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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fw: Speak up!

Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 4:30 PM
To: Ellen
Subject: Speak up!
Make your voice count when you say it like you mean it!
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Elwell Money Minder
October 2012
Elwell & Associates
14643 Dallas Pkwy
Suite 325
Dallas, TX 75254
(214) 739-7100
Web Site

Your Voice Counts!
By John Elwell
Every day, I listen to my clients talk about the state of the economy and the adverse effect it's having on their business, personal income and overall spending. The recession has grown long for most of us, and I share your concerns. And, to a certain extent, I can help you financially by identifying tax savings and helping you build your tax-free retirement account.
The best place to use your voice to make a difference, however, is the voting booth. I realize it's difficult to believe that our votes actually count. But one thing I know for sure: voting is our only option for speaking up and playing a role in creating our own destiny. As Americans, we can say what we mean in confidentiality, without penalty.
Selecting a President is just one of your votes. Many State and local candidates – ones whose views can affect our daily lives as much as a President can – are also up for your selection and election. Our new Texas Senator, city council representatives, judges and many other officials will help shape our future.
Many of you know that I come from the "apple pie" part of the U.S. – Ohio and Michigan. Ellen is from Indiana. In those states, Election Day is almost as big a day of celebration as the State Fair (the major annual event in the land of farms).
So with this mindset, I sincerely hope that each of you decides to experience the excitement of voting for "your" candidates. And whether they win or lose, you are an important part of this great process. Your vote is just as important as Donald Trump's or Warren Buffet's! Every vote is equal.
Below are some good online resources – with links - for finding out where to vote, studying up on the candidates for every office, and getting answers to any election-related questions you may have.
Best regards,

*Copyright © Elwell Associates, Inc. 2012 USA //14643 Dallas Pkwy * Suite 325 // Dallas, TX 75254 // (214) 739-7100 // // Our Website * Our Blog *
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Live high, save lots!

Lots of people really enjoy shopping in malls and retail stores
I’m not one of them! Especially when I’m looking for something in particular and end up going from store to store to find it (or not). I love being able to locate things quickly, compare prices, find discounts and generally be in control of the shopping experience.

If you don’t relish the thought of spending hours at Galleria, Northpark or the outlet malls, here are some of the sites regularly use to save time and money.

Promotion Codes for Online Stores
Never check out your shopping basket without searching for a “promotion” code for that store. If you remember to do this consistently, you can save hundreds of dollars each year in discounts and shipping fees. Here are some great sites for promotion codes:

“Flash” Sites
If you don’t know about free flash sites, you’re in for a treat! They have extensive daily listings for major brands - up to 80% off! If you like designer labels for clothes, kitchen appliances, towels, pillows, shoes jeans, jewelry and more, sign up for daily email at any (or all!) of these flash sites:
  • – the “granddaddy” of flash sites, Groupon’s daily offers often seem to be too good to be true! This is my favorite flash site by far. And I’ve been 100% happy with every one of my purchases.
  • – their offerings are often spectacular and always top quality. For example, a beautiful $150 Brooks Brothers shirt was selling for $39 on the daily “Today’s Fix”… and I bought it. If you buy one item and pay shipping, you can ship all other purchases free - for the entire month.
  • – this top-quality site has wonderful daily offerings. However, it’s almost impossible to get free shipping.
  • – for authentic and valuable jewelry, this auction site is a real discovery. Don’t buy anything until you visit a few times and see how the “game” goes. Wedding or anniversary ring? You can get whatever you want for ¼ the original price or less! 
I am a relentless shopper for 4-star hotels at 1-star prices! Last year, I persevered until I got the Wynn in Las Vegas for an unbelievable $80/night. Two weeks ago, for a last-minute business trip to New York, I booked the new mid-town Hyatt for an average $140/night (all fees included!). To save so much money, I combine a lot of different techniques and website searches.

General Tips
Book plane tickets as far in advance as possible for the best selection and rates.
  • Start shopping for a hotel just 2-3 weeks ahead so that you’ll get the benefit of “last minute” cancellations, “leftovers.” and other unexpected hotel situations. Hotels would rather book their last empty rooms at very low fees vs. take an “empty bed” loss.
  • Visit my favorite “Bargain Travel Websites” below to enter your travel information.
  • Sign up for ongoing updates – this is the secret to success!! Soon, you’ll get a fabulous variety of offers which match your specifications.
  • Visit a hotel’s website and check its reviews before you book . for extensive reviews of any hotel worldwide, visit

Bargain Travel Websites
  • is my #1 all-time favorite. You won’t see the name of your hotel until you book and pay. No worries. Of the 10+ times we’ve used, I’ve never been disappointed. And I am ultra-particular about hotel rooms.
  • (airfare)
  • (air, hotel, car rental)
  • (flash site for hotel)
  • (trip auctions)
For more money-saving sites . . .
If you like this type of article, please send me an email and let me know. Our blog is for you and comments are always appreciated!

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Copyright (C) *|Elwell & Associates
Visit us at our website
14643 Dallas Parkway/Suite 325
Dallas, Texas 75254
(214) 739-7100


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mean Women in Business

Mean Women in Business
by Ellen Elwell

As a lifelong marketing professional who has worked for or with  Fortune 1000 businesses and brands, I have met so many people all over the U.S. Most are terrific. A few are horrible. And the horrible ones always get to me - especially the women.

I started working for IBM as soon as I finished my grad work. I was 23, married and soon to be a mom. They sent me to their training schools on and off for a year...and this education has been a blessing through my life. They taught me how to develop presentations and give to demonstrate their equipment to advantage. . . and how to help customers appreciate and use it. They taught me their motto: "Respect for the individual."

Every week we were rated in 26 training areas - 1 being the top and 5 the bottom. We even got ratings in "groom" ( how you put yourself together for business). To get promoted (down the road), I needed a 2 overall average. The scores go with you - everywhere.

I was always afraid of doing things wrong and getting fired. The ratings became my obsession. And whenever I got criticism, I literally trembled. Luckily, things turned out fine. And I owe my many years of "1" ratings to women who took me under their wing at training...and also the women with whom I worked every day. We were like a family even though we were in different cities. And we networked and helped one another a lot.

When I started my own marketing agency, I hired mostly women - about 95%. I trained my key women managers...and they trained the people they managed. Again, I enjoyed the aura of the sisterhood. Until I got a big portfolio of clients - big companies and brands like Frito-Lay, Ralston, Beech-nut Baby Food, Clorox, Anheuser-Busch, American Express and many more. So the entire picture gradually changed.

In the agency business, account people take constant verbal whippings from clients - especially the agency head (me!). It's just the way it is and you get used to it. The client pays a lot of money for a non-tangible, intellectual and creative property; and many resent it. I call it "kicking the cat." They're frustrated with other things in life and they transfer the feelings to people who can't fight back. Unfortunately, the cat becomes wary and careful to keep a distance.

My mother and father had their own business - restaurants. I started working in them when I was 12. My parents taught me to smile at customers all the time. My mom used to say, "Smile until your face cracks." If you've ever been a waitress, you know that smiling can sometimes be difficult. But you do it!

In my own business, it hurts me most when the mean-spirited person is a woman.
The pattern is pretty consistent: she barely acknowledges people and looks down at her iPad, makes notes and ignores the people around her. When she speaks, she's short and direct and doesn't mind being insulting. She has "attitude" because she's certain she's smarter than anyone else in the room. And maybe she is. But being smart and powerful isn't everything.

Why do I expect more of women than men? Maybe it's because I have enjoyed so many relationships with great women who help one another. I will do almost anything for the "GOG" (Good Old Girl) network and vice versa. So don't mean women "get" it? What do they gain by being mean. You never know...the cat may be in a position to bite back one day!

Comments are so welcome. Have you had this experience? Let's talk!