Thursday, February 28, 2013

Parenting By Marketing Calendar.

I'm average to bad in the Domestic Affairs department.

I claim to not be good at staying-at-home, and while the evidence upholds this truth, what I really am is unorganized.

Were I back in the marketing real world applying these meager management skills, I'd be saying, "Oh, let's just put that new sandwich thing on-air next week and figure out the rest of the year tomorrow." I'd be fired before tomorrow arrived.

So I'm changing my ways.

As soon as we move back into our house I am planning my little boy's learning like it's a g-d marketing calendar. Here's an example of what March might look like:



Each week we'll focus on a Food, Animal, Color, and extra "Wildcard" topic.

(If you can read the St. Paddy's wildcard topic, I agree I've gone too far. We'll change "Leprechaun" to "Rainbow," a less scary and more easily grasped concept.) 

I am going to integrate this into household activities like I'm a fresh MBA gunning for a promotion. We'll eat the food of the week which should match the color of the week, read on-topic books, and do on-topic crafty things.

The best part of this whole initiative? I don't have to build my calendar in Excel! I can use chalkboard paint or some other non-office approved material.

The morale of this story is that there may be a household application for the skills I thought I left in the office. THIS is exciting.

Who else has project-managed parenting within an inch of its life?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dear McDonald's. Thanks For Keeping Me Young.

Dear McDonald's,

My son had his 15 month shots today and as a reward for both surviving, we went to McDonald's for lunch. This was my first visit as a mom and I felt so damn cool watching my son in the toddler playland. Finally I fall distinctly into one of your target audiences!

Many years ago I migrated out of your dollar menu target and have felt odd running in ever since for a salad or milkshake as I was too old to be your "Value Fox" and too childless to be your "Mom." Thanks for welcoming me over to the playful side and making me feel like I belong again.

This sense of belonging, however, is not what today's letter is about.

For weeks I've seen your Fish McBites spot running and thought, "Disgusting," despite being a huge Filet-O-Fish fan and finding the "fishy, fishy" jingle a bit catchy. Something about bite-sized fish chunks produced en masse turns me off.

Today, though, when your friendly lobby worker asked if I would like to sample some McBites I had to say yes. A former fast food marketer, I am always interested in new products and was pleasantly surprised with my McBites. They tasted like comfort, not gross fish.

However, it is not the quality that most amazed me.

After trying them, I looked around and noticed a fish net, fish dangling from the ceiling, and merchandising depicting all the different ways to order fish bites. When we sat down I saw the fish message on my cup and on my little boy's Happy Meal box.

WOW.

Your in-store campaign for what I'm assuming is a limited time offer that will run only during Lent, is a phenomenal marketing feat. I imagine the Fish category just grew threefold and next year, all your competitors will be launching similar products the same way they tried to launch iced tea after you added it to your $1 menu.

However, it wasn't even your fully Integrated Marketing Campaign that most amazed me, either.

What surprised me most, is that no matter how old I get, McDonald's will always rock. I've played on the playland, eaten off the $1 menu, bought the salads and McFlurry's, analyzed the marketing from within the category, and watched the McD circle of life come full circle in my little boy.

Forever Young, right guys? Thanks for helping me realize that the best brand identities are actually quite true.

Sincerely,
annie

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hats. The Final Reason I Can't Fashion Blog.

I think the fashion blogging world may overlook my other faults (ombre misunderstanding, sparce makeup collection, all the wrong free gear, and Valentine's socks for those of you who haven't been following my awesome little series) and let me in the club were it not for this final flaw.

I don't own the right kind of hats. Mine are all appropriate for a day at the races but not for:

heading to an outdoor garden to casually sit on an overturned flower pot,

faux napping on a lounge chair with Botoxed lips,


sitting on the stoop of a Brooklyn walkup and adjusting an earring.

This pretty much seals my fate. I'm no fashion blogger. Back to the mommy/humor hybrid fashion I wear so well.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

VDay Outfit. Bye Bye Fashion Blogging Aspirations.

Would any fashion blogger worth her Manolos have these in her drawer and wear them as a cute Valentine's Day accessory? Even the part of me not trying to be a fashion blogger is embarrassed of these.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Free Stuff. Yet Another Reason I Don't Fashion Blog.

Were I a fashion blogger, I would take artsy self-portraits wearing free clothing from companies that love me. I'm going to give it a try.

This is me in my FREE ESPN hoody. At my old job, we sometimes got free stuff from media companies. I was important enough to get this hot hoody.

ESPN isn't my only sponsor. This is me in my FREE, custom Dr. Pepper tee. DP gave us a "I'm A [fill in the blank]" tshirt with our chosen phrase to support their new campaign.


Mine arrived during my first week as Household CEO. The hyperbolic fashion is the best way to rock this look. Tie it up ala 1988, pair it with an inappropriately short jean skirt, remove your shoes, and grab a broom and a baby. Now wait for your husband to get home. You will both laugh. And maybe cry.

Despite owning such awesome free gear I cannot claim to be a fashion blogger. To meet the genre's requirements, my readers would have to be so impressed by my hot style that they immediately buy a heather gray ESPN hoody and a custom Dr. Pepper tee.

Will you make my sponsors happy and buy these looks?

Yep, I'm no fashion blogger.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Makeup. Another Reason I'm Not A Fashion Blogger.

Were I a fashion blogger, I would probably be more into makeup. Behold all of my worldly cosmetics:


This is no joke. This is everything I own. I was quite surprised to find three eyeshadows. Time for some spring cleaning.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ombre. Reason #1 I Could Never Be A Fashion Blogger.

There are many reasons I could never be a fashion blogger, one of which is the toddler I chase in forgiving, wash 'n dry cotton. And by forgiving wash 'n dry cotton, I mean old, stretched out running performance gear and race shirts.

However, mommyhood is a lame excuse because fashion trends frequently confuse me. Sometimes I adapt, as was the case with the pointy-toed shoe phenomenon, othertimes I ignore as is the case with the current nail decor rage.

Still othertimes, I am so confounded that I think the stylists are all on sabbatical.

For months, I've been flipping through Us Weekly and loudly exclaiming my disgust with the ladies' hair, "What's up with her roots?" I've yelled at my husband, "Why didn't her people fix this?"

Turns out, letting your roots grow out is now on trend and has a fancy French name to go with it. Here is the "ombre" style, formerly known as the "go get a highlight because your roots are over two inches long" style.

Pics I have no rights to. Fashion bloggers probably would.
Were I a fashion blogger, I would have known my half blonde, half mousy brown hair was on trend and never boldly dyed it dark brown. The error of my ways is illustrated below.

Pics that are sadly of me. Fashion bloggers would never post these.
I am not knocking fashion or fashion bloggers, but rather, expressing awe at their ability to keep up with trends and then be bold enough to test them out.

So, for the next few days I will share, via exhibit, several more reasons why I could never be a fashion blogger.

Join the fun! Could you be a fashion blogger?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What's In The Name.

To name our son we relied heavily on the "Baby Names" app and my decree that the Top 100 were too trendy.

We chose a unique, but not freakish, name he goes by and made it his middle name. Our dilemma was coming up with a first name to pair perfectly with the name by which he'd be known.

For those of you expecting a funny story of marital banter and a wife outwitting her husband with little more than a pomegranate and a stapler to achieve her purpose, stop reading now. I'm taking a turn from my usual style to try and write something serious, although I do think one of next week's prompts should be "Describe How You'd Use A Pomegranate And A Stapler To Outwit Someone." 

Back to serious mode.

We had a few names on our list, but we didn't feel strongly about any. The tipping point was the memory of one of my very best friends. The two year anniversary of her death just passed and it's about time I put in writing her influence on our son's name.

This friend was a friend who started out as the person across from me in the office, quickly became the person who welcomed my husband and me to our new city with open arms, and made us part of her family. 

At the office we could be serious and discuss "the business" when needed, but spent many hours exchanging relatively inappropriate IMs and text messages during meetings when eye rolls were not appropriate.  

She was the best work friend one could hope for, but she was much more than that.  She lived a mile away and we spent many a weekend night with her, either at the bar down the road or at one of our houses.  She would call and say, "I'm cooking tonight.  Bring wine and come over!"  


One night when my husband was out of town, the two of us went out and ended up walking home, me sans shoes.  In the morning, neither one of us knew what had happened or why I'd chosen to go barefoot the previous night, but we knew we'd had a blast.


I've heard grief described as numbness, but when she was gone I felt her absence with a sadness and shock that was overpowering. I listened to my boss read the eulogy and sobbed. The coffin left little room for anything other than reality.


In the days and weeks that followed my husband and I felt the sharp angles of her missing silhouette.

Less than two months after she died, I found out I was pregnant. She knew I'd decided it was time for a baby and my body wasn't cooperating. Crying and laughing on the way to the bookstore for a pregnancy guide, I knew she'd had a drink with the bigwigs in heaven and convinced them to knock me up. 

I thought of how excited I would have been to tell her. I thought how sad it was that she'd never meet this baby. I thought of the funny conversations we'd never have about my future parenting skills. I thought how lucky this baby would be to have her watching over.

I thought of all this and it took me several months to think of the name staring me in the face. It's hers. Ok, the male version of hers and also a family name, but hers nonetheless.


Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. 

More frequently than you might expect a memory catches me off guard or I hear that damn Michael Buble song they played at the burial and tears run down my face, but I think it's her way of letting me know she's still around.

And every once in awhile, if I listen closely, I can hear her infectious laugh as she watches me try to outwit the toddler who's named after her. I don't stand a chance.
Mama’s Losin’ It