REFLECTIONS

The podcast Choosing Your Reflection is live and ready for your enjoyment!

Follow Your Heart – Evelyn LaTorre Choosing Your Reflection

Another episode, another fascinating conversation on Choosing Your Reflection — this week with author Evelyn LaTorre. Originally from small-town Montana, Evelyn got a taste for a larger worldview young and decided to let it grow as fast and vast as possible by joining the Peace Corps where she met her future husband in Peru. Two sons, three decades, and two books later Evelyn takes us through her wedding experience, including an unexpected guest, a handmade dress, and a letter to her parents that took longer in transit than her engagement. Special Guest: Evelyn LaTorre.
  1. Follow Your Heart – Evelyn LaTorre
  2. A Light Nod to the '80s – Anna Keizer and Derek Dehanke
  3. The Essence of Who We Are – Mike Iamele
  4. A Gift to Ourselves – Terry B. McDougall
  5. White Gown, Blue Suit – April Stephens
  6. Looking Back – Michael Fiore – NuView Weddings
  7. The Butterfly Effect – Crystal Wilson
  8. With Love from Mayberry – Joe and Amy Zalescik
  9. What You Wear Matters – Brandi Sea Heft-Kniffin
  10. Top Hats & Converse Shoes – Taylor Stilwell

Seven weeks ago it was an idea; today it is a reality. But the story of the CYR podcast actually began a long time ago when I was a fragile twenty year old bride-to-be.


MY GOWN

In 1982 there weren’t as many options as there are today. My mom and dad were paying for my gown, so there were certain “requirements” that had to be met:

  • It had to be white.
  • I had to have a veil over my face for the ceremony.
  • It had to fall within a certain budget.

Seems reasonable enough, right? Except that

  • I don’t look good in white (pale skin).
  • I didn’t want to wear a veil AT ALL.
  • Having to wear a headpiece drastically changed my choice of hairstyle for the day.

So the one thing that I felt was my choice, which was the dress, ended up not having the elements I wanted.

In the end it was a beautiful day and the dress was lovely, but it was not the perfect dress for me.

On the way to the church with my dad.

MY DAUGHTER’S TURN

This time around I wanted things to be different for my daughter — who, by the way, is a completely different animal than her mother.

My goal was to be hands-off as much as possible through the process, allowing her the latitude to choose literally anything she wanted. The color, style, length, headwear (or not) … everything should be her choice and hers alone. I was determined to be involved but to stay neutral. Mum’s the word, no pun intended.

My wish was to take what I had learned from my experience and give my daughter the very thing I did not get … freedom of choice.

As we visited the numerous bridal salons (I think there were 525,600 of them … ) I sat quietly as I watched her model every conceivable permutation of gown imaginable. With each and every dress she would say

“Mom, what do you think?”

“It’s beautiful. You look beautiful. You look good in everything.”

I still maintain this is true despite my inherent bias.

“Mom I really want to know what you think.”

In return I would decisively repeat my mantra. As you can imagine this scenario did not play out well. I was failing miserably and I couldn’t understand why. This was her time, not mine. Why was this process so difficult?

It wasn’t until she found her perfect dress that I discovered the answer.

The very thing she wanted I was keeping from her. As I strived to provide her with emotional support by keeping quiet, she longed for my affirmation that her choice was something we both loved.

Go figure.

My intentions were good but the implementation of my plan was faulty. I had chosen my course of action based on seeing the world through my own lens rather than my daughter’s.


HOW CAN I SHARE THIS?

I was so moved by the contrast between my two experiences that I decided I would write a book about it. I’ve never written a book, but what the heck, it seems like fertile ground for an interesting one. I even wrote the first chapter. But for now my experience serves as the catalyst for the CYR podcast.

Choosing Your Reflection is a podcast of discussions with everyday people who share the stories of their quest to find the perfect wedding outfit. But more importantly, what they learned along the way.

As my dear friend loves to say, “Everyone has a story.” And they are all interesting. A big shout out to all the interviewees who have graciously shared their experiences and make this podcast possible!


why a podcast?

“One reason podcasts are so popular is that the format is uniquely situated to fit into our busy lives. Any topic you’re interested in? You’ll find a podcast dedicated to it. Only have fifteen minutes to spare? You’ll find a podcast that you can listen to in that time frame. Prefer stories? There are podcasts written to scratch that narrative itch. Prefer news? Nonfiction? Science? Politics? You’ll find a podcast that fits.

It’s information and entertainment, in bite-size chunks, right at our fingertips. Plus, the format of podcasts allows a deeper dive into many subjects — it creates the possibility of long-form investigations in a very accessible medium. While many of us might not take the time to sit down and read a 20k word length article, we can listen to that article in bite-sized chunks during our commute to work, especially if it’s presented in an entertaining, narrative way” (Quora, 2018).


WHERE TO FIND CYR

I do hope you’ll visit the Choosing Your Reflection website and give it a test drive. You can also find CYR on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Castro, Deezer, Overcast, PocketCast, Podcast Addict, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you have an Amazon Echo, just say “Alexa, play the podcast Choosing Your Reflection” to stream the most recent episode.

Episodes generally fall in the TED Talk range (around 20 minutes) so they don’t require a big investment of time.

If you’re interested in being interviewed for Choosing Your Reflection just fill out the Wedding Outfit Survey and indicate that you would like to share your story. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Why is it important? Because I believe that when we choose our wedding outfit or help others choose theirs, we can gain insight into ourselves and those we love.

We just have to have the eyes and ears to recognize it.

until nxt time …

A summary of my journey to produce CYR can be found here.

References

Quora. (2018, October 12). Why Are Podcasts Gaining In Popularity? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/10/12/why-are-podcasts-gaining-in-popularity/#65ace9465321

PODCATCHERS

A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT PODCASTING

“Podcasting, of course, is a concatenation of the words iPod and broadcasting. And what is podcasting? … you can not only download radio shows and listen to them — you can subscribe to them so that every time there’s a new episode it automatically gets downloaded to your computer. You can listen to it there or it automatically gets synched to your iPod the next time you dock your iPod. It’s very, very exciting.” – Steve Jobs, 2005 Apple World Wide Developers Conference

On June 23, 2020 the first episode of the Choosing Your Reflection (CYR) podcast went live! You can listen to it now on the CYR website or by clicking on the embedded copy below.

Follow Your Heart – Evelyn LaTorre Choosing Your Reflection

Another episode, another fascinating conversation on Choosing Your Reflection — this week with author Evelyn LaTorre. Originally from small-town Montana, Evelyn got a taste for a larger worldview young and decided to let it grow as fast and vast as possible by joining the Peace Corps where she met her future husband in Peru. Two sons, three decades, and two books later Evelyn takes us through her wedding experience, including an unexpected guest, a handmade dress, and a letter to her parents that took longer in transit than her engagement. Special Guest: Evelyn LaTorre.
  1. Follow Your Heart – Evelyn LaTorre
  2. A Light Nod to the '80s – Anna Keizer and Derek Dehanke
  3. The Essence of Who We Are – Mike Iamele
  4. A Gift to Ourselves – Terry B. McDougall
  5. White Gown, Blue Suit – April Stephens

Keep in mind, however, that there are other ways to listen that will enable you to take a deeper dive into the podcast world.

Podcatchers allow you to ‘catch’ all new episodes of a podcast immediately, rather than finding them as they come out and manually downloading them to listen to” (Podcatcher Definition – What Is a Podcatcher?, n.d.)

You might know them as podcast apps. Whatever you call them, they perform the same basic function by accessing the podcasts’ web feed and periodically checking it for updates. When a new episode is found the file is downloaded and made available on the app, eliminating the need for the app user to visit different websites to gather each different podcast.

Another term that describes it well is podcast aggregator.

Whether you call them apps, podcatchers, or aggregators, they all do the same thing — help you keep track of all the different podcasts you listen to.

You get the picture. You choose, they automatically capture the newest episodes for you.

There are plenty of podcatchers to choose from, and deciding what works for you as a listener can be overwhelming. In his recent article The Only Podcast App List You’ll Ever Need in 2020, Wenbin Fang lists 37 of them. As a new podcaster, I chose eight, seven of which are listed below. iHeartRadio is also on my list and should be coming soon.


WHERE TO FIND CYr

If you’re an iPhone person, the Apple Podcasts  app is already loaded on your phone when you purchase it.
Launched in June of 2018 Google Podcasts  allows you to synch episodes across your Androiod phone and smart speaker (Fang, n.d.).
The cross-platform music streaming app Spotify  is becoming a major player in the podcasting business.
“If you’re on TuneIn, then anyone can play your podcast, just by asking Alexa” (Gray, 2020).
Don’t want to create an account or login? Hate banner ads? The cross-platform Radio Pubic  may be right for you.
Not as popular as it used to be but still a solid choice, Stitcher’s  free version meets most people’s basic needs.
Castbox  is for Android users, and also offers over 60,000 radio stations, both online and FM.

ARE SOME MORE POPULAR THAN OTHERS?

According to Chartable, Apple Podcasts and Spotify are the most popular listening apps.

(Zohrob, 2020)

If a podcaster wants to reach a younger audience, Spotify should be their target. According to an article in Marketing Land, “among monthly podcast listeners age 12-24, fifty-three percent were Spotify listeners, up from just 32 percent a year ago” (Marvin, 2019).


PODCAST DISCOVERY SURVEY

The Podcast Host partnered with Samson Technologies and Podchaser to conduct a survey to find out how podcast listeners discover new content. As you can see in the chart below, 40% search from within a podcatcher to find a new podcast.

(McClean, 2020)

“A common question among podcasters is ‘Is there a downside to listing my podcast on every possible directory?’ Our answer: no!” (Dennis, 2020)

It does take time to establish the connections with each app, but the time spent is worthwhile. Now that Choosing Your Reflection is connected to these popular apps, new episodes will be automatically added, creating an easy way for listeners to connect with CYR without going to the website.

The screenshot below shows the seven buttons CYR visitors can use to follow the podcast in their preferred app, along with the standard RSS feed button.

Which one should you choose? PC Magazine’s The 10 Best Podcast Player Apps for 2020 article explores what they consider to be the 10 best podcast apps; three of my choices made their list. Check it out if you’re in the market for a podcast app.

Happy listening!

until nxt time …

Watch this video to learn a little bit of history about podcasts and how they became so popular. Enjoy!

References

Dennis. (2020, June 25). How To Publish A Podcast To 30 Different Podcast Directories. Castos. https://castos.com/podcast-directories/

Duffy, J. (2019, October 16). The 10 Best Podcast Player Apps for 2020 | PCMag. https://www.pcmag.com/news/the-10-best-podcast-player-apps-for-2019

Fang, W. (n.d.). The Only Podcast App List You’ll Ever Need in 2020. Listen Notes. https://www.listennotes.com/podcast-academy/the-only-podcast-app-list-youll-ever-need-in-2020-7/

Gray. (2020, February 13). The Top Podcast Directories to Widen Your Podcast Distribution. The Podcast Host. https://www.thepodcasthost.com/promotion/best-podcast-directories-where-to-list/

List of podcatchers. (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_podcatchers&oldid=958888347 Page Version ID: 958888347

McClean, M. (2020, March 27). Podcast Discovery Stats in 2020 | How Listeners Discover New Shows. The Podcast Host. https://www.thepodcasthost.com/promotion/podcast-discoverability/

Mitchell, K., & Plaut, M. (2019, March 11). Take a look around the all-new RadioPublic app. RadioPublic. https://about.radiopublic.com/2019/03/11/take-a-look-around-the-all-new-radiopublic-app/

Podcast. (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Podcast&oldid=963899018 Page Version ID: 963899018

Podcatcher Definition—What is a Podcatcher? (n.d.). Backtracks.Fm. https://backtracks.fm/resources/podcast-dictionary/podcatcher

Quah, N. (2019, October 3). Picking the Best Podcast App (and a Guide to the Rest). Vulture. https://www.vulture.com/article/best-podcast-apps.html

SteveJobsArchive. (2017, September 21). Steve Jobs announces switch to Intel & Podcasting WWDC 2005—YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNwvAuc0nCU

Zohrob, D. (2020, January 21). Apple Podcasts vs. Spotify—Which is more popular? Chartable.Com. https://chartable.com/blog/apple-podcasts-vs-spotify-which-is-more-popular?

ENCLOTHED COGNITION

During the time leading up to a wedding ceremony, the “to-bes,” be they bride or groom, are faced with a superabundance of choices. From the most expensive choice (usually venue) to the least (shoes perhaps?) their choices create a bricolage of what they hope to be a one time only affair.

According to Wedding Wire’s 2020 Newlywed Report and based on data from over 25,000 U.S. couples married in 2019, the overall average cost for a first marriage hovers around the $30,000 mark.

(Goodson & Francis, n.d.)

Carved from that $30,000 budget is a wedding outfit. For females the average costs comes in at $1600, a tad over five percent of the overall budget (Goodson & Francis, n.d.).

(Goodson & Francis, n.d.)

If you want to go the designer route, your price tag increases significantly.

“Even a very simple dress can cost a pretty penny if it carries the label of a famous designer, like Vera Wang, Reem Acra or Hayley Paige. Their wares can run into the multiple thousands of dollars—$2,000, $3,000, $5,000, $8,000 or more” (Price, n.d.).

This Hayley Paige dress is an ivory-colored embroidered A-line gown with a deep sweetheart neckline, scalloped cap sleeve, and cashmere lining. Price wise it’s on the lower side of the designer scale, dropping in at the cool price of $3355. That’s before alterations, of course.

(Cap Sleeve Embroidered A-Line Wedding Dress, n.d.)

Grooms can also drop a significant piece of change for their outfit. According to a 2015 article from CNBC, mens custom suits can range from $800 to about $1,800 (Federico-O’Murchu, 2015).

Photo by Снежана from Pexels

As a recent interviewee for my current project on wedding outfits shared, why spend $350 on a rental when you can spend a little more and keep it. It just makes sense.

Choosing a wedding day outfit is an emotional experience that I find fascinating and it is the driving force behind my passion project — the Choosing Your Reflection podcast.


Enclothed Cognition

According to psychologists Hago Adam and Adam Galinsky, clothes have an influence on the wearer’s psychological processes. In 2012 they conducted a study on the symbolic meaning of clothes and the physical experience of wearing them. In their Journal of Experimental Social Psychology article, the term enclothed cognition is introduced.

Enclothed cognition is the term used to describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes” (Adam & Galinsky, 2012).

Basically, wearing different types of clothing causes a person to embody the clothing along with its symbolic meaning. As I was reading the study I remembered one of the early Choosing Your Reflection interviewees who said the following about the moment she found her perfect wedding dress:

“It gave me confidence. I wanted to show everybody ‘Look at me in this dress! I look like I could be a bride!’ It was definitely a moment. Special moment.”

– Lindsey, Rebel Bride episode from the Choosing Your Reflection podcast

“Science says that the clothes we wear affect our behavior, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others.” (Sarda-Joshi, 2016).


Making a Statement

Although a wedding is a traditional act, many couples seek to individualize the ceremony — often through what they wear. As the expectation of a white wedding continues to fade, freedom of choice expands. Brides and grooms alike are free to express their personalities by choosing an outfit that makes a personal or joint statement.

Outfits don’t have to be dull. Something as simple as the footwear you choose can display your personality in a big way! Almost all the people interviewed for the podcast had something to say about their choice of shoes for their big day, and very often it includes sneakers!

Looking for comfort? Why not order a pair of Converse All Star sneakers personalized with the word Bride on the back?

(Converse All Star Classic Canvas Sneakers Bride Wedding Personalized Shoes – White, n.d.)

Not quite your style? No worries. Here’s a very recent list of 32 styles of wedding sneakers that was recently published in Brides magazine which includes a pair of diamond crystal-embellished suede trainers from Jimmy Choo. Just $3,995. Free delivery and returns, of course.

(Diamond Crystal-Embellished Suede Trainers | Jimmy Choo | MATCHESFASHION US, n.d.)

“The right shoe can make everything different.” – Jimmy Choo


Why It’s Important

“Certain clothes make us very happy.” – Why Clothes Matter

Choosing Your Reflection is a collection of true stories from real people. Join us as we delve into the psychology and sociology behind the choices people make as they embark on the next chapter of their life as a married person.

until nxt time …

CYR Tip: If you want to keep within your budget, here’s a tip from one of the podcast interviewees. When visiting a bridal shop check the price tag of any dress your bridal attendant suggests you try on. If it’s outside of your budget don’t try it on. That way you won’t fall in love with something you can’t afford. If you just can’t resist, the popular website The Budget Savvy Bride offers tips on where to save to offset the cost of an expensive wedding dress. Check out the article Saying ‘I do’ on a budget: Why it’s okay to splurge on a dress and save in other ways.

References

Adam, H., & Galinsky, A. D. (2012). Enclothed cognition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(4), 918–925. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2012.02.008

Bricolage | Definition of Bricolage by Oxford Dictionary on Lexico.com also meaning of Bricolage. (n.d.). Lexico Dictionaries | English. https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/bricolage

Carter, J., & Duncan, S. (2017). Wedding paradoxes: individualized conformity and the ‘perfect day.’ The Sociological Review65(1), 3–20. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12366

Cap Sleeve Embroidered A-line Wedding Dress. (n.d.). Kleinfeld Bridal. https://www.kleinfeldbridal.com/product/hayley-paige-cap-sleeve-embroidered-a-line-wedding-dress-brando/

Converse All Star Classic Canvas Sneakers Bride Wedding Personalized Shoes—White. (n.d.). Glitter Shoe Co. https://www.glittershoeco.com/products/converse-all-star-classic-canvas-sneakers-bride-wedding-personalized-shoes-white

Diamond crystal-embellished suede trainers | Jimmy Choo | MATCHESFASHION US. (n.d.). https://www.matchesfashion.com/p/1338238

Federico-O’Murchu, L. (2015, February 16). How far do men go for a custom suit? Around the world. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2015/02/13/how-far-do-men-go-for-a-bespoke-suit-around-the-world.html

Goodson, L., & Francis, K. (n.d.). 2020 Wedding Report. WeddingWire. https://go.weddingwire.com/newlywed-report

Moore, S. (n.d.). 32 Wedding Sneakers to Take You from the Aisle to the Afterparty and Beyond. Brides. https://www.brides.com/gallery/wedding-bridal-sneakers

Price, S. (n.d.). Average Cost of a Wedding Dress. ValuePenguin. https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-cost-of-wedding-dress

Sarda-Joshi, G. (2016, February 29). 7 ways your clothes change the way you think. Brain Fodder. https://brainfodder.org/psychology-clothes-enclothed-cognition/

Shoes Sayings and Shoes Quotes | Wise Old Sayings. (n.d.). Wise Old Sayings. https://www.wiseoldsayings.com/shoes-quotes/

The School of Life. (2017, March 29). Why Clothes Matter—YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8da1nXckEy4

Why it’s okay to splurge on your wedding dress. (2016, July 23). The Budget Savvy Bride. https://thebudgetsavvybride.com/saying-i-do-on-a-budget-why-its-okay-to-splurge-on-a-dress-and-save-in-other-ways/

RECORDING YOUR STORIES

If you’re tuning in for the first time, let me catch you up.

Over the past four weeks I have been developing a new podcast called Choosing Your Reflection, based on the mystique that is wrapped around choosing a wedding outfit. Each podcast will feature an interview during which we ask our guest to TELL ME YOUR STORY — including the joys, sorrows, and/or frustrations they encountered while shopping/renting/wearing their wedding outfit.

To date eleven interviews have been conducted, with three additional sessions scheduled this month.

Guests indicate their wish to be interviewed by taking the Wedding Outfit Survey. The response to the survey has been excellent (see SURVEY SAYS … for more details) and responses continue to drop in.

By the way, if you indicated you are interested in being interviewed and I haven’t gotten back to you yet, please be patient as I pull all the pieces together.

Here’s the skinny on how the process works.


The Interview

Each interview so far can be summed up in a few words — a lot of fun! My daughter Lauren serves as the host while I moderate. Some of the questions are based on the Wedding Outfit Survey, but most of them are composed on the fly as we listen to each guest’s story.

A ZOOM session is used to capture the audio and I use the chat function to feed Lauren any questions that come to mind during the session. They usually last about an hour but can run longer. Each guest is given as much time as they need to tell their story.

Each session is unique, and many times we end up sharing our own thoughts and experiences as well. There’s also a lot of laughter and occasionally a few tears. A few people even said the interview felt like a great therapy session!


Creating a Transcript

Once the recording is in place, I find it useful to generate a transcript of the session. Depending on the type of license you have, ZOOM may be able to do the work for you. If not you may have to use an outside service. This step helps in the next two stages of the process — crafting the content and editing.


Crafting the Content

Next comes the storycrafting. I have an hour of story to tell in a 15 to 20 minute podcast, so I get to the essence of the interview by listening/reading/watching the recording. I use the transcript generated previously to highlight important items and make notes about any technical issues that need to be addressed.


Editing

Once my storytelling plan is in place I can begin to editing. I use two applications: Adobe Audition and Audacity, a free, open source, cross-platform audio software.  Both are great tools, but I tend to use Audacity more frequently just because I’m used to it.

If you’re new to Audacity, you might find CyberDog Studios’ video Audacity Editing for Beginners: 16 Tips in 9 Minutes helpful.

Editing is demanding and requires a lot of patience, and it’s a whole lot easier if you have a good recording. Better to capture a clean audio track from the get go than to have to “fix” things that could have easily been avoided.


Free Advice

Here’s some common sense tips for capturing a good audio file on ZOOM during an interview session, based on my recent experience.

Test your microphone ahead of time. If you’re using ZOOM you can do a test recording ahead of the session to make sure you’re going to capture good sound quality.

Provide guidance. Give your interviewee a quick overview of what the session entails, how long it takes (generally), and things they can do to ensure the recording you capture is good.

  • Try to avoid making any extraneous noise.
  • If possible, secure any pets/kids/spouses to avoid distraction.
  • Avoid any unnecessary movement if possible.

Be patient. Let your interviewee talk until they’re “empty.” Some of the most interesting aspects of your story will come at the end of the interview, so allow them adequate time to relax and get comfortable talking with you.

Most importantly, have fun. If you are relaxed and having a good time, you’ll send that vibe to your guest.

For some professional advice, check out Derek Pando’s article on how to run your podcast on ZOOM.

until nxt time …

References

CyberdogStudios. (n.d.). Audacity Editing for Beginners: 16 Tips in 9 Minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWFvG1-AmNk

Pando, D. (2017, December 18). We Asked the Pros: How to Run Your Podcast on Zoom. Zoom Blog. https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2017/12/18/we-asked-pros-how-to-run-your-podcast-on-zoom/

Header photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

NOTIONS OF A PODCAST

“Everything I need to keep my life running is stored online. Somewhere. I just can’t find it. ” (Pierce, 2018).

Enter Notion, a very cool collaborative tool that I have been using to maneuver my way through the large number of tasks required to produce the new podcast I’m working on.

After performing a bit of research I decided to use Notion as my project planning software. Although I am more familiar with Trello, I was intrigued by Notion’s database capabilities. It also had some stellar reviews.

Notion was touted as “The Only App You Need for Work-Life Productivity” by David Pierce in a recent Wall Street Journal online article (2018).

That’s a significant endorsement for an app that has only been around since 2016, and Pierce uses a great analogy to describe the tool.

Notion combines the features of a note-taking app, a task-management app and a spreadsheet tool the way that Steve Jobs combined an iPod, a cellphone and a web browser into the iPhone: All these tools work together to create something more than its parts” (Pierce, 2018).

After a bit of design trial and error I began feeling more comfortable with the navigation. Data entry is never fun, but it is the necessary evil that helps the average Joe get organized and achieve their project goals.

To begin I set up three main areas using three different templates:

  • Daily Production Journal
  • Project Management System
  • Interviewee Tracker

Let me walk you through each one.


Daily Production Journal

For my daily tasks, Notion’s Journal template was easy to set up. Since it’s also easy to use, and since I spend most of my time on a digital device, it’s very convenient and helps me stay on track on a daily basis.

It’s easy to change the title when you use a template. I added the word Production by simply clicking on the title inside the template.

Clicking on a specific date opens a web-based page that you can populate with date-specific to-do lists. Here’s my to-do list for tomorrow.

Checking a box causes the app to highlight the box in blue and cross out the entry off the list.


Managing the Project

For a bird’s eye view of the project, Notion’s Roadmap template works well. Information is broken down into separate groups:

  • Epics are overarching initiatives.
  • Tasks are actions that make up Epics.
  • Bugs are any issues or tasks that need to be fixed.

There’s also a group called Sprints, described as time-bound pushes to complete a set of tasks. I’ve opted not to use this category at the moment, but it may come in handy if I run into delivery-based time challenges going forward.

Once again I changed the template title; this time to Choosing Your Reflection, the new working title for the podcast.

The sorting function comes in handy to isolate groups you are interested in viewing at any particular moment.


Interviewee Tracker

Notion’s Applicant Tracker template worked well for setting up each of my potential podcast interviewees. Note that I changed the names and blocked out the PII to protect my podcast guests’ privacy.

Each record holds information gathered from my online survey, which is easily accessed by clicking on the potential guest’s name. I can also sort by status to ensure I am responding to incoming inquiries in a timely fashion.


Easy to Learn, Hard to Master

Pierce’s WSJ article recommends thinking of it as a “super-simple website builder.” I agree. I got up and running really quickly and I’m learning more about the product every day. He also adds that it’s “easy to learn, hard to master” (2018).  

The good news is that Notion has an active user community, so you can dive deep if you have the time.

It’s definitely more time-consuming on the front end than Trello, but ultimately offers more depth should you wish to take advantage of it over the long haul.


Wrap Up

When I looked up the word notion I found an interesting array of definitions. This one was particularly intriguing.

“A notion is lighter than a theory and embraces a whimsy that a simple idea never could” (Notion – Dictionary Definition, n.d.). 

My podcast Choosing Your Reflection began as a notion. Why not ask people to share stories about how they chose their wedding outfit? Most people call it one of the most important days of their life.

It might sound whimsical, but the choice you make matters.

So I guess using Notion for what began as a notion is apropos — because both notions are deeper than they appear at first glance.

until nxt time …

References

Notion (app). (2020). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Notion_(app)&oldid=959034836 Page Version ID: 959034836

notion—Dictionary Definition. (n.d.). vocabulary.com.
https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/notion

Pierce, D. (2018, March 21). The Only App You Need for Work-Life Productivity. Wall Street Journal (Online). https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-only-app-you-need-for-work-life-productivity-1521640800

Poulin, M. (2019, November 8). Create a Weekly Agenda template from scratch in Notion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yk4BWfhh6Q

Header image by Dmitry Demidov

SURVEY SAYS …

“What are you working on?” It’s a question I hear fairly often these days.

In Tell Me Your Story I shared my fascination with finding out whether or not people believe they can find the perfect wedding outfit. Although wedding outfit research and history is available, there doesn’t seem to be much out there that gets to the heart of my question. So …

I decided to do a bit of my own research by posting my Wedding Outfit Survey. If you ever chose a wedding outfit for your own ceremony, I’d be appreciative if you would complete it. It only takes five minutes.

Thanks to some great friends who shared the survey link via word of mouth and their social media accounts, 150 people have completed the survey. That’s a great start, and I’m hoping people will continue to respond.

(Foster, 2020)

Statistics So Far

Here are a few of the survey statistics so far:

  • 80% of the respondents are married
  • 54% had a religious-based wedding ceremony
  • 65% chose their wedding outfit in one month or less
  • 34% of the respondents are in the 30 to 39 year old age range
  • almost 69% believe a bride/groom finds their “perfect” or “dream” wedding outfit
  • 81% still have their wedding outfit

Interesting fact: Most people store theirs in a basement or attic, which is not recommended. And don’t use plastic to protect it (unless it’s acid-free). A clean linen sheet is preferable.

If you’re interested, you can check out the article on How to Store Your Wedding Dress After the Wedding for more information.

The statistics are interesting but definitely skewed in the relationship status category (married respondents totalled 80%). Where are my divorced people?

Wedding Outfit Survey Results as of May 31, 2020

Hey, I’m in that category. I know you’re out there, so let me hear your voice! It’s always fun to find out whether or not we divorced folk still have our outfit.

98% of the responses are from North America, but we also have responses from Pakistan and Romania. I’d love to have more people from outside the U.S., so if you know anyone please share my story with them!


The Podcast

Photo by The Teens Network Daytime Show Studios from Pexels

The survey also serves as a starting point for those who are interested in being interviewed on my upcoming podcast. Beautiful You is the working title but it may change in the near future.

So far I have twenty potential interviewees, and I’m thrilled. Here’s how the process works.

  • Survey respondents indicate their interest in being interviewed, along with their preferred method of contact (email or telephone).
  • A ZOOM session is scheduled to allow the interviewee and I to get to know each other. It also helps me structure the interview questions that will help the respondent tell their story in the best way possible, making sure they are comfortable, of course.
  • If the respondent agrees to do the interview an additional ZOOM session is scheduled.
  • The interview itself usually takes under an hour, and so far they’ve been great.
Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

The overall process is very informal, and the sessions we’ve recorded to date have been informative, revealing, and a lot of fun. In my experience, almost everyone has an interesting story that somehow relates to choosing their wedding outfit.


What’s Next?

In my next post I’ll share my experiences using a new online software application called Notion. And yes, like the caption below the cartoon says, these days I do spend most of my days in front of a computer.

Notion is an enhanced online workspace that includes powerful tools for notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. The robust structure allows for great flexibility in creating and organizing content, work items, or database components. It works with browsers, as a desktop app, and on mobile devices with native apps. The built-in collaboration tools allow for easy work and information sharing. The comprehensive set of features in one tool can replace several disconnected apps for a more streamlined workflow, better overview, and increased productivity” (Santos, 2020).

It’s important to use a project manager tool to track the myriad tasks involved in creating a podcast, and I’m hoping Notion will help me accomplish my goals.

So far I’m liking it. It’s powerful and easy to use; a nice combination. You can also check out Francesco D’Alessio’s article How Notion Compares to Other Popular Tools for more information.

Don’t forget to drop me a line if you want to share your wedding outfit story or give me your feedback on the blog. In the meantime, stay safe.

until nxt time …

References

D’Alessio, F. (2020, February 20). How Notion Compares to Other Popular Tools. Keep Productive. https://www.keepproductive.com/blog/notion-comparison

Foster, H. (2020, May 22). Wedding Outfit Survey. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1GEm8OVZTgPsYNfsSNP0a_KFdsI2nI4mGviHyrSV7bwI/edit

How to Store Your Wedding Dress After the Wedding. (2019, February 11). Simply Self Storage. https://www.simplyss.com/blog/how-to-store-your-wedding-dress-after-the-wedding/

Pros and cons of using Notion Software. (2019, November 27). Project-Management.Com. https://project-management.com/pros-and-cons-of-using-notion-software/

Santos, J. M. D. (2020, January 12). Notion Software Review: Overview – Features – Pricing. Project-Management.Com. https://project-management.com/notion-software-review/

Header photo by Cleyder Duque from Pexels

TELL ME YOUR STORY

“What I love about a wedding gown is that it’s almost purely emotional and not at all practical.”

– Rebecca Schoneveld, wedding dress designer

At the tender age of twenty — back when that wasn’t considered too young to get married — I got engaged. Not surprisingly, I was anxious to begin looking for my wedding outfit.

Using the internet to search for a gown was not an available option then, so I made a trip to the store and bought a few bridal magazines so I could conjure up some ideas.

Many days and dog-eared pages later I found my inspiration, so my mom and I made plans to make our pilgrimage to the local bridal shops.

The hunt was on.

I knew exactly what I wanted, and it had to be perfect.

per·fect (adjective)
having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

Fast forward thirty-six years. This time it’s my engaged daughter and I making the rounds of the bridal shops, once again looking for that elusive “perfect” dress.

What exactly is the mystique that revolves around finding the perfect wedding outfit?

Once my daughter found her outfit, I felt like there was something I needed to share about my experiences. I began writing what I thought would be a book, but between my work and graduate studies not much was getting accomplished.

But last week all that changed.


A New Plan

I came up with two strategies:

  1. Conduct a survey to find out if people believe they can find the “perfect” or “dream” outfit.
  2. Set up interviews so I could hear their stories directly.

After considering what type of questions I should ask, I created the Wedding Outfit Survey.

If you’ve ever borrowed, bought, made, or purchased an outfit for your own wedding ceremony, I’d love to get feedback on your experience. It only takes five minutes to fill it out and don’t worry, there aren’t any questions about your income or education levels. The answers to the questions will help me learn more about your opinions regarding the “perfect dress” phenomenon.

But wait, there’s more!


A New Podcast

The most exciting part comes next. If you’re game, you could be selected to be a part of my upcoming podcast series called Beautiful You (find out more about it here).

When you fill out the survey, just indicate how you would like to be contacted (phone or email). Depending on the number of responses I receive it may take a while, but I’ll reach out to you to determine if your story gels with our theme.

I’m on the east coast in the U.S., but don’t worry if you’re far away; conducting an interview is very simple using ZOOM. I’ve been using it a lot lately to stay in touch with friends and relatives, especially while everyone is social distancing these days.

Everyone I know — and I mean everyone — has a story about choosing their wedding outfit.

This article in Philadelphia Magazine tells the story of how one women spent just $15 on her wedding gown. It includes pictures, and the outfit looks pretty great to me. Perfect doesn’t necessarily come with a price tag.

The survey is open to everyone: males, females, all ages! The only requirement — the outfit had to be for your wedding. Guest outfits don’t count.


What Can We Learn?

The two experiences I’ve had — choosing my own dress and helping my daughter choose hers — were very different (a story for another day). I wasn’t surprised that I learned a lot about myself the first time; as a matter of fact, I sort of expected it. But what I didn’t expect was that I would learn even more when I went shopping with my daughter.

Bottom line? There’s a lot of psychology behind this ritual of choosing a wedding outfit.

Who is that girl in the mirror? And more importantly, will her wedding outfit reflect who she chooses to be as she moves into the next phase of her life?

Photo by Jennifer Murray from Pexels

Share your story with me and let’s find out together.


More to Come

Over the next six weeks I’ll be reporting on the survey results and how the podcast is coming along, so check back if you’d like to hear about my progress. I’m doing some research on the history of weddings, so I’ll try to include a little bit of that as well.

I’m also interested in the different cultural traditions surrounding wedding attire. For some, tradition is a labor of love, yet others toss tradition aside to create their own definition of “perfect.”

What’s your definition of the perfect wedding outfit? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

until nxt time …

References

Foster, H. (2020, May 22). Wedding Outfit Survey. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1GEm8OVZTgPsYNfsSNP0a_KFdsI2nI4mGviHyrSV7bwI/edit

Gilbert, B. (n.d.). All your friends are using Zoom, the video-chat app that is suddenly dominating competition from Google and Microsoft. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/zoom-video-everywhere-google-hangouts-skype-2020-3

Schoneveld, R. (2020, April 16). What My Wedding Dress Means to Me. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/fashion/weddings/what-my-wedding-dress-means-to-me.html

Zlotnick, S. (2019, November 7). I Spent $15 On My Wedding Dress and Have Zero Regrets. Philadelphia Magazine. https://www.phillymag.com/philadelphia-wedding/2019/11/07/15-dollar-wedding-dress/

Header photo by Filipe Leme from Pexels