Thursday, September 30, 2010

The more you know: switching to Gmail like a pro

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]

Every day, tens of thousands of people switch from Microsoft Outlook® and other client-based software to Google Apps. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we thought we’d share some tips on using Gmail.

Embrace conversations
Emails rarely come just one at a time; they’re usually part of a larger exchange. Gmail helps you manage messages more efficiently by grouping related emails into conversations. Conversations are a collection of messages with the same subject line and other similarities. When you click to read a conversation, you'll see all of the back-and-forth email responses that happen over the course of the entire email conversation.

This makes it easier to follow the full context of a conversation, and keeps your inbox less cluttered and more organized. If you prefer a more traditional view of your Inbox, you can always turn off Conversation view so that all emails arrive individually.

Forget delete, and archive your way to “Inbox Zero”
The average corporate inbox is only 300MB, which means too many people are forced to spend way too much time managing their inbox -- deciding which email to keep, and deleting the rest. With 25GB of storage, you probably won’t ever need to delete an email again because of storage limitations. And if you thrive on clearing your inbox, simply archive your emails to clear the clutter. They’re still fully searchable in an instant!

Search to sort
You may be accustomed to sorting email to find saved messages, which is a pretty limited way to find information because you usually know what you’re looking for. Gmail uses the power of search to help you quickly find what you want. You can even use advanced search operators to search by sender, date, attachment or a variety of other attributes. Try it and you'll find some of the qualities that is known for: great accuracy and really fast search results. Search is particularly more effective than sorting when you’re looking through multiple gigabytes of email!

Labels instead of folders
While you won't find folders in Gmail, labels give you even more flexibility to organize your email. You can’t put an email into multiple folders, but you can apply multiple labels to the same message, which makes it easy to manage information that may fall into more than one category.

By clicking on a label, you can view a chronological list of all conversations that have been tagged with that label. And you can even organize labels hierarchically, using the “Nested Labels” lab. (Your administrator needs to have enabled Labs for you to access them.)

Work offline
These days you’re probably almost always connected to the Internet. But in those increasingly rare moments when you’re not, you can still access Gmail. When you’re offline, you can work in your browser to compose messages, search, organize mail, and do all of the things you're used to doing while accessing your email online. Any messages you send while offline will be placed in your outbox and automatically sent the next time Gmail detects a connection. To enable offline Gmail, go to the ‘offline’ tab in Settings, select ‘Enable’ and then save changes.

New features
As a web application, Gmail can be updated and improved without the trouble of purchasing, downloading and installing updates. This means Gmail will continually offer new functionality to help you be even more productive, like Priority Inbox, integrated voice and video chat, and labs such as Apps Search and Desktop Notifications. To stay current on new features, we encourage you to subscribe to our RSS feed for updates to the Google Apps suite.

We hope you enjoy the experience we offer -- we believe that ultimately, a fully-searchable, delete-nothing inbox makes for happy, productive people. But if you’re still not quite ready to use Gmail’s web interface, you can keep using Outlook or other clients of your choice. For more tips, check out our detailed transition documentation, and let us know what else we can do to make your move to Gmail easier in the comments below.

$5 Chair Freshened Up

I spotted this chair at a yard sale a few weekends ago, in slightly worse condition:o) My sister in law was with and me, and we had a really good time. Every time she comes to visit we end up going to yard sales, and every time she says she needs to remember to bring cash. She never gets anything, and I end up spending every last cent that I have on me. I think I even borrowed 25 cents from her??? But regardless, we had a good time.
So this is what the chair looked like when I brought it home:
I liked the white, but it was dingy, and the previous owner had brushed the paint on, so there was a lot of uneven brush strokes all over the chair. In it's first life, I think this chair was RED. You can kind of see the red popping thru in places where the white has chipped off.
 Now the seat cover was completely disgusting. It was vinyl at one point, but because the chair is so old, it was cracked and peely. When I removed the cover, there will little creepy crawlies in it too...EWWWWW! 
Because the cushion was so funky, I used some egg shell crate I had lying around to serve as the chair cushion. I just cut two to size and laid the egg shells facing one another on the seat. I then covered it with low loft batting. Then stapled the fabric to the seat.
I gave the chair a fresh coat of white. I made sure to spray paint it instead of brushing b/c it is just easier, plain and simple. Plus, who wants to have to brush that chair out with all those corners...not I said the crafter!
I found this fabric at a discount fabric store that is about an hour from here. I REALLY wanted to make curtains out of it, but they only had the one remnant that I purchased:( However, I will be making some pillow  covers with this material. Can't wait:o)
 There's my little place mat pillow.
 I did distress the edges just a bit so that the red could pop back thru. S.R. wanted to have her picture taken...look at that sweet little hand...with Dorito laden thumbnail. 
Not a whole lot of change, but change nonetheless. 
Dentist appointments for the kids today...S.R.'s first time...say a little prayer for mommy's sanity;o)
Happy Thursday!
Linking up to
Miss Mustard Seed
Tatertots and Jello

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Yesterday I got a wild hair and went thru my entire house and started cleaning. I got so much accomplished. I even recovered one of my yard sale chairs I found a couple of weeks ago. While taking a short break, I ran across this printable at it is what it is...(the hubs uses that phrase all the time;o)).
Then, I went over to Just Deanna, and I found her recipe for pumpkin bread. I had a plan:o)
The hubs picked up the ingredients I didn't have on hand on his way home from work...such a good hubby:o)
And I got to baking. I wanted to make some bread for E's teachers. I used my mini bundt pan b/c I thought they looked like little pumpkins.
While the bread was supposed to be cooling, little sneaky hands found their way over to the counter top.
(Singing) One of these is not like the other....
The work of a two year old:o)
I added the Hershey bars in the center to look like stems. I wish that I had some mint leaves on hand. I think that would have added to the pumpkin look.
I put the "pumpkins" in goody bags and added the tag.
I printed out the recipe and attached it the back of the tags.
By the way, this bread is DELICIOUS!! Thanks Deanna for sharing your recipe!!
Have a Fabulous Fall Wednesday!

Domestically Speaking

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Google Places Tip and Tricks - September

Hope you had a great summer and are ready to jump into fall! Here are a few tips to further engage with your customers, and we've also shared the experience of Dr. Jeffrey Prager, whose use of Google Places to connect with potential clients for his dental practice sheds light on how other businesses and professional services can achieve similar success.

Post to your Place page

Connect with your customers through Place page posts. These 160-character posts allow you to share a short update or special with users. Check out some examples and sign in now to write a quick post!

Make sure your free listing has everything it needs

You can update your business hours, add photos and make many other edits through your Google Places account. Some of the information you can update includes:
  • Photos and videos
  • Business hours
  • Description
  • Address and service areas
  • Much more
Use the Report a Problem tool in other cases, such as:
  • Duplicate listings
  • Inaccurate information, including personal contact information or information about another business, that appears on your Place page
See more examples of updates and sign in now to edit your page.

Success Story

Through Google Places, Dr. Jeffrey Prager's Dental Care has a continual influx of new customers, reduced marketing costs, and a high ROI.

As his practice continues to evolve, he updates his Place page to reflect any new services he offers. He might add a new video or update his business description. The listing also helps him market his business niche - laser procedures to help patients avoid painful gum surgery. Read more.

You can update your Places account at any time by signing in at with your email address and password.

Posted by Bernadette Cay,
Associate Product Marketing Manager

Quiet Book

I finally did it! After a year and a half of wanting to make S.R. her very own quiet book, I finally made it:o) I was not coming to bed last night until the last stitch had been sewn. I was exhausted. My back ached from hunching over my machine, but I feel that it was well worth the effort! 
(the highlighter is there to cover S.R. full name...we like to keep just a tad bit of privacy;o))
This project took about 3 days from start to finish. Of course it wasn't 3 Full days, but it does take time and thought to put one of these books together.
I tried to think of S.R.'s favorite things. These pages tell you a little bit about my sweet little girl. She LOVES shoes. Every morning when she wakes up, she tracks down the first pair of shoes she sees and puts them on, whether it be her heels, or a pair of E's flip flops. When she makes her grand entrance every morning, she models her shoes. It's hysterical:o)
This spread is a representation of her bedroom. Now, the color scheme is wrong because I had ZERO pink felt:o( I wanted to do this for FREE, so I used what I had:o) To see S.R.'s room, go here.
She loves to dress herself. What little princess doesn't;o)
The words I hear out of her mouth are usually, "I gon do it."(long O sound;o))
The Wardrobe that holds all the little felt clothes for the little girl.
Doors opened.
Panties are a big thing around here b/c we are in the throws of potty training. It was so much easier with E:o/
One of the dresses.
This next spread is a Tea Party and Build an Ice Cream Cone 
The tea pot and cups are removable, so she can have a little tea party.
The ice cream is also removable. The Ice Cream bucket and toppings jar are pockets to slide the pieces in.
S.R. loves babies, and is always carrying around one. 
Now I realize that this baby is slightly frightening. Especially with the red hair...but remember, I am using what I have:o)
The spoon, green blanket and bottle are removable so she can pretend to feed and cover the baby up. The little red bowl is supposed to be baby food(rice cereal, maybe???)
Every quiet book has flowers that button on. Very straight forward. Thinking about spraying just a tad of perfume on them so that they smell:o) Not too much though.
The last page houses crayons and coloring pages. The pic didn't turn out so great, sorry.
S.R. is my little artist:o)
So that's it. My hard work paid off, at least I think it did;o)

I know that I normally do tutorials on Tuesdays, but I thought that if I showed you this book, that it might give you a few ideas so you could make your little one a quiet book of their own.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Event recap: How to run a successful social campaign

[Cross posted from the AdWords Agency Blog.]

Last week, YouTube and SEMPO hosted a social marketing panel, "How to run a successful social campaign," for SEMPO's San Francisco and Los Angeles working groups. The panel featured speakers from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Athena East, and highlighted the unique products available to marketers, and best practices for executing measurable, impactful social advertising strategies.

Derek Gordon of Yield Software was there, and shared what he learned in today's Mediapost Search Insider column.

Click here for his complete update.

Posted by AgencyAd Solutions Blog Team

Mickey Shorts & Random Crafts

So I guess you are thinking that it's about time that I made these shorts, since I have been talking about making them for a few weeks now:o) I made them last night and it only took 20 minutes. My only excuse for not making them is pure laziness. I am trying to wrap up a few Disney things b/c our trip will be here sooner than we know it:o) The kids are so excited...I AM SO EXCITED!
I used my usual pattern for shorts, and just added large white circles on the front. The circles are white felt that I added some Heat Bond to, and adhered them to the front of the shorts. I did stitch around the edges of the shorts, just in case:o)
I am currently trying to put Busy Bags together for my kids. We are going with friends, girls in one vehicle, boys in the other, so I need to make sure that E's bag is packed with the right stuff b/c the hubs isn't eactly creative when it comes to entertaining the little ones:o) He's a good daddy, but 12 hours is a long time to keep someone occupied and not whinny:o)...I am referring to E...just in case you were wondering:o) HA!
I am making S.R. a quiet book. I have been looking for an excuse to make her one, and this is it:o) I made one for E for his 1st birthday. It's about time that S.R. got one.
Now for the random crafts:o)
This is the center piece that I made for the Homemakers' Cultural Arts Fair. Still not sure if I like it:o/
I went to Walmart today to do some Va-cay shopping and ran across these:
I have been cleaning out all the plastics in the house b/c I am a little freaked out with all the cancers that are hitting women at younger ages. I am quickly approaching 30, and I keep hearing about women in their early 30's getting I don't know if plastic is the reason, but I really want to go back to glass and stainless steel. Just in case....
I got a Cricut the other day....OH YEAH! I am super pumped. AND I have vinyl....are ya thinking what I'm thinking???:o) 
So would anyone be interested in a water bottle?:o)
I plan on pulling the cricut out during nap time and putting my initials on a bottle.
These would make great gifts!
Let me know if you are interested in one...$12, which includes vinyl initials.
BPA free 650 mL.
Hope you guys have a great Monday!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Finding your hidden treasure: international campaigns with AdWords

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

In 2000, Antoine Assi founded Middle Eastern export website—it was one of the first e-commerce business in the Middle East. He was just 20 years old and he made time to develop the business in between computer science classes at his university. He needed a way to advertise his website from the comfort of his own dorm room, so he decided to test out Google AdWords.

His friends didn’t believe him when Antoine said he was going to sell and advertise traditional Middle Eastern foods and goods online. However, by 2004, his business had grown so rapidly that he decided to take leave from school to run it full-time. He then started his second company,, which sells handcut decorative tiles online internationally.

Antoine believed there was a gap in the mosaic market and he wanted to share these artistic and historic decorations abroad. He knew there was a market for these tiles internationally—he just didn’t quite know where the opportunity existed. To identify these international growth opportunities, Antoine built on his knowledge of AdWords: He ran several AdWords campaigns, each targeted at the location and language of the test country.

From there, Antoine measured sales and percentage of website traffic from each country and campaign. He ended campaigns for countries with low sales volume and invested in campaigns for countries with higher sales volume and greater return on investment. Where he saw steady product sales, Antoine even had the company website translated into the language of the successful host country. As you can imagine, translating the site to the language of a country in which he’d already seen success only further promoted sales in that location.

Antoine refers to his AdWords campaigns as his hidden treasure, telling us that “the second month we started advertising on Google, we started feeling overwhelmed by the orders and the inquiries... We had to hire new employees on a weekly basis.”

Mosaic Marble quickly grew from two employees and eight artists to more than 40 employees and 120 artists. And the company’s website is now available in seven languages: Arabic, English, Finnish, German, Italian, Portuguese and French.

In addition to helping him expand his business, these international campaigns helped Antoine and his colleagues share these cultural icons with a larger part of the world. There are now homes and public spaces adorned with these ancient Greek creations in more than 50 countries worldwide. “Due to Google,” says Antoine, “we have customers such as the President of Congo, the Dubai Minister of Internal Affairs, the Princess of Jordan, and the Royal Music Academy of London.”

Going Google across the 50 States: Connecticut-based ice cream franchise decides to ‘gofer’ Google Apps

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]

Editor’s note: Over the past couple months, thousands of businesses have added their Gone Google story to our community map and even more have used the Go Google cloud calculator to test drive life in the cloud. To highlight some of these companies’ Gone Google stories, we decided to talk to Google Apps customers across the United States. Check back each week to see which state we visit next. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map.

“It’s always a good day to ‘gofer’ ice cream,” according to Jay Ragusa, President of Gofer Ice Cream. Jay has opened five stores throughout Connecticut that provide high quality ice cream and unique treats such as razzles, smoothies, hand dipped ice cream, and soft serve ice cream with a flavor twist. Jay relies on Google Apps to keep his business running, and today he shares how it has helped him and his staff work more efficiently.

“Between our online accounting software and the use of Google Apps, which has become an integral part of our daily operations, we are gradually putting the entire company in the cloud.

Google Sites, part of the Google Apps suite, is used to create specific pages on our external website ( so we can easily edit content without the use of a webmaster. Internally, we built multiple intranet sites including the Gofer Network where store managers and franchisees communicate, organize, and operate their part of the company. The Gofer Crew Portal is a site designed for the staff to access information such as contact numbers, store schedules and the internal Gofer Blog, and submit time card exceptions.

We rely heavily on Google Docs to update manuals, recipes, and employee schedules all of which are posted on the Gofer Network for store managers to access and share with employees at each store. For financial reporting, we created custom Google forms to efficiently collect data on point-of-sale purchases every night — store managers input their sales numbers into the form and everything is automatically populated in my spreadsheets. The forms are a great way to get the data quickly without having to expose sensitive revenue information across all the stores.

Whenever possible, we’re developing business processes around the functionality in Google Apps. It’s low cost and we get the security of knowing that Google is backing up our data. I’m looking forward to finding more ways that Google Apps can improve how we work.”

Dining Room Curtains

Just a little something I whipped up yesterday.
I love floor to ceiling curtains! These curtains have completely transformed the room.
I didn't want to go out and purchase a brand new curtain rod b/c they are mucho expensive, so I used two smaller ones I had on hand. I also had some shower curtain rings that I got at a yard sale last year for $1. I put large button holes in the tops of the curtains, and just slid the curtain rings thru. Ole Dave(Ramsey) would be proud;o)
I figured that the hubs wasn't going to be adding the trim in the dining room anytime soon, so I decided to go ahead and put my china back in the hutch:o)
Some fall love.
More things I had on hand. 
The pictures are really bright b/c I had to use my external flash. There isn't enough natural light this time of year that comes thru the dining room window, so I had to use my flash. 
It really doesn't do the mood of the room justice:o)
Happy Friday to you all!!!

Linking up to
tatertots and jello
under the table and dreaming