This PR Mommy

Balancing kids, family and PR work.

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

Visiting the CPA

Alaskan Cruise

I recently had an appointment with my new CPA regarding my business and it made me reflect back on the many successes I’ve had with keeping my entreprenuer’s dream alive.

In fact, we had such a good year that we have decided to use some of our savings for a family trip to see grandma so that the hubby and I can take an Alaskan cruise vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary. 

The fact that it has almost been a year makes me feel like I can definitely give this a go for at least another year, and that’s the goal. Believe me the waves of uncertainty are certainly there, with the highs and lows but right now, I can truly say I’m happy with the choice I’ve made. I am feeling super blessed to have my family and friends supporting me and clients who believe in me.  

 

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Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!

I have to begin this blog post with the familiar and famous line “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown”. The reason why I start with this warm holiday greeting borrowed from a classic TV-special is because not only are we in the season of giving, but this is the greeting I get from my 2-year old daughter whenever she sees our Christmas tree light up.

As a young child, I recall decorating the tree with my mother and waiting to see my all-time favorite Charlie Brown cartoon that one time of year, minus the pause button and the DVR — and feeling excited.  And it’s my turn to proudly carry on this simple sentiment with my little one who is just now building her portfolio of warm memories and keepsakes of this wonderful holiday tradition. Throughout my journey with her this season, I had the joy of sharing with her the smells, sights, sounds and even tastes of this wonderful time of year and watching these first memories for her unfold. To marvel at watching her reaction of smelling her first Christmas tree and helping her decorating it with festive ornaments was literally a Hallmark moment for me. Hearing the sounds of Christmas music and listening to her sing the lyrics to “Jingle Bells” was music to my ears.

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I guess its helps that once Thanksgiving was over, you would only hear Christmas music in the car and see Christmas films in our living room playing such as Frank Capra’s classic “It’s A Wonderful Life”; “Miracle on 34th Street” the black-n-white version; all versions of “Scrooge” from Disney’s animated version with Jim Carrey to the silly but simple Mickey Mouse version and watching classic animated films such as the 1968 short “The Little Drummer Boy”, which she now sings “Pa rum pum pum pum”.

With the food, I loved seeing her try her first hot chocolate and testing the theory of which part of the gingerbread man would she eat first. I quickly discovered that she is just like rest of the 60% of the human population with eating off his poor but tasty little head.

Gingerbread

Gingerbread head.

Finally, my hubby and I had the pleasure of taking her to her first holiday Riverwalk parade and watching Santa floating on a float and touring her around a winter wonderland adventure at SeaWorld and seeing her run around the marvelous holiday lights singing, all under the falling but fake snow.*

Jane Running

Running under the holiday lights at SeaWorld.

Christmas is just a day away and as she learns to embrace these traditions from us, I can’t help but think what fun new traditions awaits us. It warms my heart knowing how I remember as a child spending the best of times with my family and thinking how wonderful this time of year truly is. What old traditions will she carry on when she is older and has her own family?

For now, I am just enjoying being mommy and showing her the world of Santa Claus, Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer and the tale of the Misfit toys, and the ever famous “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” cartoon.

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Riverwalk Parade

Happy Holidays!

*I was invited to attend an SA Blogger’s Holiday party at SeaWorld. My admission was complimentary and I was grateful to be able to bring my daughter on my little holiday adventure.

Change is Good

This fall, I have gone through a whirlwind of changes here at the home/office. My crazy MIL (Mother-in-law) who has lived with us for the past three years recently moved back home to California to be with her parents, who are in their late 80s. My daughter has switched from part time to full time day care. My husband has finally received his prayer of getting a Monday through Friday job with weekends off.

As I posted this news on FB, I received so many posts from friends and family who have followed my family’s progress giving me their condolences and congratulations for things changing. I guess a summary of my experience is that change is inevitable and often, but it can also be surprisingly good. As new challenges come up in any personal or work setting, you must stay flexible and strong in your faith. As a family, we have been praying for a very long time for a break in my husband’s health and work situation, which is a result of his epilepsy. For years, this has set us back with not having the flexibility to move, take on new jobs and even the idea of planning a family.

You see the reason why we have had our extended family situation with the MIL these last three years is because we literally needed another person to help with my husband’s schedule and to help raise our daughter because of his health. In fact, his neurologist once told us because of his unmanageable seizures, he wouldn’t be able to properly hold our daughter and that we should wait for him to have one-on-one contact with her until she could walk. However, we didn’t take his advice and had faith in God instead. My husband never waivered and has always managed to hold her.

Don’t get me wrong, these last three years have been interesting with his mother living with us. Not only did I have to accept the fact that I had another person in our personal lives but I had to live with her endless supply of recycled butter bowls in our cupboard, re-rinsing Ziplock bags for the hundredth time and hearing that my little J should not be eating this or that. It really made for an interesting and sometimes complicated home life but as they say it takes a village to raise a child and my MIL really stepped up to the plate putting her life on hold for a while.

Now that the journey is over, God has certainly provided for us. Not only has He given us a new schedule for my husband to be off during the weekends but his seizures have almost subsided making it easier for me to handle the home/office fort. And as time continues to work in our favor, I have seen other small miracles happen including the special bond formed between a small little girl and her grandma. I didn’t realize how special this time would be for my little girl of only two years of life but now that she’s gone I know that they will always have those moments together of special songs, goodnight hugs and kisses.

To capture this memory forever, I arranged a special grandmom-and-baby session for them to always have and to be a hallmark for me to know that unexpected challenges, despite its scariness, can turn out to be quite beautiful.

I hope you enjoy this moment and feel inspired to embrace all change. Believe me, there will be a bright spot.

Event Planning – Birthday Party

This summer, I had the pleasure of planning my daughter’s 2nd birthday – Bubble Guppies Pool Party. I’m calling this blog post “Event Planning” as it was probably the most stressful but most fun planning parties to date.

Seriously, who knew throwing a kid’s birthday party would be so much work for a PR mommy? I mean,  it’s my business, right? But who was I kidding? By the end of it, I had a deep appreciation for parents who can do it flawlessly and a deeper appreciation for places like Chuck E Cheese and Planet Party that do all of the hard work (for a fee), giving you peace of mind.

A few lessons I learned with my “event planning” experience are:

1) Stay True to your Aesthetic — Despite Bubble Guppies not being a hot selling commodity as say Dora the Explorer —  my husband would have loved that — I still managed to find people who were familiar with the cartoon to understand what I was talking about. You can always find decoration ideas online. We were able to download handmade craft items on Nickelodeon’s site. We found Bubble Guppie vendors like the local seamstress who could handmake my daughter’s birthday dress and the baker who agreed to design heads of cupcakes in the shape of the Guppie characters.

Bubble Guppies Birthday Dress

Bubble Guppies Birthday Cake

2) Simply Simplify — My lesson in thinking we needed to go “above and beyond” to allow for a memorable kid experience probably should have stopped at thinking that buying 20 live gold fish to give as kid gifts was a good idea. Our big dream had to be altered, when we simply had too many of these “great” ideas and we just ran out of time. These little guys are happily swimming in our small fish tank at the house.

3) Recruit volunteers — It may take two to tango but to help set up for a kids party, you really need as many volunteers as possible. My hubby and I were hopeless in thinking we could set up tables/chairs, decorate and prepare food for the party by ourselves. Needless to say, we were soooo behind the eight ball that when people started to show up, we had no shame with recruiting friends, family and even neighbors we just met to help with preparations.

4) Take in the Moment, Have Fun — Despite the party being behind schedule, I made myself stop working as hostess and enjoy time with my little girl. Even though were were only in the water for about 20 minutes, those 20 minutes with my little one was well worth it. I even convinced my hardworking husband to give up his grilling duties for a short while to join in the fun.

5)  Resign the fact, it’s only a Birthday party — This one should be self explanatory but as a mom, especially a PR mom, you think your event needs to be perfect. But let’s face it, it’s not the Oscar’s or an annual fundraising banquet, it’s just a kids birthday party with cake and ice cream. My daughter taught me to enjoy the moment, by marveling at her jumping up and down in her bouncy house and eating all of the icing on her very expensive, handmade cupcake.

Bubble Guppies Birthday Head

With any event, a good event planner needs to take a recollection of all lessons learned. So what did I learn? One, with enough cash on hand, you can always bribe the location to keep their doors open for another hour to make up for lost time. Two, give yourself some credit by attempting to create the party of your (kid’s) dreams. Three, there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that you tried and being okay with investing in a party planning location next year. 😉

Tee Time

Why do I start this post with “Tee time,” you ask? We’ll it’s certainly not for golf time, even though I had plenty access to the courses when I was at the resort. Actually, “Tee” time is code for nursing my daughter. 

To be quite honest, I’m kinda glad we came up with this nickname because we didn’t want her to learn to say “booby”or “teta” out loud in the grocery store. I think it was actually because my MIL kept saying the Spanish derivative, despite mommy’s annoyance of it, and that smart little girl of mine coined it. Good girl!

The reason why I bring up “Tee” time is because J is almost two in a few weeks and we’ve had alot of tee time over the last 717 days — she’ll be 2 on Aug. 23 — but now it’s time to decide if I should end our bonding journey at 2 years of age, or go a little further. I don’t think to a full three, but just a little longer wouldn’t be an issue for me.

What is an issue is how it strangely affects family and friends, and I have to question, “has our bonding time run its course?” I mean, she is almost 2 now and its rightfully common for people to ask “are you still nursing?” It makes me think, maybe I do need to stop? In fact, I recently had a conversation with a colleague (a very sweet girl in her 20’s, nowhere near being a mom!) about it and I very casually tried to address it by saying “yeah, and they do this in Europe until 4 years of age” but my colleague was quick to point out “but we’re not in Europe”.

That is very true but is it wrong to want to give my little one some personal “Tee” time beyond 2? I mean, it’s a unique experience that my MIL and certainly daddy can’t do. It’s only mommy and baby time for a short while longer.

As I think about that question, I think about all of the mommies who have tried so hard to nurse and have felt guilty for not being able to. I really do feel for those moms. I am so grateful that we never missed a beat and know that this was a blessing in its self. However, I also think back on those bumpy first times, learning about storage, buying a micro fridge, tricks for packing, and keeping endless supplies of pump parts and nursing bras. By the way, I went Medela all the way!  I’ve had the greatest and not so greatest business trips where I had to take ounces upon ounces of liquid gold through TSA’s check point at the airport. The machines were scary but the agents were always very sweet, especially the men (daddies themselves, praising their wonderful wives). Or having moments of “shoot I forgot…” something, either my pump bag, an essential pump part or an ice pack to keep things cool — always having to improvise. One time when I was still working at the hotel, I forgot to bring my portable cooler and found an event ice bucket. It worked! 

Since then, I have been pretty resourceful keeping my Medela near my work station, having two sets of extra parts handy and when I’m out and about in between stops at a restaurant or a function, asking the catering manager to store my cooler of fun in their walkin freezer. It’s amazing when you slap a sticky labelled “mother’s milk” how they will pay attention to your odd requests and respect not wanting to see what’s inside the mystery bag of fun.  

I recall pumping in odd places at all day conferences and business workshops, and even sharing spaces with other moms with the same agenda. Or simply thinking I was on top of the world when I scored a  private space with a lock and a plug, despite it being an empty cold storage room. Plus, not to mention the number of endless times, when I had J with me and it was time to feed, that I was like a hawk eye- spotting anywhere quiet, clean and private for us to have our “tee” time together.

I think the best part of going down memory lane of these moments of “tee” is that no matter when I can recall, at two days, two weeks, two months or soon to be 2-years old, I can still see that first time of “tee” by just looking into her eyes and telling myself that I made this little miracle. I’m convinced my little girl doesn’t mind either as she is still able to fall asleep to the calming and warmth of mommy’s “tee”.

Well, it’s not her birthday for another few weeks and I still have time to think about how much “tee” time I have left. In the meantime, I will keep enjoying our “tee” time together.

My business manager, my partner

Every good business must be run by a good and sound manager. His or her goals must align with your own business philosophy, and it must be — in a sense — a good and sound marriage. It’s ironic that I bring up the reference of marriage because my business manager is none other than my husband.

With last Sunday being Father’s Day, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have my husband in my life and in my new business venture. The relationship obviously came before the house, the kid (our favorite client!) and the drive to settle as an independent capitalist. In fact, the new business venture came by his persistence and vision to see me succeed in anything I desired.

I am reminded of his dedication as a true business manager, every day. Either it’s from watching him tirelessly working through the development of my website, creating my business cards and being on hold with the Legal Zoom people to set up my LLC. His dedication to making my business a sound one is not only with these tangible elements but it also comes with an unconditional love and faith that exists in our marriage. The daily text messages of “love you” and “You are doing great” remind me that I am already a success in this marriage and in this business. With that kind of cheerleader in my court, how can I go wrong?

I don’t believe I would be where I am at today had it not for his encouragement, his faith in me and allowing me to take the chance, despite our need to pay the mortgage and the bills.

In fact, it was these liberties that encouraged me to take the plunge and leave my secure corporate job, despite it’s share of successes and position, and pursue my dream, thus allowing me to answer the question of “What if I was on my own?”

I think this is a true testament to marriage and the meaning of a partnership.  So with this post, I guess the message is to embrace your business and recall your moment of inspiration. Realize that your potential are with people who can see you for who you already are. Give yourself enough encouragement and love to move forward and always believe in yourself. Finally, put only the best people in your court and invest in the very best business manager (be it your spouse!) to keeping you shining through thick and thin.

 Thank you to my husband and Happy Belated Father’s Day!

 

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My hubby with our little client. It’s hard work but we do our best to keep our clients happy.

Head shots…

This past weekend, I took my little girl with me to get new head shots for the business website. Our photographer and friend Julie Hill of Captured Memories Photography did the work. It had been some time since I had taken photos, probably almost 6 years to be exact! Despite the fact that I needed an updated one badly, I just never took the time to get a session together and had been hoping that my six-year photo could stretch for another 6 years.

At the urging of my work manager (aka the hubby) and my dear photographer friend, who gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse, it was time for me to get my photos done. I just couldn’t believe how extremely nervous I was with the initial set up. How would I position my business with just one photo, after all, it’s about me? Do I wear a corporate suit or jeans? Do I urge for a pretty landscape scene or just a plain backdrop? Do I go for something abstract, wholesome, professional or mommy’ish?

Then at last-minute, as I do quite often to help me come up with quick decisions, I chose to do a simple in-studio session because I wanted my little J to see Julie again in the cool A/C. It had been a while since they last met. Julie also brought little J back a T-shirt from visiting Roma (Rome) and I was eager for her to try it on.

It was the day of and I found myself scrummaging through the closet and grabbing a few dresses that people had commented on the past of “looking good” on me. Then as a back up I went to the best dress-for-less store in a jam, Ross and bought a few more options. Rarely, do I feel the need to go to the mall or spend so much $ on clothes when I could go for the kill at a discounted store. For the baby, that’s a different story but the pressure was on that I needed to go and shop for my professional photos.

We arrived safely but a bit late to the studio. Of course, having bought some time putting my hair and make up together in-between stop light pauses and in the parked car for a few minutes longer.  When we arrived, we were welcomed by my photographer friend and did a few practice shots on the large white background. My little J kept grabbing mommy’s legs and looking up at Julie and her camera. All she wanted was some attention from her mommy and that’s when the magic happened.

She, so in tuned with being in the moment, as most toddlers do, began to embrace the camera. Of course, Julie was a great supporter of this, suggesting a few photos to be taken here and there and stealing as many shots of her as possible.  We took a few head shots for me but then quickly resigned the fact that the “business” part of the business session was over as I had so much fun taking in the moment with my little one. I was mesmerized with seeing how her little character was developing right in front of the camera lens. She wasn’t shy with giving mommy a kiss on the lips or hugging mommy’s face or peacefully laying on the ground, as if looking into space. I was simply glowing at the fact that the camera warmly embraced my little girl. I forgot how this session made me so nervous hours before and it became a wonderful mommy-and-baby moment.

This was even more special than I could ever imagine and in fact, my thought is to make a collage of our mommy-and-baby session as a surprise Daddy’s day gift from his two favorite girls.

So I guess as a take away to this lesson in life — it’s a cliche, but it’s so appropriate and true — sometimes you gotta just go with the flow and seize the moment. I’m so happy I did.  I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do.

 

Working from home…

The concept of working from home was foreign to me until recently. I had always heard from freelancers and mommies about finding magical places like cybercafes to blog at and to get their work assignments done.

Hence, my truly first destination, the Wifi cafe at Panera Bread! With the assurance of my husband sitting right across from me, I am typing away on my laptop and am chewing on my chocolate chip bagel (to die for BTW!). My mission is to get all work accomplished by 2 p.m. so that I have the opportunity to pick up my little JJ at part-time daycare and take her to a doctor’s appointment this afternoon.

All of a sudden, I feel at ease with myself in this new freelance world and do have one assurance that yes, there are perks with going off on your own and “working from home”.  Before this new adventure, I didn’t have the luxury to “work from home” nor have the time to take my little one to the doctor. Plus, I didn’t have the time to eat Ham & Swiss souffle with my dear hubby on his well-deserved day off, which happens to fall on a Thursday.

Life is good. Thanks for letting me share with experience with you all.

Why the blog?

Well, I just quit my full time corporate job to play my hands at being a full time and successful PR freelancer. Do I have anything to lose? Tons but with faith and a strong supporting family, I have decided to head on this journey while I am still young enough to say that I tried.

On my journey with me is my loving husband, almost 2-year-old daughter and my crazy old school Mexican mother-in-law who loves to be a part of the conversation (all the time!). Yes, we are an American family on a mission for me to succeed in the ultimate American dream.

Can I do it? Who knows but I’m on this journey to find out. I’m giving myself two years to make it happen. Afterwards, I can say that I tried with no sense of regret or loss of what could have happened, if I had just done that.

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