure your gift is not added to the “circular file” and thrown out behind your back. That serves nobody.

Finally, take a tip from elementary students everywhere who lovingly craft “coupon books” for their loved ones. Instead of “I’ll clean my room” you can create your own special coupons for the loved ones in your life. The sky’s the limit and, again, spending time together or offering a service will be remembered and appreciated far longer than the “must-have” item.

Christmas can come with high expectations and an even higher price tag. By planning ahead and taking control of the mood of the season/big day, you can make Christmas spectacular and more meaningful than ever.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter.

Thanksgiving Week is finally here and my heart is bursting. This has been a year full of twists and turns, heartache and heart-soaring, and everything in between. I tried to give up Simple Joys for a bit, but I couldn’t stand it.

Simple Joys offers me an outlet to focus on the positives in my life. It allows me the incredible gift of perspective. Simple Joys gives me balance and forces me to recognize that not only do I have much to be thankful, but that I am truly blessed.

And now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – It’s been a long time since I’ve indulged and truly enjoyed a network television series. My family discovered the Marvel blockbuster movies this past spring and has been watching every one we can. When we heard about the television show connected to the movie franchise, we tuned in to watch. The greatness of the program keeps us coming back.

We always sit down together as a family – once my four-year-old daughter is sleeping – to watch the action. And I can tell you, being hooked on the show is an intense and rollicking great Simple Joy.

Christmas Music – I am one of those people who loves the Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I refuse to decorate my home in Christmas decorations until the day after Turkey Day, but hearing the music sometime after Halloween makes me smile from the inside out.

It must do that for other people. I remember not too many years ago I’d be lucky to hear a Christmas song occasionally on the air in the days leading up to Christmas and then only on Christmas Eve and Day would the station go to 24 hours of seasonal songs.

But in recent years the Christmas music starts the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year I heard one station turn their format over to all Christmas music two weeks before Turkey Day! It seems that people are looking for feel-good music nowadays.

Whatever the reason, I am relishing every moment of 24/7 Christmas music on my radio stations. It’s a Simple Joy I look forward to every year and makes me giddy!

Bowling – My boys have been doing a Rec bowling deal after school one day a week. They are having a lot of fun although they’re not great bowlers. Friends of ours love to bowl so they suggested we hit the lanes over the weekend. We had the best time. My husband, daughter, and I got to bowl along with the boys and our friends for an afternoon of fun, exercise, and friendship.

We’ve decided to add bowling to our weekend adventures and that is a Simple Joy to look forward to often!

Falling Asleep on the Couch – The first Friday night I have had off in a long time was spent at home taking care of my children, wrapping some gifts for the holidays, and sitting on my couch to watch a program that did not involve racing, social media, or, well, thinking of any kind. I was fully vested in the program when what seemed like all of a sudden my husband came out of nowhere to wake me up.

Apparently someone had struck me with a sleep stick, my couch tried to swallow me, and I was defenseless to it all!

It’s a rare treat, but falling asleep on my couch on a Friday night after accomplishing much was a most decadent Simple Joy.

Off season – I love NASCAR and racing passionately, but, like any job, I enjoy a vacation. The off-season is here just in time for me to throw myself into the holiday season. I can make Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons enjoyable and full for my family and friends – we host EVERYTHING – and recharge my batteries.

On the flip side, I still want to connect to all of my friends who hang with me on the Drafting the Circuits Facebook page, read my articles, and listen to the show. The off-season allows me myriad ways to do that that do not revolve around a specific race venue.

Having an off-season to reconnect with loved ones, enjoy the holiday season, and get psyched for the 2014 season is a long-awaited, much-appreciated, and highly anticipated Simple Joy.

This time of year always makes me nostalgic. Looking back on the year that was I see my friends’ list has grown tenfold, some friendships repaired, some irreparable and discarded for mental health, and other relationships tended.

Simple Joys is a gift I give myself – and one I share with you.
I hope that my ramblings of my personal Simple Joys inspire you to find your own.

And I hope that on this Thanksgiving Week you take a moment to remember to take the time to experience all of the Simple Joys available to you.

For me, you all are all my Simple Joys.

Thank you.

Wishing you a week full of Simple Joys and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter.

It can be very frustrating and irritating when life doesn’t go the way we planned or the way we want it to. Expectations that are high can plummet to the Earth leaving us put out, angry, and hurt.

These are the times connecting with one’s Simple Joys are so necessary. Of course we want to get our way all of the time, but accepting what we are given allows for peace. Lowering our expectations provides sanity.

I’m not at all stating we should give up on trying hard, reaching our goals and dreams, or anything of the sort. My point is, let life happen some, too. Give yourself time to live, roll with the punches, and get up when you’re knocked down.

In the meantime, try to find your Simple Joys. It isn’t hard as they are available for anyone with an open mind and an open heart.

Simple Joys can be as small as a silly joke that makes you laugh out loud, a phone call from a friend, or the hug from a child. Delicious foods, bike rides, favorite television shows, sports events, and romantic evenings rank as Simple Joys. I needn’t define them, you do that for you.

And now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

School holiday. My children had three days off of school at the end of last week. We had a long, glorious weekend spread before us. It was like having a mini-taste of summer vacation in the cold autumn weather. The boys didn’t sleep in, not once, as they were allowed to play the Wii on weekends and school holidays only. But we also hung out, had leisurely meals, sang to the iPod, and giggled a lot.

Breaking out of the rigorous schedule to indulge in complete and total relaxation was a sublime Simple Joy I shared with my children whom I adore.

Date Night. The only thing that is better than spending quality time with my children? It is spending alone time with my husband. We spent five awesome hours together alone on a date on Friday and it was blissful. We got the car inspected, had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (first time), and got me a new bicycle! It was so cool because we talked uninterruptedly, held hands, kissed a lot, and simply reveled in one another’s company.

Periodically spending alone time with my handsome, sexy husband who is also my best friend is a Simple Joy that lights up my world.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Mmmmmm. Inexplicably bright green, filled with flat pieces of rich dark chocolate, and minty and refreshing, I luxuriate in eating mint chocolate chip ice cream and savoring each spoonful and lick.

I do not eat mint chocolate chip ice cream often, but when I do I delight in every mouthful that is its own Simple Joy!

Denim jacket. I’ve owned the same denim jacket with sweatshirt sleeves since I was a freshman in college, nearly 25 years ago. Although I’m sure my body has changed through the years – marriage and three babies can do that to you – the jacket still fits, looks great, is timeless, and is like an old friend.

Having a versatile, stylish, and comfortable jacket that has been with me for so long is a Simple Joy I have enjoyed for a quarter century! Think of the cost per wear!

Prepping for Thanksgiving. I know the holiday is a few weeks away, but I am already excited for and planning my Thanksgiving holiday. My husband and I are hosting family and friends – 16 in all – so I’ve already started gathering some essential non-perishable items. Last year our family was alone on this holiday weekend – we even took the children out for sushi and a movie Thanksgiving Day!

Having – and wanting – hosting duties for Thanksgiving and loved ones surrounding us, including dear friends, is a most gratifying Simple Joy to anticipate.

These Simple Joys tell my story. It gives me great pleasure to share them with you. My hope has always been that through reading my Simple Joys you will be inspired to seek and realize your own. I think we all experience Simple Joys we just don’t always recognize them.

Whether you write them down like I do, talk about them, or at least think about them, I hope you identify the Simple Joys in your life.

Wishing you a week filled with Simple Joys!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter.

If it’s one thing I’m learning it is to enjoy life daily. All too often I get caught up in the minutia of life. Of course, it’s important to remember to pay the bills, sign up for classes, clean the sink traps, and shower, but worrying about things - death, illness, missing an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - doesn’t fix them.

When I worry I rob myself of limitless opportunities to find and enjoy my Simple Joys. By relaxing the “worry muscle” I can concentrate on simply living. Life will happen.

Man plans. God laughs.

Well, I’ll always be a planner, but I’m learning to be more flexible and just let things be.

When I make room for spontaneity, allow for variables, and smile instead of fret, my life becomes abundant with Simple Joys.

And now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Pumpkin Seeds. Carving pumpkins is an annual tradition in our family like many who celebrate Halloween. But, in addition to creating faces and scooping out pumpkin guts, we do an extra step in our family. We sort out the wet, gooey seeds to be rinsed, dried and roasted in the oven with olive oil and salt. They come out toasty, crunchy, and salty and are completely addictive!

Yielding a ton of luscious pumpkin seeds from our three awesome Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns is a tantalizing Simple Joy.

Halloween. In my part of the world we’ve been robbed of a Halloween for two consecutive years. This was the first time in a long time we’d been able to dress up without snow boots on actual Halloween (October 31st) and hit the streets of our community to Trick-Or-Treat.

We all dressed up, set out to collect mounds of delectable candy, and enjoy the completeness of the holiday. We did and it was a Simple Joy we all savored!

Bike Riding. Every member of Team 187 finally has bicycles and can ride them. Most of them are relatively new – less than 2 years old – and then there’s mine which is about 50 years old but still works beautifully.

We took to the trail at a local park and took in nature’s glory at this time of year. As a family we spent time outdoors, exercising, and appreciating natural beauty. Spending quality time together – again – in such a quality way is a Simple Joy we are making a regular part of our routine.

Grandpa. I’ve had occasion to write about this dear man in the past and am so blessed to have the opportunity again. At 93 years old, my husband’s grandfather is still making visits to see us. He is still mobile, with help, and able to carry conversations with us and our children knowing who we all are.

It is never easy to go through life on terms that aren’t your own. I’m sure if Grandpa had his druthers he’d be physically spry and still have Grandma by his ever-loving side, but he does the best he can with what life has dealt him. I learn a lot from that man.

Having a wonderful man and a priceless resource to learn life lessons in the family is a Simple Joy to the Nth degree.

Time alone. With the grandparents in town to celebrate my husband’s Halloween birthday we were relieved of our parenting duties while the children spent the night at the hotel with them. We couldn’t believe our luck, but as veteran parents we didn’t look the gift horse in the mouth. We set out immediately to enjoying our time alone and enjoy it we did – immensely. It was the shot in the arm needed to jumpstart our marriage and remind us that we are more than Mom and Dad. We have tried throughout our marriage to do that, but sometimes time and resources work against best laid plans.

Having a rare night all alone in our home was a wondrous, restorative, romantic, and mind-blowing Simple Joy.

What I’m trying to do is learn from those around me. I mentioned the life lessons I’m gleaning from observing and talking to Grandpa. But I’m also taking note of my daughter. At four no matter how dismal things seem for her one moment (and she is a dramatic child) she is ready to laugh heartily at the drop of a hat.

Her mood is elevated, her cares behind her, and her grudges gone. Carefree, uninhibited laughter that belies only the joy it brings. Her world is populated with Simple Joys.

So, as I go about my week I try to incorporate these important elements to my overly taxing, stupidly stressful life. By being more accepting, relaxed, and flexible the Simple Joys will just naturally occur more frequently for me to enjoy.

These are my personal Simple Joys. I hope you take a few moments each week to write down, speak, or at least think of the Simple Joys you’ve been blessed to experience in the past week. The action brings me a balanced and positive perspective and I hope it does the same for you.

Wishing you a week filled with Simple Joys.