Guess Who’s Running For Neighborhood Council?

welcome to westchester, ca

Why Me? Why Now?

My family and I have lived in Westchester for almost 12 years. I still remember when our realtor suggested we consider the neighborhood. Despite years of business travel and taking taxis between the Marina and LAX, I had no idea the neighborhood even existed, hidden as it was behind all those big, beautiful mature trees along Sepulveda Boulevard.

At first, we were reluctant to look at anything so “far” south. I’d always worked in Westwood and Century City, and my idea of “south” was Mar Vista. Comparing Mar Vista to Westchester, we quickly learned that the houses and lots are considerably larger for the same money, so Westchester it was.

We found ourselves a beautiful little updated bungalow in South Kentwood that we had all of 20 minutes to consider before writing our offer in the real estate frenzy of 2002.

It was a crazy time. Our closing kept getting pushed out and the NICU release date of uber-preemie baby kept creeping up (we definitely had no complaints on the latter event). We finally got our keys with one week to outfit the house before our very tiny bundle of joy came home.

We’ve loved Westchester and have been so happy that we landed here. Watching families walk the neighborhood with small children and dogs still brings Continue reading “Guess Who’s Running For Neighborhood Council?”

Does Teaching Kids To Get ‘Gritty’ Help Them Get Ahead?

It’s become the new buzz phrase in education: “Got grit?”

Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students’ success — and just as important to teach as reading and math.

Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it’s that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback.

“This quality of being able to sustain your passions, and also work really hard at them, over really disappointingly long periods of time, that’s grit,” says Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who coined the term “grit” — and won a MacArthur “genius grant” for it.

“It’s a very, I think, American idea in some ways — really pursuing something against all odds,” she says.

Duckworth says her research shows grit is actually a better predictor of success than IQ or other measures when it comes to achievements as varied as graduating from West Point or winning the National Spelling Bee.

Even the Obama administration is now on the “grit” bandwagon. A 2013 report from the Department of Education laments that kids are learning to “do school,” but aren’t learning the skills they need in life.

But can grit be taught?

I vote yes! Find out what the author thinks on www.npr.org.

The Best PR Advice You’ve Never Heard – from Facebook’s Head of Tech Communications

“Imagine you’re sitting across from a reporter at lunch. You’re telling them what you do, your story, why they should care about your product. You have to convince this reporter to not only write about you, but that what you’re doing matters. That you’re going to be successful.”

This is Caryn Marooney, Head of Technology Communications for Facebook. But before that, she co-founded OutCast, the elite PR agency that worked with one-time startups Amazon, Salesforce.com, Netflix and VMware. She’s seen firsthand how hard it is for young companies to capture press attention when they have zero brand recognition and limited resources. Continue reading “The Best PR Advice You’ve Never Heard – from Facebook’s Head of Tech Communications”

An Open Letter To My Facebook Network

let's party

I have loved being at home and focusing on my daughter as she has made her way to her pre-teen years, but it’s time for a change! I am super excited to announce that I have started a new professional chapter by joining Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage as a Realtor & Residential Income Investment Consultant. If you’re wondering why real estate makes sense for me at this juncture, I’ve written about it here.

My geographical focus is LA’s beach cities and I’ve developed a website with a ton of MLS listings information and other information related to beach living at LivingTheBeach.com. You can also find Continue reading “An Open Letter To My Facebook Network”

Great Changes For Tracy TC!

change and chaosI think my life has been pretty cool over the last 14 years, but I daresay most people would probably agree that “chaos” is not a gross exaggeration for describing that period of my life.

As I detailed in a previous post, 14 years ago I suddenly found myself in a whirlwind romance that happened to coincide with a career change, all leading to over a decade of craziness.

Flash forward to today and my little 2 lb. 5 oz baby started middle school this year. We also have a year and a half under our belts at a small charter school in Hawthorne. My daughter is relatively happy and things are settling down.

And did I mention that we have a crazy upward real estate cycle underway? And have I mentioned lately how much I dig real estate?

I wrote previously about how I spent the last real estate cycle. This time, instead of beating my head against a brick wall trying to convince realtors to try “new” marketing tools, I plan on using all those cool tools and theories we developed. Sooo, I’m please to announce that Continue reading “Great Changes For Tracy TC!”

The Sum Of My Parts

be strongFourteen years ago I was a single girl working my ass off as an attorney in LA when I was contacted out of the blue by a guy I knew from high school.

Ten years before, we’d had one of those crazy flings at a high school reunion that you might read about in one of those um, mommy novels. We saw each other a couple of times after the big weekend, but we lived 2000 miles apart and were both starting professional careers. We didn’t speak for almost 10 years.

Flash forward 10 years and many boyfriends later, and this guy decides that he’s ready to settle down. He knows what he wants in a woman and he remembers that he even knew one once. 😉 Cue the harps….

His timing happened to coincide with a Christmas trip I had planned to the Northwest to visit my family in 1999. It also coincided with several near misses I had connecting with other boyfriend material at the time. Yup, the stars started lining up.

By May of 2000, we were engaged and by June 2000, my beloved had sold his house, packed up his three cats and joined my in my 900 square foot high rise apartment in Marina del Rey with my two cats. That was a crazy time.

Soon we were pregnant. And then we weren’t. And then we were pregnant again. And then we weren’t. The third time we got to Continue reading “The Sum Of My Parts”

The fun stuff that passes for homework

I did not know this until I became a mother, but I am a radical education choice activist. Actually, I’ve been a choice activist my entire life. Education is what has really had my attention for the last decade.

As we get ready for middle school next year, we’ve moved my daughter to a program with the Da Vinci Schools that is a hybrid home school/classroom program.

Homeschooling of any flavor is not for every family, but we’re making it work and ultimately, I do believe it’s a good choice for our family.

Every 4-6 weeks, each family is required to turn in paperwork demonstrating learning at home. Every unit, I jump through what seems like endless hoops to come up with interesting and engaging projects for my uber picky 11 year old.

She is a rabid American Girl fan and we had a lot of fun one unit studying the history of that company. Being an entrepreneur at heart, I love a good opportunity to slip in a few business lessons, like other moms slip zucchini in spaghetti sauce.

For this last unit, I came up with the idea of studying the start up of my daughter’s beloved online gaming community, Animal Jam. In the course of my background prep, I bumped into a beautiful presentation tool called Prezi, and my little techno-whiz readily took up the challenge of presenting her research findings in digital format.

It’s so much fun that I had to share:

Know the Basics of Putting Your Professional Self Online

See on Scoop.itDigital Rep Building

“Social media is not just for socializing. When handled correctly, you can use it to enhance your personal brand, establish your expertise, or demonstrate your digital fluency. Commit to using social media for professional reasons and be proactive about managing your activity and image. Consider what potential employers or colleagues will see — you don’t want them to discover only pictures of you and your dog, or worse. Make sure at a minimum you have a LinkedIn account with a completed profile. Try….”

See on hbr.org

Fearless Women, Visions Of A New World

My fearless friend, Mary Ann Halpin, is releasing her fourth photo/essay book this month. Entitled Fearless Women, Visions of a New Wrld, the book is third in a series of Fearless Women books.

To celebrate the new book and the Fearless Women movement, an amazing group of visionary women are meeting in Los Angeles, May 18-19, to create a soul stirring, heart storming, authentic connection in celebration of Mary Ann’s book and the growing call for women to step in and step up to lead the charge in shaping the future of our planet.

Come meet the women featured in Mary Ann’s new book and be inspired. Celebrate the Fearless Woman that you are with other visionary women! Bring a fearless friend!

For more information on the event, check out Fearless Women Global — Visions of a New World ♥.

Can’t make the event? Buy the book here.

The Internet On Strike

I just bumped into my first website on strike.  I know of a couple of others who put up black marks over their logos.  The implications of the web on strike are fascinating to me.  This is a highly organized campaign.  Notice that somebody created the page below and offered it to anybody who cared to use it.  The template also includes a form for emailing Congress.

See the page live at http://sopastrike.com/strike.

UPDATE:  I accidentally bumped into a setting on my blog dashboard offering to send my site dark or add a ribbon of protest.  Talk about organized!  This blog is on the wordpress.com platform.  A setting like this makes it extremely simple for hundreds of thousands of bloggers to black out today.  Like I said above — fascinating….