Saturday, December 1, 2007

Closing up Shop at Adventures of SS...Business is Booming at Metropolitan Mama

I'm closing up shop here at Adventures of SS. Please visit me at Metropolitan Mama. See you around the blogosphere!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Week in Review

I can't believe it's been a full week since my last post on this blog.

Here's what I've been up to:
* Playing with my little girl (especially outside)
* Working
* Blogging over at Metropolitan Mama (doing product reviews, giveaways, interviews, etc.)
* Jogging 4 times a week
* Reading (I just finished The Vaccine Book and Writer Mama; I just started The Other Mother)
* Cooking (last night, I made Kielbasa Skillet Stew and Cornbread)
* Fleshing out concepts for my new blog design and website for Metropolitan Mama (stay tuned)
* Dreaming of publication
* Feeling content

What have you been doing this week?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

How to Save More Money, Part 2

You may recall that I am a "super saver" (my husband's term for me).

Here are three more great food-related ways to save:

1. Don't order drinks. When you go out to eat, DO stick to water. It's the healthiest option and, besides, soda and tea are way overpriced at restaurants.

2. Don't order drinks. Speaking of things that are overpriced, don't buy alcohol at eating establishments. If you want to sip fine wine or enjoy a cool beer, DO buy your own and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. You'll save money - and you won't have to worry about drinking and driving (double bonus).

3. Don't go to the ice cream shop. DO buy one or two gallons of your favorite flavor at the grocery store. You can even splurge on toppings (Reeses, bananas, bluenerries, gummy bears, whipped cream, etc.) and waffle cones. It's still cheaper than that $6 Cold Stone Creamery creation.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quote of the Week: Ambition

Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions…Just as soon as you attain one ambition you see another one glistening higher up still. It does make life interesting.” (L.M. Montgomery, 1908, Anne of Green Gables)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In and Around the Internet: Get Connected, Earn Free Stuff

Three things I've been doing on the web this week:

1. I joined LinkedIn, "an online network of more than 15 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries." I'm not quite sure what to expect or what I will gain, but so far I like it better than Facebook.

2. I became a Bzz Agent, "an everyday consumer who believes in honest word of mouth." The website claims that agents receive "new products, services, books, and other cool stuff." I haven't been part of any "campaigns" yet so I can't be excited just yet.

3. I received my first invitation from SheSpeaks to "test a new personalized homepage and get a free magazine subscription." I browsed the new myAOL page and then provided feedback. In exchange, I was able to choose a free magazine subscription from either Health, Money, Entertainment Weekly, or Cottage Living (I chose Money Magazine).

What cool things have you been doing on the web this week?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tucson Tuesdays: La Encantada Shopping Center

I've been to La Encantada Shopping Center twice. La Encantada is an "intimate, open-air lifestyle center with extensive landscaping, upscale shops, walkways, patios and courtyards that invite pedestrian interaction."

Located on the northwest corner of Skyline Drive and Campbell Avenue, the shopping center has a very specific demographic - upper class Tucsonans, who are probably in the 35-75 age range and who probably live in the Foothills.

The stores are not "young" in taste - they are the classy, older set - Pottery Barn, Talbots, Coldwater Creek, J.Jill, and Crate & Barrel. You won't find GAP, American Eagle, Old Navy, Target, or H & M here.

The actual design of the shopping center is nice - I like the indoor/outdoor combination, especially since we live in sunny Arizona where the warm, balmy weather greets us nine months out of the year. The walkways are pretty and the landscaping is well-manicured.

But something seems still and cold about the center. It lacks vibrancy, vitality, youthfulness, authenticity, something...I always feel a bit of a chill there, a strange feeling that I don't quite fit in with the pretension, the brand names, and...yikes!...the price tags!

In my opinion, these factors are what have made La Encantada only a lukewarm success. Many of the store slots are empty and the center is strangely quiet - dead.

By targeting the older and richer segment of the population so narrowly, Westcor has excluded the "rest of us" - the families, the singles, the young couples just starting out, the moms and babies, and the college students. We just don't feel comfortable there. We want more color, more splash, more noise. We want to feel welcome in our Target t-shirts and our Old Navy flip flops. We want to be able to let our babies cry, our toddlers squeal, and our kids run about...without feeling out-of-place.

The La Encantada concept hasn't worked because, when the developers planned it, they forgot about "us."

Of course, I don't like to criticize without offering some solutions. As a Tucson resident, I actually desperately want La Encantada to succeed. Here's what I think the resident marketing specialist should do:

1. Get "younger" stores to fill the empty spots that are still for rent.
2. Start a weekly "Kids Club." It could be anything - a story time, a puppet show, a dance production, a meet and greet with a storybook character, etc.
3. Re-think the marketing campaign. Focus on authenticity and inclusion. Make it a place for everyone.
4. Plan several key events to re-introduce the center to the community. Be especially conscious of families in the planning process. Invite a face painter. Give away a stroller. Offer free lemonade.
5. Create a "Moms Panel." Select 5 social and influential moms (perhaps host a contest of some sort to find them...) to shop at La Encantada and provide reviews about the stores, the prices, and the fun things to do. As the experts say, word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective kind...and moms are an important market audience.

Fellow Tucsonans, raise your voice. What do you think about La Encantada? Is my synopsis accurate? What suggestions do you have?

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Future in Blogging - Nailing down my Niche

For those of my readers who don't know, I have another blog:

Metropolitan Mama is a blog geared to moms in their 20's and 30's who are pregnant or who have little ones under age three (although all moms are welcome!). I blog about fitness, fashion, freebies, and general information to help moms navigate the challenges and wonders of early motherhood.

Metropolitan Mama is quickly picking up speed and I'm averaging over 200 hits per week - close to 1000 per month! I attribute my growing readership to many things, but, first and foremost, to the "niche factor." The blog has a very clear and defined audience - and thus the blog has a magnetic affect in drawing readers from my targeted demographic.

I'm having a lot of fun with my MM blog because motherhood is a topic I'm particularly passionate about. I've made some great connections and built some wonderful relationships with other moms from around the country and around the world (Thanks especially to my many readers in Canada and Australia).

I'm thinking about starting yet another "niche" blog (more details later...) - and possibly closing up shop here at Adventures of SS. I'll keep you posted as my plans unfold.