Balance: Work and Play

The Daily: Mom New Year’s Resolutions

by Cat on January 2, 2013

Happy New Year Mommas! Hope all of you had a splendid holiday with your families. I wanted to start off the new year with a visual new year’s resolution that I doodled the other night…

I am not a big fan of resolutions… but I found myself reviewing my 2012 year and realized I wanted to update and improve a few areas. Maybe some of you can relate:

1. Mom Guilt Bucket. I’m going to have to resolve to having to live with mom guilt for as long as I am a mom. But I’m going to work on reducing more of this. I think I will start by creating a daily mantra to ward this off. Anyone have suggestions?

2. Recording Memories. I find myself sometimes swimming in apps, the frenzy of social media and having to keep up with being “current” with what I am “currently” doing. Oddly enough, I find myself behind on recording genuine good ol’ fashioned memories with Zilla. Things like silly voice recordings, a photobook filled with mundane family photos vs slicked up hipstamatic shots.

3. More human fuel. The amount of driving since Zilla started preschool has tripled. I found myself having so much “time” with him in the car. Not only will I try to make the most out of this, but I will also try and do more things on foot with him and when I’m at work or running errands.

4. No means No! I suppose this goes with the guilt bucket. Moms are notorious for being Yes Men (I mean Moms!). People, places, things…I think I will be far more choosy about who gets a “yes” and be more liberal with the “no.”

5. When I reviewed my year I realized some of my best memories were xoxo times with Zilla. The perfect little kisses he gives me when he says goodbye. And his full force leap-into-my-arms when I come home from work. I know I will be savoring these in my wee old age and I am going to try and get as much as I can.

6. Hooray for handwritten. I am in the stationery business and you’d think I would be practicing the handwritten letter more than anyone. Truth is, my holiday cards were the first time I penned something by hand in a quite a while. It felt wonderful to do this and I felt connected to my sentiments.

Have any of you reviewed your past year and are tweaking a few for the 2013?


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Happy Friday

by Cat on September 14, 2012

Whether you are a parent with a grown child or one whose still in your arms this poignant piece by Devon Corneal on the Huffington Post might make you a little misty eyed. Every single time I get on the phone with my father, he relishes something from our “glory” days as a family. He seems to warn me through his gentle inflections that I will one day be waxing and waning over these very “crazy busy” (as I describe it to him) days I am having now. Thanks to Designing Mom Tori for sharing this. Hope you enjoy and have a Happy Friday and weekend!

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Biz How-to: The Birth of an Idea

by Cat on September 10, 2012

Michelle Harris is a lawyer and designer of Pillito, a fashionable pill bottle with a built-in timer so you never forget when you last took your pills. Not only does Michelle have a busy work schedule, but she is also in the process of adopting. It has been a grueling process fraught with months of endless waiting. How does she manage all aspects of her life? We asked her a few questions to find out.
Where did the idea for Pillito come from? How did you start developing the idea into a product?
Actually, I came up with the idea for Pillito when I started thinking about adoption.  I’m a twin to a male and my entire life I’ve been fascinated by whether we’re governed by DNA, nurturing, or something in between, something entirely our own.
To avoid the emptiness of the wait which inevitably comes with adoption, I decided to see if I was related by DNA or otherwise to my two inventor grandfathers.  My background is in writing and law. I’m not the engineer type, but I soon realized invention is like writing: it’s problem solving.   I traveled to Peru to learn Spanish and work in an orphanage. I love traveling without a watch or phone but I couldn’t remember if I took my vitamins in the morning. I wanted a fashionable, discreet, pill bottle and none was on the market.  Pillito was born.

What were some of the challenges you faced in developing Pillito as a product and company? What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
I’ve worked full-time while doing Pillito mornings, nights, and weekends.  The only challenge for me has been finding the right people with whom to work.  The funding is more of a waiting game than a challenge but one should start looking for capital and knowing costs as early as possible. That’s where people become involved. Check references, not friends, and only work with people are are instantly dependable.

How do you manage your personal life while developing Pillito?
Dependable co-workers are required when you have so  much else on your plate, like adoption, which is unpredictable.   I’ve managed a full plate by keeping incredibly systematic about non-negotiable but boring matters, like paying bills, laundry, and exercise.  While I love catching up with friends, I schedule in advanced and set phone dates. I miss impromptu socializing but that will return, I hope, with some a lessened work load. But if a lessened work load doesn’t happen, then that’s okay too.

What advice do you have for women looking to adopt?
Just like adoption, Pillito has been a celebration of time and the unknown.  Many people’s sadness stems from unrealized expectations.  People expect their children, partners, life, or themselves to be a certain way and when reality doesn’t meet expectations, the gap saddens.   So let go of the expectations.  I have no clue what my baby will look or act like.  In truth, neither do mothers who have their children with husbands.   Thus, I’m trying to use this waiting, this Pillito invention, as preparation to see the positive, live in gratitude, and harmonize with the unknown.


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The Daily: Happy First Day of Preschool

by Cat on August 28, 2012

Just wanted to wish Zilla a Happy First Day of Preschool today. And wishing all of yours a Happy First Day of school this month as well. Am I allowed to confess I am not quite ready to share what little of his double chin or pot belly that he has left or his little squeals with anyone, including his teacher?  Just please tell me it gets easier…



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Balance: Work and Play

by Cat on August 21, 2012

Looking to shake things up a little? I did a challenge course recently and while I hated every minute on it, it’s something I won’t soon forget. I won’t forget the horrid 106 degree weather, the 35 foot climb and those around me probably won’t forget the look on my face when I found out the hard way “desert tightrope” was not a leisurely traipse across a wire. But being a mom and having three million things to do in the day often allows me the excuse of not trying new challenges for the sake of efficiency. In this challenge, the course was designed to be both physically and mentally rigorous, requiring that we support ourselves through upper body strength, core and balance on a wire through a series of varying hanging ropes. I have to say the best part was that I got to meet some pretty incredible women there…including a tough as nails mom of four and attorney, and a mom of three training for a decathalon (hey, even Ms. Martha Stewart and her daughter did this).

Tho I was mixing work with play, I couldn’t recommend more a retreat or mini get away for all you out there where you can be surrounded by other motivated women. It’s a great way to discover ways to fine tune your goals, push you hearts and spirits a little more through physical challenges and kindred spirits.

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