To Blog, or Not to Blog??

As far as myself, I’m not sure this is a hobby I would pursue. I’m too anal and then the OCD kicks in. It’s just too much for me. The first blog post I did took me 6 hours. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I read a post, on one of the blogs I follow, and she said she can spend upwards of 12 hours a day blogging. What!?! You have to really love what you do to work those hours. Out of the ones I follow I picked my top three favorite. If they spend anywhere near 12 hours a day blogging; well I’m thankful they do, because they make my day!

#1 IMOMSOHARD

These ladies are the funniest gals I have ever watched. You kind of have to be a parent, a mom especially, to understand their parenting struggles and get their humor. Their content took off so fast they were touring the U.S. within fourteen months of debuting. I guess, when you can engage every mom around the globe you’re going to rise fast. With their adult humor, real life stories and tell it like it is attitude I was instantly hooked. I like their boldness. Life is hard, raising tiny humans is harder. The fact that they vlog most of their content is the best. I’d much rather see them trying out Spanx, than read about and try to picture the hilarity of it. Check them out below. Or on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You won’t regret it!

#2 Hip2Save

Hip2Save is for everyone. Well, everyone that wants to save money anyway. I came across this blog while scrolling Facebook a few years ago. This one is to the point, I’m not going to waste your time good. Their Facebook posts boldly state what you’re going to 28471285_10160114416095343_6341296690260794825_nfind if you click the link. So, when they post a 30% off code for Kohl’s I click and there’s the code. I really like the comments section, too. If there happens to be a deal Hip2Save missed someone in the comments section probably shared it. I stick to Facebook, as I don’t really have time right now to keep up with any others. But, Hip2Save can be found on Twitter, via RSS Feeds and they have an email subscription to take advantage of, also.

https://hip2save.com/

 

#3 SCIBABE

This is a newer one I came across. SCIBABE is a force to be reckoned with! As she says, she is an, “analytical chemist with a background in forensics and toxicology. Before working full-time as a science writer and public speaker, I worked as a chemistry professor, a toxicology chemist, and in research analyzing pesticides for safety.” Basically, she’s a know-it-all science geek that is rocking the internet and I love reading her blogs. The dirty jokes are a bonus. But, boy does she like debunking companies claims to do ‘this and that’, boldly and full of crass. She has the science knowledge to prove claims wrong, if they are, and that’s exactly what she does. If you are easily offended I don’t recommend checking her out. Everyone else, here she is! Otherwise, she’s on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

28783345_1180580795412027_1819031792179478528_nhttp://scibabe.com/ 

 

Obviously, I’m a big fan of in-your-face, inappropriate, vulgar, adult bloggers. Everyone has their preferences, right? If you need a laugh after cleaning up after kids, are in need of a coupon for Tide, or even just want to know if that new bracelet can really cure anxiety, these blogs are the place to be!

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To Blog, or Not to Blog??

Email and the Marketing Mix

Is it spam? What if it’s a virus!? Maybe it’s a coupon code!

 

I don’t know about you, but most of the marketing emails I receive go straight to “trash”. I don’t recall signing up for emails from “Freedom Debt Relief”. Even though freedom from debt would be a dream come true! And, I know I don’t qualify for the “Senior Citizen Discount”, so why does Kohl’s keep sending me reminder emails?! I know, I know, I can open the email, scroll to the bottom and hit the tiny “unsubscribe” link. Sometimes I don’t have the extra time, but most times the “delete” button is just handier.

I don’t trash every marketing email I get. I open the good one’s. Like the ones from “The Packer Pro Shop”, “Under Armour”, “Nike”, etc. Most times they have a catchy subject line that gets me to click on it. Who doesn’t want to see the 2018-19 apparel line for the Pack!? How about 40% off at UA?? I would say I open those types of emails 90% of the time. As far as clicking through to the site, however, that’s about 45% of the time. I like filling a “shopping cart” with all the items I want, but can’t afford, just like everyone else! But, with not much down time these days, cart filling only happens when it’s for something needed.

Enough about me. Today I asked 3 friends what their views are, as far as email marketing and what they do with the ones they get:

What makes them interesting and worth your time to open and read? 

A: I only look at the “sale” emails. This mama is on a budget!

B: I like opening the ones I get from places I’ve never heard of. I don’t know why I get them, but since they’re there I may as well check them out.

C: I only open the ones I signed up for. That way I know it’s going to be something I want to see.

Do you ever take any action as a result of the emails?

A: Only if it’s something we need and it’s on sale.

B: Sometimes I’ll come across the craziest things, or little gadgets that could come in handy, so I check out the site. Sometimes I buy, most times I browse.

C: I do a lot of online shopping. Generally the emails I’m looking for come just in time to click through them and order what I need.

Quite the wide array of answers, but none really surprised me. Also not surprising was their lack of knowledge regarding CAN-SPAM. I had never heard of it either, before starting a marketing class. Did you know there’s an actual law, governed and punishable with some pretty hefty fines, regarding ‘commercial emails’? And SPAM is illegal! According to, FTC.GOV’s list, in my opinion, the rules/laws shouldn’t be that hard to follow. Yet, I’m pretty sure some of the ones I get are in violation of at least 1 of the rules. I’ll be paying more attention from now on! Be sure to click the link to see if any of your’s are in violation.

 https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

Unfortunately, even if you’re getting bombarded with ‘illegal’ emails there’s not much that can/will be done to stop them from being sent. Wiki says that the Act “fails to prohibit many types of email spam”. And, “has been largely unenforced”. What’s the point of having it then!? Want to see what else Wiki has to say? Click the blue link below.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN-SPAM_Act_of_2003

 

Enough about the negative aspects of email marketing. If you want to know what good email marketing looks like, check out, Courtney, from HubSpot Academy. It will only take 1 minute of your time!

 

 

In closing, I’d like to point out that not all marketing emails go to the “trash”; not all are illegal; most aren’t secret viruses, and there are excellent ways to use email marketing to your advantage! Just make sure you aren’t in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act. No one looks good in an orange jumpsuit. 😉

 

Email and the Marketing Mix

Suicide. Do You Know the Signs?

This is one subject I never thought I would have personal experience with. But, if life has taught me anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. 

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One sunny morning, in early May of 2018, my 15 year old daughter called me from a family friend’s house. She had spent the night there after going to a church youth group the night before. I answered, thinking she was going to say she was ready to be picked up. It was in that moment that our lives changed. In a way, for the better. Her first words were, “Mom, I need help. I’m afraid of my own thoughts.”

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In hopes of preventing another family from going through what we did, I’m going to share the 4 signs I missed, so you don’t.

#1) Talking about being a burden to others. She’s a teenage girl. Everyone knows teenage girls are overly dramatic. And that’s exactly what I chalked such talk up to be.

#2)  Withdrawing or feeling isolated. Whenever she would hole up in her room I would ask her what she was up to. She always replied with, “I’m talking to friends, Mom.” And I believed her. I didn’t even think twice.

#3) Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless. I knew she had some friends that were less than stellar. But, I trusted her judgement. She knows right from wrong. I believed her when she told us it was her friends that drank the bottle of Absolut, at the bonfire.

#4) Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress. (A little back story on this one, because I’m not totally oblivious to how my children feel.) Her dad, when she was 13 years old, decided he didn’t want to see her anymore. We had been working on accepting that and going to counseling, so the occasional meltdowns were normal for someone going through abandonment. I thought.

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According to, afsp.org/…bout-suicide/suicide-statistics , on average there are 123 suicides PER DAY. And for every one suicide, 25 attempted it. In the great state of Wisconsin, suicide is the “2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-34”. This is not okay people!!

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I urge everyone, educate yourselves. Take your morning break and Google suicide. It could literally save a person’s life! Want to take it a step further? Watch this 5 minute clip.

 

Scary stuff, right!?! Now, go see the documentary he made and read his book. I haven’t read his book, but I did see the documentary. It’s one of those that should be shown in every high school, in America. It’s a very powerful message, from a firsthand account.

 

I look at life in a whole new way these days. I watch for the signs in everyone I know, not just my kids. I now know that it is not “normal” for teenagers to hole up in their rooms. They aren’t always “just talking to friends”. While yes teenage girls are drama queens, the thought that they are a burden should never enter their minds. I don’t chalk things up as drama anymore. My eyes were opened when I found out my 15 year old had been drinking and smoking pot for months, to ease her pain and anxiety. When she realized those are only quick fixes she considered swallowing a bottle of pills, “to end it all”. Let me tell you, that is something no mother EVER wants to hear. But, I’m glad I got to hear it from her and not read it in the suicide note she had already written.

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Mental illness is very real, very scary and never something to be ignored, or shamed for!

If you would like to learn more follow these links: 

https://save.org/about-suicide/warning-signs-risk-factors-protective-factors/

https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/

Suicide. Do You Know the Signs?