Say Less, Do More

Photo: Death to the Stock Photo.

The motto of our newsletter is “Say less, do more.” When I received my latest delivery of free photographs from Death to the Stock Photo along with Paul Jarvis‘s writing prompt on making space for creativity, I reflected on my winter morning experiences. These days, I’m stepping into the snowy East Coast climate, sometime pre-dawn, and the world is blanketed with white. White covers the ground and the trees and even the sky. I’m promising myself I’ll remember the true melody of non-existent harmony, lost in the steady hum of a singular note. I’m not talking about the occasional crow that inserts himself into the scene, not in body but in his beckoning to another bird that I also cannot see. And I’m not talking about the sound of my own thread-like breath that does show up in a thin stream like the magic of mist over an early-Spring lake. There is no green here, not yet (though I know and you know it’s coming). I’m talking about the one true sound that emanates from pure nothingness, the hollow reverberation that can lead to enlightenment or a trip down crazy lane if force fed through solitary confinement. The writers of the world do this to themselves. Lock away in cabins with no contact. It’s okay. They always seem to come back better off than when they left. I’m certain that’s because even the most standoffish are given time enough to come down from their heights and share stares through a window pane, though certainly nothing more divisive than that. Perhaps even eating out of a hand. Feathers are friendly when given the chance.

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“The motto of our newsletter is “Say less, do more.”

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“…stepping into the snowy East Coast climate…the world is blanketed with white.”

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“…remember the true melody of non-existent harmony, lost in the steady hum of a singular note.”

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“The writers of the world do this to themselves. Lock away in cabins with no contact.”

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“Feathers are friendly when given the chance.”

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The Devil Wears Snow: Interview With Founder of Ephemeral Scent

One year ago, I found CB I Hate Perfume during a Brooklyn stroll. I’ve long had snow on the brain not knowing I could hit it with a stone. Partly bred in Brooklyn, this siren was delighted to discover the mastermind of an award-winningfamous fragrance in her backyard. Now doubly delighted at the chance to meet Christopher Brosius in December–the month to discuss scent, semblance, sanity and a four letter ‘s’ word.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons. “Schneekristalle” Source: German Wikipedia, original upload 23. Okt 2004 by MatthiasKabel (selfmade) (

“Perfume is too often an ethereal corset trapping everyone in the same, unnatural shape…An opaque shell concealing everything–revealing nothing…An arrogant slap in the face from across the room…People who smell like everyone else disgust me.” ~ CB


December–the month to discuss scent, semblance, sanity and a four letter ‘s’ word.
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Me: The sense of smell? How? Why?

CB: Those especially fascinated by the psychology of smell: read Rachel Herz.

Me: How does smell effect us?

CB: While we’re constantly using our sense of smell, we very seldom–if at all–notice the impact smell has on our lives. I know of an individual who lost his ability to smell and suffered emotional trauma and depression. I know of an adult who was born without the ability to smell and through a surgical operation acquired the sense of smell. He couldn’t leave his house–the smell of everything, everywhere, was overwhelming. He hadn’t had the chance to assign qualifiers like “good” or “bad” to scents, so everything he smelled seemed overpowering and repulsive, including food.

“…we very seldom–if at all–notice the impact smell has on our lives.”
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“I know of an individual who lost his ability to smell and suffered emotional trauma and depression.”

Me: Demeter.

CB: Mmm.

Me: You’re moving.

CB: We intend to bring more art through our new space. We’ve got ideas.

Mihail Simonidi (1870 – 1933) – Winter perfume. Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons. This work is in the public domain (

Me: New flowers in the house.

CB: Some florals are nearly impossible to replicate due to their depth. Take tuberose, for example. I’m very pleased with this line. Granted, they’re not inexpensive due to the high cost of materials needed to produce these fragrances. Nor are they for the faint of heart due to how they differ from their commonly conjured synthetic counterparts.

Me: Winter 1972. A signature snow scent.

CB: Each fragrance conjures up different emotional reactions that may be tied to an individual’s memory. “My Birthday Cake” once brought to mind chocolate cake with pink frosted flowers and a hint of candle wax for someone who came through my store. Nothing to do with the plain, simple, unfrosted angel food cake that was my birthday cake. It’s great when someone hones into a scent and owns it.

“Each fragrance conjures up different emotional reactions that may be tied to an individual’s memory.”
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Me: Your fragrance titles lead with a notion. A simple suggestion can lead far and away from your original intention.

CB: Yes, and that’s wonderful.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

Me: Do you have a protégée?

CB: I work with many talented people, but I can’t teach anyone what is in my head nor the way I work. When I attempt to convey what I want, my hands may wind up above my head while I’m saying “No, this way!”

Me: The devil wears snow?

CB: Yes, sometimes.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

Love CB I Hate Perfume? Here’s your chance to show your support.

This interview is not a direct transcript and has been edited for brevity and creativity. 

Snow kings and queens: share your comments.


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It’s Business Time: 2013 Holiday Gift Guide and Contest

We’re fortunate to encounter individuals, organizations and companies doing work which we consider righteous. Our unofficial 2012 holiday gift guide launched the concept for this year’s compilation with prizes to boot. Based on our research of companies and brands we deem interesting, innovative and inspirational, we’ve asked for product submissions for our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide and Contest. The result is a chance for entrants to win featured products in this post. We hope it’s as fun and informative for you as it is for us!

November highlighted Curandera NYC (curing urban ailments), EiR NYC (named for a Norse goddess), Kharma Khare (recycled tires-cum-yoga mats) and Outlaw Yoga (helping at-risk populations). December features additional products made by companies who have agreed to share their wares with contest winners. Jingle all the way.

Image courtesy of Cole + Parker.

Cole + Parker designs swanky socks that help entrepreneurs in the developing world launch businesses through Kiva. Thrilled to reference Business Socks at every opportunity. Week to win: December 2.

Image courtesy of Mala for Vets.

Mala For Vets, founded by Chris Eder–retired US Air Force MSgt with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)–donates portions of proceeds to non-profit organizations and customizes malas such as this one to benefit Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans. This prayer bead necklace is made with obsidian–a supportive and protective stone–forming a shield against negativity. Ganesha, the Hindu elephant deity, is known as the “remover of obstacles.” What could be more positive? Week to win: December 9.

Image courtesy of Frankincense and Rose.

Frankincense and Rose blends locally sourced ingredients resulting in products intended to naturally nurture. Week to win: December 16.

Image courtesy of The Social Media Monthly

The Social Media Monthly keeps us socials on top of our game. The first and only print and digital magazine devoted exclusively to exploring social media’s impact on business, society and culture. Your year-long subscription awaits. Week to win: December 23.

Image courtesy of Kimberlyoh Designs.

Make your mark and have your initial hand-stamped on this wrist bracelet by Kimberlyoh Designs, thus launching yourself into the New Year fully in touch with your identity. This heart-of-gold artist felt compelled to reconnect to her passion, and so launched her line on ever-loving Etsy. Here’s to following our creative Calling. Week to win: December 29.

Here’s how to participate:

Folks are invited to visit our Facebook page and leave a comment as to why winning the featured product of the week would make your day OR folks may enter their comment in the comment section of this post. Winners are chosen by Urban Siren, LLC based on their compelling creativity. Prize are announced each Monday on Facebook and the weekly winner is announced each Friday on or before 5:00 p.m. EST through January 3, 2014.

Rules and Disclaimers:
  • Void where prohibited
  • This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Urban Siren, LLC is utilizing Facebook as a platform to share the contest and invite entrants to share their thoughts on each product of the week for a chance to win
  • No product purchase necessary for entry
  • Entrants must be 18 years or older
  • The contest is only open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico and all other territories); prizes may only be shipped to destinations which meet this geographical criteria
  • One comment submission per entrant per prize
  • Urban Siren, LLC reserves the right to change prizes should a featured prize become unavailable
  • Entrants agree that Urban Siren, LLC may use their name in announcing the winner should the entrant win unless otherwise specified by the entrant
  • Entrants may receive a message from an Urban Siren, LLC representative requesting shipping information should their entry be chosen as the winning comment. Address, email and phone number will not be shared publicically with Urban Siren, LLC’s readership though a shipping address may be shared with a representative from the company that produces or represents the featured product for prize shipping purposes
  • Urban Siren, LLC will not use a winner’s address for any purpose other than to send a winner’s prize or share with the company that produces or represents the featured product for prize shipping purposes. Urban Siren, LLC does not accept responsibility for how the winner’s address may or may not be used by aforementioned companies
  • Urban Siren, LLC is not responsible for any prizes that do not reach their shipping destination
  • Urban Siren, LLC is in no way liable for the safety or use of products offered through this contest or on our website
  • Urban Siren, LLC waives liability for any damage or injury to persons and/or things as a result of the acceptance of the prize offered
  • Prizes are not redeemable for cash and must be accepted as is

    Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

    Tip: visit Federal Trade Commission’s website to learn how to protect yourself from fraudulent contests and/or unwanted solicitations

    Pst: sign up for our newsletter here to ensure you’re kept abreast of what’s happenin’ at Urban Siren, LLC

    Let the commenting begin!





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Burst My Bubble: 3 Uplifting Tips


This gallery contains 5 photos.

My bubble got burst by several colleagues in one day, the old fashioned way. Snail mail. A postal pile-up. Bang, Bang, Bang. An entrepreneurial story goes something like this: work; work harder; burn out; take break; back to work; work … Continue reading

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Clutch: Series of Soaring Toward Success (Or Not)

clutch1: (kluch) A tense, critical situation: came through in the clutch.

Our series “Clutch” tells of hard work paying off (or not) and methods used to reach goals.

Want in?

Send your stories our way.* If vices are part of your strategy, say so. Whether that means “connecting” with others on social media by checking your feed 50 times per day, endless cups of coffee (doesn’t work up in this piece), or a helpful method to the madness you’re willing to share. Use the nifty black box slidey “Contact Us” thingy on our blog to reach us and submit your story. We’ll be in touch.

Compilation launches 2014.

*We reserve the right to edit submitted stories and content. Our editorial choices are our own. BYOC**.

**Brew Your Own Coffee


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I’m not built for coffee. No matter the artsy bird sketch. It makes me feel like I need to go the hospital. #stilldrinkingit #leftoverincoffeepot #teahound #help


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Twitter on Twitter


There is hardly anything more fun than Googling “Twitter on Twitter.”

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The Art of Asking: Building Newsletter Lists

One brain-breaking bootstrap endeavor, particularly for small businesses, is authentically building newsletter lists. It’s a speedy world, yet the need to grow doesn’t trump etiquette. Few like receiving a newsletter they didn’t agree to. Read: backfire.

It’s a speedy world, yet the need to grow doesn’t trump etiquette.
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Pickle: a campaign to launch alas short on folks at the receiving end. Deadline looming, we went the “old-fashioned” route: informing colleagues about the newsletter, inviting them to opt-in or opt-out, one personalized email at a time. Arduous? Yes. Worth it? Tenfold. The campaign was a hit. A few said “Nah” while others appreciated the approach, wishing us success while taking a vested interest in our campaign. One colleague responded, “Thanks for the most wonderful opt-in email I ever received.” The “Nah’s” welcomed the power to say No. Regardless of in or out, the back-and-forth dialogue paved an exchange for what’s in our respective hoppers these days. An impromptu catch up.


Newsletters provide a great digest of our work, though they won’t trump the tailored “Hello.” Often as possible, ditch robotics. Send a note, make a call or meet for coffee. Ain’t nothin’ like the personal touch.

Often as possible, ditch robotics. Send a note, make a call or meet for coffee.
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–Offer to mention your recipient’s work if this aligns with your company culture. Sharing is caring.
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–Specify newsletter topics along with preparation schedule. Fishing for content reduces with an inbox full of fodder.
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–Share direct contact information. Better than a bubble.
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–Request feedback. Criticism and comments could build your best campaigns.
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Tips to add? Let us know in our comments section.

Here’s a template best peppered with a personal touch. Reference the 5k or the article that made you laugh.

Dear Name,

I’m launching my newsletter featuring interesting insights into the industry we share, and would very much like to add you to my recipient list. I believe you’ll find our campaigns valuable which is why I’m personally inviting your closer look. Of course, you may unsubscribe at any time. Though in lieu of leaving our list, we’d mutually benefit from your insight. How can we best serve you? With respect to your time, our newsletter is prepared on [specify day] and arrives [specify sending schedule]. Keep us posted on your projects; we are happy to spread the word about companies doing good work.
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Virtue of Small: What Might CEO Piglet Say?

“To my mind the old masters are not art; their value is in their scarcity.” ~ Thomas Edison
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Image courtesy of HubSpot

Do you milk re-purpose bygone posts written when there was time to create content for your website? Cobbler with no shoes sighs. Bloggers, companies, marketers, PR experts, social media strategists and finger-on-the pulse peeps often conclude content wears the crown: dishing up data, insights and generally good information propels us to sharable status on social media platforms, provides important resources for current and would-be clients and keeps us in the industry A List.

Agreed. And Ruh Ro. What if you buy into aforementioned perks yet find it difficult to churn out blog brilliance on the regs due to Smallness?

Imagine Mr. Edison duking it out with Gates.* “Hooray!” I exclaim as the former wields a powerful upper cut. But my eyes drop as I sniff out smarminess.

Comeback kid retorts “But the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.” Thanks for bringing attention to this Bill Gates snippet Craig Bailey.

Small. And harumph.

Wait! Consider The Te of Piglet. In a land of Big Everything, why not capitalize on the Virtue of Small. Potential includes:

  • Precision
  • Expertise
  • Tailored attention
  • Depth
In a land of Big Everything, why not capitalize on the Virtue of Small.
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Being Small allows the luxury of capitalizing on extreme pin-pointedness, far reach into a client’s objectives, experimenting under-the-radar and tremendous opportunity for growth. All this and more applies to delivering business results as well as adventures in blogging.

Image courtesy of All Free Vectors

“You haven’t the time!” exclaimed Rabbit rushing to his next appointment.
“You’re barely noticeable anyway.” said Owl on his lunch break.
“I know! Isn’t it great?” cheered Piglet.

As always, your comments are king. Please feel free to share.

*I’d pay money to watch that fight. Not very Zen, I know.

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Talk Ain’t Cheap


Authentic communication makes all the difference. Shoot from the hip, say what you mean and above all wield compassion.

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