Best Photoshop Action Ever!!

Are you one of those people that is always hiding behind the camera so you don’t have to be in front of it? ME TOO!!!!

All that might be about to change though! I recently found THE BEST PHOTOSHOP ACTION EVER!! I had the these picture from Halloween and they looked yuck. I had on a ton of makeup because well it was Halloween and it was dark and well how the heck cares..as you can see after a few cocktails flash pictures of me just came out a weird combination of splotchy and shiny. Note to self, there is such a thing as too much glitter makeup on Halloween. See. That’s me on the left. Yuck. 

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Normally a shot like this would just go in the delete pile but I really liked this picture and wanted it to look as cute as we really did. So I started Googling how to try and airbrush the picture myself. What I stumbled across was this: Mama’s Powder. (Please note I am not being paid one red cent to say this, in fact I paid her.) It looked pretty cool so I forked out $25 to save myself the headache of trying to learn how to do it myself. And viola!!

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Granted that was my first try at it but it’s pretty awesome. Easy to use. Simple to learn. Way Cool. And and easy to undo if you overdo it. Which trust me you will because it’s so much fun!

So yeah! Now I’m more likely to keep pictures of myself and just fix them. Now if only Mama had a butt reducer then I’d be set!!!

Today’s Business Blog Nosh: You’re Never Too Big To Introduce Yourself

When I first came across today’s post on SmartWomanGuides it reminded me of a episode of Designing Women that I had seen years ago. Charlene had been to visit Charles’ rich and upper crust family for a big dinner and they had made her feel less than equal because she didn’t know her way around a fancy place setting.  Julia was most upset and launched into one of her famous monologues but in there was this little nugget that has always stuck with me…

“Good manners are not something we’re taught to make ourselves took better, they have nothing to do with our self. Truly good manners are meant to help others, the people around us, feel comfortable and happy. That is the point of good manners”

I had never thought of manners that way and that point has stuck with me throughout the years. To use good manners to give the people around me comfort.

Vicki’s post about profiles struck me exactly the same way and I never thought of profiles as being about others, about making them comfortable, and not about me. Creating a personal profile on Facebook or Twitter or on your own blog can feel so braggish, so self serving that often we don’t do it or we don’t do it well. We downplay the very things that will make others feel comfortable contacting us, buying our product, reading our recommendations, or getting to know us. 

This post not only insprired me when writing my bio for Blog Nosh but also got me to go back and re-think the bios I had elsewhere.

Taking Back The Childs Birthday Party (or Kids Just Want To Have Fun)

Puddin’s has a poorly timed birthday. It’s in mid October right when we start getting down to serious holiday planning  and I get all kinds of aggrevated forking out hundreds of $$ for birthday when I know Christmas is right around the corner. It’s not her fault of course so I try to never skimp on the presents but this year I did take matters into my own hands a bit with the party… I’m done paying big $$ for kid birthday experience extravaganza party– DONE I tell you.

So you know what we did – we had a Pancake & Pajama Party.

We put together a simple invitation using Word, printed out copies at home inviting her friends to come over on Saturday morning at 8:45 in the pajamas to decorate pancakes and play Wii.

We had 16 kids over from 3 to 10 and they had a freaking blast.

They played Wii and not even the newest game we had but they chose to play good old standard baseball so the most number of people could play even the little ones – our kids are awesome!!

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And I corralled a couple of laptops and put together a WebKinz station. The idea of logging into Webkinz right next to your friend. Freakin’ mindblowing…

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Then we decorated pancakes with all kinds of fun stuff like fruit and M&Ms

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Then headed outside for presents

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And then they played on the yard… you know like we used to do… for an hour!

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It didn’t take $100s of dollars or a donated organ or heck even a decorated cake to create a party that the kids enjoyed. We got them together and let them play with games/activities that we already had – and they had fun just being together in a big group.

And they all thought it was extra fun because they were in their pajamas. Because they are kids!!! They make their own fun. We parents need to try and remember that sometimes I think.

Trans Siberian Orchestra

They’ll be every where all over the US in the next two months!! Go see them, it was awesome! A must see for the Christmas season – yeah I know it’s early but they only come to town here once a year and it’s always before Thanksgiving. If you’re not sure who they are, you’ve heard the music, trust me, it’s everywhere at the holidays but you might not know their name. I’ll put some links to videos at the bottom.

These pictures were taken last night with the Dr.’s iPhone.

 

Watch a Video of their Music Here

Best Birthday Present Puddin Received

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Here’s a little tip for you If you’re shopping for holiday presents for a 7 year old. Puddin’ received this version of Hasbro’s Guess Who for her birthday and we’ve been playing it non-stop for days.

I don’t think she even remembers I bough her a Nintendo DS. All she wants to do is play this game. And the beauty of it… she can play it with other children. It does not require adult participation  Yeah!!!

It reminds me of Battleship but instead of guessing a location on a grid your guessing the character they chose on their side by asking questions like “Does your person have brown eyes?”  If the answer is no you can use the little door to cover up all brown eyed people and by process of elimination guess who the other person choose.

Hours Hours the kids have been playing this game!!!

This version folds up into a traveling case and has fancy red and green buttons that you push for yes and no that light up and have sound effects so I think that is part of the fascination. I think there are less fancy versions of the game so I’m not sure without the bells and whistles they would like it so much.

This is a perfect gift for a gift exchange where you didn’t know gender. We’ve had everyone from 5 to 10 year olds playing it. I’ll definitely be getting one to throw in our Angel Tree bag this year.

Come Nosh With Me

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Guess who is Blog Nosh’s newest Business channel editor?

Yeap Me!!! Woot!! So please click through and make me look good!!

My first post is up today. It’s from John Moore’s blog Brand Autopsy. John has spent a combined ten years creating, championing, and implementing marketing ideas and branding ideals for Whole Foods Market and Starbucks Coffee.  I first came follow John’s blog after someone gave me his book TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE and although his marketing perspective is primarily B2C, I’ve found that much of what he has to say can easily be translated into my B2B world. And I love his Expresso Shots of Business Wisdom series.He has been recognized by Fast Company magazine as a “leading practitioner of the arts of customer service and marketing.” John is the author of the Brand Autopsy blog,subscribe to the feed here or follow him on Twitter.

Just Like Her

Last night when Barack Obama was mentioned at the dinner table, Puddin jumped up and announced a new little nugget she had learned yesterday, “There’s going to be a little 7 year-old-girl, JUST LIKE ME, living in the White House now!”

Just like me.

I smiled and said, “Yes, she’s going to live there with her older sister and they are going to have a lot of fun. They are going to get a puppy.”

A Puppy! The subject quickly turned to puppies but my heart was still racing a little at that statement.

Just like me.

That one sentence, innocent and simple said so much.

Made me proud of her, proud of myself as a mother, as her mother.

My own mother and I recently had a disagreement discussion about “The Way I Was Raised,” in regards to racism and I realized maybe for the first time just how far off our realities were on the topic. To set the stage – I was born in 1967 in Atlanta – SW Atlanta – which at that point was rapidly turning from working class white neighborhood to black. It was the beginning of what was then called The Great White Flight, as family after family sold their house and moved to the suburbs. We moved in 1970.

I was just three and I was excited to be moving to a great big house, 3 times bigger than the one we were leaving that was closer to my grandparents and the country club pool. But even at three I was not unaware of the things that I heard the adults whispering about. This move wasn’t just about a bigger house and golf and easy-grandparent-babysitting. It was about safety and security. I heard the hushed references to things “going black .. getting worse.” The older people, my grandparents and great-grandparents still used the termed “colored” but I wasn’t supposed to. “Granny is old and stuck in her ways but it isn’t polite” – anymore. (Notice I didn’t say “wrong” I wasn’t taught that it was wrong)

But because it was the late 60s, and Atlantians considered themselves much more metropolitan and progressive and enlightened and educated than the rest of The South it was never, ever, said out loud. Always whispered. This wasn’t Alabama or Mississippi, we aren’t like that. There was no overt outright racism being taught to us, just a silent quiet kind.

The children like myself were taught to be kind and polite towards people whose skin did not match ours… but we were not allowed to play with them or know them. Wait, I take that back, it’s not that we weren’t allowed – we were never given the opportunity.

We were taught, purposefully or not, silent racism. If you’re somewhere like the playground and a lot of “those people” start showing up – don’t complain, just leave. Don’t mix, don’t get to know them. Just quietly and politely remember that you have something else to do. When Mom says you need to go, don’t argue, just obey. The message was clear even if it was never spoken aloud.

So what I learned was this – I am different than them, and I should be nice but not get too close. Don’t seek to understand or relate. Be polite and kind at all times but never forget I am different. Better.

Yes, Better. Never said out loud but always there underneath, unsaid – better. Too good to live in this neighborhood anymore – We’re moving. It’s just a happy accident that everyone in the new place is white.

My elementary school had one black child. He went to school with us because his mother was our bus driver. He was in my grade, my age, but he was not just like me. Never jus like me.

Fast forward a generation later and this is one of those things that I list on the things “To Do Differently Than My Parents”

Do not teach unspoken racism.

My mother swears she never did it. Never implied those sorts of things. Her memory is selective, on this topic and a number of others. But she also doesn’t understand today why I give her a look when she talks about not going to Wal-Mart on Sunday mornings – because that’s when all the Mexicans go. I shake my head and ask her not to talk like that in front of the girls. If I think they heard, I say out loud, “It’s wrong.”

As a parent I had to come to terms with the fact that this tendency is in me too. It was ingrained in me at a young age and will always be a part of my upbringing and who I am. I look at a person of color and I see their color. And I automatically think of leaving. But I am a grown up now , and as an adult, I now know that the polite thing to do is not to excuse myself – even if it is automatic instinct. The right thing to do is stay.

I require myself to stay, to talk, to engage, and get to know. To form bonds and friendships. To be open and to love. It is what I want my children to see me doing. The example I seek to set for them. I see it is my obligation as a parent but in truth it makes my life so much richer than it’s ever been. So much more interesting.

A year or so ago Puddin’ was telling me a story of a classmate from school and I was confused about who the story was about. When she started to clarify for me who she was talking about by referring to the seating arrangement in class I realized quickly that she was talking about a African-American child who sat across from her but I didn’t let on that I knew who she meant. I pressed her for a physical description to see what it would be. “What does she look like?” I asked holding my breath. The answer, “She’s tall you know… The girl who lost her front teeth already Mom!”

It makes my heart swell with pride to know that Puddin’ looks at Sasha Obama and all she sees is a 7 year-old-girl, just like her. Just like her.

Just like her except that whole White House thing … oh and the Puppy, the Puppy…. Why oh why did I ever mention the Puppy to her?