Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Toddlers and Medicine

My two year old daughter had strep last week and we gave her amoxicillin to treat it. She felt better in a few days, but was waking up agitated in the middle of the night with stomach cramps and she was crying, which she never does normally.

I called the nurse at her Dr office and she said although it is cause for concern, to continue giving it to her for the remaining 3 days of the 10 day treatment. It was against my better judgment and we stopped giving it to her.

It had been 8 days since we all slept through the night, but last night was the first restful night since we stopped giving it to her.

It's hard being a parent and deciding what's best for your child, but when they are in pain and don't need to be, it's not even an issue.

I guess I'm most upset that I have discovered that doctors and nurses are just people and not superpeople whom I grew up thinking could solve every health problem. As a parent, we have to make educated decisions and guesses, like they do, about what is best for our health and for our family's health.

Never second guess your gut feelings and instincts. I know I won't!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Online Marketing and Smaller Businesses

DECEMBER 20, 2005

About two-thirds of small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) use online marketing or plan to start in the next six months, according to a new report.

Frank N. Magid Associates surveyed a national sample of 1,060 for-profit small- and medium-sized businesses between September 12th and October 11th, 2005. A little over one-half of these respondents were from a registered users list of AllBusiness.com, an online resource for businesses that sponsored the study.

The data implies that only 22% of SMBs use the Internet for marketing. Of these, just over 60% employ e-mail marketing, while 56% use search engine optimization, 36% have banner ads, and 25% use pay-per-click advertising. Most of these organizations — 74% — are planning to increase their online marketing spending, although 43% of SMBs who are not using online marketing say they are planning to in the next 6 months.

However, a study by Interland indicates that SMBs rate other, non-Web related factors as more important, or just as important, when it comes to business success. For example, 55% of US SMBs surveyed said that community relations were critical, compared to 47% who cited a Web site. Public relations, direct mail and yellow pages were all deemed more important marketing tools than e-mail marketing. While converts to online marketing seem enthusiastic about it, it is clear that SMBs as a whole have not yet jumped wholeheartedly into the online realm when it comes to promoting their products.

Outside the realm of marketing, Magid found that over four-fifths of SMBs credit the Internet with improving communications in their company, while about three-fifths said that the Internet opened new markets for them, increased competition and lowered their costs. Interestingly, less than one-third said that the Internet improved employee performance, perhaps reflecting concern over employees being distracted from work by surfing the Web.

http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?1003731

©2005 eMarketer Inc. All rights reserved

Monday, December 19, 2005

Small Internet Retailers Are Using Web Tools to Level the Selling Field

E-Commerce Report from The New York Times

By BOB TEDESCHI
Published: December 19, 2005

AMAZON, Walmart.com and other online retailing giants have always had upstarts nipping at their heels. But the little guys are starting to bite harder.

Just how sharp their teeth are, however, is a matter of some debate.

Of the $26 billion in sales that are projected for Internet retailers this holiday season, about 45 percent will go to small retailers, according to Forrester Research, up from 42 percent last year. Even so, with revenues starting to flatten at eBay, the site so many of them use to market their wares, some analysts doubt they will ever be able to break through the 50 percent mark.
But other analysts are not so sure. In the fast-changing world of Internet commerce, they say, smaller merchants have gained two important advantages: Google and consumers who are fussier than ever.

"The game has changed," said Gene Alvarez, an analyst with Gartner, a technology consulting firm.

In years past, any retailer could put up a Web site fairly easily, although it had little chance of attracting the attention of Web browsers unless it had enough money to advertise on well-known sites like AOL and MSN. Yahoo and Amazon, which have long sold cheap Internet storefronts to small businesses, sweetened the deal by listing the businesses on their sites in return for a sales commission.

But that exposure, while significant, pales in comparison to the publicity Web merchants can now gain by spending a few nickels per click on a text ad on Google. "Before, people couldn't find these smaller guys," Mr. Alvarez said. "But now these stores can be much more easily discovered on Google."

At the same time, consumers are displaying a growing appreciation for small online retailers. According to the Kelsey Group, a media consulting firm, the portion of Internet searches that include local elements like "dry cleaners and Greenwich Village" or "art galleries in Easton" has doubled in the last year to 20 percent.

One reason for that, no doubt, is the spread of high-speed Internet connections, which allow users to click through multiple merchants without waiting hours for Web pages to load.
All of which leads to another phenomenon that could further threaten the dominance of the big players - simplified e-commerce software with the potential to lure hordes of hitherto reluctant merchants onto the Internet.

According to eBay, nearly 650,000 small businesses in the United States have an online presence, a sizable figure but a tiny fraction of the 7.5 million companies that the Kelsey Group estimates market most of their goods directly to consumers. Many of the holdouts have resisted the Web because they deem the transition to be too difficult, too expensive or both. But now, Yahoo Stores, ProStores from eBay, NetSuite and other companies that help businesses operate online hope to change the minds of the hesitant with software and services that are cheaper and easier to use.

"We're moving into the next generation for small and medium-sized businesses who want to sell online," said Mr. Alvarez of Gartner. "Even a one-person shop can open an online store that's much more refined than it would've been a few years ago."

Liz Herbert, a Forrester analyst, said the biggest change in e-commerce software in the last few years was that it no longer comes in a box. It is delivered online, so businesses do not need technology specialists to install and run the company's system.

EBay has for years offered sellers the chance to set up their own ministores, called storefronts, in this fashion, but the company this year intensified its efforts to reach small businesses that might not be interested in selling solely on its site. In January, it bought Kurant, an e-commerce software company, for an undisclosed sum; this year it renamed the service ProStores and upgraded the software with added features.

According to Chris Tsakalakis, eBay's senior director of stores and platforms, the ProStores service, which costs from $7 to $250 monthly, gives sellers templates to use in setting up a store, and will carry an online catalog of 10 items or more. For those who pay $30 or more a month, the service includes a personalized Web address, a secure checkout process and a selection of more sophisticated business tools, like those that help managers improve the store's rankings on search engine results.

Such software tools sound like an obvious place for Google's engineers to focus, particularly if the company wants to attract more local businesses online so they will buy more Google ads. But Google - which last month began giving away software to help Internet managers analyze their site traffic, but has not otherwise pushed into e-commerce services - does not offer live customer service, and this is one market where such service is critical, executives said.
"We have hundreds of live agents that are highly trained, answering questions around the clock," said Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Small Business. "That gives us a real head start."

And increasingly, these services include more than just the ability to post a Web site and accept transactions. NetSuite, a privately held company co-founded by Lawrence J. Ellison, Oracle's chief executive, and Evan Goldberg, one of Oracle's chief technologists, has improved its tools for companies that want to manage their entire business - including payroll, shipping and marketing - through the Internet.

For some retailers, like Mess Makeup, a New York seller of cosmetics, that is the most important feature in the latest incarnation of e-commerce services. "I could go to the Bahamas, pull out my laptop, look at inventory, see how many leads came in, track people's shipping, and everything's extremely user-friendly," said Adam Furman, a former software consultant who co-founded Mess Makeup two months ago.

Mr. Furman, who pays NetSuite about $1,000 a month for one of its more sophisticated service offerings, said he would have had to spend $500,000 to $1 million to develop the same technology on his own a few years ago. "And we would've needed to hire a tech team of our own," he said. "Now we can concentrate more on just selling makeup and building our business."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/19/technology/19ecom.html

Small Business Marketing Help is Here

As a business to business marketer, I have garnered much experience in the areas of technology with a splash of agency work as well. I am currently a one person marketing department and I handle all aspects of corporate marketing communications. I handle advertising (both print and online), public relations, trade shows, marketing collateral and all marketing projects for a software company.

I have recently started working freelance on small business marketing projects for some local companies. It is amazing all of the companies out there who are looking for marketing professionals for projects but who do not have the budget or workload to staff a full time marketer.

With that in mind, I have started freelance marketing for small businesses. Jen Marketing is my new creation designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses handle their advertising, marketing and PR on a project basis. Looking for a freelance marketer? Seeking a marketing consultant? Need help with some projects that you don't have time for? Need help writing and distributing a press release? Just need some research done? Give me a shout. I can help with your small business marketing and small business advertising needs large or small.

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www.jenmarketing.com
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Project marketer
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Small business marketer
Small business advertiser
Small business public relations

Friday, December 16, 2005

I got my iPod. You didn't get one.

Glory day. I got my 30GB video iPod and I am in heaven. It rocks. I also bought the kit with all the cables that you need to play it in your car, on your stereo and listen with 2 people. I have all of my music and pictures on it. You can show slide shows on tv to music, put your calendar on it, your contacts from Outlook. It even has games and a timer on it. Christmas came early in our household!

Between this and our satellite radio that is due anyday, we will be set. No more boring radio for us. No more songs overplayed to the point of no return! Control is back in our hands! Victory is ours!

www.apple.com

Saturday, December 10, 2005

U2 is the band of our generation

I am 34 years old and I have grown up with U2. Go ahead. Call them a band that has not affected you in some way shape or form, and I will work with you on this. I am sorry but there isno excuse but to know this band and the beaty it brings to your world. Rock on. For now, we live here.

www.u2.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Auburn Wins the Iron Bowl. War Eagle!

Auburn ended a fabulous season by making a human pinata out of Alabama's quarterback, Brodie Croyle. Bumper stickers are already on the market "Honk if you sacked Brodie." As an Auburn fan, seeing them beat Bama four years in a row is golden.


Auburn's defense contributes to its fourth consecutive win over Alabama.
http://www.theplainsman.com/vnews/display.v/ART/43833d26ad71c

Auburn's victory could set the tone for the future
http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051122/SPORTS/511220364/1002

Auburn Tigers
http://www.wtvynews4.com/sports/headlines/1996907.html

Auburn Awaits Mystery Game
http://www.al.com/sports/mobileregister/index.ssf?/base/sports/1132568116235900.xml&coll=3

Auburn Blasts Out of Alabama's Shadow
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10130783/

Great video clip of the 2005 Iron Bowl Highlights
http://www.aunation.net/ironbowlvideos/AU%20vs%20UA%2011_19_05.wmv

Auburn University
http://www.auburn.edu

Sunday, November 06, 2005

IKEA, The European Target

My sister road tripped into town from Charlotte, NC with my mom and her two kids so we could have a sister shopping spree at IKEA. She has been an avid fan for a few years and hasn't been to one in years. This was my first trip but since they opened the Atlanta location and sent the catalog, they have made a fan out of me. With their funky cool style and low prices, you can't beat it! I got stuff cheaper than Wal-Mart there and it looks ten times better. Needless to say, I was able to give my sister an early Xmas present by shopping with her as our mom and my husband watched the kids.

It is a huge store and it does encourage kids. It even has a restaurant and kids play palace. I got doormats for $1.99 and kids plates 5 for .99. You can't beat that! Plus they won me over as they played the 80s satellite radio channel. I guess we fit their target demographic.

It rocks. Plus I just got back from visiting our friends in Luzern, Switzerland. They have all that cool track lighting and space saving efficient furniture. It was like an extension of our trip going to IKEA. They show you examples of living within certain spaces like 1500 sq ft, 1000 sq ft and less. It's definitely a lesson for the US as we are used to larger wide open spaces. If you are in a smaller space, you must plan for more efficient use of your space. Like IKEA says, think high. Go all the way up your wall and maximize your space.

www.ikea.com

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Auburn vs. LSU college football

This is such a great rivalry. It is one of my favorite games in the Auburn season. I have been to the LSU game in Baton Rouge and to it in Auburn. What a great mix of people who love football. Even when we lost in Baton Rouge and were walking back to our car in our Auburn gear, a bunch of LSU tailgaters invited us to their tailgate for jambalaya. That is awesome. I am so happy for them as things seem to be getting back to normal after the horror of the hurricanes. It is a sold out game tonight and there is no better time in life to celebrate than now! Football, folks and fun. Go Tigers!!!

And go Chicago White Sox!!! It is a good day for sports. Beauty, eh?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Talkin bout my Jeneration

My moment of Jen. I was born in 1971 and was named the most popular name for that year in the U.S. Jennifer. There were about 10 other Jennifers born the same time I was in Hinsdale, Illinois. My parents even clipped a newspaper article about it and put it in my baby book. So for my entire life, I have had a name that a good portion of other women have had growing up. There were always three of us in my classes in school. Our classmates would come up with nicknames and even teachers would to that fact, to keep us separatley identified. I spell my name Jenni and it has always been that way, even before I could talk. My parents always called me Jenni from the start. But my last name Gurney always warranted that nickname when class was overwhelmed with Jennifers. So Jennifers of the 70s, I feel your pain!

So it is funny to see a fancier name evolution now as a parent - kids' names and spellings run the gamut in my daughter's daycare. Hailey, Hayley, Ashton, Ashlee, Brandon, Braedon, you name it, there is a different spelling for it.

I think it's funny that no matter who we are, we are always trying to differentiate, even with our names. I wonder if Jennifer will ever make the top of the list again as we see the Apples and Cocos and Pilots and Banjos enter the arena. Maybe we will go back to basics as we do in the cycle of life. Hello Jennifers of the world. Reunite! Deep thoughts on a Friday night.

The new Jeneration
http://www.smh.com.au/cgi-bin/common/popupPrintArticle.pl?path=/articles/2004/01/13/1073877820515.html

Popular Baby Names, 1880-2004 Social Security Administration
http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/

Celebrity Baby Names
http://www.parents.com/articles/pregnancy/babynames_toptrends.jsp?page=4

What's the weirdest celebrity baby name?
http://www.usatoday.com/life/columnist/popcandy/2004-05-25-pop-candy_x.htm

Reference to Jennifers in the 70s
http://www.trixieupdate.com/archives/2004/05/2004_05_18_0950.php

What not to name your baby
http://www.suntimes.com/output/lifestyles/cst-ftr-name31.html

Madison and her sisters
http://www.teevee.org/archive/2002/11/21/




Sunday, October 16, 2005

Family Tradition

Usually, families tend to stick together when the going gets tough rather than the opposite. I have just been reminded of what a wonderful family I do have. My sister in law, my husband's sister, is being sued by her husband's sister. Who sues family? well unfortunately, that one does. My sister in law and her husband had a get together and the sister fell on the sidewalk on the way in to their condo. She was pregnant and twisted her ankle, but months went by and she got better. Just a few months ago, she decided to press charges. At first the family was like, don't worry, we're not suing YOU, we are suing your insurance company. Still, it was wrong. She even promised to give them some of the money...which theydidn't want. Since the insurance company and condo complex have ruled that the area that she fell on is not under their responsibility, it now goes directly to my sister and brother in law. That makes for an interesting family gathering. So now, no one is speaking to each other and the sister is suing her brother just for money, apparently. Is Springer still on tv?

She is a worthless ho who has three kids by three different men and still lives at home with her poor parents to raise the kids. She had a boob job and is a hussy with no better purpose in life than to create havoc for those around her. I do believe in karma and I do believe she has been tagged. I feel bad for my sister and brother in law. No one should go through this as a family. The parents are backing the sister suing, so all communication has been cut off. It is hard. Why are people assholes? My sis and brother in law have repeatedly supported her, giving her money when she needs it (which she never repays, nor do they expect it anymore), babysitting their niece and nephew and loving them - which is the hardest thing to see - them missing their aunt and uncle and cousin - and lots more)

Which goes back to the old adage - you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family. That just sucks. I am thankful to have a loving and caring family. I hope they won't sue me - and don't expect them to. Where to turn if your family wrongs you? Well I did some research. Good luck my sister in law!

Coping with the stress of being sued
http://cobrands.business.findlaw.com/business_commercial/legal/source/business_events/be16_2dosndonts.html

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Atlanta Braves are all stars to me.

There are many arguments going around the city of Atlanta today as we all watched (and turned off, and turned back on, and turned off) the heart wrenching 18 inning loss yesterday against the Houston Astros that knocked them out of the playoffs.

I know you could say that they left a lot of men on base and had many chances to come back, and can argue your point until the cows come home. But what is really amazing is that for 14 straight years, Atlanta has proven (against many odds at times) that they are good enough every year to content for the championship.

Many big names and egos have come and gone from this team and I have to give kudos to the coaches and the farm system of this amazing team. There is always next year, but even right now I think they are great. Keep on rocking in the free world, Leo!

http://www.atlantabraves.com

http://www.ajc.com/braves/content/sports/braves/

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Gaucho Gaucho Gauchos!

Does anyone else remember wearing these hideous half pant - half shorts in the late 1970s or is it just me? And I was only 8, so I could blame my parents since I had not hit the formulative fashion years. The gaucho gaucho gaucho ad campaign was what I can recall. Wearing gauchos and my I'm a Pepper Dr. Pepper t-shirt like I was the fashion queen of Chicago. At a tender 8 years old.

And now they have made a comeback. Scary. There are some clothing trends that need to go away and stay away. Forever! This means you legwarmers, as well.

Well now that I've vented I feel better. Anyone know where to look up old ad campaigns? Jordache! Nair wears short shorts! Nehi! Nothing comes between me and my calvins!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I want my iPod and I want it now!

I am a huge iPod fan. I am also a fan of collecting new music that is not on the radio and giving new bands a break. Which is why I am updating my music collection so when I get my iPod (and can afford to buy it after the holidays) I will be all ready to go.

I am also a marketer and am entering all the contests I can to win an iPod! I love listening to my cable company's music channels commercial free and hearing cool, new bands. I think we are going to witness a huge change in the music industry and how people carry their music around. I still can't believe there are entire companies out there that just sell iPod accessories. I need to find a hot trend and jump on it sooner next time! Rock on, peace out.

www.apple.com
Did you know you can get free personalization on iPods? I have ordered two for my company trade show giveaways. It's pretty cool. Put your name on it so you know it's yours!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Top 5 Free Things to Do at Disney World

I married into a Disney family from Florida. They have a time share there so we have the luxury of visiting and staying at Disney for "free". Although we have this nice benefit, it has also been fun to experience Disney World from a frequent traveler perspective. My in-laws have stayed at all the resorts for years and have done it all. So what do we like to do for fun and FREE as we spend a week a year there to keep things interesting? (We also have park hopper passes and you can get those in multi-day increments that don't expire - it's recommended)

5) Walk the Disney Boardwalk, especially at night. It is just like the Jersey Coast. Games, taffy, people walking, noises, it can't get better than that unless you are at the real Shore.
4) Swim in the Yacht & Beach Club sand bottom pool. It is stricter now with wrist bands, but go after 5 and in the off season and you shouldn't have a problem. The water slide rocks!
3) Visit the Wilderness Lodge. Walk around the coolest real life Lincoln Logs building I've ever seen.
2) Ride the boats. From the park to resorts, from resorts to Marketplace village. Wherever. Free boat rides!
1) Take the monorail and do your own resort tour. Ride the monorail and visit each resort on it. Experience Hawaii at the Polynesian. Visit the gameroom at the Contemporary. Breathe in the splendor of the fresh flowers in the entrance of the amazing Grand Floridian. Ride in the front car and learn from the driver all about Disney.

There is so much to do and see there. It really is nicer when you stay on site. And a great place on a budget is the All Star Resorts.

Official Web Site
http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/index?bhcp=1

Disney Tips, Discounts
http://www.mousesavers.com/

More free and cheap things to do at Disney World
http://www.mousesavers.com/freestuff.html

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Green Day takes over the earth. And why it is a good thing.

I saw Green Day last night and I'm born again. I was a big fan of theirs before I saw them live, and I admit I was entranced when I saw them perform on last year's VMA's, but until I saw them last night live, I wasn't truly aware of their awesome talent, energy and skill.

One of my favorite bands to emerge since my college days, they have risen above the one hit wonder bands of the early 90s and created their own earned space in music history as one of the most talented bands out there. I am in awe of them and I hope that they continue to give us what we want and need - music that not only provokes me to move, but also moves me to feel and think. You guys rock. Thanks for the memories in college, and for giving me therapeutic relief last night from my real life. I look forward to many more fun times moving ahead.

My daughter was doing the air drums with me just today in the car to the amazing American Idiot album. I am already educating my next generation on music that rocks and has true value. I love you Billie Joe! Keep on rocking in the free world!

Technology moment #452 happened at the concert last night - there was a glow during the ballad for September and I was like, cool, where did everyone get the glow sticks? Wrong. The kids are using their cell phones now in place of old school lighters. I'm officially old. Fortunately, my pal Leslie had an old school lighter so we represented our generation in full force. :) Do you have the time to listen to me wine...

http://www.greenday.com/greenday.html

http://www.mtv.com/onair/vma/2005/index.jhtml#/onair/vma/2005/nominees/category.jhtml?cat=528 Vote for Green Day for the VMAs!

http://www.greenday.net/

http://www.echoica.net/brainstew/

http://www.greendayauthority.com/index.shtml

http://www.mtv.com/bands/az/green_day/artist.jhtml

http://www.greendaymusic.com/

http://www.greendayvideos.com/

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

State of child care in the US Where is our money going?

After deep consideration and concern, I am currently in the process of moving my daughter from one daycare to another. Due to high turnover and lack of proper management among other things, my current daycare facility has totally changed in a year and a half and is no longer an acceptable and safe establishment to keep her in.

And as working parents, we are paying pretty hefty fees to have our kids in daycare. My friends and family are also having similar issues with their childcare centers and we have all learned that you have to manage the daycare center and stay on top of things. this is our child! There are babysitters there not even paying attention to the kids in the room when we pick her up. They are talking to each other through the door. They are not putting sunscreen on our kids when they go outside although we signed a form specifying that they do it. I could go on. My friend's son had bruises on his head two days in a row with no report or knowledge of what happened. It's scary.

Why can't the owners pay benefits for the teachers? It is one of the hardest jobs on earth. I don't know if I could do it. Also, why can't they pay them more to keep them? Her best teachers have come and gone to better places. I do feel bad leaving one daycare to another but why am I feeling bad? They are the ones who couldn't keep their commitment as a respectable daycare center. They are the ones losing multitudes of families due to lack of responsibility and proper management. Then why do I feel guilty? Because it is a relationship and these people are my daughter's caretakers when I'm not there. But I am starting her on Monday at a new school with more structure and a better learning environment.

I tried to research these centers on the Internet and was surprised that parents basically cannot find out if complaints are made on a center unless a formal report is written, meaning it has to be a really bad injury or negligence before a center's record is marked. Parents have a right to know what is going on, good or bad, in their center. Owners owe it to everyone to communicate and build a relationship with their community. Parents talk. Rumors can be worse that the truth. Oh well. I am done venting. Onward and upward I say.

To moms out there looking for resources, check out your state division for licensed daycare - they do have reports from site monitoring visits. Know that daycare centers are franchised, so one can be excellent and the other sub-par but have the same brand name. But also please talk to parent with kids at the school, talk to others in the community and do as much homework as you can. And even if everything looks good, things can change quickly, so stay on top of your center and be sure to get involved so you know your child is in the best care he/she can be. Follow your instincts and if you don't feel right about leaving your child there anymore, then don't.

http://www.decal.state.ga.us/ Child care licensing reports in Georgia

http://www.daycare.com/georgia/ Georgia licensing standards for day care centers

http://nrc.uchsc.edu/ National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care

Georgia

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Tommy Lee has a new single...and I like it. Yikes!

Yes, I liked the Crue in the 80s in high school. Anyone with any knowledge of piano keys had to know how to play home sweet home to get any cred in my age group. I was driving home from work today and I heard a neat summer - sounding new single on a top-40 Atlanta radio station. I even listed to find out who it was, so I know I liked it in retrospect.

Well crap. I heard the artist and almost drove off the road. Good Times by Tommy Lee. What???? Who?????It's Tommy frickin' Lee's new single on his album! I didn't even know he sang. It is really pretty catchy. I don't know why I'm more upset. That I feel duked that Tommy made a song that I like because I think he's not a singer, just a drummer plus the fact of his tabloid past, Pam, tattoos, the video, etc. I could go on. But then I have to remind myself that Dave Grohl was iin the background in Nirvana and he emerged in the music scene as a lead singer and is really talented.

Although I don't think Tommy is as talented as cool Dave, he just earned some respect on my part! Maybe I'm partly shocked but happily surprised. Mr. Tattoo drummer upside-down has some talent! Rock on. Crue out. you surprise me, mr. lee!

http://www.tommylee.tv/

http://www.joysmayhem.com/

http://umusic.ca/tommylee/index.php

http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/lee_tommy/artist.jhtml

http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/lee_tommy/artist.jhtml No Wedding Bells for pam and tommy

http://www.foofighters.com/

http://www.mtv.com/bands/az/foo_fighters/artist.jhtml

http://members.tripod.com/~ultim8_foof/

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Reasons Why Cousins Rule


What an appropriate weekend to have my sister and her kids over for a weekend visit. It's the opening of the Dukes of Hazzard movie remake! Not that we compare directly with it, we are northerners, they are southerners. We know the war was won, they don't. Haa haa.

Other than that, the neat comparison for pop culture is that family and cousins rule. It is so neat seeing my daughter play with her cousins. As a current only child, she absolutely adores her cousins and cannot wait to see them so she can play with them and they can run through the kitchen with reckloss abandon. Now if that isn't a literary term, I don't know what is. Anyhoo, I just wanted to put a note in my blog about how cool it is to have close family nearby for fun visits to bring out the childlike wonder in all of us.

My nephew absolutely had a fab time with kayaking, jet skiing, boating and riding on a ski biscuit. It has been so neat to watch him grow up and experience the lake life. Although he has few words, I know he is so excited and happy to be here. And my niece and daughter visited and chatted away like long lost friends. It is good to see my sister and I know I need to visit her more as it seems she visits us here more. She is such a good mom and works so hard. We need to visit them next.

Well I must run. Here are some neat family links for keeping in touch.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/Welcome.jsp Post Albums free and email to your friends

http://www2.warnerbros.com/dukesofhazzard/ Official Movie site

http://www.dukesonline.com/

http://www.cootersplace.com/

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Peek into the world of Pop Culture Gossip Blogs

And I thought the gossip columns were cool. That is just the tip of the iceberg! I discovered these crazy, zany sites about all things pop culture and I love it! Check it out and happy surfing.

Gossip Blogs

GorillaMask.net
gorillamask.net

A Socialite's Life
socialitelife.com

Go Fug Yourself
www.gofugyourself.com

The Celebrity Baby Blog
www.celebrity-babies.com

PerezHilton.com
perezhilton.com

Pink is the new Blog
trent.blogspot.com

reality blurred: the reality TV news digest
www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/

Jossip
www.jossip.com

TVgasm
www.tvgasm.com

Stereogum
www.stereogum.com

Towleroad
towleroad.typepad.com/towleroad/

just jared dot com
www.justjared.com

Conversations about Famous People
conversationsfamouspeople.blogspot.com/

Egotastic!
www.egotastic.com

Reality TV Magazine
www.realitytvmagazine.com

CityRag
cityrag.blogs.com/

Yeeeah!
www.yeeeah.com

fubar
dontlinkthis.com

Pop Culture Junkies
popculturejunkies.com

Thighs Wide Shut
thighswideshut.org

Dirty Flower
www.dirtyflower.com

ToGawp
www.togawp.com/main

witz.org
www.witz.org

Open All Night
www.oanmedia.com/

popbytes - when culture pops, we wipe it up...
popbytes.com

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Small Business Marketing Help is Here


Jen Marketing is a great resource for small businesses looking for part time marketing help. Available on a project basis, this company is an extension to your marketing team without the overhead. If you are a small business owner and are handling all the marketing, it might be time to seek out some help!

http://www.jenmarketing.com

There are also some great small business and marketing, advertising and PR links as well.

Small business equals owner doing all of the work, in all of the departments, which equals exhaustion. Because you have work to do. Let's get started. Jen Marketing.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Water safety for jet skis - Lake Lanier, GA

Today while taking our friends and their kids out on our pontoon boat, we were approached by a teenage boy on a jet ski yelling for help. We followed him to another jet ski where two kids fell off and the second jet ski had hit the girl while in the water. We transported the injured girl and the kids to the public boat dock where an ambulance and fire truck met us after a 911 call. The girl, 15, has 6 broken ribs, a punctured lung and a lacerated liver. She was lucky.

Please remember to exercise caution and stay at least 50 feet away from other watercraft. The person that hit her was her brother, and he was devastated. She will be in the hospital for a week and should fully recover.

Please be careful out there.

Personal Watercraft Boating Rules Lake Lanier, GA
http://www.georgiaoutdoors.com/watersports/PWC.asp

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Harry Potter and Reading like PB&J

It's amazing what Harry Potter has contributed to our recent reading phenomenom. It's proof that a good story can compel anyone to read, even those who have not historically read before - adults and kids alike. This story and the DaVinci Code propelled my husband from non-reader to sometime reader, and I'm thrilled.

Good job Scholastic, JK Rowling and all those excellent authors out there and future ones with a story in their heads. Dream big and keep writing!

Harry Potter
The official site of Harry Potter! Movie trailers, film clips, behind the scenes at Hogwarts. JK Rowlings' wizards and witches.
http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com

JKRowling Official Site - Harry Potter and more
Official site about the author and the Harry Potter books. Includes book rumours, biography, movie information, FAQs, news, and links.
http://www.jkrowling.com

Scholastic.comHarry Potter
Go inside the best-selling series to learn more about Harry Potter and his world through wizarding games, a discussion chamber where you can share ideas.
http://www.scholastic.com/harrypotter/home.asp

MuggleNet.com The ULTIMATE Harry Potter Site
Features interactive forums, Potter profiles, and information about the books and the http://movie.www.mugglenet.com/

The Official Web Site of Bestselling Author Dan Brown
The Official Web Site of Bestselling Author Dan Brown, author of the novels Digital Fortress, Angels and Demons and Deception Point. Dan Brown is published.
http://www.danbrown.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tom Cruise is Nuts

I just heard about this web site and it's classic.

http://www.tomcruiseisnuts.com/home.php

Where are the Saturday morning cartoons?

How do? Bugs Bunny, Speed Racer, the Wonder Twins, the Banana Splits, Captain Caveman, the Laugh Olympics, Schoolhouse Rock. Where are they now? All I see on Saturday mornings now are mediocre cartoons filling in the slots that once had creativity, music and comedy rolled in to one wonderful short.

I bought the Looney Tunes DVD set and it's great. I have yet to find the Laugh Olympics and I think there is a Mickey Mouse one out now, but it's sad that our children can't share in the great memories of our childhoods if they had to depend on what is aired on TV today.

Bring them back! You won't be sorry!

Looney Tunes
www.looneytunes.com

Ed's 10 Best Saturday Morning Cartoons List
http://www.cinemapprentice.com/potpourripocrypha--Cartoons--ED.htm

Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits
http://home.earthlink.net/~jenolen/cartoons.htm

80sCartoons.net
http://www.80scartoons.net/

TV Party
http://www.tvparty.com/vaultcomsat.html
http://www.tvparty.com/dvdC.html

Saturday morning cartoons trivia - but this in your back pocket!
http://wso.williams.edu:8000/orgs/trivia/smedley/hours/cartoonsans.html

Remember When?
http://www.marriedinminnesota.com/2005/06/remember-when.html

Feeling Retro
http://www.feelingretro.com/cartoons.cfm

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Class of 1989

I just had my high school girlfriends and their families visit for an overdue reunion. I have come to the realization that good girlfriends are hard to find the older you get.That is why I am so thankful to have the friends that I have found in high schoool and college. We can always pick up where we left off, even if we haven't talked in months. That is the sign of a true friend. We rocked out to old Prince, Echo and the Bunnymen, Meatloaf, Grease, you name it. And who else can you act like an entire idiot with (drunk or sober) and they still love you for it? :) That said, here are some great web sites about friendships formed in school and college. Rock on, my sisters. You rule. We have come so far from the BK Lounge, yet so much remains the same.

Riverside High School
http://www.greenville.k12.sc.us/rsidehs/

Classmates
http://www.classmates.com

Save Ferris - The 80s Server
http://www.80s.com/saveferris/frames.html

The John Hughes Files
http://www.riverblue.com/hughes/

We are the children of the 80s
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~hahn0053/

80s tees
http://www.80stees.com/

In the 80s - 80s trivia questions
http://www.inthe80s.com/mtvtriv.shtml

80s music lyrics
http://www.80smusiclyrics.com/

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Don't Wake a Sleeping Baby

My daughter was up at 5:00 am today ready for the world. She had her balloon and was gold. After a few hours of mischief and cereal, she went back to sleep at 7:30 am. I took a nice hot shower and rejoiced. Now we have to go to work and daycare and I don't want to wake her! Yikes. I wish I could be a stay at home mom. This work stuff keeps getting in the way of my life. There has got to be a better way!

So as I ponder waking her and thinking of a million dollar idea, here is my favorite baby resource web site:

www.babycenter.com

Do all moms feel as guilty as I do?

Monday, July 11, 2005

I Miss My Summer Vacation. Can I be 10 again?

For all of those people out there who are realizing that we had it best when we were kids and it was summer, YOU CHUG.

Now I am a working professional and it is summertime and I am blasting corporate america and the fact that I haven't won the lottery yet so I can celebrate summer.

Oh well. I guess we are all in the same boat. Here's to some great summer songs and web sites!

Summertime - Will Smith
Boys of Summer - Don Henley
Ice Cream Castles - Morris Day & The Time
Mad About You - Belinda Carlisle
California Girls - Beach Boys
Sweet Child of Mine - Guns & Roses
Anything Steve Miller Band
Anything surf rock like Mermen, Los Straitjackets: http://www.catandcharlie.com/bands1.html

And Aperitif for Destruction by Richard Cheese. That rocks. How about Paul Anka's new
Rock Swings? Amazon has it all: http://www.amazon.com

Check out the great documentary on surfing and how it permeated into the US culture. Riding Giants is an excellent Netflix rental. I have seen it twice.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0389326/

Another cheesy yet great surf movie is Point Break. How about Blue Crush?
http://www.imdb.com/find?q=surf;s=all

Any way you cut it, summer rocks. Try and cut out of work and get your surf on.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Yard Sale Sign to End All Yard Sales


I am a law abiding citizen and I live in a lake community. It may be an oxymoron, but we have a variety of people in the neighborhood.

Here is the latest news from our subdivision in Forsyth County, GA.

I am not one to point out other people's dirty laundry, but when they air it for everyone to see, I had to take a picture and send it to my friends and family. Regardless of how our neighborhood looks after it, a picture is worth a thousand words. And my husband keeps asking me what "fodder" is - this is truly fodder. Enjoy!


A Saturday in Forsyth County, GA
Sign #1 - Cheating Man's Stuff 4 Sale
Sign #2 (after cheating man rips Sign #1 down according to an eyewitness) Scorned Woman Selling Cheating Man's Stuff

Friday, June 17, 2005

Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago.


Abe. Posted by Hello

Heaven on Earth! Posted by Hello

The Cubs - Red Sox Series - Amazing

My husband and I went to the Cubs - Red Sox game last weekend with friends and family. What an amazing event. The energy in the crowd was electric. From the midway airport to the jam-packed elle, the fans were all adorned in Cubs and Red Sox jerseys, hats and other licensing adornments. My husband made fast friends with fellow Red Sox nation and I was at home with the Cubs crowd. High fives were made all around as our favorite teams played each other for the first time since 1918.

I even saw Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago at Wrigley Field! With an Old Style in my hand and a toast to my grandpa in heaven, it was a day I will cherish forever.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

See Paris Die and other thoughts on being a Hilton.

I married into a Hilton family. I was very happy to have an easier last name - I thought, I won't have to spell it out or explain it at all. Boy was I wrong. Now this namesake is carrying something special. People just love to make jokes and ask if I am one of The Hiltons. I wish I could answer "No, slutty mc hoho is not my cousin, sister or distant relative. I wish she would stop trashing the family name." Instead, I politely smile and say "No, I'm not. I wish I had the bank account but not the scandal." Now I'm ready to gather all of the other Hiltons in the world and start a backlash. I already ordered my "See Paris Die" House of Wax t-shirt and wear it with pride. It reminds me of the poor guy named Michael Bolton in Office Space. "Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks." I agree. Rock on, Hiltons of the world. Fight the power.

http://www.shopkitson.com For those with money

http://www.ebay.com For those with less

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/officespace.html Office Space sound board

http://www.socialitelife.com/

Saturday, June 04, 2005

A list celebrities and their fake dates

I was trying really hard to avoid this topic but with the media screaming about certain new couples, it kills me to think that the studios think the general public is as gullible as it used to be.

First of all, with access to gossip columns online and everywhere, I find it surprising that people are still in the dark with certain celebs and their romance claims.

Secondly, I really don't care what their preferences are, but don't play the general public out to be fools anymore.

With War of the Worlds and Batman releasing, it's no surprise there was a big PR spin there with two stars I will not name. Plus, the male star is battling gay rumors for over a decade and supposedly had "try outs" for his new girlfriend. Nice.

And let's chat about the actress who recently married the supposedly gay country singer. They have only been dating what, about a month?

Oh well. This is the business and these are the times that try men's souls. I hope that these people are happy at the end of their day. Money can't buy love or public admiration.

Watch the meltdown:
http://www.tvgasm.com/archives/miscellaneous_tv/000824.php

http://www.tvgasm.com/archives/miscellaneous_tv/000829.php

I used to like him, now he just freaks me out.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Telecommuters Unite!

There is a quiet revolution going on in America and across the world. Our culture is shifting through gains in technology to a place where we can work anywhere. The concept of the office is changing - it is becoming a meeting place for collaboration. Then workers go off to their own spaces - in some places, their home and get their tasks done.

I work full time and work from home on Fridays. This allows me to keep my daughter home 3 days a week and in daycare 4 days a week, which is a much better balance. It is a challenge, but I have a laptop, cable modem, email access, MSN instant messenger and a phone/fax machine. With this, I am armed with the tech tools that I need to succeed. Being a marketer, a lot of the job is communicating between vendors, customers, editors, the sales team and IT. Balancing projects and making sure they move along is the game.

I believe there will come a day when a job will be open in California, and I will be able to apply and work from home in Georgia. When employers find good people, location shouldn't be a problem.

As far as working from home full time, that is another situation unknown to me. You have to have incredible discipline, a solid agreement with your management on measuring performance (both ways), and you have got to make contact with fellow employees face to face once in awhile. There is nothing like being around other employees to be in touch with what is going on behind the scenes when you are face to face. You pick up on more details when you are in meetings with people rather than on the phone. You see expressions, hand movements, eye rolling and the rest.

But for me, my Fridays are special. I get my work done and spend glorious time with my daughter. It can't get better than that.

Don't think you can telecommute or that management won't allow it? Make a case. Pitch the idea. Go through a 3 month test. It's worth asking, isn't it?

Telecommuting Resources
http://www.networkworld.com/topics/telework.html

Interagency Telework
http://www.telework.gov/

International Telework Association
http://www.telecommute.org/

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

War Damn Eagle. Auburn University Rocks.

I just wanted to note that Auburn University is one of the best experiences of my life. I recommend it for all college bound students. And last year's perfect football season was the icing on the cake. We hadn't been to the Sugar Bowl since 1988. That was awesome.

It's a quaint small college town with pride and love of the alma mater. It's a great college to send your kids to. When I run into people wearing Auburn clothes, we always say "War Eagle" to each other and talk like we are old friends. My sister thinks it's the weirdest thing. She went to South Carolina and they don't have that kind of brotherhood building saying.

www.auburn.edu


Not sure if you have seen this yet...its the 2005 pre-game football trailer they will be showing this year before the team comes out on the field.

http://www.auburn.edu/~chavdhk/AuburnPregame05.mpeg

"Believe me on this. Please. I have descended into college football's Grand Canyon. I have stood in its Alps. I have gazed at its ocean sunset. I have attended a game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala. And I've been changed forever." – Bud Poliquin

Why the Burger King and Mentos ads are wrong and Ad Tunes and Family Guy is Right On Brother

That new burger king "King" creeps me out. It's not funny like the gnome that travels, it's just creepy with that stiff smile and no talking. What is up with that? It's not helping develop an image - at least McDonald's is building an image for healthier food options. When i think of the BK, I just think, creepy mask/helmet man.

And another thing, what's up with the mentos ads? They have to be foreign. Haven't they done their research and learned that what works in certain countries doesn't work in others?

Oh well. Just some late night advertising thoughts from a full time B2B marketer, part time consumer. The joys of marketing is never letting go!

Searching for TV commercial songs? Look no further - http://www.adtunes.com/

And I need to add that it is great to see the Family Guy back on tv where it belongs. God love Seth McFarlane and the whole cast for hanging in there. It really is a brilliant show. I hope you have many more seasons. I am a proud DVD owner.

Happy trails and good night!

Links relevant to my thoughts:

The Return of the KingBurger King is resurrecting a dubious icon. Why?
http://slate.msn.com/id/2107697/

Various ads
http://ad-rag.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Search&file=index&action=search&overview=1&active_stories=1&stories_topics[0]=38

Advertising mistakes
http://bears.ece.ucsb.edu/personnel/astornet/humor/humor91.html

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Redheads and the people attached to them

Until I had my redheaded daughter, I never really knew just how special red hair was to the world. My mom and grandma have red hair. My grandpa gurney had red hair when he was younger. And my sister in law has red curly hair.

I have spent the last 21 months getting used to shopping and having all kinds of people suddenly stop me from whatever I was doing to admire Megan's red hair. (It's mostly older women who admit to trying to match Megan's shade of hair with over the counter hair color but I have had all types of people comment about her beautiful hair). I just wasn't aware of this phenomenon before I had her. I go out with Megan now and it's like she is a moving magnet for people everywhere. It's quite a trip, actually. It's a good thing Megan is good natured or she would have freaked out a few hundred times now!

I also never knew that in the fashion , haircare and beauty world, red hair is the only hair color that no one has been able to emulate. Sure, people like my great aunt marge tried to have red hair, but it always seemed a bit magenta to me.

What is the mystery surrounding redheads? Is it truly because you cannot "fake" being a redhead? The true uniqueness of red hair is like a target for those who seek it. So onward and upward, Megan. May your red hair guide you and your redhair followers everywhere you go. Red heads of the universe, UNITE!

Red hair fading out? Experts unsure
4 percent of humans have the red hair gene.
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050510/LIVING/505100338

Red hair
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair

http://www.answers.com/topic/red-hair

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Let's talk paranoid micromanagers and the drones who work for them.

Sometimes I wonder just how some people rise in the corporate ranks. I currently work for a paranoid micromanager who seems to be like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. One day he is upbeat and joking and the next three we have a controlling psycho to contend with.

If someone in the office does something to make him mad, he sends a random email to the entire company. "I just want to remind you that lunch hour does encompass 60 minutes..." Then everyone wonders who it was. We usually get these a few times a year.

The sales team has a revolving door as his management style doesn't seem to agree with anyone. We have had more people go than are currently here.

And don't even ask about holidays. We have five.

The guilt you feel asking for time off is unreal.

And please, when you are meeting with someone, don't look at your email. Look them in the eye. I could go on.

Movies like Office Space, Cartoons like Dilbert and TV Shows like The Office really hit a nail on teh head. The problem is, with this boss controlling and ruling our office, who is making sure he is doing his job properly? No one higher up asks the staff why there is such high turnover and there are no exit interviews. It is sad. Corporations need to also make sure that the right managers are in place rather than someone who is sinking in quicksand. All it would take is a simple interview. I feel better now having vented.

In honor of dysfunction in the office, here are some fun web sites:

www.dilbert.com Dilbert

http://www.bullshitjob.com/officespace/ Office Space fan site

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/officespace.html Sounds from Office Space

http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/theoffice/ BBC's The Office

http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?BuzzwordBingo Buzzword Bingo

http://www.buzzwhack.com/index.html BuzzWhack

http://www.iworkwithfools.com/ - Anonymously vent about coworkers, bosses, it's gold.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Where is the Alternative in Music Now?

It's funny that I can listen to the same song on four different radio stations in Atlanta and that stations are all claiming to be bigger, better and offer a more unique playlist than all the rest.

That is why I enjoy listening to my cable and online music channels commercial free. I can listen to big band, blues, reggae, 80s retro, punk, ska, you name it, whatever mood I'm in.

I'm also searching for the perfect channel that plays my truly alternative retro 80s music as well as other well defined channels. The 70s had motown and disco, so these channels need to define themselves and segment more than just a decade so they can better target their listeners.

I wonder what satellite radio will do to the traditional format we know of today. All I know is, bring on the competition. If I can get better, more targeted music as well as other media, I will be a more satisfied customer and companies will be much more successful in building their demographics and successfully marketing to these folks.

Some cool music information sites - The "download this" section in Entertainment weekly and also the "if you like this band, you might like ____" section of the magazine - www.ew.com

80s music free to listen online
http://www.flashbackalternatives.com/

http://www.live365.com/cgi-bin/directory.cgi?genre=80s

Here is an awesome list of many different stations online:
http://www.org.mk/radio/media.asp

Have I mentioned how certain areas in Europe and other ares have a funny fetish for 80s music? In Lucern, Switzerland, Carnival bands are jamming to anything from Bon Jovi to AC/DC.. On our honeymoon in St. Lucia, we danced to Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson tunes from the early 80s. Classic.

Here is a Lucern radio station - check it out.
http://www.radiopilatus.ch/

So, keep searching for those great stations, whatever music you like. They are out there! Oh yeaah, and a plug to WEGL in Auburn University - they were great during my college years there.

http://wegl.auburn.edu/ War Damn Eagle!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Child of the 80s

I was born in 1971 but I have a fonder recollection of the 80s than I do for the 70s, with the exception of Sesame Street, the Brady Bunch and various disco hits (anyone remember disco duck? was that in the 70s or 80s? And the Hustle.) Now the 80s is a fun memory of all things innocent (Strawberry Shortcake and rainbows) and back-then rebellios (Cyndi Lauper and spraying my hair pink in 8th grade for her concert in Kings Island - I was so cool. Not.)

I find myself drawn to the 80s - I can identify with the music, the tv shows, the fashion - the preppy handbook! whales! - although that scares me now - and all the rest. I am better at Trivial Pursuit the 80s edition than the original. My mom can beat our family in the original version. Maybe it's a generational thing.

Anyway, here are some guilty pleasures regarding the 80s. Play 80s video games on the web during your lunch hour at work. Read up on the decade of decadence. Here are some fun links. Enjoy!

http://www.tripletsandus.com/80s/80s_games/arcade.htm

http://www.80smusiclyrics.com/

http://www.80sxchange.com/

http://www.tripletsandus.com/80s/index.htm

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Leg Lamp for all Seasons

My sister got me a leg lamp nightlight from the Christmas Story this past Christmas and it was about the best thing I received due to the fond family memories we had growing up and the direct correlation with the movie. I still have it in my kitchen. I just can't bear to put it away. It's a leg lamp! It's not just for the holidays! There's nothing like the glow of electric sex in the kitchen in the middle of the night. My dad was the cuss word king and my sister and I were the equivalent of Ralphie and his little brother. There are few movies that are that worthy lately.


Shaun of the Dead was great and Harold and Kumar Got to White Castle were pretty funny. I love my Netflix subscription and keep my movie queue loaded. Doesn't it seem good movies no matter what genre are becoming more few and far between? There is a good article in Entertainment Weekly about star treatment and how it is costing moviegoers to pay for their perks. It is sad.

www.netflix.com
www.ew.com

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I love my DVR. TV is mine again.

Ever since I got the adelphia DVR, I feel like I have control again of my tv viewing pleasure. I have a 21 month old daughter so the odds of watching shows during network scheduled times are slim to none. Now I can watch my shows on demand. I can tape Sesame Street and Barney for those emergency melt down sessions. My husband can tape those mythbusters shows and we can both get our tv back.

I don't watch a lot of tv, but the shows I do watch, I am passionate about. Now I can watch Desperate Housewives any day of the week at any time. I do watch 24 live because that is my mini-movie each week and I haven't been to a movie in years. (Although I do love Netflix) If my daughter stays up, fine, I'm taping my show and I can focus my quality time with her and see it later.

Now I dream of a day where we don't have commercials and we can watch all tv and movies on demand. We get busted when we actually watch live shows - we try to scan the commercials and are denied!!!! Technology rocks and I'm so glad I can watch Saturday Night Live again. I almost feel hip again.

www.netflix.com - Check out Netflix and check Tivo or your local cable company about getting DVR. The biggest difference between Tivo and my cable company DVR is that Tivo has a service fee and since I'm already getting cable, it was only about a $5.00 a month difference just to add it to our cable bill.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Having a 21 month old - Build me up buttercup

I never knew the eternal feeling of joy of having a child, even when I was pregnant. You go through the motions for 10 months (yes, 10 months! contrary to popular belief of 9 months, started by men, I'm sure - for me it was almost 10 1/2 months).

You never truly get it until you are in the delivery room and, after a few long hours, a doctor finally holds up this work of art, a beautiful child that is ours that we had been longing for, and all of a sudden it hits. I'm a mom! My husband is a dad! That is our child! And my husband is saying "it's a girl?" with excited hope, nervous anxiety and sudden fear all at once. At that moment, I understood the true meaning of family and fully appreciated all that my parents had done for me.

The funniest part is that the day before I had my daughter, I had mild cramps not realizing I was in labor and we watched the movie Dogma by Kevin Smith. Right after the movie was over, we realized my labor was getting more regulated and I wanted to get some sleep before it got serious. I had my parents visiting to keep me company as we waited those long overdue days. I thought that I was in early labor all day. We swam in the lake and hung out as it was in July and I had worked up until my due date on July 4. So we went to bed after the movie and sure as I climbed into bed, my water broke. Wa laa. Nature sure has its moments! So we left for the hospital at 10:00 pm. Given that it was a Saturday and summertime in Atlanta, we were lucky - my husband was afraid that I would go into labor during rush hour in Atlanta which equals at least an hour in traffic. But it all worked out great and we learned so much about ourselves in the process. And we have an incredibly beautiful baby girl in which words cannot describe our love for her. Truly an unconditional love.

Now Megan is going to be 2 in July and time seems to be flying. The first three months were glorious and exhausting. We were getting to know her, and she was getting to know us. And there are no manuals in parenting. My parents left after two weeks and I bawled. My husband was like, "what's WRONG?" and I was all hormonal and said "they're LEAVING!" in a horrific mess of panic and lack of confidenct. But we persevered and figured it out along the way. Now we are in a nice schedule for now. Although my sister did warn me - "once you get into a nice schedule, the baby changes it. Always keeps you guessing!"

I have since learned that all of my friends, family and authors on the subject of parenting were also winging it, so I felt much better. All we have is a community to share our victories and troubles and learn from it. So I talk to my friends and family often. And I read a lot. And God love the Young and the Restless and Desperate Housewives to make me feel like a good mom! Those are such guilty pleasures. I will defend these shows until the end!

So without much further ado, here are some of my favorite parenting links that I could not live without. And, always ask your friends or family if you have questions about anything as you face parenting, because we are all in this together.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy - I get this for my girlfriends and the one to surviving your first year of motherhood. Vicki Iovine is great!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0671524313/qid=1113444525/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/002-8542106-1290416?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Babycenter - the single best newsletter around for pregnancy each week and monthly baby updates afterwards. Also my number one source for research on sickness, discipline and everything in between!
http://www.babycenter.com

Babystyle - pricy yet cool stuff for baby. I like their clearance section. You can get cool stuff at a nice price if you wait! OR just try EBay.
http://www.babystyle.com

Ebay - I have no shame. It's just a big consignment store online. Megan has grown so fast, I bought footie pajamas here and they were like new and I got lots of winter use out of them, guilt free. Ebay rocks. I even sold a maternity top online that I never wore to a girl in Ohio. I love the Internet!
http://www.ebay.com

If you are in Atlanta, I recommend Roswell Pediatrics http://www.roswellpediatrics.com/ and if your child needs ear tubes, http://www.childrensent.com/

Amazon is my favorite place for Babies R Us stuff, books, movies, you name it:
http://www.amazon.com
If you spend $25, you can usually get free shipping and given the cost of gas nowadays, it's worth it!

And yes, if your child has had many ear infections and antibiotics aren't helping, please consult an ENT. Tubes are not permanent and a non-medicated option to help your child as they grow. Our daughter had a non -clear ear from December to July and had infections from October to July. She has only had one or two episodes since and it is April of the next year. She is a much happier baby and we don't have to keep giving her antibiotics. The tubes will come out on their own and they help draining the natural fluid that builds up when she gets sick.

So where is the build me up buttercup reference? Right here. I realizing how cool Van Morrison is. He has so many songs that other artists have sung that I haven't been aware of. So it's time to order his album on Amazon! What great relaxing music for the baby, too.

Good luck with parenting and remember. You need to have something for you in your life, something for you as a couple and something as a family. Keep the balance and you will be happy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Deep Thoughts in Technology Marketing

Is search engine optimization more important or search engine marketing? These pay per click search engine companies are making a fortune and my bidding is going to eventually get too high for my budget. Ideally, showing up naturally at the top of the search engines is the way to go. But the magical question is how to get there and stay there? Agencies are out there but what about one person marketing departments?

Is there a class marketers can take about the whole advent of the Internet and how marketing applies? Everything I learned at Auburn in the 90s was about good solid traditional marketing, which is a great background, but now things have changed so much.

I look to the Internet when I search for products so the assumption is to go online. How do you reach those IT and help desk professionals? I wondered about sponsoring some gaming sites. Do they really read all those magazines? I bet they just Google everything. Which brings me back to my first thought.

Oh well. Onward and upward. Here are some helpful PR and marketing web links for all those one person marketing departments out there. Hang in there!

http://searchenginewatch.com/

http://www.publicityinsider.com/

http://www.prweb.com/

Monday, April 11, 2005

Our US Fallen Heroes and Where to Honor Them

I got word today from my adopted soldier that he lost one of his fellow comrades in an explosion in Iraq. I wanted to post this link to a wonderful web site that remembers and honors our fallen heroes. I am sad to think this list may grow much longer before our war in Iraq and elsewhere is over. Please check it out and pay homage to the men and women who are sacrificing their lives for our wonderful country and freedom.

http://www.fallenheroesmemorial.com/

Can I get my local weather?

The Weather Channel is having some MTV problems. They have too many shows now and have strayed from their original purpose. It is frustrating and sad to see the demise of many of our cable networks. Why is this happening?

And why do I only have one choice for a cable company? Give me two or three so I can pick the best plan. And why can't we as consumers select a package where I can pick only the 20 channels that I want to get for a cheaper price? Let's face it, we only watch a handful of networks to begin with.

I did see music videos this morning on VH1 and MTV but I was in denial...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Baseball, beer and Zyrtec - spring is here!

It is that wonderful time of the year. Spring. Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and we sit in our offices wondering there has to be a better way to make a living. My car is covered with yellow pollen, Spring's gift to us. I can finally open my sunroof since the weather is warm, and then poof! Hello pollen.

At least it only is around for a few weeks. Zyrtec is the best thing I've found to handle my indoor and outdoor allergies. The problem is that since Claritin went over the counter, insurance companies stopped covering Zyrtec so it's like $75.00 to fill a prescription. It's robbery. I hope they go over the counter sooner than later.

Spring also means sitting on bar porches outside in Atlanta. Time to soak up some beer laden sun. We are going to the beach this weekend to kick start the season. One of my favorite beers is hefeweizen. The local brewers make some great versions. I know they are summer brews - hopefully they will release them earlier. Abita's Purple Haze is also a great sweeter beer. Yes, it's more girly but my husband likes it too. Lake Lanier is also a great place to go. Cocktail cove is a great water hang out if you have a boat or a friend with one. If I could go to Boston's Beerworks I would get the blueberry beer. It comes with blueberries. There is also a watermelon brew that is most excellent.

Go Braves! Go Cubs! Go Red Sox! It's going to be a great baseball year, steroids or not. Although I don't agree with athletes using it, why didn't baseball ban it earlier? Now it's a "hurry up and blame someone" mentality. That is so backwards. Let's think these things out, commissioner. Now play ball!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Lost in Translation - UK English

It's funny. I thought that there would only be a language barrier with countries that speak other languages. I was wrong.

My husband works for a swiss company and we have had the pleasure of visiting Lucern. I learned some German and expected a language barrier. The city was great and most people knew English so it was fine. And when I tried to speak german, they were gracious and smiled as my American accent lacked the harsh accents that fuel the language.

I work for a UK company. I am a marketing manager for the North America office. I figured it would be a much easier transition. Boy, was I wrong. Not in speaking the language, but in deciphering their language and culture differences when it comes to advertising and crafting corporate messaging.

In addition to getting used to UK spelling and constantly updating our materials to reflect the US English, there are also subtle differences with what seems to work in advertising. I am learning how to politically and creatively communicate so as not to insult them when we work on an ad or direct mailer. It seems that those mentos ads really weren't a joke. Our humor is different as well as our corporate messaging. It is a battle that I continue to fight.

I went to visit the office one time and was also amazed to find that their slang and the speed in which they spoke was very hard to understand, even though they spoke "English". It's like those Guy Ritchie movies like Snatch where it takes a good 30 minutes of listening to the dialogue before you have a clue as to what they are saying.

So, I guess this lesson I learned is that things can be lost in translation, even in English. Who uses the word "whilst" anyway?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Mulberry Moon Engraved Jewelry and Personalized Gifts

My friend recently launched a neat new business, Mulberry Moon. I am helping her with all things marketing.

We have independent sales consultants selling the product through home parties as well as an online store.

The engraved jewelry is sterling silver and fabulous. From preppy to trendy, this personalize jewelry rocks. Engraving is free on all orders! We just launched a line of cool personalized stationery and will soon launch a line of personalized soap. There are all kinds of cool gift ideas here - from wedding parties to graduation gifts, mothers jewelry, childrens jewelry, mens jewelry, fun gifts, you name it. Keep a lookout for our online monthly specials.

Check it out: www.mulberrymoon.com

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Perfect - Boston Red Sox and Auburn Tigers

Our house was a happy house for more reasons than one this year. We are Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Auburn Tiger fans, among other teams that we love having lived in various cities. Seasons have come and gone with mediocre results, but that was okay. We love our team and that is the price you pay. Until this year!

I still cannot believe that Boston was one strike away from being eliminated in the ALCS and came back to win the World Series. I also cannot believe that Auburn had yet another perfect season and fought against the odds to prove that a team can rise above with pride, spirit, class and talent.

As we approach a new baseball and football season this year, I will remind myself the true meaning of being a sports fan. We have good years and bad years. Your true character is a measure of how you handle the not so good seasons, but what a crazy time when your team actually does the unexpected. I quote my husband, who, minutes after watching the Boston world series sink in for a few minutes with tears in his eyes, say, "What am I going to do next year?"

It's a good question. What will we do next year? It's a situation we are so not used to. So enjoy the hell out of the year you have until the next season and we are thankful that we have seen in a lifetime, the Red Sox reverse the curse. War Damn Eagle and Go BoSox! Carpe diem!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Muppets, Mahnamahna and They Might Be Giants

Why isn't the Muppets Show on tv? I remember watching it with my family on weekend nights and we all loved it. Now that my daughter is going on 2, I want to share these great muppet memories with her. I have a DVR, now where are the Muppets? Crikey. Maybe Netflix has them...

Check this cool Muppets video out - it will get stuck in your head but is worth it:
http://www.pez.ca/~mashton/movies/mahnamahna.mpeg

Also there is really cool music for kids that parents will like. Remember They Might Be Giants? The same band I used to listen to at college keg parties is now creating children's music, to my enjoyment. Check out:
http://www.giantkid.net/

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Adopt A Platoon - Support Our US Soldiers Abroad

I adopted my second soldier recently through Adopt A Platoon. It is a great non-profit organization that connects soldiers with pen pals in the US. Both of my soldiers are in Iraq. One is coming home soon and the other is there until this Fall. Although I don't necessarily agree with the war, I wanted to do something positive and show support to those who are sacrificing their lives for our freedom.

Please visit Adopt A Platoon or spread the word to someone who is interested in helping and make a soldier's day a little bit better.

www.adoptaplatoon.org

Supporting a soldier is a gift we give ourselves as they serve on our behalf! We support them asking nothing in return except for the honor of letting them know they are appreciated and never forgotten!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

English - Not the Official Language of the US

I never knew that English wasn't the official language of the United States of America. I just assumed it but was shocked to find out last year that it is not. I don't know why it has never been made official but it should be. I visit other countries and I try to speak their language, follow their customs, be polite. When in Rome, they say.

We are in danger of having too many languages prevalent in our society. It is okay to speak your native tongue if chosen, but if you cannot read a traffic sign or pass a written driving test, then I have issues. How do you get around the city? Buy groceries? Communicate with people in general?

Before more languages start appearing on signs throughout our land and to select English press 1 becomes 2 or 3, let's establish our official language based on the history of our great land. English is the international language. Why not here?

Here is a link to a non-profit dedicated to making English the official language of the US. And by the way, it was started by an immigrant who went through proper channels to become a US citizen.

http://www.us-english.org/inc/default.asp

Monday, March 28, 2005

Jake Ryan - Maybe I'm Interested In More Than a Party?

I am 34 years old. I am watching 16 Candles and I feel like I'm 16 all over again. Is it me or are our high school days never really behind us? And what with the gossip?

In last night's Desperate Houswives episode, Lynette faces gossipy parents creating scapegoat problem children and Bree realizes the shallowness of her usually guilty pleasure - her country club. And yes, I know it is a soap. A glorious scandal-worshiping soap. But, in reflection to our real life, is it that far from reality?

We live in a gossip centric society. We just cannot rest until we know exactly what happened between Brad and Jen. And what exactly did Charlie do to warrant a quick divorce filing from his much pregnant wife?

I am guilty of gossip obsession myself. Since my coworker started bringing in In Touch Weekly and Us Weekly, I have become addicted to gossip mags. True to my Entertainment Weekly, I took pride in the fact that my interests were purely entertainment - in TV, movies, books, all traditional mediums. But since reading those purely gossipy mags, I am finding myself more interested in that crap. Celebrity watch 2005! Who is in? Who is out? Who is broken up? Who is together? Who cares?

So, back to Jake. Jake Ryan was and is the quintessential hottie. I watch this former GQ model and think, Jake Ryan was the ideal for girls. A senior. A prep. A Porsche driver. With a heart. I hear the Thompson Twins song start and I have visions of birthday cake, candles and a kiss with a possible bridesmaid dress lighting on fire. He is the reason my best friends kids are named Jake and Ryan. Will my generation ever outgrow this crush? I remember an essay that my girlfriend sent me about Jake. It was right on. It was in the Washington Post: Real Men Can't Hold a Match to Jake Ryan.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A41194-2004Feb13?language=printer

Maybe we are all interested in more than a party.

Maybe everyone on this planet has gone totally outer limits, to quote Samantha Baker. Oh well. That's just my thought for tonight and I'm sticking to it. Oh yea, and 24 rocked. Keifer, you rule.

gurnage