Archive | Striped Odds and Ends RSS feed for this section

stripedshirt KickSTOPPER

26 May

striped-shirt-logoWell Striped Supporters, the jig is up!

After 5 years of trying to get stripedshirt to take off, I’m giving up.  But in true Laura fashion, I wanted to do so with some flare and with a very public admission of defeat.

A few weeks ago, over dinner with friends, we hatched this idea of doing a stripedshirt KickSTOPPER.

And then, at lunch with another friend, we kept rolling with the idea and doing a video of my IndieNoGo.

I knew the vision of the video immediately: it is modeled after the brilliance I think is Mike and the launch of the Dollar Shave Club 3 years ago.  I’m no Mike (and knew I couldn’t swear since I wanted kids to watch the video!), but I thought we could do something in the same spirit.  Something cute, funny, short and sweet, and brutally honest.

And so, here today is the unveiling of the video for the stripedshirt KickSTOPPER.  It’s real, it’s true, you can really get 50% off your order at www.stripedshirt.com just by entering “kickstopper” at the coupon code at check out.  It is deliberately a very public – and hopefully funny – way for me to tell the world stripedshirt failed.

Why?

I think of it kind of like a relationship.  Until you tell all your friends your boyfriend broke up with you, they are going to keep asking about him every time they see you.  Everyone asks me “how are the stripes?”  Now I can just point them to YouTube!

I’m also doing this because I gave stripedshirt 5 years and I’m quite proud of that effort.  Being an entrepreneur is really hard, and there is no shame in the fact this business didn’t fly.  We are always talking about businesses launching, about start ups.  We rarely talk about shut downs!

Now I am, with the world’s first real Kickstopper campaign, and a rare public admission of a failed business.  Check out the video, and if you like it, pass it on!  (Cause it wouldn’t hurt if I sold a few more shirts!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP_KBl9sWmk

Thank you so much for all the support and encouragement along the way these past 5 years.  It is beyond appreciated!

(please no lawsuits, Kickstarter or Indiegogo, all I got to give for a settlement is a bunch of stripedshirts!)

Parenting Goal: Raise Two Happy Average Generalists (HAGs)

28 Mar

You read that right.  I want to raise two HAGs.  Happy Average Generalists.   Happy.  Average.  Generalists.   This is my parenting goal.

I’m going public with this goal (and seemingly odd acronym) now because it has come up several times with other parent friends of mine in our chats about the challenge of raising kids, the pressures on them at far too young of ages, our crazy over scheduled lives, and the over stressed peers our kids have with parents who seem only to feed into it all.

As a parent living in the backlash of the Millennial generation of helicopter parents raising kids where “Everyone Gets a Trophy” and teachers fear the critique they’ll get from daring to give a student an A, not an A+, I sincerely hope my generation of parents can do things a little differently and adjust and ratchet it all back a bit.

I hope I’m not alone as a parent who most desperately wants her two daughters to be HAPPY.

Not a prodigy in anything really.  Just confident and comfortable with who they are, undertaking those things that give them joy and smiles, not that might get them a college scholarship or a place on an Olympic team (and a whole lot of stress and pressure to boot).

At our house, school and homework is important, of course, but so are play and imagination and creativity – and candidly – veg time in front of the TV or downtime with a computer game when their minds are only focused on what to dress their digital animated Barbie in or what’s happening on ANT Farm.

We have our share of extra curriculars, of course.  But so far, my girls are a bit like their Mama: dabblers, generalists.  And honestly, average at best in their skills and abilities.  We aren’t seeing any glimmers of unique, exceptional talents.  And that’s AOK by me.  It’s honestly preferred.  Average Generalists.  Happy ones!

I feel this way for two reasons.

First, from working with a generation so driven and ambitious, so singularly focused, perhaps also a bit entitled and just a bit of a challenge for bosses and managers.  (for more, read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wait-but-why/generation-y-unhappy_b_3930620.html  BOY do I know Lucy!)  Millennials come by this naturally, they were raised by helicopter parents who wanted and accepted only the very best for them.  Seems like the absolute spot-on approach to parenting, right?

Nope.  This approach disserved those kids.  With them never hearing no, never feeling they weren’t absolutely fantastic, they never:

  • Knew failure, felt defeat, thought about why they didn’t do well in a sport or on a test, and then accept it, be OK with it, brush it off and move on
  • Acknowledged and realized not everyone can be great in everything, and some things you so deeply want to do may just not happen, or may be such a struggle it’s not worth pursuing for the pain.
  • Felt disappointment in their own shortcoming but at the same time celebrated the friend who beat them, were proud of and happy for that peer, not jealous or resentful.

These are all critical life skills.  Sometimes experiences and moments that will break your heart watching your child go through them, but will make them stronger later.

The second reason I’m so pro Happy Average Generalist is, turns out, I was an Early Pioneer HAG.  Whether because of me, or my Mom, or likely a combination, in my childhood, I dabbled.  I played piano, flute, piccolo, tuba (true dat!), none exceptionally well.  I took classes in pottery, weaving, puppet making, cooking, painting, even Mime – yes Mime.  I was OK at all, not bad, but surely not great.  I was a 4th grader a full foot taller than my 1st grade peers in a beginners ballet class.  And I saw that class through, all the way to the Lotus Blossom recital where I’m certain my mile high long lanky legs compared to my tiny classmates was comedy for the audience.  I was a cheerleader only in the 6th grade because it was the year they did try outs based on grades.  I played on the 7th grade volleyball team when I was in the 8th grade because they needed a sub on the bench.  And though I was president of the student council in 8th grade, when I moved to a brand new city and high school, I ran for student council every year, and lost, not getting voted in until my Senior year.

I’m sure sometimes these experiences, and being so average, never excelling, brought on tears from me and a broken heart from my Mom.  But I think they all contributed to raising me to be extremely (almost to a fault, some might say!) confident and comfortable with who I am – goods and bads.  I take on things that give me joy.  I’m happy.  I’m a HAG.

With 9 year old and 5 year old aspiring HAGs of my own now, I’m sharing these thoughts to see if other parents agree with this approach, if maybe we can all give our kids a break and cut ourselves some slack and ease up on this Millennial Generation path we might still be taking.

My timing for this reflection is triggered because this very week, my oldest dropped out of Hip Hop because her schedule would make her miss several classes, which wouldn’t be fair to her classmates when it came to recital time.  And after 9 months of lessons, she also quit piano because her kind, insightful teacher coached her out, seeing it just wasn’t in her heart, and she wasn’t improving.  But the same 9 year old celebrated 2 kickball team wins in a row after a season last year where her team had only 1 win the entire season.  Some defeats, some victories.  That’s life right?

Both girls brought home report cards this week where they improved in some things, and went down slightly in others.  Overall, great report cards we are very proud of.  But we didn’t excessively celebrate them, nor challenge the teachers on any of their decisions about our daughter’s performances.  And we certainly didn’t give out any trophies!

So, what do you think?  Do you think my husband and I are hurting – or helping – our girls by not pushing them to be prodigies in anything at all, and rather hoping they are simply Happy Average Generalists?

Medals

15 Signs I’m Closer to 50 than to 25

28 Sep

I’m in my car driving to a meeting Friday and NPR was on, like it has been since the day of the Boston Marathon bombing.  It may have taken me until I was 42 to get on board, but I’m addicted.  I love NPR.  Both calming and informing.

Yet it hit me, holy cow, listening to NPR?  Another sign I’m closer to 50 than to 25.  And it prompted me - at 9 pm on a Saturday night, home on the couch watching season 2 of Homeland – to put together My List of 15 Signs I’m Closer to 50 than to 25:

  • I listen to NPR in the car.
  • I think any time after 8 am is totally sleeping in.
  • I think any time after midnight is totally staying up late.
  • I can only handle going to bars with seats, and food.
  • I will talk with people about the weather and be concerned about what the lack of rain is doing to my yard and flower beds.
  • I have a yard and flower beds.
  • I think about my scarf, hat and boots more in terms of staying warm than looking cute.
  • I keep my schedule on a physical calendar, not my smart phone or Google calendar.
  • I go outside my house in my pajamas, for longer than running to pick up the newspaper.
  • I subscribe to the newspaper.
  • My husband and I will have a night free of our kids, go to dinner and still be home before 9 pm.
  • A lot of times, in that restaurant, I feel it’s too loud.
  • And if I have even 3 drinks in a rare night out, I feel it the next morning.  3 drinks.  Geez, a far cry from my BC days.
  • I look at the 25 year olds out and am so happy I grew up when the Nirvana and Pearl Jam look was cool, not these micro mini dresses and stilettos.
  • I hope and pray that grunge look comes back into vogue by the time my daughters are going out.  Or that somehow dressing Amish becomes very cool.

What about you my fellow 40-somethings?  Have you also left your 20 year old self far behind?  What are your signs?

Stripe Up for International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

19 Sep

Every year for 11 years now, some people out there in the world have celebrated International Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19.  Of course stripedshirt will get on board (get it, on board, the ship, the pirate ship?!).  This is another perfect day to wear stripes.  Our black and red traditional pirate stripes, of course, or more nautical sailor type preppy pirates, in our red and white or navy and white.

But, if we are going to try to make the most of yet another stripe-wearing day, least we can do is share how this all came to be……

Turns out there are 2 guys, John Baur and Mark Summers, who on June 6, 1995, just started yelling pirate-like encouragement to each other on the racquetball court (not in a bar, as you’d expect).   The silliness got them through the game so quickly and painlessly they figured the rest of the world needed a Talk Like A Pirate day. But they couldn’t take June 6, that’s WWII D-Day.  So, weirdly, but true story, they took Sept 19 because it was one of their ex-wife’s birthdays.

So truly, we should be celebrating 18 years of International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  Except for no one but these two, and their friend Brian, cared, until the power of the press came into play.  It took 7 years of the guys Talking Pirate to just each other on Sept 19, before they finally reached out to their chosen national spokesman, Dave Barry.  One email, Dave dug the idea, wrote about it, and off we go!  Here’s the official site, and the full history.

And so today: Stripe Up, Matey, or Ye Be Walking the Plank!

And some other pirate words.

And a big ARRRR and thank you to John, Mark, and Dave Barry for giving us another reason to peddle our stripes!

 

Red and white pirate stripedshirt

 

pirate striped shirt

North Central: The Heart of Austin’s Stomach

16 Feb

I know this blog is supposed to be about stripes, but once and awhile, I use it as a pulpit to talk about other stuff on my mind – SXSW, Locks of Love, PR, even Lice.  Today its about food.  And while I am biased because it is my hood, holy cow North Central has some good eats!

Last night was my first time at Drink.Well on North Loop.  Awesome cute little bar/bistro I will go back to again and again. It made me think of all the other great eats in my hood these days that I must share:

  • Foreign & Domestic, just down the street, awesome upscale date night vibe (gotta try their bakery next)
  • Gusto on Burnet is really good Italian, a nice spot for lunch, grown up dinner or family dinner.  Don’t miss their meatballs
  • Next door, Blue Star Cafeteria kind of kicked off the North Central yum-fest, and I still adore their coconut chicken tenders and childhood-memory style chicken & rice soup.  Brunch there rocks too
  • But of course, old style good breakfast is at the Omelettry across the street, an Austin classic.
  • Pinthouse Pizza across the street is loud, but a great place to grab beer and pizza, with or without your kiddos.
  • If you want a quiet place for a grown up drink, Apothecary on Burnet is perfect.
  • Just down Hancock was Jorges, and something new is coming, with equally good margaritas, we hope
  • The granddaddy of the hood is Fonda San Miquel on N. Loop.  Amazing experience, everyone ATXer needs to do dinner there, brunch, but also just a night of drinks and chips.
  • And I haven’t yet tried épicerie Café & Grocery, right across the street, but must because I’ve heard great things.
  • We, of course, have Central Market on N. Lamar, and our own P Terry’s just down the street, as well as our own Taco Deli (mmmm queso) and Uchiko which I didn’t want to like but holy cow those brussel sprouts are out of this world, and everything else there is absolutely amazing too.  And don’t underestimate Taco Shack, which has the best breakfast tacos in the city, IMHO
  • We Allandalers don’t complain about the new Walmart because with it, came some great food.  Yes, Hopdoddy across Anderson (if the line out the door ever stops), but I really mean Tarka for awesome fast serve Indian.
  • For pizza in the hood, we now have two East Side Pies, with its great NY style pizza (one on Anderson and one off Airport at 53rd
  • I know everyone talks about their cinnamon rolls, but at Upper Crust, I adore their cheese soup.  Yes cheese soup.  Try it, you’ll love it
  • There aren’t a lot of great hot dog places in town anymore, and I still miss Dog Almighty, but for a great hot dog, Man Bites Dog on Burnet is delish
  • The Triangle is nearby where we can never decide between Mandolas and Galaxy Café, our two family favorites.  Galaxy also has an awesome brunch.
  • And you can’t forget family favorites like Hey Cupcake and Amy and Phil’s, both also on Burnet. And across from Atomic so you can pick up a tattoo and some hydroponics.  God love Allandale!
  • The absolute best the hood – and possibly the city – has to offer though is at retro cool Little Deli off Woodrow in Crestview.  I can never decide between pizza, the Italian Wedge, the club, the roast beef.  It is THE lunch place of choice if you are REAL Austin, and dinner rocks too (esp with BYOB).  Tony is a lot nicer than Lecretia was, but he’s kept up her food quality and then some.  Don’t miss Little Deli!

PHEW, I’m full just writing about all these, and I’m sure I missed a lot of goodies that my neighbors will point out.  My message to you in Austin is Get You to North Central for Great Eats!

Do Google & Facebook really produce the best PR peeps?

26 Jul

This week, Business Insider put out its Top 50 Communicators in Tech list: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-pr-50-the-most-effective-communications-professionals-in-technology-2012-7

Impressive and very proud to know a few of em. But kind of ridiculous and irritating that of 50, more than HALF are either at Google, Facebook or Yahoo or came from one of them (to land at hotties like Twitter, Pinterest, Klout, AirBnB, Square). Toss in a couple each from MS, Apple and LinkedIn, a few from VCs, and a small set of agency peeps and there’s your list.

Oh, and just over 10% of the 50 are from anywhere other than the SF/SV area. Seriously.

I’m not doubting these are awesome companies and SF does have a lot of tech marketing talent. I’m not arguing that these 50 are KILLER communicators. But there are good PR folks across the US, in lots of different companies and agencies.

Other PR friends, does this also ruffle your feathers a bit?

Happy One Month Til Summer: the Summer of Stripes!

28 Apr

royal blue and white stripes with hot pinkMom and kids in yellow and white striped shirtsMom and son in red and white stripes for 4th of July, AmericaToday is one month until Memorial Day, the official start of Summer. At stripedshirt, we are making it the Summer of Stripes! We have 15 great color combos now, awesome shirts for women, kids and babies, its time to get em out there, and into more hands.

The shirts are perfect for Summer: nothing more crisp, Preppy, nautical, sailing club, pool party, park and picnic. I’ve been loving navy and white stripes with Kelly green; yellow and white with indigo; royal and white with hot pink, purple and white with turquoise. Great, bold, color blocking fun for Summer.

And don’t forget all your USA moments, whether Memorial Day or 4th of July, that red and white stripe will suit you well (and be able to be used for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and perhaps Halloween (if you want to be Waldo, Olivia the Pig, a pirate or French sailor).

And when you have that family reunion, family photo, family vacation, day at Disney, an amusement park, a fair or festival, outfitting all the women, kids and babies in the same stripes is a sure-fire way to stick together and look a-freaking-dorable at the same time.

At less than $20 a shirt, why wouldn’t you get some stripes? Order up NOW, be ready to be part of the Summer of Stripes!

Stripes Are All the Rage, But Do They Need to be OutRAGEously Expensive? NO!!!

13 Apr

Louis Tomlinson, One Direction, needs a stripedshirt2 color combo striped Tshirts, for women, kids, babies, red and blue, green and white, navy and whiteRecall, I had the idea of stripedshirt since about 1997 or so, back in my Boston days, when we could “dress down” on Fridays, and when I started whining about wanting just a cute maroon and gold shirt for BC football games, a red and blue striped number that didn’t have Garciaparra’s name on the back for Red Sox games.

I just happened to finally make stripedshirt a reality right when stripes are all the rage. Great timing and famous striped wearers out there like cute Louis Tomlinson of One Direction in his stripes. But stripes are really everywhere, and some of the very cutest, in my opinion, are ridiculously expensive. I’m so happy to be the affordable – and stylish – striped option.

At stripedshirt.com, every shirt, every size, is $19.99.

I had to speak up and write something about this, b/c I just saw J Crew carrying the awesome Edith Miller shirts, some cool stripes, but at a bank-busting $82 a piece. For a TSHIRT!

To give you some other shockers, of comparable short sleeved striped shirts from some of my favorite brands:
Vineyard Vines, which I adore, has a sailor T at 49.50
Splendid, $64
Chance Co, $62
• The grand daddy of them all, Armor Lux, around since 1938, begun in Brittany France with the signature Breton stripe, barely has any women’s options in the US, but the closest I could find, runs 99.98.

So, striped lovers out there, remember, you don’t need to break the bank to get into some cute stripes for Spring and Summer, we have em, 14 color combo choices, for women from XS to XL, but also for babies and kiddos. All stylish, high quality and at a very wallet-friendly $19.99!

Confessions of a 40 year old Jazzerciser

7 Mar

It is time I came clean. I Jazzercise. I am the child of a Jazzerciser. My Mom, now 67, has probably been Jazzercising since 1982, 30 years. And so, I’ve hit a class or two over the past few decades, mostly to indulge my Mom and some girl QT, or so I said.

Last year was pretty weak with my excuses of balancing 2 active kids, and working, and all those lame reasons we give to put ourselves last, not work out, be lazy. This year, I quietly made a resolution to do more, work out, take better care of myself. Perhaps it was 40 yelling at me: “your bone density will only degrade from here!” Whatever it was, I’m trying my darndest to be in class at least 2 times a week (hey, cut me some slack, this is a huge improvement over NOTHING)

But what I kept finding myself doing was whispering that I go to Jazzercise, being sheepish, or kind of making fun of myself when it came up in conversation. Well NO MORE.

I JAZZERCISE and I’m proud of it!

Yesterday, when I looked around that room, the class full of amazing women giving it their all, and the lot of us, in great harmony and rhythm, I decided it’s time to come clean, and be proud. Jazzercise is pretty darn amazing, and the women – all ages, all sizes, all skills – who Jazzercise are even more amazing. J’adore!

It’s a great, HARD work out. I sweat. A lot. I hurt the next day. Its fun, it’s hip and current. YOU HEARD ME. We are sweating to Usher, Gaga, LMFAO, PitBull, Enrique, JLo and others every class. I regularly hear a song FIRST at Jazzercise. I’m serious. It’s a great, sweet community, supportive and inclusive of everyone at every level and skill. And it’s very affordable.

Hip and current! Poor Jazzercise. It gets this terrible rep of being right there with Jane Fonda, Aerobics and the 80s. Wrong! Jazzercise was started right around when I was born. Judi Sheppard Missett stated Jazzercise in 1969. Do you know what else happened in 1969? Amazing things! First man on the moon with Neil Armstrong; Woodstock, the creation of ARPANET (which became the Internet) and the establishment of PBS. Oh, and Jennifer Aniston was born.

Jazzercise has gone the distance, for over 40 years. My mother looks amazing at 67 years old and did over 150 classes last year. Her lazy daughter is getting there, over 10 12! (as of publish, I underestimated myself!) classes already in 2012 and determined to keep it up. I’m also determined to no longer be sheepish or make fun, but be proud to say “I JAZZERCISE!”

2012 Update – I completed over 80 classes in the year!

May 15, 2013 update – today, marked 50 classes so far in 2013!!!!!

Jan 1, 2014 update – 152 classes in 2013!

December 6, 2014 update – got to 150 classes today!  WEEEE!

A Wolf In Sheep’s (Striped) Clothing?

22 Jan

So, this week, I entered the world of Mommy bloggers. Not as a brand engaging with them, which I’ve been doing, but as one. Sort of. I felt a little shifty, to be honest.

First, a Vick’s Winter Warmup hosted by LiveMom, http://www.livemom.com/, which was awesome, and where I met some great folks. But again, when asked “what’s my blog,” I felt a little weird. Yes, I have one – its right here! And I do blog. But most all of what I write is pretty directly focused on stripedshirt (with an occassional Lice post tossed in).

Then I went to the amazing MomCom Austin event, http://momcomaustin.com/, where I was, really, to give away 10 stripedshirts. But yet, another amazing group of folks, people who inspired me, moved me, made me do a little cheer! Liz, I adore you, so balanced and smart, and seemingly VERY patient (www.LizGartonScanlon.com). Meredith, poor girl, I am going to follow up with you, there are so many places and people, just in Austin, who need to know you and hear about smartgirlsattheparty.com. Was brutal to have to leave early. And again, wonder, was I there as a “sponsor” or an attendee?

Because, heck, I am a Mom, and I do have a blog. I have loads of Facebook friends who hear from me likely far too often. I’m active on LinkedIn, Twitter with two handles. I’m an active and good promoter of things I like, and I think when I talk, people listen (except, it seems, my own children and husband). I’m figuring out SEO, and just folded and joined Google+ and GooglePlaces. I’m holding back from Pinterest b/c I think it will suck away the 12 minutes a day I do still have open for going to the bathroom and an occassional shower.

So, again, am I a mommy blogger, or am I just a wolf in sheep’s (STRIPED) clothing, interacting with these great folks in the hopes of them liking my shirts enough to say so?

Don’t know for sure, but right now, I’m hoping to be able to do both, b/c I’d like to do more things like LiveMom and MomCom. We’ll see. The wisdom – and voice – of the crowd will likely sort things out for me. Any community is pretty loud these days, and a fraud – a wolf – will be sniffed out and de-striped forever.

Minimally, I’ll stay transparent, and honest: that I have a striped agenda, but I’d like to engage as well. And along these transparent lines – YEAH to some nice coverage today! Much appreciated! http://austin.culturemap.com/newsdetail/01-22-12-22-25-austin-entrepreneur-stitches-together-striped-shirt-business/

And, last transparent plug, GO PATRIOTS! (and if you need a cute red and blue stripedshirt T to cheer em on, I know where you can find one! :) )

Am I a mommy blogger?Great Austin Mommy Blogger resourceMomCom conference for Austin area mommy bloggersGo Patriots!  Red and blue stripes for New England

Page 1 of 212