Friday, June 30, 2006

This American Life

I was chatting (ok, that's a lie...we were emailing) with a friend the other day about one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world: This American Life.

This American Life is a weekly radio show on NPR that is hosted by this witty and lovable man named Ira Glass (who is, by the way, my SECOND choice for a husband if Greg is ever unable to fulfill his husbandly duties). TAL has probably provided me with more joyful, laugh-out-loud, gut wrenchingly touching, and just plain wonderful entertainment than any other form of media in my life (and this is coming from the girl with two tivos, an ipod, two laptops and 32 magazine subscriptions).

On my most successful and productive days, I usually listen to 3 or 4 This American Life shows, and as much as I sometimes love me some Justin T or Nelly, these shows are just not to be missed.

It's difficult to describe their fabulosity and so I hope each of you will just take my word for it, go to the site pronto and check them out for yourself. Basically, each week the show picks a certain theme and then includes 3 acts worth of stories based around that theme. The stories are fantastic, the reporters are amazing and the people featured are all so interesting/compelling/real/touching/thought provoking, that you can actually feel your brain expanding as you listen. Trust me...TAL rocks.

Some of my faves:
*Notes on Camp
*My Big Break
*Mind Games
(To find these shows, just go to above link and do a search).

Knot too shabby

Check out this interesting interview with founder of's Carley Roney.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Daily Candy did NOT make me a millionaire

Yep, folks, You heard it here first. After appearing in Daily Candy this April, I'm just about the only chump this side of the Mississippi who did not:

a. Have my website shut down b/c the traffic was in the hundreds of thousands
b. Sell out of all my products
c. Get picked up by a national chain
d. Find other such fame and fortune

Now if you are thinking "hey, I just read that Daily Candy piece and I don't see you? Where are you?," you're not the only one. One of the biggest problems with my inclusion was that we were not mentioned by name (so no site indexing and no brand recognition). The line reads: "Also, thank-you notes are the last word. Pick one with a lot of personality"--if you're curious enough to click on personality, well then you'll get to my site lickety-split...but not everyone clicked...hence the problem.

I was included with a fab group of other wedding vendors. Our traffic was defintiely MUCH higher for that day and we most certainly got a good number of extra sales, but that private island in the caribbean I was hoping to put a down payment on...uh uh.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love me some Daily Candy. I subscribe to every city edition and read them every darn day with relished enthusiasm. As a business model, I think Daily Candy is nothing less than brilliant and I kick myself daily that I did not come up with the idea myself.

For me this was much more a lesson about expectations for your business, and trying to keep yourself grounded and focussed. It was a reminder that just because something worked for one, does not mean it will work for others (and vice versa, of course). I'm thankful that this lesson came after I had a bit of experience under my belt (otherwise, I would have most certainly been reduced to a weepy, inconsolable heap of self-pity). Instead I was able to dust myself off, shrug my shoulders and keep on keepin' on the next day.

After all, I still get to say "I was in Daily Candy," and that's not too shabby.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

TED Talks

My brother's name is Ted, but that's not the TED I'm talkin' about.

TED stands for Technology Entertainment Design, and each year there is a pretty shi shi exclusive TED conference that only 1000 people are invited to. The speakers at TED are pretty beyond phenomenal; they are movers and shakers in every major industry and specialty.

Since its so darn exclusive, I don't think my invite to TED is comin' anytime soon. So I was so glad to see that they have recently launched TEDtalks which is a new section of the website that allows you to either download audio or video of some of their most prominent speakers.

None of these people are in the same industry I am, but they all have some pretty inspiring things to say. I put a few of my podcasts on hold today for some TED talks.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Internet Friends

Forget about the school bus or sororities...It occurred to me today that I have really made a load of great friends over the internet. I don't mean sleazy chat room friends, but real, bug for advice, share resources, vent about life sort of friends--many of whom I've never even met. Not to sound like a four year old, but how cool is that!? The internet has become such a major part of all of our lives, its hard to remember what things were like before it. I use the internet to buy presents, purchase movie tickets, check the weather, communicate with everyone, read gossip/news/blogs/forums, pay all of my bills, go grocery shopping, order supplies for my business, find manufacturers, check interest rates, learn how to train my dog, send ecards and about a thousand other things I can't think of at this moment.

Anyway, this post is about internet friends, so here is a short list of some of mine. There isn't a one in the bunch who is not insanely talented, super sweet, achingly funny, generously helpful or a combination of all of the above (in no particular order):

Noisy Dog Studio
Anna Bella Baby
Turtle Papers
Shades of Violet
Pink Loves Brown
Fashion Flair Cards
Cat Seto
Claudine Hellmuth
Kenzie Kate
Wedding Bee
Retro Pet
Polka Dot Mittens
i *heart* paper
Tobi Wood Designs
Indigo Hand Loom
Very Commerce
Anne Maa
Oh Joy!
Just My Cup of Tea
Very Meri

On a sidenote, has anyone seen the new Nelly Furtado video? Man, is it HOT (i would use double caps here if possible). For some reason it got tivo'd and I swear I just watched it 11 times...and now I think I need a shower. And did anyone else catch the Justin Timberlake cameos at the end? I heart me some Nelly--she's just about the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blogging A - Z

Here's a fantastic round-up from of all of the blogging terms and sites you should be all over if you're bloggin' in the USA like I am.

Did you know there is actually now a service where you can hire bloggers to "babysit" yours while you are away on vacation? Yep, Check out all the other cool links.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Life of the Party

Here's a really interesting article on the two women who started the super cool/super successful online party supply site

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Unusual Business Ideas that Worked

Check this site out: Unusual Business Ideas that Worked

There is a collection of all sorts of interesting stories about people with unusual ideas for businesses that really ended up paying off. There is some great inspiration to be had for those of you thinking of starting a biz, but are unsure what to do...and even for the rest of us who are already trying to make it happen in a big way. Again, a great reminder to get outside your comfort zone, try new things and always be one step ahead of the game.


Strapless Begone!

[We take a break from our regularly scheduled small biz programming to bring you: a bit of wedding talk!]

I was tickled pink to find this article today in the SF Gate on strapless wedding gowns (via, and more importantly, on brides' inexplicable fixation with them.

I've already gone on record as firmly planted in the anti strapless dress club. It's not that I don't like the look of these dresses, or don't appreciate the "bridal-ocity" of them...its just that EVERYONE WEARS THEM! But this is where I differ with 99% of the bridal population...I want my wedding to look and be totally 100% different from the "norm" and many brides want the full-on fairly tale deluxe package with all of the trimmings (i.e white strapless dress, limo to the church, bridesmaids all in a row, etc). And I really, truly think that's great. I promise I do. I think your wedding should be exactly, in every way shape or form, what you want it to be. I just want mine to be different. And [OK, full disclosure: I don't have nice upper arms].

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dear Britney Spears...

Dear Brit,


Before I saw your interview with Matt Lauer last night, I was having one of those days when I was feeling overwhelmed with wedding crap, hating my new summer highlights and agonizing over the fact that the scale had *still* not quite moved down below that number I really want it to despite my early morn workout sessions.

I'm guessing you probably were just in the midst of a nice game of paddy-cake with little K-Fed Jr. or vacuuming the house (as you claim you LOVE to do) when Matt Lauer unexpectedly showed up on your doorstep with a camera crew. You must have been surprised to see the whole Dateline brigade, but that would explain why your hair extensions looked as if they had been brushed with a rake and your outfit screamed Salvation Army Dollar Sale. The wad of gum in your mouth was unexpected and the loud smacking noises were perhaps a bit [finger quote] "much [end finger quote] but, thankfully, I was easily distracted by your ginormous bossum cascading out of your ill-fitting top and that clump of mascara lodged on your right eye. The purple, glittery cutex nail polish was divine!

Anyway, I hope the paparazzi leaves you the heck alone soon, because clearly you are not giving them ANYTHING to take note of (sure we all drive on dangerous highway roads with infants in our lap! nothin' to see there!) So, thanks again. For one glorious hour I felt like the most pulled together, fashion savvy, well spoken hottie on the planet.

MWAH! Kisses to K-Fed and the sunshine gang.

Podcasts are Perfect

Over the past couple of months, I've seriously immersed myself in the world of podcasts...and I love it! I listen to podcasts now throughout good chunks of my day and I've even begun to look forward to certain casts as I do my cadre of much beloved TV shows.

There is sooo much wonderful, interesting, captivating, or just plain funny podcast content out there and if you've yet to embrace this medium...well, it's time to dive in.

You do NOT need an ipod in order to listen to podcasts (though I would highly recommend you get one if you don't have one, but that's a separate topic). All you need is a computer, so if you are reading this post right now, you are podcast ready!

A great place to start for podcast newbies is itunes. You'll need to download itunes (which can be done for both mac and PC users), but they have a fairly easy interface and its also a great way to store music on your computer, so its a win win. Itunes has a "music store" in which there is an entire section dedicated to podcasts with categories, suggestions, featured podcasts and a fairly robust search engine. Anyone can post a podcast here, so there is a pretty rockin' selection.

Another favorite of mine is The Wedding Podcast Network. The WPN is a MUST listen for any brides-to-be out there who are in the midst of the craziness of wedding planning. They have podcasts tackling subjects such as getting in shape (Wedding Workout), expert interviews (Meet the Masters) and even a groom-centric show (Grooms With a View). I listen to these awesome wedding-centric casts just about as much as I can. In fact, you can hear me on their latest Bridal Scene Show being interviewed at The National Stationery Show.

For those out there in the stationery biz, you MUST check out I *heart* paper's Paper Pods. Super savvy businesswoman Dawn talks about all sorts of important topics that are relevant to anyone in this business from copyrights, to following trends, to mistakes new biz owners need to avoid. These Paper Pods are amazing for those starting out, but even if your biz is in full swing and raking in the cash, these are topics that everyone needs to stay on top of.

Another awesome podcast for crafty peeps is Craftcast with Allison Lee. Allison talks with all sorts of other crafty biz owners (and is pretty darn crafty in her own right), so there is always lots of great information here too.

You really will be blown away by the topics that people are podcasting about these days. I listen to podcasts on my fave TV shows, news roundups, small business casts, comedy casts and everything in between.

If you are not yet podcasting it up...well, you're missing out. Come on in...the water's fine!

Small Biz Owners "Prosper"

Awhile back I wrote about a cool money lending website called Prosper matches up those seeking money with those that have it to lend and basically takes out scary middle men like the bank...the SBA...and all those other organizations that *sometimes* seem to make it harder, rather than easier to borrow money.

I think the idea is wonderful, particularly for those looking for smaller amounts of startup capital (you can borrow up to $25,000). So I was pretty happy to see this article on Startup Journal about a couple of small business owners who actually successfully used to fund their own ventures.

It seems like as more and more of us jump onto the entrepreneurial bandwagon, sites like (and others we've yet to think of) will continue hitting the scene and building momentum.

There are resources out there for those that need to borrow cash and are not able to do so through traditional means. Check out the SBA's Micro Loan program or Innovative Bank's SOHO (small office/home office) loan. Another good resource for information is your local SCORE office (NOTE: Though SCORE is a great resource in general, I've also met with a counselor that told me if I thought I would be successful selling on the internet, I was "out of my mind." So, if you happen to find someone there who is not quite as helpful, ask for a new counselor!).

Finally, there are still some 0% credit cards out there (though they are not as plentiful these days as they used to be). I'm not one to encourage credit card debt, but this can be an insanely way of helping out a small biz owner in the early stages when you need a bit of cash. Just don't let your bills get out of control, and watch your trial period like a hawk! Well before your 0% expiration date comes around, transfer your balance to another 0% or low interest rate card.

Friday, June 09, 2006

How to write a good email

Some FAB tips on how to write a good email (via LifeHacker).

Blogging for Cash

People trying to make some cold hard cash off of their blogging is becoming more and more common. Of course, you have the google AdSense option, which is great for those that get a good deal of traffic to their sites. But I recently came across this fab new service, Scoopt Words, which is a pretty darn cool idea too.

Basically, you simply add a button to your blog that allows people to buy your content, and after clicking, Scoopt Words handles the whole transaction and the money shows up in your paypal account. In a sense, Scoopt Words becomes your agent (and of course takes a cut).

This idea began simply with Scoopt, which was the world's first citizen journalism photo agency. The idea was that the public at large probably has a whole lotta photos that would be useful to the press, so they set up this service to help the two groups find one another. Scoopt has now grown into Scoopt Words, which takes the same idea and applies it to blogging.

So for those of you with lots of information oriented posts (remember, this stuff needs to appeal to the masses, so posts about your dog's adventures at the dog run (while cute!) probably are not going to cut it), this could be a wonderful source of some passive income.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


For those of you savvy business owners out there lookin' for some press (and really, aren't we all), I'm tickled pink to share this unbelievably rockin' resource with you: lists updated info for virtually every major magazine out there, including editors names, addresses, and best of all, email formats for that particular company.

So, all you need to do is track down the appropriate editor at whichever mag you'd like to target, check the email format of the company, and're in touch. As for follow-up and carefully crafted witty emails, you're on your own. With addresses, you can also easily send off sample packages (and then have a name and number to follow-up with!).

The mastheads are updated frequently, so make sure to keep checking back to ensure that whomever you are in touch with still works at the mag. Can't wait to see you all in the glossies!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


What a cool idea!: FILO