Did you forget?

I subscribe to a multitude of email newsletters. Airline fare sales, inspirational newsletters, blogs I follow, shopping discounts, to name a few. However, recently I have noticed a rather annoying and frequent trend from retailers. I will tell you right now that I am not blind and it is not anything new, it just seems that in the past few months it has been blatantly excessive. Now, I know I can unsubscribe from the emails, the discounts, or sales, and that would be the easiest way to end my frustration.

I do not give up that easy. Let me give you a bit more context. I do not really ultimately care about the emails with deals, or the ones that say “hey did you know our new product line is in stores, and here is a bit of a reveal to what you will see.” That is actually enticing to me. What I have seen in the last few months is a true influx of pervasive emails reminding me what I have left in my cart, or reminding me of items I clicked into for more detail. Now I know that the items left in my cart are sitting in my cart, so it makes a bit of sense to get a reminder that they are still there. I mean gosh I wish that could happen for me in the grocery store when I leave and do not come back for a week. Maybe they too can suggest an item that I may like because of the item in my shopping cart. Joking. That would only deter me even more from going to the grocery store.

What I do not need is to be told multiple times each day that I have items in my cart. Once a day is enough. Last week, I had put a few items in my West Elm shopping cart so I could show Chris later. Each day last week I got a new email listing just one of the items in my shopping cart. I had four items in my cart, and rather than just sending me one reminder email listing all the items, I got four different emails one day after the other. Annoying and I feel like I am getting spammed. West Elm is not the only offender, Gap does the same thing and there are others.

What creeps me out the most (and yes I know about tracking cookies and websites knowing what you are looking at, but it still is creepy) is when I click into the detail of an item and potentially could do that on hundreds of items on a website, and then I get emails that say: “Take Another Look: [insert name of product].” There was a reason I did not put it in my shopping cart and I do not want to be reminded that I did not purchase the item.

If online retailers are not careful they will piss off their customers. No one wants to feel followed or tracked down. It is no different than going into a retail store and the person that greets you says hello, tells you about their sales, and then proceeds to follow and talk to you as you wander throughout the store. Sometimes (most of the time for me) we just want to be left alone to shop. Will this in your face online phase change?

What do you think?

Be FIRST

We grow up as kids not wanting to be last. When we stood in groups or lines in gym class, none of us wanted to be picked last. Everyone wanted to know they were wanted. Being last meant a lot of things, and different things to different people, but 99% of us did not want to be picked last (regardless of why). That does not mean that we all wanted to be first. We just knew we did not want to be last. Yet someone had to be last. Someone always has to be last.

You can decide though if you are first or last. A colleague told me recently to allow your work to direct your opportunity. So when I recently came across this short and sweet Seth Godin blog, I was inspired, and in case you are not Godin followers, I had to share. I’ve included the entire text (yes all of it) here:

Before you’re asked.

Before she asks for the memo, before the customer asks for a refund, before your co-worker asks for help.

Volunteer.

Offer.

Imagine what the other person needs, an exercise in empathy that might become a habit.

I remember so often growing up that my dad ingrained in me to think ahead, to figure out how I was going to approach something before I did it. The funny thing — my dad barely had a strategic bone in his body. Sure, as a contractor he had to strategize house plans and such, but other than that I did not gain my strategic mind from my dad. In any case, he did teach us to think ahead and be prepared BEFORE he got to us. Have our room clean before he lost it. Do our chores before we had to be reminded. Ask how we could further help. Whether I like it or not, he taught me to be proactive. I wonder if he truly knows that or if it was more about what he wanted.

Ah well, I will never know. I do so love and appreciate those that I interact with on a daily basis to volunteer, offer their help and support, and think about what another might need. Anticipate. Be available and helpful. I try to do it, and I love when those around me reflect the same behavior. Do we all have these skills? I am not sure. I think we all have them in some form. Some of us just elect to use them and others let them lie dormant.

Be first.

Motivational Pas$w0rds

Ugh. Passwords. You have to change them every 30, 60, 90 days. They have to be these crazy different number of unique characters. A capital, number, symbol, lowercase letter. Every company has their own strategy for how different and unique your password has to be. It is so hard to keep up, and I have a hunch it is only going to get more complex.

I decided a long time ago to make sure my passwords encompassed some positive, upbeat, or inspiring word, phrase, or group of numbers so that every time I had to type it into my computer, I would think of that idea, phrase, joke, whatever floats your boat – a great way to inspire you all day long, give you a pick-me-up, or a little reminder that may make you smile.

This article from 99u talks about how you can motivate yourself towards your goals through your password. It links to this article, which shares examples such as Forgive@h3r and Quit@smoking4ever. Such great ideas to help uplift your thought, and change the perspective on your day.

As often as we have to change our passwords, we can change out mantra on life. Smilemore4me, Bringiton@work, Caremore4others, or whatever you need to tell yourself, make THAT what you type over and over again during your day. Hopefully, it will bring a smile to your face, give you a moment to breathe a bit differently, and bring a bit more happiness to your life.

No Sugar For A Year?

Can you imagine a year with no sugar? I cannot. Not that I have a sugar tooth, because I do not. I crave and want salt all day long. That does not mean, however, that I do not have sugar all the time. I will tell you why.

I just finished reading: “Year of No Sugar” by Eve Schaub. An interesting read. Schaub decides to have her and her family go an entire year and not eat sugar. The thing is – sugar is in everything. Of course desserts, breads, and sweets, but also ketchup, sauces, and mayonnaise. Literally everything has some amount of sugar. Even if the ingredient list does not say sugar, companies have found ways to break down the ingredient list into fructose, glucose, etc to make sure it’s not the top ingredient because it is broken into three smaller ingredients. Clever, but dishonest too. Schaub and her family are not 100% hardcore. She has two kids and so over the course of a year they decide that they will have one “sugar-filled” dessert a month and if it is your birthday month you get to select the dessert.

After many months on their adventure, and digging into a monthly “sugar-filled” dessert, Schaub states:

“But now what struck me perhaps most of all was the fact that when I would give in and have something that I wanted, or thought I wanted, or somebody else thought I should want, often it failed to be enjoyable at all. This was newly noticeable–a disconnect between what my brain thought I’d enjoy and what my body actually did enjoy.” page 256

Interesting, is it not? What we think we want is not always what our body wants and what we think we want does not always taste good. I think that is true for a lot of bad foods, bad relationships, and bad jobs. Sometimes we are just good at telling ourselves what we think we want, and maybe it is not at all what we need, or what is good for us.

Yesterday at work I opened a bag of mixed fun size candy bars from Costco. Of course because of just reading Schaub’s book I was very curious about the sugar amounts. You’ll have to click the photo to be able to read the packaging, but in order to truly know how many grams of sugar was in each serving size you have to take the number of candy bars per serving size and divide it by total number of sugar calories.

So the Milky Way has the most calories at 2 bars per serving size, for a total of 20g, which means 10g if you eat one bar, and Nestle Crunch being the best for you at 22g for 4 mini candy bars, so 5.5g if you just have one. GROSS – all that sugar! But they sure do not make it easy to figure out the true number of grams of sugar.

I love how Schaub ends “Year of No Sugar” with such an appropriate quote:

“We save actual sugar for the ‘worth it’ stuff, stuff that is truly meaningful–for birthdays, at special occasions, that wonderful piece of chocolate after a meal. Who knows? Maybe a perfect, shining piece of Napoleon will one day come my way. If it does, I don’t want to be sated with Cocoa Puffs and Snapple–I want to be ready.” page 272

That is how I roll. Make the best of the sugar you have each day. Make it count. Be ready for the good stuff. The homemade cupcakes and damn good desserts. Do not give away your sugar allotment for crappy, processed, shitty food. Hold out for things that matter.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda

Often it is easier to look at the life before us and think about all the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s. If you had that different job, then your day would be so much better. If you lived in the house you almost purchased, you would have a better life. If you went on that vacation, you would be more adventurous. If you had not lost your parent or sibling, you would not be so sad or depressed. There are so many ideas we can tell ourselves about how life could be different if something had happened, or if it had not, that we can agonize over all the woulda, coulda, shoulda moments.

What if we just looked at what is?

I am a fan of Jonathan Tropper. I have read all his books, and am always interested to hear when a new one has come out. Recently a daily email newsletter from Oprah contained this quote from Tropper:

“You have to look at what you have right in front of you, at what it could be, and stop measuring it against what you’ve lost.”

So simple, yet so eye-opening. If we looked at what we have right now, appreciate it, take care of it, love it — well life would just be better. I have had many, many times in my life where individuals have asked me, how do you do it losing your parents so early in life? How do you cope? My response: “It is what it is.” If I always compare my life to what I have lost, if I only see what I don’t have, then I am not looking at what is right in front of me. I have a great job, an amazing husband + marriage, my family is healthy, wonderful friendships, all my material needs are met. Of course I have those very tough moments when loss feels great, but those are moments. I live my life from a place of abundance, and gratitude for all that is right in front of me.

The same is true for not getting those opportunities that we want, that person we might want to date, that job we have been preparing ourselves for, or maybe it was an award we felt worthy of receiving. Whatever we think we have lost, does not really matter in the grand scheme of things, what matters is what we do with what is right in front of us. How do we seize the day? How do we make every moment worthwhile in our current job, home, marriage, party, even at the grocery store? Are we letting life pass us by just because it does not compare to what we wished we had?

My life is full, and I want to suck every moment out of every day.