Thursday, April 30, 2009

love you.

thankful thursday.

Ancient Greek philosopher (I sometimes wonder whether these guys had day jobs . . .) Epicurus believed the purpose of his philosophizing was to lead a happy, tranquil life, full of peace, freedom from fear and worry, self-sufficiency and a broad circle of friends.

Quoth Epicurus:

"Do not spoil what you have 
by desiring what you have not, 
but remember that what you now have 
was once among the things you only hoped for."

Dang, those ancient Greeks got it — almost 2,500 years ago!!

So thanks, Epicurus, for the reminder. Here are my top twelve gratitudes for today:

1. I, a natural catastrophizer, am not panicking about either the struggling economy or the swine flu.

2. My sweet, smart, kind & gifted husband (for he is surely something I once hoped for, earnestly and lengthily).

3. My talented, turbulent 'tween & my sensitive, silly six-year-old (oh, how I hoped for such beautiful children!).

4. All of our good health.

5. A comfortable work flow.

6. I don't need bifocals just yet.

7. I think I might have finally found a new dentist.

8. Our beautiful home, which I'm slowly but surely shaping up (again, a dream realized).

9. Happy mornings (few & far-between, but a wish come true, nevertheless).

10. Flying kites.

11. Sonic happy hour.

12. Dr. Maya Angelou, 81 (had the privilege of seeing her perform live last week — amazing, & surprisingly hilarious!).

So, what are you thankful for this Thursday afternoon??

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

of peace & pups.

In the "it doesn't get much more Austin-y than that" department, I want to offer a shout-out to Woofstock at Waterloo, which will happen this Saturday, May 2nd, at Austin's Waterloo Park from 10a to 5p.

Austin is consistently among the top five most pet-friendly American cities, and has one of the top pets-per-capita counts. Combine our passion for pets with a Keep-It-Weird Woodstock-knockoff happening, and I suspect this new event will become a mainstay for the River City.

Anyway, Woofstock at Waterloo is a *FREE* daylong dog-friendly festival benefiting the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization supporting animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. The canine-centric celebration will feature food and shopping booths, doggie wellness exams, pet care presentations, mongrel makeovers, costume contests, live music and much more.

So if you're in or close to Austin this weekend, be sure to bring your pooches to the park for some far-out furry fun!! And for further dog-friendliness around Austin, just click here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

an irrepressible icon worth remembering.

Bea Arthur — my favorite forbidden feminist and golden girl — died Saturday at her Los Angeles home of cancer. She was 86.

She was born a native New Yorker named Bernice Frankel. She adopted the nickname "B" as a child and lengthened it to Beatrice because she imagined it might look good up on a theatre marquee. The surname Arthur is a modified version of the name of her first husband, screenwriter and producer Robert Alan Aurthur.

While she is best known for the two iconic TV sitcom roles she played — fierce feminist Maude Findlay in the 1970s' Maude, and wisecracking Dorothy Zbornak in the 1980s' The Golden Girls — Bea had a long professional life on the stage, too. She originated the role of Yente the Matchmaker in the 1964 Broadway premier of Fiddler on the Roof, and she earned a Tony Award in 1966 for playing Angela Lansbury's best friend, the drunken actress Vera Charles, in the Broadway musical Mame.

But Maude and Dorothy were what brought Bea to America's attention. Bea was cast as the title character in Maude in 1972; the series was created following a single guest appearance by Bea on All in the Family as Edith Bunker's loudmouth liberal cousin. Tackling serious social and personal issues ("We tackled everything but hemorrhoids," Bea later quipped) with a humorous approach, Maude lasted six seasons and earned Bea her first Emmy Award in 1977.

In 1985, Bea was cast as one-fourth of a comedic quartet in The Golden Girls. Along with co-stars Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty, Bea's character again addressed some difficult issues, this time centered around aging, with witty repartee, spotlighting Bea's trademark timing and deadpan delivery. She stayed with the show for seven seasons, earning her second Emmy Award in 1988.

Bea was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame last year.

Her second marriage, to director Gene Saks, lasted almost 30 years. Together, they adopted two sons — Matthew, an actor, and Daniel, a set designer. Bea leaves them behind, as well as two granddaughters.

I loved Bea Arthur's snarky Dorothy, and — though Maude was not a program permitted in my hyper-conservative parents' home during my growing-up years — still I love her courage in creating such a strong, sassy character for women to admire and aspire to, in TVLand forevermore.

Right on, Bea.

Friday, April 24, 2009

keeping the social-media party in check.

Feeling blogged down? FaceBook-planted? LinkedIn-out? Utterly Twitter-pated?
You're not alone.

Between the onslaught of new social media and ongoing coverage of it by the regular media, maybe you're feeling just a tad anti-social? Sadly, it looks like you may be able to avoid joining the party for only so long, as social media is quickly getting down to business.

Yes, blog posts and fan pages and tweets (oh, my!) are becoming the new gadgets in the business toolbox — and goodness knows, we can use all the bottom-line lifters we can get in today's gravity-prone economy.

But how to use social media to benefit your business effectively and — maybe more importantly — efficiently? Well, one good thing about new technologies is they can create new business opportunities.

Introducing my friend and fellow freelancer Amy Hufford of Stellar Communications. Amy, who loves and is way into emerging technologies (and especially conquering them), has just added a new offering to her menu of services: Social Media Planning.

For a flat fee, Amy will review your current online communications — your website + whatever social media you may already be dabbling in — then talk with you at length about what you're doing now, what you want to be doing, how much time you want to spend doing it and how you want it all to work together.

Finally, she'll put together a social-media strategy for you, complete with which social media you should be leveraging (and what's a waste of time/energy for your purposes), how much time you should be spending keeping up with it, content examples specific to your business, and best practices recommendations. Amy can also train you or your staff to execute your social-media plan.

Oh, and Amy's company name just happens to be a direct reflection of her work: stellar.

So, if you or your company is struggling with social media, visit Amy at her website or her LinkedIn page (and yes, you can find her at FaceBook & Twitter, too).

She Amy-zing.  ;D

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

hole-y green typeface, batman!!

OK, it actually has nothing at all to do with Batman, but anytime you begin an exclamation with the word "holy" (or the wordplay equivalent, "hole-y"), then you've got to end it with "Batman!!" It's like a law or something.

Anyway, it looks like I may be a few months behind the eco-curve, but now that I know about it, I've just got to let you, my faithful followers, in on this: ecofont. Already downloaded it and using it for every document you print? Good for you. Not sure what I'm babbling about? Welcome clarification from SPRANQ creative communications of The Netherlands.

What we print daily uses not only paper, but also ink. So the folks at SPRANQ began to think — how much of a letter can be removed and the letter still be readable?

Following extensive testing of all sorts of shapes, the best results were produced using small circles. Thus was born ecofont, a typeface that uses up to 20% less ink to print it.

Less ink = fewer ink cartridges = less waste/recycling = happier Earth.
*AND* it's free to download (yes, for both PC and Mac), free to use.

Go now. Click here.

Then change all your default printing fonts.
Be kind to the Earth.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

pretty paper. pretty effective.

Yes, the bulk of my work interaction as an independent business and marketing writer is conducted via email. And yes, I'm plugged into FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and this blog. I do my best to keep up with the daily evolution of this e-universe (or is it un-E-verse?).

But at heart, I'm really still just a girl who likes paper.

I love the feel of it between by thumb and fingers. I like to flip through it, turn it over, fold and unfold it. I like to highlight and write on it, line it up, binder-clip and staple it.

I print on both sides of it and recycle it like a madwoman. But I shudder whenever others speak of going paperless or *gasp!* a paperless world. That's no dream of mine, I tell you. The girl can't help it.

So I was dutifully delighted by a recent Marketing Minute e-newsletter I received from marketing consultant and author Marcia Yudkin, touting the benefits of keeping real mail in your business' marketing mix. She begins:

More and more companies and organizations have gone email only in communicating with actual and potential customers. It's earth-friendly, easier logistically and considerably cheaper than sending stuff by mail.

Yet Yudkin goes on to say that smart marketers should continue to include some mailings in their marketing plans, for four key reasons:

1. You don't want to put all your communications into one e-basket. If a customer changes e-addresses without notifying you or opts out to reduce their inbox influx, then you've lost them forever.

2. You don't want your communications to be dismissed without even a look-see. Many people filter or file their email without ever opening it. But most people will at least glance at both sides of a postcard before it hits the recycle bin.

3. You want your communications to stand out. Email volume is rising while mail volume is falling — it's easy to guess in which medium you're more likely to shine.

4. You want the ability to target your communications. Using postal list services to mail to a specifically defined audience is smart. Using email to do it is spam.

Additionally, from my perspective, there's much to be said for the power of a handwritten note to a client — be it one of gratitude, happy congratulations, simple base-touching or condolence. Real mail always seems to be appreciated.

So, at the risk of sounding terribly un-green (the day before Earth Day, too) — and French, t'boot — I say, vive la papier!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

becoming skilled at spirituality.

What if spiritual values aren't beliefs we follow, but coping capabilities we learn?

Ta-da! They are, according to Spirituality for Kids (SFK), an international program that provides free classes to help empower children to manage life's challenges.

Founded in 2001, SFK was established to create global change by giving children the understanding that all possibilities are within — their choices can and do influence the world around them. SFK provides kids with an awareness of themselves, of others and of the interconnectedness of all things, so that they can grow up to be caring, responsible citizens of the world. Religion not included (though not precluded).

SFK students participate in activities, artwork, dialogue, games and music, all designed to teach to four cores of personal strength:
1) social competence (caring for, sharing with and tolerance of others);
2) problem-solving (cause-and-effect, consequences);
3) self-esteem and sense of autonomy (upping happiness and satisfaction through wise choices); and
4) a sense of purpose (developing potential and sharing it).

Example SFK exercise: A darkened room, kids holding candles. One child's candle is lit, then each child must use his/her own candle to light another child's. Lesson learned? Sharing your personal light with others not only doesn't take away from your own light, but also adds more light to the world.

Cool, yes?

And according to a recent Rand Corporation study, SFK measurably increases positive behaviors, decreases behavioral problems and improves academic outcomes. Quoth the research, "The SFK program had positive effects on virtually every domain covered by the survey."

While SFK is aimed at 7- to 12-year olds, Spirituality for Teens (SFT) targets 13 to 18-year-olds.

Maybe they'll consider developing Spirituality for Mid-Lifers (for us slower learner types), or — since the program's currently available in the U.S. in only LA, NY, Boston and Miami — a do-it-yourself Spirituality for Moms "home-school" sort of kit.

Anybody want to get one of these programs up and running here in Austin? Anyone?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

life is tweet.

It sure seems to be going thataway, anyway.

Just a note to let my fabu blog followers know that along with my girl Oprah, I've officially joined the global songbird-fest known as Twitter.

I envision my tweets as an opportunity to offer bits and pieces of my writerly wisdom, as well as cross-support my beloved blog and other wow web stuff I discover.

So follow me up to the trees and listen to my song of 140 characters or fewer: @kristencard.

["Lake Oswego" original map painting by Rachel Austin; click here to visit her etsy shop.]

Friday, April 17, 2009

a movie worth watching.

Though Irena Sendler died almost a year ago (5.12.08), Hallmark wants to make sure that though she's gone, she's not forgotten.

Irena Sendler was a Polish social worker who rescued over 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. At remarkable personal risk, Sendler devised spectacular schemes to smuggle children past Nazi guards, delivering them to safe homes, farms and convents via ambulances, suitcases, even wheelbarrows.

Often referred to as "The Female Schindler" (why not call him "The Male Sendler"?), Sendler showed quiet compassion, courage and heroism, that saved not only thousands of Jews' lives, but also countless generations of their descendants.

The Hallmark Hall of Fame presents and Anna Paquin stars in Sendler's story, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," this Sunday, April 19th @ 8 PM Central on CBS.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Love Craig Ferguson and his wacky puppet posse. Enjoy two minutes of Scottish silliness:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

t-minus 23 days to freebies.

I'm rather a believer in "whatever you pay attention to grows," so I've deliberately tried not to focus my posts on America's current economic cluster-fest (not that I can inhibit the downward spiral single-handedly, but I figure every little bit helps).

But now, I'm gleeful to blog about something you'll be able to get absolutely *FREE* (for a limited time), and which I feel is even more relevant and necessary for women than ever, due to the skyrocketing stress afflicting American families today.

Here's the deal: Beginning May 8th — for 48 hours only, over Mother's Day weekend — Austin author and life coach (and my dear friend) Renée Trudeau will be offering her amazing and award-winning book, The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life, as a *FREE* download (a $20 value).

The book, which originally debuted two years ago, has helped thousands of women
— reconnect with who they are and nurture themselves,
— manage their energy and practice saying "no,"
— feel more peaceful and present, and
— tap into the transformative power of self-care.

The book is beautiful, practical and life-changing. Seriously. It will lift you up.

The *FREE* book download is part of the launch of Renée's intention to help women LIVE INSIDE OUT. Here's how she explains LIO:

More than ever, thousands of us are hitting the 'pause' button and reflecting on what’s really important in life. We’re realizing our external environment can change on a dime. And we’re seeing how essential it is that our actions, words, and thoughts align with our internal wisdom and core values.

I believe that our inner life should be as rich as our outer life. What would this look like for you? For many, this means:
  • living more intentionally;
  • living a life driven by your internal values, as opposed to external or societal values;
  • living from a place of peace, rather than a place of fear (and making decisions that are reflective of this); and
  • responding to circumstances, rather than reacting to them.

  • I encourage you to take part in our celebration and begin exploring ways you can approach your relationships, work and life — from the inside out.

    Renée will also be leading a *FREE* "sampler" one-hour Personal Renewal Group virtual living room gathering on June 11th, open to all (more about Personal Renewal Groups later; click here for more info or to sign up now).

    And I will be hosting a gleeful giveaway of LIVE INSIDE OUT tee shirts and bumper stickers over Mother's Day weekend, right here on my little old blog.

    Stay tuned for further details!!

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    love this.

    "It's best to assume heaven is 
    right here, right now,
    and let the stars fall 
    where they will."

    — Margaret Gunther —

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    introducing b'obama.

    That's Bo Obama, the First Family's new addition — a six-month-old Portuguese Water Dog, welcomed to the White House over the weekend.

    Bo was a gift for the Obamas from U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, who himself has three of the breed — Sunny, Splash and Cappy. First daughters Malia and Sasha named the puppy because of their cousins' cat (also named Bo), and because of Michelle Obama's father, nicknamed Diddley — as in Bo Diddley.

    Apparently, a top-secret get-to-know-you session between Bo and the Obamas happened a few weeks ago. "The Meeting," as White House staffers referred to it, clearly went well. Not too surprising, since Senator Kennedy's dog trainers have been working with the little guy to ensure he's the only doggie gift to be found upon the White House floors.

    According to Wikipedia, "Portuguese Water Dogs make excellent companions. They are loving, independent and intelligent, and are easily trained in obedience and agility skills. Once introduced, they are typically friendly to strangers, and actively enjoy being petted, which, due to their soft, fluffy coats, is a favor humans willingly grant them."

    All good things, since all of First Family members are also first-time "dog people." Neither the President nor the First Lady had dogs in childhood, and Sasha and Malia have never had pets.

    Kindly tally Bo as yet another campaign promise fulfilled by President Obama.
    And let us all hope the Obamas don't turn into people like this:

    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    slow down, folks!

    I do my best to listen to whatever it is The Universe is trying to tell me — preferably before it reaches the "brick bat" stage (ouch).

    So when I received the link to this post from the New York Times parenting blog, Motherlode, not once, not twice, but three times last week from three different sources, I figured I had better a) read it, b) pass it on, and c) try to live it a little more. In brief, it's an e-Q&A with author Carl Honoré, father of the Slow movement, specifically about something called "Slow parenting."

    I've been tuned in — on and off, actually, since slow is not my natural speed — to the Slow Parenting thang for some time, thanks to body+soul and other like-minded publications, as well as hometown resource Honoré — author of The Power of Slow, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed, and most recently, Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting — provides some gems about the basis of the Slow movement and how it applies to parenting overall and in relation to our ebbing economy.

    A few of my fave excerpts from the e-interview:

    "'Slow' in this context doesn't mean doing everything at a snail's pace. It means doing everything at the right speed. It implies quality over quantity, real and meaningful human connections, being present and in the moment.

    "To me, Slow parenting is about bringing balance into the home. Slow parents give their children plenty of time and space to explore the world on their own terms. They keep the family schedule under control so that everyone has enough downtime to rest, reflect and just hang out together. They accept that bending over backwards to give children the best of everything may not always be the best policy.

    "Slow parents understand that childrearing should not be a cross between a competitive sport and product development. It's not a project; it's a journey.

    "In these belt-tightening times, and after a period of wild and reckless spending, maybe people will begin to rediscover the simple pleasures in life. For families, that means spending time together that doesn't revolve around buying stuff, following a schedule or building the perfect resume.

    "This transition will be hard, because we are all so marinated in the idea that we have to push, polish and protect our kids with superhuman zeal, that we have to strain every sinew in our bodies and stretch every dollar we earn to the breaking point, to give them the best of everything and make them the best at everything. But with time, I think many parents will feel relieved that they have been liberated from the tyranny of supplying the perfect childhood."

    I find the notion that we shouldn't be trying to give our children the best of everything fascinating and refreshing . . . and you??

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    kelly rae, possibilitarian.

    Kelly Rae Roberts is a once-East-Coast-now-West-Coast artist and author whose work is meant to expresses connectedness, honesty, lightheartedness, tenderness, vitality, color, clarity, peace and a sense of limitlessness. Her blog is called Taking Flight into Art, Love & Life, for goodness' sake.

    Kelly Rae came to my attention through her etsy shop, which features prints of her beautiful and inspirational mixed media artwork (and from which I bought Hope, above). According to KR, she has spent much of her life in the company of women, and her pieces grow out of the kindred support she has felt from many of them. Again, cool beans!

    You can find Kelly Rae at her website, her blog, her etsy shop, her FaceBook page, her FaceBook fan page, and coming soon, in stores nationwide through licensing agreements which will put her art on cards, journals, magnets and much more.

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    are you there, Harvard? it's me, Rwanda.

    We've all been waylaid by the occasional miseries of menstruation. But in the USA, fear of spreading a menstrual mess isn't one of them, thanks to the big business known as feminine hygiene.

    But in developing countries like Rwanda, for example, where sanitary supplies are scarce and steeply priced, women are left to use rags, mud or bark to stem their flow as best they can, and often must miss school or work days due to their period.

    Harvard Business School recently selected its first-ever Social Entrepreneurship Fellow, Elizabeth Scharpf, a 2007 HBS grad working to deliver minimally priced maxi pads to developing countries. Scharpf will use the $25,000 grant to help launch Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), beginning in Rwanda. SHE is developing a sanitary pad from local materials, which will cost about 30% less than brands currently available. Local women will manufacture and market the pads, and eventually will own the business themselves through microfinance loans.

    Scharpf's brainchild will not only stem the bleeding for Rwandan girls and women, but also create local jobs, promote sustainable agriculture and help open up a dialogue about sexual health. No cramp in her style.

    Now, maybe Harvard can work on eradicating its hideous patriarchal mascot.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    love life? love art? love kal.

    Kal Barteski is a Canadian artist who expresses her love of life through art, design, marketing, inspiration and achievement. Her blog is called [i] love life, for goodness' sake.

    Kal came to my attention through her you-are-awesome custom posters, which she's got available for a limited time here (and which I ordered immediately for each of my kids, left). Eight animal silhouettes and infinite color combinations to choose from, plus you can choose your own adulating verbiage. Cool beans, huh?

    Who do you know who can use a happy reminder of how awesome/amazing/incredible/ beautiful/fantastic/loved they are? How about you?? :)

    Monday, April 6, 2009

    the drug I need.

    Actually, I aspire to needing this decoy drug. Gotta love the Onion News Network:

    HAHAHAHA . . . luckily for me, they didn't mention excessive use of exclamation marks and smiley-face icons!!  :)

    Friday, April 3, 2009

    lightning strikes the UK.

    Just in case you somehow missed the massive international media blitz about it over the past couple of days, First Lady Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth II are new BFFs.

    The 45-year-old presidential partner and the 82-year-old matri/monarch apparently hit it off rather well during the First Couple's skip across the pond. The two women were introduced to one another Wednesday at a reception for world leaders hosted by HRH, and by the evening's end, had progressed from handshake to half-hug (Michelle Obama's left arm, Lightning, was the lucky limb providing the royal wrap).

    According to the Associated Press via London's Daily Mail, the "two women clearly took to each other." And an anonymous spokesperson at Buckingham Palace called the interaction "a mutual and spontaneous display of affection."

    Now that's some powerful girl-on-girl action.

    Thursday, April 2, 2009


    it's spring. a time for creation. a time for creativity.
    just for april . . .

    create change.
    create connection.
    create closeness.
    create a place just for you.
    create opportunity.
    create for fun.
    create for profit.
    create just to create.
    create art.
    create good.
    create happiness.
    create peace.
    create a life you love.

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    celebrate the everyday - april.

    It's April, 2009. How will you celebrate being a woman?

    April 7 - No Housework Day
    April 9 - Full moon [the Pink Moon]
    April 10 - National Siblings Day
    April 15 - Equal Pay Day & That Sucks Day [hmmm . . . related, maybe??]
    April 16 - National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day
    April 17 - Blah Blah Blah Day
    April 18 - Teach Your Daughter to Volunteer Day
    April 21 - Teach Your Children to Save Day
    April 23 - Take Your Child to Work Day
    April 30 - Hairstylists Appreciation Day

    Remember, where there is connection, there is power.
    Where there is power, there is hope for change. For ourselves, and for our world.
    We are all connected. We are all powerful.

    Until my next post, be well, be happy & be hopeful.