Monday, November 17, 2008

Low Cost, High Touch

Welcome new friends...  
Laura K.
Mandy B.
Jenny K.
Jessie F.
Amber S.
Marie T.
Mary Beth B.

Today we embark on a new highlowaha adventure.  Hopefully this will mark the first of many blog parties.  After all, if you can meet and mingle with fun women while looking at Tupperware, shopping for new accessories, learning how to use power tools, or scrap booking, then surely we can host a fun party experience tailored to meet the creative interests of our guests. 

This week's highlowaha party is compliments of host Heather S.  Heather recently moved from Louisville to Texas (lucky me), leaving behind family, friends, students, and colleagues with whom she hopes to stay in touch.  Her suggestion for this week's party topic is...

Simple, Inexpensive, and Creative Ways to Stay Connected

So that's what we'll do.  This week I will offer a creative-idea-a-day (or two) about how you can keep networked with family, friends, and colleagues even when there are miles between you.  New readers, you will quickly discover that the real beauty of this blog is not so much the idea I post each morning, but instead about the cumulative experience and creativity of our loyal and generous readers.  Visit the "comment" section of each day's blog for enhancements to my idea or other thoughtful comments about the day's topic.  Veteran readers, remember... I'm limited.  Stay to the day's topic, so you don't cover my week's worth of ideas in the first eight minutes of the day.

Having said all of that, we're ready to go...

I've moved a bit myself.  New York, Arizona, Georgia, Semester at Sea, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, back to Georgia, Kentucky, and now back to Texas.  Lucky for me that, in each place I've lived, I have made (and then left behind) cherished friends.  Therefore, I love and am always in search of good and easy ways to stay connected.  The ideas I share today are two of my favorites.

First, postcards.  I don't consider myself a "maven" (see post titled, 1-800-Maven Trap, April 9), but when it comes to these postcards I am.  I tell everyone and anyone who will listen about their practicality.  They are perfect for two reasons.  Reason #1:  They're postcards, so you're not obligated to write a lot.  Let's face it.  One of the reasons we don't stay in touch is because we are short on time.  Postcards are perfect, because it's still personal (nothing is better than getting something in your mailbox), but does not require the same amount of time (or text) as a greeting card.  Reason #2.  The front of the postcard peels off, so that you can adhere a photograph.  This is perfect, because not only are you sending a quick hello, but you are also sending an updated photograph.  

Now is where I have to get a little fanatical.  I know you've seen these before in camera shops or maybe at the counter of the photo studio at Target.  Wherever you've seen them, they're not as good as the ones I'm talking about.  It's like calendars.  Not all calendars are created equal.  Fine if you don't care, but if you want the perfect calendar then Planner Pads it is (see post titled, Behind Every Great Woman is a Planner Pad, March 10) and if you want the perfect picture postcards (easy to use, thick, etc...) then...

Kimac Company, Ltd.
3"x5" 100 = $14.50; 1000 = $130.00
4"x 6" 100 = $17.50; 1000 = $160.00
5"x7" 100 = $21.00; 1000 = $190.00

My friend Dawn uses these postcards as her annual Christmas letter.  Family photo on front and clear label with limited text on the back.  Voila, her Christmas card is done - cheaper than an actual card, and isn't arriving in July (at best), like my attempt at more elaborate Christmas update.  I have, however, used these picture postcards as change of address announcements, save the date wedding announcements, baby announcements, and for a variety of other reasons.  I like them more than the photo postcards you order at Walgreens or Sams, because they look more personal.  Some of you have been recipients of one of my postcards, so feel free to give an endorsement in the comment section!!!!!

In fact, so excited am I about these postcards, I fully intend to give a stack away to one of our party guests.  Party guests, here's what you have to do to get in the running.  Either post your address in the comment section or send it to me in an email at  Then check back tomorrow to find out what's next.  Veteran readers, I haven't forgotten about you.  Post a welcome to our guests and one of you will also receive a stack of the infamous Picture Postcards.

Onto my next favorite.

Mailing Labels.  I give myself credit for this idea, though it is my good friend Katie who logistically makes it happen.  I call this idea, "Begin with the end in mind."  We all have an idea in our head of how often we would send mail if we were, "a really good friend."  And, by the way, let's face it....  Some friends - depending upon how long and how well you know them - would get mail more frequently than others.  For example, my parents.  If I was really good, I would send my parents written mail at least once a month (phone calls weekly).  Same with my friend Dawn and a variety of other people in my life.  Other people might ideally be every two months.  Still others might like to hear from me four times a year.  Finally there are whole groups of contacts (former bosses, old neighbors, distant relatives) who would render me organized if they heard from me just twice a year. 

I start the new year off with the end in mind.  I (actually Katie) helps me develop mailing labels for all my contacts.  My list of contacts is categorized by either 12 labels (monthly); 6 labels (bi-monthly); 4 labels (quarterly); or 2 labels (Christmas + birthday).  If I have labels left over January 1 of the new year, then I have failed.  It's real easy to see who you've done a good job keeping up with and who you've neglected.  Again, create the labels at the start of the year and make it a goal to end the year with zero labels.

Discover the beauty of my Picture Postcards and using all your labels just became easier!

O.k. that will get us started for the week.  I have lots more in store, so stay tuned.  

Signing off until tomorrow...

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