Thursday, August 23, 2012

Are you a VIP in the Club?

Great news!  We started our first three VIP Clubs this week and they are rolling.

Want to know what a VIP Club is?  Of course!  It’s a group of people who like a business or a particular product and want discounts or special information from time to time about that business or product.

Let’s say you have a favorite bakery that serves the most wonderful cakes and pastries.  You love going by there to pick up a special treat for Friday night dinner on the deck with the kids at the end of a long week.  Would you want to know what their newest flavor of cupcake is?  Would a 10% discount on a dozen make your mouth water?

So, you sign up for the VIP Club for Sweet City in Vienna.  They are building a VIP list to receive discounts and offers by text messaging.  If you have not been to Sweet City yet, you are missing a great experience.  They have wonderful treats and a great area where kids can watch the bakers and decorators at work.  They even hold “Cupcake Birthday Parties.”

Now Sweet City isn’t just a bakery, they have a karaoke open mike night, display the works of local artists and offer a great area where you can sit, visit and enjoy the sweet smells from the kitchen.  YOU SHOULD JOIN THEIR VIP CLUB.

On your phone, text “Sweets” to 90583 to join.

Our second new VIP Club is for Pure Chiropractic also in Vienna.  Dr. Brando Lemuel is well known in the Vienna community for his upbeat and motivating attitude.  He strongly advocates healthy lifestyles and works closely with many other groups to promote and encourage people to live to their full potential. His patients aren’t just patients, they are friends and he is their motivator.

The VIP Club for PureChiropractic will offer motivational tips and information about events going on in the community.  This VIP Club will be a bit different and will really be fun.  YOU SHOULD JOIN THEIR VIP CLUB.

On your phone, text “Pure1” to 90583 to join.

The third VIP Club is for Jerry’s Sub’s and Pizza in White Flint Mall.  They have a great reward for signing up for their VIP Club, a FREE Cookie. (Who wouldn’t want a free cookie?) Their cookies are fabulous and you are going to love the sweet treat to go along with your sub or pizza.  When you join their VIP Club, you’ll get discounts and special offers, so be sure to get in the club soon!  YOU SHOULD JOIN THEIR VIP CLUB.

On your phone, text “JWF” to 90583 to join.

Isn’t that fun?  These are great opportunities to get discounts, have fun and be motivated.  Is there a VIP club you think should be created – maybe one for your favorite restaurant?  Tell me about it.  We will work with them to create a “VIP Club” just for you!  After all, the readers of FAMILY Magazine (and my blog) are already VIPs.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Snowmen Fall from Heaven…Unassembled

Networking is something we all do – whether it’s joining a mom’s group or building a business. For some reason, the concept of “Networking” has gotten a bit of a “salesy” connotation. I will admit, some of the networking events I attend are a bit too much of a “pitch” party where everyone you talk to is trying to sell you something. 

However, at a recent networking event sponsored by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, I came away with a new appreciation for networking. At this event, we settled down and discussed our shared experiences and future plans. No pressure to hawk your wares or force your business card on fellow attendees.  I met several interesting people and learned about what they were involved with.

Of course these days, networking is more than just cocktails and chit chat. It’s about being present online and putting yourself “out there” (wherever that may be!). During a recent visit with friends on the west coast, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Mick Ukleja. We had a great conversation about reaching out past the old comfort zone – the fact that we were drinking wine on a beautiful patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean was only part of the charm.

Mick’s job is to teach business leaders how to “live on purpose.” He has such great insights in how to invest in growth – our own physical, mental, emotional, and financial growth. It’s a personal vision that readily translates to business. It fit my interests perfectly. I am publisher of a magazine that’s all about providing for our DC area parents. We grow our business to help you grow happy, healthy families.

Mick teaches his clients that much of our growth comes from what we contribute. That meant a lot to me. I’ve been thinking for some time about making some changes, and his ideas seemed ready-made for where I was. I had already started doing more networking of the face-to-face variety and have been considering upping my game for my online presence - namely focusing on my blog. 

Before I struck out into that web wilderness, I wanted to make sure I had a clear picture of what my blog would be, AND that I had a plan to make it happen. Blogs take time. Good blogs take a lot of time. Time is something I’m not long on….

So it’s about setting priorities, and I’m familiar with tough choices. Change is scary for all of us – and the process of change, the transition, is where we separate the “just do it” from the “maybe later” mentality. Stepping out of our comfort zone into a commitment isn’t about taking a leap. It’s about landing that leap over and over again. I’m so glad I had the fortune to talk with Mick that afternoon. His approach really inspired me to take my next step, and the next, and the next….

At the magazine, we do a lot of work with our advertisers (most of whom are fellow parents), and from our discussions, I know we’re all looking for opportunities for growth. We love being face to face with the advertisers. We learn what challenges local businesses are facing, and we are prepared to help. As I reach out more in my professional ventures, my goal is to grow by contributing. I’ll spread the word (many words) with the hope that I can contribute to the benefit of our readers. 

In the spirit of reaching out, I wanted to help other professionals looking to make connections. I did some research into local networking opportunities and am sharing some of my favorite finds. I have listed several sites below. There is also a link to the FAMILY Magazine web site for future networking opportunities. 

Or better yet, you can find information about great growth opportunities by tuning into my new and improved blog! I’ll keep a link at the bottom of my intro page where you can find up to date information on local networking events. Be sure to email me with information about your favorite local networking events. I’ll add them to our list.

So as Mick Ukleja says “Snowmen fall from Heaven…unassembled.” I guess all those letters on my keyboard are my snowflakes. I’m intent on building a blog out of those letters. A meaningful blog that enables me to reach out and grow with intention. Carrot nose and all!

For more information about Mick – and to follow his most excellent blog - check out his site:

To visit my blog (and hopefully sign up to receive updates) go to:

For local connections, check out these organizations: 

Regional – events all over the region for power networking

Good Morning Rockville Chamber of Commerce

Mix & Mingle Rockville Chamber of Commerce

Bethesda Chamber of Commerce

Vienna Chamber of Commerce Events

Dulles Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Do you brag about your business awards?

My husband and I recently took a fun trip to Atlanta. It was a business trip, however we did have some fun along the way. In looking back on the years when my children were younger, I wish we had done more “fun along the way” experiences.

We found our fun in Atlanta when we attended a special dinner held at the Georgia Aquarium. Their Aquarium is one of the best I’ve experienced. They have a giant tank filled with all kinds of fish including four whale sharks. If you’re a diver, they offer the opportunity to go diving in the tank with the sharks. It would have tempted me, but given that I’m scuba diving with my daughter this fall, we’ll be finding our sharks in the wild – so even with grown kids, fun trips are still on my calendar.

My official purpose in going to Atlanta was the National Convention for the Association of Free Community Publications (AFCP). These conventions can do wonders for my editorial ego. This year, the AFCP awarded FAMILY Magazine a First Place Award for Editorial Excellence. We are just so proud of ourselves! But the pride didn’t start with the Award (though none of us is planning to give it back…). For the past year and a half, we have really focused on improving our editorial - so we thank the AFCP for noticing! We have a great group of writers who do a wonderful job for us, and we are extremely proud of what they produce.

The changes we’ve made to our editorial content have been all about giving our readers what they want. Each month, we present a Theme of Articles that speak to our reader moms’ interests. Our goal is that every issue features articles that speak to moms and their personal situation. One of our readers’ favorite themes is the “Best for Families” issue we do each July. We answer the question “what moms want” throughout the issue – with lists of readers’ favorites from ice cream to vacation spots. Recently we’ve begun incorporating our mom recommendations into the editorial content as well.

One of our favorite editorial additions is a fun series called “Ages and Stages.” We know moms like to check in on their kids’ developmental milestones and peek ahead to the next Age and Stage. Our Ages and Stages articles feature the First Year (pregnancy to baby at 12 months), Early Years (toddlers), Middle Years (elementary years K through 5th), and Tween Years (junior high and beyond). If there is a topic you would like us to cover in Ages and Stages or elsewhere in the magazine, please send me an email at I always love hearing from you!

We work hard to be sure our magazine is at its best for moms every month. Their opinion is what matters most, but we have to admit that we don’t mind the pat on the back we get when our peers recognize our hard work and dedication. It is great for the staff of FAMILY Magazine to be rewarded for all the great work they do. I’m always so proud to be able to go to these professional conferences and show off everyone’s great work.

Not to be outdone by the print magazine, our online version of FAMILY Magazine was also recognized at the AFCP convention. So if you ever find you are out and about without your printed copy of FAMILY Magazine, you can always access us online. There is an easy link to our eMagazine on our homepage (

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pinterest Is Not Only HOT, It Is PINspirational

Is interest in Facebook cooling off? Is Twitter only good for celebrities? What is the hottest new thing out there in the Social Media World? Pinterest!

Although their name is a bit confusing (I have a hard time remember it because it is so odd), Pinterest is the hottest thing going right now.


Imagine being able to find photos online of all your favorite places, shoes, hairstyles, DIY projects and household wonders…all in one place. And be able to categorize them into folders to keep as inspiration later. Or should I say, PINspiration.

Enter Pinterest. The world’s largest pin-board online. This addicting website is already one of the most popular websites and apps, and for good reason. It’s addicting! I’ve already found a million projects I want to do with the house. The social site encourages sharing or “pinning” products and photos you like. Like Twitter and Facebook, a Pinterest user has followers who can view their followed pins in a newsfeed of photos. It’s this huge web – you might pin a photo of a china set you are dying to purchase…and three people re-pin it to their pages. From there, more people re-pin from your friends, and it spreads like wildfire.

You don’t have to stay within the confines of Pinterest (although it’s hardly confining) to post items you like. You can pin an image from almost any website. New shoes you bought online? You can add a button to your toolbar that lets you post a photo of your new kicks, with a link to where all your friends can buy some if they want as well.

It’s such a fabulous tool for businesses. Especially retail. When the site started, we tested the waters by posting a few items of an advertiser to see if it would ‘get any bites.’ Later that week, the advertiser called us to say that they had received a few orders from Pinterest as the original source. It was incredible.

Are you on Pinterest? If not, comment below and I’ll send you an invite to join! It’s a world of fun. Find us at:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Power of Twitter

Have you been following the Olympics? The news program I am watching at night to catch up on the results of the day seems to be fixated with Twitter. Every night there is an update on how many more followers the major athletes have accumulated on Twitter. There are even arguments going on between athletes via Twitter. Amazing. So what is this communication tool?


Oh, the wonderful world of Twitter. Did you know that when the earthquake happened here in the Washington region last summer, it was in the papers the next day, on the news that evening, and on twitter 6 seconds later? Twitter is the immediate, real-time micro-blog platform that has taken the entire world by storm. It consists of bite-sized posts about anything and everything. Posts are limited to 140 characters so it’s challenging to find the most effective ways of condensing what you need to say…but I’m always up for a challenge.

Learning how to tweet is like learning another language. There are hashtags (huh?) and RTs (what?) and while it will all seem overwhelming, I promise it gets better with practice.

There was a neat instance where our marketing manager attended a charity ball in DC and live-tweeted (tweeting while you’re at the event) a photo of her with a few mom bloggers she invited. A few moments after posting the pic to Twitter, a veterinarian (who also happened to be the host of Channel 8’s The Pet Show) tweeted/responded, gushing about the charity venue. After conversing back and forth, she invited us to be a part of her TV Show and offer tips on Family Pet Rules (see the tips and segment here: It is truly amazing to learn this medium and watch how it works its magic!

For more information about twitter, check out this great article from Mashable: and follow the magazine online at