Monday, November 29, 2010

We've Moved!!

Well our blogs have....

Please visit www.inspiremarketing.ca - our blogs, company information and event calendar are all listed in one place now!

Amanda

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hello!! Is it me your looking for??

I wanna rock right.now... (Sing?) No, write! I have a blog - because I love to talk (I know, surprise surprise!) And writing is a natural extension, even though I have been told to "never put that in writing..."

These last couple weeks...ok months! have been busy. Really crazy busy - which is a great thing, but also a tire-you-out need a vacation thing; and last week was no exception. Brent and I had over-lapping conferences - one we were contracted to help out with and the other was BlissdomCanada - A 3 day event on all things Social Media that I attended. (A special shout out to my Parents here - they watched all 3 kids during this time - and one day was my Mom's birthday... yes, I am very grateful...)

One of the sessions I attended was about partnering your blog with other online communities... this is something I've been thinking about for a long time now - so the timing was perfect. There is still a lot of research I need to do to see if there is a fit - and if so, where... I mean really, they must love wine, cheese and Starbucks as much as I do!!

I have my eye on a few Communities - a group of other like-minded women that I admire and respect... now to see if the feeling is mutual!

I'm not above sending them wine, cheese and Starbucks Gift Cards...

Amanda

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

how you say it is as important as what you are saying...

There has been a lot of talk this past week (and most concentrated this past weekend..) surrounding the upcoming 'ShesConnected' Conference - it is touted as:


Connecting brands and digital women: ShesConnected is holding a full day, hands-on conference and workshop to connect top brands with Canada’s most influential and powerful digital women.


I have the privilege of saying that I have been invited to attend. I had to apply - along of hundreds of others - and was one of only 100 women selected. Yes, only 100 spots were available. Hundreds of women vying for a spot - yes, as you can imagine - that is a recipe for disaster. Women at the best of times are not always the most... hmmm... I'm not going to say it - you get where this is going!


What I am terribly disappointed in *and for transparency I have included that I was invited to attend the She's Connected and BlissdomCanada Conferences* is how the very same women who outright dissed @Sheisconnected saying such things as 'not wanting to have companies 'pimp' their brands to them' - then jumped on the 'I want/need/have to go' bandwagon: as soon as the SWAG was announced... Some of them did end up getting an invite - while others (with more than 2 followers and yes, based on that alone are 'more connected') did not. That is a disappointment. Yes, everyone loves (and deserves!) 'free' stuff - especially really cool free stuff. I would be a liar if I said I didn't.


With all the attention surrounding bullying kids, this is what we see...a group of grown women - acting like children...it is shameful! I’ve been given the honour of attending this conference - and able to say that I am a ‘connected woman of influence‘; yet If one of my clients read something I have said that, by all accounts, appeared to make fun of, talk down to, or bullied another woman - well I would not have any clients left.


At the end of the day - this (or any!) is their event - and they can invite whomever they choose. I know I do - and no, sometimes I don't spell out my reasons; it's my event. Sometimes regardless of how hard you try - you just cannot please everyone. The same goes for being included in or invited to events. Who doesn't love getting an invite - there have been many I've have the privilege of attending, and just as many that I've had to decline - and equally just not been invited. Yes it stinks - but I don't however make the ones that are going (or are not, which is key here...) feel bad.


Amanda


Inspire Marketing: Creating a difference

(email) amanda@inspiremarketing.ca

(web) www.inspiremarketing.ca

(blog) http://inspiremarketinghamilton.blogspot.com

(twitter) @InspireHamilton


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Angel will get his wings...

Friends of ours are going through something NO parent should ever have to... children aren’t supposed to die before their parents. Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to Good people (and no I haven’t read the book - I can’t bring myself to. Not 4 1/2 years ago when my uncle passed away WAY too young and not now either. I pick it up to start and I begin to cry...)


Our friend’s son has been sick for half of his wee life. He is 4 years old. four years old. I can’t even begin to imagine... They are saying their goodbyes - how exactly they are supposed to do this I don’t know? but I feel like a failure as a friend - I could have, should have - but didn’t - do more as a friend. I’m busy... I’m tired... I’m out with my other friends and their children that aren’t sick. yes, I suck as a friend. and what is worse - as I sit here crying over the devastation they must be feeling - I am thanking God that my babies are okay. Reid wasn’t for a long time... he’s doing fantastic now - thank you God - but he wasn’t - and I had some friends that sucked too (and some that still do, but that’s another post and a bottle of wine...)


I am grateful for are the ones that were there for us. That are there for me. The ones that I know I can call after months of not talking - because we are all busy - and know they are there for me. Or the ones that I do talk to everyday - and will meet me for my beloved vanilla latte with caramel drizzle because they want one too... I am thanking all of you now.


I cannot put into words what all I am trying to say - what all I want to say - but my heart is aching. I know that an Angel will get his wings - too soon - but he will be beautiful. I know that a family will forever have an empty, aching spot on their heart and a friend that hopes they know how much I care...


Amanda


Editor's note:

Sadly, wee Tucker passed away peacefully in his sleep recieving his angel wings at 0027 on September 16, 2010. RIP little man, you now have your beautiful Angel wings. xoxo

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"The most wonderful time... of the year..." or not

I've been enjoying this summer - it's been crazy-hectic, fun, dramatic and hot! Who wouldn't love to have their days filled with (all) of that?! Yet that little ditty keeps popping into my head... I have mixed feelings on the whole 'back to school' wonderful time of year - time of year... Abby is going into SK this year... yes you read that right - SENIOR kindergarten... my baby isn't a baby anymore. If you scroll back a few posts you will find us at the start of her JK year - I am happy to report that all ended on a fantastic note - heck she even made the front page of the Hamilton Spectator for her Mother's Day artwork portrait of me!! Yes, my little karate kicking, time-outing, asserting her independence little girl finished her first school year with flying colours! It's Abby I'm talking about - of course she did, everyone loved her!

Even faced with this knowledge of how she is becoming a real 'big kid' I can't help wanting to bottle up this time and hold on to it forever. Thankfully twinnies Ashlan and Reid are around to remind me of all the fun things 'little kids' do... and when they start JK - well Mrs. F here is a heads up for you: let me know what kind of wine you like, because a case will be delivered on their first day!

Ah yes - wine... along with Starbucks, cheese and chocolate - is one of my food groups! So you can imagine the horror (read: had to re-adjust the wine budget to account for this increase) when I discovered my (many) purchases at the LCBO are now HST applicable... (well to be fair - although sales tax on alcohol is decreasing, other alcohol fees and taxes are changing to continue to support social responsibility...) I can't take credit for that little tidbit of information - that goes to my friend Jon that works at the Ontario Ministry of Revenue (hey - friends in the MOR are a GOOD thing to have!!!) but he was very helpful in explaining the whole 'what is and what isn't' affected by the HST - click here to find a handy sheet that explains it all. Heck - he was even going to drive to our local Chapters to have my back when I thought they charged me when they shouldn't have...(and who says spending my time on Twitter isn't productive!!) turns out the book BAG I bought is HST applicable - but the many books I bought were not. Okay, fair enough.

So before you head out to do your back to school shopping - make sure you check out Jon's link - it is very informative... while I bottle up this time (need to do something with all my empties...) and enjoy the rest of the summer with the kids!

Cheers!
Amanda

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Life happens when you're busy making other plans....

Or something like that the saying goes! However cliche, I know it's true - if the time between my blog posts is any indication...

The last few months have been an adjustment for all of us - but one that I am so very happy we've had to get used to. While working on growing Inspire with Brent has been at times - stressful - it has also got to be the best feeling ever. I am very fortunate to have as a partner someone that I share the same values and ideas, but also my best friend.

Tomorrow is Father's Day -and like my Mother's Day post, as good a reason as any to get together with those I love the most: My Parents and Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Ronnie -who are every bit as important to us! I've been thinking about what I wanted to say about my Dad, and about Brent, my babies daddy... wanting to make sure that what I said would do them justice.

My Dad can do anything - just ask Brent because he's certainly heard it enough times when (anything) needs to be done: 'oh, I will just call my Dad...' and it's true - I don't think there isn't anything he wouldn't do for me... hasn't done for me. He is my hero... he is the man that I based all the other men in my life on. Fortunately I was lucky enough to right some wrongs I made in that department - and met Brent. My Dad set the example for how I wanted my life to be, the kind of Marriage I wanted to have, the kind of father I wanted when I had children... and I am so very blessed that he is such a huge part of our lives... I thank you, Dad, for always being there for me... I cannot bear the thought... well I'm not even going to think those thoughts.

My babies Daddy... My Best Friend... Yes, My Soulmate. I am not afraid to say how pretty freakn' wonderful Brent is! 3 kids under 5 - that is enough to make anyone tired, add in that two of them are twins, and one was pretty sick for a long time - he was my rock... Even though I know it was killing him inside, he was strong for me. And now - well now my rock goes to the LCBO - probably about as often as we go to get milk - for me! and I wouldn't want it any other way: I am so very grateful it's him. I thank you Brent - for all that is yet to be...

So while life happens when you're busy making other plans - take the time to remember and cherish - those that mean the most. Happy Father's Day!

Amanda
Inspire Marketing

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"We never know the love of the parent; until we become parents ourselves" ~ Henry Ward Beecher

I've read and heard a lot of things that are really down on Mothers Day - and wanted to add my 25 cents to this...

I'm in the same camp that thinks dedicating ONE day to us Mom's - or special women in our lives - is really kind of funny... kind of like Valentines Day - Brent doesn't need ONE day to tell me he loves me - he does it all the time (no, I'm not trying to score Starbucks points... then again, the Credit Card bill hasn't come in from my girls scrapbook weekend away!...) BUT what I do think about dedicating ONE day to us Moms, Dads - groundhogs and turkey's - is that it's as good a reason as any to get together with those we love and respect - and tell them so. It's the gesture that counts... you know, the 'little things' that matter most.

There was a time in my life that I didn't think I would have the opportunity to celebrate Mothers Day - as a Mom - and now I have 3 beautiful little faces that think I am the bees' knees - something that I wouldn't change for anything. I think I'm a pretty good Mom - and I am because of My better than pretty good Mom. Unconditional love - this is what she has given to me... for that I will be eternally grateful. xo

So while we don't necessarily need the card companies to tell us that this coming Sunday is THE day to celebrate the wonderful women in our lives - look beyond that and appreciate that we are 'given' this day for another get together! I know that I am looking forward to MY day - which includes dinner with my Mom, Aunt and Sister - and the boys in our lives too!

Amanda
Inspire Marketing

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Changes...

Yes, changes - there are a lot of them happening right now!

BIG NEWS for Inspire Marketing - After working for over 15 years full time (23 all together) with the Hamilton Port Authority, Brent has (dare I say it... jumped ship?!... ha) and is now focusing his attention on growing our Company... something the two of us have been dreaming about for a long time!

From Brent:

Hello Everyone,

Fifteen years is a long time. Still, in retrospect it has flown by. Never did I imagine as a 16 year old kid beginning a summer job at our former sailing school that I would build the career I have and remain with the HPA for so long. The winding path that has been my time here is filled with memories I will take with me as I move forward; stories and experiences I will share, and look fondly at, as this new phase of my career and life take flight. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to represent the port, travel to wonderful places, meet great people, and build my knowledge along the way. 8 years at our sailing school. 15 years as a full time employee. I have spent much of my life at the port, yet I’m excited to begin a new chapter.

It is with a heavy heart that I say ‘goodbye’ to my 9-5 life, as I’ve been so fortunate to build relationships with some great people that are a part of Team HPA. The nice part is I’ll still be creating some new products and providing my expertise in the months to come.


I have dreams and aspirations to build something, and now have the forum to do exactly that. Thank you for all the support along the way.

My best wishes for the port and for each of you.

Brent

Change is scary - there is no denying that - but it's also downright exciting... To Celebrate, we are heading to the beautiful Grand Palladium White Sands Resort and Spa (sans kids... ) for a week of R&R - something the two of us desperately need, and no doubt will come back with a notebook filled with more ideas!

We are updating our website with the focus being strategic marketing programs, communications, community and media relations and event management, and will be sharing more details over the next couple weeks.

So as the first line suggests "I don't know what I was waiting for..." - well pull up your socks and hang on - this ride is just beginning and the wait is now over!

I know you don't want to hear me sing... unless it's a Fri or Sat night at Ray's Place on Dundurn St. for Karaoke (and you've had A LOT to drink...) I need to figure out how to add music on here ... but for the purpose of this post, here you go:

Changes/ David Bowie

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time...


Amanda
Inspire Marketing
amanda@inspiremarketing.ca
brent@inspiremarketing.ca

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Frickanannies...




Feel better now?! Yes, when I first heard that (phrase?) it was smack in the middle of a really rotten day and I couldn't not laugh... Seriously - you try saying 'FRICKANANNIES' with a straight face! I can't take credit for this brilliant-ness though (hey, today is all about making up new words!) that goes to @MulderFlorals (on Twitter of course) or Melissa Mulder for those of you who haven't caught on to this gigantic time wasting fad...err fantastic social networking medium! (see @Kitestring for more fantastic information on this!!)

So despite my rotten day, the sun is shining and the temps are starting to show some promise that spring is here - although I refuse to get my hopes up that it is in fact here to stay, I can't shake it - I am in a funk... perhaps it's the catchy travelocity roaming gnome song... doodoodoodlootootoooo...I need to get out of here... but what I do know is something has gotta give!

With this new season rapidly approaching (power of positive thinking right...) I've begun to try and figure out what really it is I am supposed to be doing... not so much the purpose of life - but the purpose of MY life... and after a bubba (yes, my term for the new size I think Starbucks should introduce into their lineup) Vanilla Latte, I started to list all the things I am great at...

...there are so many that I would take up too much of your precious time listing them all here! but the one (well 3) things that I couldn't ignore: my greatest accomplishments, thus far, Abby, Ashlan and Reid. No I'm not saying that my entire purpose in life is to have kids - but for me, during these short years before they grow up and move away - teaching them and loving them, and being their Mom really is my purpose right now. I love it... and I'm great at it (well almost all of the time...) which is a good thing, because (they have no choice!) I've got a ton of cute little projects that would really embarrass Brent if I sent them into work with him - and not school/playdates with the kids...

So with Spring around the corner - I encourage you to think about your purpose. What are your goals? What is it that you've always wanted to do? And if you are having trouble snapping out of your funk, remember Frickanannies! it'll make you laugh at least!

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
~ Judy Garland

Amanda
Inspire Marketing

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mabel's Label's Super Cool "Blogher '10 Contest"

An electrical storm is going to wipe out the Internet – and because as my husband puts it, I am on twitter 27 out of 24 hours a day – I saw this update!! Wipe.out.the.internet! Yes I had to ‘shush’ the kids and focus intently on this…

My Dear God.. Action Plan – Call my Starbucks on Locke St. to verify they are still in business (check!) I mean really – this could quite possibly signal the return of coffee shops that require me to use their drive through for a pretend cappuccino (shudder), not allowing me to lounge in their lovely, comfy chairs, sipping my beloved Grande, non-fat, Vanilla Latte with caramel drizzle, laptop open to some very important websites, while blissfully ignoring Abby and the twins…

After assuring me my latte will be waiting, as always, the next equally frightening revelation came to the fore. I will actually have to make friends face to face in the school yard when dropping off and picking up the kids…not just through my computer screen…and you know what this means? Yes, I will now have to put on some makeup and fix my hair!

I am however sitting comfortably with the knowledge that my other passion; Scrapbooking will not be affected.. and what a huge relief that is. Yes, I can cut and paste very comfortably without my laptop…besides, I really hate having to clean my keyboard when glitter gets on it…

After having some time to digest this news, I think I’m going to be ‘alright’…knowing that I will still have my Starbucks, being left with no alternative but to spend more time with my husband and children, and that there will also be more time for friends, I say this: Bring on the storm!

Amanda


Submitted for the Super Cool "Mabel’s Labels BlogHer ‘10 Contest"

I love Mabel's Label's - not just the labels, but their people ...
let's hope I get the chance to represent!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

On "Anyways Friends" and others in our lives...

Thursday night means TV time for me (okay...Wed night too!!) but there are few shows that I do eagerly anticipate watching - yes I will admit that Greys and Private Practice are two of them. I'm not sure why I watch them though - as I end up reaching for the Kleenex box every single time.. but I suppose this is a good thing - because they are making me think by triggering these all-over emotions!

On last week's show there was a Wedding .. okay a pretty significant one: a teenage pregnancy prompted Wedding, but I won't recap the show here .. www.ABC.com does a pretty good job of that already - but I do want to share my thoughts on the father- daughter speech: where he referred to a memory he had of his daughter as a little girl, saying to him that he was her 'Anyways Friend' ..

An 'Anyways Friend' - by Sam:

Is the one person in your life whom,
no matter what you say or do,
no matter what they've been through with you,
will Love you anyways ...


Kinda like those commericals when they tell you some obscure fact about a person and you go 'huh' afterwards right?! Yeah, that's what I did too ...

So it got me thinking about my 'Anyways Friend' .. all the other friends - and people I thought were friends... in my life. How timely too, as yesterday (Sunday February 21st, 2010) in the Guiding world was 'Thinking Day" - because in the last few weeks I've been shown some true colours and real motives of some people I did consider a friend.

Yeah I'm upset and disappointed - but this is all part of the big picture right?!

As I sit here an think about all that is going on and all that is yet to be (hey isn't there some poem about that?!!) I am so grateful for My Anyways Friend, and all my other real and true - old and new - friends that are a part of my life.

I watch Abby making her new little friends and it takes me back to a time when all it took to be a friend was to want to play in the dress up / play kitchen with them .. how simple and easy it was! My hope for her, Ashlan and Reid is that they too are blessed with an 'Anyways Friend' and a few other true friends that make all the other disappointments seem as insignificant as they should be....

Amanda
Inspire Marketing

To My 'Anyways Friend':

Here's to the nights that
turned into mornings, the
friends that turned into
family, the dreams that
turned into reality, and the
likes that turned into love ..








Monday, February 1, 2010

Groundhogs, Tigers and LOVE? OH MY!

Happy February! (yes already...time IS going by fast...) and you know what that means right? GROUNDHOG day!! why am I so happy about this you ask? Well for one, it's a day that everyone can celebrate along with me - you know, where each day is the same?! ... get it?! ha..okay dokay..I guess it does lose some of it's meaning when I have to say 'get it?' .... but regardless, I'm hoping we see the critter - or do I not want to see him?! - all I know is that I DO want Spring!

Maybe the Tiger will chase him out (or keep him from coming out?!) and bring in Spring? February 14th, 2010 marks the start of the Chinese New Year - and it's the year of the Tiger: perfect timing for people born under this sign - for the tiger is a sign of courage, and people with this sign are said to have a lively temperament, are outgoing, truthful and affectionate...they rarely hide their feelings! Great for someone who loves Valentines Day......

I don't know if I was born in a year of the Tiger - I'd like to think I fit that criteria, good or bad, but do I love Valentines Day? no, not really..... well not the part that says we need to spend too much money on flowers, chocolates and anything else you'd like to get for me dear husband (Starbucks gift card)...but I do love the part about it that lets me make heart shaped cookies and cute little treats for Abby's JK class - something we can do together - and use up all my pink card stock!

The timing also allows me to make a Feast for two, at home! So if you're like me and really not that fond of waiting in super long lineups for an over-priced dinner you were rushed through, then I encourage you to create a romantic dinner - that will let you keep your Starbucks budget too!!

Need some inspiration? Join my Facebook page: Inspire Marketing and take a peek in the Discussions area, you will find great recipes, ideas and events that will Inspire that inner groundhog or tiger!

Amanda
Inspire Marketing

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Words to live by ....



QUOTES!! I love Quotes .. as if you haven't noticed that by now ....
and I particularly like this one.... I mean really, who hasn't had their share of struggles? (and if you haven't, well kudos to you - we need to meet for coffee because even though I am on the right path, there are still some hurdles I need to get over!) but this quote gives me hope .. hope that 'this' is worth it .. worth the juggling, the late nights, the self-doubting ... hope that while I might be struggling to make things 'work' - I am making progress.

I've recently teamed up with Opti-Mom (www.opti-mom.ca)to bring her fabulous events to Hamilton - definitely making progress with the event umbrella of Inspire Marketing - but also to get some really cool events happening here in my home town!! Stay tuned for an Event Schedule - hammer-style - to be posted, I promise you will be glad you did!

In addition to the making money side of Inspire, (someone has to support my Starbucks budget...) I am thrilled and very excited that 'Read to Succeed' is getting ready to launch. Our 'give back' to this great community of ours is about to take off. The next few months are going to be no strangers to struggles - we have a tight and aggressive timeline - but I am confident that all this hard work is going to be worth it! Books, kids and our community - what better way to give back.

So when you are struggling with what life throws at you - remember that without it, there would be no progress.... Believe in you!!!

Amanda
Inspire Marketing

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Success doesn’t come to you…you go to it. -Marva Collins


Happy New Year! ~ 2010 already...WOW!!!

I'm not one for making resolutions - and that should come as no surprise to any of you by now! What I am doing and have done in the past, is make some promises. Promises to live my life the best way I can, and in turn, hopefully some good, positive, things (maybe even changes!) WILL happen. Last year I made a cute little reminder of the important things in my life ... it was a great way to remind me..keep me focused if you will, of what really was important.

Success doesn’t come to you…you go to it. -Marva Collins ... pretty powerful words right? You bet your Starbucks loving booty they are!! And I am going to print them out and post them EVERYWHERE....yes, that is right - E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.! Why? Well because 2010 is the year that things are going to happen - and to quote our dear friend Dan - 'if I had $1 for every great idea I had....' you get the picture - enough talking over my Machiato's, now is the time to put those ideas into action!

I've been doing a lot of research and drooling over some awesome sites I've stumbled across (think paper heaven....ahhh..bliss!) and now, more then ever - I am Inspired! So no resolutions for me - nope, not even to reduce the amount of trips to my favourite coffee shop! - but some pretty powerful promises. And you? I challenge you to make some promises - you will thank me in a few months!! Look out 2010: the future is so bright, we have to wear shades!

Amanda
Inspire Marketing