Tag Archives: Cool Things

New Addition to the Family!

Wise man with a secret(Shhhhhh – keep it on the DL, but…

I’m proud to announce

Charm School Marketing is one signature away from a new partnership venture, as part of a larger digital braintrust – and some seriously brilliant, strategic, and kick-ass human beings who can take Charm School clients to the next level.

Needless to say, I’m honored and thrilled and starry-eyed with the possibilities.)

In related news, I’ve got three major proposals in the works, including one regarding digital & interactive textbooks, one mobile app for the legal world, and one to create the first completely free bachelor’s education — complete with full university experience (ahem, also known as “Project Next Facebook”).  These ventures are in various proto-development and pitch stage, but by July 1st, all of them will be in the hands of venture capital groups.  I’ve also been working in new business development down in the Deep Ellum area to fit within a true community vision and push the area into a sustainable neighborhood and creative haven.

It’s gonna be a good summer.  Come September, I’ll be knee-deep in exactly what I want to do: rocking this world.

Twenty-Four Hours

It was a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more I listen to (read: dance to) Katy B’s “Louder,” the more it seeps into my day-to-day life.  The more it seeps into life, the more the underlying philosophy guides the days, weeks, and months.  Where I’ve previously described the angst of the ‘quarter-life crisis,’ it’s not the memories of my youth that I mourn, but quite the opposite: that instead it was wasted.

Listen for yourself:

(It doesn’t help that I looked like that at 16.)

It was a handful of weeks ago that I was driving to work, thinking to myself “is this what being grown-up is?”  The constant nagging feeling that I don’t really have any answers to the same questions that plagued me years ago, just a a few glimmers of insight.  I feel exactly as I did at 16, but with a few additional responsibilities and a whole lot more freedom.  I still drown out my thoughts with loud music; I still drive fast; I still escape situations where I’m awkwardly uncomfortable; I still coach (and play) soccer; I still adore the same things I did then (though the list has expanded some over the years).  And while I appreciate the present tense moments, I’ve never given in or been seduced by them, at least long-term (momentary weakness: yes; reckless addictions and compulsions: no.)  Which leads to an quirky question: did I miss out on an undefinable something called youth?  And worse yet: is that why I still feel 16?

I think this is a good thing, albeit odd.  Going through photos of friends, a handful of them have grown up – they’re married, some with kids, they have houses and mortgages, and have piled on the responsibility and sacrificed (some) freedom.  And they’re happy, happier than our parents were.  Yet it’s not about the rite of passage-style events anymore – it’s all about whether they’re still in touch, moving and shaking in some way.  It’s been made much easier to move toward and from the edge, in constant, dynamic flux with the use of social technologies.  ‘The man,’ as previous generations have declared, will get you, bogeyman-style, when you lose your cultural edge. Now, there’s no excuse.

My millennial generation has grown up in a period of unraveling and fragmentation in the cultural sphere, yet we’ve always been cared for and protected through this instability.  It’s said that we were the generation who elected Obama; it’s said that we can’t function alone, but only in teams.  We’re coming of age, not necessarily into adulthood, but into a larger role as we become the dominant power in this sphere. And given our predilection for optimism and energy, we’ll be the generation to redefine, fight, and expand our cultural power.

Certainly I’m part of that.

I’ve been working on a couple proposals for two serious – and high-minded – projects that can and will change the face of education, utilizing technology and the social space.  These projects address the continued fragmentation of education and the crisis of insurmountable debt (and the uneven impact to show for it).  I’ll be the first to say that my undergraduate education gave me the skills and abilities I needed – and the network to back it up.  My graduate education gave me the clout and discipline of responsibility.  I use none of my degrees in their narrow fields; it was never my intention to do so as none of them are vocational-level degrees.  I want to share this freedom with the world; I want the world to have the same opportunities I do and to be able to take these opportunities at any point in life.  Friedman and his disciples call this principle “flattening” – I call this necessity for a world soon (if not already) in the midst of cultural crisis.  Education isn’t a magic bullet, yet it is a stepping stone in the right direction.  The ability to think, to read, to write, to create, to analyze – these skills are priceless as the foundations of any existence.  A government is only as effective as its citizens; a culture only as pervasive as its citizens; an economic system is only as strong as its citizens.

And I have the heroic impulse (and 16 year-old indefatigable, youthful optimism) to take on the challenge.

My voice is getting louder.

Trading in the Suits

Yep – for a pair of jeans, t-shirt, and tennis shoes.  It’s time to get dirty.

Actually, it’s time to get charming – I’m taking my nascent business, Charm School Marketing, into the big leagues, past the word of mouth referrals (which I love) and the one-off freelance and contract jobs (which I tolerate), toward a future of long-term relationships based on smarts & strategy, evaluation & analytics.  And, of course, toward the bigger business goals with the Deep Ellum community revitalization.

I’m thrilled.

So stay tuned for more updates.  Today, I’m in Austin, meeting with strategic partners & clients.  Tomorrow, back to Dallas to smash the champagne against the boat, then put my nose to the grindstone.

A Funny Thing Happened Today at Cartier

Or at least it will be funny when the new watch I ordered comes in and is fitted to my left wrist and highly satisfying to take a hammer to the one I’m currently wearing because god help me if I’m ever that mortified again.

And in the same vein,

I love that I’m independent.  I love that I have the ability and fortitude to rectify this and any other situation.  That no matter what I can take care of myself – and do so without pretense or fabrication.  I love that I can spend Saturday running errands, then indulging in a little bit of retail therapy without buying things as a salve for a deeper emotional issue.  I love that I can come home late Saturday afternoon, strip to my skin, and throw myself a mini-spa hour (and a half) – and I love that I can then order a pizza with pepperoni, sausage, canadian bacon, meatballs, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, sun dried tomatoes and spinach — with extra garlic.  I love that it’s Saturday and I can stay home, curl up with a book – or I can go out and have a glass of wine alone – or I can wander the aisles at Whole Foods and come home with a odd mish-mash of really good food.  That I live by myself in an apartment I really love (even if I don’t love the management company) and that I can provide fully for myself and my family and those I love unconditionally.

Maybe it’s just been awhile since I’ve been in a good mood.

Maybe it’s just that I’m settling into a good groove and I’m optimistic about what’s coming next.

Maybe I’ve let go of the hidden worry and fear that I won’t be loved again – because I will.

And I’ll even tell you why: because there was a moment yesterday afternoon when I (finally) saw how important it is to love myself, if only because I’ve made others suffer because I haven’t.  I’m not the enemy of myself, though I’ve sure as hell waged a damn good twenty-something year battle of self v. self.

Cliff’s Notes version: I’m the problem.

And because I’m the problem, I’m the only person who can change it or fix it or do something about it, whether it’s straight up abatement or temporary injunction or imperfect compromise.

Which brings me to a related issue:

I’m a creative person who likes – no, needs – to be immersed in collaborative work.  Simply, I need to work with smart, creative people.  Who are not like me — who are more than me.  More visionary.  More creative.  Smarter.  Faster.  More more more to combat the collective weaknesses (my own included) and enhance the collective strengths (my own included) and achieve the common goal.  This isn’t a lofty abstract desire; this is a need.

The problem with collaboration is that it requires true commitment.  Discipline.  Passion.  Attention.  Even habit.  And the emotional, personal connection with collaboration is crucial – you gotta be a believer or it all falls apart.  You take make anyone play on a team, but if a single member’s heart isn’t in it, the whole collaborative process is a sham, a ruse, a shell of false idolatry.  Add in an inability to effectively communicate (ahem, honestly and openly), add in a layer of politics, and add in a disaffected attitude, and welcome to disaster.

Also known as my personal hell.  The wide-eyed promise of collaboration for an amazingly awesome goal torn apart because the discipline, attention, and passion of one single team member rings hollow.  To see the house this team has built is a case study for the gods – yet this house will be bulldozed because we didn’t choose the perfect wallpaper in the living room and there’s a leaky faucet in the bathroom, that…it destroys me.  It disrupts the collaborative process – that discipline, that habit, that passion – and for what?  Something trivial.

Maybe it should be seen from another perspective – that I allow the destruction of this one house to distract me from the neighborhood of houses previously constructed.  That I’m the disruption on the team rather than the guy sitting in the ‘dozer.

Problem is, the guy sitting in the ‘dozer doesn’t know how to operate heavy equipment…and probably doesn’t realize what’s going on or what he’s about to do.  Yet another sign something is in rotten in Denmark, another indication of poor communication and inadequate leadership.

And here we come to another rampant weakness of mine: reason and precision.  Always tell me why.  If only because it’s the only thing that will convince me that at minimum you understand what it is you’re doing and see the scope of things as something slightly larger (at minimum) than yourself.  Or you don’t, but are still okay with things not being larger than yourself.

And another weakness: trust.  I’ll trust you until you give me reason not to.  You can earn trust back after that point, but not without a considerable amount of effort and energy, at least to partially compensate for the time, effort, energy I expended in cleaning up the mess I trusted you not to make.  (An honest “I’m sorry” typically does the trick.)

Despite the weaknesses, I don’t know what to do about the breakdown of collaboration.  Smear a layer of frustration and disappointment on as well; it brings out the troubling flavor from the overmasticated texture.  Some say go to the mattresses; others say mercy; still others wonder if there’s a trusted resource able to do anything.  I fear the die has been cast and only now are the implications of betting everything peaking through the veil of a hasty, backed-in-a-corner decision.

Learning the Hips

I’ve started into dance classes this month as part of my grand plan to learn something new every month this year, matching interests with curiosities.  (This is a habit/trait/characteristic I learned from my father, by the way.)  Go resolutions.

But among my most favorite of songs is the one below.  It was featured this morning and it’s amazing how much better I feel just to “leave it on the dance floor” – and, of course, its always a great reminder that the exuberance of love still rings true.  And now, watching the music video, I’m reinvigorated for Brazil, yearning to get down there.

But enough yammering – here’s the video:

(And a preview for what’s next on the list!)

Zola the Chopper

For the first time ever, I was on a motorcycle this past week. Allow me to introduce Zola, a beautiful fiery red chopper, and her owner, Stephen:

The experience was incredible.

And that’s all I’ve got for you at the moment – it was incredible.  We traveled through Grapevine, opening it up out on the access roads paralleling the highway, crossed Grapevine dam, wound our way through downtown.  I got into my car the next morning and something was off; the car wouldn’t respond or go like Zola (nor its driver) did.  I found myself speeding excessively, windows down, in a subconscious attempt to feel as open and free, thrilled and submissively trusting – as I had the night before.

It’s still riding on my mind, the wind through my hair, forcibly filling my lungs and etching my face.  And that type of submissiveness – to the driver, to the bike, to the elements – yet still maintaining a dominant presence.  Hmmmmmm….

It’s a perfect experience for a shift in a person’s outlook, if not being.

Hmmmmm…

Time for a Party!

New Book from Anne Hollander: Book Launch & Signing in Grapevine, Texas

Anne Hollander will sign copies and celebrate the launch of “Sunday’s Child: Tales of Love, Loss & Redemption in a Texas Wine Bar” on March 14, 2010 from 2-6pm at Into the Glass, Grapevine, Texas.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PR Log (Press Release)Mar 08, 2010 – Anne Hollander will sign copies and celebrate the launch of “Sunday’s Child: Tales of Love, Loss & Redemption in a Texas Wine Bar” on March 14, 2010 from 2-6pm at Into the Glass, Grapevine, Texas.

“Sunday’s Child” (www.annehollander.com/sundayschild/) chronicles a small town stuck between history and progress, its citizens caught between local parades and international events, and an intimate setting to discover the true facets of love, loss and redemption.
These seven short stories share the joys and pains of life and death, love and loss, politics and culture, all within the walls of a blues cafe and wine bar.  Enjoy the laughter, tears, indignation, daily struggles, and interactions between the illuminating folks bellying up to a bar in effort to experience something new, something old, borrowed time, and the blues.

“Sunday’s Child” has already sold more than four thousand copies, a strong showing for first-time author, Anne Hollander.

Event Details
Date & Time: March 14, 2010, 2-6pm
Where: Into the Glass, Grapevine, Texas (www.intotheglass.com)
Location: 322 Main Street, Grapevine, Texas 76051

Anne Hollander (www.annehollander.com) is a freelance writer and social marketing consultant in Dallas, Texas.  Ms. Hollander graduated in 2004 from Smith College and regularly travels the world in search of stories and characters.

Book Details
Title: Sunday’s Child: Tales of Love, Loss & Redemption in a Texas Wine Bar
Author: Anne Hollander
Publisher: Anne Hollander
Website: www.annehollander.com/sundayschild
ISBN: 978-0-557-26560-2