Sarah Shapard

dare to say what you don't do

It goes against the grain, if you are a creative communications and marketing professional as I am, to tell people that you don’t use some of the social media tools out there, even the ones widely used. It’s simply not a good use of my time and resources, I tell them, to use every tool out there, nor is it strategically advantageous. I don’t tweet even though I have an account. I’d be delighted to tweet for other people but it doesn’t work for me personally and professionally. I have a business Facebook page but I prefer to post to my personal Facebook page. I use it as a “magazine” for my family and friends and am a “fly” on my niece’s wall to read the things she ordinarily wouldn’t say in my company. In truth, I’ve played with almost every social media tool available these past two years and have nothing to show for most of them. At best, I’ve learned what not to do and can blog about what I’ve learned. It takes some thought to figure out what matters, when to do it, and how to have the discipline to do it today, tomorrow and every day. As Seth Godin tells us, “Persist, ship something tomorrow.” Figure out the end result of whatever you are doing. Start small. See if it works for you and where...

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A Way to Take the "Un" Out of Unemployment

I almost didn’t purchase Steve Dalton’s book, “2-Hour Job Search,” considering I couldn’t believe you could do a job search in two hours.  But the tagline below his title convinced me to get it. I’d be at a disadvantage if I didn’t learn how to “use technology to get the right job faster.” That and I am ready for something that works. My online resumes have been disappearing, as Steve’s students say, “into a black hole.” And I’ve been running, like a gerbil on a wheel, for several months with nothing to show for my waiting — and for my hard work.   So, Steve’s got this method that will get you working hard on the right things.  The key is in understanding the industry that matters to you. Then you can use his method to help identify your referrals within this industry. This, and capturing their attention and selling yourself to them.   I give him partial credit for the informational and job interviews I secured this past month.  Obviously I’m not at the “I got the job” part yet but I plan to keep pouring myself into his method, believing I’ll get there. His book, now a bit torn, worn and dog-eared, has become my Bible of the job search process.   You really can’t do the job search, as the title suggests, in two hours. But...

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Be a Champion

What do you do if a child comes to you with a question about this year’s tagline for the Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon? It’s on his t-shirt, and it says “Save the Kids!” I’d have to sympathize with him. Because if I’d were a kid, I’d wonder why I need to be saved.  “Oh, I can’t wear this t-shirt. What if some minister, you know the ones in the business of saving people, reads my t-shirt? He’d pluck me out of a crowd and do his saving in front of my friends. Then he’ll get all proud of...

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It seems to me eating practical and necessary food, like fruits and vegetables, and eating more of them than bread and meat is one of the most difficult habits to absorb into our children’s daily meal routine. And there’s plenty of advice to getting your child to eat more of these healthy foods. Jessica Seinfeld, author of Deceptively Delicious, makes an attempt. She winkingly suggests putting carrots and spinach into your brownie mix. Now the brownies on the front cover of her book are brown. But when I pulled mine out of the oven, there’s no tasting any, “Ewwww, Mama, this looks like seaweed. What’s in here?” If honesty is a family value, then deceptively disguising healthy food as dessert won’t work. I tell my daughters, “It’s spinach. This lady said kids like it. You’re a kid. You’re supposed to like it! I shelled out some twenties and ones to buy this book, so I could learn how to deceive you into eating spinach!” Some 10 cookbooks later and hours in the kitchen with them, I’ve since learned to let my oldest cook her favorite recipes and my youngest add or subtract from the recipes we select. She will drink or eat what she prepares even if I can’t stand the flavor. Her experiment today, however, with a one-tomato-with-frozen-fruit-and-orange-juice smoothie recipe made her scrowl. The tomato didn’t go well...

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Unrestrained Joy

Something happens when your kids go back to school. Your life, if you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad, becomes a conveyor belt. You, your kids get up, eat, they leave for school, you restore your house to some sort of order, volunteer, do some contractual work, they return from school, eat, do homework, and eat some more. Then everybody goes back to bed. It starts to get boring, and the boredom is relentless. It pushes you to do something, anything. What to do on the cheap? Wrightsville Beach is three hours away. Surf, walk, order pizza — and relax...

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What Was That? No Way, It Couldn't Have Been An Earthquake!

Everyone I spoke with yesterday felt the tremors but immediately dismissed the notion they had experienced an earthquake. A friend thought the guy with the leaf blower outside her condominium had something to do with the tremors. How? I don’t know. Another person blamed it on his daughter, thinking she was “shaking the car” on their way home from Raleigh. Are we really this clueless? It’s no wonder the jokes are going viral especially from the West Coast folks. I can’t blame them. And it seems to me we may just get a committee out of this! This powerful earthquake, a first in 67 years according to the Associated Press, will probably prompt the politicians in Washington, D.C., where the tremors were also felt, to create one. While they are at it, they should form a welcoming committee for Irene. Jokes aside, this is an amazing teachable opportunity for your children. To learn more about the earthquake this past Tuesday and earthquakes in general, encourage your children to visit the website for the United States Geological Survey at And seize this opportunity to explain how the tremors originated from the epicenter near Richmond, and how to be prepared for the next...

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Can You See Her, A Little Girl?

Has Your Child Ever Seen Animals in the Sky? It seems to me we’ve been seeing a lot of clouds these past few weeks — and one thing I love doing with the kids is to look for animals or whatever we think we can see in the sky. Our children believe this cloud in the picture looks like a little girl with a pony tail. Can you see her? Try it with your children. It’ll take no more than five minutes. Step outside and...

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In Memory of My Friend’s Mother

How to Help Your Child, At Any Age, Comfort Someone? Yesterday I picked some Queen Anne’s Laces alongside the road for a friend whose dying mother believes her bed sheets are made of lace. “They are so soft, so beautiful,” she told my friend who in turn told me this story. As common, noxious and pesky as these wild flowers may be, they are as exquisitely beautiful as lace — and the gift, my friend said, “They will forever, forever be my mom’s flower.” When someone is dying or has passed away, it seems to me it’s hard to...

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The Power of Rice

Rice — and An Opportunity for Your Child to Volunteer   Did you know that one cup of rice can relieve hunger? Get your kids to take a bag or two of rice to the local food pantry based in Carrboro. It’s located at the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service down the street from Wendy’s near Clean Machine’s bicycle shop. Then encourage your kids to cook some rice for dinner tonight — and go for a night swim or a moonlight walk. Link to Inter-Faith Council for Social Service:...

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What Animal Does Your Child Want to Be?

Beetles. I’m guessing beetles. My four-year-old gets them and I get the goose bumps if I don’t get to her first. She’s like a mad scientist, with her swim goggles, messy hair, flipping over rocks in her search for beetles. Yesterday she twisted herself in a yoga pose to get close to a Rhinoceros beetle she found lying on its back beneath a car. All children love to experiment and explore — and their inner scientists should be given free rein. It seems to me the camp my child attended this past week at the North Carolina Botanical Garden...

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