Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hurry up and write me back

Are you a quick email responder? Or do you let things languish sometimes (like me)? If the former, good for you; if the latter, buck up and get with the program.

I loved this article on Working Smart (via Life Hacker) about what Michael Hyatt deems the key to his success:

The truth is, you are building your reputation—your brand—one response at a time. People are shaping their view of you by how you respond to them. If you are slow, they assume you are incompetent and over your head. If you respond quickly, they assume you are competent and on top of your work. Their perception, whether you realize it or not, will determine how fast your career advances and how high you go. You can’t afford to be unresponsive. It is a career-killer.

This is a great reminder of how important it is to stay on top of responding to your customers, your vendors and really anyone in your life. I know how much I appreicate a quick response or a prompt callback, don't you? Ok then...I'm off to respond to a load of emails that have been rotting in my inbox. Oops.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Mag Hound

My love of magazines is legendary amongst my friends and family. I've been like this ever since I can remember and I'm not sure why. But walking into one of those big airport magazine stands is as close to visiting a crack house as I think I'll ever get.

I've been lucky enough to find some super cheap online discount subscription sites such as Discount Magazines and Mags For Less. Most of my subscriptions from these sites are around $5.95 for the year (yep,including New York magazine which comes 52 times a year!). Needless to say, these discounts have kept me from having to apply for food stamps since, well...I have a lot of subscriptions. Here's a sneak peek:

Vanity Fair
In Style
Martha Stewart Living
Martha Stewart Weddings
Modern Bride
Business 2.0
Greetings, Etc.

My good friend Jennifer Tam over at Turtle Papers (go to her site and buy lots of stuff--it's really all super cute!) introduced me to this fantastically clever new service for mag peeps like me: Mag Hound.

They really have an insanely clever idea over at Mag Hound (which happens to be run by the folks at Time, Inc) that allows you to pay a monthly service fee for all of your magazines (rather than specific titles) that you can mix and match as you please. They have different packages based upon how many magazines you'd like to receive per month (I would probably go for the 7 magazines for 11.95 per month) and if you ever want to switch one of your choices, you just log into your account and choose another title. This means if you're still pissed at Vanity Fair for outing Lindsay Lohan's eating disorder, just switch your subscription choice to the New Yorker and move on your merry way.

I really think this is an insanely fabulous idea. I would have to do the math for my sitch and would guess it might not be as economical as my current plan b/c I have subscriptions in the double digits. But as I'm guessing most of you are not freaks like me, this may work great for you.

If you sign up now, use code: flexible to get 3 whole months free. Holla!

Edited to add: OOps! Thanks to a tip from our sassy friend Joy we heard that apparently this site is still in "test mode." This basically means that you can feel free to enter all of your info and get all the way to the end of the process, before you are notified that you can't really order anything yet. Stay tuned--I will keep my eye on this and let you know when its up and running

Friday, February 24, 2006

Web design from scratch

As a writer who somehow ended up in a very design-centric biz, I always feel like I'm playing catch up in a bunch of different areas. Web design is no exception. Despite the fact that I've found an amazing web designer that manages to "webify" my every idea and thought, there is still some stuff that I need to be doin'...and I mostly don't know how to do it.

Web Design From Scratch is an amazing resource for those of us who could use a helpin' hand every once in awhile. Everything is laid out fantastically with topics ranging from CSS, to site architecture, to copywriting. It's super easy to go through the tutorials and is updated regularly with new sections and tips. I've just spent about 45 minutes on some html schooling and I'm going back in for CSS!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Customer Service? If you can call it that...

I've ranted before about my frustrations wih customer service representatives. Amazingly, I seem to find myself in new and more infurating situations on almost a daily basis.

For instance, today I called Overnight Prints (I'm not including their link because I hope you NEVER visit them) to discuss a refund I was supposed to receive almost 2 months ago (FYI, the quality of their printing sucks and their prices are so cheap for a very good reason: I could have done a better job with my inkjet printer). While waiting on the phone, they actually have a recording that has the gall to tell me that I was "caller number 28"...uhm, TWENTY EIGHT? Note to Overnight prints: perhaps it might be time to hire an extra customer service rep or two?

Anyhoo, I likely would have had a much easier time of things today if I had a detailed record of my last phone conversation with specifics about who I spoke with, what they said and what didn't happen that was supposed to. Luckily our good friends over at I Will Teach You to Be Rich turned us onto this handy little excel spreadsheet that will help me do just that next time around. This is super duper easy to keep hanging out on your desktop--whenever you make a call, just open her right up and take a few notes to document what happens. Pretty freakin' brilliant.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Babies and weddings, oh my

For those of you stationery peeps who, like me, are knee deep in the wedding industry (and soon the baby industry! Remember, I told you about Paper Mama??!!), you will probably dig these articles as much as I did.

MSN delves into the world of celebrity baby mania and how its redefining the industry (i.e if you are not in it right now, run, don't walk to your printer). And the American Wedding study is a good read if it matters to you that wedding industry spending has increased 100% over the past fifteen years. I quite fancy that fact myself.

My mac is collecting social security...

...well, not quite. But she is getting old. So, I was so thrilled to come upon this great list of fantastic quick fixes and tips for speeding up your own senior citizen macs.

My slow mac frustration pretty much boiled over at one point and though my love for apple, runs deep and wide, I must confess I jumped ship from safari months ago and am now seriously dating firefox. We are very happy together--thanks for asking.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Online Bills

I've been paying all my bills online for probably close to 5 years now, and I really just don't understand why everyone in the entire universe is not doing the same. Truthfully, it sometimes keeps me up at night wondering why this isn't up there in importance with the sex of Brangelina's baby or whether or not Whitney is hittin' up the crack pipe again.

If you won't listen to me, Yahoo has a roundup article on paying your bills online that points out why all you non-believers are plain ole' stark ravin' mad.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Keep on Movin'

I've talked a bit about the fact that though I'm going on month four of working from home, I've yet to really develop a routine for myself. This makes me mad...and then I feel all motivated to do something about it...and then the next day I'm somehow, yet again, sucked into an episode of Tyra when I should be categorizing receipts, emailing stores or even doing the dishes. Ok, so I suck.

Anyhoo, I loved reading this article from Joel On Sofware about his "fire and motion" theory. He went back and took a look at the times in his life he was most motivated vs. the times he couldn't get a damn thing done. He came to realize that it was all about moving forward, even just a little bit every day. As you do so, you push yourself more and more.

Joel is a programmer, which you might be considering has nothing to do with stationery...or the wedding industry...or YOU, but this article actually gave me a nice kick in the ass this morn. So enough of you chumps, its back to work for me!

Sunday, February 12, 2006


This is a really fab piece of software that lets you cut and paste documents together and turn them into pdfs. I don't know why, but figuring out pdfs has always been such a problem for me, so I'm seriously lovin' this. Oh yeah: it only works with macs, so HA!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Side gig to full-time gig in 3 easy steps

Ok, well not really. I don't have the magical list of 3 easy steps that will get you from taking your side biz to full-time status, but Life Hacker has a really interesting thread where others offer their advice.

In terms of my own two cents, I'm going to have to strongly disagree with all of those commenters who say "wait for the right time.' Truthfully, there will never be THE right time. There will always be some reason, some exucse, or some roadblock in your way. Of course, I think you should only make the leap when you are ready to do it, but I would also say, being "ready" does not necessarily mean you won't be scared, confused, or unsure. For me, I think its all about taking responsibility and making things happen in your own life. You have the power to bring about change...or to just sit around and hope that it will find you (and sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it often won't).

When I quit my job, I didn't have an airtight gameplan. I didn't have a year's salary saved up and I wasn't quite sure how I was going to make it work...but I WAS sure that I was going to make it work some way or somehow...and I have. Not to sound all hokey, but sometimes its just a matter of taking the leap and trusting that your parachute will open.

For anyone looking for an amazing read (I'm talking, life changing for me), I'd highly recommend Wayne Dyer's You'll See It When You Believe It.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Start-up must reads

Dot Tactics has a fantastic article on 9 "must reads" for anyone out there looking to start-up a company.

Having already gone through much of the list, the list is also pretty fab for those of us that have already started our companies. Everything is online, so no need to pull out the ole library card.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Money Saving Secrets

My magazine obsession is reaching epic proportions (I'm not kidding around...I just added up my receipts for 2005 and let's just say it wasn't pretty). Real Simple is one of my all time favorites, and so I was not surprised to find such a great money saving tip roundup.

I'm not a saver and have a hard time distinguishing between "need" and "want," so I love to read tips like these.

Now I need to go add up all of my ATM fee receipts...no fun.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Some super inspiring ladies!

Fast Company just published this fantastic roundup of an amazing and inspiring group of women business owners. These are the women who won Fast Company's first business competition and they all are creative, successful, innovative and totally inspiring.

For me, the major themes amongst the winners seem to be: searching for gaps in the market and filling them; taking chances and trusting your instincts; paying attention to trends and conceptualizing ideas that help make people's lives easier.

I think my favorite winner is Taryn Rose. She was a former surgeon who just couldn't seem to quench her love for shoes. Against the wishes of her friends and family, she quit her job to start a line of sexy, fashionable high heel shoes that are actually comfortable. Her line is now sold in Neiman Marcus and other high end stores throughout the country.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My lips are sealed...

Man, am I guilty of this myself. I'm *always* afraid to talk about a new fab idea I might have because I'm afraid someone is going to steal it. So I keep it a secret...and make everyone I tell swear that they'll keep it a secret too. Then we're all so busy keeping the secret about my million dollar idea, opportunities are being missed, networking possibilities are being lost and buzz is decidly NOT being built.

There is a great article on this very topic over on I will teach you to be rich which basically says: get the heck over yourself.

I'm busily trying to get into this frame of mind myself as I get ready to launch Paper Bride's little sister, Paper Mama. There I said, it: PAPER MAMA. Coming soon to a www near you.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Folder Share

For those of you who use different computers and always which you could access your files from whichever computer you might currently be using, you should run (not walk) over to the Folder Share website.

I know there are software programs out there that accomplish the same thing, but Folder Share is free...and super easy to set up and use. After downloading Folder Share on both of your computers, you can access all of your files, wherever they might be. Best of all, any changes you make to your files are automatically synchronized between computers.

This is also an amazing solution for those of you who are working on projects with a bunch of other peeps who all need acess to the same files. Everyone installs Folder Share on their own computers and, voila...you all have access to the same files.