Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One Decade and Counting...

April 27, 2001

Ten years ago today, I solidified what I'd known for the 9 months prior - Isael Barreto Quiroz was THE ONE.

Let me list a few of my favorite things about my husband to give you a glimpse why we've made it for the last decade...

He's not perfect but perfect for me.

Laughing together is our best activity - we do it at least one every day.

He and I partner in building strong traditions and fun-filled memories for our kids.

He is a stellar gift-giver who knows what I love in all areas.

I love his thoughtfulness that perfectly balances my impulsiveness.

He feels deeply and expresses only what's necessary.

I could go on and on and on and on...

I can't imagine what my life would be like if we hadn't bumped into one another. I've started listing all the great things I love about him over the last few years to remind me why we are together. It comes in handy on the tough days and helps me keep perspective.

Take a moment, today - in honor of our 10th anniversary to think of what you love about your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, mate... write it down.

Better yet - tell them.

I plan to.. today and always.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

3 Lessons From A Close Encounter with This Guy

His eyes literally light up as he smiles. And he did smile directly at me yesterday. Sigh.

From the front row of one of the last The Oprah Winfrey Show tapings, this gorgeous mug was my view. LITERALLY directly across from him - less than 5 feet away. For one hour. Rob Lowe. His wife Sheryl a few people to my left.

Easily one of the most fun experiences I've ever had with a bunch of 'strangers'.

I am not writing this post to brag - I'm writing it to encourage you.

After it was announced that Oprah had decided to make this her final season, it was one of my objectives to get on a taping of the one of the Oprah's Farewell Season shows.

Every week since September, I incorporated daily check of the Oprah website to attempt to get tickets. I'd even promised a co-worker that I'd take her because it was on her "bucket list."


Fast forward to last week - the week of April 10. On Tuesday, I ran into that co-worker and gently let her know that while I was still trying every day to get those tickets - we were coming upon the last 25 shows and.... you know the rest.

She looked at me and said, "I believe in you."

Me? I don't control whether or not I will get the tickets, I thought.

Two days later, I got THE email from the Audience Department.

Lesson? Well actually there are three...

1.  Don't ever give up.
2.  Don't ever stop working for what you want.
3.  Work for others before yourself.

You see - my circumstances LOOKED like I was not going to get to see Oprah one last time in her Chicago studio. And THAT is why these lessons are so important.

Believe with everything you have in those things you want in life.
Get up every day looking for ways to make it happen, EVEN when it looks bleak.
Do everything in a selfless manner.

So not only did we get the tickets but we were in the front row and I cannot describe to you how satisfying this whole ordeal has been.

I am certain that the business I am building will unfold exactly as this Oprah adventure.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Character Development, Not Just For Tween Shows and Sitcoms

Cast of Hannah Montana
So my nine year old daughter Emma and I have been talking a lot lately about the various tween shows on Disney and Nickelodeon - you know them - Wizards of Waverly Place, Sonny With A Chance, Victorious, and of course, the pioneers, Hannah Montana and iCarly.

iCarly Cast
I was asserting my opinion that Hannah Montana was by far one of the best written shows and therefore, I had a tough time watching all the others. Particularly because we know the back story of the characters which is something writers like me call "character development". Nowadays with all the unscripted aka "crap" television - it appears that writers have become lazy and less likely to take time to develop characters which for me leads to less connection to them. 

Let's think about adult sitcoms - again - we  love "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation" - why? Not because Michael Scott is a great boss or Leslie Knope is an effective local municipal employee. We like those shows because we all feel like we know quite a bit about Michael, Leslie and most all the characters on both those sitcoms and it got me to thinking about real life.

How in the world do we truly connect today without knowing the "back story" of those we do life with? 

Much like the shallow writing on most of today's television programming - we live in a time where quick 140 character sound bites rule. People are discouraged from actually talking to one another and are instead directed to email to "make connections." I have read no less than 10 articles since the start of 2011 bad mouthing phones, phone calls and people who make them. Really?

One of my main criticisms about Carly - the main character in iCarly is that I have no reason to stick around for a 1/2 hour and hear her whining or  silly musings because I know nothing about her. There are no parents, or much talk of them. There is a silly brother and two friends and her Internet show. That's it.

Hannah/Miley on the other hand has been "well developed". We know about her deceased mom and her quirkiness. We know about her rock star dad who traveled her and Jackson through most of her childhood. I could go on and on - yeah the show is still annoying but I feel a connection because even on the surface - I feel like I know Hannah/Miley and therefore I am more empathetic to her whining and silly musings for a 1/2 hour.

Can you see the implications of "character development" in our everyday lives?

How much more empathetic would we be to those we work with if we knew their story

How much more willing would we be to help a neighbor if we actually knew something about  them?

How much better would our relationships with those we love be if we knew how their story impacted their behavior and interactions with us?

We spend lots of time today trying to streamline our communications and interactions and I think it's made us delusional to think that we can solve things in 22 minutes - just like on TV.

Life takes time.

Relationships take time.

Any efforts to curtail the time spent getting to know people you do life is dooming you to a sitcom existence. 

Make it a goal to be able to tell at least one story about everyone in your life - work or personal. Take the time to learn about the characters around you.

"Character development" is not just for writers...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Friendships at 39 and counting...

As I am in the full on "RUMBLE TO 40" (only 7 more months), I've been thinking about friendships a lot lately.

Perhaps it's because I want to do something super fun for my 40th birthday but realized the following:

Many of my close friends would not have the: a) time b) money c) interest to do what I'd like to do for my birthday celebration.

That's when it hit me that I need to do something completely different for my 40th birthday celebration. I plan to celebrate by doing something extra special with my closest friends in small doses THROUGHOUT the year.

It makes perfect sense. With the advent of "friending" as a verb thanks to Facebook - it's time we re-look at what we call friendship and how we go about building and maintaining them.

When I looked at my friendships I realized that I have a healthy, diverse mix of people flowing through my life and I am proud of that. However, this crew does not lend itself for the traditional birthday party/outing of yesteryear because there is no set definition for what my closests friend are anymore...

Some are single.
Some live across the country from me.
Some are a car ride away.
Some are married with many more children than me.
Some are male and single.
Some are newlyweds in their 20s
Some are emptynesters in their 50s/60s

Regardless of where they are in life,  I intentionally reach out to them periodically and make sure they know I love and cherish them. I've been reading a lot lately about how the dynamics of friendships change as you get older and how it is not as easy as it once was.

I just don't buy into that. I make friends as easily now as ever - especially with the communication tools that we have today to keep us connected. Perhaps I'm more selective in whom I invest lots of time in but I find that my goals for friendship have not changed over the years.

My goal for friendship is to connect with other humans and positively impact the lives of many. Of course,  with that comes sharing, caring and all that ups and downs that life brings. Not all people, at all times in our lives are able to share in this type of relationship and that's ok. You move on and find those folks who do.

I am blessed right now to have an eclectic hand full of friends who support me and I have the priviledge to support. My only challenge to all is to look at what you want from friendships as your first step towards getting the most from these relationships. Let's not allow social networks to decide who our friends are or aren't. Let's live intentionally and strive to connect regularly with those who mean the most to us.

So look out, close friends - you will be summoned to celebrate the milestone birthday over the course of the coming year and I promise the celebrations will vary and be plentiful.

Just like all of you...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fashion. Gadgets. What More Could a Future Designer Want?

As we wind up Spring Break 2011, it is clear that we have struck gold in a new Nintendo DS game for my nine year old future fashion designer.

Style Lab Fashion Design Nintendo DS game was a constant companion for Emma this Spring Break. Take a look at her video on getting started with the game above.

Emma's verbatim:

"This is my third DS fashion game and I like it alot. The avatars and items you design are extremely easy to pick up and fun. While I am a more advanced designer, I still enjoyed this game because you have the ability to order your designs in real life. I am ordering a tote bag I designed myself and can't wait to see it in real life. That is what sets this game apart from the others I have."

As a mom, I love any game that encourages a talent or passion that my kids have. That's what I like about this game. Although Emma has two other DS fashion design games - Style Lab Fashion Design is a great basic design interaction and I loved watching her discover different paths to really simple items like t-shirts, totes and hats. And I will admit - I was dreading the "ask" to buy her designs but was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable they were priced starting at $9.99. The most expensive item was $35.99 so overall - I was good with that.

We have not seen the final product yet but are anxiously awaiting it's arrival. The whole experience so far has been great. So much so that we are planning on getting the Style Lab Jewelry Design game at our next opportunity.

You can purchase the Style Lab Fashion Design here at

While Ubisoft provided me with this game to review, the opinions I've expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. UbisoftClever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity.