Sunday, June 29, 2008

Confessions of a frugal bride? Try Miserly!

I read Sue Stocks’ story "Confessions of a frugal bride" this morning in the News & Observer of how she came in well under the $28,000 average cost of weddings. She’d find me downright miserly.


After 5 years of living together in Los Angeles, Jon Batson and I married in October of 1994, six months after making the decision to make the leap.

Both being artsy folks, me graphic design with interior design and theatre background and he a singer-songwriter with film, TV and theatre background, we knew lots of talented people. Once the announcement was made friends literally flocked to help and be a part of our ceremony.

Here’s how it went…

First Challenge - Finding a place outdoors in Los Angeles with a waterfall that did not want all the money we could make in our lifetime. Amazingly we found
Pickwick Gardens in Burbank. We met with the ceremony coordinator, checked out the facility and it was perfect for us. Outside, gardens, flowers, waterfall, space for the rehearsal dinner, floral arrangements, bridal lounge (including champagne), canopy, chairs for 200 guests - a great package for $600. That’s right there are no missing zeros $600.

I decided on an eggshell and burgundy/mauve color scheme and went to work. Marti, one of my best friends in LA is an event planner so she was a great help. We decided to cover the poles holding the canopy in silk flowers wrapped around cream-colored tulle to add color and drama. The tulle was cheap, cheap , cheap especially at the wholesale fabric place downtown. For the flowers I scoured the local craft store, found what I wanted, read the label to determine the company they came from, placed an order and got them wholesale.

I picked a dress that fit the occasion and could be worn easily at another formal event. Jon already owned a tux as did all the groomsmen – remember this was LA. The gals liked and looked beautiful in their multi-use burgundy dresses from the supplier in the garment district. Gifts for the wedding party folks I purchased wholesale as well – silver boxes for the ladies, and silver key chains for the guys.

We sent out the invites (postage was only 29 cents back then). At their own expense family flew in from the east coast for the big event and stayed at the hotel near the Media Center in rooms I had negotiated down to the big convention rate. Ok, so I knew the events manager.

The rehearsal dinner was a blast. There were 30 of us - family and friends. At one point I noticed my mom staring at one of the guests I asked her about it and she commented that he looked so familiar. I told her it was an actor friend of ours Michael Fairman. Dad picked up the tab, which was an unexpected boon.

The day of the wedding Marti zipped over to the flower mart for my bouquet of dendrobiun orchids, bridesmaids flowers, boutonnières and the corsage for my mom, then sped over to the facility to direct the team of volunteers who put the tulle and flowers up and took them down after the ceremony. Charli’s gift was the most amazing chocolate cake with butter crème frosting. Her husband needed a wedding for his portfolio and took the photos we wanted under her direction.

Joy Graysen, Rozlyn Sorrell and Juanda Marshall were the vocalists. When Rozlyn sang people came out of the buildings because they thought Whitney Houston was performing. Jon wrote and sang "One Rose" to me. For music Enya, Handels’ "Water Music" and the traditional processional were our choices and Joe worked the board; Stan, the borrowed video cam; and David was our Minister. After our vows we wowed all 200+ guests as we and the bridal party did the tango a la True Lies as the recessional. Many of the guests joined in.

After the obligatory photo session we all went inside to one of the rooms the facility provided us to use. The staff had decorated the cloth-covered tables with live flowers and the trays of canapés were delicious.

Oh, did I mention this cost us nothing. Turned out the facility needed the grounds to set up for another function and had to provide a place for us to go. Now true, I found that out 10 days before the wedding and was so "upset" I could not have the cake cutting outside that they gave us the room, set-up, dance floor, food and cash bar as a way of making amends.

From start to finish the entire event cost us about $2,000. Mom and Dad could not believe it. They said it looked like a $15,000 wedding. He gave me a check and paid for the morning after breakfast too, or maybe it was my Uncle, I don’t remember.

Everyone had a great time and talk of it still. In fact when I was a bridesmaid at my friends’ wedding there a few years later the same coordinator remembered me and told me the staff use our wedding as an example how to put on a great show on a budget.

Keep Creative!

-Eileen

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Law of the Garbage Truck

A friend sent this to me and it is too good not to pass on...

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly.

So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost caused an accident and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.' He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, full of disappointment and rage. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't pick up their garbage and spread it to other people in your life, whether at work, at home, or to people that you don't even know on the streets.

Always remember that good people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so.....

Love the people who treat you right and don't dwell on the ones who don't.

Best,
Eileen

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why Press Releases

Press releases are not ads. We are not actually selling anything. Media people are looking for an angle or a story that would interest their readers. They want to know things like: "What's in it for my readers? Why will my readers care about this piece of information?"

"Why will the media like you? What do you offer that's different than any other press release? What's so special about you? Why will someone want to read more about you?" Chances are what seduces you probably won't seduce the media.

I have included some ideas for newsworthy events and a link to a site that lists "high-profile events and occasions that are of specific importance to your audience and make great promotional opportunities." http://www.epromos.com/calendar/promotional-calendar.html.

You’d be amazed at how you can tie-in your business with some of these events for newsworthy releases. Did you know March is National Umbrella Month. "Bring an umbrella to donate to ____ and get a discount on service."

Hope this is useful for you.

Flourish and Prosper,
Eileen

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wake Up - It's Web 2.0

It has been a a hot and busy day here in Raleigh, NC. Chatted with the webmaster of the NC Songwriters Co-op to get the site ready for the 11th Annual Song Contest; working on my Linkedin profile, writing and receiving recommendations, and inviting folks to link with me; taking time to eat and read a bit. I still have a lot to get done on my Facebook site. If I only could remember my password?? I am admittedly a novice at this and pedaling as fast as I can to catch up.

Anywhoooo…

An acquaintance of mine here in Raleigh specializes in this brave new world. She suggests about 10% of our "business" time should be social networking and blogging (SNB - my abbr). If you have a 40 hour work week (remember them?) then 4 hours a week should be devoted to SNB.

Just having a website just doesn't seem to cut it in today's interactive world where "collaborative spaces that allow users to more actively participate in the process of creating and sharing content" is what's happening. I have decided that my website for my business is a blog and am working on it daily. You are reading it now.

Actively blogging, and SN sites like MySpace, Linkedin, Facebook, social news sites like reddit, video sites like YouTube, and phones that do everything but the dishes and laundry are the way news travels in the 21st Century with more on the way.

In our Web 2.0* world (just having a web site was Web 1.0) social networking (SN) is one of the variety of characteristics of Web 2.0 a term that has been in use since 2004.

Some refererences re Web 2.0 are below.

Deloitte & Touche 2008
"Web 2.0 is widely acknowledged as a more sophisticated, second generationapproach to the World Wide Web, leveraging more powerful development tools and platforms to create interactive, collaborative spaces that allow users to more actively participate in the process of creating and sharing content."

Wikipedia has a fountain of info re Web 2.0 and blog,wikis,podcasts, RSS feeds, social software and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)

According to David Best 01/11/2006, among the characteristics of Web 2.0 are: rich user experience, user participation, dynamic content, metadata, web standards and scalability.

Stephen Fry, who writes a column about technology in the British Guardian newspaper, describes Web 2.0 as: "…an idea in people's heads rather than a reality. It’s actually an idea that the reciprocity between the user and the provider is what's emphasised. In other words, genuine interactivity, if you like, simply because people can upload as well as download."

Hope this was of some use for you. Gotta go. Am doing a presentation tomorrow on "The Importance of Press Releases". Figure I should bring examples of well-written vs. poorly written. Should be fun

Flourish and Prosper,
Eileen

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Education's Whistleblower Latest Book

Walking Targets:How Our Psychologized Classrooms Are Producing a Nation of Sitting Ducks

Welcome to my Blog. What occupies my mind, fills my eye and takes up 110% of my day is promoting a variety of clients. Among them is Midnight Whistler Publishers and their premier client - author Beverly Eakman. Here is the press release for her latest book:

Just released, Walking Targets: How Our Psychologized Classrooms Are Producing a Nation of Sitting Ducks is B. K. Eakman's latest exposé of our educational system. This is a wake-up call for parents and educators alike.With over 40 articles covering Education, Family, Behavioral Science, Mental Health, Privacy, Political Correctness and Manipulation of Public Opinion the reader will come to see how educators and provocateurs are driving a wedge between parents and their children.

Walking Targets points to an agenda that begins with government-controlled childrearing and force-feeds young people a pseudo-education under the cover of "mental health," "safety," "jobs," and something called "lifelong learning."

Eakman shows how, under the cover of educational and mental-health testing, computer technologies popularly believed to be restricted to use in defense of our country, have been redirected for use in tracking the opinions of schoolchildren from the earliest years. She shows how psychographic techniques, once confined to market research, have been retooled for data-mining purposes.

Eakman stated, "I take issue with teaching methodologies whose primary purpose is to target the emotions rather than challenge the intellect. Teachers do not exist to strip away a parent's belief system from children in their classrooms, and to then transmit 'new' values. Today parents are waking up to see children who are nothing like them – people they don't know and who don't even share what few values they have left."

What people are saying:
"Walking Targets is a devastating indictment of the pernicious partners intentionally sabotaging our education system. She correctly observes that one of the most critical casualties has been our diminished communication skills, compromising the nation's ability to solve all its other problems." ~ Charles M. Richardson, Founder & Chairman of the Literacy Council in Long Island, NY

"Unlike most of the psychobabble that passes for advice to parents, this book hones in on the real problems with education today. No parent should enter the public school system before arming themselves with Walking Targets first. This book is the best parent guidebook there is on navigating the public school system."~ Arizona State Senator Karen S. Johnson

"This book is terrific, insightful, provocative … a must-read for anyone who cares about kids and their education. Bev Eakman sees troubles ahead and tells us how 'mental health' devotees are taking kids down a fatal path to thought control."~ Richard L. Cutler, Ph.D., Vice-President, Univ. of Michigan, retired National Association of Scholars, Michigan

"Beverly Eakman astutely chronicles the psychological abuse taking place in the public-school classroom with impeccable credentials and incontrovertible conclusions. ... Walking Targets points to the ominous threat of government-controlled childrearing, the use of pseudo-education under the guise of mental health and lifelong learning as three means of controlling the beliefs of the population."~ Ray Moore, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) USAR Ret., Director, Exodus Mandate.

"If you want to know who Big Brother is, what he does, and where he lives you need to read Beverly Eakman. She has been exposing behavioral psychology's covert, attitude- manipulating agenda for more than two decades. Her current book, Walking Targets is no exception. ... If 'Knowledge is Power,' Walking Targets is empowerment at its finest. If we are to prevent our schools from becoming mental health clinics, it will be people like Beverly Eakman and books like Walking Targets that will point the way."~ Bruce Wiseman, US President Citizens Commission on Human Rights.

This 300 page compilation of her published articles, capitalizes on the success of her three previously published books: Cloning of the American Mind: Eradicating Morality through Education, Educating for the New World Order, Microchipped: How the Education Establishment Took Us Beyond Big Brother and her workbook How to Counter Group Manipulation Tactics.

Vist...
The author: Beverly K. Eakman at
http://www.beverlye.com/
The publisher: Midnight Whistler Publishers at http://www.midnightwhistler.com/

Local NC Authors Write Good Reads

It seems just as Los Angeles and New York seem to be meccas for folks who are drawn to be in movies or the theatre; North Carolina is a haven for writers.

When my husband Jon Batson (author/performing songwriter) and I moved here from LA to be closer to family, we had the fortune to connect up with a number local writers through an online Meetup group called Write 2 Publish. While there, we formed an alliance with Stacey Cochran (NC State Professor/author) and several other authors and did a series of successful talks on "How to Get Published."

Through our association we met a variety of wonderful people – bookstore owners, their hardworking staffs, current and future authors and folks who plain love books.

Below are a few of my top picks:

The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff [Dark Suspense]- A massive storm dumps icy rain on isolated Baird College as the last students leave for Thanksgiving break. In spooky hundred-year old Mendenhall, five lonely students remain but they are not alone. Are these troubled misfits the victims of a college prank taken way too far, or is the mysterious presence a genuine haunting? They have three long days and dark nights to find out.

The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain [Contemporary Women's Fiction]
Twenty-eight years ago, a North Carolina governor's young, pregnant wife was kidnapped. Now, her remains have been found and a man charged with her murder. Only one person-CeeCee Wilkes-can refute the charges against him. But CeeCee disappeared years ago.

The Rands Conspiracy by Jon Batson. [Action-Mystery] This novella takes the reader on a Bourne-style chase as Josh and his development team run for their lives after creating an "experimental" spyware program for the powerful government-funded Rands Group.

The Colorado Sequence by Stacey Cochran [Sci-Fi] - Physicist Dr. Amy Levine has discovered a mathematical sequence--the Colorado Sequence--that describes an underlying pattern and a guiding force within the very fabric of reality. Now she's on the verge of an astonishing breakthrough, and the U.S. government wants to know how she has done it. How has Dr. Levine learned to accurately predict the future? And they're willing to kill her to find out.

After the Fairy Tale by Maureen Sherbondy [Poetry] Charmingly witty, wise and ironic, Sherbondy’s collection of well-crafted poems feature modern-day takes on what happens to our beloved fairytale heroes and heroines. Here you will find "the rest of the story."

Right Lane Ends by Alice Osborn [Poetry] "Alice’s poems explore loss, love and family relationships through the lens of driving and being a driver. The poems are powerful, and sometimes personal, and connect emotionally with the reader as she reconciles past experiences with the present." - Sally Buckner

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Testimonials

Dear Eileen, If you are the point person in organizing and presenting the event last night I wanted to give you kudos. Everything, from the pre-event publicity, to the exhibit layout, registration set up, to the food was really exceptional. People were having a good time, catching up with acquaintances and friends and interacting with the vendors. The whole tone of it was welcoming and upbeat I was really excited to see that parking was the only problem...what a great problem to have, that many more people came out on a weeknight in the rain to join in. It was really impressive. Congratulations to you and your team. ~ Sara Watson-Stubbins
NOTE: I appreciate the kudo's but I was only one of a team of determined women who pulled off the Women Helping Women Business Expo.

"Eileen was key to my making a successful transition from being a sales consultant for one company to another when my first company went out of business. She crafted unique and exciting press releases for me and published them on the internet. When my first company folded I got numerous invitations from other companies within the first 2 days due to my presence through her press releases.” ~ Sallie Matlack, Wake Forest, NC -- Consultant Jockey Person to Person

“Eileen is a master at bringing visibility to an organization, conference or cause. Her methods are based on years of experience and they work! I am familiar with her superior public speaking and leadership skills both within Coffee and Contacts Power Networking For Women and at the 2008 Women Etcetera Conference. Eileen stands out from the crowd.” ~ Garla Smith, Raleigh, NC -- Owner, Smart Moms, LLC.

"Eileen is a master at marketing research, press releases and promotion. If you’re looking for someone who is great to work with, effective and professional, you just found her.” ~ Peter Laiosa, Apex, NC --Managing Partner, SRA-USA Inc.

“I have worked with Eileen on a number of projects large and small, and she has always done a great job on whatever she is responsible for. We worked together on a major songwriting contest project that lasted for over 9 months, and she showed leadership, creatvity, initiative, and expertise for all of the areas of the project. I highly recommend Eileen for any job because of her character, skills, creativity, and work ethic. She gets the job done, and is a pleasure to work with as well.” ~ Mark Easley, Morrisville, NC -- Owner, GoldHat Music

Additional recommendations can be found on LinkedIn

Testimonials - What folks are saying

Dear Eileen,

If you are the point person in organizing and presenting the event last night I wanted to give you kudos. Everything, from the pre-event publicity, to the exhibit layout, registration set up, to the food was really exceptional. People were having a good time, catching up with acquaintances and friends and interacting with the vendors. The whole tone of it was welcoming and upbeat I was really excited to see that parking was the only problem...what a great problem to have, that many more people came out on a weeknight in the rain to join in. It was really impressive. Congratulations to you and your team. ~ Sara Watson-Stubbins NOTE: I appreciate the kudo's but I was only one of a team of determined women who pulled off the Women Helping Women Business Expo.



"Eileen was key to my making a successful transition from being a sales consultant for one company to another when my first company went out of business. She crafted unique and exciting press releases for me and published them on the internet. When my first company folded I got numerous invitations from other companies within the first 2 days due to my presence through her press releases.” ~ Sallie Matlack, Wake Forest, NC -- Consultant Jockey Person to Person“



Eileen is a master at bringing visibility to an organization, conference or cause. Her methods are based on years of experience and they work! I am familiar with her superior public speaking and leadership skills both within Coffee and Contacts Power Networking For Women and at the 2008 Women Etcetera Conference. Eileen stands out from the crowd.” ~ Garla Smith, Raleigh, NC -- Owner, Smart Moms, LLC.



"Eileen is a master at marketing research, press releases and promotion. If you’re looking for someone who is great to work with, effective and professional, you just found her.” ~ Peter Laiosa, Apex, NC --Managing Partner, SRA-USA Inc.



“I have worked with Eileen on a number of projects large and small, and she has always done a great job on whatever she is responsible for. We worked together on a major songwriting contest project that lasted for over 9 months, and she showed leadership, creatvity, initiative, and expertise for all of the areas of the project. I highly recommend Eileen for any job because of her character, skills, creativity, and work ethic. She gets the job done, and is a pleasure to work with as well.” ~ Mark Easley, Morrisville, NC -- Owner, GoldHat Music