I know it’s been said we’ll all have multiple careers in our lifetimes, but when does touting that fact get to be too much?  I just saw someone on one of my networks list their title as business owner, author, speaker, coach, and … then I got bored and stopped reading.  

If someone is that many things, I start to wonder just what he or she is actually good at.  If I were to look at my life that way, I guess I would also be a business owner, speaker, and author, plus mother, mentor, wife, as well as a marketing and branding expert.  But really, who cares?  I vote for simplicity – choose one title, and make it count.   Maybe you can even make it interesting, like my friend who’s the owner of Paperoot, who I hope will soon change her title from Queen Bee to Paper Junkie – which is what she truly is!  We all wear many hats, but filling up your business card or online profile with them dilutes your impact, your brand.  Right now, my title is Author (of the children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip), and that suits me just fine. 

Does anyone else feel like this?  If you could call yourself just ONE thing, what would it be?

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May The Fourth and Rabid Fans

By · May 26 · Comments (0)

I heard on NPR today that the second highest search on Google in early May was the date, May 4th.  Why?  Because of Star Wars fans, of course!  Don’t get it?  Neither did I, until they explained it.  Then, my marketer’s heart started to pound with excitement!

We all know the phrase, “May the Force be with you”.  Star Wars fans, the RABID FANS – you know, the ones who attend conferences, know every story line, and perhaps have a costume or two around the house, celebrate May the 4th as an unofficial Star Wars holiday.  Why?  So they can say, “May the Fourth be with you.”  Is that fantastic or what?!  Imagine a group of people identifying with your brand/product so powerfully.  It’s stunning.  It’s what so many companies strive for, yet most fail miserably.  There are very few brands that have reach that kind of stature and we should recognized for them this supreme achievement.  I can only hope my own book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, gets that kind of following among working moms one day!  Conventions, online groups, meet up groups, etc. – all celebrating the struggles and triumphs of the working mom.  Hmmm… stay tuned… we certainly are a force, aren’t we? 

If you had to pick a brand you absolutely love, what would it be?  Why is it one of your favorites?  I’d have to say that mine is Costco.  My experience there is always consistent, I’m never disappointed with the products, and if I end up there at the right time, I always leave with my belly full!

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When I came across this “in the doghouse” video from JC Penny on Mary Dean’s great blog I laughed my head off (Mary is the CEO of KickSkirt, an agency that helps companies market to women – the right way).  As marketer, I was also duly impressed my how well it was produced an the creative concept.  Wives and girlfriends everywhere are going to love this one!  Hats off to JC Penny for having a management team with minds open enough to give this a try.

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The Power of Nothing

By · May 19 · Comments (0)

Awhile back I received a stunning invitation – attend a weekend retreat for mothers, for absolutely free.  The idea was wonderful and the price was unbeatable!  Was there a catch? No.  Really.  I mean it.  The wonderful woman who created the idea, Elaine St. Marie, and the women who helped her pull it off, especially Marianne MacKenzie, simply did it because they felt it was the right thing to do.

So as they set to work, they found a retreat center willing to donate the space.  They did the food shopping, AND the cooking and cleaning.  The mothers invited to the retreat couldn’t help themselves and the very first night asked how they could help contribute – either with money or labor.  Everyone was so grateful for this peaceful, loving space that was created that they just couldn’t help but want to help. 

At the end, the costs were covered, even though the organizers had planned to pay for any remaining expenses out of their own pockets.  More importantly, each mother went home relaxed and rejuvenated, a bit more in touch with her “inner Goddess”.  In a time of such scarcity and constant talk of recession and job loss, it was truly amazing to see what bounty we have when a community comes together and shares from the heart.  Thank you, Elaine, Marianne, and all the other retreat volunteers for a weekend I will always remember!

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The following is from guest blogger, Angela Ploetz, organizer extraordinairre and owner of the her firm, The Posh Space – Productive Office, Stylish Home.  Any tips that can save me from making multiple trips to the grocery store in one week and I’m all ears (eyes!).  Thanks, Angela!

Meal Planning Makes Life Simple

Monday marks the start of a new week and with it comes the infamous question “what’s for dinner tonight”?  Planning dinner on the spot can be stressful and can result in a lot of time back and forth to the grocery store.  So what can you do to save time, sanity, and keep from making so many unnecessary trips?

 

Start by creating a list of all the meals that you know how to prepare or prepare on a regular basis.  Having a go to list of everything that you know how to cook is a great way to spark your memory when you have no idea what to make.  A good place to start is to divide the list into categories like:  chicken, beef, turkey, fish, vegetarian, and side dishes.

 

Keep the list in the kitchen in a handy location.  On Saturday or Sunday before you do your weekly shopping go through the list and decide what you will have for each day that week.  Write it down so you don’t forget.  Trust me; I’ve made that mistake before!  Then make your shopping list checking the recipes so you don’t miss any ingredients and you’re off to the store!

 

Just remember there may be some ingredients that will not hold until the end of the week so you may have to make a list of items to purchase later in the week. 

 

Already knowing what to make for dinner each night can help reduce your stress at dinner time and help make your night run smoothly.  I’m getting more relaxed just thinking about it!

I had an interesting set of experiences yesterday.  I had to take 1.5 yr old my son to the doctor’s to get a blood culture.  They pricked him three times and couldn’t get any blood.  He was screaming as I laid across him, trying to keep his small body still enough on the examining table so they could put the needles in safely.  We tried for at least 20 mins.  He was shocked by the pain, and also by the fact that I was letting this happen to him.  Once that was done, the nurses then gave him an antibiotic shot that they told me was very painful.  The poor little guy slept for almost four hours after the ordeal.

I wanted to cry, too.  On the third prick, I got tears in my eyes, but I knew I had to keep it together for my son.  Later that day I was in the grocery store and some child, probably around three, was having a whale of a tantrum in the check out line.  His mother was desparately trying to calm him, even as he started to hit her.  I’m sure it seemed to her that the whole store could hear him.  Finally, her eyes started to well up, too – clearly out of frustration, feeling overwhelmed, probably exhausted, and who knows what else was going on in her life.

I wanted so badly to help her but didn’t know what I could do.  The grocery bagger helped her out to her car, and the cashier gave her a hug.  I whispered to her that it would be alright at she walked by, but I think I just embarrassed her more.  I really felt for her and got a little teary-eyed myself.  Maybe it was just the day, but I really think all of us mothers are pulling for each other and fully empathize when we see another sister struggling.

It made me think about how much we love our babies and how we cry when they’re hurt, we cry when they frustrate us, and we cry when they shower us with unconditional love – from the scribbled drawing to the hug around our necks.  What a wild ride this is!

A stunning success story – HARO

By · Mar 21 · Comments (0)

I am so happy to have started my day reading the latest post from Peter Shankman on the one year anniversary of the launch of HARO.  What Peter has done with a simple email list amazes me.  We can all learn a lot from him.  I hope his business model and huge success spawns many more services that are just as valuable – from Peter and others.

I admire Peter not just for his creativity and success but also for finding a way to live the lifestyle he wants.  It’s possible for all of us when we have the guts to go for it.  What’s so inspiring about HARO is it’s a beautiful union of simplicity and an untapped need from both experts and reporters.  Win-Win-Win! (The third “Win”, of course, is Peter.  Or perhaps it’s the readers/viewers/listeners of the articles, books, TV segments, etc. that eventually are published.) 

Do you love HARO as much as I do?

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Recessions = Opportunities

By · Mar 17 · Comments (1)

With all the bad news about, it’s easy to get down about the state of the world today.  Don’t!  This is THE time to look for silver linings, and ripe opportunities.  My husband lost his job last Thursday.  Though he was our family’s source of income until my book (www.mommytrip.com) takes off, we are totally OK with situation.  Why?  Getting laid off was the kick in the butt he needed to figure out what he really wants to do with his life.  He’s not alone, either.  More and more people I know are stepping back, reflecting, and asking themselves “what in the world am I doing with the rest of my life?”  What things, titles, and lifestyle do they really WANT or NEED?  I know that it’s a scary time for all of us, and facing foreclosure on your family home, or going without health insurance, is no joke.  I also absolutely believe that we will rise from these ashes stronger, more aware, more grateful for our loved ones, and more appreciative of a picnic in the park on a warm, sunny day.

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As a new author and working mom, I was so thrilled to get the call from my best friend from high school, who lives in Chicago, that she saw a write-up on me and the book in the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune!  I just wanted to share some success as we continue to get innundated by bad news on the economy, etc. Times are tough, but I would like to encourage everyone here to share their successes as well.  We can all learn from what’s working for one another and lend each other support!

Here’s a link to the Tribune article: www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/chi-0308-wire-mom-business-trip-mar08,0,6514744.story

Have a great day,
Phaedra

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If you are a working mom, with any age kid at home, a subscription to Working Mother magazine is definitely worth your time and money.  It’s not like many of the parenting magazines that we’re through with by the time we’re done with maternity leave.  It grows with you and is multifaceted.  I’ll be recommending other magazines and links in this blog on a regular basis as well. 

At DolceVita Woman, I am so happy to announce that my book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, was chosen as Working Mother’s Top Pick for Children’s Books in this Feb/March issue.  And no, the plug above isn’t because of the review – I really do find the magazine helpful!  What are your favorite sites or magazines?  Which ones keep you sane, offer relevant tips, and don’t talk to you like your biggest passion in life is staying up until 2 am making cupcakes for the school party?  Any submissions will be aggregated and posted here.  Let’s share the wealth and help promote those who serve us!