Where the Written Word Meets the Vocal Musing

pchnok-embrace-covers

Two of my favorite things in the world are books and music so when the two come together so seamlessly, I have to share.

Recently I read Jessica Shirvington’s books Embrace and Entice. The paranormal romances penned for young adults were fascinating to this not so young adult. Violet Eden, the main character, learns she’s a guardian angel and is torn between two hunky guys. Lincoln, her own personal trainer with lots of secrets, and Phoenix, a dangerous yet irresistible rival compete for her affections throughout Embrace and then the dynamics change in Entice.

Phoenix is where this book meets music.

Taylor Swift, a relatively well known (okay obsessively known) country singer, recently released the song I Knew You Were Trouble. I loved the song the moment I heard it but when the video was released, it immediately made me think of Phoenix and Violet. Yes, he’s trouble. Yes, she knew it. Yes, she went for it anyway. And we all know how those things work out.

Moral of the story: Read the books, watch the video, and enjoy.

~ Thankfully Exhausted

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Are You Annoyed? My Advertising Rant.

Have you ever gotten onto your Facebook account and your notification center is lit up with a tiny red box signaling that you have new notifications?

You think to yourself:

  • Maybe THAT GUY liked my new profile picture.
  • Maybe a friend posted something interesting on my page.

And when you click on the notification button you realize someone tagged you in a completely confusing picture. On second look, they tagged you in their advertisement.

Yep, advertising is getting annoying. The following are my biggest annoyances when it comes to advertising:

  1. Tagging me in a photo or post that has nothing to do with me only so it will show up in all of my friends’ feeds to advertise your business. (Facebook)
  2. Spamming the comments sections of my posts with your current business specials. (Facebook)
  3. Posting your blog name and details in the comments section of my blog. You’re already linked to your blog (if you entered that information), why not just add great comments without promotion? (Blog)
  4. Anything automated: Direct Messages, Thank You’s, Etc. They’re insincere and a waste of your time. (Twitter, Facebook)
  5. Putting paper on my car: Under windshield wipers, in door handles, etc. Can we say Littering?
  6. Lying. Don’t lie in your advertising. Don’t falsify, don’t smudge the truth, don’t fib. If you’re lying, you’ll only fool me once and you won’t fool my friends, I’ll make sure of that.

What annoys you when it comes to advertising?

~ Thankfully Exhausted

Do You Survey Your Event Participants?

Recently I put together my year-end reports for all of our 2012 events. A large part of these reports included data I received from participant surveys. In my experience, participant surveys are reporting gold. Below are some questions I continually ask myself that have helped me in my surveying success.

What questions are you asking? 

I always ask three questions:

  1. What was your favorite part of the event?
  2. What could we do better in the future?
  3. How did you hear about this event?

In addition to those questions, I always try to get some demographic information either through surveys or through participant registration.

Do each of your questions serve an essential purpose?

Participants have more important things to do than fill out a survey. Keep it short. Don’t waste their time. Evaluate your questions for purpose. Don’t ask them what their favorite color is unless you absolutely need that information. My three essential questions help me evaluate the events, make them better in the future, and assist me in my yearly marketing plan. The demographic information is imperative for reporting and sponsorship acquisition.

How can I tell if my questions are serving an essential purpose? 

Ask yourself the following:

  1. Will the data help me improve future events? (If yes, ask that question.)
  2. Do my bosses, sponsors, or other stakeholders need or want this data? (If yes, ask that question.)
  3. Am I collecting data just to collect data? (If yes, DO NOT ask that question.)

How do I get a good sampling of participants ensuring accurate data?

Do you collect the surveys at the event? After the event? How long after the event? Via direct mail or email? How many surveys are you receiving in relation to how many participants you had?

All of these can effect your results. For example: If you send a survey only via email and ask how they heard about the event, you may get a higher number of results that suggest they heard about it via email or online. That could be because your other participants don’t care to check their email or may not even have email. Your method also has to reflect your demographic.

Do you offer any incentive to fill out the survey? 

I often offer prizes to survey participants. Bribery = higher number of surveys completed.

What do you think? Do you have any other input on surveying event participants? I’d love to hear your comments!

~ Thankfully Exhausted

Royal Princess Academy: Dragon Dreams – A Review

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This may very well be the best book I’ve ever read to my children. 

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I’ll tell you why: 

  1. The main character, Princess Emma, is a great role model for any little girl. She’s tough, smart, caring, and sticks to what she loves: dragons. Though she tries to be what the Royal Princess Academy wants her to be, she proves that being herself is much more becoming of a princess. 
  2. The chapters are short and easy to read out loud. 
  3. The writing is engaging to even the toughest listener. My youngest is a total rebel when it comes to our nightly reading sessions. She never wanted to listen, until Dragon Dreams. The author, Laura Joy Rennert, has a great talent and I hope she continues to write about Princess Emma. 
  4. The reading level was perfect for my 1st grader. 
  5. The illustrations by Melanie Florian were so cute, my kids couldn’t wait to see what was on the next page. 

All in all, I would definitely recommend this as your next read-aloud because, parents, you will love this book as much as your kids do! Buy the book today!

~ Thankfully Exhausted