I’m on a trip of 10 cities in 10 days. It’s my second one and I’m already meeting incredible people again on my path. It’s the best time. It’s after the TV gig and its time just to relax. I’m on the plane and enjoying the time being able to listen to music, write in my journal, read or blog.

So far, the trip has been very eventful. I went to NYC the first day to catch a train to New Haven CT. The man sitting next to me on the plane was a newly in love man with his beautiful girlfriend. He showed me her picture about 3 times!! They met in NYC but he’s from Charlotte and she’s from Ohio. They are both CEOs of major companies and both are looking forward to the day that they can retire to spend time with each other. It was so clear that he was completely in love. It was so sweet. The craziest thing was that his girlfriend is the president of the board of the Make a Wish Foundation. I was wearing the HOPE STOUT bracelet who is the “poster child” of Make a Wish. I know her parents, Stuart and Shelby from Charlotte. Hope, who died over a year ago, had 1 wish and that was for every other child would get THEIR wish granted. The whole city went on a huge fundraising campaign and was able to grant Hope’s wish. Now, her parents are activists on behalf of their cause.

We agreed to split a cab from the airport to NYC since we were going within 2 blocks of one another.

When we arrived, I had called a friend who worked close by. I’m so glad that this friend was able to help because I have 3 roller bags, and two of them are over 50lbs. He helped me tote the bags to the train station and I was on my way!

When I arrived in CT, I was greeted by my publicists and we headed to the hotel for some media training. It was a full afternoon of going over and over the talking points of the products I selected and was I was taking on the road. They booked me first in Hartford so they watch my performance.

The second that I was able to check my messages, I had an existing phone call from the father of my babysitter who was to arrive at 5:15. He asked if we could pick her up because he and his wife were working late. Knowing that my husband would not have enough time to get there and back and to the university to be a presenter at 6:00, caused a minor crisis. I quickly called another babysitter and when she wasn’t available, I called her dad to come and pick up my son. I also told my husband to just go to our neighbors’ house to see if they were outside since they didn’t answer the phone.

Thank goodness, it all worked out. Jeremy was able to stay at the neighbors and everyone was fine. Thank God for friends and neighbors who look out for us.

I see how my actions of leaving for 2 weeks can even cause friends stress. I thought I had handled everything in advance but some details got dropped. It shows how all of our actions do in fact, impact other people.

Later, I had an early dinner and them came back to take a nap and then woke up by 8PM for a coaching class on the phone. I think I fell asleep again at 11:30 and even though I set my alarm at 6am, I finally woke up at 8:30am!

I was hoping to swim today but the pool in the hotel which was a 25 yard pool, was reserved for physical therapy patients and closed to the patrons during the day. I was bummed about this situation because I had wanted to swim every day while on the road.

So, this morning, I practiced my presentation more, packed and got ready to meet the publicist, Julie. We had a great talk on the ride to the TV station. She’s really fun and it was great to finally meet her since we’ve talked for months on the phone.

When we got to the station to set up, the white smoke started coming out of the chimney in Rome, which meant, a new pope had been elected! That took up the whole noon hour so we had to tape our Baby Shower segment. I got to meet a few other really interesting people. One is a Christian music artist from London, Rob, and the other, Andrew, is an editor of an on line wine magazine which he promotes all over the world by traveling and speaking about wine.

The pope’s segment lasted through the whole news hour and so as soon as it was done, the anchor rushed me to my table of baby items I’ve chosen and we did the segment. I made a few slip ups but mostly I did okay. The anchor, Kristin, was a sweetheart and helpful to me because she didn’t talk that much and she let me do my thing. I like it when the anchors let you shine and dont’ try to steal the spotlight.

Then, it was time to break down the table and leave. I’ve gotten pretty good at this and like to think it takes a true athlete to lug around so much stuff. I have 2 bags over 50lbs and having to pack them is probably the worst! I feel like I’m doing hard physical labor during this part of the trip. I used to resist the hard labor part and try to get help. Now, I know I can do it and do. I just take off my shoes and get to work. I have to save my nails though so I tend to be somewhat careful with them.

We said our goodbyes and headed to lunch. This is where we met the waiter who didn’t know what to do with his life and gets “all philosophical” about his meaning in life and then sits back and waits on people at a restaurant and has a film/TV degree from NYU! He’s so talented but doesn’t take action.

I recommended a book, “What Should I do with my Life”, by Po Bronson and told him that many people have that issue, so he should research other people’s dilemmas and then TAKE ACTION. I said that in everyone’s life there are times where they just have to shut up and WORK! Make a decision and DO SOMETHING. He didn’t seem to be offended by my bluntness, because I helped him understand he was normal. He actually seemed challenged by it!

We had a incredibly fun lunch with 4 of us women who were all involved with my tour. It was so nice to be among friends who I could just be myself with.

After lunch, Julie and I raced to the airport and I boarded the plane. I sat next to an insurance guy, Owen, who happened to be a genius at figuring out my computer when I had problems. He watched my Baby Monet video from my DVD to see if his kids would like it and I think he enjoyed it.

When I got to Minneapolis, I actually had the same bell hop from when I was there 3 months ago. We remembered each other and had a few laughs. I tipped him an extra $2 because he was so much fun and I think that he got an extra $2 from me last time too! Keep in mind, I’m on a serious budget so that extra money comes out of my own reserve!

Ray is from Etheopia and is a father of 2 children 1 and 3 years old. He loves his work and doesn’t want to change his profession. I think that is so cool that he loves his job and is perfectly suited for it. I bet a LOT of people tip him extra because he loves it so much. He just radiates some fun and that is really attractive.

My cab driver to the hotel was Will. He was from Kenya and explained to me why there are so many people from Sudan in Minneapolis. They all came in the early 90s when the city was trying to attract workers. They gave the immigrants a lot of help and support and now there are over 130,000 of them here. Will is studying to be a doctor, and told me that his family is a business family in Kenya. He has a brother at University of Arizona and another brother in school in the states too. I found myself wondering about his family in Kenya that could afford to send 3 boys away to college in the US. As it turns out, the government there gave them scholarships.

Will and I got to talking so much that we didn’t realize that there were 2 Double Tree hotels and we went to the wrong one. So after I got to the front desk, I had to turn around and catch anther cab to the other Double tree, 4 miles away.

Robin was my cabbie that time. I asked if he was a musician and yes.. I guessed it! He plays with his rock band in clubs all over the mid west and east coast. I gave him the name of a booking agent in Charlotte to call who is a friend. He seemed like a really nice guy and very professional so I took a chance. After all, his band has cut 3 CDs so I figured that SOMEONE must buy his music!

I settled in to a not so glamorous room. I guess I’ve gotten spoiled so when I see a standard room, I notice the difference right away. It’s clean, with one picture on the wall, a table chair and desk, 2 double beds and a TV. Oh.. there is one other chair in the corner. I do have a nice view of a pond I found out this morning, but other than that, it’s pretty dull. At least I have my computer. It was an expensive standard room too, I must say. I think I’ll ask about the rooms in advance from now on. I feel I deserve an upgraded room because being on the road is gruelling and who wants a hard bed, a not so well lighted room and ugly bedspreads when they are away from home so much? I guess I don’t, now that I’m used to something a little more plush. I’m not a “prima donna” because I love to rough it and go camping or hiking, or whatever, but I just don’t want to come into a sub standard room on a tour like this. It’s my time to unwind and recharge for the next appearance.

Now, it’s time to eat my breakfast that just arrived by a darling older gentleman, Paul, who called me “Love” and sounded like he was from Ireland. He was so chipper and in and out of here so quick and didn’t’ make me uncomfortable that I was in my PJ’s that I had to call the front desk and to the room service people and RAVE about how sweet he was! I told them I thought he should be at the front desk greeting customers! I’m going to write a note to recommend him to the corporation. I think I know talent when I see it and Paul has it!

Another adventure awaits! I’ll write about all of the interesting people I meet and how things are so be sure to stay tuned!

Until then, Have a Great Day! Mary

Day 2 & 3 of the Trend Reporter on the Road (Minneapolis and Dallas)

By now I’m thinking I kind of have a glamorous gig going. I’m getting the hang of the road and it’s not as taxing on me when I have my computer and can write and stay in touch with people on the road. I’m mostly in and out of TV stations and airports and hotels but I’ve decided I really like the types of people who travel. A lot of them are successful in business and are traveling to accomplish some sort of goal.

I woke up this morning (Tuesday) naturally on east coast time. It was 7am EST and 6am Central. I didn’t have much to pack and I had hung up my clothes to steam the night before so I didn’t even have to iron!

I got on the computer and checked a few emails and then did a bit of reading. My breakfast arrived by a jolly fellow, Paul, who I found out had had the same job for 20 years. He’s Australian by descent which I found out later. He’s also happily married to his bride of 21 years and loves hanging out with her. I was so impressed by him, I called the front desk and the room service people and put in a good word for him. He’s 71 years young and looks much younger because of his youthful attitude!

When I got downstairs to go to the station, I had about 15 minutes to get to the station. I had called to the front desk to call me a cab yet when I got there it was going to be another 10 minutes. I stressed over this one, knowing that I was supposed to arrive sooner than that to do some “teasers” (pre-shots) for the show.

There I stood, wondering who to call to let them know I’d be a few minutes late and a fellow business traveler said “good luck” to me on his way out. I said, “Oh thanks. I guess I’m just not used to not being able to get a cab by a hotel door.” I suppose I was just a bit deflated and felt defeated so he asked me how far I had to go? I said only 2 miles and he offered to drive me.

Now, I wouldn’t just get in any ol’ person’s car that I didn’t know but this gentleman was an instantly likeable person and looked like any dad living on my block at home. I quickly found out that Tom is a manager at a major corporation out of Atlanta and that he doesn’t enjoy the public speaking he has to do. I gave him a few PUBLIC SPEAKING tips in the car and then offered him a free 1 hour coaching session on the phone because he was so nice to help me. I explained to him that God often sends people to help me and he answered, “that’s the way He works, doesn’t he?” He seemed to like the trade so we shook hands and we were off!

I got to the station in plenty of time and did the gig. It went pretty well. I met some really nice people, like Molly, a publicist who has the best MOMMY gifts in the world. She has her son Timmy’s picture in bracelets, her purse, a watch and told me of all of the other personalized gifts she has done for her mom. Her client, Bea, was so terrific that they asked her to be a regular contributor to the show from there on out presenting organic food. Bea is on a national committee that presents to the USDA in DC about Organic Food.

After the gig was over, I went back to the hotel and had a chat with the nice guy at the front desk, Thom. I explained to him that I was a bit surprised by the sub par room I got and that I was a bit surprised at how long my husband had to wait on hold when he called and while everyone I met there was really great, I just felt they were understaffed and didn’t have the facility to attract a business traveler like me again.

What he did next was superb! He lowered my rate about $50 and gave me another warm cookie! He did whatever he could to keep my business, even though I am just one person. He seemed to really care about his company as a whole and the progress they were continuing to make. I definitely could see him being a manager with the confidence that he took action. He took the liberty of making a customer happy and that totally changed my mind about the experience in the hotel. That is the power of a great employee!

When I arrived to my gate at the airport, most of the passengers had already boarded. There were 3 men at the gate and I asked if I had time to run to the ladies room. I conveniently left my ticket with them and told them not to sell it while I was gone! When I got back, I noticed I was still seated in the 8th row. Knowing that these guys were all buddies and not overly stuffy, I mentioned I was a bit surprised that I hadn’t been bumped up to first class! I smiled. Then I asked if they’d be willing to since I’m on this super long trip and they had already told me that it wasn’t that full. That seemed to do the trick and the guy behind the computer redid my seat to 1F.

The biggest advantage I had today in first class wasn’t the glass of wine I got for free, but the person I met while deboarding the plane!

The gentleman behind me gave a big yawn so I said “sounds like it’s time for some coffee!” He laughed and agreed. We started talking for just a minute and continued the conversation about whatever we were saying and he mentioned he worked for the cell company that I’ve been TRYING to get a new contract with. I started in with my story of how my phone is horrible and that I can’t get anyone at the company to help me since I have a NYC phone number and live in Charlotte , etc.. Within 3 seconds he pulled out his card and offered to help. I looked at the card and it said PRESIDENT! WHAT? You are the PRESIDENT? He humbly mumbled, “well, yah, it’s no big deal!” So he offered to call someone in NY to help me get a new contract and a new phone. Can you imagine that? That is what I call a Blessing! And, another miracle I’m sure! That has been the biggest nuisance in my life lately.. trying to get a new phone and not being able to get on their special ID area on line to order one!

Right now I’m on the plane to Dallas and sitting next to a 32 year old tattooed rocker who is in a bit of a life crisis. He has played music for years but has no drive for it anymore. He seems so lost and so alone, and so broke as he admitted to me. I felt for him, yet he didn’t want to talk about it, so I clammed up and started writing. I never want to infringe on anyone’s time or coach when they aren’t ready or willing. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. Sometimes you have to get to the bottom of the barrel before you are willing to make a change and sometimes you have to fall onto your face a few times before you wake up and realize that everything takes work and sacrifice and that things don’t come easy. What a difference between a successful person’s attitude and a person who floats through life waiting for life to happen.

I don’t want to be a floater. I want to be a creator. My husband Sway is also a person who takes action and I’m so glad he also supports me. It’s a sacrifice for me to be on the road like this, but it’s worth while because we are both building a successful future.

But the highlight of my day so far? Talking with my son Jeremy, 5. We each kissed, Kissed, kissed !!! the phone and told each other that we love each other and miss each other. I’m giving him a present every single day of my trip. He got some INCREDIBLES PJ’s, a Spiderman punching bag, and today he got a G.I. Joe type fireman. That was a gift from my brother Terry and his wife Karalee. He’s happy to be getting gifts but he misses me. I also got a sweet note from Sway telling me how much they both miss me and that I’m the one that keeps the family calm and peaceful. I liked hearing that and I think that every wife needs to travel to allow her husband to see what she does for the family on a regular basis!

So, day 2 and 3 have been a success. I’ll be in Dallas by 8pm and the morning show is at 9am. Then, I’m going to Indianapolis, then Pheonix, and then Baltimore!

That catches you up on the trip so far… The wonderful life of a Traveling Trend Reporter! Bye for now! Mary