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Friday, July 23, 2010

Boosting Conservation

A story about a 91-year-old woman in Florida who is still cruising around town in her 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente caught my eye last week. Rachel Veitch has owned her Comet for 46 years and has put a whopping 559,000 miles on it. She bought the car for $3,300 and over the years has given it a lot of TLC to keep it going. In addition to all that TLC, she had the foresight to get lifetime warranties for the muffler, battery and shocks, so she’s been able to keep her operating costs to a minimum. And after all these years together, she still considers her car “the most gorgeous thing on earth.”

Obviously Rachel has gotten a lot of enjoyment, service and value out of a purchase made 46 years ago. In this fast-paced, throw-away society, wouldn’t it be nice to find something as economical and serviceable as Rachel’s old car? Not only would we save a lot of money over the years, we’d also save a lot of landfill space.

The American way is to replace the old with the new at an ever-increasing rate, most often without a care about what resources are being used or abused. Though it wouldn’t be beneficial to our floundering economy if all of us suddenly decided we were content with a trusty old car like Rachel, it would be refreshing if more of us placed a little more emphasis on valuing and preserving what we do have.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trendy Clothes and Maternity Wear: a One-Stop Shop for Whom?

When I think of affordable chic trendy clothes, Forever 21 comes to mind. When I’m up for the hunt, I’ll browse the racks for cute tops but usually avoid their way-too-skinny jeans. And I definitely check out the accessories. But between the groups of teenage girls clumped at different spots in the stores, the popular crowded fitting rooms and the over-picked racks, shopping at Forever 21 can be an adventure.

My daughter just turned 10 and soon enough she will be the one shopping at Forever 21 with her friends. So I was a little shocked when I heard about their new marketing strategy to sell maternity clothes in their stores under their
Love 21 Maternity label. As a teenager, I loved to experiment with clothes but not to necessarily pay designer prices. I still do, and I see the same qualities in my daughter. Forever 21 was always a good option to express your inner fashionista without going broke. But this new move makes me think twice about going to their stores with my 10-year-old.

As a mom trying to balance fashion freedom, self-expression and a focus on higher education and setting goals, I’m conflicted by the message of making maternity clothes readily available where your shopper’s average age is between 14-22 – at least that’s who I see when I shop at Forever 21. My daughter is already surrounded with Hannah Montana all grown up cuddling with her boyfriend, i-Carly kissing a boy in his room, and while she doesn’t watch The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the continual advertising for this show on the Disney Channel is a constant reminder that teenage sex and pregnancy is becoming too much of a norm for today’s generation.

I am in constant battle with the barrage of images and often conflicting messages (i.e., Bristol Palin’s abstinence ads after having her baby) that surround my children, I don’t need the added pressure of having to explain why the cute mini skirt is right next to the spandex-banded maternity jeans. However, it does open a dialogue, and we can always talk. A conversation. Imagine that.

I think for now, we’ll be doing a little less shopping at Forever 21 and a little more girl talk.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Best Social Media Tips from This Week

I frequently trawl the Internet for articles and blog posts on the latest and greatest social media tips, tricks and ideas – hey, it’s a low-cost way to get an education! I’d like to share a few of the articles that I found to be especially helpful this week.

10 SEO Tips to Make Your Blog Search Engine Friendly from CisionBlog
This is a great list of simple ways to optimize your blog and blog postings so search engines and interested readers can find your content more easily. For example, did you know that Google treats hyphens, not underscores, as spaces and that you can modify a posting’s permalink?

Survey: 75% of Journalists Find ‘Targeted’ Press Releases Useful from PRNewswer Of course, the key word here is “targeted,” but it’s nice to see that traditional tactics aren’t totally dying off as news gathering goes more and more digital.

10 Tips For Maximizing Your Discoverability on YouTube from Social Times
In such a visual culture, YouTube can be a great resource for getting your message out. However, it can also be very challenging to get viewers if you aren’t this week’s viral video. This is a very helpful list of ways to increase your video’s chances of being discovered. Some are pretty common sensical, but it’s a good checklist to have on hand when posting new content.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Have you heard of HR 5034?

If you drink wine, beer or spirits, then if HR 5034 passes through Congress it will have a big effect on you, restricting what you can buy and increase its cost.

HR 5034 is a bill that is being pushed by a number of liquor distributors in several states. One of the things they don’t like is the idea that you can order wine from your favorite winery and have it delivered to your door.

Years ago liquor laws supported a structure that mandated liquor distributors having exclusive control of all liquor sales in their territory. It meant that nothing was sold unless they got their cut.

In recent years the distributors have been losing their hold as states changed these laws. It has led to lower prices and larger selection for consumers. Wine lovers across the country were the big winners because it has meant that they can mail order wines from anywhere in the country, wines that were not available locally because local distributors didn’t carry them.

Now the distributors want to renew their grip nationwide with a federal law, undoing the progress of the last 10+ years.

If you love wine, especially if you buy wine from out of state and have it shipped to you, contact your congressional representative and urge them to vote no on HR 5034.