Sunday, February 26, 2012

Over-communicated : How We Are Sharing More Than We Think

What was one of the first things you did this morning when you woke up?

If you answered checking and updating your social networks - you are not alone. In the last few years social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest (just to name a few) have made it easy to share nearly everything you do, what products you like or don't like, places you go and non profits you support. There really is very little about our personal and professional lives that we can't share online.

We have become the over-communicated society. 

And that is exactly what advertisers want to hear. As consumers, the information we share online, willingly, is gold for those companies who are listening - even more valuable is the data that we don't know we are sharing as an example, when we casually accept User Terms. Seriously, when was the last time you read EVERY page of User Terms of Agreement before clicking accept? Yeah, I didn't think so.

According to the Borrell report, 2012 will see online advertising grow by 18% with a whopping 88% of all local online advertising being viewed on mobile devices. This information is great - but what is disturbing to me is the one thing left out of this data - the amount of private information collected on consumers.

Let's take, for example, Facebook and the text messages of smart phone users who downloaded their app that they admit to (and they now deny) reading. No, I am not kidding.

There is big business in spying on our online activity.

The smart phone we are love to take with us everywhere and use share everything we do (well we think almost everything) is in fact selling us out. Imagine the millions of spying smart phones. All of those apps that you think you can't live without are only fronts to data mining - which is BIG business. Who knew! I don't know about you, but I think it's time to weed out some of the hundreds of apps I've downloaded and never use that may be more interested in me than I am in them. 

It seems as though we the consumer are willingly, offering up a very personal look into our everyday lives. Even understanding the potential for snooping and doing our best to try to prevent it we can still unknowingly be communicating information. If you've been keeping up on the news, you may remember learning that Facebook users were unaware that their web adventures were being tracked online, even after "logging out". More recently Facebook's frictionless sharing, is causing a stir because though it is different from Beacon, it is still up to you to turn the "social" sharing action off.

This is a perfect example of how, in our excitement to share our message, update, picture or latest location - we are indeed sharing more than we think. As RT rightly points out "even the most stringent regulation will not save users who voluntarily sign up to give away their most private data."


A book that is now on my must read list :  The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth by Joseph Turow

From Mr. Turow's interview with NPR he shares :

In the future, Turow says, you might be placed into "reputation silos" by advertisers, who will then market products to you accordingly.

"It has a lot of ramifications of how we see ourselves and how we see other people," he says. "... And this is part of another issue we have to think about, which is information respect. Companies that don't respect our information and where it comes from are not respecting us, and I think moving into this new world, we have to have a situation where human beings define their own ability to be themselves."


What are your concerns about privacy and the internet?

How can we participate in social media and still protect our online privacy?

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Power of Words : How Quotes Keep us Inspired, Motivated and Focused

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic As many of you know - I love quotes. Heck, I even come up with some good ones myself.

My love of quotes came from my dad who used to find quotes in newspapers and mail them to me when ever he was on the road. After he passed, my mom would send them to me. Even my favorite tea has quotes on the tag!

It seems that quotes find a way of instantly connecting us when we share them.

We all have our favorite collection of words that we know, no matter what, they will inspire us, motivate us and remind us of the direction we should be facing. When we share our favorite quotes we also share the power that they hold for us.

This quote was given to me years ago by a woman I met when I lived in New York. I see it everyday and everyday I not only think of her - I think of Helen Keller and what they both taught me about the power of words. 


What is your favorite quote?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

From 6 to 16

I've been writing this post for months now - never quite sure when it would be finished, but knowing that I had to write it.

Recently I read a tweet by Lucretia Pruitt that shared Margaret Cho's eloquent rant to Karl Lagerfeld. I agree with Lucretia that Margaret's message should be to the whole industry.

To get you up to speed -  Karl is in hot water because of his ugly comment regarding the phenomenal Grammy Winning singer Adele being "a little bit fat."

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Adele backstage at the 54th annual Grammy Awards

I can't tell you how amazing it was to read Margaret Cho's article . . . she was saying everything I have felt about an industry that convinces women they are not beautiful unless they are a size 0. And Adele's response to his cutting remarks was spot on.

Why is it that some people insist on making a woman's dress size relevant to her accomplishments? 

Some of you may be wondering why I am so passionate about this . . . well, this should help you understand a bit more. . .

Most of my life I have been tall and lanky. At 5'10" I have spent most of my life at about 130-135lbs. And full disclosure - I have more bins of clothes in my attic that are a size 6 than any other size. Call me crazy - but I'm with Margaret - I just cant get rid of them. I am still thinking that one day I'll fit into my favorite Calvin Klein suit or slip on that silk Ralph Lauren gown again.

Some people have suggested that I just go out and buy new "favorite" pieces - and to that I say - you obviously have not tried to find anything for a younger woman in a size 16.

Me at Size 6
You see, it wasn't until I quit smoking nearly 3 years ago that I started to gain weight. Add to that getting married, starting a new business, a few family health scares and deaths and, well . . . let's just say I did not make much time for me.

Thankfully I have a husband who tells me everyday how beautiful I am.

But to be realistic about the obstacles I have to overcome to believe him - as a woman I am conditioned at a young age that I am never good enough as I am.

My hair needs more bounce, my freckles need to be covered up, my skin tone needs evened out, my teeth aren't straight enough . . . I could keep going.

The fashion industry and magazines constantly tell me that I should be thin and young looking for as long as I can pay a doctor to cut, snip, inject and enlarge or starve myself into a designer suit.

For the love of all things sane . . . teenagers and young women that barely eat - are trotted down runways and used by design houses to convince 30+ year old women they need to buy their products.

The next time you go to a grocery store, take a minute to look at the rag mags on the end caps and tell me if you met ANY of those people in person that they would look the way they are 'packaged' to sell a fake ideal. (Some of you may remember the Ralph Lauren model, Filippa Hamilton used in this horribly photoshopped ad that got fired for being too fat at 120lbs. You heard me. 120lbs.)

Me at a size 16
Hell, gain a little weight and the first thing people say is "When are you due" (yes that happened to me.) And no a half hearted apology won't cut it.

So, like Adele, I have no time for people who are so consumed by mean vanity that they use weight gain to try and embarrass people publicly. Petty remarks tell more about the person who says them than the person they are trying to hurt. 

Will I ever be a size 6 again? Maybe, Maybe not . . . but I can guarantee you that my happiness is not dependent on my dress size and neither is my success.

As I am discovering and growing into my authentic self, I see that the people I surround myself with love me just the way I am - whether I am a 6 or a 16.


Thank you Margaret for taking the time to share your frustration and outrage with a clenched jaw and justified disgust.

Thank you Adele for being a role model for all women who fight every day to maintain a positive self image and for standing up to the people who try to politely destroy it. Your beauty and strength is just what this world needs.

Thank you Lucretia for sharing the post and pointing out that we do indeed have an industry of "not good enough" that should be ignored.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Recipe: Pinterest Inspired Breakfast Bites

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I love getting creative with breakfast. But I don't always have time to go full on Julia Child - This recipe is a fast fun alternative to your regular breakfast biscuits!

Normally my husband would insist on making the biscuit dough but typically Sundays are my day to cook & I chose to take the short cut with canned biscuits on this one.

I was inspired by this pin on pinterest for taco cupcakes and wanted to try it with breakfasty ingredients. 

Safe to say that this recipe will be one I use at least twice a month if not more. I could even see altering this recipe with home made dough and smaller cup cake trays for party size spicy sausage bites!

You can keep these tasty treats in the refrigerator for those mornings when you may not have time to fix breakfast or even freeze them & microwave them later. But fresh is best in my book!


Makes : 10 Breakfast bites

Time : 30 Minutes start to finish

Ingredients : 

One can (10) biscuits
1/3 brick of Neese's Sausage (Regular)
4 eggs
2 tbs water
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheese (up to you)
1/2 tbs Savory Spice Shop Tomato Powder
1/2 tbs Savory Spice Shop Cantanzaro Herbs (Salt-Free)

Directions :

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease cupcake tray and set aside.

Over medium high heat tear apart sausage into small pieces and fry until browned. Once cooked add 1/2 tbs Savory Spice Shop Cantanzaro Herbs (Salt-Free) and set aside.

In small mixing bowl whisk 4 eggs, 2 tbs of water, 1/2 tbs Savory Spice Shop Tomato Powder and 1/4 cup sour cream until smooth and frothy.

By hand, take each biscuit and pat thin. Lay into cupcake tin and gently press to mold into shape. Be mindful of the air bubbles!

Spoon in sausage into bottom of each cup.

Add egg mixture with small ladle being careful not to over fill!

Top off with cheese. 

Bake :

Place cupcake tray on a large cookie sheet (trust me on this one, I nearly set off every smoke detector in the house!) 

Bake for 11-15 minutes in the center of the oven. You may need to add a few more minutes until browned on top and the egg is cooked through.

Just be careful not to burn them!


What are some of your favorite, fast breakfast recipes?

Have you been inspired to create something fun by something yummy you saw on pinterest?

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Monday, February 6, 2012

The Gift of a Smile

This morning I was thinking about how grateful I am every time I see a family or friend smile.

Smiling is the barometer of our inner happiness. Now we all have seen the plastic "I'm only doing this because I have to" smiles that hang on faces like a bad Halloween mask. How do those make you feel? Not so good right?

It's just a fact that you just can't fake the warmth that a genuine smile brings.

 Is it easy to smile every day? Hell no. Sometimes it's easier to put on the bad Halloween mask of a fake smile and hope for the best. But if you can see and feel that smile mask when others wear it - they can see yours too.

Today I decided to give my self a gift. . . I wrote down a few things that make me smile to keep with me. The idea is that when I want to smile the least - I can look at this piece of paper and bring my focus back to a more positive place - one of gratitude and true inner happiness.

Now is smiling going to solve the worlds problems? Probably not, but it sure would be nice if more people gave it a try.


Here is a great list of why we all should be smiling more! : Top 10 Reasons to Smile

What makes you smile?