Sunday, December 5, 2010

Downsizing on the upswing

Forgive me if I sound like Andy Rooney, but ever notice that all things mass
produced are shrinking? The other day, I reached out to grab a tissue from my tissue box, only to notice, hmmm...that won't work, and grabbed a second one. It dawned on me that even tissues have gotten smaller! Add to the list, cracker and cookie boxes’ net weight, the number of chips in a bag, toilet paper sheets per roll and candy bar sizes. They have all been mysteriously shrinking through the years! Where will it end? Prices, however, generally remain the same for these products, and the corporations are proclaiming that all this is provided as a service to consumers in order to maintain a "higher" quality product. Sorry, I don't buy it.
I feel we are being held hostage by manufacturers who are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. New packaging, words like, "improved" and "no trans fat" are supposed to entice us to buy these shrinking packages. What recourse do we have, but to purchase if we want/need the item? Is there anything we can do about it? Probably not, but at least being on the alert as consumers is the first step. Perhaps even going so far as letting the CEO's know that we like their product and will continue buying but are aware of the shrinking state of our
favorite box of cookies. What are your thoughts on this?

Here's a comic strip from The Consumerist blog/Grocery Shrinking Ray:

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Become an Expert

In one word - LIVE! I'm breaking with my original promise to not write about personal matters. But since my personal life has dwarfed the professional one, I have no choice.
In between looking for an appropriate job for myself, I've become an expert on matters I never thought I'd have to delve into. I've learned about what it means to part of the "sandwich" generation. The analogy of 2 slices of bread, squeezing the filling to an unappetizing point, makes perfect sense.
In between the trials of teenagers, college decisions, monetary issues and the challenges of taking care of aging parents, there's little left in the middle. I've learned about assisted living, home care, CNA's, LPN's, HHA's, and the best walker for Mom. (her Cadillac as she calls it)
I've learned that you can get very lazy in a long relationship, take things for granted, ignore problems and differences, and then find you've wasted a lot of precious time.
I've learned about breast cancer as two of my friends were diagnosed in one year; the differences between stage 1 and stage 4, intra-ductal, and invasive.
I've learned a little real estate law, discovering how difficult it is in a buyer's market to get a mortgage, buy and sell a house, and the term "in good faith".
I've also learned about how the inexperienced teenage driver can change his or her life and other's in an instant. I carry around a batch of my favorite adages, "What doesn't kill me, will make me stronger." It's hard to gauge your strength while you're going through a difficult time, but I'm assuming, I'll be rock hard pretty darn soon!
Here's another one, "Live one day at a time." That's a great one, and I love the Zen, don't get me wrong. But on the other hand, there's something to be said about planning for the future. True, no one knows what the future holds, but gaining a sense of security will help you sleep at night. Unless you're truly interested in doily embroidering machines, or the plight of the Alaskan sloth, 4 a.m. is a lonely time of night to be up.
In the face of adversity, I've learned that searching for the best pizza has its rewards. I've been trying to check out DiFara's in Brooklyn, but finding them closed for one reason or another. Finally, I timed it right, and did experience the best pizza I've ever eaten!
I'm grateful for friendly cashiers at CVS, who say, "Today's your lucky day, you've got new coupons!" I appreciate my pooches that wag their tails and greet me like they haven't seen me in days, when I've only left for an hour.
In this time of economic insecurity, many of us live day to day, and look for comfort in various forms. I've become an expert in that too, listening to music, or playing the piano, sometimes even bumbling through Beethoven. Exercise and yoga are part of my stress relief, as are watching comedy and chatting with friends. Although, lately that has taken the form of texting and facebook chat...if only!
In my spare time, I've learned about how capable social media is for marketing, as I do some consulting work for a friend. It was amusing to me that I came across so many who purported to being "social media experts", so I took that with a grain of salt. In the seconds it takes to tweet, someone savvier will trump your product, website or blog!
I've become an accidental expert by living, making some mistakes and learning new skills; I've learned to take hard knocks, welcome soft nudges and develop resilience when bumping into things. Hopefully, it'll pay off one day. I will try not to lose myself, as I take care of others, by seeking out and finding joy in small pleasures.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Social Networking Coming Out Ceremony

In the middle of Tangiers Mall in Deer Park, a blushing ingenue was ushered into the world of Social networking at the L.I. Press’ Fortune 52 event. No fanfare, or homecoming parade, just some really tall glasses of diet coke and cold sliders. My first social corporate networking event made me feel like I was back at the playground on my first day of school, hoping to make friends. But, as nervous and unsure of myself as I felt in this situation, I managed to enjoy the proceedings, realizing that some of the guests were in the same boat I was in.

The advice I was given by a veteran networker from my LI Marketing Job Seekers club (I’ll call him “B”) was mingle, and don’t stick with your group. I managed to gravitate back towards my fellow colleagues anyway, singling them out for moral support, the way I would at a dance club, seeking out my girlfriends.

I had that “pick me” look at first, glancing around for a receptive face, and then deciding, what the hell, just make a move. My friend “C” provided comic relief throughout the evening, and “B” kept encouraging me to work the room. So, I did, and found that if I walked around the restaurant smiling at people, they’d smile back. And they did. Although,furtive glances at people’s chests trying to read names written in thick highlighter was a bit awkward. Next time, I’ll wear a real name tag, complete with company name. And hopefully, so will everyone else.
I finally felt successful as I connected with someone I’d spoken to and emailed numerous times at my previous job, but never met in person.

There was also a presentation given by Beverly Fortune which was very moving, as women who’ve made a difference, working for various causes, were honored. That night I learned about San Fillippo syndrome and Lowe’s Syndrome. The food line gave me the best opportunity I had to make friends, exchanging business cards while making small talk. The takeaway was, every new networking opportunity has the potential of either making a worthwhile contact or learning something new. I did both.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twitter Dee and Twitter Dum

I'm about 3 weeks into twitter...and here's what I've discovered: The best places for scones,
cheese danish, and sunsets from here to Montauk...pithy sayings, witticisms, cries for help and
shameless effrontery...links to foursquare, websites on how to market, articles on what not to say at interviews, when to speak up about scams and when to remain silent lest we reveal too much.

News and weather junkies have instant access to traffic jams on the LIE, flooding on the streets of LI, extreme home makeover extravaganza in East Setauket, and Yankee scores-it's all a tweetbeat away.

It's also a great way to get to know people (and product) from a distance, yet decidedly makes the world a smaller place. Have a new start-up businesses worth examining? A service no one has thought of before? You have 140 characters to market, to social media market. The loudest chirp gets the worm! Although, quality not quantity counts in tweetdom!

My guilty pleasure, as a writer and PR paratweet, is having the chance to opine about everything and anything, with the challenge of being concise! Sometimes I get feedback and maybe somewhere I've had the chance to inform or enlighten, as I've been informed.

I've hitched my wagon to this flightless bird known as Twitter.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lazy Hazy days of Social Media Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

Had so much fun at Social Media Camp last Friday. There was no bug juice or color war, but I wasn't disappointed. I got to meet some fascinating people and attended seminars about social media and it's impact on marketing. I even learned how to twitter!
Our camp leaders claimed that social media is the wave of the future, connecting people to businesses, new ventures, events and ideas. It all sounded very exciting and thought provoking.
The best part is I have more friends now than I did before! I hope to do it again soon.
Hope you're having a great summer! Say hi to the puppies!


Friday, June 4, 2010

The Summer of my Content

At the end of my yoga class the morning, as we sat in silent meditation, my yoga instructor suggested we think "I am content" as we go through our day. At first, skeptic that I am, I questioned it,thinking, "but I'm not really". Upon further discussion about the wisdom of living in the moment and not getting bogged down by what we can't control, and the disappointments we have as we live our day to day, it became clearer to me. The focus is to start enjoying the small things - hearing a great song, engaging someone in an interesting conversation, having an energizing workout or laughing out loud at something comical.
The problems of unemployment,world crises, nasty relatives, oppositional children, etc. will always be there. Since we can't change a lot of these issues, maybe the idea of "I am content" along with some deep breathing could create serenity and calm, even temporarily. Especially if we stop and think about the good stuff we do have. I will try this out...I have nothing to lose.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

SUB Urban

As I daydream about perhaps working in the city again...I'm suddenly jolted by my memories of working and commuting to the city from Brooklyn to the Broadway studios of WOR-TV in the heart of Times Square, way back when. Granted, in those days, Times Square was a different world; a fishbowl of seediness and sleaze, dotted with peep shows, vendors hawking “Rollex” watches, and shady individuals. The studio was sandwiched between a porn theatre and a popcorn shop selling multi-flavored popcorn, of which I would indulge in frequently. Gough’s bar was around the corner, a Mom and Pop Irish bar, where everyone knew your name and your drink; a favorite watering hole after the News at Noon.
In the wake of the Times Square bomb scare, I happened upon photographs of folks sitting in lawn chairs, smack in the middle of Broadway, enjoying the weather. Times Square has turned into an outdoor mall-an anomaly in the middle of a hectic world of taxi cabs, pushcart vendors and tourists. What’s next? Lawn bowling? I used to fear walking to Penn Station alone at night, holding my bag tightly, and doing the New Yawk walk- long hurried strides and no eye contact. That is actually the best way today to navigate a crowded street in Manhattan. Walk briskly and look straight ahead. You will avoid bumping into people and make it from 32nd street to 42nd Street in 10 minutes, at rush hour! Walk and gawk- that’s what the city’s about. If you want to sit, try Central Park.
No, lawn chairs belong right here in suburbia...placed directly onto pesticided, exceedingly green, weedless, perfectly manicured lawns. No trouble walking down these sidewalk-less streets, where nobody knows your name, much less if you even live on the block! Wait a minute, did I just say walk? I meant get in my car. Ahh, back to my urban longings.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Welcome to my blog

I'm truly excited to begin this beguine blog.  I won't be boring you with what I'm making for dinner, or my kids' accomplishments.  Instead, I will try to entertain, inform and be relevant.  I must give a hearty shout out to my fellow L.I. Marketing Job Seeker Group "ies" who's company I had the pleasure of being in today.  In unity there is strength; in humor, there is release!