Monday, February 22, 2010

Make Time for Projects

I'm terrible about putting pictures in albums and frames. Like, bad mom kinda bad. My son is 15 months old, and up until last weekend, I did not have one-single-photo-album put together of my child. I know.

My husband was so baffled by this, he finally said to me at the beginning of this year, "Honey, i would really like to have just one album that has all his pictures in it instead of this mess of photos jammed into a magazine rack." We won't even go down the path of why this is was of course directed at me since it's of course the mom's job to organize her baby's photos, buy appropriately cute albums, and place the pictures in them. We'll tackle that in another post :)

So, back to the issue at hand...cultivating some sort of memory-honoring act that showcases the enormously important year we just had with the coolest and most baffling person I've ever known - my son. Many people are really good at this. Every time I go to my friend Lora's house, she has new pictures spattered around her house in more frames than you can count. The WEEK after her son's first birthday, she was taking advantage of a Snapfish deal for photo books. Dear God!

Not only was I prompted by my husband's gentle request for us to maybe, perhaps, someday get an album put together with pictures of our son, but I also had started reading Gretchen Rubin's "Happiness Project," which truly pushed me over the edge to finally get this done. If you don't know anything about the book, basically, she's trying to find ways to get the most out of her life and essentially be the happiest she can be. In this quest, one of her challenges is to "Make Time for Projects." She essentially admits that she too is not good at keepsaking, so she decides to put more effort into it, realizing that completing the project brings a great sense of pride and (you guessed it) happiness.

Ugh, alright already!! What I knew about myself is that I would never, ever, ever actually complete a real scrapbook, which would probably be the ultimate "ode to baby." So, I did what I knew would get done - I went to Target (the holiest of all holy places) and bought two adorable albums that held plenty of pictures so that I would have room for the gallons of them I had sitting around. Well!!! From the time I went to Target to the time I put the last picture in the second album, I had spent a total of 7 HOURS ON THIS PROJECT!

In the middle of the first one, I realized that I was missing pictures, so I went online to see how many were loaded but not ordered, and I found 111 - ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN - pictures that needed to be ordered and shipped to my house. Have I mentioned that I'm not very good at this? So, I had to wait a whole other week before I received the pics and sorted through all of them to make sure they were chronological. Finally, I was done. And pretty much, I made my case right there as to why I should make this a priority a little more often.

Was I happier? Absolutely. Not only did I have this warm and fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach as these pictures brought back the sweet, irresistible, frustrating, and amazing memories of the last 15 months, it warmed my heart to watch my husband go through the albums for the first time. We reminisced about the good times and not-so-good times, and since then, I've gone through the albums about four times - it makes me happy every time I do it.

Huh! Alright Gretchen, you got me. I'm pickin' up what you're puttin' down. I'll "Make Time for Projects" as much as I possibly can.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Does Tiger Need to Win Back Women?

So Tiger's holding a press conference tomorrow...well, I don't know if I would call it a press conference since he's reading from a script and not taking any questions. Submitting a quote to ESPN is pretty much the same thing. Anyhow, I keep hearing analysts say that Tiger should go on "Oprah" because he's going to need to win back women if he ever hopes to win back marketers. Most of them are agreeing that men can totally separate what Tiger does on the course with what he does off the course, and while they think he's totally screwed up his personal life, it doesn't affect whether they would buy body soap that he's endorsing. So, this sparks a question in my mind...

Would women really not buy a product that their husband wants or really likes just because Tiger is endorsing it (or will endorse it in the future)?

My husband said to me today, "I think that if a man really wants a Tiger Woods golf club, his wife would still buy it for him." Well, I'm not so sure. Would you?

So let's think about this: Kobe Bryant was on trial for rape and played in the playoffs while being on trial. Yes, he was proved innocent, but admited to cheating. Today, he still sells tickets and I don't think marketers are that afraid of linking up with him. A-Rod clearly cheated multiple times and was photographed with at least one stripper. Now, besides being annoying, he still gets endorsements because he's one of the greatest baseball players ever. I could truly go on and on, but I won't because you catch my drift.

I'm a woman and a mom, and I can tell you honestly that I would still buy a product even if Tiger was endorsing it. Are you ashamed? C'mon, if it's the best product on the market and it's what my husband likes, then seriously, I'm not going to not buy it just because of Tiger's infidelity. While I would like to see him make a sincere (not scripted!) apology for what he's done, AND while it also would be nice to never, ever, ever, EVER see him photographed with another woman, infidelity is just not that surprising a trait of famous athletes (or any rich and famous man for that matter). Does Bill Clinton ring a bell?

It doesn't make it right. And maybe if people really revolted against products because of cheating endorsers, these men might think twice about it. So, maybe I've talked myself into revolting against Nike because they stuck with Tiger...yes, yes, let's start a movement today ladies. I've seen the power of women online, and I know how the rants and raves of modern moms can make a product rise and fall in a day.

However, until I start seeing that movement begin, I'll probably just let this one go too. You're safe this time Nike.

What about you? Are you done with Tiger and his silly little endorsements?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Passion, Purpose, Intention

At the Blissdom conference I mentioned in my last post, I had the privelage of listening to Kevin Carroll ( speak. He was by far one of the most inspirational people I have ever known, and besides telling you a little of his story (which is amazing and heart-wrenching), I want to share some of his thoughts that might inspire you as you start yet another week of what might seem to you like an ordinary life.

So first his story: Kevin and his two brothers hopped from place to place when he was just a little boy because of his mother's drug addiction. He said that to this day he still sleeps on the edge of the bed because they would always have to pack up and leave instantly in the middle of the night. When he was six years old, his mother took them to a trailer and left them for five days before he decided to walk across to a neighbor's house and call his grandparents to rescue them. He then told us that he never heard from his mother again.

As tragic as this was for a child to go through, the catalyst for his life's work was a red rubber ball he began to play with shortly after being taken in by his grandparents. After picking up this abandoned ball at the park and pounding it on the ground in an effort to vent his frustrations, a group of kids asked him if he wanted to play with them. He knew at that moment that one of the greatest satisfactions in life was just belonging - whether that be as part of a community, a sports team, a family, or matters...a lot. AND (this, in my opinion is the most important) that we need to remember the "art of play." With all of our adult responsibilities looming over our heads every day, we forget to find joy in the little things.

In an effort to help all of us acheive what he figured out as a 6-year-old, he wrote a book called, "Rules of the Red Rubber Ball" (I ordered my copy today). Basically, he goes all over the world delivering red rubber balls - soccer, basketball, etc. - to kids who have already mastered the art of play but just need something of quality to play with (the balls he replaces are sometimes made out of trash bags - now that's imagination born out of necessity!!!). So, what he told us is that we all need to have three things:

1. Passion
2. Purpose
3. Intention

When Kevin was done making us all feel like we could take on the world, I really thought long and hard about what these three words mean for me. For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know that I can drag explanations and stories out just a bit too long, so I'm going to sum up my thoughts in fairly simplistic terms.

Passion - I really have two passions: the first is experiencing life with family and friends. I'm incredibly lucky (as annoying as it is to read this) to have some of the best parents, in-laws, and friends anyone could ever have. I of course include my son in this category, but c'mon, that's really just a given. Now when I say experience life, I really mean do everything with them. For example, my husband and I never take a vacation by ourselves, we prefer to have dinner with friends rather than by ourselves (yes, there are rare exceptions to this), and we are always ready to plan the next get-together. My second passion is marketing. It's what I do for a living, but it's really not just my seeps into my personal life in various forms, and I'm always interested in learning as much as I can about it. I honestly feel that if you aren't personally invested in the field you're in outside the walls of your workplace, then find something else! Yes, yes, I know all about the economy, so maybe wait a couple years to take the leap.

Purpose - So what is my purpose in life? The founder of my company once said, "We don't live to work, we all work to obtain the means we need to live the life we want to live outside of this job." OK, so I just got done telling you that I have a passion for what I do for a living. I do...really. But, could I go without the administrative work I have to do since I'm at an agency, or would I love to have my pick of whatever client in the world I want to work with? Of course. My purpose in life is to be the happiest I can be on any given day and to help the people I love most be the happiest they can be. So I work. I work to feed my passions and to "live the life I want to live." I wish I could tell you my purpose was to make a huge difference in a third world country, but you'll have to settle for the fact that I think it's really, really, really important to spread happiness.

Intention - So you're probably not going to be surprised when I tell you that my intention is to make a positive impact on those around me. I have purposefully surrounded myself by people who bring the best out in me, so why not do the same for them?

So, as I think back to Kevin's red rubber ball epiphany, I feel like I know exactly what he's talking about, and I hope I never take life too seriously. What's your passion, purpose, and intention?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mom-to-Mom Connections

I'm exhausted yet really inspired right now. I just got back from a blogging conference (Blissdom) that was filled with some of the most amazing moms I've ever met. Some work full-time outside of their homes and blog on the side and some have made a lot of money by turning their blogs into a full-time business. These are savvy, dedicated, motivated, and deeply encouraging women who truly know their way around a keyboard. I was overwhelmed because I've just begun my personal social media journey, and I honestly try to stay away from my computer during much of my non-paid working time. However, during our sessions, I sat next to women who Tweeted, blogged, and connected pretty much the whole time. It was amazing to me...these women are amazing to me.

Moms all around the world have found a way to leave their corporate positions and stay at home with their babies but still make enough money to not only survive but live really well. More importantly however, moms are connecting with other moms in a way they couldn't 20 or 30 years ago. Moms are able to share their thoughts and concerns, answer questions or ask questions, and truly find like-minded women to build relationships with they might never have met without social media tools. I met four women at similar stages of their lives as myself...all with different stories but the same goal - share, connect, support. I truly believe that these women (,,, and will be a part of my life for a long time in some way. As Bay put it when we were sitting at dinner last night, "this, right here, was worth my price of admission."

I was incredibly inspired to keep reaching and keep connecting through our sessions as well as my personal conversations with so many savvy, strong women, and I thought I would just share with you one thought for the week that I pulled from our amazing keynote speaker, Kevin Carroll (I'll tell you more about him later this week) - all most of us want is to belong to a community, so find yours and encourage others to do the same. We all need inspiration and support from time to time, and we should be seeking out those who push us and step away from those who drain us. Thank you Blissdom.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Power of Elmo

What is it about this scrawny, red, squeaky-voiced little creature that absolutely mesmerizes our children? When I was little, I watched Sesame Street but don't even remember Elmo. And then, about 10 years ago, there appeared a cult that would literally run each other down at Christmas time to grab the latest and greatest version of the most amazing character ever created - the holiest of holy, Elmo. I'm baffled by it and really didn't understand his power until this past weekend when my husband and I took a four hour drive and popped an Elmo singing, dancing, and books video in the DVD player. It was the most peaceful drive we have ever experienced!! Our baby boy watched this DVD four times in a row and barely whined at all.

Now, let me explain why this is amazing. I have one of the highest-energy 14-month-olds I have ever seen in my 29 years of life. Since birth, he has not been much of a napper; we usually only make it through 10 minutes of church (who wants to listen to a mom trying to tell her son he can't climb over or under the pews?); we can't even load the dishwasher around him because he pulls everything out and climbs inside - EVERY SINGLE TIME; and instead of sitting on our laps while we're watching TV, he wants to jump up and down on the coach, on his chair, or on the stairs. However, during those four hours in the car, he was calm, entertained, and happy. Even tonight, nothing was pleasing him because his stomach hasn't felt well for a few days, but we popped in that DVD just to see if Elmo could comfort him since we weren't doing the trick, and it worked! Our boy was dancing, laughing, and switching from lap to lap (after we took his chair away because all he wanted to do was stand in it).

I am now and forever will be an Elmo groupie. I don't really get it, but I appreciate him. And when we need Elmo to come to the rescue, I hope he rides in on his big, white horse - but I'll settle for him popping up on my screen with his goldfish friend, Dorothy.