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9 posts from July 2008

July 31, 2008

Taking a Time Out

I keep two personal holy days each year, May Day and Mary Day. May 1 is for planting flowers and July 31 is for replanting myself and celebrating the gift of being able to roll the dice for another year.

I'm heading for the beach with a book my gal pal Celeste sent me, munchies, and my cell phone. I can unplug from email, but not my phone. A couple days ago, Beth and I were talking about living the balanced life and I have to agree, mine's not very balanced, there are days when all I see is a computer screen. So... if you're near little Coronna beach today, pull up a blanket and grab some melon. Cheers!  Mary

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July 29, 2008

Greasing the wheels of the Conscious Goods Alliance

Now here's a group I can get behind, the Conscious Goods Alliance. They have a veggie bus that they are driving around the country to promote organic food and sustainable goods. Sounds like a great way to spend a summer vacation. Paige Paulson, who is giving the report below, was also at BlogHer 08.

July 24, 2008

Can Organic Food Suppress Tourettes Symptoms?

One of the reasons I go to BlogHer each year is to meet people outside of the green zone that I tend to live in. That said, sustainability issues are so pervasive now, that I found it hard to sit next to anyone who hasn't been affected, including this women via her son. By eating organic food, his Tourettes Tics have greatly deminished. It makes you wonder which pollutants in non-organic food are causing the illness to begin with.

She requested that I don't use her name only because she's speaking on sensitive material about her son who years from now, may not want to be linked to this message. (smart mom)

In case you're wondering, I captured her "testimony" using a FLIP camcorder. It's really easy to use and you can get your own on Amazon for $116. I especially like it because I can shoot in very low light that you tend to have during conferences.

July 21, 2008

BlogHer 08 by the Numbers (then the names)

Blogher_08_name

This is BlogHer recap week. I want to do it justice, so each post will capture one topic. Today's focus is on the community at large and sponsorship. Later this week, I'll cover the wonderful individual community members which I met. I've tried to live blog in the past, but it cut into my face-to-face time. That's why I attend each year. I want to TALK without my fingers moving for just a few days.

  • Over 1000 women bloggers and babies
  • 50 biz cards, that's about how many I have to help me remember the faces and places.
  • 69 sponsors from food to electronics to software and .orgs. (yes, I tried to visit them all)
  • 3 days (if you count the night before and the morning after)
  • 1 very tired, talked out blogger who enjoyed the 7 hour quiet drive home.

The best part of BlogHer is meeting women outside of my normal interest zone. The blogosphere allows me to talk with others "like me" which locks me into same/same mode.  These conferences force me to considering other options. One thing no one lacks is passion; it's the #1 vibe in the room. The #2 vibe is community. Even with our differences, our ability to express those differences in such an open and uncensored way is what joins us together. 

Blogher08_3I've been to five of these events so far (3 regular, 2 for business) In the early days, co-founders: Elisa, Jory and Lisa, (the three dots on the stage left) were running it on their charge cards. Since then BlogHer has grown to 13,000 listed bloggers, 2200 in their ad network and sold out conferences like this one.

Social media, of which blogging is part of the mix, is finally taking hold in the market. Why advertise a 30 second spot on TV that's gone after 30 seconds if you can engage a blogger to write about you on the Internet cave wall where it will be read forever. Those of us who blog, "get it" and those who don't (most companies) want to "get it" or more accurately, get the written endorsements and word of mouth.

This year that was made very clear as BlogHer has joined in a partnership with iVillage, Bravo TV and the Oxygen. NBC (the umbrella company) wants to help those business units get a handle on what women bloggers can and can't do for their various properties. I understand that venture capital was extended to BlogHer which allowed them to hire a staff of 22 and expand their reach.

Blogher_08_button Back at the conference, I has fascinated at the inventive ways companies used this past weekend to engage the group. There were electronic makeovers per se by HP, Intuit, Norton, Picnik, sanpfish, T-mobile, Microsoft, Nintendo. We worked out to Wii and had our floors cleaned by iRobot. We were well wined by Oops and dined by Boca, Bertrolli, and of course Starbucks. Cafe Press offered us ways to monitize our blogs and many more offered content and software to make everything run more smoothly.

In a terrific example of "experience" marketing, Macy's corded off floors in their store for a progressive party of appetizers and more wine by Oops. We started in the purse department, moved to shoes and ended up with tiny ice cream cones in the furniture department. What a fun way to get 1000 women to walk your store. It gave new meaning to shop/talk. NEXT - personal video highlights.

July 17, 2008

It's BlogHer's time to be a BragHer.

BlogHer is back in town and taking names, BIG names. BlogHer is now in strategic partnership with I Village, Oxygen and BravoTV, according to the announcement make today.

What a huge endorsement for BlogHer and women’s social media at large! Corporations who turned a blind wallet to BlogHer before won’t be doing it any longer. To ignore women bloggers is to ignore a force of feminine buying and influential nature. You go girls! Can't wait to hear what the next few days at this sold out conference will uncover.

I'm here with Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse who managed to lose her phone at the airport and will be meeting up with Funny Business bud, Elana in a bit. I'd better stop blogging and start dressing.

July 13, 2008

Mindful Mama: Creating a better environment from the inside out

I love writing about companies who give to readers and give back to the world. Today I heard from Mindful Mama Magazine that provides new moms information on making their pregnancy and the baby's first home safer and also gives 2% of it's cash to helping other mothers around the world. While giving birth is an every-minute occurrence, it isn't being given the attention that Mindful Mama will be giving the experience.

Taken from their press release:

"The original Mindful Mama is mother, yoga instructor, and birth advocate Sarah Kraft. She has brought together a group of passionate mothers, doctors, midwives, entrepreneurs and artists who are all committed to a healthy future for mom, baby and the planet.

Mindful Mama actively promotes: [I especially like this stand that they are taking. Bravo!]

Simplicity
Products that are non-toxic to mom and baby
Products and services produced using sustainable practices
Companies that make efforts to green their workspace
Companies that actively work to reduce their carbon footprint
Companies that donate a portion of profits to a good cause
Mother-owned businesses or parent-friendly workplaces

Built on the same platform as Facebook, www.mindfulmamamagazine.com is the first social network to connect moms directly with birth professionals and wellness practitioners-including obstetricians, midwives, doulas, birth educators, yoga instructors, massage therapists and naturopathic doctors.

In 2008, 2% of Mindful Mama profits will be donated to International Midwife Assistance (IMA). IMA is a charitable, nonprofit, humanitarian organization, whose mission is to raise the standard of maternal/infant care in developing nations and areas experiencing crises in maternal/infant care. IMA trains midwives and other healthcare workers and delivers medical supplies, medications, and teaching aids and is currently active in Uganda, with hopes of expanding into Haiti.

I've never been a natural Mom, so can't relate to whether this is really useful or not. Any moms out there care to comment?


July 11, 2008

Natural Networkering at Work

If there was one big gift that women give the world and business, it's networking.

Yesterday I met Sande Hart for coffee. Two years ago, Sande sat at my table at a Gather the Women function and told me that her mission is to bring peace to the world through interfaith exploration. Her growing group, called SARAH, impresses me still. Sande is a people connector and is also a big advocate for living the green life.

After a quick regroup, Sande decided that I needed to meet her two friends, Sheri and Margaret, who work with www.ocice.org, a large group of interfaith/greenies in Orange County who recently launched an initiative to have all 900 or so churches in OC resolve to live more in tune with the planet. I see in my email box, an E-intro has been extended. Thanks Sande!

Later that day I attended the Women's Summit, which I learned about through Nina Burokas. (I met Nina at BlogHer) The Summit takes about 80 women, adds wine, a speaker and then gives us a chance to intro-date two tables of women for the soul purpose of identifying synergies for future business.

As fate would have it, at my table, I sat between a Laura Curran, the owner of Greengood.net and Jamie Welsh, the founder of 10%Solution and her pal Krista Thomas who also works for Reuters. Talk about green luck.

Our table also held our hilarious speaker for the evening, Kim Shepherd, Debra Trujilio who has launched a "how to Manage your money program for kids" while holding down a Senior VP job for Primerica. Ali McDermott Wilcox, an attorney for Sedgwick, and Teigue Thomas, the VP and General Counsel for Gateway.

I could have talked all night to any one of them. but we still had another round table of people to meet.

Table two brought me face-to-face with Glenda DeLuca who focuses on natural products; Christina Bergmann, marketer at large; our hostess Ashley Sattar now the Director for Corporate Sponsorships for Big Brothers and Sisters; Lynn Halstead, Financial Services; Debra Garcia, Artisian Wines; and finally to my right, Carol Kurimsky, VP Marketing for Ingram Micro.

Missing in action from the lineup is the one gal who didn't have a business card with her and I couldn't hear her name well from my chair, and I can't forget Paula Noone who I met when I first got in the door.

One day, 18 women, all of whom are self-selected networkers or they would not have been out and about. I'm always impressed at how fast we bond and our willingness to share information. It's very reaffirming and gives me hope for the work ahead of us all.

July 07, 2008

A Wall-E and Wa$ted just the kick start I needed for green fatigue

Wall_eHave you seen WALL-E yet? It's about an out of control, consumption-driven world, and yet you feel good when you leave. Pixar has done it again by giving us a look into the future without pointing fingers.

At Terry Gamer's suggestion, (she's the second from the left in the IWWT banner above} I took my Pixar-loving husband to see Wall-E. We were totally amused and amazed at the level of animation that Pixar continues to produce. Go to the site and see for yourself and then treat yourself to the big screen version.  It's easy to understand why it made ca-gillions the first weekend out. I'm giving Pixar two robotic thumbs up for creating such a delightful way to stay engaged while facing our own scary reality show. The statisticss from the last post, (over 75% of our current wastestream is made up of products) backs that up. Wall-E's world isn't so far fetched.

Wall-E has incredible visuals and an in-your-face look at a world with no place to store it's throwaway stuff. The story line is of a hard-working "guy" robot who a bit rusty around the edges. He spends his days building skyscrappers of scrap until one day a very svelte and sleek gal bot (Eve) arrives on Earth. She is everything his world isn't and he is instantly smitten. Her directive is to find a living plant and bring it back to the mothership. Sifting through a wasteland of waste isn't a happy thought; all that "reality" would turn most people off, but the love story between the two bots is just enough sugar to keep us engaged and watching.

Wasted_2Perhaps it was serendipitous that Terry mentioned the film as I had also just seen "Wa$ted" for the first time this weekend. You'll find in on the Planet Green cable channel. The stars of the show, Annabelle Gurwitch and Holter Gramham take one family and shows them how much they waste every year. That's pretty dispressing, but then they show how just a few changes not only bring down their carbon and pollution footprint, but their financial expenditures as well.

Both shows ask me the question, "If not now, when? If not you - who"?  Do you need a jolt out of green fatique? Watch either one and I guarantee you'll be back on track.

July 02, 2008

Heidi Sanborn: Pay now, or Pay later in a throw away world

SanbornI slid into the the Zero Waste conference last week, just in time to hear Heidi Sanborn talk about the Product Stewardship Council. She gave a terrific presentation on the growing problem and cost of household waste and who is responsible, the manufacturers who make the throw away stuff or the taxpayers who must manage the thrown-away stuff?

I couldn't take notes fast enough. The WHOLE presentation is on http://www.caproductstewardship.org/. If you scroll down, you'll see it at the bottom of the page where you can download the whole thing. It puts climate change pollution into a whole new light. Even if you don't think Global Warming is real, our massive waste problem sure is.

Per_capital_waste_2 But that's just the beginning of the problem. The bigger problem is that WE pay for it on the front end as consumers AND the backend as taxpayers - and that system could bankrupt most communities.

Heidi believes that putting the burden of creating a safe and recyclable product on the manufacturer's shoulders is the answer. But if you were a manufacturer, where do you start and how do you do it and stay competitive with someone else who carried the same product line?

The more I know, the more I'm impressed with how the SMaRT Sustainable Product Standard works to solve pollution problems in air, water, earth and the atmosphere, BEFORE it hits the landfill.

Heidi, with 17 years in integrated waste management, has seen all the solutions come and go.  Check out her presentation. If you weren't motivated to buy less, or buy sustainably before, you will be after you see it. The section on pharmaceuticals is especially eye opening.