Get him to propose! 5 tips

My engagement ring
As you've probably gathered from the tone and content of this blog, I'm a type A, go-get-em kind of lady. So naturally, one of the greatest challenges of my life was waiting 2 years for my man to propose to me, when it felt so right from the very beginning.

So, good news! Almost one year ago today he finally proposed. Need proof? Here's the video: Surprise Mountain Proposal *hint* ladies, always look your best... hiking or not, tame the 'fro. OOPS!

Without further ado, here are my 5 tips for how to land the guy of your dreams! Good luck!!

TIP #1: Give the wedding talk a rest, and LIVE YOUR LIFE.

A girl who is always staying at home, bugging a guy and giving not so subtle hints- is a BORING girl WITH NO LIFE. Have fun, go out with your girlfriends, get dolled up- keep your network strong.

Check out this book by one of my favorite advice gurus, Marie Forleo. Her book "Make Every Man Want You: How to Be So Irresistible You'll Barely Keep from Dating Yourself!" goes right to the heart of some of what I'm saying here!

You need to take care of yourself, physically, spiritually, and psychologically. To have a healthy relationship, and a healthy marriage someday, you need to reduce your reliance on this man to make you feel whole and happy. That's too much pressure to put on anyone, so practice NOW. Commit yourself to developing yourself into the best person you can be, because that's the partner that your man deserves, right??

Feeling fairly in control of my future is part of my psychological health, so I went ahead and cooked the Engagement Chicken. It's a superstitious recipe, that gives you back that psychological edge. Yes we women are crazy, aren't we. But hey, give it a try! Cook the magical "Engagement Chicken"

 And guess what- those hints you are giving him may be doing you more harm than good! Read on...
Engagement Photo by Youa Photography
TIP #2: Let him surprise you!

I had one big serious talk with him, asking WHEN back in January- little did I know he already had the ring, and that my asking would just serve to delay his proposal. It would be another 4 months until I saw the ring!

Later, when he told me about the way he delayed it, I nearly went crazy. All that waiting, but it made a lot of sense. He wanted it to be a surprise and for me to stop thinking it was because I asked for it! 

LET HIM BE A MAN. LET IT BE HIS CHOICE. Otherwise, you might as well do a full role reversal and go for the proposal yourself, but beware- most men don't appreciate being emasculated at such a traditionally male ritual/experience.

TIP #3: Dating rules still apply!

Remember when you were trying to land him as your boyfriend? The key was to always look put together, have a positive outlook, SMILE, be busy some of the time but not all of the time... these are universal laws that still stand, and must be upheld to land him as your husband, too!

Engagement Photo by Youa Vang
TIP #4: Be realistic

This seems obvious, but know where you stand in your relationship!  This means without asking about marriage. If he mentions marriage, great! Don't let Tip #1 turn you off from wedding talk when he initiates it.

Honestly girls, if you need to ask where the relationship is headed- then that's a bad sign. However, some men aren't big talkers so you will need to pay more attention to his actions. Tip #5 will help with that, so keep reading.

TIP #5: Know his intentions

When he makes plans, he includes you, but doesn't force you. If he truly cares for you, he may not always talk in absolutes- he wants to know you're in for the ride by choice.

Personal example: When my man told me he wanted to move out West to go to graduate school- he didn't say "and you're coming with me!" He simply said, "I would love it if you came too... But I know it's a big choice."

It was an invitation, giving  me a way out so that he could know for sure that I was the girl for him. Not a test really, but a turning point! Think back on turning points in your life together and consider how he's dealt with your relationship when those changes happened.

That's all for now!
 Something that you think should be added to this list?
Leave me a comment!! :)

Make sure to add your name so I know you're not a robot ;)


Creative Marketing for Films

Film and TV Production with Peter Rosten and Jeremy Sauter
This seminar focused on production for Film and TV and was by far the most engaging and interactive of our classes thus far.  I expected to learn about experiences that these professionals had but they were very humble for the most part, and threw away those expectations right away. As some other professionals have told us, “what worked for me in the 70’s isn’t going to work for you today.” So, instead of going deeply into their personal stories, these two tried to get us involved and thinking about the actual creative process used to create and market a film.

 Peter Rosten

I really liked Peter Rolsten, he has 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and has produced 8 films ... He is now retired but continues to give back through forming and running The MAPS Media Institute where he gives young students experience-based learning to help them succeed in the entertainment industry.

"In 1985, Peter Rosten came to Montana for what he thought was just a vacation; little did he know that this visit would leave a permanent impression.

Today Peter and his wife, Susan (she’s a fourth generation Montanan) live in Darby. Her four children, and now Peter’s as well, are grown. Two attend MSU in Bozeman, one lives and works in Great Falls and their oldest is married and living in New York City.

Best known as the President and Founder of MAPS: Media Arts in the Public Schools (, Peter created it in 2003. The program is now in five Montana locations (Corvallis, Missoula, Bozeman, Red Lodge and Wolf Point) and has received local, state and national recognition.

Recently honored with the 2008 "Award of Excellence in Education" from the San Francisco based, Society of New Communications Research, the program has evolved into a profitable business run by high school students. "We currently have TV spots running in 38 states and the Center for Disease Control is broadcasting our tobacco-prevention PSA’s nationwide," says Peter. "Our clients pay us, we pay the kids in stipends and scholarships - it’s the real world."

-Taken from desription on the University of Montana Entertainment Managment Program page.
Me, The Student
I learned so much from Rosten. He gave me several great rules of thumb, that I’ll list below. All these things will be incredible bits of wisdom that I think will help me in the future. I have no criticism of how Rosten found his path in life, although I will have a different path, he seems happy and that’s what matters.

  • Study the history of the business, this will help you build rapport and bond
  • Hollywood doesn’t know anything, so show them something
  • If the word “no” tends to crush you, you’ll never make it
  • Just one “yes” can change your life.
  • Everyone will describe themselves as “smart”, “ambitious”, or “creative”, so how do you stand out?
  • Buzzwords that smell like money: Fresh, Edgy, Committed, Passionate
  • Without integrity, on your bad day, no one will stand up for you
  • How do you make luck? HARD WORK. Create opportunity.
  • No one “knows” anything, you either like things or you don’t.
  • Being from Montana is something worth telling people. They think you’re hardworking.

Article, “How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity”: How I will create an environment to allow communication.

I imagine that I am in a film company just like Pixar and I am managing a group that needs to generate ideas for a film within 20 minutes (we did something like this in class).

  • Make sure I have excellent talent on my team
  • Create small incubation teams to help refine ideas
  • Emphasize that creative vision is what matters most
  • Don’t second guess or micromanage people
  • Be a meritocracy: based on merit
  • Force accidental interaction, so people will respect and support each other
  • No ego
  • Allow people to consult experts outside our group for advice
  • Allow heated discussions so long as everyone knows that the passion is about the story, and not personal.
  • Show unfinished work as it happens
  • Applaud crazy ideas: these can turn out to be the best!

Touring and Production Tips from Ken Dean

I attended this seminar about the challenges of touring and managing an artist, or groups of artists for events. I learned that if I want to tour I should have a compelling reason, do whatever I can to cut costs, such as staying at a KOA campground and create profit centers like getting our vehicle wrapped. I also learned that I should essentially expect any equipment to get trashed and create an LLC to protect myself legally.

 I thought the consultants might be boring rambling about the numbers (or the accounting side) but they went into the emotional side of their work, discussing heartbreak of drug abuse and lost talent. They confirmed what I wanted to hear about this business, that it takes every bit of your brains and emotions to be successful.

Ken Deans has always worked in music in some way. I was surprised to hear that he had dropped out of high school at Inglemoor and became a drummer. He studied music theory at Cornish college and eventually worked his way up to mega production companies to pull off huge 3 day festivals and tours. He now works as a consultant and gets to work on his own terms.  

I chose to highlight Ken because his story was truly touching to me but at the same time he gave us very realistic expectations. He told us that we actually couldn’t do what he did back then, because in today’s world an education and degree is incredibly important and is your true first step.
"Bringing years experience from the entertainment world Kens award winning talent has helped ABC Television Networks, AT(and)T, Alaska Airlines, FastChannel Network, Infiniti, Jones Radio Network, Level 3 networks, Lion Brand Yarn, Mazda, Neilson, Netflix, Nissan, The Penske Corp., Radio and Records, Smith-Kline Beecham, Taco Bell, VNU, President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and many others form and present their message internally and externally in innovative ways.

Ken brings with him a rich history of management. He was part of the management team that brought musical artists Men at Work, The Split Enz, and The Divynals to the forefront of the US and Canadian music scene, and later on part of the management group and as a promoter responsible for the explosion of the Seattle music scene including Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. Ken was enlisted to help guide the live careers of Melissa Etheridge, Dave Koz, and others during the nineties. Currently Ken heads up Liaison Group, Inc., a business and marketing consulting group that bridges culture from entertainment to consumer goods, sponsorships and experiential outreach."
 -Taken from Mr. Deans' profile on

I was pleased with the refreshing statement that college is the right path. All the time I hear that a degree is not of value in the music business but Deans’ assertion of its importance rang true to me. I agree with his choice of career steps, and the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude he has taken towards education. What worked for him then won’t work now, and he wasn’t afraid to share that with us.

He said that today, companies want someone who is not in business to party and that you should believe in yourself and be confident to ask questions. Another important rule of thumb he shared was that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I have heard this said by fellow students but have never heard it from an executive. I will try to keep this information in mind as I develop my image as a jazz vocalist.

Important Feminicide Event Series at UM

Join me and friends of CAJA3 (Community Action for Justice in the Americas, Africa, and Asia) for an amazing event series brought to us by sponsors from the University of Montana and our local community. I'm calling it my "Alternative Valentine's Day" and I hope you'll take part too.

During Spring break, we students are encouraged to trade in our opportunity to seek excess and relaxation with volunteer work, giving back to the community at an Alternative Spring Break. This Valentine's Day invest in your education about real issues across the border and learn a new word "Feminicide".

Two human rights attorneys from Mexico will be visiting Missoula during the week of St. Valentine's day to bring us a poignant reminder of Feminicide in the Americas, its causes, and how it's being addressed today.

Here is the flyer I developed for UM International Programs and co-sponsors for this event. You can right click, save, and use for reference. To find more information about this event series, contact International Programs at (406) 243-2299

Never stop learning, growing, and reaching!

Re-Branding the University of Montana

The University of Montana is about to get a major overhaul- not physically, but in a way that will still be seen, felt, and heard by all of us in years to come. In my classes I have learned so much about branding and market research, but today's re-branding event topped my list of educational experiences here at the University. I was honored to be part of a group of people brainstorming the University's new brand image with Mind Over Media consultants from Pittsburgh, P.A.

The instructions were simple, walk up to each board around the room and answer one question using a marker or post-it, and make sure to interact with the other contributors' thoughts. Questions included "What is most distinctive about the University?" and "What makes you feel connected to the University?" along with "What is the University best known for?" These open-ended questions were food for thought, designed to draw out the best, most positive characteristics about the University from the people who are here every day. These clear positives are what the firm intends to emphasize to gain attention from students, donors, and other people and businesses who interact with the University.

The use of exploratory research data is just what my instructor, Dr. Emily Plant was teaching us about yesterday in our Marketing 366: Marketing Research class, and there is nothing quite like seeing it in action with professionals. When a company wants to solve a very broad marketing problem but isn't sure how to refine their survey questions, they will hold a focus group or in-depth interviews with the target market, in order to find clear themes or patterns from which to base their survey.

Once the University of Montana is able to identify their most positive, most valuable features, they must determine how to best spread that message to anyone who is considering interacting with the University. That's where the survey comes in. Finally, as these positives are shared and gain attention, the underlying benefits of the University will gain attention as well.

It's a technique that can be applied to so many scenarios. Just like refining a resume, we need to discover our most clear and valuable strengths and tailor that message to whoever may hear. Before we can begin to understand our customers, we must first understand ourselves. How do you think this re-branding effort will turn out? What do you think are the most marketable aspects of the University and living in Missoula? I'd love to hear from you.

Never stop learning, growing, and reaching!

For your vocabulary: "Feminicide"

The systematic mishandling of incidents of rape relating to the University of Montana has many of us poised to delve deeper, learning more about women's continuing fight for recognition on the world stage when violence is staged against them. Across the world women wait to be heard, but there are many who have decided that they should wait no more and seek justice right now.

Do you know the word "Feminicide"? It is a word used to describe a new kind of crime being waged against women, an especially violent crime based on gender alone. Nowhere has this type of crime been more rampant than in the city of Juarez (pronounced "wha-rez"), and now there has been an amazing turn of events. Finally, these women and their plight is being put on center stage, right here at the University in a series sponsored by the International Programs at the University of Montana.

Would you like to learn more? I want to personally invite you to the events being put on International Programs, February 13th-16th, co-sponsored by the UM School of Law, UM Women and Gender Studies Department, UM Women's Resource Center, Jeanette Rankin Peace Center, CAJA3, and countless others.

Come to the welcome Potluck Feb 13th, 6PM Burns St. Community Room, located at 1500 Burns St.
We begin by welcoming two individuals who were part of a groundbreaking case against the Mexican Government, holding the country accountable for the atrocities being overlooked and the poor responsiveness of the Government to take action in the face of this unspeakable gender violence.

Come to the Presentation “The Social, Political, and Economic Factors Influencing Gender Violence in Mexico and the Inspiring Response…” Feb. 14, UC 7PM

Attend the Law school continuing education presentation, Feb. 16th UM Law School, Room 201 1:30-4:30PM

Watch the Film: “BAJO JUAREZ: The City Devouring its Daughters” Feb 16th, University Center Theatre 7PM, Reception Following.

I sincerely hope to see you at at least one of these presentations. Please put them in your calender and resolve to learn more about what is happening to women on the world stage, so that incidents at the University of Montana never happen on the scale of Juarez Mexico, and so that violence against women will never again go unnoticed by authorities... completely unpunished.
Never stop learning, growing and reaching! Stand up against Feminicide!


2012 MBN Missoula Businesswomens Network Symposium

I simply cannot wait for the 2012 MBN Symposium, coming up in just a few days! Last year, I was so inspired by the phenomenal business women speakers and their insights, that I created a four part series on the blog, found here: The 2011 MBN Symposium.
Keynote Speaker, Nicole Johnson

Cost of attendance is just $45 for MBN members and $50 for non-members for a jam packed day of great classes, as well as a fancy lunch with a keynote speaker. This year's keynote is given by Nicole Johnson, author of Fresh-Brewed Life: A Stirring Invitation to Wake Up Your Soul. If it's anything like last year, this is going to be great.

If you're considering attending, check out the Discover MBN website, and make sure you sign up soon!

I hope to see you there!

Artfire VS Etsy, Who wins?

I want to thank all the readers who contributed on my post last April (2011) comparing Artfire VS Etsy. There has been a call for a 2012 update and I'm pleased to announce that we're finally ready for you!

The rules of the internet are always changing and these two companies are by no means static. Almost everything has changed and I want to tell you why it's a closer tie for 2012. I also want to tell you why you might want to consider adding Artfire to your e-commerce mix if you haven't already.

The Rules have Changed. Etsy has listened! 

In our 2011 comparison, we really slammed Etsy for its confusing fee structure, manipulative search engine structure, shop limitations, and required sign up as the main reasons why Artfire was preferred. Now in 2012, Etsy has delivered changes and improvements that easily make up for or totally reverse these negatives from 2011. This calls for an updated perspective!

You Will Reach More People 
How Etsy and Artfire aren't in direct competition, and why you should care.

Before we delve too deeply into how Etsy has improved, let's look at how Etsy and Artfire have positioned themselves in the online world. Actually, you will find that these two sites are poised to go after two completely different groups of consumers, and are not in as direct competition as you think.

If you are selling online, your main concern should be whether you are seen by the people who will want to buy your product. If these two e-commerce sites deliver your product to the computer screens of uniquely different target consumers, your next step should be to determine who those people are and who your product will most appeal to- and maybe the answer is both.

Your Target Market Will Appreciate it 
 ...and you'll actually be able to find them

Many fall fast and hard for the great community and social currency system created by Etsy. But are your customers the kind that will truly appreciate and buy into their system too? 

Think about it- right now, Etsy rewards their sellers who buy from other sellers and leave positive reviews. They pass on those positive reviews to your shop, displaying them on your shop page as if it was you that had received that positive review. And guess what, leaving a negative review for someone else will hurt you too. This system was designed to induce creative people to buy from other creative people. This is their community culture and if you're selling on Etsy, other sellers and Etsy community members had better be your target market.

If however, you sell items that would appeal to those whom Etsy may not draw and capture (Men!!, Busy People!!, Non-Creatives!!) the list goes on, then Artfire is definitely worth a shot. Their intent is ease of use, not holding you hostage in a community where you will likely spend more than you sell. Albeit a very homey, lovely, bunting-wrapped hostage situation.
Google Will Love You Better has a very open user interface that feeds off 3rd party search results. As stated on their FAQ sheet, they use part of your monthly fee to advertise their site, with a typical monthly advertising goal of 100 million impressions in 30 days. Theirs is a no-strings attached philosophy with one monthly fee and unlimited listings. They don't require a consumer to be part of a community (or "sign up") to place an order. Meanwhile, has created its own online ecosystem, requiring sign up and constantly encouraging you to return through direct e-mail marketing. Their philosophy is to sell the customer not on your products as an individual seller, but to sell the customer on their shopping experience and community.

In the online world SEO (search engine optimization) is everything for being seen and heard. Etsy sells itself as an online community on outside search engines, where Artfire tries to get your individual products there next to the big box guys. Want to learn more about SEO? Read a Professional Marketing Consultant's #1 Tips

Musings on Internal SEO (for dorks only)

The search engine structure for Etsy no longer rewards those with the biggest pocket book by giving them the highest listings. Charging for the top listing in default search results was an unfair practice- both to the artist and consumer.  By listing in order of most recent listing, Etsy manipulated customer's search results by showing those products that had paid to be there, not those that most closely matched their query. They finally heard our cries and made this system better for the shop owners and the consumers. Now they just ask you to pay for an ad if you want to be seen at the very top (a Google-like structure). Artfire always recommended leaving your products alone after posting them, because deactivating or re-listing items could damage your placement in search results.  Now that Etsy has removed the costly and time consuming 20 cent re-listing scheme, you will see your 3rd party search engine results improve. Edits to your Etsy are now easier than ever too, and won't cost you a dime in re-listing fees. It's about time they caught on!

Artfire is Free to Try, You Have Nothing To Lose

Not sure whether Artfire will actually help you reach a new market? Try it and see. 

And if you're ever answering that age-old question "Do you sell online?" Don't direct them to your Etsy shop where your sale could be drowned out and eaten alive by a community of cannibals! Send them to Artfire, where buying your product doesn't require they buy into a whole culture, too.

Content by Laura Gabriele