olioboard + office = love

Olioboard. It’s like Pinterest with an interactive moodboard and an opp to shop for whatever you want, right then and there.

And I’m in love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s pretty well-curated now, but I’m excited to see where Olioboard goes once it gets more products and more momentum.

So far, it’s totally dangerous.

You can see all the products in a given mood board, click through to them for details, descriptions and retailers.

I’ll even flag your item if a product s new or on sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s part play, part creative and at least one part shopping since I’m totally buying this Union Jack (holla!) mirror.

Now…

Union Jack Mirror Via Dwell: http://dwell.co.uk/110461/Union-jack-mirror

 

back away from the desk! …and other quick time-out tips

Lately, in my quest for a little more balance, I’ve become acutely aware of how much time I spend tied to my desk all day. It’s not unusual (enter: Tom Jones) for me to sit there, locked into email and writing and editing and… before I know it, it’s been 5 hours and I haven’t even stopped to pee.

That got me to thinking… everyone needs little breaks throughout the day. Whether you’re tied to a desk or spend your days chasing your kids, we all have those moments where we need a major mommy time out!

I wrote about this recently at allParenting.

My favorite tip?

Back away from the desk

If you work at a desk all day, make sure you try and move every 20 minutes. You don’t have to leave your office. Just stand up, stretch and step away from the computer… if even for a minute. Keeping mobile not only helps with circulation, it also helps clear your mind for a minute so you can get some perspective and refocus.

For more tips, you can read the full article I wrote here!

home + office + mom = wham

While I’m not huge fan of all the initialism that comes with blogging (DH, DS, DD, D to the double E. OK, I totally made that last one up), I happen to fall not-so-neatly under one of those categories: WAHM or Work at Home Mom.

Before the Mom part came into play, I’d operated from a home office for years. For the past 10 years I’ve worked (mostly in my PJs) from home. A PR firm that I worked for was testing out the virtual model while they hunted for office space, and we all loved it so much we stayed virtual. When I started my own agency six years ago, it just made sense to stay that way.

THE GOOD: The overhead’s low, the hours are flexible and frankly, if you’re disciplined enough, you can be a lot more productive.

THE BAD: The flip side to being really productive is becoming a total workaholic. When you have a home office, it’s extremely difficult to punch your time card at 5 p.m. and “leave it at the office.”

THE UGLY: Working in your PJs and being walking distance to a fully-stocked kitchen at any given moment doesn’t necessarily do wonders for your girlish figure.

Enter my latest challenge: sharing my “office” with children. Gone are the days when I could stroll around my house on a conference call or work from the couch while I watched the news. Now that I share my workspace with a husband, a not-so-quiet toddler and a teething baby, I have to be super creative in order to get my quiet time in and the work delivered.

 

I adore this home office from http://www.homeofficedesignblog.com/

TIPS: Here are a few tricks and tips that go beyond the obvious (and, frankly, painful to hear at this point) “work when they’re napping.” No matter how consistent I try to be about napping, the person who can get both of my kids to fall asleep and stay asleep at the same time wins a drink, on me. I’ll just be over here mixing us both one while you try and get my kids to nap in tandem.

DESIGNATE A HOME BASE. And own it. You’ll be spending lots of time here. Make sure that space has a proper desk. Don’t kid yourself that you’ll get just as much done on a love seat or kitchen table. If you’re like me and juggling kids and work in the same breath, you often have to work whether you can set your laptop . . . but you always need a home base where you can lock yourself in and checkout from the outside world so you can get down to business.

 

TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR FRIEND. My office is upstairs, my kids are typically downstairs and I’m often running back and forth between the two. These things help when you need to work from multiple places:

  • If you’re a Mac (holla!): Time Capsule. And/or whatever iCloud thing is happening (it’s been on my to-do to wrap my head around that). Either way, you need a place to virtually back-up email and critical docs, where you can access them from wherever you are in the house office.
  • If you’re collaborating with people in other offices, Google Docs. We work with a lot of databases, guests lists, etc. and having a live, real-time, editable doc that multiple people can access at once has saved us many times.
  • GotoMyPC.com is a great resource if you’re in another room, another city or state and need to access your office computer.

Here's a closet transformed into a home office. It's adorable, it's all yours and it has a desk. Check, check and check! http://luxury-furniture-design.net/

SET BOUNDARIES.  It’s way, WAY, too easy to work around the clock when your office is 10 feet from your bedroom. Don’t do it. To avoid burnout, set how many hours you’re work/what project(s) you need to complete, deadlines you need to meet– whatever your parameters are– then log off and shut your office door. It’ll all still be there when you wake up.

GET OUT. Take a walk, take a lunch…just get out. Get out of the house office, talk to to grown ups, recharge your batteries (and your creativity). In traditional offices you get lunch breaks, water cooler talk, coffee pit stops, etc. In a home office you often get four walls with a slice of stir crazy. Getting a change of scenery is important. It’s easy to pull up to a spot with Wi-Fi and work from there.

The other benefit to having a home office is just having your OWN space. When the kids get cranky, you can always insist that there’s work to be done. Hand them off, head to your office and lock yourself in with a good glass of wine book!

 

multitasking. it’s like crack.

Apparently multitasking is a bad thing. Recent research suggest it makes us less productive and more stressed.

When you have a home office and two kids, it’s virtually impossible not to try and do 5 things at once. After all, you have two hands, 12 emails, two conference calls, two mouths to feed, a deadline to meet and of course…you absolutely have to go pee, STAT, because your post-baby bladder is never on your schedule.

It seems like even when I try to focus on one thing at a time, inevitably five other things are vying for my attention. Here’s what I’m doing to try and stay focused and kick the multitasking habit. Hopefully these tips will help you, too.

  • DITCH THE PHONE. When I’m with family, out to dinner, trying to spend quality time with my kids, etc., I ditch my phone. iPhones are distracting. There are emails, tweets, Facebook messages, Words With Friends, all begging me to pay attention (look at me! look at me!), when I really should be focused on the people around me. Because ditching my phone is easier said than done, I often hand it to my husband when we sit down so he can hold it hostage.
  • MAKE A LIST, PRIORITIZE AND DON’T DEVIATE. I’ve become a list cop, slapping my own wrist when I break the rules. When I sit down to my desk, I make a list, in priority order, and I do everything in my power to knock out each thing in order. When I get pulled into another task– I put that on the list and go back to it, so I can stay on course. Staying on course also often involves ignoring my phone, sometimes my email. Email = a distraction trap. Check it before you start on your list and after you’ve finished the first task, then again after you knock out the next task.
  • MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS. Skype, IM and chatting might seem like they can be productive, but they just don’t work for me. I find them distracting, so I don’t have them running unless I need to for a meeting. Also on that list–Facebook and Twitter. Let’s just make that the Internet in general. If I need to write, focus on budgets, etc., I’ll close my browser and not look back. Once that bad boy is open it’s like Pandora’s box. If all else fails, I turn off my monitor.
  • SCHEDULE REGULAR MEETINGS. Instead of impromptu calls and emails that disrupt the list and my schedule, I try and schedule calls/meetings with people who need a lot of my time, so we can knock out several things in one slot of time.

It’s a work in progress, but so far I’m seeing a difference in how much more I can get done in the work day so I can have more time for the most important things on my list at night . . . like mastering the cake pop with my three year old!

 

blogher: pr edition.

I attended BlogHer with the intention of taking off my work hat and throwing on my “connect with friends, meet new people, finally focus on my blog” hat (it’s a big hat, with many sides).

Turns out, I can shut off my phone (ish), I can tell my clients I’m not available (sort of). . . but I can’t turn off my PR/marketing mind that is constantly ticking.

Enter BlogHer 2011: I’m surrounded by companies trying to capture the attention of thousands of bloggers and their readers. Tick tick tick tick . . . . BOOM. Marketing overload. As soon as I walked in the door of the convention center it was GAME. ON.

here’s what i observed:
Booths representing everything from foot products to kids’ toys, to (heh-hem) adult toys, to floor cleaners and food containers lined the expo floor. Having managed trade show presence for some Fortune 500 brands, I hovered around that showroom floor like a hawk, absolutely geeked-out over the displays, the brand integration, the customer interaction and the swag. Ohhh…the swag. 

 

major props: 

– Oh, for the love of Paper Culture. While other booths felt like Pez dispensers popping swag out at you as you passed by, Paper Culture got it right. Their space was oh so modern. I literally stopped in my tracks with a big sigh of “Oh. Em. Gee.” and thanked them for being so beautiful. Seriously. It sang to me. And the reps were genius. We talked about their green initiatives, their new wall art and my recent post about modern nursery design. 

 

They took the time to engage about wants/needs from a parent/blogger/lover of all things modern, took great care in creating a show-stopping space and definitely won me over. Paper Culture gifted me with a gift card, but they honestly had me at hello. More like: “Hello, gorgeous.”

 

 

 

– #YummieChristina. Yummie Tummie & Christina from Mommy Loves Coffee partnered for what I thought was one of the best product-integration campaigns. From the early “Say Wow Not Ow Yummie Tummie Style Session” contest to build buzz BlogHer, to seeing Christina at each event head-to-toe Yummie and talking about it, to the Yummie Tummie style suite at the Marriott– this campaign was a home run. I attended the style suite (early a.m.) and the women I connected with, the personal touch of trying on the styles in an intimate setting so you can actually experience the product (that was showcased in the room, flanked by gift bags and champagne) was genius.

Some of the most influential bloggers came through that door (some I knew from the days I wear my PR hat, others I was thrilled to finally connect with in real life.) This was a well rounded, pre- to post-conference product integration that secured Yummie Tummie online buzz, social media marketing (#YummieChristina was everywhere) and valuable facetime with influentials. Well done! Disclaimer: I was gifted with a Yummie Tummie Nursing T Tank, but that was probably more because I was filling up like a balloon while I was at the style suite. 

– Boiron also scored major points with me at BlogHer. Their PR and social media manager was on site, took the time to try and educate us about specific homeopathic products under their brand, and had great social media follow through with all of their brands on Twitter (bonus points). I had another go-to homeopathic brand for teething and fevers with my first son, but because of that experience I’m trying their products with my littlest man (who just started teething– perfect timing!).

 

a swing and a miss:

I couldn’t help wondering how much money companies spent with an old-school approach to trade show marketing. Sure, there were plenty of bloggers who were happy to just blow through the aisles stuffing their bags with whatever was free (and plenty of companies prepared to spend money on that), but several companies missed an incredible opportunity to really connect with their audience.

Names and faces have been changed, but these things really happened:

– Just as I’m falling in love with a baby product and ask what their twitter handle is so I can give them a shout-out, the marketing manager (yes, marketing manager) says, “I don’t know what our twitter name is. I’ll have to ask our social media girl, I’m just the marketing manager.” Seriously.

– I can’t tell you how many people still put phone numbers and physical addresses on things with no mention of how we can connect with their brand online. Fail. This was a blog conference. We live half of our lives online. Please put your website, your facebook, your twitter (etc.) on your collateral. 

– Did I mention I nearly got a black eye from a woman elbowing for more free foot product samples? Listen, I’m a fan of giveaways–especially when they involve relieving your feet during a hectic conference (on the surface, a smart move and I’m sure I hope it converted to future sales)– but just spewing product out with zero interaction, no product/brand eduction, in a crazed, free-for-all frenzy is not money well spent.

*SEE Orthaheel for a better way to get product in consumer hands:  Orthaheel (a brand I hadn’t heard about until BlogHer) also had a small off-site suite experience. I was on day three of the conference walking around in Quaker Oats swag flip flops (because I think I can still rock 4″ heels 24 hrs a day and refused to pack flats) when Everyday Momma invited me to check out Orthaheel flip flops. Guess what? I not only rock them, I tell people about them when I do. A smaller product investment and leveraging a brand ambassador who can have real interactions with your target audience is a much smarter investment of your marketing dollars than dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars on 10,000 samples. By the way, the foot product samples I got on the Expo floor are still shoved somewhere in the swag bags I have yet to put away.

a for effort

The good news is that there were several companies that got it right, and that was largely due to more people paying better attention to how to market to, and market with, bloggers.

 

home office overhaul

I’ve had a home office for about 10 years now. This was awesome when it was just me in a two bedroom place with an office all to myself. A sanctuary, if you will. OK, maybe it was more stressful than a sanctuary, but it was all mine.

Enter 2011. Now add a husband and two boys, a three bedroom house and a home office that I currently share with a changing table and a Diaper Genie. That is, until my newborn is old enough to take over the third bedroom altogether.

I’ve started window shopping for a four bedroom home and plotting out my plan to reclaim a proper home office. After all, I’m in here sometimes 12 hours in a day and I need some organization, some modern design, some bold, cool, colors to keep me sane as I type away in my little four-walled work box.

Right now I’m leaning toward charcoal, white, blues, green . . . maybe I’ll live on the edge and throw in a few hints of a bold pink. I’m craving a major home office overhaul and with the help of Pinterest, I might just find the perfect mix!

Here are just a few ideas. If you like these ideas or need some inspiration for your home office, follow me on Pinterest!

I need this chair.  source: http://www.houzz.com/photos/home-office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This rug says, "work, shmurk. Just sink your toes into me and relax." source: http://sweethomestyle.tumblr.com/page/4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn't totally me. But I do love the blue wall and the black & white graphic contrast. I need something that make a bold statement in my home office. One that says "Wake up and work!" source: http://justpatience.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/photo_op.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello big, bold statement, WITH charcoal AND typography. Momma loves.... source: http://tinyurl.com/3e77gt9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

live interviews: live by the tip sheet

In all of the back and forth behind the scenes planning a live TV or radio interview, it might feel like you could write a novel with all of the info that’s been shared.

But no matter how much info you’ve given a producer, you have to remember that you (or your client) won’t be the only person they’re talking to that day.

A solid tip sheet can save you for a number of reasons:

1. Use the tip sheet to provide key facts (dates, times, locations, etc.) . . . anything critical that should be communicated in the course of the interview. Remember, these producers/bookers might deal with several interview subjects in the course of one show. Their world doesn’t revolve around the fact that your circus is in town or your client’s hosting a book signing. If you want them to get the details straight: write them down.

2. The tip sheet is the perfect way to reinforce key messages. I can’t tell you how many times an interviewer reads straight from my tip sheet on a live remote shot, during live radio sports or on live morning news.  They don’t have the time to memorize everything about you and they appreciate having quick, easy background in-hand. Instead of, “So tell me about your film festival,” with the right info literally at their fingertips, that same question could sound like, “I understand San Diego Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend.  Besides the signature Actor’s Ball, the celebrity sightings, what else can people expect to see at the Pacific Gaslamp Theater?”

3. Everyone looks good. A tip sheet helps the interviewer better prepare for a segment and gives them quick, easy info to reference on the spot. It helps the producer look like a rock star by prepping the interviewer and the interviewee knows exactly what info has been shared and what’s likely to come up during the interview.

Every tip sheet is different, but here are some key things you don’t want to miss:

1. Single page, minimum 14pt font, use bullets and spacing to keep it clean, simple and easy to read from a quick glance.

2. Include all critical info: names of people involved, dates, locations, websites, ticket prices, etc.

3. Key messages: a few succinct key messages that position your client, product, event, service (etc.) exactly how you’d say it if you could write the news yourself.

Make sure the tip sheet is emailed in advance so everyone has a chance to review it, but always bring an extra copy or two.

I’ve had several interviews where a producer and anchor didn’t get a chance to brief and the anchor runs up to my client right before a segment to get a quick download. If you have a tip sheet on hand, you’ll be their best friend.

Bottom line: be over prepared.

 

 

CNBC says I’m stressed

And they’re right.

I checked out their annual “Most Stressful Jobs” report and there was my life at #2: PR Exec. Right behind #1: Commercial Airline Pilot.

a day in the life . . .

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not surprised by this. I live and breathe it, my family and friends have known this for years and Live.Mom.Work. might not have been born if the demands of my career didn’t force me to try and find balance between my 12-hour-a-day job running my PR firm and my 24-hour-a-day job of momma & wife.

There’s still a certain little “told you so” moment that taps my inner 5 year old looking for validation to see PR up there on a list where I expect to see air traffic controllers and NASA technicians.

Back to work . . .

Your pitch needs a trim.

If you’ve ever sent me a media pitch to review, you’ve seen these words: cut it in half.
It might be surprising coming from me, the person who couldn’t make a long story short if her life depended on it, but when it comes to pitches I’m all about making the biggest impact with the fewest words.
The next time you’re ready to shoot off an email to one of your media contacts, consider these tips to keep your pitch lean and mean:

Keep it short, but pack a punch.
No, that’s not a shout out for my fellow 5’4′ ladies. O.K., maybe it is.

Media have hundreds of email that flood their inboxes daily. If the first few sentences of your pitch don’t compel them to keep reading or move to action (send a TV crew to your event, consider an interview, etc.), you need to scrap your pitch and start over.

Put your self in their shoes.
Think: Why should they care? What does it offer their audience? For example, if you’re pitching a TV news producer or assignment desk, your pitch needs to be visual, relevant for their audience and, if it’s on location, worth their time and resources to send a news crew out. For TV: always sell your visuals (there will be children, elected officials, furry kittens, celebrities, shiny disco balls . . . be specific).

Edit. Then edit again.
It’s amazing how much fat you can trim by taking second/third look at your pitch. If it’s not 100% critical for media to know right then, send more info later after you already have them hooked. If you overload it with more detail than absolutely necessary to spark their interest, you’ll lose them on your second paragraph (in your way-too-wordy six paragraph pitch).

Tip: Read it out loud. If the person you’re pitching won’t know what’s happening and why they should care in the first minute: edit.

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