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Monday, December 12, 2011

Avoiding the Holiday "blues."

I've finally figured out why I don't particularly like or enjoy the Holidays. It's because of that sinking feeling I get when they're over - that "what do I do next?" panic.

First, there's all the buildup and self-inflicted belief that I should be having fun and enjoy the Christmas season. And then, in the blink of an eye, it's over. And I'm left with bills, extra weight, fatigue and a long winter to get through. All to be repeated next year.

While this sounds pessimistic and dreary, I think it's true for lots of women. Especially when they've had a history of serious depression. Winter is tough. The Holidays make winter a bit tougher.

I've learned to cope to a degree - and maybe you have, too. (Ideas shared really help!). Mostly, I try not to get too caught up in it all. I truly work to keep the calories down - though candy and cookies are my downfall. I work out most days - though lightweight that I am, it's never "heavy." I avoid all movies that hint of tears or unhappy endings (same with books). And I try to smile as much as possible, even if it's just to myself.

But I'm still trying to refine my techniques. So if you have something new, please oh please let me know. Or just let me know that you know what I mean.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blogger: EllenZElwell - Publish Status

Blogger: EllenZElwell - Publish Status:

'via Blog this'

Christmas Giveaway 20111 Winners

I am happy to announce our six winners - though I'd be happier to send something to each one of you who entered. Thank you so much!! Big #jinglehugs to each one of you ~ xoxo

1st Prize Winner

Starbucks Card Winners (5)

Ellen :-)

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Giveaway


$125 Christmas Wrap, Card & Goodie Kit
$10 Starbucks Gift Cards (5)

November 30 thru December 3
Deck the halls with these great goodies!

FIRST PRIZE: Christmas Wrap, Card & Goodie Kit ~$125+ Value:
Kate Spade designer tree ornament
Crabtree & Evelyn – soaps + sachet pillow
10 various holiday wrapping bags
12 Papyrus® cards/envelopes
3 envelopes of Jolee’s Boutique 3D Holiday sticker decorations
8 packages of Holiday gift wrap + tissue
Magnetic Holiday list pad
Holiday notebook + jumbo decorated wooden clip
3 designer gift boxes
12 Bows
2 sets of felt package decorations
Mega-roll (55 yards) turquoise wired ribbon
3D red ribbon from Container Store
1 roll of green ribbon
1 package Mary Englebreit decorated cupcake cups

SECOND PRIZES (5) $10 Starbucks Gift Cards
Timing: Now! through Saturday (12/3) night

Who Can Enter:  Anyone who is AT LEAST 18 years of age and lives in the USA (50 states)

How to Enter: Tweet this phrase:

GIVEAWAY! $125 Holiday Goodie Kit+ 5 Starbucks $10 GCs via @EllenZElwell:

Unlimited Entries:
§         1 entry = 1 tweet of phrase above to 1 @friend
§         15 tweets to 15 different friends permitted each day

§         Tweet just ONE @friend at a time
§         Do not tweet same friend again

Winner Selection Details:
§         Method: random

Good luck everyoneJ

Friday, November 18, 2011

Winners & Happy Thanksgiving!

$125 Holiday Kit & @Workman Mom Calendar (5)

I hate announcing winners - because I would prefer that you all win. So...on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (the 29th) I will give away ANOTHER $125 Christmas Gift Kit + 5 surprises. So come back here then - please!

Today's winners are:

First: $125 Christmas Kit
  • @MsMorev
Second: 5 @Workman Mom Calendars
  • @plumsage
  • @pizzalogger
  • @kwillsmom
  • @VectoringMomma
  • @natmmom
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, dear friends. And many TY HUGS for entering!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Holiday Giveaway Prizes & Instructions

Christmas Wrap, Card & Goodie Kit $100+ Value
5 Mom’s Family Calendars from @Workman ($17 value)
November 15 - 17
Deck the halls with these great goodies!

***FIRST PRIZE***: Christmas Wrap, Card & Goodie Kit ~$125+ Value:
14 various holiday wrapping bags
18 cards/envelopes
4 bags of 3D sticker decorations
2 packages of gift wrap + package of themed tissue
Magnetic Holiday list pad
4 designer gift boxes
12 Bows
5 Roll of silver & blue braided ribbons
Crabtree & Evelyn Pomegranate body wash (large tube)
Snowman show ball tree ornament
Holiday-decorated candle holder
Holiday potholder
Holiday spatula

***SECOND PRIZES (5)***: From @Workman Pubs: Mom’s Family Calendar ~$18 Value
The calendar that keeps the whole family running on time and on track, Mom’s Family Calendar is the perennial bestseller that moms—and dads, too—rely on, season after season. Running a full 17 months, it combines the organizational powers of a planner with Sandra Boynton’s lovable, colorful animal characters, who frolic and cavort through each grid.
Write in each person’s activities for each day, and at a glance, it’s easy to see who’s doing what, where, and when. Includes a drop-down storage pocket, 500 stickers, and a write-on, wipe-off magnetic phone list to hang on the fridge. It’s total family organization, Boynton style.
More on the calendar and other FABULOUS @Workman books, toys, games, BrainQuest(R) and much more: They are wonderful!!
Timing: Now! through Thursday night

Who Can Enter:  Anyone who is AT LEAST18 years of age and lives in the USA (50 states)

How to Enter: Tweet this phrase:

GIVEAWAY! $125 Holiday Goodie Kit+ 5 @Workman Mom Calendars via @EllenZElwell:

Unlimited Entries:
§         1 entry = 1 tweet of phrase above to 1 @friend
§         15 tweets to 15 different friends permitted each day

§         Tweet just ONE @friend at a time
§         Do not tweet same friend again

Winner Selection Details:
§         Method: random
§         Winners announced:  @ellenZelwell twitter and  

Good luck everyoneJ
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bloggers: how to get appropriate pay for your work.

I've had my own business for a long time. 
Fortunately, my previous (and only) professional work experience was with IBM. They convinced me that I was worth a lot of money. And, since I started to work for them straight out of grad school, I believed everything they said and taught me. Brainwashed by IBM? Probably. But it was a good thing. My biggest take-away was something I still believe and practice: everything in life is a sale.

So now I have made a few friends in the Mom Blogger world - some are very influential and well-known. They tell me that most Moms will do reviews for $25 or $50 (or little more) - or even nothing.

Can this be? Sadly, yes. But it doesn't have to be so. If you "pull up your socks" and resolve to get what you're worth, you'll gain the self-confidence to grow your business.

"Starter" tips for getting paid.

  • Question yourself. Are you really a good reviewer, copywriter and producer? Seriously?
  • Establish an hourly dollar value on your time. How long does it take to write a post or review? Does it cost you anything to work on it (e.g., babysitting, transportation, etc.)? With or without direct costs, set your hourly billable at somewhere between $25 and $50 if you have minimal experience...more if you have a track record. Don't quote the hourly wage...just the lump sum.
  • Make up a professional-looking Quotation document. We can address a 1-page template in another blog. The point is that a formal write-up of your work adds stature to your request and shows professionalism. Most large brands will refer to an "RFQ" - Request for Quotation. Make it look good!
  • Write a brief cover letter. Tell the prospect why you're good at what you do. Try to limit your claims to about 3 bullets. Remember: nobody wants to know features (facts of what you do). They want to know benefits (what they'll get and why it's good for them).
  • Be prepared to negotiate your total quote. Everyone wants something for less. However, if you've quoted fairly, you need to have a "real" reason to lower your price. I suggest that you give a 10% discount for prepayment. Believe me, they'll do it if you've sold them on the benefits you bring them.
This is a slim brief of what it took me years to learn. If you don't value yourself, nobody will value you. You don't need seminars or teachers to learn this skill. There are lots of articles on "pricing," "hourly fees," and "negotiating skills" on Google.

You're afraid to ask for money, right?
We all are...and I still am. But I'm more afraid of not paying my bills. I'm more afraid of not respecting myself or my work. I'm more afraid of losing respect from others (family included). So I ask for money like I mean it - and I do! I'll negotiate a little bit - maybe. I really love a paycheck.

Which points interest you?
I don't have much experience in blogging. But I DO have experience in the topics above. So what should we discuss next? What examples would you like to see? What's next?

Information: the basis for successful selling.
I will give you my best advice - the advice that IBM gave me in training. The wisdom of the world is at your finger tips. If you don't know how to do something, Google it. Want to know about Quotations? Google "Quotation form examples." Negotiation? That's right - Google it!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How do you measure success?

Who is so think-skinned that they can listen to bone-cutting insults (in the guide of "helpful advice") for over 30 minutes?

Yesterday, I listened to a podcast. The famous Penelope Trunk was giving advice to an ordinary blogger. Within about 10 minutes, she was meanly tearing into him for "limited ambition." Her point was that you have to have goals, to know where you're going to get there. And that if you're a real writer, you can't be a people person. Here it is: Podcast.

One thing she said really resonated with me: to be successful, you have to take "insane risks." Yes, I agree with that. And that you have to focus and work...hard with the wind at your back.

So here's where she and I diverge: she worked for 7 years blogging for free. I've never - ever - worked for free or even cheaply. Insane risks are one thing; starving is another - never an option. Besides, I believe that you devalue yourself in your own eyes when your work is worth nothing, zero, nada. For most of civilized society, "success" in work or business - unless you're working for a higher cause - is measured by income.

I'd love to hear takeaways from this Podcast. It was (and continues to be) unsettling for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Living In the Moment

September 22, 2011

Until recently, I couldn't grasp the concept of totally living in the "now" - the exact hour, minute and second. As I get older, though, I realize that the "now" - as we know it - is so fragile and brief. While this is not a profound concept in philosophy or literature, it is when you finally adapt the reality for yourself.

As I walked in the gardens today, I was almost blinded by the beauty of the perfect view at my fingertips.