Monday, September 28, 2009

What is a ThinkMap?

I've renamed my blog! I've done this because I really have to write about so much more than marketing. I love, live, breath, sleep, shower, walk and talk marketing - but that is not WHO I am. I am a product of my thoughts...Thoughts are happening every minute - it's impossible not to think. Allowing and inviting positive thoughts is advisable, but the negative ones find their way in too.
Everyday I hit the ground running- traveling with my thoughts. While I know I can't control them, I can acknowledge both the positive and the negative thoughts,  redirect them if necessary and embrace them when they inspire me. It's the choice to allow my thoughts to roam freely that contributes to my creativity and passion.

ThinkMap is an insight into those thought travels I have during my day. My heart's desire is that my maps provide occasional inspiration, a spring board for your own greatness and maybe a chuckle or two!
Feel free to comment or contact me with your own maps - I am happy to publish them here.

So...what do you think about the new look?


Thursday, September 24, 2009

 I had a fellow follow me today, on twitter, and being the good little social media maven that I am, I checked him out (I never just randomly follow people) by going first to his twitter profile, then to his blog.  Am I ever glad I did!

Terry Starbucker's ( philosophy is all about positivity. He has coined the phrase/term "half-fullism" as in the cup is half full. He says: "I’m a believer in what is sometimes called “the law of attraction” – that is, if I can put a positive enough vibe out there, laced with the possibilities of a path to happiness and fulfillment through a personal philosophy, and infused with encouragement and a genuine desire to help other people, then I can transfer some of that to those who read it."

Just really wanted to pass that along. Have a Full and happy day! :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here I go again...

The big question out there in the blogosphere seems to be whether to blog about what people are interested in or to blog about what YOU are interested in??  This has been tough for me since I am very social and am truly interested in what everyone else is interested in....but that doesn't necessarily translate to an ability write about those topics. So I started this blog as more or less a supplement to my website. Now I am hating that idea. Why would I want to re-write the content of my website on a blog...duh. Dumb idea. And, more to the point - who the heck would want to read it?

So now I find myself writing about a lot of personal stuff ( see blog post from Sunday). I am definitely passionate about that. But I am also passionate about my industry, my clients and the trends that are causing such a "twitter" (pun intended) in the media world.

So here's the deal - a compromise is in order...a little of this....a little of that - how does that sound?
I'm going to talk about -


Those are two of my favorite people...My husband, Ken and our son Chase...I have recently had a major attitude shift, an epiphany of sorts. I am so grateful for this and owe it largely to the sweet little old couple that walk silently, hand in hand, in my neighborhood.  They don't look a day under 90! I was lamenting one morning, as I watched them slowly trudge up our hill, about not having "that" - I decided then and there that THAT was what marriage was supposed to be, dammit, and I wasn't getting it! Then I went down my "what I'm not getting" list and made a mental check next to a whole bunch of stupid petty (seemingly HUGE) items...

I began to cry - not because I was sad about that stupid list, but because I suddenly realized that I wasn't SUPPOSED to have what they had...We hadn't earned it yet! Ken and I have long passed through that "you totally ROCK" phase of our relationship - you know, the phase when all the shit that drives me nuts now was so cute and endearing then. That lovely time when I just couldn't get enough of him....Oh ya, those days are long gone! I realized, standing at my kitchen window, the elderly couple now long gone, that Ken and I are in the "business" phase of our relationship. We are in the business of raising children, raising our businesses, managing a household, a social calendar and our shared responsibilities to our parents and siblings....I thought about who else I could be business partners with and the realization that there truly isn't a soul on this planet that I could manage all of this so well with hit me like a ton of bricks.


Suddenly my list was stupid and embarrassing! I couldn't wait to tell Ken how much I appreciated him and how grateful I am that he is my partner. In my mind this new attitude removed all the pressure of nurture, sex, passion, of us. That's not the phase we are in! We are business partners! Hooray!
(Interestingly , he has never been more attractive (okay, HOT), smart, funny and loving....weird how that worked, huh?)

It's been 3 months since that moment in my kitchen and I feel the same right now as I did that day. Ken and I have never been better. We both take time to appreciate the roles we take, the contributions we make and the goodness inside of each of us.

I haven't seen the couple since (odd)  - Perhaps they were just angels sent to save me from my ungrateful self.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dropping our Daughter off at College

I am in a reflective mood this Sunday morning as I sit here both missing and rejoicing in my daughter's newest life adventure: college. I, like millions of parents across the country, am wondering where the time went?? And to think a few weeks ago I was alternately counting the days until she would leave and wondering how I was going to survive the loss.
Taylor and I had our biggest fight 6 days before we were to pull out of our driveway in Eugene Oregon heading for LA....She had one foot out the door and I was holding on tight. Sigh.... I don't have any regrets, but it was quite a somber experience. I won't go into detail, but I wonder if other parents out there experienced the same thing? Tay and I get along great, always have. She was the EASIEST teenager on the planet....didn't stress about clothes or boys (she's gay, as it turns out) or spend hours on the computer or phone. She is a good student and a happy person. Proud mom? You bet.
Then she suddenly grew up on me. I mean, really grew up! It was what I needed to see and feared.

When she came to us a year ago having firmly decided on Whittier College we told her if she wanted to go to a school that (ahem) expensive, she would have to pay her own way. If she wanted to got to the U of O, we'd help and if she chose to go to Lane Community College - we'd pay AND buy her a car! We also told her that she would have to show us that she could handle the basic necessities of life (do her own laundry, feed herself, etc). My husband and I were of little faith (sorry, Tay) and I'll be darned if she didn't pull it off with honors! Really - this kid, smart but a little lazy, kicked it into high gear and secured scholarships, grants, work study to the tune of 44K!!! And yes, she did laundry on Sunday and made sure she left the house everyday with food and snacks to carry her through her busy schedule.

Taylor was wonderful when we dropped her off. The move into her dorm was such a fantastic experience for our whole family. Whittier is amazing! Her roommate and family were fun and sweet and the whole orientation experience couldn't have been more well thought out , moving or inspiring. The convocation was fantastic (I embarrassed our 8-year old by sobbing through most of it). Tay was engaged and loving.
And now I miss her. She was nice enough to send me an update on her life (thank God for Facebook!) but now she is busy working (2 jobs) going to school and being a well rounded, overwhelmed, intimidated, happy college freshman....

What about ME???

Whittier seemed to know exactly what I needed when they published their parent handbook. I took to heart their advice (which is why, I am convinced, I got that first "update" from Taylor so quickly).
I've printed the advice below - or you can click on the handbook link above.

                                PARENTING YOUR COLLEGE STUDENT
Each year, more than two million students begin a new phase of their lives as they enter college.
The coming year will be filled with excitement, joy, fear, pain, anticipation, and discovery for you
and your student. While no one can predict what your student’s college experience will bring,
here are a few suggestions that will help you adjust during your student’s years in college.

                                                        Expect change
Your student will change. It will happen either dramatically within the first months,
slowly over the college years, or somewhere in between. It’s natural, inevitable, and can
be inspiring and beautiful; though change can be difficult, too. College, and all the
experiences surrounding it, affect changes in a student’s social, vocational, and personal
behavior. You can’t stop the change and growth. You may not understand it, but it is
within your power to accept it.
Remember that your student will basically remain the same person that you sent away
to college, aside from interests and experiences. The changes he or she will experience
are part of a maturation process that doesn’t happen immediately.

                                        Remember, it takes time to adjust
The first few days and weeks at school are packed with new experiences. The
challenges of meeting new people and adjusting to unfamiliar situations take a lot of
time and energy. The transition to a new environment may seem overwhelming to your
student. There may be moments when they long for the tried and true life they have left
behind. Still, most students adapt well to their new environment, and in time, will
become used to the new “norm.”

                                       Write (even if they don’t write back)
While it may seem that your student is eager to embrace the independence that
accompanies college, most students are still anxious for family ties and the security
those ties bring. Some family members may misinterpret the quest for independence as
rejection. Many students would give anything for news from home and family, however
boring that news may seem to you.
There is nothing more depressing than an empty mailbox, so write or send e-mail. Don’t
expect a reply to every letter you write—be prepared for unanswered correspondence.

                                             Ask questions (but not too many)
College students are eager to establish their independence and often resent interference
with their new-found lifestyles. Still, some desire the security of knowing their family is
still interested in them.

Family curiosity can be unproductive and alienating or relief-giving and supportive,
depending on the attitudes of the persons involved. Questions marked with “I have a
right to know” feelings, ulterior motives, and nagging can be harmful. However, honest
inquiries and other “between friends” communication and discussion will most likely
enhance the family-student relationship.

                                                         Visit (but not too often)
Visits by family (especially when accompanied by shopping sprees and/or dinners) are
another favored part of the college experience. These visits are a nice time for family
members to become acquainted with, and to gain an understanding of, their students’
new activities, commitments and friends. However, spur-of-the-moment “surprises” are
usually not appreciated; pre-emption of a planned weekend of studying or other
activities can have disastrous results.
Expect and encourage students not to come home every weekend. Spending time on
campus is one of the best ways to make friends.

                                                 Call (but not everyday)
Some students, especially at the beginning of their college career, will call you with all
sorts of questions, maybe several times a day. Questions range from how to do laundry
and how to pay tuition, to advice about a roommate situation. Communication is good,
but try to limit telephone calls to no more than once per day. When you do talk to your
student, rather than telling your student what to do, ask questions like, “Who could you
talk to on campus about this problem?” Encouraging independent decision making is an
important skill developed in college.

                                     Don’t say “These are the best years of your life”
At times, your student’s college years will be filled with indecision, insecurity,
disappointment, and mistakes. They will also be full of discovery, inspiration, good
times, and best friends. But, it’s not always the good that stands out. Your student may
not agree that these are “the best years” while he or she is suffering with the trials and
tribulations of adjusting to a new environment. A great deal of pressure can be placed
on students to always appear to be having “the time of their lives.”
Any parent who believes that all college students get good grades, know what they want
to major in, always have activity-packed weekends, have hundreds of close friends, and
lead carefree lives is wrong. So are the parents who think that “college-educated” means
“mistake-proof.” Those who accept and understand the highs and lows of their student’s
reality can help provide the necessary support and encouragement.

                                                               Trust them!
Self-discovery and the transition into adulthood are difficult enough tasks without
feeling that the people whose opinions you respect the most are second-guessing you.
You and your student may have differences of opinion. It is important to realize that
these differences are not a battle between right and wrong; rather, they should be
thought of as different points of view. It is vitally important that your student knows
you love, respect, and are supportive of him or her. Your relationship and the college
years will be better for it.

I moved my office into Tay's old room (she is ok with that) and it seems to be helping. I only cried once last week! I really like sitting here by her window - looking out at the gorgeous trees (yay Oregon!) and wondering what she is doing. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fridays At Five

Hope to see everyone tonight at the new COOL Cafe 440.
Had lunch there today (with the fabulous Pamela Cournoyer ( and I was very impressed! Yum on the sweet potato fries!
Owner Todd is cool, personable and fun - See you tonight


GREENING your business

If you are an owner of a small business, you may be interested in knowing that you can make your small business green easier than you think. Using the following tips will not only save you energy costs, but will help the environment. Go Green! 
Steve Strauss by Steve StraussSteve Strauss, MrAllBiz, author of The Small Business Bible, also writes for

Here are a few simple ways to make your business greener and save some money at the same time:

Around the office: Yes, those funny squiggly bulbs (called CF bulbs) really do make a difference. Sure they cost a bit more, but they are supposed to last up to 15 times longer. Other simple steps include reusing packaging, packing peanuts, and turning old file folders inside out. Even better: Each of these green steps save money.
Reduce paper use: Consider getting a printer that offers two-sided printing (called duplex printing). By doing so, you cut your paper costs, and paper consumption, in half.
For instance, I recently did some work with Brother and was impressed with a printer that automatically prints on both sides of the paper (the MFC-9840.). It was also Energy Star certified, and fast. How easy, and green, is that?
Also, of course, buy some recycling bins, mark them, and use them.
Install timers and motion sensors: By automatically having lights and computers go off when not in use, you can save lots on energy costs.
Buy green: No, green products are not cheaper, but by the same token, these days, they also should not be more expensive since demand for them has reduced prices. You might also want to check into purchasing green power from your local utility.
Buy Energy Star products: The Department of Energy Energy Star certification means that you know the product you are buying is highly energy efficient, and again, it shouldn't cost any more.
Bottom line: Going green has never been simpler, or more affordable.

Here in our own community (Eugene, Or) we are fortunate to have organizations like NextStep Recycling championing the green campaign! Please check out their website

Also, have you heard about one our most informative and fun networking groups, GreenLane?
Check them out:
(they have a facebook group too!)

Then there are our friends at Green Solutions Printing headed up by Daniel Swantek:
(also on facebook)

And, last but not least - go visit Julie at Bring Recycling:

Have a green day!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blog or Website or Both?

I think I'm over the whole Dr. Seuss thing - visit my website and you'll see what I mean. Time to grow up - put on my "Big Girl" pants and really tackle this business of being in business. Don't get me wrong...I've been tackling, wrestling, jumping, cursing, joyful, sweaty and exuberant about my business for 4 years now. But I have been struggling with exactly who I am. Big no-no in the world of branding. I am listening to my clients, prospects and mostly (gulp) my former clients - most who have left because I efficiently worked myself out of a job, by the way - and now I realize what they need most is a coach. Face it, marketing is the fun part of owning a business. No Excel, Quickbooks or calculators needed! Just creativity, tenacity and guts! I enjoy teaching and our small business community seems to really enjoy learning.
So now that I am sure I have the right formula to take my business to the next level I need to decide what to do with my website. I think I'll chuck it.
I love the idea of a blog instead because it's conversational. It's what I do for a living - I have conversations with my clients about their business - I help them strategize and plan. I like this.
I found this great article by Darren Rowse ( about the benefits of a blog and i have to agree:

1. Blogs give Individuals, Companies and Brands ‘Voice’ - 5 years ago I was a guy with a ‘voice’ that reached a few hundred people on any given week - today what I write and say is sneezed out to hundreds of thousands of people on any given week. My blogs are the vehicle for this.

2. Blogs are Conversational - both in the style of writing, the way they interact with one another and the way that they are designed with comments at their heart blogs are all about the conversation.

3. Blogs build Trust - as a result of being a relational/conversational medium a blogger can build trust with their audience (something that most businesses would kill for).

4. Blogs build Profile - looking to become an ‘expert’ (or at least be perceived as an expert) in your field. Blogs have the ability to showcase your expertise and help you become the ‘go to’ person in your field. Just today my blog brought me the opportunity to appear in Australia’s national newspaper - the result has been numerous other opportunities.

5. Blogs are Immediate - blogs are a great way to communicate with people because they are so quick to use. Have a thought, write it down, hit publish and within minutes it can be being read and commented upon by your readers.

6. Blogs are a doorway to Search Engines and Social Media - one of the great things about blogs is that they are indexed so well by search engines which love sites that are focused upon a topic, updated regularly etc. Social media sites (particularly bookmarking ones) also love blogs.