Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lifestyle: The Meditation Podcast

Practicing meditation is a lifestyle recommended by many. Nowadays, with busy lives and no time to stop and smell the flowers, taking a few minutes of your time to relax and unwind is almost impossible. However, it is a much needed time off, bringing healthy benefits, and much welcomed by your body and mind.

Meditation is not easy to practice: to sit still for even 5 minutes may be a burden because our mind is so used to wandering and going back to thinking about our problems and lives and what to do and agendas etc. Finding a guided meditation to help you with the technique and channel you inside your own mind to concentrate on your breathing and deep relaxation is the best way to go if you're serious about spending some time on meditation.

I found The Meditation Podcast by chance, and it proved to be a great tool to deep relaxation. Those who are familiar with meditation and use the Silva method may also find this a different and more subtle way to meditate. The Meditation Podcast uses audio technology, called binaural beats, to slow the brainwaves, along with music and guided imagery, to produce a deep feeling of peaceful relaxation. The effect is similar to yoga, energy healing or a very restful sleep. You should listen to it using headphones for greater benefits when you're in a place where you won't be disturbed for a few minutes. It's also very important not to drive or multitask while meditating. This should be a time to unwind, relax and energize your body and mind and you can really do it!

The recordings are done by a couple, and both man and woman have soothing, calming and relaxing voices that help with the process.  They are not affiliated with any health care practice or religious beliefs, and their philosophy is based on the law of attraction, as you will experience on some of their guided meditations, such as my favorite one, "Positive Thoughts". There are 20 episodes on the podcast, and each one focus on a specific issue (sleeping, waking, energizing, etc). They add episodes every once in a while.

Check their site for more information, or look them up on Facebook. If you want to try meditation, this is a great tool for starters, as well as for those who are already practicing meditation through different methods or teachings.

Enjoy your peaceful time and meditate for great life benefits!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Business: Don McGill Toyota in Houston: unacceptable customer service!

If you have a Toyota and need to service it, or if you're thinking of buying a Toyota, skip Don McGill on Katy Freeway and head to Mike Calvert on 610. You will be happy even if you have to drive a few more miles for a much better customer service experience. Or choose another Toyota dealer, but by all means, don't stop at Don McGill.

My first sour experience with this dealer was a few years ago when I stopped by to shop for a new car. I was by myself, just browsing around and looking for a comfortable place to make a car purchase, where there would be no demanding sales people and no pushing. No one approached me as I strolled down the aisles looking for cars. After 20 minutes I asked for help. The man didn't seem too eager to sell, or maybe he thought I was not a potential buyer. I asked some questions about the car I was interested in, feeling he was not particularly helpful. Then he asked me if I was a single mother because I was talking about driving around with a child! My personal life is none of their business and this type of question is totally inappropriate coming from a man I've never seen before! Is this a way to try to sell a car?

Then I went to Mike Calvert Toyota where I had a much more pleasant experience, and where I ended up purchasing my Toyota. A few years later, and they still send me birthday cards with fee oil changes as a gift! Way to treat a customer.


Last week, though, a light came out on the car panel, and since I was closer to Katy Freeway, I decided to stop by Don McGill and see if they could help out identifying what was wrong with the vehicle. I parked the car and no one came to welcome me or ask what I needed. So, I went inside where there were about two service associates helping other customers. I stayed there waiting to be assisted. No one acknowledged my presence, a simple "good morning, someone will be with you shortly" would have been nice. They looked at me and continued with their business as if I was a hindrance. Then 2 more customers arrived and stayed around looking for help. After about 15 minutes, one of the associates who was helping another customer finally looked up at the 3 waiting customers and said someone would be with us shortly. Another 5 minutes until I was told to go to a man who was talking on the phone. He kept me waiting for a few minutes, finishing his call, then told me to hold and left, coming back a few minutes later to finally ask me what was the problem. I started to tell him that since that morning, a light had lit up in my panel and I wanted to see what was wrong. Without asking anything else or trying to explain what might be the problem, he just said: "you need to leave the car here until the afternoon". Really??? I told him, how long? He said, a couple of hours, until about 4 or 5 pm (it was 10 am), he said they were busy and wouldn't be able to take a look at the car until the afternoon. No further explanations. No nice solutions (would he offer me a ride home? would I have to wait there until they were able to get to the car?). I left, visibly frustrated.


And then I headed to the nearest Auto Zone. A very nice and friendly associate immediately scanned my car and gave me, in 5 minutes, the diagnostic for the yellow light in my panel, and didn't charge a penny!!!! And it was not a serious issue, but something I could fix myself.

Don McGill Toyota doesn't value customers. They won't ever get my business, ever again!

Go to instead:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Business: Gold Buying Girl Parties

One of my friends has been doing some work as a "gold buying girl" and approached me about the business, inviting me to host a gold buying party at my place. The concept is easy and simple: you throw a party for your friends and invite them to come over and bring their unwanted gold jewelry to be evaluated and possibly sold. It is sort of a "tupperware" party, however, instead of your guests coming in ready to spend money, they actually come in ready to make money. Sounds too good to be true? That's what I was thinking until I decided to give it a try.

So I planned the party and invited some friends to come over. Several people didn't make it, several didn't even respond to the invitation, and some came, somewhat skeptical about the whole concept, asking several questions about pricing and trust. We had no idea how much money would be made. One of the guests brought a bunch of unwanted gold and silver jewelry and ended up with a check for over 400 dollars. She was really excited. It was much more than she thought those pieces were worth it. She guessed she would make about 50 dollars and left with 400!

Based on the results of the first party, I decided to throw another one a month later. Some of the guests that didn't make it to the first one, after realizing there was money to be made, decided to join in the fun. So the second party was planned and the result was a total success. Based on the reality of the testimonies from the first party guests, more friends had the courage to show up bringing their unwanted jewelry and checks were issued for amounts over $1,500!!!

It's a great way to reconnect with your friends, in a relaxed, informal setting (your own home of course), and everyone leaves happy with some extra cash. There is no pressure to sell, if the piece is not worth the gold price alone or if you're too emotionally attached to it and decide not to sell, no worries. No losses either for your guests. The great thing is that the gold buying girl will buy most gold that is 10, 14, 18 and 24 K and even remove stones if the jewelry is encrusted. She can tell what karat the gold is, price it, and issue you the check right on the spot!

What are you waiting for? Want to make some money? Go take a look at your jewelry box and your drawers and collect all unwanted, broken, ugly jewelry and even dental work (wow!) that is left to collect dust and trade it for money!

The business is legitimate, no scam and nothing hidden. If you want to schedule a party, send me a comment or note through the blog and I will get you in touch with the gold buying girl! Have fun selling your gold and entertaining your friends! Let me know if you have questions about how to throw the gold buying girl party!