Friday, April 29, 2011

Trader Joe's Suds Not Sudsy

This is a product review of Trader Joe's Next to Godliness Tea Tree Lavender Liquid Dish Soap. It smells wonderful because of the essential oils, I presume: lavender oil and tea tree oil. All natural product with coconut derived surfactants, earth salt and grapefruit seed extract, cruelty free, not tested on animals and contains no animal by-products. These are all attributes I look for at the grocery store.

My only disappointment with this dish soap is that it produces very low suds, despite the orange and green stamp on the label that states "LOTS OF FOAM". You can see the label in the photo. I think not. This Trader Joe's liquid dish soap has decidedly very little foam. I don't understand why they would specifically say lots of foam, when it is markedly less sudsy than any other liquid dish soap I've ever tried (I like to try new cleaning products).

I suppose it doesn't really matter, but it bothers me just a little. I'm a big fan of everything else I've ever bought at Trader Joe's.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Go With Me

Dear Reader - I've moved my Positively Rambling blog to a new platform here: Positively Rambling. Or you can find me writing about packaging and related subjects at my new company site The Liberty Packaging Blog. I hope you'll subscribe to one or the other and feel free to comment there.

I look forward to our next meeting. Meanwhile, I hope this beautiful beach scene leaves you feeling serene....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eleven Social Media Rules

I'm not a social media expert, but I play one on TV. That's not even a little bit true, but as a frequent user of social media, I offer these helpful and easy to use Facebook and Twitter rules. You'll find other more comprehensive lists; these are my basic guidelines:

  1. Social media, especially Twitter, is for interacting with people - not just for selling your new book, SEO service or webinar - a good ratio is 10 to 1 - ten Tweets should be you having conversation and sharing other people's great info. The 11th is your blog or seminar or jewelry sale. Some would say 12 to 1 is even better.
  2. Don't post every little detail of your day - share a funny story, a great song, an interesting photo, or a topical new article. Talk to us. Have a conversation.
  3. Your profile photo or avatar represents you -  choose it wisely.
  4. Google yourself to see what's out there on the web about you - it may help to know how the world sees you.
  5. Be nice - debate is welcome, nastiness and name calling just beget more of the same.
  6. It's okay to share problems or challenges - I can't tell you how many wonderful people are out there who have helped or supported me with kind words, connections, and even graphic design assistance.
  7. You don't have to follow or friend everyone who reaches out to you.
  8. Say thank you to those who comment or share your thoughts and ideas with their connections.
  9. My Facebook friends are just that - family, friends and a few special connections from Twitter whom I now consider friends - think about whether it's wise or helpful for your business and personal connections to mingle on FB.
  10. There may be those who want the intimate details of your love life - I'm not one of them. Or maybe I am, but I recommend you make it a private message and not a wall post or Tweet for all to read. 
  11. Facebook privacy rules continue to evolve - we'd all do well to pay attention and adjust our privacy settings as needed.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Insult to Injury - I Got the Boot

I feel a bit stupid. Crouched on the sofa cross-legged, typing away, talking on the phone, checking weather on the TV and my foot falls asleep. It happens. The surprise came when I stepped away from the sofa and my sleeping extremity, unaware that the floor was fast approaching, bent the wrong way and I heard a loud snap. It didn't hurt, since my foot was still dead asleep. In fact, it seemed so bizarre I was laughing about it.

The foot swelled up right away, but not horribly, so I applied ice, took a couple ibuprofen and strapped the foot up with an ankle brace, then limped around the house doing what I normally do, just a little slower to the task. I've never broken a bone before, and I'm thinking nothing is broken now.

Day two now - it doesn't feel worse, but not better either. Patience.....

It's now day 11 and my foot is still bruised and sore. I haven't been to the gym at all; just walking is uncomfortable. Maybe I'll call my doctor Monday.  I've never been much of an athlete - badminton elbow is my only sports injury to date - anyway, walking away from the sofa is not considered a sport, I fear. My point is, I don't really know how these injuries are supposed to go. Will I regret not having had an x-ray on the injured foot right away?

Day 12 - visit to PCP and x-ray. Unfortunately due to a miscommunication (I've no doubt it was my fault), the x-ray taken was of the ankle and not the foot. Once you're in the hospital radiology lab with an order that says "x-ray ankle" there's nothing to be done for it but to x-ray the ankle. Will wait to hear from the doctor's office after they get back from lunch, then probably back for more x-rays.

Yes, more x-rays it is - now done and awaiting results in a day or two. I've waited this long, so no big deal.

Day 14 - couldn't stand the inactivity any longer, so I went to the gym, used the weight machines, then hopped on the stationary bike for a bit. It was fine, and actually quite a relief to do something besides sit. The foot hurts a bit more now than it did earlier today, but I can live with it.

Day 16 - I have a non-displaced avulsion fracture of the fifth metatarsal in the left foot. Good to know what the problem is, and it's a small problem.

Wrapped the foot up and went to the gym on Saturday - it felt good to do something besides hobble around the house, and the stationary bike doesn't seem to stress the foot at all.

Day 19 - Kundalini yoga tonight worked out fine - had to modify a few positions to get comfortable, but I'm glad I went. The orthopedic doctor will see me tomorrow. I imagine I'll end up with one of those unattractive stabilization boots and instructions on whether going to the gym is actually a good idea.

It's Day 20 and orthopedic surgeon assures me it's a very common injury, people have lived for centuries with this type of fracture and they always heal. Fair enough. After I expressed consternation about too much time sitting around, he assured me that I could freely ride the exercise bike and use weights and whatever else I could do that didn't hurt. In his likable and mildly sardonic manner, the good doctor offered to let me try "the boot" to see if it felt comfortable - he said it would be my choice to use it or not. I was fully prepared not to like it, but the Aircast offers cushioning and stability, so my one-sided hobble is greatly reduced, as is the pain when I walk or navigate stairs.

It's not pretty, but I like my new boot and the freedom and solid comfort it provides. Back for a follow-up visit and x-rays in four weeks. I expect smooth sailing from here...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Four Business Books to Inspire You

Beautiful Boston
These are four books to which I continue to refer for guidance and inspiration in my business:

"Get Content - Get Customers"* by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett - what this book does well is explain why a strategic content marketing program is important and show how to accomplish compelling content. Connecting with customers by providing useful information goes a long way toward gaining their trust. Examples and instruction included.

"Linchpin - Are You Indispensable?"* by Seth Godin - I find this book so compelling that I presented copies to colleagues at a meeting last summer. Godin posits that many of our habits and even mandates in school, work, and life are habits because it's assumed they are the only way of getting work done. In fact, the evidence shows quite the opposite. I've read it through a couple of times and refer back often.

"Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur"* by Sir Richard Branson - the man has great ideas for providing products and services people will clamor for and isn't afraid to bare it all for publicity. Really. It's a fun read and made me feel that perhaps I could afford to take a few more risks in life.

"Trust Agents"* by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith - this is one I'm still reading. I've followed Chris Brogan for a while, read his blogs and newletters daily, and have recently begun paying attention to Julien as well. "Trust Agents" provides ways to use the web to grow your sphere of influence and trust. Chris and Julien provide thoughtful guidance on how to handle customer service issues, what to put on your business card, why the word "friend" can now be used as a verb and so much more.

I find these authors and their books particularly engaging because they account for human elements within their business strategy. A "strictly business" business book is of no use to me - these writers share with the reader a real sensibility as to how people are motivated, which can be adapted to fit your industry, business or even your personal life.

 *Amazon Affiliate Link

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Packaging on Twitter

If you have a specialty in occupation or avocation, you want to find others who care about it and have conversations with them - share what you know. Through them, you meet new people to talk with or listen to. It doesn't matter whether your forte is establishing a food empire one cookie at a time @jbchang, teaching young women how to enhance their self-esteem @KathleenHassan, taking beautiful photographs to tell the story of how women age @BeautyofWisdom, writing and performing richly layered and memorable music @TheVanBurens, or whatever you love.  Your goal is to do your work, your art, and find your audience - the people who will provide that give and take.

When I began my first Twitter account in October of 2009, I never expected to find so many smart people who are interested in packaging, but they're teaching me, sharing information, and supporting me daily. Here are some of the many insightful packaging experts and organizations who share my philosophy of give and take on Twitter:

@PackagingDiva  JoAnn HinesAnswers, Advice, Results from GO TO person in packaging. I speak, blog, educate, on all things packaging and support those who support me.
@packagingdigest  For nearly 50 years, Packaging Digest has been the packaging industry’s best known, most trusted and most widely distributed information resource.
@cnvcurmudgeon  Mark SpauldingBloggist for The Converting Curmudgeon; associate publisher; chief editor of Converting Quarterly; web-processing industry bon vivant.
@packageSPEAK  Package SPEAK is THE place for consumers like you to share your likes, dislikes, frustrations; ideas about packaging. Take notice, share; impact an industry.
@PackagingKid  Lex CislerPackaging and Corrugated expert here to keep you updated on market trends, solve as many warehouse problems as I can and bring an edge to the packaging industry
@PMMIorg   Trade association serving packaging and processing machinery manufacturers. Your official location for info. 
@packfutur   Thoughts on the future of packaging by Leading Futurists LLC principals Jennifer Jarratt @jenjarratt and John Mahaffie @jbmahaffie
@Pack_TV   Simon Twilley Love Packaging, love TV, so launched a WebTV Channel about packaging!
@thedieline  The World's #1 Package Design Website 

If you'd like to connect with more packaging experts on Twitter, follow my Twitter Packaging list, which continues to grow as I find more smart people in the packaging business. Follow and DM me @laineyd7 if you'd like to be added.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Suitably Bespoke

Bespoke is my new favorite word. It's popping up in online and print ads, marketing copy, blogs, in Oprah's magazine and on those cable home improvement shows featuring custom kitchen cabinets and high-end jacuzzi tubs.

Not a word I drop into daily conversation, yet it's lyrical and lovely:  bespoke.   Just saying the word makes me feel rich and well dressed.

"Custom made" or "specially designed" are synonyms listed in Wiktionary.  The meaning behind the word bespoke has changed recently, as evidenced by the battle Savile Row of London tailors fought in 2008 to preserve the original definition, which implied something crafted entirely by hand, without any mechanization or patterns.  According to Savile Row, "The word was coined by tailors on Savile Row, London, in the 17th century and referred to a suit which was hand-crafted from a single bolt of cloth without the use of a pre-existing pattern."  

These days, bespoke items are more often manufactured using modern tools, not completely by hand or without patterns.  The true bespoke product has evolved into "bespoke light".  I suppose that's progress.....