FYI There ARE Still Some Good People Out There

The news is depressing. People seem to be letting other people down a lot. Mother nature is being a bitch lately. More people take, than give.

BUT apparently there ARE still good people out there

These good people are people you know and complete strangers. I have had the pleasure of two of these strangers in my life lately.

I have lost my wallet not once but TWICE in the last FOUR days! For serious. Have I mentioned I have had a lot going on lately? And yes, this is real blond hair.

The first time was grocery shopping. I carefully unpacked my bags of groceries in my car and responsibly walked my cart back to the cart holder. I also carefully left my wallet in the top compartment of the shopping cart. I went home, unpacked my groceries and began to make dinner. Soon after, I had a voicemail on my work line. It was a woman who had found my wallet with my business cards in it. She called my work number and left me a message letting me know she was placing it at the service desk.

The second time was today. I had a stressful morning at work and decided stepping away from the office, running a few errands and getting some fresh 40 degree air would help. After my errands were run and I got in my car, I called my mother. Ten minutes later I drove into a gas station and realized I did not have my wallet. What is worse, is I remember exactly where I put it last – on the top of my car. Smart.

My wallet made it as far as the corner of Preble and Marginal Way (not the best part of town) where it fell off and tumbled in the middle of a busy intersection for who knows how long. That is where a man named Gerard, who works at AAA found it. He stopped his car, grabbed it and he also went through it, found my business cards and called my work and left me a message. My wallet today had a hundred dollar bill in it and four $20 gift cards to Bard Coffee. It was a wallet worth stealing but Gerard didn’t touch any of it. He called and I met him at his office and got my mangled, run over wallet.

What did I learn?

  • I learned that I need to slow down, breathe and keep track of my things better.
  • I learned that I think I need a purse. I have too many things in my hands and I put things down.
  • I learned I have a patient, kind and loving husband who will help me look in trashcans on Marginal Way and not get mad at me for doing this TWICE in FOUR days.
  • I learned not all homeless people don’t have homes. Adam paid a man with a cardboard sign $5 and asked if he saw anyone with a wallet. The man was nice and helpful and even gave us his home phone number to call him later to see if it turned up.
  • I learned that everyone should have business cards and leave them in their wallet!
  • Lastly, I learned in a world where you hear mostly about the bad – there are some really, really good people out there who will do the right thing.

I leave for New York in 3 days and from there we go to Aruba for Emily’s wedding. I don’t even know if I would have been able to go if I didn’t have my wallet, my license, my debit cards or anything else that is in there that I would need. My wallet was stolen (actually stolen, not left in a dumb place) last summer. I think I am just now getting back on my feet since that happened. We don’t realize how many things we tie automatically to our cards or how hard it is to replace many of the important things we keep in there. I would have been so upset if I had to go through all of that again.

So thanks lady at Shaws and Gerrard from AAA. I really needed a boost in my opinion of humanity and I really needed my wallet. Thank you!

Someone Will Always Take More

Whether it is personally or professionally, someone will always take more. There is rarely ever an end… except of course the big end {gulp}.

  • On your dating anniversary, people want to know when you are getting married. When you are married, people want to know when you are having kids (when you have kids, I am not sure what they ask but I assume there is something).
  • When you give a service or product away for free, people always want to know what else they can get for free or when you are giving that item away again for free.
  • When you host an event for 85 people each month, people want to know why not have 100.
  • When you say you are running a half marathon, they ask if you will ever do a full marathon.
  • When you donate $50 to a charity, there WILL be another call, email or letter thanking you for your donation but asking for more.

So what do you do? How do you quiet the voices and the insecurities that you are not doing enough?

  1. Focus on what you have and what you have done – I heard a woman on the Today Show talking about a book she wrote. She lost all of her life savings in the Bernie Madolf scandal. It stuck in my head that she says she didn’t focus on all she lost but she focuses each day on what she has. Sometimes that meant focusing on the smallest things like being able to drink tea out of her favorite mug each morning.
  2. Remind yourself why you do what you do and what you stand for – Lines can get blurred when you are busy doing all the things you are doing and giving away your time money, expertise, friendship etc. Of course you want to make everyone happy, but you have to take care of yourself first. Or as Christopher S. Penn says, pay yourself first. My company, that pays me, is in the business of making money. If there is a venture we are going to be a part of, the goal should be to make more money for my business, so that they can inturn continue to pay me.
  3. Reward yourself and don’t leave reward up to other people – Take control of your own emotions and take the time to reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything special but pat yourself on the back for what you feel you contributed. That could mean just sit and reflect on how your actions helped another person, go get a Boston Shake at Red’s and call that dinner, turn off the phone and computer for a night and have a night in – whatever it take to let you reflect on your efforts.
  4. Write it down, reflect later – I am a busy person. Sometimes (this week included) I get overwhelmed. Know what? I have ALWAYS been a busy person. The first page of my Day Planner is a page from my Day Planner my senior year of high school. The thing is packed! Every day lacrosse practice or games, afterschool events, friend’s parties, work at the ice cream store etc. Every day is full from wake until sleep. My mom also forwarded me an email I sent her from college and it is a frantic description of all the things I had going on that week like tests, papers, work (upgraded to a coffee shop for college), events and meetings. When you are in the frantic-ness, you are caught in the moment but you will get out and look back and either learn something from your reflection or it will at least make you laugh.
  5. Give to someone else – Sometimes we give to people or organizations because we have to, or feel like we have to. Perhaps if you learned something new, or a better way to do something – pass it on to someone else that could use that advice, trick, tip or product.
  6. When in doubt and you feel like the world is trying to keep you down or take all you have to give with no just reward – listen to Matthew Wilder’s – Break My Stride. THAT will definitely put pep back in your step.

Feel better? I know and you know that we all are doing a lot for lots of different things. It isn’t bad to let yourself take credit for all the things you do.

Not to end this abruptly, but I have had a very long, stressful and busy week so I am going to go on a date with my husband to see the ballet – because I deserve it!

What I learned at SXSW – The Not So Official Version

Photo credit: Dave Delaney

I just returned from South By Southwest (also known as nerd Spring Break). This is where nerds of all areas of nerd-dom convene in Austin, Texas. This is where new products and apps are launched, the fancy nerd people come to rub elbows (this year brought the likes of Ashton and Demi, PeeWee Herman, Mike Tyson, Danny DeVito etc.) and get their geek on, or watch movie premiers or perhaps just for an ego boost. The conference has three parts: Interactive, Film and Music.

This was my second SXSW and I felt much wiser. The whole thing can be quite overwhelming. There are really cool events happening from 8am – 4am and if you could, you would want to hit them all. You have no idea when a walk turns into an interview with Brad Womack, when a panel has a celebrity guest appearance or when your next big client or business partner is in line with you to get coffee.

With all the content, activities, giveaways, iPad drama and celebs you learn things in different ways than you expected. If you want an official search of takeaways from the conference – sit tight, I am sure those will fill the interwebs by the thousands soon. This is my not so official version of what I learned at SXSW.

  1. Real, in-person relationships mean more than any online relationship – I have met some really cool people online. We have shared thoughts, ideas and jokes. You almost feel like you ‘know’ them but there is still no replacement for an in-person relationship. Some people you know from online aren’t as great in person and some people in person are way better than they are online. Sites like Twitter have a lot of noise. Great for meeting people but if you really want to get to know them, don’t forget to take the relationship from online to offline.
  2. It doesn’t matter what the nerds think in business as much as it matters what everyone thinks – I had a lot of good conversations about tools and apps that are out there and that are being launched. In the nerd world, we are constantly trying to out-nerd the other nerds. The tools we have created are too complex, have too many features and that isn’t what businesses and users want. If you want to succeed (like make money, not just be nerd famous) you need to find something your average Joe from Maine or Minnesota or West Virginia wants, not just what the nerds want.
  3. If you have a good story people want to tell it for you – Friends of mine launched the beta version of their app, Pathcrosser, at SXSW. The hosted an awesome party (that wasn’t too in your face) and spent the week fluttering about meeting this person and that. No major marketing roll out, just connecting. Their app is smart, the audience they are trying to reach is real and they are good guys. People WANT to tell their story. They want to introduce them to influencers and get them interviews. They didn’t dress up in Chipmunk costumes to be noticed but they did get interviewed for Read, Write Web, talked to traditional media outlets and won for buzz on the street.
  4. When you are not in New England you can’t say you are from Portland and expect people to think Maine – This is pretty self-explanatory, but I got awfully tired of letting people down by telling them I was from Maine and not Oregon.
  5. Some things are just supposed to happen – Especially at SXSW where almost everything you do has major potential, you can’t try too hard. Some things are just supposed to happen for some reason or another. I know a few girls who were part of a major promotional campaign, things didn’t go as planned and the original goals were not met but both of these groups of girls came out with something life changing that has altered their course in their lives and careers. I also had a dream about Gary Vaynerchuck and the cast of the Jersey Shore. I tweeted about it, Gary laughed and an hour later, I was in a small room and he walked in. Not too shabby of an ice breaker to connect about a hysterical dream. We had a good laugh and I was lucky enough to get a copy of his new book. That introduction wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for Ronnie being such a jerk in my dream.
  6. Glasses for fashion bother me – As a girl who had to wear glasses or contacts her whole life (until recently) I get upset when people admit they are wearing glasses just to compliment their nerd outfit.
  7. Only having the internet makes you disconnected – The night I arrived in Austin, there was the terrible earthquake in Japan. I was actually awake when it happened and we saw it all over the news. The internet can make you feel so connected to other people but it can also make you disconnected. While at SXSW most people are armed only with their iPhones, iPads or laptops. The whole tragedy in Japan seemed removed without being to connect with the people you care about most on how this makes you feel.
  8. I don’t consider myself a blogger – On my second night at SXSW, I was at an event that was off the traditional SXSW routine. It was for a group of people who work more in the fashion arena. This event was primarily for fashion bloggers. One very nice woman asked me ‘so are you a blogger too?’ I told her I wasn’t. The question stuck in my head the rest of the week. I currently write for 6-7 blogs regularly and I don’t call myself a ‘blogger’. I call myself an internet marketer and blogging is just one piece. I just thought that was interesting.
  9. I am a pretty lucky lady – My life is pretty ok. My husband is fantastic. He even registered me for Beach to Beacon because I couldn’t do it from SXSW. He also really makes me laugh. My family is amazing. My mother finally got her cowboy boots after some inspiration from my photos at Allen’s. I have also got to surround myself with some pretty smart and motivated people (I attribute a lot of that to Rich Tucker and the Social Fresh Cruise). I am home with a full brain, full notepad, some great pictures and an even closer network of people I am lucky to get to talk to, laugh with and pick eachother’s brains.

So that is it. That is my first impression, unofficial version of what I learned at SXSW this year. I haven’t unpacked, I haven’t gone through business cards or the notes I took but these 9 things are what I have already taken away from this conference. I look forward to seeing what other opportunities and relationships come from the people I met this week and the things I learned.

I Cut Off My Hair and Sent it to Locks of Love

I brought it up once to Adam. I wasn’t sure until I sat in the chair at Envy Hair Salon. My hair was really long. The thought of cutting of 5-6 inches seemed selfish when you only needed a few more to donate to Locks of Love.

Ashley from Envy is fantastic

Braid for Locks of LoveThe woman who cuts my hair and puts up with my hair laziness is Ashley. She is fantastic. If you know her you should vote for her for the Best of Phoenix issue. She is talented, patient, kind, likable and I trust her. So much like the LASIK situation, when Ashley said she thought we would pull this off without a buzz cut, I trusted her and I was on board. Moments later she braided my hair and then snipped off the braid.

I was surprised when I asked her how often people did this she said she only does about 5 a year. I thought it would be more than that. She thought of it though in a nicer way; if each stylist a year gets five Locks of Love donations, that is a lot of hair for kids.

Donating to Locks of Love

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. To donate you need 10″ of hair (or an 8″ braid). My braid was snipped off, we put it in an envelope and I brought it home to put in the mail.

Adam’s creepy little pet

Adams Creepy petAdam likes long hair. I think he is glad he went with me so he got to be a part of the process and we made the decision together. After the braid was cut off he had a little too much fun playing with the huge hair ball. We started to call it his creepy pet.

Later in the day he sent me a text of his first walk with his creepy little pet. He is funny (and weird). We are both happy I did it and other than figuring out how to run with my new hair not getting in my face, I don’t see any problems.

The other reason that I did it

I miss my grandmother. We were really close. She died 10 years ago as of last month and it feels like yesterday. She died of breast cancer. Once when I was in college, right before I moved to Disney World, I cut my hair really short. I didn’t like it. You know how even if people don’t like your haircut, they SAY they do? Not my grandmother. She told me she hated it and I better let it grow back out. I wasn’t mad. She was right.

I thought chopping my hair off might get her attention again and let her know I still think about her all the time. This time though I think she will appreciate where I mailed my hair off to, especially since she had to get all to familiar with wearing a wig. I think she is probably pretty proud of me.

So that is it. I cut off 10″ of my hair today. It is only hair. It will grow back. Half a day in and I like the short hair. Again, might need to figuring out a new running situation because I can’t tie it back very well but I am sure I will figure something out. I am happy my hair is going to a good cause.

I Can See My Alarm Clock…

And 4 Other Real Reasons Why You Should Get LASIK Eye Surgery

Warning this post is long but I wanted to give some background on why I decided to get LASIK. If you want to skip right to the 5 reasons you should get LASIK click here.

Scary Eye Measuring MachineI have worn glasses since the 3rd grade, I think. They were cool. Pink plastic frames that covered most of my face. I used to lose them a lot. Summer camp especially. Once when looking over the side of a canoe and down into the lake *splash*. My mother wasn’t very happy. My glasses were expensive because my astigmatism was so bad I always had to have the thickest, most uncool lenses.

As soon as I got the go-ahead to get contacts, from said angry mother (who cursed me with these eyes, mind you – love you momma), I did. I again always had to get the yucky kind. The kind you wear for three months (more like 6) and they were really expensive too. They were thick and moved around a lot. They had to be custom made because of the severity of my astigmatism.

I was the girl that when I got a new doctor I got ‘oohs and aahhs’ at how bad my eyes were. A few times, a doctor would call in another or an assistant to witness the wonderment of my messed up eyes. Adam was with me once when my astigmatism was labeled ‘a condition’.

LASIK is scary

I had obviously heard the grossness of LASIK. You are awake while they tape your eyes open and they shoot lasers in your eyes (maybe it isn’t quite like that). There are bad sounds and even worse smells. It is a big deal and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t. You need to come to this decision on your own.

For me, I had a really bad experience with a new eye doctor who could not get my prescription right. For the first time in years and years, I was forced back into glasses to avoid headaches, stress and the urge to claw my own eyes out. I went straight from a mean office assistant at this optometrist and made my appointment to get a consultation for LASIK. I hate to say I was pushed by a mean office assistant who had no compassion for what I was going through but for me, that was the last straw.

I made my consultation at EMG (Eyecare Medical Group). My appointment was with Dr. Sterrer. After the appointment was made I realized not only did he do my mother’s surgery (remember her? the one who gave me these bad eyes? Love you momma!) but he also played hockey with my husband and my boss. Hockey haunts me but that is a whole other blog post. For me though, that semi-personal connection with Dr. Sterrer almost sealed the deal. I trusted him to shoot lasers into my eyes because I knew if something went wrong, my husband would beat him up at hockey. That isn’t true but it was nice to have a personal and professional connection to him.

Dr. Sterrer was kind, answered all of my obscure questions (even the one about what happens if you sneeze during surgery) and had a humor about him that was calming. After the consultation we got right into it and set up the next appointments. Weeks later, I was going under the laser. If this is something you want to do, you should consider getting a consultation to hear more about it.

It WAS scary but after a long nap, I could see. Six months later I still see 20/20, if not 20/15.

5 Reasons You Should Get LASIK

So minus the obvious, being able to see, here are 5 reasons you should consider getting LASIK.

  1. You can see your alarm clock in the middle of the night – Once I wake up, I cannot get back to sleep for a long time. So when I woke up in the middle of the night and struggled to see my alarm clock, sometimes that would be the end of a night’s rest. Now I can wake up whenever and see my alarm clock with no strain at all and I can go right back to bed.
  2. Take back control of your medicine cabinet and travel accessories – It was so invigorating to throw away contact cases, contact solutions, boxes of contacts etc. etc. It took months. I kept finding them all over the place in the car, in every bag I own, in different rooms – they were everywhere. I don’t need them any more.
  3. Sports and activities – My contacts were a heavier plastic. They moved and wiggled a lot, especially when wind was involved. Sports like skiing and running and activities like boating have taken on a new level. I can go as fast or as slow as I want but I know my contacts aren’t going to shift and my vision isn’t going to get blurry. It adds a confidence to those activities that I didn’t have before.
  4. Opening your eyes under water – Ok this one I haven’t actually done yet but I am so excited to. Months before my surgery and months before I even knew I wanted the surgery I had the opportunity to go sailing in the British Virgin Islands. There are 4 things to do in the BVI – sail, eat, drink and snorkel. Snorkeling was hard for me because I had a bad set of contacts so either I would have them in and be uncomfortable or I could take them out and not see very well. I can’t wait to try snorkeling again and be able to really open my eyes under water.
  5. Feelings you hope to never feel again – There are feelings you just get used to as a contact wearer. Like wondering if you put your contacts in the wrong eyes, getting a bad box or getting the wrong prescription, a hair between your contacts, not having your solution and having to sleep in your contacts, the feeling of a pair that is a little too old, dry eyes at the end of the day and on and on. Since my surgery I have had ‘dry eyes’ once. Just once! It was cool to know it was because of dry eyes and not because I needed new contacts or the dozens of other reasons your eyes dry up when you wear contacts.

That is it. That is my top five reasons to look into getting LASIK. They may be superficial to you but they are not to me. The price to pay for a higher quality of life is worth it. For me, with my expensive, heavy contacts I will also make the money I spent back in 5 years (that isn’t including the cost of solution and cases).

What say you? Have you had LASIK? How has it changed your life? Have you thought about it and not done it? If you have questions too, I can do my best to answer them. I only hope this post helps someone with a hard decision.