19 November 2012

Where's the Return on Investment?

Return on investment - it's a term usually heard muttered at tech start-up events... along with "exit strategy" and "where's the free bar" and "the next Facebook". While the rest of those terms make me want to stab myself in the face, Return on Investment is a good one, especially when it comes to relationships. 

It means, quite simply, do you get back what you give? Do you get as much love, attention or help from your friends, family and contacts as you invest in them? Are the scales balanced? Are you receiving much more than you're giving, or vice versa?

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13 January 2012

In Defence of Male Geeks

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Today in ES Magazine, a publication which I usually thoroughly enjoy, Richard Godwin asked the question, “Where have all the good men gone?”

In the print version, around the title of his piece are tiny images of men that we’re all familiar with - Matt Smith, Michael Cera, Simon Pegg, Mark Zuckerberg and even a grinning Ed Miliband.

What do all of these men have in common, aside from the fact that Godwin clearly hates them, you ask? Well, the majority of them are either in thick rimmed glasses, too-small polo shirts, Converse All Stars, if they still have the ability to grow a full head of hair, said hair is wildly unkempt, and for the most part they all have a slightly ridiculous smile.

Ah yes, they're all geeks and/or considered to be geeky.

Godwin says that he is sick and tired of these geeky men and anyone else like them. Mark Zuckerberg reigning supreme does not agree with him. Ed Miliband? Meh. Matt Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor is unacceptable, as is the geekified male fashion of the moment (“light, pale and limp at the wrist”) and the look of male musicians like Ed Sheeran and actors like Simon Pegg.

While Godwin correctly identifies that the “essence of a geek is his obsessive interest in one area” (as explained in this helpful infographic), Godwin is making one, vital mistake:

He’s confusing hipsters who dress like geeks with actual geeks.

Simon Pegg is a geek. He also dresses like one because it’s fashionable at the moment, and no doubt he probably has dressed like that for a while. Matt Smith is not a geek, Matt Smith, if you’ve ever seen him in person (which is actually quite disappointing) is a hipster in geek’s clothing with an emphasis on hipster. Zuckerberg and Miliband are definitely geeks, but I would argue that Zuckerberg simply dresses horribly (exibit A, aaaaaand I rest my case) and while he is most certainly a geek, I sincerely doubt Miliband knocks around town in Ray-Bans, Allstars and video game themed t-shirts on the weekends. (Obviously, that’s what Cameron does, whilst listening to Lana Del Rey on his iPad.)

There is a geek trend - this is why, as Godwin says, the rails of Topshop and Urban Outfitters are "completely geekified". 75%* of those wearing Geek Glasses are doing so without a prescription. 88% of those hunched over their Macbook Airs sucking up the free WiFi in public spaces are actually chatting to their friends on Facebook or making an “awesome” playlist on Spotify for when they “DJ” at the weekend ( plugging in their iPad to a PA system without actually mixing tracks), and 81.34% of those RTing Mashable articles on Twitter and pretending to care about all things digital and social and technology wouldn’t know how to write a string of code or basic HTML to save their lives.

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30 December 2011

Simple Tips for Being Happy

G-tdy-111207-nigella-lawson-stylist.photoblog600I never know how to start these "end of the year" style blog posts without sounding like a complete prat, but as there's approximately one billion other blog posts along the same lines being published right at this very moment, I'm just going to say it: 

2011 was a good year. 

And when I think about all of the places I've been and things I've done (and eaten), I would argue that it was a brilliant year. I did a lot of proper thinking, as well as a lot of proper action, this year, which has made all of the difference. 

From running, to personal training sessions, to singing lessons, to asking for help and putting my neck on the line in business meetings, I've physically done many things that have caused me to nearly do a number two in my pants. And I've learned that it's those moments, the fight or flight moments that make you feel like you're actually living, actually doing, actually growing. Human beings are not caterpillars who can sit in a warm cocoon doing fuck-all and then suddenly blossom into a mighty butterfly. We need to actually do things in order to fly.

But, in addition to existential conversations with myself, I've also learned quite a few things about looking after yourself. These are things you will have heard about before, or no doubt your mother or Oprah have said, but I'm starting to see the benefits in them. 

The little things that make a big difference

1) Buy yourself matching underwear

As someone who regularly purchased those multi-pack Hanes Her Way sets of undies that are flowered or covered in some hideous print, I've learned how wonderful it is to own multiple sets of matching underwear and bras. It's not cheap, but it also doesn't have to be extremely expensive. 

I'm a huge fan of both Freya and Bravissimo. From the slutty to the sensible, they both have underwear that fits, flatters, and will make you feel gorgeous. Yes, confidence should come from within, but I'm sure even the most confident women in the world would agree with me on this. As if Michelle Obama wears saggy-assed cotton knickers and mismatching, unwashed bras around the White House . Please.

2) Be as camp as you want to be

If you want to wear false eyelashes to the grocery store on a Tuesday, do it. Fancy wearing your favourite dress to a non-important business meeting? Do it. I've always spent way too much time worrying about looking "just right" for certain things. I'd rather be too much than not enough, so I've decided that if I want to wear my scrubby jeans and hiking boots to Starbucks with no-makeup on the weekend I will, and if I want to spend two hours getting ready just to go out to dinner with my in-laws, then I will. Wear what and look how you want to, not because of other people's supposed expectations or what you think everything is thinking about you. 

3) Get active in a way you enjoy

The term "go to the gym" or "go for a run" will strike fear into many a woman. This is mostly because both are misrepresented. I've made friends with both, and going to the gym does not have to be a pain in the ass. Neither does exercise. Being active is SO IMPORTANT and it's something that is so often overlooked or made to look like you need to run 5 miles every day in order to be fit. 

Before you Weight Watchers or diet or cut out carbs or go on a three week juice detox, have a think about the last time you did proper exercise. I'm talking 20 minutes of cardio, stretching, yoga, boxing, speed walking whatever. If you're not engaging your body with both cardio and other bits and pieces I don't think you're looking after yourself properly, no matter how many vegetables you eat. Your body is your vessel, do you really think it's going to do and look how you want it to if you starve it? If you feel fat, start eating better, cut back the takeaways and get some excercise. Stop whinging about it. Sweat for a bit, eat some damn veg and don't drink so much, mmmkay?

4) Greed is sexy

I'm not talking Wall Street greed, but food greed. The Nigella issue of Stylist struck such a chord with me, not only because threw me back in love with Nigella, but introduced me to Elizabeth Robins Pennell's A Guide for The Greedy By A Greedy Woman. While I do not have a copy of it myself, Jeanette Winterston's article about greed in Stylist has actually helped transform the way I think about food, the body, etc. Just read this:

"Greedy is not the same as self-stuffed, which is just as bad as self-starved. You have to love food in all its glory to be greedy. And that means some days you might not eat at all if what is on offer is horrible. I have travelled and preferred to go hungry for a day, knowing I could get home and sleep a short night in the certainty of a home-cooked breakfast of my own eggs, and bacon from a pig I used to know."

My husband knows I turn into a beast when I've not eaten, but nothing upsets me more than becoming full from a meal I did not enjoy. I become overwhelmed with sadness when I do not know what I fancy eating. I used to think I just had "food issues", but now I realize that I simply love food, and that my "issue" is that I'm greedy. 

5) Do not apologize

Sara Benincasa recently wrote a fantastic piece for Jezebel called "I Am So Not Sorry About My Vagina", which is a collection of all the ridiculous things women have apologized for. I apologize when I run into someone, but I also have found myself apologizing and feeling guilty for being ME. Too funny, too fat, too beautiful, too hungry, too ambitious, too emotional, too spotty, too professional - everything about me at one point I have found to be "too" something, and therefore wrong and in need of begging forgiveness for. I am sorry for having the nerve to exist as I do.

I've apologized and felt guilty for my body too long. My ambition for too long. For mistakes, for anger, for feeling, for sadness, for happiness, for luck, for hard work, for everything. I've apologized for being hungover. I mean, really?!

Of course it will take a long time to break the habit of apologizing unnecessarily, but I've stopped carrying around that huge amount GUILT that makes me feel like I need to apologize to begin with. It sneaks up on me sometimes. But I'm not going to apologize for other people being bad friends, un-supportive, or just plain rude. That's just ridiculous.

10 October 2011

It's Just an Untargeted Email. Calm down.

Angryblogger-11 Last week I sat on a panel talking about blogger and PR relations

Yes, AGAIN. I talk about this a lot, I've done workshops, meetings, posts, videos and interviews about this. For some reason some people think this is a very complicated subject. It's not.

However, I do have a question for bloggers:

Why do you take such offense to an untargeted email from a PRO? 

If you get an email from someone who clearly hasn't read your blog and therefore clearly isn't very good at their job, why do you get so upset about it? I just got an email from a PR agency that would like to talk to me about partnering with a brand that I've been (publicly) working with since June.

My face is on page two of their catalogue. 

Did I throw a hissy fit? No. 

I no longer understand the rage that happens when bloggers are sent a "Dear Sir, I'd like to talk to you about nose hair clippers for  your Blog or web site". Yes, I understand that you're a Ma'am and don't talk about nose hair or clippers on your blog - but it's not personal, and like I said, they clearly are horrible at their job.

So why do you care?

I know it's annoying. I'll forward those emails to my blogger friends and laugh. I may tweet about a ridiculous email now and then (not naming who it's from), but I'm not going to expend a lot of energy being mad about an untargeted email. 

This is why I don't understand why everyone is up and arms over The Bloggess debacle. Yeah, calling her a "fucking bitch" in a reply all email is STUPID. Their email to her is STUPID. The way they handled it is STUPID. 

But to be honest I can't even understand expending the energy to send back a (long) standard snarky email. And as funny as her blog is, I find the whole thing pretty unfunny. In fact, I find it exhausting. I don't think examples of bloggers getting all huffy over emails is heroic or taking one for the team or even sticking up for what's right. 

Standing up for yourself when someone calls you a fucking a bitch makes sense. But I'm sick to death of the PR/Blogger snark-a-thon.

I filter those emails. I delete them. I do some of what I mentioned above. 

It would be lovey if we only ever had relevant and exciting emails offering us money and work or really exciting press trips in our inboxes, but for whatever reason, that's not how it works right now. If you want to email people snark, you'll probably get snark back. If you're going to choose to get all Hulk-like because someone is bad at their job and dared to SEND YOU AN EMAIL, that's up to you. 

Just keep in mind those emails are not about you. They're not an insult. It's not offensive (unless they call you a fucking bitch...) and it's not personal. It doesn't take anything away from you if a PR sends you a stupid email, or gets your name wrong, or - again - isn't good at their job.

I get upset when people mess me about and tell me I'm not on a guest list when I have an email that says otherwise. I'm upset when you mess up my visa information and then I lose out on going on a press trip in Brazil. I get annoyed when you are insulting to me at an event you invited me to. I get mad when you leave me hanging or stand me up for a meeting. 

In my opinion, these are things actually worth getting upset about. If someone sends me a stupid email, they're never even going to get the chance to stand me up, so I'm not going to worry about it. 

And neither should you.

 

05 October 2011

REPRESENT

Miss Representation 8 min. Trailer 8/23/11 from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

This is why I do what I do, and why I'm in the space that I'm in. 

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