Want to give the most romantic Valentine’s gift and have it cost less than $1? I have your solution - write a letter. Yes, yes, you’ve heard it from me before, but hear me out again. When’s the last time you wrote a letter to your significant other, if ever, and actually put it in the mail? (If time has run out to use the Postal Service, then just put it in the mailbox with a stamp on it - he/she will never know.) Even if your answer is “last week”, which I doubt, but would be so proud if it were true, I still think you can put a Valentine’s spin on it. Yes, this is a holiday created by a card company who shall not be named. I even heard Saint Valentine died some horrible death on February 14 and that is why…we eat chocolate? I’m not sure. Regardless, many hold this day as the official day to declare your love. Even if you’re a non believer (as your writer tends to be), one still cannot deny expressing your heart’s desire to your loved one who awaits your affections with bated breath.
What to do, what to do? Spend way too much money on flowers? Buy a box of chocolates to have her/him complain that you’re ruining their diet? Go to a card shop who shall not be named and buy a card someone else wrote for you? Or put pen to paper and reach inside of your heart and tell your lover how you really feel. OK, maybe not how you REALLY feel - you can leave out your annoyance with the toothpaste cap, the sleep apnea and road rage. Let’s focus on the positive. Think about why you fell in love with this person, and which of those feelings still linger. Get emotional. Consider your life without your partner - again, pushing aside the idea of more room in your bed, control of the TV remote and freedom to go golfing whenever the mood strikes. Think about your long talks, long walks, long knowing stares into each other’s eyes. Think about how this person is there for you, and you for them, in tough times as well as happy ones. Consider how they love you unconditionally, even though you most likely have some irritating habits yourself (yes, you!). Tell them things that you’ve never told them before, at the very least not in writing. Keep it clean though, your grandchildren will likely someday read this letter. As it will not get thrown away. It will be cherished, loved, treasured, appreciated, adored, and the best part, likely reciprocated.
Do it. Step outside of the box. I GUARANTEE you won’t regret it. Then come back here and comment and tell me how it was received. I want to feel your love too. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
For the past 10 years, I have been in the business of getting people started on the right foot. Whether it’s with birth announcements to make an introduction, stationery to start a conversation or party and wedding invitations to set the tone for an event, all elicit warm and happy fuzzies. This process has always made me smile knowing that others, too, are grinning from ear to ear.
In the next day or so, I am partnering up with a talented friend to launch a new venture with similar but very different beginnings. Similar in the fact that it involves a presentation whose intent is to bring happiness to all involved. In addition, like the aforementioned snail mail items, this project will focus on personalization, sincerity, and the power of the written word. In both cases, I have found that people need help when it comes to creative writing. The way in which it differs, is, well, to be obvious, the lack of paper. Among other things. OK, let’s end this drum roll. We are launching a web site to help people write their online dating profiles. It’s called ProfileWingman.com. Check it out. Tell all of your single friends.
I’ve been doing some soul searching to figure out why I have these callings. Why do I care so much about people communicating effectively with each other with the goal of a loving result? Most likely this is because I want/wish/hope these things for myself. Don’t we all, really, want that for ourselves? We all share a desire to be understood, to be loved, to stand out in some way, in a positive light, of course. But I have this highly adventurous side to me, a side that often makes my friends uncomfortable, especially as it pertains to my quest for love, understanding and the art of communication. I think it began when I saw this girl on the Today Show a while ago talking about going on 365 dates in a year. I thought, why not? Every person is interesting and unique in their own way. Sure, much of this uniqueness is odd and potentially annoying, but you walk out with a new insight and a good story just the same. What better venue to find a bunch of random dates than an online dating site?! Whoa boy, those are entertaining, to say the least.
You want to hear some of these fun stories, don’t you? I plan to chronicle the interesting and exciting trials and tribulations of my online dating adventures on the Profile Wingman blog. Stay tuned.
People who know me are well aware of my stance on honesty. Not just in my words, but in my actions. Everything I say and do reflects the true me - so much so that this fact is pointed on to me on a regular basis. ”What I really like about you is that you are always yourself” they say. That’s because I am honest - I’m not putting on any airs, pretending to be someone whom I’m not, or even aspiring to be another persona. I am who I am. I’ve accepted it, you might as well accept it along with me. I possess this trait for one simple fact - I treat others how I wish to be treated. I do not judge, therefore I don’t expect you to judge me. I show you my full self so you can make an educated decision of acceptance - take me or leave me, but please don’t stick around and judge. I tell you the truth because I wish for you to do the same with me. Plain and simple.
OK, so that’s a long explanation of what I’m about to admit and why I’m going to admit it. I’m confessing because I feel I may have given you the wrong impression. As stated above, that is the last thing I want to do.
Here it is: I don’t write a letter every day. I don’t even necessarily write a letter every week. I don’t always write thank you notes in a timely manner. I have to force my kids to write thank you notes, this is not part of their DNA. Yes, I am a letter writing human along with the rest of you. There it is. I said it. Whew.
I know I get on my soapboxes and I talk about the importance, the effect, the sincerity, blah blah blah, you’ve heard it before. Yes, I still firmly believe all of this, don’t get me wrong. What I’m saying is…I too, have a life. I too, get caught up in this life sometimes and forget to pause, reflect, feel, transpire, connect, write.
But I’m OK with it. Why? Because I go to my best friend’s house and I see the postcard I sent to her, telling her of my love, posted on her refrigerator. That right there represents the letters I DO send, the hearts I DO touch, the people I DO reach, and that is enough for me. I know the letters are out there, I know there’s more to come, but I also know they are a treat for the recipient. No one is waiting by their mailbox. It’s a pleasant surprise.
So the point of this post? Is to release any intimidation I may have caused with my high horse. I feel I may have compelled you to retreat into thinking “I can’t possibly write that many letters all the time, so I’m not going to write any at all!”. Please don’t feel that way anymore. Rather, please feel inspired to sit down every now and then and pause, reflect, feel, transpire, connect…and write. I’ll try my best to do the same, more often.
Two words that can be simultaneously a dream come true or your worst nightmare, depending on who you ask - I DO. Granted, for many who start sweating and shaking and possibly going into a full on panic attack at the thought of those words, they likely have said them once (or thrice) before, much to their chagrin. I’m not a therapist, I just sell customized paper products, therefore let’s focus on the former, the dreamers!
It seems the holidays inspire many a beau to go shopping for a sparkling ring and pop the seemingly ubiquitous (that is, to us single and looking people) question “will you marry me?” to the love of his life. Hopefully, for his sake, the question will illicit an excitable, potentially tearful and certainly exuberant ”YES!”. Hence begins the road to the inevitable two words - “I DO”.
Ah but where to begin? Usually the timeline goes something like this:
Yes indeed, the best is saved for last. I say it’s the best because the invitation sets the tone for the wedding. It alludes to everything which precedes it on the list. Without the invitation, the guests will not know the what, where, when, whom and most importantly, what to wear! Whenever my ex boyfriend would say “Hey, we got invited to a wedding, mark down the date.” I would say “I need to see the invite so I know what to wear.”. Emily Post says it is not proper to list the attire requested of your guests on a formal invitation. Rather, you should convey the formality of the occasion with the invitation itself. The paper, the font, the colors, the wording, the location, the time of the event - all contribute to the visualization in the eyes of the guest.
I sold some wedding invitations this past summer where the bride and groom wanted a “wow!” factor from their guests. I would say we succeeded. Apparently a daughter of one guest went out to get the mail one day. She returned inside to her mother and said “What is this envelope? It’s so fancy!”. Her mother said, “Its from a girl I work with”, then opened and revealed the invitation inside to which her daughter gasped and squealed “Wow! Is she a princess?!”. I love that story. It’s a perfect example of how an invitation creates imagery beyond what you hold in your hands.
So if you or someone you know is headed towards those two special words, just remember the importance of that last item on the list. Oh also, save the dates should be mailed out 6 -8 months before the wedding and invitations 4 - 8 weeks prior to the big day. That means ordering custom products should begin at least 2 or 3 months before the mailing date. This concludes my public service announcement. :) Call me!
What do we think about with the turn of another year? Often we ponder how we can improve our lives from the previous year, right? It’s like, I tried my hardest, but at this I still fail, let’s try again. So we make a resolution. Often the proverbial overturned leaf embodies diet plans, lofty workout schedules, restrictions on alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes - whichever addiction suits you best. We tackle these self commitments with the best intentions and hopefully succeed. What’s the common denominator in these most popular resolutions? Self improvement, right? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but how about a resolution that will not only improve you, it will also grace the lives of others? A win/win!
I propose a decrease in electronic communication and an increase in kickin’ it old school, i.e. letters, paper announcements, invitations and even phone calls. Maybe commit to making one replacement a week. Instead of sending that email telling someone thanks for helping out today, write them a letter. Do an experiment. Of all the thank yous you send in a week, choose one or two to send via snail mail, the rest can remain your customary impersonal, cold, no personality canned email. (Hmm, how do I really feel about those emails?) Do that for a month. See what response you get. Of all of the letters you send, see how many people comment “hey, thanks for your note, that was very kind of you!” and how many of the email recipients say anything. I know you know the answer to this already. So why don’t you do the right thing? What’s holding you back? Maybe you need a push, like a resolution. Write less emails and more letters, less texts and more phones, less mass electronic announcements or invitations and more properly set tones to your message or event. Think people will treat you differently? Think people will have a warmer feeling when they ponder your name? They’ll say - “hey, he/she’s really cool!”. That’s all we want in the end, right? To be like the Fonz. Cool. Once you’re cool, everything else falls into place. Trust me on this.
Have a very happy and inspired New Year! I hope you choose to be cool. I have, and it’s awesome! :)
There was a story in the news this week about how the Principal of Sandy Hook Elementary, Dawn Hochsprung, loved to write her daughter “just because” letters. One such letter is shown below. These are my favorite types of notes to write, and especially to receive. Well, that is, if I had ever received one. For as many hand written letters I send out in an effort to spread love and support the post office, (not entirely) surprisingly I receive only few in return. Often in the cases where I was writing to people who had little else to do and/or limited access to alternate modes of communication did I find pieces of joy in my mailbox. I’m not complaining, that’s not what this blog post is about. If you’ve read my blogs at all, you know I tend to go off on tangents. I apologize.
What I’m trying to say is, what a better style of letter to give and receive than a “just because” letter?! It’s unexpected, it clearly originates from the heart, it’s the type of letter you hold onto. I’ll admit, thank you notes, unless there is some additional and meaningful sentiment added to the “thanks so much for the awesome gift” - I usually throw them away. The reason I save the letters that hold a special spot in a secret drawer in my dresser is because I want to go back and reread them. I want to relive that warm fuzzy feeling I had when I first opened the envelope. In my dark times, I want to remind myself that someone out there cares about me. What’s great is that the feeling never diminishes. It doesn’t get watered down each time I shed another tear of joy at the acknowledgement of someone’s love for me. It only gets better. It gains more meaning, more depth, more purpose as time marches on and life throws us curve balls. The best part is that it’s so personal. The words, the paper, the stamp, the feeling, the love - all of it was chosen and crafted for me.
We all have someone we love in this world - why wouldn’t you want to give them a lasting gift of a piece of your heart? They have it already, why not give them something tangible to hold onto…forever? What a wonderful gift for the holidays!
OK, so yes, I write about men often in this blog. Maybe it’s because I’m single, maybe it’s because I am actually quite fond of the opposite sex, or maybe it’s because I feel they present the biggest obstacle in my quest to bring back the hand written note. On one hand, men are the ultimate networkers. They are somehow hardwired with the knowledge and comfort factor to effectively talk shop while still having fun. Not to stereotype my fellow fairer sex mates, but I just feel for us, those two are mutually exclusive. I mean, I try to throw in the “well, custom stationery would really help this situation out!” every now and then, but it just doesn’t seem very effective. I’m working on it. But guys, it all mixes together. So, you’d think, for someone who has the art of communication down to a tee, the hand written note would be a logical accessory. But no.
Here’s what men say to me: ”but my handwriting is terrible!”. My response to that, practice makes perfect. You know that sending a letter through snail mail is going to set you apart from everyone else, right? You know it will leave a lasting impression, right? So why resist? Here’s a little fact that I find curious - whenever I sell custom stationery to a man, 9.9 times out of 10 he will choose an ALL CAPS font for his name. Why is that?! Does it go along with the suit and tie thing, like you’re all basically dressed alike so by default, you all like the same fonts as well? Or is it a practical thing? ALL CAPS is easier to read. This may be a chapter in the Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus book. Guys are just straightforward, no innuendos, no subtle hints, no beating around the bush, no scrolly letters. I get it. I think I may have just solved one of life’s big mysteries. You read it here first. You’re welcome!
I digress. Aside from in business, I think a note to your girlfriend or wife is SO romantic. Try it. Let me know how it goes. Do a little experiment. For one week, write two letters a day. One to a business associate or prospect - doesn’t have to be a thank you, it could just be an “I appreciate you” or “I value you”. Those are the best kind, unexpected and sincere. Do the same every day with your significant other. If you don’t have one, like me (insert sad face here), then send a letter to your friends, your family, the barrista at Starbucks. Do it for a week, I GUARANTEE you will see it come back to you in a positive karma sort of way. Try it, what do you have to lose? This ends my public service announcement for the day. Until next time…keep up the good work!