Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Savvy Auntie Book Deal!


Dear Readers,

I am so incredibly excited and proud that I have been offered a book deal with none other than HarperCollins' new and innovative imprint: Harper Studio! Harper Studio is not even two years old and is already publishing books by Best Selling Author, Gary Vaynerchuk, Emeril Lagasse, LeAnn Rimes, Isabella Rosselinni, Amanda Hesser, Goldie Hawn and umm me. ME!

It was always a dream of mine that SavvyAuntie.com would some day become a book - the ultimate source for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids. And now, thanks to Harper Studio, it's coming true! What an honor!

The book, entitled: The Savvy Auntie Guide to Life, is expected to be published in a while...and in the meantime, there's lots to do! First, I am assembling top Savvy Experts in fields from childrens' pop culture to throwing the most fabulous baby showers, from indulging nieces and nephews, to helping them cope with their own issues. The guide will be thick with important information, and chock-full of fun stuff too. It can be read cover-to-cover, or used a reference guide at any time. It's a book a soon-to-be aunt will buy for herself, siblings and close friends will give a soon-to-be book aunt this gift as a fabulous way of announcing she's going to be a Savvy Auntie! It's a way for aunts to welcome friends into the Savvy Auntie club! Or for moms who are aunts too and need a new perspective on the children in their lives! And of course, long time aunts and godmothers will all find great tips in this guide as their nieces and nephews get older. Plus, it's the perfect goodie bag gift for expecting moms to give her baby shower guests as a thank you!

Of course, I'll be sharing my journey on writing this book with you all here, just like I did when developing SavvyAuntie.com.

Special thanks to Debbie Stier, SVP, Associate Publisher, for finding me, and Bob Miller, President and Publisher, Harper Studio, for somehow agreeing with Debbie that they should work with me on The Savvy Auntie Guide to Life!

And most of all, thanks to you, Dear Reader, for sticking with me through this 'auntrepreneurial' journey of mine.

Of ours.


Thank you!

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Savvy Auntie Coolest Toy Award Widget!



Dear Readers,

As you many know, a couple of weeks ago, we announced the first annual Savvy Auntie Coolest Toy Awards!

Now you can share your Coolest Toy Savvy with all your friends, Auntie! You can embed the Savvy Auntie Coolest Toy Award widget in your blog or other online network!

Simply visit this page for your embed code and you're set!

I appreciate your sharing the Savvy Auntie Coolest Toy Awards with your network!

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

PS - for the entire list of winners, visit http://savvyauntie.com/CoolestToyAwards


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Savvy Auntie Coolest Toy Awards!


Child Lifestyle Expert and Premier SAVVY AUNTIE, Melanie Notkin Honors the Most Trendsetting, the Most Luxurious, and the Most Notable Toys for the 2009 Holiday Season 

New York, NY – October 29, 2009 – Melanie Notkin, the founder and CEO of the multi-platform lifestyle brand for kid-friendly women who are aunts by relation, aunts by choice, and godmothers, Savvy Auntie®, is sharing her favorite gifts for nephews and nieces available this holiday season by awarding 12 toys with the “Coolest” title, 6 toys with the “Lux” title (costing $100 and over), and 8 toys will receive honorable mentions. Notkin has identified and stepped to the forefront for the underrepresented 50% of American women whom she refers to as PANKs (Professional Aunts No Kids). This underserved demographic has strong, untapped, consumer power. In order to offer these child-loving women a resource to aid in their holiday gift shopping, Notkin has created the Savvy Auntie Coolest Toy Awards. In order to compile a list of the most coveted and exciting gifts for nieces and nephews, the first toy awards designed for Savvy Aunties, Notkin selected her lists based on the most coveted toys of the season that she found to also be the most innovative. “These toys certainly have that “cool” factor that aunts want when her nieces, nephews and children in her life open their gifts this holiday season,” says Notkin. “From modern twists on the classics to toys that entered the market just this year, we’ve identified the ones we think will encourage play, imagination, as well as learning and role-play. 

SAVVY AUNTIE’S TOY AWARDS


Coolest:

Crayola Beginnings: Color Me a Song, ages 2-4, $24.99 (Crayola)

Leapfrog Tag Junior Book Pal Reading System, ages 2-4 $39.99 (Leapfrog)

Matchbox Rocky The Robot Truck, ages 3-6, $59.99 (Mattel)

Playskool Kota and Pals Hatchlings – Triceratops, ages 3-8, $14,99 (Hasbro)

Harumika Super Style Accents, ages 6-14, $9.99 (Bandai)

Disney Princess and The Frog Tiana Doll ages 3-6, $10.99 (Mattel)

Liv Fashion Dolls, ages 3-8, $19.99 (Spin Master)

zhu zhu Pets Hamsters and assorted play sets, ages 4-8, $9.99-$21.99 (Cepia)

Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABCs Active Game, ages 3-6, $19.99 (I Can Do That Games)

Printies Pet Design Studio, ages 6-12, $19.99 (Techno Source)

Bakugan New Vestroia 7 in 1 Maxus Dragonoid, ages 5-12, $39.99 (Spin Master)

Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen Roleplay Helmet – Bumblebee, ages 5-9, $39.99 (Hasbro)

Lux:

Fisher-Price Handy Manny's Repair Shop, ages 3-5 $100, (Fisher-Price)

Corolle 17" Lila Interactive Baby Doll, ages 3-8, $100 (Corolle)

Corolle Navy and Pink Baby Doll Carriage Stroller, ages 3-8 (Corolle)

Steiff Selection – Lying Lamb, ages newborn -2, $135.00 (Steiff)

Barbie Pink World 3-Story Dream Townhouse, ages 3-8, $159.99 (Mattel)

LEGO Star Wars: The Clone Wars Venator-Class Republic Attack Cruiser, ages 9-14, $129.99

Honorable Mentions:

Leapfrog My Puppy Pal Scout, ages 6 months -3, $19.99 (Leapfrog)

Vtech Kidizoom Plus Pre-School 2.0MP Digital Camera, ages 3-9, $59.99 (Vtech)

Barbie Fashion Fever Fashionista Doll, ages 3-8, $11.99 (Mattel)

Moxie Girlz Doll, ages 4-8, $9.99 (MGA Entertainment)

Best Friends Club Dolls, ages 6-10, $39.99 (MGA Entertainment)

LEGO Bionicle Baramus, ages 9-16, $41.00, (LEGO)

Nerf N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35 Blaster with 35 Darts, ages 6-11, $34.99 (Hasbro)

Dell Inspiron Mini 10V, Nickelodeon Edition, ages 8-12, $329.00 (Dell)

Each winning toy will be listed on Savvy Auntie and will link to an online retailer.  Winners will also receive an award winning seal to post on their site, further attracting the PANK demographic with Notkin’s stamp of approval.  “Kids know that the cool aunt, godmother, or best friend always gives the coolest gifts during the holidays.  The Savvy Auntie Toy Awards support all the cool aunts out there,” says Notkin.

Notkin is a regular on FOX News and has appeared on NBC, CBS and Better TV as taste-maker for children’s trends. She’s been published in The New York Times and writes a blog about her experience as the founder of Savvy Auntie. Additionally, she is the Editor in Chief of SavvyAuntie.com and ensures all content is aunt-friendly and newsworthy to child development as well as the Savvy Auntie lifestyle.  SavvyAuntie.com’s integrity earned a Webby Award nomination in 2009 for Best Parenting/Family site.

For additional information, follow Melanie Notkin on Twitter @savvyauntie!  For interviews with Melanie Notkin as well as additional information on the Savvy Auntie Toy Awards and on the Savvy Auntie platform, please contact agcrisci@gmail.com.

###

About Savvy Auntie

SavvyAuntie.com, Webby Award nominee, is the first resource and online community for aunts – Aunts by Relation (ABR), Aunts by Choice (ABC) and all fabulous kid-friendly women. The website offers advice and expertise developed just for aunts, along with activities and gift ideas for their nieces and nephews. Moreover, the Savvy Auntie community enables aunts to connect and share the best and most challenging parts of aunt-hood with their Savvy Auntie friends. Dubbed “the first parenting site for non-parents,” and earning praise from the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, More Magazine and others, Savvy Auntie empowers and engages aunts with whatever they need celebrate aunt-hood. The site can be found at www.SavvyAuntie.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Harold, Clifford and Me


Dear Readers,

First, let me apologize for being somewhat remiss and not tending to this blog more often. Savvy Auntie, now close to 15 months old, is growing by leaps and bounds and it's all I can do to keep up with it all. Which is a wonderful problem to have. I wish it upon all the entrepreneurs (and auntrepreneurs!) reading this.

When I was in first grade (or grade one as we called it in Montreal, where I was born), my favorite time of year was when we got to order our Scholastic books. The teacher (Mrs. Hirschorn of dear memory) would hand out a catalog list of recommended books by the school-friendly publisher, and I would take it home to negotiate my picks with my mother (of dear memory).

No matter what our budget, there was always money for books. I still feel that way.

I remember two of my favorites fondly: Harold and the Purple Crayon and Clifford The Big Red Dog. I remember the day the new books arrived in Mrs. Hirschorn's classroom just a few weeks after my order was placed. Oh I'm sure there were other titles on my list, but Harold and Clifford were my best pals as their soft, shiny covers glistened impatiently against the classroom florescent lights above waiting to go home with me.

Scholastic reminds me of reading as a child. In fact, I sincerely believe Scholastic helped me fall in love with books.

And that's why I am so very proud and honored that Scholastic has chosen to become a sponsor of SavvyAuntie.com. The people at Scholastic love the idea of helping Savvy Aunties learn about some of the newest titles hitting the shelves this season. The first book is Clifford The Champion which will launch in ads on SavvyAuntie.com and in sponsored Twitter conversation beginning tomorrow, as well as other platforms. As usual, I will disclose any tweets, Facebook mentions, etc, as sponsored. I fully support the FTC Guidelines on disclosing paid sponsorships.

Do you have a favorite Scholastic book from childhood? Or one that you've share with a niece or nephew? I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks again to you, dear Readers, for sticking with me as this business grows. And grows... and grows... Yep. I feel like my old pal Harold.

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

PS - Visit SavvyAuntie.com/Gifts for hundreds of gift ideas, both classic and new, for your nieces and nephews of all ages.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Game On, Auntie!


Dear Readers,

I am so proud to announce the latest Savvy Auntie Sponsor! Webwars, an innovator in layered reality gaming and entertainment, is changing the way users engage with online entertainment by removing the barriers between Web gaming and Web sites.
Their first launch is Weblings - a game designed for women! Naturally, we love working with them! and when we discovered that Cindy Armstrong, their CEO, is a Savvy Auntie, we were thrilled! She's one of us, Aunties! And frankly, that's why she's working with Savvy Auntie. She understands the power and influence of PANKs (Professional Aunts No Kids).

Here's the cool part - they are holding a contest on SavvyAuntie.com. Simply answer one poll question, include your email address so we know how to reach you if you've won, and you're automatically entered to win one of two Toshiba laptops!

If I Tweet about this promotion, I'll use [sp] in the tweet so that you know it is part of a sponsored conversation.

Oh and if you love online games - then please check out Weblings to play. Check it out anyway. We love to support Savvy Aunties.

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

Friday, August 14, 2009

Savvy Auntie Goes Beyond The Rack!


Dear Readers,

I'm proud to announce the latest sponsor for Savvy Auntie! Beyond The Rack is an exclusive shopping club where members have access to limited-time, flash sales events of designer goods at prices up to 70% off retail. Basically, they announce an incredible deal and you have a limited time to make the purchase - before it's gone forever.

The brands that Beyond the Rack has partnered with are some of the brands we covet the most, from Juicy Couture, Diesel and Puma - to Gucci, Christian Dior and Karl Lagerfeld. And many more!

Beyond The Rack's stunning ads are running throughout SavvyAuntie.com, and I'll use Twitter to let my readers know about some extra special offers from Beyond The Rack - and some really luxurious prizes too. When I tweet out an offer from Beyond The Rack, I'll include [sp] so you know it's sponsored.

In the meantime, if you decide to become a member, go to this page and use code SAVVYAUNTIE to get a $10 shopping credit. When you log in, you will see ($10 Credit) next to "Account" at the top of the page.

Thanks to Beyond The Rack for giving Savvy Aunties some great deals on some fabulous fashion!

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

PS - Some offers will be exclusively promoted via Twitter, so please login or join Twitter and follow me at Twitter.com/SavvyAuntie to take advantage of them!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yes. I'm Happy.


Dear Readers,


I'm happy.

I'm not happy all of the time. I have a down day now and again. Usually, when I have a down day, it's not caused by any one issue. Or any one person. In fact, I often have a hard time putting a finger on it. I know that it won't last long. I know that it's not within my emotional control (ladies, you understand). And I know that it's not who I am.


Because fundamentally, to my core, I am happy.

In my Savvy Auntie Editor's Letter this week, entitled: My Own Happiness (August 9, 2009) , I write about how once I reached 40 and didn't have the things expected of a happy woman (marriage and children) that I would be unhappy.

But a funny thing happened on the way to turning 40. I became happy.

Here's why. Two years ago, I set out to live life to my potential. Two years ago, I decided to stop resisting my life because of what was not happening TO me. Just a month before I decided to start my own company, I told a friend offering me a part of his business to run, that I had to focus on getting married and having kids, not starting a business.

Just ONE MONTH before I decided to start Savvy Auntie I said NO to a creative opportunity handed to me. Handed to me!

What changed in one month? What changed was that I became determined to no longer struggle for a life that was not happening TO me, and began embracing the life I could create.

In essence, I got a life. My life.

My lesson for you, Dear Reader:

Do what you love, and you will always have success. Do what other people would love you to do, and you will always have regrets.

And here's the bonus! I had no IDEA that creating a life of potential would give me happiness. I imagined working as hard as I have for the last two years and not dating as much as I'd prefer. I imagined not being able to afford the clothes and shoes I used to buy. I imagined not eating out anywhere near as much, and not taking vacations.

What I imagined was right.

I work very hard. And yet, even with the most challenging of tasks, I know that each step I take is going up the ladder of my potential.

I don't date much. In a good way. I've become more selective; I don't date where I don't see potential or at least some fun. It's empowering to choose whom you date and not let the dates choose you.

I can't afford to buy the clothes and shoes that I love (my revenue goes back into my business/dream/potential). And by NOT buying these materialistic things, I am MORE fulfilled. I don't need them to feel confident anymore.

I don't eat out nearly as much as I used to. And when I do, it's often to eat alone. I treat myself to breakfast, lunch or dinner and a good book so that I can regroup, refocus and show myself some gratitude.

I don't take vacations to Europe or the country. Instead, I take day trips to clear my head, or get inspired. I don't miss packing and flying and sleeping in hotel rooms.

The one thing I did imagine that did not come true was happiness. I did believe I'd be happy. But I didn't know that happiness would no longer be a state of mind. It would be part of my spirit. Happiness would be so indelibly tied to my heart and soul that I would not and could not imagine my life any other way.

It's my happiness. It's the only happiness I have ever known.

It's the only happiness that has even known me.

We're still getting to know each other, my happiness and I - like an identical twin separated at birth. She knows me better than I know myself.

I'm beginning to trust she's never going away.

And dare I say it, she's beautiful.

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Change Nation Interview

Dear Readers,

I met Ariane de Bonvoisin a year ago, and we quickly become fast friends. She is the Founder and CEO of First30Days.com, a site and brand that enables you to change your life so you are living the best life you can.

I was honored that Ariane interviewed me for her Change Nation series - about launching my business, for free.

Here's a link to the article, which I hope you find helpful. It includes a link to the video interview.

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Savvy Auntie Gift Ideas on NBC's The 10! Show

Dear Readers,

I'm feeling MUCH more comfortable on TV. Starting to get the hang of it. Here's my latest NBC 10! Show appearance - with gift ideas for the Savvy Auntie!




By the way - I appear weekly on Fox News Strategy Room, Thursdays at 3PM ET! Catch me there live online!

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First Savvy Auntie Video!

Dear Readers,

Thanks to Savvy Interns Liat Tsarfati and Becky Steinberg, and the incredibly talented Tim Kress-Spatz of Ambush.TV, we produced our very first Savvy Auntie tv video!

This first episode is dedicated to Savvy Auntie's Day July 26th!!

Watch it here!





I hope you enjoyed it!

What will you be doing on Savvy Auntie's Day?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, SavvyAuntie.com!

Dear Readers,

Wow... I can't believe it's a year to the day since I launched SavvyAuntie.com. It's been the most fabulous and most rewarding year of my life. I am humbled by the response and proud of the success. And I am so very happy that aunts and godmothers are getting the recognition they deserve. What an amazing tribute to them!

One of the most valuable things I have learned this past year is how good-natured and generous people are. From you, Dear Readers, to the media, bloggers, other sites and online communities, SavvyAuntie.com members, my advisers, my interns, my developer, my designers, my talent manager, my interim CFO, sales reps, photographers and videographers, my literary agents, the Savvy Auntie Experts, the Twitter Followers, the Facebook Fans, the PR people, and the sponsors who are all so wonderful to work with....

In fact, I'm writing this blog post on my new DELL Latitude E4300 Laptop and reading it on my 22" DELL monitor. Last year, @Kara_atDell was following me on Twitter and was very supportive of the launch of SavvyAuntie.com. She even interviewed me for the DELL Small Business Blog. Twice. Kara has been watching the launch and journey of SavvyAuntie.com because DELL is interested in women in small business and how DELL can help them.

DELL sent me this laptop and monitor (as well as some necessary
accessories) to help me run my business more effectively. I won't be reviewing the products - I'm not a reviewer - but I am acknowledging that DELL is supportive of women in small business and we both hope to take this relationship further as my business grows. I'll also be giving feedback to Kara on how well this system works for me so that they can continue to improve their products for women in small business.

Kara and the team at DELL have done so much to help make this process easy and have been very generous with me. For example, they understood that one of my main concerns with a laptop is portability. I'm petite and every ounce more I schlepp around New York City is felt. So they offered me a 3.3lb laptop. They heard me. And I appreciate that.

When I asked Kara why she chose me for this project, here's what she had to say:

"As we’ve chatted about before, Dell continues to look for more ways to connect with customers online. Over the past several years Dell has become active in social media through customer outreach, blogging, Twitter, Facebook and participation with other communities – but are always looking for new ways to build meaningful relationships with customers and get their feedback about Dell products and services.

"There has been a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about ‘blogger relation’ programs…but there didn’t seem to be the perfect format for us. So, we decided to start small and reach out to bloggers we already knew to help us build a program.

"The first aspect of the program we are piloting is getting some of our latest systems into the hands of bloggers to provide us feedback on how they use it, what’s good about it and what doesn’t seem to work for them. This ‘review’ is not for just a week, because who really uses a system for just one week? We asked you to participate not just because you have a credible voice in the world of social media, but more importantly, a wonderful entrepreneurial spirit, much like many of our small and medium business customers. What better way to get feedback about the PCs we develop for SMBs than from a business owner who will use it every day to run their company and already shares business challenges and successes with peers?"


So thanks DELL. And thanks to all the sponsors who have supported SavvyAuntie.com this year in one way or another:

Hasbro/Playskool
Warner Brothers
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Yoplait Kids
Turner/TNT
1-800-FLOWERS
Vivre
pingg
Sephora
and many more to come...

At 1PM ET on July 9, 2008, we went live. And one year later, at 1PM ET July 9, 2009, I say thank you for coming on this journey with me. It means more to me than you can ever imagine.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Auntieversary to Me!


Dear Readers,


Exactly two years ago today, I woke up an "Auntrepreneur." It was on June 12, 2007 that I decided to start the company of my dreams. I didn't know it then, but it was the happiest day of my life.

I have learned so much as an entrepreneur over the last two years - the first year spent developing the brand and SavvyAuntie.com, and the second year seeing the brand and website launch and grow. Savvy Auntie is a multi-platform media company. You've only see the tip of the iceberg....

I thought this milestone was a good time to reflect on a few of the things I've learned over the last two years.

30 things I've learned as an Auntrepreneur:

1) Believing in yourself in more important than having anyone else believe in you.
2) Believing in yourself makes other people believe in you.
3) Success is relative. It's important to relish each success. Then move on to a higher goal immediately thereafter.
4) "You should..." is the hardest thing for me to hear. Not being able to meet others' expectations of me or my ability to engage their good, sometimes really great ideas, is something I am not yet comfortable with. I hear "you shoulds" just about every day. I should learn to let it go.
5) I've learned that by sharing my journey, others are inspired. It's a pretty easy way to pay it forward.
6) All the things I enjoyed doing as a kid are skills I bring to the task now. I loved theatre, for example, which helps me feel comfortable on stage.
7) Respect is something you earn...not once, but every single day.
8) When colleagues in various stages of my career said to me: "You are meant for bigger things," they were right. I'm just now understanding what they meant.
9) I've learned that I'm talented at things I never knew I was talented at. Entrepreneurship is bringing out the best in me and I'm so loving what I am learning about myself.
10) I've learned that curiosity is one of the most valuable assets I have, so I've learned to be more curious, more open and more accessible to diverse ideas and new people.
11) I've learned that I don't have time for a hobby. And I'm ok with that.
12) I've learned that I don't work really hard because I love what I do. I work really hard because that's what it takes. Loving it is the reward.
13) I've learned that a 5 year old can be proud of her Auntie
14) I've learned that friends are very supportive and embracing of my entrepreneurship. And thanks to Facebook, they know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.
15) I've learned that I don't need a lot of clothes and shoes after all.
16) I've learned that making really smart business decisions feels really good.
17) I've learned that every problem has a solution if you really, truly believe it does.
18) I've learned that as much as you may inspire a stranger, their telling you that can be incredibly empowering.
19) Happiness is a decision I make every day. The days I forget to do that, I'm not happy.
20) Some people really do hang on to every word I say.
21) What I don't know, someone else does. They also know the stuff I didn't know to ask them about.
22) I've learned that people are incredibly generous with kindness.
23) I've learned that I can do just about anything I set my mind to do.
24) I've taught myself how to accept imperfection.
25) I've learned that it's not what you know. It's not who you know. It's you. It's 100% you.
26) Goals are limiting, if you think about it.
27) You don't become an overnight success overnight. I studied entrepreneurship, branding, marketing, business management and self-motivation for almost 20 years (on my own - outside of school and work) before I started my company. I just needed the right idea to become an entrepreneur.
28) No one has asked me what school I went to or what my GPA was.
29) Every single day is valuable and gets my company one or multiple steps further along it's way. It sounds trite, but I now have 730 days to prove it.
30) I take my company personally. And I'm ok with that.

What have you learned as an entrepreneur?

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

PS - Save the Date! Savvy Auntie's Day is July 26th and were planning some fabulous stuff for Savvy Aunties and for those who love them.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Savvy Grace

Dear Readers,

Today, SavvyAuntie.com turns 11 months old. I just can't believe that it's not even a full year since the launch of the site! The support and encouragement from aunts, the press and sponsors has been incredible.

Speaking of sponsors, I am proud to announce the newest sponsor for the Savvy Auntie brand. Turner, specifically TNT, has asked me to help them connect Savvy Aunties (and frankly anyone who likes quality television) with the third season of Saving Grace.

After seeing a preview for the show's second season and learning that Grace Hanadarko, played so amazingly by Holly Hunter, is an aunt, I watched the show and was immediately hooked! Grace's sister was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing and Grace does her earnest to help her brother-in-law raise her nephew. It's a very authentic relationship and one that I think many aunts can connect with. Because if this, I contacted Seth Miller, Senior Manager, Digital Partnerships for TBS/TCM/TNT, and told him that we needed to bring this show to Savvy Aunties!

It took us a couple of months to figure out the best way to create engagement through social media...and finally agreed that inviting everyone to a weekly Twitter event - led by yours truly - to watch and live-tweet Saving Grace every Tuesday at 10PM EDT, starting June 16, would be a fantastic solution. As many of you who are on Twitter know, being able to watch a show as a community, sharing our thoughts and anticipating what will happen next, can add so much to the viewer experience. Twitter has made TV an "event" again, something DVRs have diluted over the last few years.

Savvy Aunties, those who follow me on Twitter (Twitter.com/SavvyAuntie), Savvy Auntie Facebook Fans, TNT's Saving Grace Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers, and viewers in general, will be invited to share in the 'sponsored conversation' on Twitter beginning next Tuesday, June 16th at 10PM EDT. I'll also be blogging about each episode from an aunt's perspective.

Because these weekly events are sponsored, I will add [sp] to each tweet. The hashtag "#SavingGrace" will be used to keep track of the conversation for all those following.

Normally, actors or reality show talent will live-tweet their own shows. This is the first time, as far as I am aware (and please correct me if I am wrong) that someone outside of the show is asked to lead a Twitter conversation about a series.

I'd like to thank Seth and Turner/TNT for enlisting me and Savvy Auntie to help make the Saving Grace experience that much more valuable for their audience - and mine. I'd also like to thank creator Nancy Miller for making Det. Grace Hanadarko a Savvy Auntie - or at least the very best aunt she can possibly be.

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

Here's a little information about Saving Grace:

Sneak Peek: http://bit.ly/SAbSGc1

TNT’s bold series SAVING GRACE is set to return for a third season Tuesday, June 16, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). Academy Award® winner Holly Hunter stars as gutsy Oklahoma City Police Det. Grace Hanadarko, a woman who holds nothing back, whether on the job or in her personal life. Hunter’s acclaimed performance has earned the actress two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Award® nominations. She is joined in the series by an ensemble cast that includes Leon Rippy (Deadwood), Kenneth Johnson (The Shield), Bailey Chase (Las Vegas), Gregory Cruz (Criminal Minds), Yaani King (The Prince & Me) and Dylan Minnette (Prison Break), with Lorraine Toussaint (Any Day Now) and Laura San Giacomo (Just Shoot Me).

SAVING GRACE focuses on Det. Hanadarko (Hunter) as she investigates brutal crimes while trying to balance her relationship with her partner, Ham (Johnson). Grace also must figure out cryptic messages from her last-chance angel, Earl (Rippy). At the end of the second season, death row inmate Leon Cooley, who shared visions of Earl with Grace, was executed, leaving a hole in Grace’s life. Soon, she began having dreams of a young drug addict named Neely (King), which lead Grace to believe Neely also shares a connection with Earl.

Meanwhile, Ham’s divorce was finalized. Ham hopes he and Grace can finally be together, but Grace might not be on the same page. This season, we will learn more about the personal lives of fellow detectives Bobby Stillwater (Cruz), Butch Ada (Chase) and Captain Kate Perry (Toussaint).

Grace’s best friend, criminalist Rhetta Rodriquez (San Giacomo), has financial problems that could threaten her marriage. And Grace’s nephew, Clay (Minnette), continues to be an OCPD Explorer, helping out at the police station.

SAVING GRACE comes to TNT from Fox Television Studios and creator Nancy Miller (Any Day Now). Miller also serves as executive producer on the series, along with Gary A. Randall (Any Day Now, Leaving L.A.) Artie Mandelberg (Leaving L.A., Mr. & Mrs. Smith) and Holly Hunter.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Yes And - No Buts


Dear Readers,


Recently I was asked to be part of a panel on social media for women entrepreneurs, and while I was there, I was lucky enough to have met Lauren Porat, Co-Founder, Urban Interns. We had previously met on Twitter.com, and I was glad to put a face to the Tweet!

We were talking about the ebbs and flows of being a start up (Lauren's company helps start ups find interns and assistants who are willing to work for little or no pay in return for a great resume building experience) when she said something that I've never been able to articulate myself.

Lauren was asking me about recommendations for a vendor. When I made mention of one, she asked: "Are the a "Yes And" team or a "No But" team? I can't deal anymore with vendors who say no and don't help me solve my problem. I need vendors who say "Yes -AND we can also help even more!"

AHA! I know that feeling. It's that feeling you get when you pitch a vendor a problem that needs solving, and they throw back a curve-ball: "No. No we can't do that. No we can't solve that problem." Entrepreneurs like Lauren and I also read that as: "No and you're wasting my time...go solve it yourself."

Pain points are dealt with daily as an entrepreneur. Once we decide to start our own businesses, we know what we know, and we look to others to help us with the stuff we don't know. When we're good entrepreneurs, nothing gets us feeling stuck. We're about moving forward, not about standing still.

Entrepreneurs know that there's a solution for just about everything. And we need vendors who get that. We need vendors who go out of their way to help. We need vendors who are as passionate about building spectacular results as we are.

If we know you are going to say no often when we ask the question, we'll stop asking. And that's not good for either businesses.

I want to work with "Yes And" people, not "No But" people.

Yes I do. Thanks, Lauren.

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

PS Have you joined the Savvy Auntie Fan Page? http://savvyauntie.com/l/facebook

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reactors and Creators


Dear Readers,


There are two types of people in the world: Reactors and Creators.

Reactors let the world happen to the them.

Creators make the world happen.

Which one are you?

XOXO,
Auntie Melanie

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dear Madison Avenue, Please Don't Wish Me a Happy Mother's Day


Dear Readers,

Last May, before I launched SavvyAuntie.com, I wrote a blog post about childless women and Mother's Day. It's been one of my most popular posts to-date and so I thought this year, I would simply update the data and re-post.


(First published on May 2, 2008. Data has been updated for 2009)

Dear Madison Avenue,

Please don't wish me a Happy Mother's Day.

It's not that I don't appreciate the wishes. And I don't mean to be the "Ebenezer Scrooge" of Mother's Day. It's a perfectly lovely holiday.

But I am not a mother.

And it's not that I don't want to be. I personally do. But for now, I am not a mother.

So when I walk into your store, or open your e-newsletter, or receive your direct mail, please don't wish me a Happy Mother's Day.

Don't get me wrong. I love mothers. I admire the work and energy it takes to be a mother.
In fact, some of my best friends are mothers. But some are not. In fact, some of your girlfriends are probably not mothers either. Stop. Look around. Chances are about 50% of the women you know are not mothers. Especially since you live in a big city like New York.

Madison, or Ms Avenue if you prefer, just look at the US census report on fertility. In 2006 (the latest report) 45.1% of women up to the age of 44 were counted as "childless." (The number of women over the age of 44 who are non-moms is not recorded.) That's up from 44.6% in 2004. And 43% in 2001. So the numbers are growing. Year after year. After year.

For every Mom out there, there is a Non-Mom. Some by choice. Some yet to be. Some who just can't. None of these women want your Happy Mother's Day wishes. In fact, you are probably hurting some feelings along the way.

But Madison, you're a smart marketer. You can step away from the decades-old idea that moms are the most powerful spenders in the US. Perhaps at education and kids' necessities like diapers and milk they are. Sure. But women in general are the most lucrative consumers for marketers. And we've come a long way, baby. 85% of women make or influence the purchasing decisions in their household. The household, by the way, may be a family of four, or a single abode for one. For the first time, more women than men are buying cars, consumer electronics, homes and doing home renovations. And you might be surprised to hear that 50% of single women own their own homes.

Since the 1960's, when women were finally opening bank accounts in their own names, you have been focusing your marketing strategies on Mom since that is how you have traditionally identified "Woman." But it's 2009 and times have changed. Today, non-moms actually have greater purchasing power because they are not supporting children, because a greater portion of non-moms than moms are still in the workforce, and because they have more time for leisure and travel.

Which doesn't mean that non-moms don't love children. Non-moms have nieces and nephews, by relation or by choice, and other children in their lives that they love and embrace (and spoil!).

Madison, since you are a woman who works in advertising and marketing, you may have heard that I call this segment of women: PANKs (Professional Aunts, No Kids.) PANK is the New PINK. We are the fastest growing segment of affluent women in America - the women you should be focusing some really smart attention on.

So don't turn us off. Don't keep assuming all women are moms. Do better targeting and segmenting. Find the women who spend their discretionary income and time on the kids in their lives - and on themselves. We're here. We're listening. And we're ready to buy.

In the meantime, go ahead with your Mother's Day plans. I too wish all moms a beautiful day full of all the love and joy that motherhood brings.

But please, don't wish the rest of us a Happy Mother's Day.

Because the thing is, we're not moms.

Sincerely,
Auntie Melanie Notkin
Founder, SavvyAuntie.com

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Jimmy Fallon Special

Dear Readers,

This week, I met Jimmy Fallon. Now, being a New Yorker, I rarely mention celebrity spottings because, well, it's just not a New York thing to do. But I have been pretty vocal about the fact that I met Jimmy Fallon by posting it on Twitter and Facebook.

So why is Jimmy so special? Well it's because in a way, he's not. I mean he's special. If you meet him, you'll see he's a truly special guy. He's authentic. He's genuine. He's nice...really talented, smart and truly funny.

The reason why I've been less than 'New York' about my meeting Jimmy is because he's become a buddy. Not a "hey can you come over and help me move?" buddy. Not even a "Margaritas tonight? Meet me us at 9" kind of buddy. More like a Social Media Buddy. Jimmy's my buddy on Twitter. Which is more meaningful, frankly, than him being my friend on Facebook.

For a few months, Jimmy's been following me on Twitter, and I've been following him.

In March, Jimmy showed my Tweets on his blackberry on The Today Show. When I Direct Messaged him a "Thank You! Even my stepmom called me Florida to say she saw it," he replied "Awesome!"


It was kinda awesome, Jimmy.

Then my friends from Mashable.com told me they got tickets to see Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and asked me to come along. When I told Jimmy I was coming to the show, he immediately connected me with his team so that I could meet him afterwards. (The team was great, by the way!)


And that's when we met. We shook hands at first. Then a few minutes later, Jimmy hugged me and said... "I feel like we've known each other - like we're buddies!"
He was right. At that moment, I forgot I was hugging the host of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Or the star of Fever Pitch with Drew Barrymore. Or the anchor for Weekend Update on SNL. In that moment, he was the guy I Tweet and DM who I finally met In Real Life. It felt like it does whenever you meet a Social Media Buddy in real life.

I have a lot of respect for Jimmy. He's using social media not only strategically, but authentically. There's no way he can become 'buddies' with 800,000 Followers. But with the people he connects with, he really connects.

I have no idea why Jimmy follows me on Twitter. I'm not even sure Jimmy knows anymore. But I'm glad he does.

Because Jimmy Fallon's a really special guy. IRL.

xoxo,
Auntie Melanie

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon is up for a Webby Award! You can vote in the People's Voice portion of the awards at http://pv.webbyawards.com/
Late Night is under > Online Film and Video > Variety

SavvyAuntie.com is also nominated for a Webby Award for Best Family/Parenting site! Go to: http://pv.webbyawards.com/ and click on Websites > Living > Family/Parenting.

The Webby's People's Voice voting ends on April 30th, 2009.

Thank you!