Science Fiction, Halloween Parties, and Time Travel
Oct 8 2012

I love science fiction.  I’ve always been fascinated by outer space, intelligent aliens, and strange places.  I haven’t seen or read a ton of sci-fi, but movies and TV shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica always got my interest.  So, I was happy to hear that the 8th annual Halloween party theme at the place I work, Bulldog Solutions, is Sci-Fi/Glam Rock.  Everyone is invited and apparently 400+ people show up each year.  I already found my outfit (Star Trek theme), but I had to search for it online. I did not want to be Princess Leia from Star Wars and that was pretty much the only costume readily available for women at the costume stores.  All you have to do is RSVP on the Battlestar Spectacula facebook page if you want to come.

Oh, if you are into time travel go see the movie Looper starring Bruce Willis.  Guys in the future hire guys in the past to kill criminals/mob gangsters/enemies and when they decide they don’t need them anymore, they close their loop and send their older self back to be killed by their younger selves.  It’s definitely action packed and thought provoking. I wish there was less violence, but despite all the blood & guts, I found the storyline interesting.  I think they left it open ended enough that there might be a sequel.

Author: | Filed under: FYI, movie reviews | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Appreciate Your Employees. It’s Good For Business.
Sep 19 2012

Infographics are the rave right now.  Spell check hasn’t realized that infographic is a new word.  We create infographics for our clients where I work.  We also, in our spare time, create infographics for ourselves.  I happened upon this cool infographic on HR Morning (via a link from Texas CEO magazine) and had to share.  It’s so obvious to me that thanking your employees is good for business, but for some reason 65% of workers don’t receive ANY praise or appreciation.  They must work where Dilbert works.  Appreciating your kids, your friends, or your partners in life is so important.  A few kind and thankful words can go a long way in fostering loyalty, solving misunderstandings, building bridges, and most importantly bringing out the smiles & laughter. :-)

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

Lego Fest Mania – Austin – September 2012
Sep 2 2012

Lego KidsFest was impressive!  We were there pretty much the entire time we could be this morning.  It was at the Austin Convention Center and it was packed full of fun.  Mostly boys signed up for the workshop with the Lego master.  He talked to them about interweaving Lego’s and told him he was the youngest master Lego builder in the company.  He was 29 and had helped build, among many other things, the Lightening McQueen sculpture.  He said it took 1,800 hours to build and weighed about 1 ton.  They had many figures placed around the showroom floor like the Hulk, Batman, Hagrid, Wonder Woman, Superman, Toy Story characters, Ninjago characters, as well as many animals.  Who knew you could make a living building figures out of Lego’s?

The kids could build sections for the mini-nation they were assembling in one section of the showroom floor.  The photo in this post  is of a tower my son built representing the UT tower, and he asked to have it placed it in Texas.  My daughter built another tower and asked to have it placed it in Colorado.  Together the kids built a super tall tower and placed it in California I think.  They said there will be an aerial view of the entire area on their website after the Fest was over.

Lego started a line called Lego friends aimed at girls that had stereotypical pink colors and designs to build houses, patios, landscape gardens, etc.  My daughter and her two friends spent much of their time in that area.  Apparently, Lego’s sales to the girl market went from 10 to 27% after they designed that product line.  Go figure.  Girls like to build, but we still seem to like to build using small purple and pink pieces.  Maybe in 10 to 15 years because Lego created products that girls (or parents of girls) like playing with, we will see more women pursuing career paths in design and construction.  Who knows…

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One Giant Leap For Mankind
Aug 26 2012

Neil Armstrong died August 25 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He was the first man to walk on the moon (Washington Post).  He performed that amazing feat before I was born.  Despite his apparent disdain of publicity, he will always be remembered for his famous words: “One small step for man.  One giant leap for mankind.”  His walking on the moon in 1969 was science fiction come to life.  According to the Washington Post article:

Although the world remembers him best for walking on the moon, Mr. Armstrong recalled his time on the surface as anticlimactic, “something we looked on as reasonably safe and predictable.” Flying the LM was “by far the most difficult and challenging part” of the mission, he told a group of youngsters in a 2007 e-mail exchange.

The “very high risk” descent was “extremely complex,” he wrote, and guiding the craft gave him a “feeling of elation.”

“Pilots take no particular joy in walking,” he once remarked. “Pilots like flying.””

I wonder who will be the first to successfully land an aircraft and walk on Mars

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Music and Dance – Lyrics and Swing
Jun 2 2012

I saw Les Miserables for the second time in my life earlier this week.  It was good.  I saw it in London in my 20′s for the first time and that was great!  I love musicals for many reasons including the fact that they aren’t operas or ballets.  I fell in love with the actor’s voice who played the part of Jean Valjean in London.  I would have followed him anywhere after he sang Bring Him Home.  The thing about good music and lyrics are their ability to touch your heart and soul and elicit emotions that are sometimes deeply buried.  We are feeling beings and in our world, we often forget that and hide our true natures behind a facade of “having it all together” or “playing the part.”  Music is one of the safest ways to express our humanity and the vagaries of our hearts.

I also went swing dancing for the first time this week.  Every Thursday evening at the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs Headquarters (a.k.a. The Mansion), they have a class that starts around 8:15 to teach beginners how to swing or do the Lindy hop .  I enjoyed it!  It was non stop dancing/learning and not too many toes were stepped on.  Young and older folks were there.  We made a big circle and switched partners every few minutes and one time I ended up across a 14 year old boy who seemed mature & remarkably not embarrassed for his age.  Some girl will be lucky that he learned how to dance at such a young age!

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Letting Go Of Perfection And Checklists
May 17 2012

It’s hard to say if letting go of perfection and checklists are related or not, unless of course you put “be your silly self even if someone looks disapprovingly your way or feels threatened by your authenticity” on your checklist. :-)

A friend posted a 2010 article on facebook recently called Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.  It’s so true.  I don’t know where we get that intense fear to be perfect and do it all correctly based on some model someone or a group of people or some stupid TV show put in our mind.  I think part of the reason reality TV shows have done so well is because those who have time to watch them inevitably feel better about themselves when they see they aren’t as screwed up as some other people out there!  You must watch the author’s video about the topic and her years of research: TEDxHouston – Brené Brown (youtube).  She delivers her message in a very authentic/real way and that’s what we are all striving to be: authentic and accepted for who we are.  I like the slide where she equates a breakdown to an awakening.  I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt.  I hope I can help guide others through their awakening process because it’s painful.  I’ll be attempting to do a little of that this weekend by being on the support team for the Search Within program that I participated in over 2 years ago.  The founders of the program will be holding their last events this year after 15+ years of organizing them.

Another interesting read I found via Marc Andreeseen’s blog is called The CEO’s Weekly Checklist by Scott Weiss.  He says you should “Push the Team. Sell the Vision.  Arbitrate Disagreements. Manage by Walking Around.  Talk to Customers.”  It made sense to me since I’ve worn those first time CEO shoes before.  I might change the order, but other than that these are good guidelines.  In my opinion, the number one job of a top notch CEO/President is to find the right people and orchestrate them towards success.  It is much easier said than done.  You have to get your ego out of the way and not be threatened by the authenticity you see in those people.  If you hire them and don’t listen to them, then you might as well dig your early grave from a business as well as your employees personal health perspective.

 

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, environment, FYI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Founder Dating And Other Interesting Links
Apr 29 2012

I saw this hit the Bootstrap Austin list a week or so ago: Founder Dating.  If you want to start a company right now but don’t know how to find the right co-founder, then this site might be for you.  I haven’t used it so I can’t personally vouch for its efficacy, but if I did want to start a company right now (which I don’t), I’d certainly check it out.  My main start-up ventures at the moment are my two kids.  I would definitely work for a start-up/fast growing company, but my founder status is tied to my kids for a while.

Have you ever thought about forming a partnership in your business?  Then you need to read Self-Fueling Partnerships by Bob Barker in a recent Texas CEO magazine edition.  He discusses reasons why to partner and how to do it effectively.  Many partnerships go bad as we’ve seen on the front pages of too many newspapers/websites so take his advice before getting into one.

How To Be Creative in the Wall Street Journal. “The image of the ‘creative type’ is a myth. Jonah Lehrer on why anyone can innovate—and why a hot shower, a cold beer or a trip to your colleague’s desk might be the key to your next big idea.” In the article it says “Steve Jobs famously declared that “creativity is just connecting things.” Although we think of inventors as dreaming up breakthroughs out of thin air, Mr. Jobs was pointing out that even the most far-fetched concepts are usually just new combinations of stuff that already exists.Recent research confirms Mr. Jobs’s wisdom. The sociologist Martin Ruef, for instance, analyzed the social and business relationships of 766 graduates of the Stanford Business School, all of whom had gone on to start their own companies. He found that those entrepreneurs with the most diverse friendships scored three times higher on a metric of innovation. Instead of getting stuck in the rut of conformity, they were able to translate their expansive social circle into profitable new concepts.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, steve jobs | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Random Thoughts And Printers
Apr 5 2012

For some reason today was a weird day.  It started out with me dragging myself onto the treadmill at 6:00 a.m.  Then I sorted through a bunch of email and set up some meetings.  I had a good meeting with one of my clients.  I even had a good lunch with a potential client.  Then it got mixed up in a few ways that illustrate the complexity of us humans and machines as follows:

  • I called my insurance agent to discuss car and homeowners premiums. Given I’ve had my car almost 11 years and it has over 135K miles on it, I felt like I was paying way too much.  I was right and I ended up saving hundreds of dollars per year.  I got irritated knowing that if I had called a year ago, I could have saved more money.  I hate wasting money.  So it was a bittersweet sensation.  I hope they are glad that I didn’t call Geico (darn gecko) first!
  • As I was on the phone with the agent, my Epson printer freaked out and stopped printing.   I had the printer 3 1/2 years and it decided to crash today…just as I needed to print and scan back docs to the agent.  It was cheaper to buy a new printer than figure out how to get it to San Antonio to fix it.  Needless to say, I spent a significant portion of what I was about to save on reduced insurance premiums on a new printer.
  • I called the cable company a few months ago and discovered I could spend 1/2 of what I was spending on cable & internet and still get basically the same service.
  • I wonder how much revenue these companies collect because people like me are too busy to call and figure out what the less expensive, still viable options are.  What if it was 20 or 30% of their revenue?!  That means they are relying on our laziness, busy-ness, and stupidity for a significant portion of their revenue.
  • I wonder if someone can invent an app that scans all your bills periodically and lets you know if you made this change or took advantage of this new package, you could save hundreds of dollars.
  • I stopped at Office Depot before and after a happy hour for the Austin Technology Incubator and received $50 credit for my old printer for a trade in on an HP printer that supposedly has more capacity and features.  I’ve already set it up and like the scan-to-email feature.  Thank goodness for auto setup on devices these days!
  • Grey’s Anatomy is a very good TV show.  Mad Men displays sexism and the male dominated advertising firm life in the 60′s very well, but sometimes I can’t follow their conversations easily.
  • Matters of the heart, head, and machine are not so easily resolved no matter how hard we try.  They all seem to result in the sensation of wanting to punch something or someone or cry when you can’t get them to work like they should.
  • How do 9 year old boys play 4 games of soccer in one day without falling over.  We will soon find out.
  • I’m thankful I live in the United States where I can create opportunity where none would usually exist as well as buy a new printer on short notice.  I’m also thankful that I saved for “rainy days” and live in a place that usually has less rain than other places.
  • I’m thankful for good health.

I have so many more thoughts, but most are not very useful to the general public just like half of the above aren’t either, but I hope it results in a few of you saving some money.

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Tillamook Cheese Brings Cheesy Fun To Austin
Apr 3 2012

I just thought this was cheesy fun so I’m sharing the info.  I was trying to see if I could get a group of friends together to meet up at one of the restaurants, but with all of our busy schedules and disparate locations in Austin, it’s proving to be more challenging than I thought.

tillamook® cheese makes austin melt

Local Restaurants Grill Up Tillamook-Themed Sandwiches

Celebrating the Arrival of the Tillamook Loaf Love Tour and National Grilled Cheese Month

WHO:   Tillamook, the 103-year-old, farmer-owned cooperative from Oregon with a reputation as one of the nation’s premier natural cheese makers and 6 partner restaurants in Austin, Texas.

WHAT:     To celebrate the arrival of the Loaf Love Tour, the third annual cross-country mobile sampling tour dedicated to bringing tasty cheese to the people, Tillamook has partnered with a select group of top Austin restaurants to host Tillamook Grilled Cheese Week. Kicking off during National Grilled Cheese Month on April 7th, each restaurant has created a unique grilled cheese featuring Tillamook all-natural cheese slices to honor the sandwich so beloved it has its own month.

Participating restaurants include: Noble Pig Sandwiches serving a Pimento Grilled Cheese made with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, sweet red peppers, pickled jalapeno and crispy bacon ($8), Max’s Wine Dive serving a Smoked Duck and Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Watercress ($14), Austin Daily Press featuring a Tillamook Black Forest Ham Grilled Cheese made with a blend of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and Tillamook Monterey Jack cheeses served with Spicy Ranch ($6), J.Black’s Feel Good Lounge, serving an Open-Faced Grilled Cheese BAT with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and Tillamook Monterey Jack, Niman Ranch Bacon, Local Texas Tomatoes, Arugula, and Lemon Aioli ($8), FoodHeads, grilling up three specials including a Grilled Tillamook Monterey Jack with Turkey, Jalapenos, Cracked Black Pepper, House Slaw & Honey Dijon on Nine Grain ($7.95) and Hopdoddy Burger Bar offering their version of a grilled cheese in the I Love Lucy Burger, a “Hopdoddy style Juicy Lucy” featuring Angus Beef stuffed with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar ($8).

While rolling around Austin from March 30th to April 18th, the Loaf Love Tour will visit grocery stores and special events, educating attendees about Tillamook products while sampling their all-natural cheeses made with the highest-quality milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones*.

WHEN:  Saturday, April 7th to Saturday, April 14th 

WHERE:                  Noble Pig Sandwiches, Max’s Wine Dive, Austin Daily Press, FoodHeads, J.Black’s Feel Good Lounge and Hopdoddy Burger Bar

 To see the tour’s full & detailed schedule of stops in Austin, please visit: LoafLoveTour.com

ABOUT TILLAMOOK:     Established in 1909, the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) pride themselves on their commitment to providing families with the most consistent, best tasting, highest quality dairy products made in the most natural way possible. The farmer-owned cooperative is famously known for its award-winning, naturally aged cheddars and is quickly becoming one of the top dairy brands in the country. Tillamook offers a variety of cheese, ice cream, butter, sour cream and yogurt products. For more information, please visit Tillamook.com 

* The FDA has stated that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST treated and non-rBST treated cows.

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Generation Flux And Women Leaders
Mar 26 2012

Two very interesting reads.  One by Fast Company on the changing nature of our workforce and a redefining of generation based on the way people view their careers regardless of their age.  The other is by Harvard Business Review on whether women make better leaders.  Here they are:

This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of BusinessJanelle Monney, an executive coach, told me about this article.  I got both exhilarated and mentally exhausted reading it because I was wondering if I could keep up with this career flux until I’m 80 like some of the folks mentioned in the article.  I think it’s because most of the people mentioned in the article didn’t have two little kids fluxing around them while they were bouncing from project to project! :-) I was introduced to Janelle by Peter Strople, an instant-change agent who knows pretty much everyone worth knowing on this planet.

Are Women Better Leaders than Men?But the women’s advantages were not at all confined to traditionally women’s strengths. In fact at every level, more women were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports, and their other associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts — and the higher the level, the wider that gap grows” (see charts shown in the article.)

Author: | Filed under: diversity, entrepreneurship, FYI | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Why Every Small Business Should Have Inventory Management Software
Mar 8 2012

Following is a guest post by a writer for Ordoro, a company I used to work with while I was at the Austin Technology Incubator.  When she reached out to me to see if I would accept a guest post, I chuckled and thought what a small world it was.  I like the team at Ordoro.  They are doing great things and making a difference for small businesses.

Carolyn is a guest post writer on the subjects of small business management, small business tools, and inventory control. She believes that the right software is an essential part of what it takes for startups to succeed.

Why Every Small Business Should Have Inventory Management Software

Inventory will hog all of your company’s cash if you allow it to do so. Think about it. You pay your suppliers, and you wait for them to ship goods to you. Then you wait for your employees to turn those goods into finished products you can sell. Once the products are ready to sell, you have to wait for customers to buy them. As you may have noticed, turning inventory into cash involves a lot of waiting. That’s why it’s essential that you do everything you can to increase your inventory turnover rate as much as possible. When it comes to inventory control, one of the most effective tools a small business owner can take advantage of is inventory management software. Here’s what inventory management software can do for your small business:

  • Inventory control software helps you identify what you need to order from suppliers at any given time. This kind of software gives you a clear picture of your inventory levels. If your bestselling product is almost sold out, it’s probably crucial that you order more of it as soon as possible. If you aren’t using software that allows you to monitor your inventory levels easily, it’s much more difficult to order what you need when you need it.
  • Small business inventory software helps you identify slow-moving products. If you analyze the data provided by inventory management software, it will be more simple and efficient for you to identify products that are slow-moving. Once you know what isn’t selling, you can order less of it from your suppliers and ultimately have more cash freed up to purchase other inventory that is selling well.
  • Tracking inventory shipments from multiple suppliers can be difficult, and inventory management software can help. It’s crucial that you know when inventory is going to arrive, so you can plan your sales efforts accordingly. Inventory management software is probably the best tool to use if you want to track your orders and shipments from different suppliers.
  • If you’re an e-commerce merchant, inventory management software like the software offered by Ordoro will help you keep track of your inventory across multiple webstores. It’s no small feat to keep track of what’s being sold where and what’s in stock overall as a result. That’s why it’s generally a good idea for e-commerce merchants to enlist the help of some quality software, especially if they’re trying to run a small business without much help from anyone else.

Inventory management software is hardly ever expensive, especially when you consider the ROI. With this type of software, you’ll be able to increase your inventory turnover rate by ordering what you need, halting orders of what you don’t need, getting the most out of your relationships with suppliers, and staying organized no matter how many stores or webstores you own. So, why make things harder on yourself without this integral software tool?

 

Author: | Filed under: austin technology incubator, blogging, entrepreneurship, FYI, guest post | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Kiva launches Kiva.org/women and Partners with Dermalogica to Give Away $100,000 in Loans
Mar 6 2012

The following is a guest post from Kiva’s press team:

Kiva launches Kiva.org/women and Partners with Dermalogica’s joinFITE to Give Away $100,000 in Loans to Women around the World

Kiva LogoKivaFor those of you who have made loans on Kiva.org in the past, this will come as a piece of good news. For those who haven’t – it’s a double whammy: you’re being introduced to Kiva AND finding out about their newest venture!

First, here’s what Kiva does, in a nutshell: Kiva.org is the world’s first and largest microlending website where anyone, anywhere can help alleviate poverty and empower entrepreneurs across the globe through loans as small as $25. Lending through Kiva creates a ripple effect in a local economy because with as little as $25, you enable an entrepreneur to build their business and bring goods to their community. As these businesses grow, so do other opportunities: to employ other members of the community, or to make enough money to send their children to school and learn to perhaps become business owners themselves one day. So your $25 loan might help lift an entire village out of poverty!

The best part: When the loan is repaid, you can choose to re-lend your money to help another entrepreneur, maintaining a growing cycle of progress. If you want to read some wonderful entrepreneur stories for yourself, check out how Flaura’s photocopy business, Kumri’s sewing shop, Glory’s goats and Grace’s peanut butter came about or reached their potential thanks to Kiva loans.

The latest piece of good news from the folks at Kiva is that, in honor of International Women’s Day, they are launching Kiva.org/women on March 7, 2012 to help empower women and create sustainable change.

To kickstart it, Dermalogica’s joinFITE program is funding a $100,000 Kiva Women free trial program. What does this mean for you? Free money! You’ll be able to make $25 loans to a female borrower of your choice without fronting a single penny (for as long as the Dermalogica money lasts).

Just for the record, Kiva has already been helping women around the world: since its launch in 2005, more than 80% of the loans funded through Kiva have been to women borrowers in 60 countries including the United States. Kiva has connected more than 600,000 women borrowers to nearly 650,000 lenders, crowdfunding more than $200 million in loans to women.

Because women have proven to be such massive agents of change in impoverished communities when given a minimum of resources, this program is designed to focus specifically on them.

Check out the press release on the topic or go ahead make a loan through Kiva.org/women as soon as you have a chance.

Author: | Filed under: diversity, entrepreneurship, fundraising, FYI, guest post, parent stories, working mother | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Little Helping Hands – Leap Year
Feb 29 2012

Today I had the privilege of attending a fundraising lunch for Little Helping Hands, an Austin based non-profit that assists children/families in in volunteering for great causes in Austin.  It was founded by two philanthropic, social entrepreneur parents who wanted to instill those same values in their kids.  They organize kid friendly events so other non-profits in Austin can benefit from families and kids who want to volunteer together.  Examples include helping to assemble and disassemble computers for organizations like Goodwill and giving out totes full of clothes and goodies to kids in foster care, etc.  My good friend Rachel Muir invited me to the event.  I am looking forward to finding an event where the kids and I can go volunteer together someday soon.  I don’t think my kids realize how lucky they are and how much they have.  I think instilling “giving back” values at this age will be valuable for them and whatever community they find themselves living in when they are older.

Happy Leap Day 2012!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, fundraising, FYI, parenting | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

The Robi Comb – Amazed And Stunned
Sep 15 2011

I get many people asking me to blog about their products.  Some even offer to pay me.  Most of the requests I ignore as I don’t feel the products are relevant or I don’t have much to say about them.  But when the PR guy for the Robi Comb reached out to me, it piqued my interest.  My kids got head lice for the first time last Spring and it was icky, tiring and awful.  It seems like more than half the kids in the school got them.  We did environmentally friendly, non-toxic treatments that took 4 hours and they had to sit around in caps until late into the night (i.e. past their bed times and past mom’s patience).  Then my son got them again in summer camp.  I was less mortified but still very annoyed.  I remember getting them as a kid when I went to visit Sri Lanka and the stuff they put on our heads was kind of like kerosine.  This is America, not a third world country, so as any American full time working mother would do, I freaked.  The non-toxic treatment stuff they have these days smells like a caramel frappacino.  I was tempted to make my kids smell something nasty so they could experience the same need to run around outside without stopping until the treatment was done, but I let them enjoy the smell of eucalyptus spray and coffee smelling gunk.

They sent me the following write-up (in italics below) and a free Robi Comb.  I was hoping that I’d never have to use it as certainly my kids were done with that craziness, but lo and behold, it happened again recently.  After asking my son who the heck he was hanging out with (because my daughter escaped them) and they take a bath every day, I used the Robi Comb on him.  It had been sitting on the counter for several weeks and they were curious about it. My son said his head was itchy and I figure he just wanted to use the comb so he was making it up.  I told him that he simply could not have head lice again.  My daughter and I looked in his hair fairly thoroughly with a flashlight and saw pretty much nothing.  Even the things we thought could be nits weren’t.  He has brown hair so it’s easy to see nits and I figured I’d see any stupid lice crawling around.  At his head scratching insistence, I used the comb and I was shocked to discover it found 7 lice.  I swear I saw nothing and everything in my being did not want to believe him when he said he thought he had lice. I guess it was a good thing I listen to my kids most of the time because after running it through his hair several times and changing the sheets, he can go to school without a 4 hour treatment followed up by multiple combings and daily hair spray-ings because 7 lice do not constitute an infestation.  But I decided to use the Robi Comb for a few days just in case and no more were found.  I still sprayed his head with eucalyptus spray and made him use lice shampoo to repel them.  I was impressed with how easy it was to use and how quickly it found them!

As back to school time approaches, so does the head lice boom. Lice, the ultimate creepy crawler, will find its way onto millions of children’s heads this fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year among children 3 to 11 years of age. However, with the recent increase in head lice breakouts this past year, it’s imperative that all parents be prepared to tackle this common nuisance. This increase has even prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to amend their “No Nits” policy regarding withholding children from public schools who might still have nits, otherwise known as head lice eggs, present on their scalp. The amended policy says that children with nits do not necessarily pose a risk to the rest of the schools population.

This amended policy has many parents nationwide scratching their head, as they do not want to put their children in any “unnecessary” risk by sending them to schools recently affected by an infestation. As evident by this policy’s amendment, head lice is not so much of a health or hygiene issue; however the way these pests are commonly treated is of greater concern. In the past, the only way to effectively treat head lice was with dangerous toxic shampoos, chemicals, gels or oils; many of which use Pyrethrum or Permethrin, the same pesticides found in household bug killers. Today more than ever, there is a growing concern of the health effects of putting toxins and chemicals such as these on a developing child’s head and the negative long term effects these poisons may have. Aside from being toxic, many of these “traditional” treatments have also been widely reported to not even work, as the lice, in most cases, have built up a resistance to the pesticides used rendering them essentially useless.

In the event your child brings home more than just homework this school year, the Robi Comb from LiceGuard is an ideal product for ridding their scalp of lice without the use of harmful chemicals. The Robi Comb is a non-invasive electronic lice comb powered by a single AA battery that detects and destroys lice on contact simply by combing it through dry hair. When the Robi Comb’s metal teeth touch lice, the lice get zapped, die and then get combed away. Unlike chemical treatments, the Robi Comb can be used as often as you like and can be used repeatedly by the entire family. The Robi Comb lets you know by an audible signal whether or not head lice are present, so it can be used to detect an infestation as well as treat it. In fact, many school nurses are now using the Robi Comb for exactly that reason. School nurses report that Robi Comb is able to find lice which they have missed when checking visually. More than 3,000 school districts in all 50 states are now currently using the Robi Comb. This innovative product is available for purchase for $29.99 at major retailers such as Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, as well as thousands of local pharmacies across the nation.

Author: | Filed under: FYI, parent stories, parenting, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Re-Elect Randi Shade For Austin City Council
Jun 6 2011

It’s been three years since I posted about my friend Randi Shade running for city council.  She ran back in 2008 and she’s running for re-election.  After the first round of votes, she is in a run-off.  I’ve known Randi for a long time.  She’s not afraid to speak her mind, admit her mistakes, take calculated risks, represent her constituents best interests, and follow her dreams.  She’s also a mom with two kids.

Randi Shade is the only person on the Austin City Council who is an entrepreneur. She launched a venture-backed Internet start-up in 1999 about the same time I launched my first company.  Then when the bubble burst she bootstrapped the company until she was able to sell it to a publicly traded company in 2005.  The company was also awarded a patent for its unique method for generating new money for charity.  Randi has been an ardent supporter of growing Austin’s tech sector, and she also served as the Executive Director and as a Board Member of the Austin Entrepreneurs Foundation.

She helped launch the Pecan Street Project to help Austin become a leader in smart grid technology and renewable energy.  She brings an important voice of reason and balance to the Austin City Council and that impacts us, too.  For example, Randi has a track record for opposing red tape that negatively impacts property and business owners. She has a track record for supporting new jobs especially in high tech, and recognizing that Austin is growing, she has always been willing to support development that makes sense.  While at the same time making sure that Austin has the infrastructure in place to support its growing needs.  This run-off election is a critical election.  Your vote matters. This is our Austin and we control its destiny by voting for the people who shape its future. We cannot afford to sit this election out. Early voting starts on Monday, June 6.  Here is where you can vote:  http://randishade.com/212/vote.htm

I believe that because of her and others support of the technology and entrepreneurial communities, Austin is one of the top cities in job growth in the country.  Austin has also been named one of the top most innovative cities in the country.

So if you live in Austin, please get out and vote!

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