Tamara Lucas and Brittany Brown are two Decatur moms who have worked together in the wine and spirits industry for 11 years. Both women have degrees in social work and are passionate about helping others. For a long time, Lucas and Brown desired to develop an additional income stream that involved helping others while still maintaining their current, successful careers. They found such an opportunity in the company Moms Making Six Figures, shortened as “Moms”, and are now introducing it to the Atlanta area.
San Diego resident Heidi Bartolotta, founded Moms with two other women in December 2009. For the 12 years prior, Bartolotta had worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative, but after having two daughters, she no longer wanted to work late and travel; she wanted to be home.
To stay at home and also have a career, Bartolotta launched the company, seeking also to help other women get back to their families and either replace or supplement their income, depending on each woman’s life circumstances. Since then, Bartolotta and women like Lucas and Brown have grown Moms to a company of over 400 team members across the country and around the world. For about one-third of those women, their work with Moms has become their primary source of income. The other two-thirds work with Moms part-time, on their schedules, alongside their other careers.
At the company level, Moms is partnered with a U.S.- based manufacturer that makes home and wellness products that are safer for both the individual and the environment and at a competitive price. “Our job is simply to help people. First we educate them about the toxins that can sneak into our homes and about overall wellness. Then we provide a solution to help people reach their personal goals, whether they be related to physical health or financial,” Lucas said.
Team members come from all different backgrounds, education levels and work experience. “The great thing about this team is the incredible level of support,” Brown said. “We all work together to help each other reach our goals. We have fun together and we’re making a difference in so many people’s lives! And the ability to build my own business to create a significant, additional income stream while working from home in my spare time is amazing.”
To find out more about opportunities with Moms Making Six Figures, go to their website momsmakingsixfigures.com.
Mamarazzi: Taking Better Pictures With Your Smartphone
“Mooooom, another picture? Really?” I can’t count the number of times my siblings and I squawked that question. I was convinced that my mother could have easily pursued a lucrative career in the paparazzi when I was growing up. Among the contents of her bulging purse was a clunky old camera that she carried everywhere. Literally. She was ready to snap shots of everything from birthdays and graduations to hotel bathrooms on family vacations and the loose tooth my brother persuaded me to extract using a string and a doorknob.
Childhood events, significant and otherwise, were recorded ad nauseam with that 35mm monstrosity. It seemed to constantly emit blinding flashes and grating mechanical whirrs as activities were interrupted to pose for pictures. The worst part: upon developing the film, we’d discover that most of the prints weren’t album-worthy. They were either overexposed or blurry or featured someone blinking in the shot. All that effort Mom exerted to motivate her reluctant children to “say cheese”, only to find that one of our heads was blocked by an index finger that she had unintentionally placed in front of the lens.
Family photography has come a long way since then. Now, we have pocket-sized cell phone cameras that display shots immediately after they are taken. We have editing software that allows the modern mother to perfect photos—eliminate red eyes, add artistic filters, crop unwanted background and zoom in on delightful details. We have a selection of modes tailored to capturing anything from action shots to sweeping landscapes. But these technological advances can be daunting when all you want is to commemorate your kid’s first day of school.
1. Get close, don’t zoom. Though not exactly beloved by photography purists, smartphone cameras excel when you bring them close to your subject. Their tiny sensor provides a relatively wide depth of field, offering exceptional focus on small details. But the image noticeably degrades if you use the digital zoom function. If you can’t get near your focal point, consider cropping instead. Zooming in on your photo after it’s shot will do a better job preserving the image’s quality.
2. Adjust to lighting. In photography, light is key. Natural light from the sun is the best option. If you’re indoors, move your subject near the window. But if you’re limited to artificial lighting, try to arrange lamps to illuminate the subject as evenly as possible. Just avoid firing the flash, as the little LED lights aren’t powerful enough to capture the whole scene. In fact, I recommend turning off the auto-flash feature. You’ll have fewer blurry, oddly lit, red-eye night photos as a result.
Outside, direct sunlight creates harsh, unattractive shadows. Overcast days or the hours during sunrise and sunset are perfect for shooting. Otherwise, have your subjects stand in the brightest patch of shade available. I try to keep my back to the sun when taking my shot, but if the sun is on the side of the frame, cup your hand around the smartphone lens for a makeshift hood to reduce the amount of flare.
3. Keep the lens clean. From grungy dollar bills to items our kids retrieved from the floor for us to carry, the contents of our purses and pockets make them dirty places to hold our phones. Fortunately, the lenses are tough. Wiping them with a soft cloth (or shirt in a pinch) can’t hurt, but it’s worth it to occasionally use lens cleaning solution to remove grime and prevent spotty or hazy images.
4. Play with perspective. The best part about your phone doubling as a camera is that it’s compact and you’ll more likely tote it everywhere. Take advantage of its convenience and size by snapping lots of photos from various angles. Take 10 to 20 shots of the same person or event, making sure each frame is unique by doing things such as turning your phone sideways, getting down to a kid’s eye level, using a panorama feature, switching to burst mode (available on newer smartphones) for action shots, introducing props or taking candid photos. Most smartphones or camera apps also have a grid feature that can be used to keep the horizon straight and to create more visually balanced photos by placing points of interest along the lines or where they cross.
5. Hold your phone steady. Ditch the impulse to take a quick arm-length shot. It’ll lead to crooked, blurry pictures. To get a good, sharp image, hold the camera with both hands and pull your arms into your chest or stomach. Some phones or apps also offer a stable shot setting for added support. This measures how much you’re shaking the camera and only snaps the picture when your hand has been steady for a couple seconds. Some apps even let you set the sensitivity, so your phone will wait until you’re barely moving to take the photo.
6. Adjust settings. Don’t let automatic features on your phone do all the thinking. For better control and results, get to know your camera modes and perhaps even invest in an app. There are thousands of apps dedicated to camera functions that can help you easily edit and share photos with friends and family. Here are a few important adjustable settings standard on some phones or available with apps:
White Balance Ever notice that your pictures look a bit orange? White balance helps your camera properly process color. Smartphones are pretty good at detecting the white balance until you enter a setting with low light. You can avoid the resulting unnatural tints by focusing on your subject and giving the phone a few seconds to adapt. But if that doesn’t work, try adjusting the white balance yourself. Typically, the phone will have a few light settings such as “fluorescent” or “cloudy” that, when chosen manually, may give you a better result.
HDR Auto iPhones come with an option called High Dynamic Range, or HDR. It allows you to take clear photos of settings with high contrast light sources (such as a bright sunset against a dark mountain) by snapping several pictures in quick succession at different exposures and merging them into a single image. Ideally, the results are clearer photos, but HDR images take quite a bit of space, so I’d suggest limiting its use.
Focus If you want your camera to single in on a particular subject in the frame, some phones will allow you to tap and hold on the object to prevent your camera from shifting focus. To remove the lock, just touch anywhere else on the frame.
Exposure Meter Available on most smartphones, exposure meters are used to brighten (or darken) images before shooting the picture. They are typically identifiable by a meter bar and a sun icon. Slide left or right before taking the shot to adjust the brightness.
7. Strike a pose. Though I usually avoid being the subject in any photo (probably thanks to my mother), it’s useful to know how to best represent your features in photographs. A couple quick fixes I garnered from a photographer are to tilt your head and angle your body. He says people generally look better when they’re not looking dead-on at the camera. So, slightly turn your head to the side or tilt your head down a little and look up toward the lens with your eyes. For the most flattering body position, stand at a slight angle, tilt your hip, put one leg on tiptoe and keep your shoulders straight.
As I adjust my phone to take the millionth photo of my son’s sideways smirk, I’m grateful that technology is so different from the days of my youth. Then I see my son rolling his eyes and uttering a pleading “Moooom.” I guess some things never change.
For 15 years, Jennifer Becker worked in the corporate world. But after becoming a mom, she no longer wanted to work late and travel. She wanted to be home with her daughters.
“When I had my first daughter, I was still traveling and coordinating babysitters,” said Becker, who worked as a supply chain director, first in aerospace and then in consumer goods. “But when I had my second daughter, it just became apparent it was going to be a really hard career to maintain.”
After learning about Moms Making Six Figures, a San Diego-based marketing company that allows women to stay at home and either replace or supplement their income, Becker started with the company in October 2013. By January, she joined the company full time, leaving behind the corporate world for good.
“It was a very male-driven industry,” recalled Becker, who often had to travel across the country and around the world. “There wasn’t a lot of sympathy for women with children. There was always a lot of stress trying to juggle the kids. It was just really hard to balance.”
Becker isn’t alone.
While employment rates for women have been rising in other countries, they have declined in the United States, falling from 74 percent at its peak in 1999 to 69 percent today, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
In addition to the downturn in the economy, a lack of family-friendly policies appears to have contributed to the lower rate, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults ages 25 to 54.
Sixty-one percent of women said family responsibilities were a reason they weren’t working, compared to 37 percent of men. Of women who identify as homemakers and have not looked for a job in the last year, nearly three-fourths said they would consider reentering the workforce if a job offered flexible hours or allowed them to work from home.
To allow women to work from home and either replace or supplement their income, local resident Heidi Bartolotta quit her job and founded Moms Making Six Figures with two other women in December 2009. Since then, Moms Making Six Figures has grown to more than 300 team members.
“The corporate environment is failing families, and moms in particular,” said Bartolotta, a former pharmaceutical sales representative, whose daughters are 9 and 11 years old. “That’s the people we cater to — families looking for an alternative way to create a similar income but have flexibility.”
Although the company launched in San Diego, there are now team members across the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom and Australia. Teams have long been established in San Diego County, Orange County and the Bay Area, as well as in Nevada, Arizona, Chicago and New York. New teams have also launched in Atlanta and Nashville.
Bartolotta said her team is comprised of women from very different education levels, backgrounds and work styles. Interested team members don’t have to have a marketing background, but they do have to have self-motivation and the desire to succeed because they make their own schedules and work from home, she added.
“The benefit of staying with a corporate company doesn’t have the pay-off anymore,” Bartolotta said. “You don’t have pensions and other benefits that companies gave back to you for investing so much of your life. That doesn’t really exist anymore for our generation. A company like ours is so applicable to people because they get to design, own and dictate their schedule and their life.”
“When I found Moms Making Six Figures, I was kind of in disbelief that I could still pull a six-figure income and really work around my kids’ schedule,” added Becker, whose daughters are 3 and 5 years old.
Over the last year, Becker has taken her daughters — now in preschool and kindergarten — to school every morning and picked them up every afternoon. She has gone on every field trip and been at every soccer practice.
“I was pretty much just coming in right at dinner and bath and bedtime, and that was it,” she said. “Now, I really get to be the person to pick them up and hear about their day. I calendar everything the kids are doing, and then I calendar work after that.”
Looking to expand her team at home and abroad, Bartolotta encourages interested women to contact her by filling out a form on the company’s website at www.momsmakingsixfigures.com/contact.
“Check it out and see if it’s for you,” Becker said. “Know there’s an alternative.”
For more information, call 858-837-1505 or visit momsmakingsixfigures.
‘Moms Making Six Figures’ helps moms stay at home while still having careers
Angie Gange had a successful career in mortgage banking. Then the recession hit.
With her oldest son soon entering college, the Carmel Valley mother of three began looking for a new job.
“I needed to replace my income, but I also needed to have control over my time,” recalled Gange, adding that her husband, Paul, travels a lot on business. “Although our boys are not little ones anymore, I didn’t want to give up being available for them.”
That’s when Gange’s friend introduced her to Moms Making Six Figures, a San Diego-based marketing company that allows women to stay at home and either replace or supplement their income. She started with the company in 2011.
“It’s probably the best decision I ever made,” Gange said.
When Gange became part of the Moms Making Six Figures team, her sons were 17, 14 and 11. At the time, all three of her boys played baseball. She recalled attending more than 100 baseball games in her first five months with the company.
“Our kids come first for us,” Gange said. “Moms Making Six Figures has helped me remain a stay-at-home-mom while still making a six-figure income.”
Local resident Heidi Bartolotta founded Moms Making Six Figures with two other women in December 2009.
For 12 years, Bartolotta had worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative. But after having two daughters, she no longer wanted to work late and travel. She wanted to be home.
To stay at home and also have a career, Bartolotta launched the company, which represents a U.S.-based manufacturer. Since then, the marketing company has grown to nearly 400 team members across the country and around the world, including more than 100 team members in San Diego. About a third are working full time.
Team members come from different backgrounds, education levels, work experience and locations.
“It’s really rewarding,” said Bartolotta, whose daughters are now 8 and 10 years old. “It’s all women who have been able to control their lives.”
Today, Gange’s oldest son Charlie is a senior at San Diego State University. Her younger two boys, Christian and Scotty, attend Torrey Pines High School, where they both play football.
“Moms Making Six Figures has been a blessing for me because I really do get to be a mom first,” said Gange, who has a bachelor’s degree in business. “But I’m an entrepreneur by nature, so I feel really lucky that I have found something where I can put my family first, have my own business and get to work with a team of bright and supportive women.”
Looking to expand her team at home and abroad, Bartolotta encourages interested women to contact her by filling out a form on the company’s website at www.momsmakingsixfigures.com/contact.
“I want women to realize there is an option,” Bartolotta said.
For information, call 858-837-1505 or visit momsmakingsixfigures.com.
After watching an online greeting card company’s humorous and touching Mother’s Day tribute World’s Toughest Job video, I’m convinced that a day isn’t enough to thank the woman who has devoted her life to making ours better — Mom.
They say that you never truly appreciate your mother until you become one yourself. The significance of those words reveals itself as quickly as the positive result on that little stick from the drug store. Nine months of mood swings, soreness, fatigue, anxiety and the more unmentionable discomforts (you remember what I’m talking about) are followed by the physical trauma of forcing something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a lemon. Then, not only is a sweet little screaming bundle of joy and responsibility born, a mother is as well.
The incalculable amount of sacrifice and labor that is coupled with that title only becomes clearer with time. You say goodbye to a good night’s sleep, spontaneous decisions of any kind, adult time and personal space. You say hello to rogue Legos and clothing scattered like Easter eggs throughout the house, hours of scrubbing surfaces with mysterious and (worse) not-so-mysterious stains, bathroom breaks becoming team efforts and previously viewed cartoons on movie night. You clean, cook, encourage, provide, wipe away tears, kiss owies, put pictures on the fridge and worry everyday that it’s not enough.
Once we grasp the enormity of this awesome undertaking, it’s astonishing to think that someone did all of this for us. Perhaps she isn’t perfect, but she has devoted her existence to keep us alive and prepare us to face the world on our own with no small amount of nurturing love and hard work. So, as I finally put my child to sleep after our nightly ritual of bedtime negotiations and retire, exhausted, to my room to finish some work and (God willing) get a few hours of rest before waking up to a new day of responsibilities, I thank you, Mom, for doing all this and so much more for me.
Though, it’s difficult to express how much her efforts mean to us, with Mother’s Day on the horizon, all we can do is try, remaining ever grateful that she took on the world’s toughest job.
For many of us, the work force has been a mad scramble to acquire skills, build a respectable resume and establish a comfortable lifestyle. That is, until we have kids. Then our abilities extend far beyond anything previously aspired.
We become experts in:
Acrobatics. So maybe we can’t do double backs or front handsprings, but we have been required to hold a squirming child while negotiating doorways, assembling midday snacks, managing the chaos that was once our clean home, gearing up for a car ride or, in my case, typing. Who knew so many things could be achieved single-handedly? Literally.
Environmental science. We analyze food labels, examining properties of even the most obscure ingredients. We question the safety of household products and investigate healthy habits for our families. In an effort to provide a better place for our children, we become champions of our planet.
Event planning. This includes offering chauffer services, catering, decorating and crisis management (in a pinch, nothing heals like a cartoon-themed Band-Aid or a chocolate chip granola bar).
Investigation. We’ve become adept at solving mysteries such as “The Case of the Missing Pacifier,” “What’s that Smell in the Living Room” or “Who’s Texting My Teenager After Midnight.”
Law enforcement. Since it’s not exactly ethical to cuff and jail your kid (though, admit it, there are times you’ve thought about it), parents have to be more creative than decorated officers when it comes to crime and punishment. We’ve learned to employ effective interrogation and negotiation tactics to thwart future infractions.
Musical theater. It’s no small feat to enthusiastically belt out Old McDonald or dramatically count piggies, especially after 40 consecutive renditions.
Technical support. It feels as if we deserve engineering credentials after painstakingly putting together baby furniture (see Figure 1.1: “Insert corkscrew in merlot”), installing car seats, readying the some-assembly-required (Hal) bicycle for a birthday surprise and mastering the folding stroller (my record was 4.3 seconds). That’s not to mention troubleshooting for electronic devices, extracting Legos from the Blu-Ray player or building that four-story princess palace claiming compatibility with children 5+.
Waste management. Sure, we’ve changed countless noxious diapers and removed spit-up and stubborn stains from nearly every surface in our homes. But we’ve also become dexterous at sleight-of-hand confiscations and the disposal of undesirable objects. We’ve learned how to distract our kids as we artfully remove fallen suckers or broken objects from their grips and chuck ’em in the nearest bin.
While being a parent is the greatest job in world (most days), it’s also the most demanding. And though our unsung talents may not qualify as resume material, it’s refreshing when they are occasionally recognized and appreciated.
Let’s face it, whether you’re single or married, have one child or a dozen (any more than three and we worship at the alter of your greatness), a community of supporters, or at least sympathizers, is essential. So welcome to our blog, a place for encouragement, for a
little guidance and, most of all, to celebrate all that it means to be a mom.