Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mother's Day Gift Giving Guide -- Mumoocie Spooning Pillow --- Also Great in Breaking Co-Sleeping Habit in Children


Do I have the perfect gift for any mom out there -- the Mumoocie pillow (Made in the USA)!  I can't stop raving about this little pillow.  Having used other body pillows in the past, I was so impressed with the quality of this pillow, and its ability to hold body heat.



In addition to being a spooning pillow for adults, this pillow can also be used for toddlers in helping to break the co-sleeping habit.  After many sleepless nights, we ended up letting our daughter sleep with us in bed, and now we are working on breaking this habit.  Each night, my husband and I find ourselves dangling off the bed, while our daughter rolls around finding the perfect spot and sleeps comfortably through the night. 



Unfortunately, we have been waking up cold and without sheets, or sore backs from arching ourselves around our daughter and the 3 dogs who sleep at the foot of the bed.  We will definitely be using this body pillow to help break this habit with our daughter.  I'll keep you all posted on how it goes!  Cross your fingers that we will be sleeping alone again soon. ;-)

If you haven't seen or heard about the Mumoocie pillow, you have been missing out.  Just take a look at the cute spooning pillow:


What sets this spooning pillow apart from other pillows has a mini voice recorder that provides emotional security to your child, by allowing them to hear a familiar voice when they sleep.  And, this body pillow holds your scent, also giving you or your child with the feeling of your loved one lying next to you.  This feature alone would be great for military wives to remember and be soothed by their husband's scent when they are deployed.

So, if you are looking for a great gift this Mother's Day, or are like my husband and I, and are trying to break the co-sleeping habit, this is a must have item.  Simply place the Mumoocie pillow in from your body and enjoy a cozy, comfy restful sleep.  What more can you ask for?  And, this pillow is great for everyone, no matter your shape or size. 

And, if you have problems with your back or elbow or are recovering from knee surgery, this makes a great therapeutic pillow.






Caring for Your Mumoocie Pillow:


Simply unzip the back of the Mumoocie and remove the cover from the Mumoocie.  Wash in cold water with like colors and tumble dry low.  NEVER WASH THE FOAM OR BLEACH THE OUTER COVER!



---BUY NOW---




Mumoocie comes in two different styles; fiber filled ($65.99) and high quality memory foam ($85.99). Both are designed for comfort and support with a slightly different feel.  Both are available with an optional sound recorder, and can be ordered online



Disclosure:  I was sent a sample Mumoocie in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Explore New Children's Book Authors During the Month of April


I am excited, as tomorrow I will be starting a month long book reviewing event, where I will feature children's book authors and their books.  My hope is that you will be some great books to pick up and read with your children.  In addition to the review, I will also be offering giveaways on many of the books reviewed, as well as coupon codes to help you save when purchasing the book.

With over 50 children's books to share with you, Savannah and I have been busy reading and writing our thoughts on each.  I can't wait to share these wonderful books with you all.



Happy Reading!
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Mother's Day Gift Giving Guide -- Skillet Bacon Spread




Does your Mother like weird, off the wall products?  Do I have the gift for her -- Skillet Bacon Jam.  Yes, you read right -- Skillet Bacon Jam.  I couldn't believe that there was such a product out there and had to try it out for myself.  


What is Skillet Bacon Jam and How is it Made?:

Skillet Bacon Jam is a bacon spread condiment. To make this spread, they use niman ranch bacon and render it down along with onions, balsamic and other spices . It cooks for several hours until it is a perfect blend of smoky, tangy, savory and slightly sweet….basically spreadable bacony goodness!  And, it is USDA approved.
Just check out all the ways you can use this spread:
On grilled cheese, burgers, as a base for a vinaigrette, inside a scone or croissant or substitute it for bacon in a BJLT.  Also, try it on baked brie, sautéed in some scallops, roasted with some brussel sprouts, wilted in a spinach salad, on toast with a fried egg on top or finish a potato soup with a dollop of skillet bacon jam.

So, How Does It Taste?:
I thought this was a gag gift.  Who would want to eat a bacon spread?  But, I had to try it out and see for myself.  They wouldn't be selling this product if people wouldn't buy it, right?  Well, it took me a minute to get over the strong smoky smell.  I think it was just the balsalmic vinegar I was smelling. I tried out the bacon jam on a grilled cheese sandwich and on toast with a fried egg.  It took a few bites to get used to the bacony flavor on the grilled cheese.  But, I thoroughly enjoyed the bacon jam on toast with a fried egg.  It just felt like it went together, compared to the grilled cheese.  
Overall, this is a very unique product and would make a great gift for those who love bacon. 

---BUY NOW---

To learn more about Skillet Bacon jam, check out the official website or contact the creators by email. You can buy a 3-pack for only $39.50 by visiting the online store today.

About the Creator of Skillet Bacon Jam:

In 2007, Chef Josh Henderson created Skillet Street Food in Seattle, one of the first food experiences of what has since become a prototype for the national street food movement that has swept the country. Out of a vintage Airstream trailer, he created innovative lunch menus based on American-inspired food prepared with classic technique and seasonal ingredients. The reception from Seattle'ites was immediate and passionate. They were drawn to the chef driven food, the excitement of being a part of a new, energetic, urban experience, and to the intimate involvement through the use of social media channels that intensified the connection with the Skillet brand.

Since then, the business has grown up. Josh is still creating great menus served throughout the streets of Seattle from the Airstream. But Skillet is now much more than that. It is a thriving catering enterprise, supporting weddings, private parties, and corporate events throughout the Pacific Northwest. It is a food products business, distributing its signature Bacon Jam product through retailers across the US and Canada. And, in the Spring of 2011, it will become a brick-and-mortar restaurant located in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The original street food business has become a brand but has not strayed from its roots. The thread is still there: great food prepared with care, technique and the best of ingredients; an innovative experience that consistently surprises and satisfies; and a feeling of being personally connected to Skillet, in all its manifestations. We see this as our mission - to continue to deliver on these themes and to continue to find new channels though which we can expand the brand and the family of loyal Skillet customers.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.
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Mother's Day Gift Giving Guide -- Monave Lip Glaze (Review and Giveaway)


Closed.

And, the winner is:



Congrats to:  June





Are you looking for the perfect gift to give your mother this Mother's Day?  Or, do you need to provide hints or suggestions to your family on gifts for your special day?  Well, have I got the perfect lip gloss for you!

I recently had the opportunity to try out Monave Lip Glaze, a vegan-based and gluten free lip gloss.  Monave Lip Glaze is a silky, natural lip product that adds a bit of shine, some sheer color that is perfect for a relaxed look. It is completely free of irritants, and preservatives, abiding by the philosophy that makeup should have organic food-based ingredients. Luscious coconut oil and natural orange flavor give slip, and shine without being sticky. Pigments are 100% naturally derived minerals. And, best of all, this product hasn't been tested on animals.

I have been wearing the Monave Lip Glaze over a brownish lipstick, as this lip gloss tones it down.  The gloss lasts most of the day, even after eating and drinking.  Overall, I have enjoyed wearing this lip glaze and have a new cosmetic line I will add to my collection. And, I have been receiving many compliments and some have asked what product I was wearing.  They were surprised to hear that it was a vegan based product and gluten free.

---BUY NOW---

Head on over to Monave Lip Glaze and check out the 36 different color lip glazes available for only $13.00.  In addition, Monave offers other beauty products including concealers, blush, nail polish and eye shadows.  So, if you are looking to update your cosmetic bag with spring or summer colors, why not check out Monave products today? 


---WIN IT---

Want to win a Monave Lip Glaze for yourself or a friend.  Complete my MANDATORY ENTRY first, and then as many EXTRA ENTRIES as you like.  Make sure you include your email address with each comment, so that I can contact you if you win.

MANDATORY ENTRY:

Head on over to Monave and let me know what color lip glaze you like most.

EXTRA ENTRIES:


(Please leave separate entries for each, along with your email address)

1) Subscribe to my blog via email (2 entries)

2) Follow me on Facebook (1 entry)

3) Enter any of my other giveaways, leaving a comment with the name of the giveaway (1entry per giveaway entered)

4) Blog about this giveaway. It must include a link to this specific post, as well as a link to my blog, http://ctmomreviews.blogspot.com/. (In your comment, please leave a link directly to your post – 5 Entries)

5) Follow me on Twitter (1entry)

6) Tweet about this giveaway (1 entry per tweet, per day; please include link to tweet in comment below)

Enter to #win Monave Lip Vegan and Gluten-Free Lip Glaze  @rmccoy1234 http://ctmomreviews.blogspot.com/ #giveaway (Ends 4/15)

7) Like my Inspired by Savannah Facebook Fan Page! Please include your Facebook name with your entry, so I can follow you back. (4 entries)

8) Follow my blog via Networked Blogs (3 entries)

9) Vote for me on picket fence blogs (See button on right side of blog -- One entry per vote, per day)

Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends on April 15, 2011 at 11:59PM EST. I will then use Random.org to choose a winner. Winner will have 48 hrs. to respond to my email to claim prize. If I don't hear back from selected winner, I will draw another winner
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.
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Launch Kit for New Dads -- A Crash Course to Help You Prepare for Fatherhood (Review)



This past Tuesday, I introduced you to Greg Bishop, Creator of Dad Adventures and Boot Camp for New Dads.  If you missed Greg's Spotlight, click here to read his interview now.  Greg was kind enough to send along his Launch Kit for New Dads for me to look at and review.   Being new parents, I had my husband take a look at the kit and give me his feedback.  He compared this comprehensive kit to other books and videos he purchased when getting ready for the birth of our daughter last July.  Being new parents, and never had held or taken care of babies/newborns, we had no idea what was in store for us.  So, we were like sponges, trying to absorb as much information as possible before Savannah came.  

While pregnant, my husband and I would frequent the bookstores.  I found tons of books geared towards expectant moms, but there was not a big selection of books for expectant dads.  The few books they had were not worth reading.  Either they were outdated or just didn’t look appealing.  


When we received this kit, we were impressed with how it was packaged and the content that was included in both the video and the book.  My husband first watched the video.  He liked hearing from other dads what to expect as you transition into the new role of fatherhood.  With Savannah being 8 months old and our first, he is still learning how to adjust and deal right now with her teething, and most recently her first cold.  Knowing that other dads went through the same things, provided comfort.  Overall, my husband enjoyed the video and found it very useful. 


My husband was reluctant to read the book, as he isn’t much of a book reader.  But, surprising, he liked it because it contained tips, cheat sheets and charts – so, it made for easy reading.  He kept telling me he wished he had this book when preparing for Savannah’s arrival. He liked the pull out childbirth coaching card and all the tips and tricks.  He has even tried some of the tricks with Savannah and is finding key points in the book that he can apply as a new dad.  

Overall, this is a great Crash Course kit for any new or expectant dad.  Even if you are a second time dad, it is always nice to have a refresher course.  Who knows?  You may even learn some new tricks.


What is included in the Launch Kit for New Dads:

·  Crash Course for New Dads - The book filled with cheat sheets, tips and tricks, including a tear out Childbirth Coaching Guide. 

·  Crash Course for New Dads DVD - Hear veteran dads share their experiences and advice about transitioning into fatherhood. 

·  Father's placard - Proudly display the importance fathers play in their children's lives. 

·  New Dad Playbook - A 3-month booster shot (delivered via email) to help gauge how he's coming along as a new dad. 

·  Dads Adventure magazine - Articles, lists and advice about becoming a dad, taking care of babies and new moms.

Bonus:

·  Relationship Reminder emails for mom to help her understand what dad is going through and how she affects the father-baby bond.

---BUY NOW---

This great kit for new dads is only $24.95, and makes a nice gift to give new dads at a baby shower or prior to their baby’s birth.  Head on over to Dad’s Adventure to buy this kit and other products now. 

About Dads Adventure

In 1995, we formed Dads Adventure to sponsor the non-profit Boot Camp for New Dads and develop broad support for new fathers.

We publish/produce Crash Course for New Dads: Tools, Checklists & Cheat-Sheets, the Crash Course for New Dads DVD and online workshop, Dads Adventure magazine, Hit the Ground Crawling: Lessons From 150,000 New Fathers, and DadsAdventure.com to bring new fathers the information they need to do a great job.

The New Moms Hearts and Minds Project (NewMomsProject.org) is our latest venture in helping guys become the best dads they can imagine.


Disclosure:  I was sent a Launch Kit in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Ice Princess Blog Book Tour


Free Press, March 2011
Trade Paperback, 416 pages
ISBN-10: 1451621744
ISBN-13: 9781451621747

Buy now for only $15.00 at Simon and Schuester.

Read Chapter 1 -- Click here

Summary:

In this electrifying tale of suspense from an international crime-writing sensation, a grisly death exposes the dark heart of a Scandinavian seaside village. Erica Falck returns to her tiny, remote hometown of Fjallbacka, Sweden, after her parents' deaths only to encounter another tragedy: the suicide of her childhood best friend, Alex. It's Erica herself who finds Alex's body—suspended in a bathtub of frozen water, her wrists slashed. Erica is bewildered: Why would a beautiful woman who had it all take her own life? Teaming up with police detective Patrik Hedstrom, Erica begins to uncover shocking events from Alex's childhood. As one horrifying fact after another comes to light, Erica and Patrik's curiosity gives way to obsession—and their flirtation grows into uncontrollable attraction. But it's not long before one thing becomes very clear: a deadly secret is at stake, and there's someone out there who will do anything—even commit murder—to protect it.

Fans of Scandinavian greats Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell will devour Camilla Lackberg's penetrating portrait of human nature at its darkest.



My Review:

4 Stars out of 5

I am really not a fan of suspense thriller books, as I like to read books that I know what to expect or how it will end.  But, based on the summary and cover image, I was interested in reading this book, by Camilla Lackberg.  Having never read her books, I wasn't sure what I had in store.

First, let me say that is was an easy read.  It captivated me from the beginning, and I was able to finish the book in one day.  The characters were well developed and you could relate to them, as they all had their own imperfections.  At times, however, I felt overwhelmed with more details about their lives than I feel I needed to know.  These were the only times I felt the story dragged or went off track.

I was surprised to find out that this book was translated.  Usually, you loose key points of a book or story in translation, but this wasn't the case in The Ice Princess.  Overall, the book was a good read, and I am happy I gave a suspense thriller like this one a chance.  I will definitely be keeping an eye on the this author, and other suspense thrillers for now on.

About the Author:


Camilla Lackberg worked as an economist in Stockholm until a course in creative writing triggered a drastic career change. Her novels have all been # 1 bestsellers in Sweden and she is the most profitable native author in Swedish history. Camilla's books have been published in thirty-five countries. She lives in Stockholm.



Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of this book from Simon and Schuster in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Spotlight on Daddy Tuesday -- Greg Bishop of Dads Adventure and Boot Camp for New Dads



I am excited to share my first Spotlight on Daddy post with you.  After month of featuring Spotlight Mommys each Monday, I was excited to hear and learn about some amazing dad's who are also creating products, services, etc. that help makes lives of parents (both Moms and Dad's) easier.  Stay tuned on Thursday, when I will share more about Greg's company, Dad's Adventure and Boot Camp for New Dads, and share a review of his New Dad kit, done by my husband.

But, until then, please enjoy my first Spotlight on Dad interview with Greg Bishop.


Name:  Greg Bishop
Company Name/Product/Service:  Dads Adventure and Boot Camp for New Dads®
Company Location:  Irvine, Ca
Company Website:  www.Dadsadventure.com
Twitter Handle: @ DadsAdventure
Age of Company:  Daddy Boot Camp® is in its 21st year!  Dads Adventure its 16th.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
I have four kids and I’m a trauma center consultant by day and work with hospitals around the country.
My full time hobby is Daddy Boot Camp! 
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?
My six brothers and I grew up taking care of babies, which happens when your parents have 13 kids. To us boys, babies were like puppies; they were a lot of work at times, but they were fun to play with.

When my first baby arrived, I was a natural at calming him when he cried and of course, making him happy. After four, other guys were asking me for advice, so I decided to help. In 1990 I recruited a few friends and asked them to bring their babies to orient some dads-to-be at the local hospital. When some “rookies” said they had never held a baby before, we handed them ours and they went home thinking “I can do this.”  They did and later returned as “veterans” with their own babies to guide the next batch of rookies, and Boot Camp for New Dads was off and running.

No women over 2’ tall allowed; just babies and men, like a “nursery in a locker room.” Boot Camp for New Dads now operates across the U.S. and overseas on U.S. military bases. It’s helped prepare over 250,000 men to be fathers, and is expanding internationally.

In 1995, we formed Dads Adventure to sponsor the non-profit Boot Camp for New Dads and develop broad support for new fathers. We publish/produce Crash Course for New Dads: Tools, Checklists & Cheat Sheets, the Crash Course DVD and online workshop, Dads Adventure magazine, Hit the Ground Crawling:  Lessons From 150,000 New Fathers, and DadsAdventure.com to bring to new fathers the information they need to do their job. The NewMomsProject.org is our latest venture. 

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?   

At first it was a struggle to get people to recognize that guys could use a little information as they become dads.   We’re way beyond that now.
What did you do in your past work life? 

In my “day job”, I’m the president of a consulting firm that works with trauma centers around the country. (see above)
What have been some of your major successes? 

Seeing Boot Camp spread to other countries.  When guys becoming fathers can learn from other guys around the globe, it’s a win/win for everybody.
What have been some of your major challenges? 

Getting people to appreciate the impact an involved father makes.  And with just a little bit of information guys can start off feeling much more confident.  It helps when moms-to-be are aware of this as well.  Moms are the most important factor in how involved a guy becomes with his baby.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going? 

The guys we talk to that are becoming dads.  It used to be that they worried about taking care of a crying baby.  Now they’re concerned about being good fathers, balancing work and family life so that no one gets shortchanged, and supporting the new mom in their life.  And crying babies.  More and more guys are stepping up to the plate and we see them inspiring each other.  And, frankly, they’re doing their job as dads without much support from the world around them. 
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family? 

A veteran dad in a Boot Camp workshop had a good way of putting it that went something like this:  Life is like a jar full of balls.  Fill the jar up first with the big balls (work, family, etc.) then add the medium balls (keeping the house up, etc.)  last of all, add the small balls (things that don’t change your quality of life much) that aren’t that important.  Make sure the big balls are in the jar first, because they’re the hardest to fit in.  Just go from there.
What is next for your business?  

We are introducing the New Moms Project www.newmomsproject.org to give moms-to-be an idea of what goes on with new dads.  When a couple is on the same page when they have a baby, mom’s happier, dad’s happier and their baby gets a stronger family.  All good!
We hope to foster a constructive discussion between moms and dads on how to work together once that baby comes home.
Read more »

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Melinda Knight of Womentorz

I am excited to share this week's Spotlight Mommy, Melinda Knight with you.  She is the creator of Womentorz, an online forum for women inventors, to share and promote their products.  Being a mom entrepreneur myself, I am always on the look out for great online resources and forums created just for women and moms.  

So, if you are a woman inventor with a product, why not join the Womentorz network today.  And, after you join the network and complete your FREE storefront within the marketplace, be sure to email Melinda at info@womentorz.com with your product name and that you found out about Womentorz from Inspired by Inspired and Melinda's Spotlight on Mommy Feature Post, your product will be placed on the homepage for an entire month for free --  a $50 value.  How is that for great marketing?!

Melinda also wanted to me to let you know about her other services she provides through the Womentorz network.  

  1. We provide celebrity gifting, which is an invaluable marketing tool that you can use for years to come. We do the research to make sure you product gets right to your favorite celebrity. We also enclose an endorsement letter with your package that gives you the Celeb Hoopla stamp of approval. 
  2. We provide Signature Services that are tailored to your individual marketing needs. We will provide free consultation to pinpoint exactly what those needs are and fit within your marketing budget.
To learn more about the Womentorz Network, and all that it has to offer women inventors, click here.  

And, now on to my Spotlight on Mommy interview with the creator of Womentorz, Melinda Knight:




Name:  Melinda Knight
Company Name/Product/Service: Womentorz.com – The Women Inventor Network – An online forum for women inventors to connect and promote their products.
Company Location: Seattle, WA / National
Company Website:  www.womentorz.com
Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/womentorz
Twitter Handle: @womentorz
Age of Company:  1 – ½ Years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: “When God closes the door somehow he opens a window.” Julie Andrews, Sound of Music
Favorite Book: Motherhood Is the New MBA, By Shari Storm 

 

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.:

I’m a mother of two active boys; Payton age six and Rylie age three.  I love having an online business because it allows me to be home with my children, but also fulfill the entrepreneurial spirit inside of me.  

In addition, I also have a business with my husband called Intuitive Safety Solutions providing safety staffing that has helped me fund Womentorz during the startup phase. He has always been very supportive of my “entrepreneurial” spirit.  I enjoy working with my husband; we have a great partnership both personally and professionally.

My passion is in interior decorating, which has been very difficult for me to put on the backburner while juggling my other two businesses and a family.  For me decorating and design is a creative and relaxing outlet that I must have in my life.  I hope to get back into this field once both of my children are in school.  For now, there just isn’t enough time in the day to do it all.  Having quality time with my children and growing ISS and Womentorz is more important. 

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?:




Womentorz was born after attending a casting call in Chicago looking for women inventors for a reality show on TLC in July of 2009.  I met hundreds of amazing women with fabulous products.  I saw that they all had the same challenge….bringing their product to market and gaining direct access to the consumer.  Having grown up exposed to the Washington Wine industry and how they used the concept of group marketing, I saw that I could utilize this same concept to promote women inventors across the nation.

After returning from Chicago I quickly started the process of building an online forum to connect these women and drive traffic to their products.  As a group these women are much more powerful and able to learn from each other to be the best entrepreneur and inventor they can be.

We have had some major milestones in the business that have taken Womentorz to the next level.  About six months ago I brought Colleen Wilks into the business who is our marketing, public relations and communications expert.  Since she has been on board, Womentorz has grown by leaps and bounds.  One of the most important changes we made was opening up the marketplace from a membership, fee based site to a forum that’s free for all women inventors to build a storefront and promote their product.  It’s hard for people to believe that we would offer such an amazing feature for free, but we’ve found that our network and community of women inventors receive even more media and marketing opportunities the larger it is.  With Colleen on board the Womentorz train it has allowed us to build synergy and help us each use our talents to help the women who are part of our network as well as take on media opportunities and important partnerships we normally wouldn’t have time for.  The brainstorming process we go through is completely energizing and something Womentorz really needed in order to grow.

What is a typical work day like?:

My day typically involves being in front of the computer engaging on the various social networks, on the phone with a Womentorz member or one of our many business partners and affiliates.  My three year old is usually at my side, so I juggle playing and tending to him with my business responsibilities.  It isn’t unusual for me to still be in my pajamas…something has got to give and it’s usually my appearance unfortunately.  As long as my children are happy that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. 

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?:

By far the biggest challenge in starting my business was having a web developer take advantage of me in the beginning and almost ruined everything that I was trying to build. Originally Womentorz was supposed to be an e-commerce site as well as a network, but that shopping portion of the site was so flawed I had to change the business model.  My web developer overstated his abilities and provided an end product that did not meet our expectation.  The site was filled with poor code.  It’s amazing how much online entities depend on developers and how much money they cost.  Having a working site that’s properly optimized is so integral to the success of the business.  It was by far the most stressful obstacle I have ever had to overcome.  It just about did me in financially as well as mentally.   By going through this difficult process though I think it gave me tools to help the women in my network not be taken advantage of.  Women need to know what questions to ask and to not be afraid to question things.  It’s OK to be viewed as “difficult” if it means protecting yourself.  Womentorz is known as a protecting force for our members. 

What did you do in your past work life?:

My formal background is in graphic design and marketing.  I worked for several years at an advertising, marketing and design firm in downtown Seattle.  I was then Marketing Director at Turner and DPR Construction before following my entrepreneurial spirit to start a small design company called MAK Promotions Design and Decorating.  I found that the corporate world just wasn’t a good fit for me and that I would much rather work for myself.  It was also much more conducive to being a mother, which is by far my most important role.

What have been some of your major successes?:

Womentorz has received a ton of media exposure through television, radio, print and online interviews, some of which was before the site was even launched.  We have over 25,000 fans and followers online who believe and support our community.  The brand and concept took off immediately and allowed me to get through the rough times the site encountered early on.  You can also find Womentorz come on page one of Google for countless search terms relating to women inventors and the industry.  Search engines love us as well as the products on the site!

My greatest success is meeting some of the most amazing women I have ever met.  They are the heart of Womentorz and if it wasn’t for them the network wouldn’t exist.

What have been some of your major challenges?:

I would say that one of the major challenges is keeping everyone happy.  When you’re dealing with a lot of women who all want to be featured as part of every project, it can be easy to hurt feelings when you can’t include them.  I have to do a lot of explaining and reassuring.  

Another problem we encounter is that everyone wants something for free.  I have so much invested in building this network and our time is worth something.  It’s free to be part of the group, but there are services that do cost money because it takes a great deal of time and money to run a business like Womentorz.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?:

Knowing that what I’ve built is helping women entrepreneurs!  When I feel like giving up I’m constantly reminded that they are counting on me to succeed.  They believe in the concept and utilize what I have built.  I’m not a quitter even when sometimes it’s in my best interest to give up.  It’s that stubborn Irish side of me that keeps me going.

 What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?:

Organization, organization, organization!   If I don’t have my lists and good time management skills, I would be a mess.  I have a bit of OCD, so it’s important for me to have the entire house together first thing in the morning, so there’s nothing hanging over me throughout the day.  

I could do a better job of balancing everything and sometimes my children are deprived of attention, but they appear to be fine, so I think I’m doing OK.  It’s important to close the computer sometimes.  I could be sending emails 24 hours a day, but it’s important to shut it off.  The problem with being an online entity and receiving more than 200 emails a day is that people expect you to get back to them immediately.  I am the type to do that, so it’s easy for me to get consumed in keeping up.

What is next for your business?:

We have many companies who we partner with on various projects both online and off, but we are most proud about our relationship with Global Partnerships, which is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to expand opportunity for people living in poverty. They do this by supporting sustainable solutions like microfinance throughout Latin America. We will be supporting their efforts in joint marketing opportunities and utilizing our extensive online network to support women entrepreneurs on a global scale.

Soon you will be able to attend Webinars providing educational and inspirational resources for all entrepreneurs and inventors.  We plan to launch this service in March of 2011.  In line with this goal, we also plan on taking Womentorz offline with innovative, local networking opportunities where inspiring women inventors can receive an interactive approach to answering their individual questions in all aspects of the inventing process.

Our most exciting project that’s launching virally around the same time is our reality series called the Real Women Inventors of America, which will feature a new woman inventor each episode and what it takes to bring a product to market while juggling being a mother, wife and additional income provider.  These inventors will be meeting with well known professionals in the inventing industry who will help take these women’s inventions and businesses to the next level.  

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?

My advice would be the same that I give to the women inventors I talk to.  The biggest difference between women who bring products you see on the market or have successful business ventures and someone who has an idea for an invention or business is THEY took the leap and DID it.  They had to start somewhere.  The longer you wait and ponder over things the more time you’re taking away from promoting your business or product.  It really isn’t that complicated.  Sometimes the best lessons are the ones learned from failing.  You have to ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

You can also learn the most from other people.  Emulate what they have done.  Know your competition because they’re really not the enemy.  Sometimes you can learn the most from people who are already out there with somewhat similar ideas and/or products.  Fear is your worst enemy!

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