Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weary Wednesdays: Poor Email Etiquette

Does anyone else get the mid-week blues? I always get a burst of energy when I start a new week, but by mid-day Wednesday, it fades, and I pretty much count the minutes until 8pm, when my husband and I get together with friends for trivia, queso and margaritas.

Since I included "weary" in my blog title, and since Wednesdays in general make me weary, I've decided I'll devote each Wednesday to something that makes me weary. This week's topic: poor email etiquette.

Don't get me wrong--I think email is one of the greatest inventions of modern society (along with air conditioning and my Garmin running watch). I rarely pick up my phone, and when I do--surprise!--it's to check my email. It's fast, it's convenient, and as a rule, I find writing much easier than speaking, especially if I'm communicating something of professional importance. And yet, far too many people who would otherwise posses good sense and good grace seem to lose those sensibilities once an electronic format is involved.

Yesterday, I received an email from a woman I'll call Joan Doe, and I couldn't decide what was more offensive--the condescending tone, the odd choice of fuchsia Comic Sans for business correspondence, the blatant grammatical errors, the run-on sentences or the 16 point font. And yes, even this weary publicists makes mistakes from time to time, but I encounter emails of this type each and every day--and from people who should know better. And it makes me weary.

Even if you don't walk around with a dog-eared copy of Strunk & White (guilty as charged), common sense should prevail. Use black or blue font, reasonably sized. Take advantage of the spell check. Read your message aloud. If you are worried that your words might cause offense, walk away for a few hours or send them to an impartial friend for review ('ll admit to using both of these strategies when composing my response to Ms. Doe). Think about how you would feel if your message were accidentally forwarded to your grandmother, your boss or your best friend. And if all else fails, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Last week, I had a hot date with my DVR and watched an episode of Scrubs, which has to be one of my favorite comedies ever--probably because it features one of my favorite characters ever--Dr. Elliot Reid.

While I may bear a striking resemblance to Sarah Jessica Parker, Elliot Reid is my real doppelganger: attractive and intelligent, yet slightly spoiled, classically neurotic and incessantly klutzy.

But in this particular episode, her character didn't resonate with me--at least not 33 year-old me. The joke was that Elliot fasted for a few days to get into this hot bikini, made her grand beach entrance and then gorged on food for the rest of the vacation.

(And, FYI, available on sale at Victoria's Secret).

Yes, the suit is super sassy (AND in my signature color!), but why can't Elliot have her cake and eat it, too--all while looking super sexy in an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini?

Ironically enough, this very topic found me on the other side of PRville this week, as I was interviewed for this article about women and their love-hate relationship with bathing suits, along with one of my favorite people in the world, Miss Curvy Life herself, who posted her bikini musings here. While I'm usually camera (and radio and photo and interview...) shy, when I read this HARO query about women and bathing suits, I had to respond.

I used t0 hate bathing suits as much as the next girl. From growing up pale in the tan-crazy 80s to the general stretch marks and cellulite that come with being female, I had nothing but fear and loathing for the bathing suit. I'd mastered all sorts of tactics--from the magazine on the tummy to the strategic towel angle to a variety of cover-ups--to avoid showing body parts I disliked. And you could forget about eating or actually swimming in said bathing suit.

All of that changed when I started running marathons with Team in Training. I began running for a close friend who was diagnosed with lymphoma, and while she has been cancer free for almost 18 months, I know others whose battles are just beginning, are still in progress or, tragically, have been lost. And well, when you meet people like that, and your body is learning to do something only one percent of the population dares to try--you have a newfound respect for what it can accomplish. Who cares if your feet are blistered, your toenails are black, your thighs are a little meatier or your butt is a little fuller? Nothing compares to the struggles that cancer patients and their families face every single day.

And so while I may occasionally grumble about my bunions or my stretch marks or my bloated tummy, I think of them not only as signs of a life well lived, but of a life that CAN be lived--and a life that is entirely too short, too precious and too joyous to worry about superficial imperfections.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Miss Match

As we all know, I've been trying a bit harder this week to project an image of confidence and success. My husband travels a lot for work, and usually, his flights get in so late that he takes a taxi back to our place, where he's greeted by his oh-so-sexy wife in the aforementioned loungewear and uber-frizzy hair. Last night, his flight got in around 8 p.m., so I decided that I would meet him at the airport.

I took a shower, fixed my hair, put on makeup (makeup is minimal these days, as I'm running out of my coveted Laura Mercier secret camouflage, and a trip to Saks is just too tempting) and the fab dress from Wednesday (I'm on a budget, people--you'll see A LOT of that dress in the coming weeks!). I never put on my shoes until I arrive at my destination, so I just grabbed my shoes, put on my flops and drove to the airport.

After dealing with the nightmare that is airport traffic on a holiday weekend, I parked the car and put my shoes on in the dark. I started walking toward the terminal and realized that my balance was a bit off. Funny, because as klutzy as I am, I'm generally quite poised in three inch heels.

And then I looked down. In my haste, I had grabbed two DIFFERENT pairs of gold heels. One platform and three inch, and one stiletto and four inch, which made for quite the classy ensemble.

It was too late to go back to my car, so I teetered on confidently in my mismatched heels and waited for my husband to arrive. Passerbys probably thought I was a bit unhinged, as I just kept looking at my feet and laughing hysterically. Out loud. Profusely.

He was so weary he didn't notice at first, but we had a good laugh and joked that I was starting a new trend. Can't decide which pair of shoes goes best with your outfit? Just wear one of each!

Of course, I wasn't quite confident enough to pull that off at dinner, so I just put on my bright pink flip flops and, in the wise words of style guru Tim Gunn, made it work.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This Woman's Daily Wear

One of the best things about being self-employed is working at home in your pajamas. And one of the worst things about being self-employed is working at home in your pajamas. As in, there's rarely an occasion or monetary justification to ditch the lounge wear. I may have a Glamour editor on the line, but buyer beware--that sophisticated, confident woman on the other end of the Crackberry is still unshowered (even though it's well past 5pm on the East Coast) and most likely decked out in this ensemble (thanks, Target):

At least my loungewear matches my smart phone.

Needless to say, my wardrobe has suffered since I left the 9 to 5 world. And when I've been emerging from my lair, it's been in the tried and true dark demin paired with flirty shirt and/or safe but boring cardigan or blazer and sensible ballet flats. What would my agency colleagues think of me now?

Tonight, I decided to mix it up. Last week, I chopped off several inches of hair, and the shorter, sassier do' made me realize I also needed a fresh approach to my wardrobe. So, I ditched the dull demin and headed to my networking meeting in this ensemble:

I added these sexy platform heels, and these amazing earrings (locally designed--support your fellow entrepreneurs, ladies!), and suddenly, I felt human again. Sexy. Competent. Dare I say it--a successful publicist?

So, while there's something to be said for sitting at home in yoga pants with dirty, frizzy hair and clients being none the wiser, every now and again, you have to take control of your own image and prove you still have what it takes to turn heads.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Help is On the Way

Back in the days before I started my own public relations firm, I was a regular at shoe departments and specialty stores across the city. While my coveted Louboutins have always been a bit of out my price range, with patience and a bit of persuasion, I could usually score some sweet Kate Spades, Stuart Weitzmans and the like at bargain basement prices.

Given that the last pair of shoes I purchased was for running rather than the red carpet, it was no surprise that when I walked through Neiman's last week (on my way to purchase a wedding gift at a nearby store), the shoes were gone! The glorious shoe department had been replaced with women's daily wear! Equally as tempting, but disconcerting nonetheless.

So, for those of you who think we publicists lead a glamourous life, be forewarned. We may look fabulous, but the truth is, we're probably just rocking Target sunglasses and Banana Republic trouser pants circa 2002. As a group, we're young and broke--more shabby chic than Sex in the City--and entirely too busy promoting our fabulous roster of clients and investing in uber-sexy business expenses like web designers and accountants to have the time or energy to do our fabulousness justice.

But thanks to Neiman's, there's hope for me and other enterprising women! The store is offering a $5,000 Manolo Blahnik shopping spree! You'll get free shipping on your next order just for entering, so join me in making this next step toward reclaiming your inner Carrie.


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