Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

PR Mama is Moving!

March 10, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s been a great run over here at but it’s time to put on my big girl britches and hike it on over to my VERY OWN self-hosted site heretofore known as Please reset your feeds and blogrolls to (if you don’t mind) and come visit soon!

xoxoxoxo Stephanie

Categories: Uncategorized

Wordless Wednesday

August 12, 2009 2 comments
Categories: Uncategorized

Dipping My Toe in the (Life)Stream

August 6, 2009 1 comment

Okay, I give. You dangle a shiny digital penny, I’m gonna grab. Test driving Posterous to see how it goes. I admit the idea of posting on the fly…with a bit more space than 140 characters…is very appealing.

So I’m down with Posterous…just not with digerati posturing. Blogs are NOT dead. (Long live blogs.)

(Let’s see how this picture thing works. This is a picture of Verushka, the amazing Russian model from back in the day. It’s neither here nor there, I just love the picture.)

Posted via email from Stephanie Smirnov’s Posterous

Categories: Uncategorized

Vacation All I Ever Wanted…

July 8, 2009 1 comment

gogos_vacationAm on vacation right now and you know, I really did have very grand blogging aspirations for these two weeks. Am not so sure the fingers are gonna be flying as fast as I had expected over the old keyboard. So forgive the lack of new posts for the next week or so. Though you know, I might surprise you.  And of course, I’ll continue to bang away senselessly on Twitter, feel free to chill with me over there.  (It’s where all the cool kids are hanging out this summer.)

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Thank You for Calling, Please Hold

February 19, 2009 1 comment

intermissionAm knee deep in the new business hooplah.  This is a good problem to have.  Nevertheless, it is all consuming so am on a little blog break till next week.  Back atcha soon, hopefully with happy tales of triumph to share.


(image via)

Categories: Uncategorized

The Force is with Them

October 15, 2008 Leave a comment


Unless you’re a hard core Star Wars geek, a five-year old, or the parent of a five-year old, I’m guessing you didn’t hotfoot it to the multiplex last month to see “The Clone Wars.”  If you had, you would have been introduced to Anakin Skywalker’s padawan Ahsoka — or, as we say in this galaxy — his apprentice.

I’ve been referring to the folks at Cone Inc. as the Jedis of Cause Marketing lately because — well, because they are.  And I want to be their padawan.  I like where I work very much, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I’m supposed to be something of a CRM expert at this agency but not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new and feel humbled by the great Cone blog.  Making me feel like a padawan, minus the orange skin and tentacle-like headdress.  

Do check out today’s post on investing versus giving, a brilliant distinction that sums up for me what’s most exciting about where cause marketing is going these days.

Categories: Cause, Uncategorized, Work Tags: , ,

Thinking Visually

September 17, 2008 Leave a comment

via brandspankingnew

Would you study the same thing in college if you could go back and do it over again?  I was an Art History major back in the dark ages and while my plans to be a professor were derailed long ago, I find myself using my liberal arts skills plenty in my PR work.  Critical thinking, presentation skills, oral and written communication…all that good stuff.  Plus I got to look at paintings all day for 4 years (6 if you count the M.A. study).  So all good, no regrets.

That said, can’t help but be jealous of today’s college students when I read things like this post by Sara Quinn of the Poynter Institute, recapping a Q&A with Karl Gude who teaches information graphics to visual journalism students at Michigan State.  I’ve always been fascinated by how ideas and data can be presented visually, and try to do a good job of this when presenting to our clients.  Our medium for better or worse is still Powerpoint (I know, I know.  My cool Mac friends tout Keynote and there’s groovy open-source stuff out there too, but we like to rock our presentations old-school here at DeVries.)

Powerpoint has become the punchline of bad corporate presentation jokes because it’s been abused so terribly.  We’ve all been subjected to (or the perpetrators of) endless decks with nothing but tiny-type bullet points and no visual relief save the occasional clip art stick figure, or overly-designed presentations with a hot mess of competing typefaces and visuals on each slide…let’s face it, garbage in, garbage out.

So how do we make it better?  I’m working on an internal training module for our senior staff that has promised to shed some light on this question.  I’ve got a few weeks but am looking for inspiration wherever I can find it.  Like this quote from Karl Gude:

“I see information graphics as a convergence –- a combination of four things. One of them is content…strong information. Another one is art and design. You have to be pretty good at that stuff. Another is technology. And finally, critical thinking. That’s what journalism is all about.” 

Sounds like the components of a great client presentation to me.  Who knew I had this much to learn from visual journalism?  For all you like-minded geeks out there, Visual Voice and Information Aesthetics are both brilliant sources for all things infographic.

Growing Pains

August 23, 2008 1 comment

via cutarts

On vacation in the Catskills.  Spectacular clear day, crystalline blue sky with one perfect cirrus cloud hovering above the treeline (mare’s tail — what a great name for a cloud.  Interesting they decided not to call it a stallion’s tail.) My five-year old is passed out in the TV room recliner — am looking at him now, wedged into a chair that one year ago he could have curled into for a nap like a cat.  Now he’s all arms and legs, overflowing that chair the same way he’s outgrown all his PJs.  He announced very matter-of-factly yesterday that his tooth was loose.  He’s a storyteller and has been announcing loose teeth ever since he first heard about the Tooth Fairy two years ago…but this time was the real deal.  And there was the big boy tooth coming in right behind…too fast.  Way too fast.  Today, big boy teeth.  Tomorrow, puberty and the keys to the car. 

So fellow moms, what are teeth going for these days?  My last transaction with the Tooth Fairy was about thirty years ago and back then, I believe it was a quarter.  What we do now?  A buck?  Five?  A Nintendo DS game cartridge?  Suggestions welcome.  Also, any advice for keeping my heart from exploding every time we hit a new developmental milestone?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Cookie Project Update

August 9, 2008 3 comments

Via Clever Cookie

Am procrastinating right now, have two crushing client doc deadlines on top of me but it’s much more important that I a) eat the wild blackberry my son just picked for me from behind our house and b) blog.  SO…a quick update for those awaiting the formal kick-off of the Cookie Project — and I know there are thousands of you out there — that we officially have a name.  And no surprise it would come from Lisa P, the colleague and fellow working mom who inspired me in the first place with her introducing me to the “cooking through” trend. 

So what we are about to embark upon, OF COURSE — is “Cookie-ing Through.”

Thanks, Lisa P.  And quit lurking — this blog needs a regular dose of your Dorothy Parker-esque wit!

Categories: Marketing, Uncategorized Tags: ,

Moments of Wonder, Part III

August 5, 2008 1 comment

Once in while something happens that reminds me that I do in fact have faith in humanity, that people are inherently good not evil, and that misanthropy is only attractive on TV (paging Dr. House.)  A rainbow triggered this thought.  Not just any rainbow — an insane, turbo-charged, larger than life rainbow that for about 15 minutes last Sunday night transformed a bunch of motorists on the NYS Thruway into awestruck little kids.  This picture doesn’t come close to doing it justice, but there it is:

Drivers were peeling off the highway one after another — some to snap pictures, others just to stare.  My son was drowsy in the back seat and wasn’t particularly interested but it didn’t matter — the two 40-somethings in the front seat were on cloud nine.

Remember the old “People are Good” ebay ads?  No rainbows in that campaign, but I think they were on to something.  What do you think?

Categories: Uncategorized