Archive for December, 2010

December 21, 2010

Time Flies, Get a New Calendar

Along with new opportunities, resolutions and goals— we’ll call these traditional perks— a new year brings new calendars and planners, one of my biggest guilty pleasures.

For those looking to stray from your traditional, boring, black and white desktop calendar and personal planner, Etsy— an online marketplace to buy and sell handmade or vintage items, art and supplies— offers an array of unique and often one-of-a-kind items to start your new year off planned and organized.

Prices vary, depending on the seller. Another option for buyers are calendars that are formatted as downloadable PDF files, allowing buyers to simply pay online, then download their files to expedite shipping and handling.

Personally, I’m not willing to sacrifice my style to remain organized, so I opt for a more eclectic, quirky taste for all things organization and planning.

Etsy Seller: JPressDesigns

Etsy Seller: redstarINK

Etsy Seller: LittlePaperDog

Etsy Seller: LetterHappy

What Do You Think: Would you be more likely to remain planned and organized using items that more closely reflected your style?

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December 17, 2010

Get Your Craft On: Do-It-Yourself Candy Cane Ornament

I’m headed to bed, but just stumbled upon this quick little craft and had to share. For full, specific instructions and a list of what you’ll need, be sure to visit Hostess With the Mostess:

Photo Credit: Hostess With the Mostess Blog

Photo Credit: Hostess With the Mostess Blog

Photo Credit: Hostess With the Mostess Blog

December 17, 2010

Quirk #3,204: Paper goods and fabric make my heart sing.

If you’re in the market for invitations, paper goods, fabric, stationery, and anything cute, Ann Kelle may be the lady you’re looking for. Below you’ll find an assortment of her products, any and all of which look sweet enough to eat.

It all started in 2000. Well, to be fair, we probably need to go back a bit further to when nine year old Kelle Boyd was carting around sketches of her own line of children’s clothing and wedding dresses in her backpack. Fast forward to over a decade later, Kelle had long since traded in her colored pencils for a career in public policy. While working for the Mayor of Nashville (and a bit stressed), Kelle’s childhood dream was rekindled when she went to a local craft store to purchase art supplies as a stress reliever. Two years later, Kelle took a step of faith and launched Ann Kelle Designs. Her fresh and bright designs immediately caught the attention of the industry. A week following her debut, her designs were being presented to Target. (Ann Kelle, About)

Photo Credit: Ann Kelle

Photo Credit: Ann Kelle

Photo Credit: Ann Kelle

Photo Credit: Ann Kelle, Hostess With the Mostess

Photo Credit: Ann Kelle, Hostess With the Mostess

Photo Credit: Ann Kelle, Hostess With the Mostess

Photo Credit: Ann Kelle, Hostess With the Mostess

Sources:

Ann Kelle / Ann Kelle Blog

Hostess With the MostessHostess With the Mostess Blog

December 17, 2010

Online Magazines: A Legitimate Excuse to Stay Indoors

After three hours of extensive, pleasurable research, I’ve managed to formulate a rather extensive list of online magazines sure to keep you indoors until Spring. Okay, maybe not that long, but surely long enough for a relaxing weekend.

Note: All pictures and descriptions are property of each respective magazine.

1. Sweet Paul Magazine / Sweet Paul Blog

Sweet Paul magazine is based on Paul Lowe’s wildly successful blog Sweet Paul, which ranked 22nd in the London Time’s Top 50 Best Design Blogs. With over 100,000 hits a month Sweet Paul has become a regular read for editors, stylists and foodies all over the world. Paul’s motto is “chasing the sweet things in life” and the magazine sure lives up to that. It will be filled with easy and elegant recipes, fun and stylish crafts, entertaining ideas, shopping tips, up and coming crafters and so much more.

2. Rue Magazine / Rue Blog

Your pathway to stylish living.

3. Nonpareil MagazineNonpareil Blog

Nonpareil is an online magazine that approaches weddings and other occasions with a focus on hip, stylish, do-it-yourself projects and inspiration, and our goal is to awaken your creative side and to help you plan a beautiful wedding in a more accessible way.

4. Babiekins Magazine / Babiekins Blog

Babiekins is a magazine that translates the style,comfort, and sophistication of must-haves for real kids all around the globe. We feature a range of fashionable designs and designers, amazing party ideas, an array of fun DIY projects, family relationships, as well as real issues concerning children.

5. Southern Flourish / Southern Flourish Blog

Southern Flourish is dedicated to producing a chic, modern magazine full of fresh editorial for those that love and live the new Southern style. Created for and by young Southerners, the magazine highlights the best of the Southern lifestyle, while providing readers with enjoyable content that helps improve and enrich their lives.

6. LMNOP / LMNOP Blog

LMNOP is a free quarterly PDF magazine for hip, stylish parents and their children. Practical and fun, LMNOP shows you how to laugh, make, nurture, organise and play – with the best of everything right at your fingertips.

LMNOP only showcases unique and imaginative brands and products. We source many things from all over the world and have a keen interest in introducing our audience to artists, designers, and companies who offer something truly clever and unique.

And whilst we share many labels and products with our readers, we also (more importantly) share ideas on how to have fun with your children. Bringing you book reviews, fun craft ideas, recipes for home-made treats, the latest info on things to see and do, plus exciting ways to celebrate holidays and important occasions.

7. Maeve Magazine / Maeve Magazine Blog

MAEVE Magazine is a quarterly online publication aimed at the conscious consumer. MAEVE targets 30- 40 something’s… women… grown ups… parents… people who want more from their media. MAEVE is an observatory on human kind, incorporating a plethora of ideas and inspiration to bring life to your life and your family.

 

8. N.E.E.T. Magazine / N.E.E.T. Blog

N.E.E.T. Magazine is the brainchild of Stephanie J, who is based in the UK. Everything in the magazine is handpicked, designed and organised by her, the editor. N.E.E.T. began in December 2005 as a quarterly, online publication, laid out in a magazine format – as a showcase for grassroots creativity. N.E.E.T. is the first of its kind – online, free and packed with everyone from a crafter creating from their kitchen table, to a fashion design graduate straight out of college, to a team of people doing it for the love of it. N.E.E.T. Magazine is an eco-friendly, grassroots style bible for the digital age. It would be impossible without the wonderful contributions of all those involved and many thanks goes to a wide network of global talent, with the internet playing a vital part in research and communication.

What Do You Think: What online magazines can’t you get enough of?

December 14, 2010

Tory Johnson’s 50 Ways to Generate Social Media Content

Though graduate school has surely been challenging, one of its greatest rewards is allowing me to sleep in far later than I ever have in my life. I’m an early bird, functioning best early in the morning. Perhaps more impressive, I can probably count the number of mornings I’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed on one hand. And with graduation closing in, I’ll surely miss staying in bed until lunchtime. That said, this morning I was abruptly awakened by the snow plows, just in time for Good Morning America, a guilty pleasure television show I haven’t seen in months.

Tory Johnson, a Good Morning America contributor, author, life coach and founder and CEO of Women for Hire—a recruiting and educational resource for connecting professional women with leading employers in the country— spoke about the challenge women face in breaking through the cliche glass ceiling.

I’ve followed Tory Johnson for quite some time, most recently connecting with her through LinkedIn. Her practical advice covers the gamut, from networking and career advice, to how to strengthen your resume and cover letter, to how to negotiate with employers or start a business.

She also poses 50 tips for generate web content, seen below. I’ve underlined a few tips I found most intriguing and thought-provoking, all of which I plan on implementing in my own use of social media:

Comment. The easiest form of content is to comment on other people’s content. Answer their questions, ask them something, chime in with feedback, or simply let them know you appreciated their post.
Congratulate. Offer kudos and praise when people in your social media circles share their own successes. Think of it as a virtual high- five.
Recommend. Let your fans, followers, friends and connections know why you recommend a particular product or service. Include a link to it.
Review. Offer your candid opinion on a current event, book, product or movie that’s closely connected to your field.
Reveal. Get personal. When I speak about small business success, I’m very candid that my interest in entrepreneurship started when I was coldly and unexpectedly fire from a job I loved. The scar from that pink slip forced me to never want one person or one organization to have the ability to strip me of my financial security or self-esteem, so I ventured out on my own.
Report. Conferences and events offer rich material to share through social media. You can post quotes, tips, takeaways and photos from the speakers and sessions. Allow others to participate vicariously through you.
Promote. Promote something you’re working on—a book, a product, an article, an event, you name it—and let people know where to learn more. This is also true for your blog posts and stuff on your website. Promote it through social media to bring people directly to your site.
Share. When you read an article in the morning paper, find a link to the piece online and share it with your networks. The same is true for any great content or phenomenal resource you find online. Anytime I read a magazine, I dog-ear pages to share tidbits online.
Give. Give a special offer to your fans and followers. For example, this document you’re reading is something I offered to give away—no strings attached. You can create something similar for your target market or even give a special discount or bonus offer for a limited- time on a product or service.
Tips. This is especially relevant for experts—coaches, consultants, trainers, authors, speakers—to share their expertise regularly by posting a tip of the day or tip of the week. Choose tips that are actionable and avoid being generic. For example, if you’re talking to jobseekers, “Join and participate in a discussion group in your field on LinkedIn” is a better tip than “Use social networks for your job search.” It also works for product manufacturers. For example, if you make brownies, share cooking tips. Someone who sells an organizer can offer tips on, you guessed it, staying organized.
Quotes. Please tell me you bought a copy of the incredible tips book from the Women’s Conference! It’s filled with nearly 400 quick tips from some of the most successful people in America. (If not, you can easily find quotes online.) Post one tip per day—or even two per day— and you’ll see that your audience responds and re-tweets.
Re-post. Re-tweet or re-post tips, thoughts, articles or other material other people post online. Be sure to acknowledge where you saw it first.
Highlight. Highlight a blog that you follow and tell your audience exactly why you believe they’d like it too.
Educate. Teach a smart lesson in a tidbit and then be sure to follow up with additional details if and when someone asks for more.
Inspire. Let everyone know how you’ve overcome a challenge and share how they can do it too.
Ask. Pose a question that relates to your field and is likely to generate strong reaction. This can be very wide-ranging. For example, on my Facebook.com/Tory wall, I posted this: A woman just told me she’s changing her hair color to “look smarter.” Do you think hair color impacts our perception of intelligence? (As you can imagine, that got a lot of reaction.) On Twitter I ask viewers to submit questions to use on JOB CLUB, a program I host on ABC News Now, a 24-hour digital news channel.
Invite. Create an event—a MeetUp, TwitterChat, teleclass, etc—and invite everyone to join in on the conversation.
Exploit. Have a pet peeve? Exploit it. One of mine is this notion of “business conference as usual,” which leads to a feeling of let down once you get home and realize that you paid for something that wasn’t delivered, wasn’t made actionable or didn’t help your bottom line. This is a reminder to me when I promote my own events that I need to be even bolder with acknowledging this “conference let down” scenario and explaining why my programs are different.
Showcase. If you have a great client success, feature it. When someone I work with gets a new job or has a big win in her business, I showcase those successes online. It also serves as a testimonial for your work and your expertise.
Solicit. Ask for feedback on a trend in your line of work or feedback on an element of something you’re working on. Everyone loves to offer an opinion.
Brag. Did you receive some media coverage? Did you hit a social media milestone? Did you win an award? Did you sign a new client? Share your good fortune with your audience.
Gratitude. Thank new clients or partners (when appropriate) and others who are part of your success or who have served you well.
Prove. Include a brief “case study” showing where a client started, what you did, how you did it, and the results that were experienced. You can also do the same as an employee or jobseeker based on the works you do.
Guests. Use your social media platform to invite others to guest post on your blog or website, if applicable. Be clear on what you’re looking for so potential respondents can self-select.
Stalk. Bet this one caught your attention. Stalk strategically. By that I mean pick one rockstar in your industry each week and give a shout out to that person about why he or she should want to know who you are. Since it’s fashionable to respond to everyone on Twitter, you may just get a response.
Contribute. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn and contribute your expertise to the discussion boards. Make a habit of it so you’ll build a profile for yourself as the go-to person on this topic.
Morning. Consider posting a morning greeting each day that is relevant, fun, interesting or challenging. It may be connected to current events—Did you watch X show last night? Are you going to the polls to vote today? Do you know what happened this day in history?— instead of directly related to your work.
Save. Share great practical resources or tips that make life better by saving someone time or money.
Forecast. Let everyone know about changes in your industry and what you believe it means for your target market.
Laugh. A clean (non-offensive) joke is always a welcome form of comic relief.
Announce. Announce changes in your company, product introductions, or new developments in your work.
Complain. Share a customer service complaint and how it was handled impeccably. Explain how that problem will be avoided in the future. Being candid and authentic is a welcome trait.
Personalize. While most of your content will be professional, give some personal details to share another side of you. I got an enormous reaction when I shared my husband’s foot injury that left him in pain— and me exhausted from being ordered around! I talk about my kids. I stressed over turning 40. All of that allows my audience to know me better—and hopefully feel a stronger connection to me.
Theme. Use daily, weekly or monthly themes to inspire regular content. A car mechanic might implement a 30-day “Make Your Friends Green With Envy” campaign with tips on keeping their car in enviable condition. Or maybe it’s Motivational Mondays to kick off the week. Or Wellness Wednesday, which can encompass a range of content. Having a theme allows you to build out the content in advance to fit the days.
Seasons. Similarly, use changing seasons to generate content and discussion. For example, a dating coach could do a FALLing in love campaign in September, while a marriage therapist may begin by asking if you’ve FALLen out of marital bliss, followed by tips on how to reheat your marriage as the temperature drops.
Controversy. Rather than polarizing your connections with your own personal rant, consider simply posting a question about a controversial hot topic. I recently did this on the Oklahoma governor’s race between two female 50-something candidates – one married with six kids, the other single and no kids. The married mom made a point to say she was more qualified because of her marital and parenting status, so I asked my followers to chime in.
Contest. Ask everyone to submit something. A staffing firm asked fans to submit the most challenging interview question they ever faced. A purse company asked women to submit photos of the inside of their bag. Combine and share the content in a clever way.
Spy. When all else fails, spy on your competition. What are they writing, tweeting, and blogging about? How can you use their best content to inspire your own?
Feedback. Ask for resources such as a great bookkeeper, fabulous virtual assistant, exceptional resume writer or wonderful web designer.
Challenge. Issue a challenge to your audience. I’ve challenged my followers to make cold calls to 5 people within 24 hours that they’ve held back on reaching out to—and I’ve encouraged them to share the feedback.
Gift. Send a book or promotional item to the first five people who respond to a specific call to action.
Health. Even if it has nothing to do with your field, remind women every so often about mammograms, heart health and other important life-saving matters.
Wish. Offer special wishes to fans and friends on their birthdays or anniversaries. Everyone loves to be remembered.
Photos. Poke around other people’s pages and profiles and study the ones that use many photos. Force yourself to capture moments with your cell phone or digital camera at work that others will enjoy. Once you get in the habit, it becomes easier to find stuff to share.
Video. Even more powerful that photos, create original videos for your outreach. The popularity of YouTube should be enough to convince you that video is an extraordinary way to get your message across. Many of the elements above can be recorded by you on video and shared, especially if you have a build in recorder on your computer or phone. (Hint: If you’re truly camera-shy and not too convincing in video, skip this.)
Wildcard. Sometimes you’ll just write about the most random stuff. And that’s ok—you don’t have to follow a standard script every day.
Teach. Teach your audience a tech trick that someone else taught you.
Like. Click the “like” button on Facebook to acknowledge your appreciation for someone else’s page or wall content. And don’t be shy about telling them why you liked it.
Holidays. Use holidays for blogging content, tweets, wall posts, discussion group comments and e-newsletter content. They represent a goldmine of opportunity if you’re clever.
YOU. Above all, be yourself. Use your authentic, true voice in all you write. Don’t wait for people to find you and your brilliant content—work the system to generate followers too. Have fun doing it while always keeping your strategic purpose in mind. (Spark & Hustle)

Each of the tips offered by Johnson range in applicability, but it’s likely every blogger can benefit from implementing even a handful of her suggestions. This week, I’ll specifically be challenging myself to congratulate and recommend.

What Do You Think: What tips will you challenge yourself to adopt in your own use of social media?

Sources: Spark & Hustle, Social Networking Content Creation- Getting Started; Good Morning America, “What Women Need to Know to Get Ahead“, (December 13, 2010); Women For Hire