Tuscan Sun Festival 2011

Combine amazing food, artistic genius, awe inspiring scenery and a plethora of celebrities…then add a dash of wellness and a large splash of wine and you have the Tuscan Sun Festival.
We happened to move to Toscana at the beginning of last year’s festival, which also coincided with my better half’s birthday. The lucky boy enjoyed an intimate and moving performance by Trudie Styler and Sting, while I enjoyed a nice lunch at Corys with Frances Mayes and co. It was one of the best experiences of my life, with some of the best food and conversation. And of course the wine helped…

This year, Sharon Stone and Jeremy Irons join the festival, amongst other performers and culinary artists. You can take tango lessons, Tai Chi, or sip wine with James Suckling, Senior Editor of the Wine Spectator. The list goes on and on.

My suggestions:

If you are going to be renting a car and have a family ( or if you don’t mind taking a taxi), stay slightly outside of Cortona in Hotel Oasi Neumann, which is a former monastery with incredible views and lots of room ( inside and out). The hotel is relatively cheap as well. Call them ahead of time and make sure the restaurant will be open; it was closed for several nights when we stayed, due to there not being many guests.

Here are some pics:

My second choice of lodging, especially if you are going alone, with your spouse or a friend, or with a group is Corys. You will be near the action, and yet will have tremendous views and spectacular food. You’ll also love the family who owns it. Cortona gets very crowded during the summer, so being slightly outside of the town will give you some breathing room, and again the views are worth it.

The festival begins July 30 and goes until August 2011. You can get your tickets at http://www.tuscansunfestival.com

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‘my way or the highway’ parenting: overcoming our need to defend our families and put down other styles of parenting

Kaya, working on her bike ( she wants to be a mechanic!!)

I was just reading a few interesting posts, one on time outs and another on VBACS. The latter was really interesting as it mentioned how one can get totally fixated on having a certain kind of birth ( for this article, it was intervention free) and how if we don’t get that exact birth, we can insult ourselves or judge others. I myself want a VBAC badly, but this article open my mind to not getting so fixated on having one that I begin to insult myself if I don’t end up having it.
Regarding time outs, we do them occasionally, and I have read several anti timeout posts and understand the views. What I don’t agree with is the sort of put down of parents who do do them. Every child is different. Mine, for example, actually loves them. No, I have not conditioned her to love punishment. She and her father use it as a time to hang out and meditate, and she reemerges smiling and laughing. Now, I can’t convince another mom what is right or wrong for my child. But yet I feel I have to, as if one is in the natural parenting community, there seems to be a status quo of how to parent, and if you aren’t on board, you can be treated like you are a ‘bad’ parent. That’s not right.

I want the natural parenting community to feel like a peaceful, welcoming place, not a judgemental one. I respect other people’s views, even if I disagree. What I would like is the same done to me. I don’t go off on friends who let their kids eat junk food or use a stroller and don’t wear their babies. I just let them be and am there if they ever need any advice. They are their for me as well, even though I parent differently and unschool.

Let’s pretend Attachment Parenting and homschooling was a religion. Would you join if everyone at the church kept telling your parenting style was doomed? There are moms who have killed themselves after hearing that. Would you join if the churchgoers were kind and accepting, or preached to you 24/7 on how their church was the way. What if their were tons of rules, such as what colour your hair had to be to what you ate.

I am seeing a lot of rules in the APing/unschooling world, on how we ‘should’ behave as parents. This, to me, sounds like an ultraconservative meme that won’t die. We all need to do the ‘my way or the highway’ parenting style, or be ousted.

Have we unschoolers and APers created an environment that is flexible to many families or only pushes one path? Are we preaching or just being? I keep getting the feeling that we do both, but can lean on the former in forums and on posts. This is not what I want to do. We are all flawed. There is no perfect parent, APer or other. Every child is different, every family is different. My dad was an alcoholic. He did the best he could, and I would not have traded him for anyone in the world… even some amazing APer or dedicated unschooler.
We shouldn’t have to follow one method of parenting or be condemned. We should embrace eachother on our complicated and yet wonderful paths as parents.

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Wat Chalong

We have had a very good/interesting luck to live by temples or churches wherever we have lived. At least, in the past few countries. Now, we live right next to Wat Chalong, the largest Buddhist temple in Phuket. Although very touristy, the temple has stunning architecture and is almost like a pilgrimage site for Buddhists throughout Asia; I see many buses of Koreans coming to pray at the temple.

It is a fantastic place to take children ( in the early evening, when it’s not too hot). Kaya loves the elephant statues and garden.

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Cafe Bistro: Kaya performs

We found this great little acoustic cafe/bistro in Phuket Town. We never know how Ky is going to be when we go out with her ( the tantrums still happen) but we needed caffeine one evening, and saw the cafe was open. We ventured inside, and Kaya was captivated by the singer/co-owner/guitar player. So much so, she went over and began to sing with him, then demand a banjo to play along.

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Davinci Phuket

We have been eating out a lot, since my mom is in town, and we decided to check out the popular Davinci’s in Nai Harn. The first time, my husband and I got a date night ( HELL YES) and enjoyed their caprese salad ( my all time favorite), which was accompanied by the best olive oil I have had in Phuket.

For our main course…truffle risotto with gold leaf!!

This is a great restaurant for families, with a nice play area.

Our verdict: it’s pricey, but the food is very good; the pizza though was very burnt when my mom and I later went. I most probably will stick with an appetizer and pasta in the future. The bread is amazing, so enjoy it with the lovely olive oil!!

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Creating a Mobile Income

As I have mentioned in previous posts, our goal is to keep dad at home and not at a 9 to 5. There are many reasons for this, ranging from that he has asthma to us attachment partnering. I mentioned that we were investigating what was the best route for our family, as there are many choices and many products and businesses to choose from. We kept putting it off for as long as possible, debating what we felt passionate about.
I am working on 3 books, one on our nomadic unschooling lifestyle. I need the ability to market the book, as I will be self publishing it. I picked up an old copy of Multiple Streams of Income I had received from a friend ( about 10 years ago) and his message resonated me: that having multiple incomes is the best route to go.
Thankfully, a friend of ours works from home and is in network marketing. We have had many conversations with him about the pitfalls of it, and which companies are best. We were hesitant to choose which one we wanted, as I despise sales. We knew we liked Lifepath Unlimited, but it is pricey to join. I like Youngevity’s products, but I like Sisquels as well. I had heard negative things about Herbalife, as well as positive.

Making the decision as to which was best for us seemed complicated, as well as ascertaining which was a waste of money.

In that post I mentioned, I wrote on how one can teach English online. I also mentioned that the number one thing you still need to is marketing skills. Most of us lack them. And then you know the annoying spammers who don’t get it either. Inbound marketing ( or unmarketing) is essential for everyone, regardless of what you do online. If you are an author, it goes for you as well. Everyone. One will fail without the proper marketing skills for the internet age we live in.

So, the friend I mentioned told me about two companies that were right up our alley: Infinity Downline and ROI Unlimited. Both are inexpensive to join, and deal with a.) marketing correctly online and b.) travel, which as you may know we love to do. We are also going to join Numis Network, which is inexpensive and has a great product for the times in which we live: assets.

These will be in tandem with blogging ( I am writing for 4 blogs and one spiritual journal) and working on the books.

Q and A

I want to teach English privately while abroad. What should I do to promote my services?

Well no matter where you will teach, you must learn about inbound marketing. This includes learning how to use twitter and gain followers in your niche, to optimizing your blog to SEO optimization.
You will be competing for students amongst other private teachers as well as schools. The best book for inbound marketing and learning how to promote yourself is Inbound Marketing. This will get you going on promoting your services.

I may want to create my own product and then sell it online. Is this a challenge to do or easier then MLM? How should I market it?

The ultimate book for automating income is 4 Hour Workweek. It goes into how to create a great a product from scratch, how to market it, and how/where to advertise. The downside is that you do need an advertising budget, although it may not be too costly. It depends on where you want to market.
Some MLM companies are cheap to start up, so this is a benefit. But you still need to promote your product or services. That’s why most people fail in MLM: they have no idea how to market and end up harassing their friends.

Are there any courses in marketing that are affordable?

Yes. I have started one of them, called Magnetic Sponsoring. It is fantastic, and I highly recc it. Done by Mike Dillard, it goes through all the steps of creating inbound marketing, how to create a blog and learn how to market on twitter and build what MLM people call a list. This is all done without spamming. You are contacted by prospects, not the other way around.
There are many other courses, but I haven’t done them. Go to www.billeebrady.com for more info.

I am considering joining an MLM but I have no idea which one. What should I do?

This is a personal choice you have to make. Begin with researching the products the MLMs are offering. Which are you most passionate about? One cannot make it in MLM unless you believe in, use, and love whatever you are selling. PERIOD. You have to be hypermotivated to read marketing books and maybe do a marketing course.
You must also choose to sign with a person you like and admire and feel you gel with. Don’t randomly sign with someone. Google the company you like, and see what representatives pop up. Get in touch with them and speak with them, preferably several times. Do they seem like they are succeeding? Can they be a good guide in the MLM world? Are they good at online, inbound marketing? All these are key.

I want to self publish my book and have no idea how to market it. What should I do?

If you have the funds, I recommend buying a package from the self publishing sites that will help you get exposure. both Balboa press and Lulu have such packages.
If you can’t, no worries. I then absolutely recommend you read Inbound Marketing, take a marketing course, and get tweetadder. Tweetadder is a program that I use to find people with similar interests to our family ( homeschooling, travel, etc). You can use tweetadder to find people interested in reading your type of book, from horror to health. Add them as a friend, but don’t automate your messages. Write your own and be authentic. Be you. Don’t nonstop promote your book, but instead give your followers a glimpse into your life and interests.

I am a blogger, and want to make money blogging. Is this possible?

Absolutely! But what do you need to do this? Remarkable content ( as Inbound Marketing calls it), and knowledge of…guess what? Inbound marketing. Unmarketing, if you will: letting readers find you. Then, you can get advertisers to advertise on your page. You don’t need huge traffic to do this. Just remarkable content that people want to read and spread on social networking sites.

Well, I hope this helps anyone looking to create a mobile income. It really boils down to correct marketing. I am new to this arena, but I’ve learned so much already from reading the following books, which I can’t recommend enough:

Inbound Marketing
Multiple Streams of Income
4 Hour Workweek

Check out www.billeebrady.com for load of free articles and videos on network marketing, as well as reviews of MLM companies.

For a bunch of links to teaching ESL online sites, go to my previous post on ways to finance your travels.

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Holistic First Aid for Family Travel

You want to try to enjoy ( and survive) a vacation with your family. But you’re worried: will the kids get sick? How can you keep them at their healthiest? Well, this is our list of must haves for holistic, herbal and vitamin supplements to bring with you.

Note: I am certified as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, which is just a basic label meaning I studied Ayurveda. I am a nutritional researcher but not an MD, nor am I an Ayurvedic Doctor, which requires much more training and knowledge in such a thorough science. I focused on what a person can do on a daily basis to have good health.

1.) An absolute must have are Dr. Schultze’s Formula number 1 and 2. Number 2 is perfect for any food poisoning or upset stomach. If you are going to a 3rd world country, this is so imperative to have!!! I brought mine with me to India. Formula number 1 relieves constipation. Both are organic and wildcrafted, and there is a children’s version of formula 1 which is lighter and won’t cause diarrhea. They are strong, potent products, as are all of Dr. Schultze’s stuff. I can’t rave about them enough.

Where to buy or learn more: www.herbdoc.com

2.) Lypo-spheric vitamin C. This form of Vitamin C is the most potent available. It literally has saved lives around the world. For more information on the incredible, life changing benefits of vitamin C, read the works of double Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling.
This stuff is exactly what you want ‘just in case’. If there is an emergency, giving 1000g of lypo spheric C has saved people from horrible illness and disease. It is in easy to use packets, just add to water.

Where to buy: check your local health food store, or buy from http://www.amazon.com

3.) Adaptogenic herbs
Long travel can take a lot out of a person, especially if you are traveling with children. Flying or driving for many hours can be hell. It can also take a toll on one’s immune system. I recc getting basic adaptogenic herbs to help your body and immune system adjust and relax. It will make a trip a lot easier, especially if you begin to take them before you leave for your journey. The best place to learn about adaptogenic herbs and chinese medicine is http://www.dragonherbs.com which manufactures some of the best herbal products in the world. You can read their gigantic, fascinating online information about their products, or call one of their consultants. Even if you don’t buy from them, they are very knowledgable and their website is an absolute wealth of information.
Where to learn about and/or buy adaptogenic herbs: www.dragonherbs.com or www.iherb.com or your local Chinese herbal doctor.

4.) Bug Protection and treatment

To prevent disease, getting a natural bug spray is imperative. Along with this, I recc getting a balm for bites. Doctor Christopher’s is my favorite. He also has a great rash formula.

Where to buy: your local health store or http://www.iherb.com

5.) Superfood

There are many kinds of superfood available, many of which are spirulina based. Loaded with must have food derived minerals and nutrients, my favorite is Dr. Schultze’s. He has a travel version that is available in packets. Mix it with cold water or juice for kids and you will all feel like a million dollars. I swear!!
where to buy: www.herbdoc.com

6.) Cayenne

Some herbalists consider cayenne their favorite medicine because it affects so many systems. I have heard so many stories of people using it for strokes, heart attacks, and even bullet wounds. To learn more about it, go to http://www.herbdoc.com. where he has lots of information. I use a very strong one, that is about 200,000 ius of heat.
Where to buy: your local health food store, or www.iherb.com

7.) Rescue Remedy pastilles
Homeopathic remedy that older kids can chew, if the country you are traveling in restricts the normal spray version.
Where to buy: your local health food store or www.iherb.com

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