Friday, May 30, 2008

10 Male Traits We Could All Use in Life

I read what follows in my CarePages e-newsletter and it struck a chord with me. At times, I'm accused by my loving fiancé to be a "man basher" and since I just wrote a sort of "girl powerish" post, I figured it's time to give some credit to the men out there.

There's a lot of truth here!
Some people accuse men of being lazy for sitting on the sofa, but men argue that they’re merely using the time to regenerate and take care of themselves. Summarizing classic male traits may seem like shameless generalization, but we could all learn a thing or two from male-specific behaviors. Here are 10 to get you started.

Keep emotions in check
Certain situations require emotional detachment, especially at work. Sometimes, a poker face can help prevent others from getting overly-stressed out or overwhelmed. If you stay calm, everyone else will stay calm, and you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand.

Ask questions and challenge
Men like to ask questions and play devil’s advocate sometimes—not to antagonize or to argue—but to explore different points of view. It can help to get a new perspective on things.

Be confident
From an early age, boys may feel more comfortable than girls in speaking out without the fear of mistakes to hold them back. Later in life, some see this as men being more aggressive than women. But we could all learn from a little more self-confidence. Everyone has worthy contributions to make in daily life. A little bit of cockiness every once in a while doesn’t hurt.

Focus on solutions
Women often communicate to vent or share, while men look at communication as a means to an end to provide a solution. While venting certainly has its place, it can help to focus on a game plan when you’re really trying to make an important decision. Break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks and keep your eyes on the prize.

Make eye contact
The next time you’re faced with an uncomfortable situation, don’t avert your eyes. Instead, face things squarely. Staring down a situation for what it is can help you get through it with grace and positive energy.

Be the strong, silent type
We’ve all been there: feeling uncomfortable with silent pauses. Men don’t feel the need to talk just for the sake of talking. Standing back and being quiet sometimes means that you’re just taking it all in. Don’t feel the need to fill up the air with words. But when you do have something to say, by all means, say it!

Be a team player
Men might understand the spirit of teamwork faster than women. Many played organized sports while they were kids and have learned how to set common goals and work together. Not a bad skill to have.

Express anger sometimes
It’s okay to express a little anger to blow off steam. Women can sometimes bottle up their anger, only letting it pop long after they've built up a reservoir of resentment. Don’t worry so much about the other person. It’s okay to show you’re not happy. Then you can be done with it and move on.

Be a straight-shooter
Women are sometimes accused of expecting men to be mind readers. They hint and used veiled metaphors—then get hurt when men don’t figure things out. In reality, men are literal creatures who ask for things directly and specifically, so they expect others to do the same. What a refreshing concept.

Accept a compliment
You seldom hear a man replying to a compliment with a “Oh this old thing?” retort. Men love compliments and even fish in the conversation to get a few. Women have a tougher time accepting compliments without shooting back a qualifier. We all should own it. Smile and say thank you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pink Carpet Scoop: Sex and the City Movie

I was one of the lucky ones who got to take part in a Sex and the City Movie sneak peak yesterday, thanks to my dear friend, Nikki winning tickets from Twist.

All I have to say about the most anticipated chick flick of the year is WOW. In the words of Samantha, it was "fabulous."

I have always been a fan of the show. I look at the characters as my own friends... No matter how outlandish the debacles the fearsome foursome get themselves into, I love them. I forgive them for their bad decisions. I cry with them when their hearts get broken. I laugh with them when they say ironic but true things.

I often consider my own self to be a mix of the characters from the show -- Carrie's deep quest to understand how people work, Charlotte's motherliness, Samantha's charisma and Miranda's drive to succeed. I find pieces of myself in all of them.

Another draw to the whole SATC phenom is that I really love the fact that it's a show that really brings about a bond among women. We've all seen/been through drama, heartbreak, cheaters, liars and stealers. But the story that remains consistent in most of our lives is our girlfriends -- the ladies in our lives make up who we are. And the older I get, the more I realize I enjoy my girlfriends -- those special people who have seen me at my worst and loved me regardless, despite the bad relationships, bickering and bad decisions that have ensued.

Many times in years past, roommates and I (yes, you Sarah) would stay up for hours watching episodes, crying and laughing and talking about our own "Charlotte" or "Carrie" moments.

The show may be trite at times. It may make you feel a little dirty or you may think it's totally unrealistic, but if you're a gal with a great sense of humor, grab your girlfriends and go see this flick. You won't regret it!

And then...let me know your thoughts so we can be gossip girls and discuss.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"PANDORA" opens a box to new, awesome music

I am sure most of you that read this blog have already heard of the gloriousness that is Pandora Radio....but if I can just enlighten one person to the awesomeness of this site, my musical mission in life will be complete.

Pandora is like a friend with an endless music collection...who doesn't mind when you tell them the song they're playing is not your style. When you tell Pandora you don't like a song, it remembers and never plays that song again. Likewise, when you tell Pandora you like a track, it remembers and plays a music with a similar vibe.

How it works:

  • You visit and register for a free account.

  • You create a custom station by entering an artist or a song you like (i.e. "Gwen Stefani" or "Piano Man").

  • Pandora begins playing music it thinks you will like based on the hundreds of musical details their musician-analysts have attributed to each song in the Pandora library.

  • You click thumbs up or thumbs down to tell Pandora what you think. (When you tell Pandora you don't like a song, it immediately skips to the next track...although I rarely don't like a song it chooses for me!)

  • You waste the day away listening to quality music and along the way, you learn of tons of great artists you've probably never heard of.

Now visit the site and play away. You'll be amazed to learn how well Pandora can read your mind.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Pass It On" Campaign Provides Driving Inspiration

One communications vehicle I have always had an infatuation with is billboards. I think it started when I was young and was growing up in the country... at that time, billboards signified to me that we were in the "big city" and in turn, closer to our destination. Regardless, I have always paid attention to them. After all, what else am I supposed to stare at when driving alone?

It's no surprise that I've Googled information I've seen on billboards (one being lavender scented tires...but we won't go there), however, one powerful billboard campaign that catches my eye every time is the "Pass It On" campaign (think a person's photo + red box with white worded phrase such as "inspiration," "hard work" or "devotion," etc).

These simple billboards often bring a tear to my eye while driving (including the one shown above). So, who puts them out and what's the scoop behind them anyways?
After doing some digging, I discovered this little campaign was brought to us by The Foundation For A Better Life. Since I tend to write about all things positive, this proved to be a nice fit for this blog.

So what is this foundation, anyways?

It's really pretty interesting. The Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to sharing the values that make a difference in our communities. Through various media efforts, the Foundation's hope is to inspire us by displaying others who live their life to the fullest through positive values.

You can't donate money to the foundation, nor do they give money away to those in need. In short, to me, they exist merely to make us say to ourselves "Holy crap, I can do anything!"

And lucky and inspired is what I feel when I see them.

I highly suggest you check out some of the other billboards here. I also encourage you to read the stories that are the inspiration behind the billboards. They are quite moving. Some of the faces pictured you'll recognize (Einstein, Mother Teresa, Kermit the Frog, Ghandi, etc.), others you won't know, but I assure you, you'll be amazed by their heartfelt stories.

So, go to the site and feel the love. Then PASS IT ON to someone else.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Corporate Citizen of the Week: Discount Tire

I can honestly say that I am a firm believer in powerful marketing, great public relations and well thought-out community relations.

Yes, this is technically how I make a living. But, as a consumer who just plain cares a lot about others, I seriously take note when a company is a gracious corporate citizen.

Just yesterday I was raving at our all-employee meeting at what a great company I think Discount Tire is. I learned a few months ago that they rotate tires for free, so I went in to see if it was true. It was. So, I got my tires rotated. The gentleman that was helping me was incredibly pleasant and it only took about 15 minutes to be complete. It was great service and it was free. That's virtually unheard of anymore.

Last Friday, I had a meeting downriver. For the Detroit-area dwellers, you all know what a construction zone nightmare I-75 S is right now. Well, somehow on my trek, I must have gotten a nail in my front tire. Thankfully it didn't blow out on the expressway -- it went flat when I was parked safely in my garage at home.

The next morning, I had to run home for wedding planning appointments, so I borrowed Jason's car while he put on the donut. I told him to take the leaky tire to Discount Tire, recalling the positive experience I had a few months prior. Turns out, they patch tires for free, too. They just saved me $100 of my stimulus money.

So, I wasn't the least bit surprised when I randomly came across an awesome story in the The Detroit News from a few weeks ago, which highlighted the company and its work.

The story is about a 22-month old who has a brain tumor. Her family has to commute from Washington Township to Detroit (quite a drive) for doctor's appointments and the drive was finally beginning to take a toll on the family van. Megan (the mother) found a great Web site -- Wish Upon a Hero -- and submitted her wish for new tires to create a safer ride for her daughter.

Guess who came to the rescue? Go read the story; I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.

Let's just say I know where I am going if I ever need to spend $400+ on brand new tires.