Want stress? Try networking. The prospect of networking used to really freak me out. Talk to people I don’t know? About what? Truth is… its incredibly easy to talk with someone about easy subjects: the weather, where they live, how old their kids are… But these are only surface questions. How do you really get to know someone? How do you find out if you connect with them as a friend or if you are a good fit with them in the business sense. Recently, I heard an amazing talk given by Chris Brogan, the CEO of Owner.Media at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. Having a great conversation simply boils down to two questions. What are you working on right now that makes you really excited? (Think of a problem you are having) I’ve really been stuck with this. What would you do? Easy, right? Yes and no. If you are someone like me who simply had trouble even starting a conversation, these two questions delve deep and are a little off putting if you start a conversation with them. Since I am a huge fan of food, I like to think in terms of dinner courses for metaphors. Every conversation has an appetizer portion. Some convos never go past the appetizer. Its like tapas and a glass of wine and you are off. Appetizer questions show you are polite and welcoming, both necessary things, they just don’t have staying power. These are questions and comments like: This weather is gorgeous. Where are you from? Do you have kids? How many? How old are they? Boys or girls? What are you doing this weekend? Whose class is your son/daughter in? What’s your blog about? (This is always big for me at conferences) Politeness. Niceities. Some may lead to an interesting conversation. Most of the time you will find something you have in common, but usually they won’t lead to anything of substance. However, once you have discussed these easy topics for a few minutes and you decide that this person seems interesting and you want to know them better, you can ask: What are you working on that you are most excited about? The beauty about this question is that you can use it in a personal or a professional setting. You can discuss a project that the other person is working on around the house, maybe a hobby or maybe their career. This question is amazing because it gives your conversation partner a chance to brag in a very socially respected way. You did ask after all! Also, you can find out the coolest things going on in other people’s lives – future vacations, awesome hidden talents, cool people they know. It can really bring up a wealth of information that will keep the conversation going. I’m really stuck with this. What would you do? I love giving advice. Other people love giving advice too. With this question, you show that you value the other person’s experience as […]
Everything you need to improve your confidence. Whether it's eating healthier, getting more exercise or simply improving your mental state.
The blogging conference. Your job is to make connections, generate new leads, and find new business. I attended MOM 2.0 Summit for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I admit, I was terrified. So many awesome and noteworthy brands… so many ways for me to make a fool of myself. I had no idea what to expect nor how to conduct myself in this sort of environment. Thankfully, MOM 2.0 hosted a newbie session where I asked my burning question, “Walk me through what a conversation with a brand would look like.” Amy Mascott of Teach Mama walked me through it and I used her technique the entire conference. It worked well because I hit every brand, found a few I totally identify with and am now actively pursuing some new partnerships. The basics are: Introduce yourself (be ready to tell about your blog in a short sentence or two if they ask what your blog is about) Find out as much as you can about the brand Exchange contact information Follow up. Let me walk you through it as well. I braved the marketplace during the morning keynote session on the first day. When I searched for a brand to approach, I tried to seek out the booths that didn’t have a big crowd around them at the time. As soon as I saw someone free, I went for it. “Hi, I’m JoAnn. I blog at Whimsicle.” “Hi JoAnn, nice to meet you, I’m _____. Have you heard about (insert business here)?” Usually, I responded with a “No.” or a “Yes, I love it”. The brand representative/ PR rep then launched into their prepared pitch about their product. At that time, they gave me a few samples, had me enter a contest, or do some activity. At MOM 2.0, LEGO let us build name badges out of the LEGO bricks, Vanity Fair fitted us for bras, Safety First had us tweet to win Safety First products. Kia let us drive their cars any where we pleased. They gave us the keys to @kia and said we could take it anywhere. Seriously! #kiamom #mom2summit A photo posted by JoAnn (@awhimsiclelife) on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:35pm PDT If I was genuinely interested in the brand and the representative had not yet discussed how they wanted to work with bloggers, I asked them: How are you looking to work with bloggers? They then gave me the rundown of everything available. Some possibilities were: sponsored posts reviews of products blog ambassadorships (write a certain number of posts about the brand) Then, I asked for a business card and gave them one of mine. I told them it was nice to meet them and then moved onto to the next booth. At a blogging conference, you are simply gathering information and meeting people face-to-face. As the popular saying goes, “the fortune is in the followup.” After the conference, I sent a follow-up email to each of my brand contacts saying that I enjoyed meeting them […]
Have you ever felt so nervous about attending a party that your stomach felt butterflies at the mere thought of it? I get so anxious where I have to go to an even where I don’t know anyone. I worry I will look silly. I worry I’ll say the wrong thing. I worry and worry and worry. If you worry like I do, you really have two options: Avoid social situations your entire life and live in a cave as a hermit. (With the internet, this really isn’t such a bad option.) Face it and go all in. I am a recovering shy girl. I say “recovering” because I still struggle from time to time with social anxiety. However, now I use a few confidence hacks to get me through a lot of socializing. Let’s start with the basics. Choose Your Clothing Carefully If I wear a shirt that doesn’t fit right, I am going to be tugging on that thing all night. Also, I will think everybody else notices it too and I will feel the need to apologize for my clothing. Clothes are one of the biggest confidence builders I’ve found. So find something you love. Pick a piece that you always get compliments on and wear that. As a added note, make sure the outfit is clean a few days beforehand. That always gets me. I plan on wearing something and then find it stuffed in the bottom of my hamper on the morning of the event. Or better yet, create a smaller wardrobe and you’ll never deal with that problem again. All about that Face Well, more specifically, your voice and where your eyes are. Let me show what I mean: The biggest shift for me was when I realized one thing: It’s not about me. It’s about everyone else. Truly. Everyone else is just as concerned about what others are thinking as you are. Some just do a better job concealing it. Then there are those lucky few who don’t really care what others think. I truly believe that is the key to happiness, but until I reach that point, I always try to keep conversations focused on the other person through: Active Listening How many times are you in a conversation and you realize that you are not paying attention to what the other person is saying? Instead, you are trying to rack your brain for what you are going to say next. I fear awkward pauses but, conversations become extremely pointless if this is all you are doing. Even worse, they’re incredibly stressful. So instead, I try to summarize what the other person is saying and respond to that in some way. It can be as simple as, “Ya, I understand why you liked that movie. That scene was pretty awesome” or “I can’t believe Shonda Rimes did that either!! I’m never watching Grey’s Anatomy again!” (Sorry… a little bit of rage left on that one.) Asking questions I ask a lot of questions. Really […]
How many times have you thought, “If I have to watch Yo Gabba Gabba one more time…”? Relaxation is a priority as a parent. It’s just hard to find the “how” at times. There have been many times when I’ve simply lost it or wanted to lose it. While I was researching ways to relax, the first item on many lists was “Get a Good Night’s Rest.” Once I stopped laughing, I searched further for ways you can calm down when the kids around and not have a mommy meltdown. You know when you need it. Those moments when you feel on the brink of complete and utter “I’m going to lose it.” Next time that you feel an impending meltdown, thy these. Release Tension Lay down and breathe deeply My son had just broken two of my favorite coffee cups. My daughter kept asking me the same question over and over again. It was time for a breather (pun intended). Controlled breathing is something that kids can do with you. Lay on your back and put your hands on your diaphragm (right at the base of your ribs). Breathe in to the count of 5 through your nose. Hold for 2 seconds and then breathe out through your mouth for the count of 5. Concentrate on making your hand rise and fall with each breath. Repeat until you feel some sanity returning. The rest of these tips can be found in my e-book:
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and its Advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone and should not be construed as medical advice. #24HourEsterC #CollectiveBias Since having kids, I’ve found it challenging to pursue some of the activities I find fun. I have a supportive husband, well-behaved kiddos, but it’s difficult to leave my family – if only for a few hours. I feel guilty for leaving my husband alone with the kids. I feel horrible for leaving my kids in the care of a sitter if my husband and I want to go on a date. When I try to engage in completely unproductive fun, outside of the house, my mom brain pulls me back whispering, “But when are you going to do the laundry?” or “the kitchen is a mess,” or the worst, “a good mom wouldn’t leave her kids.” Seriously, brain. Shut up. I believe I’m contributing to my own mommy meltdowns. 2015 will be the year I stop over-thinking and start venturing out to conquer amazing things. I’ve always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Not “sky-diving” adrenaline junkie, but “climb to a really high cliff and look down” adrenaline junkie. Over the years, a few adventures have piqued my interest. However, I thought I never had time for them. Being active requires stamina. Since I have so many huge goals this year, I want to support my immune system. I’m doing this with Ester-C. I picked up a package while shopping at WalMart the other day. There were two choices available: 500 mg tablets that I can take twice-a-day or 1000mg tablets that are 1 per day. One serving daily of 1000 mg of Ester-C® delivers 24-hour immune support 365 days a year.* You can find Ester-C in Vitamin and supplement aisle, like I did here. It’s also on Rollback at WalMart as well. Ester-C is designed to stay in white blood cells up to 24 hours which will provide me with around the clock immune system support*. It is also chemical solvent-free and gentler on the stomach. Ester-C also supports heart health (which is perfect for the active year that I have planned!) and helps maintain healthy skin and gums*. Find out more about Ester-C by following them on Facebook and Twitter. Ester-C is one of the necessary supplies and I’m gathering for a year of adventure. Here’s what I have planned: See that mountain? Camelback Mountain is located in the center of the Phoenix metro area. The trail is filled with steep ascents, rocky paths and climbs so sharp that you pull yourself up with a pole. A pole! On top, you are gifted with a 360 degree view of the city. I’m going to climb it. That’s my first mission. I also want to: Take a trapeze class Did you ever watch Circus of the Stars on TV in the 80’s? It was a yearly special where TV celebrities would train […]
Knowing where to start seemed like more work than it was worth. Was it supposed to be this hard to get myself motivated to find a workout plan and then would I even commit to it? Over the last ten years I had put on nearly 40 pounds. Yes, I had three babies in that time but really when you gain 40 pounds it’s time to give up the excuses. Three months ago I started a nutrition program and never expected to have the success I did, losing 25 pounds in three short months. However, I hit a wall. I plateaued…peeked…pooped out…was stuck. Pardon my language but I had to get off my ass and EXERCISE. I know…exercise has always been a dirty word to me but here I am saying it. The Fit Tutor was dropped in my lap and although I was skeptical anything could keep me motivated and moving forward in my weight loss, I found success. I have only completed one week of my eight week workout guide but I did it! Part of my success came from knowing I only had to work out two days in the first week. No one was expecting me to go from zero to sixty in one afternoon. Following the “beginner level” I was told to complete 1-2 reps only twice and I bought in. I bought in big time. I can do this! Nine completely realistic exercises including squats, jumping jacks, and bird dogs…what the heck is a bird dog? Fit Tutor has a video to show the movement and correct posture/stance for the exercise so I was set. No excuses including what the heck is a bird dog. In addition, whenever I had a question or needed additional support, Ali, the Fit Tutor creator was one short email away. I highly encourage the beginner user to engage in Fit Tutor’s facebook group to receive praise and to be uplifted. Sharing my struggles and successes and getting loved on has been one of the biggest contributing factors to my weight loss success so far and finding another group that will listen to me rant and then compliment me for doing so is very encouraging. Want a free month subscription to The Fit Tutor? Check out the details here: The Busy Mom’s Workout.
This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I will not give up nap time to work out. When my one-year-old son rests his head on his pillow and dozes off, I have a little mini celebration. I run to my office, crank open my laptop and write. I love that time. Not only am I super productive, but I’m creative and funny and everything that keeps me happy. Let’s face it: working out does not make me happy. At least in the short term. I’ve been a runner for years and I love strapping my son in the stroller to go for a jog. I know (and recent research shows) long bouts of cardio are the least effective way to burn body fat. Diet comes first, and strength training is second! Second! I’ve long known that I should use strength training to become a stronger runner, but… oh… I just hate it. I don’t like going to the gym. I don’t like working out at home. It’s boring. I don’t know what I’m doing. I can’t follow instructions in fitness magazines. Something always ends up hurting. I don’t feel successful. At least that’s what I thought. A few months ago, my sister-in-law told me about a website she uses to workout at home and lose weight. She used it during the holidays and still managed to lose 5 pounds. The site is called, The Fit Tutor (code: BloggerFIT). It is the creation of Allison Lambert, an ACE certified personal trainer and former college athlete, who wants to make it possible for the busy woman to work out at home. Particularly moms. The Fit Tutor has completely changed my view of working out from home. Currently, I’m working on the Get Fit Program within The Fit Tutor. The program consists of 8 weeks of exercises specifically targeted to my exercise skill area. The workout changes every week. Allison appears in every video illustrating each exercise and providing coaching, support and pointing out proper form and common mistakes. Its not boring. Since the exercises constantly change, I feel challenged every single time I complete a workout. I know what I’m doing. Every exercise is illustrated with a video. Many of the videos even suggest modifications if it proves too hard. Push ups are my nemesis. I can’t even do them properly on my knees. Now with Allison’s modification, I’m doing my push ups standing up against a wall until I can build up enough strength to move to the floor. If something ends up hurting, I have someone to help. There is a contact box at the bottom of every screen where I can either talk to Allison live or leave her a message and then she emails me back. I ran into some trouble with reverse crunches. These are when you lie on your back, bend your legs at the knee, slowly lower your ankles to the ground and then bring them back up again. Reverse crunches are supposed to work your lower abs, but I was feeling an […]
I have to preface what I am about to say by stating that I am cleansing again and cannot be held responsible for anything I am about to say… I am having a really hard time not comparing myself to others today. I literally spent most of my day looking at transformation stories and longing to have their results. I am feeling really down on myself and struggling to find the confidence it takes to continue with my journey. Comparing myself is killing my drive. I took an entire week off of worrying about what I was eating and it was probably too soon in my new lifestyle to do that. I have been living a new life for 42 days and took 10 of those days to indulge. At the time it seemed no big deal because I didn’t put on any extra pounds during the holiday break. Looking back, on day 42 now and on cleanse day 2, that was a mental error on my part. I am beating myself up for not looking like some of the other amazing people I see transforming before my eyes. Why don’t I look like that? This isn’t possible for me to obtain my goal. Why did I set myself up for another disappointment? This is the horrendous self talk going on in my head today. I am so tired of failing. I tried the juicing diet and even a yogurt diet (I was supposed to eat nothing but yogurt for two weeks. I lasted two days and yes, this was probably a made up diet). I spend most of my day having mommy guilt and feeling bad about the way I look. When I started this journey I felt optimistic and encouraged. Today I spent the day looking at fabulous looking people and their successes and in comparison I have failed. JoAnn warned me not to step on the scale. I will always fail when I only count the pounds. I will also always fail in comparison to others. Am I better at cleansing this month than last? YES! Do I FEEL better than yesterday? YES! I can do this! I can get healthy both physically and mentally but this starts with comparing MYSELF to only MYSELF. 45 Day Results: Okay friends…I need some encouragement not to stop because that is exactly what I want to do. I want to live up to what I expected of myself which is failure. I would love to hear your comments and cheers. I am not lying when I say YOU KEEP ME GOING! Read my 30 Day journey from the beginning: Weight Loss Day 1 // Hitting the Wall // Remaking My Self // Results
Disclosure: Megan’s weight loss program was gifted, however, her weight loss journey is her own! 30 Day Results: 11.2 pounds; 17 inches I think when you get to be a certain size, you just stop looking at yourself. I mean really, really looking at yourself. If I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I would turn away quickly. Every picture I saw of myself, I discarded and hid from the shame that was overwhelming. This is how I have been living for the past seven years. Avoiding life and hating the self I saw. When I stepped on the scale this morning on day 30, I cried. Not a pretty, screen actress cry but an ugly, curled up in a ball cry. I NEVER thought I had the stones to stick to a weight loss plan, having failed miserably at every thing I attempted in the past. I think I failed because I didn’t believe in myself and I didn’t have the support I needed. I always had an excuse, “Oh, I will probably have another baby.” “I just had a baby, the weight will come off.” “Everyone puts on weight in a relationship. It’s happy fat.” I was NOT happy being fat. As of this morning I am down 11.2 pounds and have lost over 17 inches! The results are amazing and I feel amazing. It’s almost too good to be true because I think I look better than I actually do, but the I now feel confident about reaching my 30 pound then 60 pound goal. Changes: GI Issues Gone One of the most freeing things is my GI issues. Having been diagnosed with Celiac disease, I have never had a day without the experience of a tummy ache or a bathroom issue. I went to the doctor monthly and took pain medication. Since starting my weight loss challenge, I have not had a single stomach ache and that feels healthy. I am not drained from being in pain. I also feel confident that I can leave the house without having to search for the nearest restroom. Eye Lashes I have eye lashes! Totally random, but I can actually wear mascara. I think the vitamins are making my hair grow. Being Italian I shaved a lot to begin with, but it’s at a whole new level now (good thing it’s winter and pants weather). Surprisingly enough my eye lashes have grown as well. Healthy Eating Every dinner I plan now is from the Weight Watchers cook book or website. They are filling, healthy and under 600 calories (most around 400). I feel good after getting the nutrients I need but I also know my kids are getting at least one great meal a day. Planned Cheat Meals One of the biggest reasons I am so excited about my results is they are realistic. I have had ice cream, pizza, and Mexican food during this past month. The difference is I planned out my cheat meals. […]
“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media®, PEOPLE® and Sunset® Magazines, and The Hershey Company®, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #HolidayMeTimeMags http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH” The holidays seriously stress me out. Here we are the week before Thanksgiving and I am already trying to plan out my life so that I don’t get too overwhelmed. After working for the past couple of weeks gathering presents and crafting ideas, Megan and I are ready to tear our hair out. Thank goodness for Megan’s mom and my MIL because they graciously take the kids to give us a much needed break. I grabbed my purse and jacket (because suddenly Arizona has decided its winter) and followed Megan out the door. We walked to Safeway and picked up some magazines and coffee. Our destination….the neighborhood lake to relax and indulge in a much-needed kid free hour. Safeway currently has a coupon for $1 off when you purchase a Sunset or People magazine along with a Hershey’s King Size Chocolate. After some quick calculations, we realized that is almost a free chocolate and decided that it was too good to pass up. We chose a Hershey’s Special Dark to share and bought another one to take back to Megan’s mom. Matthew McConahey always has a smirk about him. Oh hello Matthew, why you want 9Am chocolate too? Sorry, not willing to share. We left Safeway with coffee cups in hand and a bag filled with People, Sunset and Hershey’s Special Dark dangling from my wrist. I found it hard to remember what it feels like not to have my son with me. I wasn’t constantly tracking where he was or digging through my bag searching for a toy or snack to entertain him. I didn’t have to worry about anyone but me. Honestly, it was a much needed restorative breather, if only for an hour.We found a bench parked by an Ahwatukee lake, and just enjoyed. I look at these pictures and just feel the stress leaving my body over the talk of celebrity gossip and pecan pies. We sipped caramel machiattos, broke off chunks of Hershey’s Special Dark and talked about stuff that has no importance. But, was just fun and mind clearing.Take some Holiday “Me Time” for yourself and save $1.00 with purchase of ONE (1) PEOPLE® or Sunset® magazine and ONE (1) REESE’S®, HERSHEY’S® or other selected King Size bar (2.1 to 5.0 oz.). The digital coupon is available through the Safeway Just4U online portal 11/21/14 – 12/19/14 (while supplies last) You have to register for Just4U to get access to the digital coupon. Find the digital coupon here. After what felt like a very indulgent hour, we packed our magazines and left to pick up our kids. I always feel like I’m a better mom after I take some time for myself. More patient and willing to compromise. And I know anytime I feel my stress level rising, there is always coffee, magazines and chocolate.