Preparing for a Global Audience

Public Speaking 101- Picture your audience naked.  That is the most ridiculous advice I have ever heard. Who thought of that? I have never had a fear of public speaking- but seriously- picturing the audience naked would add greater anxiety rather than relieve it for me (espeicially knowing several who will be in the audience).

Though I may be a little better than the average presenter, I have never had any real training. So I met with a presentation coach, Sherry Wyatt of Wheless-Wyatt Communications , today to work on my social media presentation for the upcoming Praxity presentation in Singapore. Definitely a good idea before taking the global stage!  Here are a couple of things I learned:

1. Cut cut cut- make your presentation as concise as possible
2. If the schedule is running late- make up the time by cutting your presentation. This demonstrates you are a professional.
3. Maintain control by offering a closing AFTER questions.
4. Memorize your opening lines to get the presentation started with energy
5. Include room temp water on the podium (not cold) to keep your vocal chords warm
6. Be prepared to do your presentation without visuals
7. Number your notecards just in case you drop them
8. You cannot be over prepared…practice practice…think through all details
9. Make eye contact with person asking question at the beginning of the answer, then scan the room and direct answer to the entire room (and repeat question if ther is not a mic for the person asking the question)

hot dog

Do you ever have a crazy craving that you just can’t shake? All week, I have been craving a good hot dog, one of my favorite comfort foods. I love hot dogs. Yes I know they are so bad for you.

As a child we had hot dogs every Saturday from Norris’s Frozen Custard- 3 dogs/$1. The dogs were bright red and came in a steamed bun with chili and finely chopped onions. YUM. Alas, there isn’t a Norris’s here in Gville, so C. took me to a very special place, his personal favorite place for hot dogs. A place I have visited a million times, but never indulged in a snack while visiting (actually I always wondered what kind of weirdo would actually eat there).

Costco. Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that in a million years. For $3.24 we both had a hot dog and a diet coke. Seriously you can’t beat that. I wouldn’t say it was the best dog I ever ate, but it was very good. Bun was delish and fresh, dog wasn’t too salty and had a nice hint of garlic and pepper. Craving Satiated. Mission accomplished.

And after lunch…a little shopping. Now I see why all the weirdos are having lunch at the front of the store!

Cookies for Kids Cancer

As I get older, I realize that cancer touches so many people- young and old. This past December, my sweet neighbor, Davis was diagnosed with cancer. He has been such an inspiration. He always has a smile and no matter what he keeps his mom, my dear friend, in check! He’s such a great kid and a fighter!

Today, I attended a fund raiser for cancer research. Cookies for Kids Cancer is a grass roots effort inspired by a mom with a mission to change the fight against kids cancer. The fund raiser is a donation only bake sale. I couldn’t even believe all of the sweets spread out on tables across a parking lot of a local shopping center. There were kids, parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors rallying together to help fight this disease. I am inspired by those who gave their time and energy to put together the bake sale and inspired by the mom who wouldn’t take no for answer and fought to save her child.

money doesn’t grow on trees or does it?

If I have heard that money doesn’t grow on trees one time, I have heard it a thousand times.  As a child, every time I said, “I want”, I was reminded that money doesn’t grow on trees.

So isn’t it cute that my dad, on a recent visit, brought me a money tree! Yes a real- live money tree. It’s a cute little tree about a foot tall. I was curious as to why in the world it was called a money tree- clearly it’s leaves had no resemblance to money.

The Pachira aquatica or “money tree” refers to the story of its origin. In the story, a poor man prayed for money, found this “odd” plant, took it home as an omen, and made money selling plants grown from its seeds.

So, I think I may try this tactic and sell some trees to pay for all of the things “I want”!!!!

Thanks for the tree! It’s a great reminder that “money doesn’t grow on trees”!!!

back to the 80’s minus leg warmers

Did you wear leg warmers? How about a sweat band on your head and your wrists? Perhaps you remember the Jane Fonda work out cassettes and videos? I think I had a Mouse-ercise cassette tape and I am pretty sure my 1st grade class did a Mouse-ercise demonstration at the half time of a basket ball game. And I being the fashionista that I am…even back then, wore purple leg warmers for the event. I was doomed for fashion tragedies from the get-go!

In the spirit of my 80’s diva, I purchased a purple sweat band for my yoga class. When I first began hot yoga, I barely glistened…now I sweat…..profously. My body has learned to cool itself. And now, the sweat burns my eyes.

I admit, I look like a COMPLETE IDIOTwith the purple sweat band across my forehead. They look so cute on the girls with long hair. My hair just sticks up over the band and looks weird. Not a good look. For once in my life, function over form.

My Word

What is one word to describe yourself? One word. Easy enough right? I have been deliberating this question now for weeks.  It all began when a reporter from Greenville Magazine asked me to provide five words that describe myself. I asked the natural question- Do you mean words that I would use to describe myself…or words that others would use to describe me. We all know there is a potential for differing answers on this one! I polled a number of friends and colleagues who know me fairly well, and came up with a nice mix of descriptors: adventurous, optimistic, curious, zealous, fun. But really…I wouldn’t feel good about using any ONE of these words as the sole descriptor of me…my essence. Me to the core.

So then…that  very same week, some girlfriends and I went to see “Eat, Pray, Love” and there I was again, faced by Elizabeth Gilbert with the very same question- What one word describes me? My word. My core. My essence. Damn…the universe is making me do some serious introspective deliberation. In the quiet of the day this question has lingered…In the busiest time of the day, this question has lingered. I searched my sole. One word just couldn’t do….I am a mix of things…some really juxtaposed against each other. I’m a little bit small town….yet…a little bit big city. I love highly sophisticated art but collect incredibly basic folk art. I navigate to fine dining at Michelin starred restaurants…yet crave good ol’ southern bbq.

And after weeks of soul searching…the conclusing hit me hard…I commingle. How could I have not seen my word from the beginning of the quest?  After all, it’s the name I chose for my blog. COMMINGLE- to mix or mingle together; to blend. A fine word I fell in love with at age 12.  A fine word to describe me- age 34.

What is your word?

For the love of old…

Have you ever had a hard time parting with an old t-shirt? Worn, washed a million times, soft, frayed sleeves, faded….fabulous. Oh for the love of old!

I love all things old (which is kind of ironic since my blog platform is about all things NEW!). I especially love antique furniture. I like to romanticize about where the piece once lived, what type of person built it, who owned it, what it was originally used for. I can totally get lost at a flea market and of course for me, there is nothing quite like a good antique store. But I’m not attracted to the well preserved antiques..I like the well worn, much loved, paint peeling, fabric frayed, rustic kind of old… the kind of old that screams history.

detail shot of the fab old wood and nice clean lines

So imagine the dilemma I face by the renovation to my old house…the old moldings are gone, the character of the old windows are gone…the wonderful old tile-gone. What I am left with is essentially a new house. Other than three exterior walls and a fireplace, I will have a new house. While this is exciting…there is also a very sad part to the story. We have erased the history of our sweet little bungalow.

Where there is imagination…there is a way. I am on a mission to add some old elements to the house…character building pieces…like my frayed Camp Seafarer t-shirt from 1994! First purchase- a beautiful OLD mantel. I found the perfect one at an antique store last weekend and made the purchase today. My something new today is really something old-very old. I love the character of this mantel. It certainly came from a modest home. It’s very simple with nice clean lines. I feel certain it was once painted, but now has been stripped to its natural wood state. It has grayed with age. At first I didn’t think it would work within our space…but with a little begging and pleading and the move of the french doors, the mantel will be the perfect anchor for our new family room. A perfect fit…just like my frayed old t-shirts!

Mother Nature’s Summer Treat

What a weird day.As the dogs and I took our morning stroll, I was greeted this morning by a huge full moon sitting just on the horizon. The tree lined street framed out a huge glowing moon. Mind you…the sun was up- I think the moon was a little confused. It looked like a harvest moon in broad day light. So began mother nature’s work on a bizarre day.

There were strange nuances throughout the day like a weird delay on my keyboard that made typing a little off.

My evening yoga class was a bust as I received a last minute call from my boss. Then as I started to drive home, it began to rain-SIDEWAYS! How is that possible?

So it was no surprise to arrive home to a power outage. What is a girl to do with no power? I have managed to find some candles and a flashlight. Oh and a can of tuna for dinner…

Todays freaky events are just a reminder that we can’t always plan things out. And sometimes the best things are not planned. Like tonight…I brought home all kinds of work..but without power, I have no internet which means no work for me! How am I writing this blog you ask…its my something new- I am trying out word press’s email feature using my little pink crackberry! I’m digging this little break from the norm. Thanks mother nature!

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.

Bali Bound

There is a pending southeast asia trip on the horizon. I have been diligently working to convince C to join me on the adventure and to take a few extra days to go somewhere really exotic. This was not in the plans for 2010 and C only follows what is planned. He is very calculated and meticulous in all that he does. Oh and thank God….because I’d be a mess without him. I am not nearly as good at planning and am NOT disciplined at all at saving. So we have this house renovation going on and he is so afraid that we will blow the budget. Every penny is counted and no extra is being spent.

Besides me….there is nothing C loves more than a tropical vaca and a beach bar with cold beer and good tunes (. So, on my quest to convince him that we need to take this little adventure, I have been doing research on where we can go and how much it will cost. Bali. Ah Bali….this seems to be my ticket to adventure. Great beaches, good snorking, a Hilton property (Conrad) and CHEAP. The hardest part of this is getting him to Asia…once there, it’s a no brainer.

So if I have learned one thing in my short 4 years of marriage…there is one way to build the case…through his stomach. C is out of town so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try my hand at cooking up a little Asian/Malaysian/Indonesian dish. I am not really sure how all of the different cuisines are categorized. They seem to run together. I spent the afternoon searching for the perfect recipe. The challenge I found was that most ingredients from the true ethnic sites couldn’t be found in Gville without serious work. But I managed to find a great menu for evening. I invited my friend T over to try it out with me. She doesn’t really cook, so I knew I couldn’t rely on her for guidance, but I knew she would keep me entertained with some good girl talk while I navigated the recipes.

I prepared a Malaysian lime-coconut mahi and coconut rice with mangoes and pistachios. YUMMY – says T! The fish was broiled with the lime coconut sauce- coconut milk, cilantro, lemon grass, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, Thai chili paste, shallots and of course garlic. The sauce was sweet and spicy all al the same time, but when I make it for C I will lessen the fish sauce portion. It was a bit too strong. Quite easy to make. Just combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, pour over the fish, broil and presto- an exotic, light summer dish. The rice was outstanding. I used salt and pepper pistachios (the kind they sell at Costco). They were a perfect juxtaposition to the sweet coconut rice and mango.  To add a little color to the plate, I accompanied the fare with sliced fresh tomatoes and avocado. WOWsers. I felt like a little piece of Bali made its way to my kitchen. Oh and I almost forgot the best accutrement…a fantastic bottle of prosecco. Nothing says vaca better than a little bubbly.

Cheers to a fun night with a great friend!