Friday, September 21, 2012

COMING SOON - A NEW LOOK!

Thanks for checking out my blog! We are redesigning it and will be re-launching soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Social Media Workshops June & July 2012

Well, I've finally scheduled my workshops! After much talk and many requests, I will be holding a series of workshops in June and July in Delaware. The topics include social media marketing, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogger, Pinterest and Facebook (for business and personal use.) Go to my website Flowers Media Matters for more details. I hope to see you (or someone you know) there!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Life Lists Can Change Your Life

Almost everyone makes New Year’s resolutions. I make Life Lists. For me, a Life List is a list of things you want to do in your life. It doesn't have to be created at the end of the year. It doesn’t have to be a long list or include specific deadlines. It doesn't have to be in any particular order. And you can change or update your list from time to time. Here’s my current Life List:

1. Complete four-year degree. One class at a time. Done!
2. Find another job that pays more and still offers a balanced work/life environment. (Let family and friends know specifically what I’m looking for. Be sure it won’t take me too far away from Alejandro for extended periods.)
3. Master the Spanish language. (Focus on music, television programs, Spanish websites, etc.)
4. Walk outside or on a treadmill for thirty minutes every day.
5. Start writing again. Even if it’s just an email to me. (Doing!)
6. Sell the stuff down in the basement on eBay.
7. Start a small business focusing on marketing and PR with a social media focus. Done!

8. Always be "in the moment" when I'm with Alejandro. Doing! (As best I can!)
9. Start a CashMob group in Delaware. (Doing!)
10. Call Grandma every week. (Doing!)
11. Send a card a month to someone to let them know how special they are to me. (Doing!)
12. Live in another country.
13. Streamline my belongings so they can all fit in 40 boxes. (Working on!)
14. See the Oprah Show. Done!
15. Take Alejandro to the White House. (Done!)
16. Learn to say "No" to projects, things or people that will eat up your time (or energy) that could be better spent doing other things. (Working on!)
17. Finish a Masters Degree.
18. Raise chickens.
19. Run a marathon.
20. Plant a garden. Share food with others.
21. Visit the countries on my Travel List.
22. Travel to all 50 states. (38 down!)
23. Buy a house I love in Louisiana.
24. Be an archeologist for a week.
25. See Alejandro live a wonderful, fulfilling and learning life.
26. Spend time with my grandchildren.
27. Write a book.
28. Tell family secrets to help our family and others.
29. Get paid to do what I love.
30. Write a book.
31. Go to law school.
32. Adopt a child or children.
33. Foster a child or children.
34. Have a well deserved vacation with my siblings.
35. Go on a vacation alone.
36. Own a log cabin on a lake.
37. Own a beach house on the beach.
38. Work from home.
39. Talk with Alejandro in Spanish.

40. Lose one pound at a week for 2 years or until I feel better about my body image.
41. Start dating again.

So you see it’s a varied list of things. I don’t always write my Life List at the end of the year. I usually include ideas about how to accomplish each one. And I make three copies for myself - one for my day-planner, one for my mirror in my bathroom and one for posterity.

I have found that the more you see your list, even if it’s rattling around in your purse or briefcase, the more the things on your list will happen. You make them happen because they are right in front of you and rattling around in your brain. You can even subscribe to free reminder services such as hiaspire.com, memotome.com and lettermelater.com.

Sometimes I call items on my Life Lists goals. For me, the word “goal” seems less overwhelming than calling them “resolutions.” I try to remember it’s all a process and I set small, attainable goals. It is said that habits generally take twenty-one days. For lasting change, don’t give up. Say you’re able to exercise for 17 days. Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t do it for 18 days. Have a one-minute pity party and move on. Start again. (I’m saying this to you so I can remember to say this to myself, again and again, and again…)

During one of my New Year’s Eve parties, about an hour before we were headed into the New Year, I gave my guests two sheets of blank paper, a stamped envelope and a pen. I asked them to write down ten things they wanted to do in their lives on one sheet of paper and then write the same list all over again on the second sheet of paper. I explained that their list could include anything they wanted, no matter how crazy or impossible it might seem. They didn’t have to share their list with any of the other guests, but they could certainly ask for ideas from others.

Then I had them put one sheet of paper in the envelope, seal the envelope and address it to themselves. I gathered all the envelopes from my guests. I explained that they should make a couple of copies of their list and place it in their purse, briefcase, on their bathroom mirror, etc., and refer to it from time to time. In one year, I said, I will mail your envelope to you. I shared that for me and others that had done this, invariably, many of the items on our Life Lists had been completed or at least well underway by the time we got our envelopes. You become what you think you will become. If you can visualize yourself doing it, you will do it.
There were only about a dozen of us at the party that night. Some people left skeptical that they could make things on their Life Lists happen. Some didn’t think I would mail them their lists in a year.

One year later, I received three phone calls. Two were friends and one was a guest of a friend from my party that year. They had received their Life Lists mailed the week before. Their gratitude was overwhelming. All of them were able to name at least one thing on their Life List that had come to pass. All of them said they had forgotten that I had their envelope but they had not forgotten their lists as they had periodically looked at them over the last year. None of them thought they would be able to see any of those items completed in just a year. But don’t you see, I said to them, it’s all in how you look at things.

Articles or websites you might find useful in creating your Life List:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/fashion/26list.html
http://superviva.com/
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/making-life-list
http://www.43things.com/
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14000100
http://www.your100things.com/

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blogging and Social Media Conferences (2012)

If you blog or are consider blogging, please consider attending one of the blogging and/or social media events I've listed below. I will be attending Type A Parent Conference in June and BlogHer'12 in August. For me, these two conferences represent both ends of the blogging spectrum.

Type A  is a smaller, more intimate conference that allows for a relaxed, let's-get-to-know-each-other atmosphere. The community Kelby Carr has built is one of camaraderie and sharing. Everyone is comfortable sharing what they know and asking questions when they don't know. BlogHer on the other hand is more of a branding conference with large brands (Ford, Kmart, eBay, etc.) exhibiting and hosting special events. There is a lot of swag to be had at this conference! In my opinion, the sessions could be longer (a full hour plus) at both events. Nonetheless, these two conferences offer insights into blogging and using social media. I hope to see you at both of those events. Meantime, here's the list!


2012 Blogging and Social Media Events (off-line events in United States)

#BBSUMMIT12, July 21, Chicago, IL
Aiming Low, October 12 – 13, Callaway Gardens, GA
AllFacebook Marketing Conference, June 28 – 29, San Francisco, CA
Altitude Design Summit 2012, January 18 – 20, Salt Lake City, UT
Barkworld Expo, October 25 – 27, Atlanta, GA
BlissDom 2012, Nashville, TN, February 23 – 25
Blogalicious, date and location, tbd
Blogfest, May 21 – 23, NYC
Blogging While Brown, June 1 – 2, Philadelphia, PA
Bloggy Boot Camp, April 21, St. Louis, MO
Bloggy Boot Camp, May 19, Philadelphia, PA
Bloggy Boot Camp, October 13, Las Vegas, NV
Bloggy Boot Camp, September 15, Dallas, TX
Bloggy Conference, Sept 27 – 29, Cincinnati, OH
BlogHer Entrepreneurs '12, March 22 – 23, Santa Clara, CA
BlogHer Food, June 8 – 9, Seattle, WA
BlogHer’12, August 2 – 4, NYC
BlogPaws, June 21 – 23, Salt Lake City, UT
BlogWorld & New Media Expo, June 5 – 7, NYC
BlogWorld Expo West, dates and location tbd
Brands & Bloggers Summit, July 21, Chicago, IL
Camp Blogaway Food Blogger Conference, May 4 – 6, Angelus Oaks, CA 2012
Casual Blogger Conference, March 9 – 10, Salt Lake City, UT
CES, January, Las Vegas, NV
Dad 2.0 Summit, March 8 – 10, Austin, TX
Design Bloggers Conference, February 26 – 28, Los Angeles, CA
Eat Write Retreat, May 4 – 6, Washington, DC
Emerging Media Conference (EmMeCon), January 28 – 31, San Francisco, CA (2013)
Evo Conference, July 12 –14, Park City, UT
FinCon, September 6 – 9, Denver, CO
FitBloggin’12, September 20 – 23, Baltimore, MD
Fitness & Health Bloggers, June 22 – 24, Denver, CO
FoodBlogSouth, January 27 – 28, Birmingham, AL
Gleek Retreat, May 19 – 20, Holland, MI
Haven Conference, June 21 – 22, Atlanta, GA
IFBC (Food Bloggers), August 24 – 26, Portland, OR
Lavish!, August 24 – 26, Atlanta, GA
MilBlog Conference, May 11 – 12, tbd
Mom 2.0 Summit, May 3 – 5, Key Biscayne, FL
Niche Affiliate Marketing Conference, February 10 – 12, Atlanta, GA
Relevant 2012, October 25, location tbd
Reviewers' Retreat, June 3 – 5, Great Wolf Lodge, NC
Savvy Blogging Summit, Oct 4 – 6, Atlanta, GA
SheCon, May 25 – 27, Lake Buena Vista, FL
SNAP!, April 19 – 21, Utah
SOBCon Chicago, May 4 – 6, Chicago, IL
Social Learning Summit, March 30 – 31, Washington, DC
Social Media Conference, June 20 – 22, Beverly Hill, CA
Social Media Strategies Summit, April 18 – 19, Chicago, IL
Social Media Strategies Summit, June 12 – 14, Miami, FL
Social Media Strategies Summit, October 23 – 25, Boston, MA
SXSW, Austin, TX, March 9 – 13, Austin, TX
The 2:1 Conference, April 27 – 29, Dulles, VA
Travel Blog Exchange, June 15 –17, Keystone, CO
Travel Bloggers, September 11, Los Angeles, CA
Wine Bloggers, August 17 – 19,  Portland, OR
World Domination Summit (WDS), July 6 – 8, Portland, OR

Please let me know if there are others, corrections need to be made, etc. Thanks!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Now Wait a Minute

So many of us are always in a rush. In a rush to get where we're going, do what we're doing, etc. Today a dear friend made me stop. And think for a minute.

I had asked her how her weekend was and then continued on with my next thought, never even giving her the opportunity to TELL me how her weekend was. She starting laughing and said, "Well, wait a minute, you didn't even give me time to tell you. Do you really want to know?"

I was speechless.

Yes, I really did want to know how her weekend was, I explained. That was so rude of me I apologized. I was in such a hurry to tell her the next thing on my mind, that I didn't really listen - to myself talking! I am so grateful she told me what I did and how she felt about it. I thanked her twice. And meant it. I won't forget your comments my sweet friend.

How many times have you just carried on after asking someone a question, just talking away never really giving them time to speak, much less really listening.

This week, let's practice, listening, really listening. To ourselves as we speak to others. It will only take a minute.

Monday, January 30, 2012

In the Moment

I had my one and only child, a precious son, a few weeks before my forty-second birthday. We had tried everything to get pregnant - fertility drugs and treatments, old wives' magic, acupuncture, cough syrup, no cold food or beverages, no hot food or beverages, fertility talismans, prayer, etc.

And we finally gave up.

And then I was pregnant!

I had a challenging pregnancy and was on bed rest most of the time. Or at least I was supposed to be in bed, resting. But life happens so I didn't get a lot of bed rest. When I felt him kick for the first time, I was filled with surprise about how ticklish it felt and amazed at my joy over the sensation. It was the first time I really believed I was pregnant.

I was hospitalized three times before my actual delivery. I was so excited about seeing this magical being who had been moving (okay, kicking) inside me. The nurses noticed my excitement and mentioned that I couldn't stop smiling.

My son, Alejandro, was born on a hot summer's day via a C-section. I remember feeling very thick-headed from the drugs. I remember the room feeling surreal as I looked at this grey, screaming infant, quickly whisked away to be rubbed clean, measured, weighed and then wrapped up like a burrito. And I lay there, anxious and wondering, hoping, that he was mine.

Bringing him home felt strange. Della the Dog sniffed and welcomed him. He was this tiny, little, wiggling creature with big searching eyes taking in his new world. I was mesmerized. And took photo after photo of his every move. I printed out hundreds of photos and shared them with everyone I saw. Seriously, everyone I saw.

Until one day, I realized that by snapping photo after photo of him sleeping, eating, looking, breathing, all those things, that I was losing out on being there in the moment. I wasn't seeing him. Who he was at that moment. And just being there.

What a turning point. So, I scaled back on the photos. And just watched him. And breathed him. And licked him. And held him. And loved him. And I loved me, loving him.