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stayatworkmom

Déjà vu

 

deja

If you were offered the opportunity to do something that could change healthcare and save lives, would you?

It’s never an easy decision when you’re already doing something you love, but it was too good of a chance to let it pass me by.

Early this year, I left the American Heart Association to work for an amazing enterprise software company, Sprinklr. Since then, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to advise a handful of Fortune 500 organizations on creating and implementing digital strategies using our software. Plus, I’ve had the privilege of working with an amazing team who never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up on creating the best experience for their brands.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago – I got a note from someone I really respect at AHA about a new role. I wasn’t looking. I love #SprinklrLife. But I said I’d hear them out.

And the rest is history… again.

I’m heading back to the AHA as the Director of Marketing, for the Patient-Powered Research Network for the Institute of Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. It’s a position at the crossroads of innovation, tech, big data and healthcare. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to re-join an organization that is changing the face of healthcare.

It’s bittersweet – I still love Sprinklr and where it’s going. I still think it’s the best in the business and they have the best team on the planet. I will forever be their cheerleader. The best part: I still get to work with them as their client again.

So cheers to new beginnings, big changes and giant leaps. I’ve never been one to take the easy road. I love the excitement of doing something big, and taking on a new challenge. This is that opportunity. I’m looking forward to the future. Who knows where it will take me?

To answer a few questions I’ve already gotten…

So what will you be doing?

I get to lead the marketing for patient-centered research at the cross of big data, innovation and cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In normal fashion, it’s a new position that I get to help craft, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Didn’t you burn your work clothes when you started working from home?

Outside of a handful of my favorite dresses, I definitely slimmed down my wardrobe. Something tells me that yoga pants won’t cut it in this role, so I’m going shopping.

Going back to a past employer? How does that work?

Actually, it’s becoming quite popular. I recently found some research that shows more than 76 percent of employers are looking at past employees for new roles.

Oh my God. My mom was right about everything.

image

When it hits you, it really hits you. It wasn’t when I became an adult. It happened after my first child was born.

I realized the (sometimes painful) truth that my mom was right. About everything.

She was right that there is no rule book, or even cliff notes, on how to raise a child.

She was right that when you watch a movie, you suddenly start identifying with the mom character.

She was right you shouldn’t give your kids everything they want all at once.

She was right that you’ll find Play-Doh years after it’s been played with, and in places you didn’t think it was.

She was right that skipping that nap was a bad idea.

She was right that sometimes you’re lucky to get them to school. Bonus points is they still have their shoes on. Extra bonus if you got shoes on them in the first place.

She was right that if one gets sick, you’ll all get sick.

She was right that you’ll never know exhaustion like a mom with a cholicky baby.

She was right that too much candy is a bad thing. The same goes for cake and cookies.

She was right the smell of throw up will never fully leave your car.

She was right that it takes a village… And sometimes a small army.

She was right that your kids would be payback for the childhood you led.

She was right you’d worry about the unknown. All. The. Time.

She was right that you shouldn’t dye your own hair, unless you are blessed with those skills.

She was right that sometimes all you need is chocolate.

She was right that your marriage would change when you have kids, and that you’d have to make time for each other.

She was right that it will be hard, but you’ll learn to balance it all.

She was right that hell hath no fury than a mom whose kids are threatened.

She was right that you’ll never pray more than you do for your kids.

She was right that there’s enough love for your spouse and however many kids you decide to have.

She was right you’d never go to the bathroom alone.

She was right that you’ll understand why mamma bear’s porridge was cold.

She was right that they grow up too fast.

She was right that you have to soak up every moment.

She was right your instincts carry you a lot of the way.

She was right you’ll feel every bump, scratch and boo boo.

She was right that you’ll find your groove and your mom group – both are irreplaceable.

She was right that you make it up as you go.

She was right that it’s worth every minute.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. You were right.

5 Travel Must-Haves

You’ve been there too – 30,000 miles in the air when you realize you forgot it. Sadly, you’ll have to make due with what you can while silently cursing yourself for your temporary insanity while packing.

I’m not talking about your toothbrush or razor. I’m talking about the travel must-haves that make your trip much more relaxing and leave you refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Heck, I travel enough to warrant a second set of toiletries. Forgotten toothbrush, no more! Basics aren’t included in this list.

But here’s my list of the five things you shouldn’t leave home without.

FullSizeRender

1. Battery Pack(s)

Considering that I’m a little bit of a connected-freak, I tend to travel with about five. But for most people, one will suffice. You can find them just about anywhere, like Amazon. Or if you make friends with Twitter, they’ll give you one with your Twitter handle on it. True story.

If you are in an unfamiliar city and can’t find an open outlet in Starbucks to charge your phone (and then find your way back to your hotel), an extra battery pack will become your saving grace.

Trust me – it’s happened to me. And of course it was when my dead phone doubled as my hotel room key too. Go figure.

watch

2. Smart Watch

Traveling usually includes a lot of walking. If it isn’t tracked, it didn’t count. So, make those steps count.

Plus, a smart watch can usually double as your boarding pass, Starbucks card and oh yeah… A watch that changes time zones all on its own.

ipad

3. Tablet

If you haven’t noticed already, I do love my tech. I most often use my time on a plane to decompress and catch up on some light reading. Although, the tablet could also help you squeeze in some light work if you need to.

tote

4. A Good Travel Bag

Maybe it’s a tote, maybe it’s a laptop bag, but you should really have a great bag that fits underneath the seat in front of you and includes lots of pockets. You’ll need to stash all your tech; plus some makeup, gum, snacks, books, etc.

travel flat

5. A Good Pair of Flats

I’ve talked about my Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flats before, but I can’t tell you how much you need a decent pair of flats for travel. They should be comfortable, fit well and not make your feet stink.

Your neighbor will thank you.

Bonus

BM

My newest travel must-have is a decent hydrating cream. I’m partial to this one from Bare Minerals. Flights are really good at dehydrating your skin. You feel a bit like a prune when you step off. So even after you’ve thrown down a couple of bottles of water, you still need a little pick me. A good hydrating cream can do just that.

Happy travels!

 

Disclosure: Stay At Work Mom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

The Balancing Act: How to Juggle it All Without Burning Out

Finding inner peace

Do you ever feel like you can’t juggle it all? It’s easy to feel guilty when you are parsing out all your time to everyone and everything in your life.

A few months ago, I was burned out. The constant juggle of everything in my last left me feeling like someone spinning plates, and I was terrified dropping all the plates I was spinning.

I found consolation in this book: The Juggling Act: Bringing Balance to Your Faith, Family and Work by Pat Gelsinger.

 

Here’s a few things I picked up along the way:

Always be clear on your priorities

Set expectations with your work on what you can and cannot do. Of course, sometimes you’ll have projects where you may miss a ballgame, but it should never be the standard. Your faith and family are the priority. Fight for that balance.

Be present when it’s family time

In our connected world, it’s easy to check your phone. My Apple Watch is always buzzing alerting me to what’s going on in the world. But my family deserves my complete and undivided attention. When you get home from work (except for extenuating circumstances), plug in your phone in the other room and walk away.

After the kids go to bed, it’s fine to jump online and check on things. But teach your children to be present. What you do in moderation, they will do in excess.

Develop a personal mission statement

I’ve heard about this, but never created one until I read the book. If you thoughtfully create and refine your mission statement, you’ll always know if you’re being true to yourself. Any good project has goals and measurements, your life is no exception.

Create a support system

Whether it’s a conversation with your spouse after the kids go to bed, or your closest friends over lunch, you need support. It takes a village, and that’s OK. You don’t have to retire your “Supermom” status if you ask for help. I promise.

Take time for yourself

I have trouble with this one. I feel guilty for not spending every second with my family outside of work. But to be the best Stay At Work Mom, you need to take a few minutes for yourself. Use the time to pray, meditate, grab a coffee, work out, get a pedicure… Whatever works to refresh yourself.

What are your tips for living a balanced life?

 

Disclosure: Stay At Work Mom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

A Bittersweet Goodbye to American Heart Association

Saying goodbye is always hard. Even if you’re excited about the future, you are sad about what you’re losing… or sometimes what you should have lost.

Today, I’m saying goodbye to a place I’ve called my work-home for the past five years – the American Heart Association.

When I was in elementary school, I participated in Jump Rope For Heart, a signature fundraising event for the AHA. To make it memorable, I won a purple t-shirt. Here’s the deal – purple was, and still is, my favorite color. So I wore it every chance I could. I probably would have worn it every day if my mom would have let me.

And that’s how I knew the AHA, until I applied five years ago.

It’s a funny story. I was looking to move from PR and into social media, but I didn’t want to work for a nonprofit. So when a friend sent me the job description, I hesitated.

Then, I thought I’d get in some interview experience along my job hunt, so I sent over my resume.

During the interview process, I fell in love with the team… the job… the organization… the mission.

And the rest is history.

The History

My last five years have been spectacular. I’ve gotten to work on a cause I love, in an industry that’s changing quickly, and work with a host of talented people who aren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and say, “Let’s go.” I got to build a social media program from the ground up, work with influencers and celebrities, grow a passionate and thriving community, win a handful of awards, make a real impact in people’s lives, and advise on digital/social media for a host of initiatives, programs and campaigns for one of the most respected voluntary health organizations in the world.

When I put in my notice, I told my boss, “I’ve achieved everything I’ve set out to do in the beginning.” And now, as much as I love the brand and the people, it’s time for a new adventure.

New Beginnings

In April, I’ll start a new role – as a Senior Success Manager with another brand I love – Sprinklr. It’s a major shift for me – away from the brand side, away from directly managing a social media program, now to working with clients on implementing the best programs they can. As their trusted advisor, I will be there to help their brands be as successful as possible using our tool. The good news is: I intimately know what it takes, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

When I first thought about leaving I knew I needed three things to make a shift: A great culture, a great team and an exciting role. Working with the brand as a client for the past three years, I believe Sprinklr has all three. And I’m honored to join this part of their journey.

So What Does This All Mean?

Based on a few questions I’ve already received, here’s what you may (or may not) want to know…

So, you haven’t decided to be a stay at home mom?

No. If you need details, here you go.

What will you be doing?

Making it rain. No really – I’ll get to work with some pretty fantastic brands on growing their social media programs to scale using Sprinklr’s social media management software.

But Sprinklr doesn’t have an office in Dallas. Are you moving?

Heck no. My husband’s office is getting a makeover. I’m moving out the sports autographs and making way for all my technology… and my “Easy” button that has graced my desk for the last decade. I’ll be working from home and traveling when needed. Thank God for the internet.

Will you travel less?

It’s likely, but I’ll still get to travel to meet with some of my fantastic, new clients.

What about AHA?

They can’t get rid of me that easy. I’m hoping to stick around as a passionate volunteer, now joining the community I helped create. They still have great leaders and a talented team who I know will go on to do great things.

Does this mean I can apply for your role at AHA?

Why yes you can! It isn’t publicly available yet, but check back soon for the link or send me your resume to pass along to the awesome team there.

What will you do with all your work clothes?

While I’m stocking up on yoga pants, I’m probably going to do a little spring cleaning in my closet. I’ll keep some of the stuff I love (I refuse to ditch any of my Elie Tahari dresses). The rest… I don’t know… Burn them? Donate them? Make a quilt? Only time will tell.

Every End Has a New Beginning

I’m excited about the journey ahead of me, and will miss those who have made an impact on my career thus far. I’m taking with me the many memories that we’ve created together. Thank you for your role in my life.

Cheers to new beginnings…

The last supper... or lunch.
The last supper… or lunch.

Bring on the rain!

I have a thing for old movies. Forget the remakes of recent years, I love the originals.

White Christmas is by far my all-time favorite movie. I’m sure I’ll blog about it at some point. But there’s another movie I should tell you about: The Rainmaker.

So here’s the background, in case you don’t enjoy “vintage movies” (via Wikipedia):

“During the Depression era in the Midwest, con man Bill Starbuck acts as a rainmaker, but is chased out of town after town. One day, he arrives in a drought-ridden rural town in Kansas and showed up at the door of spinsterish Lizzie Curry and the rest of the Curry clan. Lizzie keeps house for her father, H.C., and two brothers on the family cattle ranch. As their farm languishes under the devastating drought, Lizzie’s family worries about her marriage prospects more than about their dying cattle. Prior to Starbuck’s arrival, Lizzie was expecting Sheriff File, for whom she harbors a secret yen, though he declined the family’s invitation to dinner. Starbuck promises to bring rain in exchange for $100. Against Lizzie’s protests, H.C. goes for the deal out of desperation for rain even though he thinks Starbuck is a con.”

Why am I telling you this, you ask?

Because Super Dad and I have a thing for major life experiences and weather. We’re a little like the real-life Bill Starbuck – combo package.

What I mean is: The National Weather Service and the Red Cross should be nervous when we have anything significant happen in our lives. I bet if you made a scatter plot, you’d find a correlation between insane weather and every major life event since we’ve been married. Let’s take a look at the data.

Case Study 1: Our honeymoon

Getting married is considered a major life event – that is, unless you’re Britney Spears and the year is 2004.

But for us, I said “I do” to the love of my life, and we started this crazy, fun and sometimes dramatic journey.

I handled the wedding plans for the most part (go figure), so I left it up to my love to plan the honeymoon. About two weeks before wedding he said, “I think I should tell you where we’re going so you know what to pack.”

Hawaii.

The beaches. The sun. The hiking. The whale watching.

We were going to do it all.

But Mother Nature had other plans.

According to this article, “Nearly 92 inches — or about 7 1/2 feet — of rain were recorded during March at Mount Waialeale, considered the rainiest spot on the planet. The previous record was about 90 inches in April 1971, according to the National Weather Service.

Even the normally dry Honolulu Airport received more rain in the first three months of 2006 than in all of 2005.

The near-biblical downfall left the islands disheveled with debris, flooded homes, and led to a sewage spill in the water off Waikiki.

The largest toll was taken on Kauai, where seven died when a century-old earthen dam strained by the heavy rains burst March 14 sending a wall of water crashing through homes to the sea.

Last week, a sewer line broke when it was overwhelmed by heavy rain and sent some 48 million gallons of raw sewage into the ocean.”

Anyone want to guess which islands our honeymoon consisted of? Honolulu and Kauai.

At dinner one night, we met a man who lived his entire life on the island of Kauai. He told us, “In the last 90 years, this is the first time I’ve ever seen lightning.”

You’re welcome, Hawaii. I blame us.

So we still did the beaches, the sun, the hiking, the whale watching, and a somewhat life-shortening helicopter ride. And we had a blast – minus the part where our helicopter almost dropped out of the sky.

And since we had just gotten married, we didn’t even realize this would be “our thing.”

 

Case Study 2: Every other vacation for years

We went to Europe, New York, California, Florida, North Carolina… Every where we traveled to, rain followed.

And by rain, I mean torrential downpour and/or hurricanes.

Then, we started to notice a trend.

 

Case Study 3: The birth of K

Let’s just say it was called the “Snowpacalypse” and the Super Bowl sucked. For the full labor-inducing story, go here.

 

Case Study 3: The birth of M

I know you’re thinking, “You had a baby in a ‘Snowpacalypse’. Surely the next time was drama-free.” You are wrong, my friend. This one was called “Icemageddon.” And you can read the whole shindig here.

 

Case study 4: We built a house

We were ready for a real commitment, and the next level of home ownership: We decided to build a house.

And this happened:

When we moved in, we had the “fourth highest snow total for the month of March in Dallas-Fort Worth area, with 3.4 inches recorded at Dallas-Fort Worth International airport; another tenth of an inch was recorded early Thursday morning, putting the official total at 3.5 inches.”

Sigh. I can’t even make this stuff up.

So, if you need freakish weather, call us.

Snow on a hill in our backyard. There may be sledding in our immediate future.
Snow on a hill in our backyard the weekend we moved in.

If it ain’t broke…

I recently got a new pair of black Kendra Scott earrings. Woot!

As I walked into the house with my newly acquired prize, a pack of fire-breathing dragons swept by, knocking the new earrings across the room and onto our tile floor and into three pieces.

By fire-breathing dragons, I mean two young children.

By two young children, I mean me.

Actually, my kids were there, and they may have knocked into me (like they always do), but I dropped them. Sad day.

After a few months of mourning the loss, and hanging onto my new three earrings even though I have only two ears, I decided to drop by the Kendra Scott store just to see what they’d say.

I fully imagined the conversation going something like this:

Me: Hi. I, er, my kids dropped my brand new earrings – never worn before. See – there’s no ear funk on them yet. They’re untouched.

Shop girl: (rolls eyes) That sucks. Maybe you should grow another ear. And who has ear funk? Really?

Me: (defeated, puts head down) OK. Thanks a lot.

So I gathered my three earring pieces and headed in, full of low expectations… on Christmas Eve. Because there’s no better time than to take something back to a store. I used to work retail. I know better than to do this. But I did.

When my husband and I pulled up to the store, it looked a little something like this:

long line photo

Yikes! Not what I hoped for, and yet exactly what I expected.

I grabbed my earring pieces and took my place at the back of the line.

Within a minute, Shop Girl came out with a big Kendra Scott bag full of bottled water and cookies looking chippier than ever.

Editors Note: Is “chippier” even a word? I should look that up later before I publish this.

She saw the somewhat pained look on my face and asked what was up. After I told her about my debacle, she took my earrings and headed into the store. Almost as soon as she was gone, she reappeared WITH A NEW PAIR. No questions asked. No fire-breathing dragons to be blamed.

There are a few places that get customer service right – Nordstrom consistently comes to mind. They understand their customer, how they shop, and they make it easy to do just that. Today, Kendra Scott has been added to my list of best in class. From the cookies to the water to the no problem exchange, they nailed it.

There are a few things that stuck out here:

  1. Identify and anticipate needs: They new everyone would be stressed (it was Christmas Eve just a few hours before stores closed), and knew people hated standing in line. Before anyone had a chance to complain, they found a way to keep us entertained.
  2. Listening: Of course, Shop Girl’s listening was more like looking at the earrings while I made a sad face and said, “They were broken before I got wear them.” But she got it, and responded immediately.
  3. Surprise: I fully expected to pay for another earring, or pay to have it fixed. But they surprised me, and won a long-term customer for it.

Tell me your great customer service story.

Stay At Work Mom’s Apps to Keep You Sane During the Holidays

iphone

Work. Travel. Shopping. Baking. Juggling Schedules: These are all things the Stay At Work Mom experiences during the holidays.

The struggle is real. But these apps will keep your life a little more sane and a little more organized so you can spend time on the things you really want.

Food Mom

1. Allrecipes

This app has saved my life on more than one occasion – my mother-in-law asks me to bring XX to the family get together… I need a quick dessert for a neighbors holiday party. The ratings are usually pretty accurate. Plus, it makes deciding on dinner simple when you’re on the way home from the office.

2. Pepperplate

Everyone has family recipes that they want to keep handy. Pepperplate helps you organize all your recipes that aren’t online, and save the rest of your favorites from online sources. I’ve even added my entertaining recipe lineup from my favorite cookbook, Baked. Hint: It’s not an app, but they have awesome recipes for entertaining.

 

Travel Mom

3. TripCase

All your travel plans in one app. Every avid traveler knows to use this app. And if you’re juggling kids, luggage, snacks, etc., it’ll keep you sane. There’s also a version for your Apple Watch that lets you get your updates without ever picking up your phone.

4. Routehappy

Do you need to stay connected on the road? Routehappy can do just that. Instead of listing flights just by price, they are listed by Wi-Fi quality, device charging options and roomy seats – all the amenities a Stay At Work Mom needs.

 

Work Mom

5. CubeFree

If your family holiday is a little like Christmas Vacation, and you need to get away to get some work done, check out CubeFree. It’ll show you quiet and connected places in your area, including cafes and co-working spaces. The ratings are great too.

6. Trello

This one is for the Type A Stay At Work Moms out there. Trello will keep all your projects – work or home – organized. You can also include your colleagues or spouse on projects and assign tasks.

7. Wunderlist

Do you get a thousand texts from your spouse or kids asking you to pick up something from the store? Add them to your Wunderlist, and you’ll never get those texts again. You can share lists and tasks with your family to make sure you never forget anything again.

It’s “Icemageddon.” Must be the perfect time to have another child.

You know how parents always hold over their kids heads, “we walked barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways, to have you.” Well, we did. Twice.

Side note: If we ever decided to have a third kid, we would definitely not have another winter baby. I hope.

It was December, well before we usually see a first freeze in North Texas.

Then it happened. Again.

“Earlier this week, many in Texas were basking in spring-like temperatures that hit the 80s,” said an article on Yahoo! “But by Thursday, Texas was facing the same wintry blast that has slammed much of the U.S., bringing frigid temperatures, ice and snow.”

At least this time, we knew she’d be coming in the Icemageddon. (Snowpacalypse had already been taken, so North Texas chose the next best option.)

We sent our oldest to my parents and prepped them that like K, she would probably make a similar appearance.

And she did, but this time with as much flair and drama that she brings in her toddlerhood.

I started having some early labor pains and frantically began shooting off last minute projects, emails and nonsense for staff in my soon-to-be-absence.

Shortly after I went into labor, we just headed to the hospital. We knew better. It was early, we knew, but we weren’t getting stuck.

After several hours of almost nothing, my doctor sent us back home, on the ice.

We shouldn’t have listened, but a shower and a nap sounded nice.

Within 15 minutes of being home, my water broke and I quickly jumped from active labor to transitional labor (the part at the very end that really sucks without an epidural. For my friends who did it without drugs, I salute you).

We barely made it to the hospital. I fell out of the car and was carried in by Super Dad and another random guy (I didn’t get a chance to ask his name or thank him for carrying me across the hospital. I’m not even sure he was a guy, actually). Then, made her appearance in the world a few moments later.

Awesome.

The good news: we left all the faucets on this time.

Big brother meets baby sister. Love at first sight.
Big brother meets baby sister. Love at first sight.

Stay At Work Mom’s 2015 Holiday Gift Giving Guide!!!

giftgivingguide

I have the luck of having my birthday in November, followed by M’s birthday a few weeks before Christmas, then Christmas. So our birthday/Christmas wish-listing and shopping starts early.

Like many parents, we try to follow The Four Gift Rule with the kids.

gifting

Along with this, we spend the holidays (and throughout the year), finding creative ways to give back… but that’s for another blog post.

Take a peak at my holiday gift giving guide below.

FOR THE FOOD MOM

Chef Inspired Spiceologist Block – $159.95

I have an obsession with test tube spices, and this one is beautiful!

spices

 

FOR THE TECH MOM

Apple Watch with the Antique White Sport Band – $349.00

watch

I realize I’m Captain Obvious here, but this watch is legit. With the latest upgrades, it keeps track of how much you move – and hopefully gets you moving more too.

 

FOR THE TIRED MOM (OR DAD)

A Deep Tissue Massage – $60-$200

physiotherapy-567021_1280

Let’s be honest. A massage is a great gift for anyone, at any time. Find a great massage therapist in your area and go for it.

 

FOR THE TRAVEL MOM

Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flat – $225.00

travel flat

These travel flats fold up nicely in your purse or bag, and will keep your feet happy when heading from the airport to meetings or around town. The come in a variety of colors too.

 

FOR THE KIDS

Joyfolie Emerson Boots – $59.99

boots

Joyfolie has a great selection for beautiful clothes, boots, shoes and accessories for little girls. It’s sugar and spice and everything nice.

—–

Goodnight Books – $9.95

good night

I tend to pick these up in the airport when I’m traveling, but they are available at any bookstore. The kids love Goodnight Books. They have them for states, major cities, mom and dad, etc. They are perfect for your toddler or preschooler.

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