May 10, 2017

The Retail Crusade

As online retailers continue to dominate the retail world, the future for traditional retailers seems bleak. It’s evident that many brick and mortar stores have struggled to stay ahead in the digital age, leaving them to face the inevitable doom of shutting doors and waving the white flag.

Sure, the future looks rather dim for many traditional retailers… but we are here to discuss the retail crusaders who have ventured through the rubble and are coming out victorious, the retailers who have faced the digital age with a different approach. Instead of leading their customer to another online store and fight for competitive pricing, they have led their customers in-store, providing an in-person digital experience and one-upping their competition with the power of a simple human touch to keep brick and mortar sales high.

Through innovative approaches, they have changed the way that shoppers interact with their products, building things that can only be experienced live.

Moving Online to In-line and In-Store

  1. Macys iBeacons

Macys

Macy’s used an innovative approach to bringing their mobile shoppers in-store during Black Friday. With their Walk In & Win campaign, they prompted users to install their app and shop in-store to be eligible to win prizes, including a grand prize of $1,000,000. Using beacon technology, Macy’s knew immediately when app users were in-store and were able to send them notifications of special offers and instant prizes. It was an ingenious way to incentivize their digital shoppers to get a unique in-store experience.

         2. Bloomingdales, Ralph Lauren Interactive Shopping Windows

Bloomingdales

Bloomingdales and Ralph Lauren took the difficulty of finding the ‘perfect gift for dad’ on Father’s Day and made it fun through a 4D graphic fashion show. Window shoppers were able to use a touch screen installed on the outside of the store to select various Ralph Lauren Polo items, mixing and matching to create a gift dads would love. They could then buy the items immediately in-store completing their shopping hassle-free.

       3. Walgreens- Digital Mapping 

Walgreens

Walgreens Pharmacy has made shopping fun again. By creating a game-like application on each shopping cart, they are allowing their customers to find each item with ease while saving some major bucks along the way.

Walgreens used a special camera to add a detailed 3D view to their in-store maps. The information was woven together with the store floor plans to show where products were located and where they were on the shelves. Shoppers were also served highly contextual discounts on items as they passed by, incenting them to interact with the maps.

So, as you can see, retailers are doing some pretty amazing things within the digital landscape.

Are the retail crusaders responsible for reports like ….  https://retail.emarketer.com/article/us-shoppers-still-prefer-make-most-purchases-in-store/58dd8922ebd400061c80f3cf

Headline

 

Possibly. But what we do know for certain is that to continue to compete in the retail space, brick and mortar stores need to continue to play to their strengths, incorporating digital instore.

Want to learn more about how AMP can help your business bring digital in-store? Contact us, here.

 

April 27, 2012

College Students' Back-To-School Shopping Behavior, Insights Lab Episode 9

AMP's Director of Brand Strategy, Jason Rivera, shares some insight on college students' purchase intent and shopping behavior. He discusses how brands can leverage these insights to reach this demographic during the Back-to-School shopping season.

April 27, 2012

College Students' Back-To-School Shopping Behavior, Insights Lab Episode 9

AMP's Director of Brand Strategy, Jason Rivera, shares some insight on college students' purchase intent and shopping behavior. He discusses how brands can leverage these insights to reach this demographic during the Back-to-School shopping season.

July 29, 2011

Guest Teen Blogger: Hannah ' 'Sixteen and Shopping'?

Our most recent guest blogger is Hannah Romaine, 16, from Walpole, MA. We asked Hannah a few questions about her shopping habits and brand preferences, and what she believes the future has in store. Here are her answers to our questions:

What type of the shopper do you consider yourself to be?

I consider myself a shopper that always has something in mind. This means when I'm shopping I don't necessarily go into the store not knowing what I'm looking for. I always have a style or outfit in mind. I do have stores that I shop at frequently and ones I would never shop at but I'm not necessarily picky. The main thing I look for is comfort. If I find something I like but it's not comfortable, I won't buy it. I also try to be reasonable with pricing. It's easy to find cute clothes that are affordable. The quality of the clothing is also something I keep in mind. Overall I consider myself to be a good shopper that doesn't spend too much, and knows what she is looking for.

What do you look for in the brands you use?

I look for good quality clothing and prices. I want to be able to pay for what I get, not spend too much money on something not worth it.  If something looks really cute but is made out of cheap material I wouldn't buy it.  The quality of the clothing is really important because you want to be able to wear it a lot, and you want to look good. I hate when I wear something once and it comes out of the wash with a rip, or already shrunk. However, it is all about looking good, and having something cute. Before, my parents used to buy a lot of my clothes, and now I am buying a lot more of my clothing, so price has become more and more important to me, and I do not have a lot to spend. There is a point where something becomes just too much money. I prefer prices at Forever 21, but I would save up to buy something designer because I feel like it would be better quality.

What types of things do you spend most of your money on?

Most of the money I spend goes toward shirts. This is because there are several different types that can be styled different ways when worn. A lot of my money also goes to shoes. There are so many different kinds of shoes. You need a few pairs for every season, and not all of them run cheap. It's good to have nice shoes, because they'll last longer. I hate when I have a pair of shoes that I wear a lot and they get worn out quickly. I want them to be able to last. Most of the money I spend really goes in

to the things I need most, with the best quality.

What item that you have purchased best represents your personality?

I have many items that express my style and personality. One item in particular is my purse.  It's a mono sling that is made out of earthy tones, and several patterns and patches. It's not too flashy or extravagant. I feel this represents me because it's a lot like my own style. I don't wear anything too flashy, and I like to dress in earthy tones. It's a very casual bag, so I bring it almost everywhere. Like my personality, I'm not too fancy.

If you had $2,000 of your own, what would you do with it once it was saved?

If I had $2,000 saved up, I would probably use a little of it for necessities, and save the rest. I think it's a good idea to save your money, but also important to have some for emergencies. One thing I would not do is spend it all. Continuing to save up the money would help you out in the future. So I would not go waste it on some expensive clothing or shoes. I'm not the type of person that gets over excited when they have a large amount of money and tries to spend it. I buy what I need, and do my best to save the rest.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I'm not sure what I want to do when I grow up, but I have several things that interest me. My dream job would have to be working for a magazine. Or anything along the lines of that. I would love to go into something involving fashion. I also love art, so any job that really fits those descriptions would be amazing.

How do you think the brands and products you buy will change when you get older? (30 years old)

When I'm older I think most of the brands I shop at now will become less popular as more brands come into the picture. I also think that as new things are introduced they will become extremely pricey. It will all be about brands competing against one another, because brands are getting a little less important as they used to be. Nowadays, it is becoming more and more about what something looks like, and style, opposed to where it comes from. However, there will always be those brands everyone loves, and will pay a lot for. I think that those brands will get pricier, and pricier because people will still pay for them. It depends on how much people value the brand. However, I think things like Forever 21 and places like that will become more common because they produce styles that everyone will buy for less money.

July 15, 2011

Guest Teen Blogger: Brianna - "A Shopper from Good Ole Lancaster County"

Our most recent guest blogger is Brianna, a 16 year old from Lititz, PA. We asked Brianna a few questions about her shopping habits and brand preferences, and what she believes the future has in store. Here are her answers to our questions:

1. What kind of shopper do you consider yourself to be?

I consider myself to be an impatient and picky shopper. I am not afraid to say that I do not like something. If I am at the mall, I grow impatient sometimes. Shopping with my three sisters can make me impatient. It can be crazy and I hate when they find an item and I find nothing. I have to be in the mood to shop. When I do get a new item I get really excited to try out the product or wear the product.

2. What do you look for in the brands you use?

What I look for in brands is the usability of the item. I do not want to buy something that I will never use again. For clothes, I tend to not buy an item that is dry-clean only. I try to steer clear of it to save money. I also look for something with good quality without a huge price. I also want the clothes to fit and for it to be fashionable. I expect a lot from the brands I choose.

3. What types of things do you spend most of your money on?

I tend to spend most of my money on food. If I am hanging out with my friends, sometimes we get lunch at a restaurant or get ice cream. I also spend a lot of my money to go to the movies (and extra money for popcorn!). I also buy a new outfit sometimes so I also spend my money on that too. I am a dancer so I love getting new dance activewear and shoes. I also love going to the theater to see shows, so money is also spent on tickets.

4. What item that you have purchased best represents your personality?

An item that represents my personality is my tap shoes. I love tap dancing. The sounds you make can be hard and soft. If I get cranky or mad sometimes, they are the "hard" sounds. I am a bubbly, happy person, which would be the "soft" sounds. A tap routine would be the highs and lows of my life since a routine has a beginning, middle and end. The actual look of a tap shoe does not describe me, but the use of it does.

5. If you had to save $2,000 on your own, what would you do with it once it was saved up?

If I saved up $2,000, I would definitely want to keep some in the bank. I am not one to splurge and spend uselessly. I would probably buy a new outfit complete with shoes and accessories. I love getting new dance shorts and tops so I would invest in them. I could put some of that money towards my dance tuition as well.

6. What do you want to be when you 'grow up?'?

When I grow up I would love to be an elementary school teacher. I really enjoy working with kids. Two of my sisters in my family also want to be teachers as well. Seeing them learning about teaching inspired me to go towards that career path. I cannot picture myself doing anything else when I am grown up.

7. How do you think the brands and products you buy will change when you get older (say, like 30 years old)?

I feel that brands and products will become more innovative. Technology is spreading fast and I feel in the future it will be everywhere. In the fashion world I feel new designers and designs will turn up. There will be new trends and old trends coming around again. Maybe new inventions to improve daily life will be created. I am excited for what the future holds for products.

8. What is the most important thing you've ever done in your life?

I feel like I have not hit the most important moment in my life. I feel like I have more of my life to live. I do have fun moments such as participating in dance competitions/ conventions, doing shows, or even hanging with friends. I am only 16 years old; I am learning how to drive which means I am becoming more independent. I am growing up, and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for me!

July 15, 2011

Guest Teen Blogger: Brianna - "A Shopper from Good Ole Lancaster County"

Our most recent guest blogger is Brianna, a 16 year old from Lititz, PA. We asked Brianna a few questions about her shopping habits and brand preferences, and what she believes the future has in store. Here are her answers to our questions:

1. What kind of shopper do you consider yourself to be?

I consider myself to be an impatient and picky shopper. I am not afraid to say that I do not like something. If I am at the mall, I grow impatient sometimes. Shopping with my three sisters can make me impatient. It can be crazy and I hate when they find an item and I find nothing. I have to be in the mood to shop. When I do get a new item I get really excited to try out the product or wear the product.

2. What do you look for in the brands you use?

What I look for in brands is the usability of the item. I do not want to buy something that I will never use again. For clothes, I tend to not buy an item that is dry-clean only. I try to steer clear of it to save money. I also look for something with good quality without a huge price. I also want the clothes to fit and for it to be fashionable. I expect a lot from the brands I choose.

3. What types of things do you spend most of your money on?

I tend to spend most of my money on food. If I am hanging out with my friends, sometimes we get lunch at a restaurant or get ice cream. I also spend a lot of my money to go to the movies (and extra money for popcorn!). I also buy a new outfit sometimes so I also spend my money on that too. I am a dancer so I love getting new dance activewear and shoes. I also love going to the theater to see shows, so money is also spent on tickets.

4. What item that you have purchased best represents your personality?

An item that represents my personality is my tap shoes. I love tap dancing. The sounds you make can be hard and soft. If I get cranky or mad sometimes, they are the "hard" sounds. I am a bubbly, happy person, which would be the "soft" sounds. A tap routine would be the highs and lows of my life since a routine has a beginning, middle and end. The actual look of a tap shoe does not describe me, but the use of it does.

5. If you had to save $2,000 on your own, what would you do with it once it was saved up?

If I saved up $2,000, I would definitely want to keep some in the bank. I am not one to splurge and spend uselessly. I would probably buy a new outfit complete with shoes and accessories. I love getting new dance shorts and tops so I would invest in them. I could put some of that money towards my dance tuition as well.

6. What do you want to be when you 'grow up?'?

When I grow up I would love to be an elementary school teacher. I really enjoy working with kids. Two of my sisters in my family also want to be teachers as well. Seeing them learning about teaching inspired me to go towards that career path. I cannot picture myself doing anything else when I am grown up.

7. How do you think the brands and products you buy will change when you get older (say, like 30 years old)?

I feel that brands and products will become more innovative. Technology is spreading fast and I feel in the future it will be everywhere. In the fashion world I feel new designers and designs will turn up. There will be new trends and old trends coming around again. Maybe new inventions to improve daily life will be created. I am excited for what the future holds for products.

8. What is the most important thing you've ever done in your life?

I feel like I have not hit the most important moment in my life. I feel like I have more of my life to live. I do have fun moments such as participating in dance competitions/ conventions, doing shows, or even hanging with friends. I am only 16 years old; I am learning how to drive which means I am becoming more independent. I am growing up, and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for me!

June 15, 2011

Guest Daddy Blogger, Mike: "Papa Needs a New Pair of Pre-Ripped Jeans (against his better judgment)"

With Father's Day around the corner, this month we've reached out a few dads to share their insights and perspectives. We spoke with Mike, a 34 year old first-time father living in Brooklyn, NY. Mike blogs about fatherhood at www.dadandburied.com. Here are his responses to a few questions about his shopping habits, brand alliances and his recent foray into fatherhood.

What kind of shopper do you consider yourself to be?

First and foremost, I'm a shopper of convenience. I don't like shopping and I don't like planning and HATE planning my shopping. So I usually wing it. orlistat or alli Once I find a brand/product I like, I stick with it, until my wife tells me what I should be buying instead, and then I buy that. I have no pride when it comes to being a shopper; tell me what to get and I'll get it, so long as I'm done with the whole experience yesterday.

What do you look for in the brands you use?

Value and reliability. I also like those jeans that already have rips in them, because I'm in my mid 30s and I no longer do things that cause my jeans to rip, but I like to convince people that I still do those kinds of things. Sadly, though, despite the fact that I buy those jeans for that reason, I remain starkly aware of the fact that everyone, including myself, knows that anyone who buys pre-ripped jeans is the EXACT OPPOSITE of the kind of person who does things that cause their jeans to rip. And yet I continue to buy them. It's a circle of denial and aspiration that I can't escape. I also like Apple products.

What item that you have purchased best represents your personality?

I can't say ripped jeans here, both because I've already said it and also because if I revisit the paradox of what buying ripped jeans means about me, I'll start crying again. So instead I'll say it's the cans of Sixpoint Brewing's Bengali Tiger that just landed in my fridge. Because I like beer, and even though it's only a four-pack, and an expensive one, I am loyal to the Sixpoint brand and when I'm loyal to a brand, and that brand delivers, price is not an issue.

What makes you a good dad?

My total lack of shame. I entered into fatherhood with the same mixture of fear, anxiety and insecurity as everyone else. I also wanted to be sure I was a 'cool'? dad, and not just in an 'I wear ripped jeans that may or may not be pre-ripped'? way, but in a 'being a dad is not going to change me'? kind of way. I quickly realized that being a dad was absolutely going to change me, in fact it already had, because suddenly I didn't care about that anymore. These days, when it comes to my kid, I have absolutely no qualms about being an idiot in public. I have no issues changing diapers, no worries about wiping slimy food or snot or drool off his filthy face, and I have absolutely no inhibitions when it comes trying to make my son laugh. I will do anything to make that happen, mostly because when he's laughing, he's not crying. Please, God, stop crying.

What advice would you give to a new dad or a soon-to-be new dad?

Relax. Before you have a kid, the prospect of being responsible for a child is terrifying. Once you actually have the kid, it very quickly becomes your life, and you just simply have to live it, one day at a time. The most pleasant surprise for me has been that even the stuff I expected to suck ' even the stuff I KNEW definitely would suck ' isn't so bad after all. Not compared to the good stuff, which is pretty great.

If you had a million dollars, what would you buy?!

A house. And an iPad. I can't believe I don't have an iPad yet. Not having a house I can believe; not having an iPad makes me a little nauseous. But Father's Day is coming up...

What is the most important thing you've ever done in your life?

Had a kid. Sad but true.

It's all downhill from here. Even if I have another kid, it will take years before I know which one will be more 'important'? in the grand scheme of things. At least right now there's no competition; the one kid I have is the most important one. I haven't done much else that stands up against him. I mean, I was also on the local news once, but no one watched. So I'll stick with the kid thing.

June 15, 2011

Guest Daddy Blogger, Mike: "Papa Needs a New Pair of Pre-Ripped Jeans (against his better judgment)"

With Father's Day around the corner, this month we've reached out a few dads to share their insights and perspectives. We spoke with Mike, a 34 year old first-time father living in Brooklyn, NY. Mike blogs about fatherhood at www.dadandburied.com. Here are his responses to a few questions about his shopping habits, brand alliances and his recent foray into fatherhood.

What kind of shopper do you consider yourself to be?

First and foremost, I'm a shopper of convenience. I don't like shopping and I don't like planning and HATE planning my shopping. So I usually wing it. orlistat or alli Once I find a brand/product I like, I stick with it, until my wife tells me what I should be buying instead, and then I buy that. I have no pride when it comes to being a shopper; tell me what to get and I'll get it, so long as I'm done with the whole experience yesterday.

What do you look for in the brands you use?

Value and reliability. I also like those jeans that already have rips in them, because I'm in my mid 30s and I no longer do things that cause my jeans to rip, but I like to convince people that I still do those kinds of things. Sadly, though, despite the fact that I buy those jeans for that reason, I remain starkly aware of the fact that everyone, including myself, knows that anyone who buys pre-ripped jeans is the EXACT OPPOSITE of the kind of person who does things that cause their jeans to rip. And yet I continue to buy them. It's a circle of denial and aspiration that I can't escape. I also like Apple products.

What item that you have purchased best represents your personality?

I can't say ripped jeans here, both because I've already said it and also because if I revisit the paradox of what buying ripped jeans means about me, I'll start crying again. So instead I'll say it's the cans of Sixpoint Brewing's Bengali Tiger that just landed in my fridge. Because I like beer, and even though it's only a four-pack, and an expensive one, I am loyal to the Sixpoint brand and when I'm loyal to a brand, and that brand delivers, price is not an issue.

What makes you a good dad?

My total lack of shame. I entered into fatherhood with the same mixture of fear, anxiety and insecurity as everyone else. I also wanted to be sure I was a 'cool'? dad, and not just in an 'I wear ripped jeans that may or may not be pre-ripped'? way, but in a 'being a dad is not going to change me'? kind of way. I quickly realized that being a dad was absolutely going to change me, in fact it already had, because suddenly I didn't care about that anymore. These days, when it comes to my kid, I have absolutely no qualms about being an idiot in public. I have no issues changing diapers, no worries about wiping slimy food or snot or drool off his filthy face, and I have absolutely no inhibitions when it comes trying to make my son laugh. I will do anything to make that happen, mostly because when he's laughing, he's not crying. Please, God, stop crying.

What advice would you give to a new dad or a soon-to-be new dad?

Relax. Before you have a kid, the prospect of being responsible for a child is terrifying. Once you actually have the kid, it very quickly becomes your life, and you just simply have to live it, one day at a time. The most pleasant surprise for me has been that even the stuff I expected to suck ' even the stuff I KNEW definitely would suck ' isn't so bad after all. Not compared to the good stuff, which is pretty great.

If you had a million dollars, what would you buy?!

A house. And an iPad. I can't believe I don't have an iPad yet. Not having a house I can believe; not having an iPad makes me a little nauseous. But Father's Day is coming up...

What is the most important thing you've ever done in your life?

Had a kid. Sad but true.

It's all downhill from here. Even if I have another kid, it will take years before I know which one will be more 'important'? in the grand scheme of things. At least right now there's no competition; the one kid I have is the most important one. I haven't done much else that stands up against him. I mean, I was also on the local news once, but no one watched. So I'll stick with the kid thing.

May 2, 2011

Guest Mommy Blogger: Nicole - "Striving for Oxygen"

We're introducing some new members to the AMP Agency team: Frequency Guest Bloggers. Each month we'll reach out to two consumer demographics or mindsets. This month we reached out to Nicole, who is 36, a mom of three beautiful children and lives in Plainville, Massachusetts. Here are her responses to some of our questions.

What kind of shopper am I? In three words, creative, frugal and selfless (to a fault). Ok, that's more than three. I tend to forget or forgo my wants and head straight to the children's section of any store I am in. I can talk myself out of a purchase for me, but into a purchase for any of my three children. However, when I do indulge for myself, I still try to be frugal. As for the creative part, I love to peruse designer ads for home or fashion, see the insane couture sticker price and create a similar design for a fraction. It's a rush and a notch in my proverbial thrifty belt.

I look for eye catching, pretty items for me and my daughters. Not necessarily trendy, just enough to stop me in my tracks-online or in person. For my husband and son, I look for designer labels on sale or even cosigned. As for home décor, I seek beautiful indulgence - think Dom Perignon on a Bud Light budget. And for staples and groceries, coupons and online deals all the way.

The item that I own that most defines me would have to be my wedding dress. It is the most classic, tailored, beautiful and timeless piece of my history and I treasure it. It could have been worn 60 years ago and could be worn again by my daughters (Fingers crossed). The most defining part about it, however, is it cost $600. An amazing, quality, designer gown for well under $1,000. That, I am proud of, and I love it to this day.

The qualities that make me a good (dare I say great) mom'?¦are. Oh, man, I got stuck. Isn't that awful? The very thing that I have given most of my time to and sacrificed so much for and when I attempt to choose one quality, I go blank. Ok, here it is. I strive. I strive to achieve balance. Balancing a teenage son, a preschool daughter and a 17 month old baby girl. I strive for balance with discipline and fun, balance with housework, cooking and play dates. Making sure to leave time for my husband and oh, yes, myself. Striving to create beautiful memories for my family, instill morals, keep the fridge close to full and maybe squeeze in a movie night with friends or a yoga class. I may fail, but I surely strive.

The advice I would give to a new mom, or soon to be'?¦write the great moments down. It passes so darn fast and if you don't keep a journal of the super cute or quirky moments, you'll forget. Write it on a napkin if you have to and put it in the junk drawer, as long as you record it somewhere. Also, make time for you ' you may have been told after boarding a plane that in the unlikely case of emergency, you should put the oxygen mask on first; that way you are better equipped to care for your kiddos if you do'?¦ well same goes while on the ground, moms. You have to don that oxygen mask so you can breathe deeper and not run on empty. Be it in the form of a small xenical order online retail indulgence, a spa trip, a five minute meditation, or a salted margarita with your 'besties', take that break and you'll be a better mom. Oh, and there's no guilt in bottle feeding!

If I had a million dollars what would I buy? The boring portion of my response? Three $100,000 college educations, and a $500,000 4 bedroom home. Then for joy, I'd buy a well in Africa, a convertible for my mom and a boat for my dad. I'd pay our church bills for a year and then the right hand mother's ring I've been dreaming of, a killer swing set and one of those robot vacuums for my endlessly messy floors! Um, do I have enough left for a trip to Italy?

The most important thing I have ever done in my life would be to take a chance on my husband. Without him, I would not have these three miraculous children. Because of him, I also have the ability to raise them from home and work per diem as a teacher, actress and writer.  My children don't define me, but they enhance my life so ridiculously much every day. They challenge me, teach me and make me laugh at least hourly. I would say two close seconds, are writing my first children's book and maintaining faith in God through various life challenges.

May 2, 2011

Guest Mommy Blogger: Nicole - "Striving for Oxygen"

We're introducing some new members to the AMP Agency team: Frequency Guest Bloggers. Each month we'll reach out to two consumer demographics or mindsets. This month we reached out to Nicole, who is 36, a mom of three beautiful children and lives in Plainville, Massachusetts. Here are her responses to some of our questions.

What kind of shopper am I? In three words, creative, frugal and selfless (to a fault). Ok, that's more than three. I tend to forget or forgo my wants and head straight to the children's section of any store I am in. I can talk myself out of a purchase for me, but into a purchase for any of my three children. However, when I do indulge for myself, I still try to be frugal. As for the creative part, I love to peruse designer ads for home or fashion, see the insane couture sticker price and create a similar design for a fraction. It's a rush and a notch in my proverbial thrifty belt.

I look for eye catching, pretty items for me and my daughters. Not necessarily trendy, just enough to stop me in my tracks-online or in person. For my husband and son, I look for designer labels on sale or even cosigned. As for home décor, I seek beautiful indulgence - think Dom Perignon on a Bud Light budget. And for staples and groceries, coupons and online deals all the way.

The item that I own that most defines me would have to be my wedding dress. It is the most classic, tailored, beautiful and timeless piece of my history and I treasure it. It could have been worn 60 years ago and could be worn again by my daughters (Fingers crossed). The most defining part about it, however, is it cost $600. An amazing, quality, designer gown for well under $1,000. That, I am proud of, and I love it to this day.

The qualities that make me a good (dare I say great) mom'?¦are. Oh, man, I got stuck. Isn't that awful? The very thing that I have given most of my time to and sacrificed so much for and when I attempt to choose one quality, I go blank. Ok, here it is. I strive. I strive to achieve balance. Balancing a teenage son, a preschool daughter and a 17 month old baby girl. I strive for balance with discipline and fun, balance with housework, cooking and play dates. Making sure to leave time for my husband and oh, yes, myself. Striving to create beautiful memories for my family, instill morals, keep the fridge close to full and maybe squeeze in a movie night with friends or a yoga class. I may fail, but I surely strive.

The advice I would give to a new mom, or soon to be'?¦write the great moments down. It passes so darn fast and if you don't keep a journal of the super cute or quirky moments, you'll forget. Write it on a napkin if you have to and put it in the junk drawer, as long as you record it somewhere. Also, make time for you ' you may have been told after boarding a plane that in the unlikely case of emergency, you should put the oxygen mask on first; that way you are better equipped to care for your kiddos if you do'?¦ well same goes while on the ground, moms. You have to don that oxygen mask so you can breathe deeper and not run on empty. Be it in the form of a small xenical order online retail indulgence, a spa trip, a five minute meditation, or a salted margarita with your 'besties', take that break and you'll be a better mom. Oh, and there's no guilt in bottle feeding!

If I had a million dollars what would I buy? The boring portion of my response? Three $100,000 college educations, and a $500,000 4 bedroom home. Then for joy, I'd buy a well in Africa, a convertible for my mom and a boat for my dad. I'd pay our church bills for a year and then the right hand mother's ring I've been dreaming of, a killer swing set and one of those robot vacuums for my endlessly messy floors! Um, do I have enough left for a trip to Italy?

The most important thing I have ever done in my life would be to take a chance on my husband. Without him, I would not have these three miraculous children. Because of him, I also have the ability to raise them from home and work per diem as a teacher, actress and writer.  My children don't define me, but they enhance my life so ridiculously much every day. They challenge me, teach me and make me laugh at least hourly. I would say two close seconds, are writing my first children's book and maintaining faith in God through various life challenges.

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