PRetty in Pittsburgh is taking a brief hiatus – I had a baby!
Will be back to posting later this summer.
The great 50 Cent once said, “If they hate then let them hate and watch the money pile up.” Yes to that. But other things piling up? Hard no. Lately, I’ve noticed a pattern of piles. Emails (I have 4 accounts). DMs. BOXES. OMG the boxes. Snail mail. Dishes in the sink if I still need to unload the dishwasher. And then random papers that I get through receipts, the doctor, things I have to print, etc. It seems like the stuff keeps coming, and piling up. Gotta tackle the to-dos.
Last fall, I shared this Zen habits article Clear Things Out in my newsletter. “They accumulate if we don’t tend to them” rings so true. And the more they accumulate, the more overwhelmed I get, and the more I procrastinate to tend to them. Here are some ways I’m handling the piles.
Email is probably the worst of them all. I used to go through my emails on Fridays to clean things out and sort and prioritize. But I found that actually took me waaaay too long. A lot of emails you can delete, but there are a lot more that require action. Either you having to answer questions or do something, or check with someone else. There’s a lot of tasks within tasks. Sometimes I look at my email and just want to delete them all and start fresh. But alas, I cannot. And I am one of those people who CANNOT have hundreds or thousands of email notifications. Nope nope nope. So every day I have this method:
I keep the ding on my work emails so I ensure I don’t miss anything urgent during the day. But I also set dedicated periods of time for work, so I shut that off during those 1 to 2 hour time blocks. That way I am not distracted. And my other email accounts (personal gmail, my Beautycounter emails) aren’t as urgent so I check on those only a couple of times throughout the day.
But I make sure to delete all my subscription newsletters each day, and I’ve unsubscribed from about 95% of sales/marketing emails because all they do is bombard my inbox. If I want a sale or coupon code, I look to their social media and shop through Honey for discounts. And as far as DMs, since I am on social media a lot for work, I check those a few times a day to keep up. I don’t know how influencers keep up with their Instagram DMs. You’d need a dedicated person for that.
The pandemic stepped my online shopping up about 1,000 notches. I am still ordering a lot online and with a baby on the way, there are lots of packages being delivered. Again, I was letting them pile up at the front door and while I still do that sometimes, opening them each day and breaking down the boxes (or actually putting a box pile together for my husband to break down!) and then putting that item in its place has helped a lot. Less clutter for me equals a more peaceful space. Especially as I am still spending so much time at home.
As with snail mail, I have found calling and getting off lists helps SO much to tackle the to-dos. I find the most mail is from non-profits. And while I want to support them, I don’t need 87 return mailing labels and notecards from them asking for donations. I will donate to who I can when I can, so I remove myself from their lists. Catalogs, too. I love reading some of them but they are so wasteful. So when you have mail piling up that you just throw in the recycle bin, take 10 minutes and call and get removed. We get so much less now.
Every time I come home I tend to have a pile of stuff – coffee cups, shopping bags – so I immediately throw things away and/or put things away so there are not piles and piles of stuff everywhere. Having a dedicated space for everything really helps this. I made my husband a little area in the kitchen for his stuff so he doesn’t leave it everywhere, too.
WHEN did we get so much stuff? And WHY did our emails suddenly quadruple? Is this just me?! At any rate, I know a little clutter isn’t going to make or break my day, but when things are sorted and organized and I tackle the to-dos, I just feel better about going about my day. It makes things more productive, and makes downtime that much better. Here are some more tips I shared before on getting organized.
I’m very excited to write this post today because I’ve teamed up with Emily Bezak Writes to share her brand new Side Hustle Starter Kit! But before I reveal what’s inside, here is some background on my own side hustles.
I’ve written this blog for 12 years. I cannot believe it. I look back at some earlier posts and cringe. This has been a fun side project for so many years. I even quit once but I came back. I just can’t quit you, blog. The thing about this blog though is I never intended it to “take off.” It’s a way for me to share and brand myself. I have some ads running (that I don’t even think I’ve made enough to collect anything from yet) and I’ve worked with a few brands over the years, but it’s certainly not an extra income.
Maybe it’s because I only post a few times a month if that! But it’s more so a fun creative outlet for me to write what I want to write about. With an extension into my social channels. And if I ever wanted to go out and start a business on my own, I have years worth of content built up.
My other side hustle I legit make money on (but I am in no way setting the world on fire): Beautycounter. Yes, an MLM, I know. But I do NOT treat it that way. I promote it, but I have never asked anyone to check it out, ever, unless they ask a legitimate question like “does anyone have a good tinted moisturizer recommendation?” (Yes, yes I do.) I have loved Beautycounter products for years and wanted a discount, so I became a consultant about a year and a half ago and found I really like it. It’s fun to try and recommend products and I’ve been a skincare enthusiast since I was like, 10 so it’s been a great gig. Plus, this company is legit in its mission, vision and values and its stance on clean beauty (NOT a buzzword for Beautycounter but an action) and the environment. It was just acquired for a cool $1 billion, too. Something most MLMs cannot say.
So those are my little hustles. Just for fun, on the side. My day job has always been my priority and livelihood but I’ve found putting myself out there and working on my personal brand has also caused success for my day job, so it’s truly a win. We shall see how I continue to evolve.
This brings me to the Side Hustle Starter Kit! I met Emily several years ago online (is there any other way to meet people nowadays?) and we were connected through Ellevate Pittsburgh. I have watched her thrive over the last year+ and am so proud of all she has done to start her own business, Emily Bezak Writes. Here, she provides services like content and digital marketing, copywriting and more. She’s a true motivator for those who want to branch out on their own. But the question is – where to start? Enter, this kit.
What a beautiful kit! Emily delivered my kit to me right away. It includes:
Digital downloads also come with the kit including:
There is no time like RIGHT NOW to start something new and start earning extra income. This is the perfect thing for those who are newbies and need a place to just start. Don’t like your job? Side hustle. Want to branch out and do more? Side hustle. Want to have extra creativity flowing? SIDE HUSTLE.
Emily so generously gave me a code to share to get 15% off your kit. Use code DEANNAMAMA15 at checkout. And shipping is always free. Big thank you to Emily for gifting me this! What are you waiting for?
If you work in public relations, then chances are you’ve heard of the “usual suspects” like Cision, Muckrack and Meltwater in your PR arsenal to help you keep track of monitoring, competitors, and media. And then there are things like HARO and Profnet which have been around for awhile to make your pitching a bit easier. But with the influx of social media over the years, there are new PR tools to help with pitching that can help you build your toolbox up, and connect with journalists like never before.
Here are some of the new tools and social accounts I’ve had my eye on recently.
I learned about Vetted through one of my favorite PR resources, Michael Smart. Someone in his private Facebook Group had inquired about this service several weeks ago, so I briefly looked into it. It claims to get your clients or business into the news “without pitching” and is more of a passive PR platform. Call me old-fashioned, but PR is anything but passive. You gotta work for that coverage! And from what I did learn, if you do get coverage they “charge your credit card.” That kind of turned me off. I know there are paid services to get journalist requests such as Profnet, and free ones like HARO, but even then you have to send a well-written, relevant pitch.
I do like the fact that this is super targeted and helps match you up, as journalists need to enter keywords. But a lot of us aren’t pitching something so specific, such as a certain product or source like a specific type of doctor. Some of us offer new story ideas. So ultimately this may work for some, and not for others.
Before You Hit Send is an Instagram account that is newer and quickly gaining more followers. They share new outlets, media moves and trends to “stay one step ahead.” I like their “quick 5” which gives you a rundown of what’s happening within the PR industry. This is a nice way to stay informed as you’re scrolling Instagram. Their link in bio also offers more. I haven’t signed up for emails but I may. I also need to listen to their “Secured That” Spotify playlist!
PR Girl Manifesto is another Instagram account that I’ve started to follow over the last several months, which is an inclusive community for communication professionals. Fatou Barry is the founder, and she was on a recent PRSA Pittsburgh event where she discussed being a young black woman in PR. She is really inspiring and her Instagram account exudes this, along with great resources to stay informed while you scroll. I also recommend following Fatou on Twitter.
I received a DM on Instagram the other week and thought it was spam, but when I actually read it I realized this was a legit service. The PR Loop is another community for PR pros and journalists to connect and exchange knowledge and locate resources. They have an app called Story Match and they relate it to Tinder. You essentially upload your story and if the journalist likes it, they swipe. Then you can privately chat. I just signed up for the free trial (which is 90 days – nice) so I am unsure if I like this yet, but I do ultimately like the concept!
Facebook Groups can overwhelm your home feed, so I’ve recently unfollowed all groups that I don’t moderate, and pop in to see them occasionally when I remember, which is nice for my brain. But one I haven’t unfollowed is Sharing Opps: PR-FRIENDLY. Here, journalists ask for sources on stories they are working on, and PR people pitch what they are working on. It IS in fact friendly…and helpful! I’m sure there are other groups similar to this one out there.
All in all, like I said above, PR is anything but passive. You have to actively pitch and do the work to get results. But it’s nice to know there are new PR tools to help with pitching to supplement your work and help you along the way. What other resources are out there?
This week I am officially 24 weeks (6 months) pregnant! How is that possible? I cannot believe how much has changed in the last year (this includes this lovely pandemic), and how much it will be different a year from now. I haven’t shared any pregnancy updates on this blog, but since I talk about health and fitness, I figured I’d do a check-in! But first, a quick recap.
We found out I was pregnant (I not WE – pet peeve when people say “we’re pregnant”) a few days before Halloween. I am so very thankful it happened after about three months (ovulation predictor kits are awesome) and so far, things have been healthy and smooth. Sending all kinds of love to those who have experienced infertility and loss.
In my first trimester, I was a little bit tired and I definitely felt a little nauseous for a couple of weeks, but nothing major. I hear about women throwing up all day and being exhausted and I am so thankful that was not the case. I threw up once randomly early in the second trimester but that was about it. But I have felt mostly great and have been working out. I haven’t really had any aversions except maybe cauliflower (but that didn’t last) and no weird cravings. Which I am disappointed about! But I always have cravings, pregnant or not. I haven’t been ravenous but there were a few nights where I had a late-night bowl of cereal. And I think the last couple of weeks baby has had a growth spurt so I’ve been a little more hungry. And the THIRST. OMG. It has not gone away and I’ve been downing water like a madwoman. Been drinking a lot more electrolytes (in Nuun tablets), juice and then I downed a whole case of Vitamin Water at one point over the course of a month. I know, sugar. But sometimes water just doesn’t cut it!
I’m due July 9 with a girl and we’re just so excited!
I go in weekly to hear baby’s heartbeat because I have an autoimmune disease so I am high-risk (oh and apparently elderly because I’m 36). I’ll have to get two more ultrasounds in the third trimester because of this, and eventually go in twice a week and get stress tests. It’s all precautionary. I am also on baby aspirin to prevent preeclampsia. Again, all precautionary and I am so thankful for the great care I’ve gotten through my OB and my maternal fetal medicine docs. I am lucky to live in Pittsburgh and have wonderful care through the Magee network. I also had my first COVID vaccine a couple of weeks ago (Moderna) and am feeling good. Baby’s heartbeat has been good and she moves all the time now! Hoping the next three months are as uneventful as the first half of this pregnancy.
This concludes my rambling but I hope it was helpful!