Jan 29, 2011 What's Going On
I just got myself into an awkward situation with my (former) seatmate on my flight back from the Blissdom conference in Nashville. The gate agent had announced that it would be a very light flight, so I was confident that I would end up with an extra seat. This makes all the difference on a flight. I can spread out onto two tray tables. I can put my laptop on the tray in front of me, and my HTC HD7 Windows phone and drink and snack on the other and be very happy. I can pile other things onto the seat next to me. If I need to get anything out of my bag I can do it without throwing out a shoulder. I can monopolize the arm rest. Nobody I know would choose to share a row when there were other seats available. Nobody.
A tall, large man sat down next to me, and after saying hello to him I mentioned that he’d probably get to move after everyone was on board. He gave me a funny look. Whatever. I was tired. I put on my sleep mask and went to sleep, expecting to wake up and find him gone, just as anxious as I was to have more space. Your own row is like winning the airplane lottery, and in this case we were all going to be winners.
I woke up as drinks were being offered, and I asked the flight attendant if I could move to an empty row – I didn’t want to assume that my seatmate would want to leave, but was hoping that he’d volunteer. He’d have to get up to let me by anyway. Instead, he said “I finally get to sit next to a beautiful woman and she asks me to move.”
I laughed. It did not occur to me for a second that he was serious. I was wearing no make-up, my hair was frizzy, and I was wearing comfy flying clothes that make me look about four sizes bigger than I am.
He gave me a very hurt look. I felt like a complete asshole.
I smiled and said “Oh, come on!” trying to make my wedding ring as obvious as possible.
I told him I was happy to move, but he said no, he’d move. And he gathered his stuff and left quickly.
Oh my God.
It wasn’t just my imagination, either. The flight attendant gave me a look as he handed me my drink that said “What was up with that?”
I did not intend in any way to insult this man. But I had also planned on putting on headphones and getting to work on my laptop as soon as I woke up. I don’t like making friends with my seatmate. I don’t like chatting on flights. We weren’t going to be getting to know each other better whether he had remained sitting next to me or not.
I’m not always as aware of how I’m affecting other people as I should be. I’ve had people practically shut doors in my face because I was talking long past the point when the other person had any interest. I’ve said things about people that I thought they would find hilarious, and ended up offending them. But I do try to take those occasions and learn from them and not do it again next time.
So what did I learn from this? I can’t assume that everyone’s goal on a flight is to have an empty seat next to them. That will still be my goal, but I’ll try to go about it in a way that doesn’t make me look like a big jerk. I can only hope that this man realizes I meant nothing personal. Man or woman, cute or ugly, fat or thin: if anyone other than George Clooney were sitting next to me my request would have been the same. It wasn’t personal.
So, was I being unreasonable?
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1 (HTC HD7 phone). Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.
Jan 26, 2011 Paid/Sponsored Post
I have a house full of Kleenex. Someone’s always sniffling or sneezing. This winter has been especially bad, and my daughter and I are just getting over colds. I was so excited when Kleenex asked me to help spread the word at Blissdom about their “Softness Worth Sharing” campaign, because Kleenex is one of those things I’m always sharing. Gum, bandages, and Kleenex: these are the three things that I’m constantly pulling out of my purse to give to somebody else.
Kleenex isn’t just talking the talk with this campaign: you can go to their site right now and send a Kleenex Share Package to someone, absolutely free. I just sent one to my mom, because every time we visit her the kids make her sick. She’s one of those people who normally never catches anything, but get my kids within ten miles of her and she starts sneezing. (Sorry mommy!) Almost one million packs of Kleenex have been sent so far, all for free.
The best part of the Softness Worth Sharing campaign? You can track your own personal chain of sharing! If you send a pack of Kleenex to your best friend, and she sends one to her mother, and she sends one to her cousin…you can watch the chain as it spreads! Very cool idea.
Are you at Blissdom?
Kleenex is one of the sponsors of the Blissdom conference, so if you’re here, you should stop by Booth 15 to send a package of Kleenex to a loved one with a personalized note. You can also enter to win a big basket of soft goodies. Because Kleenex is America’s softest tissue – get it? Don’t worry, Kleenex will ship it home for you if you win.
And make sure to look at the Kleenex share package in your Blissdom gift bag: you’ll be able to connect with another Blissdom attendee on Twitter!
Hope to see you in Nashville, and safe travels. Don’t forget to pack your Kleenex! And thanks so much to Kleenex for sponsoring my trip to Blissdom.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 7. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.
Jan 25, 2011 Product Review
I’ve been traveling a lot lately. For the past two years I’ve had the pleasure of attending conferences and events all over the country. As I write this I’m on my way to Nashville to attend the #Blissdom conference. I’m having an unusually comfortable flight due to the fact that nobody is sitting next to me, but I try to make sure that every trip is comfortable by bringing with me what I need to have a restful or productive flight, whichever I’m in the mood for.
Today is pretty typical. I’ve got two bags with me, a purse and a small laptop bag. In my purse I have pretty much what I would have if I were traveling by subway instead of airplane:
- My little not-a-netbook Sony Vaio P Series laptop, running Windows 7. I take this with me pretty much everywhere. It’s so much more comfortable to use on an airplane tray table than a regular-sized laptop (even if the seat in front of me is jammed all the way back), and it‘s much faster than a netbook, running all of my favorite Windows Live programs, like Live Writer and Photo Gallery – everything I need to get a post together mid-flight.
- A back-up battery and power cord for my Sony P.
- The HTC HD7 phone given to me to review by Microsoft. It runs on the slick new Windows Phone 7 operating system, and is the perfect flying companion for mobile entertainment. As I type this, I’ve got my phone propped up on its little kickstand, playing West Wing on its huge, beautiful screen.
- The phone’s wall charger, which has a detachable USB cable. (I love that – one less thing to bring!)
- My favorite Icon headphones, given to me by Lift Audio. I have very small ears (on the inside, anyway) and generally find that headphones designed to stick straight into my ears are completely uncomfortable, and after a while painful. These came with three different little silicon covers so that I could find the one that fits my ears perfectly. I can wear these for hours without even noticing that they’re in. They are passive noise-isolating headphones, meaning they don’t require batteries. The sound is fantastic, especially on an airplane where the sound you want to listen to is competing with the drone of the engines. As a bonus, the wires are not rubber coated, but instead coated with something that feels more like a thin shoelace. They come with a little zippered sport case perfect for throwing in a bag, and it has a carabiner on it so that it won’t get lost.
- My wallet, sunglasses, a small make-up case with the essentials (especially Chapstick and hand lotion – airplane air is ridiculously dry!), and another case with my jewelry – I don’t ever check my jewelry.
- Peanuts. Like a Pavlovian dog with frequent flyer miles, when I get on a plane my mouth starts watering for peanuts. It doesn’t matter that most airlines don’t serve them anymore, I was raised on airplane peanuts. So I bring my own.
- Special K Protein bars. Airport and airplane food is expensive, fattening, and unbelievably tempting. I try to reach for a Special K bar instead. They’re tasty, filling, and only 180 calories.
- Gum and mints. Because you should always have those, not just on airplanes.
So my purse contains everything I need for about 75% of flights. My second bag serves two purposes: it holds the items – mostly electronic – that I would never want to check, and the extra stuff comes in handy on longer flights or airport delays. I love this bag, it’s from PacSafe and has all of the pockets and separators I need to keep my things organized. It can be used over the shoulder, or as a backpack. The strap can even be locked around a pole or piece of furniture if you needed to leave it somewhere for a little while. A note to PacSafe: please get rid of the Velcro on the big flap. I’ve snagged a few items of clothing on it.
Here’s what’s inside:
- A smoke hood. This is something that I initially bought to keep in my bedroom at home in case of a fire. I live in a four-story brownstone, and one of my recurring nightmares is being trapped there, in a fire, with no way to get out, choking on thick black smoke. Then I heard something that really bothered me: in plane crashes and rough emergency landings more people than you might think survive the crash, only to die in the ensuing fire of smoke inhalation. So, I bring my smoke hood with me and put it in the seat-back pocket as soon as I sit down. Paranoid? Sure. And I know it’s not likely to be used. But on the off off chance I should be in such a situation, I don’t want my dying thought to be “If only I’d brought my smoke hood!”
- A sleep mask. I usually get only a couple hours of sleep before an outbound flight, so I often want to take a nap on the plane. The sleep mask is why you usually won’t catch me wearing make-up when I fly.
- My Sony Vaio Y Series laptop. I love this computer. It’s light enough that it’s not a big deal to carry around, but really fast and powerful. Plus, if I bring the extra battery I can get between eight and twelve hours of battery life, depending on the power settings.
- An extra battery and power cord for my Y Series.
- My Verizon Mi-Fi 3G mobile hotspot. The size of a credit card, this can function as a hotspot for up to five devices. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a meeting where I’m the only one able to get online. This privilege isn’t cheap – I pay $60 a month – but there are other options depending on your wireless provider. Some phones can even act as a hotspot for as little as $15 a month.
- A Mophie Powerstation mobile charger, provided to me by Mophie. I can charge this thing up on my laptop, and it holds enough juice to charge my phone at least twice with some left over for my MiFi or just about anything else that can be charged via USB. As a bonus, it somehow charges things much quicker than if I plugged them into my laptop or a wall charger. It has indicator lights to let you know how much charging power is left, so that you can quickly check before throwing it into your bag.
- My Jabra Stone bluetooth earpiece, provided to me by Jabra. If I used bluetooth headsets more often I’m not sure this would be my first choice – it’s not adjustable and can be difficult to use with sunglasses on. But it’s because I rarely use it that I love this one. It sits in its own little charging case, which holds an additional couple of charges. I can throw this into my purse and know that even if I don’t touch it for weeks, it will be ready for me when I need it. It connects easily and quickly every time.
- A totally awesome Omnitech Mini Speaker sent to me by Staples. This little baby gives incredibly rich sound for its size, and especially for its price – $10! Whether I’m watching videos in my hotel room or presenting something to a group of people, this little speaker is a necessity.
- A little travel mouse. Sometimes I just get tired of using the mousepad.
- Magazines and newspapers, for when I’m not allowed to have my gadgets turned on.
- Water. It’s the first thing I buy when I get past security (well, that and a People magazine – I don’t know why). I don’t particularly like drinking water, but on flights it’s essential.
- Socks. On cross-country flights I always take off my shoes and put on socks. I like to be comfortable, and unlike the woman sitting across from me on my last flight home from California, I don’t want the entire plane to have to look at my cracked heels while I’m being comfortable.
- A fold-up canvas bag. You never know when you’ll need an extra bag, just have one on you at all times.
- Printouts of every mode of transportation, every hotel reservation, and every event I’ll be going to. Even though I can look all of that stuff up on my phone, it’s always good to have a back-up on old-school paper.
- And last but not least, my WristStrong bracelet from The Colbert Report. I’m supposed to give it to somebody more famous than I am, and let’s face it, that’s just about anybody. But I’m holding out for someone more famous than Stephen Colbert. It’s such an old bit at this point, I think that’s the only way he’d pay attention. I was tempted to give it to Harry Connick Jr. at last year’s Blissdom, but didn’t want to get in trouble for trying to give him something. I’ve got some interesting meetings and events coming up in the next few months, I just might hand that thing off yet. Or maybe I’ll just hold on to it in case I should ever run into George Clooney.
And that’s it! Those supplies have gotten me through long flights, long delays, and more annoying seatmates than I can count, and I’m in good shape if I have to sit in an airport for hours and hours.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1 (HTC phone, Icon headphones, Mophie Powerstation, Jabra Stone, Omnitech speaker). Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.
Jan 11, 2011 Product Review
My sister Cara had a baby, Chloe, a couple of months ago, and she’s absolutely gorgeous. There’s something about buying gifts for babies that gets me all mushy, as opposed to buying wedding gifts, which makes me completely hostile. Baby gifts are sweet, and hopeful, and allowed to be cute for the sake of being cute. It was fantastic timing that Ralph Lauren sent me some adorable baby gifts a few weeks ago, and after ooh-ing and ahh-ing over them I sent them along to Cara down in St. Thomas. Even in the Caribbean babies sometimes need hats. :-)
The first gift item was a soft, simple, elegant cotton jersey coverall, with little fold-overs to cover little hands and keep them from scratching. With the classic little RL pony on the chest in a very subtle way, this will look just that much cooler than what all the other babies are wearing to their check-ups, but it won’t scream “Expensive Baby Gift!” Because it’s not. At $25 I would totally buy this as a gift. Ours was in white, but they also come in pink and blue.
The second gift item we were sent was an absolutely gorgeous hat and bootie set. Now, this one is a little more pricey, at $65 for the set. This is the gift you give when you’re really looking to impress someone. The hat and booties are an unbelievably soft and beautiful cable knit. The hat has a fold-over brim and the booties have different textures and a nice little tie detail. Of course they’re way too nice to ever ever let a baby walk on them, so get them as a newborn gift. :-)
Make sure you check the box to get your items in a Ralph Lauren gift box and ribbon. This is the way that they were sent to me, and it’s such a beautiful presentation. The boxes are heavy, sturdy gift boxes, the kind that I would have kept and used for storage.
These are truly nice gifts that I would buy myself to give.
I am a participant in a Mom Central consulting campaign for Ralph Lauren and received a Ralph Lauren Baby Layette set to facilitate my review.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.
Jan 11, 2011 Paid/Sponsored Post
The following post was commissioned by Special K.
I just spent three days in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show, and two more days traveling to and from. I had absolutely no intention of losing weight while traveling – there are just too many temptations on trips like this one, from fast food to free food. But I did want to make sure that I didn’t gain anything, unlike last year. So, I packed a couple of boxes of Special K Meal Replacement Bars, the chocolate peanut butter ones that I love so much. They were so incredibly handy, whether on the plane, or in my hotel room, or on the show floor. These were not free samples – I’ve been buying these since before I had any blogging connection to Special K. Now that I’m back home, I can say for 100% sure that I didn’t gain any weight on what should have been a disastrous trip food-wise. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t an angel: I ate decadently at several points along the way. I ordered room service twice for breakfast (but both of those days had a Special K bar for lunch), ate a pretty large amount of potato chips while recording podcasts, and one night had a huge, end-of-the-world-last-meal. But all of that was balanced out by what I ate – or didn’t eat – the rest of the time.
I really feel like if I can have a decent amount of control over myself in Las Vegas of all places, then it should be that much easier at home. After all, I’ve got momentum now – a big scale told me I would, and showed my inspirational word for all of Times Square to see:
I had the opportunity last week to attend a great event in Times Square, hosted by Special K. (Through my relationship with The Motherhood I received a stipend for attending the event, and for posting about it.) I, and many others, stepped onto a scale, a process fraught with so much emotion and angst for a lot of people.
Emily McKhann of The Motherhood steps onto the big scale
Sometimes it seems like losing weight is a constant battle with the scale, and the scale becomes the enemy. But this was different: instead of giving a number, this Special K scale gave me a single word: momentum. It was so perfect. I have such a hard time sticking with things, but once I get momentum it gets easier and easier to go on and keep it up. It really was the most inspirational word that the scale could’ve given me.
I also wrote what I wanted to gain on the back of a Special K cereal box:
See, I don’t hate my body. I just hate having to get it dressed. I’ve often thought that if I could have a full-time tailor and stylist to get me dressed, in clothes that flatter me and fit perfectly, then I wouldn’t care so much what I looked like under the clothes (of course, that wouldn’t help with bathing suits). So, that’s my real goal: to be able to go clothes shopping without it being a completely frustrating experience.
There was a crowd waiting outside of ABC’s Times Square Studios to step onto the scale:
I spoke with some of the women who were waiting in line to get on the scale about why they were there on that bitterly cold day, and here’s what one of them, Amanda, had to say:
I spoke with Special K’s Brand Manager, Vivienne Edwards, who gave some insight as to the origins of the idea behind helping people gain by losing, and the focus that Special K hopes to put on the emotional gains of losing weight. She was delightful to talk to.
You can find out what you have to gain by taking the Special K Challenge, where you replace two of your meals and snacks each day with Special K products. The Special K site has plenty of tools to help you, including recipes and tips. I’m not doing anything quite as formal as the Challenge, but I have stocked up on my favorite Special K bars, shakes and cereal. I’ve got a lot going on in the next few months, including three trips that will likely include bathing suits, and a half marathon. I’m counting on Special K to help me through all of that.
Want to read more? Some of my fellow attendees have also posted about their experiences on the big scale:
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 5. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.
Jan 3, 2011 What's Going On
I just sent Fiona to school with make-up on. It was the only way she would go.
Last week she had a bad fall while sledding. For a few days she looked just awful, and hid behind me whenever we went outside. But we were in Buffalo, and her friends aren’t there, so it wasn’t too bad. By the time we got back to Brooklyn late last night I was amazed at how her face had healed. From a swollen nose, black eye, and puffed up lip, all that’s left is a little light purple bruise above her lip that I keep wanting to wipe off with a spit-covered tissue. As I was putting her to bed last night I told her how great she looked, but she was sobbing at the thought of going back to school and seeing her friends and teachers with the “terrible, awful” bruise.
We had just gotten finished with an eight hour drive, I was short on patience and I would have said anything to get Fiona to sleep at that point. She was exhausted and hysterical. So I told her I would put make-up on her before school. And sure enough, as soon as she was dressed this morning, she was chasing me for make-up.
Honestly, it looks terrible, way worse than the bruise. I put some concealer and powder on it, but she’s paler than I am, so it’s just a a darkish splotch. But the bruise is gone, which is all she cares about. I think I could have covered it in red lipstick and she would have preferred that to the bruise.
So here’s the kicker: for show and tell she brought in her x-rays! She’s going to tell everybody all about the sledding accident and her fractured nose and loose tooth, but won’t let them see the tiny bit of evidence that’s left! I don’t understand six-year-olds. I definitely don’t understand this rather vain, illogical one. But then again, I have no problem leaving my house in my pjs, teeth unbrushed and no make-up. Actually, that was this morning.
But I do remember how it felt when I was that age for nobody else to care about something as much as I did. When you’re six, the most trivial thing can be a big deal. So, I’m trying to find the balance between respecting her perspective, and not being too indulgent. Even if it means doing her make-up before school. Just this once.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.