moda vivendi

I'm just talking to myself. We do that sometimes, me and myself.

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Peter Pan Phenomenon

I don’t want to grow up.  Wait, don’t close the page!  Hear me out!

I’m not saying that in a Peter Pan way (well maybe that’s partly it).   I’m saying that in a state-of-mind kind of way.  I heard a while ago, and keep hearing now, that in order to be creative, you can’t lose your wonder of the world.  I feel like that’s especially true for people in creative fields, be it writing, advertising, designing, or even landscaping.  In my probably-very-biStarased opinion, there are too many people who are rigid, unforgiving, and unyielding.  That harshness turns into skepticism and eventually cynicism.  Once you hit that point, well, forget it.  Try as you might to be good at what you do, the magic is gone.  You’re stale.

True, you have experiences that you can’t “un-experience” that shape who you are as an adult.  I’m not saying to forget those experiences because that is what makes you you.  But if you hold on to that little bit of wonder, remind yourself that there are silver linings to every cloud, great things will happen.  Creativity will flow and you’ll be able to keep your sense of child-like enthusiasm.

Sometimes I feel like there are so many people my age who are leaps and bounds ahead of me.  I feel like there’s the expectation for me to be an over-achiever and head-and-shoulders above everyone else yet I’m just average.  I drive to an average office in an average car, sit in an average cubicle with an average computer, have average coworkers whom I averagely get the idea.  It’s hard to do great work when it feels like there’s something or someone keeping you down.  Don’t become complacent and a “boring adult” – hold on to that bit of wonder that makes you try harder, believe more, desire something better.

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Social media needs to be social

This was originally posted over at theBrewRoom blog.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that social media is, in fact, social.  Every time that certain car commercial comes on (you know, with the rep reading tweets and their hashtags), someone in the room with me asks, “What’s a hashtag?”  It’s a link to all the tweets in the world with said hashtag.  Then the inevitable, “But…..why?”  So you can see what people are saying (and jump into the conversation, of course)!  We’re so focused on using the Internet to throw information out into the universe that we forget the best way to use it; no one wants to be talked at, they want to converse.  Social media, and the marketing that goes with it, is virtual word of mouth.  It’s a conversation.  There are peoplBill Lumberghe constantly talking with and engaging other people.  If you want your business to be successful, you need to engage as well.

Let’s say I work somewhere like “Office Space.”  I have 3-5 on any given day asking me to tweet something, usually a promotion.  Of course, they all think  their message is the most important one to disseminate (so it must be posted NOW).  Well, when you overload people with text and they aren’t getting anything meaningful out of it, guess what will happen to your message? It’ll get tuned out (or they’ll just unfollow you period).  Now, when Lumbergh comes back 5 minutes later to ask if anyone is talking about it, he’ll be let down because the answer is no.

Long story short: be social.  Show you care about the community that you’ve built:

  • Ask questions.
  • Answer questions.
  • Include comments when you retweet whenever possible.
  • If you need to promote services or events, do it in a way that’s natural and not pushy.
  • Mention people to get the conversation going if you have a piece of information that you think is of interest to them (just don’t be spammy; no one likes that).

And don’t forget to “listen” to the conversations.  It’s a two-way flow of information.  Don’t expect to get a response if you are not responding yourself.

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Five things I love about Lucy

Today is Lucille Ball’s birthday.  I’ve always admired her.  I think her red hair reminded me of my grandmother and since I was little, the two women were inextricably linked in my mind.  One summer, I spent a good portion of my time reading books about her, researching her, and putting together a presentation and speech to deliver to inform others about her (it was for a class, I wasn’t just preaching to people on the sidewalk!)  To say I’ve become familiar with her work is an understatement.  In honor of Lucy, here are five things I love about (and learned from) Lucy.

  1. She knew what hard work and motivation would do.  Lucille Ball started out as a model, worked on Broadway (under a pseudonym), and then “Queen of the Bs” as a B-List contract actress.  From there, she worked her way up to having an integral role in creating I Love Lucy (and a handful of other shows later).  That was a time when women just didn’t do that.  They didn’t sit in business meetings and negotiate contracts, but she did.  Further, after her divorce from Desi Arnaz, she bought out his share of Desilu and worked as a very active studio head.  Lucy knew what her purpose was, what she wanted to do in life, and she followed her ambition to make herself the icon she is today.  Know that you are capable of making your dreams happen, as long as you’re willing to work for it.
  2. She made a fool of herself when women were just supposed to “look pretty.”  Lucy wasn’t afraid to go the distance to get a laugh, whether it was falling, making faces, or attaching bulbous noses to her normal one.  First woman to really portray pregnancy and having a baby on a sitcom?  That would be Lucy.  Beating a dead horse from above, she wasn’t afraid to do what needed to be done; neither should we.  It’s more acceptable today for women to be funny (or CEOs or engineers) than it was in the past, but there’s still that barrier between men and women.  Adopt her fearlessness and do what you need to do to get the job done.
  3. She cared about other people.  When Lucy was younger, she cared for her stepfather’s parents (and her own brother).  When she later moved to Hollywood, her family came too.  She took care of them and helped to provide for them.  Even after her divorce, she and Desi remained close.  This is what you do for family and people you care about.  Never lose that compassion.
  4. She was afraid of birds.  Lucy said that she remembers little from the day of her father’s funeral when she was a young girl, but she did recall a bird getting trapped in the house.  Since then, she was afraid of birds.  She even went as far as removing wallpaper with pictures of birds that she just had hung (not realizing when she purchased the paper that birds were pictured).  We all have those irrational fears; it’s perfectly acceptable to give in to one (just not all of them, because then you’re just a nutcase).
  5. She left a legacy.  I can only hope to be so memorable one day.

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Can’t we all just get along?

I’ve noticed a trend recently.  It isn’t the leggings-as-pants, using-colored-pastels-in-your-hair, each-finger-nail-painted-a-different-color trend.  But trust me, you can’t pull this one off, either.  It’s incredible rudeness.

In the past week, I have noticed cars rolling through intersections with pedestrians still in the crosswalk, people pulling U-turns in the middle of the street because they were too lazy to go around the block, and people making a left-hand turn from the right-hand lane.  Then there’s the speed up to get around someone and then slow to a snail’s pace phenomenon that’s been happening.  There is nothing so important that you need to put others in danger because you’re too lazy, stupid, or inconsiderate to wait at a stop sign.

It’s astounding how bubble-like we’ve become.  I’m not saying that I’m the next Mother Teresa and I have no faults, I’m just saying, can’t we all have a little more consideration for our actions?  Think about how you’re really just inconveniencing everyone behind you and looking like a schmuck making that left turn from the right lane.  Granted, if I want to change directions and no one is behind me, I’ll wait until everyone passes and then get in the other lane to turn.  But if someone is behind me, I’ll suck it up, find the next strip mall, and turn around in the parking lot.

It isn’t hard to think about other people but it’s way too easy to think about only ourselves.  Sure, we’re allowed to be selfish once in a while, but just make sure it isn’t “once in a while out of every day.”

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Should Your Business Use Tumblr?

**Please note: I originally posted this on theBrewRoom blog. Head over there to see it in all its glory!

What happened to Tumblr?  It has a couple hundred (million) users, but even then, it seems like it was almost a flash in the pan.  According to WSJ, Tumblr was recently purchased by Yahoo to bring a social networking presence to the company that is mostly used by an older customer base.  A Google Trends search makes it pretty clear that it’s the forgotten middle child of social media.  (Does anyone else appreciate the irony of using Google to report on something Yahoo-related?  Fickle internet..)  So even though it’s hovering in the shadows for now, should your business use Tumblr?

Tumblr’s users are in a younger demographic.  If you’re Newsweek Tumblrmarketing to that younger crowd, this could be a great tool.  But even if you aren’t marketing to a younger crowd, you can utilize Tumblr in an effective way.  Most notably, if you have highly sharable, visually appealing content or snippets of interesting text.  Newsweek, among others, does a great job of this.

It is primarily a visual platform; if you have pictures to share, this is great.  So why not use Facebook or Instagram?  Well, my friends, you can cross-post.  And you can reach more people than just those who follow you.  If someone likes your content, they can “reblog” or share it on their own Tumblr page, and so on and so forth.  So how is it different than Facebook?  You can tag your pictures, similar to Instagram, and let the viral nature of Tumblr do its job.

Sure, you can use this as your sole website for your business, but I like to think of Tumblr as an extension of your brand identity.  The users are a little edgier, a little more tongue-in-cheek, a lot more visual, and therefore more likely to share things they find visually appealing on Tumblr.

The simplicity of this platform is also appealing and so is the ability to curate content.  But to see my full thoughts on that, head over to theBrewRoom (you know you want to)!

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Five Things: My Social Media Marketing Essentials

This week’s Five Things, I bring you my five social media marketing essentials that I can’t live without.  I’m sure you already use them, but if you don’t, look into it (or ask me to do it for you!)  This is by no means a complete list of every tool I use, just the ones I use daily.

1. TweetDeck – Oh how I love TweetDeck.  It is my go-to dashboard for Twitter.  It’s a seamless extension of the Twitter site.  Want to know every time someone checks into your business through Yelp?  Type in the keyword search “[your business] yelp” and it’ll automatically populate a list for you.  Tracking a hashtag campaign?  Type it in.  Yes, HootSuite offers this as well, along with their own great offerings like built-in analytics, but I prefer TweetDeck to manage multiple Twitter accounts for it’s ease-of-use and clean styling.

HootSuite2. HootSuite – Of course, HootSuite made it on this list.  As I mentioned, HootSuite does offer their own analytic reports for use about every social channel they support (we’re talking all the big players here), integration with Google Analytics, URL click stats, and the ability to make custom reports from their data.  While that’s all mighty fine and dandy, tend not to use HootSuite for tracking but for managing channels, like the five Facebook pages I work with every day.  Any more than that, though, and you’ll have to get a paid account.

3. – A clean follower list is a happy follower list.  You can get that with  A basic (aka free) plan will be sufficient; upgrading to pro is just more of a good thing. allows you to see who has engaged with you the most, whom you need to respond to, and suggests who you should follow and/or unfollow based on recent interactions.  On the basic account, you can also track up to three keywords, similar to TweetDeck’s search function, but shows you “top influencers,” or people who use those keywords the most.  It will also suggest that you engage with a particular user based on their use of/relation to your keywords.  It’s a fascinating tool and I’m only scratching the surface.

4. Google Analytics – Yep, Google Analytics is making an appearance on here.  From learning which page your customers are Google Analyticslanding on to creating custom dashboards brimming with just about any metric you’d want to look at, this program will you just about anything you’d like to know about your website traffic.  I’m a particular fan of Visitors Flow.  It tells you on which page people begin, where they go from there, if they drop off, and the percent of each.  As well, you can filter which segment you want to analyze.  Want to know where people go after they come to your site from Facebook?  Segment for “Social.”  Not sure if you keywords are performing?  Boom, set for keywords.  Again, I’m only scratching the surface.

5. / Delivr I use bitly to shorten and track websites that I share with social channels.  I use Delivr to create QR codes (are QR codes over? Yeah, probably, but some people still like to use them for convenience).  Both will show you how many clicks you get, when, and where.  Bitly will tell you who else shared a bitly link to that content.  It will also show you clicks on that link versus clicks on your other links; this is helpful if you’re testing click rates.

Honorable mention to Twimbow because it’s cool.  It’ll organize your Twitter account based on color.  One color for DMs, one color for mentions, etc.

So that’s my short list of things I “reach for” (“click for”?) every day.  What can’t you live without?

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How to justify anything

I’ve recently found myself in the need for a budget. Now, I’ve done this before, but not on a grand scale. During that first budget experience, I learned a valuable lesson: I can justify anything. Are you ready for this ground-breaking piece of information?

It’s called… Cost. Per. Use.

I have a friend I met Sophomore year in school who operated with this as well and we found great success with this model. Here’s what you do: buy something.

Now note the cost. Divide by how many times you think you’ll use it. If you purchased shoes, divide by two (because you have two of them). Done!

Here’s a real-world example. I was shopping with my friend in college (this was our first shopping trips together; after that, I knew we’d always be friends) when20130605-201315.jpg I spotted these cute gray ballet flats at the Gap. I thought they were marked down, but as fate would have it, they were full-priced shoes set on a sale shelf and the salesperson wouldn’t give me the sale price–isn’t that illegal?–but I liked them so I bought them anyway. They were $40. I figured I’d wear them until the weather changed; in State College, I either had 6 days or 26 days until that happened. To begin the CPU model, I assumed I’d wear them at least 10 times before said change occurred. So we’re down to $4 per wear. If you want to go even further, divide that by 2 (because there’s two of them) and we have $2 per wear. I can tell you that I’ve worn these shoes way more than 10 times; I purchased them in 2009 and still wear them, as you can tell by the state of the soles. I’d say I recouped my investment.

It’s a very useful tool if you don’t need something but really, really like something. This is especially useful for good quality products (“I’ll have have this for years”) or a fun splurge (“I’ll just wear this 50 times and then it’ll be $1 per wear”).

One exception: nail polish. Let’s say a bottle of polish costs $5. You have 10 fingers, so you’re already at $.50 per use. If you paint your toes too, and repeat this twice, you’re justified. At this point, you’re at a negative cost per use, so why bother figuring it out in the first place. Just buy the polish and look pretty.

Your guilt has been expunged. You’re welcome.

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Things to remember when posting for your business

**Please note: this was first posted over on theBrewRoom blog.  You can check out the full post (and more) there!

Inspired by a list published on by Simon Dumenco, “9 Media Things That Should Be Immediately Regulated,” I hereby give you my list of 7 Things That Should Be Immediately Regulated When Posting For Your Small Business (or any sized business for that matter) on social media accounts.  Posting for your business can be tricky to navigate at first, but it gets easier with practice (and remembering these reminders).  Please note: there is no particular order because these are all important.  Well, except for No. 1.  That’s pretty important.

5. Henceforth, your posts shall only contain one punctuation character in a row.  I get that you’re excited, but use your words, not your exclamation points.  Exception: ellipses…

4. Henceforth, you shall not ramble.  The ratio of number of characters per post to percent of increased engagement varies between Ragan, Short Stack, and Linchpin SEO infographics, but they all will tell you that posts clocking in around 100-150 characters (3 lines of a Facebook update) see more interactions on Facebook.  Similarly, about 80-100 characters are ideal for a tweet.

3. Henceforth, you shall not post willy-nilly.  Everyone (yes, everyone) will tell you to make a schedule of posts and stick to it.  It’ll keep you organized, keep you on point, and ensure that you post essential messages without becoming overbearing (and annoying).

2. Henceforth, if you must automate posts, know who/what/where/when.  Don’t be the person tweeting your two-for-one BBQ Nite when something devastating (or joyful, but mostly devistating) happens.  Make sure you know what’s going where and when.  Try your best to make a quick change should you need to.

1. Henceforth, you shall be interested in others.  As John of YaJagoff will tell you, social media is losing the “social” aspect.  He’ll also tell you that you can get more people interested in you by showing interest in them.  Think about the last time you were faced to endure time with a “me” person.  It’s a turn-off, yeah?  Don’t be that person online.

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Types of people you see at a concert

Last night, I was treated to one of America’s favorite past-time: a punk-pop concert.  I had the pleasure of witnessing all sorts of characters.  And they weren’t even with the band!

You will see…

The Girl Who Insists on Flinging Her Arms Wildly in the Air.  This girl is probably blissfully unaware of just how entertaining she is.  Along with the arms, you’ll also be treated to foot-stomping, forceful hair-shaking, and lots of woo-ing.  I’m all for you having a good time, but I’m pretty sure you just slapped the guy next to you who hasn’t washed his hair since the band went on hiatus in 2008.

Coinciding with the Girl Who Insists on Flinging Her Arms Wildly in the Air is the male equivalent.  He’s a little more spasmodic, a little less drunk, and not as entertaining.  Chances are, you won’t be able to place a bet on whether or not he’ll slap his significant other.  Pro tip: you can bet on the girls; odds are you’ll some unintentional (and intentional) contact.

The Guy with the Knit Hat.  Sir, do you realize it’s 80 degrees outside?  I’m sure you do, as you’re wearing a t-shirt, shorts/rolled-up jeans, and flip flops.  So please explain to me the knit slouchy hat.  Have you, too, given up washing your hair?

The Girl/Guy with the Phone.  This is probably the single most annoying person you could encounter.  I’ll endure 1,000 Arm Flinging Girls if it means my eyes aren’t assaulted by bright flashes of someone’s phone every minute, checking the latest on Facebook and Instagram.

The Girls Who Talk the Whole Time.  This usually coincides with the Girl with the Phone.  I’m sorry someone is playing music over your conversation.


I blogged in the @ThePintester Movement!

If you don’t know who The Pintester is (aka Sonja Foust) you are missing out.  Go and read her blog, yes her entire blog, right now.  I’ll wait.  She started this crazy idea for everyone to be an honorary pintester and actually DO something that we’ve been saving for “someday” for too long.  So here we are.  You can read more about The Pintester Movement here, The Pintester Movement: Craft ALL The Things.

I wasn’t sure what to do.  In the spirit of The Pintester, I kind of wanted to do something that would go up in flames (I mean figuratively) and really give you guys a laugh.  In actuality, we got literal flames (I mean literally).  I’ve done pins that worked and that didn’t work, but didn’t get documentation.  It was back to the drawing board.  Originally, I was going to test the 7 Days To Skinny Jeans pin, but we were out of yogurt, didn’t have almond milk, and I decided that the idea of oatmeal in a smoothie didn’t appeal to me after all.

Next, I thought I love wrap bracelets for summer, adore Chan Luu, but can’t afford Chan Luu, so I’ll do a wrap bracelet.  This one, in particular.

Image via

But I got about this far before I realized that the instructions tell you to make sure your thread goes through your beads TWICE for a reason.  This was soon abandoned.


My first (documented) pin-fail.

So I moved along to this one, which was still a kitschy-crafty, bracelet-y thing.

Image via

I assembled the necessary materials (minus a needle, didn’t think this was THAT necessary) and was happy to note that no beads were required.  I substituted whatever hemp-like cord I had for the “Chinese knotting cord” that was called for.  Hey, The Pintester does this all the time; I was just following her school of thought.  I decided to use these pendant disks that I’ve had for ages.  The one I picked said “Harmony” because after the first failed attempt at a bracelet, I needed more of that.

And it started out pretty smoothly.  In all my art classes and jewelry making ventures in the past, I’ve never learned the art of “macrame,” so I made up a fun song to remember which thread was going over, which was going under, and which one I was supposed to use.  It got a little wonky toward the end of the strand; I think I was so engrossed in my song that I forgot to remember which side of the thread I was supposed to be working.  Or to count knots so both side would be the same.  That’s okay, it’s handmade; it isn’t supposed to be perfect.

Could be worse..

Could be worse..

I finished the other side with less wonkiness.  Got a little confused on the instructions for the sliding closure, but it was just using a piece of scrap cord to make a few more macrame “stitches” to hold both sides together.  Why the directions couldn’t have said that up front is beyond me.

Macrame closure

Macrame closure

The instructions also said to weave the loose ends into the bracelet, for extra security, using a pair of pliers to pull the needle through the cord.  I passed on that part.  I’m not saying I’m not graceful, but if there is the possibility of breaking, stabbing, maiming, or otherwise harming myself, there’s a good chance it’ll happen.

The instructions also said to seal the ends with a flame.  I think the rational part of my brain was still laughing from the suggestion of using pliers to pull a large needle through the cord to tell the part of my brain that thought, “Well, I didn’t sew up the ends, so sure, let’s ignite,” that it really wasn’t a brilliant idea.  Here’s where the literal flames come in.  Sorry, no picture of that.  I decided that Gorilla Glue was just as good; I’ve used Gorilla Glue and staples to hold sandals together, just the glue will be fine for this.



So there you have it.  I blogged in The Pintester Movement.  Not a “crash and burn” fail, but not a soaring success either.  I proclaim this pin do-able, with attention to fire retardant-ness.