Friday, April 22, 2011

"Thank you" vs. "Grateful"...Do you know the difference?

“Thank you” can follow something as simple as a door held open. “Grateful” is when a child has wandered off at the mall and someone gets him/her back to the loving arms of a parent(s). We confuse thank you and grateful sometimes.

So, what’s my point and why am I especially aiming it at women? Good questions! Here's why: You are married or single, moms or moms to be, entrepreneurs, professionals, homemakers and more. You control 85% of all purchasing done in the U.S. (household, personal). Women are more responsible for charitable contributions than men. Are men generous too? They sure are. Am I saying women are more generous? Statistically…yeah, they are. So, getting back to “grateful” and why I’m reaching out to all of you…

There’s an organization called USA Cares that keeps military families who are on the brink of financial abyss from sinking. They offer a “hand-up” to get them stabilized. These are active duty folks…men, women and their families. Their sacrifice isn’t merely their service (which is sacrifice enough). Long deployments and physical compromise can bring financial sacrifice…trouble they didn’t bargain for.

We all thank are armed forces for keeping us safe and free to pursue the best lives possible for ourselves and those we hold dearest. That thanks is sincere, but it’s not the same as grateful...

I am in the final two weeks of a campaign that benefits USA Cares. I work with Somebody’s Mother’s Chocolate Sauce (PR & Marketing). I choose who I want to work with and I'm tireless about fulfilling the promise of things I believe in. Lynn Lasher is the Founder/CEO of SMCS. Her concept, “The Simple Things” campaign, is about someone (or persons), that touched your life for the better. A $5 donation to USA Cares gives those donating a chance to write a letter of tribute…and possibly win $500 retail gift cards.

We agreed this campaign needed to be about USA Cares, not Somebody’s Mother’s. I see the promise of USA Cares and I have been commited to it around the clock. We started against a backdrop of massive Middle East unrest, an earthquake/tsunami in Japan, budget showdowns, more natural disasters, rising gas prices, etc. Despite that, we have won national and regional coverage in support of this wonderful cause:
There has been celebrity and high profile support (and more on the way) yet despite all this, the effort has only garnered modest success thus far...

I am asking you to help me convey gratitude to those who’ve earned it. You all reach family, friends, business associates, strangers, readers, fans, etc. You are on Facebook, Twitter, Google Share and an array of other social media outlets. We all have the power to reach people and touch lives for the better. Please donate if you can, write those letters of tribute, win gift cards…and please, please, please…if you can’t do any of that personally, you CAN share this with others and implore them to show true gratitude. The contest ends on May 5th. Time is short. Here is a link to the contest page and to USA Cares. All winners can redeem gift cards with any of SMCS’ retail partners (online or in person…and most ship anywhere):

Our efforts matter. That's an awesome gift we get to share with the world. The minutes you spend on this will change lives.
Cheers, Thom

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thrive at Live! (on Sunset)...All Hail This Sale!!!

In a time of diminished expectations, financial constraint and bleak lack of imagination, what does one do to change the dynamics? You can start by joining the battle against all three where it is waged everyday: LIVE! ON SUNSET (8801 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, phone: 310-360-1660).

Now I should begin with an admission...I'm no fashion-plate. In fact, I often look like someone ironed my clothes with a lawnmower. That said, no one can deny the benefits of looking your best...and that includes what you wear. So what does this have to do with LIVE! ON SUNSET, diminished expectations, financial constraint and imagination on life support? Everything! If this place can make a writer/rocker/movie fanatic/baseball fanatic/denizen of the strip (that would be Sunset Strip) want to pop in there a few times a week, there has to be some magic in the air. Let's take it one at a time: Diminished expectations...

How about a staff that is genuinely friendly and outgoing , but not in some "coached" over-the-top way. Jen Fields is Manager of LIVE! and she sets the tone by welcoming people the way she might welcome a party guest. You feel at home and there's no B.S. And thank God no one ever asks you "if you're finding everything alright"!!! There needs to be a 10-year moratorium on that damn question (maybe longer). This staff is uber-cool in a down to Earth way. If you're considering a fashion item that doesn't work for you, they tell you! They also work to help you find the look you want. I mean, they really, actually work! Even the guys selling maps to stars' homes just phone it in these days. Moving on to financial constraint...

People are doing with less because they have less to spend, or they are feeling cautious in an uncertain time. That said, aren't quality clothes and appearance part of so many professional lives everyday? AND ISN'T A 50%-90% SALE THE MOST LIBERATING FINANCIAL NEWS YOU'VE HEARD LATELY?! I asked what the 50% applied to and I'm told it is the minimum discount in effect and that some items are up to 90% off retail. How long is the sale in effect you're wondering? Well, I wondered too, so I asked... The sale only runs until the end of January...approaching rapidly. That's what prompted me to write this blog. It seemed downright selfish to keep the secret and so I'm sharing. We are talking about an amazing array of designers, fashions for women, fashions for men, jewelry, footwear, an apothocary section with cool skincare items and essences and aromatherapy candles, etc. You get the idea. This place is not run-of the mill. What they carry is NOT what you would see everywhere else...which brings me to the last point, the dreaded lack of imagination...

Let's face it folks; it's short attention span theatre out there. People can't carry conversations anymore because they use text-speak instead of human-speak to communicate (R U coming to my BDay din?). Of course, there's no imagination! Civilization is getting dumber! This is another reason why LIVE overcomes! It is set up like an imagination oasis. There is a stage (for fashion shows and music). The space is gigantic with a great big parking lot (it was once Tower Records after all). The layout is downright artistic and encourages exploration. Gifts are wrapped like works of art and they even make the place available for private corporate affairs, fashion shows, entertainment industry events and opening night parties. Red carpets and bright lights are a regular occurance. The clientele is absolutely eclectic. From those with cash limits to those with no limits, everyone is treated equally well. LIVE! has not been lost on the celebrity community either. I'm told it's a major draw for young and mature Hollywood alike ( I noticed Hillary Duff on one occasion and Governor Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver on another).

I'm told LIVE! is making room for new inventory. You couldn't go to a sample sale and get bargains like this on brands like this (something like 200 or so different brands). So, I've done my civic duty. I like this joint a lot and out of admiration for it I've said what I wanted to. I've also given anyone who reads this a heads-up about a place that might just help you beat the diminished expectative, financially constrained, flat-out lack of imagination blues.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Put up your DUKES!

If the walls in Dukes (8909 Sunset Boulevard) could talk you would be transported across a 42 year oddysey connecting music, movies, celebrity, fashion trends, neighborhood, artists, working people, suits, tourists and even a few icons. The old Dukes was a fixture in the heart of rock 'n roll country. The walls were adorned with hair band idols and movie posters and signed autographs. The food was...okay. Kind of standard diner fare. But the famous and not so famous were always there was Dukes.

Well, Dukes has had a relaunch recently and the good news is that it REALLY DESERVES YOUR ATTENTION. For starters, they are open until 2am. The interior is more upscale than it used to be. It's still a diner, but you don't have to fight the urge to clean the silverware before you use it anymore. And as for the's damned good! If you compare it to the old fare you would agree it is light years ahead. They make everything on premises...including desserts (by the way, the apple pie portion is pie for two generous...and it's great!). There are healthy items (an array of smoothies and salads), bountiful breakfast options all day and night, really terrific burgers, awesome fries (including the option of sweet potato fries), to- die-for chili, hot and cold sandwich options including vegetarian, and some surprisingly non-diner caliber entrees like their Seared Salmon with lemon butter. They offer a big screen TV which has been adopted by the ahead-of the-curve crowd for casual weekend sports viewing. As with the Dukes of old, the famous and not so famous are finding it and embracing it. A newly approved liquor license will allow that Chicago Style Hot Dog to be washed down with an appropriate beer. And Happy Hour specials are in the works as well.

This incarnation of Dukes maintains a sense of allegiance to what came before it and you can still find a spattering of wall memorabilia as a reminder. This new Dukes is still an informal place where everyone can kick back, be themselves and not have to contend with pretense. Longer hours, hugely better food, big screen TV, beer and wine, quality music, attentive service and deliveries are all welcome distinctions between old and new. But what really makes this special is you don't go merely's Dukes; you go because it's better than you can imagine.