I ate all the chocolate chips

I was visiting my parents last week. Sometimes my mom bakes, so she keeps her house stocked with chocolate chips. Unfortunately for me, under these conditions, I keep my mouth stocked with chocolate chips. I eat little handfuls of them with walnuts throughout the day and before you know it, gone.

So, I begged my mom, “Please hide the chocolate chips. I have no self-control!”

The next day, I saw a bag of popcorn in the cabinet. Yum, popcorn! When I removed the chip clip, I discovered the empty bag of popcorn was being used to conceal the package of chocolate chips.

Had my mom hid them in a pretzel bag or cereal box, or just about anywhere else, they could have survived forever untouched by me. But she “hid” my first favorite thing inside the wrapping of my second favorite thing.

The point?

In chocolate-chip-hiding, and in writing words for your website, it’s all about knowing your audience.

Let’s bake up something great,

Do you have a pink Frisbee?

I go to the dog park most afternoons where I sit on a plastic chair in a giant circle with lovely, nutty people and a kerfuffle of running, barking, dirt-eating, misbehaving dogs having the best time ever. My dog likes to rub her body on the perimeter of the fence and gnaw on a pink Frisbee.

I mostly just sit there and laugh. Dogs are totally more inclined to show their quirky than humans…and I think it’s awesome.

The point?

Our personalities and unique perspectives make us authentic. We bring that authenticity with us into everything we do—whether it’s sitting around a dog park or providing our clients with a service.

Here’s the thing. Cannoli doesn’t know that she’s quirky. She might not be able to recognize her most endearing qualities because they come so naturally to her. And you probably can’t either. Can any of us see ourselves clearly?

Let’s find your pink Frisbee,

But honey, you’re right across the bridge…

https://www.instagram.com/a_boy_and_his_dog_photography/

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I paid $32 to ship a purple bridesmaid dress across the Hudson River to my house.

Surprised at my request, the woman on the phone said, “But honey, you’re right across the bridge.” My internal budgeteer said, “That’s a ridiculous price to ship a dress!” While both statements were true, I’d still rather pay $32 than drive to Yonkers!

While also proving why I’m not an accountant, let’s look at the real cost:

  • Annoyance thinking about driving to Yonkers: (at least 60 minutes)
  • Bridge toll: $4.75
  • Parking (meter): $.50
  • Parking (aggravation): at least some
  • Gas: $2.00
  • Total drive time: 60 minutes (without traffic)

Total cost = $7.25 + at least 120 minutes of time/annoyance/aggravation

For $32, the dress just showed up on my doorstep—preserving sanity, time and focus. That’s totally worth it!

The point?

Are you “just across the bridge” from having awesome website, newsletter or blog copy? How much time are you spending worrying about it, planning it, and/or trying to write it yourself? Let me deliver it to your doorstep.

Anyone have nude shoes I can borrow?

P.S. As far as I’m concerned, my UPS delivery man (Bobby, you rock!), postal workers and everyone who drives for a living are my heroes.

* Photo, courtesy of Sean @a_boy_and_his_dog_photography

You want me to crawl like a bear?

Back in November, I decided I wanted actual muscles. And I was tired of my half-baked attempts at getting them myself. (Carrying takeout inside builds muscles, no?) So I did something I never thought I’d do (but always secretly wanted to do). I hired a trainer at the gym.

Ruth makes me do things I would never do myself in a million years—like lifting kettle bells and crawling around like a bear—but I do it because she’s there with me, guiding me, encouraging me, and pretty much making me laugh my butt off, literally. It’s fun. And I’m loving the results.

The point?

I’m the kind of person who thinks I can do everything myself. Yes, I can make myself exercise. Sure, I can hem my own jeans. Yup, I can change my own oil.  Umm, not really!

When I hire someone to help me, all of these things 1) actually happen, 2) turn out so much better, and 3) are way less frustrating.

So if you can handle it alone, but you’d prefer more fun, more accountability and less frustration, let’s talk.

I swear I’ll never make you lift a kettle bell,

Can I give you a high-five?

via GIPHY

The cashier said to the woman in front of me, “If you spend $8 more dollars, you get a free turkey!”

The woman looked at me and woman behind me and said, “I don’t want to hold up the line!” We both yelled, “Get that free turkey!” The cashier ran for the turkey, the woman’s husband ran for $8 worth of pot pies and the woman behind me exhaled, “I’m just happy to have 5 minutes where I don’t have to do anything.”

After the mission was accomplished, I gave turkey-lady a high-five. Then the woman behind me wanted one. The cashier high-fived all of us.

So naturally, because of this, I’ve started high-fiving pretty much everybody. I think it’s a positive and contagious gesture – and heck, we all need a little encouragement sometimes, don’t we?

Please accept this virtual high-five, and if you’re so inclined, pass it on.

Oh yeah … if you need help writing copy that’s even better than a free turkey, I’m your gal. Happy 2017!

Secure your garbage cans

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In addition to being the enforcer of beating shore traffic, my dad is also my personal weatherman. He informed me today that high winds are coming and I should secure my garbage cans.

He’s dead serious. The booming authority, commitment and passion with which he needs me to secure my garbage cans (or stay off the road in bad conditions or change my windshield wipers) can’t be ignored.

When my dad calls me about the weather, I listen.

And when I tell you this, I want you to listen…

Humans want to work with humans. Not robots. Not aliens. 

I know this because the more human the relationship between me and my clients and creative partners, the better the work we do together. And the more fun we have.

The point?
As the year winds down, I have to tell you—from one human to another:
I’m so grateful I can be myself with you in doing what I love.

If you need help putting more of yourself into your business—I’d love to help.

And thank you, sincerely, for being so amazing.

My ambiguous guinea pig

My first pet was a tri-colored guinea pig named Violet. Though essentially a rat with hair, she was Elizabeth Taylor to me.

The weirdest thing about Violet? Because her beady little eyes blended into her dark furry face, you couldn’t tell whether she was coming or going. It wasn’t immediately clear which end was which. (One end ate carrots). Because she was cute, most new acquaintances took the time to figure it out.

The point?
If your business isn’t as cute as a guinea pig, there’s no room for ambiguity! Can your website readers quickly understand what you do? If not, I can help.

I’ll point you towards the carrots,

My mother-in-law: Face down in the cactus.

Bouquet of fresh pink peonies

Along with my newish house (and its high-maintenance driveway) came a 50×20 perennial flower garden. Around the time I moved in, I was greeted with pretty pink peonies. Then—it turned into a jungle.

In the blink of an eye, it was out of control. Where did the flowers end and weeds begin? I thought I knew, but could I just start pulling things out? What if I accidentally weeded the important stuff? I was frozen. This is when my mother-in-law single handedly turned my garden back into a thing of beauty (which did involve a minor cactus injury).

Sometimes clients have been planning their website content or blog ideas for years. They have Evernotes that go on forever. Then they are so weighed down by weeds, they can’t see the flowers.

Let me help you. I’m not decisive about everything—if we ever go to a movie together, can you please pick?—but I’m reliably clear on your most-authentic direction and how to represent yourself to your ideal clients.

The point?
When we work together, your word-garden will be beautifully pruned and planted to highlight the blooms.

Here’s to the flowers,

The self-checkout debacle…

 

Bag, Groceries, Recycling.

Every time I’m at the supermarket with my full basket, I think:
Sure, I can do self-checkout. Heck, I used to work at a supermarket!

But every time I’m in the midst of self-checkout, I realize how naïve I am. Like yesterday…

The supermarket is empty. I start scanning my items. Suddenly self-checkout is overrun with people. A man (with just three items) hops in line behind me. Stay calm, Deidre. You can do this. As I try to separate the edges of the yellow plastic bag, it won’t open. Panic thumps in my chest. Serves you right for forgetting your eco-friendly tote!

I start sweating while simultaneously embarking on a one-woman comedy show in attempts to garner goodwill with Mr. Three Items. I frantically swipe what feels like 600 Kind Bars. None will scan. Save them for last. Just breathe.

Oh dear God…produce! My face is redder than these apples (“BEEP—item not recognized!”) and WHAT IS THE CODE FOR BUTTERNUT SQUASH?! With plastic bags flying everywhere, another man gets in line, already looking irritated. Run away, Deidre! Drop your stuff and run!

Flabbergasted, I eventually leave with my groceries.

Forevermore I will be going to a register manned by a human being. I learned my lesson. For my own sanity, I can’t check out alone.

The point?
Sometimes we just need help…from a real, live person. If writing makes you want to abandon your Kind Bars and run, I’m here to lend a hand.

I fell in love with a goat.

No, my husband isn’t a goat. Let me clarify.

Back when I was 7, I fell in love with a goat at the Catskill game farm. We stared into each other’s eyes and I knew we were best friends. My parents had to pry me away. I clung to the fence and cried as they lovingly explained that our brick ranch in suburbia was not agriculturally-zoned. Fine, I huffed! But we need to move to a farm immediately. 

At 17, Simon the Shetland Pony had my heart.

On New Year’s Eve 2002, while everyone else was finding cute boys to kiss, I was outside under the bar’s dumpster trying to lure a stray kitten into my purse.

You get it. From donkeys to hummingbirds, animals fill me with joy. (Except for spiders; they fill me with terror.) So, you won’t be surprised that when hubby and I stopped renting and bought an animal shelter a house of our own, it didn’t take long to find some furry friends to come live with us.

I’m pleased to introduce you to Cannoli. Though she lived in the shelter for 4 years with her siblings, she is turning into a total love-bug with tons of personality. She is currently snoring on the couch in my office. I’m also fostering her sweet sister, Tootsie (the red one), who is available for adoption.

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Here’s to infusing more joy into your life this year—in whatever way that means! If doing less writing yourself will increase your joy, I’d love to help.