What is in a name?

Wasn’t it Shakespeare who penned: “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet”

Brilliant. There is something to a name. I say this because I have a very special name- Alice Grey. Not just Alice but “Alice Grey”. You must use both. I am a southern belle through and through.  

I have to say, I have always felt immensely special to have two names…one just wasn’t enough. And ya know it’s really funny- I am definitely not an “Alice”. I need that little added umph that the second name gives. Have you ever met a girl with two names that wasn’t spunky? I rest my case.

So do you think your name has an impact on your personality, your life, your own personal brand? Would you be you if you had a different name? Would I be me if mom and dad had called me “Sally”? It is an interesting thing to think about.

I can’t tell you how many times people comment on my name. Just the other morning in the airport, the security guy, checking my id, even asked- “Grey? What an unusual name. There must be a story behind that.” Now that guys sees 1000s of names a day…I must be REALLY special.

PS- I also think there is something interesting about birth dates as well…they also impact one’s personal “brand”….and I am not saying this just because I also have a SPECIAL birth date (Christmas Eve).

I’m Back!

Stress: Some people indulge on chocolate and high carb foods. Some people avoid food all together. Some manically exercise. As for me…I become paralyzed. Like a deer in headlights. Stress has a crazy effect on me. I become completely one tracked. I can’t move. Creativity Zapped.

That’s what happened this fall. The imaginitive spirit inside me was temporarily frozen. Between the final details on our house, a speaking engagement in Singapore, a major project at work and the other family demands that the holidays brings, the stress was overwhelming. I had to let something go.

Each day, it became harder and harder to find the creativity to keep up this blog and try something new. And one night, as I sat down to write, C. said,”please spend time with me. Surely I am more important than your blog.” Imagine the pain in my heart. Of course C. is most important. So at that moment I walked away from blogging and told myself I wouldn’t return until I felt the “muse”.

I’M BACK!!!!  Holidays OVER.      House FINISHED.    Work Project LAUNCHED.

I’ve missed you friends. Give me a few days…and I’ll soon have my creative groove back!

Birthin’ A Baby

I’m in contractions. No- not really. But I feel the like I am having contraction pains during the last push of a 2 year project. It feels like I am birthin’ a baby. For two years I have hammered at a SharePoint redevelopment project. There has been a lot of sweat and tears shed over this project. Its a project that I estimated would take six weeks…our technology group said three months and actually took about 18 months + a few planning months.  (Thanks to our friends at Microsoft putting out a new version of SharePoint along the way)

The new site launches Friday. And I must admit, it’s terrific. It looks and feels like a real website and it offers everything from HR info to document libraries right at your fingertips. I don’t expect it to be an overnight sensation. It’s a change process for the firm. But with a little more sweat equity and some creative tactics, I think that we can change the way the firm thinks about internal communications. 

Come on Baby!  I’m ready to bring you to life!

Only in France…

Why is it that all of the things that are so fabulous in France are not nearly as fabulous here in the U.S. or are completely unavailable? For instance,  boullabaisse: I have NEVER had boullabaisse in the U.S. that tastes like it does in France. I’ve even followed the same recipe that my french “mom” prepared for us…not the same. How about Nutella…surely it is the same. Nope…not the same without the delish french baguette. French wine…not even close….in America it has sulfites.

So when faced with selecting a look for my new hardwood floors, I, of course, should have known better than to try to replicate those beautiful, aged, gray, rich, rugged, weathered french oak floors that I grew to love in France. But I didn’t…I tried to replicate. And it almost worked. We tried to match the old and new and it was a disaster.

Time to let go of dreams…I decided that if I couldn’t have what I wanted…we’d go to the other end of the spectrum and I chose a really really really dark stain. In the end, it will look fantastic- especially with the white cabinets, wool skein walls and ticking striped accents.

I guess I will save my fabulous french floors for my house in Provence (that I’ll purchase when I win the lottery)!

Surrounded by Greatness

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at SCPRSA and IABC’s professional development conference 2010 Connect.  It was great to connect with my PR cronies from all over SC. My presentation went well and as it turned out, we were able to have some great dialogue along with the information sharing. Thanks to everyone who attended and who shared their insights with others.

 Our PRSAchapter has been struggling through these challenging economic times as professional dues are one of the first things cut. But let me just say, the quality of people who attended and programming that was offered at our meeting on Friday was awe inspiring! I was truly honored to be surrounded by greatness. All of the speakers shared wonderful insights and I walked away feeling proud to represent SCPRSA (www.scprsa.org).

my first car

My first car was a 1974 BMW. 2002. Inka Orange. Not my first choice considering the car was older than me! And orange…..not a 16 year old girls dream car. But my Dad LOVED BMWs and he convinced me that this was a really cool car. German instructions (yes the “fasten seat belt” light was in German), four gears and a crank sunroof! We were the third owner-it was brought over to the the US from Germany by someone in the Army. We had the original brochure on the 1974 2002- featuring an inka orange model! Looking back, it really was a cool car- wish I still had it. Though that silly little car broke down all the time and I hated it. As a matter of fact, the first time I drove it to school, I rode home in a tow truck!  I swear I could have had a new car for the amount of money that Dad spent fixing it.

When I learned that the Best and Brightest celebration would held at BMW Zentrum and we would have an opportunity to go for a spin on the race track, I knew that my Dad just had to come. My honor aside, I knew he would love this!

OMG- I can’t explain what the drive was like on the race track, tires squealing, 360 degree spins, the smell of rubber burning. It took my breath away. After our lap, I begged our driver to do it one more time….and he did! This time, we blew out a tire! Fantastic.

I am so happy that I didn’t know at age 16 how steady the BMW really is! I could have gotten into some REAL trouble. Though not reliable, that little car had some fun power!

Thanks for joining me at the event Dad! I owe so much of my success to all of your love and support (and all of those cool BMWs!)

meat and three…hold the meat

I love a plate of good southern vegetables. I don’t even need meat when my plate is filled with yummy southern veggies-fried okra, corn, butter beans, collards, sweet potatoes, field peas and much much more. My grandmother’s country cookin’ was the best. No one….I mean no one could ever cook collards (Collard Greens) quite the way she did…not to mention the spicy sweet chow chow that she made to top the greens.

We all have comfort foods and we use those comfort foods to soothe our souls. I don’t feel anything real stressful or challenging…yet I am craving comfort foods. Cookies yesterday, southern veggies today.

My schedule was stacked so I didn’t have much time to pursue lunch, yet I couldn’t quite shake the veggie craving. I pass by an S&S cafeteria everyday on my way in for lunch- though I have never eaten there, so I decided to give it a shot. Not too far from the office and an easy place for take out. I ordered a plate with four veggies- green beans, collards, fried green tomatoes and squash casserole. They were out of the fried green tomatoes so I subbed for cooked cabbage.

Oh dear….perhaps it was because it was after 1:00 before I could get out for lunch, BUT these were the WORST, MUSHY, overcooked, over salted veggies I have ever tasted. I’d like to think my standards are too high, but it had been so long since I’ve had a veggie plate such as this, I feel certain I wasn’t being overly picky.

Now I know that a cafeteria is designed for the blue hairs and they probably eat around 11…but seriously this place should have been flat out embarrassed to serve up a plate such as this. Only a few bites taken and I was finishing out my lunch with Halloween candy. Candy corn is considered a veggie right?

No one will ever be able to cook up veggies quite like my Momo…so I guess my comfort food cravings will have to be satisfied with precious memories of days spent with her shucking corn and making peach preserves!

Everything but the kitchen sink

Crazy cookie craving. Can’t seem to get enough carbs. I tried an “everything but the kitchen sink” cookie from the Fresh Market today. I wonder if they have a recipe or if they really just throw a bunch of leftover stuff together. So this cookie had white chocolate, milk chocolate, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, raisins, oatmeal and maybe other things I didn’t recognize. Very interesting. It was quite tasty. I loved the combo of nuts. How often do we get cookies with all kinds of nuts? Love the savory and the sweet. Stop by the Fresh Market for a sweet treat and an unexpected surprise!

Welcome to Singapore

Welcome to Singapore. Southeast Asia. First impressions after over 30 hours of travel:

 I finally made it. The airport was very clean and prganized with great signage for directions- thank goodness since I was so tired I was seeing double!

The taxi line at 11:45 pm was long…yet it moved fast and the man at the front directing everyone through wore an interesting uniform and sophisticated white gloves. I love a white glove treatment- perfect. Every cab looked new.

As we drove off, we proceeded down a multiple lane tree lines highway. Highrise buildings everywhere. As we continued, the trees continued. No graphitti. Nothing out of place. It all looked perfect. We progressed through the city. Barely any traffic (though it was quite late….you’d think a city with nearly 5 million people would be busy all of the time). No horns. No lively people on the street. No homeless. Nothing out of place. My first impression is quite a good reflection of the city as a whole. Singapore is like a type A city with every t crossed and i dotted. I can’t wait to explore more.

Comfort First

I love the romantic notion of strutting through the airport as a world traveler- dressed to the nine, chic yet casual, fab luggage, designer handbag and a grande Starbucks latte- Picture a cute actress, snapped by the paparazzi and featured in People magazine.

ok but seriously…now lets talk about me. Not glam. No designer luggage. No paparazzi. Maybe a Starbucks latte.

As I began to pack for this 30 hour travel deal, I threw romantic notions out the window…comfort first. I really do usually try to look sophisticated while traveling but in light of this gruelling trip, I decided to go with a backpack as a carry-on. I definitely haven’t carried a backpack since I was 20 headed to Europe. And I must say…the back pack is very practical. Easy to carry, easy to pack. Not so chic but so practical.

And for added comfort, I bought some new moisturizing socks. They are extra fluffy and are  moisturizing. I don’t know how this works…I think it may be a false promise. These socks will be perfect and cozy for the flights. I’ll just snuggle up with my blankie and catch some z’s over the pacific. Bon Voyage friends!