Time to share some love with free printable valentines!

You know me, I’m all about sharing the love every day. However, Valentines Day is this Saturday so you only have a few days left to remember to gather your loving thoughts and ideas and share them. So to help with this process I wanted to point out a few ways you can share your love… at no cost. Yep, free love. It is indeed better than free pizza!

Share the Love Idea 1
Free Valentines cards for your family and friends.

You can download these fabulously fun free penguin Valentines, print them, cut them out and give a little penguin love to someone special.

Share the Love Idea 2
Send your heart felt thoughts with a free Valentines love graphic – you guessed it, designed by me! Yes, of course there is a penguin, but if you aren’t a penguin fan, I understand… there’s also a cow.

original designs by JGoode at myJGD.com

Share the Love Idea 3
Send a free JGoode ecard complete with my own original love graphics.

and last but definitely not least – this is actually my favorite freebie…

Share the Love Idea 4
Send a personalized love page to someone special.

I don't wanna grow up!

I’m a Toys R Us kid…happy-nut wait, no, I didn’t mean to sound like a plug for toys. But if I didn’t put that down on paper, it would be stuck in my head for days. If you aren’t familiar with the tune, this post might not make any sense to you either.

One of the added benefits of having children is the ability to use them as a scapegoat for all the things we do that are childish. I recently bought the sparkly pink plastic dress-up high heels I’ve always wanted, because my daughter needs to stop playing with my shoes. Every Christmas for the past 13 years I’ve made a point to purchase some cool lego set because my kids really need to work on their hand eye coordination and problem solving skills. At my daughter’s first birthday, I was more excited about the obnoxiously loud bubble making machine than all the kids combined – my mother, in turn, borrowed the machine only to make it even better by adding pineapple scented bubbles. Yay for the luau of happiness!

Do I need the excuse to behave this way? Probably not. Just seems to prevent a lot of looks and stares and snickers – people give you slack for how you behave if there are associated kids in the room – or at least a mention of them at the time.

daves-legSO, what’s the excuse for all these adults that behave like complete bafoons when there isn’t a child in sight for miles? They don’t have one. Some are just pretending to be idiots. I think that’s fabulous! (Sometimes.) Of course, it is important to note that behaving like a kid can have consequences. Sometimes our physical abilities don’t play nice with our mental state… unfortunate, but true when dealing with the laws of aging.

I think “growing up” is entirely over-rated. Peter Pan had it all right. When adults realize they are adults and they take on their adult duties, they go through this weird transformation that enables them to forget or look past all the whimsical fun kids enjoy just because they aren’t of grown up age. Grown ups also have a bizarre ability to see past the raw truth and formulate story lines, and formulate polite-nesses that really come out as point blank untruths. I don’t understand why we, as adults, need to over complicate so much. To avoid hurting a feeling or looking dumb? We hurt feelings regardless and I know I look dumb more times than I would like. Kids are capable of laughing it off and then sticking the crayon up their nose a second time. Adults should be too (maybe leave the crayon out, literally).


This is an old photo, make fun if you must. Please take note of the different tongue sticking comfort levels.

I think it’s ok to continue with that breathing in of daily happiness. I also think that growing up is a matter of age and experience which equates to maturity only in the sense that intelligent (hopefully) decisions are made. Growing up does not require a boredom factor or a dullness mode. Adulthood should not mean putting the rollskates out in the trash and replacing them with blister madness heels and our convincing ourselves the fuzzy pink slippers are not out favorites. There is no handbook that says “once you pass 25 you are no longer allowed to skip down the street”.

I think some people actually think they’ve grown up, when really they’ve grown dull and stressed. However, if you can find that favorite little memory, burried deep within their heads, just about everyone will go skipping down memory lane with a giggle, even if only for a moment. Here’s an example… my family (mom, sister, etc.) have always included stockings for the adults as part of our Christmas festivities. They’re fun bags of mini goodies we all enjoy. So the first year we spent with my husband’s family I brought this tradition along and came equipped with stocking fun for all the adults. Turns out, his grandmother had never once received a stocking… not even as a child. Watching her open her bag of little lotions and candies and nicknacks was as much fun as watching the kids open theirs. There was a twinkle you don’t see in every day activities.

It’s in there. It’s in all of us, every day. We just don’t always give ourselves an opportunity to let the twinkle show.


Try this.. the next time you’re stuck in an elevator, somewhat quietly, but loud enough to be heard sing… “old Mcdonald had a farm…”, stop right there. Chances are, someone, will look at you and grin; Not because they think you’re crazy (if you just sang you probably are crazy anyway, right?), but because they had to catch themselves from saying “e i e i OH!”.

– side note: In case you are unclear about my true mental age level.. have you stopped to look at JGoode Designs … ever?

Searching for Clarity

I have spent the last 5 days in Las Vegas at a conference for performance marketing. I have been attending this conference on and off since early 2006, and yet when asked the what I do, I still don’t have a clear answer. Why? Because I personally hit work the industry from two angles. I enjoy both sides of the playing field. I enjoy both aspects and roles of this facinating arena. Yet, this time around I have realized where my passion lies… where it’s always been… in the skills I myself offer.

I haven’t recieved any magnificent revelation nor insight. Yet I now, at this very moment, feel like I actually know which direction means the most to me. This clarity in understanding which path I want to take will definitely lead to more unknowns I am sure, but for today, it’s very encouraging to know that I finally have yet another piece in the big picture of “what I want to be when I grow up”.


What this personal understanding will leave to, I haven’t the slightest idea. It’s merely a nice refreshing thought to be able to look back and say – I know when the light bulb went on.

I encourage you to take a moment and discover something new about your own goals and dreams. Are you moving in the direction you really know you want to go?

Resolving the candy issue

Illustration Friday’s topic this week is “Resolve”, and the first thing that came to mind for me was my 18 month old daughter shoving all the chocolate kisses in her mouth before I could stop her. From across the room I noticed the pile of chocolates she found, I called to her — “Put the candy down”. She did, but throughout the rest day she continued to snag one here and one there. I know, the answer should have been… put them up where she can’t reach them. However, with this child, it’s not that easy. She’s a smart one, a resourceful one and a determined to do things her way…

So here is my version of the topic – resolving the candy issue.


Be Honest, really

I have noticed that more often than I’d like, products and services I purchase are not really what I was expecting – at least not entirely. Why is it ok to leave information out? Do they think we won’t notice?


So many of these companies that offer “half stories” are accepted as “that’s just how it is”.  They seem to go with the line of thought – Don’t tell the whole story and hope the consumer just deals with it. I think this disturbing mostly because we do, indeed, just take it and move on. Like it or not we accept that this is how things are.

As a business owner, I think it’s important to let my customers know as much as possible upfront so they can make the decision based on the full offer, not our gimmick. I hope the information is as complete and upfront as possible. The theory is, when you’re honest and open with people, they’ll come back. When you’re sincere with your sales pitch, and the purchaser is happy with their purchase, they’ll tell their friends.


Twice this year I have had issues with one company, my cell phone service. Twice I have gone into the store to purchase an item, sign a ridiculously long contract yet making sure to get all the information upfront about what I am getting into. I explained to the sales person what I was looking for and why I was making the purchase so they could offer any additional information. Twice I have found myself in the midst of monstrous bills with charges I didn’t expect due to lack of information. And I mean, monstrous!

Is it my job as a consumer to make sure I know the ins and outs of the product lines and services offered? i don’t think so. I think it’s my job as a consumer to make sure I ask questions… but ultimately it’s the responsibly of the sales and marketing teams to make sure consumers know what they are really buying.

In the case of the cell phone issues, twice now I’ve had to deal with customer service and get fees reversed – this in turn is costing the cell company money they shouldn’t have to spend. First they lose money for the charges that I unknowingly racked up that they reverse and then they lose money paying for the employees that have to handle the issue. Silly I think. More silly, I accept it because I’d rather just deal with it than pay to get out of my contract. That’s not right!


It’s much better to be up front in the beginning. If people don’t like what you have to offer, don’t sneak around the corner to offer the same thing in a new box. Don’t pretty up the offer just to get the sale. In the end, the consumer will find out the truth, they will be more unhappy they were decieved and you will have lost the potential of not only return buyer purchases, but referral purchases.

So long story, get to the point… Be honest. Be open. Be upfront. Be Happy!

Happiness is a Matter of Perspective

There are as many ways to feel happy as there are photos to show happiness.

Everyone has their own set of needs and requirements to feel whole, to feel special, to be happy. How much do we really pay attention to how others need to feel happiness, before we try to make them happy?

Not everyone needs the same things or the same approaches to really feel important. Some need to be surrounded by happiness while others are their own happiness. Little do many of us realize, sometimes those overly sunshiney faces, you know, the ones that appear to be happy all the time… aren’t. And the grumps in the world aren’t grumpy at all, they just don’t have a need to grin at our every comment.

What happens when we stop to think about all of this in how we show others we care or we think we’re making others happy? I was reminded this holiday season that what I need, to know someone cares, and how I show someone I care isn’t always what they do for me or need from me.


Confused yet?

It isn’t easy to see all the variables… that is what I realized. But the sooner we realize our needs and our own giving don’t have to match our receiving and our sharing, the sooner we can get on with appreciating and maybe giving what is needed.

Let me explain…

What you need to feel special or happy and how you think you need to tell/show someone else that they are special, is not necessarily the same things others will do for you or need to hear/see from you.


Example, those flowers the guy brings to his girlfriend every time he sees her, really are a sweet gesture. Little does  he know, she just prefers a hug or a little note. Or worse, shes allergic. They haven’t talked about it – he wants to show he cares and she wants to show she’s appreciative regardless.

Happiness is a matter of perspective.

So how do we work with this? The easy answer…  don’t worry about it. Just do your best to show those you care about, that you care, as often as you can however you think you need to. Also appreciate the love you are given the way it is given and all shall be smiley.

Peace , Love and Happiness

No, that’s not right. Thats nice and smiley and plastic. Real love and appreciation isn’t plastic, it’s truly organic.

The real answer… Communicate. Find out what makes others happy and try your hardest to make them happy, how they like to be happy. Share your needs with others so they can do the same for you. Sure, be appreciative for the time and opportunities you have to share and show the love. But go that one step further to make it all truly unique and you honestly yours.

Here’s a simple example.

From a materialistic perspective… My 13 year old son, like many 13 year olds love getting “things”. He especially LOVEs gift cards to places like Walmart and Target. He is also a big fan of cash. Sure, he loves gifts and surprises, family time and (shh, it’s a secret) hugs… but there are always things he wants that are not on the buying list from any one person. So as a result he likes to combine gifts to get the dream item on the list. The counter thought to that is, I really dislike giving gift cards. I’d rather put more thought and effort into paying attention to what someone likes, search for that perfect gift, maybe even make a special gift and spend time and effort picking it out. I feel like I am better able to shout out “you are so special to me” with my gift buying skills. Really, my perspective on gifts is for my own happiness in the gift giving experience than it is for my son and what he would like to receive.

Perspectives on what makes us each happy are just as diverse.

Stephen Covey shared a story about a father who spent his summer traveling around the country to visit baseball fields and games for every team. When the man was questioned about his love for baseball he commented back – I don’t love baseball, but I do love my son that much.

The big question or me this past holiday season was
How do we really view how we make others happy?

And better yet, when we do things for others, who are we really trying to make happy?

Happy Pig

I tend to really enjoy the holiday season because it’s a time of year I can justify planning parties – spending time with some of my favorite people. I love getting my friends and family together and seeing everyone all in one place. I love all the smiling faces in my own home. However, this year was too crazy and too involved in too many directions to host the annual Goode party. On top of that, the kids got sick at the same time we had planned to see local family before we left town to visit inlaws. We made arrangements to meet up when we returned home… but I left town sad and hurt. I hadn’t seen a single person and here I was leaving town… and it was Christmas.


No one else seemed nearly as upset as I felt and I couldn’t figure out why. So I stopped to think about this. What I realized was, the party planning and family gathering wasn’t for everyone else as I always thought it was. Sure, everyone enjoys getting together and seeing eachother. But really, the events in themselves were for me. I needed to see everyone to feel the holiday happiness and know they knew I was thinking about them. When I didn’t see a single person, it just didn’t feel like the holidays. I didn’t feel like I had had the opportunity to give anyone anything.

Then it hit me. We were leaving town, they weren’t – we made other plans, they were ok with it – we told everyone how much we loved them and we would see them soon, they were happy.  I felt the disappointment and sadness because I didn’t get what I needed… to see them happy.

So the moral of the story in my own world… require happy photos when I can’t see actual faces and all will be well.

Finding out what we need ourselves is just as important to find out what others need.

When we know what makes us truly happy, we can share this with those who care about us. We can avoid the disappointment by seeing what others do for us or give to us in their own way, knowing they’re happy having intended to make us happy too.

The inside scoop on Change

I mean change, as in things are different not that jingle in your pocket after buying a pack of gum. There’s been quite a bit of pep-rallying about change over the last year both in the media and in my own mind on a variety of levels and topics.

change is good

Then and Now

I used to really thrive on change and spontaneous re-directions. Now, 3 kids and a husband older, I find myself really avoiding quick un-thoughtout change and thriving more on planning. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with my family’s inability to keep up with me when I do attempt a new angle without warning.i can no longer make split decisions and run with them. I stop to check how it will effect everyone else and often even ask if they like the idea. Not a bad thing, as long as I have an additional 2 weeks to act on whatever this is. I’ve learned to be more particular of actions taken that involve more than just me.. which is just about everything I do.

Happy Constants

When I was young I used to have a pile of silly little plastic barrettes. I don’t actually remember wearing them myself, but I do remember sharing them with anything that I could doll up. While I was in Target shopping a few weeks ago, there were those same barrettes. They were more updated colors, but the silly shapes were just the same. This inspired the topic to begin with. All this talk about change and something as small as a little plastic barrette seemed to bring a bit of comfort to me as a time that feels so unpredictable.


As I thought about change all around me, I noticed more comforting contants…. Smurfs are coming back. Christmas cookies were made again this year. The snow is still beautiful when it sparkles in the night, no matter how cold it is.

The Realization

Although we need change to keep things fresh and moving forward… its still important that we have something to hold on to that is the same, even if it’s something small and appearing to be insignificant. It’s important to be able to know when we go to bed at night that we will still wake up on the same pillow in the morning. I can stop trying to change everything to make it better because half of what is so great about today is that it’s just an extension of yesterday.

A few things to look forward to

With the end of the year here, many of us stop to think about New Year’s resolutions and the change of the year to come. For me, I’m trying to clean up my internal clutter and let out my hidden edginess a bit more. I can no longer find myself within my own thoughts because there is too much stuffed into my head and too many directions I’m trying to focus on.

I’ve started allowing myself to change some much needed areas… I am actually letting go of piles of belongs (mostly clothes) that I don’t need to keep. It’s taken me years to be ok with this. It’s definitely an attempt at the less is more approach.

I’m also revamping my business visual presentation;  Soon the straight measured lines will be gone. What I’m removing from the closets, I guess I’m putting back into my design.That clean line business look just isn’t me. I’m truly a rough edged, go with the flow kind of gal. So, I’m allowing my design to flow with this attitude more and more.

The Old look…

JGoode Designs original look

The New look..

JGoode Designs New version

I hope you find your own place in the midst of all the change. In the process, I’m positive you too will rediscover a path you’re happy to be following.

What are your thoughts on change?

I'm grateful to you that I have this job

I just got hit with a bit whammy WOW moment… I don’t say thank you enough. I don’t think I could possibly say thank you enough, so expect more and hopefully you won’t get tired of my saying it.

My mom just sent me an email with info about gift cards. Many companies are closing their doors entirely or cutting back a great deal due to the economy and lack of shopping these days. I looked through this list and couldn’t help but think… wow, I am so thankful for the support and interest you all have for my work. I am not closing my doors, not only do I still have a job, I still have a business – and it is definitely because YOU are fantastic! Thank you so very much.

I know I’ve said it before, but it really is a magnificent feeling – It’s truly amazing to me that I can spend my day doing what I love… creating. While it also helps to support my family. I feel that although I’d like to continue to grow and expand my designs, this is really what happiness is all about. I think happiness is success.

Back to the idea of the gift cards… Yes, and you can buy gift cards for JGoode Designs, however that isn’t the thought that started this commentary. The following is the WOW moment for today…

Watch those store money cards and gift cards and credit slips!
Stores that informed the Security Exchange of closing plans between
October 2008 and January 2009.

If you have gift cards to any of the following locations, you should consider using them sooner than later so you don’t end up with a useless gift card. (I have not verified all of these locations/infos, so please make sure to confirm yourself).

  • Circuit City stores… most recent (? how many)
  • Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide are to be shuttered
  • Lane Bryant,, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine’s to close 150 store nationwide
  • Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
  • Cache will close all stores
  • Talbots closing down all stores
  • J. Jill closing all stores
  • GAP closing 85 stores
  • Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
  • Wickes Furniture closing down
  • Levitz closing down remaining stores
  • Bombay closing remaining stores
  • Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January.
  • Whitehall closing all stores
  • Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
  • Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January. – Where will Mickey be now?
  • Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ (New Brunswick)
    Macys to close 9 stores after January
  • Linens and Things closing all stores – maybe they should have approved more affiliate marketer
  • Movie Galley Closing all stores
  • Pacific Sunware closing stores
  • Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
  • Sprint/ Nextel closing 133 stores
  • JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
  • Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
  • Wilson Leather closing down all stores – one of my first jobs in high school
  • Sharper Image closing down all stores – this amazes me, where do we do now for our unique gadgets?
  • K B Toys closing 356 stores – WOW what is santa doing for toys this year?
  • Loews to close down some stores – they just built a brand new location down the road this year
  • Dillard’s to close some stores.
  • AOL Money also has additional store closings. Kirkland, Sacs
    Friedman?s Jewelers, Comp USA, Dell, Pier 1

Look at that list… I’m nearly speachless. Not only are the stores closing a sad event, but think of all the jobs that just disappeared because of company preservation. So scary and frustrating and nerve racking. There has got to be something to help turn it all around.

Here’s another thought on the topic – all of these stores closing, I wonder how many considered really pushing for an online market. The process goes like this… close the retail venues to save on overhead then turn to focus on web based sales. Hire a staff to manage the site, the live customer service, shipping, etc. and then spend the marketing dollars on traffic building. How many of the above companies have changed their focus and how many are simply shutting down? I don’t know, I just stopped long enough to ponder it out loud.