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Yvonne
Colorado
Professional blogger and consultant. I work with companies interested in learning how to use social media tools more effectively.
Interests: daydreaming. in daydreams, one can soar into the clouds and feel the shimmering warmth of the sun, no matter how dark the world below may seem.
Recent Activity
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The non-profit organization Art as Action means a LOT to me. I've been on the board for 2 years and counting. While I don't perform, my daughter and granddaughter do. They embody the concept of Artivism, which is to perform in support of community, to share something bigger than the individual. This organization is focused on people, and the concept that art is fundamentally a part of the human condition. We believe: the world needs ART. Art needs YOU See below: ART as ACTION nurtures & cultivates a wide range of Artivists including: People with Parkinson's Disease who uncover their inner dancer through our Reconnect with your Body classes At-risk youth finding a safe space to explore their place in the world through our Young Artivists Performance Lab program at Attention Homes Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter Veteran performers, both experimenting with new genres and embracing their primary art form Closet artists just discovering their creative potential through our Artivist Process We do a fund raiser every year. This year, we are SO CLOSE to our goal... only a few hundred dollars off! I share the purpose of Art as Action with you, my dedicated readers, and ask you to consider a small donation. Think about it... you are part of the human condition. You are part of the art of being alive. You are part of a bigger purpose in this small world of ours. You may write a verse... we think Art as Action can help inspire that verse. Will your verse speak to the whole world, or will you continue to hide it away? Share it. Be one with Artivists like me, my daughter, and my granddaughter. Inspire your daughters and granddaughters. Share Art as Action with them. ART helps us understand that which is bigger than ourselves. ART as ACTION provides participants and audience members the opportunity to reflect on ourselves and explore the common feelings and experiences we all share. Our programs and performances provide a place to discover unexpected connections and stop feeling so small and isolated that we stop contributing what is unique about us. We embolden the distinct, rare creativity deep within each individual. YOUR donation helps us compensate the human-power it takes to make our programs and performances successful. Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess Oh the misteaks we've scene! (Please tell me you see the mistakes in that prior sentence!) I'm not certain whether it's the texting generation or pure laziness, but the mistakes I see in the daily missives I receive make me cringe -- especially when they come from #womenofdistinction for whom I have great respect. Here are five mistakes you should be aware of and eradicate from your writing: You type and then simply hit, "send." Whoops, did you even give your email a once-over? If you haven't had enough coffee before you hit reply all you may be sending along a mistake you had never intended to send and once it's gone you can't get it back! Never send a message before you re-read it. An editorial tip I learned from my time at the newspaper is to read your item from the bottom up -- that way your mind will not be filling in the blanks and you won't skim over a mistake. Be real in your writing. If you wouldn't normally toss around $10 words, then don't do it in your writing. Your recipient will not be impressed and will likely wonder if someone else is writing your messages for you. Of course, if you are talking about a technical issue and need to use industry jargon, go right ahead, but offer an explanation if necessary to the jargon. Your recient shouldn't have to run to the dictionary to decipher the message. They're are to many mistakes being made by people in are industry who simply use the wrong homonym. If you're not certain which is the correct one, then please ask someone which "they're, their or there" you should use. Hopefully you caught the mistakes in the first sentence of this bullet. Tell me what you really mean. If, for example, you read one of my blog posts and like it, say so. If you say, "it was nice" I don't know what that means. Was it informative? Enlightening? Hilarious? Or are you saying "nice" in a sarcastic way that I just can't feel in the email message? Don't back into your sentences. This is something I learned from my years of writing fiction. I also learned when I wrote fiction that I didn't just say what I meant. I had a build up of unnecessary information to get to the point. "Starbucks has great coffee. Sue and I went there for coffee the other day." What?! How about, "Sue and I wanted a great cup of coffee so we went to Starbucks." -- short, sweet and to the point. (obviously it doesn't have to be Starbucks, but it does need to be clear) What errors do you see in the emails you receive, or what errors have you been guilty of? We'd love to know! Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Yes I have tattoos. Yes I am pursuing my dreams of becoming a model... I have been told on several occasions that everything about me is perfect for modeling if only I didn't have those tattoos ... I've honestly thought about removing them to advance ... I have put each and every one of these beautiful tattoos on my body for a reason. Most of them are reminders ... visual tokens that show me how far I have come in this life ... I have spent years perfecting the art of loving myself fully and I have decided to not comprise who i am because my style doesn't for into the category mold of commercial model. I am good at what I do and if a few tattoos is what's holding me back then watch me work twice as hard to achieve my goals. ‪#‎nevergiveup‬ ***And so says Jenna Rusnak, aspiring model, beautiful niece, smart woman online. What have YOU done lately, to show yourself how you feel about yourself? #womanofsubstance #womanofdistinction #womanofsignificance photo by Hannah Betts Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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by Yvonne DiVita The women of WIPIN rock big time! WIPIN is Women in the Pet Industry. I am a member. A proud member. This past weekend I experienced such profound acceptance by a large group of business women, it made me glad to be alive. Over and over, at the WIPIN conference in Portland, OR, women were saying, "Everyone here is so friendly! I am amazed by how giving they all are!" That's the catch-phrase of the weekend... Giving. The conference itself was about Growing. But we don't grow until we GIVE, isn't that true? Each woman brought a unique set of ideas with her. Each woman was an expert in her field...not the kind of expert with a lot of initials after her name, but an expert in how to get it done...by doing it. By putting a little elbow grease in it. By recognizing the need to ask for help or give help. My team from BlogPaws was there in spades... helping galore! Carol Bryant spoke and so did Robbi Hess, and in-between speaking, they were learning, sharing, and giving... always giving! I am so blessed to be among women like these women! Sessions at the conference focused on building a bigger, better, stronger business. Tools to do so were shared by each presenter I saw. Lots of tools! Lots of information! A wealth of learning. I noticed women taking notes, or not taking notes...because they were so intent on what the speaker was sharing. I heard women exclaiming their amazement over the content ...or, over each other. And yes, we checked out shoes and bags and jewelry, too! And, I must say that Shawna Schuh went above and beyond, with her team, to make this event a winner. It's not easy corraling a group of over 200 women into one room, where you can address them individually. Or, make them feel you are addressing them individually. But, she did it. She struts her stuff throughout the hotel halls with the confidence of a true Diva, with the knowledge that a conference like this, focused on women in the pet industry, is not only necessary, it's obligatory. Truly. Throughout the weekend, as I looked around the rooms (session rooms, the general session room, the lobby, the hall, the ladies room, for heaven's sake!), I saw women aborbing the very essence of networking and togetherness... lead by a dynamic woman who is quickly becoming an icon in this industry. The conference did more than help women achieve better learning, in order to take their businesses to heights they were afraid to even dream of... it gave a small group of women the status of celebrity. A small group of women were Finalists in the Woman of the Year ceremony. I was one of them. I got the royal treatment from Shawna and team, along with my other finalists... and, by the way, I was honored to be among them; each one was a leader in her field of endeavor, and eager to show the rest of the members in attendance how to become strong, powerful women in their fields, also. The ultimate prize, Woman of the Year, was given to an outstanding woman of accomplishment who radiates giving. Lorien Clemens, Director of Marketing for PetHub where "lost pets get home faster" has always impressed me as a mover and shaker, and someone other women can look up to. She doesn't just work to save lost pets, she is always looking for other women who need a lift, who want to achieve but are 'stuck', or who just want another professional to bounce ideas off of. I love her smile and her laughter and the way she looks at life - as a great experience worth every second of her attention. She was and is PRESENT in all she does. What a fantastic weekend! If you're in the pet business, you should have been there. If you're in business, and can help women with expertise to take their dreams higher, you should have been there. If you're hoping to meet more like-minded women with a purpose, in the pet industry, you should be there...now. It's a membership and yes, it culminates yearly in a conference, but WIPIN has much to offer, all year long. I am already planning for next year. Who's coming with me? p.s. I won a Fantastic sterling silver and amethyst heart-paw necklace by Elena Friegner and matching shelter donation from Good News for Pets, too! Here I am with Lea-Ann Germinder showing off the official document of my winnings. Will share the new bling when it arrives! Donation will go to Longmont Humane, of course! Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess Does the idea of the "blank screen" make you cringe? It does for many entrepreneurs. After all, you're an expert in your business niche and that niche may not be writing. If you endeavor to write your own blog posts, here are three ways you can create content that will intrigue and enchant your readers: Use photos podcasts or video. As many blog sites to, host a "Wordless" day. As in a "Wordless Wednesday" in which you ask your readers to simply submit a photo under a stated theme. "Relaxation at home" for example could prompt your readers to send photos of themselves cooking, walking the dog, sitting under a shady tree, etc. Video is quickly, or has quickly, become king. If you're good behind a camera, then offer your readers/viewers a quick video snippet based on an idea for a blog post you may have wanted to write, but never did.If you don't want to be on video camera, consider a podcast for your readers' listening enjoyment. Tell a story. Let your readers get to know the person behind the business. Today's consumers aren't looking for B2B or B2C interaction, they are craving H2H (human to human) and if you want to draw in more clients, be more human. You may not want to tell your entire life story, but let them know about a "day in the life" for example. Be engaging. If you're boring and formulaic your readers will be nodding off before they finish the first paragraph. If you're bored of your topic, your reader will be bored as well. If you've had a bad day, it will show through in your writing. If you simply can't "fake it" on the computer screen, then step away until you are more refreshed and able to write lively, engaging content. What ideas do you have when you need to create new content for your readers? Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess It still kind of amazes me that even today, business owners will ask, "Do I really need a blog?" My short answer is a resounding, "yes!" Why? Myriad reasons, but the main one is that if you have a website and you don't typically update your site -- and no one usually does -- it will not rank high in Google searches. However, if you have a blog on your website, every time you add new content Google thinks you've updated your site (which essentially you have) and your searchability gets revved up. Here are three ways having a blog can help you market your entrepreneurial endeavors: If you're the expert in your business niche, a blog will help you share that knowledge. Through your blog posts you will be sharing information and letting your readers know why you are the authority. Because you live your niche and area of expertise daily, you can use your blog as a forum to share that information -- in a non-salesy way. Use your blog to become the go-to authority in your niche. Answer questions you read online and questions your potential, and current, clients have asked. If a reader of your blog post asks a question, use that as a spring board to another blog post; if one reader has a question, chances are others do as well. Announce anniversaries, promotions or deals on your blog. Use your blog as your number one marketing platform to make company announcements. Whether you're hiring a new employee, moving to a bigger office, launching a new product or celebrating a business milestone, use your blog to share the news. Once you've written your blog, you need to make certain you share that information across your social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. When is the last time you blogged? What is holding you back from blogging? Let us know! Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Me, reading blog posts, becoming inspired by YOU. by Yvonne DiVita #defeattheblock The dreaded WRITER'S BLOCK!!! It can strike at any moment, any second, any day or week... even in the middle of a paragraph of fantastic writing! You're sitting there at your desk, your fingers are sailing over the keyboard like water over a stone, smooth and flowing. You're in the zone. The day has gone by without notice as you compose that amazing chapter of your book, that astounding blog post, that outstanding dedication, whatever. You don't notice the shadows coming through the blinds, trying to nudge your brain to take a break. It is late afternoon, after all. And you've been at it since 5 a.m. You're intent. Focused. You know what you need to do. You have your schedule for the day and you're close to completing your top 3 tasks... all of which involve writing, writing, writing; or, shall we say, creating, creating, creating. And then... suddenly, as a long shadow drops onto the computer monitor, almost with a snicker... you pause... You lick your lips. You sigh. You're in the middle of a sentence, by god! The middle of a @#$#%^ sentence! And you're stuck. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck. You back away from the computer, and even the wheels on your chair rebel... sticking to the floor or rug or whatever, as if to say, "You're not done. Get back in there. Write!" "I can't. I can't. I'm... lost!" you exclaim, throwing your hands up, pulling your hair out, biting your lip. http://catosdomain.com/ One of the places you should go, if you're experiencing writer's block It doesn't have to be that way. Writer's block is a normal part of the writing process. Even when it happens as described here, in the middle of a project, as opposed to the beginning of one (and the beginning can be scary, I know, with lots of worries and expectations and... the belief that you bit off more than you can chew... that you'll never finish, or if you do, it will be *crap*!), you can deal with it professionally. As a writer. 1. Walk away for a bit. Stop thinking about the task. Have a cup of tea. Pet the cat. Look out the window and appreciate your backyard. Just take your mind off of it - for a half hour or a whole day. Whatever is needed. De-stress and get back in the zone. 2. Call a friend. See how she's doing. Ask her if she needs to talk. Share insights with her. Focus on her needs. Give her your time, openly and willingly. 3. Go back to the beginning and read the first chapter, paragraph, or introduction of your work. Refresh by reminding yourself what the project is for. It should be for the reader, not for you. 4. Ask a few select members of the readership's audience questions about the topic. Make them questions about your block (not that you are blocked, but about the topic... to help you refocus). They must be people you trust and they must be willing to be honest. No Moms or other relatives. 5. Read a newspaper. Read a book. Read a comic book. Just read. Read for enjoyment. Take your mind to a place of peace. 6. Take a shower. I have it on good authority that we get our best insights and ideas, in the shower. Not me. I sing country western songs in the shower, but, lots of other people purport to solve all the world's crises in the shower. 7. Cook. Make lunch or dinner or that mouth watering dessert you saw on Pinterest, six days ago when you were taking time to relax. 8. Read blogs. Find your favorites, perhaps on the topic you're struggling with, and read. Comment. Engage. 9. Go to the library. That's right. It's a building full of books. You can even take a few home, if you have a library card. I used to read 6-7 books a week, as a kid. I went to the library (walked there, uphill both ways), on my own, browsed the latest novels, and trudged home with all 7 in my arms. The sustained me through a troubled youth. If your town no longer has a library, more's the pity. You'll have to trek downtown, I guess. Most cities still have them, I think. I hope. I really hope most cities still have them. 10. Rearrange a room in your house. Yes, this is MY favorite activity. I used to do it when the children were at school, just to see the confusion on their faces when they arrived home late in the afternoon, unsure of what was 'different'. Of course, I also denied rearranging the furniture or the kitchen cupboards. What fun is it if you don't introduce a sliver of mystery in their little heads? Writer's block plagues us all at one point, or another. None are safe from it. Treat it as you would any distraction - as a problem that has a beginning and an end. A problem you control. A problem that can, and should, further inspire you to greatness. If all else fails, eat chocolate. Or popcorn. Comfort food will help you calm your fears, which likely led to the writer's block in the first place. #defeattheblock Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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by Yvonne DiVita As seen on social media, Monday morning, from KDRV Newswatch 12, shared by Diana Robinson. One wonders, as a woman, how these teachers managed to get married at all. I expect they 'met' husbands at church. A good place to meet locals and get to know them, history shows. I assume this is directed at women. Since men don't wear petticoats. I wonder if male teachers had the same rules. I wonder if there were any such things, back in 1914. We reach stories about them, but I remember back in the 1950s, there was a bit of an uproar somewhere in the country (maybe my hometown of Rochester, NY, since I remember this so well) when one school district hired a MALE kindergarten teacher! As if! Men were okay with higher grades, like middle school, and I bet they dominated high school. But kindergarten? That was just wrong! (you may smile at the foolishness of we humans oh so long ago). Do visit the link as it would seem we are still projecting our dismay over this. What I find interesting is no citation on the image below, which supposedly came from the TV station. I searched our friend google for some historical perspective on teaching in the 1914s and was rewarded with sundry articles and PDFs on morality following the war, baseball cards, and gender, war and revolution in Europe. Nothing relevant to my search. Therefore, I share. But, I have not qualified this document. It *seems* correct, from the little I know of the era, but let's not forget, what we know as individuals was likely taught in school and might vary from state to state. Or school to school. Despite 'standards', school districts and teachers teach what they please. IMBO anyway. "This weekend, Ruch School is celebrating a 100th anniversary. As part of the celebration, they take a look back at what it was like to be a teacher in 1914. Here's a list of rules that teachers had to follow back then!" A glimpse into the past... we've come a long way baby. Has it been good? Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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This post is about the value of art in our lives. The video shows conversation between a small group of people who serve on a volunteer board for Art as Action, in Boulder, CO. Art as Action exists to connect the community to real performances; real art; talented people who bring their art to a stage and share it, openly and authentically. They do this because the love art... they do not get paid. And yet, the ability to bring their performances to the public is not free. The COST of arranging, rehearshing, staging, and holding these performances costs thousands of dollars. As a non-profit, Art as Action relies on donations and sponsors, as well as ticket sales, to stay in business. Why is art important? It's a vital part of the human condition. It's a thread of our soul. In some of us, the thread has been woven, over and over, through many years, into a tapestry... showing our dedication to this phenomenal medium... and how it connects children to their inner talent, how it connects adults with disabilities to their younger, stronger self, how it connects strangers... neighbors... people of different faiths, the world over. Art as Action Launch Party was awesome! Now, it's time to finish the fund raising. We exist for the greater good. Your participation is welcomed...and needed. We are not human beings without ART. Art is a part of us, all of us. Yes, as the video says, The World NEEDS ART, and ART needs YOU. YOU... the woman reading this, or the man reading this... you are already feeling the truth in your heart and soul. You have an artivist in you - a human experience you need to share - but, you may not have the means or opportunity to share it, where you are. That story you wish you could tell, but aren't able to (for reasons known only to you), that picture you've been wanting to pain or create (started but sitting unfinished, in your garage...or in your soul), that dance you dance in front of the mirror after you shower - that you wish you could dance for others; you can be an Artivist sharing the meaning of art, by helping support this small but talented and determined group of performers. They (and I) will be eternally grateful. The video talks about why we are passionate about art and about Art as Action. It asks for donations. We have a SMALL campaign running online this month, and our goal is tiny... with your help, we will reach it and go beyond. With your help, we can move mountains. Yes, we live in Colorado, we understand what it means to move mountains. If you are native to our area, you can still participate in the concept and purpose. Art knows no limits. It's not confined to one place, or time. If you are a friend of mine, or a fan of Lipsticking, or someone who just gets it when it comes to the value and importance of art in our lives... if you agree The World Needs Art and Art Needs You, you will go to the campaign page and donate $25. Such a small amount out of someone's yearly budget. We only do this once a year... and if 100 people donated $25, we'd be halfway to our goal... if 100 people found $50, we'd make goal and rise above it. Perhaps you're a business yourself. Perhaps you understand the power of artistic input in the world of business. Perhaps you'd like to join us with a bigger donation, become a sponsor, participate and collaborate as a Boardivist... we'd welcome you. Perhaps you're tired of all the people on social media reaching out for donations. "Support this or that" they say. "This is important," they say. "I am passionate about this," they say. And you think, I wish I could give. But, I've given enough. I understand. I, too, am approached daily for support... of one sort or another. I give when I can. Here's the kicker - we all choose those ideas that are most important to us, to support. In this new world of crowdfunding, it's easier than ever to 'give'. So, I ask you... if not $25, can you spare $5? Five dollars will go to help support the ability of Art as Action to continue sharing their art with the community around them. And, by doing so, it will lift up communities everywhere. Your business can be a supporter of that... of a bigger community...of people who love art. Because, as John Donne said so long ago, "No man is an island." We exist on this earth together, no matter how far apart we live. John Keats wrote, "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." I challenge you to read Walt Whitman's poem, "Oh me! Oh life!" to the end: "...you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?" Make your verse count. Be an Artivist today. Yes, because I'm asking, but more so because your participation shows the world how important this is to the soul of every human being, everywhere. My goal is to raise $1000 for Art as Action. I cannot do it alone. Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Early morning by Yvonne DiVita, blog founder 5:30 a.m. Rise. Slip on flip-flops. Stretch. Yawn. Try not to go through the entire day's work in your brain as you brush your teeth, because you know the day will NOT unfold the way you imagine. Shower or take a bird bath (in the sink... clean up, one way or another). 6:00 Shlep down to the kitchen. Let dogs out. Turn on coffee pot. Emit loud exclamation... @#*& forgot to prepare coffee pot last night! Shlep to sink. Clean coffee grounds from basket. Fill pot with water. Put all back together, with fresh coffee. Click start. Sigh. Why can't we walk, Mom? 6:10 Let dogs in. Try not to trip over cat who has emerged from basement. Give animals morning treats, amid much scurrying about. Remind dogs, "Not today," when they give that 'are we going for a walk now?" look and wiggle. Check calendar... yes, it's only Thursday. Two more days before you have a bit of free time to walk the dogs. Unless...the day unfolds more calmly than yesterday. 6:20 Pour coffee. Ah! Suddenly awake, move to office, wondering on the way why coffee takes so long to brew. Pot probably needs cleaning, again. Really? Didn't you just clean it a month, two months, ago? Oh well. Sit in chair. Open email...or not. Depends. If email is opened, give the most important notes some attention, save others for later, move on to social media. Any responses to content posted yesterday, especially questions asked? No. Silence, except for cute cat pictures or funny sayings. Sigh. 6:45 Close email and social sites. Open novel. Or business book. Or whatever writing job is at top of list. Might be blog - your own or someone else's. Focus is necessary. Fingers to keyboard for at least two hours is necessary. 8:45 Make breakfast. More coffee, eggs, fruit. Dogs circle because you are in kitchen and that's the treat room. "No more treats!" you admonish them. Cat has curled up in a sunny spot by the sliding glass doors. You wish you could do that. 10:45 Bathroom break. More coffee. Adjust blinds to sun won't bake the pets. Turn ceiling fan on. Contemplate progress, or lack thereof. 11:00 Move away from actual writing to visit Facebook - finally, answers to the questions. Yay! Click a few links relevant to research on your writing topic. Answer phone, hoping it's your client who is supposed to call in half hour but you'd love to get the call out of the way now. Hang up on telemarketer. Sigh. Return to writing, adding the content from the research you just did. Smile because it's perfect! You are on a roll now! When client calls you rave about the progress. Client laughs, asks a few questions, adds another flavor to what you're doing, hangs up happy. 12:00 Head down, eyes focused, fingers fly over the keyboard. You're going to get 8 pages done today. Normal amount of writing is about 5, on a good day. Today is a terrific day! You might even finish this project tomorrow, which would make the weekend glorious! 2:00 Stand. Stretch. Find lunch...in the refrigerator. Leftover pizza. Not the best, but filling. Always beckoning... come, sit, write! You're too anxious to get back to work, since it's going so well today. Drink some water, turn the coffee pot off (should have done that hours ago), trudge to your chair and dial the phone. Just thought of a question for the client; leave voicemail. 3:00 Outlook reminds you there is an hour webinar this afternoon which you signed up for weeks ago and totally forgot about. You notice a series of emails about it and wonder how you missed them. You have half an hour to decide to listen or not... you choose to listen, while you continue working. It's not ideal, but you want to get this done! 4:30 Webinar was good but because you were distracted with your own writing, you did not get to take notes. You make a note of the link to access the webinar later on. But, in your heart, you know you will not. You know you will forget, or get too busy, or just decide you don't need it. Life happens, you remind yourself. You secretly wish you'd taken time to watch a little of it. Sigh. 5:30 Time to step away from the computer. Time to let the dogs out again, third time in two hours. You watch them chase squirrels in the backyard, going over your work, in your head. When they come back in, you make sure they have water, you give them kisses, and go back to your desk. You need to review and edit, and then let the content sit overnight. Tomorrow, you'll start off with a focus on review and editing, again. And, then, you'll finish this! 7:00 Done. Done for now. Before stepping away, joining your husband in the kitchen where he's already started dinner, you click into social media. Just for a few minutes, you tell yourself. And then, suddenly, your husband is calling you to the kitchen table... dinner is ready. "Just a sec," you call back. You have another tweet to send, a Facebook mention to thank, and a quick Pin to Pinterest. Time is all we have, for us or against it, it's the same 24 hours for everybody 7:20 Your husband comes and drags you away from the computer. "Your dinner is getting cold," he complains at you. You kiss him and thank him and promise that tomorrow you will stop at 6:00. He just nods. He knows you're lying. Well, not lying. Pretending. Day over. Not really. There is more to any writer's day than this. Many writers start at end of day, after their 'real' job. Some work through the night, in a frenzy, because writing is such a passion, they can't live without it. How close is this to your day? Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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by Megan Totka Did you know that Russia is the country with the highest proportion of women in senior leadership positions? At 43 percent, the Eastern European nation, often pigeonholed for being behind the times, is actually well ahead of the U.S. (at just 23 percent) and Britain (just 20 percent) in this area. The results are part of a Grant Thorton International Business Report that also ranked Japan at the bottom of the list for the tenth year in a row at just 9 percent. Russia’s percentage of women in senior leadership positions is surprising, but so is the United States’ percentage. Forget equality at the top – we aren’t even halfway there. The U.S. percentage of women in its upper tier of business leaders is actually closer to the worst nation, Japan, than to the best, Russia. But why? It’s a multi-dimensional answer. Our Culture Perpetuates It For as much as we think we hear about gender equality in the media, there is actually not a whole lot going on to actually change our perception of a male-dominated culture. Even in Hollywood, often considered one of the most progressive industries in the entire country, females experience inequality. The recent Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California found that in movie and TV crowd scenes, just 17 percent of the people are female on average. This may not seem like too big of a deal – but it piggybacks on the fact that men directors outnumber women by nearly 6 to 1 and it is still difficult to find programs that pass the Bechdel test (a movie or TV show where two named female characters have a meaningful conversation about anything other than men passes this test). What we see on the screen often becomes our cultural story and in the case of the U.S., it seems there is a strong argument to be made here. Businesses Don’t Prioritize Gender Equality A 2010 survey of executives from around the world found that 72 percent think gender diversity brings a business greater success. However, only 28 percent said it was a priority for their company. So if business leaders agree that it is helpful to the bottom line, why isn’t there more being done to change the status quo? That is a good question – and one that needs to be addressed before any real progress toward equality can be made. Women Don’t Shoot for the Top Yes, there are some gender prejudices that certainly exist. Yes, the wage gap between men and women is hard to ignore. But all that aside, women still aren’t doing a good enough job of stepping up to the leadership plate or exhibiting confidence when it comes to positions that they are qualified to take on. We look at people like Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer with awe, and as the exception and not the rule. While Mayer’s accomplishments are to be applauded by men and women alike, she should not be put on a pedestal. She should be a realistic example of what women are able to do with the right amount of tenacity and confidence. The path to true workplace leadership equality is being paved every day but it will take a more concerted push from women workers, businesses and society as a whole to really achieve the goal. Photo via Flickr/Creative Commons Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess When I started blogging there were so many things I thought I knew, but boy I didn't! Here are a few things that I wish I'd known about blogging (or writing in general) when I first put fingers to keyboard: You won't be an overnight success! Gasp! It's true we are not all Manny The Frenchie (Instagram superstar) Unless you make a video that goes viral, chances are you will be toiling away in the trenches with the best of us. You need to think of blogging and building an audience as "slow and steady wins the race." Remember, the more content you create, the quicker you will likely build an audience. I read a study that showed companies can see a close to 50% growth in traffic by blogging 21-50 posts a month instead of 10-20 posts a month. Do you have the capacity to post that often? Create content you will continue to be proud of. Just because you wrote a post on January 2 of 2001 doesn't mean that post is old and forgotten. Everything you create will work for you over time. Every post you write should be your best effort. You want to make them work for, not against, you. A perk about blogging is that once you make the post go live it toils away on your behalf. You won't run out of ideas... well, unless your niche is too focused. If you're a writer your ideas feed your next idea. If you're like me, you are a voracious reader and networker and those two activities help keep my idea notebook overflowing. Content is king... but that's not all! When you're blogging you do need to be mindful of that pesky SEO. If you don't at least focus on some keywords your blog will not be loved by Google. Keywords are those that an individual would type in to find you and your posts. You can choose keywords that help you get found locally (Rochester, NY) or by your niche (pet blogger or time management guru) and sprinkle those into your posts. Simply writing and publishing a post won't help you become "famous" you have to do some work for it! Not everyone on the Internet is nice. There will be times when people will leave comments on your blog posts that are downright snarky. You need to grow a thick skin and either ignore those people or leave a comment that simply says, "Thank you for your comment" and leave it at that. You need to help your blog posts "get found." Simply writing a blog post won't make it automatically be found by readers. You need to be active on social media and share your content. This also means you will need to be SOCIAL on social media and that means you should be online sharing content of your followers and interacting with them. Organic growth will happen, but giving it a push to be found. Has there been anything about blogging that came as a surprise to you? Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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by Yvonne DiVita Writing is a process, as well as an inspiration. Those of us who do it daily struggle with the right content, the best content, the most relevant content. It's easy to fall into the trap of writing 'easy' content. Easy content flows from the fingertips. It's what you know. It's what you've written a dozen times, before. It's... average. Sometimes, it's boring. Easy content is not doing you any favors. Stop writing it. I refer you to William Strunk, Jr, who says, "Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts." Mark Twain may have said it better, but Wikiquote shows that this quote was never found in his writings. It's still a favorite of mine: "If I'd of had more time, I'd have written a shorter letter." When I read a blog post with these words in it, maybe not all of these words, but many of them, and often, many of them all at once, I wonder if the writer is just dabbling in her profession, or if she might benefit from a writing class or two. Here are 11 Words you MUST leave out of your writing, on your blog: 1. VERY... as in, "very this or very that"... It's a crutch. 99% of the time, whatever you're sharing or describing can stand on its own. In writing, we like to use the example... "She was very pregnant." Pregnant is a state of being and you're either pregnant or you're not. 2. SO... yes, I know blogging is much like a conversation and in our speaking lives we say, "So..." a lot. Your blog is not a conversation. It's a way to initiate conversation. In your blog post, remove this work and get on with the story. (yes, you may use it in your comments, where the actual conversations happen) 3. WELL... this is similar to SO. Both are unnecessary. They serve, in speech, to give us time to format what we're going to say next. In writing, they make the reader stumble. The So or Well pause needs to go. 4. THAT... I challenge you to read your post out loud and see how many times you've written 'that'... then remove it and read it out loud again. If you discover, and I am certain you will, that you've overused 'that'... remove it. 5. REALLY... I know your goal is to intensify... "she was really gorgeous!" Much like very, your adjective should stand on its own. Was she gorgeous or not? How does really make gorgeous better? It doesn't. In truth, it diminishes gorgeous. 6. ACTUALLY... It is not time to remove this word from the Englishg language. People use this word inappropriately both in writing and speaking. Politicians use it. News anchors use it. Celebrities let it drip from their tongues like sweet syrup. It has become a cliche. Remove it from your vocabulary. 7. BASICALLY... This is another blind utterance, as I like to call them. We say it so often, we're blind to its appearance in our writing or speaking. If you're re-iterating something, do so. Don't preface the iteration with "basically"... 8. AMAZING | AWESOME... Two for the price of one! Often uttered as an exclamation, these two words have become cliched. It's sad because they're acceptable words, they relate to the need to show appreciation. But, used in today's context, they have lost their meaning. Find a new way to show your amazement. If we give these words a rest, perhaps they will return full force. 9. COGNIZANT... Yes, it means aware. Use aware. Don't muddy up your writing with big words to seem smarter. 10. CURRENTLY... This is a fine word. It means 'now' or 'today'. Why not say now or today? Once again, the use of this word is to beef up writing or speaking to 'sound' impressive. Or, it's a crutch you've been using for so long, you no longer realize 'now' or 'today' serve the same purpose. 11. NOW... Yes, I just told you to use the word 'now' instead of 'currently'. What I do not want you to do is use the word "now" as an introduction to what you're going to say next. "Now, we all know..." Isn't, "We all know," stronger and what you want to say? (I almost wrote 'anyway'... but, does anyway serve any purpose in that sentence? It does not. Just as 'now' does not serve any purpose in that sentence.) As a BONUS, I offer you 3 redundancies I hope you will remove from your writing and speaking. 1. ATM machine. (atm stands for automatic teller machine) 2. COMPLETELY OPPOSITE. (opposite is sufficient) 3. FEW IN NUMBER. (few ... you only need to write or say few) I will add more to both lists over time. Stay tuned. Share your pet peeves around the misuse of words. Help me learn more about your writing needs. Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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by Yvonne DiVita As shared on the web via my BFF Toby Bloomberg of Diva Marketing: Russia's Terrifying Blogger Law Goes Into Effect Today Under the new law, signed in May, bloggers will have to register with the Russian government, allowing the government to restrict blogs it doesn’t approve of. Popular bloggers with more than 3,000 unique visitors daily will be considered journalists and will be subject to the same rules as other state-registered media outlets. Should we ALL be afraid? Very afraid? What, exactly, should we, of the U.S.A. be afraid of? Comments are quite interesting... share your thoughts here. Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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I am the World The World is Me by Yvonne DiVita There's an artist in all of us. A voice that often whispers in our soul - "Listen to me," she says. "You are powerful," she says. "You are ART and the WORLD needs you," she says. Her voice may be soothing, a soft breeze that gently flows over our innermost thoughts, touching our hearts and souls, speaking of things that mean so much to us, but lay hidden behind all the 'clutter' we allow to invade our brain. They are here, she whispers...those dreams you had as a child. They are here, she whispers, those hopes and expectations. They have not gone away. They live still, in a dark closet, waiting. I am watching over them for you. Sometimes her voice is shrill, an angry blade on a sharpened sword, a sound that cuts to the core. WHY are you NOT LISTENING? she demands. WHY DON'T YOU DO SOMETHING? The sound is a barbed wire tightening around your heart, piercing your soul, stabbing you in the eyes. I WILL NOT BE IGNORED! she screams. LISTEN TO ME! But... you turn away, back to your daily tasks, with a small and perfunctory promise, "When I'm done with this, yes, when I'm done with this, I will open the closet and let the dreams out." And the world spins. And the existence of art... stumbles. Because you will not stop and remember. Stop and remember the sand at the beach, when you were four. You made an amazing castle (though some thought it looked like a lopsided hill, so what?), and you played in it with your shovel and your pail and a shell you discovered when first you trudged on the beach that morning, and it became a world of fun and excitement - and your mother had to drag you away from it when it was time to go. The wind was whipping through the trees in the part behind the beach; people were scrambling to avoid the cold water as it crept closer to their blankets; clouds had appeared and the day was waning. Other children were whining, as you were, not willing to leave yet, not wanting to give up their marvelous creations to Mother Nature. "My castle," you shouted, reaching for it, but lost to it, because, after all, Mother (Mother Nature and the other Mother) was bigger than you. Remember. Stop and remember being in school, middle school, where the other kids were annoyed at the 'art' project. They were good in math and science (and yet, those too can be art); they wanted none of the creative nature of writing a story or painting a picture or becoming a made up person from the Planet of Pictorious (you don't remember Pictorious, do you? you made it up and it existed, yes it did! it exists still... with rolling hills and enormous trees and lakes that had a voice, and creatures that worked together to grow things and make things and laugh at each other; remember!). The other children were reluctant to do this 'art project' but you, you were overjoyed! You put your all into it, your heart and soul, your very being became this art project. You created a new world with words and pictures. No artist you, but that didn't matter. Your words stood as tall as any landscape image, your crayons and colored pencils made something out of an imagination overflowing with desire, and YOU saw the world you created, even if no one else, other than the teacher, saw it. The teacher, who smiled in pride at you, gave you an A+ and put the story and the pictures on the wall...for a whole week! And, you basked in the glory. Remember. Stop and remember the wonder of your art. The art you were so proud of, all those days and weeks and years ago. The art pulsating within you, even now. The art that was going to change the world. You were so passionate about that. About the way art could influence people to BE what they were meant to be - full of goodness and helpfulness and love. The art that could speak to them on a personal level, beyond the daily tasks of eating breakfast, washing dishes, putting the garbage out. The art that wanted to step back from the onerous world of 'things' and 'doing' just to 'live' and become those things, create vast canvases of color and lines and shadow, in the doing, because to LIVE was an art in and of itself. What you were doing then, what so many were doing then...and now... was existing. You did not want to just exist. Remember. There is no way around it. #theworldneedsART #artneedsYOU As you remember, please, reach out to your neighbor, your friends, your family, and help THEM remember. We INVITE you to join us in Art as Action, in bringing BACK the marvels of artistic value... Join us... be with us... your inner artist calls you. Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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by Yvonne DiVita Just a quick post... read in my daily note from the folks at readwrite, I just learned that LinkedIn has a follow button now. According to Owen Thomas, "A gigantic change is quietly sweeping through LinkedIn. Millions of members now have a "Follow" button, a feature that promises to transform how we think about our interactions on the professional network. ReadWrite has found, and LinkedIn has confirmed to us, that a far broader set of users can now broadcast their activity to followers who don't need to formally connect with them to see what they're doing." It doesn't look like it's 'in your face' or readily available for all, as I clicked over to MY page and couldn't find it anywhere - not for me, for the folks I follow already or are connected to. Are you being followed on LinkedIn? Does your page reflect a Follow button to allow me to follow you, easily? Well worth a looksee. What do you think of this new development? Good? Bad? Indifferent? I *think* I like it, but time will tell. Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess In my role as an editor and a blog manager I receive countless numbers of emails a day. Many of them are cringe-worthy! Why? My name is spelled incorrectly. Yes, I realize Robbi may not be typical, but hey it's my name so please use it correctly. I am not Bobby or Bobbi or Robbie or Robbin. Truly, when I see my name incorrectly spelled I begin to subconsiously doubt anything else you may have written to me. In today's online environment chances are you are communicating with almost everyone via electronic means -- whether email or text or on your social media platforms. Because of this, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to have well-written emails/texts/whatever the medium. To present yourself as the ultimate professional, you need to have mastery of the written word -- just because you're communicating electronically is no reason for sloppy prose. Yes, back in the early phases of blogging and internet writing, people were of the mindset that "because it's online I don't have to be as precise as I would be if I were penning a book or brochure.Wrong. Wrong. Wrong! Here are three ways to compose a "good aka well-written" email: Read and reread your subject line. If you want to guest post then mention that in the subject line. Be compelling. Be brief. Does your subject line reach out to the reader? Will it get lost in a spam box? Note, if you use the word FREE in an email subject line it is typically tagged as spam by most email carriers and will be lost in the shuffle. You don't want to have a subject line of "reaching out to you" because a lot of people "reach out to me" and if they aren't compelling in the subject line I will move onto the next email. A great subject line could be, "Guest post idea for your monthly Writing Theme topic." This lets me know you've read my blog and are also being thoughtful in your subject line. Your email should help the recipient quickly understand your reasons for reaching out. If you want to propose to being a guest blogger, then state that up front. Also, let me know that you have seen my blog. Honestly in my role as blog manger for BlogPaws, I have people write to me and want to guest post on their topic of expertise which is cooking or auto repair or opening your retail business. BlogPaws is a pet-centric social media site. If you're not proposing something social media or pet-centric related then it's likely you didn't even look at the site and are just sending me a blanket email. My response? Delete! How can I find you? If you send an email and sign it, "Susie," I don't know anything about you or how to find/research you if I am so inclined. Sure, I could look at your email address and see if it points me to a website but if your email address is, "hotsusieATgmail..." first of all, change your email address to something more professional and do that before you send out another email! There is no reason for a bad aka unprofessional email address. Add a signature to your email that gives me your full name, website, phone number, links to your social media sites. If you have offered me compelling information, make it easy for me to find you. Before you hit "send" on that next email, take time to give it a once over and make sure you are presenting the best "you" that you can! Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Guest post by Joan DeMartin In the perfect writing world, you would have teams of dedicated professional editors to review each piece of your writing, and their insightful comments would only enhance your otherwise gifted prose. Uh, wake up! Reality intrudes with the dawn, and we writers mostly have to edit our own writing, whether it's our daily email communiques, blog posts or more detailed business communications. Admittedly, professional writers for magazines and other publications do have editors, and maybe they’ve also cultivated a few trusted friends who read their work before it hits the editor’s desk. In fact, I heard one New York Times bestselling author say that she always engages two tiers of reviewers: The first group are fellow writers who regularly critique each other’s pieces; the second tier were not professional writers, but friends and acquaintances who loved to read. Only after considering comments from both tiers did the revised piece go to her editor. But I’m sure she edited her own writing, too, just like we all must before we hit that send button. There are many tried and true self-editing techniques, and others I know have worked for me. But let's review the basics. Print Out. Read Aloud. Yes, you can certainly do some quick proofing and revisions on the computer screen, but for serious editing, always print your draft and read it aloud...even if no one is there to hear you. Why is this one of the most recommended and trusted tips for self-editing? First, you're viewing your writing in a different medium than you created it in—digital versus print—which gives your brain a different perspective. And perhaps more importantly, you can hear mistakes, like superfluous words or stilted phrases, that you can't see, so reading your work aloud is crucial to the editing process. But "hearing" your words is not just for catching glaring mistakes, you will also quickly discover whether your writing has "rhythm and flow", and all good writing flows easily off the tongue. And some words were simply meant for great oratory—they have more of an impact spoken than read. For example, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is widely considered a masterpiece, not just for the substance of his call for justice, but for it’s lyrical prose. Although Dr. King’s oratory is unmatched, try reading that speech aloud just to hear the magnificent rhythm of his words—you’re practically swept away on a magic carpet. Sleep On It Although we're all under tight deadlines for most of our writing projects, try to write your first full draft far enough ahead of your deadline to have the time to put it away overnight. This really isn't a luxury, it's a necessity for most of us to produce a quality written product. Although some advocate just a quick break, like a walk or lunch, this tip hasn't helped me—there’s something about the rest your brain gets during sleep that allows you to see your work with a fresh sets of eyes. I assure you that when I wait until the next day to read something I’ve written, it's covered with red-inked revisions in a matter of minutes. This technique is particularly helpful with longer pieces where you must tie together several different scenes or flesh out numerous points. After too many read-throughs without a break, all of your brilliant ideas start to run together and you couldn't edit successfully if you took a sledgehammer to your precious words. Focus On One Area For Each Read-Through This one is going to sound tedious and time consuming and, well, it is. But it can also be fun to see your work from a variety of perspectives. The idea is to read through your entire document and only focus on correcting one general type of error. Repeat for each subsequent area of concern. It’s worth the extra time and effort to create superior written work, isn’t it? Choose any area you like to start. I go with what I think is easiest: grammar and punctuation. (You’ve at least run it through spell check, right?) Remember that correcting grammar and punctuation can sometimes overlap into correcting sentence structure problems, so be prepared to rewrite the occasional awkward sentence. The next logical category for me (I tend to start with form and move to substantive issues) is cutting superfluous words and phrases. I overuse the words “that” to achieve what I think is clarity, and “so” to impersonate a substantive transition to the next idea. Both usually can be cut and your objective realized simply by rewriting the sentence. Here’s my personal favorite to help you cut the clutter in your own writing: Change “due to the fact that”, which I think should be banned from all but scientific writing, to “because”. You’ve just eliminated four superfluous words! On the third or fourth re-read, I finally hit the substantive issues, like clarity of thought: Does what I’m saying make sense overall, did I leave out crucial information, and perhaps most importantly, will it hold a reader’s interest? And don’t forget to back up your thoughts and ideas with factual or expert data relevant to your topic. Remember that even officially labeled “opinion pieces” use facts to back up the author’s opinions. Although re-reads for substantive issues tend to be the most difficult to self-edit because the writer is always closest to the topic, some professional writers recommend a bit of “role playing”. Pretend you’re the intended reader and take it from there. No, this doesn’t require an acting coach. With a bit of discipline, it actually works to help you channel someone else’s perspective on your writing, and that’s the key to being your own best editor. Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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by Yvonne DiVita Seriously, National Lipstick Day? Who knew? Well, Kristin Elliott of Doodie Pack pet supplies, which I LOVE... tagged me on Facebook with this news and I'm dancing around my desk now. #NationalLipstickDay was created just for me. Well, it seems like it was created just for me. Me and my little blog. Of course, there are a good many 'lipstick' sites or mentions, these days. But back when this blog was launched, WE were the first. And we're still the best. Huffington Post has an article on the day, today. Here are a couple of their points about Lipsticking: (they have great pictures... oh, I wish I could steal one, but they're from Getty and I'd just getty myself in trouble!) "Early in the Greek empire, red lipstick or lip paint signaled tha a woman was a prostitute..." as most respectable women, I guess, didn't wear makeup. Not sure I believe them, but hey, it's the HPost. They also shared that at one time lipstick, or painted red lips, was an indication of higher social status. Now, that makes sense, don't you think? Apparently, during the Roman Empire, even men wore lipstick. Not sure I believe that either. I have a great book on Lipstick. Written by Jessica Pallingston, published in 1999, by St. Martin's Press, it's full of all the juicy details about lipstick that you were dying to know...but afraid to ask! Ok, no one was or is dying to know these things but I'm going to tell you anyway... The number of $$$ spent on this product in 1946 (I think it's all cosmetics, though) in America (cause we're the only country that counts, I guess... I'm just saying...) was, $700 million. According to William Cane's, The Art of Kissing, the percentage of men who like (or don't mind) kissing a woman wearing lipstick is 67. Those who like flavored lipstick is 8. And those who don't like it at all is 25. I say, tough it out guys, tough it out. Early on in the book, it talks about the way women apply lipstick and what it means. Very interesting. For instance, if you apply it so the product ends up flat, you're a Flatty. The author says, "My friend Susan is the typical Flatty. Level-headed and practical, a little shy, which can be taken for aloopness. She has a hidden artistic flair." And more... you get the drift. Me, I'm a "Reclining Chair"...which seems a bit, riske' don't you think? The author says, "What most signifies a Reclining Chair is their friendliness. (ok, that's not bad) Charis love their friends (I do!) and making new friends. Reclining chairs like activity (well, let's not go there... I'm a home body and really prefer being by myself...or just with Tom and dogs), and are usually the first to turn a dull scene into a party." Fail. Fail. Fail. I tolerate the party scene. That's it, tolerate. You should get the book and indulge. It's a fun read. Back to #NationalLipstickDay... today... it's a day deserving of ice cream. Isn't it? I should get ice cream. Or cheesecake. And if all my lipstick wears off while I slurp away, don't worry... I have lots more. Yes, LOTS! Don't you? Here are a few quotes from the book, to make you laugh a bit... "Well of course it's great to know that given an hour and a gorgeous frock I can do it; I can be fabulous and play the movie star. It's all a question of lipstick." ~ Actress Kristin Scott Thomas "For a single woman, preparing for company means wiping the lipstick off of the milk carton." ~Comedian Elaine Boosler And, last, but surely not least, something I think we should all scrawl across our bathroom mirrors, so we see it every day, on the Golden Rule, (and how it applies to lipstick I don't know, but it's in the book), "The Golden Rule is that there are no Golden Rules." ~George Bernard Shaw Be well and happy and go buy a new lipstick today. Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess I was #havingdinnerwithfamily and then I #walkedthedog before I #hadicecreamwithfriends and finally I #saidgoodnight. Aaahhh, the hashtag, the measurement by which we gauge our life... or so it seems. Remember, back in the "olden days" when the hashtag was called the pound symbol and it indicated a measure of weight or the end of a book or article (if you were a journalist) or the symbol you pressed on a telephone keypad (remember those) when you wanted to get to a different menu? Or remember when it was just plain called the number sign. Today, the hashtag is how we relate, make ourselves stand out and show we are having a #greattimewithfriends. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you're #havingdinnerwithfamily shouldn't you be putting the smart phone away and having dinner with your family? Talking with them. Asking them how their day was rather than showing the world what you're doing? If you're so obsessed with the hashtags of your life, you're not engaged in the life you're living, are you? When I #walkthedog (which by the way I wouldn't say because I would always be walking Henrietta, the diva poodle... not "the dog") I will check into my ResQWalk app and I will be wearing my FitBit to mark my progress, but when I am walking The Hen I am enjoying the walk. I am #gettingawayfromthecomputer for goodness' sake! You can't even escape the hashtag when you're watching tv because with almost every change of scene a new hashtag pops up in the corner. I do my best to resist the lure of checking that television hashtag while I am in the midst of watching. When I am watching tv show I really just want to veg, not be multi-tasking. I do admit, though, that on the final night of the SyFy show Face Off I will tweet for my favorite make-up artist. Do I use hashtags in my daily life, yes. Have I used hashtags to talk about my life? You bet. When I am blogging about #breastcancer or #BabyBoomer issues, I want to be part of the conversation and I want my comments found and followed. When I am #havingfunwithfriends or #watchingamoviewithfamily I want to be present and enjoying those moments because, unlike a hashtag, they are fleeting. Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Tom, me, and Caroline at the first BlogPaws by Yvonne DiVita #BecauseIAmWhoIAm Robbi Hess, the blog manager here at Lipsticking, tagged me in a blog hop last week. Robbi writes several blogs but her most recent is a favorite of mine, All Words Matter. I'm mad I didn't start it first! (not mad, mad... you know... cause I can't be mad at Robbi, but mad in the, 'why didn't I think of that?' way) The blog hop started on Susan C Foster’s site and continues here, today. What to say... what to write... or, more to the point, what NOT to say or write. I could write all day about why I write. Like Robbi, I wrote a book when I was a kid. A 300 page combination ghost story, love story. I wish I still had it. It would make for fun reading, I bet. I was in seventh grade. I was pretty much a loner... though I had friends, I preferred reading and writing, to hanging out. I wrote bad poetry, don't we all? And, I wrote short stories, agonizing over my plight as a teenager. Oh, woe is me! Writing was never that hard for me. I read so much, and absorbed more than the stories in all the novels I read, more than the poetry in the poetry books; I absorbed the structure and purpose of writing. I felt as if it was the only place I could really shine. I belonged to my writing. I lived each protagonist's life... heck, I think I even looked like them! Well, they were my invention, after all! Writing, like reading, took me away from the mundane world I existed in. It delivered me to new places and let me create worlds that I could manage. In my writing, even in the unhappy endings, and there were a lot of unhappy endings in the early days, I challenged my characters to be real... to talk as if they were alive, to perform as if they really existed, to be people with the same problems I had, often unable to be solved... because, as a child, I had no vision beyond my own room... despite all the novels I devoured weekly. As I grew, and matured, I discovered I could write the kind of content other people appreciated. I was an adult with young children when I had my first story published! Oh joy! Not long after, I received a note from another publication I had submitted something to, with a note from the editor, "We can't use this right now but I encourage you to submit again." Beyond joy! I never, ever, ever had a doubt that my writing was ME, who I am. So, that's the answer. #IwritebecauseIamwhoIam ... writing ... telling stories... helping others move from the mundane of their daily lives to the excitement of a story or poem, makes my life worthwhile. And now, I need to tag some folks to continue the blog hop. First person I thought of is my BFF Toby Bloomberg. She was game, which I thought she would be. She's done blog hops before on Diva Marketing. I thought of Toby because she writes so well, and has been blogging for as long as I have. I love her work, I love the way she thinks, and I love that she's always willing to help a friend out. The next person I thought of was Amy Shojai, from Bling, Bitches and Blood, and a writer from my pet community, BlogPaws. Amy is a successfully published writer! She knows a fair bit about the challenges of writing... and the highs and lows. I am pretty sure she'll have something enormously important to say about this topic. And, I think you should learn a bit about her books, too. And, I also tagged my BFF Sybil Stershic, who is a non-profit marketing professional whose blog Quality Service Marketing serves the folks in non-profits who need a little help with their marketing. Sybil has been doing this for a long time and she's written two books on this topic! I am in awe of how she brings non-profit marketing into the 21st century without losing the importance of that personal touch. And that's why I wanted her to participate... because she understands how to get personal, on a blog. Enjoy all! I write #becauseIamwhoIam Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Frugga Smart Savings by Yvonne DiVita I am being compensated for this post, but I eagerly accepted the assignment because ... hey, it's shopping online! You KNOW the comments and opinions are my own. I only share with I believe, folks. So, who shops online? All ya'all do. Don't fool me! It's a woman's pasttime. I was writing about the whole shopping online, marketing online, and women way back in the early part of THIS century, way before the old fogies of that previous century got wind of what was happening. Women like shopping. I don't profess to understand why, even though I'm a woman, but I do understand the fun of it. Window shopping can get you only so far, though. You have to buy! And when you're ready to buy, if you're online, you want some coupons... don't you? I know I do. I spent a load of time this past weekend shopping for coupons...only to be so disappointed, I almost wept! And then, I discovered Frugga! Oh my! Not only is the site appealing, I really love the logo, it's easy to use and it's friendly. I mean, it gets the coupon idea. While you do need to create an account, it's worthwhile, and it asks an easy question to prove you're a human. No captchas! Plus, when I was ready to tear my hair out last weekend because all I wanted was a coupon for Keurig K-cups, I wish I'd used Frugga. I did a simple search in their database and boom... half a dozen coupon codes came up right away. This isn't me but it could have been... that was how I was smiling when I was on Frugga.com They also have a ton of categories. From accessories to books and music, to electronics, to medical supplies, Frugga.com has it all, I think. I don't know much about their rewards program, except that it's displayed in the sidebar... with some mighty fine icons ... Stop by, Share and Engage, Earn Points, and Redeem, all linking to an opportunity to earn points and who doesn't like points? Yes, I hopped around a bit to familiarize myself with the site and I had a good old time! Luckily, I didn't spend a lot because I was just 'searching', if you know what I mean. I wanted to get my bearings and test the site out a bit, so I could write a post I could be honest about and comfortable sharing. And, if I hadn't been impressed, well... there wouldn't be a post. I don't write the scathing reviews. I leave them to others. The folks who asked me to write this were pretty darn nice, too. I don't think they're with the brand but it says a lot when you work with a brand that has truly polite and supportive help, regardless of whether they work IN the brand or FOR the brand. Personally, I like it when a company takes the time to not only care about its website, but also about the people behind the scenes. This group gets kudos from me for that. (I wasn't easy to work with, let's just say that) Try it. Let me know what you think. In a world where we spend so much time online, and shopping is just the action of clicking the mouse, meeting a brand with great people and great focus is a win-win, in my book. Make my life easier, I say, and Frugga.com did. W00t! p.s. try the Home and Garden category... super for this time of year! Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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by Yvonne DiVita I hear folks are overwhelmed by technology today. Too much of this, too much of that, cringing when they hear, "There's an app for that!" Information overload, in the form of technology that is always on, is ruining our lives. When everyone at the bus stop, the airport, the grocery store, the stoplight (in cars and not in cars) is glued to their cell phone, it's a clear indication that we, as human beings, are tuning out the wrong things in a misguided effort to tune in the 'right' things. Let's decide what the wrong things are, up front. Your Facebook page. It's fun to be on Facebook and share. I learn a lot about my family and friends on Facebook; where they are today, how they feel today, what they've got planned for the weekend, and more. I discover new videos and infographics, on Facebook. But, when Facebook becomes my mode of conversation, as if getting face-to-face is just 'too hard'... it's a bad thing. A very bad thing. Your cell phone. We need cell phones. I can't image not having a cell phone. Without a cell phone I wouldn't be in easy touch with my pregnant daughter, who lives a thousand miles away. Without a cell phone I wouldn't be able to call for pizza on the fly when I'm just too exhausted to cook (we no longer have a landline). Without a cell phone I wouldn't be able to text my granddaughter, which is the only way to get her attention. When cell phones become the most important part of your daily attire ( as if you'd ever leave the house without your shoes, pants, jacket if it's raining and your cell phone), that's a problem. When you sweat because you accidently set the phone down and walked out the door without it... and you are in a panic at not having it for a whole day...that's a problem. Because, being without your cell phone is NOT the end of the world. Really. Seriously. Your blog or website. I know you check it several times a day. Or, if you have a tool that alerts you when folks comment on your blog, or when folks visit your website, and you check it hour after hour, hoping for better results, that's a problem. Because, regardless of how often you look at your blog or your website, it will perform as you designed it to perform. One should be creating online property with careful thought to allowing it to perform and run without you. Let it do the work you created it to do, and check it routinely, but not that often. Your laptop. Oh yeah, your laptop. I have a laptop...it sits on a rolling desk by my bed. I take it out once a week when I'm not so tired and look at Twitter. I also take it on trips. Otherwise, it sits there and... hums. Because, it's a tool. It's not who I am nor is it what I am. It's for my convenience... not the other way around. It doesn't run my life, any more than my cell phone or Facebook page or blog. All of these things are bad, bad, bad if you allow them to dictate your life and who you connect with. All of these things are good if you put them in their place and use them appropriately. Here are the right things, the things that really matter: Your family. You can connect with them without a cell phone or laptop or Facebook page. It's call a picnic or a cup of coffee. Your pets. Oh, those poor pets. They are there, at your elbow, begging for a walk or a cuddle, and you're blowing them fake kisses or patting them on the head, while you eagerly turn back to some tool or mechanical device, clicking the Like button on a new shelter post... Really? Take care of what's there in front of you. They were shelter pets once, too, I bet. Your friends. Where are your friends? Oh, I hear you... on social media. On Twitter. On Instagram. On Pinterest. LOL You see them there, you like them there, you comment on them there... but, you don't SEE them, HUG them, COMMUNICATE with them as friends, by being on those online sites. Be a friend. Have coffee. Go on a shopping trip to a REAL store... stop and smell the roses. Oh, I could go on. I could remind everyone who feels overwhelmed that the truth is, you're not managing your time or your tools correctly. Step away from the computer. I'll see you at BlogHer, this week, or WIPIN, next month. Yes, IRL. Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Guest post by Georgina Stewart We all have a sizeable personal network, which can be made up of family, friends, neighbours, ex-work colleagues, or fresh acquaintances. While, in terms of a successful application, networking will often play a vital role. If an employer is uncertain about employing you, then a ringing endorsement from someone in your network can be the decisive factor. "It's not what you know, but who you know" is a general truth for a reason. It often happens to be true. Networking has always been important. In the age of social media it's also possible to build up contacts extremely quickly, but, in terms of furthering your career, it's not about the quantity, but the quality of your contacts. How Networking Can Further Your Career Who you know, and their level of influence, can have a massive impact on your career. For instance, if you are as good at your job as a colleague, but they have better connections, then they can have an advantage in several ways. Within a company people may comment favourably on their abilities, and if their network also consists of people outside of the company then they can exploit better opportunities. Not every good job is advertised, and one way you can find out about an opportunity is through good networking. If you're on good terms with people in your network, then they can also think it's in THEIR interests that you apply for a specific job, because they will want to work with someone they know, like and trust. Be Generous To People In Your Network Networks can be built both online and offline, through face to face meetings, telephone conversations, social media and email. Always remember to be generous with people in your network, as they won't be so inclined to help you if you're not. For everyone in a network there should be a willingness to offer mutual support, advice and information. You can also help others, thanks to the knowledge you have acquired via your network. Create a Plan Firstly devise a plan, then start building your contacts. Next, organise your network. One way of doing this is to create specific groups through an email program (the groups should be for contacts not linked to your existing job). You should then arrange how often you intend to contact particular individuals. Once your network plan has been created, your network and plan should be updated a minimum of once a year. Networking should always be a continual process. Contacts should be added throughout your working life. Set targets regarding your network, aim at how you can reach your goals, and don't be afraid to change things if they're not working as well as you would like. Networking Etiquette You should display tact concerning the people in your network, respect them, and don't take them for granted. If you intend to use a contact's name in connection with a job, ensure that you have their permission to do so. Be reliable and appreciative, and never pester people at times that may be convenient for you, but not for them, such as very early in the morning or very late at night. Once you've found a good contact the last thing you want is to then make them regret networking with you in the first place. Author: Georgina Stewart is an important member of the team at Marble Hill Partners and spends a lot of her time focused on how she can encourage others to fulfil their potential as both executives and leaders. Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at Lip-Sticking
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Yvonne and Susan at BlogHer by Yvonne DiVita "There she is! Oh my GOD! It's really her!" I wasn't the only one throwing my arms up with loud cries of excitement as I rushed across the gleaming lobby of the hotel, that fated day back on the ancient history days of that initial launch of the great BlogHer community. Women of all sorts flung themselves across the lobby, roaring like wild waterfalls, cascading into each other, full of sincere passion and delight, that morning. The rush was never ending, each woman eager to make sure she could find the right 'her' and 'her' and 'her'; so many friends of the blogosphere, friends known but not really known, soon to be pen pals of a new order. Yes, the many faces of BlogHer. I remember it well. Next week I'll be off to San Jose for the 10th Year Anniversay of BlogHer and the memories keep flooding in, daily. Memories of Jory and Lisa and Elisa and this marvelous thing they had created. Memories of the sessions, learning skills I hoped to hone to perfection. Memories of the people... the women... the many, many faces of Eve, who came for the same reasons I had come... to MEET my BFFs in person and to try and understand this thing called blogging. As I prepare for this year's anniversary event, I can't help but wonder... where are they now, the women I came to call friend and who still light up my world with their emails and phone calls? Celeste Lindell was one of the first women I remember meeting. I'd been reading Average Jane for some time and when Celeste approached me (knowing ME from Lipsticking), I admit I was confused. "Yvonne, hi! I'm Celeste," she said. Her bright warm smile was welcoming, one friend greeting another, and yet I remember thinking, "Wow, this girl is so young!" I shook her hand but... clearly, she could tellI was confused. My face must have held that look, "Um... who are you?" Yes, I was wondering 'who' Celeste was. Sigh. Rock Star Celeste - Hope I get to see and hear her do this, someday! "Average Jane," she said, with an even bigger smile. The hotel lobby was so LOUD - yes, BlogHer conferences can be LOUD, it's one of the things we ladies do - we screech and laugh and howl, because...well, we can. Why not? Happiness knows no bounds when it comes to meeting your BFFs in person. You shout out for the sheer thrill of it, sometimes. And, you don't even know you're shouting. I laughed, hoping Celeste wasn't upset that I didn't 'know' her immediately, and she wasn't. Then, as now, she was a pretty laid-back, quiet person. A dynamo underneath her bangs, however. We've stayed friends for these past 10 years, through many conferences (including BlogPaws), and I don't think I have ever let Celeste know how much I treasure our friendship. But, there you have it... I am blessed to know her, and I love her blog even more now, and the world is a better place for having her in it. I cannot imagine the blogosphere without the chatty, witty, funny, Average Jane. I met Susan Getgood at that first BlogHer conference. This woman is like a sister to me. I don't Susan, and her great smile think I've ever told her how important she is; how that first meeting, at a BlogHer party, seeing each other from across the room, and her jumping up to hug me with abandon, made not only my day but my life. Me, little blogger that I was... hardly more than a kindergartener among the high school kids... was being greeted as an equal. As someone who mattered. By someone with far more experience in life and business than I. It took me aback, just a bit. I truly couldn't imagine why someone as talented as Susan would give me the time of day. (she will likely tell you I hid it well... truth is, I held that insecurity close to my chest...and over time, with the hlep of people like Susan and Celeste and Toby, who I will talk about soon, I came to see that I was smart, and talented and worth the attention! Oh the wonders of good friends and their unwavering support!) Susan and I were immediate friends of the highest order. From her days as the Marketing Roadmaps blogger, to her launch of Blog with Integrity, to her book, Professional Blogging for Dummies, to her work with BlogHer, we've stayed in touch, we've stayed close, we've laughed and cried together, and reminded each other, "You're top notch, girl friend! You're the best of the best. You're destined for bigger things..." with that deep look into each other's eyes to make the point. Because, real friends want you to be successful and do what needs doing to push you ahead, when you're ready to stop or fall back. Real friends never stop loving you and believing in you. Toby Bloomberg doing a selfie What can I say about Toby Bloomberg? Toby who asked me to moderate a conversation about marketing to women, in an AMA group she was in charge of. ME... author of a book on marketing to women online, with the fun and catchy title of Dickless Marketing... you may laugh, but remember, it's about Dick and Jane...not 'dick'. LOL Toby reminds me to keep creating, keep inventing, keep your eye on tomorrow, Yvonne. Toby who created such a dynamic, innovative group called All the Single Girlfriends, which has not yet seen it's power come to full fruition, has influenced me beyond anything she can imagine. I will never forget the pride I felt when I moderated that chat group and answered questions and talked with Toby about marketing to women and came to love her blog, Bloomberg Marketing. It was a turning point in my career. I had made the grade, so to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at Lip-Sticking