The Meeting Saver

Meetings are often derailed before they start by malfunctioning technology. You’ve spent hours perfecting your presentation and now you can’t get it to show on the display. Sometimes it’s at a client site and other times it’s the same old conference room where you’re always having to fiddle with the cables.

In fact, I plan to send this article to my former boss. He probably lost an hour a week while people tried to get their laptops connected to the conference room display. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. The only constant was that it was unpredictable.

Everyone loves to be efficient, but even more important is protecting your zone. No one likes to be flustered before a big pitch and thrown off their game. Keeping your presentation game at the top of the ladder can be achieved by acquiring a BenQ InstaShow™ for your office or university.

The BenQ InstaShow is a wireless presentation system that enables flawless communication. It has three key components: the receiver, which plugs into an HDMI port, the USB/HDMI transmitter, and software. With a glance at the included QuickStart Guide, I was up and running in under 10 minutes. (After the initial installation you can be up and running in a few seconds.)

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The key components of the BenQ InstaShow, including a holder for the transmitters.

After spending years in high tech, I’m always skeptical about technology working as it says it will, but the InstaShow worked as promised. Switching between laptops was effortless, and the transition between speakers/collaborators was much more graceful than trading around a display cord and hoping it works. At home, we have a complex entertainment system, and I quickly had my presentation showing on the large projection screen.

Another big benefit of the InstaShow is the wireless security it offers. As I’m more of a marketing expert, I’ll leave you to read this review by Caffeine Security, who details out the wireless security advantages. When you present with InstaShow, it uses encryption to protect your data. Think about all those hotel conference rooms where corporate off sites are held. Taking InstaShow with you would protect your company-confidential information.

In more casual collaborative environments, InstaShow’s flexibility really shines. As an entrepreneur working with a development team, I love being able to keep everyone comfortable while looking at our progress and brainstorming our next moves on a big screen.

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Large, global organizations which depend on services like WebEx may not benefit as much in the office with the InstaShow, but in the field, the InstaShow can help their sales teams shine.  Small to mid-size organizations can also spend less money equipping their conference rooms with conference equipment. 

I’m very appreciative of the opportunity from BenQ to try this product out for free. If you would like to purchase your own, you can find it at Amazon.

You’ve spent hours on your presentation–ensure its flawless delivery with an InstaShow.

Watch the video.

 

 

She Lives Aloha

Having spent more decades than I care to count in high tech here in Silicon Valley, I have become concerned with the fast-paced and over-scheduled lifestyles that prevent us from focusing on what’s important–community and connection. Soul-filling activities that help us renew and be our best selves.

When we go on vacation to the Hawaiian Islands, and in particular, Kauai, something magical happens. We breathe deeper, we smile more, and we rest more. When all those things happen, we enjoy life more and we engage deeper with our loved ones. We create memories that we cherish forever. Then, we come home. The blue skies turn gray and it doesn’t take long for the vacation glow to be gone.

At She Lives Aloha, we don’t believe that vacation has to end. We want you to bring that aloha spirit into your home every once in awhile to remind yourself to rest, connect, and enjoy.

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If you love Hawaii as much as I do, come join our ohana on Facebook. Together we can bring the aloha spirit to the mainland and foster a greater community.

#livesaloha

 

 

 

 

Investing in your visual brand

What I love about school fundraising auctions is that you can usually buy something that you need and get a tax deduction for it. This year’s Old Orchard school auction did not disappoint.

Lately I’ve had increased needs for a head shot. Hosting Twitterchats with the lovely Britt Michaelian and Amy Chesler reminded me that post blow out selfies can only go so far. I did have professional headshots done by Michael O’Donnell and Rosalinda Luna, both great photographers, but it had been awhile.

Yes, I would have loved to have lost 15 pounds before this set of photos, but I was hoping that the included hair and make up artist could do a little magic. I haven’t seen the final results yet, but I am extremely optimistic as the process was top notch.

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Ilyanne first asked if she could have a pre-session with me. We met in the evening at the house. She had an extensive list of questions, trying to understand my objectives for the shoot. In my case we were going to do the head shots, but we were also going to try for some fun photos for the husband. We talked about props and outfits as there would be plenty of time for changes.

It was at this point that I started to panic a bit and felt that I wouldn’t be ready for the shoot. What outfit was I going to wear? I needed to take my favorite blouse to the dry cleaner. I spent an evening on Rent the Runway and found some ‘new’ dresses to order. The night before the shoot I literally packed a suitcase and a garment bag. I must have taken 10 pairs of shoes, jewelry, lingerie and a dozen dresses. My favorite blouse didn’t make it as the dry cleaners didn’t open until 9.

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I had seen photos from previous shoots, but I was still surprised by how warm and inviting the studio felt. It also didn’t hurt that Ilyanne had put together a wonderful feast of fruit, coffee and champagne. Becky then worked wonders with hair and makeup. I loved the eyelash extensions and made wish I had real ones!

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We started with the business shots. I have a great deal more respect for models. Ilyanne understands how to have you pose so your features may be seen in the best light. In fact, she had over 30 sketches of shots she wanted to accomplish. In addition to her creative eye, her husband is also there with a camera. He has his own sense of creativity and often took the same shot at a different angle. One blouse and two dresses later we were finished with the first part of the shoot. [Side note: I had my first disappointing Rent the Runway experience as one of the dresses arrived with a broken zipper. Even more disappointing is how difficult Rent the Runway makes it to file a complaint.]

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Even this single teaser image has already made me feel better about my visual brand. I’ve changed my Facebook profile picture and need to do the same for Twitter and Instagram, but I am waiting until I see the rest before I change everything.

The second part of the shoot was fun. I am quite confident that the husband will be quite happy. How much of it I will reveal on social media remains to be seen. Your image is your brand, and it should be SFW.

Due to vacations the final reveal won’t be until mid-July, so stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

High School Movies Most Likely to Watch Again

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I’m so looking forward to our DVD Netflix Twitterchat today. Amy Chesler, This House of Love, did a great job with her High School Superlative movies, but I’d say there’s a generation gap between her and I.  Here are my top nine favorite movies about high school.

Most Likely to Succeed:  Risky Business

After 1983, my friends quoted the infamous line for the rest of our high school years and beyond. It was a breakout role for Tom Cruise.  Watch the whole scene here.

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Most Likely to Join a Rock Band:  Valley Girl

Another breakout role for the young rising starts of Hollywood, Nicholas Cage, played the boy on the wrong side of the bathtub.

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Most Likely to Stay Home on Saturday Night:  Grease

The movie that made everyone want to go back to being in high school in a much simpler time.giphy.gif

Most Likely to Serve Time:  The Breakfast Club

No one has been able to forget this crew who had one of the most honest dialogues about high school ever.

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Most Likely to be a Camp Counselor:  American Pie

Even though my high school films have tended to be 1980s hits, this one from 1999 had so many cringe worthy moments on those final high school days.

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Most Likely to Know Everyone:  Footloose

Kevin Bacon, before he was connected to everyone, starred as the rebel rouser who simply wanted to everyone to have a night to celebrate.

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Most Likely to Be an Event Planner: Sixteen Candles

A recurrent heroine in John Hughes’ tales of teen angst, Molly Ringwald is just one of many comedic moments in this epic 1980s tale.
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Most Likely to Be a Slacker: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Who didn’t want to be friends with Matthew Broderick? A day out in the Windy City evading a crafty principal makes you want to leave your job right now.

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Most Likely to Win Project Runway:  Pretty in Pink

I’ll admit it I liked the music more than the movie. It was my least favorite of the Molly Ringwald movies. But, the Psychedelic Furs nailed it with the theme song.

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And, one of the best places to find these movies, is DVD Netflix, where I have the great pleasure of working as the head of marketing. First month is always free for new customers.

My 9 Favorite Movie Musicals

With  my Twitterchat looming ahead I gave some thought to my top 9 favorite musical movies. My definition of a musical movie is one where the plot is told through song.  There might be a couple on the list that push it, but “the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains” cannot be disputed.

  1. My Fair Ladytumblr_of559wEO4i1urbmlbo1_500
  2. Greasetenor
  3. Footloose [Original Version]
  4. Mamma Mia!giphy
  5. Moulin Rouge
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  6. Evita
  7. Moana200_s
  8. Paint Your Wagon
  9. Valley Girldownload

Dreams do come true.

This was just going to be a Facebook post, but then I realized it would be a really long Facebook post.  And, really, it was meant to be a blog post.  It all started with all the kindergarten postings. Those kindergarten postings make you start thinking about how far you’ve come.

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This year is different.  I have a kid going to kindergarten and it means that I have a bunch of friends whose kids are going too.  When I looked at the many postings of the first day, I sat back and said thank you.  I also cried because I knew how much this day meant.  Most of these postings are from friends I have made along the motherhood path.

From infertility support groups to birthing classes to my first mothers group, all of the women in my Facebook feed have been a part of the tribe.  We compared breastfeeding notes, commiserated over nap transitions and discussed childcare options. We didn’t always agree, but we gave each other ideas.   None of us knew what were doing-and we still don’t.  Heck, I just learned yesterday that you can trade the toy in at Chick-Fil-A for an ice cream cone.

Seriously, some of the women I have never met in person.  Some we worked together briefly.  Some we still get together when we can-which gets harder every year with the increasing activity schedules.   Yet, I love reading their posts every single day because I understand that motherhood is complicated.  You may love your child one minute and want to send them away the next.

For some, we never thought we would have a child.   Every September I would walk the dog past the local elementary school and cry — cry for the child I didn’t have and thought I would never have.   For at least a dozen of my friends on Facebook, I know they had those same thoughts. Look at us now, we have kindergarteners!   And, in some twist of fate, my OB joined a new medical group and I was reminded of the many futile appointments that I once had.

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It took us four years to have our first child.  Now that we are in the thick of parenting I forget about those days.   Mainly because I don’t have time, but also it doesn’t matter.  If you want to be a parent, there are so many ways today to achieve it–fostering, adoption, egg donor, IVF.    In my Facebook feed every one of those is represented.

For all of you gals who I’ve met along the way, thank you.  Thank you for the kindness, the inspiration and for being the amazing women you are.  I’m so glad we are traveling this road together.  I wouldn’t have it made it this far without you.

P.S. This post is  especially dedicated to one special friend, and she’ll know why just from the title.

P.P.S.  Now to really make her cry..

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side
Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide

So we’ve been told
And some choose to believe it
And I know they’re wrong, wait and see
Some day we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me

And who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
And somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it’s done so far

What’s so amazing
That keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see
And someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me

All of us under its spell
We know that it’s probably magic

Have you been half asleep?
And have you heard voices?
And I’ve heard them calling my name
This is the sweet sound
That called the young sailors?
The voice might be one in the same

And I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

La da da di da da dum da
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

La da da di da da dum da
Duh da da di dum di da ohhh

Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Walt Disney Music Company, Universal Music Publishing Group

Hockey All the Time

Back before kids, it was hockey all the time.  I met my husband while learning to play.  The only way to get better was to go skating, play pickup and be on as many teams as possible to get maximum ice time.  Our weekends were crazy, driving from one rink to another and hoping that the gear would dry on the way.

Now, if we are lucky,  we play together once or twice a month.  It’s definitely what we prefer.  We’ve been on the same line for thirteen years now.  He at center and me on right wing.  When one of us is not there, it just isn’t the same.   Our left wing has been with us just along.  When all three of us are actually on the ice at the same time, it is a thing of beauty.

Sometimes I question my sanity for still playing hockey.  Last night was one of those nights.  Thankfully it was an early game [715], though I often prefer games after the kids’ bedtimes to ease the guilt of taking time for myself.   It was a close game when one of my teammates [another gal] took an intentional hit and went down.  Mind you, this is beer league, aka non-checking league.  She came off the ice a bit shaken. She had hit her head and her tailbone.  The game continued much in the same vein.

I play co-ed hockey for a reason [a lot less drama and cliques], and the game is just more intense.  However, I am not playing to get hurt.   Most of the folks on the ice have jobs and families.    I was a bit more cautious for the rest of the game, still trying to make plays but trying to avoid unnecessary contact.  To me the only bad night of hockey is the one that ends up in the emergency room.

Driving home, after a quick beer, it was clear to me why I still play, even at the risk of injury. Hockey makes me feel alive.  The hour on the ice is a chance to be me.  It represents who I have become–someone willing to learn to play at the age of thirty-three and start writing a new chapter in her life.   I was newly divorced, looking to meet someone who liked hockey.     If it wasn’t for hockey and the San Jose Sharks, I wouldn’t have three kids and a dog named Zamboni.

With that, I’ll leave you with my hockey and relationship wisdom for the day.

Late night hockey is like sex. You may think you are tired, but the end game is always worth it.

P.S.  I may just skip the 11:30pm game on Friday–my husband can play that one.