Please enjoy the January edition of my newsletter! Read on to learn more about being strong, supporting brands, and how my voiceover endeavors are evolving. I enjoyed some much-needed time for family and reflection in December and I hope you did, too. I welcome and appreciate your feedback as I publish this third edition of my newsletter. *Tune in next month as I'll be sharing helpful tips for Valentine's Day.
🎤 (TL/DR) If you’d prefer to listen to vs. read this newsletter, please comment below and I’ll provide a recorded version moving forward. You’ll be able to stream each edition like a podcast. Let me know!
#newyear2023 #goalsetting #voiceover #voiceactor #contentcreator #brandambassador #strongbrandvoice
Happy New Year! January always presents itself as a special time that’s ripe with goal-setting and fresh starts. As much as I would like to lean into the helpful mantras that warn of all of this “new beginning” fluff – reminding us that we don’t have to transform our lives in the first two weeks of the new year, I do need to realize some physical transformation this year. I have endured a lot of change over the past two years and my body is a stark reflection of that time. Time spent hibernating during the winter months of 2020 into 2021 as I healed from radiation treatments (breast cancer) and comforted myself with Christmas cookies and cheese plates. That comfort eating continued throughout 2021 as I started to build my business. Another holiday season came and went, and the pounds continued to pile on. I rang in 2022 with so much hope and naïve intentions to get healthy and make new habits stick. I clicked on every pop-up ad, downloaded every meal plan, joined a gym, and participated in a 60-day workout challenge. None of it worked for me. I gained weight.
Nothing made sense until I started listening to the audiobook version of “Change Your Schedule, Change your Life,” by Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, an ayurvedic guru and circadian rhythm expert. His book explains how everything we do from the moment we wake up until we go to sleep is impacted by our timing. When we decide to wake up, work out, eat and sleep makes a huge difference in how successful we’ll be at losing weight or having more energy. Consistency is key, but the key to consistency is discipline. Being disciplined requires rigidity. You must put in the work, day after day, to get the results you want. I won’t get into the specific tactics outlined in the book, but you should check it out for yourself. It made a lot of sense to me. The author explains that there are peaks and valleys in the productivity and efficiency of our body’s interwoven systems and those fluctuations determine your burn rate. If your calorie-burning oven is only set on high for a short window of time, that’s when you should eat your largest meal. That makes sense, right?
My biggest challenge is my mindset. I enjoy working out once I’m on a treadmill or walking the paths in my neighborhood, but I struggle with getting there. The book suggests a militaristic daily schedule that I cannot maintain. I’m motivated to get the results I want, but not invigorated by the means it will take to get there. So, this year, I’m going to apply the concepts from the book a little more loosely to see if I can move the needle on weight loss without having to work out so early in the morning. What I’m going to attempt to do is “close more rings,” or “get in those steps.” Increasing my daily movement must be the key. Trust me, there is a lot of room for improvement in that regard. Eating smaller meals at the start and end of the day, with a hearty meal in the middle, is also very achievable. The Christmas cookies are gone, and I am embarking on a walking routine that will hopefully have me burning off mental fog and calories at the same time.
If you need an accountability buddy to help you stick to your health goals this year, please reach out. Notes of encouragement and personal success stories are always exciting to receive. What I’m not looking for are MLM offers or supplement suggestions. For medical reasons, I cannot take most herbal supplements on the market today. Thank you in advance for being kind.
Branding Tip: Now that the holiday hustle is behind us, we’ve been inundated with goal-setting ads and promotions telling us how best to kick off the New Year. As you review the holiday marketing tactics you implemented this past season, keep in mind that an effective marketing strategy must focus not only on those customers who jumped on a coupon or promotion but the customers who have been loyal to your brand all year long. How are you keeping your messaging and product offerings fresh for each segment of your audience? Engage with your customers often and request feedback. Only then can you grow to meet the needs of new and veteran clients.
Support Local: I’m proud to say that I was able to support a handful of the small businesses I highlighted in the holiday gift list featured in my November newsletter. I purchased earrings and bracelets from KEVA Style; candles, soap, and a bath bomb from Never Enough; no-show lounge socks from Yenta + Posha; and personalized flowerpots from Wooed. I also utilized a small business in my neighborhood to customize a store-bought item. It felt so good to watch my family open their gifts from makers and founders I know. I was able to brag about my creative friends while telling their brand stories.
Brand Spotlight: Wandel – During a holiday segment, founder Stephanie Berlin, was featured on the Today Show. She shared the origin story of her small start-up and its humble beginnings. Her story and purpose resonated with me, and I purchased four varieties of her bready cookie bites immediately. The name Wandel is a play on the traditional Mandel bread that has been baked and served for generations. The “w” stands for “worldly,” and her goal is to have Wandel bring people together for shared conversation over a sweet treat. It’s softer and more cookie-like than biscotti, but it can be enjoyed with coffee in the morning, or as the star of your dessert plate in the evening. When the box arrived on my doorstep, one of the packages was damaged. I took pictures and wrote a kind note addressed to the customer service email provided on their website. The founder personally responded that same evening! The issue was quickly resolved, and I’ve already received a replacement order. I had to shout them out not only for an amazingly fresh and delicious product - shipped lovingly from Brooklyn, NY but for the quick and sincere customer service experience they’ve provided from top to bottom. You must try Wandel!
Shameless Girl Scout Cookie Plug: I’ve led my daughter’s Girl Scout troop for the past seven years. I liken it to running a small business, even though it’s the largest girl-led entrepreneurial operation in the world. Our nine Cadettes are heading into another cookie season older and wiser with better digital marketing tools than ever before. If you’re interested in supporting our troop, please visit this Cookie Link and select “Start Direct Ship Order.” Cookies make great client gifts, so order a few packages for yourself and some to share. Don't want cookies crossing your home's threshold? I get it! Instead, donate cookies to the USO to brighten the spirits of members of our armed forces. Also, there’s a new cookie this year – Raspberry Rally - that can only be ordered online. It’s been described as a Thin Mint, but with a crunchy raspberry filling instead. Yum! Thank you in advance for helping us spread the word by sharing this link. We are always looking for corporate partners and can facilitate bulk orders and deliveries in the Richmond Region through the end of March.
Have you recently discovered a brand you’d like to share? Drop a link in the comments so everyone can benefit from and support them!
I thoroughly enjoyed the quiet downtime between Christmas and New Year’s. I was able to binge TV shows that have been on my watch list for a while: Yellowstone, Wednesday, The Crown, and a few other popular series. What struck me were the soundtracks. The scores written for these cinematic TV shows are phenomenal and should be explored even if you don’t plan to watch the shows themselves.
One artist inspired me to head into this new year with the desire to evolve. Evolving doesn’t necessarily mean you’re leaving your past skills behind; all of your experience comes along with you on the journey. In my mind, no one embodies musical evolution better than Maynard James Keenan. I grew up listening to him as the lead singer of Tool. He then reshaped his writing, bandmates, and approach to vocals with the launch of A Perfect Circle. Many years later, he further departed from his original musical compositions as he put together his third successful band, Puscifer. I’m no music historian, and I assure you, there are volumes written about Maynard on the Internet, but what I’ve grown to admire about him is his keen ability to create art. He continues to weave his signature musicality into every new genre he ventures into. His hard rock music has been sampled and woven into numerous movies and TV soundtracks over the years, but most recently, Puscifer was featured in Yellowstone. That's quite the creative arc.
My initial attraction to Tool came from friends in high school who got me into the band. It was controversial, had explicit lyrics, was dangerous, and was a departure from the repetitive emo rock that dominated mainstream radio at the time. I stuck with it because of the visceral nature of Maynard’s voice. It stops me in my tracks every time. He certainly knows how to create a “vibe.” Some musicians and vocalists have a hard time breaking out of their initial genre, and that could be that their voice is too operatic, or their vibrato lends itself only to blues or soul, but Maynard is a chameleon, and I don’t think he gets enough credit for the brilliance that he lays down in the studio or through his live performance art.
Where am I going with this? Well, as a voice actor, I have certain genres that I feel comfortable performing in. I have never delved into character voices, accents, or anime (outside of reading to my children), but that simply means I haven’t tried them yet. I’m certainly leaving the door open, and I’m always willing to learn new techniques and train in ways that allow me to audition for a wide variety of roles. My wish for all of us is that we head into this new year with open minds, open hearts, and open pathways to evolution - allowing ourselves to try new things, add new skills, and avoid being pigeonholed. Let’s see where it leads us. It has certainly worked for Maynard.
Here’s what I’m looking forward to…
-A Disney cruise! Yes, that’s right. If you’ve spent any time with me in the last six months, you’ve probably heard me lament about the lack of a vacation on the horizon. With home improvements, small business needs, and maintaining a household with two busy kids, I didn’t think we’d go anywhere in the coming year. My husband would play coy and waive me off every time I would suggest a getaway or beach locale. Little did I know that he was secretly working with a travel agent to plan our family’s first cruise. He even had us open separate boxes on Christmas morning so that the surprise would be revealed in stages through a series of clues. We unwrapped Mickey ears, passport applications, photo albums, a map of the ship, etc. He’s a good egg. More details to come.
-SWELL – The 2023 winter session of SWELL by Rebelle starts this month and I couldn’t be more excited to meet my cohort, grow personally and professionally, and learn from these amazing women. My “word of the year” is “discipline,” and I’m hopeful that these ladies will help to keep me accountable to myself and my goals.
-NAWBO – I made the decision to join the National Association of Women Business Owners after attending the Richmond Chapter’s holiday auction last month. I’ve known many of the members for years and felt comfortable with the group from the moment I walked in the door. As an invited guest of one of my newer connections, I was proud to be carving my own path and building relationships in my new capacity as a business owner. I’m looking forward to collaborating and learning from these intrepid entrepreneurs in the coming year.
-Another year cancer free. New Year’s Eve marked the 2nd anniversary of my completing 20 radiation therapy sessions as a part of my overall breast cancer treatment plan. Let’s continue to manifest clear scans in 2023! I’m wishing everyone truly sustained health this New Year!
I’m easing into this year with a lighter calendar, but I’m excited about all the events that are sure to come. Thank you in advance for every lead sent, introduction made, and recommendation uttered – especially when I’m not in the room. I sincerely appreciate your support of my small business.
How can I support your business in 2023?
Voiceover – Now recording commercials for TV/radio/streaming/web, narration for videos and explainers, podcast ads/intros/outros, non-fiction audiobooks and meditations, and updating on-hold phone messages for 2023. I can provide event support as an emcee, moderator, Voice of God (announcer), panelist, or podcast guest/host.
Content Strategy – I work with clients on goal setting, brand storytelling, website audits with copyedits, social media content planning and scheduling, personal and business profile refreshes, blog copywriting, and scriptwriting.
Marketing Consulting – I can serve as an extension of your team in the areas of marketing, client relations, business development, project management, and brand ambassadorship. Examples include staff augmentation during a lengthy hiring process, extended medical leave or parental leave coverage, trade show prep and attendance, vision board facilitation, and other short-term projects and placements. I am affiliated with creative agencies throughout the Richmond Metro area. If your marketing needs exceed my scope and capabilities, I will engage a talented team of professionals to complete your project on time and on budget.
Let’s work together!