Hope Wissel

Last Minute RSVP

Is your mailbox or email filled with invites?  It seems like there is always something going on. Someone is having a party,  getting married, or graduating.  Summer at the shore brings lots of invites for barbecues as well. I love getting invites and catching up with old friends is so much fun.  Today is a glimpse at life with a chronic illness…..

But these days, the excitement of an invite brings on a whole new realm of questions…. what’s the weather going to be like? Is it going to be outside in the middle of summer? Do I have anything else planned around the same time where I might not have enough energy?  Will brain fog cause me to forget names and memories?

It is frustrating to always have to mark myself as “maybe”.  As much as my first thought is to say yes, I can never be sure how I will be on any given day.  The outside often fools people if they don’t understand what is happening on the inside.  I feel like I’m always marking off ‘maybe’ on Facebook invites, or doing at the very last minute RSVP’s. I don’t know about you but one of my pet peeves for years was when people didn’t RSVP to an invite or waited until the last minute. I always wanted to get a head count – the planner in me, but now I’m the indecisive person.

It’s not because I am procrastinating, I just have to be careful I don’t over commit myself, or you count me in and I end up having to cancel. I worry about what you will think.  Which one is more embarrassing –  sending a last minute RSVP or saying YES right away, only to have to cancel at the last minute.

Even though I am ALWAYS cold, it is easier for me to commit when it’s not during the warmer months (or extreme cold ones).  Now, living at the Jersey Shore makes it hard to judge and often a small window.  I may be cold BUT the heat is draining for many of us with MS.   I stopped doing outdoor events for just this reason.  It takes a lot of energy out of us.  I have been at parties where everyone is outside, and I keep going inside by myself.  People think I am hiding and in some ways they are right…. hiding from the heat or from sensory overload, or a multitude of other things which spring up unexpectedly.

I LOVE to plan but life takes on an entirely different planning process now.  I don’t want to be mean, and I don’t want to be the annoying person who waits until the last minute to RSVP.  I’m actually holding off to make sure I can actually attend and not have to duck out early or be a party pooper.

If you are reading this and you know someone with another chronic condition (you know I struggle with MS), don’t give up on them or take it personally.  I’m sure they, along with me, appreciate you’re thinking of us, and we don’t want you to stop inviting us.  It just requires we plan and plan and plan some more, and something still might happen to where we can’t make it the day before or day of.

I am learning to “Expect the unexpected”. I’m grateful for a supportive hubby who helps me to keep this in check.  I also need a lot of reminders, because I will forget thanks to the dreaded brain-fog.  Or worse, I will get confused on the dates/times, etc.  There are periods of never ending confusion, planning and forgetting… just to repeat the cycle multiple times.

The bottom line I’m getting at, is don’t take it personally when we don’t RSVP right away.  I know it’s annoying not to have a head count, and I’m trying my best to give you one. It’s stressful trying to juggle everything in the first place. It can also be very emotional for me to deal with… It can be upsetting and depressing at times.

Life with MS (or others with any chronic disease) has changed me in so many ways…. those who are with me daily see the good days and the bad days.  They get it and remind me when I tend to forget. Others struggle to understand.  Overall, I’m blessed to have an amazing support system.  So the next time it takes me forever to RSVP or I decline, don’t take it personally.  Know in my heart I would love to be there but it may be a day I’m struggling with MS.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!



Hope Wissel


Does that word make you break in a cold sweat?  Do you have visions of missing out on things because it is “not in the budget”?  Do you have a business budget and NOT a household budget?  Or vice versa?


I have to admit that this word used to bring me to tears – lots of mixed emotions. As a grant writer & program person for over 25 years, budgets were my friend. Budgets kept me on track and allowed our funders to know exactly where their money went.  I was good at making budgets and sticking to them!

Now, move HOME where that word took on a totally different meaning.  Why is it that something that made perfect sense at work NEVER worked at home? Am I the only one? Creating a list of expenses and knowing what to pay was the easy part, living within the budget was the tough part. There were lots of excuses – single mom, didn’t make enough, and the list goes on. In reality, I never learned (until recently) how to live within my means. Credit cards were my friend and I used them a lot to provide for my daughter (wants as well as needs).

Fast forward – daughter grown and still have credit card debt with new excuses.  With ALOT of patience from hubby, I am NOW learning to live within my budget. See you can teach an old “dog”, new tricks.



Several years ago, I took Dave Ramsey‘s financial class and it was AWESOME.  I was still working full-time getting a regular paycheck and I made it work.  Then I went from full-time work to my own business.  Should have been a no-brainer, right?  I am slowly adjusting to receiving commission checks from my business instead of the bi-weekly checks. Not an easy adjustment but this “old dog” is re-learning a new trick!   Mind you, I have a hubby who is debt-free and LIVES by budgets. We have only been married 3 years and I have decided to be solely responsible for any past debt. YIKES!

One of the biggest problems that I now have with Ramsey’s envelope system was that I make stops without planning – I know not good right?  If I want to stay on budget, I would love to have the envelopes with me so I only spent what was in the envelopes.  So now instead of carrying envelopes, I carry Thirty One’s All About the Benjamin Wallet with dividers in it for: groceries and gas since these are the typical unplanned stops.  My credit card slots are empty with the exception of a occasional gift cards and my business debit card.


As for my business, I am applying my grant writing skills to my direct sales business.  Here are some tips:

  • Know your averages: It’s important that you know not just what your average income is but also what your the average expenses are.
  • Know your fixed and variable costs: These are the things that you pay for each month, quarter, or year?
  • Write it all down:  TRACK!!!  See “tracking” is vital in all areas of your life – business, personal and weight loss.  It is essential that you keep track of the money coming in and going out from your business.
  • Be conservative in your estimates: It’s important to have some extra income set aside for unanticipated expenses, so you have some flexibility in your business.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether it is with your personal budget or your business budget. Find a system that works and stick with it.  If you have debt, it will take time and patience to reach financial freedom but it can be done.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Weekend Plan


TGIF!!!!  For some it will mean spending time with family and friends NOT working.  For others, like me, I work on the weekends at my part-time job.  For many it means two days full of running errands, sporting events, getting housework done and running the kids.  No matter what you are doing this weekend, remember what we talked about this week – meeting NEW people will expand our customer base.

Why not have a plan this weekend to continue all of the things that we talked about during the week.  I hear that  groan!  You are thinking “I don’t have time”, right?  The truth is some of the strongest relationships are already being built in the places that you spend the most time.

Do you go to the same grocery store all of the time?  Maybe even have the same cashier?  Have you complimented her on something?  Have you shared your business?

Do you make regular stops every week?  Maybe it is the pharmacy or the cleaners or WaWa.  Think about the people that you run into every week at those locations – you are building relationships.

Are you a walking billboard as you drive the kids to their activities?  The Spirit collection with Thirty One is the PERFECT way to tell people about your business.  We always need drinks and snacks – use a thermal with your child’s name, sport icon or team name on it.  I wish had our large utility totes when Belinda was going to cheering competitions.  Life would have been so much easier.  Yes, she carried the basics in her cheer bag but Mom always got everything else – coats, extra water, snacks, blanket, extra clothes… you get the picture.  I think our Spirit collection is a must have for every parent with a child in sports or group activities.

I have a plan for tonight and tomorrow night, I will be at Taylor Sam’s in Brick for a “catalog & coffee” event.  As I have said many times, my favorite lunch spot is now going to be serving dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.  I LOVE that I will not have to worry about planning a meal on those nights when it is just me for dinner – I can just go there and eat.  I know that many of their regular customers will be there to support their efforts.  I will have kid packets (coloring sheets, crayons & stickers along with a mini catalog) to keep the kids busy while they are waiting for their meal.  I will build my relationships with those regular customers that I see during the day.

After I eat, I invited friends to stop by with a two-fold purpose: to check out the dinner menu AND to pick up a NEW Spring catalog.  My first goal is to spread the word about Taylor Sam’s – NO, I am not part owner but I have been called the Mayor!  LOL.  By helping them to  increase their business, I will have an opportunity to share my business with lots of new potential customers.  A win-win for everyone.

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you go to ALL of the time?  How about placing a lead box there?  How about inviting friends for coffee and just hang out for an hour – a chance for some girl time?

As you set-out this weekend, have a plan.  Make sure that you have business cards and mini catalogs with you to share.  Make sure you take a minute to compliment the cashier, a person in  line or the woman who looks like she is struggling to keep it together.  That simple gesture may be the one thing that saves their life and puts a smile on their face.  Building relationships is about connecting with people.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful weekend!

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