This weekend we’ve been celebrating my little man’s 4th birthday. I’m a huge fan of birthdays and celebrating birthdays. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I go a little nuts around birthdays. Not just my own, but everyone near and dear. I believe it is important to celebrate many occasions in life, but the one that marks the day life began is pretty special to me.
Each year around my son’s birthday I reflect on the days and hours that brought my little guy into the world.
I also realize how much my world has changed since that moment. For me, meeting my little man and introducing him into the world was sort of a re-birth of my own. I became a new version of myself. My entire world changed in those moments. Which is why each year around this time, I take a moment to treat myself and celebrate my own little “birth” day.
Today it was a treat of coffee and a moment of reflection and tears. In the past I have gotten a pedicure, new lipstick or something equally small, but satisfying. While I will always make sure that my celebrations do not take place of my son’s celebration (it is his day after all!) or take anything away from my husband’s contribution to the whole thing (his world changed that day too!), I do want to make sure that every year around this time I take a little time and reflect on how my world changed and treat myself in honor of that day.
Below are ten easy ways to treat yourself in honor of the day you became a mom. I should stress that I don’t believe that this is for moms only nor just for mothers who gave birth. This could easily have been titled “10 Ways to Treat Yo Self in Honor of the Day You Became a Parent” and work just as well. Heck, for some people it won’t even be on your kiddo’s birthday but possibly on an adoption day or the day you became a step-parent. The 16-year-old girl in me that used to get so upset around my birthday because it was “MY DAY” wants to also stress that while I believe it is important to remember our own contributions in the coming about of our children, and how our own worlds changed in those first few days of becoming parents, it is still a celebration of our kid’s birth and celebrating our own little changes shouldn’t take away from celebrating the day they came about. Anyways, here are ten simple ways to commemorate your “birth” day!
We’ve been doing a lot of camping this Summer to get away from the Portland heat. Our camping supplies have grown over the years from fairly basic sleep on the ground in sleeping bags to quite the array of convenience camping items. (Pregnant camping needs to have some conveniences!) Someday I’ll share a list of all the camping items we’ve found indispensable, however today I sort of have an ode to three items that have become camping essentials for our family and are not found in the camping section!
I have not ventured to check out all of the camping stores out there, and likely there are some version of all three of these items that you CAN find in the camping section of the store. However, they’d probably cost a lot more and be a little more fancy than you really need. Here are the three items I’ll never leave at home while camping. (Some of the below links are affiliate links. Purchases from affiliate links help support this blog with no extra cost to you my awesome reader!)
These little work horses do wonders when camping. Every time we go camping we purchase (or refill, because, let’s be honest, I buy these puppies in bulk) baby wipes for our trip. The wipes sit out on the picnic table for any and all to use for cleaning up hands and messes with ease. I especially like these for when the guys go tinkle out in the forest (my son’s favorite new pastime) because they wouldn’t be likely to wash their hands afterwards if it weren’t made this easy. I’m usually cooking when we go camping and having the wipes there for quick clean up of my hands in between touching different meats/veggies/sauces helps keep things from cross contaminating or just being gross. They are great for wiping hands up after applying bug spray or sunscreen as well! Yep, never going camping without baby wipes again.
Seems silly to have both baby wipes and face wipes. And, before recently, I just went camping with baby wipes. However, on a recent trip a friend brought along her cucumber facial wipes and using them at night and in the morning was so refreshing that I quickly added it to my ‘must have’ list for camping. Often we camp at campsites that do not have great restrooms with showers or even sinks. We like the rustic camp sites the most for how secluded and off the beaten path they are, but can feel gross quickly without those hygiene conveniences.
While baby wipes will do the trick, the face wipes are much better for taking off the grime and leaving you feeling clean and refreshed. Last time we went camping I used as a little sponge bath to boot. I never felt gross the whole trip! (Though, better believe that shower when I got home was just as amazing as ever!)
I cannot squat and pee outdoors. It is impossible for me. I’ve tried every trick out there and somehow always end up peeing all over my pants. I’m not about to go get naked in the middle of the woods just to relieve myself, but I also hate making the trek to the restrooms in the middle of a dark, cold evening of camping.
Story Break: I’ve loved camping for a very long time. So much so that we registered for a ton of camp gear when getting married and camped while honeymooning. It was wonderful and oh-so-romantic camping with my brand new husband. That is, until the first evening, when it was FREEZING at night in the mountains of Colorado in the early Summer months, and I had to pee in the middle of the night. We were at a very rustic campsite and the restrooms were way too far away for me to get there in time. I tried squatting down in the bushes and ended up wetting my PJs so throughly that I had to wake my brand new husband to help me find new pants and find somewhere I could put my freshly wet PJs so they wouldn’t stink up everything we brought. SO embarrassing.
We’ve been camping together for nine years now and I haven’t really been able to perfect the art of peeing outdoors. About four camping trips ago I decided to try peeing in a cup instead of trying to squat. We had thrown a pack of red solo cups into our camping items because we were going with a group of people and we didn’t know if they’d be prepared with water bottles or cups of some sort. I grabbed a cup and went off into the woods. I was able to easily relieve myself with little to no effort. The cup lasted the evening and then was easily disposed of the next day. Not the most eco-friendly option, I know, but it was an easy and clean way to deal with the one aspect of camping that had really been difficult!
If you are anything like me and cannot squat and pee outdoors while camping, I recommend a red solo cup. (Doesn’t really need to be red.) 😉
Yesterday I shared tips on how to throw a great networking event, but what most people want to know is how to really wow at networking events. How do you make yourself stand out amongst the other people in attendance at a networking event? How can you move the shy inner person aside and share the inner rockstar with the room? Or for people like me, how do you decrease the anxiety enough to not come off as a hyperventilating, sweaty palmed super-fan when meeting someone for the first time?
After hosting many networking events with my networking group Portland Bloggers, and attending even more, I’ve come up with a few tips that help me get through a networking event fairly unscathed and with a lot of great connections.
(Big thanks to Portland-local event, food and family photographer Aubrie LeGault for taking these amazing photos!)
Before I get to the tips though, let me say that networking REALLY works. You’ve heard the saying before, “It’s all about who you know!” While I don’t believe that is what it is all about, I do believe that there is something to it. You don’t have to know the most powerful player in town to find a connection that will lead you to your next career, opportunity or best friend. I’ve seen several people (including myself) create careers and land jobs or amazing opportunities from taking the time to network with others. It isn’t just about meeting another person either, it is about showing what you can do once you have the opportunity, but making the opportunity to show what you’ve got arrive is all in the networking.
Okay, so you believe me that networking works. You’ve seen it happen or see where it might work for you. You are ready to take the next step and meet someone that you can really show what you’ve got, but how do you make that opportunity arrive? How do you make the most out of a networking event? Simply follow these easy tips and see all the connections you make!
There is no point going to a networking event that doesn’t meet your needs in some way or another. Go to an event with the people you want to connect with or with people that can help you meet the people you want to connect with at some point. Thinking about your purpose and the type of people you want to connect with prior to choosing your networking events will help you narrow down your options and utilize your time and efforts in the best way possible.
What does that mean? It means that if you are a blogger looking to connect with brands you want to look for networking events that will put you directly with brands or with other bloggers in a similar niche with brand development in a place that you want your blog to be at. If you are wanting to collaborate on projects or learn from other bloggers then go to an event that puts you with bloggers who may want to do the same thing. Networking with people in an industry that you want to work is great for job connections!
The bloggers that attended the recent Portland Bloggers’ event got the opportunity to meet other bloggers from a variety of niches and sizes. They were able to ask specific questions about monetizing, photography, design, marketing, content creation and more. It was a great event for bloggers looking to connect with collaboration partners as well as learn more about their craft. Personally, I found out about two new ad networks that I later looked into and signed up for!
How do you find your purpose? Decide what you want to accomplish with the networking event by examining your goals and the types of people you want to meet to help you get closer to your goals. For instance: I have a goal to finish my ebook and launch it in September. My last networking events I specifically went with a purpose in mind to connect and get to know bloggers who I feel would be great people to send my ebook to prior to launch to get feedback and possibly help promote. My purpose was to connect and get to know local influencers in a way that would let me know if they’d be the right person to help me reach my goal. In addition, my purpose was to help other bloggers reach their goals. Networking is not a one way street after all!
I can’t even begin to tell you how many networking events that I’ve attended where people do not have business cards. I can’t even count the times that I’ve made this mistake myself! They are printing, I forgot them, I didn’t have enough on me… I’ve got all the excuses covered. If you really want to wow a room you need to have business cards that stand out. At the end of an event the people that talked to you probably talked to at least five other people with which they exchanged cards. Your card needs to stand out and make your memorable.
At our last event one of the attendees, Yvonne from Dress this Nest & King Cream, brought little individual ice creams to hand out to guests as they left. Do you think anyone forgot her business cards that day? Nope!
And, no, I don’t suggest you figure out a way to bring ice cream to everyone at an event. But, I am suggesting you take time to have business cards that speaks about you in a way that people will remember that it was YOU that gave it to them. My business cards use the same color scheme and photos that are on my blog.
This tip goes for anyone who attends a networking event—not just bloggers. Thinking of yourself and what you have to offer as a brand and presenting yourself in a professional, unique way (as brands have to do) will set you apart from the crowd.
Three things you should know about your “brand” to help you make the most of networking:
At a networking event you will have to talk about yourself at one point or another. You will need to talk about yourself in a way that is authentic, concise and interesting. This trait comes to some people naturally. If so, kudos for you!
However, if you are like me and instead end up a rambling machine that doesn’t ever come to the point and ends up talking about themselves WAY too much or giving a little too much information then you’ll want to take care to not skip this step and PREPARE.
Thinking of yourself like a brand helps with this step a lot. Take the time to answer the above three questions, write them down, and practice talking about them with specific examples.
So, yes, you will need to talk about yourself at a networking event. And, yes, you’ll basically be selling your “brand” to people you meet with the hopes of meeting YOUR purpose. However, it still isn’t about you.
If you go to a networking event and only talk about yourself (a sin I’ve done on many occasions because I get so nervous that all I can do is babble about what I know) then you’ll leave with no real connections and not one ounce closer to your goals.
However, if you go with the purpose of getting to know OTHERS and how the value that you offer can be beneficial to those people then you will come out of the networking event a total networking rockstar. You will find connections with people that can help you meet your purpose all the while helping them reach their goals.
This may seem incredibly nerdy, but I promise that if you do this then you will not regret it. I learned this at a recent marketing symposium from a Washington based marketing team called Delphis Creative. The owner of the marketing business suggested that as soon as you get out of every meeting with someone you connect with take the time to take notes on what you talked about, notes about the person and your thoughts about the connection. Take a little time as soon as an event is over (or heck, even on a bathroom break!) to write a few notes about who you met and what you’ve learned.
One cool way to keep track of all of these is to create Evernote notebooks for each event you go to, take a snap shot of the business cards you receive, and write your notes about the person saved with that card. Then, as you develop your relationship you can add to that note. You can also create some cross referencing with tags as you think of ways that you can provide value to that person, or ways they might be able to help you reach your goals.
Networking events do not end when the door closes and the last glass of wine has been dumped and racked for cleaning. Now days the events can go on and on with the addition of social networking. Take your notebook and purposefully connect with those people with whom you met and started a connection. Connect over social media or email. Just connect.
A big, big thank you goes out to all the awesome sponsors that helped make the recent Portland Bloggers’ networking event possible. I appreciate the support of local Portland bloggers and hope that you do too! Please check out the websites of these awesome supporters of Portland blogs and connect with them online:
Host: Passionfruit | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Photographer: Aubrie LeGault Photography | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Bagels: Bowery Bagels | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Coffee: Black Rock Coffee Bar | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter