Urge to Splurge!

    Barbara Russo-Sprouls did not have a very good year in 2006, so in 2007 she decided to make things a little better.
    Barbara had faced some hard times. Her father passed away, her 24 year marriage was over and her daughter moved away from home. To top things off, her car was damaged in a flood.
    The good times, however, started with a Pink Partini, where she won a silver necklace. That is when she felt her luck begin to change. "I made a decision I was going to change my life."
    When the waters cleared and her car insurance check finally arrived she decided to go shopping for a car.  What she got was more than that.
    Barbara's career started off exciting. She worked in Washington D.C. for 17 years and taught at American University. The list of what she had accomplished was impressive. But with a husband whose job moved her around and a daughter who was autistic, Barbara decided to leave her career behind and focus on her family.
    "I was very 'others' focused," Barbara said. She lived her life practically and put her energy into raising her daughter and became an advocate for Autism. She worked on National Boards for Autism and became a speaker and writer about the condition.
    Today Barbara still does advocacy work for autism, but with no husband, and her daughter out of the house, she decided to do something for herself.
    When Barbara went car shopping she new she wanted something fun and exciting but wasn't sure what kind of car it would be. She had always had the "mommy" cars. "Its time for women to have fun cars," she said.  Then her salesman at Hilton Head Jaguar came to her and said "I have the car for you!"  In the back of the car lot was a baby blue Jaguar XK8 and Barbara knew it was the perfect car for her.
    She didn't buy it right away however. She debated with herself awhile, went over her finances and one day while waiting in an airport, she called her salesman and put down a deposit.
    Barbara did not stop with one car though. She knew she wanted her dream car but she wanted a practical car too. With two big dogs to carry around she needed something she didn't mind getting a little dirty. So she also bought a Hyundai Santa Fe.
    Barbara's car is more than just a splurge. To her it represents a new beginning and a time in her life when she decided to put herself first.  I "stepped outside the box" with this, said Barbara. 
    The car to Barbara also represents the fact that women should be able to do things for themselves once in a while. Women tend to put everyone else first. They buy for their families and friends, but not themselves. "I almost felt guilty," she said of such a big purchase. But she feels that if you can afford to do so, and it isn't taking food off the table, then you should go for it.
    When Barbara talks about her baby blue dream car she says, "We are going to grow old gracefully together."  And they will, because it is more than a car to Barbara. It is a symbol of change and happiness. "No matter how bad things look, things change for the better. You just have to be open for it."

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